The Price of a Flame

Just A Little Longer

Katyusha sighed as she looked down at the blue bin. Every day or so, sometimes even twice a day, a letter showed up in the bin. It was few dozen shades lighter than the actual bin making it very noticeable, at least to her.

She bent down and retrieved it from the other paper products. She walked down the hall to her office, her bare feet making soft patting sounds against the wooden boards. She shut the door gently behind her before opening the closet and plopping the letter in a bin. At this point there were around five of these bins, just for this year of course, the rest were filed neatly away in the cabinet. She looked at the closet for a moment another sigh escaping her.

It was full of various things. Clothing of various sizes and types, stuffed animals, books, and many letters. All of them from Ivan for Natalya. A small frown formed on her face. The poor man wanted nothing but forgiveness from the girl, but she wouldn't put out. Of course, she could see it from her sister's view as well, he'd hurt her so deeply how was she to have anything to do with him?

Katyusha sighed again and shut the door with a little more force than necessary. She flinched and little and bounded out of the office only to slam directly into Ivan. She hissed a little as he caught her just before she tumbled over. He frowned slightly.

"Sorry, Kat." She nodded and fixed her pixie cut with three fingers easily.

"That's fine, Ivan. We're having spaghetti for dinner." He nodded.

"I'll take it in my room." He murmured a look of pain on his features. She patted his shoulder gently as she passed. She couldn't make this better, that was for him to figure out, somehow, hopefully.

She let out a wistful sigh as she fluttered around the kitchen making the food as she always had. She hated for the other to be locked up in his own home, but she couldn't very well have Natalya feeling alienated, better he than she. She didn't want her sister feeling like she was siding with Ivan so much. It already hurt the young woman that he still lived here, so she made some exceptions.

She quickly made Ivan a plate and walked it up stairs to his room. She rapped gently on the door before pulling it open. She smiled at him writing another letter. She had to give him credit, he really was consistent and headstrong.

"Ivan, you can stop for some spaghetti." She said sternly knowing he really didn't want to stop writing to eat the spaghetti.

He glanced up at her and sighed putting the papers away. She set the plate down in front of him along with silverware. She kissed the top of his head. He protested a little but she rolled her eyes and waved him off.

"You really should give it a break, Ivan." She advised softly after taking a step back. He sighed and gave her that look.

"I can't, Kat. If I stop what will she think?" He said his voice hitching up an octave.

"She might be relieved." She responded softly hating the pain in his face as he registered her words.

"Oh…" He murmured.

"I'm not saying stop, Ivan. I'm just saying take a break, get a good job, one that will make you happy, not just pay the bills. Don't you have something you've always wanted to be?" She asked him softly. He nodded.

"Yes, I've always wanted to work for a magazine or new station." He said softly looking away from her and staring down at his plate. She smiled.

"Then go for it, Ivan!" He looked at her like she just told him the sky was purple and people could propel air out of their ass.

"Don't you give me that look! You're extremely smart, Ivan. You've got great work ethics and drive. You're a wonderful photographer and you're good at asking questions. I think you can do whatever you put your mind to. So if that's what you want then go for it." She finished just as she was walking out of the room and back down stairs to Natalya's room.

She rapped on the door softly waiting for an answer before barging in. She frowned not receiving a response. She gently opened the door and peered in smiling as she saw Natalya sleeping soundly on her bed. She padded in quietly and gently shook her.

"Natalya, wake up~ It's dinner time, baby girl." She said just loud enough as the other's eyes fluttered open. She blinked and sat up.

"Dinner?" She murmured sleepily rubbing her left eye with one hand.

"Yes, spaghetti and garlic bread." Kat held her hand out to the other girl ignoring the urge to brush her wild hair down.

"Sounds good…" The other said with a soft yawn following her sister into the dining room for their usual mealtime together.

She plunked down in her chair as Katyusha prepared the plates before bringing them over along with bottles of water. Natalya smiled at her weakly still groggy from her nap. Her sister sat down softly and twirled some of the spaghetti onto her fork slowly.

"So, Nat, how was your day?" She asked carefully, not wanting to point out the letter she'd found, but hoping the girl would mention something about it.

"It was good enough, Kat~ I mostly slept. I haven't been sleeping very well." She murmured.

"You haven't? When's the last time you got a good night of sleep?" She asked her voice clear with concern for her sister. Nat took a bite of bread and sighed.

"About a month or so ago?" She answered unsure of the actual amount of time that had passed without a proper night's sleep. Kat frowned as she chewed a bite of spaghetti.

"That's not good, Natalya! Why didn't you say something?" The younger woman looked up and shrugged.

"I didn't want to bother you about something so silly and trivial. You're always so busy I figured I'd be okay eventually. I don't want to make this any harder on you." She said sincerely as she twirled the spaghetti thoughtfully.

"That's ridiculous, Nat~ Your health is far more important than that. I don't care what you think. You're not a burden. I love you, Natalya and if you're hurting or not sleeping well, I need to know so we can fix it. You understand me?" She scolded her sister over the spaghetti they were sharing. It'd been a while since she treated her sister that way.

Natalya glared at her and snorted pushing the plate away. She snagged her water bottle and shot out of the chair, not so much as blinking when the heavy wood thunked onto the wooden floor causing the room to shake slightly. She shook her head at her sister.

"This," She started motioning between them and then around them, "This is ridiculous, Katyusha. I find it hard to believe that you can't see what I do." She snarled before bounding out of the room and slamming her door causing the house to shudder in her quake of anger.

Katyusha on the other hand was just sitting there absolutely stunned. Her mouth was a gape and her spaghetti was rapidly cooling under the tunnel of the fan. Even the shaking of the house couldn't snap her out of her disbelief.

Was she not satisfied with the arrangement they had? Of course, it wasn't perfect or anything or the like, but it was bearable wasn't it? She separated them the best she could. She cooked and cleaned without a complaint and was as nice as she could be to them. She just cared though it seemed lately that it was becoming a crime in this house full of fiery flames and unresolved problems. She sighed and dropped her head into her hands.

Sometimes she wasn't sure if it was worth the pain of being in this fiery family. It was the price she had to pay. She knew she wouldn't feel right about walking out of the fire if she didn't smother it to a more manageable intensity. She was just hoping she was close to doing just that because she wasn't sure just how long she'd last between these two anymore, she was flickering out fast, becoming tired of this. She was just hoping she could hold on for a little longer.

"Just a little longer…"