|Rose Hathaway :: Vampire Academy (lildampeer) wrote in townofbreckic,|
@ 2015-06-16 07:16:00
Not even waiting for her answer, Dimitri shut off his phone and threw it to the corner of his bed. Every muscle in him was tense and every time he closed his eyes, he saw the words she had typed. I'm the only one who really knows what you were like. He clenched his fists, trying to dispel the fear that gripped his heart. It scares you that I might actually understand what you're going through.
Of course she knew what he’s going through. She’s the only one who knows. Lissa and Christian might have seen him as a monster, but only Rose saw the full extent of who he was. It was also always only Rose who knew him so completely before his transformation. She knows the full potential of the atrocities he committed. Even if he’s not that person anymore or if it wasn’t in his control, which he wasn’t entirely sure he believed, she’d still have every right to not forgive him. She may say she loves him still, but Dimitri was sure that was only her saying that, hoping it would be true when the reality is, as soon as he runs back to her, memories of all that happened will bombard her. He turned her into something terrible, something he knows she has her own fear of. That’s not something he think can ever be redeemed.
The constant phone conversations were angering him further, though. He never liked texting in the first place and it was clear that she wasn’t going to stop bothering him on the network. He had to finally settle this face to face. That thought also scared him. Taking a deep breath, he pulled his hair back and left his apartment. At this time of night, it was a good gamble that she’d be at the gym. He had never actually set foot in there, but knowing that he owned and ran it with her made it seem like some terrible place, representing a dream he could never achieve.
As he walked up to the glass doors, he pushed the thoughts away and looked around for her. Thankfully, the place was pretty empty. It was probably about to close. She wasn’t hard to find. She was cleaning one of the mats, putting away the last bit of equipment. “Rose.” His expression was grim and serious, his tone held no trace of friendliness.
Rose had known as soon as she hit send that she shouldn't have said what she did to him. So what if it happened to be true? They'd managed to have a couple of moderately friendly conversations recently and he was talking about actually being social. He was getting better, even if he still had a long way to go. Pushing him had probably been a terrible idea. When he'd made that comment about her holding him on a pedestal, though, she'd snapped. It was pretty much impossible to do that with someone when you'd watched them have their throat ripped out right in front of you, while you were powerless to stop it. Dimitri would always be a badass, she had complete faith in his skills, but she couldn't think of him as invincible. If anything, she was still gripped with fear every time they went near a set of caves. She always had to remind herself it wasn't the same. She had to remind herself he could handle himself and that they knew for sure he could at least never be turned again.
Of course, the subsequent conversation between them had only fueled her anger. She honestly didn't expect him to come looking for her, so she went about the business of closing up the gym. Rose decided she'd rather have the solitude and she'd dismissed the only other person who'd still been there, telling him she'd finish up on her own. When Dimitri came in, she'd been attacking a mat vigorously with cleaner. It was a wonder she hadn't ripped any holes in it with the force she was using.
Rose turned to face him squarely, folder her arms over her chest and glaring back at him. There was no trace of the usual joking manner she often used with him. "Let me guess," she said sarcastically. "You came to see me just to tell me that you don't want to see me. Kind of a waste of a trip, comrade. I already got that memo."
It was clear to Dimitri instantly that Rose was just as livid as he was. It was rare to see her with no jokes, especially in uncomfortable times, but he knew this occasion was just that serious. There was no friendliness from the garden here now. He crossed his arms over his chest, looking down at her as he spoke. “It’s not a waste of time if you still insist on talking to me. You’re incapable of leaving me alone. Every single post I make on that damn network, you have have to comment on. You claim to know me and what I’m going through, then you should know that can’t talk to you.” His voice broke a little on the word ‘can’t’. It wasn’t that he didn’t want to talk to her. He knew that he shouldn’t. That it would only lead to a terrible end. He had to put an end to this before it got out of hand.
"No one forced you to answer me. You're just as bad at actually ignoring me as I am at ignoring you. I'm just the only one who's willing to own up to it. Or maybe I'm just too selfish to care about what you want. Maybe I just do what I want anyway, right?"
Rose shook her head. "I was right. Maybe I shouldn't have said it like that, but I was right. And you hate that. You hate that I still know you so well. You hate that I still understand you. You were fine talking to me when it was all small talk or stuff you wanted to know about, but the second you realize that I actually GET you, have to push me away again. You KNOW I could help you, but you don't want that, because it's easier to keep punishing yourself."
