Note: I want to apologize in advance if my Russian translations are wrong. Like in my previous story my translation comes from Google. So again, if it's wrong I apologize and if someone wants to give me the true way to say it I'd gladly fix it :)

St. Vladimir's Academy, Montana

11 months ago

Tasha: Age 28

December 22

I hadn't seen Dimitri for a few days and I was sooo bored! I was hoping I could talk him into sparring with me. Plus, I had something I wanted to discuss with him. I found him in one of the Guardian lounges. I sat down beside him instantly noting the scowl on his face.

"Dimka?" I said.

"What?" he growled.

I blinked, shocked at his tone.

"Are you okay?"

He finally looked at me his eyes filled with angry fire. He looked at me for a second then that entire look was wiped away. He looked at me with his cool guardian look.

"What's wrong?" I asked, worried.

Instead of answering he leaned over and kissed me. And WOW. What a kiss. His lips were soft, but intense. They demanded, but also asked. I kissed him back as he pulled me into his lap. I straddled his lap intensifying the kiss as his hands gripped my waist. This was completely unlike Dimitri, but there was no way I was going to stop him. His phone ringing finally stopped our make-out. He wrenched away from me, the both of us breathing heavily. He grabbed his phone and answered it. I looked down at my watch, noting the time. Dimitri should have been with Rose, training. Why was he in the lounge?

I climbed off his lap and looked away.

"I'm sorry." he said.

I smiled seductively, "Don't be."

He smiled a little at that.

"Why aren't you training with Rose?"

His expression darkened. Had something happened between him and Rose?

"With all the excitement she's been getting...distracted. So, I told her we wouldn't have anymore training sessions until after break."

I nodded.

"Dimka, I have a proposition for you. You don't have to say yes. It's just something I've been thinking about."

Now it was his turn to nod.

"What is it, Tasha?"

"Dimka, you and I used to talk about children and such all the time. We're both ready to start our lives. We're both ready to have children and both ready to have a committed relationship. I'm asking you to become my Guardian and my...lover. You'll get to do a job you love, we'll both get the children we want. Dimka, I really think we could have a chance if we just tried. You don't have to decide now, but just remember. We've been friends for a few years and you have to admit, we have had some romantic tension...right?"

He nodded, "You're right, Tasha. We are both ready and there is romantic tension between us. Just give me sometime to think about it."

I smiled brightly and hugged him. He chuckled.

"I have to go see Alberta. I'll see you later?"

I nodded, "Oh! And don't forget my Christmas Party."

He nodded and walked out of the room leaving me to think about what I'd just asked.

St. Vladmir Academy, Montana

11 Months Ago

December 25th

Christmas Day

I think I'd been right in choosing this parlor for my Christmas brunch. It was nice and warm and I didn't have to worry about people coming in by accident. I could have invited myself to any of the Royal parties going on, but it was Christmas. I really didn't want to damper anyone's holiday. That really sucks that just the sight of me could ruin anyone's day.

Anyway, I looked around the parlor making sure that the staff had set up the room exactly as I wanted. I smiled looking around. It was perfect!

"This is very nice, Tasha." a sexy Russian voice said from behind me.

I turned around and grinned, "Hello, Dimka. I'm glad you could make it."

I took in his appearance and decided he looked good all cleaned up. Even if I prefered him a little roguish.

He handed me a box and smiled, "С Рождеством, Наташа." (Merry Christmas, Natasha. in Russian phonetically it would be 'S Rozhdestvom, Natasha')

"С Рождеством Христовым, Дмитрий." (Merry Christmas, Dimitri in Russian phonetically it would be 'S Rozhdestvom Khristovym , Dmitriy') I replied taking the box and putting it beneath the tree the staff had managed to get in here.

A whistle stopped us from saying anything else. We turned to see Lissa and Christian walking in.

"Isn't this a little fancy for our taste, Aunt Tasha?" he teased.

I laughed, "Hey, it's nice to be over indulged sometimes."

"Merry Christmas," he said coming over and kissing my cheek.

"Merry Christmas." I replied with a smile.

The rest of us stated our pleasantries just as Rose and a dhampir boy with wild red hair entered.

I looked over at Dimitri and his expression had darkened again, leaving me to speculate once again if Dimitri was angry with Rose.

"Hi, Tasha. Thanks for the invite." Rose said with a smile.

"My pleasure," I replied with an easy grin, shaking her hand.

"Merry Christmas, Tasha. Merry Christmas, Dimitri." she said looking away and shuffling.

Why did she seem so uncomfortable?

"Merry Christmas, Rose. Mr. Ashford." Dimitri replied his voice sounded stiff.

"Merry Christmas. I'm Mason Ashford." the red-haired boy said easily, shaking my hand.

He had this easy carefree air that was pleasant. I smiled.

"I'm Tasha Ozera. It's wonderful to meet you." I said.

"Let's stop standing around and sit down. Our brunch is getting cold."

Everyone followed me and we laughed and talked as we ate. It was nice to finally have some time with people I loved and cared about.

"How are Darien and Jessica?" he asked as we talked about the days when we'd sit around chatting with our mutual acquaintances.

