Title: Child of the Universe
Summary: Canada and Russia have a run in involving Russia's heart, and then they bond.
Warnings: Possible OOC, teensy weensy bit of blood, bad jokes
Rating: K+ maybe? Is the sheer mention of the heart too much? IDK.
Disclaimer: Not mine, at all, no money was made, etc.
Author's Note: The usual goes here, from the kink meme, just a deanon, I'm slowly working on HpatK but I'm both busy and feeling lazy so updates may take a while. I may in fact disappear for all of April, I've joined Script Frenzy and my exams are coming up. I'm a masochist, I know. Title and quote taken from Desiderata by Max Ehrmann .
Be gentle with yourself.
You are a child of the universe no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
The silence that rang between Russia and Canada was uncomfortable, to say the least. Between them, on the plain blue floor of the hall outside their appointed conference room, Russia's heart pulsed accusingly, as if blaming the two nations for it's sojourn outside Russia's body. Canada, who was actually quite difficult to phase after a lifetime of France, England and America, stared down in mute horror, violet eyes wide behind his glasses.
Russia shifted self consciously as the smaller nation continued to stare almost blankly, his own papers scattered around his feet after his harsh collision with the large nation. "Er," the usually somewhat composed nation tried, not used to having to explain his...special bodily function. Canada finally looked up at him, blinking rapidly, confusion, horror and something else warring across fine features.
"Does it hurt?" he asked, knocked out of his stupor by the others voice.
Russia blinked, the concern in the whisper soft voice catching him off guard, and then shook his head. "Nyet," he told him, rubbing softly at his chest, "it does not."
Canada nodded stiffly, kneeling to start picking up his papers, before his gaze drifted to the still pulsing heart. Hand half outstretched he looked up at Russia, as if asking permission. The Russian, almost not paying attention, nodded, again, breath locked in his chest as the pale hand reached out and-
Russia's gasp had Canada's hand retracting, mouth already forming one of his many 'sorrys' already, only to be cut off by Russia's smooth voice. "It does not hurt," he told the other, the phantom touch of the gentle fingers bouncing between his chest like a ping pong ball. Canada bit his lip, his long fingers closing around the others heart completely this time.
Russia just watched him, one hand on his chest as the incredibly careful touches echoed in the empty cavity. The sensation didn't really have a comparison, the best possible choice for this particular situation would be feathers, or anything else that almost but didn't quite tickle.
Canada, his papers forgotten stood, his hands cradling the organ with so much care Russia's breath refused to come, his lungs locked into position. "Are you sure?" the younger, so much younger, nation asked, fine brows locked together. "How, how do you get it back in?" Russia gestured to his chest, shrugging a little.
"Just push," he said simply, and Canada eyed him suspiciously.
"I-" he cut himself off, taking a deep breath. Visibly steeling himself, he approached Russia as if one of them was a terrified wild animal, though Russia wasn't sure who was whom. He watched Russia unbutton first his jacket then his shirt, pushing the left shoulders to the side, revealing a strong pale chest. Canada, a pink blush growing steadily on his cheeks, stepped forward, Russia's heart in hand.
One hand, now empty, landed softly on Russia's chest, palm resting on his cool, almost cold, skin, his fingers resting on the beige coat. The other, fingers slightly bloody from the heart, came up the strong chest, resting just a fraction of a millimetre away. "Just push?" he repeated, looking up at Russia, or rather, Russia's chin. Russia made a noise of agreement, maybe encouragement, the noise rumbling in his chest and his throat.
"Da," he added, as if Canada may have failed to understand the rumbling.
Canada made to do as instructed, pressing the heart against the chest in what he really hoped was the right spot, before stopping, looking at Russia desperately, "I don't, I don't want to hurt you."
Russia, who didn't know what to say, just placed a large hand on the others smaller, warmer one, and pushed.
Canada didn't even make it to the bathroom to wash his hands off before England, of all people, stumbled across him. The two stared at one another silently, Canada's slightly bloody fingers resting on the handle, England's incredibly green eyes locked onto the slim digits.
"Lad," he said slowly, taking a step forward, "are you hurt?"
