Richelle Mead owns these characters.

Chapter 3: Silver Soul.

My mind couldn't believe what she was saying to me, thoughts and memories flooded my mind as I tried to make sense of everything. She knew. Her eyes wide with not understanding what she had felt and what she had known.

'So… so your saying that you felt when he- when he-' All she did was nod at my unspoken word. Died. Guardian Belikov had died.

Eddie told me as I helped him back into the clinic and set him up before making my way back to the princess' room. As soon as I saw her big green eyes wide as ever and her breathing rapid; I knew something was wrong. It took a while to calm her down and my focus had cleared so that I could do my job but as soon as I did, I had to fight the tears that wanted to spill.

As she shot up from her unconsciousness and started to weep, it was as if I had felt her pain, like I had known her sadness and I wanted to cry with her. I was worried, scared, confused and lost. So lost without the knowledge of where Dimitri was or if he was actually really dead. Did dead mean awakened, Strigoi? Or did it mean dead as in not living?

When Eddie had said those words, those heartbreaking and soul ripping words, I wanted to fade away. I wanted to run back out and find him, be sure that it was true because if it were, if that really did happen; I was empty. Then the princess had suddenly woke up and kept crying, saying she didn't understand. Well, neither did I, especially now that she's told me the biggest deepest secret there is.

'How do you know?! How do you know, for sure?' Her eyes stayed on mine as the watery blur enveloped my eyes. 'We're bonded, he's shadow kissed.'

...

The day was bright and the sun was shining. The day, it wasn't night until a couple of hours from now and the sun would eventually weaken the Moroi but I had missed the sun. The princess was firm on her promise to visit her only uncle, Viktor Dashkov. He was ill and the princess had wanted to see him before anything major happened. He was on the way to the academy and so we decided to kill two birds with one stone.

His estate was big but I've seen bigger. The Dashkov's knew the Dragomir's well and so with Viktor being Vasilisa's only connection to her family left; I decided this trip wouldn't do any harm. The house was quiet as we entered behind one of Viktor's guardian's. He stopped us in the hallway of the mansion and said that Viktor wanted to see the princess alone.

This is where the bad feeling had entered my mind and my guardian instincts upped a couple levels. 'I think it's better if one of us go with you, Princess.' The princess nods and turns to the other guardian nodding again. As she turned to face me though, I immediately knew it wasn't going to go the way I wanted. She held assurance and confidence in her eyes before speaking, letting me know this was the final word. 'It's okay, Guardian Belikov, I'll just be a few minutes and then we can leave.'

I searched her eyes feeling a bit hesitant and then looked to Viktor's guardian, he had a stoic expression as most of us guardian's do but then he spoke. 'Lord Dashkov, would only like the presence of the princess as his appearance isn't well and he isn't comfortable with others among him.' Others?

I look back to the princess again and she nods to me, assuring me that everything will be fine. I nod back before she turns and heads down the hallway deeper into the mansion following the guardian ahead of her.

Time flew by, minutes became even more minutes and just as I gave Edison a look of suspicion, another guardian approached us. 'Guardian Belikov, Guardian Castile, the princess has asked for your presence in the living room.'

At his firm tone, I felt something wasn't right and the feeling had grown in my chest was spreading everywhere else. Eddie and I exchange a look of confusion but then follow the guardian to the living room. We walk down a long dark hallway into an empty room and the silence is so eerie the alarm in my head goes off. As soon as we turn to face each other, the door slams shut and a good ten guardian's step out of another doorway.

'It's an ambush!' I yell as they run straight for us.

Eddie and I take them all on, fists and bodies being thrown about, men landing on the floor and then getting right back up. I lose sight of Eddie in a pile of bodies, my mind races with where the princess is and if she is okay, and my fighting instincts take over. I can vaguely hear screaming, I can barely see Eddie and I try to take out as many guardians as I can. Once I have three left I see Eddie struggle and then decide on desperate measures, I take out my stake and slash the men throwing their fists and legs at me. Once I have them backed off, I make my way to Eddie and help him.

