Little Red Riding Hood and the Red Eyed Wolf
Takes place after the events of Breaking Dawn. Little Renesmee is out in the woods hunting when she meets her wolf. One-shot.
Rating 5/5 Word Count 4880 Review this Chapter
Little Red Riding Hood and the Red Eyed Wolf
He had always been very fond of forests. The myriad of colors, the intoxicating smells, the sounds of billions of insects crawling, birds flying above the green canopy, feathers falling, jaws snapping, branches swaying in the breeze, all of it delighted him. That was one of the main reasons why he always volunteered to go look for whatever new plant his sister wanted for her impressive herbarium collection or for her greenhouse. Aro was permissive enough when it came to hobbies and always encouraged them to pursue what he called "extra-vampiric interests"; they did not want to end up like Marcus, did they? Such travels proved to be very challenging, since it was no easy feat to spend two weeks in the swampy forests of Cuba looking for a ghost orchid and somehow managing to bring it back to Volterra in one piece. He had to strip and burn all his clothes several times on his way back in order to eliminate all the parasites that had nestled in them, and weeks after his arrival Jane would still spot an occasional microscopic exotic bug crawling on his hair strands. For her part, Jane had been the very image of ecstasy at the sight of the orchid and had hugged him and planted sweet kisses on his cheek for a whole of ten minutes, bugs be damned.
This time, however, he was not on such a trip. In fact, the last few days had been spent sweeping the Olympic Peninsula with his sister and their usual bodyguards, searching for a vampire that had made her existence considerably difficult when she had attacked a police officer and had somehow gotten caught on tape. Such incidents were rare, but not impossible to occur. Soon enough, the video reached the local news station and started quite a controversy. Insanity, drugs, steroids, aliens and mutants had been considered until now in talk shows, newspapers and blogs - quite far from the truth, but it was still an urgent problem for the Volturi, who were now using their wealth and connections in both the vampire and human world to discredit the news station and convince the public that the video was fake. Their assignment was to make sure the one who caused this would never be capable of repeating her mistake again.
From what Aro had told them, she was not talented and only fifty four years old, and therefore should not pose any problem. Bearing that in mind, Alec was prepared for a rather uneventful journey. He could sense his twin's uneasiness as they ran across the dense forests in search of a trail. He and Jane had a good reason to dislike that region. It was where the animal blood-drinkers, the Cullens, lived. The last time the Volturi visited that God-forsaken town, they were determined to end that troublesome coven once and for all. For years they had been a thorn in their side, and as far as the twins were concerned, nobody had more incentive to set fire to their pile of dismembered limbs. Although on the surface, Isabella's ridiculously powerful, inexplicable and almost unfair talent seemed to infuriate only Jane, Alec had been equally angered. During Aro's chitchat with Edward and Isabella and their half human half vampire freak of a daughter, he had never ceased to circle the protective barrier with his powers, prodding around constantly, searching for a weak spot and becoming increasingly frustrated when the glass-like bubble proved to be unbreakable. "Absurd, she was a mere human a few weeks ago, so pathetically, nauseatingly weak and dependent on her mate" echoed darkly in his mind. It would have been extremely gratifying to go there and break her skull with his own hands. See how well her bloody shield would serve her when her tiny brain (who appeared to be capable of holding only one notion, namely that of her husband Edward) would make an acquaintance with the local dirt. However, unlike his twin sister, he had excellent control over his physical features and rarely showed what he truly felt inside. Not that his sister was an open book - but she was a passionate creature, and her guise slipped with a little more ease than his. They were careful not to get too close to Forks, as per Aro's advice, but so far there was no trace of their target. Jane signaled them to stop and they found themselves in a small, uninteresting little clearing. Felix grabbed a thick branch off a nearby tree and tore it off in annoyance. Demetri was busy squashing a small fern with his right heel, grinding it into the damp ground. His eyes were unfocused, and he was concentrating on sensing the vampire's whereabouts. His ability was somewhat similar to intuition, albeit more palpable, as he liked to describe it. Whenever a chase began, he was faced with an astronomic number of possibilities, which gradually began to dwindle as his uncanny sixth sense started to eliminate them with cool, merciless precision. She was somewhere north, not too far.
"Where in Dante's Inferno could she be? She couldn't have gone that far, the tape was released this week." Patience was not one of Felix's virtues.
"Demetri?" asked Jane, twirling a small twig out of her hair.
"She is somewhere up north, not too far. If we hurry, we could catch her today."
"Excellent. Then we can all return home. One of my orchids is supposed to bloom this week and I do not want to miss the moment."
"Which one was due for this week?"
