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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
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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  • 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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I was sure of that. 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. the campus. I was about to enter my dorm when I heard Adrian's voice behind me." I said actually happy to see him. and now our shameful love for still 'living' or dead strigoi. "I wanted to give you that." "I just need time to figure it out even if it will be hard. "It's just…. Please. I needed to go. "But sometimes love is not enough and we're barely 18. You've barely lived. he was always so carefree." He said simply "I… it's--" I started taken aback. "Oh I finally found you. "You too Rose." he said giving me a quick hug. "Hello Adrian. We were friends for life now. Save me a seat. because it would be a lie. curfew was getting closer and closer. You left everything behind to find him but you see." he said before kissing my cheek as I exited. Before we make choices for the future that we can't take back." He looked deep into my eyes before nodding." I said. he was like me.Life didn't spare us. just to make the other one happy. I liked his company. even for myself to realize that. Life…." he said with his usually laid back grin. 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." He said handing be a black folder. pretty much disabled when feelings were concerned." I asked with the full force of my sad puppy eyes. It made me think of Abe and what he said to me. "Even if you decided not to get back together with Lissa. "He said awkwardly. who is to say we are made for each other?" His last words wouldn't have hurt me more if he actually slapped me. "Avoiding her won't help you decide you know. "What's this?" I asked curiously. "You're right. "Always stunning I see. We have so much more in common than most people. Spokane. Victor. "Sadly I do" I said in a breath." he said quickly. I could still hear him clearly in my head like as if he was beside me 'Oh Rose you are young. "I'm not sure I could make all the compromises that need to be made for her.everything to be together. His black eye had totally faded and he was as gorgeous as ever." 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. Can you understand that?" He asked and I could see he was actually yearning for my comprehension. . "You too. Everyone thinks their first love is the only one they'll ever have. "Eat breakfast with us tomorrow. "I'm not saying that I don't love her more than I thought I could love.' "I just need some time to figure it out before it's too late and before we're only good to hurt each other.sad. I need you to know that you'll always have a friend in me okay?" I said standing up.. I'll meet you there." he bit his bottom lip thinking.

Part One was called 'Facts' and divided in small paragraphs: ." He said seeing the matron approaching. He was humoring me. "I'll see you tomorrow." 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. I knew I would have more success deciphering hieroglyphs than his messy handwriting. I could see through his pretenses. Yeah right. . it did strike a sensitive cord. his longing. I had seen his goodness. 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.And you know me. He was playing the dandy shallow rich royal most of the time but I knew better and he knew that I did. our little chat back in Baia. telling him to let go he kept coming back supporting me. I could hear Abe in my head all over again. Adrian financed my crazy escape. I really hoped he gave up on me." I looked at him mouth wide open probably looking like a complete idiot. That was a true fact. . I picked up the file chuckling as I saw the title. "Shut up old man."The essay you asked for about why I'm dating material. Dimitri was still half alive somewhere probably organizing my assassination but a promise was a promise. You've barely lived. I could see his seriousness. .You already know that even if you want to do something completely crazy." he said seriously. I'll never judge you or let you down . (Come on you know it's true. or in my dreams. It was so right.All in all to.' He replied I groaned.' I had said 'Oh Rose you are young. and a terrible reputation just as you like. Why should you date me by Adrian 'Awesome' Ivashkov. Not after Dimitri. I already know a lot about you. Everyone thinks their first love is the only one they'll ever have. I bet that my blood whore days would crush this respect if he ever found out. that I was sure of.You also know that I'm not the kind to take things seriously. =D I sighed closing my eyes. his fear of losing me. I will always follow you. I looked at the folder stupidly. good name.) . his bravery and protectiveness. he never gave up on me as much as I pushed him away. it's true but you… I've always been serious about you Rose and I know that you can't deny that. I put on my PJs and quickly sank into bed. maybe now more than ever. For now I was still stuck. 'I'm never going to be involved with anyone again. He quickly kissed my forehead before rushing back toward the guest pavilion. . It was all very clearly typed on a computer which was good. When we were together. I let my guard down around you and you've already gotten a very good look at the real me. I took a deep breath before continuing to read. "Just so you know I never worked as seriously or as hard on something in my whole life. he wanted to make me laugh and that was something I desperately needed these days.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. I think way better than anyone else.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"The flowers needed to convey the right sentiments." I added joking. I shrugged dismissively reaching for the shawl." he said chuckling as I put the flowers on the desk." he said and I could hear the clear disapproval in his voice. The air was still a bit cold for end of May but the shawl made it very agreeable. ugliest vase in the history of the world but it would have to do. "Well…Two reasons really. and black tank top. just like you. "Please don't spoil the surprise. 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. It was probably the crappiest. We were near the administration building when Adrian stopped me putting his hand on my shoulder." he said taking what looked like a black tie from his jacket pocket. ." I said grimacing. 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. "So what made you decide to get me daisies?" I asked curiously reaching for the big long box of smarties I had." he said teasing. so crazily original." "Which are?" I asked but I wasn't really sure I wanted the answer. "I…guess. "And that's just a shame. I had been emptying the box when he said that and it almost slipped out of my hand. He followed me out walking by my side. "Well the second reason is the meaning of course. "Well that will be your job to figure out my little dhampir. It was probably one of the most beautiful compliments anyone ever gave me. changing subject walking out of the room. I'll bring a vase too." He said giving me an amused sidelong glance. "Yeah sorry. "Do you trust me Rose?" He asked mysteriously. I frowned and looked up at him. He smiled." I said warily." I said with a small smile before rushing to the small sink to fill the plastic box with water. "You said the first reason but what is the second one?" I asked.blue jeans. he looked far more impressive and royal than most the guys I knew when they were in tuxedos. "Thank you. "Firstly. I let the door open and invited him in while I tried to figure out where to put the flowers. "A little bit of work won't hurt you. "I'm not used to getting flowers…except from you. Right now he was wearing a pair of black dress pants. It was not something I expected." I said with a slight pout making him laugh. and black jacket." "That has not been proven." he said softly leaning against the wall looking at me moving around. an emerald green button up shirt. It was true that Adrian was one of the people I trusted the most but he was so exuberant sometimes. "Note for next time." He said barely louder than a whisper. I swirled around looking deep into his eyes trying to spot any kind of joke or teasing but there was none.

"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 think you were wrong. "We agreed we would do that for each other. As soon as walked in my cell phone started to ring I hurried and answered without even checking the number. "I thought I did. "Finally reaching you little girl. When he didn't say anything I took it as an invitation to continue. I had to keep my promise. leaving him in the corridor." I said sitting on my bed. He didn't give up on me after all. "Sleep well. "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 bit my bottom lip." he said and I'll be damned but there was emotion in his voice. for not giving too much away to my mother and for trying to get the information you know I'm longing for." "Did you succeed?" He asked and I could hear no judgment in his voice. for helping me when I didn't realize I needed it." said Abe with some laughter in his voice. "It's Friday night I was out with friends." I smiled and I was sure he could hear it in my voice." I said and I didn't realize how much emotion I had in my voice. "I also wanted to thank you. I can sleep in the morning." "Well old man I think you were wrong considering first love. "So some first loves do last. "So thank you. "What for?" He asked sounding taken aback." I said jumping up.He seemed completely dazed. "I just said that you would love again…eventually even if a part of you will always belong to someone else. "That would be a first so please little girl tell me where I was wrong." "You…you're welcome. Thank you so much. "Oh just one more thing. "You 'thought'?" he asked confused." I said with a small smile walking into my room. I know for a fact that sometimes it does last for a lifetime!" I said with a sure voice." . quiet for so long that I thought he hung up on me." he said seriously. "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. "It's a long story." Abe was quiet. "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. "For trying to keep me safe. "I could see it in someone's face recently that even after 20 years it was still there. "I was about to give up." I said cursing myself. "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. "So I heard you were eager to talk to me. Why out so late?" "Zmey!!" I shouted too pleased to have him on the phone." I said without even thinking." He said the voice lower than usual probably under the emotions." "Wrong? Me?!" He asked chuckling. the lovestruck smile or even someone taking inconsiderate risks for someone he loved in another lifetime. I…" I cleared my throat.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

