[露中 Fanfic] Taming the Polar Bear - Chapters 1 to 4

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Main Pairing: Rochu (Ivan x Yao) | Genre: School, Romance, Humour, Drama | Rating: PG-13

Characters: Rochu-centric with many side pairings, supporting characters and cameos from other nations

Synopsis: In Hetalia Gakuen, Ivan, a notorious school bully, meets & falls in love with Yao, a student councilor who resolves to tame him of his bullying ways. Hilarity, chaos & fluff ensue as Yao braves Ivan's romantic but perverted pursuit to take him into hand.

Chapter 1: Ivan's First Day Begins With a Bang
Chapter 2: Touched by an Angel
Chapter 3: Dangerous Games
Chapter 4: The Nth Meeting Gone Wrong

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 Hiramuya, 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: Ivan's First Day Begins with a Bang

Hetalia Gakuen was gorgeous in Spring. As the most prestigious private international college in Japan, it was by itself, a magnificent establishment to begin with, given spacious green grounds and the varied yet harmoniously designed architecture that reflected the multitude of cultures and nationalities of its students. With the cherry trees in full bloom, the floral pinks added a touch of romanticism to the grandeur of the school grounds.

On the first day of the school year, many students were already milling around the school compound, most of them college freshmen, taking photographs on request of proud parents who would then send them off to the relatives to show off.

But not sophomore and transfer student Ivan Braginski, who stood all alone at the school gate, far away from the human traffic and cheerful chatter, with no one to send photos to. Despite wearing a cheerful smile on his face and a winter coat and scarf in the cool spring weather, he felt cold and morose. He longed to blend into the crowd, but all these people had friends and family members around them, human shields that intimidated him.

Why did everyone ostracize him? Was it his intimidating huge frame? Genetic issues were hardly something he had control over. Was it his strange attire? He would have gladly worn light casuals if not for his cold constitution which forced him to wrap himself up like a dumpling even in summer. Was it his violet eyes? He had received compliments on their outstanding colour, but some people spoke in hushed tones behind his back, calling them the 'eyes of the devil'.

In a sense, Ivan was glad to be away from his homeland in Russia. His older sister cried over the littlest of things, making him appear like a bully, while his unreasonable and terrifying younger sister had him living on a knife edge. His parents were infinitely busy with their lucrative but hectic oil business and were hardly at home. Whenever they did have time for him, the circumstances were never pleasant, considering all the trouble he got himself into just in one typical school week alone. He could not fathom why it was wrong to mess up his exams, to break all the school rules and to pick fights with his school mates, if that would mean receiving attention from his parents. Surely the process didn't matter if the goal was achieved in the end? Sadly, the objective was never the outcome.

After one particularly rough school year in his local college that resulted in his expulsion, Mrs Braginski enrolled him into Hetalia Gakuen on the reasoning that a stricter Asian school regime might instill some discipline in her unruly son. After paying an indecent sum of money to buy over the school authorities, Ivan's dreadful first year grades and conduct were overlooked and he was off to Tokyo to begin his new life.

No parents, no sisters, no neighbors, no friends, no one he knew. All alone.

Ivan had never begun school in Spring. School started in September in Russia, where it was Autumn and leaves left their branches to wither on the ground. If Spring was the time when life began anew, could he really anticipate better days ahead? So many Springs had come and gone in his life, but none as beautiful as this one.

With a lighter heart, Ivan dragged his suitcase inside the warmer school building. Come what may, he could protect himself if he had to, even if it would mean breaking his heart and someone elses' bones. He patted his trusty water pipe hidden under his coat, a legacy of his grandfather's military activity in World War Two. Kolkolkolkol~

*     *     *

In Hetalia Gakuen, students were segregated according to the different regions they hailed from. Each regional cohort was assigned an academic building where classes and club activities were held, in addition to a dormitory building which contained the students' sleeping and eating quarters. There were seven cohorts in all – Europe, which formed the largest cohort, Asia, The Americas, Middle East, Africa and Australia. Facilities for the student body made up a staggering fourteen buildings, and this was not even including the administration buildings, faculty quarters and common facilities.

For a college as huge and esteemed as Hetalia Gakuen, Ivan had expected a grand and inspirational Back to School Assembly cum Freshman Induction Ceremony. How mistaken he was! All his fellow European sophomores around him were chatting with old friends and classmates; none paid attention to the Dean Roma Antiqua, who was giving an animated speech about his past conquests of hot girls and his twenty-odd "successful marriages". How on earth he could deem them successful when every single one ended in a divorce was a real mystery, thought Ivan.

