Disclaimer: I do not own Twilight. I also don't own the House of Night series or anything of theirs. Those belong to Stephanie Meyer, P.C and Kirsten Cast.
Author: Paige Turner.
Summary: AU. 'I didn't know how or why; but this pixie looking girl was different from everyone else. Even the people at this school, at that was saying something.' A/B R&R!
I didn't sleep.
It had been thirty six and a half hours since I had "woken up" that first time in… in my room, as it now was, and since then I hadn't slept, not one wink. I didn't yawn, wasn't drowsy, my body didn't feel like it was about to crash from exhaustion, nothing. I was just awake, all the time, with this… endless energy that never wavered or dissipated, no matter what I did. Two hundred jumping jacks, one hundred curl ups, dozens upon dozens of push ups (freaking push ups!), and I still felt like I could run a marathon. Backwards.
It was driving me insane.
I felt like if I just went to sleep, just closed me eyes and drifted a bit; I'd wake up back in my dorm room at the House, Eve snoring across the room in her bed.
Everything would be normal. Okay. I'd escape this nightmare.
Yet there I was still, sitting on the small balcony outside the bedroom, my back pressed against the wall next to the glass door as I hugged my knees to my chest tightly. I had also been waiting a good while for the tears to fall; because I was definitely crying. All I could manage was a small, pathetic, dry sob. I was so confused and desperately wished that Aro would end his little meeting with Sulpicia soon.
He had left fairly quickly after the whole blood drinking thing. He was more pale than before and swayed on his feet; that girl had to catch him and hold him steady. He told me that he had a meeting with his brothers and Sulpicia to discuss things, and that afterwards, after I had time to calm down, he would send Milo back up to explain things to me. He said all this before he ordered me to not take a single step out of the room.
As soon as the door swung closed, I ran for the balcony and gripped the stone railing. I was just about the throw myself over the side, risking death just to get away from this horrible place, when my body froze. It wouldn't move any farther, no matter how hard I tried, I couldn't get my legs up and over the railing. They were firmly planted on the stone balcony, not even budging as I mentally screamed at them.
I had been waiting since then, for Milo.
Finally there was a quiet knock on the oak door. I hesitated, my ears picking up uneven, nervous breathing on the others side of it, and I slowly got to my feet. "Come in." I called softly, opting to stay on this side of the room. I stood behind one of the tall back, red cushioned chairs, my hands gripping the top as I eyed the door wearily.
Milo quickly slipped into the room, silently closing the door behind him. His hair was looking a tad messy again, though I imagined it was more from running his hands through it this time than trying to hide his Mark. As I suspected, a large pale hand ran through it again, pulling it back from his face. His clear blue eyes darted down to my shirt and pants, the fronts still stained with my blood, and then back up to my face. "You know you can change into clean clothes, right?" He asked.
My eyes flickered over to the large wardrobe and then back to the vampire. "Hygiene isn't exactly on the top of my priorities list right now; coming in right under figuring out what the hell is wrong with me, and then getting the hell outta here and back to the House." I paused. "And maybe ripping Aro's throat out." A shiver of rage and pleasure ran down my spine, making me feel sick and excited at the same time.
Milo ducked his head, a hesitant smile pulling at his lips. "That's your anger."
He looked at my face and shook his head, taking a breath to explain. "No, I mean… it's your anger, but your anger isn't like everyone else's anymore. Irritation turns into anger for us, and anger turns into rage, all within seconds. We feel emotions in extreme depths; happiness turns to bliss, sadness into depression and sorrow. We feel more than people or Vampyres do." He said.
My mind whirled over his words, storing all the information immediately. It made sense, if I thought about it. I just had to picture that girl from earlier who had basically called me a dog, and like a flip was switched, I was seeing red and ready to rip off her head. "Well, I guess you're just going to jump right on in with the vampire lessons, aren't you?"
He bit his lip, gesturing to the chair I was standing, or rather hiding, behind. "Would you like to sit?"
I tensed as he took a step closer. "No… I think I'll stand." I said wearily.
"I'm not going to hurt you, Bella." Milo said sincerely.
But I wasn't born yesterday. "Yeah, well, my neck's still a little sore, Chompy." I shot back, reaching up to where he had bit me. I had gotten a good look at my reflection earlier, spent nearly an hour staring in disbelief. The bite was completely healed up, the only proof of it ever happening was the even more pale crescent scar.
