Even Heroes Throw Temper Tantrums

Back to the window, is Emma, keeping her quiet vigil for the men to return home from war.

Matti staggers into the cabin, bleeding. He shakes his head, grasping a hand to a spot between his ribs, in his left side; the worst of the bloodflow has stopped already, with the severe freeze outside. "Damn… Russki saw me." He only barely manages to lay aside his rifle, as he staggers forwards, bumping into a table.
Vesa is right behind Matti, leaving his skiis in a bit of a pile in the interest of helping Matti inside instead. "Wasn't a loss," he says, grabbing for a chair from the table. "Least we know what they have up there. Sit down, Matti."

Emma sets aside her coffee mug with an alarmed expression as Matti staggers in. Clutching chest, that's never a good sign. She reaches up to his arms to guide him into the chair that Vesa has just pulled out. "Sit down," she echoes the younger man's instructions. "Let me see."

Niko sits up in his cot and watches the soldiers arrive. To Vesa, he says, "What do they have up there? It's my town, you know." He tries to keep the anxiousness out of his voice, but can't. The small man stares at Matti's chest, wincing.

"I hope they're still shooting at ghosts," Erkki says, helping Matti inside. "God damn universal gun, I hate those. I'm gonna go up there and blow it up." Well, he can claim so, anyway.

Matti draws in a ragged breath, shutting his eyes and clenching his teeth, lips pressed together into a tight, bloodless line. He sits/falls down on the chair, slumping there. Through the pain, he grunts, "I can… breathe ok. I don't think it hit a lung. I think it just… Went through the side. Didn't get lodged inside or anything." Matti might not be a medic, but he's been shot up a lot. You start to learn, which wounds are serious after a while.

"Saw four Russians up there," Vesa tells Niko. He stays near Matti as Emma patches the man up. "One of those universal guns. Didn't see any tanks or nothing, just a truck. Lots of ammo, though…for the rifles and parabellum too. But the Russians got good cover."

Matti adds, "I shot up the gunner's hand pretty badly, but that gun pit is gonna cause us problems. We need to either hit the gun with an AT rifle, or assault the pit itself with grenades."

"Universal gun?" Emma echoes distractedly, not familiar with all the gun terminology. She starts peeling away layers to get a look at the wound in Matti's chest. His assessment seems to match with her own, and she nods. "It is not so bad. You were lucky." In truth, she's more than a little relieved by this proclamation.

Niko nods, frowning. "A Rat-Tail?" He sighs, "Don't suppose you got resupplied with 20mm from the Good Sergeant, eh?" The small man touches his own chest wound, "I would say I wish I could have gone with you, but I doubt it would have made any difference."

"Wouldn't have helped much, as I don't think any of us know how to use the Solothurn." This, from between gritted teeth from Matti. "Lucky a few times. Some other time, eh?" Matti grins, despite the pain, at Emma, his particular band of fatalism writ all over his strained, angular face.

Vesa lets Matti answer that question. He thumps down into one of the other chairs at the table, tugging his scarf out of its tight wrap around his neck. "There's fewer of them there than there were at Pyyvaara. Just need to take more of us next time I guess."

"Don't talk like that," Emma chides him, not much impressed by fatalism. She looks over to Vesa. "Vesa, could you please fetch the things from the table over there?" While she continues to examine the wound and poke and prod just to make sure nothing vital was hit.

Niko scratches his head. "There's a big road to the north of town," he says. "Could be the next chance we get up there, they'll have already been resupplied with replacements." He shrugs, "But I agree. Something should be done about that Rats Tail."

Vesa turns his head, looking over where Emma indicates. He worms out of his chair, gathering the supplies and their small bag and bringing them over to Emma's makeshift exam room. Peering a little at Matti's wound, he steps back to watch what Emma does.

"Everyone's luck runs out one day, Emma. Pretending don't make it different." Matti has to pause in mid-sentence, as he's prodded - he can't contain the wince and the grimace. "At any rate, we don't really have the resources to make a full-scale assault on the place." Matti's eyes follow Vesa in a rather unfriendly manner - he doesn't like being ogled in that manner.

"Dwelling on it doesn't make it any different either," Emma points out with a frown. "You don't know what will happen. My father fought in the last war, and he made it through just fine." She glances over. "Thank you, Vesa." She prepares to clean out the wound, but warns, "This will hurt, I'm sorry." Even though he well knows by now.

Vesa doesn't seem to notice the unfriendly look. Or if he does, he takes his sweet time acknowledging it and backing off. Without a look at Matti's face, he straightens his back and slides away, pulling off his hat and moving over towards the window.

Niko stands up from the bed and walks over to where Vesa is standing by the window. The small man is slightly hunched, no doubt still feeling pain from his chest and gut wounds. He stares outside. "Well?" he asks. "How did the village look? Did the Russians look comfortable and happy? How many houses demolished?"

"I've fought in a war before, and I've seen pretty much all of my comrades die. It's all about odds. I'm not willing to put my faith in blind optimism. People die, in war… In the end, no one can beat those odds." Despite the pain, Matti stares directly at Emma, biting his teeth as she works on the puncture in his side. He glances aside at Niko, muttering, "It was pretty intact, unfortunately. Looks like the folks there left in a hurry. The artillery is also in a gun pit, which means that the gunners aren't particularly vulnerable."

"Blind pessimism is no better than blind optimism," Emma tells him pointedly, meeting his gaze for a moment before returning it to her work. She half-listens to the rest of the discussion, not much interested in the military details. The wound is cleaned and bandaged in no time, and then Emma says, "My father will have to look at it later, but that should keep for now."

