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[personal profile] roesslyng
Title: Reconciliation
Fandom: Stand Still Stay Silent
Characters/Pairing: Emil/Lalli
Rating: 0+
Length: 2.1k
Summary: Emil tries to reach out, and Lalli decides that maybe he forgives him.
Other: Set after the ch11 timeskip. Written for Lurknomoar for [community profile] raremaleslashex. [Original Post]



Reconciliation

There Emil was again.

Lalli knew that he was there. It was easy to tell when he was around. He didn't step lightly, like someone who was used to having to walk silently. His footfalls were heavy on the ground, twigs cracking and gravel crunching underfoot as he approached.

Emil sat down near Lalli, as usual. Handed him a bowl of soup, or at least something that was probably meant to be soup, as he always did. Then he tapped Lalli on the shoulder, and passed him a bit of hard biscuit and cheese, wrapped in wax paper.

Some sort of word came with all that. "Lunch!" And something else that Lalli couldn't make out. But nothing important.

Lalli stuffed the bread and cheese into his pocket. Best to save that for later. It would be a while before they would stop again.

He decided not to dwell on it. Took up his spoon and poked at the soup. Ignored Emil, wondering if he would stay, or if he would go away.

Emil stayed where he was.

Not long ago, even a week ago, Lalli wouldn't have liked that. Wouldn't have let him. Would have taken his lunch and made his way further into the forest, or gone up a tree, or gone anywhere that Emil wasn't. But since that day when Emil just didn't understand, he'd had time to think a while. Time to consider it. And while Emil hadn't made up for it, well....

Lalli thought for a moment. He glanced at Emil out of the corner of his eye, watching as Emil lifted a hand to brush a strand of gold hair out of his face, tucking it behind his ear.

Maybe it was that he missed the way it had been before. Quiet moments like this one, when they sat apart from the others, and Lalli would lean against him, and Emil would just talk, and there was something relaxing about the sound of his voice. It was comfortable to be together with him like that.

Maybe he missed that.

Or maybe it was just that he wasn't as mad as he was before.

Maybe that was it.

Lalli looked away before Emil could notice, and ate his soup.




After an afternoon's travel, he brought them to a quiet area near a stream. There was a sheltered place that he had found, perfect for setting up to camp for the night.

There was some daylight left. It wasn't a surprise when he got the rest of his orders.

"You!" Sigrun said cheerfully, nudging Lalli, then handing him a bucket with a smile. "And you." She pushed Emil toward him, and then said something too quickly for Lalli to make out.

Lalli peered into the bucket. Hooks and coils of fishing line, and a wax paper packet of scraps to use as bait. He didn't need to understand the words to know what she meant.

If they were lucky, maybe tonight's soup would taste more like food.

Soon, the two of them were on their own together. Lalli went quietly, keeping his eyes and ears open. Not far behind him, Emil followed, walking his too-loud walk.

Lalli glanced back at him. He looked stiff, a tenseness to his shoulders, carrying himself as if there was something setting him on edge, something making him nervous.

That was weird.

A lot of things about Emil didn't make sense. The things he said, the things he did, the way he acted. All of it. But this didn't make sense at all.

It wasn't likely that anything would find them here. Lalli was sure of that. He'd taken care to choose the kind of place where trolls wouldn't have enough shelter; where they wouldn't be able to make their nests. Beasts might be a problem – maybe. But he hadn't seen any sign of anything to worry about; no tracks, no signs. Nothing.

Emil, Lalli concluded, was nervous for no reason at all.

Fine, he thought. Let him be nervous. As long as he wasn't noisy and weird about it, it didn't matter.

They came to a stop near the stream. It ran deep, and the weather had been warm enough lately that the surface was loose and flowing. There was a chance they'd find something. Maybe....

Lalli murmured under his breath as he tied the lines, letting the spell roll off his tongue. He knew the spell for fishing, and it wouldn't hurt to use it now. The supplies were low, he was sure, and while they wouldn't have any more bread, it wouldn't hurt to make sure that there was something edible in their supper.

He could feel Emil's eyes on him. Lalli's brows furrowed. He frowned, and then tried to ignore him. It was best to ignore him. Even if he could explain what he was doing, Emil wouldn't understand.

There was a lot that Emil didn't understand.

They baited the lines. Fished for a while. It wasn't long before the bites started to come in. The fish that they pulled up were small and slim and not very good for eating, but they were fish nonetheless. Maybe something could be made of them.

Emil was fidgety. He kept brushing his hair out of his face. Opening his mouth, sucking in a breath as if he was going to say something, then sad nothing, as if he thought better of it. Then checking on the fish in their bucket, as if he thought they'd gone somewhere, or maybe just to distract himself.

Lalli glanced at him. He almost wished that Sigrun had come instead. Almost.

Emil did speak. After a while. Eventually. The words that came were soft, quiet. Lalli listened, and couldn't catch them. It was a load of Swedish nonsense and he couldn't grasp it. Too many words that he didn't know.

Not that it was likely to be anything important, anyway. But not too long ago, he wouldn't have minded hearing it, even if it wasn't anything important. Right?

Lalli thought about this for a moment. Huffed, and then dropped another little fish into the bucket. Then he sat down on the stream's bank, and pointed to the space beside him.

"Sit," he said. It was in Finnish, but at least his point was clear. Emil sank down beside him – after checking that the spot was dry – and cleared his throat as if to speak, then thought better of it.

