Despite the fact that they both lived in the North they could not deny that it had gotten rather cold in the later winters. Even though Finland did not wish to complain out loud; how un-Finnish that would be, Sweden knew him well enough to notice the small movement as he pulled the quilt closer around himself, or tried to get him to wrap his arm further around him. For this reason Sweden couldn't complain about global warming; anything which contributed to Finland wanting to be closer to him was a positive.

After his proposal had been rejected in 2009 when his country allowed homosexuals to marry he thought his chances were gone forever. Never had he wanted to force his beloved Finland to do anything, even though he had made it very clear that the door was open. Finland had however never took the step back towards him. He allowed Sweden to sleep next to him, or hold him when it was cold, but kisses and sex were something they had never gotten around to despite the years spent together. At least his patience should be awarded.

Under the union with Norway he had made it very clear that he found Sweden's love almost pathetic, and he had even offered him sex so that he would do anything but fantasize about his colder neighbor, but Sweden had dismissed the offer without a second thought. Either Finland would love him back, or he would live alone to his dying days.

The only thing he could find joy in was Finland's status as a single man. He had never been together, or even dated, anyone else under his existence. That made Sweden believe in the possibility that Finland was simply waiting for the right moment, or was simply too shy to return his feelings. And that was okay. He could wait.

But during the winter of 2011 when the temperature was at its coldest and they spent a weekend together in their cabin on Åland his patience started to fade. It was cold in their timber cottage despite the lit fireplace. They were watching a game of handball on the television sitting in a two seat couch with a quilt wrapped around them. Sealand was lying on a sheepskin rug with a laptop in front of the fireplace, on his belly with his back against his adoptive father and… reserve father, as he viewed Finland. Hanatamago was lying next to the micro nation, providing him with more heat.

They could hear the wind whistle outside and instinctively Finland pressed himself up against his larger neighbor in an attempt to get more warmth. He looked up at him to see if his new position bothered him, but Sweden only watched the handball game and cursed when France scored another goal. He rarely swore and as far as Finland knew he only did so when his team failed in a sport. Being the only country of the Nordics who had not qualified for the world series, Finland couldn't really say that he cared, but he thought Sweden should be satisfied with having made it to the semifinals. But he was pretty sure Sweden wouldn't be satisfied without advancing to the finals, where he would hopefully meet and beat Denmark. Their rivalry never seemed to cease.

"I hope France wins the whole world series", Sealand said out loud without taking his eyes off his laptop. "Then England will be angry", he smirked and returned his full attention to the internet.

"If France w'ns against me", Sweden mumbled, a bit sourly, "Then I'm h'ping f'that too. Then D'nmark ll'be angry." Finland sighed in an easy going manner.

"Wouldn't it be fun if our Nordic neighbor won though?" he asked Sweden who mumbled something inaudible for an answer.

Soon it became apparent that the Swedish team didn't have a chance, and when the end signal rang Sweden was quick to change the channel. The Finnish channel was the one that got turned on, which made Finland look up happily. It was much more interesting than handball, even though there was only an old Moomin-episode on. In Sweden's opinion Moomin and news seemed to be the only things that channel showed.

It started getting late, so he considered telling Sealand to go to bed, but when he started getting up Finland whined in a low voice. It was probably not something he meant to do, but it made Sweden stay there with his arm around him.

He did not wish to watch Moomin, which in his opinion was a children's program, but he had noticed that discussing it with Finland was meaningless. His beloved would argue that the author Tove Jansson portrayed many deep messages with Moomin, and many of the philosophical ideas would leave him stunned if he just tried to understand them. Unfortunately, Sweden wasn't the kind of person to analyze children's programs, and thus distanced himself when Finland insisted on being so cute as to watch the show.

But apparently Finland didn't want him to leave, even if this was only due to the warmth he provided, so he stayed. Instead of watching Moomin he looked down on his beloved instead. His hand was stoking Finland's arm slowly under the quilt, up and down, to get him even warmer. His action was clearly appreciated.

When Moomin ended Finland took the remote control from Sweden's hand and turned off the television. "Sealand, shouldn't you go to bed?" he asked the young boy, who was deeply involved in a discussion on some forum on the internet.

As no reply was given he looked up to Sweden, mentally pleading him to take over. "Sealand, 'ts late. Get yerself ready f'bed and ll'let ya play f'half an hour m're in bed." Sealand knew that you couldn't argue with Sweden about this kind of things – that man had apparently never heard about the word compromise – so he got up and moved the laptop to the bed before he went to change and brush his teeth.

"Shall we also go to bed?" Finland asked and looked up to Sweden with wide eyes. As usual it seemed like his neighbor was glaring down at him, but he knew better and was able to almost not flinch when he saw Sweden's gaze.

"'m not tir'd", Sweden replied simply. "But ya can sleep."

"Well, we can stay up for a while longer", Finland replied and snuggled against the giant, quite pleased with his position.

Soon Sealand exited the bathroom, dressed in his sailor pajamas and smelling of mint toothpaste, and he got into his own little nest. His room in the cabin was divided from the rest of the room only by a sheet. When Sweden had built the house many years ago he had only meant it for him and Finland, so it was all only a large room with Sealand's nest behind the kitchen and a separate bathroom and an own sauna on Finland's order.

