“There’s a woman you should be cautious of,” France told America. “Ice runs through her veins and death follows in her wake. She’s insatiable. A predator.”
“Aren’t you all?”
France smiled. “I suppose we are.”
Russia was like nothing anyone had ever described. Grass did not rot beneath her boots as walked, nor did America feel his blood go cold when she entered the room.
She was tall—taller than he would have guessed—and she had a kind face. It drew him in and his eyes lingered on her charming features.
“You are really Russia, aren’t you?” He asked her over tea in the garden.
“I hope so,” she said. “And you are really British America? No, wait… America? Just America? Is that what you prefer now?”
“More than ever before.”
She nodded knowingly and they poured cream into their cups. “I brought Chinese tea,” she said.”You should meet him some time. China. He’s quite the character.”
“You’re supposed to be a character too, from what I hear.”
She looked up at him and just smiled. “How is your war?”
“Well, it’s war. We’re getting somewhere, though. There’s going to be a breakthrough. It’ll be big.” A Declaration was a powerful thing.
“Revolution is dangerous,” said the empire. “But… I think your independence will be good for me.”
America grinned, if only out of amusement. “Good for you?”
She nodded. “Oh, yes. You’ve proven to be a wonderful business partner. I want that to continue. That’s why I will declare neutrality but, unofficially, I will provide you with whatever I can get away with. That sounds nice, doesn’t it?”
“You don’t care what England and the others will think of that?”
“I like to see them flustered. It’s satisfying.”
They shared a laugh and let the pleasantness linger, holding onto it . A warmth had come over America and he saw it reflected in her eyes too.
“Hey,” he said after a moment. “Tell me about some of your wars.”
“And I was starting to think that this couldn’t get any better.” She wiggled in her chair, eyes drifting up. War excited her—no, victory did. “Let’s see… you’ve heard of the Great Northern War? I crushed Sweden until she begged for mercy. The poor thing never learned…”
By the time the sun set, their cups were empty. They brought their dishes in and America saw her out.
“Russia,” he said to her at the door, “France doesn’t want me to trust you. Should I take his advice?”
She turned back to him. “Trust is so fragile in Europe. War is all we’ve known, and in war bonds can be as frail as old bones.”
“I think I understand.”
Then her eyes took on an earnest softness. “America, you have so much youth and fervor. Do something great with this momentum. But please, make sure that it is not too great.”
Although Russia and British America had trade relations prior to 1776, I like to imagine that their first in-person meeting happened during the Revolutionary War.
Russia’s Catherine II wanted peace and had no interest in becoming a belligerent in the American Revolution. However, she was pretty confident that the colonies would win independence and even believed it’d be beneficial. Even though Britain may have begged for assistance, Russia was like, “Nah, nah, honey, I’m good.”
Russia’s determination to stay neutral while still finding ways to help the colonies is very similar to her approach to the Korean War, as shown in this chapter of The Life and Times of North Korea.