AN: Pairings, pairings galore! As a fair warning there will be FEMSLASH relationships in this fic. That means a romantic relationship between two (or more! possibly?) females. There will also be HET relationships in case anyone has a problem with that as well.
I can say there will be some love triangles and possibly squares. Bella and Victoria will be an item. :D
"Bella," said her father gently, pulling her up to sit on his lap, "do you remember how we told you some bad people wanted to hurt you?"
Eight year old Bella remembered and nodded. It had been around her last birthday when her mom and dad had pulled her aside and told her she couldn't go to school anymore because bad things wanted to hurt her and she needed to stay in the estate from now on so they could protect her. It was a little scary but the vague idea of 'bad things' trying to hurt her didn't strike terror into a bright little girl like Bella. Mostly she just missed her school friends.
Her dad looked at her mom who was seated nearby and they exchanged a weird look Bella couldn't figure out. He turned his attention back to her and with a slightly strained smile he asked, "do you know what a vampire is Bella?"
The little girl scrunched her forehead in thought. "Aren't they people who suck blood and do bad things?" she said uncertainly.
His smile faltered for a split second before coming back full force. "They aren't people per se. They used to be. Now they just look like people but aren't really. They are really dangerous, faster and stronger than normal people. On top of that they each have some unique magical ability. They are undead, do you understand?"
Bella nodded even though she kind of didn't understand. She didn't want her dad to think she wasn't smart. He hugged her a little tighter and it felt nice.
"Now Bella there is a group of bad vampires who want to hurt you. There are a lot of them and they are really dangerous. That's why we need to give you some additional protections," he told her uncharacteristically serious.
"What kind of protections? And why do vampires want to hurt me?" asked Bella curiously. Though she thought maybe she should have been scared about the bad vampires she really wasn't. Her family was a wizard family after all. Her mom, dad, aunt, uncle and cousin who all lived with them on the estate were all really strong and amazing wizards. They could do the coolest things with their magic, from healing people, to protecting things, to shooting fire and lightning and all kinds of stuff. Her family was really strong and they wouldn't let any bad vampires get her.
"We don't know why they want to hurt you," said her father, and it worried Bella a little hearing him sound so grim. "But we'll find out. As to your protection," he said trying to find the right words, "we can make a vampire be your protector. By pure chance our wards caught one on our property. When we figured out what it could do we figured out we could use it to help protect you instead of eliminating it outright like we normally would. We have a ritual set up in the basement right now to make it so it can't hurt any of us and so it will be obliged to protect you. You need to be there so it will work. We'll be going there right now so we can get this taken care of. When we go down there don't be scared and do exactly as you're told, do you understand?"
Bella had rarely seen her father so serious so she just nodded, still not a hundred percent sure what was going. With a reassuring smile her dad set her down and took her hand, her mother sliding up and taking her other hand after giving Bella a reassuring smile of her own. Hand in hand with her parents Bella was led through the spacious mansion and down a nondescript door that led to the large underground complex of the ancestral home of the Blacks.
She gripped her parent's hands tighter as they led her down the stairs. The poorly lit passageways of the basement with their rough-hewn walls and narrow corridors had always scared Bella since she had gotten lost down there one time when she had been a little girl. They walked for minutes and minutes to areas Bella had never seen before. She was silently in awe at seeing that the sheer size and number of all the corridors and rooms underneath her house.
They came to a large wooden door that led into a very large torch lit room with no furniture save for a table pushed off to the side. Bella watched in wonder as her aunt and uncle stood around a large faintly glowing circle on the floor etched with all sorts of markings and writing that looked magical to Bella but she didn't have enough knowledge to even begin to decipher. Kneeling on the floor with her arms bound behind her with thick chains was a woman. She had a thick mane of fiery red hair that was obscuring her features. The woman looked to be a grown up but a lot younger than her parents. Her clothes were torn, dirty and disheveled and from what little she could see the woman herself wasn't in any better condition. Bella stared in open awe as her parents led her around the circle to the table set off to the side. Through the curtain of hair Bella thought she saw the woman following her with her eyes.
"Who is she?" asked Bella in a whisper, the circle and the situation starting to make her feel scared.
"That's the vampire honey. Remember we told you they look like people? Just remember they really aren't. They are the undead who prey upon the living," her mother told her seriously but not unkindly. She wrapped a protective arm around her daughter and Bella leaned in to the comforting touch.
Her mom helped her change out of her top into a sleeveless shirt. Bella shivered in the cold dungeon as her parents prepared something with herbs and a great deal of low pitched incantations to help focus their power. She tried to focus on what her parents were doing but kept stealing glances at the vampire with red hair. It looked like something – magic she guessed – was holding her in place kneeling on the floor. Occasionally Bella thought she could see the tensing of muscles underneath her clothes but the vampire woman hardly moved an inch. The only thing she seemed to have some measure of control over was the movement of her head. When it looked like she might turn to look in Bella's direction the young girl quickly looked away. Bella didn't want the vampire to catch her looking. She wanted to outright stare at the vampire but she knew that staring was rude and she didn't want to be rude.
