Part of a series called "The Rising Generation", but each story can be read separately and understood.

Warning: Mention of mpreg.

The Rising Generation

Pastries

Norway wanted to kill something. Preferably a tall, blond something with blue eyes constantly sparkling with mischief and a damnable grin that often led to nothing but trouble.

Maybe "kill" was too strong of a word. For some incomprehensible reason, he did enjoy the company of the overenthusiastic Scandinavian nation on occasion. He felt as though he could settle for simply maiming the taller man. Maybe crush his fingers. Accidentally run him over with a car. Hint around to the trolls that it wouldn't be an entirely bad thing if the man got a little beaten up the next time he came around.

Or he could get the battle axe from the attic and chop up the bouquet of flowers sitting on his front porch. (Never mind why the axe was still in his house.)

Norway stood over the flowers, glaring at them contemptuously, wondering what it would take to make them spontaneously combust. After a few minutes, he stomped one foot on them, deliberately twisting his heel to grind them into the concrete. Feeling invigorated by actually doing something, he marched back into the house and fetched a pair of glistening scissors, which he used to maliciously chop up the plants, starting with the bright red flowers.

At one point, Iceland spotted him, but after seeing the look in his brother's eyes, he decided it was best to not get involved. In fact, he was going to take the opportunity to sneak out the back door without the Norwegian stalking him. A nice, peaceful day with Hong Kong sounded much better than dealing with his brother's mood swings.

Breathing heavily, Norway paused to look over his work. A potpourri of red and green covered the top step, some pieces moving in the slight breeze. He smirked and retreated indoors for a second time, only to return with a box. With barely masked sadistic glee, he scoop up the plant particles and dumped them into it.

Norway snapped his fingers, calling up a troll and directing it to take the box to Denmark's house. Content at last, he went back inside, shutting the door behind him.

.


.

"I don't know what I'm doing wrong! I tried flowers! I tried chocolates! I tried sending him a giant heart pillow! Nothing I do works! It all gets sent back to me all chopped to pieces!"

France swirled his wine glass, eying Denmark with twinkling blue eyes and a smile. "So you came to me, knowing I am the country of l'amour. A wise choice, my friend."

Denmark leaned forward, his expression a mixture of surprise and relief. "You're going to help me?"

France made a thoughtful sound and took a sip of wine. He waited a few seconds before speaking. "Oui."

"Well, what is it? What should I do?" Denmark asked impatiently.

"You're thinking too generic, mon ami. You need to do something that shows just how much you care for him. Perhaps something your country is famous for would be a start? And make the effort to deliver it yourself. If that doesn't work, stick around and do something useful until he gets annoyed enough to talk to you."

"Something I'm famous for…" Denmark murmured. "Okay. Yeah! I can do that! But, uh… Hey, France, what am I famous for?"

Were France some unrefined country (like England), he would have given up on Denmark the second he received his distressed phone call. But he was France, the country of romance, and he would assist his fellow nations so long as they sought his advice. However, there was always a point where he had to step back and let them figure things out on their own.

France stood up. "I'm sorry, but that's something you must find out on your own. Just think about it. It will come to you. Au revoir!"

Denmark groaned and slumped over the table as he watched the Frenchman leave. "What am I going to do? What would Norge like?"

He sat at the table for a few minutes, shredding a piece of napkin while he thought.

He wasn't like Finland. He didn't have the knack for knowing exactly what gift to give people. Nor was he like Sweden, who was excellent at building and making things. He was much better at getting people's attention and selling things.

Unless it was firewood. Denmark prided himself on his log chopping abilities. It was the one time Norway willingly let him handle an axe of any kind.

I could chop firewood… It'll be snowing soon. But I do that every year! What can I…?

Denmark's eyes landed on a tray of desserts as a waiter bustled by.

Food… Norge likes food. And sweet things.

"Danishes!" He shouted, jumping up. "That's perfect!" Then, laughing like a madman to the amusement and concern of the other patrons of the restaurant, he dropped a bit of money on the table and then ran away.

Denmark had a plan.

.


.

It was a messy plan, as he soon discovered. His kitchen would never be the same. In fact, he was pretty sure he'd have to replace every surface in the room. Maybe he could convince Sweden to make him new cabinets?

