It was a nightmare unlike anything I had ever experienced. She was so fast. She kept yelling at me to talk, but I had no idea what she wanted me to say. I tried to apologize, but my words stuck in my throat when I saw her eyes. Red. Her eyes were fiery red, just like her hair, just like my blood as in dripped from my body. I was sure I would bleed to death. I cried out for help. She came closer, grabbing me by my shoulders and tilting back my head. She bit her fangs into my neck and I screamed.
And that's when I woke up.
"Rose! Rose! Are you okay?" Lissa was shaking me. I could feel the sweat on the back of my neck and forehead, which made my hair stick to my skin in a way that felt claustrophobic.
I met her gaze, and instantly it was like I could hear exactly what she was thinking. God, how can she not remember anything? Am I going to be able to heal this? I know everyone wants me to. I feel so guilty.
"Don't feel guilty." I said, without thinking. Her eyes widened.
"You can still feel the bond? I wasn't sure if you'd realized." I had never felt more confused. It took her about thirty minutes to explain everything about the bond and answer my questions. It was weird thinking that my best friend could heal. But wait. Could she heal me?
"Can you heal my amnesia? Can you get me out of this damn hospitable?" I asked eagerly. Lissa frowned.
"I can certainly heal your body, but I'm not sure about the amnesia. I've never tried to heal amnesia before. The doctor said it was a result of head trauma though, so maybe it will work." She reached out and grabbed my hand. She closed her eyes and focused herself. Through the bond I could feel her summoning the magic and sending it to me. I could feel the pressure lifting off my chest, and the cuts closing up and fading. All of my pain ebbed away, even in my head.
By now her forehead was slick with sweat and I pulled my hand away, feeling her energy draining. When she reopened her eyes, they were full of frustration.
"You don't remember do you?" She asked, her tone full of anger.
I gave her a sad smile and shook my head. "I don't get it. I could feel the magic healing the area of your brain that was injured. I can feel the magic doing what it's supposed to, but it's like something is resisting me, like you're resisting me. The magic has healed the injury, but you don't have your memory back." I frowned. I wanted to be healed. Could it be true that I was resisting Lissa? Maybe she couldn't heal amnesia?
"I don't understand it. I want to be healed. I'm not intentionally resisting you at all. Maybe you just can't heal amnesia with Spirit." I sighed, realized it was no longer painful, and then hopped out of bed. "Thanks for healing me, Lissa. I was going to go insane if I had to be in that damn bed any longer."
She was still frustrated, but she laughed in spite of herself. I tried to get out of bed, but I was still burdened by machines, casts, tubes, the works.
"Liss, can you get someone to come get this shit off of me?" I moaned. "I need to get out of here for real." She giggled, and left the room to go find the doctor and "convince" him to let me out of my medical prison.
Not long after she left, a tall Moroi man slipped into my room. He was probably in his mid-20's, with messy, golden hair and striking emerald eyes. Well. Another hot man to see me. Whoever I had become, I was proud of the type of men I was keeping around me.
"And you are?" I asked, flashing him my man-eater smile. He ate it right up.
"Adrian Ivashkov, at your service. It's been a while since I've seen a smile like that out of you." He seemed to be kidding, but there was a bitter edge to his words. Either way, he was very charismatic.
"Nice to meet you, Adrian. I'm assuming we don't really go by titles." He raised an eyebrow, fully grasping the very intentional sexual innuendo I had implied.
"Ah, Little Dhampir. I truly wish I could have met you earlier in your life." He chuckled, and I was instantly irritated. I had no idea who this guy was, and it felt like he was dangling my lost memories in front of me. I hated being vulnerable.
"You sure about that." It was my turn to raise an eyebrow. There was a silent threat within that, though I never would have actually gone through with it. He just laughed and shrugged. He reached into his coat pocket and pulled out a carton of cigarettes.
"Friendly reminder that this is a hospitable where it is super illegal to smoke." I couldn't believe this guy's nerve!
