Dear You, Dedushka

Hi guys. This story had been hanging around my head before Call of Duty: Black Op's official release. I waited for many months but was shattered to learn that Reznov died. However, the twist from Treyarch's exclusive posters revealed an encrypted message about his real fate and the e-mails Hudson received implied he is still alive. Yay! It was inspired by both Higurashi and World at War and Black Ops. Please read and review.

Disclaimer: Higurashi no Naku Koro ni is property of 07th Expansion. No copyright infringement intended. Call of Duty: Black Ops is property of Treyarch published by Activision. A fan work, no copywrite infringement intended.

An Unhappy Reunion

June 19, 1984 – Showa 59

In the busy streets of Japan a woman has made her way home to her apartment. It had been a busy day for her and was only glad to reach sanctuary from the hectic rush hour of the afternoon. She unlocked the door. She went to the kitchen to have a drink of water. The moment she entered she was greeted by the sight of two men in kitchen. She gasped at the two figures sitting at the table. One of them is a man in his fifties, having a mustache and some stubble adorning his face, making him look like he had a thin beard. The other man was a bearded old man, his hair turning to gray. He sat on a wheelchair and his fierce steel eyes stared back at her, almost angry. They both wore rather conservative black suits.

"Dobryy den, Mrs. Akihito," The wheelchair man replied almost contemptuously.

"Huh?" He voice shook with apprehension, "Who are you? How the hell you get in here? What do you want?" She could not believe that these men got inside her house quietly. Mrs. Akihito was stunned by how this man knew her name. His voice sounded foreign, like those Russian people at the movies. She trembled in fear, not understanding how or why these two men are in her home. She also sensed a vague feeling of familiarization, of recalling that very sound of a Russian voice.

"Please take a seat, ma'am," The other man said diplomatically.

"You haven't answered my question. I want to know why you broke in-"

"We will answer you're questions so enough!" The wheelchair man snapped brusquely. "Sit down."She nodded and obeyed. She pulled a chair from the table and sat on it.

"You look a little thirsty," the wheelchair man observed. "Would you like a drink?"

She simply nodded and pointed in the refrigerator.

"Mason, would kindly as prepare drinks for us? Our host is not at ease at the moment," the wheelchair man asked.

"Sure thing, Trent," the younger man smiled and walked to the refrigerator.

"Oh, please, Mason, just call me Victor. Let us not bother with theatrics since our time here will be brief." The wheelchair man waved off. She guessed that name man's name maybe be Victor Trent. Trent then faced her again, his face turned into a frown. "Do not fret over the refrigerator. Mason here has already inspected the fridge as a matter of security protocol. He knows what he is doing," he said to her in his heavy Eastern European accent.

She looked over the counter and saw Mason taking a Coke, some lemons, ice and some Stolichnaya vodka from the fridge. He closed it and walked to the counter. There he began to mix the drinks like a bartender. She looked back to Trent. It seemed like an hour and the only thing breaking the silence was Mason mixing drinks. Then she finally broke the silence.

"Excuse me, Mr. Trent. Why did you come here?" She asked hesitantly.

"I am here on some personal affairs that need to be settled," he replied. He then asked her a question. "Do you know anything about your family, Mrs. Akihito?"

She stammered in surprise, "My… family?"

"Yes. Your true family," Trent replied. He never let go of his steely stare, which seemed to bore into her soul, searching for an anomaly or sin.

"Here you go. On the house," Mason said as he put two glasses filled with the Cola-vodka mixture with a slice of lemon and two ice cubes added. He then took back to his seat with a glass of his own.

She could not speak. She never knew her real family. In fact, she had been to two families. The first one, which adopted her, died in a bus crash when she was seven. Then spent some time at that horrible orphanage at the outskirts of the city. The beatings, the crying, the long nights punishment were all too horrible to remember. Her stay lasted eight months though as a new family adopted her. The ever-smiling orphanage-director, a horrible monster pretending to be a guardian to lost children, was just too pleased to see her go.

