The Air You Took And the Breath You Left

At this point, I'd like to ask –as personal interest- if anyone else is in love with the person whose lyrics I've been stealing as much as I am. I wonder if anyone has caught on…

Yes, the title to this oneshot changed multiple times. I am sorry for anyone who has been looking for the other names. I am also sorry I took so long. After exams finished I got a new job right away (PSW! YAY!) and I have been so busy running around that I haven't sat down to finish this…

Fandom: Axis Powers Hetalia
Genre: Romance/Drama
Pairings: Ivan/Yao
Rating: M for Mature
Warning: Smut and romance, human names, different languages, references to the second world war.

One-shot Collection:

The Waking Up is the Hardest Part- Germany/N. Italy

Not the Storm Before the Calm- France/England

Crawling Towards the Pillowcase- Cuba/Canada

The Air You Took And the Breath You Left - Russia/China

But All I Feel is Alone- America/Japan (May or may not be written)


The Air You Took and the Breath You Left - Russia/China (Ivan/Yao)


It started out as a simple game. Yet with any activity like this between people like them, it seemed to quickly snowball into a complexity that either player had anticipated on. Yao didn't even know he was playing it until half of his pieces were captured; while Ivan knew exactly what he was doing from the very beginning. He had planned each move with precision and calculation, making it seem like he'd been formulating the ambush for centuries. He just didn't know how much this little game would eventually affect him.

Pawn to B-4.

So Russia began the match with a gift of friendship, and since he was a polite country, China had unthinkingly reciprocated the gesture.

Knight to A-3

Yao didn't know what Ivan had been playing at when he invited him to take a tour of the 'finer' points of Russia. Still, it couldn't hurt to strengthen ties with countries that you bordered, right? So he agreed to go, and let himself be swept away in a little bit of awe of the vastly different ethnicity. He didn't even occur to him as a threat when Ivan had slipped a nicely knit scarf around his shoulders to keep him warm. That was probably his first mistake; he had made the move seem so innocent.

Bishop to H-5, capturing yet another pawn.

He never really noticed how pushy the Russian had been until he insisted he had to visit the oriental nation in his home. But as China awkwardly gestured around to the estate the smaller man began noticing how those violet eyes were memorizing his house. Back then he had started to assume a much more, or less- considering on how you looked at it- sinister intent. He even felt confirmation when Ivan insisted on kicking out the guards so they couldn't 'eavesdrop'. When his bodyguards finally left, Ivan began chatting idly about random things without any ulterior motive; apparently he was just happy that they were alone, or rather, that they were trusted alone.

Rook to G-6, knight captured. Counterattack from queen.

Over the next month China prepared for any attack, jumping at all contact- it made Russia's job much harder. Only when during some pointless half-defensive banter about clothing, did he finally realize the stakes involved something completely different. Ivan grabbed the sash around Yao's waist and pulled him close to prove a point. They were mere hair-lengths apart, and despite how he felt his stomach flutter he still grabbed the thick scarf and retaliated with a tug of his own. The only difference was his yanked it to the side so they would no longer be near each other.

Even a week after he still saw the event playing over and over again in his mind, and after Russia left he still felt the warm breath across his skin. Yao hated the way his mouth had subconsciously parted in anticipation.

Other knight to D-4 to prepare for an attack on the bishop.

Shrugging of the thick overcoat the ash blonde looked like he was incomplete control of the situation. Whereas Yao was beginning to think this weird card game was a little too revealing for his liking. Lucky it ended before anything interesting came off. Russia's sister had come to pay him his yearly traumatizing visit. They escaped out of the back door. China didn't know he was the only one actually laughing.

Queen to C-5.

Now things began to move far quicker than Yao wanted. He was fully aware of the hopes of the taller nation especially since the last visit had involved his back against the floor as Ivan towered over him- that time he had tried to physically scare him into leaving him alone. His skills as a martial artist were unrivaled… He just didn't expect Ivan to dodge that one kick and jolt his foot out from underneath him so quickly.

So he brought up the topic of marriage customs to deter him. After all, China believed a partnership based on lust would never last; it was looked down upon. He was still nursing a sore ankle- but at least the taller man had some sore ribs and jaw to occupy him. The only problem was Ivan wasn't paying attention to the conversation or the pain; he was too focused on the small bit of creamy skin that had been presented to him temptingly. China hadn't thought to fix his clothes after they had been ruffled from an innocent hug.

Pawn to D-7 stopping the potential of loss of a rook.

He was running out of ways to subtly tell the Russian to back off. He was also finding it increasingly hard to remind himself why he should be trying to defend himself. He had never seen Ivan without the heavy clothing; why had he suggested they take a sauna? It was almost like he was losing on purpose now. When he tried to distract himself from not looking at the larger nation he took a swing of water. A small trail dribbled down his chin, and another hand got there to wipe it away before his own could.

It was the longest he had ever stared into another set of eyes before. Luckily he splashed a little of the cool water on his leg to jolt him out of what he was about to do.

Bishop to A-4, capturing the elusive queen.

Lasting mere seconds, Ivan pulled away from the chaste kiss and grinned. The older nation, even in his drunken haze, knew he should have never agreed to drink with the person who drank vodka like water. He also knew he was inhibited enough that he could deny being the one who yanked the back of the taller man's neck and smashed their mouths together. That was the beginning to the end of his resistance.

Yao was disgusted further when he awoke to find the Russian hadn't taken advantage of him. When he asked why not he felt his cheeks burn when he got his response.

"I want you to come to me on your own."

Pawn to C-8.

China felt his eyes widen, and could only imagine the look on his own face when Ivan pulled his graceful hand to his lips and pressed a gentlemanly kiss to the raven-haired man's knuckles.

"A custom in France. Do you know of it?" He didn't, but he hated that his curiosity was outweighed by his jealousy. How had he come across this information, and why did he care?

"France has other interesting customs as well. Would you like me to show you?"

Yao really should have started running; it was France after all. What else would it involve if not sex or wine? Still he felt betrayed by his own lips when he knitted his eyebrows in confusion, then naively answered with a wary 'what?'

