1. A Knot In the Plans
Subject: Our Business Proposal
To: Berwald Oxenstierna
It is with great regret that I am forced to deliver some bad news. Despite your generous donation we have been forced to shut down all intended efforts to further publish the Supernatural Series, due to trouble with the author. Mr. Edlund wishes for me to send you his profound apologies and regrets. I assure you we shall return your investment in full. If Mr. Edlund should feel inclined to rethink his decision you shall be the first we inform. Again we give our most sincere apologies.
Flying Wiccan Press
Sweden starred at the small screen of his iphone, a gift from Ladonia for father's day, with horror and steadily rising panic. This really could not be happening. Sweden took a deep breath trying to calm himself. It didn't help. Looking around the room, and feeling inexplicably guilty, to find the boys had left the hotel room at some point. Now doubt to get into all kinds of mischief. Hopefully not involving Russia. They didn't need a repeat of the Borsch Incident.
For once Sweden was thankful for his sons' penchant for running off at the drop of a hat. Sealand was surprisingly observant and if he'd seen Sweden's panic he wouldn't have stopped until he discovered the reasons behind it. And Peter might not be tech savvy enough to hack his computer but Ladonia had a bad habit for attempting to break through Sweden's firewalls and being manipulated by his step-brother. He had an even worse habit of being successful no matter how long it took or how many new defenses his government came up with. It was useful for testing their defenses, but it was a liability when trying to keep secrets from him. It had taken Nils less than an hour to find out what they'd gotten Peter for his birthday and he'd lorded it over his brother for weeks dropping little hints to torture him. Sweden had been amused by it at the time, but right now he regretted not cracking down harder on Nils. If the boy found out Sweden had just lost Finland's anniversary gift he wouldn't be able to keep it secret from the man. Not only was Ladonia a horrible secret keeper, but both Sweden's boys adored Finland and hated lying to him.
In laymen's terms if the boys found out so would Finland. And if Finland found out Sweden was, quite frankly screwed.
Oh, Finland would be kind about it (which would just make him feel worse), but he'd be disappointed all the same. Sweden would have to know he'd messed up their anniversary. And that would kill him. He and Finland had been together for centuries, but he wanted this one to be special. Ever since they'd gotten the boys there had been a decrease in romance that Sweden was determined to correct. And now this. Behind his panic and guilt there was a good deal of frustration.
It had been the perfect gift!
When Finland had returned from the last World Meeting it had been with a new obsession. Sweden knew how picky Finland was about books and had been a little surprised. Sweden had skimmed through them and liked them well enough, but he preferred his own hobbies. He'd take building some furniture over reading a book any day. Even though Sweden was used to Finland gushing a little when he found something new to read (It was something he found rather adorable to be honest.) Finland had gone on about the book series more than usual. He'd been frantic to gather up the entire series and couldn't stay still after he finished one until he got the next. It had seemed all he did was read. Sweden had even caught him, his little work-before-play husband, reading one while he was supposed to be finishing a report to his boss. Finland had been into the series to say the least and Sweden had actually found him in tears after the last book. The Finn had been depressed for weeks when he found out that the publisher had gone bankrupt. He'd cheered up, but Sweden caught him rereading the books and sighing sadly over the last one more than once.
When Sweden had first gotten the idea he'd dismissed it as ridiculous, but the image of how happy Finland had always been when he got a new book kept popping up. Sweden could only guess it would be even better if he managed to resurrect Finland's favorite books from the dead. He still hadn't really thought it was possible, even when he'd first called the publisher. It hadn't helped that his nerves made his accent more pronounced than usual, but once the woman understood what he was requesting she'd been incredibly helpful and had actually burst into tears when she realized he was willing to pay for the whole thing. Before Sweden knew it he was having secret phone calls and e-mails behind Finland's back and took a plane to Ontario to meet up with the woman and finalize the contract. Margaret, as she insisted he call her, had hugged him despite his appearance, which was more than a little rare. They'd kept talking and last time she'd called progress had been good. Mr. Edlund had agreed to go out in the public for the first time at the First Annual Supernatural Convention to make a public announcement for the continuation and they'd just finished the final edits making the book ready for publishing. Sweden had been walking on air the thought of Finland's happy face when he opened his gift making even Denmark more bearable than normal, something the man had commented on and Sweden had waved off.
And now this.
Sweden too a deep breathe to calm himself. He couldn't just give up now. Perhaps he could come to an agreement with the author to resolve whatever last minute nerves the man was having if he spoke to him face-to-face. Margaret had mentioned that Mr. Edlund was a nervous man by nature. It was possible that all this was just nerves from being out of circulation so long. And if it was about the money Sweden could pay more. His boss insisted on giving him a paycheck, despite Sweden telling him it was unnecessary, and he made quite a lot from selling his handmade furniture and designing an occasional house as well as building it. Either way Sweden could handle the problem and once it was taken care of they could proceed with what they had planned originally and still have a copy ready in time for his anniversary. The only problem now was contacting the man.
