The scent of clean linen and rye pulls him out the back door, and he doesn't mind exerting the effort now that Liet has come back. Poland's companion goes about his business in silence, hanging stockings and shirts and sheets that Poland hadn't really bothered with before he had returned. (With or without Lithuania, he just couldn't be bothered to do laundry, and so when something got dirty, he'd toss it into the overflowing box labeled 'For Liet' and went shopping for new things. Needless to say, without Lithuania present, he was forced to rebuild his closet to four times its original size. All in an effort to avoid washing his clothes.)

The early afternoon sun has leaked into Liet's too-pale skin (Working in the rye fields will totally fix that, Poland assures himself) and shines gold upon his chestnut hair. Poland finds that he has grown taller as well, and has to stand on his tiptoes to throw his arms over Liet's shoulders.

"DzieƄ dobry, Liet," comes the greeting accompanying his yawn.

"You just woke up?" By the tone of his voice, Poland knew that Lithuania was considering scolding him, but would recognize it as a wasted effort and substitute his words with a sigh. He did sigh, and Poland smiles.

Awesome. He hasn't changed a bit.

Poland releases his rye partner and stands beside him to watch him throw a sheet over the clothesline. He wonders if Lithuania had to do laundry in that crazy Russia's house, and how he could have enjoyed it with all of that cold snow when he had gone about the chore to the warm, dry scent of unharvested rye for so, so long. He wondered if Liet enjoyed it now as much as he had seemed to all those years ago.

"Hey, y'know, I think I got a lot stronger when you were gone," he said conversationally, folding his arms and standing back so Lithuania had enough space. "So if that crazy guy comes back for you, I'll be ready to fight with you." Lithuania's face is curiously hidden, and Poland wants to see it now. Lithuania always listens, but Poland feels almost self-conscious when he was being honest, because long-standing friendship with Liet or not, he is still shy and he still needs to know that his truth doesn't fall upon deaf ears. Even though he knows that Liet is definitely not like that. "I'll protect you now, because you're totally mine, Liet."

Lithuania's fists clench, bunching the clean white sheets. "I don't belong to anyone," he says firmly, taking a deep breath and relaxing his grip. "Not you, not Russia- not anyone. That's what independence is, Poland."

A suddenly wordless Poland discovers that he was wrong, because Liet had changed.

They lose sight of each other for a moment when the breeze throws the hanging sheet between their bodies. Poland doesn't like it at all. With an abnormal display of assertion, the blond takes it in his hand and thrusts it against the wind, smiling brilliantly at the uncovered gentleman on the other side.

"That's totally cool," he replies. "I'll just be yours, then, until you change your mind."

"I... won't change my mind," Lithuania says with an uncertain frown on his face. "And don't go around offering yourself away like that. There are people who will definitely take advantage of... Poland, are you listening to me?!"

"Nah," Poland says truthfully. "But keep talking. I've totally missed the sound of your voice."