beer_good_foamy: (Sugarshock)
[personal profile] beer_good_foamy
I keep getting fannisher and fannisher about Stand Still, Stay Silent (see here for explanation). So here's a fic I had to write about the fallout of chapter 13, before chapter 14 starts next week and this hopefully gets jossed all to hell. It can probably be read as a straight-up zombie infectee story if you're not all read up. It's fairly bleak.

Title: Blood Makes Noise
Author: Beer Good ([personal profile] beer_good_foamy)
Fandom: Stand Still, Stay Silent
Rating: PG13
Word count: ~1300
Summary: Tuuri's situation after chapter 13. Someone has to fix the tank so everyone can get home, even if...

You'll take care of me when I go, won't you, Peter? I don't want to be walkin' around... like that.
- Dawn of the Dead (1978)

After Lalli runs out of the tank, she just sits there staring at the dead troll. Later, she wishes she'd said goodbye to Reynir; not that she would have known what to say, but they'll never let the two of them be in the same room again and maybe she kinda liked Reynir and maybe it's just a defense mechanism to care about the feelings of others in this situation. But instead, she just sits there staring at the thing that was once like her until Lalli returns with Mikkel in tow.

"Hmmm," is all he says when he opens his bag. She keeps her voice steady, telling Mikkel she knows there's no hope, but he has to give her a little more time. It wasn't a bite, it just got her with the claw, so she'll be OK for a week, maybe more, and she's the only one who knows how to fix the tank. See? Cool, team-oriented, unselfish. Totally not begging for her life.

Only when he starts cleaning and stitching the wound does she realise she's been speaking Finnish the whole time and he can't have understood a word of it. "Sorry," she says in Swedish. "I mean -"

"I know," he says. "Sssh."

* * *

Tuuri takes a deep, shaky breath of outside air. Silver lining: she won't miss the mask. The refurbished plastic was giving her a rash - a normal one - and after months of using the same one, it didn't exactly smell of fresh pine needles. Not that outside smells a lot better right now; smoke, ashes, and roast beast, but somewhere beneath it there's the smell of forest. If she closed her eyes, she thinks, maybe she could tell herself it's a spring barbeque.

Lalli is nowhere to be seen. The others are staring at her, unsure of what to say, until Sigrun grimaces, walks up and awkwardly pats her on the right shoulder with her right hand, her left hanging useless at her side. "You did well, kid. Let us know how you want to meet your ancestors, and we'll …" The rest gets lost in the ringing in Tuuri's ears. She wants to scream at the captain that she doesn't want to die, but she doesn't exactly get a choice in the matter. So she swallows and plays brave.

* * *

It takes them most of the day to jack the tank up so she and Emil can both fit under it. Even with Mikkel's painkillers her arm is too sore to do much work, so she mostly points and tells him what to do. The good news is that it's not as bad as it might have been; the troll tore a huge hole in the floor, ripping up pretty much everything around it, but the batteries and the engine are fine, she can cannibalize some non-essential parts, and with a few days' work they should get it running again. They'll have to do without things like heating, indoor lighting and headlights, so it'll be a slow, cold and dark ride to the coast, but it beats walking. She stumbles on the Swedish words for some parts, unsure if it matters since Emil probably just hears "connect the whatsit to the thingamajig and solder the shiny doodad to the flat bit" anyway. Most of the time he doesn't say much, especially after that slip-up on the second day.

"This pipe thingy is all messed up. Do we need it?", he'd asked.

"That's the propshaft. You're not going to get anywhere without that." She'd caught herself and hoped he hadn't heard, but it was too late to change that "you" to "we" and they both knew it would be a lie anyway, so they worked in silence for the next few hours.

