La Tua Cantante
When Aro decides that Bella should be changed into a vampire in Volterra, how will Edward react? Will he just stand by and let everything he's tried to stop happen? AU Entry for The Canon Tour's New Moon Round. Placed 11th out of 29 entries.
A massive thank you to the beta, Angels of Twilight. You've been a great help in quick send backs when I left writing to the very last minute!
1. La Tua Cantante
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"Nor do you intend to make her one of us," Caius continued. "Therefore, she is a vulnerability. Though it is true, for this, only her life is forfeit. You may leave if you wish."
Edward bared his teeth.
"That's what I thought," Caius said, with something akin to pleasure. Felix leaned forward, eager.
"Unless…" Aro interrupted. He looked unhappy with the way the conversation had gone. "Unless you do intend to give her immortality?"
Edward pursed his lips, hesitating for a moment before he answered. "And if I do?"
Aro smiled, happy again. "Why, then you would be free to go home and give my regards to my friend Carlisle." His expression turned more hesitant. "But I'm afraid you would have to mean it."
Aro raised his hand in front of him.
Caius, who had begun to scowl furiously, relaxed.
Edward's lips tightened into a fierce line and he hesitated.
Aro quickly grew impatient and took a measured step closer to Edward. Faster than I thought possible, Aro had his onion-skin hands locked around Edward's in a tight clasp. While Aro listened, Edward's eyes closed. He looked defeated, terrifyingly so. Fear and adrenaline coursed through my veins, causing my heart to pound faster in my chest. I hated the fact that it was the loudest noise in the room, even to my ears.
The seconds that passed seemed like minutes, minutes that dragged until the end of the earth.
Aro's features rearranged into a look of disappointment, and the meagre fact that he was pondering my impending immortality made my stomach turn.
I turned to Edward and he looked aged with misery; my heart wrenched with the idea that Edward was so saddened with the idea of me becoming like him. Would he really rather die than see me join him? Would he rather I died instead?
Aro shook his head sadly. "Such a shame... such a shame…" He turned to face Caius and Marcus behind him, not breaking his hold on Edward. "It seems Edward does not mean to act in accordance with our arrangement. Therefore, Bella is too much of a vulnerability to let out of our sights while she is still human."
Edward's head snapped up and he stared at Caius. A snarl rumbled through Edward's chest, and he bared his teeth.
"Or alive…"Caius stated, the corner of his mouth turning upwards as he met eyes with Edward.
My deepest fears were confirmed, that I was unwanted in his life. The edges of the hole in my chest burned again, threatening to tear open. I wrapped an arm around myself in the hopes of trying to keep myself together. I would not break down. Not here, and especially not in front of Edward. Even when I would belong in his world, and be strong and beautiful enough to deserve him, he still didn't want me.
Aro turned his head back towards Edward and dropped his hands. The moment Edward was released, he stared down at me with tortured eyes.
Aro shook his head at Edward once more. "I am deeply saddened, Edward, that you would plan to deceive us like this." He turned his hazy glare on me. "My dear Isabella, I'm afraid your human days are numbered." A thought seemed to occur to him, and the corners of his mouth turned up into what I thought was supposed to be a smile. "I'm so terribly curious to see how you turn out."
Edward snarled, and the sound echoed around the room.
Hearing Aro's words made my eyes prick and my vision blurry through a film of tears not quite spilling over. Wasn't it only a few hours ago that I was begging Alice to change me? With the firm decision of my mortality laid out in front of me, it was made clear to me that I wasn't ready.
I pictured Charlie's face, imagining what he'd say when he realised his little girl wasn't coming back home again. How would we explain my sudden disappearance? Would I simply go missing? That would take care of no one seeing my body… A death required a corpse.
I wished Renée would have had more of a happy last remembrance of me. The last time I saw my mother she had come to Forks to try and persuade me to come back to Florida with her. She left quickly after I threw a temper tantrum, throwing clothes everywhere and refusing to be taken away from the gloomy town of Forks.
