Hello gentle readers~ The hell that was my Spring Term finals has ended and I am free for summer break! So I should be updating things much more frequently now.
Here we have the final chapter, which I kind of think of as a sappy bow to tie up what was an amazingly fun story to work on. Once again I want to thank everyone who took an interest in this. I am so grateful and touched by all of the support I received. Thank you to all of my readers, those who reviewed (in such huge quantities which still blows me away), those who drew fanart (even if you didn't tell me about it haha), people who gave me useful critiques (and even the out of control ones gave me something to talk about), for the help with languages/history/facts, for recommending this story, and just about anything else I can't remember. You've been very kind to me. If you are my regular readers, I shall see you in my other stories. If not, thanks for keeping up with this ridiculous story to the end!
Early on in their relationship, Alfred offered Ivan a spare key to his house and he had refused it, telling the other he knows how to find a way inside whether the door is locked or not. Arriving an entire day earlier than intended and wanting to surprise Alfred, he does just that. Unfortunately the door is already unlocked which means the other man won't be quite as baffled on how he made it inside. Sometimes he thinks the American is just trying to ruin all of his fun.
Quietly closing the door behind him, Ivan walks further inside, setting his bag down. He keeps the small bouquet of sunflowers that he picked up on the way over with him. Now all he must do is find his darling.
A quick scan of the kitchen and his bedroom proves fruitless, as does his study and any number of other rooms. He finally notices that the bathroom door is slightly ajar, the light switched on, and enters without knocking.
America is sitting in the bathtub wearing goggles, tropical print swim trunks, yellow flippers, and has a green snorkel fit snuggly in his mouth. His arms are crossed tightly over his chest and his expression is frankly impossible to read with everything that is on his face. The tub is so full that water sloshes onto the floor—which is already soaking wet—every time he shifts.
Without even blinking Russia crouches down beside the tub, smiling at the other. "Alfred?"
America slowly turns his attention to the other man, blinking slowly behind the fogged plastic of the goggle lenses. He reaches up and removes the snorkel from his mouth. "Hm?"
"What are you doing?" The question is one of general curiosity rather than confusion or concern.
When America answers it is a bit dreamily, as if he's not quite all there. "Oh. I was just thinking about what can be done about the rapidly decreasing middle class which is leaving a dangerous gap between the upper and lower class."
"That does not sound very fun. Have you come up with any solutions?"
"Not really. Well, I did think of one but it involves dinosaurs so I don't think people will go for it. It would work though."
"A shame. I brought something for you." Russia lifts the sunflowers so American can see them.
For a moment America stares at them then lifts his goggles, letting them rest on the top of his head. He takes the bouquet and brings it into the tub with him, half submerging the plastic covered flowers. "An offering from the sunflower devil. Not bad."
"I am glad you like them." Careful not to lean against the wet side of the bathtub, Russia kisses America's cheek.
America rapidly blinks and seems to finally be more aware of his surroundings. "What are you doing here so early? I thought your flight was coming in tomorrow."
"It was. I managed to get an earlier one at the last minute. I am so happy to see you." He strokes America's damp hair.
"Oh! Great! We should do something special tomorrow then. I say roller coasters!" America beams at him.
"I think perhaps something with less screaming would be preferable." Russia says pleasantly.
America rolls his eyes. "But it's fun! Must be hard for someone so not fun to understand, clearly."
Early on the words might have provoked Russia. He's since learned that this is America's favorite way to make people do what he wants and it has almost never failed to work on England. Instead he offers something a little more acceptable, the idea somewhat inspired by the other man's attire. "Let us go to the Aquarium instead."
America shifts onto his knees, brightening again. "Yeah! That sounds cool. Let's do it."
Pleased, Russia stands, tilting his head as he looks down at America. "Would you like to go to the store with me? I checked your fridge while I was in the kitchen and it is lacking in anything worth eating. You always let the edible foods dwindle when I am away."
"Your standards of what is edible are way too high," America says, waving his hand dismissively. "But alright, I'll go. If nothing else to make sure you don't bring home nothing but celery or something. Let me just dry off and change."
"Very well, I shall attend to your flowers then." He takes the bouquet back, gently shaking it to get some of the excess droplets of water off.
"Right, just be a few minutes." America tugs the goggles off his head, putting them aside. Russia leaves the room as he is pulling off one of the flippers.
Humming to himself, Russia finds a vase to put the sunflowers in, adding fresh water. He arranges them a bit then giggles softly as he touches one of the petals. "And he thinks I am weird."
Russia examines an onion then deems it acceptable, placing it into the small basket that hangs from his arm. He has all he needs for dinner now. His eyes begin to scan the area for America, who has wandered off. There is a spark of curiosity when he finally spots the younger blond looking intently at what appears to be a large squash. And here he didn't think Alfred liked anything healthy. Maybe he's finally being a good influence on the other man's diet.
Adjusting his basket, Russia walks over to America. "Were you interested in that, lapushka?"
America turns, a huge smile of amusement on his face. "Check it out, Vanya, it's your penis!"
Russia frowns as America laughs away, highly unamused by the comment. A woman standing nearby departs as quickly as possible after making a disgusted noise. He leans in very close, catching America in a stern gaze. "Please do not say such hurtful things, or next time I will use one on you for comparison, da?"
A spark of concern alights in America's eyes and he hastily sets it down. "Hah! You know I was just joking! Yours is a wonderful size!"
