Disclaimer. All publicly recognizable characters, settings etc., are the property of their respective owners. The original characters, ideas and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended. I only do this for fun.
A/N: This story is a collaboration by both XoBellaItalianaoX and XxJasper'sAngelxX, but was adopted from PuzzlingApprentice. Also a huge thanks to katandjasper for beta reading for us! You're the best!
If you have any questions or comments, post them reviews and I will answer them in my next Author's Note! We hope that you enjoy the story and look forward to hearing your thoughts.
Also, if you would like to view PICTURES throughout the story of scenes going on, including ones of Bella and Jasper romantically involved, check out my Wattpad page under the same penname (XoBellaItalianaoX). Check em' out and let me know what y'all think! ;-)
It had been about an hour and the venom had worked its way completely through her body, boosting the transformation into full swing. Yet, she didn't thrash around or even make a sound or whimper. I found it very disconcerting and couldn't understand how it was possible that she was staying so quiet, but decided that it could only be a testament to her inner strength. Somehow, even in the worst type of painful punishment to the body that anyone could ever experience, she knew that hearing her screams and seeing her thrash around the bed in pain would hurt and upset me, sending my mating instincts wild.
But how it was even possible I didn't comprehend. Even the strongest-willed vampires out of the thousands that I've changed throughout my immortal lifetime, none were able to stay silent, and definitely not show any outward signs of experiencing the change. If I didn't feel it in her emotions for myself, I would have just thought she was sleeping.
I lay down beside Bella, I knowing that we would be safe as Peter and Charlotte arrived back at the house and were standing guard. So, I closed my eyes and concentrated fully on pulling as much of Bella's pain into myself as I could while gritting my teeth under the onslaught of the change...
Chapter 21: Red & Black
The pain was bewildering.
Exactly that - I was bewildered. I couldn't understand, couldn't seem to make any sense of what was happening to me.
The burning grew - rose and peaked and rose again until it surpassed anything I'd ever felt, all over my body, but centered mainly within my chest.
My body tried to reject the pain, and I was sucked again and again into a blackness that cut out whole seconds or maybe even minutes of the agony, making it that much harder to keep up with reality.
I tried to separate them.
Non-reality was black, and it didn't hurt so much.
Reality was red, and it felt like I was being sawed in half, hit by a bus, punched by a prized fighter, trampled by bulls, and submerged in acid,all at the same time. Reality was feeling my body twist and flip when I couldn't possibly move because of the pain. Reality was knowing there was something so much more important than all this torture, and not being able to remember what it was, why I was going through whatever 'this' was. Reality had come on so fast.
The darkness had taken over, and then washed away to a wave of torture. I couldn't breathe - I had drowned once before, and this was different; it was too hot in my throat.
What was happening?
Pieces of me shattering, snapping, slicing apart...
Voices, this time, shouting as the pain came back.
"She's too quiet, too still. I've never seen anything like this before."
"Are we sure it's working?"
The voices faded before I could make sense of them.
I felt the pulse behind the fire raging now in my chest, embracing my pounding heart. I wanted to raise my arms and claw my chest open and rip the heart from it - anything to get rid of this torture. But I couldn't move my arms, couldn't move one vanished finger.
Suddenly, everything slammed into me, allowing everything to make sense on what was happening to me, what this pain was.
And let me tell you...
James, snapping my leg under his foot. That was nothing. That was a soft place to rest on a feather bed. I'd take that now, a hundred times. A hundred snaps. I'd take it and be grateful.
The fire blazed hotter and I wanted to scream. To beg for someone to kill me now, before I lived one more second in this pain. But I couldn't move my lips, or even open my eyes. There was a weight pressing on me, unrelenting in his hold.
I realized it wasn't the darkness holding me down; it was my body. So heavy. Burying me in the flames that were chewing their way out from my heart, spreading with impossible pain through my shoulders and stomach, scalding their way up my throat, licking at my face.
Why couldn't I move? Why couldn't I scream? This wasn't part of the stories.
My mind was unbearably clear - sharpened by the fierce pain - but still, I couldn't find the answer.
I knew all the stories. I knew that Carlisle had kept quiet enough to avoid discovery while he burned. I knew that, according to Rosalie, it did no good to scream. And I'd hoped that maybe I could be like Carlisle. That I would believe Rosalie's words and keep my mouth shut. Because I knew that every scream that escaped my mouth would torment Jasper. It was bad enough that he could feel everything I was feeling.
