From the Back of A Broken Dream

Summary: What if Isabella's life charted a different course? From befriending Hareton to leaving Heathcliff for good, what if Fate made her take different road, an unseen path nobody could ever imagine and deem possible? [Eventual Heathcliff x Isabella]

That's right! We're back with another chapter, folks! Hello kiddies, this is the Valkyrie! I am here to claim your immortal souls while feasting on your Christmas dinner! ...Okay, okay, I'm only jesting--sort of. I won't come for you soul...yet.

Shoving my eccentric behavior aside, I finally got around to finishing the next chapter just in time for Christmas! Consider this a gift from the Druid and I! Enjoy!

DISCLAIMER: We are not Emily Bronte therefore Wuthering Heights does not belong to us. Except for all the OCs, they're all OURS! OURS, I tell you! ...I better stop now.

Chapter Two: The Beginning of Something New

"One day I'm gonna forget your name,
And one sweet day, you're gonna drown in my lost pain."

-Evanescence, "Sweet Sacrifice"

Shock flooded through Isabella's senses and at first, she didn't say anything. All she could do was clutch Hareton's small hand tightly as if she was afraid of him being snatched away from her grasp in any second. And yet, the gypsy who called herself Anasztasia continued to smile genially at him, her wrinkled visage softening at the two dumbstruck, exhausted duo standing right before her.

"And what's your name, gel?" Anasztasia asked cordially, lowering her quarterstaff down to show them she meant them no harm. Isabella swallowed the growing lump in her throat and finally mustered enough courage to speak.

"I-Isabella, Miss A-Anasztasia," she answered softly, unconsciously tightening her grip on Hareton's tiny hand. "And t-this is Hareton."

"This dangerous road for a young woman and boy to travel," Anasztasia remarked placidly, noting there wasn't another man besides the coach driver to be seen, "Usually proper young ladies are with an escort or a man of some sort. A pretty thing like yourself would have a husband to protect and watch over you."

As soon as those words left the ancient woman's mouth, Isabella's countenance darkened and her eyes flashed with undiluted contempt for Heathcliff, the man she thought would be her dark, brooding prince but turned out to be an ogre, a hideous monster in form of human skin. If Heathcliff had been here, he would laughed at their misfortune prior to he commenced in clubbing her and Hareton to death.

"I have no need for my husband," Isabella told her icily, all forms of anxiety and shock evaporating from herself now, "Hareton and I will manage fine on our own."

Briefly, Anasztasia was taken aback by Isabella's tone; she certainly hadn't been expecting such harsh, powerful words from an angelic-looking female with pretty celeste eyes and glossy, silky flaxen hair. Yet, as Anasztasia gazed deep into the troubled Isabella's eyes, the fierce gypsy fighter could see the same pain, agony, and despisal she once harbored in her heart many years ago, before she met Jörg and her life began anew. At that precise, fleeting minute, Anasztasia comprehended everything about Isabella and grasped at what sort of life befell her.

"Aye, Mizz Isabella, you might, but those no-good bandits might come back and there's no telling what other dangers lurk near the roads. Perhaps you and your little boy should come with me."

Isabella was baffled by the woman's offer–should she really accept aid from a gypsy? After all, her father told them they were nothing but beggars, thieves, malefactors, and heathens. They simply couldn't be trusted, he had told her and Edgar that when they were very young. But this gypsy, this lady, came to their rescue and asked for nothing in return. If she was truly devious as Papa had said she was, the old woman would have robbed them blind by now and left her and Hareton at the mercy of the frigid, ruthless weather and blackguards that prowl about in the night.

Glancing down, she caught gazes with Hareton. Just one, simply stare into his blunt yet honest eyes was all Isabella needed to know what to do. She had Hareton to care for and being in the hands of a gypsy was far less risky and more sage than walking on foot in the shadows of the forest. Besides, her father could have been wrong about the gypsies.

"All right, Anasztasia," Isabella began with a weary sigh (for this trip had taken its toll on her), "we shall accompany you. And I thank you for you generous proffer."

