Lithuania's ringtone is "Landslide" by Fleetwood Mac. Just so you know.

Christopher had a problem.

No, no, let him rephrase that. Christopher had an obsession. A compulsive need to be liked. This obsession stemmed from a classic tale of sadness, Christopher living in the shadow of his accomplished older brother John, and his parents had no problems identifying John as their favorite. This, Christopher couldn't understand; he was just as successful as his brother, so why was he the one forgotten? It drove him mad, trying to reflect on things he might have done to have fallen out of their favor. Was he too quiet? Unappealing? Perhaps his personality had caused it? Maybe he hadn't achieved as much as they had wanted them to. Christopher was in a constant state of turmoil, searching restlessly for the root of their disdain.

His obsession was not exclusive to his home, however; Christopher's struggle for independency while being wholly dependent on the opinions of others had claimed his social life, his constant need for reassurance bothering the few friends he had as well.

"Geez, Chris, can you just leave me alone? You don't need to ask me what I think of you every five seconds."

With this, the suicides began. Between his thirteenth year and up until twenty-four Christopher had attempted to kill himself a total of seventeen times, only a few of these deviating from hanging. He'd been a boy scout, after all; he took pride in his ability to tie sturdy knots.

He supposed his family cared for him at least a fraction, spending money on Christopher's weekly visits to an expensive psychiatrist. That was all they had done for him, though, as the topic had never been discussed in detail with his parents. He supposed this was acceptable. He wasn't John, so such matters weren't exactly important.

Sighing, Christopher fought down his harmful instincts, loosening his grip on the wheel as he drove to his World Conference.

Hetalia: World Series. His saving grace.

It was here that Christopher could finally feel significant: Lithuania, a Baltic nation with a rich history of alliances and partnerships. Toris was an important player in this universe. He had two brothers, Eduard and Raivis, that despite the fact of not being related by blood stuck with him always. They relied on him, his empathy and caring personality giving them security. Ivan, frightening as he was, had called Toris his favorite, jealous of anyone that tried to take his beloved Lithuania from him, namely Alfred (this man treated him as kindly as could be, calling him an equal, praising him often).

He had a best friend, even! Poland, Feliks, Elliot. Feliks knew him as more than Lithuania or Toris, talking Christopher down from his chair and noose with declarations of his undying love, that Christopher was "totes my BFF, the coolest guy I've ever met, like, ever." They even spent time with each other outside the conferences, and with Feliks Christopher didn't need to beg for reassuring words, because Feliks gave them to him in bounty, even making Christopher blush with his friend's obvious admiration.

Christopher had a girlfriend now, too. Well, Lithuania did. He thinks. It was difficult to tell what Belarus was thinking (and it struck him for the first time that he hadn't a single clue what her real name was, but he didn't mind all that much, really). They had gone on a date, and the next world meeting had left Feliks furious when he noticed a couple of Christopher's fingers were broken. He himself hadn't even realized they were broken, so the time following the meeting was devoted to a very livid Feliks ("That bitch is like, totally gonna get it from me, Liet! Just you wait, I'm def making her capital Warsaw next time I see her!") dragging Christopher to the urgent care center down the road so he could get casts for his three broken fingers. He'd tried to reassure Feliks that Natalia was just being affectionate and had wanted to hold his hand, and she was even considerate enough to not damage his writing hand! This did nothing to shorten the slang-ridden lecture Feliks had given him.

Well I've been afraid of changing…'Cause I've built my life around you…

"Ah, h-hello?" Christopher said after pressing a button on his Bluetooth, answering the call sent to his Blackberry.

"Hey, Liet! It's me, Feliks! When are you getting here? It's super boring without you, and Ivan's totally looking at me all creepy-like and stuff. Also, I need to tell you this rad thing that happened to me at work the other day! So are you coming?"

Christopher's mouth slid into a small smile, muscles relaxing and erasing the destructive thoughts he'd been harboring only moments ago. "I'm just passing that Thai restaurant on 82nd street right now. I'll see you in a few minutes."

"Mmkay! Also, Thai sounds really good right now. Wanna eat there after the meeting? You can even bring that psycho bitch or your brothers, if you want."

"Sounds like a plan, Feliks. I'll talk to you soon."

"See ya, Liet!"

It was funny, how a short 30 second phone call could immediately wash away years of self-loathing and mental breakdowns. But that was just how life was. He'd climbed the mountain and looked back on all of his suffering, and instead of sliding back he stood his ground. He saw his reflection in the snow, and it wasn't just Christopher, standing by himself. It was him, standing center, surrounded by the world.