Sweden can't help but feel sorry for the poor people who worked at the hotel. He knew what kind of trouble the nations could get up to sober, let alone drunk. And with that many different nations in one room, along with copious amounts of alcohol, there are bound to be fistfights, one night stands and breakups before the night is over.
This is why he is grateful that he was able to escape the bar before anybody got too out of hand. His escape, however, didn't go unnoticed. Denmark had followed him, begging him to come back inside. Mathias was always trying to get him to be more social, more outgoing. If Denmark had his way, Sweden would be in the lobby right now, drunk off his ass and making a fool of himself. I'll leave that to Denmark, he thinks smugly.
He tries to read the book in his hands, a thriller from one of Norway's authors. They both share a love for mysteries, the gorier the better and they both have quite the reputation for them. That's why he'll never let Norway know that he's likes the book quite a bit; he wouldn't want Nor to have the satisfaction.
But, no matter how hard he tries, he simply cannot immerse himself back into the book. On the plane ride over he hadn't been able to put it down and yet now, when he really needs the distraction, he isn't able to concentrate.
Sweden's mind drifts to what he had seen at the bar. Against his will, images of the other countries and their partners enter his mind. He remembers how Germany had been kissing Italy at a corner table, with a ferociousness and intensity that betrayed his desire for the other nation. To watch them made him feel dirty, as though he were watching or about to watch the two have sex.
This is not only uncomfortable to him because he was embarrassed at Germany's uncharacteristic show of affection but because he did not want to look away. He wanted to see how far they would go, if they had lost their inhibitions enough to have sex right there, under the prying eyes of the other nations. He wanted to see how it would happen, who would take the dominant role and he wanted to hear their voices rise in ecstasy. Thankfully, his face had betrayed none of these desires. And sadly, the nations had come to their senses. When he had laid Italy onto the table and had just begun to stroke his chest, Germany came to his senses and dragged Italy away to their room.
And then another image infiltrates his mind. This one not as pornographic but much more painful. Sweden had seen Finland and Estonia together before, in meetings and such, but to see them at the bar tonight ripped a hole in his chest. They had been so easy together, so carefree, that it made his heart ache.
They had been right at the bar, which wasn't surprising given Fin's love of alcohol. But they paid no attention to the drinks in front of them or the people around them. All they seemed to care about was each other. Apparently, from what he could gather, Estonia had told a joke, and Finland had found it so funny that he was holding his stomach and was laughing so hard that little tears sprouted in the corners of his eyes. He put his other hand on Estonia's chest as if to say, 'stop it, you' and Estonia beamed, looking very proud of his accomplishment.
Then they shared a look, one so blatantly loving and sweet that Sweden felt ill. They both glowed with it and smiled at each other and how they felt for one another was so obvious, so pure as to almost, in a weird way, be obscene.
Sweden wonders, as he tries yet again to get into his book, if that is what was missing in their relationship. Would he still be with Finland if he could make the other nation laugh like that? Is that all it took? The perfectly timed joke? If he possessed such an ability would Finland have smiled at him like that, and touched his chest in the same way? Would they have beamed at each other like that, so obviously in love?
He shakes his head and tries to put those thoughts behind him, put Finland behind him. It should be easy; they haven't been together for so long. And yet, he can't. He still holds on, decades later, to the love he feels for Tino. And it hurts. To hold on to someone that he cannot have. He should have moved on, maybe expanded his romantic life to more than the infrequent one night stand. But for some reason the thought of going further, of actually trying to be with someone else and create a life with them, feels like he's betraying Finland. Even though the occasional no strings attached fuck holds none of the same guilt.
Sweden sighs and throws the book in the chair beside his bed, giving up and decides to watch TV instead. He grabs the remote and begins flipping through channels. Surprisingly, he finds a film he recognizes. It's one from his house, The Virgin Spring by Ingmar Bergman. He almost turns the channel before thinking that maybe with the film's dark subject matter, it would be just right for the mood he's in. Luckily he found it near the beginning, so he won't have any trouble catching up.
He finds it much easier to get into the film than he did his book. Part of it might be the comfort of knowing what was coming next, not to mention he doesn't feel as though he's betraying his country's artists by enjoying it. There is also a perverse pleasure involved, one of seeing a suffering greater than his own. Either way, Sweden sinks into the covers and is finally able to block out his worries and the hurtful emotions that have been taunting him all night.
Just as he's falling asleep, there's a knock at the door. He thinks, momentarily, about ignoring it. Maybe they'll just go away and he'll be able to rest. But the knocking continues, and the longer he waits, the louder it gets. After a while the person is beating on it so hard that the door rattles in its frame. With more than a little anger at the intrusion, Sweden flings back the covers and walks toward the door.
Sweden is grateful for his intimidating features in times like these. Hopefully one look at him will convince whoever is behind the door to hurry away, quickly. But when he flings the door open to see whose behind it, he realizes that it isn't going to work.
