A/N: And here we are, the last chapter! Thanks to all my well-wishers on the previous chapter! I hope you'll find this a suitable ending.
A long silence followed Finland's sacrifice. Whether it was because they couldn't believe that anyone would willingly give up such a powerful ability, or because they had simply never seen someone have their magic extracted from them and crushed, Finland wasn't sure. His head was still reeling a bit as well with the enormity of his decision. He knew that it wouldn't make a big change from what he was used to; he'd used his power basically for the first time when the tragedy with Estonia and Latvia had occurred and then hadn't used it again until five years later when he'd needed to save Sealand from Russia. It wasn't as though he'd grown accustomed to the luxuries his powers had granted him and would now need to readjust to not having them. Still, there was no doubt that it had been a big decision to make.
"Very well…" the village elder said slowly, coming back to himself. "In that case, I see no reason why you shouldn't be allowed to return to this country if you choose. I don't know if I can recommend that you return to this very village what with everything that's…"
He trailed off uncertainly, looking at Finland. Finland glanced around at Sweden, Estonia and Latvia before speaking.
"Actually sir, I have a life in Pohjola now," Finland said. "I can't really just leave that all behind…"
"In that case, the only matter of business remaining is to determine the future of these two youngsters," the elder continued in a business-like tone. "With our town's situation being what it is, we are in direr need of Mr. Von Bock's research than ever."
"I'd like to continue," Estonia said quickly, "if there's any way I can keep living here and working on my research."
"The only issue is funding," the elder said with a frown. "With the Väinämöinen family no longer living here, I'm not sure whether anyone has the means to support the two of you."
"If I may ask, sir," Finland piped up, "do you know how to contact my family? I could ask them if they would be willing to take Estonia and Latvia in again."
The elder looked troubled. "If they are still residing in the town they went to after leaving us, it's quite a ways from here. If it comes down to either sending these boys to a distant place where Von Bock could complete his research, or staying here and not having the resources he needs then it would obviously be preferable to have him stay with your family again, but as I said before our situation is quite dire…"
A thoughtful silence fell once more. Finland started slightly when Sweden suddenly touched his shoulder to get his attention.
"'S place is a minin' town, right?" Sweden asked him in a whisper. Finland nodded. "'N' 'Merica uses a lot 'f metal fer 'is toys 'n' 'nventions, 'n' he's got that sampo that makes gold…"
Finland was silent for a moment, still working out where Sweden was trying to lead him. It didn't take him long to piece it together, though. "Oh! What if we asked America to work out a deal with—"
"'T's what I was thinkin'," Sweden muttered. "I could run back 'n' ask 'im. Take me 'bout ten minutes."
"We've just thought of something that might work," Finland announced. "Sweden just needs to check whether it's possible."
Sweden nodded to the members of the council and excused himself from the hall.
An hour later, Finland, Sweden, Estonia, and Latvia stepped out of city hall. Finland let out a long, slow sigh and turned to look at Estonia and Latvia with a weary smile.
"I'm glad we got that all sorted out," he said. "That was pretty good thinking on your part, Sve, to ask Mr. America if he would mind buying his metal from here from now on."
Sweden's cheeks pinked slightly as Finland gave him a grateful pat on the back, and the genie shrugged, indicating that he didn't think he was particularly deserving of praise.
"Thanks for getting that figured out for us," Estonia said. "I can't wait to start working again."
"Oh please, don't thank me," Finland said, looking uncomfortable. "After the awful mess I put you in, the last thing you should be towards me is grateful."
"Well, it's true that it was a pretty huge setback, and it caused a lot of unnecessary grief," Estonia admitted, "but there's nothing we can do to change it now. We just have to play with the cards we've been dealt, and being bitter about it will only get in the way of the rest of our lives."
Finland looked at Estonia in surprise. "That's… pretty deep, Estonia. Wow."
Estonia smiled slightly. "My dad used to say that kind of thing all the time, so I can't really take credit for it."
"We should write Mom and Dad right away and let them know we're not dead," Latvia piped up. "They'll be so glad!"
Finland smiled at the younger boy. "I think I've got some letter writing to do myself. I'm sure Norway, Iceland, and Denmark will want to know about everything that's happened today."
"You'll keep in touch with us, too, right?" Estonia asked. "I mean, I know a lot of time has passed for you and you've grown up and all, but to us it passed in the blink of an eye. To me, we're still friends just like we were five years ago…"
"Yeah, you'll write to us, won't you?" Latvia begged.
Finland was speechless. He supposed what Estonia was saying made sense, but to still be able to think of someone as a friend after that person had stolen away five whole years of your life with his own stupidity was incredible. Not that he was complaining.
