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Darker Reflections > Eastern Europe > Behind the Iron Curtain

Title: Behind the Iron Curtain
Description: Belarus and Estonia

Belarus - October 18, 2011 04:30 PM (GMT)
Deep blue eyes casually peered around the train car. It seemed she was not being followed, at least not at the moment. She knew that Ivan would notice that she was missing from his household, but it was not unheard of for her to take a trip across the dividing line to the other side of her country. She needed to keep tabs on the entirety, not just the section that was being trapped in Russia’s firm grip.

It was on this occasion, however, that she wasn’t on her way to the Western side of Belarus, but Tallinn. Through hushed snips of conversations and short letters of communication back and forth, she and Eduard von Bock had formed a sort of alliance behind the Iron Curtain. While they were only in early stages of information, Natalya had great hopes for their continued communication. She had almost chided herself for fancying him, but that was ridiculous and out of the question. Eduard was simply a fellow nation who understood the current issues she was facing, nothing more. Though she tried to maintain her thoughts in this manner, she couldn’t hide the pale blush that threatened to bloom across her cheeks. Perhaps she did think of him from time to time, but it was only in a friendly manner! Yes, of course, only friends.

Crossing her ankles politely, she smoothed her skirt and tugged the last letter of communication the two had out of her pocketbook.

If you are free, please join me at my home in Tallinn. I would really enjoy a visit from you.

Short, simple, and something that wouldn’t let any information leak if it was read by prying eyes. The two wished for freedom. Now they had to figure out how to attain such a thing. It would take time though. Both nations were still weak from the aftermath of the second Great War, and neither was financially stable enough to support their people. It was a lose-lose situation, and they knew it.

As the train pulled into the station at Tallinn, she almost turned around. This was extraordinarily risky, and she knew it. If Ivan or his bosses found out, it could mean destruction of one or both of their countries. A shudder slid down her spine. No, this was worth fighting for, and both of them agreed to it. Besides, this was just a friendly visit between friends, right? No one would be the wiser of their planning.

Estonia - November 1, 2011 12:12 AM (GMT)
Eduard sighed as his eyes lazily gazed at the Toomkirik across the street. He had a nice view of the rather-impressive building from the bench as he watched a few of his people entering and exiting the church. Only a few years ago, the doors were barricaded and members of the Police or, worse, the KGB made sure that their oppressive laws that Moscow had forced upon them were respected. In the first time in a long time, his people could enter the church without being arrested for suddenly being suspected of treason.

Another sigh escaped his lips as he quickly looked at his watch. “Natalya’s train should arrive soon.” He said to himself as he stood up, quickly straightening his old trenchcoat. It was almost a relic of the past by now, but due to their difficult life under oppression and occupation, frugality had become a necessity. It was not like anybody would notice as he walked through the streets of the upper part of Old Tallinn. Estonia allowed himself to smile as he admired the red-roofed buildings of the old town, his heart feeling warm as many people had perched the sinimustvalge over the streets in patriotic pride and in protest against Communist rule. It simply felt good to see his flag; the flag of his people…

He continued to smile as he passed through the old gates towards Tallinn’s Central Station. Suddenly, he was reminded of the letter he had sent her. Eduard blushed a bit as he was also remembered his struggle to write it. Should he be formal with her? Informal? What should he even write? Of course, he felt incredibly silly as he realised he wasn’t writing a love letter to her, but an invitation for a serious discussion. He felt even stupider as he started to have second thoughts on his way to the post office. Eesti felt ridiculous… Yet, he couldn’t help himself. Natalya was a beautiful woman and had been so kind to him. Of course, he wasn’t too happy once he realised that he had fallen for, of all people, Russia’s sister. He let out an exasperated sigh; it was hopeless. She was completely out of reach. However, he had decided that he would help her achieve her independence. He though she needed the help, considering how close she was to Russia, but she needed to break her chains or else she was never going to be free. He knew it was just some hopeless white-knighting on his part, but that’s just how he is.

