Short story (one-shot?) about Sweden, Finalnd, and Sealand, and how they cope after some unexplained accident causes Berwald to lose his sight.
Tino Vainamoinen cringed at the medicinal smell as he walked slowly through the hospital hallways. He slowed to a stop, took a deep breath, and entered the room. The Finnish man nearly dropped the bouquet of flowers he'd brought along with him when he finally saw his lover.
Berwald sat on the edge of the hospital bed facing Tino, but he did not show any signs of noticing the man. Instead, he ran his rough, calloused fingers along the spine and pages of an old book of Swedish fairytales. The large man gazed longingly at the piece of literature through mily eyes.
Finally, Tino coughed softly, causing Berwald to whip his head up and clutch the book as if it were his old broadsword from the Viking days. "Who's th're?" He growled, searching the room with unseeing eyes.
"It's me, honey," Tino sat down next to the man and began rubbing small circles on his back. Tino didn't even have to say his own name to be recognized by the giant. He'd always remember the Fin's gentle way of speaking, his delicate touch.
"'m s'rry, Tino," Berwald choked, ashamed of the way he'd snapped at his wife, "Wh're's Peter?"
Tino stopped rubbing Berwald's back and leaned into the strong man's shoulder, "He's staying with Arthur. Do you want to s- uhh, do you want him to bring him over?"
The Swede shook his head slowly, "No, I'll see h'm when he c'mes h'me t'morrow." Berwald cringed as he involuntarily said the word "see". He knew he'd never "see" again. Never "see" Tino or Peter, or Mathias, Eirik, or Emil again. Never "see" the midnight sun, or the pure white Scandinavian snow. Never "see" another "I love you" note from Tino in his work pail. Never "see" the drawings his son so frequently brought home from school. Never "see" the little boy grow into a man. Never again.
Tino got up to put the flowers in a vase, Berwald following him with his disabled eyes. Slowly the Swede stood up, and with his hands out in front of him, shuffled towards the spot where he thought he could hear Tino's gentle heartbeat. Without any major fumbles, Berwald made it across the room to where Tino ran his fingers over the soft petals of an orange tulip, his back turned to his husband, but still aware of the man's presence.
Berwald gingerly wrapped his arms around his wife's middle, cradling the man to his chest. They stood like that for a while, just feeling each other's heart pound against his ribcage. Berwald loosened his grip on the Finish man and turned him around when he began feeling his lover's breathing become uneven and quick. "Tino…" he reached up, placing his rough palms on Tino's soft face, feeling hot trails of water running vertically down the round cheeks.
Tino felt his husband's large hands sheath his face and tried willing away the tears that flooded freely from his eyes. With the gentlest touch, Berwald seeked out the sweet lips of his lover. Soothingly, he kissed Tino, who in return, wrapped his arms around the giant's neck, his fear and desperation leaking out through the kiss.
Berwald felt like rolls had been reversed. He was usually the one driving. He was the one helped Tino out of the car. Not anymore. Tino clutched Berwald's hand in his as they rang the bell at Arthur's front door.
The couple could hear both English accents coming from inside the house, one shouting, "Mama! Papa!" over and over, and the other calling out, "Peter, you're not to answer the door without me there with you!" Tino was relieved to hear Berwald chuckle softly beside him.
"Papa!" the front door flung open, and peter jumped at Berwald's legs. The blind man stumbled at the impact, but caught himself before falling. Tina grabbed his lover to steady him, but his efforts were brushed aside.
"H'y Peter, did you b'have for Arth'r?" Berwald knelt on the ground and held out his arms to his son, pulling tho boy into a tight hug.
"Yes!" Peter's smile lit up his chubby face, "Arthur and I played pirates and Vikings! Then I drew lots of pictures…" Berwald grinned soflty as Peter rambled on about his night with the British fellow.
"Peter, let your parents in," Arthur laughed at the family of blondes sitting on his doorstep.
Once they were all settled in Arthur's sitting room, Tino began to explain his husband's condition, "The doctors say he won't be able to-"
"I c'n explain m'self, Tino," Berwald interjected, "I w'n't be able to see much as'ide from tellin' dark from l'ght. It may or may not get bett'r."
Arthur didn't even know how to respond, "I'm so sorry, if there's anything I can do to help…with Peter or…anything."
"There's really nothing that can be done," Tino said, his voice cracking. Without another word, the family of three loaded themselves into their car and headed home. The drive was absolutely silent until Peter spoke, "Mama, why isn't Papa driving?" Tino stiffened in the driver's seat.
"Baby, we'll talk about it when we get home, okay?"
Though his motion was awkward and slow, Berwald managed to move around the house with much more proficiency than in the last two environments.
"'C'mere Peter," The Swede held his arms out.
"I'm over here, Papa," the little boy laughed from the opposite direction, climbing into his father's waiting lap.
Tino sat down next to his boys, "Do you want me to tell him?" he gently laid a soft hand on Berwald's arm. Tino was better at delivering "grown-up" news to their son. The man nodded gruffly, pulling the boy closer. Sensing the seriousness in the atmosphere, Peter settled down and got uncharacteristically quiet.
The Fin decided not to candy-coat his words, and just get it out, "Peter, honey, Papa can't see anymore. He got something in his eyes at work. The doctors tried their best to fix it, but they couldn't do anything. Do you understand what I'm telling you?"
"But isn't that why you wear glasses?" Peter looked at Berwald inquisitively.
Berwald shook his head, "Gl'sses w'n't fix this."
Peter looked at his father's unfocused eyes, and the two parents were afraid their son would react negatively. Luckily, Peter was a smart child. The boy leaned into his father's chest, clasping the broad man's shirt in his little hands.
"Does that mean we can't play anymore?"
Tino laughed shakily, although glad that Peter had taken the tragic news rather well, " No, you can still play. Papa's the same person as he was before."
Tino lay in bed, staring at the ceiling. The bathroom light clicked off and Berwald stepped out. The bed shifted as the heavy man climbed in beside his wife.
Tino jumped as a pair of large hands cupped his face. What are you doing?" He giggled.
"I nev'r w'nt to f'rget your face." The smaller man's smile deteriorated, and he looked up at his husband sadly.
"No, I w'nt you t' smile. Why r'memb'r a sad face?"
"You're right," Tino's grin returned. Berwald ran his fingers along the man's cheeks, memorizing every dip and curve of the plain.
"I l've ya, Tino," Berwald bent down and kissed his wife gently.
Tino laced his arms around Berwald's shoulder, "I love you too," he whispered into the blind man's ear.