"Y-yeah, of course," Finland stammered. "Maybe you can even come stay with us once in a while."
Finland saw both boys' eyes flicker uneasily toward tall, intimidating Sweden for a moment before they gave their hesitant answer.
"Y-yeah, that sounds fun."
"I can introduce you to my son," Finland said with a grin, already anticipating their shocked reactions. "I'm sure he'd love to meet you. He's around your age, after all."
It took a second for this information to sink in, but the payoff was just as satisfying as Finland had expected.
"Whaaat?! You've got a kid?!"
"And he's our age?! But… how is that possible?! Don't tell me you and Thailand really did…?!"
"Thail'nd?" Sweden interrupted suddenly, a truly terrifying expression on his face.
"Ohyaaaa! N-n-no! Of course not!" Finland squeaked. "There was never anything between me and Thailand, alright?! Jeez, Estonia! Sealand is Sve's and my son! We adopted him!"
Sweden eyed him for a moment more, clearly searching for any sign that Finland was just trying to placate him. Whatever he saw in Finland's face must have satisfied him, though, because his expression cleared once more. This information did nothing to quell Estonia and Latvia's shock and disbelief, however; in fact, they looked even more thunderstruck than before.
"Wow, I can't believe you're a dad, Finland! That's… that's so weird!"
"Wait, so the two of you are…?! But… huh?!"
Finland blushed and looked down at his feet. "Well, things are a little complicated between us, no thanks to me, but… we're—we're a family now and…" He hesitated, grinding the dirty snow beneath his shoe self-consciously. "I'm happy," he finished softly.
Sweden's fingers brushed his hand and Finland took hold of them, giving them a gentle squeeze that sent swells of foreign joy through him to join his own. He chanced a timid glance up at the genie and saw that his face was just as red as Finland's, but the softness in Sweden's eyes told him that embarrassment was a small price to pay for hearing Finland say that.
"Wow…" Estonia said, as if he were still struggling to believe it. "Well, I'm happy for you, then, Finland. Congratulations."
"Yeah, I can't wait to visit you and meet your kid!" Latvia said excitedly.
"Why don't you come around to visit next month once you're settled down here?" Finland suggested. "I'll send you a letter later and see about getting someone to pick you up."
"Can't wait," Estonia said with a smile.
"Good," Finland replied brightly. "Well, I guess this is goodbye again for now."
He shook his old friends' hands.
"Ready t' go home?" Sweden asked.
"I think so," Finland said.
Sweden gave his hand another affectionate squeeze before whisking them away in a swirl of smoke and magic.
Sweden blinked as their room off to the side of the toyshop materialized before his eyes. It was hard to believe that less than three hours ago, this room had been filled with such fear and sorrow when it now seemed positively radiant. The sun had broken through the winter clouds and was now streaming through the window cheerfully. Finland's hand was still clasped in his.
Now that things had been put right with Estonia and Latvia, there was only one thing on Sweden's mind. He remembered very clearly how Finland had said the main thing standing in the way of his ability to start a romantic relationship with Sweden was his need to face his past first. With that barrier overcome, did this mean that there was finally hope for the two of them?
After a moment of stillness and silence, he glanced over at Finland. If his chest had contained a heart, it would have stuttered at the look that Finland was giving him right now. Sweden had seen Finland give him what he had considered to be gorgeous, sunny smiles before, but those paled in comparison to the one he was receiving now. The weight of the guilt over what he had thought he'd done no longer haunted his expression, it was as free and clear as one who had been completely reborn.
"S…so what now?" Sweden asked, feeling a little dazed in the face of Finland's breathtaking smile.
"Well…" Finland said slowly, his smile not fading in the slightest, "first I want to say thank you for everything you've done for me."
Sweden shook his head. "'S much 's I wish I could take credit fer everything I did for ya, the truth 's that I woulda had no choice even 'f I didn't wanna help ya at all. Just acted on m' master's orders, 'n' my own feelin's had no 'ffect on the outcome."
"Well, I didn't mean just the things you did with magic, although I certainly couldn't have gotten things straightened out without it," Finland said. "I'm also talking about the support, comfort and all the other favors you've done for me. Even if I had the means to undo my mistake by myself, I don't know if I could have found the courage without you and Sea beside me."
Sweden shifted embarrassedly. He really didn't feel like he'd done all that much. The genie opened his mouth to say as much, but Finland stopped him.
"Please don't tell me it was nothing," he said softly, "because it made all the difference in the world to me."
Sweden nodded obligingly. "A'right then, yer welc'me."