In his absent-mindedness, Estonia had already walked past the park at the bottom of the upper town and the train station was across the street. He quickly made his way to the station and entered to the lobby. After having a quick look at his watch again, he stayed close to the exit, where Natalya could hopefully see him once she arrived and in case he became distracted while waiting. In all honesty, he couldn’t wait to see her again even if it hadn’t been that long since they had seen each other, considering they saw each other during the useless Soviet meetings. But that was all formal; it was one of the few times they met outside all the formalities. However, he hoped that things would go well once she arrived and that their meeting would not be in vain.


Notes: 'Sinimustvalge' is the Estonian name for the flag of Estonia.

Looking at Tallinn while writing this post really makes me want to visit it. orz

Belarus - November 25, 2011 07:33 AM (GMT)
As the train slowly pulled into the station, Natalya was filled with all new feelings of anxiety. It had been quite some time since she had visited anyone. What was the proper protocol now? Long, slim fingers drummed against the arm rest of her seat. To say she was nervous was a gross understatement. Her heart beat rapidly, and her body twitched whether she was asking it to, or not.

She was going to see Eduard again. She suppressed a slight shiver at that thought. Here she was, acting like a silly school girl again. Eduard was just a fellow nation who had been under Ivan’s rule at one time. Unfortunately that time was quite recent. Now that she thought about it, how was she supposed to greet him? In the Soviet household, when you met another, you gave a kiss to each cheek. That hadn’t been a problem until near the end. Her cheeks flushed lightly as she recalled the moment when she realized she had fluffy feelings for him and was required to kiss his cheek. In a sense it was a moment of delight filled with dread. If Ivan had ever found out, it could have been so terrible for both of them. Even without him knowing that, she recalled times where a very haggard looking Eduard would stumble into the room, needing wounds cleaned and bandaged. A sigh escaped her lips again. This would not do. Thinking of the past would certainly not help the present.

Fiddling with the edge of her apron she surveyed her outfit again. The dress was worn, but still in good shape. The apron she was wearing hid the patches she had made to the skirt. She was quite presentable, except for her worn out shoes. They had not fared as well as she wished, so she exchanged them for a pair of boots. They were old and worn as well, but they were certainly warmer than those little flats she had been wearing in the past. Oh well, she was one of the lucky ones. Some of the others came out of the Union looking much more battered than she.

Looking out the window as the train came to a full stop, she took another steadying breath. It was time to see what it was that Eduard wanted to speak to her about. Her eyes found him immediately. He was standing by himself, he looked good. He looked quite a bit happier at the very least.

It was difficult for her to wait her turn to exit the train. She wanted to rush off and run up to him, even though it would only prove to make her look childish. She didn’t even have any plans for what to do when she saw him, she just knew that she wanted to be closer to him. Once she was able to move, her feet moved much more quickly than they should have, and all too soon she was right in front of him.

“Mr. von…Bock. H-hello.” Natalya grimaced internally about the way her voice quivered when she spoke to him. “How are you fairing?” She smiled awkwardly up at him, not entirely sure how to respond to seeing him again, but feeling decidedly lighter-hearted than she had in years.

Estonia - December 3, 2012 07:05 PM (GMT)
The train arrived at the station as the Estonian looked around him suspiciously, if not in an outright paranoiac manner. Even though Ivan’s agents became a rare sight in the past few years thanks to the recent and thankfully sane Soviet Premier’s Glasnost and Perestroika, he could never let his guard down. After all, the Red Army was fighting in the streets of Vilnius and Riga, suppressing revolts throughout the communist empire. The Union was cracking, but Eduard would stay put for the time being. Being too rash could only end with the Soviet Army burning down Tallinn once again. He needed a better opportunity before acting. In the end, the more he waited, the more organised the liberation forces would become.

This is simply one thing he could not afford to fuck up.

Finally, once he decided that there were no shady-looking Ruskies stalking him, he turned his gaze to the train. He watched the few people that got off; most of them Estonians from Tartu coming to the capital to visit family or on business; until finally, the beautiful silver-haired Ruthenian cleared the train doors. His cheeks reddened slightly, but a gentle smile formed on his lips. He took a quick glance to the security officer, who obviously was ‘too busy’ smoking a cigarette to care about the passengers, he looked back at Natalya, taking his time basking his eyes in all of her features as the lady hurried towards him.

“Mr. von…Bock. H-hello. How are you fairing?” she said in a soft and quiet voice that almost made his heart stop, but his smile grew a bit wider.