Sweden is stunned to see America standing in the hallway, an apologetic half grin on his face. What startles him is the man's disheveled appearance. Apparently Sweden was right about the impending fight. There is a bruise forming under America's left eye and another one on his chin. His glasses are eschewed on his face and his hair is drooping into his eyes. His tie is gone, and so is his jacket. The man's shirt is in a hideous state of disarray, with one sleeve ripped off, various buttons gone, rips and tears as far as the eye can see and a large red stain in the middle of it.
"Y' ok?" he manages to spit out. Despite the fact that he was expecting nothing less from a bar full of countries, he is still shocked at the sheer amount of blood on America's shirt. The man must be seriously wounded, and yet he's standing there like nothing happened.
"Fine, why do ya ask?"
"'cause yer covered in blood!" he exclaims, while gesturing at his shirt.
America looks at where Sweden is pointing and laughs. "Nah just got attacked by a flying ketchup bottle." He puts his hands in his back pockets and stares at Sweden expectantly.
"Well, what d'ya want?"
"I wanna know why you're in Mattie's and my room. I mean if Mattie wants to have guests over that's fine, but won't you let me in?"
"Yeah, my room. Mattie let you in remember? Course you probably don't remember, for some reason no one does." And then, with a hearty shout America exclaims, "Yo! Matt! Tell Lurch here to let me in!"
Lurch? What did he mean by that? Sweden asks himself.
America ignores Sweden's presence and yells over his shoulder. "Matt! Come on! I really don't wanna bang on the door all night. Mattie! I need to crash, defending your boyfriend from getting his ass kicked really wore me out and my stupid key isn't working!"
Finally coming to his senses Sweden puts his hand on America's shoulder.
"He's not 'ere. It's not yer room."
"Course it is, you just probably didn't see him. Maybe he stepped out for some food or somethin'"
"No. It's not yer room, it's mine."
"Huh? Of course it's my room, let me in I'll show ya."
With that, America pushs past Sweden and into the room. Sweden isn't expecting the force and almost fell backwards. He hadn't expected America to be so quick, so he was unable to stop him.
America starts to roam the room. He rummages through the closet muttering things to himself, and goes off to pilfer through Sweden's suitcase. He doesn't even leave the bathroom unbothered, as he goes through Sweden's toiletries. And apparently has decided to leave no stone unturned, as he even kneels to look under Sweden's bed.
"Believe m' now?"
America rises up with a determined smile on his face.
"No. You just got rid of my stuff."
"Hmm…I don't know. But you'd need some pretty nefarious reasons to steal a man's room. That's a dirty trick, if there ever was one, getting rid of my stuff and makin' it look like I've gone crazy, so you can sneak in here and take my room. Who are you workin' for?"
America gets up on his toes so he can get right in Sweden's face. "You're working with terrorists aren't ya? Or aliens? I bet it's aliens!"
"How much did they pay you huh? How much money is worth doin' something so underhanded?"
"What are ya talkin' about?"
"I'm talking about how you helped some nasty aliens by taking over my room. Your inevitable plot of world domination will not go unpunished! I know what's going on!"
Sweden involuntarily balls his hands into fists. Of all the things he had been accused of in his life. And the worst part is that everything he says seems to go through one ear and out the other. There is no reasoning with the younger nation, it seems. Well if reason wouldn't work, then he'd have to resort to brute force.
"'Merica, yer goin' now" And with that, he grabs America's arm and starts to pull him toward the door.
With ease the younger nation throws him off. "Geez, you really know how to take a joke don'tcha?"
"Did you really think I thought there was an alien conspiracy to steal my room?"
America lets loose with an exuberant laugh. "You need to get your sense of humor checked, it's not doin' so well"
America then settles down into Sweden's chair and makes himself at home. He picks up the remote as if to change the channel but lays it in his lap instead. He stares at the TV intensely.
" Not true. I have a good sense a humor, yer just not funny"
At this America pouts, "I'm hilarious; anyone else would be laughing their ass off right now."
With that Sweden turns on him. His shock is quickly being replaced with annoyance. Why had he of all people been chosen as the butt of America's little game? "So y' just woke me up to play this trick? Y' knew it wasn't your room?"
Turning to face Sweden, America states, "Nah. I really am lost. I just didn't know it until I came in here. I just thought 'hey, why not have a little fun while I'm at it.'"
Sweden walks over toward America and swipes the remote out of his lap. "Text Canada and ask him where y' room is, shouldn't be hard."
"I can't though. See, while I was in the bathroom-''
"Goin' through m' things"
"Yeah, that. Anyway, I did text him, like you said. But apparently his phone was turned off. He usually does that before hanging out with France. For some reason he doesn't appreciate when I text him during dates. Francis probably called him about the fight and my little bro is probably with him right now, 'nursing him back to health'.
"Can't you ask the front desk?"
