Bella

I stood in front of his door, just staring at it. I'd been summoned but didn't have the courage to actually enter. Nothing good ever came from encounters with Caius, and I was not in the mood for his sadistic psychopathy.

The door swung open to reveal the man in question looming over me. He probably had known I was stationary outside his door for several minutes, and had gotten irritated. Indeed, he did look as such. Good.

I sighed as I followed him and his no-nonsense in. I couldn't think so antagonistically about him. It wasn't me—and I was supposed to be on good behavior anyways.

I walked into the room, guarded, awaiting his first move. Being a newborn had made me reckless, but it also made me feel more alive than I ever had before. I was ready for a fight—I was almost craving one. To sink my teeth into flesh and rip it apart, to feel tearing tendons under my fingertips. To taste a gush of blood in my mouth, to savor it running down my throat.

"Calm your bloodlust—it's absolutely pungent," Caius said calmly, yet with a crinkled nose.

Mortified, my wide eyes met his.

He was right. This was bloodlust. I hadn't even meant to, but those violent thoughts had penetrated my mind and had raced my blood, garnering excitement.

I hated to ask Caius for anything, but I swallowed my pride. "How do I control it?"

Caius stared at me with cool calculation. "Close your eyes."

I didn't trust him. He sent a glare my way, and I reluctantly complied. Marcus and Aro wouldn't let him kill me.

"Do not breathe."

Scenarios of my death raced through my mind, doing nothing to calm my nerves or my new instincts.

Suddenly cold hands were on the junctures connecting my neck to my shoulders, but they were not hostile or aggressive. They were firm and gentle. Forgetting who I was with, I started melting into them, picturing Edward.

Except Edward would never touch me this directly or with this much pressure.

"Relax your muscles." He was close, breath fanning my face. His voice was assertive, and sent chills down my spine. I tensed under his hands.

Until my neck and shoulders began to be massaged. My head lolled to the side, my body enjoying this attention.

"Let your mind go blank. Think of nothingness."

His instructions actually helped, and soon my mind was clear once more and I was free from my thoughts.

My eyes slowly opened to find Caius's dark red gaze trained on my face with such concentration. Realizing the position we were in, I quickly stepped back and out of his grasp, embarrassed. Out of habit, I pushed hair behind my ear and looked downward.

Clearing my throat, I decided it was time to get down to business so that I could leave. "So…um…what did you need to discuss?"

When I chanced a glance up, Caius was the picture of composure. I envied him.

"There is a ball being held soon. We host it once every half-century. Influential vampires from aeround the world will be in attendance. Aro thought it would be a good opportunity to show you off," Caius said as if this was a tedious thing, as if the whole affair bored him.

I was intimidated with the prospect of meeting countless new vampires and being put on display before them, especially as I didn't know proper vampire etiquette.

But a sudden thought brightened my spirits. "Will the Cullens be there?"

"They are not invited." And just like that, Caius shut down all hope. What was taking Edward so long? As soon as I'd learned he was in Italy, I had raced to him, not given a second thought about it. Yet it had been weeks now, and he was…what? Dawdling?

"You will of course be taught how to behave and present yourself in a proper manner." It was as if Caius was a mind reader. "I am sure you will need all the time possible to prepare. There is much work to be done." Caius eyed me distastefully and I glared at him, although I could not argue with his statement.

"Well, if that was all, I think I'll be going now…" I started to ease my way to the door.

Caius waved a dismissive hand at me, shooing me away. "Your etiquette training will begin soon, and while I would not be surprised at any shows of vulgarity or disrespect you may display, Aro is expecting better of you."

My once-relaxed shoulders stiffened. Amazing how just a minute ago Caius was…was something else. And now he was back to himself.

I took my leave when it was clear that no more attention would be afforded to me.


It wasn't that I got lost again and couldn't find my room, or that I was particularly lonely and any company would do. There was just something about the opera music coming from within Caius's study that kept me outside of it, sitting on the immaculate flooring again, back to the wall beside his door. My head leaned against the wall, eyes closed.

The music was faint, but it was beautiful. It made me think that maybe there was something inside of Caius that appreciated such beauty.