He then added, "Please. Feel free to speak. No one is pushing you to make haste."

She remained silent for a while. Then she said, "I have no idea who my real family is."

Trent regarded her for a while. He then asked another question, "Do you remember what happened to you before you were seven?"

"I have no idea," she replied, "I was too young at that time." Trent didn't look convinced.

"You may think you are too young for anything," he said softly, "but try to think. Look back. Look back to beyond the first family who took you in. I'm sure you would. Drink some of it if you have. It is good tonic for your memory" Trent adjusted himself a bit on his wheelchair. She didn't know what he meant. It seemed dubious to think back at first. She drank some of the Coke-vodka to ease her self. Then other thoughts flooded her mind.

She recalled the smells of wood smoke, pine and often of tobacco from an old man sitting on a chair. Of music blaring from a radio recited in a foreign language. She remembered seeing a woman with short chestnut hair who looked like her daughter, who now lives with her divorced husband. A man came in to the the house and delivered something that sounded bad, something about someone missing. The song that played in her mind seemed to repeat the name 'Katyusha'. Then her mind transferred to a boat in a stormy sea at night. She could remember the violent clashing of waves against the frail wooden vessel. She recalled the smell of salt and fish, and most of all, the woman, who was accompanied by what looked like a family. A scarf wrapped on her head, she smiled at her and said something to her which couldn't understand. The sky crackled with thunder and was lit up briefly by lightning bright as the sun. A man struggled to keep the boat from pitching around the sea. The last thing she remembered was screaming and a wall water bursting into the cabin of the boat, washing everyone inside. The next thing she knew, she was on a beach where a man and woman picked her up.

She breathed heavily. It's coming back to her now. She put away her glass and set it on the table. She regarded the two men. Mason took a sip with a blank expression on his face. Trent's expression had softened to one of disappointment. Then it softened to one of concern.

"I know you do not know me," he said, "but I am much closer to you than you ever thought."

As she tried to absorbed those words, another scene flashed into her eyes. In the room was a picture of her and several men, all in uniform. Everyone seemed to have a happy time, especially the woman and a bearded man in the center. He had the likeness of Mr. Trent, only much younger. Next to him are two soldiers, one wearing a fur cap with a red star, just like the bearded man; the other wearing a simpler cap held together by a piece of cloth. The woman wept silently in the kitchen. She walked of the kitchen and wiped her tears out of her eyes. She then looked at her child. She let out a thin smile.

"... Zoya," she tried to comfort her, "I'm sorry. He cannot return here with us as he promised." She looked back longingly at the photo before turning back to her. "In fact, he may never come back. They... took him away." Tears formed on her eyes again. "We must leave soon." She then lifted her and walked upstairs with her.

Her hands shook slightly. She regarded the man in front of her. It became increasingly clear to her now, but one piece of the puzzle is missing. It hanged tantalizingly in the air. Her faced remained puzzled as ever.

Mason tapped Trent's shoulder and whispered something into his ear. He said in Russian, "I think she's having hard time. I don't think we should be pressing her. Maybe I should handle this."

After rubbing his jaw for a while in contemplation, Trent nodded in approval. Mason turned to Mrs. Akihito, "Um, ma'am, this man here is Victor Trent, a war hero from the Soviet Union. When he was arrested over false charges, his family attempted to escape and defect to the West. Tragically, however, they lost their lives at sea. He believes that his daughter is still alive."

Mrs. Akihito bowed hung her head slightly as she thought about the tragedy that befell on his family. She felt deeply saddened about Trent's loss. Sorrow that had became unbreakable for him to bear had not his daughter survived, if she was alive. She said sympathetically, "I'm sorry... I didn't know you have lost your family. I don't know what to say."

