Vladimir took a sip of the red wine he had just swirled around in his glass. His crimson eyes were on the woman that was standing in front of him, smiling at him like he did something to make her happy, yet all he did was admitting that her company wasn't unpleasant.
She had proven helpful, that's what he told her. But what he really thought? He didn't know. Around her he felt this... itch. It was as if there was a question he wanted to ask her, but he forgot which one, so he kept her around.
He looked back at his book. She confused him. Even though she seemed to know everything about him, from his most glorious moments to his darkest secrets, she just stayed with him and kept saying those words.
"Hey, Vladimir", her voice interrupted his thoughts and Vladimir looked into her eyes. They were of a blue that reminded him of old days and an empire that no longer existed. "I love you." She grinned and threw a kiss at him.
Sometimes she made him doubt both, her sanity and her intelligence. He was the pretty close to the last person anybody should love, after all the only person Vladimir had ever been able to love had found an... unseemly ending.
Without expecting a reply she was about to turn around when suddenly, something red crawled out of the seems of her clothes. Black blood dripped from the corner of her mouth.
Pain was all he could hear in her gasp and yet she didn't stop smiling at him. "I had hoped for a bit more time, but it seems he is getting impatient", small coughs that splattered her life unto the floor interrupted her words. He still sat there as much curious as he was unmoved.
Slowly she walked towards him, red lines on her skin and black blood dripping from her body. She gently put her hand on his chest. "Finders, keepers." Her breath smelled like death and blood when she rested her head on his shoulder.
His breath stocked. It was impossible. She should have been dead since over a thousand years. He shook his head. 'Just a coincidence', is what he told himself but when he put his hand on his chest, his heart that had stopped beating that night so many years ago, was finally beating again.
Regret began filling Vladimir's thoughts, but then he felt himself unable to breathe. Coughing and searching for the air he was unable to get, his vision turned black. ----
When he opened his eyes again, Vladimir was laying on a bed he had forgotten. He was looking at a ceiling that ceased to exist so many years ago, that he forgot how many. "Vladimir."
A voice that finally got him to remember the question he had wanted to ask, woke him out of his stupor. There she stood, a white silken nightgown leaving only a few things to his imagination.
When he stood up, Vladimir noticed the golden locks in laying on his shoulders and realized. "This is a dream, is it not?"
"Indeed it is. A friend agreed to let me meet you like this. We have until the sun rises." Her smile wavered for a second. "This is the last time you will see me."
Standing in front of the woman he had once promised to love until death would part them he finally remembered who she was. "Wife."
Instead of answering she stood on tiptoes and kissed him. Vladimir thought, that he might have been able to love her again, if only she would have told him who she was. But this wasn't the time for questions and guilt. He lifted her up and noticed for the first time how weak he had been.
Calling himself stupid for thinking he could have protected her he gently put her down on the bed. ----
When he was laying next to her small frame later that night, he realized it might have been to late already. He had already fallen for her so long ago. "I'm sorry I wasn't able to love you better", he murmured into her hair.
A smile, brighter than every one he had seen so far blossomed on her face. "It seems the crimson reaper finally found his heart again." Only moments after the light of the sun began lighting up the room and her figure started to fade.
Stealing a last kiss from her lips, he noticed that he had never asked her what exactly those red marks had been. ----
In a lonely dark corner in a mansion in the middle of the city, a painting was hung on a wall.
The beautiful woman on it was holding a flower in her hands and smiling at someone nobody could see. Below it on the wall was the name of the painting and it was only one word.
Vladimir stood in front of it, looking at the flower in his hands. It was flower long extinct in most parts of the continent. Innocence. It's white petals would turn black as soon as something touched them.
Black petals crumbled and fell under his touch and for the first time in centuries Vladimir didn't wish to remember. He wished to be able to forget.