Love Will Keep You Warm
"Do I have to go back home?"
Sealand had asked them that about twenty different times by the time they'd driven to the airport. Each and every time, Finland had patiently explained that a bad winter storm was headed towards their part of Europe and that he'd be much safer and warmer back home in the North Sea.
Sweden, who was looking like he really wouldn't mind too much if his adopted son stayed, added a quick, "Not m'ch fun. Lots of hard w'rk t'do," when Sealand turned his puppy-dog eyes in his direction.
"And someone needs to take care of Hanatamago," Finland added.
Finally, after many assertions that he wouldn't be missing out on anything, Sealand relented. Bundled up in the hand knitted scarf and hat Sweden had made for him, and with his hands covered by the warm mittens Finland had given him, Sealand gave them both goodbye hugs.
"You'll both be okay, right?" He asked, concern evident in his tone.
"We'll…" Sweden mumbled, his face going bright red as he tried muster up the courage to say what he felt. Finland had a feeling he knew what it was though, and reached over to clasp his husband's hand.
"Don't worry, Sealand. We'll take good care of each other."
Sweden flushed and gave Finland's hand a squeeze as he mumbled out a very quiet. "Yeah. D'n't worry."
This seemed to appease Sealand, who did his best to hug both his adoptive parents at the same time before he picked up Hanatamago's pet carrier and bounded onto the airplane that would take him back home.
After making sure his plane took off all right, Sweden and Finland set their sights on the impending winter storm. Now that their primary worry was taken care of, it was now a matter of racing against the incoming weather to get everything ready for a comfortable night in.
As they made the drive home from the airport, Norway called to let them know that even though he'd sensed it hours and hours before, his weather service had finally put out warnings.
"Perhaps we should call our bosses and at least tip them off?" Finland queried as Sweden drove down the snow-slicked roads. The snow was already beginning to come down and they could feel that this wasn't going to be a usual winter storm.
"Mm. S'good idea."
After Finland called up their bosses and tried to stress to them the importance of issuing warnings now, the phone rang.
"Hey Fin! Can I talk to Sverige?"
Oh, here they go again, Finland thought to himself. If Denmark was asking to talk to Sweden, it was never a good thing. But knowing that Sweden could handle himself, he replied. "Um…sure?" and held the cell phone up to Sweden's ear as he drove.
"It's Denmark," he mouthed and Sweden's already serious looking expression darkened.
"What?" Sweden mumbled.
Denmark's laughter could be heard over the receiver. "Just calling to let you know I hope you get stuck in a snow drift!"
A slight smirk twitched at the corner of Sweden's mouth, and Finland almost drew back the phone. Finally, he grumbled out, "If y're so manly, then go st'ck y'r tongue to a flag pole."
The line went silent for a moment until Denmark loudly exclaimed. "Fine I will! Bye loser!"
Finland frowned at the phone, then over at Sweden. "He's going to get his tongue stuck again."
Sweden chuckled. "Good."
With a sigh, but still far too used to the rivalry between the two to reprimand Sweden for it, Finland called Norway back up and told him to go check on Denmark if he didn't hear from him in a while.
The rest of the drive home was fairly uneventful, if by uneventful you factored in the usual quirks of Finland combined with Sweden's driving.
Considering the wind had picked up, blowing the already thick snow drifts back up into the air, Sweden was handling his Volvo on the road very well. That is, until Finland spotted a small grocery up ahead with a closed sign and swore.
"Perkele, we need to stock up on food."
Sweden frowned, making his face even more of an intimidating grimace than it was already. But Finland held his ground, already planning a method of how to pass by the most groceries on the way back to his home. One of them had to be open…
What followed was a succession of Finland yelling out "Su-san, over there!" and Sweden swerving his large Volvo V70II to make the turn in time on the slick streets. Of course, as Finland expected of the stores away from the cities, the majority were closed. But finally, after much swearing on Finland's part and a lot of borderline reckless driving on Sweden's part, they managed to come across a small grocery that was still open.
The storm had worsened by the time they finished buying their food and supplies, but the back seats of Sweden's car were now loaded with bags full of jarred and canned foods that would last them if they got snowed in. Thankfully, it wasn't a long drive from the store to Finland's home, where they managed to get the food inside right as the wind was getting worse outside.
Sweden and Finland exchanged a look, so used to their winter storms and so accustomed to one another that they didn't need a single word to know exactly what to do.
"I moved the candles to the hall closet since you were over last," Finland remarked as he bundled back into his coat. Since it was his house they were staying at, he would need to gather some firewood for the night.
"Be c'reful gettin' the firewood," Sweden replied, shyly pressing a quick kiss to Finland's temple.
