In the first-floor bathroom of a fashionably ultra-modern house in the suburbs of Stockholm, the sexiest woman in the North (as she billed herself) was doing an eleventh-hour inspection of her makeup job. It was ridiculous, she thought, how much preparation and planning went into what should have been a simple all-night session with her favorite lover. It wasn't the makeup itself that irked—that came with the territory, and in any case Sister Sweden could do more for herself with five minutes and a travel-sized tube of lip gloss than most women can do raiding the Clairol counter at the mall for an hour. You know the Mona Lisa? Imagine if you found out it had been painted not by Leonardo da Vinci, with his mathematical fussiness and years-long work schedules, but by Bob Ross. That should give you an idea of Sister Sweden's makeup skills. It wasn't magic…just lots and lots and lots of practice.

No, her musings were to do with all the other things that had to happen before she could spend a nice, uninterrupted night with Finland. It had been nearly a month since they had been able to get together without work or family obligations interfering, and this evening had been a close call. But they had finally managed to arrange things so that they both had the following day off and her brother would be out of the house and his sister was staying home to watch her own kid for a change and her kid had caught up on his homework so it was all right for him to spend the night at her friend's house… One way or another, everyone was accounted for and out of the way.

She heard the front door open.

"I'll be out in a minute, pet!" she called. "Go ahead and make yourself comfortable…and enjoy it while it lasts!"

She posed in front of the full-length mirror, checking the symmetry of her bustier and making sure there were no snags in her stockings that might turn into full-on runs should she flex a muscle just so. It was hardly necessary, but her sense of professionalism demanded it. Which was kind of sad, considering she wasn't acting in her professional capacity tonight. It just went to show how much she needed this. Completely satisfied with her appearance, Sister Sweden picked up her crop off the counter and marched out to the living room looking every centimeter the imposing dominatrix that she, in a very literal sense, was.

"Have you been a bad, bad boy today, Finland?" she purred. "Do you need to be conquered and…" She trailed off, seeing his scowl. It wasn't his default I'm-Finland-and-I-hate-the-world-unless-it-gives-me-a-good-reason-not-to scowl, but a frown of genuine displeasure. "What's the matter?"

By way of reply, Finland pointed to the couch, where a small blond child sat, grinning and bouncing slightly on the springy cushion. "Hi, Aunt Sweden!" FennoSwede chirped.

Yikes. Good thing I went with the full costume. "Evening, FennoSwede," Sister Sweden greeted her nephew with a forced smile. "I thought you were with your mom tonight."

"I was, but Dad came by to drop off the support check before he left for his trip and Mom saw him and Uncle Åland together and she got jealous and chased them down the street. It was really funny!" Some children would have been very upset to recount a story like that, but for FennoSwede, it was family business as usual, and his grin didn't fade a bit.

"Ugh, terrific," Sister Sweden groaned. "They're probably all making the six o'clock news by now. Well, Finland…what do you want to do? Should we just try to re-schedule?"

He shook his head violently and pointed first at FennoSwede and then at the guest bedroom.

"I guess that would work. What do you think, FennoSwede? Can you be good and entertain yourself in there for a few hours while we have our private grown-up time?"

"Okay!" the boy replied, hopping down from the couch and scampering into the guest room. After a moment, the muffled sound of the TV could be heard.

"He's a good kid," said Sister Sweden. She suddenly gave Finland a sharp look. "Why are you just standing there? Get your cute little ass in that bedroom! It's not going to whip itself raw!" She flicked the crop at his butt, and he broke into an eager jog toward the stairs.

Sister Sweden's room was already decked out for the occasion. Lit candles, artfully arranged in twos and threes upon various surfaces, mellowed the shocking pink color that dominated the furnishings into a wine-red that was both sensuous and sinister. Sinisterly sensuous. Opposite the double bed was The Cabinet, a triumph of Scandinavian woodworking arts, its door panels bedecked with what might appear at first to be ordinary woodland scenes, until you looked at them more closely and realized that if this cabinet led to a magical kingdom, only adults could find it and they would have to overthrow the cuddly animals and install an icy female dictator. As if that weren't enough, it was chained shut…with a pair of handcuffs.