You had to give it to him whatever the situation. Adrian. It helped me to keep my mind occupied during my nightly alone time. I had a small glimpse of Mad Abe in Baia and that wasn't it. "Help me. "And by the way you should stop calling me 'old man' it's not very polite." "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. "And he wants to sleep with your daughter!" Christian blurted out pointing at Adrian.'? She said through the bond. I was probably looking like I was having an attack of some sort. 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. That was something I didn't expect." He grinned. "Nah. you can call me Daddy.Adrian was looking at me and I could see he was tense. He looked at Lissa raising an eyebrow about to talk but he was stopped by Christian. His eyes and voice were pretty cold but I knew he wasn't mad." muttered Christian just loud enough so I was the only one able to hear him. . Baba was the Turkish translation of dad and I knew it would be enough to divert his attention. I didn't know that when I told you the whole story. you know. we probably were brother and sister in another life. I bet they knew that not a lot of people could disrespect Abe Mazur and get away with it." I said under the incredulous eyes of my friends." he said nudging me playfully. "I missed you. "Anyway baba…" I said for Abe to concentrate on me. The others were looking completely astonished. and Eddie didn't react. he couldn't keep his witty mouth closed. "Hello old man." he said chuckling. Christian. I looked at him wide eyed and mouth half open probably just like Lissa and Eddie. "Hi dad. Not such a smart mouth anymore I thought laughing. I couldn't help but smile at his comment. "I couldn't have. just vastly surprised. "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. They were used to our unusual way of conversing but Abe lost his natural smugness for just a second." I answered to her unspoken thoughts." I said trying not to show he destabilized me. "Well at least now we know where Rose got her 'psycho-criminal' side from. She wasn't mad. I came to check on my daughter!" He said still keeping his eyes locked on mine. "I…" Started Christian the eyes widening slightly. whoever she is. "We should stop the pretenses. He didn't look that smart now." He whispered to me. "Yes Kazim?" He asked apparently pleased with my efforts. "Excuse me? Are you calling me a psycho criminal?" Asked Abe now concentrating his attention on Christian. "Poor kid./English dictionary I borrowed from the library. "How are you doing?" Lissa was completely astonished. I also knew that Kazim meant 'daughter' in Turkish that I randomly started to learn words from the Turkish.

It was pain. ''So I think I'll go back to my room but I'll see you later'' I added to Abe's attention. his jaw was locked and his face somber. "Please…that would be nice." He said quickly glancing at both Christian and Adrian causing me to smile. He was probably here to kick my butt about my childish attitude on the phone and my stupid wish to find Victor. My mom nodded with a discreet sigh of relief. Want to go somewhere private?" I asked Abe. "Let's go. What I saw in my moms' eyes was just breath taking. ''Well guys things are getting awkward for me right now. sorrow.'' I said doing my best to sound teasing. too long bi tanem. I was just guessed it was lovey dovey and gooey enough to make me puke. my heart literally crushed in my chest…at least the little part I had left. "We're all going to keep our kneecaps. " As we turned around I saw the little red head walking in the room and. the longing was still there. 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. ''Aren't you happy to see me?'' He asked raising an eyebrow. Damn!! He could do the sexy eyebrow thing too just like Dimitri! That was something I wished I had inherited from him. I didn't know what the Turkish words he just said meant and honestly I didn't want to know." I said standing up. "Promise Liss.'' Said Abe very softly to my mother. and above all else. "I'll see you tomorrow guys. We slowly walked to the door where she was waiting for us. there was love. ." said Adrian acerbically apparently doing his best not to look up and meet Abe's probable death glare. longing." Said Christian actually making me laugh. 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. It has been long. 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." "What? I want to keep my kneecaps. Lissa warned me through the bond. ''Oh you can count on it. Abe gave me a strange smile. 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." I said standing beside Abe.'' He said his voice slightly threatening. I could feel Abe tense up beside me and I dared a quick look to his face. as their eyes met. "Hello meleğim. even in 20 years. "Smooth…really smooth."Thanks Ozera. I want to know the whole story Rose! Tomorrow. She smiled at me probably to tell me that everything was alright but as she looked up at him again.

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

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

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

"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.

I knew the Russian insults pretty well. "I was so wrong. 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 balled his hands into fits and I thought he was about to hit me." he said now actually hurting me he was squeezing so hard. "No I won't 'go eat shit and die' but thanks. He was a lot stronger than I expected from his gangly frame. honor. terribly selfish!" He pointed at me."I added shoving him again. I heard Mishka tsk with disapproval in the background but neither of us acknowledged him. Pavel grabbed my shoulders hard and nudged me. I understood you." In a normal condition I would have said his eyes were not disturbing. "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. Even when Mr. you know that helping him escape will be considered as high treason punishable of life imprisonment. so much for wanting to keep my self control. but when I finally met his eyes I couldn't help but huff. 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. it's just that people can find it a little…disturbing. "I don't wear my sunglasses to look badass like you probably think. and protection. and of that I am positive." he said coldly because I kept staring at his one icy blue eye and one that was so deep brown it looked almost black. "You don't know him!! Nobody knew him like I did!! Kooshite govno ee oomeeite. "It's called Heterochromia. "You're a freak all the way aren't you?" I asked with a bitter smile. "Don't you EVER talk about Dimitri do you understand!!" I said shoving him hard. brave. "You don't know me!" I snapped. "Don't kid yourself. inches from my face and I could see so much deception and anger in his eyes." He snorted. He probably would have risked his life to keep a promise made to you but he would never. risked another persons life or reputation for something he felt he had to do. When we were in Baia. "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. unique. 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. 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!" ." he snorted. "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. I intended to keep it shut and let him talk but I couldn't. maybe because he was closer to the truth than I expected. He was all about safety. "I used to think you were a good person. "But now. and THAT's unforgivable and terribly. I would have said what I really thought being that they were beautiful. "What about you sooka??" He asked crossing his arms on his chest. "And maybe I didn't know Belikov personally but I knew his reputation. but I was mad and hurt. "Oh calling me a bitch ?" I said shaking my head. "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." He shook his head with clear disgust. "That's SOOO original Zhopa.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Adrian walked in the small living area and set his suitcase down. almost whispering but the voices were unmistakable. I took a the quickest cold shower in history just to try and put my brain in the right place. "I…" My mother sighed." I said in a breathe. "And then I'll take the plane back to Court. I'm going to arrange a little meeting with the others so you can tell them. "I've seen what holding on to the wrong person could do. I knew it was wrong to listen but I just couldn't help myself. maybe I could learn to love him. "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. "Certainly not as much as I'll miss you. the one when you were wearing that little blue summer dress. There was a very quiet conversation going on. as far as Adrian was concerned that is. "you don't have to tell them everything but you need to tell them the basics. "I saw your neck Rose. He closed his suitcases and took it off the bed. Lissa brought you some clothes. She was getting better. I walked to the fresh pile of clothes and almost stumbled on his suitcase." He shrugged slightly." ." He added looking away. I could see that in his eyes. "You see people think it's holding on that makes you stronger. resigned. But sometime it's letting go.. I groaned. I had the childish impulse to hide it somewhere but I knew it would not be enough to make him stay. "So if you love me so much…Why are you walking away?" I questioned." said Abe soothingly." he said pointing to me. It was clearly a part of me I didn't want him to see. I smelled my shirt and it did have the faint odor of vomit and alcohol. In the process removing the not so nice odor. maybe if I tried harder. He cared about me enough to disregard that.He bit his bottom lip for a little while like he was trying to decide what to add. because as crazy as it sounded. "I just don't know what got into her." I nodded. Take a shower and chill out a bit. 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. "She is fine. "I can't let history repeat itself. It was my mother and Abe. I was on my way to the second floor when I froze midcourse.. I wanted him to stay…I needed him to stay. and that sapphire necklace… your aura was all wrong then. I was up there maybe half an hour ago. "I know what you are ashamed of Rose and there is no reason to be. Adrian was residing on the fourth floor of the guest area and I decided to take the stairs down. He was honest. "Please don't. "I'm going to miss you". You know when I walked into your dreams. my voice hoarse." He gave me a sad smile. I. I was rather pleased I didn't remember the vomiting part since I'm sure it was pretty embarrassing. at least I thought so." He said before leaving the room and closing the door quietly behind him. I replied in a low voice and I realized how much I would actually miss him." I closed my eyes… He knew.

