Sunflowers and Tea

Part II "... And ..."


Author's note: Sorry it took me so damn long, but there were quite a few problems and school and stuff ...

Nevertheless, if you are able to understand German, please read the original. :3


When he entered the conference room the next morning, he wasn't surprised to be once again the first to arrive. He had already resigned himself to being the first one at the conferences since the Second World War; only, he didn't draw pictures on the blackboard any more.

Instead, the blackboard was studded with all sorts of doodles made by America from the previous day. The word "maize" was several times written in connection with curious areas. Arthur wondered not for the first time where America got his absurd ideas, like planting maize on the moon, because there wasn't anything growing there so far (Arthur's one and only comment to that effect had been that plants have their reason for not growing on the moon.). He had definitely not taught America such nonsense.

After the fifth "maize" stood finally "sun". The following "f" was only adumbrated, because America had stopped writing when Russia had started to oppose. Sunflowers. Russia loves sunflowers. He loves sunflowers. Ivan loves sunflowers ...

Disgruntled, Arthur took the sponge and wiped all the senseless notes off of the blackboard. At the word "sun(f)" he paused for a moment, until it finally became chalk dust as well. When he was about to put the sponge aside again, he spotted a piece of chalk. Then he thought back to the conferences of the Second World War. Before he took the piece of chalk in his fingers, he found himself looking around, to see if he was actually alone.

He liked to draw. No one would have expected this from him, least of all he from himself. There was not much he liked to do. Much had changed over the years and much of what he had liked to do reminded him today of nothing but sad times, but drawing was not among them.

.

Sunflowers...

.

Why the hell did he draw a bloody sunflower?

Stunned, he stared at the piece of chalk, as if it were to blame that he had drawn that sunflower; he became aware of being even more surprised that his thoughts involved that plant the whole time, and whether he liked it or not, he had linked every single sunflower to Russia since the previous day.

(But apart from this problem, he could not stop thinking that he did the job quite well.)

"Nya, a sunflower."

He spun around when he heard the familiar voice behind him. He had heard neither the door nor the steps, although he was usually intensely attentive and careful, particularly when visiting a strange and dangerous place like the Russian Federation.

Reflexively, he reached out for the sponge to wipe off his drawing right away. He already held it in his hand, but it would never touch the blackboard. A determined grip on his wrist, ready for anything, stopped his movement.

"But she is so beautiful, da~" Russia said and smiled at him without loosening his grip. "Good morning, England."

Arthur had never been so close to Russia, not to mention that they have never touched each other wittingly. There had always been good reasons to keep his distance from Russia, and Arthur didn't plan to change this in the near future.

He hadn't noticed until now how much bigger than himself Russia was. He did always know this for sure, but never before had he realised it as in this moment, when Russia could look down at him derisively. The operative word being "could", because Russia wasn't doing so. But still, Arthur couldn't interpret the look in Russia's eyes in which insanity always seemed to smile.

Besides, he also had to admit that he would never have a chance against Russia. Never again. Because today his former World Empire confined itself only to the British Isles for the most part. With bare hands, Russia could easily break his arm, if he wanted, and Arthur couldn't do anything about it.

Though Russia seemed to have intentions at the moment that did not include wanting to hurt him. At first, Arthur thought he wanted to get the sponge in his hand. In order to prevent this, he dropped it to the ground carelessly. This should not be a provocative gesture, but simply should take away the reason for Russia to come even closer to him. Arthur did not like that closeness. He did not want to bring himself closer to Russia, neither on a political nor an economic nor a social level.

He saw how Russia's eyes followed the fall of the sponge before fixating on him again. Something was odd here. Before Arthur knew it, Russia had taken the tips of his glove and pulled it from Arthur's fingers. Something was very wrong here. At first, Arthur was too surprised to react. Especially because Russia was looking at his new item with a smile before putting it in his coat pocket. When his fingers came closer and closer to his naked hand, Arthur caught on- unsuccessfully, since he still lacked the right words.