Lalli didn't look at him. He wound the spare line neatly in his hands, and waited for Emil to speak again. Waited for him to say something, anything. Wondered if he even wanted him to speak.

And then the words came, and he didn't understand any of them, and it was annoying. Lalli turned his head away, and let Emil blather on, ignoring him.

It wasn't that he was still angry. It wasn't. Not at all. It was only....

Lalli bit the inside of his cheek and thought about it. If I could talk to you properly, he thought, would that make this better?

No, he thought. Probably not. It never had before, with anyone else, ever. So it wouldn't help with Emil, either.

He put the spare line in his pocket, and paused as he found something there. Pulling it out, he realized what it was. Wax paper. Bread and cheese. The packet that Emil had passed to him at lunch.

The inside of his gut pinched. He'd been running around all day, and supper wouldn't be for a while. And it must have been the last of the cheese; they'd been rationing it carefully, but they were low on everything. He hadn't even realized there had been any left at all.

Slowly, he unwrapped the paper, not caring if Emil noticed or not, or if he wanted any or not. If Emil didn't save anything for himself, it wasn't Lalli's problem, was it?

Something written on the inside of the paper made him pause. Lalli frowned, then smoothed it out on his knee to read it.

It was written carefully, in Finnish, in Emil's handwriting.

I'm sorry.

Lalli stared at it for a moment.

Beside him, Emil had stopped talking. He was quiet, silent, as if he was holding his breath.

Lalli traced the lines of the letters. They smudged a little under his glove, but they were still visible. Still legible. Still there.

Emil had probably asked Tuuri how to say it. He wouldn't have been able to figure it out on his own. But the fact that they were written meant that he did think to ask. And he did write it down. He wrote it down himself.

But why didn't you say it? Lalli thought. It didn't matter that every time Emil tried to say anything in Finnish, it came out clumsily, barely sounding like whatever word or phrase it was supposed to be.

And, Lalli thought, feeling another flash of irritation, did he even know what he was apologizing for?

"Lalli?"

Emil's voice beside him was soft. Cautious, maybe. Lalli glanced at him.

Emil had a weird look on his face. Like he was worried and hopeful all at once.

Lalli looked at the paper again.

I'm sorry.

You tried, Lalli thought. Then, out loud, he said, as clearly as he could, even though he knew that Emil wouldn't understand it, "I'm not mad any more, you know."

"Huh?"

Lalli didn't say anything else. He just folded the paper and put it in his pocket. Then, he broke the bread and cheese in half, and held part of it out to Emil.

If they couldn't understand each other, then that would have to be good enough.




Later, after supper, Lalli pulled his coat on and watched as the sky turned orange.

Sigrun had told him, through Tuuri, that he was to look around for a while. One hour, two. Then come back.

"She wants to say here tonight," Tuuri had said, "And in the same general area tomorrow. Right now, she just wants you to make sure that there isn't anything in the immediate area that we'll need to worry about tomorrow."

He could do that. It wouldn't be hard. And then he'd get some rest. Later. When it was done.

Good.

"Lalli?"

Emil.

Lalli turned to look at him. His hair was golden in the evening light, and his face looked hopeful. He said something, and while Lalli wasn't sure what exactly it meant, he had heard those words before, on other nights, when Emil spoke to him before Lalli left for the night.

A wish for a safe night, maybe. He thought he heard that word. Safe.

The apology was in his pocket, folded neatly.

After he'd read Emil's note, and shared the last of his lunch, they had sat together for a while, not saying much of anything. Their hands had brushed, then held, fingers knitting together. Lalli had edged closer, just enough to rest his head against Emil's shoulder.

They'd stayed that way for a while. Just a little while. Just long enough that Lalli could be sure that Emil understood what it meant. Then he'd pulled away, and taken up their bucket of fish, gesturing back toward the tank.

They kept pace with one another as they walked back, side by side.

Now, in the evening, as Lalli looked at Emil in the receding light, taking in that hopeful look on his face, he decided that it was fine.

I'm not mad, Lalli thought. Not any more.

Maybe the words hadn't had much to do with it. Maybe the anger, the frustration, the disappointment, maybe that had gone away on its own. After a while. After a little bit of time. But the words had helped, a little bit, in a weird way.

Okay.

He stepped toward Emil. Took his hand, as he had before, at other times like this, on other nights. Saw his bright eyes light up with relief.

Lalli tilted his head to brush a kiss against Emil's cheek. Heard him draw in a breath, surprised, even if it wasn't the first time Lalli had done that. But it had been the first time in a while, and maybe that was enough.

Should he say something? Lalli wondered about it for a moment. But the words wouldn't come. He couldn't think of anything in Swedish that would be right, and nothing in Finnish either.

Maybe he didn't need to say anything.

He squeezed Emil's hand. Pressed a soft kiss to his mouth. For a moment they lingered like that, Emil's hands coming up to cup at Lalli's face, stroking at his hair.

Eventually, Lalli had to pull away. I have to go, he wanted to say. I have to work. He squeezed Emil's hand again, wondering if he should try to say it. But as he looked at him, Emil just smiled, and said that thing that he had said before, the thing that might have been a wish for a safe night.

Lalli kissed his cheek once more. Then, without a word, he turned to go.

As he ran through the darkening forest, he knew that they could start again.

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