"I cannot believe you have forgotten, brother. It was a gift from you."
"I do not see how that would help me narrow it down. All your orchids are gifts from me. Wait, is it the…"
Alec's reply was cut short by the sound of someone running towards them. Judging by the lack of heartbeat and the inhuman speed, it was one of their kind. The vampires turned in unison towards the far-away sound. Demetri and Felix flanked the twins in an instant and shifted into a slight crouch, ready to rip apart anyone who would be unfortunate enough to attack them. The sound of running steps got closer and in a few instants, a blurry form leaped through the thicket and landed in the clearing. Felix hissed threateningly at the newcomer. It was a male vampire with long limbs, wind-tousled dark hair and a big smile stretched on his handsome face.
"Jane, Alec, salutările mele! Fancy seeing you here" greeted the newcomer in Romanian, taking a few steps towards them, seemingly oblivious to the hulking shapes of the bodyguards.
"Hello Andrei" answered Jane and gestured towards her guardians. "Demetri, Felix, I am sure you remember Andrei. He visited us in Volterra before." She then faced the Romanian vampire and said "The Paeoniaromanica that you brought me last time you visited bloomed beautifully."
Jane's words, although spoken in the monotone tone she reserved for strangers, were as close to a compliment as anyone who wasn't her brother could ever hope to receive from her. Andrei flashed a roguish smile and did not seem to be affected when Jane's face remained impassible. Demetri and Felix relaxed, but kept sending the man suspicious glances.
"You are on a mission, I presume?"
Jane smiled sweetly in her typical, detached way and raised her eyebrows in reply.
"All signs point to yes, then. Well, don't let me get in your way. I know you are... busy people."
"We would love to stay and chat, but as you said, we have work to do. Say hello to Mirela for us" replied Jane.
Alec shot Jane a glance which translated into Mirela? She replied by raising the ring finger of her left hand. Hismate. Aah, that unremarkable woman that somehow seemed to blend in Andrei's shadow. Alec reached the conclusion that he relied far too much on his sister's outstanding ability to remember faces and names. He had bumped into them a few times while traveling through Romania on official business and accepted their invitation to climb the Carpathian Mountains together. They even raced up the Omu peak - Andrei had won, but had promised a rematch. This particular vampire had an infectiously cheery disposition, to such a degree that Alec thought he may have a gift similar to Aro's dearly departed sister. Andrei on the other hand, insisted it was because he was an Aquarius.
"I was on my way to James Island when I caught your scent. We meet ever so rarely, so I hope all of you won't hate me if I ask to have a small chat with Alec boy here."
"You go ahead, I'll catch up to you later" said Alec to his companions.
"If it suits you" answered Jane and motioned the guardians forward.
In a few seconds they were gone. When he could hear nothing but the usual sounds found in the forest, Alec closed the distance between himself and the other vampire and extended his gloved hand. Andrei shook it with a grin. Unlike Alec, who was dressed in clothes more appropriate for a rainy day in the cemetery, Andrei had a pair of washed out jeans, an orange t-shirt and many bracelets made out of black thread on his wrists. Alec found the bracelets tasteless but very ironic, since they were usually made and worn by Romanian monks and nuns.
"I suppose you have some news for me."
"Not good ones, I'm afraid. Not for the Volturi at least. Vladimir and Stefan haven't been behaving well lately."
"Last few months. They have been hunting for people with exceptional skills, although from what I gathered they haven't been too successful. A few of my acquaintances told me they turned a few people and ended up with normal vampires. I think they destroy the ones that are not gifted, but don't take my word for it. Aside that, they seem to have a new point in their agenda: they're trying to indoctrinate pre-existing vampires, especially young ones, into resenting the authority of the Volturi. They're not painting a pretty picture of you guys."
"Color me surprised."
"I'm going to keep an eye on them as usual, but I can't have my name popping up too often or they'll connect the little red dots. And as much as I like playing, I don't feel like dying. This world is too much fun."
"I can only imagine. Thank you, Andrei. We appreciate what you are doing for us."
"N-ai pentru ce, sufleţel" he smiled. Alec tried not to frown at this uncalled display of familiarity.
Andrei was a clever man who knew which side his bread was buttered and who had the marmelade. He was a useful, if occasional informer who saw just how important it was to get on the Volturi's good side. What he was doing was risky, but it could very well be rewarded in the future when he and his insipid little mate would be spared in case of a Volturi attack on those stubborn Romanian covens. Well, could.
"One more thing before you leave. This area here is where the Cullen coven lives. They've been here for some years, and are vegetarian. It would be wiser if you did not hunt on their grounds. They are human fans, but not in the way we are."
