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Litt Sangfugl

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"This is stupid. I shouldn't have to go out and get butter for Lukas because he used it all. He should get it for himself, like a real adult! And I should call him big brother, right? Even though he lacks the most basic characteristics of a mature adult?" Emil grumbles to himself in frustration, biking down his town's nearly empty main road.
The familiar surroundings could barely calm the silver-haired boy as he made his way towards the local grocery shop. He didn't want to be here. What he wanted was to be in his room, listening to his tunes and relaxing. Being outside was too annoying for the antisocial teen, and he felt he had better things to do.
Pulling up to the grocery shop, Emil notices a boy standing at the storefront. He seemed to be admiring the mural on the store's large black-tinted windows. Emil notices that the boy was covered in paint and grimaces to himself. He hates it when kids think they have the right to walk around in such a disgusting state. More than that, he thought the careless parents of those rascals to be deplorable.
He sighs, shaking his head as he fastened his bike to the rack. He needed to be quick: in and out. All he needed to do was grab a carton of butter, head to self-checkout, and book it. That seemed simple enough. He turns to look at the paint-covered boy once more, only to notice a significantly taller man, probably a lot older than Emil, chatting him up. Emil wrinkles his nose at the display. He couldn't tell what they were talking about, but he was sure it was something stupid.
"Whatever." He mutters to himself, shrugging it off and heading inside the building. As the mechanical doors opened, a blast of hot air hits Emil, practically choking him. He winces against the warm as he entered, pulling his maroon winter coat off. It was too damn hot in here! It wasn't even that cold outside, but some idiot in management must've bumped up the heat anyways. Emil shakes his head at the thought, deciding that if he were running this joint, it'd be significantly cooler. And he'd put on some dope-ass metal, not the girlish pop-music they had playing gently through the speakers.
Emil stares up at the selection of butter blankly, forcing down the overwhelming urge to either scream or text Lukas. He hadn't realized there were so many types of butter... Which one does Lukas want? Emil bites his lower lip nervously, reaching for the cheapest carton he could find. It was some sort of off-brand butter, and it was 'Margarine' flavored, whatever that meant. Emil stares at the carton in his hands for only a second longer, unsure as to whether or no this was to correct choice. Maybe he should just ask Lukas? It couldn't hurt, but...
Emil shakes his head roughly, scoffing at his thoughts. As if he needed Lukas' help choosing butter! It was a simple choice, and it's not like it made a difference anyways. If Lukas wanted something specific, he should've gone out and gotten his own butter! Emil was in charge this time, and he decided that Lukas was going to get 'Margarine' flavored butter.
Emil hums to himself as he walks through the candy aisle. He was using Lukas' card, so he figured getting himself a little treat would work nicely as payback. Payback for forcing Emil out of the house to do his big brother's bidding. He reaches up to grab a bag of black licorice and smiles contentedly. He was, quite honestly, thrilled to tuck into these.
Emil walks his items to the self-service checkout lane slowly, admiring the bag of licorice lustily. He really couldn't wait to rip it open. It was like staring at his inevitable euphoria and not chasing after it. Actually, to Emil that was exactly what it was.
He scans the items before shoving them into a plastic grocery bag. He was as gentle as possible with his beloved black licorice. Taking up the bag, Emil quickly makes his way outside. Unfortunately, he was still holding his jacket.
Walking outside, Emil is met with a blast of icy cold air. It literally takes his breath away, and he drops the bag in favor of quickly throwing his coat on and zipping it. He felt relieved at the all too familiar warmth of the maroon jacket. Strangely, after washing it thousands of times, it still smelt vaguely of the person who'd leant it to him just this morning. He didn't mind it though, his big brother's cologne had a soothing aspect to it. In a way, the warmth of the coat made up for all the ice in Lukas' personality. This doesn't mean Emil loves Lukas, though, because he doesn't. He was just his stupid, cold mannered older brother. He just... Emil was just a little fond of him, and that was all. He'd grown attached, or something. However one would want to look at it, save for love. It was NOT love.
"A-ah!! Mister, move out of the way!" A shrill voice calls out, startling Emil out of his thoughts. He whips around to find the source of the voice, only to see the paint coated boy from before. He was staring at Emil, petrified. The man behind him looked amused by the situation. The man behind the boy points up nonchalantly, and Emil's gaze follows worriedly.
Oh. Paint. A bucket of paint, colored forest green, was rocketing towards Emil alongside a falling ladder. The silver-haired boy moves in time to avoid getting hit by the ladder and the paint bucket, but as the bucket hit the ground the paint splatters. Emil gasps in horror as the cold, thick substance splashes against him. He was coated in green, and Lukas' jacket was likely ruined.
"Oh my god..." Emil mutters, staring bug-eyed at his paint coated sleeves. The boy looked horrified, and decided to rush over to Emil's side. The man looked much more amused, but made no sounds as he trailed after the frail boy.
"Oh... O-oh my goodness, I'm... I'm s-so sorry!" Stammers the boy, stumbling over his feet as he rushed to Emil. Shock turned to anger within Emil as he stormed up to the kid.
"This is my Big Bror's jacket," He hisses through clenched teeth, his hands balled up into tight, angry fists. He felt tears pricking at his eyes through the frustration. "You ruined it, you damn brat!"
"I-i--"
"Hey," The man interrupts evenly, resting a hand firmly on the trembling boy's shoulder. He gave Emil a small smile before continuing in a childishly gleeful tone. "Why don't we calm down? I'm sure he didn't mean to drench you in paint. As a matter of fact, I know he was too distracted to have done so."
"Eh?" The boy squeaks, flinching at the man's touch. He looked shocked.
"I was watching you paint after you finished explaining the purpose of the mural!" The man explains calmly, flashing the boy a small smile. Emil narrows his pale purple eyes at the two.
"You're telling me that the kid was painting a mural on a grocery shop window?" He asks coldly. The man gives a small laugh, crossing his arms.
"Yes, and he's getting paid handsomely for it. Besides, I doubt you're much older than he is." The man responds. Raivis nods reluctantly, wringing his hands.
"I'm actually a little older than I look." He murmurs. Emil scoffs, shaking his head. He didn't have time for them.
"Alright, whatever. Give me your number. And your name." Emil demands harshly, pulling his phone out from his pocket with his least soiled hand. The boy eyes him warily before taking the phone. The man glares at Emil.
"Why?" He asks, taking the phone from the boy.
"He's going to pay to replace these, or to get them washed properly. Whatever my big brother wants." Emil replies with a smirk, reaching for his phone. The man sighs, tapping at the screen.
"What are you doing?" The boy asks quietly, looking up at the man.
"I'll take care of it. I've got a long life to live, you don't. Besides, this wasn't your fault entirely." He responds with a shrug, tossing the phone to Emil.
"No, y-you don't have to--"
"It's fine little Raivis, I really don't mind." The man says with a grin. The boy goes stiff before moving closer to Emil. Emil was preparing to shove him away as the small blonde opened his mouth to speak.
"H-how..." He whispers, eyes wide with terror. The man quickly realizes his mistake.
"Hold on, it's not what you think." The man assures the kid. The boy simply shakes his head and grabs Emil's arm. Emil looks down at the trembling figure with both contempt and curiosity. What did the man say that irked him?
"No, I-I... How d-do you know my name?"

Chapter Text

The man blinked, suddenly looking tired. He adjusts his gloves slowly, and Emil notices the slight tremor in his hands. He also notices that the man was moving closer slowly. It was as if he was approaching a frightened dog, trying to befriend it.
"He asked you a question, raring." Emil says, tensing up slightly. The man stops with a smirk, shoving his hands behind his back.
"Raring?" The man echoes, tilting his head at Emil.
"That's what I said." Emil responds with a snort.
"You don't look Norwegian. Is language learning a hobby of yours, too?" The man asks before pausing and shaking his head, "Wait, no, nevermind that. I think you may be misunderstanding this situation."
"And how is that?" Emil asks. The man glances at the boy, apparently named Raivis with a smile.
"It's, uh... Let's just say that I've been admiring Raivis for a while." He says. Emil immediately grimaces at the man.
"God, what a creep you are! Ugh," Emil snatches Raivis' hand roughly and drags him to his bike. "Come on kid, I'm taking you to my Big Bror."
"That's kidnapping!" The man calls after him. Emil glares at him coldly, shaking his head.
"No, this is called rescuing the damsel in distress from the child molester!" Emil snaps, hopping onto his bike. Raivis looks up at him anxiously, his blue eyes wide and teary.
"I already told you that you are misunderstanding me!" The man yells back, stamping over to Emil and Raivis. Emil unlocks his bike swiftly before pulling Raivis on and pushing off.
"I don't care! Folk som deg avsky meg!" Emil calls back. The man flinches slightly before yelling loudly in Norwegian.
"Du ville ikke forstå! Mitt liv er for lenge!"
Emil doesn't stop at this, but he feels his heart drop. His life is too long? What was that supposed to mean? Emil swallows his apprehension as he books it home, Raivis clinging to him for dear life in spite of the still-wet paint. The boy was a trembling mess from what Emil could tell.
Emil skids his bike to a stop outside his house and breaths heavily. He hadn't noticed it before, but he felt terrified. Not for himself, but for the man back at the grocery shop. His life is too long...
He shakes his head, willing his thoughts to leave him. After allowing his mind to clear a little, Emil nudges the shaking boy behind him.
"Come on, we can talk to my Big Bror about this whole mess. Okay?"
Raivis nods before staggering off the pegs of Emil's bike. Gosh, was Emil glad that Lukas forced him to buy a set, in case he made some friends, all those years ago. Emil takes the grocery bag from his bike's basket and leads Raivis to the door. He looks down at the blonde and points to his shoes.
"Leave them at the door." He instructs , slipping off his own paint-soaked converse. Raivis complies.
"What am I s-supposed to call your big brother?" Raivis asks quietly. Emil pauses for a moment before shrugging.
"Mister Steilsson, I guess? Just as long as you don't tell him I called him Big Bror, we're good."
"Is that so?" A muffled voice taunts from behind the door, causing both boys to jump. Emil cringes slightly, bracing himself for Lukas' daily "Big Brother" tirade.
"Whatever." Grunts Emil as he tugs the door open. In front of him stands his big brother Lukas, his face as blank as his clothes were tacky. And, in Emil's not-so-humble opinion, Lukas' clothes were extremely tacky. Raivis seemed to calm down a bit at the sight of Lukas, which surprised Emil.
"I have two questions for you, little brother," Lukas begins warily, eyeing the boys outside his front door. "First of all, what's with the paint?"
"I was working on a mural and... W-well, I got distracted! I'm very sorry for ruining your jacket, Uncle Steilsson..." Raivis answers nervously, his face a shade redder because of his growing embarrassment. Lukas nods as Emil gives him a sharp look. Who in their right mind calls a stranger 'uncle'?
"It's seen better days, but I'm sure it can be fixed. Secondly, why is little Raivis here?"
"What?" Emil asks, startled. His brother knew the kid too? What was with all of these creepy adults?
"I thought my question was simple. Are you feeling alright?" Lukas responds with concern. The blonde opens the door and reaches for Emil's forehead, just to have his hand swatted away.
"I am fine! I'm just surprised you know this kid." Emil snaps, looking at the ground.
"Oh, yeah. That makes sense." Lukas responds with a sigh.
"Duh." Emil scoffs, glaring daggers at the blonde. Lukas sighs, opening the door.
"I'll explain after getting you two washed off." He mutters.
"Whatever. We still have to deal with his stalker though, Lukas."
With this, Lukas freezes. He turns around slowly, his face showing an emotion Emil could hardly recognize on his brother. That made the silver-haired teen extremely uncomfortable.
"I'm sorry?" Lukas manages, his voice sharp and icy. Emil flinches slightly. Raivis didn't seem the least bit phased, which also shocked Emil. Why was that crybaby so calm all of a sudden?
"It's not a big deal Uncle Steilsson, I promise. I was doing one of my murals at the local grocery when a guy stopped me to ask about it. He knew my name and insisted that he take care of the damage I caused." Raivis relays rapidly, looking uncomfortable with the memory. Lukas blinks twice before grabbing Raivis' hand tightly.
"Okay. Do you remember what he looked like, Linerle?" Lukas responds, his tone softening a bit. Emil wasn't sure how to feel about him acting so protective of Raivis, who was practically a stranger to Emil. He almost felt jealous.
"Ah, um... I do, b-but..." Raivis trails off nervously. Lukas raises a brow.
"Get on with it then, Raivis." Lukas instructs gently. The little blonde sighs, nodding.
"He was around Isä's height, I think," Raivis starts nervously, the statement confusing Emil. Who was Isä? Did Lukas know that person, too? "He had very round features and one of those, uh... Alkaline noses?."
"Aquiline." Lukas corrects softly.
"Oh, that is my bad. He had really pale hair, too. He was scary, but in a different way from Isä. He was just... He was constantly smiling and giggling, like a child, but he looked to be older than Uncle Matthias."
"Wait, Uncle Matthias!?" Emil sputters, looking shocked.
"That was...vague." Lukas comments, shaking his head. Emil felt hurt that his older brother ignored his confusion, but refused to let it show.
"I have his name and phone number. That should be enough, right?" Emil mutters, handing Lukas his phone.
"Yes, but which contact is it?" Lukas asks flatly, staring at the phone.
"Eh? Obviously the one who you don't recognize. I don't exactly call a lot of people." Emil responds with a snort. Lukas shakes his head, handing Emil's phone back.
"I recognize all of those names, little brother. Some more than others, but I do know them all."
"Oh." Emil replies flatly. He shrugs and sets his phone on the kitchen table.
"N-not to be rude or anything, but could we start getting cleaned up? Paint is a pain to scrub off." Raivis pipes. Lukas nods to the boy, ruffling his messy blonde hair.
"Of course, little Linerle. Do you want me to call Berwald over while you're in the bath?"
Raivis perked up almost immediately, which really shocked Emil. The whimpering wussy was thrilled to hear the frightening Swede's name? That has got to be a joke!
"R-really?" Raivis asks, his mouth quivering with excitement. Lukas nods. "Then yes! I-I-I... I haven't seen him in a very long time!"
"I'm surprised you're happy to see him! Most people would be terrified of that mug of his." Emil comments, earning an angry glare from Lukas. Raivis shakes his head, looking surprised.
"Isä wasn't scary at all after I got to know him better! He kept me safe, and he and Mister Tino kept me healthy." Raivis responds, his happy tone laced with surprise. Emil stood there silently, his confusion only getting worse. Uncle Berwald was Isä, then?

Chapter Text

Ivan stares up at the unfinished mural dejectedly, a sour taste in his mouth. He'd messed up where he couldn't afford to, and his personal mission was no longer right beyond his grasp. It was very far away.
If he remembered correctly, and he always does, the feisty white-haired teen was the pretty Norwegian's brother. Or was it his son? He wasn't sure, but he could definitely see the resemblance. Plus, the kid spoke Norwegian in America. That wasn't something Ivan saw every day, and he'd been around for a long time. Too long, in his opinion.
With a soft sigh, Ivan begins to clean up Raivis' mess. He starts with the smaller, more manageable things, like spilt paint cans. He frowns at the pool of green paint at his feet. Maybe he should've helped Raivis' Norwegian 'Savior' when the ladder tipped over.
Ivan wheezes a little as he lifts the surprisingly heavy metal ladder up from the ground. He was careful, though being crushed wouldn't kill him, and moved back as slow as possible. He wanted to respect little Raivis' belongings. Especially when they helped the teen financially.
Finally finishing up the easiest of the cleaning, Ivan grins to himself. Sure, he may have been covered in grime and paint after about an hour of cleaning, but it'd be worth it by the time he was done. He turns to grab Raivis' paint scraper when he feels a hand grab his shoulder roughly. He did not flinch, nor did he jump. After all, what did he have to fear? There was nothing that any other person could do to hurt him.
Ivan simply turned to face a pair of shorter men, one blond and the other brunet. He raises a brow, curious of their business with him. The blond looked a little bored, but there was a bit of worry in his bright green eyes. The brunet seemed to be falling apart.
"Can I help you?" Ivan asks politely.
"I was supposed to pick up my son-- Er, a boy here," The brunet begins quietly, his voice sounding hoarse. "A little blonde kid? He was working on the mural here, and these are his..."
The brunet trails off as he notices the paint scraper in Ivan's hand, as well as the little mess behind him. He pales slightly, stepping back. Ivan wasn't sure why he was acting so strangely, but it was quite amusing to him.
"Oh! Right, I saw him run off with a little Norwegian boy. I was trying to tell him he forgot his stuff when I tripped over the leg of his ladder." Ivan explains, forcing a laugh. The blond sighs, giving the brunet a look of frustration.
"Like, I told you fostering a kid like that was a totally bad idea Toris. Who knows what he's, like, doing right now?" He says, his voice hurting Ivan ears. He spoke like a teenaged American girl. Ivan did not like the blond in the least bit. The brunet, Toris, furrows his brow at the comment.
"Feliks, don't say stuff like that," He says in a hushed tone. Feliks groans loudly, crossing his arms. "Thanks for the information."
"It's my pleasure, sir." Ivan responds with a small smile. Feliks groans again, even louder than before.
"OMG. This is, like, super totally boring Toris. Can't we just wait for him at home? I'm sure he'll, like, show up eventually." He requests in a whiny tone. Toris glares at the blonde, grabbing his hand.
"No, of course not! He needs to get back to the house alive so that he can be adopted some day."
As the pair walk off, talking rather loudly about Raivis, Ivan feels a pang of sympathy for the boy. These were the people looking after him now? It was quite a shame. They were so pathetic that it almost hurt Ivan to laugh at their expense. Almost. Ivan shakes his head and returns to his cleaning.

