It feels mad that it's been over a year since I last posted a chapter – I have no idea where the time has gone. This chapter has taken me a while to write; my story arch has nearly finished. Another two chapters I think. I can only apologise for the ridiculously late post and hope you enjoy what I think is my longest chapter by far. P.S I do plan something big in the next chapter.

Thanks,

Gina

Oh God Roza, you're blowing my mind" Dimitri moaned, tangling his fingers into my hair, his breathing ragged. I would tell him that it wasn't his mind that I was blowing, but I'd been taught it's rude to speak with your mouth full. He moaned quietly as I brought him closer to the edge, his words becoming an incoherent mix of English and Russian as his fingers tightened their grip in my hair. I moaned around his arousal, turned on knowing that I was the only person who could bring Dimitri this pleasure, his moans spurring me on. He lifted his hips to meet the rhythm of my mouth and hands, my name tumbling from his mouth over and over between ragged, uneven breathes.

"That was one hell of a wakeup call Roza," Dimitri mumbled drowsily as he tightened his arms around me. I rested my head on his chest listening to his heartbeat slow beneath my ear. "Well," I replied, shifting up onto my elbow so I could see him better, "we never got to celebrate your birthday properly." Dimitri opened his mouth to say something, but I cut him off with a raised hand. "And I'm not having sex with you until you have at least recovered a little." Dimitri rolled his eyes at me but didn't speak. Sitting up, I stretched my arms above my head feeling a slight ache lingering in my muscles from the rescue and sharing an old couch with Dimitri. He ran his fingertips up my spine as I stretched, sending a shiver through my body. I turned slightly to see him looking up at me smiling. "What?" I asked, feeling a smile pull at my own lips. He shook his head, simply saying "I love you."

"I love you too." I replied automatically, before hoping out of bed too fast for Dimitri to pull me back down onto the bed. "Where do you think you're going?" Dimitri asked, while sitting up onto his elbows, raising an eyebrow at me. "As tempting as the thought of staying in bed all day with you is comrade, I'm hungry." I through over my shoulder, heading out of the bedroom towards the kitchen, turning back to him as I reached the door, "You know food is always going to win the battle of who I love most." I winked at Dimitri, leaving the room before he had a chance to respond.

I turned the radio on as I reached the kitchen counter, humming along as I reached for the bread; with my limited cooking skills toast was the only real option for me. I heard Dimitri yawning as he walked into the kitchen just as I was filling the kettle with water. He reached around me, brushing his lips lightly along my neck as he turned the coffee maker on. The machine whirled to life and Dimitri pulled away, leaving me wanting more. "Tease," I grumbled, hearing Dimitri chuckle as I dumped a tea bag into my awaiting mug. I turned to lean on the counter, seeing that Dimitri was in the same position opposite me, leaning against the breakfast bar, studying me with an unreadable expression on his face. It annoyed me a little that he was still so much of a mystery sometimes; he always seemed to know what I was thinking, but with him I was at a complete loss. Focusing on the present, I relaxed into the normal, almost boring nature of the moment; with our constantly turbulent and erratic lives, it was nice to have a little peaceful mundanely every once in a while. During my musing, Dimitri had pushed off from the counter which he was leaning on and was now standing in front of me, head cocked to the side slightly as he studied me. "What are you thinking so hard about?" He asked, stroking my cheek lightly with him thumb as i looked up at him. "Just thinking its nice to have some time to ourselves is all," I explained, tuning my head into his hand, "I'm not used to the peace and quiet." He smile lovingly down at me, his smiling turning slightly amused as his eyes shifted quickly to my left, then back to me as he removed his hand from my cheek. "You've burned your toast." he stated simply, as he reached over to pour himself a cup of coffee. I whipped my head around, swearing as I saw, to my dismay, grey smoke coming from the top of the toaster, two black squares popping up seconds later, as if to taunt me and my inability to do even the simplest of things when it came to a kitchen. I swore again, deciding the only reasonable course of action was to blame Dimitri. "That's your fault, you distracted me." I said, turning to see him stirring milk into my tea and placing it in font of one of the chairs at the breakfast bar; it was really hard to blame him for things when he was always being thoughtful and kind; damn him. He gently grabbed my wrist, leading me over to the chair he had set the tea in front of, kissing my temple as I sat. "I can't apologise enough," Dimitri said, pandering to my somewhat childish mood as he went to open the window above the sink, allowing smoke to escape. "Would an omelette suffice to have me forgiven?" He asked making his way to the fridge. "Perhaps." I quipped, earning a quiet chuckle from Dimitri.

