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Title: "For Thine is the Kingdom"
Author: Val Mora (valmora)
Recipient: meomnimi
Rating: an uppish PG-13, a light R if you object to archaic "bad words."
Word count: ~2000
Warnings: religion, guilt, mild sexual content, heavy introspection, m/m sexuality
Characters: Sweden/Finland, brief cameo by the Ottoman Empire.
Time period: 1600s to early 1700s
Beta: kainoliero, who did an awesome job.

Summary: Sweden grows up into an Empire during the Thirty Years’ War. The religious aspect of the war becomes a problem. So does Finland sleeping.

Notes: The title is from the Lord's Prayer; the cut text is from Mark 10:9. Constructive criticism welcomed.



Finland rises to stand in his stirrups, looking over the field, and Sweden watches him. He tries not to follow the hard lines of his body under his battle uniform. Finland is strong, now, with their unition, and his loyalty and vitality and kindness make Sweden glad that they are together in peace and in war. He holds his reins tighter and looks behind himself to be certain that nothing has gone amiss with the companies behind them.

Today they are to battle the Holy Roman Empire. They will send their men to fight other men; there will be death and blood, in God’s name and His justice. Let the Nation who is in the right win.

Let the Nation who is least sullied win, Sweden thinks. He has accepted French coin to bring his and Finland’s men this far, and France follows the Pope in Rome.

Finland’s reins clink as he moves and Sweden turns to look at him.

“Will we attack first?” Finland asks.

Sweden nods. Finland rides with him to war.




They win that battle because the Holy Roman Empire is tired and weak with hunger. Men die. Territory is gained, loot is taken, the camp whores profit by men driven to lust in their victory and pain.

Sweden goes to his tent and wonders if tomorrow he will wake with new-formed spots on his face, like he did this morning. He supposes he will become an adult when this is over; he has been of a height with most men for a few years now, and he is still growing. Already he has begun to grow hair under his arms and – elsewhere.

He sleeps beside Finland, as they have done since they left Denmark’s house. Finland is warm and smells of juniper, horseflesh, blood. Sweden marvels at their shared heat, then rises to dress to survey the troops. When he is clad he wakes Finland and leaves the tent to wash his face while Finland dresses.




He is watching the horses feed and thinking that he is hungry when he overhears a conversation between two foot-soldiers.

Much of it is simple: complaining about the heat of the day, the cold of the night, the lice, the food, the lay of the land. The officers.

“’n th’ boy commanders,” one of them says, “Th’tall one’s lookin’ t’have th’ other’s arse.”

Sweden clenches his fists in his own coat. He is old enough, and clever enough, to understand; he stood at his mother’s side as she raided the south, and saw that sometimes a man would, when there were too few girls or his spirit was twisted, claim boys instead. Sweden has seen this, and he thinks properly that it is filthy, the sin of Sodom, and he is not – he does not – he is not broken.

That night, he sleeps in the warmth of his and Finland’s shared bed, comforted by the soft sniffle of Finland breathing in his sleep.

He wakes with aching heat between his legs, his breath desperate, and Finland pressed so close and tight to him that even through their clothes, were he to be awake, he would feel Sweden’s –

Sweden jerks away from him and dresses with his back turned. He runs to the church that stands on the border of where they have set up camp and kneels in front of the wooden crucified Christ, praying for his rebellious flesh to settle and weeping from shame.




That night he strips off the dirtiest of his clothes with his back turned to Finland – but he has been doing that for years, now. Ever since he realized that he was to become a man and that Finland was not, or at least not yet.

But Finland is ready for bed sooner than Sweden – maybe because Sweden is slow, thinking of his body’s reaction, dreading what may come.

When Sweden crawls into the bed, Finland shifts closer in innocent comfort, but Sweden holds out a hand to keep some space between them.

“’t’d be too warm,” he says. “Summer’s coming.” Not that it is not still cold; in the mornings he can see his own breath cloud in the air.

“Oh,” Finland says, and casts his eyes to the closed throat of Sweden’s clothing. Sweden holds back the soft shiver that wants to run through him and ruin his lie. Finland would ignore him and sleep pressed close to him again, then wake with Sweden’s - Sweden’s prick digging into him as a banner of sin. No. There is no – he can imagine Finland’s disgust, his pride, the jut of his chin and the spark of his eyes while renouncing their friendship and their shared nation.