And myJacob; I hoped he would forgive me in time. When I became an immortal, he would never want to see me again, and that thought made an entirely different hole in my chest burn. I didn't want my last memory of him to be with tears in his eyes, tears caused by me.
Alice quickly stepped forward, placing herself between Aro and myself.
"I feel that if you heard my thoughts, Aro, you would have more belief in us." Alice raised her hand in front of her. Aro took it eagerly, trapping her hand in both of his and closing his eyes. Alice became as still as a sculpture, a habit of being nervous.
I tried not to raise my hopes. Whatever Alice was showing Aro wouldn't sway his decision. In the eyes of the Volturi, my heart must stop beating, one way or another.
While Aro listened, I spared a glance at Edward, and as soon as our eyes locked, I couldn't take them away. What was the point in becoming immortal when I couldn't be with him? I would be alone to wander the world without meaning for my existence.
A strange sound of gushing air whooshed around the room, and it took me a moment to realise the noise was coming from me. I was hyperventilating.
Edward's face was drawn when he came to my side. He put his arm smoothly around my waist, and part of me thought about stepping out of his hold, embarrassed by the pity he felt for me.
But I stayed.
I missed the feel of his arms around me. It was easy to imagine that he wanted me as much as I wanted him with his arms encircling me like this. I tried to remember this feeling, this human feeling of being comforted. I knew I wouldn't feel it for much longer.
I touched my cheek and looked at the glistening water droplets on my fingers. How many tears would I have left?
I felt a brush against my forehead. A pair of lips? Edwards?
Aro's eyes burst open, full of wonder. "Ha! Ha! That was absolutely enthralling! To see the things you have seen, especially the ones that haven't happened yet!"
"But that will," Alice reminded him.
Aro's smile faded and he sighed. "As much as it saddens me to not have the same belief as you, Alice, I am afraid that your visions are not enough evidence to set our minds at ease…"
Alice opened her mouth to protest, but Aro interrupted.
"…Especially considering how a particular vision of yours is what brought about this unfortunate situation." He turned to face Edward. "It is quite determined. Bella must be made immortal or put to death." Aro's murky eyes saddened slightly at the latter.
My head spun and my stomach was doing flips. I couldn't do anything to stop the flow of tears running down my cheeks, staining the Volturi robe Edward wore.
I had to be strong, not just for me, but for everyone. Everyone I loved.
I felt the rumble of a growl in Edward's chest. I'm sure if I looked up, his teeth would be showing.
"So that's it?" Edward spat. "Join or die? I expected half as much when we were brought to thisroom."
Aro looked mockingly insulted. "We merely ask her to be made immortal in Volterra, Edward. Why, then you would be free to leave and give my regards to Carlisle. But, as for joining us, that is Bella's decision." Aro turned his gaze on me, a smile playing at the corners of his pale lips. "Bella, after being made immortal, would you like to join our family? I'm sure your near-future talents would be a great asset to us."
Was he kidding? Me join the Volturi? I looked up at Edward and it was clear in his expression that it was no joke. His eyebrows scrunched together as he inclined his head in the direction of Aro.
I swallowed and turned back.
"No, thank you."
"Such a waste… Felix?" Aro called his name lazily. Felix moved, frightfully gracefully, to stand next to Aro. He winked at me.
"No!" Edward growled, pushing me behind him. "He'll lose control! He'll kill her!"
I could feel Alice behind me, gently holding my arms. "I'm so sorry, Bella. I tried, I really did…" She whispered into my ear. I wanted to turn and comfort her, to tell her it wasn't her fault, that it was nobody's. But I couldn't. I was frozen in place by fear.
Aro ignored Edward's accusation. "Felix, would you be so kind as to take Bella and complete her transformation?" Felix smirked and walked towards me. My whole body shuddered, and I gripped Edward more tightly. Edward was right. Even when I couldn't see into Felix's mind like him, I knew he wouldn't be able to keep control. I was as good as dead.
