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Horripilation

Summary:
Finished. Six years after Breaking Dawn, a brutal murder is committed near Forks. When called in the middle of the night, Charlie Swan rushes off to do his civic duty and protect the public. Three hours later, he returns home with a new ward: the only survivor of the double homicide. From the beginning, it is clear that the poor thing needs a new start, a new life- and someone to save her from her old one, especially when ghosts from the past resurface. And, with Nessie determined to overcome her own demons, the two realize that friendship can come from the strangest places.


Notes:
All of this belongs to Stephenie Meyer. Duh…


5. Chapter 5

Rating 4/5   Word Count 4141   Review this Chapter

Chapter Five-

After that night, Seth came around a lot more during the day. Charlie noticed the immediate chemistry between the two and said nothing, hoping not to jinx anything. Life in general improved- Iris now spoke to three living people on a daily basis and two non. That’s right. Despite her brother’s insistence, she and Victoria still had almost daily conversations. The woman would follow her around the small house to wherever Micah was not--neither ghost seemed keen on an altercation--and gave her no privacy. Even when she was in the shower, and invading Iris’s personal privacy was a no no. It turned her somewhat against the dead psychopathic vampire.

With a yawn, she stretched out on her bed. It was almost two in the morning, and as usual, Iris could not bare to close her eyes. The sleep deprivation was starting to turn her insane. Never before had she gone so long with out it--almost two weeks had passed. Her entire body ached and her mind would no longer process anything. She could not think, she could barely function, and she was exhausted. She came to the point where she actually tried to sleep. She lay there every night with dedication, begging to God to let sleep overpower her. It never came. She stared up at the faded yellow ceiling night after night after night in all different sorts of positions and still she could not sleep. It was unfair.

Iris finally came to the conclusion that she needed to do something physical to get her body exhausted beyond any normal means--beyond extraordinary means. With Chief Swan’s permission, she decided to paint her room. Yellow was boring, she wanted something exciting and beautiful. Navy blue with an icy blue accent wall and matching door and trimmings. Chief Swan was even amiable enough to purchase her the paint. She enlisted the help of Nessie and Seth.

“Thanks, guys,” Iris yawned as she opened the door.

Nessie--who never seemed to be effected by whatever time Iris summoned her--smiled and embraced her. “We’re more than happy to help!” she squealed. “I want to spend all the time I can with you before I have to go back to college!”

Iris squirmed a little in her friend’s hug, but tried to stay still. Nessie was a good person, and she wanted to respect Chief Swan’s granddaughter. She supposed one could subsume them as friends. Perhaps Seth as well. Nessie held her at arm’s length. “You look terrible.”

Iris flushed. “Thanks, Nessie,” she said with some heat as she tucked a strand of loose ebony hair behind her hair. Truthfully, Iris knew that she looked awful. Her lack of sleep had created so dark of shadows beneath her gray-green eyes that she did not even need eyeliner anymore. The purple black made her gray-green eyes stand out alarmingly. Her looks were fading as her skin turned waxen and she looked far too thin for anyone to be healthy. She would survive.

“Have you been sleeping?” Nessie demanded, “Eating?”

“Nessie,” Iris laughed through thin lips, “What is this, the Spanish Inquisition?”

“Lay off her, Nes,” Seth agreed. Iris smiled at him, thankful for his intervention. He quickly lost her favor, “Just as Charlie. He’ll know. He knows everything,”

“That is not cool,” Iris mumbled.

Nessie laughed gaily. Iris felt her mood darken. Why was the girl so perky? Iris led them up the stairs, saying nothing. Her door swung open a fraction of a second before her hand touched the knob. Cursing her older brother, she walked forward, hoping the two behind her did not notice that something was amiss. Harley barked as she walked in, waiting for her by the door. Her entire room had been covered in plastic, so the poor dog was at a loss as to what to. Originally, Iris thought that he was just happy to see her. However, he leapt past her to Nessie were he proceeded to bark and snarl, snapping at her heels. Seth let out a growl and jumped in front of the shrieking girl, his arms out spread eagle, as if that position would allow him better ways to defend her. Men. Iris rolled her eyes. They always had to be the protectors.