"Last but not least!" Professor Roma thumped a fist on the podium. The restless audience finally turned to look at him, eagerly anticipating the end of the speech.

"A union of love is the most beautiful thing in life! Even more so when the lady is cute! My dear freshmen and new students, do the school proud and get yourselves some hot girls. My dearest goal for you is to revolutionize public perceptions on us so we will cease being branded as the "gay school". Looking at the hotties in our new batch of students, I trust that this goal will be achieved in no time. Thank you!"

Professor Roma left amidst unenthusiastic applause around the school auditorium as students began voicing their opinions among themselves.

"Where does he expect us to get hot girls from when this is an all-boys school!"

"I'm like totally prettier than the prettiest girl evar!"

"What's wrong with being gay?"

"Silence, everyone! The student handbooks are being handed out now so please read them and re-familiarize yourselves with the school rules!" College senior and head student councilor of the European cohort Arthur Kirkland called out as he walked down Ivan's row to hand out frumpy-looking books.

"Oh Arthur, I don't know who he thinks he's kidding," college senior and assistant head student councilor of the European cohort Francis Bonnefoy sidled up to the grouchy blond. "Almost anyone who's anyone has walked in on him and old Germania doing it in almost any part of this school."

"Shut up, Francis! Don't say such things in front of the juniors," Arthur snapped. "What are you doing here anyway? Don't you have books to give out too?"

"I binned them. Nobody ever reads them anyway," Francis shrugged.

"How the hell did you get elected into the student council?" Arthur scowled as he stuffed a book haphazardly into the arms of a student. The student winced as a sharp edge of the book jabbed his elbow.

"Mon Dieu! Look at that attitude of yours! You'll scare all the poor juniors away! Let nii-san show you how to welcome them back with love!"

Without further ado, Francis planted a wet kiss right on the lips of the stunned second-year. Glancing at his name tag, he declared, "Welcome back to Hetalia Gakuen~ Monsieur Toris~"

"How dare you! That's like my boyfriend you're molesting!" The effeminate blond standing beside Monsieur Toris raged.

"Oh! You're so pretty! Are you really a boy? You look just like a lady!" Francis swooped down on him. "Welcome back to Hetalia Gakuen~ Monsieur Feliks~"

Francis proceeded to relay his affectionate hospitality to the sophomores down the row, causing swooning, cursing, spitting and blanching all at once. Arthur kneaded his temples, greatly troubled by the Frenchman's promiscuous behaviour.

Francis eventually reached the last student in the row of European students.

"Ouah! Violet-coloured eyes! How lovely! Are they real? They aren't contact lenses, are they?" Francis exclaimed as he gazed into the eyes of the Russian before him.

"My eyes are really violet da~ Thank you~" Ivan replied smilingly.

"Magnifique! Let nii-san give you some special love for your beauty~!"

Ivan had a very strange feeling as the Frenchman's tongue slipped inside his mouth. Ivan had always longed for affection, having been starved of it. This was the first time in ages since he was in such close proximity with a person, but he did not like it one bit. Francis' salacious smile and teasing drawl made him uncomfortable. Far from 'special love', this felt more like an intrusion. He did not like it. Defensive instincts kicking in, Ivan bit down hard.

"OW!" Francis pulled away and keeled over on the ground, cradling his bleeding mouth with a trembling hand.

Out of habit, Ivan pulled out his water pipe to punish Francis further.

Arthur gasped, shocked to see a student audaciously raining blows on a student councilor in the middle of a school assembly. He rushed forward to restrain Ivan, but the Russian was too strong and angry. He received a few wallops from the water pipe instead.

"Someone please help!" Arthur shouted at the frightened second years who were already scattering in panic. Nobody wanted to incur the wrath of the human bashing machine. Arthur was on the verge of giving Francis up for dead when a bespectacled blond with a quavering strand of idiot hair charged towards them, one fist in the air.

"Gakuen Hetalia's friendly resident Hero Alfred F. Jones to the rescue!"

Several sharp blows to his silvery blond head later, Ivan's world turned black.

