Character(s)/Pairing(s): Belarus, Lithuania, Poland, Austria, Prussia Ukraine, Russia
Warnings: Bloody imagery, battle scene, implied really nasty things happening to Poland. (C’mon, Russia’s involved after all)
Summary: Belarus is present at the Battle of Maciejowice and the defeat of the Commonwealth. She finds herself in Russia’s house where her life is about to take a very different turn.
With lead ball whizzing over her head, Belarus secured the ramrod to her carbine after reloading. She listened and waited for the barrage to end and most of the smoke to clear before rising over the low stone wall she and a ragtag remainder of a regiment used for cover; firing at the endless lines of Russians still advancing on them. She heard someone down the line curse and complain about their reinforcements which had not arrived; it was obvious now they would never get there in time. The small army of liberators was horribly outnumbered. It’s just a matter time she thought as she quickly loaded again, watching the next column of the always-advancing enemy march closer and get into formation.
Belarus felt like they were a million years away from that day in April when Poland, Lithuania and she had all agreed to fight against Russia, Austria and Prussia. They had been so full of hope this time, their efforts and willingness to fight would pay off and they would have their independence once and for all. Belarus had listened to the nobleman, a hero of the American Revolution tell them about the joys of liberty and equality for all people; his words were so inspiring that a seed was planted in her heart that day in April when he took an oath to lead them in victory against those who wanted to oppress the Commonwealth. As spring had passed to summer and they reveled in their victories, the seed within her blossomed and slowly grew. When the victories became defeats as Russia started to take their resistance seriously and send larger armies to fight them, the seed still struggled to grow, but it grew thin as weeds grew around it and choked it of sunlight and nutrients for it to thrive. Here they were in October; their army reduced to a tiny fraction of what it had been in April. She could feel that tiny seed of hope withering within her as she struggled to ignore the exhaustion enveloping her like a shroud and continue fighting. She would never give up on Teddy … not like Lithuania had, and let Russia capture him. Not like Poland, who always took the easy way out and waited for her to face Russia here alone, while he was still safe in Warsaw.
Everything that could go wrong had gone wrong this time. With the promise of reinforcement troops on the way to double their numbers, they had made a stand at this god-forsaken place. Actually, they had come here when Teddy had learned of a new army of fresh troops coming to join the Russian forces they had been fighting for weeks. Thinking they would have enough people to face the Russians and defeat them before they combined their efforts; he came here to stall the old army from meeting with the new army. Instead of cutting them off however, their small remnants of the Polish army met the Russians as a combined force. She heard the shout to make ready then stood with the others and fired again, the soldier next to her falling back when he was hit by a Russian bullet.
She dropped back down to reload again, reaching over and grabbing the ammunition and powder from the dead boy lying next to her. She turned a weary eye about her and caught a glimpse of Teddy on his horse giving commands. The fact that he was closer told her they were losing ground quickly. Belarus reloaded as she watched him and wondered if any of them would survive the day. Poland waited in Warsaw after fighting Prussia, relying on the army here to keep Russia away from him. Without Lithuania, he was hopeless Belarus thought bitterly. Litva was now trapped in Vilno, which the Russians had sacked months earlier. The city was as much her heart as it was Lithuania’s and it pained her to think it was now under the control of the nation who called her little sister, but she hardly knew. Lithuania didn’t seem to have much fight in him anymore, and thinking about how easily he had capitulated still sent her into a quiet rage. She mustered the strength, stood and took position again to fire at the advancing columns of Russian uniforms. Cossacks and Russian cavalry moved about the battlefield all around them; there wasn’t much resistance to them now anyway. She fired with the regiment and fell back again to reload.
In a way she was glad Lithuania was out of the fight, if he knew she was defending Poland now from Russia, he would be sick with worry. She pulled out her ramrod and glanced at the commander again just in time to see him lurch forward and grab at his leg. Blood began to ooze quickly from between his fingers. She froze in the middle of tamping down the ball and wad as she watched him begin to slip from his horse.
No! Shocked, she rose from her spot to her feet, a sickening feeling of panic and fear gripping her. Suddenly, she became aware of enemy cavalry racing toward him. She jumped forward, finishing the reloading of her rifle and aiming at the lead horseman, her shot making him drop from his horse. There were still more racing toward their commander, and she couldn’t stop herself from screaming out loud.
That got the others’ attention as they all jumped to see what had happened. Seeing their commander fall and the danger he was in, they reloaded their rifles as they ran, shooting at anyone who tried to get close to him. Grabbing arms and legs; they carried their commander through the chaos until they found a sheltered spot to put him. Before they could even set him down on the ground however, he angrily shouted at all of them to get back on the battlefield and leave him alone. The soldiers all did as ordered and ran back to their positions while Belarus dropped her rifle and frantically tore out the lining of her coat to wrap around the bleeding wound in his leg. Before she had a chance to tie off the bandage, the clatter of hooves behind her, then the sound of booted feet hitting the ground made her spin around with her knife in hand at the footsteps approaching them … and found herself face to face with Russia.
