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    The amount of people Ivan knew was staggering, as was the amount of soldiers willing to die for him. None spoke of the scene they saw cross their paths-- a frantic Sasha, a bloodied Shiveov and a disheveled Ivan. The Marshal quickly guided Shiveov outside to the car where the previous trio of Viktor, Leo and Makar were awaiting him. Makar rushed forward when he saw Shiveov stumble from the building clutched in Ivan's arms. He looked awfully pale. 

        "Shiveov needs to get to the dispensary at once." Ivan sternly stated.

        "I can tell. I can dress the wound--"

    Ivan shook his head. "This bullet hit a vein. Dressing it won't do anything but waste bandage. He needs pressure applied to it and taken to the hospital at once.

    Makar nodded and took Shiveov into the back of the truck, leaving Sasha and Ivan with Viktor and Leo. Ivan looked to Sasha, who still had the revolver on her person. 

        "You need to go with him." 

        "B-but, Ivan--"

        "No, it's not safe for you here. Not yet." 

        "The letters...!" Sasha suddenly exclaimed. Ivan rose an eyebrow in confusion.

        "What letters...?" 

        "The lavender letters in the bunker. I... I read them all."

    Ivan's face warmed up at the thought of someone else reading those letters-- some of them were a bit unsavory. He coughed nervously and then returned his gaze to her with slight interest.

        "I want to help reunite the love within those letters. I felt the emotion in those letters, Ivan. [Name] is my friend, too. She stuck up for me when no one else could. She's risked everything! If I'm not there to save her-- to save you both-- then I can't really be called a friend."

    The marshal understood where she was coming from, but... he also knew that he and [Name] were immortal. Sasha was not. He would never be able to forgive himself if Sasha was killed during the rescue. There was something in her eyes, though... something fierce. Something that Ivan knew his command couldn't break. She was truly willing to risk her life for [Name]. She was willing to risk her life for him. Ivan looked down at the steps and then back to her with a nod.

        "Tuck that revolver under your shirt and stay close. We're going to pay Stalin a little visit."





    The cocky Dictator knew what was currently going on in the Kremlin basement and yet, he ignored it. He sat there, short and stout, smoking his pipe and glancing over papers regarding statistics. He felt so proud of his army, mostly because he had intimidated them into following his orders. He grinned wickedly at the papers before him.

        'No retreating lest you be killed by your own? Classic! These men are truly savage on the battlefield. Let Hitler say what he wishes. My army will destroy all that lie in our path, Panzer or no.'

    His thoughts were interrupted when his door burst open. He looked up with a furrowed brow, amused to see what fool would have burst in this time, clearly failing to follow orders. However as he glanced up to the door, his pipe nearly clamored on the old wooden desk. He used his tongue to keep the pipe from falling as his mouth opened agape. It was the one man he failed to tame standing before him, his eyes in a haze. They were unreadable-- unpredictable. Ivan slammed the very door he burst through, placing Sasha protectively behind him. If a tank didn't stop Ivan, no amount of bullets could. 

        "Why are you--!!"

        "Where is [Name]!?" Ivan's voice roared over Stalin's.

    Stalin glared at him, taking his pipe from his mouth.

        "She is where she is supposed to be, I am sure."

        "She was never supposed to be in the GODDAMNED BASEMENT!" Ivan slammed his hand down on the desk to further show his anger.

        "She was never supposed to interfere with Beria's toy, either. But, she did. And like all misbehaved soldiers, we must discipline them to show what is right and wrong."

        "[Name] is not a soldier for you. And she isn't your toy!"

        "And this," Stalin stood up, though Ivan dwarfed his size, "isn't YOUR Union! So you will leave before I force you to leave in a bodybag!" 

        "Heh. I'd personally like to see you try." Ivan chuckled darkly. 

    Stalin narrowed his eyes at the man before him and withdrew his pistol, but before he could even point it, Sasha had shoved Ivan out of the way and held the heavy gun at the Dictator. Ivan was surprised, but pleasantly so. 

        "Your weapon is not even pointed, and I could have shot you three times over." Sasha hissed.

