Title: The Game
Character(s) Pairing(s): Russia/Prussia
Rating: R -- oh noes!
Warnings: Angry hate-sex
Summary: Gilbert hates trips to Moscow.
Gilbert cursed as he stepped out of the car and into a puddle of slush. He hated this place. He hated the cold and the wind and the ruined, poverty-stricken landscape and most of all he hated that smug son of a bitch Ivan. He wasn't sure whether the policy had been Ivan's idea or one of his handlers, but for some stupid, unfathomable reason they wanted Gilbert to waste his time in this wretched pit of a city when he should have been looking after his own flock at home. Or, what was "home" now. The quarter of Germany that had been arbitrarily cleaved off from the rest and handed to Russia as war spoils and then blocked off with an impromptu prison wall so that he couldn't even see what was happening beyond that stupid Iron Curtain.
He shook his foot, kicking slush to the side, but his boots were too worn and battered to hold out the cold water and he cursed the puddle again as he felt cold water creeping through the seams and into his sock. His mood soured further at the smug grin on Ivan's face as the Russian came out to meet him. "How was the trip, my friend? I trust everything is well at home?"
Gilbert scowled. "Oh just ducky!" he spat and pulled his coat tighter around him as he stomped towards the building, picking inside as the lesser of two evils.
He could see a flash of teeth as Ivan's grin widened and the oversized bastard fell into step beside him. "This is good to hear!" He gave Gilbert a "friendly" slap on the back, almost hard enough to bruise. "What's the matter, comrade? Surely you are not cold on such a lovely spring day?"
"Fuck you," Gilbert growled in response to both the slap and the jeer.
"You seem to be in poor spirits, my friend," Ivan said in a voice that was just barely restraining laughter. "You must be tired from your travel. Perhaps some tea would set you more to rights?"
Gilbert snorted and ignored the doormen as he blew past into the warm entrance hall. Comparably warm, anyway. "Getting out of this shabby country would put me to rights."
"How ingracious," Ivan said with mock-hurt before slinging his arm around Gilbert's shoulders in what felt more like the threat of a headlock than a semi-embrace. "I wish you would think of this as a holiday from the stresses of leadership. Enjoy yourself."
"I lead nothing."
"You are an example to our people!" Ivan corrected, teeth showing in his smile again. Gilbert took notice of the use of 'our.' Because what's yours is mine, and what's mine is mine. "You show them exactly what a German should be!" He caught Gilbert's face -- the touching, always the Goddamned touching! -- in a gesture oozing with condescension and that disgusting mock-affection. "Strength, camaraderie, obedience."
There was a small struggle as Gilbert tried to pull himself free -- and maybe punch a few of those obnoxious teeth out -- but Ivan was hardly moved. His hand on Gilbert's shoulder tightened like a vice until Gilbert thought the bone was about to snap. Why did that bastard have to be so strong? Gilbert settled and kept walking, making no further effort to fight the controlling hold, and Ivan's hand loosened again but stayed right where it was.
Being a powerless franchise might not have been so bad, it's not like puppet governments and occupied states were uncommon, but the constant reminders of his own weakness were maddening. And Ivan knew that, of course; he just loved to watch Gilbert boiling with rage and completely impotent to do anything about it. It was the constant insincerity that infuriated Gilbert the most. He hated this game that he was forced to play. He hated being a fake country with no power or legitimacy and he hated the miserable poverty that this mockery of Marxism pushed his people into and he hated hated HATED that stupid, smug, pedantic bastard.
"Now then," Ivan said, a note of satisfaction in his voice. "You have traveled all this way, let us not talk about business. Let this be a friendly visit, how is Germany? Has the planting season begun there?"
"Of course. Winter doesn't last half the year there." Gilbert let himself be pulled into a parlor where a maid was setting out tea and biscuits on a small, elegantly carved table. It looked like cherry. The trappings of state buildings lacked the impoverished nature of everything outside. Gilbert completely failed to understand how the Russian people didn't live in a constant condition of outrage.
No, he did understand, or at least he knew. Fear. An empire could be ruled by love or by fear and the Soviets had chosen the more powerful motivator.
