Summary: Continues on after This Left Feels Right: Forks… follow Bella to Volterra and the road to discovery as she learns about her connection with Damon and finally faces the Cullens.
This Left Feels Right: Volterra
He was not overly alarmed when the summons arrived in the post.
The slightly yellowed parchment sealed with the classic red wax bearing the Volturi crest was not an unfamiliar missive to Carlisle Cullen. About once every half-century or so, his old friend would contact him and invite him and his family across the pond for a visit. He always politely declined and Aro would instead send one of his ambassadors to follow up with them, often times the snarky young Salvatore who enjoyed needling his children – Edward in particular – and their life would continue on its merry path.
With a weary sigh, Carlisle opened the missive but frowned reading it. It was worded far more formally than usual and with the tone of an order rather than an offer. Still, Carlisle went into his study and picked up the phone, dialing the long distant number to his old friend.
After being placed on hold by the human receptionist currently under their employ, Aro graced the other line with an airy, “Ah Carlisle. I’ve been expecting your call.”
“Aro,” Carlisle greeted neutrally. “I’m afraid I must once again send my regrets to your invitation. My family is in a delicate transition period and it would be unwise for us to travel at this time.”
“For shame, Carlisle. I’m afraid it is I who must send regrets for the invitation, as you referred to it, is nothing such. I am not requesting your presence, I am demanding it.”
“Demanding?” Carlisle frowned, his mind flying to the repercussions of that one word. He found himself wishing Alice was there to consult with, but she and Jasper had left earlier to go hunting. “I’m afraid I do not understand, old friend.”
Aro’s chuckle was drenched in dark amusement and Carlisle rather felt like he was the butt of a joke he was not privy to. “I am not contacting you as your old friend, Carlisle. I am contacting you as the king whom you owe fealty to, as do all of our kind. You will come to Volterra and you will bring your so-called family. This is not a request lightly made, but an order justly given. You have until the end of the month. If you do not come… Well, let us not visit such a path, old friend.”
There was a click as Aro hung up.
Carlisle stared at the phone in his hand before limply hanging up when the dial tone announced the cut line. His vampire mind raced at dizzying speeds, calculating the meaning of this summons and Aro’s cold reception. He always knew the Volturi did not approve of their lifestyle choices, but they’d never interfered before and he was curious as to the reason they’d concern themselves presently.
For that’s what he presumed the summons to be about – their diet and their entwined lives with the humans. It could be nothing else, he determined, for his family observed the laws and always flew under the radar, both from the Volturi and the humans.
His mind touched on the image of the human girl he’d left behind and reminded him that, no… they had not always observed the Volturi laws. But Alice and Edward were adamant about the decision to leave, certain it would be safer for Bella and for them. He was certain their gifts gave truth to those claims and therefore dismissed the vague idea of the Volturi learning of her. There was no way the Volturi could have learned about her and her forbidden knowledge. No, there was no danger there, he assured himself. They’d simply have to avoid contact with Aro, and he was certain his friendship with him would aid in that endeavor.
He would just have to talk with Alice and cajole Edward out of his room. He’d been sulking ever since they’d left Forks, though the departure had been at his insistence. They’d have to snap him out of his funk if they were going to survive the trip to Italy – his gift would be a necessity in navigating their way out of whatever sort of dilemma they’d inadvertently found themselves in.
But Carlisle was positive they would make it out unscathed. His faith and confidence in his family’s collective gifts and his certainty of their innocence was absolute. They would go to Volterra and be able to leave within the day, he was sure.
The sort of curveballs life threw at a person was funny, Bella decided as Damon’s fingers trailed up the bare skin over her lower back, tracing her spine in a delicate design. It tickled lightly and she squirmed with a smothered giggle, Damon’s chest answering with a deep, lazy chuckle. The satisfied rumble against her cheek was unfathomably comforting and made her arms tighten around his middle, hugging his naked body even more into her own.
A curveball like losing your virginity to a man you barely knew while thousands of feet up in the air…
Pressing her lips into Damon’s neck, Bella smiled at the memory.
For so long she’d been chained by her insecurities. Even before meeting Edward, Bella had always felt a sense of inadequacy when she compared herself to her peers. It was not unnatural, though, to be insecure by the differences found between oneself and others, especially for a young teenage girl forced to grow up faster than her friends. Bella had always been unable to relate to them.
At first, it’d been a relief to find Edward and his family. For so long Bella had stumbled through life with a vague sense of something more on the horizon, something other than prom or the next big party that others her age concerned themselves with. Then Edward had come into her life with his intense stares and honeyed eyes, his silver tongue lulling her into the throes of first love even as she unknowingly surrendered her self-identity to him.
The constant kid gloves he’d treated her with, the patronizing way he’d blow off her opinion, and the secrets he kept – purely for her safety, he insisted – all of that underscored just how little he truly valued her.
