“Well I’ll be going then Sir.” You saluted officer Braginski and turned to your plane. After getting into the cockpit and getting settled you flipped the switch, the satisfying hum of the engines filling the small compartment.
Ivan stood and watched as you took off yet again. His heart squeezed painfully as your plane disappeared over the horizon and he turned, his long scarf swishing behind him as he walked. It was always like this.
Ivan had been taken in by your mother, one of the best pilots in the nation and the only female one. She was renowned for her impressive dives and spins and when she flew it was as if she might not come back; she looked as though she could stay up there with the birds and never return.
But Ivan had two sisters, sisters who’d been ripped away from his side and he longed to get back to, back in Russia. Though he hardly had any memory of them, he knew he had to find them, whatever it took.
As he couldn’t fly yet due to his young age, your mother had promised to find them or at least look for them. That is, until he was old enough to take over. But as far as you could tell, your mother hadn’t even come close in finding them.
You were younger than Ivan by a couple of years and growing up together made you feel like he really was your big brother. One you wanted to protect dearly. On the other hand, though Ivan loved you, he felt as if doing so was betraying his real sisters, so he’d push you away more often than not.
It was after one of mother’s trips that it happened. Mother had been away for longer than she said she was going to be, so you, Ivan and all the other pilots were worried that something had happened to her.
The darkening sky suddenly lit up in a flaring red colour and you crowded around the windows to see.
Your mother’s plane was flying low and lop-sidedly. Crying out in fear, an adult took hold of you and took you away from the scene. Ivan stood and stared though as his only hope for his sisters came crashing to the ground, instantly going up in flames.
There was no point trying to save her, but the medics tried to do so anyway. That was the second scar Ivan started carrying. His dreams to become a pilot and to save his sisters became impossible. Every time he tried to get into a plane, the sight of the burning wreckage filled his mind and paralysed him with fear.
As the two of you stood in front of the flower-covered grave, you held his hand tightly as he wept. Your big brother wasn’t as strong as you’d thought, which meant that you needed to protect him from others, but also from himself.
He kept blaming himself for what happened and you had yet to persuade him otherwise. “I’ll find them.” You said, your voice barely raised above a hoarse whisper. “I swear Ivan. I’ll finish what mama couldn’t. I’ll bring you back your real family.”
His eyes widened and you wrapped the scarf you’d got from mother around his neck. You had to stand on the tips of your toes to do so and when you stood normally again, he was still staring at you. “Don’t worry, I’ll make sure you get your sisters back!”
Your smile comforted him, but only made him more aware of his weakness.
The weakness he still felt today, whenever he watched you fly out for him. Over the years, you’d turned into a brilliant pilot. Many even said you had surpassed your mother, but you brushed those claims off.
Your mother was your idol and whatever you did was in accordance to her wishes. Or what you thought them to be anyway. In your head, you thought solely about your mission. Bring them back or find out information as to where they were.
You’d gotten several leads and hopefully this would be one of your last trips. But you could never be certain.
Ivan sat with his head in his hands, thinking about the sad smile you had on your face just before you took off.
Was it still worth it? He wondered. All his life he’d been looking for something he couldn’t find, risking what little he loved. His violet eyes downcast, he thumbed the scarf. Your scarf. The one that had been passed down by your mother with the promise to find them.
When Ivan closed his eyes he could still see your mother on her plane, her hair whipping around her face, the scarf joining it in the wind.
But you were next to her, in fact you took her place as the image of her faded away. What if she’s taken away from me? I don’t want to be alone again... Alone. Is that what I am now? He asked himself, his face paling at the realisation.
No! I won’t! I won’t allow her to be taken away from me! I need her! Be it any man on this earth or even Death itself! I will fight to protect her! To protect my (y/n)...
He clenched his fists, standing up in determination. But as he walked to the window, he slumped against the wall.
I’m so powerless though. I can’t even fly with her. I can’t do anything except wait... and hope that she’s alright.
And wait was what he’d been doing for so many years, he was used to being by himself and waiting for your return anxiously. But this time, he wasn’t letting you go ever again.
“She should have been back by now. She’s never been late before.” Ivan paced up and down nervously in the control room, his hands clasped behind his back. The others were on edge as well, recalling the tragedy that had happened.
The tall Russian bit his lip, sitting on one of the chair and jiggling his legs up and down nervously.
