Alternate sub-plot for The Ruby Circle, because it's my fanfic
Third Person POV
They walked together in silence. Dimitri was fairly certain that the only reason Olive Sinclair hadn't locked herself in her cabin was that Adrian was a convincing spirit user and Dimitri had been the one to talk to her after her restoration. She agreed to talk, but only with Dimitri. When they were a few paces away, he began to relate everything Adrian had told him about her sister Nina's disposition.
"She shouldn't have tried reaching me." Olive's voice trembled. "Why couldn't she leave me in peace?"
"She loves you," Dimitri said. "She fought for a long time to restore you, and you left without a word."
She nodded slowly, moving her hands to her back. "Why did you come?"
"Adrian told us that in his sprit dream, he had seen that you were pregnant. He was worried that you might have been taken advantage of."
He hesitated, not knowing how to state with delicacy what they all assumed. "Your pregnancy."
She stopped, face troubled. "I wasn't... no one took advantage of me."
"Why did you want to hide it then?"
She shook her head. "You don't understand. I can't..." She stopped abruptly, looking up at him with astonishment. She glanced back toward where they had come, growing more troubled. "Oh..."
She shifted uncomfortably, seeming to be deciding what to tell him. "If I tell you, it has to be a secret. I, I think they can know too, but no one else can know!"
He hears the firmness in her voice, and the fear. "I promise. Only people you want to know your secret will be told."
"You can't tell the Queen."
He raises an eyebrow. "I promise that she will not be told."
She studies his face, deciding if he is telling the truth or lying. She nods. "Alright then."
They walked back in silence, arriving at the cabin in time to see Rose knocking a Moroi man to the ground. Dimitri rushed toward Rose, Adrian, Sydney, and the man on the ground. Dimitri's blood ran cold at the sight of Randall, his father.
"What is he doing?" Dimitri's voice was so cold that the others flinched.
Rose shrugged. Her tone was very uncertain when she replied. "He's Adrian's uncle. He made a few suggestions that none of us liked. So... I hit him. What's wrong?" She glanced toward Olive, realized that she was fine, and looked back at Dimitri.
"Dimka, is that you?" Randall Ivaskhov said from the ground. He sat up, laughing a little. "It is you. You look pretty good for a guy who used to be undead, am I right?"
Adrian, who had moved Sydney behind him, was just as confused as Rose. "You know each other?"
"He's my father," Dimitri said.
"Father?" Rose and Sydney asked in unison, stunned. Adrian's eyes went wide, looking between his now standing uncle and Dimitri.
Before anyone else could speak, Lana, the leader of the commune walked up. "Is there any trouble?"
After a brief discussion, Lana instructed Randall Ivashkov to go to the guest cabins. Lana left shortly thereafter, ensuring that there would be no trouble. Olive was standing with them, wincing, anxious, and just as puzzled as everyone else.
They made their way into Olive's cabin. While Olive rested on the sofa, the other four were still processing the fact that Dimitri's father was Adrian's uncle.
Adrian was staring at Dimitri. "We're cousins?"
Dimitri was better at reigning in his emotions, but was just as stunned by the revelation. "So it would seem."
"You never thought to say anything?"
Dimitri's eyes sparked with annoyance, but he restrained himself. "I didn't know. He never told us his last name."
"Hey," Sydney quietly interrupted. "Why don't we push back this family reunion for a bit and focus on the reason we all came here?"
Her gently spoken words shift the conversation back to Olive. Adrian, Sydney, Rose, and Dimitri sat near Olive. They asked her about the pregnancy. She make them promise to keep her secret, no matter what. They agreed.
Olive's answer to the pregnancy is simple and complicated. She was only with one man and only once. The only thing extraordinary is that she is a dhampir and so is Neil Raymond, who she names as the child's father. Two dhampirs can't have children together, it's an established fact. It should be impossible, but Olive is an extraordinary dhampir, because she was restored from being a Strigoi.
