I gaze down at Dimitri, he looks so peaceful. I lightly play with his hair, gently stroking around his hairline.
"How are you two?" Mikhail whispers after a while. I look at him and smile.
"We're good. We both still have a lot of issues to work out," I scrunch my nose at the word 'issues'. Returning my gaze to Dimitri I add "but we'll work them out together."
I see Dimitri's face start to contort, his brows pull tightly together. I know this look all too well. They haven't been occurring as often anymore, but I can tell he's having a night terror. The first time he had one it scared me, it was so violent. He was yelling and attacking the nonexistent danger in the air. I unsuccessfully tried to wake him that time, and a few more times after that. He never remembered anything in the morning.
They've toned down since then, I don't try to wake him anymore. I just hold him close, making sure to have physical contact with his bare skin and I talk him through it. He starts to whimper and I instinctively begin to stroke his face, leaning down I kiss his head and whisper soothing words of comfort.
"Does Sonya ever talk about it?" I ask Mikhail after a while.
"Sometimes, but not often." He says.
"Does she ever have night terrors?" I notice him watching me as I try to soothe Dimitri.
"Not that I know of. She has bad days, but mainly she just gets depressed." He says. "You have to remember, she stayed out of mainstream Strigoi. From what Sonya has said, Dimitri inserted himself in the belly of the beast." I nod knowing all too well what type of life he had made for himself.
"Yes, he was in the Russian Strogoi Mafia and moved up the ranks pretty quickly." That's when it clicked, the cause behind Dimitri's lingering pain. He forgave himself for all the terrible things he did while he was a Strigoi, so I couldn't figure out why he was still so tortured. Now I get it. The burning question, why did he choose that type of life in the first place? Why didn't he settle down somewhere and stay out of the spotlight? He's fighting with his own internal demons for the identity of his soul.
"Oh Comrade." I whisper as I lean down and softly kiss his lips. He doesn't wake up, but his whimpers subside for the moment and he tightens his grip around me. The calming effect doesn't last long. He begins to mutter incoherently in Russian. It's barely audible, but I hear Roza often. My heart flutters each time. I scoot myself down to a less upright position, his head now resting on my chest. I'm able to wrap my arms around him completely and provide as much comfort I can.
"I admire you Rose." I was so absorbed with Dimitri I had forgotten Mikhail was awake.
"Hmm?" I say, turning my head to the sound of his voice. He's watching Dimitri closely. I realize he's witnessing Dimitri's vulnerable side, his fits of terror that haunt his sleep. Thinking about it, I'm glad it's Mikhail and not one of the others. Dimitri would be embarrassed and ashamed if he knew anyone observed him like this, but Mikhail of all people would understand.
"I said, I admire you." Mikhail repeats himself.
"Why's that?" A smirk crosses my face remembering not too long ago I would've had a sassy comeback. I shake my head at how much I've changed over the past year.
"For what you're doing. It's one thing to carry on a scandalous relationship with a fellow guardian, but willfully resigning…that takes pure courage."
"Honestly, Dimitri made his decision and resigned without telling me. I don't think he ever imagined I'd do the same, but it just felt right. I need him more than a guardian lifestyle would ever allow."
"I think he needs you too." Mikhail says as he motions to our entwined bodies. A warmth rushes to my cheeks.
"Two of the most legendary guardians of our time giving everything up for each other, it's invigorating and inspiring to our whole race." His eyes are glassy, almost awestruck as he speaks to the ceiling.
I hear Eddie start to stir and realize our shift is almost over. I gently wake Dimitri before Eddie fully wakes up.
"Hey Comrade," I say, placing a not-so-gentle kiss on his lips. "It's time to wake up." His eyes flash open and for a second I see fear. Then a smile creeps over his face, softening his features.
"And what do you think you're doing kissing me like that while I'm asleep?" He keeps his voice low, but playful as he sits up.
"Waking you with a kiss, just like sleeping beauty." I give him one last chaste kiss, which leaves my lips tingling and my body aching for more. Before he can say anything I lie down and curl up next to him.
A while later I wake up and reach out my hand across the bed, but I find Dimitri's gone. Then I hear the whispers,
"So you and Rose, huh?" Eddie's voice is low. Dimitri must have nodded because Eddie continues.
"I'm always the last to know these things." He sighs. "How long? Before or after Mason?"
"It wasn't until after Mason that we gave into our feelings." Dimitri answered.
"So you really love her?" Eddie's straightforwardness doesn't catch Dimitri off guard. He knows what I mean to Eddie.
"Yes I do. I'm nothing without her. My life," he takes a deep breath, "my life isn't worth living if she isn't by my side." My heart flutters and I feel a burning sensation in my cheeks. Oh how he affects me so much with just words.
"I guess love makes you do crazy stuff. I just thought Rose was crazy with what she did for you, but now you resigning for her? You're both crazy." They both laugh.
"When did you first realize you loved her?" Eddie's voice turned serious. I can't believe he's getting that personal with Dimitri. Then I realize he's still trying to protect me. After Mason died he took it upon himself to look after me. My stomach clenches, what will Dimitri say? Will he open up to Eddie on this level? My eyes flutter open in anticipation of his response one I, myself don't even know. Damn! He's watching me intently, our eyes lock. A playful smirk tugs at his lips.