Russia didn't touch his hand. His fingers were only millimetres away from his skin, so close that Arthur believed he could feel cold - cold which had to be coming from Russia's body. He shuddered. When Russia noticed this, he smiled contentedly and grasped his other wrist resolutely. When he pressed Arthur gently but firmly against the blackboard, at least the English inner defence system was reactivating after being shut down by the shrill ringing of his alarm bells.

"Let me go", Arthur said as calmly as possible. 'Never show your fear' was of utmost importance in a discussion with Russia. It didn't matter how heavy the tension was in these seconds. What was the purpose of his action?

"Hmm, just a moment, da~," Russia smiled and Arthur, terrified, felt the other previously disregarded hand on his waist. He grasped it to push away, but to no avail. Anyway, what was he expecting, though? Russia came even closer to him until their boot toes touched.

Then the unexpected happened. Russia grabbed his hand so quickly that Arthur wasn't able to react, and also took the other glove away which went the same way as the first into his coat pocket. After that, his fingers nearly stroked Arthur's shoulder, without really touching it, but Arthur felt it as if Russia's cold fingers had actually stroked his bare skin.

"W-What ...?", he began, not knowing what to do. To duck down, to push away the hand and to insult Russia loudly, were just three of the many possibilities that would have been given, but which he didn't dare to implement in Russia's presence. Instead, he just stared at Russia and thought his heart would stop beating any second, when the other let him go, stepped back and said, smiling, as if nothing had happened, "There was just a little chalk dust, England."

Arthur nodded. What had just happened? Russia had claimed his gloves for himself. Why? Arthur was still trembling, but it was not the fear that gripped him to the marrow. Russia had been so close to him like never before.

Then Arthur shook his head to get rid of those annoying thoughts. What was wrong with him? Why was he so cowed by Russia? ... What a pointless question, there was enough evidence suggesting that. He was in Russian territory, which meant a disadvantage compared with his former enemy and ally, and even if they would have stayed in his own house, Russia would still be superior.

He nodded again before he walked slowly to his seat. He didn't avert his gaze from Russia, not for a second. Too much of his hair was standing on end, too loud were the thoughts buzzing in his head, too hard was his heart pounding in his chest. What he needed the most now was a strong tea, which he would never get here, not even in this little café near the sunflower field.

.

Sunflowers ...

.

Russia was still standing at the blackboard when Arthur sat down, buried his hand in his pocket, where his gloves were, and looked at the drawing, which was partly blurred because of Arthur or rather Russia himself. Russia picked up the sponge and the piece of chalk that Arthur previously had dropped as well. Then he suddenly nodded and turned to Arthur.

"Would you like to have a cup of tea?" he asked with his usual smile.

Arthur just looked at him suspiciously. Of course he wanted tea, but not that watery swill from yesterday. He wouldn't stand it another day. It was better to have nothing. He shook his head. He did not want to talk to Russia and he did not want to approach him in any way as a country. There was no necessity.

Russia nodded again and left the room, Arthur didn't believe his ears, humming.

Arthur waved it all off as a polite gesture of hospitality. Yesterday Russia hadn't asked him, whether he would like to have some tea or not. Instead, the cup had already been in its place. A polite gesture of hospitality. Nothing more.

Everyone had had his drink standing in front of them. America had a glass of coke. Germany had a non-alcoholic beer, and so on. A polite gesture of hospitality. Nothing more.

In truth, Arthur was irritated by the other's behaviour, which had been shown earlier. Russia had always been strange, but today it was different. The fact that he had been searching for closeness all by himself couldn't be a good thing. Maybe he had a relapse. In the past, he wanted the whole world to become one with Mother Russia. Arthur had hoped that Russia has been on the mend since the Cold War. But he seemed to have deluded himself, to have been deceived. But the worst was that Russia had chosen him, Arthur?

He looked at his hands. He was never in a stranger's house without wearing his gloves. Never. Arthur wasn't allowed to be incautious any more due to all that had happened in the past, but now it was different, and he could neither ask Russia for his gloves nor overwhelm Russia. There was just one thing he could do now, and that would be to touch as little as possible and to return as quickly as possible to his hotel room, where an extra pair of gloves would be.