Canada, feeling guilty for making the other worry, no matter how irrational that was, shook his head, a blush on his cheeks. "No I," he paused, not sure if he should tell anyone about Russia, "I was just helping someone."
England frowned, not looking convinced, "are you quite sure m'boy? If you're having an issue with your country we need to be told." Canada shook his head vigorously.
"No no, nothing like that, I mean, Quebec is grumbling a bit but he does that and-" he cut himself off at the blank look England's face had assumed when he said 'Quebec', feeling a twinge, more of annoyance than anything. "I'm fine," he told the other, pushing open the door, "I'm fine," he said softly, closing the door on England's face.
"That is good да?" Came Russia's voice from near the sinks. Canada jumped slightly, blinking at the larger man in the room.
"How did you, I mean, you and I and, and," Russia raised an amused brow at Canada's inarticulation.
"I have much longer legs than Canada, yes?" he posed, understanding the other nation, "and people are always so polite, moving out of the way for me." The sentence was dripping with sarcasm, Canada could almost smell it, and he shifted before heading to the sinks.
"Polite is the word we're using now, is it?" he muttered, blushing when Russia laughed, turning on the tap and reaching for the soap pump.
"It is a good word," the large man said easily, wiping off his hands and leaning against the wall to study the oblivious Canada. Russia wasn't used to seeing Canada so, clearly. Usually the other had an almost faded look about him, as if he were shifting between planes of existence. Either way, in the harsh florescence of the bathroom Canada looked more real than ever, and less like America than ever.
The differences were many but tiny. Canada had that curl, and his hair was more red, not a pure blond. Likewise, he was paler, though they had the same stubborn jaw and proud straight noses, the same thin straight eyebrows. He was also slimmer, less muscles mass and long thin fingers. Cool fingers, while Russia suspected his brothers hands were probably very warm.
"You do not look so much like America," he said finally, and Canada started, giving him a wide eyed look.
"I don't?" he asked, incredulous, and Russia shook his head, standing to his full height.
"Нет," he confirmed, heading for the door, "I will not confuse you again." With that he walked out, still wishing to get lunch before brake was over. In the bathroom, Canada just blinked, hands still under the hot water.
Canada stayed in the bathroom in complete shock until the point he was almost late getting back to the meeting. Inside most everyone was back, and already America and England were at each others throat. |Or rather, England was at America's throat. America may or may not have been antagonizing him on purpose, it was hard to tell. Either way, immediately, Canada knew he didn't want to be there. He didn't want to be yelled at for when America did something stupid, he didn't want the man who raised him to grope him, he didn't want Greece to use his shirt to wipe off drool after his nap and he didn't want to be-
"Eat," came a voice from his right as a small nondescript paper bag was placed on the table, "you are too skinny." Canada, once again thrown for a loop, stared at Russia as is he'd grown an extra head. People didn't usually notice him, much less try to feed him, and more than once he'd been told to loose some weight by France, though Canada suspected he thought that he was America. Either way, this was like something out of the twilight zone.
"I uh," he paused, trying to figure out whether or not he should decline. He was hungry, but this could very well be some weird psychological evaluation on Russia's behalf.
"If you do not eat," Russia said evenly, one pale brow raised imperiously, "I will make you and," he smiled wanly, "that is unpleasant."
"No doubt," Canada agreed before looking in the bag. Inside was fairly standard fair, what looked like a biscuit, a banana, what looked suspiciously like a hero sandwich and, "is that a juice box?"
Russia nodded, looking a little gleeful at the fact. "Да" he said, not bothering to suppress his smirk. "Finland brought some for Latvia and Sealand." Canada struggled with that information for a moment, before his instinctual politesse and spinelessness caught up with him.
"Thank you very much Russia," he said, and the Russian nodded once as a welcome. The man didn't speak to him for the rest of the meeting, though he occasionally threw out suggestions, some helpful, others sly jabs at America. Canada tired not to smile too much at those, and by the end of the meeting he had managed to avoid a head ache.
As everyone packed to leave, Canada glanced at Russia, worry setting in as the he watched the other man rub almost subconsciously at his chest. "Russia," he murmured, "Russia are you alright?"
