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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"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?"

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

she was probably trying to conceal her emotions. "I'll come back mom. "You know about tomorrow…" I said trailing off. My mom had been a lot harder to convince. "What about it?" She asked sitting on her bed." I said shaking my head as remembering this intimate moment with my mother brought tears in my eyes. meeting a deadly Strigoi while I stay here…safe at the Academy??" She shook her head angrily."What does that mean Rose?" She asked with concerned." Said Sydney as I was getting ready for what could be my last day at the Academy. "I… Yeah. The next week was really crazy as we were putting the final touches to our plan. "It will be dangerous…VERY dangerous" I said sitting on my own bed so we faced each other. She sighed. the odds are in our favor. from now on. Lissa probably did 'help' a bit there but I wasn't sure and I didn't want to ask. She knew I was right but it didn't mean she had to like the idea and I could see that she hated it. . "No I know you're not. "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. I hugged her tightly. "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. "With you there. "Do you really think I'll let you go there. it's just…" I took a deep breath. "It means that. Oksana drank a full potion this time and made sure the memory was really well implanted in Dimitri's mind." "But it's different this time I won't be alone and…and Victor knows how serious you are about the rules. she wanted to come." She said trying to sound just very sure but her voice was huskier." "Good. Kirova didn't mind letting us leave for a week since there were no exams left or anything like that. "I got it Rose I'm not that stupid!" She said somehow offended that I mentioned something that evident." "You better…or else" she said hugging me back fiercely. She was pretty poised so it made us all confident. I promise." She said simply turning around to go back to sleep. "You need to be careful Rose" she said sighing heavily." I said sincerely. "You can go home now" I said gently. "You have to understand that I can't lose you ok? I… I just can't allow that to happen…ever. "Think again Rose!!" "I won't be in danger Ma" I said soothingly. it will be impossible to fool him. 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. Now win or lose…there were no turning back. She didn't want to let me go alone. "Earth to Rose.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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