Chapter Text

Emil was tired. Naturally, it's been a long day for him. He left the house with the intention of buying butter, but returned with butter, licorice, and a troubled teen. Frankly, he was still surprised to find out the youthful looking boy was fifteen. It freaked him out a bit.
Raivis was curled up on one side of the couch, his head resting in Lukas' lap. Emil felt a stab of envy as he watched his older brother dote over the blonde, petting his still-damp hair and murmuring gentle words in Norwegian. Emil sat on the opposite end of Lukas' couch, his headphones on and his music blaring. He clung to an Icelandic flag throw pillow drowsily, fighting off sleep. He wanted to be awake when the rest of his 'family' got to Lukas' house.
Originally, only Berwald was supposed to visit. For Raivis' sake, or so says Lukas. Unfortunately for them, the moment Tino caught wind of this informal meeting, he booked a babysitter for their sons and dog a and dragged Berwald into the car. As for Mathias, Tino figured that if the rest of them were to be there, he'd invite the boisterous Dane as well. Emil both loved and hated his uncle for that.
"Herregud," Emil grumbles loudly, throwing his pillow at Lukas, "How long does it take to drive here?"
"Quiet now little brother, our little Linerle is sleeping." Lukas reprimands quietly, his eyes icy. Emil groans loudly, pushing himself up from the couch.
"Like I care. How do you even know that little svekling?" Emil asks, ignoring Lukas' protests. He didn't really care, he was just a little curious.
"Stop being mean Little Bror." Is all Lukas says in return.
"Ugh, whatever."
And with that, a loud pounding can be heard at their front door. Raivis jumps out of his sleep, his eyes wide and fearful until he notices his cozy surroundings. Lukas pets the little blond's head a final time before answering the door.
"What do you--"
Lukas is interrupting by Tino, who apologizes profusely while pushing Lukas aside. He looked around for a moment before locking eyes with Raivis. The Finn's eyes become bleary, and he rushes over to the little blonde, trapping him in a tight hug.
"Voi, kaipasin sinua niin paljon vauvaa! Sinulla ei ole aavistustakaan..." He murmurs into the boy's hair affectionately, refusing to let go even when Raivis dropped his arms.
"I missed you too, Äiti." Raivis responds softly, biting back his huge grin. Emil was bewildered by the display in front of him. What did Äiti mean?
The next to walk in was Berwald, who was quietly apologizing for his "wife's" rude behavior. He walks over to the pair of blonds, setting a large, calloused hand on Raivis' head.
"Hej, Raivis." He greets simply.
"Isä..." Raivis murmurs, pulling away from Tino and gazing up at Berwald. The tall Swede sighs, sitting on Lukas' couch and pulling Raivis onto his lap carefully. He hugs the boy gently at first, but his grip tightens slightly the moment he feels the little boy start shuddering.
"Don' cry," He mumbles, his voice even. "'S not a good look 'n ya."
"S-sorry..." Raivis sniffles, rubbing at his eyes. "I just... I really m-miss you guys."
Emil was getting more and more frustrated with the scene in front of him. Who exactly was Raivis to his family? Why do they care about him so much?
His thoughts were ended prematurely as a loud, accented voice fills the air. He groans to himself, preparing himself for the inevitable migraine that this family member would cause.
"Little Viking!" The Dane calls excitedly, bounding up to Raivis. He holds out a large, thick hand and wipes the tears off of the small teen's face. He crouches down to Raivis' level.
"Hvad så, Uncle Matthias?" He greets shakily. The Dane perks up at this, smiling wide.
"Say it again!" Matthias commands eagerly, looking Raivis up and down.
"A-ah... Hvad så, Uncle Matthias...?" Raivis repeats, looking confused by Matthias' strange request.
"See that Ber? I told you I taught him Danish! Five years, and the kid still sounds like a real Viking!" Matthias brags, ruffling Raivis' hair.
"It barely feels like it's been five years." Lukas muses from the other side of the room.
Emil stands up stiffly, glaring at the group.
"Five years? This feels like a family reunion, but I don't even know who Raivis is! Can somebody tell me what this is?" He asks, sounding a little desperate. Berwald gives Lukas a quizzical glance before looking over to Emil.
"Well..."

Chapter Text

Berwald paces silently, waiting on his boyfriend to say something. No, anything, really. He felt a nervous pit growing in his stomach, though he didn't allow it to show, as he waited.
The blonde, finally, looks up at Berwald. He smiled nervously. In Berwald's mind, it was not a good sign at all.
"Are... Do you really want to do this? I mean... I know we agreed to do this today, but..." Tino asks worriedly, his light brows knitting together. Berwald stares at his boyfriend for a moment, dumbfounded by the question. Of course Berwald wanted to do through with this! It's the one thing he's wanted ever since was young.
"Mhmm." Berwald mumbles, nodding firmly. Tino opens his mouth to speak, but stops short. He sighs and stands up, grabbing Berwald's hands. Shaking his head, he seems to have found his voice once more.
"Berwald, please be realistic," He starts shakily, his voice sounding thick with emotion. "We are already housing Lukas while he goes to school, and both of us work."
"One 'f 's could quit." Berwald responds quickly. He didn't look it, but he was beginning to feel desperate.
"We've discussed this! You and I both know it isn't quite that simple, Dear. We love our jobs!" Tino responds.
"But, I..." Berwald pulls his hands away from Tino's reluctantly, allowing them to fall to his side. "I do love m'job, but 'll gladly give 't up t'go through with this."
"What?" Tino looked shocked.
"Please, Tino." Berwald mumbles.
"I... Are you positive?"
"Mhmm."
"Then... Hitsi, fine! Ber, I guess we'll have to make this work." Tino responds, smiling slightly.
Berwald wanted to smile as well, desperately, but he chokes that smile back. Instead of smiling, Berwald sweeps his boyfriend into a gentle hug, burying his face in the crook of Tino's neck. The Finn was startled by this, but quickly finds himself rubbing Berwald's back gently.
"Thank you..." Murmurs Berwald, his grip tightening slightly on his Boyfriend's sweater. Tino nods.
"I know Berwald, it's okay." Tino responds softly.
"Y'r not gonna r'gret this." Berwald whispers into Tino's neck. The smaller blond sighs, pulling away from his boyfriend.
"I know, Ber. I've never been one to rush into things without thinking it over."
"That's a lie." Berwald comments, amusement lacing his deep voice. Tino sighs, pouting up at the Swede.
"Pikkusielu..." Mutters Tino. Berwald shrugs at the word, not understanding it.
"When d'ya want'a go?" Berwald asks. Tino shrugs, looking at the clock hanging above their bed.
"We need to go shopping first, right? Plus, paperwork probably takes a long time..."
"Thirty minutes t'get ready, then. We c'n buy th' supplies, go out f'r lunch, then hit th' children's house." Berwald declares in a mumble, glancing at the clock once more.
"What about Lukas? He needs us to pick him up today."
"Oh, helvete," Berwald curses to himself. He'd completely forgotten that the young Norwegian needed a ride home. "Y'r right, huh? D'ya think you c'n pick 'm up and bring 'm to the center while I finish off th' paperwork?"
"Ehh, probably? We'll just have to wait and see, won't we?"
"Mm."
And so, Berwald nods to Tino and heads for their dresser. It was where Berwald kept all of his nicer clothes, and as he was set on making a good impression, he needed those nice clothes.
"Hey Berwald! You should wear the shirt I bought you for last year's anniversary!" Tino calls from inside the closet. This essentially meant that Berwald was going to wear that shirt because, as it ends up, in his mind Tino's word is law.
"M'kay." Berwald responds, pulling out the Glaucous blue button up.
He stares at it reluctantly for a moment, worried that it might bring out his eyes. While most people yearned for that effect, Berwald knew that his gaze was the least attractive aspect of himself. According to a number of his friends, the look in his eyes was terrifying. That deeply saddened the Swede, but there was really nothing he could do to fix that.
"Ber! What do you think of this shirt?" Tino asks from inside the closet. Berwald turns to glance at his boyfriend, only to find himself staring at the petit Finn.
Tino was clad in a powder blue polo and dark jeans. He was dressed a little more casually than Berwald expected, sure, but he was convinced that his boyfriend looked absolutely stunning. As a matter of fact, he was sure Tino could pull of anything put on him. Berwald wanted desperately to tell Tino how great he looked, but he thought it too embarrassing. Yes, even after dating the little Finn for a total of four years, Berwald still had trouble speaking his mind. It was a shame, but the couple was slowly learning how to cope with that.
"Y'look... Well, 's nice on ya, Tino." Berwald compliments. The blond grins at Berwald, bounding up to him.
"Mhmm! And now I want to see you wear that shirt. Have you even worn it before? It was expensive, you know! Plus I bet you'll look really s--"
Berwald sighs and put a finger in front of his boyfriend's mouth, causing the blond to stop talking. He pulls the pale gray turtleneck he was already clad in over his head silently and tosses it on their bed haphazardly. He the proceeds to tug on the Glaucous button-up. He gazes down silently at Tino for a moment before prompting the Finn to speak.
"How's that?" He asks softly, glancing at the wall. He hears a small sound of excitement escape Tino's mouth.
"Berwald! Näytät kauniilta..." Tino says, his voice dropping to an affectionate whisper. Berwald tilts his head at him, adjusting his glasses.
"'M sorry?"
"Oh, right! I said you look very nice." Tino responds with a light laugh, winking at his boyfriend.
"Oh."
"Definitely! Now then, I'm going to deal with my hair for a moment. I'll meet you in a bit!" Tino hums, heading off for their shared bathroom.

Chapter Text

"We're back Ber." A voice whispers from behind Berwald, startling the man. He brings a hand to his chest and calms his breathing before turning to his boyfriend.
"Warn m'next time." He mumbles, eyeing Tino warily.
"Sorry! How's the paperwork going?" Tino replies in a hushed voice, sitting next to Berwald in the waiting room chairs.
"I figure 'm almost done with 'em." He replies lowly.
"What's all this for anyways?" A third voice chimes in, seemingly void of emotion. Berwald turns to look at the third, Lukas, and points to a little sign in the waiting room.
"Seriously?" Lukas asks incredulously, shocked by the notion. Berwald was a little hurt by that, but he didn't hold it against the young Norwegian. Berwald didn't really look fatherly, and Tino was more of a gun-lover than a kid-lover. But this was Berwald's dream, and he refused to let it go based solely on his scary demeanor.
"'F course." Berwald replies flatly, still scratching pen against paper. Tino nods as well, smiling at Lukas.
"We've been talking about this for the past year, and Berwald is thrilled about it. Right Ber?"
"Ja."
Berwald finishes off the paperwork with a sigh, content with the responses he gave. He walks over to the front desk, gripping the clipboard hard. He was strangely nervous, though he'd been cleared as a Foster-Parent just recently.
"Thank you Mister Oxenstierna! Give me just a moment to process your papers, and I'll be back with your assignment, so to speak." Drawled a plump, dark-haired woman cheerily. She had the most country accent Berwald has yet to hear in Minnesota, so it felt strange against his sensitive ears.
"Thanks." Berwald responds plainly, turning back to his seat between his boyfriend and Lukas.
"Well?" Prompts Tino eagerly, sitting on the edge of his seat and bouncing his right leg excitedly. Lukas also looked curious, though not as much as Tino.
"She's dealin' with th' paperwork. Aft'r that she'll assign 's a kid 'n introduce 's, I think." Berwald informs the pair of blonds quietly, gazing at the front desk.
"Vau... We're real close, aren't we?" Tino muses. The thought made Berwald's stomach churn. Maybe it was too soon, after all. Was he ready for this kind of responsibility? Especially at this age? Sure, he had Tino with him, but what if this sprung a leak in their relationship?
Berwald begins to wring his hands nervously, a display of weakness practically unknown to the stoic Swede. He was getting what he wanted, but at what cost? What if he had to give something more important than his job up in order to make it work?
"Mister Oxenstierna and Mister Väinämöinen?" A southern accent beckons. Berwald is jolted out of his thoughts and immediately checks his watch. Turns out he'd been sitting there, simply thinking, for the past forty-five minutes.
"Come on Ber, we can finish that conversation in the car!" Tino pipes, grabbing Berwald's bear-like hand with his own. Berwald had no clue what conversations Tino was talking about, but he nods and allows himself to be dragged along by the shorter man.
"Here y'all go. Take a look at that while we prepare the little tyke to meet y'all." The woman chirps happily, handing the couple a thick Manila envelope. Berwald takes it gingerly, his hand trembling slightly. Tino looks up at him with a small smile.
"You look excited, Ber." He comments softly. Berwald nods reluctantly, shuffling back to their seats.
"Well, 'm actually more nervous th'n anythin'. 'M definitely thrill'd, though." Berwald responds. He opens the folder with shaky, fumbling fingers and pulls out a stack of papers. He flips through them and eventually finds a name. He glances at Tino, who was practically swelling with joy.
"What a pretty name..." He whispers, gazing at the paper. Berwald nods in agreement.
"Mm."
Berwald was beginning to realize that his anxieties were all over nothing. He could handle this because he was strong enough, and he knew Tino was even stronger. They may not look it at first, but Berwald was positive they'd make lovely parents.
"May I see?" Lukas asks, piercing the affectionate silence between Berwald, Tino, and the stack of papers.
"Sure thing!" Tino pipes, nudging Berwald with a hand.
"Huh. That's nice, I suppose." Lukas mutters, looking it over.
"Might' unique." Berwald comments, a small smile creeping onto his face.
"Golly, Ber. I think I already love little Raivis."

Chapter Text

Berwald stares at the timid boy with curiosity, his large hands trembling madly. This was the boy he was going to house. His temporary son.
"H-hello..." The boy stutters, looking nervous. Or was he scared? Berwald often had a tough time telling the difference between the two emotions.
"Hello there! Your name is Raivis, right?" Tino greets with a smile.
"It is." He replies meekly, looking down at his feet. He was playing with the hem of his shirt. Berwald assumed it was so the boy could distract himself from his nerves, as Berwald often did the same when under high amounts of pressure. Before he could stop himself, Berwald points this out flatly.
"Y'look scared."
"J-just a little," the boy starts, looking up at Berwald with tired eyes. "I'm sorry about that."
The tired, empty look in the boy's eyes shook Berwald to the core. He wasn't sure why, but it pulled Berwald closer to Raivis. Both emotionally and physically.
"Well, y'don't have'ta be worried 'round us, Raiv's," Berwald mumbles, holding out a large hand to the small boy, "'M Berwald Oxenstierna. Call me wh'tev'r you want."
"... o-okay." Raivis whispers, bringing a quivering hand up to Berwald's. It was tiny in comparison, and much softer. The little hand tugged at Berwald's heart as it clung limply to his own hand.
"Ber..." Tino murmurs, looking touched. The Swede turns his gaze to his boyfriend, smiling slightly. He didn't smile often, so it felt a bit strange, but he couldn't really help it.
"U-uh, Mister Berwald?" A small voice beckons.
"Mm?"
"You have a strange accent. Where are y-you from?" Raivis asks politely.
"Oh, well 'm--"
"He's from Sweden, Raivis. I met Ber in Malmö, actually! We went to Uni together and fun fact about Berwald... He's an amazing artist. You'll see it when we get home, but he painted a HUGE mural of Finnish scenery for me when we decided to move to America so I felt at home. Isn't that sweet? Oh, and..."
Berwald gazes at Tino as he rambled, heating up slightly with each word of praise. He appreciated that praise, but it made him wonder if he deserved it. Was he making a good impression on the boy in front of them? And what about Tino? Berwald swallows dryly, shaking his head gently. He didn't have time for those thoughts now, he needed to comfort the boy before they left for home.
"...And that's just about the size of it! Anyways, I'm Tino, but you can call me Isä if you want to." Tino finishes with a wink, smiling at Raivis. Raivis looked lost and slightly overwhelmed, which saddened Berwald.
"Tino," Berwald beckons in a hushed voice, tapping Tino's shoulder. The blond turns to look at Berwald, curious. "Y'r talkin' his ear off, y'know."
"Wh- Oh, you know... I guess I kinda am, huh?" Tino muses with a little laugh, turning back to Raivis.
"A-ah, no actually! Sorry, I was just a little confused." Raivis sputters, his face going red with embarrassment.
"About?"
"The word that Mister Tino said... Uh, Isä, was it?" Raivis says softly. Berwald glances at Tino, who suddenly looked beyond flustered.
"Oh! Um, never mind that word, it's not even that important anyways." Tino stammers cheerily, grabbing Berwald's hand. Berwald was confused, naturally, because he didn't know the word either. Must've been Finnish for something. It didn't matter much to Berwald, though. If Tino says not to worry about it, why would he?
"Alright Mister Oxenstierna! We've got everything pretty much settled on our end, and one of the caretakers is waitin' outside with lil' Raivis' stuff." The woman from the front desk says with her sweet southern drawl. Berwald had learned that her name was Cindy Walker. He nods to her politely before nudging Tino.
"Are y'ready t' go, Raivis?" He asks gently. The boy eyes the couple warily once more before giving a small nod.
"Yes sir." He mumbles meekly. Berwald opens his mouth to say something more, but interrupted by an irritated Lukas.
"Finally! You know, waiting out here and reading celebrity drama magazines is not the most efficient use of my time, Berwald." He complains, tugging the Swede and the Finn out of the little white room. Berwald shakes him off and turns back to Raivis. The boy looked startled by Lukas' frustration, which frustrated Berwald deeply. He offers the little boy a hand silently, which Raivis eyes nervously.
"Thanks." The boy says, grabbing Berwald's hand shyly. The two walk out the door together, trailing behind Lukas and Tino in a soothing silence.
"D'ya want Tino t'sit in th' back with you?" Berwald offers. Raivis shakes his head.
"It's fine, I don't mind sitting alone."
"Naw, y'r not going t'be alone. If M'boyfriend sits up front, Lukas'll be sittin' in th'back with ya." Berwald responds, leading Raivis to his car. Raivis walks silently for a moment, thinking Berwald's offer over.
"Is Lukas, um... He doesn't seem like a bad person, I think." Raivis manages, looking worried over his words. Berwald shakes his head in agreement.
"No, he's n't a bad p'rson 't all."
"Well, I don't think sitting with him would hurt then," Raivis looks up to Berwald worriedly, not sure of his own words. "Right?"
"Mhmm." Berwald nods. Raivis' grip on Berwald's hand tightens as they watch Lukas and Tino load his belongings into their trunk. This catches Berwald off guard, but he squeezes the boy's hand gently.
"Berwald?"
"Mm?"
"You're really nice." Raivis murmurs, still gazing at the men packing bags into the trunk.
"I hope so," Berwald replies quietly. "Now, let's g't ya into th' car. Okay?"
"Okay."