There she was again, pushing him and saying things she probably shouldn't be saying, but once again she couldn't seem to help herself.
Her words kept coming and each one left a mark on on him, stinging his very core. It was true and that’s what was so maddening. Breckenridge symbolized a new beginning. At first he didn’t think he deserved that, but after the wedding, he was starting to think that this was his only hope. That he had to live this life to its fullest and not waste the second chance he was given. Yet, how could he possibly start over if she was there, constantly reminding him of his past.
She wasn’t even finishing talking when he replied, his voice rising and his turning almost red. “Well, what do you want me to do?! You think I can pretend nothing happened? That I can go on living with you, this constant reminder of everything and not be bothered by it?! You’ve always understood everything about me which means that you know. Even if I can pretend there’s hope, you and I both know that I can’t do anything. It’ll never be enough!” He ran a hand through his hair, tucking away the loose locks as he continued to rant in Russian. His eyes weren’t even focused on her at this point.
"Of course not," she scoffed. "It's something you'll never get over, not completely. Those memories will always be with you, but the only way you can move past it is to LIVE. To appreciate the beauty in life the way a Stigoi never could."
Rose didn't even realize she started moving when his eyes lost his focus and he switched to Russian. Most of his words were too fast for her to follow, even with Kenzi's lessons, but she could guess what he was saying. She didn't realize she'd moved until she was standing right in front of him and reaching out to touch his arm, to try and soothe him the way she so often had when his nightmares woke them both.
Rose barely touched Dimitri’s arm before he was snapped back to the present. He jumped as though her fingers were made of fire, but he didn’t step back too far. His eyes were wild and erratic as he looked her over. He could feel them sting as though tears were fighting to break through, but he held them back in the forceful way he had excelled in.
After a moment, he reigned in his emotions and refocused on her, his eyes boring into hers. “What I did to you,” he said, his voice so quiet it was barely above a whisper. “Was my worst sin of all. I can’t live with it and you shouldn’t, either. I will try to live, but I can’t do it with you. It hurts too much.” He hadn’t really meant to say the last sentence, but it was out regardless.
Rose's gaze was fierce and determined as she stared back at him, unflinchingly. "It wasn't you," she argued without hesitation. "You weren't in control of yourself." She meant what she was saying, but the steadiness in her gaze faltered when he admitted that it hurt him too much to be with her after what he'd done to her as a Strigoi. Anything else, she could have argued against. The idea that she was hurting him, though, that was something that was harder to take.
Rose swallowed back against the lump that had formed in her throat, fighting her own tears now. "So, you really did come to see me just to tell me that you didn't want to see me. Kind of counterproductive, don't you think?" She worked hard to make her tone flippant, but her heart was in her eyes. She could argue against something that was causing him pain and yet it caused her pain to even contemplate giving him what he wanted. For her, it had been two years since they'd been through this before. Two years since they'd gotten back together. A part of her wanted to believe they'd get past this, but another part of her was terrified that they wouldn't. She was scared that without the circumstances that had forced them into spending time together, without the alley and the tent and the hotel room and everything in between, he would never actually find his way back to her. It was a fear she hadn't even admitted to Lissa. It was one she didn't want to admit to herself.
Something about Rose’s words made him give up. His muscles relaxed and he stepped back from her, shaking his head slightly. He’d heard that too much. It was him. He wasn’t in control. It wasn’t it fault. It was all bullshit, though. He onced believed that turning Strigoi meant losing yourself completely. That you die and the monster takes over. It wasn’t anything like that. “Of course it was me,” he said, the fight gone from his tone and replaced by a bitter sadness. “Who else was it? Someone that took over my body while I was...what? It was me. It was just a fucked up version of me. But it was me.” He looked away from her and covered his mouth as though afraid to say more. He had never admitted anything like this to anyone, not even Lissa.
He rubbed his hand over his eyes and looked at the gym, truly taking in his surroundings for the first time. This was theirs, he was told. A future he wasn’t fit for, that he didn’t deserve. A future he could never have. “I don’t know why I came here. The thought of hurting you is unbearable. And I can’t do it anymore. I can’t look at you, or talk to you, knowing what I did, what I wanted to do. I can’t make up for it. Whatever I do, it’ll never be enough.”
