Dmitriy groaned internally, understanding exactly why Ekaterina was doing this: if he wasn't going to tell her where he was going, she was going to follow him. It was as simple as that, and always would be. Kat was a very resourceful girl and would go to many lengths to get what she wanted.

He hoped to God that his sister wasn't being a major problem for Noel. Though, that was never going to happen, he could tell. Ekaterina flashed him a sickly sweet smile. It was most definitely false, and he was most definitely in for it later. He'd assumed he'd be able to get back to Sky Valley before she woke. What a stupid thought that was...

Kat seemed to be getting on fairly well behind the counter anyhow. The male customers seemed particularly taken with her, as she fluttered her eyelashes at them, and giggled at the jokes they cracked. Dmitriy knew she was simply getting back at him; she knew that he hated men being around her, especially seeing as seven months previously, a man left his marriage for her and she'd just laughed in his face. She'd never been interested in anyone before, not that he knew, but what about the vampire? It wasn't exactly a match their parents would have wanted for her but it would mean she was protected from her own stupidity and recklessness.

He sighed and caught Noel's gaze.

"Sorry," he mouthed at her. She simply smiled, rolled her eyes and shrugged.

He smiled back. He quite liked Noel, truly, in that fluttery-heart kind of way. It would always be different though. She could never learn about what he was, and that would eventually be inevitable. He certainly couldn't his covenant; it would have broken his mother's heart. That was part of the reason he wanted Ekaterina to be with a vampire, or anybody who lived at Sky Valley, because then she wouldn't have to break hers. Everyone there knew what they were: djinn, fire demons.

He closed his eyes and couldn't help his pang of anger but regretted it instantly when the lights went off. He got himself under control instantly and they came back on. When he opened his eyes, Ekaterina was staring directly at him.

Dmitriy stood up and walked over to the counter.

"Kat, I'm going home, okay?" he said to her quietly, his eyes imploring her forgiveness.

She softened. "Okay. Try not to burn the place down." A hint of a smile played at her lips, making his heart leap; she was joking with him, Ekaterina was joking with him!

"Oh, hell, no, that's your job," he replied.

She grinned and shook her head. He stepped aside as she served a young woman. The seemingly permanent scowl on her face had lifted. For the time being at least. Maybe a job was just what she needed. As the woman walked away, Dmitriy stepped forward again.

"Who are you and what have you done with my sister?" he asked, raising an eyebrow at her. He couldn't help noticing Noel's look of surprise as she walked past.

"She'll be back," Kat laughed. Her smile fell and she stopped her giggling. "You needn't worry about that."

He looked at her for her a few seconds before taking her hands in his, shocking her. It wasn't often that he touched her without her permission to do so.

"Mum would be proud of you," he said to her softly in Russian. When she frowned at him, he said, "Honestly. Believe me. I'm proud of you."

"Ekaterina, could you go and get some more milk from the back?" Noel asked.

Kat nodded and went quickly, without even a snide remark.

"You seem to have her on a leash," Dmitriy said, unable to help his surprise, and regretting it when he felt Ekaterina's sharp lash of anger. Directed at him.

"She's an efficient worker." She paused for her a minute. "Is she really your sister?"

"Yes. She's all I have left."

"Oh, okay."

He felt the hope blossoming deep in her chest, smiled and left before it could get awkward. He headed straight home, not wanting to piss Kat off even more than he already had.

The End

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