Then, after she had blindly ignored all the Lifetime movie channel signs of an emotionally abusive relationship, he’d taken her out into the woods after her birthday fiasco and opened a Pandora’s box of ugly truths. What had struck her the hardest that evening wasn’t necessarily the poisoned words he’d spilled like acid across her heart, but the ease of which he uttered them.
From high upon the pedestal she’d placed him, Edward had more or less stuck his foot to her cheek and stomped her already fragile self-esteem into the ground until Bella collapsed in his wake, the glittering shards of her broken self scattering into the night. She’d lost herself that evening; lost herself the instant she’d met him, she’d come to realize after time.
To her shame, she’d let grief claim her so wholly she’d nearly needed to be hospitalized. That alone should’ve been enough to indicate how unhealthy her dependency on Edward had been, but it wasn’t until the introduction of another mythical creature into her life that she’d snapped out of it.
Jake had been a great friend, but also a crutch she’d used to limp through the days after Edward and his family tossed her away. When he’d started avoiding her, Bella’s anger had not only been at the loss of someone she considered a friend, but also the loss of the placebo effect his company offered. But when she confronted him, slapping Paul’s arrogant face only to be faced with a giant sized wolf, Bella’s already complicated life became that much more interesting.
It hadn’t been Jake that had freed her of grief and introduced her to indignant fury; it’d been the pack’s most volatile member, Paul. Where others treated her like a child at best and as a mental patient at worst, Paul had treated her with the same disrespect and caustic humor he bestowed upon everyone.
“Oh cry me a fucking river, vampire girl. You think you’re the only one who’s ever been dumped by her ex in a douche bag way? Wake up, princess – ain’t nothing special or different about you other than the fact that your ex sparkles like a fucking disco ball in the sunlight.”
Her initial response had been the classic knee-jerk reaction to say that he was wrong – he just didn’t understand. But Paul maintained his position and the seed had been planted. With each passing meeting with him and the wolf pack, Bella dissected her relationship with Edward apart until she saw clearly the weed of his love in her heart. Paul was right. She wasn’t special, not in this at least. In this instance, Edward was just like any other dick boyfriend who’d grown bored and abandoned his girl in the cruelest way possible to save face with himself.
With Paul’s help, Bella grew stronger, her anger brighter. Then Victoria started her games and Bella knew the psycho vampire would eventually find her way through the wolves and get her misplaced revenge. Bella was going to die, soon she knew, and with the acceptance of the brevity of her life came a sort of freedom.
She went through a sort of abbreviated version of the stages of grief. She skipped denial and leapt straight into anger and with Paul’s influence, she lingered there. The only guilt she felt was for the delusional wolves who seemed to think they could stop anyone and anything. She felt bad that she’d be their first official causality and her guilt revolved more around the fact that they’d suffer her loss hard.
Her anger smothered her depression and she knew bargaining would be useless against a deranged vampire, so all that was left was acceptance and that came almost hand-in-hand with her anger. She railed against her fate as easily as she accepted the inevitability of it.
But where her fury truly burned brightest wasn’t on the certainty of her death, but on her apparent stupidity in getting involved with Edward in the first place. Hindsight had hardened her into a bitter bitch when it came to the Cullens. She wanted nothing more than for them to suffer for their actions against her, each and every one of them.
In the end, though, she knew they would get off scott free. There was no way to find them, let alone hold them accountable for their crimes. After one night of lamenting such to Paul, it’d been his idea to take out her aggression against the Cullens on their perfect little house. He’d even offered to come with her despite the treaty, but she’d opted to go alone, unwilling for even him to see the vulnerability lingering underneath all her rage. She was done with being weak; it was time to find her strength.
And thank goodness she told him not to come because the day she took her dad’s baseball bat and cracked the Cullen home open like a piñata, she received a true treat.
Damon Salvatore. His name alone made her body hum and she stretched lazily against him.
Their attraction had been instant though she’d attempted to cover it with snark. Come to find out it’d been a fruitless endeavor, because the one thing she quickly learned about Damon was that when he saw something he wanted, he went for it.
And for some reason, he wanted her.
He’d more or less kidnapped her, willing though she’d been. After his revelation about another race of vampires and his offer to turn her, it’d been a whirlwind of steamy kisses, compelling her father, a dodgy phone call to the wolves and then they were off on a plane to Italy.
There’d been some disclosure early on during the flight, Damon giving her a vague explanation of who he was and his role within the Volturi. He hadn’t said it in so many words, but he’d alluded to a similar heartbreak as her own and their instant kinship had only grown into a stronger form of affection. He’d held her hand the whole time, explaining the things Edward had left her to suffer in ignorance of, his nimble fingers leaving a trail of fire up and down her arm. Even that simple touch had her shivering with desire and Damon smirking at her suggestively like the playful devil he was.