When Ivan finally let go of his shoulder, Gilbert threw himself down in one of the chairs and started pulling at the laces of his boot as the maid gave them both a little bow and left the room. "Is something wrong with your foot?" Ivan asked, sitting down across from him.
"It's wet." Gilbert kicked both boots off and then pealed away the cold, soggy wool before standing back up to shuck off his heavy overcoat.
"How terrible. You should be more careful," Ivan replied, not bothering to stifle a chuckle. "Well now that you are here, perhaps your stay can be more comfortable." He poured tea for both of them and leaned back in his chair, smug little self-satisfied smirk in place.
"Comfortable is a word that does not apply to your frozen hell," Gilbert scoffed and picked up his tea. A large gulp burned his tongue but helped start to warm him back up.
Ivan's smile spread out at the corners. "You would seem to be quite miserable, my friend."
Gilbert glared back. "I'm not your friend and I wouldn't give you the satisfaction of having me miserable. I'm irritated."
Ivan laughed fully and then leaned forward, lacing his fingers together with elbows on the table, he rested his chin there. "Are you not my friend?" he grinned wickedly. "Ah, but you have to do what I say even if that isn't the case. How unfortunate for you."
"Not what you say," Gilbert corrected, a little smirk appearing on his own lips. "What the men holding your leash say. You're as much their dog as I am."
Ivan was unruffled. "They are Russian. They are mine."
"Don't underestimate them. You give the little bastards the power and they walk all over you." Gilbert gave a dismissive little wave of his hand. "Take it from me, comrade, personal experience and all."
A low chuckle and Ivan's grin widened again. "Take it from you? But why should I when we both know that you are a weakling."
Gilbert glared. "And you think you're stronger than your people?"
"I am my people and we are stronger than you have ever had any hope to be. We are one people and one voice and we are invincible."
"Invincible," Gilbert snorted, rolling his eyes.
"I don't exaggerate." Ivan shrugged. "Nothing crushes Russia. No one takes Russia, no matter how hard they try. Not Bonaparte or your Hitler or the United States with their bag of tricks. Moscow can not be touched."
"Except by the people already there, of course."
"You think I should be frightened of them, but you do not understand Russian solidarity." He stood up and moved back towards Gilbert, who tensed involuntarily. "The will of ice and steel that makes us, me, the strongest nation on Earth."
"Now you are exaggerating," Gilbert replied flippantly. "It's quite obvious the Americans have you beat."
"We will crush them."
"Yes, I'm sure you will, with you amazing economy and plentiful resources."
Ivan laughed, and then suddenly Gilbert was crashing to the floor as his chair was kicked out from under him. He hadn't quite reoriented himself to his new position when a hand slammed down on either side of his head, fencing him in, and Ivan leaned down, staring him right in the eye. "I wonder, how does it feel to yearn for such power all of your existence andthis is as close as you will ever be?"
Gilbert glared back up at him, careful not to let any suggestion of fear enter his thoughts. "It feels like a big, ugly son of a bitch is invading my Goddamned personal-space!"
Ivan started laughing again, the sound less mocking now and more genuinely amused. "This is why I like you, Gilbert! The unquenchable fire of your spirit! Is there no one you will not look down your nose upon?"
"I only look up to people who deserve it," Gilbert snapped.
"Ah, but you have to look up to meet my eyes, don't you?" Ivan teased.
"It's a metaphor, you stupid Slav!"
"Of course, of course," Ivan snickered and leaned his forehead down against Gilbert's. "You are fond of such things, aren't you, my friend? So much sarcasm and vitriol from your mouth."
"Fu--" Gilbert's retort was smothered by a heavy kiss. He seethed inwardly, all the more angry that he'd played Ivan's game again and let himself get this pissed off. The Russian was just so damn good at making him spitting-mad. He made a last ditch effort to claw Ivan's eyes out before his wrists were caught and forced back against the floor as a tongue pressed into his mouth.
He bit and drew blood a few times but Ivan didn't seem to mind, moaning softly as bloodied lips moved and teeth grated against each other. He let go of Gilbert's wrists and moved to cup his cheek. Gilbert slapped the hand away and managed to grab and bend back two of Ivan's fingers for good measure; he refused to let any sort of tender gesture pass. Ivan complied and withdrew the hand, instead seeking to pull Gilbert's shirt free of his waistband as he moved his mouth down Gilbert's jaw and gave his neck a firm bite. Gilbert's breath hitched but he didn't vocalize.
