SO... Yeah. Look at that. I wrote a second half. It was fine as it was but I wrote more anyway.
My History of China class inspired the first half and when I had it again this week... Oh, look at that, more inspiration. I really hope this doesn't become a weekly thing because I am truly satisfied with this the way it is now.
Well, Narroch was banging on at me that I should have added more sexy tiems but really what I wanted to explore further was Japan and China's relationship and plant the seeds of Japan's later imperialistic pursuits. Harsh as it sounds, in reality nobody – not even the British Empire – fucked over China quite as hard as Japan did.
To: LolliDictator, randomlvr1, Lady Emzebel, Sexykill69, Narroch, Star Jinin and Bistre Melancholia! Thankyou for your reviews for the first part! :)
A BTW Warning: The rating went up from T to M for a reason. Not a huge hulking horndog reason, but a reason nonetheless. Perhaps for unconventional use of tea. XD
To Imperialism: II
Japan watched Hong Kong sleep for a while; too long a while, really, because China might be out of his mind with opium and practically crawling on the floor and quasi-fighting with idiotic America over who got to kiss that bastard British Empire on the mouth where'd he'd kiss back and who had to make do with elsewhere, but China himself was still very much governed by his adherence to honour and politeness and he'd taught Japan to be the same.
He didn't want to go back to the chamber in which China was entertaining his guests, almost afraid of what he'd see, but he knew it would be rude not to, to just vanish and shut himself in his room and stew in his own disgust instead (even if China himself had screeched at him to get out). He despised England and America, but he would not stand for having them think ill of him, for them to look down on him and on China and Asia any more than they already did.
Because they acted in a polite and friendly manner, but Japan knew that they were mocking them – all of Europe, France and Spain and Germany and Austria, thought of Asia as some backwards nesting-ground for poor pathetic China and all his equally-uncivilised siblings.
(Poor pathetic China indeed.)
Japan clenched his fists. It made him sick. He didn't want to see England's smug face again tonight – he didn't think he could stomach having to merely smile politely when the empire addressed him.
He didn't like America much better, able to put up with him only marginally more because he didn't come across as quite as sly and devious as England. Oh, Japan still wouldn't trust him as far as he could throw him – and would implore China to do the same – and of course America was loud and forward in his behaviour, his method of conduct clashing horribly with Asian sensibilities (and even England's, somehow).
As an aside, Japan also felt that America was somewhat rather hypocritical in his actions towards England. Hadn't he fought some huge war with him to gain his independence from him fairly recently? By their standards, fifty-odd years really wasn't a very long time, and yet here was America, all cosy with England as though nothing had happened.
(Japan thought this very odd – but maybe Westerners didn't hold grudges?)
More than cosy, actually – America all over England half the time with his hands and his mouth as though he hadn't eaten for a week despite the fact China had ensured that the both of them were well-fed during their stay. To China, food was of utmost importance and he'd gone all-out for his guests; America had gorged himself in a fashion that had made Japan feel slightly ill to watch and even England had seemed annoyed by his table manners, so delicate in his own way that Japan felt that he might actually be able to get on with him if only he wasn't such an arrogant, greedy kleptomaniac.
England. Japan loathed him but in a strange, bitter way, he also sort of... admired him. What was it like to be England – to be an empire? What was it like to be that strong and rich and powerful? What was it like to command the kind of respect that England did from other nations? It must feel good, Japan reasoned, because England didn't come across as someone who did anything that didn't please him. England was the way he was presumably because he wanted to be and he didn't seem to care who hated him for it as long as he got his own way.
Perhaps it was no wonder that America had decided it was within his interest to stroke England's ego and fawn over him like some palace concubine. Or maybe he liked being an empire's fuck-toy. Or maybe he even just had some kind of weird daddy-complex that made him chase after England compulsively despite having fought tooth and nail to get away from him.
Japan didn't know or understand and he didn't really want to.
He leaned back from Hong Kong's bed, straightened his obi even though it didn't need adjusting and turned away, slowly making his way across the bed chamber and out into the hall, sliding the door shut behind him. He made his way down the corridor back to the room he'd left China at the mercy of England and America in, his wooden geta a steady drumbeat to the soft song of the nightingale floor.
He didn't know if it was worse than he'd been expecting or simply just... what he'd been expecting.