Finland stood on his tiptoes and pecked a kiss on Sweden's nose. "I'd say be careful getting the candles, but that would be silly."
Sweden chuckled. "Yeah. I w'll be tho'gh."
"Good to know," Finland replied with a smile.
Picking up his small axe, Finland opened the backdoor and braced himself against the violent winds that were picking up the snow and tossing it around. Sweden hovered anxiously in the kitchen, and Finland suspected he was about to offer to come help or to let Finland stay inside while he went out into the bitter cold.
"Su-san, I'll be fine," he reassured him.
Sweden nodded. "I know you c'n take care of yo'rself. J'st worried 'bout yah."
Suspecting it might be the only way to keep Sweden from worrying too much, Finland replied, "I'm sure you can warm me up when I get back, right?"
Blushing to his ears, Sweden nodded mutely. But he still crossed the room and put his oversized hat onto Finland's head. "Here. T'keep ya warm."
Normally, Finland would protest that he'd be quite fine without a hat, but with the way the wind was blowing the snow drifts around, he figured it couldn't hurt. A little bit of red tinged his cheeks as he realized that the large flaps brushing against his cheeks were not only warm, but they also had a lingering scent of Sweden on them.
"T-Thanks," he murmured, his eyes glancing up to meet with Sweden's ominous stare. It would have been intimidating to anyone else, but Finland found it comforting in a strange way. Years and years ago, he would have found it scary; but now he knew it was a worried grimace that Sweden had reserved especially for him.
"I'll be back in as soon as I think I've gotten enough firewood to last us awhile," Finland called over his shoulder. Sweden nodded as the backdoor swung closed and Finland tugged the large hat further down over his ears against the chill.
They'd come a long way since Finland had first run off with Sweden; back then Sweden insisted on doing everything for him and doting on him every minute. It was nice now that they'd found a comfortable balance, even if Sweden still had to dote a little.
Running a gloved hand over Sweden's hat, Finland let a small smile tug at his lips. Even if it was in a small way, Sweden was still looking after him.
The first thing Finland noticed on returning was that the lights in his house had dimmed and now seemed to flicker through the window, confirming his earlier suspicion that the severe winds had probably taken out the nearest electrical lines. It made him thankful that he'd thought to gather two large bundles of wood as it looked like they'd need it.
Trudging through the sizable drift of snow on the back porch, Finland pushed open the door, set the wood bundle in his arms on the floor, and was met with the sight of Sweden cooking by candlelight.
The entire kitchen was covered in various candles, of various lengths, with a larger kerosene lantern seated closest to where Sweden was dicing up ingredients for a large pot.
"Y'r back," he murmured, putting his knife aside and crossing the kitchen to wrap Finland in his warm arms.
Peering around Sweden's shoulder, Finland caught sight of what he was cooking. "Pea soup? Oh…it is Thursday isn't it?"
Rubbing his chilled nose up against Sweden's warmer one, Finland smiled. "I'll get the fire going then so you can cook it."
Toeing off his boots by the back door so he didn't track snow all over, Finland hefted up the bundles of firewood he'd set down and followed the trail of candles in to the living room. There he quickly fed some logs to the dying fire, and warmed his chilled finger tips against the heat the stoked fire was giving out.
"Here," Sweden's low rumble of a voice sounded in his ear and Finland jumped.
Sometimes, though it got rarer and rarer as the years went by, Sweden could still manage to scare him pretty badly.
As Sweden put the dish into the Dutch oven, he turned to Finland with a worried look. "I g't a bath ready f'r yah."
Finland was about to protest that he was quite cold enough already and taking a cold bath wouldn't help much, when he noticed the small tea kettle sitting next to the fireplace. With an exasperated, yet touched, expression, he asked. "You filled it all up with hot water didn't you?"
Sweden nodded. "Tho'ght ya might b'cold after gettin' firewood."
Thinking back to the years long ago, and fully knowing how much work it took to fill up a tub with a single bucket over and over, Finland shook his head. "Su-san, you didn't have to…"
But even as he said so, he stood up from where he crouched by the fire and started to pad down the hallway towards the bathroom. When he got about halfway there, he paused, thinking back to something he would have never dared to think until much more recently in his history.
And especially nothing he would have thought about until they had indoor plumbing at least.
"Su-san?" He called down the hallway, his cheeks already flushing red. "The soup needs to simmer for about thirty minutes anyway, so why don't you join me?"
There was a clatter of a metal tong against the Dutch oven and Finland could easily imagine how bright red Sweden's face must have gotten.
But honestly, if he didn't take a bath now, he'd have to either take a cold one later or carry more hot water in. Finland sighed, realizing that as much as he told himself that, he did rather want Sweden to join him just to have him near. Ah, how things had changed…
"It'll help warm me up faster, Sweden," he added.
