|More Than My Own Life
Author: A Thousand Undiscovered Stars PM
Takes place towards the end of Breaking Dawn. Alice and Jasper never left, and there are no other hybrids in existence. What if the Volturi did decide to attack? And what would Bella give up to keep both her daughter and her family alive and safe? And without her family there to help her will she be able to resist the shadows that surround her or will she surrender to the Darkness?Rated: Fiction M - English - Family/Drama - Bella & Esme - Chapters: 10 - Words: 25,274 - Reviews: 79 - Favs: 40 - Follows: 78 - Updated: 05-04-13 - Published: 11-06-12 - id: 8680390
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Edited March 17, 2013
Chapter Three: This Is How It Is
I sighed indifferently as I entered my chambers on the second floor of the Volturi castle, glancing uninterestedly over the sparse décor. The walls were a glossy black color with crimson accents scattered throughout the room. I honestly had no opinion whatsoever on the appearance of my dwelling. Why should I? I held no interest in it and this was merely the place that I spent my scant amounts of time between missions.
I frowned just slightly. What a difference a century makes, I mused wryly. To be frank, anyone that had known me before would not recognize me – literally. My physical appearance was much altered. My hair, which before was a chestnut brown, was now as black as the deepest shadows on a moonless night. I had grown taller and now stood at five foot eight. As well, my eyes were a deep, menacing onyx to match my ebony tresses. In addition, whereas before I was merely beautiful, now I was the very epitome of perfection and it irritated me to no end because of the problems it caused me…
Still, it was not my physical alterations that would shock those who knew me previously – it was my personality. Before I may have been described as caring, sweet; selfless. However, that description would appear laughable to any who knew me now. The two were utterly irreconcilable. That… that was Bella. I was Isabella. I was cold, uncaring, and prone to rage. My lips tightened into a thin line as I felt a flicker of ire, thinking of the ones that made me this way.
Day 1 in Volterra
When we arrived in Volterra, Aro had Jane, Alec, and Dimitri take me to an empty room on the first sublevel of the castle and stand guard outside the door. Once I was inside, I merely waited to see what my fate would be.
I was unsure how long I was there but I knew that it was a long time. As time passed, I grew thirsty and the burn in my throat flared up with increasing regularity. I didn't much care. All that I could think of was my family, try as I might to stop.
I had no way of measuring time. Every once in a while, the guards outside my door would switch. I remained still and silent, and the thirst grew steadily. There was no light and I took comfort in the shadows, which soothed the raging thirst.
Eventually, it became too much. No longer could I remain still. I was thirsty. I was furious. And I ensured that they knew.
I rose suddenly, flashing over to the door and attempting to wrest it open. It didn't budge. I frowned, pulling once more. Again, it made no movement. I snarled this time, growling loudly. I held tight to the door handles. "Let. Me. Out!" Each word was punctuated by a sharp tug on the immovable entranceway.
It was then that I heard it, or rather him. Aro. His laughter echoed from beyond the closed doors, but I realized now that the sound was muffled and through my rage I was puzzled.
"It is quite useless to expend your effort this way Isabella," Aro said in amusement and I snarled.
"Why?" I demanded. My thirst was all-consuming at this point and left no room for caution, much less even the most basic form of respect.
Aro sighed disappointedly. "Manners, Isabella, manners," he chided me mockingly, making me growl in the back of my throat though I remained silent. What was wrong with him? I needed out. I needed blood.
I gritted my teeth, determined to find a way out. I would go insane if I didn't. "Aro, let me out," I said lowly and he chuckled quietly.
"I'm afraid that I can't do that just yet Isabella. Your time is not up yet. However, it is time that you began focusing," he said gleefully and immediately I became suspicious, wary. Already, I could feel myself changing, but I clung to the remnants of my former life with my family. The bond was wearing thin, though.
"Focus on what?" I asked harshly and he chuckled.
"Lucifer, would you do the honors, my son?" Aro asked eagerly and I took a brief millisecond to wonder at his words. Son?
But there was no time to think on it as a haughty, malicious voice replied, "Of course, father. It's time she began learning her place, her powers." If I had been able, I would have wondered at what the voice – Lucifer – said. But I was not able. As he finished speaking, I was overcome by something unlike anything I had ever experienced before.
There was no comparison. Edward leaving me – it was inconsequential. The pain of being changed – it was a ray of warmest sun on a brisk fall day. My thirst, having accumulated over an unknown amount of time – it was to me as delightful as the sweet summer air to a human. Being locked away in this room with only the shadows as my companions without escape – it was a gift which I would accept gladly a thousand times over.
There was no transition for me. I was in paradise. I was in hell. The fires of the underworld licked at me with burning, seething hatred. Lightning seared my soul, leaving only wrath, pain, even madness. Power surged within me, a torrential see of abilities that flowed into me, ever-increasing in number and strength.
