Pairing: Sweden x Finland (Berwald Oxenstiernax Tino Väinämöinen / Sverige x Suomi)
Rating: T (Teen) not Quite M (Mature) But close….
Note: ** Alice (Fem!England) x Arthur (England) Are Peter's (Sealand) Biological Parents in this AU Tale… Since he is a little clone of Arthur. :) I also take liberties with Peter's age (because I can)… He's very young in this tale. **
Credits & Disclaimers: Hetalia is © 日丸屋秀和 Himaruya Hidekazu I own nothing but this story's plot. Everything else is borrowed. Please note: this is AU (Alternate Universe.) This is pretty much all I write. You will also notice when it comes to Sweden's (Berwald's) speech. There is more than one way to write thick accents and soft spoken men who tend to mumble. You will NEVER see me write it by putting an apostrophe (') in place of every vowel. As far as I know it's not a speech impediment like a stutter or tick. (Which also can be written better than using apostrophe's where they don't belong.) One, it's annoying, two, it's hard to decipher and annoying and three, it's lazy, poor writing and annoying. You should not need a decoder ring just to get through reading a fanfic's dialogue. I lament the fact that it has "caught on" like the black plague to rats and now everyone (nearly everyone) use and abuse it, I refuse.
In addition, I will never use Japanese honorifics (i.e.: Su-San) in a story that has nothing to do with Japan. It breaks up the flow of a story when honorifics leap out at you where they don't belong outside of the comic (or are not otherwise explained to justify use). Mr. Oxenstierna or Mr. Sweden or even Master Berwald works just as well and in an English language story fits much better.
I also really put a lot of effort into keeping characters within their established perimeters, personalities, quirks and traits; you won't find characters going OOC on you, the reader, even when I place them in a universe outside of Hetalia-verse. If Characters/Countries do not have established names or possible official names listed, I will name them appropriately for their origin. I also do not have a beta, I try but I know I miss a thing or three. Sorry!
Now that has been said and is clear to one and all… please enjoy this little story.
The wind rattled the rotting window frame of the upper story bedroom in the converted attic space and Tino hurried over to make sure the blanket he had tacked up around the window was secure, it wouldn't do if Peter caught a cold the little dear was so susceptible to them like his mother had been.
Satisfied the blanket was secured, Tino checked the small brass bed in the corner where three of the brothel's five children slept. Peter snug in the middle between two of the older children. All three were sound asleep; he checked the trundle where the other two toddlers, twins, slept just as deeply. He turned to the wrinkled, elderly servant knitting nearby.
"Love, the children be fine. The Master will whip you again if 'un you don't get in the parlor. I watches the babies, always do." She said and Tino smiled.
"I cannot help it Hattie, I promised Alice I would take care of Peter and I always keep my word. Besides, it's cold and you know Peter gets sick easily. I'm concerned. Those bastards with more hands than brains can wait." Tino said delaying going down stairs.
Like Peter, Tino had also been born to a prostitute living in this brothel. He had in fact, never been beyond the fence around the yard of the large, but decaying, mansion. He had once slept in this attic, with Hattie watching over him until the Master had gotten an offer and Tino had been sold for the very first time.
He had been six years old.
Every night since then, for the past fourteen years Tino had been sold time and time again. It was the same every night. He was the brothel's only male prostitute, he had a select clientele who wanted his particular services and he had better get down to the Mansion's main parlor to start the evening. He usually had four or five men he'd have to take care of before morning. With a heavy sigh, resigned toward his fate, he headed down the stairs, Hattie shaking her head as she watched him leave the nursery.
"Child you needs to take yo child and run from dis here place. Run and don't never be lookin' back." She said sadly to herself as she rocked and knitted a new scarf and mittens for four year old Peter. The only person in the world Tino truly loved. He had loved Peter's mother like a sister. They had grown up together; Alice, just slightly older, had been the only one to comfort Tino the first time a man had paid to use him. She had been the one to wipe the tears and blood and to cradle a broken and sobbing little boy. She wasn't much older herself.
She had only been eighteen when Arthur first started visiting the brothel and requesting only Alice time and time again. Tino warned her not to fall in love, that men only wanted one thing despite the pretty words they spoke in the darkness. He warned her not to lose her heart and her senses. She did anyway and ended up not using the lambskins and winding up pregnant. She was sure Arthur was going to take her away and marry her.
