Something bloodthirsty is hiding in Vienna. Little does the culprit know, Victoria is after him. For her secret plans to become a reality, she needs him- but will being part of her plan shorten his life considerably? R&R-ending unsuitable for younger readers.
This is set somewhere between the end of Twilight and about mid-way through New Moon (before Laurent's death).
1. Victoria's Secret
Rating 5/5 Word Count 2813 Review this Chapter
The sound of sleigh bells mixed seamlessly with the noise made by the winter snow, as each flake settled carefully onto the thick layer already coating the Prater. The horse drawn carriages, brought out for the tourists in the evening, had been left in the streets overnight. Their covers were bleached an iridescent white, and the decorative bells shivered in the cold alleyways they were hidden in until the sun went down. Then happy couples would waltz through the streets- drunk on the promise of young love and the magnificence of the beautiful city.
Vienna slept, whilst winter ambled calmly through the deserted streets. It casually ruffled the mane of a horse shivering in its stable, as the beast waited for its morning helping of hay. It tapped the windows of anxious school children with branch like fingers, telling them of the endless wonders of a snow-clad Saturday whilst beckoning them outdoors.
A quiet figure stood waiting in the city’s silent heart. It was early, and the signs of this man’s tiredness could be seen by the dark-plum bags under his eyes. He wore a tight, black hooded top with a label several years out of date, to keep the light straining through the winter clouds off his face. Snow-burn seemed perfectly possible to one with such a pallor as his. Even in a place with such a wintry climate, the man could not be mistaken for a local- there was no red in his cheeks from the icy wind slicing into them, and his perfectly pursed, mauve lips showed no hint of chapping. If his hands had not been hooked casually into the pockets of his dark trousers, and his feet were not covered by a pair of battered black leather boots (seemingly as old as the man himself) it would have been easy to think that he did not venture outside at all by his complete absence of colour. His translucent white skin was covered to hide such an assumption- he did try to blend in- but anyone standing too close would see that instead of his face becoming wet from the melting snow, it was slowly becoming covered by it. There was no heat there to melt the ever-building layer.
Tired of scanning his dull, burgundy eyes over the empty square, he took a few steps backwards. He had managed to find a small alleyway which led to the storage entrance of a tourist shop on the right of the alley. It was also filled with a few bins, and the sky was blockaded by a satellite dish which almost connected the two buildings. It blocked out any remnants of the paltry winter sun that tried to reach the end of the alley. It was the perfect place for breakfast.
Pulling the hoodie further over his dark, snow encrusted hair and wiping the snow that had settled onto his features off with the back of his hand, the man bowed his head and took a step forward. He leant casually against the corner of the tourist shop and bowed his head forward, cupping his hand in front of his face like he was trying to light a cigarette. He had no such item in his hand- and as he had no use for his lungs, there would have been little point in inhaling chemicals from such an object anyway. It was simply to hide anything that passers-by might find odd about his mouth- like how the breath exhaled didn’t rise in little steamy puffs (as the man had no body heat to warm up the gases escaping from his system) or the two oddly large incisors that made his diet so very, very different to anyone else in this frostbitten city.
His grin widened to the point where his acting was unbelievable. He quickly forced his mouth back into a pout as exactly what he had been waiting for walked straight into his trap- fresh meat.
A young couple and their little child had decided to take advantage of the beautiful, wintry morning and go for a stroll around the little plaza in the centre of the city. The two adults ambled slowly along the promenade, huddled together for warmth and taking little stock of their surroundings. They seemed caught up in a conversation of some sort, and debated hurriedly in Austrian. The woman pulled the scarf away from her mouth abruptly, and seemingly when in mid-conversation with the man, to call to the girl walking slowly behind them. The essence of the message was for to keep up, darling, or they wouldn’t have time to go out for breakfast in one of the little pastry shops further along the street. The girl called an assent quickly, and walked faster on her short legs for a moment, before returning to her game of kicking the snow in front of her so that it burst into powdery explosions at her every footfall. She giggled, thoroughly enjoying the game she had made, already forgetting her mother. She was lost in the sheer beauty of the city, perhaps even of the world, again. Unable to think of anything but the patterns she created in the air through her simple trip along the street. The girl walked more slowly still to kick the sky-dust further into the air, and the gap between her and her parents slowly became wider.
The man knew he had little time- he would have to snatch the girl, barely enjoy the moment of a fresh kill and then dispose of her either in the bins or elsewhere in the city. He had to be gone before the parents came back to question their child’s sudden disappearance- three deaths would be too conspicuous.
