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Redemption and Vengeance

Summary:
As everyone knows, the Volturi rule the vampire world, and have grown arrogant in their superiority. They are untouchable, and ruthless, with all vampires (and even some humans) living in fear of them. But, beneath the surface of calm in Volterra, there lurks an unease. A few in the upper echelons of the Volturi guard are having...second thoughts about their lives. And all it will take to set off a civil war within the Volturi is the right spark hitting the right fuse... "Pawns standing in awe/of the game, of the stage/You've worked so hard at building an empire/of secret rooms to display yourself/Add to your wealth/the sting of--oh, it stings!/When I saw it all come crashing/I witnessed the sound of a million voices/Screaming for a public hanging"


Notes:
Yeah...vampire civil war?? The Volturi splitting in to factions? Justice catching up with them at last??


1. Chance Encounter

Rating 5/5   Word Count 1490   Review this Chapter

Redemption

“Ah,” I murmured as I drained the last drop of wine in my glass. “I do believe that was the best I've ever tasted,” I said, smiling up at the waiter who was hovering nearby. His face broke into a pleased smile as he quickly retrieved the glass and set it on a tray.

“Grazie, Signor! Thank you! My brother will be so please! He work many years to get this just right! He be so happy American think it good! Grazie!” He was so nearly fawning over me, it was kind of embarrassing. I smiled again, more in pain than kindness, and paid him. After a little more scraping on his part, he left. I heard him talking loudly and excitedly to someone in the back, and decided to make a hasty retreat before someone else, like his brother the wine maker, came out.

Outside, the cab driver I had hired for the day looked back at me as I slid into the car. “Where do you wish to go now, Signor?”

I shrugged. “Train station, I guess, I said, glancing at my watch. “My ticket's for 7:35, and I don't want to miss it.”

“Ah, but Signor, it is only 5! You must not leave until you have seen our plaza with it's beautiful fountain, and the lovely church!”

I felt like gagging. I mean, it wasn't his fault that I couldn't even remember how many 'beautiful' plaza's, fountains, and churches I'd seen in the last 7 months of roaming around Europe. In fact, I wasn't even sure what city I was in. All I know was that I was somewhere in Italy.

I resisted the urge to roll m eyes, and just smiled that pained smile again. “Fine,” I said as nicely as I could manage. “Let's go see the Plaza.”

Funny how one stupid, little, painfully insignificant decision can so radically affect your life. The Plaza was nice, nicer than most I'd seen in my wanderings. It would have been even nicer to see it on a sunny day...the clouds were thick and a light drizzle was falling. But still—it was a plaza, like a thousand others. I stood by the fountain and slowly turned in a circle taking it all in. Then I looked at the church. I had to make it look good—the cab driver was watching me from the car. I heard a small crowd of what sounded like tourists approaching from the other side of the plaza. I sighed. Time to go...I really hated crowds. I turned to head back to the cab...

And nearly smashed into a girl who was suddenly standing right behind me. I staggered back, muttering a “Whoa! Excuse me, miss, I--” I stopped, tongue-tied, when I got a good look at her. To say that she was gorgeous would be like saying a forest fire was warm...true, but not close enough.

She had reddish-brown hair, long legs, and sort of violet eyes. In a word that some of my younger friends would use—she was hot! I gulped. She flashed a bright smile. I gulped again. I vaguely noticed that the small crowd had stopped, and was standing a few feet behind, looking around the plaza.

“Hello,” she purred. I gulped yet again, and stammered something unintelligible. Her smile widened. “What's your name, Signor?”

“Uh, J-John,” I mumbled.

“Well, John, you look a little...lost. Would you like a tour guide to show you around our beautiful city? There's lots to see. I promise you a trip you'll remember till your dying day!” Her smile never dimmed, but there was something there...some slight undertone, and something about the way she mentioned my dying day, that made me a bit uneasy. Dying day? If only she knew...I nearly laughed at that.

“Uh, sure,” I said, looking down at my feet. Man, I felt like 5th grader with his first crush!

The girl glanced back at the crowd behind her, then looked back at me, taking a step closer so our faces were just a few inches apart. She smelled wonderful! And strangely, I must have smelled good, too, because she inhaled deeply, and closed her eyes. Opening them, she looked me in the eye again. “I'm leading a tour now, but what say I meet you here in about an hour?” She flashed me her smile again.

“Uh, sure,” I repeated stupidly. Gah, think of something to say, you moron! I told myself...she was going to think I was an idiot.

She turned back to the group, but looked over her shoulder at me, still smiling. “My name is Heidi, by the way! See you soon!” she called as she led the group towards an alley across the plaza.

I shook my head, trying to clear it. Wow! It would be worth having to reschedule my departure to get a chance to spend a little time with her!

The cab driver hurried over to me as I continued to watch the crowd disappear down the alley. “Signor! Are you alright?” he asked, a slight tone of worry in his voice as he, too, watched the group depart.

“Uh-huh,” I mumbled. I shook my head again. The cab driver, still staring at the alley the crowd had disappeared, grabbed my arm, and started backing towards his cab. “Please—let us go now, Signor! We-we must get you to the train station so you may go!” There was a note of fear and urgency in his voice. I let it pass, although it did unsettle me a bit.

“No, I've changed my mind,” I told him. “I think I'll stay here another night. There might be more to see around here after all.”

He became nearly frantic, tugging at my arm again in an attempt to literally drag me away. His eyes were round with fear. “No, no, Signor! Please! You must go now! Come! Come with me! I take you to train!”

I shook his arm off, a little annoyed at him. “No, I'll stay another night. Here!” I paid him his money plus a little bit extra, hoping he'd leave. He made one more appeal to me, but I turned and walked towards the church. He called after me, and I waved at him. He sighed, and turned back to his cab. Before he got inside, he looked at me, and made the sign of the Cross. I watched as his car disappeared down a side street.

“Okay--that was weird,” I said to myself. I noticed a little cafe across the plaza, and headed over.

True to her word, an hour later the beautiful girl returned. I was still in the cafe, and saw her walk up to the fountain, and look around. I got up, paid my bill, and walked over to where she stood. When she saw me, she smiled that smile again. But this time, her smile seemed somehow more predatory, her eyes a little darker violet...nearly red in the fading light. And...there was some smell, slightly unsettling, but I couldn't quite make out what it was. I figured it must be something coming from the cafe behind me.

“Hello, John,” she purred, linking her arm in mine. “Ooh, you're so warm!” Ironic, I thought, considering that she felt ice cold! Strange...

“Ready for your personal tour?” She asked as she lead me towards the alley she had taken the group down earlier that evening. It was very dark in the narrow space between the ancient buildings. I could barely see. A few feet inside, she stopped, and pushed me up against the wall of one of the buildings. I was surprised, but when she started leaning closer, I smiled. I leaned closer to her as well, anticipating a kiss, but she laughed harshly and said, “Yeah right! As if I would stoop to that!”

Needless to say, that took me off guard. But what really got to me was a few seconds later when her teeth hit my neck. I mean, the witch actually bit me! She paused a moment after her teeth pierced my skin, then jerked away from me, and let out a horrible scream. She clamped her hands to her mouth, and ran deeper into the alley. I couldn't be sure, but it looked like she dropped into the ground a few feet away. But it was dark, so I figured I must have just thought she dropped down a hole.

“What the hell was that about?” I muttered. I put my hand to my neck, checking for blood. There was none, of course, but I found it kind of funny that my automatic reaction was still to check, even after all this time. I turned to head back to the plaza. “Freak,” I muttered. “She bites my neck, and then she runs off screaming!” I shook my head. Why were all the cute girls weirdos?