1. Betrayal

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Some say that adrenaline makes blood sweeter, more pleasurable to drink. Over many years, I experimented with this idea, perfecting the chase, the hunt; unsettling my prey until they almost anticipated my approach. Stalking them, you might say. And it did seem that there was a quantifiable difference in blood that had been filled with adrenaline over a period of time rather than merely in one burst at the end. While the type of hunt I was doing was very time-consuming, it seemed worth it to ensure a more pleasurable experience for myself. What else was I to do with eternity stretching out before me?

So, for quite some time I hunted this way, mingling with humans until I found a female with a tempting scent, following her home and watching her through her windows, until she would shiver and draw the curtains. Moving things around in her house, opening drawers, closing doors. Shadowing her steps as she went about her day. I would back off from time to time, never letting her get truly afraid, as, despite what I am, I don't enjoy creating terror. Sometimes, building the proper level of unease would take months. I was indifferent about who I drank during the waiting period; they were only the means to sate my thirst while I prepared my more important prey.

I never wanted to be too thirsty when I finally took her. Pleasure should never be rushed.

And it was indeed deliciously pleasurable. The memory of the slow drags of adrenaline-sweetened blood sustained me while I readied my newest delicacy. It made the waiting worthwhile. I thought I had found the perfect way to feed.

I was wrong.

I discovered this only by sheerest chance. One night many years ago, I realized I was not alone in following my latest prey. It was dark and she was making her way home. I was following from a distance; I didn't want her to be aware I was following, I merely wanted to see her reaction when she realized that her door was unlocked. Would she realize that she had locked it when she left home or would she doubt? A man was walking behind her; over the course of two blocks he closed the distance and dragged her into an alley.

Naturally, I was enraged. How dare he attempt to steal what was mine?

I followed them into the alley, tearing him away from her far more easily than he had torn open her blouse, and sank my teeth into his neck, quickly sucking down his alcohol-laden blood. He was not worth lingering over, I just wanted him dead. I threw his drained body away from me in disgust, hearing his bones break as he hit the wall, then realized with some surprise that the girl was still there. I had assumed that as soon as I freed her she would flee. Surely that was the rational thing to do? I knew I couldn't allow her to leave after what she had just seen, and it angered me that all the time and effort I had invested in her was wasted. She was not yet properly prepared for me, but as I had no choice I grudgingly stepped closer to her so she could smell my breath and gently touched her hair. Despite my creator's attempts to mold me, I didn't like to brutalize humans— fortunately, drawing them in with my scent and my looks was generally all that was necessary. She gazed up at me, awe and gratitude in her eyes, as I pressed her against the wall with my body and kissed my way down from her temple to her neck. Her hands slid into my hair seconds before my teeth sliced into her skin.

I could taste the betrayal on my tongue.

It was the most overwhelmingly pleasurable experience of my entire existence.

I drank as slowly as I could and finished the encounter a profoundly satisfied and enlightened man. However, as I disposed of the bodies it occurred to me that perhaps the betrayal had nothing to do with it. Perhaps her blood had just been that good. I hoped not, since, as there was nothing in her scent to indicate that drinking her would be so extraordinary, it would not be easy to replicate the experience. I immediately resolved to test my new theory and found, to my extreme satisfaction, that betrayal does indeed have a flavor. So for the next few years, instead of stalking girls I stalked rapists, abusers, and murderers. Occasionally, I was fortunate enough to choose someone who was betraying his victim.

The double betrayal was, quite literally, delicious.

For the most part, I was satisfied with my new feeding procedure. While I was no longer selecting my prey based on their scent, the sweet, sweet betrayal made even the most mediocre blood enjoyable, and sometimes the criminal would be delicious as well. A particularly tasty appetizer, if you will. I could feed frequently on the most pleasurable blood, never having to spend months preparing my victims. There were only two major drawbacks. Occasionally my primary prey would flee as soon as I pulled her attacker away from her. This was quite sensible of her, of course, but had the result of leaving me with a far less enjoyable experience. After all, I did not save her so that she could run away! The other disappointment was that sometimes the girl would be so addled with alcohol or despair that my betrayal wouldn't register with her. If her blood was too tainted by drugs or drink, or just not that tasty, without the sweetening, euphoric effect of my betrayal it was a much less enjoyable experience.

Then one day I heard something unbelievable.

A passing nomad spun me an improbable tale of a vampire who had fallen in love with a human and was "courting" her. He supposedly went to the lengths of protecting her from other vampires, yet still had not changed her. As I said, I didn't believe it. While there have been vampires who have, for whatever reason, taken a fancy to a human, if they really want them they change them. If for no other reason than fear of the Volturi, they don't gallivant around and court them. However, implausible though it may have been, it gave me an idea. Perhaps I could have the best of both of my feeding procedures. I could choose the girl, woo her, and betray her, eliminating any risk of her being too drugged or despairing to notice. She would have no opportunity to flee, and I could even select the girl partially based on her scent. I had no idea how long it would take to build up the necessary trust to create a sense of betrayal, but as needed I could still hunt criminals and "save" their victims.