I buried my face into Edward's robe, feeling the muscles in his back tense. I knew I had only seconds before I was dragged out of this room to face my new life. I decided the best thing I could do was cherish my last precious seconds with Edward. I took in a long breath, filling my mind with the beautiful honey and lilac smell of him.
Maybe, just maybe, when I was beautiful and strong like him, he would see that I did belong in his world.
My mom told me once that when you're afraid of something, what you want more than anything else is to make it go away. You want your life back to the way it was before you found out that there was something to be afraid of. You want to build a high wall and live your old life behind it. But nothing ever stays the same. That's not your old life at all. That's your new life with a wall around it. Your choice is not about going back to the way things were. Your choice is about hiding, or about going right to the heart of the thing that scares you.
"Edward, I love you."
At the same time as I spoke, so did Edward.
"I'll do it." He stated.
I gasped, and I heard Alice do the same. Edward's sudden mind change even caught Alice off guard.
Aro laughed delightfully, as if he'd just received some good news. "Felix," he called softly. "You're expertise is no longer needed, it seems." I didn't look up to see Felix's expression.
"You, Edward?" Aro asked, sounding genuinely intrigued. "Your La Tua Cantante?" He spoke each Italian syllable as a different word, dragging it out.
"Yes," Edward said sternly. I looked over Edward's shoulder. I breathed a sigh of relief when I saw Felix in his original spot. He looked disgruntled.
"Ha! Ha! Well, this is magnificent!" Aro said cheerfully. "Demetri, would you please lead them to the upper chambers?" Demetri responded immediately, walking straight past us and opening the large double doors.
"Watch over them," Aro added casually.
Edward was silent as we walked through the cold corridors, and I was somewhat grateful. With each step that I took, I felt like a ball of unwinding wool, coming to the very end. The more I walked, the more I was leaving my humanity behind and moving into the unknown.
It was only then that I thought of the transformation process. I learned a little from Alice in Phoenix, but all I learned was that it was supposed to be a very uncomfortable, painful experience. Maybe that was all I needed to know about it.
I shuddered and Edward rubbed my arm as we walked down the long cold hallway.
Ahead I could see a crowd of people coming towards us, muttering to each other in different languages that I didn't understand. From their noisy footsteps it was obvious they were human. I was about to lean against the side of the wall to let them through, but before I had a chance we steered direction and went down a narrow hallway.
After a few old, wooden, winding staircases, Demetri opened a large single metal door that looked out of place against the wooden panels on either side. Edward led me through the door and I gasped as I stepped inside.
The room wasn't large, but it was elegant and furnished with antiques that looked hundreds of years old. On my left was a wooden porcelain coloured table and chairs with a dark brown wooden clock sitting on top, ticking noisily. But what I gasped at most was the very large metal four poster bed in the middle of the room, clearly not an antique. The metal looked strong, the sort of thing that would survive a hurricane...or a vampire transformation.
There were no windows in this room, and the only exit was the single door, blocked now by Demetri. He stepped inside and closed the door after Alice walked in. After he closed the door, he stood in front of it, arms crossed...the scariest bouncer I had ever seen. He stared down at me with hungry ruby eyes.
Alice stepped around Edward and hugged me tightly, kissing me on the cheek. She didn't seem to know what to say. She took a seat at the table, facing away from us, a hand over her mouth.
I lifted my head, not caring if Edward saw my tears. I didn't want to look at the room, I didn't want to look at the thirsty vampire only metres away, and I certainly didn't want to look at the iron bed, strong enough to hold a new-born vampire. I wanted to look at Edward.
No, not look. I wanted to memorize him. The way his deep onyx eyes were beautifully framed by a curtain of thick eyelashes, and the way that they contrasted perfectly against his pearl-coloured skin. The smooth shape of his lips, lips that I would know anywhere.
As Edward met my eyes, I liked to think he was doing the same.
"Bella…" Edward sighed. He raised his hand to cup the side of my face, and I instinctively leaned into his palm. "There are no words to say how sorry I am."
