A/N: And here comes the end of my alternate ending to Anastasia. Lyrics are from SafetySuit's Something I Said. Also inspired by Fall Out Boy's Thnks Fr Th Mmrs and Katy Perry's Thinking of You. I don't know why, but all three of these songs seems ridiculous Anya/Dimitri to me...
So let me ask you I just have to now that you're not mine
Do you feel free, have what you need or do you still feel scared inside
Cause I am on the line and don't know what to do
Anya loves her grandmother, she really does. In fact, she loves her more than anything walking on this earth, but her smug all-knowing smiles are starting to drive Anya insane. Anytime the conversation would die down, or she'd be telling a story featuring her travels to Paris, anytime she got lost in the nostalgia of it all, her grandmother would suddenly shoot her that look she's grown to despise. It's slightly patronizing, that loving but slightly condescending quirk of her mouth, that "oh, look how silly and blind you are, young one, you will soon come to your senses" tone of voice that never fails to set Anya on edge.
She thinks she's very well come to her senses by now. She's got her family back, her home back, and isn't still stuck in Russia, chasing merely a dream. Her life seems all very well sorted out, Anya thinks.
So what was her Grandmama on about?
She can't handle it anymore by the fifth day in Paris, and explodes in a flurry of exasperation and frustration, flinging her hands into the air in the middle of a quiet evening in the drawing room. "What are you smiling about?" Her grandmother blinks in obligatory confusion. "You've been smiling like that at me all week. All-knowing and smug and condescending, like you know something I don't. So what is it?"
She stares at her grandmother, who is still smiling, and she can only remember only too clearly the last time she was this irritated with someone.
"You look lost, Anastasia," the Dowager says at length.
"What are you talking about?"
"Lost, like you're still missing something. Tell me, my dear, do you feel at home here?"
Anya blinks rapidly, dreading where this conversation is going. "Of course of I am. I mean, how could I not? I found you, my family? Isn't that home enough?"
She doesn't know how to respond to that.
"My dear, you flinch whenever I mention your name, Anastasia. Like you don't recognize it, like it it doesn't belong to you, like you have to remind yourself that is who you are. I don't think a girl ought to be afraid of her own name, do you?" To her disgust, she feels tears welling up in the corners of her eyes. However, they did not slide down her cheeks, by her own doing. Being an orphan, she had gotten good at not crying.
"I don't know what you're talking about."
"You're not happy here, Anya."
She looks up, startled that her grandmother is using that name. She hadn't known that Grandmama even knew about that name. "I love Paris," she says fiercely, tired of all this insinuating and tip-toeing around the real issue. "I don't miss Russia at all. There's nothing there for me."
Being an orphan, she had gotten good at lying.
Her grandmother stand from her armchair and journeys to where she is sitting across the room. She stands above her, looking at her with kindly eyes. "Just because you love a place doesn't mean it's home. And just because you love someone, me, doesn't mean your home isn't with another person. You are still missing someone, Anya."
Anya laughs, a bitter, humorless thing. "He's not worth it, Grandmama, you don't even know..."
"I think you'll come to find that I know more about your friend more than even you. Tell me, did you ever recognize his face? He used to work at the palace. He was the servant boy who opened the servant's door for us the night of the revolution."
Slowly, gradually, the images come back to her, and she is indeed startled when she sees his face, younger and softer and not nearly as sad. She remembers him, recognizes him.
"Oh." Her grandmother smiles again, but it's not patronizing, and she allows her to sit down and embrace her, "It still doesn't change anything," Anya whispers, "He's still a jerk, he still turned out to be a conman. All he cared about was getting out of St. Petersburg and getting rich." She says the words half-heartedly.
"Then isn't strange he never took the money, and if I'm not mistaken, left Paris?"
Then there is silence, only broken by Anya's heavy breathing as she tries to make sense of it all. Being a orphan, she's never gotten good at making sense of anything.
After a long pause, Anya finally utters, "What?" her voice trembling.
Her grandmother withdraws from the hug. She lifts a hand, gently caresses the side of her granddaughter's face. "You are beautiful, Anastasia, and clever enough to fool even yourself. Just think about you really want. Whatever you decide, I will always be here for you." With that, the Dowager quietly stands up and leaves the room.
"Your highness, we found a note for you."
Dowager Empress Marie Feodorovna reaches out one wrinkled hand to take the piece of letter-paper from her servant. She thanks him serenely, and turns her gazes to the note that had been hastily scrawled in a messy hand. The ink is smudged, and her little Anastasia still pens in her s's in the most peculiar way.
Wish me luck! With Vlad's help, I am off to search for Dimitri. I want to thank you for everything you've done for me, and I will always love you. However, you were right. I miss him. Just try not to be so patronizing next time I'm acting like a total idiot.
P.S. Don't call me Anya. It sounds strange when you say it.
She finds him within a week. It wasn't hard at all, actually. St. Petersburg was, naturally, the first place she looked, and naturally, that's exactly where he was. Once she gets there, though, it's even easier to find where he is. St. Petersburg could never keep the secrets and rumors spreading all around its streets. She only had to talk to one elderly woman, who told her to go to the old palace. She feels rather stupid after she learns that. Why hadn't she tried the palace in the first place? But wait, no. She knows exactly why. She had already assumed Dimitri had moved on, severing all connections between them, and naturally, that would include the palace. It's...interesting he's still conducting his business there.
She may be blushing, but it also may be the cold.
She remembers the way to the palace from before. The hole she made in the planks is still there, and her boots make the same marks in the snow they did the first time. It's almost as if nothing has changed on the surface.