Chapter 2: Touched by an Angel

Ivan woke up with a throbbing pain in his skull. It would take awhile for his eyes to adjust to the darkness in his new surroundings, but a strong whiff of disinfectant informed him that he was in some kind of hospital or clinic environment. Would this be his last stop in Tokyo? He could not help wondering what his family would say when he turned up at their door step, barely two days after he left the country.

The room door clicked open and a pale shaft of light fell into the room, followed by two long shadows. As light from the corridor fell upon their faces, Ivan identified one of his visitors as the grouchy student councilor called Arthur. The shorter man beside Arthur with dark hair pulled back in a pony tail and soft features, Ivan did not recognize. He would have mistaken him for a girl if not for his school uniform.

Bright light suddenly flooded the room, forcing Ivan to shut his eyes.

"Aiya! Why did you switch on the light! He might still be asleep aru!"

"About high time he awoke then. Even that bastard Francis was wide awake when I visited him," Arthur said briskly. Ivan saw movement towards his bed through his half-opened eyes and hastily pinched his eyes close. At this moment, he was not in the mood for reprimands.

"Unbelievable, Yao, he really is still asleep!"

"Alfred did hit him pretty hard aru. How's Francis?"

"He's surviving, but he received some really nasty bruises so I suppose he won't be able to get naked for a while. Good for us. However, he'll have to be put on a feeding tube for two weeks until his tongue heals from that vicious bite. The poor man will have a fit in his stomach. You know how much he enjoys fine dining," Arthur said gravely.

"He deserved it," Yao huffed. "No good ever comes out from such indecency. This should teach him a lesson to kiss anyone who stands still long enough aru."

Ivan's heart skipped a beat. Did he hear right? For once, someone was actually taking his side instead of going straight to him with furious accusations.

"Francis was just greeting him according to his custom. The new student completely overreacted. He hit me too, mind you. Check out these bruises on my arm," Arthur said grumpily.

"That does look bad aru," Yao said sympathetically. "Francis must have scared the poor boy badly."

"Are you still taking his side?" Arthur's thick eyebrows knitted together. "Ivan Braginski's a nutcase. Fancy landing someone in hospital on his very first day! I can wager that he was expelled from his previous college, and old Roma, as usual, takes in about anyone with cold hard cash to buy him over. Heavens knows what sort of trouble he'll create for me in future!"

"Don't be so paranoid," Yao scoffed. "I'm sure the boy's not dangerous. I'd probably have reacted in the same way aru."

"On the contrary, I think you'd stamp your feet and swing your wok around but you wouldn't commit homicide," Arthur smirked. He knew that Yao was too nice and tolerant for his own good to actually mean any of his threats and harsh words.

Yao retorted, "At least I don't make something out of nothing. Homicide is an exaggerated claim."

"Oh yes? Then why did you leave this room when you were supposed to remain in here until he woke up? Isn't it because you're afraid to be alone with him?" Arthur sneered.

"Aiya what nonsense! I just went to get him some food from the school cafeteria. I figured he'd be hungry since it's been a long day aru," Yao lifted a large styrofoam bowl out of his carrier.

"That's incredibly nice of you," Arthur said, half-impressed, half-exasperated. "Well, I'll leave you to mollycoddle him. I have to help the freshmen settle in. I'm really short-handed, what with Francis out of action and the large intake of Europeans this year." Arthur stretched his arms and yawned widely.

"Sure, leave him to me aru," Yao replied.

"Thanks, " Arthur replied as he blushed slightly. "Although he's supposed to be under my charge..."

"Aiya, it's nothing," Yao waved him off.

"Would you like Minty to stay with you?"

"Er… who aru?"

"My companion… you know, the mint bunny with the fairy wings?" He gestured at thin air.

Yao did not know. Neither could he see. But all the same, he replied, "Nah… it's all right, I don't mind staying here alone aru."

"Scream loudly if he attacks you," Arthur called as he stepped out of the room.

"Aiya! I can protect myself aru!"

Ivan twitched his nose as a familiar smell of Borscht, his favourite food in the world, wafted into his nostrils. He turned to the source of the smell, and saw Yao sitting next to the bed counter beside him, fanning at the steam that was issuing from a styrofoam bowl with its cap off.

When Ivan first laid eyes on Yao, he thought him pretty. Now, upon seeing Yao's side profile up-close, he concluded that he was not just pretty. Yao was beautiful. Silky black tresses framed the soft round face, starkly contrasting against pale skin. Those gentle amber eyes glowed with warmth that he never knew.

