Ukraine sighed as he leaned his head back slightly, running his hand through his hair before nudging the general he'd been sitting with. "I need to take a break, I'll be back later." He mumbled out, his wings folding up silently as he wandered out and ended up just walking for a while. His eyes glimmered as he wiped them, trying to ignore the burn of tears before humming as he looked around to try and see if anyone was around. He didn't see anyone, not yet, so he wandered into a new area and found a small coffee shop to relax in. He wasn't sure why he was drawn to it, but everyone in the room was too distracted to notice the winged country enter. Too many times had his people seen him around despite the usual secrecy Countryhumans had to keep about their existence, only a select part of their countries usually knew of their existence. The president, the armies, and some select few humans that occasionally got to meet them, like reporters. Otherwise, the human race had little to no knowledge of them. Or, that was, until recently. Ukraine had been attacked, and now walked with a considerable heaviness to his steps. It was as if he was carrying the weight of all his people combined, and with the look in his eyes, it almost seemed like he felt like he was. He just needed something to break away from the routine he'd fallen into, and perhaps something sweet would help.
Holland was, to say the least, not the type of person who was usually entirely happy leaving behind his own territory to the protection of the humans he entrusted it to, however this time was somewhat different. Things had been... Off. Not only in Europe, not only to the members of NATO, but to the entire world. Sure, the tension between America and the Iraqui's was globally recognized as an issue and as a threat to war, but with the recent events along the eastern European border, everybody felt off, out-of-place even. Knowing a little too well what war was like with plenty of credits to his highly successful past, Holland sighed out at the thought of a new war threatening the peace of the European front. If he were being honest, he heavily sympathized with Ukraine; the poor young country was being invaded by his own brother, brother of blood nonetheless. While NATO and his various other alliances prevented him from directly intervening as he mildly wished to do, there were no restrictions saying he couldn't visit bearing a few various gifts, most of which were sent directly to the Ukrainian government as they were supplies for weaponry or basic materials. Though, that was exactly why he had left his homeland, a bouquet of tulips and various other hand-grown flowers in hand. Originally Holland had assumed Ukraine would be out with his peoples, be it in governmental buildings or along the "frontlines" despite conflict having not built up that much yet, so he was baffled by the fact he hadn't managed to find the Ukrainian simply searching for him in those places. Perhaps he should have sent a letter in advance stating he was planning a visit, the Dutchman silently thought to himself. With another sigh, he gave up his search for the moment, figuring Ukraine was away visiting with other countries; that was his best guess at least; so for the time being, a cup of coffee didn't sound half bad. Timezone differences were a little wonky to deal with, and the caffeine would be much appreciated, so the nearest coffee shop is exactly where he made a bee-line too, doing his best to mentally rehearse and practice his rusty Ukrainian during the walk there.
Ukraine sighed as he sat in a chair near the front, closing his eyes as he took a bite of the cake he'd ended up getting. His wings folded up calmly, a mild sigh escaping him once again at the taste of the sweet treat. As much as he wanted to hate the world right now, he had to admit that his people still made wonderful things. He had to smile a little with pride at that, hearing the door jingle softly as someone new entered. He looked up and noticed Holland after a moment, staring at him in mild surprise. Yes, he'd received the gifts from Holland in good faith, but he never expected to see the other actually inside his lands...much less with flowers. He stood after a moment, walking up behind the other and gently tapping his shoulder. "Looking for someone?" He asked in a soft tone, too used to yelling to get his soldiers in line that he'd rather not use his voice more than he had to.
"You, actually," Holland answered easily, keeping his composure to hide the tiny jump he made at the feeling of somebody tapping his shoulder. He wasn't expecting to be touched by anybody, as most humans kept their respectful distance, and he especially didn't expect to be tapped in a foreign coffee shop. But hey, here he was now in said foreign coffee shop with the country he was previously looking for right next to him. Oh well, Holland mentally shrugged it off as he handed Ukraine the bouquet he had brought with him. "Those are for you; many apologies for arriving unannounced. I figured I'd pay a peaceful visit here while I still could before things grew too tense,"
A muted hum escaped him as he examined the flowers, humming to himself before giving Holland a slight smile. "Дуже дякую, I appreciate it." He spoke gently, his wings ruffling out softly as he hummed to himself. "Would you like to go somewhere we can speak in private?" He asked gently, bowing his head gently before glancing around curiously and giving a light glare to the people staring them down. "Come." He spoke simply, taking Holland's hand lightly and pulling him gently out of the coffee shop so that he could lead him to a more confidential area. He rubbed his thumb over Holland's palm gently, humming lightly to himself as he brought him into the main building in the area. "Переконайтеся, що ніхто не перериває нас, якщо це не надзвичайна ситуація." He told the guards easily, who nodded and allowed them inside before he brought Holland inside and watched until the door was fully closed. He motioned to the chairs set near a table, grabbing a vase and filling it with water from a tap before putting the flowers in carefully and placing it at the table. "Thank you very much for the flowers, I appreciate it."