Russia nodded stiffly, and when Canada still continued to stare at him he gave a sigh. "I am fine," he assured the other, "no need to worry Canada." Canada watched him go dubiously before gathering up his papers. As he shuffled them around as they still weren't in order from the spill. Then he spotted it. It was tiny, really, but the smear of blood on the corner of several pages made Canada's oft unused resolve come into play and he almost ran from the conference room.
"Russia!" he called, voice carrying surprisingly well, "Russia wait!" The large man stopped, having heard from the end of the hall before turning, obviously puzzled as Canada sprinted to him, grabbing on to his jacket to keep him in place. "Why don't you come up to my room?" Canada offered, "we'll get room service," he gave a tiny, shy smile at the older man who just looked at him. "Boss's treat," he added and Russia tilted his chin, hiding a smile behind his scarf.
"Well then," the man said, "what floor?"
Canada's hotel room was not as tidy as Russia had expected. His clothes were all packed, yes, and his documents no doubts secured, but his pyjamas lay on the bed and his jacket was laying across a chair, his sneakers, for casual dress Russia assumed, were joined in a small pile by Canada's dress shoes, and Russia thought he saw a sock sticking out from under the bed.
"Why don't you take a seat?" Canada offered, pointing out the chair next to the bed, "I'll just throw on something more comfortable and then we'll call up room service, kay?" Russia nodded, taking the proffered seat and fiddling with the hem of his jacket while Canada disappeared into the bathroom.
Before the older nation had a chance to get bored the Canadian was back and all but shoving his suit into his case. "So," the North American nation said, sitting down next to the phone, "any requests?"
Russia accepted the menu from Canada, raising and eyebrow at it before sighing. "I do not speak Dutch I'm afraid," he told the North American, who immediately blushed, apologizing.
"Oh Russia," he said fretfully, "I'm so sorry that didn't even occur to me uh," he paused, looking at his own menu, "should I just read it off?" he asked weakly, "I usually just get the hotel to send along the French version of menus and instructions, the translations are a bit stronger than the English ones." Russia, amused by the apology lacing every word simply nodded.
"I understand," he said easily, "I too usually choose the French translations, I have learned not to trust anything outside of Eastern Europe which comes in my tongue." Canada nodded at that, looking objectively awkward, and Russia resisted the urge to giggle at his discomfort.
"So um," Canada said, diverting the topic gracelessly, "we could share some duck and uh, what looks like lettuce rolls," he offered, Russia shrugged, not being all that hungry, frowning at the sudden reemergence of straining in his chest. Canada continued to prattle on, obviously trying to fill the silence, before he stopped short, watching Russia with concern.
"I'm fine," Russia almost growled, seeing the question in the others eyes, but Canada didn't nod, instead he put the menu down, standing to come next to Russia.
"I don't believe you," he said, almost accusingly, and Russia was shocked at the steel in his usually soft voice. "You've been rubbing at your chest all afternoon, it fell out earlier, that is not okay!" Russia blinked at him before shrugging, obviously not caring what the other said.
"Your brothers were never bothered by it," he said reasonably, and Canada gaped at him, fingers clutching at the arm of Russia's chair.
"They know?" he demanded, looking worried, "and they weren't at all worried for you?" Russia gave him a look, no one worried about him after all, and a small blush made its way onto Canada's cheeks. "What," he suddenly looked bashful, all his previous gusto having fled at the mention of his brothers, "what causes it?" Russia paused for a moment, obviously thinking, before he shrugged.
"I do not really know," he said, "sometimes it just gets too heavy." That was the best explanation he had for it, though it did nothing to ease the distress on Canada's features.
"Heavy?" he asked, obviously confused, and Russia pulled away, annoyance building.
"Leave it alone," he said firmly, "let us order supper." With one last look Canada complied, picking up the phone and speaking rapidly to the person on the other end in French. For his part, Russia stood, gesturing to the bathroom, locking it shut behind him.
Once inside he opened his jacket, shrugging it off and unbuttoning his shirt, wincing as he reached into his chest, pulling out his heart. When Canada had touched it earlier the feeling had been, odd, but pleasant, like butterflies flitting over sensitive skin. Russia's own touch was nothing special, and the tall country was too busy studying the troublesome organ to notice several minutes had gone by until Canada knocked.
