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SPIbo VA5 Engl 143 Pag

SPIbo VA5 Engl 143 Pag

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Published by: jay151 on Sep 24, 2010
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02/01/2013

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Sections

  • Chapter 1
  • Chapter 2
  • Chapter 3:
  • Chapter 4:
  • Chapter 5:
  • Chapter 6:
  • Chapter 7:
  • Chapter 8:
  • Chapter 9:
  • Chapter 10 :
  • Chapter 11:
  • Chapter 12:
  • Chapter 13:
  • Chapter 14:
  • Chapter 15:
  • Chapter 16:
  • Chapter 17:
  • Chapter 18:
  • Chapter 19:
  • Chapter 20:
  • Chapter 21:

SPIRIT BOUND Chapter 1 "You wouldn't," I said to Dimitri as we were standing in the middle of the room. "Try me!

" He snarled tightening his grip around Lissa's neck. "I'm strigoi remember?" "But what's the point?" I asked taking an offensive stand, not really knowing how I could attack him and make him let go of Lissa before she got hurt. She would run away and I would probably end up killed but that was not even relevant. "Fun? Challenge? Revenge? Pleasure?" He shrugged still holding Lissa. "You pick… your guess is as good as mine." He said with his now usual humorless and cold laugh. "You don't want to do that" I said in a silly attempt to resurrect a tiny part of my Dimitri. "I told you…That moroi is no concern of mine anymore. Only you are." He said jaw locked. "Please…Please don't hurt her. I'll…I'll do anything." I added with defeat, raising my hands in surrender and letting go of my fighting stance. "No Rose don't." Lissa whimpered and Dimitri growled tightening his grip around her neck. "I have some questions before," he said repeating the exact words I used when he held me hostage. I looked at him without a word as an invitation to continue. "Would it have changed anything?" He asked cocking his head to the side. "Would what?" I asked confused. "If I told you that I loved you on that bridge…Would you have joined me?" He asked with such a neutral voice that it actually gave me a chill. "Would you have meant it?" I asked expectantly, my heart racing. That was the question that kept me awake, eating me up inside. "Does it matter?" He asked with his still cold voice. I sighed. I was almost convinced strigoi couldn't love anyways. "If you let her go… I'll join you." I said with my head held high. "Rose…" Sobbed Lissa. Dimitri looked at me for a minute and laughed. "You know what it doesn't matter anymore." He said seriously. "You staked me twice and I think you deserve a little punishment before I awaken you. You'll understand then, but I think your last minutes of pure agony will be punishment enough." "Why---" I started but he broke Lissa's neck. I screamed with all I had. The pain I felt was almost impossible to bear and that's when I jumped out of bed screaming and kicking with my hair stacked with sweat. It was just a nightmare I thought breathless. Just a terrible horrific nightmare. I added to myself getting off the bed in need of a shower.

I looked at the clock beside my bed and sighed, still two hours before breakfast and I didn't deal with being alone that well these days. It gave me time to think and it was breaking my heart. Too many questions and so much incertitude. I was back four days now and it was my first night back to the dorms that was probably why I was shaken...I was just so confused about everything. Once under the shower I started to feel better, feeling the burning water on my back made me think of the contrast with Dimitri's icy cold hand, causing me to shiver. And I was asking myself the same question that I was asking since Dimitri hit the dark water. If I gave him the chance after that will he have said 'I love you too' and more importantly would he have meant it? I didn't realize that I was crying as the hot water was running down my face. Damn this experience was supposed to make me stronger, I thought I killed the love of my life. I say 'thought' because I failed…twice! But I was not stronger, a part of me was weaker…I realized that even the great Rose Hathaway had her weaknesses. I almost turned the blood whore of a strigoi… Hell I did turn into the blood whore of a strigoi!! And now that I realized he wasn't dead I could feel that weakness in me, that weakness I didn't know was there before. I dried quickly and dressed for training as I was supposed to meet Alberta to train in an hour now. I still couldn't believe that she decided to put the effort to help me graduate. Well I guessed Zmey senior was a part of it but still, she had been kind and sad for my loss I needed to ask her about that. Zmey…My father. I thought looking at myself in the mirror I recognized his eyes in mine, his skin tone, even his angry sarcastic smile was the same as mine. Now that I knew the truth it seemed almost impossible to ignore our genetic connection. I turned around and let my eyes roam to the desk where Dimitri's note was. I brushed the envelope with my fingertips which made my heart ache. I couldn't grieve anymore, I knew for sure he was still walking around…probably plotting my death but shamefully that was not what disturbed me the most. No what was disturbing me was that I maybe had a chance to save him. I knew it was total utopia and that even if I managed to get all the settings right (which was almost impossible) Robert Duros was probably totally insane by now if not dead and it could also very easily be a lie. So every part of my logical self said to drop it, to be prepared for when Dimitri comes for me and this time end it…by his death or mine. But there was this small part of me, this tiny but powerful part, that kept telling me that I had to keep hoping that there still was some hope. As small as it was, I knew deep down that this minor hint of hope could very well kill me. I sighed heavily, deciding to run laps before joining Alberta for training. That was at least a lesson given by Dimitri I didn't forget. When you didn't have any weapons to defend yourself what should you do? RUN!! and boy did it help me during my 5 weeks away. My legs were starting to hurt badly as I only started my third lap that was insane!! Only 6 weeks without training, a week as a blood whore, and some good ( already healed) beatings. I was almost back to the starting point. I felt like I did last September… incompetent. "Don't use all your strength Rose…You'll need it with me." Alberta shouted from the other side of the track where the gym was. I ran to meet her, I really didn't know what to expect of a training session with Alberta Petrov. "It's okay Guardian Petrov I need the exercise." I said dismissively.

She looked at me thoughtfully and I could see the sorrow deep in her eyes before she could hide it again. We walked into the gym and it was stupid of me not to expect the shooting pain that over powered me when I looked around. I hoped I was doing my best to hide the pain from my face but I didn't think I fooled her as she just stood there without talking letting me time to be myself again. You know how they say your life flashes in front of your eyes when you are about to die well it was exactly what happened here except that it was the moments with Dimitri that flashed before my eyes, every fight, every touch, every kiss, every laughter and except that I was not dying...not physically at least. My heart was aching in my chest like…Like I was having an heart attack. Who would have thought that a broken heart could literally hurt? After a little while, I took a deep breath stood straighter, concentrating on Alberta again. She was kind enough to ignore my reaction and talked like I didn't go in 'weirdo mode' for the past 5 minutes or so. "Well I think you should train with more than one guardian you know, adapt to more than one method." she said sitting down on a bench patting the spot beside her. "I bet you have so many volunteers" I said sitting. She had a small smile playing on her lips "Actually I did get two." She said shooting me a sidelong glance. "Really?" I asked honestly surprised. She nodded. "Guardian Alto and…" I was about to interrupt but the second name shut me down, "Guardian Hathaway." "Guardian… my mom? But what about her charge??" I asked completely dumbfounded. That was so not like my mother to stay behind. "Yeah she managed to get assigned here for a while and I think that they knew it was useless to argue with someone as stubborn as she is." She chuckled. "I guess you know where you got that from." I couldn't help but smile, my mother was a stubborn, controlling wiseass and my father was the same with a little addition of criminal… I never stood a chance… It was their fault if I was full of attitude and sarcasm, it was genetic. "You know what…Maybe it's better if we start everything tomorrow." She stood up. "I'll work out a schedule and give it to you tomorrow ok?" She said before awkwardly squeezing my shoulder. She turned around to leave but I couldn't help to ask. "How did you find out?" I blurted out. She turned around and knew exactly what I was talking about. She took a deep breath and thought for a little while. "I guess a part of me always knew," she said quietly. "I knew… Dimitri a long time…" She said and I could see she used his first name for my benefit only and it was very nice of her. "I met him once when he was still a student and I crossed paths with him during his years as a guardian and there were always walls around him, he always had his guard up and when he lost his charge." Alberta shook her head. "He seemed tortured deep down but once you two started training I could see some subtle changes in him he seemed less tortured, so much more at peace and even happy and you…Oh Rose…" She smiled sadly. "I could see it in your eyes." She took a deep breathe "Then…Then we

I just bit my bottom lip looking at her trying my best to contain my tears. I really did feel better when I was with her." she added before exiting the gym." I said even surprising myself. Lissa blushed slightly feeling embarrassed to have jumped on me like that. "Awww Lissa come on. "It's Christian. "Rose I need you to help me. and guilt radiating from her in huge waves. I was such a bad ass that I went in an infiltration mission as a spy for the secret service. As soon as I made it to the table and saw Lissa smile I felt better it was like the part of my heart that belonged to her helped numb the part that used to." I chuckled. I haven't run into him again." I said once my mouth was empty. Who would have thought I would ever take Christian's defense? Not me! "Sending me to talk for . I walked slowly back to the commons." I just looked at her not knowing what to say. I didn't realize how hungry I was before sitting down at the table. "What can I do for you?" I asked before inhaling almost half of the donut. Well I'd rather them think I was a spy or a rogue slayer or even psychotic than what I really was…a failure to my one promise and a temporary blood whore. Others said I went rogue and left to hunt strigoi like Faith in Buffy the vampire slayer (not so wrong) and my personal favorite. Now students were starting to move around I couldn't help but sigh to the not so discreet sidelong glances full of questions that they were giving me. and still. I stayed there a little while longer looking around and trying to look good enough to join the others for breakfast as even if they tried to hide it they were worrying about me. I barely reached my seat when she spoke. I did my best to swallow as fast as I could without chocking and took the opportunity to quickly glance around the room. "It's alright. sorrow. I was pretty sure he was coming to the commons very early or very late to avoid any of us." She said and I could feel the worry irradiating from her. "I'll see you tomorrow. Like the previous days Christian was nowhere to be found. read it in Adrian's eyes and if the great Janine Hathaway decided to stay around it had to be the reason. Some said that I just couldn't deal with the aftermath of the battle and needed to get institutionalized for a while." she simply said and I could feel the pain." she said with a rueful smile. "Sorry. I was not sure I could even speak. it was always easier to have your way with me when I was full of it. Some of the rumors were just crazy and some were funny.had the kidnapping and he was frantic. belonged to Dimitri. so much more than what a mentor should feel and part of me knew right then that he loved you so so much too. I could feel it from Lissa. I knew he was doing it on purpose to avoid Lissa and he was doing one hell of a job. "I know the situation is pretty messed up but he just needs some time…give it to him. Chapter 2 "Well good morning to you too sunshine!" I said reaching for a sugar coated donut that was on the table. With the exception of the little chat we had the day I came back. Lissa always knew I was a sucker for sweets and sugar in general.

"Well I wanted to go and see one of Fire boy training sessions. "Oh yeah that's good! I went twice myself to show them some movements you know. "He is actually doing a pretty decent job I can even imagine him as a teacher. "Ok…." I said since he invited me anyways." She added going full force sad puppy on me. "Now as in the next few hours or now in the future since I came back?" I asked knowing that even if I was not going to give full details to Eddie. he was not close to Eddie and he certainly couldn't talk to one of his 'students'." he said smiling. My mother and him did their best to hide it to everyone maybe there was a reason. Calculus. it was like before…sort of. Please Rose…." I chuckled. However. "I'll go meet him at his training session after class. well mobster boss. I did tell her almost everything else and she would know it all eventually." she said biting her bottom lip trying her best not to cry." Oh my god I really sound like Abe right now don't I? I added to myself as that was still a part of the story Lissa didn't know about. I just needed a little more time. "Do you want me to walk you there?" I nodded grateful." He said nicely. "Thank you Rose. It was the secrets that almost destroyed our friendship and ultimately almost cost her life. He is a good person and I knew how badly it hurts when you have nobody to confide in. "So what are you going to do now?" Asked Eddie as we exited our last class of the day. "I mean if I could help by beating him up or something I would but I don't think it would work. "No it's not that. Even if Eddie changed after all the horror we faced he still had some of his carefree laugh and the faint glint in his eyes. named Abe but at the time I related her the full adventure I didn't know Abe was my father.you won't help that's for sure. It was nice to be with him to do small talk. Classes went pretty well. I decided to wait before telling her since I needed to figure the whole Victor plans before and because I was not sure if it was really my place to say." he added and I could hear in his voice that he was as surprised as I was." I said evasively. I nodded still thoughtful." she said shaking her head. "He trusts you and he loves you. I could at least give him a very small and vague resume of where I went. also known as torture 101 for me. And I certainly didn't help with that. "Well Christian always had some trust issues. the guy can be pretty stubborn" I added before taking a sip of my coffee. She knew I met a man. that almost made me think we were going back in time…before Spokane. Eddie accepted me like I never left and he didn't try to question my absence because he knew only too well why I left. He seemed to seriously ponder my question.. I looked at her for a little while in silence. I was the only one left and even if I would rather get stabbed than admit it out loud I wanted to help him. "I was more concerned about the next few hours. ." I said confused. He thought Adrian was a useless alcoholic. "Well he needs someone to talk to and even if he never said it out loud he…" she smiled." she said and I could feel relief radiating from her. It was true that our little group were the only people Christian was talking to." Well not that I don't want to know your plans for the future but I'd rather you talk to me on your own initiative. I had to admit it.help him get better.

" he said with clear respect before walking away. "Oh I can walk you there!" She said jumping on the opportunity. "He is going to be a good guardian. "Yeah see you later.he saw it first hand. based on their official report. "Well that and something else too. "I see…" I said simply not really knowing how much they knew and what did they share with her. "That's…That's what you wanted to tell me?" I asked honestly surprised as it could have been said in front of Eddie." I simply added concentrating on Alberta again. I really didn't expect to get any marks. "I was looking for you." Alberta said business like." ." I said watching Eddie too. 5 strigoi in St Petersburg and 2 near Baia are attributed to you." I said sincerely. At least what they know about your time there. I stopped to face her." She said with clear admiration in the voice. "Thanks" I said putting it in my rear pocket. "So." I said smiling to him hoping it looked genuine enough. "It is a huge advantage but also a weakness. "Well Eddie was just walking me to one of Christian Ozera training sessions. "They added that semi-officially you probably took down around 15 strigoi." She said nicely quickly glancing around to be sure we were not spied on since the alchemists were more or less a well kept secret. "He knows what to expect outside…." she said handling me the piece of paper as we were walking side by side. "Well yeah but still I think you deserve them however we can't give you a mark for every kill since some well… can't officially be attributed to you." she said to me after acknowledging Eddie's presence with a nod." She added and she was getting more uncomfortable by the second. "Thanks Eddie." said Eddie squeezing my hand.We were maybe half way to the junior gym when Alberta met with us. "I'll see you back in the dorm. "I really need to have a word with you." I said patting his arms." I said resting my hand on Eddie's shoulder." Alberta commented while watching him retreat." I nodded. it was stupid as she had no way to know that but I just couldn't help it. She looked at me startled but didn't comment. hell I didn't even expect to make it back. she had a folded piece of paper in her hand. Alberta cleared her throat. "Guardian Petrov. "Are you doing something important?" She asked but her voice was saying 'I need to talk to you alone'. I really didn't care who I was training with really…it was not my Dimitri." She said slightly frowning when she saw the relief on my face. "They told me about your kills and I needed to talk to you about getting your Molnija. But you can only be marked for 7 and I'm sorry about that. I nodded not really knowing what I should say anyways." I said as an invitation to continue. "Uh huh. I had the irrational fear that she would announce that Dimitri was on his way. "It's not necessary you know. "I've got your training schedule for the next two weeks here. "Well since you have been reintegrated the Alchemists did a report of your time in Russia.

" said Christian before concentrating on them again. "Well fine you'll see how we can kick ass too. I thought for a little while. "Stop right there Christian that's not why I'm here. I didn't need to scare the kids." she said but it was not clear in her voice if it was a compliment or not. "I'll see you later. pretty hard but clear and fair. I shook my head before entering the gym where Christian was talking to a little group of approximately 8 moroi. she seemed clearly saddened by that. "Of course you can!" I said trying to smile as warmly as I could. As soon as the students left I stood up and went to meet Christian. "Well well well if it isn't the great Rose Hathaway!!" Christian said but he seemed genuinely pleased to see me there." I added not really knowing what I felt thankful for. . it was clearly enough to impress any guardians but deep down I never felt lesser of a guardian than I felt today. "Maybe next time. "Thank you. she sent you to try to set things right. "No matter how ready. The lesson was pretty good actually and I had to recognize that Eddie was right. "Excuse me can I ask you a question?" He asked directly to my attention. I told you I don't --" I stopped him by bringing my hand on his mouth." I said trying to show some interest. I thought he was maybe 12 and one of the fire users like Christian turned around to face me."I said it's no biggy. The others were looking at him in a awe." I said pointing to the bench. "Did you came to share some of your moves with us?" I heard some muffled 'wow' and 'awesome'." she said padding my arm before rushing away I guessed she was scheduled for security. Christian was a very good teacher. So many pieces of advise were crossing my mind. it's not the marks that make the quality of a guardian. He looked at me and I could see his eyes widen as if he understood something. When he dismissed the group one of the young boys. that pseudo strength could be your fatal weakness. "Well…" I ran my hands through my hair. never be over confident because that confidence. They were clearly thinking he was just so brave to talk to badass Hathaway ( apparently it was the nickname they gave me behind my back). "Well not today. "Ah I get it. I would have 9 Molnija and the big battle one before graduating. "You have grown so much Rose. "So buddy how are you doing?" I asked with a small smile." I said before taking my hand from his mouth. "Yes that's fine by me." I said trying to sound nonchalant but I could see that Christian understood only too well." I said simply. "If you had only one piece of advice to give us what would it be?" He asked as the 8 students and even Christian looked at me eagerly. I just came as an observer. I chuckled. how strong you think you are. "Ok I can arrange it for tomorrow after class then?" She asked before quickly looking at her watch." I added winking to Christian and sitting down.

"You still love them right?" I asked uncomfortable as even to Lissa he never openly mentioned his parents. he was the only person I had ever trusted with my life. "To realize that strigoi or not you still love him? It's hard isn't it? You start to hate yourself for that. except for Dimitri. How it warmed my heart to realize he was on my side." I said barely louder than a whisper. "Well I'd like to think we're friends and even if I would never say it out loud in public I missed you. "There are no reasons for you to be ashamed. his voice breaking. I was about to say something I didn't say anyone. not even to myself. "What is?" I asked confused. "So how have you been?" I asked again.. Christian looked at me "I bet you know that already Rose. I looked at him as my eyes filled up with tears. I started to relay to him everything that happened during the last 5 weeks only leaving the same details aside than I left out for Lissa. I just smiled." He said in such a way I realized it was the first time he acknowledge that fact out loud. I know you enough to be sure you couldn't abandon her. "Yeah I still love them. "I guess trust is something that needs to be gained. We walked back to his room in silence and as soon as we walked in he gestured me to the armchair as he took off his jacket and sat on his bed. "It's terrible isn't it?" He asked nicely." he said picking up his bag from the floor. "How have you been doing?" I asked resting a hand on his shoulder." He said. You are so brave and strong! Don't think you failed anything or anyone because you didn't. I couldn't even understand myself. "And I'll prove that I trust you. How could he understand? I thought a bit troubled. You know it's evil that stands before you and you hate yourself for not hating him completely…you think you are bad because you love that strigoi to some level." He smiled "Don't tell me you didn't slip in Lissa's head while you were away." And it was true he was my favorite smartass." And I really did. He nodded. Christian stared at me for a little while thoughtful and I could see no judgment in his eyes just understanding. "You've been so good at playing ninja and hiding that I didn't get a chance to even talk to you."Oh?" He said simply. "Why?" Asked Christian anxiously coming to kneel in front of me." I said to him." . "I'm ashamed. His parents they were strigoi before being killed. "Let's go to my room. "How can you…" I started to say. I hate them for voluntary going strigoi and I hated myself for years because I couldn't stop loving them." 'Avery is not Rose' I remembered him saying." He nodded slowly. I wanted to say how can you know that? but I realized that he was the only one able to understand me.

I was probably the only one who could understand that part of him and vice versa "You shouldn't feel bad Rose… after 10 years I still long for my parents Strigoi or not." I said blushing." He said as he was just stating a fact.." I looked up." He said calmly. "What do you want me to explain?" He asked with a sigh of clear rendition." I said sincerely. very close friends. "And you know that she probably kissed Aaron under influence. After a while we parted a bit embarrassed. "When I was on the edge of the bridge ready to kill myself he…" I took a deep breathe as Christian squeezed my hands to encourage me. "Don't get me wrong. to see the disappointment in his eyes. "It was nice to have just some you and me time. I couldn't help but snort because it was also Christian's anti-social behavior that lead him to gain the 'strigoi-wannabe' nickname." he said simply."If he had given me the right answer I'm not sure I would be here today. trying to keep his feeling in order. "It's nice to know that someone can understand that part of you that you thought you had to keep hidden." He said sitting back on the bed.." he said still in the hug. I knew that from now on we would be friends. he hugged me tightly and I hugged him back." he said still very calm. and she only managed to control Lissa after making her drink. "You know I came to check on you and you comforted me." He said sincerely. "yeah I do. When I asked him why he didn't want me to die he said because he wanted me but… I can't help to think that I might have decided differently if he had said that he loved me…Maybe. maybe I would have joined him. I just looked at him not saying anything. I'm proud of who I am as you are proud of who you are Rose. Things started to get messy even before Avery came into the picture. "Rose you promised. "You know Lissa would never judge you right?" I tried. I don't blame her for trying to be part of the royal game. So you are. "The 'probably' and 'pretty much' clearly states that it was still a bit her. He sighed. if it's what she wants to do but you see I don't play their game." "So you are fire boy. you comforted me too." I added resting my elbows on my knees. "And I've seen." I whispered looking down at his hands on my knees. I've seen that you and…Belikov were ready to sacrifice . "See that's the problem. "He begged me not to do it." He sighed." He said and I could see the deep hurt in his eyes.." "Believe me. I never did." Christian then did something I wouldn't have expected in a million year. "What do you mean?" he asked so caringly that I was scared to crush the friendship we were creating. what could I say when I knew he wasn't wrong. You are my favorite annoying smartass. "Sorry. I chuckled drying my tears. Christian nodded. "You know that Avery controlled Lissa's mind pretty much the whole time right?" I asked rhetorically. "I mean she let herself become influenced for whatever reason when she could have just confided in me. "And I know you …at least I think I do and I'm sorry but I'm just trying to understand here ok?" I tried raising my hands in surrender. "Nah don't be.

"Even if you decided not to get back together with Lissa." I asked with the full force of my sad puppy eyes. "You too Rose." he said quickly. "Oh I finally found you.everything to be together. Victor.sad." he said with his usually laid back grin. who is to say we are made for each other?" His last words wouldn't have hurt me more if he actually slapped me. "I'm not saying that I don't love her more than I thought I could love." he said before kissing my cheek as I exited. "Always stunning I see. he was always so carefree. "Sadly I do" I said in a breath. . We were friends for life now. I couldn't help to think that it was the forbidden love that I shared with Dimitri that made him fall and shattered my heart.Life didn't spare us.' "I just need some time to figure it out before it's too late and before we're only good to hurt each other. Spokane. "I wanted to give you that." He looked deep into my eyes before nodding. Everyone thinks their first love is the only one they'll ever have. We have so much more in common than most people. the campus." I said. "But sometimes love is not enough and we're barely 18. pretty much disabled when feelings were concerned. even for myself to realize that. Before we make choices for the future that we can't take back.. "What's this?" I asked curiously. "Hello Adrian. I'll meet you there." he said giving me a quick hug. "You too. "It's just…." he bit his bottom lip thinking. It made me think of Abe and what he said to me. he was like me. Can you understand that?" He asked and I could see he was actually yearning for my comprehension. just to make the other one happy. "Eat breakfast with us tomorrow." He said handing be a black folder." I said actually happy to see him. I was about to enter my dorm when I heard Adrian's voice behind me. Please. "You're right." "I just need time to figure it out even if it will be hard. You've barely lived. curfew was getting closer and closer." He said simply "I… it's--" I started taken aback. I needed to go. Save me a seat. "I'm not sure I could make all the compromises that need to be made for her. Life…. "Avoiding her won't help you decide you know." He said and I saw the anguish in his eyes and it was now my turn to jump for my seat to hug him tight. You left everything behind to find him but you see. "He said awkwardly. I was sure of that. and now our shameful love for still 'living' or dead strigoi. I need you to know that you'll always have a friend in me okay?" I said standing up. I liked his company. I was walking back to my room still stunned I never thought Christian and I could become so close but all the battles we fought side by side. I could still hear him clearly in my head like as if he was beside me 'Oh Rose you are young. His black eye had totally faded and he was as gorgeous as ever. because it would be a lie.

=D I sighed closing my eyes. Part One was called 'Facts' and divided in small paragraphs: . (Come on you know it's true. 'I'm never going to be involved with anyone again. For now I was still stuck. he never gave up on me as much as I pushed him away. . I really hoped he gave up on me. Adrian financed my crazy escape.All in all to. Dimitri was still half alive somewhere probably organizing my assassination but a promise was a promise. maybe now more than ever. he wanted to make me laugh and that was something I desperately needed these days."The essay you asked for about why I'm dating material. . . Why should you date me by Adrian 'Awesome' Ivashkov. I could hear Abe in my head all over again.Not that you care but I'm a good catch. I know you think it's borderline stalkerish but I just think I'm being super cute. that I was sure of. good name. "Just so you know I never worked as seriously or as hard on something in my whole life." I looked at him mouth wide open probably looking like a complete idiot." He said seeing the matron approaching. I looked at the folder stupidly. He quickly kissed my forehead before rushing back toward the guest pavilion.And you know me. I let my guard down around you and you've already gotten a very good look at the real me.You also know that I'm not the kind to take things seriously.' He replied I groaned. his fear of losing me. it's true but you… I've always been serious about you Rose and I know that you can't deny that.) . I'll never judge you or let you down . telling him to let go he kept coming back supporting me. or in my dreams. "I'll see you tomorrow. I could see his seriousness. I could see through his pretenses. That was a true fact. Yeah right. Not after Dimitri. I picked up the file chuckling as I saw the title. I already know a lot about you. When we were together.' I had said 'Oh Rose you are young. I had seen his goodness. I think way better than anyone else. and a terrible reputation just as you like. It was so right. and there is nothing you could do or say that would make me care or respect you any less. I care a lot about you. ." he said seriously. You've barely lived. it did strike a sensitive cord. I put on my PJs and quickly sank into bed. Everyone thinks their first love is the only one they'll ever have.You already know that even if you want to do something completely crazy. I will always follow you. It was all very clearly typed on a computer which was good. I took a deep breath before continuing to read. our little chat back in Baia. I bet that my blood whore days would crush this respect if he ever found out. his bravery and protectiveness. He was playing the dandy shallow rich royal most of the time but I knew better and he knew that I did. I knew I would have more success deciphering hieroglyphs than his messy handwriting. "Shut up old man. He was humoring me." I whispered walking back to my room Chapter 3: I put the file on the night stand since it would probably be some pretty interesting bedtime reading. his longing.

I'll support you all the way whatever you decide to do or not do.Now I did expose you to the theory but I need to show you how perfect I would be for you Rose and the way is that you accept one date. whole.I would never judge you or let you down and you know that I will never play with your emotions or your heart. Paper can't contain all the finer points of things. right? .. I could even say that dressed as simply. I sighed putting the file on the floor and turning off the light. sensitivity. showing that he did have a washboard stomach and he was barefoot. (the biggest part which was 37 % was my brave. making his emerald eyes even greener in this magical surrounding. he knew that it was possible I would not go in to deep with him." "So it seems. "So." I said taking a good look at him. I can get a little impatient. I took my shoes off and sat beside him in the deliciously warm grass. just a small little date.. family. .Plus when I'm near you I feel at peace. There was a pie chart on which part of me he liked the most.I also truly believe that with only a little amount of work we could create something worthy.) The second chart was on how compatible we were as far as sarcasm. Part two was 'Future & Conditional' . . He simply added. That was the scariest part. It's just a date. fierce & protective attitude. He was wearing a pair of faded blue jeans. healing. fun etc…) The third part: Practice. humor etc…. Apparently he knew what to expect. very good but I could hurt him so badly…he could hurt me so badly. just one date. (Love. comprehension. he was even more beautiful than I had ever seen him. was on what we could offer to each other. The third chart was on how awesome we could be together. just one date no strings attached ok? . As soon as I drifted into sleep I knew it was not my dream and based on the one I was having these days I was rather grateful. and last. . as crazy as it sounds. like I find the place where I need to be and I long for it each time you're away. We were in a breathtaking garden with a beautiful little pond where some swans were wandering. You couldn't wait for my answer?" I asked Adrian. strength. support. . I laughed out loud when I saw the little charts he made just below that.. It has to mean something. Adrian was a good man and I owed him that much at least I had to try.I can make a better case in person Rose.If you decide to give me a chance I'll do my best to try to heal that part of you that I know you think is lost. I said to myself deciding to agree with it. The fourth. with the sun playing in his dark brown hair. It will be on campus and you'll be free to call it quits whenever you like.Moreover I'm just asking for a chance. I promised him. He was dressed so differently than his usual self. "What do you want me to say little Dhampir. it could be good. not a promise. a black tank top that was quite fitting. Adrian chuckled and sat on the grass patting the spot beside him. He didn't need to be all dressed up to be gorgeous.

Bartholomew church." I said with eyes closed. I'll come pick you up an hour after the end of your classes so be ready. So close that I could feel his body heat." I said not really knowing if I was making a mistake or not. I bet that Lionel. one date. one of my secret happy places. this time I was the one laying down." he said like it was a certitude. The day went by rather quick and went pretty well." "Why is that?" He asked lying down." he said laying beside me. not tomorrow but the evening after that. By the end of it things were still weird but I could see that with time they could probably get cordial… maybe even become friends. "Yep. letting the sun warm my face. "No strings attached right?" I added in order to stop him from hoping too much. You're very lucky. "Because they would never accept me there. "My grandmothers' garden in the Bavarian Alps. I went sullenly to get my 7 molnija marks. "You don't agree to anything by doing that you know." He added before getting out of my head. "See you tomorrow Rose. "You'll see there is no place like Bavaria. "Ok Ivashkov." He added and I knew he was sincere.. seeing flowers of colors and shape I have never seen before. "It could honestly be heaven but I know it's not. "Anyways. seeing him propped on one elbow looking down at me with what seemed pure joy on his face. never saw someone being so depressed to receive those badges of honor. but Christian did his best to talk even with Lissa." He leaned down to kiss my forehead. no hard feelings. Breakfast was a bit more awkward." he said but I could hear the underlying hurt in his voice. the fortress Marienberg… you'll love it. "I couldn't disagree more. . "Do you agree to the practice part?" I stayed silent for a minute." He said tenderly. "I'll take you there one day. "I really do. "You can call it quits at any moment during the evening and go back to your dorm. He sat up and looked at me. "Uh huh…" I said opening one eye." he added with a wink. the tattooist guardian. the St." He added with enthusiasm. "That's beautiful. "So little dhampir was the presentation good enough?" He asked in all seriousness. "And where are we?" I asked. "Yeah?" He asked and he seemed incredibly surprised that I was giving in." I said evasively. I wanted to show you one of my favorite places on earth. I didn't answer but it was painful because it reminded me so much of Dimitri's enthusiasm about Siberia. I guess it was because he didn't know how unworthy I felt each time his needle touched my skin. The training with Alberta was quite interesting with the experience she collected during the years she was able to show me some effective moves."Where are we?" I asked curiously because this was no place I'd seen before. He shook his head. "Do you like it?" He asked eagerly." I said looking around once more.

I did the only thing I wanted. Then I realized it was better for her to know about it before hand so she wouldn't go full overprotective mom on me." She said hugging me tighter. we can have some mother and daughter time. "Mom?" I said stopping in front of her. "My word is all I have. I felt guilty to have brought her these souvenirs and hurting her in the process. She seemed pretty confused by what I assumed she considered as a random comment. She was propped against the door frame and she seemed completely lost in her thoughts once more. .. "Don't get me wrong it's nice to have you here but you didn't need to abandon your charge to keep an eye on me. to do." I was such a terrible parent. "Ivashkov?" She asked truly surprised but not mad…that was odd. "I was thinking. leaving Lissa behind was so not like you. "I decided to stay because. friends." She asked nicely probably not wanting to be disturbed by one of my fellow students and.When he was done and applied the gauze on it I saw my mom waiting for me at the end of the room." I looked at her with shock." I added already surprised that she waited 5 days before starting to interrogate me. "You think that's why I stayed?" "Well…" I shrugged slightly. "Do you want to go back to my room?" I asked while we started to walk. We stayed silent for a little while and I said the first thing that crossed my mind to break the silence. "Running away." I replied knowing I wouldn't be training with her before the week end. "You know… I usually never go back on my word. it was not like it would be a first. My quest created so much unnecessary worry." she said mainly to herself. I promised you I would graduate and that's exactly what I am going to do. "You…" she shook her head sadly. which of course was utterly idiotic. "Oh Rose…I love you too. "Why don't you come to mine. that I needed. she was probably surprised." I said to her just before reaching the guardian living quarters. I got scared. I nodded. so scared. I nodded expecting her to explode any second." I said stopping to face her. "Hey! Sorry I just spaced for a minute. maybe if you don't have anything planned tonight." She said sincerely." "That would be good. She sighed and opened her bedroom door. I probably hadn't told her that since I was about 6 or 7. that 'human'. Because I never was so scared in my whole life. I swore to myself if I could have you back safely I would try to spend as much time as possible with you. "I love you mom!" I said and I heard her sharp intake of air. "I guess it's time to answer your questions.." she said with an embarrassed laugh. and I decided. I had never seen her that defenseless." "I know that Rose." She confessed. "I have a date with Adrian tomorrow." I blurted out wanting to slap myself. or. I hugged her.

"Since when he is not a bad guy?" I couldn't help but ask." She chuckled." She said staring at the wall and I knew she was now lost in her thoughts." she said in such a tone that I knew she was not talking about me only. "I phoned him to thank him because…" She sighed and sat beside me on the bed. but there was something in her eyes." I bit my bottom lip trying to contain my tears." she said dismissively. "Can I ask you a question?" I asked uncomfortably. "I've seen how truly worried he was about you when you were away Rose. lost so much… I wanted you to keep that innocence just a bit longer. because clearly I wouldn't tell her more than necessary." She gave me a small smile. "You are not too disappointed?" I asked giving her a sidelong glance. I narrowed my eyes slightly with suspicion that was just too weird I knew my mothers' opinion on Adrian and it was certainly not the 'not a bad guy' type." She patted my knee. "She had been accepted to Kings college in London but she was pretty intrigued by Muslim . "Well I graduated and got assigned to Clarissa Voda. that was private!! "I did but not to spy on you or anything." And that's when I understood everything and she realized she shouldn't have said 'move on' "You talked to Abe!" I said sitting on her bed." I said. That's when I finally understood everything." She said wanting to spare me and it was the most considerate I've ever seen her. "He told you!" I added wanting to shoot him in the kneecaps as the mobster kid I was. if you started to deal with Dimitri's loss. "What do you want to know?" She asked. "Ah…That's some story. "Disappointed? No." I smiled remembering her saying that Abe was a good man. "I'm just sad for you really. taking my hand in hers. "You know when you went missing I called him for help but I thought he would just send messages to his many contacts." she said shaking her head. I never wanted you to suffer and certainly not that young." she added with a small smile playing on her lips. "You know what? We'll do that some other time. how much I was yearning for my mother. He shouldn't have mentioned my feelings for Dimitri." she said quickly to reassure me. "that's when he asked me how you were doing. it's not like you care what people think of you. I didn't need to cause her more worry and pain. that people were looking for you I never imagined. "It's about Abe and I isn't it?" She asked simply and I couldn't see if it was a good idea to continue or not." She sighed unexpectedly kissing my forehead. something I couldn't place." she simply said." We stayed quiet for a little while. it can help you to move on. how he tried to support and help Lissa. "I know you are honest enough to answer my questions. "Yeah why not he isn't a bad guy. not even in a million years. "How did you meet?" I asked curiously. "Sometimes you don't fall for the most suitable person. he is one of the good Moroi. The fear to lose me really changed her and I realized how much I missed her all these years. that he would be the one coming after you!! It was pretty dangerous for someone…someone like him to do that and I needed to tell him I appreciated it that's it." She shrugged." A date is just a date. "And considering Ivashkov I was wrong about him he really does care about you. "I think that a date is not that bad. "I guess you have questions about my trip.She twisted her mouth slightly. "Well I was mainly surprised but I could see why you fell for each other. "you already lived through so much. I nodded.

Half-way through the first year of college Clarissa got a once in a lifetime offer to study at the University of Istanbul where she could even assist a very renowned professor. My mom nodded. it was not who I was." We both chuckled at that." My moms' voice dropped slowly like she was revealing something in confidence. "We became friends. while looking at her. "That's funny. She gave me an amused look before she continued. "Right! Aşkım and authority never really worked well together!" She said with so much fondness that it actually made my chest tighten. At the time I didn't have the control I have now. his business is irrelevant and none of your concern. "When he noticed me. "And she started to talk about their son Ibrahim who was even more powerful than his parents as he was not reluctant to bend the line between what was legal and what was not. I put him back in his place showing him I was not impressed that I was as 'badass' as he was." She added and again it was possible to see that a part of her still loved him." she specified still completely lost in her memories. maybe she regretted her choice now. "Was he already that…exuberant?" I asked curiously. and earring so yeah he was. a machine without emotion. wicked. the face closed off from emotion. "He didn't want me to leave at the end of the summer but I was not the kind to abandon my charge. "Aşkım?" I asked confused. it was almost unrealistic. "I was a lot like you Rose. "But I was intrigued you know. "So I left and it broke my heart. "How old was he back then?" "He was 23 and I was 18. Like I said to you before. It was hard to acknowledge her as an actual person with feelings and weaknesses." she added putting a string of my hair behind my ear. It was Abe alright! He was like that walking in the streets of Baia. hair going down to his shoulders…just like yours." She stopped and squeezed my hand. long. I sat beside her. seeming farther away now." She added and I could hear some longing in her voice even if she was doing one hell of a job to hide it." She said with nostalgia. "He was a student there?" I inquired in order for her to continue." She replied." she added. eager to hear it all and she told me all about the rich and powerful Mazur family that owned half of the businesses in Turkey. I could see that a part of her still loved him…After all these years I just didn't know how important that part might be.architecture so her parents decided she should spend the summer as a student at the University of Istanbul. He has a very big heart. "If by exuberant you mean flashy scarves." She said. 'Bigshot-I-own-the-place' with us. She chuckled. I despised the man right on the spot. I never thought I would see him ever again. I'd never been out of the Academy much." "Total badass!!" I blurted out before cursing myself hoping she would continue. He was a good man and I know he still his. Later on he told me that's exactly when he fell for me. "Oh wow…'' I said imagining my mother going after a man like him." I said." She shook her head but smiled brightly… brighter than I ever saw her smile before. Anyways. golden jewelry. "He even had long hair at the time you know. He was just so intriguing moreover when Clarissa saw him she hissed that trouble was on the way. "Abe. I was only a guardian for 3 weeks. . "I was at the library keeping an eye on Clarissa when that big Moroi walked in like he owned the place! He was followed by two guardians looking all big staring at people with disdain behind dark sunglasses. he just grinned and started to act all Mr. It was an offer she just couldn't refuse and as soon as we arrived at the airport there he was waiting for me. I saw her as a guardian robot for so long. wavy. That's when I crossed Aşkım's path for the first time. I opened my mouth to say something but she shushed me by continuing.

. I was not ready to let go of my guardian duties it was who I felt I was. "I honestly don't know Rose." I said sobbing on her chest. I was 20 and he was 25 then." "Really?" I asked blowing my nose in a very unlady like way.' They wanted me to be raised well. She said." I said standing up. But he is a good man it's just…" I shook my head. I could have had a worse father." I said concentrating on my pasta. you're in love." We were the only one in the kitchen and that was good. He sacrificed his time with her to assure me a good future. "So a date with Adrian tomorrow night?" Said my mother with a fork in her hand and I appreciate how she used his first name. "Really!" She said looking deep into my eyes to show me that she was sincere. "I see a lot of him in you and before you go all offended it's a compliment. "Anyways. "No no Rose don't even think that. "Yeah…I owe him one. "I swear my pregnancy didn't break us up. "Well let's go to the kitchen and grab something to eat. That life was no place for a child Rose. he never let me down. As I said before. It was my identity and well. far from his shabby business but as my mother said before. his activities were…'' She seemed to think for a minute." She laughed when I nodded." she said pushing me back to look into my eyes." she sighed and kissed the top of my head. When I told him that he wasn't a role model he told me. "But that's when we started to talk about the future you see. freed from his somehow harmful influence and he was a benefactor of this school." I remember what my mother had told me when I found out that Abe was my father." She said with a playful smile. I looked at her and my eyes filled up with tears. He had to have loved my mother deeply for taking those inconsiderate risks 18 years later for a daughter he didn't even know. 'We both thought it'd be best if he wasn't in your life. I laughed to myself he was such a hypocrite. "I kinda like him you know."Don't ask me how he pulled that one off because I honestly don't know and I never asked. Some first loves lasted! His actions and my mothers' face were proof of it and I intended to let him know that. but I wouldn't rule it out. as much as I loved the person he was. He wanted to assume you know. "never mind. We thought that it was better to call it quit. you couldn't help it when you're in love. I would bet that he was since I entered it as a student. I told you he is a good man Rose. I felt guilty for all the hard times I gave her over the years. 'it's exactly because of the life I lead that you should listen to me when I say abandon this path and go back home. "We dated for the next two years and then… then I got pregnant with you and things changed. his activities were his own business and he didn't want to let go." I rolled my eyes. "Because of me you've lost each other. "Do you think I'll see him again?" I asked my mother. "I guess you noticed that the man was pretty impressive and could get anything he wants.' Abe also said something quite similar back in Baia." she said with a playful smile." she replied and stood as well. "long story. "I'm so sorry!" I said crashing on her chest. "What?! Why??" My mother asked sounding completely confused and wrapping her arms around me. since now part of me really wanted to know him. Abe is the kind of man to do exactly what he wants to.