Now it seemed like a hideous joke that I was getting my wish fulfilled.
If I couldn't scream, how could I tell them to kill me?
All I wanted at this point was to die. To never have been born. The whole of my existence did not outweigh this pain. Wasn't worth living through it for one more heartbeat.
Let me die, let me die, let me die...
And for a never-ending space, that was all there was. Just the fiery torture, and my soundless shrieks, pleading for death to come. Nothing else, not even time. So that made it infinite, with no beginning and no end. One moment of pain.
I could definitely see how some people have lost their minds during this...
The only change came when suddenly, impossibly, my pain was doubled. The lower half of my body, seeming to be deadened since before, was suddenly on fire, too. Some sort of connection was made - knitted together by the scorching fingers of the flame. From what I'd heard, I figured that the venom was repairing my body, currently focusing on the internal scarring from James' attack last spring.
Oh God, I had plenty of scarring from the countless accidents that being a klutz caused me over the past eighteen years.
Suddenly, I was back in the black, the non-reality where I seemed to lose myself and all sense of the world around me. I couldn't help the feeling of relief as the pain disappeared. I didn't understand anything, or why I was suddenly out of the fire, but, to be honest, I didn't care.
It could have been seconds or days, but I was pulled back into the red, reality. It was this moment where I regretted allowing myself to embrace the darkness, because when the pain hit again, it felt that much worse. I'd rather stay in the red than have to endure the shock of the pain returning once again. At least in the red, I knew what was happening and had a sense of reality.
The fire raged on...pulling me back and forth between the red and black...reality and non-reality.
Minutes passed like hours as I sat here, positioned before my mate as she burned.
I was getting anxious, though. I'd never witnessed a transformation like this one before in my existence.
First, she was too still, too quiet. It almost looked like she was just sleeping, lost in a peaceful slumber of sorts. All of the transformations I'd witnessed, or even heard of - aside from Carlisle's - had been full of screaming and thrashing about, accompanied with plea's and begging to end their suffering.
Secondly, there were times where it felt like I'd lost her altogether. Her emotions would completely disappear, along with the pain I'd been attempting to take away from her. I'd panicked the first time as an involuntary growl burst from within me, shaking the foundation, and bringing Peter and Charlotte rushing inside. Confused, they were unable to detect the differences, like I could.
I'd crouched to attack, fighting my inner demon within for control as they realized their mistake, slowly bowing out in a submissive stance. Then, when I'd finally gotten control over myself, I turned back to my mate, quickly checking her over for signs of life, since I couldn't depend on her emotions. Luckily, minutes later, she'd come back to me and I could feel her again. This has happened several times now, and every time I'd sit on the edge of my seat, silently willing her to come back to me, unable to take her disappearing like that.
I placed my head in my hands, my elbows holding me up on the ends of the bed as I fervently prayed, something I rarely did, that this would work out, that my Bella would come back to me when the transformation was complete, that she'd be back in my arms where she was supposed to be.
Something wasn't right...
None of this was right...
And to make matters worse, I couldn't seem to get any verification of this...
Nothing on the Major's mate...
I paced back and forth on the front porch while Charlotte sat on the porch swing, watching me with a frown on her beautiful face. But she stayed silent, seeming to know that there was nothing she could say or do to make this any easier on any of us.
There was only one person I could think of to call that would possibly have some insight onto what was happening, but knew that it would cause too many problems if I did. Not to mention, the Major would never go for it because of the trouble Carlisle would bring with him, should he find out.
"Sweetheart, why don't you come an' sit down? You're just about wearin' a trench into the porch." Char patted the seat next to her.
Sighing, I made my way over and collapsed into the porch swing, dropping my head into my hands.
"I just don't understand it," I murmured. "Never seen anythin' like this!"
"I know, baby, none of us have," she said as she rubbed my back in soothing circles, placing her opposite hand on my upper thigh. Pressing a chaste kiss to my shoulder, her words tickled my skin, "We just have to have faith that Bella will pull through this. She's a fighter, that one."
I snorted, "You got that right."
We lapsed into silence for several seconds before she spoke again, "An' you haven't gotten anything on her?" She was referring to my ability to 'know' things.
I shook my head, wiping my hands down my face. "No, nothing. I don't know anything about what she's goin' through up there." I was feeling useless, unable to offer anything that would soothe my brother's worries over his mate. "Nothing has ever happened like this before. The only other known case where a human was infected with a small dose of vampire venom wasn't changed in time before he died."