"They quench their thirst by draining only animals" explained Alec, and was not surprised at all by the reaction he triggered.
"Ce dracu. Now I've heard it all! Animal blood? With billions of humans walking around? Trust Americans to be weird" snorted Andrei. "I tried to taste a chamois once. Never again, I tell you."
After a brief goodbye, the vampires parted ways and left the clearing. While following his companions' scent, Alec allowed himself a few seconds to process the information he had received. The timing could not be worse. First the scandal with the tape and now that. How far were those two willing to go? Were they trying to build an army just like that of Victoria? Maybe the Volturi ought to make another visit to Romania and solve the issue of Vladimir and Stefan once and for all. No survivors this time.
The wind was whipping past his face as he made his way through the forest. Another twenty minutes and he would rejoin his sister in their hunt for the troublesome outlaw. He grabbed a low branch and used it to lift himself off the ground and up into the tree. From there, he prepared to jump forward to the next tree, when something zipped on the ground below. For an instant, he thought Andrei had followed him, and he let himself fall down, landing neatly on his feet. The scent he picked up was definitely not that of his acquaintance, but it was somewhat familiar nonetheless. It was sickeningly sweet, unlike that of any vampire he had ever known. He presumed it was a vampire, because humans did not possess that kind of speed. He followed the scent as quietly as he could and stopped dead in his tracks when two distinct sounds made their way to his over-sensitive ears: the first was a strange gurgling noise and the other, the most puzzling, was a normal heart rate. His first thought was that the vampire who unknowingly crossed paths with him had caught a human and was in the middle of feeding. That did not explain the normal human heartbeat, since as far as his experience went, humans did not react calmly to having their blood forcefully sucked out of them. Quite the contrary. He walked towards the source of the sounds and soon spotted someone at the base of an ancient looking red cedar, half hidden in some wild berry bushes. It appeared to be a child with copper colored hair and large curls, dressed in pink and who was currently leaned over a massive, unmoving stag.
Intrigued, he took a few more steps and this time was sure to make enough noise to attract the little one's attention. As if on a whim, he pulled a handful of leaves from a low branch and let them slip through his fingers. And soon enough, a pair of remarkably familiar brown eyes were staring into his.
There was no doubt about it. It was her. She may have looked older than he had last seen her, but it was unmistakably her: the Cullens' hybrid daughter Renesmee. Alec had heard a million of silly names but in his opinion that one took the proverbial cake. She had been feeding and her mouth and hands were smudged with blood. Alec thought it smelled repulsively and marveled at her seemingly easy acceptance of such a diet. The little girl was looking at him with uncertainty, one hand gripping her prey. He smiled his most winning smile and waved to her.
"Hello, Renesmee. Do you remember me?"
She was silent for a while, and then gave a curt nod.
"You visited us last year with Aro"
"Such a good memory you have. I do not believe we have been properly introduced yet. My name is Alec."
The older vampire casually took a few more steps towards her. Renesmee bared her small, white teeth and leaned over the stag. This reaction brought forth an amused look on Alec's face.
"I assure you that is completely unnecessary. We are not on the same diet."
"What do you mean? You don't like stags?"
"I like them only when they are alive. I drink something else. Something that most vampires around the world like to drink."
"Oh, you mean..." she started and gestured with her small bloody hand towards her eyes. "You have the same eye color as Carmen, Eleazar, Vladimir, Stefan and the others. Grandpa Carlisle said they were different."
"From your grandfather's point of view, yes. Did you like Vladimir and Stefan? They are acquaintances of mine."
Renesmee's eyes grew excited and she nodded vigorously. "Oh yes, yes, I liked them very much. Mother says that when I grow up she'll let me visit them. But only if uncle Emmett and auntie Alice go with me. Do you visit them?"
"No, although I would love to pay them a visit one of these days. Play a few games, see how long before they burn out..."
"Mother doesn't let me play with fire."
"Strange, considering how your family does such a good job at it, too."
"I don't understand."
"What I meant to say was that your family is very talented" he smiled pleasantly.
Renesmee smiled in return and began wiping her hands off her pink summer dress.
"Allow me" said Alec and produced a folded blue handkerchief from his coat pocket. Renesmee got up and walked towards him. She seemed a little hesitant at first, but after a few moments of consideration she took the handkerchief and began to wipe her hands with it. She saved a clean side for her face, and began scrubbing at it. Alec offered to help her clean, and before she could answer he took the handkerchief and began wiping away the blood. Renesmee stood perfectly still and avoided his eyes. After he finished this rather unusual task, Alec stood up and threw the bloody piece of cloth into the bushes.
