AN: This was originally written in response to a really amazing kinkmeme prompt, and much to my surprise it had a really positive reaction from the anons there. So I decided to redraft it for fanfic-dot-net. Will become epic M-rated in later chapters, but keeping it at T for now.
And also...um...I suppose I'm de-anoning in the process. Eep.
Much less-than-three to my fellow anons over on livejournal.
Had Toris not been deeply terrified of his travelling companion, he might have said "I told you so." As it was, he barely dared to think it, being rather preoccupied with stemming the flow of blood from his temple. It had been absolute madness to even venture out in such weather, meeting or not but, true to form, Ivan had insisted on abandoning all logic and forward planning, ignoring the weather forecast and dismissing the brunette's concerns over the upcoming blizzard as "a mild flurry of snow".
He hadn't even wanted to go to the meeting, he reflected miserably. Accompanying Russia to world meetings was generally just an exercise in humiliation for the eldest Baltic. He had no say in anything, was merely there to take notes for Russia and behave as the larger nation's glorified secretary. And the others would look away, avoid eye contact with him in that guilty, uncomfortable way which spoke plainly of the fact that they knew his captivity was unjust, but they couldn't do anything about it. But still, he'd been dragged along to the train station and they'd set out across the vast, wintry expanse of the Motherland, despite the train being deserted save for them, and numerous weather-warnings on the radio cautioning them to turn back.
And this had been more or less how he, rather unceremoniously, found himself face down in the toppled carriage of a derailed train, snow pouring in through the broken window as he lifted a hand groggily to his head and felt the wet, sticky warmth of blood. Sitting up, cross legged, he looked around frantically for the Russian, the ruined carriage swimming in and out of focus. Eventually, a loud groan from underneath some broken pieces of wood and glass alerted him to Ivan's presence, and he crawled forward on his hands and knees to reach him. He seemed, at a glance, to be uninjured, although he was sprawled out on the floor and muttering dazedly to himself in his mother tongue.
"S...sir?" Toris began tentatively, and Ivan abruptly sat up and gripped the smaller nation's wrist, causing him to start a little.
"What happened, Toris?" he demanded, as though it wasn't completely obvious.
"I...I think the train crashed, sir," Lithuania ventured gently. "Are you all right? Are you hurt?"
"Think I'm fine..." Ivan lumbered to his feet and brushed off his coat, showering the brunette with pieces of glass and debris. As the violet-eyed man surveyed the carnage around him, Toris found himself rather relieved that there hadn't been other passengers. Ordinary human beings might not have survived the crash as robustly as he and Ivan. In an instant, his thoughts turned to the driver of the train and he scrambled to his feet in a panic, just as the taller nation was kicking down the door at the back of the carriage. In an instant, a flurry of snow assaulted them, and Toris drew his arms around himself with a violent shiver, despite his heavy woollen coat. As Russia strode out into the snow, the smaller nation scrambled after him, struggling to keep up with his long strides. The pale man stood back to inspect the damage to the train and Toris swallowed hard. It was utterly ruined, completely derailed. Twisted metal and broken glass was strewn all around them, the broken train tracks barely visible under the growing flurry of white. The plume of smoke coming from the driver's cabin made his heart sink, and he barely had to squint to see that the poor soul had clearly died instantly. Refraining from openly crossing himself, lest it would anger his vehemently atheist companion, he whispered a tiny prayer under his breath instead, which was lost in the howling wind.
"What are we going to do?" he called out at the top of his lungs, the force of the snowstorm making his voice barely audible. They were stuck in the middle of nowhere, with no transportation and very slim hope of rescue.
"Well, we can't stay here," Russia replied, and somehow his voice seemed to carry clearly, even over the blizzard. He gave the smaller man a wan, joyless little smile. "I might be fine but you, little Litva, will freeze to death, country or not." Striding forward, he gripped him by his upper arm and began to walk purposefully, as Toris stumbled along beside him.
