dark moon

a twilight fanfiction.

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18. Chapter 17 Deathly Circumstances

There was no exit.

No way out for us.
I never took my eyes off Bella as I concentrated on the thoughts of those opposing us for any signal of attack.
Jane’s thoughts remained content and smug. She was somewhat proud of herself for acquiring the suicidal vampire along with his unusual companions.
When we reached the reception area, after taking the identical route I had taken the previous day, I noticed that Bella was scrutinising Gianna – the receptionist, and understood immediately that she was aware that Gianna was in fact a human; living and working among these vile creatures.
Alice was focusing hard, attempting to see what awaited us, and what the verdict would be, but it seemed the Volturi leaders had not made a conclusive decision yet.
 
Jane acknowledged Gianna as we passed the reception desk and proceeded through set of old oak doors, where Alec awaited.
            “Jane.” he greeted.
            “Alec.” She responded, embracing him. After their brief salutation, they both then turned their attention to Alice, Bella and me.
            “They send you out for one, and you come back with two…and a half.” Alec said glancing at Bella. “Nice work.” Ah, the girl must be Edward’s little girlfriend. He thought to himself.
Jane gave a shrill laugh. She enjoyed the praise.
            “Welcome back, Edward. You seem in a better mood.”
            “Marginally.”  I replied to the young boy.
Alec chuckled at my blunt response, and then looked at Bella clinging onto me.
            “And this is the cause of all the trouble?”
I forced a smile onto my face, while gritting my teeth shut to hold back the growl that crept up my throat.
            I’ll have her. I’m thirsty and she smells appetizing.
I instantly stilled at the thoughts of a vampire behind me.
I wanted to grab Bella and run.
            “Dibs.” Felix called aloud.
I couldn’t control it.
I couldn’t hold it back.
I whipped round and let out a menacing snarl.
He would not touch my Bella.
I would never let him near her.
Never.
Felix raised his hand and motioned with his fingers encouraging me to come forward and challenge him.
            Come on, Edward. I will happily destroy you, before her.
I wanted to obliterate him.
I wanted to rip his head off with my bare hands.
I was just about to push Bella out the way and pounce, when something touched my arm and interrupted my impending attack.
Alice.
            “Patience.” She warned me. Calm down, Edward. Think of Bella.
She was right.
I couldn’t lose control around Bella.
She could get gravely injured, or worse.
Although I had already put Bella in this possibly deathly situation, an attack on a valuable member of the Volturi guard would certainly have dire consequences. It made me wonder, who would protect Bella if a fight broke out?
It was my responsibility.
My sole objective.
I took a deep breath and forced myself to calm down.
            Coward. Felix hissed in his mind.
I tried with extreme effort to ignore him and focus on the task at hand – getting out…alive.
 
            “Aro will be pleased to see you again.” Alec spoke as if the confrontation had never occurred. But I could see in his mind, he was disappointed that Alice had prevented me from attacking.
            “Let’s not keep him waiting.” Jane said.
I merely nodded.
 
Alec and Jane holding hands led the way.
As we walked, I discovered from their thoughts that where they were taking us was not a place of discussion or solace.
Some were already gathered there.
Waiting.
It was the vampire’s dining room.
And the vampire’s were gathered waiting for their meal to arrive.
This was not the place I should be allowing my Bella to go.
I did not want her beautiful soul to linger in this awful place.
One fragile human in the midst of so many thirsty vampires.
We would both be dead in seconds.
Bella for her sweet blood.
Me for protecting her.
I couldn’t bear to think about what could happen.
What might very well happen.
 
When we arrived at the room, I was extremely tense.
I relaxed slightly as I looked into their minds.
Aro had strictly ordered everyone not to attack without command, or without justifiable provocation, but he could not have anticipated that Bella would be present. Bella looked around, utterly astonished.
I watched her eyes land one particular vampire in the room.
Aro.
She must have recognised him from the canvas I once showed her, in my father’s office.
 
