Simply a muse that came to me upon calling my boyfriend at 4 in the morning when I was unable to sleep. This is unbeta'd, and quickly checked over, so let me know if there are blatant mistakes.
References to Bin Laden's death are made, and so there is slight political bias. Not much, but just my perception of how Alfred himself would feel. And also, Alfred has very...colorful language, as many Americans like myself do.
Disclaimer: I do not own Hetalia or the characters here.
"I can't sleep."
Ivan blinks at the abrupt greeting, glancing at the digital clock on his paper littered desk. It was nearly noon. Why would one be trying to go to sleep at this-
As to why Alfred was calling him at, as a quick mental math assured him, four in the morning Eastern Standard Time, was beyond the Russian. He took a sip of bitter caffeine, a habitual morning routine that served as one of the few similarities that he would admit to having with the blonde calling him. The accent should have kicked in sooner, he thought as the mug was lowered before it was raised to his lips again without much thought. But as the American failed to see, it was a Saturday morning in Moscow.
The transceiver didn't blare quite as strong as when that particular title was usually said. Ivan was surprised to sense a little distress in his tone.
"Yto?" he answered, shifting his phone to nudge between his ear and cheek. Part of him jumped as the touch screen vibrated upon contact with his cheek. He sighed slightly and took another sip of coffee. "Why are you calling me then?"
There was a pause on the other line.
"I dunno," Ivan could practically hear him scowling; Alfred did that when he was frustrated, "You're up, I guess."
The Russian man hummed, and helpfully pointed out that so was England. And surely as close as they were, wouldn't America prefer the company of the familiar British voice? They had always been close, it seemed to Ivan, the kind of special relationship that allowed for calls at ungodly hours. Although, Ivan wasn't complaining about the surprise; Alfred was irritating, but a challenge more amusing than the stack of papers gathering coffee rings.
"Iggy would just hang up on me."
It sounded like he was sulking, Ivan thought with a small grin. Alfred continued with a makeshift explanation for his call, ignorant to the other man's reaction.
" 'sides, I had to check up on you and make sure you weren't making any commie plans."
Ivan rolled his eyes, and scoffed to demonstrate to Alfred what he couldn't see. The phone had its advantages, but it was difficult to relay the entire effect of his teasing. Tactful insinuations were only as much fun as the reaction that exploded after them. Flustering America was useful for political games years ago, but now Ivan held onto the teasing for his own personal enjoyment; it meant something entirely different now that jabs brought laughs instead of bullets.
He heard a disgruntled noise from the other end, and leaned an elbow on his desk, now switching the phone to his other ear, "I thought we were done playing hero now?"
Alfred laughed, a bit more strained than his usual boisterous exuberance, "I'm never done being the hero, Russki."
But they both knew that the 'commie bastard' was no longer his opponent.
Playing dumb, to which was only a tactic for information, a coy game of interrogation, Ivan proceeded to act as if he hadn't been paying attention to the world news for the last week. "But if he's dead now, you should be satisfied, da?" He smiled to himself.
When was America ever satisfied?
"This...isn't the end now." The receiver crackled out a response, and Ivan had to strain his ear just slightly to make out the uttered reply. If not for the muffled words, the hesitation was clear, and the fear was slipping through cracks in his pride.
So this is why Alfred had called him.
"They're gonna want to hurt us, me, I mean...I mean, fuck, what other way can you piss them off?"
Ivan idly wondered if Alfred had gotten any sleep since the news of the terrorist leader's death. His people cheered, some obnoxiously, and others reverently in patriotic solace. But an undertone of fear was lacing every chant of his national anthem, and the rest of the world watched for plans to be made and for revenge to be cycled again.
As Russia, it was not wise to get publicly involved in the matter, but as Ivan, he was willing to listen to the fears of a falling rival.
Alfred relayed to him the information that had been repetitively cycled through the media, and everything that Ivan had known for the last week. But as he described it, the news seemed so much more than a story on the world news or a stack of papers on his desk. Every choke on a syllable, and every pause and dip to his voice gave the tale a new depth from a perspective that Ivan had never imagined before. Alfred spoke to him in terms of an American, not the government, but as the true feelings and fears of the nation that was waiting for someone to make the next move.
Maybe this time he wouldn't be okay, and Ivan pictured the scar he'd kissed in a dimly lit hotel somewhere in New York where the calm following calamity was beginning to settle with the scar tissue. The gash, angry red petals fluttering from his pulse to his collar bone, burning into a memory already filled with scars. But that time it was Alfred, and for him, more personal than the initiative attack on Hawaii, that left a faded ribbon down his left shoulder. For Ivan to touch the then-new mark of 9/11 was more personal than any passion shared previously in a bed belonging to neither of them.
Ivan knew he would end up in Alfred's bed again despite the lack of acknowledgement they gave to their undefinable relationship. And the next time he saw tanned skin, he did not wish to see a new scar marring his form. Alfred barely let him touch his neck as it was.
