I have no excuse for this. I wanted to challenge myself and try to write a crack pairing that's believable. To take two completely incompatible characters and make them seem like it isn't ridiculous for them to be in the same room. Belarus and South Korea sprang to mind, and that is how this came to exist.
It was kind of fun, actually. I might write more crack one-shots in the future. ^_^
"You wanted to see me, brother?"
Looking up from her curtsey, Belarus noted with some annoyance that this would not be a moment shared between her and Russia alone; there was another person in the room, sitting straight-backed and stony-faced as though he disapproved of the armchair underneath him. She had little contact with North Korea – he preferred to keep to himself – and didn't know any more than what she had seen of him during his meetings with Russia. A stab of jealousy twisted her lips into a snarl as she straightened up. Russia never wanted to have meetings alone with her.
"Ah, Belarus." Russia folded his hands in his lap and attempted to smile, but didn't quite manage it. "Korea, you have a request for her, da?"
She returned his stare with as much venom as she could muster, but couldn't quite keep from feeling self-conscious. The Asian nation could stare with enough intensity to make a rock shift uncomfortably. "Miss Belarus," he said. "I hear you are quite competent at frightening people."
Russia bit his lip and stared in the opposite direction, but North Korea didn't seem to notice. Each word he spoke was decisively chosen, deadly serious and fired in her direction like a bullet. It wasn't often she met someone with less of a sense of humour than her, but she was beginning to wonder if she had competition in the nation in front of her. "Some have said so," she said, throwing a glance at Russia that was halfway between anger and hurt.
"Excellent," said North Korea. He didn't appear to have noticed the silent exchange between the two siblings, either; she began to get the feeling that his people skills left much to be desired. "Do you know my brother?"
She found herself wishing that he would blink. "South Korea?" She had seen him at world meetings, heard about him from other nations, but never properly spoken to him. All she had gathered told her that he wasn't worth her time. "Vaguely."
"He has been bothering me since we separated," he continued. 'Separated' was such a concise way of describing the Korean War; she admired his efficiency. "He does not appear to believe that I no longer wish to speak to him. If you could persuade him to keep away from me, it would be much appreciated."
Quick as a flash, she whipped a knife from its hiding place in the ribbon around her waist and flipped it around her fingers. "I am very adept at persuasion. How permanent would you like it to be?"
Something flashed in North Korea's eyes, but it was gone before she could make out what it was. "Don't hurt him," he said quickly. "There is no need for such drastic measures. Just… make it clear to him that I no longer want him bothering me."
She spun her knife once more before tucking it back out of sight. "Is that all?"
North Korea nodded. Russia smiled, indulgent and relieved. "Would you bring us some tea, please, Bella?"
She curtseyed, low and wide. "Of course, brother."
South Korea's house was laughably easy to break into. Oh, there were security systems, but then there always were. They were concentrated around the front door as though any self-respecting thief would actually try to go in that way. Not that she was a thief, of course. She was… a diplomat. A representative of Russia. Security systems or no security systems, nothing was getting in the way of her impressing him.
As she crouched on South Korea's bedroom windowsill and picked at the lock, thankful that the moonlight was bright enough that she didn't need to use a torch, she allowed her imagination to stray to how Russia would reward her when she came home successful. Perhaps he'd finally start to notice her as more than just someone to avoid. Perhaps he'd realise how talented and faithful she was and see that they were meant to be together. Perhaps he'd even consent to marry her. The lock clicked open and, her head still full of intoxicating possibilities, she pushed open the window and dropped silently inside.
The room was minimalistic and simple – it was only a few years after the war and South Korea's economy still hadn't completely recovered. The only piece of furniture she took note of was the mattress in the middle of the room and the lump underneath the duvet. He really did look exactly like his brother; it was almost unnerving, but she felt sure that North Korea would never sleep stretched out with his mouth open like that. Taking her knives from her belt, she crept noiselessly across to South Korea. She would wake him up suddenly, her blades right under his chin, and traumatise him into leaving his brother alone. In her experience, fear was the most effective form of persuasion. A few minutes alone with her and he would run screaming at the sound of North Korea's name.
As quietly as she could, she placed a knee on the mattress and eased herself onto it. She needed to be close to achieve the required effect. Right on top of him would be best; it would make it easier to hold him down. Slowly, carefully, she lifted her leg and moved it to the other side of the lump under the duvet.
Her knee landed on something hard. Something that hadn't shown up under the bulky covers. She only just had time to realise that it was his arm before his eyes snapped open.
South Korea reacted impressively fast for someone who had been asleep only moments before. He whipped his legs out from under her and landed in a crouching position before launching himself forwards, trying to grab her wrists. She held her knives out of his reach as he crashed into her and they rolled sideways off the mattress in a tangle of arms and legs. He was moving too fast to slash at, but that didn't stop her from trying. South Korea managed to latch onto one of her wrists and hold it away from them – he was stronger than he looked, she noted – but she used her free hand to stab at his arm and succeeded in slicing through the elbow of his pyjamas before he jerked it away.