Carver Edlund was a penname, Sweden knew that much. And he was determined to keep his real name out of the public domain. That was one thing the chatty Margaret had been stubbornly silent on. The loyalty had both been surprising and touching as Sweden's initial impression of her had been a bit unflattering. Now that he knew her better though he doubted she would crack. Breaking into her records wasn't an option though, he would need Ladonia and that would alert him to something being amiss, and thus Finland, and it also had the potential of causing an international incident. No country wanted another nosing into their citizens' private lives. America was particular fussy too and he didn't take well to spies after the Cold War.
So that was a no. He supposed he could try Margaret, even if he doubted he'd have luck. He'd told her about Tino enough that he was fairly certain she was feeling pretty guilty about ruining his anniversary present. He could use that to his advantage.
You can dance. You can jive. Having the time of your life. See that girl-
"Hello." Sweden answered gruffly, interrupting the music that had almost made him jump out of his skin. He hated it when Ladonia changed his ringtone. It wasn't that he didn't like ABBA, he did, but it was exceedingly unprofessional to have "Dancing Queen" start playing in the middle of a business meeting. Especially with America, who hadn't stopped giggling about it being so seventies and calling him old man the rest of the time. It had been a bit annoying even if the young nation hadn't meant it offensively since Sweden and America got along relatively well. Sweden wasn't that old, even if having two children and a dog occasionally did make him feel older than China.
"Berwald?" a familiar voice questioned, sounding a tad shocked at the abruptness. Sweden mentally cursed. Just his luck. It would be Finland.
"Sorry," Sweden told him quickly. "Ladonia changed my ringtones again."
"Oh," Finland replied sounding a little pacified and questioned, a little too innocently. "Dancing Queen?"
Sweden huffed in reply and Finland laughed. The sound made Sweden smile despite how horrible his situation was. Finland was good at that. Just talking to him made Sweden feel worlds better no matter how terrible things were. It was just one of the many reasons he loved him.
After a few more minutes of laughing Finland caught his breathe and spoke amusement still plain. "I just wondered if you could get the boys, I know you've been working on the power point for tomorrow, but Sealand's trying to convince America to help him prank England and you know how America is. He'll go along with it just to annoy Arthur. And Nisse will do anything Peter does. Honestly sometimes I miss when they didn't get along. At least then we didn't have two hellions to deal with."
Even with the complaining and exasperation Sweden heard the obvious love Finland shared for their sons and smiled to himself.
"Of course." Sweden agreed instantly, happy to momentarily forget about his crisis.
Finland gave a relieved sigh. "Thanks Su-san, I'm helping Southern Italy with something. We've never really spoken much, but the boy is surprisingly sweet when he doesn't think you're looking. I'd hate to have to leave him considering how difficult it is for him to ask for help."
Sweden was curious about what exactly Romano Italy could need from Finland, but decided that Finland would tell him when he wanted to.
"Love you Berwald."
Sweden felt his heart warm at the words as his stomach dropped with sudden guilt as the situation gnawed at him in the back of his mind.
"Love you too Tino." Sweden replied in Finnish like he'd been practicing for years. He knew Finland was smiling at that like he did every time Sweden spoke in his language. They both hung-up and Sweden sighed getting to his feet and stretching out his stiff muscles. He had better find the boys before it was too late.
Sealand was getting to be dangerously good at his pranks, he suspected it had something to do with the fact that Canada, his favorite and somewhat forgettable babysitter, was a bit of a secret prankster himself. Others might over look the Canadian, but Sweden's people had been among the first to arrive on the North American twins lands and he never forgot either of them, something he knew the Northernmost brother and his Southern twin, to an extent, were grateful for. Besides Canada made a great babysitter even if Prussia, who was a definite bad influence did have a bad habit of showing up. The albino would listen to the slender blond for the most part, even if Sweden was still a little worried about having him around Sealand after the time Sealand had attempted to claim Wy's "vital regions" without realizing what they really were. Australia still wouldn't stop glaring at Sweden during meetings.
In all likelihood America would be in the cafeteria. Lunch had just started and not even annoying England could tear America away from food. Sweden shook his head slightly at the thought, but then froze.
America. That was the answer. Carver Edlund was his citizen. Surely he'd be willing to help if Sweden explained the situation. After all the boy loved playing the hero. Feeling a little hopeful Sweden almost ran from the hotel room. Now he definitely needed to catch his sons and their partner in crime before they left.