Episode IX - Desperate
"Please Carlisle, if there's anything I can do-"
"Dave, I understand your concern, but modern medicine can only do so much for a wolf," the blonde sighed.
"I can't let him die, I can't just sit here while he slowly wastes away," I cried desperately.
"He doesn't blame you," Carlisle reassured me, though this was unnecessary. I could feel no resentment from Jacob as he lie, dying from my wounds.
"He should," I shook my head.
"Dave, you need to feed," Carlisle instructed. "You can't stay in this room forever. Someone will always be watching him."
"I have to stay here until I know he's ok."
"The Volturi will be here any day and without your complete strength-"
"Without Jacob we stand no chance," I muttered.
"Jasper is working out loose ends and Leah has assumed temporary position of alpha."
"We need him. I need him," I said sternly, holding tightly onto the hand that got me through the toughest of times.
"Carlisle," Esme walked into the room. "May I speak to David for a second?"
"Sure," the blonde smiled. "Please take care of yourself," he said to me before walking out of the room.
"I hope you are doing well," she said as she hugged me tightly.
"Thank you," I whispered.
"I wish I knew how to make things better," she spoke lightly as she brushed Jacob's hot cheek. He now had four scars on his neck, one for every time I attacked him. He also had the exact indentations of my hands where I had crushed his windpipe to near death.
"I just wish it could go back," I mumbled, and Esme nodded. No words, just her complete compassion and understanding undulating from her spirit into mine.
"How do you do it?" I asked. Like I had done to Leah, I was disrupting her peace, tearing through her happiness just for the satisfaction of knowing. I wanted to know how one could stay positive, how one could remain the way they did despite everything that happened.
"That's very easy," she smiled. "How can I not be happy with a loving family?"
"I guess it was a silly question," I shook my head, placing Jacob's large hand against my chest. His radiant warmth was comforting to me and I got accustomed to the smell of "wet dog" as Alice described. I held his hand firmly in mine, scared that it may grow as cold as my own, but the heat never faltered, and his heartbeat was as steady as a jackhammer.
"Why don't you tell me more about Bradley?" she asked.
"It's only fair, I answered a question about myself. "
"I guess you're right," I chuckled. How I released my ire on these remarkable people just days ago still shocked me. "He's amazing."
"Why don't you tell me something about him that I don't already know?" The serenity of her voice and her winsome words helped me relax.
"He's a fighter. Strong and stern, with the heart of a..."
"Wolf?" Esme offered.
"Yes, the heart of a wolf," I repeated, staring at the tattered face, deeply rich skin; tough, yet gentle features. He was what Brad would be if he were a wolf. "He's so comforting, so loving and giving. I couldn't imagine a world without him. But he never really got anything back in return."
"He got you," Esme looked at me, her golden-brown eyes glowing with hope.
"You really know how to bring on the tears."
"Would you do me a favor?"
"I don't think I could deny you anything after what you've done for me," I answered, wanting nothing more than happiness for the seraphic Esme.
"Please go and feed," she said, and I frowned. While I could not deny that I longed for blood, I was reluctant to leave Jacob alone. "I will stay here with Jacob in your place until you return. I will not move a single muscle, no matter what the circumstances."
"Five minutes," I said and she nodded. As I walked towards the door, I looked over again at Jacob's still body, and as she promised, Esme had not moved a single centimeter. I quickly rushed out into the dense trees.
On normal occasions, I would seek the deadliest animals of the wilderness, unwilling to hurt fleeting deer or others whose only motive was to run and live in silence and peace. But today, I guiltily tore through several deer, wanting only to return to Jacob's side as quickly as possible. My mind was abnormally clear in the darkness of the woods as I was far from all the other vampires, and few animals surrounded me at the time. The thoughts and feelings of animals were much easier for me to deal with. They lived simple lives, untormented. Only pure thoughts and sanity filled their lives unlike the deathly howls of humans or vampires. However, as I turned to return back to the Cullen's home, my mind was blasted with the chaotic melody of another's raging thoughts. I neither felt nor heard a heartbeat, and the sweet smell could only mean another vampire was near. This was a new collection of thoughts and memories, one I was not yet accustomed to seeing or hearing. She was not hostile; I felt a strange mixture of fear, joy, confusion, and great interest coming from this creature.
"Who are you?" I shouted out into the woods. She wondered how I could possibly know she was out there. Was I a tracker? As her memories flooded into me, I saw the faces of the Volturi and rage built up quickly inside of me. Was she one of them?
"I-" I heard her high-pitched voice crack as she jumped down from a tree a few hundred yards away. The petite girl was petrified as she stared at me, my face very familiar to her. She sensed a familiarity as she neared me, but she was shocked at the degree of how much she recognized me. Again, I saw the members of the Volturi flashing through her thoughts.
