He turned at hearing the pet name his best friend had given him all those years ago.
"What is it now?" he asked, pushing strands of hair away from his eyes.
Today had been the day of the world summit and had not been at all successful for anyone apart from Russia, who scared 90% of the people there. The other 10% were his allies.
"You should probably learn to say 'no' more," Poland answered.
The blonde man strolled over to the chair that his friend was sat in and leaned against it. Lithuania looked at him for a few moments, trying to comprehend what he was being asked to do.
"I don't understand. What do you mean?"
"Well, you end up in all these sticky situations and I was thinking about whether any of them would have happened if you had told whoever else was involved to stop."
"Poland, I can't just tell someone not to invade me. That's not how it works."
That would have been the moment when Poland would have usually responded with "why not?", but he didn't give Lithuania the pleasure of hearing that same sentence again.
"Yes, it is. If they want something from you, say no. Don't let them push you to do their dirty work."
Lithuania wanted to laugh. Poland of all people was giving him advice. He looked at him, thinking he was joking, but only so the serious look in Poland's eyes. He meant it. He sighed, and threw his hands up in defence.
"Then how do I say no to them?"
"It's easy: just don't be afraid to say anything but yes. Right now, you're a pushover! Anyone can make you do whatever they want! But because of that, there are consequences afterwards. You'll end up in a bad way again and people won't, like, be afraid to make you do all that stuff again!"
Poland ended his passionate speech by turning away and looking down as if he was embarrassed he said it all out loud. He clenched his hands together tightly.
"I just don't want them to walk all over you," he muttered.
Lithuania got up from his seat, walked around it and stood facing his best friend. Poland looked up at him and his look became one of determination. He unclasped his hands and smiled at Lithuania, who began to realise what the shorter nation meant.
"I have difficulty pushing people away from me," he admitted. "If someone tells me to do something, then I'll do it. It was that way when I was living in Russia's house. I had to do what he told me because if I said no, he'd get angry." Lithuania looked down at his feet, unconsciously clenching his fist. "I got used to not having a choice and even after all these years of being free, I still can't get used to having my own free will."
Although he didn't like to admit it, Lithuania was uncomfortable having his own free will. All those years under the rule of someone else meant that he'd gotten used to obeying whoever was commanding him or facing consequences. At first when he was living in Russia's house, he was reluctant to obey the nation since he didn't see why he should. That lead to 'consequences' which stopped him from disobeying all together.
Poland reminded him of how Latvia used to be. Poland was reckless and often ended up with a bigger mess to clean up than he started with. He was also stubborn and refused to be pushed around. In some ways, Lithuania envied him for being the person he could never be. Poland was a rock who couldn't be moved, whereas Lithuania was easily moved. Even when he was living in Russia's house, Lithuania wished he could be like Poland and be stronger.
The shorter nation placed a hand under Lithuania's chin and gently lifted his head so he was looking at him. Poland was smiling warmly and Lithuania wished he could do the same.
"I know it's hard, trust me I know, but you have to make it so the only person who can push you to do things is yourself. I learnt that a long time ago and look where I am now! Me and you have come so far and we should be proud, but we still have far to go. You have to learn to be stronger, and I have to learn to help you."
"Help me?" Lithuania repeated, almost surprised to hear supporting words coming from the Pole.
"It's pretty obvious you won't be able to do this on your own," he grinned. "You're hopeless!"
"I'm not that hopeless," Lithuania replied, trying not to laugh.
"Yes you are. That's why you need me! I'm here to guide you on this journey!" he responded.
"Now you're just over exaggerating," Lithuania sighed, smiling.
Poland seemed to enjoy the authority he'd given himself in helping his friend. He spun himself around with his arms spread wide. Lithuania smiled, used to seeing his friend in such a good mood. Poland stop spinning and faced Lithuania again. He was beaming with joy. Lithuania held Poland still by placing his hands gently at the top of his arms.
"Calm down, you're acting like a toddler with a sugar rush."
"Who says I'm not?" Poland responded, warmly smiling.
"What happened to the responsible and caring person I was talking to a few minutes ago?"
Poland shrugged, pretending to look as if he didn't know. Lithuania shook his head, smiling.
"What, so I can't be both of those people at the same time?" he said, pretending to be offended.
"I like both of those people equally, so I don't mind."
"But seriously, I'll help you become stronger whenever you like. Just tell me. I'll always be here."
Lithuania smiled. There was the Poland he knew, the kind and caring one.
"Thank you. I can always rely on you."