He also removes his stake from his holster, something a Dhampir guardian is trained not to do against his own kind. To stake a fellow guardian is unheard of but they attacked us and now were back to back. There are four of them laying bruised and battered on the floor, the other six surround us and my worry for the princess keeps pulling my thoughts away from the current situation. 'Let me go!' A young girl's voice rings out and we both know its Vasilisa.

They surround us as Eddie and I think of what to do next, how to get to the princess, but suddenly she comes right to us. The door burst open and the princess is being chased by another guardian, the one who met us at the door. She stops in her tracks and she's trapped between the six surrounding us and the one going for her. No one moves, no one speaks and then Viktor enters the room in his slow steady movement and so calm it's a little scary. He looks a lot older than they described, he looks as though he's almost aged a hundred years but then he smiles.

'Vasilisa, my dear, don't be afraid. We're family after all and you know what they say about family…'

'Youre insane! Why are you doing this Viktor, why?!' Vasilisa screams in fear at him.

He drops his easy going smile and his face becomes something dark and angry. 'Do not refuse me, girl, if you do there will be consequences.' The princess swallows deeply and then moves her eyes across the room. As a couple of the men that were surrounding us move in to trap her, I give Eddie a look telling him to keep his eyes open and prepare for anything.

The silent intensity lasts only for a few moments. As Eddie finds an opening and reaches for one of the guards but he falters losing his hold. 'No, no, no. I wouldn't be bold at this particular moment, Guardian Castile.' Viktor sneers as two psyhounds enter the room and stop just in front of us. 'Now, where were we, my dear, Vasilisa?' Viktor steps forward and slowly reaches for the princess and she flinches as his wrinkly fingers grasp her shoulder. 'Oh, yes, a healing… shall we?'

He drags Vasilisa closer to him and clutches her hand tightly in his, she tries to release herself and I move in a reflexive action to get to her but the growl of one of the hound's stops me in place. 'Don't do it, Princess!' Eddie yells as Viktor glares at us both.

He keeps trying to get the princess to use her spirit magic but she refuses him. A few moments go by where Viktor finally gets fed up and pushes the princess into the guardian standing beside him arms. The guardian grabs her roughly by the hair and begins to threaten her with a beating if she doesn't do anything. I watch as Vasilisa receives a smack to the face and flinch at the control to stay back. 'Okay! Okay, I'll do it!' She screams out and tears stain her face.

As the guardian pushes her toward Viktor, the princess looks to me with an odd expression. I can't really tell what it is or what she means by it but Eddie looks to me as he had caught it as well. As she finally reaches Viktor, he sneers and smiles wickedly at her but then everything changes in a quick flash of a second.

The psyhounds suddenly face the other direction and begin growling toward the guardian's surrounding us. Instead of watching and waiting, I kick into action and attack the men from behind. 'Get the princess and run!' I yell to Eddie who has begun making his way through the guardian's as well.

We both fight our way through, some of the men wounded from our stakes, some scared of moving too close to the psyhounds and some bleeding from their bites. I come face to face with the guardian leading Viktor and the princess out of another door and as soon as we meet the fight begins. Eddie goes after Viktor and the princess who were running into another part of the mansion. The hounds have a good portion of the men down and wounded but as soon as Vasilisa has left the room their threat ends up back on me. I fight with the guardian who is plenty skilled and moves quickly but he wasn't ready for my stake to plunge into him as we clash body against body.

Once he's down I regain my footing but it's already too late. I feel the blood leave my stomach as I discover his stake had wounded me too and before I can have time to think about it, the hounds attack. I don't have time to react as I've been dragged to the ground, bite after bite of sharp razor teeth tear at my skin and the blood has oozed out of my stomach. The bites sting and bleed as I'm blinded in one eye from blood splatter. The pain intensifies as they've discovered my stomach wound and begin ripping my skin from there.

It's a sharp rip through my body over and over as I begin to yell in agony. I try my best to endure the pain and attempt to fight back but the blood has covered my face, the pain taking me away. Then everything fades to black and the pain takes over. The darkness wraps me in its deathly grip, my thoughts are gone, my pain also and a very faint white light appears. It's small at first but grows and grows the deeper I sink into the nothingness.

