A/n: Don't own Don't sue
Danielle Ivashkov sat in the dark drinking scotch. Expensive scotch. The woman of the Ivashkov Family was still under house arrest, still followed everyday by judging eyes and whispers. Of her infidelity, of her cover up, of her marriage.
Normally those things alone would be enough to make her reach for the bottle but tonight, there was a special occasion, a special reason for her sipping the amber liquid at almost afternoon, alone in her darkened living room.
That very reason was just retuning home.
He stopped as he entered the room, hair a stylish mess as usual, arms full of paper and car keys. It took his vampire eyes only a few seconds to adjust to the gloom and he looked at her. "Single malt, from the twenties, classy."
She had no moral high road to disparage him for mocking his mother; she nodded to the seat opposite him. "Sit."
He sighed, "I'm tired mother…"
He did so.
There was silence for a few minutes as Adrian found another glass and poured himself a liberal amount, he took a long sip before speaking. "What have I done wrong now?"
Danielle paused, "There are rumours—"
"There are always rumours," he cut her off; "I thought you of all people would have learned not to listen to most of them."
"About what you're doing every day," She took a sip, "about who you're looking for."
He didn't look away from her gaze; there was a defiant tilt to his chin that she was very familiar with but this time it was different. "So?"
"You don't deny it?" she asked quickly.
He didn't need to answer, Danielle Ivashkov took a breath and tried to swallow her feelings like a good member of respectable society, over the years, many times she'd been ashamed of her sons actions, his partying and sleazing and boozing and even his grades, but not once had she ever been ashamed of him.
She was now.
"An Alchemist, Adrian?" she asked in a harsh whisper, as if they were being spied upon and one wrong word could land her back before the court. When the whispers had first reached her ears she'd been slow to react, people didn't tell her so many things these days, they didn't include her in the gossip sessions, especially if she or her family were the topic itself.
But when Adrianne Taurus had finally took her aside at the salon parlour and informed her of her sons newest disgrace, she'd sworn to get to the bottom of it.
He was different now, looking at him from across the table, his eyes bright, not red rimmed or unfocused, his smell unmarred by cigarette smoke, his shoulders firm and proud. Danielle wondered, he'd been like this for a while now, every day the same, he would leave early in the morning, return with ink blotted fingers, he'd take trips to far corners of the world, disappear for weeks and return not with a hangover but with a look of disappointment. She hadn't known why till now. "And your father always thought Rosemarie Hathaway was the lowest you could go," her voice wasn't harsh, but the words were, she was only echoing her husband.
He used the same tone when talking to her these days; it was hard to tell which member of his family he was more ashamed of. His wife or his son.
"We'll add that to the list of things Nathan Ivashkov didn't know then." Adrian replied calmly.
"What happened to her?" Danielle asked after a pause.
"They took her." There was a hitch to his voice only a mother would notice.
"Because of me." She saw the guilt settle in his eyes and for one desperate moment she wanted nothing more than to wrap him in a hug but it wouldn't be welcome she knew. Instead she spoke.
"Do you think you'll find her?" before your father finds out what you're really using his money for, before their friends could judge him any further.
There was a pause and the clock on the wall ticked over evening. Finally, "No." he said, "but I won't stop trying."
The word Adrian Ivashkov and conviction weren't often used in the same sentence but that was all Danielle could think as she took in his words, "Was she really worth it?"
"She was…she is."
Danielle thought of her husband, of her lover, of everything she had done to protect her son and her life and she realised that Adrian was a fool.
Just like she had been.
There was a knock on Jill's dorm room, she glanced at the clock and figured that it was Eddie, the lunch shift would just be switching over and of course he would be the first to check in on her, she smiled. "Come in."
Jill returned to typing her e-mail to Micah on her laptop and was just about to hit send when a voice spoke up, "Did you change the wallpaper in here?"
Jill jumped a little and spun around in her chair, quickly facing her sister and the most powerful Moroi in the world, Lissa Dragomir. Jill quickly studied her shoes. "Not really," she muttered, "I just added some posters." Her favourite bands, a full colour one advertising safari's in Africa, she hoped to go one day despite her tolerance for sun.
"I have that one." Jill's head jerked up, Lissa was pointing at one of the posters just behind Jill's bed, one of a human rock band on stage. "Andre took me to see them at a concert once." Jill slowly raised her eyes and met her sisters, there was sadness there, but a small smile still hinted at her full lips. She looked at Jill, "If they're still touring, we should go to one."