The second kiss he was very sober and he wanted nothing more than to shove Russia off of him and give him the gift of a black eye in return. Instead he froze when two gloved hands held his hands in place and then a tongue snaked across his bottom lip. He opened his mouth to either gasp or demand what the hell Ivan thought he was doing.

Then the tongue slipped in. Before long he was so caught up in the breathless kiss that he didn't even notice his released hands reached up to slide through almost-silver hair until it was too late. Ivan had that beam, like he had won, on his face when he bid him goodnight and left.

Yao growled in frustration once the Russian was out of sight. The hell didn't he finish what he started for? It was the second time they could have progressed further and the ash blonde had stopped it.


He had been waiting for the call. When China finally asked him if he was planning on coming over- he swore that he just had to work around a very important meeting with his boss- Ivan told him just to come to Russia when he was done with his conference.

Even though he was fully dressed and offered the same smile he always did, they both knew he may as well have been stripped naked in bed waiting. Pleasantries lasted for five minutes before Ivan traced his fingertips across Yao's cheek in what appeared to be thought; mentioning something about him looking very flushed. After that the silky black hair came unraveled from its ponytail, and clothes were quickly shed.

The only other sounds for the rest of the evening were those involved with passionate love-making. Chinese and Russian interlacing over each other until they nearly melded into the same language.

Then the Second World War began.


The halls were empty in the hospital during that night, a mere three weeks after the end of the war, and there was nothing but the flash of the lightning and rain pelting against the glass to break the silence. There were barely any lights on at that point, and it was easy for a lone man to slip and weave between and into the shadows. It almost seemed like a heavy blanket had befallen the entire building, making the place seem saturated in gloom.

Within one of those rooms the gentle beeping of electronic equipment was drown out momentarily by the deafening crack of thunder. With the lightning that twined with it, the visitor was able to see the sweat-slicked skin of the patient there. The young man in the bed had his chest wrapped with heavy bandaging, and his brow was pale. Even in an unconscious state he was in pain; his body was desperately trying to heal itself of the damage it had taken.

After staring at the younger man for a few tense minutes, he felt his shoulders relax a little. As he strained his ears to hear anything above the rain, he walked around to the foot of the mattress. So far nothing seemed to be stirring, and the fact that the man lying before him hadn't moved an inch since he had entered meant he was in the clear.

Tracing his fingertips along the thin sheets he slowly ventured up to the head of the bed, wondering if the Japanese man would be able to sense him even in his comatose state. He took a breath and decided to try anyways.

"Kiku…" Yao whispered, gently sitting down beside the smaller nation. Even after all the hardships he had gone through- the battles, the scars- he still felt a small twinge of pain in seeing the man he considered to be his younger brother in that condition.

Then he saw the scar on his left arm, and memories of that day filled his vision like a movie screen. The fire had surrounded the two of them as they stalked around each other, crouching in stances that were ready for anything. The scar on his forearm was nothing compared to the deep gash across Yao's back that he now lived with.

He looked to the side and cleared his mind for a moment.

"I just want to know why…" He asked into the silence, knowing there would be no response. "I want to know why you would betray me like that…" He reached up with his hand and covered his face with it; he was rubbing at the tired lines etched there. "I've treated you like a brother- like a son…"

He looked up again, and stared at the sleeping face of the other Asian before standing and turning away. He could kill him, one swift movement that the Japanese man would never even feel, but it wouldn't bring back all the lives he had taken in his childish plight for power. So many casualties that could have been easily spared their lives. He couldn't believe Kiku was capable of such a thing; the beautiful boy who had barely learned to touch another person. How could he have been capable of this monstrosity?

"One day, when I forgive you, I will ask you why…"


The checkmate was obvious; he still took his piece and knocked down the king… Over kill…



In reality, Yao hadn't known what he was supposed to expect when he walked into that memory-encrypted home. He knew he would probably find the ash blonde sitting alone by the fire; yet he also knew that there was something wrong as soon as he entered. The house was normally dimly lit, but now the only light in the whole home was the dying fire.

"Yao…" Came the just as abstruse reply.

The Chinese nation had a small realization dawn on him. Why was everything, even a greeting, harder now? Would they have to be wary of every person until the end of the earth? Trust was like a fleeting memory, simply a lost treasure within the sands of battle. Just as peace was a long ways off as well; they could feel it in their very bones. Still weary and broken from battle; they felt the chronic weight pressing against their ribs and shoulders.

"You are not here on personal terms, da?" The ash blonde head of hair slowly turned so lifeless violet eyes could watch the graceful form of the red-clad nation. He sat facing the fire, knowing that he was safe to let his guard down for now. Neither of them would have use for fists until something ugly was said.

"You know why I am here, aru." He countered evenly, the swish of his silk clothing entered into the silence as he crossed his arms across his chest.

At that point Russia slowly lifted himself onto his feet and turned towards the other man; the fire creating a shadow in his face that made Yao actually consider taking a defensive stance.

"Беаутифул… I seem to have forgotten after all these years." He took a couple steps closer; his hand reaching out to gesture to the poised nation. "After all," he turned away, almost giving away a small inch of emotion that had made its way into his face. "We had only just begun our exploration before this began…"

China wanted to smile, it almost seemed like the taller man had been referring to the discovery of a new piece of land instead of the beginnings of a relationship. Then again, he supposed that their interactions probably did seem like they were pushing boundaries instead of actually genuinely wanting to be together. Something Russia lived for and China avoided. Yao wished that time could just rewind back to that first night. The night when they had been so enamored with the butterflies and the awkward fumbling. The days before they realized war was upon them.

He wished he hadn't gotten so attached.

"Stop this." Yao's voice was firmer than he thought it would be, but even in his surprise he carried on with what he needed to say. "Do you find it satisfying to carry on in this asinine… behavior?" The angry flash in those purple eyes were a warning to most, but China knew where he stood, and he was most certainly not going to back down until he was finished what he needed to say.