He stood only inches away from the edge of the blade as a smile grew on his face when he recognized his baby sister, and the man she was with. “I’m happy to see you again, little sister!”
Belarus suddenly felt so tired. With her knife still pointed at him, she uttered. “Do you ever stop getting taller?”
Russia laughed; the humor in his eyes turned cold as he glanced back at the man behind her. Belarus turned to look at Teddy, only to find him being carried off by Russian soldiers.
“NO!” She screamed, scrambling after them. Strong arms scooped around her waist and hoisted her onto a large, hard shoulder that knocked the wind out of her with a very unladylike sounding. “Oof!”
“No no Bela, not that way; come with me!” Russia cheerfully exclaimed as he walked toward his horse.
Belarus didn’t answer, her eyes drooped and everything went black.
Belarus opened her eyes and sat up. She found herself in a bed in a small room. A tiny window was open; the chilly air making the linen hanging over it flutter softly. She felt a weight at the foot of the bed and looked at the man sitting there, watching her.
“You’re even pretty when you sleep.” Russia said, a thoughtful look on his face.
Belarus looked down and saw she had nothing on but her shift. A soft cry of alarm escaped from her mouth as she grabbed the blankets and jerked them to her chin.
“So modest too.” Violet eyes locked with hers for a moment as he continued to smile at her.
“Is this your house?”
Russia’s smile never wavered. “It is!
Belarus couldn’t help but feel a sinking feeling of dread, “How long do I have to stay here? When can I go home?”
Russia’s smile faded; he gave her a confused look. “Home? But you are home. Do you know how long I’ve wanted you here with me?” He leaned closer, cupping her chin with his hand. “Now my sisters are both with me again where they belong.”
Belarus felt herself shrinking back when he touched her. She looked into his eyes, and then her eyes grew wide when his words sunk into her sleepy head. “Sisters? Ukraine is here too?”
“Of course she is! Would you like to see her?”
She nodded, sincerely wanting to see her sister. “Yes, I do,” she replied as her eyes settled away from his face to the scarf he wore. Every time she had seen him, he always wore it. She frowned and reached for one of the ends, feeling the fine work between her fingers. “Big sister made this.” She looked at his face again, uneasy confusion growing.
His smile grew broader. “I knew you would remember! Yes, Ukraine made this for me! We were all very little then, you were practically a baby still!”
Belarus narrowed her eyes and shook her head. “A baby?”
Russia nodded, reaching for her. “You used to hug me all the time then!” He scooped her up into a bone crushing bear hug that made it difficult to breathe.
There was a soft knock at the door, then it opened and Ukraine walked in. “Bela!”
Belarus saw her sister and immediately broke free of Russia’s hug as she leapt from the bed to hug her older sister. Russia observed them both, smiling at the reunion and noting that his little sister was naïve enough to still show every emotion she felt on her face. He stood and joined them, wrapping them both up in his arms. “My family together at last. What a happy day this is.” He kissed Belarus and Ukraine on their foreheads, then walked to the door and left the room.
Belarus watched him leave, and then looked at her older sister. “Do I really have to stay here? I want to go home!”
Ukraine shushed her, although she looked relieved and happier now that Russia was gone. “Hush Bela, let’s get you dressed. The sun is up and you’re still in your shift! After that I will show you around.”
“Where is Litva? Is he here? Will you help me find him?” She had a million questions as Ukraine led her to the armoire in the room. Belarus blinked when she opened it to reveal clothes that looked like they would fit her. She shivered when she saw them, it seemed as though this had been planned.
“Enough questions! Get dressed, and then I will show you around. This is a very big house.” Her older sister admonished her. Belarus needed to learn quickly the fewer questions she asked, the better off she would be. “Are you hungry? We can get you something to eat too.”
“Very hungry! I hadn’t eaten in a few days while we marched to Maciejowice.” Belarus’ face fell when she thought about the brave commander of their rebellion against Russia. “Where is Teddy, is he alive?”
“More questions Bela! Concentrate on getting dressed, will you?” Ukraine gave her an exasperated look.
“Yes Ukraine,” She answered, finding a blue skirt and bodice that matched it. A million questions still crowded in her head.
Belarus found the house enormous and confusing. She followed Ukraine as they passed more rooms than she could count. There seemed to be some commotion outside and she tried to go to a window to see what was happening, but Ukraine directed her to the kitchen and found some rye bread and honey for her to munch on as they continued their tour of the house. “I’m not fond of this new chef from the west the empress has cooking for us, but that kind of food is popular now, so we have to put up with it.” Ukraine stated flatly as they walked outside into a very large courtyard. “I imagine you will have to meet her soon.”
Belarus looked at her older sister and shrugged as she licked honey off her fingers. Looking around the courtyard she watched with a small amount of interest as people moved about, working at various tasks. Her eyes were drawn to one man quickly disappearing into a doorway on the other side of the courtyard that she instantly recognized. “Ahhh? Litva!” She instantly took off running after him, following him through the doorway he just entered and barreling into his chest when he turned at the sound of her voice.
