Not prepared

Darkness, pain, praying for death, those were only a few things Liliana felt. Madness had taken it's hold. Her body shook from the cold. The were freezing her, making her body shut down. She felt the cold seeping her to her bones. Her flesh was burning and numb from the ice that was forming on it. The only things that was hot was the vampire blood laced chains that had holding her down in the ice box "once her heart slows to the appropriate beats we can began the testing" said a scientist "I heard Mr Adam had to go meet with the board, we should still hurry though so we can get this done before he gets back" said another "I'll take my time with this bitch, look at her, they ain't so high and might now are they" he said spitting on her "wait for her heart to get to twenty bpm, and then give her the serum" said the scientists to the other.

The door burst open. They expected Adam, but instead, Steve was thrown into the room. He landed hard. Following him were six people. They all looked dangerous. Several of the scientists went for hidden weapons while a couple went to Steve. Natalya and Ivory used their inhuman speed to get the weapons before they and Razvan began to dispatch the men. Zacarias went to the chamber and punched the computer running it. He forced open the barrier around her and snapped the chains holding her. He caught her gently. Gregori had returned just as the barrier around the facility was brought down and everyone was hit with Liliana's pain. It took Natalya and Ivory time to use a spell to keep it out so that they could get to Lil. Gregori shouldered as much pain as he could as he popped every bone back into place, but she still let out sounds of pain. Steve pushed the men helping him away, towards Razvan and Ivory. He stood up shakily, taking a step towards Liliana. Zacarias was there instantly, lifting him by his throat.

please..... her voice was so weak in their minds help me.... she said and Gregori felt her shake in his arms make it stop....kill me...please kill me she begged, bit they felt her confusion, she didn't even know they were there or where she was

Zacarias looked at her for a moment, then back at Steve, fire and rage burning in his eyes so that they glowed red. He tightened his hold on the man's neck. Liliana, Steve said, looking at her, I brought help. You're out of the nitrogen chamber. Open your eyes, look around. I know you feel numb from the cold and the pain, but look around. Please. When this man kills me, I want to know you see that your friends and family came to save you. It would allow me to leave this world more easily, knowing I got you out of here.

fake...all fake.... she said and Gregori felt her start to move only to moan in pain I...feel you ..but your not's a trick... Before Gregori could speak to tell her it wasn't a trick the alarms sounded and the doors to the lab were cover by metal gates, locking them inside. Liliana suddenly tried desperately to curl up in a ball. Gregori noticed that she didn't use her limbs, like she thought they were still broken. Steve look at zacarias even though he was terrified "that alarm is hurting her I know the code please let turn it off , I'll explain after"

Zacarias growled and dropped him unceremoniously to the ground. He followed Steve to the computer and monitored his mind to ensure there was no trickery. Try as he might, he felt no evil intent. That only served to enrage him more, not reassure him. When Steve was done, he grabbed him again.

"You got your wish to free her," Zacarias said as the doors opened and the alarms stopped. "Now, juno more pain....pease.....make it stop...ill be good....please make it stopstice will come to you."

No one was going to stop him, even though there was no evil sensed in him he was still dangerous and they were all upset over what they were seeing, not just Liliana but the evidence they saw all around that was harmful to their kind. Gregori turned into a healing light and went inside Liliana to start healing her. But before he could even begin he was forced back into her his body when she body. With a cry of pain she threw herself against zacarias making him drop Steve and catch her no more pain...please make it stop...please adam she begged

What he did next was shocking to everyone. He never showed emotion except with Margarita. He wrapped Liliana in his arms and they heard him weep. No one could register that one of the most feared hunters, let alone a De La Cruz, would weep at Liliana's words.

"Sisar, please," he said. "Know who I am. Remember me. Lea. Margarita. My brothers. We love you, little one, more than you know. I am not Adam. He is a vampire who stole you from us. Please, come back with us and remember who you are. We will take the pain away, make it stop. For good. Ask anything of me but please, come back home with us."

She was silent and still in his arms, no body moved, it was like they were all holding their breath kill me..... was all she said. He felt something warm against his stomach and the smell of her blood filled the air, when he pulled back to look he saw her skin had been sliced off above her him. It was the biggest fresh wound on her besides the marks from the vampire blood "oh God" said Steve right before he threw up. When everyone looked at what made him sick they saw Liliana's skin hanging up in a picture frame. Her dragonseeker birth mark on it. Displayed like a trophy above the operating table.

"Gregori," Zacarias choked out.

Instantly, Gregori set to work, saying, "This was done while that man was out looking for us. That means they know of the bloodlines."

He became healing light and began to reattach her skin. Zacarias made Liliana look at him.

"Sisar, I cannot kill you," he said. "I want you home again. I want you safe with us. Even if it means I have to accept your are lifemated to Alexandru."

At the mention of his name Liliana cried out in pain. Her cry startled them, it wasn't just a cry of pain but of devastation and heart ache. She was weak but still wiggled roughly in his arms, again not using her limbs. Her pain shook the room as they all felt it.

