Characters: Lithuania, Poland, Austria, Prussia and Russia. (cameos by US and Hungary)
Rating: R, some violence (no rape! wow)
Warnings: i cannot separate humor from drama. Silly and sad? Really long (8pgs). Extensive historical footnotes at the end.
Summary: The Partitions of Poland took place in the second half of the 18th century and ended the existence of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth. The partitions were carried out by Prussia, Russia and Habsburg Austria dividing up the Commonwealth lands among themselves.
Lithuania woke up to the house shaking. It was a little hard to notice at first, because it was such a large house. But after several minutes lying in the dark, Leit realized it wasn't Poland's kicking in his sleep that was making the bed quake. He sat up fast, squinting through the shadows.
"What's going on?" he demanded, loud enough to start his friend awake.
"Nothing," Poland assured him in a groggy voice, rolling away from Lithuania's restless fidgeting. Leit listened in silence for a while longer before he saw the dresser in the corner give an involuntary shudder. Blood pumping in his ears, he shook Poland's shoulder. "UGH! What?"
"I think somebody's outside," he ventured slowly, sliding his legs over the side of the bed. "We might be under attack. If we can pin-point their location from the source of the shaking, we can catch them unaw-" he could already hear Poland snoring. Grumbling to himself, Leit tugged on some shoes and fished his sword off the wall, when a knock at the front door reverberated through the whole house. Startled, he hurried downstairs, wrenching open the door to meet their late night visitors. His blood ran cold- he had half expected it to be somebody harmless like Sweden.
"Sorry about this," Austria began, looking strange as one of the Black Eagles. "I promise we're not going to take away too much." The soldiers behind them shifted anxiously. The marching was what had shook the house on its ancient foundation.
"Don't look so shocked," Prussia snickered, an imposing figure leaning on the doorframe. "It's not like you weren't letting this guy decide everything for you anyway." He jerked a thumb at Russia, standing apart from them. Panic gripped Lithuania's heart when he remembered their last fight against the man. Poland couldn’t keep his mouth shut around Russia, and the man wouldn’t put up with Poland’s spoiled attitude. The idea of another grueling battle in the cold over their petty disagreements about religion already left Leit exhausted.
But they could fight off the other two. Lithuania quickly began running a possible line of attack in his mind. He could take Austria out with a few swipes, except Prussia would definitely knock the wind out of him before he finished. Prussia seemed to catch that thought as it fluttered through Leit's mind, and a large hand wrapped around his own sword's hilt.
"You don't want to do that," Prussia smirked, inching past Austria to come further into the house. Leit steeled his reserve, falling back into stance when Russia's voice rang out as well.
"I wonder." The entire time they'd been on these front steps, Russia had never looked once to the brunette or into the house. He was staring off at the fields, and the moon behind him made his expression unreadable. "What if your sword has rusted over?"
"You know it hasn't!" Lithuania made a motion to draw.
"Hey guys," Poland chirped, hopping down the last few steps and using his pajama sleeve to wipe the sleep from his eyes. "Are we having a sleepover?"
Lithuania and Poland sat underneath the window, listening to the men outside draw up new border lines. Leit wrapped his arms around his knees, letting the guilt set in. Maybe they should have put up a fight like he had been prepared to do. They'd won lots of battles before, after all. But then again, those fights were so much smaller than what was happening now. These three were so big, especially when they fought together, and the victories of the past seemed so long ago. We have become different people since then, he thought hopelessly.
Lithuania sighed, glancing at the blond next to him. Of course, Poland had such pride- he would take this so hard.
"I guess," he ventured at last. "It could be worse."
"What could?" Poland yawned.
"Aren't you listening!" Lithuania gaped. "They're not gonna just leave. Prussia just said he gets the beach. And Russia took Latvia!" ("Who?" Poland blinked.) "LATVIA!! Oh, and Austria is taking our stables."
"NO! THE PONIES!" Poland shrieked.
A rock smashed through the window. "YOU LOSERS SHUT UP WHEN WE'RE TALKING!" Prussia howled through the broken glass.