"First this war… and now you." He shook his head in a condescending manner, which seemed to aggravate the blonde nation even more. Yao looked down, temporarily forgetting that he was supposed to stay strong, even if it was in front of someone he once trusted. Meanwhile the Russian tried not to show his irritation- fisting his hands until his knuckles were white.

It was terse for a moment, then Russia broke out in the smile; the one that never reached his eyes and instead made his face crack in half like a sliver of the cold, unforgiving moon. Yao was already trying to steel himself away, because he knew he wouldn't like the answer. This was especially so, considering he could see nothing but bottomless violet in those eyes. He tried to search for something, trying to draw anything out instead of a void.

The next sentence cut deep; he was too emotionally involved for it not too.

"What makes you think your opinion matters to me?"

Yao had no response for a moment; he was too busy sucking in a deep breath and trying to ignore the knife-like ache that had crashed into his chest. More than the hurt he felt with those words, he could already feel the disgust in himself for being so pathetic. How had he let himself grow so attached? This was his own fault; he'd take the pain because he knew he deserved it. How long had he preached against frivolous relationships only to fall victim to one?

"It was you who called me 'comrade'." He replied calmly, juxtaposed to the ice cold water that was freezing its way through every vein. He was old enough to know how to hide the real emotion behind the perfect porcelain mask.

"Just words." He assured him with that same sickening smile; inside he was resisting the urge to reach out. "None of this is your concern. You need not worry."

"That is where you are wrong." China replied, his golden eyes narrowing dangerously. "This is the entire world's concern; you and him, throwing around your weight? It concerns us greatly." He lifted his head a bit higher, and maybe the ice in his veins had finally reached his heart because it was becoming easier to hate him now. What had he ever seen in Ivan?

"Alfred and I will conclude this ourselves." To Russia saying his name was like a mockery, but to China it was another slap across the face. Two things he had counted on.

They were quiet for some time, perhaps both trying to pressure the other to bend and give in. The golden eyes clashing with deep violet in a battle of acting, with both of them well-rehearsed and playing their parts. Yao was sure he was about to give in; one thought about Ivan's responses at the last world meeting made his resolve snap back into place. This war was far from over, and soon it would engulf the entirety of the nations. This was not the time to have frivolous feelings involved.

"Well then, I suppose we have come to a stand-still. Consider this the end of our interactions until you have cleaned up your act." China turned on his heel, and was just being enveloped in the darkness that was the rest of the house, before he heard the sinister voice slide across his skin.

"I fucked him; he didn't even try to stop me."


The ice that had encased his heart splintered, leaving warm blood to gush out between the crevices. He stood statuesque, and was probably giving Ivan the exact reaction the blonde had wanted. Trying to quickly collect himself, he assured his heart that it would get its release once he was safe behind Chinese borders. Repeating this over and over again like a mantra. Turning his head to the side, he replied quietly; "your personal life is of no concern to me."

Just like that, Yao walked casually out into the temperatures of Russia, with eyes already watering. Ivan reached the chair by the fire, grabbed onto the arms with shaky hands, then sunk into it gratefully.


They had hurt each other intentionally so it was easier to say goodbye. They both knew it deep inside, but that didn't stop them from feeling the pain. Day by day they put one foot in front of the other until the time gap became great enough, and with it the simple crack in the ground split into a fissure too big to jump over. They could hide on either side of that line until the end of eternity, which is exactly what they were prepared to do.

Maybe Russia was able to hide behind his wall and pretend to not feel anything, but China had a country to rebuild and meetings to attend. Yet he felt like he was a shell, like he was moving on pure instinct alone. If he could keep busy then he wouldn't have to sit down and think about what had happened. He knew if he closed his eyes for a split second that he would break into a thousand tiny pieces.

One day, just like any other, he walked home and knew someone was in his house that wasn't supposed to be there. The same person who always left his back sliding door opened a hairs width as his signature entrance. He warily stared at the door and wondered if he should just turn around and go somewhere else for the night.

This was his home, though, and what would running away from Ivan do anyways? Once he wanted something he would harass the living daylights out of someone so he could get it. He had definitely proven that all those years ago. If Yao talked to him now it would save a headache later.

Entering into the still household he was greeted with the sight of the Russian sitting peacefully in his front living room. The Chinese country wasn't sure of his intentions yet; it looked like the taller of the two of them was deep in thought. He looked so worn out now; with sleep deprived eyes and sickly skin. This was certainly something that Yao hadn't been expecting. Especially since he had tried so hard to seem untouchable the last time they had spoken.

Even the mere thought of that night made a spark of pain shoot up his chest, and he shook his head to will the despair away. Whatever Ivan wanted he would listen to then send him on his way. After all, there was no way he could fend him off physically at this point.

Russia looked up as China entered the room slowly. They never met each other's eyes; instead the two of them shifted uncomfortably and waited for the other to say something. Yao probably should have made a scene about the taller man's unlawful entry into his house, but he was just so exhausted that he wanted this conversation over with quickly.

"You look tired." The younger of the two started the conversation with a simple comment. China did not take the bait; instead he stood at the entrance and looked sideways at the other man, intertwined his fingers in front of him to keep them busy.

"As do you," was his response. It was a simple fact, not a challenge.

The conversation ended there for a moment, and in that second Russia thought the need to stand and be on equal footing with the older nation. When the exchange started again the voice of the northern nation was drained and painful. He had never looked as old as he did then; his head bowed and his eyes lifeless.

"I've been wondering if I should call you, but every time I go to pick up the telephone I stop and think that I should wait for your call instead…" He brushed the bangs from his forehead and tried to crack a small smile. "But you never did…"

Yao wanted to scream at him; to demand to know why the hell Ivan thought he'd ring him after the contents of their last conversation still rang so sharply in his mind. Who would want to be near the person who single handedly ripped their heart in two and then started an arms race for kicks? Did he mention that he had basically told him he meant nothing as a friend or a lover?

Yet, Russia knew all this, so he continued on as China remained conflicted within himself. "It was a silly thought, but I still clung to it year after year… and now here we are, decades later…" He sighed heavily, switched gears, and gestured to the seats tiredly. "Will you please sit with me?"

