Sitting down on a snow-covered rock, you heave a heavy sigh and look down at your hands; your cuts sting against the frigid air and blood drips uselessly into the fresh white snow, staining it maroon forever. You ball your fists and try to ignore the pain but it is harder than you hoped.
Your eyes wander about the scenery as you try to catch your breath; the forest surrounding is covered in snow, the sky is pure white and there is no one but yourself. Quietly, you sit in the colourless world of solitude; running away is not as easy as so many have made it out to be…not when you have such horrible masters. The thought of being found makes you slide off of the rock to continue your journey, regardless of how tired you are.
You hold tighter to your grey coat and trudge a few feet before coming to an abrupt halt and turning around upon hearing the snap of a twig. A small person stands in tattered clothing that resembles dirty rags far past recycle; a tan scarf piled high on the person's small shoulders. Your heart pounds against your chest swiftly. The appearance of this stranger makes you wonder if he was sent to bring you back; silent is this being, with vivid lilac eyes.
“Who are you?” you question, trying to sound more fearless and brave than you feel.
The person steps forward; you take a step back.
Those lilac eyes seem to soften as a small voice speaks. “I am Russia.”
“Russia?” you repeat and stare at him, willing to flee if necessary.
“Yes,” Russia nods, “I am wanting to know why you are outside when it is so cold…especially in these woods.”
“I’m going somewhere,” you return quickly, fear rising slightly. “You’re the country Teutonic Knights always picks on…”
A frown comes across Russia’s lips as he holds his hands up to his plump face bashfully. “He likes to fight a lot, da…”
“You’re right…Well…I’ll be on my way then…”
“N—no! Wait!” Russia shuffles forward breathlessly, looking unnerved. “Please don’t go!” he begs and stops a few feet away from you.
Subconsciously drawing your fists, you stay rooted in that spot, curious about Russia. “Is it true that you don’t have any friends…?”
A light pink blush comes across his sad face. “I don’t have any.”
Your heart seems to fall into the pits of your stomach out of pity; he seems kind enough, not very threatening, and perhaps good company. “Why don’t you?”
“I don’t know…”
You can’t take it anymore; perhaps his goal is to make you feel sorry for him and become his friend, maybe it isn’t, but you want to be his friend now because of his loneliness. You extend a hand with a warm smile. “I’m [Name]. It’s nice to meet you.”
Russia looks down at your hand and gasps; you draw away instantly, remembering your horrid markings of the cruel fate you hope to escape. You awkwardly look at the snow beneath your feet as Russia stares at you in shock.
So much for making friends.
Russia trudges a little closer to you and grabs your wrists; you watch as he turns your hands over so that your palms faces his bright gaze. He frowns deeply and almost looks as if he’s having an inner battle against himself. Heat rushes to your cheeks the longer he stares; you pull away after a moment and tuck your hands in the small of your back.
“What happened…?” Russia asks quietly, still frowning.
“It’s nothing,” you lie with a reassuring smile. The palm of your left hand burns fiercely; you can feel drops of blood roll off your hands.
“Something happened,” Russia’s lilac eyes glare into yours, his frown of concern now that of anger; you feel frightened, unsure of what he’s angry at.
“No, nothing happened.”
“Then why are your hands bloody? Have you been abused? That is why you are out here, da? You are running away.”
You turn your head, “No.”
Russia sighs, releasing a delicate spider’s web in the bitter air. “I want to help you, [Name]. No one should be hurt like that,” he says gently.
“I’m not hurting,” you insist and look back at him, shooting shards of ice with your gaze. “Mind your own business, Russia.” you snap.
Russia looks offended for a moment; he grips your shoulders with his small hands. “Are you crying, [Name]?”
You haven’t even realized tears are streaking down your face; you shake your head quickly. “No I’m not crying: it’s really cold out here!”
Russia wipes the tears from your face with his cold hands. He whispers, “Please don’t shout. If someone’s looking for you, they’ll hear us. I don’t want for you to be caught, you’re my only friend.”
A lump forms in the back of your throat; you have not heard such a soothing, gentle voice in a long time…and you certainly hadn’t expected for him to call you his friend. But as soon as he says those words, your body trembles and you throw your arms around him, sobbing into his shoulder.
Russia flinches, yet he embraces you tightly as you cry. He permits you to cry for a moment before speaking. “I’ll take you to my big sister, she’ll be able to fix your hands….and you will stay with us, da?”
You sniffle and pull away. “I can’t. You guys might get in trouble.”
“My big sister is tough. We’ll be safe with her,” Russia smiles warmly at you.
Wiping your dripping nose on the back of your sleeve, you shake your head slowly. “I’ll only be in the way. I can’t do that.”
Russia continues to smile at you for a moment longer and then takes your wrist and begins to drag you through the snow without your consent.
“H—hey! What are you—?”
“You shouldn’t be so loud, da?”
You bite down on your bottom lip as you stumble through the snow to keep up with his quick strides. “Let me go, Russia.”
“We are friends. This is what friends do. They help each other.”
You stop fighting him. “We’re really friends…?”
“Thank you,” you croak after a long silence, wiping away your tears.
“Do not thank me. This is what friends are for.”
You can hear the promising friendship in his voice; it makes your insides feel hotter than any day you’ve ever lived to see.
Russia navigates through the woods with ease; you follow him closely. With every step taken, the trees seem to crowd even more and block the white sky from view; there is not nearly as much snow on the ground, though it feels much colder.
“We’re almost there,” Russia tells you over his shoulder.
“Okay,” you say absently, staring intensely at your surroundings with slight admiration. This is the first time you've been this deep in the woods and it's been a long time in general since you've been outside.
“OI! YOU THERE!”
Russia stops walking abruptly, staring into the distance at a dark figure of a person; you peer around him.
“HEY RUSSIA!” Teutonic Knights comes running at full speed, screaming unnecessary things you don’t bother to listen to. Teutonic Knights stops a few yards away, laughing triumphantly, blending in with the snow remarkably with the exception of his red eyes.
“Where have you been, Russia!? Out to make friends with [Name]?”
“I did make a friend, thank you.”
“HA! She probably only feels sorry for you!” he responds quickly with a snicker. Your face heats up.
“That’s not true,” you stand in front of Russia defensively, “Why don’t you go get your butt kicked by Hungary?”
“Kesesese, you can’t tell me what to do, silly fool school girl! And admit it: you’re only friends with Russia because you pity for him…Or he forced you to be his friend!”
“I’m his friend because I want to be, you tit! Now go home before I beat you up again!”
“BWUAHAHAHAHA! You’re so funny, [Name]!”
“I’m warning you! Be quiet!”
“Like I’m really afraid of a little girl—”Teutonic Knights gasps suddenly: he's stunned; the impact of your kick hits him like a wrecking ball. His ruby eyes water as he hisses and falls on the ground, holding dearly in between his legs.
You glare down at him, face stern. “I told you to be quiet! Bad boys are always punished, haven’t you learned like everyone else?!”
Russia hurries forward to your side. He looks down at Teutonic Knights who is rolling in the ground moaning. “Wh—why did you—?”
“That’s what friends are for,” you flash Russia a large smile and walk around your tormenter; Russia smiles back at you shyly.
You leave Teutonic Knights rolling and moaning in the snow to think about what he’s done; you doubt he’ll ever question your wonderful new-found friendship with Russia again.