A/N: WOW IT'S BEEN FOREVER SINCE I UPLOADED A SINGLE THING EVER. But that's okay. Because now is what really matters...
Aaaanyway. According to Hidekaz Himaruya, the creator of APH, Berwald, or Sweden, is a homosexual. This makes him the only character with a canon sexuality to date! (Although… France is rather… Well, you know. And there was that Valentine's Day arc with Germany and Italy… Uh, wait, what?) Himaruya has also said that Berwald only feels this way towards Tino. So I'm like, that's a great premise for a fluffy oneshot, and here we are! My favorite Hetalia pairing. SOOOO CUTE!
Of course Berwald had heard France blathering on about it for centuries, occasionally joined by Spain, much to the annoyance of all the other nations. That silly concept of falling so madly in love that everything you do is simply to ensure the happiness of the other person.
Once Antonio had spoken directly to Sweden, telling him he ought to improve his communication skills if he was ever to find a suitable wife. This was done in a joking manner, of course, but that was lost on the stoic Swede.
In a world full of wars and economies and technology, Sweden occasionally thought about the existence of love.
But Berwald had never considered experiencing it. It was a thought that had always rested at the very dusty bottom of his mind, until the day he moved out of Denmark's house, tailed by Finland.
Sweden had always liked the shorter nation, always appreciated his company, but spending so much time with him had changed him much more than he thought it would.
He even surprised himself, their first night alone together, when they were still trekking through the snowy, icy wilderness, long before they built a house to live in. It had been extremely cold, and Finland had been shivering quite noticeably.
Even with his poor communication skills, Sweden hadn't missed out on the fact that Tino was somewhat terrified of him. All that day, he'd been trailing behind, watching the taller man cautiously, quietly debating how good of an idea it had been to leave his home behind, even if living with Denmark had become a pain.
And for some reason, this withdrawn, scared behavior really bothered Berwald, a lot. So when they stopped to rest for the night, and Tino was shaking with cold, some natural instinct had drawn Berwald closer to the smaller nation, trying to warm him up with an embrace.
If he could have spoken eloquently in that moment, Sweden liked to think, he would have said something sweet.
Something like, "Don't be afraid. I just want to protect you. I promise that nothing bad will ever happen from now on."
But of course, Berwald couldn't say that, so instead he scooted close to the trembling body beside him, wrapped an arm around him, and mumbled about being warmer.
He hadn't noticed if Tino appreciated the gesture, but he did know that he had never slept better than when he held Finland in his arms.
His inability to speak well had never bothered Sweden before he and Finland were living together. Finland, in an attempt to alleviate the awkward silence that often filled their home, would ask Berwald an endless bout of questions that the tall man had trouble answering.
Often, Finland would have so much trouble understanding him that he would laugh awkwardly and shuffle away, unwittingly leaving a blushing, embarrassed Berwald behind, still trying to string together words properly.
He thought deeply about the things that Francis and Antonio had mentioned to him in that centuries-old conversation about speaking they'd had so long ago.
Don't waste words, they'd said. Well no, Berwald never did that.
Say kind things, they'd said. Well sure, Berwald always did that, especially to Tino.
Speak eloquently, they'd said. Well, shit. Berwald wasn't any good at that.
Don't look so scary when you talk, they'd said. Well…
And though it had never bothered him before, Sweden suddenly found himself really, really wanting to improve his speaking.
He really wanted Tino to not look at him with such terror whenever he tried to get closer to him.
And had Berwald been more eloquent, he probably would have said something nice.
Something like, "I've only ever wanted to speak better for you."
But of course, Berwald couldn't say that, even if it was a fact.
Remembering what Spain had once told him about finding himself a wife; Berwald found himself questioning why he would ever even need one. He was Sweden; a strong, proud country, once filled with powerful and dangerous Vikings, made to survive in cold winters and fierce politics. He could provide for himself. He could hunt and cook and build and work all on his own.
But once he and Tino were living together in their tiny house, Berwald began to understand what Antonio had been blathering on about.
You don't have to find a wife, or a spouse, rather, in order to live. But if you're ever so lucky as to fall in love and want to spend your life with someone, then that just makes living so much better.
For this reason, Berwald began referring to the smaller nation as his wife.
Tino cooked, cleaned, and fussed whenever Sweden hurt himself. Of course Finland also had work and politics and various sundry things to attend to, but at the end of the day, he was taking care of the bigger country.
In return, Sweden did the building, repairing, and food gathering. Sometimes he did help cook.
And then there was the sleeping situation.
Since the two of them lived in such a tiny house, there was only room for one bedroom, and that's how it would be until Sweden got around to expanding the small cottage. To compensate, Berwald had built a large bed; it was cold out in the winter wasteland, and Tino couldn't say he didn't appreciate having a live-in space-heater sleeping in the bed with him.