Sweden curls around the hollow pit of his belly and spends the hours until he falls asleep praying that God will see fit to give them victory and see fit as well to return his innocence.




They win. He takes land that was once his cousin’s and decides that if he is to be sick then he will at least make the semblance of wholeness, and holds his silence. He has long called Finland his wife, not in jest; they keep house together, do they not? Yet now, knowing of his own sin, saying the word pains him. Wife. As though he does not know that Finland is a man, or as though he desires Finland to lie with him anyway.

That, he wants as much as he fears. His body is pulled but his mind does not bend except in sleep, where he dreams of the far north and the smoke of burn-clearing, and the damp heat of the sauna thick in his lungs.

It has become an ugly joke, the Devil mocking him by finding the desire that lay within him and bringing it forward, and so he ceases to say the word.




Soon they make war again. All their neighbors at once, impossible and terrible, and they are defeated. Sweden kneels curled over Finland’s bruised body, left behind lying to the side of a road as Russia pulled out of his lands, and thinks of Russia’s soldiers occupying, defiling, Finland’s villages and fields, and he is shamed and desperate.

“I,” Sweden says, and his knees are cold in the mud. Penance is worthless. He remembers the slow wicked spread of the Ottoman Empire’s smile and how he said to Sweden, one night while they drank together, So that’s the kind of beloved you keep that far north. Sweden choked. The Ottoman Empire laughed, leaned closer on his couch. Like the sword of empire, or the Greeks. A beloved can turn your liver to snow or he can bring you strong to war.

That’s not – we are not – my love is pure,
Sweden said, but his conscience burned at the lie.

The Ottoman Empire laughed again and drank smoke from his pipe. So you don’t keep him as a catamite. But not because you don’t want him lying naked under you with his legs open.

Sweden, heart and belly twisted with desire at the image, snarled, France was right; you’re filthy, and left.

But now he is cold, his trousers covered in dirt and old blood, and his ribs ache. He has lost and he worries what Finland will think of him this first meeting since Sweden fled south in exile.

He digs his fingers tighter into the layers of Finland’s clothing, pulling Finland into his lap, leaning down until he can smell the dirt and sweat in the cloth of Finland’s jacket.

“’s true,” he says, “’s true. I need your strength. I need you.” He rises to his feet, but the motion jars Finland awake.

“Sweden?” Finland says, opening his eyes and looking up.

“Yes.”

“If you let Russia have me again,” Finland says, and doesn’t finish the threat.

“No,” Sweden says. He understands. He –

“Could you let me down?” Finland asks. “I can walk.”

So Sweden bends to his knees and lets Finland’s muddy boots fall to the ground. They walk together the rest of the way, supporting each other. One country, two Nations, both of them broken by war.




When they have returned home again they bathe and put on fresh clothes before sitting together in front of a fire. Finland’s heat against his side is welcome, but leaves him feeling uneven. As though –

Finland touches the corner of Sweden’s jaw and says, “I missed you while you were gone.”

“’n I you.”

“I…” Something passes across Finland’s face, a strange lost expression, before his hand falls to his lap and he leans close again, his head coming to rest against Sweden’s shoulder. “I’m glad to be back.”

Sweden falls asleep like that.




He wakes when Finland starts humming like he used to when they were still children during the Crusades. Sweden can’t stop the thrill of fear that sparks in his chest. He knows better than to believe that Finland would work with the Devil, but he’s still terrified of it, how it sounds, untamable.

“Wish y’wouldn’t do that,” he says when Finland stops, and Finland twitches in surprise against his shoulder.

“...It’s not Devil-worship,” he says finally. “I was trying to sing my brother, but I couldn’t remember.”

“Still.” Sweden lets his arm slide up around Finland’s shoulders; it rests there for a moment before Finland leans away and stands, stretching and yawning.

“I’m going to bed,” Finland says. “You coming?”

Sweden imagines what it would be like to have Finland above him, spread over his hips, their hands together as they strove –

“Not yet,” he says, and turns back to the fire, hoping that Finland will not see his blush, that his too-responsive body will turn quiet.




The next morning Finland skis the miles to their neighbor’s house, returns smiling and warm and cheerful, and collapses sweaty on the bed; Sweden tries not to think of the power of Finland’s thighs, the muscles that flex under his skin. He watches Finland out of the corner of his eyes anyway as Finland undresses slowly to change into warmer clothes.

