A/N: Kink meme deanon. The prompt was: "I know it's a totally cliché scenario and all, but I love it in school romance manga/anime when one of the characters escorts his sick/injured love interest to the school nurse's office and is worried so they sit at their LI's bedside, watching over them. Invariably, they both seem to fall asleep and sick/injured LI awakes first to see that the person who escorted them to the nurse's office has stayed faithfully at their side; cue shoujo bubbles and warm fuzzy feelings. If they're brave, sometimes there's stroking/kissing/pulling the other person into bed with them.
I'd like to see this in a gakuen AU fic with Germany, Prussia, Denmark or Spain as the sick/injured party and Italy (if using Germany), Austria (if using Prussia), Norway (if using Denmark) or S. Italy (if using Spain) as the escort. Pretty please?"
Sweden sighed wearily that early-winter morning as he gingerly closed his locker, shifting his book bag into a more comfortable position where it hung from his shoulder. The school day hadn't even started yet and already he was regretting his decision to come. In fact, he had spent so long debating with himself whether to even get out of bed that morning that he'd had to skip breakfast in order to make it to school on time. Not that he'd felt much like eating anyway.
Sweden had spent half the night sneezing and nearly coughing his lungs out and when he'd looked in the bathroom mirror that morning, he realized that he looked as if he'd done just that. He coughed again and made a very congested attempt at a sniffle as he hesitated for a second in front of his locker, letting his feverish forehead rest against the cool metal surface.
If today hadn't been his beloved Finland's birthday, he would have stayed home from school. But he was determined to wish Finland a happy birthday and to present him with the gift he'd worked so hard on the last few weeks: a cute and stylish little dog house for Finland's fleecy white puppy Hanatamago. He hoped Finland would like it.
As Sweden had built the house, a little fantasy had played in his head over and over as if it were a movie on endless repeat. Sweden would show him the dog house that he had built with love and care, and Finland's stunning amethyst eyes would light up, his cheeks go slightly warm and a gentle smile curl the corners of his invitingly pink lips.
"Sve… did you really make this for me?" Finland would ask breathlessly.
Sweden would smile and nod, and Finland's joy would grow visibly.
"I love it! Thank you very much!"
Finland would throw his arms around him and hug him tightly. And when Sweden lifted Finland's face gently and looked into his eyes, Finland wouldn't be the least bit intimidated by his gaze; instead his eyes would flutter closed shyly, allowing Sweden to share his first kiss…
Well, it looked like it definitely wouldn't happen now. Even if Finland really was that happy about his gift, and even if he managed to gather the courage to do what he had fantasized, Sweden couldn't kiss him when he had such a terrible cold. He didn't want to get Finland sick after all, especially not on his birthday. Sweden muffled a sneeze in the crook of his arm, shaking himself out of his morose realizations, and forced himself to make his way toward homeroom.
He peered into the classroom cautiously, checking to see if Finland had arrived yet. The room was as of yet Finn-free. Taking advantage of the fact that his friend hadn't arrived, Sweden dropped his books off at their usual table and went to swipe some tissues from the box on the counter. If possible, he'd like to keep Finland from noticing his sickness. The last thing he wanted was to make Finland worry about him on his special day.
"Good morning, Sve!" Finland's voice piped up cheerfully from somewhere near his elbow.
Sweden startled guiltily in the midst of blowing his nose and whirled around to face the smaller blond, hiding his tissue behind his back. The sudden movement made his already swimming head spin unpleasantly and he stumbled sideways a bit, catching his balance as subtly as possible against the counter.
"Fin… H'ppy birthday," he croaked. Sweden winced inwardly at the hoarseness of his own voice and prayed that Finland wouldn't notice, but he could already tell from the concerned shift in Finland's expression that he already had.
"Thank you… Are you ok, Sve?" he asked quietly. "You look really tired and your face is kind of red."
Sweden stared back at Finland guiltily, his sickness-slowed mind scrambling for an excuse. In his desperation, he forgot that Finland found his gaze slightly terrifying and as a result felt even worse when he heard Finland give a fearful squeak.
"Oh, d-don't mind me!" the shorter boy stammered hurriedly. "I…It's getting to be cold and flu season and it looked like you were blowing your nose just now so I just wondered if maybe… Ah, not that you look bad or anything! But you've gotta take extra good care of your body during the winter, so if you weren't feeling well I was going to suggest that you lie down and rest! Th-that's all!"
"'M fine," Sweden assured him. "I jus' had a lot o' h'mework last night 'n' stayed 'p late finishin' it all."
"Oh, I'm glad that's all it is," Finland said, sighing with relief. "Why don't we sit down, then? The teacher'll probably be here any minute."