"I will tell you very soon." I said chuckling. "This aching in my chest…Do you think I'll get over it? Over him?" "You will get better Rose. "Rose!! How are you doing?!" She asked sounding genuinely pleased. As for getting over it…'' She grimaced slightly. "Nice you know me that well already. I smiled at her." She said reaching for my hand from across the table. apparently uncomfortable." "You too Mum." she said with concern." "Thank you Ma. "I wanted Zmey's number but I know you don't have it. "Anyways I know you need something come on tell me." she said teasing back. If you want we can go hunt strigoi together. "Maybe not today but one day. "All right I'll tell that to my superiors but I can't promise anything. not completely anyways but one day in a year. "I want to help." she said her eyes and voice full of sorrow and pain "You have to let time do its job and open the door to the people who are trying to help you." I said as it was exactly the kind of honesty I needed. "Will you tell me why you left to go to Baia?" My mother finally asked. "Sydney? It's your favorite evil creature." she added probably not wanting to add to my distress." ( He kept asking me over and over again. The memories won't hurt so much anymore and you'll even smile. it won't be a burden to remember." Sydney responded. Not like it mattered. or maybe even ten years.) "Oooo that's tough Rose." I said before running to my room. It was silly to even think that she was scared of me at first. "Hello?" She said warily." She asked laughing. "The guy hates to be bothered. I just need to tell that to someone else first but then I'll tell you everything I promise." "Right!" She snorted taking my number. any kind of healing is good to take." I said hoping I was right. It was 6 am here so it meant that it was 4 pm in St Petersburg." "Do you think I will get better?" I asked as she was really the only one here that I trusted who could actually have the beginnings of an answer. "Anytime Rose. "Unfortunately. My mom walked me back to the dorms since it was after curfew. "You'll never get over it." "Believe me Sydney he would get mad if he didn't get my message." I said teasing. "I need you to get him a message. I reached for my brand new cell phone I bought the day before and looked for Sydney's letter. Give him my phone number and tell him that Rose Hathaway has the answer to his question. Apparently I was a bit above the rules here…I was Badass Hathaway after all." ."No tell me. five years." I said decided to play it honestly. "I'm alright I wanted to give you my number you know for when you come back home." She nodded and kissed my forehead. 'why are you here?' he'll finally get his answer. "Have a good night Rose. She sighed.

but nice and not too revealing. I just hoped it would be better tonight. It was such a simple yet gorgeous bouquet that it surprised me."Thank you!" I said sincerely. They were daisies with a single red rose in the middle.. I couldn't help but smile! I was pretty sure it wasn't my mother because it didn't have that military feel like her knocks tended to have. Maybe he helped me only because he felt that he owed something to my mother. I was just finishing getting ready when I heard a light knock on the door. I was relieved that Lissa kept all my belongings after I left the Academy. my favorite stalker but still it seemed more serious somehow. a role I never liked nor excelled in. Abe didn't call me AND I tried to find out which prison Victor Dashkov was in and I found nothing!! It was like the location was protected by freaking Homeland Security. I had to be the pacifier. "So…. in memory of the past. See I'm so alone that I'm missing an evil creature of the night. I felt slightly nervous about it. I didn't know how to dress either because being too dressed up would probably give him the wrong idea and too casual could be insulting. I half expected her to come knock on my door anytime telling me that Abe phoned her and that I should stop trying to contact him. bowing slightly before handing me a big bunch of flowers. more like me. "Talk to you soon. Then Christian snapped at Eddie when he tried to mettle in his relationship with Lissa." "Love you too Sydney. "you are very good looking yourself!" I said quickly assessing him." Well now I needed to figure out a plan for Victor and wait for Zmey senior to phone me but before I had to be ready for my date for Adrian. Even in my dreams when he was barefoot. I didn't know if you could call a bright smile 'serious' but it was exactly the case here. the old pair of faded ." I said laughing. I opened the door to a smiling Adrian but it was not the kind of smile I was used to. it could help me with my Victor plan). "Actually I do…a little.. "Thank you. I left my hair down and settled for some lip gloss. "Rose you look stunning!" He said. I really couldn't put a name on it but it seemed to run deeper. It was pretty sober.What was it. All I came back with were the clothes I had on my back and some of Dimitri's jewelry (which I needed to sell very soon. Area 51?? Part of me was scared that Abe didn't actually want a relationship with me. So. simple yet still sort of classy. It was Adrian.. He was probably the only man I could call the 'classy-casual' type. I knew it sounded juvenile and irrational but it would really crush me to be rejected by him. All in All.Do you miss me??" I asked teasing her again. Lissa even lent me a black cashmere shawl to go with it. It meant that whatever he was wearing he always had this classy edge and this royal vibe. I hoped that the day would end way better than it started because today sucked ass. I'd always seen Adrian as being a very picky. I finally settled for a pair of low waist black jeans and a silky red tank top with thick straps. That was it. luxurious man and these flowers were different. First the training with Stan turned pretty messy since it seemed we were both trying to take revenge on something. Chapter 4: I was getting ready for my date and as silly as it sounded." I said feeling sincerely pleased and taking the flowers. it was a shitty day and nothing went my way. hopefully.

" he said taking what looked like a black tie from his jacket pocket. He followed me out walking by my side." he said teasing." I said warily. "The flowers needed to convey the right sentiments. "Thank you." I said with a slight pout making him laugh. It was not something I expected. an emerald green button up shirt. "I…guess." he said and I could hear the clear disapproval in his voice. "Firstly." He said barely louder than a whisper. "Yeah sorry. and black tank top. It was true that Adrian was one of the people I trusted the most but he was so exuberant sometimes. "Do you trust me Rose?" He asked mysteriously. changing subject walking out of the room. ugliest vase in the history of the world but it would have to do. "Well the second reason is the meaning of course. and black jacket. It was probably one of the most beautiful compliments anyone ever gave me. "A little bit of work won't hurt you. "Well that will be your job to figure out my little dhampir. "I'm not used to getting flowers…except from you. "Well…Two reasons really. I shrugged dismissively reaching for the shawl. He smiled. "So what made you decide to get me daisies?" I asked curiously reaching for the big long box of smarties I had. I'll bring a vase too. . I let the door open and invited him in while I tried to figure out where to put the flowers. "Note for next time. The air was still a bit cold for end of May but the shawl made it very agreeable. "You said the first reason but what is the second one?" I asked. I had been emptying the box when he said that and it almost slipped out of my hand. so crazily original." He said giving me an amused sidelong glance." I said with a small smile before rushing to the small sink to fill the plastic box with water." he said softly leaning against the wall looking at me moving around. "Please don't spoil the surprise. I was scared we would end up on the Mexican border completely drunk with tequila…maybe not such a bad plan based on my shitty day…shitty weeks really. I swirled around looking deep into his eyes trying to spot any kind of joke or teasing but there was none. "And that's just a shame. Right now he was wearing a pair of black dress pants. I frowned and looked up at him." I added joking. It was probably the crappiest." "Which are?" I asked but I wasn't really sure I wanted the answer." he said chuckling as I put the flowers on the desk.blue jeans." I said grimacing. those flowers are simple there is no big fuss about them but it makes them even more beautiful… even more stunning because they don't need to be extravagant to be noticed. he looked far more impressive and royal than most the guys I knew when they were in tuxedos." "That has not been proven. We were near the administration building when Adrian stopped me putting his hand on my shoulder. just like you.

"What do you want to do with that?" I asked pointing to the tie. "Strangle me? I don't think you'll be strong enough." I said half joking trying to hide my discomfort. "I could never hurt you Rose." He said so seriously, more seriously than I ever heard him before. "I just want the surprise to be total, let me blindfold you." I felt my heart tighten in my chest. Someone else also made that same promise to me in what seemed to be another lifetime and nobody ever hurt me more than that person. I nodded slightly giving him permission to actually take away the sense on which I related the most. "I would never let you fall, I'll never let you down Rose," he said fondly after knotting the tie. "I know…'' I said not really sure if I liked the idea on how much I trusted that half crazy Moroi. Adrian wrapped an arm around my shoulders as I wrapped mine around his waist mainly to help my steadiness. Although, I could feel his muscles tightening slightly under my touch and I had to admit shamefully and selfishly that it felt good to have this effect on someone. It was exactly the way I used to react each time Dimitri touched me. We walked like that for about 10 minutes. I registered that we entered and exited the building again based on the gentle wind caressing my skin. "Are we there yet?" I asked in an annoyingly childish voice. "Yes we are," he whispered so close that I could feel his warm breath on my face. I could feel him standing behind me and he softly removed the tie from my eyes. What I saw took my breathe away. "I--Oh my." I said with wide eyes. This was a part of the campus I had actually never seen before. I could see the glass patio where I had the hot chocolate with Dimitri pretty far on my left side. I assumed we were behind the guardian administrative building, but who would have thought that that rear end was so beautiful? "Do you like it?" He asked expectant still standing behind me resting his hands on my shoulders. I looked around still in awe. There was a small pond, much smaller than the other one on the other side, but with the trees and flowers, the full moon reflecting in the water like a sliver lining it was simply magical. There was also a beautiful white kiosk on the bank. The kiosk was illuminated with strands of fairy lights and there was a table set for a candle lit dinner…I called Adrian extravagant, I never thought he could be a romantic. "It's beautiful," I said sincerely and I felt his hands relax on my shoulders. "Come on," he said standing by my side and taking my hands to intertwine our fingers. I looked down at our hands with surprise and as silly as it was, I felt like I was cheating on Dimitri, somehow betraying his memory…Our love. "You want me to let go?" Asked Adrian and I could hear the underlying pain in his voice. I looked up and met his eyes, "No…it's nice." I said with a small smile not wanting to hurt him. I wanted him to be happy, he was a good man, he deserved to be happy. He flashed his million dollar smile and gently pulled me with him to the kiosk.

God help me not to break his heart. I thought as he pulled my chair out to gallantly help me sit. Once we sat at the table a young man I had never met before came from the glass patio with a big platter setting a plate in front of each of us. "Spaghetti and Meatballs?" I asked truly surprised. I expected some persnickety food like caviar (ewww), Foie Gras, lobster, but certainly not some basic Italian food like spaghetti and meatballs. "Yeah," he said with a small smile while serving us some San Pellegrino sparkling water, he really went to the details. "Don't you like Italian?" He asked but I could see that he already had the answer to that. "Of course I do!!" I said looking at the plate with the scent of the wonderful oregano sauce filling up my nostrils almost making me drool. "But…But how did you know??" "That my little dhampir…It's a gift," he said tapping his temple gently. "Of course," I said rolling my eyes but it gave me a chill. I knew he couldn't do it but Oksana and crazy Avery could. Adrian would probably be able to do it one day and that was scary because there were certain things in my head I'd rather die than let him see. I could only see good things in his eyes when he was looking at me, seeing the repulsion would kill me. "Nah," He chuckled "I heard you talk to Lissa once about how when you were starving while held hostage in Spokane, it was the memory of the meatballs pasta from some little restaurant in Portland so…" he pointed to my plate. "Here we go," he added with a wink. "You remember that?" I asked startled. "Of course!" He said like it was an evidence. "I remember everything you said." "I--" I shook my head I couldn't believe how caring he was, it was actually getting harder and harder to play detached because now if I ended up hurting him it would hurt me deeply too. I simply nodded concentrating on the food. "Let's eat before it gets cold," I added pointing to my plate. Adrian nodded apparently seeing my discomfort. We ate mostly in silence when the dessert came, I almost squealed. It was tiramisu and I loved tiramisu! He was just so sweet with me but I couldn't help to think that Dimitri was still around and what if I could save him? What would happen to Adrian then? I didn't even notice that I sighed out loud. "What is bothering you Rose? There is so much sadness in your eyes…" He reached for my hand from across the table. "If it makes you sad to be here with me …" he took a deep breath. "I don't want you to be sad, not because of me." He stood up, "let me walk you back to your room, we can't say we didn't try." I looked at him agape. "What?!" I asked stupidly staying on my chair. "You think I'm sad to be with you?" I shook my head. He shrugged slightly but sat back down. "No it's…" I thought for a minute I didn't want them to know that Dimitri was still running around, at least not yet. I needed to put my plan in action and see if it was possible to do anything. Part of me knew that if they found out about Dimitri they would think I was crazy to do all that just for him….and maybe I was.

"It's what?" He encouraged me. "Well you are a very good guy, you're kind and caring and good looking," I said grimacing. "And it's bad how?" He asked chuckling but I could see the real wonder in his eyes. "I don't want to hurt you, I just don't know if I can...if I ever could offer you what you deserve and…you deserve so much more than a 'maybe one day'," I said honestly. "I haven't moved on, and I'm not ready to. I would go crazy thinking I'm leading you on," I added, my voice shaking. He nodded. "Ok," he said simply. "But I never thought that one date would be the beginning of a relationship Rose. Knowing how passionate you are, how you put your heart in everything you do, it would have been insulting to even think you could move on like that." He reached for my hand again. "You didn't promise to marry me Rose, you didn't sign a contract with your blood," he added chuckling. "Consider me warned ok? I know what I'm entering and what if we just took things slowly…friends?" "Friends?" I asked raising an eyebrow. "Yeah special friends, spending time together, enjoying each others company no strings attached. And if it has to happen than it will and if it doesn't well…That's life. " He said with his goofy grin. I chuckled too. "I just don't want you to get hurt." "Let me worry about that ok?" He asked standing up opening his hand. "Dance with me little dhampir." I took his hand and stood up. "But…there is no music." I said surprised. He winked at me and reached for a little remote that was in his other pocket. He pressed a button and I finally noticed the little radio discreetly hidden beside my his chair. Nick Lachey's voice filled the air and for once I did recognize the song, it was 'Run to me'. Very fitting I thought as he wrapped his left arm around my waist, holding me tight against him, so tight I could smell the woody, mossy odor of his pricy aftershave. I would recognize this sublime aroma everywhere it was Xs for Men by Paco Rabanne. We danced for a little while and I had to admit it did feel nice. Adrian was a very good dancer and being in his arms was pleasant, knowing that someone cared about me that way. "May I hold your hand walking you back to your quarters?" He asked with so much courtesy it made me laugh, so 18th century. "As friends of course." "Of course…" I said and I couldn't help but blush slightly as his fingers intertwined with mine. We walked back in silence actually enjoying each others presence, it was not awkward and I liked that. "Well thank you again. I really enjoyed myself it was one of the best evenings I have had in a very long time." I said sincerely. "Me too Rose, I really enjoyed every minute of it," he said nicely. As he leaned down to hug me I stood on my toes and kissed his cheek. He jerked up eyes wide with surprise and touched the spot with his fingertips as if my kiss burned him.

" . I had to keep my promise." I bit my bottom lip. "You apparently have the answer to my question and I like to have my curiosity satisfied so Rose…Why were you in Baia?" I took a deep breathe before answering. "I was about to give up. "So thank you. "I thought I did. the lovestruck smile or even someone taking inconsiderate risks for someone he loved in another lifetime." "Did you succeed?" He asked and I could hear no judgment in his voice." I said sitting on my bed. When he didn't say anything I took it as an invitation to continue. for not giving too much away to my mother and for trying to get the information you know I'm longing for. "What for?" He asked sounding taken aback. "For trying to keep me safe. I…" I cleared my throat. "Hello?" I said warily because the amount of people having my number was pretty limited and it was very late in our world and still very early in the human world. "Sleep well. "We agreed we would do that for each other." he said and I'll be damned but there was emotion in his voice. I know for a fact that sometimes it does last for a lifetime!" I said with a sure voice." he said seriously." "Well old man I think you were wrong considering first love. "Oh just one more thing. leaving him in the corridor. "Finally reaching you little girl. Why out so late?" "Zmey!!" I shouted too pleased to have him on the phone. He didn't give up on me after all. "I once talked with Dimitri about if we were to be turned Strigoi one day and we both agreed that we rather be dead than to be changed. "Abe? Are you still with me?" I asked frowning." I said and I didn't realize how much emotion I had in my voice. "I just said that you would love again…eventually even if a part of you will always belong to someone else. As soon as walked in my cell phone started to ring I hurried and answered without even checking the number. "It's Friday night I was out with friends. "I think you were wrong." "You…you're welcome. Thank you so much. "If I remember correctly I never said that your first love wouldn't last forever or that it wouldn't be the strongest love you'll ever have experienced. I can sleep in the morning. "I could see it in someone's face recently that even after 20 years it was still there." I smiled and I was sure he could hear it in my voice." I said with a small smile walking into my room." Abe was quiet. "It's a long story." "Wrong? Me?!" He asked chuckling." I said without even thinking." said Abe with some laughter in his voice." I said jumping up." He said the voice lower than usual probably under the emotions." I said cursing myself. "You 'thought'?" he asked confused. "I also wanted to thank you. "That would be a first so please little girl tell me where I was wrong. for helping me when I didn't realize I needed it.He seemed completely dazed. "So some first loves do last. "So I heard you were eager to talk to me. quiet for so long that I thought he hung up on me.

Even if it was getting better and better between us. with her. a part of him still loved my mother and probably always would. "He wouldn't give me any information and I offered him a lot of things. on what is good in your life. she was just hoping that I would heal fast enough." I said and I couldn't help but to sound like a begger because it was exactly what I was doing. "Can I ask you a question?" I tried. we'll just see where it leads' Friends it's good. "You know where Victor is in jail right?" I asked trying to do my best to sound neutral." He sighed. slow." he said matter of factly. "I…Do. I knew it was only worry talking. his voice colder now." he sounded even colder. She asked me about my date trying to sound as detached as she could. all the mistakes that had been made. And I won't help you on this path. She said approvingly and taking an offensive stance and we did what we both did best…Fight. Firstly. "I just wanted to thank you so thanks…and have a nice life. "Go to bed it's time." I added before hanging up and turning the phone off. "Why?" "Can you tell me where please?" I asked really trying to hide my eagerness."I see…" I said and I understood what he just said. Even the Moroi. or rather my lack of one. could be repaired. She was still the tough guardian." "Don't talk to me like I'm a child old man! I know what I'm doing!" I said briskly because I hated to be talked down to. Not every story has its happy ending. rightfully or not. begging. "I'm sorry Rose but no I won't tell you and. were showing me respect when I walked by them and this included Jesse and Ralph. having the power over me was worth something. I was just getting out of training with my mother and I couldn't help but smile. "I can't offer more but… tell me please. royal or not. What could you possibly offer that I couldn't?" I just wanted to talk to him. It would just be longer than what I expected. With his help or not I was going to find out where Victor was incarcerated. I still couldn't comprehend that! I had some plans with Eddie and Lissa this afternoon. fighting some imaginary battle. "Now you should just forget about these bedtime stories and grow up. "There is no point in me telling you Rose. It will not end well. Damn Zmey senior!! Chapter 5: Today did start a lot better than yesterday. "Don't be like Don Quichotte Rose." he said warily. it was Saturday so it meant no classes and no sidelong glances from my fellow students. She was my mother and I knew at this point that with everything that had happened between us. I'd go to his room and drag his hardheaded ass if I had to. I could see the curiosity and hope in her eyes. Bless her heart. Concentrate on the tangible." He said. I was about to tell him to 'fuck off ' but I did see the real concern and worry in his eyes back in Novosibirsk. it still felt extremely awkward to talk about my love life. she would still look cold and detached to an outsider but to me she was totally different now." "I…" I started. Fellow students that were even getting out of my way whenever I walked through the corridors. Still. So I stayed pretty evasive with a 'we're taking things slow' and a 'we're friends for now. "You can…I'm not saying I'll answer though. it's very good. I haven't given up on the idea of getting Christian to join us. . maybe just beg him I was pretty sure he would enjoy that.

except that in my case the chances to get my prince back were close to absolutely zero. Almost immediately. I could feel a wave of uneasiness. she chastised herself because she preferred he did confide in me rather than in anyone else. I was the masochistic. What if the spell could be broken? What if the prince could return home and save the princess from her own bleeding heart? What if this infinitesimal chance was in the hands of the bad wizard.. Also. Christian." "That's what Rose said. Lissa nodded thinking about how much she missed him. At least talk to her geez!! "You and me?" She asked pointing to both of them trying her best to keep her feelings in order because she was a mere step away from breaking down. their old love nest . whispering about how everything would be ok." he said with a small smile as he turned to leave. and sorrow coming from her and it could mean only one thing. Those two needed help and I needed to know the material I was working with. "Avoiding each other.When we were done my mother went it the direction of the guardians building because she was scheduled for a morning shift. What she wouldn't give for him to hold her tightly in his arms again while whispering in her ear how much he loved her." "I…" Christian sighed and ran a shaky hand through his hair. "Will it always be like that?" Asked Lissa not able to hide the longing and pain in her voice any longer. I was just super curious and dying to know but the first excuse seemed far more commendable. How far could we go before we break? That is the question she kept asking herself. pain. "You have as much of a right to be here as I do.she was with Christian. the one that swore to take revenge? Any normal 'princess' would give up this hope before it got her killed but not me. guilt. Surprise crossed Christian's face. I bit my bottom lip and decided to sit under the oak tree near her dorm just to slip in her mind for a few minutes. he was probably as shocked as I was myself when I defended him." Lissa muttered.. Lissa was standing near the door of the chapel attic." he said softly brushing some dust from his pants. Christian and I apparently owned the corner of the 'self-sacrificing' shit. I would hold on to that hope till the end thinking 'Come what may!' I concentrated on Lissa and Christian again. It hurt me to feel that with her because I felt just the same. the princess was now dancing with the fine line between sanity and despair not really knowing how strong she really is. Well actually. who was sitting in a corner. Abe did tell me that not every fairy tale gets its happy ending and of course I knew that. not able to help but feel a bit jealous that Christian confided in me. I went towards the Moroi dorm to spend a bit of alone time with Lissa but I could feel that she wasn't there. "Will what?" He asked now being the one standing by the door and I understood when he told her to stay. idiotic type. it meant that he would be the one leaving… Idiot! I thought. "Don't be silly… you don't have to go because I'm here. My fairy tale turned into a nightmare in just seconds. I saw the pure anguish in Christian's eyes but I didn't think Lissa registered it. The prince had been cursed. . "Please Lissa give…just give me some time to figure it out. self-destructive. stood up looking pained." He added as she took two slow steps in. "I'll see you later.

"I understand. "I was just getting tired playing the Court and royal game. you'd end up resenting me. It ran deeper. you know that right. the exact same moment than I said it to myself." "I love you too and you know that. "Whatever it is I'm sure we can work on it. "I miss you too Lissa. it was something he really thought about but she did her best to keep her face blank for him to continue. he turned around to face her. Chill out Liss…Just breathe." He said softly and you could read the sincerity in his face. "So why aren't we together?" She asked him. Lissa was so happy he decided to stay and she considered that as a small victory." He smiled." He admitted and sat down in front of her." she said with a sigh. "So what is the problem?" She asked almost plaintively. "Yes you have to Lissa." He finally said. "I understand your desire to live up to the name of your parents. She realized it was not only anger or her silly behaviors during my absence that made him break up with her." He replied. Christian smiled."I just miss you so much. she was human enough to do it. You would have never kissed that guy and…" He shrugged slightly. it's who you are and it's part of the girl I love." "Sometime love just isn't enough. "and you'll be the best ruler the Moroi world will ever have but… I'm not sure I'm ready to play the game or I don't know how long it will be before I can't do it anymore and it's not fair to any of us. I mean you are the last Dragomir and it's a terrible burden to carry and I'm genuinely sorry for you. I mean…we don't have to." Lissa nodded. unable to stop her own smile. "Why are you smiling?" Asked Lissa curiously. "We both need to consider the future seriously before it's too late and that irreparable mistakes are made. she also couldn't deny that. Slowly. "And I know you'll end up as our ruler one day. So lets just take a step back on everything and think for a while. "Love has never been our problem. "It has nothing to do with Aaron or even Avery because lets face it." said Christian." Lissa seemed to get more and more desperate by the second. She didn't want to say it but she decided that her relationship with Christian was just more important than her pride." "But I don't need to play the game. you wanted me to come with you when you went to the Court. . To some extent it was one. the problem is what we are and what we want to become. She wanted to do honor to her name and it ran deep in her blood. I thought in a useless attempt to calm her down." Lissa whispered. He looked thoughtful. Christian froze with one hand on the door frame. it all sounded scarily reasonable and she hated the idea to lose the man she loved because it was the reasonable thing to do." he said with pride. the rest will follow. As long as there is love." She said but part of her deep down knew that she was lying to herself. "I love you. Love is not the problem. It was a little eerie! "Would you mind developing?" Lissa asked and now I could even feel anger in her. If you sacrificed that part of you.

It said they mean loyal love. At this exact moment I could see it was still there the connivance." I said only half joking because even if the secret of the alchemist was very well kept he knew about it. "Uh huh!" I said rolling my eyes." He shook his head. "Good now that I'm with you. "God forbid I ever do that!!" She said teasing him back." I blushed slightly. "It's Rose. "It would be better for the kid. "my answer will be 'of course!'" "OK…good to know. that you just needed time to think and that it wasn't too much to ask. "We've go one hell of badass guardian angel don't we?" Christian asked with a grin. beauty." "Uh huh right. "No my question is more serious actually. "Well yeah I do know about everything and if your question is 'can we have some angry sex on the roof of the building?'" He replied and pointed up. "Well well well my little Dhampir. or you were spying. My smile faded as soon as I opened my eyes and saw someone sitting in front of me with a wide grin on his face." "I agree. patience. "Anyways…." They both started to laugh and I exited her head with a smile on my face." He shook his head. the friendship." . "I agree but if you ever rat me out I'll deny it with my life. "She told me to talk to you ." He replied teasingly." He said seriously before smiling. "Yea? Well she told me to grant you the space you asked for. "she was so right. "Yep… She is the best. "either you are super slow to assess a situation. "We could at least give it a try." I said laughing." said Adrian teasingly while folding one of his long legs up and resting his chin on his knee. "Says the guy who dream stalks people and I was just checking on her to see if she was alright. I decided to purposely forget about that." Okay one for Ivashkov." She smiled and I could feel all her love for me. "You know together or not we could at least try to be friends…" Lissa shrugged. and the love. share your feelings. I reached down with my hand to help him up. which I know is not the case. "I've been sitting here for the last 10 minutes so…" He winked. I just do it to you and I never denied it." he said chuckling at my name." said Adrian chuckling. that you were smart and that you would understand. so much love that it actually hurt me to think how I let her down." Lissa added with exaggerated contrition. "Anyways. She said avoiding you was just making the situation unnecessarily uncomfortable. "She could almost denounce us for child abuse. at least for the time being. "If I didn't know you better I'd say you were spying on your best friend. I did do some quick research last night on the meaning of the daisies.how are you doing today?" I asked standing up. "And I don't dream stalk everybody.What Christian said startled me." Lissa said fondly. I thought and decided to drop the subject. fidelity." he said goofily. I probably wouldn't have my fairy tale ending but I could help them have theirs. if only they saw what I could see." "Yeah poor Rose. and simplicity. I wanted to ask you something since you seem to know everything." Lissa actually laughed.

" he said resting his hand on my shoulder." "You are not just curious Rose I know you by now." He said coldly standing up with his jaw locked." I said." He grimaced. The week end was very agreeable. so agreeable that I was actually sorry to see it end. "Thank you. pretty sure that Christian was going to join us today. "Listen we're all going to hang out together. "No I don't know. "Yeah…" I said getting out of his grip. sadness. Almost immediately. . crappiest. "I honestly never thought you would be the one to be concerned about that Rose. He sighed." I replied and hugged him tightly burying my face in his chest. "I can try to find out if you want me to but I can't promise anything. He walked to the little wooden bench near the path and sat down. "I didn't mean it. "Do you want to hang out with us?" "A chance to hang out with Rose Hathaway?! I would be totally crazy to refuse!!" He said trying to make it sound like a banter but I knew he meant it. "Wow if I knew that trying to answer your question would lead to that kind of reaction. He really did mean what he said. he would help me whatever the reason was. Christian was starting to be more and more like himself. "It's alright Rose." I shrugged cocking my head to the side."Business…always business with you Rose. I thought all that mattered to you was that he was locked away for life possibly in the shabbiest." he said apparently dazed." I saw his features soften by the second. "I'm not sure a lot of people even have the answer. the biggest traitor. I would try more often." "I'm sorry. He frowned slightly. He shook his head. "I'm just curious." I looked up at him and emotion washed over me. "Do you know where Victor Dashkov is incarcerated?" "Oh!" Said Adrian eyebrows arched with surprise. even if it sounded crazy or unusual." he had a smile playing on his lips. "I haven't heard anything about him since the trial. "And I don't care. cursing myself for reacting so impulsively." he said teasingly and wrapped his arms around me. my patience was wearing thin. "So do you know?" I questioned." I said trying to sound as disinterested as I could. holding me even tighter against him. I felt bad for snapping at him when I saw shock." I mumbled sarcastically." he said all teasing gone." I said in a breathe. "Sometime it's true. which could be seen as annoying for some but I just marveled to have some of my stability back. We all spent just about every waking hour together. dirtiest jail in the world. "You are breaking my heart. "You usually have ulterior motives for--" "Do you know or not?" I asked cutting him off. "That was honestly not something I saw coming. and anger cross his face. he is the biggest royal treat you know. "Anyways what do you want to know?" I looked up meeting his eyes." "Sure I am." He said bringing his hand to his chest. My friends were the one constant thing in my life and I had to hold on to that with dear life. I joined him but just stood in front of him.

00 Ozera. you owe me $20. Lissa rolled her eyes but couldn't help but chuckle too." said Adrian wiggling his eyebrows as he sat across from me. Things were getting even better. He was slightly flushed and a light of excitement was in his eyes." he grinned and winked at me. "Maybe he is getting a quickie somewhere. "A mobster guy?!" I asked apparently the voice pretty appealing as Lissa eyed me warily and Eddie frowned.I was even impressed by Lissa's behavior. "Are you jealous I mean…I can help you with that. "Yeah I had to go to the Administrative building to give the paperwork Alto forced me to collect during class you know. "Does it involve a girl?" Asked Christian suggestively. "Stop it" I said slapping Christian's arm which was almost immediately imitated by Lissa on Adrian. I quickly nodded trying my best not to jump from my seat. I can't tell with him. By Monday night we were all like before except with less sexual tension from fire boy/spirit girl but a lot more from the spirit boy/crazy dhampir girl." he added slightly pouting." said Christian shaking his head with defeat." "Shit. "Uh…?" Eddie shook his head." Christian stated so matter of factly that I burst into laugher. The mobster reference swept my smile away." he said to me. "Umm either he got laid or he has exciting news…not sure. waving her hand so Eddie could spot us. "Anyways I got up there and there was this guy with flashy scarves and golden jewelry. By Sunday night she was still longing for him but she managed to be there and just enjoy his presence. "Dude!! You won't even guess why I'm late!!" He said coming to sit beside Lissa. "I totally won. "Where is your fellow dhampir?" Christian asked curiously as I sat beside him for dinner." Adrian added. "well I hope mobster dude blows up your knees. Told you he liked boys. I just rolled my eyes ignoring his comment but deep down I really liked his unwavering attention. now she could sit across from Christian without being sullen." I said just to piss him off. About 5 minutes later we saw Eddie enter the common scanning the room probably looking for us. But it was nice nevertheless. "Oh Rose I love when you talk dirty to me. "Only as far as my little dhampir is concerned. "Oh you are so funny guys!!" Said Eddie with heavy sarcasm." "You really are a pervert aren't you?" Asked Lissa elbowing him. At first I could feel the pain radiating from her even if she concealed it so well. "Dunno…" I shrugged quickly scanning the room . "Or a boy…Let's keep an open mind. He was with 3 guardians and talking to Kirova on how he would like to visit the school to see . "Yeah there is this guy and--" "YES!!" Said Adrian cutting Eddie's off with his hiss of victory.

then so be it. I looked up and saw Abe looking right at me. "Oh. He was only with one of his guardians. Well. I bet the others thought he would continue to the end of the room to join the guardian quarters but I knew better. "Was my mother around?" I asked imagining the effect it would have on her to see him after all these years. And as expected they stopped laughing when Abe stopped just behind Lissa and Adrian and looked at me with his cocky. "Why would he even give money to a school…this school in the first place?" Asked Christian looking at me quizzically like I was a freaking Abe expert and had all the answers. it was true that he had a freakishly enormous charisma. One of the guardians I met in Baia…Pavel I believe his name was. Maybe…Maybe I always knew deep down that it was different. Lissa was whispering in Eddie's ear probably helping him get up to speed. "I mean if his reputation is accurate I don't think he gives a shit about his donations. "Yeah no wonder he scares people shitless." he said resting his hands on the back of Adrian's chair. Lissa looked at me with wide eyes. "Hello Little girl. He slowly walked to our table as people started to whisper." "Oh that's good!!!" Said Adrian chuckling." said Christian chuckling and keeping his eyes on Abe. All three of them were looking at me with wonder which was making me self conscious. "Is that---" "Yep" "The one that help you when--" "Uh huh.how the generous donations he had been making for the part 15 years had been used." he added and I could hear the real respect in his voice. "What do you think he wants?" Asked Christian warily. "Apparently the guy is like one of the biggest mafia bosses… Mazur I think was his name is. he dropped his voice. that I was different." I said almost wanting to laugh at the irony of the moment. Eddie shook his head negatively. Vladimir!! It's going to get ugly." added Adrian laughing too. I thought it was the time to come clean and if my mother got mad for me telling the truth to my friends." "The knee blowing machine?" "The one and only. Oh you won't laugh long I thought seeing Abe approaching our table. I did have the answer to that particular question." Eddie looked up like he half expected for someone to be standing behind him. sarcastic trade mark grin. "Abe Mazur at St." He frowned. I could see why people just shut up when he was looking at them but he never impressed me. . oh the man is something. "Yeah I think I know why he did that you see he---" I started but stopped when an almost eerie silence fell over the room.

The others were looking completely astonished. "I…" Started Christian the eyes widening slightly. . "Nah. we probably were brother and sister in another life. Adrian. Not such a smart mouth anymore I thought laughing. His eyes and voice were pretty cold but I knew he wasn't mad. "Well at least now we know where Rose got her 'psycho-criminal' side from. "Yes Kazim?" He asked apparently pleased with my efforts. "Anyway baba…" I said for Abe to concentrate on me. whoever she is. he couldn't keep his witty mouth closed. Baba was the Turkish translation of dad and I knew it would be enough to divert his attention." he said nudging me playfully. I didn't know that when I told you the whole story. and Eddie didn't react." he said chuckling." He whispered to me. He didn't look that smart now." muttered Christian just loud enough so I was the only one able to hear him. you can call me Daddy. Christian. "Poor kid. I had a small glimpse of Mad Abe in Baia and that wasn't it. He looked at Lissa raising an eyebrow about to talk but he was stopped by Christian. That was something I didn't expect. I bet they knew that not a lot of people could disrespect Abe Mazur and get away with it. "We should stop the pretenses. They were used to our unusual way of conversing but Abe lost his natural smugness for just a second. "What brings you to the middle of Montana?…Business?" I asked with heavy sarcasm raising an eyebrow but I was sure I was not looking as cool as Dimitri used too. You never told me that!! Rose that's big!! Why didn't you say something like 'By the way the mobster guy is my dad. It helped me to keep my mind occupied during my nightly alone time. "Help me. I looked at him wide eyed and mouth half open probably just like Lissa and Eddie. I came to check on my daughter!" He said still keeping his eyes locked on mine. "I missed you. "How are you doing?" Lissa was completely astonished." I said under the incredulous eyes of my friends. You had to give it to him whatever the situation. She wasn't mad. "Excuse me? Are you calling me a psycho criminal?" Asked Abe now concentrating his attention on Christian. I also knew that Kazim meant 'daughter' in Turkish that I randomly started to learn words from the Turkish. "Hi dad." "What the f--" Started Adrian trying to see in my face if it was the true but I probably paled 2 shades and gave away the answer." I answered to her unspoken thoughts. "I couldn't have. you know. just vastly surprised./English dictionary I borrowed from the library." I said trying not to show he destabilized me. I couldn't help but smile at his comment. "And by the way you should stop calling me 'old man' it's not very polite. I was probably looking like I was having an attack of some sort.'? She said through the bond." He grinned. "And he wants to sleep with your daughter!" Christian blurted out pointing at Adrian.Adrian was looking at me and I could see he was tense. "Hello old man.

He was probably here to kick my butt about my childish attitude on the phone and my stupid wish to find Victor. "We're all going to keep our kneecaps. My mom nodded with a discreet sigh of relief. . I didn't know what the Turkish words he just said meant and honestly I didn't want to know.'' He said his voice slightly threatening. We slowly walked to the door where she was waiting for us. "Promise Liss." He said quickly glancing at both Christian and Adrian causing me to smile. even in 20 years. I was just guessed it was lovey dovey and gooey enough to make me puke. "Please…that would be nice. ''Aren't you happy to see me?'' He asked raising an eyebrow."Thanks Ozera. ''So I think I'll go back to my room but I'll see you later'' I added to Abe's attention. my heart literally crushed in my chest…at least the little part I had left. Oh my god!! She just blushed like a school girl!! I would have bet my silver stake that my mom could not blush except for when she was mad. " As we turned around I saw the little red head walking in the room and." said Adrian acerbically apparently doing his best not to look up and meet Abe's probable death glare. "I'll see you tomorrow guys.'' I said doing my best to sound teasing. and above all else. Lissa warned me through the bond. as their eyes met. I want to know the whole story Rose! Tomorrow. What I saw in my moms' eyes was just breath taking. Damn!! He could do the sexy eyebrow thing too just like Dimitri! That was something I wished I had inherited from him. there was love. ''Well guys things are getting awkward for me right now.'' Said Abe very softly to my mother. It has been long. longing." I said standing beside Abe. "Hello meleğim." I said standing up. the longing was still there. his jaw was locked and his face somber. ''Oh you can count on it. "Let's go." Said Christian actually making me laugh. Abe gave me a strange smile. She smiled at me probably to tell me that everything was alright but as she looked up at him again. "Smooth…really smooth. too long bi tanem. Yeah I guess the expression of feelings was something that neither my mother nor father were experts in… I never stood a chance in that area. It was pain. I could feel Abe tense up beside me and I dared a quick look to his face. Yeah I didn't react that well to love these days but who could blame me… ''What are you doing here?'' She asked trying to sound detached but I didn't think she fooled any of us." "What? I want to keep my kneecaps. I knew most people would miss it but I knew her well enough and I knew that would be exactly how I would look when I see Dimitri again. Want to go somewhere private?" I asked Abe. sorrow.

''I'm coming!'' I growled. "I'm not done Hathaway.'' said Abe with a small smile playing on his lips The sun had just risen and it was not good for a Moroi to be out and about. ''What…Is everything ok?'' I asked worried.I sighed. he took risks to keep me safe. Which was making me feel a bit uncomfortable. "Ok here is the drill. Abe nodded quickly. Chapter 6: The plane trip took about 90 minutes and the whole way I couldn't believe I was about to see Victor. ''I'd like to see you try. stupid." I said ready to exit the plane but he gripped my arm. From Abe's concerned face to Pavel's grim one.'' I mumbled. "60 minutes and 60 minutes only to . ''Dress quickly. It brought me closer to my goal… my impossible fairy tale ending. I was excited but also disgusted to feel this way." He said so frostily that I could have been iced on the spot. The three of you have to go now so you make it back before morning. I opened the door and swore with surprise when I saw both Abe and Pavel standing in front of me. The flight was really awkward and mainly silent. That man went out of his habits just for me.'' He said clearly proud. "Fine. The grim brothers! But I guess you didn't choose your guardians on their smile or cheery attitude and these two really look lethal. It was silly.'' ''Go? Go where?'' I asked looking from one to another.'' he said barely louder than a whisper." He said with his very cold voice. I was happy when the plane finally landed. tomorrow I'll have to respond to the Gestapo questions about for being the biggest Moroi mobsters' daughter. ''I hope it's important or god help you I'll kick your butt. As strange as it seemed I was not ashamed to be his daughter. and selfish but I just couldn't help it. I could already hear Christian's witty remarks and couldn't help but smile. Pavel looked grim and the other…Mishka. No one needs to know…your mother would kill me. I looked at the alarm clock and frowned. "Once we're in you have. ''Do what?'' I asked still slow. not ashamed at all. it was firm and still quite loud. I still couldn't see his eyes because they were constantly hidden behind his very dark aviator sunglasses. After opening the plane door Mishka and Pavel exchanged quick words. I was just starting to drift into sleep when I heard a knock on my door. Pavel is going to take you to my private plane where Mishka (One of Abe's other guardians) is already waiting. I heard the knock again. it was even more impatient this time. I managed to do it. ''Arranged for you to see Victor Dashkov. well he didn't look any better. guardian Mishka is going to wait by the prison main door while you and I get inside. ''Where you wanted to go Kazim. Pavel turned to me and gestured me forward." he quickly glanced at his watch.