The parents were nearly too far ahead to hear the sound of the little girl’s laughter, which would also mean they would be too far away to miss it when it stopped. He dropped the pretence of the cigarette and shook his hood back. The time was now.
The little girl stopped, momentarily stunned by the man. Snowflakes clung to his extraordinarily long lashes, which framed his strong, focused eyes. He stared intently at the little girl, who became trapped in his gaze. She gave a little gasp when she finally realised what was so different about him. His irises, piercing into her very soul, were a deep, viscous red.
His features, vaguely French, rearranged themselves into a feline grin. The little girl didn’t have a chance. His canines inched themselves down until they were below the line of his upper lip. That perfect moment, when her eyes widened, her pulse raced and a rush of adrenaline was released into the bloodstream was coming- the wait seemed like an eternity. He reached out an arm, ready the cover her mouth and drag her into the dark alleyway where she would spend her final moments being relieved of the crimson lifeblood flowing through her veins-
A sudden movement behind him caused him to turn around with inhuman speed. Impossible- he had ensured there was no way he could be interrupted by any meddling humans. It wasn’t until his eyes focused on the face in front of him, he realised that he had been right on one count. The nuisance definitely wasn’t human.
“Good morning, Victoria.” He greeted her amicably, forcing his lips to cover his impatient, stretching jaws. The little girl was still stood just outside the alleyway, craning her head up to stare at the beautiful woman who had appeared from nowhere. Taking her as her saviour, the woman seemed simply angelic- her smouldering red hair settled on her shoulders gently, framing her unspeakably stunning features. She was dressed simply in a thin, long sleeved brown top with a pair of skinny dark jeans which emphasized her legs. The cold didn’t seem to affect the woman at all, though the snow was falling faster now. She stepped out of the dark of the alley, as though to allow the man to see her more clearly, and nodded her head at the little girl staring at them with a mixture of wonder and fear.
“Go back to your parents, child.” The man muttered quickly in perfect Austrian. He seemed annoyed by the woman’s arrival, but at the same time a little surprised. As if on cue, the girl’s father called, too. He had finally noticed the child had fallen behind once more, and threatened that they would go to the café without her. The thought of a steaming hot chocolate filled the little girl’s mind, and she ran back to her family- instantly forgetting the man and her oddly beautiful saviour.
The man watched the little girl go, with a surly expression. His eyes tightened and the pupils turned tar black, but this didn’t surprise the woman at all. She instead took his arm and made him walk with her further down the alley with her.
“Laurent.” She smiled genteelly, sounding genuinely pleased to have found the dark hair man. The scent hadn’t been easy to follow; he had masked it slightly, so it seemed that he had gone a forest a few miles east of the city but Victoria wasn’t fooled- she had learnt to track from the best. Her mind skipped over the name of her beloved teacher, and she quickly changed the subject. “I see things are not going well in Denali?”
He grimaced at the mention of the word, as if its very name brought bad thoughts. “Tanya and her friends are fine,” He informed her politely, “I just find it… harder than them. To keep to such a lifestyle.”
She nodded quickly in agreement. This idea of a “vegetarian” diet seemed preposterous to her. Humans were the only species in extreme overpopulation on this earth. Every human she killed was another generation stopped, and by destroying any more chances of them having children she was saving the world she lived in from another level of thoughtless planet-killers. Victoria was hardly a Greenpeace candidate, but she did not suffer from this conscience that plagued some of her kind. The weaker of her kind.
But these weak, laughable predators had dishonoured her. They had killed her James, whom she loved and respected like no-one else. This weasel in front of her had fled to his coven of strange, human-blood avoiding vampires and had left James to die. She had tried to help her love, but he was so proud, so sure- Victoria quickened her step until they reached the very end of the path and removed such thoughts from her mind. She would soon have her revenge. They were surrounded by dark, uninterested walls with no windows. It was silent and empty, save a large door which led to some storage bay and a garish yellow porta-bin. Still, both seemed unfazed- this was exactly the type of setting they needed for such a conversation.
“Then perhaps you won’t mind getting away from Denali for a while,” Victoria purred suggestively. “To do me a favour, of sorts” she continued.
Laurent knew that there was no way to refuse this offer. He didn’t want this to end in a fight- he had no idea what James had taught her. Still, he felt a strange reluctance to leave Tanya and her friends so soon. He didn’t enjoy their choice of diet, but he did enjoy their company- the company of one woman in particular. Still, how could he put this to Victoria?
