As a side note, Christmas was banned in Russia in 1917 after their revolution. The Winter War violence ended in 1940, wherein Finland gave 11% of its territory to Russia. The setting is Finland in Russia's home during this time, which explains the ban on Christmas.

Russia's revolution had ended and Finland was celebrating the birth of Christ alone. The bed below rocked a little precariously as he stood on the corner, imagining with his hands a time and place when celebrating this holy day wasn't punishable by law. When there was something - someone - a little warmer to snuggle against than a thin plaster wall.

"... And the angel would sit..." he murmured with only his own ears to listen. The nation was stretched as far as he could be, his left palm braced against the wall, his right reaching the approximate height that a petite cherub would sit atop his fir tree.

Well. Their fir, seeing as Sweden would have been the one to take the blade of his axe to the trunk, if Finland had been home. He would have been the one to drag the just-right tree through the snow, leaving a deep white trench in his wake. He would be the one to set the tree up in the sitting room close enough to the fireplace to let it dry warm, but far enough away so as not to pose any sort of fire hazard.

When the fragrant needles had dried, it would be Tino's turn to work (because, in his own mind, warming cider and serving it with fresh cinnamon and a hot meal was a labor of love, not real work). He would mop up the melted snow and the spilt needles from beneath the tree and pull out the decorations, Hanatamago scampering around his feet in lieu of all the excitement, while Berwald stoked the fire.

Once the tree was properly strewn with tinsel and threaded with popped corn, he knew that Berwald would be making the second round of hot cider. The loveseat, made by Sweden's own capable hands, would be calling for them and they would heed it without words or hesitation.

And then, oh how it would be; the home a pinprick, a cushion of warmth in the vast snow-laden wilderness. The fireplace in the living room would be alight in cheery orange, flames licking and logs crackling their own Christmas carols. Wrapped in an overlarge quilt of blue, yellow and white the nations would sit, smelling of warm pine and cinnamon. The bedroom fireplace would house only glowing coals, for both Sweden and Finland were well aware that on this night, they would more than likely fall asleep in the comfort of one another's presence, squished together, basking in the fruits that their holiday spirits had produced.

Finland would fall into a honeyed half-sleep state and Berwald would garner enough courage only then to murmur the sweetest truths into Tino's hair. Hanatamago would stretch once, twice before huffing a tiny breath from her nose and curling up on the knit rug before the fire, a ball of pure white fluff. Finland would feel the gentlest kiss on the crown of his head and allow it to roll back onto Berwald's shoulder, his lips brushing he gentle giant's jaw: his permission to continue.

Berwald would be flushed, of course, with adorably pink cheeks and tight lips and intense eyes, and for the longest time Finland has not been able to resist. He would find Sweden's hand beneath the blanket and twine their fingers, large and small in proportion to the rest of them, and his lips would part, a gesture of just for you.

He knew that Sweden had never been able to resist, either.

The taller would prove such a point by slowly, slowly twisting his body and sliding his free hand through Tino's hair, cradling his scalp with the utmost care, like Finland could break though the both of them knew that he would not. Never by Berwald's hand. Tino would feel his heart skip a thousand beats as Berwald kissed him then, becoming utterly pliable in his hands. Such a feeling to surrender to only one, the perfect one. What an overpowering wave of emotion that love would bring.

It could have, of course, gone two ways from there. Certainly the warmth could have escalated. Tino could have been further awoken by a stronger intensity, a need for each other that could not be fulfilled by innocent kisses and holding hands. Berwald could lift him silently so as not to wake the sleeping dog and carry him off to their room, where the glowing coals could be rivaled by the heat rising between the sheets.

Or. Or it could end as sweetly as it had been dreamed. With the tenderness of Sweden's lips, Finland would find himself drifting back to sleep, warmth radiating through the tiny house, and to fall into slumber connected so sweetly to the one held so dear; what bliss could bear more perfection?

He was brought back down to earth quite literally as the mattress below his feet decided to give way. He fell to the floor in a heap of broken dreams and pathetic almost-tears. But what was the point of crying when the creature meant to wipe the tears was miles and miles and decades out of reach? It was far too solemn and solitary there to shed tears with all of their fleeting warmth.

So Tino stopped pretending there was a festive tree, tall and proud and dying in his tiny gray room there in Russia's house. He closed his eyes against unbidden fantasies of warm Swedish arms, dancing firelight before his eyelids and his own little heart melting pleasantly onto his ribcage at little mumbled 'you're beautiful's and 'I adore you's.

He allowed his candle to flicker on as he closed his eyes, tucked up to his nose beneath an ever-thinning blanket and dreamt willfully of a forbidden could-have-been Christmas Eve.

And far later, deep, deep into the latest hours of the night - and the earliest of the morning - a chilled drip spilled from unconscious eyes and in the smallest voice a lover's name was uttered just as the candle's tiny flame sputtered. In the very next instance it was dead, invisible smoke rising and curling in the dark, drifting and fading through the room as intangible as Tino's merry Christmas.