Finland lost no time in peeling off his shirt and unlacing his boots, nearly falling over in his haste. Then he went for his waistband, only to have Sister Sweden smack his hand with the crop.

"No," she said sharply. "The pants come off when your mistress decides it's time. Now get on the bed."

He nodded contritely and lay down in his customary place. Sister Sweden fished the key to The Cabinet's unorthodox but thematically appropriate locking system out of her cleavage and opened it in a flourishing fashion that afforded Finland a magnificent view of her derrière. The contents were revealed: rack after rack and shelf upon shelf of the tools of her trade. More handcuffs, of course, in every color of the rainbow and with every possible sort of lining. Ropes. Vibrators. Nipple-clamps. Things with feathers. A tube of lubricating ointment containing the merest hint of capsaicin. (Hey, it takes all kinds to make a world.) Other things that don't bear mentioning under a T rating. Use your own imagination. And all of it was painstakingly, obsessively organized according to function, size, and its score on a five-point weighted scale Sister Sweden had devised herself in order to measure effectiveness. Because Sister Sweden was many things, but the main one was Swedish, and she liked things to be orderly.

Most of it was largely for show. The day she actually needed fancy toys to show her clients and callers the face of God would be the day she would hang up her garter belt for good. But this was Finland. He was entitled to her best efforts. She glanced at him out the corner of her eye, reading his mood with an ease brought by long practice. No, no handcuffs this time. He'd had a rough week overall and some softness was called for. Instead, she selected a pair of midnight blue velvet ribbons, which met with enthusiastic approval. It was the work of a few moments to bind his wrists to the bedposts. Then Sister Sweden stood beside the bed, affected a "dungeon mistress" pose with one fist pressed against an outthrust hip, and stuck the tip of the crop under Finland's chin. Forcibly moving his head so that they were looking each other in the eye, she said, "If it gets too intense, snap—"

And the phone rang.

"My fault; I should have turned off the ringer," Sister Sweden apologized. She went to silence the trilling device on her dresser, but recognized the incoming number. "Damn. Sorry, pet, but I have to take this call. It's Norway."

Finland raised an eyebrow questioningly.

"Because she's watching my kid." But she made sure to sound as exasperated as possible when she answered. "What is it?"

At first, all she heard was a multilayered cacophony in the background, with lots of screaming. Sister Norway was practically yelling herself when she started speaking. "I'm really sorry about this, Sweden, but I have to drop off the kids with you."

"What? No! You know what's at stake here!"

"I know, but we had a little kitchen accident and I have to take Denmark to the emergency room."

"Oh. Why am I not surprised? Will she be all right? What happened?"

"Judging by the amount of noise she's making, she'll be fine…" Sister Norway broke away for a moment in order to tell someone "Don't wrap it any tighter if there's still glass in it!" and continued: "…but I can't look after three kids and deal with her at the same time, and the guys will have left for their trip by now. It should only be for a couple hours."

"All right," said Sister Sweden with a heavy sigh. "We hadn't really gotten started yet anyway."

"We'll be there in a few minutes. I'll just pull up and let the kids out of the car." The call ended.

Sister Sweden looked over at Finland, who was back to scowling, and said, "She's bringing the other kids over. There's really no way around it."

Finland flung his head backward in a fit of annoyance. "Perkele…" he muttered.

"I know… But it won't be for the whole night. We just have to keep our mood up in the meantime. They'll be here any minute, so I'm going to untie you. You don't have to come out with me, but I'm not going to leave you trapped."

