Disclaimer: The only thing I own is the story idea and only some of the witty remarks. I own so little; so please don't steal.
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"Japan, I would like to be the Corydon to your Alexis."
Japan thinks Greece has probably said something embarrassing again, but since he isn't very familiar with the names the sleepy-eyed nation has thrown out, he just smiles politely. They are sitting in his backyard, where the afternoon sun is warming the marble remnants of pillars Greece has dragged back from numerous excavations. Greece just looks at him, waiting for a reaction. Japan clears his throat and says, "I am sorry, but I do not understand."
"Ah. I'm sorry, I should have explained." Greece looks down at the cats nudging his shins, mewing for his attention. Japan himself has a furry Angora in his lap. "In my literature, Corydon is a shepherd who loves a boy named Alexis."
"You were interested in writings and mythology of my house, so I thought it would be a good idea."
Japan nods, before stroking the Angora thoughtfully. His hand stops, making the cat grumble at him. "Greece-san, if you don't mind me asking…was that a pick-up line?"
"That was…the idea…"
Visiting the Shinto temple takes longer than either of them planned, so they carefully pick their way down the road back to Japan's house to spend the night (in a very platonic way, Japan insists internally, thankful the darkness of the evening is hiding the telltale blush on his face that signals where his thoughts are). The lights of the city do not touch the rural surroundings of the temple, as the gods intended, and Japan brings a lantern as not to ruin the atmosphere with a flashlight.
As they continue casting shadows across the path, Japan is aware that there is another pair of footsteps coming toward them. He raises the lantern higher, so that he and Greece can see who is coming their way. A pretty girl with long, obsidian smooth hair is advancing, dressed in a summer yukata. It is decorated with prints of cute, cartoon cats; it is meant to be adorable, not beautiful. Japan feels Greece's eyes linger on this girl, who glances at them with a coy smile, and reaches back to pull the taller nation along.
"That girl's yukata was cute," Greece says back at the house.
"You shouldn't have stared at her like that," Japan replies, bringing out the futons. When Greece stares at him, he explains. "For all you know, she could be a kitsune – after she charms you, it could really hurt you. There's a superstition that you can't trust girls who are by themselves at night, because they could be fox spirits."
Japan busies himself with laying out the futons as Greece watches. "You don't need to be jealous," the curly haired nation murmurs.
"I'm only looking out for you," Japan maintains levelly, and to his dismay, Greece takes the other futon and lays it aside, claiming they really only need one. Japan thinks he should worry more about himself; kitsunes aside, he has Greece to watch out for too.
Japan thinks that Greece is not done with his witty pick-up lines; after the Corydon one, the Asian island thinks the idea has deeply implanted itself in the brunette's head. They are standing at the side of the road as Greece finishes his discourse, as fragmented as it is when Greece tells it piece by piece, and he spots a patch of hyacinth. "Do you know how these flowers were created?"
"Yes. I believe you said the god Apollo made them?"
"Mm hmm." Greece picks one and hands it to Japan. "After Hyacinth was killed. Kiku." Japan blinks at his human name. "You would make a very beautiful flower, Kiku."
"Greece-san, you do know that you have suggested my death."
"In that case…" Greece looks at the hyacinth. "Would the Heraclea be a pretty flower instead?" He only smiles sheepishly when Japan scolds him for being so foolish for risking his life for him, that although he appreciates the sediment, he would rather have Greece alive.
They have peaches in the rock garden. The peach can be interpreted as a sexual fruit. Greece appreciates this. Japan changes the subject by telling the story of Momotaro, the boy who was discovered when a couple opened a peach. The boy went on to kill oni and then lived happily ever after. He also tells the other version of the story, about the old couple who find a peach that turns them young again. The wife has a baby boy, whom she calls Taro.
"Japan in a peach," Greece says, opening a peach and looking disappointed to find only a pit in the middle. Taking out the pit, he takes a bite out of it. "Sweet," he decides, before thinking about it and adding, "You should have been in the peach."
"Another pick-up line, Greece-san?"
