Looking around the walls are solid, outside the door are two newborns posted as guards, shouting out, "Where am I? What's the date?"
One of my guards answer, "Somewhere in Austria, today is the 14th February, 9pm."
I cannot believe I'm here, I intend to get out, "Could do with food."
Vladimir drags in a freshly dead body, "Here, eat." He points.
I lurch and wrinkle up my nose, "No, get it out of here."
He flings the body out, "You will do as you are told." His connects with my jaw.
"I would rather you kill me now and have it done with." I spit in his face.
Vladimir pins me against the cold wall and begins slapping me as hard as he can.
"When you have finished." I snarl at him.
"Give me control over element or I kill you now." He keeps me against the wall.
"That will never happen, it is only partially activated, fine you kill me, the element goes with me." Grinning wickedly.
"I will torture more tomorrow." Shoving me against the wall he leaves with fury in his cold dead veins.
I think of my family back home.
Going into my bag, I grab a book and begin reading, it should pass sometime, I know my mobile is in there but I will not alert my family, not until I am free. Somewhere in the distance an owl hoots, that means I am in the countryside.
My mind is ticking away like a time bomb, carefully calculating when I should make my move and flee. I have to protect my family at all costs, the time for being afraid is over, war is coming.
The 15th of February passes with the usual amount of interrogation, resistance, brutality and flare.
"The element will be mine. I want Aro gone." He snarls, looking at me. He looks thirsty.
"I am still dead remember, no blood echoes through these veins." I feel like I could curl up and sleep, the hunger and exhaustion is fast bearing down on me.
"I will have you," he pins me against the wall and takes in my scent. "You smell so good."
I cannot panic, this is not the time to falter, "You will not, I have never been yours, despite the evil brand you marked me with as I was turning."
He whispers harshly in my ear, "You will always be mine, you are my property to do as I please."
"I am free, despite the brand I choose to do as I want," shouting, "I am not a slave, I would rather die for what is right than to live as your slave."
The 16th, early evening, Vladimir is discussing with the newborns about the fact he needs to hunt and they have to guard me with their life.
He looks in through the door, I pretend to be asleep, "Good she heard nothing, I will return on the 19th." With that he leaves.
After half an hour I am up and ready for action, looking through the contents of my bag, I find a few cookies, greedily I eat them, "I shall wait until midnight to make my move, he will be far enough away and the newborns won't want to tell him, which means they will scatter."
Bursting through the door, I quickly despatch the two guards and set their bodies on fire, from there I run, "If I can get to France I can get a flight to New York, but not looking like this." I keep running and running, further into the night.
As Sunrise appears I am in France, I pass a barn, a trough of water is there, quickly I wash, clean up and make my way to Paris.
Showing my passport, I pay for my ticket and go to the departure lounge, resting my head back I whisper, "I'm coming home." I feel weak, exhausted but not fearful, not for myself anyway.
The plane begins it's descent into Newark airport New York, my head hurts, my muscles ache, I am hungry and too tired to concentrate much longer, I have a long way to go yet, have to get home to Forks.
Going through customs I declare the wine and olive oil which are gifts for a friend, they allow me through, dragging myself, the airport is full of life, shame I didn't quite feel the same way, a long haul yet before I reach home.
Hauling myself from the lounge I quickly grab a coffee, drinking it is like heaven to my body, should give me some fuel to keep pushing until I'm home. Putting the cup in the bin I make my way outside to the hustle and bustle of New York.
The boys were waiting in New York. Stefan waited with them. They moved through out the streets, looking for any sight of her.
Making my way through New York streets, too busy for me but I can't run, not at the speed I wanna go. I feel dizzy but push on, pulling off I take a back street, which would hopefully get me out into countryside a lot quicker.
Stefan caught Ara, grabbing her and hugging her tightly. "Oh God you're alive."
I nearly lamp Stefan, wrapping my arms around him, "Well of course." I smile.
Stefan hugged tighter, "We thought he killed you." Stefan pulled back looking her over.