His determined silence didn't last as well with Ivan's hand down his pants and teeth and tongue and lips on his chest. He was far from singing but his panting was accompanied by the occasional short, harsh vibration of a vocal-cord. He knew that Ivan had a predisposition to start babbling around now, but Ivan knew that if he started any sweet-nothings crap Gilbert would totally shut down and call off the game. And this was the part of the game he hated least.
The groping hand withdrew, sliding slowly up his stomach as Ivan shifted and kissed Gilbert's mouth again before pushing himself up. He grabbed Gilbert's arm and pulled him to his feet as well, catching him for a moment in an embrace and biting his ear before Gilbert pushed away from the hug and leaned a hand against the table, giving Ivan a look that wasn't quite a glare. He looked away again, facing the table and pressing his other hand down on its edge as one of Ivan's hands tugged his pants down and the other slid up the inside of his thigh. Annoyingly, it was Ivan who let out a quiet little moan as he slid a finger further up; Gilbert limited his sounds to harsh panting as he leaned forward and spread his feet as far apart as he could with the waistband of his pants fettering his ankles.
It was unfortunate that he couldn't stop himself from making a sound when Ivan finally pressed into him, but he doubted that Ivan could have heard it over his own moan/sigh. Gilbert leaned lower over the table, putting enough distance between them to hopefully keep Ivan from trying to hold him. Instead a hand gripped his shoulder, the one that hadn't been threatened earlier in the hall, and the other settled on his hip.
Gilbert huffed and grunted, his eyes half-lidded as cooling tea sloshed back and forth in the cups below him, accompanied by an annoying rattle from a spoon rocking against bone china. Ivan moaned and panted lustily behind him, closed-mouth moans giving way to the sound of a raised pallet and an open mouth and the beginning hints of words or names starting to form before suddenly becoming muffled again -- biting his lip? -- and taking on the suggestion of a whine.
The rattling spoon got louder as it wobbled around on the dish more violently. Gilbert's will to stay quiet finally broke and he made a series of short primal noises; Ivan may have started babbling in broken phrases as he pushed into him, but Gilbert was past caring for the moment. With a final crescendo Gilbert gave in, his hand slipping against the table and upsetting a teacup and plate in the confusion, and let go of a throaty moan.
When he was fully aware of himself again he could feel Ivan's lips loosely pressed against his shoulder blade, panting and mumbling too quietly to make out. One hand had snaked around his waist and was hugging and the other was softly stroking his hip. Gilbert stayed still for a minute, catching his breath before he gave a loud, irritated sigh and demanded, "Knock it off."
The words shook Ivan out of his stupor and a moment later he'd disengaged himself and stepped away, recomposing himself somewhat though still panting and quite flushed. Gilbert straightened and stretched his back then dragged a napkin through the spilt tea to use for the cleaning up that demanded immediacy. He then dressed himself with efficiency but in no particular rush, finding his shirt under the table and his sweater further off.
"Where are you going?" Ivan asked in an almost casual voice as he sat back down in his chair and righted his empty teacup, watching Gilbert redress himself.
"Freshen up before supper, maybe take a nap, like you said, I'm tired from the road," Gilbert replied as he finished buttoning his shirt. "Eight-o-clock, right?"
"See you then," Gilbert said without bothering to look at him, instead turning for the door as he slung his coat over one shoulder and picked up his boots but didn't put them back on.
"Do you want me to show you to your room?" Ivan asked.
"I know where it is." Gilbert pulled the door shut behind him, leaving Ivan alone with a vaguely disappointed atmosphere in the room.
Small victories were all he could win against the Russian, but they were still victories.
Gilbert always won the game in the end because underneath the "steal and ice," Ivan did have distinct weaknesses of personality. Loneliness was a joke in Gilbert's mind, and it was just plain sad when one of the most powerful countries on Earth fell plague to something so insignificant. Irrational affection was a weakness to be exploited. Alliances were practical but sentimental attachments only created trouble in the long run. And for as ruthless as Ivan was, he was also surprisingly sentimental.