It was brilliant.

I chose girls who were quiet and introspective, since they were less likely to tell people about me. This had the added benefit of making me unlikely to kill them too quickly out of sheer annoyance, as I never could bear mindless chatter. I changed my personal history from girl to girl to keep myself from being bored, but the basic story was always the same: the lust for her blood overwhelmed by irresistible attraction, the profession of undying love, the flattery. She was so beautiful, so intelligent, so brave. I was so afraid of hurting her. I had waited forever for her. Add in a little self-loathing and apparently I was every young woman's dream. I was truly surprised at how quickly the girls overcame any inherent sense of self-preservation and believed me, welcoming me into their lives and even sometimes their beds.

The human mind really is fascinating; people are willing to believe almost any improbable thing rather than trust their instincts.

For years I successfully used this system. My most recent girl was a high school student fairly new to the small town I was currently in. She seemed to be intelligent for a human, but was easily won over by my appearance and tortured tale of overwhelming love and bloodlust. That last night, I sat in the corner of her bedroom watching her sleep, having slipped silently through her window earlier in the evening. Sleeping humans are more interesting than I had ever supposed, moving about so much that one wonders how it is at all restful, and sometimes even speaking. In fact, some years ago I had an entire conversation with a girl and she was so coherent that at first I did not even realize she was still asleep. It was rather amusing. This girl spoke in her sleep as well, sometimes even saying my name, which none of the others had ever done. She was quiet now though, and I wanted her to wake up. I shifted in the rocking chair, purposefully making some noise, until she opened her eyes and saw me.

"Hi," she whispered shyly.

"Hello," I whispered back. "I'm so sorry, I didn't mean to wake you."

"That's okay. Why are you all the way over there?" A blush rose on her cheeks as though she was astonished by her own boldness. She smelled delicious.

I studied her face. She really was quite pretty with her dark hair and blushes, and her eyes were lovely. She was a quiet and peaceful person to be around, too. I considered waiting a few more days.

No. She was ready for me, and I needed to keep to the plan and move on to the next girl. I had met the challenge with this one. Besides, it had been a month already, much more time than I usually spent with my girls. The longer I spent with her, the more likely she would tell someone about me.

I walked over to her bedside and gently stroked her hair back from her face, feeling the heat of her renewed blush under my fingertips. "So beautiful," I murmured.

She smiled slightly, and I could see wonder in her eyes. "You're the beautiful one."

She pulled back the covers, wordlessly inviting me under, and I pretended to hesitate. "Are you sure? I don't want to make you cold."

"I won't be cold," she replied stubbornly.

I could feel the indulgent amusement in the smile that slipped unbidden onto my face. So quiet and yet so stubborn. I had to admit it was a bit endearing. I quietly removed my shoes and slid into her bed, propping myself up on my elbow. I ran my finger along her collarbone. "Hello, love."

"Hello," she whispered, running her hand through my hair and tugging me down to kiss her.

I was happy to oblige. I was even happier to oblige when she began to remove my shirt and then my pants, though I pretended to pangs of conscience and fear of hurting her. She soothed my supposed worries with her unique combination of reassurance and stubbornness and was pleased to see that I showed no hesitation when removing her clothing. She was so delightfully warm that I deviated from my plan and took the opportunity to press my body against hers, for a few minutes simply kissing her.

Next to their blood, warmth is perhaps the best thing about humans.

Eventually, I settled myself between her legs, her hands in my hair and on my neck. "Are you sure?" I asked again. "I don't want to hurt you." I felt a jolt of surprise when I realized that I meant it. It was unsettling.

She moved restlessly beneath me and I gritted my teeth. "Yes," she gasped. "Please, yes."

I took my time with her, waiting for her orgasm before I slid my mouth to her neck. I felt her life pulsing under my lips, and paused, trying to make sense of my conflicting emotions. Why was I never able to bring myself to drink her?

I wanted her blood. That was natural. Understandable.

I wanted her. All of her: her smiles, her laughter, her conversation. That was neither natural nor understandable.

I wanted to know what made her happy, what made her sad, what caused the adorable little crinkle between her eyebrows. I wanted to know her.

I wanted her to live.


A/N: I decided that the unknown vampire in Betrayal Sweetens the Blood really was Edward, so I wanted to give him a happy ending. (Obviously, in this and in BStB, Bella is not Edward's singer.) The story diverges from BStB here, and chapter 2 will be up shortly. Chapters will be shorter than what I usually write, and will be posted daily this week (M-F) and either daily or every other day next week.