“Harley!” she ordered, “Stop it!”

For once, the obedient mutt remained obstinate. It snarled and barked and attacked Nessie’s heels, and Seth as well. Groaning in embarrassment and frustration, Iris reached forward and grabbed the dark green collar with her two forefingers. Yanking her precious dog back, the bark in his throat died into a whimper of pain as she drug him struggling down the stairs. Though she felt horrible, there was no time for repentance. She was the master now, not Micah, and as such, her dog needed to learn to obey her. Harley fought and struggled the entire time. His claws got no grip on the linoleum floor and his pleading barks fell on deaf ears. Somewhat saddened by what she had to do, Iris yanked Harley hard, pulling him out the back door to where his chain lay. He tried to run away from her, forcing her to wrap a jacket clad arm around his neck to hold him there. In the process, she was well aware that she was strangling him.

She finally managed to get him changed to the spike. Standing, Iris made her way back to the house. Her dog, however, jumped in front of her path, barking warnings at her. Iris side stepped, hoping to avoid having to get physical with her dog. She did love Harley, but she needed to get back to her room and make sure her guests did not go snooping anywhere they shouldn’t. She also needed to watch Micah, to make sure that the fool did not try to reveal himself again. What the hell was he thinking, anyway? Opening the door for her! The fool! Of all the times for him to start becoming a gentlemen, he sure as hell had picked the worst time. Walking the perimeter of the yard--out of the range of Harley--she walked back up the stairs as slowly as possible, hoping to stall the shame of having to face the two who desperately sought friendship--a friendship she craved and loathed.

She walked back into her plastic covered room. Seth and Nessie stood in the center of the room. Seth looked angry and Nessie looked sheepish. Both held rollers in their hands. The smell of paint wafted around the room. They had gotten started on the far wall already. It was almost fully covered.

“Sorry about that,” she muttered.

“It’s all right,” Nessie said with a gentle, comforting smile. “After all, he was just trying to protect you from strangers.”

Iris muttered, “Something like that.” From behind her, Micah snorted as he leaned against the wall. Iris whipped around, glaring at her elder brother. Mentally cursing him, she stood there defiantly, daring him to try something, to alert the others to the paranormal presence that not only haunted her room, but the entire house. Nessie watched the girl for a moment who stared to darkly at the wall. Iris grew more and more odd with each passing minutes. She could not help but wonder what caused the girl to stare to transfixed at the blank wall.

Nessie knew why Harley had acted so out of sorts. He recognized the blatant threat that she and Seth presented to Iris, even if the human girl did not. Harley, faithful to the very end, would risk even her wrath to protect her from danger. It was heartbreaking that the dog was being punished for looking out for his master’s safety. Nessie would never tell Iris, though, not even for the sake of Harley. She did not want to risk the budding friendship.

Shaking her head clear, Iris picked up a roller. She had stared holes into her brother for a long time. Nessie and Seth had finished the first wall, and while Nessie started on the second wall, Seth put his height to good use on the ceiling. Lost in thought, Iris, rather than join Renesemee, started on the third wall. Her gray green eyes unfocused as her soul seemed to leave her body. Her arm moved of it’s own accord, painting in swirls and waves rather than straight lines that she was normally so anal about.

An hour and a half passed. Seth, nearly finished with the expansive ceiling, looked down at Iris. His jaw immediately went slack. Without even realizing it, Iris had created a daedal and abstract masterpiece. The way she had painted the wall in the swirls and waves made the wall seem to move in a soothing yet sensual way. He watched her as her lithe form twisted and turned, swaying as she painted without seeing. Looking at her, Seth saw the stress and the burden that weighed so heavily down on her, surrounding her like a black cloud, evaporate. He dared to even say that, while she did not look happy, she did look carefree, and that seemed to be enough for now. As she unconsciously let her paintbrush move to the second wall, bring the two of them together seamlessly, he appreciated everything his eyes took in.