The boys caught up. "We have a flight home." Jasper spoke:
"You're not far off the mark," physically I'm drained, its the mental scars I'm bothered about, looking at Jasper, "hello."
Jasper smiled. "Car over here. Let's go. Airport now." Edward called out.
I smile, "Yes sir, so did anyone miss me?" I wink trying to keep the past week away from Edward.
Stefan spoke, "Leah has noticed. Trust me."
"I will have to think of an excuse." I sigh.
Stefan shook his head, "Ara she figured it out. She's been seeking out help from anyone."
I'm ready to cry, my body and brain are shattered, I haven't eaten in four-ish days and now Leah knows because she figured it out, I put my head in my hands, "My fault, yet again." Mumbling, "this was the last thing she needed."
Stefan spoke softly, "It's not your fault. He kidnapped you. Get in the car. We have blood, and food for you."
"I could have put up a better fight, all I did was spit at him," getting in the car.
Emmett smiled at Ara, "Missed you Storm."
"Missed you too earwig." I buckle up and run fingers through my hair.
Jasper smiled, "You're ok. This isn't your fault. Stefan is absolutely correct."
Emmett shifted, and Edward looked at Ara, "I'm sorry."
Stefan swallowed holding Ara, "That's more then anything anyone else has ever done."
"Least I'm not afraid anymore, but I'm not willing to argue." Looking at Edward, "Oh it gets better," half asleep I lean on Stefan, "wait til I get hold of him again."
I let my thoughts drift, I couldn't help it, I started in Volterra, I can't stop!
"How long until the plane? Really could do with resting." I hate to moan but sleep is fast taking over.
Stefan spoke softly, "soon
Half asleep and feeling distant, "Hand us two IV bags please."
Stefan grabbed the bags of blood out of the bag he had; handing them to her.
"Thanks." Ripping into both bags I let the liquid slide down my throat, smiling I rest my head back.
Stefan held her quietly, as she drank. Jasper closed his eyes, covering his nose discreetly.
A wave of dizziness sweeps over me, holding my head I rest it on my legs.
Stefan spoke softly to Ara, "Sleep sweetheart. You’re safe.”
Curling up into a ball I close my eyes, a tear slides down my cheek but I'm too sleepy to wipe it away.
I was pacing the house. "Leah you need to sleep. This is insane." Carlisle spoke with a caring yet stern tone.
"She's out there. God only knows where, and it's because of me. If I hadn't refused him in the beginning,"
Carlisle cut me off, "Leah this is insanity talking."
I feel my stomach lurch, opening one eye, "Are we landing?" I ask sleepily. "Or did my stomach lurch for no reason?"
Stefan nodded, "Yes dear. We're landing."
"Best stay awake, could sleep for a week." I stretch my body which aches.
Stefan spoke, "Easy. No heroic stuff."
"You've spent far too much time round Emmett." Looking at Emmett I laugh.
Emmett smiled, "We're not chasing after two girls, who can't seem to listen."
"I do listen, Aro was specific, I did as was told," growling, "it was Aro's fault for letting him go." I sigh.
"Least I had a bit of fun, managed to annoy Jane." Smiling, I'm proud.
Jasper smirked, "What he means is in the future." Stefan nodded, "Ara I will handle him, and Volterra in the future."
"I go on instinct, can't help it all the time," looking at Stefan, "no you won't, you have Amelia to look out for."
"If he's after you, he'll be after her. She's beautiful. He'll use her to lure people in." Stefan spoke, almost with a break in his voice.
"He left her to die, I hope he does get hold of me again, because this time I'm going to escort him to the gates of hell myself," looking round, "almost time to get off."
Jasper nodded. Stefan spoke, "Ara if the Volturi aren't summoning your death, you're safe."
"No, Aro asked me to join the guard instead, Felix warned me, I declined." Itching my nose.
Edward spoke, "He won't come back. I'm confident in that. He'll offer the position to someone else. He waits until they're alone."
"Best get ready for the welcoming party." I wink.
Fred was waiting at the airport with flowers. Meanwhile I was arguing with my parents.