"Oh please, the cancer unit is on the other side of the hospital and I'm sure if any nurses object I can convince them otherwise." He winked, and it took me a moment, but I caught on. He was a Spirit user as well, and he wielded compulsion like Lissa.
"You still shouldn't smoke. It's bad for you." It was petty, but I never claimed to be above petty.
"So is running away from your friends and family and nearly getting yourself tortured to death." There was no humor left in his voice, and his eyes bore the same intensity as Dimitri Belikov's had. But it was different. His intensity was wild, unbridled, tinge with insanity. Dimitri's was focused and tender.
"I have no memory of that." He turned away from me, taking a long drag from his cigarette.
"Of course you don't. The memory is elusive, as intangible and misunderstood as Spirit. But what is Spirit other than the soul? And what is the soul without memories? It's all connected you see. One dot to another, point a to point b…" He trailed off, lost in thought. I had no idea what he was talking about, but something about this struck me as familiar, and I decided I wasn't afraid. I didn't really understand Adrian, but it seemed to me that he was sweet and above all, afraid.
He snapped out of his reverie and strode over to me, cupped my cheeks in his hands and kissed me passionately. I was shocked, but the kiss was pleasant and comfortable. He pulled back and the unbridled intensity was back in his eyes, "Don't ever leave me again, Little Dhampir."
Without a clue what that promise meant, I nodded, "I won't."
With that, he excused himself, saying that he had to call his aunt and make some arrangements for our return to Court. I just nodded along like I totally understood. I knew that Tatiana Ivashkov was the queen and related to Adrian, but I had no idea of their relationship. Something told me she was his aunt, but I didn't question it.
This whole amnesia thing was turning out to be quite a bitch.
Everyone I spoke with, including three random Russian guys that I had apparently become buddies with in Siberia, wanted to talk about the lost years (which was how I was starting to refer to them). It was strange, with those three guys, I felt comfortable- it felt simple, easy. I quickly figured out that I had been an unsaid leader among them, and that we had hunted Strigoi. They were happy that I was alive, and it seemed they had the most information on my most recent years.
With every one else, however, there was an elephant in the room. A very, very, very big elephant, that I'm pretty sure belonged to the lost years. I knew I had run away, which seemed insane to me, but I knew I probably had a damn good reason. Maybe that was causing the discomfort.
The real question was: why?
It was starting to nag at me more and more as I heard about the schedule to take me back to Court. It was making me incredibly anxious. Anxious enough that I felt the need to go for a run. As far as I could remember, I hated running, but something told me it would help clear my head.
It had been a couple of days since I'd been discharged from the hospital after a little (a lot) of compulsion and what seemed to be a medical miracle. We were now staying at a hotel in St. Petersburg. We had taken a short flight from Novosibirsk to St. Petersburg. It was misery. I ended up being mobbed by ghost-like shadows and got a terrible headache, which Lissa had to explain as part of being shadow-kissed. Right. That.
Arrangements to get us home were still being made, but my hotel room was stifling, and so I snuck out for a run.
I should have known better. St. Petersburg was apparently crawling with Strigoi, and I couldn't remember a majority of my Guardian training, but I needed to do something. I decided that I would follow my gut instincts if I were attacked. I guess it was dumb luck that I managed to snag a silver stake from a backpack of one of the Guardians that followed Abe around.
As I ran, I decided to test my limits and see what six years of training had done for me. What I found was almost comical. I had always had great stamina as a novice, but this was on a complete other level. I knew my body was still weak from all of the damage done to it, but even "out of shape" I could hit insanely fast speeds for miles. I could feel people staring as I ran by, some tried to stop me, thinking I was maybe being chased. I just kept running, eventually taking routes that would allow me to avoid the stares and whispers.
I had just turned a corner when I slammed into a tall man dressed in an expensive suit.
"Oh, shit! Sorry!" I exclaimed, completely startled. I looked up, and my stomach dropped. This was no man. This was the undead.