titled softly treading softly
pair belarus/hungary. cameos involving russia, prussia, austria.
rated something something pg?
warnings for twisty thoughts. not being very subtle about things. hurrr.
notes 1500 words written simply to ask, how are you today?
summary Are you picking up what I'm putting down?

softly treading softly


Four hours away from Vienna, she finds a café and she sits down at a table. (Outside, a car honks twice.)

They fall on the carpet like coins, blot the edges of her vision and make her feel like the sky is tipping over on a right angle. She takes three breaths. Counts three hundred seventy-seven slips of filter paper, a coffee tray, two lines of ink. Written over, crossed-out, his inconsistencies matched with her similarities matched with some kind of farewell matched with hello again. The potted plant in the corner spins on a wheel as thin as the gold foil folded over the waitress' hairpin. She likes wedding invitations. They give her plenty of excuses. A day spent in the city, shopping for makeup and things that smell like lotus. Days taken off the job and the paper airplanes thrown out the window from tomorrow, telling her boss to fuck off over the phone, exchanging diet plans with the girl from Belgium. Her skin takes time to exfoliate. She'll take some money out from her bank account to spend on a gown she may have only worn to his funeral.

They fall on the carpet like coins, and she doesn't even notice until the waitress coughs.

"Would you like to place an order now?" she asks, shifts a little in her apron and tugs on her name tag (Hello, My Name Is Natalia). Taps a heeled-foot against the wooden leg of Elizaveta's table. "I've got other customers to attend to, you know. More sociable people."

"Sure," she smiles through the water in her eyes, sniffles a bit because she's just a bit too allergic to the perfume in the air. "I'd like something iced. Preferably tea. But I'll have a latte if you're all out of tea."

The waitress flicks the tip of her pen over the notebook, gives her a polite frown. "We can always make tea, if you'd like tea. It's unnecessary for you to pick an alternate choice."

(She remembers that she'd forgotten what she wanted to say.)

"It's OK," she shrugs, "I'm feeling charitable today."

The waitress crosses her arms over her chest. "Well, I'm not."


She flings the envelope into the bushes near the bar, drops it like a bomb and a prayer, thinks it might benefit the plants because it looks biodegradable enough, tilts her head and examines the sky. It's a very lovely sky. The clouds are dark and the sun is dark and the times are dark and inside, somebody sneezes twice. She keeps track of this for as long as she can and then she realizes that she's left the keys to her apartment behind at the café, in the ladies' room, next to the sink with the vase of chrysanthemums.

Fuck, she wants to say, but she enters the bar instead. She's feeling charitable today.

Three shots turn into nine turn into twelve turn into the fly on the wall, and then the liquor is treading through her head on soft toes.


Hungary stumbles into the backseat of the taxi a little past eleven, untying her hair and telling the driver to hurry back to the apartment. She thinks she can see smoke but she's unsure; but either way she's sure it would be quite the fucking travesty if her house were to burn down, because the insurance is awfully high these days and there isn't much that whoring paperwork can earn in hopes of covering what her mortgage hadn't taken out. Hurry back, she says, and she forks another twenty-euro bill out of her wallet for emphasis.

"I would prefer not to," the driver tells her, and she looks up, if only because she'd heard a female voice.

"Why, you're..."

"Yes, it's me."

"You were there," Elizaveta says, trips a little over her own words, "Natalia. You were at the café today, weren't you. The waitress. Why are you...?"

"I can have more jobs than one," the girl tells her offhandedly, "I have a lot of jobs."

"You do?"

"I do."

"What else do you have, eh?" Elizaveta says softly, turns her eyes to the sky and lets her inebriation speak for herself. "What else have you got?"

"I have your keys."

There's a pause. Natalia rolls down the driver's window. "I found them in the ladies' room, next to the sink with the vase of chrysanthemums."

"Oh. I suppose I should thank you."

"I suppose I should tell you that you're welcome," Natalia says tartly.

"Say," she breathes against the window pane and draws a little flower in the fog with her finger. Natalia wrinkles her nose. The alcohol skips through the air of the car, and she rolls down another window. Elizaveta plows on, voice rubbing the window wet and fraying the air, "Say, why don't you come home with me?"


("Will you kiss me here?" Belarus asks her, jabs a finger at the slip of skin below her belly button. Her nails leave a red mark on her own skin, and Hungary notices the lace on her underwear. It's a very lovely shade of pink. A pale petal of pink on her abdomen. Just below her elbow. "What about here?" She points at her lips. "Here."


"Why not?"

Hungary laughs, kisses her there. "You're so pretty.")


She's so pretty.

She's like a flower in a greenhouse. She's like the flower that The Little Prince had cared for on his planet, the flower who had not taken the value of the world for its worth, but had examined it critically, evaluated numbers and figures and postulates based on her own views and thoughts and trickles of mind. She'd given whatever she needed a due process of thought, and learnt to ignore the rest of it and write it off as stolid discrepancy. She heard about it from Elizaveta later, while she heard her singing in the shower about love crawling through the seven seas, she had heard about it then. She compared it to herself, and then she'd scorned the sheep in the box and told it to fly off to another planet. She did not need existentialism in her life.

So she loved her brother. And to his credit, her brother was in love with an insecure kingdom he couldn't take care of. It's only natural, then, that the heart of the insecure kingdom belonged to Elizaveta.

Strings are awful things.


"I thought his face was a little flat. His lips looked very nice, though. In the moment he sat down on the teacher's bench, I knew that he had no clue how to play the piano. He tried to look indifferent, but it was sort of like you knew that he was trying to cheat and he knew it too and the teacher didn't care because we were all staring at his lips. And I liked him because he didn't try to impress the skinny Japanese girls, the ones who sat at the back of the class and put on eyeshadow all day. I liked him because he married a girl who wasn't very popular with the Japanese girls. He wasn't like Gilbert. Gilbert liked to impress the Japanese girls a lot. So I liked him because he wasn't Gilbert and because he wore glasses and he had a nice mole somewhere above his lips -his lips were very nice- and I also liked him because I knew he could never like me back. I'm actually very in awe of him. He didn't know how to play the piano, but he played it anyway. Did you know? I was actually very in awe of him. He had a little box that he kept in his desk drawer, too. Nobody else in the class kept their own little box. We were alone in the classroom one day and I saw him take it out and then put in the ends of some erasers. The kind that you use on mechanical pencils. So we were alone in the classroom and he put the box back after that and then he left the classroom. And I kind of understood it, just then. I had to open the drawer and take out the box and figure out what he was up to. So I snuck the box from his desk after he left and opened the lid and there was a stack of Lizst and Chopin and Mendelssohn. And eraser ends."

"He was a nice boy, wasn't he?"

"He was very nice. He was also a boy."

"Oh. Did he ever come home?"

"He's coming home tomorrow."

the end

makes you wonder, doesn't it. does this even count as fanfic? derp.

thank you for reading. feedback is lovely~. :D