She sighed, "Then all we can do is wait for the three days to pass."
I nodded, "Looks like it."
Another day has passed, and it's been torturous, not only because I have been using my gift to take away as much pain as I could from Bella - though, I had a feeling that regardless of how much I tried to take from her, it was still causing her to feel like she was being eaten alive by acid. It was torturous because of the continuous blackouts I was getting with her emotions. I couldn't even prepare myself, and each time a blackout came, I would anxiously watch her and pray for her to come back out of it. The relief I felt each time her emotions opened back up to me was both heaven and hell. I was never prepared for the onslaught of pain, but was relieved to feel anything at all.
Bella has continued to remain silent and so still. I could already see minute changes in her appearance. A human would never be able to notice them, but being a vampire and knowing my mate the way that I did, I could see the slight change in the texture to her skin, and the natural highlights making themselves known in the color of her hair. I held onto those changes like a life line. It was telling me that however odd or out of the ordinary this transformation was, it was progressing like it should in the end.
I kept myself busy, imagining and wondering what Bella would be like when she awoke from the fire. Would she be the same outspoken beauty she was now? Or would she develop a shy streak? Would she simply allow her newborn instincts to rule her, as so many did, or would she fight them, dominate them rather than let them control her? Would she be the type of newborn who would try to flee from something her instincts made out to be a potential threat? Or would she fight her way past them?
Every newborn I'd encountered would constantly battle with their fight or flight instincts. Especially around me. My scars were like a never-ending beacon screaming 'danger' and, during the times I was present for a newborn as they woke, I'd usually have to chase them down since that was customarily their reaction. I only recalled one newborn who was idiotic enough to attack. Needless to say, they didn't last long.
This line of thought made me wonder, would Bella see my scars with her new eyes and fear me, as so many other did? She was the one person who I never wanted to be afraid of me. She had no reason to be. However, if newborn Bella was anything like human Bella, I had the distinct feeling that fear would be the last thing she'd be feeling, and the thought made me smile.
It could have been seconds or days, weeks or years, but, eventually, time came to mean something again.
Several things happened together, grew from each other so that I didn't know which came first: time restarted, the darkness faded so I constantly remained in the red, the fire, and I got stronger.
I could feel it as the control of my body came back to me in increments, and those increments were my first markers of time passing. I knew it when I was able to twitch my toes and twist my fingers into fists. I knew it, but I did not act on it.
Though the fire did not decrease one tiny degree - in fact, I began to develop a new capacity for experiencing it, a new sensitivity to appreciate, separately, each blistering tongue of the flame that licked through my veins - I discovered that I could think around it.
I could remember why I shouldn't scream. I could remember the reason why I'd committed to enduring this unendurable agony. I could remember that, though it felt impossible now, there was something that might be worth the torture.
This happened just in time for me to hold on when the weights left my body. To anyone watching me, there would be no change. But for me, as I struggled to keep the screams and thrashing locked up inside my body, where they couldn't hurt anyone else, it felt like I'd gone from being tied to the stake as I burned, to gripping that stake to hold myself in the fire.
I had just enough strength to be there unmoving while I was charred alive.
My hearing got clearer and clearer, and I could count the frantic, pounding beats of my heart to mark the time.
I could count the shallow breaths that gasped through my teeth.
I could count the low, even breaths that came from somewhere close beside me. These moved slowest, so I concentrated on them. They meant the most time passing. More even than a clock's pendulum, those breaths pulled me through the burning seconds toward the end.
I continued to get stronger, my thoughts clearer. When new noises came, I could listen
There were light footsteps, the soft rapt of knuckles on wood before the whisper of air was stirred by an opening door. The footsteps got closer before I felt pressure against my side, as if someone was pushed up against the bed.
"That's far enough," A deep familiar drawl that sounded like honey melted my insides. However, something was off with it, almost like they were struggling to speak.
The footsteps stopped and a moment of silence passed before the second presence spoke in a slightly higher pitched male tone, "Still no change?"
"She's not had a blackout since this afternoon. I'm hoping that was the last of em'. She's remained open to me since."
"That's good news."
I felt the pressure shift, the lightest pressure, breath against my scorched skin.
"Bella? Can you hear me?"