"They kind of hate us all right now…after that incident with the coat rack, so I wouldn't order any room service for the rest of the trip if I was you."
"'n you don't have any idea where yer room is?"
"Nope!" America says with a smile.
"And no other nation you could get to help ya?"
"Nope! Anyone who isn't passed out either in the bar or their room or explaining the infamous coat rack incident to the cops is probably too busy getting laid to help me out."
"So what are ya gonna do now?"
" Well…I was hopin, out of the goodness of your heart, you see, that you'd let me stay with you for the night." At this, America turns to Sweden with a look so pitiful, so puppy like that for Sweden to refuse him he'd feel utterly heartless. It was for one night, what harm could America do in one night?
A lot his mind supplies, America could do a whole lot of damage in one night.
Sweden also knows that, if he agrees to let the hyperactive nation stay with him, that he'll probably not get an ounce of sleep. But, looking into those big round blue eyes, he just can't say no.
"Fin' but yer sleepin' in the chair, got it?" he asks firmly.
"Do ya want to get cleaned up? Y' look a little ragged" Sweden asks, in a much gentler voice.
America quickly jumps up from his place in the recliner. "Yes! I guess I won't be able to wear this shirt anymore. Mind if I borrow one of yours?"
"Go right ahead," Sweden replies, as he sits down on the edge of the bed. Let no one accuse Sweden of being a bad host.
America quickly throws the dress shirt he was wearing on the bed. As he starts to rifle through Sweden's more comfortable shirts, Berwald can't help but stare. He is, at first, struck by the other nation's tan; it's a healthy light brown color that spoke of time spent outdoors, the feeling of the sun on his skin. It makes Sweden think of the days of his youth, which he had spent out on the water, heading for uncharted lands. This invokes in him the rush of feelings he had possessed back then; the desire for adventure, the fear of the unknown and the wonderful way his muscles had ached after days of hard work.
Sweden then takes his observations a bit further. Since America is so wrapped up in looking for a shirt, he doesn't think it will mean any harm. America is better built than he had imagined, not that he had taken much time to think about what America looked like shirtless, of course not. But he had expected the man to possess more flab around the middle than he actually did. It was only a slight amount of belly fat, just enough to indicate a love of good food.
What he appreciates most, though, is how America's well toned arms lead up to his broad shoulders and strong back. He imagines how it must look when America goes to the gym; how he would strain under the weights above him, sweat dripping down his neck and across his well toned chest. Sweden blushes a little and turns away.
"Did you enjoy the show?" America asks, smugly.
Sweden quickly darts his head up to see America wearing a blue t-shirt. It's almost comically baggy on him, because of their height difference. But this does not deter from America's looks. On the contrary it makes him look rather…cute.
"Wh…what?" Sweden stammers.
"I know all you guys over in Europe are pervs but I didn't expect you to fawn over me that much!"
At this America smiles. He walks over to Sweden and swats his arm lightly before sitting down beside him. "Come on big guy! Just jokin'. I don't mind you lookin'. Hell it's pretty flattering, to be honest. I just wanted to see how you'd react about getting caught."
Sweden begins rooting through his mind for a reply. He doesn't want America to feel uncomfortable with him or anything especially since they are going to share a room for the night. And he sure as hell doesn't want the young nation to feel obligated or anything. He has to think of the right thing, the perfect words that would put America at ease. Even with what America had told him, Berwald is sure that he must feel somewhat uncomfortable, he knows he would have.
"Whatcha watching anyway?" America asks, bursting through Sweden's inner monologue.
"Jus' a movie… I don't know if you've heard of it"
Sweden turns back to the TV. Though he wants to be a good host he feels more than slightly put upon. So he doesn't necessarily feel up to entertaining his burdensome guest.
"A movie? I don't think a movie exists that I haven't heard of." America turns toward the screen for a minute. Max Von Sydnow had just sat down to eat with the people who had killed his daughter.
"Ah! Bergman eh? Good choice! Though I prefer the Seventh Seal, this is good too."
In his shock, Sweden can only mumble out a, "Huh?"
"Man that guy who played…what's his name? The squire? That guy was great."
"Y' mean Jöns?"
"Yeah that guy. Anyway wasn't he just hilarious?"
Sweden turns to look at the man sitting beside him, processing his words.
"Dunno. Wasn't much 'bout the black plague that was funny"
"I know that. But that guy was pretty hilarious. It's like, sometimes, when things really aren't funny, it's when you need to laugh the most. That's what I think Bergman was doing with that character, you know? Besides showing John's distaste for the world around him. I mean here's this man who has just seen such horrible things that he just no longer gives a shit and because of that he just can't help joking around about everything. It's like, because of what he's gone through, everything in his life is just this macabre joke. I mean, doesn't everybody feel like that sometimes?"
"Y' think about that a lot? Meanin' of characters and such?" Sweden asks, surprised.
