Disclaimer: Any characters, places, etc. you might recognize from the Twilight Saga and The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner is not mine and belongs to Stephenie Meyer or its respective owner. Any original characters, plots, etc. are the property of myself. I am in no way affiliated with Stephenie Meyer, her publishing company, Summit Entertainment or anyone connected with them. No copyright infringement is intended.
A/N: For anyone confused at Jasper's sudden change of heart regarding Bree, there's a reason for that. Also, I'm so, so sorry it took me this long to update! I had to go back and research a few things and then I got a tad bit lazy but I hope you like it? Don't forget to review please!
Jasper dropped my hand at the same moment my stomach plummeted through the floor as we entered the living room.
The Cullen family sat or stood in various places around the room. Esme was adjusting the vase on the table beneath the painting on the wall, despite the vase being dead center. Edward stood behind Bella's chair, a hand on her shoulder, which she gripped as tightly as she could. The beautiful blond vampire and her apparent companion sat together on the love seat, exchanging quiet words and murmurs. Carlisle was confering with Alice over by the window.
The dark-cloaks stood by the grand piano that was centered between the living room and the next room, looking menacing.
"Aro has come to a decision and has decided, due to his extreme liking for your pet-" Jane looked as if she bitten into something bitter or rotten and was now rolling it around in her mouth but not exactly willing to spit it out. "-he will offer you a compromise."
A growl began from the direction of Edward and Bella and he shook his head violently.
"No! No, absolutely not!" he said, rejecting whatever he'd surely read in Jane's mind.
"You have no choice in the matter now, Edward." Jane said gleefully and I wasn't sure what was coming but I was positive that it was beyond horrible. "You see, since Miss Swan gave Aro an 'in', if you will, he's decided to capitalize."
My breath caught in my throat.
"Here are the terms of Aro's negotiation: the newborn will go free as will the rest of the Olympic Coven. Miss Swan and Miss Cullen, however, will be joining us in Italy until further notice."
Rage swirled through the air and Jasper growled, zipping immediately to stand in front of Alice, who put a soothing hand on his shoulder.
"Failure to comply will result in the complete destruction of the Olympic Coven as well as the unexplained deaths of Chief Charles Swan, Missus Renee Dwyer, Mister Phillip Dwyer and Missus Cynthia Clairton and her family."
"No!" Alice cried suddenly, hand clenching and Jasper whined in pain but kept in front of her. "We'll come with you! I promise! Just-please, just leave her out of this. She doesn't know anything."
There was a loud uproar from various members of the family-Esme sobbed into Carlisle's shoulder, Jasper growled again and Emmett soon joined him, his baser instincts taking over in the face of danger.
"Jasper, please." Alice murmured, the same way she'd done for me before, and danced around to face him. "I promise you both-Bella and I will be fine. Just let us go."
Jasper growled again and I felt hopelesness eek out from behind his calm as he nodded, pressing his lips to Alice's fingers one last time before letting go amicably. He glanced around and, when his eyes fell on me, I felt such hatred that I had to sit down where I stood.
"Edward, please. You heard Alice-we'll be fine. Just tell everyone we decided to elope instead. I'll call from Italy to confirm a few things and we'll be fine. We'll be fine." she said, but she sounded like she was trying to convince herself instead of Edward.
"Alice, you've seen it? You're sure?" Edward asked hesitantly and Alice nodded before turning to Jasper.
"Oh, and Jasper? Remember: Where there's fire, there's not always smoke." she said, bouncing toward Bella and pulling her back toward the dark-cloaks. "Just think of the shopping in Italy, Bella! The shoes! Ooo-do you think they'll let me bring my Porsche? It's just perfect for the weather there!"
Edward backed away from a smirking Jane, who just nodded and turned.
"We'll be going then. I'll give Aro your good wishes." she said before their dark cloaks swirled around them and they-and Bella and Alice-were gone.
There was a moment of stillness in the Cullen household.
In the stillness, I noticed a growling that only grew louder and looked up to find two exceedingly angry vampires glaring at me, teeth bared. I felt fear like I'd never felt before and it only seemed to intensify the angrier the two got.
"This is all your fault!" Edward hissed, stalking toward me and I scrabbled backward as fast as I could.
"Edward Anthony Cullen!" Esme hissed from across the room and then she stood in front of my cowering form, unwilling to let the homicidal vampires take a crack at me. "It's for the best and you will not blame Bree-she's innocent in all of this."
