Notes: Based on a kink meme request: Studies show that Estonia just may be the safest country in the world. Let's see Eduard doling out a good share of comfort and fluff!

Warning: fic addresses current conflicts and sensitive issues, so be careful.

Estonia knows he's done well. He's lucky he supposes; his closest southerly neighbour is not so lucky, and so he donates himself generously. Latvia needs someone, he's always needed someone, and Estonia is fine with that role.

Latvia is the kind to borrow deep in his arms and not say anything. That's fine. Estonia doesn't say much himself, just waits until the shaking subsides. Then they might make small talk, but not often.

He's doing something good. That's enough.

He doesn't know all these people. They come from all over the world anyway. He doesn't know how this became his thing, but he's willing so it's fine.

"Haha, I win again! This game originated in Korea!"

"Indeed." It actually did; he keeps plenty of Korean games on hand for Yong Soo. No-one can accuse him of not being proud.

Korea likes to sit on his lap, as he's doing now, so it's a bit awkward for him to look back at Estonia and grin. "Come on, let's play again! Let's see if you can beat me, which you can't, da ze."

"We'll see about that," he says smiling. Korea is so proud all the time. Estonia doesn't tell him to be quiet, or try and deflate his ego - he accepts it, and Korea knows that whatever's happened (whatever invasions and wars, whatever happens with/to North, whatever Japan says, any of it), Korea knows just how worthy he is.

Israel and Palestine come over together. He has rules about no-one hating each other while they're with him, and so while they're there they don't. They don't cuddle for comfort like some do; they just make themselves at home. They sit on his house, scourage for food, complain about how cold it is (they areMiddle Eastern). They bicker but they don't fight; Israel will subtly criticise a painting he has on the wall, Palestine will admonish him for being rude, he'll accuse her of being dishonest about decor and it will all become very silly. Sometimes, they cook. They have these great competitions about it. At least twice, it has all turned into a foodfight, with them throwing dough at each other and laughing and giggling like old friends, and Estonia just trying to avoid the flying pastry. Really, it feels like he barely needs to be there at all.

But of course he does. As soon as they leave, it will go back to normal. Still, he can't help but know.

He's always liked her. They've never been close, with the geographical and cultural distance, but they lived together with Russia and she was always happy to see him. She still is, and they're working on making their relations closer. Back in the USSR, Ukraine came to the conclusion that since she was the best dancer and he was the best singer (according to Ukraine's personal opinion; they never had a contest) they should be a couple, which was extremely embarrassing. Now, they're friends.

She's the kind to bury her head in his lap and play with the ends of his shirt. "You need to get some new clothes," she says. "Warm colours aren't the enemy, you know?"

He shrugs. "I thought I looked good in blue?"

"You do, but a little experimentation never hurt anyone, right?"

"Well Hungary's said so many times, but she may not be an objective source."

Azeri laughs. "I could take you shopping!"

"Please don't."

"Come on, it'd be fun! I could make you wait outside while I tried on bras and everything!"

Estonia resists the urge to facepalm. "I have a feeling this plan might get me killed by your brother. He's not exactly the type to understand why another man is concerned with his sister in her bra."

She giggles. "Oh, don't mind him. I have him wrapped around my little finger! Well, 'cept how he's trying to smooth things over with her-"

Azerbaijan cuts herself off. Estonia looks blank. "Whoops. That was against the rules, right?" Silence. "...Awkward."

"It's fine." He's heard much worse from people who don't have the good sense to stop themselves. Occasionally, he realises how little he understands her. With this whole war with Armenia, and everything it entails; Iran, for example, whose influence on her he'll never understand. She's far away. She's far away and different, they're not that close, and he doesn't quite get it.

But her head's in his lap and she's talking to him about her bras, so they can't be that distant.

She's sad. As long as he's known her she's been sad; when Russia went in to uphold Marxism and when America decided to bring in democracy. No-one ever quite knows what to do with her.

They sit face-to-face on his couch, cross-legged and holding hands. It's uncomfortable, but it's what she prefers and he's nothing if not accommodating.

