Summary: There was only thing Edward hated the idea of more than Bella being dead; Bella being living dead. Victoria, alone without James and Laurent, seeks the ultimate revenge. Perhaps she has found a new companion in the human girl she hated so much.
Disclaimer: Don't own anything.
Bella's eyes flickered open and saw nothing. The room was pitch black, as was to be expected at night. She lay in bed, her breathing laboured, beads of sweat trickling down her forehead and neck, trying to collect her thoughts and regain composure. The nightmares were getting worse.
She heard Charlie shuffling in his room. She had woken him, and now he was contemplating coming to her. At first, when this had all begun - months ago - he had been at her side instantly. Now, he paused in his room, considering his option to not have to go out and face it yet another night.
"Sweet dreams?" she heard a voice ask.
She jumped. Her eyes adjusted feebly to the poor light. She scanned the room, failing to see who had disturbed the silence. After a moment she managed to focus on a flare of red floating on the other side of the room. She blinked twice. Her vision finally grew accustomed to the darkness and she found herself staring into the black eyes of a tall, fire-haired, feline vampire.
Victoria. The hairs on the back of her neck sprang up. She straightened in bed and stared wide-eyed and unblinking at the predator across from her. So this was it? No one left to save her. No possible way to run and even less to fight. She breathed calmly. She was about to die. She had known it was coming. She just prayed Charlie would choose to stay in his own room tonight.
"You have a lovely home," Victoria stated, moving her position to appreciate the small room. "Very quaint."
Bella couldn't take her eyes of her. Her murderer. She watched as she moved with inhuman grace around the room, seemingly appraising her belongings, looking at everything but her. It was ironic, while watching this woman, knowing exactly what she had come here to do, waiting for her to make her fatal move, it was the anticipation that was killing her.
"If you're here to kill then kill me," Bella spoke with a boldness she didn't feel. If this had to happened, she at least wanted it to be over as fast as possible.
A laugh escaped from the woman standing before her and she turned to stare her down with those dead, black eyes. Bella shuddered.
"I have a proposition for you," Victoria said.
Bella paused, unsure what to make of what she'd heard. "What do you mean?"
Victoria moved like a cat across the room, coming closer towards her and sitting down gently on the edge of the bed. She held her cold, ruthless gaze fixed on Bella. She was making conversation, which was unusual, but that didn't mean she wouldn't still kill her in a heartbeat.
"As you may be aware," Victoria began. "I've spent the last few weeks trying to kill you."
Bella kept quiet and stayed absolutely still. She had no idea how to interact with this woman, this creature. Much less did she have any idea as to where all this was going.
"Firstly - and this is not an apology - I would like to be clear that I have nothing against you," she continued, then smiled to herself and laughed softly. "Well, I can't say I like you very much, but my main goal has always been Edward. He was my real target."
Edward. The familiar pang in her empty chest shot through her again at the mention of his name. She waited endless to get stronger, till the moment his memory wouldn't sting anymore. But still it burned.
She fought back the well of tears building in her eyes at the thought of him, determined not to let her pain show. She may be at the mercy of a vampire but she could still hold on to her dignity.
"At first I was just going to kill him," she carried on. "There was so much rage, so much pain that my judgement was clouded. All I wanted was to make him pay."
Victoria looked down at that moment, the furrow of her brow shadowing her eyes. She seemed lost in thought for a moment, reminiscing. For a fraction of a second, before she lifted her head again, Bella saw a reflection of herself.
"But as I calmed myself, and thought more deeply into how to make him suffer, I realised that the best way to get to him was to go through you.
"And so, that led us here."
Bella focussed on her breathing. Fear and anxiety coursed through her at the close proximity of the vampire. She felt her pulse racing in her neck and inwardly cursed, she didn't need to entice her.
"As you've probably noticed, I then hunted you in search of the slowest and most excruciating way to kill you. I would have succeeded by now, only it seems you have a knack for keeping unusual company."
The corners of Bella's mouth twitched, pulling upward into a smile. She would have to remember to thank Jacob and wolves properly for their help later, if she lived to survive this encounter.
"Anyway," Victoria continued. "When I reviewed the recordings James had made of his attack on you in Arizona, I noticed something peculiar.
"James had bitten you; and Edward sucked the venom out.
"You were battered and bruised, hardly likely to survive. It was a sure thing that, left to transform, you would have lived. And yet he sucked the venom out."
A frown crossed Bella's face. She was still lost as to where Victoria was taking this.
"It occurred to me then that you dying was not the worst thing Edward could imagine, as was the theory I initially acted upon," she stated. "But in fact, it is you living after death that scares him more."
No kidding, her mind threw at her. Edward had made no secret that he had detested the idea of her becoming a vampire. He had told it was because of her soul, for her own good. She knew now it was simply because he didn't want her, even for a short while, let alone eternity.
Once again, she cringed as another stab tore through her and fought back the tears.
"Bella, what I am suggesting to you," Victoria spoke perfectly clearly with a tone of absolute seriousness. "Is that I turn you into a vampire."
Bella's eyes bulged. Had she heard right? Was this really the reason Victoria had broken into her house, watched her as she slept and spared her fragile life at least for the time being? To offer her this?
Her mouth stuttered around the words, it seemed like forever since she had last spoken. "…Why?"
"I've explained why," Victoria answered. "It's the worst that could possibly be done to Edward, the ultimate revenge. And I know immortality is what you want. And besides…" her eyes softened now. "James is gone… And don't even get me started on Laurent taking off. It's not an appealing concept to walk the earth alone for all eternity. I could do with the companionship. And you'll do… as a start."
Bella blinked unbelievingly and stared at her for a moment. "You're telling me you want to turn me into a vampire so that the two of us can be BFFs?"
"I wouldn't put it that way," Victoria grimaced.
There was silence for a few moments as each side contemplated the situation.
"What makes you think I'd agree to this?" Bella asked.
"Because everything I do is to get back at Edward," Victoria answered. "And judging by the way you were screaming in your sleep earlier, I'm guessing you're looking to do the same."