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For My Freedom and Yours: Chapter 4

Title: For My Freedom and Yours: Chapter 4
Author: lady_nuriko
Rating: M/NC-17 for later chapters
Warnings: Abuse, Violence, Non-Con
Pairing(s): Implied Poland/Lithuania, Russia/Lithuania
Disclaimer: I don't own any nations either as land masses or anthropomorphised. Hetalia and all related characters belong to Hidekaz Himaruya.
Summary: Life in Russia's house doesn't seem so bad at first but the illusion of peace quickly dissolves and Lithuania is left trying desperately to cling to the memory of real love and the hope for freedom.



Someone once said to me, “Those who desire consistency will be constantly disappointed”. I should have heeded that warning. My role in Russia’s house seemed to be mostly unchanged after our picnic. I went about my business as though nothing had happened. I wasn’t blind to the extra affection given to me but it seemed harmless enough. Russia would spontaneously present me with gifts, always practical but also subtly more extravagant than necessary. Each gift was carefully wrapped in colored paper and adorned with a silk complementing silk ribbon. My hair had grown and I had taken to keeping the ribbons to tie it back into a stub of a ponytail while working. I’ll admit that I occasionally took advantage of Russia’s kindness. A subtle hint got me anything I desired from a new mixing bowl to a winter coat made of thick wool with intricately embroidered edges and brass buttons with swirling designs cast into them. The gifts came whether or not I voiced a need so I felt no guilt in steering Russia’s eye toward what I wanted. My grandest gift, however, came without even a word from me.

Anything truly important that Russia had to say was said over dinner as it was the one time we were all sure to be together so when he casually announced, “I’ll be taking a trip” it didn’t strike me as anything strange. Russia was often called away for business. It was his next statement that was out of the ordinary. “Lithuania and I will leave this Wednesday and return on Friday two weeks after.” I could feel the weight of every eye at the table but refused to look up from my plate. What reason would Russia have for taking me with him? I wasn’t allowed to handle any of the affairs of my people or land and certainly not of anyone else’s but I hesitated to voice such thoughts for fear that this chance to spend an extended period away from the confines of Russia’s house would be snatched away from me.

I chewed my lip pensively for a moment before clearing my throat. I thought perhaps I could find my answer through more innocuous questions. “Where will we be heading, if I may ask?”

Russia seemed to think nothing of my query, carrying on with the meal as casually as before. “Vilnius.” At hearing the destination I froze, forkful of chicken halfway to my mouth. “I have business to attend to there and my Lithuanian is, ah, lacking.” It was at least understandable. Even after all our years together Poland had never bothered to properly learn my language. I wouldn’t have expected it from Russia in such a short time although he had the decency to look mildly embarrassed by the confession.

“It’s a difficult language.” I reassured him. “People don’t generally learn it unless they live somewhere it’s spoken.”

“Still,” he smiled shyly and pushed a bit of potato across his plate, “I should know how to speak with you in your own language.”

I stared at Russia, speechless that he would think so highly of not only me but my culture to even consider such a thing. Finally I stuttered out, “I’d be happy to teach you.”

“I would like that,” a shy smile appeared on his face, “But as I’m certain I can’t learn by Wednesday I’ll still need your assistance, on this trip at least.”

…oO0Oo…

I was packed and ready long before Wednesday came and I sailed through my daily chores with energy that seemed all the greater next to Estonia’s restraint and Latvia’s anxiety. When Wednesday finally arrived I loaded my own and Russia’s bags into the carriage and immediately after breakfast we were off. Surprisingly Russia had hired a coachman and invited me to ride inside with him. It would take 6 days to reach Vilnius if we kept a comfortable speed and stopped regularly to rest. Russia pulled out a pair of Knitting needles and I chose to pass the time reading. I had brought a worn copy of Metai to read and an old Latin bible Poland had given me when I officially converted simply because it was habit to take it when I traveled.

Our conversations as we rode were meaningless but pleasant. It was on the third evening when we stopped to rest for the night in Вели́кие Лу́ки before we crossed the border into Latvia’s lands that Russia took our conversation in an unexpected direction.

“What’s that you’ve been reading?” He hesitantly asked as I was slipping the beaten leather book back into my bag next to the bible.

I brought the book back out and ran my hand lovingly over the front cover. “It’s called ‘The Seasons’. The author, Mr. Donelaitis, gave it to me just after…” I had been going to say after the first of the partitions but thought better of it. “It’s my favorite book.”

Russia looked at it curiously for a moment before he spoke again. “What’s it about?”

“It’s a poem. It’s about,” suddenly I felt my face heat at the realization of how awkward it sounded to say my favorite poem was about Lithuania, “people” I finished lamely. Russia didn’t need to know the specifics.

“I understand.” He nodded and patted my hand still stroking the cover gently. “I’m sure it’s an excellent poem.”

I offered him a small smile and put the book away. “What have you been working on? I didn’t know you knit.”

Russia’s face went red and he held his bag protectively. “I’m not very good.”

“Certainly no worse than me,” I chuckled. “I can’t knit at all.”

For a moment he just stood there staring at me as though he couldn’t conceive such a thing and then a wide smile broke out across his face. “I’ll teach you then. Ukraine is much better than I am but I can at least teach you the basics.”