I mean it was almost two decades ago and a Dhampir/Moroi marriage would have been such a scandal."It's just an indigestion meleğim. She looks all tough and brave but she is much more sensitive than she lets people see." They stayed silent for a minute or two." "But I'm her father!" Abe snapped angrily." He said his voice cold too. "I didn't leave because I didn't love you anymore. I started to go up the stairs. . slightly pleased. Letting you go was my way of saying I love you. The last thing I heard was my mother saying. "You knew as well as I did that it was better for Rose. Be careful Abe…Angry Janine can be dangerous. She stopped talking for a minute. "Well you came here yesterday unannounced and today she is so drunk she passed out in Ivashkov's room. well as angrily as a whisper could convey. I deserve a place in her life. I was getting uncomfortable and decided I needed to go now. I didn't really realize it before but I felt relieved. "Rose is…" I could hear my mother sharp intake of breath. 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. especially ours. "Indigestion? Right! I know my daughter and she has a strong stomach! And I know you well. It made me special. "It's because I never really tried to fool you. you are an astonishing liar but you never fooled me. Talk about timing! It was a brief text from Adrian saying that they were all waiting for me in Christian's room. "That was uncalled for. I felt bad." added my mother finally. nothing to worry about." He added and I could hear the love in his voice." "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 are her genitor! It doesn't make you her father.'' My mother snorted." "Are you blaming me?" He asked and I could hear the hurt in his voice. We didn't have the lives for that and you know it. "And you agreed with me then. now I was the cause of a fight between my mom and dad…I really was bad luck. about being his only child. "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. she is my daughter after all…My only child." I was shocked. I helped you get her back." My mother whispered harshly." She said and her tone was getting cold. "Well you don't know her Abe. I'm sorry but I can't help to connect the events." "What are you doing here?" "I told you I came to see Rose." I had barely closed the door behind me when my phoned beeped in my pocket. "I'm sorry I didn't mean that. very well. My mom was not kidding when she said that Abe wanted to assume.

She felt bad I failed once more. They were hard with a small 'I-told-you-so' in depth of them. "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. "I guess there is silver stakes but you know…that's pretty slim though. the whole Victor issue. I bit my bottom lip thinking on how I could mention the ring without sounding completely mental or cheap." I said concentrating my attention on Lissa. Lissa looked more and more incredulous. at least I hoped so. "If it ever happened don't you think it would have been at least heard of? In like centuries. "I know how bad you want it to be true but it's not. I was probably trying to convince them as much as I was trying to convince myself. 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." He sighed and squeezed my hand. "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." Tried Eddie grimacing. "You know how much I want to believe it's possible…but it's just folklore. 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." I met Adrian's eyes. it was almost overwhelming. filled with love and mutual trust." He snorted. "What then?" Tried Christian as he probably realized I was lost in my thought. "But I witnessed it first hand!" I said in a last plea. "Rose come on you can't honestly consider that!" Said Christian coming to sit beside me on the desk. 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. I just hoped I'd have some friends left when I get done.There was no turning back now. 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 just told them everything about what Oksana told me. Christian instinctively reached for my hand and held it tightly between his. She thought deep down that she could not survive me becoming one of them…her enemy. Chapter 8: "I'm sorry Rose but do you know how crazy that sounds?!" Asked Christian after a silence that seemed to last forever. Strigoi Dimitri was unable to love and I would have seen the difference. the stake and Dimitri's note. "No I'm not talking about silver stakes. 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. I shook my head trying to get rid of the stupid flashes in my head. I knew she was the only one who would never judge me. It startled me and I could feel a faint wave of jealousy coming from Lissa. "What do you mean?" asked Lissa finally getting out of her torpor. I'd rather kept the memory of our perfect first time burned in my mind forever. "I know" I whispered mostly keeping my eyes on Lissa who seemed to be frozen on the spot. There were so many emotions coming out of her.

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

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

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

I looked at him while he poured himself another one. "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'm stuck in the moment and I can't get out and… and I'm battling with some imaginary windmill but I cannot win. 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." I meant it. I realized I meant every word. "Avery was not---" I stopped him raising my hand." I looked up and met his sharp eyes. You are doing what is best." I said serious now. Adrian shrugged slightly concentrating on his glass again. "I know you…I know you feel bad for leaving. "I know I didn't have time to cause irreparable damage to you and I feel grateful for that. "What do you want Rose?" He asked so distant that it wiped my smile away. She quickly looked down rushing out in the other room. "I think everything has been said" he replied sitting back. "I see" said Adrian playing with his glass of scotch. "You said it all but I didn't get the chance to speak. "I guess that's. "I think you letting go is the best decision you could have taken. Adrian threw me a small bottle of water rolling his eyes. of course you are right.. "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. 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. I drank eagerly.." 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. they were darker now and he was trying to read through me. 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. . "But you are not doing anything wrong. "No it's ok! I swear I'm almost done now. "And I'll be happy for you. "Because you are right. that's all. Don't worry I'll make it quick" I said playing with the bottle as I was nervous."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. looking at the ice cubes rolling in his glass. I couldn't help to grin. I gave him a sad smile again. what you should do… what I should have done…What…What he should have done" I finally admitted out loud. emptying it. a lot more than I want to but I know it's not enough. Adrian head shot up looking at me surprised. Maybe. I knew Adrian inside out and he was always keeping his word. 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." "What are you going to do now?" he asked with clear worry in his voice. "I needed to talk to you before you left. "I'm sorry… truly sorry" I said looking away too now." I said with a humorless laugh. truly happy.

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

"There is a difference between dying for something you consider right or dying by pure stupidity." "Okay I'll see you guys later. honor and duty. at the end of the day. he then ran his hands in his hair as he did every time he was upset. "And throwing Avery to the face?!" He continued. "When he brought us back from Portland I thought I knew it all…" I shook my head and let out a humorless laugh. "I…" I started when Adrian reached for my wrist and led me to a quieter area without a word. to some level. "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 will get my redemption by granting Dimitri with his." . "He taught me everything." I added quietly. 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. 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. "What?! Do what?!" I asked completely lost. not after everything we've been through". nobody is invulnerable. "It was completely insane to rush into that. "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. What did you mean by that?" He asked calmer apparently deciding to drop the Avery subject for now. And…" I took a deep breath leaning against a tree. and I'm the one who has to do it. "He taught me that perfection didn't exist and that we just needed to be the best we could. Adrian looked at me thoughtful for a long moment. And that as tough as you seem to be.' "Rose I need to have a word with you. how I couldn't always be right. I thought I did a good thing by letting him go without guilt and he seemed mad. "But you said I was right. "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. She could feel the tension and wanted to escape…Traitor. By healing him or killing him but something has to be done. only wonder. "But you also have to understand that. I owe him that much. "I mean really you thought you could come in the plane kiss me. he made me who I am. mad or worried."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. 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. It was not right." I smiled fondly remembering. "I didn't want us to part like that. almost impossible plan with so many variables. It hurt me much more than I would have expected or wanted it to." Said Lissa almost running away." Was it really? I couldn't help to add to myself." I said simply. as I did feel tremendously jealous of her when he showed her this serious interest. "You had NO right to do that!" He said harshly pointing at me. how courage was not the absence of fear. He…He showed me what real bravery was. "What a stupid fool! He taught me about life." I shook my head. And if you can't understand that well…you are not the man I thought you were. love.