It was after the first partition that Austria started spending weekends at their house. Lithuania felt he couldn't really complain, as Austria had protected them from the greed of those other two even while he had participated. Poland didn't seem to like Austria much at first (and even now), but Hungary usually came to visit too. Strangely enough, the pair were just noisy enough to endear themselves to one another, and were soon sitting side by side. Hungary braided ribbons into Poland's hair, then made pigtails, and it simply escalated out of control during the following visits.
"What do you think~?" Poland asked, turning dramatically as Lithuania came into the sitting room.
"Why are you wearing a dress?" Lithuania groaned, setting the guests’ lunch on the table. Hungary beamed at her work, adjusting the apron over Poland's skirt as she suggested kitten heel shoes. ("Those loafers are just too tough on such slender legs!") He had happily fallen into the habit of trying on Hungary’s old outfits, letting her hem up a skirt here and there, suggesting shades of petticoats and whether or not knee socks were going to come back into fashion. Leit, as usual, tried to ignore their high and hysterical chatter, taking a seat alongside of Austria.
"She seems rather taken with your friend," Austria commented, nodding towards he pair as Lithuania poured some fresh tea.
"I'm glad you think so," he smiled graciously. "Poland doesn’t usually get along with people."
"Yes, it's just been the two of you for a long time," he observed wistfully, raising the tea to his lips. After a few more minutes of observations and the ladies of the room giggling to themselves, Austria’s tone hardened. "You should know, Lithuania, that those two," he began, and didn't need to bother clarifying which two he had meant. As far as the commonwealth was concerned, there were only two powers that were worth speaking so solemnly about. Still, Lithuania felt strange to have the other man looking at him so seriously. "Your house is right in their way." Lithuania bristled at the threat.
"It's like you said; We've lived here a long time," Leit protested, shuffling some food onto a plate and pushing it into Austria's hands a little firmer than he would have liked. "You guys can't just kick us out." Austria stayed silent the rest of the visit, offering only an occasional opinion on Poland's outfit when the girl asked for it. Lithuania couldn't concentrate, focused on the land outside their window, the flimsy fences built in the distance.
After the guests left, Lithuania told Poland, "Let's become stronger." They practiced fighting for a little while, but it devolved into a game of tag, then hide and seek, and then back into practice fighting when Poland wrestled him in the fields.
"I miss Latvia," Poland said in the midst of their fun. Lithuania rolled off him, as this sad confession occurred just as he had gained the upper hand in their tickle fight. They sat side by side in a mutual, unhappy silence before Leit leaned over and pulled some grass from Poland's hair.
"Me too," he mumbled. He opened his mouth to say more, only to be thrown on his back, wheezing.
"OH I GOT YOU!" Poland crowed, tickling him mercilessly. "God, you make it way too easy!"
"I have an idea," Poland announced proudly over breakfast. Lithuania had a feeling his face didn't look nearly as interested as Poland had been expecting. Largely because then Poland swept Leit's breakfast off the table for the added flourish.
"Yes?" he sighed, scrubbing porridge off his breast pocket.
"So~ You, like, said we can get stronger, right?" Poland bounced on his heels in excitement and Lithuania nodded. "Well! It's just that like, I had this idea. Cause you know, France is getting really crazy." The revolution, yes, Lithuania acknowledged, searching for the mop. "Yeah! Like, he's crazy.... crazy strong!! So I was thinking we should do that too."
"Do what?" Lithuania stared at him. Poland had a habit of skipping explanations and assuming everyone was behind him. It was cute when they were playing games, but it didn't make for any grand master plans. "You want a revolution?" Poland made the sound of a buzzer and gave Leit a swat on the head.
"Constitution! Constitution!" Poland shook a finger in his friend's face disapprovingly. "C'mon, Leit, even a baby would like know what I'm talking about!"
Frankly, such a suggestion from this guy seemed really out of the blue. Sure, Poland had been reading France's books on enlightenment as part of their education reforms- But he read that stuff upside down, and fell asleep after the first few pages. After Leit had tucked him into bed, though, he couldn't help glancing through the pages. Although that new guy America lived far away, and France was a very different from them, the idea of a constitution didn't sound so bad. It wasn't that Lithuania thought he was being treated unfairly, but establishing some boundaries might help them work together better. After all, Poland started that last fight with Russia without even asking what Lithuania thought!
