Full Summary: A picture is worth a thousand words. In some cases, this may be true. In Tino's case however, there could be no picture worth more than the thousand words written by a secret admirer and left in his locker. Starting over at a new school, with new friends, Tino struggles to find his place within APH High. Within these struggles, he works to discover the identity of his secret admirer. Soon he becomes drawn to Berwald Oxensteirna, the most intimidating boy in school. As he tries to unravel the mystery that is Berwald and the secret admirer, he will find that the two are more interconnected than he would have ever imagined.

Disclaimer: I do not own Hetalia: Axis Powers or any of the characters mentioned in this story. I have nothing worth taking, so please don't sue!

"Hey, Tino! Where the heck are you going, class is this way!" Matthias yelled at me. Internally, I groaned and turned around. Would I never get the hang of this school? Everything was just so far apart, it was a little ridiculous. Back in Finland, I had gone to a much smaller school. The entire population was probably about the size of a single class in APH high. So it was beginning to irritate me that this school was so freaking huge.

Ah well, at least I had Den to help me.

"Sorry Den!" I called back sheepishly, jogging over to meet my large Danish friend. Matthias was pretty tall, and well built too. He had blond hair that he jelled into spikes every day, and he stood at least a foot over me. It was a little intimidating. At least it was at first... I had pretty much gotten used to it by now.

I had been here at APH High for about a month now. The move from Finland, my home county, had been really difficult. I wasn't sure if I would be able to find friends, or if the two years of English I had taken as an elective would be enough for me to understand what people were saying. It was pretty nerve wracking the first day.

Luckily, it turned out that I really hadn't needed to worry about anything. This school was used to foreign students, and the teachers were mostly bilingual or from different countries themselves. English was still a little hard for me to grasp at times - everyone spoke so fast!- but with a little help I was usually able to understand. As for friends... Well, as soon as Den spotted me, he had immediately got me to join his group of friends. We called ourselves the Nordics, because we were all from Nordic countries. Matthias was form Denmark, so we called him Den. There were two others in our group, Lukas and Emil. But I'll talk more about them later.

Currently, Den and I were headed to science. All sophomores were required to take biology . I was lucky not to be here last year; I absolutely hate physics, so that would pretty much have been torture for me. I am hopeless at math or anything to do with formulas and equations. I would never understand how Lukas was able to do those things like they were nothing. Den, on the other hand... Was a little school challenged, to say the least.

Biology, however, I did like. That may have been mostly due to the teacher. As Den and I walked into the classroom, we were immediately greeted with the smell of pasta and coffee, as usual. You would think the smell would get old after a while, but it really doesn't. At least, it hasn't so far.

We sat down and got settled, joking and laughing about stupid things like we always did. After the bell rang, Mr. Vargas still wasn't here. This wasn't an unusual occurrence, Mr. Vargas was late to class half the time.

Sure enough, he ran in at about 8:04, almost five minutes after the bell had rung.

"Sorry I'm late, class!" He called cheerfully with a wave. His brown hair was sticking up and his tie was rumpled. For an older guy, I suppose he was kind of good looking. Half the girls in school have crushes on him. They have no chance though; he's married with grandchildren, both of which go to our school. He really doesn't LOOK old enough to be a grandfather...

"That's ok, sir!" Matthias called out. "We don't mind!" Despite his abysmal grades in almost any subject, Den was constantly kissing up to all the teachers.

Mr Vargas chuckled. "Well, good! Ciao, everyone!"

"Ciao, mr Vargas!" We chorused back. Mr Vargas and his grandsons were from Italy, and as he thought it was the best country in the world, he had taken it upon himself to teach all of his students as much Italian as he could.

"Before we start class today, we are going to change seats! The chart is up on the projector, so let's go!"

My stomach dropped suddenly, and I felt a bit queasy. This meant I wouldn't be sitting next to Den anymore.. And I didn't know anyone else in the class. I had been so happy to have a friend at all that I hadn't made an effort to reach out to anyone else. I should have seen this coming! I'm so stupid!

I slung my backpack over my shoulder and walked to my new seat, all the way across the room from Matthias. I was sitting on the corner seat of the third row, over by a window. So far, the seat next to me was vacant. I almost wished it would stay that way.

My hopes were dashed when a tall guy came over and dropped his backpack in the seat next to mine. When I say tall, I mean REALLY tall, like taller than Den. And a hell of a lot taller than me. He turned slightly in my direction as he sat down, and I quickly busied myself with getting my notes and pen out. I didn't want to be caught staring... That would be awkward. He made no move to introduce himself, and I sure wasn't going to.

Despite my cheerful exterior, I am actually a really shy person. I don't connect to other people easily, even back in Finland. The only reason I even had three friends in the first place was because Den had introduced himself first. Otherwise I never would have been able to work up the nerve.