"Russia are you alright?" he called and Russia, caught off guard, let loose a swear, his heart jumping from his hand in fright, just as the door opened, the lock obviously faulty, and the Canadian's head popped in. "Russia?" he called, eyes widening when he noticed the heart balanced on the edge of the sink.
Russia stared back at him, trying to ignore the fact that his nerves were belied by the rapid beating of his heart. "Everything is fine Canada," he said calmly, but Canada ignored him, coming to stand next to him.
"Did you...?" he trailed off, and Russia nodded, feeling an unfamiliar blush on his cheeks. "Oh." Russia nodded, because 'oh' pretty much summed it up before he looked at Canada. "Should we," he paused, trying to formulate his question properly. "Can it just stay out? Should I get an ice bucket?" Russia considered that, finally nodding.
"It will be a bit cold," he reasoned, "but it is better that way." Canada looked dubious, at best, but he dutifully went off to the closest ice machine, leaving Russia alone. The giant man stood awkwardly in small hotel bathroom, only having just realized Canada had no doubt seen his neck scars, before he cast a critical gaze on his heart. "You know," he said conversationally, "I think this is the best anyone has treated you." Outside, Canada had just reentered, and he listened to Russia's remark with wide eyes. Looking down into the bucket he blushed, closing the door quietly behind him.
"I'm back," he said rather unnecessarily, holding out the bucket. Russia accepted the silver thing, scooping up his heart and placing it carefully in, wincing visibly at the cold. "Where do you feel it?" Canada asked, unable to fathom how ice on your heart would feel. Russia shrugged, rubbing his chest.
"In here," he said, "as well as in here, and here too." He pointed to his stomach as well and then wiggled his fingers, and Canada frowned.
"Are you sure I didn't hurt you earlier?" he asked, because he really hadn't wanted to, and Russia shook his head, placing the ice bucket on the counter, away from the toilet.
"Not at all," Russia said, before pausing momentarily, "it ah," he coughed, ears turning red, "it felt nice." Canada blinked at that, trying to formulate a response, only to be saved by the sound of room service at the door.
"I'll go get that, shall I?" he said brightly, darting out of the room. Russia nodded, slipping out after him, very glad that his heart was hidden from view. It wouldn't do to have Canada see it beat like he'd just run a marathon.
They ate in silence, both content to simply chance little glances at one another before Canada, only half way through his lamb, sighed, putting down his plate. "Russia," he said slowly, "I've sort of been meaning to ask you this but," he swallowed, cutting himself off and Russia politely put his plate down, staring at him expectantly. "I um, I have season tickets to see the, well actually all the Canadian teams when they do home games but I-I was wondering if, if maybe you'd like to come I mean not to all of them obviously because of plane rides and things but to a few? I mean Alfred never comes to any game that isn't one of his so I you could come to the Montreal and Toronto games for instance but if you don't want to you don't-"
"I would like that very much," Russia cut him off, "thank you for inviting me."
"O-oh," Canada said, a blush painting his face, "n-no problem." Russia nodded, returning to whatever he was eating, Canada had ended up ordering for him while he was in the bathroom, and it was good, some sort of salmon. Russia once again found himself studying the younger nation, appreciating the delicate pink on his cheeks and nose. "Russia?" The larger nation blinked, embarrassed to have been caught staring. "Is there something on my face?"
"No," Russia said, not bothering to explain himself and Canad just looked at him uncertainly. After that, they managed a fairly interesting, if somewhat stilted, conversation on politics, most nations favourite discussion point because it was one thing they all had in common, for probably another half hour, before Russia looked at his watch. "Ah," he said, standing up from his spot on the bed, "I have an appointment with Natalia's boss," he winced as he said it, "I should go."
"Oh, alright," Canada said, following him over to the door, "hope it goes well." Russia nodded in thanks, putting his jacket back on as he made his way to the elevator. Canada watched him go, uncertain, before he realized Russia had forgotten his heart. Darting into the room he scooped the ice bucket off his bed side table, "Russia!" he shouted just as the elevator doors closed and he stood there for a moment, eyes wide before he glanced down at the heart in his hands. "What the hell am I going to do with you?" he asked it.
The heart just kept beating.