Chapter Text

On the car ride home, Berwald couldn't stop himself from checking on Raivis every few minutes. The trembling boy had calmed down greatly, but he seemed especially wary of Lukas. Berwald couldn't blame him, the man was rather cold and harsh, but he felt bad for his friend. He would've broken down if Raivis was so nervous about him.
"What was your name again?" Lukas asks flatly, piercing the silence. Raivis looked startled by the question, but he answers quickly.
"R-Raivis."
"Huh." Lukas sounds, turning his gaze to the window. Raivis shifts in his seat and continues to gaze nervously at Lukas. Berwald wasn't quite sure why Raivis' gaze was suddenly so intense.
"Y-you're Lukas, yes?" The boy stammers, staring at the back of Lukas' head.
"Yes." The blond replies plainly, not even bothering to turn and face Raivis. Berwald was now starting to notice that Raivis clung to the edge of his seat with quivering hands. He also watches as the boy takes in a reluctant breath.
"I know th-that Berwald is from S-Sweden and that Mister T-Tino is from Finland. You also have an accent, so where are y-you from?"
"My mother is Icelandic and my father is Norwegian, but I was born in Norway. Why are you asking so many questions?" Lukas responds coldly, turning his gaze to Raivis. Raivis flinches slightly. Berwald furrows his brow, frustrated with Lukas' childish behavior. Why couldn't he just appease the boy by talking kindly with him? Berwald opens his mouth to speak, but is cut short by an uncharacteristically bold Raivis.
"Because Berwald said you're a nice person." He responds firmly, his former shaky and nervous self seemingly gone. Lukas stares at the boy for a moment before looking away.
"Whatever." Lukas grumbles, glaring out the window.
"Mister Lukas?"
"Oh. My. God." Lukas turns to face the little blond once more, agitated with the constant bugging. Berwald's grip on the steering wheel tightens slightly. He was starting to get fed up with Lukas. The kid was only ten, and Lukas was damn-near seventeen.
"Ber, let it be." Tino says in a hushed voice, setting a hand on one of Berwald's. He eases up slightly, but refuses to let go of his frustrations entirely.
"What are your parents like?"
With that question, the car goes silent. Even Lukas looked surprised by the question. Berwald eyes the pair warily, but leaves it be as Tino requested.
"I..." Lukas stares at Raivis, looking dumbfounded.
"A-ah, I'm sorry! You don't have to--"
"Shut up, don't be so annoying," Lukas interrupts, glaring at Raivis. "My parents are nice enough. They, uh... God, why are you asking me such stupid questions?"
"Sorry." Raivis apologizes softly, turning to look in front of him.
"Whatever," Lukas grumbles. He pauses for a moment. "What about yours?"
Berwald could practically feel Tino tensing up next to him. He wasn't wrong in doing so either, as that isn't a question you should ask a boy in Foster Care.
"I don't know my parents," Raivis answers after a moment of thinking. "I lived with my cousins and brother before... Well, before he fixed things."
"Oh." Lukas responds hoarsely, still gazing out the window.
"Okay! Let's play I-Spy!" Tino blurts, trying to dissolve the tense atmosphere. Lukas groans indignantly, and Raivis gives Tino a quizzical look.
"I-Spy?" He echoes with a frown. This puts a frown on both Berwald and Lukas' face.
"Don't worry about it. We can do something else to pass the time." Lukas responds, his voice sharp. Raivis doesn't flinch at his tone this time, and nods reluctantly.
"If you all want. Sorry."
"God! Don't apologize because you don't know a stupid children's game. I didn't even want to play I-Spy, it's totally stupid." Lukas snaps in return, his icy eyes focused on the window.
Berwald was mildly confused at this point. It sounded like Lukas was making an effort to be nice, but his harsh tone said otherwise. He was surprised Raivis didn't look hurt by the older boy's rude behavior, and he was even more shocked that Tino wasn't making an effort to stop it. Berwald would, but he was sure that Tino knew what he was talking about. His boyfriend could read the temperamental Norwegian better than anybody else Berwald knew.
"Oh... sorry." Raivis squeaks, throwing a hand over his mouth after realizing he'd apologized again.
"...Yeah. Are we almost at your house? I need to study." Lukas questions, successfully changing the subject.
"Just 'bout." Berwald replies through gritted teeth. The moment he opened his mouth, he felt the urge to reprimand Lukas for his treatment of Raivis. He wanted the kid to calm down and treat the little boy nicer. Was that really that hard.
"Great." Lukas responds flatly.
And with that, the car falls into a tense silence. This worried Berwald greatly. Was this going to set the pace for the entire year that Raivis was going to stay with them? What if things get worse in the future? Berwald knows he couldn't possible bear watching Lukas bicker with little Raivis every day.
An even more frightening thought fills his brain immediately, throwing him for a loop. What if Tino and Berwald wanted to leave the house without Raivis? If the two don't get along, how could he possibly think to leave them alone? The next best option would be... Matthias.
Berwald cringes at the thought of leaving Raivis alone with his older brother. He knew Matthias well enough to know that he'd surely overwhelm the poor child. He was too loud, too exciteable, and far too affectionate. Yes, Berwald did love his brother, but he knew the Dane had flaws that could kill. Metaphorically and literally.
"Finally!" Lukas groans from his seat in the back of the car. Berwald was pulling into the driveway slowly, feeling relieved that the stressful car ride was over.
"Okay, here's the game plan kiddos! Me and Ber are going to go set up Raivis' room while you two stay downstairs and do your own thing for now." Tino instructs with a smile, looking both the boys up and down. Lukas lets out a sight of relief, nodding gratefully.
"Sounds like a plan, Tino."

Chapter Text

By the end of Berwald's story, Emil found himself seated next to Matthias, holding his breath. He hadn't realized how invested in the Swede's story he was until Tino interjected cheerily.
"Next thing we know, those two dorks were like best friends! When we finally finished with Raivis' room, me and Ber caught Raivis asleep... Using Lukas' lap like a pillow!"
"Mm. An' Lukas w's pettin' his hair and smilin'. I w's terrified, thought that he'd been replac'd by a nic'r d'pplegang'r." Berwald jokes, his usually harsh gaze twinkling with amusement. Lukas scoffs, and Emil realizes that his older brother was smiling. Emil rarely saw his big brother smile like that.
"What can I say? Raivis has soft hair. Like a rabbit. It soothes me."
"I was more surprised when Raivis started calling you uncle instead of big brother!" Tino comments with a laugh.
"It's because you said that Uncle Lukas is like a baby brother to you, remember Äiti?" Raivis pipes, looking up at Tino.
"He still is! Isn't that right Lukas?"
"Yeah, no. I was such an ass back then, I swear. A rebel without a cause, as you used to say Ber." Lukas muses from his spot against the wall.
"Mm."
"Huh." Emil sounds, standing up stiffly. He hated this. He didn't want Raivis to be important to his family, and he really didn't want him to be somebody so close to Lukas. He wasn't jealous, but he was fuming.
"Hey! You still haven't heard how I met the little Viking! My story is way c--"
"I don't care, Matthias. I'm going to bed." Emil snaps, glaring harshly at the excited blond. Matthias winces at this, his smile falling slightly.
"Hey! Couldn't you stand to be a bit nicer, little brother?" Lukas reprimands. Emil scoffs, crossing his arms.
"Oh, I'm so sorry for being an ass Lukas! I just don't want to be at a reunion that isn't mine. I have better things to do than watch grown men sob over a damn orphan." Emil spits, stomping past Lukas.
"Then go!" Lukas shouts in return.
He glances behind him, preparing to shoot a look of triumph, when he sees the pained look in his brother's eyes. Emil feels his mood deflate as he realizes what he'd said. He tries to formulate an apology, something worth his big brother's while, but finds himself lost for words.
That loss didn't matter much anyways, as Emil's sympathy was quickly ripped away from him by the shaky voice of Raivis. Hearing the boy try and cheer up Matthias instead of whimpering over Emil's words angered him. He shoots Raivis a glare before continuing to stomp upstairs.
Emil didn't understand why his family was getting so worked up over Raivis. There wasn't anything special about the boy. He didn't have Scandinavian blood like the rest of them. His personality wasn't all that great. As far as Emil could tell, all the kid does is cry and stutter. He didn't even understand why that kid cried and trembled so damn much. It's not like anybody was hurting him. He was perfectly safe, especially with Lukas around, and yet Raivis couldn't seem to help but look terrified by everything.
It just wasn't fair. Why does Lukas look at Raivis differently than he looks Emil? Why does Berwald embrace Raivis so tightly? Why does Matthias look so eager to make Raivis laugh and smile? Why does Tino seem so much happier around Raivis? This was Emil's family, and it felt as if Raivis was stealing them away. How could that possibly be fair?
Lukas doesn't care though, does he? He probably thinks that Emil was being mean and harsh out of jealousy. Lukas was wrong, though. Emil knew that he was. Emil had no reason to be jealous because Raivis was not a part of his family, and so he couldn't steal them away. He was a temporary obstacle.
Emil sighs to himself, having finally calmed down. He rubs his tears eyes with the sleeve of his hand-me-down hoodie. It was a pale blue color, much like his big brother's harsh gaze. While the smell was fainter than that of the winter coat, Emil could still smell Lukas on it's fabric. It was calming. Lukas' cologne made Emil strangely happy, but he could never really figure out why.
Emil clings to the jacket as he lies down in bed, begging for the comfort it usually brings to wash over him. He wanted to fall asleep, wake up, then realize that this whole ordeal was just an over complicated dream. He wanted to wake up in a world where he'd never met Raivis.
And with that thought, Emil was out cold. His cheeks were still stained with angry tears. His hands still dig into the sleeves of Lukas' old hoodie. His mouth still quivered slightly as he slept. Regardless, he was asleep and he was waiting for this painful dream to end.

Chapter Text

Lukas sighs, staring after Emil. He didn't understand why his little brother was acting so harshly towards Raivis. He was family, in his own respect.
"Sorry for making him mad, Uncle Lukas." Raivis murmurs from beside Matthias. Lukas shakes his head, walking over to the teen. He'd almost forgotten how often the little blonde apologizes.
"You shouldn't apologize for things that aren't your fault." Lukas replies flatly, softly seating himself on the couch next to Matthias.
"Sorry- Er, I mean... Okay!"
"Gosh." Lukas grumbles, shooting an amused look to Berwald.
"Does Raivis' parents know he's here?" Matthias asks. Lukas shrugs, turning his eyes to Raivis. The boy seemed to squirm a bit under Lukas' gaze.
"No, I don't think so. Emil kind-of pulled me onto his bike and booked it when the guy from earlier started acting odd." Raivis admits.
"What guy from earlier?" Tino asks sharply. His tone startled Lukas, but he should've known Tino would get worked up at the mention of Raivis' potential stalker.
"I sent Emil out to get butter, and he saw a guy bothering Raivis. He said that the man put his number in Emil's phone, but I couldn't find anybody outside of our immediate circle. Whoever it was, he knew Raivis' name without being told." Lukas mutters, eyeing both Tino and Matthias warily. Berwald already knew about the stalker, so Lukas wasn't too worried about his reaction.
Lukas realizes quickly he was right to be wary of the two, as both men seemed outraged. Especially Tino, who was protectively trapping the small teen's hands in his own.
"Why didn't you say something sooner, huh?" Matthias blurts, standing up. "We could've been discussing that instead of all this other stuff!"
"I--"
"Calm down, broth'r. I'll call 'is guardians. You all jus' need t' think 'bout how we c'n fix this mess. Come 'n, kid." Berwald interrupts, shooing Raivis off his lap and standing up. Tino shakes his head, looking up at Berwald.
"We're going to need Raivis to tell us what happened, Ber." Tino says softly. Berwald nods.
"Yes, 'm aware. He's jus' givin' me th' number t' dial. See?"
Raivis hands Berwald a phone, which Berwald shakes gently. Lukas gives Berwald a thankful look, which is returned by Berwald.
"I swear, I'm going to kill this guy." Matthias spits, sitting back down and cradling his head in his hands.
"Damn straight." Tino responds with an rueful laugh. Raivis looked unsettled by their behavior, which saddened Lukas.
"Tino, Matthias. Chill. We're still not positive as to what happened. We also have no clue who it was."
"Mhm. He seemed like a nice person, he was just a little creepy." Raivis adds quietly, eliciting an angered groan from Matthias.
"Don't say stuff like that! It's crazy dangerous that a total stranger knew your name, especially if he acted really nice!" Matthias barks. Lukas sighs and puts a hand on his friend's shoulder. The Dane looked distressed, and Lukas couldn't blame him. He wanted to be mad and tell him to stop being so annoying, but Lukas couldn't seem to bring himself to that point.
"That's how bad men convince nice boys like you to do things that they shouldn't." Tino says.
His tone was softer than Matthias', but his violet eyes were smoldering. Again, Lukas couldn't blame his friend for being angered. Tino fostered this kid for near a year, so he had the right to feel protective of him. He was, in a sense, Tino's first child.
"Panicking is getting us nowhere, guys. Could you please focus a little bit?" Lukas says evenly. Raivis nods in agreement.
"That's a joke, right? How the hell are we supposed to calm down when Raivis is in danger?" Matthias says in a hushed voice, tapping his foot on the ground aggressively.
"Uncle Matthias, I'm not in danger right now. I'm perfectly fine!" Raivis reassures the worked-up Dane. Matthias scowls at this, shaking his head.
"Why am I the only one taking this seriously?! Raivis, you're in danger of a strange man knows who you are. How the hell did he get that information if you're not in any danger?"
"He may have asked the store owner... Like Lukas said, I was painting a mural." Raivis responds softly, hopping off his seat on the couch and waking over to Matthias.
"Lukas never said that..." He mutters, pulling Raivis onto his lap and clinging to him. Lukas stares at him for a moment.
"... I didn't? I thought I did." Lukas responds, feeling the back of his neck heat up with embarrassment. This is met with Berwald clearing his throat and calling the attention to him.
"Toris and Feliks 'r gonna pick Raiv's up tomorrow evenin'. Asked why they weren't doin' it t'night, but I didn't get a straight ans'r."
Lukas nods, happy to have extra time with Raivis. He looks to the small teen to see him wrapped up in Matthias' strong arms. He was as happy as he could be considering the situation that landed him here, and that made Lukas glad. Who knew such a little coincidence could bring Raivis back into his life?
But then, Lukas realizes that his actual baby brother stormed upstairs. Emil wasn't smiling sadly at the news of his departure tomorrow. Emil wasn't being held protectively by Matthias. Emil wasn't downstairs with his family. He was upstairs, alone, and probably feeling terrible. Lukas felt a pit grow in his stomach at the idea of his little brother crying in his room, all alone. What if Emil felt insignificant because Raivis was around?
Emil knew that Lukas loved him, right? That was the most important thing in Lukas' mind. As long as his little brother knew that, he was sure there would be no problems they couldn't solve together. Now, he wasn't so sure.
"We have extra time to come up with a solution, then? That's great because I'm exhausted! Can Ber and I crash here tonight Lukas?" Tino asks, bubbling with excitement.
"Tino-"
"Me too! I need to keep my little Viking safe." Matthias declares, giving Lukas a look of determination. Lukas sighs and nods reluctantly.
"You're all sleeping on the couch, though." He grumbles, standing up.
"Where 'r you goin'?"
"Shower. I'll see you all in the morning." Lukas responds with a yawn. If they were going to discuss this tomorrow, he had no reason to stay awake with them.
"Okay!" Tino hums, standing up as well and walking over to Berwald.
"Love you, Lukas." Raivis calls after him, causing the blond's heart to melt. He glances back at the boy, smiling gently.
"I love you as well, my little Linerle." Lukas responds softly. He hears a sarcastic 'aw-ing' come from Matthias, but he didn't care all that much. As he trudged up the staircase, he could only think of Raivis' words. He really missed hearing Raivis say that to him. No, what Lukas missed wasn't Raivis' words. Lukas just missed Raivis.

Chapter Text

"How sweet!" Tino whispers from next to Lukas. The pair were staring down at Matthias, who clung to Raivis in his sleep. Lukas nods in agreement, sipping his coffee quietly.
"Don't forget to take a picture." Lukas murmurs. Tino gasps, pulling his phone out from his sweater pocket and opening the camera app.
"You're a life saver, I swear..." Tino says, looking relieved that he hadn't missed the opportunity. Lukas smirks, nodding.
"Yep. Don't forget to send me a copy." He purrs, his gaze still locked on Matthias and Raivis.
The silence that filled the space between Tino and Lukas thereafter was pleasant. It soothed the mood set by last night's events. Lukas wanted this quiet, homey moment to last forever.
Unfortunately for Lukas, it barely lasted a few minutes more. Emil decided it'd be okay to stomp down the stairs, yelling at Lukas. This is not what Lukas wanted at all. That's fine though. Lukas could deal with this.
"Lukas! What did you do with my hair dryer, you ass?" Emil yells, his voice managing to sound both frustrated and detached.
Lukas frowns to himself, finding that he hated Emil's new attitude. He was turning out to be more and more like Lukas, and surely that was nothing to aspire to. Perhaps it was the unreliability of their own parental figures that caused this change in demeanor for Emil. Maybe it wasn't Lukas' influence after all. Still, Lukas found that he hated every word that came out of Emil's mouth because it sounded so much like something he'd say.
"Quiet down!" Lukas responds in a soft, but urgent, tone. Emil mocks him under his breath, but it was loud enough for Lukas to hear. Lukas payed the disrespect no mind, but as with most issues, Tino was not having it. No, the feisty Finn must've felt it his duty to shut down Emil's nasty attitude. Lukas felt bad for Tino, for he didn't seem to know what he was getting himself into.
"Emil Steilsson!" Tino snaps, furrowing his light brow. Emil groans, rolling his eyes. Lukas could only imagine how irritating Emil thought Tino's input to be.
"What is it?" He grumbles, crossing his pasty white arms. Lukas glances to Tino, who looked beyond furious at Emil's display of indigence. He probably wondered 'Who gave him the right...?' aaa he glares right back at Emil.
"Berwald, Matthias and Raivis are sleeping. You need to quiet down before you ruin that for us-- Er, for them." Tino reprimands, stumbling over his words only slightly. Emil shrugs, continuing to stamp down the staircase. Lukas winces with every loud creak the steps make.
"Why should I care?" Spits the rebellious teen.
"Are you questioning my authority, Emil?" Tino asks, seeming more surprised than angry. He was angry nonetheless, naturally, but Emil's blatant disregard for familial rankings seemed to shock him.
"I feel like that's kind of obvious," Emil responds flatly, turning to face Lukas. "Now, my hair drier. Where is it?"
"Check my bathroom, Emil. Just do it quietly so that you don't wake up the boys, okay?"
"What? Lukas! Why is my hair drier in your bathroom!" Emil asks loudly, his voice sharp. Both Lukas and Tino tense up, and Lukas' gaze shoots to the sleeping figures on his couch. Berwald seemed to be stirring at the commotion, but Raivis and Matthias were still sound asleep. He gives a small breath of relief before responding to his enraged little brother.
"Calm down, baby brother. I was using it to dry off Raivis' hair. It's so thick that I was worried it'd--"
"Oh, great! I'm glad stealing my shit helped improve Raivis' life, Lukas. I am so glad that taking care of that... That brat was more important than simply asking to borrow my stuff!" Emil spits, giving a fakey smile. He stomps his foot onto the ground once, as if to express his anger, and begins back upstairs. Tino immediately storms after the teen, grabbing his shoulder firmly and spinning him around. Glaring into Emil's eyes, Tino begins.
"Emil, you do not get to insult Raivis. Do you understand me? Compared to him, you are living lavishly in your own little world. You have a real family, you have friends, you have a permanent home. Raivis has none of those things," Tino begins icily, dropping his voice to a low mutter. "All you are doing when you act this way is reaffirming the concept that he is unwanted. Do you realize how harmful that is, Emil? You are putting an idea in his head that he may begin to agree with. That isn't okay. Do you understand why that is so bad?"
"I-I... Yes, Uncle Tino." Emil responds quietly, looking at the ground. The pained look in Emil's eyes hurt Lukas beyond all imaginability, but he had to stay quiet. Tino seemed to, finally, have a proper handle on things.
"Okay. If you understand that, then you're going to apologize to him when he wakes up. Whether you like it or not, you have to face the facts. Raivis is like family to us. Emil, I- He's still my baby, okay? I know you don't like that, but you have to deal with it. We all do things we don't want to, and we all deal with people we don't like."
"Okay..." Emil responds. Tino nods, smiling at Emil.
"Maybe Lukas is dong something right with you, huh?" He jokes, winking at Lukas. Lukas smiles to himself, hoping that it was true. He genuinely hoped that he did do something right with Emil. He didn't want pulling him from their parents to be a mistake.
"Maybe." Emil echoes plainly, glancing at the couch before heading upstairs. He was much quieter this time, to Lukas' delight.
"That's m'wife right there." Berwald murmurs tiredly from the couch, a proud look in his usually frightening eyes. Lukas fights back a laugh as he watches Tino puff out his chest proudly.
"Ber, I'm the Daddy of two boys, a daughter, and I was a co-guardian of three different foster kids! Of course I can take on something like that." He announces with a grin. Lukas rolls his eyes and pats Tino on the back.
"Thanks for that, Tino." Lukas mumbles affectionately, his hand now resting on Tino's shoulder.
"Mhmm," Tino responds gently. "I will always have your back, kid. If you ever need saving, call on me."
"Of course," Lukas says with a breathy laugh. Tino nudges him slightly, looking Lukas in the eyes. His lavender gaze was quite intense, something Lukas wasn't expecting from Tino.
"I mean it, Lukas. Always."

