Disclaimer: I do not own Twilight, nor any of its characters or franchises, I am not making money for this, so please don't sue me.
I repeated that mantra over and over as the venom raced through my veins, changing, molding, and compressing the cells of my body into a substance harder than diamond.
If I started now, I'd never stop. What was left of my sanity would be consumed as greedily as the acid that, even now, destroyed my last vestiges of humanity.
Abandoned. It was the only way to describe the way I'd been unceremoniously dropped from the lives of my ex-boyfriend and his family.
'You're no good for me Bella.'
For months those words haunted me. I was broken. I didn't eat, I didn't sleep; I barely breathed. There was nothing of me left; he'd taken it all with him. Then it happened. I was lying in bed, only vaguely aware of my surroundings when I heard it.
It was a stilted, jagged thing. Filled with the kind of hopeless despair I was all too familiar with. Slowly, achingly, I rose from the mattress and padded down the stairs. What I saw in the living room pierced through my fog of pain with the deadly accuracy of a .22 caliber round.
My father – my lovely, awkward, devoted father – was crying. Not the quiet tears he usually shed, but the full and heartrending sobs of a man at the end of his rope. For the first time since he left, I really looked at my father. Charlie's hair was disheveled, and it appeared that he hadn't shaved in weeks. His eyes were rimmed and red; a half empty bottle of vodka was clutched in his fingers as he cried into his hand.
Like the sun coming out from behind the clouds, I realized what I was doing to the people who loved me. I'd been so consumed in my own loss, I'd forgotten about the others I still held dear. I was the only one to blame for reducing my father to this mess.
"Dad." I croaked; my voice hoarse from disuse as my eyes filled with tears. Charlie's head snapped up, his expression a combination of fear and relief. Haltingly, I crossed the room to his side, and before I knew it he had me in his arms. We were both crying tears of love and heartbreak. All the feelings I'd kept bottled inside came rushing out as I grasped my father's shirt.
When I woke the next morning I felt empty, drained, but it was the good kind of empty. I felt renewed, like it was the start of a new life. The gaping hole he had left behind still hurt, but I was healing. Suddenly, the possibility that I'd one day be complete didn't seem like an impossible dream.
'It will be as if I'd never existed.'
If only that were true. If only his absence was all it took to completely erase all trace of the supernatural from my life. Unfortunately, his promise meant nothing to Victoria. With the same abruptness that he'd left with, she entered.
She didn't care that he'd gone.
She didn't care that I'd finally scraped together some semblance of a life.
She simply didn't care.
As inescapable as the weather, she found me. I was alone at the time, sitting in the middle of Edward's meadow. Yes, Edward's meadow. I could finally speak his name without a sharp jab of pain. The very fact that I could stand in the middle of what I once considered our meadow without curling into a little ball of grief was wonderful, freeing - even blissful. Now that I was clear of the emotional quagmire of Edward's leaving, I could finally see his actions objectively.
He left to protect me.
Of course, he broke my heart when he did, but I could understand his reasons even if I didn't agree with them. I loved him truly, deeply, but if he'd ever loved me as I'd loved him; he wouldn't have left in the first place.
As always, I was so oblivious to my surroundings that I didn't notice her proximity until it was far too late to think of doing anything about it. Not that any action on my part would have won my freedom.
I first spotted her as she calmly glided across the clearing toward me. My breath hitched as the sun came out, reflecting off her skin like multifaceted diamonds. Every move and expression screamed 'predator' and while one part of me realized I was about to die, I couldn't help but admire the beautiful form it took. Tears streamed down my face as I began to laugh. The irony of the situation was not lost on me. Edward leaves to keep me safe, but unknowingly hands me over on a silver platter. The universe sure had a sense of humor.
Poor Charlie, who would take care of him when I was gone?
I guess my sudden laughing fit confused Victoria, because she halted and stared at me with a peculiar expression.
"I'm sorry," I sniffed, wiping my eyes with my arm. I tried not to think too much about why the hell I was apologizing to my would-be murderer. "I didn't mean to laugh. I was just thinking about the irony of the situation." Her face twisted into a visage of anger and grief before she had me dangling by the throat.
"What's so funny?" She growled; her crimson pools the color of dried blood.
"Just," I choked, barely able to breathe because of her vice-like grip. "He leaves to save my soul and keep me safe from vampires, but here you are anyway."
