[Rochu Fanfic] Childhood Ambition - Chapter 1

Main Pairing: Implied Rochu (Ivan x Yao) | Genre: Friendship | Rating: PG

Synopsis: Yao rescues little Ivan from an execution when the latter cooks unedibles for their then-master Mongolia's dinner, igniting a passion that burns for centuries to come.

My take on how Ivan and Yao first met.

Note: Batukahn is my human name for Mongolia. I do not usually create OCs or make up names for countries with no existing human names. However, for this story, I had to include Mongolia due to its past relations with Ivan and Yao, and I had to give him a name because I do not feel comfortable using country names for characters, especially when said character keeps getting insulted ^^; I do not think badly of Mongolia, Yao's opinions of him here does not represent my personal opinions.

Disclaimer: The following story is a derivative work of APH and shares no relation to actual countries, political ideologies, history or events. Characters are copyright to Hidekaz Himaruya, but the storyline and writing are copyright to me. You may share the link to my blog or blog post, but you may not repost my writings without my permission.

Chapter 1: When We First Met

1300 AD, Mongolia

In a large empty kitchen on a winter night, a fair-haired boy slaved over the kitchen stove, wrapping and re-wrapping his long, pink scarf around his thin body. Although the fire burnt strongly in the fire place, the gusts of chilly winds that stole inside through gaps in the doors, windows and loose bricks felt like ice against his bare face. He looked barely older than ten, yet he was denied of the carefree life that youths hailing from a background as prestigious as his would enjoy.

He was no ordinary boy, but a nation who went by the human name of Ivan Braginski. When Ivan was much younger, he had subordinates waiting on him hand and foot. He was not as large and powerful a nation compared to Batukhan, whom he now worked for, but he was the master of his own house nonetheless. Yet now he was reduced to a servant in a foreign land, trying to cook for the first time in his life.

Batukhan's favourite chef was late. Young Ivan was tasked with the job of satisfying his Mongolian master’s sudden craving for Ivan’s native cuisine. He was all alone in the kitchen, for nobody liked being with him very much. When displeased, his presence chilled the spines of others even in Spring. His striking violet eyes earned him the nickname of 'snow devil' behind his back. Other servants and nations avoided him if they could help it, and this was one of those times when they had made themselves scarce.

With nobody to help and guide him, Ivan eventually left the kitchen with a plate of unidentifiable mush emitting a pungent burnt smell.

* * *

Ivan observed nervously as his master poked his spoon doubtfully at the charred pieces.

"What's this?" Batukhan eyed his dinner warily.

Ivan mumbled an exotic sounding name, his heart racing. Batukhan gestured to a servant, who took a spoon, wrinkled his nose and scooped a spoonful of the black mush into his mouth. Almost immediately, the servant's poker face contorted with pain. The poor man keeled over, coughing violently until specks of charred particles were expulsed from his mouth.

Ivan did not find out what became of the poor servant. In the next instant, Batukhan grabbed him by the shoulders and lifted him off the ground.

"Brat! How dare you try to kill me!" Batukhan bellowed at him, shaking him so hard that he thought his teeth would fall out. He dropped Ivan, and before the boy could catch his breath, grabbed a lance from a bodyguard and started hitting him with it.

"Waaaah!" Ivan cried as he scrambled to his feet and tried to dodge the merciless blows. Two burly soldiers flanked the exit, leaving no way out for him. In a bid to escape his enraged attacker, he ran frantically around the room, trying to hide under the furniture, but knocking over most of it, including the many valuable antiques on their surface tops. Sounds of porcelain crashing to the floor were followed closely by angry threats of torture and murder. Batukhan was getting angrier by the second, and Ivan could feel it from the increasingly stinging blows on his back.
He had to get out of here before Batukhan decided to spear him with the lance. He ran towards the exit again as fast as he could, hoping that he could slip between the menacing guards.

But the guards had seen him. They stuck out their weapons across the entrance - two large sabres, blades unsheathed. Ivan would not be able to stop in time. The sharp blades would slice across his neck, putting an end to his short, miserable life


Ivan felt something slam into him. His vision turned red.

"What do you think you're doing, you crazy barbarian aru!"

Something enveloped him, and his face was pressed into piercing redness until he could see nothing more.

"This brat tried to assassinate me!" Batukhan's gruff voice rang out clearly from behind him.

A large hand grabbed his shoulders roughly, and Ivan found himself being pulled away from his strange but safe sanctuary.

"Oh no, you don't!"

To his despair, Ivan found himself in the middle of a tug-of-war, stretched between his cruel master and his saviour. No sooner had the tug-of-war started, it ended almost immediately. His saviour's grip released, and Ivan half-flew into Batukhan's arms before finding himself unexpectedly shoved aside.