“Hei, Natalya.” he replied, approaching her and gently placing his hands on her small shoulders before leaning in to kiss her cheeks, which was entirely unnecessary, but he had a great excuse to do that and feel her shoulders and the fabric of her nice dress even for a moment. Either way, old habits are hard to drop. “I feel… much better than I have in the past few years.” he continued, his lips still forming that shy, yet gentle smile to her. Her own shy smile was making his heart melt while he peered into her eyes for the moment.

So pretty…

After a moment, he offered his arm to her and coughed after a brief silence. “It will make us look less shady this way…” he mumbled quietly. He mentally scolded himself for being so freaking lame with even lamer excuses. In the end, he started to lead her out of the train station and on the way back to the Old Town. They could both see and even feel the desolation around the station. The buildings, a disgusting reminder of Stalinist rule and the ever-so beautiful Soviet architecture, looked run-down and poor. Yet, the blue-black-white hung from many windows. Despite their sad living conditions, the people still found the strength to resist since they realised that these little thing could not lead them to prison anymore.

“Take a look around you,” the Estonian quietly said. “The people, the nation, is tired of communist rule. Now that they feel that they can do something about it without fearing for their lives, they are finally starting to state their true feelings. The ones who continued to sing the praises of our ancestors, heroes, and songs of our true and proud history despite Ivan’s attempts at shutting them up; those who took arms in the desperate struggle for the freedom of a small and ignored people… The people can finally listen to them once again and join their ranks.” He couldn’t help but smile proudly as he looked around him. Many people, including him, wore cockades of the national colours. As they reached the gates to old Tallinn, people could be seen preaching to bigger and bigger crowds. The observing security officers could do nothing to stop them, nor would they do.

He looked around them and suddenly changed the conversation. “Do you like it here? The Toompea is like a completely different world than the rest of the city. It hasn’t been… bastardised by the freakin’ Commies.” he lamented. “It’s amazing that I’m able to live here instead of the newer neighbourhoods…”

Eduard took a look around the unofficial couple once again. Thankfully, he did not see anybody stalking them. However, he hadn’t noticed that somewhere along the way, he had started to hold the Byelorussian’s slender hand.

“Oh yeah,” he began, changing the conversation again. “Do you want to go to my place for a bit or do you want to keep walking? I love to walk around and show the old Town, but it’s probably been a long train ride for you and if you might be tired and and… uh…” he started awkwardly stuttering as he realised all the potential implications from what he had suggested. He shook his head quickly: Don't get carried away Eesti, you creep. “I mean, yeah. We can keep walking as well,” he pull himself back together as he looked around them again. “I suppose it’s safer to keep moving anyways…” His indecisiveness when it came to the Ruthenian must make him look like a complete moron, he sighed. “Anyways, it’s your choice.” he finally said with a voice that didn’t scream awkward white-knighting fool.


About freaking time, I know, I know... but hey, actually walking around Tallinn was amazing and makes this a lot more accurate. The old Town was simply beautiful and it was like going back to the Medieval era. Either way, it's been a year and I assumed this was taking place in January 1991, so the Soviets are fighting in some Republics that are breaking away and everyone is getting ready to leave the Union.

Belarus - May 9, 2013 03:28 AM (GMT)
Work worn hands swept over her shoulders and gentle lips brushed her cheek in a nostalgic greeting. It took all of Natalya’s concentration to keep from flushing bright red. It was almost wrong for that greeting to be used, and yet it felt so pleasant. So normal. This meeting was likely to be anything but that though. Natalya had her suspicions that the Estonian had a plan. It seemed he was almost always one step ahead of things, even when that meant he would return to the “secured housing area” beaten and bloody. When she was of a mostly sane mind, it was her job to care for him. A vision of blood and dirt covered hair flashed in her mind before she swished it away, hoping he hadn’t noticed. Still, it was wonderful to see him so well, so independent looking, despite the chains holding both of them to the empire.

It took her a moment to realize he had taken her arm, and was leading her through the old town, showing her signs of the impending revolution. “Take a look around you.” He said. It was hardly necessary for him to tell her. Signs of revolt were everywhere. The tricolor was hung from several windows, people were singing native songs, even those out walking wore a look, not of fear, but of hope.