He clenched his still trembling hands. What did Russia really want from him? They had never had much to do with each other, not even at the time of the Triple Entente. Why now out of the blue? Why was his skin still burning after Russia skimmed his shoulder? Why weren't his breath and his heart calming down? And why, for God's sake, didn't that damn trembling of his hands cease?

Then Russia came back with a steaming cup which he put down in front of Arthur on the table. "Here you go, da~" he said, smiling expectantly.

For a moment, Arthur wondered if a shake of the head meant yes in Russia. He didn't want a cup of tea from Russia, which would taste disgusting in the end anyway, and which would make his headache even worse. He looked up at Russia. Now, as he was sitting, he felt even smaller ...

Russia smiled and smiled and would not tolerate any protest.

"Thank ... you," Arthur murmured, and looked suspiciously at the liquid in the cup. It was slightly milky, which meant that Russia had even thought of milk. Now Arthur dared only less to drink of the tea. Who knew what else was in there.

Nevertheless, he had to admit that the tea smelled very inviting. He also knew that he had smelled it before, but could not remember where. He could feel his body began to relax and his heart and breathing calmed down. But the clearer his thoughts became, the more he thought about the incident a few minutes ago.

"Will you not drink, England?" Russia must have watched him closely, as his smile grew wider. Arthur thought to recognize a certain pride in Russia's eyes.

"It is still hot, though," Arthur replied, thinking back to yesterday's meeting with hot tea. And why.

.

Ivan loves sunflowers ...

.

Without thinking, his lips silently formed the name he had never said or even thought of before, before he became aware of Russia's attentive gaze. Russia was grinning all of the sudden. Superior and extremely ... satisfied.

Russia leaned onto his arm, and then he bent down to Arthur. He froze. Again Russia was so forbiddingly close that he could hear his breath. Arthur couldn't help the shiver running down his spine. Russia opened his mouth to whisper something in his ear, and-

"Fear not, the hero is back!"

In the following silence, which lasted only for a few seconds, but didn't lose any effect, the cup of tea rattled softly on its saucer once the door banged loudly against the wall.

"Good morning, America," said Russia as he drew himself slowly up to his full height.

Arthur was not exactly sure what had frightened him. Was it America's screaming, the crushing door, or Russia's hand clenched to a fist as he increased the distance between their faces again? Probably all had played its part in contributing to him breathing some air deeply and sharply.

While the other countries were arriving in dribs and drabs and the conference began once again, Arthur felt strangely out of place. He couldn't concentrate on what was said, although it mostly consisted of America's strange ideas anyway, but he couldn't even put him in his place.

Far too much hung his thoughts to the time before America had stormed the conference room. What would have happened if America hadn't shown up? What would Russia have done then? What would he have said? And how would he, Arthur, have responded to that? He didn't get rid of those thoughts, probably because said Russia was sitting directly opposite him.

Arthur stared at the piece of paper that laid in front of him. There was nothing written on it, no date, no subject, although he was always taking so many notes. Instead, he was thrumming on the table with the end of his pen, which he held in his hand, and which gave him annoyed glances from all sides, but he didn't really notice.

The whole time, he felt Russia's eyes on himself. And that made him, because of the previous events, somehow ... whether he wanted to be or not ... nervous.

Nobody dared to mention the sunflowers. They had far too much respect for the end of yesterday's meeting. However, Arthur's thoughts wandered again and again to that plant, which could probably be due to his drawing that still adorned the blackboard.

Italy had tried to wipe it off, but Russia had pointed to him with menacing politeness to please leave it alone. Since that, Italy had not said a word.

Russia was still awing. That would never change.

And he, Arthur, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, had been awed.

There it was again, his headache, and the pressure the gaze of Russia put on him only worsened the whole situation. 'Never show your fear' was the name of the game.

The best he could do at this moment would have been to raise his head and to answer Russia's eyes directly face to face. He would have been certain whether Russia was actually staring at him, and he would show that he could bounce back. He was the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, the former British Empire, he needed to fear no one. Neither France nor America nor even Russia ... Even Russia was only a nation that couldn't afford any mistakes in the eyes of the world.

