A/N: There's some stuff in here I should apologize in advance for. As always, expect a handful of off color jokes. If you take issue, shoot me a private message and we'll talk it out. Otherwise…
364 days ago…
The Nordics sprawled throughout Norway's living room in varying states of inebriation. The room was decked out in a patriotic red, white, and blue with a banner reading 'Happy Birthday, Norway!' as the focal point. Said country bubbled with undiluted joy as he admired his pile of presents.
"A subscription to 'beer of the month'! Thank you, Denmark! It's almost as good as that raffle ticket you gave me for the North Sea."
Denmark scraped a wad of vanilla-cod frosting off his paper plate and stuck it in his mouth. "Anything for you, Norway. A new case will be delivered to your door every thirty days. Just remember to share."
"And Finland," Norway went on. "The Skittle vodka's so colorful and pretty… and one bottle for each flavor! I'll take my time drinking it."
Finland gave the other a thumbs-up around his own liquor bottle and passed Norway a card reading 'Shoot the rainbow'. Then he returned to his place next to their completed game of 'Pin the Viking longboat in the Irish harbor'.
Not to be outdone, Sweden chimed in too. "You can use the new iCan I gave you to test the toxicity of your other gifts. It'll also tell you exactly what you want to drink, how much, and really decide anything you want to do before you know yourself." True to his words, Norway's brand new state of the art toy- a sleek, aluminum can manufactured by none other than Apple- blinked its consent. Not only would do anything Norway wanted if he smiled at it just right, it would also gauge his thoughts and feelings and react accordingly. All with one button. At the moment, it glowed a pleasing and soft green.
"Thanks so much for such a wonderful birthday guys! This has really been one of the best." Norway said.
"Glad you had fun." Sweden said. He tapped the face of his watch with furrowed brows. "But I ought to go. I told Åland I'd feed him Swedish meatballs tonight whether he wanted them or not."
Denmark opened his mouth to call Sweden out on his unintentional porn, but no one had the chance to say or do much of anything as two svelte sparkly hands landed on Norway's shoulders from behind.
"We can't end it yet! We're forgetting something." Iceland lifted off Norway and stood on the back of the sofa with the well-practiced balance of someone who dabbled in every sport too dangerous to be included in the regular Olympics.
With a well-disguised shudder, Norway gave his head a few slow shakes. "Nope. We've had cake, played games, opened presents, drank ourselves stupid, and slapped each other sober. It's time we call it a night."
"Yes you are." Iceland singsonged. He curled forward over his brother's head so that their noses nearly touched. Miraculously, somehow, in spite of being mostly upside down not one strand of Iceland's hair came out of place. When Norway offered no answer, the youngest Nordic vaulted off the couch and landed feet first on the rug.
All eyes landed on Iceland as snatched a cube wrapped to mimic Norway's flag (accented by holographic sparkles of course) from the coffee table and held it aloft. The iCan pulsed red. Iceland fluffed the white and blue bow. "You forgot to open my gift!"
"Yes… forgot." Norway mumbled. He searched for ways to stall. His first thought was to soothe his own anxiety by instead focusing on Denmark's. But as per Murphey's Law, his historically reactive best friend found nothing amiss and sat calm as ever, poking at the remainder of his frosting pile. He then looked to Sweden as surely he'd want to put an end to whatever horror awaited them beneath the cheery wrapping, but the other country was too busy watching Finland watch the Skittle vodka. And Finland watched Iceland through the Red 40 flavored liquor and seemed in no hurry to rush to Norway's aid, either.
"You shouldn't have." He finally said to Iceland. "You really, really shouldn't have-"
"But you're my favorite brother." Iceland interrupted, pushing the package into Norway's hands. Taking the size and scope of their family into consideration; that actually meant something.
And that's how guilt works.
Norway took a long, difficult swallow then resigned himself to his fate. He accepted his final gift with great misgivings and raised a silent prayer to St. Asbjörn. A single bead of sweat crawled off his forehead and down the side of his face as he pulled off the ribbon and tore at the paper to reveal a cardboard box. The intensity of Iceland's sparkles increased incrementally as the moment crept closer where Norway would reveal its contents.
And when he finally did, the screams shook the house. Denmark saw It and shrieked out some previously undiscovered soprano notes. Finland jumped backwards and whipped out his phone to tap out a hastily composed text message. Sweden's phone buzzed too. The iCan shut itself off.
"Hey guys, Finland's calling me. I should really take this call and see what he wants." Sweden said in a thin lie as he bolted out the front door.
Finland downed the contents of his bottle shook his head, gestured to the front door, and ran away himself.
Norway looked at Denmark. Denmark looked at Norway. Both countries looked at Iceland, who looked at Norway's final birthday present and beamed a smile that could've powered the continent for months.
"Do you like it?" Iceland asked expectantly.
Denmark rose to leave himself, but Norway grabbed him by the shirt, yanked him back down to a sitting position, and glued him to the sofa with a pleading stare.
"Is-is that really a… ah…" Denmark sputtered.
"A human hand!" Iceland took the severed appendage and molded it into a thumbs-up before presenting it to Norway. "Serbia left it buried in his yard! I wanted to get you two so you'd have bookends, but I thought that would be kind of creepy." He finished shyly.
"Don't you think this might belong to someone already?" Norway asked, his voice cracking.
Iceland used the hand to cup his chin. "I wouldn't worry about that too much. Whoever had it probably has a replacement claw by now. They won't miss it."
Denmark made a noise that could best be described as the vocalization of a case of the willies and literally burrowed into the space between Norway's back and the sofa. "Is this one of your jokes? Like when you showed us that Penis Museum?" He blurted underneath Norway.
"No." Iceland said, injured.
"T-thank you? Next time, just remember there's absolutely no need to get me a gift." Norway tentatively offered. Iceland rebounded immediately and held out the hand for either member of his remaining audience to shake.
"No problem! Happy birthday!"
"Now can we please end this finally? Before that hand starts walking around on its fingers?" Denmark asked.
After that, Norway managed to diffuse the situation with a lot of unprecedented grace. He steered Iceland to the exit, thanked him again for his unique take on a birthday gift, slammed the door shut, locked it, snatched the purple flavored vodka, ran to his room, downed half of it, and left Denmark to puzzle out how to handle the hand. It was his birthday after all.
And what's what happens when you have a brother with the social IQ of a potted plant.
More to come...