Pre-Edit Count: 3,387 Words
Song: Burning in the Skies by Linkin Park
When they look on him, he tells them, “She has agreed.”
Marcus hooked up the bag of blood that was mixed with Caius’s venom to be infused into Bella. He smiles to himself, knowing it will work, but cannot tell Caius. No, his brother, though a firm believer in his own Gods and so many things, has turned to hard facts for his little mate.
Since he is the only one with the experience of having a True Mate, Marcus has known so much of this to be true. But Caius, while extremely faithful to his gods and willing to believe in fantastical things, would rather have his faith backed up with science when it came down to the wire. Especially for his new mate.
Marcus looks up into Caius’s eyes and when his brother nods, he turns the clamp. Now it is a waiting game to see how fast Caius’s venom recognizes its mate in Bella and starts healing her. To him, it has already been shown with the extra bag of blood that it not only recognizes its mate in Bella, but will work to heal her.
With a nod to Caius, he leaves the room heading out of the suite of rooms that Caius had claimed long ago. He chuckles as he realizes that Bella is very much protected since it will take a while to get to their room. This measure is just Caius normally. Once he has the time, Marcus will not be surprised to find all of Volturi updated with the latest in technology. It is what he did with Didyme and Caius is just the right person to do it. He is thinking the man will suffer trying to do right by his little mate.
When he makes his way to outside his rooms, he nods to the crowd waiting in the round room that contained the entry ways into each King’s wing. He tells them, “We will know soon if it will work.”
Peter chuckled once. “I just don’t know why you won’t tell him it will work.” He is leaning against the wall, looking up to meet the King’s eyes.
Shaking his head at Caius’s young protégé, Marcus tells him, “Because he needs to see it work. I have been his brother longer than you have ever been a gleam in your great grandfather’s eye when he was born. Relax Peter,” he chuckles.
Aro is leaning against the wall and says, “He is just upset that she is not going to be a Whitlock now. It is his wish, to have her for a sister.” His eyes are laughing at the other vampire.
Marcus rolls his eyes, “Not now, Aro. Right now, I am more worried about what we need to do about the information that has been brought to our attention.” He gives him a hard look.
A growl escapes most of the room as they thought of why their Master’s mate is in grave danger.
Demetri shakes his head. “Who to bring to face the wrath of Caius? The red-head is just the result of the Cullens and there is much need to know about her.” He is searching for all of them constantly, making sure he knows where they are for when Caius wants to leap into action.
Felix chuckles as he is searching through the laptop he is on and Alec beside him mirrors his chuckles. “Her life is easy to find in the computers. Seems someone in the Cullen’s wanted to make sure she is set for this life.” He looks up to Peter, saying, “I suspect it was your sire since her last name on all the additional documents is Whitlock.” He raises an eyebrow. They all heard Caius and their bets are on the blonde demon. But how will they get him not to know who she was to him…?
Peter nods, sighing. “I guess once I find my sire after little one is safe, I will ask if I can be her guard. I cannot get rid of the feeling as though Char and I need to protect the little one.” He shakes his head. While being sworn to Caius is one thing, what he wants to do will need both the head of his coven and his King to agree.
Aro huffs, “We will need for you to go take care of the nest of younglings she turned. They are wild and soon will not believe her tales of the sun burning them. I suspect we will be having an outbreak of murders and missing people in Seattle if we don’t get a handle on them quickly.”
Felix sighs. “The little one has had a rough life. Caius is going to flip. She is going to find being here so different from her old life.” He is not liking what he is reading on the information they are gathering and if he is not happy, he can’t see anyone else in the family being calm.
Growling, Aro shakes his head, “There is a reason Athenodora and Sulpicia have been locked away, they refused to get caught up with the times. She will not have that, nor would I think Caius will strip her will from her.” He gets a lot of comments from the guard for that one. Bella will not be so hardheaded, and even if she is, she will have many years of freedom before they have to lock her away so she doesn’t give their secret away.
Felix snorts. “No. Not that. She has taken care of her mother from an early age. From what I can see seven years old looks like the first time it was noted that the daughter came in to pay the bills.”
Aro and Marcus both snarl. “Seven?” they demanded together.
Charlotte cannot help but laugh. “She is Caius’s mate, but you are taking this so personally.” She had to point it out since her inner demon is wanting to tear apart Bella’s mother for her negligence.
