The sounds of gentle breathing, and the occasional snuffle from a dog.
Lying in bed, you sighed. It was the second time this night you had woken up. Rolling onto your back you looked over at your husband of four years. He was sound asleep. His normal poker face smoothed into a gentle mask.
The clock on the bedside table read 1:45.
Rolling out of bed, you tip-toed out of the bedroom. Your pet dog, Hanatamago, bounded off the bed after you. The fluffy white dog had been a wedding present from your friend Tino.
He wagged his tail as you patted his head.
Silently you crossed into the living room and sat down on the couch. Not wanting to wake your husband, you decided to read. The pages of the books rustled softly.
"Wh't are you doing?" A low, familiar voice startled you. Looking up you smiled up at your husband. His wheat colored hair was tousled, sticking up in places.
"I couldn't sleep." He frowned, sitting down next to you. Sliding an arm around your waist, he tugged you closer. "Ag'in?"
You nodded against his chest, the sound of his heart beating a comforting rhythm against your ear. He was silent, his hand gently stroking your hair.
"Do you r'member h'w we met?" His question surprised you. "Of course I remember Berwald!"
"W'nt to remind me?" Hanatamago jumped onto the couch, curling up on Berwald's lap.
You thought back......
You sat nervously on the seat. Your hands gripping the seat belt around your waist. It was your first time flying alone. Actually It was your first time flying to a different country. To say that you were a little anxious was an understatement.
You looked around, People were still entering the plane.
A young man with bright blonde hair shoved his suitcase into the overhead. Smiling, he sat down next to you.
"Hello!" He had a light accent you couldn't quite place.
"Hi." You gave him a shaky smile.
Behind him a much taller man with wheat colored hair and glasses was putting a carry on bag away. He sat next to the smaller man.
You didn't listen as the flight attendant gave the instructions in case of an accident. You reached into your sweater pocket and gripped the small wooden object.
It was a wooden Swedish Dala horse your Grandfather had brought back from his travel to that country. Your Grandfather had told you he had watched the young man carve and paint the horse in his wood studio. It was a good luck charm for you. You never went anywhere with out it.
Sweden was the country you were heading to right now.
"Are you going to Sweden too?" Startled you looked over at the blonde man. He was grinning. You nodded, your grip tightening on the horse.
His grin widened, "Us too!" You smiled back politely. He stuck out his hand, "I'm Tino!
The big guy behind me is Berwald!"
Shaking his hand you nodded at the guy behind him, "I'm ______."
He nodded, "Is it your first time going to Sweden?" His blue eyes danced.
You had never met anyone so happy and carefree. Tino's attitude was infectious.
"Yes it is."
Without you noticing the plane took off. Over the next few hours You and Tino chatted happily. Berwald was silent most of the time, grunting his agreement every now and then when Tino said something. You found out that Tino was originally from Finland and Berwald from Sweden. You told him about the town where you grew up in America. After a while you had both dropped off to sleep.
"_______!!!! We're here!!" A gentle hand shook your shoulder. Blinking sleepily you looked around. The other passengers were shuffling out of the plane. Both Tino and Berwald were standing up. You followed suit. A few moments later the three of you stood in the terminal.
"It was nice meeting you, ____!" Tino grinned, patting you on the back. You grinned over at him, "It was nice talking too you Tino." He nodded
"Well, see you!" He waved as he and Berwald began to walk away. You waved back, then started towards the exit.
An hour later you were inside the hotel you had a reservation in. Sitting down on the bed you wondered what to do first. It was only the afternoon, so you had plenty of time before bed. Out of habit you slipped a hand into the pocket of your sweater. The little horse fit perfectly in the palm of your hand.
An idea struck. Maybe you could find the man who had made it. Lifting the little red and gold horse out, you flipped it over. On the underside was a sticker with the artists name.
You smiled slightly, same first name as the guy on the plane. Tino's cheerful face and Berwald's serious expression made you feel bad that you hadn't been able to befriend the duo.
Flopping back on the bed, you held the horse above your head. How to find a carpenter. That's what grandfather had said he was.
Were to look?
Sweden was a big country to run around looking for a carpenter.
You had been in Sweden for a week now. You still hadn't found the carpenter, not that you had been looking that hard.
"Berwald Oxenstierna..." You muttered, strolling through a snow covered park. Snow fell gently around you.
