4: Dinner to Die For
Accompanied with the rye bread, as expected, were cold meats and cheeses. Germany watched Italy help himself, preparing himself a large bite and then chomping down. Reluctantly, he wondered if it was poisoned, but since Italy didn’t immediately keel over, he deemed it safe to grab his own slice and eat. Germany was not a stranger to rye bread – its tangy flavour was both familiar and welcomed, and the meals that followed the bread were also enjoyed.
Although Russia stated the names of each dish, Germany couldn’t remember them. He firstly consumed a delicious potato salad that contained meat and vegetables. France seemed to celebrate this dish particularly, but Germany was content to silently mash up his potatoes and appreciate his food. He was always one for potatoes. The second dish to arrive – brought by Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania – was crab meat, rice, boiled eggs and sweet corn. He was fairly sure it was called Crab Stick Salad.
They reached their main meal, which must’ve been dough dumplings filled with pork, piled on the plate and steaming hot. So far, Germany believed the food had been excellent, and although it seemed never ending, he was grateful that such a meal was served, since he’d last eaten at twelve and it was already gone eight.
“It’s been so wonderful having you all here,” Russia sighed, taking arms with his knife and fork. “It’s a shame England couldn’t make it to the dinner table.”
“Maybe we can save him something,” Italy chuckled, nudging Russia gently with his elbow, his cheeks flamed, possibly, from the numerous vodka shots he'd taken. “But then, he’d probably be satisfied with a rock, since that’s the way his scones taste.”
There were more snickers across the table – particularly from France and America – and even Russia laughed. There was a loud, impatient sigh, and then someone thudded a chair directly beside Russia. All heads turned to where Belarus had wedged her chair in between Russia and Italy. Russia swallowed anxiously and Italy shrunk away, a nervous smile spreading across his face.
“H-hello, Belarus,” Russia said casually, although Germany was sure there was some hidden panic in his eyes. “Why did you move your chair?”
“Big brother Russia,” she stated, seating herself and linking arms with him, sending a cold stare towards Italy who scooted his chair away, until he was touching shoulders with Japan, who looked uncomfortable from the disregard of personal space.
“O-oh,” he said. “You, umm, left your plate… You should… go back. To your plate.”
“We can share,” she said, stabbing her own fork into one of his dumplings and sending a warning glare towards Germany whilst she chewed.
“So, Russia...” China said awkwardly. “You said you were good at Russian roulette, aru. Is there a, well, you know… story behind that statement?”
“Yeah – I survived bullets, what about it?” he looked quizzical, as he gently tried to pry Belarus off his arm.
“Oh, nothing, aru...” China’s eyes flicked to Belarus and then he continued eating. “Food is good, by the way...”
“Seconded,” France mumbled.
“Yes,” Japan finished. “Very.”
“Thank you,” Russia said.
Germany noted that, after that, Belarus’s harsh stares and dominating glares kept everyone at bay from Russia. He wondered if this was what it was like for Russia every day when he had his sister round. He wasn’t quite sure whether her attachment towards her brother was endearing in that she seemed to want to protect him, or whether it was creepy and possessive. He liked to trick himself into thinking it was the former, but the way she kept glancing at him indicated it may have been the latter, as well as the worried expression written across Russia’s face.
Politely, he swiftly devoured the dumplings, and they were all served tea afterwards. For the rest of the meal, Belarus insisted on staying right beside Russia, going as far as to lean her head on his shoulder, her main aggressive behaviour directed towards Italy, who seemed unable to meet her iron gaze. That was what confirmed to Germany that their relationship was the latter.
After tea, Estonia brought in a large cake. Germany, who was nearing his capacity to eat, decided this would be the last meal he would have for the day. It was a good choice to eat it. It was a light sponge, filled with airy soufflé and topped with a chocolate glaze, with a puff of cream swirled on the end. Germany found he cleaned his plate and finished with a satisfied, quiet exhale. After a meal as great as that, Germany could happily say he could die content on the spot. Russia had really gone all out on the food department for his guests. Would he really go to such an effort if he had planned to harm them in any way?
