Title: Almost the Same
Pairing: Russia/America, implied Russia/England
Warnings: Bit of sex? XD
Notes: This is set in the mid-late 1800s sometime, a little while after America's Civil War. Russia and England are involved in their Great Game in Asia, with Afghanistan as a buffer between them. It's also something of an attempt to reverse the trope of Russia showing interest in England only because of America during Cold War period fics. Russia is hmm... more or less sane here, at least he isn't psychotically violently insane.
Summary: The thoughts that Alfred illicits in Russia are trapped somewhere between him and Afghanistan and his beautiful game.
There are freckles across Alfred's bare back, brought out by the sun and they remind Ivan of the stars on his flag, or maybe little brown insects which move with the tense-flex of Alfred's skin, although that is not such a pretty image and he dismisses it quickly. He likes the idea of them matching the stars much better and leans down to touch his tongue-tip to each in turn, as though he can taste them, the essence of each state; southern whiskey and oranges and Atlantic sea breeze. It is a little disappointing, he thinks, that the welts across his back from his civil war have faded and no longer match the stripes, but it is an idle thought and easily dismissed, forgotten as Alfred gasps, squirms beneath him, his legs kicking idly and spine arching. Ivan feels the muscles of Alfred's stomach tremble when he comes to rest one hand against the enticing dip between hip and ribs.
There are many more freckles than there are stars and it is whimsy which makes Ivan wonder if this will be how many more states will join him in the future, by the end of the future. It makes him smile against Alfred's skin, lips pressed against the curve of one shoulder blade in that spot that makes Alfred sigh huskily Ivan please until Ivan grazes that spot with his teeth and Alfred gives a throaty growl of approval, toes curling.
Alfred pushes himself up onto his elbows and peers over his shoulder, eyes crinkling as he gives Ivan a sweet sated smile tinged with puzzlement as Ivan continues his counting. "What are you doing?" he asks, amused.
"Counting stars," Ivan says, kissing one freckles at the small of Alfred's back before pulling away and oh, he realises with a little distress, the stars are gone and they're just freckles now, freckles and scars on skin the tanned dust colour of desert sand in Afghanistan.
Alfred gives him a quizzical look and Ivan is reminded sharply that he is a creature of tangible things and the future rather than Arthur's whimsical flights of fancy when he is caught off guard.
Every star is one of them.
One of what?
One of the creatures of our lands, the ones that even we have forgotten exist.
He remembers a sad savage smile and Arthur's will shining so clearly on a black night in Kabul.
Alfred's hand skitters along his jaw, drawing him back to the present, back to America and away from the eastern heat where Arthur's skin had turned lobster red with the sun, mimicking his army's uniforms. There's a frown on Alfred's face as his thumb presses against Ivan's lips. Ivan opens his mouth, flicking his tongue across the pad, relishing the way blue eyes flutter closed, the blue of the sky over his cornfields he would say although Ivan thinks it reminds him more of the desert sky, the contours of his body the mountains and valleys of his and Arthur's game board and he wonders if Alfred realises that his mouth has the same stubborn line that Arthur's has, or that it softens so prettily in the same way when Ivan does something that he likes.
He coaxes Alfred forward, eyes half lidded and hand resting against the nape of Alfred's neck, twining with short golden strands as their lips met, the first brush followed by tongue tip and Alfred's lips parting beneath his own, not submissive, never that although Ivan has wondered how he would look bound in servitude, but eager, willing, hungry to learn and explore, wanting to know.
Ivan wonders if Arthur tasted like this once upon a time before the world was his, but perhaps only France knows that, the taste of Arthur when he was just England and not Empire. Perhaps he will ask Francis to tell him next time they speak.
Perhaps he will ask Arthur to show him the next time they meet.
"You're thinking about him," Alfred murmurs against Ivan's lips and there is no accusation in them, although there is hurt that Alfred probably can't explain even to himself. He is not naïve enough to believe that any of them can be completely loyal to another. Their alliances are transient things although their affections may be less so, deep as oceans and perhaps that is what Alfred has yet to realise.
"Don't you?" Ivan counters easily, eyes closing as he smiles wide and honest, his fingernails scratching Alfred's scalp lightly like one would soothe a cat, a lion perhaps. Alfred slides onto his lap, skin against skin, cock against cock and Ivan feels desire flare, sunshine and poppies, opium sweet.