"Anyways. he was reading. "Let's go. "Rosemarie Hathaway?!" He asked not able to conceal the surprise in his voice." he said not even bothering to turn around. I could feel his eyes on my back as I slowly walked to meet my living nemesis." he said clearly ignoring me. "I'll stay beside the door." He said pursing his lips." I said standing up straight and crossing my arms on my chest. He quietly closed the door and rested his back against it. "I always enjoyed your agreeable company. The man I hated the most. "Go now. "The one and only. "She…She is doing alright. "Of course…it's not like you worry about anyone but yourself anyways. He still had his silky black hair." I barked getting out his grip. happy or not we'll have to go since we'll have only 30 minutes before the change in the guards." I retorted before cursing myself for not being able to keep my voice from shaking. Done or not. "Yeah it is." I snorted. "Well it's nice to have some visitors." I said giving in. He was getting suspicious since he probably didn't expect me to answer. I knew it sounded childish but it took all of my self control to not kick him in the back of the knee and make him fall." he said walking briskly in front of me. "It's a human jail!!" I said completely shocked. I needed him on my side." replied Pavel as we walked down the main corridor. the disease hadn't claimed his body just yet. "What a nice surprise.talk to him. "I wish I could say the same. . "Crystal. "Who would ever think of looking for a Royal Moroi in a human jail?" He asked rhetorically. You'll be separated by a plastic panel but don't worry it's absolutely indestructible." Victor replied with a nice smile as he started walking towards the glass wall. casually resting a hand on the wall. Are we clear?" He said keeping his firm grip on my arm. "So Dear Rose…How is Vasilisa doing?" He asked." he pointed to the glass panel in the middle of the corridor. "How come?" I tried. "It's the isolation ward. and one of the people I needed the most as well… How ironic! When I finally saw him he had his back towards me. even if chatting with a freshly woken up grizzly bear seemed far more attractive." " Like I worry about Victor Dashkov. "What's that supposed to mean? "I asked getting really angry now. here we are. the douchebag was really getting on my nerves." I bet you did you jackass!! I thought but just gritted my teeth looking at him thoughtfully. Victor narrowed his eyes slightly." he said as we reached a corridor in the basement. Victor turned around quickly and started to laugh.

But I just stared at him not trusting myself to speak." He said staring at me with his keen eyes probably trying to decipher my facial expression. "No it's true. I tried to help you and you just pushed me away as if I was evil personified. "I'm here to help…" He smiled. "He has some information that I need." I admitted. " 'All that is necessary for evil to succeed is that good men do nothing." He shook his head." He said sounding saddened by the fact. I was sure he could hear the despair in my voice. Dang!! "Is that so?" He said crossing his legs. "Please take a seat. "And you see well…Spirit does take a toll on people and my brother…my brother is not as sane as he once was. "Maybe I could answer your question Rose…I'll help YOU! " he said pressing on the 'you' trying to make me feel like I was special." He said and seemed rather pleased about that." "Robert? Why?! Everybody is looking for Robert these days. he was a fantastic mentalist. "You see I heard this rumor. you are an evil motherfucker!! Torturing Lissa." "Is that so?" Asked Victor chuckling." I said evasively." I added and I knew that even if I tried as hard as I possibly could. "Maybe my methods were not the best but the goal was right. "I always liked your honesty Rose. but I knew he didn't mean it at all." Said Victor and I could see his curiosity increasing by the second. I quickly took it and sat in front of him as he pulled his own chair closer to the glass. "I need you to tell me where I can find your brother Robert. "May I ask who told you that?" . He did ask Strigoi Natalie to do her best to spare my life. "Now we're talking. I nodded. I always had a soft spot for you…your protecting instinct. I knew him too well by now. "it has to be big for you to come here and I don't even want to know what you promised Abe Mazur." "I heard he is an expert on spirit and I really need his help. but he didn't fool me." I said standing straight. making your own daughter turn Strigoi…you make me sick." I snorted.' " I wanted to say Whatever freaking psycho." he said pointing at the folding chair that was against the corridor wall. you know that already. "So why would you need my brother that much Rose? I mean…" He shrugged. he wanted me in his army. What is that saying?…" He said pretending to think while gently tapping his chin. "It's just spectacular." I said resting my hands on my knees.. "That's why I'm here. "I also know a lot about spirit. "A rumor that says your brother knew the way to reverse the Strigoi state. I sighed with relief apparently he was still alive. I had to be careful. "I'm the one looking for your brother."What can I do for you Rose? Are. that was already something. Are you managing the spirit effects alright?" He asked and I could see the malevolent light in his eyes. he clearly understood that he had the power." And I knew that it was true in a twisted way. His face lit up.

"That's irrelevant." I said dismissively. "Is it true?" "Why is that so important Rose? I mean lets be honest it sounds pretty much like a fairy tale to me." He was literally marveling. "How important is it to you??" "I…very" I replied, somberly. He looked at me for a little while pondering. "Who did you loose to the dark side Rose?" "No one." I said trying my best to keep my face blank. "It has to be someone important…Maybe your mother or Vasilisa's little boyfriend?" He tapped his chin with his forefinger. "I mean for your boyfriend to follow you in that crazy and highly criminal adventure it has to be someone REALLY important." I simply shrugged. "Where is the boyfriend by the way?" He asked trying to peek down the side but he wasn't curious enough to stand so he could have an even better look. "You are legal now aren't you? And he was pretty crazily possessive with you." He chuckled. "Come on Guardian Belikov you can show yourself." Said Victor with laugher in his voice. "I know perfectly well that you wouldn't let your girlfriend face the evil traitor by herself...Come on!" "He…is not here." I whispered, acknowledging that took my breathe away. Victor frowned for a second, "Awww I see Rose. I'm sorry you two were really a match made it heaven." He shook his head with, what I presumed was, fake contrition. " 'Death is not the greatest loss in life . The greatest loss is what dies inside us while we live.'" Victor and his quotes! I thought exasperated but decided to play along. "So dear I love him that with him, All deaths I could endure. Without him, live no life." I recited, hoping I got it right but when I saw the genuine pleasure in Victor's face, I knew I hit it right. Victor was a sucker for the classics. "I'm going to help you Rose, you two have to be together…I always knew you were meant to be." He chuckled, "and to have you quote Shakespeare to me? it's more than love as far as you are concerned!" "So it's true then. We can reverse the Strigoi state?" I asked, my heart pounding in my chest so fast I could barely breathe. "I haven't seen it with my own eyes but Robert told me that many, so many, times and he has maybe a lot of flaws, but fortunately lying is not one of them." Added Victor with his huge grin. "What do you want from me?" I asked trying to hide my impatience. "Nothing, well maybe one or two healings but no… I'll TAKE you to Robert, you have my word." he said nonchalantly, like he was asking me for a piece of bread or something that's very easy to get. "Take me there…" I whispered. I expected him to ask me to get him out of jail to help me, it was the last card he had to play. He would have been just a fool not to try and I might just be crazy and desperate enough to agree. "Tell me something Rose, do they know why you are here?" Asked Victor resting his back on the chair, his eyes never leaving mine. "Do they even know you're here?" I just stared at him, face hard.

"Do your friends know you are battling because of Belikov, all the risks you are taking just for one man?" He asked again but I could see his eyes sparkle with anticipation. He already knew the answer. He laughed softly. "Well I guess I'm not the only one to have a secret agenda. You are ready to do a lot of things to attain your goal aren't you? Hiding, lying, threatening, maybe even a little torture too." I couldn't deny that, I did have fun torturing. Strigoi or not it was still wrong and I knew that at the time I just didn't care. I kept thinking whatever the means used, only the goal mattered. "Oh Rose I always knew you were special, worthy. You've got such an instinct, when you know deep down something is right you fight for it! You're ready to bind the fine line between what is legal and what is not." He said and it made me think of what my mother said about Abe. "We're a lot alike you and I." He added and it couldn't have hurt more if he stabbed me. "I'm NOTHING like you!" I couldn't help but growl. He chuckled. "Only time will tell." He said dismissively. "Anyways you have my conditions now, plus it's more a necessity that anything else really." He added mysteriously. "How come?" I asked taking the bait. "Robert won't talk to anyone but me." He said keeping his eyes on mine probably to show me he was speaking the truth. "Like I told you, he is not the man he used to be, he won't trust any of you." I sighed running my hands through my hair. I knew I couldn't trust that snake and I never intended to. But now it was clear I had to decide if I was going to help him break free and becoming a traitor. A traitor in the eyes of my whole world, bringing shame on my family and friends. I could just give up and wait for Dimitri to come to me and let it end by his death or mine. Maybe even both. "Don't look so tortured Rose, things are never as bad as we think they are." He said in a comforting tone. Victor trying to comfort me? Things REALLY were bad. "No you're right, sometimes they are worse." "Hathaway time to go." Said Pavel in an hard and commanding tone. "Not a fan it seems," Victor noted. I grimaced getting up. "Well when you make up your mind you know where to find me. I don't intend to go anywhere anytime soon." Victor commented with a grin. "Hathaway!" Repeated Pavel even harsher this time. "I'm coming guardian! Take a fucking valium." I snapped. "I missed your impetuosity Rose! It was so nice talking to you…I can't wait for us to meet again," he said in such a voice that it gave me the chills. I nodded curtly to Victor before rushing to meet a very mad Pavel. "Oh Rose to thank you here is a clue," Victor shouted just as I reached the door. "My brother is safe in the land of Kielland."

I didn't have a chance to hear if he added anything because Pavel closed the big soundproof door. The land of kielland? Or kielan? kelland? I thought as we walked hurriedly out of the prison. What did it even mean? "Hurry you'll think some other time!" Said Pavel gripping my wrist. I gasped. "Let go or I swear to god I'll break every single on of your fingers do you understand?" I snarled with my best death glare. One that I knew I inherited from Abe. I saw Pavel's jaw lock firmly but he let go of my arm. "You don't like me do you?" I asked already knowing the answer and not caring really. "I'm not here to like you," he said bluntly. "I'm here to do my job and bring you back safely to the academy." He added as we reached the main exit where Mishka was waiting. As we walked back to the plane I had the time to detail them. Mishka was probably in his early 30ies. He was not very tall, maybe 5'9 but pretty burly, actually very burly, with thick muscles. He had ginger hair freckled and very sharp yet warm blue eyes. Each time he looked at me I had a small stabbing pain in my chest because he was how I presumed Mason would look if he did manage to hit 30. Pavel couldn't be more different. He was very tall probably as tall as Dimitri 6'6 or 6'7 but much MUCH lankier. Well he was not as lanky as a Moroi in general but I knew a few Moroi that were a lot bigger than him, such as Abe and Adrian. To be fair those two were pretty much freaks of the Moroi world since they were really bigger than they should be. He had very short pale blond hair and as for his eyes well… I had no idea but it was maybe not such a bad thing, I was pretty sure they were not full of love and understanding as far as I was concerned. I settled in the back of the plane deciding to chill for the 90 minutes of the returning flight. I had a lot to decide and those decisions were going to be based on a lot of presumptions. I closed my eyes and took a deep breath. I could hear Pavel whisper in Russian to Mishka. I caught a couple of words even with my more than scattered knowledge of Russian, I clearly heard 'inconsiderate' and 'selfish' attached to my name. My eyes shot open, that was it! I was already mad enough . "Prasteete!"I said coldly standing up walking up to Pavel. Prasteete meant 'excuse me' in Russian. "If you've got something to say I'd rather you say it to my face," I said now standing only mere inches from him. Pavel looked up to me and I could see that he was gritting his teeth. "Come on guardian, it will be good for you, give it your best shot!" I said, taunting him. "It's not good to keep it all bottled up you know. Based on medical studies it can affect your libido." Mishka sent Pavel a warning glance which clearly meant 'don't go there, shut it!' "I won't tell anyone," I said to Mishka, "his job is safe. Come on Papav," I said even more defiantly now. Pavel jumped up from his seat like it burned him. "Oh little girl you don't want to know what I think!!" He said leaning in. I couldn't help to laugh at that. "Little girl? You are what…21? 22? Please!" I snorted, "and take off those glasses it's ridiculous." I replied, grabbing them and throwing them away.

When we were in Baia." he said coldly because I kept staring at his one icy blue eye and one that was so deep brown it looked almost black. now you are ready to put all the people who care about you in danger just to save him?" I looked at him lips pursed. "You don't know me!" I snapped. "What about you sooka??" He asked crossing his arms on his chest. and protection. I understood you. Even when Mr. it's just that people can find it a little…disturbing."I added shoving him again. It would have been contrary to all he believed in and that you know Miss smartmouth! You are a dishonor to his memories and you are unworthy of your friends!" . and THAT's unforgivable and terribly. you know that helping him escape will be considered as high treason punishable of life imprisonment. "It's called Heterochromia. "I was so wrong. "Oh calling me a bitch ?" I said shaking my head. "You don't know him!! Nobody knew him like I did!! Kooshite govno ee oomeeite. but when I finally met his eyes I couldn't help but huff. "Don't you EVER talk about Dimitri do you understand!!" I said shoving him hard. "But now. maybe because he was closer to the truth than I expected. "And maybe I didn't know Belikov personally but I knew his reputation. I heard Mishka tsk with disapproval in the background but neither of us acknowledged him. I knew the Russian insults pretty well. "You don't even know the risks your father took by arranging this meeting but who cares right?? As long as you get what you want!" He added his eyes locked on mine. So Hathaway… Who are you going to condemn to this fate? Who loves you enough to fall down with you? The Moroi best friend? The Royal deeply in love with you? The newly found dad?? Tell me novice… Who? Who will it be?" He demanded. Pavel grabbed my shoulders hard and nudged me." he snorted. "I used to think you were a good person. "You're a freak all the way aren't you?" I asked with a bitter smile. I intended to keep it shut and let him talk but I couldn't. "You had so much potential and you throw it away You know deep down that this whole thing will end badly and the disgusting part is that you are going to take the people who love you down with you. but I was mad and hurt. brave. risked another persons life or reputation for something he felt he had to do. honor." he said now actually hurting me he was squeezing so hard. I would have said what I really thought being that they were beautiful." He snorted. and of that I am positive. He was all about safety. He was a lot stronger than I expected from his gangly frame. terribly selfish!" He pointed at me. "I don't wear my sunglasses to look badass like you probably think. "But just so you know the real Belikov would be so disappointed in you…" He said and it had the effect of a hard punch in my stomach. inches from my face and I could see so much deception and anger in his eyes. "Don't kid yourself." In a normal condition I would have said his eyes were not disturbing. "No I won't 'go eat shit and die' but thanks. unique." He shook his head with clear disgust. Mazur couldn't figure out why you were there I knew… I understood it was to take him down and I thought that you were a girl with so much honor. "That's SOOO original Zhopa. He probably would have risked his life to keep a promise made to you but he would never.Pavel balled his hands into fits and I thought he was about to hit me. "You really want to know what I think?" He asked and it sounded like a threat but I couldn't imagine what he could say to hurt me more than I already was. so much for wanting to keep my self control.

make me numb for a little while. it would be for at least two hours before the academy started to move around…3 hours before my training. "Is there a bathroom on this plane?" I asked looking away. Mishka sighed heavily throwing a reproving look to Pavel before concentrating on me.I sighed. I looked around curiously. . William. a way to make me feel better. "Just one more thing Hathaway. That was a sign. I drank the four bottles one after the other knowing that I had two more of each in my pockets. across from the toilet there were some metallic drawers and a fridge." He said with so much kindness that it actually aggravated the throbbing pain in my chest." "Monkey bars? Really??" I asked wanting to jump on him and punch him unconscious. Jack Daniel's. You have to let go at some point in order to move forward. I could feel that my eyes started to fill up with tears and I didn't want to give Pavel the satisfaction of seeing me cry. and Jim Beam bottles . "Getting over a painful experience is much like crossing monkey bars. I took some more for my little trip to the toilet. "What my idiotic colleague means is that there are things that we never want to let go of. When I came out I sat on the last seat pretending to look at the landscaping. and Jim. But I wouldn't cry in front of him. I really missed you guys!!" I said looking at the Johnnie Walker."Are you done?" I said roughly getting out of his grip. actually talking to me for the first time. He put them back and went to sit beside Mishka again. Was it a good way to deal with my problems? Absolutely not because they would still be here tomorrow along with a killer headache. making me smile." I said to the bottles. "Hello my dear old friends. But I was still stuck with 30 more minutes with Pavel and then I had to get through the day with all this guilt and pain…. I opened the fridge and smiled widely. "Behind the curtain. I started to suck on the mint as the alcohols warmth was filling me. Jack. people we never want to leave behind. But keep in mind that letting go isn't the end of the world. I just hope you realize that before it's to late and you make mistakes that you will regret till your last breath. it's the beginning of a new life. As soon as I pulled back the curtain I let the tears fall quietly. "Feeling better?" I added trying my best to look only furious. I also took some mints that were in a glass ball for my breathe I knew it was completely stupid and irresponsible to do this but at this point I was already at… I couldn't be more disappointing anyways." he said walking passed me to retrieve his glasses from the floor. But deep down I felt like dying." said Mishka pointing to the blue curtain at the end of the plane. Alleluia!! I took some of them and stuffed them in my pocket. in the place where my heart used to be. When we landed the sun was still up. I set four little bottles on the lavabo. William Lawson's." he said not even bothering to look at me. I wouldn't show him how badly it hurt…No! Never! "I do. "Johnnie. Abe was maybe Muslim (I didn't know for sure yet) but that fridge was full of miniatures….

"You don't want me?" I asked him.. I knocked at the door twice." he stuttered letting me in. I discreetly took off through the trees and drank three more bottles while sitting under a centennial tree."You should go and sleep a bit. I groaned with frustration. his face full of sleep. Very good." I said with a grin." I blushed slightly. "Of course I do Rose. Adrian was still looking at me with a sad smile.." "So?" I replied. Chapter 7: At first Adrian kissed me back and it felt good. "it's going to be a long day. "I never wanted anyone as much as I want you. "I'm here to be claimed. "There is not much that a French kiss can hide my little dhampir. "You know you are just adorable when you wake up. Almost as soon as we deepened the kiss he gently pushed me away breaking it altogether. I walked close to the wall concentrating on the board to keep walking in a straight line. and his eyes widened when he saw me standing here.Irresistible. "Well I'm not that drunk! It won't be like you're taking advantage of me I promise. "May I come in?" I asked turning my man eating smile on this time. "not when you're drunk." He added keeping my hands in his." I said putting a hand at the back of his neck pulling him to me so I could kiss him passionately. better than I thought it would." I nodded and as they took the direction to the lower campus where the guardian dorms were. Adrian would help me feel good." I said smiling widely." he caught my hands before I could touch his torso. bare chest." He retorted like he never heard something stupider in his entire life." "I'm not drunk!" I said trying my best to sound offended. feeling both confused and hurt. "What do you need?" He asked nicely while closing the door.. He was my Moroi knight but deep down I would always be longing for my Dhampir prince. "Not while you're like that. "Not like that…" He said breathlessly. His lips were warm and soft against mine. He was only wearing black Pj bottoms. his hard body radiating with want made me shiver." said Mishka. opening my arms." He shook his head." I said reaching for him. . "Of… Of course. I didn't deal very well with rejection. the prince I needed to save.. "Rose? Is everything ok?" He asked worried. "You. I started to laugh it was clear where I needed to go. "Maybe not. "But you are clearly drunk enough to regret it when you wake up. Adrian opened it. I drank a fourth bottle on my way to the guest dorms and sucked on a mint before entering it.

"Ummmm 8?" I tapped my chin." I snorted still looking away. which was a stupid idea because I already had trouble keeping myself balanced. "Being a good guy sucks!" I said childishly walking into the room. When I felt an arm wrap tightly around my waist to steady me. I could already see my head banging the side of the coffee table. "8 and three quarters of that one. He took my jacket off. "But to save him I have to become a traitor." he said as he started leading me to his room. Adrian stopped walking keeping me against him. keeping his hold around my waist. "no wait!" I pointed to the little bottle he was holding. "Dimitri. I presumed that he liked to have me against him. "My prince!" I stated like if it was evident. "I have to save him. "No." I got out of his arms feeling slightly angry. renounce to everything I believe in. "Sure you aren't. you killed him remember?" . He even seemed to sound a little worried. "It really does. "Wow… you are drunker than I thought you were." he agreed." I said my voice cracking. "I don't want you to look back on something we did together and see it as a mistake." "9 bottles?" He asked rhetorically. let's get you to bed. I felt slightly relieved. Adrian gently help me to sit on his bed but his face was somber now. "Your prince?" Asked Adrian with a small smile playing on his lips. "How many of those did you have?" Adrian asked seriously. "And who is that lucky bastard?" He asked teasingly. "What don't I understand Rose?" He asked softly removing some rebellious hair from my face. "I need to save him. I stood on my toes trying to attain his lips but he just leaned down to kiss my forehead." I said looking at him helplessly." Adrian eyes were sad now."So what? It will be my mistake." he whispered against my forehead. I took a small bottle from my pocket. "He is dead Rose. maybe as much as I liked being against him. I only had time to get half way through it when Adrian ripped it away from me." Adrian responded. I shook my head." I could feel the tears starting to fall down my cheeks. "Come on you drunk." "Who do you need to save Rose?" He asked with real concern. "I need to save Dimitri. "I…please understand. but he kept quiet and we continued our way to his bedroom. "I told you I'm not drunk!" I said as I raised my arms in exasperation." I saw Adrian recoil slightly and wince like I had just punched him. Consider me warned." I shrugged and looked up at his face that was torn with indecision. "Not so long ago I wouldn't have thought about it twice but things changed…you changed them. "You don't understand." he said setting the bottle on the table." I said in a tearless sob.

I could see pain and deception in his eyes. "Someone has to. that was already something. I nodded crying even harder now. I failed and now he is coming here to take me or to kill me. like I was letting him down. "You know what forget it. "What's that supposed to mean?" Asked Abe a lot colder now." . I closed my eyes again and sighed with relief trying to remember what the heck happened to me. Okay." Said Adrian with urgency and for the first time since I met him I could see pure fear in his eyes. Adrian sighed heavily." he said nicely yet his voice sounded so cold. I looked around slightly panicked." Adrian said. "Sleep now. Victor knows how to save my prince he told me last night. I sure knew that this big comfy bed wasn't mine. He helped me down on his bed and carefully tucked me in. Abe? I thought. "She is still sleeping. it was empty and cold and I patted myself. breaking his heart. Cause you see…" I brought my hand to his cheek. "Belikov is alive?" He tried. "You saw Victor? Where??" "In jail! I went to a secret meeting. not knowing where I was." he whispered and there was pain both in his eyes and his voice. I still had my shirt and jeans on. I heard voices coming from the other room. "Drink please. I closed my eyes. not anymore. "My heart is breaking because I realized that I have to let go the only person I ever loved." Adrian pursed his lips so strongly that they turned white. I was in Adrian's bed…another clue." said a deep man voice. Well the headache attested to a hangover. "Can you believe that only the bad wizard knows the way to break the spell and give me back my prince. I woke up with a killer headache. Adrian put my shoes aside and looked at me with incredulity. it's none of my business. I instinctively patted the other side." I think he kissed my forehead and then I was asleep." I said like he was an idiot. Although. so distant." Adrian replied." "Rose…Rose focus for a minute. "And now I even have to break Victor Dashkov out of jail to save him." I said in a hushed tone. He slipped away from my touch and took the bottle of water on his night stand. "No he is not dead. "Why are you sad?" I mumbled already drifting into sleep. I was not sure I heard it right or if it was a dream because I was already half way gone but I thought he said something like. The worst feeling in the world is giving all the love you have and knowing it'll never be returned.Adrian kneeled down and took my shoes off. apparently angry. "You're taking good care of her. "The princess can't go on with her life knowing that her prince could return to her and finally give her the 'happily ever after' she is longing for.

"Adrian please talk to me. He snorted and it sounded so bitter coming from him. she is sleeping soundly." Abe replied and I could hear the real gratitude in voice. go back to Court. Adrian looked at me and sighed. "I think it's time for me to go." Said Adrian and for once there was no humor in his voice. The pretenses are never good. About two minutes later the bedroom door opened slightly and Adrian peeked in." he commented. "Are you alright?" I asked sitting up taking the tablets." he said dismissively and started to load his suitcase. Apparently whiskey is not her best friend. "Anyways don't you worry they all believed me when I explained she had dinner with me in my room and ate something apparently not so good. "Hey…" I said with a sleepy voice. Adrian sighed with exasperation as he reached to steady me. and that she spent the night vomiting which is actually not so wrong.Not anymore? What is happening?? I thought my heart pounding in my chest. What the heck did I say to him? I wondered but my brain was still slow." Said Adrian and he seemed annoyed and that shocked me. "Thank you. "No I knew drunken Rose. "Don't worry I'll take care of her and I'll give you a call as soon as she is ready to go. "What about us? Our friendship?" I asked trying the best to contain my tears. "She will be moving to the Court in 2 months…We'll restart our work then. I meant vomiting 'like-in-the-exorcist' Rose. I could hear a underlying despair I couldn't understand. . "What time is it?" "Classes are about to end." He said continuing to pack his things into his suitcase. He didn't smile at me or anything he looked so…distant and oddly enough it made my heart ache." He sighed again "That is a part of her I really didn't need to meet. I frowned slightly but decided to ignore his attitude. "Yeah but she is fine now." "But…But what about Lissa and Spirit?" I asked but I just realized that I didn't want him to leave me." Added Adrian matter of factly. "You'll figure out eventually that what Rose wants and what is good for her are sometime two totally opposite things." "She's been sick?" Abe asked with concern." "The drunken Rose?" Asked Abe and I could hear laugher in his voice." I said reaching for his hand as he let go of me. "What's going on?" I asked jumping out of bed and apparently my equilibrium sucked because I almost fell. "Oh you're awake." He added putting two Tylenol in my hand. "Please you really don't need to keep it up." he said opening the drawer of his night stand. walking to me to check my temperature with the back of his hand. I almost chocked drinking when I saw him take his suitcase out of his wardrobe. "Here take that with this full glass of water.

"I just don't think you know my darker secret. I was not even sure he realized that he told me that he loved me. closed it. "Oh come on Rose." I got off the suitcase in defeat." He closed his eyes." said Adrian as he stopped packing his suitcase. "No I do believe you. He looked at me silently for minute before sighing in resignation. it's maybe better this way. "Oh yea you talk when you're drunk and every word you said last night hurt me. "I can't do that." Ok he knows everything I thought . almost begging him to bite me." "Don't try to put that one on me!" He shouted." .I walked briskly to it. I was sure he wouldn't 'love' me anymore after that. shaky. breath. "You wouldn't like the real Rose anyways. "Much more than I wanted to know but if you don't talk to the others about it I will." He added flush with anger. I…I have no idea what happened last night and if I did anything to hurt you I'm sorry…really I…" I took a deep. "But I won't stay here and watch you destroy yourself and everything good in your life for something that was doomed since day one. "I know all your dark secrets and I still love you just the same. ever. I could see my bruised neck in the mirror again." I said sincerely taking a step toward him but he instinctively took a step back." If you knew all my dark secrets. I thought about how I degraded myself being Dimitri's blood whore. "I won't make the same mistake Rose… I won't insist on a road that will end up hurting me…hurting us. and sat on it." I said softly. "If you didn't want to hurt me you should have told me that Belikov was still alive and that you were still holding on." he replied and the pain in his voice made me wince. I turned around briskly looking at him completely surprised because I really didn't expect such a radical switch in his emotions. Yeah.wanting to kick myself. Did I say all that? I thought astonished. "Doomed?" I asked because it was the only word that lingered in my mind. "I said I'll stand by you but not while you destroy yourself I can't do that!" . "You seem to ponder that. "If he is coming for you and if you're going to become an outlaw they have the right to know." he said putting the pile of clothes beside his suitcase." He shook his head "I know you didn't do it voluntarily but it hurt just the same. "I don't want to hurt you." "How much did I say?" I asked still sitting on the suitcase. "Talk to me please." Adrian stopped in front of me with a pile of clothes." He said threateningly. "Everything was against you two from day one but you were so gone for him you didn't see it!! Think Rose what did this relationship bring into your lives except heartache??!!" I opened my mouth to answer but closed it again. "But what are you talking about?!" I asked annoyed now." He said with his voice full of sorrow. "You don't believe me?" He asked crossing his arms over his chest.

I walked to the fresh pile of clothes and almost stumbled on his suitcase. "You see people think it's holding on that makes you stronger. It was my mother and Abe. "I can't let history repeat itself. "I know what you are ashamed of Rose and there is no reason to be. I. I could see that in his eyes. I'm going to arrange a little meeting with the others so you can tell them. "And then I'll take the plane back to Court. I groaned. "So if you love me so much…Why are you walking away?" I questioned. There was a very quiet conversation going on. You know when I walked into your dreams. I know what you did and do you think it changed anything? Do you think it made me care about you any less? Respect you any less?" He shook his head. But sometime it's letting go. I knew it was wrong to listen but I just couldn't help myself." I closed my eyes… He knew. I smelled my shirt and it did have the faint odor of vomit and alcohol. Lissa brought you some clothes. I was up there maybe half an hour ago. as far as Adrian was concerned that is. "I just don't know what got into her. "Certainly not as much as I'll miss you. I had the childish impulse to hide it somewhere but I knew it would not be enough to make him stay. I replied in a low voice and I realized how much I would actually miss him. "I…" My mother sighed.. I was rather pleased I didn't remember the vomiting part since I'm sure it was pretty embarrassing. "you don't have to tell them everything but you need to tell them the basics." He gave me a sad smile." he said pointing to me. I took a the quickest cold shower in history just to try and put my brain in the right place. my voice hoarse. He cared about me enough to disregard that. In the process removing the not so nice odor. I was on my way to the second floor when I froze midcourse. the one when you were wearing that little blue summer dress. I wanted him to stay…I needed him to stay. and that sapphire necklace… your aura was all wrong then.He bit his bottom lip for a little while like he was trying to decide what to add. He closed his suitcases and took it off the bed. "Please don't. because as crazy as it sounded." I said in a breathe." said Abe soothingly. "I'm going to miss you". resigned. "No! Never! And that's the truth! You are still the Rose I met and always will be!" I looked at him in a whole different light. maybe I could learn to love him. Take a shower and chill out a bit.. maybe if I tried harder." He added looking away. Adrian was residing on the fourth floor of the guest area and I decided to take the stairs down. "She is fine. "I've seen what holding on to the wrong person could do. almost whispering but the voices were unmistakable." He shrugged slightly. Adrian walked in the small living area and set his suitcase down. She was getting better. at least I thought so. "I saw your neck Rose." I nodded." He said before leaving the room and closing the door quietly behind him. He was honest." . It was clearly a part of me I didn't want him to see.

"I'm sorry I didn't mean that." My mother whispered harshly. We didn't have the lives for that and you know it."It's just an indigestion meleğim. about being his only child. . now I was the cause of a fight between my mom and dad…I really was bad luck. "Well you came here yesterday unannounced and today she is so drunk she passed out in Ivashkov's room. "And you agreed with me then. I'm sorry but I can't help to connect the events. "Indigestion? Right! I know my daughter and she has a strong stomach! And I know you well. I didn't really realize it before but I felt relieved. It made me special." He added and I could hear the love in his voice." "But I'm her father!" Abe snapped angrily." I was shocked." "Are you blaming me?" He asked and I could hear the hurt in his voice. you are an astonishing liar but you never fooled me. Be careful Abe…Angry Janine can be dangerous. I mean it was almost two decades ago and a Dhampir/Moroi marriage would have been such a scandal. She stopped talking for a minute." added my mother finally. nothing to worry about. especially ours. I felt bad." I had barely closed the door behind me when my phoned beeped in my pocket. I thought wincing quietly going down two more steps as they dropped their already barely audible voices." I could hear the sincerity in her voice." He said his voice cold too. My mom was not kidding when she said that Abe wanted to assume. Talk about timing! It was a brief text from Adrian saying that they were all waiting for me in Christian's room. "Rose is…" I could hear my mother sharp intake of breath. She looks all tough and brave but she is much more sensitive than she lets people see. Letting you go was my way of saying I love you. The last thing I heard was my mother saying. I was getting uncomfortable and decided I needed to go now. "You are her genitor! It doesn't make you her father.'' My mother snorted. slightly pleased. I started to go up the stairs. "It's because I never really tried to fool you. she is my daughter after all…My only child. "I didn't leave because I didn't love you anymore. "You knew as well as I did that it was better for Rose." She said and her tone was getting cold. I deserve a place in her life. I helped you get her back. very well. "Well you don't know her Abe. "That was uncalled for. well as angrily as a whisper could convey." "I know but letting you go didn't mean that I stopped loving you or that I didn't love the little baby you were carrying. "You didn't leave me the choice anyways did you?! I asked you to marry me but you said no! You are the one who decided to call it quits! You decided for us not me." They stayed silent for a minute or two." "What are you doing here?" "I told you I came to see Rose.

I just told them everything about what Oksana told me. the whole Victor issue. She thought deep down that she could not survive me becoming one of them…her enemy. "Rose come on you can't honestly consider that!" Said Christian coming to sit beside me on the desk." He snorted. She was not jealous of the fact that we might become an item because she knew that it was out of the question for both of . I still remembered our pretty heated make out sessions when the only thing I wanted was for him to make love to me but it was maybe a good thing…no! it was surely good thing that he refused to do it as it wouldn't have been like the first time. "No I'm not talking about silver stakes. "I guess there is silver stakes but you know…that's pretty slim though. Chapter 8: "I'm sorry Rose but do you know how crazy that sounds?!" Asked Christian after a silence that seemed to last forever. "I know" I whispered mostly keeping my eyes on Lissa who seemed to be frozen on the spot. Christian instinctively reached for my hand and held it tightly between his. "But I witnessed it first hand!" I said in a last plea. it was almost overwhelming. filled with love and mutual trust. I was probably trying to convince them as much as I was trying to convince myself." Tried Eddie grimacing. I knew she was the only one who would never judge me. I shook my head trying to get rid of the stupid flashes in my head. Lissa looked more and more incredulous. She felt bad I failed once more. the stake and Dimitri's note. "If it ever happened don't you think it would have been at least heard of? In like centuries." I said concentrating my attention on Lissa. "You see while I was…kidnapped" I said the last word not able to help the faint blush to gain my cheeks because even if I was high with Strigoi endorphins most of the time. at least I hoped so. "I know how bad you want it to be true but it's not. "Well I spent about 10 days with him and no matter how close of Di…mitri he could be there was this coldness to him that was unmistakable of what he became" I said having some trouble to breathe. The only thing I left out what my visit to prison last night and Adrian didn't intervene so I guessed he agreed with me that it was not a necessity at this point. It startled me and I could feel a faint wave of jealousy coming from Lissa. bedtime stories just like the story that say dhampirs actually could have babies together with the right spell but that Moroi kept the secret because they were scared dhampirs would not protect them anymore. "What do you mean?" asked Lissa finally getting out of her torpor. It would have been based on his basic need and want. she was scared I would run off again but she was even more frightened by the thought that Dimitri could show up and turn me into a Strigoi.There was no turning back now." I met Adrian's eyes. They were hard with a small 'I-told-you-so' in depth of them. I just hoped I'd have some friends left when I get done. There were so many emotions coming out of her." He sighed and squeezed my hand. "What then?" Tried Christian as he probably realized I was lost in my thought. I'd rather kept the memory of our perfect first time burned in my mind forever. I bit my bottom lip thinking on how I could mention the ring without sounding completely mental or cheap. Strigoi Dimitri was unable to love and I would have seen the difference. "You know how much I want to believe it's possible…but it's just folklore.

I didn't know why but I was on the brink of crying. He was not my Dimitri exactly but he was close to it…so close it hurt. "Ditto. she was somehow shamefully jealous that we were sharing something special. heard it in his voice. "You bet" he said with his usual playful grin but he couldn't fool me. Maybe Abe was right. But she felt terrible guilty to feel jealous of a connection that had been created over loss and pain. Maybe it was because I finally saw first hand what kind of crazy terrible things I was ready to do on the name of love. How strange was that? "Maybe…Maybe I was the subject matter. She wanted to believe it. I could never take one of them down in my fall.us. what was the reason of his hasty departure but she didn't seem to think much of it. "I think I got it but… but I wonder if your friend Oksana wouldn't mind just listen to me about it because I want to be sure I got it right before giving it to you…We never know" she said grimacing. believe it with all her heart as she wanted nothing more than see me happy and it almost made me cry. is still in him. I looked at the four of them and sighed in defeat. It never happened but it was not for lack of trying on my part." He said with a small smile full of sorrow. They probably thought I slept with Strigoi Dimitri. . things I thought I'd never do. I was the only one able to read through his pretence and that smile didn't reach his eyes." Lissa shrugged slightly." I said quickly glancing at Adrian and I felt guilty. kept it in his hand well…I swear I saw the longing and warmth in his eyes. "I just…I just wanted to believe it so much. I couldn't lose anymore of my friends." I started to say but I stopped when I saw a flash of pure fury in Adrian's eyes. "Well guys it's time for me to go" said Adrian already at the door. my future was one thing…I could live with that but destroying theirs? Putting their lives in danger? No that I couldn't. Destroying my life. "Oh you know the ring" said Lissa bringing me back to reality." "I know…We know" said Lissa smiling but I could feel her heart break for me she desperately wanted to change subject. "I'll see you soon." She said to him. a feeling that she would never understand. maybe I needed to let that story in fairy tale land and concentrate on what was good in my life. as he said I knew him better than anyone else. "Well as soon as he touched that ring. I just decided to ignore their assumptions as I effectively did far worse than that. I already lost Adrian now and it hurt bad. The guys waived at him before concentrating on the training conversation again. I forced a small smile "yeah you're probably right" I finally conceded. It was like my encounter with Dimitri didn't make me stronger as I thought it would but as far as my heart was concerned I actually felt weaker. "But you see as we were chatting once. "You take care ok?" I asked looking deep into his eyes trying to show him how much I'd miss him. I mean…It's possible that the topic triggered a part of him that was. I shook my head. No. Christian let go of my hand and Eddie stood up and started to talk to him about Christian's training sessions. uneasiness on Eddies' face and Lissa's wonder. I could not bare it and as mad as I was against Pavel he was right too. Lissa nodded I didn't know what he told them. he idly reached for my ring on the night stand.

" I replied mimicking his tone. "Come on buddy. not taking gloves." Asked Christian. "What had happened between you and Adrian?" Asked Christian finally. it helped her deal with the whole Christian issue and that was good to take. never used the 'you-go-girl' expression ever again. That was what I liked about him." I said with a smile but it was slightly forced as I didn't know what to except. I took my cell out of my pocket and scribbled Oksana number on a piece of paper I took from one of Christian's notebook. Christian Ozera could be mysterious but the small sidelong glances every 5 seconds kind of gave him away. let it out." "Have fun Castille." I said winking. "Good" said Christian quickly glancing at the clock. I love torturing kids…" he said with an evil laugh." "Really?" She asked and her exhilaration increased by the second. I shook my head genuinely smiling now. you can make a pass on Eddie. "I give you a free card.I chuckled. They were my brothers and sister. "Long story but I'm pretty sure we'll hear it at dinner. Christian and I walked out slowly. I was actually happy that Lissa concentrated on her magic for now. I did my best to hide my smile. "What's up with her?" Asked Christian apparently quite pleased to see her that enthusiastic. How could I even go on without them? They were my family as much as my mother and father." Lissa burst into laugher taking the piece of paper from my hand. "Come on you could do worse!! I'm a good catch. "Yep. "When do you think I could call her?" Asked Lissa and I could feel her excitation. Note to self. "You can call her now you know it's early afternoon there. "I'll see you later Hathaway. "Well not that I want to kick you out Rose but…my students are waiting for me. I'm already so close to it I added to myself." Said Eddie pretending to be offended. "Ummmm no thanks" He said grimacing. "You go girl!" I said feeling like a full force dork to have said something like that. I knew that Oksana would be pleased to talk to Lissa and she even gave me her number in case any of us wanted to talk to her. "You're going to pay for that right?" He asked teasing when he heard the scratching sound of the paper being ripped." "Uh? Oh!! Yeah sorry!" I chuckled "I forgot. . "I'll see you for dinner guys" she said almost running out making me laugh. "Fine!" I said with overplayed exasperation. "Yeah we wouldn't me turning into a whimper would we?" I asked teasing." "Eddie can you go meet them first and show them some moves I'll be over in 5 minutes. I knew he wanted to say something but he just didn't know how to approach the subject. he was always brutally honest.

believe me. opening it fully again. "Go now. I barely made it and jumped to catch the door. He has every right to move on and he is right we shouldn't let the past repeat itself. "It will be better for your peace of mind and his too." I said starting to regret the fact that I let him walk away without a word. what you think exactly . "I…" I started. "Wait!!" I shouted running even faster or at least trying to. my crazy side always made him laugh."He didn't take the 'Dimitri's still being around and me trying to save him' as well as you guys did" I said evasively. I could see that as hard as he tried he couldn't help to smile. She glared at me while leaving the room. I ran so fast that I had trouble breathing as I made it to the runway I could see that the plane was ready to go and the stewardess was about to close the door. "Can you asked the mentally challenged deaf chica to give us 5 minutes?" I asked finally once I could breath more or less normally. You should tell him how you feel. "I see…. "Hey Idiot what part of 'wait' don't you understand?!" I said breathless glaring at her while getting on the plane. "You think he actually loves me?" "Don't you?" Asked Christian raising one eyebrow. explain yourself or you'll regret it. "I owe him that much. . Christian shrugged again. "He decided to let go." "But I know you care about him Rose" said Christian nicely "and…well letting go is one thing but the way we let go is what matters. Adrian couldn't stop his smile to grow bigger." I looked at him astonished. "The hardest thing to do is watch the one you love." He give me a small smile. I raised my finger asking a second trying to catch my breath." "He is gone now… It's too late anyways. The Moroi woman saw me but decided to ignore me." I said dismissively. Christian looked at his watch. love someone else. He just nodded her out. to move on and I think it's better for him. "Uh? I thought you would lynch him. I didn't even notice walking beside him that we walked in the opposite direction of Christian's training and almost reached the end of campus. "Well who can blame him?" He added shrugging." Said Christian pursing his lips. "Rose?!" Asked Adrian incredulous getting off his seat looking at me as if I had 2 heads." I said knowing how Christian loved to pick on Adrian. "We'll talk later" said Christian nudging me. "No you still have 10 minutes and the runway is this way" he said pointing ahead." "Thank you" I said starting to run as fast as I could to the runway hoping that his plane would not leave early.