The meal was done, and all stood to gradually disperse.
“Uh, Russia, where might I find a bathroom?” Italy asked as they walked into the hallway.
“Oh, just further down, about five doors,” Russia pointed. “Want me to show you?”
“I’ll be fine,” Italy yawned, and walked in that direction.
Germany considered accompanying him, but decided not to, since it was unlikely Italy would leave Russia’s house. He continued with the flock back to the room they’d be staying in, where England was still fast asleep and seemingly unlikely to awaken soon. It seemed sleeping bags had been provided, and whilst Germany found it odd that Russia had insisted on a sleepover, he wasn’t going to be one to criticise him, especially after the heavenly meal. They sat down in their circle once more.
“We should do truth or dare,” France laughed. “I feel like I’m in the sleepover mode.”
“Truth or dare?” Japan looked alarmed. “I’m not so sure…”
“It’ll be fun,” France nudged him. “Besides, it’s not like we’re going to ask you to do or say something too embarrassing.”
“I don’t know,” Japan looked guarded. "This is you, France..."
“Come on,” the blonde haired Frenchman nudged him again. “What else are you going to do?”
Japan fell into silence and France took that as a victory, folding his arms triumphantly just as the door creaked open a crack. They all looked to see Belarus awkwardly peering in, her cheeks puffed out in what could’ve been frustration.
“Belarus? Do you need something?” Russia asked.
“Big brother Russia,” she said, and he opened his mouth to reply. “Can I have a goodnight kiss?”
For a moment, his face slackened and he mirrored her expression. Turning his head away from her, he stiffly placed his hands on the floor, palms down.
“No,” he said resolutely. “Absolutely not. This is boys only Belarus; go hang out with Ukraine.”
“But big sister Ukraine is not as fun as big brother Russia,” she stated ominously.
“No girls allowed,” he huffed awkwardly.
“Fine,” she sulked. “Anything for big brother Russia.”
The door closed gently and Russia resumed his smile, relaxing as soon as she was gone.
“She won’t be bothering us anymore,” he said stiffly. “Sisters! They’re annoying!”
Germany decided to take the opportunity to lighten the mood. “I bet brothers are worse. Prussia always gets on my nerves.”
“Same,” Russia smiled and Germany wondered whether he should be offended on Prussia’s behalf, or amused.
“Oh, yeah, but sometimes I don’t even realise Canada’s there,” America babbled. “He’s just so quiet that you could lose him in an empty field!”
“Yes,” Russia agreed politely. “That’s true.”
“Where is Italy?” France groaned. “We can hardly start the game without him.”
“True,” China said. “Send someone to find him, aru.”
“I guess so,” Russia shrugged and opened the door. “Lithuania, can you go find Italy?”
He paused to listen, and there was a faint reply from somewhere in the house that satisfied him enough to close the door and seat himself once more.
“I suppose we can start without him,” Germany shrugged. “He’ll hardly contribute too much. He’s too cowardly to perform any dares himself.”
“OK,” France beamed. “Who wants to start? I say we play twenty-one dares. Whoever says twenty-one has to take the truth or dare. I’ll start. The maximum numbers you can say are three. OK – one, two, three.”
“Four, five, six,” Japan said.
“Seven, eight, nine,” Russia added.
“Uh, ten, eleven,” Germany added wearily.
“Twelve, thirteen, fourteen,” America declared.
They all glanced at England. Fifteen, they unanimously decided.
“Sixteen, seventeen, eighteen,” France smirked.
“Nineteen… twenty?” Japan said hesitantly, and then glanced at Russia.
“Twenty-one,” he smiled. “Guess I go first. I pick dare!”
“Alright,” France clapped his hands together. “I dare you to put your man pride aside and kiss you little sister goodnight.”
Russia looked panic stricken. “I can’t do that.”
Germany had to wonder if France had noticed the awkward situation of Russia and his sister, Belarus.
“You picked dare, so you have to do it,” France laughed.
Russia groaned and rubbed the back of his head.
“It that really a good idea?” Germany suggested.