I watched Dimitri work over the brim of my mug, both of us falling into a comfortable silence. I focussed back onto the music floating gently around us. The melody from a guitar soft and lilting, the woman's voice soulful as she sang. (Songbird - Eva Cassidy) Dimitri seemed to have switched his attention to the radio as well, as he was singing along quietly, it was almost as though he didn't realise he was doing it. I was completely mesmerised, i had never even heard Dimitri hum, his voice capturing me in the lyrics of the song as his words floated around me. He turned back to me, looking slightly embarrassed as he put a plate in front of me. "I've never heard you sing before." I said simply, smiling up at him as he brought a plate of his own and sat next to me. "You should do it more." He looked down at me, seeming a little surprised before giving me a small, lopsided smile. "If it makes you happy, I'll never stop." He said quietly before turning back to his food. I followed suit, digging into the delicious food Dimitri had made, feeling Dimitri's hand rest on my thigh, his thumb running circles into the soft skin on my leg. Although his touch was intimate, it was never suggestive or insistent. We stayed like that while we ate, Dimitri seemed to be lost in his thoughts and I wasn't going to force myself into his head; not yet anyway.

Our doorbell burst our quiet little bubble of solitude as i was rinsing the plates in the sink. I looked over to Dimitri, who looked just as confused as me as he walked over to the door. I trailed behind him, rounding the corner to the hallway just as Lissa was being invited in, her following guardians nodded to me and Dimitri as they took their position at the door; no doubt there were at least another two down the hall. "Morning Dimitri, hey Rose," she greeted, walking over to pull me into a quick hug which I returned she looked down at me as we pulled apart, "I'm starting to feel overdressed." she laughed, motioning to what I was wearing. I was still wearing one of Dimitri's old shirts that reached my mid-thigh that I had pulled on last night. Glancing at Dimitri I noticed, not for the first time this morning that he was shirtless, only wearing his pyjama bottoms, which sat low on his hips. Only noticing the bandages around his ribs stopped my wayward mind from travelling further south. "It could have been worse." I said, leading Lissa into the kitchen and started to pour her a cup of coffee, while Dimitri walked into the bedroom grumbling in Russian. I knew it annoyed him when I joked about our sex life, or talked about it in public; he was a private person by nature and liked to keep it that way. I of course liked to tease him. "What can we do for you Lissa?" he asked re-entering the room while pulling a shirt over his head before walking behind me to grab himself a new cup of coffee, lightly trail his fingertips across my back as he passed me, subtle enough so that Lissa didn't notice. "Nothing in particular," she smiled, obviously happy that Dimitri had called her Lissa without having to be prompted to, "I just wanted to check you were both doing okay."

Even before Dimitri spoke I knew he was going to lie; saying he was fine. I could see in the way he leant his weight on the counter, and the way he had flinched when pulling his shirt over his head that he was in pain. Sure enough he claimed to be fine, but Lissa saw through it as well. Lissa stood from her seat, putting her hand over Dimitri s which rested on the counter top "Feel better soon." she said quietly and I didn't need the bond to know she had heeled him. She broke the contact after a few seconds, smiling at me and winking as she made her way to the door. "I'll see myself out," she called over her shoulder, "See you two soon. But not too soon." she ended with a warning tone as our front door closed behind her. I looked up at Dimitri, gauging his reaction as he lifted his arm, twisting to the side slightly, testing to see how much he had been healed. When he was satisfied with his testing, he lifted his shirt over his head, trying to undo the bandages that I had replaced the night before. The angle was awkward for him to unwrap it himself, so I decided to put him out of his misery, indicating for him to lift his arms as I stepped towards him, taking the end of the bandage from his hand and continuing his work while he stood still for me. When the last of the bandage fell away, Dimitri took a deep breath in, no doubt relived to be rid of the restricting binds.