Before she knew what he was doing, South Korea had locked her knee in place with his foot and linked his arm through hers, yanking it towards the floor so fast she lost her balance. He took advantage of the opportunity to roll her sideways and pin her to the ground and, in the half-second it took for her to recover her equilibrium, had plucked the knives from her hands and thrown them out of her reach.
And then the flurry of motion was replaced with stillness, silent except for their heavy breathing. Belarus was trapped. South Korea was lying on top of her, pressing her to the ground with his own weight, and his hands were holding her wrists so tightly she could feel them cutting off her circulation.
His face was inches from hers, and it occurred to her again just how similar he looked to his brother. Everything was the same, right down to the soft, rounded features, the dark hair with a curl that never seemed to want to join the rest and the eyes so deeply indigo they were almost black.
"Did you just try to kill me?" he asked, breathless.
She glared at him, trying to project with her eyes what she couldn't with her knives. "No."
"Did Russia send you?"
"No." It was the truth. Sort of. Russia hadn't been the one to give her the orders, but if North Korea had approached her on his own she would've told him to go and do it himself and stop bothering her. It was Russia's involvement that made her so desperate to succeed. But South Korea didn't need to know that. All South Korea needed to do was shut up and lose the fight. She twisted her wrists out of his grip – he let them go, confident that he had won and she was useless pinned to the ground without her knives.
"Are you sure?" he asked. "Because I think he did."
"He didn't send me!" What he didn't know was that she wasn't without her knives. As they spoke, her hands were creeping slowly towards the spare she kept concealed in the top of her left stocking. She had to work not to smile as her fingers curled around the steel hilt.
"You know," said South Korea, "acting like Russia's slave won't make him love you."
Acting like Russia's slave won't make him love you.
But she did everything he asked and more. She carried out every one of his commands, whether it was disposing of political enemies, enforcing his laws or just sweeping the floor, to the absolute best of her ability. She tried every day to show him that she loved him. She was the most devoted servant he had. She wasn't acting like a slave, she was just showing him how much he meant to her!
But then why didn't he return her love? She would do everything he told her to, try her best to be around him as much as possible, and all he did was avoid her and run away whenever she tried to persuade him to marry her. For so many years she'd worked and worked to earn his love, and for so many years he'd spurned and ignored her.
Acting like Russia's slave won't make him love you.
Why was she here? Why had she come all the way to South Korea's house when nothing she could do in here would make Russia look at her any differently? Why did she bother to do anything any more when Russia would never love her like she loved him?
Shoving South Korea off her, she ripped the knife out of her stocking and hurled it with all the strength she could muster. It whipped past his face close enough to ruffle his hair and hit the wall with a dull thunk, burying itself up to the hilt. Heat was beginning to well up in her eyes and something hard was blocking her throat. She buried her face in her hands and burst into tears, not even trying to muffle her sobs, not even caring that South Korea was watching. She based her existence around Russia; where he went, she went, and what he did, she did. What he believed, she believed. Why did she bother to live when the person she lived for didn't even like her?
"Hey!" South Korea's hand was on her shoulder. "I'm sorry! I didn't mean to make you cry!"
She ignored him. It wasn't his fault, not really; his comment had been the straw that broke the proverbial camel's back. The one fatal crack in the wall that dammed the Nile.
"Stay there," he said. "I'll make tea."
She didn't raise her eyes from her hands as his footsteps hurried away across the room. She heard him clanking away in the kitchen, bringing the kettle to the boil, clinking cups together as he pulled two from the cupboards. He was back minutes later, prising her hands from her face and wrapping them around a cup of hot herbal tea.
"Drink this," he said. "It'll make you feel better."
Through eyes swimming with tears, she saw and was confused by the concerned expression on his face. She'd never given him anything but the occasional look of disdain or venomous glare if he got too close and had just snuck into his bedroom in the middle of the night and attacked him with knives, but he'd just made her tea and was looking genuinely sorry about upsetting her. "Why do you care?" she asked, words interspersed with sniffs.
South Korea thought about this as he took a long gulp. More out of curiosity than anything, Belarus took a sip from her own cup; it was strangely flowery and tasted like nothing Russia ever drank, but it warmed her from the inside as it slipped down her throat. She took another mouthful.
"I don't know," he admitted eventually. "I suppose it's because whenever I see you, you're always so cold and icy. No offense. You just… you look like nothing can hurt you. It scared me to see you crying like that."
"You look exactly like your brother," she said slowly. "Except I've never seen him look like you did. Like…"
"Like he has emotions?" supplied South Korea.
"He does," he said. "He's pretty good at hiding them, but they're there. We grew up together; I know him better than anyone. Sometimes I think that's why he doesn't want to speak to me any more."
Belarus sniffed again and wiped her eyes on her sleeve, disgusted with the tears still trickling down her cheeks. It had been years since she'd allowed herself to give in to such weakness. At least Russia hadn't been there to see her.
