I stood there watching the window. I knew our intel was sound, we finally had a solid location. We've know about it for a few weeks, but red tape and planning had held us back until this moment. Now, standing in the cool air of the Portland autumn, I waited. We were biding our time until the right moment to extract them.
Despite the stillness of it all, I felt my blood pumping, my heart beating faster than it had in months. My new life, the one I had been living for the past year, was dull. It wasn't exactly what I had trained for but orders were orders. Being back in the field made me feel alive again.
I stood in the shadows, near one of the tall trees lining the road. I had a perfect vantage point on their window and was relaying information as we planned our next move. There were others in the apartment, and the paperwork of getting Alchemists involved was a nightmare. It would be easier to draw them out than to storm in. At this time of night however, that was unlikely.
A frantic scream and some rustling in the target room focused my attention. It was faint, but still audible to me and a few members of my team. Even in the early morning darkness, I saw a shadow cross the window. Instinctively, I reached for the cold handle of the weapon at my belt. As the lead on this mission, it was my call to rush in. An attack by a greater enemy was not something to ignore, but something stopped me from taking action. Despite the girl's scream, I didn't feel like there was an immediate threat. The screaming had stopped, though I could pick up the sounds of conversation. I noted the position of a few colleagues and gestured for them to stand down. They obeyed, trusting my judgment.
A moment later, a lamp illuminated the room. A young lady with dark hair stood in next to the window in full view. From the files, I knew this had to be Rose Hathaway. She may not be our primary target, but it was a good indicator that Vasilisa Dragomir was near by. Rose was speaking to someone out of view, presumably Vasilisa. Suddenly, with the flick of her dark hair, a second figure appeared in the window. This time a pale, tall, blonde. She was facing Rose, who had her back to us. She was easy to identify.
I casually shifted my head to speak into the radio system. "Target confirmed. Wait for..."
Vasilisa bent over her companion, mouth pressed against Rose's neck. To unsuspecting eyes, it seemed like a kiss. The truth was more disturbing but no less intimate. Rose tilted her head back, no doubt in response to the flood of endorphins filling her system.
My companions and I turned away from the sight. Some were silent, others murmured in disgust. My initial reaction to the taboo morphed into something close to admiration. While it went against every custom in our society, Rose was ensuring Vasilisa's life. She was protecting her friend, even at the cost of her own strength, her own reputation. Not many of us watching her would do the same.
It took only a moment before the blonde hair pulled back. Faintly, I could see blood staining her lips. Vasilisa turned and left the room as Rose leaned against the bed for support. Suddenly, Rose stood and looked out the window. At that moment, one of the street lamps near by that had been dark suddenly flickered to life. The sudden change was enough to grab her attention, and to spot my now exposed position.
She locked eyes on me and I pulled back slowly, avoiding direct eye contact. I hoped that she thought I was simply a late partying college student who just happened to walk by. No threat. At only 24, it was a plausible theory for my presence near the college campus. I wasn't so lucky.
She step back from the window, hastily grabbing a few items before leaving the room. This was it, they were going to run. If we lost them now, who knew when we'd find them again.
I spoke into the radio one more, "This is it team, we make our move. I want to know as soon as they exit the house."
Within a minute, I heard the crackle of another voice coming through, "Sir, they exited through the front, heading east towards Brown."
I reassembled my team, planning to surround the girls and block off their exits. I was positioned ahead of them to halt their escape, with others waiting to close them off from behind. No force should be needed.
I spotted them almost instantly. The sight was almost comical if it hadn't been so serious. Vasilisa, barefoot, seemed to be the only thing supporting Rose as they fled. Typically you would expect the exact opposite. Rose eyed my direction several times; she was making a beeline for the green Honda I was positioned behind.
When they were about ten feet from me, I stood and stepped out into the open. The girls both stopped, momentarily stunned. On cue, the other men stepped into view, blocking off all points of escape. Rose briefly glanced at them then returned her focus to me. I don't know if she pegged me for the group's leader, the largest threat (my height and stature would indicate such), or simply the only thing standing between her and her escape vehicle, but one thing was for certain, she eyed me with a fierce determination. She wasn't going down without a fight.
She was weak, out numbered, and under-trained for what she seemed ready to take on. However, she protectively pushed Vasilisa behind her. "Leave her alone," her voice was almost a growl, "don't touch her."
I calmly took a step towards them, keeping my face blank and hands visible to show her that I meant no harm. "I'm not going to-"
She sprang towards me. It was an elementary move, but one I hadn't anticipated from the weakened girl. I underestimated her. My surprise wasn't enough to keep me from countering such a clumsy maneuver. She was weaker than I anticipated, and my simple block sent her staggering. She lost her footing and began to fall. Just as quick as my initial movement, I caught her forearm, keeping her upright.
She met my eyes with a glare before I noticed the marks at her neck. Once again, I was stunned at the lengths she was willing to go to protect her friend. Not only with what I witnessed through that window, but also how she bravely charged into what she must have known would be a losing battle. She was already willing to put her life down if it meant Vasilisa had a few moments to escape, to live. I met her eyes one more. I saw the fire behind them. I admired that. She had potential to become a great Guardian. I only hoped that there was still a chance for her.
When she noticed what I had been staring at, she touched wound and her blood stained her finger tips. She brushed her hair to cover the marks before jerking away from my grip. I let her go. She would have been easy to restrain, but the fight she seemed ready to resume left me speechless. She braced for the next move when a pale hand reached out to grasp hers.
"Rose," the feminine voice was barely a whisper, "don't."
As if encouraged by some unseen force, Rose relaxed her stance. It wasn't exactly sign of defeat, in as much as a resignation. I watched her for a moment longer to be sure that she wouldn't strike again, before I focused on the one behind her. I remembered protocol and custom: bowing as a sign of respect.
"My name is Dimitri Belikov," their eyes widened, no doubt in response to my Russian accent since they had no reason to recognize my name. "I've come to take you back to St. Vladimir's Academy, Princess."
~*~ Authors Note ~*~
Thanks for reading!
I've been obsessed with reading other versions of the VA books from Dimitri's POV, and ideas for my own version have been floating around in my head for a while now. Some of my writing (specifically, insight into Dimitri's personality) is inspired from others who have written similar stories, but I intend to make this version my own.
I hope to update frequently, andI welcome any comments you might have!
I own nothing but appreciate the inspiration of Richelle Mead, her characters, and her story.