Nevertheless, he had a sinking feeling Poland didn't know what a constitution was, so Lithuania gladly took up the pen and paper. Poland paced around the room dictating some good ideas ("FINE. I guess you can like witches, Leit, but I don't wanna hear about it.") and some unpopular ones ("We should like, only speak Polish from now on too." "No!" "Nie?"). He gave suggestions throughout the day, and well past when Poland fell asleep, Lithuania continued to write.
"I don't like your rules," Poland grumbled later, shuffling his feet under the table. After looking at Leit’s constitution, Poland hadn’t responded with excitement or praise as Leit had expected, but with sour looks and whines. He had apparently thought his draft of the constitution would impress Leit, when in fact it had been several pages of pony doodles. Lithuania respectfully kept his criticism to himself.
Really, Lithuania didn't mind doing lots of the work around the house, but he thought it couldn't hurt to suggest Poland to help around as well. That was the point of these constitutions, wasn't it? Treating one another equally? Had he been reading those books wrong, Lithuania worried, looking over Poland's temper tantrums- holding his breath and stamping on the floor.
"You can do a little work, Poland," Leit assured him, checking on the dinner. "It's not hard, I promise."
"Don't wanna," he replied stubbornly, scraping his fork on the wood. "You do it."
"You know that's not fair." Lithuania said in a stern voice, seating himself in front of a plate. Poland stared across the table in blank confusion. "Oh, go serve yourself." He didn't budge. "It's over in the pot, you don't need me to bring it to you. And don't look so upset-- No! This is my share! Let go!" The plate they were playing tug of war with slipped between both their fingers, tossing stew across the kitchen floor.
"Nice going," Poland scoffed, leaning back in his chair. Lithuania's appetite disappeared with his growing frustration at this lazy bastard and this stupid constitution.
"Why are you acting like this?" he demanded, standing up stiffly. He had the urge to clean up after Poland- as usual, but he resisted. “We are supposed to be friends, right? Maybe people don’t treat their friends like this.”
“Maybe,” Poland conceded in an unconvincing tone, shutting his eyes and yawning. “Like, does it matter? Whatever you just wrote, it’s just some paper.”
“It’s not just some paper!” Lithuania pressed, trying to recapture his friend’s attention. Poland was impossible like this, he never listened to anything he didn’t want to hear. Which is why, of course, Leit had never said any of these things sooner. “It’s a law now, remember? It’s going to make us stronger.” Poland started to whistle to himself and Leit’s anger rose to a shrill shriek in his mind. “If we don’t get stronger, those guys are going to come back again! They’ll beat us up again for sure if we don’t!” He stared helpless after Poland, who was snapping his gum with silent annoyance. “You don’t want things to change, do you?”
“You’re the one changing things!” Poland grumbled, bringing the legs of his chair back down to the ground and leaving the room. “Tch! Whatever, I’m not even hungry..” Blind with fury, it was several minutes after Poland left before Leit realized he’d started cleaning up the fallen food.
Leit really expected Poland to tear up the constitution after their fight, but he left it untouched. A whole week passed and his friend did nothing to object to the document, though he still didn’t intend on doing any half of the chores. Lithuania had only just decided that, come springtime, he wouldn’t do Poland’ share of the crops, when the partitioners returned.
They felt more prepared this second time around. Poland doubled back through the back door while Prussia gave chase. Prussia was a much more disciplined fighter, but Poland could wear him out enough to gain the upper hand. Russia was a person Lithuania could easily take on his own. It even seemed like he would win, too, until that final charge.
“Your friend didn’t like your little constitution, did he?” Russia smiled and Lithuania stopped so fast he almost fell face-first into the snow. It was all the opportunity Russia needed to crack his jaw and drop him shaking on the ground. Russia settled down beside him, watching curiously as the other boy spit blood into the snow. “You’re wondering how I know, aren’t you?” Lithuania willfully deafened himself to this kind of talk, fingers digging in the ice to find purchase, to push himself back up. When he’d got so much as his elbows straight, Russia’s fist came down on the back of his head.
“He practically begged for my help,” Russia continued genially, as if he hadn’t just brained the other man. “What a selfish person.”