Fresh tears began to swim across her vision and she rubbed her eyes aggressively, trying to get rid of them before they had a chance to spill over.
"You're lucky, you know," he sighed, staring into his teacup. "You get to live with your brother. You can see him every day."
"Not if he can help it," she managed, and felt a stab of anger at how choked she sounded. "He hates me. He won't even stay in the same room as me unless he needs me for something."
"Well, I don't mean this in a bad way, but you're not exactly the most approachable person," said South Korea. "You scare people before they even speak to you. Maybe you could try relaxing a bit, at least around him."
"But I do everything he asks! I follow him everywhere! I'm the most loyal servant he has!"
"Well, that's it then," said South Korea. "You need to stop throwing yourself at him. Give him some space. Play hard to get."
Belarus stared at him.
"You know, that could work," he mused. "They do it in films all the time. What you do, right, is you stop following him. Keep away for a bit. Maybe even go and stay at someone else's house. The important thing is that you spend some time away from Russia."
"But then he'll think I don't-"
"What he'll do," he said, holding up a finger, "is miss you. He'll be all 'where's Belarus?' and he'll start wishing you were there. Absence makes the heart grow fonder, you know."
She opened her mouth to argue, then paused. Perhaps... perhaps he had a point. Chasing Russia certainly wasn't getting her anywhere. Maybe she just needed to give him some space. For all that he ran from her and yelled at her to go away, he did rely on her for a lot of things. She had skills that others didn't and he knew that he could trust her. If she went away for a while, he would definitely notice her absence.
South Korea was still waiting for a reply, his face lit up with his own genius. She studied him over the top of her teacup. She had always written him off as stupid, frivolous, not worth bothering with. But now… There was something charming about the way he was trying so hard to help her despite the fact that she'd done nothing to deserve it. About how his smile seemed to stretch out across his entire face, creasing his indigo eyes. He was so different to Russia, so absurdly unlike him in every single way… so why did he seem so similar?
They both had a certain childlike cheerfulness, an innocence that belied their age. They both seemed completely genuine in everything they did, never lying or deceiving but going right about their business whether you liked it or not. Except South Korea was different. There was no coldness or cruelty underneath his smile. No ruthless drive to get what he thought he should have despite the consequences. And he cared about her. She had only had one conversation with him and hadn't given him any reason whatsoever to even like her, but Russia had never looked at her with concern in his eyes or made herbal tea for her if she looked upset. She had known and loved Russia for centuries, but in fifteen minutes South Korea had shown her more affection than he ever had.
Had she just…?
She dropped the teacup and jumped to her feet. "I'm sorry. I need to go."
"Wait!" South Korea took her arm as she turned to hurry back towards the window. "You can use the door."
"Thank you," she said, slightly breathless. This place was doing things to her head. South Korea was doing things to her head. She needed to get out, get her priorities straight, remind herself why she was so devoted to Russia. Why is that, again?
She stepped over the spilled tea, muttering an apology, but he waved it away as he showed her down the hallway to the front door. She smoothed her skirt compulsively as she walked, her hands shaking. The foundation of her existence had just been shaken more violently and more effectively than ever before. It hadn't taken an uprising. It hadn't taken a war. It hadn't even taken a political overhaul. In just one conversation, smiley, frivolous South Korea had unknowingly done what no-one had come close to doing in centuries.
"Are you alright to get home by yourself?" he asked, opening the front door for her. "It's pretty late. Are you sure you don't want to-"
"No, I'm fine," she said. She couldn't risk staying at his house for another minute. "Thank you for the tea."
"No problem," he said, and smiled at her. She found herself savouring that smile. It was so honest, so genuine, and it had been so long since anyone had truly smiled at her.
"I… I hope that your brother regains the wish to speak to you."
He looked a little surprised as he said, "Thank you, Belarus. I hope he does too."
She turned and was halfway down his garden path when he called after her. She looked back over her shoulder. "Yes?"
"Please don't worry. Russia will come round eventually. I know he will."
It was after she had thanked him for his support, stepped out onto the road and heard his door close that she realised something so strange she almost hadn't recognised the thought. She realised that she didn't want him to. She no longer had a burning desire for Russia to kiss her or confess his love to her, or even to marry her. Perhaps she did still want it a little, the traces of her age-old devotion still etched into her being, but all the passion seemed to be slowly evaporating. The one feeling she'd always been able to rely on, the one feeling she'd based her life around, had begun to fade away, leaving a great empty hole in her heart where Russia had once been.
Belarus pulled her coat around her more for security than warmth as she walked. Emotional security, though it occurred to her that she should probably worry a little more about her physical wellbeing. Seoul had its dangerous types just like any other city and she no longer had her knives to protect her. Two were lying in the corner where South Korea had thrown them and the third was still embedded deeply in his wall. She had not forgotten about them and only hoped that he wouldn't try to return them at the next world meeting.
If he did that, she would have a much harder time thinking of a reason to visit him again.
So what do you think? Thanks for reading, and please leave a review!