"She needs me to help her." I stood up, looking at Carlisle.
"Leah if she's gone any longer, then we can start a search." Carlisle sighed.
Charlie spoke looking between us. "Yeah that would work. Have you seen this woman. 600 years old. Aka Joan of arc. Alabaster skin. Honey color eyes." Carlisle smirked, just because of the description, it was hard not to.
Disembarking the plane, Stefan is assisting me like I'm some old fart, "Now all I need is a zimmerframe." I laugh, Stefan smiles and continues helping me.
I was furious. "It's some joke huh? If it were my mom, or Chloe, Charlie you’d be right on it.”
Going through customs was a bore, again I declare my olive oil and wine, nice to be so close to home, picking up my rucksack, we make our way out.
Charlie shook his head, "Leah, it's not that easy."
I snapped, "Bull crap Charlie! Bella went missing, you were nuts. She's a well respected doctor like Carlisle. Why won't you help."
He sighed, "Leah it's hard, because it could be international."
Getting outside was a breath of fresh air, Stefan kept hold of me as again the dizziness came, "Easy sweetheart."
"It should pass." Smelling the air a familiar scent catches my attention, looking round twice before I lock eyes with Fred, I smile.
Fred smiled, "Hi beautiful I missed you." He kissed her softly.
"Leah it's ok. She'll come home." Charlie was trying to reassure me.
I was losing my temper, "What don't you understand. The person that had her last, who requested her presence, wanted Bella. It's why they sent you on the fishing trip several years ago. Just so you'd be safe."
I wrap my arms around him tightly, "Missed you too my tower of strength," looking at Edward, "best let Carlisle, I mean dad know we are home bound."
Edward smiled, "Sent a message. He's in Port Angeles. Charlie's there also. Leah was trying to get a missing persons report out."
I snigger, "Yeah I can imagine the report now, missing Ara Storm aka Joan of Arc, 600 years old, pale skin, good looking, golden eyes and can out run a train." I burst out laughing.
Edward cringed, "Oh Leah's flipping on both of them."
I was yelling, "You live in your human world Charlie, where everything is 9-5.”
"Oh dear, we best put a break on it then huh?" I also cringe but giggle at the same time.
We split up and get into two cars.
Charlie sighed, "That's not what I'm saying. If it's international,"
Carlisle cut in, "She's safe. Just landed."
"So where we heading? Port Angeles? Forks?" I sigh and rest my head on Fred's arm.
Fred smiled, "Your choice. Stefan is driving."
"We best go see Leah, so wherever she is, that is where we are heading." My eyes are heavy, the movement of the car is soothing.
Fred rubbed her arm, "Baby you're exhausted."
"See she's safe." Charlie smiled.
I snapped, "If it were Bella, you'd be all over it. Show's your true colors."
"I maybe exhausted," my voice is quiet, "but I want to see her, I have missed her more than I can say, I want her to know that I am actually here, not someone telling a white lie."
Fred sighed, "She knows it's not a lie."
"Still hun, I need to do this, or am I being stubborn?" I giggle quietly and wrap my arm around Fred's arm.
Fred smiled, "She may kill one of them first."
"Not if I get a hold first." I wink, "kidding, hopefully it will wind her temper in."
Charlie sighed turning slightly red, "Leah I need to protect the secrets. To keep your mom, and Harry safe."
I scoffed, "Chief Swan, living a secret life. Step daughter, and step son are wolves. The others vampires."
Charlie sighed, “Leah please, that's not it. I care about everyone."
I growled, "You have your perfect life. Perfect little house. Perfect everything."
Carlisle grabbed my arm, not to hurt, but to stop me
We are just pulling up outside the house, quickly I hop out, run to the driver's side beep the horn and lean against the car with my arms folded, a smile and tears running down my face, I had missed Leah, so much so my heart ached.
"Leah calm down." Carlisle was stern. The boys pulled up behind them, and climbed out quickly.
I feel the tension leak out of the house, so I call her name, "Leah!"
Carlisle walked me out carefully. "It's her. Calm down. The baby doesn't need the stress."