Finland smiled sweetly again, and before Sweden could even see it coming, Finland was throwing his arms around him. Something in Sweden's chest sputtered happily as Finland snuggled his face into the crook of Sweden's neck. Sweden returned his embrace unhesitatingly, his cheeks flushing as he nuzzled his nose into Finland's silky blond hair.
"Do you remember when I promised I'd use one of my wishes to set you free?" Finland breathed, his lips brushing Sweden's skin.
Sweden swallowed hard. There was no way he could have forgotten something like that. "Mm."
"I think I'm ready to make good on that promise."
The genie started. "What, now? But… ya've still got one other wish left."
Sweden could feel the upward curve of Finland's smile on his neck and it sent another joyful little shiver down his spine. "Right now, I'm happier than I thought I could be ever again. The only thing that could make me happier is something magic can't provide."
"Ya sure?" Sweden asked, hardly daring to believe it. "Ya really wanna wastecher last wish?"
Finland was silent for a moment. Sweden looked down at him the best he could without pulling away, and was surprised to see that the back of Finland's neck had gone red. Was he blushing or was that just some skin irritation that he hadn't noticed until just now? Finland's next words answered that question.
"T-to be perfectly honest, I… I wanted our first kiss to be as equals and, um… I really don't know how much longer I can resist," Finland mumbled.
That admission made Sweden go even redder than Finland. He swallowed thickly, his eyes sliding compulsively over to his tarnished old lamp that was sitting on top of the dresser. Was this really it? Would this be the last he ever saw of that cursed lamp which he had always hated? Could this really be the day that all his wishes finally came true? After having seen the way that all Finland's troubles had been undone, the genie dared to dream.
"Make yer formal wish when y're ready," he whispered. His knees felt strangely weak, and his throat wasn't working properly.
Finland nuzzled him. "I wish you were free."
"Y-yer wish 's my c'mmand," Sweden stuttered.
There was a loud sound of metal being crushed that made them both jump. Sweden's eyes darted back to his lamp which seemed to be collapsing on top of itself as though it suddenly contained a powerful vacuum. The two of them watched in silence as the lamp scrunched in on itself, growing smaller and smaller until finally it had vanished.
Finland and Sweden looked at each other for a moment in silent surprise.
"I… 'm free…" Sweden said numbly.
Finland smiled, his hand coming up to cup Sweden's cheek. "Yes."
Before Finland could utter another word, Sweden had leaned in and captured Finland's lips hungrily. His knees grew so weak with pleasure when Finland began to respond enthusiastically to his kiss that Sweden needed to back them up towards the bed so that they could sit down. The genie hummed his approval as Finland teased his lip gently with his teeth.
"I love you, Sve," Finland murmured shyly between kisses.
Sweden was too choked up to reply just then, so he just poured all his feelings into his kiss, trusting the fact that Finland could read his emotions to do the talking for him for now.
By the time they parted, they were both very red, Finland was trying to catch his breath, and Sweden was painfully aware of the fact that his eyes were rather moist. The genie sniffled and tried to wipe his eyes before Finland noticed, but he was too late. Finland took his hands and leaned in to kiss the tears tenderly from the corners of Sweden's eyes.
"S-sorry…" Sweden rasped, feeling very embarrassed by his own display. "J'st… been wantin' this fer hundreds o' years…"
He was very grateful when Finland decided to hug him close rather than continue to study his face so that he could have some time to collect himself.
"You don't have to be sorry," Finland said softly. "I'm just glad I could repay you for all the wonderful things you've done for me."
Sweden sniffled again. "Love ya, Fin… Wouldja and Sea be th' fam'ly 've always wished for?"
Finland grinned widely and kissed the top of Sweden's head. "Your wish is my command."
Six months later
It was a pleasant summer day. The sun smiled down on Finland's blond head, causing it to shine almost as radiantly as the sun itself as he hung the laundry up to dry in the backyard. A gentle breeze set the drying sheets a-flutter, filling the air with the pleasant scent of laundry soap. Sweden and Sealand were occupied a few feet away with the little vegetable garden that the two of them had planted in the spring.
"The cloudberries are almost ready," Sealand said, poking a nearly ripe berry excitedly. "I bet they'll be ripe just when Uncle Norway, Iceland and Denmark come to visit next week!"
"Might be right," Sweden agreed, though privately he thought he wouldn't go out of his way to save any for Denmark. He was as civil to him as he could stand to be for Finland's sake, but quite frankly, the man drove him up the wall. "Y' sure ya don't want help with th' laundry, Fin?"
"I'm fine, don't worry about it," Finland assured him.
"Could have it done 'n five seconds with m' magic," Sweden pointed out.
