A Husband Problem
Sweden stared. He had just grabbed the first magazine he had seen and–
It couldn't be... he read the article through one more time. No, really.
"So this's it..." he mumbled, then took a blank piece of paper and a pencil from a drawer and sat down. Quickly, he started taking notes, sometimes checking things from the article. After a few minutes, he was ready, and he held the paper up, staring at it intensively.
Then he nodded: that's how it must be. He was going to do his best.
One week later
"How many times do I have to say 'don't call me Mama' before you understand?"
Sealand raised his hand to hold Finland's jacket. "But Mama..."
Finland sighed and tried to make his dog stop hanging onto his leg. "Yes, yes, let's drop the topic for now. Hanatamago, stop that. What is it, Peter? Is it so important that I can't enter my house before hearing it? Not that I wouldn't be interested, but these bags are rather heavy and I'd like to put them down. What do you say we go in and drink some hot chocolate while talking? Hanatamago, sit."
Sealand let Finland open the door and the three of them stepped inside, one of them immediately running to his bowl, waiting for it to be filled, a small tail wagging.
Finland dropped his bags onto a chair and went after the dog. "You sure were hungry, I guess. Come on, Peter, let's make something warm to drink."
"But Mama, I really have to talk to you," Sealand insisted, following the older nation.
Finland turned around, smiling softly, and put his hand on Sealand's head. "I know. After all, you came here all by yourself without Sweden and waited outside long enough for your cheeks to turn red with cold. That's why I want to discuss this with you properly and not in the doorway, dear." Finland smiled more widely and took Sealand's cheek between his fingers, pinching it gently. "So let's get you warm again first, all right? So you can speak without worrying about biting your tongue."
Sealand tried to free himself. "I wouldn't do that, Mama."
"I told you, it's not 'Mama'."
"So, Peter. What's the matter?" Finland asked when they were settled down drinking hot chocolate and Hanatamago was peacefully eating her supper.
"Mama, you see–"
"It's not 'Mama'..."
"–Papa is acting weird."
Finland raised an eyebrow. "Sweden? How?"
"Well..." Sealand tried to think of an example. "He's started to exercise every day."
"Umm... is that so bad? People can have new hobbies, Peter. And Sve hasn't ever been that–"
"But he also spends a lot of time trying to decide what he should wear every day."
"Listen, Peter, people really do things like that."
"But he didn't do that before! And he started to make Saturday nights 'our time'. Like watching movies and eating crisps together."
"I can't understand why you're complaining..."
"And he took me to the mountains one day just because it was going to 'be an adventure'! He even skipped work for it!"
"Then he worked all night to catch up!"
"And he's started to gather bunnies and stuff in his room!"
"Okay, that's bad," Finland admitted, frowning. Then he thought for a moment. "No, I take that back, it's not bad. It's cute."
Finland sighed. "Peter, I really can't understand what's making you so nervous. Why not try to explain it from the beginning, hm?"
Sealand looked into his mug and started kicking his feet restlessly. He was wondering where to start. Finland waited politely.
"A week ago, he started to act differently." Sealand stilled his feet and leant his jaw on the table. "It wasn't anything bad, really. He started to watch over me more and was always concerned about how I was doing. But he always asks several times, even when I tell him I'm okay. And he suddenly started to be concerned about things like looking good and having a proper schedule. Of course, he was like that before too, but not like this. It's just all Papa thinks about now."
"Asking out of curiosity, did he actually look any different after deciding to look good?" Finland asked, smiling into his mug. He didn't tell Sealand, but the vision he had in mind was Sweden trying to apply make-up.
"No. Papa always looks the same," Sealand answered, and drank the rest of his hot chocolate.
Good, so no mascara in sight... Finland smiled and said aloud, "Is that bad?"
"I don't think so. Do you, Mama?"
Finland's smile softened. "No. He looks always great. Now continue, please. Is there anything else that's bothering you?"
"That paper," Sealand answered, and then proffered his mug. "Seconds?"
"What paper?" Finland asked, taking the mug and frowning.