“So…” he said after a brief pause. “Shall we join the mile high club?”
Though he’d said it as one would passively remark upon the weather, Bella knew there’d been a genuineness hidden behind the playfulness. She couldn’t fault him for it too – ever since that kiss back in Forks and those stolen, lingering ones he kept pressing to her neck or shoulders, Bella’d been a lit fuse about to combust. Damon was not unaffected as well, his ice blue eyes fixing on her with the same intensity as a starving man looking at a buffet.
Again, that wild freedom acceptance afforded her reared its head. Despite his sincere plan to turn her once greeting the Volturi Kings, Bella knew her safety wasn’t completely assured. Nothing was ever black and white when it came to the supernatural, so while she accepted Damon would do what he could, he wasn’t infallible and she recognized that she could still be making her way to certain death.
And really, she didn’t want to die a virgin.
“Sounds like fun,” she’d thrown back just as casually, a smile tugging her lips upwards when he gave her a sharp double-take.
He’d treated her to another one of his penetrating looks. The way they were able to communicate without speaking was almost unnerving, but Bella used her eyes to tell him, yes – she was being absolutely serious, and no – she wasn’t accepting his delicious offer out of some misplaced sense of gratitude.
Damon’s head tilted as he took in her sincerity even if it was tainted by the jitters of knowing she was about to give it up to a near stranger in a public place. Oddly, the idea was particularly scintillating and Bella shivered lightly at the images her mind conjured.
A now familiar devilish smile slowly bloomed and Damon slipped his arm around her, bending his head to her ear to murmur, “Follow me, piccina. I’ll show you how to really fly.”
Lost in his arms in the cramped confines of the airplane bathroom, their limbs wrapped around each other even as they occasionally bumped an elbow or their head, Bella had not simply learned to fly, but had been set soaring. Despite the unglamorous location there’d been a certain romanticism to their first time having sex. Bella had blushed and moved with the awkward stiltedness of a virgin and Damon had compensated her willing but nervous movements with confident and reassuring touches. His hands, fingers, lips and tongue all had a language of their own, each caress of them setting her at ease even as it wound her up.
The image of him standing between her naked thighs, staring down at her with an uncharacteristically soft smile seared itself into her mind. When he entered her with a patient but persistent movement, a tiny part of her heart had broken off and implanted itself within him.
There was a vulnerability to sex, Bella discovered. No matter the blatant passion and basic urge to simply get off, there was a certain trust the act inspired. So when Damon closed his eyes and averted his face, there’d been no hesitation on her part to place her trembling hand on his cheek and redirect him back to her, smiling reassuringly when she saw what he’d been trying to hide. Dark veins surrounded his eyes which took on a red hue, his teeth elongated – the face of a true vampire meant to inspire fear.
Instead, she’d felt warmth and acceptance. Damon was a vampire – soon she would be too – it seemed silly to shy away from it. Slowly, she’d brought her hand up and gently touched a finger to one of his fangs causing Damon to hiss at the sensitiveness, his thrusting faltering before picking up a needy speed.
“Fuck,” he’d growled, and everything within Bella had clenched tight until she felt his hand slip between them and rub directly above where they connected. It was like dropping a glass vase – she’d clenched even tighter around him and then shattered within his arms, only vaguely aware of his fangs sinking delicately into her neck and the pressure that came from him sucking deeply, drinking her blood.
Afterwards he’d seemed unsure of his actions and her reception to them – though he covered the emotion up with a casual nonchalance that would’ve fooled anyone else. But Bella had only thought it natural. It’d felt right to be with Damon that way, not only sexually, but for him to bite her, mark her.
At present, Damon’s hand slipped beneath the sheet that covered them, his hand gripping the curve of her ass and pulling her suggestively against his arousal. Bella smothered her smile into his shoulder and thought about how nice it was to be unashamedly passionate with someone. There was not a surface in the Volturi castle Damon hadn’t taken her against (or tried to – sometimes they were interrupted). They’d become somewhat of a running joke within the castle. Members of the guard would compare notes on where they’d caught them together and in what various state of undress they’d been in – a competition of sorts that had amused even the Kings.
Bella remembered her first meeting with Aro, Caius and Marcus with a hint of fondness. For all her worry, it’d gone remarkably well. Aro had been intrigued by her silent mind and Caius had been entirely too amused by her bloodthirsty anger for the Cullens, as well as pleased that she’d handed him the opportunity to take the pious coven to task. Even Marcus, who she knew to be nothing more than a husk of a man after the loss of his mate, had cracked the tiniest sliver of a smile at them. His eyes had flicked between her and Damon, a small light igniting behind his empty gaze when the latter had let out an impressive growl at Demetri’s offer to turn her.
