|Prompt:||Sweden (Berwald)/Finland (Timo), fire, ghosts|
|Other characters:||Norway (Lukas), Denmark (Christen)|
|Rating:||M (for suicidal characters, abuse, cross-dressing, non-fluffy SuFin)|
|Extra notes:||For a frame of reference this is set towards the very end of the Kalmar Union. That comes up at some point but just so you can picture it from the start, there you go.|
The title is (to the best of my knowledge) the Swedish/Finnish words for »never» and beneath it is my favorite Swedish proverb which appears later in the text. You'll probably know it when you see it. Thanks to wifeofbath for the beta.
|Summary:||Never leave me.|
|FF.Net Link:||Link to FF.Net posting|
Älska mig mest, när jag förtjänar det minst, ty då behöver jag det bäst.
Wind whips up the cliff, throwing the fabric of his clothes around him. Timo almost feels his balance leave him, eyes closed; Timo almost feels himself plunge into the sea crashing on the Swedish shore below, reclaiming him.
He smiles serenely.
Two arms wrap suddenly around his middle, pulling him back to a large chest as they roll on the ground. Berwald is still wearing his inside jacket by the feel of it, his cloak hastily thrown about him. Timo instinctively fights against the grip, against someone holding him down, restricting him, but the Swedish kingdom will not relent. He pulls him in closer until they roll once more, this time Berwald laying atop him and pinning him down.
"Why would you do that?" the man screams and Timo opens his eyes to see the panic-stricken look on his face, the anguish and agony and angst. "How could you even think of doing that? Timo, how could you?" Words seem to escape the normally silent man, his face twisting in pain before finally he breaks down, burying his face in the Finn's chest and crying. Awkwardly Timo tries to wrap his arms around Berwald's neck, feeling life return to him and a strangling sensation around his heart at seeing such a strong man cry.
"Be," Timo sighs and at that the Swede's head snaps back up again, his eyes red, glasses all askew.
"How could you think of jumping?" He's still screaming but Timo is almost certain Berwald is doing it to be heard over the wind, not because he's angry. No, this isn't the face he wears when he's angry at Timo; this is the face he wears when he's angry at himself, for what he's done to Timo. "You cannot leave me! If you jump, I jump too!" and then strong arms pull him in for a bone-breaking hug. It's almost as if they could become one, if Berwald held him close enough and loved him just enough. "I cannot do this without you!"
Timo smiles despite the lump in his throat and heavy body pressing him into the cold ground. Berwald is warm like fire, pushing away the winter chill in the air. "Be," he sighs again, content to know he is so needed, that he hadn't had the strength in the end to do it.
"Never leave me!" the Swede pleads, desperate. "Never!"
"Never," and Timo kisses him.
Berwald carries him all the way back to the castle and up the stairs, Timo hiding his face in his master's jacket, not wanting the servants to see him. Yet there are still whispers as they move, panicking the Finn, as if they know.
"They think you are Lukas," Berwald murmurs in a low voice. Timo's not sure why he'd pulled on the deep blue dress for his almost-suicide; somehow it had just felt like the right thing to wear in the heat of the moment.
Footsteps echo through the halls but the Swede goes left instead of right and immediately Timo understands they're going to his master's room, not his own. And once inside he's placed carefully down on the large bed, Berwald taking him in with sad but dried eyes. Timo reaches out in a silent beckoning and the man collapses atop him, holding him and inhaling the smell of their bodies mingled together.
Then Berwald cries again and Timo hates the sound.
Naked before the mirror he takes in his smooth chest, pale and scrawny. Berwald is just as pale but his body is strong, with muscles and length and assurance that he can swing his sword. Timo is kind of pudgy, scrunching up his nose. He can swing a sword too, but not the same way.
Turning he takes in his back and there he and Berwald aren't too different, not really. Timo's back is covered in hundreds of little scars. There are those he got as the embodiment of Finland, as the embodiment of part of Sweden. There are those he got from wars, from fighting mortal men and proving his worth to his master.
Then there are the scars from beatings he's acquired during this Kalmar Union: Christen's beatings when Timo spoke out on behalf of Sweden; Lukas's beatings for stealing the Swedish heart away; Berwald's beatings after he lashed out at his master, forgetting his place; and his own beatings where he whipped his back just to feel anything, just to remember that he is alive.
His back isn't too different from Berwald's, from the Scandinavian kingdoms', because Timo too is like them: immortal, always hungry, always searching for something unknown. The only difference really is that they're afraid of losing power, whereas Timo has nothing left to lose.
His voice sounds foreign to his own ears as he screams, Berwald trying to pin him down on the large bed. He screams in Swedish, in Finnish, in Sami as the man whispers soothing words to him to calm him.
But Timo is gone, as if out of his own body, watching himself claw across the mattress in just his chemise, the fully dressed Swedish kingdom trying his hardest to press him flat, to combine his soul and flesh once more. Timo hears his own words of spirits, evil spirits, ghosts and demons trying to pull him to hell, trying to steal him away and hurt him. His words pain him to hear, and part of him can't think at all while the other part becomes aware that he's flashing back to the Swedish Crusades, to the men claiming his land for his own.
His eyes snap open, back in his body, at the memory of Berwald looking at him for the first time with those beautiful eyes like the sea, with that calm demeanor, with a look of love the Finn has finally come to understand.