Yao remained where he was, crossing his arms and sending a rather nasty glare. "I'm fine here. Xièxiè…" No matter the response, the Russian still sunk into the seat. He almost-silver head of hair was bowed, and his bulky arms rested on his knees as he crouched over.

"Then I knew you would never call," he continued as if Yao hadn't just stonily denied him the company, "and I decided I would wait on your doorstep until you came back home."

The raven-haired nation still stayed silent, and neither of them felt the need to point out that the doorstep was on the OTHER SIDE of the entrance. Russia probably shouldn't have let himself inside the house. Still, now the lithe nation was beginning to turn the wheels on the plot, and he wondered if the other nation was actually there to apologize.

Abruptly, the words spilled out of the cold nation's lips. "I want you to help me…"

The air became stale when Yao registered those words. Fury in his yellow eyes, the oriental nation felt the white-hot anger coil and snap within seconds. "Nǐ zěnme gǎn…" (How dare you) His voice was a mere growl. "I will never join into this childish-"

Russia jumped up looking startled and shook his head rapidly; he had misinterpreted his words. "No… I didn't mean in that way…" He deflated again. "I mean help meТы мне нужен…" (I need you) The way he spoke was like a child who wanted his parents to lift his grounding. He even had the audacity to give off the appearance of a wounded puppy.

China shut his eyes and took in a deep breath; so now Ivan wanted to be all whole and healed? He expected Yao to jump to his aid and fix him? He still thought the whole world revolved around him, didn't he? The nerve this guy had, waltzing into his home and expecting for him to jump into his arms and offer him the world.

He continued. "I don't know what I've become… I know it was me who called it over… but I wish you would have fought me. I wish you would have hit me, anything that would have jarred me out of this…" He looked up at Yao earnestly, who hadn't moved from the standing position through the whole ordeal. "Скажи что-нибудь…" (Say something) He pleaded with him in an exasperated tone.

"You two made this mess, Russia. If you truly care for anyone but yourselves then you will make an effort to fix this." He turned to walk further from the door, and placed his hand on the back of the couch the blonde was currently sitting on. "I told you to stop and you didn't. I don't know if you're just tired from all this or if you actually missed me. Either way, you lost your chance."

"пожалуйста…" (please) Russia was behind him in seconds, grabbing his shoulder and trying to force him around so they could face one another. The smaller man shook off the arm stubbornly and instead shot a dangerous look over his shoulder. His mind was made, and no matter what the taller nation did it wouldn't change it.

But he still tried, "I have to figure out what is wrong with me-"

"Do not come to me again until you've made an effort. I have my own things to worry over; I can't run around fixing people who won't make an attempt themselves. If you'll excuse me I have a civil war to worry about, you know the way out."

With nothing else to say, Yao faced forward and walked down the hall to his office. Half way down the corridor he heard the gentle click of the front door closing. When he finally entered into the work room he collapsed against the door. It was like opening up his chest all over again. At this rate he was never going to heal properly.

There was no substitute for the time that had passed, or the rift that had wedged its way between them. They stood on opposite sides of the line, and even though they both shared the red flag, they had never been further apart. Yao would not reach out to someone who wouldn't reach out to him first, especially since he knew in his heart that Russia had been in the wrong.

The only thing he could do was wait and see what the next move was. Seemingly countless years passed, and he was beginning to think that this was all for nothing.

Then the Russian made a move that shocked him greatly…

X (August 1984) X

"I called because I need to feel you on the line…" Ivan explained softly; it was nighttime there as well and he was probably trying to be quiet. China was pretty sure the only reason why he would be whispering is because he was using the work line. It was ironic that Ivan and Yao had been attempting to do paperwork in their offices, and they had thought of each other at the exact same time. "Don't hang up…"

Yao let out a soft breath and readjusted the phone on his shoulder as he shuffled the papers into a neat pile for later. "I won't…"

The Russian knew the man on the other end of the phone had heard of the Samantha Smith visit, who hadn't? But he was now starting to wonder if he had expected a response too soon, or maybe this had been pushing the envelope prematurely? He had wanted China to recognize this as an effort and talk to him. Yet, a year or so had gone by and no call. Perhaps this wasn't enough for the older man to begin trusting him again?

And after meeting that little girl he had felt lighter, more whole, and he wanted someone to share that with. The only person he wanted to express this happiness to was the one person who didn't want anything to do with him. He wished for nothing more than to run over to the Mandarin country and see if maybe this would be enough. At least he had phoned first.

"I want to see you… I want to talk." The words came out as a sensual pleading more than anything. For a moment the war hadn't happened, for a moment they were back before it began. In the blink of an eye he realized he had wanted nothing more than to drive all night until he ended up on Russia's doorstep.

Yao didn't even think before he replied. "Wǒi…" (Me too)

He had finally discovered how he really felt, and it felt refreshing to let their stalemate turn into a new set of moves to be made. He had wanted to see Ivan since the moment the battles ended, hoping that their affection towards each other would have endured the war. Even though they had still been torn apart, the feelings remained.

He paused and thought for a moment, "but I must do something else first…"

Ivan said he understood, and Yao hung up and began preparing for a trip to see Japan…


China couldn't believe he had just gotten off the flight.

Now he was in Russia, being ignorant of the fact that things could get worse instead of better in the aftermath of this little girl's reign. And why was he getting his hopes up? This meeting was just supposed to be a diplomatic visit, not a rekindling of their relationship. They had told their 'bosses' they would be discussing China-Russia relations, and they shouldn't be expecting much of it.

The only problem was that he had waited three decades for something like this, and he wasn't too sure if he was going to be able to keep this diplomatic at all. He always felt his self control slip whenever it came to the Russian. He sometimes hated the person he had become because of one man.

So perhaps on the outside he treated this delicately, but on the inside he felt like Russia and America had made up and become best friends. At that point he would have accepted anything so he could take Ivan back.

The thought that they would no longer have the same feelings after all these years still kind of plagued him. He couldn't help but wonder if the goodbyes between them had caused a canyon too big to cross ever again. Maybe they had idealized their relationship to the point where it was the only thing they could hold on to. Perhaps it hadn't been as great as he remembered it to be. Throughout the storm of thoughts, these fears didn't stop him from trudging on from the heart of the city into the outskirts where the small, secluded home laid.