        "Tell us where [Name] and Beria are, and this will end, Stalin." Ivan growled.

        "You seem to have a pretty good grasp of where they are at. You can go find them yourself." 

    Ivan walked up to the desk and slammed his powerful hands down, shaking the weakening wooden structure. He was face to face with Stalin.

        "If I find out you lied to me, and they're not there, I'm going to come back up here and then..." He trailed off.

        "...And then what?" Stalin demanded.

    Ivan turned his head while walking out with a toothy smirk. "Oh, that's a surprise." 

    The pair walked out from the office leaving Stalin in a tizzy. He hadn't expected Ivan to even know about this, much less come back early for it! He puffed on his pipe nervously, angrily snatching it from his mouth as he sat there in his chair, elbow on his desk, his hand to his face, pondering. He growled and returned to his work suddenly, trying to erase the experience from his mind. But he could never focus back on his work. If Beria had moved [Name] somewhere else, Ivan would come back up and he might snap. That was the thing about Ivan; he was the wild card. The variable in the scheme. Ivan wasn't tamed like the others, he was merely suppressed. Eventually, Ivan would snap. Which is why Stalin never wanted Ivan to fall in love. Without the other variable-- [Name]-- Ivan was fairly tame. He would never be as tame as the regular soldiers, but was fairly so. However, since [Name] entered the scene, she had consumed all of his extra time. He would go out of his way to bring her flowers, have lunch with her; he was absolutely smitten. He protected her like a dog. This nature was making him even more uncontrollable. And now... now it could cost him his life. His Union. Everything he killed for, gone! He sweat as he awaited his fate, the words up and falling off of the paper he read.





        "So," A small posse of people followed Ivan as he neared the basement. "What's the plan?"

    Ivan looked to Viktor with a sigh. He honestly didn't know the plan. Yet, his feet forced him to march toward the basement. 

        "I don't know." He practically whispered.

        "Surely Beria doesn't have an army, right...?" Leo spoke up, nervously chuckling. Nobody returned his chuckle.

    Sasha fidgeted nervously with her hair as she walked beside Ivan, looking up into his eyes trying to find a solution. She saw nothing in his dull eyes. From behind, Luneth swallowed nervously the closer they got to the basement. It didn't feel right to go into this dangerous situation with no plan. He fumbled around with his cap.

        "R-realistically," He began. "How many soldiers do you think Beria has down there?"

    While walking, Ivan looked up and pondered it. 

        "No more than five. Most of Beria's supporters are confused partisans and greedy politicians. Any soldiers he does have on his side... are probably paid."

        "So... in theory, we could take them?"

    Ivan tilted his head, stopping and turning to look back at his group.

        "Without a doubt. In fact... the basement is large. There are multiple rooms. However, there is a large storage room down another stairwell, next to the one that goes down and to the left toward the smaller rooms. This one goes down to the right. We-- no, I can round the corner quickly. The guards, if there are any, won't know what to expect. I can dispatch them easily and then as a group we can burst through the door and wham!" He smacked a fist into an open palm. "We have him surrounded, trapped in a room with only one way out."

    Sasha grinned a little at his newfound enthusiasm. "So, that is when we'll kill him?"

    Ivan's previous glee slipped from his face when she asked the question. Her grin faltered. 

        "I don't think it is best to kill him." Ivan finally replied. Sasha was appalled. 

        "B-but--! Ivan!" She yelped.

        "I know what you're thinking. I agree. But... there's no way. Even if I kill him, it wouldn't be a wise decision. At much as I do want to... as much as I'm not the only general with a distaste for him... we can't. We'll have to see to it that he is thrown into prison, and that is that."

        "Why?" Viktor hissed. "Why does that bastard get off so easily? Think about it, Ivan. He's harmed Sasha beyond repair. He could have harmed [Name] beyond repair. He has taken what you cherish and love so much and literally, positively shit on it, claiming her for himself! He is mocking your ability to protect what's yours, and you're just gonna--"

        "No, I'm not." Ivan sternly interjected. "However, if we do kill Beria, you all will most likely be sentenced to prison. Stalin will make sure [Name] and I don't go unscathed either. Nothing good will happen if he dies because of us. That is the only reason I'm not planning to tie him to a noose and drop his ass from a chair."

