II

Strength of Will and Mind


Roksana turned back and looked almost demandingly at him, her eyes sending the silent message for him to come to the training ring. Before he could glance curiously back, she disappeared into an alleyway, a small one, made by two stores pressed unrealistically close together. It was a wonder she would even think of going through there, let alone fit, even for her small size.

When she was gone from sight, Ivan Drago thoughtfully stroked his chin with an index finger, considering if he should actually pay this ambitious teenager the request and duty she had laid upon him.

'I shall think about it,' ('Я буду думать о ней,') he said to himself, brushing away the lingering thoughts and worries that she had dug up from his past. Standing up slowly, Drago finally decided to head off home, though for some reason, he didn't want to. He wanted to think about what he had just heard, take it all in, consider it, figure it out. Decide.

Keeping to a fast pace, the tall Russian wanted to get home as soon as he could, to think about the matter in a better environment. Something about his home always helped him to think better. Maybe the familiarity of so many decisions made before.

Fumbling with his gloved hands to find his keys, Ivan Drago stood on the front steps of his small house as he unlocked the door. His wife was not home, nor would she be for a few years to come. She was off with the Soviet Union, looking for more ways to program soldiers like machines. Apparently, Drago's attempt had started her appreciation and curiousity on the subject.

'Perhaps a better environment to make decisions in,' ('Возможно, улучшению условий для принятия решений в,') he thought. The last thing that he had agreed on had led to his daily use of steroids and intense training. Eventually the death of Apollo Creed, and his non-sanctioned fight in the ring with the champion, Rocky Balboa.

Guilt shot through him as he remembered Apollo, barely moving on the floor of the ring, everyone crowding around him. And those words. Those words that he himself had spoken. Burning into him and everyone around. "If he dies, he dies." Stabs of agony, digging into him cruelly.

Setting down the bundle on the small kitchen table, Drago headed to the living room, where the small television and his favourite armchair were located. Sitting down into the cushion, he ignored the television. He wanted his thoughts clear and crisp, untainted by news and commercials advertising all manner of things.

--

Slipping into the house with ease, Roksana silently closed the front door, locking it behind her. A pot was simmering on the stove, and the tea was ready. Placing her thick coat on the hook by the doorway, she entered the kitchen. With deft, practised ease, she snatched up the full kettle and tossed it lightly and carelessly into the air. Catching it as it came near the wooden floor, Roksana balanced it in one hand as she opened a cupboard and gathered a few mugs.

Barely regarding the fact that she could spilled boiling water everywhere, including herself, Roksana poured the water into each mug, plopped in a teabag, along with a spoon, sugar and cream. Without calling her family that the drink was ready, she went on oblivious, watching that the pot perched on the stove would not boil over.

Not long after, a middle-aged woman thumped in, wanting to indicate her presence to the irresponsible teenager watching the stove with indifference. "And you could not call any of us down when our tea was ready? Do you think you are the only one in this house Roksana Sevana?" ("И вы не могли позвонить любому из нас, когда наш чай готов? Считаете ли вы, что вы - единственный человек в этом доме заре Севана?")

Sighing deeply and rolling her eyes, Roksana sipped her tea, paying no heed to the lecture her mother had carefully selected out from her long list. 'Yes, I know. Need to think more of others. Be more considerate, it's the only way you will ever get a husband, I know.' ('Да, я знаю. Нужна больше думать о других. Будьте более внимательны, это единственный способ вы станете мужем, я знаю.')

When the kitchen fell silent again, Roksana figured it was either because her mother had asked her a question, or she was finally finished with her lecture.

With no sign that she had even heard the lecture, Roksana pulled the pot from the stove, and drained the access water. Still ignoring her mother, who was bursting in silent outrage, the teenager spooned out vegetable soup into six bowls. "Dinner!" ("Ужин!") she screeched, grabbing a bowl and her mug and snatching the best place at table.

A young boy of about six flew down the stairs, knocking something over in the process. "I will fix that later!" he called implusively up the stairs. Rushing to the kitchen, he stopped completely when he saw Roksana sitting in the favoured seat of the house, right next to the warm stove. "Hey, why does she always get the best spot?" ("Эй, почему она всегда в лучших местах?") he whined, like all six year olds did.

"Because, I actually have to do something to get the meal done," ("Потому что я действительно что-то сделать, чтобы получить обед сделали,") she sneered, watching her brother trying to grab a mug from the counter. Handing it down to him, Roksana's mother shook her head in defeat. Roksana had always been a born arguer, from the day she learned to talk she always had something to debate, it wasn't worth the bother.

Soon, the rest of the family, including her father and two brothers were all seated at the table. Each dug into their regular meal of potatoes, soup, mixed vegetables and roast, smothered heavily in thick, rich gravy. Knives scraped against plates for about half the meal, until Roksana's father broke the proverbial ice.

"So, Roksana... What were you doing out today? Weren't you supposed to help your mother clean the house?" ("Значит, Roksana ... Чем вы занимались сегодня? Если бы не вы должны помочь вашей матери убирать дом?")

"I already finished it. Anyways, I did not do anything really special today, except for one thing..." ("Я уже закончил его. В лубом случае, я не сделал что-нибыдь реально экстренный выпуск сегодня, за исключением одного вещи...") Roksana paused dramatically, her eyes sweeping around the table to take in everyone's facial expression of interest. "I met Ivan Drago today." ("Я встретил Ивана Драго сегодня.")

There was a surprised silence. Her father raised his eye brows almost up to his depleting hairline, and her mother's eyes were wide with shock. But, of course, the eldest brother, Borya (his nickname for Boris), began to laugh outrageously.

"Of course you met him, dear sister..." ("Конечно Вы встретили его, дорогая сестра ...") he could no longer finish his sentence he was laughing so hard.

"Right! We all know that he would never meet you unless he trampled you under his boots!" ("Право! мы знаем, что он никогда не встречал бы Вы, если он не растаптывал Вы под его ботинками!") the second eldest, Danil, piped up. This caused even more laughter.

"Roksana, lying like that is not a good thing to do. If you did not have an exciting time out there, then at least be kind enough to tell the truth," ("Рассвет, лежа как этот не хорошая вещь, чтобы сделать. Если Вы не имели захватывающего времени там, то по крайней мере быть достаточно любезным, чтобы говорить правду,") her mother said softly.

Roksana's eyes blazed. How dare they! Her argumentative, agressive nature was taking over her rationality. "Fine! If you do not believe me, than I cannot force you to, but you will regret making fun of me!" ("Отлично!, Если Вы не верите мне, чем я не могу вынудить Вы к, но Вы будете сожалеть высмеять меня!") Standing up in a flourish of anger, she didn't say a word, not trusting herself. Soon, she was grabbing her coat and slamming the door behind her; running.

She had no idea what she was thinking, or even why she had had the sense to grab her coat. Going outside would just prolong another lecture about outbursts and lying, so why was she out here? Did she really think that Ivan Drago was going to take up her request? Maybe this was just some strange dream, and she would wake up knowing that she was just another boring Russian teenager, who was too outspoken for her own good. But... that wasn't possible. Just because it felt like a dream now, didn't mean it wasn't true. Right?

To be continued...

--

Alright, a second chapter. Not as great as the first one, and extremely late in coming from what I had planned, but, not everything turns out the way you anticipate. The scene where Roksana fools around with the teapot was completely random, but I'd probably do the same thing if I had the chance.

Ugh, I doubt this neglected chapter will measure up to the first one, I always have story issues like that, but I am determined to finish this story, if only for your sakes. Pardon that it took so long to update. Blame my parents for that.

Zealak Silverdirk