"He always brings this piece of paper with him. He won't show it to me, but he always looks at it when it's time to make an important decision," Sealand explained. "There's some writing on it, but I haven't been able to read it. Papa always hides it when he notices I'm watching. He makes some notes on it too when he thinks I'm not looking."
Finland turned to him from the cupboard. "Okay, but tell me what makes you so nervous, Peter. If you tell me, I might be able to do something about it."
"I want my Papa back," Sealand said simply, making Finland raise his eyebrow again. "Papa's too careful when he's with me."
"What do you mean by that?"
"He tries to be perfect. Papa isn't natural when he's with me. I wouldn't mind if he made some mistakes or didn't always ask how I'm doing when he passes by. I'm not happy with it like this." Sealand rose from his chair and crossed the room to Finland's side, who listened to him silently. "And Papa denies that anything's wrong. I want him to relax again when he's at home. I'm worried about him. Will you do something about it?"
Finland looked at the boy for a while, and then put his hand on Sealand's head. "Of course I'll check it out if it disturbs you that much, Peter. Is there anything specific you want me to do?"
"You can decide what's best. But of course you can discuss it like adults do."
Finland frowned. "How do adults discuss things from your point of view?"
"Face to face."
"In bed," Sealand added. He waited for a while and then tilted his head. "What's wrong, Mama?"
Finland leant on the table beside him, turning his back on Sealand. "Don't call me Mama..." He said quietly behind his hand, coughing and firmly facing the corner of the room.
Peter is definitely England's brother, Finland thought as he entered Sweden's garden through the gate. I wonder if England's noticed how much they resemble each other...? he wondered, and then started to concentrate on the task at hand. Sweden was clearly home as the house looked lively. Finland stopped at the front door, his hand ready to knock, but paused to think again.
After all, now, when Sweden wasn't expecting anyone and Finland's task was to find out the reasons for Sweden's odd behaviour, maybe if he just went inside uninvited...
Silently, he opened the door and stepped into the house. No Sweden in sight. Finland closed the door behind him without making a sound and entered Sweden's house properly.
After checking the living room and kitchen, Finland heard sounds from Sweden's study and quietly approached the partly open door before peeking inside.
Sweden was standing in front of his desk, holding a piece of paper in his hands and staring at it intensively as he chewed the end of a pen. Finland smiled a little when his assumption turned out to be correct.
Caught red-handed, Sve. So this must be the paper that bothered Sealand, Finland guessed, following Sweden's movements carefully. He really looks stressed...
Sweden raised his hand to his eyes, and as he sighed deeply, Finland decided it was time for him to stop playing secret agent and start being a detective. He straightened and knocked on the door politely, making Sweden jump in surprise.
"Fin?" he asked, and turned quickly to the door, taking the pen out of his mouth. "Wha' is it? Comin' so suddenly...'s somethin' wrong?"
Finland smiled and stepped into the room, approaching Sweden. "Nothing much. Just paying a visit."
Sweden made a low, drowsy sound and nodded to show that he accepted the explanation. "Didn' Peter go to see ya?"
"He did. He's at Estonia's place now." Finland smiled softly at the taller nation standing in front of him. "Now then, Sve, would you mind showing me that paper you're trying to hide behind your back?"
"Wha?" Sweden asked quickly, retreating a few centimetres before Finland caught him, grabbing him by the collar. "It isn'–"
"Be a good boy now, Sve," Finland replied, and, without waiting for the other to answer, he leant forwards, using his hand to make Sweden bend down a little, and kissed him right on the lips.
Sweden made a surprised, muffled gasp and flushed. He flushed a lot, actually, Finland noticed to his pleasure. Sweden was cute when he blushed. After a moment, Finland broke their kiss and stepped backwards. He sighed delightedly.
"Now, what do we have here...?" he wondered, and raised the paper he had obtained to see it better.
Shocked, Sweden made a move towards the paper, trying to retrieve it, but Finland pressed his hand against Sweden's forehead, stopping him.
"Oh, I see..." Finland said, looking at the paper and trying to hold back a smile as he leant his weight on the hand he was still pressing to Sweden's forehead. Sweden had stopped in his tracks and was blushing furiously. "Now I understand what's going on here."