“Poland wouldn’t ask for your help,” he growled and choked on the blood dripping into his throat. When Leit coughed, he thought for a minute that was Russia’s hand was on his back, like a strange, motherly touch. It couldn’t have been. It was probably just the height of battle making him hallucinate. Austria didn’t show up, he thought ruefully. They had calculated that Austria would either stop these guys from coming back, or at least buy them some time. But it hadn’t turned out that way, Lithuania shivered. Nobody was going show up to stop them.
“Why not?” Russia wondered aloud and caught a handful of Lithuania’s hair, pulling him to his feet only to send him crashing back down, ribs folding under the force of his attack. “You’re what’s making all the trouble for him. Hasn’t he taken care of you all this time? And I take care of him.” He knelt down again, testing pressure on Lithuania’s sides, searing pain so warm it didn’t feel like January, but the humid summers in the field, nestled between his friends. Poland would fall asleep against the crook of his elbow, smiling and talking in Polish in his sleep.
Far away from that memory, Poland screamed in pain, so loud and frightened that Lithuania forced himself awake, thrashing against Russia. Poland never could have asked for Russia’s help. Whatever disagreements we have, he wanted to scream to Russia, they don’t matter. It’s always been just us, and you two can’t just march in and change that. He didn’t wind up saying much of anything at all, since Prussia dropped Poland beside him at just that moment, and Lithuania used all his strength to crawl to his friend’s side.
“Poland, wake up,” he whispered, reaching out at the other boy’s cold arm.
“I did it,” Russia beamed over them, and Leit was once again shoved down by his mere presence. “Russia is the strongest!”
Prussia squinted against the sunlight on the snow, picking out the spaces he was going to take too. “Aren’t you glad?” he grinned down to Poland, who was boredly waving goodbye to Lithuania. “You don’t have to put up with him anymore.”
“Ah,” Poland flopped back into the snow. “You said it!” Prussia had his men carve out more pieces of territory for himself, though it seemed very nominal to the great chunk Russia had stolen along with Leit.
Poland yawned and went back inside to warm up. It was tough wrapping his chest in bandages alone, so he just put on an old pair of Leit’s pajamas instead. He’s not coming back, he reasoned, so Leit won’t mind if I get some blood on them. He tested a few wounds with a couple pokes and rolled around on the bed. He couldn’t remember the last time he had a bed all to himself! Leit wouldn’t wake him up early anymore. That guy was always waking up at dawn to do chores, so annoying! But now he could sleep in as long as he liked.
After the soldiers left, Poland started to get kinda hungry. Lithuania kept some leftovers in the kitchen for emergencies, and Poland ate them quietly by himself. It was too salty, he complained to the empty house, and cried suddenly and miserably. When am I gonna eat something this gross again?
“Hey,” America blinked after the guy on his doorstep. Who the heck was this!? “.. You. What’s up?”
“I’m Poland,” he snapped, looking sourly over America’s shoulder a that warm, lively house inside. “Remember? I like, helped you against what’s-his-name.”
“England?” America’s face clouded. He still hadn’t forgiven the man.
“Yeah!” It was true Poland sent a couple guys over for the revolution, and that was where some of the ideas for the constitution had come from. America, even if he was kinda unfamiliar, was a more reasonable guy than France. France was mostly arguing with himself throughout the revolution, while little America took down a big guy like England. England was kinda tough, and he’d stopped America’s fighting before, but he got beat. Maybe Poland could do the same thing with Russia.
Poland took a deep breath- asking for help was so uncool.
“I need to get Leit back.” (“Who…”) “He got taken from me by that jerk, Russia.” (“Russia…?”) Poland growled after America‘s dumb stupid face-- “Everything changed and its lousy and I hate it! I’m trying to ask you like what I’m supposed to do!” America blinked.
“Beat him up.” Poland stared after him, unable to believe it would be that simple. Like, if just beating him up had been the answer, he and Leit could’ve won the first time right? Maybe. America grinned, crossing his arms over his chest in some silly, know-it-all way. “Well, I’m not sure what you’re talking about, but nobody will take you seriously if you just keep letting bad stuff happen to you. You gotta rise up and prove to everybody that you’re not gonna get stepped on by this Leit guy anymore! WIN BACK YOUR BUDDY RUSSIA!” (“Ah, you mixed up!! Leit! Leit!”)
