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A Matter Of Time

Summary:
A TLYDF Recommendation, Nominated for Immortal Cookie Award, Won Best Imprint in the Silent Tear Awards Two weeks and the whole world can change. Caius and Jane led an insurrection against Aro and are making a mad power grab. Renegades from the wolf pack, unhappy with the treaty with the Cullens, are attacking vampires at every opportunity. Jacob and Renesmee are struggling with the paradox of imprinting. Edward, Bella and all the Cullens must come together to protect the world they've come to love. A tale of action, deceit, intrigue and sexual awakening.


Notes:
Stephanie Meyers owns all things Twilight. My thanks to all the wonderful people at PTB who helped with this story.


5. Chapter 5 A Reason For Being

Rating 3.5/5   Word Count 2561   Review this Chapter

Author’s Note: Alright, cue the villains! Of course, they never think they are, the road to hell is paved with good intentions, yada yada. I thought this chapter would be a hard one to write, having finally faced that the story demanded I write this from Jane’s POV. Actually, this chapter came quite easily. Who knew megalomania could be so much fun?

Jane

“Bloody yanker. Oh excuse me, I meant cocksucker,” I snarled.

Caius looked serenely at me. The strobe lights did interesting things to his pale face. He was dressed as usual these days, in a dark tailor-made silk suit, his white shirt open at the neck. He kept his long white hair tied in a low ponytail. A heavy gold chain hung on his neck and obscenely huge rings encircled his fingers. Sharp brim Fedora and dark wraparound sunglasses completed his ensemble. He did not know how much it repelled me. Just a poor imitation of Aristotle Onassis, without the tan.

We sat at the prime table in the exclusive VIP section of the Parisian Batofar lounge. From this table on the balcony you could see all the other tables in this area. On the other side of the railing, the dance floor below was packed with writhing, stinking humanity. The smell of their sweat and generalized lust rose above them in waves. My disgust for the whole situation showed on my face.

“Jane, dear,” Caius said soothingly. “I think these are the perfect places for our little meetings. It brings us into the modern age. We can observe our new flocks at their pastimes. And it makes it so convenient to find dinner.” He smiled mirthlessly as he put his arm protectively around Mei-An, who sat there stunned and silent. Her eyes were still the deep crimson of a newborn and even though she’d drunk recently, the aroma from the dancing mass below was causing her to tremble.

Across from Mei-An sat Alec, my comrade in so many ways. Next to him sat Demetri, the tracker. Between us, and the others of our group now in Asia, there was enough offensive power to annihilate any vampire or even any fucking coven. But Caius was playing it safe. Damn him! How much longer would he make us wait?

“It’s not for dinner that I come to your little tea parties, Caius,” I growled.

“Jane, sit down, will you?” The music was throbbing and insanely loud, but I could hear him without trouble.

I took a seat in the low leather settee curved around the table. I brushed a stray hair from the white linen suit I was wearing. I loved this outfit, it had been designed just for me. It was fitted perfectly to accentuate what figure I had as I would forever be lacking in that department. Having been turned at fourteen I never got the opportunity to fully develop as someone like Heidi had. Being so youthful looking had its disadvantages; people often underestimated me. It was one of my few joys in life that I could say that once they knew me, they never underestimated me again.

One thing for which I would forever be grateful to Caius was getting rid of those stinking cloaks. They had been Aro’s idea of a ‘revered tradition for vampires’. By the whore of Magdalene, I had grown so tired of cloaks, and damp castles and hiding, always hiding. We were the most powerful, dominant predator in the world, and we hid like rabbits in little warrens.

No more! When Caius had begun whispering his plans for insurrection in my ear, I was on board immediately. There had been many times when I had disagreed with Aro’s decisions and leadership, but the final straw had been the Cullen affair.

I still grew livid as I remembered withdrawing from the battlefield in America. Walking away from that field was the hardest thing I have ever had to do, all the while that puttana Bella was leering triumphantly. If it hadn’t been for Felix’s steady hand on my shoulder and my brother Alec whispering into my ear, I would have turned around and taken her apart with my bare hands. Let her try to shield against that, bitch!

The whole group of them reeked of abomination and heresy. Subsisting on the blood of hoofed animals, like some kind of abhorrent leeches; I couldn’t understand how they could ever get past the smell. Then there was that pus-like yellow it turned their eyes. Why didn’t they just get down on all fours like the cats and dogs they were trying so hard to be?