"Are you all right, Yao?" Batukhan addressed the intruder who was now sprawled on the ground. He marched over to the fallen figure and stretched his hand to him, but the intruder turned his head away rebelliously.

It was then that Ivan saw his saviour’s face for the first time. The man called Yao had soft and gentle features. His large, amber eyes glowed ferociously, but softened when they met Ivan's eyes. His face was youthful, friendly and kind, making him approachable to the young boy. Long, black tresses framed his attractive face. His crimson red outfit was simple and plain, but contrasted stunningly with his fair skin. His pink lips curved into an amiable smile, and Ivan felt the pains in various parts of his body diminish.

"He started it! Look at what happened to my food taster!" Batukhan shouted. Yao turned away to glare up at Batukhan again. Ivan looked at the direction that his furious master was pointing at, and was horrified to see that the servant was slumped over on the table, unconscious. Oh dear, now his saviour would think that he had indeed tried to assassinate Batukhan. He had to sat the record right.

"I didn't!" Ivan piped up, surprised at his own courage. He hardly ever dared to speak up against Batukhan. Nobody ever did.

Batukhan and Yao turned towards him, Batukhan with a murderous glint in his eyes, and Yao with a compassionate expression that encouraged him to continue.

"It's my first time cooking. I followed the recipe, but I don't know what went wrong," Ivan blinked innocently out of sad, puppy dog eyes.

"Aiya, you poor thing!" Yao rushed towards Ivan and enveloped him in a hug. "Batukhan is such a monster for making a sweet boy like you slave in the kitchen!"

Ivan felt his face grow hot from pleasure. Yao's hair smelt like flowers.

"But my servant is dead!" Batukhan exclaimed indignantly.

Sighing, Yao released his embrace, much to Ivan's displeasure, and marched over to the unconscious servant. After several hard shakes, the servant opened his eyes, foaming slightly at his mouth and muttering about quitting his job.

"The boy is no murderer aru! You must apologize to him for such a serious accusation!" Yao declared fiercely. Ivan gazed at Yao, speechless with awe. Batukhan did not seem to intimidate Yao at all, despite the fact that his bulky frame towered over Yao’s petite one. Yao had displayed a great show of courage thus far, but this was the most impressive yet. Nobody ever dared to accuse Batukhan of making a mistake, let alone demand an apology from him.

Batukhan widened his eyes in astonishment.

"Apologize to the brat?" he spat. "Never! Look what he's done to my dining hall! Look at the treasures you gave me, all smashed to smithereens!"

"Stole from me, you mean," Yao said condescendingly. He walked back to Ivan and took his small hand in his own. Ivan felt an inexplicable warmth cruise through his body. Yao's touch was so warm and reassuring.

"Let's go, boy," Yao said.

"How dare you! I never gave the boy permission to leave!" Batukhan stepped in front of Yao.

"Seeing that you have no guts to apologize to the boy, there's not much point in us staying. I shall leave you to your barbaric antics until you sober up."

Deftly, Yao sidestepped Batukhan and led Ivan through the entrance and out of the room. Ivan was too absorbed with staring at Yao's dashing side profile to notice that all the guards and servants in the room were also entranced by his saviour's regal demeanour. By the time Batukhan snapped out of his shock, the pair was too far away to hear Batukhan yell at his guards.

"Why didn't you stop them from leaving, you useless lumps? Who's going to make my dinner now?"

* * *

"Huff... Sir? Where are we... huff... going?" Ivan panted alongside his saviour as they half-walked, half-jogged, away from the building that housed the dining hall, to an unknown destination. Since they got away from Batukhan, Yao had suddenly begun walking at top speed, holding his hand firmly but not saying a word. Ivan had difficulty catching his breath, and the parts where Batukhan had struck him were beginning to hurt. The freezing winter winds swirling around him weakened his limbs.

"Hush! We must get away from him before his men catch up with us. Batukhan can be very mean when he's mad aru!" Yao cautioned without slowing his pace.

"All right… ah!" Ivan gave a cry of despair as he fell face-forward. Succumbing to pain, his knee had buckled, causing him to fall.

"Aiya!" Yao cried as he knelt down by his side. "I'm so sorry! I forgot that you were hurt. Let me carry you aru!"

He bent over and motioned for Ivan to climb on his back. When the boy had done so, arms placed around his neck, Yao stood up slowly, supporting his thighs securely with his hands. He turned his head backwards. Ivan still had a pained expression on his face.

"Hey boy," Yao smiled, "Imagine that you're a general and I'm your warhorse. Batukhan is just ahead with his minions. What do we do?"

Ivan broke into a smile.

"Chaaaarge!!!" he shouted with great gusto.