Though it took him about five tries, he'd succeeded in making some rather tasty Danish's. He hoped it would be enough to get Norway to let him stay at his place for a few days so the burning smell permeating his house would have time to fade.

Denmark lovingly packed the treats in a red box and then wrapped a blue and white ribbon around it to make it resemble the Norwegian flag. After making sure nothing in the kitchen was on fire, he set off for Norway's house.

Norway greeted him at the front door with a glare and a pair of scissors. Puffs of cotton and scraps of blue and red fabric littered the floor around him.

Denmark gulped. It seemed his previous gift, two heart-shaped pillows designed to look like the flags of their countries, hadn't gone over very well. Almost hesitantly, he brought the box out from behind his back and held it towards Norway.

"I made these for you, Norge! It took me a few tries, but I made sure to taste-test them before I wrapped 'em up for you! They're Danishes!"

Norway's expression didn't change as he took the box and untied the ribbon, letting it flutter to the floor. Opening it up, he stared at the pastries.

They weren't perfect by any means. They were misshapen and one or two were oozing fruit. Another two were beginning to stick together. Almost all of them were slightly charred.

"They taste better than they look," Denmark said, his convincing tone faltering as he finished.

For a moment, Norway considered throwing the box on the ground and stomping on it. He would have carried out the act had he not looked at Denmark.

There was flour in the Dane's hair and on his forehead. A streak of some kind of liquidized fruit was still on one of his cheeks. A rather angry blister shone on his arm and the palm of his hand from where skin touched burning metal.

Denmark had cooked no, baked for him.

Denmark, who never failed to tease Sweden about how he was the one who cooked and did the sewing.

Denmark, who'd once told him cooking wasn't manly unless it involved fire or a grill.

So instead of tossing aside the pastries, Norway stepped back and slammed the door in Denmark's face, taking the box with him.

Denmark blinked in surprise when he found himself staring at the heavy front door. Slowly, a grin split across his face.

He had a chance.

Norway slammed the door in his face, but he hadn't locked it. Nor had he summoned a troll to chase him away.

"Norge, I'm gonna chop firewood!" Denmark announced jovially, though he didn't know if the quiet Nordic heard him or not. Whistling, he walked away to retrieve the axe from the shed.

Inside, Norway slumped against the door, smiling softly at the box of Danishes. He hesitantly picked up one of the less burnt ones and nibbled it. Rich, sweet flavor exploded on his tongue, enticing him to take a bigger bite and eventually finish off the pastry.

An expression of awe washed over the Norwegian's face when he realized what happened.

Denmark…can bake? And he's good at it. Iceland's never going to believe this.

Pushing away from the door to head to the kitchen, Norway flipped out his cell phone and hit the speed dial for his little brother. If he was lucky, his call would interrupt another moment between Iceland and his young Asian friend.

.


.

As Iceland lay beneath Hong Kong, enjoying the feel of his lover's gently caresses, a look of ire appeared on his face. He sat up with a groan, calling an end to their activities, and removed his buzzing phone from his back pocket.

"Ignore it," Hong Kong grumbled in irritation.

Iceland frowned. "I can't. Just like you can't ignore your family." He flipped open the device and put it to his ear. "Hello?"

"Denmark baked."

'My brother,' Iceland mouthed to Hong Kong. "Good for him. Give him a prize or a bone or something. What do you want?"

"They're good."

Iceland sighed. "I'm not coming home to try food. I'm busy."

There was a moment of silence. "I shut the door in his face. He's outside chopping wood."

"Then let the moron inside once he's done," Iceland said, rolling his eyes. "He sent you a gift every day this week and now he's made you food and is chopping wood. It's not like you haven't already slept with him."

He could feel Norway's glare.

Hong Kong chuckled.

"Where are you?"

"I'm with Hong Kong. Just forgive the moron already. I don't want to come home to find him pawing at the door or trying to serenade you again. That was weird."

Again, Norway was silent.

"Let him in, talk to him, and don't call me again. I'm turning off my phone. Goodbye." Iceland hung up before his brother could protest. After carelessly tossing his phone aside, he reached up and grasped Hong Kong's shirt, pulling him close. "So, where were we?"

.


.

Norway would never admit it to anyone, but he loved watching Denmark, especially when the man would take off his shirt while chopping firewood. There was something about the way his muscles rippled while he worked, sunlight glinting off of tanned skin, that reminded him of a time when Denmark was at the height of his power.

