02. a week of anticipation

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'Ivan was brutal and honest and everything he was he wore on his sleeve'

'Ivan was brutal and honest and everything he was he wore on his sleeve'

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Sometimes he felt like he was too old for this. Too old to wait, too old to not have a family, too old to not have taken his revenge.

The fact that he now looked at least ten years senior to his master didn't help his feeling of uselessness.

And that was how he felt every time he looked at the Darkling and saw the barely contained rage there. That's how he felt for the last twenty years watching as the man he worshipped closed off more than ever, as he started going from being the first in the front line to being the first to go from town to town, from village to village in search of another Sun Summoner. All the while Ivan watched by his side, feeling smaller than the most lowly of otkazat'sya .

And how could he not, when he was supposed to keep the tracker and the Sun Summoner away from each other. How could he not, when the very thing they needed to succeed was murdered on his watch.

But now, as he stood in front of the makeshift bed in the carriage where the best Healers they had worked on the girl who just burned druskelle in front of their eyes, he felt like the last twenty years were but a bad dream.

His eyes shined as he watched his souvernyi walk back to them, in his hand a human heart.

The Darkling was a man with eyes of steel that didn't smile when his lips did. But in that moment they were alight with a fire that Ivan had seen only once in his entire life, and in the mind of the soldier it was the best thing that happened in the last twenty years.

And he wasn't the only one who noticed, if the glances Zoya kept sending the Darkling were any indication. A part of him felt sorry for the girl, for she was still pinning after a man who paid her just enough attention to have her hopelessly devoted to him. But then he remembered how she keeps the Lantsov bastard around as a back up and all the feelings of pity disappeared.

After all, Zoya was a power hungry Grisha who started storms. She didn't have a heart.

His attention shifted back to the Darkling as he walked to him, a raised eyebrow the only thing he needed to make Ivan start talking.

"The Healers are attending to her, moi suverenyi. We still don't know when she'll wake up and the Healers have yet to report the extent of her wounds but it's almost certain that she will survive."

The Darkling was quiet as he watched the carriage, his eyes so intense Ivan found himself twitching nervously.

"Let us rest here until the Sun Summoner wakes. I trust we have a sufficient amount of food for the prolonged stay?"

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