AN: This is dedicated to anyone who is without a loved one this Christmas, but particularly to my Al because I miss him almost too much to handle.
Also, historical accuracy has been replaced by rule of cute. And finally this is inspired and based on Wintersong by Sarah McLachlan. Look it up. It's beautiful.
Merry Christmas, everyone.
Sweden sighs, and opens his eyes, giving up on sleep again. It hurts all year round, but this time, this day is always the worst. Staring back at the ceiling, he tries to remember what it felt like to have a warm body curled up beside him, but no matter how hard he tries he can't quite remember. There was a time when he could still feel Finland beside him if he closed his eyes and dreamt hard enough, but too many years have slipped by, and these days he can no longer recall the scent of Finland's body, or the soft, cautious touch of his fingers.
He casts his eyes out of the window, out onto the snow-covered landscape. Every root and twig is familiar to him, not just as a Nation, but because he has lived here, in this house, since he left Denmark's house. But it no longer feels like home, and it hasn't since Finland left. Every worn floorboard, every chipped corner holds a memory, and it seems that each of them are laced with the presence of the other Nation. Even the trees outside, now white with snow, and lake, which froze over a month ago, bring back memories of white blonde hair and smiling eyes.
The oppressing silence of the room fades into a loud one. Every tick of the clock, every howl of wind in the rafters, every drip from the tap burns it way into Sweden's ears, and the tall Nation rolls over restlessly, onto Finland's side of the bed. His breath catches in his throat, and he's suddenly still, but then he relaxes, burying his face into the pillow. He suddenly imagines that he can sense Finland, despite the fact that he's washed them countless times since he was taken away, the smell of pine and snow and salty liquorish filling his nose, and hot tears filling his eyes. A sudden memory of a Christmas morning springs to Sweden's mind. He remembers how when Finland finally awoke from his post-delivery nap it had been snowing, and the boy had rushed past him, out into the snow filled garden, and he had thrown his arms wide and danced in it. He'd been barefooted and pyjama clad, but the look on his face was that of pure joy, and Sweden smiled now as he had then and finally drifts off with his arms wrapped tightly around the pillow.
When he wakes, early in the morning, it doesn't feel like Christmas. The Christmas tree is in the corner, but underneath the floorboards are bare. There had been years when times were hard, of course, but Finland had never failed to get something for Sweden, and Sweden had never failed to get something for Finland in return. The star adorning the top of the tree was one such gift, from a harsh winter that followed an even harsher year. Hand carved from pinewood, and delicate and smooth to the touch, Finland's eyes had lit up when he had unwrapped it, and declared that it would be perfect for the tree. And no mater how he reached to place it on top of the tree he was not tall enough, so Sweden had picked him up, lending his height to him to place it. Of course, Finland had been so surprised he had squeaked and nearly dropped the star, but he had gathered himself and placed it on the top of the tree, and it had become tradition ever since. It had become the one time of the year that Sweden had known that he would be able to touch Finland without him flinching.
Of course, towards the end, Finland had stopped flinching at his touch almost completely, and as Sweden remembers the tender, scared, rushed kiss that was Finland's only farewell before Russia left him off, his heart skips a beat. His fingers reach to his lips, remembering that light touch, before he shakes himself. There are things that need doing.
He heads into the kitchen, but he has barely started to make breakfast when a knock on the door disturbs him. Sweden frowns, wondering who it could be, and considers ignoring it. Another, slightly more desperate knock draws him away from the work surface to the front door.
Standing on the doorstep, shivering from the cold or from nerves, is Finland. For a moment Sweden is frozen, half convinced he's hallucinating, before Finland shifts nervously and breaks the spell. Sweden grabs him, wrapping his arms tightly around him and laughing as he lifts him off the floor and spins him. Finland flinches, but then relaxes, and even wraps his arms around Sweden in return. The snow falls around them, thrown up by Sweden's movements and falling down on them from the heavens, and Sweden laughs again because if he doesn't he'll cry.
"H'w? Why?" He demands, as he puts Finland back down on the ground.
Finland gently nudges him inside, still shivering a little. Now that Sweden looks at him he's thinner and taller than before, and his clothes look old and worn. "Russia let me go. I'm my own Nation now." He says, softly.
Sweden blinks, but now that Finland has said it he can feel it, a new power in the world coming from the small Nation in front of him. "But why 're you h're?" Sweden asks, still not understanding.
Shifting, Finland looks away. "Ah, well, I don't have anything to give you… it's been a little hard this year, but, um… well…" He glances up at Sweden, and Sweden recognises the feeling of being lost as to how to explain himself. "I was hoping that this might do instead. I mean, me. Being here." A soft smile reaches his eyes. "With you. I missed you."
Something breaks within Sweden, and he wraps strong arms around Finland again, drawing him in tightly. Some how their lips end up meeting, and for the second time Sweden finds his heart stopping, as though that might draw out the moment. But it's a clumsy kiss, and Finland quickly draws back, looking at Sweden for reassurance.
Leaning in, Sweden noses against him, and then traces his fingers along Finland's jaw. He keeps his eyes on the other's enchanting violet ones as he slowly and softly presses his lips back against Finland's. Into the kiss he pours all of his love and affection, a thousand years worth of longing, and how desperately he's missed him, letting actions speak instead of words, because Sweden has never found the right words to tell him. Finland finally relaxes, and thin arms wrap around Sweden's back as he returns the kiss. Love and happiness surrounds them as they finally press into each other and Sweden finds hot tears on his cheeks and realises that they're not just Finland's.
Drawing back, he quickly wipes his cheeks under his glasses, and Finland turns his head to do the same – and notices the tree. "You put the star up with out me!"
"I d'dn't know you'd be h're."
Grabbing Sweden's hand, Finland pulls him into the sitting room, smiling broadly. "Take it down, and we'll put it up again properly." He glances back at Sweden. "I want this Christmas to be perfect."
For once, Sweden knows exactly what to say. "It alr'dy is."