After the initial meeting and acceptance, Damon had wasted no time in taking her to his preferred guest room and fucking her senseless, turning her in the process.
At last a vampire, Bella finally knew peace. She’d never wanted to be turned simply for love, but because she truly thought that vampire life was for her – and how right she’d been. She’d taken to her new life with an ease and gusto that had Damon damn near panting behind her, always wanting her.
And she was always happy to give herself to him. In fact, since her change, it’d been damn near impossible to leave him alone and she felt a bit like a cat in heat. Bella had no trouble adjusting to her vampire instincts, letting her lust for Damon take over whenever she felt the urge (which was nearly every second), but when they first had sex after her change, even she was unsettled when she’d sunk her teeth into his neck mid-orgasm, Damon mirroring her at the same exact moment. She’d been mildly confused afterward, though not apologetic, and she suspected Damon knew more than the pat answer he gave her being a young vampire unable to control herself. After all, he’d bitten her too, and he was far from a young vampire.
But she’d let it slide, way more focused on the imminent arrival of the Cullens and just entirely too happy that Damon seemed to want her as much as she wanted him. In fact, his desire for her had also increased with her change. He’d become damn near possessive of her, constantly making sure she smelled of him. He’d even tore off Demetri’s arm when the guard had offered to let Bella use him to slake her lust. There’d been not an ounce of desire in her for anyone but Damon and she’d been prepared to jokingly write him off, but Damon had moved so quickly he’d been but a blur even to her new vampire eyes.
“Mine,” he’d impressively growled, tossing Demetri’s severed arm down the hall. The guard had made an immediate escape and Damon had turned to Bella, his chest heaving deeply and his eyes red and underscored with black veins.
“Mine,” he’d hissed again, moving to her and pushing her up against the wall. She’d moaned welcomingly as he’d slipped their clothes aside and found himself in her, fucking her out in the open where anyone could come across them. She hadn’t minded, even almost wished someone would see them, because as much as he liked to proclaim her as his, she was constantly doing the same.
Damon may have the need to drench her in his scent, but something within her was deeply satisfied with the knowledge that she always returned the favor. It was her fingers that gave him his sex hair, her teeth that left a mark on his neck. He carried it proudly, always uncovered for all to see. She did the same with his and they were constantly refreshing them as they healed, so much so that the wound started to scar a silvery white that shone like a beckon on their perfect skin.
Yes, something was definitely going on there, Bella was sure of it, but her thoughts scattered again as Damon’s hand continued to trail over her naked body.
“You know,” he murmured, pressing open-mouthed kisses along her collarbone. “We haven’t visited the library yet.”
The extra emphasis on the word visit left no doubt to what he was insinuating. “Well, that truly is a shame,” she smiled, twisting over him and trailing her fingers down until she wrapped them around his arousal. He rewarded her with a moaning gasp that had her stomach clenching in desire. She wondered if there would ever come a time when she didn’t want him and decided likely not. “There’s some studying I’ve been dying to do,” she whispered, bending down and licking her mark on his neck.
He smirked up at her. “Sounds like my kind of subject, piccina.”
And without even bothering with grabbing clothes to change into, Damon wrapped them up in their sheets and whisked her giggling self away to the library.
For some studying. Some much needed… studying.
The Volturi Castle was much as Carlisle’s perfect memory recalled even if the hospitality was somewhat colder than usual.
There was a stirring of unease in the back of his mind when Jane and Alec smiled at him and his family; their expressions implied that they were in on some joke and Carlisle’s earlier certainty at their safety wavered as he began to worry they were at the butt of it.
“I can’t see anything,” Alice whispered, a small hint of uncertainty behind the words. “It’s completely blank like something is blocking my visions. Something I can’t see around.”
Jane’s smile had widened and when Edward chimed in with a moody, “Their thoughts are blocked,” and Alec snickered, Carlisle’s worry increased tenfold.
“Jane, Alec,” he called to them quietly as they followed them to the thrown room where Aro insisted on having public meetings. “We have traveled a long way on order from Aro – won’t you please enlighten us on the meaning behind our summons?”
“No, Carlisle,” Jane smiled gleefully, a truly terrifying sight. “We won’t tell you. You will have to speak with the Masters as it is their business, not our own, that brings you here.”
“Come now, Jane,” Carlisle said in his most reasonable tone. “We are all friends here. There is no call for formality.”
Her eyes burned coldly. “I see no friends here, Carlisle and I suggest you keep your tongue until you are bidden to speak.”
He fell silent with a worrisome sigh, looking to each member of his family with what he hoped was a reassuring expression. They all seemed to accept the false sense of security he offered, all except Jasper. The blonde haired vampire wore a stony expression and walked with military precision, his eyes continuously scanning for anything he could deem a threat.
Turning from his family, Carlisle followed Jane and Alec into the thrown room, all casual chatter halting at their entrance.