He looked down to his feet in shame. "I'm so sorry. I… I had no choice."
"Dude, you totally could have taken Sulpicia; look at you!" I shouted. Didn't have a choice, my ass… he was a walking, talking statue; she wouldn't have been able to stop him from doing anything he wanted.
Milo ran his hands through his hair again, torment crossing his face. "I tried, but I couldn't. I had to, Bella. I drank her blood, there was nothing I could do to fight it." His outburst shocked me into silence and I flinched as his frenzied eyes looked up at me. "Just like you; you're bound by Aro's blood in your body to obey any command he gives, whether you like it or not. We're just puppets on strings for them."
"Calm down, calm down!" I shouted as he got louder and louder with each word.
He was starting to scare me.
Milo took a deep breath, walking over to the sofa and sat down. He closed his eyes and relaxed back against the cushions, resting his head against the back of the couch. "I'm sorry, again." He sighed, looking over into my frightened face. "It's really not that bad; we aren't puppets just waiting for our strings to be pulled. We still have free will and thought; we can do what we like, when we like, how we like. We just also have to do anything they tell us."
"Because their blood is in our body." I said and he nodded. "So I don't have to obey Sulpicia?"
"Not unless you drink her blood." He replied. "They have it all set up, some elaborate plan. Every fledgling Sulpicia kills, or recruits after they really do reject the Change, she makes them drink her blood when they first wake up. She has so many of us under her control, treating us like, like minions. But she's just a minion herself, under the control of Aro. Willingly, though."
My brows furrowed. "Why didn't she make me drink her blood then?"
He sat up straight, frowning. "You're more important than she is. You've got an affinity; any fledgling who has an affinity becomes Aro's personal dog. No offence." I could feel the rumbling in my chest again and took a deep breath to calm myself. I closed my eyes until I was sure I wasn't about to leap over this chair and attack Milo. "It's not so bad, though; he treats you all like you're royalty. The rest of us all have to share the basement of this mansion while you've got rooms."
"How many people are here?" I wondered aloud.
Milo scratched the back of his neck. "I'd say thirty, or so. There's Aro and his brothers who, if you noticed, are Vamps like at the school. Sulpicia too, and a couple other Professors from the House, then there's you, the twins, and Renata, and lastly, there are the rest of us pawn like vampires."
"What are the affinities of the other three vampires?" I asked curiously.
He grinned. "Well, Jane - the little one you saw earlier, she can make you think you're in unbearable pain, like you're on fire or something. Her brother, Alec, can cut you off from your senses; make you blind, deaf, numb, etc. And Renata… well, I've heard Sulpicia calling her a shield of some sorts. She can make you feel distracted and wandering, when you're around her. So you could have intentions of ripping her head off, but when you get close you kind just forget about it and wander off. Turns you into a scatterbrain, you know?" He quirked a brow at me. "Jane used to be Aro's favourite, but now that you actually can light someone on fire just with a thought and are immune; you're like his shiny, new toy."
I slid down the wall until I was sitting on the floor, my head feeling a little dizzy. "I don't understand. Why… why? What's the point? Why is Sulpicia killing us, what does Aro want my obedience for, who-" My words finally caught up to me and something clicked.
Something I hadn't realized before.
Didn't completely grasp until now.
A small, but very large detail finally registering.
I looked up at Milo with wide, terrified eyes. "I'm… dead."
I felt so cold and couldn't hear my heart beating, couldn't feel it. I was so pale, there was no blood being pumped through my veins to give me colour. When I breathed in and out… something was missing. When I stopped and held my breath, after minutes and minutes of waiting, there was no burn. No urge to breathe in deep. My lungs didn't feel like they were going to explode. I felt no need for air. I didn't require it.
"I'm dead." I repeated.
When Milo had bitten me, when I felt myself fading into nothing… That was me dying.
And yet still alive.
Breathing, unnecessarily so, but still.
"Milo, I'm… I'm dead."
"You mentioned that." He deadpanned.
No pun intended.
I shook my head. "Yeah, but I mean, really dead. I have no heart beat. You… you killed me." My eyes snapped up to him again. "You killed me." I said slowly, feeling the words forming in my mouth, leaving a bitter taste. The rumbling came back again, this time louder, and I slowly got to my feet. "You stole my life from me." I growled.
