I was running. Fast. I couldn't be late for this. There were two futures. If I stopped for little more than a minute, my family and friends would be dead. If I kept going, we would get out of this safely. Feeling Jasper running next to me I was given the motivation to not let the former of the two come true.
So of course as soon as the replay of the two visions popped in my head I received another one that halted my movements suddenly. My hands went to my heart and I could feel Jasper's hand on my back.
What I saw was Emmett lunging for Demetri. That was all. Just a simple lunge. I didn't know what caused it, but obviously something did. Then, soon after Emmett and Demetri hit the floor and started fighting a few of the nomads went to their knees, clutching their heads. I had no doubt that it was Jane. And then Alec had this suddenly peaceful look on his face. I tore myself from the vision.
"How far away are we?" I asked Jasper, without looking anywhere but ahead of me. I didn't want this vision to be true, but the solidness of it was telling me, they're dying.
"Maybe fifteen more minutes," he said, looking around before letting his eyes settle on me. I stood up and started my running up again. Jasper, I could tell, had many questions that he wanted answered, but I didn't want to say anything aloud, for fear of it becoming true.
Yes, I could hear the sounds of boulders being torn apart, but saying it, voicing my vision, would only make it more true, more painful. I ignored the images going coming through my head. Bella's power had slipped up, as it was expected to do. She was a new born, therefore she didn't have exact control over her power yet. After Jane tried to bring Carlisle down it had faltered then disappeared. After that everyone should have known what would happen. Alec had taken the opportunity, and disabled the entire crowd of vampires.
That's where my visions stopped coming. I could hear the growls and yelps of the dogs. I stopped again. Not wanting to venture further. Jasper, with the sounds of battle so close, wanted to continue on, I suppose, but he stayed by my side.
"We were too late," I said, looking at the ground. I could feel a sadness as I heard Esme's cries ring through the woods, followed by Carlisle's hopes of delaying his fate. He was speaking to Aro, who was saying how sorry he was that their friendship had to end this way.
The most painful thing about it all was that this wasn't fast, like it had been with Victoria and her army. No. The Volturi were known for drawing out their killing sprees. They would take slow care in tearing the people I loved and knew apart, and they would most likely do it with a smile on their face. Aro, I'm sure, would walk around with the largest smile of them all, nodding politely as he saw some vampires get killed all because they wanted to protect something that was rare. Not unheard of, as Jasper and I now knew.
But Jasper got me to the opening where the Cullen's and I had played baseball. It was different, seeing the slow torture of my family there on that field. Different, painful, suicidal.
And our arrival didn't go unnoticed. Bella, who was currently winning a fight against one of the cloaked bastards, looked up immediately and smiled. This, of course, was her undoing. I was too numb to do anything, I just stood there, watching. So did Jasper. I forgot about the two others we had brought with us. I looked over the field, surprised at the already large pile of parts. I felt a sob heave through my chest.
I was too late. This was all my fault. If I hadn't left they might have been alive still. I could have told them what was going to happen. I could have helped them all so much, but instead I left them thinking I did it to protect myself and Jasper. They probably also thought I didn't want to protect them, leading to the my not loving them theory.
I was about to leave the meadow. I didn't belong here, not anymore. I had made my family think I only cared for myself, only Bella knew the truth. I couldn't be here. I started walking backwards, not tearing my eyes away from the slow torture being inflicted on everyone. I figured Jasper was behind me, so when I ran into someone it didn't take me off guard. What truly took me off guard was when Jasper stepped in front of me, glaring at whoever was behind me.
"Alice, it seems you were too late to save them, doesn't it?" I heard Aro said, false pity in his voice. I turned around, looking up at him. His hands were behind his back, a small smile on his lips as he looked at the field. "It is good you showed up late, now we can't hold you responsible for any of this. Although, there is the fact that you knew this was happening, and yet you failed to inform us of any of it," he said. His voice was even and the smile never left his face.
"You think we could have stopped this?" I asked him. He may have been older, wiser even, but he dismissed logic most of the time. Part of the reason I swore I would never join him.
"You certainly could have come to us to let us know," he said. He nodded his had slightly. My vision didn't even have time to form before I felt rough hands bringing my arms behind my back. Jasper was struggling against Felix. Demetri had me. "Nevertheless, everyone must be rid of. We wouldn't want new of this getting out, now would we?"
I was desperate. I couldn't move to save my family. But I didn't want to die. That much was certain. I would do anything to live, purely out of survival instinct.
"I'll do anything," I blurted out before thinking. Aro, who had turned and was walking towards Caius and Marcus, stopped in is tracks and turned back to stare at me. He had a smile on his face, and I knew he would only want one thing. He started walking back to me.