Chapter Text

It wasn't rare for Lukas to head out of the house without telling Emil. As a matter of fact, he did so constantly. Lukas was sure that it drove his baby-brother mad, whether it be of worry or of irritation, but he just couldn't help himself. Sometimes, Lukas just needed to do things without Emil knowing.
This is why he was sitting in Matthias' car, listening to his best friend chatter excitedly. He discussed it with Tino briefly, but his family was otherwise in the dark concerning his whereabouts. It wasn't a big deal, though. Lukas knows he and Matthias will be home soon.
See, all Lukas wanted to do was collect Raivis' window-mural painting supplies. That as well as information on the man who pestered Raivis, if he was lucky. It is unfortunate that Lukas is not an inherently lucky person.
"Alright, alright. Calm down before you give me a headache, you stupid Dane." Lukas grumbles, glaring daggers at Matthias. The older man simply shrugs as he parks the car, smirking slightly.
"You know you love me, Lukie." He hums, watching for Lukas' reaction from the corner of his eyes.
"How dare you soil my name in such a fashion?" Lukas snarls, biting back amusement in favor of a convincing performance. Sadly, his acting expertise falls on deaf ears. Or would it be blind eyes? Well, whichever it is, Matthias simply laughs at Lukas' words.
"You injure me, Steilsson," He says dramatically, pausing to grin at Lukas. "Are you sure you want me to stay in the car?"
"Yes. I'll get done faster if you do." Lukas replies plainly. He shrugs off Matthias' look of disappointment as he clambers out of the bulky red car.
"Well, alright... See you in a bit."
To this, Lukas nods and slams the car door. He needed to be quick: in and out. All he needed to do was grab Raivis' supplies, jam them into Matthias' trunk, and book it. That seemed simple enough. If he had time to spare, he'd talk to the store manager and ask for any information they could provide. Info on Raivis' creep, that is.
"Excuse me," a sickeningly sweet voice rings out, causing Lukas to shudder. The blond turns to see a man near Berwald's height grinning down at him. Lukas was confused, and a little uncomfortable.
"What is it?" He asks, his disinterest obvious. Lukas continues towards Raivis' supplies as the strange man talks.
"You look like you are heading for the muralist's supplies, yes?" The man inquires cheerily, trailing behind Lukas. Lukas nods reluctantly.
"I am, why?"
"Oh, I am only curious," Hums the man. Lukas felt shivers run down his spine as the man proceeded to talk more. "Did you know a child was painting this mural? It is quite impressive, much like the child himself."
"How do you mean?" Lukas asks carefully. The man laughs quietly, looking ahead.
"He is so little. So little that I feel I could shatter him by just tapping. I would like to see what happens if I did break him." The man says, his tone becoming darker. Lukas feels himself tensing at this. He was a little scared, not that he would ever admit it.
"Oh. Really?" Lukas responds, willing his voice to remain steady.
"Yes, but there are better things. I believe that his fragility could help me. It is a conclusion I came to after admiring him up close for the first time," He continues, smiling at nothing in particular. "I was so close to having him. And then a beautiful young Norwegian boy stole him away!"
"That is quite unfortunate." Lukas manages though gritted teeth. He reaches out to Raivis' ladder as he feels a strong hand on his shoulder.
"He looked quite a bit like you, you know. I'm sure that he'll be very pretty at your age." The man purrs, tugging Lukas away from the ladder.
"What are you doing?" Lukas asks, struggling to hold up his cool and calm demeanor. The man giggles, much like a child would while playing a silly game. Just as Raivis had said earlier.
Lukas' heart drops into his stomach at the crushing realization. He was in the grip of Raivis' stalker. This wasn't safe, and he needed Matthias. He tries to shake the man's hand from his shoulder, but the gloved grip tightens.
"Uh-uh, Mister Steilsson. That is your surname, yes? I've learned a lot about you by admiring my little Raivis. You have also learned a lot about me. That means that I cannot let you go!" The man exclaims, his voice giddy and playful. Truly, he sounded like a child threatening their friend in a silly game of tag.
"Let me go." Lukas hisses, straining to tug the man's hand away. The man pouts slightly, furrowing his brows.
"Do you not wish to play along?"
"I'm going to call Matthias, I swear to g-"
And with that, the man wraps one arm around Lukas' waist. He uses the other to hold Lukas' mouth shut as he drags the struggling man to a pale grey car.
"Do not struggle, little Norwegian. You are making a scene!" The man reprimands gently, tossing Lukas into his trunk.
He pulls a small rag from a plastic baggy and stares Lukas in the eyes. The playful look of glee in his eyes truly terrified Lukas. It was inhuman. It had to be. In Lukas' mind, this man must've been truly insane. How else could he commit such an atrocious act without remorse?
"Sweet dreams, Little Norwegian! I can't wait to have fun with you." The man hums, shoving the rag into Lukas' face roughly.
White dots began to show in Lukas' vision. He was passing out. Lukas begins to thrash wildly, panicking, but he is quickly subdued by the chemical-soaked rag. He struggles to make out some words, a plea for help perhaps, but he couldn't. The most he could do was gasp and sob as his world turned dark.

Chapter Text

What was taking Lukas so long? He promised Matthias that he'd be quick. The Dane groans loudly, glaring out the window of his bulky red truck.
What if something was too heavy? What if somebody was bugging Lukas? What if Lukas did need help, but he was too embarrassed to say so? These thoughts terrified Matthias because they could easily be true. What was worse, though, is that Lukas would be furious if Matthias came to his rescue.
Lukas was a grown man after all.
This, of course, left Matthias awaiting his return anxiously. How long had it been since Lukas left? One minute? Five days? A year? Matthias couldn't really tell the different at this point. All he knew was that Lukas was taking too long.
The Dane nods firmly and opens his car door. He couldn't wait any longer. He needed to go to Lukas, even if it meant getting his ear ripped off, and help him out. If he helped, they could be home quicker.
Matthias slams his door, grinning to himself. It wasn't hard to spot Raivis' supplies from where he stood, nor was it difficult to see Lukas. He was having a conversation with a stranger! Matthias couldn't help but to feel proud of his friend. Lukas may be cold and antisocial, but it appears that he too will enjoy domestic conversation every so often. Matthias watches from afar for a little while, smiling at the stranger's gentle demeanor.
Of course, Matthias has learned that not all good things last. This was no exception. The Dane could feel his heart stop when the man touched Lukas' shoulder. Lukas would have Matthias' head if he'd even thought to do that, so why wasn't Lukas moving?
Matthias begins to walk towards them from across the parking lot. He feels his gut twist as the man grabs Lukas by the waist.
"No," Matthias growls lowly, picking up the pace. He ignores the stinging of the cold winter air in his lungs as he began to sprint. The man was now dragging Lukas to a car near the entrance.
What the hell was going on? Why was that guy stealing away Matthias' best friend? Fear turns to anger as Matthias calls out to Lukas, his blue eyes wild with rage.
"LUKAS, I'M COMING!" He yells, forcing himself to speed up once more. Matthias felt like his body was going to collapse, but he wouldn't allow it to. He needed to save Lukas. He needed to-
SLAM.
His desperate thoughts were shattered by the trunk of the stranger's car shutting. Matthias doesn't slow down as the man looks him in the eye and smiles sweetly. Matthias doesn't stop moving when the man climbs into his car. He doesn't stop moving when the car backs out of it's parking spot.
"Bye-bye Matthias!" The man calls from the window, his voice cheery. As the car flies past Matthias, his legs collapse beneath him. He couldn't believe that this, whatever the hell it was, could be real. It was a nightmare. It had to be.
In Matthias Køhler's mind, there was no way he could've failed to save Lukas. He didn't believe it, even as the car drove away.
"Lukas..." He murmurs, forcing himself up from the ground. Tears pooled in the Dane's bright blue eyes, and he felt his entire body quaking. Did he really just fail to keep his loved one safe? His best friend?
He sniffles quietly and rubs his face, forcing himself to trudge back to his truck. Somehow, clambering into the vehicle hurt him. He could've been riding back home with Raivis' stuff and Lukas. If Matthias had simply ignored Lukas' request to go alone, he might've spent the entire car-ride talking about everything and nothing all at once.
This car-ride felt empty, though. Bumping up the music hurt, but the silence was unbearable. All Matthias could do to calm himself is mumble nonsense. Unfortunately for Matthias, he had a hard time keeping that up in such a sullen state. All he could think about was poor, fragile Lukas being thrown into that man's trunk. The fact that the man knew his name. The fact that the man was so much bigger than Lukas. His stomach churns at the thought of all the things he could do to Lukas.
Pulling into Lukas' driveway felt like a stab in the gut to Matthias. What right did he have to face their family after letting Lukas go? What right did he have to face Emil? Even worse for the Dane, he doubts he could manage to tell them what happened. Not without looking weak, at least.
Matthias stumbles out of his car quietly, tears still threatening to pour out of his tired blue eyes. He didn't have time to properly prepare himself before getting bombarded by Tino's worried flurry of questions. He wasn't even inside yet.
"Matthias! Where have you been? Where's Lukas? I--"
"Stop yelling Tino." Matthias interrupts with a glare, shoving past the Finn and trudging inside.
"Eh? What happened to you?" Tino asks, lowering his voice compliantly. Matthias feels his throat tighten.
"Nothing happened to me. That's the entire fucking issue." Matthias manages, his voice breaking off sadly. Or perhaps it sounded more angry to the others? Matthias didn't really care. Or at least, not until he saw little Raivis staring up at him with a terrified expression.
"Uncle Matthias? What happened...?" Raivis asks carefully. Matthias felt himself break at this, and he crashes onto the couch. He cradled his head in his hands and takes a deep, labored breath.
"Broth'r?" Berwald beckons worriedly, towering over Matthias.
"Lukas is gone, guys." Matthias chokes out, his face contorting into an expression of pain.
"What?" Asks a demanding voice. Matthias looks up to see Emil staring at him with wide eyes. The kid looked scared and vulnerable. He lost his big brother and he didn't even know it.
"He's gone Emil." Matthias responds shakily.
"I got the memo, Matthias! Where is he? Why is he gone?" Emil spits, standing stiffly. This broke Matthias' heart, and the tears threatening his eyes finally break through.
"Emil..." Matthias murmurs hoarsely between sobs.
"What happened, Uncle Matthias?" Emil asks, his voice sounding desperate. Matthias shakes his head, rubbing furiously at his tears.
"Somebody took him. He- He grabbed Lukas, threw him in his trunk, then drove away."
"You're lying..." Emil sputters, disbelief coating his every syllable.
"I tried to get to him, I swear."
"No... I... Stop joking around Uncle Matthias!" Emil demands desperately, clenching his shaky fists. Matthias licks his lips, willing the sick feeling in his guts to vanish.
"I'm sorry, kid."

Chapter Text

"I'm sorry, kid..." Mutters Matthias. Emil could care less.
"Shut up!" He snaps, tears stinging his sensitive violet eyes. Emil storms up the stairs and straight into Lukas' room, locking the door behind him. He couldn't be near them. Not if Lukas was missing. Stolen.
Emil cringed at the idea of somebody snatching Lukas up and fleeing. It hurt to think about. The white-haired teen digs through Lukas' closet to find a hoodie brandished with the Norwegian flag. Emil tugs it on desperately, hugging himself and soaking up Lukas' faint scent. The smells of warm vanilla and soggy wood. The smell of Lukas' cologne.
The familiar scent was enough to elicit a quiet sob out of Emil. As most things tend to do, this quiet sob begins to grow into a louder, more painful sobbing.
Emil had to face the facts... and the facts were that Lukas was missing and that Lukas was taken by the man from the grocery store. He must've been. In Emil's mind, there was no other solution.
Of course, the same couldn't be said for little Raivis. Emil jumps at the sound of muffled yelling downstairs, and quickly realizes the pained voice belonged to the little teen. That made no sense to Emil. Why was the little crybaby yelling?
"Uncle Matthias, stop it! Okay? This is all my f-fault! I--"
"Raivis! That makes absolutely no sense!"
"Äiti, that was the guy I told you all about! Matthias described him perfectly!!"
"And how 's that y'r fault, huh? Raivis, 'm just as scared 's you, but blamin' ourselves 's just..."
As Berwald's voice became too soft for Emil to hear, he chokes back another sob. Raivis was right. It was his fault, wasn't it? It made sense to Emil. If Raivis didn't run to Lukas for protection, Lukas would've never gotten involved.
And with that, Emil's heart stops. Whose fault was it that Raivis made his way to Lukas? Who pulled the little runt onto his bike and pedaled away as fast as he could? Was it actually Emil's fault?
No, Emil was just tired. He couldn't have possibly triggered the abduction of his Big Bror. It was still Raivis' fault. Emil would never forgive himself if the opposite were true. But then again, Emil started it by saving Raivis.
The white-haired teen stares at his hands blankly, struggling to calm down. He saved Raivis at the cost of losing his Big Bror. It could've been Raivis who was abducted. It should've been Raivis.
Emil forces himself out of Lukas' room reluctantly. He shuffles downstairs, clinging to his brother's hoodie. He shoots a glare at Raivis before speaking.
"This is stupid." He grumbles, staying at the foot of the staircase. Tino sighs sadly, nodding at Emil.
"I know you--"
"Don't patronize me Tino." Emil interrupts sharply, crossing his pale arms. Tino winces at Emil's tone, but the teen didn't really feel bad.
"Emil, don't act like we're n't hurtin' too. Lukas 's like family to all 'f 's." Berwald scolds, meeting Emil's indignant gaze with his own cold glare. Emil shrinks back a little at the Swede's frightening expression.
"Not all of us," Emil responds, jabbing a pale thumb in Raivis' direction. "He doesn't count. It's kind of his fault we're in this mess."
With this, Emil watches as Berwald shoots out of his seat. The usually well-composed man was glaring daggers at Emil. The only thing separating him and a furious Berwald was Tino.
"Ber, calm down, okay? He didn't mean it, he's just-"
"Like hell I don't! If the creep had snatched up Raivis, we wouldn't be in this mess. It's his fault." Emil interrupts.
"If y'don't stop interruptin' m'wife, there'll be consequences, Emil." Berwald snaps, allowing Tino to calm him down. Emil scoffs, rolling his eyes.
"As if I'd care." He mutters. He turns his gaze to Raivis and notices that the boy was staring at him. To Emil's surprise, the look on his face was almost angry. Not lost. Not sad. Not frightened. Angry.
"What...?" Emil prompts suspiciously, eyeing Raivis.
"You're upsetting Isä." The smaller teen says shakily, his eyes locked on Emil. Emil felt uneasy under the boy's smoldering glare.
"Yeah. So what?"
"You're taking the people around you for granted. What if he'd managed to take Tino instead? Or Berwald?" Raivis asks accusingly. Emil felt his breath catch in his throat.
"I-I..."
"Did you know I haven't seen my brother since I was eight? That's a whole seven years." Raivis continues quietly.
"What does that have to do with Lukas?" Emil asks.
"You'll get Lukas back, and when you do, you'll continue to treat him like he's second-rate. You don't seem to value the people you have," Raivis hisses, his eyes tearing up. "I would do anything to see my brother again. Anything, Emil! I look for him every time I'm given the chance. But what are you doing for Lukas? Blaming people for his disappearance?"
Emil stares at Raivis silently, his hands beginning to tremble. What was he supposed to say to this? How should respond to something like this? Raivis wasn't wrong, but Emil hated not being right.
"Here's an idea, Emil: Stop taking your anger out on others and put it to some actual use. Stop pitying yourself and help your big brother."
Suddenly, Emil felt a twinge of respect for Raivis. When did the kid get so damn cool?

Chapter Text

After a couple hours of hours of worried chattering, a soft knocking is heard from Lukas' door. Tino is the first to hop up from his spot, to Emil's relief. Frankly, he didn't have the energy to talk to neighbors. He expended all of it on plotting Lukas' rescue. Of course, the adults opted into consulting the police, deciding that going after him themselves was far too risky. Emil couldn't agree less.
"Moi!" Tino greets with fake cheer from behind Emil.
"Like, hey. Is Raivis ready to go?"
"Ah, you're Toris, aren't you? Come on in, Raivis is just inside." Tino responds with a grin, leading the man inside. Emil turns to look at him, and is met with the bored emerald gaze of a girlish blond man. He wore a pleated skirt, though it wasn't flattering for his figure at all, and an oversized woolen sweater.
"Uh, no? Toris is my husband. The name's Feliks." The blond responds plainly, rolling his eyes. Raivis looked embarrassed by this, which amused Emil just slightly.
"Mm. S'rry for M'Wife's mistake. Do ya mind talking with us f'r a moment? We've got some issues we need'ta discuss with Raivis' current guardian... 'N that'd be you."
"It's whatever," Feliks replies nonchalantly, sitting down on Lukas' couch with a flourish. This was the kind of guy taking care of Raivis? "Raivis, can you, like, wait outside for a hot second?"
"Sure." Raivis murmurs, standing up quickly. He glances at Berwald and Tino hesitantly before starting for the door.
"Hey! You can't leave without saying goodbye, you dork." Emil says suddenly, grabbing Raivis by the arm. Raivis looked surprised and mildly confused. Emil was shocked with his own words. He was acting friendly... With Raivis. Emil clears his throat sheepishly, pulling his hand away and glaring at the ground. He could feel Raivis' gaze burning into the side of his face.
"I just thought that Ber and Tino would wanna say goodbye to their precious son, or whatever... Stop giving me that shitty look." Emil snaps, flustered. The moment Raivis starts laughing, he stiffens.
"Right," Raivis smirks. The little teen shuffles up to Tino and Berwald quietly, holding out his frail arms to the pair. Immediately, Tino drops to Raivis' level and wraps him in a protective hug. Emil felt fondness, rather than envy, wash over him for the first time.
"Oh... Raivis, you have Berwald's number now, right?" Tino asks quietly. Emil couldn't see them as Tino had his face buried in Raivis' neck, but he could imagine crystal tears pooling in Tino's round eyes. The image made Emil's heart ache, just a little.
"M-hm... I'll call, I promise Äiti."
"You'd bett'r. Ev'ry damn day, too." Berwald mumbles, inviting himself into Tino and Raivis' embrace.
As Raivis pulls away, Emil watches him gaze sadly at a solemn Matthias. Admittedly, Emil had all but forgotten that the usually boisterous blond was even there. He was hard to notice when he sat on the couch and sulked silently.
"Hey, Uncle Matthias?" Raivis prompts, climbing onto the couch next to Matthias. The blond looks down at Raivis with tired, dull eyes.
"Yeah?"
"Don't be so sad," Raivis murmurs, wrapping his tiny frame against Matthias' bulky body. It was still a strange sight to Emil, but he somehow manages to swallow his discomfort. "You'll get him back. Okay?"
"I... I know, kiddo. We'll go and visit our spot when I do. Just me, you, and Lukas." Matthias whispers, returning Raivis' hug firmly.
"Yeah, and we'll see the Wagtail again."
"Mhmm. You go on and be good, okay?" Matthias manages, flashing Raivis a small smile.
"Okay, Uncle Matthias." Raivis responds quietly, sliding off the couch and heading to the door. Emil gives a halfhearted wave as Raivis heads out, but the little teen simply stares at him.
"Why are you staring at me?" Emil asks in a low voice. Raivis grabs his hand and pulls him outside, shutting the door behind them.
It was with that that Emil felt yet another twinge of respect for Raivis. When did that shaky little teen grow a pair? Emil looks down at the boy curiously, and he could see Raivis was fighting back his nerves. Maybe he was still a little scaredy-cat, after all.
"I have a plan." Raivis whispers urgently, looking up at Emil with determined eyes. A plan? Emil had no clue what he was on about, and that irritated him.
"A plan for what?" Emil asks, glowering down at Raivis. He didn't realize it before, but he was easy to frustrate.
"Shh!! You need to be quieter," Raivis hisses, slamming a small hand over Emil's mouth. Emil grimaces and peels it away. "We're going to get Lukas back."
Emil stiffens at this. He glances behind him nervously before crouching to Raivis' height. Raivis must me be crazy. Emil wouldn't dare believe that a kid like him actually planned on ignoring the instructions of adults in favor of a dangerous task. He was a quivering leaf! A little songbird.
Emil shakes his head, a look of disbelief plastered on his usually stoic face. "I'm sorry, what?" He sputters. Raivis gazes at him steadily, his mouth creased into a tight line.
"We are going to get Lukas back. You and I."
"Raivis, that's insane. We can't do something like that. You'd get hurt, and Lukas would be pissed at us for it." Emil snaps in response, returning Raivis' hard glare.
"It's my fault we're in this mess, you said it yourself! It should've been me, not Lukas, don't you think?" Raivis replies evenly. Emil couldn't argue with that. It was technically Raivis' fault, and it was also Emil's. Neither of them should be sitting around and letting the police do the work.
"...And you're sure you have a solid plan?" Emil asks reluctantly. Raivis nods before standing up.
"Where's your bike?"
"C'mere," Emil murmurs, creeping down the patio staircase. He glances behind him to see Raivis trailing behind. The little teen was trembling as he walked, obviously scared. Even in the dim evening sunlight, Raivis' fear was clear as day to Emil. Surprisingly, his disdain was absent. Emil couldn't find one negative emotion at the sight of a shaky Raivis, save for pity. Strange.
Emil stops abruptly, patting his bike fondly. "Here she is." He hums, looking at Raivis from the corner of his eyes. Raivis nods, exhaling shakily.
"We're going to that grocery store. If he's after me specifically, which I think he is, that's the best place to check." Raivis whispers.
"Wait... You mean now?" Emil asks.
"My brother always said that 'there's never a better time than the present'." Raivis murmurs in response, giving a small smile.
"Huh. He sounds like a smart guy." Emil comments, unsure of what else to say. Raivis nods.
"The smartest." He confirms with a breathy laugh. Emil feels the back of his neck heat up at the sound of Raivis' laugh. Was he embarrassed by the laugh? Emil shrugs to himself, unsure as to why his body felt so warm all of a sudden.
"L-let's get this over with..." Emil mutters, slinging a leg over his bike. He steadies himself as Raivis clambers onto the pegs. He stiffens slightly the moment Raivis' shaky hands grip his shoulders.
"Alright, let's go get Lukas." Raivis mutters, steadying himself against Emil. Emil nods and pushes off into the cold evening wind. It was time to save his Big Bror.

