A/N: Our story begins in Italy, when Bella and Edward reunite for the first time since our heroine had been left in the forest... Enjoy!
Chapter 1 - I Don't Suppose
"I don't suppose there's any chance that you've changed your mind? Your talent would be an excellent addition to our little company." Aro asked hopefully.
"I'd... rather... not." Edward said each word with deliberateness.
"Alice? Would you perhaps be interested in joining with us?" Aro asked, still sounding hopeful.
"No, thank you." Alice said simply.
"And you, Bella?" Aro raised his eyebrows.
I stared at Aro blankly. Was he joking?
"What?" Caius asked, his voice flat.
"Caius, surely you see the potential. I haven't seen a prospective talent so promising since we found Jane and Alec. Can you imagine the possibilities when she is one of us?" Aro replied calmly, not taking his eyes from mine.
Edward was beginning to vibrate with a growl. If I didn't answer soon he might get himself killed. I'd come here to save him. I didn't want him dead after all the trouble Alice and I went through to keep him alive.
"No, thank you," I spoke up.
"That's unfortunate. Such a waste." Aro sighed, walking back towards his throne. Edward began to hiss something, but I wasn't listening. Before I realized what I was doing, I interrupted Edward's 'join or die' rant to get Aro's attention.
In a whisper, I called for him to wait. I was petrified at what I was about to do.
Edward looked at me, shocked. Alice looked confused.
"Yes, Bella?" Aro inquired, turning to look at me with a thousand questions in his eyes.
The second his eyes locked with mine, I was his. I was trapped, and I didn't even know how it had happened. I couldn't walk away, not after what he'd just offered. Maybe it was Chelsea breaking my ties to the outside world, but I didn't care. From the second I had entered the room I had felt like I would never be leaving, not as a human anyway. His eye contact gave me the confidence and strength to do that which I so utterly wanted to do.
"I would be honored to join the guard..." And with a final word and a bow, I gave him everything, "Master."
"Magnificent!" He boomed, and at the same time, Edward shouted.
"Jane, my dear." He said, ignoring Edward's outburst. "Please take Bella to..." He suddenly stopped midway through his command and tilted his head, looking at me quizzically. It appeared he was trying to make a decision. I stood as motionless as I could, unable to break away from his penetrating gaze.
"Brother?" Caius asked from his throne, obviously questioning Aro's pause.
"Take her to my quarters, Jane." He finished at last. At his words, all Hell broke loose between the three vampire rulers.
"You cannot be serious!" Caius all but spat as he flashed to his feet. "This one?"
"Yes, Caius." Aro replied calmly, still looking at me as a smile lit his eyes. "This one."
"If it is your wish, Brother," Marcus said slowly, no longer looking bored, but cautious and in awe. "It will be done; however, I do believe a little more deliberation on your part couldn't hurt. We have time before these things must be decided."
"I thank you for your concern, brothers, but I am firm in my decision." Aro replied smoothly, and then he nodded to Jane who began to walk towards me.
I did not understand exactly what Aro's decision was, but I could tell it was big. What did Marcus mean by 'these things'? Why was Aro looking at me this way? What was it the immortal kings were so passionate about? All my curiosity was thrown to the side however when Edward flipped me over his shoulder to hide me behind him.
"You will not take her." Edward hissed in Jane's direction. Before Jane could use her ability on Edward to get me away, I simply walked around him and in Jane's direction. At this, Edward recoiled from me and stilled in surprise, and Jane smirked at him as she held out her hand for me. I took it without hesitation. Jane began to lead me away.
We exited the throne room, and even when Edward called my name, I didn't look back. I could hear as Aro bid them goodbye and had Alec and Felix escort them out.
With my breathing and footsteps as the only sounds in the empty hallways, I had time to think. When I had told Aro to wait, Alice had looked confused; when I had accepted to join the Volturi, her eyes had widened, and she had frozen in horror to never move or say another word through the ordeal. Edward had been shocked, and then he had started to panic. I was as baffled as they were. I had no idea what had possessed me to do what I had done, but I did not regret it. I had only declined at first because I thought I wouldn't be able to be away from Edward again, but as Aro started to stride back to his throne three things hit me.