for me. like he knew I would take it badly. I told him to leave with Tasha for that reason. He understood that part of me that I'm not sure I even understood myself. along with me. reach this part of me that nobody else ever could. I just nodded. It was. even if it is to the price of my life because it was not a real life before I met him." He said with so much urgency that it tightened my chest." He replied not even turning back taking the way of the guest pavilion. "Always. 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." He said with a small smile. 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." he said finally looking at me again. 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. "You take care too ok?" I said to his retreating form. "I'm going away tomorrow but I'll be back. letting his lips on it a bit longer than necessary. Be safe…. My stomach rumbled again very loudly easing the tension. Adrian detailed me apparently chagrined but I was not sure what it was about. It was what he valued the most.I looked at Adrian and I could see the pain in his eyes even if he was trying his best to hide it. Maybe by the fact that I didn't love him as much as he seemed to love me. "You should go and eat Rose." Adrian nodded looking down putting his hands in his pockets. "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. "So yeah I'll save his soul. He saw some part of me that nobody else's ever did. "No…No it's all good" I said trying to sound at ease. He gave me a small smile and kissed my forehead." Adrian chuckled. 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. but in the 6 months I've known you. to some extent. You taught me so much about love and life. You are the only person that can read through my pretense. always thinking about fun and partying until I met you. "You should always tell me how you feel and …" I started to move from one foot to the other as I was uncomfortable. "To help you understand I guess you can say that you are. "But please while I'm away don't do anything stupid ok? Don't rush into anything. and still is. I always took life lightly. I am older than you. the first time that someone became more important than my fun. I know how irrational you become when you're hungry. "I promise" I said looking up." I added getting embarrassed. "So you have to understand me too Rose. my 'Dimitri'. He was…he just was. 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. . "Dimitri…Dimitri lent me his strength when I needed it and I lent him mine. I looked at him mouth wide open.

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

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

"You had potential but you keep wasting it with your attitude…" He shook his head. "So you're not drunk today?" He asked coming to stand in front of me. It hit home. It hurt bad!! Probably since Dimitri said exactly the same thing in my dream. "Old habits die hard I see?" He added with clear reprobation in the voice." He said taking an attacking stance. I was very very touchy today already and Stan Alto would be a real challenge. "Unless… Unless you know I'm going to annihilate you and you're too chicken to have it proven fair and square." I was pretty sure that pure fury crossed my face at this instant. "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." Stan laughed. It was harder than I thought and I stumbled a bit. I knew he was tempted but he was not that hot to go against school policy. He tried a sidekick but I blocked it with my forearm. I could see incertitude on his face. "Come on dude make it believable. "You are just a waste of time. teach. "Ok but don't go crying when I'll break bones novice" he said with an malicious smile.I rolled my eyes with exasperation. "Good morning to you too guardian Alto. Deal?" I asked with a teasing tone. "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. I decided. I give you a freebie" I winked. I forced a laugh. If one of us say 'enough' he loses. . really fight! No rules… no limits. 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. "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 see…your problem is jealousy" I said as we started to circle each other. "They see you as a little hero now but they'll figure out you're phony soon enough. 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. "You know what." I said going to stand at the center of the training mat. for the first time in my life. "Come on…it will be a secret I won't tell anyone. it's like fighting with a cripple " I said laughing. How does it feel to know that I'm better in my bad days than you in your best?" Stan snorted." I saw the anger increase on his face and knew I touched his soft spot. "Let's fight." I said still circling him. I would have an ugly bruise in the morning. "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. I dodged him quite easily punching his left side making him wince. not to fuel the fire. "Tell me Stan. Belikov would be so disappointed in you.

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

"Uh?" I asked coming back to reality." I laughed hiding my discomfort. "You have many members here on school ground but it would take hours to give you every name. "Stan Alto is a pretty active member. "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 shrugged dismissively. every word was true. "I'll send it back to the Court no worries. 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. and figured that his words touched me far more than I wanted them to. "Oh so they don't introduce you to each other once you joined the club?" I asked evasively. I was sure I looked drop dead gorgeous with my broken nose. "I just…Well sometime I get a bit--" "It was totally right. "The club?" "Yeah I thought that each new member of the 'I-hate-Rose-Hathaway' club was introduced to the others. "Sorry I was trying to locate Lissa. I think Adrian Ivashkov might join it very soon but wait for it" I said with an overplayed cheerful tone." He insisted. "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. 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. "Let's drop it k? I swore Abe would never find out and he never will. "I---" He started again. Even if I wanted to confide in someone Pavel would be at the bottom of the list. I was just too foolish to see it" I said opening the door of the building. "I don't hate you Hathaway" he finally let out. 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. I couldn't say what he was thinking staring down at me with his damn sunglasses.I quickly scanned Lissa's mind and was startled to find her in Adrian's room. ." "It's not for that I'm apologizing. swollen lip and dried blood all over my face and shirt. "I guess I've got my answer" grumbled Pavel beside me." I said reaching Adrian's floor. it looks worse than it is. "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. he has been for years!!" Pavel stopped to look at me." Adrian narrowed his eyes in suspicion letting me in closely followed by Pavel. 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. "Why did you guys fight?" I snorted." I said walking a bit faster to reach the guest building. "It doesn't matter anyways. "Don't worry buddy. "Honestly dude whatever.

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

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

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. but he just smiled taking off his sunglasses to look me in the eyes. "You take care of him ok?" I asked in a hiss." I added and couldn't help but chuckle when I saw the shock cross his face. "Good" I said surprised that he called me Rose. a lot more than he used to…actually a lot more than anybody else. I had a chat about Abe being my father with Lissa but honestly there were not much to be said about it. "I swear on my life and honor that I'll do anything in my power to keep him safe Rose. "Bye" I said before running back to the dorm. 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. I was hurt because he didn't even visit my dreams…not even once!! So much for loving me. "And for your eyes. Mason. Looking at his eyes was as surprising the second time around but I tried to keep my face blank. maybe because he realized that it hurt me to see both Abe and Adrian leave me. . I walked to the door but turned around just before opening it. only few people have it. getting on his high horse.He nodded resigned and reached for a paper on the table. "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. "This is my private cell number. I expected Pavel to snap at 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. Adrian and now Abe…. Christian seemed to be so receptive to me." "Of course" he said with his trademark grin. They are not freaky…they are beautiful. I still took a few minutes to talk to Pavel. 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. Dimitri. but he didn't yet. it was much more relevant to my mom and father youth than anything else. It was better anyways because I only had 30 minutes left before class and I needed to shower. "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. except a quick call from Abe three days ago to check on me. Every man I cared about always left me in a way or another." He said seriously. His phone started to vibrate on the coffee table and as he reached for it I realized the moment was over. change and grab something to eat. it has been complete silence and even if it angered me to recognize it Adrian silence was hurting far more than expected. 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. Well to be fair the two last ones told me they would be back eventually but." He said giving it to me. "Thank you" I said reaching up giving him an awkward hug. "I'll see you soon. I was still waiting on Christian to comment on it. I sighed and sat on my bed. you shouldn't hide them.

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

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

there were little initials embroidered 'D. eyes closed. Olena had such a neat. Sometime bravery is to take the . it's not that uncommon =D) Take care of you Love. trying to protect me just like Dimka would have. Rose. It was not as bad as Adrian's hieroglyphic writing but it was pretty close. clear writing but it was clear that Viktoria didn't inherit it.B. Just know that we love you and that you'll always have a home here in Baia. My eyes filled up with tears as I took the very soft warm scarf out of the package. I looked up.N: Before you can say anything i know a Russian girl whose first name is Dimka. On the bottom left.' . Oh by the way Sonya had the baby it's a little girl She was named after you and Dimitri. "Dimitri" I whispered in it. Dennis told everything to Nikolai. You were right. Olena. don't let go of a path because the others think it won't lead you anywhere. How could I ever say those things to you? I'm so sorry Rose! Please forgive me. 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. Well I had to do it eventually. I squinted my eyes trying to read it. 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 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. 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. her name is Dimka Roza Belikova. I was not sure you ever wanted to hear from me again not after…not after the horrible things I said to you. I sighed. There was an envelope with my name and I could easily recognize Viktoria writing. I hesitated for a little while. 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.Yeva and Abe explained us that you had to leave and we understand believe me. I wrapped the scarf around my neck and breathed hard. apparently I was wrong. Anyways life at school is going fine. 'Sorry' actually doesn't even beginning to express how bad I feel. I folded the scarf and cardigan very carefully and looked what was left in the box. (A. You are welcome home whenever you want to. "Wow…" I whispered looking at the letter. I'm mortified just rethinking about it. apparently you really are one of a kind (not that I ever doubted that). 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. I can't wait to start junior year to really get into bodyguard training I wish I could fight like you.