Chapter Text

"I still can't believe we're doing this... It is such a stupid idea. What if he takes us too? Tino and Berwald and Matthias would murder us, man! Not that that's any worse than what that weirdo would do to us, anyways... We still have time to turn back, you know." Emil rambles to Raivis worriedly, biking down his town's nearly empty main road.
The familiar surroundings could barely calm the silver-haired boy as he made his way towards the local grocery shop. He didn't want to be here. He didn't want to do this. What he wanted was to be in his living room, playing monopoly with his Big Bror and uncles. Being the hero was too nerve wracking for the sheltered teen, and he felt other people could do this job better. Much, much better.
He couldn't help that his heart was trying to beat its way out of his chest. He was pedaling as fast as he could to his inevitable doom, and for some reason Raivis' presence made his heart rate quicken. The quivering teen has never had that effect on him before, so why did he now? Emil thought that it was beyond stupid that this was happening to him. Why did he have to be the unlucky one, huh?
Pulling up to the grocery shop, Emil notices a ladder standing at the storefront. Raivis' ladder. The one that collapsed at started this whole mess. Emil shudders at the sight as he skids his bike to a stop. He holds still for a moment as to let Raivis stumble off the bike. Emil goes to lock his bike up, but quickly decides against it. If they needed a swift escape, securing his bike would only hinder them. Emil couldn't bear being the cause of that.
"Lets go inside for now," Emil says, walking over to Raivis. The teen was staring up at the mural, just as he was when Emil first spotted him. The difference is that he wasn't covered in paint. No, Raivis was soaked in the storefront's warm orange lights instead. It highlighted his porcelain face carefully, bringing out his frail features in an almost magical manner. Emil was enthralled by Raivis, he was fascinated by how fragile he looked.
Emil looks away quickly to avoid staring, his cheeks flushed red with embarrassment. What was up with him all of a sudden? Emil steals a final glance at Raivis before gently grabbing the smaller teen's shoulder. Raivis jumps at this, obviously startled by Emil's touch.
"A-ah, sorry! I was just observing my work." Raivis apologizes quickly, staring at his feet. Emil gives a snort of amusement, shrugging.
"Like I care. I just wanted to grab something from inside to ebb my nerves." Emil says with a small grin, ruffling Raivis' hair.
"Okay, then!" Raivis responds.
And so, the pair find their way inside the tall white building in silence. Emil couldn't help but sigh happily as he walked inside, appreciating the sudden burst of warmth. The girlish pop also pleased him, as it seemed strangely appropriate. It was a soft heartbreak ballad. Or maybe a love song? Emil could never really tell the difference. He wasn't partial to the genre or the turns-of-phrase that accompanied it.
Emil hums along to the music as he walks through the candy aisle. He was using his own money this time, and felt it appropriate to offer Raivis something. He was the one to drag Emil all the way out here, after all. Plus, this could be their last 'meal', though it wasn't really a meal at all.
"Get whatever you want, Raivis." Emil mutters. Emil reaches up to grab a bag of black licorice and smiles contentedly. He was, quite honestly, thrilled to tuck into these.
"Are you sure?" Raivis asks nervously, making Emil smirk with amusement.
"Why else would I offer, huh?" Emil asks with a scoff, nudging Raivis forward. Raivis looked overwhelmed by the selection at first, but his eyes immediately lock on an aisle that wasn't the candy aisle. Emil couldn't identify it at first.
"The... International foods aisle?" Emil questions, eyeing Raivis. Raivis didn't seem to hear him, as the little teen rushes over and claims a pastel colored box gently.
"Is this okay?" Raivis asks, his gaze alight with an emotion Emil couldn't quite identify. Emil looks at the box and was confused.
"Uh... Mochi? Sure, I guess, but why would you want something like that?" Emil asks.
"A-ah, um... It's silly, I know, but my big brother loves mochis. He never ate them, though. He'd name them and give them personalities! It was so it wouldn't just be me and him in our room. He wanted us to have a lot of friends." Raivis murmurs, a melancholic smile growing on his face. Emil stares at him for a moment, taken aback. So that's what the emotion was. Grief.
"You must really love your brother, huh?"
"I... My brother is the most important person to me. I wish that I'd never lost him." Raivis responds quietly, earning a sympathetic sigh from Emil.
"Maybe we'll look for him after we find Lukas, eh?" Emil offers diffidently. Raivis shakes his head, promptly confusing Emil.
"I promised him I wouldn't put myself in danger looking for him. Plus, even if we did look for him, we'd never find him." Raivis mutters.
"I'm sure we could find your brother too, we just have to... Well, I don't know much about your family, but I'm sure we'd figure it out." Emil counters, looking mildly dejected. Raivis shakes his head once more.
"We wouldn't."
"Well, you still have my-Er, our family." Emil responds.
"That'd be Berwald, Tino and Matthias... I know I have them, and I--"
"And Lukas." Emil interjects firmly. Raivis shakes his head frantically, cracking a grin.
"No, he's my friend. I could never think of him as family!" Raivis responds. Emil was confused once again.
"But you call him uncle..."
"To appease Äiti, sure. He knows I don't actually mean it." Raivis corrects Emil, turning the box of mochi in his hands.
"Okay, fine. Why isn't he family to you?" Emil asks flatly.
"Having a crush on your family is kind of freaky, don't you think?" Raivis responds with a laugh. Emil stares at him for a moment before shaking his head frantically.
"Hold on! You're telling me you're into Lukas? That's freaky no matter who you are!" Emil snaps, crossing his arms. Raivis and Lukas together was more than just wrong; It was downright dirty. At least, in Emil's mind.
"I used to be, when I was younger. I was all for the rebellious and snarky guys." Raivis responds with a small smile, grabbing Emil's arm. "Anyways, we need to checkout and dip so we can get this show on the road."
Emil nods slowly, allowing Raivis to drag him along. Raivis was into 'rebellious and snarky' dudes? Emil was rebellious and snarky, or so says Lukas. Actually, he's often told that he reminds Lukas of himself. Usually this means nothing to Emil, but now? Now he found himself clinging to that thought, red in the face.
Emil pays for their food at the self-service checkout before heading back out into the cold with Raivis. They sit at the storefront in silence, Emil chewing on Licorice and Raivis gazing longingly at Mochis. Unfortunately, their comfortable silence is shattered by a sickeningly sweet voice. Emil stiffens at the familiar sound.
"Nice to see you again, Little Norwegian and Little Muralist!"
It was the man from before. The man who stole Lukas.

Chapter Text

Lukas sits up with a groan, rubbing his eyes roughly. His stomach hurt like hell, and his back was sore. Looking around, the blond grimaces. He wasn't at home, obviously, but the room he was in was grimy and dusty. Couldn't his captor have just a little more courtesy?
"Ugh... Hello?" Lukas calls out, not expecting a response. He just wanted to give it a try. You know, like characters did in the movies.
"Ah! You're awake!" A hushed voice sounds from outside the room, startling Lukas. He did manage to get a response, after all. Lukas glares at the door the voice came from resentfully.
"Let me out." Lukas demands flatly. He pushes himself off the ground shakily and staggers towards the door. The voice behind it sighs, sounding sad.
"I wish I could, but I'm just as trapped as you are." The voice responds. Lukas scoffs, leaning against the door.
"How annoying." He grumbles.
"I like your accent, where are you from?" The voice asks after a moment of silence.
"Norway." Lukas answers plainly, not caring to say more. And he didn't need to. An excited gasp emits from the door in response.
"You're Nordic? How cool! I sometimes wish I were Nordic, too. I think I'd quite like Finland." The voice responds, his once formal tone lost to his excited chattering.
"It's not that great. We're just human." Lukas replies sharply, shutting the excited voice up.
"Ah, of course." The voice responds, sounding dejected. Lukas smirks at this, taking joy in depleting his potential captor of his own.
"Why am I here?" Lukas asks.
"How am I to know? Ivan kind of does what he wants." The voice replies in a mutter. Lukas raises a brow.
"Ivan?"
"Well, yes. That'd be my Cousin, and the man who abducted you." The voice responds quietly. Lukas nods, appreciative of the information.
"Alright. If you're his cousin, why are you trapped as well?" Lukas questions.
"Uh... I'd rather not talk about it, but let's just say I broke a rule of this house a very long time ago. Before Ivan moved in." The voice responds reluctantly.
"Yes, and I'd rather not be here, but I am. So spill it, what rule did you break? I need entertainment."
"A-ah... I'm really sorry, but-"
"Oh, don't be so annoying. I just lost my little brother, okay? I need some cheering up, and your story is the best I've got as of now." Lukas snaps. The voice goes quiet for a long moment before sighing heavily.
"Fine, but only because I sympathize with you." The voice responds, sounding defeated.
"Good."
"I have a little brother. He lived here too, and... Well, I didn't want him to suffer here with these terrible people. So what did I do? I snuck him out of this hellish home, into a Children's Home, and kept him safe."
"What was his name?" Lukas asks.
"Why?" The voice asks suspiciously. Lukas bangs the door roughly.
"I asked you a question, damn it!"
"Okay, okay! Just quiet down before Natalya comes over here, please." The voice begs quietly.
"Name."
"Raivis. My brother's name is Raivis, okay?" The voice spits. Lukas could hear the tremor in the man's voice.
"Oh. Do you miss him?" Lukas asks shakily, biting back a small smile. Raivis would be thrilled to find out his brother was alive.
"More than you could ever know. But he's safe, and that's what I care about." The voice responds thickly. Lukas nods in agreement. That is all that really mattered.
"Did you know that he's a muralist now?" Lukas asks softly.
"You know my brother?"
"Raivis Galante? Yes, I do... My friends fostered him when he was around ten or eleven. He was staying at my house when Ivan, as you call him, took me." Lukas responds softly. The moment he hears sobbing behind the door, he feels his heart ache.
"Oh my god..." The voice murmurs tearfully. "And he's happy?"
"I sure as hell hope so."
"Does... Does he ever talk about me?" The voice asks shakily.
"All the time. Never by name, but he does talk about you constantly. He misses you a lot." Lukas responds.
"I'm glad..." The voice rasps, choking back sobs.
"It's nice to meet you, brother of Raivis." Lukas murmurs.
"Eduard."
"That's your name?" Lukas asks.
"It is." The voice responds hoarsely. Eduard and Raivis. What a sweet pair. Lukas felt a strange fondness for this stranger. In a way, he was almost family now. Almost.
"Well, I'm Lukas."
"Thank you so, so much Lukas."

Chapter Text

Emil glares up at the man, moving his hand to grip Raivis'. The man smiles sweetly down at them.
"What brings you here so late?" The man asks politely, tilting his head like a confused puppy. Emil tightens his grip on Raivis, but is left shocked when Raivis tugs him up from the pavement.
"I-I came to get my stuff, but we realized it was too heavy for us." Raivis explains timidly, flashing a quick smile at the man. Emil was bewildered by this. Why was Raivis acting so sweet to the man that stole Lukas?
"Oh, I see! Would you like some help?" The man offers with a smile, practically bouncing with excitement. Raivis nods reluctantly, another shock to Emil.
"Is that really okay? I'd appreciate it, Mister..."
"Ah, you can call me Ivan!" The man hums. Raivis smiles gratefully at him and tugs Emil to the mural supplies.
"Ivan it is, then! And you do remember my name, right?"
"Mhmm," Ivan confirms. He stops for a moment to gaze at Raivis' stuff before turning to Emil. "Say, I think it'd be much simpler for me to haul this in my car, no?"
"It would, but... Well, I-I promised my Isä that I'd never take rides from strangers." Raivis responds with a nervous expression, his grip on Emil tightening slightly. Emil couldn't tell if Raivis was serious or not. Was he acting? Emil shakes his head roughly and desperately wills his confusion away.
"We're not strangers, Little Raivis! We're friends now." Ivan replies, smiling wide at the little teen. Raivis looks to be pondering this sentiment, which tips it off to Emil. This isn't real. Raivis was simply acting.
"I guess so..." Raivis mumbles.
"Great! Let's haul this into my trunk then, shall we?" The man offers cheerily, clapping his hands together with satisfaction. Raivis nods and leads Emil to the paint buckets lined against the storefront. As Ivan lifts the ladder and heads for a light grey car, Raivis slips something into Emil's pocket and nudges him.
"You're going to bike home, okay? When you get to your house, open the phone." Raivis whispers urgently, gazing determinedly into Emil's eyes.
"What will you-"
"Mister Ivan!" Raivis calls suddenly, waving a shaky hand at the bulky man. The man turns around and rushes over, a look of concern painted on his face.
"Yes?"
"My... friend is saying that he wants to leave since he doesn't need to bike me home anymore. I just thought that you'd want to say goodbye!" Raivis says with a shaky smile. Ivan nods with understanding, holding out a hand to Emil.
"Very well then, little Norwegian. I'll be seeing you around, no?"
"Sure." Emil grumbles, shaking Ivan's hand limply and heading for his bike. As he clambers onto it, he looks back at Raivis. What was he planning? The way the pair chatted reminded Emil of the day he first saw them. It was almost as if nothing happened, and he was simply leaving. If only that was true.
Emil waves to Raivis before biking off, his head clouded with worries. He was leaving Raivis with that... Man. Ivan, was it? He didn't think that to be the best idea, and he knew for certain bad things may happen. This man was after Raivis, wasn't he?
It was too late to turn back, though. He was committed to checking that phone in his bedroom. But how was he going to explain his and Raivis' whereabouts to the others? He couldn't just say 'Oh yeah, I kind of handed Raivis over to that stalker freak just now. He was real polite and stuff', could he?
His bike skids to a stop at Lukas' house. The only light here was that in his living room. Emil takes in a deep breath before rushing up onto the porch and into the house. Worried chattering turns to an uncomfortable silence the moment Emil returns.
"Emil!" Tino gasps, rushing over to the white-haired teen. Emil bites back a groan of embarrassment at Tino's panicked hugging.
"Dude, I'm fine!" Emil grunts, breaking away from Tino. He scans the room to see a new person; Brunet and shaky. His expression was painted with worry, and his eyes drooped with worry and exhaustion.
"What about Raivis?" The brunet asks with a frown, grasping the hand of the girlish blond.
"What about him?" Emil asks, glancing to the side. He felt bad that he needed to lie, but if it was for Lukas' sake, so be it.
"Don't play dumb, okay? Where did he, like, totally disappear to just now, kid?" Feliks asks harshly, glaring at Emil.
"The brat?" Emil questions, earning an angry look from Berwald.
"Emil..." Tino says in a warning tone. Emil groans, shrugging.
"Look, I don't know okay? He tried talking to me, but I didn't want to listen. I went for a bike ride instead." Emil spits, glaring at Raivis' newest foster parents.
"Oh, a-alright..." The brunet responds with an apologetic look. Emil snorts at this, crossing his arms.
"Can I go to my room now?" He asks flatly. The receives a nod from Berwald.
Heading up to his room, Emil slides the phone out of his pocket. He turns it in his hands, admiring the shiny maroon casing. He flips it open and prompts sees a note typed on the screen.

"Expect a call on this phone when Lukas needs to be picked up. I'll get him! :) -R"

Emil stares at the screen, eyes wide. That was it? Raivis didn't explain anything! Emil could've left the little teen to his death, for all he knows. Not only that, but he lied to his entire family about it. Not only was Emil a jerk, but he was stupid too. Or at least, that's how Emil saw it.