The sounds around them were deafening. Zacarias entered her mind and said, He's not gone, Liliana. He lives. There was a barrier around this place to keep you from reaching out to him. He survived because you gave him one of your scales. He is feeling the separation as well. He is in the ground so that he does not turn. He is not dead., but in the thrall. It is only your gift that gives him hope that you yet live, and that has given him strength that even I do not have. You are his strength, the iron in his will.

She was doing more damage to her weak body by fighting his hold, Gregori was forced back into his body lies! Unwanted, unloved, worthless! Broodmares! the memories that Adam had forced in her mind came to the surface why do you think they kept you away, they didn't want you around, they were raising you like cattle, a offering to the princes son. her own memories of feeling rejected by the de la Cruz and Alex came to her mind making his words seem true you know your not suppose to be here. We have told you many times you are not to come here without our permission now I have to stop what I am doing and take you back said zacarias to her when she was a kid and snuck on the farm listen kid, I've red the books and I've seen the couples, you probably won't even get a lifemate and if you do, you have a fifty fifty chance of making it. I care for your people and all but I can't stand watching all the bad stuff ya know. Just be prepared to be alone kid said the woman who raised her when she made a comment on a romance movie they were watching. No memory was good. They all were filled with her feeling rejected and unlove I want you Adam said as he laid above her, it was clear he was raping her

Those aren't real! Steve said. Liliana, this man who holds you did not reject you! I know that for a fact! Adam is a manipulative bastard playing on what we see as weaknesses. But they also give us strength. When you first talked to me in my mind, I knew you were a fighter. You didn't understand why you had to be kept separate. We all have those feelings, that things others say or do is a rejection of who we are.

He's right, sisar, said Zacarias. I never said that to you. If I ever made you feel that I didn't care for you, I apologize for it. We were tasked with keeping you safe, and two of my brothers are lifemated to Dragonseeker women. Their blood would have removed the spell protecting you. I was tasked with your safety because you have an amazing gift, one the vampires want to try and taint. Your mother, me, Lea, everyone simply wanted you safe. But your gift is so good, so precious, we were worried about keeping you away from the enemy. It is our failing that we made you feel unwanted. We should have handled it better, treated you with more love and explain to you the dangers. You are so smart, it scares me. I treated you like a child because of your age, but there were times I felt like a complete idiot talking to you, and it takes a lot to make a De La Cruz feel intellectually inept. Liliana, I swear on everything good in this world, we never rejected you. We love you. I call you my sisar- my sister, not to make you feel for me, but because I feel for you.

Nothing. Not thoughts or recognition came from her. It was like she was empty inside. Though they talked to her. She did not know they were there. Gregori looked at zacarias "her body is in good health, but the signs of torture are there. There is a ward on her womb that I cannot touch. If I do it's meant to hurt her" he said in a serious tone "we need to get her to Alex, let her rest for now, I pray that she is in shock but I fear brother you know that is not the case" he said in a angered yet sad tone. Zacarias picked her up and handed her to Gregori "I will bring her back, you all stay here and bring justice to our fallen brother. " He looked at Steve "your life depends on this answer, are you willing to stay and help them take care of Adam?" He asked

"Of course I am!" Steve answered without hesitation. "That bastard played on my need to help people like my sister, who died from a disease eating her from the inside out. I don't care if they thought they were doing the right thing. What they did to Liliana was not right and should not have happened. I wouldn't have joined the team if I knew they were torturing people."

"Then prove it" he said and left with Liliana. He didn't trust going by car. He tried to shoulder the pain of moving with her that she was feeling. He took to the air and flew with her in his arms, he didn't stop for hours. He was glad that she fell asleep half way into the trip. He knew he she needed the rest. When they were a couple hours away she woke up and started panicking please.....kill me she begged

Liliana, call to Alex, Gregori said, holding her as still as he could while she struggled. Call to him. He's risen but he needs you. Call to Alex, reach for him.

She panicked more at his name no! Please I'll be good don't make me , please! she begged in a panicked tone

This isn't punishment, Liliana. This will stop the pain. This will make it go away. Remember the Dark One? He never does anything to harm women. I don't do that. I'm a healer. Torture is not my style and I'm not about to start now.

At the mention of dark one Gregori saw memories force their way to the surface of her mind the dark one is in charge of the magic, think about it little dragon why would he be called the dark one if he was good? He is the one that does the spell that binds the females to the males, he is the reason I have to do this, him and the prince Gregori knew the moment she was going to put up a fight. Just in time he grabbed her jaw before she was able to bite down on him. She was weak and still wasn't using her arms or legs so he didn't have to be rough, just a firm grip was enough to keep her from biting. But it was clear she was trying to attack him.

"Know one thing above all else, Liliana," he said. "You can feel magic. Did you feel the energy of a spell at any point before this Adam Chaplin got you. Even as hurt and scared as you are, you are highly intelligent. I know not all of your memories are gone. He could not take them from you. If you are anything like your mother, you his them. Like every Dragonseeker before you, you found a way to endure what would destroy others. You survived where others would not. That is enough for every Carpathian to admire you. Already, other little girls among our people look up to you. Do you understand. Our people love you and will not abandon you. For yourself and the child you bear, try to reach for Alex and remember a time before you were taken."