Trent's anger was softened and he no longer felt bitter toward her but remained slightly upset. Still, what she did elicited his disapproval, his disgust over her affair that resulted her divorce and her carrying of the name Akihito. Her daughter, he learned, suffered greatly from the separation. He let out a soft sigh, resting the enclosed palm of his hand on his for a while turning to her. He looked straight into her eyes. "Yes... I lost a daughter and a good wife. A woman who I loved and planned to spend the rest of my days with her. I cannot believe that fate would so cruel as to take everything that is precious to me. I slept too soundly far too many times as to allow the gray wolf to take them." He closed his eyes sadly.

Gray wolf? she thought. Then another memory entered her thoughts. She was on the train, in a box car. The woman and several companions huddled against the cold of the winter outside, its winds howled and lashed against the walls of the box car. She cried loudly and the woman turned to her and began to sing to her. Of the words sang during that night, the words she recognized with clarity and understood each one of them.

She sang as she smiled...

Ne lozhisya na krayu.
Pridyot serenkiy volchok,
On ukhvatit za bochok
I utashchit vo lesok
Pod rakitovy kustok. ..

She cradled her in her arms and slowly drifted to sleep.

Mrs. Akihito sang slowly in a language she thought she never knew, as if in an emotional trance, "Bayu-bayushki-bayu,/Ne lozhisya na krayu./Pridyot serenkiy volchok,/On ukhvatit za bochok/I utashchit vo lesok/Pod rakitovy kustok..."

Trent's eyes opened wide and tears formed on the edges. His voice became heavy and sang with her very poetically, "Bayu-bayushki-bayu,/Ne lozhisya na krayu./Pridyot serenkiy volchok,/On ukhvatit za bochok/I utashchit vo lesok/Pod rakitovy kustok... "

Alex Mason noted the lullaby, he understood Russian fully well and knew the translation of the lyrics.

Baby, baby, rock-a-bye
On the edge you mustn't lie
Or the little grey wolf will come
And will nip you on the tum,
Tug you off into the wood
Underneath the willow-root.

The woman's eyes became watery as she learned of the truth. It had shocked her and saddened her greatly. Something that was purged out of her life became increasingly clear. She looked into his eyes and saw the sadness in them.

"It wasn't easy, Mrs. Akihito." Mason remarked, downing some of the Coca-cola he had used to make the mixture, "But I owed this man a debt and this is how he chose for me to repay it. He's been worried for you all these years."

"I... can't believe... after all that time, you were still there." Mrs. Akihito simply couldn't arrange the words to describe how she felt. Which part of it couldn't she believe? That her father, who had vanished from her life some time before she could remember thought, returned? That he had come all the way from Russia to find her? Or was it something else that she couldn't quite place?

"Neither can I. I was so thankful to hear you were still alive, even after that storm took you from me so many years ago. It is difficult to describe..."

Trent's eyes glistened a bit. "I see that the tragedy has not left your mind and still has scared your heart. I'm sorry for not being there." He then began to tell his tale , "And my name is not Trent. My real name is Viktor Reznov. I joined the Red Army and fought for the Motherland when the Germans broke through the doorsteps and laid wastes all throughout Russia. I've seen men killed in action against them. I've seem others die in their brutal hands. The war reached my home, Stalingrad, and I fought bravely and ferociously against the fascist invaders who sought to destroy my country. But the one thing that ignited my rage was how those fascist bastards crept up to my father's bed and slashed his throat. My father died for he played his music during the darkest hours of the siege. It inspired my countrymen to fight on. The Germans would not have of it and killed my father like lamb in a butcher shop. That was were my war really started.

"During the bitter and horrible fighting, I came to cross the paths of two people who were important to my life. First was a young soldier from the 62nd Rifles Division, Dimitri Petrenko. His unit were fresh reinforcements sent to the front and took horrendous casualties during the fighting. He and I survived a massacre at a fountain orchestrated by a German general, Heinrich Amsel, a bloodthirsty savage ogre of a man who murdered both combatants and innocents throughout Stalingrad and its vicinity in his quest to further the empire of the fascist Reich. We were able to sneak past his men, link up with Dimitri's unit and finally kill that bastard before escaping to the river with him.

"The other person was someone I know but never struck a real acquaintance until that very day. Raisa Aramova."