["Thank you so much," "Make sure no one interrupts us unless it is an emergency."]
"No need for thanks, I thought they'd help boost your morale. Morale is essential to win wars, as I've come to learn. I wish I was able to give you more than flowers and basic supplies that [i wouldn't] go against my international peace treaties..." Holland murmured out as he moved to sit down at one of the seats motioned towards, softly watching the tulips he had grown being placed inside a vase and set on the table. He stayed silent for a few moments, eyeing his hard work grown into the form of flowers, letting out a thoughtful hum as he considered something, slightly zoning out in the process. Though, that time around, he wasn't ironically high; no, far from it as a serious expression painted onto his face, though his eyes still stayed soft. "If you or your peoples ever need another place to evacuate to," Holland started, glancing to Ukraine as he carried on. "You're welcome in The Netherlands. Your queer community would love Amsterdam, I'm certain." He offered out, pairing it with a tiny laugh in an attempt to keep things as gentle as possible. Who knew how well or poorly Ukraine was handling his emotions on being invaded, as Holland certainly didn't too well.
The gold and blue country chuckled lightly in response, making sure the flowers sat properly before glancing over to Holland. "Would you like something to drink? Coffee, probably?" He hummed lightly, happily extending the offer of hospitality to the countries that offered him support of any kind. He brought over a tray after making a couple of cups of coffee in a room connected to the first, typical supplies for sweetening coffee set on the tray as well as a couple of bottles of maple syrup of various flavors that he'd received from Canada. He'd found the taste to be half-decent, so he'd started including it on his coffee trays. What could he say, sometimes one finds things that one enjoys. "Perhaps I will take you up on that, if my people are willing. I know many of them have decided to stay behind and defend their lands, and I appreciate that very much, but I do not blame those who are running." He sighed as he took a sip of his coffee quietly, his eyes glowing softly as another train left the station. "I can feel their fear, Holland, they're shaken to their very cores..."
"I can understand why; Russia isn't somebody one wants to play around with and anger given his reputation..." Holland murmured in response, softly leaning forwards to pick up the cup of coffee offered to him, taking a slow sip of it once he had sweetened it just enough to his liking. "I'm terribly sorry that he feels so threatened by your wish to join NATO, this all must be... Phenomenally difficult for you, I couldn't begin to imagine... Please know that I'm always here if you ever need to talk or if you need any support, even if I can't formally join in and assist your side of things quite yet." He said, taking another moment to sip his coffee, looking down at it between his hands afterwards, quietly observing the colour before looking back up. "I would be happy to give you honest advice if you ever need it; I'm certain I could Spain and France to offer you some as well with a bit of convincing. I'm so sorry this is happening while you're still one of the new-ish countries of the world..."
"I...just wish he'd...realize that I'm not trying to be like father...if anything, [i he's] acting more like him..." His voice shook softly at every word, eventually running his hand through his hair in a stressed manner as his wings shifted and ruffled out. "'m not trying to oppress anyone..." He whispered as he set his cup down and put his head in his hands, almost seeming like he was about to cry. Which he probably was, given his situation. He hadn't allowed himself to cry in a long time, feeling like he didn't deserve to cry until the war was fully over and he finally conquered all the demons that threatened to overtake him.
Holland hummed out a solemn note, letting his gaze fall sadly back to his coffee cup while a silence washed over him as he thought, hesitating on what to do as a reaction. It took him a bit, perhaps a minute at worst, to set down his cup as well, standing up only to pull his chair over to Ukraine's, retaking his seat once the two chairs were beside one another. "The rest of the entire world knows you don't want to oppress anybody. We all can tell you have nothing but pure, good-hearted intentions, Ukraine..." He murmured out softly in a consoling tone, resting a likewise soft hand on one of the other's shoulders in an attempt to figure out if he needed verbal or physical comfort more.
