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It’s Been a Long, Long Time

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Snufkin stared at the letter in his shaking hands, his usually smooth and calm breaths quickening. Drafts, he was being drafted and would be deployed in a few weeks. The war had been getting steadily worse over the years, and troops were severely needed. Needed to the point they were drafting soldiers, including Snufkin it would seem.
This is exactly what he had wanted to avoid. He often moved around, never keeping an address. But it would seem that his time in Moomin Valley had distracted Snufkin enough for the army to catch up with him. Oh, how would he tell his poor Moomintroll? The poor boy had been scared enough himself of being drafted, how would he handle it if his best friend would be sent away? The sadness the other would surely feel brought tears to Snufkin’s eyes.
Apparently he had been by the mailbox long enough for Moomin to notice the boy from his window. Moomin quietly made his way down the ladder from his window and stepped closer to his friend, creasing his brows when he noticed the distress on the others face. “Snufkin?” he asked softly, gently touching his shoulder. Snufkin tensed, gripping the paper in his hands tighter. Moomin moved closer, making sure Snufkin was comfortable before wrapping his arms around him and looking at the letter.
Moomin’s breath caught in his throat at the words, tears springing to his own eyes and threatening to spill. “Oh, Snufkin, I’m sorry,” he whispered, hugging his friend tighter. Snufkin finally came to his senses and pulled Moomin into a tight hug. If only he could stay like this, in Moomin’s arms here in the valley. “Snufkin, it’s time to get up.” Moomin said through tears. This baffled him and he looked down at the other. “What?” “Get up, Snufkin!”

 

Snufkin shot up from his cot, a cold sweat beading across his forehead. Joxter huffed, stepping back and adjusting the helmet on his head. “Get up, we’re moving out,” he informed before stumbling off, probably to find a drink. Snufkin groaned and rubbed his eyes, luggishly pulling himself out of bed and getting ready to leave. It’s not like he had many things with him, but he couldn’t forget Moomins letters. He carried them practically everywhere, in case something were to happen to their bunker.
He glanced over at the others in the room, his shoulders tensing with discomfort at the amount of people, and the lack of privacy. It was a lot, being with so many people for so long. There wasn’t a moment that went by where he didn’t wish to be somewhere else, be it deep in the forests with only nature to keep him company, or back in Moomin Valley.
The troop set off once their things were packed, Snufkin stayed behind the group, keeping to himself for just a moment. Hodgkins was at the front, leading as he tended to do. Joxter and Muddler were off on their own as well, discussing goodness knows what. Probably a random artifact Mudds had found in their travels. The bit of solitude was nice, even though the others were only a few paces away. Snufkin shut his eyes gently and tried to imagine himself in the forest, or in Moomin Valley. He tried to compose a spring tune for when he was able to return home, something hopeful. The boy inhale softly, preparing to start humming, but the sound of gunshots interrupted him.
The troops suddenly scattered to cover, gathering to their weapons and loading them for the battle ahead. Snufkin scrambled towards his father and Muddler, who looked just as shaken as he did. “Where the hell did they come from?” Joxter asked, looking over their dugout before ducking quickly. Snufkin grabbed his gun, aiming in the direction the shots came from and fired. “Who knows, just help me keep them back.”
The fight went on for a while, the other side not seeming to be letting up and the Americans getting rather nervous. As Snufkin was reloading his gun for another round, the sound of crying caught his attention. He looked around, scanning over the rubble for the source, when he saw a little boy curled up behind a car crying. Snufkin’s face went pale and he let out a shakey breath. Without thinking, Snufkin handed his gun to Muddler and started to run towards the boy. A force pushed forward and he stumbled, but managed to stay on his feet. He scooped the child up into his arms and leaned against the vehicle, holding him close to his chest.
Joxter was looking over at him, worry and shock in his eyes. Snufkin swallowed thickly, hiding the little one on his coat before running back over and slumping back against their cover.
“What the /hell/ were you thinking? We could have gotten ‘im after!” Joxter scolded. Snufkin glared up at his father. “He was scared, and I know I wouldn’t want to be alone during this.” Throughout his point Snufkin’s voice began to waver, the place where he had been pushed really starting to hurt now.
Joxter huffed and decided to leave it alone for now, since they obviously had bigger things to worry about.
Eventually, the gunfire ceased and the Americans cheered in their victory. The child had now calmed down enough to celebrate as well. Snufkin smiles tiredly and went to stand, but a sharp pain in his side caused him to fall back down. Joxter’s cheerful face quickly changed to that of worry and he rushed to his son’s side. Muddler quickly followed, his partially covered eyes checking for any wounds.
The world around Snufkin was slowly blurring, black dots dancing across his eyes and and the others voices muffling together. He could faintly get out “shot” which created a bit of clarity for the situation. Right before everything went dark, Snufkin swore he could see Moomin and he could hear his new spring tune. And he smiled, before falling into unconsciousness.