"Come! Again!"

The brisk, commanding tone of Anasztasia echoed against the crisp, morning air, wafting through the colorless sky that hung over the erect form of the gypsy woman and the panting, bent, but resolute Isabella. Nodding her head weakly, Isabella straighten herself back up and eyed Anasztasia (now her mentor) acutely before rushing in for an attack. She feigned up high and went down low, striking Anasztasia's knees. The archaic woman gasped for second, crumpling to the ground due to the surprise assailment. Seizing her chance, Isabella dove in for Anasztasia's head but the ancient gypsy blocked the genteel female's fist with an open palm, rotating her hand around so she could wrap her fingers around Isabella's wrist. Once she held Isabella prisoner in her grasp, she launched out one leg and swiftly swiped the limb against Isabella's shin. The force caused Isabella to collapse as well and now both women were down on the ground. However, Anasztasia recovered first and quickly captured Isabella into a head lock, completely pining Isabella face first into the grass. Isabella grunted, frustrated with her lack of success–again.

Suddenly, the pressure around her head and neck was gone and Isabella could feel Anasztasia remove herself from her body. Turning around, Isabella swallowed the lump in her throat, the failure crushing down upon her akin to a pall of doom draped all around her, suffocating every ouch of opportunity she had.

"Don't look so glum, Isabella. You're getting better with every strike." This compliment shattered the said female's negative musings and she jerked her head up to face her mentor.

"You think so? Even after all my unsuccessful attempts, Madame Anasztasia?" she inquired, getting up while dusting some grass and dirt off her blouse. During her training with Madame Anasztasia, she would change into a loose-fitting blouse and trousers. If her brother Edgar ever saw her now he would surely die of apoplexy.

Anasztasia nodded sagely at Isabella's question. "I've been doing this for years–it's going to take you quite some time for you to figure out how to outfox me, my dear. However, you're progressing nicely, Isabella. I am proud how much you have accomplished." Her wrinkled, leathery face softened as she spoke, regarding Isabella as if she was her own daughter. "Now, take a break, my child. I'm sure Hareton has fallen asleep again."

A grin broke across Isabella's features. "No doubt about that. I was going to check on him after we had finished for today."

As she raced back the caravan where Hareton was busy napping, Anasztasia watched Isabella go, the soft smile still wreathed on her aging features. Already it had been several weeks and already Isabella was showing some promise. She had changed a lot from being the wary, naïve yet battered female who was simply running away from her abusive husband and trying to find a better life somewhere else.

That memory had always been fresh in Anasztasia's mind.

The old, vibrantly painted caravan tumbled along the bumpy dirt road, jostling its occupants within. Anasztasia was use to all the quirks of her mobile home but her two guests weren't. However, they complained very little which impressed the wandering gypsy greatly. Usually, wealthy, illustrious folk like the Isabella woman would gripe about every discomfort or injury they felt, no matter how small. Yet Isabella was as quiet as a church mouse and her boy, Hareton, was fast asleep, leaning against Isabella, one hand tightly clutching her skirt.

"Mizz Isabella." The said female snapped her head up, clear azure eyes locking directly with Anasztasia's dark, fathomable gaze. Ere she could even speak or ask the noble female a question, Anasztasia noticed a rather startling aspect of the striking blonde and it sent a chill down her weary bones. Those beautiful blue eyes of hers should have been rife with light and joy. Instead, they were shadowed, haunted and plagued by past grievances and terror. The more Anasztasia stared intently into those victimized eyes, the more Anasztasia was coming to realize that this finely dressed yet peculiar lady was running from something–or someone.

"Child, what is troubling you?"

"I beg your pardon?" Isabella remarked coolly, startled by Anasztasia's odd question.

"Mizz Isabella, I can see the pain in your eyes. You're terrified of something, the same way a doe is afraid of a wolf. Are you running away from someone? Is someone trying to hurt you?" interrogated Anasztasia lightly, not attempting to alarm her guest in any way. She fathomed she was prying into affairs that didn't concern her and yet, Anasztasia knew for certain that talking to someone about their issues was the first step to recovery. "Please, Isabella…let me help you."