"I wanted to keep the baby safe," said Olive, "so I ran. I don't want him to become an experiment. That's why you can't tell anyone." Hysteria had seeped into her voice.
"We won't tell anyone," Adrian promised.
"We won't, I swear it," said Rose.
Olive nodded, stroking the swell of her abdomen. "I do want Neil to know, but I'm so afraid." She looked at Adrian and Sydney. "You two know him, please tell him."
"We will," Sydney promised.
Olive nodded again, focusing on Dimitri and Rose. "I decided to tell you because, well if this is because I'm restored... it might happen to you too."
Rose looked as though she might faint. "Might... um... I'm going to take a walk." She practically bolted from the room.
Dimitri was a bit slower than Rose to register all the implications of Olive's statements, but he excused himself a few moments later to follow Rose. He found her down the path, sitting with her back against a tree, arms wrapped around her legs. He took a seat beside her and rested a hand on hers. They were silent for a long time.
"What if I'm already pregnant?" Her whispered words cut the silence like a knife.
He looked at her, meeting her eyes. "Do you think you are?"
"I don't know. I've never been pregnant." She snapped.
He squeezed her hand. "We can get a test, they aren't hard to buy."
She laughed bitterly, resting her head against his shoulder. "Yeah. What do we do if I am?"
"What would you want to do?"
"I don't know." She rolled her eyes. "That's why I asked you. I never thought about having children; we're dhampirs. All I can think about is Olive's fear that her baby would be experimented on. I wouldn't want any child to go through that." She was studying his eyes. "If I am pregnant with your child... I mean I think I'm way too young and irresponsible to be a mother, but I would love to have your child if it's possible. What do you think?"
He kissed her, threading his fingers into his hair. "I think that we can take this news one step at a time. We have no guarantee that we can have children, even if my restoration possibly allows me to have children with dhampir women. I would love to have children with you, if we can. And we won't allow them to be experimented on, ever."
"Planning on more than one?" She teased.
He smiled. "One step at a time." His mood shifted. "You know, if there is anything special about children born from former Strigoi, we'll find out when Sonya's child is born. Olive might not need to hide for very long."
"You know... we're going to need to start using some sort of protection."
Rose wrinkled her nose. "We can buy that pretty easily too, it'll be weird though."
"We haven't used anything before, it'll be different."
"Yes, but it will also prevent any complications."
She nodded, resting against him. He wrapped his arms around her, stroking her shoulder. "Do you want to go back?"
"Not yet. How are you feeling about seeing your father?"
He stiffened briefly. "I'm surprised more than anything else. It's strange to know that Adrian is my cousin."
She laughed. "Stranger for me than you I think."
He joined in her laughter. "It might be strangest for Adrian."
"True." She shifted, drawing in a sharp breath. "That means... you're also Tatiana's great-nephew. Wow..."
His eyebrows rose. "I suppose it does."
"How are you feeling, about the trial?" Tasha's trial was scheduled for the last week of the month.
He sighed. "I haven't thought much about it, we've been so focused on Jill. It won't be easy; I know that much."
"No, it won't." She agreed.
Olive's child was born a few hours after Rose and Dimitri returned to the cabin, a boy who was named Declan Neil Sinclair. They calmed Olive, telling her that no one would suspect anything about the child, even if Neil joined her. Convincing her took a very long time, but in the end she agreed to remain at the commune with the child. They promised to tell Neil.
There was something special about the child. Adrian could see it in the baby's aura. Declan Sinclair's aura shone with spirit, just as Adrian and Sonya had been trying to create in a Strigoi vaccine. Adrian didn't tell Olive that news, but he did share it with Sydney, Rose, and Dimitri. They all agreed to keep it a secret, knowing that Sonya's child would very likely have the same attributes.
They didn't see Randall Ivashkov again, but the topic of Dimitri and Adrian being cousins was discussed at length after everything with Olive was resolved. Rose was decidedly uncomfortable with the fact that she had been involved with two people who were so closely related, even though it had been unintentional. The two men gradually took it in stride.