"There's nothing to make up for. I forgive you." Once again, there was no hesitation in her words. Whether he thought it had been in his control or not, it didn't matter. She believed he hadn't been himself. She could see the difference between him as a Strigoi and who he was now. And the truth was that she couldn't stop loving him, anyway. The idea of not forgiving everything that had happened never even crossed her mind.
"Do you remember that night at the cabin?" She asked. "Before we- with Jesse, I mean. You told me that was me, and you were right. It happened again and I- I killed someone and you said almost the same thing to me then that I'm telling you now. Yeah, there were similarities between the real you and what you became, but you didn't have your soul, you didn't have full control of yourself, just like I didn't when spirit made me lose control of myself. It doesn't make what we did easy to live with. Believe me, I know. But we have to."
"You came here because you- well, it wasn't really to tell me to stay away from you, was it? I think it's because no matter how hard it is to see me, it's just as hard to stay away. It's as hard for you to stay away from me as it is for me to stay away from you." She hoped that was true. She hoped he was here because some part of him recognized that he loved and needed her, even if he was still too consumed with his own guilt to realize it, yet.
Dimitri’s back was still to her as she spoke to him, which he was grateful for, or else she’d see the slight softening of his features as she mentioned the cabin. Of course he remembered it. It was one of the best moments of his life. Dhampir, Strigoi, or restored, he’d never forget that night. When she talked about her Shadow Kissed darkness and what it made her do, he turned slightly to look at her. His eyebrows pulled together in concern as he took in her words. He once promised to always protect her from that side of her and apparently he had failed in even that.
Her moral of the story soon became apparent and though he wanted to believe it, he didn’t know if he truly did in his heart. He didn’t say anything, which prompted her to continue. That’s when his walls that he carefully constructed to hide his emotions started to really crack. His eyes snapped to hers, this time the vision of her was slightly blurred through the tears that were forming but weren’t big enough to fall. He thought back on his days here, and she was right. He couldn’t stay away. As soon as she would talk to him, he’d talk right back, even if it was to bicker. Sure, more often than not he was the one who ended their conversations, but it was clear he was just as drawn to her as she was to him. His fear came back, sure that this was a bad thing. Maybe he was destined to hurt her. His lips parted as though to say something, but no words came out. The truth was written all over his features anyway.
It wasn't often that Dimitri's emotions were on display like this, but right now Rose felt almost as though she could read his mind. It didn't matter that he didn't actually speak in answer to what she had just a said. Rose could read his reaction plainly on his face. She both loved the openness in his expression and hated the obvious turmoil in it. At the same time, she knew this was good. Holding their feelings in wasn't good for either of them. However hard it was, they had to talk about this.
Seeing the tears in his eyes drew her to him. Her hand twitched as she forced herself to keep it at her side rather than reaching out to touch him again. The need to comfort him was so strong. All she wanted to do was hold him and promise it would be okay. She wanted him to do the same for her, but she knew that wasn't possible right now when she wasn't sure either really believed it.
"We can't be together," she told him instead, "but it's not because if anything you did. It's not even just because it's not what you want right now. I told you once that there couldn't be an us again until you learned to forgive yourself. I mean really forgive yourself. I meant it then and I mean it now. But we can't just stay out of each other's lives either. No matter how hard it is, we're too connected and we need each other in a way that's never going to go away."
Rose held his gaze, moving even closer. "You said you didn't want to hurt me, but there is nothing you could do that would hurt half as much as not having you in my life at all. I know that's selfish to say, but it's true. It hurts to be around you, too, but it hurts so much more to try and stay away."
Much to his relief, Dimitri’s eyes started to dry. His mood didn’t change much, but he was glad he wouldn’t start crying here in front of Rose in the middle of a gym. At first, when she admitted they couldn’t be together, he raised his eyebrows in surprise. Then when she explained, he felt the same despair from before take over. He shook his head slightly. “I don’t think I can do that,” he said in full honesty. “I don’t think I can ever forgive myself.”
He refocused on her, seeing her in a new way, not as a threat or something to run from, but as the counterpart to him. Before he was turned, he always thought of her as the piece that made him whole. “But you know that. You know why. You’re the only person that can understand.” He was only reiterating what she said earlier, but somehow he thought that she needed to hear it from him.
