(Author's note: sorry if the reader characters get a little OC, this is my first reader x anything.)
"I-I'll go make some t-t-tea," Estonia stammered, then skittered into the kitchen. The other Baltics quickly murmured their own excuses and followed. You, however, stayed put as you watched them go. Russia, who was knitting on the sofa, looked up at you.
"You aren't going with them?" he asked, surprised.
You turned to look at Russia, then back at the door. With a small chuckle, you said, "No, I'm sure the three of them can manage that one batch of tea on their own."
"Da, I'm sure. In truth, I know Estonia is the only one who ever makes the tea. I just let Lithuania and Latvia go to for a laugh at their excuses," Russia said with a small laugh that made you smile. He sighed and set down his knitting. He turned to look out a window at his blooming sunflower garden, a happy look on his face. "The sunflowers look so pretty today," he said.
You moved so that you had a better view of the window and nodded in agreement. At that time, Estonia came in with a silver tray and the tea, Lithuania and Latvia quivering behind him. "I made some of that English tea that you said you liked," Estonia said as he served the tea. Russia took a slow sip.
"Da, good," Russia nodded in approval. Russia sat in silence, and the Baltics took that as their cue to leave and manage things in different parts of the house. Again, you found yourself lingering.
"[Name], I think I'm going to take a stroll. I know how much you love to be outside, so you would like to come, da?" Russia asked.
"Uh, sure," you say, then follow the tall man outside.
It was a beautiful day. As you walked in silence, you closely examined the flowers, entranced by what you called their "simple complexity."
"What are you doing?" Russia asked, seeing you fall behind. You were squatting to examine a sickly looking sunflower that was smaller than the others. You hastily stood up.
"One of the sunflowers looked ill, but it was only one, so I was checking to make sure it wasn't a parasite or disese that might spread to the rest of the garden. It looks like it was just slower to grow and so got less nutrients and sunlight than the rest of the flowers," you told him.
Russia looked at you strangely, then moved to examine the flower you had spotted. He felt the leaves and petals between his fingers, and stroked the stem with his thumb. Then, with great care, he plunged his hands into the soil around the flower, gently digging it up. Without a word, he carried it to the greenhouse and put it in a pot.
"I'm glad that you noticed this flower. It always makes me sad when one of my sunflowers dies, but now it can grow tall and strong, da. What made you spot it?" Russia asked as he wiped his hands on a towel.
"Oh, I studied botany for a while when I was younger. I've been wanting to start again, but I always have trouble finding good books on the subject," you informed him with a small shrug.
"There are some in my library, maybe I could let you in sometime so you could look at them," Russia told you.
As you and he wandered the rows of sunflowers, conversation started flowing easily between you. You discussed botany, science, the weather, or really anything else that came to mind. When you reached the edge of the gardens, you just kept walking into the woods, not seeing any reason to end the conversation.
At this point, Russia seemed to be leading you somewhere. He always kept two steps ahead of you, and weaved in and out of the trees in a way that told you he had taken this path many times before.
"Mr. Russia, where are we going?" you asked him during a lull in the conversation.
"A very special place, da," Russia told you, and an excited smile spread across his face. He suddenly reached out and took your hand and towed you along. His gloved hand nearly engulfed your bare one, but his grip was gentle.
You walked briskly along this way, not exchanging words. After a few more minutes, the treeline came into sight and you came to a halt. Russia moved behind you and covered your eyes with his hands and guided you forward. You were nervous, but you somehow felt that you could trust the big man.
Your breath cought in your throat when he removed his hands. The two of you were standing near a tall cliffside that overlooked a valley that was filled with sunflowers. The sun was setting over the horizon, sending brilliant colors across the sky and painting the snowy mountain peaks a beautiful golden hue. You had never seen such a wonderous sight before.
Russia moved and sat casually with his legs out in front of him, his feet poking out over the edge. You hesitantly sat cross-legged beside him, not as comfortable about the cliff. "This is amazing," you murmur. Your breath fogs slightly in the air and you shiver.
"Da, it is. Are you cold?" Russia asks, looking at you in concern. Before you can protest, he takes off his tan coat and puts it across your shoulders. You mutter thanks, but inside you are touched by his thoughtful action. You are jolted out of your thoughts when Russia sits up and points upwards.
As the sun's last rays vanish over the cliffs, the night sky comes alive with the Aurora Borealis. As the waves of green light dance across the sky, thousands of stars make themselves known in the dark. You don't know how long you sat there, but time didn't seem to matter. There was only you, Russia, and the sky.
Gradually you feel you head begin to nod and your eyes close. You barely notice as Russia shifts to be closer beside you and wraps a strong arm around your shoulders. You contentedly rest against him, and feel him reach up to gently stroke your hair. "Mr. Russia," you murmur.
"Ivan, мой подсолнечника."
"I'm sure miss [name] is fine," Lithuania said nervously.
"How can you be sure? We haven't seen her or Mr. Russia since this morning. I'm really worried that he did something to her," Latvia replied, turning over in his bed.
"If you two don't quiet down, Mr. Russia will come back and hear you and punish all three of us," Estonia hissed. He didn't say anything more, but he was more worried about [name] than Latvia and Lithuania combined.
When Russia had first brought her home a year before, she had done what none of the Baltics had been able to do; she kept her spirit. Every day she would talk and laugh merrily, as though nothing had changed since she had been "hired." She refered to everyone with respect, even Latvia, and treated everyone as equals. And something else had changed in the household as well.
Ever since [name] had arrived, Russia had seemed calmer. He was slower to punish the Baltics, and he treated them with a strange kind of respect. It was barely different from normal, but it was there.
"Shhh, Latvia, shut up! He's coming!" Lithuania hissed, and Latvia went silent.
Heavy footsteps grew louder in the hall. Estonia sucked in his breath and closed his eyes when the door opened with a click and Russia entered.
"I know you're all awake, there's no point in pretending you aren't. Just make sure that you don't disturb [Name]. Da, she's very tired and needs to rest," Russia said, and Estonia opened his eyes to look at Russia.
[Name] was unconsious in Russia's arms. He felt his chest tighten and Latvia wimpered. Russia strode to her bed and carefully set her down and pulled the covers over her. He knelt down and whispered something in her ear. He brushed a few loose strands of [h/c] hair out of her face and stood to leave. Before he shut the door behind him, his purple eyes made contact with each of the Baltics' gazes.
As soon as Russia's footsteps had faded away, all three Baltics jumped up and moved to [Name]'s bed. She didn't react when Estonia checked her pulse and breathing, but both ere normal. He felt her forehead for a fever, but ther was none. Estonia stepped back, unsure what to do. [Name] shifted contently in her sleep and murmured one word.