I always found it strange, when I would sit here at nights, and Caius would never leave. I knew that there were suites in the tower for Caius and Aro's wives, but didn't the men ever go visit them? Didn't the women ever leave and visit their husbands? It seemed so…unfulfilling. Did they even miss each other?

As a song faded, I noticed that another didn't take its place. Had he grown tired of the opera music after another night of listening to it? Or was it morning, and opera was only for the dark hours?

The door creaked open, and I kept my eyes closed, trying to seem relaxed. Would he be jealous if I could sleep? I could sense his body standing over me, his irritation.

"Do you not have anything better to do at night?"

I opened my eyes and looked up at his face. "No."

We stared each other down until another guard came running to us. "My lord," he addressed Caius only, not even looking at me. Caius had indeed struck fear into every man in this castle on my behalf. "There is a group of vampires in the throne room causing havoc. They have overpowered or killed their way there. Lords Aro and Marcus are being informed this moment as well."

Caius bolted to the throne room, uncaring what state he is in. I immediately stood and followed, the guard on our tails.

Caius threw the doors to the throne room open with gusto. I cringed at his blunt approach, still following none-the-less.

Inside the throne room stood just a handful of vampires. There was a man that reeked of being the alpha—both by his stance and stature. He was tall and muscular, his skin somehow scarred. The scowl on his face turned right to Caius and I as we entered.

There were other guards in there too, fighting them off.

Another man was smaller, but still looked like he'd seen many fights. He looked the type to be eager to pick them. A woman with long hair tied back was trying to tear through guards with all she had.

Then there was the man who was more clean-cut and groomed than the others. He brandished a whip made of lightning.

There was not much that Caius could do, especially since he could not just endanger himself so recklessly. Renata was not even here, and I couldn't do much in the way of protecting anyone physically.

The leader of the group grabbed a guard by the head and held it between his hands. The guard screamed before falling limp. The man dropped him before moving on to the next target.

He had an ability. Maybe my powers could work on him, could close his ability off.

I was about to try to concentrate on him when Aro, Marcus, and Renata entered.

My duty was clear, and I felt terrible for the guards targeted in the room. It was a pity none of the Volturi lords had a physical gift.

Aro stood mightily and addressed the group, the fighting having ceased when he entered. "Who are you and what is your business with the Volturi, that you might attack us so?"

"You killed our family!" the woman screamed. She was held back by the clean-cut one.

Aro pursed his lips. "I do not seem to recall who you speak of."

"Donovan, Jennifer, and Isla," the leader replied.

"You murdered a child!" the woman cried.

Recognition passed Aro's features. "Ah. They were in violation of the laws, of which we are all aware. Their punishment was just."

The clean-cut man had to hold back the woman, and I noticed the leader visibly stiffen.

Aro continued, undeterred by all this. "You say they were your family—how peculiar. Do explain."

The leader pushed his shoulders back and held his head high. "I turned Donovan and allowed him and his family to join our coven. He was under my protection."

"Well, it isn't my problem that neither your word nor your protection were very good," Aro replied. "Leave now. You have no right to a hearing."

"We will gain justice," the leader stated.

"Justice has already been served," Aro proclaimed.

The leader lunged for Aro, but was tackled to the floor by Felix. I worried for Felix's safety.

Alec, however, seemed to be going to work on the leader, rendering him senseless.

Jane targeted the volatile woman, sending her to her knees in mute screams.

In the midst of the chaos, when I was focused on shielding the lords from any psychic attacks, it seemed that I was the only one who noticed the lightning whip from the clean-cut man, and watched as it flung itself towards Caius.

There was no second thought, no hesitance. It wasn't even loyalty or obediance that made me do it. I jumped in front of Caius to defend him, spurred on by the mere thought of life in the Volterra Castle without him.

The whip slashed through my abdomen like a hot knife. I sucked in breath as I fell to the floor, pain seizing my very core, burning through my skin and into my blood.

I could feel my body writhing on the floor and all I could think of was how I had to get the pain to stop.

My eyes met a pair of darkening red ones, my vision blurring.

So much pain. So much pain.

Burning, eating, blazing, blistering, destroying.

Pain.

Pain.

Pain.


Caius

My attention turned to my side as soon as Isabella moved in front of me. Too late did I notice the vampire attempting to attack me, and then she was falling. She writhed on the floor, her face contorted.