It seemed a little dirty, Poland acknowledged. After all, Easter was pretty important. Nobody loves a good religious holiday like a Pole! So to launch on attack on that kinda day was probably some kind of sin. Crouched in the bushes outside of Russia’s church, Poland went over this crisis of conscience. Not really a sin, though, right? Because stealing people’s best friends was like, probably the worst thing a guy could do! Yeah, Jesus would see something like that and be like ‘Yo, what are you doing? Not cool.’ Poland was so busy rationalizing this he almost missed Russia on his way to Holy Week mass. Deciding this was the most effective course of action, Poland burst from his hiding place, setting himself on the unarmed Russia.
“Yeah!” Poland smirked, grinding his heel (“Why are you wearing kitten heels,” Russia coughed) into Russia’s bleeding chest. “Poland’s the strongest!”
Poland kept up those attacks for the rest of the week, beating on Russia whenever he tried to get into a church. Not everybody agreed with it, but each time Poland came out looking really cool! It was definitely worth it. Besides, Poland remembered the times he and Leit had fought Russia the normal way. He wasn’t gonna win any battles being traditional- that weirdo America helped teach him that.
Prussia hung around the eastern side, complaining a lot but not really bothering to help fight yet. But everyone knew a strong guy like Prussia wouldn’t stand for those tactics much longer, so Poland began thinking up a new strategy. Oddly enough, this next strategy played into a pretty strong talent of his; shouting.
“I have a really important announcement!” Poland cried, struggling to stay standing in his high place, atop the statue. It used to be his and Leit’s, but of course now Prussia owned it. That guy was there, looking grumpy as usual.
“Shut up,” Prussia grumbled, reflecting the sunlight off his sword to shine it in Poland’s eyes. Poland shielded it with one hand, waiting until he had Russia’s attention. He’d called the guy out east, making sure he’d drag Leit along with him. Poland felt his stomach turn to a hunk of lead at the sight of his friend after all this time. He started to wave excitedly (“Leit, look at how high I am!”) before Russia’s genial tones cut him off.
“Oh, Poland, how nice to see you out in the open,” Russia called, waving back with a bandaged hand. “I thought you’d become a forest creature, hiding in the trees. Have you called us here to apologize?”
“Nope!” Poland laughed and jumped a little when Prussia hauled another rock at him. “Quit it! Everybody pay attention! I have something to say! Like, shut up and listen! Let me finish, guys!”
“You’re the only one talking, Poland,” Lithuania mumbled.
“LIKE I WAS SAYING- Everybody can be equal now,” Poland said and smiled. When there was no reaction to that statement, he pressed on, “Like. Even cool guys with good taste in food and art and clothes and everything- just cause like, I’ve got all of that doesn’t make me better than guys who believe in witches and put too much mayonnaise in dinner and never stop cleaning.” Lithuania’s shoulders stiffened a little, but he kept his eyes on the ground. Russia’s expression never really changed, but that guy was impossible to read. And Poland wasn’t doing this sort of stuff for him anyway!
“I guess I’m saying,” he hesitated, searching past Russia’s beaming smile to find the man next to him, smaller than Poland had remembered. He tossed his head back proudly, shouting, “I like, really don’t mind doing some work too, you know! So can you please come home?”
“You definitely need my help now,” Prussia pointed out, looking over Russia’s still smarting Easter wounds. The other man smiled gratefully at the offer. “Looks like he’s stronger,” Prussia smirked and leaned across the table, suddenly shifting his predatory eyes on Lithuania. “I bet it’s cause he misses you.”
“Oh, I’m sure that’s it,” Russia replied cheerfully, setting a tight hand over Leit’s shoulder. “Regardless, Lithuania? Let’s get rid of this nuisance Poland by summertime, shall we?” He squeezed until Lithuania cried out in pain, which was as much of an affirmative as Russia would get.
The battles went long into the summer, cutting into a time of the year when Russia would have preferred enjoying himself. That wasn’t to say, of course, that clamping down on a rebellious boy like Poland wasn’t a little fun. But Poland had become such an obnoxious child, and Lithuania was constantly scolded for spoiling him.