            “Jane, dear one, you’ve returned.” He spoke enthusiastically.
            “Yes, master. I brought him back alive just as you wished.” She replied adoringly. Her overwhelming desire to gratify him reminded me of how I longed to delight Bella.
            “Ah, Jane. You are such a comfort to me.” His enthusiasm mounted into wholesome excitement as he eyed Bella and Alice.
            The future seeker! The fortune teller! Aro exclaimed in his mind.
            “And Alice and Bella, too!” he rejoiced, whilst clapping, recognising them from my memories. “This is a surprise! Wonderful!!” I think it is time to get Caius and Marcus here. He quickly turned to Felix, “Felix, be a dear and tell my brothers about our company. I’m sure they wouldn’t want to miss this.”
            “Yes, master.” Felix replied before swiftly disappearing back through the doors we had just entered. Aro then diverted his attention to me. I could not understand his excitement, as he was attempting to block me from his thoughts.
Was he thrilled by our capture?
By the possibility of annihilating us?
 
            “You see, Edward? What did I tell you? Aren’t you glad that I didn’t give you what you wanted yesterday?”
            “Yes, Aro, I am.” I agreed.
I tightened my embrace of Bella – ensuring she was still safely beside me. I was petrified that any moment she would disappear. On the other hand, I wanted her to not be here, not to be involved. I wanted her to be safe, as I always have. But it had recently been proven that whatever I wanted for Bella was not sufficient to keep her safe, or with me.
 
            Bella is alive, after all. Alice must have been mistaken. Her gift seemed flawless, but perhaps it is not consistently accurate; all the same, a tremendous talent to have. Aro spoke the words in his head.
His concentration lapsed slightly allowing me access to his thoughts for a moment.
A moment was all I needed.
His excitement was due to the presence of my sister.
Alice.
He wanted her desperately.
Well, it was her talent he craved.
He wanted me too – but from that very instant witnessed her talent through my thoughts he had wanted her in his coven. And, now he could not believe his good fortune as she stood before him.
            “I love a happy ending.” Aro signed. I could see the image of his happy ending in his mind. It involved me and Alice standing imperiously by his side, two impressive new members of an already shockingly effective team of predators.
            “They are so rare. But I want the whole story. How did this happen? Alice?” Aro fixed his desirably on my sister as he spoke to her. “Your brother seemed to think you infallible but apparently there was some mistake.”
            “Oh, I’m far from infallible.” Alice smiled. What has Edward told him about me? She wondered as her hands balled up into little fists, as if to hold in the anxiety she was feeling. She felt uncomfortable with Aro’s knowledge of her and it made her apprehensive. “As you can see, I cause problems as often as I cure them.”
            “You are too modest,” Aro reproached. “I’ve seen some of your more amazing exploits, and I must admit, I’ve never seen observed anything like your talent. Wonderful!” It would be an astounding contribution to our guard. They both would. He continued in his thoughts, as images of me and Alice flashed in his mind.
 
            Edward?
Alice’s eyes flickered to me for a split second as words raced through her head. How does he know so much about me? Why is he acting like he knows me?
Alice’s wary glance at me did not go unnoticed by the observant Volturi leader.
            “I’m sorry; we haven’t been introduced properly at all, have we? It’s just that I feel like I know you already, and I tend to get ahead of myself. Your brother introduced us yesterday, in a peculiar way. You see, I share some of your brother’s talent, only I am limited in a way he is not.” Aro explained. His tone exhibited a hint of jealously at the fact that I could read minds from a distance.
            “And also exponentially more powerful.” I interjected.
            He can read minds too? Alice asked silently.
My sister was still slightly confused. She had heard Carlisle’s recollection of his time spent here in Volterra with the Volturi, but at the time he had not elaborated on the specific vampire talents of those here. I had been the one who had been particularly interested in every detail and asked endless questions on many different occasions. I would have to explain now, so she would understand.
            “Aro needs physical contact to hear your thoughts, but he hears much more then I do. You know I can only hear what’s passing through your mind in the moment. Aro hears every thought you ever had.”
            Alice raised her eyebrows in surprise. But he can’t hear my thoughts now? He can’t hear what I’m saying to you in my head right now?
I inclined my head as a response. She would know what I meant. We often immersed ourselves in these silent exchanges. Our family was used to it by now, and sometimes they weren’t aware of it at all. Bella, being her observant self, nearly always noticed, but other humans were oblivious.
Aro noticed it now, but he ignored it slightly irritated that he could not hear.
            “But to hear from a distance…” he paused, letting out a sigh before gesturing to me and Alice’s silent exchange. “That would be so convenient.”
 