One, I realized just how much I had been affected by the Cullen's leaving. I had moved on from Edward. I had moved on like he'd intended. I no longer loved him. I also no longer trusted the family. If they had all (minus Rosalie) loved me as part of their family, they wouldn't have left. If Alice was really my best friend and sister, if Carlisle and Esme truly saw me as their daughter, if Emmett and Jasper had seen me as a sister, and if Edward had seen me as a life companion... they would not have left me. I had accepted this. I had moved on, and I was no longer tied to the Cullen family.
Two, I had no where to go, not really. Since I was no longer connected with the Cullens, since I was too broken for Jacob, and since Charlie didn't know the things I knew... I belonged no where.
Three, I was in on the secret, and I couldn't take that back. I would never again belong in the world I'd been born into, and I would forever long to stop living as a mortal with knowledge of immortals. I longed to join a world. I wanted to become part of this world I had accidentally discovered. The way I saw it, there was no better way to enter the world of vampires than to enter under its leaders, the Volturi.
"Bella?" Jane said, bringing me out of my thoughts. It was then that I noticed we had stopped walking, and she was holding a door open for me.
"Sorry," I said quickly, walking into the room. "Thank you."
"Bella?" Jane asked again, but this time more softly. "Can I talk to you?"
"Of course. " I replied, curious as to what she had to say.
"First, I am sorry I was rude to you. Second, I could tell you did not know the significance of the discussion between the Masters back in the throne room." Jane said, sounding like she felt strange telling me this. "I believe you have the right to know why you were brought to this room." I nodded to let her know I was following her. "All three of the Master's are very selective when it comes to who they change themselves. My brother, Alec, and I were changed by Marcus along with Chelsea. Athenodora, Didyme, Demitri, Renata, Sulpica, and one other were changed by Caius." Jane paused to take an unnecessary deep breath. "Master Aro is the most selective of them all. He has only changed two people in the whole course of his existence, Caius and Marcus." She looked right into my eyes, and I saw a mixture of fear, slight jealousy, and a whole lot of awe. "I was told to bring you into this room because Master Aro wishes to change you himself."
I stumbled backward and into a chair beside a bookshelf. If what Jane said was true (and I had no doubt it was) this was a very, very big deal.
"What does it mean?" I asked Jane once I'd found my voice.
"I do not know." Jane replied with a slight shake of her head, still staring at me, unblinking, with the same emotional mix in her eyes. "It could mean many things. One thing is for sure though. Master Aro must believe you special to grace you with such an honor."
I nodded mutely. I didn't know what to think. Jane was right though. It was a huge honor.
"Thank you for telling me, Jane." I said in a voice barely above a whisper due to shock. I was amazed I had been able to speak at all.
"You're welcome, Bella. You are family now, you know?" Jane replied with a small smile before leaving the room and closing the door behind her.
"Please consider everything before you do this." Caius said fiercely. "You have never been one for reckless decisions."
"I have considered everything." Aro replied, still trying to reassure his brother. "She is important. I have only ever felt this way about a future member since changing the two of you. I ask only for you to trust my judgment."
"What if she betrays us to the Romanians or the Cullens?" Caius asked. "What if you are known as the creator of the one who led the Volturi to their downfall?"
"I can vouch for her on that mark." Marcus said, speaking up for the first time since the two Cullens left. "She is bonded to no one outside of these walls, not even the Cullens. The closest thing to a bond she has is the love she has for her father."
"Outside these walls?" Aro repeated in surprise. "Does that mean she has already bonded to one of the guard?"
"She just created a very strong bond of trust with Jane." Marcus answered dully.
"Any others?" Aro questioned.
"Yes. It is very strange though." Marcus replied, knitting his brows together. "I do not know how to describe it. Take a look." He said, lifting his hand to Aro.
"That is curious indeed." Aro said, releasing Marcus's hand. "It makes me even more sure of my decision. It will be my venom that changes her. This one's special."
At that, Aro glided out the doors and to his chambers.
After Jane left, I had decided I might as well make myself comfortable. I walked over to the windowsill and gazed out over the quiet city. I heard the ringing of a church bell, and it reminded me of one of my favorite songs that mentions a 'mission bell'. I began humming the song, and by the end of it I was singing quietly to myself.
