Bella never goes to Forks, instead living with Renee and Phil throughout high school. During her 3rd year at NYU, she is studying abroad in Florence, Italy. Her life is forever changed when she is compelled to visit Volterra; stumbling into a world she never dreamed could exist. AU, OOC, MA, Bella/Jasper

A Note from Mae

I am an avid fan of Twilight fanfiction. I've also been a fan of writing my own stories from time to time. So I decided to combine the two and recently started writing my own fanfiction. Feel free to check out my profile on FFn.

This blog is primarily for additional info and pics to accompany my story, Unfathomable Bonds. This is my first multi-chapter fanfiction story and I'm very excited about it.

If this story sounds interesting to you, please check it out. If you do, please feel free to let me know how you like it.

Lots of love, Mae.

Disclaimer: Stephenie Meyer owns Twilight and all its affiliated characters; I just like to play with them. I also do not own any of the artwork discussed in any chapter of this fic. I am merely using them in one way or another for the purpose of my story.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

UB Chapter 9 - Briefing

Chapter 9 – Briefing

Jasper POV

I inhaled Bella’s scent as we tread slowly to her rooms.  She was silent as we walked and I could feel her fatigue mix with confusion and a touch of despair at her situation.  I wanted to help her but I knew she needed to handle this on her own, so I just walked quietly beside her.

Marcus had informed me earlier that I was to be Bella’s primary guard.  I was shocked at first.  Generally my assignments were not so domestic, usually given to Demetri or Felix if they were in residence, but I knew how Marcus felt about her and that she was important to him.  Until her decision was made, she would need to be under our protection.

Upon reaching her door, I opened it, first assuring myself that there was no one inside by probing for any emotions within.  Feeling nothing, I swung the door wide and waved her in. 

Most of the castle’s bedchambers were suites in the same layout as those of the Masters’ but in varying sizes depending upon the importance of the inhabitant.  Obviously, the Masters’ occupied the largest rooms in one wing of the castle.  Next were the elite of the guard, such as myself.  Below that were the suites for the main guard.  Each included a living area, bedroom, bathroom, and large walk in closet. 

Guest rooms were ranked in a similar fashion, and it came as no surprise to me that they had given Bella the Green Room, which was equivalent in size to rooms afforded to the elite guard as they were only reserved for very special guests.

Stepping inside, I took in the layout and décor of the room.  The walls were painted in a dark hunter green that contrasted pleasantly with the creams of the furnishings.  The living room held a large couch and two chairs, all of which were overstuffed and looked comfortable.  There was a fireplace with a flat screen television set above it, and one corner of the room held a small desk and bookshelf with stationary and a few random novels filling them respectively.

Although I did not enter the bedroom at this time, I knew its design.  Indeed, all the guard knew the design and general layout of nearly every room in the castle.  It was a strategic necessity that we know our terrain if attackers were to ever make it inside. 

Because of this, I knew the bedroom held a large bed covered in a cream colored duvet with a hand stitched abstract design.  The same design adorned the curtains in both rooms as well.  The sheets were green satin, partially turned down so the light shone on the shiny material.

The bathroom continued the dark and light contrasting color scheme and was again a smaller version of those held in the Masters’ quarters and nearly as luxurious. 

While I took a moment to notice my surroundings, I again inhaled Bella’s scent - strawberries and a flower…freesia.  It was intoxicating and I began to wonder if I would ever grow tired of it.

Turning to look at her, I noticed her eyes were half closed with fatigue.  “Bella,” I called to her in a quiet voice.  She turned to look at me with those deep, dark eyes that seemed to draw my attention like none other had before.  I mentally shook myself.  “You should rest.  You are safe in these rooms, but do not leave them without an escort.  Understand?”

“What if I want to go somewhere?” she asked, but her voice was quiet and I could feel how tired she was.

