little one

Sweden stepped off his ship, breathing in the cool air of the arctic wasteland that lay before him. Leif stands behind him, barking at the crew, ordering them to secure the ship. Muttering a few words to the captain, Berwald pulls his furs tighter around his tall frame and set out.

Heavy forests filled with mighty pines stretched for miles, their boughs laden with snow. His boots crunched loudly in the deep snow, the only sound in the still silence. He kept looking around, the eerie quiet unnerving him. A clearing opened up and he lumbered in, turning his eyes upwards to watch the darkening sky. Turning around to following his tracks, he stopped. A rustle had come from a nearby cluster of bushes. Heart beginning to pound, he watched the bushes. They moved against, shaking snow from their branches.

Sweden froze, slowly reaching for his sword. There were no chances to be taken. Who knew what kind of foul beast lay within these new lands? Creeping towards the bushes, he pulled out his sword, holding it tightly.

There was a tiny peep. He frowned. Something suddenly tumbled out of the bushes, landing in the snow in a small poof. Berwald wondered if he was seeing things. The thing that had popped out of the bush appeared to be some kind of child. Giant blue eyes looked up at him, brimming with tears.

The toddler began to wail. The cries echoed through the trees, making birds fly out of their hiding places and take refuge into the sky. Sheathing his sword, he hurried over to the child. He kneeled, staring at it.

It stopped it's wailing for a moment, quirking it's head and sniffing loudly. Sweden's scowl intensified and the toddler began to cry again, louder and even more violently than before.

Fretting now, Sweden reached forward and plucked the small child out of the snow, holding it at arm's length. He tried bouncing it up and down, but the wailing continued, shrill and alarming as ever. Hoping he would never have children, Berwald brought the child an inch closer, loosening his grip slightly.

The crying lessened. Embolden by his slight success, Sweden brought the child to his chest, resting it in the crook of his arm. The petite boy snuggled closer to him, cries fading into a quiet sniffling. Big eyes stared up at him and a tiny hand reached up, clutching at Sweden's glasses.

Berwald's lip twitched. His gloved hand reached up, easing the child's grip off his spectacles. The boy suddenly clamped around his finger, the grip astonishingly strong. He squeals in delight, pulling the hand close and nibbling on Sweden's glove. A frown creases his brow and he removes the glove from his mouth, pale lips puckering. His tongue flicks out in disgust..

At this, Sweden smiled. He held the child closer, wondering what exactly he was going to do with it. The child cooed quietly, snuggling closer Suddenly the shouts of his crew calling for him break the silence. The child's small hands grasp Sweden's furs, burying his face and squeaking fearfully.

Leif appeared through the thick trees, the crew stomping behind him. He caught sight of the small child in his nation's arms. A bushy eyebrow raised and he folded his arms across his broad chest. Sweden stepped towards him, nudging the boy out of his furs. Frightened eyes stared up at the Viking and it is only a moment before he hides his face again.

Shaking his head, the captain grabbed Sweden's shoulder. "You can't take the little one." The man said solemnly. Berwald hugged the child protectively, glaring at Leif. "He is not yours." Sweden stared at his captain before he sighed in defeat.

Stepping away from his crew, he knelt in the snow and eased the child into the snow, patting his blond head awkwardly. Hurt blue eyes stared up at him and a tiny hand still clung to his hand, urging him to stay. Sweden, ignoring the curious looks from the other men, sat down and placed the child in his lap. In a low voice he started to hum. He wasn't the best of singers, but he did his best, hoping to leave some impression on the young boy.

As he murmured the simple melody, the boy crawled closer to him, curling into a ball. His breathing slowed and the blue eyes flutter shut. Berwald closed his eyes, desperately trying to remember the rest of the song. His voice faded away and he is surprised to find the child fast asleep. Sweden reached up, unfastening his thick cloak and laying it on the ground. Gently, he placed the child in the middle of the furs, wrapping him in the mantle.

Without looking back, Berwald left the clearing, returning to the beach. The crew mulled around the night, building a small fire and sitting around his, talking in low voices as they ate their small meal. Sweden only poked his food, eyes distant.

"Just a child, and you have become stone." Leif hand found his shoulder and he looked up into a smiling face. "Do not worry. If the stars favour you, this will not be your last meeting." He gave the nation a hearty pack before puttering away. Contemplating the man's words, Sweden tilted his head upwards, peering questioningly at the sky. There stars only shined down at him, gleaming mischievously.

Many years later, Sweden found himself at a World Conference, lost in his thoughts as England stood at the head, arguing loudly with France. Beside him, Finland gave him an inquiring look. "Something wrong?" The young nation whispered, casting a cautious look at Arthur.

Berwald shook his head, shifting in his chair as he tuned back to the rest of the world. The meeting ended before England could kill Francis and everyone stood, realizing that, yet again, almost nothing had been accomplished. Tino said something about needing to talk to Arthur about cooking and hurried away. Sweden made to follow him - the ever-menacing shadow - but froze, slowly turning on the spot.

Canada was walking behind him; singing absently under his breath, single curl bouncing in time with his slow stride. Without really considering the other nation, Berwald reached out and seized Matthew by the shoulders, wheeling him about. Squeaking, Canada's cowered, expecting an imminent attack. When it did not come, he eased his eyes open, only to shut them again. Sweden's stern visage wasn't exactly a look of comfort.

"Wh't ar' y'u s'ng'ng?" A gruff voice asked him.

He stared at Sweden. "W-what?"

By now they had attracted the attention of every nation at the conference. Alfred was advancing on the pair, ready to interfere should Sweden get violent. Or if his brother did, the hockey game was still fresh in Alfred's mind.

Large hands shook him and Matthew thought he saw some hint of franticness in the larger man's stare. "Y'u w're h'mming s'meth'ng." Berwald said, "Wh't w's it?"

Canada hummed quietly, voice breaking at the beginning before gaining strength. When he finished, he quirked his head inquiringly at Sweden. "That?" He asked. Sweden's gloved hand was suddenly at his lips, pushing forcefully, demanding entry. As Matthew opened his mouth to protest, a finger slid in.

There was a pressed silence. The eyes of every country were on the two, some looking amused, most looking downright stunned. Finland was clutching Arthur's sleeve, purple eyes wide. Alfred was behind Matthew, glasses flashing as he slowly reached into his inside pocket. Francis was in his chair, a hand pressed over his face and he shook slightly.

Sweden stared at Canada, willing him to remember. Matthew's teeth instinctively clamped down on the leather and realization dawned on his face. Pulling out his hand, Berwald enveloped the smaller nation in a bear hug, lifting him off the ground. Matthew laughed happily, snuggling close to him.

They broke apart, the tiniest smile on Berwald's lips while Canada was grinning widely, still laughing slightly. "You were the one who sang that for me. I remember now… And here I always thought Papa was first." He blushed, burying in face in his hands, "I am sorry, it's just…"

A hand ruffled his hair. "It's 'lright. L'ttle 'ne."

Author's Note

The idea of toddler!Canada and Sweden finding him is adorable~

on a sidenote, I took down Prussia today.