"That's the best part of movies, don'tcha think? When the movie is over and you're sitting there mulling it over, trying to piece together all the things that happened, finding new meaning behind what's on screen. I think the best movies are the ones that let you do that the most. That have so many hidden ideas and subjects and meanings that you can just wander on for days thinking about them. You never know what you'll find."
"Don't know how much of that you find in some of yer movies," Sweden replies with a small smile.
"Badmouthing my movies now? Like which ones?"
Sweden has to take a moment to think about it. What movie would be hard to analyze "Ok, Die Hard."
America turns on him with a satisfied smile. "Easy. One man's struggle to overcome adversity not only from his enemies but from those who are supposed to help him, i.e. the various cops and government agents who always fuck shit up when they should just let John McClaine do whatever the fuck he wants to do. Oh, and Die Hard also shows how a regular person can make a difference and save the world."
Sweden turns to the other nation and smiles. Either he had come up with that on the spot, which spoke of an unsuspected quickness of mind, or he had really analyzed Die Hard in terms of philosophy. Well, if you thought about it, what America said made sense.
"Ok, I'll give ya that"
"Name another one!" America cries out enthusiastically, scooting up on the bed and trying to get more comfortable.
"Alright, I'm not gonna go easy on ya this t'me."
America laughs loudly, holding his belly in feigned hysteria at the idea. "Bring it! The hero isn't scared!"
"Alright, let me think..."
"You can't think of one, can you? Because all of my movies are awesome!"
"All of 'em?" Sweden smiles mischievously.
Refusing to back down from such bravado America replies, "Of course"
America smiles again, this time a more predatory smile that doesn't represent the silliness of what they are doing. He is fully prepared to treat the game as if it is a matter of life and death, a war of wits.
America adjusts his glasses with an aristocratic air. "Well, to the untrained eye, such as yourself, it is nothing more than a teen sex comedy. But, if examined further, it shows the way sex is viewed in our, well my society back home. It is a coming of age moment for teenagers. And, since they so desire to become adults, it means that sex is that much more important to them. Because they have such a high value on the event it almost becomes their lives and in essence, this pursuit of sex and of adulthood leads them to nothing but trouble. It is in desiring to grow up faster than you should that result in the highly comedic mess that the protagonists find themselves in."
Sweden quickly looks back at America. The man looks as though he iss about to lose himself in a fit of giggles in any minute. He struggles to keep the corners of his mouth from lifting, but can't keep the sparkle out of his clear blue eyes.
With laughter in his voice Sweden replies, "Yer so fulla shit."
That is all it takes for them to start laughing. Sweden puts forth a valiant effort to keep his composure as much as possible but then he hears America start up another round of gut busting giggles and isnt able to contain himself. He laughs so hard his stomach hurts and tears start to form in the corners of his eyes.
In a show of playfulness that he can't contain, Sweden picks up one of his pillows and hit America in the face with it. This makes America laugh louder and harder than he had previously.
"Shh, we'll wake someone up" Sweden says, in a faux whisper.
They look at each other for a moment in stunned silence and then start laughing hysterically. The louder they laugh, the funnier everything became.
"Don't blame me, this is your fault!" America exclaims, lifting himself up in the sitting position. He reaches behind himself and picks up his pillow and with force throws it at Sweden.
"Why is it m' fault?"
"You…You're the one who asked me to analyze a movie where someone sticks their dick in a pie! You knew I'd have to bull shit the entire thing"
Sweden threw the pillow back at him, making sure to aim for his face. "Y' were so serious 'bout it too, talking like Austria or somethin'"
America ducks and the pillow hit the bedside table, knocking off a few of Sweden's things. "Did ya like that thing I did with my glasses?"
"The snooty little liftin' 'em up by the corners thing? It' was a nice touch."
"I just threw that in. Wanted to play the part just right, you know? The look on your face was priceless though. You were lookin' at me like I had grown another head!"
"It was scary!" Sweden shivers.
Sweden lays beside America as they calm down, each wiping the tears out of their eyes and trying to calm their breathing.
"Well, that's a relief" America exclaims, still a little out of breath.
"What's a relief?"
"You actually have a sense of humor. I was a bit worried."
Sweden feels his face flush. He doesn't quite know how to take that comment. He knows that America is probably shocked by seeing him laugh so heartily. He is almost certain that he has never laughed that way in America's presence, or many other peoples for that matter. But he doesn't want people to assume that, just because he is a little more guarded with such things, he doesn't feel them. He is reserved, not robotic.
"Thanks. 'M not that…comfortable doin' stuff l'ke that."
"It shows. You laughed like someone who hasn't laughed in years."
"How do ya know?"
"Simple. Most people who haven't laughed in a long time, when they finally have a chance to, will over do it. The simplest things will make them bust a gut. Like you just did".
"You were laughin' as hard as I was."