“Yes,” France insisted. “We’ll go with you Russia, to make sure you treat your sister with respect.”
“She doesn’t want that,” Russia mumbled, standing and heading towards the door.
The corners of France’s mouth twitched downwards, but he scrambled to his feet and hurried after him. Germany pulled himself to his feet and found himself lagging at the back with Japan.
“I don’t think this is a good idea,” he muttered, and Japan shook his head in agreement.
Resuming to their original funeral procession, they travelled up a grand staircase. Germany found it strange they didn’t bypass Italy along the way, but then, the house was so big there was a high chance the fool had gotten lost. They stopped at the door and Russia hovered for a moment before glancing pleadingly at France.
“I don’t want to do this,” he said.
“It’s just a kiss on the forehead,” France rolled his eyes. “Are you really that proud?”
France knocked on the door gently and they all awaited an answer.
“Hello?” Belarus sounded agitated from the other side. “Who is there?”
“B-Belarus? It’s me…” Russia grimaced when France dug his elbow in his ribs. He cringed and waited.
“Come in,” she said.
Germany watched as Russia, with a shaking hand, turned the door handle and opened the door. The room was dark, apart from the soft lamp that had a deep purple shade. Belarus sat forwards in her bed, a book hastily discarded on the floor.
“Russia,” she purred, and the faces of both France and Russia instantly fell. “At last, you've overcome your and-"
France grabbed Russia’s scarf, yanked him backwards and slammed the door shut. The noise echoed across the house. There was a moment of silence, and then a noise like an enraged jaguar emerged from the other side.
“Run!” Russia announced, and they bolted down the stairs.
“Russia!” Belarus screamed from down the hallway.
Germany wondered why they were running from a young woman.
Russia herded everyone into the safe room, and firmly bolted the door before diving behind the sofa. England snored and rolled over, slipping downwards and lying peacefully on the floor. France wrapped himself in the curtains and America switched off the lights, submerging them in total darkness. Germany stood in the middle of the room with Japan and China.
“Was that really necessary?” Germany asked.
“I don’t know, aru, but I feel stupid,” China frowned.
“I feel bad,” Japan admitted. “We probably upset her…”
“You never said your sister was nuts, Russia,” France hissed.
There was a loud crash against the door. It strained on its hinges. Terrified, the three in the middle of the room tensed. There was another crash, and the door bucked. The sound of nails raking across the door could be heard.
“Russia?” Belarus cried from the other side. “Come out to me and leave all of them to each other.”
“What’s that meant to mean, aru?” China pursed his lips.
“I don’t know but I-” Germany began.
“Shh, she can hear you,” Russia pleaded from behind the sofa.
“Russia – I hear you,” the tone of voice was ominous.
“I’m sorry, Belarus, it was a dare,” Russia blurted out. “Please don’t hurt me and please leave me alone!”
“Um, Belarus, is Russia in there?” Lithuania asked from outside.
“Russia’s hiding from me,” she announced loudly.
“It’s quite late, perhaps you should go to bed?” Lithuania suggested calmly. “I think Russia’s trying to sleep…”
“He’s awake,” she countered, and Russia performed cutting motions for them all to remain silent. “Aren’t you Russia?”
He shook his head desperately, and the silence was her only reply. She moaned, frustrated, and stormed away from the room. Russia dared not move until there was the softest of knocks on the door.
“Are you sleeping, Mr Russia?” Lithuania asked quietly.
Russia cautiously rose and approached the door. He unbolted it silently and opened it a crack. Lithuania’s worried face could only be seen by the crack.
“What is it, Lithuania?” he whispered.
“I’ve checked everywhere inside, and Latvia even helped me look around outside,” Lithuania twiddled his thumbs. “But your friend, um... Italy... is nowhere to be seen.”
Russia swung the door open. “What? Really?”
Lithuania looked at him oddly. “Um, yes. Your friend Italy has disappeared and none of the planes have gone missing.”
Russia turned to see all eyes trained him – looks of mistrust, anger, worry and, on America’s behalf, smugness.
“Oh,” Russia watched all other countries as a conclusion arose. “Oh, crap.”