TITLE: "Laments of Cinderella"
SUMMARY: Toris travels to Russia to work as a domestic servant for the Braginski family at the request of his brother. When he arrives, he discovers the circumstances regarding his employment have changed. Ivan x Toris, AU
WARNINGS: Cross-dressing, Yaoi lemons in future chapters, Male x Male relationships, Alternative Universe, Multi-chapter fic, Human names used.
MAIN PAIRING: Russia x Lithuania (Ivan x Toris)
SIDE PAIRING: Ukraine x Canada (Kataya x Matthew), some Poland x Lithuania (Feliks x Toris)
DISCLAIMER: We do not own Hetalia and we do not claim to be historically accurate.
At first glance, there was nothing truly remarkable about Toris. Everything about him was plain, including the food his country prided itself on. The clothes he wore were old and the car he drove was second-hand. His hair was shoulder length and lack-luster brown and his look was charming yet somewhat androgynous. His fingers were slender but dry and cracked from years of menial labor. Where other boys doused themselves in the latest cologne, he smelled more of the earthy sunflower fields back home.
As his green eyes caught sight of the main gate, Toris' heart raced nervously; coming to be employed in this place was nothing short of a miracle. The grounds that stretched out before him were massive yet bare and snow covered. The large mansion that lie off in the distance towered above the land like a white stone castle; its outer façade elegant yet antiquated with its traditional masonry designs. For a moment, Toris wondered if the mansion had actually been a true castle at one time. It was certainly old and was easily the largest structure he had ever seen. Toris smiled eagerly. It would be nice living here. This place really was stunningly beautiful amidst the frosty terrain.
Toris had heard from his younger brother Eduard that the Braginskis were among one of the most wealthy families of Europe, second only in this area to a neighboring Swedish family from the northwest. Toris wondered what it was going to be like to actually work for someone that important. He knew very little about the Braginskis-only that his brother had already been employed by them in a financial capacity. Eduard had been appointed by the bank where he worked to oversee their family's trust fund now that the last surviving parent had died. And for a year now he had been in charge of administering the payments to the reclusive family.
"They are rich," his brother would explain whenever Toris asked him to describe his prospective employers, as though saying so was an obvious description of their character. When Toris pressed for more information, Eduard would simply smile and tell him they act like rich people do, eccentric and easy going since they didn't really have to work for a living.
These answers never really satisfied Toris and his mind raced with anticipation about what sort of people he would encounter when he arrived. He already felt special about being asked to perform the duties of a servant for the Braginski household. His brother had insisted that he work for a family that could afford to pay him on a steady basis. It would be different from the patchwork of jobs he had held while living in Lithuania.
Being a servant and taking care of others came naturally to Toris and now that Eduard arranged the position, he wouldn't have to worry about his well being. His room and board were considered part of the contract and for the next five months, he would be living in the mansion the Braginskis called home.
"This is it. We've arrived," Eduard announced as he pulled into the circular driveway, "If these people seem strange, act as though they are behaving naturally. I'll handle everything so just remain quiet for now."
Toris turned his head. What did that mean?
Eduard resumed his pleasant smile as he exited the car. He headed to the rear of the vehicle and set about fetching Toris' suitcase from the trunk.
Toris shivered in response to the cold, crossing his arms quickly against his body as he stepped outside Eduard's car onto the icy stone walkway. It was slippery but the rubber soles on his plain loafer shoes made his footing more secure. Toris was thankful he had chosen to wear them instead of the dress shoes he had been considering. It was fortunate Eduard had given him advice on what to wear. Though in retrospect, he had to admit that the long unisex style coat his brother had insisted upon was a bit thin.
Eduard rushed ahead of him, skidding a bit as he pulled along Toris' lone suitcase towards the front door. The younger man knocked firmly using the ornate door knocker which was encrusted with the Soviet Union's sickle and star insignia. For a moment, things were quiet. Eduard gulped uncomfortably as he waited for a response from beyond the door. It came abruptly and without warning. The loud sound of barking startled Toris greatly. Their howls and barks emanated aggressively from behind the door to the front hall. It really was terrifying because the dogs sounded more like wolves and their barks readily gave way to snarls and low-pitched growls as they began to die down.
Eduard, for his part, did tremble. Though he tried his best to appear calm, Toris noticed his brother's hands were shaking as they waited. When Eduard realized Toris had taken note of his behavior, he thrust one of his hands into his pocket, attempting to conceal the signs of his anxiety.
"Yes? What is it?" a female called from somewhere above them. Toris craned his neck upward to locate the source of the voice. Standing in front of a towering window on the second floor, a beautiful woman with light blonde hair and large breasts peered downward in their direction, "Who's there?" she asked, her voice polite yet firm.
Eduard stepped off the door stoop immediately so the woman could identify him. "Oh, it's you," she said in surprise, her expression betraying her uncertainty, "Has something happened?"
Eduard shook his head no. "Hello," he greeted, his tone cordial and smooth, "Everything's alright. I'm just paying a social visit today. Sorry for calling unannounced. I just happened to be in your neighborhood and I wanted to make an introduction." He caught Toris by the shoulder and pulled the brunettes into view.
"I see," the woman replied, casting her eyes upon Toris curiously. "Who is this?" she questioned.
Toris prepared to answer but Eduard interrupted him. "This is the one I've been telling you about," he explained, his hand still shaking, "I'm very eager for you two to meet."
