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For My Freedom and Yours: Chapter 5

Title: For My Freedom and Yours: Chapter 5
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.


As it turned out Russia didn’t need me for translation at all. Every man he met with spoke perfect, or at least passable, Russian. Not a single one of them spoke even the most basic Lithuanian although most of them did, much to my annoyance, speak Polish. The first day was all basic business; harvests, taxation, and use of funds. I wasn’t given a say in any of it and I began to question Russia’s reasons for bringing me. Was I a bauble to be flaunted like the wives and lovers of these men gossiping in the next room? Why then was I sitting through these meetings? Did my presence serve to further show his authority over the area? I must have not hidden my discontent as well as I thought because Russia sought me out before dinner and asked me join him in the gardens.

“I am sorry about that,” he began. “I had hoped that you would have been able to voice your opinions today. After all, you have more experience in these matters than all of them combined.”

I stooped to admire the soft pink petals of a peony. It was blooming early surrounded by buds tightly closed against the damp chill of early spring. “It’s alright,” I said. “The authority here hasn’t belonged to me for a long time now. They have no reason to listen to me.” It may have been bitter but it was true. Poland had taken my power years before, wrested it from my hands with such gentleness that I hadn’t noticed it was gone until it was too late.

Russia hummed thoughtfully. “Just because they have no reason to listen doesn’t mean it’s wise to discount you.” He plucked a leaf from a nearby oak tree. “Peonies don’t suit you.” Kneeling down he slipped the leaf behind my ear. “Let’s head back. They’ll be calling us for dinner soon.”

The following day started much the same, with long political talks about the general management of the district. The afternoon talks however shifted to a different topic altogether.

“Let’s take a break from general governance,” Count Bennigsen started, “and speak for a moment about Schola Princeps Magni Ducatus Lithuaniae.”

My eyes shot to Russia who sat seemingly unsurprised by the new topic. “The Tsar has decreed that the title shall be changed to Imperatoria Universitas Vilnensis and that the Commission of National Education will transfer all control to the empire,” he stated. I sat staring at Russia in stunned shock at his words. ‘Imperial University of Vilnius’. “This will solidify the school as an official institution of the Lithuania-Vilna Governorate as well as the Empire of Russia. The school will manage all educational facilities in the former Grand Duchy of Lithuania. Our hope is that this will continue to unify the people of Lithuania as both their own distinct group as well as a Russian Imperial state.” Here he turned to meet my gaze. “What are your thoughts on the matter?”

It took me a moment to compose myself enough to speak but I managed to clear my throat and pull my thoughts together into some coherent form. “I agree that the change in title is appropriate and am honored to have the school recognized by the empire. I’m sure that all Lithuanians will take pride in this symbol of our contribution and will gain a sense of unity knowing that it is possible to be acknowledged as both separate and part of a whole at once.”

Russia nodded to me clearly pleased. “Does anyone else have an opinion to share in regards to the change?” No one spoke. What could they say really? It was a decree from the Tsar written in stone before we even left Russia’s house.

“Then it’s official,” Count Bennigsen affirmed. “Schola Princeps Magni Ducatus Lithuaniae will now be known as Imperatoria Universitas Vilnensis.”

The rest of the visit was a bit surreal for me. There was an official ceremony at the university where the new administrators and faculty were introduced. To my surprise, aside from the addition of Russian, the curriculum remained mostly unchanged. Classes would still be taught in Polish but that was simply practical given how commonly spoken the language was and Lithuanian culture would still be a strong focus of the school. I was also able to contribute to the meetings, giving opinions about agriculture and trade and they seemed to take my advice seriously.

The last day before we left I was mostly free and took the opportunity to go out into the city again. I wandered past the marketplace taking in the buildings and churches that had been built up since the last time I’d visited. I was headed into a particularly beautiful church when a discussion caught my attention. A small group of Lithuanian men stood talking nearby.

“… and with England refusing the mediated talks France is preparing to go back to war. Prussia isn’t wasting any time either but I’ve heard that the Poles aren’t taking well to being forced into service either and you know how the Poles get.” I smiled at that. Poland had a stubborn streak as long as the Vistula. “They’ll send all of Prussia into disarray. Napoleon will be at our doorstep in no time.”

