Disclaimer: I don't own 'em (unless they're originals). Please don't sue me. It's so not worth it.

A/N: Okay, so I do intend to continue Dark Awakening at some point. However, my brain keeps giving me glimpses of Vlad, Sarantha and Béla in the old days that I just can't shake. This may turn into a collection of oneshots depending on when and where my muse strikes.

Dark Reflections

1.

This forest at his back is unfamiliar yet not threatening. Darkness holds sway, the sky illuminated only by the full moon and a blanket of stars, but daybreak is not far off. He can feel it in his bones. The air is warm, the scent of rose bay filling his senses, and Vladimir Dubrinsky knows that wherever he is, it cannot be far from home.

"Are you here to stop me?"

Vladimir turns sharply and finds a man standing at the tree line, watching him with the unnatural calm that marks all males who have lost the capacity to feel. "Béla?" Vladimir has not seen his brother in many years. He frowns as he recalls the question. "Stop you?"

"Have you not foreseen this, ekä?" Béla asks, his voice so utterly devoid of inflection that Vladimir wants to shake him, to provoke a reaction. Something! God above, anything but this total absence of emotion. "This moment has been long in the making."

A chill settles into Vladimir's heart as the horizon begins to change colour, hues of indigo and flame stretching their fingers across the sky. "No. Béla, you mustn't." He cannot bear it. "Not yet! There is still hope."

The sun touches Béla's skin and Vladimir is helpless to do anything but watch as his brother closes his eyes and allows himself to burn...

"Vladimir!" The soft cry, both verbal and telepathic, is his salvation and he awakens to find Sarantha leaning over him, one hand stroking his cheek soothingly. "Be easy, fél ku kuuluaak sívam belsö,"she croons, brushing a kiss across his lips. "All is well."

Vladimir lets out an unsteady breath and feels his lifemate's warmth sink into his soul. She smiles down at him gently, pressing her lips to the corner of his mouth. "The dream –" he begins but Sarantha stops his mouth with her own and holds him close.

Sometimes dreams are simply that – dreams, Sarantha reassures him, and even your visions are not always what they seem. Béla is alive. He fights for you and his people. You know this to be true.

She is a miracle, his Sarantha. Her love for him chases away the shadows the dream left behind. She is right. Vladimir can feel Béla in the back of his mind, the link distant and little-used of late but ever-present. Sarantha's light curls around him and they reach out as one along the path, seeking out his brother.

Béla, he calls and after a moment's silence he senses a stirring. Hear me, ekä.

Pesäsz jeläbam ainaak, Vladimir. Sarantha. The tone is completely flat. You are worried. Is my presence required?

Not required but it is nice to talk to you every few hundred years or so, Sarantha tells him teasingly. Our people are beginning to think you are a myth, Béla, you appear so infrequently.

You have been dreaming, Béla surmises and Vladimir smiles to himself. There is no fooling the hunter. You distress yourself unnecessarily.

I am not distressed, Vladimir says with a hint of irritation at the word choice. It makes him sound like a child.

Forgive me, Vlad. Upset then, Béla amends and Vladimir knows his brother is baiting him. Anxious, perhaps? I am certain we will find a term that satisfies your ego given time.

Sarantha snickers against his neck and Vladimir nips at her ear in retaliation. She looks up, eyes dancing, and grins at him. Two against one. It's terribly unfair. You are supposed to be on my side, sívamet, he chides her and is rewarded with a swift kiss.

I am on your side, she reminds him, winding her arms around his middle, but I also know that you worry too much.

You think I'm being ridiculous, Vladimir sighs to both of them.

The thought had crossed my mind, Béla says serenely. Your lifemate is correct. Such concern is futile and serves only to weigh you down. Should I choose to seek the sun, I will seek you first. You have my word. Now go about your business.

Vladimir's mouth kicked up at the corners. You issue orders to your prince?

It is a strongly-worded suggestion, Béla says and Vladimir wishes he could hear affection in his brother's voice like he did in the old days. I leave the orders to Sarantha.

And with that, Béla's touch fades away.

Fin.

Translations:

ekä – brother

fél ku kuuluaak sívam belsö – beloved

pesäsz jeläbam ainaak - long may you stay in the light