I knew, beyond all doubt, that if I unlocked my teeth I could lose it - I would shriek and screech and writhe and thrash. If I opened my eyes, if I so much as twitched a finger - any change at all would be the end of my control.
"Bella? Bella, darlin'? Can you open your eyes? Can you squeeze my hand?"
Pressure on my fingers. It was hard not to answer this voice, but I stayed paralyzed. I knew that the pain in his voice now was nothing compare to what it could be. Right now, he could sense that I was in pain, but it wasn't shoved in his face.
The voice cleared itself before speaking again, "Do you know anything, yet?"
"No," the second voice was quieter than before, reluctant.
"Then I'll just have to keep doin' what I'm doin'."
"I wish I had all the answers for ya, man. But speaking of which...how are you doin'? You holdin' up okay? It can't be easy to keep up with. Do you wanna take a break and find somethin' that'll give ya a boost?"
Huh? What were they talking about? What was he doing?
"No," the first voice, the closer one spoke as the pressure in my hand tightened, "I'm not leavin' her like this!"
"But you need somethin'! You can't go on like this. You won't be much good to her wastin' away, like you are. Look a ya! Your eyes are pitched black! If it weren't for the white in them, I'd have ta question if it were really you here!
"I said no!" He spoke loudly and firmly in a tone that left no room for argument.
I heard a sigh, "At least let me go and get somethin' to bring back? I have an emergency reserve in the fridge in the basement."
"Fine, do it," He replied.
"Thank God," the second voice seemed to mumble in exasperation. "You'll need it if you plan on takin' on more of her pain when the worst of it hits."
What? Did I just understand that right? Was the voice taking on some of my suffering onto himself?
I began to panic.
I felt a quick shift and felt someone leaning over me.
"Bella? Darlin'? What's wrong? Why are you so upset?" The voice was rushed and alarmed.
No wonder the voice sounded so wrong to me! He was in pain! Agony! Suffering as he pulled pain away from me and into himself!
"Bella? Bella, please!"
I couldn't let this continue, but how? What could I do? How could I stop him from being able to feel my emotions? I knew I could do it, because I was able to stop Edward and Aro from reading my mind, keep my decisions from Alice's visions, prevent Jane's painful manipulations...but how? I did all of those things unconsciously.
I tried to imagine it, imagine a bubble forming around my brain and pushed it, willing it to cover me, preventing him from being able to manipulate me, from being able to feel me.
Three things seemed to happen simultaneously. First, the pain that I was feeling skyrocketed to unbelievable, unbearable levels.
I had to be literally on fire, or someone must have drenched me in acid before throwing my body into a volcano. It was paralyzing and I couldn't even move or scream or reach up to claw at my skin. All any any reasoning behind why I shouldn't do that completely evaded me as pandemonium erupted inside of me.
However, that wasn't the only place chaos existed...
As the first wave of the new levels of fire licked at my body, an earth-shattering roar shook the foundation of my world and tore at me from the inside out.
Loud noises made it sound like havoc was being wrecked in the room around me, accompanied by voices that sounded garbled and distorted through the shock and pain. I couldn't concentrate on what it was that was happening, too consumed by the new waves of fire, the flames snapping like whips on every inch of my body, or what was left of it. i wouldn't have been surprised to learn that the acid had ingested a good percentage of my body.
It was probably only seconds that passed, though it felt like hours, before my body couldn't take anymore of the torture, and my mind completely shut down to protect itself. Out of the red and back into the black, once again.
I sat behind the wheel of my Volvo while Alice chatted animatedly from the passenger seat.
I scowled, "Why, exactly, are you coming, again?"
She huffed, "Because Carlisle would never have agreed on letting you leave early by yourself, and he only let us go in the first place because I told him that Jasper said he needed me to come back."
I let out a loud breath, shaking my head in exasperation. "He didn't buy it. He just knew that there was no way he'd be able to get anything done with us pushing to go back home early."
She shrugged, "Well, thats neither here nor there."
"Whatever," I mumbled. "You still didn't have to come."
She crossed her arms and glared at me. "You're not the only one who's been away from someone, you know?"
I sighed in resignation, "You're right, I'm just glad we're almost there."
'You can say that, again,' her thoughts betrayed her as she complained internally about my taste in music and lack of conversation for the past several hours.
I was nearly jumping out of my seat by the time we made the turn onto the hidden mile-long drive that led up to the house, but immediately picked up that something was wrong.
