Hello all! I apologise profusely for my absense but my poor beta, the lovely Isabella Rain, is stuck somewhere at the bottom of the world on an Australian state named Tasmania. She is there for school and is either without internet, or to depressed from the near-constant rain the get back to me.

Anyway, I have decided the show must go on and uploaded this unbetaed chapter, so I apologise also in advance for any mistakes.

DISCLAIMER - Sorry, I am not the lovely rangga (said non-derogatively) who invented the main characters whom I use for my own twisted plot, all cred to Richelle Mead

Sonya's POV (Dimitri's sister)

As I sat slouched behind the counter of the small, run-down drugstore where I worked, I couldn't help but zone out. While this period near the end of my 6 hour shift was always the worst, today was made especially torturous when my colleague Valera had called in sick, forcing me to work through my lunch break.

With every passing second, my exhausted brain was concentrating less and less on customers and more on personal matters. Usually, I am the perky, happy-to-help type but after last night, my attitude was quite the opposite.

My niece and nephew, Zoya and Paul, whom I was baby-sitting, had consumed high quantities of sugar and, paired with my own little girl who cried until all hours, meant all hopes of sleeping were abandoned.

Despite her apparent dislike of sleeping, I adored my baby girl. I'm not going to lie and say the pregnancy was easy; what with being single and far too young only at the tip of my personal ice-berg. And much like the titanic, I didn't even think about the rest of the problems until after the full-speed collision. But once I worked past everything, silently and stoically as is the Belicova way, I realised how much fun being a mum would be.

By the time my bundle of joy was born, I was completely prepared and everyone says I took to parenting like a duck to water. Surprisingly, naming her had been the hardest part for me, my inner romanticist pinning for someone to share the experience with, and it was not until mere days before I went into labour that I finally decided on one; Izabella Roza Belikov. It was only fair that I honoured Dimitri's saviour, especially when he didn't seem able to do so himself.

I was both shocked and elated when my supposedly dead brother turned up in time for Izabella birth and even happier when he stayed around for awhile, but we all knew that he had to go back. He had a life in America, and no matter how long he put it off, he would never be happy until he resurrected his hard-earned reputation and his relationship with the woman who'd changed him so much.

So we waved him off, and Baia went back to its dull routines, people worked and ate and slept as always, but I think that Rose and Dimitri's story had captured the town, and secretly we all prayed for their fairytale come true.

Rose POV

Spirit Dream

"Hey Babe, long time no see." Adrian greeted, pulling me in for a passionate kiss. While it was lovely, it was slightly off, like all our kisses these days, still I merely blocked out the rational part of my brain (as I do so often) and smiled flirtingly back at him.

"How was college this week?" I asked, as I always did, and like every other time, he replied
"It would have been better if you were there," before pressing his lips gently against mineyet again, but there was no passion, no spark. God it was hard never getting to see your boyfriend! The whole reason he enrolled at Lehigh was so that we would be together in the first place! Of course, life got in the way as per usual. Lissa decided to take a year off to get her life in order, but Adrian's parents felt this was their last chance at him furthering his education and refused to let him postpone college again. When they started threatening to cut him off, I insisted he start without me, we would be together again soon.

At first daily spirit dreams kept us going strong, but neither of us were made for long-distance relationships and, what with all the stress in both our lives, we ended up having these weekly, unemotional, to-the-script meetings.

"Dimitri came back yesterday." I said off-hand, as though I was making small talk, but I really was worried about his feelings on Dimitri and I living in the same house, even if it was only for 3 more weeks until Adrian, and co-indecently John's family, came home for winter break. Normally, I wouldn't give a damn about what anyone thought of Dimitri and I, but Adrian mattered more than just anyone, and lately I have become paranoid about losing him.

Reading my aura, he just gave me a look that said 'spill' and I caved, hurriedly telling him how this absurd situation came around. Once I finished, he observed me for a minute more before saying,

"I'm not mad Rose. I know that you'll always crave his friendship; I don't need to read auras to know that. As long as you are faithful, which I know you are, I have no reason to be mad. Anyway, you two need to work out your problems so that you can move on, and the only way to do that is by talking and listening" I was touched by his kindness, especially after how we had been treating each other over the past month, and yet my pride couldn't help but feel wounded; I'd obviously lost the pants in this relationship.

After that, we returned to our light banter, but it seemed much more personal than before. It had been an odd and rocky month in our relationship, but we would recover. While it was odd bonding with your boyfriend over your ex, I was glad that the awkward silences were gone.

Despite not really sleeping, due to chatting with Adrian, I felt much chirpier the next morning than I had in a while. I bounced down to breakfast and prepared a large stack of crepes. I remember the day when Christian told Lissa that he had finally taught me to cook; I swear he may well have announced that pigs can jump over the moon from the incredulous look on her face. When I voice my opinion, they laughed, saying the expression was when pigs can fly and cows can jump over the moon, but I stood by my beliefs.

Anyway, after another 3 months with firefly as my personal teacher, I was almost as good at preparing food as he was. My mental chitchat was interrupted by Dimitri moaning in appreciation at the aromas wafting from the kitchen, and then stopping short when he realised who was cooking. Mostly from surprise I assume, but also with wariness from my abruptly ending conversation at dinner last night. I felt bad for that but talking about his family had struck a chord in my messed-up heart and I hadn't known how to respond, so I didn't. I turned with a big smile on my face, an unspoken apology, and offered him some of the delicious-looking crepes. He accepted easily.

As always with us, no communication was needed as we set the table in sync, before he brought over the towering plate of hot crepes and I fetched the cream, choc-spread, syrup, ice-cream and, for Dimitri, some fruit and berries.

Conversation started light and joking, him making jabs at me actually waking early and me teasing him for wearing a duster to breakfast, but conversation soon turn turned to more serious topics, such as his career.

"I don't know Rose, what can I do? My reputation is in shreds and I'm sure people still assume me to be Strigoi." He replied with a hint of helplessness in his voice, I also noticed he flinched when he said the last word, obviously not over it yet. It tore me up to see the strongest person I knew like this. Rose, you're with Adrian! Warned an internal voice but I ignored it. After all, Adrian himself suggested we talk out our problems, and this was obviously one of his.

"Dimitri, you know I forgive you for everything that's happened. And I was never angry for what happened in Russia in the first place." He looked at me like I'd sprouted another head.

"You mean that! Why? I- The things I did were horrible."

"You were not yourself as a Strigoi, and Lissa has explained to me that you were still hurting when you got back. I now know that I can be happy with Adrian, love fades right? I just hope we can still be friends." 'Very prolific Rose,' an inner voice commended me; now if only I believed that second half...

Dimitri POV

When those words left her mouth, the oddest feeling came over me. On one hand, I was ecstatic that she accepted me, that she forgave me. My sceptic side continued to insist that she couldn't –wouldn't– forgive me, not now nor ever. And yet, when I looked into her eyes, I knew she was being truthful, I always could read her.

But then, I realised that she really had moved on, and the small, hopeful part I hadn't been able to discourage over the last 6 month was suddenly crushed in the most painful of ways.

Conversation dipped for a while before she suddenly said,

"Oh, about your job, I am currently I line to be Lissa's head Guardian, and I have gained quite a lot of influence, so why don't you come to work with me today and I'll wheedle you into something good, I promise."

I smiled at her unvarying optimism "I know you will Roza, you can do anything," I muttered in Russian as I started to wash up the plates.

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Thank-you for reading, mParis.