All three of them had moved; England was sprawled like a king across the throne of red silk pillows China had previously been lounging upon, his jacket off and his cravat loose about his crisp collar. China was curled up next to him, his hair splayed like ink over the paper-white breadth of England's chest in its perfectly-neat shirt with all those tiny, fancy, fiddly buttons (which looked infuriating and impractical to Japan). He had his hand on England's stomach, drawing patterns on it, fingers dancing around those same ridiculous fastenings; his other hand still covetously held his opium pipe.
It took Japan a second longer to locate America; and he looked away fiercely, disgust washing over him once more, when he did so. America was kneeling between England's parted thighs hell-bent on his not-having-eaten-for-a-week routine once again, positively devouring him, and Japan didn't know what to do with himself.
He was furious that they'd... that they'd dare to do something so lewd and undisputedly private out in the open in someone else's house with their host sitting right there watching it, all snug and sleepy against England (who moaned or shifted every now and then but mostly just gazed down at America somewhat impassively as though assessing his efforts).
Frozen and silent with shock and rage, Japan's presence went unnoticed; England leaned forwards and gave a small tug on America's hair to get his attention, still holding on even when the other blonde met his gaze.
"Try not to let it get too cold," England said boredly before leaning back again.
China shifted closer to him and was ignored; England had closed his green eyes, shifting himself on the pillows and giving a slight lift of his hips – and if America hadn't heeded him before, he certainly did now, raising his head completely.
He had a mouthful of something and Japan didn't want to know what (although he thought he knew and also thought, therefore, that he didn't particularly want to see America swallow it). As it happened, America didn't swallow anything; he leaned aside and spat what had been in his mouth onto the floor.
It hit the marble like liquid amber. It was tea.
"It was cold?" he asked, looking up at England again, wiping his mouth on his sleeve.
"Mm." Not opening his eyes, England gave a small sigh. "China took the trouble of brewing more, however. Pray use that."
America's tone was cheerful as he leaned across to the table to refill his cup. He was so tall, Japan noted, that he could do this without moving from between England's legs, even if it was a little awkward.
China sat up.
"Allow me," he said, beginning to move.
"America can do it himself," England snapped, stopping China in his tracks.
Japan felt a sudden pang of pity as he watched China blink at England, taken aback; only a small pang, however, and it was soon overtaken by anger once again. England wasn't even putting up the pretence of being nice anymore, more or less openly declaring that he thought of America – Western, like himself – as better, more capable even in the art of pouring Chinese tea, than China.
After all, they'd gotten the tea – what they'd come for. Everything else was just a bonus and didn't warrant either of them to be on their best behaviour.
The spell broken, Japan stepped forwards angrily, geta clacking decisively on the floor. Before he could open his mouth, however, China started like a spooked squirrel and twisted around to look at him.
"Japan?" he asked softly, seemingly having forgotten that he'd shouted at his brother to leave and – probably – not come back.
"Nihon," Japan insisted, stressing the sound of his real name. "Or Rìběn, even. Do not call me 'Japan'. That is their name for me, Zhōngguó." He spoke in quiet, urgent Chinese, before switching back to Japanese to say his name for his brother. "Chūgoku."
England opened his jade eyes the moment he heard Japan change from the English he had been using earlier. In all truth, Japan's English wasn't fantastic – competent, really, at best. China understood and spoke it much better than he did, presumably due to his prolonged contact with England himself; Japan had found himself unable to understand half of what they'd been discussing earlier, finding America particularly difficult to translate for.
Still, his halting attempts had appeared to please England enough to not look at Japan the way he was looking at him right now – with an immense amount of contempt.
China rose and got off the nest of pillows to come level with Japan; England didn't seem remotely bothered by his departure, narrowing his eyes briefly at Japan before turning his attention back to America, who had refilled his cup with fresh tea, watching him as he tipped it to his mouth and drained it; but apparently the taste was too much and he swallowed it, too.
"America, do not waste my time," England said icily.
"Sorry." America simply grinned at him. "It is very good tea, though. Well worth the trade."
"China, America likes your tea very much," England hummed, nestling deeper into the cushions.
