Part 34: Interview 17 BonusBarracks 17 - Fealty
Dimitri looks up in surprise as there is a knock on his door. His roommate, Ivan, shrugs.
“Guess it’s time.”
“Time for what?” asks Dimitri, but Ivan doesn’t reply, and instead opens the door. A couple of soldiers enter - Diana, Boris, Zlata. Ivan goes to stand with them, and they all face Dimitri.
“So… Dimitri.” Diana says. “We’ve been thinking.”
“The stuff you told us about Wanda, and how she really died… it sorta made us realise that we’ve been hard on you.” Boris continues.
“We blamed you for a death that wasn’t your fault.” Diana says; apologising seems difficult for her, but she continues, unabashed. “I, in particular, really held a grudge. I should’ve realised that you weren’t the kind of guy to desire power. You never wanted to lead the mercenaries… you just wanted to keep them safe, didn’t you?”
“Of course.” breathes Dimitri. “It was always about keeping you all safe.”
“We had a chat to some of our old and new friends.” Ivan replies, shrugging. “Eduard, Valentin, Anatoly and Anton, Felix and Fenya…”
“You see, we decided that we owe you.” Boris replies. He salutes Dimitri. “And if you’ll have us… we want to disband Olaf’s Mercenaries and form a new group. Dimitri’s Mercenaries.”
Ivan and Zlata salute too.
“Dimitri’s Mercenaries… has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it, huh?” Ivan says.
Diana is the last to salute, but she does it without complaint.
“I’d be proud to serve Dimitri’s Mercenaries. What do you say, Dimitri? Shall we make a new group and leave the past behind?”
Dimitri is quiet for a moment. At first, the group think he’s staring at the floor and laughing, but as he sniffs, they realise that tears are falling from his face. He wipes his eyes, stands up firmly and salutes the group back.
“If you want me to lead, I’ll happily take this ol’ group and whip them into shape. Count me in.”
“Yes! Dimitri’s Mercenaries have been born!” Zlata squeals with excitement.
“We’ll tell the others, then.” Diana replies. “...Thanks, Dimitri.”
“Everyone deserves forgiveness. I don’t blame you for your grudge, Diana, nor you, Boris. I’m just happy we can try this again.”
“Of course, boss.” Boris says.
“Alright, let the others know the good news. Dimitri’s Mercenaries…” Dimitri says, his voice building up to a commanding call. “Move out!”
The troops exit, save for Zlata, who remains in the room. She turns to Dimitri, but she isn’t sure what to say. Dimitri takes the initiative.
“Zlata. You had something to do with this, I take it?”
“Well, I had a stern talking-to with them! But as for forming Dimitri’s Mercenaries, that was all Diana’s idea. She really wanted to apologise.” Zlata replies.
“I’m glad. Feels like my old friends have finally forgiven me for what I’ve done.”
“I never doubted you.” Zlata says breathlessly. “I knew you were a good man. At the military academy, I saw who you were - a good man who cared about people. And you’ve not changed.”
“I’d be a fool to let war change who I am.” Dimitri says, shaking his head. “Thank you, Zlata. I… gotta admit… I’ve really enjoyed spending time with you as of late.”
“I love you too- what?” Zlata says, the moment getting away with her. “I mean, uh-”
“I already know. You wear your heart on your sleeve, Zlata.”
Zlata plays with her hands, blushing a deep magenta. “I, uh…”
She falls quiet as Dimitri reaches over and takes her hand.
“I think I’m feelin’ the same way. What say we go on a stroll tonight, just the two of us?”
“I think I’d like that very much.” Zlata breathes. “Yes… that sounds perfect.”