He hated admitting that he had a weakness. Usually, Yuri could hide them pretty well, with easy smiles and witty comebacks. The environment he lived in how, he could not afford to be that way all the time. People’s lives were on the line and it had taken some time for him to adjust his attitude, but here he was, asking one of the most respected members of the resistance to teach him how to shoot. Honestly, Yuri had expected Thomas to say no, that he was too busy or something else like that. Not because Thomas was unkind, but because he was a leader and had so many more important things to do, than spend time one on one, with a relatively average soldier.
He was incredibly grateful and somewhat nervous as he paced back and forth on the spot, waiting for Thomas to arrive. He held his rifle with a white-knuckle grip, his mind racing through thoughts. It wasn’t that he was a bad shot, but Yuri knew he could stand to improve. A misplaced bullet could mean life or death and he had no intention of failing his comrades. Once upon a time he would have ran and kept running, until he had no breath and his chest burned. He wanted nothing more than to be free of Russia and its rocky, new foundations that were slowly being painted blood red. Now he missed it, now he wanted it back – he wanted all of it back, France, Germany – everything.
He didn’t think it was possible to mourn for a place, but he was. The Russia on the other side of the portal wasn’t his Russia, and try as he might he just couldn’t make the connection. The timing was all wrong, he couldn’t cope with the disconnect in history, so he had to settle for the motherland in his head and memories of a girl in a sea of thousands, with blue eyes and red hair. Yuri stopped pacing abruptly and sighed, looking at the weapon in his hands, he had missed the war to end all wars but he had been impacted by it. He lost his father to it and family as a result. At the time he wished he could fight, to protect all he held dear, though this war was somewhat secret, he was happy to be a soldier.
As happy as anyone could be on endless front-lines, in a battle that was arguably unwinnable. They had victories and they also had losses and every day he wondered if it was just a matter of time before the darkness found its way into the other world as well. Then nowhere would be safe. It was no question really, that they had to do everything they could to fight back. Even if his efforts today were small in the scheme of things, they mattered at least – to others and he’d never before considered anyone but himself. As he heard footsteps approaching he straightened and tried to look presentable.