Eduard’s commentary continued as they walked, and Natalya took it all in. The sights, the sounds, the company. It just felt….right. “ It hasn’t been… bastardised by the freakin’ Commies.” he lamented. Natalya couldn’t help snort at that comment. “It’s amazing that I’m able to live here instead of the newer neighbourhoods…” She couldn’t help but agree. It was beautiful here, and it was quite surprising that her brother’s task force hadn’t destroyed it completely.

As they walked she felt a warm hand slip into hers. It was startling in a way. She couldn’t think of a time when he had done that before. It made her heart flutter childishly, and she was about to scold herself when he spoke up again. “Do you want to go to my place for a bit or do you want to keep walking?”

He must have realized how awkward that sounded because he continued with “I love to walk around and show the old Town” She waited politely for him to finish, as it seemed he was more concerned about seeming foolish. It made her happy to know that someone worried about how they behaved around her. Hopefully it was because he cared about her opinion, and not because he was concerned about her mental state.

“Please. I’d love for you to show me around your city. It seems so….” She paused, at a loss for words. She gave him an apologetic look and tried to convey her thoughts silently, though gave up after a moment. Giving his hand a gentle squeeze, she smiled and nodded for him to continue onward. “Forgive me for being forward, but is this what you wanted me to see? The possibility of freedom seems so impossible for me.” She visibly drooped at this, but quickly tried to back track. “I mean, I’m so happy for you, but….” She felt so bad to be treading on his joy. Hopefully he knew her well enough to understand that she was simply relating it to her own future, and the worry that she would never be away from Ivan’s iron grasp. She unconsciously walked closer to him, mind trying to calculate what life would be like to make her own choices again. Her heart lifted at the idea. Maybe it really was po

Estonia - July 7, 2013 05:07 AM (GMT)
Pushing his emotions away for the time being, Eduard knew that when Natalya began to understand the purpose of their meeting, it was time for business. She seemed to know where he was going with this, but it wasn’t as simple as she may have thought.

“Forgive me for being forward, but is this what you wanted me to see? The possibility of freedom seems so impossible for me. I mean, I’m so happy for you, but….”

The Estonian nodded, waiting for her to finish at first, but smiled when he figured she wasn’t going to complete her sentence.

“Well, it’ll definitely be impossible with that kind of attitude,” he began, chuckling for a second, “but there’s more to this situation than you think.” When he had finished that sentence, the couple stopped in front of one of the medieval towers. It was overlooking one of the less fortunate districts of the town, west of the Old Town. “We’re both aware of what happened with Lithuania recently. We both reacted the same way when the tanks rolled in again. It’s definitely a setback, but it’s not hopeless.” He squeezed her hand for a moment. “Ivan still has quite a bit of military strength in him, I’ll give him that. The Red Army still is definitely still in one piece. But… He’s politically weak. He simply can’t afford to send the tanks in anymore. I’m telling you, Nat, the end is closer than you think…” He paused for a moment, shaking his head in embarrassment at the usage of a nickname for her. He suddenly felt incredibly conscious that he was still holding her hand, yet didn’t want to let it go either.

Sighing quietly, Eduard continued: “His control is evaporating. Ever since he had to let go his ‘allies’, the whole worlds saw the weakness in the Union. More importantly… the West knows what’s going on…” He suddenly turned to her, taking her other hand in his, suddenly becoming more passionate about what he was speaking, his eyes almost sparkling. “We need a way to make the West know that we don’t want the Union anymore. That it’s not just Capitalist Propaganda… That something is deeply wrong with this. We can’t fight back with weapons, Natalya, but we can fight with our minds!” He was grinning, now, letting go of her hands and turning back to the west once more. “We need to protest. Mass protests. Make the world know that what we want is Independence and that independence is what we need for us to grow and survive, not stay in a Red cage. We need to make it peaceful, yet powerful.”

