Pre Edit Count – 2,806 Words
Song I listened to for this chapter: Wretches and Kings by Linkin Park
She slides in and, after doing her business, approaches the sinks. As she washes her hands, she looks down with love at the ring from Godric. She listens to the phrases in the background from the current singer, then a movement causes her to look up, but it’s too late. A cloth covers her face and she never gets to look at her assailant.
The minute Bella loses consciousness, Godric and Eric both freeze from the loss of their Bond with her. Jasper also freezes since he always keeps a mental bead on her, the same as Peter. The four of them simultaneously standing up straight and looking at each other before they move is enough to catch the attention of several in the crowd.
Eric rudely excuses himself from the Queen’s presence, but Bella matters much more. If he discovers that the Queen had anything to do with this he will want nothing more than to remove her head. He will gladly take on the mess that will happen if he takes over the state at this time. That is, if Godric doesn’t beat him to it. Or Jasper. Or Peter…
He meets up with Godric a few steps before they head to her last known location. “Chuaigh sí go dtí an seomra folctha. D’iarr mé uirthi a aimsiú Charlotte, ach dealraíonn sé nach raibh sí ag éisteacht.” (She went to the bathroom. I asked her to find Charlotte, but it seems she did not listen.) There is no blame attached since they both know Bella to be independent. She wouldn’t see the risk of going to the bathroom alone. Of course, none of them thought it would be a risk either.
Peter and Jasper meet them just before they get to the restroom, and the scent that Jasper detects makes him growl. The contacts that he had put in for the night dissolve as he snarls out, “Cullen!” His eyes blacken as he tries to act somewhat human for the benefit of the few humans in the crowd around them.
Eric turns to him and asks, “Which one?” He has studied the specs on the Cullens so that he would recognize them, and has kept watch over the room. It irritates and upsets the Viking that one of them has been here and he hadn’t noticed. He has failed in protecting his lillasyster from a known assailant.
To stop Jasper from moving through the crowd looking for a Cullen in a way that would expose them, Peter places a hand on his shoulder as he answers Eric. “Emmett. Why would he take Bella?” It doesn’t make sense.
Then Peter stiffens. “Where is Charlotte?” His body goes on alert, and after slightly shoving Jasper to Eric, he takes off looking for his Mate.
Godric snarls as he storms into the bathroom to find the location from which his Mate was taken. His rage escalates as he smells that she had been in front of the mirrors but not long enough for her scent to be heavy. He follows her scent to a side door which he wrenches open, and discovers a window. “Cén fáth an ifreann tá fuinneog sa closet seomra folctha?” (Why the hell is there a window in the bathroom closet?)
Eric just shakes his head. That is a very good question and not one he can answer.
There is a sudden movement beside him, and Armando asks, “You wish me to see if she is close?” He too is upset that the slight woman he had danced with, had made friends with, was taken from a place she should consider safe.
Before Eric can answer, Godric is gone. Shaking his head, he glances at Jasper, then the Cold One is gone too as he follows the ancient vampire. Rolling his eyes at them all but wanting nothing more to be out there looking for his syrra with them, Eric looks to Armando, “If you would. This way we will have as many eyes as possible out looking. I need to be here, but luckily, I can be here in the office.” He and Andrew are the only ones left to access the system. As a joke Peter has not yet been added, but it is a joke that he curses at this time.
Everyone who remains quickly moves to other places. Andrew goes out into the crowd to make it seem as though they have a regular vampire issue that requires both Godric and Bella to oversee, while the rest of the nest is as they normally would be.
Eric enters the office that his syrra hadn’t even had a chance to see yet and quickly plugs the system into the cameras in the club. He is looking for the elusive Emmett, and curses when he sees that time is missing on a few cameras. What the hell is going on?
Soon Peter carries Charlotte into the room. Eric looks up and asks, “Is she ok?” He has grown close to his Guardians during the last month, and is actually worried about her.
He nods. “No idea what happened. Paul found her in a dark corner. He had been tasked with keeping an eye on us for the night. He says the scents were very odd. I agree.” He caresses his Mate’s face as he tries to think of what could knock out one of them.
Eric growls as he realizes that this was not an impromptu grab of Bella. No, somehow, this had been planned. He snaps his attention back to the cameras looking for the big man he had familiarized himself with when he had studied all the information available on the Cullens.