"But I'm a special case. I laugh like that over everything. I think it's more fun that way." America turns to look at him, his eyes shining. He offers Sweden a small smile, one that doesn't seem quite right on his face. It isn't arrogant or full of joy. It's a little sad,really, if Sweden thinks about it. Berwald can't take being looked at like that, so he turns his back on the man.
"Welp" America states, practically bouncing off the bed, "Don't want to keep you up all night, why don't I just get to bed. Or chair, I guess."
"Y' don't haveta"
"No it's fine, it's a pretty comfy chair."
"No, I mean," Sweden mumbles, "We c'n share"
"Ah, sure about that big guy?"
"Unless it makes ya uncomfortable."
"Nah, I share a bed with Canada all the time, now which side do you want?"
Sweden looks up at America perplexed, "Share a bed w' him?"
"Ever since we were little...oh god...Oh god! Get your mind out of the gutter! Don't you ever just…you know? Need someone to sleep with? Not…not like that! Like don't you and Denmark ever?"
Sweden can't help but chuckle at that. He didn't even share a bed with Denmark when they were little. they had spent too much time on their own, and when they had gotten older, they hated each other so much that neither one would dare turn their back on the other, much less sleep with them in the same room.
"Never? Not even after watching a scary movie? Which totally never scares me by the way, I just like to be there unless…unless Matt has nightmares! Because I'm a good older brother!"
"Thought you were twins"
"Only in looks. Trust me, I'm older." With that America begins to take off his pants.
Sweden quickly looks away. Of course he wouldn't want to sleep in his dress pants, but that doesn't make the act and what it implies any less awkward. He should have offered America a pair of his pajama pants, only those would probably be so baggy on him as to not stay up.
"You sure this is ok?"
" 'S fine. 'M not uptight 'bout these things."
"You sure? You seem pretty uncomfortable right about now."
Sweden pulls the covers back with a sigh. "Jus' don't wanna make you uncomfortable is all."
"Not at all," America replies, snuggling under the covers. "Now if it was France I might have to reconsider."
"Ah, well goodnight" Sweden says, turning his back on the other nation.
Sweden turns off the light by his bed and America does the same. Sweden can hear America singing to himself, but it is too light for him to recognize the song. It is apparently enough to get him to sleep, for Sweden hears light snoring behind him. He, on the other hand, struggles to get to sleep.
He wants to keep as far on the edge of the bed as possible, so as not to invoke any uncomfortable situations but his body wants him to seek the warmth of the man by his side. It has been so long since there was another person in his bed that he can feel himself craving for it. But he resists. He eventually allows himself to roll over on his back, thinking that maybe, just maybe, this will be enough to allow him to get to sleep.
This only makes things worse. Because Sweden discovers that America is kind of adorable in his sleep, especially wrapped in a shirt way too big for him and with his usually animated face so peaceful. Berwald abruptly turns away and stares at the ceiling. He starts to concentrate on his breaths and only that, thinking that this well help him relax.
In and out, in and out, in and out, he repeats over and over again in his mind. As Sweden finally begins to relax, the man by his side shifts. The next thing Sweden knows, there are two strong arms wrapped around his chest and America's head is on his shoulder. He looks into America's face but there is no sign that he is awake.
America's grip on him is quite strong and he realizes that if he tries to move him, America will probably wake up. He doesn't want to wake the sleeping nation and have to explain this odd situation to him, so Sweden decides to leave him as he is. It is also quite nice to be held like this, Sweden decides. America holds him like a child would hold their teddy bear, and Sweden realizes, right before he finally goes to sleep, that he quite enjoys being used as a teddy bear.
Sweden feels the light shining in his eyes before he hears the door open. He forgot to set his alarm the night before, so he has no idea what time it is. The pressure at his waist startles him, until he flashes back to the night before and realizes who it is. Just as he is about to go back to sleep, business be damned, the door between his and Sealand's room is opened and he hears a voice he recognizes.
"Papa! Hey, papa! You told me you'd take me to the pa…Papa?"
Sweden opens his eyes to see Sealand standing in the doorway, his overnight back slung over his shoulder. He had spent the night in Latvia's hotel room, probably playing video games. Sweden then remembers his promise to take his son to the park in the morning, which he was going to set his alarm for. Dammit!
Sealand looks at the bed with wide eyes. He starts to back away before exclaiming loudly, "I'm sorry I'm going back to Latvia's bye!" and with that, he runs out the door.
It hits Sweden then, what his son must think. Why he ran out of the room like that and what this misunderstanding might mean. Sealand, for all his good points, also loves to talk. And he loves to talk a lot, mostly to the other micro-nations but also to Latvia. And news like this, gossip, would quickly run from Latvia to the rest of the other nations. It would go to the Baltics first and…Sweden stops in his thoughts for a bit. Estonia will be one of the first nations to find out and of course he'll tell his lover before anyone else.