"Don't be sorry," I mumbled. I didn't want him to feel guilty for his not wanting me, putting us in this situation.
"Aro read my thoughts, all of my thoughts. He discovered that I was planning to keep you human against their wishes. If I hadn't thought… if he hadn't read my thoughts…" Edward trailed off, fuming with himself. He looked utterly destroyed.
I touched my hand to his cheek, wanting to comfort him. My path was chosen; there was no need for him to mentally beat himself up.
"Look, when I'm…changed…. I won't bother you anymore." I dropped my hand from his face. "I came here because you needed to see I was alive. You shouldn't feel guilty. I won't be an eternal nuisance..."
Edward looked bewildered and then he sighed, cupping my face more forcefully, gently moving his hand to the back of my neck. He rested his forehead on mine.
"Bella, I left to protect you. I left to stop this from happening. And you won't be an eternal nuisance." He smiled, but it was all wrong. "I lied, Bella, and you believed me so quickly. Leaving you was the hardest thing I have ever done."
I felt more tears streaming down my face, but from sadness or warped happiness I didn't know. I wanted to believe him so badly, it hurt not to.
"It never made any sense for you to love me," I mumbled, looking down in embarrassment. With his other hand, Edward tilted my head for my eyes to meet his.
"Isabella Marie Swan. I love you. No amount of time with you will ever be enough." He glanced at the door where Demetri stood, then back to me. "But let's start with forever."
I gasped as his mouth came down on mine, forcefully and gently at the same time. I took both of my arms instinctively and wrapped them around his neck, wanting him closer. Our mouths moulded together, and with every unspoken question that I asked, his mouth answered. He kissed me with such passion, I'm sure the room could have been set alight. I wouldn't have noticed. And Edward seemed to forget about our little audience, not that I cared. A cough from the doorway made Edward pull unwillingly away.
"I love you," I gasped, blinking so my vision wasn't blurry from the tears.
"As I you." He pressed his lips to my forehead. I felt the breath of a sigh blow against my hair, and then he took my hand and sat me next to him on the metal posted double bed.
Edward took one final look at me, using his thumb to wipe a tear from my cheek. I shivered as he ran his cold hand across my shoulder, sweeping my hair off. Gently, he leaned forward, pushing me back until my head rested on a large, fluffy pillow.
His lips caressed my cheek, my temples, travelling to my ear. "I'm so sorry. I have no other choice," he murmured. He took a breath to steady himself.
"Forever," he vowed and I felt his sharp teeth sink into my throat, hearing the lush tear of my skin being ripped apart.
It was nothing like I had expected. So many times I had imagined him biting my neck, turning me into an immortal to join him. I had always imagined it being a sensual experience, but this was painful. I clenched my teeth together to stop from screaming, but little whimpers escaped thorough my lips.
Edward moaned a little into my neck. It was a sound of sadness. I felt his teeth disconnect from my throat, and I glanced up at him through my wet eyelashes. He was panting heavily, and his lips were smeared with my blood. He stared at me with devastated eyes that looked like he would cry if he were human.
It was then that I felt it.
A dull burn was bubbling around the area where he had bitten me, and it was getting hotter, spreading further out.
It felt like a candle being held too close to my skin, and as the burn grew, spreading down my neck and across my shoulder, the flame seemed to get closer, scorching me. This was the exact pain that I felt in Phoenix with James; only that burn was in my hand. This was worse.
I gasped and squeezed my eyes shut, clutching my hand to my neck in a useless attempt at trying to numb the pain.
I bit down on my lip. The change had begun.
I felt a slight brush against the skin of my hand and my eyes burst open, seeing red. Edward read the discomfort in my face, and he knew exactly what was happening. He took my hand away from my burning neck and held it against his face, breathing in my scent...my human scent.
I wasn't prepared for the increasing burn. With each second that passed, the delicate burning turned to scorching flames, which made a light candle's flicker feel like a cool breeze.
The fire spread through my veins and I screamed out as the flames consumed my entire upper body, still spreading.