Something hit the back of your head.
It was a snowball.
Sputtering from the cold, you looked around. The park was vacant except for you. You shook you head, turning back around.
Another snowball hit your shoulder. Whipping around you caught site of someone ducking behind a trash can. A thatch of bright blonde hair poking out from under a blue hat.
Walking over you laughed, Tino was behind the trash can, grinning sheepishly.
"Tino! What are you doing here?" He stood up brushing the snow off his knees. "I live a block away." He grinned "When I saw you I couldn't resist throwing a snow ball."
You nodded, "You live close to were I'm staying!" His eyes light up
"No way! That's awesome!!"
You both both began walking and chattering on like old friends. Without realizing it, your hand crept back into the pocket were you kept your dala horse.
"Why do you do that?" Tino asked, tilting his head to the side. You blushed, "It's a habit of mine." You pulled out the horse and held it out to him. Tino smiled "A Dala horse! Berwald loves those!"
You grinned, then on an impulse you asked, "Is Berwald's last name Oxenstierna?"
Tino looked surprised, "Yes it is actually. How did you know?" You showed him the underside of the horse. He sucked in a breath, "Oooooh. That's the one he made for that old mans granddaughter."
Nodding you put it back into your pocket, "That would be me. Do you think I could ask Berwald about the horse?"
Tino nodded, "I think Ber would love to see you again."
You blushed, hoping he would think your cheeks were red from the cold. "Really?"
He grinned, "He actually asked if I had seen you around lately. Boy will he be surprised when I tell him!"
Grabbing your hand, he whipped out a marker. "Thats my address. " he scribbled it down on your palm. "Come visit us tomorrow."
You grinned, "Sure!"
You checked your palm for the fifth time.
Yup. Its the correct address.
Knocking on the door you waited.
A few moments later a man with sticky-upy blonde hair opened the door. He looked surprised.
"Holy shit!!! Berwald's got a visitor!!!" His bright blue eyes danced with mirth. "Hell must have frozen over!!!!"
A hand reached around is neck, pulling him into a choke hold, "Shut it ass-wipe." It was a smaller man with cream colored hair. A cross like clip was in his hair. "I'm tapping out Lukas, see? Let go!" The smaller man rolled his eyes.
"Your here!!!" Tino grabbed your hand, pulling you past the two strangers. "Ber will be so surprised!!"
He dragged you past a living room and into the kitchen. Shoving you towards a set of stairs he grinned, "Sorry about Lukas and Mathias. They like to argue."
You smiled, "That's ok." Nodding he pointed down the stairs, "That's to Ber's work shop. He'll be so surprised!"
Feeling slightly nervous about being in the house of people you had met only a week ago, you stated down the stairs.
A faint scratchy sound reached your ears as you stepped of the bottom step.
The tall Swedish man was hunched over a large wooden chair, sanding the legs.
"Um........Hi." Blushing you gave a small wave.
He looked up, his poker face flickering to one of confusion, then back again.
"H'llo" He went back to his work. Chips of wood were scattered in his hair.
"Um.....You are Berwald Oxenstierna.....Right?"
He looked up and slowly nodded. "Ja. Th't's me."
Reaching into your pocket, you gripped the horse tightly. Seconds ticked by, feeling more like hours to you. He stared, his intense blue eyes never wavering from your face.
Your blush deepened.
Whipping out your hand, you held it out towards him. The Dala horse perched on the middle of your palm.
"Did you make this for my Grandfather?"
He stood up, towering over you. Reaching out, his large calloused hand brushed yours as he picked up the horse.
Berwald turned it over, examining it thoroughly.
"Ja. Th's is the one I made" He handed it back to you.
You stood there awkwardly.
"W'nt some coffe?" He tossed the sandpaper aside and motioned towards the steps. You nodded, not sure what to think about the tall Swedish man.
-------Back to the future--------
You finished your retelling, lapsing into a comfortable silence. Hanatamago had fallen asleep, making little snuffling noises.
"You w're so cute. All embarrassed." You heard him chuckle quietly, his hand rubbing the back of your head.
You nodded, your eyes sliding shut. For some reason the retelling had made you sleepy. You forced your eyes open again. Looking above the fire place.
There on the mantle piece was the tiny red horse.