For a moment Sweden forgets to breathe. What would Finland think? He had always been discreet with his little one night stands, always making sure that his objects of lust were either human or nations very capable of keeping secrets.
Sweden jumps out of bed and chases down his son. He is lucky enough to meet up with him halfway down the hallway, right before the elevators . Sealand wears the face of someone who has been traumatized and Sweden wonders what has gotten him so worked up.
"Sea, what you saw in there…nothing happened, ok?"
Sealand rolls his eyes. "I know what that means; I'm not stupid!"
"But, I'm telling you nothin' happened."
"You don't have to lie to me, Papa. It's ok."
"No it's not! Nothin' happened. He just needed a place ta stay is all."
"In your bed? In your shirt? I get it, you were doing gross grown-up things in there that I really don't want to think about. Just, don't pretend you weren't ok? I'm not a little kid."
Berwald wonders if Sealand is truly ok. He never talked to his son about the possibility of him being with someone or dating (not that he even considered dating himself) and yet, Sea seems ok with it. Mature about it even, if not a little grossed out at the prospect of his father in such a position.
The more he thinks about it, the more proud he is of his son. They had never really talked about it, dating or sexuality. It is just a part of his life he never saw necessary to discuss with him and yet here he is, perfectly understanding. It seems the only thing he has a problem with was his father having sexual feelings at all; perfectly understandable for any child. There is no judgement, just shock.
"Y sure yer ok with it? Me um… if I were to date?"
"Sure! As long as it's not jerk England or anything. Seriously, please tell me you don't ever ever want to do that."
"Promise, go on ta Latvia's and uh, don't tell anyone whatcha saw, ok?"
"Why would I want to tell anyone about that? All I want to do is forget it, real quick" Sealand exaggeratedly shakes his head in disgust and then walks off.
As he walks back to his room Sweden wonders why he felt so scared when Sealand walked in. It wasn't for worry about what Sealand would think, not really. It was about Finland, like everything had to be. Why is he always so concerned with what Finland will think? Who he does or does not have sex with shouldn't be anyone's concern but his own. He's a free man now capable of doing whatever he wants, as long as his partners willing, so why should he feel the need to hide his sexual life? Hell, why shouldn't he have been in another relationship by now?
And if the other countries think that he had sex with America, why not let them? He is a pretty attractive man and can be pretty fun, under the right circumstances. Thinking on it, Sweden realizes that, for a hypothetical fuck, he could do a lot worse.
But Sweden also knows that this self assurance will only last so long. Once he sees Finland's big purple eyes in his mind's eye yet again, once he remembers how wonderful it felt in his embrace and how much joy he got from the other man, his resolve will crumble. He will feel horrid for betraying such a wonderful man, for desecrating their former love by even thinking about moving on and he will feel like a fool for thinking any of these things.
When he makes it to his door, Sweden sees America sitting on his bed, still wearing his t-shirt but with the dress pants and his glasses back on. America jumps up and wraps Sweden in his arms.
"Thanks for letting me stay over. I'll be out of your hair pretty soon. I texted England and he said he'll be up here to let me use his shower and then take me to breakfast. Last night I kinda prevented him from getting arrested so…he kinda owes me."
"What about findin' yer room?"
"Ah, about that. It's kinda France and Canada's room now, at least until they finally decide to let me in. Apparently they had quite the night and don't want it to end just yet. Ugh! I just feel all gross you know? Knowing my brother's doin…that. I mean I know he's an adult and can do what he wants but…Yuck!"
Sweden smiles and sits down beside America. In the silence an impulse begins to nag at him. It starts as a feeling in his gut. A warm feeling, a feeling of maybe it would be nice to spend more time with America. Maybe, they could hang out sometime. Or maybe I should ask him out on a date, a voice in his mind whispers.
Berwald knows that he doesn't have the guts to ask him, that even if he did the guilt he feels when he's with anyone other than Finland will ruin it. And yet, he still feels this desire, this urge to finally get away from the guilt. To no longer deny himself the simple joy of a date, something simple like a dinner and a movie even. How many decades has he denied himself?
Even with this new, stronger resolve, Sweden still struggles to find the right words and the right moment to speak. America is taking his time staring out the window, suspiciously silent. He taps his fingers on his thigh impatiently.
"Hey…hey 'Merica?" Sweden finally gets the nerve to ask.
"Hey, I don't mind if you call me Alfred. Or Al," America replies, finally looking away from the window.
"K, Alfred. Do y'," at this Sweden takes a deep breath and finds the nerve to soldier on, "Do you have any plans fer tonight?"
"Nope! All free. As a matter of fact, I'm totally open as soon as the meeting's over with. Why?" At this, America turns on a large smile and aims it directly at Sweden. If he doesn't know better, he'd say he can see expectation on his face.
"Was wonderin' if y' wouldn't mind goin' out w' me. On…on a date. Dinner and a movie?"
