As ever, based on a kink meme request: During the Sino-Soviet split, China found Albania to be one of its staunchest supporters. Albania even launched their own Cultural Revolution just as China did. China's propaganda had a lot of stuff like 'The World Is Joining Our Happy Communist Family*! [*and by the world, we mean Albania]. So anon wants China/Albania.

This is kinda based around later parts of their relations than request asked for. Whoops.

The Loyalist

The smell is too strong and the sun is too bright, and she feels sick.

People, so many people; China always has so many people, so many people and so much land; he's not like her, locked alone in her little mountain range; he's so big and so vast and he matters so much to so many people.

"Shqipëri," he says, and he doesn't pronounce it right, no-one ever does, "Eat, eat! There is plenty to go around, aru."

Eat. Eat she should, because that is the whole point of communism, that no-one goes hungry, and she has no reason not to. No, no reason. No superstitions holding her back and dividing her, no foreign invading influence, no, no.

She grabs his food, forces it down her throat. He smiles kindly. Like a wise old father, she trusts China and that is all he asks of her. He needs to be trusted, needs to be loved. She finds it so hard, she has always been so different; she does not trust, not when they will cannibalise her and eat her alive-

They tried once, tried after the great war. Someone saved her. Who? No no, don't remember that, can't remember that, can't fall to the Western Imperialists.

"Would you like to dance Shqiperi?" And yes, there is music playing. There's too much for her to have noticed that. She smiles and takes his hand, lets him lead her, lets him be leader. For she is small and he is not.

She feels sick. Drink, she needs drink; she needs wine, but all her wine is for export. China does not drink much wine though, historically preferring tea. Wine glasses are clear and they shatter so easily. Porceilan tea cups are not clear, but - they still shatter. China shatters. China shatters and where would that leave her?

Smoke. She smells smoke. She thinks of opium, as China was force-fed the stench to make him weak, make him dependent, make him give into the West. Never again. That is gone now and they can survive, can't they? She has almost died so many times she's lost track.

The smell. Food and smoke and sweat and everything, it's too much. She's ill, so ill. China tries to spin her and she crashes into someone, some politician's wife, she can't do this and she's going to vomit. The smell and the taste comes back up through her, for she can't do...

It's Ramadan. It's Ramadan and the middle of the day, she can't do this; Turkey made a Muslim of her the fucking bastard this isn't helping. She has to be able to leave. To break away like she did with the Yugoslavs, when they were going to make her one of them (they would abduct her, cannibalise her, make her one of them). Like she did with Russia, when he chose that he and America must be able to live in the same world (she is scared of America, scared of the Imperialists; she does not want to be eaten alive and oh god, there is something she's forgotten, but she can't remember it because if she did she would accept America, she would love him even, and that is not allowed).

She is loyal. Loyal to the people, the proletariat and she doesn't care how many she has to leave to remain so. But god, they put lunch in front of her this month and she wants to scream. She is a traitor. Even she, for all her effort, is a traitor.

"Āĕrbāníyà, what are you doing?" China is found her, face full of fatherly concern. She is not a child. She is one of the oldest cultures in Europe, so why are they like this? He pulls her up and when she looks there is vomit on her fingers. She must have pushed them down her throat. It's funny; that didn't feel like something she chose, but what would she know.

She thinks she may have to leave China too. China will become Russia, opening himself to the West for money and power. Sacrificing the people; how could he? She wanted to trust him. But she has always known she's had to run, had to avoid being shredded; she knows they all must work for the benefit of the nation, but surely one day she gets to rest?

"You're - this food. The sound. All of it." She can't talk, because she feels too ill and is such a hypocrite. "It's not right. It's not... the people. This is luxury. This is..."

"Oh, Shqipëri." He pulls her into his arms again, as patronising as ever and she doesn't have the energy to fight it. "Oh, Shqipëri, you poor dear..."

Her breath heaves and shakes. China knew Turkey, a very long time ago when Turkey himself was just a child. A nomad, who ran off to Anatolia for some unknown reason and left his family behind. They're all with Russia now. Albania's never had a family, not really, so if Turkey can forget everything there's no reason she shouldn't be able to. He's one of America's now. She feels like she should love him and she feels like she should hate him, and she doesn't understand.

She's still buried in China's chest, though he's barely taller than her. She pulls back. "I don't want to leave you," she warns him, as sane as possible. "Don't make me."

"What could I possibly do?"

He could go to America. Go to the West. Go to Russia, even, though she doubts that would happen. But what would she do then? She would love to survive on her own but she just can't. She would have to go to Europe, allies of America; she can still feel stupid little Italy's grip on her from the war, declaring her rightfully his. She is not, she is not anyone's, she is herself and that alone.

But she needs others and she may lose China. She grasps his hands and stands face-to-face with him. "Make me safe," she pleads, vomit trickling on her chin. "For the love of Allah, make me safe."

"You know I cannot promise you that."

She sobs. "I know."

Notes: After Communist government was installed in Albania, it initially drifted close to Yugoslavia, to the point many expected Yugoslavia to annex it. However, when Yugoslavia was kicked out of the Comintern and broke allegiance with the Soviet Union, Albania stayed with the Soviet Union. However, when the USSR's thawing policies towards the West drove the Sino-Soviet Split, Albania sided with China. Then China began normalising relations with America, and Albania broke that allegiance as well, instead expanding trade with Western Europe and emphasising the principle of self-reliance.

Albania is one of the oldest cultures in Europe. It became part of the Ottoman Empire in the 15th century, and Albanian Muslims held a relatively privileged position in the Empire. Today approximately 70% of Albania is Muslim, and Turkey and Albania have strong relations. The Albanian language is it's own sub-branch of the Indo-European family tree.

After WWI, it was planned that the territory of Albania would be divided and given to its Balkan neighbours. This was prevented by American president Woodrow Wilson. Modern-day Albania is one of the most pro-US countries in the world.

During WWII, Italy invaded Albania and declared it an Italian protectorate. They claimed an ethnic connection between Albanians and Italians to justify this.

During communist rule, authorities attempted to eradictate religion in Albania. Those practicing religion were persecuted by giving out forbidden foods at times of religious fasting, such as Ramadan and Lent, and those who refused to eat would be publicly denounced. Religions were viewed as foreign imports to Albanian culture, dividing the nation and holding it back.