Yao ran forward with Ivan, who pointed one fist in the air.

"Barbarian!" Yao cried laughingly.

"Barbarian!" Ivan echoed gleefully.


"Bastard!" Ivan repeated after Yao.

Pleased that Ivan had cheered up, Yao got carried away, and continued insulting Batukhan with a variety of crude names, each one meaner than before. Ivan mimicked the older man happily.

"S**** his ancestors!" Yao shouted, and Ivan followed.

"All eight generations of them!" Yao cursed. Ivan chanted after him.

"All eight generations of them!"



Ivan wondered why Yao had suddenly stopped scolding Batukhan.

"You're but a child! I shouldn't teach these rude words to you aru!" Yao fretted, self-reproach evident in his voice.

"But Batukhan is mean. He deserves them da?" Ivan asked innocently.

"Still, it is rude to use them! Promise me that you'll never use them on anyone, all right?" Yao turned his face towards Ivan. Seeing his severe expression, Ivan nodded.

"Good boy," Yao smiled. "Anyway, we are safe now! Batukhan always leaves me alone when I'm inside my sanctuary. He knows he will get hell from me otherwise."

They stopped in front of a stone wall, with a bright red wooden double door embedded in it. Behind the wall, Ivan could see the roof top of a short building if he stood on tip toes. Yao knelt down, motioning for Ivan to climb off his back. Ivan did so reluctantly, wishing he could stay on the warm, broad back for longer.

“Will you get into trouble with Batukhan for saving me?” Ivan asked in a small voice.

“Don’t worry, he likes my cooking too much to harm me,” Yao waved his hand.

The red double door had two bronze knobs formed like the head of a ferocious looking creature with fierce round eyes and sharp teeth. Hanging from below each knob was a large ring. Yao pushed open the doors and urged Ivan forward. Once they had stepped over the threshold, Yao barricaded the door with a large wooden rod. He then hustled Ivan towards the house at the other end of the enclosed space that they now stood in. Ivan saw that they were in a garden encased by four walls, filled with leafy trees and bushes, stone sculptures and furniture, with a beautiful green pond at a corner.

“Oooh fish! I want to…”

“Not now!” Yao said. “You’ll catch a cold if you stay out here in such cold weather.” He pulled Ivan towards the house. Another large double door graced the front of the house, with door knobs stranger and more intricate than the pair on the outer doors.

Yao pushed open the heavy doors with a loud creak, revealing to Ivan the most beautiful room he had ever seen. Ivan’s eyes lit up.

“Your house is like a palace!” Ivan pranced around the room excitedly, running his small hands over intricately carved sculptures, and peering down bottomless vases grander and more exotic than what he had seen in Batukhan’s dining hall.

“This is nothing compared to the rest of my house,” Yao laughed, amused by the excitable boy’s antics. Ivan reminded him of his little brother Yong Soo, who simply had to touch everything in sight and claim them as his own.

“Really?” Ivan looked up from a life-sized porcelain statue of a horse that he had been examining. “Your house must be amazing!”

“The biggest and most beautiful house in existence, if I may say so myself,” Yao said proudly. “My house is actually made up of many palaces. This is just one of my many small spare buildings.”

“Oooh,” Ivan’s violet eyes sparkled with anticipation. “I want to see the rest of your house. Can I?”

Yao pursed his lips as mild melancholy cast a shadow on his proud visage.

“The rest of my house has been taken over by the barbarian. It is not convenient for you to explore.”

The buoyant little face sagged. Noticing his disappointment, Yao hastily added, “I’ll get it back one day. Then you can explore all hundreds of the rooms to your heart’s content. You can even claim one for your own since I have so many rooms aru!”

The last line had a significant impact on Ivan, whose face positively lit up.

“Can I really da? I would love to live in a big house. My house used to be quite grand, but I had to keep moving out into smaller houses when Batukhan’s men came to settle down. My last house was half the size of this room. It always snowed where I lived, and my sisters and I would fight over the blanket because we only had one bed, and the blanket would only cover one person.”

Yao nodded sympathetically. “Of course you can. And your sisters can come too.”

“I’ll be fine without them,” Ivan chirped. As he bounded beside Yao, he noticed, with great interest, that Yao moved with an air of elegance and grace, much unlike the boorish, clumsy Batukhan who stomped rather than walked. His figure was willowy, his hair long and silky, unlike most adult men he had met in his homeland or in Batukhan’s servant quarters.

Ivan followed Yao to the doors at the back of the room, which led into his bedroom. The bedroom was smaller and less cluttered than the main chamber, but well-adorned with scenic paintings and calligraphy that were mounted on the walls. A large oak bed veiled with curtains took up most of the space in the room. Yao drew the curtains aside, inciting another excited squeal from the boy, who ran towards the bed and plonked down on it. The bed was not very soft, but the silk sheets were smooth to the touch and smelt fragrant. He could well be sitting in a flower bed.

