A/N: This is a short one, apologies. PLEASE READ THE NOTE AT THE BOTTOM! ITS VERY IMPORTANT! Okay, read on! :)
It seemed almost inevitable that she should end up in the meadow where she and Bella had hunted together the first time. It felt like an eternity ago, but the bones of their meals still lay where they had fallen. Alice moved blindly among them, walking until she came to the boulder they had watched the sunset from. She smiled faintly at the memory, taking it all in as her new train of thought re-illuminated it. As it took on a new light, a new form, Alice fidgeted. Was this what she wanted? Was this what Bella wanted? Even if somehow Alice really was Bella's soul mate, if she and her family weren't just over thinking things, who says Bella would agree? She was the Queen of the whole world, she deserved a King, not a broken little vampire.
Alice slowly, gracelessly, clambered to the top of the boulder and sat there with her arms wrapped around her knees, resting her shin atop them. Her eyes stung with tears that wouldn't fall and she shuddered. She was lonely, all the time and it nearly consumed her. She had almost forgotten what it felt like to be lonely ever since they met Bella at the border, and true to her family's words, she hadn't been so happy in longer than she could remember. Even if Bella wasn't her mate, she could still be friends with her, right?
Only now that it had been brought up, Alice couldn't' help but wonder and hope. What if, what if? The idea was taunting, dancing about in her mind so gracefully and cruelly that she couldn't grasp it, couldn't drag it down. Pictures moved in her mind, behind her eyes, of her and Bella holding hands and cuddling under blankets, of dancing in elegant robes and laying half asleep, curled around tiny baby dragons. But no, Bella would have, deserved, better than a tiny broken vampire.
The sun had long since set and the world was bathed in milky indigo and navy, lavender and silver hues. The grass glittered with dew and she traced her footsteps where they had indented the grass back to the woodline she had come from. To her alarm, a pale figure stood just within the shadows of the trees, leaning against one in stark contrast.
"Bella!" Alice said, startled. She wiped quickly at her eyes and forced a smile. "What are you doing here?" Her tone was happy, but the choked emotion would not be restrained.
Bella didn't answer at first. She walked across the field as slowly as Alice had, out pacing her steps with a longer stride. When she came to the base of the rock, she looked up and Alice quivered. Her eyes were a striking shade of electric blue, her dark hair tousled in the wind. Her eyes were wide and full of concern. "Can I come up?"
"Of course," Alice said quietly, scooting over to make room. She patted the stone beside her and forced another smile. "I don't take up much room."
Bella leaped upwards, clearing the distance in an easy bound. She settled in, but did not look at the iron hued clouds above them. "Are you alright, Alice?"
"Of course!" Alice beamed.
Bella deadpanned, "Then why doesn't that smile reach your eyes?"
Alice froze, the smile slowly fading to a quivering pout. Her eyes filled again, against her will. She cursed them in her mind. "I mean- I- It's not as if..." Her chin quivered so fiercely that she could not speak. Instead she stopped and turned away from the older girl, drawing in a long, shuddering breath.
"The truth, Alice. What's wrong?"
Alice avoided the question and asked instead, "How did you find me here? Did my family send you after me?"
She felt Bella shrug. "No, they didn't. I haven't been back to the house yet, my wings just brought me here. You looked so sad..."
Alice shuddered again, and Bella reached out to wrap an arm around her shoulders and bring her into her side.
"Was it the boys, or Rose, or... I don't know. I've never seen you anything but happy and bubbly. I don't understand."
"No, I did this to myself, I guess. I was just... Thinking." Alice didn't want to tell her anything, having convinced herself that Bella was not meant for her. She didn't want to be shot down.
"It must have been about something pretty serious," Bella murmured quietly. "Maybe I can help?"
Alice shook her head furiously and rubbed at her eyes with the heels of her hands.
"I can't accept that," Bella said. Her voice held a slight smile, one Alice felt instead of saw. "I always want to help you, especially after everything you've done for me. I can't just let someone like you be this unhappy, even if cheering you up takes all night. So come on, talk to me."
Alice shivered, close to breaking. She shook her head once more, unable to disagree or lie or anything that might save her.
Bella sighed and ran a hand through her hair. She murmured, in a new tone, "I'm serious, Alice. The dragon in me could feel how upset you were from miles away, why do you think I'm back so early? You're that important to me. I'll do anything."
Alice mumbled, "You're important to me too." She didn't know if she intended the other girl to hear her or not, but she did.