"Yīngguó likes your tea very much too, it would seem," Japan said in a low voice, determined to stick to his hybrid of Chinese-Japanese-Chinese, if only to anger England. "I rather think Igirisu likes your tea altogether too much, you stupid fool."
"Japan—" England began icily before China could even open his mouth; but England himself got no further, suddenly gasping and twisting as America went back down on him forcefully and fast with a new unswallowed mouthful of hot tea.
"Why are you letting them do this?!" Japan asked angrily in Chinese, grabbing China by his small shoulders and shaking him. "Why are you allowing them to ridicule us? They traded you that awful drug for your tea and look what they are doing with it! They are laughing at us, Zhōngguó! This whole thing, this entire disgusting spectacle... It is all for the purpose of mocking us, of mocking Asia!"
China blinked at him confusedly for a moment; his ebony hair was all over his face, wild and tangled. Japan wanted to brush it back, to tie it neatly over his shoulder the way China usually did.
Why are you letting them see you like this? Why are you letting them think you are so weak, so vulnerable? Even if it is true, you should not give them the pleasure of knowing that it is.
"Japan," China said finally, frowning a little, "please speak in English. It is disrespectful to our guests to use our languages so that they might not understand us."
"It is not I who is being disrespectful!" Japan pressed, switching not to English but to Japanese.
"China, please tell Japan that I am getting impatient with his insistence in speaking in a tongue that neither America nor I can decipher," England said coldly.
He spoke on behalf of America (hadn't that been America's problem in the first place?) even though America didn't seem to be anywhere near as offended, perhaps because he was preoccupied. He didn't even have his eyes open, his expression appearing somewhat content – at least until England put his hand on his head and pushed him further forwards.
"More," England commanded, as though he felt that he needed to give a verbal order to justify his action.
With his head clamped in place, America didn't seem to have much of a choice other than to nod and do what he was told; Japan didn't feel sorry for him at all, but he wondered vaguely if England really did think much better of even America than he did of them. Of course, America had once rebelled against him, but that probably only meant that England saw him an upstart, a pest, as opposed to an equal.
Was America simply just stupid? Japan didn't allow China to treat him like that.
"Chūgoku," Japan began again insistently, taking hold of China's arm and trying to pull at him, to lead him away. "Please, let us just—"
"Japan!" China tore his arm away angrily. "Do not dishonour me by disobeying my orders! Speak in English!"
Japan looked at him, shocked, not quite sure where to begin defending himself; China drew himself up straighter than he had done all day, his dark eyes hot with misplaced fury.
"I think you should apologise to our guests," he hissed. "You have greatly offended England and I will not stand for your behaviour ruining our trading relationship."
"Oh, of course not," Japan replied bitterly, going back to Chinese so that China would understand him perfectly clearly. "Because where would you acquire your precious opium then?"
China slapped him across the face; it hurt and took Japan very much by surprise. China was getting weaker day by day, it was true, but he was still strong enough to make Japan's slender frame reel from the impact of his hand.
"I will also not stand for you speaking to me like that," China informed him icily, reaching towards him and grabbing him by the back of his kimono; he shoved him forwards a few paces towards England (who really didn't appear all that interested in him at this exact moment, writhing on the silk under the ministrations of America's mouth).
Japan rubbed at his stinging face. China had never hit him before, even when he was very angry. Japan wasn't sure whether to blame the suddenness, the newness, of China's action on the opium or on the influence of England and America or on both. He admitted that he had not seen England hit America or vice versa, but it was a given that imperialism was a vicious business. It seemed only fitting that China would have copied such violent behaviour from someone who had gotten to be the world's largest empire or who had gained their freedom through nothing but aggression.
"Apologise," China ordered.
Japan didn't – couldn't – speak. His cheek still smarting, he was transfixed by England, hating him, hating him so much that it made his skin crawl to look at him; but also fascinated by him as he watched him moving on the pillows with America so obediently between his legs. The way he rocked his hips, the way he held America's hair, the way he breathed (calm) and groaned (soft) and cursed (English)...
Even at the mercy of America's actions, owing the other blonde the entirety of his pleasure, he was still the one in control. It was obvious, no matter how much Japan wished it wasn't true – that England was capable of showing weakness like China.
What was it like to be that powerful?
