"Hey, what are you looking at?" a warm, musical voice filled the silence she had built around her. At once, Rose spun on her heels, shocked that she was caught off started to look around, wondering who had disturbed her. Then, she heard footsteps and turned slowly toward the direction of the golden lion water fountain. "Guardians are supposed to be aware of their surroundings at all times you know" went the voice, with a colour of bemusement and a strange feeling Rose could not identify. The first thing she saw was a pair of black shoes and as her eyes travelled upwards, she found herself gasping for breath. Right in front of her stood her mentor, Dimitri Belikov. For the past few weeks, the atmosphere they had whenever they were together was different. It was more than just a student teacher ambience.

She did not know what happened. She felt different around ever since he first caught her and Jesse together. It was as if that was the first time they had ever looked at each other. Then there was the lust spell. When he wrapped her in his arms, it felt as if she was in heaven, where no one could touch her. It was as if he was a safe haven, as if he could make all her fears go away in a blink of an eye. After that day, however much she longed, she could not stand being in the same room as him, especially in her dormitory room other than for practice. She blushed more around him, she became clumsy and she became forgetful. He had laughed at her then, teased her about it, but did he not know he was the one who made her that way.

Right now, she felt as if words were stuck in her throat as she stared at the person in front of her. He was leaning against the low wall of the fountain, looking more like a Greek god that anyone had the right to, wearing a black tuxedo and trademark smirk. However, that smirk made her feel warm and fuzzy all over. He pushed himself off the wall and approached her. Rose tried to run away, or appear normal the least, but somehow, she could not make her heart to beat normally. They had been best friends for 3 years now, so why must one incident change everything?

"Nothing much, just the stars and the night sky. Good thing it's full moon too," Rose mumbled, looking away from him, trying to avoid looking into his deep, mesmerizing eyes.

"Really? I never notice those. I thought you were just waiting for the fireworks," he said, with a chuckle. She could feel the tiny bit of his skin from his elbow as he stood close to her, folding his arms across his chest. Did he really not know what he was making her feel?

"Yeah, Adrian told me about it. Seemed that's what everyone is looking forward to since the last of the attacks," she said, grinning, glad that her emotions are quite under controlled. However, his reaction was something she had not expected. He closed his eyes, as if in anguish, and pinched the bridge of his nose, deep in thought. Rose was about to ask him what's wrong when he took out his duster and wrapped it around her shoulders. She looked up at him questioningly.

"That dress isn't that warm. C'mon, let's take a walk along the beach," he told her, offering her his arm. She hesitated for a second before taking it.

It was as if nothing was wrong, almost as if they were normal. He made her feel at ease as they talked about the humorous things that brightened up their day even in the midst of the invasion, like how Rose never could seem to sleep because of her "loving" best friend and her boyfriend. However, whenever she started talking about Adrian, Dimitri clamped shut, as if he did not want to participate in that conversation. Finally, they sat on the hard boulder in the middle of the beach, looking up into the night sky. Right behind them was The Academy, celebrating the upcoming New Year, finally rejoicing as they confirmed that the past was indeed behind them. During the struggles with the strigoi, Dimitri and Rose had drawn apart, after having to spend all her free time with Adrian, discovering new ways to bring the strigoi down with spirit and how to manipulate Rose's darkness.

Rose looked down at her ruby red sleeveless dress, which barely covered her knees. She did not really want to wear this but Lissa, had persuaded her into it. It was a good thing she was in Dimitri's duster, which was keeping her warm from the cool sea breeze. She kicked off the 3inch heels and brought her legs close to her chest. Dimitri was sitting comfortably next to her, leaning back as he closed his eyes and took in whatever he was feeling.

"You know, Adrian told me about how it's a good thing to wear red on the first day of the New Year. Though how he came up with that theory... no one knows," Rose told him, smiling at the memory of her hilarious-when-drunk friend. She turned to look at Dimitri but he was looking down, his expression hidden from her view. She wondered why he was like this today. It was not the first time he heard about Adrian and his antics. Somehow, he was worrying her.