"I'm glad to hear that." Bella paused a long time, and Alice could feel her on the cusp of saying something. Finally, "This... might be the wrong time to talk about this. Uhm, it probably is, but my inner dragon is going crazy and I just have this feeling in my gut and-" She cut off, realizing she was rambling. "I've been wanting to talk to you about something. It's really important."
Intrigued, Alice looked up at her. Bella looked scared, close to terrified, and her cheeks were tinged with rose. She looked nervous. "No, it's okay," Alice said. "Hit me."
Bella rubbed at the back of her neck. "Well... And don't think I'll forget about figuring out why you're upset, only I think if I don't say this now I'll crawl out of my skin, even though you'll probably not want much to do with me after-"
"Bella, you're rambling," Alice said with a gentle smile. The girl caught up sharp, but Alice went on. "And I don't think you could make me hate you even if you tried."
Bella laughed nervously. "I hope you're right. Well, anyways, I guess I should just tell you. The truth, that is. I mean, not that I've been lying, only I didn't know before, or I guess I didn't understand what everything meant. But then in the cave with Bjorggrashk and even in the last few days, like back when we went flying for the first time, remember that energy? I had no idea what it was, and I'm still not sure that I do-"
"Bella!" Alice broke in with a laugh. Her speech kept speeding up and she seemed to be getting farther and farther off topic.
"Sorry!" Bella said, blushing scarlet. She looked Alice in the eyes for a long moment and when they locked, something kindled. Alice felt her dead heart give one solid thump, then Bella leaned in and kissed her.
Colors burst behind my eyes at the feeling of Alice's lips against mine. It was on par with, if not better than, the feeling of raising the eggs, or raising Bjorggrashk from the ground. The elation filled me full to the brim and then some, expanding me with every gasping, hastily drawn breath. My fingers tingled and began to rove outwards, finally landing on Alice's shoulders and drawing her closer to me. They slid up her slender, cool neck to cradle her jaw and I noticed with pleasant surprise that hers mimicked mine. Her grip was firm, her lips intense and needy, giving back everything I handed out twofold.
I broke away moments later, gasping and dazed. My body sang with power I had not felt since waking up, that I had only briefly felt simmering at my finger tips when I glimpsed my past life. It now jumped from joint to joint in sparks, visibly crawling over the surface of my skin. I gasped as it tingled within me, alive and begging to be wielded. Slowly, it ebbed away, slinking back into the cage within me where it had rested peacefully until now. I tried to follow it but it slipped from my reach, and I found I could not draw it back.
"Woah..." Alice murmured, dazed. I was not sure if it was from the magical display, the kiss, or maybe both.
"I agree," I said, head swimming. I felt dazed and high and elated, but a deep worry was seated in the pit of my stomach. What was that? What had just happened?
A rustling in the woods caught my attention and I was on the immediate defensive. I was so off guard that my demiform slipped through without my consent. I suppose I was lucky it wasn't a human, but it was no animal either.
I looked up to see a group of twenty or so humanoids lingering on the edge of the woods, seeming uncertain and afraid to come any closer. Had I not been so surprised by their odd appearance I might have roasted them, and it occurred to me later that this was likely the reason they hung back. In the mean time my raptors eye's drank in every detail they could find. Their faces were shockingly similar, with minor details that made them radically different. There seemed to be only three hair colors: Cornsilk blond, raven black, and spun copper. They were long and slender of face and frame, sharp and angular and lithe even in their stillness. In fact they were so still I took them for vampires at first, but they were certainly nothing of the kind. Finally one moved, and in that flicker of motion a lock of hair drifted out of place, and I noticed he had pointed ears.
"Your Grace? May we approach?"
"Who are you?" I barked out, moving so that Alice was behind me.
The man who spoke was as lean as any, but he had a deep baritone voice and bore dark black hair. He looked nervously at a few of his companions before speaking. "We are of the Glideri Clan, and have been tracking you since you called to us, did you not?"
"I did nothing of the sort, what calling do you mean? You're clearly not human, but if you're here to make trouble I'll have you know you're dealing with more than you've bargained for."
A trace of confusion flickered behind his eyes. "You sent out no call? We have been waiting for many centuries for you to return, Your Grace. Just yesterday, far north of here, we felt you come forth and call to us. Our clan is the closest and as such we have arrived first, but more come to heed you. We have long awaited you, My Queen." And with that he knelt to the ground, going to one knee and bowing his head.