In addition to undoing the ribbons, she threw on a bathrobe over her domme gear. It wasn't long before the kids arrived: FennoSwede's age-mates Kven and Christiania, and Sister Sweden's own adolescent son Scania. The two younger ones, in the way of small boys, were more amused by the unexpected turmoil than worried about the fact that someone was injured. Scania, in the way of teenagers, was doing his best to distance himself from them. Meanwhile, FennoSwede heard the noise of the new arrivals and emerged from the guest bedroom to greet his friends. Sister Sweden waited for the giddy chaos to die down a bit before she let her parental side take over, maneuvering the kids to hang up their coats.

While everyone got settled, Scania explained what had happened—they had been making dinner, and Sister Denmark had drunk half a bottle of cooking sherry and decided it would be funny to pretend she was in a bar fight and smash the bottle on the countertop.

"…so now she has a bunch of glass in her hand," he finished in his usual semi-monotone.

"So in other words, it was just Denmark being Denmark," said Sister Sweden.

"Pretty much."

"Well, Scania, it's like this. Finland and I can't have a bunch of kids running around the house and stressing us out. So we'll have dinner, and then you can take the younger ones outside and keep an eye on them while they play."

"What? C'mon, Mom, I don't want to be stuck babysitting!"

"Neither do I, and I already had plans."

Scania slouched petulantly, but he couldn't argue with his mother. She tasked him with setting the table and FennoSwede with knocking on the bedroom door (only knocking) and telling his uncle that there would be food soon.

Sister Sweden made a brief inspection of the cupboards and decided to go with spaghetti, on the basis that there was plenty of it, it wouldn't take long to prepare, and the younger kids were almost guaranteed to actually eat it. It wasn't ideal, stuffing them with processed carbohydrates, and she was sure their parents wouldn't appreciate it…but then she didn't appreciate having them dropped into her carefully planned evening.

Another advantage of spaghetti was that she could snatch a bit of eye contact from Finland and slurp up a few noodles suggestively, as part of that whole "keeping up the mood" thing. She had to be subtle about it, though, because nothing would kill the mood faster than a bunch of children giggling at her little gestures of seduction. At their age, they wouldn't even know why they were giggling…and then there was Scania, who was at the age where he was capable of finding gravel suggestive, and would be embarrassed potentially to the point of fatal complications if he caught his mother doing something even slightly sexy at the dinner table.

Anyway, there was only so much of that she could bring herself to do when both she and Finland were in a hurry. When she saw that he was almost done with his plate, she picked up the pace and finished off her own. "All right, Scania, you're in charge," she said. "Make sure the dishes get done and then take the others outside."

"Yes, Mom," Scania sighed.

The lovers returned to the bedroom and got comfortable. "I hope you realize we can't go all the way just yet," said Sister Sweden. Finland's eyebrows knitted with displeasure. "The kids won't be able to stay out too long; it'll be dark soon. But there's no reason we can't make the best of things until they leave and we have the place to ourselves again."

A loud crash came from the kitchen. It gradually resolved itself to the wobbly sound of a pot lid spinning to a rest on a linoleum floor. "I guess I'd better do something about that," said Sister Sweden. "Hang on a moment." She reached over to her nightstand, avoiding the candle flames, and turned on the small stereo that rested there. The room was suddenly filled with the strains of hard-driving symphonic metal, which the two of them had favored as makeout music ever since Brother Sweden, in one of his rare impish moods, had described it as "music to whip slaves to." It was hot, and it covered any further noise from downstairs.

Not that there would be any whipping going on for the time being. That was intended as part of the main event; this was just a nice little necking session to keep the pump from losing its prime, as it were. She ditched the bathrobe, but they mostly kept their clothes on and found inventive ways to kiss and caress and pinch each other around and through the garments. Finland was surprisingly tender about things like this when it was just the two of them, and he had the most amazing skin from all the time he spent in the sauna. Sister Sweden rather enjoyed being the only person in a position to notice such things about him.

Suddenly he froze beneath her, squinting at something beyond her. Then he sat up so abruptly that she was nearly thrown off the bed. Sister Sweden followed his glare to the window, where something was perched in the tree just outside the window, barely visible through a gap in the heavy curtains.