* * *

She can't really sleep, so she sits up with whoever is keeping watch. Mikkel whistling and humming to himself, as if to say both "I'm here for you" and "Please don't make me talk about it." Emil sits in nervous silence, occasionally asking questions about the tank and how much longer and how to drive it. Sigrun tells stories of brave warriors she's known, all of which seem to add up to "and then their luck failed and they went to Valhalla and I am proud to have known them." She could tell Sigrun about her parents, about Saimaa, how sometimes there's nothing heroic about it, but she's pretty sure she knows. Hell, they all know how it plays out.

Lalli doesn't say anything, just sits with his back to the fire and stares out into the dark. She tries to talk to him and gives up when he puts his hands over his ears and closes his eyes. She wishes it didn't piss her off.

* * *

Her shoulder is really itching. She tells herself that's normal when wounds heal, the rash can't have started already, it's only been three days. She needs more time.

* * *

On the fourth day, they get the radio working again. Both Lalli and Reynir have apparently tried to connect with Onni and gotten no response, so it's good to be back in contact with the outside world. When Onni comes on he sounds really tired, as if he's slept for days. At her request, Mikkel does all of the talking; Tuuri's working on getting the tank running again, he says, so Onni will have to make do with him. Yes, everyone's fine. Just a technical snafu keeping them here for a couple days more. No unusual troll activity that they can notice, but they're keeping watch. She sits there, listening to her brother's voice, wishing she had something to say to him that didn't boil down to "You were right."

* * *

One night, after hours of silence, Mikkel finally mentions the failed vaccine. "I wonder if Siv's people will be able to get anything out of it," he says. "It's been sitting there for 90 years, whatever effect it had is probably long gone. And even if it isn't, well..." He doesn't say what they both know; if braindeath is all the drug does, there are quicker ways, ways that don't put the others at even more risk than she's already doing. And if Reynir is right about the ghosts… No. As much as part of her wants to grab at any chance, no. Somewhere out there, something howls, and she's curled up in Mikkel's lap with his hand stroking her hair.

* * *

On the evening of the fifth day, they switch on the engine and the rear tracks start spinning. She and Emil high-five each other in triumph. Then they both think of how she'll spend tomorrow teaching him to drive it and she almost wants to tear the whole thing apart again. "It's not fair," he mumbles, then gets up and starts cleaning his gun.

* * *

When she wakes up on the seventh day, her shoulder is really itching. She's slept in her clothes - with no heating, they all do - and she doesn't take off her jacket to check. The others are still asleep, having spent all day yesterday packing everything up to move out as soon as they can, but when she gets out of the tank and glances back, she sees Reynir look out of the back window and hold his hand up to the glass. She waves and then turns her back on him.

Lalli had the night shift, and his tracks lead off into the woods. She finds him sitting on a fallen tree trunk, the rifle leaned against it, and she sits down beside him.

In some strange way, this all feels like home. Her, Lalli, grandmother's gun and the woods. She wonders if trees are all the same, if whatever spirits are in the Finnish woods have cousins down here that do the same job.

At some point Lalli grabs her hand and she holds it like her life depended on it. They both sit like that, saying nothing, watching as the winter sun rises in the grey sky.

Date: 2017-01-17 12:55 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Hmm, maybe I shall have to read this webcomic, sounds interesting. Meanwhile I am also intrigued by the title of this fic, being rather fond of the Suzanne Vega song from which I presume it derives. But obviously I would not get so much out of reading it before the actual comic...

Date: 2017-01-18 09:36 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I hope you do find the time to read it, it's brilliant.

And good catch! I think this is the third fic I've named after a Suzanne Vega song, and "Blood Makes Noise" was always one of my favourite songs of hers. I was lucky enough to see her play it live this summer, an absolutely blistering version too.

Date: 2017-01-18 09:49 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Were we, perchance, at the same event? I also saw her last summer, including that song, at Stockholm Music and Arts.

Date: 2017-01-21 07:35 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
We must have been! Did you go for the whole three days? I was just there on the last day - Suzanne Vega, Patti Smith, Air and Kraftwerk all squeezed together in some weird New York eurosynth memory. :)
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