Suddenly, Dimitri wrapped his arms around my waist, flinging me unceremoniously over his shoulder, eliciting a small cry of surprise. "Hey!" I exclaimed, hitting him on the back as he walked out of the kitchen, "where are we going?"

"bedroom." he responded with laughter in his voice, shifting me so he was gripping me by the hips. After a few more seconds, I was lifted off of his shoulder and laid down on the middle of the bed. "Now that I am no longer injured, we can celebrate properly." Dimitri continued as he ran his hands up my sides and lowered his lips towards mine. We shed the little clothing we were wearing quickly, frantically trying to get closer to each other, our bodies connecting and entwining as we found our salvation in each other.

We lay together for god know how long, content to stay in the our own little bubble of sated peace, listening to the soft melody floating through the open door of the bedroom, from the radio in the kitchen. Eventually my rumbling stomach burst our romantic bubble. Dimitri chuckled beside me, propping himself up on an elbow so he could see me better. "How are you hungry again?" he asked incredulously, shaking his head slightly as his fingers absently playing with a stray lock of hair that sat on my collarbone.

"I'm always hungry, you know that Comrade. Besides we just worked breakfast off. I'd eat less if we weren't so... Energetic." I said, attempting and failing to raise an eyebrow at him.

"It's not my fault you're so wanton Roza." Dimitri replied, mocking me with his own raised eyebrow.

"Me? Wanton? So says the caveman who carried me to bed over his shoulder." I countered, kneeling up on the bed with my hands on my hips, trying to look forceful. Apparently it needed a bit of work, because Dimitri just ignored the look, choosing instead to wind his arms around my waist and pull me flush to him "I never heard you complaining" he whispered in my ear, placing soft kisses down my neck. "I wasn't, but we do need to get up now." I said, pulling back from Dimitri enough to stop me from giving in to him. He didn't seem too happy about that though, pulling me back and trailing his hands down to squeeze my butt, earning himself a playful slap on the bicep as I pulled away from him again, hearing a disgruntled growl from Dimitri as I got off the bed.

"Who's wanton now hmm?" I said, looking triumphantly at Dimitri, who was now kneeling on the bed, and laughed as I managed to dodge as he reached for me again. "You really need to keep emotions under control, Comrade. It effects your aim." I said, trying to mimic one of his an life lessons as I backed towards the bathroom, watching Dimitri get off the bed and stalk towards me like I was his prey, a smirk on his face. He knew as well as I did that he would catch me but that didn't mean I would make it easy for him. I turned and ran into the bathroom, screaming as I felt his arms snake around me as he brought my back against his chest. "You're so beautiful." He whispered almost to himself as he studied me in the bathroom mirror in front of us. I watched as he splayed his fingers over my stomach. He trailed one hand up, ghosting over my breasts and up, moving my hair away from my neck and kissing it gently. He made eye contact with me in the mirror as his other hand moved down between my legs, causing me to close my eyes as pure pleasure spiked through me. I lay my head against his chest as his other hand want to play with my breasts. "Open your eyes Roza." I obeyed, surprised by how downright erotic the sight in front of me was; the look of desire written in Dimitri's eyes as he watched my reaction to what his hands were doing. A small moan left my lips and a self-satisfied look crossed Dimitri's face. "Who's wanton now hmm?" He whispered to me, before stepping away and turning the shower on as if nothing had happened.

"You joining me?" He asked, his face the pictures of innocence, though his body have away how much he was affected by what he had just done. I was annoyed that he had won, but mostly I just wanted his hands back where they had been moments ago. I ignored his question, choosing instead to kiss him hard. I felt him smile against my lips as he picked me up and backed me against the shower wall without breaking the kiss.