“Tell you what, princess - why don’t you go crawl into that bed in the other room for now,” I told her as I made my way to the table next to the couch.  On it was a phone and a small notepad.  I grabbed the pen next to it and wrote my number down.  “Call me when you get up and I’ll be right over.  We can talk more then and see what you wanna do.”

Turning back to her, I saw her tired smile.  “Okay.  Thank you, Jasper.”

I made my way to the door and opened it before looking back at her one more time.  She was quite beautiful for a human.  If she were turned, she would be a stunning vampire.  “Good night, princess.”

I closed the door behind me and started across the hallway.  I could hear her soft reply, though I doubt she intended for me to actually catch it. 

“Good night, Mr. Hottie.”

I smirked as it was confirmed that I was, indeed, Mr. Hottie.  Shaking my head at the name, I opened the door to my own rooms. 

They were a mirror image of Bella’s, but while hers were decorated more like a hotel room, mine were a reflection of me.  The deep green walls in Bella’s rooms were painted dark blue in my own, but the furnishings were mostly the same.

The difference was that mine was filled with my belongings.  Paraphernalia that I had gathered over the last century and a half were housed here and tall book cases along one wall were filled with books, DVDs, CDs, and games.  There was a large, wooden desk in one corner of the room with a custom built laptop and various papers sprawled on top of it.  The other corner held two guitars – one acoustic and one electric, complete with amplifier.  Spread across my coffee table were books and game controllers from when I had played the night before leaving Italy weeks ago. 

Striding to the desk, I plugged my phone into the charger there before making my way into the bedroom.  The same color and décor as in the living area were continued here.  A few books were scattered across my side tables, but otherwise the room was fairly neat.  I usually spent the majority of my time in the living area. 

Seeing my bags on my bed, I silently thanked Charlotte but left them where they were and continued on to the bathroom.  Making my way across the bathroom to the shower, I opened the frosted glass door and twisted the nozzles.  Stripping out of my soiled clothes, I tossed them in the hamper and stepped under the heated spray.

Arms braced against the wall, I ducked my head under the spray and sighed, staring down at the tiled floor and allowing the hot water to slide over my head and shoulders and down my back.  While heat and cold did not harm us, the extremes were not always pleasant.  Thus, we could still enjoy a nice, hot shower.  It was unable to soothe any physical aches, as we didn’t get them, but it was still soothing on an emotional level. 

I closed my eyes and unbidden came the image of Bella.  She was a beautiful woman, of course, but I had learned so much more about her tonight.  She was smart and quick-witted, as her debate with Aro could attest.  She was also good, kind and caring; strong, independent and courageous.  If I had not been so drawn to her before, I would be now.  Beguiling was the apt word for her, as I had mentioned to Marcus earlier. 

I could not escape thoughts of her for long, I noticed.  I wasn’t sure why that was nor was I sure how I felt about it.  For now, I would watch her and learn about her through observation while guarding her.  Perhaps if I knew more about her, I could figure out what it was about her that drew me so.

An hour and many thoughts of Bella later found me sitting at my desk, sifting through emails and surfing the internet.  I had spent some time unpacking the last of my things from my bags before coming out here to relax and catch up on things left undone while I’d been away. 

I was interrupted by the sound of my phone beeping, alerting me of a text message.  Picking it up, I saw it was from Peter and read, ‘Report time, hotshot.  Throne room. 5 mins ago.’

Rolling my eyes but smiling, I pocketed my phone and left my room, locking the door behind me.  I took a quick moment to listen at Bella’s door, hearing her soft breathing and steady heartbeat.  Her emotions were somewhat chaotic, most likely from the day she’d had, but she seemed to be sleeping peacefully.

Stepping away from the door, I made my way to the throne room, my stride swift to I would not keep the Masters waiting.  Coming to a set of large double doors, I pushed them wide open and strode inside.

The room was replete with old world elegance.  There were three large thrones on a dais for the Masters, each with a smaller one beside them for their mates.  A short set of five steps led down to the main room, which was large and mostly unfurnished except for a few comfortable couches and chairs along the sides where one could wait their turn for an audience with the Masters.