"Do I get to pick which movie?"
Sweden smiles, "O' course"
America raises his hand up in the air and Sweden realizes what he wants. Sweden complies and America hi fives him and loudly proclaims, "Awesome!"
Sweden can't help but smile at that. As they wait for England to arrive, Sweden waits for his moral panic attack to set in. All he feels are the butterflies in his stomach and a bit of giddy anticipation. That could change any moment, he realizes. But maybe this time he'll be ready. Maybe he'll just ignore the illogical gut feeling that this is wrong, that moving on is wrong. Maybe he'll tell that nagging little voice to fuck off once and for all.
When England does arrive, tired and hungover, he can't stop staring from Sweden to America and back. He opens his mouth to say something, but one look at Sweden's imposing exterior makes him think better of it. He decides to simply collect his former charge and go, but America has left something in the bathroom and quickly goes to retrieve it.
As they are left there together, both Sweden and England struggle for the right thing to say. Sweden cannot help but notice England's bloodshot eyes and bruises, probably from the fight last night.
"So, y' takin' Alfred out to breakfast?" Sweden asks, trying to be polite.
England is taken aback for a bit. "Yes, yes I am. And when did you two become so chummy all of a sudden?"
"Alfred? When did you two get close enough for first names?"
"Dunno. I'd guess last night. It…it was kind of a bondin' experience."
"Hmm. I suppose such things should bring two people closer together, if I get your meaning."
" 'Such things'"?
"Yes. All of a sudden you're on a first name basis with a country you barely associate with. He came to the door wearing a shirt much too big for him, so I'd assume it was yours and he's wearing some of your cologne. Not to mention that he randomly winds up in your hotel room in the middle of the night. Doesn't take much to figure out what happened."
Confused by England's attitude, Sweden can't help but wonder how he should respond. He keeps telling himself that he doesn't need to correct him. Let England think whatever he wants to think, he has nothing to hide. But his conscious tells him otherwise. This is not the voice of guilt, of worry for Finland. This is something different. While he might be more open to sex and sexuality, America isn't. He probably wouldn't want rumors of his possible sexual escapades running around. He was probably still dealing with the ill effects of his Puritan background, so to let rumors spread of America's sex life would probably embarrass him. He probably likes to keep such things private and with his countries issues with homosexuality, he probably needs to work out a few things before his sexual identity is broadcast all over the world.
So, in echoing what he told Sealand earlier, Sweden states, "England, nothing happened".
"Sure and I guess I'm going to pretend that I believe that."
"I mean it," Sweden states, intentionally giving England an intense stare, "Nothing happened, understand?"
England's face pales. He slowly backs away from Sweden and then gives a sigh of relief when America finally comes out of the bathroom.
"Ah, I accidently left my phone in there last night. I'm always losing that thing. Alright England! You promised me breakfast! The Hero demands a stack of pancakes a mile high! Come on!" And with that, America drags a struggling and stammering England out of the room.
When Sweden arrives at the meeting, only a few nations are there. But he can see that there is some interesting gossip floating around. He suspects most of it is about what happened the night before. What he can hear of it gave him a picture of hedonistic revelry, which he had suspected. There is quite a lot of gossip about the way that Germany and Italy had behaved the night before, which relieves some of his guilt for his own fascination.
Germany, for his part, looks stunned and ashamed. He is of course present and, since they had booked a hotel room together, so is his lover. After fruitlessly trying to explain how drunk he had been at the time, Germany finally gives up. Instead he roams through his notes and tries to ignore the whispers and stares that he and his lover elicit.
As more nations arrive, Sweden notices how bad off most of them are. It must have been one hell of a fight if this many nations were injured. Those who don't sport fantastic bruises are shoddily dressed and hung-over, or snuggling close to a nation beside them, pointing out their part in the night's activities quite well.
France and Canada come in, with their hands linked; beaming in what Sweden knows to be after glow. And behind them, are England and Am—Alfred. Sweden tries to get Alfred's attention with a hand wave, but apparently Alfred doesn't notice. Alfred circles the meeting table and after a moment, chooses a seat quite away from where Sweden issitting. With the limited amount of seats available, Sweden can't help but think it is on purpose.
What did I do wrong, he wonders. Sometime between this morning and this afternoon, something had gone wrong. He just can't put his finger on it. This morning Alfred had been beaming but now…now he looks kind of sad.
"What do you think's the matter with him?" Denmark asks in his ear, as he points to America.
"Dunno" Sweden replies.
"Me neither but something's got his panties in a bunch that's for sure"
Sweden has to agree. It isn't like Alfred to be this unanimated during a conference. He is always bursting in full of energy and life, willing to talk to anyone. Now he looks tired.
Sweden tries to not look in his direction, he truly does. But no matter how much he tries, he can't help but glance at the other man. He has to know what was wrong, now.
