She slowly took a step, afraid of what lied ahead. She rounded the corner, finding (what used to be) a glamorous ballroom.
"Oh," she whispered, "I remember now." Anastasia slowly descended the stairs, stopping at the top of the middle staircase. She could have sworn she heard people talking, but she wasn't sure. The palace had been abandoned for years. Well, ever since Dmitri and Vlad left a few years ago.
"Anastasia!" Dmitri shouted. She glanced up warily at the ceiling. A creak sounded from above her, which made her worry.
"Dmitri!" Anastasia turned to find him standing at the top of the stairs. "Come dance with me!" She giggled as she pulled her husband down the stairs.

"You know I can't dance," he sighed, his brown hair resting against his forehead.
"You can waltz!" Anastasia exclaimed, pulling her red hair back in a ponytail.
"Alright, one dance." Dmitri shook his head, glancing around the ballroom. "To think, I used to live here."
"As did I," the young woman smiled, spinning around. Her husband laughed, placing a hand on her waist. They held hands, Anastasia placing her other hand on his shoulder.

Dmitri counted to himself, the same three numbers over and over. One, two, three. One, two, three.
"Dmitri, are you alright?" Anastasia questioned, allowing her ice blue eyes to meet his hazel ones.
"Yes, of course. Why wouldn't I be?" Dmitri responded.
"I don't know," Anastasia sighed. "You seem distracted."
"I thought I heard something, that's all."

The red head nodded, smiling at him.
"I love you, Dmitri."
"I love you as well," he smiled, kissing her forehead. The couple stopped spinning, laughing. Another creak came from above them.

"Did you hear that?" Dmitri whispered. Anastasia nodded in response. "What did it sound like to you?"
"Footsteps," she murmured quietly. The young man nodded, glancing up at the ceiling.
"I don't want you to follow me," he mumbled, pecking her lips.
"What is someone is down here too?" She glanced up at him. He sighed before taking her hand in his. The two ascended the stairs on the other side of the ballroom, Anastasia giving Dmitri's hand a light squeeze.

"It'll be alright," he whispered. Anastasia still had a bad feeling about it.
"Dmitri!" she shouted as a man appeared at the end of the hall, a gun in his hand.
"Go, go, go!" Dmitri desperately tried to get Anastasia out of harms way. The man had shot the gun before Dmitri had a chance to get Anastasia down the stairs, leaving one of them wounded. He was thankful it was him, not her.

Anastasia rushed to get him down the stairs and out of the palace. Upon entering the streets of St. Petersburgh, she looked around, trying to find another human being. She didn't know where the hospital was, seeing as she grew up in an orphanage away from St. Petersburgh, but she did know where a lot of people would be gathered. The city center, the best place to find both people and the daily rumors. When they entered the city center, a man came up to them, offering to help them to the hospital.
"Thank you, sir," Anastasia whispered. The stranger nodded, picking Dmitri up, much to his protest. The young woman scurried behind the tall man, following him to the large building. She took a deep breath in an attempt to calm her nerves as they entered the building.
"This man needs a doctor! He's been shot!" The man called out.

Almost immediately, a doctor appeared.
"Follow me," he muttered, leading them down a long hallway. "We will have to do surgery to remove the bullet, but other than that, it will be a quick recovery. Are either of you related to him?"
"I'm his wife," Anastasia spoke, her eyes filled with tears.
"Alright, is he allergic to anything such as morphine?"
"Not that I know of."
"Good. That will make the surgery less painful," he mumbled.

It was at that moment Dmitri came to his senses.
"What's going on?" He glanced warily at Anastasia.
"It's alright, it'll be alright," she whispered, kissing his forehead. "I'll explain later, okay?"
"Okay," Dmitri whispered.

"Anastasia!" She stood, walking over to where the doctor stood.
"Good or bad?" She nervously fiddled with her necklace.
"Good. He's sleeping now, but I figured he'd like to see you when he wakes up. We can talk in there." Anastasia nodded, following the man to room 14.
"Is he alright?" she murmured as she sat down beside Dmitri.
"Yes, yes, he's fine. He will be a little sore, though. A bullet to the abdomen does no man any good," the doctor responded, pulling another chair beside hers. "He's a very stubborn young man."
"I can't argue with that," Anastasia breathed.

The older man laughed, patting her shoulder.
"He'll be fine, dear. Give him a few weeks and he'll be back to normal. Good day."
"Good day."