Peter and Charlotte stood at the bottom of the steps, speaking quietly to one another.  The Masters sat on their thrones and they all seemed to be waiting for me.  There was no one else in the room.

Aro greeted me as I approached.  “Ah, Jasper.  I trust your charge is doing well?”

“Of course, Master.  She’s still sleeping,” I informed him as I reached Peter’s side, glancing over to smile in greeting to both him and Charlotte.  Peter smirked while Charlotte elbowed him in the ribs and smiled at me.

“Very good.  I am most confident you will see to her quite well,” Aro said innocently, but the tone and the rush of excitement that ran through him at that moment made me wonder.  Before I could even contemplate questioning him however – not that I would have – he continued.  “Please, gentlemen, we would have your report now.  What is happening in the Americas and who is this man you have in our dungeons?  I would like to know more before I question him directly.”

I stood up a bit straighter as I gave my report.  “When I arrived in Las Vegas, I met up with Peter and Charlotte.  We confirmed our suspicions that the newborn population was substantial for the area, based on the news reports and a few scenes we ran across.  We were able to catch up with one of those newborns, but he was crazed with bloodlust and there wasn’t much we could get out of him but a name – Laurent.”

Peter spoke up then, taking over the telling.  “Charlotte and I had been hearing reports not only in Vegas but also in southern California, which is why we asked for further investigation.  When you informed us that there had been similar reports for Seattle, we expanded our research to all the U.S., Canada and Mexico.  From what we’ve gathered, the sightings are most specific to the original three areas in the western U.S., but they seem to be growing.  It’s very peculiar.”

As Peter left off, I picked again.  “We tracked the newborns in Vegas and eventually came across Laurent.  We informed him that the creation of newborns would stop or he would be punished for his actions.”

Caius’ eyes narrowed at that, but his tone was even as he asked, “Why did you leave Laurent alive?  By law he should have been killed on sight.”  I could tell from his emotions that Caius was not angry per se.  He was a legendary tactician who I greatly admired.  The respect seemed to be mutual, so I could tell he was more curious about my motives than upset that I had not killed Laurent outright.

“It’s all too much coincidence.  We have not had this level of newborn activity in the Americas since the Southern Wars and, to be honest, Laurent did not strike us as much of a leader.  Our intent was to scare him into running and then see where or to whom, he ran.”  Caius smirked at that and I felt the respect coming from him.  I gave him a slight nod in recognition before continuing.  “We chased him to Seattle where he met up with two others named James and Victoria.  They seem to be a mated couple.  Seattle was similar to Vegas in regards to newborn activity but on an even grander scale.”

“That’s when we figured we could pick off the weakest link and bring him here for you to ‘see’ him, Master,” Charlotte said, not wanting to miss out on her turn at reporting.  “So we chased him for a few days until we finally lucked out and he came here on his own.  We still aren’t sure why.  He knew we were after him and that we were Volturi.”

“But once we got to Florence, he eluded us.  I was tracking him down while Peter and Charlotte came here to report to you when I got the call from Master Marcus.”  I nodded my head in Marcus’ direction.  I felt a spike of anxiety from him and added, “We were able to save both women before the others arrived.”

“Well, you did have some help before we got there, hon,” Charlotte said to me.

“You mean Bella?” I asked, turning to glance over at Peter and Charlotte.  She nodded and we all smirked.  “Yeah, I suppose I did.”  My expression twisted into more of a smile as I remembered what Bella had done.  Sometimes I do enjoy my job.  It feels good to beat up the bad guys and save the damsels in distress - even the ones who don’t always look like they need it. 

“How did a human aid in a fight with a vampire?” Caius asked, his voice filled with derision.  It was no secret he was not a fan of any human.

“Popped him one in the balls with a lead pipe,” Charlotte said.

I glanced at everyone as Charlotte explained.  Marcus was not surprised - he’d most likely been told by Sera about what had happened - but his emotions swirled with pride, as did Peter’s and Charlotte’s.

