AN: HELLLLLLLLLOOOO to anybodyz reading dis. LOL, i'm sorry, that was pretty harsh, no? I couldn't resist a cliff-hanger chapter 1 (im just a generally evil person that way) *ignores the flying tomatoes of frustration** ;)

Hehe, just needed to set up the story, so I got a nice vague plotline to work with…so I will definitelypositively stay with it : )

I need something to keep me sane until this summer and…and… BOOK FOUR,*mild drooling** its sooo far away *sob sob*

And THANK A GAJILLION for the reviews!!! They make me feel all warm and fuzzy… awww… :D

MOVING ON.

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I screamed. "Dimitri!" My desperate voice cut through the night like a knife, but no one would hear. Least of all Him…or so I prayed to whoever was listening. I shocked myself. His name had come to my lips uncontrolled, and I mentally slapped myself with a cold realization.

He wasn't coming.

The thought drowned me heartlessly. He would never be the warm, loving, and thoughtful man I knew. Gone. Pain stabbed me again and again, and this time, it wasn't the plain old physical agony of being tackled by a Strigoi.

It had so much more depth.

The Strigoi looked slightly surprised at my foolish cry, shaking it off and letting out a low chuckle at my despair. I could feel his fangs teasingly grazing against my neck, as the last of my hope left me.

It dawned on me that I couldn't fight the Strigoi endorphins after the bite. The blunt thought of my helplessness. I would not be able to even fight losing it.

I told myself to go down battling no matter the inevitability. Until he actually bit me, I could still struggle for my soul and for all those I loved and who had touched my life. For my mother. For Lissa. For Him.

I had always secretly envied the legendary guardians who had died heroes. Not their actual deaths, I'm crazy, not suicidal, but the fact that they could claim solemnly, "We were Here. Remember Us." Now don't get me wrong; I wasn't glory-seeking or anything. Like everyone else, I just wanted to have made some kind of significant difference with my life. I wanted to leave something behind.

But this. It was an unimaginable fate that I never even remotely considered would be mine. The raw fear gnawing on me; all that remained.

I understood what it meant now to die alone.

As I continued to thrash weakly, The Strigoi eyes suddenly widened, with tortured shock. He let a screech of violent pain against my thundering eardrums. I didn't have time to question this miracle. I had my opportunity for a second chance. I needed to turn the tables. Now.

Without thinking, I kicked him in the groin, the y-chromosome weakness, regardless of species, and scrambled up from under the Strigoi.

Primal Instincts that get you through. Gotta love them.

I glanced at the Strigoi, now dead. A silver stake wedged in his back.

What the fuck??

Still brain dead, I immediately thought of Him before reality set in. He couldn't even touch the silver stakes anymore, let alone wield them with deadly accuracy.

I spun around quickly to see a girl about my age looking at me with a mixture of pure bewilderment and curiosity. It was mirrored, except I probably had a look of numb bafflement at still being alive to accompany it. She swore in Russian.

"I don't know who the hell you are, and I don't have time to exchange pleasantries but if you're his enemy," she said, pointing at the Strigoi, "then I think we're friends. At least for the time being. Regardless of a sense of self-preservation." She added pointedly.

I couldn't blame her. I was without a doubt the most suicidal person I knew to strut knowingly and willingly into a Strigoi hideout. Alone.

But then again, she was here too.

She turned to examine the Strigoi, prodding it with her foot. Satisfied, she pulled out her stake from its back, simultaneously tossing me my dropped one. I caught it, still dumbstruck.

"Come on," she said impatiently to me. "There's still two more."

She sprinted down the passage, motioning me to follow. I stumbled after her, my mind defrosting and processing sluggishly what had just happened.

But hey, I guess that's just a common side effect of an oh-so-common near death experience. Correction. Near-loss-of-soul experience.

I shook my head, and decided to stuff the mystery of Ninja Girl away for now and focus on not nearly losing my soul…again.

The all-too-well known nausea hit me as I entered the next cavern. Mystery Ninja Girl was in the center, fighting two Strigoi at once. She had just staked one when the other jumped on her back.

I lunged into help, staking the Strigoi quickly before he could counter having two opponents. As I drove the stake home, grimly oblivious to the Strigoi's scream, Ninja Girl sprang out of its grasp and scurried away. Damn, she was fast. Faster than He used to be even.

I had only just finished up with the last Strigoi when I felt something cold dig into my back. A silver stake. Ninja Girl's.

"Turn around." Ninja Girl commanded. "Slowly."

Now it was my turn to surprise. I twisted with inhuman speed, raising my stake to meet hers as you might cross swords, ignoring her startled yelp.

Ninja Girl swore fluently in Russian. "Jesus, You're still dhampir."

I rolled my eyes irritably. "No, shit Sherlock. How'd you think I was able to touch the stake?"

I watched her wince at her stupidity. Secretly, I was just as stunned to see another dhampir.

"Sorry, stupid question."

We were both silent for a moment, taking in each other's disheveled battle-worn appearances. Her gaze met mine, alight with the same curiosity, as we eyed each other suspiciously.

Ninja Girl's clothes were well-worn from travel. She was built a lot like me. I quickly realized the obvious. She had to be a guardian, or at least a drop-out. But from seeing her fight just now, she was more badass than any old novice or new guardian. Heck, maybe even more badass than any of the long line of female guardians I had watched fighting, including Alberta and my mother.

Scratch that, no way she was a normal guardian. Question: Who was she then and what was she doing here?

Despite this new puzzle, there were some aspects about her that striked me as exceedingly familiar. I saw the same kind of unexplainable recognition of me in her eyes.

She had the same controlled deadliness around her. Same way of being aware of everything. Same wavy dark brown hair, but it was much longer and French braided. Same deep brown eyes met mine.

Oh my God.

"Who are you?" we asked each other at the exact same time, each of us paling as if we had seen a ghost.

"Rose Hathaway."

Recognition immediately dawned on her, confusion replaced with jaw-dropping astonishment.

"Who are you?" I repeated, half-expecting what I was going to hear. There was no way in hell that the resemblance was a coincidence.

Could it be? I thought disbelievingly, but after the last few months…

"Zarranza," A pause. "Belikov."

What were the chances?

My guess was dead on. Bull's eye. I had unwittingly ran into one of His sisters, who incidentally had just saved me from the same end as Him. In a Strigoi hell-hole. On my classic, tragic, star-crossed romantic manhunt.

Strange, no?

Well, well!

AN: just a heads up, but while I be writing, I won't be near a computer over Thanksgiving : (

and also I will most likely be stuffing my face *gobblegobble*

Next update most likely Saturday *fingers crossed*

EVERYONEZZ HOPE UZ HAVE A HAPPY THANKS-A-GIVING!!!!!!!!!!

technofever: thanks!! : )

soulstealer247: completely agree with u!!! we'll see if Rose will get to go on her greedy rampage…dun dun dun

blah248: thanx!! : ) and I will do my bestest

Lucia Rayne: thanks!! yup.. im definitely gonna try to twist everything around

Anilucarddraculina: teehee, im from maryland!! and don't worry, last time I checked, im only a religiously belligerent reader

sakurablossom777: thanx!! : ) will try to update as much as possible

Lauz1: thanx!!!! :D glad u like it so far! & nice catch on the Belikov line btw. and now me lips are sealed.

Jasper Can Dazzel Me Anyday: lol, will try not be that evil again!! *grins wickedly*

Sakiru Yume: Srry about that :) just uploaded it, lol! glad u liked the first, and will work on making others as good (or try to!!) :)