He soon discovers that the man had only passed one camera, and luckily the camera had caught him. He growls out, “This was planned.” There is no other explanation for how they knocked out a Cold One or how Emmett got in and out without seeing anyone who would have set off an alarm…or how there was a fucking window in the damn bathroom closet that Eric knows was not in the original plans.
Peter looks up from his Mate and nods. “The thing is, why now? Why not earlier? This was not easy to set up, not with as much forethought as had to have gone into this.”
Thinking it over, Eric tells Peter, “Godric was going to ask her tonight when she wished to be turned. He has started preparing for it. It would have been when she wanted it, but he was prepared to go to ground with her tonight. Maybe the pixie somehow saw her making that decision?”
He is frustrated. This night had been everything Godric had worked so hard to give to his Mate. He wanted this dream for her, to prove to her that he can and will give her the dreams that she had never even imagined. Eric knows Godric had planned for everything, except that she would be taken from him.
Peter frowns as he tries to figure out how they knew, then he curses. “Fuck the fucking paps!” He knew there had been something that had bugged him about the whole thing, but his Knower had given him nothing so that he could fix anything. This is why his so-called gift is no gift. It didn’t even allow him to protect his own blood!
Looking at him, he pieces together the comment with what they know. Eric says it out loud, “The pictures from the opening, she would have seen them either online or some other way. It was public enough to give her that glimpse. And from there she would have the tenor of Bella’s mind to see far enough. She is still human.” He growls. But why this night? He still has no idea. Maybe it was because she saw Bella here, and that made it possible for them to act?
Growling, Peter rubs his face as he stares at his Mate. “Even better, Bella’s been having issues with her head lately, right? Maybe she is more us than human? Maybe that makes it easier for the little shit to see her better?” He is growling, hating that she’s missing, and hating that he’s tied here until his Mate opens her eyes. But he cannot leave her side until he knows that she is ok.
Shrugging, Eric asks, “Does it matter? Either way, she is gone. Godric is hunting them right now. They may think they only have to keep her away until the sun rises, but that won’t deter either him or Armando.” He looks up at Peter, knowing that he knows what Eric does… and that no, those two will not stop looking for her, nor will the rest of them once they are free to join the search.
Shuddering, Peter comments, “He scares the hell out of me, and Jasper is also hunting with Godric. They can’t keep her long.” He knows his sire will do anything for Bella.
Both men send that comment to their Gods, and focus their minds on making sure that no one knows about the kidnapping, and helping to find the little female that had brought them together.
Emmett has Bella with him, and he growls as he answers his phone. “I will bring her when I’m in the clear. Until then, do what you can to get them off my trail!” He then hangs up on his brother who he now suspects is not being honest with him.
He looks over at his little sister, and his face softens. So many people think he’s a just doofus and a jock. No one credits him with much intelligence, but no…something is just not jibing. For one thing, Bella is decked out in black diamonds, and each piece was made for her. The money present in just her jewelry alone is enough to make him pause. No one would give a slave this.
And he had caught the expression on her face when she had looked down at the ring on her finger. It was a look he had associated with her only in reference to his brother.
No, unless sometime during the past month they had worked her over enough for Stockholm syndrome to set in, there is something more going on. Bella had no handler when she went to the bathroom. She had moved freely through the crowd. No one was even following her, not even discreetly.
Though one point for the whole brainwashing thing is the heels she’s wearing, but then, she had never looked down, nor had she tripped all night. In fact, she had moved as though the heels didn’t affect her at all, and he had seen her literally trip on air.
And her eyes!!! The new eye color is really blowing his mind. She smells different, too. Bella’s unmistakable scent is still present, but there are two other scents mixed in with hers. He has never smelled anything like it, not even in Mated couples. No, scents should not be this well mixed, as though her very chemical essence has been changed.
No, not until he can talk to her is he going to allow Edward around her. What he has seen is not adding up to the picture that was painted of his sister as being taken against her will and used as a bloodbag by the other type of vampire. And he has not forgotten that she is his own brother’s singer.
Plus there is the unusual interest displayed by the three Kings in Volturi. Why would they be interested in a human? And why not punish the family? No, instead they had demanded that she be brought to them and changed there as soon as possible.
He sighs as he makes another turn. He is not paying attention to what’s going on, nor is he making any definite decisions. He will get his answers before he gives Bella to anyone. If he needs to, he will turn her himself, or run with her until she grows old and dies. It is up to her now.