Sweden stands up slowly and makes his way across the table. Many of the other nations are too preoccupied in their own pre-meeting preparations to pay much attention but America and England are watching his progress intently.
"Need t' borrow Al fer a bit." Sweden says before leading America out of the room. With the tight grip he had on the man's arm it looks as though he was being dragged but anyone who knows America would know that he can only be dragged if he wants to be.
"Hey big guy what was that for?"
"Yer actin' funny."
"Y' ignored me when you came in, y' haven't said a word in there and y' look sad"
"I'm not sad! I'm the hero! I'm perfectly fine" America says, with a fake wide grin.
"No, yer not. Somethin's wrong and I've got a feelin' that it's somethin' I did."
"Look," America replies, exasperated, "I heard what you told England this morning. And I get it. I can be embarrassing sometimes. Ok fine! And I know I have problems that need to be worked out but I can't be going out on dates and being all friendly with people who are embarrassed to be seen with me."
"What are y' talkin' about?"
"This morning, when you were so determined to make England understand that nothing happened between us."
"And it didn't"
"And why is any of that his fuckin business?" America yells. "Why did you have to rush in and make damn sure that no one thought you were with me, huh? Is it really that important to you that you're not tied to me in any way? That you'd not only tell England not to tell anybody but Sealand as well?"
Shit. He was not expecting that. For some reason Sweden had expected Sealand to actually keep his word. He had thought that Sealand's shock would have had more sway over him than the juicy gossip.
"It's not what ya think"
"Then what is it?"
"I told Sealand not to tell anyone 'cause…"
"Because I don't know. After… after everything with Finland everytime I look at another man I feel guilty. I feel like I'm cheatin' on 'im even just for bein' with another man. And it's been like that fer years. I just never got over that. And I realized this mornin' , after talkin' to Sea, that I needed to. That's how I got the courage ta ask y' out"
America doesn't look convinced. "And this morning?"
"This mornin' I though' that you wouldn't want people gossipin' about y' like that. Especially with, well how y' are 'bout things like that. Y' know, how you're kinda shy 'bout that stuff. And I thought you wouldn't want people talkin' bout it, so I told England that nothin' happened."
"You did that for me? That's your excuse?"
"Not an excuse, the truth."
"And you're not ashamed to be seen with me?"
"Not at all. Why would I be?"
America sighs and runs his hands through his hair. "Dunno, I always get this feelin' that I'm not good enough anymore or that everyone hates me. I've gotten kind of used to it, you know?"
" 'M sorry I made you feel that way, wanna go back inside?"
As they walk in, Sweden gets an idea. It's one that immediately brings a flush to his face. But, he thinks it's a good one anyway. Maybe if he goes through with it, Alfred will be able to get rid of those 'not good enough' feelings, at least for a little while. And it might keep those guilty thoughts of Sweden's at bay as well. Maybe by confronting his fear, it will be easier to let go.
Sweden drags America to the head of the room. America is smiling at him warily but willing to go on with whatever he has planned. Sweden beats on the mantle a couple of times until the room quites down. He searches to make sure that everyone is there. He stops, momentarily at Finland.
Finland who is sitting next to Estonia, making no effort to hide how their hands are linked. Finland who always looks so shy and innocent but has the heart of a lion. Finland who isn't his anymore. And Sweden smiles for a bit. He can do this.
"Jus' wanna say a few words. Need ta 'pologize to Alfred and I thought he'd like some witnesses to it," Sweden turns toward Alfred, who looks at him with more bewildered good humor, " 'M sorry fer makin' you feel unwanted. And I hate ta think that anyone would be ashamed of bein' seen with ya. Yer fun and funny and bright. Yes, yer bright. Y' also try to make everyone feel at ease and… and you joke 'round with me, just like you do everybody else. And I just want y' to know that I am not ashamed of you."
With that he leans in and captured Alfred's lips with his own. The kiss was to be a brief one, just a light peck on the lips to make his point, but Alfred has other ideas. He grabs the back of Sweden's head in his left hand and holds him there. He then lightly licks Sweden's lips, asking for access. Unable to refuse, Sweden parts his lips. Their tongues dance around each other slowly, with Sweden finally giving up control. As Alfred slowly maps out Sweden's mouth they both let out low moans.
When they finally break apart, they are both flushed and stunned at their display. Apparently they aren't the only ones. A quick look around showed that the rest of the nations don't quite know what to think. Except Denmark, who is sporting a Cheshire cat grin.
Finally, after about a minute or two of silence, the nations begin to talk about what they have just seen. The noise reaches a crescendo and is finally broken by a loud whistle. Once again they are brought to silence, this time by Germany.
"Well now if you two have accomplished whatever it is that was set out to accomplish, besides deterring this meeting, could you please sit down so we can get down to business?"
Sweden shyly nods and ,Alfred in tow, wanders back to his seat. With Denmark scooting down to make room, Alfred sits down beside him. And with that, the meeting began.