On their way to Palm Springs, in search of Jill, Rose bought a pregnancy test. The negative result caused a surprising mix of elation and sorrow. She didn't understand why she was upset. The result was what she had wanted, wasn't it? She didn't tell Dimitri about her mixed feelings, choosing to keep it to herself. She did tell him that the test was negative. She thought that his feelings were mixed too, though he didn't admit it.
After Jill's rescue, they told Neil Raymond about his son. He said that he would join Olive, abandoning his position with the guardians to keep her and their son safe. Adrian, Sydney, Rose, and Dimitri swore to keep Neil and Olive's secrets safe from everyone.
Jill Mastrano Dragomir was returned to court one week after her rescue from the Warriors of Light. The quorum law had finally been removed from the legislature. Royal families no longer needed more than one member to be counted.
She spent the day after her rescue at Clarence Donahue's house, before being sent with Eddie, Adrian, and Sydney to a safe house owned by Abe Mazur. Now, they were all housed at the palace until their next steps were planned.
Jill was anxiously awaiting the arrival of her parents in the apartment she had been given within the palace. She was trying to figure out what all she wanted them to know. They had been told very little about her time in hiding. They had been given weekly status reports which had always stated that she was doing well, even for the month she had been missing. They didn't even know that she was shadow kissed.
What could she tell them? What did she want to tell them? She hated worrying them. She didn't want them to think poorly of her defenders.
There was a knock on the door before a guardian announced the presence of her parents. She ran to the door, hands trembling, and opened it. They stared at one another for a breathless moment before Jill flung herself into her mother's arms.
They held one another, sobbing and laughing mixing together. They made their way into the room, shutting the world outside as they began their reunion. They settled into chairs, Jill and her mom holding hands while her stepfather sat beside them. Every so often, Emily Mastrano would smooth stray wisps of Jill's curly brown hair.
Jill tried telling them only the happy times. She told them about letters and gifts she had received from her parents, Lissa, Rose, and friends at St. Vladimir's. She told them about mini golf and modeling. But she couldn't keep back the bad. It spilled from her like water, everything she had gone through. She cried and she raged at different parts of her story. By the end, she was drained. Her father's face was rather red, while her mother's was quite pale.
"That's everything," Jill finished, sighing as she sank back in her seat.
"They didn't keep you safe."
Jill looked at her stepfather, stunned. "They did everything to keep me safe! Adrian saved my life. Eddie, Angeline, and Neil protected me. Lissa and others found a place for me to be protected. Sydney went above and beyond what any human, let alone Alchemist, would think to do for a Moroi. Rose and Dimitri also fought to keep me safe." She stood, angry now. "You endangered my life last year by calling the guardians when they were at our house. They've done more to keep me safe than you!"
"Jill." Emily was attempting to be soothing. "You've been through a lot. We've missed you. I know that this has been difficult for you."
"You should have told me who my father was years ago!" Jill cried. "Maybe, maybe things would have been different if you had."
Unable to be in that room anymore, Jill ran out of her apartment. Her guardian followed. She didn't know him well. Since she had begun dating Eddie, he had been reassigned to guard Adrian and his mother. Neil was gone, Jill didn't know where. Angeline's situation was still being sorted out, so Jill's guardians were new to her.
She found the room where Adrian and Sydney were staying and knocked hard on the door. Eddie opened the door a moment later, and she fell into his arms.
"She'll be alright in here," Eddie told Jill's guardian. He nodded, staying outside while Eddie closed the door.
Eddie held Jill for several minutes, stroking her hair and back to calm her. "What happened?"
"I'm so angry at them, my parents."
"What happened Jailbait?" Adrian said, entering the room.
Jill shifted so that she could see Adrian and Sydney. Adrian's mother didn't appear which meant that she was either discreetly in her room or somewhere else for the moment.
"My parents said that I wasn't protected. That I wasn't kept safe. But I was! All of you did more to keep me safe than they did!"
"I'm certain that they're just upset to learn how much you went through," Sydney said. "I'm assuming you told them about everything."
