Oh my gosh please don't throw stuff at me! I am so sorry my lovely readers to have made you wait, I just want to tell you I love you! I'd like to thank my lovely Danish translators Sine-k, Another Mad Swiss, Lillens, DianeLeBlanc99 and Sarai Onyx Vainamoinen. Thank you, Guys! You are the best Danish Translators I could ever have! I hope this chapter is to your liking! I do not own Hetalia nor its characters-though I do own this story.
The oceans currents proved to be a bit of a trouble to navigate through for one such as Berwald, as the waves icy coldness rippled about him and threatened to pull him under. It was like a swarm of giant tendrils that had evaluated him and decided him no good, not to be trusted in the waters edge. As if he had betrayed the sea herself.
Which, in a way, he had.
But it wasn't his fault that his swimming abilities had become rusty over the years - three long years. Now he could barely do the breaststroke without coughing up seawater and brine, hair matted flat to his skull and sticky with kelp slime.
Berwald opened his mouth with strong jaws, taking some water past his lips, embarrassed with himself that he had forgotten the taste of the sea, of the salt.
It was often when Tino would find him, bent over a pot of cold water frothed with salt, milky pale. Berwald would spoon mixtures of the concoction into his mouth - a stew of chopped dried kelp, ground sea shells and whole blocks of salt. It was disgusting and made his throat curl and dry heave - but he needed the sea. Even the imitation of it, to soothe him.
Berwald gasped as another strong current took him, smacked his legs hard against the slipperiness of rocks beneath the cold ocean.
But it didn't matter anymore, he had reached his destination, whether he liked it or no. No matter how much he wished to lose himself in the water, he was here, upon the scraggily piles of kelp and volcanic stone that bored holes deep enough for his chilled fingers to slip through.
He was upon another's territory - Mathias'.
The Dane's eyes were hulled low to the ripples of the water, nose sniffing quickly at Berwald's scent before he dismissed it. No longer was the lower ranked seal a threat. No longer was he considered friend, either. Both was seen as pitiful.
Berwald watched the other Selkie softly, hesitantly blinking, trying to make his crouched stance upon the rocks as harmless looking as possible. His wet jeans clung persistently to his legs from his poor posture and he began to regret even seeking the other male out.
But then, finally, Mathias moved, plucking a fish from the tangled mass of seaweed and bulbs of kelp - hard bits of coral brushing against his muddied fingernails.
He looked at the small fish which flipped and thrashed in his grip, trying to fling itself from the Danes strong fingers but to no avail.
Finally, and a bit sheepishly, the Dane gestured toward Berwald with the fish, head first - fin still wagging.
Berwald raised his eyes, knowing what this sharing of kill meant.
Mathias wanted a truce.
The Swede sighed but grabbed gently for the fish, the slimy silver scales flashing a white underbelly before he swallowed the sea-faring animal down his throat.
It gave him some trouble with it's fretful oving, but finally he was able to stomach it down. After licking his lips and chasing the taste down with a palmed cup full of water, he looked over to Mathias. The Dane nodded once before a pleased smile curved his face.
They were on speaking terms, just like that.
A Seals world could either be impossibly difficult, or extraordinarily simple.
Berwald was almost thankful for that some days.
Shifting his weight some, Berwald kept his head low, throat bared for Mathias to know he wanted to approach him. They had things to discuss, grave happenings and situations they now had to dig themselves out of like the deepest of the oceans waters.
Mathias shrugged half-heartedly, still awfully quiet as he bared his neck as well, an odd movement for him, before the two males pressed their noses to each others in a sign of good will.
Then, they began to talk.
"I'm sorry I pulled rank on ya' so viciously…" Mathias mumbled out the apology with a sorrowful croon, his seal breaking back and forth from under his skin. He was still not in control of it, Berwald observed. He was still in the throws of emotion.
The Swede nodded, accepting the apology with a low hum of his throat.
Oh how it felt good to have another seal to talk to - even if he was a pretentious dick half of the time.
Berwald would take what he could get.
"Ah understand. Don't like it, but ah understand yer reasons." Berwald answered, watching Mathias nibbled at his long nails, odd smelling mud wedged deep under them. He scratched the along his pelt that was balled up tight in his fists. Burs and thistles being carefully plucked from the sleek dark fur so different from Berwald's own hide.