    Viktor nodded with understanding. Though he still believed that they should kill him, he knew Ivan was right. It was a good thing someone more level-headed was in the group.

    Leo looked up from his feet when he noticed the two ominous staircases before him and his comrades. He looked at Ivan with an eyebrow raised, waiting for a response. His commander only replied by grabbing his rifle from his shoulder, glaring at the stairs with hate.

        "You all wait behind the corner. I'll go and confront the guards." 

    Quietly stepping down the stairs, the group behind Ivan stopped following him as he approached the corner. With a swift turn, the marshal rounded it and smirked deviously. The two guards standing at the door weren't ready to see him of all people. They shook in their boots nervously as he approached. He made a point to cock his bolt while he stood in front of them painfully slow. He wanted them to make no mistake his rifle was loaded and ready to shoot. From the weapon, he glanced up and rose an eyebrow.

        "Where is [Name]?" He demanded. His voice was low, but equally as intimidating as if he had yelled. The left guard approached.

        "S-she's inside the storage chamber with B-Beria, s-sir." 

    The other soldier nodded rapidly to confirm what he'd said.

        "Good. At least you tell the truth." With a strong arm, Ivan grabbed and clutched the first soldier's collar with a death grip. He closed most of the space between their faces, leaving only an inch. His tone was a whisper laced with certain death.

        "If you even so much as utter a sound when I walk past you and your friend, I promise I will make it my life goal to turn your miserable life on its very head. Everything you think you have, everything you think you know will be gone.

    With a fling, the soldier stumbled to his friend, who moved away from Ivan to avoid being manhandled. Ivan had to admit, it was quite refreshing to see other men acknowledge he was the ultimate alpha whether they meant to or not. Both of the soldiers moved to the edge of the wall, watching with wide and fearful eyes as he silently opened the door into the storage room. The duo who had backed away from him were suddenly grabbed from behind by two men, Leo and Viktor. Both of them nodded to Sasha and Luneth.

        "Go with Ivan. Hurry!" Leo exclaimed. Sasha only nodded and went into the room side by side with her companion.

    Immediately when Ivan entered the room, he was swallowed in darkness and his mind became suddenly consumed with a layout of the area, crouching down at once. As if he wasn't already into the mindset of sneaking around, it seemed to kick in once he was in the room that was going make or break a lot of people's lives. He hid behind some crates and sat down with his back against them, clutching the leather strap of his rifle. Meanwhile, on the opposite side, Luneth motioned for Sasha to get down and follow him to more crates, similar to Ivan. He sat down and blinked, trying to adjust his eyes to the darkness. While he was familiar with the room, he wasn't as sure as Ivan was about it; but he had to take charge. Sasha's life was in his hands. Barely, Luneth could make out the commander parallel to him. He watched him closely until he heard voices, realizing that Ivan had probably stopped to listen to them. 

        "Well, [Name], if you truly do not wish to tell me about Sasha's whereabouts..." 

        "I don't KNOW them!" She protested once more. 

        "That is fine." Beria was oddly calm, his back facing her. [Name] tilted her head with skepticism, blinking.

        "If I cannot have Sasha," He turned around at this, wielding a blade in one hand. "Then I shall have you instead."

    Ivan's eyes widened and his head jerked to his right. He felt panic rise within him, fretting what he would arrive to if he didn't get there in time. With the silence of a cat, he sneaked across the floor, his body pressed to the ground like a snake. He used his arms to advance slowly across the surface, getting closer to the dim light in the middle of the room. He took advantage of another stack of crates and hid between them, his back against them once again. His breathing was shallow as he tried to make himself go completely incognito. On the other side, Sasha felt her stomach drop. Part of her wanted to rush out and offer herself to Beria at once, but she knew it would compromise their plan. Her mind flashed back to the letters in the bunker. So much love and compassion were in those letters. Sasha never wanted to see that waiver and she felt that if she gave up her life, she could end their suffering. The girl refrained, though, and scampered silently after Luneth as he moved like Ivan had. Not as brave as Ivan, Luneth quickly shuffled behind some crates, pulling Sasha with him. In his briskness, however, he accidentally knocked over one of the empty wooden crates that he tried to lean against. The ruckus it made caused both [Name] and Beria to flinch, Beria spinning around on his heel. His facial expression turned into a scowl. In alarm, Luneth forced himself and Sasha to the ground. He trembled in fear, praying Sasha didn't start crying or something.