"My mother...?" Mrs. Akahito asked hesitantly.

He nodded slightly, "Yes... your mother. She was a Corporal in the militia. We had been friends for some time before the war but it was during the day she fished me and Dima out of the water, my eyes had shone with the sun when I looked at her face. She dragged me to the field hospital where we nursed back to health. Ah, Raisa. During that time in the hospital, after she came out of a patrol, she would tell me jokes about how I was the attention of all the ladies at the pub and how she was never affected by my manliness... And I joked back about how I often have lapses forgetting about her. However, our love has blossomed slowly and Dima would make jokes about how hard I tried to hide my affection for her. Six days after the siege ended with the surrender of Paulus' Sixth Army, we married and had a honeymoon. After a blissful three days, I moved up to the front and bade her farewell. She moved back to her family's town in the east. I promised to come back when we the war is over."

Again, her feelings were mixed. Here is a war veteran who has come back from the cold, the dead, to reunite with his family... his only loving family. She doesn't know what to do.

"But it was not meant to be. After our victory in Berlin, through all the hardship and violence that culminated in the ending of the war, I was assigned to duty in Arctic north. I was falsely arrested for charges which I am innocent of and had been in prison for long until 1962 where I helped my friend Mason escape and I left in the process. For years after leaving my hellish living tomb I learned that my family had died trying to defect from the Soviet Union, from the Rodina where the corrupt Party continues to rule with an iron fist." Reznov paused and finished his drink. He was careful not to mention about the secret mission of recovering Nova-6 and the triumvirate of Dragovich, Kravchenko, and Steiner. "I first came here to Japan to learn about the whereabouts of family, since I learned that was where my family was thought to be lost. I could not find you however and had to move on, a futile and tragic pilgrimage to regain something I lost. Then I found Mason again."

"Your friend with you," she noted to Mason on the left, sitting beside Reznov with an appropriate poker face.

"Yes... After my sojourn in Japan I settled in America and contacted my friend. He thank me for helping him out of that hellhole labor camp and said he would return the favor. It was not easy though. He ran into some difficulties with his employers. A sort of labor dispute so to speak." He lied about that one. Mason and his party are hunted by the CIA due to his alleged mental instability when in fact it was because Mason had saw through the lies his own government had sown, the cover-ups of many hidden battles and truths. The most jarring among of them was Frank Woods, who was officially pronounced dead by the Company, but turned up alive in Vietnam, sitting inside a rat-infested river cage. They escaped with Reznov's help and launched an unauthorized rescue to save Frank. Even knowledge of the CIA's decision was kept secret from their own, since Hudson had many friends in the Company and it would have sowed dissension in the ranks if the operation was exposed.

"So... how was it? How was the dispute?" She asked curiously, not minding the gnawing pain in her chest, caused partly by sadness and also something she didn't know.

"It's still pending, Mrs. Akihito. Right now, we are allowed to go as we please while the hearings are set sometime in the next few months," Mason replied. "We just have to worry about the a few snoopy journalists, that's all." CIA agents no doubt.

She didn't reply for a while. This very moment was earth-shattering. Unbelievable. A lifetime of minor yet considerable unhappiness hadn't prepare her for this day. It felt bittersweet for some reason she couldn't fathomed. She was both surprised and genuinely happy to see him but she couldn't reach out to him. Something held her back. Something dark and... It can't be... Does he even know? She finally said, "I'm... rather glad to see you... I knew little of my real parents... I never knew something like this would happen... I-I..."

He wiped his eyes. The pain his chest surfaced.

"I know. But from what I've learned of from your life, something had shattered my heart." Reznov looked away from Mrs. Akihito, to her surprise.

"Wh... what do you mean?" She asked, standing up in spite of herself.

Reznov's eyes lowered to the floor. This single gesture seemed to make his entire body droop with sorrow.

"Did you not have a daughter?" He asked. Akihito's blood instantly ran cold.