"Dimitri, are you ok?" she asked gently, placing her hand on his arm.

"Rose, what is Adrian to you?" he finally asked, his voice hard and strained, as if controlling some sort of fury.

Rose was caught off guard with that question. What was Adrian to her?

"I don't know. He's just somebody fun to hang out with and annoy I guess," she answered carefully, hoping her words did not do any more damage.

"But, have you thought of him as somebody more than a... friend?"

Rose bit her lip as she felt her cheeks burning from that question. There was only one who she would think of being more than friends, but now was not the right time.

"I don't. I just find him funny and interesting, nothing more," she answered, choosing her words with care.

At once, Dimitri looked up, his expression a cross between mild rage and disbelief. Then, as if it never happened, he had his guardian mask back on. He took a brown fallen leaf in his hand and started tearing it into shreds.

"Of course everyone find Adrian interesting. Who wouldn't? Plus, he's a nice guy in all departments," he mumbled to himself, shredding the leaf into tinier pieces.

"What's your problem, Dimitri? It's not as if his advancing me or anything. We're just friends. You really shouldn't protect me that much. Come end of this week, I wouldn't even be your student anymore!" Rose huffed, annoyed that she did not know where this was heading. Dimitri mood swing was annoying at times. Sighing, she stood up, her slippers in her right hand and was about to walk off when she heard him calling her name.

She stopped and was about to turn when Dimitri took her hand and pulled her towards him, wrapping her in his arms. She tensed up at first, but after a while, relaxed against him. Soon enough, he pulled away, gently. He cupped her chin, staring deep into her eyes.

"That's why. I've never think of you as my student and the thoughts I'm thinking about you are hardly right for a mentor," he murmured, sending warm and fuzzy feelings that made her toes curled. His face inched closer; his hot breath was felt against her cheeks. He tilted his head, his eyes still fixed on hers. Finally, he closed them and his lips met hers.

His lips were warm, soft and had the lingering taste of mints. Shocked, her mind just froze. It made her feel awkward... and afraid. Afraid that she was not doing it right, afraid that he would pull away from her and just walk, and most of all, afraid that he might decide that this was wrong, again. She stood frozen. Too soon, he pulled away, but not too far away. She could feel her cheeks flushing and her heart hammering in her chest. His forehead leaning hers, his breath feeling warm in her face. Then, she kissed him. She pressed her lips to his, shocking him, but soon softened under her touch. It was as if the world exploded under his touch as long suppressed desire was released from her. She wrapped her hands behind his neck, wanting the feeling more as she let her instincts guide her. He tilted his head, his hand pressing against the small part of her back, not letting her break away. This time, it was different. There was a sense of urgency but still a sense of sweetness in it as both pushed for more breaking away all their fears and inhabitations. There was more passion in it, as if he too had suppressed himself and was allowing himself this forbidden pleasure. His hand moved lower, from her shoulder to her waist and stopped right there. His tongue ran across her lips, silently begging for entrance, and then their passionate dance began. When they finally came up for air, his face was flushed, his eyes bright and a huge grin plastered on his face. He held her cheek in his hand, caressing it gently, thumbs drawing circles on her cheek.

"You do not know how long I've been waiting for that," he whispered. He pulled her towards him and kissed her softly, gently, sweetly, before pulling away. He took her hand in his, their fingers lacing with each other.

"I love you Rose. I've loved you ever since we first met. It pained me to see you with Adrian," he confessed, looking down, blushing slightly.

"My heart is yours, now and forever more. That's why it pained me when you hang out with those flirty girls. I thought... thought you don't like me as I'm so...," she never got to finish her sentence, as Dimitri released her hand and cupped her chin again, staring seriously in her eyes.

"Rose, you do not know how long I've been waiting and wanting you." With that, he pressed his lips against hers, as if making his point, before pulling away.

"Would you be mine, Roza?"

"I'm already yours."

Right above them, the shower of fireworks just started, lighting up the sky and marking the day they admitted their love for each other. However, the two were already making their own fireworks. As Dimitri held Rose's hand while they walked back to The Academy, they felt contentment for the first time, completed forever.