        "[Name]," Beria hissed. "I hope you didn't call anyone for help last time you went out." 

        "How could I have?" [Name] replied. "Your guards barely left me alone in the bathroom stall. There was no way I could have managed to send a call out for help."

    Beria approached the fallen crate with curiosity. His footsteps didn't go unnoticed by Luneth or Sasha. Meanwhile, Ivan sat behind his crates, his heart pounding in his ears. He knew it had to be Luneth and Sasha who'd accidentally tipped the crate over. Though he wasn't quite sure what Beria was armed with, he knew it was no matter to take lightly. If he found them, he wouldn't hesitate to shoot Luneth and capture Sasha once again. Yet, he found himself glued to his spot in safety. He couldn't think of a good strategy at the time that didn't involve shooting Beria at once, which wasn't an option unless it would prevent certain death to Luneth or Sasha. Reluctantly, he waited. He felt helpless, as if all those years of being in command had suddenly failed him.

        "There is no breeze here... how could this have gotten knocked over?"

        "Probably a ghost of a victim you mauled." [Name] jeered.

    Beria ignored her and, after examining the crate, walked toward the area where the two young beings lay in wait. 

            'Wait...'

    He stepped closer.

            'Almost...'

    The man was practically peering over the crate now, but before he could register anything he saw, Luneth shot up from the ground and whacked the old man's head with the butt of his rifle. From her position, Sasha also shot up, her hands trembling with fear as she clutched her revolver and fought back another episode upon laying her eyes on Beria. [Name] yelped in surprise.

        "Sasha! Luneth! What are you doing here?!"

        "They have a death wish!" Beria shouted, withdrawing his pistol.

        "Beria! Put that damn thing down!" [Name] screeched. She wasn't going to allow him to shoot children in front of her.

        "Why would I do that?! They've come to take you away like you took away Sasha. I refuse to allow adolescents to make mockery of me!"

    Out of nowhere, a crate flew across the room and barreled right into Beria's face, causing him to fall to the ground with a grunt of pain. [Name]'s head snapped toward where it had come from, afraid there would be someone worse than Beria standing there who flung the crate. She could only gasp however, tears flooding to her eyes at once at the sight. 

        "I-Ivan!" She shouted. 

        "YOU!?" Beria yelped, standing up. 

        "Damn straight, Beria. I heard about what you've been doing while I've been gone. Just so you know, you're not the alpha when I leave." Ivan adjusted his rifle in his hands and held it with his finger above the trigger, his other hand supporting its weight. He stepped closer to Beria with Luneth and Sasha flanking him.

        "H-how did you get in here?!" Beria demanded. He tried to find a place in the dark room where they couldn't harm him.

        "I have more influence over your 'loyal followers' than your money does." Ivan retorted.

    Quickly, like the rat he was, Beria scrambled behind [Name] for protection against their guns. He held his pistol against her head.

        "Another step and I'll shoot her!"

        "...Eh. Go ahead." 

    Beria stopped in his tracks. What had Ivan just said?

        "W...what?"

        "You heard me. Go ahead. I don't like her anyway." 

    Of course, Ivan was bluffing.

        "Heh. [Name] talked about you to the high heavens. She made it sound like you were a god!"

    Ivan didn't like it, but he had to assume the 'asshole' position. He inwardly flinched at his next sentence.

        "At sex, maybe. Only thing she's good for. Only reason I kept coming back."

