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Title: All The Things He Said
Author/Artist: Icelilly
Prompt: Denmark, Any Nation (Estonia) - Things Left Unsaid - Modern or 1500s
Other characters: The Nordic-Baltic 8 appear in this but only Den, Est, Fin, Liet, and Lat have lines.
Rating: T
Content notes: DenEst-centered. Very long, around 4400+ words. More notes are listed at the end of this fic. I forgot how to write Den's accent.
Summary: Denmark and Estonia once shared a difficult and violent relationship but not so much anymore. Still, the memories from those days still plague him and he's struggling to enjoy his day off with his partner and friends.


It's warm. A little too warm for Denmark's liking.

The seas are not fairing much better, as the boat treks along towards familiar land in the distance. The sky is deceiving him and his men. It appears welcoming but he can smell it in the air. A storm is brewing around the corner.

The men were tired and hungry. It had been a long journey with rough seas throughout. Luck was not on their side when they had lost a few men along the way. But finally they had arrived safely ashore as the small crew slowly descend inland. A few stayed behind to anchor the ship and protect it from enemies possibly hiding in the surrounding forests. Denmark's balance felt somewhat unstable for a brief moment as he walked. He wanted to blame it for being on the sea for too long but in reality, it was the nerves showing itself out in the open. He was not here for fun and games. He was ordered to bring a message to a certain someone, a face he had come to know for the last several centuries or so. Though their relationship was rocky from time to time, there is no doubt this will change how things will be between them from here on out.

In a group of around ten to fifteen men, they journeyed along familiar land and crept further into the forest. Denmark had this trail memorized in the back of his mind. He could tell how close they were getting when he had recognized several small bushes growing berries and patches of land being used for farming. Tools littered parts of the property. In the distance, they stumbled onto a small wooden cabin and Denmark knew they had arrived to Estonia's home. Then men had asked for orders but Denmark ignored their calls. He stared up into the sky and saw the sun being overtaken by grey clouds. He realized he had to do this quickly or they'd be caught in the storm.

“I'm going inside alone. Stay here and guard the area,” Denmark ordered. The men protested but he stood by his word. They reluctantly obeyed his orders. Arriving at the door, he felt as if someone was pressing down on his chest. Despite that, he went ahead and knocked but with a fair bit of hesitation as sweat brushed down the back of his neck.

“Estonia? Are ya home?” He asked curiously as he opened the wooden door. Sure enough, he was home, wrapping rags over what Denmark presumed to be a wound of some kind on his arm.

“Welcome back,” Estonia greeted as he finished the final touches of his makeshift bandages. “It's been a while.”

“Yeah, and you're injured.”

“It's just scratch. I'll be fine.”

Estonia looked up at him and all Denmark could focus on were those bright blue eyes. Cold and glowing, they reminded him a lot like Sweden's as it felt like the smaller man was seeing right through him. Whether it was during a fight or a simple chat, and they always provoke fear within him. It was a gruesome reminder that Estonia was not as it seemed.

“I didn't think you'd ever come back. I haven't seen you since you lost your fight to reclaim Narva.” The memory of that stung Denmark in the chest. He was still bitter over that lost. “So what brings you back here now?”

With that said, he was in no position to avoid the situation. He's cursing at his boss in his mind for sending him to do his dirty work when he could have done it himself while he was finalizing the deal. There was no going back now.

“I came to bring you a message,” Denmark replied. He was doing his best to not let the nerves show in his voice.

“Oh?”

There was a pause. “You were sold.”

Silence quickly fell around them.

“I was what?

Denmark gulped as Estonia angrily stared him down. “My boss sold you. To the Teutonic Knights.”

There was an another lengthy pause.

“Please, I know you're angry and I tried to reason with the king but we're broke and-”

Estonia had gotten up in mid-conversation and roughly grabbed Denmark by the collar of his shirt. Though he was smaller than the Dane, his grip was quite strong as he was pulled down to his level.

“You promised you wouldn't do this to me! You and your former king gave me your word!”

He fell silent as the guilt washed right through him. He had expected Estonia to reach for his trusty knife that the man always kept attached around his waist and end him right here and now. But in a surprise move, he pushed Denmark away and walked with his back towards him.

“Get out. I don't ever want to see your face around these parts again.”

