roesslyng: (SSSS - Noita)
[personal profile] roesslyng
Title: The Sight of You
Fandom: Stand Still Stay Silent
Characters/Pairing: OCs - Vesa/Suvi
Rating: 10+
Length: 2.2k
Summary: Six moments from Vesa and Suvi's partnership.
Other: Those Kajaani folks again. This one has a slightly melancholy tone that I ordinarily wouldn't use for Suvi, but it's at a point in her life where it fits her. So.



The Sight of You

01.

Her husband sits outside beneath the roof's overhang, his hair sun-gold in the summer's evening light. Suvi quietly steps out, looks at him for a moment, and waits. He doesn't look up; his head is dipped, bent over his work, taking care with the wood in his hands. Fine shavings coat the ground by his feet.

She tilts her head to look at what he's carving. The figure in his hands is still rough, but she can see that it is a bear. A mother bear, an image of herself, for her son. Their son.

There is a tired set to Vesa's eyes, a look that she knows is not because of the day they had, easy and routine as it was. There were no struggles today, there was no danger, there were no attacks. But Vesa has been quiet and melancholy all evening, and he is quiet and melancholy now. An unhappiness tightens his lips.

Suvi leans against the doorjamb and waits. He knows she is there. She is sure he knows that if he does not speak, she will.

"Marja will be having a child. Have you heard about it?" Vesa's voice is soft. His hands pause in their movements as he waits for her reply.

"Yes." Suvi watches him. His head is tilted, the way he does when he is listening carefully. "She told me yesterday. I'm happy for her." She puts her hands in her pockets, thinking. "We'll have to rearrange the team when the time comes, but I think we will manage. Leevi can take her position."

"She is lucky."

"...Yes."

A long pause. "I wish I could give you children."

Suddenly, all of it is clear. Everything is absolutely, completely clear.

Suvi moves from her station at the door. Moves, and goes to him, sinking beside him on the bench. Her hand rests on his knee, her fingertips light. "I don't want any more children," she says softly.

"Oh?"

"One is enough." She leans into him. "Ours is enough."

She feels the tension in his shoulders ease. Glances at him and sees that the little frown lines have disappeared. She knows it is not the same, that he would like to give her one of his own. She knows they will make do.

He is, after all, the only father her son knows.




02.

The scout report they received yesterday indicated possible troll activity in the area.

The report, Suvi knows now, is correct.

They moved out ahead of the clearance team, stepping quietly, moving swiftly. It didn't take long to find what they were searching for. The telltale signs were there, the bloody trails that those things took. There were enough tracks to see that it wasn't just one, but a small grouping of them.

When the tracks divided, she split her team.

She wonders if the others have found the ones they were following.

Blood on her face. Blood in her hair, in her eyes. Suvi hardly thinks as she moves. She dispatches the first one, after a struggle, but there is another - bigger. Her blade finds a mark, but it isn't enough, not enough to get rid of it.

It knocks her down, then before she can get up, turns and runs screaming through the forest.

She gets up, breathless. Wipes her face. Vesa. Her eyes dart around, searching him. He should be here. He was beside her a moment ago.

He must have followed it.

Somewhere to the left comes the sound of a troll screaming. And there is something else - a voice - Vesa -

Her feet move. She doesn't think or pause; her body moves without instruction. The noise comes to her and she glimpses something through the trees.

The clearing is coated in blood, and so is he. She gets there in time to see him take it out, his blade sinking deep into its skull. His eyes are wild.

"We need to get out of here," she says. Orders. Instructs. Her partner looks at her, stares at her with wide eyes. Then he goes to her.

It isn't until after they catch up with the others and return to headquarters that the two of them realize the state they're both in, the damage they took during that scrap out there.

Fresh stitches for both of them. A matching pair. In the night, she sighs, sings a spell to ease the pain and let both of them sleep soundly. As she rests in bed beside him, conscious of his steady breathing and his easy warmth, she thinks back to earlier that day. She lost track of him so quickly. She could lose him so easily.

The thought bites down into her. It aches more than her wounds.

She has already lost one husband. She can't stand the thought of losing another.




03.

In their small house, the air is light with Vesa's laughter.

It isn't a sound Suvi hears often.

She looks up from where she sits cleaning her rifle. Her hands still. The windows are bright with clear evening light. Her husband has her son in his arms, lifting him up, sweeping him around the room until Tarmo laughs, and Vesa echoes his laughter. Then they speak, her son's voice bright and sharp, Vesa's slow as he trips over the language.

"Again!"

"Again? One time?"

"Yes!"

"Okay, we go..."

Then, laughing, he swings him around again.

Suvi dips hear head. Her insides ache. It is not the first time she has felt such a thing, and she knows there will be others. If the events of two years ago had been different, then someone else would be in her house. Someone else would never have left.

Not for the first time, she is glad that her son takes after her family. That he looks like her. That he does not look like his father.

These feelings, she knows, will take her nowhere good. So she pushes them down, locks them up. Puts them back where they came from.

Perhaps, she thinks, it's better to listen than to look.

So, she returns to her work, preparing for the hunt tomorrow, and listens. Listens to her child's joy. Listens to her husband's voice in her tongue. He stumbles over the syllables, but without a doubt he is steadier with it than he was half a year ago, even one month ago.

His voice is full of love.

Count your blessings, Suvi tells herself. She puts the pieces of her gun down, her face calm, closed, quiet. Count your blessings, because you are blessed many times over. Don't forget it.

You have lost so much, but you have gained, too.

