Genre: Romance/Humor (Hopefully!)
Rating: K+ (At the moment)
Warnings: Human names used where I can, though Denmark and Norway present a bit of a problem.
Summary (Full): Tino is a young student majoring in psychology, well known for being kind and eager to help others sort out their issues, but less well known for his habit of profiling "patients" on campus. His therapist's eye has fixed on Berwald, but will he be the one who ends up on the couch? [SuFin; College AU]
A/N: Here's hoping my first multi-chaptered Hetalia fanfiction will be as enjoyable for you to read as it is to write. SuFin is rapidly becoming one of my favorite pairings, so I wanted to see if I could try something new with them that would still be faithful to their sweet relationship. Hope you like it!
Disclaimer: I don't own Hetalia... really. As if I could have thought up something so awesome. Psh.
Tino was the university's go-to guy when it came to problem solving.
Girlfriend break up with you? Tino was the chicken soup to a bachelor's soul. Failing six courses? Tino knew exactly what to say to put a down-and-out back in the game. Unable to find that special someone? Tino could hook you up with the best match-maker on campus.
That was pretty much to be expected of someone who'd once been described as an "amateur shrink with a heart of gold". Tino had been the college's bright light since he'd enrolled two years ago, and was as recognized for his sweet nature and as he was for his dedication to his major, Psychology. He was a Secret Santa to die for and an excellent study-buddy, stubbornly maintaining good marks even when others' flagged. He lived on his own and was mature in spite of his deceptive looks, which got him labelled as much younger than the twenty he actually was. He seemed to strive to improve the day of anyone he ran across, and was cute in a way that wasn't entirely masculine (which endeared him to both genders, but especially the campus's female population).
Nobody's perfect, though. Tino's second-hand psych book could attest to that.
"Tino! Oy, Tino! Ya headed home?"
Tino turned as his landlord (another student, awkwardly enough) ran up to him. His mind automatically supplied information in a way he had trained it to do shortly after he'd begun pursuing a psychology major.
Alias "Denmark", real name unknown. Age 27. Diagnosis: Bipolar disorder.
No one seemed to know why the man was called "Denmark" after his country of origin, but it was probably because the first night he'd shown up on campus he'd been completely drunk and singing the Danish national anthem at the top of his lungs. Tino waved in a sort of awkward, polite/friendly way which involved a lot of restrained wrist movement and tense smiling. He still wasn't used to the man who collected his rent talking to him so casually, or more nights than not having athletic sex with his sort-of boyfriend only a wall away.
But that was a completely separate story.
"Yes," he said. "Why do you ask?"
"Just figured I'd warn you," the Dane replied, patting the cloth of Tino's white beret. "That friggin' Swede skipped the economics lecture today, so he's probably home too. Watch out! We wouldn't want him to eat you, or something!"
With a final slap to Tino's back, Denmark ran off. He brimming with energy as per usual, and probably looking for his previously mentioned sort-of boyfriend, Norway— yet another student whose real name had never seemed to become an issue. Tino blanched and pulled out a small notebook he always kept on his person. He flipped through a couple of pages before he found the entry he was looking for.
Oxenstierna, Berwald. Age 22. Diagnosis: Antisocial personality disorder.
And there it was again. Like his mind was a psychiatrist's file cabinet, the memories of those he knew and observed were neatly labelled by name, age, and disorder— as if he liked to keep them organized for review and further diagnosis. Tino's worst habit, though he would never admit it, was profiling. He loved to get into peoples' heads, and he especially loved it when he could try to work out their problems. He had already built up a fair "case history" (completely illegally, of course, as he had yet to earn even his associate's degree) and he was immensely proud of it. If he were to become a successful therapist, he rationalized, he would need all the practice he could get.
Plus, people were just really interesting, especially bad ones.