Denmark stood there silent and looking at the ground. A part of him wanted to talk things over with him but he knew well that Estonia would never listen to him beyond this point. Instead he chose to take advantage of the fact he still had his head and turned to leave the tiny cabin.

Estland-”

“I said get out!” Estonia yelled, his face redden and eyes filling with tears. “Don't make me regret sparing your life.”

Denmark sighed heavily. He respected the other man's wishes. Estonia peered over his own shoulder and watched the other man quietly leave the cabin. When the men saw Denmark emerge from the building, they curiously huddled around him awaiting for orders and news as to what took place inside. His face reeked of defeat and exhaustion. He refused to answer their questions, only giving a simple order to head back to the ship.

“C'mon, let's head for home.”

--

“Hey, look at Den! I can't believe he passed out before the rest of us!”

As laughter rang about, Denmark groaned as he rubbed his face and lifted himself up off the ground. Did he really just fall asleep on everyone? And this early into the night? How embarrassing, he thought. He was never going to live this one down.

“Latvia, be nice. He's been putting in extra hours at the office the past two weeks. I think he's earned the right to fall asleep before the rest of us. Right?” Estonia smiled as he turned towards the Dane. Looking a little confused and disoriented, Denmark stared at the Estonian for a brief moment before returning a smile and simple nod. Estonia's face was glowing and full of life, such a contrast to the enraged, frigid, and dispirited look his younger self portrayed. This was the face that Denmark had come know and love.

“It's nice that Estonia could bring the eight of us together for a few days at his cottage. It's not everyday we can do this with our hectic schedules and all,” Finland grinned. The rest of the group agreed, with everyone sending Estonia their gratitude.

“Oh, it was my pleasure!” Estonia blushed. “Midsummer should never be spent alone and this was the perfect opportunity for us to catch up. I'm glad all of you could come.”

Denmark had quickly returned to his usual self and wrapped an arm around the Estonian. He raised his half-empty beer bottle with the other hand.

“Guys! Let's do a toast to celebrate! To fun and good friends!”

Lithuania appeared fond of the idea and was first to raise his drink. “Yes! To fun and good friends!”

The rest of the group quickly followed and raised their drinks. They proudly spoke the phrase in unison and the sound of a loud ding! rang out between the men.

For once, good weather was promised for this year's Midsummer and it didn't disappoint. Estonia would have still invited everyone over to his cottage, located near the coastline in Saaremaa, regardless if it had rained or not but having the whole group together outside by the fire was much better than being inside by a mediocre fireplace. With a hand placed on Estonia's lap, the two men watched together as their friends carried multiple conversations amongst themselves.

“I'm glad you could come,” Estonia whispered as he nuzzled into the other man's shoulder, his hand intertwining with Denmark's.

“Wouldn't miss it for the world,” He replied before placing tender peak on his head. He knew well that Estonia was not one for any public displays of affection but what Denmark had come to learn, he didn't seem to mind it as much when they were with close friends. So he learned to take advantage of these moments when he could.

But his mind was still feeling heavy and cloudy about earlier. The dreams he had been having this past week have been nothing but old memories, some even ones he had completely forgotten (or thought he did at least). He had wondered if this was the stress eating away at him but this dream involving his lover was eating at him more than he'd like to admit.

Perhaps a walk would do him good.

Denmark shuffled himself away from Estonia and he got up and gave his body a little stretch. Estonia stared at the other man surprised and gave him a curious look.

“Is everything alright?”

Denmark nodded and gave him a little grin, “Yeah, I just need to move around a little bit. I'm going to take a little walk down by the water.”

“At this hour?” Estonia replied, his brow raised. But when Denmark didn't answer and began walking off, he panicked a little.“Wait! Let me go with you!” Estonia exclaimed as he quickly picked himself up and begun to chase after him. Finland had shouted “Be careful!” in the distance and Estonia replied with a simple wave of his hand.

“Should one of us go after them?” Finland worriedly asked. The rest of the group watched with concern as the two men drifted further away from sight.

“I think they'll be alright.” Lithuania replied. “Estonia knows these parts from the back of his hand. I think he'll have the most luck talking with him too, after Norway of course.”

Norway agreed with Lithuania and replied with a simple nod. Lithuania then gave a small smile and turned his attention to the bonfire.

“As long as they stay together, they'll be fine.”

