Monday, June 28, 2010

Chapter 9

A/N I had WAY too much fun with this chapter! Don’t expect all chapters to be this long though! I’m sorry that it took so long though! I’ve had this chapter written, but my beta wanted me to finish chapter 10 before this went up! :)

Chapter 9

“What did you say, Alice?” I asked, grabbing her arm before she could escape. I could feel the tears welling up in my eyes. “Alice, I’ve never met Peter before. Trust me, I would remember if I had.”

I could see Alice’s mind working of how she could get out of this. It wasn’t going to happen though, if she did get away, I would go confront Peter about it and probably get her in trouble with Jasper. She sighed and dropped her head in submission, knowing that she couldn’t get away with leaving it like that.

“Peter made us swear not to tell you because you didn’t remember,” she quietly said. “He didn’t want you to find out this way, Bella.”

There was a growl and I turned to see that the hall was abandoned except for Peter, who was glaring daggers at Alice. I stared at him, not entirely comfortable with him here. Even though Alice had told me that Edward was lying, I couldn’t help but hear his voice saying that Peter would just use me and then leave when he was done. If that was true, then why was I putting myself in the way to be hurt?

Peter had already lied to me by not telling me that we had met before. What else had he been keeping from me and why was he even keeping these things from me? I mean, aren’t relationships supposed to be based on trust?

“Bella, go to the car,” he ordered, his eyes pitch black.

“No,” I snapped, glaring at him. “I will not go to the car.” He turned towards me. “I get it, I’m just some toy for vampires to play with. If you just want me for my blood then take it.” I moved my hair to the side and tilted my head. “Go ahead.”

“Bella,” I heard Alice groan.

Peter grabbed my wrist and pulled me closer to him. “Who told you that you were a toy?” he snarled. “Tell me.

“Why do you care?” I questioned, tears sliding down my cheeks as he wrapped his arms around my waist.

“Bella, I don’t know where you heard that you were just a toy to me, but that is not true. I meant what I told your daddy. I will never allow any harm to come to you.”

I held onto him, afraid that if I let go, he would disappear. He lifted me up and I could feel him carrying me, although I didn’t care where we were going. As long as he was still there when I opened my eyes, I didn’t care if we ran away together and I never saw Forks again. I didn’t care if I never saw... alright, so I did care if I saw most of the Cullens again. As angry as I was with Alice, she was still my sister. Emmett and Jasper were still my brothers. Carlisle and Esme were still my parents. Rosalie was... well, she was Rosalie.

“Bella?” Jasper asked as I opened my eyes to find us at the Cullens’ house. “What’s wrong, sugar?”

I shook my head, burying my face in Peter’s shirt. I could feel Peter’s chest and neck vibrating so I knew that they were talking, but I didn’t care.

“Bella. Look at me.” I opened my eyes and looked over at Jasper, who was at eye level with me. “Do you remember what I told you in Phoenix? You are worth it and more so now.”

I nodded as Peter sat on the couch, me on his lap. “Izzy, baby, you know that nothing anyone says will change how I think of you.” I scowled. “What’s this about, baby girl?”

“Alice said that we met when I was five, but you didn’t say anything about that,” I whispered, feeling the tears in my eyes. “It doesn’t help with the whole trust thing that we’re supposed to have going on.”

He rubbed my shoulder, placing a kiss on my neck.

“I wanted you to remember for yourself,” he quietly explained. “Are there things that I am going to keep from you? Yes. Are there times when you’ll want to know what those things are? Of course. But trust me that I just want to keep you safe.” I nodded, looking down as he continued. “Now, the Major has agreed to give you a crash course on our pasts.”

“Our?” I repeated, confused.

“He changed me,” Peter explained. “Kept me alive and outta shit.”

“Bella, I want you to watch Peter’s arm,” Jasper stated, his voice hard.

I turned to Peter and watched as he rolled up his sleeve. I was curious and confused, trying to figure out what he was doing. He held his wrist under the edge of the lampshade beside him, close to the light of the naked bulb, and traced his finger across a raised crescent mark on the pale skin.

It took me a minute to understand why the shape looked strangely familiar. When I realized, I breathed out, “Oh. Peter, you have a scar just like mine.”

I reached out my hand, brushing my fingers across the silvery crescent that was now more prominent against my cream skin.

Jasper smiled faintly as he spoke, “We both have a lot of scars like yours, Bella.”

I turned my attention back to Jasper, whose face was unreadable as he grabbed Peter’s arm and yanked the sleeve higher up his arm. At first, my eyes couldn’t make any sense of the texture that was layered thickly across the skin. Curved half-moons crisscrossed in a feathery pattern that was only visible, white on white as it was, because of the bright glow of the lampshade beside him. And then I grasped that the pattern was made of individual crescents like the one on his wrist... the one on my hand.

