A year late. And shorter than what I usually write. But if you still want me to see this through, allow me some time to get back to it. This chapter was written in one day, and might be edited sometime in the future, since I have tried to write it four times now. But for now I'll let it be. Caius, who is not the best nurse, and clearly thinks he's getting multiple personalities needs a push to get to the person I want him to be. Read, enjoy and review. Let me see if it is worth continuing.
Even in the presence of vampires mostly, fragile Isabella seemed to have caught the flu. The coughing upstairs sounded more like a terminal patients cough, than a teenage girl with pneumonia. Of course I should have forced her to put on some more clothes. Of course I should have seen to it that she would be warm when she had gotten back. But when we had returned, she had blushed, said goodnight, and walked back into her room. I had been stunned. I had expected something, though I was not entirely sure what. And I hated it when I didn't get what I expected.
It had been a week since our nighttime walk, and she had been in bed for almost all of it. Coughing and sleeping. The flu had opened her system to other infections, and as our, newly required, house doctor had diagnosed, given her pneumonia. I couldn't sit by her side as I had in Italy, she wasn't Bella when she was like this. She didn't even smell like herself. Besides, she slept almost all of the day, and I had more important things to look after. Like the war. Or planning to start a war.
My hope of getting to stay here as we planned had gone, since my brothers clearly did their best to get to our friends first, then find us later. Brilliant plan of course, shouldn't have expected less from my brothers, but it would force us out of hiding to prove that we still lived, and that we still would fight. No one would stand on the side of the weakest one. I would have to prove my worth, I would have to go out and show them that I wasn't afraid.
I cursed my damned brothers as I walked back and forth through the halls. Of course it all cooked down to their greed and infatuation with the poor girl. And of course she was just as much to blame, just for being so damned special. And what was it really? The fact that a malfunction in her brain made Aro unable to read her mind? Or the fact that her blood smelled just a little sweeter than the average persons blood? To the degree that one was scared of drinking her, taking the chance that one would never find such blood again?
She coughed again. Although she sounded better than a few days ago, it was still a wet, painful, drowning sound that gave the impression that her lungs were being forced out of her throat. I felt the anger flare again. Had I really saved her, made a complete fool of myself, just so she would die at the mercy of microscopic single-celled beings? Of course I knew that she wouldn't die. It would be easy to just go in and bite. I wouldn't even have to make an effort not to kill her in the process. Her blood stank of meds and bacteria, I had noticed that when I had gone up to try and coax her to eat some soup. Her usually floral smell had changed into something dying and rotten, almost making me turn around and flee. This was not my Bella.
"Why can't you just change her?" Anna's voice wasn't accusing, she seemed worried. "It's not like you to act like this."
I turned around to look at her. In the dim light, with a white dress on, her light skin and her blonde hair in a mess around her face she seemed more like a ghost than a vampire. I could smell that she'd been feeding recently, her red eyes even seemed to sparkle a little more than usual. Probably because I hadn't been smart enough to feed for days. The luxury of the Volturi castle provided food every day, even though it wasn't really a necessity.
"I don't really know that she would be grateful. She could survive this all on her own. With the antibiotics counted into the equation, she has a good chance of making it."
The excuse sounded weak even to my ears.
"Caius." Anna's voice was full of concern. I didn't really feel worthy of any concern at all. It made me feel even weaker.
"She has agreed to be turned. She has agreed to become one of us. She will be, as soon as you decide to turn her. I don't know if you have seen her earlier today, but her fever is coming down, and she is more awake than she was yesterday. It has been two weeks since you took her here, and I don't really know how long you plan on letting her live as a human, but it seems to me that she is too frail for this war in the condition she is now."
I opened my mouth to speak, but she cut me off.
"Your brothers have declared war on us. The Denali sisters have already been forced to flee, the Cullens seem to have dodged the radar for now, but who knows when they'll be discovered. Our allies are waiting for our signal, they seem to be thinking that you have changed your mind about fighting the power, and a few of them are seriously considering going back to your brothers. Some who even have valuable information."
She turned to go.
"I can't be expected to stand on your side when you're not even there yourself, Caius. I am not prepared to fight a war alone."
I knew she was right. Our allies were counting on me to make my move. The move that would include turning Bella into a vampire, to make my claim official. To snatch my brothers bride-to-be away from him and make her mine. I had already killed Dora. I had already fled the country, and hid out on an island of ice and wind, all I really needed to do now was to bite. Just one bite. Just enough to let my venom flow through her veins, hardening her, transforming her into something stronger. Into the being she surely was meant to be since the day she was born. It would be easy. Just bite her neck, lick the wound and leave her to change.
Was I getting cold feet? Would I be able to change her? Should I instead leave the task to Anna, who clearly seemed to have a better way with humans than I did? I didn't even get the time to truly consider the idea before I pushed the thought away again. I couldn't leave Isabella's change in the hands of someone else. My whole body shook with the idea. Mine. She was mine. No other poison would freeze her veins. No other teeth would puncture her skin. Mine.
Then why was I hesitating? I wasn't the one to delay things, usually I was pushing for things to change, never having the patience to wait for things to just happen. Still, I had no idea how to make this happen. Who was I to change something so pure, when I knew the result would force her to long for death and blood for the rest of her life? What would I change her into? Did I even know if she could survive the change? Would it all feel like a waste if she just stopped existing? Or worse, would my life fall apart when my reason to still exist suddenly disappeared? Would I go back to my brothers? Could I even go back there without having my head ripped off my body and burned?
