The exhausted huff of breath, a bit sad but not quite a sigh, really made Denmark wonder why he was standing there in front of him.
Why are you here?
It could not have been clearer had Norway said it with words. The two young men stood with eyes locked, both of them rigid and emotionless, and simply stared at one another, nothing said between them. Denmark wrinkled his brow softly. Another unexpected visit ending up like this, in a cold standstill. He sighed. Why was he there? What cruel force was drawing him down this path time and time again?
He often wondered if it was love. He was beautiful standing there, his blond hair grown out a bit, neat but unkempt at the same time, even with his lips turned gently downward and his eyes weary. There was a longing in his heart for the calm-looking Norway that pulsed in the very blood in his veins, and yes, that must have been the force that constantly led him away from himself to the man in front of him. But then again, how could it be? Love wasn't two people facing each other asking millions of unanswerable questions without words. Love wasn't this.
Damn the fact that this was tearing him to pieces. How insignificant he felt then, how stupid, holding his axe like a cherished child, staring at someone even more precious, meddling in self-pity when there was so much to say that maybe—just maybe—could change the never-ending cycle that left him feeling so empty. So few words and yet so much to say, and so very much hanging in the balance.
Norge, I love you.
No, it couldn't be said. Why was he even thinking like that?
Damn England and his fabled stories. Why did people think he knew so much about Denmark? For all the genius in his writing, he had it all wrong. To be or not to be was not the question. The question was why. The question was how. The question was why not. To be was a fact, a constant, a curse—to be—without him, without his love, without anything like it. In that respect England had gotten one thing right—Denmark was, in no better word, a prison.
He looked at Norway's face again. Curious but stoic, still watching him with an icy blue expression. Not cold, more like velvet, but ice nonetheless. Had he been the one to snuff out those emotions so many years ago? Had there been a time when Norway would smile like Finland or speak through his eyes like Sweden? Yes, there must have been, for even though Denmark couldn't remember it, those eyes still had a hint of fierceness in them. It had been his fault, hadn't it? Dark days of the past. Days that he couldn't remember but Norway couldn't seem to forget.
What about now, then? Things were calmer between them now, but no less cold. Denmark's thoughts were alive now, desperately probing his mind for answers. Was it the axe? Did it frighten him? He hid it behind his back, earning a quizzical glance in his direction. Eyebrows raised, still no smile. The axe was replaced in front of him. A meaningless thought. Not even worth the try.
Perhaps it was just him. Perhaps he would always be Denmark of the past. Norway, gentle Norway, had changed. At the end of the day, Denmark was just…Denmark. Denmark with the axe much too large for him.
He had hardly noticed that they both had relaxed a bit. Shoulders were less tense, and even their eyes had quelled their stone gazes. After all the thinking, he was still standing there in silence, and Norway was still watching him. It was like the picture had frozen for his thoughts only.
"Is there something you want?"
His voice was quiet but it fell on Denmark's ears as loud as thunder.
"Uh…I…don't know. Er…no. I don't want anything."
And with that word, Norway turned away. Just like that, the deadlocked stare was broken and Denmark was left watching him leave again. It was so easy for him.
I love you, Norge.
Norway turned around, that huff of breath leaving him once more, though this time it was more like a sigh. His eyes glinted tiredly, yet as emotionless as they seemed, they pierced Denmark right to his heart. Blazing blue ice. Frozen fire.
Yet again the deadlock began. He was maybe two paces from Norway, fists clenched and spine tight, frightened. He was frightened. Any words that had been hiding behind his tongue had fled now.
"You have something to say?"
And once more, just like he had done moments earlier, Norway turned away again.
"Yes! Yes, I do have something to say!"
Good lord, had he just shouted that? No way out now. Norway was coming back, arms folded across his chest, looking at him questioningly. Damn this, damn England, damn love, damn it all!
The inquiry was surprisingly gentle. He stood as tall and straight as a statue, breathing as much as a statue might, staring straight at him, his mouth moving without any words. How unlike himself it was, to be speechless like this. And yet there he was, speechless with something to say. Damn it all. Long ago he'd been able to speak with the looks in his eyes—they both had, before time and change had nearly stolen it away. Now he peered across a distance that was small and yet uncrossable, hoping that his eyes were burning as much as his heart was.
Norway nodded slowly.
It was as though he had been dragged out from under a sea that had been crushing him. His breaths came deep now, filling his lungs with overly frigid air, making up for the time he had just spent forgetting to breathe. Alright. He just said alright. Does he know what he just said alright to?
It was clear to him that Norway did know. The younger man walked two paces until he was standing right in front of him, and gently as would be expected from Norway, he pressed his lips to his brow, breathing quietly. More air entered his lungs. Those weary blue eyes suddenly seemed so much less weary, so forgiving, and the hands on his wrists so warm…he allowed his eyes to close. He hadn't felt so warm in ages. Norway was smiling. A true smile, small, but genuine. Perfect for him.
His thoughts that he had been thinking before replayed themselves in his mind over and over. It was amazing how, with one turn of emotions, everything seemed so small. His axe? He laughed a little bit. England's books? England was still wrong. The question was still why. The question was still how. This didn't make sense, really, the whole situation. The questions did not change. But the meanings—oh, the meanings had changed. Why him? Why now? Just, why? How?
Time goes in circles, no matter how small. While the moment had been warm, he felt it cooling, but not entirely. Their eyes were locked again, unblinking, probing each other's faces like one would a delicate painting. Once again it was silent; nothing was being said between them. That blond hair, those turned down lips, those eyes were still pulsing in his blood. From an outsider's view, it would seem as though nothing had happened. This time, however, he would not mind being stuck in this deadlock forever. There was just something new in Norway's icy-velvet gaze that was so familiar, so comforting. An understanding, perhaps. But who really understands anything?
Some things, Denmark decided, he was just better off not questioning.