You know, I'm really surprised no-one else has writen something about this yet... my first (sort-of) Hetalia fic, but I guess it's cheating as it's combined with Beyblade too. I own neither of them, anyway. Probably a good thing too.

With Ice In His Veins


Not many knew the secret, he was told that almost as soon as they brought him inside. Even fewer had been granted the honour of a meeting. And even less had been asked to come for a meeting. All the same, the eight year old couldn't help but feel just a little bit disappointed.

He'd been expecting someone a little... well, fiercer.

The man on the other side of the desk had short, lilac grey hair that reminded the boy of the last dregs of snow in the streets of Moscow, dirty and tired and feeble as the sun melted it away into the short summer. His long coat, dull brown-grey, wasn't much better. Thick, black, leather gloves, fingers steepled together, stood out vividly against the dull background as their owner set his elbows on the table to scrutinise the boy in front of him.

Worst of all, he was smiling. A big, sweet, summer-sun smile that filled his round face, but still somehow didn't manage to make the boy feel any better. In fact, it made him more nervous than ever. There was something profoundly wrong about the smile, but he couldn't for the life of him work out what it was.

"You speak Japanese very well." It was not a question. The boy drew himself up proudly.

"I'm mostly Japanese, sir, but I've lived here most of my life."

"You would count yourself as mine, then?" A short nod was the man's answer. "Good. I have heard you are a very good... what do they call it... beyblader?"

At this, the boy's face split into a huge, automatic smile. "Yes, sir."

"Is it fun?"

"Yes, sir..." Then the boy paused. It would be terrible to lie to this man of all people. "Most of the time. It's not so much fun any more."

A look of concern crossed the man's face, an expression that the boy wasn't familiar with. "Why is it not fun any more?"

The boy swallowed. "I had to go to a big place for special training. We don't do proper battles outside; we have to stay inside all the time and practice. That's boring. And if we get things wrong, the teachers don't like us, and that's not nice." He looked up into a pair of violet eyes so very like his own. "And it's cold in the place where we stay, sir. That's not nice either."

The man stood up very suddenly and came around the desk so quickly that the boy didn't have a chance to even see him move before he was right next to him. He knelt down so that he was looking into the child's eyes, and reached out to put a hand – so heavy, that hand! - on the boy's shoulder.

"Do you know why you are here, little one?" His smile was not quite so terrifying now, almost genuine.

A slow shake of the head. The boy knew where he was, of course, but none of his teachers had thought to tell him why he had to go to this meeting with one of the most important people he would ever meet.

"You are here because you are young, and you are strong, and you are determined to win. You have been chosen, Kai Hiwatari. You will represent Russia one day, and you will win for Russia. For me."

"Win what?"

"The World Championships, of course. How better to show the world how great Russia still is than by ruling this new sport?"

The boy's – Kai's – eyes went wide with awe. World Champion? Him? He shivered as a thrill ran through him. It was every blader's dream to one day become the World Champion, and if this man with his tired grey hair and his dull khaki brown coat and his undeniable air of authority said that he, Kai, would represent Russia in the Beyblade World Championship finals, he would.

"Yes, sir!"

"Good," Russia said again, and his smile was once again fearsome. "It would have been very bad for you if you had said no."

Kai stayed very still, staring into the deep eyes of the country he had been brought up in. Something in his eight-year-old mind told him that this could easily be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and he was determined to memorise all of it.

"So you must win all of the battles to get to the top of the world champions leaderboard, mustn't you, Kai?"

"Yes, sir," Kai said automatically.

"You will fight for Russia, da?"

"Yes, sir."

Russia stood up very quickly and vanished back behind his desk. From the noise of it, he was opening a drawer and taking something out. All of a sudden, he was back in front of Kai.

"Here," he said. "Now you cannot forget."

The long piece of white material wrapped around Kai's throat several times, surprisingly loosely. Russia threw the two ends over the boy's shoulders and watched in dismay as the ends fell to trail on the floor. Unless it was wrapped around Kai's neck so many times that his neck would be as wide as his shoulders, the twin-tailed scarf would inevitably drag in the mud and the snow.

"Hmm…" said Russia, though his strange smile didn't leave his face. Then he put a hand in his pocket, pulled out a small folding knife and slashed down right in front of Kai's face. Startled, the boy leapt backwards, tripping as half of his new scarf fell to the ground, severed. Nearly falling, except that Russia caught his wrist with one of those black-gloved hands, so, so cold and strong.

"Stand up, Kai," the much taller man ordered. "You are Russian now." He reached behind Kai's head and swiftly knotted the scarf so that only a single tail trailed behind the eight-year-old. "See? Now your training will not be so cold."

Kai fingered the soft, white material wrapped around his throat. He hadn't felt anything so soft and fine since he'd arrived in the abbey. "Thank you, sir," he whispered, then drew himself up to his full height, trying to appear as imposing and grown-up as possible. "I will do my best to win, sir!"

"You will." The creepy smile was back again. "I will not be happy if you do not win, Kai."

Kai nodded very fast.

"You can go now." And the big Russian moved to sit back behind his desk, completely ignoring Kai in favour of a small carved dog in the centre of the table.

"Come," whispered a soft voice in Kai's ear. "Mr Russia is very busy."

Kai looked up into a pair of blue eyes framed by dark brown hair. "Who are you?"

A small smile. "I am Lithuania. I work for Mr Russia. Come on, I will take you to the car."

A/N - was Russia okay? It's really hard making him scary but not too scary for eight-year-old Kai!