"Is it a prowler?" she said as Finland collected his knife from the nightstand. He lunged for the window, flinging it open with one easy movement and basically diving outside after whatever he had seen. Sister Sweden turned off the music to hear the sounds of a brief scuffle, which for some reason included lots of high-pitched shrieking, as well as a number of crunching cracks as Finland and his opponent crashed through the branches to the ground. Then came youthful voices raised in excitement. Worried and faintly bewildered, she slipped her robe back on and went down to the back door of the house to see what was going on.

She opened it onto a tableau that really needed no explanation: Finland, holding a squirming, squealing, swearing Christiania by a hank of his uncombed hair and waving his knife just close enough to the boy's face to frighten him without running any significant risk of hurting him by accident; the other two young boys, barely repressing their glee at seeing someone else in well-deserved trouble; Scania, looking apologetic to the point of mortification.

"Mom, I'm sorry!" he said before anyone else even made a move. "I was playing with my DS and I didn't even notice that he'd gone around to your side of the house!"

"That's your idea of keeping an eye on them, is it?" she frowned. "Well, never mind. Freetown Christiania, you little voyeur!" She used the child's full name in order to convey just how much trouble he was in. "You have to ask permission before you watch people getting intimate, and anyway you're too young!"

"I've been misbehaving, all right," the boy drawled. "Are you gonna spank me for it? Ow!" Finland had given his hair a sharp yank for the remark.

"Shut up, pipsqueak!" said Scania. "That's my mom you're talking about!"

"It's not my fault your mom is hot! Ooowwwwww! Have mercy! I'll tell my dad!"

Sister Sweden marched up and crouched so that she was at Christiania's eye level. She crossed her arms over her bosom to block his view. "You can tell your father," she said, "that I prefer men who instill their children with a modicum of good manners. See whose side he takes."

"Oooooooooooooohhhhh…" FennoSwede and Kven chorused appreciatively.

Sister Sweden stood upright again. "All right, everyone back inside! It's getting dark out."

Finland indicated Christiania with an inquiring look.

"Lock him in the bathroom," said Sister Sweden after a moment's thought. "But frisk him first—if he smokes his reefers in there, I'll never get the smell out of the towels."

"Yeah, and Uncle would probably blame me," Scania muttered, herding the other kids into the house.

The dishes, as it turned out, had not actually been washed—only loaded into a sink full of soapy water and left to soak. Sister Sweden turned an almost Finnish scowl on her son.

"Uh…" he said. "We…sort of…they were in a hurry to go outside and play and I…just…figured…you two would…would be…in there a while…and we'd have time…"

"Well, you have time now. Get on it. You two can help. Dry and put away."

While the kids started working, she moved to the living room and half-collapsed onto the sofa. Finland soon joined her, swigging from a bottle of something bitter and alcoholic.

"This is a complete disaster," Sister Sweden lamented. "I don't know if I can last until those two get back from the hospital. Pet, we might have to re-schedule after all."

Finland turned to her with an expression of pure outrage.

"No…you're right. That wouldn't be fair to either of us. But I'm just about at my wits' end with these kids. People must be insane to have them on purpose." That got an emphatic nod of agreement. "And that's why we do things our way, right pet? One of the reasons." She slipped two knuckles under the earflap of his hat, grabbed his earlobe, and yanked him within kissing range.

That was probably a mistake.

"EEEEEWWWWWWWWWW!" came two squeaky voices from the direction of the kitchen. "Cut it out, you two! Get back here!" came Scania's follow-up. Thus Sister Sweden was cruelly reminded of the fact that her teenaged son and two pre-adolescents were in the very next room, and she was still obliged to control herself.

Well, fuck that. And not with handcuffs.

Sister Sweden flung herself from the sofa, took her purse from the end table, and dug out some money. "Kids! Get in here!" Three soapy-handed youngsters emerged from the kitchen. "Scania, if I give you some money, will you take them to the movies or something? Christiania too."

"What about the dishes?" said Scania.

"They'll keep."