"It's her that made Bella-"
"Didn't you hear Alice? We will be a family again but for now we must take actions to prevent exposure. Bree needs to be taught the proper way to hunt and we have to prepare to move again, while you must not be seen at all. Regardless of what you think to be true, mark my words gentlemen-if you hurt Bree in any way that I deem unfit, I will tear you apart piece by piece and bury you in my next garden plot." Esme said definitively, crossing her arms with an air of finality.
I blinked and Edward was gone but Jasper stalked toward me and Esme stepped in front of me again.
"I'll need to teach her how to hunt, Esme. I don't trust her with anyone else." he snapped and she nodded, stepping aside for him to grab my arm and yank me roughly across the foyer and out into the night.
My shoulder began to burn.
"You're not listening!" he hissed in my ear as I shivered in the clearing he'd dragged me to, to begin my hunting. "You're still listening for civilization-you need to understand that you're no longer hunting humans!"
"I'm trying!" I yelled back, my eyes scrunching up in frustration. If I could still cry, I was positive that they would be brimming with unshed tears. "I don't know how!"
Jasper sighed in annoyance and approached me, placing his hands on my shoulders firmly. He spun me around so that he stood at my back and I could feel his unneeded breath tickle my ear.
"Close your eyes." he hissed and I scrunched them shut as tightly as I could. "Relax. I won't hurt you. I'm teaching you to survive. Darwin and Freud don't rule our world here-demons do."
I couldn't help but relax at the way Jasper's voice slid into my head through my ear, turning my entire muscle structure into something like mush or mud. Completely relaxed, I began to listen to the world around me...and just about died at the comparison between his world and mine.
In my world, there were angry humans, yelling at one another, flesh making contact with flesh, bones breaking and cries of pain and agony.
In his, sea gulls called to each other from within the clouds floating overhead, the wind sluiced around their wings as they fell and rose gracefully.
In my world, cars honked, music played loudly, heartbeats thrummed through my veins like they were my own.
In his world, rivers trickled and gushed happily, miles away, birds sang to each other and small woodland animals chirruped at one another as they made their way across the forest.
In his world, the strong heartbeat that I caught invaded my senses painfully but not unwelcomely, bringing with it a robust scent, tangy but thick...something like peanut butter or yogurt rolling around in one's mouth.
My nostrils flared angrily and I could feel Jasper's lips turn up in a smile.
"Very good." he hissed in my ear, releasing my shoulders suddenly. "Now go fetch."
I was off like a shot-chasing the smell, wanting to wrap myself in it like a blanket, to see if it was as thick in person as it smelled from far away. A few moments passed and I curved sharply to the left, toward the smell and another that I can only describe as nasty. The smell was watery and bitter and I gagged quietly as I shot out from the bush to face a river and my prey.
The black bear across the river suddenly snapped his head up to lock eyes with me and growl weakly. The fish it held in it's maw went free until it bled out before the bear turned tail and galloped into the forest.
The scent made its way to me and I leapt the river in a leap that would've put Superman to shame in order to follow it. I leapt from tree to tree, gaining length on the bear until I managed to land right in front of it, leaving a small crater in the forest floor as the creature tried to backpedal in an attempt to get away.
"Stop playing around and kill it." a male voice invaded my consciousness and I hissed, angry at the intrusion on my fun but did what he said regardless, somehow knowing that it was either the bear or me that would end up dead.
I leaped after the bear again, digging my fingers in through its soft fur and yanking painfully. The roar of the beast was cut short as its head spun around on its shoulders and the bear dropped to the forest floor, my teeth already ravaging its neck, the warm blood spilling over my lips and down my throat and-
I spat the nasty tasting liquid on the ground, gagging as I tried to get the peanut butter feeling out of my mouth. I could distantly hear laughter in the background as I gagged and spit.
"That's gross!" I spat, turning to face the blond vampire, rubbing the back of my hand over my tongue again and again in an effort to remove the flavor. "That's just-that's-that's-"
"That's what you get to live on from now on. Get used to it." Jasper replied, smirking at me in a mixture of wicked and amused.
"That's it?" I screeched and he winced. "Sorry."
"You get used to it after a while. It gets rid of enough of the burn to be passable." Jasper explained as I turned back to the bear hesitantly.
"How long did it take you to get used to...well, y'know?" I asked, sinking my teeth into the bear once again and drinking slowly, trying to find the novelty behind the taste. It had just begun to sweeten when Jasper decided to answer my question.
"About forty years."
Blood sprayed across the bear's fur, dying the black hair mahogany.