Sweden followed Finland back to the table where he'd put his books and dropped heavily into the chair. Was their homeroom always this cold or was it just because he was sick? If only he could have brought his coat with him… but that would have made his friend suspicious for sure. Sweden could feel a tickle in the back of his throat and tried to clear it as quietly as possible but to his chagrin, a couple of coughs slipped out before he could stop them. Finland looked over at him again concernedly and lightly touched his shoulder.
"Are you sure you're alright? That coughing sounded kind of painful. You're not getting sick, are you?"
"S-sw'llowed m' gum," he lied.
Finland didn't quite look convinced, but he didn't ask about Sweden's health again for the remainder of homeroom.
First and second period passed in a drowsy, miserable haze. Sweden didn't have either of these classes with Finland, so he didn't have to work quite so hard to hide his illness. That was a relief; he'd had to spend almost the entirety of both classes with a tissue clamped over his nose to keep it from running and to muffle his frequent sneezing. It was only that that had kept him from sleeping through both classes.
Third hour, however, was math and he had that with Finland. He went to the restroom ahead of time to blow his nose and apply Chap Stick liberally to the painfully chapped skin on his lips and under his nose. Hopefully that would hold him until class was over and he could slink away from Finland's watchful eye.
He sank tiredly into his chair and sniffled, rubbing his eyes under his glasses. God, was he ever tired. If only he could just scoop Finland into his arms and curl around his warm, slender body while he took a nap. His already fever-flushed cheeks warmed at the thought. He pictured his beloved friend smoothing his bangs aside so that he could place soft kisses on his forehead as he slept.
Sweden was just fantasizing about Finland bringing him soup in bed when the boy in question slipped into the seat beside him. He regarded Sweden with a slightly pained expression as the taller blond hurried to straighten up and told himself mentally to act natural. Finland laid a hand gently on Sweden's arm.
"You're shivering, Sve," he commented. "Are you cold?"
"…'S cold 'n here," Sweden mumbled. He coughed minutely and rubbed his hands on his arms, trying to generate a little warmth.
"If… if you like," Finland began, his cheeks warming beautifully, "y-you can sit a little closer. It probably won't make a big difference but…maybe it'll help a little?"
Sweden could feel his already burning cheeks growing even redder at Finland's offer. Of course, he'd be happy to take Finland up on that. Any excuse to be close to Finland would be deeply treasured, even more so when Finland was expressly inviting it. But he couldn't let himself get carried away; they were, after all, in a room surrounded by their classmates. As much as he wanted to pull Finland close, it would simply be too embarrassing to hug him in front of all these people.
"S-sorry, I said something weird, didn't I?" Finland stammered nervously. "I didn't mean anything weird by it, honest! Ahh, please just forget I said something so embarrassing!"
Sweden looked down at the two-person table which he shared with Finland. "…Made m' happy…" he said in scarcely more than a whisper, avoiding Finland's gaze as he blushed.
Finland smiled gently and scooted closer to Sweden so that their shoulders were pressed against each other. His small, soft-looking hand was resting on his own knee, so close that it would be the easiest thing in the world for Sweden to take hold of it without anyone else noticing. Sweden's fingers began to extend toward Finland's but then the teacher, Ms. Athens, entered the room and he promptly lost his nerve. This closeness would have to do for now.
Sweden's eyelids fluttered sleepily as someone nudged him in the ribs, stirring him from his uneasy slumber.
That was Finland's voice hissing his name. Sweden tried miserably to sniffle and forced his eyes open. Finland nudged him in the ribs again.
"The answer is four," he whispered.
"…F'r…?" Sweden croaked groggily. His throat felt dry enough that it might have been coated by sand. He coughed again, wishing someone would give him some water to soothe his parched throat.
"Glad to see you finally decided to join us in the land of the living, Mr. Sweden," Ms. Athens commented dryly. "There's no point in coming to class if you're so ill that you can't help but sleep through it. If you're really not feeling well, I suggest you head down to the infirmary as soon as possible."
Sweden blushed, feeling the eyes of all his classmates on him, including Finland's. "S'rry," he murmured.
"If it's alright, Ms. Athens," Finland piped up, "I'd be willing to take him down there."
"That might be for the best," she mused. "You're both excused."
Finland gathered their things, then took his taller friend's arm and helped him to his feet. The room descended into a stifling silence as the two of them made their way out of the room, the other students watching their progress curiously. Finland and Sweden stepped out into the hall, heading slowly in the direction of the nurse's office. Sweden was glad that they were moving so slowly; his head was spinning mercilessly, and if Finland hadn't been holding his arm, he was sure he would have been stumbling all over the place.