England dug his fingers deeper, harder, into America's gold hair as he came, barely making a sound but throwing his head back against the pillows; America apparently hadn't been expecting either, or maybe it was just that he already had a mouthful of tea, but he almost choked and pulled back and spat onto the marble again, coughing.
Japan stepped back in revulsion, looking down at what America had coughed up, at the concoction of China's tea and England's seed and America's spit, all mixed and merged irreversibly.
"Sorry." America looked up; but he was speaking to England, not to China or Japan, and probably because he hadn't swallowed it as opposed to where he had spat it out.
"Do not concern yourself," England sighed, reaching his arm out towards him.
America didn't need to be invited twice and clambered up on top of him, making the pillows dip further beneath their combined weight, and settled very happily, all too content to let England lick his face clean.
Japan felt China nudge him insistently in the back.
"Japan, you dishonour me," China pressed, altogether very unaffected by the fact that his guests were making a mess of his floor and ignoring him completely in favour of indulging in an inappropriate display. "Apologise for forgetting to speak in English."
Forget? Japan almost laughed; but instead bit at his bottom lip, still not speaking but looking at England and America making themselves comfortable. America tucked his head against England's throat and met Japan's gaze and shot him a sickly smile. He looked very pleased with himself.
Idiot, Japan thought, though he found himself sarcastically returning the smile.
America blinked at him, then laughed and leaned up to whisper something in England's ear. Japan expected England to laugh too, thinking that America was sharing some feeble joke at Asia's expense with him, and was surprised when England suddenly pushed America away.
"No," the empire said firmly.
America gave a whining sound in reply as he pulled himself back into his previous position and Japan heard him muttering about something not being fair.
"Later," England replied lazily.
"But—" America began, pouting.
"America, give me a chance to get my breath back," England cut in, even though he notably didn't sound out of breath at all. "If you must be so impatient, go to China."
America didn't seem to be very satisfied with this set of options, visibly sulking. He pressed a few kisses to England's throat and began pawing at him, perhaps trying to entice him into changing his mind; England lay still for a long moment, letting him do it, and then countered by pressing his thigh up between America's legs.
America faltered and hissed, arching his back.
"Please," he breathed, looking at England desperately over his slipping glasses.
"While I like your tone a lot better now, I am still going to decline until later," England said, smiling in satisfaction. "I have something of a business matter to attend to. However, I am sure that China will indulge your needs for now."
He lowered his knee and America wilted somewhat, nodding in defeat.
To Japan, this was simply another testament of England's power; America was a lot bigger and was already on top of him, practically pinning him down. If America truly wanted him that badly, there was nothing much stopping him. Japan supposed that he didn't really expect America to rape England – he didn't seem to have that kind of temperament – but the way the taller man was conquered with only a few words on England's part was fairly impressive.
Well, the British Empire was nothing if not exceedingly manipulative.
America got off the pillows, leaving England to finally make himself decent again, and approached China. Japan had no idea why he did it, but he found himself suddenly stepping between them, his arms outspread.
"I must protest—" he started, finally reverting to English.
America, who wasn't smiling anymore, effortlessly pushed Japan out of the way and took hold of China by his upper arm.
"Chūgoku!" Japan tried to grab at his brother as China was steered away rather firmly by America.
"My name is China!" China spat at him over his shoulder in English, making Japan shrink back. "And stay out of this, won't you? It really is none of your business!"
This is alright with you? Japan couldn't speak, only watch once more as China shot a smile at America that wasn't returned; he could only watch, near tears, as America instead pushed China down across the low table that they had drank their tea at earlier and began to impatiently unbutton himself. China didn't seem to care much, still high on opium, his jet hair flared all across the table's ornate surface, over wide-winged phoenixes and long coiling dragons and tall sweeping trees. This is alright with you, China? Chūgoku. Zhōngguó. Grand Imperial China. You really do not protest this as I do?
He looked at England; his heart thudding unpleasantly when he found that England was already looking at him.
Smiling that smile again.
"Come here, Japan," England said softly.
Japan's heart-rate sped up, fear suddenly spiking within him; still, he gathered the courage to mutely shake his head.
England sighed and laughed in the same breath.
"I have no sexual designs upon you, that much I promise," he said. "And you can take my word on it – I am not France. Come here, if you please. I mean you no ill."