The youngest Dragomir did her best not to show her excitement even as her heart leapt, she smiled brightly, "I'd like that."
"Of course we'd have to bring Rose…and Eddie, and Dimitri, and half the royal guard come to think of it." Lissa shook her head despairingly.
Jill snickered, "Or we could just sneak out." She suggested, but there was a nervous hitch to her voice.
Lissa smirked at her, "Adrian's been a bad influence on you hasn't he?"
Jill sobered a little and she looked back to her shoes, "He's not really a bad influence on anyone at the moment, he's never around."
"That must be hard." Lissa's voice was far away and there was a tension to her face, but it wasn't directed at Jill, "I remember what it was like to be separated from Rose, when we were first bonded."
Jill didn't often discuss Adrian feelings with anyone, the last person she'd talked openly to about them was Sydney… "He's sad." But of course Sydney wasn't here, but her real sister was.
"Rose said that." Lissa nodded, "but she doesn't know why…but I think Dimitri does."
Jill watched Lissa closely for a second and for one of the first times she didn't see a Queen, or a princess but a person, a girl, who was just like her. "He does…I do."
Lissa seemed to consider before speaking slowly, "Is there anything I can do?"
Jill sighed and she felt her own sadness swell inside her, "No, I don't think there's anything anyone can do."
Lissa wasn't used to being weak, but she was, a powerful Queen who had once been a mad school girl, she knew both sides of the equation well. She stepped forward and touched a hand to Jill's shoulder, "And that's not your fault."
The youngest Dragomir's aura lightened just a little at her sisters words.
Zoë Sage sat in the dark, crying. The walls of Carly's apartment were thick though and neither her mother nor her sister would hear. She pulled her knees to her chest and wiped her nose on her sleeve.
She had a horrible feeling.
Her father had just called and as buoyed as a phone call from Jared Sage usually made her, this one had made her shake with fear instead.
She asked after Sydney
And received the following reply, "She's being dealt with."
Zoë may not be an Alchemist yet, her cheeks may be bare, she might be free but she knew, she knew what that meant. Her sister was being fixed. Re-educated they called it.
Tortured, Sydney had once whispered under her breath. Zoë knew which was the truth.
And it was all her fault.
She'd gone to the Alchemists after speaking to her sister at Amberwood, one last act of defiance; of proving something to her father she would never know what. She told him all about the good looking Moroi Lord and the way he was with her elder sister.
She hated herself and wondered if Sydney would ever forgive her.
Would she even see her ever again? She knew the answer to that too. Of course, what use was setting an example if no one could see it? Zoë would find Sydney again but she wouldn't be the same, wouldn't speak the same or walk the same, she'd be knew and broken, like an old machine cobbled back together with parts missing and in the wrong place.
Zoë remembered the way her sister had protectively put her hand across her shoulders when the Alchemists had come to their house late at night. She remembered the way that Moroi had done the same to Sydney when he had seen them at their school.
She wished someone would do it for her now.
But knew they never would.
Sydney's skin was fire, was ice, was melting from her bones and then she was flying. She knew nothing of time or place.
What did vampire bites feel like without the pain numbing pheromones? She knew.
What did vampire bites feel like with more pheromone than the human body could handle? She knew.
Creates of the night.
Moroi, Strigoi, Dhamphirs, they were all the same. In her nightmares they all fed on her the same, she would wake and find that they weren't dreams but reality and she'd hate them, hate them all.
Red eyes would stare into hers as razor sharp teeth sunk into her neck, her wrists, her thighs. Strigoi
Green eyes would look upon her as the water in her body fizzed, as the air in her lungs was stolen, as compulsion eroded her free will. Moroi.
The pattern would repeat, scorching pain and dreams really nightmares, really not either. And every hour, every minute, every day she'd fall a little further away.
And all she could think…
Until that too, was gone.
And she was changed, from lead into gold and back again.
A/n: Okay guys, I wanted to thank you all again for reading this story through to the end and all the time you've taken to comment, I really do appreciate it. I know some of you probably arn't happy with the ending, but that's okay, it was like that for a reason. I'm currently working on the sequel which will probably be called Brass and Iron and if all goes well and its turns out half decent I should post it in a few weeks. Thanks again for all your comments, I hope to hear from all of you again :)