Her glass shook visibly, trembling a bit that a some of its contents have spilled over from the brim. Mason decided to say something so she wouldn't go into shock from that revelation. He said politely, "Mrs. Akihito, I mean, Aiko, we learned from a number of sources concerning about your marital status. It seemed that you divorced your husband over some matters I wouldn't like to mention and that your daughter had an angry disagreement with you."

"I... y... yes. But, it happened long ago..." Making a few more weak attempts to speak, she slowly sank back into her chair, drinking the rest of the cola-vodka cocktail in a single gulp.

He quickly looked looked back at her. "A long time ago does not mitigate the outrage you did and it does not lessen the pain of your daughter. How could you let her pay for your offense?" He cut her off with a slightly raised voice. He then sighed slightly and averted his gaze away from her again. It pained him to learn that his daughter committed such an act like, without any heed to the consequences that spread out like a bullet wound through the body. The wound can be treated and the recovery will be full but it would leave a scar that will remain in the remainder of one's life. He could not raise his voice at his daughter for she had her mother's hair and her father's eyes.

Mason put a hand on Reznov's shoulder, which, while calming his words, did nothing to ease his frustration.

"I'm sorry..." she nearly in tears choked in her words. "I didn't know..."

Reznov finally regained his composure and replied, "Had your mother been alive and by my side right now, she would have died heartbroken. What were you thinking?"

Again, she couldn't say any words. She was ashamed of her actions. She never really felt anything about it until now. The shame of her actions before had finally hit her. And it seemed her father before her was the agent of such punishment. Reznov whispered harshly, "I've seen men die in the battlefield because their commanders abandoned them to die. I've seen neighbors cooperate with the Germans for food as well as small paltries. And worst, I've seen what their puppet governments had done to their people in the occupied regions. In Poland, the Baltic, Czechoslovakia, the Ukraine and Belarus. Sham of betrayal, of giving your friends, your family, your people up to the enemy, is the greatest sin a man can commit and for that he must pay the ultimate price. What you did was no less done what had been mentioned." Reznov took a breath, as he shook pale with subdued rage. "The man you married devoted himself to you and your daughter. How could you so thoughtless?"

Mrs. Akihito- Zoya- could not reply. Already she felt guilty for not considering Rena, for not considering her husband. Mason calmed Reznov down again. The woman was sobbing quietly now. Already her guilt had manifested in front of them. Reznov was quite stern and fatherly when she talked with her. He felt a little bad for snapping at her but she had her sins to be accounted for. She finally calmed down and look forlorn on the table.

"You've broken my heart... Zoya. I wish this was a dream it it is not. I wish you had not committed it but we cannot change what had passed. There is one request I asked of you as a daughter however."

She sniffed, "What's that... father?" She felt whatever he asked for, she cannot deserve forgiveness from him.

"Where is your daughter? Where is she now?" He asked.

Mustering whatever will she had left she replied, but not looking in his eyes, "She lives in Hinamizawa... With her father..."

"Where is it?"

"It's some backwoods village somewhere Gifu. In the mountains." She replied.

"Your mother's family came from a village in the Urals." He corrected her sternly.

She hung her head in shame. The silence was once again heavy. Reznov sighed sadly. He said to her again, "I learned that you have a child with this Akihito lover of yours." She looked at him. "Take care of the child and see to it that its every need is attended. You failed once. Do not fail again. God can forgive because I could not." She nodded slightly. "We will be leaving now. Do not forget everything." They began to leave the room, not noticing her as she sobbed again silently.