His eyes scanned the horizon fruitlessly once more and he closed them, only to be confronted by images of the past once more. When he opened them however, the sky he had seen in his mind was the same as the one outside.
He jumped to his feet, sprinting down the stairs and outside onto the field. No doubt about it! It was your plane, an awful rattling noise coming from it as it dipped down low.
Ivan stared at it, as if willing you into view. A tense second later however, the plane’s engine caught fire and the fuel-compartment exploded.
It came crashing to the ground covered in a sheet of flames and his ringing ears vaguely picked up the sound of the fire-engine siren.
He walked over to the wreckage, everything around him muted and slowed down. Nothing mattered to him anymore, not his sisters, not his life. All he wanted was to see your face.
Stumbling towards the burning cock-pit, he pulled off the red-heat door, his leather gloves protecting his hands for the most part but burning his exposed wrists. He shoved the door to the side, falling to his knees when he saw it.
It was empty.
Trembling all over he tilted his head towards the sky and cried out in desperation. The sight of something large and white drifting towards him made him narrow his teary eyes. His sluggish brains managed to register what was going on though and he got to his feet.
“Head’s up.” You managed to croak, a leather satchel firmly in your arms. Dropping to the floor, you collapsed immediately, coughing up some blood. You’d managed to jump just before the explosion, but it’d still hit you, albeit with a weaker force.
Blood dripped from your side and from gashes in your face, but you still held onto the bag as if your life depended on it. Well, it wasn’t your life, but it was someone else’s.
“(y/n)!! (y/n)!” You heard and gulping dryly, you tilted your head in the direction from where it came. Ivan. Ivan. Ivan.
He’d fallen to where you lay, clasping one of your hands in his large ones. His large panicked eyes aimed at you, it almost made you smile. “I’m back.” You whispered, your eyes drooping suddenly.
Now that you knew Ivan was here, you could give up, give the papers to him and sleep. You longed to sleep, to give in to the darkness but a part of you resisted.
The part that loved Ivan more than a brother was telling you to keep on breathing no matter how painful it was to feel the oxygen scrape through your raw throat.
“Don’t leave me.” He gasped, pressing a kiss to your injured forehead. “Don’t go, I need you. I can’t live without you.”
You tried clearing your throat, but that just made the burning worse. “ ‘Fraid you have to live, Ivan.” You rasped, raising your chest lightly to indicate the satchel. “You’ve got sisters to look after...” His tear-streaked face froze and he gaped at you.
“Yeah, coordinates.” You stuttered on the word, some blood bubbling to your mouth as you spoke. He dabbed at it with his thumb and gently cradled you on his lap, rocking you slightly.
You were aware of the shouting increasing, a pair of hands lifting you. After that, the darkness overtook your being.
Softness.... Aaaah, this was nice. Did this mean you were in heaven? Ouch! Okay, that hurt. Maybe this wasn’t heaven after all.
Geez, whoever was poking you stop! You winced a little and groaned, feeling sore all over. “What the hell... this isn’t heaven.” You muttered under your breath, craning your stiff neck to see your surroundings.
Something heavy was lying on part of your side and you glanced to it. A familiar pale blond head became clear to you.
Right, Ivan, how could you forget him? Reaching out your bandaged hand, you stroked through his soft hair, smiling at the silkiness. He nuzzled his face closer to you in response to the gesture, blinking his eyes drowsily.
“You’re awake!” He said, a huge smile on his face when he saw you. Grabbing hold of you, his arms encircled your waist and, to your displeasure, gave you a squeeze. “Aah!” You cried, the pain making fresh tears spring to your eyes.
Instantly he let go, hands out in apology. “I’m so sorry! I was just so-“
You shook your head. “I’m happy to see you too Ivan.” He played with your fingers, interlacing them with his. “Thank you for the coordinates. My sisters are being fetched as we speak.” His smile made your chest swell.
Finally he was going to have his family back. And it was because of you. But now, your lifelong goal had been fulfilled. What were you going to do now?
“Mission accomplished.” You muttered, feeling a bit sad. Ivan squeezed your hand, but only the tiniest bit this time.
“Ah yes,” he started, clearing his throat,” I’ve got new orders for you.” You perked up, wanting a new goal in life.
“You’re to stay with me and love me.” He told you, his cheeks pinkening and his gaze on your hands. “Now, now officer, what kind of a mission is that?” You teased, your own face beginning to darken.
He leaned over to you, brushing his lips against yours.
“The most important mission of all.”