Disclaimer: Any character you recognize is property of Hidekaz Himaruya.
A/N: Much thanks to the fabulous Lanaroolz, who beta read for me. 3
She was a girl of many names.
Ahvenanmaa was the name Finland gave her, but Sweden had always called her Åland. To most, she was Aland Islands. Isä gave her the human name of Kristiina. ("It means Follower of Christ," he said one night as she snuggled up to his side, her small fingers touching his cross necklace like the treasure it was.) Pappa preferred the pet name of Kia, because it was shorter and therefore easier to say. For the most part, everyone used the names her Pappa chose, and she learned his language, rather than Finnish.
That didn't mean she loved Isä any less; she was a part of him after all. Light blond hair, violet eyes, and a bright smile made her nearly identical to Finland. But, there are subtle hints of her Pappa too. There was his strong jaw line and a hint of blue to those eyes in the right light.
No matter who she looked like, Kia was always the happiest when she would climb into Isä's lap after supper and listen as he told stories. His voice was warm as the fireplace they sat by and his arms were strong as the trees that surrounded the house. Most nights, Kia fell asleep as the nation cradled her.
Her days were spent in or around the house, while Pappa supervised her as he did his daily chores. Sometimes, he'd let Isä go out hunting if the weather was nice. It made Kia sad not to have her father around, but hunting trips were always fun. It was then Pappa was most indulgent of her, letting her have sweets and obeying any order she gave, as long as it was it Swedish.
("Pappa, why don't you like it when me and Isä use lots of Finnish?"
"Jus' don't." Sweden's body tenses and he stops whatever he's doing.
She whines a little, "But why?"
"Don't keep askin', Åland." His tone is strict, not requesting, but warning her.
Kia gives in, "Yes, Pappa.")
For a long time, Kia lived happily with her Isä and her Pappa. She grew a little bit and they were both proud of her. Pappa continued to spoil her like she was a small child, but Isä knew that he had to try and discipline his daughter, or Kia would become unruly and wild. Now, instead of laughing and calling her "pikkupaholainen," Finland would scold her.
Kia had overheard him scolding Pappa as well, telling him that he shouldn't treat their daughter like she was a baby. This made her angry because Isä had no business trying to make Pappa mean too. She started clinging to Sweden more and more, even if he doesn't know how to tell a story as well.
Then war came and Pappa had to go away.
At the house, Isä began to call her Kristiina again. Bits and pieces of Finnish appeared in their conversations and eventually, they used no Swedish at all. Kia slept with Isä at night again, hugging him tight and asking if Pappa was alright. The answer was always the same, a kiss to the forehead and a plea for her not to worry. Kia would squeeze her Isä tight and then go to sleep. She didn't even stir when Finland would leave the bed to patrol outside of the house with his gun.
One winter day, a large wound appeared on her arm. Kia sobbed for hours as it was cleaned and bandaged by a tired-looking Finland. It was then that she noticed that her Isä was also covered in bandages and scabs. The girl was too focused on her own injury to bother asking about his. The bandage stayed on for weeks and Kia didn't feel like doing anything even after the wound healed.
Nearly a year later, in the fall, she woke up to the sound of Isä shouting and swearing in Finnish. The reply, if there was one, was inaudible. Peering out of the bedroom door, Kia saw that her Isä was shouting at two other men. One was a stranger, but the other was Pappa! Letting out a delighted shriek, she ran to hug the man, but Isä stopped her before she past, scooping her up and holding her tight to his chest.
Pappa looked tired and he was covered in bandages. As she struggled to get closer to him, she saw that he looked very sad. The stranger smiled and said, "It's a pleasure to meet you, little Khristin!"
Isä's grip on her tightened and he began to shout at Pappa again. He said that he hated Sweden and that he couldn't believe what he had done to their family. Isä called him things like coward and weakling, and other things that Kia knew better than to repeat. The entire time, Isä only used Finnish, the forbidden language.
Pappa took it with a bowed head and shaking shoulders. It was then that Kia realized that he was crying. She started to hit Isä with her tiny fists, shouting at him to stop making Pappa sad. Kia had never seen him cry before and it was already leaving a bad feeling in her heart. The stranger only watched the scene, smiling. He gave the girl a bad feeling as well.
Finally, after she had said as many nasty things as she could and had hit him until her little arms ached, Finland kissed his daughter's forehead. Still speaking in his native tongue, he explained. "Sweden has given us away, Kristiina. We have to go and live with Russia now."
The stranger in the corner, Russia, waved at her. The girl frowned at turned back towards her Pappa. He wasn't looking at her, shoulders still shaking as he stared down at the floor. Kia then stared into her Isä's eyes. The familiar purple was tinted with anger and unshed tears.
He continued to speak. "He took over my lands -our lands- for years. He didn't let us speak Finnish and changed your name. He made you bleed because of his war!"
At this, Finland pushed up the sleeve on the child's dress, showing the still pink scar on her arm. On the other side of the room, Pappa's crying was no longer silent. Kia felt tears welling up in her eyes because Pappa was sad, Isä's voice was getting scary, and the stranger was taking hold of her and Isä. She did not want to leave the little home they had, especially if they had to leave Pappa behind.
"Look what you did to us!" Finland snarled as he was dragged from the room. "I'll never forgive you!"
As Russia continued to pull them away, Pappa tried to follow them out the door. In harsh Finnish, Russia ordered Isä to stay put, and the smaller nation did so. Kia then watched, screaming and crying, as the stranger beat down her already injured Pappa. Isä made no move to help, only squeezing her tighter to his chest with every blow that rained down. Being held so close let her feel Isä's trembling.
The stranger returned to them after a while, his coat splattered with blood. Still in Finnish, but in a much gentler tone, he told Isä to start walking as he pressed a rifle into the Finn's back. Isä did as he was told, marching and singing softly to the still crying Kia.
When they reached the first town, the stranger offered to buy them supper. As they ate, Russia tried to find a carriage to carry them back to his home. Kia had stopped crying by then, but she refused to touch her stew. Isä gently pet her blond hair. "I had a good reasons not to help Sweden, Kristiina. He just let Russia take us and I would have been killed if I interfered. He wasn't worth it. Understand, pikkupaholainen?"
She looked up at him with eyes just like his. Normally soft violet, turned red from crying and filled with anger. "Jag förstår perfekt."
"Pikkupaholainen"- Gremlin, used affectionately
"Jag förstår perfekt."- I understand perfectly.
The Aland Islands do belong to Finland, but their culture is heavily influenced by Sweden. In fact, the spoken language there is Swedish, not Finnish. For some time after Finland gained independence, the people of the Aland Islands resented Finland and wanted to join Sweden again.
The war mentioned here is the Finnish War. It was between Sweden and Russia, going on from February 1808 to September 1809. Sweden lost the war, as well as its Finnish territories. In May 1808, conflict between the Swedes and the Russians occurred in Gotland and Åland, hence the wound on Kia's arm. Since the war was also fought in other parts of Finland, Tino is pretty banged up too.
"Khristin" is a Russian variant on the Scandinavian name "Kristina", which appears here with the Finnish spelling of "Kristiina". "Kia" is apparently a Swedish nickname for "Kristina".
"From the 16th century, Swedish was the main language of jurisdiction, administration, and higher education in Finland..." This, and the fact that the family is living in Sweden's house, is why Finnish is a big no-no when Pappa is around.
The title of this piece is taken from the John Mayer song, "Daughters".