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AB Type

Summary:
AKA The Greatest Story Ever Told, by the Greatest Historian of the World. Aro's lived, figuratively speaking, for three thousand years. Ever wonder what he's seen and done?


Notes:


19. The Trigger

Rating 5/5   Word Count 1479   Review this Chapter

All around the mulberry bushr32;
The monkey chased the weasel. r32;
The monkey thought 'twas all in fun. r32;
Pop! goes the weasel.

With Anna’s Story as a guide, breaking into Belverde proved so easy, it was almost…boring. I kept to the roof, in an effort to prevent discovery. From my vantage point, I quickly detected the distinct aroma of Anna’s scent as it emanated from the bath chambers.

Anna lounged against the tiled wall of a shallow pool. Her eyes were closed and her head leaned back. A human girl cradled the strands of her wet hair as if they were gold. She carefully untangled and oiled Anna’s hair, bringing forth a healthy shine. Anna opened her eyes to smile at her.

I recognized the girl from Anna’s memories. Renata, her youngest child. A timid girl who followed Anna’s footsteps like a puppy.

This would be too easy. I dropped through the window.

“Aro!” Anna gasped, standing abruptly and allowing me a glorious view. Her look turned furious as she saw where my gaze was trained. A pale hand shot out and seized a simple cotton robe to cover herself. In the time she did this, I lurched forward and snatched Renata from her immobile position.

Where before her look had been simply enraged, it turned deadly. Her voice was an icy dagger as she snarled, “Let my daughter go.”

“Not unless you come with me,” I answered threateningly. The child’s thoughts were panicked, acute with terror as I dipped my mouth close to her fragile neck. A faint tremble racked Anna’s slender frame.

“Let her go or I will kill you.” Anna’s threat was perfectly understandable through her clenched teeth. A whimper slipped through Renata’s lips and Anna’s eyes darkened. They flickered momentarily to Renata and I suddenly felt the child begin to pull free. I held tighter. Anna’s lips pulled away from her teeth.

Too fast and too low for the human girl to understand, I whispered, ”I’m going to tell you the truth. I don’t mean to harm Renata and I’m not trying to hurt you. But I need to kidnap you in order to trigger Piero into attacking. It’s the only way to start the war. In order to make it seem like you came unwillingly and have not betrayed him, I’m taking this child as a hostage. You will now decide—audibly, please—that you will do as I say to keep me from hurting the girl, you will tense as if you’re being bound—please exaggerate the motions—I will grab you and run off with you and the girl will be left to tell Piero what has happened.”

Anna blinked. “Did you ingest laurel when you were turned?”

“Please be serious, Anna.” I didn’t reflect on the hypocrisy of the statement. “I’m doing this for you. I know more about others than I should; you know this better than most. And that knowledge tells me that Piero is manipulating you. I’m removing you from danger. The reason for the deception is to secure the safety of your children until they can be taken from here,” I added when I saw Anna’s eyes flicker in worry toward Renata’s figure bound in my arms.

Anna shook her head briefly. “How can you know that? How can I believe you?”

“You must trust me.” I repeated her words. “…Angerona.”

At the sound of her human name, Anna swayed in shock, and if she could have turned any paler, she would have. “How…?” she breathed.

“Angerona, my darling Anna, please trust me.” I allowed a raw edge to creep into my voice to make it ring with honesty.

Anna bit her lower lip and turned to look at Renata. “If anything happens to my child,” she muttered darkly, “I will burn your ashes.” Then, she adopted a rigid pose as if she had been bound hand and foot. Hiding a triumphant smile, I released Renata, and she stumbled her way to her adoptive mother, crying. However, I beat her to Anna, and by the time Renata reached the spot where Anna had been standing, I had grabbed Anna and slung her over my shoulder before swiftly climbing through the window.

As I jumped off the roof and slipped into the darkness the trees provided, I heard Renata scream for help. I hastened my pace, unwilling to remain any longer within Belverde.