--

Denmark walked along the dusty path with his hands inside the pockets of his red-hooded jacket. He stared at the ground as he walked, appearing deep in thought as the flashback replayed in his continuously. He and Estonia had a rocky relationship in those days. They'd argue and fight each other, even in the years before the Duchy's existence. Their battles were bloody and gruesome. Denmark couldn't count the times they had left each other for dead. He also come to learn that Estonia didn't exactly take well to being ordered around. But oddly enough, there were rare moments when they did get along, such as when they were hunting for food or sailing the seas. They were surprisingly an excellent match when it came to teamwork. Estonia had the eye of an eagle and could spot things a mile away (a cruel twist of irony considering how his adult self fared) and was an excellent navigator. It was no secret why the Oeselians considered him a prize on their ships.

But his glory days were numbers. With the uprising, the high-growing debt, the Teutonic Knights taking everything they could get their hands on, he was in no shape to fight anymore. Denmark knew well that selling their Estonian territories was high on the list and there was nothing he could to stop it. He never wanted to be the one to send that message to that day.

In the centuries that followed, he never saw much of the other man, even after coming into possession the island of Ösel and the frequent visits (and fights) at Sweden's house. When he had heard from a stranger that a volunteer group was heading to across the sea to fight in a big war against Russia. When he had asked for the name of the place, he nearly dropped his coffee when the man replied “Estland”. On the day the group left, he sent a good will message wishing Estonia the best of luck and that he had his back. A few months later, a card arrived in the mail with a simple “thank you” written in Danish.

It wasn't until the early 1920s during a League of Nations meeting did they finally met again in person. It was a special welcoming ceremony to celebrate the addition of the three Baltic countries into the organization. When the two men met face to face, Denmark didn't recognize him at all. He was poised, humble, and wise. He carried a friendly atmosphere and a warm expression. He was eager to make connections with everyone there. A clear contrast to the small, detached, and wild person he always knew.

They had talked for a long time that day, even after everyone had left. Denmark enjoyed Estonia's company. They agreed to keep in touch. He regretted he didn't do it enough after Estonia fell under Soviet occupation. But Denmark wasted no time in re-establishing relations with him once he emerged from it all.

In the years that followed, they grew very close. Their friends noted how similar they were; they were friendly faces who could light up the room and helping others was second nature. Though Denmark was the more energetic of the two, they enjoyed living a domestic life and doing activities like baking, crafts, and knitting. Perhaps that is why when they announced their relationship a few months ago, no one was surprised at all. Nevertheless, he is overjoyed that he has the support from his friends and family. He wondered how his younger self would react if he had told him that he'd be dating the person he both feared and ruled over. The though of seeing his younger self's expression got him chuckling lightly. He'd never believe him, for sure.

Taani!!

Denmark snapped out of his thoughts when he heard the sound of a familiar voice calling out to him. He stopped and turned to discover that Estonia had chased after him from the campsite. When he caught up to other man, Estonia struggled to catch his breath as his body was hunched over and hands resting on his knees.

“Estonia? I thought you were staying with the others?”

Estonia panted as he lifted himself up. Though they appeared on equal footing, it was always so fascinating to him that his partner was actually taller than he was. “Did you not hear me call your name?!” Estonia asked with a high sense of urgency. “I've been running after you since you left the campsite.”

“Ah, I'm sorry!” Denmark replied. “I honestly didn't hear ya. I didn't mean to make ya worry.”

“Jeez,” Estonia cocked an eyebrow as he crossed his arms. “What's gotten into you lately? I know you've been extra working hard and all but you haven't been yourself at all throughout this whole trip.”

Denmark was surprised when Estonia moved in a little closer and wrapped his arms around his waist.

“Don't try to be such a “cool guy” all the time. If there's something bothering you, I'm here to listen.”

A look of sadness could be seen from his eyes as he held onto the Estonian tightly. This was supposed to be a night for celebration and fun and yet here he was ruining their time together by being as distant as he possibly could. He hates to be seen like this. As the so-called “leader” and “big brother” to the rest of the Nordics, he only wants to be seen as a strong figure.

But where does he go when he's not strong?

That is where Estonia comes in. His partner had the patience of a saint and was never judgemental in anyway. They had each other's backs, again such a contrast to the person he once knew. But still he chose to put on a mask that he couldn't show a moment of weakness. He doesn't understand why Estonia puts up with him.

“Not here,” Denmark finally spoke. “Let's head to the beach. It's where I wanted to go.”