They left the building, Mason wheeling Reznov across the street. It's not easy for them to look inconspicuous in the crowd, especially with a man on a wheelchair, thus cannot move undetected but a crowd is the surest defense against assassins. Their pursuers want to take them down in the shadows; not in public since a killing in broad daylight might attract the unsavory investigative attention. They looked calmly and uneasily before proceeding to the next street. It was no clever ploy, however. The CIA may not kill them in public through an appropriate "accident" but they can still follow them into wherever they go unless cleverly lose them. Some passerby courteously offered to give them assistance but they politely refused. Mason and Reznov must guard against the possibility of a CIA operative blending in the crowd and using it to approach them covertly before making the kill or of a hired gun, whose time and skill may be payed in in dollars, francs, or deutschmarks. Or maybe local thug or professional wanting to make an extra profit for an unknown employer, or tipped-off unit of the KGB whose orders are to kill them for whatever the reason. So many possibilities and Mason decided to stop speculating and continue moving on. They wandered around the city, ostensibly as tourist when in fact, they trying to identify who might be following them, then expertly lose them.

They are still hunted the CIA after escaping from Operation Chaybdis in South Africa. Mason, Hudson and Weaver are considered threats to national security. Mason most of all, as they believed he was "burned" or mentally unstable. Also his two friends as they continued to support him, including the raid where they rescued Frank Woods out of Hao Lo prison, also known as Hanoi Hilton. Reznov saved their lives, leading them to Johannesburg where they would escape. He, however, lost use the of his legs when a British SAS operative they only know as Jonathan shot through them when they escaped into the bush. They saved Reznov's life and their hides by hiding in a ramshackle clinic belonging to a black doctor who is connected with the leftist-leaning African National Congress. The doctor gave the Russian some expert medical help and would have saved his legs had he had access to first-rate medical facilities, but in Apartheid-run South Africa, he was bared from that such due to his race and status as a marked man; the Afrikaner authorities suspected he treated casualties of the ANC's military wing, the Umkhonto we Sizwe(MK). They had spent three days hiding inside roached-and-rat-infested secret compartments where he kept medical supplies while the police and the CIA ruthlessly combed the township for them. Mason, Woods, Hudson, Weaver, and Reznov owed the doctor their lives.

It had been a dusk when they finally sure that their shadowers have lost them. They entered an ordinary bar and restaurant who has some respectability as a watering hole for the well-off and Reznov took a table in the corner as they could watch the comings and goings of the occupants of the bar. They scanned the room carefully for anyone who might be out of the ordinary or any sort of deviation of routine and action. As much as they want to be drunk for the failure of their quest, they had to be careful about what they drink. Alcohol could relax their vigilance and they would compromise themselves to anyone with the intention of following them and that their conversations would overheard by any nearby patrons, whose ears might be turned up in curiosity. They ordered their dinner and drinks on polite, neutral voices. They chatted for about the weather. Mason suggested to Reznov to try the sushi, despite some mild protest from Reznov, who didn't understand why would people prefer to eat fish raw. He did try though, safe in the knowledge that his stomach was hardened by eating rough food, first the rations he ate during the war, and then the wretched gulag food.

It was already eight in the evening as the two shared drinks in a bar. Mason looked at his watch, slowly stood up and walked to the telephone booths while Reznov stealthily kept watch. The ex-marine turned hunted CIA agent carefully paced his steps as he approached the phone booths across the room. Reznov saw two people, a couple, stood up from the counter. They obviously had a little too much of the drink and they staggered out. The Russian discounted them as a threat and turned back to his drink but not without a quick sweeping glance of the room to see everyone. The CIA does not sent operatives on "extreme prejudice" assignments alone. They usually work as team, where one group performed reconnaissance of the targets, another has command and control and a third who will commit the dispatch mission. And the dispatch group has a backup group whose job is to intervene if anything goes wrong and continue the mission if necessary. The time it took for Mason to walk to the phone booths was no less than forty-five seconds. Just as he arrived, the phone rang. He waited for three rings before he picked up the phone.

"Hello?" Mason asked.

"Willis, it's you," replied the caller. "How's your deal with the electronics firm?" The real message has been understood already. Mason, what's your status?

"Uh, yeah. We secured a contract that we'll put into effect next week," Hudson. Me and Reznov are secure. No one tailing us but his soul-searching seems to have a dead-end.

"Okay, Burke, how's your research?" Are and Weaver you not compromised?

"Looks good. I found some books on poetry folklore that I need for my new book," the caller cheerily replied. No, we're fine and Woods has transport waiting for you. Meet us at the rendezvous point.