People passed by in blurs as he tried to remember the nights before the dawn of the fights, but they were just warm memories that assured him something was there. Something precious was hidden within them that he should rekindle to feel again.

He looked up and stared at the house warily. The first thing that he noticed was the strange nostalgia, probably because the last time he had been there in the daylight was with a positive memory. The second was that it looked like no one was home.

Still walking forward he cursed himself for not calling first. As he sat on the doorstep he wondered if he would wait there until the other man came home. The thought of going in the house unannounced was quickly squelched by the possibility of an alarm system or defense traps that were meant for American spies.

The porch was a safer bet.

He sat on the top step and let his elbows rest on his knees. This was not his smartest idea. What would he do if Russia had left the city for some sort of meeting? He was pretty sure the local hotel owners would be wary of a single Chinese man asking for a room when their countries weren't exactly seeing eye-to-eye.

"Yao!" The shout startled him so badly that he jumped and his elbow slipped off of his knee. He snapped his head up and gasped when he saw who it was. All these years and he felt like he was burning alive at the sight of Ivan running towards him like a kid on Christmas. Maybe it had been better that they had stayed apart; he couldn't stay mad at Russia to his face. Especially when he looked like his whole world had brightened when he saw him.

"You're boss called to ask how the meeting was going!" He reached Yao and doubled over, wheezing out the words as he tried to catch his breath. "He said you left this morning and should have been here by now. I played dumb and told him you had gone to check in at a hotel first."

When those violet eyes looked up into his, he knew why he had missed him so much. It was like warmth in a perpetual winter. He knew his previous conclusion was correct; for once he didn't want to talk about diplomacy. He just wanted to reach out and touch him, to make sure he was real and maybe not let go for a couple hours.

And in his awe, Ivan just kept on smiling and talking.

"Please, come in, you're welcome to stay here for your whole visit…" Yao really tried to ignore the electricity that spiked up his spine when the ash blonde grabbed his hand and all but dragged him into the house. He was still hooked up on the sensations and emotions that were bombarding him when they went beyond the sitting area and into the living quarters. They passed by doors and hallways, Russia still chattering along, until they rounded into a familiar passage and China put the brakes on.

"Where…" He trailed off and pursed his lips, unable to force the thought out of his mouth. He knew exactly where Russia had been leading them to, his bedroom.

"I thought it would be more comfortable…" He said harmlessly, as if China believed him to be capable of even a little innocence.

He gently pried his hand out of Russia's and stared up at him determinedly. He had to get his intentions across now, or he'd never have a chance to voice them. "We still need to talk, you know."

Ivan calmed and switched into a more serious persona once he heard those words. "I know…" he admitted softly, "I was just so happy to see you again." He reached forward and cradled the sides of Yao's face, bringing them closer a couple feet. "You can't blame me for being excited…"

The warm breath on his face brought back fond memories, and the strangely gentle look on his ex-lover's features almost made him melt right there in the hallway. His self control was staggering considering how long it had been and how much he wanted this, but Yao still reached up and placed a slender fingertip to the Russian's lips. He had always been the one to slow them down before; he couldn't expect it to be any different now.

"I can't go through that again, Russia-" He knew the blonde hated it when he called him by his country name, but he pressed on. "And I need to know that this is for real and not just some 'calm before the storm'."

"Yao, I've waited this long to have you back here, why would I ruin that?" He looked like he was about to dip down and kiss him to seal the deal, but China stopped him again by stepping back.

"So is this really about getting me back? You didn't seem to care too much about that when you started this…" He was trying to be cautious; after all, he didn't want a replay of the last time.

Yet now that they were staring face to face, something was beginning to pull at the corners of his mind. There was something he was missing, something obvious. He had been too busy before to notice, but now it hit him like a splash of water in the face.

"You're sick…" His eyes widened with his epiphany moment, and Russia seemed to deflate a bit. He had been trying so hard so that the smaller nation wouldn't notice, but the façade of being healthy was useless once China saw through it and into his real face. He had been putting on a good front for his people, but in this proximity he should have known that China would notice.

Yao's hand was cool against his forehead, and he leaned into the touch appreciatively.

Russia was warm, dangerously so, and he noticed even now that he sounded a little hoarse. He was a sickly white, without any trace of color in his face. Only a light sheen of sweat covered his cheeks and forehead. The raven haired man couldn't believe it had taken him this long to notice.

"Yes…" He chewed over his words, probably wondering if he should lie or not. "My economy is suffering a small bit, and we aren't sure how much longer this will last…" He sighed, and dropped the topic completely. It appeared this was the only explanation and reassurance China was going to get.

But it was enough for the moment.

"You should lie down, aru." Going back to his earlier concern, it was now China who led them to the bedroom, albeit for different reasons entirely.

"Yao," he tried to get his attention as the surprisingly strong little man dragged him along. "I want to spend time with you, not sleep." He even sounded just a tiny bit whiny.

"You can spend time with me lying down." He countered quickly.

Yao didn't see the devilish smirk that resulted after those words had sunk into the taller nation. He wasn't quite sure how it happened, probably something to do with Ivan lifting him and pressing him into the wall, but he ended up face to face with Russia possessively pinning him there. All in the span of a few seconds.

"That's an invitation, da?" He began planting chaste kisses across the smaller man's jaw affectionately.

China replayed the words over in his head and groaned. Of course that was the only thing on Ivan's agenda for the day now that they were finally alone together. He didn't want to admit it, but the idea excited him a bit. Even though they had so much they needed to discuss, he still felt that ever persistent voice that was telling him to just give in and worry about the rest later. It was that little voice that hadn't been used in a while, but always seemed to appear when Ivan was around.

Wait, Russia was sick, and he really looked like he should be sleeping instead of trying to bed someone.

He switched tactics. "You sure you'd be up for it?" He pushed his shoulders so he could look into his face. "Why don't we rest today and tomorrow-"

"No!" Ivan frowned and clenched his jaw at the mere suggestion; he had suddenly found his overpowering, forceful side again. "We've been apart for half a century; I don't want to wait another day to be with you."