    This tickled Beria to bits, causing him to laugh heartily. The sound echoed throughout the room, but Ivan didn't concentrate on it. He only waited until Beria made the mistake of removing the gun from [Name]'s head. As soon as he did, Ivan turned to direct Luneth to tackle him, but the young soldier was already on it. He leapt into the air and crashed into Beria, forcing him on the ground, spurting out angry Russian. Ivan rushed over to the chair [Name] was chained to and with his adrenaline rushing as it was, rather than search for the key to the chains, he just broke them. [Name] felt like she was going to cry as Ivan hoisted her up into his strong arms. He held her there for a few seconds, smelling her hair, stroking her hair, simply taking in the fact that she was alive in his arms. [Name]'s lip began to tremble. She finally felt like her strong pillar was there to protect her. She didn't have to be strong anymore, because Ivan was there to be strong for her as long as she needed. However, she was strong by nature and even though she could have broke down then and there, knowing full well Ivan would have fought like a dog to protect her, she didn't. She stopped hugging him and pulled away, both of them sharing a small second glance before whipping around to Beria. Suddenly, Luneth wailed in pain, feeling a blade slash his arm. Sasha screamed.

        "Luneth!"

        "You fools think I'm going down without a fight?!" Beria hissed, struggling to stand.

    Eerily calm, Ivan stepped in front of Sasha and aimed his rifle. 

        "Don't make me do this, Beria." 

        "Hah! You won't!"

    Ivan shook his head slightly.

        "I will. Put down the knife."

    Sasha stepped beside Ivan, too curious for her own good. Luneth meanwhile managed to escape Beria's reach and crawled over to a corner, biting his lip in pain and clutching his bleeding arm.

    Beria smirked. Ivan was the closest person to him. He held his knife with a shaky hand, but he knew he couldn't miss Ivan's head if he launched his knife. [Name] studied his face; she knew his mind was ticking, reeling away. On instinct, she lowered herself, bending her knees so she could be ready to spring at a moment's notice. Sasha could hardly breathe: she just wanted Beria to move.

        "Good bye, you bastard." Beria whispered before flinging his knife with shocking confidence. 

    Ivan's mind registered the knife was aimed right for his head, but it all happened so fast. His mouth opened slightly in shock and he felt his body want to move, but he knew even if he dropped without thinking about how he did, it would still get him. So, instead, he flinched in wait for the blade to slice into his skull. However, no such thing came. Beria let out a loud gasp. Ivan opened his eyes to see Sasha clutching the handle of the knife, standing in front of him and trembling. Ivan lowered his rifle, still in disbelief. 

        "W-what?!" Beria screeched. He backed against the wall as Sasha approached him.

        "You goddamned bastard." She hissed, putting the knife to his throat. Even though she wanted to slice him, she withdrew herself before she made things worse, remembering what Ivan had said earlier.

    Ivan stepped up from behind her, offering his rifle.

        "Knock him out."

        "Gladly."

    WHACK!!




   
Ivan walked out with Beria slung over his shoulder like a sack of potatoes. Leo and Viktor stood outside of the door, waiting for the group. Viktor grinned and Leo whistled as they came out with Beria successfully out cold and the others alive. Leo was still whistling in victory when he felt Viktor nudge his side, gesturing with a frown toward Luneth. Leo's eyes widened in alarm.

        "What happened?!"

        "Luneth and Beria got into a fight... Beria slashed him with his knife."

    Viktor shuddered. "What else happened?"

        "Sasha damn well saved my life." Ivan remarked. Sasha smiled very slightly.

        "Well now!" Leo laughed, patting her shoulder. "How did that happen?"

        "Beria flung his knife toward Ivan's head, but I was able to grab it right before it hit him." Sasha proudly stated, though her voice was soft.

        "Haha, that's what I like to see, kid!" Viktor ruffled her hair.

    Behind Ivan, [Name] stood next to Luneth, watching over his arm. She'd been silent this whole time because while she did appreciate the others, she wished to speak with Ivan alone first. The marshal grinned to his two friends and then back toward the group.

        "[Name], you go to my room. I'll be there shortly. Leo, you take Luneth to the nurse and get him patched up. Viktor, Sasha, you two come with me. We're going to go deliver Stalin a present."