Guessing to her reason why, Marcus turns to her, telling her, “She is like a daughter to me. Aro sees her as a sister. So yes, she is family and family is always personal. Ask your own husband.” He cannot allow it to lay. The world will find it is not wise to pick on their family.
She looks over to Peter and he is gritting his teeth, his hands fisted. He is shaking his head. “I didn’t get a thing. But if I find out the Pixie bitch did…” He is losing the battle with his vampire side. The one who claimed Bella as family.
Aro puts a hand on him, and tells him, “We will have our revenge. Right now we need to get her to heal. Contain the newborn outbreak in Seattle. Then allow her the goodbye she wishes before we change her. Then we will face down the Cullens. Unless of course, the time comes sooner. Then we will deal with them then.”
They all nod and look back towards the room as Alec and Felix work to find out all they can about their newest member so that if it is needed, they can move to erase her.
Caius is smiling down at his mate as she wakes up. “It looks like it is working.” He can feel her in ways that shouldn’t be normally possible, but who knows with True Mates, especially ones that are using their mate’s venom to heal?
Bella smiles up at him and feeling her body, she nods. “It is not hurting so bad.”
He nods. “I can feel the difference. Now if I could only remove the pain this would be so much better.”
She laughs. “Greedy!”
His face lights up in a true smile. “Always for you, my love.” He turns his attention internally and sighs as he realizes the last broken bone, the one in her thigh is healing. “I can definitely say this is a solution to the ER records Felix brought me. No more, la mia amata.” He gives her a hard look. He didn’t like the records nor the implications of them.
She laughs and lifts an eyebrow. “Is this going to be our relationship? You telling me no? Cause I don’t think I can take that again.” She may sound like she is joking, but she is being very serious.
His eyes actually light up and his smile gets bigger and she chuckles looking at his overbite. He is perfect for her. What others may think are mistakes, she sees as only perfection in him. She bites that lower lip of hers and he reaches down. With a look at her eyes, he uses his own teeth to gently remove her lip from her teeth, then his lips envelope hers for a kiss that soon has their passion rising.
Caius pulls away from her, his eyes looking down at hers as he comments hoarsely, “Breathtaking.”
She sighs in her own delight, then her stomach rumbles, causing her blush to cue up. He laughs, kissing her hand, then grabs the phone on the table next to them. “Demetri? Yes, she is awake and it sounds like she is hungry.” He listens his eyes on hers, then he grins at a comment on the other end. “I suppose if he is being half as annoying as I suspect he is that you can let him in. But let him know she eats first.” With that, he hangs up the phone taking up his place again close by her face.
He raises his body and watching her carefully, he slides into bed next to her. With a sigh, he rests his head on hers. “Thank you.” He needed this closeness, but he had not wanted to cause her pain nor have her jerk when she woke with him being so unexpectedly close.
Bella can feel the sense of completeness with him and she turns her head into his neck, taking in the masculine smell that she had always found slightly dusty on Edward. With Caius it smells as though he had worked outside in leather and came straight in. Not stinky, but all male.
The two of them relax for a few minutes until Caius sighs as he can hear the vampires entering his suite. “Your food is coming, along with my brothers. Seems they wish to talk to you.”
She cannot help the laughter as it sounds like he is pouting. “I’m sure that one way or the other you will get rid of them when I get tired. Since you can feel it now.” She lifts an eyebrow. He may know what she is feeling, but hell if she will allow him to try to control her like that. Though, right now she will admit that she may overdo it and him watching over her can be a good thing.
He cannot help the laughter rumbling out of him as he tells her, “Oh, life has gotten much more interesting now.” The fire in her is not one he has seen for a very long time in a female. She reminds him of the women back from his time. The Shield Warriors who went into battle alongside their men.
Aro and Marcus are the first in the room and seeing the two watching them, they wave in Demetri who brings in a tray with some Italian food on it. “We have no idea what this is, but it is sworn to help you gain energy.”
Bella looks at the plates and seeing ravioli, tries a bite, and smiles. “Mushroom ravioli, my favorite!”
The room relaxes and Demetri stands by the room’s door in a guard pose. He is smiling, enjoying the fact that he has pleased his Lady; his soon to be Queen.
Caius soon takes the fork out of Bella’s hand is feeding her. She laughs at him and he leans toward her ear and tells her so softly, “Let me care for you. I will tell you more later, but I need this connection, my love.”