"It's difficult not to," Alfred replies, lifting one shoulder in a petulant shrug. Is he angry, Ivan wonders, to not have Arthur's full attention anymore? Is he jealous of their great game and does he think to taste England on Ivan's lips?
Ivan cocks his head to the side, peering at Alfred, trailing his fingers down his back lightly, tracing the curve of his buttocks, the dip between them and he's still slick down there, slick and lovely as Ivan slides a finger in easily, making Alfred hiss and squirm on his lap, fingers digging into the pale skin of Ivan's shoulders, little red crescents left behind that look nothing like stars.
"Ivan," Alfred keens, rocking back against the invading digit, head tipped back at a beautiful angle that makes Ivan want to bite and claim and force his surrender, force pretty little sounds of defeat from his mouth and see what he sounds like. But Alfred is making sounds that he likes now and he thinks it is more fun when Alfred makes these sounds willingly although he has never seen Alfred's surrender like he has Arthur's so perhaps that would be sweeter.
Perhaps one day he will find out.
Alfred is hard again, his heat pressed against Ivan's belly, all youthful stamina and eagerness and interested only in the sharp hot release where Arthur enjoys the slow build of pleasure, the performance and the play. Ivan cannot imagine either of them any other way although it makes his interest coil like smoke, makes his toes curl to think of Arthur needy and quick and young and Alfred playing the long game with him. He laughs silently at the image, lips quirking upwards as he presses his finger deeper, lets Alfred rub against him and leans in to suckle at the juncture of Alfred's shoulder and neck. It makes Alfred mewl and they move like that, as heat and friction and soft ragged breaths until Alfred comes, seed spattering on Ivan's stomach and his eyelids fluttering as he shudders with release.
He subsides against Ivan's chest, mouth drawn in a smugly satiated line and it is so familiar that when Alfred opens his eyes, Ivan half expects to see another colour, but Alfred is America, land of wide blue skies and the mountains green belong to another, although they are not so dissimilar.
"Are you content now, Alfred?" Ivan asks serenely, smile twisting his lips upwards as he remembers Arthur, eyes heavy lidded and lust-darkened, proud lips parted in a silent cry. He rests one hand against the small of Alfred's back lightly as he removes his finger from inside him and then brings it round to trail through the cooling semen on his stomach, a touch that is almost curious although he has seen such a thing before, more than his priests would ever think of forgiving. It is no matter. Nations do not go to Heaven though they can die. Ideas do not have immoral souls although they can seem immortal at times, like Yao rising from the ashes of each crumbling dynasty.
Alfred's smile is lopsided as he shakes his head, sliding out of Ivan's lap so that he can rest his head there instead. "Am I ever?" he asks, turning his head to press his lips to Ivan's cock lightly. It sparks a dull thrum of pleasure but not enough for him to harden, not when they have spent so much of the day giving and taking pleasure from each other. Alfred does not seem to mind, keeps touching him with lazy swipes of his tongue as Ivan pets his golden hair, the strands fine like sand between his fingers. Sand that covers precious things like oil and Alfred's thoughts and the bodies of the men who have fallen for himself and Arthur. All gone like ancient statues from before either of them could dream of nationhood.
"Are you lovers?" Alfred asks quietly once the silence becomes unbearable for him. He stretches sinew and muscle bunching and extending and flexing like perfect clockwork beneath his skin. Alfred always needs to have momentum; something to keep him occupied and sometimes Ivan believes that it may be that he needs something to keep him from thinking and to keep his vast lands from pressing too harshly on his heart. It is something that Ivan can understand he thinks, having so much and needing more more ever more, an addiction for them as much as the opium that Arthur buys.
But ah, that is a question that he cannot answer but he cannot deny it either when Alfred looks at him in such a way, open and curious and vulnerable. Ivan frowns, tasting the words on his tongue and finding them lacking, all wrong, all too simple and complex for what it is that they have. Finally he opens his mouth, the words coming unbidden, truer words probably, than if he had a team of orators to speak for him. "We are rivals," he says with a small smile that is honest and deceitful all at once and maybe America will come to know it better but it is not Ivan's nature to think much to the future. "We are rivals and that is very nearly the same thing."