Arthur still felt the burning of his skin, the grip on his wrist, the breathing in his ear. Something was different. Russia's behaviour or Arthur's reaction to that?

He tried to focus on France, who just spoke about something that Arthur didn't understand. Didn't understand, because he couldn't concentrate. He felt the furtive gaze upon him. Usually he didn't allowed himself to be distracted that easily. He evaluated whether to respond to Russia's gaze, to yell at him or even kick him under the table, and finally decided to continue to ignore him.

He began to massage his temples. He couldn't remain sitting here doing nothing any longer. The pen quickly thrummed on the table. He couldn't stand Russia's gaze. Or even the smile that would grace his lips when Arthur would look up, and that would be so different from the smile from when they had still been alone in this room ... It was not right and caused him only senseless headache.

Then he threw the pen away- Italy two seats next to him was startled and his brother darted an angry glance at Arthur, but he paid no attention- and grabbed the cup of tea, which stood in front of him. He only became aware when he had already taken a sip of it that he didn't plan to do so, but he did not regret his decision.

This tea wasn't the same as the one from yesterday. It was a good tea, indeed. A tea which he had drunk before, and that happened to be in the little café in the suburbs of the city where he had sat yesterday and involuntarily observed Russia.

Only now he wondered what Russia had done there.

Only now he wondered what had really happened, before America had stormed the conference room.

He looked over to Russia. He smiled at him as if nothing had happened, and Arthur's heart did a small jump, for it was this smile, this smile that had been directed at him alone, when they had still been alone in this room. At that thought Arthur felt the blood rushing into his cheeks. No, he just had not thought that, he just had not seriously thought that, no. That was far worse than his knowledge of the previous day that Russia himself has his weaknesses, and when he thought it couldn't get any worse, he saw how Russia's smile grew wider.

.

Russia loves sunflowers ...

Ivan loves sunflowers ...

He loves -

.

"England?" Russia asked, and Arthur hadn't noticed until now that everyone was looking at him. He hadn't been paying attention. He deserved it. The only good thing about this situation was that the redness of his cheeks had an understandable meaning to everybody now. Only Russia was looking at him as if he knew more, as if he could have read his mind. This smile, Arthur thought, why didn't anyone notice this obviously different smile?

America was the first to begin to laugh, shortly followed by Italy and France, and when not even Germany could resist a grin, the difficult atmosphere from the day before was finally blown away, and all this was the merit of England because of Russia, who caused that difficult atmosphere of the previous day in the first place.

After the conference, which had resembled more a coffee party than anything else, Arthur was still sitting in his chair. He made a decision. He made up his mind. He would take Russia to task. Although he didn't really know why. After all, he could hardly go to Russia and tell him that he was feeling harassed by his gaze and his smile and that he should please refrain from doing so in the future.

To his surprise, Russia remained seated as well, but he was not looking at him any more. He rather looked over him, out of the window, while one by one the other countries left the conference room. Arthur just noticed that Russia's hand were in his pocket again. There again, where his gloves were hidden. He doubted that he would see them ever again, not to mention get them back.

The discomfort increased in Arthur the emptier the room was, and when just Italy, pushed by Germany, strolled to the door last, Arthur threw away his decision and sprung to his feet. He did not want to take Russia to task any more. He did not want to be left alone with Russia in this room once again.

He didn't get so far, though. Russia had also rose up from his chair and closed the door. Arthur froze.

"Say it again, England", Russia smiled.

Arthur looked at him with confusion, and he couldn't suppress the panic slowly rising in him. Russia was a serious opponent, who could even rival America. Arthur, however, was very small. But in the past! Of course, in the past he as the former greatest colonial power ever could have done something to oppose Russia, but not today.

"Say it again, England", Russia repeated and his voice put a menacing pressure upon him, but Arthur still didn't understand.

Russia knew that he would always get what he wanted. Arthur knew that as well.

While Russia was coming closer and closer, Arthur stepped back until he reached the wall with his back. Russia smiled and Arthur was stuck. The tables that were placed between them were no hindrance for Russia that could not be overcome. Just like it always had been in the past.