    [Name] frowned.

        "Why can't I come?" 

        "Well-- if you're up to it." 

        "I'm always up to seeing Stalin get his ass handed to him." [Name] replied. Ivan chuckled.

        "Alright then, let's go!"




    Knock knock!!

        "Special delivery!"

    Stalin's blood ran cold. He knew that was Ivan's voice. He gulped, truly feeling fear. He couldn't even muster up the courage to tell him to come in; Ivan just let himself in. Behind him filed in [Name], Sasha and Viktor, all angry. Ivan walked forward and harshly slammed something on Stalin's desk. The old man let out a scream.

        "W-what have you done?!" He demanded.

        "I told you I had a special delivery." Ivan smirked.

    Stalin looked the man over quickly, expecting to see him bleeding from his head or something. No, though, he was still alive. However he did have a rather large knot on his head. The dictator looked up in anger but also fear. He didn't know what to expect.

        "I'm going to tell you like I told him," Ivan remarked. "When I leave, none of you are the alpha male. When I leave, the next competent general is the alpha male. But, you mark my words, if I ever leave again and I get word of more outrage, I'm going to come back, and so help me I am going to make your life a living Hell. Until you die, that is." Stalin trembled.

        "You... you won't! I have the power here!" 

    Ivan slammed his hand down, gritting his teeth. 

        "YOU are nothing compared to ME!" He paused and calmed himself down. "I will take you down, if I must, and rule this country myself. Even if it means derailing the entire government and flushing out the system of your puppets. Do not make me regret not killing you here and now, Joseph."

    Stalin was too shocked to really come up with an effective reply, so he just bit down on his pipe and shooed them away with his hand in silence. Ivan turned around and ushered those he brought in out of the room. He turned to Viktor.

        "Take Sasha and go check up on Leo and Shiveov. I'm going to join you when I'm done talking to [Name]."

        "Yes sir!" Viktor nodded, taking Sasha and leading her downstairs. 

    Ivan turned around to confront [Name], but she had already gone into his room. He heaved a sigh and followed her inside, shutting the door. She sat on the bed, staring at the wall emotionlessly. He put his hands into his pockets and then quickly glanced at the wall she was fixated on. 

        "...Nope, nothing of interest there." He remarked, looking at [Name] to see her smile a little.

    He joined her on the bed.

        "...Ivan..." 

        "That's my name, don't wear it out. I mean, unless I'm doing something extremely right. Then say it all you'd like." 

    He little joke was replied to with a gentle punch to his arm.

        "Already back to your old self..." [Name] whispered.

        "Well, not really. Something is still bothering you. I won't be back to my old self into you're okay." Ivan frowned.

    [Name] nodded and opened her mouth to speak, but her face crumpled into a long frown and soon she buried her face into her hands, sobbing softly. Ivan swallowed and winced at the lump in his own throat. He hated to see women cry, much less [Name]. He took her into his chest and sighed, looking at the floor while he rubbed her back. She trembled against him, shaking while she continued to cry wordlessly. 

        "I--... It was... terrible!" She finally managed.

        "It sounded awful." Ivan whispered.

        "I tried-- I tried-- to keep my cool. Through everything Stalin and Beria threw at me, I tried my damnedest to keep calm. I tried to fill your shoes, I--"

        "[Name]..." Ivan trailed off. "You shouldn't have tried to fill my shoes. My job is harsh on the mind, on the body. You can't just enter that life and expect to be okay." 

        "I know, I know, but... but--!! I tried. And look... look where it got me. I put everyone in danger, dragged down innocent lives with me. Dragged you all the way from Leningrad here. I put your army in danger."

        "The status of my army has hardly changed." Ivan stated.

    [Name], though no longer sobbing but still gasping for breath, looked at him fearing he would be angry. When she got the courage to look him in his eyes, however, she only saw kindness. Love. She yearned for that during the six days he'd been away, yet everywhere she looked, people had relied on her to show them love and security. Is that what Ivan went through everyday? She glanced back down to the floor.

