Celine-fem!Sweden, Laima-fem!Latvia, Ava-fem!Norway, Mathias-Denmark
The soft sound of crunching echoed through the absolute silence as Tino marched forward, being bathed in the orange glow of light given off by the setting sun in the distance. He adjusted the small child in his arms slightly so that he could open the gate with his free hand, quickly opening it and walking through before the gate fell closed again. He readjusted the toddler, big blue eyes looking up at him before a bubbly smile emerged from its features.
It was so beautiful, the scenery around him. The multicolored leaves looked so vivid, especially with the fading sunlight bathing them in it's warm glow. Tino breathed in the crisp air as he continued to march forward, finally stopping before he sat down on the ground. He set the child down, the toddler quickly picking up a leaf to play with. Tino looked directly at the gray stone before him.
Celine Rosalie Väinämöinen
Beloved wife, mother, and sister.
Tino let out a huge sigh, reaching forward to lightly touch the tombstone. "Hello, sweetie. It's been a while since I last came, huh?" The only answer was the sound of a leaf being crushed. Tino glanced over at the toddler and smiled fondly. "Our little girl is growing up so fast, Celine. You'd be so proud of her. Every day Maria reminds me of you even more. Peter loves her to death."
No response. It's not like she spoke much while she was alive, but Tino desperately missed the sound of Celine's one-word answers and hums of acknowledgment. He wanted to hear "'kay" or "mm-hmm" just one more time.
Tino picked up the little girl and brought her by his side, keeping her from wandering off. Maria looked at Tino before picking up another leaf. "Maria looks just like me, but she acts so much like you, Celine. She loves the workshop playset I bought for her. When she gets the toy wrench and starts hitting the plastic piece of wood with it, it's like I'm watching you all over again. And then she'll look at me with those big blue eyes and walk over to me, still holding her wrench. You'd be so, so proud of her."
The sound of leaves blowing in the wind answered him. A bright yellow leaf fell off a tree and landed in front of Tino, Maria quickly reaching over and picking it up. She began examining it – as much as a three-year old could, anyways – before she set it down.
"You'd be proud of Peter, too. He's done so much in the past three years. I know we worried about adopting a twelve-year old because we'd miss out on a lot, like the first word and first steps. But there was so much that he had ahead of him. Peter loves hockey. He told me he wants to be a hockey player when he gets older. He's been playing for the past two years, and he's so good at it. When he wears his team jersey, I know I'm looking at one of the best players in the world. He roots for the Swedish Three Crowns and the Finnish Lions, of course." Tino picked up Maria and set her in his lap, gently running his fingers through the short hair. He adjusted the blue ribbon in her hair.
"And one day, around a year and a half ago, he brought home a girlfriend named Laima. She's such an adorable girl. She's afraid of her own shadow, it seems. And Peter is her knight in shining armor, apparently. Peter was friends with her before he got into hockey and became popular. He loves Laima so much. They remind me of us when we were teenagers." Tino bit his lower lip when he felt the corners of his eyes start to get moist. Maria cooed and played with a twig on the ground.
"I know you won't believe me when I say this, but Mathias actually misses you an awful lot, Celine. He and Ava were expecting a baby last year, and they wanted to name it Celine. Just like you. But it wound up being a little boy. They named it Berwald, but I'm not sure where they got that name from. Mathias loves to tell Peter stories about the trouble you guys apparently got into when you guys were little kids," Tino laughed a little bit as a tear slid down the side of his face. "You never told me that you and Mathias threw rocks at your elementary school principal's car and broke his window."
Tears started to trickle down Tino's face at the sheer silence enveloping him that Maria would occasionally break. Celine would have chuckled a little nervously if she were here, then take off her glasses and pretend to clean them just to avoid eye contact with Tino because she would have preferred he not know about her childhood antics.
"Maria called me Papa several months ago. It was so amazing to hear that first word come out," Maria looked up at Tino and repeated the word papa, getting a sad smile from her father. "I know her first word would have been Mama if you were here..."