If she didn't turn out to be a totally crazy-psycho bitch you would have dated her and it would have been all good. they were darker now and he was trying to read through me. "What do you want Rose?" He asked so distant that it wiped my smile away. "I know I didn't have time to cause irreparable damage to you and I feel grateful for that. I'm stuck in the moment and I can't get out and… and I'm battling with some imaginary windmill but I cannot win.. "It hurts me to hurt you because the truth is that I care about you…of course I do! I care about you a lot more than I should." I meant it. "Because you are right. "I guess that's. . "But you are not doing anything wrong. Don't worry I'll make it quick" I said playing with the bottle as I was nervous. I realized I meant every word. Maybe. "I see" said Adrian playing with his glass of scotch." "What are you going to do now?" he asked with clear worry in his voice. "Avery was not---" I stopped him raising my hand." I looked up and met his sharp eyes."Look at me like that once more and you won't look at anyone else anytime soon do you copy that?" I asked with a threatening tone. "I think everything has been said" he replied sitting back. of course you are right. that's all. "You said it all but I didn't get the chance to speak. "I needed to talk to you before you left." Adrian opened his mouth to say something but I begged him with my eyes not to and he closed it with a sigh of resignation. what you should do… what I should have done…What…What he should have done" I finally admitted out loud. "I think you letting go is the best decision you could have taken. "I'm sorry… truly sorry" I said looking away too now." I said serious now. truly happy. I drank eagerly. Adrian head shot up looking at me surprised. I gave him a sad smile again. It's just enough to make us suffer and…" I took a deep breath as I could feel the tears starting to spring in my eyes. I knew Adrian inside out and he was always keeping his word. I couldn't help to grin. I looked at him while he poured himself another one. emptying it. looking at the ice cubes rolling in his glass.. She quickly looked down rushing out in the other room. Adrian threw me a small bottle of water rolling his eyes. a lot more than I want to but I know it's not enough. I know you will be able to move on…" I gave him a small smile "you already did start while I was away with Avery and…" Adrian blushed slightly. "And I know… I know you'll meet a nice girl very soon and she is going to make you very very happy" I said not able to stop my voice from breaking. You are doing what is best. "No it's ok! I swear I'm almost done now. like you are breaking a promise" I said cocking my head to the side. maybe it's just because if I let go I'll take the time to think and I'll realize all the mistakes I made. Adrian shrugged slightly concentrating on his glass again." I said with a humorless laugh. "And I'll be happy for you. "I know you…I know you feel bad for leaving.

. Lissa eyes widened with surprised but she didn't say anything.. "You surely can understand why she is reluctant to come here. in a town where nobody would judge them. I ate it in 3 bites and started to roam around the room for some more treats to eat. She only had kindness in her eyes. I did find another candy bar and almost squealed with happiness. "They can be so old fashioned sometimes" she said and I understood she talked about me and Dimitri as well as her and Christian." "Yeah. "Like she really wanted to come but also was slightly reluctant. "I think I'll try to stop fighting battles I can't win but I'll face it all and it will end soon" I smiled "by his death. I was chewing on half of it when Lissa hanged up. She is so sweet by the way.Yes she is" I said remembering how she took care of me back in Novosibirsk. Take care and be happy.I shrugged dismissively." Adrian looked at me with begging eyes. a dhampir 12 years older than her" I added uncomfortable to talk about someone else's love life especially where age difference was involved. so I ran there to meet with her. . "I invited her to come here for a little while you know. mine or maybe both. healing my body and marks of shame without judging. "Uh huh…" she shook her head. "So you see… They settled in the middle of nowhere. for the spirit study. She opened the door while still on the phone and the mars bar I saw on her desk made my stomach growl and I almost jumped on it as a staving predator. "Oh here!" she said giving me the ring. "I thought you left?" Asked Lissa surprised." She said chuckling. "What do you want…When the woman is starving she is staving" I said mouth full and it was pretty much a miracle that she actually understood. He kissed me back just as softly as I did." "Yeah I really do" said Lissa with a small laugh. I leaned down even more and kissed him softly. I'm confusing you right?" "No not really" I said as we left her room to go to the commons. I walked to him and leaned down resting my shaking hands on each side of his face. almost carefully as if he was breakable. I was pretty sure I heard him shout my name but I was already far. I quickly scanned Lissa's mind and located her in her room. "Really Rose? Dinner is in 15 minutes. I could see he was scared for me. "That was my goodbye." I grimaced slightly. Lissa and I turned around simultaneously. "I talked with Oksana. I looked deep into his eyes and did something I didn't plan to do. "You see well she is married with a dhampir. "See I'm not drunk and I still enjoyed it" I whispered against his lips. "Rose!" I heard Adrian call just before entering the commons. She seemed…I don't know" Lissa shrugged." I said before rushing out of the plane not waiting for his reaction.

I thought I did a good thing by letting him go without guilt and he seemed mad. "It was completely insane to rush into that." Said Lissa almost running away. almost impossible plan with so many variables." I shook my head. nobody is invulnerable. "You had NO right to do that!" He said harshly pointing at me. "I mean really you thought you could come in the plane kiss me. "And throwing Avery to the face?!" He continued. mad or worried. not after everything we've been through". I could have stopped him easily but I knew that public would not stop him from making a scene if he really wanted to make one and his face right now didn't predict anything good so somewhere quiet seemed the best." I said simply. "I didn't want us to part like that. how courage was not the absence of fear. It hurt me much more than I would have expected or wanted it to. "But you also have to understand that. I owe him that much. love. "He taught me everything. And if you can't understand that well…you are not the man I thought you were." I added quietly. to some level. how I couldn't always be right. at the end of the day. Adrian looked at me thoughtful for a long moment." I smiled fondly remembering. "I…" I started when Adrian reached for my wrist and led me to a quieter area without a word. By healing him or killing him but something has to be done. It was not right. "What?! Do what?!" I asked completely lost. "I mean yeah I liked her to some extent but still…that's harsh! She was never you for me and you know it!" "I didn't throw Avery to your face!" I snapped and I was doing that. She could feel the tension and wanted to escape…Traitor." "Okay I'll see you guys later." Was it really? I couldn't help to add to myself. "When he brought us back from Portland I thought I knew it all…" I shook my head and let out a humorless laugh." . he made me who I am. "There is a difference between dying for something you consider right or dying by pure stupidity. And…" I took a deep breath leaning against a tree. he then ran his hands in his hair as he did every time he was upset. only wonder. as I did feel tremendously jealous of her when he showed her this serious interest. "So explain to me Rose please…Explain me what did he do that's worth giving your life for his soul?" He asked and I didn't hear judgment or even sarcasm in his voice. "I was just telling you that you already started to lose your interest in me when I was away and it was the smartest move and I know you're going to find the perfect woman soon that's all. As soon as we made it about 50 yards into the small forest Adrian let go on my wrist and twirled around to face me. "He taught me that perfection didn't exist and that we just needed to be the best we could. tell me you cared about me and 'free me'" he said with quoting fingers "and you really thought I would let it slide?" "Well yeah" I said looking around as he was talking a bit too loud for my liking. honor and duty.' "Rose I need to have a word with you. What did you mean by that?" He asked calmer apparently deciding to drop the Avery subject for now. "What a stupid fool! He taught me about life. "But you said I was right. I will get my redemption by granting Dimitri with his."Well… My flight got delayed because of some storm we REALLY didn't see coming" he said trying to sound detached but I knew I was the 'storm. and I'm the one who has to do it. And that as tough as you seem to be. He…He showed me what real bravery was.

I always took life lightly. but in the 6 months I've known you. Maybe by the fact that I didn't love him as much as he seemed to love me. He gave me a small smile and kissed my forehead.for me. My stomach rumbled again very loudly easing the tension. "But please while I'm away don't do anything stupid ok? Don't rush into anything. even if it is to the price of my life because it was not a real life before I met him. He gently brushed my cheekbone with his thumb pad without a word just staring into my eyes for a couple of second before letting go and taking the direction of the path. always thinking about fun and partying until I met you. "I'm going away tomorrow but I'll be back. I am older than you. I know how irrational you become when you're hungry. and still is. like he knew I would take it badly." He replied not even turning back taking the way of the guest pavilion.I looked at Adrian and I could see the pain in his eyes even if he was trying his best to hide it. "I promise" I said looking up. Be safe…. "Always." he said finally looking at me again. "So if he was here you would want him to be safe right? To be happy?" "Of course" I said like it was the stupidest questions I had ever heard… and it probably was. . "Dimitri…Dimitri lent me his strength when I needed it and I lent him mine." He said with so much urgency that it tightened my chest. I was his Dimitri? Really? No I couldn't be!! He sighed "I shouldn't have said that" he said and I could see he was cursing himself." He said with a small smile. "You take care too ok?" I said to his retreating form. the first time that someone became more important than my fun." Adrian chuckled. It was what he valued the most. I was about to apologize again even if I had no reason to but I felt like I had to for some peculiar reason but Adrian talked before giving me the chance. It was. I just nodded. You taught me so much about love and life. you taught me far more about my heart and soul than anyone else in the past 21 years so I guess…Well" he stopped looking away." Adrian nodded looking down putting his hands in his pockets. I looked at him mouth wide open. "You should go and eat Rose. along with me. I told him to leave with Tasha for that reason. my 'Dimitri'. Adrian detailed me apparently chagrined but I was not sure what it was about." I added getting embarrassed. "So you have to understand me too Rose. "So yeah I'll save his soul. He understood that part of me that I'm not sure I even understood myself. reach this part of me that nobody else ever could. "To help you understand I guess you can say that you are. You are the only person that can read through my pretense. "No…No it's all good" I said trying to sound at ease. "You should always tell me how you feel and …" I started to move from one foot to the other as I was uncomfortable. He was…he just was. He saw some part of me that nobody else's ever did. maybe it was to realize how deeply ran the love I felt for Dimitri or even how I felt uncomfortable after he pulled his heart out for me…maybe it was a combination of all that. to some extent. letting his lips on it a bit longer than necessary.

"I thought you liked being in bed with me" I said eyes still closed. I was about to reach for the kitchen door when a voice behind me startled me. I opened my eyes. I was lying in bed. No. it was Adrian. if it was up to me we would never leave that bed but Lissa is graduating today…She needs you there. I felt a manly arm tighten around my waist and I couldn't help but smile. "I'm taking care of the coffee" I said to him before getting out of the room leading into a very massive. I swirled around briskly and my heart jumped in my chest because it was not the strigoi version of the man I loved with every fiber of my being that was standing in front of me no. I was making him happy and he brought me peace and love…What else could I have asked for? I closed my eyes again with a small smile on my lips. I was thinking on how much I loved him.Chapter 9: When I woke up that morning. "Hello beautiful" he said against my neck and it was not Dimitri like it had been so many time before. I looked back into his deep chocolate eyes. but last night was completely different. Those words hurt me so deep. It's not everyday you graduate from University. luxury living room. his perfectly tanned skin. I nodded giving up. Usually Dimitri was frightening. it was the real him! "Dim. It had been almost a week since I last dreamt of Dimitri and like a reminder I dreamt of him last night and that one was brutal! It was not like the dreams I had since I came back. "Honestly Rose I'm really disappointed in you.. a new type of dream that I hope I never have again. "No no my lil'dhampir we don't have time to go back to sleep" said Adrian with a small laugh. "You know I do. even if it was just an echo of the love I had been able to give. It was the kind of feelings that only a good cry or a good fight could ease. threatening…a Strigoi." He added kissing the tip of my nose. much more than anything else." He said standing straight about 10 feet from me. In that dream. how he healed my heart and that. I didn't know what I wanted to do…burst into tears or broke someone's neck since what I was feeling was so intense. "Really Rose…That's the life you want to lead?" Said a deep voice that I would probably recognize till my last breath. It was really him. I brought my hand to his cheek brushing it lovingly. I was still in love with him and in his eyes there was only joy and love.. I moved slightly to snuggle closer in the warm body beside me. "Hey" I said with a sleepy voice. The man beside me started to kiss my neck making me moan. when the alarm clock started to beep annoyingly. kissed him hard before getting out of bed. . As I started to emerge. I stayed in bed for a little while looking at the ceiling.Dimitri? I…How…" I looked around but Adrian was nowhere to be found. I slightly turned in his embrace to face him. "But why?" I let out in a cry.

I was smiling too and I had my empty hand resting on his arms around me but there was some sadness deep in my eyes. his cheek brushing mine. to have my redemption." He added and there was pure pain in his eyes. I said as an excuse. I was standing in my graduation gown. warm." He said this time turning me around so I could face the 'real' Dimitri. "Let me guess…Not what I think? Complicated? What you had to do?" He said with a playful smile. I cried enough and it was not me. Adrian was behind me with his arms wrapped around me possessively. "That's precious!" he said sarcastically. "I mean….I'm just dreaming". He was smiling brightly and his eyes were full of pride. "No it didn't happen yet but it will…Sooner than you think. That was when I woke up. "I love you Rose please…please save me. tanned. He was leaning down resting his chin on my shoulder. I'd still be here. A sadness that was probably still there now." "No I---" Dimitri closed the distance between us in a second and put his hands on my shoulders to make me face the full size mirror on the wall. "I mean Rose explain me what made you give up your life as a guardian to become Adrian Ivashkov fiancée?" He asked pointing to my left hand. I looked down and saw the completely insanely huge diamond on my ring finger. "I thought we were special. I quickly jumped out of bed. "Your will is already wavering isn't it? I thought you were brave…" He took a deep breath. I didn't think while fighting and it was good.. sad. guilty. alive but the one in the mirror was sickeningly white. "Is it why you broke your promise to me Rose? Is he the reason why you let me down?" He asked and I could hear both accusation and sadness in his voice. I need to find peace. and all the pictures of Adrian and I in different places. I was always happy to train so it was the one hour when I truly felt in peace with myself. I looked to us and couldn't help but gasp when I locked eyes with his reflection.. Don't you see it? It already started. I'm. Today I literally considered training as a blessing since I needed it more than ever before. not a wimp. "How could you do that? How could you let me down? I'm…I'm like that because of you Rose if we didn't go to rescue them. "That's already better than yesterday!" . "Honestly Rose you promised me! And now you're letting me wander the world like that!" He said pointing to his reflection. diploma in hand. On the picture. tightened my hair into a high ponytail. splashed some cold water on my face to wash off the reminder of that torturing dream and rushed to the gym. ashamed and most of all I felt like I was betraying my one love. "It's---" I started. The Dimitri beside me was the real one. I was tough. my silk pajamas. "Well how lucky I am!! Miss Hathaway honored me with her presence today" said Stan with a snort as I walked into the gym. the eyes cold and ringed with red…it was the Strigoi version of Dimitri." He took a picture frame on the coffee table and showed it to me." Tears started to fall down my cheeks. changed into my sweats and training shirt."Is that the life you want to lead? Really?" He said gesturing around. "It's not happening. "Do you think I wanted to be like that?" He asked still facing the mirror. Yeah I needed a good fight as I didn't want to cry anymore. that you loved me and…and you moved on. feeling angry.

It hurt bad!! Probably since Dimitri said exactly the same thing in my dream. "I see…your problem is jealousy" I said as we started to circle each other. "Ok but don't go crying when I'll break bones novice" he said with an malicious smile." I said still circling him. "Come on…it will be a secret I won't tell anyone. I knew he was tempted but he was not that hot to go against school policy. "You want to play? Let's play!" "Is that what you said to your mom last night?" I had the time to ask before he launched at me. Belikov would be so disappointed in you. I would have an ugly bruise in the morning. teach." I said going to stand at the center of the training mat. . "I knew people like you couldn't change" he added so smug it took all the self control I had left not to jump on him." Stan laughed. "Tell me Stan. Deal?" I asked with a teasing tone. "What's your twig with me Alto? Bad time of the month?" I asked with my sarcastic grin meaning 'screw-you' in Rose Hathaway language. I forced a laugh." He said taking an attacking stance. I give you a freebie" I winked. I tried my best not to show him to what extent his words touched me but he was going to pay for it and I swore to myself that he was going to feel it. "They see you as a little hero now but they'll figure out you're phony soon enough. "You had potential but you keep wasting it with your attitude…" He shook his head. "Unless… Unless you know I'm going to annihilate you and you're too chicken to have it proven fair and square. "You know what. "Come on dude make it believable. "You are just a waste of time. not to fuel the fire. "Say the guy who is 30 and only has 1 molnija! Was it a natural death? Did the Strigoi actually killed himself because he was tired to hear you talk? Well…You know what we say don't you? The one who can't do. It hit home. I was very very touchy today already and Stan Alto would be a real challenge. It was harder than I thought and I stumbled a bit. I dodged him quite easily punching his left side making him wince. really fight! No rules… no limits.I rolled my eyes with exasperation. "Old habits die hard I see?" He added with clear reprobation in the voice." I was pretty sure that pure fury crossed my face at this instant. I decided. He didn't manage to avoid my next punch and he grimaced under the pain as I was pretty sure I partially dislocated his jaw. "Let's fight. How does it feel to know that I'm better in my bad days than you in your best?" Stan snorted. If one of us say 'enough' he loses." I saw the anger increase on his face and knew I touched his soft spot. for the first time in my life. "So you're not drunk today?" He asked coming to stand in front of me. I could see incertitude on his face. it's like fighting with a cripple " I said laughing. He tried a sidekick but I blocked it with my forearm. "Good morning to you too guardian Alto.

I ignored his outreached hand and winced standing up. and as he probably didn't expect me to continue fighting with a broken nose and blood all over me. I probably didn't look much better. threw a quick look at Stan who was still breathless on the floor. I think I'll go fight with a preschooler. I already got beaten up a lot more than that in my life… unfortunately. How could we justify ourselves? "I…" He shook his head. Stan was half undress. I'll get more action. Mazur wants to see you" he said reaching for my hand to help me up. "He wants to see you now. Stan was a dick yeah but a good teacher. He took the towel on the floor and threw it to me so i could wipe my face. "He'll go crazy and believe me I wouldn't want to be Alto if he ever found out. I just blocked the pain. "Are you two crazy?!" Shouted Pavel astonished. "Say the guy that nobody want as a guardian so he sucks. I knew it was petty but I wanted to humiliate him since he was trying to humiliate me by denigrating my whole training with Dimitri.Seeing the shame you are to Belikov's training" he said obnoxiously. she will heal that in no time…I hope I can just avoid the full interrogatory. "Yeah well I'm giving what you can take…. my hair was half down and even if my nose was not bleeding that much I was pretty sure I could run for 'Miss Psycho. his brown hair a real mess. I nodded to him. a purple mark on the left side of his jaw and a brand new black eye. "We…We can't let your father see you like that. Pavel sighed with exasperation letting his hand fall to his side. he fell backward very easily when I jumped on him. It was hard enough to take my breath away but I was too proud to let him see the pain. He maybe called quit I didn't know but I only stopped hitting him when a strong hand pulled me away." . My shirt was ripped and covered in blood." Stan launched again but I twirled on myself so I faced his back and pushed him like a kid in the sandbox. Well I could imagine the picture. I could see some blood dripping from the arch of his eyebrow." He added reaching for my gym bag on the floor. "I'm getting bored Alto. "You're a guardian for god sakes!" Said Pavel to Stan.He automatically replicated with an uppercut in the stomach. Man we really went far didn't we? I asked myself silently walking outside." I groaned with both annoyance and pain. Pavel looked at me with pursed lips. a cut lip. The blood started to flow and that's when I really lost it. "Let me just find Lissa then. I only had the time to see his fist connect with my nose and heard the sickening crack. I started to punch him over and over again." Said Pavel matter of factly.' Stan and I just looked at Pavel without a word. I was too full of myself and didn't expect him to get his balance back that fast. I wanted us to fight. I pushed him over the edge. "It was my fault" I said trying to stand up." I said with a light bow. "Mr. "You hit like a girl!" I said as we started circle each other again.

swollen lip and dried blood all over my face and shirt. "It doesn't matter anyways. "No I mean it! I don't hate you and what I said to you in the plane was out of line" he said with a tone that seemed sincere enough. Even if I wanted to confide in someone Pavel would be at the bottom of the list. I knocked at Adrian's door and when he opened he paled at least 2 shades on his already ultra white skin…Boy I surely looked hideous! I chuckled trying to ease the anxiety in his eyes. it looks worse than it is. I think Adrian Ivashkov might join it very soon but wait for it" I said with an overplayed cheerful tone. What did you say?" "I asked you if you wouldn't mind telling me what happened in there?" He asked walking by my side mostly following my lead. What the hell what she doing there so early? What the heck was Adrian up to? It was like a miracle to have him up by lunchtime so now? An hour before class? It was total science fiction and I didn't like that. "I don't hate you Hathaway" he finally let out. "You'll never guess who is the president of the club! Queen bitch herself yes sir!! Well wait it's Queen Tatiana for you I guess" I said with my wide sarcastic and sufficient smile. "I truly don't give a shit about what you think" I added walking my back at him hoping he wouldn't see through my pretense. I couldn't say what he was thinking staring down at me with his damn sunglasses. and figured that his words touched me far more than I wanted them to." I said walking a bit faster to reach the guest building. "You have many members here on school ground but it would take hours to give you every name." Adrian narrowed his eyes in suspicion letting me in closely followed by Pavel. "Let's drop it k? I swore Abe would never find out and he never will. "Why did you guys fight?" I snorted. I shrugged dismissively. "Honestly dude whatever. "I just…Well sometime I get a bit--" "It was totally right. he has been for years!!" Pavel stopped to look at me. "I---" He started again. "Oh so they don't introduce you to each other once you joined the club?" I asked evasively. I just need a quick healing and…" I looked down at my shirt "and maybe you can lend me one of your shirt" I grimaced. "I'll send it back to the Court no worries. "I guess I've got my answer" grumbled Pavel beside me." I laughed hiding my discomfort." I said reaching Adrian's floor. "Sorry I was trying to locate Lissa. "Uh?" I asked coming back to reality. "The club?" "Yeah I thought that each new member of the 'I-hate-Rose-Hathaway' club was introduced to the others. I was sure I looked drop dead gorgeous with my broken nose. "Don't worry buddy. "Stan Alto is a pretty active member.I quickly scanned Lissa's mind and was startled to find her in Adrian's room. ." "It's not for that I'm apologizing. I was just too foolish to see it" I said opening the door of the building." He insisted. every word was true.

I was losing my way. "There is a shirt for you in the bathroom" said Adrian still eyeing me suspiciously. I just took a deep breath and walked to the bathroom. Are they all leaving me? I asked to myself stupidly. I almost snapped at him that he was not my mother but it was not worth it. Lissa was done within minutes. Pavel looked at me for a second and nodded. I hugged Lissa whispering to her ear that she needed to find Stan and heal him too. Lissa looked at me shocked for a second. I knew at this instant that if I asked him to stay he would and things would change but I wouldn't ask him to stay. "Thanks" I said kissing her forehead. put Adrian shirt that looked more like a summer dress on me than a shirt. Dimitri did have a point in my dream. "Anytime" she said smiling apparently relieved to be useful to me which was totally insane if only she knew how useful she was every minute of every day for my broken heart. "Yeah I came in the room without warning while they were training. I really wondered why he wanted to see me that early in the day. I removed my shirt and threw it in the bin. Adrian was now relocking his suitcase as he probably opened it to give me the shirt. "I have some business to attend" he said dismissively. "Well thanks guys" I said to Lissa and Adrian still super curious on why she was there but I guessed I would find out later on. not suspecting much more. "Are you leaving? Why so soon?" I asked him trying to sound as detached as I could. "Stan did this to you?" she asked directly in my mind. He was looking at him coldly like if he was investigating. I washed my face to remove the dry blood." "Uh huh" said Adrian clearly not convinced but I couldn't comment as Lissa was healing my lip now. "Is that so?" Asked Adrian to Pavel. But still it was only 3 days since he came. I smiled guiltily to her before locking eyes with Adrian. She chortled rolling her eyes. I tried to put some order in my hair and tighten it in a ponytail. "Life continues you know. Pavel nodded to them before leading me out down to Abe's room. Well it was not like I didn't end up hurt before. "Training" I said with a little guilty smile. As soon as I walked in I saw Abe fully dressed ready to go." . She was doing some figure on the bench she lost her concentration and fell flat on her face. They all had lives and it was just naïve to expect anything more. I was getting uncomfortable as we got closer."Lissa I need you !!" I said trying to sound as teasing as I could. not today not ever.

just the beginning. "I wanted to tell you goodbye and tell you that I'm not abandoning your or anything.I give him a tired laugh. I could see the worry cross his face. "I'll do my best" I said with a small smile reaching up to squeeze the hand that what on my shoulder. I never EVER imagined that Abe could be affectionate too. whatever." I said doing my best not to add that trouble was stalking me anyways and that even if I stayed here my personal living nightmare was going to find me. I've been foolish and reckless enough for a lifetime. That brought tears in my eyes. "I'm not crazy you know" I said standing straighter "Maybe a little impaired right now but I will get back to how I used to be eventually. Well it was nice to meet you" I said with a smile. not really. Afterward he did something that I never saw coming. "Yeah I know. I looked down and saw some faint drops of blood on my sweat pant and it was clear that the navy blue shirt I was wearing was not mine for many obvious reasons as it was a Ralph Lauren man polo stopping just above my knees which would be very hazardous for a fight. "You take care ok?" "We'll see each other again Kazim" he smiled. "I see…'' Said Abe raising an eyebrow." He said the voice urgent yet not commanding. "You have to be safe for me" he added in a whisper. I realized that now that I found him…or rather he found me. "It's not the end of it. "And you really need to take care of yourself Rose." He added walking to me resting his hands on my shoulders. . whatever small that part might be. Abe pursed his lips thoughtful probably trying to read my face. And I needed it!! Needed it so much. Abe shot a quick gaze to Pavel who shrugged. "But…'' I bite my bottom lip not sure on how to say things without sounding like a brat." I was not sure it was a good thing myself and I knew well enough that I would never be the fearless Rose i once were. follow the right path. He then gave me an half smile but frowned detailing my clothes. I hoped he would be a part of my life forever. he bent down and kissed my forehead. And being the damaged girl I was I only managed an 'ok cool'. "Do I even want to know?" Asked Abe pointing to the way I was dressed. "But don't worry about me. "No. "I really do enjoy your candor you know that?" He shook his head still having a smile on his face. I looked up to meet his eyes that were the exact same shade than mine and nodded. the one that is set in front of you don't…don't sway. You have to be prudent for them. Abe smile progressively swept away. We'll see each other again…soon" he added. All those things were changing me and I would never be the girl I used to be. I won't look for trouble. and that kiss brought some fatherly love in my life. "Why did you want to see me?" Abe jerked back a little before bursting into laugher." I said sincerely. It was far more a prayer than an order and it was the only thing that really stopped me from snapping at him." "I guess" I said starting to look around his room as I was getting a bit uncomfortable with the building intimacy of the moment. "Your friends…your mother as more fragile than they seem to be.

getting on his high horse.He nodded resigned and reached for a paper on the table. "Thank you" I said reaching up giving him an awkward hug. "I swear on my life and honor that I'll do anything in my power to keep him safe Rose. They are not freaky…they are beautiful. Well to be fair the two last ones told me they would be back eventually but. "Bye" I said before running back to the dorm. I didn't know much myself and the details I gathered during my spying and close studying of my mother and him while they were talking was not something that needed to be shared with Lissa. "I'll see you soon. change and grab something to eat. It was better anyways because I only had 30 minutes left before class and I needed to shower. but he didn't yet. I expected Pavel to snap at me. My first class was bodyguard technique and after missing it yesterday I was sure to get my ass kicked if I showed up even 2 minutes late. Christian seemed to be so receptive to me. His phone started to vibrate on the coffee table and as he reached for it I realized the moment was over. but he just smiled taking off his sunglasses to look me in the eyes. Every man I cared about always left me in a way or another." "Of course" he said with his trademark grin. ." He said giving it to me. "You take care of him ok?" I asked in a hiss. maybe because he realized that it hurt me to see both Abe and Adrian leave me. It was probably because everything was changing so much around me that I wanted so much to have some constancy in my life or maybe it was because I loved the way I could see myself through his eyes. I sighed and sat on my bed. I was hurt because he didn't even visit my dreams…not even once!! So much for loving me. "If anything happens to him I swear to God that I'll hunt you down and kill you with my bare hands" I said glaring trying to sound as threatening as I could. Dimitri. I walked to the door but turned around just before opening it. it has been complete silence and even if it angered me to recognize it Adrian silence was hurting far more than expected. "This is my private cell number. it was much more relevant to my mom and father youth than anything else. except a quick call from Abe three days ago to check on me. you shouldn't hide them. I had a chat about Abe being my father with Lissa but honestly there were not much to be said about it. "And for your eyes. Maybe all the terrible memories and experiences we shared finally connected us on such a deep level that we could recognize the pain and anguish hidden in each other more than anyone else's could." I added and couldn't help but chuckle when I saw the shock cross his face. a lot more than he used to…actually a lot more than anybody else. I still took a few minutes to talk to Pavel. Chapter 10: It has been 5 days now that both Adrian and Abe left me and I couldn't help to see that had become a pattern in my life. "Good" I said surprised that he called me Rose. "Call me if you need anything or if you… just want to talk" he said and I could see he was as uncomfortable in his new father role than I was in my daughter's one. Adrian and now Abe…. Looking at his eyes was as surprising the second time around but I tried to keep my face blank." He said seriously. I was still waiting on Christian to comment on it. Mason. only few people have it.

"I'm in. I'm in. "Fuck curfew!" I said jumped out of my jeans putting my sweats and tightening my trainers. We decided to meet again tomorrow since. Run… Run like my life was depending on it." He said a smile playing on his lips "but I know that. I opened the door to someone I didn't expect. "I've got a pretty good idea yeah. and in some ways it was true. "Please come in" I said sarcastically closing the door. I needed to get tired. run till I was too tired that I felt my brain was in a haze. accepted Lissa's invitation to come to help her…us with the Spirit. I knew that dealing with a 13 hours time difference was giving you one bitch of a jet lag. So close to curfew it had to be a guardian. not that I forgot anyways. "So…" "I'm in" he said turning around looking at me with a determined expression. reliving moments that was making my heart break every time. I frowned and quickly glanced at the alarm clock again. we could see that they were both dead tired…Well. whatever the plan might be. I quickly looked at the package again and shook my head. I could see it would be one of those nights. "No I mean whatever crazy plan you are putting together. Even…even if it's helping the crazy psycho to escape" he added sitting on my bed.. "Do you know how insane this sounds?" I asked looking deep into his eyes trying to figure out if he was drugged or drunk or even possessed…Yeah I watched Supernatural the night before. so tired I would fall to sleep and the best way I knew how was to run…run till my muscles hurt. it really didn't help to deal with my own pain. the one were I stayed awake thinking about things I shouldn't think about. of my time in Russia. . I couldn't help but feel a little stabbing pain in my chest as they recalled me. you can't even save yourself I said to myself now looking at the alarm clock. Oksana had a little package for me. I had felt Lissa's pain for me. I instinctively looked at my desk now where the package was resting unopened and kept my eyes on it like I had a super X ray vision. Christian rolled his eyes but couldn't help to smile too. even if I was happy to see her and Mark. It was only 40 minutes from curfew… Too late to go and run laps. "I told you the pony club would accept you after all… you just needed to believe" I added with a grin. "I see!" I said not really knowing where he was going. Christian was standing by my desk looking down to the package thoughtful. as charming as they were. very much to my surprise.Moreover Lissa was very excited over the last two days because Oksana. I turned to leave when I heard a quick knock at my door. I was not ready to open it and I knew it.You can't save anyone." Said Christian with a sure voice walking into my room before I even invited him in.. In addition to that unwanted trip down memory lane. "I…what?!" I asked completely dumbfounded sitting beside him. you will not be able to do it on your own and well…" he pointed to his chest. as she handed it to me. a package from the Belikovs' and. She arrived in the morning and.well at least as far as my sanity was concerned. You're not superman….

Nobody ever chocked swallowing their pride." I turned round and looked at the box too. I sighed and opened the box with shaky hands. I saw a grey knitted piece of fabric. Dear Rose. humility can sometime be life saving. You need the constancy in your life now more than ever. it was just like he was stating a fact. "that's not me! I'm the Strigoi wannabe remember? The doggy poop stuck under Lissa golden shoe." "Yeah!! I mean my reputation in the Moroi world is so stellar already…oh no wait…" He said pretending to think." He added not bitter. he was right…of course he was right. Everything came with a price right? "And even if I did…which I'm not" I specified again. It was a letter written by Olena. As soon as I opened it. The time would come when I'd need someone and lets face it Christian was the only one that was more an asset than a weight. "No matter how long you are going to wait to open the box it will hurt just the same." He added urgently.I shook my head and stood up. "I… I'm not working on any plans really" I said sincerely as I was so lost at the time being and I knew that whatever the decision I would take it would have its consequences. It's the exact same than the one Viktoria had and that you liked so much. "it would be insane to mix you up in that I mean…Come on it would be dangerous and it could ruin your future. . A piece of paper was folded in it. He knew perfectly that he was the black sheep of the Moroi world and he couldn't care less. not because of me. "And what a great addition to my 'crazy black sheep' resume: Accomplice of baby mobster!!" He said with his goofy grin. Christian was really becoming my best friend and that's something I would have never EVER imagined. "K I need to get out before the matron annoys me because I'll have the obligation to set her ass on fire well… it's probably the only way she has to get hot anyways. I nodded as he was right. back to your friends…the people you always knew. I threw him a reprobating glance but smiled. "I'm not saying that you already have it all figured out but I know you will soon enough and you can't do it alone… whatever it is. Once he opened the door he turned around and pointed to my desk. I know that nobody could appreciate it or take care of it the way that you will. "Listen" he walked to me. You'll need help and I'm offering it so please consider it. I hope things are getting better for you back home. I took it out and unfolded it carefully it was a nice cardigan. "Don't be so proud Rose." He added with a grin." I wanted to say something but he cover my mouth wit his hand. I hope you'll liked the cardigan I knitted for you. I also sent you the black knitted scarf that was Dimka's favorite. resting his hands on my shoulders. pride only bring disgrace. I looked at him rolling my eyes but I couldn't laugh as I didn't want him to get hurt. "I…" I bit my bottom lip.

There was an envelope with my name and I could easily recognize Viktoria writing. apparently you really are one of a kind (not that I ever doubted that).' . I'm mortified just rethinking about it. I wrapped the scarf around my neck and breathed hard. My eyes filled up with tears as I took the very soft warm scarf out of the package. eyes closed. I folded the scarf and cardigan very carefully and looked what was left in the box. I hesitated for a little while. Well I had to do it eventually.N: Before you can say anything i know a Russian girl whose first name is Dimka.Yeva and Abe explained us that you had to leave and we understand believe me. there were little initials embroidered 'D. You were right. "Wow…" I whispered looking at the letter. (A. Dennis told everything to Nikolai. I squinted my eyes trying to read it. her name is Dimka Roza Belikova. You are welcome home whenever you want to.B. and I said all these mean things I didn't even mean because of course I see you as a sister!! And how could I even say you were jealous?! After you told me what you and Dimka shared it's just…unforgivable I know that. Anyways life at school is going fine. I sighed. apparently I was wrong. don't let go of a path because the others think it won't lead you anywhere. Just know that we love you and that you'll always have a home here in Baia. It was not as bad as Adrian's hieroglyphic writing but it was pretty close. I would not blame you if you didn't want to have anything to do with me again but Yeva…Yeva told me I should write to you since you have a big heart and if anyone could understand words said out of anger it was you. 'Sorry' actually doesn't even beginning to express how bad I feel. Sometime bravery is to take the . it's not that uncommon =D) Take care of you Love. clear writing but it was clear that Viktoria didn't inherit it. Oh by the way Sonya had the baby it's a little girl She was named after you and Dimitri. trying to protect me just like Dimka would have. "Dimitri" I whispered in it. you were right all along! Rolland was just a filthy little … But I refused to see it and all you did was looking out for me. I looked up. I can't wait to start junior year to really get into bodyguard training I wish I could fight like you. Rose. I was already pretty emotional after reading Olena's letter and I didn't know if I really wanted to know what Viktoria had to say since we didn't really ended things as BFFs. Yeva asked me to give you a message and I quote ( I don't get it myself but I wouldn't hear the end of it if I didn't do it) Here it goes: "Every tale has a part of truth in it. I was not sure you ever wanted to hear from me again not after…not after the horrible things I said to you. How could I ever say those things to you? I'm so sorry Rose! Please forgive me. Olena had such a neat. On the bottom left. Olena. the old witch thought I had a big heart? Well I didn't see that one coming I really thought she was about to join the 'I-hate-rose' club.

Sometime bravery is to take the road to nowhere. Well I look forward to hear from you but as I said before I would totally understand If you didn't want to have anything to do with me anymore. I was tired but I would do it first thing in the morning. Eddie included.. "Maybe we can try to research first. I was still a bit confused in the morning but thank god Lissa did almost all the talking as she was overly excited with Oksana being around. It would have to wait till tomorrow to do the research. It's…it's non sense!" I added shaking my head regretting to have said I wanted him in. Rhonda did tell me that I was going to destroy what was undead. Tomorrow was going to be a long emotional day and I needed all the rest I could get.. What did Victor say…His brother was in the land of kielland or something like that whatever that meant. I yawned loudly. try to come up with a viable plan then maybe. had.. I hope you forgive me Rose because despite what I could have said you truly are a sister to me. Xoxo Vik." "It's serious Chris.It can destroy us. I couldn't stay mad at her. It was too late for me to write back. If I did made the reversion of the Strigoi state real and widely known we could get back the people we love…make Strigoi number drop and increasing ours in the same time. "You told me you got some hints on where that Robert dude might be well…" he shrugged. As we left the commons I caught Christian's hand. I was rather pleased too. I got out of his grip and crossed my arms on my chest. maybe we didn't spend that much time together but you took a place in our hearts and in our lives. And only maybe we would act.road to nowhere." I said to him in a hush tone." . don't let go of a path because the others think it won't lead you anywhere. She gave me her email address. Maybe Mark could tell me a bit more about the abilities that us. "Hey hey… chill Rose" he said tightening his grip on my hand causing some curious looks from the other students.. and to be honest. Follow your intuition for the ultimate gift…his Soul" Whatever that means. I knew only too well what having a temper made you do or say sometime. "I accept your offer. not 'killed' but 'destroy'. Yeva words replayed in my head over and over again 'Every tale has a part of truth in it. "We're going to have so much fun together. there was a way to save his soul and I needed to find it. Maybe there was something I could use in my attempt to save Dimitri's soul maybe… maybe Mark did try to get in the black hole i saw in the plane. shadow kissed. We planned to meet in one of the guest lounge after class to discuss the whole bound issue just the four of us so Lissa left before the end of breakfast to make sure we could have a lounge in the afternoon. "I'm glad you did" he said grinning. As I laid on top of the cover. Follow your intuition for the ultimate gift…his Soul" What did she mean? This message and my Dimitri dreams made things pretty clear.

we still had 10 minutes before classes started. "Good for him! but if that's true Robert would be in Norway and that sucks ass because it's a big country I mean like what …100. "He was a very famous Norwegian author" he specified. Christian did find out that the only Kielland that made sense was the author he thought of earlier and it made me slightly sullen as now I was sure. when I literally ran into someone. The day went fast and I actually was happy to meet with Oksana and Mark tonight even if it would stir that part of me I wanted to forget. "You are honestly asking me? I mean really?" Christian chuckled and shook his head. "Kielland like in Alexander Kielland the author?" Asked Christian I gave him my best 'dude-what-the-fuck' face. I couldn't say anything. "I have a free period before lunch." I said sincerely as we resumed to walk.I was not entitled to. only Victor could help me out. walking into my own personal hell…Calculus.. I was rushing to the guest pavilion. At the end of the day. "You can count on it Ozera" I said back. I had no right to be angry at him for not giving me any news in his 6 days away. "Victor told me that that his brother was in the land of kielland or kiellan or something like that. "I'm sorry" I said quickly looking up my smile fading away. I'll check if there is something else that come out with your Kielland or Kiellan that can be known of psycho Dashkov of course.746 to be exact" said Christian dismissively.. It would be impossible to find a man in such a big country.. "That's alright my little dhampir. I quickly looked at the clock on the wall. He perfectly knew that even with his clue I would not go anywhere…Evil son of a bitch! I wrote a quick email to Viktoria during my free period telling her that I wasn't mad anymore and I asked her to thank her mother for the sweet presents and Yeva for.000 square miles or something.." He said with a wide grin." "Thank you Chris.. "See you later Hathaway" he added taking the corridor on the left.I wanted to hug him.. I like when you and I collide. "That's what fighting partners are here for" he said elbowing me playfully. I pulled Christian aside against the wall. "You really are a brainiac aren't you?" I asked somehow impressed "or only an encyclopedia of random useless facts?" "A bit of both I think" he said sticking his tongue out. "Well…148. to thank him to be such a good friend but people would get the wrong idea and I really didn't need more things said about me." "Kielland…kiellan…" whispered Christian thoughtful..for being well. I looked at him lips pursed." I said loosing hope.for being Yeva i guess. "Lissa told you for Oksana?" . "Why did you come back?" I asked and realized the answer while I was asking the question.