Out of politeness, Berwald tended to stay as far to one side as possible, wanting to give ample space to his bedmate. One night, when Tino had been feeling brave, he had asked Berwald why he always slept so close to the edge of the bed.
"It, well, it really can't be too comfortable, Su-san," Finland had said, blushing. "I mean, if you wanted to scoot in a little bit, I think that might be okay… not that you have to! I just mean, if that's better for you… I don't mind…"
Accepting this as permission to get closer to the other man, Berwald nearly closed the distance between them. He moved pretty quickly, startling Tino.
"Ah! Uhhh… i-is this better for you, then?" Tino stuttered quietly.
"S'pose so. I sl'pt like th't s' ya' w'ldn't be unc'mf'rt'ble."
"Oh," said Finland. "W-well, I mean, it's your bed too, Su-san! I wouldn't want you to do that for me."
"Have t'. F'r m' wife."
"S-s-Su-san, I'm not your wife!"
Then Berwald had turned and looked the other country in the eye. He had tried to look sad at the protest, but as usual, Finland had seen his expression as being scary.
And if Berwald had been more eloquent, he would have said something honest.
Something like, "I know you aren't my wife. But I feel something I only feel with you, and even though you're not my wife, or my husband, or my spouse or whatever you want to call it… I know you aren't, but I really wish you were."
But of course, Berwald couldn't say that, so he just closed his eyes and fell asleep, enjoying the feeling of Tino being that much closer to him.
Finland had not been amused when Sweden had introduced himself to Estonia.
"Name's Sweden," he'd grunted. "'nd m' wife."
No, Tino was not fond of being referred to as Sweden's wife, and for a while he pouted. Although Sweden suspected that his protest was against the feminine adjective, and not the fact that he was being called Bewald's spouse.
That's what he was hoping was the case, at least.
It was a lot better once the dog had arrived.
Sweden remembered that day quite well. He'd been hanging laundry outside when Finland had approached with the little white puppy and a long list of really terrible names.
When they finally agreed on a name, Finland and the dog had run off laughing, and a rare smile had graced Sweden's face, although it was still quite likely that Tino might have seen it as a scary sort of scowl.
Had Berwald been more eloquent, he might have said something gentle.
Something like, "Nothing in the world is more adorable than you playing with that dog."
But of course, Berwald couldn't say that, so he contented himself instead with finishing the laundry and smiling slightly as Finland played nearby.
Finland had been very upset by Sweden's sudden retreat from the battle against Lithuania and Poland, and Berwald had been embarrassed by what he would have liked to say in response.
"If m'good fr'nd weren't happy, I w'ldn't be, either," he'd wanted to say.
Instead, he'd wandered off to bed, leaving Finland confused and a tad upset.
If he were more eloquent, he might have said something charming.
Something like, "I love you and I didn't want to see you sad."
But of course, Berwald couldn't say that, so he didn't say anything at all.
Sweden knew that Tino was not fond of thunderstorms. It just so happened that they caused the smaller man to struggle between the concepts of crying all alone and letting Berwald hold him.
Some nights he made the decision to go it alone, but one particular night, Berwald didn't give him a choice.
It was late, and Tino was terrified, and Berwald couldn't stand for that.
"C'mere," he said, reaching for his bedmate with one long, elegant arm and drawing him close to his naked chest.
Tino made a funny noise as the space between the two closed instantly, but he pulled his arms in and rested them against Sweden's torso as Berwald brought his arm up so he could cup the other man's face. His thumb brushed away tears, and bravely he leaned in to lick away the tears from the other cheek.
Finland stiffened at this, but he didn't try to stop the other, and when the tears were gone Sweden pulled back.
"S'rry. C'ldn't h'lp it."
He didn't seem sorry, and truthfully he wasn't.
"I d'n't l'ke wh'n y' cry."
Berwald looked down to meet the other's gaze, but was met with a kiss instead. It was chaste and brief, but filled with love beyond what the former Viking ever thought he'd get.
Then Tino closed his eyes, and said "goodnight."
If Berwald had been a more eloquent person, he might have said something important.
Simply said, "I love you. I really love you."
Of course, Berwald was not a more eloquent person.
But even people who lack skills in articulation are capable of saying 'I love you' when they really mean it.
And Berwald meant it with all his heart.
So he said,
"I l've you."
It wasn't eloquent. It wasn't poetry. It wasn't music. It wasn't rhyme. It wasn't Shakespeare or Hallmark. It wasn't French, the language of romance, and it wasn't Spanish, the language of passion.
But when Tino heard it, it didn't need to be.
Outside, the storm raged on, and Tino was simply glad that he was loved.
So he said,
"I love you, too."
And Berwald realized that even though he had never said any of those things he'd so wanted to say, Tino had listened to every single eloquent word.