There was nothing. Nothing but an abyss of insanity and torment. I held no more sense of self than a single pebble – it was lost to the void. There was no time, no space, nothing but the torturous flames which devoured me and the darkness which consumed me.
And then the voices came, in whispers and in murmurs.
This is your power… Embrace the flames… You are mine… Surrender to the darkness… You are lost… You belong to me now, Isabella…
The voices were ever-present. The pain was too dominant to allow me to know if they ever changed or if they stayed the same. It was unimportant. The haze was eternal, in my mind, and all that I could do was endure. And the whispers continued. Until one day, they stopped. And then…
It all went away.
The pain disappeared, leaving only a frigid coldness and the ubiquitous darkness. I was still, then. A long time, I did not dare to move. However, eventually, I sat up. I saw nothing, heard nothing… felt nothing. Yet, I remembered.
I remembered all that occurred in my past life. It seemed very far away now, despite the clarity of my memory. Trivial, in fact. Except for her. No, never her, who I did this for.
And then there was the more recent – I assumed it was recent, at least. The Volturi. Aro. Lucifer.
I stood, moving to where I knew the fixed doors to be. Yet this time, as I reached to open them, I heard a small click as they unlatched. I should have been surprised, elated, something; I wasn't.
I opened the door and, for the first time in an immeasurable amount of time, I was bathed in the glow of light – the distant glow of an artificial light, to be sure, but light nonetheless.
Indifferently, I made my way down the corridor and, before long, I happened across Jane. I gazed on her without feeling or interest. I was there, she was there; it did not matter.
I saw the flicker of surprise in her eyes as she looked at me, but she did not comment and neither did I. Instead, I followed as she wordlessly turned and began to lead me down the corridor and then up a staircase to the floor above.
Ultimately, we arrived in a round room which I recognized from my blurred human memories – the throne room. Upon their seats of authority sat the three Brothers – Aro, Marcus, Caius. Jane immediately swept forth into the center of the room before bowing her head to them. I followed disinterestedly.
Aro grinned like the cat that ate the canary as he took in my appearance. "Well, mia cara, I must say you do look ravishing," he complimented me. I made no reply and he raised one eyebrow slightly before shaking his head.
"Ah, well," he sighed. "No matter. Tell me, can you feel your powers?" he demanded eagerly. I was given no chance to reply as a voice erupted from behind me.
"Of course she does, father. I will have made sure of that, as well as the Bond." The voice was arrogant, mocking. I recognized it. Lucifer. Lucifer, who instigated the Fiery Hell which tormented me.
All else was inconsequential, without importance in my eyes. But this voice. This voice roused my dormant emotions – but not as they had been before. No. Now, there was only rage, hatred, contempt… I was no tame and civilized vampire, no longer the angel I had been called before. I was a furious and wild entity, and if I were to be called an angel now I would be the most fallen of all the angels.
Instantly, my fury reached its peak. I sprang – and was instantly frozen by the voice. Stop, it commanded, and I froze without intention or thought. My ire reached new heights as I found myself unable to move.
Aro chuckled delightedly. "You cannot fight it, Isabella. You are Bound to me by darkness and shadows," he informed me gleefully and my jaw clenched. The voice. It was him. Aro. Which meant… "You belong to me now, Isabella," Aro told me, and I heard the words both physically and mentally.
That was it. The tenuous links that remained to who I was before were dissolved, lost in time and space. I was no longer Bella Cullen.
I hope you'll enjoy your new title, Aro sent mockingly. "Welcome to the Volturi, Isabella Shadow Volturi," he said condescendingly. Do not forget to address me as 'Master', my pet.
My jaw clenched. "Thank you, Master." That was the day Bella Cullen died. That was the day that Isabella Shadow Volturi rose from her ashes. That was the day the darkness consumed me. No, I was no angel. I was fallen.
I sighed as I sat out in the forest, far enough away that I could no longer hear anything from the house. I just couldn't bear to be there any longer, not now that we're back in Forks, not after what happened here so long ago.
It's been nearly a hundred years since... since my daughter sacrificed herself to the Volturi. Only once, in all that time, have we received word of her, and even then it wasn't any kind of personal greeting. It was a stack of divorce papers, signed by Bella, with a note from Aro attached. It said that, if Edward was sensible, he would sign the papers. Needless to say, he signed.
Every day that had gone by without my being able to see her had hurt me immeasurably. I love all of my children, but I will admit that I held, and still hold, a special love for my youngest child. I can't even imagine what she must have gone through, all this time, with the Volturi...
I shook my head in annoyance and let out a low, frustrated growl before sighing once more. I came out here to escape the memories of Bella that the house brought up, and found myself unable to stop thinking of her once I was out here.