He glanced down at the shorter boy to see his expression, but Finland's head was bowed slightly so that Sweden couldn't see what kind of face he was making. His silence, however, felt cold. Sweden wondered if Finland was angry with him. Despite his small stature, Sweden knew that Finland was a force to be reckoned with when he was really mad. The thought that he might find that anger directed at him saddened him greatly, even though he knew Finland wouldn't do anything to hurt him.
Finland led him to the water fountain and allowed Sweden to stop for a drink. He took a deep pull of the cool water, though the relief provided by the moisture was edged with pain as it slid down his sore throat. Finland took advantage of the fact that Sweden was bent over in front of the water fountain to touch the back of his hand to Sweden's cheek. Sweden blushed but couldn't bring himself to pull away from his touch.
"You're burning up, Sve," he said softly, breaking the silence at last. "Why didn't you tell me you weren't feeling well?"
There was a noticeable undercurrent of hurt in Finland's voice that made Sweden feel ashamed of his behavior. The reason he had dragged himself to school in this condition in the first place was so that he could make Finland happy with his gift and birthday wishes. Instead he had ended up upsetting him. He felt just awful.
"I know I say a lot of strange things to you by accident and I end up making you mad a lot but it's completely unintentional, I swear," Finland continued sadly. "I… I thought we considered each other friends and friends should be able to be open with each other… Did I misunderstand something? Do you not think of me as a friend?"
Sweden could feel new pain in his body, adding to the long list of discomforts caused by his cold. It was the feeling of his heart breaking. He'd never meant to make Finland feel this way. Desperate to set him straight, Sweden reached out to Finland shyly. He wanted to hug him, but he was too embarrassed.
"Course yer m' friend… I just… di'n't want y' t' waste yer b'rthday worryin' 'bout me… "
"What a silly reason," Finland sighed, though he looked relieved to hear that Sweden did indeed consider him to be a friend. "Why did you even come to school today if you were feeling so bad?"
I wanted to see you. No way could he say that, though. "Jus' wan'ed t' say h'ppy birthday 'n' give y' yer pres'nt…"
"Oh Sweden," Finland said, looking simultaneously exasperated and touched. "That could've waited until you were feeling better. I'm grateful that you were thinking about making my birthday special for me, but I can't really be happy if I know that you're making yourself suffer just to do it. I… I care about you a lot, Sve. I want you to take care of yourself."
They were both blushing now. If Sweden's congested head hadn't been weighing him down, he suspected he might have floated away out of sheer bliss from hearing Finland say that he cared about him a lot. It occurred to him that if not for his stupid cold, this would have been a good opportunity to kiss Finland. As if to mock him for ruining his chances with the boy he loved, his nose chose that moment to begin to itch again and he lapsed into a sneezing fit.
Finland took hold of his arm and smiled sympathetically up at him as he offered him a packet of tissues. After seeing him in homeroom he had been pretty sure that Sweden had a cold so he'd stopped off at his locker to get these tissues from his coat pocket so that he could offer them to him if the chance presented itself. Sweden's feverish cheeks colored further as he accepted them and allowed Finland to take his arm once more.
"Th'nks," he mumbled.
"No problem," Finland said easily. "Let's get you to the nurse's office, ok? You look like you could really use some sleep."
With that, they resumed their slow progress toward the school infirmary.
Sweden's heart was pounding almost as fiercely as his aching head as Finland led him to the secluded corner of the infirmary and pulled the curtains that surrounded the bed closed to give them some privacy. He swallowed hard, barely noticing his sore throat's protest in the midst of his excitement, and climbed slowly into bed. The Finish student handed him the medicine that the nurse had given him, letting him swallow it with a drink of water. Sweden's cheeks warmed as Finland pulled the covers up to his chin.
"Y' have 'nother class now?" he asked.
Finland shook his head. "It's my free period."
Sweden sniffled and coughed, his head spinning as he stole himself to make his request. "Th'n…"
No, he couldn't say it. He couldn't say "I'd really like it if you could stay with me and hold my hand." It was just too embarrassing. The taller boy flexed his fingers absentmindedly and sighed, wishing he had the courage to ask Finland to stay. Sweden started violently when gentle fingertips brushed his timidly, fixing Finland with what looked like a death glare in his surprise. Finland cried out in fear, jerking his hand away as if he'd been burned.
"I-I'm sorry!" he squeaked. "You were kind of moving your fingers like maybe you wanted me to… I'm so sorry! That was really weird, wasn't it? I-I'll go now! Excuse me!"