The way you mean China no ill? Japan's dark eyes slid towards China; his fists were clenched on the surface of the table but his face was hidden by his hair. America was not being particularly gentle with him, his hips moving with an impatient urgency; and every now and then, Japan noticed, his sky-blue eyes flickered hopefully upwards toward England, as though to see if he was watching, paying him any kind of attention at all.
He was disappointed every time, England's awareness focused solely on Japan.
Perhaps just to piss America off – revenge for what he was doing to China – Japan raised his chin and closed the gap between himself and England, kneeling in his favoured position before the mound of red pillows. England sat up and leaned forwards, his elbows on his knees and his chin on his hands. It was maybe because it was a somewhat-childish position, but he suddenly looked a lot younger, taking the edges off his imposing countenance.
"I do not think it would be a great leap of intuition to conclude that you do not like America or I very much," he mused – and his body-language might be less dangerous but his voice certainly wasn't. "Now why is that, I wonder? Certainly we have done you no harm."
You intend to, however.
Japan had not said it aloud but the glint in England's green eyes still somehow seemed to say 'I agree'.
"We..." Japan forced himself to speak. "We do not need your trade!"
England laughed again. It was pretty, decorative, insincere.
"I rather think China might counter you on that," he said. "He is always eager to trade with us."
Because you got him addicted to opium.
Again, Japan did not need to speak; all he did was glance briefly over his shoulder at China once more, still taking an irritated pounding from America, and when he returned his gaze to England he found that the empire's smile had widened. It was impossibly friendly and fiendish all at once.
"I cannot help it if your dear brother is a fool," he said in a low voice.
Japan could say nothing to that because it was the truth. He felt the tears sting at his eyes again and looked down, fiercely wiping at his cheeks on the sleeve of his kimono. Why was he crying over China? He deserved to be treated like this for being so stupid, surely? Idiocy did not merit being rewarded – that was why he didn't pity America either. America couldn't expect England to respect him if he let him walk all over him and bent to his every whim. Japan couldn't understand why America himself didn't seem to see that.
(Still, England was pretty frightening. His smile made Japan feel sick with fear and maybe that was China's and America's problem too. Perhaps they were afraid of him.)
"America has a point, however," England went on lightly. "You really should consider trading with us too."
"I have no desire for your drugs!" Japan spat.
England didn't seem much perturbed by Japan's tone, shrugging.
"I know you trade with Holland sometimes," he replied. "What does he have that we do not? Even if you only want to trade with one of us, that would be fine. It does not have to be for opium, naturally."
Of course, because if I only trade with you, you do better from it; and if I only trade with America, you will no doubt persuade him to give you a cut of it anyway. You win either way, you bastard empire.
"I would rather not," Japan said firmly, looking away. "You rightly called my brother a fool. I am sure you will understand if I refuse to mimic his folly."
"I suppose I can respect that." That was what England's mouth said. What his eyes said was "But I will make you regret refusing me".
There was a moment's silence and stillness between them, broken only by China's high-pitched whines and wails and America's panting. Japan closed his eyes, wishing he could block out the sound of it as easily; and in the short moment following his shutting them, he suddenly heard England shift again and his eyes flew open again in alarm just in time to find the blonde man kneeling opposite him, copying – mocking, maybe – his position.
Japan resisted the urge to recoil, but he couldn't hold England's gaze for long. His eyes really did look far too much like jade and all it did was serve to remind Japan of the empire's obsession with collecting treasures that didn't belong to him. He was Greed Incarnate and he knew it, revelling in it instead of being ashamed.
"You are very strong," England said finally, looking at Japan critically – as though observing him in a sudden new light. "Stronger than China. I might not have believed it if I had not seen it for myself, but I think you might be very powerful yourself one day." He suddenly smirked. "It will not happen if you hide away in your safe little shell as you are doing now, however. The world is only yours for the taking if you are willing to reach out and take it."
Japan had nothing to say to that either; shocked, to say the least. In a roundabout way, the great British Empire had sort of... complimented him. Sort of.
"Oh," England went on, his voice deceptively gentle, "and do not worry about our relationship with China. If anyone destroys him, it will probably be you."
He stood up and stepped past Japan, walking away and leaving the teenager on his knees, stunned.
"America, I am retiring," England said dismissively, heading towards the door. "Join me whenever you are done here."