"All right! Turn to your new table partner and introduce yourselves, because I'm sure a lot of you don't know each other. And if you do, well, introduce yourself again, ok?" Mr. Vargas called front the front of the room.

I gulped. My palms were sweaty and I could feel myself blushing, but I turned to the person next to me with a forced smile.

"H-hi... I'm Tino?" It came out sounding like a question. Perkele, that was bad... And my accent sounded SO STUPID.

The other boy looked at me, and it was all I could do not to scream. As it was, I still let out a small gasp, but I don't think he could hear it.

He... Was... Terrifying. He quite literally LOOMED over me. He was tall, muscular, and looked like he could snap me in half if he wanted to. But that wasn't really the scary part. The scary part was his eyes. They burned into my soul, blue as ice and hard as a rock. He wore wireframe glasses and had blonde hair. Kind of like mine, but cut in a shorter style.

I just sat there, paralyzed, as he extended a hand to me.

" 'M Berwald." He said shortly, gaze still trained on me. I lifted a shaking hand and took his tentatively, giving a timid shake. I tried to smile, but it just wasn't happening. Thankfully, Mr. Vargas called us to attention at that point, so I dropped his hand and looked away as quickly as possible.

P-PERKELE! He was the scariest person I had ever met! And he was going to be my table partner for the next month at least?

There was no way I was going to be able to survive.

After class, Den took the opportunity between classes to rant to me about Mr. Vargas and how he was a completely and totally evil horrible person to ever even consider separating two such close friends whose lives depended entirely on one another to even be able to survive. Those were his exact words. He can be kind of a drama queen when he wants to be. Yes, queen. He is very queenly.

In this case though, I was inclined to agree with him. I had gone from heaven (aka sitting with my best friend in biology class) to hell. Berwald was utterly terrifying.

Finally Den stopped his ranting for a moment to ask me a question.

"So, Finny, who you sitting with? I got stuck with that douche Arthur Kirkland, the British one." He said, making a face. He and Arthur didn't exactly get along. Although, Arthur didn't really get along well with anyone from what I had heard.

"Um, his name is Berwald..." I said, trying my hardest to seem casual about it.

Den burst out laughing. "I know, I saw you guys introduce yourselves. Dude, you looked like you were about to piss yourself, you know that? It was freaking hilarious!"

The memory of my terrified face was apparently funny to him, cause he went into another fit of laughter.

"Well, can you blame me?" I huffed at him, crossing my arms. "He's terrifying!"

"Haha, that he is, my small friend," Den said, slinging an arm around my shoulder. "That he is." He was obviously still snickering.

"Hey, I'm not THAT small! You're just a freak!" I said playfully. Swatting at his arm. He laughed, but it was more good natured this time.

"Come on, let's get to class. See you later!" We walked off, waving at each other before leaving. I sighed contentedly. I was lucky. He was a good friend.

The rest of the day was pretty eventless. I had lunch with Emil and Lukas. The two are brothers, and it definitely showed. Both are a bit on the smaller side, like me. Lukas is my age, and Emil is a year younger. Both of them are pretty quiet. I guess you would call it stoic. To tell you the truth, it was relaxing to eat with them, cause I could actually have a conversation without being constantly interrupted.

When I first joined the group, I was a little worried because neither of them seemed to like me. I later found out that Emil (or Ice, as Den called him, he was form Iceland) and Lukas (or Norge, for his roots in Norway) were both just like that. Also, Lukas was extremely outspoken when he didn't like people. I learned that pretty quickly.

After the final bell had rung at 2:35, I met up with the guys and we went to out lockers. Since Den was the kiss ass he was, he had somehow managed to get the office ladies to put all of out lockers together, on the basis that they were my only friends and they just wanted to make the new transfer student feel welcome. Which I suppose was mostly true, but still. It probably helped that all of the office ladies acted like doting grandmothers.

I opened my locker, and was immediately met with a huge mess. I am a really disorganized person, especially when you compare me to Lukas. Anyway, it really wasn't surprising that one small piece of paper escaping the clutter of books and paper already inside my locker went unnoticed by me.

Lukas, on the other hand, apparently noticed it, because a moment later he tapped my shoulder and handed it to me with a shrug.

"This fell out of your locker a second ago," he told me in his monotonous voice. I smiled my thanks and looked at the paper.

There was nothing out of the ordinary about it, except that it wasn't in my handwriting. It was way too neat to be mine.

To Tino, it said on the cover.

I opened it up, and I almost fainted after reading the first line.

It was a love letter.

A/N: Duh duh DUH! All right, now that the first chapter is finished, the rest is up to you, my beloved readers! I have the next few chapters already written, but I'm not going to post them just yet. So if you like this story so far, and you would like me to continue with it, all you need to do is write me a review. I really want to hear from you guys, so if you shave anything to say, anything at all, please review! Also, criticism is welcome, it helps me improve. Thanks for reading!