Her eyes reached up to my own, blood leaking from the corners.

My eyes slowly roamed up to her attacker, red painting my vision. He wanted justice? I would deliver to him the ultimate justice.

The battle did not take long after that. I ran to the man and tore his head clean from his neck, flinging it across the room, splattering myself with his blood in the process.

I let my bloodlust engulf me. I had missed battle, always a warrior first.

The other guards aimed to kill.

There were no survivors, and as we stood amidst the enemies' blood and dismembered bodies, I overheard a different panic.

"Isabella, can you hear me?" Aro was crouched over the girl, still writhing on the floor. I stayed where I was, watching.

"I have never seen this before. She should be healing. She should not be in this much agony," Aro rambled.

"It appears as though she is dying," Marcus remarked.

Aro looked amongst all the guards, his face a sign of his frustration. "Why do we have no healer?" His eyes lighted when he spotted Alec. "Alec, come here. Use your abilities on her. Block her senses until she recovers. Perhaps her injured state will lower her defenses."

The boy tried, but he could do nothing. "It won't work," he stated.

Curses on her abilities, her gift. Curse all gifts.

Aro stood. "Felix, take Isabella to the infirmary. We shall treat her there."

Felix moved towards Isabella and scooped her into his arms.

How dare he think to touch her. How dare he carry her as if they meant something to each other. He would no longer mean anything to anyone if I tore out his throat.

I stumbled as I caught myself. I stared wide-eyed at the retreating pair. I hadn't realized how much the bloodlust had controlled me, how much I'd let it free.

It wouldn't do to start having territorial thoughts. I was no savage.

As I made to follow, I caught Marcus staring at me. I growled at him under my breath.

"Clean up this mess," I ordered the remaining guards, following behind Aro, Felix, and Isabella, Marcus at the end.

In the infirmary, Felix set Isabella down gently on a bed. The change in setting did nothing to abate her writhing. She gasped and groaned and made little noises of torture that had me clutching my hands into fists before I realized.

"Leave," I barked to Felix. He glanced at Isabella in worry before fleeing the room, leaving only my brothers and I to observe.

"His lightning whip must have been toxic—venomous," Marcus theorized, standing over Isabella.

"If only he hadn't been killed." I could feel Aro's accusing eyes but ignored them. "He would have been a wonderful addition to our guard," Aro mused, stoking my irritation.

Isabella, in a fit, managed to nearly fling herself off the bed. I caught her and set her back upon the surface.

"This wretch never ceases to be exasperating," I spat.

As I retracted my hands from her person, she gripped one tightly, desperately. I attempted to pull it back but could not remove it from her hand.

My eyes narrowed, I was just about to yell at her worthlessness and uselessness when she spasmed. My hand ended up pressed to her abdomen, and soon she was shrieking.

I could feel the energy drain out of me, and it took will power to not fall to my knees. My hand went numb, and my mind grew foggy. Blood pulsated within me.

Hands pulled me away from the girl. When I was able to come back to my senses, I saw that Marcus and Aro stood on either side of me, staring at the wretched creature.

I turned to curse her when the words died in my throat.

Isabella laid on the bed, breathing deeply, her eyes wide, hands feeling her bare abdomen, shirt pulled up. Her skin was unblemished, smooth, perfect.

I stared at that porcelain skin before my eyes slowly made their way up her body—past the curve of her barely-covered breasts, beyond the creamy skin of her neck, over the lips worried too often by teeth, to her eyes.

Her eyes that were staring into mine.

Her lips parted, but no words left the tip of her tongue.

My eyes darted down to my own hands. My mind could not wrap itself around these events, around what just transpired.

"Caius?" Came a weak croak.

Without my permission, my eyes flew up to meet Isabella's once more.

Had I healed her?


...so... hi. Long time no see...

I didn't mean to make this a once-a-year kind of thing. Since I am no longer into Twilight, it's difficult working up the motivation or desire to keep a Twilight story going. However, I will do my best. I really do want to see this story through to completion.

I wrote this chapter several days ago, but I have been having the worst luck uploading anything to this site.

I hope you enjoyed! And yes, I gave Caius a power because it was sad that he didn't have one... ;)

Until next time! (Hopefully sooner than you think.)