Дом СССР / House of the USSR
» Rating: T
» Classification(s): Angst, Romance
» Warnings: Language, History (!), Politics (!)
» Pairing(s): Russia/Estonia
» Disclaimer: Don't own APH.
» Summary: When he's feeling particularly like self-flagellation, Ivan sometimes visits the house he built for them all. He hadn't thought they'd do the same. Rus/Est. May continue...
It was high on a hill near the steep embankment of a narrow river, that decrepit heap of marble and granite; from far away it appeared solid, imposingly so, real and touchable as any of the other houses and dachi that dotted the countryside around it.
He pushed open the black gate with difficulty, the shrubbery and twining vines having all but welded it shut, and bits of the filigree crumbled off under his fingers. The yard was so completely overgrown with grasses and thistles that he waded through them as if through a swamp, reaching the wide front colonnade and stairs with difficulty. The lock on the door was ugly iron, the wood around it rotten, weathered, grey and green with lichen. One good kick and it might have fallen in; the accessible windows had been broken for decades, and anyone with a bit of leg could climb through them. Still, he forced the key into the rusty opening, wrenched it as hard as he could to the right, and the door opened with a long, low groan of ancient tumblers and hinges.
Different things had happened here. The house was burned in some places, flooded in others; acts of terrorism and vandalism had scoured away all that was once grandiose and, yes, even beautiful, replacing it with the more subjective beauty of garish graffiti. Even the house's structure and space were destroyed-where the roof hadn't fallen in, the floor had collapsed, and where walls hadn't fallen thick barricades of debris had been erected. Such was the fate of the house that he had built for them.
At one time, he'd believed that all the world would soon join them there, and he'd built accordingly. The foyer he carefully picked his way through was enormous, hallways he navigated palatial, the smashed verandas were sweeping, the ceilings vaulted clear to the heavens-where they remained aloft. Some areas, he noticed with resigned annoyance, had been tidied and cleaned, broken busts of presidents set upright and polished. More prevalent, though, were the chunks and shards of statuary and mosaics willfully destroyed and scattered across the floor like confetti after a wild party. Ha. A wild Party.
The views across the rolling fields of the Motherland, when he found a solid staircase to climb, were breathtaking. There were many rooms here, stretched out down a long, long hall, but only fifteen had ever been occupied. He listed off their names in his head as he walked past them, the Tajik, the Uzbek, the funny Kyrgyz nomad who'd spent most of his time in the stables. Some of the rooms were blank white slates, stripped completely clean of their occupants' personalities. Some were trashed. His little sister's room was a shrine of times past, perfectly preserved down to the poster of the thoughtful babka that read, "Esli knig chitat' ne budesh', skora gramatiku zabudesh'!" He half-expected to see her, cross-legged in her white stockings, reading Mayakovsky and Chernishevsky on the floor.
But even here, the dust was beginning to gather.
Soon, he thought. Soon the house would fall in altogether, its existence relegated to the cold annals of historical failures, blood and terror transmuted to page and ink. And from there, to ash.
He didn't know quite why he visited this depressing place. Certainly, all his bosses since the Fall had done their best to disassociate him, their nation, from the actions of the Union it housed. He went along with them. He'd regained much of what he'd lost-status, prestige, allies-and lived relatively comfortably.
Still, there had been simpler times. Nostalgia for the old ways was a powerful force in any nation, and he felt it keenly now, looking down the splintered twin curve of the grand staircases to the shattered chandelier smashed across the marble ballroom.
He wandered back down the hallway, towards his own room. He wondered if anyone had bothered to trespass this far inside any time lately, whether he would find fresh destruction, dead animals or anything of the sort. Probably not, he imagined. Two decades was enough to take the edge off almost anything.
As far into reverie as he was, Ivan nearly missed the stealthy rustling coming from an adjacent room. As soon as he realized what he was hearing he stopped, turning his head side to side to locate the noise. The door to one of the Baltic states' rooms was partially closed, where all others were open-or missing entirely. One of the Baltics... his eyes narrowed. Silently, he strode towards it, and silently, the door eased open at his touch.
Crouched on the floor with his back to Ivan and the door was a tall blond nation, rifling systematically through the papers that littered the floor of the bare, cell-like room. Neat stacks had been made here and there, and a tiny netbook was whirring away on the stripped bed. He looked up at it and leaned forward, reading something from the screen, and cursed quietly as he looked down again and his glasses slid down his nose. He pushed them up with a finger while he grabbed the sheet he was looking for and hit a key on the machine.
A low beep and yellow icon flashed, and the nation cursed again. "No service?" he grumbled out. "What kind of barbaric place is this (1)?" He sighed heavily and sat back on his haunches, taking the computer with him. "Oh, wait, I forgot I'm in-"
"My lovely country?" Ivan answered pleasantly from his position in the doorway. "Dobri den', Eduard."
The Estonian's reaction was quite gratifying, as the nation squawked, rolled, threw a diversionary chunk of Lenin's bald head and launched himself desperately towards the window. He hadn't quite managed to grab hold the rope he'd come up on before Ivan was there to grab hold of him, jerking him up by the strap of his trendy netbook case and off the sill onto the floor. The nation grunted in pain as his head and back struck the stone and papers flew in every direction. Ivan jerked the anchor free and the rope fell, pooling in a dark heap far, far below the window.
A slightly stunned Eduard moaned and rolled his head to the side, coughing to try to restart his lungs. His legs were on the sill and halfway out the window, his head dangerously located between Ivan's huge boots. He look up into Ivan's utterly guileless smile and shuddered.