Yet he finds himself angered, desperate, as Finland’s undershirt slips away from his skin and onto the floor, baring his chest. Finland doesn’t turn away to cover his nakedness the way they were accustomed to doing before – he doesn’t even look away from Sweden while he reaches for the ties at his waist. As though he has full intention to put on display all the view Sweden has spent the last hundred years wishing he did not want to see.

“Stop,” Sweden says, once the ties are undone and Finland is still watching him, the cloth edging over his hips.

Finland does, but even though his hands aren’t moving his breeches sink tantalizing-low. “Stop what?”

For a moment Sweden thinks he should hold his tongue, keep silence and turn away. But then he sees the quicksilver glint in Finland’s eyes, the honey-secret edge of his smile, and he knows that the temptation is Finland’s as well, not only his own mind making suggestions in its sin –

“You’re not a whore,” he says. “Y’shouldn’t show off your body ‘s though y’were.”

Finland doesn’t turn away. “I’m your wife, aren’t I? I don’t have to worry about you assaulting my virtue because you’re supposed to be fucking me.”

Sweden closes his eyes, bows his head. “Haven’t used that word for years.”

“Maybe not,” Finland says. “You’re still lord and master to my lands, and where Stockholm’s nobles go I follow, for your lords have become mine, and your language has been brought to my lakes and forests, and it is to pay your taxes and tithes that my fields are tilled –”

Sweden walks out of the room. Out of the house, into the snow, out to where the horses and the cows are kept.

He leans his forehead against the neck of one of the mares, inhales the warmth, the dusty air that smells of shit and hay and leather. She rumbles curiously, shifts away, shifts back. Sniffs him to see if he’s brought a snack for her.

If that’s what Finland really believes, how he really sees things between them, then Sweden will never win him. Will never lie unashamed in bed beside him. Will never hold him undone with pleasure.

“Good,” Sweden says aloud. He remains unconvinced, so he says it again, and again after that.

“I bet that horse is happy to know you like her,” Finland says from behind him. Sweden jerks, turning to face him.

Finland smiles lopsidedly. “Sorry. I shouldn’t have said all that.”

Sweden doesn’t say anything. He wants to say, Didn’t I postpone the confirmation of my king once for your sake? but that would just make them both unhappy.

“I just,” Finland says. “If it’s going to be a union, then I want all the privileges that come with it. Not just a cadre of tax-men in your service and my strength in your army.” He reaches out; his hands close around Sweden’s arm. “I want my voice in your decisions and I want to share our bed. As – as spouses, not brothers-in-arms.”

Sweden breathes, tastes blood and the beat of his own heart. “Y’know what that means.”

“It means that sleeping next to the horses becomes a sign of coming rebellion instead of a way to keep warm?”

Sweden rests his hand over Finland’s, on his arm. “That too.”

Finland laughs. “It means that you’ll be buggering me, so if I’m going to commit a crime against the laws of God and man I want to enjoy it.” He drags Sweden away from the horse, out of the barn and back to the house. In the flicker-light of the fire in the – in their bedroom, he folds his arms over Sweden’s shoulders and pulls him down, into the bed, into his embrace.

Comments

( 24 comments — Leave a comment )
meomnimi
Dec. 1st, 2009 03:36 pm (UTC)
Lady Luck must like me a lot, to let me receive a fic from one of my favourite authors (and beta'd by another too)

This is possibly the best christmas pressent I've ever received. It's so much better than what I was expecting. Thank you so much!

Um, I'll go back and read it over for the nth time. (And maybe when I feel calmer I'll come back with a better comment)

THANK YOU!!!!
valmora
Dec. 2nd, 2009 12:19 pm (UTC)
I'm glad you enjoyed it!

(Isn't kainoliero great? She did an amazing job of whipping this fic into shape.)

letthemhavepie
Dec. 2nd, 2009 02:44 am (UTC)
I'm not part of the Nordic exchange but I was just checking it out and...OMG! I love your diction here (I'm suck a sucker for old language use. Especially the innuendos. Though I like strumpet or hussy better then whore but that maybe more Elizabethan...) I have to admit this is probably more erotic than any smut just because of the longing and lusting for. The fact it isn't graphic makes so much more graphic (if you get my gist.) Plus I love the whole interaction between characters. (Turkey and Sweden especially because I would think there was some tension in the fact Turkey was Muslim and Sweden Protostant.) I have a question was Turkey invovled with the 30 years war??? Oh godness I can't tell you how much I love this...(Oh I forgot to mention I love how whenever Finland does something, "Finnish," he considers it a devil thing...cause he's totally turned JK)
valmora
Dec. 2nd, 2009 12:30 pm (UTC)
The fact it isn't graphic makes so much more graphic
Someone once told me that the most powerful part of sex is the mind.