"Yeah…" I trailed off. "Mark!!" I said with clear pleasure to get away from Adrian scrutinizing eyes. "Well see you around" I said trying to dodge him. "Nothing at all…" "I know you better than that" he said proudly." "That's a great idea" I said actually rather pleased as there was so many things I needed to know. Chapter 11: "Well maybe you all share the same basics but you have a special gift more developed than the others. seeing Auras and stuff but Lissa is really a master at healing even if you two . "Lets go. "Not something I wasn't grateful for you to interrupt" I said sincerely. "I was wondering…" Mark quickly look at Adrian. As for Mark he was pleased to share his knowledge with me but each time I tried to talk about spirits. He caught my arm. dutifully avoiding Adrian. "What's up with you Rose?" He asked moving quickly to stand in front of me again. he was closing himself like an oyster. "Maybe we could have a little talk just the two of us." "Of course!" I said jumping on the occasion." I twisted my mouth thinking "like a specialization in the specialization. two shadow-kissed." I said standing beside him." The three Spirit users looked at me with wide eyes. "Rose?" a deep manly voice called. "Nothing's wrong Adrian" I said wearily. "You can maybe fool the others but you can't fool me. especially never getting alone with him. "Well…" I shrugged looking at Mark who was sat beside Oksana. I knew I was being childish but I couldn't help it. to love me even if I couldn't give him as much love. "I needed to talk to you actually. I was actually getting pretty good at dodging him and I could see it was getting on his last nerve.He nodded and my heart sank. "You bet." "I was not interrupting anything right?" Asked Mark giving me a sidelong glance." It would be a corner stone of my plan. one of the building stone. It has been three days since Oksana arrived and I spent most of my alone time with Mark Christian and Eddie. He chuckled. "Moroi/dhampir relationships can be hard… I know" he said with a smile. "See you" I added to Adrian's attention. "What…What did you say?" Asked Lissa still looking at me like I was an Alien." I snorted "yea right! Well if you knew me that well you…" I sighed and shook my head. I was so selfish. "You are all super good at compulsion. I wanted him to want me. He narrowed his eyes slightly. "I was thinking we could give the Spirit users some alone time and spend some time together.

my best friend…my sister. it would be far more energy consuming for them. I added to myself. . I decided to have a chat about that with her soon enough because even if Christian now occupied a place in my life and heart it could never compete with her." I simply said with an apologizing smile." I said with a small smile looking at Lissa again. "Ok… but they are only working on it since like 3 days. or death on my conscience. "Maybe that's why. for no ulterior evil motives. "Oooo did you buy a dictionary?? Immolate?? Nice" he said with his goofy grin tousling my hair." I said looking at him now. "I…yeah." And thank god for that. each Spirit user being more effective in certain aspect than other…it makes sense. At this moment there was a knock at the lounge door and some waiting staff came in with some food. "And I think it's probably right." I added on a humorous note. if things turned badly. The smell was so mouth watering that I immediately guessed it was not coming from the Academy kitchen.I started to think but stopped almost straight away. "I hope you didn't give yourself a brain hemorrhage figuring that one out. the probability of death being pretty high. Lissa seemed to like the idea that she couldn't dream walk not because she was too weak or not good enough but just because it was just the way it was. I didn't want to have too many lives.can do it of course but she put way less effort than you into it. "All I'm saying is that even if they work for years they probably won't get as good as she is or if they did. "Yeah well sorry we're not Edward fans here… Stalker don't particularly give me the hots!" I said dismissively." "Go immolate yourself!" I said punching his shoulder playfully. "Some women find that charming!" He said with a fake offended tone. "That's completely possible." said Christian casually leaning against the wall by the door. she was my Lissa. I felt better exposing my crazy theory to him as he was probably as unstable as I was for following me in my crazy still undecided plan. "Maybe Lissa is supposed to be the super healer. I had already too many. You Oksana you can visit people mind and do many cool trick but Lissa and Adrian can barely graze thoughts. A small part of her was scared that I was pulling away. that I didn't need her as much as I used too when she needed me even more." "Look at you all brainiac!" Said Christian shrugging from his position against the wall walking to sit beside me. that Lissa still can't dream walk and maybe she will only be able to do it for short period or stuff like that. Adrian was looking at us with sharp eyes and Lissa envied my friendship with Christian more and more. "It's actually very bright" said Mark ignoring the little teasing. Oksana the super mind reader and Adrian the dream walker well the creepy stalker really. "Not that you showed up in my dreams or anything recently" I added wanting to slap myself almost straight away as understanding lit up his face. " Maybe we need to combine all these aspects to save--. Lissa clearly her throat to attract our attention. "Not bad…not bad at all!" Said Mark approvingly. even after so many months of training. I was pretty sure that the food they were cooking here had for only goal to punish us I mean come on no food could be that tasteless. I refused to think about the way to save Dimitri that involved too many people.

I nodded and caught her hand. I was so lost in my thoughts that I didn't even hear him come to stand behind me. I knew I would pass my finals without any trouble. "See a dhampir and a Moroi can be happy together" whispered Adrian to my ear. "It's getting late anyways. It was not being cocky or anything but I didn't think that a lot of persons. the way he delicately brushed her hand. if not more. "You know how sometime you can't control the way your power works right?" I asked Lissa as slowly walked to the feeders. We needed to stay all together so he had to be attributed either to Lissa or Christian. As we started eating some Chinese food I couldn't help to look at Oksana and Mark and how they were with each other. I don't think I could. They were not touchy feely but the way they looked at each other. guardians included. "Nevermind." "I'm going to the feeders" said Lissa almost at the door. "Wait I'm coming with you!" I said jumping on the occasion. "I never said it wasn't possible" I said still looking straight ahead finishing the chicken fried rice on my plate. could fight as well as I did but I needed Eddie to pass with flying colors too. "It depends if the person is worth fighting for" I retorted quickly glancing back to his puzzled look. I sighed. "Well I can't help it either and I can't feel how you feel" I said stopping in the path to face her. I grimaced as Lisa confirmed. "Nobody could ever take your place in my life Liss."You did that?" I asked Adrian pointing to the trays full of food. "I know I let you down before I'm not denying that but I love you so so much. "Who else?" He said with his cocky grin." I simply said knowing I was an hypocrite because my relationship with Dimitri did face as many trouble than they did. They arranged to meet tomorrow in the afternoon but I was to pleased to have a fighting study session with Eddie so I could zap the afternoon "Spirit training" . "Oh…'' she said embarrassed the red creeping to her cheeks. "Do you envy them as much as I do?" "I don't envy all the trouble they had to face to be together. but I did fight for us. "Yeah it all depend who you're fighting for" he said a bit colder like if he was reading my mind. That deep love made my heart ache." "Yeah better call it a night… I heard you youngsters have some exams to revise" added Oksana with a small smile. "I know that…" she trailed off warily." She looked up to me her jade eyes full of wonder and doubt." .

"So Rose keeping Lissa safe?" She asked me as Lissa sat beside her in the cubicle. removing hair from her neck. "I promise" she finally said realizing how much faith she had in me." I said more urgently. We're friends and I care about him very much but…'' I smiled a goofy smile. Even closer than you think it is. "Please Lissa you have to trust me on that. my sister and nothing or nobody could ever change that ok?" Lissa nodded again. not to follow me. Since the danger is getting closer. "And please don't even think that anybody can take your place in my life or in my heart because…because that's never going to happen. "The danger is getting closer and closer. You are my Lissa." I said scanning the room. "Guardian or not. "Whenever you want princess." Lissa looked at me without a word. "Good" I said taking her hand leading her in the commons to the feeders. "I can take care of myself. "Always Alice. It will be because I love you more and that I'd need all my mind to do something and that if I worry about you well…I can be weakened." "Good good." When Lissa was done with her feeding we stayed quiet for a little while lost in our thought. "Well you know during my next adventure if I have to leave you on the side…safe for a little while it will not be because I love you or trust you less than anyone else." "What does he want?" I asked trying to sound detached but I could almost make her answer in my head 'you." Lissa froze and I looked down to meet Alice half gone gaze. ." Lissa hugged me tightly and I could feel the relief coming from her. you need to be ready…Keep her safe by keeping yourself alive. Silly girl! Then I thought of my future crazy plans and the smile I had vanished. The army is being raised. Not now or in a million year. Lissa got Alice.She gave me a small smile. "What?" I asked not able to hide my trouble. "He will always be the sarcastic smartass with an attitude. I'll need you to step aside. Crazy old Alice as a feeder today." Lissa seemed to ponder that for an eternity. "But who is keeping you safe?" I snorted. they won't leave without what he wants." I smiled. he wants you' But instead Alice eyes almost went blank. Christian always enjoyed having her and Lissa didn't mind that much either. She smiled looking at Lissa. Blood was blood. "I love you too Rose" she whispered. "Also you need to know that…'' I cleared my throat not really knowing how to say that. "It's true that Christian and I share something. no questions but I'll make my way back too you always. "If one day I tell you to stay aside. she was wondering why I would ask her something like that and I had planned something too dangerous.

"Honestly whatever. Lissa did find him at the gym after our fight and healed him no question asked."Do you think she was talking about--" "I don't know Liss" but I knew deep down it was the only real danger in our near future. "What can I do for you guardian Alto?" I asked as politely as I could. I'll come out with a plan. "But Alice is crazy right?" "Yeah she is but…" I shrugged." He said grimacing." I said uncomfortable. nodded to Stan and left." I said trying to sound far more confident than I actually felt. "Rose can I have a word with you please?" asked Stan pretty cordially seeing us leave the commons. I looked at her till she entered the Moroi dorms before concentrating on Stan." "Thank you. If you guys think it's for the best. security around campus needed to be increased or I needed to leave campus and make it common knowledge…Yeah!! That could be the solution. "Not yet…but maybe soon. it's almost curfew anyways I promise we'll figure something in the morning. She seemed to calm down." "Yeah it's about your practice exams. "Is there something wrong?" He asked pointing to the Moroi dorm. Dimitri was as much as a badass alive or undead and if he wanted in I knew he could do it. I needed to warn the guardians soon enough that Dimitri was on his way. I wanted to wait till graduation before executing any crazing plan we would come up with but I never thought that it was possible for Dimitri to find me before that.that's the general idea yeah. "That's…." "Soon?" "I'll keep you posted" I shrugged dismissively. She hugged me. "Go to your room Liss." "Don't mention it. "Anyways…." "Yeah?" "Of course!" I said trying to reassure her. "Tomorrow? Training?" . Maybe that fight did help ease some tension between us. Well we were far from being buddies or anything but we were not on each other throat anymore. Stan was not one to thank people and me in particular. We were talking with the board and you know we wanted to know if you wouldn't mond be the last to take it because…well with all the training you had and the experience--" "I might discourage the others?" I tried. We were now a lot more cordial to each other. "You know what let me just figure all it out.

"If I left it was for you!" He hissed with anger. "Well we convinced the judicial board to let do the research by letting Victor Dashkov escape. I couldn't let you become one. "Lets go somewhere quiet. "Well you left for a week and didn't even give me a call so…" I shrugged "allow me to doubt your sincerity dude. "None of us are crazy Rose. I just wanted her to tell me to what extend you could defy authority…pretty scary!!" I just sat silently trying to keep my feelings in check." He said still calm. . well…under very high supervision but still." "Moi?!" I shrieked a bit louder than intended attracting the curious look from some of the students that were going back to their dorm." "Bull?!" He ask with incredulity. "You told me that I should tell you how I feel and now that I did you are avoiding me!" "I…" I looked around. "Okay let's go . "Why are you avoiding me?" Asked Adrian coming to full view." "I don't understand. "You promised to stay safe not to go into any crazy scheme but I…we know you and one day…" he walked to the seat opposite to mine. I was walking back to the dhampir dorm when a voice came from beside the old oak tree. "Oh Rose who do you think you are talking to? Ralph Sarcozy?!" He sighed. "Yeah you. That's…that's why Lissa was here that morning. Him and Abe?? Together?! "My room?" He asked and for the first time it had no double meaning. "I was with your father we…" He looked around. "One day you might decide to break him free and we couldn't let you become a traitor." He winked."I wouldn't miss it for the world" I said not able to conceal the sarcasm in my voice any longer. "Do you really want to know what your dad and I did during the week?" He asked crossing his arms on his chest. "I've been back three days and where is Rose? Everywhere I'm not. "I bet" he said shaking his head walking in the common." "I'm not avoiding you" I said turning to face him. "Yeah well I don't see why then!" I sighed. "Well I can't be weird out because of the bull you served me last week." I nodded as now he got my full attention. "You know you're the biggest hypocrite I have ever met. He laughed but it didn't reach his eyes. "Do you really need to ask?" Adrian sighed." "That's…" He started and I saw anger flash in his eyes." I said confused. I know you well but she knows you better than anyone else. "Do you really think that's why I'm avoiding you?!" Adrian gave me is best 'duh' face." As soon as we made it to the room Adrian turned toward me and he was still angry.

He was so good. "I promised to always be here for you Rose." He smiled "well we'll have two secret service agents serving as guardians but you know…it won't ruin your whole life.it was very light compulsion don't worry the arguments were pretty valid. "I need to get out of here. if Victor brother was a Spirit user powerful enough to bring back a Strigoi. I didn't have to do it on my own and that was maybe what will make me win. I would never forgive myself if anything would have happenned to him. "So my guess is that his brother is really too far gone to do magic and so…" he shrugged before taking a strand of lose hair from my face. I didn't care if I was crossing the line again..the Academy I mean. "Compulsion…" I whispered. Victor will think it's an escape but it will be all organized." He added letting his hand slide along my neck before resting it on my shoulder. to support you even if you go crazy on me and…" he shrugged. "That's what I intend to do." I said catching his hand intertwining our fingers. placing it behind my ear. "You compelled the judicial committee! Do you even know how risky that was?" I asked amazed by the insane risk he was taking for me. I…" he ran his hand through his hair and stood up. "Ivashkov or not… I shook my head. safer…as silly as it seemed. but that part was just an insult to what he deserved or even to what I fell for Dimitri…Dimitri."I… what?!!!" "Yeah you heard well." "It's another way to say it. why did he need to kidnap Lissa to be healed?" He asked rhetorically. "I needed your father influence to organize the meeting then well…. "But why didn't you try to compel Victor I mean….." "I don't…I don't know what to say. hot strong hand in mine made me feel a bit better. I was glad that question didn't require an answer because I didn't think about that and I wasn't pleased about it." I jumped from my seat and hugged him tight. But part of me loved him of course. "Well I did consider that but you see you told me Victor said his brother was a bit ummm… lets say impaired. "We need Victor to unlock the probable mess that is Robert's mind." Said Adrian laughing. his dried." He said patiently keeping his eyes in mine. I was glad to have all these people ready to help. "But you see I couldn't help to ponder that. "No sorry I mean I need to get out of the Academy as behind the protecting ward." "You don't have to say anything I didn't do anything I didn't want to do.if he reveals the location of his brother…" I started but I was scared to sound ungrateful. "I need to talk to someone" ." "Why? You promised to graduate Rose!" Started Adrian getting unnerved. I got out of Adrian arms and I could see he was reluctant to let me go. I just needed one more ally now." "Completely coocoo yeah. I knew it was bad to do that since it could lead him in but I just enjoyed being with him. "How did you that?" "I think you do know how I did that. he was always there for me and it actually hurt me to know that I could never love him as much as he deserved to be loved." "You 'convinced' them?" I asked scared to realized what he meant. You could have been accused of treason too!" "Don't you think I know that?" He said so calm I wanted to slap him.

I knew I could have called any random ghost really but one I knew made me feel better….. with a sad smile. I started to have trouble breathing…yep it was official. I forgot that ghost were not really what we could call talkative.safer in a weird way." "Ok… okay" said Adrian letting go of his grip around my waist but still keeping my hand in his. Andre smile widened slightly and he nodded his hello. "Never mind. "Let's go talk to the ghost" he said like he was talking about a random subject. My heart started to beat faster. the pain of facing him without a way to save him. "Andre…Andre. "Take care of that for me will you?" Adrian nodded. please" I whispered again. "I…ummm… I need your help". "Yeah he is just--" I pointed ahead. "Wait for me I'll be back in a minute" I said taking off my healing ring."Ooooo I see. He wrapped his free arm around me. I felt self conscious as I could feel Adrian's eyes on my neck.. I buried my hands deep in my jeans' pockets. It was quite passed curfew now but neither of us cared that much. the danger. "Thank you" I said letting go of his shirt. his lips felt good on mine. "I really need you buddy. "Come here" I said gripping his shirt with my free hand and pulled him to me giving him a chast kiss on the lips. "Anytime my little dhampir…anytime" he said quickly kissing my forehead before pulling me out of the room. "Andre please show your face. Andre was standing there. May I ask you who you want to talk to?" "Yeah it's Andre Dragomir." I whispered. "Andre. "Is he here?" Asked Adrian looking at the spot I was looking at curiously. I need a favor from him and ghost or not he will have to do it. They were more 'staring-till-giving-you-the-creeps' type. . in front of me. up the path. I closed my eyes thinking on how Dimitri was getting closer." I remembered that fear and agitation could help trigger the spirits. "Nah I mean it. I walked about 5 feet away from him. I really start to feel for the kid in the sixth sense you know" I said concentrating on Andre again. "No actually I'm lost." I opened my eyes slowly and sighed with relief. "Hey" I said stupidly. Andre kept staring at me…. Chapter 12: When we made it out of the academy I walked with Adrian to a shadowy spot as the sun was up now. I was having a small panic attack. With everything he had done he deserved that much and deep down I knew I wanted to kiss him. "Ok maybe I shouldn't have asked." He said pulling me to him still keeping my hand in his." I laughed. I shook my head but cannot stopped my smile." I said simply.

He was already deadly by himself. why didn't he move on to the other side like Mason did? What did he need to accomplish here? Andre pointed from Adrian to me and brought his hand to his heart. "But he is getting closer right?" Andre nodded. "Did he agree?" Asked Adrian inquisitively. when they all doubted of my ability to see ghosts he never questioned my mental health." Adrian was only a year older than Andre. Andre looked at me for a second and the look on his face gave me his answer before he even shook his head. I let out an heavy breath of relief. He believed me. I couldn't help to wonder why he was still here. I was rather pleased now that Adrian couldn't see ghosts. He then seemed to realize that Andre could hear him. "ANYWAYS" I said concentrating my attention on Andree again. There was only curiosity in his eyes. "Will you help me?" Andre nodded. he fought an household full of Strigoi. older than him. while injured!! . If Andre decided to leave because of him I'll kick his royal ass but Andre just shrugged it off dismissively with a look on his face that could easily be interpreted by a 'look-who-is-talking' face. There were not many things he had to afraid about since he was dead! "Dimitri is coming here and… and I need you to keep tab on his progression… Please. I…" I turned around and looked at Adrian who was looking from me to the apparent empty spot in front of me. I nodded giving him a quick smile." I said feeling the blush on my cheeks. "Sorry dude but you know…Well it's ironic to find out that you are more helpful dead than alive" I shot him a death glare. they probably met a lot during the officials parties and stuff. even before. "Not here" he mouthed. no judgment." Andre looked at Adrian thoughtful. "To some extent I guess.Andre nodded apparently accepting the task without even thinking about it. " 'No' you don't know? Or 'no' he is not here?" I asked losing my patience even if I knew it was not his fault. "Uh who would have thought that death would suit him…" Adrian chuckled "He was such an ass when he was alive. "That's not good" I whispered looking down at my feet. "Is he coming alone?" I asked dreading the answer. "Do you know if he is already here?" Andre shook his head negatively. "I need them to be safe. Well it was not like he risked that much by accepting anyways. "Love?" Andre nodded. Dimitri was raising an army to come.

the break up and the Dimitri's situation. "Oh by the way I would like to keep this little meeting a secret if you don't mind. with the situation ahead. "Plus there is no point to tell the others either as Andre didn't really say anything that we didn't already know." Adrian narrowed his eyes suspiciously. "Okay. "Well. In another scenario. We decided that it would be Pavel." Andre grimaced showing me that I was clearly underestimating this venue." I put my ring back. as we had to organize everything while starting to take our final exams." "Yeah I guess" he conceded." Andre gave me another small smile.I looked up again and nodded.. . I understood now that trying to talk was draining a lot of energy from the ghosts. The next few days were pretty extreme. Do you think she needs to know something like that in the present situation? She is still pretty weakened by the whole Avery mess. one of the secret service agent (passing for one of Abe guardian)." Said Adrian and I just noticed now that he still had his arm wrapped possessively around my shoulders as we walked back in the Academy. It's not that good but…" I shrugged "at least he is not in the US…yet. Thank you." I added but in fact I just didn't want Mark to open it and tell to everyone how dealing with the ghosts could be dangerous for someone like us or I would never hear the end of it." Andre nodded and disappeared. "OK I'll come back out in two days. so good to have someone who had faith in you." I kept my eyes on Andre now not wanting Adrian to see my distress. For once I didn't even bother to shrug it off as I didn't care of what people could think about him and me. That's okay we'll be ready. "I know you are. And pointing to the Academy and to his heart. "Thank you. Victor and me who would go retrieve Robert from Norway a few days before graduation. "More secrets Rose? Really?" He clacked his tongue reprovingly. "Everything will be alright my little dhampir" he said wrapping an arm around my shoulder kissing my forehead.." I said sincerely. it means that he is not at peace. "Honestly it will only confuse Lissa to know that Andre is still around. I would probably be dating Adrian or at least seriously considering the option so…If people wanted to think it was the case than so be it. "So?" Asked Adrian and I walked back to him. Abe phoned me a couple of time in order to find out how the plan was advancing. "I know you love her…I'll keep her safe I promise. "It's a war right? He is coming with an army?" "Yes…I'm sorry" whispered Andre sadly before he started to flicker. We would actually go as soon as we "broke" Victor out of jail before he could even get the chance to figure out that it was just a set up. if I did manage to take down Dimitri. I knew what he said didn't stand on anything concrete but it was good to hear. "Okay we'll keep it to ourselves until he comes up with essential info.

"What?!" Asked Oksana looking from one to another "Please don't tell me it was a secret I mean…it's so obvious to me!! You didn't know?" she asked with worry in her voice.I also asked Abe to see with the alchemist if they had any kind of potions that could help with the war ahead. "I mean… he is not an idiot." I asked looking at Adrian for confirmation. She wanted first line…she was just as stupid as I was!! "Well the guy who is in love with her. Well. I didn't want Lissa to get involved too much either. He nodded." Saying that made Christian snort with approval it was like a not so concealed 'no-shit?!!' and I shot him my death glare making the others laugh. Firstly I'll need to trust someone greatly to tell him/her my plan and well… I do have some serious trust issue. "Plus that Moroi need to be close enough to me to risk his future and maybe get a lifetime in jail just to help me. "I'm a spirit user." "I know that…" I said biting my bottom lip looking at the big chart we had on the wall. Christian snorted again. Only the high judicial council and the Queen know about our plan right?. I heard Lissa mutter a small cursed under her breath making me laugh. He didn't sound too pleased to involve the. I kept her involvement to a strict minimum." "And that Christian is a sarcastic smart mouth that can't shut it." I said thoughtfully." We all looked at Oksana agape." "Well if it's a human prison almost any Moroi would do" said Eddie with a slight shrug. compel people or talk to ghosts. "Believe me no secrets here" he said shaking his head." Answered Oksana matter-of-factly pointing to Adrian. "You'll need someone very good at compulsion. and I quote." I added feeling embarrassed for Adrian but he actually didn't seem embarrassed at all. Lissa wanted to hit her for mentioning that other option. 'crazy religious bigots' in our plan but he agreed. "Victor is very bright. He was looking around in a 'yeah-what-else-is-new' kind of way. maybe it would be possible to make him track me down somewhere else but right now we didn't know how that could be done. "Plus we need to pass the guardians anyways. "So we have the trip to Norway. I even surprised myself to think of us like the team of Ocean's Eleven except that we were now 7 standing in that room and not specialists but I guessed that neither Brad nor George could control fire. "Now we need to figure something out to keep up the pretense for the prison evasion. "It's almost as widely known as the fact that oxygen is essential for us to breath. "And who is better than your best friend?!" asked Lissa literally marveling now. . I'm sort of cocky enough to think we can pull it off and…and well what she said" he added pointing to Oksana. "That's actually not a bad idea" said Adrian raising an eyebrow. We were all confined in Adrian's bedroom where we had charts. it was our plan." Said Christian looking at the prison blueprints. "Usually it's the people in love who are doing the stupidest most radical things. the return to the academy" I said as we decided to keep Victor and Robert here since we had no way to stop Dimitri from attacking anyways. at least for now. "Well not really" I said reluctantly as I didn't want to give arguments toward Lissa's option. blue prints and photos. "So compulsion is needed isn't it?" Asked Lissa and I could feel her excitation increasing. and even if I could feel the huge disapproval coming from her.

He was the only one brave enough to ask. "Yes?" tried Lissa encouraging. "What if you could slightly persuade Kirova to let them go like even a week before that." it will go to this I added to myself. "Then we split Adrian and Eddie go back to the academy as Victor. "Well we'll have fewer casualties to worry about. "So you'll come pick me up or not?" she asked purposively avoiding the question. "Ok good so let get over this again" I said taking a deep breath. "Well the youngsters are released about a week before graduation anyways right?" I asked rhetorically. "And then --" I was cut off by my ringing phone."You'll play your part Liss you know that right. Chapter 13: ." "While we get ready here for whatever war is preparing" said Christian with his mischievous smile while showing the steady flame resting in the palm of his hand. "Hello evil creature of the night. "So." They nodded." I burst into laugher attracting 6 pairs of curious eyes on me. "I need you to pick me up from the airport tomorrow.. "Hello?" I said warily. "You missed me eh?" I asked and I saw jealousy in Adrian's eyes even if he was doing his best to hide it. Adrian and me will go to the jail to retrieve Victor." I said like I was talking to a child.who was it?" Asked Christian. So…whenever he attacks. "Of course! What time?" "3pm at Missoula's airport. I frowned answering it as I just talked to Abe about an hour before. and I will not be able to do that if you're not safe" "I know…I know" she said with resignation. "Backup" I replied with a wink.." "I can try" said Lissa not really convinced but she was ready to everything." She said and hanged up before I even had a chance to say bye. How are you doing?" "Well…I've got my next mission" said Sydney darkly. She knew I was about to give her a mission. "You read my mind buddy. I need to concentrate on the task ahead only." "See you tomorrow" I said actually pleased to have an alchemist on our side "Bye Rose. "You remember what we talked about? I need you to help but from a secure spot." I said with a grin." "Yeah??" I asked curiously "and what is it?" "Assisting you and the other creatures with potions and other tricks" she said but I could hear she was only mildly displeased. "Eddie. "Hey my favorite crazy bigot. if it get to this of course. "But maybe…maybe" I concentrate on Lissa and her excitation level increased again. Guard X and me jump into Abe jet where Pavel will be waiting and go straight to Norway.

"Thank you for coming with me." I said to Adrian as we took off for our 3 hours drive to Missoula airport. "Spending 6 hours in a confined space with you? It's my pleasure." I rolled my eyes but smiled looking at the countryside I already knew by heart. Adrian was the one who managed to borrow a car. They probably figured that, with his bank account, he could easily repay it if we had an accident. So he was driving, but even if I was not going to acknowledge it out loud, he was driving very well and I felt very safe with him. "So the girl we are picking up… She can help you?" He asked more seriously shooting me a quick glance. "Maybe… I'm not sure." I slightly shrugged. "She is an alchemist and--" "An alchemist?" He asked but the surprise made him swerve a little. "Hey!" I said reaching for the steering wheel. "Sorry… Sorry" he said quickly "but…" he looked at me again probably to make sure it was not a joke. "You can understand that… I mean she is one of these bigots and she is about to enter the lair of darkness." I had to laugh at that. "Yeah well it would be good not to mention that to her" I said reaching up to pat his arm without thinking. He smiled "And why is that?" "Well Sydney is pretty decent really. She is a bigot yeah, she has a pretty bad opinion of us but she has a good heart." I smiled remembering how she felt bad for me after she discovered my relationship with Dimitri. "I see... So you say she is the less bigot in the bigotry group." "Something like that. So maybe… well you know how much I like your personality but maybe you could just ummmm…tame a bit the whole cocky, flirty attitude when you'll be around her. I mean, " I chuckled "we don't need to fuel her whole theory of us being creatures of darkness." Adrian stayed quiet for a minute probably pondering that. "Well if you don't want to scare the girl maybe she shouldn't meet Christian without supervision." I laughed out loud and it felt good to laugh. "Yeah you've got a point." "I mean even I, full creature of darkness, think Christian can be creepy at times." He added grimacing. "Yeah I know he doesn't make a very good first impression" I conceded. "Or a second, or a third…" Adrian added trailing off. "Yeah... But once you get through all this cockiness, snarkiness and sullen attitude Christian is…" What could I say really. "Christian is… a very good person." "Yeah… You guys grew a lot closer in the last 6 weeks, It's something that was impossible to miss." Said Adrian probably trying to sound nonchalant but failing miserably. I looked at his profile silently as he was driving. "Are...you're not jealous right?" I asked as it would be totally absurd.

"Should I be?" He asked quickly glancing at me. "No! Of course not!" I said almost shocked. He nodded silently. Here we go again I thought groaning silently. "If I ever were to date anyone it…" I took a deep breath "it would be you." I said simply looking away as I didn't want to see his reaction. After what seemed an eternity, but probably wasn't more than 2 or 3 minutes "It's…" Adrian clear his throat. "It's good to know." He said and I could hear the underlying emotions in his voice. "Uh huh…." I said still looking out the window. "I…" he started but never finished his sentence. I was pretty sure he was about to tell me he loved me and I was grateful he didn't because I couldn't reciprocate. The rest of the trip was pretty silent we only talked every so often about very trivial things like the weather forecast or the possible colors of the graduation gowns. When we finally made it to Missoula airport we both sighed with relief at the exact same time, making us laugh. "We are not good with all that are we?" I asked getting out of the car. "Well actually you are the one who's not good with all that my little dhampir" he said resting his hand lightly on the small of my back as we walked in the airport. "I'm just wary about what I'm saying as I'm scared you'll run off any minute if I say something I shouldn't" he added and it didn't seem to bother him more than that. He was just stating a fact. "And I really appreciate that." I said sincerely. He was giving me the time and space I needed. "I know you do" he said now looking at the big arrivals board. "Oh I got it," he pointed to the board. "Flight 2543 Gate 2. They should land in 10 minutes." I looked around and started to walked down toward Gate 2. As soon as we sat down, in front of the door, he took my hand mechanically and I didn't take it back. It was nice, and if it was what he wanted, I could at least concede that much. Adrian looked down at our intertwined fingers for a while and I couldn't help to look too. It was funny how our hands could reflect all the differences between us. His pale white skin clashed with my dark gold tanned skin that I acquired spending so much time in the sun. His fingers were long and delicate, his hands were wide but flawless. His skin was soft and no scars or burns were damaging them. My hands were petite but strong, my skin was covered with little scars and as much as I hydrated them my palms were slightly callous due to the number of hours I spent training and fighting. Yeah…we couldn't be more different I thought still looking down. I looked up but Adrian was still looking down, he was now tracing patterns on the back of my hand with his empty hand. "What are you thinking about?" I asked gently squeezing his hand. He looked up to meet my eyes, his emerald eyes darker than usual. "I was looking at our hands and thinking how we are completing each other. The light and the darkness, day and night." He smiled and shook his head. "Silly I know… What about you?"

"I…" I smiled. "I was thinking that we needed to have a video camera for when Sydney will meet Christian." I could see in Adrian's eyes that he didn't buy it but he was nice enough not to comment. I smiled again and leaned in to kiss the tip of his nose. It was not a romantic kiss per say, but it was a bit more intimate than a kiss on the cheek. It was actually exactly our 'status' right now: more than friends but far away from dating. As soon as my lips connected with his nose I heard a 'urgh' sound coming from my right than a little 'I'm going to puke' I laughed. "Hi Sydney" I said turning to see her. "It's nice to have you here." She was dressed with a pair of black dressing pants, a yellow button down shirt and her hair were tight in a very strict bun. That was Sydney alright. I stood up and hugged her. She hugged me back awkwardly. "I'm sorry for interrupting your…PDA." She said looking at Adrian through narrow eyes. She didn't like Moroi and didn't hide it. Adrian stood up and came to stand beside me. "Don't worry about it" he said with his usually cocky grin. "I'm your chauffeur Miss Daisy" he added with a small bow. "My name is Adrian Ivashkov" he said over politely "you can call me Lord of Darkness." He said winked at me. "It's how you youngsters are calling Dracula nowadays right?" I gave his a chastising look. I did warn him! Argh! Sydney threw him a dark look "Fine…Lestat." She said frostily. "Come on Sydney lets go." I said taking her bag on the floor. "How is the red hurricane doing by the way?" I asked and it was enough to make her speak for a good hour. We were about half an hour away from the Academy when the silence started to weight. I turned around to look at Sydney on the back seat and smiled. She smiled back. "So where will I sleep? With you right?" She asked hopeful. I opened my mouth to say that she will have her own room in the guest pavilion but I closed it again. She had trouble to sleep the first nights with me…She would never be able to rest in a building full of Moroi. "I... yeah. We can arrange that of course." I said trying to figure how I would manage to move in the guest building with her but I knew that I could sweet talk Alberta and I needed to tell the truth to my mother anyways… lots of shouting there I thought grimacing. Adrian probably noticed my discomfort because he raised one eyebrow and said " you are going to sleep together? Uh…. Can I watch?" and it did the trick, I burst into laugher. "In your dreams Lestat!" Snapped Sydney. "I wouldn't say that if I were you" I said still laughing, knowing Adrian ability to dream walk. Sydney looked at me puzzled, I just shook my head dismissively. "So except the super vanishing potion, do you have anything else Strigoi related that can help me?" I asked trying to change the subject. Sydney discreetly glanced at Adrian. "I'll tell you about that later ok?"

"But well you'll see. I just grunted.. "It's going to be tough for Alberta to swallow that one. they are all fantastic… in their own ways. "They said that you needed me for something pretty big." Said Adrian keeping his eyes on the road. "She is very sensitive and one of the nicest person I ever met. "Asshole!" I said looking away. I really didn't need to encourage his behavior but he was always good at amusing me. Adrian burst into laugher." He said teasing. "Right!!" He glanced at my face and probably saw the indignation." I said sincerely.Adrian chuckled. "I'll tell you everything tonight" I said as I knew she would be far more comfortable with me explaining everything to her if it was just the two of us. "Yeah well…Just try to be nice with Lissa please" I said locking eyes with her. "But you love me just as I am. "We never know maybe I can go sell those secrets to the KGB. I knew Sydney well enough to know she was going to freak out when I'd mention the jail break because…organized or not. That could change everything but that I won't end up in jail. "Oh you were serious?…Of course you can!" He said trying to backtrack but it was too late. "I trust him with my life. she won't see it with a good eye." "Christian?" She asked quizzically. "Him and all my friends" I added quickly not to mislead her. But I wasn't really mad and he knew it." She snorted but didn't comment. "I mean why on earth would an alchemist show up to stay here?" "I can have friends outside of the Academy!" I tried. I nodded without a word. When we made it to the Academy I told Adrian that I was going to see Kirova with Sydney and to tell the other I'll see them as soon as I could. you are just going to love each other!" said Adrian marveling and I couldn't stop my playful smile. "Do." "Stop it please. . I sighed. "I'm sorry" mumbled Adrian quickly glancing at Sydney in the mirror. She'll have to talk in front of them." I said calmly reaching for his right hand on the steering wheel and brushed its back softly. Do you know why you're here?" "Well not really" she admitted. "Oh yeah. probably tomorrow. Each player had to know it all." I simply stated. "Ooooo we wouldn't want to talk in front of the big evil Moroi" he said with laugher in his voice. "I'll be on my best behavior" she said lips pursed. "Oh just one thing you can be as rude as you want with Adrian and even Christian. I…I will not tolerate rudeness toward her." "That's about right." Said Adrian completely ignoring Sydney presence now and I thought she was grateful for that. "Thanks" I said deciding to ignore the coldness. "You can talk in front of him you know" I said turning a bit more on my seat to have a better look at her.

"Don't worry about it" she said dismissively. She locked the door behind us and came to sit beside me."Yep." He kiss my forehead quickly. ." "I'm not going to get mad" she said patiently. "We never know. very big. Just after they brought the bed in the room Sydney started to tell about the Strigoi related potions. she was very cordial with her. "So?" I asked sinking on the sofa. "You're going to be mad. "He is very important to me. "I know you are preparing something but…For a Alchemist to get involved it has to be big." She said simply I didn't know what she thought about it.I'll be back in a few" I said to Sydney.. As expected Kirova was very curious on why I invited an alchemist to stay here and how we became friends in the first place but she accepted to bring a second bed in my room. "See you later Jesus. "I'm the one who should ask that. I nodded "yeah.. "Don't mind him. "See you later Rose…" he turned to Sydney.. It might turn out to be useful one day." "I'm not going to shout…Come on tell me" she said and I could see she was doing her best to control herself. "I don't know what I thought" she added finally." I looked at her with confusion." She just glared at his retreating form. I couldn't fool her and I knew that. I think you couldn't be suspicious with me…the little heroin." "Right. before I lost all my courage. It turned out to be my mother. My mom walked us quietly to an empty lounge upstairs. I introduced Sydney to her." She said with slight exasperation like I was underestimated her." I said laughing "Are you dating? I thought…. I took a deep breath and told her everything in one go." I opened my mouth but said nothing. and to my surprise. "No we're not dating but…" I gave her a quick sideway glance. "You're going to shout…a lot. "Rose come on." she ask nonchalantly as we walked to Kirova office." There were a light knock at my door. "Rose can I see you 5 minutes please?" She asked pointing at the door. "Well the one to attract strigoi is pretty stupid" she said emptying her small bag in my half empty dresser.

my mother never called anyone like that. "We'll… talk about that another time I need time to absorb it all.When I was done she just stared at me." "Yeah I bet" I said actually astonished that she didn't made my ears bleed with her shouting. "But why?? You know it's not helping her and yourself to go in this crazy plan. I couldn't see them from where Lissa was hiding but I could hear them clearly enough. she could now almost summon me on purpose. "Do you even know how dangerous it was for you to do that boy?" She asked but she was not mad just worried." She shook her head. "I…" She sighed before looking at the forest painting on the wall." Adrian stayed quiet. Boy?! Lissa and I thought simultaneously." "Well" I shrugged slightly coking my head on the side. but that was not the case. since it was way past curfew." She said standing up. I knew she was not really looking at it. "Adrian did convince them" I said looking straight into her eyes. she was just uncomfortable. I was about to drift into sleep when I felt myself being pulled into Lissa's head. "It's impossible" she finally said quietly after 5 long minutes." Adrian stayed quiet for a long time. She was not supposed to be there. "So what are we going to do now?" Asked Sydney when we got ready for the night. "He did…that?" I nodded silently. Adrian and her had just started to chat when my mother came in. She was crouched behind Adrian's small kitchen counter but she was not afraid. "What is?" "Convincing the Judicial board to let Victor Dashkov out even under supervision. "Told you what?" "About you convincing the High Judicial committee for Victor. "Rose told me everything" said my mother so calm it surprised me." My mom unlocked the door and I could see she was still lost in her thoughts. but scanning her mind I could see she came up because she was curious about Sydney and our friendship. I could see she expected a lot. "It's…Go back to your friend Rose before she starts worrying." She padded my shoulder. Her powers were really increasing with Oksana's help. Both Lissa and him decided it was better for her to hide than to explain her presence in the room. "How on ---" She stopped her eyes widening with understanding. "I'll see you tomorrow. "Tomorrow… yes. so long that Lissa was considering showing herself. . "Don't you think I know that?" He asked sounding resigned. "Now? Well…We're going to get ready for the war ahead" I said trying to sound far more confident than I actually felt. "Even if you had proofs on tape.