"Oh, that's nice. Looks like you've got lucky." Where?

"You're not so lucky yourself. In fact, you could never have out of the gotten first grade without my help." Same place, same time. If thing go wrong, employ emergency procedures and move to point Abram.

"Alright, see you at the alumni anniversary next month," Understood as planned. Proceed to the next phase.

"See you there," Alright, out.

The conversation was over. He hung up and replace. The dialogue was cleverly designed to sound like a conversation of friends for the benefit of any pursuers listening in to them. Standard procedure as it has been taught at Camp Peary, Virginia, also known as "The Farm". He left the telephone unhurried. He walked back to the table and sat down. "We'll need to get going again soon, Trent. The car's not going to wait."

Reznov stared down into the empty glass, at the one last drop of vodka that always remained at the very bottom, with a distant look on his face. "After so long. I have never known such a crushing failure as this. She was brought up to be an opportunist. A scavenger. If I had been able to teach her properly..." He poured yet another glass of the clear spirit from the bottle on the tabletop. "This... could have been a happy reunion."

"You can't dwell on it forever, Viktor. Please... we all have our regrets. Sometimes your trust is placed in a lie. If you need to learn, learn your lesson and move on. My dad... told me that. A long time ago. He also told me that there are somethings in life you couldn't control." Mason replied.

"And to what can my daughter say, 'my father told me that'? I certainly never told her to abandon her child and her marriage, simply because she had bore the child of her love! And to think that her husband had made efforts to further her own chances of success! It is like leaving your men to be eaten by wolves just for goddamned advancement!" He pounded the table loudly, startling some nearby patrons. Reznov recalled bitterly that the day he met Dimitri was also the day of his betrayal by Dragovich; he promised reinforcements but they never came to stem the tide. A cold, necessary sacrifice made for the sake of his ambitions.

"Her daughter did chose to stay with her father during the settlement," Mason pointed out.

"She is no better than Dragovich and Kravchenko," Reznov said sharply. Then he turned to silence.

Mason pondered for a second, as Trent tipped back another shot of vodka. "The one who was hurt the most was Rena. Her daughter." He remarked offhandedly. "What do you think she thinks of that?"

The grizzled hero of Stalingrad stopped for a moment. He remembered about his wife who lovingly sent letters about how she would like to see his daughter. He longed for it... If only he didn't accept that mission in the cold arctic... If only... His friend was right. There are some thing in life beyond his control. At that time he had orders to follow and he couldn't refuse them. What happened in the past cannot be set again. What he could do was to settle it, bury it. There is not much for him to live for anyway. And he must settle everything before he leaves this world.

"It must be hard for her," he said sadly. "She is all I have left in this world." He looked glum.

Mason said comfortingly, "You started this journey when we escaped from Vorkuta. Now you can finally finish it and be at peace. We'll see it through the end."

Reznov finally smiled. His smile was one of that reflected the Russian character, where the face turned happy but never the eyes. A smile where happiness and sadness joined hands together to walk into the evanescent sunset that herald a passing of another day, knowing it may be the last. He replied to him, "Thank you, my friend."

They both stood up and left the restaurant. Minutes later they wheeled into a dark and deserted back alley where a car just arrived. Mason got in the car's passenger seat while two of the cars three occupants helped Reznov and packed the wheelchair in the trunk. Woods on wheel asked Mason, "How was it?"

Careful about his words since cars are easily bugged. "Not so good. Let's get some shut-eye."

"You got it, Mason," Woods replied happily and they all drove back silently around the city for a while before hitting their hotel.

Author's note: Dedushka is the Russian word for Grandfather. The story was partly inspired by Reznov's and Rena's weapon of choice, Rena's past from Higurashi No Naku Koro Ni. Freaky, huh? This is my first time to try dramatics. This chapter was partially inspired by the Bourne Supremacy scene where Jason Bourne reveals the truth to the daughter of the politician he assassinated.