Nessie looked up at Seth, glaring. Just about to smack him for not working, she let her eyes fall where his seemed to be so firmly glued. A soft smile played against her lips as she watched Iris. It almost looked like the girl danced as she painted. It was an intriguing sight, and Iris was certainly a gifted artist. With a pang, Nessie realized that she could perhaps be even better than her dear grandmother. That thought ignited a fire in Nessie’s chest. She cursed the human who dared to best her sweet and kindly grandmother. Esme was ecstatic to learn that they were redoing Iris’s room. She clamored to be the first to see it after it was finished, but now that could never happen. Nessie did not want to hurt her feelings in such a needless way.

She had to get away from the thoughts that clouded her head. Every once in a while, though she sincerely tried to stop it, she found herself loathing humans with all of her heart. It was during those times that she craved their blood, wanted to drink from each and every one of the sick, pathetic creatures until they were dead, and only their bloodless, soulless, withered bodies remained. From her birth, her parents had pounded into her head that humans were just as important and equal as vampires, that there was no difference. But, she saw it in all of their eyes. There was a huge gap between them, and vampires always were better than the humans. Suppressing that side, Nessie silently glided out of the room down the kitchen where she made every one peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Wrinkling her nose, she put each perfect sandwich on a tray, and carried them back upstairs.

She grinned at the sight of the room. Seth still stood on the second rung of ladder, paint roller hanging limp in his large hand. His eyes zeroed in on Iris as she unconsciously moved to the third wall. Nessie hoped that it was dry enough for a second. Coat. As she looked around, Nessie realized that room seemed to be in perpetual motion, like the ocean, always flowing in a current. It was exhilarating and dizzying.

“I brought lunch!” Nessie sang out cheerfully. This seemed to snap Iris out of her reverie. The sullen girl turned around, mouth hanging open to form a small ‘O’. Nessie grinned knowing full well that the girl had gotten lost in her painting. Iris really did not want them to come over, Nessie blinked as realization swept over her. It had been Grandpa Charlie that had invited them to help her. Nessie had originally downplayed it to the quiet girl being shy, but Iris truly did not want their company. That thought cut across her like a knife. Seth looked down in time to see the hurt flash across Renesmee’s face before it was decisively hidden. Lips pursed, he hopped down to get his plate, determined to quiz her as soon as they were in the privacy of his car.

Nessie handed Iris a plate with a great big smile. As expected, the taciturn girl took it without a word, and sat down by the far wall to eat it. Undeterred and determined to make Iris want her company, Nessie followed her. Throughout their meal, she attempted several times to engage her in conversation. Iris did not take the bait. Failing but not accepting, Nessie took the plates back down the stairs to wash them and to get started on dinner. Grandpa Charlie had been cooking for Iris for the last two weeks. It was not wonder the girl had lost weight so quickly. No one like Grandpa Charlie’s cooking. At least, for once, Nessie could ensure that she got a good meal. Deciding on pork chops and mashed potatoes, she set diligently to work.

Seth could only watch as Iris returned silently to her work. She moved with such grace and poise that it astounded him. After all, she preferred incredibly bulky clothing, despite the fact that it was in the fall and still very humid--well, it was for Forks any way, and if she lived in Amsterdam all of her life, it was still considerably humid for this time of year. He had no idea how she stood it. He watched as she moved, her art capturing his undivided attention. Riveting. It was like watching Michelangelo paint the Sistine Chapel. Absolutely amazing. It seemed unfair that someone could have so much raw talent, so much untapped potential when there were people like him who had trouble drawing stick figures. He was certainly infatuated with her artwork.

Iris collapsed on her bed, exhausted. It was a little after eleven thirty and she had just finished painting her room. Noxious fumes swirled around in the air, making her dizzy and lightheaded. She had opened the windows for ventilation, and so far, the attempt for purer air failed miserably. Nessie and Seth had left a little after seven, as soon as they had finished dinner. Charlie volunteered to clean up so that Iris could finish her room up. Unbeknownst to her, she had begun a patter of waves while she was daydreaming. As such, she had to finish it, something much easier to do whenever her mind was not focusing. In the end, she did quite like effect that it had. It was almost as if she were residing in a bubble.