"Stop!" Arthur finally said when he and Russia separated only a few metres. To underline his exclamation, he raised his hands. To his surprise, Russia really stopped, smiling and turning his head wondering. "W-What should that be when it's done…?"

"I just want Arthur to say it once again, da~." This said, Russia came closer again. Arthur, he had said. He had dared to call him by his name. Nobody did that. Nobody had ever done so.

When there was only the distance between them, which Arthur made with his arms, Russia took his hands, determined.

Russia's hands were surprisingly warm, almost hot. Arthur has always thought that Russia's body would be as cold as his snow, his frost and his winter. That Russia was cold-blooded, in fact.

But this touch, skin to skin, disproved his presumption.

"What can I say?" Arthur's voice was a bit higher than usual, and this was not something only he was able to notice. The other was still smiling. Now that Russia had taken both of his hands as his own, there was no escape. He could not flee. Arthur has lost his chance. Why had he not run away when he still had time to?

There was something on Russia's face, which cast a spell on him. The smile was different than his usual. It seemed in some way naturally amused and satisfied.

Earlier Arthur had stated, when Russia had caught hold of his wrist and leaned down to him, that he had never been so close to him before. Now he took it back. Arthur had never been so close to anyone as they were at this moment with such thoughts and feelings. Not even France or America.

Russia's grip was not tight, but determined. It was as if he would never let go of Arthur again, but that was exactly what frightened Arthur so much. It was not something he was used to when it came to Russia or what he at least had expected. Russia was someone who could achieve everything with strength, power and force. He could break Arthur's legs so he wouldn't be able to flee. He could break Arthur's arms so he wouldn't be able to resist, but he didn't do anything like that. He was simply holding Arthur's hands and smiling, smiling as if there was no yesterday and no tomorrow.

"My name, Arthur", whispered Ivan, as the wisps of his hair fell in Arthur's face and his nose slightly stroked Arthur's. He shuddered and felt that Ivan's hands were trembling. That Ivan's body was shaking. That Ivan's breathing became heavier. And Arthur? He was just devoting himself to this moment and so actually and literally to Ivan as well. He felt the hot breath on his lips, but nothing happened.

His name ...

"I ... Ivan", muttered Arthur slowly and almost noiselessly and overcoming by himself those damn last centimetres. That was a moment which had surprised Ivan himself, so Arthur got his hands free and buried them in Ivan's hair. Immediately after that he could feel Ivan's hands on his own body and his neck. He couldn't help moaning muffled into this kiss, of which Ivan took advantage right away. Arthur felt his tongue skimming over his lips. He shuddered.

His head was empty. He should have thought of so many things, but there was nothing at this moment as important as Ivan's muffled murmur when Arthur's hands tightly clutched in his hair. But it seemed not to bother Ivan; instead he seemed to really like it.

Arthur had actually closed his eyes. It was as if he enjoyed it ... And yes, dammit, he enjoyed it. His head was empty after all. There was no yesterday and no tomorrow and no consequences they had to live with. Arthur had really thought that Ivan couldn't get any closer any more, but he was mistaken. Surprised by this sudden closeness, Arthur opened his eyes, only for a small slit, and, shocked, he forgot everything around them, forgot where they were, forgot what they were doing. This expression on Ivan's face spoke for itself. These eyes were closed in a relaxed manner, these cheeks were glowing and he, Arthur, wouldn't have dared to imagine even in his dreams Ivan with such a shy, heated expression, but when he noticed that Arthur didn't do anything at all any more, he knitted his brows. That did not please Arthur. It bothered Ivan's satisfied expression. Arthur closed his eyes again and leaned against Ivan. This face, he just saw, would have been burned into his memory for evermore.

Never before ...

But then, when Ivan began to loosen his tie, Arthur woke up to realize what he was doing with whom. He couldn't push Russia away. He lacked the power. He also had the feeling that his trembling legs wouldn't be able to carry him any longer. So he allowed himself during the kiss to just slip down the wall.

That, too, was a moment, which surprised Ivan again, and he leaned down-hearted against the wall above Arthur.

Arthur gasped. What had he done? Why had he let himself be carried away that much? And why by him?