was Turkey invovled with the 30 years war
I know very little about actual military dealings, but I do know that during the Great Northern War, the Swedish king at the time spent five years in exile in the Ottoman Empire. That would have been in the early 1700s.
letthemhavepie
Dec. 2nd, 2009 11:17 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much for giving me the info about Turkey. After when I posted this I immediatly went to check it out. Apparently Turkey was helping Hungarians rebel from Austria or something. I have to admit I've had an interest in the 30 years war for a while now but out of anything I have researched before this has been the hardest one.(The connections are a hussy)(Actually Hetalia makes it so much better. It becomes so much like a soap opera)

I read your fic again and I think I liked it better a second time! I barely read fan fictions twice because I'm ashamed that I read them. (Actually think they only other one I read twice was also by you.) Your one a the few fanfiction writers who I'm like, "You don't even need to be doing fanfiction. Go out into the world and write because I will read it."

I also forgot to mention the religious undertones, plus Sweden's guilt. (Sweden was like I'm the King of the Protestants)I've always wondered how nations would feel about their, "alliances," with other contries and if that will conflict with their religious times. (They may dismiss as only a thing, "man," must follow, not a nation...ugg rambling). Plus I noticed some really hidden sexual diction espeically the scene when Finland asks Sweden," to come," to bed while he's having that image in his head and the fact he replies, "not yet" is so much more symbolic.

Uggh sorry for my rants of love (not to sound creepy), but give yourself a pat on the back, and go write some more. (I may have read into it more because in my Lit class my teacher has taught me to read with my mind in the gutter...thanks teacher.)

valmora
Dec. 3rd, 2009 12:43 pm (UTC)
Actually Hetalia makes it so much better. It becomes so much like a soap opera)
You don't need to tell me that. The only reason I'm able to stay awake in my "History of Japan" lecture course is by imagining it in Hetalia.
(waits for the wank to pour in about history being interesting for its own sake)

because I'm ashamed that I read them
I used to be, and then I thought that if it kept me involved in the original work, gave me an opportunity to write, and helped me interact with other writers in a community, it couldn't be all bad.

the fact he replies, "not yet"
...I... the first one was intentional. This one wasn't. Nice. =D Further proof that my subconscious is smarter than I am.

read with my mind in the gutter
Better than insisting the gutter doesn't exist! Even Shakespeare should be read with at least half the brain in the gutter - it's meant to be!
meomnimi
Dec. 2nd, 2009 12:55 pm (UTC)
because of the longing and lusting for
That's why UST is great *O*
narcomanic
Dec. 2nd, 2009 09:21 pm (UTC)
Dammit. XD I read this the first time when you just posted it, went asdasskjhda over it, and decided I'd wait for a while and reread it once I could get in a more coherent comment. XD Can't. Dammit.

But it seems letthemhavepie already voiced my favourite point about this, that is, the tension you've got going on here. It's true, it is somehow more erotic when the both of them just want it so badly, but neither can say it aloud. Well. Finland did, eventually. XD Which was good.
valmora
Dec. 3rd, 2009 12:44 pm (UTC)
Can't. Dammit.
Thank you. =D

Finland did, eventually.
He's clever like that. Sweden would just have dithered himself stupid, I suspect. =D
gomimushi
Dec. 3rd, 2009 02:33 am (UTC)
Wow, that was sensual and restrained and full of inner turmoil all at once. The tension is definitely the draw here. Not too little, not too much, just perfect.

I loved the cameo with the Ottoman Empire, and your characterization of both Sweden and Finland; the way they grew up and the way their relationship progressed through the ages.

And that it was Finland who said it in the end = so much love <3
valmora
Dec. 3rd, 2009 12:45 pm (UTC)
loved the cameo with the Ottoman Empire,
I'm glad! I wasn't sure it would work, so hearing that you liked it makes me feel better.

