Hey guys. So this is a story that's been buzzing in my head for a while. And for those who are reading Dirty Little Secret, this has nothing to do with that story. This is... a LOT darker.

The sun shone bright. Brighter than it had in such a long time. It peeked through white cotton-candy clouds, hiding for a few moments then reappearing as if to say that it was still there. The air smelled unnaturally fresh, like the beginning of something big was happening today. And it was. She knew it.

She stood on the empty road, looking far away for a sign of them. There had been apparent sightings of them marching from Poland, one branch heading straight to their land. Her people spoke of it in excited whispers, a growing wave of hope coming over them all. She felt it too. And it excited her like everyone else.

She glanced down at her tattered, patchwork dress. It was the nicest one she owned, though she couldn't consider anything she owned "nice". Soviet rule had left her people- and her- poor and struggling. And the latest famine, starving her people to death, it was too much. He had said it was "Merely an accident.", but she knew better. And she had had enough. Though a part of her regretted feeling this way toward her brother, the other, larger part knew that she needed to get away. And perhaps this advanced, cultured army could help...

Her eyes brightened when she saw what looked like a dark line, growing larger and taking the shape of many men coming toward her. She suddenly felt very nervous, brushing the skirt out and shifting the gifts from one arm to another. When they drew close enough to see her, she straightened and put her best smile on, praying that she wouldn't mess this up.

In the front of the line, ahead of everyone else, was a tall blonde man, eyes a bright enough blue that she could see them, even from afar. His steps were long and strong, his powerful body moving in a way that made it look like the others were following after his example. He walked with a sense of authority and stature that she had never seen before, and it intimidated and excited her at the same time. She watched as he came closer and blushed a little, noticing how very handsome he was.

They continued walking forward, their marches loud and eerily synchronized as they soon were right on top of her. The man in front just barely saw her, calling out something in German and causing all the men to halt at the same time, merely a few feet from her. Her heart pounded in her chest and something in the back of her mind gave her the feeling that if he had not stopped them, they would've walked right over her...

She shook her head and smiled wider, stepping toward the man in the front.

"G-guten tag, sir..." The German words were muddled and horribly accented. She had learned it specifically for this moment, but she didn't realize how bad it sounded until right now. "Welcome to the Ukraine... Please accept this gift as a token of a h-hopefully prosperous friendship between our countries." Here she held out the gift, traditional bread and salts, considered a sign of hospitality to her people.

The man looked at her then at the present in her outstretched arms, expression apathetic. Her smile faltered. Maybe he wasn't who she was supposed to talk to, or perhaps her horrible German offended him...

Then to her relief, his face broke into a warm smile and he took the gift from her. "Danke, Miss..." His voice was deep and gentle. It sent shivers up her spine. "This is... Very appreciated."

She held her hands behind her back, practically beaming at his reaction. "Da, you are very welcome... May I know if you are the nation of Germany?..."

He blinked, smile twitching for less than a moment before it grew all the wider. "Yes, I am. You may call me Ludwig. I assume that I'm having the... pleasure of speaking with this country's..."

"Da. Yekatrina Braginski." She nodded, thinking over his name. It was... nice? No, there was another word for it...

"I see. Well, Miss Yekatrina, my men and I need rest and food. If you could be so kind as to show us where we might be able to stay." It was not a question. It was not a request. It was an order.

She just didn't realize it. "Of course! My people are more than willing to lodge any of your soldiers and accommodate them in any way. And... You are welcome to stay at my home..." She blushed and looked down when she spoke the last part. She had planned to invite him since the beginning, but when she actually said it, she felt like a young girl with a silly crush. Well, maybe she was...

He made a soft chuckling sound."Danke, Miss. I would be honored." He tilted his head slightly, those stunning blue eyes looking into hers with a warmth that she couldn't explain and that smile which seemed so comforting.

At that moment, she decided she trusted this man with her life. She truly believed that he was the answers to her prayers, that now that he and his army was here, everything would be OK.

If only she knew...

R&R, please.