Chapter Text

"Hey, Lukas, are you up yet?" Eduard asks from beyond the door, causing a drowsy Lukas to stir. Lukas gives a soft yawn before clambering to his feet and towards the door.
"I am now," He grumbles sleepily, biting back another tiny yawn. "What is it?"
"Just wanted to keep you company, I guess..." Eduard mumbles, earning a small laugh from Lukas.
"Right. Because I need company, don't I?" Lukas snickers, pushing himself away from the door and towards the opposite wall.
"You will eventually! It gets lonely in there, and once Natalya gets to you... You'll need me even more."
"The only thing I need right now is my brother and my Matthias." Lukas retorts quickly, sitting down on the ground.
"Boyfriend?" Eduard asks. Lukas grimaces at the thought, shaking his head.
"I have standards, so no. He's too old for me, anyways." Lukas responds.
"How old are you then, huh?"
"Something near twenty-four... You?" Lukas responds nonchalantly.
"Seventeen." Eduard responds. Lukas frowns to himself at the realization that Eduard was still just a boy. A scared teenaged boy.
"Must suck, huh?" Lukas asks quietly.
"A little, but it'll all be worth it once I see Raivis again." He responds quietly. Lukas nods, he felt the same way. Everything would be better once he saw Emil again. Lukas bites his lip before speaking again, his voice hesitant.
"My kid brother is named Emil. He's only sixteen."
"Damn. I bet he misses you." Eduard responds sympathetically, tapping the door with his knuckles. Lukas scoffs.
"I wouldn't be too sure, but that's fine by me. There's nothing I wouldn't do for him," Lukas responds. His voice was cracking a little with sadness, but he didn't mind it much. "He's the thought that'll get me through this mess, you know?"
"Kind of like my Raivis." Eduard laughs. Lukas smiles to himself, nodding.
"Exactly." Lukas confirms.
Lukas' 'holding room', as the pair have opted into calling it, falls into silence. It was a heavy silence. A sad, mournful silence. They'd both lost their brothers, after all. Lukas couldn't help but mope over it, not even a little.
"Say, Lukas..." Eduard mumbles into the silence. "When you see Raivis again, could you tell him how much I miss him?"
Lukas purses his lips and stays silent for a moment longer, not quite sure how to handle Eduard's request. "What makes you think I'll get back to Raivis?" Lukas asks.
"Ah... Well, there are people willing to look for you. Right?"
"Eduard..." Lukas mumbles, furrowing his brow. He hated the pitiful tone that Eduard took on with that statement. Eduard didn't have family like Lukas, sure, but there wasn't any reason to sound so upset over it.
"Ehh, chill a bit. I'm just saying, you have people who care about you." Eduard mutters.
"If I get out, I'm taking you with me. You don't have a choice, kid." Lukas responds gruffly, pushing himself up from the ground.
"I wouldn't advise saying stuff like that... Natalya doesn't really-"
"Oh, to hell with Natalya and Ivan! I couldn't care less about what the want, okay? If I get back to Emil, you're getting back to Raivis." Lukas interrupts sharply.
"But-"
"Don't be so damn annoying," Lukas mutters, tousling his hair with a shaky hand. "I really want to see Raivis smile. Like, a genuine, happy smile. I think getting you back to him would make that happen... Besides, I kind of like you."
"I-I... Lukas, I like you as well. You seem like you'd make for a good friend. I'm also glad you care so much about Raivis. He deserves people like you." Eduard says softly. Lukas smiles at this, striding over to the door and tapping it with his knuckles.
"So do you." Lukas replied, his voice hushed.
"Ah... Sure, something like that."

Chapter Text

Emil sits on his brother's bed stiffly, staring at the time on his phone. It was around five in the morning, and Emil couldn't force himself back to sleep. All he could think about was Raivis and Lukas. Lukas, who was stolen, and Raivis, who was alone. It made Emil's stomach churn and his blood boil.
Emil knew very well that he'd made a mistake by leaving Raivis behind. He should've gone with him! He should've kept the little teen safe, but he didn't. Emil was sitting in the comforts of his home, in a plush bed, while Raivis could easily be locked up in that old creep's basement. That was no fair.
They were supposed to go it together. They were supposed to rescue Lukas together. Raivis sending Emil off in favor of working alone made the teenager feel useless and angry. These emotions stirred within him endlessly, leaving him restless and emotionally exhausted. This was fine though, for it was nothing Emil couldn't handle. If Raivis could bring himself to climb into his stalker's car, Emil could swallow his discomfort and get over himself.
Emil's biggest concern should be Matthias, anyways. After Raivis disappeared suddenly, he'd stopped talking. The man simply refused to speak. Matthias, who was normally loud and exuberant, could be found moping around solemnly. He had an ever-present frown on his face, and Emil was sure that the man would break out into tears at any moment. Emil couldn't really blame him though. Matthias lost his best friend and favorite Nephew suddenly, on the same day, and Matthias could do nothing about it. Emil knew Matthias well, so he knew that the lack of control irked him. The inability to protect his boys probably stung much worse, though. Just like it stung Emil.
The silver-haired boy slings his feet over the side of Lukas' bed and stumbles off of it. He lands on the cherrywood flooring clumsily and yawns loudly. He had no reason to act proper in his own home, so Emil decides to leave the bedroom in only his boxers and sweater. It wasn't like anybody was going to see, anyways.
Berwald and Tino needed to go home to their sons and dog, plus they needed to visit their daughter this weekend. Raivis' foster parents decided to leave on their own accord, as they had personal matters to attend to. Based on their expressions, it probably had to do with Raivis and the Foster Care Agency. Matthias was sleeping on the couch, but Emil knew he was a heavy sleeper.
Besides, all Emil wanted was some butter cookies. Sure, they may be stale after sitting out for the past week, but Emil didn't care. Lukas made them for him, and that's what mattered. Knowing his big brother, it was probably yet another failed attempt at getting him to call Lukas 'Big Bror' to his face. Emil would have never done that before, but now? A part of him would give anything to be pestered about calling Lukas 'Big Bror'.
Emil creeps past the couch quietly, holding his breath. He gives it a glance only to notice that Matthias was missing. It was five AM. Emil groans to himself, rolling his eyes. That's must mean that Matthias is awake... And that irked Emil. Matthias being awake means that Emil doesn't get a break from the reality of Lukas and Raivis disappearing. That was really damn annoying.
"Matthias?" Emil calls sleepily as he continues for the kitchen. When Emil gets no response, he shrugs it off. Why should he make a big deal of nothing?
Emil finally reaches the pitch black kitchen with yet another wide-mouthed yawn. He flicks the light on and heads for the walk-in pantry door. It opens with a groan, uncovering another dark room. Before he could switch the light on, he feels something wet on his foot. He stumbles back and grimaces.
"What the fuck?!" He spits, shaking his foot haphazardly. Emil leans forward to switch the pantry light on, wincing at the flood of white light.
"Nngh..." A hoarse voice groans, startling Emil.
"Matthias, what the hell are you doing?" Emil asks sharply, kicking the Dane gently. Matthias grumbles in Danish, a language Emil couldn't speak, before pushing himself up into a sitting position.
"Mm... Emil? What time is it?"
"Don't ignore my question, you jerk! Why are you in my pantry, and why is the floor wet?" Emil snaps, glaring down at Matthias. He was disheveled. Dirty. It'd barely been one night, how did he even manage that? Emil couldn't understand.
"I was sleeping, obviously. Also, I think that's scotch. I don't really remember." Matthias responds drowsily, pointing at a tipped-over bottle.
"That's Lukas' stuff, man! He's going to kill me when--"
"How can he kill you if he's dead?" Matthias interrupts, his expression grave. Emil couldn't believe his ears. Since when did Matthias talk so hopelessly?
"He's not dead..." Emil responds quietly, his voice shaky. Matthias forces a loud, harsh laugh.
"Don't be so damn naïve, Emil! Lukas and Raivis are dead." Matthias spits, his hands trembling wildly.
"Raivis isn't--"
"They're dead and it is my fault, Emil!" Matthias interjects loudly, his voice cracking. "It's all my fucking fault, man..."
Matthias buries his face in his bulky hands, breaking down into shuddering sobs. Emil watches his for a moment, his knees weak. He didn't know what to do. He was terrible at calming people down, especially when he has to lie to do it.
"Raivis isn't dead, Matthias." Emil says reluctantly, his voice unsteady and small. Matthias sniffles loudly before shaking his head up at Emil.
"You have no way of knowing that."
"I... Look, can you keep a secret?" Emil asks shakily. Matthias stares up at him with bewilderment.
"What?"
"You know exactly what I said Matthias. Can you?" Emil reiterates firmly, his voice sounding more confident.
"Yeah, but..."
"You can't tell anybody, but I know where Raivis went."

Chapter Text

"You can't tell anybody, but I know where Raivis went." Emil says firmly, smiling weakly at Matthias.
"That isn't funny, kid." Matthias mumbles, eliciting an irritated groan from Emil.
"I am dead serious. I'll tell you everything, okay?" Emil insists, his gaze steady. Matthias seemed reluctant, but his nod of confirmation lifted a weight off of Emil's shoulders. He didn't have to lie. He'd cheer Matthias up. He'd have somebody to confide in. It was almost as if every stress he had melted away.
Emil offers a hand to Matthias, who takes it firmly and tugs himself up from the ground. The teen leads Matthias into the main room quietly. He flicks on the light and collapses onto the couch with a soft grunt.
"Where are your pants?" Matthias asks with a snicker. Emil feels his face heat up, but he simply crosses his legs.
"You weren't supposed to be awake..." Emil replies flatly. The Dane shrugs at this, sitting next to Emil.
"Alright. Raivis?"
"Oh, right," Emil pauses to clear his throat, nervously playing with the hem of Lukas' sweater. "I'll start from the beginning. When that blond guy sent him outside, he dragged me with him. Remember?"
"Yup! Feliks - that's the guy's name, by the way - was worried you were gettin' it with the little Viking.... If you know what I mean." Matthias recalls with a slight smirk. Blood rushes to Emil's face promptly, giving Matthias even more reason to be amused.
"Shut it, Dane!" Emil barks, hiding his face in the hood of Lukas' hoodie. Emil notices a small, fond smile creep its way onto Matthias' face.
"You sound just like Lukas, Emil."
"S-stop that! Let me finish talking about Raivis," Emil sputters. Matthias sighs, nodding.
"Whenever you're ready, Icey."
"Gee, thanks. When he pulled me out, he told me he had a plan to save Lukas. He told me to grab my bike and take him to the grocery store. The one where Lukas got abducted, I think? Anyways, we were sitting outside until that man walked up to us."
Emil could feel Matthias tense up next to him. He sighs and encases the Dane's hand in an attempt at comforting him. His grip is returned in double as Matthias exhales shakily. The man remained silent, but Emil could tell his was upset and worried.
"It turns out that his name is Ivan... Raivis basically asked Ivan to help haul his Mural supplies home. Ivan said yeah, so Raivis sent me home with a phone. I dunno what happened after that, but the phone had a message on it. It basically said 'I'll call you when it's time to pick me and Lukas up,'. I didn't know until I got home, of course. I think Raivis is trying to get to wherever Ivan brought Lukas so that he can pull the same shitty stunt his brother did. Save Lukas, then go missing."
"... You let Raivis do that?" Matthias asks quietly.
"I mean, yeah? I didn't know he was going to-"
"No, no, no, no- No, Emil! Why was losing Lukas not enough for you?! Now Raivis is gone too! Raivis is going to die too, and I..." Matthias spits, his meaty fingers digging into his knees mercilessly. Emil winces before feeling a stab of guilt. He didn't think of how helping Raivis would affect the others.
"I'm sorry..." He mumbles apologetically.
"Sorry doesn't protect him! Sorry won't protect either of them! Do you realize how scared my baby brother is right now? Do you?!"
"Hold on, hold on. Berwald is scared? Berwald Väinämöinen? That's got to be a joke." Emil comments with a scoff.
"Ber is terrified, Emil! Terrified. He adores the little Viking... For him, it was like finally getting Raivis back, only for him to shatter in his hands. If you or me are blamin' ourselves, you better believe he's kickin' himself in the butt because of this!" Matthias rambles angrily, his blue eyes ablaze with frustrate and pure rage.
"I..."
"Oh, and Tino! Tino is heartbroken. He is tearing himself to pieces and Berwald doesn't know how to fix it! Did you think about how much Raivis' disappearance would hurt him? He kept staring out the window and muttering for Raivis... I felt sick when he started wailing in Finnish after Feliks pointed out yours and Raivis' disappearance. It physically hurt me to watch my Brother-In-Law break down like that, Emil!"
"Herregud, Matthias! I get it and I'm sorry, okay? It's just- What the hell else was I supposed to do?" Emil counters harshly, choking back his guilt.
"Tell the others the truth! Svaret er klart, Emil!" Matthias quips in return.
"I can't, Matthias!"
"And why not? Why can't you tell them? This shit is tearing my family apart - it is tearing ME apart - and you can't tell them the truth?" Matthias asks lowly. Emil frowns at this.
"I promised Raivis I wouldn't, so I--"
"What's worse, Emil...? A loss of trust or a loss of life?"

Chapter Text

Lukas paces the draft concrete room restlessly, muttering to himself in Norwegian. He needed to find a way to get himself and Eduard out of this place, wherever it may be. Damn near two days here was two days too many. He hated feeling like a caged bird.
"Little Norwegian!" A sing-songy voice calls, sending shivers down his spine. Ivan was back.
Lukas inhales heavily before bracing himself. If Ivan came into the room, he'd be ready to strike and run. Lukas finds himself holding his breath as the door creaks open. What he saw didn't make sense, and it made his stomach twist into angry knots. The little boy across from him looked tired, mildly scared, and - strangely enough - triumphant.
"Linerle...?" Lukas manages through gritted teeth. The teen nods.
"Oh, what a sweet nickname for the little muralist!" Ivan cooes, smiling sweetly down at Raivis. Lukas felt his blood start to boil, and he takes a step forward. He tugs Raivis into a protective embrace and glares at their captor, saying nothing. Ivan giggles a little at this, smirking.
"Very sweet! He'll be staying in here until I need him, okay? He should be very helpful for my... issues. You are very grateful for the company, no?" Ivan explains with a childlike tone, smiling softly at Lukas. Lukas grunts and tightens his grip on Raivis, refusing to speak. The bulky man shrugs, giving a gentle wave before shutting and bolting the door. Almost immediately, Lukas releases Raivis and drops to his knees.
"Raivis..." He murmurs sadly, gazing at the boy. He'd been captured too, eh?
"Lukas! Don't worry," Raivis gives Lukas a confident look, surprising the Norwegian. "Emil and I have a plan."
Lukas furrows his brow, feeling frustration stir within him. "I'm sorry?"
"I'm here to get you out." Raivis explains in an urgent whisper.
"No, hold on," Lukas grabs Raivis' shoulders gently and frowns at the boy. Worry made Lukas hands and voice shaky. "You're trying to tell me that you came here on purpose?"
"Yes." Raivis says, seeming less confident in himself than before. Lukas gives an exasperated sigh before standing up.
"You're such an idiot. I'd chew you out, but I don't have the energy." Lukas grumbles. Raivis nods, casting his gaze to the door.
"That's fair."
Lukas nods at this and slides into a corner, sitting down silently. Raivis stares at him for only a moment before scampering over and sitting next to him. The pair sit in a comfortable, calming silence for a while. Lukas was gliding his hands through Raivis' thick hair while the little teen stares at the door he came from.
"You know what's funny?" Raivis pipes after a while.
"Hm?"
"This reminds me a lot of my childhood. My brother and I used to sit in our cousins basement and talk all day," Raivis gives a small, pained grunt when Lukas tugs too hard on a lock. Lukas pulls his hands out from his hair as Raivis continues. "My brother and I would play games or read - both usually had something to do with Livonia - and we never felt lonely. We were always scared, but... I don't know, I guess my big brother has a way with making people happy even in the worst of times."
Raivis laughs quietly, his face flush with embarrassment. "Is that so?" Lukas asks with a smile. Raivis nods.
"Yes. But I'm serious when I say that this entire place looks like Natalya's and Katyusha's home!" Raivis exclaims, making a sour face. "It's just as scary, and just as grimy. I bet if Ed- Er, if my brother were here, he'd be squirming in place! He hated the dirt, and-"
"Hey," Lukas interrupts quietly, "Why don't you ever say your Brother's name?"
"He made me promise not to. He wanted me to forget about him, but I... Lukas, I'm never going to see him again. When Katyusha and Natalya took him home, he probably got into a lot of trouble. He probably got punished severely, and it'd be my fault. I-I just don't think that I should add insult to injury by breaking my promises."
"Hey, it's okay Raivis." Lukas murmurs, placing a hand in the frail teen's shoulder. Raivis sighs.
"I know. I just miss him."
"I bet he misses you too. You'll just have to-"
A gentle tap at the door interrupts Lukas, making Raivis jump. The little teen stands up defensively. A small smile tugs at the corners of Lukas' mouth at the sight.
"Lukas, are you okay?" Eduard asks from behind the door. Lukas scoffs, raising a brow.
"Why wouldn't I be?" He asks.
"Well for one thing, Ivan was in here. For another, you're talking to yourself."
"Watch what you say before you hurt the kid's feelings." Lukas scolds. He glances behind him to see Raivis shaking, and the boy looked startled and confused.
"...Kid? There's a kid? Is the kid okay?" Eduard asks worriedly. Lukas nudges Raivis.
"He'll tell us himself, but you might want to hold onto your socks. If you don't, this little guy might knock them right off."
"Knock my socks off... Right. Get on with it, then." Eduard responds, a tone of suspicion obvious in his voice. Raivis looks up at Lukas warily.
"You heard him, Linerle."
"I-I-I... I am f-fine, but-"
"Ohmygod." Eduard sputters loudly. Raivis looked startled.
"Did he knock your socks off?" Lukas asks in his usual flat tone, biting back amusement.
"L-Lukas!" Eduard cries from behind the door, sounding annoyed.
"What?"
"This is not a funny joke!" Eduard responds with a grumble.
"I never said it was. Blame Ivan, not me." Lukas responds with a shrug. Raivis looked a little more at ease, and he looks up to Lukas.
"He talks funny, like my big brother." Raivis comments quietly.
"Why are you so calm about that?" Lukas asks, curious. Raivis cocked his head at this as Eduard continues sputtering flustered complaints.
"Well, because he only sounds like Big Brother. I know it isn't him." Raivis explains. Eduard immediately goes silent.
"Why do you think that?" Lukas asks.
"My brother promised that if I ever found him again, he'd... Well, actually, I don't think I can tell you. It's a secret."
"Raivis..." Eduard finally mutters, startling Raivis. Lukas gives a sigh of relief because yes, it was annoying to watch these brothers act equally oblivious to each other's existence. Lukas hated it.
"Wh-" Lukas shrugs at Raivis as the boy is cut short by Eduard. As it turned out, only Eduard figured it out. Raivis was still oblivious to the fact that his brother was behind that door. That thought made Lukas cringe, but only a little.
"Raivis, I can't believe you- I just... Pagan võtaks!" Eduard sputters, growing steadily more frustrated. Lukas feels Raivis move from his side, and watches as the boy rushes to the door.
"Oh my god-"
"Why are you back?" Eduard demands. Lukas felt himself growing confused. Why did Eduard sound so angry?
"E-Eduard..."
"Raivis, why are you back?" Eduard asks again, his voice sounding less angry and more devastated.
"I was going to help Lukas like you helped me, b-but I... How was I supposed to know Ivan was friends with Katyusha and Natalya? I've never seen him before!" Raivis responds with a whine. Eduard scoffs from behind the door.
"Yes, well now I finally have you back and it isn't fair, okay? If you had just waited one more month, I..."
"Eduard-"
"One more month!" Eduard snaps.
Lukas starts to walk over to Raivis, but he notices that the boy wasn't visually upset. As a matter of fact, he was smiling. There were tears, yes, but Raivis was grinning from ear to ear.
"I almost forgot how much of a worrywart you are, Eesti." Raivis says with a small laugh. Eduard stays silent for a moment, surprising Lukas. If Emil had started laughing after getting yelled at, Lukas would've-
"Only because you're such a scaredy-cat, Läti." Eduard finally replies with a weak laugh.
"You guys... You're annoying." Lukas grumbles, tugging Raivis away from the door.
"Eduard, I'm going to get us all out of here." Raivis mutters, gazing longingly at the door.
"Well, I guess we will wait and see, won't we?"
Lukas sits on the floor silently and pulls Raivis onto his lap. His head was starting to hurt from all the noise and commotion.
"I love you Raivis." Eduard mumbles from behind the door.
"Jag älsker dig med, Eduard." Raivis responds quietly.
"What?"
"I said that I love you too, but in Swedish." Raivis explains. Lukas laughs to himself, remembering Eduard's queer fascination with Nordic countries when the boy gasps from outside.
"You speak Swedish?" Eduard asks, thrilled.
"Ehh... Not really, I only know a few Swedish and Finnish words. I do speak a little bit of Danish though!" Raivis replies with a grin.
"You'll have to teach me when I get back!" Eduard laughs, rapping the door with his knuckles.
"Uncle Matthias can teach you when we get out. He's fluent!"
"Yeah... when we get out." Eduard responds softly. Lukas knows that the boy is gone once he hears the clacking of his shoes soften.
Lukas sighs, but says nothing. He was tired. Lukas pulls Raivis close and rests his chin on the small teen's head gently. Raivis doesn't squirm, so Lukas doesn't move. He drifts off to sleep with the events of today still fresh in his mind.