Alice gasped, her eyes unfocused as a vision began to play out of the two of us stumbling upon two sets of ashes in the back yard.
"Shit!" I slammed my foot onto the gas pedal and flew the rest of the way up the drive, throwing it into park before we both jumped out of the car. "Why is it that you're only seeing this now? We were set on our decision to come home late last night!"
"I don't know!" She hissed at me as we ran around the side where we found the remains of a pyre in the clearing behind the house.
We stopped, neither of us saying a word as we stared down at it, our minds running a mile a minute with unanswered questions and possibilities.
"Bella!" I gasped and took off up the stairs of the back deck and through the open french doors that led to the living room, leaving Alice standing where she was.
The living room was a mess. It looked like a struggle had occurred, the furniture pushed at odd angles with ripped clothing and several puddles of dried venom marking the hardwood floors.
I raced towards the stairs and climbed them as fast as my vampire speed would allow me to go until I got to the top floor and flitted to my room, bursting through the closed door.
"Bella?" I called for her, listening carefully for a sign of her, her heartbeat, her breathing...anything.
I noticed then opened bag of clothes that Alice had packed for her stay here this week. It was pushed up against the end of the bed, though I didn't know what that meant.
I rushed back down the the living room and found Alice walking around the carnage.
"Why didn't I see any of this? If I could see around Bella, I would have seen what happened here before it did." She looked up at me, her mind still on the piles of ash outback. "Who do you think that was?"
I shook my head, "I don't think it was Jasper. He wouldn't have let himself get caught off guard." I tried to soothe her worries, knowing where her thoughts were taking her.
She picked up the house phone and began to dial, speaking to me as the phone rang in the background through the speaker. "Then where is he? Where's Bella? And why haven't we heard from them?" She pulled her phone away from her ear and huffed, slamming it down onto it's cradle. "And why isn't he answering?"
Shrugging, I reached into my back pocket for my cell phone and dialed Carlisle, immediately filling him in on what we've come home to.
"And you can't smell anyone?" Carlisle asked.
"No," I answered, "The back doors were left wide open, so the house has been aired out."
"Bad luck," Emmett muttered.
"Could it be the Volturi? Maybe they took Bella and Jasper with them?" Esme asked in the background.
"I don't think so," Carlisle answered.
"No," I agreed, collapsing onto the couch. "It's much too sloppy to have been them. Not to mention, the pyre in the back yard. They never would have burned their own members."
I spotted a cloth sticking out from under one of the throw-pillows on the floor. I leaned forward and reached to grab it, holding it under my nose.
"Victoria," I growled, rushing out to the pyre in the clearing, cell phone still glued to my ear. "I found a piece of her clothing with her scent still on it."
I began sifting through the pieces of burnt wood and ash, looking for anything that could hold a clue to what had happened here and where Bella or Jasper could have gone.
Yes! I found a couple of strands of curly red hair around the black barrier of ashes, causing the red to stand out against the black charred wood, along with pieces of a shoe that held an unknown male's scent to it.
"So, Victoria and another male came to the house and attacked them?" Rose questioned after I'd elaborated on my findings.
"It looks like it," Carlisle agreed.
"But where are Jasper and Bella now?" Alice wondered. "If they killed Victoria and hey companion, then why aren't they still here?"
"That's a good question," I mumbled.
"And you've tried calling them?" He pressed.
Rosalie huffed. "Look who you're talking to, Carlisle. Of course, they tried calling them." Emmett snorted as if he were trying to hold in his laughter at his mate's dig.
I growled, "Well, excuse me if I'm worried for my very human girlfriend, who, at the moment, is infected with venom and accompanied by our most volatile member!"
She scoffed, "You both really need to learn to give Jasper more credit! He's stronger than you think."
"Damn straight," Emmett mumbled.
"Knock it off, you two!" Esme interrupted before I could rebuff her claims. "Two members of our family are missing and there are two or more dead at our home. This isn't the time for us to be arguing!"
"Esme's right," Carlisle said, refocusing our conversation, "Could it be possible that they are at Bella's house? Or maybe she's on the reservation while Jasper is hunting?"
"That's possible," Alice agreed, "Back when I could see her, she was always deliberating on whether she could sneak onto the reservation before one of us could stop her."
"Don't remind me," I snarled.
"Either way, I think you two have some phone calls to make," Carlisle instructed, "Meanwhile, the rest of you, here, are going to pack while I go and speak with the Denali's and fill them in on what's happened and why we have to head home early."