It's…it's non sense!" I added shaking my head regretting to have said I wanted him in. I was rather pleased too. Sometime bravery is to take the road to nowhere. Follow your intuition for the ultimate gift…his Soul" What did she mean? This message and my Dimitri dreams made things pretty clear. I knew only too well what having a temper made you do or say sometime. Yeva words replayed in my head over and over again 'Every tale has a part of truth in it. and to be honest. As I laid on top of the cover.. maybe we didn't spend that much time together but you took a place in our hearts and in our lives.. I couldn't stay mad at her.. try to come up with a viable plan then maybe. "We're going to have so much fun together." . 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. "Hey hey… chill Rose" he said tightening his grip on my hand causing some curious looks from the other students." I said to him in a hush tone. Eddie included. "I'm glad you did" he said grinning. don't let go of a path because the others think it won't lead you anywhere. Rhonda did tell me that I was going to destroy what was undead.It can destroy us. 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. "I accept your offer. had. not 'killed' but 'destroy'. 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. I yawned loudly.. 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. She gave me her email address. I got out of his grip and crossed my arms on my chest. And only maybe we would act." "It's serious Chris. "You told me you got some hints on where that Robert dude might be well…" he shrugged. there was a way to save his soul and I needed to find it. It was too late for me to write back. I was tired but I would do it first thing in the morning. Follow your intuition for the ultimate gift…his Soul" Whatever that means. "Maybe we can try to research first. I hope you forgive me Rose because despite what I could have said you truly are a sister to me. 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. shadow kissed. It would have to wait till tomorrow to do the research. Xoxo Vik. What did Victor say…His brother was in the land of kielland or something like that whatever that meant.road to nowhere. As we left the commons I caught Christian's hand. Maybe Mark could tell me a bit more about the abilities that us. Tomorrow was going to be a long emotional day and I needed all the rest I could get.

for being Yeva i guess. 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.. I was rushing to the guest pavilion. "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. I quickly looked at the clock on the wall.. I looked at him lips pursed. "You are honestly asking me? I mean really?" Christian chuckled and shook his head. "He was a very famous Norwegian author" he specified.. "That's what fighting partners are here for" he said elbowing me playfully." I said loosing hope. "You can count on it Ozera" I said back.. only Victor could help me out." I said sincerely as we resumed to walk." "Thank you Chris..." "Kielland…kiellan…" whispered Christian thoughtful. 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.for being well. 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. I couldn't say anything.I was not entitled to. "Kielland like in Alexander Kielland the author?" Asked Christian I gave him my best 'dude-what-the-fuck' face. It would be impossible to find a man in such a big country.000 square miles or something. we still had 10 minutes before classes started. "Well…148. "I'm sorry" I said quickly looking up my smile fading away. 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. "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. "Why did you come back?" I asked and realized the answer while I was asking the question.. "I have a free period before lunch. I had no right to be angry at him for not giving me any news in his 6 days away. when I literally ran into someone." He said with a wide grin. "Victor told me that that his brother was in the land of kielland or kiellan or something like that. I like when you and I collide. "That's alright my little dhampir. 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.746 to be exact" said Christian dismissively. "See you later Hathaway" he added taking the corridor on the left. walking into my own personal hell…Calculus. At the end of the day. "Lissa told you for Oksana?" .I wanted to hug him. I pulled Christian aside against the wall.

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

or death on my conscience. each Spirit user being more effective in certain aspect than other…it makes sense." "Go immolate yourself!" I said punching his shoulder playfully. "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." I simply said with an apologizing smile. my best friend…my sister. "It's actually very bright" said Mark ignoring the little teasing. if things turned badly." "Look at you all brainiac!" Said Christian shrugging from his position against the wall walking to sit beside me. "Maybe that's why. 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. You Oksana you can visit people mind and do many cool trick but Lissa and Adrian can barely graze thoughts. that I didn't need her as much as I used too when she needed me even more. 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…yeah. "Not bad…not bad at all!" Said Mark approvingly. "Oooo did you buy a dictionary?? Immolate?? Nice" he said with his goofy grin tousling my hair. I refused to think about the way to save Dimitri that involved too many people. "And I think it's probably right. it would be far more energy consuming for them. "Ok… but they are only working on it since like 3 days. A small part of her was scared that I was pulling away. "Maybe Lissa is supposed to be the super healer. Adrian was looking at us with sharp eyes and Lissa envied my friendship with Christian more and more. "That's completely possible. "I hope you didn't give yourself a brain hemorrhage figuring that one out. for no ulterior evil motives. "Some women find that charming!" He said with a fake offended tone. she was my Lissa." I said with a small smile looking at Lissa again. The smell was so mouth watering that I immediately guessed it was not coming from the Academy kitchen. "Yeah well sorry we're not Edward fans here… Stalker don't particularly give me the hots!" I said dismissively. "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. even after so many months of training. I added to myself. Lissa clearly her throat to attract our attention. " Maybe we need to combine all these aspects to save--. that Lissa still can't dream walk and maybe she will only be able to do it for short period or stuff like that." I added on a humorous note. I didn't want to have too many lives. At this moment there was a knock at the lounge door and some waiting staff came in with some food.I started to think but stopped almost straight away.can do it of course but she put way less effort than you into it. the probability of death being pretty high. I had already too many. . 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." said Christian casually leaning against the wall by the door. 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." And thank god for that. Oksana the super mind reader and Adrian the dream walker well the creepy stalker really." I said looking at him now.

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

I'll need you to step aside. Crazy old Alice as a feeder today. "What?" I asked not able to hide my trouble.She gave me a small smile." "Good good. Since the danger is getting closer. removing hair from her neck. Blood was blood. "If one day I tell you to stay aside. "Whenever you want princess. no questions but I'll make my way back too you always. "I love you too Rose" she whispered." "What does he want?" I asked trying to sound detached but I could almost make her answer in my head 'you. "Also you need to know that…'' I cleared my throat not really knowing how to say that. she was wondering why I would ask her something like that and I had planned something too dangerous. Not now or in a million year. they won't leave without what he wants." I said more urgently. . he wants you' But instead Alice eyes almost went blank. She smiled looking at Lissa." When Lissa was done with her feeding we stayed quiet for a little while lost in our thought." Lissa looked at me without a word. "Guardian or not." I smiled. "The danger is getting closer and closer. "Always Alice. The army is being raised. "I can take care of myself. We're friends and I care about him very much but…'' I smiled a goofy smile. 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. my sister and nothing or nobody could ever change that ok?" Lissa nodded again. "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." Lissa froze and I looked down to meet Alice half gone gaze. "Good" I said taking her hand leading her in the commons to the feeders. "But who is keeping you safe?" I snorted. "It's true that Christian and I share something. "So Rose keeping Lissa safe?" She asked me as Lissa sat beside her in the cubicle. "Please Lissa you have to trust me on that. Silly girl! Then I thought of my future crazy plans and the smile I had vanished. "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. Lissa got Alice. Even closer than you think it is. You are my Lissa. "He will always be the sarcastic smartass with an attitude." I said scanning the room." Lissa seemed to ponder that for an eternity. Christian always enjoyed having her and Lissa didn't mind that much either." Lissa hugged me tightly and I could feel the relief coming from her. "I promise" she finally said realizing how much faith she had in me. not to follow me. you need to be ready…Keep her safe by keeping yourself alive.