Toris greeted his new employer nervously. "Hello. How do you do?" The woman returned his friendly wave graciously. "Ah, hello," she responded, her eyes brightening somewhat.
"May I please introduce to you my older sister, Toriska," Eduard said, gesturing to Toris.
Toris shot his brother a confused look. Surely he had misheard what his sibling had just said.
"She's very excited about visiting and possibly showing you her talent for work. I've told her many wonderful things about your glorious family; how you come from a long line of royalty and that you expect quality in everything." Eduard readily continued.
Of course Toris knew that his brother had been lying. Eduard was never so wordy, not about the Braginskis anyway. And what was this business about him being a 'she'? Something strange was going on.
The blonde coyly ran her finger along the window sill. "I'm sorry but we have already told you we do not hire outside servants. My brother feels they are unnecessary," she stated.
Toris cocked his head and shot a puzzled look towards Eduard. This was becoming even weirder. Hadn't Eduard told him he was going to work for this family as a servant? It was the entire reason he had come to Russia in the first place.
"This is just a friendly visit. Surely you're not opposed to it? I'm a trusted family friend." Eduard plied, sweeping his hand over Toris' arm before the brunette could back away any further.
"Well I shouldn't but…," she hesitantly stated, pointing towards an adjacent walkway running parallel towards the rear of the mansion, "You'll have to use the back entrance. My brother's dogs have taken run of the downstairs since he has been away."
"Yes, of course," Eduard said, his voice wavering a bit, "I had almost forgotten Ivan was away at business school. How silly of me." Eduard slid his other hand into his pocket. "He is away, is he not?"
The woman nodded slowly. The tension recently present on the younger man's face faded in response to her answer. "Excellent," Eduard mumbled under his breath.
"Just a minute. We'll be right there." he told her as he caught Toris' arm and led him towards the corner of the mansion. .
Toris followed his brother reluctantly.. "Stop!" Toris finally breathed when they were out of earshot of the window. "What is going on here?"
"Shhhh." Eduard said, pressing a finger to his lips. He looked around warily before continuing, "I know what you're thinking. You don't understand what I've done for you. How hard I've had to work to make this all flow together to help us, to help you."
"Eduard, what haven't you been telling me?" Toris asked calmly, his hand cupping over Eduard's wrist, "I'm confused about what you're saying to this woman. You told me…"
Eduard shuffled from his older brother's touch uncomfortably. "Yes. I told you things. Some of it stretching the truth a little," he admitted, "But don't worry. This will work. I wouldn't do it otherwise."
Toris raised an eyebrow. "I thought surprise would be best. You really get too nervous when you over-think situations," the younger man stated.
"I don't over-think things." Toris responded defensively though he knew Eduard was probably right. It was just his personality was naturally prone to obsessively spawning worry. The brunette was already over-thinking what little he did know.
"You'd better explain yourself better than that," Toris insisted, "Why are you lying and trying to pass me off as a girl?"
Eduard pressed his hand to the side of Toris' face. "Look at you. You really do fit the part of a girl with your gentle face and kind disposition." He brushed a loose strand of hair from his older brother's forehead. "I was hoping you wouldn't cut your hair while I was gone. No. I was pretty sure you wouldn't. You're so plain that transforming you into a female will be easy."
Toris shook his head. "But I don't want to be transformed. No one is going to believe I'm a woman and why would they need to anyway? What lies have you been telling?" the brunette asked in a worrisome tone.
Eduard didn't attempt to offer his older brother a satisfying answer. He merely readjusted his glasses and exhaled a deep breath. "I need you to help me Toris. I can't pull this off myself," Eduard explained in a pleading way, "I told you before, the Braginskis are a very wealthy family. Very wealthy."
The Estonian man drew another long breath as he waited for his brother to digest the information. "This family is strange," Eduard pointed out, "They do not hire outsiders often. Their brother Ivan is very protective of his sisters just as their parents were protective of all of them. It is only by luck that I was appointed through the bank to handle their financial affairs."
"We deserve a comfortable life Toris," Eduard justified to him, "And I've figured out how to get that for us."
"How?" Toris asked, a bit of apprehension cropping up in his voice.
"There are three siblings in this family, all who are unmarried. It's an opportunity I can't afford to pass up. Kataya is the oldest, Ivan is the middle child, and Natalia is the youngest. My hope is that by you living here you will be able to win this family's approval, especially Kataya."
"But.." Toris protested.
Eduard smirked. "Ah, you're probably wondering why I said you were a girl? It's because it would be unthinkable to hire a male servant when there are two unwed young ladies of society living in this household. That's why you must pose as a woman. As a female maid you will be able to cook, clean, and care for this household without detection. What is more, you will be able to become their friend because nothing is more important to this family than being their friend. They are rich and eccentric, and socially retarded. Leave the details to me and just play your part."
"This is crazy," Toris whined, "It's not going to work."
Eduard pulled a cosmetic case from his jacket pocket. "Just shut up and keep it together." he said as he proceeded to smear lipstick and make-up on the brunette's face.
Toris sighed, "Eduard, she'll notice right away."
"I doubt it," he said and with that, Eduard pushed Toris towards the staircase.
To be continued
A/N- Please read and review! We would be very grateful for that and it would encourage us to continue writing knowing your opinion for this story~! *hugs*
A/N 2- This chapter has been recently edited on August 12, 2011. Thank you for reading~!