            What is he doing back here? I heard Caius’s thoughts as he entered the room, followed by Marcus and Felix. I swiftly turned to face their direction. Alice mimicked my movement and recognized Aro’s brothers from the familiar canvas pictured in her mind.
            Who are the others? The girl is human. I thought she was dead. Caius scowled silently.
Marcus’s gaze was instantly drawn to my arm that was wrapped around Bella. He was scrutinizing our relationship – which somehow mystified him.
I was confused.
How could the potency of our relationship be strong enough to bewilder?
Bella and I were no longer together in that sense.
Of course, my feelings for her had not changed in the duration of our separation.
If anything, my love for her had intensified.
She was my savior, my angel.
But it was not possible that Bella still felt the same for me – I had hurt her too much.
 
Marcus’s attention moved onto the relationship I shared with my sister, and then onto the one between Alice and Bella. I could see his evaluations in his mind, and he was now dumbfounded, although he never showed any indication in his expression. He had never encountered such true and deep bonds of love and friendship between vampires, and defiantly not between vampires and a human.
 
            “Marcus, Caius, look! Bella is alive after all, and Alice is here with her! Isn’t it wonderful? Aro crooned.
Neither responded, or exhibited one ounce of the excitement displayed by their brother.  
            “Let us have the story.”
Marcus floated to Aro to inform him of his thoughts. At the brief contact, Aro raised his eyebrows as he saw the results of Marcus’s examination of our relationships.
            Extraordinary! Surely they cannot care for each other with such intensity. I suppose the verity that Bella is alive could prove Edward’s love for her. But Alice and Edward they are not strictly related. And Alice and Bella? It is not possible.
I snorted at Aro’s silent analysis.
Of course it was feasible.
His own brother had just shown him.
How could he doubt it?
I honestly and truly loved all my family unconditionally. Alice and Bella had developed a true friendship, and now they were like sisters.
I could not begin to explain the love I felt for Bella.
It was utterly awe-inspiring and even I did not understand it.
Bella kept reeling me in, no matter what I did to try and protect her and stay away, I could not resist her in that sense, her blood, on the other hand – I had to resist from.
 
            “Thank you, Marcus. That’s quite interesting.” Aro said shaking his head trying to comprehend.  “Amazing, absolutely amazing.”
            What is he talking about, Edward? Alice demanded silently, venting her frustration at the cryptic spoken comments and exchanges.
            “Marcus sees relationships and he is surprised by the intensity of ours. “I explained to Bella and Alice swiftly and quietly, even though every other vampire in the room could hear.
            “So convenient.” Aro said. To answer ones unspoken questions. He finished in his thoughts. “It takes quite a lot to surprise Marcus, I can assure you.” Aro focused on the arm I had wrapped around Bella’s waist, whilst wondering how I could be so close to her when her blood was what I yearned for so desperately. I would admit the situation was inexplicable, but it was almost effortless for me to be in Bella’s presence now.
Was it because of the deadly circumstances we found ourselves in?
It must be.
I had always had an overpowering desire to protect her rather than kill her.
Before I had departed Forks, it was a constant struggle to control myself.
Now there was something different.
Something I didn’t understand.
I don’t know what had changed.
Her scent was more intoxicating than ever.
It still burned my throat.
But the fire in my throat was not dreadful.
It was irritating, but not painful.
It was no longer Bella’s blood I craved…it was exclusively her soul that I coveted.
 
Aro would never understand.
He had never experienced the heartbreak I had suffered.
 