Godric intently follows the car that carries his Mate, never once losing sight of it. He snarls as he realizes that he needs to allow the vehicle to pull ahead or he will never be able to extract her from it safely, not with as fast as the idiot is driving. Although if he so much as puts a single bruise or scratch on her, he will face far more from Godric than most would care to contemplate, and that doesn’t include what the rest of the nest would do.
He slows down as he searches the Bond for her yet again. This non-life she is feeling is not right! It is all sorts of wrong. It is even nothing like when she sleeps. No, there is nothing coming from the Bond. He is relieved, however, that he had figured out how to use even that non-feeling as a way to track her.
With a glare at the car, he stops and takes off into the air to watch from on high as the vehicle makes turns. They are not deliberate and often have the car on only two wheels. He snarls, and can hear Jasper’s growl and the cry from the raven as they all witness the careless driving.
Jasper appears near him on a building, and Armando flies down to land. They are all watching the car, but they are also keeping an eye on the other half of the Mated pair.
Jasper looks up at the snarling Godric. “Why did he stop?”
Looking up himself, Armando tells him, “It is too risky for him to take her from a moving vehicle. Other than that, I could not tell you.” He is getting angrier at the risks the irresponsible driver is taking with Bella.
Godric turns his face down and asks Armando, “Will you follow her? You in your other form will not be noticed.” His tactical skills are surging forth, allowing him to plan what he needs to do for his Mate.
Armando nods, and as he jumps, he turns into a raven in a burst of smoke. He takes wing and from above is soon tracking the car.
Godric is still growling as Jasper stares at him. “What do you want me to do?”
Floating down, he holds out his hand. “Grab my hand, and we will keep as close as we can.”
Jasper jumps and clasps his hand, then feels Godric’s power as it wraps around him and connects him with the ancient vampire. Quickly they start moving, and Jasper realizes that they are keeping to the rooftops to hide the fact they are flying, and to escape the view of anyone watching the car.
Godric’s brain churns over options. He finally asks, “Do you think they will try to kill her?”
Jasper shakes his head. “No, they probably want to turn her to see if whatever caused her to repel Edward’s power and his influence on her will manifest in a way that can be used by others.” It had been the plan earlier, without the critical part. But Godric knows this. He is asking for the side that wants to turn his own Mate, to have her share his blood in every way possible.
His jaw clenches as his eyes burn with hatred. “Of course. They always want that. Makes me wonder why though.” His brain is searching out all the flaws in that plan. Bella could be the piece de resistance for any who dislike the current hierarchy.
Jasper looks up at him. “Because it is a way to make sure they are not overthrown.” He frowns as his own mind tries to keep up with the ancient being beside him.
Godric shakes his head. “No. There is more to this. If they are the rulers, how many of you buck against the system? And if you hate it, why haven’t you tried to take over? If there are enough, they can overrun the talented ones. So why do they want more? And Bella’s talent would make it hard for them to control her. So…why?” His mind is searching for an answer, but it also is working on how to get his Mate back.
Jasper just shakes his head. “I don’t know. What I do know is that Emmett loves Bella like a sister. I wonder what they told him to have him participate in this. And I bet it was because of that love for her that we never saw this happening. To him, he would be saving her, not taking her. So, we need to know what his plans are. He is hopefully confused with how Bella is now. She smells different, looks different, and acts different.” He smiles as he remembers watching the changes in her, how proud he is of her for her new confidence. While Godric’s blood fixed the imbalance in her inner ear, it was her desire to be more that caused the most change.
Godric nods, his eyes keeping track of the car that holds his life in it. “He better not harm her. If something happens to her, I will avenge her and then follow. There is no other choice now.” He knows that while Eric and Andrew will suffer, he cannot do otherwise anymore.
Jasper nods. “I know. That is why we need her back. I don’t think Eric will deal with either of your losses. And we will get her back. Armando won’t lose Emmett, and we will be there to save her.”
Godric nods, but his eyes never leave the car.
In a warehouse on the edge of the city, two Cold Ones are pacing. One of them growls at the other, “Where is he? What is taking him so long?” He is upset – Emmett had hung up on him. HIM.
The other is sitting on the ground, her inky black hair spiked everywhere as she has her eyes closed, trying to see. “I have no idea. He is not making any decisions. All I can see is a blank spot again. I have no idea what is going on with her and why I cannot see the little bitch.” She had seen around the woman, but never her exactly. Even this evening had been planned around the fact that they had seen Emmett grabbing her. That is why so much magic and other secrets were used tonight to grab her.