"Aiya!" Yao nearly spilled the Borscht when he turned and saw Ivan staring at him with glazed eyes. "You're awake!"

Ivan felt his face grow warm at being caught in the act of staring. What an alien sensation this was! Ivan was usually a thick-skinned and daring person. Embarrassment was a strange new feeling to him.

"How's your head aru?" Yao set aside the Borscht and helped Ivan to sit up in his bed.

"It hurts a little, but the pain is going away," Ivan replied truthfully. "Where am I?"

"You're in the school clinic aru. We took you to the hospital to do a CAT scan just now. Don't worry, the doctor said that you're fit as a fiddle! You can return to your dormitory first thing tomorrow morning," Yao beamed. Ivan nodded smilingly in appreciation of the information.

"Listen," Yao said seriously. "I apologize on behalf of the student council for this morning's incident. As assistant head councilor of the European cohort, Francis is usually quite sensible, but he's also fond of doing stupid things like that because he thinks they're romantic aru. He's French you see." A slight look of irritation crossed Yao's benign face.

"It's ok~ I understand. You don't have to apologize for him~" Ivan said sweetly. After all, if anyone was to pay further for this misdeed, it would only be the Frenchman himself. Kolkolkolkol~

Yao smiled gratefully at him, causing butterflies to erupt in his stomach.

"Thank you aru. Anyway, my name is Wang Yao and I'm the head student councilor of the Asian cohort. I graduated from this school last year and I'm doing my Masters now. Nice to meet you aru," he held out his hand for Ivan to shake. Ivan shook it, and as he did, felt a jolt of electricity course through his hand, quickening his pulse momentarily. Yao's hand felt so soft and warm, he felt he could hold it forever.

But Yao had no intentions of letting him do so.

"Your hands are so cold aru! No wonder you're wearing so much clothing even in Spring!" Yao exclaimed as he withdrew his hand immediately after Ivan had took it. "Is it really very cold in Russia?"

"The winters in Russia are very cold da," Ivan nodded. "I grew up in Yakutsk. The summers are warm but short, and the winters are long and freezing cold."

"I think winters in Russia are beautiful aru," Yao replied, thinking of the postcards he had seen at the book store.

"Yes, they make for dramatic photographs," Ivan smiled somewhat grudgingly. "Where are you from? Your hands are so warm da~"

"I'm from China. It's not as warm as the tropical countries, and some of our cities experience rather heavy snow in winters, but on the whole, we don't really get extreme temperatures, so I guess my weather is reasonably warm compared to yours aru."

A low rumble rang out as Ivan's stomach protested against neglect.

"Oh! You must be hungry aru!" Yao handed the steaming bowl of Borscht to Ivan. "I wasn't sure what you would like, but I thought you might want something familiar aru."

"Thank you, I love Borscht da~!" Ivan gratefully accepted the bowl. As Yao's hand grazed his own, he felt another bout of electric current enter his fingers. He could not explain the strange sensation he was feeling, but he knew it was certainly not attributed to the dry air in the room, and that it felt pleasant.

"Well I'll leave you to eat in peace then aru," Yao made a motion to get up from his chair.

"Wait!" Ivan grabbed Yao's wrist impulsively. It felt so delicate in his own large hands.

"Yes aru?"

Ivan sensed the small wrist twitch uncomfortably in his grip. A twinge of panic crossed his heart. Was Yao merely not comfortable with physical contact, or did he despise his touch? If it was the latter… well, he would soon find out.

"My hands feel weak and numb," Ivan balanced the bowl of Borscht gingerly on his lap and made a great show of rubbing his hands.

"From the cold? Aiya you have a really cold constitution aru! And I'm sure it can't all be your weather's fault! Have you heard the saying 'Food is medicine'? Personally, as someone who prioritizes food above everything else, for a good reason of course, I say you're lacking something in your diet aru. I know of a good Chinese herbal brew that will help to improve your constitution if you take it regularly. You just boil Dang Gui with red ginseng and…"

Ivan's stomach emitted another growl, forcing Yao to abandon his recital.

"Aiya I'm so sorry! I get carried away each time I talk about food," Yao blushed. "Can't you even hold your spoon?"

Ivan shrugged helplessly as the plastic spoon that came with the bowl of Borscht trembled violently in his hand.

"I suppose we shouldn't have removed your gloves and coat. What can I do to help you?" Yao fretted.