Iris snuggle deep down into her covers, praying that for once, sleep overtake her and erase the memories of the day. Just as her mind fogged over, the door creaked open. One gray green eye snapped open. Iris’s brain turned on immediately, even if it was on a sluggish but alert state. Victoria’s beautifully ugly face looked down sweetly at her.

“Hello, dearest,” she crooned.

Iris blinked, “Hullo.” She managed to yawn out, “Whaddaya want?”

With a soft smile, Victoria looked at her. “Are you all right, my dear? We have not spoken in some days now, and I was simply worried. You have not slept in a fortnight.”

“That’s cause everyone feels the need to barge in here at all hours of the day,” Iris muttered angrily. Missing the point entirely, Victoria let out a harsh laugh. Iris winced at the sound. It was like nails scratching against a chalkboard. And not one of the new white ones with markers, no, but like the old ones that were made of green dyed slate and simply hurt to even look at. Iris buried deeper down into her sheets, hoping to drown out the horrid sound.

Recovering from her mirth, Victoria gently stroked Iris’s ebony hair. It fanned out around her, like a great wreath, all rotten and decaying. “I am truly regretful for you, my dear. Our conversation would be better suited for tomorrow morning, no?”

Iris yawned and nodded her head sleepily. Her eyes fluttered closed as her mind began to shut down. The bed did not give a centimeter as Victoria sat down on it’s edge. Still stroking Iris’s face, she softly began to sing her a lullaby. Iris would have thought that her voice would have been like that of a banshee. However, it was soft and dark, mournful and incredibly sincere as she lulled Iris to sleep singing of shining knights on white horses rescuing the beautiful damsels only to have their love be unrequited. It was heartbreaking, and Iris enjoyed it more than any other fairy tale that she had ever heard.

A little after two, Iris came to an instant awareness when she heard a loud swear. At the foot of her bed, Harley sat up, alarmed. Gently petting him, she managed to settle him down. The noises downstairs only continued to get louder. She heard loud swearing followed by the sound of something breaking. She blinked when she heard what sounded like a threat. Where was Micah when she needed him? Iris thought. He could open the door silently. Holding her breath, she twisted the knob, praying that the door would not creak as she slowly opened it.

Getting it open enough for her to squeeze her body through, she peaked over the edge of the stairs. She bit down a cry when she saw three men brandishing guns and walking around the room. Wondering where Chief Swan was, she could not suppress the squeak that escaped through her treacherous lips as her gaze drifted over the bloody and unconscious man. In corner as far away as it could have been from her lay his gun. One of the men must have kicked it away from the man’s limp form, thinking that that would be enough to disarm him. More annoyed then scared, she really wanted to ksnow why these men thought that it would be a good idea to rob the chief of police’s home. Wasn’t that begging to be shot? Men. They all were ridiculous and stupid. It wasn’t the first time Iris had contemplated becoming a lesbian as she slid down the stairs on her stomach, careful not to make any noise. Even if she, it was doubtful that it could be heard over the ruckus that the three were making.

“The first time in forever that I was going to get some sleep too,” she grunted as her diaphragm hit the floor. That was going to leave a mark. Keeping on her elbows and tummy, Iris slunk along the floor, hoping to get to the gun. Before she could, one of the baboon men just had to turn around and see her. Before he could the alarm, Iris grabbed the only thing that she could find--the broken lamp lying beside her on the floor--and beat him on the head with it. The lamp shattered as the man fell to the floor with a loud thump, thus alerting the other two to her presence. They gaped at her for just a second as if she had appeared out of nowhere. Obviously, they had not thought to check the upstairs for other occupants before they began their noisy raid.

One raised his gun and shot twice in rapid succession. Squeaking, Iris fell to the ground, as graceless as ever. Reaching out, she grabbed the gun from the guy she brought down. Crouching, she was too slow when the other one fired. It went through her shoulder, and a second followed just beneath it. Iris gasped as she aimed and squeezed the trigger. Her first target fell screaming in pain. The other turned to bolt, somehow knowing the Iris was proficient with a firearm. Angry at the world and seeing the perfect time to take her revenge, Iris squeezed the trigger three more times. Only one bullet hit it’s mark, simply making the man stumble. Even angrier, she emptied the rest of the clip into the guy, who finally had the decency to fall to floor dead.