Aro and Marcus watch her and soon, Bella is done and the tray is whisked away with Demetri back at his post. Caius relaxes and tells his little mate, “Meet your first guard and my own main guard. But until you can find your own guards, I am setting you up with my top three.” His face hardens. He will not take anything but acceptance from his fragile mate.
She frowns, “What about you?”
He chuckles, “I will have others, but as the King in charge of the guard, well, it is my privilege to assign you the guards I think will be best for you. Demetri is in charge.” When she stares at him, he lifts an eyebrow and tells her bluntly, “I told you I would not allow you to be unprotected.”
Marcus and Aro are smiling, but it is Aro who saves the woman he is quickly thinking of as a sister. “Just think of it this way. He will be more likely to allow you to leave this room with guards.”
Bella turns and glares at the man in front of her. Then she looks up to the man who claims to be her mate. “You wouldn’t dare. Not if you want to have a peaceful existence with me!” To lock her in a room? Not even Edward was that bad!
Caius hands raise up. “Not me, my love, now ask Aro where his mate is!” No way is he getting into hot water with his diminutive mate.
Her head turns back and looks at him and Aro shakes his head. “So quickly he learns,” Marcus chuckles as he watches them.
She lifts her eyebrow and Aro raises his own to match hers. They stare off at each other and Marcus just starts laughing. “Oh my, you have certainly fell into place quickly here, dear one.”
Bella lifts a finger to him, telling him he has to wait as she stares at Aro. Caius, Demetri and Marcus cannot help but laugh at her. Aro rolls his eyes, “Do you want the short answer or the complete one, the one that will show why you won’t have it happen to you?”
She answers him, “The long one, I just met you, so I will give you a chance.” Then she turns her petite nose to the other two in the room and sniffs at them as she puts it up in the air, offended.
Caius pulls her close to him after he is sure she is now fully healed. He tells them, “If any of you dare to try to change her, I will kill you.”
She huffs, muttering, “It is a good start, but you are in the dog house too, mister.”
They all laugh again and she looks at Aro. “I am waiting…”
He shakes his head, but he answers his little sister. “Basically while you are Caius’s True Mate, Sulpicia is my mate and she doesn’t want to live in the world as it is now. She has decided this and will not budge. Says there is no class in this time and place. If she will not move forward with the times, then she cannot be out and about. It would be odd to find her in the hallways in gowns and such from the times she prefers. If she would just give in and learn of this time, then she can move about freely in the city and castle.” He shrugs, but he cannot have the secret found out by a tour group.
Bella looks at him in horror. “So let me get this right. She doesn’t want to give up the times she likes best, so you imprison her?” In her mind, the fact that if she does not do as Aro thinks is right she may be imprisoned too is running in loop…
They all look at each other. “When you put it that way, it does seem cruel. But we cannot have humans guessing the truth. Especially not here.” Aro is upset, but he cannot allow the secret to come out, not here and then expect others to follow his rulings.
Bella shakes her head. “Have you guys seen the outside world? Really? There is so much more out there and having them dress is period clothing will not be thought of any more than the cloaks you guys wear. In fact, the cloaks are so much more noticeable than them wearing the clothes they want.”
The three look at each other, then back to her. Aro is looking at her as he says, “The cloaks have been imposing for when we have to show up somewhere and often work to make the other vampires think twice about attacking us.” His voice is a little harder, but he can sense that he needs to be careful. Caius will only allow them to bicker so much before defending his mate.
Bella shakes her head. “I can see that happening. But for nowadays? It stands out. If you are so worried about the dresses, then you should be worried about the cloaks. You are being hypocrites.”
Caius’s eyes actually twinkle in the light as he throws his head back. Aro looks at him irritated. “Are you going to tell her about your wife that is in the same tower as my mate?” He growls it out, wanting the man to be in the hot house with him. It has been a long time since someone who was not one of his brothers had gotten the better of him.
Her head turning so fast, they were sure to hear a snapping noise. Caius glares at Aro as he explains to her, “The second you were brought into the throne room that farce of a marriage ended. It was nothing more than two friends taking care of each other. She has been waiting for her mate as I have been waiting for you.”
Lifting an eyebrow, Bella tells him, “I think I will hear from her before anything more happens between the two of us. I am not going to be the other woman.” Her heart is breaking, but she refuses to be anything but someone’s number one.
Growling, Caius turns to Bella, “Never! Never will you be anything less than everything to me. Mating is more than marriage. Our bond supersedes everything.” He is almost begging of her, but his pride keeping him from going all the way.