Estonia paused for a moment before turning back to her. “We need to be together with this. Not just us, but everyone who wants to be free from the Union. We need to work together. More importantly…” He looked down to his feet for a second before looking back up. “I… We need you.” He quickly cleared his throat. “I-I mean, we need you to step up, and fight back. Your sister as well. You two are the closest to Ivan, and we need you to show him, and the world, that we don’t want any of this communist bullshit. I… I need you to be strong…” His cheeks were flushed now. “This is going to be difficult for every one of us. But… We can’t just wait and see anymore. We need to act before it’s too late. If our western neighbours can realise that our cause is just, they won’t be able to ignore us anymore. We’re too close to them and they’ll have to do something. While Ivan is weak, he won’t be able to keep us under his control if the entire world is glaring at him.”

He took a deep breath, feeling a bit proud of that little impromptu speech. He smiled at her before he finished: “Freedom will come to us. To me, you, and all of our friends… We just need to stay strong, work together and stay coordinated. If we all work together… I can promise you that we will finally be liberated. Even you. Being his sister won’t change that anymore.”

Belarus - August 9, 2013 07:16 AM (GMT)
Natalya’s lips turned downward and her brows creased. She was having a great deal of trouble taking in everything that was going on. She was in Talinn, with Eduard, who she cared about. No, scratch that thought. It was just getting in the way of her concentration.

She tried to refocus her concentration back to his speech. She had already missed some of it due to her own internal side processes getting in the way. “It’s definitely a setback, but it’s not hopeless.” It took her a moment to realize that he had been speaking about what happened to Lithuania, but before she could comment or muse further, he squeezed her hand. It was childish, but she could feel her cheeks burn slightly. No, no, no! She chided herself internally. Now was not the time to act this way!

Her attention shifted back to the Estonian. He was trying his very best to persuade her that Ivan, more importantly Russia as a whole, was politically weak. She wasn’t quite convinced that he was weak, but definitely certain he was unstable. The changes were quite obvious. He was becoming something much darker and more greedy than the “brother” she had once known. His leaders’ idea of “a glorious Communist government that would be led by the working class” was easily set to fail. Though they weren’t all bad in the idea to support the workers, some of the darker, more devious leaders decided to exploit the weak areas of the theory, causing the country to fall into a very difficult time.

The Belarusian shook her head a bit. In her mind, Ivan was anything but weak at this point. Perhaps Eduard had forgotten what it was like; Forgotten being beaten and bloodied. Maybe he forgot about stumbling into her room, sick with hunger and aching from physical labor. Natalya didn’t blame him for it. There were a great many things she would prefer to forget about those days as well.

It wasn’t until she heard a familiar nickname uttered, “Nat,” that she came back to his words. Nothing she could do would stem the flush this time. Heat rose up her neck and bloomed across her cheeks. Whether from embarrassment or delight, her face simply refused to cool off.

Eduard sighed again. This discussion seemed so difficult for him. She knew it was a matter of not saying the wrong thing really. He was trying to get her to understand something which he felt strongly about. Brows dipped in concentration, a slight frown to her lips as she focused in on him. “We need a way to make the West know that we don’t want the Union anymore. That it’s not just Capitalist Propaganda… That something is deeply wrong with this. We can’t fight back with weapons, Natalya, but we can fight with our minds!” The Estonian man grinned in near triumph at the end of his spiel. He had taken her other hand in his, staring deeply in her eyes as he spoke. The passion of his words seemed to reach down somewhere. Hope. For the first time since…Natalya didn’t even remember how long it had been since she felt such hope. It all sounded so positive and so possible!

She hated to admit it, and probably would never admit so to anyone, but she was disappointed when he let go of her hands shortly after his presentation. Somehow her fingers felt rather empty. He turned from her, staring off to the West, discussion moving toward how to show the world that “Russia’s Communist ways” were no longer wanted or needed. He spoke of protests. Peaceful, but demonstrative. A way to show off opinions, but not with deadly force. A way to share that the people were ready, and needing a way to thrive outside of their “Red Cage” as he put it. Oh how wonderful it would be…if only it were that easy.

Preparing for a rebuttal argument, she began shaking her head, but before she could open her mouth he turned back toward her. “We need to be together with this. Not just us, but everyone who wants to be free from the Union. We need to work together.”

“I…we need you.”

Greatly taken aback by that, she felt her breath catch in her throat. Eduard must have sensed the possible double meaning, as he quickly backtracked to say, “I-I mean, we need you to step up, and fight back. Your sister as well. You two are the closest to Ivan, and we need you to show him, and the world, that we don’t want any of this communist bullshit.”