" child" she said going stiff in his arms "not wanted..... can't have it" she said as her hands went to her stomach "nothing" she said in a low tone "just's me...." She said laying her head on his shoulder, he could feel how tired she was "your heart beat is different" she said in a low tone "are you upset? I'll make it better... Tell me what you need"

"I am sad, little one," he said as they landed and he walked with her into the healing caves. "So much taken from you, so much good he tried to taint. Now, you are afraid to embrace it again. I want you to try. That is all I ask. I will shoulder any pain I can, but we have no blood ties, so I cannot take it all. You are not alone in your pain."

"Blood....blood....of course , it makes you happy" she said moving her hair and exposing her neck. When she did he saw the deep scarring and bruising that covered her neck on both sides, the skin was damaged and pale with how much it had been used. A fresh bite was there and dry blood covered the spot. He could tell by just looking how damaged the veins were by the over use. Her jugular was thinned out and bruised "go ahead"

"No," he said, covering her neck to send healing warmth to her scars. "I will not add to his trauma. I do not need blood to aid you. Would it be easier, yes, but I do not need it." He made her look at him. "Tell me, what must I do to get you to try to connect to Alex?"

She frowned and he saw pain in her eyes. He felt her start moving and he felt wings deep from her back. He had to adjust to keep her in his arms as the wings formed a tight cocoon around her. The wings looked bruised and damaged in some places. He felt her curl up in a ball and the wings grew tighter around her.

I ask so that I know how to help you, Liliana, he said. Can you not hear him calling to you? The pain he feels with his fight with the demon? He feels the separation and has been in the thrall for four days. It was your scale that gave him hope. You gave it to him, knowing he would need it for times like this. I know you are hurt and scared. I know you want it to end. But I cannot provide release until you attempt to reach for Alex, until you try to reach for life.

life is not worth reaching for anymore she said in a soft tone. It was the first thing she had said that he felt like it was truly her. A split second of clarify from her broken mind I know no truth of which world I live in, one life I and a slave in which no love exist, in the other I am still a slave, a slave to rules and stereotypes, a slave to the moon and ground. A slave to my need to be loved and wanted. I'm tired dark one.......I'm tired

I know, little one. But you have someone who loves you, who will cherish and care for you. He almost bested Zacarias to leave these caves and search for you, his mind a haze of rage and pain. He is a slave to fate, as we all are. But he is your reward for the hardships you have faced. And he will stand beside you for the hardships to come. He doesn't know it yet, but he will be a slave to you, as we men are to our women. We tend to make stupid decisions for her smile alone. I know I do. But, it must be your choice. You hold the power. If you want to leave this world, by all means, walk into that chamber and destroy him before he turns. It's the only way. Both of your fates lay with you.

He felt her mind leave him once again and slip back to darkness and numbness. He felt her wings grow warm to the touch he's coming

Alex feels you are close. Do you dare to take a look at your man? He and you both aged in your separate hells, but you aged together. Always together, even when apart. Always connected and loved. And you loved him for a short time, but it was there, because he saw and loved you in the same way. A fairytale love.

Mikhail informed Gregori he could no longer keep Alex away because he was hurting himself trying to get out of the warded room bring her here now! He is falling

Gregori included her with him when he answered, noting how Liliana couldn't help but peek out just a little. We are outside the door. Let him out. I believe in the strength of their bond, Mikhail. It couldn't be stronger than if they were both ancients. Let him out. As privately as he could with her, he said, If we are wrong, Liliana, I give you my word, you will find peace. He held out his hand as he laid her down on the ground gentlyOne look with no barriers between you. You can do this. One last act of courage.

Her wings tightened and she went into a tighter ball until she was in a fetal position, hugging her legs into her chest. Alex was suddenly there. When Gregori went to speak he pushed him back so hard he slid. He bent down and grabbed ahold of Lilianas wings and pride them open. Liliana cried out in pain but it got her to look at him.

Alex looked almost feral. His fangs bared at her like a monster, his eyes red with flames. But as he looked at her and she at him, the animal retreated slowly, leaving behind a man. He now had streaks of silver in his hair, a testimony to his suffering. His hands had been claws before, but they were warm and tender as he cupped her cheek, tears falling as his eyes returned to a chocolate brown. He lifted her gently and cradled her, kissing her as if he were a starving man. She bit his lip hard making him pull back. Her breathing was ragged and she made nosies of discomfort. Her eyes showed fear and pain. Her wings moved into her back and disappeared "you can't be real....." She said touching the side of his face and tears swelled in her eyes "Alex?...." She said his name in heartbreaking disbelief

"I'm real, Liliana," he said in the same time. "Am I dreaming this? Holding you again?"

He noticed the scars. Gregori, what happened to her?

Her mind is fragile, right now, he warned as he showed Alex.

Alex didn't react with anger. Instead, he kissed Lil again before saying, "I don't deserve you. You are teaching me what true strength is. How will I ever measure up?"

She looked at him for a moment and her eyes glossed over " have finally come...the dark one tried to take me" she said in a scared tone and started to shiver in his arms

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