"You are rather far away from home. Where are your parents? Did they not come with you?"
"I sneaked out" she said and smiled sheepishly.
It was too good to be true.
"Sneaking out? Why? Is it not better to hunt with your family? From what I remember, the Cullens like to stick together in everything."
"We do not stick!" protested Renesmee.
"I did not mean that literally."
"Mommy always wants to help me. Auntie Alice always wants to dress me up. Auntie Rosalie always wants to keep me in her arms" she said, counting every sentence on her fingers as if compiling a list. "I am old enough to do things alone" she declared, sticking her little nose proudly up into the air.
"Of course you are."
"I caught this stag all by myself" she pointed towards the corpse lying on the forest floor.
"Impressive. You must be a natural born hunter. What do you like to hunt?"
"Deer and elk, and sometimes bears, but daddy won't let me hunt them unless my Jacob comes along. Oh and I like cougars, too!" she chirped.
"Well, well, you are a very special one, Renesmee."
"No, mommy likes to eat the same things."
"No, no, I was not referring to that" he corrected her by shaking a sympathetic finger. "You see, almost all the other vampires do not drink animal blood. Vampires like Carmen, Eleazar and Stefan drink human blood. It is what we were meant to drink."
"Mommy says that eating humans is bad. Grandpa Charlie is human."
"Ah, but that is your mother's decision. Normal vampires eat humans, but your family has decided to become an... exception. They all made the same decision, and I do not believe it is fair for them to force you to do the same. You are a big girl, aren't you?"
"I am one and a half years old" answered Renesmee proudly.
"So old already? Why, you are perfectly capable of making your own decisions."
Renesmee looked uncertain.
"You don't want mommy and daddy to tell you what to eat for eternity, do you? In your place, I would be a little ashamed. Such a big girl and still clinging to her mommy for her daily menu."
"A list of things you would like to eat for one particular meal."
"Everybody asks me what I want to eat. Father even gave me a piggy-back ride all the way to Canada because I wanted to try a black bear."
"Touching" said Alec, but Renesmee thought he didn't look touched at all.
"You see, Renesmee, parents only want the best for their children, but sometimes they want to protect them too much. They stifle them" and before the girl opened her mouth, he explained: "They give them too much love. They won't let their children do anything on their own for fear they could get hurt or do a mistake. That doesn't seem too bad, does it?"
Renesmee shook her head.
"The tricky part is that we grow this way. Not physically, as in getting bigger, but mentally. We become wiser the more we experience. How can you become wiser if you don't try everything at least once? After that, you can decide if something is good or bad."
"But mother says that eating humans is bad."
Alec smiled. A sure sign of victory in a dispute is when the opponent's arguments are becoming repetitive.
"Is your mommy always right?"
"Well, no..." Renesmee looked like she wanted to say something more, but could not find the right words to do so.
"If your family does not let you drink human blood, how do you know it is bad?"
"It's not bad... uh, I bit mommy once, when she was still human. It tasted really good, but father told me I shouldn't have done it. She forgave me, though" she added hastily.
"See? All human blood tastes really nice. Some humans taste better than you could ever imagine. Delicious, appetizing, mouth watering. A drop of human blood is better than a whole herd of stags. Your father was upset only because the human you bit was your mother. If you had bitten anybody else, such as him" pointed Alec to somewhere a few hundred feet to his right, where Renesmee could hear the steady heartbeat of a hiker who had probably stopped for a rest, "he would have understood. Because that is what you were born to eat. He did it, too."
The little girl frowned and her expression became aggravated. Her father, eating humans? That couldn't be true.
"Daddy would have never done that. You're lying."
The boy threw her a look of pity and shook his head.
"Poor little dear, they haven't been telling you anything, have they?"
"DON'T LIE TO ME!" she shouted, her face all pink.
Renesmee took a few steps back, turned to leave and nearly walked into Alec. She froze in shock and held her breath when he placed a gloved hand on her head and smoothed out her curls.
"Do not be afraid, little one. I will not do you any harm. We are both vampires. You can even say that we are related."
Renesmee cocked her head and frowned slightly, as if trying to figure where she could put Alec on her family tree.
"You can think of me as a distant cousin" he suggested.
"M-my father says that there are good vampires and bad vampires" retorted Renesmee and tried to brush his hand off her head.
"Well, your father is clearly the expert on that" he said in a silky voice. "Before your father decided to replace his healthy human blood diet with one based off the unfortunate local fauna, there was a time when he enjoyed eating humans. Bad humans. He did this world a great favor by eating them."
"He never told me that" she said in a defensive manner.