" She shrugged "Don't sweat it Rose."I had no choice" said Adrian in a hushed tone. She made him a promise and she was going to find someway to try to save him with or without me and I would rather be a part of it. she will choose him and you--" "I'm irrelevant" he said quickly. She was silly of course but it would have been pointless to tell her. "You know Rose as well as I do. Sydney was looking at me quietly with concern all over her face. "But it's past curfew. "And night seems to be the only time. But it was true that Lissa was very jealous of me having another girl friend." I said evasively tightening my training shoes. "Peeta is loving. "Since when do I follow rules?" I asked rhetorically. I nodded quietly. It has been a week now that she was at the Academy and she almost refused to leave the room and when she did it was to. "Pita? It's some kind of bread right. "I need to have a word with her in private" I said before Sydney did even get the chance to get out of bed. reluctantly following me to Adrian's room. "Lissa…Lissa is my best friend. Christian even called her my 'creepy shadow' because she was always glued to me. that she was my best friend. He knew that it would never happen. "I…I need to talk with Oksana. that nobody could take her place in my heart. to stop her from doing something that would destroy everything…destroy her." She said almost whining." . I got out of Lissa's head and realized silent tears were falling down my cheeks. yet again." She sighed. you know how much Belikov means to her. I've got company" she said nudging her book. Funnily enough Christian was on his best behavior when Sydney was around even if I knew the very low opinion he had about alchemists but I guessed he didn't want to make the situation any more difficult and I really appreciated that." I simply said." I could hear the loud intake of air." I just hate hurting the guy that owns only enough of my heart to hurt us both." Said Sydney and I knew she was just saying that because she was not comfortable to stay by herself. I turned around and smiled at her. Chapter 14: "Where are you going?" Asked Sydney already in bed." "But have you considered the possibility that it might work and if it does. See you later. If she wasn't sure by now. "I don't want her to settle for me… I want her to choose me" He said and I could hear the sadness in his voice. I rolled my eyes but she didn't see it. I could never choose anyone over Dimitri and the resignation in his voice hurt me. "I'll be back soon I promise. "Yeah… I'll be better in the morning. "Never mind. "But we've spent the whole day with them…the whole week really. perfect and human" "Who?" I asked confused. pretty much." "Yeah with your friend Lissa following us everywhere" She said nonchalantly settling more comfortably in the bed while reaching for the book she was reading…The Hunger Games. "I can try to keep her safe. "Are you ok?" She asked uncomfortably. there wasn't much I could say to convince her. I added to myself.

Plus.I felt like I was their adopted kid or something. I could see that his pleasure was genuine. . "Please come in!" I walked in and found Oksana sat at the table with her usual herbal tea. "Hey Rose!!" Said Oksana with the same big smile as Mark. Oksana just drank 1/8th of the dose and she was powerful enough to take me into Christian mind without burning energy. She looked at me for a second and decided that fighting me was not worth it." "I bet you are" said Mark sitting beside her. We were right in the middle of the exams. It smelled terrible and tasted even worse but it helped her channel her energy. "I'm intrigued now." I said simply walking out. and even if we parted about 4 hours ago. 'Private' included Mark as she was even more linked to him than Lissa and I were so. "Oh really?" she said raising an eyebrow. It was funny how him and Oksana were always happy to see me . the fire and all that. "I know but it's important" I said head high locking eyes with her to show that I wasn't joking around. I didn't want to run into my mother."Yeah. Mark opened the door almost immediately. I jogged as discreetly as possible to the guest dorms because. They were a couple and…oh Hell. even if some of the guardians and Moroi on service were more easy on me. I was slightly above the rules. "So you see Andre told me today that Dimitri just arrived to Alaska right." They nodded "and I was thinking…Magic does influence Strigoi to some level. "I needed to talk to you in private" I said sitting in front of her. Adrian. "Miss Hathaway…It's past curfew" said the matron as I reached the exit. as I already noticed earlier. I knocked quietly enough so they wouldn't hear it if they were sleeping. "I guess…" she said warily. She wouldn't let me go without exactly knowing why." "Yeah…" said Oksana trailing off. He was not even in PJs yet. were almost seen as guardians now. Sydney had shared with us a potion that enhanced the psychic abilities of the spirit users making them two to three time stronger but we decided to keep it secret as it could corrupt. Power always corrupted people. The healing ring. "Okay I wanted to know if you could enter Dimitri's mind" I blurt out. "Make it fast" she simply said concentrating on her magazine again. When I made it to Oksana and Marks' room I got a little uncomfortable to disturb them. it was useless to try to have a secret. "Rose!" He said as a big smile spread on his face. I looked at both of them and decided to play it straight. Lissa was happy enough to use it every once in a while. spat it out after the first gulp saying that nothing tasting that bad could do any good and he rather turn crazy than drink something that tasted like ass and after tasting it myself…I had to agree with him. "And you know the potion that help enhance psychic abilities is pretty efficient isn't it?" I tried perfectly knowing the answer to that one. and us novice.

One day. "Ok let's just talk hypothetically here… if I could get in. "We'll have the advantage there." She said worried. "Andre can keep us posted on that and…" Oksana shook her head vigorously. "My point is that if he is coming only with 4 other Strigoi it's because he knows how to attack and the Academy is huge…We have too much ground to cover. Dimitri…Dimitri is not the kind to attack recklessly and I know he is the same alive or undead. I mean imagine it doesn't work? He'll attack the Academy but none of us will be there to keep it safe." "So what's your plan?" Asked Oksana. "He only came with 4 other Strigoi and it's a very small group to attack the Academy which means he has a plan. Oksana looked at me silently but I could see in her eyes that she was thinking at hundred miles per hour. He needs to trust them to some extent. "Well I wanted to go in his mind and just change one of his memory of us." "You want to attract him there." I shook my head. he asked me what did Lissa and I had planned for graduations." "I don't see your point. I nodded. "it's crazy Rose it will never work. "Dimitri won't take anyone to attack the Academy." I kept looking at them into the eyes to show them that I was sure. "It's pretty moronic. He knows something that we don't. It was Oksana's decision to take and he respected that." "Why?" ."What?!" They both said in total sync." I locked eyes with him. "I want him to attack somewhere else. What do you want me to do?" I bit my bottom lip. traitors and we're going to bring Victor back at the Academy?" I grimaced." "Yeah…I thought about that too" Said Mark. it will be our ground. "I want you to implant a memory in there." She opened her mouth to say something but I quickly continued to talk. to know what they can do." He insisted." Simply stated Oksana. I…I just want him to think I told him that Lissa and I planned to go and spend the week before graduation in the Lodge her parents had in Badlands National Park in North Dakota. "Maybe he is planning to recruit more 'soldiers' on his way over here." "Yeah but it's very dangerous Rose." "Maybe…" Said Oksana unconvinced. "Plus I was thinking about it and we're supposed to be criminals. "Avery could influence mind and if the potion can make you more powerful maybe you could influence a Strigoi mind… it's not like they are not sensitive to magic." I said feeling more and more idiotic. Mark kept quiet and I was grateful for that. after training." "Why?" Tried Mark. which I doubt I could. "Well I want you to take me in his mind as you took me in Christians' mind at the try out. She sighed heavily. "If I was Victor I would have doubts if you brought me back here.

"And how do I do that?" I asked suddenly worried that I would fail. "Well you pick your favorite…I never tried to enter the mind of Strigoi before and you told me that Dimitri was very powerful. "So you want us to implant that memory and try to influence him into calling you?" She summarized. "What do you want to do?" "Well I was thinking that we could go back to the day when we were both making snow angels. it's maybe better to get him away from the Academy." "So…It's tomorrow!" Said Oksana. He seemed to make a point of it. I looked at her hopeful. "Can you get me the little bottle with the rest of potion?" Mark nodded and squeezed my shoulder as he passed behind me.." "Gladiators' day?" Asked Oksana confused. I'm probably the only thing that could still affect him. "You'll have to guide me to his mind Rose." She jugged her bottom lip and shrugged slightly. Oksana reached for my hand and squeezed it. it was painful to remember our happy moments." Said Mark coming back to sit beside me. "Yeah it's the last physical exams for the dhampirs.." She said taking my hands. I don't know him. "Maybe. And they'll transfer him to my cell. "It's like the most important of them all. "If it worked he will yeah. . The only thing that was still keeping him attached. "As for a link to him well…I'm the best bet. "And I know Dimitri. "I… exactly.worth the try." I pointed at myself." "Yeah and you see it happens on the same day every year depending on the Academy you are attending of course and here it's the Friday. "Ok…We can try." Oksana took the little bottle containing the gold color potion and drank half of it. "So he will call the Academy you think?" Mark asked. "I want him to think he promised to support me and wish me luck the morning of the Gladiators' day. he is far and there is no way to be sure it worked!!" "Maybe we can just give it a try as for something to link to him. two weeks before graduation." My voice became thicker. I nodded. there is nothing to link me to him." "So you want to see if we can temper with his memory?" She asked me wearily. it will amuse him to torture me like that "I added not able to conceal the pain in my voice. Moreover. to tell me how he was keeping his promise. "Why not…. it was a moment where connected…. I almost forgot he was here."Why?!" She snorted. He will want to keep this promise he made to me. when he held me captive." I sighed with relief. It's worth about 80% of your physical training. if he had this memory he would contact me. I didn't want to sound full of myself but I knew I was his only weakness now." She finally conceded. It was about 3 times more than what she drank for the Christian experiment." She looked at Mark.yeah if it works.

what did you call it-. "Even if it doesn't work. I also thought on how he held me in bed when he was a Strigoi. After a couple more minutes Oksana's hands relaxed and she let go of mine. Our time in the cabin. She probably thought I was a freak. I could feel it deep down inside of him. I suddenly felt a cold breeze fill my body. He is not protecting his mind right now. "Why would you be sorry for?" I asked naively.We were in. That woman was good to the core. He was thinking about me. He tried to fight that part of him but he couldn't. the first time he hint on the love he felt for me. the 'I love you's' after that. He hated them because they had that part of me I didn't give away willingly." She held my hands tightly. my family. We knew you two were in love we just…. "Now we wait and see. . I don't want to hit to strong. He wanted me by his side. Mark quickly looked down at the table. I was a bit embarrassed knowing that Oksana could see them too but I knew she would never judge me. He doesn't think anyone could be powerful enough to do that. I'm implanting the memory now and I'll try to give him the impulse to call you like…an encouragement. you tried!" "No I'm sorry for you two Rose. I was his and he was mine but he wanted to kill the others…my friends. the first time I read through his pretense. We don't want him to figure it out and block his mind. For him. but it was overshadowed by all the evil and darkness. Oksana was so powerful it amazed me. I was ashamed of that of course but I just did. Said Oksana directly in my mind. "I sure hope so" I said in a whisper more for myself than anyone else really."I don't know" she shrugged slightly. probably as much as he did before." She shook her head. I could feel the pain and hatred and desire to revenge…. undeniable. a wacko when she realized all the love I still had for him. He didn't want to kill me. "Piece of cake" I said standing up trying to joke. he knew everything. happy moments. eyes closed. She managed to slip through his memories with almost no effort. he actually never even intended to. "We never even guessed the extent of that love. almost freezing my bones. I could bet he saw my memories as Oksana was seeing them. I nodded still feeling all the coldness in Dimitri but I couldn't help loving me. He probably didn't acknowledge it himself but he did love me. "Think about moments you shared. I opened my eyes slowly and met her concerned gaze." She quickly glanced at Mark probably trying to find the right words. It was clear in his mind." She said nicely. I closed my eyes starting to go over some of my moments with Dimitri. I gasped keeping my eyes close." She said in a hush tone. "Nobody can comprehend the love you had…still have. "I'm sorry" she added in a breath. He considered that they had stolen me from him and he was coming here to claim me back. I chose them over him and he intended to make them pay. Even…while he held you captive." I chewed on my bottom lip. how he defended me against Nathan and Galina. "I…I need to get back." "Yeah you need your sleep if you want to be ready for. how he was about to make me his.Gladiators' day?" She asked with a sad smile. spooning me as to keep me safe. I saw the first time we kissed. "It IS a love worth fighting for.

"You want to know what's wrong?" He nodded. "I just wanted to know if the potion to enhance power could work on me too…She said we'll give it a try tomorrow if you're ok with it. I was positive that his love for me was still inside somewhere…how would I ever be able to plunge my stake into his heart now? I sighed heavily as I reached the building. "There is no need to deny it Chris I saw your mind remember. "What are you doing here?" "I needed to ask you something but 'creepy shadow' told me you left for a while." I shook my head "and when I see two people that love each other so much" I said pointing at him. "What's wrong is… You know how much I love Dimitri right?" Christian frowned slightly confused. I could see in his eyes that he didn't expect me to go there. "It's not that---" "Don't say 'easy' because I swear I hurt you!" I said and I realized I meant it." I threw my hands in the air in surrender. "Really??" He nodded again. I hated to have snapped at Christian like that.Both Oksana and Mark hugged me tight. "Nothing worth living come easy Christian and you know that. you know how easily you can lose it and what do you guys do? Give up!! I…. "Hello…" I answered sleepily. . "Rose…" He started resignedly. But he had to understand that one day it might be too late and that he should enjoy being with Lissa while he could. I'm so mad at you two I could just scream! You see me fighting to have my love back." He said grinning." I snapped "I…" Christian looked hurt it had been so long since I snapped at him. That's what make me sick. evil as he is. I was walking back to my room still shaken by the little visit in Dimitri's mind. he is trying to get back what we had in his dark and twisted way. It needed to be said!! I thought as guilt started to creep in me. "I love him so much and even now I'm ready to do everything to have our love back even…" I gulped as a lump of tears had formed in my throat. Now it would be even harder to kill him if I had to. "Call her Sydney! You're not helping you know. he didn't deserve it. "What's wrong Rose?" He asked warily. I hated hurting him. It was a bit awkward for me but it felt nice too. "Hey!" "Christian?" I asked dumbfounded seeing him exiting my dorm. Chapter 15: My phone beeped." I nodded curtly. "Even him. eyes still closed. Seeing you waste what I'm working so hard to get back!" And without another word I swirled around and rushed into the building. They were good people.

in that bed. "I'm with you in your heart." He continued as I kept quiet. you'll always be mine and I'll always be yours and that can't ever change" He said emotionless like he was reading the news. The smile his Strigoi self bored most of the time… the one I hated to the core. "I'll see you Roza… Just so you know. I nodded. you wouldn't want to put your mentor to shame would you?" He said teasingly. It meant that Oksana could tamper with his brain enough to probably make him change the place he wanted to target his attack. "Dimitri…" I only repeated as I was scared to say too much and have him figure it all out. of course he was right! "But I presume you mean physically. his barely hidden threats… That was hard to bear. looking at the ceiling trying to swallow back the tears because he was right." I said trying to sound as nonchalant than I could. "I unfortunately can't be there with you but you need to know that you're in my mind… always. I turned to put the phone back on my nightstand when I crossed Sydney's eyes fixed on me. It worked!! I'll be damned! "Yes Roza it's me. He knew it hurt me to revisit our rare but precious memories and I was sure he was doing it on purpose. "Was that who I thought it was?" She asked calmly. . in your head…in your soul" he said huskily. "You told me that you would be there for me to support me during Gladiators' day. remember. "That's right" he said and I could hear the smile in his voice." "I--" "Sleep well Roza. but hearing his voice." I said in a low voice keeping my eyes locked on Sydney who was still sleeping soundly. "What does 'hurting' mean really? It's all subjective Roza. "I'll hurt anyone getting in our way. I wanted to know if he would play with me or if he was confident enough to tell me the truth." That little remark made me blush furiously. I always keep my promises. "What did I tell you in the snow that day?" he invited me to continue." He said with his velvety voice and I could imagine his cold smile. "Do you remember the snow angels?" "Of course I do."I'm sorry to wake you up in the middle of the night Roza but I wanted to wish you good luck." He said and even if the words were nice they still managed to sound like a threat. "I'm too far from you Rose. "Where are you?" I asked even if I perfectly knew the answer. you promised to never hurt me…" I whispered stupidly. you're gifted in almost everything we tried together." "Then. It was good I knew that. giving you what I know you are craving but I'll come eventually." "Dimitri…" I whispered as my eyes shot open. He chuckled. I turned to lay on my back. I wish I could be beside you. "Do your best today. I looked at my phone for a while." He said cutting me off and the line went dead." He said seriously. "I'm not worried. willing or not.

"What about it?" She asked sitting on her bed. "It will be dangerous…VERY dangerous" I said sitting on my own bed so we faced each other. meeting a deadly Strigoi while I stay here…safe at the Academy??" She shook her head angrily. . it will be impossible to fool him. "It means that. She was pretty poised so it made us all confident. She sighed. Kirova didn't mind letting us leave for a week since there were no exams left or anything like that. "You can go home now" I said gently. "You don't understand Rose but…but I realized all the mistakes I made as far as you are concerned and I won't make them all over again."What does that mean Rose?" She asked with concerned. "Do you really think I'll let you go there. the odds are in our favor. Oksana drank a full potion this time and made sure the memory was really well implanted in Dimitri's mind. she wanted to come. "I got it Rose I'm not that stupid!" She said somehow offended that I mentioned something that evident." "Good." "You better…or else" she said hugging me back fiercely. "No I know you're not. "You know about tomorrow…" I said trailing off. "I'll be with some deadly guardians! Pavel and the guys from the Secret Services and most of the Moroi there will be more powerful than ever!" I said as we realized that Sydney's potion was also working on Christian making him one hell of a flamethrower. "You have to understand that I can't lose you ok? I… I just can't allow that to happen…ever. "I'll come back mom. She didn't want to let me go alone." I said sincerely." My mom pursed her lips with disapproval but I could see in her eyes that she was surrendering." Said Sydney as I was getting ready for what could be my last day at the Academy. she was probably trying to conceal her emotions. I promise." "But it's different this time I won't be alone and…and Victor knows how serious you are about the rules. You would never willingly risk you career and mine for something that trivial. My mom had been a lot harder to convince. "With you there." She said trying to sound just very sure but her voice was huskier. I hugged her tightly. She knew I was right but it didn't mean she had to like the idea and I could see that she hated it. "I… Yeah. "Think again Rose!!" "I won't be in danger Ma" I said soothingly. it's just…" I took a deep breath. "Earth to Rose. Lissa probably did 'help' a bit there but I wasn't sure and I didn't want to ask." I said shaking my head as remembering this intimate moment with my mother brought tears in my eyes. "You need to be careful Rose" she said sighing heavily." She said simply turning around to go back to sleep. The next week was really crazy as we were putting the final touches to our plan. Now win or lose…there were no turning back. from now on.

"I hate for the people I care about to get involved in what I'm about to do Sydney and I know you will not want to stay here without me and I hate the idea to have you there on the front line with no way to defend yourself. dangerous or not. for Sydney." She nodded "I know and it's all good." "It's reckless and stupid you know that right?" I asked more rhetorically than anything else. She even went there with a smile on her lips…scariest thing ever! That night just before I went to go meet Eddie and Adrian at the plane. "Ok guys I know I'll see you two in two days but…" I looked at them both sitting patiently on Lissa's bed looking at me with both concern and confidence. Abe's plane would be here tonight to pick me up along with Adrian and Eddie. "You take care ok?" I asked locking eyes with Christian for him to understand I meant 'you take care of her'. no matter what. "But you'll have to stay hidden you know that right? Not with me but with the Moroi and other dhampirs. I could feel that Lissa was doing her best to fight back her tears. "And you be safe ok? Nothing is worth you being . probably not really sleeping getting ready for their own plane very early in the morning to go to Lissa's cabin. you're my friend and I want to be there. It was too late to do that anyways. I'm just trying to protect you Syd. you could see what the main concerns were. Sydney was on board now. I just want to be there I mean…" she grinned "I went through like 2 weeks of super boring preparation putting on with Ivashkov's idiotic behavior… I want to share the spotlight. I promise. I sighed and rolled my eyes but didn't comment. Mark and Oksana were." I sighed in capitulation. They trusted my judgment but couldn't help being worried about what was about to happen. I was stubborn but I was no match to Sydney and I knew that. 'kind of ok to hang around' which was. I quickly stopped by the Moroi dorm and took Christian over to Lissa's room in order to say goodbye to them. I…" I sighed and went to sit beside her. We needed the daylight as a weapon to get Victor out of Jail. The others would spend the night at the Academy. "Always" he said and I could hear the underlying emotion in his voice. "Yeah but that's the point. even if none of us worded our fears and doubts out loud. Sydney went to stay with Oksana and Mark that night since she couldn't stay in my dorm room with me but she was on her best behavior. "Now that you've gotten everything you needed from the alchemists you send me away…" she snorted "and I thought we were friends!" "But we are!" I said offended "that's why I'm trying to keep you safe. I thought that telling her she would have to stay almost two days without me might make her change her mind but she told me that Lissa. one hell of a compliment! Today we were all tense on different levels. She knew it was silly as we'd be apart for only two days and what I was doing was not that dangerous but she didn't like us being separated. He quickly glanced to Lissa to show me that he understood." She narrowed her eyes slightly with suspicion but relaxed almost immediately. "I see…" She said nodding. "Everything will be alright you know" I said with a sad smile.She looked at me silently for a minute and I could see anger and rejection in her face. She just smiled. She didn't want me to change my mind and send her away. and once you knew our little group enough. She had been raised with the idea that every single person in our world was evil and dangerous so of course she knew how dangerous it would be. and I quote.

Her face was grim and hard probably trying to keep her emotions in order. "I'll see you soon. "It will be alright mom. "Don't forget what you told me Ivashkov" said my mother louder before Pavel could close the door. A real fighter! I couldn't have dreamed for a better daughter. I just hugged her burying my face into her chest. I ran to the runway where my mom was waiting for me." I said taking her hand. "Come on Liss give me a---" My phoned beeped." I whispered stopping in front of her. "I'll see you in two days. She smiled at me and gently removed a strand of hair from my face.hurt if anything…anything at all doesn't turn out right you just run as fast and as far as you can. I…I love you guys. I was probably more of a masochist than I even thought I was because I did miss him. I couldn't say anything. giving my mother and I the couple of minutes we needed. I would rather give my life saving them. ok?" "Of course!" I said with a smile but I knew that it was probably one of the biggest lies I'd ever told. . "Never!" Said Adrian who was sitting in the back of the plane. You are so brave and fearless. "We're ready and waiting!" "I'll be right over. "Mom. Just be safe and come back." I said not able to conceal my smile." I said letting go of her. I still had trouble to express my feelings but I decided to work on that later…if I had a later. "Please be careful." he whispered to my ear. everything that could have been said would have sounded all wrong and I knew that. "Just come back to me Rose… Whatever happens. I kissed Lissa's forehead. she had tears in her eyes and it hurt me deep in my chest. "I'm so proud of you Rose." I said as I exited the room." She said barely louder than a whisper. "I'll do my best" I whispered back kissing him soundly on the cheek. we can work it out. I could feel relief through the bond meaning that Lissa bought it but I could see in Christian's eyes that he didn't buy it for a second but he was kind enough not to word his doubts. I presumed it was the emotion that kept her from talking louder. I could see Pavel in the shadow of the plane door but he didn't say anything. I would never leave Adrian or Eddie behind. "Hello?" "Come on! Hathaway where the hell are you?" barked Pavel." I smiled back and walked into the plane. I frowned slightly with confusion but I knew I would find out eventually. I could see her eyes glint slightly. He just stood up hugging me fiercely. we have it all planned.

Pavel had a ghost of a smile playing on his lips but tried to keep his seriousness. "Gavrilovich?" He pursed his lips. We're buddies now!" Pavel looked at me for a minute." I said snickering. "Miss Hathaway." he said with a small smile. "My friends call me Gav. I turned around just in time to see the man exiting the cockpit. Apparently he was not the kind of guy that you joked around with. Nice to meet you" said Arch ignoring my comment. He had black hair and gray eyes with olive skin. I could see the apprehension in his face. Eddie stood up too and I could see excitement in his eyes. "I have to be ready don't I? And my name is Gavrilovich. "We can't say you particularly took care of your appearance" he said pointing to my clothing. manly kind of way but he was scary. I decided to go sit beside him later. I would have needed at least 3 Dimitri's to make one like him and my Dimitri was already broad shouldered. "Wow…you're some piece of a man!" I exclaimed without even thinking. . "What's your first name anyways I mean…'Pavel' is a bit impersonal. "Hey Buddy!!" I said as cheerily as I could." He said formally. A real killing machine! I detailed him. he was probably sitting beside the pilot and that man was… that man was huge!! He was the biggest man I had ever seen. that you allow people to call you Gav or that you have friends."What took you so long?" Asked Pavel as I quickly sat down across from him as the plane took off. "What about you Papav? Ready?" I asked as I had to stay in front him till the pilot said it was ok to walk around. "That's shocking!" I said with fake surprise. He was so broad. I was ready to bet that he loved my teasing as much as I liked his." This wit made him smile even wider. He was at least 7 feet tall and 360 lbs. "As ready as I can be. "It's nice to meet you too" I said as formal as he was. mouth agape." Adrian burst into laughter from the back." "Really?" I grimaced. Eddie snorted and tried to hide it with a cough. "You are not going to beli---" He started but was cut off by Pavel. "Ready?" I asked. He was beautiful in a rough. My hand almost got lost in his enormous one. At this moment we heard the beeping sound releasing us and I almost jumped out of my seat." he said with a wink but he didn't fool me. "Well I don't know what is more shocking really. "I'm sorry dude that sucks. "Rose let me introduce you to Guardian Arch from the Secret Services. "We can't all be naturally charming like you Papav.

"Victor. "Ummm?" I muttered still keeping my head on his shoulder. "No time to discuss it. I turned around and grinned when Adrian winked at me. "I'll do it" he whispered but I decided to ignore it as I had no clue what he meant and I was feeling so good right there… I just closed my eyes and tried to forget everything that was about to happen. I'm pretty sure I can remember that." He added seeing I was about to argue. "That's all good." He said nodding toward the back of the plane where Adrian was sitting. I took a similar position and relaxed as we looked into each others' eyes. ." I nodded. "I know. and without even thinking about it. "It's time to free the big bad wolf. feeling his warmth made me feel safe. "We're about to land" he said gently kissing my forehead." He said with a small smile. wake up" he whispered against my forehead. "We're going to be alright."Just so we get our story straight my name is Sebastian Arch and the cover story will be that I'm Adrian Ivashkov's guardian." He nodded and reached for my hand wordlessly. "Victor." Said Arch as we approached the prison discreetly. "Rose…Angel. I couldn't help the small yawn. I squeezed his hand tightly after he intertwined our fingers. I inched closer and rested my head on his shoulder. I shrugged slightly. "You seem tired. "We still have a bit more than one hour flight Rose you could take a small nap." He whispered still keeping his eyes on mine." he repeated as a confirmation while tightening his arm around my shoulders as the plane started to descend. I needed the contact and hearing his quiet breathing. smelling his wooden aftershave." he said with concern." I said as my eyes shot open now wide awake." "Hello Rose" he said letting his head roll on his head rest so he was facing me. I didn't even realized I fell asleep when felt Adrian's hand gently brushing my cheek. "Hi there. Adrian wrapped his right arm around my shoulders and rested his cheek on top of my head. "OK…." I said." I said as a joke but his serious nod led me to think that he didn't get it. "What did you say to my mother?" I asked curiously.Well I'll catch you later" I said going to sit beside Adrian. "Don't worry I'll sleep on my way to Norway. "I'll tell you in due time." He added seriously. Chapter 16: "Ok here is the drill.

I stopped breathing with apprehension. I nodded and walked briskly to Victor's cell." I said through clenched teeth. while you get him" he added looking to Eddie. "So… have you made up your mind?" He asked with a big smile. Adrian put the first guard to sleep and forced the second one to open the door to the corridor where Victor was held. "How will--" I started but didn't bother finishing when he handed me a small ear piece. "Don't insult me with stupid questions" he said not even bothering to look at me anymore. I was sure people didn't snap at him that often. "I'm here to get you out. "Lets go" said Adrian gripping my hand. "You go first" said Adrian barely louder than a whisper. Adrian reached the guards at the entrance first as we stayed a couple of meters behind. "Hey! Being a 'super agent' is not a free pass for being an ass. We were not faking the urgency. Do you copy that?" I snapped. He looked at me with what seemed to be approval. after you'd have done your voodoo crap to the guard" Arch said to Adrian. Victor eyes narrowed with suspicion." I looked at him and smiled. I knew how much all of this cost him. "I'll stay by the main gates. "They'll do everything you ask them to do" he said to Arch pointing to the guards sitting in complete daze. "It's now or never.Nobody at the Prison was aware of what we were about to do. every step of the way. I knew he loved me but he was still here. After talking with the guards for about 2 minutes Adrian gestured us forward. "I'll keep an eye on the cameras. It still killed me to let him out. I was about to ask him who elected him big boss but I kept it shut as we had much more important things to deal with. I could see Adrian jaw muscles bulged but he didn't say anything. I knew it was more like a temporary freedom but it was crazy nevertheless. "Rose you're back!" he said standing from the bed where he was lying. As far as they were concerned. "How could--" He started but stopped when he saw Adrian approaching with the guard. . I pursed my lips and Adrian squeezed my hand to show me his support. to save Dimitri even if it meant we wouldn't be together. We didn't need to raise their suspicion. Adrian and I as Pavel stayed in the plane waiting for us. "You" he pointed to Adrian Eddie and I "you go in I'll stay by the door and keep contact with you if there is a move" he added taping the little ear piece he was wearing. Arch nodded entering the small office looking at the screens. hidden. it was a real escape which was a good thing as it added to the pretends.

I kept my eyes on Victor whose eyes widen with understanding. Hate me as much as you want Rose but there is something you can't deny. 3 Moroi in their 40's.. "And where are we going?" Asked Victor as we exited the corridor. "Maybe it was" he said evasively concentrating on Adrian who was working on the guard.Adrian locked eyes with the guard. I knew you were involved with the dhampir." "You gave me your word" I said cutting them off. "Yeah well… it was not enough" I simply said. He seemed to like what he was seeing. "Nothing…I just find that rather ummm amusing. The guard opened the door and as soon as Victor walked into the corridor he burst into laugher. "That's good. "Well at least it was true as far as YOU are concerned. "To Norway" "So you figured it out?" He asked somehow impressed. "Yes… open the door" said the guard with a sleepy voice. Rumors that the nephew of the Queen got involved with my favorite rebel." He added pointing to Adrian "So what?" Asked Adrian." I pursed my lips but didn't comment because it was true. I nodded grateful. I almost snapped at him telling him I was not as stupid as he thought I was but it was Christian who figured it out. but you know. "You said you'd help me. . "Awesome!" said Eddie still not as used as I was to see compulsion. Now you are going to open this door" he said with a very calm voice. Victor only told me the truth. good or bad." "It was 3 Moroi" repeated the guard." He looked at Adrian who was looking at him with sharp eyes." Said Adrian as the guard yawned and fell on the floor. "And I'm probably the only one. "It was 3 men who attacked you. "We need to move" said Eddie who was standing beside the door." He said literally marveling. Adrian ignored him. "He is a dhampir…You are one of them. "What are you talking about?" I asked briskly." Said Adrian with an hypnotic voice. Every time I asked him something he told me what he believed was true." "And I intend to keep my promise. "You are very tired…you are going to sleep now and when you wake up you'll see it clearly in your head. "Who would have thought the rumors were real?" Said Victor shaking his head. I NEVER lied to you" he said locking his jade eyes with mine. a Spirit user. "Sleep now. "When I was at the Court awaiting my trial I heard rumors..

"If that's not love" said Victor with a small laugh. Eddie was closing the cortege. I could see he was thinking. whatever his ulterior motive was. Victor was following us with a little smile on his lips. the motors of the planes started to roam. I walked into the plane without a look back.Adrian winked at him and grabbed my hand. "It's your job remember. Adrian worked on the guards in the entrance compelling them to believe the same description of the attackers than the guards inside the prison. but I was not idiotic enough to trust him blindly either. I knew they would just take the car and drive to the Dragomir Cabin which should take about 9 hours. "Hathaway!" Barked Pavel from the plane making me laugh." "Abe Mazur again" Said Victor trailing off. I hated myself for not reciprocating. be safe" I said reluctantly getting out of his embrace but I didn't want Pavel to burst a vein." Victor walked beside Arch to the plane. "Oh joy! Your number one fan is here too. "But I'm your Guardian I'm--" "Yeah you have to do as I say!" Snapped Adrian. "Same to you. "Please move. "I'll tell you everything in the plane" I said more or less sincere. "You're going to go with them" said Adrian coldly to Arch. Yeah they should make it before sunset. . "Ok lets meet Arch. I had a foot on the first step when I felt someone pulling me back hugging me tight. I did believe that Victor was really going to help me. just in case. "Be careful" whispered Adrian in my hair. "I'll tell you in the plane we really need to go now" I said dismissively keeping my eyes on Adrian. As soon as we reached it. I was behind them." Said Victor with incredulity." He said pulling me away. and right at this instant. "He has to… he is one of Abe Mazur guardian and an order is an order. We rushed to the runway where the plane was waiting. "I go with Eddie and I'll met you there" he said to me. Pavel probably did see us coming. "Why would he even agree to help you?" he asked suspiciously and I could see I had to find an answer fast or Victor would not move. I looked into his eyes for a minute and maybe he saw something he liked because he bent down to kiss me hard and I kissed him back. "I love you Rose. "Meet you where?" Asked Victor curiously." Arch pursed his lips and nodded." "I'll see you soon" I replied.

" . Pavel took his glasses off and shot me a warning 'be-careful' glance. "You know for you to trust him. what do you have on Ibrahim Mazur?" I shot a glance at Pavel who just shrugged probably meaning it was my call. my eyes…my skin tone. I knew Victor well enough to know he was playing me. "So you are his heiress? That's…something. "You are one sick bastard!" I gasped quite happy that Arch was not here to hear those accusations as he resumed to take his seat beside the pilot. Victor quickly glanced at him with a smile playing in his lips. Then. He is far from being honest but Abe Mazur going into a criminal venture for someone else? Not likely. "So I can't help to wonder what on earth did you promise him or gave him for him to do that." "Non taken" I said quickly glancing at Pavel who was doing his best not to smile. You and I both I thought but kept this remark to myself. "Which lead me to ask what I'm dying to know…What did you promise to Abe Mazur to get his help?" "What are you talking about?" I asked crossing my arms on my chest in a subconsciously defensive position." Said Victor with a slight shrug. "Look at me Victor…really look at me. Tell me now…Who does all that recall you of?" Victor looked at me quizzically for a minute or two before bursting into laugher. come sit here" said Victor with an inviting tone but I knew I didn't have much choice." I smile slightly "my attitude that you described as." "You knew I would try" I said with a bitter smile. when you came to visit. "You just never thought I would succeed. "Of course!! It's so evident!! But I would have never thought that Janine Hathaway could…" he stop shaking his head still laughing." "Possible" he said with a glint of humor in his eyes." I pursed my lips but kept my mouth shut. "So Dear Rose. I never thought you would do that." Said Victor scrutinizing my face. I got curious and I thought that maybe he wanted you as a guardian I mean…" he grinned "I can't judge I wanted you to guard me too." "How is that---" my eyes widened with understanding as Pavel jaw locked with anger. "Well I know you are going to be an exceptional guardian but you are clearly not worth that much…no offence."Please Rose." I said locking eyes with him "Look at my hair." "What do you think?" I asked coldly. if I remember correctly. Pavel sat across from us probably to show Victor that he would be listening. "So I can't help but think about something else and that…" he shuddered "that would be just shocking and disturbing coming from you but I guess you are maybe really ready to ANYTHING to save your dhampir. "But now…now it's different. "Well at first I thought he contacted me as a freebee. "Well what is it then? Tell me Rose. my ability to bend the fine line between right and wrong as long as it meet my interest.

head high. "So we're going to Norway? Where exactly??" "That's what you are supposed to tell me. "And I gave you all the answers Rose… Know that much. Norway." Pavel stood up to go to the cockpit probably to tell them where we were going. I said not able to conceal the anger in my voice as well as I wanted to. "Even if he is probably barely more intelligent than a plankton." He cocked his head to the side. "As long as it's fine by you it's fine by me. Once we'll get there there is a park called Breiavatnet where there is a statue of Kielland in the center. It actually took all my will power not to smack his smile away. You knew your hint wouldn't be enough to lead me to your brother". Alexander Kielland was born in Stavanger. "We're going to Stavanger" he said still smiling. I closed my eyes and decided to pay a little visit to Lissa in order change my mind a little. "I'm sure anyone could have figured it out even the guy in there" He said pointing to the cockpit door where Arch was as Pavel already resumed his seat across the aisle. Robert Duros brain was fried and Victor was the only one able to interpret it. I couldn't help but yawn." I just nodded. "I gave you the 'Alexander Kielland' part and actually it's all you needed to know. except the hour I slept on Adrian's shoulder it had been more than 24 hours since I slept."I'm proud of being his daughter" I said defensively. He smiled "Because I knew that even if you did manage to find him it would be useless. "No it's true. It would like he is talking a different language and I'm the only translator around. "By the way the monastery is called St Vladimir" he added with humor. it's not like I can go anywhere" said Victor matter of factly gesturing to our surrounding." Said Victor crossing his legs. Adrian was right then. "Give me a break" I snapped. "You better sleep for a little while Rose." "I--" He raised his hand to shush me. She was making the bed in one of the main bedroom in the cabin. no matter what. . "I knew you needed me. "So why?" "Why what?" "Why did you tell me that if it was that evident?" I asked challenging him. "Next well there is a street parallel to the park where you can find a monastery. "And what next?" He chuckled." My eyes narrowed with suspicion did he really mean that? Was it really THAT simple." I was about to say 'How in earth was I supposed to figure that one out?' But I was glad I kept my mouth shut." I couldn't help but smile.

and without breaking eye contact." She didn't want to show her weaknesses to him." he said before crashing his lips on hers. Christian went to sit beside her taking her hand in his."Are you ok?" Asked Christian leaning against the doorframe. I know Rose will be more than happy not to have you involved in all that. Are you ok?" He repeated again." Said Christian chuckling. . All that only to try to save Dimitri. everything went according to plan. "I want to be strong. "No that's not the problem" she said confidently. if the situation were reversed if yo-. "Oh…" Apparently Christian was not expecting that. I think she is waiting for the first chance to send you back to the academy. We can work it out." "You bet!!" Christian ran his hand through his hair. I don't want Rose to feel bad for bringing him into our lives again.if someone I loved was Strigoi. and if there was only the slimmest chance for that state to be reversed. Lissa shrugged dismissively." "I know it's just…I'm not sure I can do it. Lissa sighed and sat on the freshly made bed. "I'll be here with you. I'm not scared about that." He said nicely. I was making Lissa face the person she hated the most. she was craving for his touch but she thought that he didn't love her anymore…what a fool! "Adrian phoned. "I doing fine. He didn't kiss her but he was so closed. "Yeah we even have more help than we asked for. "I know you way better than that. "Rose is going to freak!" Freak? Why would I freak?? Who was helping? I thought trying to search Lissa's mind but she was all over the place I couldn't get anything that made sense. because lets face it. "It's all good. She loved the contact. I was so selfish but the problem was that I just didn't feel bad enough to stop it all. "I mean we are the best of the best here with all our powers overly enhanced." She said looking up to meet his eyes. Christian trapped Lissa's face in his hands." "Look at you all bad ass. Rose is on her way to Norway. because he pitied her. I would do exactly the same thing but…but I'm just terrified. their noses almost touching that she could feel his warm breath caressing her face. "Lissa you can fool them but you can't fool me. She realized I was mainly an overprotective best friend. Christian closed the door and leaned on it. Lissa started to kiss him back with hunger and passion and I decided it was my time to exit her head before clothes started to fall. "I'm worried" she said looking down. "No my problem is… facing him again" she said and I could see Victor clearly in her mind. Eddie and Adrian are on their way…The house will be ready for the Strigoi." I felt like a knife plucking deep into my chest. all of it. She didn't want him to be near her because he felt bad for her. closed the distance between their faces. you will be safe because…because I love you and probably always will." Lissa couldn't help her little smile. She was not questioning our friendship anymore.

