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I'm nothing but a monster burning in a hell that only exists in my head. There's no hope left until one harmless glance chances logic and binds two eternal enemies together in a twist of fate. Can the escape from this hell be found in an infuriating dimpled grin? Or is this another dark, dirty trick of my own mind? A forbidden passion, heat, and intense anger—this is no fairytale.

[Disclaimer: Monster is an originally plotted fic. The ideas within this fic are not to be copied in any way, shape, or form—I have not given my consent to any manner of copying. All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the intellectual property of their respective owners. All canon concepts and characters are the property of the Twilight Saga's author, Stephenie Meyer. No copyright infringement is intended. Similarities are for the sole use of fan fiction, and no profit has been or will be benefited from the posting of this fic.] Emerging Swan Award 2012, nominated into Fandom Choice Awards.

64. The Hushed Hunter

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"I just heard the world, is breaking down into bits again.Tell me what am I to do?" - O.A.R

Chapter Sixty Four

The Hushed Hunter

*Olympic Mountain Range*

Rosalie Hale isn't one to wander in the middle of snowstorms without good reason.

The raging batter of snow packs in every crack of an old tree somehow still standing at the top of a slope, the bitter cold eating the bark away to a dull grey. The twisted, tangled mess of branches stretch desperately toward the sky, straining to reach a beam of sunlight that could never break the barricade of clouds bunched together in an endless parade above. The ugly thing has long since reached the end of its days.

No wandering eyes would ever catch the striking presence of a visitor perched in the secluded heights, especially in the climax of the howling winds and heavy bouts of snow. The timing is perfect, and the sacrifice of smooth blonde curls will be well worth it.

Silent scarlet eyes wander, peering through the space of parting sticks. The opening provides a perfect view of the small clearing below. Two large, masculine shapes stand in the middle, straight and steady, unaffected by the weather's wrath. They speak in whispers too soft to ever touch the ears of another. With a muted hiss of frustration, Rosalie leans forward, calculating before lifting a slender leg and carefully maneuvering it over the curve of a bent, peeling branch. Just as her calf stretch over the bark, she freezes. Her eyes widen, her head snapping up.

A wail shatters the hush. Rosalie's throat dries as her nostrils flex around the scent of blood, steamed with the erratic pulse fueled by the race of venom through veins. Her pupils dilate, blacking her irises to a deep shade of onyx. Granite fingers curl into claws, splitting deep cracks in the branches. With acquired control, Rosalie manages to force herself to exhale, shooting the burn back out in a whistle. She collects herself, lowering herself in the branches as she casts a wary glimpse across the clearing.

Nothing seems to have taken any notice of the extra attention. Yet.

The men break apart, turning their heads toward a battered old tent thrown up on the face of the mountain slope. Murmurs smooth as velvet spill from quiet lips inside the paper-thin walls, soothing. The agonized cries fade out to whimpers as the words morph into the gentle flow of Edward's lullaby.

The sound of it strikes a flurry of memories, sharpened with an icy clarity. Rosalie stiffens, zeroing in the black head of hair higher up than the mess of honey. Stones fall into her stomach as a deep voice speaks out, a familiar groaning complaint.

"Jesus, this is so damn boring. We've been out here for hours!"

"All in good time, Emmett," Jasper mutters. "Carlisle's already taken back the machines. The transformation is nearly complete."

"Yeah?" The broad-shouldered man doesn't turn around. His arms lift as he cracks his knuckles. "Well, it sure as hell isn't fast enough for me. At least you could go have some fun if you wanted to, 'cause your woman's at least around." He snorts. "Wouldn't know, since she's got her head too deep in those blind visions."

A huff sounds from the trees. Rosalie presses against the trunk as a streak of spiked hair and pulsing energy flits across the snow to take her place at Jasper's side. Her golden eyes roll as she watches the larger man fold his arms tight to his chest. "You're absolutely hilarious."

"Don't mind him, darlin'." Jasper winds his arms around Alice's petite waist. "He doesn't handle loneliness very well."

A boom echoes against the rocky mountainside. Rosalie's chest constricts, her lips curving over the cruel edges of pristine whites. The sound strikes a bitter chord deep within her, bringing up unwanted memories. She becomes motionless in her place in the tree, a watchful shadow.

"Ha! Lonely." The chuckles ease as the man's head turns enough to bring the side of a dimpled grin into view. "Jordan's gonna come back to me. We don't have to be attached at the hip all the time. A man's gotta have some fresh air to breathe before it's time to get right back to business." The dimples pop again, defined with the flash of a smug grin.

Jasper's jaw becomes taut, his expression shadowed. "I'm sure you will be just as proud when the pack finds out about Edward's decision. Especially when your mate is at the lead of the dozen wolves on their way to tear all of us to bits and pieces."

"Jasper, please." Alice shakes her head, worry crossing her features. She places a small hand on Jasper's chest, waiting for his narrowed eyes to flicker down into hers. "Not now."

"He will have to come to face the truth sooner or later." Jasper's mouth twitches into a disgusted curve as he looks up at the sideways view of Emmett's face. "She will kill us. And what do you think you can do to stop her?"

"She won't."

Alice sighs quietly, but Jasper cocks a brow, interest flashing in his gaze at the flat seriousness in his brother's tone. "And what happens when you're wrong? What happens when you finally realize that the wolf you've been playing with is a savage animal without a brain in its whole damn body? What happens when it's the one to rip your family to shreds right before your eyes? What then, Emmett?"

Rosalie braces herself, her fingers smooth on the branch. She doesn't breathe, focusing in with anticipation. Finally—finally—the large man turns, his hands balled into fists at his sides. The sight of his face, tightened with a sort of unfamiliar ferocity, doesn't match any of those stored in the banished clutter of memories. Rosalie crouches, her eyes unblinking as the golden blaze of the man's gaze wanders up the trunk of the tree. For the briefest moment, she anticipates his reaction, waiting to be found. Her fingers itch as she fumes.

But he doesn't notice her. Instead, the man stares deeply into the forest. He takes a step forward, away from the huddle of Alice and Jasper. When he speaks, his words are slow and certain. "I promised to fix her. Say what you want, but nothing you can ever tell me will change my mind. If she fights, I'll fight harder just to keep her head straight. I'm gonna heal her and make it all better." His expression hardens. "We're all monsters, but Jordan's sure I can be the best of us. Jordan found me when she was lost and gave herself to me. So, I'm gonna give her all I can to make things right again. I promised her that."

An eerie hush falls. Jasper's expression twists as if struck with something strange—a foreign feeling he's never tasted before. But then Alice disrupts the focus with a grimace, gripping Jasper's shirt as another scream blasts them all back into reality. Rosalie blinks, glancing down as Emmett shakes his head and darts in her direction, his body tensed and his strides confident as he heads towards the trees. Rosalie shifts, gazing longingly as he passes beneath her. Her eyes twitch with false images of her hand grabbing the strong curve of his shoulder. She hovers, watching him move straight out from underneath her before breaking into a dead sprint, gone in the breath of a flurry.

Rosalie clenches her trembling hand, snarling at her stupidity. It's worthless to linger on such shallow thoughts. It's a mistake to have even come. Rosalie exhales, casting a final burning glare at the tent behind her before leaving the familiar strangers, soon to be nothing but forgotten memories, behind her.

After all, there's business to tend to, and Rosalie Hale isn't one to be late.