And Ivan knew why he had called him instead of his other European friends; because no one else could quite understand the panic of falling as well as the rival you sought to destroy. That self-destruction was a quality exclusive to themselves in a unique, painful way that was only achieved through bringing it on each other. Ivan knew how Alfred feared and hurt, because it was Alfred who had succeeded in bringing him down to that level of pain before.
So when Alfred finally let out an unwilling sob, there was no accusing comments to insult his pride. Violet eyes merely stared into the worn wood of the desk and paid witness to the tears he was unable to see, but knew were falling. He admired him for that, he thought wordlessly, Alfred's ability to express his emotions was beautiful. Crying was not beneath him, and for that, Alfred was beyond many of the stoic nations that felt it weak to show tears. No, Ivan mentally confirmed, Alfred was stronger because he let himself cry, because he was able to take on his role of a nation without destroying that joint profile of humanity.
A choked sniffle marked the beginning of a pregnant pause, where one party was both unsure of what to say and patiently waiting for a chance to say the right thing, and the other berating himself for the emotions he just let explode to his enemy of decades and unfought wars. Ivan's nail dragged along the wood, chasing a stream of sunlight that had leaked through the blinds. Faintly, he heard another sniffle.
A foreign feeling washed over him with the sound of his name, the name that belonged to just him. It was delightfully intimate and frighteningly close. It unnerved the old Russia to some extent, how the syllables could flow off the American tongue so delicately, with no hesitation or malice. His voice instead heigtened the beauty of the word. Ivan.English shouldn't be able to do that, westernizing his name was not bettering it. Ivan scowled at the realization of just how far they'd come.
Alfred grunted, and a shuffle on the phone signified him squirming around in cotton sheets, trying desperately to find a comfortable position. He heard the crackle of a sigh being transformed into static.
"Would you miss me if I was gone?"
Taken slightly aback by the question, violet eyes fluttered before thin lips curled into a secretive smirk.
Alfred whined, childlike. A frustrated pause accompanied an amused hum from Ivan's end, followed by a quieter, strained response, "Really, would you?"
"I don't know."
The more Alfred encroached upon feelings that Ivan wasn't sure if he himself was ready to examine, the tighter his stomach twisted. Twisting and girating, an oddly curious sensation. It made him sick, and more than just anxious, but there was a higher pitch of curiousity that part of him wanted to go further. He couldn't understand this desire to hear more from him, to open a box of chaos they had quietly sealed too recently. Ivan didn't want to comply, but for the first time, he wanted him to pry, because he knew Alfred would. Alfred was just as desperate for someone to need him as Ivan was.
"You would, wouldn't you?"
Ivan inhaled, and his ears resounded with the sound of ticking. Thick air was pressuring him as bounds of seconds increased the twisting. Tik, tik...
The peace in his tone was overwhelming, and Ivan couldn't bring himself to elaborate on such a confession. It was a large enough step into a dangerous concept for today. Alfred didn't say anything either, but Ivan could hear the difference of deep crackles that followed. He didn't know what he was thinking, but honestly, he never could tell what Alfred's true motives were. All he knew was that the battered waves of the American's breaths were the most human, beautiful sound he had heard.
It had been that way for at least an hour, with the breathing on the other end slowing to a calm, soporific pace. Ivan had long forgotten about the demanding papers on his floor, previously the priority sitting on his desk. Now, pale skin was slightly sticky against the aged wood, his cheek resting on the desk. He couldn't get the sound of Alfred's voice from his ears, and the twisting feeling to fade into the realms of forgotten emotions.
A beep made Ivan languidly lift his head to look at the lit phone, cheerfully informing him of his conversation of three hours, twelve minutes, and fifty-six seconds. The battery was half drained, and either Alfred's had depleted completely, or the signal was lost from the many miles between them. But it was alright, Ivan thought as he pocketed the phone, he had work to do.
Later that night, Ivan stretched, falling onto his mattress in a feline manner, limbs curling into a humurous, ball-like position. His mind ached, and muscles were pleasantly worn from the day's activities. Lazily, the black phone was tossed onto the bedside table to be connected to the charger for the night. As the screen lit up, Ivan stared at the envelope on the screen curiously.
He had a text, from America.
Thanks for reading 3 Reviews are lovely.
-There is a 7 hour (I think) time zone difference between New York and Moscow.
-On May 2, 2011, Osama bin Laden was killed by American Navy Seals.
-Following bin Laden's death, the U.S. State Department issued a "worldwide caution" for Americans, and U.S diplomatic facilities everywhere were placed on high alert, a senior U.S official said. Crowds gathered outside the White House, in New York City's Times Square, as well as the World Trade Center, the site of the September 11 attacks, to celebrate bin Laden's death. (from Wikipedia)
-The scars are from both the tragedies of Pearl Harbor in Hawaii (on his left shoulder), and the World Trade Center in New York on September 11 (the scar on his neck).