“You should have taught him proper manners,” Russia suggested helpfully, tossing Lithuania back to the dirt. It didn’t seem much different from any other the other days he knocked some sense into the pliant Lithuania. Only for some reason, maybe because of Poland’s stupid proclamation, Leit pushed himself back up.
“Oh?” Russia looked over the shaking man with a sumptuous smile. “Do you have something to say?”
“We’re going home,” Lithuania’s voice was so fierce Russia nearly didn’t recognize it. “Things have changed now, but that‘s just cause we‘ve become stronger. Poland and I will go home.” Russia dragged Lithuania up the stairs to his own house, mulling over this announcement as he disciplined him. It was so troublesome having them cry about change and becoming stronger. Hadn’t everyone agreed Poland and Lithuania were much more valuable when they let other people make decisions for them? When they kept their mouths shut? If too many people talk at once, nobody will hear what anyone is saying. These two yowling cats of the commonwealth would do better to be quiet for good.
Poland made quick work of pushing Prussia back, slipping into equal spats with Russia with an unnatural ease. He used to be so lousy, Prussia complained. I thought you said that Leit guy was the really strong one. Russia’s irritation at their predicament mounted with each guerrilla victory. An uprising, no matter who by, always left a lousy taste in his mouth. Which was why, in late October, Russia was waiting with the other Black Eagles at Poland’s house.
“What,” Poland gaped at that ill-fitting haughty face situated between the two. “Ugh! Like you come back now!” He shrieked and struggled, hauled up by Prussia’s great hand over his collar.
“Sorry," Austria replied unconvincingly, never stepping down from his horse. He paused, momentarily looking a little remorseful, or maybe it was just the shadows. “You look nice in men’s clothing.” Prussia cracked Poland on the back of the skull (“OW! WHAT WAS THAT FOR?!”), and a sudden flare in the corner of their eyes changed the course of the conversation.
“What are you doing,” Poland gasped, thrashing wildly under Prussia’s hold. “H-Hey! Like that’s our house!” Russia smiled goodnaturely, moving the torch to the western side of the house, letting the wood pick up the flames there too. “Knock it off!!” Austria turned his horse away from the sight, which portions of the south side would now fall under his control.
“Your friend has such nice memories of this place,“ Russia beamed, striding back to Poland, the fire outstretching behind them, leaping through the fields. “It was turning Leit against me.” Prussia tossed the writhing Poland to Russia, who gathered the boy in his arms. “What naughty children you’ve been,” he murmured, smothering Poland along with the smoke.
- Austria, Prussia and Russia agreement to overtake the commonwealth was called the "Black Eagles", as the symbol of the commonwealth was a white eagle.
- The previous war against Russia Lithuania references is the Bar Confederation, when Russia imposed a series of laws on Poland-Lithuania (for fun and religious tolerance), and the Poles fought back.
- LATVIA!! Is this when we lose Latvia? other Baltic history majors? I always forget about him.
- I know that Austria during the partitions was the Hapsburg empire, but I think they had much of Hungary anyway by the late 1700's anyway. If not.. well, can you really argue that Hungary wouldn't have been hanging around anyway? DO YOU HAVE A BETTER EXPLANATION FOR WHY POLAND WEARS DRESSES? NO I THOUGHT NOT
- The second partition occurred when Polish nobles rejected the loss of their elite status through this new constitution and asked Russia to stop the reformers. does that mean Poland called Russia?!! who cares
- What is Lithuanian food.. I just remember salty meat and pancakes and lots of potatoes..
- Poland helping in the American Revolution is stealing the role of Tadeusz Bonawentura Kościuszko, a Lithuania-Pole who was a general in the revolution and then went on to fight the Russians in Poland. He also was the one to abolish serfdom, and make "everyone equal even if you are poor and like witches and junk" also to note, our family home is the "Bonaventure", named after this dude.
- During the Polish uprising, the resistance had major victories against Russia by sneak attacking Russian soldiers on their way to church.
- In the final battle of Praga, Russia burns the city to the ground. for funsies.
- IF YOU HAVE ANY HISTORICAL ISSUES WITH ME, I GUESS WE CAN TALK ABOUT IT HERE? thanks for reading