"They're gone?" Her voice was curiously devoid of emotion. I nodded, afraid of what this change in her attitude would entail for me. "He left?" she clarified again. Once more I nodded. "So you're telling me, that he killed my James for nothing?" Victoria roared in rage and suddenly I was airborne. I closed my eyes as the earth rushed up to meet me.
I came down hard.
A vicious 'crack' filled the clearing and suddenly there was pain shooting up my right arm as I skidded across the ground, stray rocks shredded my fragile human skin before I came to a stop. Panting and moaning in agony, I made no effort to get to my feet. Escape was futile, and I didn't want to prolong my suffering. Blood was trickling from the scrapes covering my back and sides when Victoria flashed toward me. Her eyes were as black as a moonless night. Before either of us could do or say anything, Victoria whipped her head around, her eyes focusing in the distance. I thought I could hear the sound of wolves howling. Odd. In half a second her gaze was back on me as she glared hatefully.
"I'm not done with you yet." She hissed, before scooping me into her arms. I screamed as pain flared all along my body. I could feel my broken bones grinding against each other before I fell into blessed unconscious.
I awoke to fire.
Burning, spreading, it ate away my flesh with invisible flames. I convulsed as a fresh wave of torment rippled across my nerves. I knew this pain. I'd experienced it once before in the ballet studio after James bit me. I had vampire venom in my veins. I wanted to scream. I wanted to cry and shout and yell, but instinctively I knew I'd lose myself if I did.
Through the haze of pain, I noticed I was lying in an abandoned factory. Broken pottery and outdated machines filled most of the space. Glass windows on the roof let in the moonlight. It was because of this, that I was able to spot Victoria at all, quivering as I was on the floor.
Sauntering over, I noticed she held a used syringe as she crouched down beside me.
"It's alright to scream Isabella," she cooed; her words like honey with an underlying hint of malice. "I know I did. I screamed for three days." Victoria paused as she rolled the needle between her fingers, and it was only then that I noticed the remains of what looked like an amber liquid in the barrel. "I tried very hard to think of the most horrible things to do to you when I finally got you, but nothing could ever hurt as much as vampire venom." The grin she gave me was cruel and tinged with madness. "I wanted to bite you myself, but unlike James, I don't have the control necessary to stop. It wouldn't do for me to kill you prematurely."
Without warning, she reached out and wrenched my broken bone back into place. The additional pain almost broke my self-control. Instead I shook, badly, tears running down my face as I fought to hold on to my frayed sanity. Victoria tsked, disappointed with my reaction.
"It's nothing personal, you understand." She went on to explain, before tossing the needle to the side. I heard it shatter somewhere in the distance. "You're only a means to an end. Your mate is the one I really want." A growl escaped porcelain lips and her fingers tore gouges in the concrete near my head. Chuckling darkly, she locked eyes with me as I struggled not to get dragged below the surface of my agony. "It's beautiful really, you provided me with the idea you know. Your mate must be a religious man. My James never was. I thought, what better way to take revenge than to damn the 'soul' of the woman he loves. I'm sure he'll agonize over how you suffered, and how you'll continue to suffer in the hell he's condemned you to. Of course, you won't be around to witness it. By then you'll be a pile of ash on the floor, but I thought I'd let you think about it." The smile she gave me was far too sweet for someone speaking such awful words.
Eventually, I was unable to keep my eyes open, and retreated into myself. Lost to the pain, I focused on my heartbeat. An eternity later, I felt my last claim to mortality shudder and cease. The flames were gone.
A snarl broke my reverie and caused my instincts to take over. I launched myself off the floor and across the room as a staggering boom rocked the foundations of the building. A cloud of pulverized concrete billowed from the place I'd laid not seconds before. I hissed, a reaction born more from confusion than actual anger.
Then I saw her, the demon with flame-red hair. Something clicked in my brain and suddenly I knew who I was, and why I was here. I felt good. I felt strong, no, better than strong. I felt powerful. However, despite my newfound confidence, I knew I wouldn't stand a chance against a seasoned vampire. No matter what, I was still just Bella. Walking correctly seemed beyond my expertise let alone fighting. I tensed, prepared to flee, when Victoria did something that would change my life forever.
As she crouched to spring, her foot shifted, breaking shards of clay beneath her feet.
The sound reverberated. It caused something to resonate in my chest. A high pitched ringing filled my ears and I clutched at them, disoriented and afraid as my body began to fade in and out, like a ghost in a B class movie.
"No!" The shout came as if from a long distance. Everything felt muted, dull. Even my sight got blurry before everything turned white.
Hungary - 1003 A.D.