"I'll try some of Jasper's friends, as well. Maybe they've heard from him," Alice suggested, her expression forlorn at the idea.
"Good idea," he agreed, "I'll call you when we're on the road for an update."
I sighed, "Alright."
"Be safe, you two," Esme spoke, softly.
"We will," Alice said as I hit the 'End' button on my cell.
I exchanged an uneasy look with Alice as I brought up my contacts list.
"Might as well get this over with," I pulled up the number for Bella's house.
It rang once...twice...three times before a deep voice spoke on the other end.
"Hello?" Charlie mumbled through the speaker.
I cleared my throat before I began to speak, "Hello, Chief Swan. This is Edward Cullen."
He tried to sound surprised when he spoke again, however he couldn't hide the obvious irritation, "Edward? What can I do for you?" He paused for a moment and spoke again before I could answer, concern evident in his voice, "Is everything okay? Did something happen with Bella?"
"No, no, everything's fine," I immediately tried to reassure him before getting to the point of my phone call, "I'm actually just calling to ask if she was there."
"What do you mean, 'is she here'?" He balked, "I thought she was spending the week with Alice?"
I looked over at Alice in time for her to answer in her head, 'just say that I told you she was planning on stopping by the house for some extra clothes or something.'
"She is," I answered Charlie, "But when I spoke with Alice earlier, she had mentioned Bella wanting to stop by the house for some extra clothes or something."
"Again?" He questioned.
"Yeah, and since I can't reach either of them -" I paused, finally digesting what he'd just said. "Wait, what do you mean by 'again'? She's been there?"
"Well, yeah, a couple of days ago," he confirmed, "Said she was just stopping by to pick up some a few things since she didn't like what Alice had packed her, or something, I don't know. I, personally, don't get girls and their obsession with clothes. I just throw on whatever is clean."
"Did Bella say she was coming back?" I pressed for more information.
"Yeah, she was going back," He replied warily, "You said you spoke to Alice earlier, so she should have been there." He paused before pressing forward, "She was there, wasn't she?"
"Of course, Chief Swan. I'm just trying to reach them, now."
"Alright," He said, though I could tell he wasn't convinced. "Have her call me, when you get a hold of her."
I sighed, "I will, Chief Swan. Have a nice day."
I hung up before he could respond and turned to Alice. She was internally berating Bella about going back to her house for clothes, and not wearing the things she'd packed for her.
'That girl has no fashion sense!'
I sighed, pinching the bridge of my nose. "I didn't see any other bags of clothing upstairs when I was looking for her in my bedroom. So, where could she have gone?"
"And where's Jasper?" Alice agreed. "This doesn't make any sense! God, I wish I could just see them!"
"Yeah, I know," I ran my hands through my hair in frustration, "I'm going to make some more phone calls to Bella's friends from school and the reservation. Why don't you start to do the same with Jasper, and we'll see what we can come up with."
"Fine," she sighed as she collapsed onto the couch, pulling her phone from her purse to start making calls.
As my body began to get used to the new levels of pain, awareness started to come back through. Back from the black and into the red. I was able to make out bits and pieces of what was going on around me until I was finally coherent enough that I could hear everything that was being said, and so much more.
"We need to call Carlisle, this isn't how it's supposed to be, and you know it!"
"No! We are not calling him! Stand down, Captain! She is MY mate, MY responsibility! It will be fine! SHE will be FINE!"
"It's been three days , already, and she's no closer to wakin' up than she was since she's started!"
"Let Jasper come back, you know he'll agree with me!"
"I will not have the Mind Reader anywhere near my mate in this vulnerable position, and you know that with the Doctor comes his prodigy."
"So, you're willin' to put her life on the life because of your stubbornness? Common, Major, I know even you wouldn't do that, especially when it comes to your own mate!"
"How do you know? You still can't feel her, can you?"
"You're pushing your luck, Captain. I'd tread very, very careful, if I were you."
A moment of silence passed before anyone spoke again.
"Fine, you win. But if she dies, it's on you." The sound of a door slamming followed that statement, along with a sigh.
Booted foot steps made their way closer until they stopped near my head. I felt fingertips touch my face affectionately as they spoke. "Stubborn, stubborn, girl. Jasper and the others may not see it, but I do." I felt him lean over me, the tips of his lips brushing my ear as he spoke, "And don't worry, my mate, I won't let anyone near you until this is over. Especially not the Mind Reader or the Future Seer."