Not terribly shocked that he had reiterated what he meant, Natalya sighed lightly. Did she really want him to mean something else? Nibbling at her bottom lip, she hummed. It really was hard to fight against his logic. Everything he said so far made sense. He even went on to say that her sister was needed as well. It would be best to send in help from those who are closest to Ivan after all. That way it sent a much stronger message to the outsiders. It seemed so dangerous. So delicate. One misstep could send all of them, not just the two present, crashing to the ground to be trampled. If they failed they would be likely tortured for insolence. If they didn’t try, they were no better off. The path was obvious, yet the feeling of being a piece of meat dangling over a hungry tiger was quite frightening. If anyone was to have a chance of freedom, they would need her help. She needed to make up her mind, and quickly.

A deep, rather shaky breath rolled through her lungs. It wasn’t an easy road ahead, that was certain, but she had to do the right thing. “Okay. Yes…I’ll help.”

Estonia - September 5, 2013 06:06 PM (GMT)
While his impromptu speech put the Estonian in some sort of charismatic trance, waiting for an answer tugged him back into the real world, as every second the woman spent taking his words in felt much, much longer than reasonable. However, when her words finally left her lips…

“Okay. Yes… I’ll help.”

He could barely believe it. While he was initially fearing her response, he couldn’t help but be frozen in shock for a moment. Quickly, however, a quick burst of joy took over him and his lips formed a smile as he pulled Belarus into a sudden and tight hug.

“I’m so, so glad to hear that, Natalya. I… I was kind of scared that you wouldn’t want to be involved in this…” he told her as he was unwilling to let go of his embrace. However, he thankfully remembered not to hold her for too long to avoid potential embarrassment despite how much he wanted to keep her in his arms. He slowly and gently released her, letting her go with an awkward chuckle and smile.

“Sorry about that. I couldn’t help myself.” Half of his mind wanted to apologise profusely while the other reminded him that he had just given a beautiful lady a nice, tight hug and that he shouldn’t be sorry about that. In the end, he couldn’t help but feel pretty good about how today was going. However, he quickly began to miss having her close. Quickly shaking his head, he figured he could push his luck a bit further without screwing all this work up.

“Well, since you’ll be here for a bit longer, do you want to go eat out somewhere?” he paused to quickly look at his watch. “It’s about lunchtime, so we could get coffee somewhere or something. We could take the time to discuss a few more details there with a bit more warmth. Not going to lie, I kind of skipped breakfast this morning…” He couldn’t help but chuckle at his shy ‘confession’ at the end, but he kept smiling at her. It was an amazing feeling. He felt like all of his worries had evaporated in the last few minutes and to make things even better, he may even get to spend more time with the lovely Belarus.

Nonetheless, he offered his hand to her again. While he would usually panic at the idea that a meeting with his long-time friend and crush would turn into a date, he felt unusually confident as a consequence of her responses so far.

“I’m going to be honest, there aren’t that many details, actually,” he admitted, shy smile on his lips, “It’s just nice to be spending more time with you again.” His head had nodded down to the pavement under them, his level of confidence returning to normal levels, finally. Then, he looked back up at her with a sudden realisation, laughing a bit softly. “Christ, how long have I been rambling about? I barely let you speak this whole time…”

Estonia now believed that the rest of the day would be splendid. It made him forget how desperate and stressful the overall situation was. A day with the wonderful Natalya was the best thing he could ask for to help through this.

Belarus - October 17, 2013 08:04 PM (GMT)
Finally relaxing into the fact that she had decided to join in their movement of sorts, Natalya was shocked as she was scooped up into a giant, warm hug. A hardly audible squeak passed through her lips and she was momentarily shocked. She hadn’t been hugged, let alone, touched in such a caring way for a long time. Once the initial moment passed, she wrapped her arms around Eduard and let herself melt into his hug. Oh what a lovely feeling it is. She wished it could continue, but all too soon she found his arms relaxing, and his body moving away from hers.

Eyes drifting up, she caught the end of a shy chuckle, and the embarrassed scratch of hair as an apology was given. Oh how she dearly wanted to tell him not to be worried. She even entertained the thought of him hugging her close again. She nearly dove back into the safety of his warm embrace, but she restrained herself. It just wouldn’t be proper.