I didn't like the black curtains. I didn't like the black cloaks. I didn't like the red eyes.
I started to question why on earth I ever said that I would do anything to live. This was worth than death. And, as if to top it all off, Aro had made me start the fire. He held Jasper back and had everyone watch me start the fire.
That was the most painful memory I had. I remember saying I was sorry over and over, but nothing could change what I was doing. I had considered starting the fire on myself, but I knew what the outcome of that would be.
I rarely ever saw Jasper anymore. Aro sent him to the south to take care of problems there, seeing as no one else in the guard would do it. Every three months Jasper would come back though, and we would have one week together. Every time I saw him I was happy to see his golden eyes staring back at me. At least he had had the strength to stick to their diet.
I had forbidden myself to say their name. That was my rule number one, and the only rule I had stuck to. I made a list of rules when I first came here, things I promised myself I would never do.
First on the list was to never say the name of the family I had betrayed. I hadn't broken this rule, not even in my thoughts. Aro would check them regularly as well. He wanted to make sure that I wasn't keeping anything from him. The first few months I didn't speak so he had become accustomed to touching my shoulder casually as I walked in the main room for the weekly meal.
Second on the list, and the first rule I had broken, was to stick to the diet they had introduced me to. I had been living my entire life on the blood of animals alone, and I had intended to keep to that. But after Jasper was sent to the South for the first time I lost my resolve. He had always been the one keeping me on track, though he always doubted it. So when he came back to a red eyed Alice he was shocked. But nevertheless he took me in his arms and absorbed my sorrow, my hate, my guilt, everything. And I loved him all the more for it.
Third on the list was to keep my clothes. How hard I was fighting to keep that one in check. Aro would only let me leave the confines of the castle once every three months. He tried with all his might to make it when Jasper came back, but that hadn't lasted long. And Aro also gave me an allowance. I still had plenty of my own money left over from when I had lived with them, but he would only give me so much to spend at a time. I did buy designer labels though, this much I allowed myself. I only bought one thing at a time, and after four or five visits I would have a complete outfit.
I broke that rule five years after I had arrived in Volterra.
Fourth was to continue going to school. I told all of these things to Aro, but he hadn't accepted this one. It was crossed off the list my first day in Volterra.
I spent most of my time in the room that was assigned to me. It was the only one with a bed and decorations on the walls and mirror. Because of my size I had been in many situations that had me in others' rooms, and they were mostly bare. A few had couches in them, other's had chains for activities that could be heard throughout the castle. One room had the Iron Maiden that once belonged to Countess Elizabeth Bathory.
The hallways were always busy. The one exception to this was when it was time for our weekly meal. At that time everyone was in the main hall. They all had their favorites, but I wasn't picky, though Aro constantly pointed out that I might enjoy Asian better than South American. I ignored him. And unlike everyone else, who used the time after eating to converse, I would retreat back to my room to tick off the days until Jasper came back.
Occasionally someone would follow me, no matter how fast I walked, or how much I stated that I would like to be alone. No one here had a sense of humanity left. They wanted what they wanted and they would do anything to get that. I was married still, and I had my humanity, so I did what anyone would do. I ignored the calls and invitations. I promised myself that. I didn't make it a rule, because rules always begged to be broken.
I had two days until I saw Jasper again. Until then I would have to redecorate my room, which is what I always did when I waited for him. Usually I wasn't interrupted, but there were days when Aro would want to speak. And today was one of those days. Our talks usually lasted a day, at least. He would ask me about everything. He wanted me to try to remember my human life. After ten years we hadn't made any progress.
Five hours of talking and looking into my thoughts Aro exhaled heavily.
"I do not understand this," he said, putting his hands on his head. He closed his head.
"Isn't that something," I said sarcastically, looking around the room. I had given up on saying things under my breath. I used to do so all the time with them, but here they didn't ignore me like the others. This is where Aro took my hand in his again.
"It is amazing, you know," he said gleefully. "You refuse to say any of their names, but most of your thoughts are about them. Why is that?" my hand was still in his, and I received a vision.
When I came back I tried to pull my hand away. He had done this once before, five years after Jasper and I came here. It was painful then, and I'm sure it would be only more painful now.
"Their names, Carlisle, Esme, it hurts you, does it not? Hearing the names of the ones you failed," he said. Their names came out of his mouth slowly, and imitating my own during the first month of my time here.
I spent the first three months in my room, saying all of their names over and over. I wanted to say sorry, and I did. To each one, over and over again. I only wished they could hear me wherever they were.