"Do you remember when they would argue about everything?" I said with a laugh.

"Of course! And then bite our heads off when we insulted them. I always told them their kids would come out of the womb arguing. How many does he have now?" he asked.


"Five? I hadn't heard that." he said surprised.

I nodded, "It's insane. I swear, I don't think his wife's had more than six months off between kids. She's short, too- so she just gets wider and wider."

"When I first met him, he swore he didn't even want kids."

"I know! I can't believe it. You should see him now. He just melts around them. I can't even understand him half the time. I swear, he speaks more baby talk than English."

Dimitri smiled, "Well...children do that to people."

"I can't imagine it happening to you," I said teasingly, "You're always so stoic. Of course I suppose you'd be doing baby talk in Russian, so no one would ever know."

We laughed my hand resting against his leg. We opened our boxes from each other still talking and laughing. Dimitri smiled when I gasped looking at the new government book he'd given me.

"How did you know?" I said teasingly.

"Because you can't go two words without mentioning politics." he teased back.

I tuned back into the conversation with the kids after Dimitri opened the new green sweater I'd bought him.

"You know," Rose was saying teasingly, "there's a good possibility I'll get kicked out of school before I become your guardian."

Lissa grinned, "Well, then you can give it back."

We laughed.

"The..." my words were cut off as the door began to open. I looked up just in time for Janine to walk in, "Janine!"

She stood there, obviously uncomfortable.

"Sorry I'm late. I had business to take care of."

I had a lot of respect for Janine. She took her job so seriously. Sometimes I wished I could be as dedicated to my own job. What I really wanted to do with my life was make changes in the Moroi world. Changes that would benefit all of us.

Dimitri and I jumped right back into catching up when the pleasantries had passed between all of us. It was amazing how I could focus so much of my attention on Dimitri. We laughed and talked, riveted by each other. I barely noticed when Rose, Janine, and Mason had dismissed themselves for the night. When Dimitri and I finally stopped talking it was after eleven and he walked me back to the cabin, our arms brushing as we chatted. He leaned over and kissed me once we got to the door. I kissed back molding my body against him. After a few heated minutes I pulled away. I definitely didn't want the night to end, but I couldn't invite him in at this stage in our relationship and not look like a whore.

"Goodnight, Tasha."

"Goodnight, Dimka."

I walked into the room and leaned against the door smiling. I wish he would just agree to be my Guardian all ready.

We listened as the prosecution went on and on about evidence they found.

"This is the file we found on Eric Dragomir that was hidden in Miss Ozera's lodgings. Along with detailed accounts of Court's layout and the Queen's personal quarters. Files that had obviously been taken from Guardian Headquarters. We also found correspondents between Natasha Ozera and Queen Tatiana days prior to the murder." the lawyer said.

I looked around the room where everyone watch bleary eyed.

"Okay, Court is in Recess. Court will resume tomorrow at eight a.m." Lissa said putting the file aside.

She looked exhausted.

"All rise!" someone called.

Everyone in the room rose as Queen Lissa stood. She walked off and out of the room with Rose right behind her. I had one more day. One more day of freedom. Hopefully...

I was escorted back to my cell then. And I was shocked to find Christian there standing with Dimitri.

"Christian..." I whispered.

"You know, I always thought you would be that one person who never hurt me. That one person who would never betray me." I could hear the hurt and accusation in his voice.

"I'm so sorry, Christian. This was what was best."

"And blaming Rose was what was best? Putting a gun to Mia's head? Shooting Rose? Killing Tatiana? Attacking Lissa? That was for the best?" he roared.

Dimitri put a calming hand on Christian's shoulder. I could see Christian's body shake as he let out a deep breath. I closed my eyes guilt eating away at me.

"I can't believe you did this. You hurt so many people for your own selfish needs."

"No, Christian, I did this for the greater goo..."


"Christian..." Dimitri murmured in warning.

I flinched at Christian's words. Was he right? No...he wasn't...I...

"I have to go see Lissa." he snapped then.

"Do you want me to go with y..."

"No, you should go be with Rose. God knows how shaken up she is after having to stand in the same room with the woman who framed and shot her."

I didn't look at him. I couldn't stand to see the fury in his eye. I listened to the sound of his feet walking away.

"He loves you." Dimitri's voice said quietly.

"I don't think so. He must hate me." I whispered.

"No, he's just hurt. You betrayed him."

"I betrayed a lot of people." I replied ashamed.

"Rose is okay by the way. And neither she or I hold any grudge."

"I wouldn't mind of you did. I did a terrible thing framing her. Then shooting her on top of that. Even if it was an accident."

"We know it was an accident. And Rose explained to me why she wasn't angry and it made me realize I shouldn't be angry either."

I nodded. I almost wished he would be angry. It made me feel even worse that neither of them hated me and instead forgave me.

"Goodbye, Tasha. I may not agree with what you have done, but you were a friend. And it does sadden me to lose one. До свидания." (Goodbye in Russian. Phonetically "Do svidaniya.")

"Goodbye, Dimka. I did love you."

"I know. I'm sorry I couldn't return your feelings."

I watched as he walked away.