The small man shivered as the wind bit his bare skin, throwing his mussed hair into his eyes. His arms and legs were weary, his wrists and ankles rubbed raw from the rope binding him to the crucifix. His eyes were stinging from the tears that ceased to pour down his face. He looked down at the ground, several feet below him, the beige cobblestones looking like pebbles. Blurred pebbles.

He remembered when life had been simple. Simple and enjoyable. He could see his first time meeting with his love, his soul mate, his one and only; it had been late, and he was disoriented in the dark, with no light to guide him. He had bumped into the tall Swede, who had glared down at him, making his hair stand on end; he thought he was going to die. But the man had been extremely gentle, letting him stay at his own place till he could see in the morning light.

The whirlwind romance that the two had entered was bliss. The unexpected hugs, the soft kisses, the late nights where neither of them had slept. Slowly, the taller had started calling the smaller "wife," and while there was confusion the two gladly entertained the idea of marriage, of a long life and love together.

Until he showed up.

The small man remembered the day he had been praying in the small church, kneeling in front of the altar, when he had accused him of witchcraft. Witchcraft? He had never even entertained the idea in his head. But his word had meant nothing, nothing compared to his. He was the head clergy member, his word above all else's.

And now he was speaking to the crowd.

"This man, Tino Väinämöinen, is a witch and must be put to death, lest he bring misfortune and misery upon us all!" Mathias Køhler was holding a bible and preaching to the scores of townspeople that had gathered around the crucifix. Berwald Oxenstierna stood beside him, his usually solemn face showing a mixture of pain and worry. His Tino wasn't a witch…his wife was the exact opposite. His Tino was an angel. But Mathias had other ideas, and Berwald had no room to oppose him. The two were clergy members, and pretty much ruled the small rural town that they inhabited. Mathias, however, was the head of the church, and no one could oppose his sayings. Especially not the small Finn who had resided in the town only a few months.

"Now we shall bless this spot and banish this witch from existence!" Mathias shouted, and the crowd roared. Witch sightings had been popular all over the country, but many of these people had never seen one for themselves. It was strange, even odd to think of how people behaved. Here was another human being who had never showed one inkling of being unholy, but they responded with unbounded enthusiasm to his death sentence. The eyes of the average long to see only what they see fit, and do not consider the lives of others. Berwald was thinking these things to himself as he turned to look up at the Finn. Tino. Oh, God, Tino. Tino had changed Berwald into a man. The sweet demeanor, the deep violet eyes, the pale blond strands that fell into his face as he ran. The angelic face, the coy way he bit his lip as he talked. It drove the Swede insane. Everything about him was perfect, absolutely perfect. Now, his face was covered in dirt and bruises, his hair a ratted mess, his gorgeous eyes full of tears. Berwald wanted nothing more to stop this madness, but he had no power. He would only die beside his love.

But at this point, that was better than nothing.

"Stop!" He shouted against the chanting of the Dane, who stopped mid-sentence to glare at him. "This man is innocent of witchcraft, Mathias is lying!"

"Lying?" Questioned a poor servant. "Why would he lie? He is holy, all he says is truth!"

Berwald shook his head. "He's usin' his power t' gain his 'wn desires. He's leadin' y' astray!"

"And have you any proof that the accused isn't a witch?" asked the local tailor.

"H've y' any proof th' he is?" Berwald spat back. "Th' is insane! Tino's inno-"Then he felt a large pressure on the back of his head, and everything went black.

Berwald awoke to a large gust of wind almost blowing his glasses off of his face. He felt pressure on his wrists; when he struggled, he couldn't move. He looked down to see that he, too, was tied to a crucifix; below, Mathias-that damn Mathias-accusing him of the same crime as his wife.

Speaking of his wife, he heard a small voice to his left. "B-berwald?" Berwald craned his neck to see that he was directly beside Tino.

"Tino…" He stared longingly at the other. "I tried t' save y'…"

"It's okay, Berwald." Tino smiled through his tears. "I'm just happy that you would do this for me…"

Berwald's own eyes were beginning to water. "M'wife." He noticed that their hands were just close enough, so he grabbed his hand, their fingers intertwining. "I…I love ya, Tino."

"I love you too, Berwald. I always have." Tino squeezed his hand. "Together?"

Berwald nodded, as the flames began to flicker around their feet. "F'rever."


A/N: Kind of a short Puritan-type story. Mathias abuses his power, no surprise there. (I'm kidding.) POOR TINO. And poor Berwald! But it's so sweet, because...well, it is! I hope you liked this story.