"I just… I freaked, y'know? I smelled another seal - no, another Selkie and went mad!" Mathias bit at his paled lips, teeth chattering slightly, not used to such a cold ocean as the one they were sloshed against.
Somewhere up above a gull cried and squeaked at the two before turning back eastward, paying the two men no heed.
Berwald dipped his body back into the cool water, feeling the burning pull of it too hard to draw away from. God, he missed the waves. Missed them so much.
"Ta' be honest I was surprised ta' see another Selkie on land, let alone a Lord." Berwald sighed carefully.
"You've been gone from the ocean for a while… I can smell it on your coat." Mathias mumbled softly, a lull in his voice, like a whine. Like he didn't quite like how Berwald smelled. He was terrified of it, if he was honest with himself.
The Swede smelled to richly of soil, evergreens, and clean linen. Nothing like salt and oils and bay mud that clung to your fins so finely.
"Three years." Berwald stuttered with a heaving breath, slipping belly first back up onto the rock, legs still wallowing in the water.
"Is is hard?" The Dane asked quietly, nose pressed against his bare arms that had grown so light colored from the winters clouded skies. No sun would be found for quiet a while in these parts. Not for a long long time.
Berwald pondered his answer with a smile that took effort to curl over his lips. He didn't think Mathias would appreciate lying. He could probably smell it on him.
"It's hard - but worth it ta' be with th' one that ya' love."
Mathias bristled softly, cautiously as if the movement awakened something more animalistic within him.
Berwald scooted backward, not wanting to be too close to the Alpha Selkie if he decided to break out into another fit again.
But Mathias took a few seconds to compose himself, worrying his lower lip until he looked to Berwald with truly pitiful eyes.
"I really screwed up…" He moaned into his knees, nakedness beading with cold water as he continued to shiver.
Berwald almost felt sorry for him - but then he remembered how Nikolas was feeling, how his heart was probably like a block of eyes and his eyes rimmed red.
"You did. Ya' took th' worst path that ya' could have. Ya' really ruined him back there, as well as ruinin' yourself." Berwald's words bit, as if the grey seal had taken Mathias' neck in his throat and pulled.
The Dane winced at the thistle words and buried his head in the crook of his elbows.
Silence followed while Mathias slowly worried himself to death, sniffing and crooning into his arms.
Berwald took the time to bask in the ocean, reminding himself though, that he couldn't stay long in these waters. Or he would be lost like Mathias.
And that would just be the most dangerous thing possible.
But then a feeble voice broke the silence and Berwald turned his attention back to the Alpha seal.
"Do you…Do you think I could do it?" Mathias asked quietly, looking up the great big sky as storm clouds began to gather. The grey smeared across the sky in ugly patterns, like looming boulders perched across the sky threatening to spill over their heads.
The crack of rain dousing their heads in icy shards inevitable the longer they stayed out in the current.
"Do what?" Berwald asked quietly, cold blue eyes boring into Mathias. He wanted him to say it, to be stripped of his powers and know what it felt like to give up everything for love. Because once you had - oh my how powerful you really truly felt with a heart on fire.
"Do you think I could change?" Mathias whispered, looking to the shore like it might swallow him whole. Like he wanted it to. That thought alone was enough to sober him up, to remove his hands from his pelt like it burned him.
Berwald turned his head back to the pool of water guarded by the rocks like scabbed metal and silver, mounds of dirt and pebbles.
He pushed his palms against the sunken clipped rocks and dove into the water, his heart thrilling at the feel of the waves. He began to swim to the shore.
Mathias sat up with bewilderment, eyes wide and anxious.
"Where are you going?!" He shouted after the other seal, Berwald already a good ways away from the beached rocks.
"Back ta' th' shore, ta' see if ya' really can change fer th' better!" The Swede laughed with a shining of pearly teeth before he buried his head back into the water to speed through the torrents that hurled him to-and-fro.
Mathias huffed out a cold withered breath before he smiled worryingly. Then, without a seconds hesitation, he snatched up his pelt and dove into the water to swim out to the harsh grained beach before him.
"There, now you're all Selkie proof." Tino smiled as he put away the ink and pen, letting Nikolas marvel at the weirdly smelling ink.
It was blotchy and it pricked at the skin, feeling strange and heavy where it sat on his pale chest.