Estonia breathed a sigh of relief and gave him a warm smile. The two men walked together, continuing along the narrow path that lead out towards their destination. When they arrived, the sound of the water moving towards the shore was aesthetically relaxing to both their senses. Estonia found it strange to hear how quiet their surroundings truly were, especially with it being the peak of Midsummer celebrations. He could hear firecrackers go off in the distance and smoke rising up from above the trees behind him but not much else. Denmark had wanted to remove his shoes so he could feel the sand between his toes but Estonia argued that that was not a smart idea. He pouted in retaliation but Denmark found a little something else that Estonia couldn't disagree with; a nice long log was laying in the sand in the middle of the beach. It was the perfect opportunity for them to enjoy the sights and share some private moments, knowing now that the beach was deserted.

“So talk to me,” Estonia said as he took a seat on the massive log. “I'm all ears.”

Denmark chuckled loudly as he took his spot next to the other man.

“You don't miss a beat don't ya?”

“Not when it involves you.” A worried smile appeared on Estonia's face.

“Ya look like Fin when you make that face.”

“Well, he is my brother after all...”

Denmark looked at Estonia from the corner of his eye. “I'm sorry. About tonight and everything.”

“There's nothing to be sorry about. Just talk to me,” Estonia replied as he laid his hand against Den's. Both sat together in silence for some time. Denmark looked as if he was deep in thought and Estonia did not want to push him into a spot where he felt uncomfortable.

But finally, Denmark spoke with a question that left Estonia turning his head.

“Do you ever think about how we used to be?”

Though surprised, Estonia answered honestly.

“We aren't the same people as we once were so no.”

“I see...”

Estonia doesn't like where this conversation is heading but says nothing to discourage it. It was then he felt Denmark squeeze his hand.

“It hurts when I think about those times. I did some horrible things to ya.”

“I know. You're not alone in feeling that way. We did a lot of things back then that we wish we could take back.”

Denmark is quiet as he held his head down. There's a smile, albeit a somber one, but Estonia continues on.

“I really hated you back then. You and Prus- er, I mean the Teutonic Knights essentially had the same goals in mind but still, I felt drawn to you. Not romantically speaking but just in general. I think it's because I sometimes saw a side of you that only Nor and Sve had seen before. Because of that, I was often so conflicted with you.”

Denmark looked up and stared at him with shock. “You never told me this before.”

“There's a lot of things I've never said,” He paused. “I'm sure that goes for you as well.”

Denmark turned his head away as he looked far into the distance. His eyes looked cloudy, the memories slowly returned him as clear as day. The fights they had were still felt very real in his mind as if they recently took place.

“There were times I was actually scared of ya. You and yer people were a fearsome bunch-”

“And we still are,” Estonia interrupted as he cracked a small smile. It was enough to get a laugh from the Dane, even for a brief moment.

“Damn straight! But seriously, there were times I thought you were going to kill me.”

“To be honest, there were were times I really wanted to kill you. But I was scared of you too. That's why I was always acting so cold all the time. I never wanted to show any weakness. I wanted to show my people that I was a fighter too.”

Estonia made a gesture for Denmark to come closer, one that he happily obliged. With his hand still locked with his partner's, Estonia wrapped his arm around Denmark. He used his free hand brush the messy locks on blond hair as the Dane rested his head on Estonia's shoulder. His touch was gentle and Denmark's breathing slowed as he felt his whole body relax.

Denmark understood where Estonia was coming from. He wasn't so different in his childhood. Fighting was the key to survival. If you couldn't protect yourself, word would spread fast and you were among first to go. It's just how things were done in those days.

“We live a difficult life. I learned a lot of things while I was an underling. We don't get to make the choices we want. But I'm happy things are different now. I've made peace with our past. I'm glad we get to be together like this.”

“Ya mean that?” Denmark asked as he looked up to face him with a surprised expression. Estonia nodded in reply.

“Always.”

Denmark looked as if he were going to cry and soon enough the sniffles came and he brushed the tears from his eyes.

“I can't believe this. I don't deserve ya at all!” He hiccuped.

“Yes you do. You're a good person with a big heart.”

Estonia gave him a reassuring smile which seemed to help him relax. He then was constantly turning his head in all directions and Denmark became curious. Estonia appeared as if he were looking for something.