She was closer to him now and his hand moved, wanting to touch her, to have someone to hold on to, but he didn’t. He stayed right where he was. He’d never forgive himself and that’s the impossible pedestal she was putting him on. She believed he had that power, but he didn’t. Before he could stop himself, though, he closed the distance between them, needing just one touch, to feel her strength before he could carry on. Just as he reached for her hand, though, all the lights in the building shut off, plunging them into darkness. Dimitri was alert and ready, turning and putting his body in front of her protectively as his eyes searched for any threat. There seemed to be nothing, though. Only blackness.
"You did once. I believe you can again. I really hope it doesn't involve me taking three bullets to the chest this time, because that kind of hurt." That last part was said lightly, in a joking tone and she smirked slightly, but the humor didn't reach her eyes and her expression soon grew serious again. "I don't want you to do it for me or for us. You need to forgive yourself, but you need to do it for you, because you deserve so much more out of life that beating yourself up for something that wasn't in your control. I'm not saying it will be easy and I know it could take you a really long time to get there, but we can't keep doing this, either." She gestured around them, as if indicating the argument they'd been having just moments ago.
She might have said more, but then she saw him reaching for her and she stopped breathing. She yearned for that touch. She also feared it. The resolve beyond her early statement could easily crumble with one touch. Before their hands could actually make contact, though, the lights when out and everything went black.
"Oh, for fuck's sake," she muttered. She thought she knew the gym well enough to make her way to the hallway even in the dark, where there should at least be some emergency lights to guide them. Apparently not, because seconds after she started moving, she was tripping over the corner of a mat and falling.
Rose’s cursing proved that there was no danger. It was some sort of power failure. Dimitri relaxed slightly, still trying to get his bearings. He didn’t know this place hardly at all, so navigating it in the pitch black wasn’t going to be easy. Even his dhampir eyesight wasn’t picking up of much. It was dark beyond the glass doors, which meant power for the whole floor, possibly the whole building, was out.
When he heard the movement behind him, he turned and then picked up on the sound of her falling. With reflexes that he had honed for years, he reached out and caught her, not even needing to see to know where she was. The tension and emotion from earlier were gone. He was back to business as usual, although something had changed since the conversation. He may not be overly friendly, but some of the coldness was starting to chip away. “Careful, Rose,” he said, setting her upright again. He reached for her back pocket and pulled out phone since he had left his where he threw it. Ignoring the sudden closeness of their bodies and the touches during the action, he swiped the screen and turned on the little flashlight, holding it up high so that they could get a better view of this place. “Has this happened before? Maybe a circuit breaker went out.”
Dimitri's touch was all business as he reached out and caught her and even as he shoved his hand into her pocket to help himself to her cell phone, but that didn't stop the warm tingle from spreading through her body at that small contact. It was a good thing she hadn't thrown it against the wall like she'd been tempted to do during their earlier conversation, because the flashlight app provided their only light.
"Thanks," she murmured, distracted as she glanced around at the near darkness. Their only light. That's when it hit her that there was no light coming in through the windows, either. Even through the closed blinds, there should have been a little light from outside. There was none.
"I don't think this is a circuit breaker," she said, shaking her head as she moved carefully in the opposite direction, towards the windows that lined one wall of the gym. She hoped he would follow, since he was holding their "flashlight."
"Look out there," she continued. "There's no light anywhere. It's pitch black out there."
It was late enough that Lissa would be home, thank god, but Rose's instincts still pulled her thoughts to her best friend. She had to consciously reassure herself that she would be okay. Christian had a built in light of his own, aside from the phones Rose knew they both carried, too.
"Where's your phone?" she asked him, suddenly just as focused as he was. His would have a flashlight on it, too, and if there were people out there in this blackout, they might need help. As much as she hated to admit it, it would be smarter for them to split up - if they had another light. It would be stupid for either of them to try to navigate the dark alone.
Following Rose, Dimitri looked out the window and saw what part of the town he could plunged into darkness. His earlier alertness came back, concerned about what was really going. “On my bed,” he answered her. “Where’s Lissa? Should we call her?” He was in full on guardian mode now as he handed Rose her phone. “I can go get my phone if we need to split up.” His mind went through all the possibilities and he wondered if this was another magic related incident. He hated knowing that there were elements in this town beyond his control. He refused to feel completely useless in protecting those he cared about, though.