"Well… you could… you could feed me da~?" Ivan said hopefully.

"Feed you?" Yao scratched his head, wondering if he had heard right. As a doting older brother to two siblings, Yao liked babying his younger brother and sister, but they always chided him for treating them like children when he did so. He couldn't imagine a big guy like Ivan, and a total stranger at that, allowing him to treat him like a child.

"It's all right if you don't want to…" Privately thinking that it was not all right at all, Ivan felt a pang in his heart as purple haze obscured his vision.

A merry chuckle escaped the Chinese boy's lips, dispelling the purple haze.

"Aiya, I don't mind at all! I would have suggested it myself, but I was afraid I'd offend you aru. My younger sister complains and tries to hit me whenever I coax her to eat when she's ill," Yao shook his head. He took the bowl of Borscht from Ivan's lap.

"I won't complain or hit you. I'll be still and quiet, trust me da~!" Ivan said eagerly.

"All right then," Yao scooped up a spoonful of Borscht, blew at it gently and brought it to Ivan's mouth. Ivan opened his mouth obediently and swallowed the spoonful.

"Is it good aru?"

"Da~! It's the warmest and most delicious Borscht I've ever tasted!" Ivan nodded earnestly.

"Really? That's great," Yao said, surprised and glad. "I was worried that it wouldn't be authentic enough for you."

"You have a scary younger sister too da?" Ivan asked as Yao scooped up another spoonful of Borscht.

"Oh she's not scary, she's just rather headstrong and willful aru. She's actually quite lovely when she doesn't act like a spitfire," Yao said laughingly. "Do you have a scary younger sister?"

"… I'd rather not talk about that da," Ivan said in a trembling voice, putting an abrupt end to the topic of scary younger sisters.

True to his words, Ivan was very compliant, keeping very still and quiet as Yao continued to feed him. In truth, the silence was beginning to make Yao feel awkward, especially since all Ivan did was stare sappily at him. Bothered by the dead air and for lack of a better conversation topic - he supposed he could tell Ivan all about his homeland China, but he didn't want to appear self-centered - Yao proceeded to tell Ivan all about the school rules at Hetalia Gakuen. It was rather boring, but Ivan did not mind. He listened hungrily to Yao's reassuring voice, and only vaguely registered the content. Most of it went in one ear and out through another.

"… however, violence is frowned upon in our school and objects that can cause physical harm are prohibited, so Arthur's keeping your water pipe until …"

Ivan choked on the last spoonful of Borscht.

"My water pipe's gone?" he demanded. He had assumed that it was still safely stowed away in his coat which someone, undoubtedly Yao, had folded and placed neatly at the foot of his bed.

"Calm down aru!" Yao cried, alarmed to see darkness marring Ivan's good-natured face. "It's in good hands! Arthur will give it back to you after your detention!"

"Detention? I have to go for detention?" Ivan's violet eyes filled with indignant chagrin. He had absolutely no idea why he had to be penalized. Didn't Yao agree that he was right to punish Francis?

"Yes, because beating up someone is still wrong, even if the other party was at fault," Yao explained. "That's why Arthur's giving you detention aru. Of course, Francis will also go for detention when he's fit enough to do so aru," Yao added hastily.

"Arthur's giving me detention?"

"Yes, but don't worry, we're all busy with orientation so I don't think Arthur will be hard on you aru," Yao hastily said.

"Why am I getting detention from this Arthur and not you? You're a student councilor da?" Ivan asked.

Yao stared back at him, momentarily confused. Then he laughed.

"Why would you want to take detention from me? Because I look friendlier than Arthur? I'll have you know that my juniors think I give the worst detentions out of all the student council heads aru. I assign menial tasks like cleaning the toilets and weeding the peony garden which everyone hates. That's why students in the Asian cohort are the most well-behaved cohort. Arthur, on the other hand, makes people write lines aru," He snorted at the Englishman's feeble attempt at instilling discipline.

"I don't mind. I'll do anything you ask me to," Ivan said, surprising himself and Yao with his own enthusiasm. He usually did everything he could to escape detention or make the experience as unpleasant as possible for his supervisor.

"I'm not your head councilor, so I can't give you detention aru. Arthur's your head councilor and he will be the one you go to whenever you have problems in school. That includes conflicts and disciplinary issues as well," Yao explained.

"So I won't get to see much of you in future?" Ivan asked, crestfallen.