"How do you know the Volturi?" I asked, fearful that if I dug deeper into her thoughts, I would lose control of my powers. It would be easier if we spoke.
"What? How do you know about them!?" she asked fearfully.
"Tell me who you are," I muttered, trying very hard to keep away from her memories.
"My name is Sarah, I escaped from the Volturi throne," she explained. Escaped? I couldn't understand how anyone could survive escaping from the Volturi. And even if she did, wouldn't one of their trackers find her and destroy her? At this moment, I heard the growl of a wolf, and the silver-furred Leah was by my side almost instantly, Seth not too far behind.
"It's ok," I said quickly before they had a chance to attack. "Give her a chance to speak."
"I do not wish to fight," Sarah now spoke quickly, overcome by fear as she stared at what would be monstrous wolves in her eyes. "You are Bradley's brother."
"How do you know him!?" I shouted too loudly, and this time it was Leah who held me back. Neither she nor Seth sensed any danger from the tiny girl, and they ensured that I would keep my mind stable.
"I did not mean to startle you," she frowned. "As you may understand, escaping the Volturi is no easy thing. With trackers like Demetri, I was sure that I would meet my death very soon. I know it is Bradley who protects me, much like he has done since I was first forced to join the Volturi."
"Forced to join?" I asked, confused.
"The Volturi always have a human servant – someone who would gather folks for their repasts," she cringed at her words, and I understood her pain. I recalled the bloodshed from Alice's vision as hundreds of visitors were rabidly torn apart by the Volturi, Brad and his partner huddling in a corner to drown out the screams and the smell of blood. Was she the tiny girl who brought these humans into the throne to be consumed?
"I'm sorry," I muttered, unable to understand the torment of causing the death of so many.
"As you may imagine, being the only human in the Volturi throne is both dangerous and frightening," she continued. "But Bradley…he was special. And he had a special ability, the ability to protect people. He always shielded me in a way I could never understand, and constantly reminded me that he would give me a chance to run. I kept this thought in mind, hopeful that I would be able to thank him properly. But I was always too fearful to approach him, though I only sensed kindness and no danger from him.
"Once I was attacked by the monstrous Felix and turned by Bradley, I thought he would forget about me. But upon my awakening, it was him who I saw first. Unable to control my thirst or anger, I lashed out on him, but still he protected me. Shielding me with his mysterious gift, he reminded me of who I was and made me feel whole. Knowing full well that my chance to escape was coming soon, I had to thank him, but again I could not. I could find no words to tell him how much I appreciated all he did for me. Feeling like a complete failure, I knew that only one goal remained for me. I would seek out his brother who he cared so deeply about, and ensure that he was not caught in the hands of the Volturi. This was his final wish, and since my escape, I have been searching for you."
"How did you know to come here?" I frowned, intrigued by her story, but still baffled.
"I knew of his story. I knew that this was the place Jane and Alec had come to procure him. I didn't think I would be so fortunate to see you the moment I came to this place."
"Is he…ok?" I asked, slightly fearful of what the response will be.
"He is powerful," Sarah smiled. "Even Aro fears what he is capable of as he can control almost anything from what we see thus far."
"Control? What do you mean?"
"If I could explain it, I would. The world is malleable to him. The earth, the stones, the air, time, it all listens to his every desire and does as he wishes. Every aspect of the world respects him, and does all it can to please him."
"He controls…the world?" I was awed at the omnipotence of my brother.
"From what I see," she confirmed.
"Will he fight us?"
"I cannot answer that, but he does not agree with many aspects of the Volturi," she explained. "I do not believe he wishes any harm on the Cullens. I cannot expect that he would cause any harm onto anyone after everything he had done for me. Unfortunately, his main goal was to find you and keep you safe. If he sees that you have become a vampire by the hands of the Cullen, he may not take this lightly."
"You mean he may fight simply because I was turned by the Cullens?"
"Precisely..." she frowned.
"Do you know any more about the coming battle?" I quickly changed the subject, not wanting to think of the possibility of watching my brother fight on the side of the Volturi.
"I know very little, but I do know that Aro is very confident. They have many powerful fighters, and with Bradley's immense strength, I doubt any will be able to defend themselves."
"Will you come with me back to the Cullens to share everything you know?"
"I wish to do nothing less. Please allow me to stay until you are reunited with your brother. Perhaps I can aid in persuading him not to fight. I can see that you are very much alive and well regardless of whether you are human or vampire."
"Thank you for finding me." I was glad to finally have some questions answered. I now knew that Brad was powerful and faced no danger from the Volturi. I also knew that he was still good, working to protect as many people as he could.
