A/N: Hello! I hope you enjoy this fic. . .

Disclaimer: Don't own, not making any money!

Ratings: G

Genre: General

Warnings: Nothing. . .

Main Characters: Erik

Additional Notes: This fic tied for second place in Mort Rouge's Spring 2007 fic contest. Enjoy!


I was born on the twentieth of March—the vernal equinox—or more commonly, the first day of spring. Fate must have laughed in delight when it birthed me in spring, the time associated with beginnings and life. My poor, unhappy mother did not find it half so amusing. She called me the end of her life. She called me her Death. I was so young that I did not realize what she was saying and so, regardless of her insults, I would shadow her as she went about her spring cleaning—which was the closest thing to a birthday celebration I ever had. I found that it was the easiest time to collect things and hide them in my little upstairs room where Mother never went. Mother, of course, hated it. She hated all of it—but mostly, she hated me. On my tenth birthday, she decided she'd had enough of her Death and threw me into the mud and melting snow. She said it was where I belonged: in the snow, with the dead things.

I searched then and found my cursed blessing in the gypsies. They were never a home, nor family, to me though; merely a steppingstone. As much as I came to hate my life with them, I must admit I learned a great many useful tricks from them which have helped me to survive as long as I have. And of course, it was during my time with them that I received my first tarot pack—I still consult it from time to time and every year on March twentieth, without fail. Every year the reading is the same: another tale of woe for me to unfold. Always danger is foretold, and sometimes—as in my year with Giovanni—the Death appears. It does not matter, however,—I do it every year as a tradition.

But this time—this year—was different. I am on the road to Nijni-Novgorod now. It is a plain Russian country road, covered in hazardous ice and frozen packed dirt. Quite dull, really, but I will follow it regardless. I will follow the faint glittering of some emotion that I have not felt for years—I will follow hope. In a way, I suppose I am following my destiny for I am following the first hopeful reading I have had in years: the Sun—a beginning—and the Lovers for the future. And all of it waits for me in Nijni-Novgorod.

Now, as I stare out over the snow and ice of Mother Russia, I can see the city's silhouette in the distance, black and dark against the iron grey skyline. But the snow—the snow covers the entire distance, even in spring; a vast expanse of white diamonds that gleam blindingly bright in the dim, cloud-swathed world. As I take it in, a small smile touches the corners of my mouth. This is a gloomy, snow-covered land of dead things—an entire empire of such things!—and I cannot help but feel as though the Sun has predicted the beginning of my life.

I feel as though I am coming home at last.

A/N: I hope you enjoyed it. I had fun writing it. . . Please, review!