Chapter Text

"Emil!! Erland stole my boat again!" A loud voice squeals, eliciting an irritated groan out of Emil. The boat-stealing culprit yells after the child tugging at Emil's sleeve, sprinting into the guest bedroom Emil was parked in.
"Did not!" He protests, crossing his arms and sticking his small pink tongue out. The tiny blond squeaker clinging to Emil furrows his light-shaded brows angrily.
"Yes you did!" He cries. Emil claps his hands loudly, gaining the attention of the two bickering children immediately.
"Hey, shut up! Erland, give his boat back. Peter, next time you want to tattle, take it to your sister. Are we clear boys?" Emil snaps, his icy violet gaze locked on the two children.
"Crystal." Mutters Erland, pouting slightly. Peter smirks at his brother, prompting Emil to lightly hit the back of his head.
"Don't act so smug, you British brat." Emil hisses. Peter puffs out his cheeks at the older boy, furious.
"I'm not British, I'm a Sealander!" The boy protests loudly.
"Actually, no.. You're a headache. Also, Sealand is not a real country." Emil retorts, causing Peter's eyes to tear. At this point, Erland has scampered away and left his brother Peter with Emil. Oh, how Emil hated dealing with children. He didn't know how to!
"I'm going to tell Mama!" Peter warns.
"He is on a date with Berwald, remember? You literally can't."
"Then I'll tell Ebba!" The boy responds with a whine. This earns a snicker out of Emil.
"Go ahead and let's see how much I care." Emil shoos Peter away. The little boy scampers off, wailing for his older sister dramatically. Honestly, Emil couldn't imagine adopting children. Especially not brats like Erland and Peter. At least Ebba kept to herself, but even then, she was still just as bad as her brothers. The only creature in Berwald's home that Emil didn't entirely deplore was the family's Finnish Lapphund, Hanatamago.
He thought it was stupid that he had to be here. Right after Matthias found out about Raivis and his silly expedition, he had Emil pack his bags and sent him to Berwald's house. Was he mad, or something? Whatever. Emil didn't feel the need to worry himself over something so damn trivial, so he wasn't going to. Easy as that.
"Ebba is coming to kick your butt!" A voice squeals excitedly outside Emil's door. Emil groans, not wanting to deal with Peter.
"Shut-"
"Check your attitude, Steilsson." A voice barks, interrupting Emil. His eyes brows twitch slightly out of irritation. Ebba was such an ass, and her stupid accent made her far more annoying than she was on her own.
"Get lost, Swede." He yells in return, refusing to open his door.
"Åland is Finnish territory, korkad." Ebba hisses, swinging Emil's door open. He jumps up from the bed and glares at her, mouth agape. What kind of person barges into a boy's room without knocking?
"Dude, privacy!" He snaps, trying to push her out. When Ebba laughs at his efforts, Emil felt his face flare up with embarrassment. It wasn't any fair that this chick was stronger than him!
"Apologize for insulting my home, first." She replies with a devilish grin. Emil glares up at her, a scowl tugging at his pale coral lips.
"It wasn't an insult, you twat. It was a mistake- I mean, when a territory speaks Swedish, honors Swedish tradition, follows Swedish customs, and is ethnically Swedish, it's safe to assume its Swedish! It isn't my fault that your stupid territory is having an identity crisis."
"You literally know nothing about my home, so shut the hell up." The girl says lowly, crossing her arms over her chest.
"Ebba, I thought you said that you were going to make him apologize!" Peter whines from behind her, making Emil scoff.
"For what?"
"Insulting Seaworld-"
"Sealand!" Peter corrects firmly.
"Yeah, whatever he said." Ebba responds with a shrug. Emil groans.
"It wasn't even an insult! I just told him that it wasn't a real country." Emil protests. Ebba shrugs.
"Maybe I'd be a little more lenient if you weren't so blatantly ignorant." She says in a sing-songy voice. Oh, how she annoyed Emil.
"Herregud, I don't care, Ebba! Get out!!" He barks, shoving Peter and Ebba away and locking the guest room door. He gives a heavy sigh as he walks away from the bed. Those two specifically really worked at his nerves. Ebba was an entitled brat of a woman, Peter was snobby and spoiled. Erland wasn't much better, but at least the kid listened! Emil could deal with the ginger's holier-than-thou mindset so long as he kept to himself. And he did.
Emil mumbles spitefully as he shuffles over to his pale blue dufflebag. He needed to check the phone. What if Raivis texted him instead of calling? Or if he left a message? Or maybe he... Nothing. Emil frowns slightly at the sight of no notifications. Raivis was still stuck.
If only he'd gone with him. Maybe he could've convinced Raivis that he wasn't as much of a jerk as he seemed. Maybe he could become better friends with Raivis. Maybe-
"Oh, shut up!" He snaps, shaking his head roughly. His priority was Raivis and Lukas; not pining after Raivis. Besides, it's not like he would pine after Raivis. The kid was too wimpy and annoying for his tastes. Except for when he interrupts Emil to prove him wrong, or when he comes up with risky and dangerous plans for the hell of it. And that night at the grocery store...
Emil groans loudly and tugs his own phone from his bag. He needed a distraction. Jamming a pair of hefty headphones into the jack, Emil starts his favorite 'Apotif' playlist and lays back. It takes him a while to calm his thoughts, but by the third MCR song, Emil finds himself humming along. Damn. Those lyrics were deep as hell. At least his music understood his extremely complex personality, Emil finds himself thinking. They were the only ones.

Chapter Text

Lukas paces back and forth restlessly, replaying Raivis' plan in his head. It was the stuff of fanfiction, but it was their best shot of escape, wasn't it? That irked Lukas, just a little.
"Under his legs..." Lukas mutters flatly, biting the inside of his cheek. His nerves were starting to get to him.
"To the left..." He mumbles lowly, turning his blank gaze to the rickety metal door.
"Grab the phone, too." Raivis chirps quietly, and Lukas nods. Right, that was important. It was how Emil would know to get them.
"Right, and what about-"
Lukas is cut short by the sound of the door's locks unbolting. Lukas braces himself to run and slide promptly, trying to keep his breathing even. He glances at Raivis, who was trembling wildly.
"Jeg vil beskytte deg, liten sangfugl." Lukas mutters, grabbing Raivis' hand and squeezing it. Raivis didn't know what he said and Lukas knew it, but he needed to say it out loud. He wanted to protect his Wagtail, and he always finds a way to get what he wants.
The door groans open to reveal a tall, busty woman accompanied by a shorter, leaner woman. The taller one looked frightened by the display, the shorter looked unimpressed.
"What're you going to do, hit us?" The younger asks flatly, stepping forward. Lukas was waiting on Raivis, but he wasn't moving. His gaze was stuck on the woman walking his way.
"N-No, Natalya." He mutters in response. She eyes him suspiciously.
"Then why is your body squared like that?" Asks the older girl warily.
"Well Katyusha," Raivis starts steadily, glaring at the pair. "Were going to run."
And with that, Raivis sprints past Natalya and grabs Lukas by the hand. Lukas was royally pissed by the sudden change in plans, but he follows swiftly.
"Where is Eduard?" Lukas asks over the angered yelling of the woman names Natalya.
"I don't know!" Raivis replies loudly before making a sharp left.
"Ah, there he is Linerle!"
They sprint past Ivan and a strange blond man, who jumps at the sudden commotion. "Little Raivis?" Ivan sputters, eyes wide. Lukas watches as the little teen snatches the blond's hand roughly.
"Eh?! Läti!"
"It was nice m-meeting you, cousin Ivan!" Raivis calls over his shoulders, shocking Lukas. The man, Eduard by the sound of it, snorts at Raivis' statement before struggling to keep pace with them.
The trio take yet another sharp left and find themselves in a foyer with a wooden staircase. Raivis starts up the stairs quickly and Lukas follows suit. Eduard was panting loudly, but Lukas urged himself to ignore it. He'd slap the kid after they escape.
Making their way up the lengthy maple stairs, Lukas follows Raivis onto a sharp left turn, followed by a triumphant squeak.
"I have the phone! Now we just need to get out." Raivis pants, glancing around the small white room they were in. Lukas nods and points at the window.
"We're on the first floor, so we can just climb out the window." He points out. Eduard nods and pushes past Raivis. He begins to screw open the window while Raivis punches numbers into Lukas' phone.
As the window opens with no difficulties, Eduard heaves himself over the sill and out the window. Lukas helps Raivis out before following suit.
"Don't stop running, idiots!" Lukas snaps, continuing to run away from the home. Eduard groans and follows suit, tugging Raivis along with him.
"Emil! Emil, we're out." Lukas heads Raivis wheeze into the phone. Lukas' stomach churns at the thought of seeing his family. He was thrilled.
"Yeah we are!" Eduard whoops, startling Lukas. He didn't seem the type for yelling.
"I know, I know just-- goodness, I miss you too. I'll text you an address, just find somebody to get us! No, just- Emil, I'll text you."
Lukas laughs weakly at this, only imagining his brother's flurry of panicked questions and comments. He hears Eduard, on the other hand, gasp.
"Raivis, do you have a girlfriend?" Eduard asks incredulously. Despite their tired, frightened states, Lukas couldn't help but laugh.
"Who names their daughter Emil?" Lukas manages between wheezy bouts of laughter.
"He's just Lukas' brother! Nothing more, okay?" Raivis says, his tone almost indignant. Eduard smirks.
"Uh-huh," He sounds before slowing down. "Were almost there you two, just sit tight."
"Almost where?" Lukas asks breathlessly.
"The Children's Home I brought Raivis to." Eduard responds softly, smiling. Lukas nods.
"Alright, then."
Lukas was finally getting a good look at Eduard, and he was surprised. He and Raivis looked nothing alike. Eduard was tall and lanky, and he had the hands of a pianist. Raivis was short and childlike. Eduard' features were sharp and defined, and his hair was thin and light.
"Eduard, punch in the address please." Raivis murmurs, handing Lukas' phone to the blonde. Another big difference lay in the brothers' fingers. Eduard's were long and confident whereas Raivis' were thick and small.
"There," Eduard hums. "Let's get going, shall we?"
"Sure... Could we just walk it?"
"We could, Lukas, but it'd take near ten minutes. We'd get there much quicker running."
"We can handle ten minutes, blondie." Lukas shrugs, nudging Eduard forward. Eduard sighs.
"Lead the way, Eesti!" Raivis grins at his brother. Lukas practically melts as Eduard tugs Raivis into an affectionate side-hug. The brotherly love was really starting to drive him mad in the best way possible.

Chapter Text

Emil taps his fingers to the beat of his favorite Evanescence song, mouthing the words silently. He usually found himself listening to more intense music, but Evanescence was pleasant when he needed a breather. Besides, the lyrics were deep and relatable. For Emil, at least.
His music is blaring, which is why he barely notices that Raivis' phone was receiving a call. Emil sits up stiffly and tugs his headphones off of his ears.
"He's alive..." Emil murmurs as he unlocks the phone. He pulls it up to his ear and smiles at Raivis' voice.
"Raivis, Herregud, I- You're out? You're out! I can't believe you actually did that... I'm seriously going to kill you for doing something so- Eh? Are you sure we shouldn't call the authorities f- Geez, fine. I'll be seeing you."
Emil snaps the phone shut with a breath of relief, sliding off the guest room bed. He rushes out the bedroom door and out Berwald's front door, pressing Matthias' contact.
"Matthias, come pick me up. It's Lukas." Emil orders flatly before hanging up. Within seven minutes, Matthias' truck speeds up with the windows rolled down.
"Get in, Icey!" Matthias hollers. Emil obliges swiftly, buckling himself up.
"They're out and waiting for us. I'll plug in the address." Emil explains as Matthias speeds off. The bulky blond looks at Emil's phone and grins, shaking his head.
"No need! I drove Ber to the children's home to out-process kids thousands of times. I know the route by heart." Matthias boasts, licking his lips eagerly. Emil sighs, rolling his eyes.
"Just hurry, why don't you?" Emil snaps before slumping back into the plush truck seats. Matthias raises a brow at his behavior.
"Why so moody?"
"Don't ask." Emil grumbles.
"What happened?"
"Not important."
"Isn't it?"
"No, you don't want to know."
"But I do!"
"..."
"Spill." Matthias demands, causing Emil to sigh.
"Alright, fine. I... I think I like a guy." Emil grumbles defeatedly. Matthias gasps loudly, turning his gaze to Emil.
"No joke?!"
"Eyes on the road, Dane!" Emil yelps, hiding his face with his loose coal hoodie.
"Tell me more." Denmark grins.
"Raivis." Emil mutters plainly. He slumps into his hoodie more upon seeing the confused look on Matthias' face.
"What?"
"You heard me!" Emil snaps. What about that didn't make sense? Emil wasn't sure, but he did know that his face was raging red with embarrassment.
"... Dude." Is all Matthias says before breaking into a big, goody grin. Emil shakes his head and groans.
"Shut up!"
"You like my little Viking! What do you like best about him? His eyes? His hair? His-"
"Ugh, I shouldn't have told you! Stop yapping at me and drive, you idiot." Emil hisses. Matthias laughs loudly before turning his focus to the road.
"If you got married would it be Emil Galante or Raivis Steilsson-Bondevik? Or would you somehow throw his name in there, too?" Matthias asks with a devilish smirk.
"We are NOT getting married!"
"Emil Steilsson-Galante."
"You're not making any sense!"
"I think you should name your first son after me... Matthias A. Steilsson Galante."
"We couldn't possibly have children, you idiot! And what does the A stand for?" Emil snaps.
"Awesome." Matthias declares with a grin. Emil groans loudly, rolling his eyes.
"You are so stupid, you know that?" Emil mutters. Matthias shrugs at this, not particularly caring.
"I can be, sure. Anyways, we're almost there. Get ready to pile them into the truck and go." Matthias says, his big grin falling slightly. Emil nods and sits up, gazing out his window.
"Raivis said he misses me." Emil murmurs.
"Yeah? I'm sure he does, bud."
"I don't understand why, though."
"Don't think about it too hard. I never do!" Matthias responds. Emil scoffs, rolling his eyes.
"Do you actually think hard about anything?"
"Ouch, that one stung a little. Yes I do, just... Look, I never understand why Lukas misses me or hangs with me. He just does, and I appreciate it for what it is. If ya overthink things, you'll ruin what you've got, y'know?"
"Oh." Emil sounds. Matthias laughs a little.
"No problem, kid. Now let's go get out boys." Matthias says, pulling his car to a halt and swinging his door open. Emil follows suit and scans the area for his brother. He couldn't see them until...
"Emil!" A familiar, soothing voice rings from behind him. Lukas! Emil whips around immediately to see Raivis, Lukas and a strange man. A smile tugs at his pale coral lips as he barrels towards them.
"Big Bror!" He calls. The shock in his brother's eyes stung a little, but it wasn't like Emil often called him that. As Emil skids to a stop in front of them, he's encased in Lukas' arms.
"You're so stupid, Little Brother." He murmurs into Emil's hair, wetting the silvery white locks with tears. Emil wraps his arms around Lukas hesitantly, as if scared to break his big brother.
"I know, I'm sorry..." He replies quietly as he bit back tears. He glances at Matthias to see the brutish Dane clinging gingerly to Raivis and yelling happily in Danish. He laughs a little at the display before noticing the blonde boy watching them.
He looked sad. He was a lanky boy, and his blonde hair was matted to his face. Emil didn't recognize or trust him, especially after noticing the protective way he gazed at Raivis. He pulls away from Lukas and points limply at the stranger.
"Who is he?" Emil asks. Lukas gazes at the man for a moment before smiling slightly.
"Eduard. He's Raivis' big brother," Lukas answers quietly. "He's the idiot who kept me company until Raivis showed up."
"Oh, I see." Emil nods. Now he understood why the man was bristling at the sight of Matthias holding Raivis. They barely looked alike. The only similarity that Emil could pinpoint was their smile, which Emil sees the moment Matthias releases Raivis. Rather than rush to Emil and Lukas, the little teen walked up to his brother and attacked him with a desperate hug.
"We should really get going!" Lukas calls over to Matthias, who nods obediently before beckoning the Galante brothers to follow him.

Chapter Text

"Ah, hello little friend!" Ivan calls, beckoning Eduard to his side. The tall blond walks over nervously.
"Y-yes Mister-"
"Cousin." Ivan corrects, smiling sweetly at Eduard. He found it cute that Eduard was so shaky. He was like an excited puppy.
"Oh, right, ah- What is it cousin Ivan?" Eduard stammers quietly, his eyes looking everywhere but Ivan's.
"You are looking very strangely. What is wrong?" Ivan asks him. He feels a frown form on his lips when Eduard stiffens and shakes his head.
"Nothing!" He pipes.
"Do not lie to me," Ivan warns darkly, his childish tone gone. He was worried, is all. Unfortunately, Eduard seems to become even more frightened. Ivan was perplexed... What did he say that was so wrong?
"I'm just w-worried about the people in N-Natalya and Katyusha's basement." Eduard stammers quickly. Ivan nods, pleased that he was able to get Eduard to open up. It was a shame that his worries were so pathetic.
"Oh? They will be fine, Natalya is going to check in on them right now!" Ivan says wth a sweet smile. The fact that Eduard pales at this frustrates Ivan, for he definitely didn't say anything wrong.
"B-both of them...?" Eduard asks quietly. Ivan notices the terror in his eyes and the tremor in his hands. What was he so afraid of?
"Yes, but-"
"Ah, there he is Linerle!" A voice yells from the corner. Ivan snaps his mouth shut and looks to see Raivis and Lukas running towards him.
"Little Raivis?" He sputters, feeling his heart sink. This couldn't be happening. Why was the one good thing he had being ripped from his grasp?
"Eh?! Läti!" Eduard gasps from beside Ivan. Ivan looks at him only to see that his terror was gone. He looked relieved. Ivan opens his mouth to speak, but he can't get anything out as the little teen grabs Eduard and continues running.
"It was nice m-meeting you, cousin Ivan!" Raivis calls over his shoulder. Ivan starts after then, desperation clawing at his mind. He couldn't lose him. He needed him.
"Little brother!" Katyusha's voice whines behind him. Ivan refuses to stop, he needed to catch little Raivis.
"Iva-a-an!" She calls again, her voice growing close. He shouldn't stop, but... Ivan halts reluctantly, his lip quivering. He was too slow to catch up with them, anyways. Was there a point in shedding his much-needed energy?
"He's gone, big sister..." Ivan says tearfully, his eyes locked on the ground. His younger sister Natalya shoots a glare over Ivan's shoulder before speaking up.
"Chasing them is pointless. We have different option with better chances of success." She says simply, her voice low. Ivan looks up from the ground and at her. He winces slightly at her intense gaze, but swallows his discomfort.
"How do you mean?" He asks weakly. Katyusha looked just as confused as Ivan felt.
"If you give me, say half of a year, I can get him back." Natalya declares, her voice confident. Ivan didn't trust this declaration in the slightest.
"How?" Katyusha asks, beating Ivan to the chase. The platinum haired woman turns her icy gaze to the hallway behind Ivan.
"You will see." Is all she says before taking off behind Ivan.
"She scares me sometimes," Katyusha says with a light laugh, grabbing Ivan's arm gently. "I still love her though! Need something to cheer you up, little brother?"
"Vodka fixes everything." Ivan murmurs, a small smile returning to his face. One of the good things about a life as long as his was the company of his sisters. Perhaps it was the only good thing, save for Vodka and sunflowers.
Katyusha frowns slightly, shaking her head. "Are you sure it is okay for you to be getting drunk, Ivan?" She asks worriedly, squeezing her brother's arm gently. Ivan nods.
"It is probably the most appropriate time for alcohol, no? Do not worry yourself too much."

