Title: Courtship

Author: Zalia Chimera
Characters: Russia, England
Rating: PG-13
Notes: Inspired by a comment on LJ.

Queen Elizabeth even wrote a tsundere-desperate letter, asking Russia to reconsider. Feel free to imagine that as England standing under Russia's window in the rain, boombox held overhead, blaring Peter Gabriel.

And I couldn't get the mental image out of my head.

Summary: England attempts to woo Russia.

It was late and gentle music was drifting in through Ivan's window. There shouldn't have been; there were no grand balls or receptions that would warrant music, especially at such an hour and certainly not in the courtyard in such inclement weather. He frowned and attempted to ignore it, tongue poking out of the side of his mouth as he tried to focus on the report in front of him.

It was a very dull report. That did not help.

The music grew louder and Ivan's frown deepened. It was not that he disliked music, or even that he disliked being distracted from his report but... music had a place and he liked things to be in their correct places not outside his window in the early hours.

He mouthed the words of the report aloud for a few lines, trying to concentrate on them and their meaning but eventually it proved too much. He stood up, clutching his scarf tightly around his neck as he went over to the window and unfastened the heavy curtains and blinds. He picked up a candle and stepped out onto the balcony, the cold air making his breath fog, and peered down into the darkness of the garden.

For a moment, he could only stare.

Was that Arthur down there? In the rain. With a lute?

"Ivan, my beloved!"

Yes, yes it was.

Ivan stared some more. Arthur was dressed very finely; hose and golden brocade and more jewellery than Ivan would have previously thought it was possible to wear. He sometimes considered that Arthur's love of gold was a little disturbing. Now he was certain of it. Arthur's hair was plastered wetly to his skull. Ivan had little appreciation for the subtleties of fashion unlike Francis or some of the others, but even he could recognise when someone was dressed for courting.

Courting. Courting him.

No. He did not like this at all.

"Arthur," he said warily, looking down at the other nation with some consternation.

Arthur positively beamed, the light from Ivan's candle gleaming on the jewellery; rings and ear studs and necklaces. His fingers strummed over the strings of the lute, plucking out a quick tune which was not unpleasant, just baffling. "I have come to win you back!" Arthur called out to him. The tune stopped for a brief moment as he pulled a red rose from seemingly nowhere.

Ivan wondered idly whether Arthur and Francis had buried the hatchet but quickly dismissed that idea as preposterous.

Arthur seemed to take his bemused silence for interest and his smile widened. He tossed the rose upwards. It hit the balcony railing with a wet slap before falling back to the ground. Annoyance flickered across Arthur's face for a moment before being replaced once again by the smile which became more and more disturbing the more Ivan saw it. And people claimed that he had a worrying smile.

He winced when Arthur strummed the lute once more and opened his mouth, starting the first line of what sounded like a love sonnet.

"Is this about the trade agreements?" Ivan asked, brows drawing together. It made Arthur stop singing at least. It was a relief. Arthur was not, as one would say, a natural musician. He seemed fundamentally unsuited to the music of the age, especially love songs.

Arthur stopped mid-chord, looking a little dumbstruck for a moment before nodding sheepishly. "Eh, yes. Something like that. I'm here to woo you back! Let me be with you Ivan! I want you! I need you!"

Ivan considered this for a moment.


The shutters made a satisfying thunk as he went back inside and slammed them shut.

Distantly, he thought that he might have heard the sound of lute strings snapping, but he ignored it.