"I've given up on you. Love fades, mine has."

With no further hesitation, I threw myself into the practice dummy with everything I had. Victor got away; Tatiana had used me for putting the age law in motion; Dimitri… Dimitri

No. I was done. I had enough. The darkness I had absorbed from Lissa made me even angrier than I already was. I was tired of having my heart thrown back in my face. Everything else, well, I messed up, and it was my fault. So many people had died or been hurt because it was my fault. I kept hurting Adrian because of my obsession with Dimitri. Everything was my fault.

"Come see me," Lissa would occasionally say through the bond, but I didn't care. There was no way I was leaving this gym. I didn't want to see or talk to anyone. The only thought racing through my mind and heart was fight. Fight, fight, fight! It almost would have been better if there had been someone here that I could beat the snot out of and hit back. I would have welcomed the physical pain. Maybe it would have distracted me from my emotional anguish.

Angry, angry, angry. That's all I ever seemed to be anymore. Angry at myself, and angry at Dimitri. Suddenly, I heard an enraged battle cry, realizing it was coming from my own lips as I struck out again, slamming into the dummy so hard that it popped off of its metal pole and fell to the ground. My legs then decided they didn't want to work anymore, and I crumpled to a heap on the ground, too exhausted to get back up. How long had I been in here?

"Little dhampir..." Adrian's voice suddenly snapped me back to reality. How did he find me here? I didn't look back to see him as I drew my knees up to my chest and wrapped my arms around them, and buried my face there. I didn't want to talk to him. Go away.

"I don't want to talk right now." My voice was flat and hollow, like I was some sort of robot talking.

"I figured," Adrian replied, flopping down on the mat next to me. "You're pretty upset."

Upset? Upset? Who was he kidding? Dimitri had destroyed me. It was like another piece of my soul had died. In fact, I felt like I needed my revenge on the world. I was seriously considering going off to break knee caps with Abe.

"Look, Adrian, I know I've been a really crappy girlfriend, and I'm sorry for dragging you around all the time… But what you said earlier… you're right. I'm going through a lot right now… I really can't handle a relationship while I'm dealing with it. I really tried, and I really do care about you, but… I just can't do it right now." Did I seriously just break up with him? Well damn! Adrian sighed and took my hand, giving it a little squeeze. It was obvious that I had hurt him, and honestly, I felt really bad about it. Just another thing to add to my list of bad things being my fault.

"I understand. I guess I'll see you around, Rose." And just like that, he got up and left, and I just wanted to lay down and die. I was ruining lives.

I don't know how much longer I stayed there, but eventually I got up and left. My arms and legs burned from exhaustion, and my knees wobbled with each step. Just as I was passing a relatively large fountain, my legs decided to give out on me again, and too tired to catch myself, I fell… right into the fountain. The water was about knee-deep as I plunged in, hoping that the water would lessen what would be a pretty painful impact regarding my position. It probably would have looked like I'd fallen in because I was drunk to any passer-by. My thoughts were suddenly cut off when a sickening crack sounded in the back of my head. Water filled my lungs, and my eyes slid closed.

Great. I was going to drown in a fountain. How embarrassing.

A sharp pounding on my chest almost roused me.

"Breathe!"

That voice… I'd heard it before… but where? Where was I? My eyes flickered open for only a few seconds before rolling back into my head. I couldn't breathe.

"Come on, Roza… Come on!" Another round of what felt like pounding on my chest, and something that sounded like a string of curses in a foreign language I didn't quite recognize. Startled, I rolled over, and vomited water, coughing violently in an attempt to drag air back into my lungs. My head exploded with pain, and all I wanted to do was close my eyes and rest… which was what I did, going completely limp. Someone started shaking me, and slapping my face.

"No. Don't go back to sleep. Damn it, Rose! Wake up!" Weakly, I lifted my arms, trying to fend off my assailant. Why did everyone have to bother me?

"Just leave me here to die," I mumbled miserably, only to hear an exasperated sigh. I felt warm, muscular arms wrap around me and pull me into a lap. I knew those arms. The thought made my heart ache. Gentle fingers probed the painful area on the back of my head. My eyes opened blearily, and I started to make a break for it, pushing myself away from my rescuer, and dragging myself further away from him. I even managed to pull myself up in a standing position, but it didn't last long. My knees caved again, but this time I landed against a long, lean body, a pair of hands holding me up.

"Go away, Dimitri. I don't need your help," I mumbled again, but this time, though my voice was grudging, it became a little stronger than it had been when I first woke up. I sure as hell didn't want to have to deal with him after what he'd said to me in the church.

"I'm sure you don't," he said sarcastically, walking me over to a bench and sitting me down. He tried to get me to look at him for what I supposed was a pupil check, but I looked away from him, not wanting him to see the pain and longing in my eyes. It was just too painful. Finally, I couldn't take it anymore, and I jumped to my feet and scurried away from him.

"Would you just stop it? Just stop! I'm fine, and I don't need or want your help! You are an asshole, and I hate you, and all I want is for everyone to frigging leave me the hell alone!" I snapped, irrational and irate. Dimitri looked at me, completely shocked. Especially from swearing up and down that I loved him and I wouldn't give up on him earlier today. Now this? It was definitely a turnaround. He hurt me with those evil words. "Love fades, mine has." Now I just wanted to beat him. Instead, I turned around and walked away, fully prepared to eradicate him from my life. I heard once, somewhere that a broken heart is a prickly one, and mine felt like a barrel cactus with wicked, three-inch spines and broken shards of glass rattling around inside. I didn't want to give anyone another chance to sneak back in there and do even more damage.

"… Goodbye, Roza…" Dimitri's whisper was so soft, I barely heard it, but I didn't look back. It was time to pick up the pieces of my life and carry on.

Love fades. Mine will.


Author's Note: Hey there, Folks. I hope you enjoyed this oneshot. I wrote it as I was coping with a particularly nasty breakup a while ago, and forgot about it until now. I'm finishing We Only Thought Goodbye, but after that one is done, I'm shifting from Fanfiction to original pieces. Keep an eye out.

Writing is a good way to process some of the things that happen, from relationships ending, to illness, death, hospitalization, stress, and even in times of happiness. Find your voice, and express it for the world to appreciate.

Love,

Nancy