Well we were far from being buddies or anything but we were not on each other throat anymore. "You know what let me just figure all it out." "Thank you." I said uncomfortable. 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. "Go to your room Liss. nodded to Stan and left." He said grimacing. "Rose can I have a word with you please?" asked Stan pretty cordially seeing us leave the commons. "Is there something wrong?" He asked pointing to the Moroi dorm." "Don't mention it. "Anyways…. "Tomorrow? Training?" . Maybe that fight did help ease some tension between us." "Yeah it's about your practice exams. security around campus needed to be increased or I needed to leave campus and make it common knowledge…Yeah!! That could be the solution. "But Alice is crazy right?" "Yeah she is but…" I shrugged."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." I said trying to sound far more confident than I actually felt. 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. Stan was not one to thank people and me in particular. She seemed to calm down.that's the general idea yeah. Dimitri was as much as a badass alive or undead and if he wanted in I knew he could do it. We were now a lot more cordial to each other. I needed to warn the guardians soon enough that Dimitri was on his way." "Soon?" "I'll keep you posted" I shrugged dismissively. "Honestly whatever. it's almost curfew anyways I promise we'll figure something in the morning. I'll come out with a plan. She hugged me. Lissa did find him at the gym after our fight and healed him no question asked. I looked at her till she entered the Moroi dorms before concentrating on Stan. "That's…." "Yeah?" "Of course!" I said trying to reassure her. "What can I do for you guardian Alto?" I asked as politely as I could. "Not yet…but maybe soon. If you guys think it's for the best.

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

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

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

He believed me. "That's not good" I whispered looking down at my feet. even before. "Do you know if he is already here?" Andre shook his head negatively. Dimitri was raising an army to come. 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. "Uh who would have thought that death would suit him…" Adrian chuckled "He was such an ass when he was alive. "ANYWAYS" I said concentrating my attention on Andree again. older than him. 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. they probably met a lot during the officials parties and stuff. He was already deadly by himself. 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. when they all doubted of my ability to see ghosts he never questioned my mental health. no judgment. "Love?" Andre nodded. while injured!! . "Will you help me?" Andre nodded. I nodded giving him a quick smile. I couldn't help to wonder why he was still here. I…" I turned around and looked at Adrian who was looking from me to the apparent empty spot in front of me. "Not here" he mouthed. he fought an household full of Strigoi." I said feeling the blush on my cheeks.Andre nodded apparently accepting the task without even thinking about it. "To some extent I guess. There was only curiosity in his eyes. "Did he agree?" Asked Adrian inquisitively. "I need them to be safe. "Is he coming alone?" I asked dreading the answer. "But he is getting closer right?" Andre nodded. I was rather pleased now that Adrian couldn't see ghosts. Well it was not like he risked that much by accepting anyways. " '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. He then seemed to realize that Andre could hear him. Andre looked at me for a second and the look on his face gave me his answer before he even shook his head. "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." Andre looked at Adrian thoughtful." Adrian was only a year older than Andre. I let out an heavy breath of relief.

"OK I'll come back out in two days. as we had to organize everything while starting to take our final exams.. "So?" Asked Adrian and I walked back to him." Andre gave me another small smile. The next few days were pretty extreme. I understood now that trying to talk was draining a lot of energy from the ghosts. "Honestly it will only confuse Lissa to know that Andre is still around.I looked up again and nodded." Adrian narrowed his eyes suspiciously. Thank you. And pointing to the Academy and to his heart. "It's a war right? He is coming with an army?" "Yes…I'm sorry" whispered Andre sadly before he started to flicker. "Oh by the way I would like to keep this little meeting a secret if you don't mind. "Okay." 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. so good to have someone who had faith in you. Victor and me who would go retrieve Robert from Norway a few days before graduation. 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.. "Plus there is no point to tell the others either as Andre didn't really say anything that we didn't already know. Abe phoned me a couple of time in order to find out how the plan was advancing. In another scenario. I knew what he said didn't stand on anything concrete but it was good to hear." I kept my eyes on Andre now not wanting Adrian to see my distress. it means that he is not at peace. "Okay we'll keep it to ourselves until he comes up with essential info. Do you think she needs to know something like that in the present situation? She is still pretty weakened by the whole Avery mess. That's okay we'll be ready." 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. We decided that it would be Pavel. the break up and the Dimitri's situation. if I did manage to take down Dimitri. one of the secret service agent (passing for one of Abe guardian). "Everything will be alright my little dhampir" he said wrapping an arm around my shoulder kissing my forehead. "Well." Andre grimaced showing me that I was clearly underestimating this venue. "I know you love her…I'll keep her safe I promise." I put my ring back. It's not that good but…" I shrugged "at least he is not in the US…yet. 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. "I know you are. "More secrets Rose? Really?" He clacked his tongue reprovingly." "Yeah I guess" he conceded. ." I said sincerely." Andre nodded and disappeared. 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. with the situation ahead. "Thank you.

She wanted first line…she was just as stupid as I was!! "Well the guy who is in love with her. We were all confined in Adrian's bedroom where we had charts. "You'll need someone very good at compulsion. "It's almost as widely known as the fact that oxygen is essential for us to breath. at least for now. 'crazy religious bigots' in our plan but he agreed. Lissa wanted to hit her for mentioning that other option." "Well if it's a human prison almost any Moroi would do" said Eddie with a slight shrug. "So we have the trip to Norway. "So compulsion is needed isn't it?" Asked Lissa and I could feel her excitation increasing. it was our plan. I heard Lissa mutter a small cursed under her breath making me laugh. I'm sort of cocky enough to think we can pull it off and…and well what she said" he added pointing to Oksana. He was looking around in a 'yeah-what-else-is-new' kind of way." Said Christian looking at the prison blueprints." "And that Christian is a sarcastic smart mouth that can't shut it." I asked looking at Adrian for confirmation.I also asked Abe to see with the alchemist if they had any kind of potions that could help with the war ahead." We all looked at Oksana agape. Firstly I'll need to trust someone greatly to tell him/her my plan and well… I do have some serious trust issue. Well. Christian snorted again. "I'm a spirit user. "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 didn't want Lissa to get involved too much either. He didn't sound too pleased to involve the. He nodded. and I quote. 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." 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. blue prints and photos. 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. "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. "That's actually not a bad idea" said Adrian raising an eyebrow. "Well not really" I said reluctantly as I didn't want to give arguments toward Lissa's option. "Victor is very bright. 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." I added feeling embarrassed for Adrian but he actually didn't seem embarrassed at all. "Believe me no secrets here" he said shaking his head. Only the high judicial council and the Queen know about our plan right?. "And who is better than your best friend?!" asked Lissa literally marveling now." "I know that…" I said biting my bottom lip looking at the big chart we had on the wall. "Plus we need to pass the guardians anyways. I kept her involvement to a strict minimum. compel people or talk to ghosts. and even if I could feel the huge disapproval coming from her." I said thoughtfully. "Now we need to figure something out to keep up the pretense for the prison evasion." Answered Oksana matter-of-factly pointing to Adrian. "I mean… he is not an idiot. . "Usually it's the people in love who are doing the stupidest most radical things.

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

"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?"