"I'm just...trying to be the person I want to be. I want to be big and strong, hold my own, just like Rue, just like Bela, like Kaza..." He put his arms in close to his body as his wings instinctively flared, the huge appendages spreading like huge feathered shields that could defend the Ukrainian from any damage that could be thrown his way. His wings were a soft baby blue, unlike his older brother's, and he noted with some satisfaction that his wings and Kazakhstan's made up the colors of the Ukrainian's flag. Of course, it was all lighthearted, but the elder Country had begun to find it insulting rather than funny as he did years ago.
The Dutchman took a slow breath in, letting it out just as slowly while his gaze saddened, it still staying fallen upon Ukraine. Allowing a wave of hesitance to wash on him like the waves of the ocean crashed upon the beach, Holland shifted in his seat slightly. Knowing Ukraine somewhat well enough, the flower farmer figured he needed comfort fairly badly; anybody with a heart remaining could tell that much; so with a quiet sigh, he pulled him into a hug and gently patted at his head, a physical reminder he was alright and was safe at the moment. Shoving down the rest of his hesitance, Holland opened his mouth and sang from his heart after a few moments, changing up the lyrics as need be. "Go ahead and cry, little boy, nobody does it like you do. I know how much it matters to you; I know that you got family issues. And if you were my little boy, I'd do whatever I could do; I'd run away and hide with you. I know that you've got family issues, and I do too."
His eyes widened as he was pulled into a hug, letting out a soft whimper before wrapping his arms and wings around him tightly as he started to break down in Holland's arms. It was all he could do to not scream, let the world know his loud grievance and then maybe drop into a nap. He couldn't let himself die yet, he would not give in to the Russian like that, he just wanted a break. He wanted many things. His body racked with the sobs, shaking and whimpering as a small wet spot grew on Holland's shoulder from the Ukrainian's tears.
Holland switched from singing to humming out tunes fairly quickly, rubbing Ukraine's head and back while otherwise staying still, acting like a post for him to cry his heart out upon as he evidently desperately needed to. It broke his own heart seeing one of the younger, yet fully-grown, countries of the world struggle so much, and because of a war that could have theoretically been avoided nonetheless, but there wasn't a whole lot he could do in response to that. He wasn't the great land and sea colonizing power he used to be, those times had long since passed. "You're going to be okay, Ukraine; you're a strong guy at heart, you'll get through this in due time... You're just going to have to "trust the process" as they say..."
"It hurts so bad..." Was all he could choke out in response, sobbing on him before gripping his shirt and sniffling. "I...mmm, I'm sorry..." He mumbled out nervously, looking up at him with an almost begging look on his face as he reached up to almost cup Holland's cheek. "I really...don't want you to be sorry for me...I'll figure out how I can..." He mumbled out before trailing off and letting out a quiet whine as he felt a missile hit some of his people. "oW-!" He whimpered out as he gripped onto his shirt, more tears wetting down his cheeks as he sobbed softly. His whole body shuddered as he sniffled, whimpering and softly crying. "God...this hurts..."
"War does tend to feel that way..." The Dutchman murmured, his voice barely audible as it had fallen to become just that quiet. He stopped gently patting and rubbing at Ukraine's head, freezing in his motion in order to keep a hand set atop his head as a friendly affectionate, and an attempt to be comforting, gesture, offering up the best smile he could manage despite the sad sheer his eyes held. "I've been around for a [i long] time now, and I'll be damned if I can't help you do the same... Would trade sanctions and the economic crippling of his government help any further?..." Holland asked out, considering the idea as he spoke about it; it wasn't half-bad either considering how heavy in trades Russia relied on him for. It wasn't like Holland would suffer any, he was as plentiful rich as any other well-off country of the world after all.
Ukraine wailed out softly as he sniffled, holding onto him as he felt the terror of his soldiers, the pain they felt in his name and how they felt themselves slowly falter. He whimpered and panted softly, his wings ruffling out before managing to catch his breath as his grip on Holland relaxed softly. "I...that...would be nice...but won't he attack you too...?" He spoke softly as he looked up at him with a soft look, watching him with worry resting in his sweet eyes. Somehow, even with the hard set to his shoulders, his harsh sneer that he had, unfortunately, inherited with his father, his eyes had stayed soft and somehow betrayed his emotions more than most things on him possibly [i could.]