“How long is a while?” He asked slowly, trying not to put too much weight on any of the words so that they became offensive. He made it a point never to provoke a woman with a broken heart.
“Oh, just a few days…” She continued innocently, taking a step closer to Laurent whilst shaking back the mane of hair that had been covering her eyes- they, too were now a glinting shade of onyx. “There’s someone I would like you to check on for me, but she may recognise me as a danger- and then warn other perhaps…” Laurent could tell that the seemingly composed woman was trying to keep her voice neutral. She was treating this as a little favour, like a human borrowing a pint of milk off a friend. Whatever Victoria had planned, the outcome of this “favour” could have an effect on the length of his life.
“Anything, anyone, of course-” He promised quickly, his mind on how best to escape from this situation. “Who is it?” Laurent wondered aloud.
“Bella Swan.” She replied darkly, speaking the name as if were a dirty word, as if this human had personally offended her. Laurent couldn’t work out why this human would be the subject of her scrutiny- true, she wasn’t entirely free of blame for James’ death, but there were others who were definitely more responsible.
“But she wasn’t the one to kill Jam- him” The man answered, utterly confused. He had started to say the deceased vampire’s name, but Victoria had let out a guttural snarl at the very sound. It obviously hurt her to hear it.
“An eye for an eye,” The beautiful, damaged woman whispered silkily into the dark alley. “And a love for a love”.
Laurent shook his head, but accepted her offer resignedly. “Of course I can go for you. I’m on friendly terms with the Cullens, and she stays near them. I’ll get the lay of the land for you, and then find you,” he promised. He had nothing against Bella personally, or any of the Cullens, and was trying to think this through to his advantage. “Where will you be?” He enquired lightly, trying to break her gently from her reverie.
She came back to the present and dragged her thoughts away from whatever she was plotting for a moment. “I have some business in Brazil,” she told him conversationally, “but I’ll be staying in Seattle until I hear from you.”
Victoria straightened up, and cast her eyes over the dark haired man stood opposite her. She offered him her hand and he took it to kiss, quickly pressing his icy lips onto the colourless skin before returning it to her. It was an odd piece of etiquette, a throwback from the time Victoria’s heart still beat warmly in her chest, but it worked as a farewell. Little did Laurent know, this would be the last time he spoke to this fiery, revenge-fuelled woman.
“A pleasure to see you,” Laurent assured her quickly, and her expression became one of some vaguely appeased goddess, happy until her next requirement is fulfilled. “I’ll meet you in Seattle in two days.”
In a blur, Victoria was in the mouth of the alleyway and ready to leave. She offered him a haughty smile, and spoke one last time.
“Give me this last thing Laurent, and you’ll never have to fear me again.” She told him, enunciating each syllable carefully. She then brushed off the snow that was already settling onto her shoulders, and looked along the street to check if it was empty enough for her to run properly. Laurent looked back with a slight frown, as if she had insulted him. He thought she meant well- there was definitely something to fear in those angry, ruby eyes- but he wasn’t sure if he wanted a friendship with Victoria. There was something wrong there- something that didn’t seem right. She had been hurt too much when James died. Something had broken in her, something that couldn’t be fixed. He could sense that.
Laurent looked away, expecting her to be gone when he turned back, but she had moved closer to him. She was barely a centimetre away from his face. The proximity was shocking. He was forced to stare straight into those eyes once more, and he took in the burning desire to avenge James that shone openly out of them. Then she sniffed strongly, and something caused her face to break into an ephemeral shadow of a smile.
“Breakfast is served,” she hissed through her smirk. The lightness was back in her voice. The refined soprano note had returned and he could tell she was ready to leave- and to put the rest of her plan into place.
Laurent was momentarily confused, and then he blinked. Victoria was gone, but in her place at the mouth of the alley was another figure. The little girl, obviously back from her trip to the café, was stood there staring curiously into the darkness. Laurent smiled greedily, gliding forward so he stood immediately in front of her. He led her quickly into the darkness, pulling with a vice-like grip on her skinny forearm. His other hand covered her dainty, chocolate covered lips so as to extinguish the helpless, childish scream that had already begun. “Bell-a,” he muttered quietly, stretching out the words two syllables. Already imagining the girl’s vaguely floral scent, he pressed his mouth onto the child’s taut, pitifully jerking neck and breathed in.