Pre-Edit Count: 2,497 Words
Song: Burning in the Skies by Linkin Park
Bella is staring at him as the vampire who was holding Victoria says, looking shocked, “Well, that was one thing I had not thought to happen.”
The room only sees a blur as Caius moves to her side. He is staring down at her and then he growls out, “Who did this to her?”
Peter, as well as the rest of the room, is kneeling, submitting to the King in his rage. They can feel squeezing them as though they were deep in the ocean. “The red-head here. We brought them to you, my liege. The human has been left with knowledge of our existence from others and the red-head was torturing her when my mate and I found them in an alley.”
Caius growls out as his hand reaches out to touch the female that is his so tenderly on her cheek. “Aro!”
His brother is by his side and he smiles at the small female in the hospital bed. “She is beautiful, Caius.” Then, he looks at the female whose eyes are locked on her mates and his smile gets bigger as he asks, “Stella, may I please touch you?”
Not able to take her eyes from the man in front of her, she nods.
Aro looks to Caius and when he impatiently nods, Aro takes the hand next to him and bows over it, waiting for the information to pour into his mind. When nothing comes, his eyes open wide. “Madonna!”
Caius looks at him lifting a brow, not wanting to deal with Aro’s sense of theatrics. He can tell his mate is in a lot of pain and this is why he is wanting Aro to get her side so he can get her to a healer. He is hoping that she can be saved and will expend whatever is needed to do it if she wishes to suffer through it. But if not, he will bite her. He just wanted to get to know her wishes. He has been a warrior long enough that he can allow his mate whatever she wanted so long as she will become one of them to be by his side. To accept less would invite madness.
Aro just looks to her and he comments softly, “A shield for the warrior. How fitting is that?”
Trying not to growl, Caius looks up at Aro. Aro sees the look and he tells him, “Nothing. There is nothing. She is a shield. You will have to get the story the old fashioned way.” He also doesn’t want to cause any more pain to whom will become his sister. He is not one to want any of their family suffering and there is no doubt she had to be suffering from what he can see and smell from her.
Peter steps up, holding his hand out while informing him, “Master Caius, with your permission I can show Aro what she told us.”
Victoria fights. None of this is going good for her, she has a very bad feeling and nothing she is doing is allowing her to escape. “How do you know if she lies?”
Charlotte looks at her, saying, “You obviously don’t know Master Aro’s talent very well. It will be as though he was there. He can pick up if she lies as well as the rest of us.”
Aro chuckles as he pulls away from Peter and extending his hand to Charlotte, he closes his eyes as he takes her point of view. He nods his thanks to the woman and then turns to the fiery red-head. He tells his two guards, “Hold her, I expect she will not want the touch.”
As he predicted, she fought, but he put his hand on her. Within moments he snarls. “Alec, you will need to remove her senses. Felix, I want her torn back apart and put in the farthest corners of the dungeon. Her talent seems to be escaping, but I wish for a leg and an arm to be placed in the chest below my throne. If she can escape with all that; well, she won’t go far.”
Caius growls out, “So?” His hand is still caressing his mates face, wanting to end this as soon as possible. He needs to care for her, to take care of her always…
Aro turns to him and says, “She was claimed to be the mate of the youngest Cullen. But she is his singer and silent to his mind-reading. He decided he loved her and had gotten used to her scent. He and his family had asked if she wanted to go play baseball with them. That’s when a tracker named James, whose coven had been in the area hunting, decided that she would make a great game. Victoria here is his mate and he had sent her to get the address of her family, noticing when she had said she was leaving for Phoenix, that her mother lived there. After an entertaining evening for the tracker in which he bit her, he lost his life to the family. The singer had the venom sucked out of her by her so-called mate.”
Aro’s face turns angry as he continues, “Victoria hunted her afterwards and had, in fact, witnessed the leaving of the youngest Cullen of young Isabella here in the forest. He told her she had been a plaything for him. She has since then been fighting for her life and those of her friends and neighbors against Victoria’s attacks. Seems there is a group of shifters that have been protecting your young mate until she foolishly left their protection last night.”
