Shades of Gray
In 1432, Aro heard a prophecy that would change the immortal lives of the Cullens......forever.
8. Memories Past
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Every person, vampire, werewolf, or demon have memories. Each one is unique to the living being. They fade and new ones grace upon the conciseness of individuals. Some remember things that others don't and some memories differ from person to person. Some memories bring embarrassment, while others bring smiles and grins. Memories are the things that everyone who is making their way in the world holds on to instead of not being able to see the future. They can plan, but can't predict.
For those who can predict, the future is only held by an outline and the plot can change within an instant. Even the Fates don't have complete control over the world and the lives that occupy it. Alice sees the world and the people in it. She sees who they are and what may become of them. She could put her foot in the door and change the outcome, or simply let the story play out in its intended direction. For life is a simple story book, with characters and a plot line. And as in every story, an ending greets the characters and welcomes them with open arms.
For mortal beings, the ending comes with death. Love, no matter how someone looks at something, always ends in death. A man marries a woman and they grow old together. One will die and will leave the other behind. Then, the other will soon follow. However, if humans were graced with immortality, the ending may never come. And if it did, death is never very pretty. Edward and Bella had a love that would last for an eternity.
"This is all your fault Edward Anthony!" Bella just glared at Edward. She was not in the mood for his male driven attempts. She felt fat and ugly. Her ankles hurt and she was feeling mildly uncomfortable with the fact that she could not see her feet. Despite Edward's persistent pestering about how dazzling she was to him, and even more so now that she was caring his child, Bella would hear none of it.
"After all the decades I have been alive, I've never felt this uncomfortable." Bella said as Edward drew circles around her belly button.
"You look beautiful. I've said that a thousand times." Edward smiled.
"Yes, well, you don't have a baby using your bladder as a trampoline!" Her voice rose, slightly, as she pushed Edward's hands away from her.
"Okay, true. But what do you want me to say?" He asked. Edward loved the idea of having a child, but the pregnancy was driving him insane. Bella's mood swings snapped at any moment. She was happy with him one minute and angry the next.
"What I want is this pregnancy to be over! I am tired all the time, but I can't sleep. And I really want to cry, but I can't do that either!" She said as she got up and glared at herself in the full length mirror.
"You can cry, you know you can." Edward said as he followed her to the mirror, and then wrapped his arms around her; resting his hands on her womb.
"But if I am going to cry, the tears will come naturally. And besides-oh!" Bella stopped and smiled, suddenly. She placed her hands onto her stomach and Edward jumped with glee. The baby kicked. "Do you feel it?"
"Yeah, I do." He dropped to his knees and kissed her stomach. "I love you, I really do." Edward whispered, while Bella played with his hair. She closed her eyes and enjoyed the feel of Edwards hands. Her mind drifted back to the few human memories she remembered.
"Do you remember when we told Charlie we were getting married?" This made Edward look up with a smirk.
"How could I forget?" He said. There was a twinkle in his eye. He stood up and interlocked his fingers with hers. "Your father would have killed me! He thought I got you knocked up!" He snorted at this. He took her hand and led her into the nursery and sat down on the rocking chair, Bella sat on his lap.
"Oh yeah. He was livid, his face all purple. I wanted to know how far along I was and when it happened. And didn't he mention something about a baseball bat or something?" She racked her memory for a more clear picture of what happened. Bella did not want to lose all of her human memories, so, she tried to review them as often as possible.
"Do you remember what you did next?" Edward asked through a laugh. Once again, he resumed to drawing invisible circles around her belly button, and on a occasion he would kiss a spot on her belly.
"Now that I will never forget. I ran upstairs to the bathroom, pulled out bloody tampon from the trash and brought it downstairs and asked 'if I'm pregnant, then how can I still get my period?' His face went from purple to green to white." She laughed and Edward did the same.
"I will never forget his thoughts. He didn't understand why we wanted to get married."
