A/N: Hey everyone! Well, writing seems to be about the only thing that calms me, so there might be a few updates in the next week :-) As usual, I don't own the story or the song. The story's Richelle Mead's, and the song's Carrie Underwood's. Enjoy!

Thirty-five. 35. Out of the thirty-five who were killed, he had to be the one. The one taken; the one turned. St. Vladimir's was holding a mass funeral for all who died. Dimitri was considered one of the dead. No one liked to think about the other option.

Looking at the time, I realized time was running out. I had planned to dress a little nicer, but instead opted for jeans and a white long sleeve shirt. My feet led me to the church, where I slipped in the back.

Even with five minutes left before the beginning, there was no place to sit. Every single seat had been taken. So I stood along the wall. The second I had stepped foot in the Church, my guardian mask had gone on. My grief was a private grief; no one else could understand it, except one. One person knew the true pain I was going through. Adrian. He had been the only one to realize that our relationship was more than just student-teacher.

I must have gone on auto pilot, because the next thing I knew, people were standing, some with loud laminations, others with silent tears rolling down their cheeks, and falling off the precipice of their chins. Something salty stung my nose, and it took me a minute to process that it was my own tears, slowly breaking over the carefully erected dam I had built up since that day. Spinning on my heel, I turned and bolted out the door, but not before meeting eyes with Tasha. The one person who deserved to be grieving with me.

My mind needed peace and quiet. I needed a place that no one would come searching for me. My legs took me to the place I once could call safe. The doors of the gym loomed before me, and as I slipped through them, I heard someone calling my name. Ignoring them, I went to the weight room in the back, away from everything else. Once in there, I allowed myself to crumple to the floor. The sound of my breath, in and out, soothed me somewhat. Enough that I felt the need to train. I turned on the radio, and started my usual sets.

Not a minute into my sets, the one song I couldn't bear to hear came on.

It was two weeks after the day she turned 18
all dressed in white, going to the church that night
She had his box of letters in the passenger seat,
six pence in her shoe
something borrowed, something *blue*
and when the church doors opened up wide she put her veil down trying to hide the tears oh
she just couldn't believe it
she heard the trumpets from the military band and the flowers fell out of her hands

I thought about it, and was surprised to find that it was two weeks after my birthday, my eighteenth birthday. My white long sleeve shirt had been thrown in the corner, and I stared at it. The song connected with me in more ways than one. My veil had been my mask, hiding everything from everyone's view. Dimitri had 'died' doing his duty, too. One weight slipped out of my grip, clattering to the ground.

Baby, why'd you leave me, why'd you have to go
I was counting on forever, now I'll never know
I cant even breathe
It's like I'm, looking from a distance, standing in the background
Everybody's saying, he's not coming home now,
This can't be happening to me
This is just a dream

My mind couldn't process it. I had never seen Dimitri falter before. Ever. He was suppose to be the perfect, badass guardian. Nothing was suppose to be able to destroy him, yet here we all were, mourning for his loss among the countless others. My breath caught in my throat, thinking back to the day in the cabin. I had tasted perfection, only to have the possibility of it again yanked violently from my grasp.

The preacher man said let us bow our heads and pray
Lord please lift his soul and heal this hurt
then the congregation all stood up and sang the saddest song that she ever heard
then they handed her a folded up flag and
she held on to all she had left of him oh and what could've been
and then guns rang one last shot and it felt like a bullet in her heart

With the second verse, more memories of the service came flooding back.

Father Andrew had begun with a simple prayer of peace; peace for the souls flying to heaven, and peace for those of us stuck on earth. Then everyone began to sing. Being what I considered Orthodox Agnostic, I hadn't known the words, but that didn't matter. It was such a sweet melody, hauntingly melancholy. It reflected the mood of everyone on the grounds, in the service or not. Then the Guardians did something really cool, in my opinion. The families of the Dhampir who had given their lives all came to the front of the Church, where they were given a silver stake, along with their beloved's personal effects.

When who I assumed to be Dimitri's mother walked to the front, I almost lost it. She looked so small, so fragile. But her expression after receiving his jacket and the stake told me otherwise. Her face was filled with such a… passion, a defiance of sorts. She knew her son gave his life doing what he loved to do. Everyone said their last goodbye, and I felt as if Stan had plunged a stake directly into my already broken heart.

Baby, why'd you leave me, why'd you have to go
I was counting on forever, now I'll never know
I can't even breathe
It's like I'm, looking from a distance, standing in the background
Everybody's saying, he's not coming home now,
This can't be happening to me
This is just a dream

My thoughts jumped back to the times I had been wandering around the campus. Whenever anyone saw me approaching, they'd shut up really fast. In the gym, I was left alone. No one wanted to partner with me, because no one, including me, knew when my temper would flair. I could go from being relatively at ease, to being completely outraged in a matter of seconds. And vice versa. I could go from being ready and willing to fight any and everything I could find, to weeping inconsolably within a single move. Some things hit me harder, such as when I walked past the Guardian Dorms, and a whiff of his aftershave came haunting after me. Or when, during training, my partner threw Dimitri's favorite parry, throwing me to the mat. One day, I came up on a group of Guardians talking under the cover of the forest. Being a shadow had its perks.

"It's been confirmed. He's one of them."

"Well damn. He was one fine Guardian. It's going to be even harder killing him."

"Yeah, but it needs to be done. The last thing we need is for him to lead an attack on the Academy."

I lost it. I couldn't just stand there listening to what they were saying. "No matter how far gone Dimitri is, he'd never attack us. Never." I shouted. They all seemed surprised to see me. Some of them even seemed a little frightened, which put a small smile on my face. Before they had a chance to answer, I ran. Running was a key to staying sane, I had discovered.

Oh, Oh Baby, why'd you leave me, why'd you have to go
I was counting on forever, now I'll never know
Ohh I'll never know
It's like I'm, looking from a distance, standing in the background
Everybody's saying, he's not coming home now,
This can't be happening to me
This is just a dream

The tears started to fall harder, becoming a constant stream down my face. A part of me knew that if I was to keep my promise, that I had to stay strong; I had to keep training. But another part of me wanted to give up, to curl into a tight ball and never come out. The door to the room opened, and I felt a pair of arms wrap around me. I immediately stiffened, trying to stifle the stream.

"It's okay. Let them fall." The familiar voice of Tasha whispered. I slowly allowed my muscles to relax, leaning back into her hold.

Oh this is just a dream
just a dream, oh.

We sat in silence; our tears intermingling. Both sending up prayers, wishing it was just a dream.