yuuago: (SSSS - Emil - Shrug)
yuuago ([personal profile] yuuago) wrote in [community profile] ssss2016-03-21 09:45 pm

Acceptance [SSSS Fanfic]

Title: Acceptance
Characters/Pairing: Emil -> Sigrun (Unrequited)
Length: ~990 words
Rating: 0+/G
Summary/Details: The door is closed, but he takes it well. Rejection isn't so bad, after all.
Content notes: N/A
Crossposted from [personal profile] roesslyng (here)



Acceptance

Quiet. Evening. They found a good place to tuck away, good and safe. Dark had fallen, though there was a hint of brightness to the sky. Lalli had already left.

Still, it was too early to turn in. The days were short, though thankfully not as short as they had been months ago. So Sigrun, wide awake, slunk up to the cab of the tank to look out, take in the dark. She was sure nothing would bother them here. The scout had done his job right.

Emil came with her, settling in on the other side of the cab. She listened to him talk. He seemed self-conscious about it, like he was worried about saying something stupid, coming off foolish. It wasn't anything new from him, but she'd sensed more of it than usual in the last week or two. Well, so what if he did say something stupid? She didn't care. But everyone had their hang-ups, didn't they. So, she listened, and let him talk, and after a while he started to relax. That was better.

"He reminds me of a cat, you know. The way he just – does whatever he wants to do, without caring whether any of it makes any sense."

"That's fine with me. Cats're useful. Having another one around doesn't hurt, even if it's human-shaped."

A laugh. "Well, yes." Then he paused. "You remind me of one too. Um." Another pause, hesitant, embarrassed. He wanted to add something, she could tell. So, she waited, let her head tilt to show that she was listening, but not too closely. After a second or two he powered on, her patience seeming to build his confidence. "I mean, not a small cat. You're like a lion. Well, uh. Lioness."

Funny, the things Emil said. Sometimes it sounded like all of that fancy schooling had bounced right off of that pretty head of his. But some of it must have sunk in, because now and then he'd come out with the most random stuff, things that hadn't mattered for ninety years. Maybe even longer than that. Still, something about the word jogged Sigrun's brain, even if she never had been one to pay much attention to the past.

"A lion?" Sigrun thought about it. Tried to remember what she'd heard. "They were big, right? Like a lynx?"

"Bigger than that. A lot bigger. And more powerful. I read about it in an old book. The female ones, the lionesses, they were the best. The toughest fighters. The most powerful hunters."

"Hmm." Sigrun glanced at him out of the corner of her eye. Emil was staring straight ahead, out the windows, arms folded over his chest in a desperate attempt to look relaxed, his expression carefully composed. But even in the dim light, she could tell that he was blushing.

So, Sigrun thought. How long have you been thinking that line over? It wasn't the worst one she'd ever heard, at least. Tough fighter, huh. Well. She thought on all the odd little moments recently, moments during downtime just like this. Times when he had looked as if he wanted say something, but stopped himself. Everything made sense.

It wasn't the first time she'd seen that kind of look on a young man's face. She was pretty familiar with it by now.

Well.

She let the silence linger. Not too long. Just long enough.

Then the apologies came.

"Sorry! I'm really sorry, I just – You're so –"

"Emil." She said it quietly but firmly, and his mouth snapped shut.

Turning her head, she got a good look at him. He looked like he wanted to curl up and hide. Crawl under the seat. Run into the back of the tank and scramble underneath one of the bunks like his little mage friend.

"I'm not mad," Sigrun said.

Emil lifted his head, stared at her with surprised eyes. "You're not?"

"No. But you understand what I mean when I say you're going to have to stay professional, here. Right? I can't have you getting distracted."

A deep breath. "Right." Then a smile crossed his face. A little embarrassed, but as far as she could tell, completely genuine. "You can rely on me." He sounded relieved. Relieved that she wasn't mad, or relieved that she'd turned him down?

Both, maybe.

"Great," Sigrun said. "'Cause I need you watching my back out there, y'know." She reached over, sank her fingers into that perfect hair, and ruffled it as hard as she could. He laughed, tried to batt her hands away. There it was again; that genuine smile.

It was all right, then.

"So," Sigrun said as she pulled back, leaving Emil to fix his hair in peace. "We're good?"

"Yeah. We're good." A pause. Emil glanced at her, brushing the hair out of his eyes slowly. He had that unsure look again, that look that said that he wanted to say something, but wasn't sure how she'd take it.

Sigrun waited.

"Can I stay here? Uh. I mean. I can go if –"

"Nah, stay. It's all right. I could use the company." The last of the unease ebbed away from him as she said that. Sigrun didn't show that she noticed; simply turned to look out through the windows again, settling in like she had before. No need to embarrass the kid further by letting on just how easily she could read him.

"So," she said. Nodded outside toward the dark, toward the crumbling husk of the city. "You saw the map. Where d'you think our little friend's going to take us tomorrow?"

"Well..."

As Emil talked, she listened. Let him try at guesswork, gesturing as he spoke, taking on a confident tone as if he knew what he was talking about. Maybe he did. Maybe some of that schooling had sunk in. Or maybe not. It didn't really matter.

Sigrun smiled. Emil's words came free and easy, and that was the important thing.

End.

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