Half an hour later after an almost one sided conversation mostly led by Finland as usual Sweden got up to say good night and tuck in his adopted son. He asked Finland to rekindle the fire and get them two beers from the fridge.

After saying good night and taking Sealand's computer away he returned to the warm couch where Finland waited at him with two cans of beer. It was a very welcoming scene that really moved his heart, so after putting the laptop down on the kitchen table he thanked Finland in a way none of them had expected. He simply bent down towards Finland who looked up, and brought their lips together in a kiss.

It was peculiar that they had spent so much time together, so many centuries, with such an obvious attraction without having kissed. Despite his innocent outer façade Finland was a well known lover of alcohol, so you would think that they would have kissed by mistake at least once. But Sweden had respected Finland's feelings too much, and felt that he had showed where he stood, and that it was up to Finland to make his choice. Not now.

The kiss was short before Finland pulled back in shock and stared up at Sweden with wide eyes and his mouth hanging open.

"Sweden…" he said with a very surprised voice, as if week-kneed, and with his hand brought up to touch his lips as if to see if they were still there.

Sweden's own look was neither empty or shocked, despite the fact that he felt that he was both, but instead warm and affectionate. He looked devoted, and before long he leaned down and gave his beloved a second kiss. This time it wasn't quite so doubting, but determined, and he dared to give more. He rested his hands on each side of Finland's head, like a marking, and leaned forward until the other nation's head met with the back of the couch and his mouth was pressed harder against Sweden's. As his mouth had been open since earlier Sweden was easily able to find his tongue using his own, and they stroke each other playfully; a word which never before had been used to describe Sweden.

When Finland didn't do anything Sweden ended the kiss, scared he had now destroyed his chances with his beloved forever, so he looked at him with a shameful look. He was met by a blushing Finland, who mumbled something incoherent. It sounded like a confused kiitos, Finnish for thank you, but it sounded weird that he would have thanked him for a kiss. Yet he repeated himself, saying a clearer kiitos, still with his face flushed.

"Ya… Finland", Sweden started carefully, unsure of what to do and say. Actions spoke louder than words, so he leaned down and kissed Finland again. Now Finland reached his arms up so that they encircled Sweden's neck and brought him closer, almost to the point that Sweden sat on his lap as they kissed each other intensively.

The next time the kiss ended and Sweden leaned back Finland rose with him. He did not conquer the 12 cm barrier, but when standing on his tiptoes he could still hug the strong neck. He didn't have to do it for long though, because soon he was swept off his feet to Sweden's arms and carried to the bed.

From his lying position he looked up to Sweden who seemed to contemplate something while also stroking Finland's cheek tenderly.

"I love ya", he said then. "Minä rakastan sinua." He didn't spoke Finnish, but had studied that phrase while waiting for just this moment.

"I know", Finland replied. He quickly realized that probably wasn't the answer Sweden wanted, so he flushed again and felt stupid. His feelings weren't as strong as Sweden's, he knew that. But wasn't it love he felt for his neighbor? It couldn't be anything else. "I-"

"I don't expect ya t'return m'feelings", Sweden said, and it sounded like he really meant it too. "I just hope… ya accept 'em. And return 'em sometime." He leaned down and kissed Finland once more, shortly.

After their kiss their eyes met again, and Finland gathered his courage to say what was on his mind. "Minäkin rakastan sinua… Eh, that means I love you too", he hastily replied. "Even if…" As Sweden was still leaned down over him he was able to bring their lips together in another kiss; short but eager. "Even if… you don't believe me. But I am sure I do. I promise."

It was obvious that the words were none that Sweden had expected, and he felt himself blush in his shock. He kneeled down next to the bed and hugged his beloved, and during a while there was absolutely quiet in the house. The silence was very comfortable.

Through Sweden's head thoughts soared about what if he had kissed Finland sometime earlier, had the response been the same, or had he waited just the right amount of time? But that didn't matter now. They were immortal, after all, and had an undetermined long future ahead together.

"I b'lieve ya", he replied Finland and kissed his neck tenderly, before taking off his shirt – it had gotten much hotter – and lying down next to Finland on the bed. His beloved rolled over to him then, after discarding his own shirt, and they kissed again. He was so comfortable in Sweden's embrace, away from the booze and the sauna but still fully warm and un-sober, drunk on kisses and loving strokes, Sweden's dark and beautiful voice and his entire existence.

It was a wondrous night for the both of them, as they discovered and explored each other's bodies in an act of love. They were somewhat quiet, due to the fact that Sealand was there, even though they were both sure that during the time spent at England's house he had heard one or two noises similar, if not exceeding, theirs.

After both men had come together, without any resemblance of clothes on of course, they were too sweaty to sleep. Sweden got up from the bed after another lingering kiss to heat up the sauna so they could wash themselves. Finland looked after his naked lover disappearing into the sauna, and could not help but sigh happily like a fairy tale princess. He was unsure if he had waited for Sweden to do something after all, subconsciously. Maybe he had, and maybe he had admitted his feelings to himself anytime Sweden had kissed him. But probably not; he used to fear his tall neighbor after all. Under the night now he had only felt absolute safety in his arms, so it was possible that this had been just the right meant moment. It was meant to be.

That was what he liked to think, at least, when Sweden returned and carried him to the hot sauna where they sat as close together as they could, despite the heat, or perhaps, because of it.