Anastasia never once moved from the chair until Dmitri woke up.
"Anya," he whispered, his voice raspy.
"It's me, love," she murmured, kissing his forehead.
"Where am I?" Dmitri questioned, wincing after he took a deep breath.
"The hospital. You were shot," Anastasia responded, playing with his hair.
"But the doctor said you'll be back to normal in a few weeks," she smiled.
"Thank God," Dmitri mumbled. "Anya, is there any water?"
"Hang on, I'll go get you some." She stood, exiting the room and walking over to the desk.

"Excuse me," she spoke up, catching the nurse's attention.
"Yes?" The older woman smiled. "
"Anya!" She turned to see Vlad approaching her.
"Vlad! What are you doing here?" Anastasia asked.
"I came to see you and Dmitri. I didn't think it would be in a hospital," Vlad replied, adjusting his spectacles.
"Apologies for that," she mumbled.

"Don't be sorry. What was it Dmitri wanted?"
"Oh! He wanted water."
"I'll get it for him, dear. Room number?" The nurse kindly smiled.
"Fourteen," she muttered loud enough for her to hear.
"Okay, thank you." Anastasia returned to the room with Vlad, Dmitri attempting to sit up when he saw his friend.
"No!" Anastasia exclaimed, gently pushing his shoulders to make him lay down again. "You'll hurt yourself, Dmitri." Dmitri sighed, deciding to wave at Vlad. Vlad couldn't help the chuckle that escaped, knowing Dmitri hated to be bossed around.

Anastasia sat down in the chair next to his bed, rubbing his hand. Dmitri grimaced, what Anastasia thought was an attempted smile. A knock sounded on the door, startling them.
"I'll get it," Vlad mumbled, walking over to the door and pulling it open. The nurse stood there, a glass of water in one hand and Dmitri's medication in the other.
"Hello," Anastasia said.
"Hello," the nurse spoke, handing Anastasia the glass. "Sips of water."
"Sips, okay," she nodded. Dmitri raised a brow, glancing over at Vlad. He shrugged, which made the former roll his eyes. Anastasia shook her head at the two of them, suppressing a giggle. The nurse, on the other hand, did chuckle at the two men. She gave Dmitri his medicine, checked his pulse, then left the room.

"Anya," Dmitri whispered.
"Oh, right," Anya handed the glass to Vlad, helping Dmitri sit up so she could prop him up with pillows. Dmitri groaned as she helped him put his back against the pillows. "Here." She handed him the glass, keeping her hand on the bottom of the glass. Dmitri placed the glass to his lips, taking a sip of the cool water.
"Thank you, Anastasia," he mumbled.
"You're welcome." Anya smiled, brushing his hair out of his face. Vlad watched the couple, smiling at them.
"What?" Dmitri spoke.
"Hmm?" Vlad hummed.
"Why are you staring at me? It's like you're staring into my soul."
"I'm sorry. I was watching the both of you, actually."

"Oh," Anastasia laughed. She placed the glass on the table beside the bed, sitting down in the chair again. Dmitri took her hand in his, rubbing circles on the back of her hand. She smiled at him before gazing at the floor, pretending to find it interesting.
"What's the matter?" Dmitri questioned, lifting her head up, his brown eyes meeting her blue ones.
"Nothing," she shook her head. "I'm just tired." Dmitri raised a brow, as did Vlad.
"The Grand Duchess lying? What a shame."
"It's nothing, really. I would never lie to you, Dmitri."
"You told me everything when you didn't know me," Dmitri whispered.

"He's right." Vlad stated. "You didn't even know him and you trusted him."
"I'm just worried," Anastasia sighed. "I never thought we'd be in a situation like this. I don't know what to do."
"You keep doing what you're doing," Dmitri softly spoke.
"But I'm not doing anything." The young man sighed, running a hand through his brown hair.
"You are amazing, Anya. Believe me, not any woman in the world would step on whatever the heck that was to kill some evil guy."
"That would be Rasputin," Anya muttered.
"Come again?"

"Rasputin," she laughed. "I think he was a member of the Tsar family. I'm not really sure."
"He was," Vlad nodded. "A viscous man, really. Even more so after he sold his soul to destroy your family."
"Oh, that explains the rotting corpse thing," Dmitri murmured. "You really don't know how weird it feels to punch a corpse."
"Technically, he wasn't dead yet. Well, he was dead, it was just that the reliquary was keeping him alive." Vlad explained. Anastasia nodded.
"Makes sense," she agreed with Vlad.