Well, I might as well go back, I thought. I ran quickly back to the house. When I arrived, everyone was sitting in the living room, with stunned and concerned looks on their faces. I immediately felt my heart fill with dread, but I made my way over to Carlisle and forced myself to speak.
"What's wrong? Carlisle?" I asked and everyone's heads snapped around to look at me before I noticed that my husband held a piece of heavy, parchment-looking paper in his hands. "What is that?" I asked him and he sighed, holding it out to me wordlessly.
I looked down at it and gasped, but I wasn't sure if I should be horrified or excited. It was an invitation, from the Volturi, to a ball that they were throwing in honor of their newest guard member's first century with them, their newest guard member, Bella. My mouth opened in a brief, wordless cry.
Bella. Bella. Bella. Bella. Bella. Bella. Bella.
Everything was silent for a moment. I felt like I could spontaneously combust. Suddenly, I shot to my feet. "We have to go," I said firmly, and they all looked at me.
I could easily read the emotions on all of their faces. Emmett was eager, clearly excited by the prospect of seeing his little sister again, no matter the circumstances. He and Rosalie were no longer together, having drifted apart and agreed mutually that they were not mates as they originally suspected. He was saddened by the loss of his baby sister, and now I could see the glint in his eyes as he thought of this opportunity.
Rosalie, my dear Rosalie, showed the first true spark of feeling for something other than Renesmee for the first time in nearly a century. She had taken everything infinitely harder than anyone would have thought. She had spiraled downwards and her grief was depthless. But now, now there was light in her eyes. It was as though she had come back from the dead and a fire burned in her eyes.
Jasper looked slightly pleased, despite the obvious turmoil that he was feeling from all of the emotions in the room. My poor son suffered so much from his gift.
Contrarily, Alice look like she'd like to start jumping up and down and dancing around the room. She had been so subdued for so long that it was nearly shocking to see her this way. If I wasn't a vampire, I may not have remembered what it was like.
Carlisle appeared to be both happy and concerned, and I knew that he would be wondering how Bella would have fared with his old friends. He was so very compassionate to all, but right now he was every bit the concerned father and I loved him for it.
Renesmee was curious and confused, and I corrected my thought from earlier. We received only one letter from Bella, and it contained only a single, small paragraph:
You must allow her to forget about me. Take care of her, teach her, care for her. Love her as I cannot. This is the last thing I will ask of you. Do not speak of me in her presence. She deserves more.
And, though it pained us greatly, we respected her wishes, and we loved that girl more than anyone could have imagined. But we still weren't Bella. So, now, we had been summoned to Volterra to celebrate on of the Volturi guards, and Renesmee had no idea that that guard was her mother. More than that, if Bella ever chose to make her identity known to Renesmee, then her daughter's first impression of her would be as one of the celebrated guards of the Volturi, a group that she held a great distrust of and dislike for.
I sighed. My poor Bella. She truly was the most selfless person that I had ever met. I could not imagine what she must have been through in all this time. I then looked to my "firstborn", Edward, displeasure running through my still, cold veins.
After his divorce from Bella, it was as though he became an entirely different person – or, maybe he just finally showed us the person that he had always been. It pained me to believe that my "oldest child" had always been such a spoiled brat, because that's all that he was, really. He was arrogant and childish and, to be honest, quite annoying. Right now, he wore an inscrutable expression as he held his wife close to him. Yes, Edward married again.
I looked at her – Tanya Denali. She wore an expression of obvious displeasure. She knew of Edward and Bella's history, and she went to great lengths to avoid the subject. Tanya had always seemed a sweet girl, but now I saw her for what she was – an immature, spoiled little harlot. I sighed mentally, before shaking my head.
I turned to my husband once more. "Carlisle?" I asked and he looked at me, a smile automatically coming to his face.
He nodded slowly. "We will go to Volterra," he said and everyone but Renesmee, Edward, and Tanya smiled and relaxed before blurring upstairs to pack. We had been invited to stay in the palace for the last month before the event took place, so we wanted to get ready as quickly as possible.
I made my way up to my own room with Carlisle by my side and our hands twined together. He leaned over and kissed my cheek as we entered our bedroom.
"It'll be alright, my darling. We're going to see her again," he murmured and I smiled brightly at him before kissing him quickly, and we parted to pack our own things.
Yes. He was right. We were going to Volterra, and I would see her again. My beautiful baby girl, my Bella.
To Be Continued.
A/N: There you have it – the third chapter! :D Now that I've got most of the basic background information, I'll start really getting into the story in the next couple of chapters. Thanks for reading, now review, please! Thanks, girls and guys! ;)
A/N 3/17: Okay. Obviously there have been some major changes to the story. However, I hope you'll all enjoy the slightly new direction. It's still the same basic idea – I'm just refining it. :D Anyway, review and tell me what you think!