Caius seemed doubtful, but that was no surprise.  However, he knew that what we said was true and, after a moment’s thought, his doubt turned to a faint shadow of respect that was quickly squashed.

Aro looked for a moment at Charlotte.  “What a colorful description,” he said.  His voice held a hint of disapproval, but he knew what she was like.  He didn’t bother taking her to task for her language or behavior anymore.  At first he had, decades ago when she’d first come here, but he soon realized that she meant no disrespect by it and it was just her way.  Besides, I knew he was amused by her shocking quips and looked forward to hearing them.  “Miss Swan is turning out to be quite an interesting young woman.  I do hope she joins us, but I digress.  Let us return to the matter at hand.”

“Did you see Carlisle while there?” Marcus asked.  It was Carlisle Cullen who had called in the report on the Seattle sightings.  He was the head of a rather large clan of gifted vampires and a close friend to the brothers, specifically Aro, regardless of the fact that they were ‘vegetarians’.

Peter shook his head and answered, “No, we spoke to him on the phone a few times.  Carlisle phoned us with information gathered by one of the members of his coven, a seer.  It was through her that we knew that Laurent was on his way here.”

“We thought it best to follow him.  We wanted to capture him and bring him here for questioning.  There are too many unknowns at the moment, which makes me uneasy, so information would be our best recourse at this time,” I informed them.

With our report concluded, Aro turned to each of his brothers.  “What think you, Caius?  Marcus?”

Caius was quick to answer.  “I agree with Jasper.  Knowledge could be our greatest weapon at this time.  We need more information.  We should question this Laurent with your gift, Aro, to see what he may know before making any further decisions.”

“I have to agree.”  Marcus’ voice held a strange note I’d never heard before and I could feel the dark anger he was barely keeping leashed.  “And when we have everything possible from him, he will be destroyed.”  It was a statement, not a suggestion.

Giving Marcus a sympathetic look, Aro turned back to us.  “His life is forfeit, but only after we have interrogated him and gleaned whatever information we are able to get from him.”  His brothers nodded their agreement.  Charlotte, my dear, if you would please?”

Charlotte grinned and turned, heading out a side door to our right that led to the dungeons. 

As we waited for her to return, my thoughts fell to the mahogany haired beauty sleeping in the chambers across from my own.  I had not yet received a call from her, though I honestly did not expect one for another few hours.  She had been completely exhausted, both mentally and physically, and she would need a lot of rest to recover. 

I was still thinking about her when Charlotte reappeared at the door with Laurent in tow and Felix behind her carrying a large canvas bag. 

Laurent looked haggard, to say the least, and he was missing both his arms.  Due to the various abilities vampires possessed, we’ve had to become more ‘creative’ when jailing our prisoners.  Generally we didn’t keep them for long.  They were constantly under guard and we often took some or all of their limbs.  The limbs were stored separate from the main body so that even if the vampire were to escape, they wouldn’t get far.  Besides, not many vampires relished living without their limbs.

I continued my perusal of Laurent, noting that his clothes were a little dirty and there were large holes in the shirt where the arms had been but otherwise they were intact.  Venom seeped from his wounds and I sensed his pain when I tested his emotions.  Along with pain there was anger, but mostly there was fear.  He knew he was not long for this world. 

Charlotte stopped him in front of Peter and me and pressed down on his shoulders until he was kneeling before the Masters.  For all his stupidity, Laurent was a fighter and he held his head high. 

A flicker of rage rushed through me and I looked up to see Marcus’ eyes blazing with barely leashed fury.  Concerned that he would lose his cool, I sent him a small wave of soothing calm to take the edge off the emotion.  It was still there, but it was now muted and more controllable.  Marcus glanced at me and I felt his grudging gratitude, but I knew we should hurry or we’d run out of time.

Aro began to speak at that moment.  “Laurent, you have been sentenced to death for endangering the secret of our existence and knowingly attempting to end the life of the mate of one of your brethren.  Do you have anything to say?”