Finland was silent for a second, and then he poked his head out from between the hanging sheets, smiling brightly. "Too late, just finished!"
He sauntered over to where Sweden and Sealand were working to examine the cloudberries' progress for himself. Sweden stripped off his gardening gloves and stood to greet him, curling an arm around Finland's waist and tugging him gently closer for a kiss. He had gotten better at casual kisses lately; he'd been so nervous during the first few attempts that he often missed his mark or ended up not being able to gather the nerve and just staring at Finland with an expression that Sealand said made him look constipated. No more, though. He kissed Finland again, and then once more for good measure as Sealand made exaggerated puking noises at the sight.
"Bleagh, get a room, you two!" he teased. "Quit snogging in front of other people, ya pervs!"
"'S funny how y' had such a diff'rent view on th' matter last night when it was you 'n' Liechtenstein," Sweden pointed out just as teasingly.
Sealand's mouth fell open in horror and his face went scarlet.
"What's this about Sea and Liechtenstein?" Finland asked, grinning.
"Sea got 'imself a li'l g'bye sugar at th' door last night after their date," Sweden announced, his glasses glinting triumphantly in the summer sun.
"D-DAD!" Sealand spluttered. "I…! We…! What were you doing watching us, you big wanker?!"
Sweden shrugged. "Wasn't tryin' t' watch. Just happ'ned t' be puttin' out th' trash 'n' there ya two were, suckin' face out in th' middle 'f th' road."
Mortified, Sealand snatched one of the carrots they'd just harvested and lobbed it at Sweden. The genie turned his body to smoke and the vegetable sailed harmlessly through him. He leaned in deliberately to kiss Finland again.
"Y' know, y' never did make that last wish," Sweden murmured close to Finland's neck, causing him to shiver with pleasure at the graze of his lips against his sensitive skin.
"I told you, Sve, we're equals now," Finland pouted. "You don't need to worry about wishes anymore."
""I'm offerin' cause I wanna," Sweden assured him. "B'sides, yer birthday's comin' up. Oughta be a good 'nough excuse."
Finland pursed his lips, leaning back against Sweden's chest as he considered his options.
"You know, I've been wondering how it would be to have another child," Finland mused.
"Whaaa? Honestly?!" Sealand squawked.
"Sure," Finland said. "Wouldn't you like to have a little brother or sister?"
Sealand thought about this. A smile spread slowly over his face. "Actually, that might be really cool!"
"What do you think, Sve?" Finland asked, smiling up at the genie who towered behind him.
Sweden blushed. "Y' wanna make it th' natural way?" he whispered shyly.
Finland went pink as well. "Wh-what? Don't be silly, Sve! That's impossible!"
Sweden pouted, imagining how cute Finland would have been with a baby belly. "Boy 'r girl?"
"I don't know, surprise me," Finland requested, grinning.
Sweden stole yet another kiss. "Yer wish's my c'mmand."
He pointed his finger at the carrot that Sealand had thrown at him. Before their very eyes, the carrot was transformed into a little boy of about one year old with orangey hair (similar to the color of the carrot's skin) and a long streak of dirt across his face that ran from his cheek all the way across his nose like a scar.
Finland let out a drawn out coo of adoration and scooped the bare naked child into his arms. Sweden and Sealand joined him eagerly, crowding around to greet the newest member of their family. The boy regarded them with a curiously haughty look for a child so young, but was quickly distracted by the shiny silver button on Finland's shirt. He grabbed it and pulled it to his mouth, sucking on it happily.
"Oh Sve, he's gorgeous!" Finland gushed. "I can't wait to show my brothers and Mr. America! They'll be so thrilled!"
"Needs a name," Sweden pointed out.
"La la la," the child babbled around the button that he was still slobbering all over.
"How about Sparkly Peanut Quill?" Finland suggested eagerly.
Sweden stared at him, not sure if he was joking or not. Finland quailed slightly at the frightening expression on his beloved's face.
"No good?" he squeaked. "Then what about… Go For It, Bomb Bastard!"
The expression on Sweden's face grew even more terrifying as Sealand snorted with laughter.
"F-Fiery Duck Egg Muncher?" Finland proposed.
"How 'bout Ladonia?" Sweden offered.
"Ladonia…" Finland repeated. "Yeah… that's cute! What do you think, Ladonia? Want to join our family?"
The child, as young as he was, seemed to realize that Finland was addressing him because he looked around at them all with that haughty expression of his again. When his eyes landed on Sweden, he blew a loud raspberry. Sealand cackled gleefully at this, for he had not had his revenge for Sweden announcing that he'd caught him and Liechtenstein kissing.
"I think I'm gonna like this kid," Sealand said with a grin.