A large white flash explodes in front of me and I'm not sure whether I'm dead or alive or lost somewhere in between. A wave of sadness and determination moves through my mind, all these feelings of sadness, flashes of light and voices. I can hear voices. One so angelic and the other in concern and amazement, they were faint at first but are quickly becoming louder and stronger as the white glow grows. In a flash the light is gone and so is the darkness.

My breathing returns, my heart beating rapidly and my eyes spring open. The green glow of eyes appears in my vision and a faint calling of my name gets closer. 'Dimitri… Dimitri, can you hear me?'

The princess' voice, the voice I've been hearing this whole time, suddenly a room appears around me and Eddie and Vasilisa are hovering over me. There's worry and concern in both their eyes and all I can do is blink. 'Guardian Belikov, you're okay!' I blink again and nod her thoughts loud and clear in my mind.

'I'm fine. I'm fi- I'm fine. What happened?' I ask as Eddie looks to the princess and then back to me in amazement. 'She saved you.'

...

I will always remember my days and nights with Dimitri Belikov. All the moments and things we shared together. All the plans and ideas we had about life, a life we wished for, a life we both knew couldn't exist. It hurt the realization of what could never be but when we talked about it; it seemed so real. We were real; our love was the only real thing either of us had. And I will never forget it. Ever.

His kisses still linger on my lips; gentle yet powerful. His smile occurs in my memories and it brings one out of me. I would never forget my time and love with Dimitri. I will always love him.

That love was so strong that it brought me here; Russia. To his beloved home and family, who I'm sure are awaiting another word from him. After the mission and the princess' confession I had decided to come to Baia and inform his family of his death. In my mind it was the right thing to do. He had told me all about them and how much he missed them.

It was confirmed that Dimitri did in fact die in the caves. He wasn't awakened by Strigoi but his body had been found not far off the trail completely drained. They drank from him and another guardian who Dimitri had tried to save but couldn't get to in time. He was so determined to save everyone in that mission, to get back the honor he had felt he lost when the princess had got hurt. The heroic act ended up costing him his life but not his honor. He was remembered a few days later as the queen had come to St. Vladimir's to honor those who died in the attack and the rescue mission.

I had told Eddie about our relationship and at first he was kind of shocked but eventually got over it. The princess was a little more surprised when she found out. I didn't have to say a word of it to her; she kind of just figured it out on her own. Never the less, she was a little hurt he hadn't said anything as she was trying to get him to notice her boyfriend's aunt who was actually quite fond of Dimitri. After the queen had left and the princess, Eddie and her new guardian left for court.

I had decided to leave as well. The academy had held a lot of memories for me and although most were good, some were too painful to keep remembering. That was the place I had met the love of my life, the place where we fell in love and the place where we had our last moments together. So I had called my father, Abe, and told him I was headed to Russia. He had scheduled a flight straight to St. Petersburg when I arrived but I told him there was somewhere I had to stop first.

So here I am, on a train in the middle of Russia, headed to the small Dhampir commune of Baia. Where Dimitri was born and raised, where his family still lives and waits for him. The news of Dimitri being shadow kissed had surprised me at first because I wasn't sure how that worked but after some research I had some knowledge of it. It was a very rare thing to be and there weren't many shadow kissed Moroi or Dhampir that were out there but it was useful to a guardian. It let Dimitri keep an even closer watch on the princess and although she said at times it would get uncomfortable, she had missed it. She missed him a lot and so did I.

...

The train finally comes to a stop at the station and when I get to the ticket booth, I find out I have to travel by car. The drive to Baia was long and silent. It left me in my thoughts and nerves of meeting the family of my secret boyfriend. If they were at all like Dimitri had described them, well, then I had nothing to worry about I guess. It's about night fall as I arrive in the small town and search for the house of the Belikova family.

It was just his three sisters, his nephew and niece, and his mother and grandmother who had lived there. His father was a Moroi, he didn't talk about him much but he once said he had abused his mother and when Dimitri was old enough, he kicked his ass out of there. He was raised with nothing but women and so his respect for them was something I understood even more.