Too soon he was mentioning something about food, and she hated to admit that the idea of warm soup made her stomach rumble. Had she eaten breakfast? Or supper the night before even? She could hardly remember her own name at the moment, let alone what she had eaten. It was too pleasant being with the Estonian. He was kind and polite, with impeccable manners and an intellect that would rival the greatest minds at times.

She was nearly lost to her mind again until a hand was offered to her. Slipping hers into his, she smiled up at him. Ah, this was nearly magical! Loathsome though it was, she could suddenly see in her mind, this situation taking a terrible turn for the worst. Ivan discovering them together, and rushing off in a brutal rage to harm them both. Bodies being ripped to pieces and neither being allowed near each other when they reformed again. At that, Natalya nearly laughed aloud. Oh dear she had an overactive imagination! The sad truth remained that her brother held some bit of power over her, be it directly or indirectly. She needed to work hard to overcome that feeling of being controlled by him.

Natalya sighed softly and squeezed Eduard’s hand gently. This was so pleasant. She was certainly curious as to his feelings on their being together at the moment, but she didn’t have to wait too long. “It’s just nice to be spending more time with you again.” She couldn’t help but blush lightly at his words, heart leaping giddily in her chest.

“Christ, how long have I been rambling about? I’ve barely let you speak this whole time…”

Though initially shocked by his uncharacteristic, relaxed speaking, she couldn’t help but giggle. “It’s fine, really.” She squeezed his hand again. “I hadn’t much to say, and you know I don’t mind listening. A-and yes I agree it’s nice to be spending more time with you.”
Her final comment was, not really an “aside,” but she felt quite shy about saying it despite the fact that she really did mean it. It was nice to spend time with him. He was one of few who would speak openly with her, and listen as well.

Drawing closer to him, wrapping her free arm around the arm holding her hand, she leaned up and placed a quick peck to his cheek. “Thank you. So much.” Feeling quite satisfied with herself, she took in a deep breath and puffed up her chest a bit. “I am definitely hungry. I don’t believe I had breakfast either. Anything warm to eat and drink sounds fantastic.”

Estonia - November 7, 2013 07:48 PM (GMT)
The Estonian smiled as he felt her hand squeeze his. “That’s good to hear,” he said as he began to lead her through the cobblestone streets. He stayed near her as they walked, mostly to keep her close to him in their walk. “Well, I’m sure we can find a place inside to eat by the Town Hall Square. I think a nice, hot soup will be good, don’t you think?” He turned his head to her and smiled, his hand reaching up to her face, gently stroking a lock of her hair. He felt like he might be pushing his luck at this point, but he had always wanted to touch her hair. It was so beautiful; long and pale, almost like silver. The ribbon around her head just made her look so cute. Oh, she was so gorgeous, he thought, his cheeks now visibly red, and not just because of the cold weather.

His heart was beating quite fast now. While he was confident for now, he was treading in unfamiliar territory and he certainly did not want to ruin what he had gained in so little time today. Nonetheless, he twirled the lock of hair around his fingers. It was so soft and he couldn’t resist anymore. He often stole glances at her, studying her reactions as closely as he could without her noticing… Hopefully.

Eventually, though, they reached the square and he let go of her hair. He sighed quietly as he looked around. It was a bit more crowded than the streets they were walking through, but it was still relatively quiet. Nonetheless, the snow-covered medieval buildings around the square were quite a nice sight. For a moment, he pointed to one of the buildings, a restaurant, for a second and led her towards it. Once they arrived, he quietly held the door open for her, smiling and blushing a bit. As she walked passed him, he looked at her closely, then shook his head quickly as he closed the door behind them. As he scolded himself, the couple made their way to their seats. Once again showing off his manners, he pulled a chair for her before sitting by his side of the table.

“Order anything you’d like,” he said, smiling at her. It was nice to be finally inside. It was like neither of them noticed the temperature drop as they were outside. He quickly looked out the window of the restaurant, wondering if the weather was going to be worst. However, he soon gazed back to her. She was a much more pleasant sight, anyways.