Leave it to Russia to be tactful, and even then he still blushed hotly at the meaning. He ducked his head and bit his lip in thought. He really didn't want to push any further than what was necessary.

Then the blonde leant forward and pressed their lips together in the first real kiss they'd had in fifty years, and Yao figured he could give in just a little for now.

It was sweet, not rushed like Yao had assumed it would be. He thought by now Ivan would have been impatiently tugging at his clothes and proceeding to have him right there against the wall. Instead he was pleasantly surprised to find a gloved hand cupping his jaw and moist lips moving lovingly against his.

He felt himself closing some more of the distance as he wrapped his arms around Ivan's neck, and moved so he could hook his legs more securely around him. Ivan cautiously tested adding his tongue into the kiss, and Yao obliged immediately. He hadn't enjoyed a kiss like this in a while, and he was pretty sure he would be content to stay like that for a couple more minutes.

They broke apart for much needed oxygen, and appreciated a couple hurried breaths before Yao tangled his hands into the strands of soft silver-blonde hair and matched their lips up again. He was back to not caring about customs or bad karma; simply content in the thought of just being with Russia, with Ivan.

Who was currently carrying them the rest of the way to his room, and kicking the door closed behind him.

Yao pulled away and gave him a disapproving look, which was appreciated by a smiling face before he was dropped onto the bed. He cried out from the sudden fall, but his irritation was cut short by another kiss.

Talk about a one-track mind.

And the slow kisses disappeared once they entered into the bedroom. Here was the Ivan he had been expecting, the one who started throwing off articles of clothing as soon as the Asian had hit the bed. He forgot about the large scar on his back, as it had been safely hidden against the comforter. However, as soon as Ivan went to push the silk Chinese top from his shoulders he couldn't help but halt the process by grabbing those large hands and holding them away. Russia must have seen his hesitation and remembered about the fight because he sat back and let him have some room.

Yao pulled the shirt back around himself and sat up as well; his hands shaking from the memories. He tried to catch his breath and will the fear away, but he couldn't seem to calm down.

"May I see it?" Murmured the other nation quietly, reaching out and pushing a stray lock of poker-straight hair behind his ear in an affectionate, calming gesture.

"No…" He breathed out, squeezing his eyes shut and dipping his head to curl in on himself. Showing Ivan would be like admitting the event had actually occurred, and that was something he had been running away from doing for a long time. He'd never be able to face Kiku if he reminded himself about what happened.

"Yao, then may I show you something instead?" He hooked his finger underneath China's chin and lifted it gently so he could see into his face. Gradually those golden eyes opened and watched him. When he was sure Yao wouldn't recoil away again he pulled his own shirt over his head and then let his hands fall into his lap.

The black-haired nation wasn't sure what he was supposed to be looking for, but he did see many new scars had stitched their way across his chest. One larger jagged x marked him in the centre where his solar plexus was. Still, these were mere lines compared to the wound that had spanned across the Chinese nation's whole back.

Then he noticed that the ash blonde had been staring down at the hands in his lap, and he looked down at the gloved fingers as well. After a heavy sigh the larger country lifted his palm to face upwards and Yao realized what he had been hiding. He didn't want to see any more than he already had, especially since the scar ran a couple inches past his wrist, but his eyes stayed transfixed. The first black glove on the other hand came off with one tug from his teeth, and then the injured hand's disappeared slowly. What Yao saw made him feel sick to his stomach.

Someone had stabbed Ivan through his palm and ripped it down through his wrist.

It would have killed a human with the major blood loss that had resulted, but instead Ivan must have lived through years of agony, probably unable to use that hand for quite some time afterwards. They were lucky that they healed differently from normal people, but at the same time it was also excruciating pain.

The skin was white and healed over, but the scar was still horrendously distorting. From his pinkie to just past his wrist the skin had torn open and healed improperly. China felt his fingers curl in response to the sight, and bit his bottom lip when Russia flipped the hand over so he could see the topside. It was just as bad, and the damage was even worse.

To nearly lose your own hand…

"Who…" He swallowed thickly as he reached out and cradled the hand in his own, fingers running over the scar with tears prickling against his eyes. He felt horrible that Ivan had known about his wound, but he hadn't heard a peep about this one.

Russia let out a pent up breath and retracted his hand in discomfort. The Oriental nation couldn't help but wonder if he had lost all feeling in the arm because of it.

"Germany." The gasp and widened eyes were expected, and he couldn't help but give a wry smile in response. He was probably thinking 'how could Ludwig have done something like this'? "He had been trying to invade for the last little bit of the war, and managed to get to the blockade where I was waiting. We fought for hours, both of us lost our guns and I was trying to wrestle the knife out of his hand…" Yao's hands covered his mouth as the first tear spilled over onto his cheek; Ivan didn't notice.

His voice was dull as he recalled the tale; his hand turning over as if he could read the story off of his palm. "He went to stab me in the shoulder at the same time I went to reach for his neck." Yao's stomach lurched at the image of it. "My hand was pinned to the wall behind me and I couldn't pull it out. As soon as it happened he backed off and seemed to return to his senses for a second. In that time I ripped through the knife and grabbed for the gun by my feet. He retreated; I don't think he knew how to bring it up afterwards."

The violet eyes finally looked up and saw that Yao was crying. He reeled back, "why are you shedding tears?"

"Why did we have to go through all this?" He sobbed quietly, and hating himself even more for showing so much weakness. "Why did this have to happen?" He guessed these were the emotions that he had been hiding away for quite some time, because now they were overflowing and he couldn't stop them.

Ivan quickly pulled him closer without thinking. "Это будет в порядке…"(It's gonna be alright) He leaned forward and kissed the tear from his jaw, "I will keep this as a warning for the future. We both will." His lips moved up and pressed a firm kiss against Yao's for reassurance.