“No,” I whispered, burying my face in Peter’s chest. “I don’t want to know. Please... don’t.”

Peter held me with one arm wrapped around my waist, trying to comfort me. “It’s okay, baby. I’m safe. They don’t hurt.”

“W-what happened?” I asked, dreading what was next.

“The same thing that happened to your hand,” Jasper answered in a quiet voice. “Repeated a thousand times for both of us.” He laughed a little ruefully and brushed at Peter’s arm. “Our venom is the only thing that leaves a scar.”

“Why?” I breathed in horror, feeling rude but unable to stop staring at the subtly ravaged skin in front of me.

“We didn’t have quite the same... upbringing as the others here. Our beginnings were something else entirely.” His voice turned even harder, if that were possible, as he finished.

I gaped at him, appalled.

“Before you hear Peter’s story,” Jasper began, “you must understand that there are places in our world, Bella, where the life span of the never-aging is measured in weed, and not centuries.”

Peter wrapped an arm around me as the others came in. The all looked around before sitting around. They probably knew about Jasper’s past, but they were just as intrigued as I was about Peter’s. I mean, how many vampires with thousands of little scars on their body do you know? I know two, but I didn’t know that I knew them.

“To really understand why, you have to look at the world from a different perspective. You have to imagine the way it looks to the powerful, the greedy...the perpetually thirsty.

“You see, there are places in this world that are more desirable to us than others. Places where we can be less restrained, and still avoid detection.

“Picture a map of the western hemisphere. Picture on it every human life as a small red dot. The thicker red, the more easily we--well, those who exist this way--can feed without attracting notice.”

“Pieces of shit,” Peter muttered, making me turn towards him. He gave me an innocent look. “What?”

“And you’re the one who kills humans,” I said, fighting a smile

He wrinkled his nose. “Better than those disgusting animals. Plus, I only kill murderers, rapists, and drug addicts.”

I couldn’t help but laugh at the look he gave me to prove his point.

“Back to the story,” Jasper stated, getting my attention back. “The covens in the South don’t care much for what the humans notice or don’t. It’s only the Volturi that keep them in check. They are the only ones the southern covens fear. If not for the Volturi, the rest of us would be quickly exposed.”

The way he pronounced the name, there was respect in it, almost gratitude. The idea of the Volturi as the good guys was hard to except, especially when Edward had told me about them.

“The north is, by comparison, fairly civilized. Mostly we are nomads here who enjoy the day as well as the night. We allow humans to interact with us unsuspectingly.”

“Or at least as unsuspectingly as possible,” Peter muttered, getting a sharp look from Jasper. “I’m just saying. Some parts of the human brain know that we aren’t like them and they tend to keep away.”

“It’s a different world down in the South,” Jasper started up again, throwing a look at Peter as if daring him to interrupt again. “The immortals there only come out at night. They spend their days plotting the next moves, or anticipating the enemy’s. Because it has been war in the South, constant war for centuries, with never one moment of truce. The covens there barely note the existence of humans, except as soldiers notice a herd of cows by the wayside.--food for the taking. They only hide from the notice of the herd because of the Volturi.”

“What are they fighting for?” I asked. “Isn’t there always some big prize in war?”

Jasper smiled. “Remember the map with the red dots?”

He waited for me to nod.

“They fight for control of the thickest red.”

“Assholes,” Peter muttered, getting another glare from Jasper. “I have the right to call them that. Maria’s probably the biggest bitch there is and-”

“Not. Helping.” Jasper’s voice was rough and scary, making me cringe. “Bella, it occurred to someone once that, if he were the only vampire in, let’s say Mexico City, well then, he could feed every night, twice, three times, and no one would ever notice. He plotted ways to get rid of the competition.

“Others had the same idea and some came up with more effective tactics than others.” Peter raised his hand. “What?!

“I was just going to ask if I could make a comment about our little friend Ben.” Jasper rolled his eyes, but nodded. “He is a no good, self-centered, mother-”

“And back to the story,” Jasper cut him off, making me giggle. “Bella, Peter may not have very good ways of putting things, but Benito really is what Peter thinks of him.

“The first anyone ever heard of him, he came down from somewhere north of Dallas and massacred the two small covens that shared the area near Houston. Two nights later, he took on the much stronger clan of allies that claimed Monterrey in northern Mexico. Again, he won.”

“How did he win?” I asked with wary curiosity.

“Benito had created an army of newborn vampires. He was the first one to think of it, and, in the beginning, he was unstoppable. Very young vampires are volatile, wild, and almost impossible to control. One newborn can be reasoned with, taught to restrain himself, but ten, fifteen together are a nightmare. They’ll turn on each other as easily as on the enemy you point them at. Beinto had to keep making more as they fought amongst themselves, and as the covens he decimated took more than half his force down before they lost.

