roesslyng: (SSSS - Hyvää yötä)
[personal profile] roesslyng
Title: Safely Through Dark Spaces
Fandom: Stand Still, Stay Silent
Characters/Pairing: Emil/Lalli
Rating: 10+
Length: 1k
Summary: As long as they are together in the world, they will hold each other up, walk safely through dark spaces.
Other: Näkki-Lalli story; sequel to Water and Eternity. Thanks to Laufey for the advice. <3
Fills prompt #4, "Dark". Also used a prompt generator for this; prompt was: He will be my one constant in life, and my true love.

Safely Through Dark Spaces

Lalli doesn't sleep at the bottom of the pond any more.

The comfort of the mud and weeds calls, but he ignores this. Emil is here, and can't follow. It is best to stay near the surface, then. Best to stay awake late into the night, keeping watch.

Human beings are frail. It is something he has always known. But it wasn't until he was no longer human himself that he understood how brittle they are, how easy it would be to snuff out that life.

When he weaves his spells, he casts them stronger than ever, for Emil's sake.

Fingertips in fresh soil. Knees damp in the morning dew. Eyes closed, drinking in the warmth of the sunlight, the fresh clean air.

Lalli sinks himself into the world, sends out his magic, weaving it around them, invisible ribbons of protection. Drawing from the power of the curse that has become his blessing, he borrows from the earth, and gives it back.

His spells are stronger than a human mage could ever cast.

Emil doesn't understand him in these moments. That is fine. Emil doesn't understand him most of the time.

He knows that he wonders but does not ask.

They do not speak of the time they were apart, what happened to Emil, what happened to the others.

They do not speak of the snow, and the months under the ice, and the silence of the solitude and the ache of separation.

But they do speak of other things.

Emil's Finnish is broken, but it doesn't matter. Not when they speak closely, quietly, lips by each other's ears, fingers knitted together.

Lalli talks. Lets Emil hear his voice, just to hear it, just to know it, keep it close.

Maybe some of the words will rub off on him.

They hold each other up through these days.

Emil would be lost to the world if he had been left alone, if he had tried to exist on his own. It's through a miracle he lasted long enough to find his way to Lalli's pond, seeking him out, tracking his refuge.

But Lalli knows that he was the same way. In his exile he had become part of the earth, but risked losing himself, his words, his mind.

There is such a thing as too much isolation.

They don't talk about it, say nothing, keep their words to other things.

Fresh grass. Sunlight in the air, on the earth, on the water, warm on his damp skin.

Protected and sheltered as they are under the web of Lalli's magic, they take joy in the world, in what they have, in each other.

The curse has its blessings. The magic. The strength. And as he takes in gold against green, blond hair against the living carpet of the earth, Lalli knows that there is another blessing, one he wouldn't put into words.

Emil understands it nonetheless.

They love each other openly under that sun, in the scent of flowers and greenness.

Inside his dream, the forest is damp and murky, the swamp ever-darker, the cold pools too black to see into.

There are footsteps on the planks. Footsteps that don't belong there. He has never shaken his old habits.

Lalli sinks down into the water and peers upward.

From above comes the muffled sound of someone calling him. A shadow appears. Darkness over the water as he leans over, bends to look.

Lalli slips under the shelter of the boards. Doesn't answer. Doesn't look up at him. Only tightens his hands to fists and fights the urge to pull him under.

It is necessary, sometimes, to venture beyond the sanctuary, to step outside of the ever-widening circle that Lalli has claimed for himself. To step beyond the borders of his territory.

They go together. Lalli keeps close to Emil's side. Watches, waits, listens. Stays alert as they make their way through the decayed remnants of the city, as Emil scavenges for odds and ends.

An ache rises during those times, tightening in his chest. He tries not to think about the similarities to the year before, the memories.

They return before nightfall, together, stepping quietly through decrepit streets, avoiding the shadows.

Lalli lifts his head to the sky. Catches the sun sinking, the shadows lengthening. There is no way to track the days. He has lost count. But he can see autumn approaching, can feel it.

Neither of them say anything about it. They only work, build up shelter inside Lalli's territory, near his banks, his shores. Store away what they can. Prepare what they can.

Cool breezes. Cold water. One morning, they wake to a blanket of frost, grass crackling sharply under their feet.

Lalli shivers, puts away his sluggishness, and casts his spells strong enough to hold until spring.

Sleep comes. He doesn't want it. It happens anyway.

He dozes at the bottom of the pond. Wakes, now and then, to gaze upward with moon-like eyes cracked partly open. The surface freezes over slowly, slowly.

Emil keeps part of it open at first, breaking ice at the pond's edge. Lalli tells him, before sinking down to rest, to stay away. He sees the look in his eyes, knows that he remembers that day he caught him and pulled him under.

Still, Emil keeps the surface open all the same, even if he wouldn't wake, while Lalli sleeps and waits.

Winter's cold comes fast and sharp, digging its claws into the ground, freezing it hard, solid. Leaves whisper and crumble to nothing in the frosty grass.

Birds linger as long as they dare, shivering, clinging to their bare branches around the pond that has become their sanctuary.

In the first days, the flakes fall lightly, hesitant, shy.


Winter grows, stirs its winds. Upends an entire basket of snow, covering everything, leaving the pond draped in white.

The days shorten, sharpen. They become crisp in the weak sun, the cold blade-like.

And through the dark nights, the snow keeps falling.


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October 2017

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