Disclaimer: I do not own anything Twilight. This was written as an original story and converted to a Twilight Fan fiction piece to garner interest in the story. I will release the original version at the end of each book.
"Passion, it lies in all of us. Sleeping, waiting, and though unwanted, unbidden, it will stir … open its jaws, and howl.
It speaks to us, guides us, passion rules us all; and we obey. What other choice do we have? Passion is the source of our finest moments.
The joy of love, the clarity of hatred, and the ecstasy of grief. It hurts - sometimes more than we can bear.
If we could live without passion, maybe we'd know some kind of peace. But we would be hollow, empty rooms, shuttered and dank."
Who is God?
The words had hung in the air between my father and me when I asked the question that my former captors had asked while they did their worst to me. In the end I hadn't told them anything, I'd like to think it was due to my ability to place the importance of others, of the organization ahead of myself. In truth I knew it was only my lack of knowledge that kept me from talking.
The ordeal that prompted the question was six months in the past and I have healed up and come through my physical therapy with the kind of grim determination that both amazed and concerned my caregivers.
"Bella, you need to slow down, you won't get out of here any earlier if you re-injure yourself." Edward would say to me. I listened when he cautioned me; he had a hand in rescuing me so I guess he had the right to make sure I would come through the recovery process.
My other friends, the brainy Ben and Alice, the tougher Jake and Demetri and the irrepressible Shenani Whatagans all made sure they stopped by regularly and offered words of encouragement and talked about the things we would do once I was back on my feet. I smile and nod and engage in pointless conversation, none of them know my true goal, to recover and get some answers.
My father had promised to discuss the question of God once I had a clean bill of health and I was also ready to accept my invitation to The Gentlemen's elite secret enforcement arm, the Black Collars. I was currently a member of the Red Collars even though I was to be trained in all facets of the organization. I was told it was due to my versatile skill set but in reality we all knew it was due to no one knowing where to put me.
The Blue Collars taught me about weapons, explosives and other tactics for use by the organizations militant wing; they are the foot soldiers and low end enforcers. The White Collars taught me about cyber-warfare and scientific espionage, my father is the head of the Whites. The Red Collars taught me about infiltration and assassination as well as intelligence gathering through seduction and blackmail.
I chose the Reds as my 'sponsoring' faction to keep an eye on their leader, Esme Cullen, Edward's mother. I was ill suited for the Reds since my seduction techniques had been likened to a 'drunken prom date', but it was only a cover. I was to be a Black Collar soon and as such would be privy to the information I needed to make my enemies pay for what they had done to me, and my family.
My family, I sigh as I remember my mother. She was so vibrant and full of life; it's been less than two years since her death at the hands of Michael "Newt" Newton. Garrett had taken care of that for me, that man's last moments on earth had been the stuff nightmares are made of. The hell Garrett sent him to must have seemed like heaven after his revenge was complete.
That meant only four remained on my list: Jasper and Emmett Whitlock, the brothers who had abducted and tortured me. Emmett was a violent sadist who was responsible for the bulk of my injuries; his brother Jasper had inflicted wounds of a different kind. Only a select few knew the details of what had happened to me in that room with him, but he had taken a part of me that day, a part that I would never get back.
Rosalie "Rose" Hale was a former Red Collar and someone I had foolishly trusted. She had delivered me into the hands of the Whitlock brothers and made good her escape before anyone knew she was involved. She had fooled us all into thinking the organization's greatest enemy was dead at her hand, it had bought her some forgiveness when it came to her participation in the attempted coup by the so called 'New Management' group headed by one James Witherdale.
James Witherdale. I was one of the few who had come face to face with the man and not only lived to tell about it, but also had, in some people's opinion anyway, gotten the better of the man. No easy feat for someone as new to this life as I am, but I have always been a quick learner.
I shake myself out of my memories. Today I do my final medical review with the doctors; if I pass I will be given a clean bill of health and released from the infirmary. When that happens, and I intend to see to it that it will happen; I will get the answers my father has promised me. I will find out exactly who is so important that I had to suffer the way I did to protect their identity.
I test my knees and do a couple of deep leg bends, good as new, maybe better. The physical therapy was more strenuous than any exercise I was used to, so I was actually in better shape than I was before I was abducted.
I look up and see Garrett standing by the door. He is dressed in his immaculate business suit and tie, cufflinks and shined shoes that somehow look more lethal on him than any military uniform on a soldier. I don't see it but I know his ornate .50 Cal AE Desert Eagle is in a shoulder holster under his jacket, he even named it, Katrina; I smile when I think of the first time I saw it.
"Ready kid?" he asks like he's taking me to the mall. We both know what is at stake here. I make a face at him calling me "kid" though, after everything I have been through I think I have outgrown his little nickname.
"Ready as I will ever be, let's do this." I walk past him and we go down the hall of the infirmary to the physical therapy room. I will be demonstrating for the head of my current faction (The Red Collars) that I am fit for duty. I'm not sure who else will be present, but I imagine the members of The Board will be represented as well as someone from the little known Black Collar faction.