Chapter Text

Matthias gazes at the road quietly as he drives, listening to the chattering of Emil and Raivis' brother. Immediately the two were at each others throats, which saddened Matthias a little. Luckily the sadness was overpowered by his glee. He'd gotten his boy's back.
"Are you okay Matthias?" Lukas asks quietly, setting a hand on his shoulder gently. Matthias flashes him one of his trademark grins, glancing at him momentarily before turning back the road.
"Better than ever, Lukas!" He responds. Lukas didn't look convinced by this.
"That couldn't possibly be true. Why so quiet?"
Matthias purses his lips, staring out at the winding road. What was wrong with him? He had no good reason to mope, and yet he was. Lukas nudges him lightly, his usually icy gaze soft.
"What's wrong?" Lukas asks. Matthias sighs quietly, shrugging.
"I don't know, I'm just... I should have ignored you that day. I should've joined you anyways, I-"
"How annoying," Lukas mumbles affectionately. He pinches Matthias softly, a small smile on his face. "I had no clue you were this stupid."
"Eh?"
"Matthias, I want you to think long and hard about what I'm going to say. Okay?"
Matthias hesitates for a moment, confused by Lukas' behavior. "Sure thing." He says.
"I'm not going to let you blame yourself for something that is nobody's fault. I think that this might've been inevitable. If not me, then who would've been take instead? Emil, Raivis or one of Tino's kids, probably." Lukas says. Matthias stays silent for a moment.
"I missed you so damn much Lukas, you've got no idea." Matthias finally mutters, grinning slightly. Another pinch in placed on Matthias' cheek, this time rough.
"Idiot." Is all Lukas says as Matthias whines with pain.
"You're so mean!" Matthias whines, faking a pout. The Norwegian next to him shrugs and looks out the window.
"Yes, and you're annoying." Lukas responds flatly. Matthias laughs loudly, taking a left on the road.
"We're practically a perfect match, eh?"
"A match made in hell." Lukas grumbles. Matthias could tell he was suppressing a grin, as he always did, and that put a smile on his face. What a dork he was, that Lukas.
"Whose house are we going to?" Raivis asks from behind him. He was obviously straining to speak over Emil and Eduard's bickering, which amused Matthias.
"Ber and Tino should be home now. I'm thinking we'll surprise them." Matthias responds with a smirk. Eduard and Emil pipe down a bit, the statement obviously piquing their interests.
"Ber and Tino? Who are-"
"Shut up four eyes," Emil interrupts harshly. "How are we going to surprise those two?"
"I'll come moping in with you, like as if they never called... Then BAM! Lukas will strut in with Raivis and his brother like nothing ever happened."
"That sounds stupid." Emil grumbles. Matthias frowns slightly.
"Agreed." Lukas pipes from his seat, smirking slightly.
"Aw man, you two are just jealous of my awesome ideas!" Matthias exclaims, pulling up in his brother's driveway.
"Whatever." Emil mutters, hopping out of the car and shutting it. Matthias does the same, biting back a smile. He slams his door and catches up to Emil, walking in step with the teen. The door swings open before Matthias could even reach the stairs to reveal a squealing boy barreling towards him.
"Uncle Matthias!!" Peter cries, ramming into Matthias and hugging him. Matthias laughs and shakes him off, ruffling his blonde hair. At this, Emil jabs his elbow into Matthias' ribs.
"What happened to moping?" The teen hisses, catching the attention of a certain intimidating Swede.
"What d'ya mean by that?" He asks gruffly. Matthias groans slightly, puffing his cheeks out.
"Aw, you ruined the surprise Emil!" Matthias whines, pouting at the teen accusingly. Emil scoffs, looking offended.
"Don't you go blaming me, now!"
"Surprise? I love surprises!" Peter exclaims from next to Matthias.
"What's with all the comm- Matthias?" Tino walks out of the house, clad in his shooting gear.
"You went shooting on your date?" Emil asks with a snicker. Tino opens his mouth, ready to go on the defensive, when he is interrupted by Lukas.
"Can we come out yet?" The Norwegian calls from the truck. Matthias jumps slightly at this before turning back to him.
"You don't really have a choice now!" He yells back.
"Lukas? Lukas!" Tino gasps from beside Berwald. The small blonde man drags his husband over to the car hurriedly, looking shocked. When out of the car comes not only Lukas, but Raivis as well, the little Finn bursts into tearful laughter. Matthias smiles at the display, amused by his brother-in-law's excitement.
"Äiti, Isä!" Raivis cries, tumbling into the men's arms carelessly. Eduard was watching on protectively from within Matthias' truck as the men blanketed his brother. Matthias felt a sudden surge of pride, realizing that he was the kid who snuck off and made all of this happen. God damn, was Raivis a little Viking or what?

Chapter Text

"He has such a loving family now..." Eduard muses, watching Raivis get bombarded with loving words and gestures. Lukas nods in agreement, leaning against the wall beside Eduard.
"You do too, you just have to introduce yourself." Lukas reminds him. Eduard gives an agitated sigh, shaking his head.
"You keep saying that, but that Berwald guy is terrifying. I'm scared he'll strangle me if I try doing that." He mumbles.
"He may look intimidating, but he's just bad at communicating. He's a lover, not a fighter."
"That doesn't make him any less terrifying!" Eduard responds, almost defensively, to Lukas. Lukas rolls his eyes before pointing to Tino.
"Buddy, he's the one you should be scared of. I love him, but Tino is a little... Well, let me just say that anybody who hurts his family will get what's coming to them."
"Oh dear..." Eduard mumbles. Lukas groans lightly, grabbing the other man's hand roughly and dragging him to the others. Eduard squirms slightly, sputtering from behind Lukas.
"Guys, have you met Eduard yet?" Lukas asks as he approaches his family. Berwald shakes his head lightly while his husband answers aloud.
"Nope!"
Raivis smiles up at his brother, who was trembling nervously. Lukas could suddenly see a similarity between those two. They both shook like a leaf when intimidated. That was greatly amusing to Lukas.
"A-ah, well..." Eduard starts nervously. Lukas notices that he was gazing at his brother with a bit of desperation, and he sighs to himself when Raivis catches on. How annoying. The little blond scampers up to his brother and grabs his arm affectionately, only to be encased in a protective hug by Eduard.
"Eduard is my big br- Let me go I can speak!" Raivis cries, flustered. Lukas watches as Eduard lets go reluctantly. "There. Eduard is my big brother."
"Oh wow, really? I could hardly tell... We've heard so much about you! I'm Tino Väinämöinen, and this is my husband Berwald." Tino gestures to Berwald who, rather than speaking, walks up to Eduard. The man towered over Eduard, and the frightened look on Eduard's face made Lukas laugh. Still, Lukas was curious as to why Berwald was so close to him.
"Välkommen till familjen." The Swede mumbles before pulling Eduard into a hug. Lukas raises a brow as Matthias laughed beside him. It was sweet, but Berwald? He'd never been the touchy type. Perhaps Tino was rubbing off on him.
"Uhm, ah... I-I don't speak that language, s-sir!" Eduard manages. He looked terrified.
"That's okay. 'S not all that 'mportant." Berwald responds, leaving Eduard bewildered. Lukas bites back a fit of laughter at this.
"He fits in perfectly." Matthias comments, soft enough that only Lukas can hear him. Lukas nods in response, nudging Matthias lightly.
"I knew he would."
"He'd replace you perfectly Matthias." Emil cuts in, smirking slightly. Lukas nods in agreement, jokingly of course, as Matthias gives a hurt gasp.
"He'd better not! I'm supposed to be your favorite blond." Matthias barks back, gazing steadily into Lukas' icy blue eyes.
"Truth be told, you're impossible to replace. Too clingy and annoying."
"That's sweet of you, Lukas!" Emil teases, causing Lukas to turn on him.
"Big brother." He says simply, his eyes burning with determination. Emil shakes his head, scowling at the thought of calling Lukas big brother.
"No. I'm not calling you big brother just because you were abducted."
Lukas furrows his brow and steps closer to Emil. "Say it. Big brother." Intimidation should work better than pity.
"No, get away from me!" Emil groans, stepping back. Lukas steps forward again.
"It's easy to say."
"I don't care!"
"Big brother."
"I am not calling you that!"
Berwald and Tino were now watching amusedly. "How sweet!" Tino says with a little laugh. Lukas nods.
"Yes, calling me big brother is sweet. Be sweet for big brother."
"Stop pestering me!" Emil snaps, stomping off. Lukas glances to Matthias, who was laughing hysterically, and grins.
"Oh, how I've missed that." Lukas muses. Matthias nods.
"I bet. He's turning out to be a lot like you! It's cute." Matthias says with a wink. Lukas shakes his head lightly, reaching up to pinch Matthias' cheek.
"Don't say stuff like that, idiot. It sounds creepy coming from you." Lukas scolds coldly. He clamps his fingers onto Matthias' cheek and holds it until he hears the taller man whine.
"You're so mean, dude!" Matthias complains, rubbing his cheek. Lukas rolls his eyes.
"No, you're just dramatic." Lukas responds before stalking away towards Eduard. He couldn't help but feel a little happy to be back, and he knew that he missed Matthias. He just hated to admit it, is all.

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"Stop pestering me!" Emil snaps, flustered. He didn't need to sit and deal with Lukas' peculiarities because he'd been abducted recently. Emil had to draw the line somewhere, and that line was drawn at calling Lukas 'Big Brother'. It was a sorry shame that Lukas was so adamant on being called such.
Emil stomps off as Matthias laughs at his plight. Did nobody take him seriously? He wasn't obligated to call Lukas 'Big Brother', so why should he? At least, that's how Emil saw it, and Lukas wasn't quite so willing to ignore the 'Big Brother' nickname. He missed Lukas, he wouldn't dare deny it, but perhaps he didn't really miss this about him. After all, it did stress Emil, and who in their right mind would yearn for what causes them pain? Not Emil.
"E-Emil, hold on," A gentle voice calls from behind Emil. Knowing who it was immediately, Emil couldn't help but smile a little. Raivis. The silver-haired teen stops and turns to Raivis.
"What do you want?" He asks, a little rougher than intended. Emil begins to panic, but feels thankfully relieved upon noticing Raivis' obliviousness to his tone. When the small blond catches up to him, Emil continues into the Väinämöinen's home. He needed to pack his bags, after all.
"Um, well- I wanted t-to say thanks, is all!" Raivis sputters, surprising Emil. The shock and confusion he felt at this is why he couldn't fight off the embarrassed red in his face. It is also why he could not stop his mouth from curling into a shaky, bashful grin.
"Ah... Can I ask why?" Emil asks.
"You helped me with Lukas, and that means you also helped me find Eduard, and-"
"O-oh, wait, uh-" Emil bites his tongue, mentally scolding himself for interrupting Raivis just to stumble over his words. "Sorry. I was just trying to say that you shouldn't thank me for that. It put you into danger, you know."
Raivis shrugs. "Sure it did, but I chose to do it. And you chose to help me." He responds with a small smile. Emil practically felt his soul leave his body at this. That grin was perfect. It made Raivis look perfect.
"Yeah..."
"Yeah." Raivis echoes. Emil catches himself staring after a moment and looks away promptly, his cheeks burning hot. As silence wedges it's way between the pair, the air grows heavy with discomfort. Emil shifts his weight into his heels nervously, his gaze focused on the wall behind Raivis.
"So, uh..." Emil starts shakily.
"Yes?" Raivis asks. Emil winces at how hopeful Raivis sounded, embarrassed that he had nothing to say.
"Nothing, sorry." Emil mutters.
"Ah," Raivis sighs, "O-okay."
Again, silence drowns Emil and Raivis in their own panicky, awkward behavior. Emil couldn't take the heavy atmosphere; he needed it to dissolve into their usual, comforting silence.
"Well... Um... Doesn't your asshole brother need you?"
"Eduard! A-ah, sorry Emil, I've got to go out to him... Uh, sorry." Raivis sputters nervously, waving hastily to Emil before rushing off. Emil nods silently before giving a frustrated sigh. He acted so, so uncool. That made Emil worry, not that he had much to worry over. Still, he had to admit to his faults. He was panicking whenever Raivis was around now, and surely that'd make his infatuation obvious. Clearly Raivis hadn't noticed it yet, but he will. Raivis most certainly will, or so said Emil.

Chapter Text

It'd been nearly half a year since Emil last spoke of Ivan, and exactly a year since Lukas and Raivis were retrieved. Naturally, Emil still had his doubts about the entire endeavor. For starters, what predator could possibly lose their prey so easily? It was unlikely that both men, plus Eduard, could escape unharmed like they did. Not unless that creep Ivan allowed them to flee. Second, isn't it odd that Eduard was so conveniently located for Raivis to find? It was, again, highly unlikely that it'd be so easy. Finally, how did any of this tie into Ivan's strange behavior? Emil vividly recalled him yelling about 'living too long', and yet it was never mentioned again. Emil never thought his life, real as it was, could be sprinkled with so many plot holes.
He wasn't going to let such trivial matters bother him though. It was over and done with half a year ago, so why should he dwell on it? Raivis, Eduard and Lukas were safe and that is all that mattered to Emil. Well actually, it was their safety that mattered, but Emil was more concerned with preparing himself for a date. A real, true date. It wasn't his first, and certainly wasn't going to be his last, but he couldn't stifle his anxieties.
"Really? That shirt is kind of... Well, you know." Ebba mutters, looking Emil up and down. Emil glares at her and crosses his arms. What was wrong with his shirt? He thought he looked pretty fly, for what it's worth, and Ebba's judgemental behavior only worked to worsen his nerves.
"No, I don't know. What the hell is wrong with it?" Emil asks snappily. The look on Ebba's faced frustrated Emil further, as she seemed amused. If he didn't look good, like she said, why in the world was she so amused?
"You just look like you're overcompensating for your lack of personality with flashy, gaudy clothing. That's all." Ebba smirks.
"This shirt is neither flashy nor gaudy, Swede... It's a black button-up." Emil grumbles, narrowing his eyes at her. When the girl shrugs nonchalantly, Emil shuts his closet and pushes past her.
"I'm not a Swede, Emil! Also, if you don't fix that attitude, your girl is never going to accept a second date. Women hate pricks." Ebba calls after him. Emil sighs lowly before calling over his shoulder. No, he didn't need to explain himself to her. No, he wasn't worried that she may be right about his outfit. No, he didn't care about her opinion. He just felt it necessary to explain that, no, he is not going on a date with a girl.
"Yeah? It's a good thing Raivis isn't a chick." He snaps, heading out of his bedroom and down their stairs of Lukas' home. Ebba's gasp sounded a bit happier than Emil would've expected from her, but perhaps he was imagining it. There was no reason for her to be happy about this... Situation.
"Dude!" Matthias calls from downstairs, startling Emil slightly. The light-haired teen curses to himself before shaking off the jolt, straightening his face.
"Hey Matthias. Hey... Big Brother." Emil greets simply, cringing inwardly at calling Lukas 'big brother'. He felt it necessary to do every so often, hoping it'd help improve his attitude by a little. A little goes a long way, after all. The look on Lukas' face was worth the discomfort though, as his usually cold and stoic expression was one of pure affection and surprise.
"Say it again." Lukas demands quietly, a small grin pulling at his mouth. Emil swallows his discomfort and crosses his arms.
"Seriously?"
"Yes, say it." Lukas responds firmly. His voice didn't waver, but the intensity in his blue eyes did.
"Ugh... Fine, Big Brother." Emil spits quickly, looking away. He felt himself start to blush under the attentive eyes of four Nordic men, one of which was 'aww-ing' loudly as his husband gave an amused grunt.
"I wish I had a little brother!" Tino gushes, cupping his cheek with a hand. Emil scoffs at this, rolling his eyes.
"Why? So you can torture him like Lukas does?" Emil grumbles.
"Y'chose to say it, y'know." Berwald comments, eliciting a loud laugh from Matthias.
"Yeah, you did! What's gotten into ya, huh?"
"He's learned that calling me 'Big Brother' is fun and exciting." Lukas replies for Emil, a light smile gracing his pale lips. Emils shakes his head indignantly, his disagreement wholehearted.
"It is not! I hate calling you that." Emil protests. Lukas shrugs at this, his gaze more amused than icy, and Matthias simply continues laughing.
"Do you need a ride to Eduard's apartment? Ber and I wouldn't mind dropping you off on our way home!" Tino offers with a smile.
"No thanks, I'll just bike there. I'm taking Raivis somewhere specific, so I'll need my own ride." Emil responds quietly. Matthias' laughter dies down at this, and he simply smiles.
"You're actually taking the Viking on a date?" He asks. Emil nods reluctantly, looking away.
"It's not a big deal or anything." He mumbles, flustered.
Emil didn't expect Lukas to stand up and walk over to him. He didn't expect his brother to ruffle his hair and lower himself to Emil's height. He didn't expect a warm smile and advice. It's what he got though, and he didn't expect to appreciate it as much as he did.
"You'll be fine. Just make sure not to call him short... And also, don't do anything remotely scary. I think you know how easy he is to frighten." Lukas instructs gently. Emil nods, returning Lukas' small smile meekly.
"Right... I've got it under control."
"Good luck little Bror." Lukas says, pushing Emil gently to the door.
"Go get some, little buddy!" Matthias calls after him, winking at Emil. Emil wrinkles his nose at the comment, biting back a laugh. As he walked out the door, he felt his confidence raise slightly. If Raivis was willing to go on a date with him, then why worry? He could figure this out. Easy.
As Emil biked down the familiar, empty main-road of his little town, he felt newfound serenity wash over him. It was just enough to calm his nerves. The amount of times he's ridden down this road with Raivis were too many to count, and every time led to something new. Once, it led to Emil hating Raivis for being so close to his brother. The second time, it led to saving Lukas. The third led to Emil teaching Eduard a bit of Norwegian with the help of Raivis. Today, it led to Emil's first date with Raivis.
Emil knew that he'd ride this road with Raivis again, and again, and again. It was inevitable. It was inevitable because Raivis was surprisingly brave, and Emil was a closeted coward. They fit together in a way that was comfortable. At least, that was just how Emil saw it.