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Past Life

Summary:
For James, there was once a time before all the wanton bloodshed. This is the story of how James become a ruthless tracker, and of the events that led up to the hunting of Bella Swan, which were set in motion centuries before. There was once a time when James was good and in love. Canon, Pre-Twilight.


Notes:
In the unstable times of 17th century France, all of Europe has been rocked by wars and civil fighting. It has been sixty-five years since James has become immortal and though he has adjusted well to his new life, the major trials are just beginning. Life altering love and betrayal is before him and the stakes have never been higher as the Volturi are prepared to do anything in their quest for anonymity. Disclaimer: I do not own Twilight, all canon characters and storylines belong to Stephanie Meyer and associated publishers.


1. Chapter 1: The Beginning

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Red. Everything was red: red eyes dancing in broken mirrors, red blood singing like a siren, pooled on the floor; and the flushed red face of his prey. Everything was red except the brown of her eyes and as James gazed down on the injured Bella Swan memories of a similar scene clawed their way to the surface of his mind. The memory gripped him, as it threatened to pull him away from the battered ballet studio back to the riot worn streets of seventeenth century France, only to be disillusioned by Bella's pitiful moan and half whispered call for her lover. He would finish her quickly, the hunt was over and Victoria was waiting for him, no doubt pleased at the death of another vampire's human mate.

Yet another pitiful human girl to fall in love with a vampire, she would become the latest of many. They all fell within the same pattern, young girls who became involved with vampires whether by choice or seductions; all temptresses beguiling immortal fools with their blood and mortal wiles. One by one they had become notches on his ever growing record, success after success except for the one flaw of the asylum girl. Bella Swans' death would almost be vindication for that one blemish, though Mary Alice was now immortal, the human she protected could die in her place. A fitting way to correct the biggest mistake he had ever made, with the most important kill.

Perhaps that was why the face of his first ever victim haunted him as he gazed at his latest one. They were similar, but no more so than all the others. Dark hair, fair skin, and most of all the dark eyes - though his newest quarry lacked the hazel of the original.

"Edward..." Bella whispered.

"James..." the phantom called. A snarl ripped from his throat as he bent forward in preparation of reliving his first kill and silencing the phantom once again. Giving into the call of the blood, he launched forward and seemed as he did so, to step through time with the memory.

France 1654

The days of summer were coming to an end and would drift into the fall soon. The winds already carried the cold with them, from the north where the trees had started to change. Outside of a small village in Northern France, hidden from passersby on the road and out of view from the pressing eyes of Mme Degaulle's cottage, a girl lounged by the river. A shawl lay discarded beside her as she soaked up as much sun and heat as was left in the season, but the winds of change where blowing and she would not remain so peaceful for long.

Katharine rolled over onto her stomach and rested her head on her bare arms as she toyed with the idea of rousing herself and going back to the mundane reality of her everyday life. The warm evening and the sweet smell of the long grass she laid on seemed a good enough reason to stay put, even if it would anger her Father. This was her favourite place in the world, the only place she could disappear to without the pressures of everyday life. No chores, no tedious little things and best of all no Claude. It was as if time in the clearing never passed, everything seemed to be at a standstill and the place had an almost magical feel to it.

The clearing was as it had always been. The river, which was the only place that was ever really sunny, was at the foot of the slight slope that came down from the old road behind a thicket of trees. By the creek, the grass grew thick and tall and it was here that Katharine spent most of her time. Across the river the remains of an ancient wall, built centuries ago still stood. Even though the old brick was crumbling, with ivy growing on it now, and it had faded into the scenery - no longer the old proud monument it had been in the past; it still had a majesty to it that only added to the effect of the secluded paradise.

A gentle breeze ruffled Katharine's long dark hair and she glanced up to watch it twirl in the wind and sunlight. It was not often that a young maiden's hair was left uncovered and she found a wilful contentment in the rebellious and freeing act. With the warm air and gentle bubble of the water she soon drifted off to a peaceful sleep, filled with sweet dreams and hopes.

3 miles away...

Screams of terror erupted as people ran for their lives. A small boy tripped and fell, banging his head on the gravel road; as a dark shadow was cast over him, by the even more sinister creature that now loomed above him. It's human like figure bent over in a catlike crouch, with its black eyes ablaze with hunger and thirst. The boy stood, petrified with fear as the creature's lip curled back in a snarl, exposing a set of pearly white, razor sharp teeth. In the background a small women thrashed and screamed wildly as she struggled against her husband's grip, desperately trying to get to her son. The creature's black eyes darted between the young mother and the boy in front of him before he disappeared in a rush of air.

As soon as he was gone, the boy's mother tore free from her husband's iron grip and rushed to her child. Crying, she embraced her only son as her husband staggered towards them in a daze. His eyes wide and his head light as he gazed at the family he thought he would lose only seconds before. The little family, reunited once more, were completely oblivious to the chaos that ensued around them, content only to live in their moment of relief and gratitude. Around them people fled in droves, and more screams erupted as a lamp someone had carried smashed and set fire to a nearby house. The wood of the country cottage quickly turning to charcoal as the home was soon engulfed in flames that licked and jumped to the dry grass around it. Before long the village was a blaze and in the commotion no one notice the body of a frail old man -who's heart had given out- being snatched away by cold white hands. With that the vampire escaped into the night, the fire from the town out of sight in mere seconds, his meal for another day already drained, as James unwittingly sprinted towards a fateful encounter.