"Yeah, I did." Jill walked to the living room, sinking onto a couch. "I'm never going to fit in again. If I go back to St. Vladimir's, I'll be treated like a royal. I won't be myself there anymore. If I stay here with tutors, I won't get to spend time with my friends again. I already know that I won't talk to my friends from Palm Springs again. Who am I?" Her voice was full of despair.
"An incredible young woman who isn't afraid to stand up for what she believes in." Eddie said, taking the seat beside her.
She smiled at him. "Thank you."
"Well," Adrian began, "if you stay here, you'll be able to train with Mia and other Moroi fighters. You might also convince Lissa to get some Moroi fashion designers to do photoshoots with you. If you go back to the academy, you spend time with friends and network. Staying here gives you and Lissa time together."
Jill nodded. "Yeah, you're right. Do you know what you're planning to do?"
"We're looking for jobs and colleges so that we can get out of here." Sydney said. "The larger guest accommodation here in the palace is nice, but getting out of court will make life easier. Now that the Alchemists aren't going to pursue me, I'd rather not be trapped here."
Jill squeezed Eddie's hand. "I understand, but I'll miss all of you."
"We'll find time to spend with you." He assured her. "It will just not be every day like it was back in Palm Springs."
"And you will be able to see all of us whenever you want." Adrian said, tapping his head.
"Not if you stay on your medication." Jill said. "Which you should do, it really helps you."
He smiled. "I will. I promise."
"Do you want to stay here for a few hours," asked Sydney. "We don't have your welcome home dinner until later."
A few hours later, Jill, Eddie, Adrian, and Sydney entered one of the royal dining rooms. Lissa, Christian, Rose, Dimitri, the Mastranos, Sonya, Mikhail, Angeline, and Mia were already there. With a sigh, Jill approached her parents.
"I'm sorry for yelling at both of you. I know you were worried about me."
Emily hugged her daughter. "I'm sorry too."
They smiled at each other. Tension between mother and daughter somewhat diminished. They all took seats around the table. Jill settled herself between Eddie and Angeline, more comfortable near them than her family.
"It's so good to see all of you here together," Lissa said. "Before we talk about weightier issues like the future, why don't we all eat and enjoy each other's company?"
They agreed, chatting amiably over dinner. As the eating was coming to an end, it was Sonya who brought up the topic of Jill's future. "So, has anything been decided for where Jill will be attending school this year?"
"We didn't get around to discussing that yet," Emily replied.
"I want to stay here and be tutored," said Jill.
"Really?" Rose asked.
"Yes. I want to go back to St. Vladimir's and be with my friends, but I can be closer to more people here. I can get to know Lissa. I can train with Mia. Hopefully Adrian will find a place to stay nearby, and spend time here. I need to know how to be a royal, and I'd rather learn from Lissa than from the kids back at school."
Lissa gave her sister a small smile. "We can definitely make those arrangements." She looked to Jill's parents. "Do you agree?"
Emily nodded. "Yes, I think that sounds like a good idea."
"What's Angeline going to do?" Jill asked, addressing no one in particular.
Lissa answered. "Well, that's up to Angeline. Do you want to go home or do you want to be Jill's official guardian when you are both done your schooling?"
With the weight of everyone's eyes on her, Angeline seemed flustered. It was also a complicated question for her. She was from a separatist group, the Keepers, if she chose to remain in Moroi society she would be turning her back on them. The other complication was that her boyfriend was a human, and a former member of the Warriors of Light.
"I... um... I don't know yet. I want to stay with Jill, but it's complicated."
Jill smiled sympathetically at her. "Well, I'm sure we can figure out a way for you to stay in contact with Trey, and you'll have more freedom here with me than you would somewhere else."
Angeline looked at her, thinking about it. "Yeah, but would I have to be an actual guardian, or can I just be trained and stay as your bodyguard?"
Rose, Eddie, Sonya, Sydney, and Adrian all laughed. Dimitri looked at the young dhampir girl a bit wearily. The other reactions ranged from confused to concerned.