I tried to pull my hand away from his, but his grip tightened. His other hand rose and signaled for someone, Felix, no doubt, to come and keep me where I was. This only made me struggle harder. I felt someone's hands come down heavily on my shoulders. This kept me in place. I couldn't move, of this much I was sure.
"They are just names, Alice," he said. I shook my head. I could feel a burning in my eyes as excess venom rose to them. I knew that the venom never would spill over, but enough did come just to give my eyes the sting. I could feel multiple sobs building up in my chest, but I wouldn't let them escape. I didn't care if Aro knew they were coming or not, I wouldn't show weakness physically in front of him. That would be where I would be broken completely. I was already so lost emotionally that it wouldn't take much to break me, and Aro knew this. He was just extending my torture.
"You can say them. Though you refuse to. It amazes me. Ten years later, and you've still refused to say the names of the ones you once loved. Which did you love the most, barring Jasper? Was it Edward, the other one of the Cullen's with a power? Or perhaps your younger brother Emmett," he said politely. He never raised his voice, there was never malice in it, only a kindness that was sickening. I was still shaking my head, and my sobs were so close to escaping.
"Or was it Esme? The one who welcomed you more warmly than anyone? Was it the blond one? Rosalie? Or the one who had only just joined your family, Bella?" he asked. The last time I had been able to not cry out because he only said Carlisle, Edward, Emmett, and Esme. But hearing everyone's name was too much for me to bear. The sobs that had been aching in my chest finally made their way out. I saw Aro's smile widen as I collapsed to the floor.
"You bastard!" I screamed at him. He laughed. I was clutching my chest tightly. I felt as if I was being hallowed, like Aro was taking everything I had left in me, my love for Jasper, my will to not mention any of the Cullen's names to myself, my resolve to stay somewhat human, all of it, and throwing it out over the city. With each sob that escaped my lips, with every move Felix made to get me to my room Aro was viciously and heartlessly and coldly ripping everything I held on to and discarding it.
I couldn't tell you if I was screaming on the way to my room, but I knew we were being ignored. Felix was carrying me, and I knew I was thrashing, because I could sense he was struggling to keep me from falling out of his arms. As if it would make a difference. With each outstretch of my arm I could feel more and more of my humanity slipping away. And with each clenched fist I knew I was trying to keep a hold of it. Now I wasn't crying for Edward, or Carlisle, or Esme, or Emmett, or Rosalie, or even Bella. Now I was crying because I could feel everything slipping away, even Jasper, who was on his way home.
I closed my eyes tightly and held my breath, not allowing anything to come in or out. My body stilled suddenly and Felix stopped short, caught off guard by my sudden stillness no doubt. He started moving once he was certain I wouldn't start moving again.
When I opened my eyes I was on my bed, and Felix was leaning against my door, a smug look on his face. I wanted to tell him to go away. I wanted to tell him I didn't want to see him, or anyone else, for the time being. But I couldn't. Looking at him standing there with his smug grin made me realize how much he fit and belonged in that spot, with that grin on his face. I turned my head away, ignoring him.
My eyes rested on the small opening for my closet that I had made myself. I saw the various clothes hung up. Bright colors and flashy designs. They no longer meant what they used to mean to me. I always thought a change like this, in anyone, took months, if not years, not just a matter of minutes. I was suddenly wondering where all my dark colored clothes were.
I was suddenly wishing I had a dark gray bedspread instead of the light purple one currently resting on the bed. As if opening my eyes for the first time, everything in my room seemed out of place. I sat there on my bed, thinking all of this, before I couldn't handle it. I said, without looking at Felix, "I need a garbage bin." I heard the door open and close and I went to the closet. I took the bright clothes down from their hangers and piled them on my bed, folding them as I looked at each article. Felix returned with a bin.
I walked over and put the clothes in it slightly. Next were the matching purses. I didn't throw any shoes away. I ripped the purple mass of cotton from the bed, taking with it the white sheets, and stuffed them in the same bin. The smile never left Felix's face. It fit. It was malicious, this place was malicious. I turned around at the door and looked at my now bare room. I needed to get rid of the bed. I turned to Felix, who had put the bin on the floor.
"Why are you here?" I asked him, crossing my arms.
"Aro's orders," he said. His smile was in his voice. It almost disgusted me. I nodded, a smile of my own forming.
"Go get someone to get this bed out of here," I said. I turned around and leaned against the wall by the door. Felix was gone less than a minute before returning with two newborns. One took the mattress and the other took the frame. They left as swiftly as they had come, leaving Felix and myself alone in the room once again. He had taken the bin with him when he went for the newborns. He was leaning against the door again. I suddenly felt uneasy.
