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The Ashen-Cloaked Child

Aro may not have been able to get Renesmee, but he was going to have a half-vampire in his guard. Somehow.


4. Death in Too Many Ways

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I'm not sure how alive I am anymore. I live like a zoo animal, locked in a cage with only my handler for company, hours marked by my feeding times, nights marked by periods of just lying there trying to ignore the child kicking me apart. I am so pathetic that Regina doesn't bother to show how bitter she is, only her pity for me. We still don't talk; she is too tired, and I am in too much pain. I only let her know where it hurts so she can patch me back up again.

In the end, it is only bandages of anger and stubbornness that hold me together. I am not going to die. I am not going to let Jane win. I will pull through.

A vampire comes to visit. No, she's just passing through, and Regina has asked her to stay. I pray it's not Jane. She had better not see me like this.

“The child has to be ready by now,” Regina is saying. “We have to get it out of her. Can't anyone talk to Aro about it?”

She says nothing. We all know no one has bothered to think about me in the past few weeks. Time passes so quickly for them – my travail of bitter agony is the blink of an eye.

“We can arrange a meeting,” the vampire finally says. I know by her voice that it is not Jane – more likely one of Aro's regular guards. I'm relieved.

“May I speak with him now?” asked Regina. “The sooner, the better – for both of them. No doubt Aro will want his prize presented to him quickly.”

“Come with me,” says our visitor. “We will see if he is available.”

The child kicks again, and I feel it vibrate through my body. It may get out of me soon. Regina was trying to arrange it. Anticipation hummed inside me, not only for the pain to ebb, but to see this child I was giving up so much for. Despite all my ambition and love for the undead, I was eager to have a child I could call my own – I already had names picked out. These weren't the names I thought might give a child when I was younger, like Enzo or Gabriella, my favorites. These were names I thought would fit in with Aro, Marcus, and Caius – names that had the ring of the ages. This child wasn't merely a member of the guard, it would be a member of the family, belonging with the ancients.

Regina has returned, with the same vampire as before. “Don't start until I show you where to cut,” she instructs, and now I know it is time to deliver my baby. My heart beat faster, and the baby kicks again – harder this time, and all my senses are obscured by this escalation of pain.

“I'm sorry, Gianna,” Regina tells me, “but there's no pain medication, no anesthesia. We have no time to find some. You will have to stay awake for this.”

“Just get it out of me,” I gasp. It's hurting me anyway, so what's a little more pain?

Cold hands rest on my belly, followed by cold teeth. I moan, and Regina has to hold me down to keep from moving. I can feel the teeth inside me, moving and digging, and it becomes too much for me. I vomit a little blood, and since I'm lying down, it stays lodged in my throat, which only further stimulates my gag reflex. Regina realizes what's happening and sits me up just enough for me to get my airway clear. But before she sets me down, the black spots in my vision begin to spread, and I lose sight of my surroundings. All I'm aware of is the ringing in my ears, and soon I'm not even aware of that.

My consciousness slips away like a dream.