Oh crap, he had to do something quick or Finland would leave. That was the last thing Sweden wanted. He reached out and snatched the hem of Finland's school blazer, preventing him from leaving. Finland froze, glancing back at Sweden's clutching fingers, very red-faced, then looked questioningly into Sweden's eyes.
"S…stay," Sweden mumbled ever so quietly, his cheeks burning even more brightly than Finland's. "Please."
Finland looked surprised for a moment, then lowered himself hesitantly into the chair that was positioned beside the bed. His fingers brushed Sweden's again experimentally and Sweden took his hand shyly. Finland smiled, his cheeks also flushed as he cradled Sweden's hand gently between his own smaller ones. After a moment, Finland reached out hesitantly with one hand and slowly, carefully removed Sweden's glasses, folding them up neatly and setting them on the bedside table. He brushed Sweden's bangs aside gently.
"Try to get some sleep, ok?" he suggested quietly.
Sweden sighed and let his eyes slip closed obediently, grateful for the warmth of Finland's touch. Finland remained beside him, brushing his thumb tenderly over his friend's knuckles as he let him rest.
When Sweden opened his eyes again about three hours later, the customary early darkness of winter was beginning to fall. He moaned groggily and rubbed his eyes, his nose so clogged and his throat so swollen from coughing that he found it difficult and painful to breathe. With a harsh cough, Sweden groped around on the bedside table for a tissue, but found his glasses first. He slipped them on and thus armed with clearer vision managed to locate the box of tissues.
Just as he was about to bring his other hand up to hold the tissue in place, he became aware of the gentle, warm weight resting on it. He glanced over and felt his heart swell with affection at the sight of Finland still sitting there, hunched forward so that his upper body rested on the mattress, his hands folded on top of Sweden's and his cheek resting on top of them. Sweden didn't need to see that his eyes were closed through the gaps in his fair bangs to know that he was fast asleep.
Sweden dabbed at his nose absently, one-handed, opting not to disturb Finland's sleep. How could he ever bring himself to ruin something so beautiful? Even in the fading light of early dusk, he could see the delicate rosy flush of Finland's cheeks, his smooth, silky hair falling gracefully across his forehead, soft, full lips slightly parted. He looked distinctly angelic.
Sweden watched him in reverent silence, drinking in his friend's beauty. The more he looked at him, the more he wanted to kiss him. He reached out slowly and brushed his fingertips over the top of Finland's head, then ghosted them over his brow. Of course, kissing Finland's lips was out of the question with Sweden's cold, and he would never dream of stealing what for all he knew could be Finland's first kiss without his permission. But maybe it would be ok to kiss the top of his head. Finland would never know.
The taller blond wriggled closer, his cheeks burning and heart pounding with excitement and terror. He leaned forward and ever so lightly touched a kiss to the crown of Finland's head. Then he kissed him again. And one more time. Each time his brain told him to stop, his heart appealed for just one more kiss. His chapped lips grazed the rim of Finland's ear and the smaller boy shivered slightly.
That soft, questioning voice startled Sweden so badly that he nearly fell out of the bed. Finland sat up quickly as well, his hand drifting to his ear where Sweden's lips had touched as if wondering if he had just imagined their tender brush. Sweden's face was scarlet. How could he have done something so selfish as to kiss Finland without his permission? He should never have let himself get carried away like that. Finland was going to think he was some kind of weirdo pervert or something and never want anything to do with him ever again.
"S-s'rry," Sweden stammered. "Shouldn'ta d'ne that… Wasn' tryin' t' be creepy, j'st... S'rry."
"Oh, no…" Finland squeaked, almost as red and flustered as his friend. "Actually, I… I didn't really mind… Um… it made me kind of happy, to tell the truth."
"…?" Sweden cocked his head, hardly daring to believe what he thought he'd just heard.
"Yeah, I mean… i-if it'd been anyone else, I might have been kind of angry, but if it's you, Sve, then I think… I think it's definitely ok."
"Fin…" This might just be the happiest day of his life. Not only was Finland not angry about finding him stealing kisses, he said it had made him happy and had even invited future kisses. Could this mean that Finland returned his feelings? It seemed almost too good to be true, but all the evidence was there. Sweden cursed his damnable cold yet again as he was forced to let another opportunity to kiss Finland properly slip by.
"S-so! Are you feeling any better?" Finland asked quickly, as if wanting to put that embarrassing admission behind him. He laid his hand on Sweden's forehead and frowned slightly. "Hmm… of course your fever wouldn't have started going down already. You must still be feeling pretty awful…"
Sweden couldn't deny that he was indeed feeling awful, but having Finland at his side looking after him, accepting his kisses, holding his hand made it infinitely more bearable. If only he could tell him that.
