Ukraine and Belarus stared at their brother. It had been a long time since they had last seen him. Ukraine was 10 and Belarus was 4. Belarus pouted like her usual self while Ukraine smiled sweetly. She couldn't but think Russia had grown quite a bit since they were separated. He was 6 now, and quite a bit taller but still a very small country. His personality seemed very different now though. Ukraine had always remembered Russia as a grinning little boy who was sensitive and kind but a little clingy at times. He always wanted to play in the snow and loved running through sunflower fields in summer. He was an adorable and loving little brother who always smiled. Now he stood there awkwardly, not really moving with a fake smile plastered on his face. His boss towered at his side, looking down the girls who were his new charges.
"Russia, greet your sisters. Show them around the house and their new rooms. It's been a while since they were here so make sure they know where everything is."
Ahhh my sisters have finally arrived! They look nervous so I should be extra nice, Da.Russia nodded and stepped forward, offering his hand to Ukraine.
Ukraine is so tall now, I wonder if she is still a cry baby?... He didn't offer Belarus his hand. She was only a toddler when he last saw her and she always avoided him. She didn't like his old needy personality. Belarus looks so different too now, I wonder if she will like me? She looked up at Russia and blinked while Ukraine politely took his small hand. Ukraine noted how tiny and warm to the touch it was.
He guided them through the house pointing out various rooms like the kitchen and bathroom and other guest rooms. The house was really big and quite beautiful but it seemed cold and empty compared to how the sisters remembered it. It was quite daunting. He made a small comment part way through the tour.
"It's a really, really big house but I want to grow into it one day. I am going to be big and strong and support this house." Russia led them up stairs. He showed them where their rooms were. They were reasonably clean and ready to be moved into and their luggage had already been left in the rooms.
"This is where Little sister will sleep and beside her is where Big sister will sleep." The girls looked into the two rooms. Ukraine tried to smile while Belarus showed her entire annoyance with her situation. Belarus looks annoyed... Maybe I can cheer her up?
"Where is your room, Brother?" Russia looked a little surprised that anyone would want to see his room.
"Oh!" He looked down the corridor a bit. "It's just beside Big sister's. Would you like to see it?" He sounded a little excited to be able to show his room to someone. Finally I can show someone my room! Ukraine grinned and nodded while Russia returned the grin. She was happy that Russia had managed to smile sincerely at last.
He pushed open the door and walked in with a little hop, resembling his younger self a little. Ukraine stepped in, expecting to see a typical young child's room with toys and pictures and drawings but it was bare. Her smile faltered as she looked around the room. The only noticeable decoration was the wilting sunflowers that sat on a vase at the window. He smiled and turned to look at his sisters.
"What do you think sisters?" Ukraine struggled to smile.
"It's a little bare brother..." He flinched in surprise and looked around the room like seeing it for the first time.
"Huh?... I suppose it is. Da." Ukraine seems a little sad... His usual fake smile faded a little but perked up again. Maybe I can show them my 'treasure'... "I have something nice to show you. But please keep it a secret from our Boss. Da? " Belarus nodded while Ukraine smiled.
"Da. Of course brother." He hopped to the door and closed it quietly, he ran back to the side of his bed and lied on his stomach. He shuffled and crawled under the bed, only to return seconds later, with a large flat cardboard box. He sat on his bed with his legs dangling off the edge and the box on his lap. He signalled for the sisters to join him on his bed. They sat on either side. The only one who could touch the ground with their feet was Ukraine.
He opened the box carefully and slowly as if it was the most important and fragile item in the world. Inside the box was various photos and drawings and other odd items. He took out a handful of photos.
"These are things I like." He flicked through the photos, giving enough time for the sisters to look curiously at what their brother had been doing the past few years. The photos started with his 5 year self, just after they left and slowly became newer and newer. The first few photos were of the old grinning Russia, usually surrounded by people or sunflowers. But the people and his smile faded as the photos proceeded. In most of the recent photos, Russia was alone and it was clear that he was the one taking his own photo. The backgrounds became less and less cheery and his smile always looked lonely or sad so matter how wide it was. Ukraine stared at his brother who smiled fondly at the pictures. She tried to imagine what things her brother had gone through and how he had to cope with the crushing loneliness. When they were separated at least she had Belarus for company but Russia had no one. He grew up in this big empty house alone. He was a different person now.
He looked at to see what she thought of the pictures and his grin hesitated when he saw her concern. "What's wrong big sister?"
"Ahh. Nothing. Your photos are very nice." Maybe Ukraine doesn't like them?...
"Thank you. I also drew some drawings." These aren't as good as the photos but she might like them. He replaced the photos carefully into the box again and retrieved a smaller stack of paper. It was a small stack of roughly drawn pictures. Most were drawn in colouring pencil and a few were in crayon and pen. She noticed that most of the drawings were old. It seems to have been a while since Russia had actually drawn. The pictures resembled the photos. He paused at one with three people in it. This one is my best drawing.
"Look. It's us." She looked at the browning paper to see three disfigured people standing in front of a badly drawn field of sunflowers in pencil. She smiled at the drawing.
"Ta. We sure look different now. Belarus is now longer a baby and Russia is much taller."
"Big sister is taller too." She smiled at him kindly before looking in surprise at Belarus who clung to Russia's side. Belarus was always a shy, moody child who avoided people but now she held onto Russia's arm tightly.
He placed the pictures back and pulled out a small toy. "This one is my favourite but Big sister can have it." He dropped in her hand. It was a stuffed rag rabbit that was badly patched up."This is my second favourite."
He pulled out a wooden doll that was beautifully painted. He pulled the top off the reveal an identical but small doll inside. He repeated this until eight wooden dolls stood side by side. "I like playing with them like a big family." He returned to dolls back to their original arrangement and placed them on the table beside the vase. He took up a small paper bag.
"What's that, Russia?" "My precious seeds. When spring comes, I am going to plant them in the garden and in Summer lots of sunflowers are going to grow." Russia bubbled inside with excitement, impatient for the arrival of the sunflowers. Ukraine grinned.
"Oh ta. I remember when we used to play all day in the sunflower fields. That was fun wasn't it?" Russia frowned a little.
"I can't really remember those times all that well... but I love sunflowers the most." The three turned at they heard footsteps coming up the stairs. Russia grabbed the Russian wooden dolls and the seeds and pushed them into the box, replacing the lid and pushing it hurriedly under the bed. The door opened to see the three sitting on Russia's bed.
"Good. You three are getting along. Russia. Lunch is in 15 minutes. Do not be late."
Russia nodded. "Da Sir." The man nodded affirmatively and walked out.
(A/N - Ukraine and Belarus were separated from Russia (or Rus as that was his name at the time) during the Mongrel Invasion. It was one of the most powerful and blood thristy invasions in history. It was a very violent time and Russia took the hardest hit, losing over half of his population. In my timeline, this happened when Russia was 4 but he has no photos in his box from that time. He took him a long time to recover from the attack (a year in his country age line) so he was 5 when he started drawing and having his photo taken again. The event mentally scared him for life. His physical wounds from that time were broken ribs and bones, various cuts and gashes (most deep and bloody) and his worst wound was when he was left for dead on the ground with a sword through his stomach. He was found by someone who later became his boss before he died. The sword was removed and the wounds bandaged. He surprisingly has no scars from that time. (expect for mental ones) He was suddenly alone for a very very long time until the soviet unioin was formed and he met his sisters again.)