Yao was stunned by the longing he saw in the violet eyes. He was well aware that for some odd reason, many of his juniors nursed a crush on him, but he had not expected it from someone whom he had only just met. He decided to attribute this strange phenomenon to homesickness.

Smilingly, he said, "Of course you will see me. We are in the same school, aren't we? Now go to sleep, or you won't have energy for school tomorrow aru!" Yao took the empty styrofoam bowl from Ivan and put it back into its carrier. Ivan slid down obediently into his bed as Yao covered him with a blanket.

"Er…" Ivan called out when Yao turned to leave.

"Yes aru?"

Ivan was silent for a few seconds. Eventually, he said, "Thanks for… everything…"

"No problem, good night!" Yao put out the lights and headed out of the door.

As the room was plunged into darkness, Ivan regretted being too shy to ask Yao for a goodnight kiss.

Chapter 3: Dangerous Games

Ivan woke up with a start.

The clarity of Yao's face and voice had confused him into thinking that he was back in the clinic in his dreams. But the absence of the smell of disinfectant and the silhouette of his vase of sunflowers by the window brought him back to reality, reminding him that he was in his dormitory room. In the bottom deck of the double decker bed that he shared with his room mate, sophomore Toris Lorinaitis tossed and turned fitfully, bothered by the lack of wind from their non-working electrical fan. A black-out had occurred in the school grounds and all the electrical appliances were down. It was barely 9pm, but many students had forced themselves to go to bed since the school grounds were so dark that they could hardly find their way around.

Ivan lay awake in bed, musing about his dream. A dream about his chance encounter with the angelic student councilor called Wang Yao. Three months had passed since he entered Hetalia Gakuen, and Yao's beautiful visage and kind demeanor continued to haunt his dreams. Yet contrary to what Yao had promised, he had not met him again.

After spending the first week of school trying to track down Yao in the massive school compound, finally resorting to threats and violence to worm out Yao's whereabouts from a student from the Asian cohort, Ivan learnt that shortly after orientation week, Yao had left the country for a three-month long student exchange programme overseas.

Since Yao left, nobody was nice to Ivan. News about his attack on Francis spread like wildfire, and the students avoided him like plague. In retaliation and indignation, Ivan continued to make waves and enemies around the school with his bullying ways, which went neglected by the Dean Roma, who could not bother himself with rule breakers as long as they paid their school fees on time. But in spite of his strong outward appearance, Ivan was very sad, and his loneliness made his longing for Yao grow more intense over the weeks.

"Three months... today's the 90th day. That's three months already da?" Ivan turned towards the wall by his bed which was covered with lines he had drawn with a marker to mark the number of days that had passed since Yao left. If not for this stupid blackout, Ivan would have gone off to stake out the Asian dormitory. But he knew that even if he did manage to make his way there, he might miss Yao in the darkness.

Ivan tossed and turned fretfully. In the bed below his, Toris let out a groan at the additional disturbance that hindered him from sleep.

"Ne~ Toris, can't sleep?" Ivan leaned over his bed and asked.

Toris gulped and choked on his saliva. After a bout of coughing, Toris replied nervously, "Yes, it's a hot night. You can't sleep too?"

"I don't think it's hot, but I can't sleep too~ Let's do something fun da? Kolkolkolkol~"

*     *     *


"Ow!" Toris cried out as Eduard von Bock's palm connected hard with his cheek.

"I'm so sorry, Toris! Just one more to go! Hang in there!" tears welled up in Eduard's eyes, both from the pain of having to hit his good friend and the impact on his already-swelling palm.

"Two more, Eduard. That one wasn't hard enough," Ivan beamed pleasantly from his seat across his two fellow college sophomores, tapping his water pipe menacingly against his palm. A tiny flame from a melting candle, the sole light source in the room, threw a ghostly light over the pale smiling face. Those beautiful violet eyes were intensely bright, but void of warmth.

College freshman Raivis Galante, the last member of the foursome, huddled on the carpeted floor, staring in fear and disbelief at the silvery-haired tyrant. He shuddered, wishing, not for the last time, that the power would come back so they would not have to be stuck in the Russian's dormitory room, playing 'Truth or Dare' in the dark. Though he suspected that Ivan was having so much fun that he probably would not budge even if the lights came back on.

Two loud, resounding slaps, followed by a yelp of pain, then quiet whimpering from the Lithuanian as he held his hands against his reddening and swelling cheeks and lips.