Holland slowly nodded in affirmation after moments of uneasy hesitance; he was almost always hesitant about these things, trying to figure out the gentlest way to continue speaking about them. "He [i might] decide to do so, yes, that's a definate risk. However, if he knows what's best for him, he won't, especially considering my lands are near the heart of Europe and the European branch of NATO." He offered out in an attempt to ease the worry he painfully clearly saw in Ukraine's eyes. Holland let his hand fall a little to cup his cheek and try to wipe away his tears with a thumb, once again offering up the best smile he could at that point. "I can manage to get involved in another war, trust me, albeit with a passive start. [i You] definitely need the help if Russia truly is a modern mirror image of your father."
"Uuaaa..." He whimpered softly as he watched him, reaching up and putting a hand onto Holland's. "...Thank you..." He rested his head on the hand gratefully, letting out soft sniffles as he put both of the other's warm hands onto his cheeks. A pained laugh escaped him as he closed his eyes, the warm, salty tears slipping down his cheeks softly as his eyes glimmered gently. "I appreciate you, Holly..." He mumbled after a moment, managing to put his arms around him gently once again as his wings opened and wrapped around him gently. "You would've been a wonderful father, I'm sure." He mumbled in his mild brain haze, resting on him as he sighed heavily. He couldn't help but lean on him, his feathers shifting and ruffling out softly.
The Dutchman paused a moment at the unexpected compliment he was given. At least, he thought it was a compliment as he certainly took it as one, a proper smile finding its way to his expression soon after. "You should sleep, you seem tired, but thank you, jochie. " He murmured out in response, ignoring the tiny happy pang in his heart that could easily threaten to bring similarly happy tears to his eyes. That was something for later, however. Holland instead focused on rubbing Ukraine's back as soothingly as he could, lightly rocking the two from side to gentle side as one would to a child who needed to be put to bed, a small attempt to convince the Ukrainian he should sleep while he still safely could.
A soft yawn escaped him as he held onto him, a visible peace and calmness passing over the faces of all his people as fussy babies went to bed without more fighting, angry children pacified themselves and terrified teenagers found themselves softly calm. Everything around them seemed softly covered in a blanket of calm, the gold and blue country scooting in closer before resting his head on his new favorite person’s shoulder. He’d be lying if it didn’t feel like the most comfortable pillow he’s had in a good long while, kneading his shoulder a bit before yawning and nodding off on his shoulder. His wings limped slightly when he fell asleep, but it was a comfortable limpness, as if he was just covered with the most comfortable blanket ever.
Humming out a quiet tune that he used to use to get himself to sleep, Holland smiled down at the sleeping country in his arms. Shifting lightly to fetch his phone from his pocket; being careful not to move too much for Ukraine to stir awake in the process; the Dutchman stayed put, having a feeling Ukraine needed as much uninterrupted sleep as he could get, and thus deciding against carrying him to a bed until he was certain the Ukrainian was deep asleep. For the time being, he calmly typed away at his screen, arranging for his government to follow through with his offer and completely cut off trade with Russia and his own government, humming the same tune during the entirety of the lengthy, back-and-forth process. Sure, it might go quicker if it were over a call, but again, Holland didn't want to wake up the winged country.
He got a good few hours of sleep before waking up with a soft gasp as he looked around in a seemingly panicked manner, having to take a moment to regain his bearings before remembering that Holland was there and looking up at him curiously. “…you…stayed?” He mumbled out, staring at him for a moment before taking a soft breath and yawning softly. “I didn’t expect you to stay…” He mumbled out sleepily, the drowsiness not having left his eyes yet as he stood up and mumbled something to himself as he drank the rest of his now-cold coffee to try and wake himself up. “I hope it wasn’t too uncomfortable having me on top of you, I didn’t mean to fall asleep for as long as I did.” He spoke honestly, swallowing lightly before sighing out as he stretched. His wings unfurled and stretched, his full wingspan being a decent thing. [Read: Theo was too lazy to look up wingspan sizes]
Holland didn't immediately offer up a response, his eyes stuck to his screen as he typed, but he did let a small smile adorn his expression which was otherwise calm and serious. "I wasn't uncomfortable, don't worry. You seemet like you needet to sleeb fairly badly," He stated after finishing up the last few words of his message, tucking his phone back into his pocket before standing up and stretching a little himself. "Not uset to sitting for that long though, I'm usually moving from sun-up to sun-down... Eh, it was a nice sit break. I dip make sure to cut trade off with Russia while you were asleep; got 200 free-willet volunteers already to help you out on the war-front. Hopefully that helps you for now."