Through all this, the raking fire went right on burning me. But there was so much space in my head now. Room to ponder their conversation, room to remember what had happened, room to look ahead to the future, with still endless room left over to suffer in.
Also room to worry.
What happened to Jasper? Why was the Major out? Had it been three days? Why wasn't the transformation over? Was it that serious that Peter wanted to bring the Cullen's into it? Does this mean I was able to keep Jasper from feeling my pain and taking it into himself?
Since the silence had once again engulfed the room, I went back to counting Jasper, or the Major's breaths to once again try to mark the time.
The wind chimes began to play a tune as a gentle breeze danced over the land, a Summer Tanger adding to the melody as it chirped in a nearby tree, ruffling it's bright red feathers over the black-colored bark, red to black. (A/N: A Summer Tanger, aka the Bee Bird, is a bird that can be found in Texas. It's the only bird that can be entirely red in North America.)
"Everything will be fine, you'll see," Char tried to soothe me as we sat out on the front porch, once again. The fresh air was helping to clear my head and allow me to think.
"I hope you're right, sug," I gently patted the hand she had placed on my upper arm for comfort.
I recalled the look of panic and devastation that covered Jasper's entire being when Bella's emotions suddenly shut off completely from him moments after he felt her going haywire inside her head.
For the first time in decades, Jasper's demon, the God of War, himself, threatened to make an appearance as he wrestled with himself, tearing the room apart in the process. I had tried to slip by him, unnoticed, to get Bella out of there while he was occupied, worried that if his demon did escape, that she would be harmed. After all, Ares doesn't differentiate between friend and foe. He destroys whomever he deems a threat.
Lucky for me, the Major stepped in. He was the only one strong enough to cage the demon and took over for Jasper, since he was having so much trouble coping with the situation. I think that the fact that he was starving himself added to the problem, but since when has Jasper ever listened to me? Ha, that was a laughable notion.
I remembered the threatening look the Major had given me when he noticed me making my way towards his mate.
"I wouldn't do that if I were you, Captain," he'd said.
After the three days had passed, and Bella should have been awake, I began to worry. She still didn't show any signs of waking up, and voiced those concerns to the Major. Of course, he hadn't let me in past the doorway, and was adamant that he knew best.
A bit of knowledge came through just as my cell phone began to ring on the end table, interrupting my thoughts, and I reached to grab it.
"Well, if it isn't the Magic Eight Ball," I bristled into the receiver. "What can I do for you on this fine evening?"
"Peter," she acknowledged me, "I was calling to see if you've heard from Jaster?"
I scoffed, exchanging a glance with Charlotte. I knew that if I wanted to bring Carlisle out here, then this would be the way to do it, but bit my tongue as Char shook her head at me in warning and decided that this wasn't my choice to make.
"And what makes you think I've heard from him?"
I could practically see her rolling her eyes before she spoke, "Cut the crap, Peter. Edward and I just got back from Alaska and came home to find the house a wreck and a pyre in the backyard with at least two piles of ashes. Jasper and Edward's mate, Bella, are missing and we're trying to find them."
So, they're home early? Hm, this could possibly be why Jasper and Bella couldn't be there when they got back. They would have been discovered and it would have caused all kinds of problems and, most likely, physical altercations.
I decided to toy with her a bit, never having liked her all that much. "Bella? Oh, you mean that human chick that he was goin' stalker crazy over when we were up there last year?"
I heard Edward growl in the background and couldn't help the smile that had been missing from my face for the last few days.
"Yes, that Bella!" Alice answered, irritation evident in her tone. "Jasper was supposed to have been watching her while the rest of us went to visit the Denali's for the week!"
"Well, that's surprising," Char interjected.
I snorted, "You've got that right."
Alice huffed, "What exactly is so surprising about us going to Alaska?"
"It's not the trip itself, but the fact that y'all would leave Jasper with the human." I clarified, "Didn't he try to take a bite outta her last fall, or somethin'? I thought you couldn't trust him around her after that?"
I could tell by how the growling got louder in the background that I was really pushing Edward's buttons as he finally spoke up for the fist time, "Enough! Quit toying with us and answer the question! Have you heard from Jasper or not?"
"Well, you're no fun." I sighed, "But no, I haven't heard from him at all this past week. Sorry."