“I hope you’re caught,” Anna muttered tonelessly. In response, I kissed her hip through the thin fabric. I heard a faint groan and grinned maniacally in response. I could have cared less if I had been caught right then. I held Anna in my arms, an arm encircling her slender waist. Her thoughts wavered between worry and the desire to tear my head off, but she had followed my plan. She preferred me to Piero. I was giddy.

“Would you mind fully explaining your ‘brilliant’ plan before we reach Volterra?” Anger simmered under Anna's conversational tone.

"Would you mind if I wait until we are safe within my city?"

"Yes," she replied bluntly.

"Well, you will simply have to wait."

"You—" she began furiously.

"Would you feel better if I told you what my ability is?"

Her righteous anger died a sudden death. She started in interest.

"No lies?" she asked quietly, straining her neck to look at me.

I shifted her position in response. I slid an arm underneath her knees and moved the other to support her back. Anna's hands rose automatically to tie around my neck.

"Think of something," I told her.

"What?" She blinked.

"A sentence. A phrase."

She raised an eyebrow. You're a fool.

I controlled the urge to roll my eyes. "Something that I couldn't possibly guess."

Her thoughts raced; she was guessing—rightly—what my ability involved. However, she complied.

You look like the wrong end of a dog.

"I happen to know, by credible authority, that I do not look like the wrong end of a dog. That would be Caius."

Anna's mouth opened slightly, her eyes stared, wondering.

"How?" she gasped.

"When I touch someone, I receive what I call their Story—every thought the person has ever had. I’m limited, though. I can only hear thoughts through physical contact.”

Anna was quiet. She unclasped her hands from my neck and allowed them to drop into her lap. I brushed the pad of my thumb in gentle circles over her arm. Her thoughts varied between victory as she had rightly suspected my ability and worry as to how much I knew about her.

“I know everything,” I told her softly but unapologetically. “Including your doubts about Piero.”

Anna’s eyes searched mine. “Do you know what he does?”

“I’m afraid not.” I shook my head solemnly. Anna’s piercing gaze then invaded my mind, searching. I felt it from her point of view, finding the entry point through my eyes, weaving through the tangle of desires, finding the thickest thread of them all and tugging on it ever so slightly. Immediately, a strong desire to turn around and hunt down Piero and dismember him with my bare hands seized me.

Anna arched an eyebrow.

“Your greatest desire is to destroy him and you haven’t bothered to touch him yet?”

“I’ve been too busy being manipulated into touching someone else.”

“Idiot,” she concluded.

Anna was silent the rest of the way to Volterra. Her mind, however, was an entirely different matter. She turned over what I’d said and considered it a thousand different ways. Literally. Her musings were constantly interrupted by fear for the little girl we had left behind. She still hadn’t spoken a word when my city finally came into view.

“Welcome to Volterra.” I smiled. Anna returned it hesitantly. A new fear sparked in her mind: what would my coven do to her. I set her on her feet, holding her to me for a brief moment. I brushed a kiss against her forehead. Holding her hand, I led the way to the palazzo. I headed instinctively for the Great Hall where I knew my coven would be assembled. Squeezing her hand and tucking an errant strand of hair behind her ear, I left Anna behind one side of the double door. When I stepped inside, Adelina was, surprisingly, the first to assault me.

“Where have you been?” she questioned, eyes narrowed accusingly. I ignored her and turned to Marcus, my face impassive.

I’ve always had an excellent poker face. That’s probably why Caius never wishes to play that particular game against me. Even Felix tired of it after the first hundred or so games.

“You are a brilliant man,” I complimented. I then faced Caius. “And I have found your trigger.”

Both looked bewildered by my cryptic words.

“What are you blabbering about?” Caius shot.

I controlled the twitch itching to turn the corners of my lips upward. I turned slowly, savoring the moment, and reached out to open the second door.

Yes, I have a weakness for grand entrances. That, and the look on my family’s face when they saw Anna framed against the door was absolutely priceless.

“Brothers, I would like to introduce you to Anna, the Helen to our Trojan War.”