Russia didn't notice anything was off until he was on the edge of sleep, the night promising to be one of bad dreams. He'd spent all afternoon fending off Belarus' unwanted advances, and as he'd drifted between the realms of the awake and the sleeping, images of a younger sweeter Belarus melting into what she was now he noticed the lack of pounding heart beat.
"Shit," he swore, sitting up and reaching for the phone. After two rings Canada picked up, sounding a little out of breath.
"Canada," Russia said, "do you have my heart?"
Canada made a little noise at that, sounding suspiciously like a stifled giggle before speaking, "yes, I checked on it before I got in the shower." Russia considered this for a moment before coming to a decision.
"Fine then," he said, "you can have it for tonight," his desire to avoid having to get redressed stronger than his worry about his heart.
Canada paused for a moment before agreeing, more interested in getting back to his shower than arguing about care taking for Russia's heart. "I would be honoured to care for your heart," he said instead, smiling softly. On the other side of the phone Russia's face went slack, his expression absolutely floored. "My water's still running, I figured it was Al and I could just hang up and not have him notice, I'll give it to you before you meet with Al tomorrow." With that he hang up, and Russia just stared at the phone in his hand.
Putting it down he sat down gingerly on his bed, toying briefly with the sheets before sliding under them. He slowly started to nod off again, this time his mind blank, Belarus forgotten in favour of the puzzle that was Canada. Eventually he fell asleep completely. If he had dreams, they must have been good.
Canada nervously tucked a piece of hair behind his ear as he entered the dinning room, the ice bucket containing Russia's heart in the crook of one arm. He'd considered skipping breakfast altogether, but his stomach had protested loudly even as the thought had started to form, and so he'd decided to take his chances at the continental breakfast.
His only meeting wasn't until noon, though he knew Russia had a meeting with America at nine, and it was only seven when he'd gone down to breakfast, but a few nations had been awake, despite most everyone having the next two days off. A half asleep Denmark was navigating the muffin selections as a particularly unenthusiastic looking Sweden trailed after him, dutifully picking out the muffins Denmark manhandled and then replaced. Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam were all at a table, drinking what was probably tea, Vietnam and Taiwan talking quietly while Thailand read. England was also up and drinking tea, reading the newspaper and occasionally taking bites of his scone, Wales across from him trying to do the crossword, a cup of coffee cooling next to him.
Canada loved watching the other nations at moments like this, when they were quietest. He quickly poured himself a cup of hot cocoa, a habit he'd taken up to avoid sparking fights between his former colonizers about coffee versus tea, and gleefully swiped up a fair number of strawberries to go with his croissant. He briefly considered sitting down with England and Wales, after all once they noticed him they'd be good for conversation, but nervousness won out and it was a glance out the window told him it was already gorgeous out, so he quietly crept through the French doors.
Outside a few more nations were present, India was in the middle of a rather complex looking yoga routine, and Canada watched her for a moment, wincing a bit she stretched her leg to a ninety degree angle. She must have felt his gaze because warm chocolate eyes landed on his, crinkling in amusement when she saw his face.
"Do not wince at me," she said softly, laughter in her voice, "I remember how flexible you were when I taught you many years ago."
"It's just been a while," he told her softly, remembering the more or less taboo yoga lessons she'd given him in England's rose gardens back in the nineteenth century.
"You come down here at six tomorrow and I will make sure you have a mat," she told him, releasing her pose only to bring the other leg up, "see if you can still bend yourself into a pretzel." Canada smiled, neither refusing nor agreeing, knowing it was better to stay noncommitmental, it lessened the impact of people invariably forgetting. Settling at one of the fine iron wrought table further in the garden, shaded by a rather magnificent pink rhododendron.
"Mon ange," came France's voice from just behind him as he sat, "I did not expect you out here." Canada started a bit, setting his cocoa down and blinking when he saw France. France was dressed down, hair back and wearing a simple button down, cotton by the look, with plain blue jeans. Once upon a time seeing France like this would have left Canada with his heart aching in his chest. Canada had never quite managed to be interested in fashion or aesthetics, despite both France's and England's attempts, and back when he'd been in love with his idealized image of France seeing him in such casual clothing was seemingly perfection. "Isn't your meeting much later? I thought you'd be sleeping in."
