Scenario: Rose does not take Dimitri back, instead she tries to find a life free from court.

One more breath, one more heartbeat. The sun beat down on her, sweat stung her eyes, but she barely blinked. One, two, three… she launched herself away from the handholds, thousands of feet dropping away beneath her. The goal? A small nub of granite and a crack barely wider than her hand. Her hands found purchase and she forced her excess momentum to glue her to the cliff face.

Rose felt a pop in her wrist and a jolt of pain shot into her shoulder but that was no match for the surge of adrenaline that ran through her.

"YES!" She switched hands and shook out the damaged wrist, already feeling the bones begin to knit. To hell with it, Rose was going to finish this climb. Months of training and she finally made the jump without ropes. It wasn't as if she could practice beforehand...without ropes that is. Failure meant death on this mountain, even for a dhampir.

A moment was all she could allow herself before Rose continued with the climb. Her muscles ached, screamed even, and it was heaven. Sometimes the only difference between life and death was her fingertips gripping onto a bump that couldn't even be called a handhold. As the top of the cliff got closer, the distance seemed to stretch on even though it was only a few meters. When she finally got to the summit her muscles were shaking and all she wanted to do was collapse. Instead Rose turned to see the sun set over the glorious Yosemite Valley. To human eyes this would be glorious, to dhampir eyes it was heaven on earth.

She sat, watching dusk be replaced by a starlit night and let her muscles uncoil. This was absolute freedom, something she had been denied for the first 19 years of her life. Today, or tonight rather, marked her three year anniversary of leaving court and all the people behind. Lissa, Dimitri, Adrian, Eddie, and Christian had no idea where she was. She didn't even give them time to argue before she turned in her resignation. It had become too much and Rose wanted to live her life for herself, finally. Tasha had actually helped more than anyone else and had given Rose the funds to disappear, even going as far as helping Rose get new IDs. Her only contact now was her father who was more than supportive of her new rebellious lifestyle.

Since she had been gone it seemed that the world had gone crazy. Rose kept up on the news just enough to allow her to move freely throughout the world. Tatiana had been murdered when Rose had been kayaking in Alaska and a new queen was crowned. The age law was then rescinded and moroi had begun training with dhampir. Honestly, that world didn't need her anymore. In fact, things seemed far less complicated without her and Rose was so much more happy being on her own. While she didn't have a close group of friends, she was able to find them wherever she went, usually around a campfire or on a bus to some remote location.

In her old world she would spend her time fighting and risking her life for a race that considered her own kind slaves. Now she traveled the world eating exotic foods, testing her body, seeing the beauty of nature, and taking out pockets of strigoi whenever she felt them around. After all, there were few bigger buzzkills than feeling the nausea of the undead when hiking in the pacific northwest.

Rose was brought out of her thoughts by her cell phone beeping. Only one person in the world had this number and he never failed to call.

"Making up for lost time old man?"

"Hello kid, where are you today?"

"Oh you know," Rose looked up at the starlit sky, "I'm on top of the world."