He didn't dare to look up to Russia. Not now, when he became aware of the heat in his cheeks and the heat in his body. Russia was also breathing quite heavily. Arthur wanted to keep his ears shut, but his brain didn't manage to pass the signal to his arms. It sounded so ... so infatuating in his own ears. And along with that image in his head it was a fatal combination.

Russia slid down to the ground next to him. Arthur ventured a glance, but Russia just looked straight ahead into space. He had almost his whole face hidden behind his scarf. However, Arthur noticed the heat on his cheeks and he was sweating slightly. What now?

The worst thing about this whole thing was the fact that he had enjoyed it. The fact that they had enjoyed it. The fact that Russia had enjoyed it. But why? Why was Russia's desire for him suddenly that big? And why did Arthur seem to return this desire as well?

Then Russia's hand suddenly clasped his. He squeezed it and closed his eyes. Arthur didn't understand. Something was different. The touch of their hands didn't say anything like "You will not escape!" or "I will not let you go!", but rather a begging "Stay ...". Arthur had never experienced something like that ever before. He knew that touches weren't able to talk. That was absurd, but Russia's hand, the warmth that came from it, seemed to want to convey him exactly that.

Stay ...

And Arthur wanted to stay. He returned the touch of their hands hesitantly. This way, he attracted Russia's attention back to himself again. That's what he wanted. He wanted Ivan to see him. He wanted Ivan to see only him. To smile at only him. To touch only him. He didn't want to share these feelings flowing through him with anyone but him.

Then everything happened very quickly, or so they believed. All of the sudden Arthur was sitting on Ivan's lap. Not that Ivan would have placed him there, no. Arthur himself had done it all alone. Without thinking, of course. Because if Arthur had thought about it before, he would have declared himself insane, and probably would have run out of the room screaming. (Probably Ivan wouldn't have stopped him at all ...)

He let his fingers slid between Ivan's. He wanted to touch Ivan. He wanted to touch Ivan like no one before. He wanted his closeness and his heat for only himself. Arthur couldn't think clearly at that moment. He simply gave in to his desire- though lust would be the more appropriate word- and just wanted to do so unquestioningly.

He wanted Ivan to touch him.

This is what happened after his silent request. Ivan closed his eyes, his cheeks glowed and his hand pressed Arthur's hand. Ivan did nothing more and Arthur needed nothing more. Because it was the excited expression on Ivan's face that Arthur wanted to see ... Then he swallowed hard and was suddenly back in the present.

He was sitting on Russia, they held each other's hands and Russia had an excited expression on his face. Something went perfectly wrong here. Arthur would have preferred to jump up and run away, but something stopped him. Something that held him back all the time. It was not Ivan's hand, not Ivan's heat, not Ivan's closeness and not Ivan's face. It was Ivan himself who held him back.

"Arthur ..." Ivan wasn't looking at him, but buried his face again behind his scarf. In that moment Arthur realized that Ivan was ashamed. That Ivan had a weak side. That Ivan entrusted himself to him. "Arthur ..."

Then Arthur grabbed Ivan's scarf. He was very annoyed that he had just two hands, that Ivan didn't want to release his other hand, that that bloody scarf was so stubborn. He didn't want Ivan to hide behind his scarf. He wanted to see his face. He wanted it so much. In his frustration, he growled softly, what turned Ivan's gaze back to him. When their eyes met, Arthur paused his movement. The scarf hung loosely around Ivan's neck, when he threw one end around Arthur. He blinked twice, perplexed. One time too much, as he noticed, because Ivan, regaining his courage, grabbed his tie and pulled him to himself.

It was different than before, when their lips met. Was it their hands, their fingers holding each other? Was it their positions, Arthur on Ivan, Ivan under Arthur? Was it Ivan's initiative? Or was it their silent mutual agreement?