"Thank you, Tino…" Nikolas muttered distantly as he buttoned up his shirt, the glossy buttons fumbling in his shaking grip. He pressed his tongue to his teeth to keep fro shouting out in frustration at his cold fingers, till Tino had to help him clothe himself.
Nikolas looked at the floor in absence, not meeting his cousins eyes.
It was then that they heard a rapt taping of footsteps reach the sand skidding front porch.
Berwald stuck his head out fro the gaping hole that was once the place for the kitchen door.
Dripping wet with his blonde hair slick atop his head, the Swede smiled carefully.
"Tino, it's best time we get goin' - Peter should be home from Ravias's house any minute now." Berwald spoke softly to his fiancé, nodding to Nikolas as he noticed the peekings of the black cross across his breast.
Tino sighed worriedly, not wanting to leave his cousin with such a disastrous mess on his hands. But Peter was due, and he felt like Nikolas just needed some time alone with a thousand boxes of tissue, not some fretting Finnish cousin prompting him to spill out his feelings.
Nikolas would be better alone for today - tomorrow Tino would visit him with a cup of Earl Grey tea and a box of chocolate. The big super-sized one.
"I guess you're right…" Tino looked back to Berwald with a sad little smile before he turned to Nikolas, the Norwegian putting on a brave smile upon his lips that didn't even reach his eyes.
Tino sighed with sorrow as he kissed his beloved cousin upon the cheek before collecting his things.
He left a cold little bottle of ink and a spare wooden stick for Nikolas on the scathed kitchen table that wobbled too easily under his light touch.
"Here's the number of an excellent cleaning company that doesn't ask questions." Tino pressed a little white business card in his cousins hands, feeing the Norwegians fingers brush against as cold as ice.
Tino's eyebrows furrowed tightly as he frowned, eyes pleading with Nikolas to not let the sadness eat him inside and out.
"Be good to yourself, cousin." The Finn whispered and hugged the Norwegian tightly, burying his face in the crook of Nikolas' neck.
Nikolas smiled thinly before he allowed Tino to slip from his arms and walk outside into the grayness of the day - the suns light would no longer reach to his front steps to brighten the world.
And for the first time in his life, he didn't care.
He just turned back to the living room and sank to the floor, his back to the door that creaked slightly from his weight. That creaked with brokenness.
Nikolas rested his face in his hands and cried.
"Do you think this is a good idea?" Tino asked the Swede as he got in the drivers seat, buckling himself up as Berwald slid in next to him. The Finnish mans fingers dug into the steering wheel as he pressed his key into the ignition, the rumble of the car coming to life scaring him out of his wits.
"I can't say it's a good idea - but I'm not about ta' let both of 'em die from a broken heart." Berwald mumbled out tiredly, gazing blankly out of the window as Tino pulled out of Nikolas' drive way, the asphalt smoothing out the motion of the car.
Berwald sighed and picked at his wet clothes as Tino pulled out of the sand covered drive way.
"But this can't just happen over night - he's still a danger to Nikolas." Berwald grumbled out worryingly to Tino, the Finn nodding his understanding.
"It could take years…" Berwald spoke again, eyes dulled with the weight of what they were hoping to attempt.
"Then years I will brave." Came a voice from the back of the car.
Mathias' brows were drawn low with determination as he shivered violently from his place in the back of the Volvo. Wrapped tight in a beach towel, he bared his canines to stop the chatter of his teeth.
"I'll burn my pelt, I'll never step foot in the ocean again - Anything to make him trust me again." Mathias' voice grew low and serious, light blue eyes suddenly sterner than they usually appeared, as if he had fully taken in the weight of his responsibility and the horrors he had committed.
Tino sighed tiredly, feeling Berwald squeeze his shoulder with his palm in what was supposed to be a calming gesture.
"Believe me Mathias, you're going to have to do a lot more than that." Tino muttered under his breath harshly. Nothing else was said throughout the drive on the endless road before them.
OKAY SO YEAH I AM A DOUCHE FOR MAKING YOU GUYS WAIT THIS LONG. But I will say I have the entire rest of the story all outlined - so don't you fret, this story will be updated hopefully faster! PLEASE REVIEW! THE SELKIES HAVE JOINED THE DOLPHINS IN THEIR TORMENT OF ME!