“Master,” Jane smiled to Aro. “The Cullens have finally arrived.”
“Ah yes, thank you dear one,” Aro gifted Jane with a polite smile that had her preening before he turned back to the Cullens. “Carlisle, old friend! Any longer and I would have suspected you were reluctant to follow through with your summons. Suspected that perhaps you and your little family,” he sneered the word, “had something to hide.”
“Aro, Caius, Marcus,” Carlisle inclined his head to each king before addressing Aro solely. “Of course my family and I have nothing to hide and we are indeed confused about your strongly worded invitation.”
Aro tsk’d reprovingly. “Is that so, Carlisle? I find myself… disappointed. If you had perhaps confessed your sins you may have been granted some leniency, but alas, it wounds me so to hear such lies from your mouth.”
Frowning, Carlisle said, “Lies, Aro? What lies have I spoken here today?”
Snorting, Caius leaned forward with a growl. “Do not play innocent with us, Carlisle. Charges have been brought forward against you and your coven. You have broken the law and justice will be served today.”
Fear gripped him as the image of a human girl flashed behind his mind. He knew his family thought of Bella too because they at once started shifting awkwardly, Edward sitting up from his morose slouch and taking a more interested expression in the proceedings.
“I believe we have the right to face our accuser,” Carlisle stalled as fear for his family and the girl they left behind finally took root.
“Why I’m so glad you remembered that, Carlisle,” Aro fairly giggled. “Jane, be a dear and go fetch our friends so that Carlisle and his little family may understand the gravity of their situation.”
Jane smiled. “Yes master.”
“Oh and Jane, dearest – be sure to approach cautiously. Our friend won’t take kindly to the interruption of his claim, as I am sure he is currently reaffirming.”
“Yes,” she smirked in amusement. “He seems to want to reaffirm it often and as publicly as possible.”
“Oh to be young again,” Aro said dreamily, a dark twinkle in his eye.
Carlisle tightened his arm around his wife and for the first time since talking to Aro over the phone and receiving the demand for their presence, he felt a very real tendril of fear for himself and his family.
While he’d initially been furious at her interruption, Damon couldn’t help but smirk gleefully at Jane as he followed her into the throne room. He’d sent Bella off to freshen up, but only after securing her explicit promise not to shower. He wanted his scent to be unmistakable and overpowering. Damon himself refused to make himself decent. In fact, he only donned a pair of black slacks and a half-buttoned black shirt before following Jane, his feet bare as he wandered through the castle.
Truly, Damon couldn’t fault Bella a few moments to compose herself. While she had reflected the same malicious eagerness he’d felt at the news of the Cullens arriving, the upcoming meeting would weigh far more heavily on her than him.
And that fact alone set him even more on edge, ready to tear and render those responsible for her pain.
As they approached the doors, he overtook Jane and slammed them open carelessly.
“You rang?” he deadpanned.
Aro shot him an indulgent look of amusement. “Damon! But where is your better half?”
Smirking, his eyes swept over the Cullens not even bothering to hide his loathing for them. “She needed a moment to freshen up, Aro. I’m sure you understand – woman…” he gave a mocking roll of his eyes.
“Ah yes,” Aro clapped. “They can be so demanding. We shall get started without her as I’m sure you’re eager to give your testimony and then return to your… previous activities.”
Bella’s flushed face mid-orgasm flashed in his mind and he felt himself twitch in his pants. “Most eager,” he admitted.
“Damon,” Carlisle finally interrupted his peaceful voice already irritating him. “It’s been a while.”
“Not long enough,” he said bluntly and then deciding to lay it all out in the open so that he and Bella could get back to their favorite workout, he stated, “I’ve brought testimony to your kings that you and your little family have broken the law.”
With a quiet gulp, Carlisle said, “Whatever do you mean, Damon? We have always obeyed the laws of our kind.”
Snorting, Damon said bluntly, “Oh so that hot little brunette I ran into in Forks wasn’t your little human pet? Because she seemed to know a lot about you and your kind.”
Their reaction was instant, growls and protests overlapping shameful admittance and pleas for Bella’s safety. Jasper was notably silent, his expression stoic as he made no attempt to confirm or deny the accusation.
“Control yourselves,” Caius snarled. “Though they may seem informal let it be clear that these charges are very real and have already been confirmed. This trial is a formality. We already know of your guilt and you will suffer accordingly.
“What did you do with her? Where is Bella?” Edward foolishly snarled.
Damon grinned in anticipation. “What didn’t I do with her…” he trailed off with a suggestive lift of his brow.
Edward roared in anger and went to leap, but Jasper’s quick moving saved the boy from the beating Damon would’ve delivered. Damon gave a sigh of disappointment, but quickly cheered up. There was time for that yet.
