Title: America x Reader x Russia – For Never After
Chapter: Three – The Palace
Rating: PG-13 for violence
Summary: Russia takes you to one of his most favorite, and most hated, places in his country and makes a mistake.
Cold and crisp air hit your face violently. It was much colder in St. Petersburg than it was in Moscow, but that was to be expected, as this city was located farther north than the capital. Russia stood at the gates of the large and grandiose palace. He grasped the bars and leaned his forehead against the metal. It burned, but he did not care. His breathing became shallow and fast paced. He closed his eyes, trying to force back tears. Finally, he pushed the gates open and led you into the courtyard.
Snow covered the grounds entirely. You had seen this place in a book somewhere. Yes, there were people running away… Imperial guards stood aiming at the civilians… The words 'Bloody Sunday' echoed in your mind. Suddenly, you saw people all around you, running from the palace. You could smell blood and death in the air. You heard gunshots and instinctively ducked. Suddenly, you saw Russia, in an older attire, the kind reserved for kings and dukes. He wore a dark blue overcoat, with red cuffs and a green sash across his chest. His pants were white as snow, and his boots looked as if they were made of the finest leather. He ran toward you, his sword unsheathed. You froze, unsure of what to do except raise your hands in an attempt to stop him. His fierce look scared the blood away from your face, and you screamed…
Your eyes shot open. Russia had his arms around you, hugging you tightly. Your hands were placed on his chest, pushing him away. Your heart was pounding madly in your chest and your breathing was low and shallow. Tears started forming in your eyes. "__________," Russia said softly, his voice soothing you. "I'm sorry. Perhaps we can come back another day?"
You shook your head. You had always dreamed of seeing this place, and a scary vision was not going to stop you. Russia saw the determination in your face and agreed to let you into the old building. He led you through the halls and into the grand ballroom. You remembered this from the movie, but it was breathtaking in real life. There were still paintings of the last Romanov family hanging on the walls of the palace. You moved to the center of the room, spinning around to get the full impact of the room. "Wow…" you breathed.
Russia watched you from the bottom of the staircase, memories of the grand parties that had taken place flashing through his vision. He looked around, seeing the ghosts of the past floating about, enjoying the afterlife. He frowned; they were together and happy, but he was alone. The palace reminded him of times before the Bolsheviks, times when he was happy and lived a carefree life. Even now, he could never go back to those times. They were over, and he had to face reality.
But it seemed to him that you didn't care. You danced around with the unseen spirits, humming your own tune, flying away in the arms of a man you could not see or feel. You giggled, letting your imagination get the best of you. It seemed like you were unaware of the things occurring outside the palace walls—as if you had been a part of the Imperial family from the start. You fit in so perfectly, he could have sworn you were a memory as well. Unconsciously, he walked over to you and gently caressed your face. And upon seeing that you were real, he let a tear fall from his eye.
You had stopped spinning to witness his show of emotion. Russia was crying… Something pulled at your heart strings, and you reached up and wiped his tear away, your hand placed gently on his face. "It's okay…" you whispered, in the most soothing voice you could manage.
He looked down at you, his lavender eyes meeting your (eye color) ones. Your heart skipped a beat. In the dim light of the ballroom, his eyes seemed to glow brightly. His look softened and he gave you a small smile. "Spasibo, dorogoy," he breathed, holding your hand to his cheek. A blush crept onto your face as he lifted your chin up to his face. Your eyes fluttered closed and you felt something cold brush against your lips. It tasted like the dead of winter and pine, a slight twinge of vodka in the mix. But you could smell a field of sunflowers all around you. A bright light seemed to glow behind your closed lids and an immense warmth wrapped around you.
And then you were snapped back to reality when Russia stepped away, covering his mouth with a gloved hand. His face lit up red and his eyes held a horrified expression. "P-prosti menya…" he managed to say, his voice quivering.
You stood in front of him with a confused expression, your own face turning red. You touched your lips, still unsure if he had kissed you or not. "I-Ivan?"
Russia scrunched away, waiting for you to lash out at him and leave him. But his face lit up with surprise when you wrapped your arms around his waist. "__-__________...?" he started slowly.
"Thank you," was all you mumbled out, wishing for the moment to stay lingering forever in silence.
Russia's look softened, and he held you in a safe embrace, petting your silky (hair color) hair. "Vsegda pozhaluysta," he whispered. He lifted your face once more and gently kissed you, sending his feelings straight to your heart. It fluttered in your chest, the stubborn organ speeding up to the point of nearly exploding.
Why though? You had only just met this man, so why was your heart pounding madly at the mere thought of him? True, he was a handsome man. And he seemed like a sweet person. But this wasn't one of those fairy tale lemons where there was no plot to the story, just lemony goodness. Nope, sorry to disappoint but this was reality. So by the laws of reality, was it logical to even be thinking you might be in love with the Russian? How long would it normally take to make a friend? A few days, if you're lucky. But a lover? That would take months—and perhaps years—of work. And here you were, kissing a complete stranger. He didn't even fit the time frame for a friend. Way to go, you.
And yet, you couldn't help but feel an unnerving attraction to the tall man who stood before you.
Oh yeah, this was definitely going to be the best vacation ever.