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[personal profile] caffinatedstory posting in [community profile] nordipalooza
Title: Northern home
Author/Artist: Caffinatedstory
Prompt: Norway/Finland - Returning
Other characters: Sami
Rating: T

Summary: Times change and years tick by, but sometimes it's good to return to where one came from. Where it all started.

__________________________


The snow is deep and heavy to walk through, engulfing their legs up to their knees and beyond.
Each step is usually accompanied by curses and a muttered word or two of annoyance.

Eventually they both give up and strap their snow shoes on before the continue their track upwards.

“I can't believe we lost out skis,” Finland sighs as they reach a plateau and stop to rest.

“More like we had to abandon them since we both lost them down a ravine,” Norway sighs and squints across the snow covered landscape. “We've not got much further to go,” he adds.

“I feel like we're being punished,” Finland frowns.

“That wouldn't surprise me...” Norway scratches his chin thoughtfully. “It's been a while since we came here.”

“Do you think she'll be mad?” Finland whispers.

“No,” Norway shakes his head. “Just disappointed.”

“I'm not sure that’s any better,” Finland looks worriedly at Norway, stomping his feet against the snow covered ground to try and get the blood flowing back into his rather frozen toes.

“She'll be happy to see us,” Norway reassures him, flashing Finland a brief smile before they set off once more.

The compass is no use to them. Nor is a map.

Both tools are not wanted or needed out here and so far up north.
Instead they navigate by the sun, look for familiar landmarks and follow paths they used to walk together centuries ago.

No amount of snow renders the landscape unrecognisable.

Finland comes to a halt by a large rock, grinning and placing his hand on it like he's done for so many years.

“Look, I've grown!” he laughs and places his hand over the rock-carving, the very one Norway helped him make when they were children.

“Found our names,” Norway hums happily and traces the old runes with his fingertips. 

“I'm glad it's still here...” Finland whispers. “I know it's a rock but...”

“Yeah,” Norway nods. “It's our rock.”

“Our hiding place,” Finland laughs. “Although I don't think I can fit under it any more...” he sighs and pats his belly underneath the layers of clothes.

“No?” Norway brushes some snow away and lies down, stretching his arm underneath the large rock and into the cavity below. “I suppose I could fit,” he mumbles.

“Yeah yeah. You're still a skinny bastard. Shut up,” Finland huffs and lies down next to him to peer into the little 'cave'. 
“Oh look,” he exclaims and pulls out a small metal pendant. “My old Troll Cross!”

“You left it here?” Norway looks at him with concern. “What good would it do out here?”

“Heh,” Finland smiled nervously as he sits up properly. “I couldn't bring it into the city, humans wouldn't allow it. So I left it here...”

“Don't flaunt it too much now either,” Norway whispers softly as Finland brushes his thumb over the pendant before shoving it into his backpack.

“I won't I won't,” Finland laughs. “I know better now.”

“Mhm,” Norway nods before he stands up, offering a helping hand to Finland.

“Think we'll reach the next spot before nightfall?”

“Maybe,” Norway shields is eyes from the sunshine and gazes out over the landscape. “If we're lucky we might even get all the way home...”

“Home,” Finland sighs and smiles. “I can't wait.”

“Better get moving then,” Norway smirks and pushes Finland lightly.

“Dick,” Finland laughs and follows, only pausing to scoop a handful of snow from the ground and pummel it at the back of Norway's head.

They don't reach the next familiar spot until the sun has set, snow having soaked them to the bone and shivering like leaves in the wind until they get a fire going.

Finland offers Norway some of his bread and they eat in silence.

“This is nice,” Finland mumbles sleepily as they make a little shelter and shuffle as close to one another as they can.

“Yeah,” Norway agrees with a soft smile. “It's home,” he adds and draws the blankets all the way up to his nose.

“Remember when we didn't have a border between us?” Finland whispers.

“It's a line on a map,” Norway mumbles. “It's only in our people's minds...”

“Not all of them,” Finland gazes up at the night sky and smiles. “Not everyone has abandoned the old way of life.”