Thank you for reading!
kainoliero
Dec. 3rd, 2009 09:05 pm (UTC)
*applause*
I did enjoy betaing this you know! XD
My not-so-secret major kink is historical accuracy and besides, I do like fics that leave things up to, heh, imagination (not to say I wouldn't enjoy smut too) and of course Sweden's delicious guilt. :D~~~
Awesome work!
valmora
Dec. 4th, 2009 01:20 am (UTC)
not-so-secret major kink is historical accuracy
It makes things more enjoyable in regular fiction and even more so in Hetalia fic, since the history is the canon, and the more based in canon a fic is the better it tends to be.
(tl;dr: you win)

not to say I wouldn't enjoy smut too
I know what you mean. I don't mind smut, but what's really important in most fics is the emotions, otherwise it turns into IKEA erotica.

Thank you for beta'ing!
ayamemishi
Dec. 3rd, 2009 10:50 pm (UTC)
The guilt! Oh, I love the guilt. And the historical setting, especially. I feel silly repeating what everyone else has said, but the tension between them in the fic is really quite wonderful, and bears repeating.
aoi_aka
Dec. 8th, 2009 06:57 pm (UTC)
This fic was mind-blowing erotic without giving away any sex acts or graphic description (not that I wouldn't read it).

And I just love how you got Sweden talking but still making sense. Some writers just overuse the truncated words and it makes it unreadable. This fic was wonderful.
tamerlorika
Jan. 3rd, 2010 07:10 am (UTC)
wow
OH my word that was amazing. What a singular bit of SuFin.. and historical, too!!! I AM SO HAPPY RIGHT NOW. Seriously, great, great premise you have here.
stalkerbunny
Oct. 22nd, 2010 05:54 pm (UTC)
Better late than never?
Egads, how have I not found this fic earlier. ; 3 ; ♥
Well, I only found about the exchange today so maybe that's why.

It's amazing, the theme of religious guilt just what I wanted to read right now (not that repression isn't always delicious, as far as flavours of angst go). I also love the subtle allusions to historical events and details you've added in. And the characterization...♥
Absolutely lovely alltogether.
valmora
Oct. 22nd, 2010 06:37 pm (UTC)
Re: Better late than never?
You probably didn't see it because it isn't in the massive list of my kink meme fics on my LJ... =D

I actually am stupidly fond of the "religious guilt" theme and what can be done with it in Hetalia. It's so much fun and so hard to do justice to. (What's especially fun is that the fear of homosexuality/sodomy, at least for the Scandies, dates from before Christianization - the Vikings were super-not-fond of same-sex sexual behavior. This is very different from, say, what you'd get in Italy or Spain.)

I'm glad you enjoyed it!
stalkerbunny
Oct. 22nd, 2010 09:30 pm (UTC)
Re: Better late than never?
Good point about the vikings...I did a little bit of research about that once, and while I didn't find much information, I got the impression they thought that...well, to put it bluntly, it was sufficiently manly to rape enemies to humiliate them, but willingly submitting was not.
valmora
Oct. 23rd, 2010 03:26 am (UTC)
Re: Better late than never?
Pretty much. I haven't done all that much research either, but it seems that the justification is ultimately misogynistic. Certain schools of thought in Ancient Greece said, "Women are unworthy! Love [and have sex with] men instead! They're your equal!" Whereas the Vikings seem to have taken the attitude of "Women are weak and bad! Being penetrated by a man means you are like a woman! But raping another man makes you MORE MANLY. ...unless you're Odin." I don't even know.

Ancient Scandies, why so hung up?
stalkerbunny
Oct. 23rd, 2010 06:24 am (UTC)
Who...dressed up as a woman to learn some special magic (mostly done by women, I think...), or something like that? >3>
Although even he did get jeered for it by Loke, although considering Loke was the mother to some of his kids. It seems a bit complicated. I do love Odin's wife's comment, all: "Don't dredge this up in public ya guys. :T"
valmora
Oct. 23rd, 2010 03:26 pm (UTC)
I hadn't heard that Loki was the mother of some of Odin's kids - I know that Sleipnir the eight-legged horse was Loki's child (Loki-as-mare), but that was by another horse.

Frigg is probably sitting there going, "Oh, get it over with, you two..." XD
stalkerbunny
Oct. 23rd, 2010 09:49 pm (UTC)
Ah, not Odin's, I meant his own kids (as you said). Worded it confusingly. x'3
valmora
Oct. 24th, 2010 03:27 am (UTC)
Funny that we should be discussing this - humon on Deviantart just posted something on this very subject!

link: http://humon.deviantart.com/gallery/#/d31abz6

(If you don't know her "Scandinavia and the World" you should, since you're clearly a Nordic fan)
( 24 comments — Leave a comment )