"Oh, you think?' She rested her head against his chest and yawned.

"Naptime,' said Christian, leading her toward the bed.

"I still need a shower.'

"Sleep first. Shower later.' He pulled back the covers. "I'll sleep with you.'

"Sleep or sleep?' she asked dryly, sliding gratefully into bed.

"Real sleep. You need it.' He crawled in beside her, spooning against her and resting his face on her shoulder. "Of course, afterward, if you want to conduct any official Council business ...'

"I swear, if you say "Little Dragomirs,' you can sleep in the hall.'

I'm sure there was a patented Christian retort coming, but another knock cut him off. He looked up in exasperation. "Don't answer it. For real this time.'

But Lissa couldn't help herself. She broke from his embrace and climbed out of bed. "Its not Adrian ...'

"Then it's probably not important,' said Christian.

"We don't know that.'She got up and opened the door, revealing--my mother.

Janine Hathaway swept into the room as casually as Adrian had, her eyes sharp as she studied every detail around her for a threat. "Sorry I was away,' she told Lissa. "Eddie and I wanted to set up an alternating system, but we both got pulled for duty earlier.' She glanced over at the rumpled bed, with Christian in it, but being who she was, she came to a pragmatic conclusion, not a romantic one. "Just in time. I figured you'd want to sleep after the test. Don't worry--I'll keep watch and make sure nothing happens.'

Christian and Lissa exchanged rueful looks.

"Thanks,' said Lissa.

Chapter Twenty

"YOU SHOULD SLEEP.' Sydney's soft voice nearly made me leap out of my skin, proving that even while in Lissa's mind, I could still stay alert. I tuned back to Sonya's dark living room. Aside from Sydney, everything was quiet and at peace.

"You look like the walking dead,' she continued. "And I don't say that lightly.'

"I've got to stay on watch,' I said.

"I'll watch. You sleep.'

"You're not trained like me,' I pointed out. "You might miss something.'

"Even I wouldn't miss Strigoi beating down the door,' she replied. "Look, I know you guys are tough. You don't have to convince me. But I have a feeling things are going to get harder, and I don't want you passing out at some crucial moment. If you sleep now, you can relieve Dimitri later.'

Only the mention of Dimitri made me give in. We would need to relieve each other eventually. So, reluctantly, I crawled into Sydney's bed on the floor, giving her all sorts of instructions that I think she rolled her eyes at. I fell asleep almost instantly and then woke up just as quickly when I heard the sound of a door closing.

I immediately sat upright, expecting to see Strigoi busting down the door. Instead, I found sunlight creeping in through the windows and Sydney watching me with amusement. In the living room, Robert was sitting up on the couch, rubbing his eyes. Victor was gone. I turned to Sydney in alarm.

"He's in the bathroom,' she said, anticipating my question.

That was the sound I'd heard. I exhaled in relief and stood up, surprised at how even a few hours of sleep had energized me. If I only had food, I'd be ready for anything. Sonya didn't have any, of course, but I settled for a glass of water in the kitchen. As I stood there drinking, I noticed that the Dashkov brothers had made themselves at home: coats hanging on hooks, car keys on the counter. I quietly grabbed hold of the keys and called for Sydney.

She came in, and I slipped her the keys, trying not to let them rattle.

"Do you still know about cars?' I murmured.

In one exquisite look, she told me that was a ridiculous and insulting question. "Okay. Can you go do a grocery run? We're going to need food. And maybe on your way out, you can, um, make sure their car has engine trouble or something? Anything that keeps it here. But not something obvious, like slashed tires.'

She put the keys in her pocket. "Easy. Got any food requests?'

I thought about it. "Something with sugar. And coffee for Dimitri.'

"Coffee's a given,' she said.

Victor stepped into the kitchen, his typically unconcerned expression making me think he hadn't heard me instructing Sydney to sabotage his car. "Sydney's getting groceries,' I said, hoping to distract him before he might notice the missing keys. "Need anything?'

"A feeder would be nice, but barring that, Robert has an especial liking for Cheerios. The apple cinnamon kind.' He smiled at Sydney. "I never thought I'd see the day an Alchemist would be an errand girl. It's charming.'

Sydney opened her mouth, no doubt to make some biting comment, and I quickly shook my head. "Just go,' I said.

She went, and Victor soon returned to Robert's side. Convinced the brothers wouldn't be going anywhere in full daylight without a car, I decided it was time to check on Dimitri. To my surprise, Sonya was awake. She sat cross-legged on the bed with him, and the two spoke in hushed tones. Her hair was disheveled from both sleep and fighting, but otherwise, she showed no cuts or bruises from the battle. Dimitri had been the same after his transformation, escaping terrible burns. The power of a Strigoi restoration healed all injuries. Between my skinned legs and pseudo-concussion, I kind of wished someone had transformed me from a Strigoi.

Sonya turned from Dimitri as I entered. A sequence of emotions passed across her face. Fear. Astonishment. Recognition.

"Rose?' There was hesitancy in the word, like she wondered if I was a hallucination.

I forced a smile. "It's good to see you again.' I chose not to add, "Now that you're not trying to suck the life out of me.'

She averted her eyes down to her hands, studying her fingers like they were magical and wonderful. Of course, after being a monster, maybe having her "old hands' back really was wondrous. The day after his change, Dimitri hadn't seemed quite so fragile, but he'd certainly been in shock. That was also when he'd grown depressed. Was she? Or did she want to turn again, as Victor had suggested?

I didn't know what to say. It was all so strange and awkward. "Sydney went for groceries,' I told Dimitri lamely. "She also stayed up so that I could sleep last night.'

"I know,' he said with a small smile. "I got up once to check on you.'

I felt myself flushing, somehow embarrassed that I'd been caught in weakness. "You can rest too,' I told him. "Get some breakfast, and then I'll keep an eye on everything. I have it on good authority that Victor's going to have car trouble. Also that Robert really likes Cheerios, so if you want some, you're out of luck. He doesn't seem like the sharing type.'

Dimitri's smile grew. Sonya suddenly lifted her head.

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