"How does that make sense?" Dmitri looked at both his best friend and his wife. Anastasia giggled quietly.
"Well, you'd have to know Rasputin," Dmitri's friend said. "He was a good actor. Everyone believed he was on the Romanov's side."
"The Romanov's? I worked at the palace when Nicolas ruled. I remember a party... Anastasia and the Dowager Empress were together."
"Yes, that was the night she gave me the music box," Anastasia smiled at the memory. "It wasn't too long after that when you opened the wall. How did you do that, anyway?"
"Servants passage," he shrugged. "That's how all of the servants got around so quickly. The secret passages no one knew about but the servants and Nicolas himself."
"Well, I knew about them. I used them twice, I think. I was late for meetings when I used them, though," Vlad chuckled.

"Why did you help us, Dmitri?" Anya questioned, brows furrowed as she thought back on it.
"Well, I couldn't stand by and let the prettiest princess I'd ever seen die with her grandmother, who is Dowager Empress, I might add." He took her hand in his, kissing it.
"Dmitri," she laughed, "I'm being serious."
"I am too."
"It's impossible to get a serious answer," she sighed, rolling her eyes.

It was only a matter of days before the doctor decided to release Dmitri. Dmitri was thankful for that, of course, and so was Anastasia. Vlad had started his journey back to Paris the evening before. Anya had wrapped an arm around his waist, Dmitri having an arm wrapped around her shoulders.
"Y'know, I think this is crazy," he laughed, kissing her head. "We're always in some sort of mess."
"As if I hadn't noticed," Anastasia chuckled. Dmitri grinned, laughing as she opened the door to the hotel they were staying in.
"I can walk on my own. You know that, right?" he asked, glancing down at her.
"Yeah, but who really cares?" Anya responded.
"I do."

Anastasia playfully rolled her eyes. The two simply held hands as the ascended the stairs, Dmitri glancing over at Anastasia every few seconds.
"What? Are you going back to being a vulture or something?" Anastasia laughed.
"No, of course not. And I never was a vulture," Dmitri stated.
"You could've fooled me," Anya shrugged, turning the key and opening the door. The couple stepped inside, Dmitri laughing as Anastasia dug through a drawer to find her blue dress. "Where is it, Dmitri?"
"I don't know. The last time I saw it was when you put in in your suitcase," he shrugged.
"Suitcase? Maybe I didn't put it in the drawer." Dmitri laughed, pulling a white shirt and a black pair of pants out of his suitcase.
"I'll be right back."

Anastasia nodded, grabbing her suitcase and throwing it on top of her bed. She took everything out of it, folding it as she placed each of them on the bed.
"Well, at least my suitcase will be organized," she muttered when she got to the bottom of it, where her blue dress laid. "I found it!" Dmitri appeared, adjusting the sleeves of his shirt.
"I knew you would," he chuckled. "Well, on the bright side, it's organized now."
"Yeah," she shrugged. She rushed to the bathroom, swiftly changing and pulling her hair back. She adjusted her bow before glancing at her reflection in the mirror. She spun around, a smile spreading across her face at the memory that came to mind. The night she and Dmitri waltzed for the first time.
"Anya, have you seen my waistcoat?"
"Which one?" Anya stepped into the room.
"The green one," Dmitri called over his shoulder.

"The green one? You mean this one?" She picked it up off the floor.
"Yeah, how'd you-" he cut himself off when he saw her. "You look beautiful." Anastasia blushed, handing him the waistcoat. He smiled at her, kissing her cheek. She shook her head, her blue eyes sparkling. Dmitri pulled the waistcoat on, glancing out the window as he did so.
"Dmitri, let's do something."
"Like what?" Dmitri allowed his eyes to meet hers.
"I don't know, what is there to do in St. Petersburg?"
"Nothing," he laughed.

Anya giggled, pecking his lips.
"Let's go take a walk!" she exclaimed. Dmitri sighed before grabbing his jacket, placing his hat on top of his head.
"Let's go," he linked his arm with hers. "Can I tell you a secret?"
"I don't know, can you?"
"Oh, very funny." She grinned.
"Glad you think so."
"I love you," he spoke softly.
"I love you too," Anya's voice was barely above a whisper.