The second man snorted, “France or Russia what’s the difference? Either way we’ll be second-class citizens.” That was the unfortunate truth of the matter. Was there really much to be lost or gained by being conquered by a different force? “Is the captor you know better or worse than the one you don’t?”

I stepped into the cathedral and as I kneeled to pray I asked for God to watch over both my people and Poland’s and guide them on the path that would bring them to freedom.

…oO0Oo…

The trip back to Russia’s home was as uneventful as the trip to away from it had been. I learned more about knitting and I taught Russia more of my language. Ukraine and Belarus both met us when we arrived and somewhere between Ukraine’s fussing and Belarus’ glaring I managed to slip away with my bags back to my room. Latvia was reading some poetry book I didn’t recognize and Estonia was puzzling over the gears in a broken watch. I unpacked my bags and threw myself down on our shared bed.

Latvia abandoned his book to sit beside me. “How was your trip?”

I smiled at him pleased to hear the stutter had retreated from his voice for the moment. I told him everything I could think of. I made sure to mention how we traveled through his lands and that his people seemed well. Estonia pretended to not be listening but I knew better. They were nearly as shocked as I had been to hear that Russia had given so much control to one of my schools. I was just getting to the gossip I’d heard about France when we were called down to dinner.

Russia was more talkative than usual during dinner, giving details of our trip and excitedly talking about his hope for future arrangements similar to the University.

"Not just with Lithuania. I'd of course like Lithuania to have more power to govern his own land and people but I'd like to start giving some responsibilities back to all of you." He smiled at Latvia's wide-eyed expression.

Belarus frowned at her plate. "If you give us too much control we'll have to go back to our own lands. Is that what you want, Brother, to send us away?"

Russia looked horrified at the accusation. "No! Of course not!" His eyes swept the table taking in everyone's confused expressions. "I'm happy that you're all here with me and I want you to stay. I want us all to be a family. Closer than that even." He let his gaze settle on me as he said, "I want us to become one."

Distantly I heard the clatter of flatware against china, the scrape of a chair, and the clack of Belarus' footsteps as she marched out but all of that was lost to the sound of my own pulse thudding in my ears. "I think the trip is catching up to me. I think I'll turn in early, if you'll excuse me."

I managed to keep my composure until the door to the dining hall was firmly shut behind me. I was shaking like a leaf as I all but ran down the hallway towards my room. Turning the corner I tripped over a dainty foot and fell face first to the rug. Belarus' knee dug painfully into my spine and her elegant fingers gripped the back of my head pressing me more firmly against the floor.

"What makes you so special?" She hissed. “You don’t deserve Brother’s attention.” My hair tumbled down around my face as she tore the white silk ribbon from my hair.

“I’m not trying to steal your brother.” I tried to turn my head so I wouldn’t be muffled by the carpet but her hand shot back into my hair pressing my face harder into the floor.

Leaning down she nearly pressed her lips to my ear as she whispered to me, “Whether or not you’re trying isn’t the point here. I don’t particularly care what filth like you has to say anyway. Stay away from Brother. If you don’t there will be consequences.”

In a rustle of skirts her weight was lifted from me. I sat watching her disappear back around the corner I’d come from with the strip of white silk still clutched in her fist.

-oO0Oo-
“Not a single one of them spoke even the most basic Lithuanian”: Someone correct me if I’m wrong but in my research I’ve gotten the impression that 1) almost all of the state officials were either Russian or Polish during this time period and 2) Lithuanian was brush off as a “rural” language for the lower classes. It also seems like everything I read that mentions language refers to princes and governors and such learning Russian.
Peonies and Oak Leaves: Peonies represent shame and bashfulness while oak leaves represent strength.
Vistula: Longest river in Poland.
University of Vilnius: So many liberties taken for this. My research failed me badly so I just winged it. I’m sorry about getting so detailed about facts in this part. I thought about cutting some of them but felt that they would be important to Lithuania so in the end I kept it all in.

Author’s Note: Only a day late! This deadline thing worked pretty well! The chapter’s a little shorter because of it but I think that’s worth it. I’ll push myself and say a month and a half for the next chapter. Not a huge change but, hey, baby steps. With any luck then plan on seeing another update by October 9th. :)

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