        "Everywhere I looked... I found people seeking the answer from me. I just wanted to look into someone's eyes-- anyone's eyes-- and see comfort. Compassion. I wanted someone to look at me and grasp my arms and tell me it was going to be okay, but everywhere I looked, people wanted me to tell them that. No one ever seemed to be there for me."

        "I know the feeling. But, [Name], look at me."

    [Name] hesitated.

        "Look at me, [Name]." Ivan coaxed.

    [Name] peered up at him again, right into his eyes. Once again they were filled with what she had sought all that time. 

        "I'm here now. You don't have to be strong if you don't want to be. I'll be strong for you."

        "B-but, Ivan, that's a huge burden. I... I understand now. I know what it's like to be in charge. You get that from everyone here, I wouldn't want to put more pressure on your shoulders."

        "My shoulders are very broad, are they not? Broad enough to hold my problems, your problems, everyone's problems. People seek solace from me, it's nothing new. Even people who don't know me as a person. They see my rank and just automatically look to me for answers. Comfort. I'm used to it."

        "Is that not but an extra burden on you, though?"

    Ivan paused. "[Name], it is an extra burden. I won't deny it. However, that's what it means to be in a relationship. You take on the burden of caring for the loved ones. For the record, I'm not the only one who takes on burdens around here. You took on a massive burden for me-- for us-- the last week. You can't even deny that the last week was a ride through Hell. But, you did it, didn't you? You took it all in quite good stride. When I come home from work, exhausted, starving, even snappy because I've only had three hours of sleep the previous night, you don't throw in the towel. You keep on keepin' on, you never stop helping me, reminding me to eat, taking care of the chores. I don't think you understand how much it helps, my love."

        "Well, I... supposed I never really thought of it...? So in depth..."

        "You should think about it more. Without you, I would have managed. But I would turn to alcohol a lot more. I don't trust myself to run an army-- several armies-- when I'm intoxicated. I don't really trust myself to feed the cat, honestly. So, [Name], don't just think you don't take on burdens yourself on a regular basis. You do. I may have a lot on my plate, but when I come to you and share my plate of self doubt, fear, anger... you take the leftovers. And I don't know what you do with them, but you clear my mind a lot. I know I can go into work the next day, or next several days, and be completely fine, able to handle whatever they throw at me. Don't worry about overwhelming me, [Name]. I owe you so much already. Thus," He pecked her cheek. "I want you to take off for the next week."

        "But, the house--"

        "You need to recover or else it'll mess with your head." There was a stern edge to his voice. "If I really needed you to be doing those things at this moment, I would offer you instead a day off. I have a feeling though, that Stalin won't be calling me to do anything major for a few days, if not longer. Though," He paused, remembering what he'd said before. "I will need to go back to Leningrad. And I... want you there with me." 

        "Wha... what?"

        "I know it's dangerous. I know. But I don't want you to be forced in this position again."

    The girl looked to the ground, then back up to him with a gentle smile.

        "I can go with you, if you really want me to. Though it may benefit you more if you had reliable eyes and ears here, at home base. I would definitely do it again if it would help you. I doubt Stalin and Beria have much to say after this."

        "Hmm..." Though [Name] was right and Ivan would do most things for his country, right now he was being selfish. And he knew it. He looked down at her and pressed his lips to hers softly, rather than giving a reply. When he pulled away, a goofy grin found itself on his face.

        "I want you with me, not with them. They don't deserve you." He stated.

        "Now you're just being selfish!" [Name] exclaimed. 

        "You're right! And when it comes to you, I'll probably always be selfish and ridiculously over-protective. I'm sorry." He was not, in fact, sorry.

    [Name] laughed at this and kissed him once more. Ivan then turned his head and looked at something.

        "What's up?" [Name] asked.

        "Judging how sturdy the bed is." He replied, as if judging the strength of furniture was completely normal. [Name] scrambled from his arms.

        "Gross! I'm not having sex with you on this ancient thing!" 

        "Well," He smirked. "I was just wondering how the wood would keep up if I moved it to our house. Clearly you had other plans." 

        "Don't lie!"