She's one of the few that can make him feel like he needs to say something. "It... It gets better."

Afghanistan blinks at him, then smiles sadly. "It did for you, didn't it?"

He doesn't know what to say to that.

She doesn't look a thing like her brother. She reminds him a little of Albania, long ago, when she shut herself off from the world full of "Western imperialists" as well.

North Korea, unlike many of the nations he meets, does make small talk. She doesn't exactly get pop culture references (although that occurs with many of the nations who just happen to live far away), but she laughs at his jokes and likes it when he sings. She nestles under his arm, as he tells her stories like she's a child and complains about his day like she's an old friend.

He doesn't get her. He and South Korea are very similar; all nerdy intellectualism, technology and enthusiasm. She's... something else.

Once, out of nowhere, she says this: "If you tell my brother I've been here I'll kill you."

He doesn't doubt she would.

Namibia's had a rather awful life, but she's getting better. She's young, having been strung together from five completely different tribes plus other influence.

She sits in front of him and he plays with her hair. He reckons she likes the feeling of being taken care of, and he indulges her, even if he thinks Poland would be much better at this sort of thing. She talks.

Finland knows her better than he does. He helped her escape South Africa, and Estonia once asked him for advice on dealing with her. "Don't patronise her," he said. "She can't stand that."

"I'm not a victim," she said, which made sense. Even if she's icy to South Africa, even if she hates to be in her own desert for too long, even if she fears drinking a glass of water for poison, she's not a victim. As someone who's spent most of his life controlled by another nation as well, he understands.

They all need the chance to change.

She's been the most failed nation in the world for four years running. He really doesn't like that word, failed. But anyway.

Their conversations are a little vague, and she's a little vague. He wonders if that's all the warring factions, but beneath it all - it feels like there must be something common to her, some core. They once accidentally wound up watching a children's TV show about pirates, and she actually laughed. He guesses it's unfair to ask her not to laugh at her own problems, because if you can't laugh at your own problems you eventually go insane, but it does make him a little uncomfortable.

She seems to sense this, however. "It's fine. I don't need you to understand," she says. "I just want to... feel better."

And how could he possibly blame her for that?

She sleeps by his side on the couch, smiling in her dreams. This is why they come: he is some sort of stability, some sort of hope, and sometimes that's the best he can manage.

Latvia thought he was crazy when he found out, as did Finland, and Lithuania, and - well basically anyone who found out. But he feels like he can't turn the man away, despite having history with him. It's unfair. People come to him for comfort and he does not break that promise.

"Ah, Estonia." Russia smiles warmly as the door is opened. "It is rather chilly out here, da?"

Estonia nods. "Jah," he says. "Come in."

Russia follows him into the house, they make small talk, avoid politics; vodka is served and it's not long before Russia is clinging to him like an oversized teddy-bear. Estonia considers it a moment, and decides to relax.

He's hardly the only one who does that.

Russia's just about asleep on his shoulder (meaning Estonia has to find somewhere to shift the weight soon), when he murmurs something: "Tänan."

Estonia smiles.

Explanatory notes:

Singing is a major part of Estonian culture, and the revolution against Soviet rule was dubbed the "Singing Revolution." Dance is a major part of Azerbaijani culture. Estonia and Azerbaijan have been working on developing closer relations. Azeri's brother = Turkey.

The foundation of Namibia came with the advent of European colonisation, uniting 5 different tribes in the area. In 1904, German colonists committed genocide against Herero and Namaqa tribes in the area. Many people where driven into the desert where they died of thirst, or died from drinking poisoned water from wells. After WWI, the territory of Namibia was transferred to South Africa, which instituted apartheid laws and kept the territory for years after it's mandate expired. Namibia gained independence in 1990, and the rebellion was partly funded by Finland.

Somalia has topped the Failed States Index for the last 4 years (2008-2011). Since 1991, the country has had no unified government.

Tiny Estonian translations:
Jah = Yes.
Tänan = Thank you.