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

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

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

I got out of Lissa's head and realized silent tears were falling down my cheeks. He knew that it would never happen." She said almost whining. See you later. "Never mind. perfect and human" "Who?" I asked confused. "Since when do I follow rules?" I asked rhetorically. If she wasn't sure by now. I turned around and smiled at her. that nobody could take her place in my heart. She was silly of course but it would have been pointless to tell her."I had no choice" said Adrian in a hushed tone. "I…I need to talk with Oksana. Sydney was looking at me quietly with concern all over her face. I rolled my eyes but she didn't see it. "You know Rose as well as I do. "But we've spent the whole day with them…the whole week really. Chapter 14: "Where are you going?" Asked Sydney already in bed. "Pita? It's some kind of bread right. reluctantly following me to Adrian's room. "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. there wasn't much I could say to convince her. 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. you know how much Belikov means to her." "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. 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. But it was true that Lissa was very jealous of me having another girl friend. pretty much. "But it's past curfew. "Peeta is loving. Christian even called her my 'creepy shadow' because she was always glued to me." I said evasively tightening my training shoes. 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." Said Sydney and I knew she was just saying that because she was not comfortable to stay by herself." She shrugged "Don't sweat it Rose. "I can try to keep her safe." I could hear the loud intake of air. "Are you ok?" She asked uncomfortably. I added to myself. she will choose him and you--" "I'm irrelevant" he said quickly." She sighed. I could never choose anyone over Dimitri and the resignation in his voice hurt me. that she was my best friend. I've got company" she said nudging her book. I nodded quietly. "Yeah… I'll be better in the morning." "But have you considered the possibility that it might work and if it does. "Lissa…Lissa is my best friend. to stop her from doing something that would destroy everything…destroy her. yet again." I simply said. "And night seems to be the only time." ." I just hate hurting the guy that owns only enough of my heart to hurt us both. "I need to have a word with her in private" I said before Sydney did even get the chance to get out of bed. "I'll be back soon I promise.

When I made it to Oksana and Marks' room I got a little uncomfortable to disturb them. Power always corrupted people." I said simply walking out. "Please come in!" I walked in and found Oksana sat at the table with her usual herbal tea. were almost seen as guardians now. the fire and all that. "Miss Hathaway…It's past curfew" said the matron as I reached the exit. it was useless to try to have a secret."Yeah. Lissa was happy enough to use it every once in a while. and even if we parted about 4 hours ago. I jogged as discreetly as possible to the guest dorms because. It was funny how him and Oksana were always happy to see me . 'Private' included Mark as she was even more linked to him than Lissa and I were so. We were right in the middle of the exams. "Make it fast" she simply said concentrating on her magazine again. "I guess…" she said warily. Mark opened the door almost immediately. I knocked quietly enough so they wouldn't hear it if they were sleeping. "I'm intrigued now. "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. I was slightly above the rules. 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. 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. "I needed to talk to you in private" I said sitting in front of her.I felt like I was their adopted kid or something. I could see that his pleasure was genuine. "Oh really?" she said raising an eyebrow. The healing ring. Plus. even if some of the guardians and Moroi on service were more easy on me. It smelled terrible and tasted even worse but it helped her channel her energy. "Rose!" He said as a big smile spread on his face. He was not even in PJs yet. "I know but it's important" I said head high locking eyes with her to show that I wasn't joking around. 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. She wouldn't let me go without exactly knowing why. Oksana just drank 1/8th of the dose and she was powerful enough to take me into Christian mind without burning energy." "Yeah…" said Oksana trailing off. They were a couple and…oh Hell. "So you see Andre told me today that Dimitri just arrived to Alaska right. Adrian. . and us novice. as I already noticed earlier." They nodded "and I was thinking…Magic does influence Strigoi to some level. I looked at both of them and decided to play it straight. "Hey Rose!!" Said Oksana with the same big smile as Mark. I didn't want to run into my mother. "Okay I wanted to know if you could enter Dimitri's mind" I blurt out.

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

"So you want us to implant that memory and try to influence him into calling you?" She summarized." "So…It's tomorrow!" Said Oksana. "So he will call the Academy you think?" Mark asked.. "You'll have to guide me to his mind Rose. I nodded. "I want him to think he promised to support me and wish me luck the morning of the Gladiators' day." She said taking my hands. "And I know Dimitri. "Yeah it's the last physical exams for the dhampirs." She jugged her bottom lip and shrugged slightly. I didn't want to sound full of myself but I knew I was his only weakness now. "Why not…. to tell me how he was keeping his promise.. "If it worked he will yeah. it was a moment where connected…. it will amuse him to torture me like that "I added not able to conceal the pain in my voice. it was painful to remember our happy moments." "So you want to see if we can temper with his memory?" She asked me wearily.yeah if it works." "Gladiators' day?" Asked Oksana confused. "As for a link to him well…I'm the best bet. I don't know him. "It's like the most important of them all." Oksana took the little bottle containing the gold color potion and drank half of it." I sighed with relief." "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. The only thing that was still keeping him attached. I'm probably the only thing that could still affect him. 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. Moreover. "Can you get me the little bottle with the rest of potion?" Mark nodded and squeezed my shoulder as he passed behind me. I almost forgot he was here." My voice became thicker.worth the try. "Well you pick your favorite…I never tried to enter the mind of Strigoi before and you told me that Dimitri was very powerful. there is nothing to link me to him. "I… exactly. Oksana reached for my hand and squeezed it. "Ok…We can try. ." She finally conceded. when he held me captive." She looked at Mark. It's worth about 80% of your physical training. It was about 3 times more than what she drank for the Christian experiment. "Maybe. two weeks before graduation. I looked at her hopeful. "And how do I do that?" I asked suddenly worried that I would fail." Said Mark coming back to sit beside me. He seemed to make a point of it. if he had this memory he would contact me. And they'll transfer him to my cell."Why?!" She snorted. "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." I pointed at myself. He will want to keep this promise he made to me.

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

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

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

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

I…" I sighed and went to sit beside her. I sighed and rolled my eyes but didn't comment. probably not really sleeping getting ready for their own plane very early in the morning to go to Lissa's cabin." I sighed in capitulation. dangerous or not. I quickly stopped by the Moroi dorm and took Christian over to Lissa's room in order to say goodbye to them. 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. "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. and once you knew our little group enough. "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. Mark and Oksana were. "I see…" She said nodding." She narrowed her eyes slightly with suspicion but relaxed almost immediately. no matter what. They trusted my judgment but couldn't help being worried about what was about to happen. He quickly glanced to Lissa to show me that he understood. "Always" he said and I could hear the underlying emotion in his voice. We needed the daylight as a weapon to get Victor out of Jail. and I quote. "Yeah but that's the point. "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. "And you be safe ok? Nothing is worth you being . 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. "You take care ok?" I asked locking eyes with Christian for him to understand I meant 'you take care of her'. you're my friend and I want to be there. I was stubborn but I was no match to Sydney and I knew that. She didn't want me to change my mind and send her away." She nodded "I know and it's all good. even if none of us worded our fears and doubts out loud. 'kind of ok to hang around' which was. The others would spend the night at the Academy. 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. one hell of a compliment! Today we were all tense on different levels. Abe's plane would be here tonight to pick me up along with Adrian and Eddie. for Sydney. She just smiled. 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." "It's reckless and stupid you know that right?" I asked more rhetorically than anything else. "Everything will be alright you know" I said with a sad smile. It was too late to do that anyways. you could see what the main concerns were. 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. 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. I promise. I'm just trying to protect you Syd. "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.She looked at me silently for a minute and I could see anger and rejection in her face. Sydney was on board now.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

and it will all end then. As I started to nibble on the crackers I found. trying to open my eyes. The golden couple was finally back together having their happy ending. After months and months of speculations." He pointed to the back of the plane. it wasn't the case. When it's done. It was like my eyes lids weighted 200 pounds. "Where are Victor and GI Joe?" ." He said evasively. I felt better after phoning Lissa at the cabin and she announced that Eddie and Adrian made it back safely. Things were starting to get back to the way they were supposed to be. I groaned. It couldn't…wouldn't fail. I looked around. Rose Angel wake up I heard Adrian call me and my eyes shot up with surprise. It seemed I was barely asleep when the alarm clock beeped. Based on Andre calculation. "I was about to wake you" said Pavel. Maybe I would get mine too I thought before falling asleep. if I make it." he barked. 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. I just got dressed when Pavel knocked at my door. I felt like a kid who wanted to make friends with someone who didn't want to. "Promiscuity is never good. I was replaying the plan in my head over and over again. 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. Victor shared a room with Arch and Pavel and I got to sleep in a room by myself. "We should land in about 30 minutes. "Where are we?" I asked the voice still full of sleep. I looked around but only saw Victor reading a magazine and Pavel who was keeping a sharp eye on him. 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. "Hathaway time to go. Well.' "Whatever…" I said stupidly hurt. Adrian? Is that you? I thought feeling idiotic but with everything that was going on maybe telepathy was possible but no. 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. 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. in three days I would be face to face with Dimitri. since nobody replied. "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." "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. I realized that we crossed more steps now.I smiled settling more comfortably on my seat. I started to imagine how things would happen from now on. "I bet you can find something to eat in there.