“Please,” Esme spoke up. “Please do not harm her. We will take her with us and ensure that law will be upheld. She won’t tell anyone about us.”
Aro tilted his head at her. “And will you change her?”
“Absolutely not,” Edward objected. “I won’t damn her soul.”
Damon snorted. “Then you’re a fool… and too late anyways.”
“What is that supposed to mean?”
“What the fuck do you think I mean, Emo-ward?” Damon sneered. “You may be incapable of upholding the law, but I am not. She’s already been taken care of.”
They gasped in horror. “You – you killed her?” Alice whimpered.
“Yes,” he said matter-of-factly. “Yes I did – and how delicious she was too.”
Edward roared and dropped to his knees, dry sobbing his denial.
Fucking pansy, Damon thought. Here he was, thinking the so-called love of his life was murdered and instead of fucking taking care of business he collapsed like some sort of drama queen about to deliver a woeful soliloquy.
“She was never yours to have,” Damon found himself saying. “You didn’t deserve her.”
Jasper tilted his head at him curiously, but before he was able to speak, a new voice rang out, “Boy, it’s more depressing than a funeral in here. Who died?”
Oh she is just perfect, Damon grinned to himself, knowing that she was very well aware of what had been taking place.
“Bella!” Alice beamed and Edward stared at her like some sort of angel.
This angel’s halo is held up by horns, Damon thought as she swayed her hips while sauntering towards him. She was a delicious picture of innocent and vixen, the intoxicating combination making him harden faster than a thirteen year old boy just hitting puberty.
I will never have enough of her, the idea struck him damn near stupid. He would always want her with an intensity that bordered on obsessive compulsive and he’d love every single minute of their eternity together for it. Fuck yeah, he thought as she slipped beside him, her entire side pressing into him. The contact was enough to quench the need to have her again. Barely.
“Ah Isabella! There you are, dearest! Come, come – do give us your testimony against the Cullens,” Aro beamed looking absolutely delighted.
“Testimony,” Esme frowned.
“Why yes, Esme. Damon gave account of your crimes, but it is Isabella formerly lodging the complaint.”
“But why, Bella? Why would you do this to us?” Alice frowned.
Bella snorted. “Why not? Truly, I haven’t done anything to you – it’s your own actions that have brought you here.”
“How could you say that? Do you not realize the implications of your actions?” Alice balked.
Damon felt Isabella stiffen beside him and had to suppress a rumbling growl. “Do not,” she bit out, “talk to me like some sort of errant child. I know exactly what I’ve done by giving the Volturi my statement and it is no more than you deserve.”
“Bella,” Esme whimpered, but his girl remained unmoved.
“No,” she cut her off. “You don’t get to play the part of the wounded mother. You all left me alone, a mere human in the supernatural world to fend for herself. It was only a matter of time before Victoria found me, started playing a game of cat and mouse. I was lucky that Damon found me. If it wasn’t for him, I’d be dead by now.”
“You’re welcome,” he said snidely.
“Please, we didn’t know,” Esme stuttered. “Edward wanted to protect you, protect your soul, so we left. We didn’t know!”
Bella tilted her head, her eyes sliding over to Jasper accusingly. “Maybe you didn’t, but some of you should’ve known better.”
Jasper looked to the floor, the only acknowledgment he would give her of the truth of her words.
“Bella,” Edward finally breathed, coming out of his stupor. “My Bella.”
What little restraint Damon had reserved snapped. Pulling her tightly to him, he let out an impressive snarl and hissed, “Not yours. She was never yours, little boy.”
Satisfaction filled him as Edward drew back like the coward he was, but it was only a second later that the tween vampire made another mistake.
“She’s my mate,” Edward insisted. “The law doesn’t apply to mates. Release her to me and we’ll protect her. I’ll protect you, Bella.”
They said when anger took hold of most people, they saw in red. But Damon’s vision lacked that particular hue as a fury unmatched by anything he’d ever felt in the past assailed him. White – white heat flared across his vision and for just a second, he saw nothing, heard nothing as every single one of his sense honed onto the foolish boy trying to steal his mate. She was his.
Before he could take action, Isabella’s hand slipped into his and the white fire eased out of his gaze to be replaced by a warm contentment at feeling her so fully pressed against him. Mine, he purred inwardly, his hand curling around hers. All mine.
“She is not your mate,” a gruff whisper sounded.
All eyes went to Marcus who rarely, if ever, spoke at such proceedings.
“Your bond was superficial and has already severed on her end. You cling to it like a child clutches a security blanket. She is not yours, Edward Cullen.”
“But she is – she’s my mate!”
Damon growled and only managed to spit out one word, “Mine.”
“Ah yes,” Aro interjected. “You see? Isabella is quite settled as Damon’s mate. Indeed, you can confirm his claim with anyone here in the castle as we’ve all witnessed their amorous embraces at one time or another.”