Ivan's fingers let go of the tie and wandered over Arthur's shoulder and neck to his hair. Arthur, however, putting his free hand lightly on Ivan's chest, felt his heart pounding in the same rapid rhythm as his own. He wanted more of Ivan's heat, more of his closeness. A cozy shudder ran down his back as he felt the hot fingers gently stroking his neck, and then Ivan let go of his lips. Instead he caressed from his lips down to his chin towards his neck, but Arthur didn't want that. It was not enough. He was drunk with all these sensations. The smell of the tea on the other side of the room Ivan had brought him. Ivan's hands touching him. Ivan's breath, which still hadn't calmed down, but rather went faster than before. Ivan's eyes watching him closely. Ivan's hair, which stuck together from the sweat, and slightly dishevelled from Arthur's hands. Ivan's body trembling in excitement. Ivan's heart pounding louder and louder in his chest. Ivan. Ivan. Ivan. Arthur was drunk with Ivan.

He pressed Ivan against the wall and looked down at him, smiling, while licking his own lips. "Ivan," he whispered before bending down to him, and then something happened that Arthur would never have expected.

Ivan put his arm around Arthur and drew him down to himself. Arthur's head laid on Ivan's shoulder and he could hear his heart beat clearer than before. Ivan held him like he never wanted him to leave him again, and Arthur felt his breath by his ear, almost like in the morning.

"Arthur …" Ivan murmured very softly. "Arthur ... Become one with me, Arthur ..."

Arthur froze, and when Ivan realized that he became frightened. Apparently that wasn't meant for Arthur's ears.

"Forget what I said, da", said Ivan quickly, pressing Arthur, who wanted to get up, still against his body. "You didn't hear anything, da?" Slowly, Ivan's familiar commanding voice came back, but Arthur was not impressed. He wanted to sit up and look at him from face to face. Why was Ivan refusing?

"Ivan, what the ... ?" Arthur grumbled and tried to free himself from the other's grip, which, however, seemed hopeless from the beginning. He heard Ivan's heart pounding faster and faster in his chest. Another reason why he had to see Ivan's face. "Dammit, Ivan, let me go! I just want-" He had no time to speak more because Ivan had released him and looked really embarrassed now to the side. Arthur blinked.

Ivan's hand lay heavy on his shoulder as he looked at him attentively. His hands were shaking and beginning to sweat. This had to be a great secret, indeed. Arthur deliberated. Ivan had said this sentence a hundred of times in the past in his presence. What was the difference now that Ivan suddenly felt ashamed for these words? (Not that Arthur liked to hear them, though ...) Then his mind began to click the pieces together.

"Was that ..." Arthur started to ask. "Was that ... somehow a ..." (Somehow he couldn't managed to get those words in a common context with Russia.) "... the Russian way ...?"

He was more than surprised about Ivan's reaction. His cheeks were turning red, he looked down and muttered, "Like I said, you should forget it, da!"

Only then Arthur's mind finally snapped the last piece in and he realized the extent of what he said or rather of what he hadn't said. His cheeks glowed. He had to be insane to think such a thing, just to let alone to say out loud such a thing in Ivan's presence. Because of his silence, Ivan looked up again. He was still embarrassed, though, but Arthur recognized something else in his eyes.

Arthur looked from Ivan to his hands, which had been buried in the other's hair. Then he looked back at Ivan, and he had the need to scream.

He had to be acting in a bad movie. What did he and Ivan- no, Russia- ah, damn, he and Ivan have just done? They didn't know each other that well to allow such closeness between them. What did they actually know about each other?

.

Ivan loves sunflowers ...

.

There it was again. The statement with which Arthur started everything.

"Ivan loves sunflowers ..." he whispered and his voice grew louder. The look in Ivan's eyes turned from surprised to shocked. Arthur buried his face in his hand in vain. "Dammit, what the bloody hell happened? Russia! I ... I dunno anything any more. What have you done, Russia? What the hell have I done? Fuck! What the bloody hell have we done, Ivan?"

With this, Ivan pinned him down to the ground.

"Arthur", he said, "I want-"

He couldn't say much more because he himself pressed his lips on Arthur's. In the first seconds Arthur's breath and heart seemed to stand still. It was different than before. Ivan was different than before. His hands were buried into his hair so tightly that it almost hurt. Ivan wanted something. He wanted something that Arthur couldn't give him. That Arthur wasn't allowed to give him.