We were vampires, the dominant life form on this planet. There was nothing that could match us intellectually or physically, so why were the Cullens running around imitating their prey? ‘We want to live in peace with humans,’ they simpered. I didn’t buy it. It’s like saying I want to live in peace with slugs and worms. Why would you lower yourself to become something that was so beneath you?

There was a reason vampires were here on earth, a reason I believed with all my heart and soul. It was our duty to take victims randomly, the strong man there, a child over here, then a grandmother. Our given right was to be a bringer of instant, horrific death when there had been no shadow before. To shock the humans, who grew as complacent as sheep wrapped up in their own petty lives. To remind them how fleeting their lives were and to pay attention to their brief existence before it was snuffed out. By reminding humans how momentary and ephemeral their short, tragic lives were, we served a purpose given to us by God. A God whose face I would never see, but as to whose existence I had no doubt. I cherished the role He had given me.

Now was the time to come out of the shadows. To claim the heritage and divine right that was ours. The humans were fucking ruining everything they touched in their unbridled greed and stupidity. It was time to bring in cooler, more rational minds that could see the big picture. We would be installed in the highest corridors of power. Our obvious superiority would be recognized and in time, celebrated.

But first, some pruning had become necessary. Through the unbridled and unregulated creation of new vampires, we had all kinds of perverted monsters running around, example number one-the Cullens. It was time to pare down the vampire ranks so only the purest, most dedicated vampires remained.

Of course, Aro was too weak to see what had to be done. His cowardice in facing what our true nature called for was his biggest failing. Instead, he took the timid, craven road. “Keep the secret,” had been his strictest law and everyone in the vampire world had bowed before Volturi morals. What morals? Where was the morality in hiding? Aro held on to the past like a security blanket, cowering in cloaks and castles.

When Caius came to me with his vision, I was skeptical. How could we make any inroads against the throne Aro had erected for himself? Then he showed me a parchment, a confession from a thousand years ago, that Aro had written for some reason lost to time. It detailed how Aro had murdered Didyme, Marcus’s long dead wife. “We don’t have to rise against Aro,” Caius had said cunningly. “Marcus will do it for us.”

And then we found Mei-An. Tucked away in the Jiangxi province, among illiterate and superstitious farmers, we found a petite, delicate girl who could command fire. We waited patiently until she was old enough, and then turned her. What a success! Her ability to throw devastating fireballs was impressive. Alec and I took care of the mental battles and there was no vampire that could stand against Mei-An’s flames. That would include those Cullen heretics. Mei-An’s talent was strictly physical, no mental shield was going to stop it.

I couldn’t wait to watch Bella burn.

We had the players at last. It became time to assemble the pieces and to eliminate those guards loyal to Aro. We took Chelsea out first. She had become suspicious of the strengthening ties between Caius, Alec and me. Luring Renata, Aro’s personal shield, away from his side took some doing, but we accomplished it by using a sister of hers, now old and decrepit. We were mindful never to appear in Marcus’s presence together, lest he sense the relationship change between us. And of course, we avoided Aro’s touch completely.

Over a week’s time, in ones and twos, the guard was lured away for one reason or another. Caius finally went to Marcus, Aro’s confession in hand. All hell broke loose as Marcus learned of Aro’s centuries old treachery. Alec and I took Mei-An around the castle and eliminated those who stood against us.

It was inspirational. It was cleansing. Yes, there were faces that I would miss. But sacrifices had to be made. We were remaking the world and if they couldn’t accept that, then so be it. A few had escaped; there was still some clean-up work to be done. I was surprised that more hadn’t elected to join us.

The Alice problem worried us. The Cullens had a fortune teller who could likely foresee any move we might make against them. That was the reason for our little gathering this evening. Caius had said he’d found a solution.

“Alright, I’m seated. What news do you have?” I was impatient and thirsty. A waitress headed in our direction to take a drink order, but that was not what I was thirsty for. I caught her eye and slowly shook my head slightly. Her eyes widened and she backed away. I focused on her for a moment and she yelped and dropped her tray. That would keep her busy.

Caius removed his sunglasses and leaned forward. “With one fell swoop, I have eliminated our Alice problem and gained some powerful allies.” He grinned smugly and looked around the table. Alec was listening, but waiting for me to take the lead on this. Demetri must be in on this news. He sat back and watched our faces. Mei-An kept her eyes on the table in front of her, shuddering every so often.

“Allies?” I was skeptical. “What kind of allies?”

“Werewolves.” His grin got wider.