Milo got to his feet, looking around nervously. "No, I didn't. I mean, I did, but… we-we already discussed this. I didn't have a choice, remember? I couldn't stop myself; I had to obey."
He leaped to the side just in time as I sailed through the air, tackling the sofa over backwards. I snarled, pushing myself to my feet, glaring at the boy now standing on the other side of the coffee table. He raised his hands, shaking his head as he slowly backed up. I couldn't stop myself, feeling my eyes narrow, knowing they looked dark and scary again, my lip curling back over my fangs. Milo stilled completely and we stared at each other, both waiting for the other to make their move. His fingers twitched-
The large oak door to my room exploded and shattered into large pieces, some of the stone wall flying out into the hallway with it and Milo. The boy landed on the floor, sliding a few feet into the wall on the other side. I snarled, blurring after him, only to slam to a stop in the door way. My feet and legs locked up, unwilling to move even a single inch outside the room, leaving me to snarl and glare at Milo as he brushed off the door and wall from himself and got to his feet. He took in my stance and growling, smoothing down his hair. "Right, well, I think we should continue this talk another time. I really am sorry, Bella." He said before taking off down the hall.
I spun around, panting and my chest heaving with my unbridled fury I had, not knowing what to do with it. I paced the room, back and forth, just getting more worked up until I snapped and grabbed one of the old lamps, hurling it at the wall.
The shattered glass and metal fell to the floor, the noise now echoing in the quiet room, as I stared at it.
Well that felt… better.
My eyes wandered to an expensive looking vase on another table, my lips twitching.
The High Priestess's office was dark that night; the light switch on the other side of the room gathering dust from the lack of use it had seen in the passed four days. Not even the desk lamp was on; one of the few sources of light in this building that was never off. It let the fledglings and even other Professors know that Esme was up in the office, her door open, free to talk to about anything they needed. However, for the passed four days, the only light to spill into the room had been from the sun or the moon as the hours passed. Esme preferred to be in the dark when she thought, to cancel out the noise and the light and any other distractions that would keep her from concentrating. In the dark, everything was quiet and closed off; there was just her and her breathing, nothing else disturbing her.
Now, the first three days, the darkness was mainly so she could mourn in peace. However, this passed twenty-four hours, she had locked herself up here to think. The only other person she ever let inside was Alice; not other fledglings or Professors, not even Carlisle. The pixie girl always came along with new information, other visions she had managed to force out, with Carlisle's help.
How Esme wished she was in her final year at the school, having learned to have more control over her affinity. She knew that by the time Alice had become a full grown Vampyre, she would be able to have her visions at will, everything from future natural disasters to the mundane little things like what Eve would wear that day. For now, all they could do was wait for a vision to hit, which took hours, if not days. But Carlisle had gotten another Professor to fill in teaching his class for him so that he could help Alice, once Esme had told him what happened.
Now everyone was just waiting on Esme to take action, make a plan, say something about all of this.
She had told them all she would need time, managed to persuade the others to get back to their classes while they waited, and go on with their lives the best they could. It was difficult for her to ask that of them; how was anyone supposed to carry on with life like normal after all that had happened? And how was she to plot a course of action to take?
What could they do, other than try to find Bella?
There was just too much unknown; where was she? Why was she there? Who was she with? Why hadn't she tried to contact them? How was she alive after rejecting the Change?
Of course, Alice flat out told her that she hadn't. That Sulpicia had done something to Bella, and now the pixie was demanding Esme to do something about the Professor. As much as she believed Alice -for the Chemistry Professor always did give Esme a bad vibe, always had this sinister air about her- she needed more concrete proof to take to Shekinah. It wasn't just a matter of Esme kicking Sulpicia out of her House, although Alice had more severe and drastic measures she wanted to take, Esme needed reason and had to go to Shekinah about this. If a Professor was killing fledglings -the thought stabbed at Esme's heart- then something needed to be done; it was a matter for the council.
For now, all she could do was bring in a few more Warriors and have them patrolling and looking for anything suspicious. And she would have to watch Sulpicia closely from now on, while not alerting her to the fact that she was being watched. There was also the little fact that Sulpicia couldn't have done this alone, not without people noticing; she would have needed more hands. Which meant she had accomplices with her; but who? Other Professors? Fledglings?
