Vampire Academy: Aftermath

This is going to be sort-of-novel-length fanfiction for 'Vampire Academy' by Richelle Mead. It's set after Last Sacrifice [I haven't read the spin-off books 'The Golden Lily', and 'The Indigo Spell' yet].
Rose Hathaway has everything she wants, her life is perfect-or is it? Nothing happens without consequences. I don't know if many people will have read VA, but... 'Write for yourself as much as for others', no? *Cover will be up shortly*

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10. Chapter 9

Nine

Morning-or night, for the nocturnal community-came along all too soon for Dimitri. Or so it seemed as he glanced around at the features of the area we were in, cast in a pale light. For me, every second closer we got to this thing, the...happier...I became. I hid my gun beneath my trouser leg, sighing as the cool metal made contact with my skin in the heat, and I clutched my stake with one hand. The basket of berries Dimitri had saved for me before sat beside our campfire, still almost as full as when he gave it to me. I bent down and picked up a handful of them, and carefully examined each one. Satisfied that they were safe, I popped one inside my mouth and chewed.

"Mm, not bad," I commented quietly.

"That's what I said at dinner," said a deeper voice, something amused in his tone. Dimitri walked out of the small cave he'd been sitting on top of before and took a few berries for himself. "They're good."

"They are. I'm actually kind of proud that I found them," I nodded, swallowing the rest of my handful whole.

"You found them?"

"Yeah, don't sound so surprised," I shook my head at him as I stood up. "I can be useful when I want to be."

"You just don't often want to be, huh?" he asked with a chuckle. I nodded.

"Are you, err...ready yet?" I asked slowly. He nodded his affirmative and I almost laughed-it was so domesticated. Yes, there was the fact we were out in the wild and about to bust into a Strigoi hideout. But it still seemed far too homey and normal for me not to find humour in it. My mind drifted back to the mission and my expression turned somber. We had to do this well or we wouldn't live long enough to have that domesticated life.

 

It seemed like Sonya Karp wasn't the only Strigoi with a thing for plants-the shrubbery surrounding the compound said as much. It was unkempt and not nearly as colourful or alive as the flowers outside the blue house, but it was certainly much more alive than the monsters it surrounded. Dimitri and I hid behind one of the less tame bushes, as he briefed me on our plan.

"We sneak up to the gate quietly, stab the human guards as quickly as possible and get inside. From there, we find our way inside the building and fight until we find the cells. Free as many people as possible and only retreat when absolutely neccessary, understand?" he said.

"Yeah. But it's a whole lot easier said than done, Comrade," I sighed. He gave me a sympathetic look and we trod off towards the gate. I reached there first and poised my stake to attack. One of the guards turned and looked at me.

"What are you-" stab.

 

To say this place was supposed to be Strigoi-infested, we hadn't run into one yet, and we'd already cleared all of the top buildings, minus the one that was locked with a keypad (we weren't getting that undone any time soon). We scouted down the stairs, Dimitri facing forwards and acting as a rather tall shield for me, while I stepped down them sideways, watching the floor above us warily. The first corridor was empty cells. I exchanged a glance with Dimitri when I found myself flying backwards, stopped only by the powerful hand that clung to my jacket sleeve. But that hand was clumsy. Dimitri reacted immediately, pulling it away and starting the dance with death that we like to call 'hand to hand combat'. This Strigoi was new, weaker than the one that had been turned weeks, months, years, even centuries ago. But, like Dhampirs, they were fast and strong by nature, and still had immortality and their mere three (incredibly difficult) ways of death.

 

We disposed of it and resumed our previous arrangment. Nobody followed us, and I realized what Dimitri was doing. He was taking all the hits and doing all the fighting. Was he scared I'd go mad like I did with Victor Dashkov? Or that I'd break down and miss the heart by metres? It made me angry, but there was no time for that. We travelled three floors underground, grabbing every item we could handle from the trail of corpses we left behind us. At least we weren't leaving them out in the open-Sydney would be happy. Dimitri stopped at the top of the staircase to the fourth floor, and I walked unknowingly into him. Before I knew what was happening, we were tumbling down the staircase like two bowling balls trying to take out a group of bowling pins. And we did. Except we didn't take them out we fell, literally, into a fight with them. Five against two. No, I wouldn't fancy the odds either. Nevertheless, we slashed and stabbed until they were staked. And then we unlocked the doors of the cells on this floor and freed the few guardians on this floor, and their Moroi. Except 'freeing' the latter was an understatement. More like 'taking at least five minutes to coax one out, let alone a dozen'.

 

We sticked together. Safety in numbers. But we were woefully unarmed, despite the guardian training the Dhampirs of our group had recieved, and some of the Moroi's ability to weild fire. Without a stake, guardians couldn't kill Strigoi. Without being them being willing, we also couldn't make Moroi burn Strigoi to ashes. But we could hold them off until Dimitri and I could stab them, right?

God, I hope so, I thought as I ushered a cowering elderly Moroi out of his cell. His eyes were deep set and you could see the joy seeping out of them. The poor thing needed to be back at Court as soon as possible. And for that, I would fight.

 

"Rose," I heard Dimitri say as we finished clearing the second-to-bottom floor. "Over there," he pointed forward and I looked the two cells he was signalling to. In one was a very familiar Moroi, his skin darker than most, and with more colour than the almost blood-starved ones in the earlier cells. He had dark hair and eyes, and was watching the dhampir woman in the cell beside his with concern. And her? She had auburn hair and lighter eyes. Her skin was a shade or two paler than mine and there was a crimson red bite mark on her neck. Her struggle against the high of the bite was apparent, but she tried to hide it. She didn't want anyone to know, although I'd already found out. And I'd found my parents.

 

My mind spun, trying to figure out a rational way of going about this. On this floor there was me, Dimitri, about twenty others, and only two stakes, one of which I held. On the floor below was a dead end, my parents, and twelve Strigoi. Twelve. And they didn't know we were here.

"Dimitri," I whispered. "You take half of the guardians and have them keep the Strigoi busy. Kill them as fast you can. I'll take the other half and set everyone free. Okay?"

"Okay," he breathed back. We relayed this to the others and waited for the, almost silent, whispers to die down, before we charged down the stairs. The Strigoi leapt into action, snarling at Dimitri's 'army' as I lead assigned mine to their charge-for-the-day. I pushed through the fighting to Abe's cell and knelt in front of it.

"Kiz," he said, looking my in the eye. "What are you doing here?"

"Rescuing you, Old Man, what else?" I replied hastily, unlocking the door. "Who bit Mum?"

"I, err... Rose, it was me. I bit your mother."

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