I just got dressed when Pavel knocked at my door. since nobody replied. It was like my eyes lids weighted 200 pounds. Based on Andre calculation. I felt like a kid who wanted to make friends with someone who didn't want to." He said evasively. Chapter 17: After we landed we decided to check into a hotel for the night since the pilot needed as much rest as the rest of us.I smiled settling more comfortably on my seat. I realized that we crossed more steps now. insane hopes and great despair I would get my answer in three tiny days and then what?? The unknown was more terrifying that anything I faced to this day. "You know I thought we were on a Rose-Gav level now but no…" I closed the door "You insist on keeping it on a surname level? Fine Pavel!" "It's easier that way. "Hathaway time to go. The golden couple was finally back together having their happy ending. I started to imagine how things would happen from now on. It seemed I was barely asleep when the alarm clock beeped. I looked around but only saw Victor reading a magazine and Pavel who was keeping a sharp eye on him. We settled for a hotel close to the Monastery to go to pick up Robert very early in order to make our way back to America still under the protection of the sun. I groaned. When it's done. Well. Victor shared a room with Arch and Pavel and I got to sleep in a room by myself. Rose Angel wake up I heard Adrian call me and my eyes shot up with surprise." "Thank you" I said and nodded a cordial 'hello' to Victor going to the back of the plane as my stomach was starting to rumble very loudly. trying to open my eyes. I was probably dreaming about him but that was just…strange. sleeping is an overstatement as I spend most of the night staring at the ceiling. Maybe I would get mine too I thought before falling asleep. I was replaying the plan in my head over and over again." he barked. if I make it. As I started to nibble on the crackers I found. and it will all end then." He pointed to the back of the plane.' "Whatever…" I said stupidly hurt. "I bet you can find something to eat in there. Things were starting to get back to the way they were supposed to be. "Where are Victor and GI Joe?" . "Promiscuity is never good. "Where are we?" I asked the voice still full of sleep. Adrian? Is that you? I thought feeling idiotic but with everything that was going on maybe telepathy was possible but no. I felt better after phoning Lissa at the cabin and she announced that Eddie and Adrian made it back safely. I'll sleep for at least a week! I thought stumbling to the bathroom hoping that a cold water would put my brain in the right way. "We should land in about 30 minutes. it wasn't the case. It couldn't…wouldn't fail. in three days I would be face to face with Dimitri. After months and months of speculations. "I was about to wake you" said Pavel. I looked around.

" He said so seriously that I felt I had to reassure him. I started to suspect that he was not that hot for our company. He had blond shaggy hair. maybe a face that said 'beware I'm totally crazy' but it was the total contrary." I said with a small smile. He had the same jade eyes as Victor but the resemblance stopped there. . You need him." I nodded. Once in the plane. Well.Pavel had a ghost of a smile. I. It felt awkward and I had to go against all my instinct to not push him away. "You bet" he said gesturing me to the elevator. "I just couldn't handle that without at least a coffee in me. When I met Robert I had a shock. Arch went to sit beside the pilot. I was actually glad Victor was with us because the monks were refusing to let us in but once they saw Victor and he introduced himself they let us in. it was not like I cared if Victor Dashkov was feeling good but it would be a pain if he passed out because of the sun. "Why?" Asked Robert looking at Victor. I didn't really know what I expected. "I'll do my best. He nodded sadly before getting in the dark SUV with a chauffeur. To be honest. We stocked the plane with 5 bags of blood for him and Robert. All the way back to the airport Robert kept his eyes locked on me." I nodded understanding how he was feeling. When he saw me he looked at me curiously and flashed me a million dollar smile and I couldn't help but smile back. "Coffee?" I asked tentatively. I knew he liked my witty self but he was not ready to admit it. Wild Flower…Rose! I finally understood. kind…almost safe. The shower did half the job but I was sure that one or two big cups of strong. and Victor went to pick up Robert. "Yeah it's her…It's Rose" said Victor with the nicest voice I ever heard of him. Victor sat Robert beside him and I sat across from them. black coffee would finish it. "You are the wild flower aren't you?" He asked me as he hugged me. "I told them we'll be waiting in the lobby. that the monks graciously lent us. as a woman. "Victor is having his…'breakfast' in the room" he said grimacing slightly. was barely 40 and he seemed so nice. Arch. to go back to the plane. grateful. he is mentally unstable. Actually he looked like the sanest of all of us. Ok he was coo coo in the was he was talking in metaphor…that's going to be bitchy! "A flower that grows in adversity is the most beautiful of all…but you have to be careful that the shadows don't swallow you. like he was trying to read my soul and it was making me very uncomfortable. be nice I repeated to myself awkwardly hugging him back. The walk to the monastery took about 5 minutes and it was a good thing because even if it was cloudy Victor was not comfortable outside. had to stay in the main entrance while Pavel.

" I threw a quick glance to Pavel as I was uncomfortable to talk with him so close. "The more healing hands the better. sometimes he doesn't realize that he is not wording his whole question but I get it fully. I could see that he was communicating with him.Why what? I thought but kept it shut. It was the place that Andre showed me in the plane. "I need your help. I quickly glanced at Victor. being Victor's brother was not making him an evil psycho." He specified for me." I nodded. "Well yeah. I fidgeted on my seat he seemed to be reading me and I seriously didn't like that. "She wants to bring the light back in a dark one. He looked at me through narrow eyes. I looked at him confused. I nodded. ." I muttered. "A pure soul has more chance to fight the shadows but even the toughest flower needs light to survive." "You have healing hands?" He asked curiously." I said smiling to Robert." Said Victor looking at me. "Maybe." "What--" I tried confused. "Someone I love with all my heart and soul. too long in there and there will be no present and no future…your soul…will be lost. I knew only too well the black hole. "You know what he is talking about don't you?" Asked Victor with his evil grin. it's someone I love. that I should be nice with him." I shrugged dismissively. I kept repeating myself that he was a nice guy. "Is----loved?" Robert asked me. I looked at him quizzically.. I decided to ignore him. "I have some…3 to be exact. "3??" Said Victor literally marveling. "He wants to know if it's someone you loved?" Asked Victor. Robert looked at Victor and. "You…really??" He asked apparently happily surprised. "I need to go in the shadows? Why?" "It's where his light is. with the way he looked at him. "Yes. There was a blank in his sentence and I knew it." "Of course I do. "A black hole?" Victor asked rhetorically but he probably understood I knew what he was talking about when all the blood drained from my face. as he is mentally connected to me." Victor frowned as he seemed to read something in Roberts' head that confused him." Said Robert nodding approvingly. You need to put the light back in the dark one. "Spirit users. "You need to find your way through the darkness." I said with the full force of my puppy eyes on him.

" I said like it wasn't a big deal. "The land of dead…" Victor nodded. "The hole your brother talked about is the land of dead." I said as calmly as I could even if my heart was beating so hard in my chest it hurt. "I understand why you wanted him out" he said pointing to the seat where Pavel was before. It seemed like he didn't care what would happen to me and. "But once she is in…she has to get out. "That's the general idea. "And you can get in?" "The brave soul she has will have to" said Robert answering the question. "On the other side your vessel--" I quickly glanced at Victor who mouthed 'your body' "Will shut off lightly while you are in this deep soulless sleep till the day…till the day it will just shut down for good. He sighed." "So…what didn't you want mister 'big shot' to hear?" asked Victor with humor. "Please. An eternity of wandering…that was an heavy price to pay." he said trying to sound detached but I could see that what he meant was. "Fine" he said through clenched teeth. "Uh…" said Victor and I'll be damned I saw a flash of worries in his eyes. You know--" he started and then stopped looking from Victor to me. "What if I have a guide?" I asked remembering how Andre pointed the entrance of the hole to me. I send my soul in so my body is in a sort of coma. I mean…it's not like they can go anywhere" I added keeping my eyes on him to show I wouldn't back away. in a strange and twisted way. "I'm going to go in the soundproof cockpit to see where we are. if I don't find the exit?" I asked trying to hide my fear and apprehension. the more it will turn dark till the day it won't even remember it wanted to get back."You know about the hole…you need to go inside to---" Started Victor but I raised my hand to stop him. "Your light will be in the darkness. "What?" He asked completely stunned taking off his glasses to lock eyes with me." Said Victor coolly. could you give us a moment?" I asked looking at Pavel." "What if I don't make it back." Victor nodded "and if I can't make it back before some time my body will just die and I'll wander in the 'land of death' forever…Am I right?" I ask trying to sound like my usual brave smartass self but it was hard to pretend since I was scared and worried beyond words. I didn't think I fooled him. . "That's an understatement Rose! Robert witnessed two reversions and each time the soul of the shadow kissed that visited the limbo didn't make it back. Robert gave me a sad smile. The more it will stay there. I shrugged "I know it's dangerous." I repeated as coolly as I could." "OK let me summarize. "I need some privacy with them please." He took a deep breath. in fact I like that honesty. 'I will so kick your butt if you make me leave now' "I think it is. I could see it was one of his silent conversation and of course I didn't receive anything. "I don't really think it's a good idea Hathaway.

"My lips are sealed Rose."A guide?" Asked Victor and Robert simultaneously. as a dead soul. knowing that Dimitri's redemption was within my reach yet I didn't seize it? Did I even have to ask? I knew the answer in my heart. he was just…'out' but it was my life that was at stake here and I felt legitimate to be uncomfortable to risk my soul on a totally fried individual." "Why?" "Because. because anything else would have just been impossible for her to impersonate." Here we go. and as terrible and presumptuous as it sounded.." said Victor with his evil smile." "You don't want them to know how risky it is for you right? You're scared they'll stop you. "He said it would be impossible to convince a dead spirit to join you on your quest. He wanted Lissa to be happy and safe. That was a terrible choice to make." I mumbled as Pavel came back. I want to see what happens way more than that. "You are far too brave for your own good. I knew that Andre would go in with me. It was everything else! Her face ." "I bet you do." I stayed silent for a little moment. Chapter 18: Once we landed I had made my decision. did she made it obvious. I was going to go and look for Dimitri's soul. They were both surprised and I guessed it took a lot to surprise crazy Rob." Robert shook his head. Could I really do that? Risk wandering for eternity in the limbo. I never thought I had to risk my soul to save Dimitri's." I said with certainty. After everything my friends sacrificed and risked.sure…stuck." Said Robert somehow reluctantly. There was no way I would've forgiven myself. we will most likely be locked in the limbo. He would help me make it back even if he couldn't. there was a black sedan car parked a bit further down with a woman standing by the hood. I felt bad to feel annoyance as it was not Robert's fault. I knew she was the other Secret service agent and boy. "Is it possible to send the other soul back even if I'm stuck?" "It happened yes. "Another spirit…a spirit that managed to get out of the limbs in the first place. If she ever infiltrated something she had to have done it as a guardian.agree…. or something. I sighed then and the rest of the flight was in silence. chewing on my bottom lip. When we stepped out of the plane. Victor sighed before concentrating on me. "Should I worry about that? Are you going to tell??" I asked trying to keep my cool. She was about my height. a cop. I was sure that woman could never go unnoticed in a crowd. I couldn't just turn away at the last moment and I had to ask myself: Could I ever live with myself. What if I have another spirit to guide me.dead…. "…impossible…. She wasn't old. "Another question though…" I said quickly glancing at the cockpit door behind me to be sure Pavel was not back. so nothing special about her on that level. not really dead but certainly not alive. "I will have the guide. maybe mid thirties. with pale brown hair cut short like a pixie. How he made it out in the first place is like a glitch in the 'door'. the half conversation yet again! I thought slightly annoyed. Even if you two find the exit again he will most likely not be able to cross it once more. he knew that I was an important part of Lissa's well-being and happiness.

" "I---" I gave him my best death glare. "Ahhh.was hard and her grey eyes were expressionless." I simply said. "Think again Kazim. It's dangerous." he said with a wide smile." I muttered. . took Victor and Robert in the main room. right?" "But baba I---" I started. "For your sake. you will never be like her. He said that he would gesture to us to come down when we were ready to go." Said my father approaching me. "You don't think we're going to succeed do you?" Victor look down at me silently for a minute. "I bet you did. "No. apparently named Smith. "THAT was a low blow." I took a deep breath and took the bait like he knew I would. From her glance at me. you'll keep fighting the impossible till you fall in the heart of a battle. "Calm down Rose. getting in the car beside him." I sighed. When we arrived at the cabin. It was as if she'd seen far too much. "And look at the bright side. stopping the possibility the discussion continuing. if you fail. Arch went down first to talk with her and I stood under the plane threshold looking down at them. "But did you really think I would let you risk your life without being here?" He asked rhetorically. I stayed silent. "Like father like daughter. and that fact alone made her seem invincible. "Plus I brought my other two guardians" he said. "It's a state of mind Rose." It's not that dangerous remember? You keep saying that you are all overly prepared. no. "We're all good and it's pointless for you to say anything. I really hope we do. Pavel and I took the back entrance as I wanted some alone time with Lissa before she would have to face Victor. probably to arrange every aspect of the security. because I know you well enough to know that." He smiled and rested his hands on my shoulders. from the shadowy spot beside the door. "The more the better. shaking my head in defeat. I felt like she no longer expected anything good out of the human race. I missed this place." said Victor as we reached the car. that it's safe. As soon as I walked in the kitchen I froze on the spot. wrapping an arm around my shoulders. I won't budge anyway. "No!" I gasped. with the way you are living your life…" he shook his head. Victor may be an earth user but he had the very annoying ability to read me way too thoroughly. and I was relieved when Arch gestured us down. you have to go." said Victor looking down at them. Arch and the woman. the Dragomir cabin. still not looking at him. "You…" I shook my head "you weren't supposed to be here." He said." I snorted. "You probably won't reach her age anyways. walking me toward the main room. "Like you care!" I said. no! You can't be here! You have to go!" I said taking a step back bumping on Pavel's chest.

It was lucky I remembered how much I needed him and that his mental health was not the best. "I know we're going to make him wear some healing rings and stuff but it's barely enough to glitch his conscience. two should be enough. "What my brother means is that you have to weaken the strigoi in Belikov. "But that's exactly what we need. After that we all went in the dining room and sat around the big oak table as the six guardians stood against the wall. I felt her joy of having me back radiating through the bond. to go and retrieve Dimitri's soul from the 'Land of the dead'. Besides. Lissa was sitting between Adrian and Christian. Just enough for his body to stay intact while 'little miss hero'"he said pointing at me "retrieves his 'real' life and puts it back in his body. as a shadow kissed dhampir." I nodded smiling. "You see that's why the spirit users are so important. there was almost no fear there." "But…how can we weaken a strigoi enough to do that?" Asked Oksana with concern. With all these people. she was scared that she wouldn't be good enough. who held her hand tightly. that her power would fail her somehow. that wasn't overshadowed by fear." I said looking only at her. But it didn't matter. I looked at her quizzically and she smiled. so that when Rose comes back with the soul. because I was one step away from telling him to take a picture because it would last longer. Even if one power breaks. He patted my knee from under the table. because anyways as she was already in the living room. completely forgetting that I wanted to see Lissa." Said Adrian from beside me. between the worlds. In fact. Lissa and Adrian. "It's all going to be alright. "I'm surrounded by all the people that love me and six killer guardians. The dark will be weak enough for the light to claim back its place." Said Robert keeping his eyes on me only. . 'It's actually a lot easier than I thought it would be' she said directly in my mind. she would probably heal and move on with time if I didn't get out of this one alive.I followed him there. much less considerably weaken the Strigoi side of him" "We'll have to stake him. Once the artificial life escape him you--" he said pointing at Oksana. "The healing hands have to keep the dark one in the shadow. When I walked in. I of course left out the whole 'I-might-not-make-it-back' part and Victor kept it his mouth shut. I related what Robert already told me in the plane concerning my need. Christian shot me such a 'dude-what-the-fuck?!' look and I had to use all my will power to keep from laughing. but surprisingly." I could feel panic coming from Lissa. you're here now. "will have to maintain just a thread of life. My Lissa was becoming tougher and it was a relief to figure that one out." Said Victor looking at Adrian approvingly. "Three spirit users are more than enough. "But that's going to kill him!" Gasped Lissa before I even got a chance to say it myself. I looked at him with horror. He just looked at me with a mocking smile." Lissa nodded and I could feel her relax slightly. he's really not scary anymore. the Strigoi in him won't be able to fight or reject the soul.

I just wanted to annoy him." "Yeah without a ward…" Abe shook his head "no guardian could have bought it and Strigoi or not Belikov used to be one."I still can't believe you managed to get a little alchemist into your rank Rose…I'm impressed." "Are we done here? At least as far as you are concerned?" Asked Christian pointing from Robert to Victor. he didn't seem offended by Christian." I pursed my lips but didn't reply because it was true. "Ask Rose." I said trying to sound serious although I couldn't help but smile. who'd stayed silent till now. I think my father IS the only person who could actually manage to wipe the smug/cocky smile from Christian's face." said Victor. 007 what's the big secret?" Christian chuckled and stuck his tongue out." "How do--" "How I know things is irrelevant. Sydney looked at me. "Thank you." Victor pointed at me." "We need to speak offensive now and since you guys will be in the safe room with the spirit users and three guardians. "Why are you in such an hurry little fire user? But yes. "You don't really need to hear the fighting strategy. "It was no secret." . "So. "So what?!" Snapped Sydney." said Victor raising his hands in surrender. "Yeah I can do that if it can help. "I know you have a potion that helps the spirit to leave its body. it would help Rose travel faster. and I don't really care about your tactics little boy. I just never tell how I know." I added locking eyes with my father." "Very mature. 'we need to kill Dimitri to give him his life back' chat. Victor just smiled." she said in defeat. you want to get rid of the traitor while you are going over your strategy one more time." He said raising his hand stopping Sydney in midsentence." he shrugged. "You should make one." he said."We decided to put a weak ward around the cabin. keeping his hold on Lissa's hand. "That's enough!" my father snapped. "It's alright. we're done as far as the healing is concerned. At lease in theory. "So what did you decide while I was away?" I asked looking at Lissa "apparently the plan has… evolved. "Nah nothing changed we just had an…addition" Said Adrian from beside me. am I right?" "Can you blame me?" Asked Christian coolly. As soon as they were out I concentrated on Christian again." Victor chuckled "Oooo I see. I know a lot. "Two guardians for me alone?? I'm so blessed. shaking his head to gesture Robert to follow him. diverting the conversation for the whole. now we need to wait for the practice. "Don't need to get worked up." When Victor stood up both Arch and Smith took a step forward. Robert is hungry and tired anyways. Only the end result matters to me. Everyone looked up at him apprehensively.

"You're one of the best option for me to find my way back to this world. The rest of the plan remained mostly unchanged. She knew he was almost unbeatable as the Strigoi wouldn't except that much power. "I took only half a potion and I managed to completely burn three dummies at more than 150 yards!" He said literally beaming. now grateful that my father was there. I wanted to tease him. Christian was now the deadliest weapon against Strigoi around." He said as a joke Lissa smiled to that but I could feel the uneasiness to that statement. I couldn't believe that none of us thought about the ward before. except for Dimitri. apparently the Strigoi version of the love of my life had a temper and rather enjoyed decapitating any other being that questioned him with his bare hands…How nice! Andre also agreed to come with me to the other side. it was so impressive. the secret I was hiding… Everything! We all decided to go to bed early but I kept staring at the ceiling rethinking the plan. We had the element of surprise. No one would ever expect a Moroi to be waiting first line. For position I had to fake the surveillance of the back balcony while wearing the 'Attractstrigoi' potion." I know he mouthed then he just shrugged and disappeared." "Yep…. Once we were all set I went outside to have a little word with Andre. good or bad. the presence of the most famous Moroi traitor. but she couldn't help it. but with Christian high in a tree they probably wouldn't have to fight any Strigoi as Christian would strike the Strigoi as soon as they passed the ward. He nodded. Once I face Dimitri. . He informed me that Dimitri was on his way and he only had three other Strigoi with him. Every Moroi except Christian would be in the safe room with the two secret agents and one of Abe's guardians. she just loved him so much .I nodded. Will you guide me through the limbo? " I asked him uncomfortably knowing it was like a death sentence. "Oh and believe me or not but you can totally call me 'captain awesome'" Said Christian with a wide grin. Andre showed up as soon as I called him. I was positive he would help me to get to the other side. I guessed the answer was Rose Hathaway.First line Ozera. imagining how my face to face with Dimitri would turn out. Yeah. although they would still be alert. "Are you really sure? You…you know that you won't come back afterward. Pavel and Eddie would do some fake rounds. I would have to somehow put healing jewelry on him just for him to have enough of a conscience to let me lead him in the safe room and then…and then it will be the end. to tell him it wasn't that impressive. but really. "Well the four Strigoi are going to be a piece of cake for you. the risky mission we'd face in less than a day. "And why is that?" I asked teasing. I remembered Sydney asking me who would be idiotic enough to want to wear that. The evening was pretty tense for obvious reasons. the Strigoi would be attuned to my sent only…how charming!.

I walked quietly to the back balcony and sat on the wooden bench watching the sun finish raising through the high trees. "You see. knowing that I would face Dimitri tonight? I looked at Sydney who was snoring soundly." . Rose?" "As okay as I can be. your mother told me not to forget something?" "Yeah…" I said warily." I said stubbornly. because she knew I wouldn't lie. which made him both beautiful and vulnerable. but I guess that's the only thing I can't promise. Adrian chuckled. "I want you to promise me something Adrian." I suddenly said with urgency." I said truthfully with a small smile. Rose. I gave up trying to sleep. "And I need you to stay alive. "Run to the plane without looking back. How could I. anything at all goes wrong. wrapping myself tightly into the blanket. Rose." he smiled at me but he stayed against the banister. "I'm hiding something but it's not that important. He was still sleeping. even…" he looked at me through narrowed eyes. I sighed.After about 2 hours. "Even if I know you are hiding something from us. "I think the time has come." I nodded and looked back at the trees' shadows." "I---Please?" I tried." "Awww. getting more and more intrigued." I nodded. "Can't sleep?" Asked a husky voice from the threshold. protected from the sun by the balcony shade . I turned my head and smiled to a sleepy Adrian. your mom came to see me just before we left. I was glad that I was the only one worried enough to stay awake." I said not able to hide the urgency in my voice. I want you to run." He said with concern." He shrugged slightly and came to stand across from me resting against the banister. "Are you ok. I was sure that a little moment in the fresh air of an early morning in the Dakota mountains would help me sleep. Your aura's told me that much. I realized… I realized that I couldn't bear the thought of him being hurt." "I'm all ears. "Well I expect things to go smoothly but we never know right? If something. "Do you remember when we left the Academy. I swear you guys are safe. She asked me if it was really safe enough for you. "I could ask you the same question." "It's not really my safety I'm worried about. "You know how much I like pleasing you." I said crossing my hands on my lap. "You asked me what she was talking about and I told you that I would tell you in due time." He said almost immediately. "Anything. "Everything will be just fine." "I need you to be safe. The planes are heavily warded and you'll be safe there. Adrian was not a fool and I wouldn't insult him by lying.

"I told her that you were safe enough. whatever will happen from now on. I saw your aura." I blurted out and right at that instant I knew it was true. I pray every night hoping that things will work out and that you get Dimitri's soul back. and I didn't want him to see that I was on the verge of tears. cocky much!?" He shook his head." "But I know it's not enough. His words had made me happy yet sad at the same time. "I just want you to know that whether it works or not." he whispered against my lips." He took a deep breath and I could tell what he was going to say next hurt him deeply. I thought he would value his survival over mine and I didn't blame him for that. "Rose…" he whispered closing his eyes. ." "I love you." He continued before I could comment that I was still loved Dimitri with all my heart and soul. I was confused.I bit my bottom lip so hard I could taste blood in my mouth. I knew that the feelings you may have for me are irrelevant even if it is love. If he loved him that much…why would he help me get someone else? "Why?" I was brave enough to ask. "You know. But of course it was not enough…far from being enough. Adrian captured my hand and leaned down to give me a chaste kiss." I looked up at him. Adrian stayed quiet for a minute and gave me a sad smile. I realized you need someone to fight for you and I know that I love you more than you love yourself. "Because I love you enough to want your happiness over my own. and since you came back the pink has increased. "And just so you know." I stood up and walked to meet him. then I am too." I had to laugh. I knew Adrian loved me." He looked at me with so much tenderness that my heart tightened in my chest. I would have thought you could love me but…" he shook his head. "It was full force red…I actually never saw an aura like that not even with Lissa and Christian." I said in his ear fiercely. I just never thought he loved me to THAT point. I love you enough that if you are happy. but—" he chuckled. "Well. "Your aura…has plenty of pinkish spots when you are with me. but I never thought it was to the point of risking his own life for me. "I saw you with him. I raised my hand to his cheek and he leaned into my touch. "I know you do. It was far from being Rose worthy. he'd proved it to me over and over again. "I said that I didn't know if it would change anything but that I would fight till my last breath to keep you safe. mouth agape. This love is… after seeing that. especially when I was ready to die for another man. "I think I loved you since the moment I saw you. "Not enough?" I tried. He let go and turned to walk back in. He turned back to face me just before reaching the threshold. you'll always have a very special place in my heart and that I do love you. and I could hear that it was to hide his embarrassment. "In any other circumstances I would have taken that love. He was touching on the thing I was feeling the worst about. "You always choose everyone else over yourself but I just can't choose anyone over you…not even myself and I wish I could say I'm sorry but I can't because I'd choose you over anyone and everything else over and over again." I could see the utter sincerity in his eyes.

"Goodnight…" I whispered back." I said with a smile before letting go of him." He grimaced. trying to sound relaxed but I could see from the way he stood that he was stressed. "That's not very reassuring." He said." I intertwined our fingers and looked into his intense emerald eyes. "I know that." I didn't know what to say and just did my best to fight the tears. It was a good thing the others were already in the secured room or there just might have been some sort of mix up and death wishes and threats would've flown. pulling him into a hug. Lissa needs you… I need you. playfully punching his shoulder."You know what we talked about yesterday don't you?" "Of course! How could I forget when you said that--" . "That's nice info Miss Hathaway." I said before pulling Christian into a bear hug. I put some 'attract strigoi' potion on my neck. They all went in the room more or less happily to finish setting everything up for the reversion and Dimitri's captivity. It's just. it was worth it. "I'll be right over. "Always. sitting stubbornly on the kitchen chair." He shrugged "It's as simple as that." He wiggled his eyebrows." he said. I know you are brave enough. Rose. "Oh really? I didn't know you were smelling me. ok? No kamikaze trick. sniffing my neck. "Good night. just to be sure THAT we were ready for Dimitri when he came to attack…or to take me away. "You be careful Rose." I said. I sighed and took his hand to help him up. "Wow girl you stink!" Christian said. "Well it's a nice change…Usually you are the stinky one. "I'm not going anywhere! I said to your mother I would help to keep you safe. Would he want to change here." I said. I nodded. but if it could drive Dimitri directly to me." he whispered before walking quietly back in the house. Adrian had been the hardest to convince." Said Pavel. I chuckled. right on the balcony. "Same to you fire boy. I'd decided to take the one Dimitri sent to me at the Academy. Believe me.And I know that he is what you need…what you want. Chapter 19: We all set up the alarm for an hour before sunset. hugging me tight." "Yeah well---" "Rose it's time. It had a sickening sweet scent. Adrian. But Adrian…Adrian was a different story. or would he take me away again and lock me up in order to taunt me more? I sighed and stroked my stake idly.

forcing a smile."Good. "And you also know that I would risk myself to keep you safe. The human look back in his eyes. "Ok." I said darkly. Adrian walked into the room and one of my father's guardians guarded it "You ok?" Asked Pavel. Here we go. trying to sound lighthearted but I could see the honest concern in his eyes. bringing me back to reality." I said. and do you think I could be totally focused on the goal if I knew you were roaming somewhere in the house unprotected? Of course not. Christian is fighting. Calm down Rose…Just breathe. . the love…Soon after." I pulled him toward the safe room where the others were already setting things up. I let my eyes roam on the dark forest around me. shaking my head." Adrian groaned and grimaced. "I was just…thinking. I kept repeating to myself." he whispered as he went into the room.I thought." I hear a voice breathe in my ear. "Whatever happens. tightened my hair into a high ponytail and went to wait on the rear deck. "Anytime. I could hear the caution in his voice. "It's ok…it's all thought out." I whispered to myself. "You win. "I love you. "Uh? Yeah. "Me too. I lose in some ways. squeezing his hand once more. thinking that he would've been an awesome friend if he'd just remove the stick in his ass. I really hoped I'd made the right decision in following the divagations of a mad man. cutting him off." I replied. My heart was going a thousand miles an hour and I fought to breath normally so I could regulate it." I said. "And do you think I would let you get hurt even a little?" "I guess not. the tenderness. He would know I was waiting for him and be even more weary." he said grudgingly. I hid my stake under my hoodie. I watched his retreating form. "The best way to keep me safe is to do what is planned and to keep yourself safe so I don't worry unnecessarily and keep my mind sharp and focused." he said. "Alright. Maybe we were alone in the kitchen but the house was full of Moroi and dhampirs so…super hearing all around. But thanks. my heart slowed down." "Do you need help thinking?" He asked. out of harm's way. I took deep breaths and forced myself to think of those moments right after we would bring Dimitri back. "It's not a game." I took a deep breath and squeezed his hand. If Dimitri picked up on my heart rate it would be a disaster. I could see he didn't like where I was going because he knew I was right. After a little moment I saw a blinding light coming from a tree on my left." I replied." Adrian frowned suspiciously. gripping the banister. "Roza." he said with a sharp nod before leaving the room.

along with a hint of confusion. "I changed my mind so many times." I whispered. I didn't even have to fake my surprise. don't you dare ignore me! Don't get me mad!" He took the ring from me violently. I couldn't believe he's managed to get to me so quickly and silently. "Shush Roza. Roza." His smile grew wider. remember? For us to be together." he said. The healing was working. Dimitri stood before me. taking my other ring and sliding it onto the forefinger of his other hand. cheer up. I had to move along now. "Dimitri how--It's---" I looked around. "What you asked me on the bridge. Should I just kill you? I mean--" he kissed my lips forcefully." You know I wouldn't mind killing them. "So kill me. "Would you just stop doing that?!" He growled. "Good. Seeing the ring of red around his irises made me sick. always will. "What I--" I froze as I remembered now. "Because I love you. but I tried to keep my emotions in check and my expression blank. I looked down. I had to move now. "You wouldn't want your friends to worry and come out right?" He shook his head. his cold gaze and heartless smile sending shivers down my spine. "I'm talking Roza." he said. "You know you don't like me when I'm mad. "You know. "You don't deserve much more! You staked me…Twice!" He said. "I can't kill you Roza. "Come on. "How I made my way back to you is not important. "Always have. a gasp escaping my lips." He said. placing his icy cold fingers to my chin." "Ask you what?" I asked. showing me two fingers." He chuckled.I whirled around. His smile was warmer now. Roza! We're finally reunited!" He walked closer to me. and nothing more. honestly confused. doing my best to hide my smile." He said. Just that he wanted me." He said. again playing with the ring I was wearing on my other thumb. trying to keep my voice from shaking. and he'd said that he wanted me. looking down at my hand." I said. The others were waiting in the room and I just hoped they wouldn't get impatient and start moving around. "W-why do you want me to join you?" I asked to humor him. "Ask me again. on my way here I was still unsure of what I should do with you. but he didn't seem to realize that it was coming from the rings. coldly sliding the ring on him index." "Yeah… " I said. Dimitri placed my stake on his belt. "That's what you always wanted. I heard Pavel shout something but he was too far for me to make out his words. I thought I could see the light flickering in his eyes. I took off the healing ring I was wearing on my thumb and pretended to play with it. don't you?" "I know." He brought his hand to my cheek and gently brushed my cheekbone with the pad of his thumb. "I…" I kept looking down. I shuddered at his touch as he slowly lifted my face to look up into his eyes. I had asked him why he'd wanted me to join him. my stake lying at the ground at his feet. I knew Dimitri would hate the distraction. still dazed that he made it to me so fast." . so close I could feel his breath on my face.

Pain." "Okay?!" He asked. As long as they don't try to stop me. "Leave the stake. and I'm still a dhampir for now so I don't want to take the risk and end up hurting them. I did my best to kiss him back just as fiercely. He was still for a few seconds before he pulled me up and crushed his lips onto mine with so much passion I nearly forgot all of this was an act. who was as fast as lightening. it tastes just…" he sighed with content. . who was leaning against the far wall." I brought his hand to my lips and kissed it. I just couldn't. Think Rose think! I thought. pointing to the door." I said. "I'll join you but… but not here. "You love me…That's all I need and…" I sighed. Dimitri's eyes narrowed in suspicion.I nodded. but a bigger part of me loved you and I know that I won't be able to get rid of that part. "Okay then. "I'm tired of fighting you because. Once he could feel I was breathless. keeping my eyes on his because it was the truth and I knew it was the only thing that could convince him. but it was exactly what I was hoping for. his hand resting on Roberts' shoulder. I mean . The three Spirit users almost immediately knelt down beside him and started to send a small stream of healing magic into him while the two guardians tied Dimitri's almost dead body to the cot just in case." "Ok…" I said. "Open the door!" I shouted. I came here to claim what's mine." said Victor. I will love you forever Dimitri. I told you already. piercing the skin with one fang before sucking slowly the small amount of blood." he said. I kept my grip on his hand as I pulled him silently in the house with me. going to Dimitri's left side to help Pavel drag him into the room. plunged his stake hard into Dimitri's chest. As soon as I crossed the door from the kitchen to the living room." I said. " "I'm not letting you out of my sight Rose." I said. "Nobody will get hurt. squeezing my hand. betrayal." "Let me just say goodbye to Lissa. allowing me to turn around. I had to remind myself I was doing what was best for him. "I…I can't risk my friends. anger.) but I'm not an idiot. "Why?…" He whispered crashing as he fell to the floor but Pavel caught him before he completely crumbled. he bit my bottom lip. still suspicious. "It's just like heaven. for us. I dodged as Pavel. As soon as we walked in. "I'll be out in a minute." he shrugged. surprised. Dimitri gasped and let go of my hand. Strigoi or not. taking his hand and intertwining our fingers. "As much as I tried hating you. and that's you. trying to sound wary. I'm coming with you. "I have no quarrel with them. I trust you(. fear and the most painful…love." "But…" I started. "I missed your blood Roza. trying to look worried. I promise you. Arch took over for me and helped Pavel set Dimitri down in the cot.yeah a part of me hated you. "I won't hurt them." "Why would you join me after… after refusing for so long?" He asked. I could see so many emotions in his eyes beside the life escaping him.

"Syd! I'm talking to you!" Still." "Same goes to you. You and him both. trying to sound far more confident than I actually felt. Holy shit. wincing as the fluid burned down my throat. "She can't hear you. let's go" he said. "Come on. the laws of the whole spirit thing were all getting screwed didn't really apply to us anymore. "Holly shit!" I looked at my hands. "Yeah…" I said. but kept looking at the healing team working on Dimitri." I said. "What?" I asked. At this instant. "It'll be alright. I shook my head." he said. at least." Said Andre. surprised. "It's my call. materializing with the black hole. "Yeah… I'm not done here. to feel his soft skin. Andre appeared." he said hugging me before rushing beside Lissa. I almost forgot how his voice sounded like. It was so odd to actually grip his hand. Well. "Creepy?" Tried Andre taking my hand. my body that my worried father was cradling. I growled with exasperation. It was like I would imagine the world after a nuclear attack. "I'm a spirit!" "No shit. trying to reassure her…well everyone actually. "I'm here for you. I looked like crap. God help me! I thought as everything went black. I sat on the chair and drank the potion in one gulp. "Your potion didn't work!" I shouted to Sydney. I turned around and sighed with relief. ." Andre said loud and clear. Sherlock. squeezing my hand reassuringly as the black hole sucked us in." I said to Sydney. Andre pointed to a point behind me and when I turned I saw myself! Or. and I could see that she handed me the potion with reluctance."Christian?" I asked worriedly. So many layers of dust in the air that you could not even see the sun anymore. she didn't move. I guess since we were both spirits. looking around. He looked tired but unarmed. I'll help you make it back. She didn't even turn around to look at me." I whispered to myself. not able to conceal the sarcasm. I closed my eyes as the taste faded and opened my eyes to find that nothing had changed." he said from behind me. extending his hand toward me. "Here. myself included. Chapter 20: "That's…" I looked around and it was like a parallel world except that everything was in shades of grey. "Glad to have you back. I jumped from the chair.

" He said keeping his grip on my hand. "You're the only one able to find it Rose.I chuckled still looking around. It should take us in this part of that world. it was me." "But we're not lights!" "Well that you know of. I didn't know she survived so I started to look for her…and for you for what seemed like months. we completed each other. "Just like us. "Point taken. "How would I know?" He smiled guiltily "I sound far more sure than I am really but…well I think that is the reality because let's face it. in a world like that." "Don't worry I'm sure that when you'll find his soul you'll know it. It looked a lot like an abandoned city that would be shown in horror movies. "Lost souls" said Andre sadly. I could read his heart as easily as he could read mine. I guess you can say that. "Don't panic. I said jadedly. but it was a way to hide my fear. "Where are we?" Andre shrugged slightly. "Well I can think about 2 or 3 places" I said unsure. "Ok. if anyone could find his soul. that you were both alive. But how am I supposed to find Dimitri? They all look the same!" I almost shouted as the panic increased. both of you. who would ever want to see such a lame place?" I grimaced. As for the time well it goes a lot faster here than there. where you see only what you want to. but when I came back to the 'real' world only a couple of months had past. where would his soul be?" "I…" I looked around trying to think." ." "I guess…". we still have time Rose. I… you're the one who knows him best." "Uh…" I grunted. but I couldn't move on until I was sure you would be ok. "After the accident I…I was lost. "I can't stay too long." I said a bit harsher than I intended." "Purgatory uh? And the lights… what are the lights?" I asked pointing to the weird looking stars flying around." I looked at him. "Well let's not take the chance anyways. "Spirits…Spirits only see what they want to see. "That's how I know time doesn't work the same because I thought I spent at least a year or two here. "How…how do you know all that?!" He shrugged burying his free hand deep in his pocket. Andre was right." He said still keeping my hand in his and it felt good to have an ally here. not that I thought I had fooled him for even a minute. I saw my parents once but I didn't see Lissa. "Ok then close your eyes and visualize yourself there. Dimitri and I were very similar." "So what I'm seeing is just an illusion?" I wondered gesturing around. I looked for a way to exit this purgatory for months afterwards." He took a deep breath. We need to find his soul as soon as possible. "I don't really know but I think I would call it 'purgatory' I guess. After a while I realized that you probably made it. An hour here…" he shrugged "it's merely minutes there.

" He shook his head. "Religious dude?" I smile sadly. but seeing it in different shades of grey made it cold and impersonal…maybe that's what 'purgatory' was all about. "Very pretty sure?" He tried with a wink. I even saw Dimitri. "Ok…close your eyes and visualize it. I was in the middle of the small living room. "Siberia it is" said Andre squeezing my hand.. I swore so much when I tried to find my way out that I should have been stricken by lighting at least a thousand times. we were in the chapel. "No he is not really religious it's just…he liked to go there. "Yeah well… that's better than nothing" I said already grateful he was there to guide me knowing that he was costing him the small freedom he had left." " 'Pretty sure'?" I groaned. real in that world?" Andre shrugged "I don't think so. "Where next?" "Baia…His mothers' house. hearing his voice was like a vacation. "It's ok" Andre chuckled 'believe me.. Trying to understand the mime was tiring." "But is the chapel. ." I said closing my eyes and tightening my grip on Andre's hand. "Well I couldn't move on before making sure that you guys handled it then…then I got worried as Lissa grew. "Well I was thinking about the Academy chapel first." "Dimitri…" I whispered. "After a while I just noticed that I couldn't. didn't want to leave. he found peace there. head down. lets say. like. remembering where I was." Andre grimaced. I closed my eyes tightly and envisioned the Chapel." "And yet here you are. "Damn!" I shouted before pursing my lips. eyes wide." There and in my arms I added to myself."But why didn't you move on?" I asked curiously. "The ultimate help. on the back pews." Said Andre securing his grip to my hand. you'll see each other. standing in front of the altar. "Anyways let's concentrate on the problem ahead." He smile "Maybe I will be able to move on now." I said truly impressed. As I told you in that reality spirits only see what they want to see but I'm pretty sure that." "So every soul that is here has--" "Yeah something to accomplished or feel like it. if you both want to see the same thing. Everything was in black and white but there were no spirit…no Dimitri at least. Everything was there. When I opened my eyes.In a chapel in the freaking Purgatory. unstable. When I opened my eyes this time." He sighed. Now that he was a talking ghost I rather liked asking the questions.