"Well, he handled it better than Renee did. She said she didn't want me to end up like her and Charlie. Though, that will never happen." She leaned in and touched her forehead with his and kissed lightly.
"No, it won't"
Jasper was pinned to the ground, hands held above his head. A tiny vampire was straddling him while she tired to tickle his stone like skin. However, every time she tried, it never worked, though Jasper was not complaining. He actually quite enjoyed the experience.
"Ugh! Why won't this work?" Alice asked, frustrated and got off a very disappointed Jasper. She glided over to her walk in closet and opened the doors. She pulled out some gifts for Bella's baby shower next week. A baby shower that Bella had no clue was even in her future. If she did, she would put her foot down right then and there.
"Alice, I really don't understand why you are throwing this. Bella is going to hold such a fury! And personally I don't want to feel that!" Jasper said while Alice rolled her eyes. She pulled out some baby clothes and toys that she knew her godchild would just love. The bronze haired baby giggling and playing with the toys that Alice bought. It was fate, this child would be loved unlike any other.
"What do you think about this? Isn't it adorable?"
"Um, yeah, sure." Jasper asked dazed at the thought of being asked on baby clothes. If truth be told, in Jasper's extremely long life, he never once thought of children, well having children of his own. He was always consumed with war, even as a child himself, he always wanted to be a solider. He would have done anything to achieve that dream, and he did. Though lying can't always get people what they want, it certainly did for Jasper. Becoming the youngest and the best solider the Confederate army really ever saw. If he would have lived long enough to build even higher ranks, he could have been a younger version of Stonewall Jackson.
Then came Maria, his savor, but in reality...she was the end of him. She cursed him and even though he knew that somewhere deep down inside of her, she loved him. He, however, could never return the favor. He was to consumed with hate and anger; consumed with war. The only true blessing that Jasper received during that time was Charlotte and Peter. They were in away his saving grace. Jasper ran from Maria and never looked back. He traveled and saw the sights of America, the land of the beautiful. Yet, is was never enough.
Jasper felt them all. Their fear, their pain, but most of all their wonder. He saw his beauty in their eyes. He could feel their blood pound and he felt the voices screaming for them to run, but none of them did. They were to far gone to see, to feel, or comprehend the meaning of this monster that stood in front of them; the monster that intended to make the innocent people his next victim. He felt death a thousand times over and he wanted it to end, he wanted to stop being the fiend that he was.
He became depressed and his companions saw this. Peter had taken him aside to discover what was the matter, but couldn't truly understand the meaning or guilt he felt of killing so many innocent victims. But what truly bothered him was the fact he sensed the emotions and could get under their skin. He felt them die, he felt the life being sucked out of their harmless bodies just as much as they felt it. Was the blood worth this? Life boils down to blood, always has, always will.
Jasper began to stumble around alone, trying to ignore who he had become. He never understood why he felt the things he did. He despised being a monster, but he needed the blood. The thirst was to strong for him to resits the temptation. The call was too strong for him and, though he tried as hard as possible, he never prevailed. Soon he became a lifeless shell. Consumed with guilt for the deaths he caused. When he lived with Maria and her army, the climate was too filled with hate and murder. So when he left to be with Charlotte and Peter he expected that the climate would be calm for awhile. However, like many other things in his life, he was wrong.
He couldn't survive without the fresh warm blood of another. He wanted it, craved it, and needed it. He became what most would call addicted. No matter how hard he tried, he couldn't quit. The withdraws were even worse. Nothing could fix him or give the peace of mind that he needed. He was a lost soul searching for that one climate to keep his emotions and his thirst at bay. Alice, was exactly what a doctor would have prescribed for him.
Alice sat on a bar stool and watched him as he entered. Jasper didn't even see her when bounced her way over towards him. Alice had a red ribbon tide in her hair and a matching outfit. She had the voice of a soprano.