Anya knows better.
This time when she reaches the stairwell, sees the cathedral ceiling and all of the steps to come spiraling above her, she isn't awed by the aged, dusty beauty of it all. The sight of her old home just makes her sad, so she thinks she'll try to get all this unpleasantness over with as soon as possible. Skip the sad parts, she thinks. So she yells, hollers, shouts at the top of her lungs:
Silence. Silence, except for a very, very faint sound of a Dimitri-sized object falling to the floor in shock. She smirks, imagining his expression. "Hello?" she shouts again, "Dimitri? Are you there?" She's done enough walking for him, and decides to just wait for him here. So she slides down to the floor, and leans against the banister as she sits.
Soon enough, she hears the unmistakable thump thump of his shoes on the carpet, and then he's there, right on the staircase only ten or so feet above her.
She grins at him, gleeful like a Cheshire Cat.
He looks as if he's about to fall over.
He gets over himself quickly enough, though, and beats her to speaking. "Anya, what are you doing here?" He leaps the rest of the way down the staircase, until he's in front of her. She barely has chance to see him in the full before he pulls her to him in a bone-crushing hug. "Oh, Anya." She can't help smile at the way he says her name. He says it like he's missed her.
She pulls away, and though she is positively furious at him, she can't stop smiling. "What the hell did you think you were doing?" Her tone is like acid, and the fact that she is smiling creates a rather disconcerting image, and Dimitri has a hard time deciding whether to be worried or happy or creeped out.
"Um," he says.
"No! Let me talk for once, okay? Because we're not going to get anywhere unless I just tell you all of this right now. So, again: what the hell did you think you were doing?"
He's at a loss for words. But it's okay, because she's obviously not done.
"I mean, seriously, but what kind of guy are you? You go and pull this selfless act, but forget to tell the girl about it so she doesn't keep thinking you're really just a bastard and is all confused on why she has a crush on a bastard. You really are just complete shit at this romantic stuff, aren't you?"
He can't help but chuckle, and is about to make his own joke about his comically lack of social skills in this area, but she's still not done.
"You just had so many chances to redeem yourself, to explain that everything had changed and that you're an idiot and that you saved me and my Grandmama and that you didn't take the money. But you didn't. And the thing on the boat, while we dancing, you leaned in and then you didn't. You ran away. And then you ran away again after we talked on the staircase. But you're wrong. You're just wrong, Dimitri!" By the end she's become angry with him all over again, and can't help but push him like she used to, her hands flat against his chest.
He's startled, but his expression soon darkens once he's registered her anger in her eyes. "If you came here just to blame me, then you've got another thing coming," he says bitterly, and is turning away when she stops him with a hand on his arm.
"No, you idiot! I'm trying to tell you I love you!"
His eyes widen and his mouth goes a bit slack. He's speechless, truly speechless, but then the moment is gone. "You have the strangest way of saying it."
She laughs, and he does too. They smile at each other, and there's that happiness again, that simple joy bubbling deep within him.
"It's just," she says, looking away. "It's just that you think you don't deserve me. That you don't deserve anyone. You think you're not someone who deserves to love. And you're wrong, Dimitri. You're just...so wrong."
He takes her hand, because he wants to. He smiles when she doesn't mind, doesn't eye suspiciously. "Anya, I was told all my life that I didn't deserve to be with you, that I didn't deserve to even talk to you, to even see you. And yeah, I know, all of it was bull. But then I grew up, Anya. Then I did do terrible things. Things that did made me unworthy. I used your name, the girl I supposedly loved, in a scam to fool a innocent girl and a poor old woman to get me rich." His voice has turned, now as cool and bitter as steel. "How is that honorable? How is that good? How is that worthy of someone like you?" His hands slips away from hers as he pulls away, again, and she might just think she's gotten used to the sensation. "You should go, Anya. You don't belong here."
She has to resist rolling her eyes, wary of ruining the drama of it all, but honestly. Men were such idiots.She reaches out to grasp his hand, tries to let him now in that single gesture all the things she can never quite put into words. "If I don't belong here, then why am I here? If I'm just some Duchess living in mansions and palaces and townhouses in France, then why am I standing in a deserted building full of nothing but dust?" He looks at her, wonders at her smile. "It's because of you. And-" she chuckles, a tad self-conscious, "I don't when it started being about you, not about finding out who I am, or finding my family, or Paris. But...somehow...something changed...and then I started...it started being all about you. Just for you. Because..."
By this point she's forgotten what her original point was, and finds herself quite stranded with him but without the words. She bits her lip, and wonders if anything will ever make any sense."If you don't deserve to be loved, if you're just the worthless scum of the Earth, then why am I here?"
She's staring at him with determination in her eyes, and something else. Something he's just noticed, but is slowly realizing has been there for a while, returning to him like a forgotten memory. Something warm, something calming, something that he thought only existed in fairy tales. He smiles, squeezes her palm.
"I was always shit at winning arguments with you," he jokes, and she lets out a relieved laugh. He moves closer, letting go of her hand as his arms wrap around her slender form in a hug. "I missed you," he mutters into her hair.
She shifts against him, momentarily retracting from his embrace to look him in the eye. "Love you," she whispers, and presses her lips to his.
It almost feels weird not to be interrupted.0000
Later, when they are sitting on the train, hands entwined, he bumps her shoulder slightly, like he used to.
"How do you feel about Italy?" he asks her, looking down at her with the widest smile she's ever seen on him.
Being with him, she's learned it's best to always take his hand and jump in feet first.
"Sounds fantastic," she says, grinning, feeling more like a princess than ever.