Disclaimer: I do not own Metal Gear Solid.

Tselinoyarsk, 1962.

The rains came following after the morning sun like a weary child, painting the world in streaks of grey. Mists filled the hollows of the canyons, slept amongst the undergrowth of the jungle. The air was filled with a chill, a breath held in lungs full of ice.

A helicopter flew in, thumping over the trees, spreading their leaves apart. It was a sleek silver counterpart to the half-lit sky behind it. The rotor blades thumped and hissed in the rain as it settled down softly in the field.

Inside, where the rain did not penetrate, sat the CIA agent. Her blonde hair was short and pulled back, countenance serious yet feminine. In her hands she held her weapon, the gun almost as dark and slender as the vehicle carrying it. Absently, she tapped a fingernail against the underside of the pistol, against the hollow drum magazine.


The voice crackled in her ear like leaves in a fire.

"We're at the drop point. You will go south from here. The weapons facility should be a few miles away, just past the river."

Her blue eyes, clouded by the weather, closed shut for a long moment.

Then the woman straightened, took a breath, and dropped out of the helicopter.

The rotors' backdraft threw grass and rain up into her face, but she ignored it, as she ignored many things.

She ignored the gnawing, cold feeling in the pit of her stomach.

She ignored the rumors that had flown around the briefing room like so many lost birds.

And she ignored the confirmation of a Russian commander waiting at the weapons facility, protecting the information inside, loyal as always to his birth-country.

Voyevoda had been her name once. She'd had many of them in her time on Earth. Her real name was secret even to herself, locked away in her personnel file in America, much like the memories she kept locked away in her mind. Remembrance would do her no good on this mission. She was sent to kill.

The tall grass licked at her arms as she trotted through the clearing. Animals fled from her presence as she took her path through the jungle, steps as light as a jaguar's but as commandeering as a mammoth's.

Her exposed skin was chilled, but it was not the rain that made it so. Even her heart felt cold. Everything she had gone through during the Second Great War, all of her memories of won missions and desperate retreats, seemed to freeze as soon as she'd left the helicopter.

A bird shrieked at her and darted off in a whirlwind of feathers as she passed by. She swung her gun around, startled, then lowered it.

Voyevoda shut her eyes again. She could not become distracted.

Would not become distracted.

The radio in her ear hissed and crackled like a snake.

"Are you near the facility?"

Ahead, a rope bridge swayed in the early morning light.

"Yes," she confirmed, but she would say nothing else.

The radio was her tie back to America, back to the place her body called home but her mind called a prison.

She tread carefully now, slipping through the grass, the earthen smell of mud and tree bark filling her nose.

Voyevoda slowed to a stop. A few steps ahead, the bridge rocked, making small groaning noises that filled the canyon below, which spat them back up at her petulantly.

Her blue eyes gazed across the bridge and caught sight of what lay across the water.

Reaching up, she turned her radio off.

"I heard you would be here," she said, fighting to keep the emotion from her voice.

A man stood there, tall, slim. His image had barely changed since the Second Great War. It was still the same image that followed her all the way to America, always digging its way into her thoughts even when she rocked away with her petty officer in the firelight at Columbia.

Voyevoda was halfway across the bridge without even realizing her feet were taking her there. Below, the river gushed and growled like a living thing.

"Joy," he said, voice as soft and calm as it had been ten years ago, unchanged, unchanged.

She closed the space between them with another few steps and pulled him into her arms. The rain wept all around them. Voyevoda felt the ice in her chest melt away.

Their embrace lasted a scant few moments, like a sliver of meat from a large roast thrown to a starving man.

"We can't," his voice was barely above a whisper. "I can't."

Voyevoda felt the ice reform, cracking into place, as cold as the river below.

"Sorrow," she breathed.

"Mikhail," he corrected, gently. The amber in his eyes had grown sharp over the years, like shards chipped from quartz. He carried with him the same class of gun she'd given him ten years ago, safe against his chest. His jacket was hooded but he hadn't used it, likely never meant to.

Voyevoda stared at him, just stared, as if he were an illusion on glass that would disintegrate if she so much as dared another breath.

"Mikhail," she said, the name not foreign to her tongue. The name brought forth images of fire, blood, tears.

Finally, he ventured to speak. "You look well."

She had forgotten that she still carried her assault pistol in one hand. Replacing it in its holster behind her, she offered him a small smile.

"So do you."

His eyes, sharp and keen, were filled with a distant sadness.

"We cannot be allies on this field, Joy." The words came with a strange, sudden finality, and the ice around her heart hardened to alloy steel.

"It has come to this," he breathed, his voice never losing its solemn calm. "The CIA has sent you for the weapons depot, has it not? Sent you to eliminate any and all in your way..."

"No, it doesn't matter, it doesn't-"

Now a sad smile flitted onto his face. "We are soldiers. We have to complete our missions... don't we?"

Voyevoda shook her head. "I... Sor-... Mikhail, it's been so long. Can't we just..."

"...What did you have in mind? A light-hearted fireside chat?" He shook his head. "You and I both know this can only end in one way or another."

A stinging, uncomfortable pain pricked at the corners of her eyes. Why? Why did he have to be here?

"What's most important to a soldier is her mission. You told me that. You taught me what war was. And now..." he smiled again. "And now you'll finish it."

The rain did nothing to dampen the words he conveyed.

Slowly, he reached up and brought his gun to bear. It was a Makarov, his Makarov, the one she had given to him, the weapon he still kept. With practiced, easy movements, he loaded a bullet into the chamber. Deft fingers slid the barrel back. It clicked into place like the last tick of a dying clock.

"Here." He held it out to her, handle first.

Voyevoda squeezed her eyes shut, turning her head away. "No."

His voice was cold and quiet. "You have to."

"I can't."

"You have to finish your mission. What sort of mentor would you be if you shunned your own teachings?"

Voyevoda opened her eyes. He continued to hold the Makarov out to her, shielding the muzzle from the rain with the curve of his thumb.

With a slow, jerky movement, she took it from him.

He let his arm fall to his side, his sad smile still present.

"Be quick."

She raised the pistol, centered it on his chest, where she knew his heart beat.

Voyevoda let the muzzle drop.

"I can't," she keened.

"You have to," he repeated.

"God damnit Mikhail, I can't!"

Her cry fled through the jungle and did not leave an echo.

He leveled his gaze on her, so empty and distant, and she knew what was coming next.

A sudden coldness crept through her consciousness, nothing at all like the chill in her gut. Ghost hands seemed to be pushing her arm up, forcing it of its own accord to lift the pistol, allowing it to gleam in the rain and the grey light.

"Mikhail," she moaned. "Don't do this."

"The spirit of the warrior," he spoke, voice clear and mournful, "will always be with you."

Her finger was pulling on the trigger, but she didn't want to. Didn't want to.

She wanted to throw the Makarov away, throw it all away, go with him, defect to the Soviet Union, anything but this.

Voyevoda felt tears coasting down her cheeks, saw his expression soften.

"Don't be sad," he said.

We'll meet again someday.

An explosion of sound jumped through the air and shrieked out its life in undulating waves.

"Death is not extinguishing the light; it is putting out the lamp because dawn has come." -Rabindranath Tagore

(A/N: 'Mikhail' seems to be the most popular first name that fans give The Sorrow, so, there's that. Voyevoda means 'warlord.' Oh, and, Metal Gear is an awesome series.)