"You kept me waiting along time" Alice said as she played a small smirk across her face. Her eyes held a hint of seduction. Jasper's blood boiled with desire. He wanted her and he knew that she wanted him. He felt safe and at peace with her.
"I'm sorry miss." Jasper said as he tipped his hat in her direction. Alice interlocked her hands with his and headed toward the table she had been sitting at.
Alec was sitting on a ledge of the castle, staring down at Edward and Bella as the walked hand in hand in the castle's back rose garden. He watched as the laughed, talked and kissed. Alec found it quite annoying how Edward developed this habit of resting his hands on Bella's over grown stomach. He personally felt that Bella was a simple bubble that needed to be popped. Watching the two of them made him want to be sick. If only he could throw up the food that he never ate.
Alec, however, was temped to just pick something up and throw it out the window at them, causing a simple and easy death. He knew, however, that it would never work. They would see it coming before he even made it back to the window. Then that would just really anger the three stogies. Alec really was not in the best mood to upset the three elder vampires, let alone the most annoying and aggravating coven he'd ever met in his very long life span.
He sighed, rather dramatically, and continued watching them. In most of his down time, Alec loved to remember his victims and how each and every one of them cried out for mercy. Not every vampire took pleasure in the kill, mostly they just killed to satisfy their thirst. He, on the other hand, enjoyed playing the game of cat and mouse. Him always being the hunter and never the prey. When memories were becoming to regular and it was to early to hunt down innocence, he fantasied about possible victims or victims of his own imagination. Even those were less satisfactory than the real deal, as most things are.
However, lately, Alec had been fantasising the death of newer victims. Ones closer to home. The appeal of the difficulty was intoxicating. A desire that needed to be satisfied. This was the first time, in the centuries that he had been walking on this earth, that he wanted to create the deaths of his own kind. To cause the death of his own people. He was told to kill vampires only when they broke the golden rule. Letting a human know about the world hidden with in their own. Yet, it seemed, that there was an exception to every rule.
Along with the challenge, this was really the first time that he hunted specific pray with a reason. The very first time he had a motive behind his actions, besides his blood lust. By eliminating the few vampires that stood in his way and taking the child in his grasp, he would have complete domination. If there was an exception to every rule, then why not simply take out those who created them and assigning a new dictator. One who would make every vampires dream a reality.
Still lost in his dreams of murder and destruction, Alec didn't hear the door open or see the small figure of his sister slip beside him. And when she spoke he nearly jumped out of his skin.
"Scaring that easily won't get you anywhere." Jane said while smirking her creepy little smirk. Alec rolled his blood shot eyes.
"Whats it to you? Don't you have sucking up to do? Why don't you run off and play perfect little princess to Aro and his cronies." Alec replied in a tone that clearly stated that he hadn't been happy with his twin for a few hundred years.
"I am not pleased at the prospect of a child coming into our home any more than you are." She said, trying to ignore the message Alec had hidden in his words. When had things gotten so wrong between them? Then again, when Jane thought about it, Alec had always been cold toward her; even when they were human. "Do you remember that kitten that lived in our village before we were accused of witchcraft?"
"Yeah, what about it?" Alec asked, confused at the abrupt change of subject.
"Remember how Mother thought our obsession with it was unhealthy? How disappointed she was that I named him Merlin and how she didn't like the way you treated the poor thing?" Jane said, while her merciless brother searched her pale face.
"I still don't see what your getting at, but yes, I remember. She didn't like the name Merlin because it implied magic. I only killed it because I thought it would make her happy, but I never was the favorite." Alec said, staring back at the garden which was seemingly empty of everything, save the roses.
"That's not the point-"
"So you admit it. You were always preferred over me." He said, cutting his sister off.
"No, but that is not what we need to talk about Alec!" Jane said, trying to keep her temper in control.