When he pulled back Yao grabbed his hand and pulled it up to his mouth. He held it there as a couple more tears fell and a few more sounds of sobbing escaped him. Finally, he took in a shaky breath and turned himself slightly. He tensed his shoulders and closed his eyes as the material slowly fell away to reveal the wound Japan had inflicted upon him.

He didn't have to see Russia's face to hear the gasp and know the reaction was the same one he felt when he saw the damage done to Ivan's hand.

From the top of his left shoulder, the large gash stretched down and ended at the small of his back. The mere width was staggering, and it was almost unbelievable that a single sword had done that to him.

He felt the hand press against his bare back, and shuddered from the contact. He knew Russia was probably comparing their scars; trailing his hand down the creamy expanse of Yao's skin. They were silent as the interaction occurred, and Yao gasped when the hand fell away and Ivan pressed his lips to the scar. He wanted to turn around and pull the shirt back on in uneasiness, but the blonde began rubbing circles into his shoulder to help him relax. He traced the whole length of the damage down with his mouth, and then rested his forehead there against his back.

It was still in the room until Yao shifted and turned to lean on his hip, making it easier to twist and face the taller nation. He copied Ivan when he lifted his chin and stared down at him. Wordlessly they leaned towards each other and kissed again. Russia sat up to his full height and China tilted his head back to deepen the kiss. Hands became tangled in short strands, and strong arms pulled them flush against one another.

Maybe it was comfort, and maybe it was passion. Now that the truth was out in the open, the situation had changed completely. They were no longer pulling at each other's clothes in desperation; it had morphed into the heart-wrenching desire to share the pain. Yao felt like all the stitches in his heart were being gently pried out, and his insides pulsed in some sort of over-stimulating emotional pain. Even with the hurt, he couldn't stop pulling the Russian closer.

Maybe this was what he needed, to start over the process. This time it would be with Ivan there to lick the blood away and close him up again. Immediately after that thought he could have sworn Russia ran his hand down his back to pull him closer and he could feel a trail of pin pricks in its wake.

For reasons unknown, it was addicting and he didn't want to stop. The rest of the day faded away into the background. Along with it went the sun, and neither noticed how dark it had become until much later. Eyes slowly adjusting to the dim lamp light, they continued where they left off. China fell back against the sheets and pulled the ash blonde with him.

The fact that they should be working things out, that Russia was sick, that they needed to come up with an excuse for their bosses, all those things were gone. It was just the two of them; two people who needed to help each other begin to live their lives again.

Russia grabbed the tie for the black pants the man beneath him was wearing and pulled at it. He had moved to sucking slowly on the skin just below Yao's ear to distract him. He hooked his thumbs at the top of the pants and felt his way down the black haired nation's thighs as he pulled the article off. He then evened the situation by sitting up and undoing his own before discarding them as well. Yao reached to grab his hair tie and pulled it out, finding it had been digging into the back of his neck.

That and Ivan had this thing for him with his hair down. Before he used to wonder if it was because he looked like a woman, but the way that those violet eyes roamed his body made the insecurities melt away. Instead he reached forward and slid his hands down the Russian's chest, before going back up again and curling them around his shoulders and pull him back down.

Their mouths met again, and China arched up so their erections could brush against each other. He breathed out heavily though his nose and did it again, making a small noise in pleasure. Before he had time to prepare, Russia ground down his hips and the little spark turned into a thunder-shock. He threw his head back and moaned, giving Russia a perfect chance at his neck.

Biting down enough to secure a response he began lapping at the light mark apologetically. China curled his fist against Russia's back, finding a fading scar line to trace so he could try and distract himself from the building pleasure, if he thought about it he wouldn't last.

It was a couple minutes later when he grew a bit tired of being the one doing nothing, China sat up a little and pushed Russia over, crawling on top of him and continuing the ministrations Ivan had just been doing to him. He kissed his way down until the middle of his chest then teased a nipple, feeling butterflies when Ivan brushed his hair from his face with one large hand.

He reached down and wrapped a hand around their erections, barely able to surround the two of them with his shorter fingers. Russia still hummed appreciatively, and soon his hand joined Yao's as they stroked in time. The raven haired man had his forehead relaxing against the large chest as he felt himself climbing up his peak, and was unable to focus on anything else. He was rocking his hips now, so close and unable to stop his hand because Russia's was right on top moving it. We wanted to wait, he needed something more.

"Ivan…" He ground out in a groan, and as if catching the meaning, the taller man stopped his hand and captured Yao's mouth again in a kiss.

When they broke apart, Ivan reached up and trailed his fingertips against Yao's lips. The smaller nation gingerly took them into his mouth and coated them in preparation for what was going to happen next. The Russian felt himself relishing in the feeling of the warm cavern for a little while longer before he pulled them out and brought his hand lower.

Yao arched himself up so the thick finger could slip inside him, and he felt his whole body tense in the anticipation of the act soon to follow. Even though he couldn't remember the feeling of being with Ivan after so long, his body could. He felt a searing heat that was beginning to drive him insane. The only thing he could think about was what it would be like to have Ivan inside him instead of the fingers stretching him apart.

The bigger nation expertly searched for the gland that would make Yao cry out his name. He twisted his fingers and pushed them in more before he found it, and he felt China go rigid and he opened his mouth to scream wordlessly. Ivan couldn't get enough of the glazed over look in those golden eyes, and repeated the gesture again.

"I can't…" The words were cut off by another groan, and Yao tried to arch away from the onslaught and make a hint.

Russia rubbed his thumb over the head of China's erection and smeared the precum there, his violet eyes playfully watching Yao writhing on top of him.

"Yao, are you going to ride me?" He asked, knowing that neither of them had much of the patience for it at that point.

"Please…" He flipped China beneath him, and neither of them cared if there was enough lubrication when Ivan slid himself inside.

Whimpering in pleasure, Yao lifted his hips so the blonde could push himself inside fully. He waited for Ivan to calm himself before they began to move against each other. The younger nation grabbed China's leg and threw it over his shoulder as his hips pushed his growing heat into the small country beneath him. They moved slowly, memorizing the feeling in hopes it would never be forgotten again. Closing his eyes for a moment China felt his senses heighten, and he focused on the satisfying feeling of being filled deeply. Every time he felt the thrusts hit those places that made his toes curl he let out a small unstoppable moan.

