SUMMARY; Gift-giving is never easy. Moreso when you're trying to woo your own sister.
He brings her a gift one day, suddenly and without notice. It is not her birthday, or any day of real importance. Still, Russia is all smiles and insistence on pushing the little velvet box into his sister's hands.
Ukraine gingerly opens it, as if afraid whatever is inside may spring out and latch onto her. When she does see the contents, it is all she can do to keep from exclaiming and thrusting the box back to its giver.
Its giver is pleased with this reaction; he'd bought the delicate sapphire earrings to light his sister's face, and even before being worn they are accomplishing this task.
He'd deliberated on which stones would be best, flipping between the deep sapphire and rubies. Both conveyed the emotion he wished, but rubies were too bloody. He'd seen Ukraine's head wreathed in blood many times before, and never wanted to return to those moments. So the sapphires it had been.
"They're beautiful, but..."
"What is the matter? Does Sister not like them? Do they not match her clothes?"
"No, no, it's just- oh, they're much too much!"
It's exactly what he expects from her, this denial of a luxury actually worthy of her. But this time he has an answer ready to wash away her guilt.
"I don't think so. I've given them to you because I love you. Maybe they are too little then, hm?"
She laughs, closing the box anyway and gently worming them back into his hands. Moments like these always made her wonder what went on in her brother's mind to make him act so.
"I know you love me, dear. That's still not a reason to give your sister such thi-"
The sentence isn't finished because suddenly Ukraine is distracted by how her hands are unable to pull back from her brother's, or how he is leaning down and closing the distance between them too fast. Something in the air changes as Russia's eyes widen, begging her to understand what he is about to say.
"Not as a sister. Do you see?"
And she does see exactly what had been only a tiny whisper at the back of her mind when the box had been presented, what was now an awful reality screaming in her ears and pounding in her blood.
There is nothing but too-quiet silence between them, stretching on and on until Russia begins to wonder if he's broken her in some way. Just as he is about to say something, she breaks the calm herself with a choked sob.
"I can't, I can't! H-how awful that would be for Sister, I-I couldn't do it!"
With a burst of strength completely uncharacteristic of his sister even in the most dire situations she frees herself from Russia's grasp and hurls herself headlong through her door, locking the bolt with a decisive click.
The sound of her crying almost compels him to kick in the door and continue speaking, make himself clear and make her understand. But he's hurt her enough for one day, and trepidation at pushing too far holds him back.
Russia's mind is so troubled that it is not for many hours that he realizes his accursed gift isn't in his possession anymore.
She wears them at the next meeting, night blue peeking out from pallid hair and augmenting the warmth her eyes naturally exude.
Russia watches her flit from person to person, trading papers and small talk. And he smiles, because she is his after all.