Tino choked out a slight sob and wiped face with his jacket sleeve. He shakily took in a gulp of air and steadied his breath.
"I miss you so much, Celine," Tino buried his face in his hands. "It's all my fault you're gone, I know it is..." Maria frowned slightly and crawled out of Tino's lap, her father not noticing. "Right after you died, Mathias got really drunk one night and started screaming at me about how it was all my fault. I'm so sorry, Celine."
Maria stumbled off towards a patch of ground that was devoid of leaves, picking a flower for her father.
"T-The doctor told us never to have a baby... And then I fucked up. You could never have aborted Maria, it would've broken your heart. And it was either her or you, and you knew it. I wish I didn't wind up putting you in that position. It was an accident. And I love Maria, so much, but I want you, too. That you died so soon after having Maria made Peter hate her there for a while. But I just want you back. I want you back, Celine...!" Tino broke down crying, pulling his knees to his face and wrapping his arms around his legs.
The tugging sensation on his sleeve alerted Tino to raise his head, Maria looking at him with a worried expression. "Papa, sad?" Her big blue eyes, the eyes that were the same hue as Celine's, gleamed with innocent worry. Tino shook his head and wiped at his face.
"Just a little, baby. I just miss someone."
"Who?" The question broke Tino's heart. Maria didn't know her mother, she died less than twelve hours after giving birth.
"I just miss your mommy lots, Maria." Tino picked her up and turned around, shifting so they were both facing the tombstone.
"Mama?" Maria said, reaching out to touch the stone. She spread out her fingers on the cold stone. "Mama is rock?"
Tino shook his head. "No, Maria," Tears slid down his face as the acidic truth emerged from his throat. "Mama died a long time ago."
"Oh," Tino knew that Maria didn't know what it meant. But Maria didn't ask about it, though. "Mama love Papa?"
Tino stared at the most beautiful name in the world carved into smooth gray stone. "Yes. She loved me a lot."
"Mama love me?" Maria stared at the tombstone with intense focus, her face almost looking like she was pouting. She was going to have what seemed like Celine's "eternal scowl" when she was older.
"Yes. Mama loves you. And Peter, and me, and bunches of other people." Tino stroked Maria's hair gently, silent tears still dripping off his face. He needed to be strong for Maria, damn it! Peter had seen him when he hit rock bottom after Celine died, but to Maria he might as well have been Superman.
Maria took the flower she had saved for Tino and dropped it on the base of the grave. "Love Mama," Tino tightened his grip around his daughter. She looked up at him. "Love Papa, too."
Tino laughed and wiped his face, his nose red on the end. "I know, sweetie. Let's go home. It's getting late." He stood up, picking up Maria once he was up. She looked at the grave.
"Bye, Mama." She waved at the grave, Tino smiling at the little girl.
"Bye, Celine. I'll try to come back soon, okay?" Tino stroked Maria's hair as the pair walked away in silence, Maria looking over Tino's shoulder at the grave before they were finally too far away to see it.
Celine looked down at the flower on her grave. If only she were able to reach forward and grab it, and treasure it forever. It made her so sad to see Tino in so much pain. But she was so happy to see her beautiful baby, to hear about Peter and Mathias, and to see Maria being held so tenderly by Tino.
She wished they could see her, and know how much she missed them.
But someday, many, many years later, they would all be a family after death claimed the rest of them. She just hoped it wasn't any time soon.
A/N: Think it was Peter that Tino had at the very beginning of the story? I wrote it that way on purpose. ;P I just had this idea pop into my head and had to write it. This story is mostly practice with writing angst. I've never written angst before, so please review! Don't be too critical, but don't be too soft, either. Thanks! If you want to give me a lot of advice or something, it's be easier if you send me a PM instead.
I should probably go work on stuff I need to get done. Someone requested Flying Mint Bunny/England and I need to write that (I don't so requests, by the way. This is an exception.), I need to start writing a couple of planned things, and finish up a couple of kink meme fills. If school wasn't such a bitch I'd have a lot more time.