Rose was the one to respond. "You can. It won't be hard to train you here."
"Are you gonna train me?" Angeline asked.
Rose shrugged. "I can, but you'll have to be dedicated."
"I am," Angeline insisted.
Dimitri smothered a laugh with his napkin.
Rose glared at him. "What?"
He shook his head. "I was just remembering the first time you two sparred."
Sydney started laughing too, which was followed by Rose and Angeline.
"So, what happened when you met the first time that's so funny?" Christian asked.
"I kicked her butt." Rose said.
"Oh, it was way better than that," Sydney said.
Angeline shrugged. "Josh would still marry her if she wants."
Rose shot her a death glare. "I don't want to marry your brother. I still haven't agreed to marry Dimitri, who I actually love."
"Why won't you marry him?" Mia asked. "And why would her brother want to marry you?"
Rose groaned. "Do I ask you about your love life?"
Mia tilted her head to the side, brows raised. "Not since I dated Aaron. Although you know that I'm dating Elliot Lazar."
"You know, you make things sound worse than they are," Sydney added. She looked back at the group, most of whom seemed entertained. "We met Angeline when we stayed with the Keepers last year. Her brother was interested in Rose." She explained the fighting custom to the room, during which Rose hid her face in her hands.
"Well, she won the fight," Angeline said with a shrug. "I wonder if Josh'll be able to win against Trey."
"I doubt it," said Eddie. "But, you do need to be careful about Trey. He can't come to court."
"I know," Angeline said. "But, you also know that he left that group."
"It's a precaution," said Sydney. "If you're going to stay with Jill, you need to be careful about how much Trey knows."
"He protected you two!" Angeline snapped. "And you couldn't stand any of us when you started protecting Jill. Now you're married to a Moroi."
Sydney blushed. "I am, but we don't know what all the Warriors are doing. Trey did work with us to get Jill back, but they could be watching him. They can't know where court is. Also, Trey owes Sonya an apology."
"We'll figure it out." Jill said, trying to calm Angeline. "For now, why don't we all just enjoy the rest of the day?"
They agreed, although the tension in the group had now increased. They shifted the conversation to lighter matters. When the dinner ended, Jill and Lissa remained behind to talk. The two sisters had barely seen one another since Jill's return.
"How are you doing?" Lissa asked.
Jill sighed. "I'm exhausted. I'm trying to adjust, but it's hard. I don't feel like I know my own parents anymore."
Lissa gave her a sad smile. "Yeah, you've been through a lot recently."
"We all have. Are things getting better at court?"
Lissa sighed, looking away. "In some ways. There aren't protests anymore."
"You're worried about the trial?"
"No, I'm worried about Christian. His moods have gotten so bad lately. He doesn't mean to, and I know he doesn't want to lash out any of us, but he does. I think that the trial will be good for our society overall. They need to see justice done. Christian though..."
Lissa looked back at her. "It's not your fault. You're the most innocent one in all this mess."
Jill gave her a wry smile. "After nearly a year in Adrian's head, I don't know how innocent I am anymore."
Lissa laughed. "Yeah, that's true. How are you doing with that?"
"It's weird sometimes, but I think having you and Rose around to give us advice on the bond really helped. We knew what to expect. And honestly, experiencing someone else falling in love and maintaining that love is wonderful. Adrian really is happy."
"Didn't it ever seem weird to you? A human-Moroi pair?"
Jill shrugged. "I guess it did at first, but humans aren't really all that different from us. You lived among humans, didn't you ever think one was cute enough to kiss?"
Lissa laughed. "Yes, I think I did. You're right I suppose, I didn't think about our roommates the same way I thought about feeders."
"Do you like Sydney?"
"Yes, I do, and I am glad that she and Adrian are happy together."
Jill smiled. "Can you tell me about your time on the run?"
"Sure, I'll tell you anything you want to know."
I hope you liked it!
I didn't proofread, I'm sorry.