As I walk into the room I am surprised at the number of chairs that are set up. I see Esme (no surprise there) and Jake's father, Billy Black, head of the Blue Collars already seated. My father enters shortly after, followed by the Director of Public Relations (what we affectionately referred to as the department of misinformation) Emily Young. She sits far away from my father and Garrett, also not a surprise knowing what I do about their history.
Last to enter is Vladamir, escorting the head of the Black Collars, Sabrina Epperson. She looks just as she did during our first introduction. I know not everyone is aware of her status, or that we have already met, so I make no indication that I know her.
"Ms. Swan, are you ready to proceed?" The organization's lead physician is there with a clipboard and appears eager to get this over with.
"I'm ready," I respond with conviction.
"Let's begin then." The doctor turns to the assembled spectators. "Before I give a rundown of the patient's history, I must remind you that certain aspects of her medical history have been redacted from the official record as part of the confidentiality that exists between doctor and patient. The only aspects I will be revealing are that which the patient has given permission for me to reveal. In my opinion, all relevant information will be conveyed in my report today."
The doctor reads from his notes on the clipboard. "Patient was brought in approximately six months ago with multiple bone fractures in the extremities, rib cage and face. Nerve damage as a result of extreme electrical discharge introduced directly into the central nervous system was present as well as a concussion, internal bleeding and mental trauma from the ordeal itself. Also present was a concoction of drugs administered to her by her captors." He flips the page on his clipboard and continues. "The patient was given lifesaving treatment by rescue teams on site to stabilize her, and then emergency surgery to repair the damage to her internal organs. All broken bones were set and cast, it was determined that she be placed in a medically induced coma until phase one of the healing was completed. The side effects of her being bedridden for an extended period of time are as follows: Severe muscle atrophy, loss of coordination and fine motor skills, mild depression, and a stubborn refusal to follow this physician's instructions that I suspect may have existed prior to these injuries."
I look up at the last statement and catch Garrett and my father both trying to suppress a grin at the remark. The physician sets down the clipboard and addresses them all. "I will now take questions that pertain to the facts I have given you."
Esme is first, "Can you speak to her mental state? Is there any lasting mental trauma normally found in victims of an assault of this type? Post-traumatic stress disorder for instance?" I was expecting this but not sure what the answer will be.
The doctor checks his notes again. "The patient is not showing any symptoms of such a disorder, this does not mean that it could not manifest at a later time. However, at this point there is nothing that would support a diagnosis of that type. I would suggest regular psych evaluations for the next year to be on the safe side."
"Lasting physical damage?" my father inquires with a tone of concern.
"Three inches of bone on the left side was snapped off the lower rib, it was determined to be a more medically sound decision to remove the bone rather than repair it. Scarring on the spleen and liver as a result of lacerations that were repaired during surgery, there is a small amount of scarring on the pericardial tissue from the cardiac arrest. Patient has exceeded all expectations in physical therapy and has regained or exceeded all previous physical ability." My father smiles and sits back, no one is prepared for what the doctor says next, including me.
"Patient has, in all likelihood, lost the ability to carry a child to term." The room falls silent.
"What?" My father doesn't wait for an answer. "That was not in the preliminary report."
"Due to the injuries the patient sustained during the assault there was extensive internal damage and such damage, while repairable, does present complications; much like a broken bone is susceptible to arthritic pain years after healing. I'm sorry there was not more we could do, our focus was saving her life." The doctor's face is as impassive as my father's is livid.
"You're sorry? Oh well then that changes everything!" My father looks at Garrett, "He's sorry, we have the best medical staff money can buy and this quack is sorry…" Garrett puts a hand on my father's arm.
"Calm down Charles, he is right. The focus was saving her life, which I think there may have only been a few medical professionals in the world capable of doing, as far gone as she was." Garrett holds my father's gaze. He knows what the real reason for my damaged state is and he is diverting my father's attention from the why to just accepting how things are. I stand in stoic silence, betraying nothing of the thoughts going through my head.
"I have a question." Everyone falls silent at the clipped words of Sabrina Epperson. Everyone turns and looks at her. She waits until she had everyone's attention before continuing; it was obvious she was not used to repeating herself. "In light of this information and the obvious change in Bella from her initial placement, is the Red Collars still the most suitable faction for her?"
My eyes snap to Esme's and I see she looks uncomfortable. I knew she didn't want to have me in her faction from the start but I also knew how the politics among the factions worked. Giving me up without at least a token show of resistance would be the same as admitting she couldn't handle me; a sign of weakness that would be like blood in the water while swimming with sharks. But I could also see she was not about to contradict Sabrina. There is a history there, more than respect, it is fear.
"I'm not so sure she doesn't still belong with us." Esme begins cautiously, she catches Sabrina's eye and immediately backtracks. "I will however, defer to the judgment of The Board if that is their wish." She finishes as magnanimously as possible under the circumstances.
"I don't think there is any harm in having another vote on the subject." Sabrina continues to press the issue, daring anyone to challenge her on it. My father watches her intently, trying to figure out what her angle is. "I would also like to offer the Directors of each faction the possibility of allowing my Special Projects group the option of taking over mentoring Ms. Swan in the event an appropriate faction cannot be unanimously decided on." There it was, she had just extended her hand, I had either to take hold of it or slap it away, and either decision had its consequences.