Sweden looked away and tried to make Finland stop leaning against his forehead. "Tha' was dirty..."
Finland laughed and removed his hand, letting Sweden stand up properly. "Sweden, dear, are you sure your Mister Newspaper isn't just messing with you?" he asked, giggling.
Sweden looked at him, surprised, and thought about this for a while. Then he whirled around and reached for the cupboard where he kept his guns, but Finland stopped him.
"I'm sure he meant well, Sve," the smaller nation reassured him.
Sweden walked silently back to the table and leant on it. He had been defeated.
Finland looked at the list again and smiled softly, still holding back a laugh. Peter, dear, there's nothing to worry about... aloud he said, "Well then, Sve. What are you going to do about this last note? It's still unchecked."
Sweden turned around with a speed Finland didn't know he had in him. Sweden's eyes were wide and he was staring at Finland, or somewhere past him, blushing brightly again.
"...I'm..." he said after a while.
Finland waited, keeping his hands behind his back. "Yes, Sve? Is there something you want to say?"
"I... uh... mm..." Sweden was blushing so hard that he had problems speaking. He raised a finger between them and it shook as he tried to force himself to talk.
Finland waited, watching Sweden and smiling softly at his struggle. Then he laughed quietly. He walked nearer and leant past Sweden, putting the paper back on his desk beside a picture of the Nordic countries. Finland smiled at the treasured picture. He was pretty sure that the others would also want their neighbour and friend to act like himself. Sweden was still standing with his finger raised and shaking.
Finland looked at him curiously, still leaning past Sweden. It must be a whole new shade of red that Sweden was turning as he blushed.
"'Mmm... I... kinda... uh..." Sweden closed his eyes desperately and his hand was furiously messing up his hair. He couldn't form any words in his mind, let alone any that he could share with Finland.
Finland decided to spare his neighbour from any more torture and straightened to stand before him, giving him a soft, gentle kiss on the cheek. Sweden stopped shaking and opened his eyes, looking at Finland with tender surprise.
Finland touched his cheek softly and pressed his forehead against Sweden's. "It's okay, Sve. I know what kind of person you are. And I like that kind of person. Peter also wants you to stay like you've always been." He let go and turned to the door, looking over his shoulder at Sweden. "How about we go together now and free Estonia from Sealand before the boy overpowers him? And have you noticed he has some of the same characteristics as England? If those develop, you may have to be careful." Finland was already walking towards the door.
"Fin," Sweden said emphatically behind him.
Finland stopped at the door and turned back. "Yes, honey?"
Sweden flushed again, but this time only a little. He was looking at the corner window like he had only just noticed that it wasn't round. "Umm... I... ya see..."
Finland smiled and closed his eyes. "Me too, Sve. Don't worry, I love you too. That's why you can always stay as you are now."
Sweden smiled and tried to hide behind his glasses. Then he walked after Finland, and just before closing the door behind them, he glanced once more at the paper on his desk. He would have to get rid of it when he came back; he didn't need it anymore after all, and he certainly didn't want Sealand to see it. But he was definitely going to have a talk with his Mister Newspaper about that article...
On the table, there was a piece of paper where Sweden's neat handwriting had listed:
The steps of becoming a good husband/father:
1. Be attractive: be polite, look wealthy etc. (X)
2. Make sure to dress carefully for different occasions (X)
3. Do your best to be successful in your career (X)
4. Be a responsible father (X)
5. Care for the wellbeing of your family (X)
6. Exercise regularly; be fit (X)
7. Be soft (X)
8. Be tough (X)
9. Make sure you can fight and argue to protect your family (X)
10. Be an adventurer (X)
11. Spend some of your time slacking off (preferably on the couch) (X)
12. Be romantic ( )
Notes: These "requirements of a good husband" you see above really exist and they really are Swedish. It was an old poll on a magazine (which one, I don't know). I translated these 12 requirements from a Swedish text I came across and based this one-shot on them. This is my one and only SuFin story at the moment, but I might make more if something gives me the needed inspiration. =)
To my dear beta: Hazel, thank you. I couldn't have survived without you.
To anyone who read the story: Thank you. I hope I gave you a smile