“Your bed smells so good da!” Ivan declared. He grasped a handful of bed sheets and put them against his face. They were warm and soft.

“I put dried peony petals inside the lining of my sheets. It helps me to sleep better in such troubled times,” Yao explained. He went to the wooden closet next to his bed and retrieved a bundle of clothes from inside.

“Batukhan treats you so well,” Ivan pouted enviously as he swung his feet gaily against the side of the bed.

“Treats me well?” Yao asked, surprised by his remark. “He robbed me of my house and my land!”

“But you get your own bed and he doesn’t yell at you. My sisters and I and all the other nations sleep on the hard, cold floor in the servant’s quarters. We don’t even have pillows,” Ivan said sadly.

“I’m sorry to hear that, but he treats me a little differently only because he wants me to impart my culture and language to him. I’d much rather sleep in the servant’s quarters than give that ruffian an education on culture. As if stealing my land wasn’t enough!” Yao slammed his closet door shut with a loud thud that made Ivan practically leap off the bed.

“Sorry. Speaking of that barbarian makes me bristle,” Yao said apologetically. “Go to sleep, all right? I’m going to change into my night robes. You can lie down and rest after you’ve removed your shoes,” Yao looked pointedly at the tattered, dirty shoes on the little boy’s feet.

“On your bed da?” Ivan’s eyes grew wide. Everyone he knew was either terrified of him, or terrified him. This was the first time someone had offered such kindness to him. Ivan felt incredibly touched.
“Yes, as long as you don’t fight with me for the blanket,” Yao laughed as he proceeded to go behind his changing screen.

Happily, Ivan rolled around in the bed sheets. He never knew that it was such a nice feeling to like, and to be liked by someone. He felt his affection for this beautiful stranger grow.

Moments later, when Yao emerged in a blue sleep robe, he was amused to find Ivan curled up on his bed, sound asleep. He realized, with mock chagrin, that Ivan had ignored his request and rolled his blanket into a makeshift pillow. Yao brought out a thick woollen blanket from under the bed and spread it over the boy. Then he blew out the candles, climbed into bed and drew the curtains, readying himself for nightmares with neighing war horses and swearing soldiers.

To be continued...

The second chapter is available in my Rochu doujinshi 'Our Secret History'. It will also be available in a free pdf version of the doujinshi that will be downloadable here after the book has sold out.


This story was supposed to be a one-shot, but it ended up in 2 chapters X’D As usual, I don’t know where to stop. This one took a particularly long time, mainly because:

a) It had no smut and I felt bored writing it *bricked*. Nevertheless, it had to be written because I need an introductory story for my fanbook ‘Our Secret History’.

b) I’m scared of getting flamed for historical accuracies, so I had to research on the Mongolian empire and Qin Shi Huang (who has a cameo in Yao's bed time story in the next episode). I’m aware that I probably still got some stuff wrong, so please don’t use the info for your history exams. XD Do note that because Yao’s perspective is likely to be different from that of a neutral historian, the way he tells his story and articulates his thoughts of ‘Batukhan’ will definitely be biased.

c) Having to describe Chinese architecture (or architecture of any kind) was a pain. I can easily picture it from the period dramas I’ve watched, but explaining it was a difficult thing, since some non-Asians have undoubtedly never watched any period dramas and don’t know what ancient China looks like. If my descriptions are confusing, please google X’D

It seems that people who draw/write about Mongolia’s invasion of Russia and China in their Rochu fanfics tend to portray Mongolia as a big bad guy who raeps Yao or raeps Ivan. Personally,.I always prefer something happier and light-hearted, since Hetalia itself is a light-hearted series. So I tried to make my portrayal of the Mongolian reign less tragic.

Ivan’s life is still pretty sad during Mongolian rule, but I like to think that ‘Batukhan’ kind of has a crush on Yao, because it was revealed in historical records that Genghis Khan was an admirer of Chinese culture and liked to surround himself with Chinese stuff. Also, of all the lands from different countries that the Mongolians conquered, they chose to have their city in China. I once spoke with a Chinese friend on this, and she said that a lot of foreigners have been misled into thinking that China was enslaved by the Mongolians. I get the feeling that she didn’t really like the portrayal of Yao being enslaved by ‘Batukhan’. So I tried to achieve a balance by portraying that while Yao was supposed to cook for ‘Batukhan’, he does it as and when he pleases and has the privilege of being rude to ‘Batukhan’. Also he gets to live in a nice room furnished to suit his own tastes.

Topic : Axis Powers Hetalia
Genre : Anime/Manga

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