My jaw dropped, the pieces clicking together. They must have felt the magic from reawakening Bjorggrashk. "Ah. I see." I hopped down from the rock and many of the strangers took a hasty, skittering step backwards. They were afraid. I put my hands up in a placating way, trying to calm them. "Easy there, hold on. I understand what you mean now, but I'm afraid I have some bad news for you."
I looked up to Alice and felt my burning desire from only moments ago rekindle. Talking with these strange creatures was hardly what I wanted to do right then, but necessity called. As such, I launched into a brief history of my life in this era and my lack of memories, and the steps I had made since and my plans for the future. In turn, they told me what they were and where they had come from.
"Elves?!" I asked, aghast. They were real? Or at least, they still existed? My old memories flickered within me, validating that they had existed at some point, but as they spoke I began to understand why I was so certain they had gone extinct.
"When the fighting grew too fierce and defeat was certainly upon us, we retreated into our glens and glades. They are spelled, you see. Whole swaths of forest as ancient as the earth itself. We have rested there since, waiting for you."
"How did you know I would come back?" I asked. "How did you know I hadn't died?"
"We felt your spell, for one thing," another elf answered. This one was female, with blond hair so pale it was nearly white. "And there are prophecies besides. We still have several scrolls from the Gilded Age."
My jaw dropped. "You speak as if some of you are from the Gilded Age as well." I had never heard the term before of course, but it seemed self-evident what they spoke of.
She chuckled. "Not us, no. Elves live for quite some time, but not that long. There are those who remember though. There are elders in our camp who have returned to the trees. With enough meditation and, if they are willing, you can reach them."
I was awestruck to put it lightly.
"It is unfortunate that your memories have fled of course," the dark haired elf said. "But perhaps we can help. We elves have lost no connection to our magic. We are yours to command, Your Grace."
I stumbled back a step, then turned around to face Alice, a light bulb igniting in my mind. "Did you know about this? You mentioned a Queen having a court, did you see this happening?"
To my horror, the sound of ringing steel burst into existence behind me. The threat was ingrained so deeply within me that my third form burst forth into existence. Quick as a snake I darted, curling myself around the boulder Alice perched on, My body and wings shielding her while my maw opened, smoke roiling from my nostrils and flame at the ready. The elves all held swords now, hard eyes and steely, but frozen by my reaction.
"Just what do you think you're doing?" I hissed out.
"Your memory is more lacking than I imagined," the dark haired elf murmured, trying to calm me. "M'lady, that is a vampire, they are the reason that-"
"I am well aware," I growled. "You overstep yourself, elf. This vampire happens to be my mate, and if you threaten her again I will cook you where you stand. Are we clear?"
The man paled, his skin growing as white as a sheet. "Impossible!"
I felt as if the danger had passed, but I was reluctant to expose Alice to them while their swords were drawn. "Quite the contrary. You claim to pledge yourself to me, so pledge your swords and listen," I said harshly. The queen I used to be was leaking through the new made cracks in my mind.
They did as I commanded, and I shrank back to my human form, filling them in on the Cullens.
"They have pledged themselves to me just as you apparently have, which makes you allies. And above all Alice is my mate. Any word from her will be looked at as word from me, is that clear? You will protect her just as you would protect me. Her life is more important to me than my own."
It was the blond woman who had spoken earlier who first fell to a knee once again. "I do so swear," she said. Her brethren followed her lead thereafter, swearing just as she had.
I could not completely grasp what was happening, it was all going so fast. I felt that I was propelled more my memories I could not see myself than by my own mind and feelings. I was on ancient autopilot, so to speak. I could not envision my old life or touch her power source, yet she moved me and spoke through my lips. She knew how to handle these situations, while I was only a babe in the woods.
"I think it is time you introduced yourselves. Come, tell me while we walk. I will show you to the others and we will find you a place to eat and rest." It occurred to me in time that elves did not sleep, but rather meditated and used magic to rejuvenate their bodies. They agreed readily and we started for the Cullen house.
A/N: I apologize for the short chapter, but I wanted to give you all something before I disappear into the vaults of NaNoWriMo! WHO ELSE IS PUMPED?
NOTE: I will likely not post during November, as I will be dedicating myself to the 50k challenge. Would anyone be interested in my posting my status on site for you to read? I've always dreamed of publishing my own novels one day, do you guys think I could do it?
Let me know what you think! As always, I love you all!