"I almost killed him," I explained somberly to Sarah, who frowned. Immediately after explaining the situation to the Cullens, I was back in the operating room with Jacob. Jasper did not trust Sarah, but Edward, being able to read her every thoughts, found her story both sad and inspiring. He was able to see that Brad had done all he could to save and protect her, and that without him, she may have faced an early death. Edward trusted her, but Jasper, still believing that Brad was on the side of the Volturi, thought she was a spy. If Brad were as strong as Sarah described, he may be playing with her thoughts and memories to shroud Edward's ability into unmerited trust.
"May I?" Sarah asked, gesturing a hand towards Jacob's still body. Carlisle nodded, and she placed her tiny hand on his. She closed her eyes, and took a deep breath in, something that muddled me, as vampires did not need to breathe. As she exhaled, a bright orange light radiated out of her tiny palm, and slowly surrounded Jacob in an iridescent aura.
"What's...going on?" I asked, completely in awe at the beauty of the exuberant glow. Sarah continued her silent breathing, with each exhale causing the light to spread out until Jacob's large body was entirely covered.
"What is she doing!?" Leah shouted as she stormed into the room.
"Leah please," Carlisle interjected, blocking her path to Jacob and Sarah. "She means well."
"How can you be so trusting!?" She shouted out, though she was unwilling to push through Carlisle. She pursed her lips and glared at Sarah, who now scrunched her face as an ebony darkness began to pollute the brightness of her orange beam. As the questionable shadows crept out of Jacob and into Sarah's receiving palm, the girl began to tremble, and soon she made soft sounds of what sounded like prayers.
"What is...that?" Leah asked as the soothing sounds calmed her and everyone else in the room. First slowly, then rapidly, the darkness shattered and only the exuberant glow of the orange light scattered throughout the room. Jacob coughed lightly as Sarah placed his hand back down, and she smiled.
"Jacob!" I shouted out in glee, hugging him tightly and causing him to groan in pain.
"Careful Dave," Carlisle warned as he quickly began scanning Jacob for vital signs.
"Jacob I'm-" I started.
"If you say you're sorry, I'm going to puke," he scowled. "How'd I taste?"
"Maybe I should remind myself," I challenged. He chucked lightly before groaning in pain.
"Easy there," Carlisle frowned.
"Don't think I can't take you," Jacob warned me as Carlisle changed his bandages.
"Jacob, I don't even know-" I tried to explain.
"And I don't even care," Jacob smiled. "Can you be a little more gentle?" he winced as Carlisle cleaned the wounds on his neck.
"I have to ensure the toxins are out," Carlisle replied apologetically.
"Do they...will they harm him?" I asked, still full of guilt and regret.
"That's something I prefer not to find out," Carlisle said swiftly, his hands moving with absolute precision.
"Glad to see you back," Seth smiled.
"Sorry to disappoint you, but I'm back," Jacob grinned to Leah.
"Don't even joke about that!" Seth shouted, tears rolling down his cheeks.
"Oh grow up," Leah rolled her eyes, though it was plainly obvious that she fought back her own emotions. "How are you feeling?"
"Princess Leah actually caring about another human being?" Jacob chided.
"Not that you're human, but call me that again and you won't wake up next time," Leah countered. "Since Dave here doesn't know how to finish the job."
"I know you want to be alpha, but ouch," Jacob grinned.
"Don't be ridiculous! Leah was actually worried about you," Seth guffawed.
"Shut it!" Leah slammed her fist on the small boy's head.
"Awww!" Jacob howled. "Give alpha a big smooch!"
"That's it," Leah roared. She slammed her tight fist down towards Jacob, but before she could reach his ribs, they were held firmly in my hands. She looked at me quizzically.
"I couldn't live with myself if Jacob is ever hurt again," I explained, holding too tightly onto her small hand. I didn't know my own strength, and I may have been crushing her, but she allowed me to hold on, the normally robust flames now quelling at the arctic touch of my hands. Seth whistled, and Leah immediately pulled her hand away, doing a quick spin and backhanding the young boy.
"I'll be outside waiting for you all to die," she muttered angrily before jumping out of the window mid-transformation.
"She likes you," Seth chuckled, wiping the blood off his nose and readjusting a bone so it would heal properly. "I think she broke it."
"You really don't learn do you?" Jacob sighed.
"Likes me?" I asked confused, looking down at my palms still vibrating in her incalescence.
"She was the one that got you out of that funk," Seth explained, and I tried to remember what happened that day. The domineering voice, the harshness of her words, the complete lack of pity.
"Leah…" I barely whispered her name.
"May I ask what it is that you did?" Carlisle asked amused as he continued to study Jacob's body. "While I know that werewolves recover rapidly, Jacob was very heavily injured, and somehow I think he got a little help this time around."
"Good as new," he added with a smile.