She could not stand up, so she crawled to the unconscious policeman. Blowing out in frustration, she cursed the man for not being of more use. He was the one who did this stuff for a living. Iris had only been taught by her father. Granted, he was a Green Beret, specially trained, but that was beside the point. Screaming as pain shot through her shoulder, she somehow managed to grab the phone that hung on the wall, and somehow managed to punch in the life-saving numbers: 9-1-1.

“9-1-1, what’s your emergency?” the aloof voice of the operator answered.

“Yes, my name is Iris Potter and I have been shot twice,” she told the man in a matching calm voice.

“Are you trying to crank call us lady?” The man took on a slightly aggressive tone.

“No,” Iris responded, perfectly matching his intensity. “I am sitting here on the kitchen floor, bleeding out from two bullet wounds, while my…guardian is unconscious, probably suffering from brain damage.”

“And his name?”

“Charles Swan,” Iris said through thin lips.

“Chief Swan!?!” the man gasped.

“YES!” Iris yelled. “Send someone the hell over now!”

“Of course, Miss Potter. It’s already done. I’ll stay on the line with you until help arrives,” the man was utterly repentant.

“Put-” she gasped. Her brain had turned off the epinephrine surrounding her nerve endings that had stopped her from feeling pain, so now her entire body hurt like hell. “Someone…else on. I--I don’t like…you,” she managed to gasp out.

“Yes, miss. Right away.”

No time elapsed from the operator’s words to the warm, feminine voice that took over. “Hello, hun. This is Judy, and I am going to stay with you until the ambulance arrives.”

“Judy,” Iris whispered, “I’m blacking out.”

“Iris!” Judy thundered. “Stay with me, hun. Talk to me. How old are you?”

“Fif-fifteen.” Iris screamed as a fresh wave of pain rocketed through her body.

“What’s your favorite color?” Judy rapidly fired off.

“Wh–why’s…” Iris’s head fell limp.

“IRIS!” Judy yelled into the phone.

Iris shook her head, clearing it of the pain and the lightheadedness. She had lost too much blood. “Why’sssssssssssss that important?” Her mouth felt like it was stuffed full of cotton balls.

“Because mine is pink.”

“Pinksssssss a ssssssssstupid color,” Iris mumbled. “Orange. Nobuddy but me likes orange,”

Judy laughed. “Orange is a wonderful color, Iris. What is your favorite holiday?”

“Christ……”

“IRIS!” Judy yelled again, “Hang in there, Iris! WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE HOLIDAY! ANSWER ME, DAMMIT!”

“Christmas!” Iris screamed. “I’m the Christmas Nazi! Judy?” Iris shut her eyes but clung to the phone as pain caused her entire body to spasm. Was this how Micah had felt in his final moments.

Iris’s voice was so soft that Judy had to strain to hear it. “Yes, honey?”

“My nightgown’s ruined. Nesssssssssssssssssssssss bought me for it. I likessss itsssss aaaaaaaaaaaaa lot, and it’s bloody,”

“I promise that I will get you a new nightgown.” Judy paused, realizing that she could no longer hear the heavy labored breath of one Cinnamon Iris Potter. “Iris, honey? Are you there?”

“Are you sure help is coming?” Iris breathed out.

“Yes, Iris. They are almost there. Just hold on for a few more minutes.” Judy pleaded.

“Hi, Micah,” she heard Iris whisper, and she froze. The girl was hallucinating. She had lost far too much blood. “Iris!” she yelled. “IRIS!”

But Iris did not hear her. Her hand had fallen down and the phone clattered to a few feet away from her. Iris stared up into the worried eyes of her brother with a soft grin. “I knew you’d come,”

“Iris!” the ghost of her brother screamed. “Iris! Hold on Iris! Don’t die, please don’t die, Iris!” Micah tried to gather her into his arms but she pushed him away.

“Touch don’t me. I’d getzzz youzzz all bloody,” she murmured.

She smiled at her brother for what felt like the final time. The blackness that had been on the edges of her vision took over and she sighed in contentment, happy that she was finally going to get some sleep.