Oh yes, Damon smirked. Let’s throw some oil on that fire.
“Indeed,” Marcus concurred dryly before turning unusually harsh eyes unto Edward. “You do not get to bandy the word mate around so blithely, child. Even if she was your mate, your actions would have killed you both, not to mention added an extra special kind of cruelty to your treatment of her. Her bond with you and your family is dead – her bond with Damon, however, is pure. They are mates.”
“No,” Edward gasped in denial, once again held back by Jasper who remained wisely silent.
“Yes,” Isabella said firmly. “I am Damon’s and he is mine. Deal with it.”
Damon stood proudly. He’d known, of course – a vampire of his age didn’t live that long without learning about the phenomenon of mates, unlikely though it was to find one. Their kind could fall in love often and with many, but there was only one person they could ever have the mate bond with and pure logistics made it almost impossible for one his age to have found her already. It was like some kind of horror fairytale… two vampires riding off into eternity together.
Found his mate he had and Damon would never let her go. She was nothing like Katherine or Elena, both of whom demanded he change to fit their own needs or ideals. No, Isabella didn’t expect change; she inspired it. And though he’d yet to admit it to anyone but himself, he knew he loved her so completely it bordered on indecenct.
He was, however, mildly surprised by her easy acceptance of the fact that they were mates. He’d been trying to keep the information from her, not because he didn’t trust her, but because he well remembered the confusing time of being a newly made vampire. He’d only wanted to make her transition into immortality as easy as possible and then lay it all out for her later.
But he should’ve known better. She’d been giving him suspicious looks for some time and she was far more observant than most gave her credit for, not to mention she hadn’t behaved much like the average newly transitioned vampire. Perhaps it was the benefit of being sired by one’s mate…
Whatever the fact, her easy and open acceptance of him had Damon wanting to bend her over Aro’s throne and ravish her for a week straight. Maybe two.
From across the way, Jasper lifted a brow at him and Damon shrugged unrepentantly, his hand slipping down to Bella’s ass.
“They’re telling the truth…” Jasper murmured to the family. “Their emotions are entwined. They are mated.”
“You can feel them?” Alice groused. “Why can’t I see anything, or Edward hear anyone?”
“You saucy little minx,” Damon breathed into her ear, his eyes catching Edward’s in an unspoken challenge.
Bella tilted her head to give him better access and he obligingly planted searing kisses to her neck, his tongue snaking out over his mark.
“What?” she asked in faux innocence, her words slightly breathless as he continued his ministrations. “I’ve always liked Jasper better than the others – he never lied even if he did act like a pussy-whipped little bitch.”
“Bella!” Carlisle gasped, affronted.
“Be still my beating heart,” Damon moaned against her neck. He didn’t think either of them would be able to hold out much longer. Newly mated vampires were always, well… ridiculously horny. And Damon didn’t care for the way Dickward continuously eyed her. They’d have to leave or he’d likely kill the lot of them and then Aro would pout for at least a century, bitching about losing the talented ones.
Jasper shot her a wry smirk. “Well thanks I suppose, darlin’.”
Bella gave him a lazy shrug. “Don’t mention it.”
“Wait,” Alice’s annoyingly perky voice sliced through the moment. “What does liking Jasper have anything to do with Edward and my gift not working?”
Damon rolled his eyes. “It has everything to do with it. She likes Jasper, so she isn’t blocking him.”
Good lord, it wasn’t fucking rocket science.
“Bella isn’t blocking him? But she’s just a human,” Rosalie interjected with a hint of derision.
“Wow,” Bella scoffed. “I guess it’s true what they say about blondes – certainly not known for their smarts. Hey Rosie… how do you drown a blonde? Put a scratch ‘n sniff sticker at the bottom of a pool! Start scratching, bitch.”
“Why you little – !”
Before anyone knew it, Rosalie was flying through the air and it took everything within Damon to keep him from intercepting the vapid little twat knowing that his woman could more than handle herself. Plus, the expression on their faces alone would be worth the struggle of his inaction.
Sure enough, Bella moved quicker than even they could see and had Rosalie pinned to the floor, her fingers curled around the blonde’s throat in a silent threat.
“Go ahead – make my day,” she hissed before sitting up some and giving Damon a blinding smile. “I’ve always wanted to say that!”
“Good job, piccina,” he smirked even though having her far away in a room full of potential threats made his skin itch. “Now come over here and give me some sugar, sweetness.”
“You – you – you turned her! You damned her soul. You killed my Bella! You monster!” Edward screeched and this time his melodramatics were enough to escape Jasper’s capable hold and Damon decided enough was really enough. He had better things to do… like maybe having Isabella pin him to the ground and make his day.