When we were satisfied we were both thoroughly clean, we dressed and went in search of food. We walked along the sidewalk hand in hand, enjoying the mild night air that hung around us. We still got the odd stare or dismissive tut by royals when we were around Court together, but on the whole people had either accepted our relationship or had become bored and moved onto another piece of gossip; either way, I refused to let it affect me. Besides, I had lots of experience with being the center of gossip. Dimitri was less used to it though and I know it still annoys him that our personal life was talked about, especially since he is such a private person. Though he'd never admit it got to him, I knew and would always link my arm in his or hold his hand when someone would say something when we walked around Court. We walked into a small cafe we both liked; both because it did great food and because it was mostly frequented by off duty guardians and non-royals, which meant it was a more comfortable and relaxed place to eat. I also liked it because Mia worked behind the counter and have me extra food when no one was looking. As expected, Mia stood behind the counter, hair tied in a high pony tail as she pulled another customers change from the till. She looked up as we entered, smiling as she greets us. "Hey Rose, Dimitri. Black coffee and a chia tea?"

"Are we that obvious?" I asked walking towards the counter.

"You order the same drink every time you come in, Rose," Mia laughed as she rung our drinks through the till, "You getting the usual to eat as well?" she asked moving to make our drinks. I scanned the menu on the wall trying to see if there was anything different I would want, not wanting to be too predictable, but ended up choosing the toasted club sandwich; my usual. But seriously, it has chicken, bacon and cheese on it, why would I choose anything else. Dimitri chooses the steak salad, of course being healthier than me when it came to food. He tried to tell me it was good every time he had it but I refused to believe having more salad then steal on a plate was a good thing. "Here," Mia said, placing our drinks onto a tray, "I'll bring your food over when it's ready. Oh and I'm glad you're back Dimitri."

"So am I. Thanks Mia." Dimitri replied picking up the tray and taking to a table next to the window at the front.

Lunch was presently uneventful, besides a couple of guardians saying they were glad our rescue mission had been largely successful and asking if we were attending the memorial service the next day. Though I was sure it would have been one, I wasn't aware it was so soon. I hadn't noticed on the way to the café, but I noticed the sombre mood that hung around Court as we walked back to our apartment. I noticed Dimitri was quieter too, though I didn't push it. Not yet anyway. I realised that a lot of people had lost a lot, both in the raid and the rescue mission. I cast my mind back to the list of dead, realising that although I knew some of them I wasn't really close to any of them. Was it wrong that I was relieved? I was tired of losing people that I held dear. Since finding out that Dimitri and Eddie were still alive, I hadn't really thought about all the others. Come to think about it, I hadn't thought about Eddie since seeing Dimitri.

I was so busy realising that I'm not a very good person; I hadn't noticed that we were back home. Or that Dimitri was stood in front of me trying to get my attention. "Rose?" he asked frowning.

"I'm fine." I said already knowing that Dimitri wouldn't believe me. Sure enough he raised an eyebrow at me, standing like a formidable wall in front of me. I was pretty sure he would stand there all day if he had to.

"I was just thinking I should go see Eddie before he goes back with his charge is all." I gave a half truth, hoping it would be enough. Dimitri sighed, tucking a stay lock of hair behind my ear. "You feel bad for not thinking about them, don't you?" He didn't have to expand on who they were. Just like I didn't have to tell him what was wrong for him to know. He sighed, seeming to already know my answer, and pulled me to him, wrapping his arms around me and holding my tight. The dark feeling of melancholy that had come over me started to fade as he held me there; a darkness caused by my emotions rather than spirit. "Come on," Dimitri said softly, leading me through the threshold and sitting me down in the lounge. "I'll call Eddie, see if he is free this evening. We could go to the palace. I'm sure Lissa would love to spend some time with you." I smiled and nodded, sitting in silence on the coach while Dimitri went to phone Lissa, wondering how long the silence would last.

If past experience had taught me anything – not very long.