I passed another wave of calm to Marcus as his rage escalated at Aro’s words.

Laurent glared at Aro and then gathered the venom pooling in his mouth and spat it at Aro’s feet.  “Volturi scum.  We should be ruling the humans, not hiding from them.  Your fear of them makes you weak.”

“Master,” I interrupted.  “I don’t think he will willingly tell us what we want to know.  We may run out of time.”  My eyes shifted to Marcus.

Aro looked over at his brother, noting the rage blazing in his eyes.  Turning back to me, Aro’s lips firmed into a tight line.  “I fear you are correct.  Very well.”  Reaching out, Aro laid a hand on Laurent’s shoulder and spent a long moment ‘listening’ to Laurent’s thoughts.  As he did so, I gauged his emotions - curiosity, disdain, apprehension.  Stepping back, Aro glared down at Laurent.  “I have what we need.  He is of no further use to us.”

Aro’s words were like a catalyst.  I stopped the flow of calm to Marcus and was unsurprised when he appeared in all his enraged glory in front of Laurent.  His hands gripped Laurent’s head firmly and wrenched.  The rumble of stone splitting from stone whipped through the room, the head having been completely removed.  Marcus dropped the head and turned to Felix.  “Burn it,” he said, his voice gruff with emotion as he returned to his seat.

My respect for Marcus had always been great, but it grew even more at that moment.  I can’t imagine what it must have been like to nearly lose your mate, but I admired that he’d seen to it himself, regardless of his position as Master.  Were I in his shoes, I would have felt the same.  I’m not even sure I’d have been able to wait as long as he had before killing the bastard. 

Glancing over at Peter and Charlotte, I could see we had matching smiles on our faces before helping Felix gather the pieces of Laurent for disposal.  Moments later, Felix exited the room with the large sack slung over his back like Santa Claus.  He would return to the dungeons, which held an incinerator for just such occasions.

The door was closing behind Felix when Caius spoke.  “What did you learn, Aro?”

“Not as much as I would have liked.  He was a peon…and not a very smart one at that.  His superiors, this James and Victoria, are indeed a mated couple and they are behind the newborn activity in Seattle and the surrounding area.  What I did learn is that James and Victoria are peons themselves, working for someone else, but Laurent was never given a name.  His instructions were to mimic the Seattle organization in Vegas, but he was overzealous, which led to Peter and Charlotte hearing of the situation and bringing it to my attention, thus causing further inquiry.”

“Did he know anything about this person leading James and Victoria?” Charlotte asked.

Aro shook his head.  “Not much.  Just that it was a woman.”

A sense of foreboding swept through me.  “Could it be Maria?” I asked aloud, praying that I was wrong.

Peter and Charlotte tensed, but they were not so surprised.  They must have thought the same as me. 

“Fuck, I hope not,” Peter said.  “You’d think she learned her lesson last time.”

“Maybe not,” I told him, frowning.  I had no wish to come across that bitch ever again, but a part of me was itching for vengeance. 

Aro raised a hand to stop our talk.  “Let’s not jump to conclusions.  We will not rule out her involvement just yet, as she seems a likely choice, but we must keep our minds open to other possibilities as well.  There is too little information and it makes me uncomfortable.”

Caius was sitting forward in his throne, looking to the floor lost in thought.   “Aro, perhaps you could share this information with Carlisle and ask him what his seer has seen lately.  Perhaps they have new information.”

“Excellent idea, brother.  I shall do that this evening,” Aro agreed, looking at the others in the room.  “Does anyone have anything to add?”  At everyone’s negative response, he stood from his throne and said, “Then we will adjourn for now until I have spoken with Carlisle and his seer.”

Peter, Charlotte and I all bowed our heads.  “Masters,” we uttered respectfully in unison before turning and heading out the door. 

I heard Aro ask Marcus about Sera as the doors closed behind me.

No comments:

Post a Comment