"You can go now," I said. He closed his eyes and shook his head. I wasn't scared. He wouldn't hurt me, of this much I was sure. But he could do other things that wouldn't constitute as hurting me. "Why not?" I asked, on the defensive now. His smile widened, and my smile, I realized, had not gone from my face.
"You tell me," he said simply. As if on que, and it probably was, I got a vision. The vision, in my deeply contorted view of life right now, wasn't bad, or horrible in any sense of the word. It was true, I still loved Jasper, but hadn't I always been told that long distance relationships didn't work? And didn't I see Jasper only once every three months? I nodded to myself as I saw Felix's hand pull my skirt up my leg in my vision. What Jasper didn't know wouldn't hurt him.
I opened my eyes to see Felix now in front of me, a new smile on his lips. He was known for having monthly favorites. I had been the object of his attention for three months now. He seemed to know that I wouldn't stop him from doing whatever he wanted. This made him happy, and for some unseen, illogical reason, it made me happy as well. Yes, he was as tall as Emmett had been, but just like Jasper and I did, we worked around the height issue.
Two days later Jasper walked into the room, his eyes light. He had fed on the way here. I had adopted my new style of short black dresses with straps for sleeves, and now doubt it would take him off guard. His reaction was not what I was expecting though.
"Aro wants me to stay in the South indefinitely," he said. Sadness was coating his voice. I looked at him curiously.
"He didn't exactly say. He said "things have changed. You might just find yourself wanting to stay in the South on your own will." I didn't understand it," he said, shaking his head. No matter how much had changed, I would still find Jasper adorable when he was confused.
"Don't worry about what he says," I said lowly. My voice, once bells and chimes, now seemed dull to me. Jasper looked at me like something was different. He looked around the room.
"Where's the bed? And your clothes?" he asked after looking at the closet. I looked to the closet, then at the ground.
"I didn't want them anymore," I said quickly and loudly. I heard him step forward. He put his hands on my shoulders and moved me against the wall.
"Alice, you've never not wanted a bed. What happened?" he asked, searching my eyes for something.
"Nothing," I said, turning my head to the side. His hand found my chin and pulled it back to face him gently.
"You've never looked at anything but my face when I came back," he said, searching my eyes again. I could feel my façade cracking as he looked endlessly. And just like that, with one more tick of the clock, I could feel my false happiness fade away, being replaced by anger, guilt, horror, all things bad.
"Alice," he said. I could feel the smile slip from my face as I looked at him like he didn't matter to me. His power wasn't in his control, I could feel his heartbreak fill the room. "What happened to you?" he asked, disgust clearly evident in his voice.
"Aro," I said indifferently. I shrugged my shoulders. He looked at me with a look of confusion. I continued. "He made me move on. He made me realize they're gone. All of them, even Peter and Charlotte," I said coldly. He dropped his arms. He looked defeated.
"I thought you said you weren't going to change," he said lowly.
"I didn't think I was capable of it, yes. But it just happened Jasper. Like you taking my hand in that diner just happened," I said softly. My voice sounded fake. I couldn't believe I was being so harsh to him. I loved him, this was true. But I had been broken. I had been stuck here with everyone else while he was out in the open doing whatever it was that he was doing. I didn't even know what it was. But I had been broken, like a wild horse that had been caged too long.
He left the room without another word.
Another ten years passed and I became more like Jane. I even surpassed her as Aro's favorite after fifteen years at being in Volterra. I became colder than she had ever been, and I didn't mind using my power to influence decisions any longer. I only heard from Jasper maybe once a year in a letter. He wrote that he was doing well. He stopped asking me how things in Volterra were after he never got a reply letter.
Five years later I received my last letter. It was in Jasper's handwriting. I had gotten a vision before hand of him shirtless in the middle of a high school parking lot on a particularly sunny day. We had already gotten rid of him when the letter arrived. It was only seven words, and I felt no remorse after reading it. Truth be told, I never stopped loving Jasper, I just stopped showing it. Though when Aro sent me to kill him, I had to shove those feelings down. Aro told me he needed to know that I was fully with the Volturi, and that's why I was sent.
I kept the letter with me at all times, though only Aro knew of it. Felix and Demetri found out through various means, but had forgotten about it after time.
I was called to Forks on another call. It was my second time out of Volterra. It seemed like it would also be my last time. My note from Jasper, as always, was with me. After I finished my job I went to the house I had once called my home. I was happy to see it was still the same. And still empty. I made my way up the stairs to what used to be the room I shared with Jasper. Once there I took the note from my dress, unfolded it for the last time and read it as I put it on the bed.
I felt the last sliver of emotion I had in me that day I read his note for the last time. Since then I never had the need to feel another thing. I never left Volterra.
Alice, I never stopped loving you either.
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