Belarus - January 9, 2014 07:34 PM (GMT)
Natalya couldn’t believe how much attention he was directing to her. It was definitely unusual to be the object of someone’s interest rather than scorn. Too many times she had fallen under the icy glare of her brother. He was a fearsome man, but the gentle heart in front of her was so refreshing. She almost felt giddy, though she was not planning to let that particular behavior bubble to the surface. She was calm and collected. Mostly.

The Estonian led her through the streets of Tallinn with the surefootedness only a nation would be able to have. He was not only showing off his city, he was essentially showing off a part of himself. Tall medieval buildings and rough cobblestone streets, all an example of the strong, stately past he held close to his heart. It made her feel as though very young, which, she was, though the surroundings also made her feel very feminine. The sturdy center of Tallinn seemed so prolific in comparison to her, admittedly rather battered, Minsk.

Breathless for a moment, the Belarusian watched as Eduard reached toward her face as if in slow motion. What would he do? Was he going to slap her? Ah, it seemed he was reaching toward her hair. Was he going to grab her hair and throw her to the ground? Several scenarios, all of looming pain and unkindness flitted past her eyes. It was then that he reached up and pet a bit of hair gently. Her heart skipped a beat. A gentle, perhaps loving, touch? This was something she hadn’t had from a male in many years. The last time was perhaps when she and Ivan had been much, much younger. Back when he still spoke to her kindly and hugged her as his sister, not smashed her around like some evil to be expelled.

Natalya watched in near amazement as he pet the lock of hair and twirled it around his fingers. He…he cares about me! It was shocking that she was able to keep her footing as they continued walking, though no doubt he would have caught her if she showed any sign of a misstep.

Following his lead, she walked through a door to a rather nice little restaurant. It was hidden if you didn’t realize what it was, but it seemed as though the local people frequented it. A calm cozy glow came from the room and it was a comfortable sight to see smiling faces. Faces that smiled at her, despite the fact that she was obviously not one of them.

Eduard ushered her to a table, and even helped seat her. Ah, but there was her heart beating quickly again! She couldn’t help but smile as he suggested she “order anything she’d like.”

What a treat to have such a luxury. She looked down the menu and blushed red, rather embarrassed. “Ah…I can’t read Estonian.” Then promptly burst out laughing.

Estonia - April 8, 2014 01:39 PM (GMT)
Estonia had been observing her face for reactions, trying to be subtle about it as being caught staring would be incredibly awkward. He couldn’t help but be puzzled from her lack of reaction to his moves. She always seemed so distant, and he couldn’t help but notice a bit of fear when he had reached for her hair, but then she had seemed to have relaxed afterwards. He didn’t want to create further discomfort for her, but then again, he couldn’t help but be curious because of the stoicism he was afraid to break too roughly. Still, he wanted to help her if he could.

What definitely surprised him the most, however, was when she started laughing at such a detail. Of course, he laughed softly along with her, but in retrospect it was certainly something he had not seen in many, many years. It was one thing to see her smile, which was always a blessing that made his heart stop, but to see her laugh was incredibly nice. He smiled softly at her afterwards, finding the blush on her cheeks rather endearing. Eduard nodded and he started to translate the menu for her. It was moments like that that made their situation unique; they couldn’t communicate well in their own native tongues, but they had their workarounds in consequence. Of course, they both knew Russian, but he never liked using it in conversation. It was a psychological thing, really, but he made a mental note that maybe he should learn Belarusian, telling himself that it wasn’t exactly Russian. Perhaps he could teach her Estonian one day. After all, one more Estonian-speaker was always welcomed in this little piece of land.

Eduard had leaned over the table in order to help her out with the menu, at the same time explaining the translation and trying his best to teach her a little bit of Estonian rather than just crudely translate. Of course, it took a lot more time to get through the menu than necessary, but he thought it was fun to be teaching those things and hopefully she would appreciate the little bits of his language.

After a few minutes of going through the menu, a gentle waitress greeted them and asked them if they were ready to pick something. Estonia turned to Natalya with a gentle smile. “Are you ready to order?” he asked her softly before ordering himself a warm soup with some dumplings, reminding her that she could take whatever she wanted. Belarus was the last one he expected to take advantage of his generosity or his trust.

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