Tino was surprised to find out much later Arthur had indeed intended to take Alice away, but died in a horrible accident just a few weeks into Alice's pregnancy. Even she hadn't known she was pregnant yet. She was inconsolable after her lover's death and when she found out she was with child, she was thrilled Arthur was going to live on in their baby. She was so happy, even if the Master wasn't. A pregnant whore was a whore not earning him money. But it happened, it always did.
However, something was very wrong. Alice grew sicker and sicker with her pregnancy. She would bleed and suffer pains and Tino fretted for her constantly as he cared for her at her bedside. She was the only light in a place full of evil and darkness. Her light could not go out; she could not leave him alone, he would not let her die.
In the end, despite all his prayers, her light did go out just as another winked into existence. Her final words to Tino had been a name for her newborn son and a wish, that Tino raise her baby for her, and love him as she would have loved him. Tino promised from the bottom of his soul as he wept bitter tears over her stilled hand as he held a newborn to his heart.
He transferred all his love for Alice to her son and loved little Peter with his very being. As the baby grew and he began to talk, his first words had been "Mama" and try as he might to correct the baby, Peter was as stubborn as his mother had been and he refused to call Tino anything other than "Mama". After a few months, Tino had given up correcting him, he was awfully adorable and considering his knees where around his ears as often as the women in the brothel it was rather ironically accurate. Now at four years old, Peter still called him Mama and Tino would have it no other way. Peter was his son and damn it if Alice was gone, he was going to take her place in every way.
Including being called Mama and fretting like one over every sniffle, scraped knee and tear shed.
Kneeling at the bottom of the grand staircase was a tall man just putting away some tools in a box as Tino reached the bottom of the stairs. The first time Tino had seen the giant of a man, he'd been terrified, but over the past few months when the carpenter was hired to do odd fixes around the mansion Tino had learned to read the quiet, shy man. He was frankly embarrassed to be working in a brothel with half naked women walking around him as he tried to repair whatever the master had hired him to fix. He seemed doubly flustered around Tino and would blush and say just a few words in the beginning.
Now however, he didn't seem nearly as embarrassed but still rather quiet. He did have a very thick accent and was a soft spoken man. He was a man of few words but meaningful looks. "What he got you fixing this time Berwald?" Tino asked as he glided next to the tall man to inspect the area Berwald had been working.
"Knule post. Needed Sanding and shimming." Berwald said reaching out to show Tino that it no longer wobbled as it had for as long as Tino could remember.
"Nice job. Too bad some drunk will fall into it, making it wobble all over again." Tino said rolling his eyes. Berwald shrugged.
"Just have to fix again." He said with a small smile and Tino chuckled.
"There is always something to fix around here. The place is falling apart. The Attic window is about to fall out, it lets in a horrible draft in the kid's nursery. I've got a blanket tacked up there, but it's a sure thing that it will literally have to fall out and be broken on the ground a month before the Master fixes it. The kids don't make him money and neither does Hattie. They freeze up there. Winter is almost here." Tino sighed and Berwald picked up his tool box.
"I'll fix, free. Show me?" Berwald said and Tino beamed.
"Quickly, follow me." Tino said showing Berwald up the stairs to the attic nursery.
Peter was half awake when Tino arrived with Berwald in tow. "Mama?" He asked and Tino grinned.
"Hello honey. Go back to sleep. Mama is just showing Mr. Oxenstierna the ratty window. He's going to try and fix it." Tino said cheerfully and quietly tucking Peter back into bed.
Berwald stood there looking as if his brain has just stopped working. "Mama?" He asked and Tino chuckled.
"It's a very long story I might get to tell you sometime. Thank you so much Berwald. I have to get downstairs or the Master will beat me black and blue." Tino said pressing a chaste and grateful peck on Berwald's cheek before glancing once again at his son before rushing downstairs again.
Berwald blushed from his hair to his toes and Hattie chuckled from her rocker. "Lord have mercy, you're ripe as a tomato. I think you like my Ti." She said with a wink and Berwald just grunted as he began to measure the window.
"And a shy giant too, bless my soul. Fine then, you be workin' I'll be talkin'." Hattie said rocking and knitting.