He left without waiting for a reply. Japan turned his gaze on America and saw the resentment in his blue eyes as he watched England go.
For the first time tonight, Japan understood how America felt.
(He looked at quiet, unresisting China and knew exactly how America felt.)
America's bad mood towards England apparently hadn't lasted very long. The walls were thin – wood and paper – and Japan could hear him singing England's praises even two rooms away as he tried to sleep.
He could hardly hear England but he got the impression that America was being loud on purpose. That didn't surprise him, although whether it even crossed America's mind that he was being inconsiderate was a different matter entirely – as before, he did not like America, but he did not seem as openly, deliberately malicious as England. Still, it didn't appear as if England himself was making any effort to quieten him, and Japan could just see the bastard's smirk every time he heard America's cries of "England!" or "British Empire!" or "Oh god yes!".
America's shrieks weren't the only thing keeping him awake, however.
England's words were bouncing around inside his skull somehow louder.
If anyone destroys him, it will probably be you.
Japan sat up, pushing back his sheets and reaching for his kimono. He pulled it on, leaving it loose, and stood up. He could still hear America babbling happily, although he couldn't understand what he was saying. Probably something obscene.
He went to the door in his bare feet and slipped out of his room, padding silently down the hall, away from England and America and their filthy charade.
He hesitated outside China's door for a long time, the sudden silence almost alien. China slept right at the end of the house with his wide window overlooking the rice fields; Japan saw them silver in the moonlight as he quietly winched open the door, noting that China's curtains were drawn back and his window was barely closed. The gentle breeze made the strings of wind chimes whisper – a different serenade entirely to America's.
Japan ghosted across the floor towards China's bed. China didn't sleep on the floor like him; he preferred to be elevated whilst Japan was happier close to the ground. It was one of their many differences.
China had his back to him, curled up small facing the wall with his ebony hair all over the pillow. He was very still, as though asleep, although Japan didn't think that he was.
He wondered if he ached; if America had hurt him.
He shrugged off his kimono, the silk sliding off his shoulders, and slipped under the sheets behind China, cuddling up close to him. He didn't say anything.
"You hate me," China breathed in Chinese. "Don't you, Rìběn?"
"No," Japan said. He didn't know if he was lying or not.
China turned over to face him, at long last brushing his hair back from his pale face. Pretty, feminine, ancient. Older than Japan, than America, than England. Poor, pathetic—
Weak, foolish China.
His smile made Japan cry.
Yīngguó/Igirisu – Chinese/Japanese (of course) for 'Britain' or 'United Kingdom'
Rìběn/Nihon – Chinese/Japanese for 'Japan'
Zhōngguó/Chūgoku – Chinese/Japanese for 'China'
Just for kicks (because nobody mentioned it here): Meiguó/Amerika – Chinese/Japanese for 'America'
Geta: Those wooden sandals Japanese people wear with the two narrow little platforms underneath them.
Nightingale Floor: Japanese flooring designed to make some kind of chirping sound when walked on to protect from ninjas or whatever, I guess. Idk.
Excuse Me, I Am Sorry (c whut I did thar, lolololol): Random note, but for all the mean things going on in here and despite China's insistence that Japan should apologise for not speaking English, America was the only character who actually said "Sorry", and it was for kind of... negligible reason. Japan didn't obey China and say it and both China himself (who should have apologised for slapping Japan) and England (who should have apologised for being a manipulative evil bastard) had no intention of saying it.
On the subject of the latter: Har de har har, I am not apologising for writing him the way I did. Why? Because the British Empire did some pretty awful things and was massively jerkish to other countries (yes, even to America – or, at least, they tried to screw the US over a few times regarding trade). And not that I'm proud necessarily of all the horrible things my country did during its imperial reign, but I am British and maybe I'm just sick of seeing my country's "representative" being all blushing-irritable-tsundere-uke ALL THE FREAKING TIME.
Even if that's totally how he actually is. XD
To my darling Narroch: STILL NO THREESOME. Because it didn't actually happen. Because I said. Nyah nyah.
England and America: Worst. Houseguests. EVER.
Maybe it makes sense. We, the British (as a generalisation/stereotype), hate American tourists and everyone else hates British tourists.
(We also hate German tourists because they steal all the free towels in Majorca.)