Out of pure instinct, she reached out and gently touched the young female's hand, almost expecting her to snatch it away and glare at her contemptuously. But Isabella didn't. She simply stared at Anasztasia's genial gesture, her other hand curling up against her leg. She inhaled sharply, then exhaled, as if she was internally debating whether or not she should answer Anasztasia's query. Just when the old gypsy thought she had lost her, Isabella spoke.

"Hareton and I are trying to escape from my husband, Heathcliff."

After that baffling admission, Anasztasia gradually learned about Isabella's dismal life with her husband after they had eloped and married. She had been consistently walloped and clouted every day, with no remorse. The man, Heathcliff, either smacked her around on a whim or when she had the audacity to fight back. It was after when Isabella had finished her tale that Anasztasia suggested for her to learn some defense tactics, just in case her odious husband decided to track her down and drag her and Hareton back to Wuthering Heights. The petite female suddenly became curious with her offer and inquired for more information about this supposed techniques.

It was almost strange to have a proper young lady to be intrigued with such a topic that society would have right off the bat demanded her to be discourage from. But Anasztasia was never a conventional woman so she heeded Isabella's penchant and answered all her questions. Thus, she began training Isabella in the many of the arts of hand-to-hand combat.

And over the weeks she has proven to be an attentive, promising pupil. It's such a shame I couldn't have met her sooner.

With this musing still swirling in her mind, Anasztasia followed Isabella and while the young blonde was busy putting Hareton to bed, the aging gypsy fighter commenced with the preparations of their evening meal.

At first, Heathcliff didn't mind the absence of Isabella, the experience was rather refreshing. He wasn't subjected to hear her blasted voice or behold that simpering face of hers. He was free from those irksome azuline eyes, her fair, pale, and dainty visage, and that golden halo of soft curls. The master of Wuthering Heights reckoned the mere memory of Isabella would just fade away into the shadows of his manor. After all, there was barely a trace of anything left that would remind him of her. Just when he was about to celebrate, the realization that her departure was more a curse than a blessing soon struck home.

This revelation betided right after he discovered his wife took Hareton with her.

"WHAT?!" bellowed the enraged lord, stalking back and forth after his paucity of staff informed him that Hareton was missing and probably followed Isabella, "How is this possible?" He nearly gnashed his teeth at them, his dark, beastly temper was mounting and he had no one to unleash his ire upon. That's what he used both Hareton and Isabella for and now, they had vanished.

"I-I'm not sure, M-Master Heathcliff," stammered his cook, Zillah, "But I t-think Mistress Isabella and the boy f-formed a solid bond w-with each other when s-she first c-came to W-Wuthering Heights."

Heathcliff raked one hand through his messy, ebony hair, evidently displeased with this new piece of information. Yet, if Zillah was correct, that would explain why both Hareton and Isabella were missing. The thought still left a burning, seething sensation through Heathcliff and he stormed away from his staff, barking over his shoulder for them to return to their duties. They scurried off like rabbits, their fear of him thick and precedent as the nebulous, murky fog outside.

Slamming the front door shut, the young lord furiously strolled over to the stables and saddled up his only horse, a muscular, haughty stallion with eyes black as coals and whose coat gleamed like a starless night sky. Mounting his horse, Heathcliff kicked its sides and the stallion charged forward, galloping down the muddy, torturous pathway that eventually led to Thrushcross Grange.

He had many questions and knew Nelly would have answers for him. like? Hopefully, the long wait was worth it, we'll try to be more prompt with our updates but we can't make any promises. We have other stories that occupy our time as well, not to mention school and homework...the list goes on. Yet, this fanfic won't be forsaken, you can't count on that! I simply wouldn't stand for that.

So anyway, review, favorite, alert, etc and flamers will be sent to Heathcliff, who is in a dire need of a new punching bag. And Merry Christmas and have a Happy New Year!