"You should try making some up, Japan." Japan thinks about this, and wonders if he should say anything about the dance for Amaterasu but decides not to, because he is not used to saying such things so easily and anyway, at his house, courtships did not happen because one used a simple little phrase. It was a phenomenon for the Western nations. America would laugh at him if he heard that Japan had even thought about it. And anyway, it might come out wrong and Greece might be offended.
Japan figures himself a hopeless case if he can't figure out how America can say Do you have a map? Because I just got lost in your eyes and England would enter super tsundere mode.
Although Greece is located in the Mediterranean and therefore has easy access to various quick forms of transportation, he finds himself more partial to the traditional ways of travel – for this reason, he persuades Japan to walk with him Thebes. It is a thriving marketplace, but there are also places of excavation, where he hopes to dig up more of his mother's artifacts and Japan, who has only once or twice been with him when he searches, hopes to watch.
"You know," Greece says as they walk down the path, slow and winding and peaceful in the soft sunlight, "although you can find all sorts of things around Thebes, it's really neglected. People seem to find Athens or Mount Parnassus more interesting to visit."
"You can't ignore things that seem insignificant in the grand scheme of things," Japan replies wisely. "Sometimes the little things are the most wonderful."
There is a silence, which is normal between the two, but it is heavy with the words to come. Greece is one to contemplate, and Japan thinks a new pickup line is in order. And indeed, when he steps over an ungangly root that has grown into his path, Greece leans down and murmurs, "Chrysippus, we are on our way to Thebes."
Japan blinks. He hasn't heard this one before. Greece only smiles serenely back at him and continues on their way, staying silent even when Japan ventures a guess as to what he means.
(That night comes, and he can pretty much suspect what the story was about, as he tangles himself in the sheets and breathes in the night breeze ruffling the gauzy curtains of the window.)
"Cute," Greece says.
They are standing at the corner of the pond a couple blocks from Japan's house, in the secluded park. To the island's surprise, someone has left turtles nodding around at the edge of the pond. To abandon such helpless creatures like that…and to expect them to be able to care for themselves after a short period of seclusion. Japan thinks he can relate to them, a bit.
Greece has big hands; they are perfect for holding his cats, and stroking them (and touching him, Japan adds mentally, regretting it as it makes his cheeks warm). They seem out of place holding such small turtles, but he is gentle with them. Greece is good with animals. He lets them test the water, and if they do not slide into the pond with ease, he does not make them.
Japan watches as a turtle ducks underneath, flailing slightly before darting through the water. It swims out of their reach and touches a sunning rock a stone's throw away. Pulling its way out of the water, it stands on the rock, glistening with water, before reaching its neck to the sun. The words form in his head and he lets them out, like the way the turtle slips from his hand into the water.
"Like Urashima-san, I would forgo three hundred years' worth of time to be with you."
Greece looks up. The turtles he is holding swivel their necks to look at him too. Japan wipes the water from his hand and looks back at Greece. "Urashima Taro. He saved a turtle, which happened to be a princess. He followed her to the bottom of the sea to the Palace of the Dragon God and lived with her for three hundred years before returning to the surface. Time travel," he adds, when Greece doesn't reply right away.
The turtles in Greece's hand crawl in the grass. "That was a fantastic pickup line, Japan."
"Was it? It was easier than I thought." He could get used to this. Like he has plans to get used to his intimacies with Greece, and get used to public displays of affection. Hmm.
"That's good," Greece yawns, leaning back and taking care not to squash the turtles on his way down. Japan scoops up one turtle before it can venture toward a dip in the terrain and fall and turns back to see that Greece has fallen asleep. A small smile twists its way onto his face and he lets the turtle explore along the rocks.
"I'm glad," Japan whispers, before settling himself next to Greece in the shadows of the plum blossoms and closing his eyes.
Note: For the Hetalia Sunshine fic exchange! The prompt was Greece and Japan sharing parts of their culture, and I had read about Corydon and Alexis elsewhere and wanted to incorporate this. I haven't written Giripan in such a long time! But I feel like this would be a cute exchange, even if it is a bit awkward. Thanks for reading!