Another request fanfic, this time the prompt was "Denmark and Norway take care of Iceland." It's set sometime around 1800, just for help with the mental imaging.
One of the Three
"I think he has the plague!" Denmark yells, running into the parlor holding Iceland in his arms. Iceland clearly is ill of something, especially since the boy isn't struggling to escape.
"It isn't the plague," Norway says, getting up from his chair anyway. Denmark hurries over, presenting Iceland for examination. Iceland is dozing, his face flushed and head leaning against Denmark's chest, his hair mussed. Norway presses his palm against his cheek; it's hot. "Did ya pull him out of bed?"
"Yes," Denmark says, looking around and then moving to lay him on the sofa.
"You coulda left him in bed," Norway points out. If that's all Denmark's going to do. Denmark arranges his colony carefully, trying to make him comfortable. His expression is soft, and Norway can't help but stare for a moment, wondering at it. Denmark even brushes Iceland's hair out of his face with two fingers, and Norway decides enough is enough. "He'll be fine, you."
"Could be the plague, none of the others are sick," Denmark replies, murmuring but defensive. He doesn't like sickness. He doesn't like the plague. It's an automatic, knee-jerk kind of thing. He sees Ice like this and thinks of Norway, limp and bony, staring at him with dead eyes.
"If it were the plague, we all would be," Norway says. He looks down at Iceland. So does Denmark. Denmark also takes the opportunity to lean against Norway, very slightly, arms brushing. He is looking at Iceland, but Denmark isn't very good at taking in details: this is why he doesn't notice Iceland's breathing change as he wakes up, but Norway does. "Go heat some water," Norway says. "We'll give him a wash."
Denmark nods. "Yeah, yeah, that's a good idea! He's been sweaty- okay, I'll go do that! And-"
"Go," Norway says again, because Denmark tends to ramble when nervous. This time, Denmark nods and obeys.
He waits until Denmark's footsteps are out of hearing range, then kneels beside his brother. Iceland turns his head away in the sort of deliberately slow way someone faking sleep does. "Is it an eruption?" Norway asks him mildly.
Iceland flushes bright red. Norway smiles, smug. Now Ice opens his eyes, leaving them half closed. "He's making a big deal out of nothing, it's just a cold…"
"He lost a queen to sickness once," Norway says, because he doesn't know Margrete is only half the reason. As Denmark did moments before, he brushes Iceland's hair aside. Iceland turns more red.
"It's just a cold," Iceland mumbles again, shifting away as much as the sofa allows. He's getting big lately, Norway thinks with some pride. Nations grow slow, but when they hit a spurt… Ice has grown six years in a row; normal for a human but less so for one of them. Maybe that's what this is, some kind of growing pain.
"Don't be shy. You can say, 'Nore, help me,'" Norway says, because it's clear whatever it is, eruption or chill, Iceland isn't dying of it.
"I don't need help," Iceland sulks.
Now Denmark returns to the room, sloshing water from a pot; he notices Iceland's eyes before he can close them and brightens considerably. "He's awake! Ice! You're awake!" and then he spills more water on the rug hurrying over. He sets it down between himself and Norway, and kneels down himself. "You'll be fine, Ice! We—I'm—taking great care of you!" It's not that Norway isn't, of course, but Denmark figures emphasizing his own role in this can only help. Iceland is shy sometimes about accepting that they're family too. Denmark takes the rag he brought with him from the kitchen and soaks it in the water, then wrings it out.
"It's a volcanic eruption," Norway announces, as Denmark places the cloth on Iceland's forehead; a line of water trickles down and Iceland scrunches up his face. And then flushes red again.
"Is it?" Denmark wonders only if he should have brought cold water, in that case.
"No, it's nothing," Iceland says. "Nore is being dumb."
"We'll have to send word along for the ships," Norway says to Denmark at the same time, unwilling to budge on this theory.
Denmark nods but it isn't clear who he's agreeing with. He takes the other rag he brought, wets it, and runs it sloppily over Iceland's face. Iceland squirms, but as the water dries it cools, which feels pleasant.
"It's not an eruption," Iceland says again.
"He's embarrassed about growing up."
"Eruptions mean he's growing up?" Denmark looks at Iceland, then at Norway. He blinks, then frowns. Then there is a look of dawning comprehension—"Oh. Oh! Ohh."
"Whatever you think is wrong," Norway says flatly.
Iceland doesn't understand what he means, but isn't about to argue. He suddenly, overwhelmingly, needs to yawn, and does, a little embarrassed because he knows they're both watching.
"You should have left him in bed."
"He's sick. He needs rest."
"He has a bed upstairs."
Iceland lets his eyes fall closed. He hears water sloshing, and the rag brushes against his face again. The person holding it this time is less clumsy. Even though he knows the water is warm, it feels cool on his skin.
"The couch is comfortable too, I can see him like this."
"You can see him upstairs."
Slosh as the rag is probably dropped back into the pot. His brothers bicker some more; it is established that Norway doesn't particularly want Iceland out of sight either, and yes, the couch is comfortable. Iceland drifts back off to sleep, feeling less hot.
Norway seems content to keep watching Iceland sleep, but after a while, when it's clear Iceland isn't going to suddenly go into convulsions, Denmark gets bored. He flicks a bit of now-cold water at Norway, who doesn't even flinch. So he does it again, and then a third time, until a drop or two lands on Iceland and Norway shoves him. "Don't wake him," he says cooly.
"Okay," Denmark whines, even though he doesn't intend to. His knees are stiff when he stands, and his ankles are worse. He leaves the pot where it is and stretches. "I have to write to our king about the eruption," he says, half hoping Norway will offer to do it or come up with another distraction. Norway does not, so Denmark goes to the study and drags a chair and end table into the parlor, along with his writing tools. He meant what he said about keeping an eye on his colony, even if Norway apparently has made that his mission.
He's gotten as far as the salutation on his letter when Norway stands and makes his way over. He pauses in the middle of writing greetings. "Yeah?"
"Good job," Norway says. Denmark isn't sure what for exactly, but he isn't about to question it. He grins and gestures that Norway should come closer, but to his disappointment Norway only kisses him on the forehead before wandering away. Denmark turns back to his letter.
Meanwhile, Norway checks on the other colonies to make sure it isn't the plague—just in case. When it is clear that it isn't, he goes into the garden to pick herbs for tea and send a message along via a faerie to the capital, which is much faster than post. He doesn't bother telling Denmark, though. If nothing else, letter writing is practice for the other's awful penmanship.