If I could feel sick, I think that's what I would have felt. I hated the weakness that filled me whenever Bella was around. And I knew that weakness would last as long as her heart was beating. I hated her so intensely. And still I felt the need to protect her. Perhaps that was a part of her special ability. She had already had an entire coven jump at her wish. A vampire king wanted to marry her, another one had taken her away to keep her to himself. Perhaps her ability to control vampires would disappear as soon as she was one herself. Perhaps I could stand to not know what she was thinking and what she was feeling as soon as she wasn't depending on my protection. Perhaps this all was chemical or physical rather than actual feelings.
I would have to take the chance of changing her to find out. I would have to take the chance that she would still be Isabella, and not some constantly bloodthirsty newborn, who never remembered who they were before. But I still didn't think she would appreciate it if I just walked into her room and bit her without any warning. She might be a weak human, but she had grown her own free will in the time she had been a prisoner. She had learned to not fear death, and so she would not beg for her life. She would fight for it, at least winning some dignity if she lost the war. She had actually become stronger while I had become weaker.
There would be a war soon, and I needed both her and me to be as strong as we could be.
As I reluctantly walked towards Bella's room, I could hear that she had indeed become a little better over the last few days. Though painful and wet, the coughing at least didn't seem to last forever before she was able to catch a breath. It didn't reek as much of bacteria and sickness either, though the antibiotics had given the scent of her blood an unpleasant chemical smell. It wasn't half as tempting as it usually was. I stopped outside her door and knocked.
Her voice was hoarse and a little nasal. I braced myself before turning the knob, almost holding my breath as I walked in.
Inside the room the scent of fever meds and sweat lingered, even though it wasn't as strong and overshadowing it had been earlier. Her face was red, but her eyes looked more alert than when I had been to see her at her worst. The skin under her nose was raw and her lips were cracked, but it seemed to have begun healing. I felt puzzled, as I realized my eyes had lingered at her swollen lips, even though she clearly wouldn't be capable of such thoughts at this moment.
She didn't blush, and if she did, it was covered by the scent of meds, sweat and the already red face. She didn't really look thrilled to see me.
"Haven't seen you here in a couple of days. I thought you had evolved some sort of germophobia."
"Bacillophobia." I corrected. "And no, since those microbes have no way to attack me, why should I fear them?"
She sighed as her attempt to be funny had fallen flat. Again.
"I have had to do other things than babysitting you."
"I thought I didn't need a babysitter."
She scowled at me, and I knew I deserved it. I was surprised at my own anger and short temper. Hadn't I walked into the room with the intention to prepare her for turning into a vampire?
We were both silent for what seemed like minutes.
"Caius." She hesitated. There was clearly something on her mind. "How long do we have to stay here?"
I raised an eyebrow. Was there really a chance that this would be easier than I thought?
"I thought you were prepared to stay here for as long as needed?"
She sighed again.
"I'm not really a fan of cold weather."
She smiled apologetically. I sighed. It really was my fault that we still stayed here. This would only be temporarily, since my brothers had figured out where we were. It wasn't a fortress, it couldn't hold off attacks from the Volturi. Especially when we hadn't gotten more allies during our stay here.
"Our plan was to start war as soon as you had turned into a vampire. That has been delayed." I shrugged. "Also, we were planning on working on a strategy while we stayed here, but somehow my brothers have decided to kill of our allies. At least the ones that won't swear allegiance to them again. So the best would be if we could get out to others."
"I didn't want to bother you with politics while you were sick." Again. Lame excuse.
She actually laughed at it, and the mood in the room seemed to lighten.
"Yeah. Because you're just not a normal guy who can't handle a sick girl with a runny nose and greasy hair."
I had to smile.
"Actually. The thought of turning you now is rather repulsive. You reek."
She faked insulted.
"I do not reek. Perhaps the bacteria are messing with your olfactory senses."
"The bacteria are messing with something alright. But I don't think it's me."
She threw one of the many pillows at me. I caught it easily. It also had a stench of sickness and death. I wondered if Anna would have to disinfect the whole room after Bella left. Just to get it clean again.
"So when do I die?"
She had asked with a teasing tone in her voice, but somehow it stung. Die. She wouldn't really die, would she? Her heart would stop, but she would live again. But what if she didn't. If her heart stopped for real. I stopped that train of thoughts.
"When you are better. When the antibiotics are out of your system."
"That's three more days."
Her voice was neutral, and I couldn't interpret any feeling at all. Was she happy that the change would come soon? Or was she already mourning her life and heartbeats? Should I ask? I decided not to, since I didn't want to know if she had changed her mind and didn't want to become a vampire anymore. I didn't know if I could make her do something against her will anymore. Still. A part of me wanted her to change. Not just because I owed it to her. Not just because I didn't want to worry about her when the war finally started. Not because I longed to taste the sweetness of her blood as I bit into her skin. But because I couldn't see a future where I would let her out of my protection again. Even if that future came as a result of her aging and finally dying.
"That's when we'll do it then. Three more days. And not in this room please, I doubt the stench will ever go out of the walls. Anna might even have to get a flamethrower in here to get rid of it."
I caught the next pillow before it could hit me.
"Three days. Your room." Bella said, but this time with a smile. "Any other requests from the killer?"
"Wear something nice. And eat something sweet."
I licked my lips teasingly. I couldn't be sure, but I thought I could see the red getting a little stronger in her cheeks.
Three days. Was I getting nervous? Or could it be excitement? I wasn't sure, but at least there was a plan. And I would know soon enough. Know what hold she really had on me.
Short chapter. But the next one is already in the planning stage. Next chapter there will be blood. And sex. And venom. ++ Finally I get to the part I long to write! Haha.