Esme's House was out of control and she had been oblivious to the dark schemes going on right under her nose.
How could she call herself a High Priestess anymore?
A quiet knock at the door brought Esme out of her thoughts and she quickly wiped her eyes, sitting up straight in her seat. "Come in." She said, already knowing it was Alice.
The little pixie slipped into the room soundlessly, taking in Esme's slightly puffy eyes. "I had another vision," She said quietly, walking into the office to set the canvas on the High Priestess's desk. The room was littered with them; of course, not all of them visions. Some were of the room Bella had been in, in the original vision, trying to place it to a house, or rather mansion would seem more fitting for the size of it. Others were just of Bella; how much she had changed. Her eyes normally, and her eyes when she was mad. This last one was of said girl sitting on a balcony of some sort, hugging her knees and staring out at the hedge maze below. Her eyes looked so sad and so scared there, Alice could barely draw them. "We need to hurry, Esme."
"I know," The older Vampyre murmured, touching the canvas. She sighed, rubbing her tired eyes and looked up at Alice desperately. "I don't know what to do, though."
Alice clenched her fists. "Well for one, you can kick Sulpicia's ass and demand to know what she did with my Bella." The girl seethed.
"I can't, Alice." Esme said, running her hands through her hair. "I would love nothing more than to do that," The truth in her words scared Esme, but she continued on. "But as a High Priestess, I cannot." Alice began pacing in front of the desk, trying to calm herself down before she snapped at Esme. She knew that the older Vampyre was trying to do what she could, or at least, trying to figure out what she could do, but that wasn't a lot. She was bound by code and responsibilities, her title and position as High Priestess chained her, giving her very little space and leeway to do what she wanted. Esme groaned, resting her forehead against her cool desk. "It doesn't make sense; why would she do this?"
Alice sighed, her shoulders sagging as she looked at her High Priestess who was nearly in tears again. "You should rest, Esme. Things will seem more clear when you wake up." She hoped, at least. Alice made her way back across the room and to the door, taking one last look at Esme before slipping out.
Esme just stared down at her desk, not having heard a word of what the pixie just said. The same thing kept replaying in her mind, over and over again. Why would she do this? And why Bella, of all people? She had an affinity, her Mark filled in already; she was special. Why risk suspicion, because it certainly made no sense to anyone that Bella had rejected the Change.
She had seen the confusion at the service.
Had Bella become a threat to her? How? Why? Had she figured out what Sulpicia was up to?
No; Bella would have come to Esme once she found out. Wouldn't she?
What else had she been doing lately?
Esme remembered her conversation with Professor Lexi during lunch, just before Bella had… had… Well, apparently Bella had gotten into a discussion about Werewolves with her, and had seemed pretty worked up about it. Esme got to her feet, turning to scan her book case behind her desk. She pulled out a few different books of mythology and legends, sat back down, and turned on her desk lamp.
If she could retrace Bella's steps and thoughts, maybe she would find something.
Lunch was over and class was starting again as Alice left Esme's office and quickened her step. She was headed back to Eve's dorm room, where she knew the others would be, regretting that she didn't have better news for them this time. Everyone was getting anxious; no one liked just sitting around, waiting for Esme, but what could they do?
No one really questioned her as she entered the girls' dorm while everyone else was heading out to class; the pixie hadn't attended one class since Bella's "death". No one wanted to know why, or push her for reasons; everyone knew that her and Bella, while fighting often, were close friends. Alice raced up the stairs and to Eve's door, knocking once before entering. She looked around the crowded room at everyone, glad that they were still here waiting for her. She had been scared that once classes started up again; they would actually take Esme's advice and go back to their lives normally. But they were all still here, looking up at her eagerly.
Edward sat on Eve's bed against the headboard, with Jasper sitting between his legs, laying back on his chest. The two had been even more openly affectionate after all that had happened; taking comfort in each other. Eve sat next to them, her legs crossed while she fiddled anxiously with her hair. Emmett sat on the floor, his back against Bella's bed with his legs stretched out, his feet tucked underneath Eve's bed. Rosalie sat on Bella's bed, her position similar to Eve's, while she played with Emmett's hair. Cole was closer to the headboard, hugging one knee and resting his chin on it, Raven sitting in the window, making sure the curtain was closed all the time so no one could look in and see what they were doing.