            “It’s just so difficult to understand even now. How can you stand so close to her like that?” Aro pondered.
            “It’s not without effort.”
            “But still - la tua cantante! What a waste!”
I chuckled at his statement.
It was true.
Bella was my singer.
Her blood sang to me.
 
            “I look at it more as a price.”
            “A very high price.” Aro said hesitantly.
            “Opportunity cost.”
            “If I hadn’t smelled her through your memories, I wouldn’t have believed the call of anyone’s blood could be so strong. I’ve never felt anything like it myself. Most of us would trade much for such a gift, and yet you….”
            “Waste it.” I interjected sarcastically, repeating his previous remark.
 
I was becoming impatient.
I was tired of the polite conversation.
I no longer wished to explain my love for Bella; frankly it was none of their business.
 
Aro laughed as he remembered my father’s determination and restraint. Carlisle had never killed a human, even during his time spent here in Volterra. The Volturi thought our way of life, living off animal blood was impractical. They thought we should truly embrace the creatures that we are. Instead, my family refrained from that part of the vampire existence.
 
            “Ah, how I miss my friend Carlisle! You remind me of him, only he was not so angry.”
            “Carlisle outshines me in many other ways as well.” I replied.
            “I certainly never thought to see Carlisle bested for self-control of all things, but you put him to shame,” he said.
            “Hardly,” I said intolerantly.
            “I am gratified by his success. Your memories of him are quite a gift for me, though they astonish me exceedingly. I am surprised at how it…pleases me, his success in this unorthodox path he’s chosen pleases me. I expected that he would waste, weaken with time. I’d scoffed at his plan to find others who would share his peculiar vision. Yet, somehow, I am happy to be wrong.”
I did not reply.
             “But your restraint! I did not know such strength was possible. To inure yourself against such a siren call, not just once but again and again. If had not felt it myself, I wouldn’t have believed.”
I did not dignify his oration with a response. My impatience was building. Why couldn’t he just deal with the matter at hand – our freedom?
 
            “Just remembering how much she appeals to you…It makes me thirsty,” he chortled.
I froze up with tension.
No. Bella would not be his meal. Ever.
Aro noticed my apprehension.
            “Don’t be disturbed.” He said reassuringly.
I searched in his mind thoroughly. There was no sign of an attack.
            “I mean her no harm. But I am curious, about one thing in particular. May I?” he asked gazing at Bella intently.
He was asking me if he could attempt to access her mind.
I couldn’t make Bella’s decisions for her.
            “Ask her.” I stated.
            “Of course, how rude of me! “Bella, I am fascinated that you are the one exception to Edwards’s impressive talent. So very interesting that such a thing should occur! And I was wondering, since our talents are similar in many ways, if you would be so kind as to allow me to try, to see if you are an exception for me as well.”
Bella’s eyes flashed to my face glowing with terror.
I nodded in encouragement. Although I didn’t want him touching her I knew he wouldn’t hurt her right now. The look in her eyes tore at me. I hated seeing her so scared.
 
Bella raised her hand to Aro’s, and the instant they touched I knew her mind would not grant him access. I felt slightly relieved that I was not the only one who was prohibited from reading her mind.
 
Aro was disgruntled by this revelation and was curious as to how Bella’s mind worked.
            “A first! I wonder if she is immune to our other talents…Jane, dear?”
            “No!” I snarled furiously.
Absolutely no way.
Alice grabbed my arm, but I shook her off.
            “Yes, master?” Jane smiled at Aro.
            “Jane, I was wondering, my dear one, if Bella is immune to you too.”
I was enraged.
My ferocious growls echoed around the room.
I needed to protect Bella.
Jane would hurt her grievously just for enjoyment.
I would have to obliterate her first. She was not allowed near Bella. Ever!
Jane turned to look at Bella with a devilishly malevolent expression.
            No! I screamed in my head.
I sprang forward toward her, to ambush her attack on my Bella.
            “Don’t!” Alice cried.
Midway through the air I was jolted, and fell instantly to the stone floor.
Thousands of electric shocks ran through my body making me shake vigorously.
This pain was excruciating.

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