"I have a," he paused, searching for a word which described the act of returning ones wayward heart, but France took it in the more obvious direction.
"A date?" he looked incredibly pleased at the thought, sliding into the chair across from Canada, "and a breakfast date," he propped his chin on his hand, "so sweet mon ange, very you." Canada opened his mouth to say it wasn't a date, but France was one the idea like a dog with a bone. "Hmm, who could it be," he paused, brow wrinkling as he took note of who was around, "please say it is not America."
Matthew laughed softly at that, taking a bit of his strawberry, "no, and I'm not-"
"Netherlands?" France pondered, "we are in Amsterdam after all." Canada just shook his head, eating another strawberry and hoping Russia thought to look outside. "Not Netherlands...Prussia?" the older nation sounded alarmed as he spoke and Canada almost choked on his food.
"Rule number one of hockey buddies; don't date hockey buddies," he told France a little shrilly, and the other sighed in relief.
"C'est bon," he muttered, "if not those two then, Ukraine?" he grinned at that, letting it momentarily fall into a pout when Canada once again shot the idea down.
"No, I am not on a breakfast date with the Ukraine," he said patiently, "in fact I'm not-"
"Good morning Canada." Canada had to give Russia credit, he was excellent at dynamic entries, always able to show up at either the right time or looking just intimidating enough to mix things up in whatever room he was coming into. The look on France's face when he'd heard Russia's voice went from pensive to displeased in less than a second, and the smile he forced when he turned to greet Russia was cool at best.
"Russia," he said pleasantly, "qu'elle surprise, I admit, I would not have guessed."
Russia returned his cool smile and blandly pleasant tone of voice. "Well," he said, waving his hand as if to say 'you know', "I was not expecting you either." France's smile sharpened even as he stood, gesturing to the chair.
"I was just leaving," he said, "et ange, on va parle plus tôt." We'll speak later, Canada nodded reluctantly, and Russia's smile grew a bit smug.
"J'espère que tu n'es pas mécontent de Canada, c'est tout simplement un rendez-vous entre des amis." I hope you're not upset with Canada, this is simply a meeting between friends. France didn't bother responding, simply turning on his heel, and Russia chuckled. "People forget," he told Canada, "the Romanovs ruled for over three hundred years, and for many of them the nobles all spoke French, not a word of Russian among them," his chuckle was humourless, "I do not forget so easy."
Canada nodded, a little uneasy after the transaction, before offering a strawberry, "hungry?" he asked, attempting to change topics and Russia accepted the berry with a smile. "Did you sleep well?" Canada asked, moving onto his croissant. Russia beamed, a truly happy smile which Canada would have been forced to return even if he did not wish to.
"Oh yes," the older nation said, "usually my nights are ruined after meetings with Natalya, but I felt much better after talking with you." Canada flushed at that, grabbing his cup of hot cocoa to hide behind. "And you?" he asked, ignoring the apparent discomfort he had caused his discussion partner.
"Ah, pretty well," the other muttered, face still pink, "Al called to ask me if I had an extra tie with me when it was almost one am."
Russia looked bemused by that fact and cocked his head, taking a drink of his coffee which Canada was not surprised to note was black. "I always thought America would be very much like a child, in bed early and up late."
"He wants to be," Canada said with a slight laugh, "but he's too disorganized, he's often up late doing paper work."
"Well it was rude of him to call so late," Russia said, half recalling the days where they didn't have to paper work, "does he not have a tie?"
"He only brought one," Canada said, "and it's red."
Russia choked on his coffee, barely managing to swallow it before laughing. Canada smiled at the older man, flushing again when he realized he'd been admiring his smile, ducking his head again to half obscure it with his mug. Russia's laughter petered off naturally and they sat in silence, drinking slowly, just breathing in the morning air. All the while Russia was admiring the light of Canada's hair, while Canada thought up ways to make the other smile again, for real.
India smiled softly as she watched them, her legs spread wide, head almost to the mat, and decided to bring her light blue mat for Canada tomorrow. He liked blue.
Please leave a review, it's very important for me to know what works and what doesn't, and as ever, if you see a mistake it's my fault and I'll eventually get around to fixing it once you tell me.