I wish I could say I 'woke up' in the way a human does, but it is more accurate to describe my experience as a slow return of the senses. Opening my eyes, I found myself in the middle of a huge forest. Beech and fir trees stretched as far as the eye could see. It was winter and a thick layer of snow covered the ground and surrounding vegetation. Night had fallen, casting eerie shadows by moonlight.
What happened? Where was I? How did I get here? Most importantly, where was Victoria? I glanced around warily before taking stock of myself. I was still wearing my jeans, running shoes, and ripped hoodie. In fact, my hoodie smelled good. Like really good. Reaching around to pull at the material on my back, I accidentally ripped off my sleeve.
Obviously I still wasn't used to my strength. I was going to have to be very careful or I'd end up breaking things, or worse, people. Examining my sleeve, I found several dark stains on the cloth. After a moment of examination, I realized what it was.
Suddenly my throat burned with thirst. I would compare it to drinking a cup of acid and it was all I could do not to rip apart the cotton in a frenzy of bloodlust. Then I remembered how Edward used to deal with this problem and stopped breathing altogether. I really needed to get new clothes. I also had to figure out how to hunt if I wanted to get close enough to a town to find out where I was without massacring the settlement. God, I really hope Alice will see this and help me out of this situation. Not that she was around when Victoria showed up, I thought somewhat bitterly. Even now it pained me to think badly of the pixie, but then again I wasn't the one who left her best friend alone and defenseless against a homicidal vampire.
Leaping with instinctual ease, I climbed the highest tree I could find and took a look at the surrounding area.
Trees as far as the eyes could see. I didn't recognize any of the mountains. Where the heck was I? Then, I spotted an orange glow in the distance. My spirits lifted. Civilization? Dropping soundlessly to the ground, I decided to try my hand at finding prey. Part of me felt bad for having to kill defenseless animals; but the burn was insistent and I wasn't about to kill a person if I could help it.
Listening intently, I breathed deeply, honing in on a herd of heartbeats not far away. A tangy pungent smell filled my nostrils and I frowned at the unappealing scent. The only way I could describe it was like eating a fruit that had barely passed the line from ripe to old. Unfortunately a starving man cannot be picky, so I ran toward it. Breaking through the tree line, I spotted a herd of elk huddled for warmth. Letting my body take over, I sprang onto the back of the closest buck and sank my teeth into his warm neck. Blood blossomed in my mouth and I drank greedily. Despite its initial repugnance, I drank every drop. Two more deer died in this manner before I felt confident enough to brave the town.
Running in the direction of what I assumed where city lights, I came to an abrupt halt when I was close enough to see the source of the glow.
Houses were burning.
I use that term lightly, because they were more like straw and mud huts than houses, but the thatched roofs of every home were ablaze with deadly flames. Men and women were screaming down below, scrambling to put out the blaze as men with red crosses on their chests smashed what looked like clay tablets against rocks and homes. They were all yelling in some strange gibberish that made it painfully obvious I wasn't in an English speaking country anymore.
Digging my nails into the nearest tree to avoid descending upon the masses of excited villagers, I watched as a family of four escaped the boundaries of the town. One was a relatively young man and his wife, who was carrying a toddler in her arms as a five-year-old boy scampered around her legs. They looked European, with fair skin and hair. They were all wearing thick animal skin boots and coats, their breath was clouding the air and it made me all the more aware of my immunity to the cold. To me it felt like a fresh spring night.
I was just about to return my attention to the fires when the toddler caught my gaze. Eyes like a summer sky peered out at me from under her coat. Her head shifted and a few curls tinted a reddish-gold escaped her cap to frame a small dainty face. Undoubtedly, she was the most beautiful child I'd ever seen.
Hesitantly, I raised my hand and waved. The shy smile I got in response was like warm sunlight on a cloudy day. Unable to hold my gaze, she hid her face in her mother's cloak as they disappeared into the night.
I barely noticed when I faded away.
A/N: I've decided that the official theme song for this fic is 'A Thousand Years' by Christina Perri, despite the fact that I automatically want to reject anything remotely related to the Twilight movies. Then why is it the official theme song you ask?
Mostly because I feel this song most accurately reflects the overarching story of Temp Tide. Especially Tanya, since she is (literally) a thousand years old.
On another note, while I promise not to abandon this story, I cannot promise there won't be long periods of inactivity. Having said that, I don't want to get PM's cussing me out for not updating fast enough. If you're ok with that, great, if not keep your criticisms to yourself. This is fan-fiction, I'm not obligated to do anything.