In fact, though chopping wood had originally been a necessity at Norway's house since it was the only way to keep it heated during winter as well as to cook food in the wood stove, modern improvements rendered the outdated equipment unneeded. In fact, the only reason Norway kept his wood burning fireplace was simply so Denmark would have something productive to do. Or so he told everyone else.

From his kitchen table, Norway had a clear view of the backyard through his bay windows, curtained in a calming sea blue. He reached for his fifth Danish, then realized what he was doing and pulled back his hand to rest it in his lap.

"Do you think I should let him in?" Norway asked to a seemingly empty house. He listened for a moment, picking up on a quiet chiming sound as a pair of iridescent wings flickering amidst an orb of light flew to his side. "I agree with you. It's just… This isn't something that can be said so bluntly." He paused again to listen and shook his head. "I don't know."

Denmark turned around, wiping his brow after depositing the last split log onto the stack. He grinned and waved when he spotted Norway in the window.

Norway raised his hand in greeting as the fairy flitted away, subconsciously reaching for the pastries in a fluid motion to cover up his true intention. By the time he noticed what he was doing, he'd eaten about half of the Danish.

Denmark opened up the back door enough to stick his head inside. "Norge? I finished chopping firewood. Is there anything else you want me to do?"

"Come in."

Denmark stepped inside in an almost wear manner, watching Norway for any sign of ill will. It wasn't until he saw the mostly eaten box of Danishes that he began to relax.

"They were good, huh?" He said, looking at the Norwegian expectantly.

"They were decent," Norway corrected.

Denmark beamed, knowing that was practically a statement of everlasting love from his favorite expressionless nation. "Do you want me to go out and bring in the wood? Or I could make sure your windows and doors are ready for winter. Maybe you'd rather-"

Norway walked over and took his hand, effectively shutting him up. "Tomorrow."

Denmark looked at him in confusion. "Huh? Tomorrow? Why tomorrow? I've got a little time left before the sun goes down. I could get it done today."

"No." Norway tugged him out of the kitchen, towards the hall leading to his bedroom.

"Why are we going- ohhhh."

Norway sighed. "No."

"No?" Denmark repeated, sounding more confused than before. "Then what are we going to do?"

"Talk."

"About what?"

"…"

"Norge?"

Norway remained silent as they walked into the bedroom. He released Denmark's hand and went to the bed, where he sat down and waited for his lover to sit down next to him. After a few minutes of fidgeting and trying to figure out what Norway wanted, Denmark sat down beside him. He chuckled when his weight on the bed caused the smaller man to slip towards him. Even better, Norway didn't move away despite being pressed snugly against him.

"So, what are we talking about?" Denmark asked.

"Why don't you want children?"

Denmark fidgeted uncomfortably. "Nor-"

"Why?" Norway interrupted. "Answer the question, Denmark. I want the truth."

"Are you sure there's not something else I could do right now? What if it rains and ruins the firewood?" Denmark asked.

Norway didn't say a word. He stared at Denmark, his dark blue eyes penetrating his defenses and making him squirm even more.

Denmark sighed heavily. "I do want kids. Or at least one. I just… I didn't want to, you know, pressure you or anything. I figured that since things were finally going sort of right between us that I shouldn't say anything that would challenge it. Didn't think you'd really want one, to be honest." He looked at Norway with a hopeful expression. "Do you want kids?"

"Just one."

"Really?" Denmark asked eagerly. His fidgeting came to an abrupt end, his entire being radiating with excitement. "So who gets to be the mom?"

Norway rolled his eyes. "You'd give the poor kid alcohol poisoning. Obviously, I will have to do it. But you will be there for everything. Do you understand?"

"Yup!" Denmark said with a laugh. He wrapped an arm around the Norwegian's shoulders and pulled him a little closer before planting a kiss on top of his head. "When do we start?"

"Later," Norway replied. "Go bring in the firewood."

Denmark laughed again, kissing his lover one last time before getting up to go do as he was told.

And so, ten months later, Renata Hjørdis Christensen, the first and only girl of the Nordics was born.

.


End


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This takes place about 19-20 years after "Card Games", 17-18 years after "Lumimyrsky".