Take this Berwald, for instance. Tino had been observing him for a few days now, and found all the little details about him fascinating. He skipped classes, ate alone, and was generally standoffish. He looked downright menacing, and no one could tell you where he was at any given time. He had no friends, and always wore heavy, dark clothing even in good weather. He never reacted to anything said about him, no matter how hurtful, as if he just didn't care. When he did deign to speak to someone (which was rare), he grumbled and mumbled his way through sentences without any regard to who he was speaking to. Standing at around six feet, he could probably toss around even the meanest of the campus security guards without breaking a sweat.
Foregoing technical diagnosis, he was the very definition of a delinquent.
Which was exactly why Tino had begun tailing him, because "delinquents" usually had a reason for their behaviour, and the Finnish man wanted to know Berwald's. What caused him to menace anyone who walked too close? Did he have a bad home life? Chemical imbalance? A nasty breakup in the past? The more Tino knew about the background of behavioural issues, the better he would be able to treat them— to treat Berwald's, as he intended to do. Tino steeled his resolve and picked up the pace on the way back to the small apartment complex he lived in, his messenger bag swinging wildly with his hurried steps. He took the stairs up to his second-floor flat and made a point of pausing near the fourth doorway from the landing.
As if on cue, Berwald stepped out and adjusted his coat.
"Good evening," Tino said, his tone cheerful as he tried to pretend that he'd been passing by, not waiting at the door. Berwald looked down at him, expression not only unreadable, but downright terrifying. For a moment it seemed as if time had frozen — literally frozen, as if there were icicles hanging from seconds — and Tino was trapped in Berwald's gaze as surely as if he'd been grabbed by the shoulders and held there. He almost gulped at the intensity of the stare-down he was getting, feeling a tingle creeping over his skin. He'd really had no idea how scary the Swede was up close (or how very, ridiculously, unfairly tall he was) until that moment.
And then Berwald nodded in greeting, the tense atmosphere shattered, and he started down the stairs with his heavy coat flapping behind him like some sort of medieval prince's cloak.
Tino's held breath whooshed out of him all at once, and he gasped in another as he watched the Swede roll some kind of motorbike out of a ground level garage and get on. He looked ready to meet with some local gang, if only going by how he was dressed (all one color) and the (ridiculously loud) growling of his motorbike as he went. Of course that was seriously jumping to conclusions, but in the spirit of psychological analysis Tino wasn't about to discard any theory until he had enough evidence to the contrary.
Tino walked the short distance to his door and let himself in, hurrying to toss his bag down in the living area and hang up his key. He rummaged around until he found his black notebook and opened it out as he wandered into his bedroom. Tino plucked a ballpoint out of a holder on his desk, grabbed the wobbly back of his swivel chair, and set about making a note of his first actual meeting with Berwald.
First interaction with patient. Patient didn't contribute verbally when greeted, but didn't seem overtly aggressive. Consistent choice in wardrobe indicates either insecurity with his image or careful maintenance of a set one. Patient departed at a late hour, though his destination is also unclear. Possibilities include gang involvement, but until further information is gathered this theory is based solely on conjecture.
Tino set his pen aside and evaluated his notes, checking to make sure they were as subjective as possible. With a satisfied nod, he hopped up and wandered into the kitchen, hoping he'd set aside at least one of the boxes of salmiakki he'd had to hunt to find. He leaned on the counter and munched on some, still thinking about Berwald and what he might possibly be able to do to help him without getting too close.
The best thing about being a psychologist, he'd often mused, was that he didn't have to get directly involved in his patients' troubles if he didn't want to. Sure, he tried to solve their problems where he could, but he was always an outside observer looking in. Tino didn't have to involve his feelings at all, and that was just fine by him.
He crumpled the candy box when he was finished and tossed it in the trash, then returned to his room to get ready for bed. He'd approach Berwald again tomorrow and see if he couldn't get a real greeting out of the man, but for tonight he could rest easy knowing that he'd accomplished his first objective.
Contact with patient — successful.
A/N: Kind of short, but more will come soon. My comments aside, reviews are love, and I'd really like to know what you think! Drop me a line if you feel like it!
Thanks for reading to the end.