Pairings: Berwald Oxenstierna/ Tino Väinämöinen (Sweden/Finland); Denmark/Norway

Summary: AU. When Berwald loses everything he is forced to move into a share house with an insane Dane, a sociopathic Norwegian, an unfathomable Icelander, and a perfect Finn who makes it all worth putting up with.

Warnings: Crazy!Denmark, varying chapter lengths, randomness, Swed'n speak, language, slow updating schedule, textual mood swings, gradually revealed plot points, plenty of cameos, villain!Russia, and a good dose of crack. And I apologise for Iceland, I really do, it's just that in my experience only one type of guy wears white knee high boots. I should know, I have a pair.



CATCH PERFECT: (Poker Terminology) To catch perfect is to catch the only card or combination of cards that could complete a winning hand.



Berwald had never meant for it to go this far. He stared fixedly at his hand of cards and tried to ignore the stares that bored into him through the smoky haze. A pile of cash lay heaped on the table along with empty bottles and overflowing ashtrays and all the trash that accumulated in a place like this. The small dingy room was stifling, suffocating and uncannily silent. Berwald tried to breathe, and stared at his cards.

His pulse hammered in his neck and sweat rose to his forehead but he kept his face and body still. Berwald was renowned for his poker face. He slowly raised his gaze to that of his opponent. The icy blue eyes smiled tauntingly at him. Damn it all. No one ever won against this opponent. Why the hell had Berwald thought he'd be any different.

Berwald felt the cards burning his fingers. He knew he had a good hand. He knew the odds were in his favour. But he also knew that no one ever walked away from this contender with their savings or their dignity intact. And having come this far, it was impossible to back down. Everything was on the line now. There was nothing left to lose.

Finally the call came, and taking a deep breath, Berwald placed his cards on the table. He looked down at them but did not see the four of a kind. He saw his rent, his car payments, the last of everything he had left. He could not believe he had let it come this far. The four of a kind seemed nothing.

And when those icy blue eyes crinkled in laughter, Berwald knew it was over. He felt his stomach drop and watched, feeling sick, as a straight flush was laid out in front of him. An impossible hand. But Berwald should have seen it coming.

No one could beat the Russian.

And that was it. He was broke. He had nothing. He had been completely wiped out. Berwald simply nodded, stood, and walked from the room. Amidst the rising voices behind him he heard one call after him.

"We will play again soon, da?"

To be continued…