“Mother wouldn't let them all go,” Norway chuckles.

“True,” Finland laughs and adds one more log to the fire before he pulls his own blankets well over himself.

Even if the night is cold, they'll be fine come morning.
This is hardly new for either of them.

Even when the fire dies down to glowing embers neither nation feels the cold.

However, limbs are stiff and they both refuse to move until the sun is shining once more in the sky before they set off again.

“I don't think my socks dried properly last night,” Finland whines.

“We'll be home in a few hours. You can hang them to dry then,” Norway rolls his eyes. 

“You're the one who made them wet,” Finland huffs.

“You started that snowball fight,” Norway reminds him.

“Only because you deserve it,” Finland retorts with a smirk.

“You still started it.”

“Mom,” Finland whines into the cold air. “He's being mean.”

“Mom can't hear you,” Norway scoffs.

“But when she does you're in trouble!” Finland laughs and pushes Norway into a pile of snow before he sprints away as fast as the snowshoes and snow allow him.

By the time Norway catches up to him, Finland is high up a snow covered tree and scouting.

“See anything?” Norway asks as Finland jumps down.

“Yeah, Reindeer herd. About an hour away if they don't move further away from us.”

“You think it's hers?” Norway squints and shields his eyes from the sunshine and white snow, trying to see the reindeer on the plains, Finland always did have a better eyesight than the rest of them.

“I'm hoping,” Finland shrugs and secures his backpack back onto his back.

“Better try get moving if we want to catch up then,” Norway swats a handful of snow in the back of Finland head and carries onwards before Finland can think up a suitable revenge.

It takes them two hours to reach the herd of reindeer, and by that stage they're both full of snow and not a single item of clothing is dry.

“This doesn’t look right,” Norway sighs.

“No, I don't think this is hers...” Finland frowns. “We should keep moving.”

Norway nods quietly in agreement and they set off once more, trying their best to stay optimistic.

“Where is she?” Finland groans and flops down into a pile of snow.

“Not here, that's for sure,” Norway replies.

“Ha ha. Very funny,” Finland flings a badly made snowball at him, and only misses by a millimetre. “I know she never stays in the same place, but this is ridiculous,” he grumbles.

“Maybe she's moved even further north?” Norway muses.

“We've walked for miles!” Finland throws his hands up in the air and grimaces. “How much further will she makes us walk?”

“A few miles more?”

“You are so obviously her son and I hate it,” Finland grumbles.

“So are you you idiot,” Norway rolls his eyes, but helps Finland back up to his feet. 
“But if we don't see her tonight, we might as well go back.”

“Yeah,” Finland sighs. “All this for nothing...”

“Not for nothing. It's always good to return to our roots,” Norway smiles softly and brushes off some snow from Finland's backpack.

“Maybe,” Finland sighs. “But I miss her...”

“Me too,” Norway frowns. “But we can't stop now.”

“No...” Finland takes a deep breath. He knows Norway's right.
They've walked further before.

A brief lunch pause in the sun before they begin once more on their journey.
Feet raw and cold, but fresh air and sunshine powers them onwards.

“There!” Finland almost shouts as they reach the top of a small hill. “I see it!”

“Where?” Norway squints, trying to see what Finland sees in the distance.
“Oh,” he utters before a smile spreads across his face.

“That's gotta be it!” Finland grins and starts running, almost tripping in the deep snow in the process.
Norway isn't far behind.

The tent is small but warm.
They don't need to announce their arrival. She already knows they’re there.

She always does.

“Home,” Norway mumbles as he removes his wet socks.

“Better late then never,” Finland adds as he digs out the blankets.
“Think she's far away?” he adds as he joins Norway by the fire.

“Who knows...” Norway mumbles. “We'll find out eventually.”

“Yeah,” Finland nods. “Think she'll mind if we go to sleep?”

“No,” Norway says and yawns.
“I don't think she'll mind at all. After all... we came home, right?”

“Heh,” Finland grins. “True. We always return.”.

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