Dimitri didn't want me near Lissa while she was using her magic, which I found interesting. He still didn't know if I really was "catching" her madness, but he apparently didn't want to take any chances.

"You told me you had a theory about why the wards broke," he said. We'd extended our circuit of campus, not far from where Jesse's society had met last night.

I'd nearly forgotten. Once I'd pieced it together, the reason had been perfectly obvious. No one had really asked many questions about it, not yet. The immediate concerns had been to get new wards up and tend to our own people. The investigation would occur later.

"Jesse's group was doing their initiation right here by the wards. You know how stakes can negate wards because the elements go against each other? I think it's the same thing. Their initiation rights used all the elements, and I think they negated the wards in the same way."

"Magic is used all the time on campus, though," pointed out Dimitri. "In all the elements. Why has this never happened before?"

"Because the magic isn't usually happening right on top of the wards. The wards are on the edges, so the two don't usually conflict. Also, I think it makes a difference in how the elements are being used. Magic is life, which is why it destroys Strigoi and why they can't cross it. The magic in stakes is used as a weapon. So was the magic in the torture session. When it's used in that sort of negative way, I think it cancels out good magic." I shivered, recalling that sickening feeling I'd felt when Lissa had used spirit to torment Jesse. It hadn't been natural.

Dimitri stared at a broken fence that marked one of the Academy's boundaries. "Incredible. I never would have thought that was possible, but it makes sense. The principle really is the same as for the stakes." He smiled at me. "You've thought about this a lot."

"I don't know. It just sort of fell together in my head." I glowered, thinking of Jesse's idiotic group. Bad enough they'd done what they did to Lissa. That was enough to make me want to go kick their asses (though not kill them anymore -  I'd learned some restraint since last night). But this? Letting Strigoi into the school? How could something so stupid and petty on their part have led to this sort of disaster? It almost would have been better if they'd tried to make this happen, but no. It had come about through their glory-seeking game. "Idiots," I muttered.

The wind picked up. I shivered, and this time it was from the chilly temperature, not my own unease. Spring might be coming, but it certainly wasn't here yet.

"Let's get back inside," Dimitri said.

We turned around, and as we walked toward the heart of the secondary campus, I saw it. The cabin. Neither of us slowed down or obviously looked at it, but I knew he was just as acutely aware of it as I was. He proved it when he spoke a moment later.

"Rose, about what happened - "

I groaned. "I knew it. I knew this was going to happen."

He glanced over at me, startled. "That what was going to happen?"

"This. The part where you give me the huge lecture about how what we did was wrong and how we shouldn't have done it and how it's never going to happen again." Until the words left my mouth, I didn't realize how much I'd feared he would say that.

He still looked shocked. "Why would you think that?"

"Because that's how you are," I told him. I think I sounded a little hysterical. "You always want to do the right thing. And when you do the wrong thing, you then have to fix it and do the right thing. And I know you're going to say that what we did shouldn't have happened and that you wish - "

The rest of what I might have said was smothered as Dimitri wrapped his arm around my waist and pulled me to him in the shadow of a tree. Our lips met, and as we kissed, I forgot all about my worries and fears that he'd say what we'd done was a mistake. I even - as impossible as it seems - forgot about the death and destruction of the Strigoi. Just for a moment.

When we finally broke apart, he still kept me close to him. "I don't think what we did was wrong," he said softly. "I'm glad we did it. If we could go back in time, I'd do it again."

A swirling feeling burned within my chest. "Really? What made you change your mind?"

"Because you're hard to resist," he said, clearly amused at my surprise. "And ... do you remember what Rhonda said?"

There was another shock, hearing her brought up. But then I recalled his face when he'd listened to her and what he'd said about his grandmother. I tried to remember Rhonda's exact words.

"Something about how you're going to lose something..." I apparently didn't remember it so well.

"'You will lose what you value most, so treasure it while you can.'"

Naturally, he knew it word for word. I'd scoffed at the words at the time, but now I tried to decipher them. At first, I felt a surge of joy: I was what he valued most. Then I gave him a startled look. "Wait. You think I'm going to die? That's why you slept with me?"

"No, no, of course not. I did what I did because ... believe me, it wasn't because of that. Regardless of the specifics - or if it's even true - she was right about how easily things can change. We try to do what's right, or rather, what others say is right. But sometimes, when that goes against who we are...you have to choose. Even before the Strigoi attack, as I watched all the problems you were struggling with, I realized how much you meant to me. It changed everything. I was worried about you - so, so worried. You have no idea. And it became useless to try to act like I could ever put any Moroi life above yours. It's not going to happen, no matter how wrong others say it is. And so I decided that's something I have to deal with. Once I made that decision ... there was nothing to hold us back." He hesitated, seeming to replay his words as he brushed my hair from my face. "Well, to hold me back. I'm speaking for myself. I don't mean to act like I know exactly why you did it."

"I did it because I love you," I said, like it was the most obvious thing in the world. And really, it was.

He laughed. "You can sum up in one sentence what it takes me a whole speech to get out."

"Because it's that simple. I love you, and I don't want to keep pretending like I don't."

"I don't either." His hand dropped from my face and found my hand. Fingers entwined, we began walking again. "I don't want any more lies."

"Then what'll happen now? With us, I mean. Once all of this is done ... with the Strigoi..."

"Well, as much as I hate to reinforce your fears, you were right about one thing. We can't be together again - for the rest of the school year, that is. We're going to have to keep our distance."

Tags: Richelle Mead Vampire Academy Fantasy
Source: www.StudyNovels.com
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