"W...where are we going, sir?" he asked, blinking against the blinding landscape and wondering just how exactly Russia was able to be so confident in his strides when they were blatantly, irretrievably lost.
"I don't know," Ivan replied, and there was a terseness in his ordinarily lilting voice. "We just need to keep moving, da? It is our best chance. Eventually, if we walk far enough, we will reach something. That is the way of things."
"Shouldn't we...stay close to the wreckage...hope somebody finds us...?"
"It might be days," Ivan dismissed him, continuing to push on through the endless sea of white. Already, the train was becoming smaller and smaller on the landscape, obscured by the snow. "Better that we look for shelter."
"But we're in the middle of nowhere..." he protested plaintively. The taller man responded by gripping his arm that fraction tighter, causing him to wince.
"Which is why we need to find shelter," he repeated with a frown, and Toris decided to close his mouth. It was clear that the Russian was in an understandably foul mood, and he decided it was better to risk freezing to death than risk questioning Ivan's orders.
And so they trudged on in silence, through miles and miles interminable snow, Toris found his knees growing weaker and weaker. He'd lost track of time, but somewhere along the line, he'd stopped being able to feel his feet, and his stumbling grew more and more frequent. But all the while, Ivan kept a hold of his arm, hauling him back onto his feet every time he threatened to fall. His teeth chattered violently, snowflakes crystallising painfully on his eyelashes, no matter how furiously he blinked. And still, Ivan did not let up.
Some hours later, he became vaguely aware of the fact that he was no longer walking, that his legs were no longer supporting his own weight and that Ivan was simply dragging him through the freezing wasteland as though he was a ragdoll, his feet dragging uselessly in the snow. The Russian's touch had always seemed cold to Toris, but in the midst of the blizzard, the grip on his aching arm seemed like the only warm thing left in the world. He was used to the cold, had lived through many a winter under Ivan's rule, but he realised then that he had never, until now, truly understood the concept of "freezing".
"Sir...I..." he began dazedly, but his words were lost to the screaming wind which assaulted them both. His head began to loll uselessly against his shoulder, the numbing cold making his eyelids heavy. He wanted to close his eyes, to give in to the paralysing cold which had crept over his body, rendering his limbs heavy and useless. "I want to sleep..." he mumbled, semi coherently through cracked and chapped lips.
"Нет, Toris," he heard the other man tell him firmly, even as his eyes drifted closed. And then, for the first time since they'd started their Hellish, impromptu journey, Ivan stopped walking. A moment later, and there was a sharp crack and a stinging sensation in his cheek as the Russian sharply brought his gloved hand across the smaller man's face. It was enough to bring his eyes open again, to find himself peering into another set of snow-encrusted eyelashes and flashing violet. And he vaguely realised that, despite the blow, Ivan's expression was one of frowning concern, rather than irritation. "You mustn't play the General's games."
Removing his scarf, Ivan shivered a little as he wound it around Toris' neck, still propping the little country up with his free hand, never relinquishing his hold on his arm. "So weak, little Litva," he murmured to himself as the Lithuanian swayed on his feet. With a clucking noise, he suddenly hauled the little nation towards his burly chest and, before Toris could even register what was happening, he found himself slung over Ivan's broad shoulder, dangling there helplessly. He barely had the energy to murmur a protest.
"This will be faster," Ivan mused aloud, setting off at a pace which was so much quicker that the Lithuanian could only feel a vague sense of shame at how dramatically he'd been slowing them both down. The larger man carried him as though he weighed nothing, ploughing on through the snow as though it barely affected him. And Toris knew that wasn't the case, knew how vehemently the violet-eyed country hated the bitter winter. But he kept on going, stoically putting one foot in front of the other and never seeming to tire. It occurred to the brunette that, as terrified as he was of Ivan, he really couldn't have chosen a better person to be stranded in a snowstorm with.
It was this thought which comforted him, just a little, even as the numbness crept over him and finally, for the first time in a very long time, he disobeyed a direct order from Ivan and succumbed to unconsciousness.