Her mother turned to her and knelt down on the floor. "Hold still honey," she said and proceeded to use a brush to paint a brown liquid substance on her skin. Her mother painted symbols along her arms, and some of the components Bella was familiar with. They were shaped to help channel and define her magic and others to regulate her output to a set level. There were also some tied into her magic channels that linked to the mind but Bella didn't really know how those worked and there were a whole bunch of others she'd never even seen before. She shivered as her mother meticulously used the cold liquid to paint designs on her arms and face for the better part of a half hour.
When she finished her mom stood up and stepped back and her father replaced her kneeling to look at his daughter eye to eye. He had a strange sorrowful look on his face Bella didn't understand.
"Hold out your hands Bella," he told her.
She did and placed what looked like large ring of metal in her hands. It was rounded and smooth and Bella thought it might have been made of platinum. The inside of the ring was filled with carved runes that Bella couldn't even begin to interpret. She looked up at her father questioningly.
"Most of the work is done," he began, "all that is left is the collar. All you have to do is walk inside the circle and pour your magic into that ring. You'll be able to slip it around its neck then. Keep pouring your magic into it until it fits tightly and glows yellow. After that we'll be all done." He tried to give her an encouraging smile.
"So, do I do it now?" Bella asked shyly.
"Yes now. Don't take too long just do it quick, in and out."
He gave her a little push in the direction of the glowing magical circle and Bella began slowly walking towards it. When she set foot across the threshold she felt the tingling sensation of magic light up her magical senses. Slowly she moved towards the unmoving figure kneeling in the center. Now that she was inside the circle she could tell it was the designs on the floor and the chanting and pouring of magical energy into the circle that what was keeping the vampire immobile. The girl sensed the vampire really didn't like being restrained she hurried to her side so she could finish fast.
Shaking a little Bella moved her hand to the back of the vampire's neck. Hesitantly she moved her hair out of the way so she could see her neck without impediment. The vampire suddenly started shaking and Bella realized that meant the vampire had started struggling harder. With a start Bella suddenly realized the vampire probably didn't want to do this.
Bella felt that this wasn't right. It wasn't right to force someone to do something like this was it? She turned and walked back towards her parents. They were looking at her with surprised and worried expressions as she walked to the edge of the circle.
"I don't want to do this," she said, "I mean she doesn't want this," said Bella gesturing at the vampire. "Is this really ok?" she asked hesitantly.
She had expected sympathy from her parents. Instead she was surprised when her mother grimaced and her father's expression turned stony. "Bella, I know it's hard to understand but that's not a person. It's a monster, a monster that can be put to good use. Now be a good girl and finish putting on that collar like I told you to."
Bella hesitated. "Daddy, do we have to? I-"
"Isabella Marie Black," he father snapped in a sharp tone she had never heard from him before, "holding this containment up is very draining on your aunt and uncle. We are your parents and this is important. Turn around and do as you are told this instant. This is not a situation in which I can humor disobedience."
Bella gaped at her father and his stern stare made her realize she really didn't have a choice in the matter. She dipped her head and turned around, ring of platinum gripped tightly in her small hands.
She reached the vampire who had mostly stopped shaking but Bella could feel her loathing and resentment with each ragged breath she took. The redheaded vampire had turned her head enough to look at Bella. The girl could see one eye through the curtain of hair and the naked hatred in them made her flinch.
"I'm sorry," Bella whispered softly before starting to pour her power into the metal in her hands. She could feel how it greedily drank her magic as the symbols painted all over her arms and face began to glow. When the pull on her magic slowed and then stopped Bella guessed the ring was ready. With some trepidation she put the edge of the ring against the back of the vampire's neck. As soon as she felt the touch the vampire began struggling and shaking all over again. To see the redheaded woman hating this so much and the fact that she was forcing it on her anyway made Bella start to cry.
With a soft pressure the ring went through her neck until it came out the other side. The platinum was now one continuous unbroken ring around the vampire's neck. As she had been told to Bella continued to pour her magic into the metal ring as it once again eagerly took her power. It began to shrink until it looked like a delicate metal choker around the vampire's neck. Bella continued to pour her magic into the object until she began to feel light headed. Just when she started getting dizzy the choker finally began to glow a brilliant golden light.
Bella watched as the spell that was keeping the vampire immobile seemed to collapse all at once. The vampire threw her head back and screamed in pain making Bella jump and trip over her own feet in fright, falling on the floor. The redhead screamed for a few long seconds as the choker around her neck continued to glow.
Eventually the glow stopped and the horrible screaming stopped. The redheaded vampire collapsed gracelessly as soon as the glow ceased completely.
Bella stared at the downed vampire, her breathing ragged and tears streaming down her face. When she felt a hand clamp down on her shoulder unexpectedly she jumped and cried out in surprise. She looked up at the tired but proud face of her father.
"I'm sorry to place this burden on you Bella," he said solemnly, "but now you have a creature in your service who will protect you for the rest of your life. Her only other option was the torch so don't feel bad for it. Now come on you've had a trying day, let's get you some food and put you to bed. Tomorrow I'll teach you how to control your new vampire."