Author's Note: This story is a slight AU, supposing that Sulpicia was a Volturi guard before she became Aro's mate. Also, since her particular talent is never named, I decided to give her one of my own: extra sensitive hearing. She also can "hear" or sense vibrations, similar to a snake.

This story was written as a one-shot, although I am considering a continuation. If you have a spare moment, please leave me a review. I'd love to hear from you.

Thanks for stopping by!

Warning: This story contains some very mild lemons, however, you really have to squint to detect them.

Disclaimer: I claim no ownership of Stephanie Meyer's work.


He wants to touch her, this guarded guard of his. But her skin is of ice and Aro knows that his flesh will freeze to hers forever…forever…

It is a charming fantasy. Opulent and sentimental. He entertains the thought while he watches her, this guarded guard…this Sulpicia.

She came to him out of Egypt, though she claims to be Roman by birth. He does not dispute her pedigree, nor her talent, which has impressed even the calculating collector in him.

But he wants to touch her. To hear her as she hears the music in voices and sounds. And yet he stays away.

He watches her in the dark hours.

Watches her pace the corridors, her beauty too much like Dido's, not fragile but fierce. Dangerous.

Aro loves the smell of blood in her hair, the streaks she leaves to dry even after her kill has begun to rot.

He thinks of her tresses must be soft, though, touchable, ready for his caress. He dreams of kissing her hair and placing a crown upon her head.

But perhaps she will not have him.

The other guards are alarmed by this Sulpicia. They stand apart from her and he sees their soft brows pucker whenever she draws near. She is like a poison, like the tainted ashes of Vesuvius. And he wonders why, why are they frightened…

Didyme seems to know. She calls Aro mad. Tells him he needs a queen, not a mistress. And Sulpicia is not fit to be a queen, she of the wild eyes and brooding heart.

Aro thinks his sister is jealous.

And his need grows.

He becomes Sulpicia's shadow, the eager vibrato of her voice enchanting him. Enthralling him.

Briefly, he thinks of Helen of Troy and fair Ilium that was sundered all for the love of a lady.

But Sulpicia is not his Helen. Nor will she ever be.

Aro wants to touch her.

In the space between day and night, he speaks with her and he marvels, ah, he marvels at her feral instinct. Sometimes, he wonders if she was born a vampire rather than made.

She is aloof. Maddeningly aloof. And Aro finds himself enraged for no reason.

He sometimes thinks of sinking his teeth into her neck and drinking straight from her jugular, her River Tiber. But he fears, oh he fears losing the music in her.

Marcus tells him that he is becoming passionate…and dangerous.

Aro needs to touch her.

Sulpicia plucks notes from the air and plays them in her mind, sending the echoes reverberating out through her footsteps.

She hates him sometimes, this Master of hers. Hates the way he follows her and watches her and listens to her music.

Sulpicia does not like being his guard. An item to be collected, toyed with, enjoyed. She has never been one for company and she quarrels with her cohorts. And sometimes, she even makes gentle Renata weep.

There is no glory in Volterra. No music. Only an emptiness which does not echo. Sulpicia longs for the melodies of Egypt, for the sensual rhythm of the drum and the song of the flute.

Now she is embraced by silence. And the silence drives her mad.

She thinks of her Master when she hunts. Imagines the taste of him…

But only because she has gone mad.

Mistress Didyme speaks with Sulpicia often. She lends her books and even brings her an old lyre to play.

Sulpicia is wary. Aloof. She takes the lyre and hides it in her room. She will not play, not while he is listening.

There is something to be said for the sanctity of loneliness, she thinks. Though even her treasured solitude is soundless now.

She wonders if madness will kill her.

The tenor of her master's voice begins to disturb her. She hears the echo of his words throughout Volterra and, sometimes, in her dreams, it reminds her of an unclaimed melody, something new and raw that can be taken and shaped and sung.

Sulpicia almost wishes to hear him sing. Almost.

But only because she has gone mad.

He is passing her in the stairwell one day. It is dawn and the night has been unkind to both of them. Sulpicia averts her eyes when she sees him, one hand grazing the wall to her right. Her fingers touch the stones as though they were strings.

Aro sees the blood crusted under her nails. She has been hunting.

For the first time, he notices that she is sorrowful.

It happens quickly, like a sudden crescendo in a soothing sonata. Her boots slip on the step and before she can catch herself, he catches her.

Aro's touches the flesh of her wrist.

It is not of ice, to his surprise. A flicker of warmth exists, aided by the fresh blood in her veins.

And her thoughts, they tumble, roar into his awareness.

He is whisked away by her music. By arias and dances and dirges. By a song so separate and unique that he feels his breathing quicken to a staccato rhythm.

She is thinking of him.