In a move that bespoke his unhurried ease, Damon met the boy’s charge with his bare foot, his hands snapping out to wrap around Dickward’s wrists, gripping tightly as he brought his foot back and kicked the boy with all of his strength. Edward’s body went flying backwards, his arms still in Damon’s unyielding grip.
“There now,” he said simply, spinning one of Edward’s arms around like one would a baseball bat. The image reminded him of meeting Bella for the first time, her anger glorious as she swung her bat and took the Cullens’ house to task. The memory alone had him stiffening in aching want and he decided that as fun as it was toying with these fools, there were simply better things he could be using his time for.
“Alright, listen up you little shit,” Damon said, still twirling Edward’s arms around as the boy’s family rushed to his aid. “One, of course I fucking turned her – she’s my mate, my vulnerable, human mate. I’m not as cruel as you; I’d never let her suffer her a mortal life in the immortal world. Two, her soul is just fine – I have the pleasure of touching it everyday, thank you very much. Three, I only killed her a little bit so get that sand out of your vagina. Four, yes I am a monster – I thought this was already established? And fucking five, she’s my Bella – not yours or anyone else’s. I hear you try to claim my mate again and this will look like a fucking paper cut by the time I’m through with you.”
Damon threw Edward’s arms to the side, his lip curling in disgust at the boy’s whimpering.
“Fucking pussy,” Bella murmured, coming up beside him and molding her body to his once more.
“God, you’re so fucking hot, piccina,” he nearly moaned, his arms wrapping around her. He’d reached his limit. No more toying with the Cullens. He needed this over with so he could whisk her away and ravage her.
“Let’s finish this, Aro,” Damon said, his voice low and guttural as he fought his desire. Bella seemed to like his tone and lightly purred against him; it did nothing to alleviate his predicament.
“Yes, yes,” Aro said, practically salivating at what he knew was to come. “As you see, Cullens, there is no doubt that you broke the law and let this young one suffer great stress at your carelessness. You have wronged the mate of one of the Volturi, though he bears not the name or crest. What say you for yourselves, Cullens?”
“Well clearly there’s no need for punishment as the girl has been turned,” Rosalie sneered at Bella and Damon’s lip lifted in a silent snarl.
Caius interjected before Aro. “Yes, but not by any of you. You all would have left her indefinitely. The fact remains you broke the law; it hardly matters that Damon fixed the issue before you could.”
“Too right, brother. The law was indeed broken and punishment must be meted,” Aro nodded sagely.
“Get on with it then,” Damon growled as Bella’s hands slipped into his hair and lightly scratched his scalp.
“Ah, young love! There’s nothing quite like a newly mated pair, is there, my friends?” Aro sighed happily to the room.
“It’s not fair,” Edward was mumbling as Carlisle helped fuse his arms back on. “I loved her – I left because I loved her.”
“You ditched her in the woods after emotionally tearing her apart – that does not speak of love to me. You don’t even know what love is,” Damon lightly sneered.
“Whatever your reasons, child,” Aro spoke. “It hardly matters. It has been proven that you and your family knowingly and willfully broke our most sacred law. Now you must suffer the consequences. Join us, or die for your crime. But before you decide, know this, Cullens – your life here will be much different than the farce you portray to the world and to yourselves.”
“Come on, Damon… let’s finish up studying,” Bella pressed her lips to his ear, her teeth grazing his earlobe.
He shuddered. “Don’t you want to hear the ruling, piccina?”
She eyed the family of Cold Ones like one examines a bug on the bottom of their shoe. “No. They are nothing to me now. Not one of them truly loved me so they certainly won’t die for me. The cowards will choose life here and then I will convince Jane to make their stay more… pleasant. There’s no need to stay and listen to them bemoaning their fate though they are the makers of it. I’m bored with them, Damon… entertain me.”
Damon smirked and hoisted her up around his waist, her legs wrapping around him as his hands found her ass and gave a delightful squeeze. “Well you heard the lady…” he leaned forward in a mock aside to Carlisle and company. “Hope you enjoy your stay,” he said insincerely before giving Isabella’s ass a playful smack as he sped out of the room, her girly giggling trailing after them.
“You know, piccina,” he began thoughtfully. “I’m not sure you’ve seen the gardens in its entirety…”
“Is that so?” she nibbled on his ear.
“Oh yes, Isabella,” he rumbled.
“Then take me to the gardena, Damon… and then take me in the garden.”
He shivered against, his rising lust a force of nature on its own.
“Yes,” he hissed against her. “I won’t rest until I’ve had you on everywhere, piccina. Every city in every country on every continent.”
She swatted his ass. “Good thing we have eternity. Get to it, mister.”
He sped off to the gardens, not even noticing the rapid footfalls of the nearby vampires evacuating the area.
(A/N): So there it is… hope you like it! Please do let me know what you think. I may MAY do one more of them going to Mystic Falls, but if I do, it won’t be until Thirsty us finished…