Alice sighed, "Well, if you hear from him, let me know. We're very worried."
"I'm sure you are," I responded. "Have a pleasant evenin'."
They hung up before I could say anything more, or without a goodbye.
I let out a breath of air as I slipping my cell phone back into my pocket. "I really needed that little bit of humor to help take my mind off things."
Char rolled her eyes, "Yeah, I'm sure you did."
I slouched down in my seat, idly playing with a loose thread on the hem of my t-shirt as I let my mind wander for several minutes.
My head popped up at another bit of knowledge came through, my head turning as I stretched my senses towards the east end of the property line.
"What is it?" Char asked, turning to follow my gaze curiously.
"Garrett should be appearing any minute," I told her, rising to my feet. She mimicked me and followed me down the porch steps. "He has news that we need to hear out before jumpin' to any conclusions. Also, we need to keep him from goin' upstairs. The Major won't take kindly to it."
As we stood in front of the house under the window that the Major and Bella were residing in, I began to notice Bella's heart beat changing.
"Fuck, this is rotten timing," I mumbled, "I guess the Major was right."
"We'll just have to bring Garrett into the barn to talk so we don't cause an altercation. You know he's gonna be very on edge when she first wakes up, and the less people around, the better for Bella, as well." Char suggested.
Twenty-one thousand, nine-hundred seventeen and a half seconds later, the pain changed.
On the good-news side of things, it started to fade from my fingertips and toes. Fading slowly, but at least it was finally doing something new. This had to be it. The pain was on it's way out...
And then the bad news. The fire in my throat wasn't the same as before. I wasn't only on fire, but I was now parched, too. Dry as bone. So thirsty. Burning fire, and burning thirst.
Also bad news: The fire inside my heart got hotter.
How was that possible?
My heartbeat, already too fast, picked up - the fire drove its rhythm to a new frantic pace.
The fire retreated from my palms, leaving them blissfully pain-free and cool. But it retreated to my heart, which blazed hot as the sun and beat at a furious new speed.
The loudest sound in the room was my frenzied heart, pounding to the rhythm of the fire.
"It's almost over," The Major's voice spoke, "This last part is the hard part, but you'll make it through."
My relief at his words was overshadowed by the excruciating pain in my heart. My wrists were free, though, and my ankles. The fire was totally extinguished there.
The fire ripped hotter still through my chest, draining in from my elbows and knees.
And then - oh!
My heart took off, beating like helicopter blades, the sound almost a single sustained note; it felt like it would grind through my ribs. The fire flared up in the center of my chest, sucking the last remnants of the flames from the rest of my body to fuel the most scorching blaze yet. The pain was enough to stun me, to break through my iron grip on the stake. My back arched, bowed as if the fire was dragging me upward by my heart.
I allowed no other pieces of my body to break rank as my torso slumped back to the table.
It became a battle inside me - my sprinting heart racing against the attacking fire. Both were losing. The fire was doomed, having consumed everything that was combustible; my heart galloped toward its last beat.
The fire constricted, concentrating inside that one remaining human organ with final, unbearable surge. The surge was answered by a deep, hollow-sounding thud. My heart stuttered twice, and then thudded quietly again just once more.
There was no sound. No breathing. Not even mine.
For a moment, the absence of pain was all I could comprehend.
And then, I opened my eyes and gazed above me in wonder at a pair of black irises. My red to his black.
Red & Black.
A/N: Hey guys! Sorry it's been so long since we've updated! Completely my fault with how busy RL had been, especially around the holidays. Anyway, hope you liked the chapter! A new one will hopefully be out soon!
Any ideas on what Garrett has to tell them? How long will it be before Edward and Alice figure out where they are or until Bella and Jasper go back to Forks? What will Bella be like as a newborn? And why was Bella's transformation so different? Review!
If you have any questions or comments, post them in my reviews and I will answer them at the bottom of the next chapter in my Author's note!
To see more, go to either mine or my Co Author's FF page: Xo Bella Italiana oX or XxJasper'sAngelxX
If you enjoyed this story so far, check out some of my other stories on my FanFiction page! Also, I am still accepting Twilight stories that involve Jasper/any female leads or Bella/selected male leads if anyone is looking for a Beta Reader. I will make exceptions on the characters depending on the plot. I am also accepting other story topics as well! PM me for details!
- Bella'Xo -
Xo Bella Italiana oX