After a brief moment which Ivan sincerely hoped the other nation took to fully appreciate his dire circumstances, he stepped back and let Eduard scramble to his knees. The nation leaned out over the sill, looking hopelessly down at the fallen rope.
"I would recommend against it," Ivan offered, coming up to stand too close to Eduard's tensed body. "It is, after all, more than thirty feet down. You will almost certainly break more bones jumping than staying and... talking... with me." He gestured at the bed. "Please, have a seat."
Ivan himself found and sat in a miraculously intact chair, after positioning it squarely and pointedly in front of the door. On the bed, Eduard smirked bitterly.
Ivan spread his hands. "Ladna, Eduard. What can the nation of Russia do for its beloved neighbor today?"
The other nation glared, and pushed up his glasses again. "I have a right to come here," he said angrily, clutching his computer bag to his stomach. "People have a right to know what you did."
"Please, let's not argue about the past. What's done is done, and now we can only move forward to the future."
"What a load of horseshit!"
Ivan shrugged. "It is best."
Eduard laughed, a short, sickly sound. "Best for you, Rus'. Whatever benefits Moscow."
Ivan studied him. A handsome young man, blue eyes hot with anger, lips compressed into a thin tight line and knuckles white where they gripped the bag that bulged with paper. "What are you doing here?" he wondered aloud, not smiling anymore. "It is very risky. And, I thought, a place of unpleasant memories for you."
The nation answered him, grudgingly. "... I'm looking for something."
"Would you care to be more specific?"
Ivan scanned the room, floor all but lost under the thousands, no, hundreds of thousands of sheets of dirty, yellowing paper. "They were... misplaced?"
"Persse!" Eduard shot out. "They disappeared into your Siberian wilderness! Their families grieve. As a nation I grieve. Can you possibly understand this?"
Ivan understood that even if he were to argue the truth, that Mother Russia was as much victim as villain, the obstinate nation seated across from him would likely opt take his chances with the window. Instead, he said, "Take what you want."
Eduard, who had been preparing another poisonous response, was shocked into silence.
Ivan said again, "You may take what you want from here. There are, of course, conditions."
Slowly, Eduard stood. "What are they?" he asked warily.
Ivan smiled. "Close your eyes."
The nation stared at him uncomprehendingly. "What?"
The stare became incredulous, and the Estonian opened his mouth, no doubt to say something cutting. Ivan held up a hand. "That is my condition. If you do so, I will allow you to leave with your papers."
"... for how long?" he asked cautiously.
Ivan pondered this. "Ten seconds should be enough."
"What are you going to do?"
Ivan's smile widened. "That, I will not tell you."
The was a lengthy pause. Ivan imaged he could see gears turning, all the wires and nodes lighting up and going dark in the Estonian's practical mind. At length, Eduard stood a little straighter, and finally gave a tiny nod. He closed his eyes.
Ivan stood, the chair making a faint scraping noise as it slid back, and walked slowly to him. The shorter nation stood there, hands making fists at his sides and eyes screwed tightly shut as he listened to the soft bootfalls grow nearer. What exactly was he expecting? Ivan wondered, a bit nonplussed. A blow? His eyebrows creased in puzzlement as he came to stand face to face with the other nation, unmoving.
He then leaned forward, and kissed him on the forehead.
Eduard jerked back with a sharp gasp, but he had nowhere to go. His calves were already pressed to the side of the bed, and his eyes flew open as he windmilled in an attempt to regain his balance. "Ah-ah-ah!" Ivan reprimanded him, catching and supporting him by the upper arms. "That was not ten seconds, ptichka."
He held him until, with a shaky exhale, the visibly unnerved nation closed his eyes again. He breathed out, "What are you-?"
This time, Ivan kissed his lips. Eduard twitched and made a shocked sound, hands braced against Ivan's chest, but made no further move to free himself. Ivan kissed the corner of his mouth, traced the fullness with his tongue before nipping at his bottom lip. Eduard jumped. Ivan chuckled darkly, and stopped playing.
As he attacked that ripe mouth, sucking, lapping, drinking from it like the last bottle of vodka in midwinter, the other nation squirmed against him, making little frantic noises into his mouth that drove him a little crazy. Crazier. Ivan's hands wandered, one to the small of Eduard back, the other to twist viciously in his hair and hold him in place as the nation tried to wrest his head away.
"The Danes found you," Ivan murmured against his lips, panting a little. "The Germans came, and went. The King of Sweden ruled you. But I caught you. Since I took you from him all those centuries ago, you have lived with me, all of you. I feel like an abandoned father... or," and here he tilted Eduard's face up to his. "A forsaken suitor."
Eduard blinked clouded eyes slowly, cheeks flushing a deep, adorable rosy pink under Ivan's direct gaze. His lips, wet, red and swollen, parted just a bit.
"Da, daragoi?" The Russian said quietly.
He sucker-punched the Russian in the stomach.
Ivan started to laugh, doubled over and wheezing, as the surprisingly nimble Estonian jackrabbitted around him and bolted down the hall. "Da, horosho!" he gasped as the clatter of Eduard's passage faded into the depths of the house. "A runaway, ha, bride, for sure."
1. Estonia has the most area covered by wireless internet of any nation in the world. O_o
This little ficcy was WEIRD. Came out of practically nowhere. Let me know what you think... I'm seriously ambivalent.