    Ivan chuckled. "Alright, ya got me. But seriously, we should consider having another bed in the house. For the guest room."

        "Why?"

        "I'm thinking... that Sasha can move in with us...? If she wants to, of course."

        "I don't trust anywhere else for her to live. It sounds perfectly fine to me." [Name] nodded.

    The man stood up with a grin and took her hand walking out of the room. 

        "So, it's settled! Now we just have to find them and break the news."

        "Let's get to it!" 


   
    Epilogue:

    Darkness covered the large master bedroom as night settled in. Two figures resided under the covers, wallowing in the warmth of one another. Besides a few kisses here and there, it was silent.

        "...This bed is sturdy, that I know for sure."

    [Name] sat up and narrowed her eyes playfully at him. At once, she became flustered.

        "You're still on that?" She asked.

    Ivan snaked a little toward her, placing soft butterfly kisses on her abdomen, eventually working upward. He was shoved away immediately. 

        "D-don't be a pervert!" [Name] gasped.

        "Too laaaaate." Ivan trilled, resuming his previous display of affection.

    

        "...Do you think they know we're outside the door?"

        "I wish I wasn't outside the door." Viktor hissed, glancing to Leo.

        "I mean really, we're only going to hear Ivan." Leo chuckled.

        "I think Ivan might be more skilled than you think."

    Suddenly both men were taken by their earlobes and forcefully pulled away from the door. Leo yelped while Viktor just grit his teeth. Their captor stopped dragging them when they reached the living room.

        "Really, you two! Let them love in peace!"

        "Ugh. Carrying around that revolver made your arm strength ridiculous." Viktor hissed.

        "She's right, comrade! Let Marshal Ivan and Commander [Name] have their fun, eh?"

        "Says the guy who is single." Leo jeered. Shiveov, whose arm was bandaged, only shot him a grin.

        "Single-- that YOU know of!"

    Two new voices joined the conversation suddenly, both speaking at the same time.

        "Who are you seeing, Shiveov?"

    The soldier only laughed.

        "Makar, Luneth! That's for me to know, and for you to find out!"

    Prying questions and merry laughter erupted from the group in the living room while sweet nothings and passionate kisses were shared in the master bedroom. Beria had been taken to prison-- though how long he stayed nobody knew-- and though the war was not over, morale was high. For now, even if it was just a sliver of a second of time in their lives, everything was okay.

o shit waddup?????????????????????????????
it's-a ME!!
it took like two days to work on this and edit it in total. even read it to my dad. with shame.
everyone who was probaby remotely interested in this and my other series is probably gone by now, which i'm sorry for taking eighty YEARS but you know how life is.
i'm glad to say it is finished now!
please enjoy!  ♪~ ᕕ(ᐛ)ᕗ

i dont own ivan, or stalin, or beria,
but honestly....stalin...beria....they worthless anyways smh

miss a chapter? find them below!

chapter 1- here
chapter 2- here
chapter 3- here  
chapter 4- here
chapter 5- here
chapter 6- here
chapter 7- here
chapter 8- here
final chapter - (you're here!)
:iconholly-wing:
Holly-wing Featured By Owner Oct 26, 2016
Aaa it's a shame this is ending, glad I could stick around for it! Although I've been late on reading the chapters due to inactivity, this series is just as good as I remembered it, if not better. I enjoy how this chapter had an equal share of bad ass and cute, and I'm glad Sasha's okay and well because I've grown way to attached to her in this series oh god. Anyways, this has been an amazing series to read and remains one of my favorites ever since I began reading, thank you for sharing it with us!
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:iconholly-wing:
Holly-wing Featured By Owner Oct 26, 2016
Oh dang that's a really long comment sorry
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:iconbraginskey:
Braginskey Featured By Owner Oct 26, 2016  Student General Artist

your comment was AMAZING oh my god
it really brightened my day!! i feed off of good comments and i must say you did a good'n.

I'm incredibly glad you liked the series! i too have grown attached to Sasha-- she will probably make more appearances when i take up writing my other ongoing series again.

Thank you for commenting!!
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