"What's the news?" Raven asked, tilting her head to the side. Perched like she was, her dark hair hanging down over her shoulders and in her face, she was the epitome of her name. Quite raven like. It was kind of odd to see, and distracted Alice for a minute, making her forget what she was going to say.
She shook her head, sliding down the door to sit on the floor, and sighed. "She still hasn't figured out what she's going to do."
"What?" Eve said, her voice and face distraught. "It's been a whole day, though, and she doesn't even have a clue yet? We can't just sit here all day, every day, waiting. Bella's out there."
Raven nodded. "Yeah! Why isn't she interrogating Sulpicia? Or, at least, locking her in some basement so she can't do this to anyone else while Esme figures out what to do."
Rosalie rolled her eyes, much to everyone's annoyance. "She can't do that; she's a High Priestess, not some Godfather in the mafia."
"I suspect Esme is trying to figure out who else is in the picture." Edward said, clearing his throat. He received a couple of questioning looks and a few eyebrow raises. "Well, she couldn't have done this alone. How would she have snuck bodies off of the House grounds without Esme noticing? And Bella is in some fancy building somewhere, expensive looking, not chained up or locked in, while Sulpicia is here teaching class. How would she keep them where they are? There has to be more people in on this."
Cole scratched his chin. "How is Esme going to do that? She's been talking and living here at the House with these people for at least a century now, all the while never noticing anything off or wrong. They've obviously got excellent poker faces and know how to hide their tracks."
"She'll need our help, then." Jasper said, sitting up. He nodded, a light bulb going off in his head and soon Edward's, looking around at everyone. "Yeah, Ed can read minds and can get an inside scoop on what they're really thinking, I can push emotions onto them; make em' feel like talking and bein' honest, and Raven with her Spirit affinity; we'll all be more susceptible to picking up on suspicious and dark vibes."
Eve pouted a little. "What does that leave the rest of us? Just sitting here, waiting again."
Alice shook her head. "No, there's still things we can do." She looked up at Cole who sat up, waiting for her orders. "Esme won't like what we're doing; she just wants us to go back to normal and let her and the adult Vamps handle things. So you just make sure she's distracted with whatever she decides to do, keep her off our trails, and fill us in on whatever she does and finds out." As an older fledgling, he had less classes, and it wouldn't be odd for him to hang around Esme with, seemingly, nothing to do. Plus, he just didn't have that look that said 'I've got ulterior motives'. Alice looked over to Rosalie. "You said you knew where a bunch of people have hedge mazes?"
The blonde nodded, making a face. "The High Class end of town; people up there seem to think it makes you important if you have a hedge maze. Bunch of snobs."
Emmett furrowed his brows. "Don't your parents live up there with a maze?"
She sighed, ignoring the snickers. "Yes,"
Alice nodded, looking around the room. "Alright, well Rosalie, Emmett, Eve, and I will go up there during the days and try to find this maze."
Everyone seemed eager and excited at the prospect of having something to do finally; it was only Edward who appeared to have a problem. "Excuse me, but I have a question." He met Alice's eyes. "What happens if you find the maze and mansion, or if we find someone working with Sulpicia? What do we do?"
No one seemed to have thought of that or knew the answer to his question as they all looked at each other. If they told Esme; she would make them stop and probably keep tabs on them afterwards. Alice bit her lip, looking at them all. "We can't tell her, or anyone, until we have all of what we need. We've got to figure out everyone that's involved with Sulpicia here at the house, find out where Bella is, and what's going on, before we tell Esme. Then she will actually be able to do something."
Conversation after that flowed, everyone opting to stay rather than go to class and try to pretend everything was normal and fine.
Seems like these chapters are getting shorter and shorter. I'll try harder on the next one to make it longer, but this just seemed like the place to end this one. If I kept going, I would have had to continue on, and on, and on until I found another good place to stop, and then the chapter would have been freaking long. Which is fine and dandy, but that would have taken a while to write, and I didn't want to make you guys wait forever again.
Review, though. Tell me what you think, how you feel, your favourite jolly rancher, etc, etc.