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In Sickness and In Language

Here’s your requested copy of my Poland & Macau fic! ^_^

July 1, 1976

Moscow, Russia

Poland was, once again, defeated. It was the same old song and dance, he thought miserably. Russia’s stupid puppet government institutes new oppressions, he tries to fight it, and he winds up worse for wear and missing important meetings. He wasn’t nearly as sick as Russia insisted he must be. No, it was for the sake of Russia appearing important as Vietnam reunifies as a communist state. He liked Vietnam, from what he’d seen of her, and he was kinda glad she didn’t have to worry about the whole fragmented-populace thing anymore, though he would rather she had become a capitalist instead. Communism totally sucked, in his oh-so-humble opinion. He then proceeded to hack up approximately three-quarters of a lung.

Outside his “room” – a drab, greyish space he didn’t stay in for more than about 5 hours at a time if he could avoid it, as unconsciously as possible – he heard an awfully heated three-way conversation in Middle Mongolian. Wait, Middle Mongolian? What the actual hell? Did they forget he was just as old as they were, if not older? He was invaded by Mongolia, like, a bunch of times and he traded with him a lot way back in the day. He strained to listen.

“I know that she is your sister and this is an important day for her; however —”

“— and Yao knows I associate myself with him now due to familial ties, not —”

“We must appear at our strongest, and he cannot come —”

“I insist on at least being there tomorrow —”

“Aiyaah! Must we —”

“— sickly because of his protests —”

The phrase “Oh my Celestia, are they for real?” crossed his mind, but he promptly decided he didn’t like knowing Mongolian anymore. He identified Russia and China, but didn’t know the final one. Apparently, the argument had come to an end, as the voices quieted suddenly. He heard someone take a deep breath and knock on his door.

“Come in,” he croaked out. Okay, maybe he was sicker than he might have otherwise shown up to a world meeting with at any other point in history. The door creaked open, and a young Asian man appeared before him.

“I am Macau. I have come to, ah, monitor your health. It has been decided that I can be spared for a day.” Macau inclined his head slightly, and his glasses slipped down his nose. As he pushed them back up, he continued. “Please, let me know of what service I can be. Russia has granted me full disposal of his personal resources.”

Poland felt a grin spread across his face. The poor kid didn’t know what he was getting himself into, letting him have such a grand opportunity for petty revenge.

“And, like, does Russia have any grapes? It’s been way too long since I last had grapes. I would love a real grape.”

“As I said previously, he does not have access to fresh fruit, Mr. Poland.”

“I told you already, drop the “Mister”, it makes me sound ancient. Well, ancient-er. How about like, meat? Chicken soup would be totally amazing for my throat right now.”

“There is a small amount of beef. I think I might be able to cook you a broth.”

“Like, go for it! Celestia, I can’t wait to let the warm, moist meat slowly slide down my throat and —” Macau coughed pointedly and exited the room. Poland fought a grin. He kinda felt guilty for teasing the kid, but then, Russia wasn’t here to annoy and besides, it was totally his own fault for volunteering.

Macau returned about half an hour later with broth and… books? Odd.

“Here, Mr. Poland. Please, enjoy the meal.” He then opened one of the books and began to read. Poland sighed at the formality of the address, and dug in. It was actually one of the best broths he’d eaten with dulled senses, though it didn’t at all compare to France’s. The 1800s were actually a pretty good time when you ignore the whole barely-holding-onto-life-by-the-fingertips bit. Lots of good food, pretty women and handsome men, interesting companions in the form of French colonies.

Anyway.

“I’m done. What can a guy do to get some entertainment around here?” Macau pursed his lips, but pretended not to hear Poland for a moment. Just as he opened his mouth to whine, Macau set down the his book and opened another. He began to speak.

Poland didn’t recognize it at first. It was unpracticed and hesitant, like a child sounding out a picture book. But slowly, he began to understand: the language Macau was speaking was Polish. The story that he was reading was Memoirs Found in a Bathtub. For the first time in decades, Poland was speechless; for the first time in a century, it was with shame and gratitude. Slowly, he felt himself falling asleep. Before he completely fell into consciousness, though, he wanted to say something.

Macau thought he heard Poland say “sinto muito, e obrigado,” but when he looked up from the text, he saw Poland’s eyes closed and chest rising and falling rhythmically. He figured he must have just been hearing things.

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