Rose shook her head. "It's late, she should be home," she assured him. "Her phone's probably ringing off the hook with this, anyway. Actually, I'm kind of surprised mine isn't. A blackout is kind of an all hands kind of situation." She didn't have time to ponder that now. Or to think about the conversation they'd been having moments ago.
"We can go get your phone," she corrected him, nodding slightly as he guessed why she'd asked him. "I'm going to text Alicia, too. The Harry Potter kids have that cool light thing they can do with their wands, which could be pretty helpful." The flashlight on her phone still provided plenty of light as she held it in front of her and she managed to send off a quick text even as she started to lead him toward the exit.
Whoever turned out the lights had crappy timing. They'd been in the middle of a pretty important conversation, one they should probably continue. It would have to wait, though. There were a lot of people in this lodge and it was her job to keep them safe, even if it wasn't technically her official job. She didn't even have to look at Dimitri to know he would feel the same way.
Dimitri nodded, knowing it would make more sense for them both to go back to his apartment since she now had the light. He was sure he could find his way eventually, but with the light, it would take less time, time that could be devoted to helping others. “I hear stranger and stranger things about those Harry Potter kids every day. The only one I know is Alicia.”
He led her out of the gym and to his apartment. He went for the stairs thinking the elevator would be compromised, too. As they walked, he thought back to their conversation and everything he gave away. It wasn’t just her that saw new sides of him moments ago. He had no idea those emotions were within him, either. Particularly the one that drove him to want to take her hand. This collided with the revelations he had at the wedding about wanting to appreciate life. Just as she said, he needs to take in the beauty of things. A Strigoi couldn’t do that. He knew that from experience. He wasn’t sure if finding the beauty in life was tied to love, but memories of his feelings from before he was turned were starting to surface in more powerful ways. He was certainly drawn to Rose, but he had no idea what to do with that information. Giving in and being her friend, or something more, could lead to more heartbreak. And yet, it was clear they weren’t physically capable of being apart.
When they reached his bedroom, he picked up his phone, grateful that it was at full charge, and turned on the little flashlight app. He shook off all of his ruminations and focused only on the task at hand. “I’ll go to Lissa and make sure that she and Christian and Freddie are alright. You know more people here. See what you can find out about what caused this. Text me if you need my help once you have that information.”
“Alicia’s great,” Rose said, nodding her head. “You’ll have to check out her bar sometime. It’s a nice place. We did Sydney’s bachelorette party there.” That was all she really said as they walked up to the second floor, to Dimitri’s room. He mind was spinning, trying to piece together all the weird shit that had been happening lately. It seemed like the weirdness was getting more and more frequent. Odd lights coming from the hole, extremes in temperatures, weird magic at most of the BATD sponsored events. Was it all related? She couldn’t figure out how, but that was always more Lissa and Sydney’s department, anyway. Her forte was the physical stuff - jumping in and kicking ass or pulling people out of danger. She’d have to focus on that.
“Freddie’s in 317,” she told him. She wasn’t sure if he knew that. Lissa’s room, she was sure she knew. “If she’s not there, let me know. I know a few other places to look, but we’re going to need real flashlights if she’s not in the lodge.” She paused, considering what she’d just said. “Hell, if she IS there, let me know.” Rose knew Lissa was probably safe and that there might be others who needed her more right now, but that worry for her best friend would nag in the back of her mind until she knew for sure and Dimitri was one of the few people she trusted to make sure she was safe. She’d learned in the last year or two to trust a few others, but Dimitri would always top the list.
Rose gave him one last glance while they were still inside his room. They were working well together now, probably partly out of instinct and habit, but what would happen when the crisis was over? Would he return to his mantra about how she needed to stay away from him and leave him alone? Or had some of what she’d said actually gotten through to him? This wasn’t the time to worry about her troubled love life and she forced those thoughts away, into a separate compartment in her mind before nodding her head.
“Be careful out there,” she told him before she reluctantly pulled her gaze away and turned to leave. They’d both faced much worse than a simple blackout, but the sentiment still applied. She didn’t want anything to happen to him and they didn’t exactly know what they were dealing with, yet. Without waiting for any answer he might give, she walked quickly out of the room, in search of anyone who might need her help and of some answers about what was actually going on.