What is Mine
~ Eleven ~


For several minutes Dimitri watched his friend grapple with the awful news that he had given him. Other than an initial wince of grief at Dimitri's confirmation, Stefan showed no other visible reaction.

“I will leave you alone for a few moments,” Dimitri uttered softly. He knew that Stefan would not display his grief in the presence of another.

He moved quietly from the room, being careful to pull the door closed behind him. There was nothing he could do for Stefan at that moment but hope that the man's fierce spirit and sense of survival would be enough to pull him through the difficult first hours of realization.

Dimitri strode through the long corridors of Wildwind until he reached the suite he'd had converted to an office. He punched in the code to his personal safe and withdrew a sheaf of papers from inside. After nearly an hour of considering each item individually, Dimitri arranged them in particular order. He thrust them back into their folder and slid them underneath his arm.

“I was on my way to see you, Count Andrasy,” the personal physician Dimitri had hired met him halfway along the corridor back to Stefan's suite. “I have just come from examining my patient.” He gave a small cough of disbelief. “His recovery is nothing short of miraculous.” The brash young doctor took note of the smirk on Dimitri's face. “Though,” he conceded, “it is not at all surprising to you.”

When Dimitri declined to comment, the doctor went on. “Well, I suggest we immediately move onto the next phase of his recovery as planned.”

“Very well. We will discuss it first thing tomorrow morning.”

The doctor was quickly an afterthought as Dimitri entered the suite where Stefan now lay propped up by pillows. Gaunt and weak from months of inactivity, he simply stared at Dimitri with hollow, tortured eyes.

“I cannot imagine your grief at this moment,” Dimitri told the injured man without preamble. “But you have cheated death for a reason. And I have not believed in your recovery all this time to just allow you to surrender to your sorrow.” He took a seat on the side of the bed and placed the folder full of documents in Stefan's lap.

“No,” Stefan shook his head weakly. As desperately as he wished to, he could not tear his eyes away from the innocuous looking folder resting upon his lap. “It is too soon.”

“Deal with this head-on, Stefan.” Dimitri's voice was unyielding, but his heart ached for his friend. “As you have dealt with every other cruelty life has inflicted upon you.”