I waved a hand at him, flustered. “You don’t have to do that. I can read some books and practice up if I need to learn.”

“It’s no problem. It’ll be an exchange. You teach me Lithuanian and I’ll teach you knitting.”

He looked so excited that I didn’t even try pointing out that learning an entire language would be much more difficult than learning basic knitting but perhaps I should have worked to dampen his spirits a bit since the next three days had me trying to wield knitting needles while travelling down bumpy roads in a carriage. As it turned out Russia’s idea of being “not very good” meant he could well have worked in the Parisian knitting factories a couple of centuries prior and I had quite a task in learning his “basics”. When we crossed the border into my lands Russia became eager to have me teach him at least some simple phrases so he might at least be polite. His pronunciation was painful at best and completely unintelligible at worst but by the time we reached Vilnius I could knit even rows and he could introduce himself.

…oO0Oo…

Vilnius was as beautiful and full of life as it had ever been. I spoke in easy Lithuanian to the boy who came to collect our belongings while Russia gave the coachman orders and spoke, in Russian, to the official who came out to greet us. We were ushered inside and led to the parlor to wait. We only had to wait a few minutes before another man came into the room to greet us with perfect Russian.

“Welcome to Vilnius, Mr. Russia,” He said clasping hands with Russia, “and Mr…”

“Lithuania,” Russia supplied. My blood boiled at having to be introduced to the men running my own city in my own lands even if those lands were ruled by Russia at the moment. Either he noticed my displeasure or he was simply making conversation but Russia appeased me somewhat with his next words. “I thought it best, Count Bennigsen, that Lithuania accompany me as Vilnius is still his as well.”

The man cleared his throat awkwardly and offered me his hand. “Yes, well, it’s a pleasure to meet you Mr. Lithuania.”

I took the offered hand and squeezed it perhaps a bit harder than was necessary. “Of course. It’s a pleasure to be here.” I let a tight smile pull at my lips as he realized the sentiment I hadn’t returned.

“Well then,” Russia clapped his hands together to draw our attention. “Lithuania and I are both very weary from traveling. Perhaps we could put off official business until tomorrow.”

Bennigsen nodded his agreement and called for a maid who showed us to our rooms where our luggage was already waiting for us. I had barely begun unpacking when a there was a knock at the door. I opened it to find Russia looking down at me with excited violet eyes.

“Would you show me around town?”

I hesitated. “It’s been ages since I lived here and I thought you said you were tired from traveling.”

He nodded but didn’t back down. “We won’t go far. Just to the market maybe? You can tell me about how it’s changed.”

Realizing that I didn’t really have a choice in the matter I relented.

Vilnius had indeed changed. I hadn’t lived there since the union with Poland and had only visited a few times in the years after. The city had grown quite a lot and the market was vast with shops selling all sorts of goods from fresh produce and baked goods to household wares and jewelry. Russia was fascinated by everything and how it differed from what was found in Moscow. He asked me questions about the origins and designs of items. I answered when I could and translated for the shopkeepers when I had to turn his questions over to them. He stopped at a stall to pick out amber pendants to take back for his sisters and at another to buy a molinukai shaped like a rabbit. He was quite taken with the little sculpture. When I teased him for it he claimed it was a present for Her Highness Elizabeth but it was obvious from his flustered reaction that the figure wasn’t truly intended for her.

On our way back Russia commented, “Vilnius is a beautiful city.”

I chuckled a bit and smiled. “How can you even judge? You’ve hardly seen any of it.”

He turned to me his eyes shining with all the happiness of the day. “It’s yours. It would be impossible for your city to not be beautiful.”

The words echoed in my head. ‘Your city’. He had said the same earlier ‘Vilnius is still his’. Those words filled me with a sense of belonging, a sense of freedom I hadn’t felt for a very long time.

-oO0Oo-

Metai: The Seasons. A Lithuanian poem by Kristijonas Donelaitis. Really an interesting poem. If you’re interested you can read it in English here: http://members.efn.org/~valdas/seasons.html
Вели́кие Лу́ки: Velikiye Luki
Count Bennigsen: Levin August, Count von Bennigsen was the Governor of the Lithuania-Vilna Governorate from 1801 to 1806. He was a German General who served Russia’s military.
Molinukai: Clay whistle/ocarina things that are often shaped like animals. Years ago there was a woman who sold them at the state fair where I live. I had a cat!
Her Highness Elizabeth: This refers to Elizabeth Alexeievna the Grand Duchess of Russia wife of Tsar Alexander I

Author’s Note: I can’t believe how long it’s been since I updated this. I don’t even have a good excuse. Don’t get me wrong, I have a whole host of excuses but really there’s no good excuse for taking over TEN MONTHS to update. I had the first half of this chapter written within weeks after the last one but then… well here we are ten months later. I want to thank everyone who’s still reading because I would have given up a long time ago if I was you. I’m seriously the worst author ever for taking this long. I’m going to try to put myself on a schedule and put out an update at least every two months because really it shouldn’t take more than two months to write a chapter. Also, I swear to god it’s going to pick back up next chapter because I have historic events to get to (YAY! for history!).

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