[Coal was finally smart enough to google Holland's full involvement with Ukraine and learn the Dutch accent typed up; the d's at the [i ends of words] are pronounced as t's, and b's are pronounced as p's so those are intentional typos ^^]
The winged country seemed quite surprised by the news, but smiled to himself as he thought about it. "Thank you so much, батько." He hummed, the name slipping out without him realizing. Well, at first, and his eyes widened as he took a soft breath in surprise. "Oh...oh um..." He cleared his throat, rubbing his arm sheepishly as he looked away and let out a soft hum. "Sorry." He apologized quickly, watching him and shifting his feet nervously. He didn't want to spoil his relationship with the dutchman already, much less when they were just cuddling mere minutes before. The Ukrainian sighed at his own desperation, looking away.
Holland had to take a moment to translate what the Ukranian had said, thus pausing to do so. Again, his Ukrainian was fairly rusty; not every country knew the other languages of the world aside from English and their own if they have one as well. His eyes widened in surprise at the translation, which didn't take too long to figure out as it was a basic word most beginners learned first. His visible surprise didn't last for very long, replaced by a smile of pure, unfiltered joy as he let out a similarly happy laugh. "It's quite alright, zoon, I'm happy to hear you think of me like that," Holland spoke out truthfully, seeming to smile evermore if that was even possible anymore, holding his arms out for a hug if Ukraine wished for one.
Ukraine's wings ruffled out happily as he stared at him, smiling at him before yawning softly as he held onto him. "Thank you..." He mumbled out, nuzzling him and purring softly as he sighed out. "You must think I'm pretty pathetic..." He mumbled out, yawning gently and standing up as he sighed and popped his neck. "Okay...awake, Ukie, awake." He spoke sternly to himself, as if trying to wake himself up with his words alone. He made another cup of coffee before looking back at him, smiling sheepishly. "I should probably join my soldiers at the front...they need their leader." He spoke solemnly to himself, trying to stay strong.
Nodding and humming in an understanding manner, Holland slipped a thumb behind one of the straps of his suspenders, lightly fiddling with one of the many pins and buttons he had adorned them with. "That would probably be for the best; I should head home soon as well. I've got to plan out things to send you more war ait because those things don't figure themselves out..." He softly muttered, taking a moment to remove one of his pins; one depicting small and simply drawn flowers; as he moved forward to Ukraine, fastening the pin onto the Ukrainian's jacket. "I'll be sure to visit soon again, though, and I'll do all I can in the west to get others to help you as well, alright?" Holland offered out after a moment, a soft smile still stuck to his face as he raised a hand to ruffle through Ukraine's hair. "...Please, do your best to keep you and your people safe until then."
Ukraine smiled down at his new pin, giggling softly at the feeling of having his hair ruffled. "Oo...thank you!" He cooed out happily, his wings ruffling aggressively before he put his feathers down and folded his wings. "I'll...um...I'll try." He spoke gently, watching him for a moment before smiling at him as he put his arms around him gently. "Be safe, yourself." He spoke gently, smiling to himself as he hummed and left the room. His eyes glimmered with tears as he took a breath, wiping them and quietly going towards the area where he's needed. He landed in front of one of his soldiers and g/nned down the threat, looking back at them before flying off and looking over the battlefield. [we can skipp-]
Holland kept a smile glued to his face, waving Ukraine off as the other left. He turned to the flowers he had brought, now sitting in a vase, gently taking a moment to rearrange them so they looked slightly better before calmly leaving soon after doing so. He had [i a lot] more things to do now, didn't he? War funding, soldier recruiting, upping military good production; point en case was Holland hurried back to his homelands in order to get as much of a head-start as he could. He really dove into this head-first, didn't he? Yet, despite that, he couldn't wipe the smile off his face. Having been called father merely once was enough motivation for him to swiftly move through his legal system's processes for war, doing his genuine best to gather up supplies as soon as he possibly could; the quicker they were done, the quicker he could send them off on their way to Ukraine, after all.
[you can skip if you'd like to, i'll leave that choice up to you mon amour]
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