I pull up to the house and sit in the small car that I had rented. A deep full breath releases itself from my chest and into the silent air of the car. My stomach swirls with nervousness and fear but my hand moves on its own to turn off the engine and unbuckle my seat belt. Once I'm out of the car and into the night of the town, the cold hits me. I had always teased him that he was from an arctic wasteland and he would always roll his eyes at me. The memory brings a smile to my face.

As I slowly step around the car and on to the cement, the front door of the house opens wide and an old fragile looking woman stands there before nodding at me. As if she was expecting me or something.

Yeva walks me into the house and speaks in fast fluent Russian as another woman greets me. Her smile wide with politeness and her eyes brown and deep, so much like Dimitri's. Once I meet everyone and we settle into the living room, Yeva once again speaks in Russian and gestures to me. 'You knew, Dimka?' Olena asks as I look all over the house and discover how homey it is.

It was somewhere where you knew there was so much love here and family was above all else. 'Um, yeah, I knew Dimitri. He was working at St. Vladimir's when we met.'

'The last we heard from him he was going to Montana to guard the Dragomir princess. Is that where he ended up?' I nod and watch as all their eyes land on me.

His sisters were absolutely beautiful; they all had dark brown hair and brown eyes, and that accent when they spoke English. His grandmother was a little different, same eyes but her hair was covered in gray streaks; some darker than others. Olena had his eyes also but her hair was the same light brown as Dimitri's. Yeva once again spoke in fluent Russian catching all our attention.

Viktoria, the youngest of the Belikova's, sharply turned to me in a worried gaze. 'What happen to Dimka?'

The question kind of stumped me and a lump had grown in my throat the size of a golf ball. I swallowed it down to the best of my ability and sighed at their eager faces. This was it, the moment of truth, what I traveled so far for and what I promised to Dimitri I would do in honor of his memory. So I swallow my nerves and fear to speak. 'There was an attack at the academy… and Dimitri was trying to protect the princess but somethi- someone had distracted him from finding her. So she ended up getting hurt and he felt really bad about it.'

'What do you mean someone distracted him?' His oldest sister had asked, not missing my change of word as I begun to explain what happen.

The lump in my throat came up again and my eyes begun to water. 'Me… He was- he was looking for me. See, um, we were uh- we were-'

'In love?' Olena's eyes had sparkled for a moment and all I could do was nod at her.

The tears had taken over my eyes as I retold the story of how their beloved family member had died. A few days later and I was still in Baia. The Belikova's were having a gathering in honor of Dimitri tonight. His sisters and nephew all asked me question after question of how we fell in love and what he was like around the students. His mother -all of them really- treated me like I was another member of the family. As if I was his widow or something.

They all were very nice and welcoming; they shared childhood memories of Dimitri and asked about the times we shared together. They even asked about the princess and what kind of guardian he was to her. I didn't tell them about him being shadow kissed but it seemed like Yeva had already known that. Especially since this morning she has been giving me odd looks and smirks all day. Just like now, as I sit next to Karolina and repeat no thank you's over and over again to offers of vodka. It smelled pretty strong and I wouldn't have minded drinking some but I couldn't after the three tests I took last night.

I felt her stare as a neighbor of theirs was remembering a time when Dimitri was a boy and he had caught him and his sisters out in the yard as they married him off to their dolls. Everyone had laughed at that part, including myself but Yeva's eyes had caught mine and a knowing glance shined in them. 'Kissed by the shadows.'

'What?' Yeva's words scare me as I make my way up the stairs on the way to bed after everyone had left.

'Dimka, he was kissed by the shadows for saving the princess.' I nod surprised as she squints her eyes and looks at me with intrigue. She lets a small smirk grace her aged face and pats my shoulder as she passes me on the staircase. 'It explains the child, my dear.'

I watch in shock and confusion as her retreating figure walks away toward her room. I hadn't said one word to anyone and I hid the tests as soon as I finished with them. So how the hell did she know I was pregnant?