"Edward!" I gasped. I couldn't help the words that tumbled out of my mouth. "Burning! No! Please! Stop the fire!" I screamed again. I twitched and writhed on the large bed. Edward lay next to me, holding me in his arms. Through on the roar in my ears, I distinctively heard the noise of a slamming door.
Edward held me and never me let go. With each scream or whimper that I made, he apologized. I would try to tell him not to be sorry, but then another scream would choke me.
Time was irrelevant now, and there was no way of keeping up with it. With each minute that passed, it could have been an hour, a day, or a week. The only thing that occupied my time was enduring this fire that I had been thrown into. I had to keep telling myself that maybe, just maybe, there was a reason to fight. After this I would be okay. I just had to struggle through it.
After a time, enduring became more difficult. The burning became more intense, and it felt like I had been thrown on a fire, a scorching hot iron put on every inch of my body and boiling water poured on me. I screamed my loudest scream, as if the louder I was, the less painful the burning would be. Of course, it didn't help. Nothing did.
My belief drifted, and I had to keep reminding myself why I was doing this. At the time, I couldn't help myself. The pain was too strong to bear, and two tiny words slipped out of my mouth which I regretted, hearing Edward's shaky breath. "Kill me."
I kept my eyes squeezed shut and never opened them. I didn't want to see the look on Edward's face. I didn't want to see him hurting.
Edward hushed me and stroked my hair, but I couldn't hear anything over my cries.
More time passed, maybe a day, maybe a year, and something changed. The burning remained the same, but my senses grew stronger. The noises in the room became more apparent, creaks in the floorboards, the shuffling of chairs, and the sound of material brushing together as someone fidgeted with a top or jacket. Voices became clearer, and, after a while, I could pick up what they were saying.
"Alice…" Edward groaned. He sounded awful, exhausted and upset. His voice was near my head. "How much longer for her?"
"She's through the worst of it, Edward. She's more vampire than human now." Alice paused. "See? She's becoming clearer all the time… She'll be fine. Carlisle's prepared for when she's ready."
I whimpered again, and I felt Edward kiss my forehead. "I love you," he murmured in my ear.
Edward sighed and spoke to Alice again. "What about Char-"
Alice interrupted him. "We'll cross that bridge when we come to it."
"She'll miss him," he whispered, so quietly I wondered if he didn't want me to hear.
They both stayed silent.
With only my cries and whimpers filling the room, my mind wandered. I hadn't become used to the pain, but with my new mind, I could think of many things at once. Alice had said Carlisle was prepared. Prepared in what way? What were we doing, and where were we going after we fled Volterra?
After what seemed like another lifetime, I couldn't help but feel somewhat relieved as the tips of my toes were set free from the fire. Agonizingly slowly, it travelled down until the top half of my feet were no longer scolding.
Something was definitely changing, and I tried to concentrate more on the pain-free parts of my body. I was about to try and tell Edward, but a gasp from Alice interrupted me.
"Edward!" she shouted, and I felt a tiny pair of hands lock around my ankles, holding them in place. At the same time, I felt Edward's strong hands come down on my shoulders, keeping them in place on the bed. I felt confused. The pain was going! Why were they acting as though I was wrecking the room to pieces?
The steady pounding of my heart became faster until it was one continuous hum. It was then that I realised the burning wasn't drifting, it was moving. The edges of my body no longer burned, but inside my heart, it grew hotter and hotter, and my cries were strangled by the heat. I wrestled with their hands by kicking away their grip holding my body firmly in place. The burning moved more, getting smaller but more concentrated where it collected.
I yelled out a scream again as the fire collected together, killing the last human part of me. It beat so fast, like it was going to tear out of my chest.
In my heart, the blazes started shrinking to a minimised point, and my heart finally started to slow, but at an alarming pace. It slowed to a rhythm that was less than human, and then it slowed further.
The burn evaporated and I heard only a few silent beats. With a final ga-lump, my heart stopped forever. My chest felt somewhat hollow without it.
