I feel that this requires an explanation. The past couple of months have been rough. I needed some distraction and a place to put all my frustrations to kill off some of my more uppity brain cells. The logical thing to do would have been to imbibe very large quantities of very cheap alcohol, but neither my budget nor my liver was up to that.

...So I wrote a Twilight 'fic.

I've been toying around with this and one other main idea all winter. I've got a number of scenes fleshed out and a very general and amorphous idea of where I want to go. I can't promise that I'll finish this thing, but I hope you get what I got out of it: the relief and satisfaction that comes with really %$#ing up some fictional characters.

That being said, Twilight and its three and a half sequels are the property of Stephenie Meyer. This is canon universe. Deviation starts during New Moon.

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"That's dependent on his finding a way to force me to do his will. He knows me, and he knows how unlikely that is."

"...he also knows your weaknesses."

Edward and Eleazar, Breaking Dawn

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She was alive.

My body twisted like an eel as it hit the stone floor at Aro's feet, but she was alive. Jane's gift flayed open my every nerve and put them all to the torch. If I hadn't been able to see myself through Alice's eyes, I would have thought that Caius had given the order and I was being burned alive.

I threw my mind out into the room, anything to get away from what I was feeling, but the pain kept pulling me back. I only got flashes in between the waves: Aro was greedy and curious. My talent and Bella's silence both fascinated him, but most of his focus was on Alice.

My teeth gnashed the stale air as my bones were crushed in place.

Jane's narrow, stunted mind was alive with envy. She didn't like that Master was so focused on his new guest.

My hands were clenching uselessly against the stones. If I'd had blood, it would have poured from my skin like sweat. If I'd had blood it would have boiled, burned me away and ended this.

Alice was afraid. She couldn't see Jane's thoughts and she couldn't see our fate for certain, but there was a decision coming. She had seen the futures that sprouted from Volterra, and she was afraid.

And half the other vampires in the room were thinking about the warm, sweet-scented human trapped in Alice's arms and how good her blood would taste. Image after image of different sets of steel-strong hands and knifing teeth flickered through my head like some grotesque film. Instead of my life flashing before my eyes, I saw her struggling and bleeding out over and over through the minds of people who liked it.

Far away, someone was shouting, "Stop! Stop it!"

With what little focus I retained, I gave myself a moment to realize why all this had happened.

It was my fault.

Oh, if I had called Alice instead of Charlie or asked whose funeral he meant, I would be in Forks now, forgiven or not, but carelessness had never been my real problem. My biggest mistakes had been selfish ones. When I'd first made my case to the Volturi, Aro had asked to know my thoughts. I'd agreed. What would my secrets matter when I was dead? Only I hadn't realized just how many secrets I'd had, probably because most of them weren't mine. Just like with James a year earlier, I'd only drawn my enemy's attention to the prize—my sister and her visions, my Bella and her unsolvable puzzle of a mind.

I'd forgotten what I owed to my father and mother, to the sister who had come to save me, to the memory of the human girl I loved. Like now, with the hem of Aro's robe blurring in and out of focus as my arms and legs convulsed like a coyote in a trap, I'd been too wrapped up in my own pain to see straight.

"Jane," Aro said aloud. The agony ceased. I was on my feet before the echo of it left my muscles. I knew what I had to do. Aro's mind was alive with curiosity. If Aro touched Alice, he would never let her leave, not to serve the master of another coven. Most of the gathered vampires were drawn to Bella's scent. If this lasted much longer, one of them would find an excuse to claim her blood.

So I had to keep it from happening.

I had to get Alice away from Aro before he could come up with a plausible reason to ask for her thoughts. I had to get Bella away from the Volturi before any of them lost their control or their patience. And if I could leave with them ...good.

The next few minutes would determine if we all lived or died. I could not control the outcome, not alone, but I would not forget myself again.

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If you wish to leave a review but are at a loss as to what to say, "Should've gone with the booze," will be considered appropriate.

drf24 (at) columbia (dot) edu