"Mirrors on the ceiling,
The pink champagne on ice
And she said 'we are all just prisoners here, of our own device'
And in the master's chambers,
They gathered for the feast
They stab it with their steely knives,
But they just can't kill the beast.
Last thing I remember, I was
Running for the door
I had to find the passage back
To the place I was before
'relax,' said the night man,
'We are programmed to receive.'"
A deep voice finished from the doorway. I surprised myself by not jumping. "'You can checkout any time you like, but you can never leave.' It is a good choice of song." Aro commented as I turned to look at him. He walked slowly to stand beside me and peer out the window. I focused my attention back on the city.
"I've always liked it." I replied.
"Would you mind if I shared my favorite part of another song I've always enjoyed?" Aro asked, turning to me.
"I'd love to hear it." I said, glad that he seemed to like me enough to share even this kind of thing with me.
"'And when the night is cloudy, there is still a light, that shines on me, shine until tomorrow, let it be.'" Aro sung softly, trailing of at the end. I decided to finish the verse.
"'I wake up to the sound of music, mother Mary comes to me, speaking words of wisdom, let it be.'" I completed with a sigh of contentment. There were a couple minutes of comfortable silence. Aro suddenly shifted to face me.
"How are you fairing?" He asked sincerely.
"I'm fine." I automatically replied, shocked by his question, and then I realized I really was fine. I decided to elaborate, because Aro didn't look convinced. "I do not belong in that life anymore. I will miss the old times, but they are memories now. I already feel content and at home here. If anything, I'm better than fine." I said with the first real smile I'd had in months.
"In that case, I believe it would be best to change you sooner rather than later. Would now be alright with you?" Aro inquired.
"Now would be perfect." I said. "Who will be changing me?"
"I will." He replied. I tried to seem shocked.
"A-Are you sure, Master?" I didn't have to fake the stutter. Hearing him say it for himself was enough to send my mind rolling, especially now that I understood the significance.
"Of course." Aro looked at me like he was trying to read me. "Why do you ask?"
"It's just that..." I stopped and took a deep, shuttering breath. I spoke my next words to the window panes. "I'm nothing special. I certainly do not deserve such an honor."
"You are wrong, Isabella." The way he said my full name made me look at him in the reflection on the window. He stared right back, eyes blazing, as he continued. "You will be special. I can feel it." His words sent a strange chill through my body. I didn't like it, but for some reason, I wanted him to make me feel it again.
"If you are sure you wish to be the one to change me, I would, of course, be honored." I said, bowing my head, still not convinced I was worth it.
"Take my hand." Aro spoke softly, backing up a step and extending his hand to me. I placed my hand in his and allowed him to lead me to what I assumed was his bed. He gestured for me to get on, so I laid on my back and took a deep breath.
I closed my eyes and prepared myself. I was ready for this. I'd been ready for this since I'd fallen in love with Edward that day in the meadow. This was my future.
"Are you ready?" I opened my eyes to the sound of Aro's voice. He was standing on my left side staring into my eyes for the answer to his question.
"Yes." I replied, the strength in my voice causing me to smile.
"I will be here when it's over." Aro told me, also smiling. "Oh, I almost forgot. It's been so long." He exclaimed, sitting beside me on the bed and taking my hand. "I had Caius and Marcus do this when I changed them also. You still need to say your last words as a human. They can be anything. Maybe you have something you've always wanted to say but couldn't? Maybe you secretly hate me and want to tell me to burn?" Aro smiled at his own joke and became serious again. "Anything at all, Bella, and then I will change you."
It didn't take me long to decide what I wanted to say. I smiled up to Aro and quoted lyrics as my last human words.
"'It's in the blood.
I met my love before I was born.
He wanted love,
I taste of blood.
He bit my lip, and drank my warmth,
From years before.'"
I smiled even wider as Aro's laughter filled the room. Moving my hair away from my neck he looked down at me, shaking his head.
"I was wrong." Aro said, still grinning like a mad man. "You won't be special. You already are special." At that he leaned down, and his teeth sunk into my neck. The pain began, and it continued for three long days.
A.N.: Well, here it is! Personally, I'm really excited for when little Bella completes the change.
SONGS USED IN ORDER: Hotel California by The Eagles, Let It Be by The Beatles, Love Like Winter by AFI... and as with Twilight, I own no part of them.