Russia gives him an unnerving look for a few moments more then smiles again. "If that is all, we are ready to go."
America follows behind him, muttering about how he has no sense of humor. By the time they're on the street his mood has already improved and he chatters on enthusiastically about the latest movies coming out that he wants to see. At the very least he's courteous enough to carry the groceries, not seeming to even notice their weight as he precariously swings them at his sides.
Dinner is not exactly candle-lit with wine, though it is quite good. For some reason Alfred has some opposition to anything resembling the former type of dinners. He claims it is because he gets horrible flashbacks of being chained to a chair and being fed what was most likely horse meat disguised as steak. Ivan tells him that's ridiculous. Where on earth would he have found a horse to cook up on such short notice? For some reason that does not seem to help.
Deep down, America is secretly acquiring a taste for Russian food (though American will always be the best forever). Russia not so secretly finds he can stomach American food but really does not prefer it as a general rule. (Though he will never live down the incident America caught him actually enjoying a fast food burger).
After they've finished eating Russia gazes fondly at America. The other raises an eyebrow. "Do I have something on my face?"
"Nothing other than what is usually there. I brought you something else. I was going to wait a little while to give it to you but I think now is as perfect as any other time. I will be right back." Russia walks off to the other room.
America waits a bit impatiently. Gifts from Russia are always a little hit and miss. Hit being something like that sweet Russian hat he'd brought him, miss being along the lines of extra 'breakfast kiss mints', and expected being sunflowers. Still, he always gets a little excited when Ivan bothers to get him anything. Especially because America loves getting presents for any reason at all.
A minute later Russia returns, his fist closed around something. It must be small. America tries not to stare at it with too much interest and fails spectacularly. "What is it?"
"Close your eyes!" Russia says cheerfully.
"...You aren't going to molest me, are you?"
"Not today. Just close your eyes." A bit grudgingly America does. Russia walks over to America and opens his hand. A small hair clip with a bright red, metallic rose rests in his palm. With delicate care he brushes back a strand of America's hair and securely clips it in. He had practiced on his own hair to make sure he could do it properly. "Alright, I am done."
America blinks at him as he reaches up and touches the clip. "What is this?"
"Go look," Russia says cheerfully.
Not sure if he should be amused or touched yet, America gets up and walks to the mirror in the other room, Russia following behind him. America examines the hair clip in the mirror, reaching up to touch it again. "Uh..."
Russia beams at him. "When I saw it I thought it was perfect. After all, the rose signifies much for you, da? And I thought it would be nice if we matched." He reaches up and caresses the sunflower pin on his scarf. "Do you like it?"
America tilts his head in mirror looking far less than certain. "It's kind of gay."
"So are you."
"...Fair enough. I dunno, I mean it's a nice thought and all, but..."
Russia is prepared for this. "I thought a hero would be more than happy to wear a token given to him by the one he loves."
Well when he puts it like that. America puts on a charming smile, head lifting proudly. "I suppose a hero would indeed do this. I will cherish it."
America leans over and kisses Ivan's jaw. "Totally not wearing it in public, though."
Russia giggles and turns to kiss his cheek. "We shall see about that."
They both smile at each other knowing that, while it is not a big deal for now, this will definitely become a significant argument in the near future. They will both be more than prepared for it when it comes.
Dressed in his pajamas, America comes out into the living room while brushing his teeth. He leans against the door frame, watching Russia as he reads on the couch. He sucks on his tooth brush and speaks, the words slightly muffled by the froth of toothpaste. "You're still reading?"
"Mm?" Russia doesn't even look up.
Rolling his eyes, America walks closer until he is all but leaning over him. "Are you going to keep doing that or are you coming to bed?"
Russia looks up from his copy of Eugene Onegin. "I will come to bed when I am ready. Please do not get toothpaste on my book."
Narrowing his eyes, America straightens up and leaves the room. There is the soft sound of sink water running and America tromping around. Then there is almost fifteen minutes of blissful peace and silence. Just as Ivan is truly starting to melt into the words the introduction of music pulls him back out. At first he tries to ignore it until it is turned up to what must be almost full blast.
Marking his page with annoyance, Russia gets up to turn it down. When Alfred is pouting he can be so- And suddenly America enters the room. Rather than saying anything he starts to dance towards Ivan, lip syncing along with the words to the song. The taller man tries very hard to keep a look of disapproval on his face but it melts into a smile as Alfred takes his hands and pulls him further into the living room. He brings their bodies together, clumsily imitating a very lazy mixture between a waltz and a tango.
Ivan relaxes, laughing as he allows Alfred to lead the strange dance, now singing slightly off tune to the words. The two make their way around the room a few times before Ivan pulls Alfred close, rocking with him. Alfred hugs Ivan tightly, face tucked against the crook of his neck.
As the music plays on Ivan presses his lips to Alfred's hair and closes his eyes. That feeling that had plagued him before, that feeling that he might stop and not be able to start again, has faded completely. The aching gap in his heart has eased, replaced with a warmth that can perhaps melt even the coldest winter.
As for Alfred, he no longer daydreams about happy endings. After all, who could want such happiness to end?
Eugene Onegin is written by a famous Russian author from the Romantic Era, Alexander Pushkin. He's kind of a big deal. (And I was heavily scolded for not knowing who he was by a certain someone)
They were totally dancing to Can't Take My Eyes off You – Frankie Valli and The 4 Seasons
All the best~