"Then what do we need to talk about? We've been ignoring this issue for over a hundred years! I think now is the best time to talk. You have always been wanted over me! With Mother, Father, the village people before they turned on us, and now Aro. Well listen up, miss, you can have him. It's not like he is our father anyway!" Alec said, sliding off the window sill and turned to face his sister.
"He is all we have Alec. Don't you see that? He save-" Jane tried to remind him of Aro's kindness, but was cut off by once again, her dear old brother.
"No, he damned us Jane."
"Well I haven't see you complaining about it. The last time I checked you rather enjoy this! Massacring every breathing thing in sight." Jane plowed on this time, not letting him cut across her words. "Mother was right, the way you treat life isn't right, Alec. You look at everything as if it was that little innocent kitten who did nothing wrong! But you don't think of that, you kill and you kill. It may have gotten you the post of leading the guard, but it will never get you liked within these castle walls!" Jane plugged on and Alec looked at her with a mirror of distaste.
"Well aren't you a perfect little hypocrite! I've seen you kill so don't you dare lecture me on how to treat humans. Why don't you run off to your father!" Alec said, glaring at her with clenched fists.
"I only kill when I have to. When I have to feed! But you...you take pleasure in the kill. You get to know your victims! You torture them before you kill them. You did that while we were alive! I saw what you did to Merlin!"
Alec was silent. He didn't think she saw that, she wasn't supposed to. He closed his eyes as the memory washed over him. The trees surrounding him and the screaming little animal tied to one of them. Bloody rocks littering the ground around him. Alec, talking to the animal as if he could understand him; as if he had done something wrong. Not once did he he realize that his sister was watching him. He never sensed her there, he never realized, he never saw.
When he had brought Merlin home, Jane was crying in the arms of their mother. Their mother held a sickened look on her face. He did all this for her. Alec just wanted to please her. Yet, time after time, he was such a disappointment. When they were taken to be burned at the stake, his mother only cried out for Jane to be spared. Jane did nothing wrong, only he deserved to be punished. When the coven attacked the village before the were sent to burn in hell, Alec watched as Aro clearly sunk his teeth into his mother, drinking her blood. And, not even to this day, did he feel any sort of remorse. If truth be told, he was glad she was dead and for the fact that he would never be able to displease her again.
"I wont let you hurt that child." Jane said, drawing Alec from his dreams. He looked at her with an expression that classified that he had not expected her to say anything to that matter.
"I know that is what you are up to. I know that is why you went to Forks. Everyone else believes you, saying that you had business in Europe, but I know better and I won't let you harm an innocent child."
"Why do you care? You just said you didn't want it here!"
"No matter how much I don't like it, we need it! All of our lives depend out that child's survival." Jane stated and turned to walk out the door, leaving Alec behind in her wake.
What neither of them realized was that Gabriel had been in the rose garden, listening to the entire conversation. Hidden. Voices carry, as theirs did, not realizing that it was easy to be over heard. Walking quickly toward a hidden office, Gabriel ran over the words he heard before. Aro hired him to protect an unborn child with his life, and that was his exact intent. This child would be a, niece or nephew of sorts. He already loved the baby and it wasn't even born and he had no blood relation towards his charge. His determination to get to the office unseen had possessed him and caused him to move like a extremely fast mad man.
Aro had his suspicions and it seemed that he could be correct. Though people may try, nothing truly ever gets past the old vampire. Wisdom comes with age, and age was something Aro had plenty of. Though he may not have known exactly what Alec was up to, he certainly had his ideas. Gabriel came to protect an unborn child, but he also came to play watch dog over another child. A child that wasn't exactly sane, he realized. Highly intelligent, but insane all the same. There was a line between knowledge and insanity. Knowledge is a gift given to certain individuals, but insanity had always been a long time friend for Alec. Aro was old, but he was no fool. Gabriel reached a pair of old wooden doors and knocked.
"Aro, we have to talk" Gabriel said, entering the office were the old man sat, folded hands on top of his oak desk.
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