Caius growls out and tells his little mate, “I am assigning you guards, my little one. You will not be able to slip by them so easily. So, is there any reason she has to be here any longer?” His words may be harsh, but his hands are gentle on her. Aro knows it is the pressure of knowing his mate is hurt that is causing to be more brusque than he normally would be with her.
Aro smirks. “Lady Charlotte has something for her; it will knock her out.”
Growling, Caius looks over to Charlotte and holds out his hand. She hands it to him quickly, not meeting his eyes. She tells him, “We have a doctor who is just waiting for word of her being done to come to set her bones.”
His eyes flashing black, he grits his teeth. He takes a deep breathe and then looking at his mate, asks, “You want this?” holding out the drug so that she can see it.
Bella closes her eyes as the pain swirls around her, then painfully, she tells him, “No, but I think I need it.”
A quick smile was on his face from hearing her voice, but he tells her, “Then we will give this to you now, but to know more, we will wait until to we get the doctor to our rooms. I would like to hear what they have to say as well as my brother Marcus. He has been interested in the healing arts and will know more,” he finishes, pressing the syringe carefully into the shunt and watching the trail of the liquid as it goes through and enters her body.
She nods at him and then looks at him in shock as he leans over and tells her softly, “Rest, I will take care of you now.” The look in those red eyes of his make it all too real to her that he means this. Then, the blackness reaches up to her to take her back with it.
Caius is leaning back in his seat, watching his mate on their bed. When she had passed out in the throne room, he had quickly taken control of the situation. After questioning Charlotte and Peter, he had them call the Doctor in.
Then he listened to the doctor as he listed everything that is wrong with his mate. Then Marcus discussed the new tests they had been running. They had been studying the effects of venom and the uses of it in healing people. After a long discussion of the pros and cons, Caius agreed to talk with his mate about it.
The worst that will happen is that she will be changed immediately. The best is that they will be closer than most mates, but since there are so few True Mates around, they had no idea how it would affect their bond. Along with that, she will heal much quicker.
This new method of healing is to allow a small amount of his venom in a large amount of blood. He has already done combined his venom with her blood which they had carefully withdrawn from her so that it will be taken faster to her body. The bag was a normal amount from her, but the amount of venom was small next to it. Luckily, it had worked the first time. The small amount of his venom not changing the cells, but healing some of the blood cells instead. In fact, they ended up pouring some of the blood into another bag since it had multiplied the cells.
Marcus thinks it has to do with the Mating Bond. He knows that when Caius claims her, he will bite her and only his scent will be inserted, but he has no idea why that happens instead of the change. He only knows that it will happen and he will have no control over it.
So here Caius sits, worrying about his little mate and hoping that their plan works. However, if they wait too long, there might not be a choice. So he sits and worries, but watches the time. He is walking a fine line, but then, he has for all his life.
When he hears her heartbeat change, he is there by her side, watching her as she wakens. He can see when the pain hits her and wishes he could take it from her. She deserves nothing but happiness.
Bella awake and stares into the red eyes of the man who had taken all of her attention the second she had seen him. She smiles up at him, and asks, “Who are you and what is this between us?” She had felt the connection between them the instant their eyes had met. This was way more than she had felt with Edward.
He smiles, saying, “Caius Volturi, at your service, mia amata. More importantly, I am what they call your True Mate. I think humans call it Soul Mates?” He lifts an eyebrow to her.
She furrows her forehead and asks, “How can I be your mate if Edward was mine?”
He growls. “No mate would ever leave theirs behind in a forest with someone hunting them. Edward was in no way your mate. However…”
She lifts an eyebrow to him. He grins down at her. “I think you did have a mate, but I cannot be sure until we meet the Cullens. The truth is that you can have many mates, especially with you being human and still growing, but you will only have one True Mate. I’ve waited a very long time for you and I will be blunt. I am not going to let you go. Knowing that you are the one has me excited and set on winning your heart, mia piccola.”
She smiles but she wonders aloud, “Why do you think I had a mate in the Cullen Coven?”