“Mhm?” He blinked. “What are ya do-” Denmark was cut off to the feel of Estonia's lips against his. His hands rested on the Dane's shoulders. The kiss was merely quick but sweet. Denmark put the pieces together and realized Estonia was looking around to see if they were still alone on the beach.

Estonia's expression was warm and welcoming; his eyes sparkled and his voice was tender as he spoke.

“I'm so lucky to have you.”

“Est...” He drifted off as he stared longingly at him. Just as Estonia thought all was well, Denmark pulled him a little too close and was whining loudly in his ear. He let out a deep sigh quietly but let the Dane lay all of his feelings out on him. Most of the man's words were incoherent to him but managed to understand a “I don't deserve ya!” somewhere along his massive cries. But in a matter of seconds it all seemed like their conversation had never happened when Estonia found Denmark return to the enthusiastic and energetic man he always was. He pulled Estonia up from his spot and with a large grin to his face, Denmark was eager to head back to the cabin and crack a few beers with the rest of the gang. When they had arrived, he was loud to announce their presence but Estonia could tell the others had been worried and were delighted to see him return to his normal self.

They partied late into the night with the music running on a shuffled playlist. Many of them sang along with their drinks held up high. But exhaustion was starting to take their toll, a reminder that though they were young in appearance, their bodies were didn't quite match the exterior appearance. Denmark and Estonia shared a bed as they always did when they were together. That night, he was gifted with more peaceful dreams, ones with the two of them sailing together off the coast of Jutland, long walks through the vast Estonian forests, and warms cuddles by the fireplace at a random hotel somewhere in the heart of Europe.

These were not dreams of the past. They were dreams of their future. A future Denmark couldn't wait to shape.

--

Notes

- Estland is Danish for Estonia, Taani is Estonian for Denmark.

- After the Battle of Lyndanisse, Estonia was ruled by Denmark from 1219 to 1346 where it controlled a chunk of northern Estonia (called the Duchy of Estonia) while the Teutonic Knights controlled the south. In 1329, King Christopher II made a formal promise to never sell their Estonian territories. However, after his death in 1332, Denmark fell in political turmoil and heavily in debt to the point it ceased being a formal kingdom and was mortgaged out by German military rule. His son, Valdemar IV, took the throne in 1340. During his reign, the Estonians revolted (St. George's Night Uprising) which spread past the Duchy. The Teutonic Knights later crushed the revolt and took control of the region Denmark failed to reclaim its lost lands and in 1346 Valdemar IV sold the Duchy to the Teutonic Knights for 19,000 silver marks. He later used the money to reclaim and pay off other parts of Denmark that were deemed more important. The transfer of sovereignty took place November 1, 1346.

Prior to the Duchy's existence, Danish and Estonian vikings frequently clashed. Novgorod was a prime trading spot for both the Danes and the Swedes and Estonia was along their path. From the 1100s and onwards, Estonian raids along the Danish and Swedish coastlines were becoming more frequent.

- Ösel (Øsel) was a Danish province from 1559 to 1645 where it ceded to Sweden per the agreements surrounding the Treaty of Brömsebro. Ösel is the German and Swedish name for Saaremma and is the largest of Estonia's islands.

- “When he had heard from a stranger that a volunteer group was heading to across the sea to fight in a big war against Russia. When he had asked for the name of the place, he nearly dropped his coffee when the man replied “Estland”.” During the Estonian War of Independence, the country had some help from volunteer groups who came to assist in the fight. A Danish group of around 200 men were sent in 1919 and 19 were killed in action. A memorial was put in 2014 near the Estonian-Latvian border to honour their sacrifice, where the group did the bulk of their fighting.

- “Well, he is my brother after all...” It is a personal headcanon of mine that Estonia and Finland are related due to the fact the two share the same linguistic and cultural backgrounds. Both languages are under the Finno-Ugric branch and are classified as Baltic Finns.

Date: 2016-07-21 09:09 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] kanadka
1) DenEst!!!
2) DENEST!!!!!!
3) now that I've got that out of the way. I really loved the flashback! And is that slightly-buzzed!Estonia I see around the campfire? :D the way this relationship plays out - 'we were closer once but then drifted apart after a huge fight and after not having seen each other forever we meet again and Oh No He Got Hot' is so good for DenEst. Wise choice!

I also like how Estonia says "We did a lot of things back then that we wish we could take back" - now I really want to read that fic.

excellent work!!!