Knowing he messed up, Aro steps in. “He is telling the truth. Their marriage is nothing more than an agreement to be friends with benefits. There was no actual wedding, but it is something that we have never corrected over the ages. There is nothing you are coming in between.”
Shaking her head, Bella declares, “I want to hear from her. I am sorry, but I just cannot.” There is emotional pain in her and Caius growls, frustrated.
However, before anything else can happen, Marcus steps forward, demanding, “You two leave. You are not making this any better. Go. I will talk with her and you two can take care of some of the things that need to be done.” He gives Caius a look and watches in amusement as the tall blonde leaves the room, slamming the door to their suite as he exits.
Aro winces. “It’s a good thing the doors are so thick otherwise we may be paying a small fortune in replacing them,” he mutters.
Then he turns to Bella and he tells her, “I am sorry. This should be a happy day and my brother has waited so long for you. He is right, there is no one more important than you to him right now. My little statement has brought more trouble than even I wished it did. I am a trickster, I like to tease and you my dear, along with my prickly brother, will be the ones who are picked on. But I never wanted to cause pain this day. Please forgive me and do us all a favor – allow my brother to once more be by your side.” He watches her for a minute, then he bows in her direction and is gone.
Marcus sighs, then he nods to the chair Caius had been sitting in, asking, “May I have a seat?”
Staring out towards the exit, Bella nods.
He sits down, and tells her, “Aro is one who loves to tease. It is his way to show affection towards family and it is nothing but pure love when he does it. But he doesn’t always think when he is around those he considers family. As a King, he is always thinking in front of everyone else, but when it is just us, well you can say he relaxes and let’s go. Unfortunately, he was getting as good as he was giving, which is rare for him. This is nothing but him throwing something in to allow him to be able to tease further. Never to hurt you.”
Bella’s eyes turn towards Marcus’s. She finally asks, “Why did he hide it then?” There is no mistaking that she is not talking about Aro.
Shaking his head, he asks, “Did he? Or did he perhaps never mention it because it meant as much as he said? Two friends who became more only to combat the lonely centuries. Would you be so cruel to have him be alone all this time?”
Shaking her head, she sputtered, “No never. I-I-“
He smiles. “You are confused and not sure what is going on. You are being thrown in the deep end and you have been swimming admirably, but there has to be a point you need a lifesaver. I am giving you that. Ask me what you like but I would like you to answer me a question. Did you expect that he was celibate before he came to you?”
He nods. “Then what does it matter if he bedded one woman or many?”
She looks down, a blush coming up her cheeks. “When you put it that way, it doesn’t. I just…Marriage!”
He smiles. “I swear to you that they are not married. They didn’t even have a farce of a marriage. I can tell you that they don’t have a mating bond and to make the situation even more unfair, you have a mating bond with another as well as the True Mate Bond with Caius.”
She frowns. “A mating bond?”
He nods, saying, “You have met what could have been your real mate instead of the fake one with the youngest of the Cullens. They will still have a bond with you, but you are already fully bonded with Caius. From what I hear, I can tell you who it isn’t. It is not your singer but I suspect he is in the coven. He will be suffering, so when you meet them again, for you will, think on this.”
She sighs, then looks out the window. He watches her as she thinks and after a while, he nods and gets up. “Demetri will be outside the room. If you need anything call for him and he will help you. Caius will be close also. Do think on it, it pains him to have to be apart from you. I suspect you are already feeling the pain of the small separation from him.” Watching her, he leans forward and kisses on her forehead. “Rest. I will see you tomorrow.”
With that he leaves, passing Demetri who nods to him. Exiting the room, he looks at the people there and tells Caius, “I would give her tonight. She is calm and she will welcome you back. She is merely confused. Or you can anticipate her and have Dora attend her tomorrow.”
Caius nods. “Already done. Both ladies will be there. They promise to talk to her. Pia is just happy to be able to walk around as she wishes thanks to Bella.”
Marcus nods and putting a hand on his shoulder, claims, “It will all be fine. Give her the night to think. I promise you she will be more welcoming for it.”
They all nod and as they disperse, Caius settles down outside his rooms. He will not leave his mate, wanting her to have a restful night and not to have the stress of the bond on her already frail shoulders. He grabs the reports Alec and Felix left for him and he starts reading up on his little mate.
Final count, 4,102 words.