Author's note:

I'm so glad that you guys liked the first chapter! Especially Vampire406 and ThatWriterChickk: thank you so much for your positive reviews! Believe me, that gives a LOT of incentive to write more. About chapter 2 - well Adrian just keeps surprising me and I gained a few more insights into his character while writing today. I hope you'll like him as much as I do... or even more if possible! Enjoy, and don't forget to review!

- writergrl1992

p.s.: much to my regret, I do not own VA and any of its characters

Chapter 2

With Lissa as the Queen and her spirit powers now a legend, people often wonder what using Spirit is like. Lissa once told me what it was like for her – light and music, love and joy. I wish I could ask Sonya Karp what it was like for her. I think Spirit feels different for different users. After all, we manifest our strengths in different regions. Yeah, super mojo power – powerful compulsion – is something we have in common. And we all see auras. Lissa heals better. And I dream-walk. So how does using spirit feel like to me?

Whenever I use spirit, I feel like I'm the part of a verse, a sonnet ripped from a book lost forever. The lyrics fill me with ecstasy, and promise more; pull at me like a siren call, beckoning me to follow, into a world of rhythm and beauty. The pull is so strong, it drives a person mad trying to resist it. When I was a wee lad, innocent and tender (no need for eye-rolls please) I hadn't known the darkness of spirit. I hadn't known the need to resist. I hadn't wanted to resist the lure for more pleasure. And I had followed.

I still shiver with longing when I think about all the feelings that had coursed through me when I'd succumbed. I had been lost to the world. I still don't know how I was brought back, but I've seen the devastation I had left behind. I had used compulsion on everybody, and haunted everybody even while they were awake. That wasn't what troubled me though; after all everybody needs a wake-up call sometime or the other. But I had seen the pain I had caused my mother and aunt. Daniella Ivashkov isn't a weak woman, but she had aged years in the – I still have no idea how many – days I'd been lost.

That's the lure we Spirit users fight against. No matter how glamorous our powers look – they try to lure us in. That's why I always keep drinking and smoking. Not exactly to reduce the spirit's lure – that doesn't change much no matter how high I am – but to convince my body that I can replicate that feeling without having to succumb. Nice, huh? I'm sure Rose would have understood. Not. She was bull-headed and would have tried her Rose-logic. No. I stopped my thoughts before they lingered on her.

I'm not normally like this – I try to avoid thinking much, especially about myself. I know I'm an extremely fascinating topic, but sometimes I get pulled into deep thinking. Strange for me, don't to think? I occasionally surprise myself too, keeps me from becoming monotonous. But then, I talk to myself too, and never expect a guy mumbling under his breath to be monotonous.

"Wow, that's what depression looks like. I never knew that." The sarcasm brought me back to reality and I turned around. Mia raised her eyebrows and I shrugged lazily.

"You off to St. Vlad's with us?" I nodded my head towards the bag she was dragging.

"Well, I have no choice since I haven't graduated yet, unlike Rose and Lissa." My jaws clenched again when Rose was mentioned and I tried to keep my face calm. If Mia noticed anything, she didn't comment on it.

We were in the lounge next to the Courts hangar, with a neat view. The Court gardeners did a good job, I suppose. I turned to look out the windows, and from the glimmer of aura in my peripheral vision I knew that Mia joined me too. And from the beige tinge it took, I knew Mia was feeling compassionate. My vision grew red before I caught hold of my anger. I didn't want people's compassion, dammit! But she didn't say anything, so I couldn't snap her either.

I heard footsteps behind me, and I turned around. Jill walked towards us, trying to look confident and unconcerned, but the vulnerable look on her face drove away the last remnants of anger from my mind. The girl had followed my advice, and had dressed up as expected from being the Queen's sister and a Dragomir. Her outfit was carefully coordinated and oozed class, and looked good on her. Except for her expression, which was now panicked since I was taking this long to analyze her look.

"Perfect," I said, smiling at her, and her face showed relief.

Her guardians reached us too, one of them carrying her case. And then parted, to let those who had been hidden behind then. Lissa and Christian walked up. And behind them were Rose and Dimitri.

Dimitri had been assigned as guardian to Christian, like Rose to Lissa, and it was like a freaking double date all the time. Rose tried to meet my eyes but I pretended not to notice. They were both on guardian duty, both focussed on their charges and not making goo-goo eyes at each other, but that wasn't why jealousy suddenly burned inside me. It was because, even without looking at each other, they were synchronised, and in harmony with what the other was doing. I made the mistake of looking at her eyes, and her beauty was like a slap on my face. And it wasn't guilt that was looking out of her face; yeah guilt was there too, but mostly it was regret. And, God forgive me, affection. I looked away and focussed on what was going on.

Jill and Lissa were far from comfortable. Christian hugged Jill.

"Good luck, Jailbait," Christian said, using the nickname I'd given Jill a long time ago.

"I'll miss you," Jill said with a smile, but I saw it wobble.

Christian grinned. Lissa hesitated, and then tentatively hugged Jill.

"Take care," she said, drawing back.

"You too," Jill whispered.

"Aww Mia, don't be upset we'll miss you too," Christian grinned, trying to ruffle Mia's hair. "I don't think I will, though," Mia grinned back, ducking out of his reach.

"Hey. It's not like I was setting her on fire," Christian said in a mocking hurt voice.

"Well, then she would just douse herself with water," Rose said coming forward, smiling widely. She hugged Mia, and then Jill, whispering something in her ear before going back to her guarding stance. I saw Jill meet her eyes and nod slightly, and wondered if Rose had put her up to something.

"Good to know you'll be off our shoulders for a bit, man," Christian punched my arm.

"I hope you won't get used to it, though. I don't think I can stay away from you." My voice came out unexpectedly bitter and out of the corner of my eye I saw Rose flinch. Good.

Christian looked unsure at that, and shared a glance with Lissa and then Rose. I saw Dimitri stand passively in his expressionless guardian mode, taking up everything but not participating. Rose still had a lot to learn.

I saw Rose open and then close her mouth many times, but no words came out. Finally, Lissa stepped forward and hugged me.

"Be safe," she said sarcastically, trying to diffuse the tension.

"When am I not?" I said with wide eyes, gesturing at my guardians. Lissa grinned.

"I meant for others."

"You break my heart," I mocked. I turned to Mia. "May I?" I said, gesturing towards her bag. She raised her eyebrows. Yeah, Mia was training in martial arts and could probably throw around punches, but it was Rose who could throw me around. And I really didn't want to think about her.

"Okay," Mia said, surprising me, with a glint in her eyes. I hadn't expected her to really agree, but I grasped the handle of the bag in her hand... and felt my shoulder dislocate. Almost. Mia just laughed and took the damn bag out of my hand and walked out the glass doors towards the private plane waiting outside.

I glanced at Jill, and found her smiling. It had been so long since I'd seen her smile, and I realised I'd missed the old laughing Jailbait. I grinned at her, tilting my head towards the plane and she nodded, and we followed Mia towards the plane, away from Rose.