Vesa is about to answer Niko, but ends up not having to. He stays silent, leaning a shoulder against the wall and folding his arms.

Niko nods to Matti. "At least there's a chance my folks made it out in time." He tries to smile, "I have no qualms about destroying our old home if it means killing those sons of bitches who are quartered inside." He resumes staring out the window, idly scratching at his bandages. "I'm not too good at throwing grenades. Or anything, for that matter," he says. "Sonja's son is likely to have a better arm than mine. But I guess I better learn how to one of these days."

"Is it? I don't think so. With pessimism, it's a pleasant surprise if things do end up going well." Matti says this to Emma with a twisted, lopsided grin that is all the more strained due to having his wound treated at the same time. He glances at Niko, muttering, "And yes, you should. Every soldier needs to know how to throw a molotov or a grenade. Not much you can do against a BA or a tank, with your rifle."

"And the rest of the time, you're miserable," Emma declares. She finishes tying the bandage and then steps back, eyeing Matti's bloodstained shirt. "I can scrub that out for you. I have to do my apron as well." The one she's just now wiping her own bloody hands on, over top of the stains already there.

Niko shrugs. "Running from tanks seems to be prudent," he says softly, continuing to stare out the window. "I seem to recall you getting chewed up pretty bad the last time you rushed at a tank with a grenade." He shakes his head, "The sight of you getting shot like that doesn't exactly inspire bravery in others."

"And Arto did the same thing, and blew up the tank. What's your point? Sometimes, you have to take risks when the situation demands it. It's not about bravery." Matti grimaces, his face distorting into a rather evil-looking expression. Whether this is due to the pain from Emma finally tightening the bandage around his torso, or his words, is unclear. To Emma, he snorts, "Oh, it's not that dramatic. I get by, from day to day. Besides, what else am I going to do? Dying has always seemed like the greater of two evils." How positively Eyoresque. He wasn't quite this bad, when Anna was alive.

Emma scoffs right back. "Getting by with gloom and doom about when your luck is going to run out. You've changed, Matti." And not in a good way. She unties her apron in the back and pulls it off, a bit more vehemently than she probably intended, clearly irritated. "You can wash your own damn shirt," she says shortly, withdrawing her offer. And she's not prone to swearing, either. Her father would probably have a fit.

While the others talk about their demises, Vesa sits quietly on a crate by the window. Rifle pulled across his lap he checks the clip in the methodical way he's learned from being around the older men.

"People change, Anna." Matti doesn't seem to even notice the slip, his lips pursing and his brows drawing down in a stubborn frown. With her latter words, he barks out, "Fine. I'll bloody well wash it myself, then." And with that, Matti quite suddenly stands up, wincing at the pain from his side - but only a little, as he's making a conscious effort to to control his expressions. He then proceeds to walk to the weapons rack, a little less brusquely than when he first set out, and carefully picks up his rifle, heading rather rigidly for the door, moving with a stiff gait that suggests he's doing his best to avoid his injuries from showing. He's still slightly favouring his other leg, too.

Niko glances away from the window to look first at Emma, then at the departing Matti. The small man doesn't make any attempts to restrain Matti. Instead, he resumes staring out the window and mutters to Vesa, "Never a shortage of drama around here, eh Vesa?"

Oh, but Emma notices the slip. Again. And that only makes her angrier. "*Emma*," she shouts after him on his way out the door. She stalks off in the other direction in a huff, to scrub her apron "clean".

"Whatever!" *slam* Matti stands outside the door, red-faced with shame and anger, seething there with various supressed emotions for some time. For a moment, he seemed honstly surprised, and aghast at the fact that he picked the wrong name, but the flicker was almost too far to catch. At any rate, he sets out, going skiing, wounded as he is. Cooling off.

Emma either doesn't hear Vesa's question or assumes it was directed at someone else. Scrub scrub scrub. Hopefully nobody notices the pained expression on her face, or the dampness in her eyes.

"How should I know?" Niko shrugs. "Crazy seems to run in the Mannikainen family. The eldest runs back into a village that's already on full alert, the girl reads Karl Marx, and this one appears to throw tantrums at those nurses who we all owe our lives to." He shakes his head. "As good as a play, eh?" he says drily.

"Don't know. Never seen a play." Vesa smirks, casting another glance over towards the door before he shrugs, setting his rifle up against the wall. "People just time to calm down, I guess."

Emma continues to scrub, taking out her frustration on the unsuspecting piece of once-white fabric. Finally she just stops, wiping at her eyes with a sleeve stained with old, dried bloodstains.

"I've never seen a play either," Niko says. "Just a saying. Guess this is normal when different families have to live under the same roof. Still beats trench duty." The small man clears his throat. Either he doesn't notice Emma's emotional state, or he pretends not to.

Emma gives up on the apron. It's probably a lost cause anyway, especially when her heart's not in it. She wrings it out and then hangs it up to dry. Niko may not be paying attention, but Emma feels all the eyes in the room on her, at least in her own mind. And so she finishes rinsing off her hands and then flees, grabbing her winter gear from her meager pile of belongings and donning it.

Niko glances at the door, clears his throat, and walks over to the stove. As he passes Emma, he says, "I'm making some coffee if you want some." Before she can respond, he's at the stove setting water to boil. Maybe he does notice after all, but he holds his tongue about it.

Emma sniffles a bit, and shakes her head. "No thank you. I'm going out." She pulls her gloves into place and then heads for the door, retrieving her skis before venturing out into the cold.

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