“Ah! Bela!” Lithuania exclaimed when the impact of her running into him knocked him down; he winced when his back made contact with the hard stones of the floor and shook slightly as Belarus sprawled on top of him in a very unladylike way. “You’re here now too!” He gave her a nervous smile as she lifted her head to look at him.
“Litva! What are you doing in here?” She asked, looking around at the small, dark, dingy room. “How long have you been here?”
“Oh, like, look what the cat dragged in.” A muffled voice full of pain muttered from a dark corner in the back of the room. Belarus crawled off of Lithuania and squinted into the dark, then stood and walked closer to the huddled figure sitting on a small stool looking at her with the eye that wasn’t swollen shut. Poland was covered with bruises and cuts; blood had dripped down from somewhere under his hair and dried along the side of his face. He glanced up at Belarus before his eye settled on Lithuania, who came around her with a cup of water.
“Polska! You’re here too?” Belarus asked, an incredulous look on her face. “When did you get here?”
“Bela!” Ukraine ran into the room. “You shouldn’t be in here!” She hissed at her, coming up to her and grabbing her arm.
Belarus glared and yanked her arm away. “Polska’s hurt, look at his face!”
“M-my face? Liet! What’s wrong with my face?” Poland looked at Lithuania as the other walked around Belarus and Ukraine with a cup of water.
“Shh, nothing’s wrong with your face.” Lithuania replied with a nervous laugh. “You look fine! Here, drink this!” He pressed the cup of water into Poland’s shaking hand.
“Liet! You’re like, totally lying, I can tell.” Tears welled up in his good eye. He brought the cup to his lips and gulped the water down, wincing from pain. “They made me look hideous, didn’t they?”
Belarus glanced at Ukraine, who from the look on her face seemed to be enjoying seeing Poland in pain. Ukraine thought this was the best Poland had ever looked. “If Polska’s here, that means …”
“You lost!” A new voice gleefully shouted behind them. Ukraine and Belarus turned and watched two new figures come into the dingy room. One of them had dark hair, glasses and wore an expression like he smelled something very unpleasant. The other leered at her as his red eyes looked around the room and at everyone.
Belarus stared at those eyes, memories of a screaming retch of a boy on the kitchen floor flooding back to her. “You!” She shouted. She spun around and glared at him as she moved closer. She frowned when she realized he was considerably taller now then when she last saw him.
Prussia’s smile faltered for a moment when he realized who the pretty but rather terrifying girl was glaring up at him. “You’re that brat who made me clean out the -“ he glanced at Austria. “ … Was mean to me!”
Belarus let out a rueful laugh. “And the last time I saw you … you were up to your thighs in shit mucking out the pit under the privy!”
Ukraine smirked, covering her mouth with her hand. Poland chuckled then winced. Lithuania smiled fondly at Belarus, remembering that day well, and how amused he had been watching her torment Prussia until he left after his ransom had been paid.
“Really?” Austria gave Prussia a look. “I think I would have enjoyed seeing that.”
“Shut up!” Prussia blurted out. “She obviously has me confused with someone else! Couldn’t have been me doing something that undignified!”
Austria’s gaze fell on Belarus for a moment, before looking over at Poland, who sat huddled in pain in the corner. “No, you’ve never had an undignified day in your life.” He replied, and then turned when Russia entered the rather crowded room. “Hello.”
“Ah, hello.” Russia smiled at everyone in the room, curious why Ukraine and Belarus were in there. “Bela, is Ukraine giving you a tour of the house like I asked her to?”
Belarus looked at him, noticing how he towered over everyone else. “Yes, but I saw Litva and …”
“Ah, well now you and Ukraine need to go, we have some unfinished business to take care of with Poland.” His eyes falling to the bloody and bruised nation, who had started shaking as soon as he heard Russia’s voice.
Ukraine grabbed Belarus’ arm and firmly jerked her away to remove her from the room. “Sorry Russia, she got away from me when she saw the others.”
Russia gave them both a warm smile as they walked away. “I’m sure it won’t happen again.” His eyes moving back to look at Poland as they left. Belarus saw the three nations all move in closer to Poland, his eye widening with fear as they surrounded him before Ukraine pulled her back into the courtyard and toward the house.
“What are they doing to Poland?” She asked her sister, “Why doesn’t Litva do something?”
“You ask too many questions, Bela.” Ukraine blurted out as she hurriedly pulled them back inside before Poland began screaming. Back in the room, Lithuania fainted and lay in a crumpled heap on the floor.
Author’s Note: Finally, I have another chapter of this story done! This one I knew would end up darker, so hopefully it won’t turn too many off from reading it.
“Teddy” of course is Tadeusz Kościuszko, the American Revolutionary War hero who pledged to lead the Commonwealth in a revolt against Russia in 1794. The rebellion only lasted 7 months, ending in the autumn and to the subsequent third partition of Poland in 1795.