Rising, she goes, and takes her husband in her arms.




04.

The kantele has not seen proper play since its owner's death.

Suvi tends to it, keeps it in good repair. Not that she has need for it - she has her own, and she has her drum too. But she can't stand to part with it, and she can't stand to put it to regular use. Maintenance will have to do, then.

They are cleaning together one day, the two of them. Vesa watches as she takes the kantele out of storage, as she checks it over. Ordinarily, she would not touch it under his eyes. She wouldn't dream of it. But time has numbed her, perhaps. What hurt beyond belief at one time is now a dull, low throb.

She can bear it now, she thinks. Maybe some day it will disappear completely.

"Do you know how to play this?" Suvi asks, tilting her head to look at him, asking it in as neutral a tone as possible. There are many things her husband did not learn, many things that he was not taught, even though they should have been part of his training.

Vesa hesitates. He brushes his fringe out of his face. His fingers twitch as if he wants to reach for the instrument, but he does not move to take it from her. "I... yes. A little. Niko taught me a little bit." He hesitates again. She wonders if there is more to it than that. There usually is. Perhaps his aunt tried, before she went out into the forest and froze to death. It doesn't matter. "I could play it if I practiced a little."

Suvi nods. That is enough. "You know where I keep the extra strings; if you want to, you can use it whenever you like." She leaves it at that. He looks embarrassed. Best not to say anything more about it.

Later that day, as she plays outside with her son, she hears someone playing the kantele. The sound is hesitant at first, as if it is a noise that is afraid of making itself known. But then it finds itself, and the song flows, quiet and sad.

Vesa does not play anything like the way Raimo did. His clumsy attempts sound nothing like those skilled, light, sparkling notes.

It is for the better.




05.

When she was on leave after the incident, she noticed very few things at first. Everything seemed to happen without happening; time moved without moving. She realizes now that her grief had overwhelmed her. Back then, she saw only the hole Raimo's death had left in her life.

People came and went. Friends. Relatives. They would bring food and condolences. Her grandmother would take the child for a day or two at a time, but that was all. Suvi would always ask for his return. He was all she had left.

Niko came. He was shaken; he had seen everything. It was his first time witnessing such an attack, and it showed. He brought his friend, that young troll hunter, the one who had also been there. The one who was eerily silent while Niko talked, and talked, and talked.

Eventually, Niko talked himself out. He stopped coming. His blond friend did not stop. Instead, he came around regularly, though never when her family was visiting. He brought bread and fish and pouches of mint tea. When she could not bring herself to get out of bed, he set a steaming cup on the nighttable and opened the doors, opened the curtains.

"Your child is hungry," he said softly in that too-high voice of his. It sounded pleasant, but Suvi knew it was also the reason he rarely talked. "Should I bring him to you?"

"No," she said, and dragged herself up. "Let me. I can do it." This happened again and again.

One day he brought her berries. A tin pail full of them. He set them on her kitchen table, and then moved toward the door as if to leave.

"No," she said. "Stay." She pulled out a chair for him, and he sank into it as if he knew she had questions.

"Okay," he said. "Why?"

"Why do you come here?"

"You need help - "

"You aren't family. It isn't your responsibility."

Vesa dipped his head, looked down at his clasped hands. Suvi watched. Waited. Stared at this young man she barely knew, and waited.

"What would happen if we only helped people who were our responsibility?"

She keeps this memory close. Those words. The look on his face as he tilted it up to look at her. The fear in his eyes, the nervousness. She cherishes, now, the honesty in his soft, gentle voice.




06.

He does not want to be seen in the light. She respects that.

When they go to bed, she undresses first. Sometimes he looks at her. Sometimes he doesn't. Before she slides beneath the covers, she makes sure the curtains are pulled shut, the candles are snuffed out.

He undresses in the dark. Pulls on a thin sleep-shirt, then slips into bed next to her. She has said before that she would not mind sleeping skin to skin. He evaded that, talked his way around it, but seemed to understand that it was only a suggestion. That she did not expect anything. Maybe, she thinks, some day, when they have been married for years, she will suggest it again.

She curls close to him, nestles against him. Presses against his body. She can feel the softness that he hates, that he takes great pains to disguise even though everyone knows about it.

His arms coil around her, and she sinks into sleep against him. Some nights, they might do other things. Vesa might press her to the mattress, drink her kisses, dip his hands low. But not tonight. It has been a long day.

Better the dreamworld, then. The exhaustion does not chase her to the same extent there, and it is the same for him.

She steps lightly from her dream to his; they are so close, he is only a stride's length away. His mind is porous to her, and she slides into him like a knife through butter. And there he is - taller than he is when they are awake, his shoulders broader, his features sharper, but his long golden hair and those gentle eyes are still the same. He stands more at-ease than she has ever seen him in waking life.

The air kisses the hem of her gakti as she goes to him, takes him into her arms, embraces him.

This is the husband others do not see, and the one he actually is.

Date: 2017-02-22 09:51 am (UTC)
minutia_r: (Default)
From: [personal profile] minutia_r
I really like this! I kind of want to read the whole story, but at the same time there's so much implied between the lines that it doesn't feel like there's anything missing.

Date: 2017-02-24 05:18 am (UTC)
yuuago: (SSSS - Niko)
From: [personal profile] yuuago
<3
The whole story (or at least part of it) might happen eventually. Who knows~ I'm glad it's easy enough to follow without laying out the whole thing.

I'd love to hear from you

Feel free to talk to me! It's very appreciated. You can comment logged-in or anonymous.

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