Yao fisted his hands in the pillow, and had to remind himself to breathe. Had it been this amazing before? He couldn't even get his mind to work long enough to conjure up a memory. He began pushing himself up faster and felt Ivan shift and then move to that pace. They no longer worried about the slow sensations, and were instead focused on reaching their finish.

Ivan's hand felt like heaven against his cock, and his head pushed back into the pillows hard. Just when he thought he wouldn't be able to last much longer, Yao suddenly came hard against the hand stroking him. As he rode out his high he felt the man above him tense and finally something warm spilled against his insides. He watched the taller man's lips part when he finished, and he blushed when he realized they were watching each other.

China let his leg fall and they awkwardly kissed while trying to regain their breath. Ivan twinned his forehead against Yao's as he pulled out, and they laid there like that for a few moments. Russia decided he probably didn't want to squish his smaller lover and fell onto his side next to him.

After a long while, when China was dozing off into a blissful sleep, Russia pulled him closer and wrapped his arms around him. This caused Yao to wake up a little, and he reached down to throw the covers over top of them.

Then the blonde spoke. "Мне жаль." (I'm sorry)


A honeymoon, it was like he had been in one for six years. He felt giddy and excited, but also sore and extremely tired. This had been their first break that lasted more than a couple weeks, and China was finally able to get some work done.

In all, he couldn't complain and was quite content at that point. Even though he still felt worried that Russia had been slowly getting worse and worse over those past few years he knew it wasn't long before something happened. He could sense it in the air, and was pretty sure this election was going to do well for his lover.

It was December, and his people all across China had just finished the holidays for Christmas, though Honk Kong sure did spend it in a weird way. Maybe he would call Russia and see what he was doing for the new years.


Okay, now it was getting creepy.

He picked up the phone warily, almost sensing who was on the other line, and spoke a slow greeting into the receiver.

"I just wanted to hear your voice." Russia's accent sounded a little deeper, probably from the cold, but it was still him on the other end.

"Merry Christmas to you too. How did everything go…?" If he didn't ask at the beginning of the conversation, he'd probably never get an answer. He paused when he realized he had been curling the phone cord around his finger with a silly smile on his face and straightened out.

"It was… Well… I certainly have never died before so it was a little strange…" Besides deciphering what the other nation had just said, he felt a little voice in the back of his head wonder if he had permanently damaged his voice from being sick so long. It was so much… rougher than he remembered.

"Wait…" He blinked and furrowed his eyebrows, "died… what do you mean 'died'?" He felt himself begin to grow worried, even though it was most certainly the Russian on the opposite end of the phone line.

"Walk outside…"

And with that, the phone call ended. The click and dead tone seemed all the more intimidating as the Chinese man felt his heart pick up a double pace. A cold sweat began to form on the back of his neck as he slowly stood up and walked around the desk. By the time he was in the hallway he had broken into a dead sprint, passing a random maid as he did.

When he threw the door open he met nothing but fresh air and the sight of the city lights. He glanced around from side to side, frantically searching for some hint of the taller man. What had he meant by 'died' and where was he? Had he really disappeared? Had that been some sort of a weird prerecording and now someone was going to tell him Russia had disintegrated into a million sunflower petals?

Okay, so the last one was kind of silly, but he could imagine the Russian becoming a large pile of sunflowers as his grand exit. He just couldn't keel over like normal people, could he?

"You look worried, da? I'm right here…"

Yao spun around and was about to give the ash blonde an earful when he stopped and the words died on his lips. He couldn't help but notice some distinct alterations. He was different, maybe not taller or more muscular, but his face was a little bit more defined and he seemed to look almost…

"Older… Why do you look older than before, aru?" China probably looked like he was watching a pig fly, because as Ivan got closer the more he noticed the difference. "And your voice, it's deeper… It's still your voice but it's just a little… Your cold is gone too…"

He reached forward and pressed his hands against the face that still had the telltale smirk on it. He even had little crinkles at the corner of his eyes now, and some of the childishness had faded from his features. He let his hands fall from his cheeks with a perplexed expression still clear on his face. Did this have something to do with being reborn?

"Da, I now appear to be Russia's real age, not the combined ages of the republics."

The information took a while to sink in. "You… The Soviet Union…" He was flabbergasted, unable to form the words properly out of shock.

"Dissolved, I'm just Russia now…" And he just kept on smiling proudly, as if saying 'see? I did good!'.

Yao frowned, but wasn't too sure how he felt about all this just yet, "and you didn't feel the need to tell me this…?"

It was Ivan's turn to look confused, "but I am telling you right now, da…?"

At least some things wouldn't change. He was still the same old Ivan, even if he had now managed to appear a bit more mature he would always have the same personality. He couldn't get mad at him to his full extent; he had probably figured this would be some sort of a surprise. He wondered what the transformation was like, but he wasn't too sure how to ask. This was a lot to take in, it wasn't every day you found out that your lover just up and had a federation without warning you as a precursor.

Ivan sensed that he didn't know what to say and wrapped his arms around the little nation. He put his chin atop the silky black hair and smiled when the older nation hugged him back just a small bit. Still reeling, the Chinese nation patted him uncertainly on the arm, and then watched him curiously as he let go. They stared at each other for a while, just taking in appearances, but China knew something perverted was coming when the expression turned from a gentle smile to a mischievous one.

He leaned in playfully, "so shall we try out this 'new' body of mine?"

Yao rolled his eyes.


HOLYHELL WHAT A LONG ONESHOT… 23 pages, are you kidding me? The song itself is five minutes, which is longer than any of the other songs but still…

If anyone knows this song they will catch that a LOT of the dialogue was stolen from the lyrics, but saying that the song basically wrote this. I am so sorry to everyone who had to read through that damn thing. Though I have to admit I learned a lot about Russia in this one. And fail sex is fail.

I should really start speaking like an educated person in these, but I am much too humbled by my absolutely horrible writing to do so… I don't think people can tell I've graduated high school sometimes…