"Nobody tells everything to anyone. We all have secrets. There are some things that every member of your family hasn't told you. I can prove that to you."
And in spite of herself, Renesmee felt her curiosity flickering.
"Can you really do that? How?"
"Eager, aren't we? I see we are finally making progress. Well, I have one idea for starters. Your aunt."
"Which one? I have two."
"The tall, blonde one. Rosalie, wasn't it?"
"Auntie Rose?" she stared at him in disbelief. "Auntie Rose never lied to me!"
"But she never told you the whole truth about herself, either. That is also a form of lying. To be more specific, it is called lying through omission."
Renesmee looked like she was about to cry. Alec got down on one knee, raised his hand and gingerly lifted her cheek with one finger. He leaned in slowly, and whispered to her:
"When you go home, wait until you two are all alone and ask her how the rape felt."
Renesmee simply stared at him.
"I don't understand. What does rape mean?"
"I am afraid I cannot satisfy your curiosity on that matter. You will have to ask your dear aunt. Then I am certain you will understand what I am trying to tell you about your family's secrets" he spoke reassuringly.
"Grandpa Carlisle says that a real family must have trust. And we are a real family!"
"Maybe they don't trust you as much as they should, then. Maybe because you are still young in their eyes and a new addition to their little funhouse. Never leaving you alone, not allowing you to help humans by eating away the bad people... oh you poor thing! If I had been in your place I would have taken my life into my own hands a long time ago."
He smiled a very friendly smile, despite his oddly colored eyes.
"Don't worry, little one. Everything has a beginning. Especially when your life has no..."
"Do you keep secrets from her?" Renesmee blurted out suddenly.
"I beg your pardon?"
"That girl who looks so much like you. She seemed to be very upset with mommy for some reason. I heard Eleazar saying that she is your sister. Do you keep secrets from her?"
"I- that is... me and Jane are different- we... we are an exception to the rule."
"My family is too, then!" she announced victoriously.
"No, Renesmee" he said with a tone that verged on annoyance. "Being different does not automatically make one good or useful. Let me explain it like this. If your mother bought you a dress with no holes for the head and sleeves, it would still be a dress, right? But that does not mean it is a good thing, because in the end you cannot wear it."
"But then I could make a backpack out of it" offered Renesmee.
"Exceptions to the rule do not find a place in the world so easily, I am afraid" he replied in a rather cold tone.
A moment of silence followed between them. Renesmee shifted from one foot to another, uncomfortable. The steady heartbeat of the hiker was fading in the distance, and the little girl felt grateful for that.
"He's getting away" said Alec, sounding playful. "If you want, we can hunt him together. I am a gentleman, so I shall leave most for you. What do you say?"
Renesmee chewed on her bottom lip for a few seconds, her eyes focused on nothing in particular. Alec's eyes, the color of red wine, were looking at her expectantly. The little girl pursed her lips and threw him a pleading look.
"I... I want to go home now. Mommy and daddy must be worried. I've never been away for so long."
"Perhaps I have underestimated you, Renesmee. I thought you were braver than that."
The shade of disappointment in Alec's voice stung Renesmee and made her cringe on the inside. She was not used to being made to feel bad about herself. Her family adored her, and her Jacob told her that she was the most wonderful thing in the world. Her eyebrows knitted together into an uncharacteristic frown and she stared down at her mary janes. She was almost startled when Alec's hand ruffled her curls.
"I am sorry, I did not mean to be pushy. Friends?" he crouched down to her level and extended his hand, a wide smile stretched on his face.
Hesitatingly, Renesmee shook his hand and nodded, her cheery disposition gone.
"Excellent. Well now, it is high time you went on your way. I would feel bad if your parents would be worried for you because I was keeping you busy with our little chat. But I can't help it, you are such a dear little thing. And very, very interesting."
He gently pressed his index finger to her nose and she sketched a confused smile. He rose and shook a few imaginary specks of dust from his pants. Renesmee began to walk away when she heard Alec's voice calling her.
"Remember to ask that little question to auntie Rosalie."
"I will" she answered and waved a little.
Alec waved back. As he watched the little copper and pink form disappear through the trees and bushes, he allowed a smug grin to stretch upon his face. Jane would be so pleased to hear of this. He could almost hear her clap in delight. Both of them liked their revenge served cold.
salutările mele: greetings;
N-ai pentru ce, sufleţel: don't mention it, dearie; Andrei is being particularly ironic here, because the word sufleţel means "little soul" and is used mostly by women to refer to someone very dear, like a child. And of course, it is a reference to the fact that vampires believe that they have no soul;
Ce dracu: what the hell.