I felt Edward and Alice's hands release me, though Edward slipped his hand into mine, giving it a reassuring squeeze. Edward's hand felt the same temperature now, maybe even warm.
Neither of them said anything, waiting for me.
I breathed in a deep breath through my nose, realising I had been holding my breath all this time. New aromas hit me that smelled fantastic. I could smell the honey-and-lilac smell of Edward, only intensified. He smelled like what I could only describe as sunshine.
My eyes flew open and I heard Edward's small intake of breath.
So many new colours, which I had no names for, were vibrant to my new eyesight. I watched little specks of dust float across my face, and the way they glimmered in the light casting little rainbows of their own. I sat up.
Then I looked at Edward.
He was mesmerising. I looked at him as though I had never seen him before. There were no words to describe his beauty. He smiled mysmile. He was breathtaking.
"Edward…" I murmured, full of love for him. He was the reason for fighting, and he was worth every fiery second. I gasped at the sound of my voice. It sounded like ringing bells, charming, delicate, and strong at the same time.
"Bella." He smiled bigger, and I couldn't help mirroring him.
I had done it! I had become a vampire, one of the forever-immortal.
Edward leaned forward and kissed me like he had never kissed me before. He didn't have to withhold anymore in fear of hurting me, and I certainly didn't mind. He pulled back and gave a light chuckle. He was obviously thinking the same as me.
"I love you."
Alice stepped around Edward and hugged me tightly.
"As much as I want you to see how beautiful you look, I'm afraid we have to get going. Carlisle's just arrived." Alice glanced at Edward.
"Where are we going?" I asked Edward.
He seemed to deliberate with himself. "There are a few humans who work here…" He didn't have to say any more; I understood.
"Oh," was all I could say. Of course I was the danger now; the untrained newborn.
Edward continued. "And besides, I doubt you want to stay here any longer than I do." He smiled gently at me. I was going to ask him where we were actually going, but something else caught my attention; burning. I reached my hand to my throat, the source of the pain.
Edward frowned slightly. "It's okay, love. You're thirsty. We'll find something soon, I promise."
"Thirsty…" I repeated to myself. How odd, with my previous aversion to blood that, now, my body craved it.
Edward took the hand cupping my throat and led me off the bed and through the large singular metal door, which looked scratched and aged to my new eyes.
"Don't breathe," Edward murmured in my ear. I complied immediately.
Edward guided me down the hallways, which weren't dark anymore. Instead of being dark, the colours had just simply changed, but I could still see perfectly. At a low corner in the room, Edward halted to a stop and reached his hands to the ceiling, peeling a piece of the roof away. Or I thought it was a bit of the ceiling. It was the bottom part of the drain, and Edward slid it away. No sunlight shone through, and it was clear that it was late at night.
Alice jumped up first and she disappeared through the small gap in the ceiling. Edward lifted me up and Alice pulled me through from above, though I needed no help. I smiled at the fact that my balance had improved. Just as Edward appeared, headlights reflected against a brick wall and a black car with black tinted windows swung around the corner.
In a third of a second, Carlisle had his door open and was stepping out, greeting me with a hug.
Carlisle stepped back, holding my shoulders. "It's good to see you, Bella."
"Same." I smiled. It was really good to see Carlisle again, and just like all of the Cullen family, I had missed him. "Thank you."
Carlisle slid back into the car and Edward, Alice, and I slipped into the backseat. As soon as the car door shut, Carlisle sped off down the road.
Edward held both of my hands in his and he rubbed them soothingly.
"Edward," I said and turned to face him, "where are we going?"
Edward pressed his lips to my temple. "We've organised a private plane to take us to Alaska." He looked to watch my expression. I slowly nodded.
I watched as Volterra sped past the window, but not a single detail was blurred in my sight.
As we boarded the private plane, I said my goodbyes to my old life, hoping one day that I could return somehow and say goodbye to everyone properly. I entered the plane and started my new life with Edward, forever.