"What if Aunt Denmark and Aunt Norway come back before we do?"

"I'll tell them where to find you. But right now, Finland and I need you out of our hair. Do you understand that?"

Scania turned the color of his shirt.

"I'll take that as a yes." She handed over the cash. "Pet, you can go let the little voyeur out of solitary now."

Finland clumped off toward the bathroom…and soon clumped back in a state of agitation. He pointed back over his shoulder, flummoxed. Sister Sweden went to see what was wrong.

The bathroom smelled faintly of pot smoke—Finland's search of the boy apparently hadn't been quite thorough enough—and the window was open, the evening breeze tousling the curtains. And there was no Christiania.

Sister Sweden felt her left eye twitch, and clapped a hand over it in horror. That was a bad sign, very bad. Her frustration was nearing the breaking point. She was on the verge of losing her cool. From there, it was only a short step to slapping on a horned helmet and burning down some villages, or climbing a clock tower with a high-powered rifle, or wearing glasses and talking about data packets and telling Denmark to grow up.

She pulled back from the brink and returned to the living room. "Finland," she said rather hoarsely, "I'm going after the brat. You stay here and watch these three."

Scowling, Finland drew his knife and directed the kids to sit on the sofa and remain perfectly still.

"I'm sure that won't be necessary," said Sister Sweden. "You kids will behave for Uncle Finland, won't you?"

"Um…yes!" FennoSwede piped, putting on a brave smile that was nearly indistinguishable from the more sincere one he usually wore.

"So you won't need the knife," said Sister Sweden. "I, on the other hand, will." Ignoring Finland's genuine expression of betrayal, she snatched it from his hand and stalked out into the night, looking like a Halloween party gone horribly wrong…or perhaps horribly right.

You can't fire me—I quit! declared her sanity.

Kven squirmed on the sofa. "Um…Mr. Finland? Can I go to the bathroom?"

Finland turned a furious glare on the boy.

"Never mind!"

At this point, it might be instructive to switch perspectives for a bit. Christiania is a good choice, mostly for the irony—when he hopped out the bathroom window, the possibility that Sister Sweden might come after him in a knife-wielding rage was the last thing on his mind. Everything was the last thing on his mind once the THC started flowing. His mind was the last thing on his mind. His stream of consciousness had dwindled to a pleasant background hum. For that reason, even though he had been at large for nearly fifteen minutes, he had barely gotten half a block away. He had been too busy working on his vertical takeoff to achieve much lateral distance.

Nonetheless, he became aware, as he strolled along at a speed roughly on par with refrigerated honey, that the hum was developing a dissonant chord. With the mild, nonspecific curiosity that afflicts many habitual stoners, he turned around, trying to discern where it was coming from.

He saw it right away—Sister Sweden stomping toward him with the inevitability of a freight train, all leather and fury and breasts, the butcher knife gleaming saffron under the sodium vapor streetlights and her stiletto-heeled boots pounding out a staccato rhythm on the pavement. But he was in no state of mind to grok the gravity of the situation.

"Heh heh…boobies," the micronation mumbled to himself.

About five steps before doom, his buzz—which was marginally smarter than he was—figured out what was happening and took flight, allowing him to do the same…but it was too late. While he swallowed his joint as a result of trying to gasp and scream simultaneously, Sister Sweden caught him by the hair. For the second time that evening, he found himself held by the straggly locks that he refused to have cut no matter how many hecklers demanded it. Unlike Finland, however, Sister Sweden didn't merely pull on his hair to control him—she bodily lifted him up by it.

"Have mercy!" he spluttered, still choking slightly on his accidentally ingested drugs. "What are you going to do with that knife?"

"I'm not sure yet," Sister Sweden rasped, and never had uncertainty sounded so menacing. "It all depends on whether I decide it's worth having to wash blood out of this outfit."

"Oh God!" Christiania shrieked, squirming and then immediately stopping when he realized it just put more strain on his scalp. "Someone help me! Anyone!" His eyes rolled with terror.