Sure enough, that did the trick, and Sweden's footsteps sounded down the hallway.
If he ever thought Sweden's embarrassment was too much, this outdid those previous incidents completely.
"Su-san, you don't have to bathe in your clothing."
"J'st make ya colder w'th my cold skin."
Running a hand down his face and resisting the urge to swear, Finland tossed off his shirt and rounded on his heel to start to pull at Sweden's shirt. If possible, this made the Swede go even brighter red.
"Sweden, I will say this once and only once. I am cold, there are crazy hurricane winds outside, and our bathroom is romantic and candlelit. I would like to take a warm bath with my husband and relax, all right?"
That ceased Sweden's protests completely and he blinked at Finland owlishly without his glasses (which Finland had already removed and set aside). Somewhere in the back of his mind, Finland recalled a time when a simple "'nd m'wife" had set him off into a similar state of desperate rage. He had to smile at that, thinking back fondly now on how awkward they'd once been.
Silently, Sweden closed the space between them and pressed a very gentle kiss to Finland's lips. He drew back with his lips quirked in what Finland knew was a smile.
"'kay. If that s'what ya want."
Finland rested his head against his husband's now-bare chest. "Please?"
That seemed to do the trick, and Sweden began to awkwardly tug the rest of his clothing off while Finland did the same. Shivering, Finland felt Sweden's large hands gently resting on his shoulders.
"You wanna g't in first?"
He shook his head, peering up at Sweden through his bangs. While it wasn't as if Sweden had never seen him in the nude before, he still felt a little shy asking.
"Can I just sit resting back against you?"
Sweden nodded, pressing a quick kiss to Finland's cold cheek before he slowly lowered himself into the warm bathwater. Once he got settled, he yanked a small washcloth in and put it over his lap.
Finland was torn between cursing and laughing. Only Sweden could evoke such a reaction from him and still manage to be endearing.
Slipping out of the rest of his clothes, Finland eased into the warm water himself with a sigh of contentment and settled himself comfortably in Sweden's lap.
"Now that's much better," he murmured, resting his head back against Sweden's chest. On the rim of the bathtub, Finland twined his fingers together with Sweden's where they rested their hands together.
"The bed's going to be really cold tonight. There's got to be at least thirty centimeters of snow out there, with the way the wind is blowing it against the house."
"We c'n sleep by the fire," Sweden mumbled against Finland's neck, and he tried not to giggle.
"Like we used to?" Finland asked. And it wasn't until the words left his mouth that he realized how strange it was, this whole evening- what with the firelight and the cold winds and even the pea soup cooking right now. They'd had so many nights like this, so long ago, and here they were curled up together in a bathtub just because Finland wanted Sweden near.
He chuckled at the thought.
"I was just thinking how things have changed so much between us. I used to be really scared of you, you know?"
"M'sorry," Sweden murmured into his hair. Finland just chuckled again.
"It's not your fault, really." He shifted a bit so he could look up at Sweden over his shoulder. "I just…hadn't gotten to know the real you yet. I do now."
A soft smile quirked at his lips, and after a moment, Sweden smiled back.
"I'll keep ya warm by the fire t'night, Fin."
Finland gave his hand a squeeze and slid a bit further down into the hot water. "I know you will."
The pea soup was just as delicious as it always was when Sweden made it; with ham and some seasoning along with the yellow peas. And between the bath warming their outsides, and the soup warming their insides, both Sweden and Finland were rather sated and drowsy after eating.
While Finland rested on the couch, Sweden gathered up a pile of blankets and quilts and started making a pallet on the ground. It was definitely going to be a lot more comfortable than sleeping on the hard, cold, ground had been in their younger days.
"S'ready," Sweden murmured and before Finland could even really get his eyes open, he felt his husband's strong arms around him lifting him up and lowering him down to their sleeping pallet.
"Sweden, you didn't have to," he reprimanded, but it was half-hearted.
Sweden just tucked him into the blankets and pecked a light kiss to his lips. "I'd be a bad husb'nd if I d'dn't look after ya."
After adding fresh logs to the fire so it would last the night, Sweden crawled into the blankets next to Finland and wrapped his arms around him.
"'s it warm?"
Finland felt a smile cross his lips unbidden, those same words having been said to him so long ago on the first night they'd spent together like this. Pulling Sweden closer to him, Finland pressed a kiss to his husband's forehead, the tip of his nose and finally lingered for a tender kiss on the lips.
With a happy sigh, Finland replied, "Perfectly so," before snuggling against Sweden's chest and dozing off to sleep.
perkele - a Finnish curseword, that really cannot be translated. Used much like someone would say "Damnit/Fuck" in frustration though.