The copper haired Cold One stops and snarls at her, mocking her, “’Leave her, Edward, she will be miserable and welcome a chance to have you back without a question.’ ‘She will be subdued, thinking you are her Mate because of the pain.’ ‘Trust me Edward, when have I led you astray?’” His eyes blacken. “One fucking job you have, and you fail our Lady!” And he was not able to have any more of his Singer. He should have been able to drink from her a lot more…
Her red eyes open and she stares at the man in front of her. “I have served our Lady longer than you have been around, Edward. I have served her so well that until now they thought that Mates were extremely rare and that there is nothing that would let them find them. Me! I have been responsible for this! What have you done for the Lady? Seduced a couple of girls? Killed the ones that had no useful talent? Anyone can do that.” Her eyes show her hatred for her so-called brother. He had been useful, but she will not allow him to mock her centuries of use to their Lady!
They snarl at each other. Then from a corner of the room, a man claps as he emerges. His black hair is cropped short, and, for today, he wears a suit that brings out the blue in his eyes. The scar he had gotten from his father that stretches from his nose to his lip is one of the few marks he carries of his great age, but the sneer on his face shows his disdain for the two in front of him.
“One simple job. Make Bella Swan fall in love with you. Take care never to allow her to cross the paths of Godric Nervii or his Son Eric Northman. As long as this is done, you would be allowed to avoid taking part in the upcoming fights. In fact, it was imperative that you didn’t. But no, you left her. ALONE!” He snarls the last word at them as he walks up to the two and they cower away from him.
“Because of this one foolish mistake, we lost an important spy in their Authority. The Dark Prince is active. Godric is more alive and is now King. Who knows what will happen with Eric. You have never been able to tell where the fuck his Mate even is. Now…now this fucked up mess. ‘Emmett will bring her. He will do it.’ Instead, you can’t even see him now. You can’t see her. You can’t see SHIT!” He is livid – they have potentially exposed their hand, and for what? He was already dealing with the ramifications of being the head of a failed experiment and those damn hybrids are causing more and more problems.
Alice tells him, “I am trying. I don’t understand what is causing Emmett to disappear.” She rubs her temples as she tries to get something, anything, to help them.
He growls. “Did you tell him that they forced her to become their slave?” He is grasping at straws to remove this disaster from his shoulders.
Edward nods. “Just as you told us.”
The man turns and glares at them, “Did you explain how it changed her?”
The two look at each other then look at him. “Changed her?” They have no idea what he is talking about. They had explained that Alice cannot seem to see Bella, just those around her, and even then not often.
He snarls, then reaches into his suit he grabs and throws a newspaper at them. In the paper was a color photo of Eric, Bella, and Godric. They had made the evening edition.
Edward’s eyes take in the changes. “How the hell did they do that? Her eye color is different; her face is different!” His eyes, which had stared at the girl for hours, now quickly see the changes in the woman before him.
The man backhands him and sends him flying across the room. “You fucking idiot! Your incompetence is going to cost us!”
Edward just snarls as he stands up. The man is glaring at him. “She is the fucking Goddess Blessed sister of Fucking Northman. As such, it changed her. As time goes by, she slowly resembles him more and more. And they probably didn’t even notice!”
Alice shakes her head as she looks down at the photo, then looks back up at the man. “You know I can only see humans and Cold Ones. This has been known for the last twenty thousand years! If you knew this was the problem, why didn’t you tell me?” No wonder she could not see Bella.
The man raises an eyebrow at the woman in front of him. “She is still human and Cold One. Why would this be any different?” This made no sense. If she saw Bella once before, why could she not do it now. He had thought her excuses were just laziness.
Alice shakes her head at him. “If she is Goddess Blessed, then she has that Other floating in her system from him. She is no longer human or Cold One enough for me to sense. As soon as this came to be, I lost her from my sight.” She growls at the man in front of her.
He frowns, then paces. Thinking it through, he asks, “Can you see me?”
She snorts. “You know I have never seen you, Mordred. You have never been human. Northman has always been off my radar as well because of the difference in him. Now, she is the same as him. She is as much gone as she could be.”
Edward snarls, “No! I want to drink her! It is my reward for dealing with all this bullshit!”
Mordred soon has him up against the wall. “You will get what we give to you. Do not make me end you!” He is tired of the pettiness of the child before him.
Alice sighs musically. “Right now, everything is up to Emmett. It depends on what he does if it goes our way or theirs.”
Mordred glares into Edward’s eyes. “And you better hope that it goes our way, Mason.”
Final count: 4,168 words.
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