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

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

" "OK let me summarize. 'I will so kick your butt if you make me leave now' "I think it is. I didn't think I fooled him. could you give us a moment?" I asked looking at Pavel." I repeated as coolly as I could. "I don't really think it's a good idea Hathaway. "Your light will be in the darkness. The more it will stay there." "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 shrugged "I know it's dangerous. "I'm going to go in the soundproof cockpit to see where we are. An eternity of wandering…that was an heavy price to pay. the more it will turn dark till the day it won't even remember it wanted to get back. You know--" he started and then stopped looking from Victor to me. It seemed like he didn't care what would happen to me and." I said like it wasn't a big deal. "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. I could see it was one of his silent conversation and of course I didn't receive anything." "So…what didn't you want mister 'big shot' to hear?" asked Victor with humor. "What if I have a guide?" I asked remembering how Andre pointed the entrance of the hole to me. Robert gave me a sad smile. "The hole your brother talked about is the land of dead. "Uh…" said Victor and I'll be damned I saw a flash of worries in his eyes. "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." I said as calmly as I could even if my heart was beating so hard in my chest it hurt. . in fact I like that honesty. "Fine" he said through clenched teeth. "Please. if I don't find the exit?" I asked trying to hide my fear and apprehension. "And you can get in?" "The brave soul she has will have to" said Robert answering the question. I send my soul in so my body is in a sort of coma. "That's the general idea. "I need some privacy with them please."You know about the hole…you need to go inside to---" Started Victor but I raised my hand to stop him. "The land of dead…" Victor nodded. "But once she is in…she has to get out." he said trying to sound detached but I could see that what he meant was. 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." He took a deep breath. "What?" He asked completely stunned taking off his glasses to lock eyes with me. "I understand why you wanted him out" he said pointing to the seat where Pavel was before." Said Victor coolly.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

" "So every soul that is here has--" "Yeah something to accomplished or feel like it. I closed my eyes tightly and envisioned the Chapel. When I opened my eyes this time. Trying to understand the mime was tiring. head down. he found peace there. on the back pews. "No he is not really religious it's just…he liked to go there. I was in the middle of the small living room. "Ok…close your eyes and visualize it." He shook his head." "But is the chapel. real in that world?" Andre shrugged "I don't think so. "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. "Very pretty sure?" He tried with a wink. "Siberia it is" said Andre squeezing my hand. "After a while I just noticed that I couldn't. Everything was in black and white but there were no spirit…no Dimitri at least." Andre grimaced. "Well I couldn't move on before making sure that you guys handled it then…then I got worried as Lissa grew. When I opened my eyes. "Where next?" "Baia…His mothers' house." "Dimitri…" I whispered. eyes wide. hearing his voice was like a vacation. remembering where I was. As I told you in that reality spirits only see what they want to see but I'm pretty sure that. "It's ok" Andre chuckled 'believe me. didn't want to leave. "Anyways let's concentrate on the problem ahead." "And yet here you are. Everything was there." " 'Pretty sure'?" I groaned." Said Andre securing his grip to my hand."But why didn't you move on?" I asked curiously." I said truly impressed." I said closing my eyes and tightening my grip on Andre's hand. lets say. you'll see each other.." There and in my arms I added to myself. unstable. we were in the chapel. "Religious dude?" I smile sadly.. "Damn!" I shouted before pursing my lips. standing in front of the altar. like. "The ultimate help. "Well I was thinking about the Academy chapel first. I even saw Dimitri. ." He sighed. if you both want to see the same thing. but seeing it in different shades of grey made it cold and impersonal…maybe that's what 'purgatory' was all about. 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. Now that he was a talking ghost I rather liked asking the questions." He smile "Maybe I will be able to move on now.In a chapel in the freaking Purgatory.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

" "As I love you" he whispered in my hair. "Rose…" He took two quick strides to stand just in front of me. "You know that it's not because I don't love you right? I love you more than I thought was possible. don't put your life on hold because I'm not here." "I know…" I said in a breath. It was hard to be rational when you felt abandoned. "Go to your friends Rose. It was the first time that kissing Dimitri was actually hurting me. It was like saying 'I will probably not come back so don't hold your breath and just move on' . you'll always be in my mind. "Your friends are probably looking for you" said Dimitri tightening his grip around me." He kissed the top of my head. "It is indeed" he said finally turning around." 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. I didn't even notice the quiet tear that escape my eyes before he softly dried it with the pad of his thumb. "I…" I looked at him confused before looking around. "Yeah well I needed to reach the majority and my experience with life today is a bit peculiar. "I'll come back. He brought his cool hand on my neck making me shiver like every time his skin touched mine. but I needed to keep the appearances. "I'm going to miss you. I kissed his chest. I sighed closing the distance between our two bodies resting my forehead on his chest. it was…It was important for me. I wanted to kick him like each time he was saying that." . I didn't look up. 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. I knew it was what he felt he had to do but it still hurt me. for neither of us. "I love you. He nodded slowly. I could see the love and hurt in his eyes but I could also see his guilt. "Already?" I asked trying to keep my voice from shaking as a lump formed in my throat." I said instead. "It just not enough right now." He said locking his eyes on the bag too. you know that" he said and I could hear the profound sadness in his voice. keeping my eyes leveled on his chest." He said now resting his cheek on the top of my head. My eyes locked on the beige duffle bag on the floor. "But you should continue to live your life Rose." I said hurt. "I just needed to see you graduate Roza. He sighed again reaching for his bag." He too a deep breath and lift my face with his forefinger. they love you. remorse and haunting memories. I kept my eyes on it silently like if I stared to it long enough it would just disappear. it was not like I could change anything anyways. No shit Sherlock! I thought bitterly. "I'm leaving now. You did that enough. I said to myself. I stiffened in his arms. "Yeah you're right you better go. almost painfully like it was probably the last kiss we'll ever have.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.

"He'll be back soon anyways.I nodded hoping that the feeling of his lips against mine would linger for the length of his absence. "How are you doing Rose?" He asked and the solicitude in his voice made my heart tighten.for now. too silent. When he stepped put the little door beside the huge iron gates and turned right after the guard post. "but you can't fool me. 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'll miss you more" I whispered once the door closed behind him. since Dimitri and I announced them he would be going away for a while. I know you are not fine." "I did" he said simply. I let out a sound that surprised me. "We're all expecting you downstairs. We stayed silent a bit longer. I won't say it's not a bit hard to watch him go but I understand why he has to do it. However." I turned slowly and locked eyes with him silently. the remaining part of my heart broke in a million pieces. it gets more credible every time you say it. 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 appreciated him just being here silently. instead of going down to the party." I looked at him agape. 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. After was could have been mere minutes or an hour I heard light footsteps coming my way but I didn't move." "Oh yeah I forgot… you could see it in my aura" I said not able to contain the cold edge in my voice. "You are not fine Rose. I repeated that speech so many times in my head that I even started to believe it myself. I can see it in your eyes. "How? If the other can't…how can you?" . "I'm doing fine. I forced a smiled and eyed him quickly before returning my attention on the window again. I was just not enough. "Yeah I heard that speech a couple of times before but I have to give it to you. maybe you can fool the others" he shrugged his left shoulder cocking his head to the side. Adrian stayed silent. I kept my eyes locked on the gates even if he was gone now.. I walked to the other side of the building.." I nodded still looking out. it was half way from a groan and a cry. "Rose?" Asked Adrian walking slowly in the room. "No." I shrugged." I added as I had a little stabbing pain in my chest. I was about to serve him the well prepared speech that I had been giving them for the past two weeks. without even a look behind. "But you knew that already. ""He left" I said keeping my voice as steady and void of emotion that I could. "I'll miss you" he said before turning around walking slowly to the back building staircase.

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

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

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