Timo's whole body sags, exhausted, as the Swede continues his words of, "You are safe Timo, you are safe and I will protect you, you will not be harmed. You are safe Timo, I love you and will protect you."
For several long minutes there is no sound beyond the blood pumping in his ears and his heart pumping against his chest.
Then Berwald kisses his neck.
And like that his body is on fire, the cold of that day forgotten for the warmth of his master's love as the Swede kisses up and up his neck, along his jaw, shifting his whole body to press down on Timo better.
Perhaps something physical could help chase away the ghosts of his past.
Atop Berwald's chest Timo allows himself to rise and fall, rise and fall. The man is nearly asleep, his breathing even but not deep enough yet. The Finn traces the lines of Berwald's face, winning little groans when his hands slip down that fragile neck to wide shoulders and a strong chest. Timo follows after his hands with his mouth, kissing and shifting his naked body. When Berwald is happy, Timo is happy; tonight they will both sleep easy as he settles in under a strong arm.
His eyes become heavy as they close, ready to surrender for the night, as suddenly his lover sits bolt upright, scrambling in a panic to get out from under the sheets. Berwald is already pulling his pants on when Timo registers all this, crawling into the warm dent in the bed where the Swede had been laying.
"What are you doing Be?"
Wildly the man spins, as if in shock at the question. "Did you not hear it?"
"The canon!" Berwald throws his long arms in the air before picking up one of the candles, exiting his bedchamber, and returning with the candlestick lit. Once he's placed it carefully in its holder the Swede sits on the edge of the bed. "Did you not hear it too Timo?"
"No, I did not. Be," and the Finn sits slowly before pulling the much larger man's back to his chest, wrapping his arms around him. Berwald leans into his lover and sighs, shaking his head.
"I heard them, I know I did."
"Perhaps they were elsewhere then." Sometimes they can both feel things happening in the kingdom; what happens in the capital, though, is only ever felt by Berwald.
The man looks up at him, his gaze still unfocused from never putting on his glasses, and sighs. "Love me when I least deserve it," he begins.
"For that is when you most need it," Timo finishes and he kisses Berwald's hair.
The fire roars to life as Berwald feeds it another log, Timo laying on the plush rug before it. The Swede goes back to his chair, reading the rest of his letters. He won't say what they're about but the Finn isn't stupid; he knows.
Something is happening, something in Sweden, something against Denmark. Well, there's always something against Denmark happening in Sweden but this, this feels different. Timo can't sense it all since he isn't Sweden, not the way Berwald is, but he's a large part of the kingdom and so can feel a large part of it too, can feel the pull away, the need to free themselves from the Kalmar Union. It's only a guess on Timo's part, but he's gotten pretty good at guessing about these things.
There's a shifting noise before Berwald lays beside him on the rug, wrapping an arm around Timo's back and kissing him deeply. The Finn moans into his mouth, a tongue exploring, before his master breaks the kiss. Berwald rolls onto his back, Timo half-laying on top of him, watching the man's blank face.
"When I leave, will you come?" Timo raises an eyebrow.
"Do I have a choice, my Lord?" He knows it aggravates Berwald when he calls him that, »my Lord», especially since only Timo is allowed to call him »Be». Still, it's fun to tease.
A hand strokes his cheek. "We always have a choice, min älskling. But I could not leave without you, not knowing you did not come willingly. Not knowing if you still love me."
Love. Oh, love. What was love anyway? Timo's eyes take in the fire, its hues of red and orange and yellow, the way it grows, the way it licks at the wood, the way it demands without care. Sometimes the kingdoms become like the fire, ghosts of their true selves. Or maybe the polite faces and acts of kindness are the illusion, and the coldness, the hunger, are who they really are deep down. Perhaps Christen really is some power-hungry monster capable of whipping anyone, friend or lover or child. And maybe Lukas really is that heartless, that uncaring for anyone beyond himself. Even Berwald might really be someone else, someone silent and brooding and vengeful and hateful, someone Timo has seen in battles, someone that frightened even him.
That thought of who Berwald really is had consumed Timo for days while his master and lover were gone. With no one to convince him otherwise he had tricked himself into believing that Berwald really was that someone else, someone more like Christen and Lukas than Timo with honest words and an honest heart. Once that thought had become fact, that Berwald wasn't his Berwald, never had been despite the centuries and the wars, life hadn't seemed worth living.
So Timo had decided to jump.
"Do you love me?" Berwald barely whispers, desperation in his eyes. Timo rolls onto the carpet and so the Swede rests upon his chest gingerly, smiling weakly. "Tell me you do, Timo, tell me you love me."
In not-so-strong arms the Finn pulls Berwald to him, breathing deeply.
The word echoes in the room.
"Timo, say something."
"Never forget me," the Finn demands quietly and without hesitation his master nods.
"Never. Now tell me you love me."
"I love you."
The cliff face doesn't seem so far away when Timo closes his eyes, relishing in the feeling of lips on his neck like the wind whipping at his body. The fire cracking a log in two could be water lapping roughly against the coast, familiar arms pulling him away from mortality to something eternal, to something that could maybe last longer than this union and their country and history.
Timo isn't sure if they can last forever, but he is sure that he'll never leave.