Author's Notes: I own Milliah Korsokov, Anya Korsokov, Yae Hitachi, Dmitri Hitachi, Tom Hitachi, and Colette Monique.

This is in Milliah's point of view

Chapter 2: Gargoyles

I was just zoning out, staring out the window. Durand and Telliagory were talking about the same crap as before. Nothing really new, except the city. We were more into the heart of Cologne, known for its Cathedral and eau de cologne spray.

"So, Dmitri…Have you ever had a girl that you really liked?"

My blood stopped. Seriously? Why did half the crap that came out of his mouth have to be meaningless or stupid? Maybe that was why I loved him so much. I think that I had known him long enough to be able to say it, but I was still searching for the same mutual love from him. I knew that as long as I was Dmitri I would never be able to get him to love me, unless he was either a pedophile or gay. And although my son is grown up, I would still be creeped out if there was some guy Durand's age crushing on him.

"Uh…I really don't know how to answer that. I mean, haven't we all?"

God, why do you make these awkward conversations happen?

We approached an inn on the opposite side of town that we had entered, so we weren't mixed in with the hustle and bustle of the city. It was on a hillside, the kind of place that you would say, "Nothing bad can happen there, right?"

The innkeeper greeted us. "You certainly are traveling lightly for going north."

I could see that Durand was thinking the same as I was. Something wasn't right.

Durand was the one who broke the silence. "We are jewel dealers. That case might not be big, but it is filled with precious jewels. But don't tell anyone, because even in Cologne, you wouldn't want anyone getting the wrong idea."

The man helped us carry our case upstairs. After he left us in our room, he must've left for the day.

"This isn't good, Durand…" I said.

Nobody else heard me except him. Robin proceeded by complaining about his butt.

"Come on we're leaving."

"What? Durand, we just got here!" Robin was clueless.

"You didn't realize, did you? We never told him we were going north."

Even I was surprised by how quickly we got out, but I was disappointed in the fact that we would spend the rest of the night looking for an inn. Durand and I searched east, Robin and Telliagory went west, D'eon went north, and the carriage drivers searched in the south side of the city.

"They must have poets tracking our movements. We need to leave the city, but we can't because of the horses. In my opinion, we would be better off just sleeping in the streets."

"A wise thinker, just like your mother." Durand smiled. "You're certainly her son. I miss her so much, but I think I've come to terms with it. I still can't believe that she's gone…She seemed like one of the least likely people to die…And the hardest thing to accept is that I never told her I loved her, like she told me. It took her death to make me realize I loved her, but that's life, isn't it?"


He loved me?

"Well, I'm sure she felt the same way, Durand…You were the one she wanted to introduce me to, weren't you?"

"I guess…"

What? How many signs did I have to give him? Do I really have to come out and say "Hey, I'm not dead"?

All of the sudden, he lunged at me, screaming "Milliah! Come back to me, my love!"

I was like, "Get the hell off of me!" in my sexy man voice. I was so good at being a guy.

Damn, though. I really didn't expect that to happen. What the hell? Was he gay now?

"Sorry…Every once in a while I look at you and can only see your mother. What if you and your mother were like D'eon and Lia? What if her soul lives inside of you? Would you let me see her?"

I didn't have an answer to that. Why the hell couldn't he just guess?

"Listen, Durand. When we get to Russia, I really, really need to show you something, and I have to tell you something really important, but I can't do it here." I gave him my coldest, most hateful stare, one that I had only given to Voronsoff. "But if you EVER do that again, I will kick your ass."

Eventually, the five of us met back in the heart of the city. The aroma from the daytime perfume vendors still hung high in the air, but something wasn't quite right. There was an immense silence around us, so cold and bitter and...


Before I knew it, we were being attack by huge dogs, coming at us from every angle except the wall. We were surrounded by these poor creatures that had been turned into zombie-like things…

"Gargoyles…" D'eon was just staring off into the distance, looking at a single carriage off in the distance.

I've heard that so many times now it isn't even surprising that we'd run into them here. All of us had our swords drawn, surrounding D'eon while Lia took over his body. Amazingly enough, I was still unused to hearing Lia's voice. I'd heard of her failed relationship with Durand, but I never imagined that she would just discard such a loyal, strong man as himself. He was a great fencer, swordsman, and was of incomparable loyalty, but she tossed him away like something she didn't even care about. Lia was my friend, but I think that she was so torn up by protecting France and her status that she thought she was better than him, which was true in some areas, but they were pretty much on the same level.

I watched his beautiful swings. He had a great stance, but he wasn't aggressive enough. He needed something to draw power from, but I didn't know what.

Robin was just standing there. He's lucky that Durand swooped in there to save his sorry ass just in time before the dog scratched the shit out of him.

I was trying (and failing) to focus on my swordplay. However, I was more interested in what D'eon or Lia or whatever was doing. He was on top of a freaking roof with a huge dog on the other end and he was coming at it like I come at the ice cream bar.

I just don't understand Lia, or at least not now. She never seemed this aggressive, and I never once saw her hurt another person, except when I watched her failed relationship with Durand from the distance. Did he even know about me back then? I knew about him, but he never once saw me, or spoke to me or probably even heard about me. How did we never cross paths until now? And most importantly, did he still love Lia? If so, does he love her even more than he could ever love me?

There was so much going on around me, and I was frozen with fear. I felt like my body would not respond to me, and that wouldn't have been a problem if I wasn't in that situation. It wouldn't have been a problem if I wasn't on the ground about to be torn open by a dog.

Was Durand tired of saving people tonight? I would've been, especially when it was half past three in the morning, and we were being attacked by a herd of gargoyle-dogs after a rough day of riding in that damn carriage. But I guess he wasn't because he certainly swooped in and saved me. He pulled that bastard off of me and slashed across the H.'.O on its forehead. I always hated the part when the mercury oozed out, because it got EVERYWHERE and it looked so nasty.

I wanted to throw up. Why was I letting this happen to myself? On any other day I could've killed than damn thing, but maybe today just wasn't my day.

Eventually, we they stopped coming at us. Our next order of business was to get D'eon down from the roof, if we could figure out how he even got up there.

It took a while, but we gave up and decided to sleep on the street. There was no place that we could trust and at the break of dawn we would have to high-tail it out of there. This was our last stop before Saint Petersburg.

It was my last stop before home.

I wondered how it had changed. Grandmother Elizaveta always held a ball tomorrow night, but I wondered how it had changed. I'd heard talk of reforms and whatnot, but I knew that was because of Lia. She wasn't just my friend but a friend to her Royal Highness as well, and I couldn't even imagine how Elizaveta is fairing without Lia.

It was none of my business anyway.

I hated that damn carriage, and the idiot driving it too. It was really pissing me off that I had gotten no sleep, my damn stomach was hurting, and everyone was really in a pissy mood.

Damn my life. I thought. Did I really die in that fire? Am I in hell now?

Maybe hell was better than what I was going through there.

"Dmitri, how much longer?" Durand was getting whiny. Was everything turning against me? I remembered when things seemed so perfect, when I had people in my life. I still had those people, but that was a completely different situation.

That was when I saw something familiar.

There was snow, falling from the sky, caressing it softly. Through it, I saw the Winter Palace.

Saint Petersburg.

Mom, I'm home.