"There! That's the fifty slaps done. Satisfied now?" said Eduard unhappily while at the same time, trying hard not to sound too unhappy.

"Da! Toris, your turn to dare or ask Eduard something now~"

Toris mumbled something that nobody understood.

"Ah I don't think he can talk now, given the state of his mouth," Eduard winced with sympathy. The sides of Toris' lips had begun to bruise a nasty purple.

"You're no fun at all, Toris," Ivan clicked his tongue. "Very well, I'll ask you then, Eduard. Truth or dare?"

Eduard gulped. After Ivan's cruel dare to have Toris accept fifty slaps from Eduard, the only sane choice was 'Truth'. Though in truth, the word 'sane' never did go hand-in-hand with Ivan.

"Do you like me, Eduard?" Ivan smiled as sunnily as the yellow sunflowers by his window. Yet, all it incited was a shiver down the Estonian's spinal cord.

"Um... ah..." Eduard was in a complete dilemma. If he said 'Yes', he would be lying through his teeth and if called out, there would be hell to pay for. Just like poor Raivis, who was made to stand on his head for half an hour after he lied that he was wearing white underpants when he was in fact, not wearing any at all, as discovered by the impertinent Russian who promptly pulled down his pants to check.

Then again, Ivan seemed ignorant to his own viciousness and always wondered aloud why he was being resented for committing an act hurtful to others. Perhaps saying 'yes' was the better bet. After all, if he said 'no', he was sure he could expect worst punishments than seeing the world in its inverted form.

"Y...yes, I do...!" Eduard stammered, huge beads of perspiration trickling down his face.

"Aww... Are you sure you're not saying that just to avoid my water pipe?" Ivan tightened his grip on his metallic weapon while continuing to smile angelically.

"Y… yes, I really, really do! What's not to like about you? You're tall and strong (fat), have beautiful hair and eyes (but a grotesque heart), and… lots of money (that you extort from us) and umm… so much authority (ability to create fear) that even the teachers in this school respect (fear) you!"

"Da! Your turn to ask Raivis now~"

Eduard withheld tears of joy, scarcely believing that he had just escaped from the gates of Hell.

Subsequently, Raivis received a dare from Eduard to run up and down the corridor for twenty minutes shouting swear words through a loud speaker, which he did without further ado before Ivan could stop him and suggest something more sadistic. He suffered bumps from running into the walls in the dark, and had swear words shouted back at him in retaliation, but he was otherwise safe and sound.

"My turn now, Ivan," Raivis said. "Truth or dare?"

"Dare~ Make it a fun one da!"

Raivis thought long and hard. On the hushed pleas of Toris, he had only given Ivan stupid harmless dares like drawing sunflowers and smacking Eduard's bum with his water pipe. After all, if the Russian was antagonized, Toris, his unfortunate room mate, would suffer most. Without Toris' interference this time, the blunt Latvian decided that it was time to teach Ivan a lesson. He would give him a fun one all right.

"I dare you to force a kiss on the lips of the first person you meet in the corridor!" Raivis declared.

Eduard stared at Raivis, wondering if the boy had lost his mind from having too much blood rush into his head. Even Toris, who had been quietly nursing his bruises in his miserable corner, let out a gasp.

"LATVIA!" they exclaimed in unison.

"Kiss the first person I meet in the corridor on the lips? " Ivan asked doubtfully.

Raivis nodded. If the victim struck back at Ivan, Ivan would be taught a lesson. Most people didn't hit back at Ivan, but they might in the dark if they couldn't see his face. If the Russian got his way, at least it would still have been a fun dare for him. Raivis secretly hoped that person would be Ludwig, a tall, burly and no-nonsense third year who was rather on par with Ivan in terms of height and build.

"Are you actually worried?" Raivis widened his eyes as a rare sign of uncertainty flitted across the Russian's violets. Toris and Eduard groaned inwardly.

"Me, worried? Nothing in this world unsettles me. I accept your dare!" Ivan got to his feet and headed towards the door.

"What the heck was that for?" Eduard hissed.

"I have such a bad feeling about this…" Toris cradled his stomach as he felt a dull ache throbbing from all the torment he had suffered for the night.

Chapter 4: The Nth Meeting Gone Wrong

The Students' Council Room was bathed in complete darkness, safe for the pale moonlight streaming in through the open windows and several torch lights set on their bases to illuminate the four hardworking student councilors seated around a conference table in deep discussion despite the power failure.