"It was a night just like this, cold and windy it was indeed. Middle of winter, snow a fallin' in big drifts when Tino came into this world fightin' and a screamin'. Now his mama just came around for feedin's. Most them girls down there can't afford to be proper mama's to the youngin's. I think that's why Ti is the way he is. He knows what it's like to have a mama barely have time to name you as to take care of you. He makes time. Costs him beatings too, his back is always black and blue it is from da master. He don't care none. He may look like a lassie, got the brass balls of a man he do. Strong, he'll take anything so Peter has what he don't. That baby boy not even Ti's blood but he treats him like he is." Hattie began and Berwald listened as the dark crone weaved him a story he was admittedly very interested in knowing.
He already had a terrible crush on the violet-eyed, blond beauty. Knowing more was something Berwald was not going to turn down. So far everything he heard, made him like Tino even more.
"Poor Ti, he not had an easy life here. Master don't sell the girls until they start their moons. Not Tino. Sold him way too early, made Ti cold of heart he did. He trusts nobody really, no men fo' sho. Only men he know are men who pay money to hurt him. Hurt him bad sometimes too. He don't know nothin' else neither. Too afraid to walk out that door and not come back. This place gonna kill him." Hattie said as Berwald turned to face her.
"Really that bad?" He asked and Hattie nodded.
"Mister it is hell on all these poor girls and Ti. Folks on the outside can't see. They only see what the master wants 'em to see. There be a reason you work during the day and leave about now. You see the sleepy girls with no clients. It's quiet here then. It's the wee hours of the morning you hear the cryin' and I goes around with the medicine bag. Dark and Evil this place." Hattie said shaking her head.
"Why do they stay?" Berwald asked and Hattie shrugged.
"Lots of reasons. Some girls are hooked on opium and Master buys it for 'em. Some this is a step up from the gutter, some it's escaping a bad husband and some girls don't know nothing else like Ti. They born here, they don't leave, they don't know how to leave, they don't realize they can."
Berwald just nodded, made his notes on making a new frame for the window and stood.
"So what about him?" Berwald asked pointing at Peter and Hattie grinned.
"That's another story for another time." She said and Berwald smiled and nodded and headed downstairs.
He saw Tino draped over a sour looking man's lap, simpering and being exactly what the client wanted. Berwald shivered. Tino was better than this place he thought to himself as he let himself out and started home for the night.
The next evening Berwald was fitting the new window he had built into the old casing while the kids watched and Hattie told another story. This one of Alice, and how dear she had been to Tino, she told of Peter's birth and how he had started calling Tino "mama" and how he was perhaps the best "mother" a boy born to a prostitute in a brothel could ask for in the end.
Tino came up briefly to tuck the children into bed, kissing Peter's brow as he did so. "I love you. Sweet dreams." Tino whispered as he tucked in the covers.
"I love you too Mama." Peter said through a yawn and Tino smoothed his bangs from his young face and smiled a most tender smile at the youth before turning to look at the window Berwald was just finishing.
"It's wonderful Berwald. You do such beautiful work. I appreciate you doing this for the children, it's frigid out there." Tino said and Berwald nodded as he stood and dusted off this pants.
"Snow piling up too, the pass is getting dangerous, any day now I fear an avalanche." He said and Tino's eyes went wide.
"Really? That bad? That means a lean winter here, no clients coming from the west if the pass goes. Master will not be pleased." Tino said with a shiver knowing a displeased and grumpy master meant extra bruises on him later.
"Do you live near the pass?" Tino asked as he went around picking up battered and broken toys off the floor to toss in a crate.
"Just beyond. I have a small cottage and farm there. Not much, but safe." Berwald said pulling on his coat and gloves.
"Stay warm out there tonight my friend. Winter is here early. Thank you again, you're a kind person." Tino said, going on his toes to kiss Berwald's cheek once more before heading downstairs to begin work. Berwald's hand strayed to the place Tino's lips touched and he smiled.
"He don't do that with just anyone. I only know three people he done kiss. Alice, Me and Peter. You must be special." Hattie said knowingly from her rocker as Berwald bent to pick up his tools.
"I'm nothing special." He said and Hattie shook her head.
"You are to Ti." Was all she said as Berwald called it an evening and headed home. Where he would remain unless the one they all called "master" contacted him again for another job, his work at the brothel was done and probably for the winter.
To Be Continued…