"So you said 2 or 3 places." . I sat on a bench with my head between my hands. "Maybe he is in another room. but my soul was at stake here…I had the right to panic a bit. reading one of his mother's precious books. "Rough life.I hoped to find Dimitri's spirit sitting on the sofa. "In his room.don't know. "Rough year eh?" I snorted. "Well just try to focus on your next step. I walked up the narrow stairs trailing Andre behind and went straight to his old room. his hand on my shoulder." Andre said probably noticing the hurt on my face. "I'm getting low on options here." I locked eyes with Andre and did my best to contain my tears. I was scared of failing so close to my goal. "Hey hey!! What's this kind of talk? Where is the bubbly." "Oh yeah?" I snorted." Andre stayed quiet. "I don't know where to find him now." I shrugged slightly." I took a deep breath and threw my hands up in defeat. so much that it actually hurt me to see the sofa empty. "Please enlighten me. St Vladimir. Robert told me. "I'll never find him." "For you maybe. I envisioned it but this time I included the fighting session with Dimitri. the one that Viktoria had when I stayed in Baia. "So…" "The gym. the more I stayed in the spirits world. slightly crazy Rose that believed everything was possible once she set her mind?" Asked Andre sitting beside me." I mumbled. at the Academy in Siberia or--" "Maybe we don't take the problem from the right angle. the finish line is irrelevant for now. "Panic is not helping is it?" He asked rhetorically." "I…. I thought of the main places that he could be. It was annoying to admit it. When I opened my eyes and saw the gym empty. making it harder and harder to find a way out. "Dimitri?" I called and felt completely silly." "Maybe he is somewhere that means something to you both. "She grew up…and lost her illusions. I mean right now you are looking for places that meant something to him." I said closing my eyes. "Yeah…" I whispered mostly to humor him because I was completely unconvinced by that." I said getting worried and scared at the same time. the one when we shared our kiss. "Dimitri?" I called again from the top of the stairs before opening the bedroom door and it was empty but the little pinch in my chest made me realize that I had hoped to find him in there. what's the third one?" I nodded. "He could be anywhere. I don't know. the more I'll start to blend in. he was right. The first time I kissed him after the lust spell. It was all up to me now and I was also scared of being stuck in this place for the rest of eternity." I said defeated.

"Roza!" He shouted jumping from the bed and pulling me into a bear hug. his eyes boring into mine. "Do you hear that?" I asked jumping from my seat looking around. "Dimitri. "What did you do?" "Well it's a bit more complicated but---" I took his hand." Said Oksana apparently worried. even if we weren't together it was fine and…" he stopped dead looking at Andre. "I don't care I have to do it. "What happened?" He asked letting go of me and resting his hands on my shoulders." his voice broke. it's not safe. where would you go?" "I…" I could feel my cheeks starting to burn as I had flashes of Dimitri's long strong hands on my bare hips. Apparently even if we were in shades of grey he could notice a blush."Each time I heard people talk about you two it was like you were meant to be." I added reaching for Andre's hand. "we're not dead. I was following you and I felt a sharp pain on my neck. of our naked bodies tangled together." I gasped as I saw him sitting on the bed. "He is going to be shadow-kissed" Said Victor. if it were you. we were in the caves. but you were nowhere to be found. and I saw you by the exit. I spent years and years looking for you my Roza. what?" "I'll do it!" said Adrian "We'll have to stop soon. like you knew each other better than anyone else. "No. . "Now we're talking" Said Andre with a grin." I closed my eyes envisioning the cabin." "We need to find his soul now!" I said taking Andre's hand." "Oh shut it! I heard you did much worse esp--" "He is falling over the edge!" Lissa shouted. "What do we do?!" Asked Oksana. Since Lissa and I can't risk it. at least not yet. So tell me Rose. "I wanted you to know that I loved you. "Are we…are we dead? Oh Rose. but we need to move. When I opened my eyes I let out a sigh of relief. " The last time I saw you." It had been 4 months since I lost him. it had to be an eternity here." "One of those old slums?!" Andre grimaced. I think I passed out because…because I woke up I was here. "Roza?" He looked at me like I was an apparition which was rather ironic since I was a spirit. "Not cool dude. "Dimitri's is dying. Rose deserves it." "I…How do you know?" "Trust me. It will drain you Adrian. "So Rose…Where is it this wicked place would be?" "A Cabin… in the woods just behind the Academy.

"How can we even know if his soul is back?" Asked my father and I could hear both worry and anger mixed in his voice." The closer we got. I…We'll talk later okay. the brighter the light became and there it was. I heard them before. I bet that to an outsider we looked like three little kids holding hands. I'd never been closer to the truth. I tried to concentrate only on the voices and not on the meaning of the conversation because the worry and stress wouldn't help me and I knew it. I…It can be dangerous. I was still connected to them…to my body. I tried to visualize the faces of all the people I loved back with the living. that was our best bet. "We probably won't see it. The exit "This way" I said jerking my head on the direction I was seeing the light." "Your aura is all over the place" Said Lissa with worry in her voice. "I really don't know how much more you can take. you are linked to this place. 'You are part of the rare one who went to the land of the dead and made it back alive. "When the light reenters the body the healing hands will know. He will have an aura again" Said Robert flatly. but still holding Dimitri's and Andre's hand. "Do you see anything?" "No nothing…why?" Asked Dimitri. I decided to follow the flow of voices. "I…don't know how much longer I'll be able to do it by myself. I frowned seeing a faint light coming from our left. The dude was really out of it.I pulled them out starting wander in the woods. Save his soul…it's in your hands. . it had to be it. it's good a good sign. almost at the road and the voices were so clear it was like they were beside me. It was silly. "Well it better be fast I can't even think straight anymore. We were almost at the end of the forest behind the Academy. I could remember Victor translating Roberts' thoughts to me. Only you can find and materialize the exit' "Roza I--" "Shush. "Precious!" Said Adrian through clench teeth. I knew it was not an illusion. where my body was. you'll need to guide him in it. a huge and beautiful hole of light. I need to find an exit. "Well if you don't see it." I said trying to concentrate on the people on the other side. I said to myself and feeling his spirit hand in mine." I shook my head and started to look for an exit even more frantically. "I know…" I whispered scrutinizing the place around me." Adrian's voice was strained. "It has to be here somewhere…Very close" I said stopping." Said Andre squeezing my hand. There were no lights in this world. You are special.

For once. "You won't." "Nothing. I looked at him and reached for his hand. I'll see you on the other side. "Roza are you ok?" "She is fine." Dimitri walked a straight line and entered the light. do as I say and go first." I quickly looked up at Andre and couldn't help the little twinge of pain in my heart. a black hole to go to the land of dead. "I don't want to lose you again" he said in a breath." I let go of his hand and went to stand beside the hole. "Wow he disappeared! That's awesome. "Don't worry." Andre smiled and shook his head negatively. "Are you sure you don't want to try too? I mean…Maybe if we go together it might work." "Of course…I'm Awesome!" . "Nada. It means 'it's-okay-I-found-it' in exhausted Rose language. "Roza…Stay with me. I felt so relieved that I couldn't contain my laugher." Said Andre with a smile. everything would be right from now on. I smiled and reached up to cup his cheek. "That's very noble of you comrade but I'm the only one seeing the door. You're both going to be alright. just this once." "I will. "Okay now you take five steps to your side…Okay and walk toward me in a straight line." Said Dimitri narrowing his eyes. trust me. "It's just there!" I said letting go of Andre's hand pointing right ahead. "No I think I'm done here. "I'll meet you there." I smiled widely." He said with urgency standing straight looking at me like he did so many times when he had set his mind to something and wasn't ready to budge. "Dimitri you--" "No Roza you go first." "Sure?" Andre nodded. He finally nodded reluctantly. a bright hole to go back to the land of the living. Come on. "No surprises there.It made sense. but after all I'm dead meat so…" Andre shrugged. keeping it open." I couldn't help but chuckle. lips pursed." I said smiling. "Can't you see it at all? Not even a tiny glitch of light I mean wow…it's literally blinding me." Dimitri nodded. I realized now why I missed Andre and it would be like… it would be like losing him a second time around. "I'll miss you." Dimitri looked at me.

almost sad and that was a first with Andre Dragomir. "I don't know but it's not good. "Holly jolly it worked!" "Why isn't she back then…she has no aura. "I swear to you Dashkov. "Her light might be stuck on the other side. "What?!" Roared Adrian and my father simultaneously. I---" "You are just as stupid as she is!" Said Victor emotionless. "What's happening?" Asked Andre dumbfounded." Said Victor coldly. you won't exit this house alive. I reached for it with my hand and was rejected.I chuckled and when I stepped in the bright light it was like colliding with a force field that sent me backward into Andre. you are not the one getting electrocuted!" I mumbled approaching the hole warily. "Give me that fucking potion or so help me god---" "Adrian! Do you think Rose would want you to put yourself in danger like that?!" "I need to find her! I'll go and look for her there. "Damn it!!" I shouted." I didn't even bother to try and hide my panic. Mark my words! I--" "Andre help me!" I said with despair. "Oh really? And of course you…" Adrian literally growled. Idiot!" Adrian added but I knew it was only fear and anger talking. If she doesn't make it back. "No!" Said Sydney stubbornly." Said Adrian and I could hear the increasing anxiety in his voice. "Are you sure? There is not a little tiny part of you that -" "No! I would never even consid--" I stopped frozen. "She knew she might not make it back" "Of course she did!! Rose is Rose." Robert said." Andre looked thoughtful. "What the--" I looked at Andre who shrugged loosing all his smugness. "I can't cross again!" "Try once more." "Right. "Things are getting out of hands there. "I have to go back" I said straightening up. "You're a fuc--" "She knew the risks. "Do you think I fucking care?! Give it to me!" Shouted Adrian. "Are you sure you want to go back?" "What?! Of course!!" I said containing the urge to hit him. . "Yes?" Andre encouraged." "She possibly won't make it back" said Robert. "The hole is still here. "He is back!" Said Lissa from the other side.

panic evident in my voice. "I don't-" "Roza!" I heard Dimitri shout with a voice I barely recognized. "It's the middle of the night." "How long was I out?" "Three days." I took a shaky breath. I closed my eyes and tried to get through the portal once more and this time…this time it worked! "Be happy Rose. but gave up after seeing me struggling against him. ." I heard Andre whisper as everything faded to black. my room was the only option. "Somebody restrain him!" My dad shouted. That was when I really passed out. "I need to see Dimitri!" I jumped out of bed so fast he didn't even get a chance to try to stop me. Was he trying to heal me? "Adrian?" "Yes I'm here Rose. I was in Adrian's room at the Academy. "I…Why am I here?" He shrugged. I will never take life for granted ever again. I was trying to open my eyes but my eyelids were just too heavy. "Rose?" Asked a voice as I recognized as Adrian." "I won't…" I said concentrating on his voice only. " Please." I ignored his comment and looked around frantically. you should sleep." I heard Adrian say frantically from beside me. "Why isn't she waking up?! She is back in! I can see her aura. Rose come back. You can't give up now. "I brought him back."Well I was thinking that maybe…maybe it wouldn't be so terrible if I fell but it was before all that…Before I succeeded. I saw a make shift on the sofa in the bedroom where he was probably sleeping. it was the best place to pray. Chapter 21: I moved around and realized I was far too comfortable to still be on the floor." Adrian said soothingly trying to push me back on the bed. we couldn't leave you like that in your room. I grunted while I shifted to my side and heard movement as someone rushed by my side." My eyes shot open and I jump into a sitting position. "I need to get back to them." I was in the purgatory after all." Adrian said almost begging. please let me go back." "Three days?" I shrieked. The doc said you were out because of exhaustion and that you'd wake up when you felt like it so she wouldn't keep you at the clinic. We made it. He rested his cool hand on my forehead and it felt good. My room. "He's okay Rose calm down. "You were out Rose." "Rose please. "Dimitri!" I called looking around.

"Well…" Adrian cleared his throat loudly." "I d--" I stopped and looked at him with wide eyes." I couldn't stand not knowing what was different about Dimitri. As I let the hot water run on my painful muscles I tried to figure out how Dimitri could be different. "My Dimitri is a Moroi?" I shrugged "I don't care. but he didn't say anything. "So…'' I said standing a couple of feet away from him. "Different how?" "Why don't you just go take a quick shower." "I always knew that. "Apparently… okay you see the reversion brought him back. "What's happening Adrian?" "Well Dimitri…" He swallowed loudly. "See." "Well he…he sort of is a Moroi but--" . but…" "But?" I encouraged gripping his hand and I was sure I was hurting him. Just tell me where he is staying I need to see him. The water was starting to get cold. "or I'm sure I can have some food del–" "Adrian Please!" I snapped with begging eyes." He shrugged dismissively. Just…Just go. "I couldn't have lived with myself if I hadn't done it you know." I looked at him for a minute and figured that he just needed a little time to get ready to tell me whatever he had to."It's night Rose. Do you want some coffee?" He said pointing at his cup." I told him honestly "Yeah…" He grimaced slightly. I closed my eyes. quickly putting on the pair of faded blue jeans and red sweatshirt that were waiting for me in the bathroom. "You see Dimitri and I are shadow-kissed. we think that once we reversed the state. "Tell me what you have to tell me." I couldn't help but notice the hurt reflecting in his eyes. well the body changed to the closest form of Strigoi." He added uncomfortably. "Different?" I gave him a narrow glare. there is fresh clothes for you in the bathroom and nobody is going anywhere I promise. I rested my forehead against the tiled wall. Was he blind or deaf or even mute? "Why on earth would he be mute?" I muttered to myself. I nodded. I had to admit that even if I was overly excited to see my Dimitri I was scared to hear what Adrian had to say to me." He smiled probably detecting my guilt over linking him with Dimitri forever." "Oh…" I said relieved that all he wanted to tell me was that. It means a lot to me. well Lissa and I have a theory. and right now a shower did sound pretty good. I sat beside him on a stool. I sighed and got out of the shower. "I'm capable of far more than it seems. he's probably sleeping. When I walked in the living room Adrian was sitting on a bar stool with a steaming cup in front of him. "He's…he's different too. "Thank you for doing that. "I bet you are hungry or thirsty.

"What aren't you telling me?" "Well Victor and Robert aren't here and--" "Wow Victor is back in jail already? That was fast!!" I said amazed. I'll apologize later. but I needed to be with Dimitri so much. "They were in the room with 4 guardians! How --It's--" I shook my head. to feel his body against mine.We are linked you know. "You are right Rose. He's healed me so many times before. "That's something Victor could have told us…" I shook my head." "We'll talk tomorrow. super vision and super smelling is concerned. you should go to him. "We were worried you weren't waking up and Dimitri was well…let's just say he didn't take all the Strigoi memories that well and you know how lethal he was right? Well he kept his strigoi strength so imagine how hard he was to restrain. I could see pain on his face along with resignation. "He knew… He knew all along. but he was playing us. "It's ok. and apparently the sun doesn't bother him at all and well. it's time for me to give him mine." I said and I couldn't help feeling guilty. I sighed with despair." "They esc--" I choked on the word. fangs and super hearing. "Sorry what? I think I didn't hear you right. I'll heal him.. "Well excuse me Miss 'I'm-perfect' !" Adrian snapped. but for not more than 10 minutes and when we realized. "not that it matters really. "We don't know where they are.. but I feel the core of his emotions and…well it's hard. "Well he is a Moroi as far as pale complexion. He's staying in the last room at the end of the corridor." I let out a humorless laugh." I nodded but I was hopeful. I can't see in his head. "Of course" he said and I could see his smile was forced. "We thought we were playing him." He said sheepishly." "But?" "But he is also sort of a dhampir and he is as strong as he was before. I'm the only one that can heal him" Adrian stayed quiet for a minute thoughtful. "For god sakes Adrian spit it out already!" Adrian straightened up and I saw the hurt in his eyes." "You know Dimitri is having a hard time dealing…dealing with what he did ." "They escaped. So our attention was otherwise occupied. He let me borrow his strength." I nodded.I couldn't hold my exasperation any longer and even if I knew I would feel bad for that in the morning I threw a small fit." I shook my head and couldn't help but be impressed. I thought crossing my arms on my chest. in the last three days he didn't take blood at all and it appears that he doesn't need any…yet. but. He is my strength as I'm his.I'll have a word with him in the morning now tell--" I stopped seeing Adrian's face whiten even more. his lips on mine that I couldn't concentrate on anything else…what kind of friend was I? . they were gone! It was too perfect.

that was all that mattered to me. The room was silent except for our passionate kissing and ragged breathing. "I love you so much" I whispered against his lips. I smiled against his skin. Dimitri opened the door and I didn't notice his skin complexion or his fangs or any other changes. pulling me in the room. I started to kiss him feverously locking my arms around his neck to keep him to me.I ran to Dimitri's room and almost took down the door by knocking so hard. There was no red in his eyes. that intoxicating sent. it was like the light at the end of the tunnel. "I love you too. Dimitri laid me delicately on the bed and came towering on top of me. "Roza wait --" "No. but he was kissing me back almost immediately afterward. I put my hands in the waistband of his pants and pulled him to the bedroom. vulnerability in my voice. like they could recognize each other. I removed mine too and it was like living again to feel his hands on me. The love of my life is back I thought before crashing into his chest taking in his familiar sent. "Oh my Roza…" He whispered again kissing the top of my head. The only thing I saw was his warm brown eyes. needing him to know. his cool skin against my burning one. Dimitri groaned. Dimitri was frozen for a moment. "Why? Don't you want to be with me?" I asked finally looking up. but it was not the sent I was longing for." he whispered with clear relief burying his face in my hair and hugging me back fiercely. I found his lips with mine. Our lips were moving in totally sync. we'll talk tomorrow I just want to be with you. "Roza…You're awake. stood on my tip toes. He took a couple of steps back. . I slid my hands under his shirt and started to let my fingers trail on Dimitri's perfect stomach. but I didn't care. But now. and as Dimitri was still leaning down. I found the door with my foot and kicked it shut. I delicately moved my head." I said stopping him from talking as I pulled his shirt up and started to kiss his chest while letting my tongue play on his skin between each kiss. maybe it was because he was undead that he smelt differently. playing with the top of his Pj pants. When he was a Strigoi Dimitri smelled divinely good of course. now he smelt just like I remembered. Dimitri just nodded helping me to get his shirt out of the way. probably surprised by the intensity of my kiss. I knew I was acting like a kid. with every fiber of my being" he said before crashing his lips on mine and kissing me almost painfully. like we never stopped.

it was as simple as that. not holding me into your arms. it's unforgivable. I knew him better than anyone else. When it comes to you I have no shame." I added wrapping my arm around his strong waist." His smile was brighter now but I could see the underlying sadness and distress behind it. he could try as hard as he wanted. "Plus I can't sleep knowing you are a couple of feet away from me. I could feel his fangs but I didn't care. He was still looking in front of him like he didn't hear me. Dimitri was a very attentive and gentle lover. "Dimitri?" He turned his face briskly and he had to be really lost in his thoughts." I said before kissing his chest.. "I missed you so much. I knew him enough to see that even if I gained my redemption Dimitri needed to get his salvation. Was it all a dream? I thought as a terrible pain clutched my chest. "I'm here for you. I let my hand roam on the other side of the bed and my heart skipped a beat when I found it empty. sitting at the foot of the bed completely naked looking at the wall." I turned my head slightly and kissed his palm. I leaned in his touch and closed my eyes. flushed with lust. We were just meant to be. I looked at his perfect profile for a minute. Here. Dimitri kissed me up the neck to my mouth again. I inched closer and touched his arm. That pain faded the instant I opened my eyes as I saw Dimitri. with his hair falling around his face like a halo. if I can spare you any pain. "Move" he said standing up before joining me under the covers. "I slept for three days. I realized feeling his strong shaky hands on my bare hips. I woke up later than night feeling content and whole for the first time it what seemed an eternity. "Roza?. I was as much his redemption as he was mine. my ear on his chest to listen to his slow heartbeat. We finished taking off our clothes in less than five minutes. I can hear it all." I said with a mock scowl. That night was everything I hoped for and more. clinging the bed sheet on my bare breasts. I'll go begging in the rain. you didn't have much inhibition when you loved and missed someone as much as we did. hurt him in his flesh. ." I said as he started to kiss my collarbone sensually. I finally thought that everything would be alright.I looked at his beautiful face. He was only slightly illuminated by the alarm clock. "You should sleep Roza" he said finally bringing his hand to my cheek gently brushing my cheekbone with his thumb pad. His eyes were lit with the same desire than I felt. Dimitri started to caress my hair gently. it literally made my chest ache with love. as our bodies connected in every possible ways that he needed me as much as I needed him. but my dhampir vision helped me to see that he was lost in his thoughts and whatever he was thinking hurt him. "That's true." Recognition filled his eyes. "I'll never lose you again" I said closing my eyes. "Talk to me Dimitri…please. As soon as he was back in the bed I closed the small distance between our bodies and cuddled with him. He smiled. "Dimitri? Are you alright?" I asked sitting up.

As soon as Dmitri left the room I jumped out of bed." I nodded reluctantly." He said before deepening our kiss. but contrary to the first time that night when it was sometimes rough. "I love you" I said moving up slowly to gently brush his lips with mine. actually I could even say that he was as fast as his Strigoi self. Dhampir Dimitri had been fast. When I walked into the living room Dimitri was just setting a steaming cup of coffee and some buttered toasts. "I'm not going anywhere Roza. "I know you are here Roza." He said after a little while holding his cup. as if we were taking time to rediscover each others bodies. Whatever happens from now on it will never change. "Roza?" "Yeah. I know you do. "I'll be over in two minutes" I said scanning the room for my clothes. "But you were right we have tomorrow so lets enjoy each other's presence tonight." I said in a sleepy voice snuggling even more against him. My stomach growled embarrassingly loudly." He added as his hand left my hair and started to roam slowly down my spine. Adrian didn't kid when he told me that his reflexes where different. I'll be here when you're done I swear. Dimitri sat across. "They were going crazy worrying about you. I shivered with anticipation and looked up to meet his troubled yet loving eyes. almost animalistic filled with lust. "You should go check on your friends Roza. "I love you more than I can say. "Good morning Roza" he said tightening his hold around my waist. This time was a lot slower. softer. "Come on Roza" he said loosening his hold around my waist. "A very good morning indeed." He got out of bed so fast that I would have missed it if I blinked. but this one was even faster. When I woke up that morning Dimitri was holding me tightly and I had my face buried in his neck.Dimitri stayed quiet for a little bit still caressing my hair." I smiled. hopped in the shower and dressed quickly. We made love again. I couldn't help to wonder how long he had been awake for because he sounded so wide awake. need and desire. He probably saw the confusion on my face. I kissed his neck. "That's why we are here" he said with a small smile." And oddly enough he sounded almost pained by the idea. Dimitri chuckled. to engrave it in our memory. lets enjoy what is right. the only change came from his faster heartbeat. looking at me with a small smile. He brought his hand that was on my back to the back of my head to keep me in place. "I need to feed you." He said probably understanding my reluctance to leave him. He looked at me with my brows furrowed. .

"You're wearing it the wrong way. Dimitri walked me to the door holding my hand. you better.Dang. I was informed that the two Secret Service agents had somehow been held responsible for Victor's disappearance and that they were both on the mission to bring him back. it was still very early but I was sure that my father would be awake. She decided to ignore the situation. "You better" I said teasing but I still had an uneasy feeling in the pit of my stomach. I quickly finished my cup. "Why couldn't you?" She asked dismissively. "I was just coming to tell Abe that I was better can I go in or…" I pointed to his door. so I would do the same. "Uh huh…" I said not able to conceal my smile." I pointed to her shirt again "See you later" she said giving me a quick hug before rushing to the lift. I thought that you just spent the night in my fathers' room. "I…" She blushed looking quickly around her. "It's not what you think!" "Oh cool. As expected my father and friends were just ecstatic to have me back and well. maybe trying to find an exit. still having pillow creases on her face. I had to help Dimitri and keep Lissa safe. " I knew it sounded childish. "I'll be waiting for you" he said before giving me a quick chaste kiss. "I see you are awake. "I…" She straightened up. I felt bad for them. but I figured that he needed time before confiding in me. like something wasn't right. but I couldn't imagine my mother as a sexual being even if she had to do it at least once in her life to have me. "I'll see you later. made me long for his touch even more." I shook my head. They were my only priorities."Yeah…" I quickly glanced at the clock on the wall. By the way. "I'll see you in a bit" I told him standing up. I'm so happy. "That was…awkward" I muttered once the door closed on her. now I could! I really would need therapy. well you know." I pointed to her shirt... Dimitri spent most of the time in his room and I knew it was not good for his peace of mind but we decided that it would be a terrible idea to make him reappear at the academy now as we were about to leave. Over the next few days I helped get ready for our move to Court and get ready for graduation the following week. Dimitri and I hadn't been intimate since that first night and knowing he was so close to me. Dimitri was a bit distant. But Janine Hathaway was just…she was just so serious. "Mom!" I said as my mouth popped open. so mechanical. head high. Most of the youngsters wouldn't understand and it would be more polemical than anything else. I couldn't picture her doing what I just did in between the sheets…. . I knew him well enough to know it was the way he was. I just couldn't put a name on it. "Awww Mom. but even if I wanted I couldn't help. we were worried sick". I quickly got up to my father's floor and stopped frozen when I saw the person doing the walk of shame from his room.

" Said Dimitri with so much pain that he got me out of my stupor. "Adrian? Dimitri? What's going on here?" I asked with a shaky voice realizing I had some fresh tears running down my cheeks. "Do you even know Rose? I thought you knew her better than anyone else did.So. "I saw it in your head. Maybe he was ready to share with me now. I walked into the room. You love her enough to die for her. Adrian and Dimitri were fighting and I was only too scared to discover the reason of it. how you are suffering to see her loving someone else. I wanted to surprise him." "At least we agree on that. "I need to talk to you. I decided to sneak into the guest pavilion that afternoon as I really wanted to be with him. I grinned opening the door. we just…" He quickly glanced at Adrian. A hurt deep in my chest. I--" "And do you think it makes things alright?!" Asked Adrian with disbelief getting even angrier. she wants YOU! She LOVES YOU" "I---" "I shouldn't have saved you" Adrian spat. "I did it for Rose. but I should have let you die. "That's why you made me come?" Asked Adrian in a cold harsh tone. "It's alright Roza. However. maybe he was waiting for me after all. . I wanted to know more. "I don't know but maybe you've mistaken Rose with some kind of perishable goods. His eyes was full of sorrow." Adrian snorted. as soon as I entered the room. Dimitri stayed silent for a little while after Adrian left. The silence made everything so much worse. you don't deserve her and she would have been better without you. strained. Well… it was a bit of a lost cause since. "How are you going to break that to her?" "I don't know" Said Dimitri with defeat. Adrian face." Said Dimitri quietly. I didn't think that anyone could sneak up on Dimitri ever again. softened almost immediately when he locked eyes with me. She doesn't want me. with his freakishly acute hearing. but it was clearly an argument and I knew both voices so well I couldn't make a mistake." He walked away but stopped just beside me. "Why on earth did you tell me all that? I don't even like you! Hell right now I think I even loathe you!" Dimitri stayed quiet for a couple of seconds and I couldn't help the increasing panic to fill me. I tried the door knob silently to check if the door was open. I wanted to move from my hidden spot I just couldn't. "Yeah you do that. that was contorted with fury. "Because you love her. It was quiet. the love you feel for her. "I'll always be here" he said before gently kissing my cheek. It's--" Started Dimitri he sounded tired. like each word was costing him." "It's not that Ivashkov and you know it. I could hear some hush voices coming from the living room.

" "When will you come back?" "I don't know. I have to deal with that by myself. "I can hear it all." "I." I smiled "I'm leaving too." "Like hell I don't!" I shouted having more and more trouble containing my tears. You lent me your strength. "Take my strength and let me heal you. I quickly took a step back."Talk to me Dimitri please. "I'm leaving" he said softly. his eyes were even sadder." "You don't understand Roza. you helped me so many times. "Please tell me you are joking" I repeated as anger. You said you'll never let go. "I need to heal Rose. staying.." He said and it had the effect of a slap.. Let me be here for you. I was the face of death Rose and inside or not…" He shook his head.." I took his other hand." He said and I could hear the guilt in his voice. "Please tell me you are not taking back every promise you ever made me." I said deciding to break the silence before it could drive me mad. please tell me you are joking" I added fighting the tears with all the strength I had. There wasn't much I could have done except. "I…no" he said taking a step toward me. "You were not inside anymore. maybe I'll visit my family in Baia for a while may.." "I didn't remember then. Talking about that Lissa is--" "No you don't understand I'm leaving…alone. "I can't deal with that. "Please comrade enlighten me. The begging eyes of the victims when they realized they were going to die. "I need to go Rose. "Where will you go?" I asked barely louder than a whisper looking down at our intertwined hands." . "I don't know. leaving or even surrendering." I knew he was tortured and discovering that he didn't intend to leave me forever calmed me slightly. but just talk" I added trying to sound much stronger than I felt. I didn't know what I did as a Strigoi and I need to forgive myself for--" "But it wasn't you!" I said rushing toward him and taking his hand. he was rejecting me. he knew all the sacrifices. for a while at least. betrayal and pain were filling me gradually.maybe I'll…I don't know." "But I'm here. all the risks I took to have him back and he wanted to leave anyways. What could I say? He knew how I felt. "That's a given. "Oh…" I let out in a wheezing sound like someone just punched me in the stomach. "I remember it just the same. You can be open with me…Vulnerable" I said remembering the chat we had in the gym just after Mason's death when he recognized how hard it was for him to admit that I could read him. that you needed to be with me. except maybe trying to hide how much it hurt." he sighed and ran his hands through his hair. "But you said you wouldn't let go when I found you on the other side. "Please. we all are. I need to deal with my past to construct a future with you. " Dimitri looked down at me. I'll be back I…I couldn't give up on us.

I breathe. I hear But I don't believe it My heart. how can I build a future if I can't deal with my past? How can I create memories when I only want to destroy the ones I have?" "You've got to do what you've got to do. "Roza--" "I'll see you later" I said rushing out of the room almost running back to my room. I looked at my watch. consciously or not. I need to do this alone and I know that you of all people can understand that." Apparently you don't Comrade. "You have to understand Roza I--" "I do Dimitri" I said cutting him off. I could feel physical pain. I thought. Your friends need you." I was like that before I met you. go before I'd beg him again to stay or to take me with him. but once you entered my life you were far more important than all my stupid fears and my stupid pride. "Of course I do!" He said sounding offended. your family needs you. you just need to go on with your life while I try to make peace with myself and forgive what I did. "And I'll be back I swear. "I want to come with you. "And I don't know when I'll be back" he said and I felt liked I was being slapped yet again." I said looking up. taking two steps back silently. I was not lying except that I still had two hours before meeting her.I nodded slightly. I could even taste the bile in the back of my throat. On my way there I couldn't help but hear the lyrics of Alive by Leona Lewis. but I'll see you later" I said walking backward toward the door. It hurt so bad. at least not enough. "You know how much I need you Roza. I thought but I kept it to myself simply letting go of his hands. I have to do that Roza. Dimitri had a sad smile." I said and I was pleased that I didn't sound nearly as hurt as I felt. "You can't jeopardize everything. "No Roza. it beats But inside I'm freezing My hands shake They've lost all their feeling Nowhere to take You say that you're leaving And there's no turning back this time Gotta stay alive . but I just kept staring at him without a word. still looking down while blinking my tears away. "I need to go and meet Alberta about graduation. But I knew I had to go now. That was what I should have said." "But you don't" I said trying to sound as neutral as I could.

I looked at the people before me and I could see the pride in my father's and mother's eyes. I took off my ugly graduation gown and threw it on the pile with the others." he said not turning around. I could feel that same pride coming from Lissa. I didn't want to go too personal as I barely held it together as it was. I was graduating top of the class. it would be like standing in front of me for him.Where do I go when I'm so alone? Where do I turn when you are so close? We try not to crash but we still collide Tears I've cried. "It's time to partyyyy!!" said Eddie swinging his hips shoving me. "You guys go ahead" I said to my family and friends. "I'll meet you in a little bit. I didn't forget to mention the friends we lost during the battles and all those generic things they wanted to hear. I would be lying if I didn't recognized that it made me proud but it actually made me proud BECAUSE it made my friends and family so proud. I found him on the far right corner. I looked up to the top floor of the dhampir dorm as I knew Dimitri would be watching the ceremony from there. things that made my heart ache. I would have jubilated thinking about sticking it up high in the butt of my detractors but now…it didn't mean that much anymore. I'll survive I'm alive Yes I was alive but would this new pain inside fade? Would he really come back to me? Why did I have to fight so hard to get him back. "You didn't put much of yourself in the speech but I guess I can understand why. We were now full grown dhampirs ready to die for the Moroi we were trained to protect. I cleared my throat and did what they were all expecting from me. just to have him abandon me? Epilogue 1 week later: Here I was standing before the crowd coming to congratulate us on our achievement. When I walked up I found him still staring out the window." . "You were perfect my Roza. even Christian looked proud! Mark and Oksana stayed too for my graduation and the Moroi's one tomorrow. He was just a shadow for us but I knew that. "You bet" I said with a wide smile. with his brand new vision and hearing. After the congratulations." I winked at them trying to sound as cheery as I could before entering the dhampirs' dorm and rushing to the window where I saw Dimitri. it would have meant the world to me not more than 6 months ago. I looked on the left and saw Adrian standing at the back of the crowd and even if he was far I could read so many things in his face. I talked about the great future ahead of us. Finally.

"I just needed to see you graduate Roza. "I'm going to miss you. He brought his cool hand on my neck making me shiver like every time his skin touched mine." "As I love you" he whispered in my hair. it was not like I could change anything anyways. keeping my eyes leveled on his chest. I could see the love and hurt in his eyes but I could also see his guilt." "I know…" I said in a breath." I said instead. it's---Never doubt of my love Rose it's the only thing in this world that is unchangeable and deeply anchored in every fiber of my being. He kissed my lips slowly. don't put your life on hold because I'm not here. almost painfully like it was probably the last kiss we'll ever have. I sighed closing the distance between our two bodies resting my forehead on his chest. "I'll come back. I stiffened in his arms." He said locking his eyes on the bag too. "Yeah well I needed to reach the majority and my experience with life today is a bit peculiar. "It just not enough right now. "Rose…" He took two quick strides to stand just in front of me. No shit Sherlock! I thought bitterly. It was like saying 'I will probably not come back so don't hold your breath and just move on' . My eyes locked on the beige duffle bag on the floor. it was…It was important for me. "Go to your friends Rose. I kept my eyes on it silently like if I stared to it long enough it would just disappear. for neither of us. "I'm leaving now. I kissed his chest. "Already?" I asked trying to keep my voice from shaking as a lump formed in my throat. It was hard to be rational when you felt abandoned. "I love you. He nodded slowly." . "But you should continue to live your life Rose. You did that enough. I said to myself. remorse and haunting memories. I knew it was what he felt he had to do but it still hurt me." He said now resting his cheek on the top of my head. you'll always be in my mind. "Yeah you're right you better go. "Your friends are probably looking for you" said Dimitri tightening his grip around me. I didn't look up. He sighed again reaching for his bag. I wanted to kick him like each time he was saying that." I said hurt. "It is indeed" he said finally turning around. "You know that it's not because I don't love you right? I love you more than I thought was possible. It was the first time that kissing Dimitri was actually hurting me. but I needed to keep the appearances. I didn't even notice the quiet tear that escape my eyes before he softly dried it with the pad of his thumb." He too a deep breath and lift my face with his forefinger. you know that" he said and I could hear the profound sadness in his voice. they love you." He kissed the top of my head." And what about what is important to me uh? Like you being beside me? I thought yet again stopping myself from expressing my thoughts but I was not sure I fooled him as I saw a shadow in his eyes.Because I'm heartbroken and on the verve of breaking down every minutes of every day since you told me that you were leaving me. "I…" I looked at him confused before looking around.

since Dimitri and I announced them he would be going away for a while. "How are you doing Rose?" He asked and the solicitude in his voice made my heart tighten. "You are not fine Rose. in one of the abandoned lounge facing the parking lot and I stayed in front of the window watching Dimitri soft steps as he was leaving my life once again. I walked to the other side of the building." I turned slowly and locked eyes with him silently. maybe you can fool the others" he shrugged his left shoulder cocking his head to the side. it gets more credible every time you say it. "How? If the other can't…how can you?" . "No. Adrian stayed silent. I know you are not fine. too silent. I won't say it's not a bit hard to watch him go but I understand why he has to do it. I was just not enough." I looked at him agape. "Rose?" Asked Adrian walking slowly in the room.I nodded hoping that the feeling of his lips against mine would linger for the length of his absence." "Oh yeah I forgot… you could see it in my aura" I said not able to contain the cold edge in my voice. "But you knew that already. instead of going down to the party. without even a look behind. I repeated that speech so many times in my head that I even started to believe it myself. the remaining part of my heart broke in a million pieces. "I'm doing fine. Each of his step toward the iron gates were breaking my heart but I knew I couldn't do anything to keep him back.." "I did" he said simply. "Yeah I heard that speech a couple of times before but I have to give it to you. I kept my eyes locked on the gates even if he was gone now. However.. ""He left" I said keeping my voice as steady and void of emotion that I could. Did a part of me hoped he would come back? Love never was and never would be rational. I could hear from his voice that he was closer to me than before.for now." I added as I had a little stabbing pain in my chest. I can see it in your eyes. "I'll miss you" he said before turning around walking slowly to the back building staircase. We stayed silent a bit longer. I appreciated him just being here silently. After was could have been mere minutes or an hour I heard light footsteps coming my way but I didn't move." I shrugged. When he stepped put the little door beside the huge iron gates and turned right after the guard post. "He'll be back soon anyways." I nodded still looking out. it was half way from a groan and a cry. "We're all expecting you downstairs. I let out a sound that surprised me. "but you can't fool me. I forced a smiled and eyed him quickly before returning my attention on the window again. "I'll miss you more" I whispered once the door closed behind him. I was about to serve him the well prepared speech that I had been giving them for the past two weeks.

like he is spitting on everything we did to bring him back." "I'm not" He said keeping his eyes locked with mine. I took a deep breath and looked away again. The new appointed guardians had the summer after graduation off and since Dimitri left I planned to use it. "I said okay. they are just denying it. "You knew?" He nodded." I quickly glanced at Adrian but his face didn't give anything away. I couldn't talk to Lissa as she had enough to deal with. "Lissa told you?" I asked surprised that she would spill something like that." "I…Pavel is coming with me."I think they can. She went ballistic at first of course but I told her it was just for the summer and that she could join me when everything would be settled for her at the Court and with her next semester at Lehigh." "I want to come with you. You need to talk to someone Rose and I would love to be that someone. Adrian didn't even seem surprise about it. you can come with us." "I know it's terrible but part of me feels like he betrayed me by leaving. I decided to talk to her about me going hunt Victor. He was one of the person that I trusted the most." I looked at him silently a minute. It calmed her down quite a bit even if I knew that the Queen would keep her occupied for the whole summer. I know it's terrible to say that. "I know you don't need my money this time or even my friendly pre--" "Okay" I blurted out stopping his ranting. ." He was still looking at me like I had two heads and if I wasn't so broken right now I would have laughed." "It will get better Rose and as far as I could feel he really do love you. He chuckled but it was not an happy laugh. actually considering that. "Good to know but I'm still coming with you. lips pursed. "I'm just so mad and sad and betrayed and…everything in between." He said crossing his arms on his chest to show me his determination. "Doesn't make me feel better" I muttered to myself. My father and even Pavel himself wanted to come to help me out. "You don't seem surprised. "What do you want me to say Adrian?" "Anything." I said not really knowing why but it was true." How could he know me so well? I thought really impressed. "No she didn't but I know you Rose. when you are feeling bad you have to go and fight some random crusade to make you feel better. "I'm going away for the summer" I finally let out. just…anything as long as you mean it. and I know. "Sorry what?" He asked wide eyes." He said with a sad smile. "I…Really?" He asked narrowing his eyes slightly thinking it was a trick. "I'm going to go and try to find Victor.

but I still needed that hope. Why? Don't really want to come?" I asked with the ghost of a smile this time. I promised Dimitri I would let him be. come back to me if he wanted too." "I always dreamed to go on a road trip" he said teasing. if Lissa knew I was bringing Adrian along it would ease her mind knowing that I would never put one of my friend at risk willingly…at least not really. "my father is very efficient" I said not able to conceal the fondness in my voice. I was bringing him along for a selfish and shameful reason…his link with Dimitri. I gave him a small smile." I said walking to the door not really knowing of what tomorrow will be made of. .I nodded." He said still suspicious. "When are we leaving?" He asked once his surprise faded. too depressed I knew that Adrian would tell me and I would go to him wherever he liked it or not. "I know" I said knowing deep in my heart that it was the truth. "Of course I want to!! I just never thought you would give in so easily. I did have some ulterior motives to bring him along. But it was true. Pavel included. will be expecting me on the Court Runway. "Yeah really. that faith that it would be as hard for him to consciously live without me as it was for me to be without him. probably Monday or Tuesday at the latest. Moreover. I wanted Adrian around so Dimitri could find me. "I'm here Rose. he just needs the specific date and the plane. "In a week time. "Come on let's go. intertwining our fingers. we'll move to the Court during the week end and once I get my room assigned we should go. no matter what" he said taking my hand. the others are waiting." "Everything is organized already?" I nodded. go on with my life and let him heal at his own pace but if he was feeling too low. Secondly. "Wish granted" I replied finally turning my back to the window accepting that Dimitri would not be coming back today. "Well I guess there is a first for everything" I said shrugging slightly. Finally. I knew it was more than unlikely for him to come back before the end of the summer of course. Firstly I did enjoy his company and he was very good at annoying me which would probably help me to keep my mind off Dimitri. Who would have thought even 6 months ago that I would have these kind of feelings toward my father? "Everything is ready.

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