Alfred F. Jones was by no means the leader of the Student Council. In Hetalia Gakuen, to promote equality and fairness, there was no single head for the Student Council and each cohort was represented by one head student councilor, except the European cohort which had an additional assistant head due to its sheer size. Alfred was the head student councilor of students from the two Americas, and as a college third-year, was younger than everyone in the room, but he had as usual, forcefully taken charge of the meeting and was now gesturing wildly at a board full of his writing, oblivious to the fact that nobody could see a word, or hear a word he was saying through mouthfuls of hamburger.

"I don't know what you're saying at all, you baka!" Arthur complained as he swept off hamburger crumbs from the front of his shirt in disgust.

"It's rude to eat and talk at the same time aru!" Yao admonished as he picked a piece of half-chewed lettuce out of his silky black hair. Eew.

"Oh what am I doing in this stupid room on a lovely weekend night when I should be outside showering kisses on this miserable world," Francis wailed.

"The world would be better off without your kisses, perverted bastard!" Arthur retorted.

"Tsk tsk, Arthur, as uncouth as ever," Francis tittered as he leaned over towards the English man and started caressing his hair out of habit.

"How dare you flirt with my Arthur in the middle of my meeting!" Alfred marched over and wrenched those wretched fingers away, nearly breaking them.

Far from being grateful, Arthur shouted, "Who's your Arthur, you bastard!"

Consequently, the three angry men began actively venting their frustrations on each other with punches and kicks.

"Aiya. Those quarrelsome Westerners," Yao shook his head. He had had an exhausting day, having been on the plane for the whole afternoon. He was longing for a catch-up with his brother and cousins, his Gitty-chan plushie and his dormitory bed with its adorable Hello Kitty bedsheets. But no sooner had he brought his suit case to his dormitory room, the over-zealous Alfred had called him up, in the middle of a power failure no less, to heckle him about Graduation Night which was eons away. As usual, the meeting had turned into an unsightly brawl, and nothing was going to get done. Sighing, Yao gingerly took out his bun, which he had nicked from the plane and kept inside his Hello Kitty bento box, and settled back in his armchair to watch the drama while munching on his supper.

Oh say can you see by the dawn's early light
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming?
Whose broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous fight,
O'er the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming?

It took awhile for Yao to register that the American national anthem was issuing from the telephone in the middle of the noisy conference table. Being the only one available to answer the phone, Yao did so, regretting it almost immediately.

"Student council room. How can I -"


Yao pulled the handset as far away from his ear as the phone cord would allow, a free hand shooting to his ear instinctively. Even then, the all-too familiar voice of the school's notorious crybaby Feliciano Vargas could be heard loud and clear. Although Yao had only known this freshman for a week before he left for his student exchange programme, Feliciano had left a deep and unpleasant impression on him for phoning the Student Council Room almost every other hour for a variety of trivials ranging from nightmares to missing underwear.


"Calm down! It's just a power failure aru! The lights will come back soon!" Yao shouted over the racket.

"NONONONO!" The Italian squealed. "Someone outside wants to kill me and Doitsu is not in!"

"Aiya this is a school. Who would want to kill you? You're just having a nightmare, go back to sleep aru," the Chinese replied tiredly.

"But he's just right outside my door!"

Yao drew the earpiece cautiously back to his ear. Sure enough, in the background, amidst Feliciano's sniffling, he could hear a crackly voice shouting malicious swear words. Feliciano's constant paranoia was ludicrous, but students making trouble in the corridor was a serious matter.

Yao glanced over at Arthur and Francis, who were now trying to sit on Alfred. Matters of the European student cohort did not concern Yao, who was only delegated to head the Asian cohort, but now it seemed that he was the only one available to attend to the problem.

"All right I'll come over now," Yao sighed.

"Ve~! Can you bring some pasta too? I'm hung-"

Yao slammed down the phone. He was usually kind and brotherly to his juniors, whichever cohort they hailed from, and Feliciano's innocence was rather endearing. But the pasta-loving fool needed to get it into his head that they were student councilors, not substitute nannies. Grabbing his coat and a torch, Yao abandoned his supper and headed out into the cold night towards the European dormitory.

On to next Chapter

Topic : Axis Powers Hetalia
Genre : Anime/Manga

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