“Werewolves? Caius, have you lost it? Vicious, untrustworthy and treacherous dogs? These are your allies?” I was stunned and angry. Of all creatures, werewolves?

Caius had his hand raised. “You remember the wolves in the clearing when we last met the Cullens? It seems in addition to being shapeshifters, they can block a certain fortuneteller’s visions.”

“Alice can’t see them?” Alec asked, intrigued.

“Not where they are involved. She is blinded to situations in which they appear.” Caius fingered the untouched glass in front of him. “With their involvement, we can take the Cullens completely by surprise. I have already taken steps to insure that Alice won’t see us coming.”

“Why would the werewolves work with us? I thought the Cullens had an exclusive claim on their guard dogs.” I knew Caius was deathly afraid of werewolves, apparently he was past it.

Demetri leaned forward. “This is the best part.”

Caius smiled at him. “They don’t know they are. They think they’re working,” he started shaking with laughter, “for the U.S. government.”

Alec and I looked at each other. This was getting bizarre.

Demetri spoke up. “Not all those wolves are under the Cullens’ thumb. Some hate the Cullens as much as we do. Not a few chafe under the enforced treaty the Cullens have with the natives.”

Alec’s face showed his confusion. “I thought they were like a huge group mind.”

Caius shook his head. “With the increase in their numbers, several different packs have formed. We’re taking advantage of the malcontents.”

“So, how is the U.S. Government involved?” I didn’t know if Caius had gone truly mad or if this was a stroke of genius.

“The Department of Homeland Security, to be more precise. Domestic anti-terrorism, to be even more specific.” Caius was overwhelmingly pleased with himself, like he had just given us a gift of enormous portions. How had he managed this?

“I have convinced a certain high ranking individual that I could be persuaded to let him join our ranks. Immortality is a bait few humans can resist, especially the powerful.” Caius was delighted to reveal the details of his scheme. “In return, he’s doing some clean-up work for us, under the guise of fighting terrorism. The werewolves work for him.”

“Clean-up work?” I asked.

“Getting rid of nomads, cleaning up after some renegades. The wolves are surprisingly effective against our kind, did you know that?” he asked rhetorically. “We let the wolves do our dirty work for us, eliminating rogues and those we can’t persuade to join us. The wolves get what they want, a chance to tear into some vamps, and they think they’re being patriotic doing it. However, they end up working for us.” Caius sat back and lifted his hands, like he was waiting for the applause to start.

I was still trying to make some sense of it. “So you have revealed our presence to the U. S. Government? I thought we agreed that was later in the plan.”

“My contact heads an anti-terrorism unit. I’ve been stalking him for six months now. It’s really been quite fun.” Caius’ eyes glinted. “I alternate between terrorizing him and feeding him lies. I’ve made him piss himself twice now.” Caius started laughing again. Demetri joined in on the chuckle. He must have seen some of this.

Demetri chimed in. “He has set up a swat team consisting strictly of the wolves. I tell our contact where they need to go for the next attack and off they go, like good dogs. It’s all under the guise of fighting terrorists, strictly hush-hush, need to know. A little manufactured evidence goes a long way in today’s climate.”

I sat back and thought about this. I was impressed, to tell the truth. We got the wolves working for us, without their knowledge, cleaning up undesirables. With their involvement, we could eliminate Alice’s foretelling. Our presence was revealed only to one official.

“Nicely done, Caius,” I complimented him. “Very nicely done.”

He smiled and bowed his head. Smug bastard. It was a nice turn of events though and I hadn’t expected something quite so elegant from Caius. One thing still nagged at me. “How sure are you of this contact?”

“Absolutely sure,” Caius said complacently. “He lusts after immortality like it was a woman. I’ve convinced him only I can confer it. Between fearing me whole-heartedly and wanting to be me, the little bureaucrat can’t think straight.”

I wondered if I could get the name from him, while he was in this expansive mood. “And the name of this bureaucrat?” I tried to ask innocently.

“Ah ah ah,” Caius said, waving his finger back and forth. “I think that should remain undisclosed for now.”

Cagey old despot. I supposed you don’t hang on to power for centuries by being a fool.

“So what is next?” I asked.

“Time to gird our loins, as they say. I want you to take Mei-An to America. A little practice in joint operations. The wolves will provide perimeter control, but I want my best soldiers in there. You don’t mind a little wet work?” he asked with eyebrows raised.

“I live for it,” I grinned.

He sat back and put his sunglasses on. “Then it’s off to Alaska.”