"Why don't I drive you home?" Finland offered, squeezing Sweden's hand gently. "Oh, but I don't have a car so we'd have to go in yours. Um, if that's ok."
"Y' sure?" Sweden asked hoarsely. "D'n't cha have plans for yer b'rthday?"
Finland shrugged, his cheeks pinking again. "Not really, I just… well actually I kind of wondered if maybe you'd wanna go out to eat with me but… you really should be home in bed."
"S'rry," Sweden wheezed. "F'ls like 'm ruinin' ev'r'thing…"
"No Sweden," Finland cooed. "Please don't feel guilty; you couldn't help it. We can go out when you feel better. I-I mean if you don't mind."
Sweden wanted to say that he'd go out with Finland every single night if Finland would agree to it, but he just couldn't force the sappy words out so he simply nodded. Finland seemed pleased enough by this because he gave him a soft smile.
"Shall we go, then? I'll take you home and maybe I could even make you some soup," Finland suggested as he got to his feet. "I don't mean to brag, but I'm a pretty good cook."
Sweden's brow furrowed. He hated to make Finland serve him when it was Finland's birthday, but he would be lying if he said he wasn't interested in tasting Finland's home cooking and maybe spending a quiet evening in front of the fire with him. The Swede struggled inwardly with his dilemma.
"Oh, and before you try to say no because it's my birthday, let me just say that I really want to do this," Finland added shrewdly.
"…Y' sure?" Sweden asked.
"Yep! I enjoy cooking and it's even better when I can share what I've made with friends," Finland said brightly. "What do you think?"
Sweden hesitated a second more, then nodded. "'D like that."
Finland's ensuing smile was so warm and affectionate that it left poor Sweden's heart stuttering. God, did he ever want to kiss him. Sweden, still feeling dazed from that breathtaking smile, allowed Finland to help him out of bed, swaying dizzily once he was on his feet again.
They stopped at their lockers for their coats and backpacks before venturing to the front doors that would lead them into the snowy parking lot. Sweden shivered violently and sneezed as the cold air in the entryway hit him, causing Finland to glance up at him concernedly.
"Why don't you give me the keys and I'll pull the car up so you don't have to be out in the cold for so long, ok?" he suggested.
The taller boy sniffled miserably and fished the keys from his pocket, dropping them into Finland's outstretched hand. "P'rked in the m'ddle 'f row ten."
"Row ten, got it," Finland confirmed.
Sweden watched Finland dash outside into the cold winter air toward his car, though the Finn hardly seemed to notice the chill. Finland had always been surprisingly strong in the cold. Sweden leaned wearily against the wall, waiting for him to pull up. He wished he didn't have to stand. His legs were so tired, and so was the rest of him, come to think of it.
At last, Sweden saw his old turquois car pull up in front of the school. He stumbled towards it, trying to hurry so that he could get out of the wind as soon as possible, but his legs refused to move any faster than a slow, wobbly plod. Finland put the car in park and hurried over to help him. Sweden coughed wetly as he slid into his seat at last and leaned in toward the vents which Finland had cranked up on high on their warmest setting. His friend returned to the driver's seat shortly after.
"Yer b'rthday pres'nt's in th' back seat," Sweden grunted.
Finland glanced over his shoulder, catching the tiniest glimpse of a deep red, gold and cream-colored something with a sparkly green bow perched on top.
"Can I look at it?" he asked.
Sweden nodded tiredly. Finland turned around in his seat so that he was sitting on his knees, affording him a full view of the gift. Sweden watched his face hopefully. His friend's eyes went wide with awe as he leaned over the back of the seat to get a closer view.
"Oh wow!" he breathed. "This is amazing! For Hanatamago, right? It's beautiful! Where did you get it?"
"Made 't," Sweden replied, his cheeks warming at the flattery.
"Eh? You made it?" Finland gasped. "It's so detailed and perfect! I had no idea you were so good at building things!"
"So… y' like it?" Sweden asked.
Finland turned back toward him, his eyes sparkling happily, his cheeks flushed with pleasure. Before Sweden could even begin to process what that kind of expression might mean, Finland was leaning in, wrapping his arms around Sweden's broad shoulders and pressing his lips coyly against his feverish forehead.
"I love it," he breathed. "Thank you so much, Sve."
And if Sweden's already fever-addled brain hadn't been so busy overheating and sputtering in response to what Finland had just done he might have had the presence of mind to realize that even if he did have to take the kiss on his forehead instead of his lips, experiencing Finland's gratitude in real life had been so much better than it had been even in his fantasy.