My father stands up and addresses the group. "Thank you doctor for your analysis. I think we can take it from here without you." His meaning is clear, this discussion is for members only and "the help" is not welcome. He looks at Garrett, "You too old friend, I will meet with you presently once our business here is concluded."
Once Garrett and the doctor have left, my father turns to me. "I move that Bella be permitted to choose a new faction or to go to Special Projects. Unless there are any objections I will consider the motion seconded and passed." He looks at Esme, Emily and Billy, his stern look made it clear this is only the illusion of democracy, his word is law when it comes to me. When no objection is raised my father looks back at me, "Very well then Bella, you are being granted an opportunity very few members get, to be able to choose your own faction is a great honor and not a decision to be taken on lightly."
I take a deep breath and look at my father. This is to be one of those moments that will define the rest of my life. I want to look at all sides of the issue and make an informed decision but there is only one thing that matters, revenge; and who would be most suited to ensuring I get it.
"I would like to thank The Directors for entrusting this decision to me. I would also like to thank Esme for taking me on within The Red Collars as my mentoring faction, as well as the other factions for their assistance in rescuing me from my captors. At this time, however, I feel Special Projects would be best suited to my diverse skill set and my desire to hunt down the individuals who did this to me and who seek to destroy what we have built here." I glance at Ms. Epperson and catch the hint of a smile, "I hope to continue learning all I can from each faction so I will never again be a victim or potential liability to any of you."
"So be it." My father sits back down, a look of relief and uncertainty somehow simultaneously crossing his face. "The record will reflect you are now a member of the Special Projects team. I hope you achieve all that you set out to do." He looks around wearily, "If there is no other business, I need a drink and to have a word with my daughter."
Once everyone has left and Garrett comes back in with a drink for my father that he accepts gratefully and gulps down, he motions for me to sit with him. "I am so sorry, Bella." He begins, referring to the bombshell the doctor had dropped. "We will find a way to make it right, I swear to you…"
"Dad," I cut him off. "I don't really want to talk about it; it's not something I was even considering at this point in my life. I'm sure I will have plenty of time for regrets and self-pity once I have made the ones responsible pay. Now, per our agreement do you have some information for me?" I didn't like being short with him but I was of a singular focus these days. After my ordeal I had learned to separate people into three categories. Those who needed to die; those who would help me achieve that goal and everyone else. If you were in the second category you had my attention, if you were in the first, you would regret having my undivided attention, if you were in the third category, I had no time for you until it was over. Blood ties, personal history or friendships didn't matter, there was no middle ground.
"Yes I do, per our agreement." My father takes my hand, "I just wanted to make sure you are okay, can't a father be concerned about his daughter?" He looks at me expectantly.
I pull my hand back and hold his gaze. "I'm sorry but your daughter is still a captive, I'm the only one who made it out of there and I intend to help you get her back, maybe when they are all dead she will be returned to you, but until that time we have work to do. I have already wasted enough time healing; now either give me the information I need or get out of my way." My meaning is clear, Bella Swan never came back, this was Bella Dwyer, and they would regret creating this monster.
My father gives me a pitying look and I explode, "DON'T LOOK AT ME LIKE THAT!" I scream at him, "Don't you dare pity me! Pity the ones I am after, there is nowhere on earth they can hide from me." I collect myself, "Now, the information you promised, if you please."
My father clears his throat and thought better of arguing and launches into his briefing. "Yes well, um to your question as to the identity of GOD, I cannot divulge an identity I do not know but I can explain the position and concept. GOD stands for Global Operations Director; this person is the ultimate leader of the organization and all Directors report to GOD. I personally have never met GOD; all briefings are done remotely or via encrypted transmission and all correspondence and directives from GOD come through Vladamir. Vladamir's official position is the Voice Of GOD, he is the only one who has direct dealings with GOD and knows GOD's true identity."
"You must have a theory as to the identity though?" I ask, taking all of this knowledge in and planning my next steps. "I would appreciate if you would share it if you do."
"There are a lot of theories. Some even say it is me, which I can tell you unequivocally it is not. I can also confidently say it is not one of the Cullens or Youngs. They jockey too much for power for it to be one of them. It could be Ms. Epperson, but I think she is holding a secret of a different kind. It could also be someone I have never even met." He shrugs, "Not much help I'm afraid."
I stand up, "You have been very helpful, and you have helped me plan my next move." I take his hand, "One day I will get your daughter back for you, and I will make the ones who took her pay."
My father looks at me with sad eyes and holds my hand tight. "Bella, you are an Swan and you don't have to do this."
"NO!" I pull my hand away. "Bella Swan is still missing." I walk toward the door, stop and turn to him, "I am Bella Dwyer, and I plan on carving that name on James Witherdale's heart."
"And then what?" my father replies sadly. "Then do I get my daughter back?"
"What's left of her, part of her didn't make it. I'm sorry for your loss." I leave him standing there as I stride off down the hall. I hear his reply to my retreating back.
"So am I," he whispers.