“You see, though newborns are dangerous, they are still possible to defeat if you know what you’re doing. They’re incredibly powerful physically, for the first year or so, and if they’re allowed to bring strength to bear they can crush and older vampire with ease. But they are slaves to their instincts, thus unpredictable. Usually, they have no skill in fighting, only muscle and ferocity. And in this case, overwhelming numbers.

“The vampires in southern Mexico realized what was coming for them, and they did the only thing they could think of to counteract Benito. They made armies of their own...

“All hell broke loose--and I mean that more literally than you can possibly imagine. We immortals have our histories, too, and this particular war will never be forgotten. Of course, it was not a good time to be human in Mexico either.”

I shuddered as Peter wrapped his arms more tightly around me. His strength was beginning to hurt and, as I turned around, I saw that his eyes were out of focus. He wasn’t even here anymore, he was someplace else entirely.

“He’s alright,” Jasper calmly told me. “If you want to know about Peter, this is something you have to learn about.”

I nodded and indicated for him to continue.

“When the body count reached epidemic proportions--in fact, your histories blame a disease for the population slump--the Volturi finally stepped in. The entire guard came together and sought out every newborn in the bottom half of North America. Benito was entrenched in Puebla, building his army as quickly as he could in order to take on the prize--Mexico City. The Volturi started with him, and then moved on to the rest.

“Anyone who was found with the newborns was executed immediately, and, since everyone was trying to protect themselves from Benito, Mexico was emptied of of vampires for a time.

“The Volturi were cleaning house for almost a year. This was another chapter of our history that will always be remembered, though there were very few witnesses left to speak of what it was like. I spoke to someone once who had, from a distance, watched what happened when they visited Culiacan.”

Jasper shuddered. I realized then that I had never before seen him either afraid or horrified. This was a first and it really did scare me. If Jasper was afraid of something, then it was bad.

“It was enough that the fever for conquest did not spread from the South. The rest of the world stayed sane. We owe the Volturi for our present way of life.

“But when the Volturi went back to Italy, the survivors were quick to stake their claims in the South.

“It didn’t take long before covens began to dispute again. There was a lot of bad blood, if you’ll forgive the expression. Vendettas abounded. The idea of newborns was already there, and some were not able to resist. However, the Volturi had not been forgotten, and the southern covens were more careful this time. The newborns were selected from the human pool with more care, and given more training. They were used circumspectly, and the humans remained, for the most part, oblivious. The creators gave the Volturi no reason to return.

“The wars resumed, but on a smaller scale. Every now and then, someone would go too far, speculation would begin in the human newspapers, and the Volturi would return and clean out the city. But they let the others, the careful ones, continue...”

Jasper was just staring off into space.

“No,” I whispered, my voice horrified. “No, it’s not true. You can’t... Peter can’t be...” Tears slid down my cheeks as I buried my face into Peter’s shirt. “I’m so sorry, Peter. I’m so...”

“Bella?” My name came out a question, though I didn’t think that was Jasper’s intention. “You have to realize that what I said before is true. Our upbringing was different. I want to tell you that I will always regret forcing Peter into what he is today, but I can’t. You would not be my sister if he hadn’t been changed.”

I wiped my eyes with the back of my hand. “How?” I asked. “Why? Why you? Why Peter?”

“Peter brought you here for an explanation about his past,” Jasper stated. “I’ll explain mine later.” I nodded in agreement. “I changed him only three years after I was changed myself. He was... more in control than other vampires, which was why I think he was kept around after the first year. Maria, our... leader, was convinced that he was hers, which was also another thing that went between us. She loved to control us in ways that most would consider...”

He left off and I could feel my blood boiling. He hadn’t finished that sentence, but I had a feeling that I knew what it would be considered.

“About ninety years later, Charlotte was turned and Peter believed that he was in love. They were planning to escape just before she was killed with the rest who had become useless. It was pure coincidence that I happened to catch them escaping while on guard. They wouldn’t have stood a chance of surviving if it had been anyone else.”

I couldn’t believe that Peter’s life had been so terrible. As I turned around to face him, I could see that his eyes were out of focus. I had never seen a vampire like this and it scared me. The next thing I knew, however, was that Peter was gripping me too hard, causing me to cry out and Jasper to tear me away from my mate.

“W-what’s going on?” I asked.

“Peter,” Jasper stated, his voice hard. “Stop this.” He didn’t even move an inch. “He’s reliving...what has to be possibly one of the worst moments for either of us.”

No comments:

Post a Comment