Against the odds, a rescuer came…though it might have been the last person anyone expected. Finland, having heard the clamor from inside the house and come to the more-or-less correct conclusion that his beloved mistress needed help, arrived and gently took hold of her weapon arm. It was a move so uncharacteristic of him as to demand explanation.

Firstly: He was preventing unauthorized use of his knife.

Secondly: He still held out hope that the evening would include Sister Sweden inflicting pretend violence on his person, something she couldn't very well do if she got arrested for inflicting real violence on someone else.

Thirdly: He didn't want her inflicting real or pretend violence on someone else in any case, since being her victim was his privilege.

Fourthly: Things had come to a pretty pass indeed if she was the one to storm out of the house with interpersonal mayhem in mind, leaving him to catch up. He just wanted to get things back to normal.

That about covers it.

In any case, it worked. Sister Sweden wasn't really geared for prolonged rage, and at the touch, the Red Fog of War subsided and she found that she didn't really want to kill the quivering wreck of a boy dangling from her fist. But she didn't set him down just yet either—it was too comfortable, holding him up like a rabbit pulled out of a magician's hat. (The reason for this is that she was still pissed off, and a pissed-off Swede naturally likes to take it out on a Dane. If said Dane bears some culpability for the bad mood, so much the better.)

She collected herself. "Pet, where are the other kids?"

In point of fact, they were jogging up from the house. Finland had indicated that they were to stay put, but without his knife, and once he had turned his back on them and was no longer pinning them in place with his glare, his commands just didn't have any authoritative force. Not in the Sweden house.

"Holy shit, Mom, what were you going to do to him?"

"I don't know what you're talking about, Scania," said Sister Sweden. "And watch your language in front of the younger ones."

It seemed things were about to get back on track. So of course, at that very moment, a Think City Car pulled up to the curb and the window rolled down to reveal the astonished gapes of Sisters Norway and Denmark.

"What is going on here?" demanded the former.

Now Sister Sweden put Christiania down. She also flipped the knife around to hand it back to Finland handle-first. "I don't think we need to get into all that right now, do you?" she said. "Kids, go get your coats."

"Aren't you gonna let us in for a minute?" said Sister Denmark.

"I'm behind schedule as it is."

Sister Denmark thrust a freshly bandaged hand out of the window. "I just had seventeen shards of glass removed from my fingers and two stitches put in my palm! Your argument is invalid! Let us in for beers!"

Sister Sweden narrowed her eyes dangerously. (On the other hand, under the right circumstances any Dane will do…)

"We'd better drop it," said Sister Norway. "Kids, go get your coats."

Within five minutes, Sister Sweden and Finland were alone in the house. At last.

"Wait a second…" said Sister Sweden. "Where's FennoSwede?"

Finland shrugged innocently. Too innocently.

"You shuffled him out with the others, didn't you? And no one questioned it?"

Finland gave her a self-satisfied smile.

"Well, I'm not complaining. Now…where were we?"

The sex turned out awesome. At one point, Sister Sweden's phone started ringing again, but they were already too into it to care. They just used the squealing tones as music to whip slaves to.

The End

A/N: This story spent a long time in Development Hell—I wrote the first two-thirds or so, got stuck, and put it on the back burner, where it remained for a few months. When I was finally inspired to finish it, my mental image of the SatW universe had changed enough that I revamped some of the first two-thirds before continuing—nothing severe, mostly descriptions of the house.

Anyway, I wrote this not only because the source material pretty much demanded I write a sexy story at some point (on a side note, this is probably the sexiest thing I have ever written, and isn't that sad?), but because I wanted to illustrate my theory that the two Swedens are more alike than they seem at a casual glance. Sister Sweden puts her energy into sex rather than computers, but she shares her brother's preference for discipline and careful planning, and when someone throws a spanner in the works it cheeses her off big time. Also, Finland's temper is starting to rub off on her.

From the other end, I think we all know that Brother Sweden is secretly kinky as hell. But we'd have to ask Åland for details.