He smiles as he murmurs, “So smart.” His eyes met hers as he says, “Because you were very attracted to them too quickly. I believe that you may have been mated to one of them, but to whom? I am not sure.”
Bella muses on these thoughts and she just shakes her head. “Does it really matter now?”
He picks her hand up, looking at it in his while examining the differences between the two. He tells her, “Only that unless the vampire in question has found his True Mate then he will still be mated to you. He was there at the time and your souls were compatible. But now, you will feel close to this individual as though he is your brother, your best friend. He will be those things to you, but nothing more.” He meets her eyes, his own black as his voice tells her bluntly, “I won’t – can’t – share you.” He has waited too long and he is being selfish, but he is a selfish man.
She looks into those eyes of his and then she asks with a tone of confusion to it, “I thought your eyes were cloudy…”
He laughs. “A sign of finding your True Mate at our age. Marcus is also clear though his True Mate was killed so long ago. But he holds out hope that since he was prophesied that she will come again. He waits for her to this day. I am overjoyed at finding you and it makes them both hope for their own resolutions.” He traces her face with the back of his hand, so careful with his fragile mate.
He sighs, then looks at her. “I hate to do this, but you are injured so severely, my little mate. They set your bones, but truthfully, it is recommended that I change you. While this is my deepest desire, I have found that it is better to ask first.” He looks into her eyes and informs her, “Marcus has an idea that so far looks as though it will work, but you need to decide quickly.”
He scratches his eyebrow with his thumb as then continues, “He has worked with the doctors here in Volterra to find uses for our venom. Unlike what most of the vampire world thinks, we actually are trying to figure out ways to help the human race. It certainly seems like someone has to in order to make them live longer. With the way they are eating up resources, we vampires need to figure out alternatives or we will not survive.”
Closing his eyes, he shakes his head and murmurs the first part of the sentence to himself before continuing, “I certainly am talkative with you. But the point I am trying to make is that he has devised a way for our venom to help heal humans. While the results are not conclusive, he has mentioned that with us being True Mates that it should help heal you. The side effect is that we will have a very close mating bond, but the alternative is to change you now.”
Bella relaxes against the pillow. “Why are you so set on not changing me now?”
He smirks and in a second is right over her, staring down at her with his red eyes locked onto her own brown ones. “I would change you right this second if you ask. There is nothing I wish more. However, I am giving you a chance. A chance to say goodbye. While you are not appearing as young as the twins do, the age for those considered children is moving up all the time. I would rather you be an age you feel comfortable with.”
She smiles. “So you are not wanting to save my soul or something like that by refusing to change me?”
He snorts then nuzzles her on her neck, enjoying the scent of her. “My gods do not refuse souls because of a change to vampire. All that matters are my deeds in life. I am set on being in Valhalla. And you, my little Valkyrie, will be there beside me. There is no doubt in my head.”
She laughs and looks at him. “Viking?” she guesses with the comment and the idea from when she first saw him about being reminded of a Viking warrior, just missing the stupid horns on his head, pops into her mind. Really, she cannot see this warrior in front of her wearing something so stupid.
He nods, enjoying her scent and marking her with his as he rubs his face alongside her neck. He feels rumbles in his chest and allows the sound to come forth, happy that it was yet another proof that she is the one for him.
She chuckles. “Purring? Really?”
He lifts his head with a smile. “Yes. Another sign. But, mia amata, you need to choose. Time is running out for you.”
She looks at him and tells him, “The other thing. If it fails, you will change me?”
He nods. “In a heartbeat… To lose you now will only lead me to following you. I am not as strong as Marcus. I would rather feast with you in Valhalla then to wait the many hundreds of years for you again. I am not going to lose you.”
She looks into his eyes and tells him, “Well, let’s get this show on the road. I rather learn about you in our time, not because Victoria determined it.”
He snarls at the name, but gives her one last nuzzle before calling out, “Marcus!” He is beside her on the bed and when the males come in, he cannot help the crouch, defending his mate who is hurt.
When they look on him, he tells them, “She has agreed.”
Final count, 2.891 words.