"Hello stranger," I smile, blinking back more tears, "I'm like a boomerang, I always return." I stretch out my arms.
Carlisle let me go slowly. I walked over hugging her tightly. The tears started streaming rapidly.
Whispering in Leah's ear, "I never gave in, missed you more than you realize." Tears crash down and I look at my father with apprehension.
Carlisle smiled, "Sweetheart we're glad you're home." He kissed her forehead.
I hugged her, feeling exhausted. "I'm glad to be home," I sobbed, "missed you," to Leah,"you and I need sleep. " Kissing her forehead.
Carlisle nodded, "She's not slept. Both bed now."
"Neither have I, Vladimir made sure of that." Leah and I walk into the house like a pair of zombies.
"Though I slept on the flight." Dragging myself and Leah into the hallway.
Carlisle spoke softly, "you're safe. Sleep both of you."
Hunter smiled, "glad you're home sis."
Scoffing, "Not at all, none of us are safe, especially with what I heard," I place Leah in front of me, I kiss Hunter's cheek, "missed you too, can someone help us up the stairs? I don't know where I'm going." Grunting a bit.
Hunter helped escort Ara upstairs. I laid down in our room.
"Thanks," I say sleepily, "can you get Fred please? I'm scared to go to sleep on my own." I can barely stand. I lay down on the floor, "Just until I fall asleep." I rest my head on my arm, my eyelids are heavy, "love you." I whisper.
Fred whispered back, “Love you too.”
Hunter spoke, "Spare room. There's a bed in there." Fred scooped her up, carrying her in.
I felt all floppy, but I also felt somewhere deep inside the pain of the past few days creep into the front of my mind, flickering my eyes, I'm fighting the inevitable pull of sleep.
Fred held her tightly. A soft light was on in the corner.
Somewhere in the distance I could hear hushed whispers, must be coming from downstairs, I can make out the odd word but nothing complete.
"So we went to the restaurant. I had them play Only You Can Love Me This Way by Keith Urban. Leah teared up. She looked like she did when we first met." Hunter smiled, talking to Charlie, and Carlisle. “It was a simple, beautiful night. We had dinner, then came home. She changed, and we curled up and watched a movie.”
Although I'm all but asleep, my mind is replaying events, I found myself staring at Felix when he knocked on my door that day, shifting slightly I let my mind carry on.
Fred stroked her cheek, as she slept.
Zipping forward I'm looking at Jane, I'm annoying her and I let out a giggle, I can now see the shock and disappointment as Aro tells me he let Vladimir go, I stay rigid still, I know what comes next.
Fred snuggled me. "I will keep you safe. I will hold you tight. Ara you are my light. When dark shall come, I'm not afraid. You've taught me to be brave"
I can feel Vladimir's hands around my throat, the rage burns in his eyes, the war to come is on me, I'm the only one who can stop him in his tracks, the path I now take is mine and mine alone, my body may leave but my spirit will stay home.
Fred remained still. I slept for a long time. Hunter, and Charlie handled things.
Eyes fly open, I can see specks of daylight filtering in through the window, "How long have I been out?" I wasn't asking anyone in particular.
"Two days." Fred smiled.
"Morning hun," wriggling round to face him, "two days? How are you?" I smile.
He smiled, "Showered fed, and haven't killed Emmett."
I laugh, "What's he been up to?" I shuffle and sit up.
Hunter brought food in for Ara. "He brought Fred a squirrel. Asked if he wanted a snack."
Bursting out laughing, "Typical," giggling, "Emmett I love you," looking at the food, "thank you." I tip the contents in my mouth, chew swallow and belch!
Fred laughed. Hunter smirked, "Desert was even better." Fred rolled his eyes,
"Black squirrel. A delicacy." Hunter grinned.
"Black squirrel is not a delicacy, try crocodile, they got some bite." Again I laugh.
Fred shook his head, "I'll stick to Bambi, and Thumper. Emmett can have flower."
Hunter laughed. "That's not nice." Fred's laugh boomed.