"I wish I could explain, but I do not know very much myself," Sarah frowned. "It is something I noticed when I first escaped the Volturi throne. Bradley explained to me that I could feed on animals to prevent ever hurting a human soul again, but I could not control my thirst like he could. At first, it was difficult for me to focus on anything besides feeding, and I constantly woke from my frenzy as a penetrating guilt overwhelmed me as I stared down at countless lifeless bodies. Eventually, I wanted nothing more than to end my life to prevent killing anyone else, but I knew I could not throw this gift away that Bradley worked so hard to preserve. It was then that my powers awakened.
"In a thirst-compelled rage, I once again attacked an innocent soul. This time, I was able to stop myself, but only after I had already attacked the young boy. He was perhaps my age, and I was horrified with what I had done as I watched him screaming in agony at the wounds I had inflicted on him. He writhed in pain, his blood seeping so quickly out of him, but I stared helplessly. I did not want blood anymore, I only wanted him to live. I thought I could bring him to a hospital, but what would they think after they saw me? This frightful creature carrying a dying boy? I would expose the existence of something inhuman, and the Volturi would know instantly. I knew not what I could do, and as I cried tearlessly in my hopelessness, a bright orange glow surrounded me, and soon surrounded the boy. I watched in awe as this warmth filled me, and as the wounds of the boy very quickly vanished. Fearful that he would awaken and be petrified if he saw the face of his assailer, I placed him safely on the ground and fled.
"Since that day, I have tried to reproduce this effect on those inflicted with wounds. I thought that if I could save the same number of lives as those who I have killed, perhaps I could be forgiven for my sin. I visited hospitals, snuck into emergency rooms and ICUs of patients who everyone had given up on. I passed my light onto these innocent souls, and watched silently, perched up on a tree or simply through my ears, soaking up the joy of the cheers and shouts of families and friends who saw miracle recoveries. And then I knew it was true. I was given the gift of healing."
"That's incredible," Carlisle smiled. "You have a very valuable gift."
"It was one of the many gifts that Bradley has offered me," she smiled delightfully.
"A gift from Brad?" I asked confused.
"I do not understand, but often times I heard Aro speak of Bradley's ability," Sarah scrunched her face. "He said that Gianna was sure to be a useless vampire, but it was Bradley who granted her the gift of comatose. He is convinced that those who Bradley converts, he is able to pass on great powers to. I know it sounds incredulous, but he has converted both Gianna and me, and we were both blessed with abilities."
"Incredible abilities," Carlisle added kindly and Sarah nodded. Slowly, I was beginning to understand why this young girl was able to escape the Volturi throne safely.
"When I felt as though I have saved as many lives as I had ended, I decided to continue my journey in finding you," she turned to me. "I knew I had to find you. I could save thousands of lives, but it would all be meaningless if I could not save yours."
"Thank you, Sarah," I smiled. "You've already done so much for us."
"Please let me fight alongside you. I will face the Volturi with my life to ensure that you and Bradley are safe and reunited again."
"Unfortunately, I believe that your presence on our side will stir up some negativity," Carlisle frowned. "Aro knows your face well, and if he sees that you are on our side, he will assume that Bradley has gone against his wishes. It may cause a dangerous situation."
"She can hide," I countered. "Once the fight has begun, it would not matter if Aro sees Sarah. He is sure to not know her vampire scent, nor does he expect her presence if Brad really hid her from him and Demetri. She can hide until the battle has begun, then help me in convincing Brad to fight on our side."
"We will discuss the possibility with Jasper," Carlisle nodded.
"He will not agree!" I shouted out angrily, knowing full well that he distrusted both Sarah and me.
"Give him a chance. I will explain."
"If it will cause trouble, I will not be there," Sarah said firmly. "I do not know physical combat, and I may not be of much use."
"You can stay with Nessie and me," Jacob flashed a grin. "My warm, thick fur will protect you."
"Fur?" Sarah asked confused.
"He's a werewolf," Carlisle explained.
"Oh!" the young girl exclaimed. "Aro did mention werewolves in the Cullen army, but I didn't expect you all to be so friendly!"
"Yeah we're just peachy," Jacob rolled his eyes. "What do you say? You hang out on my back with Nessie. I'm thinking I can hide you both pretty well."
"And you can mask her scent pretty well," Carlisle nodded in agreement. "I believe I can convince Jasper very easily about this setup."
"Sarah?" I asked. And she nodded. Slowly, it seemed as though Brad's chance of survival was increasing. There were several more factors that I would have to resolve, including Jasper's distrust, but it seemed as though I was able to convince the others that his life was worth protecting.
"Please, you need to help me," I begged, though I could find no reason why she would want to after what I did. But I had to try, as her help would maximize my chances in protecting Brad.
"I want to forgive you, but I can't," she shook her head.
"You're the only one who could help me."
"And why would you think I would even want to?" she spat out. I knew she would be upset, I could feel her sorrow piercing through her impenetrable shield. Of course she would be, I almost killed her closest friend and put her lover through excruciating pain on a daily basis.
"Because you're the only one who could understand," I explained.
"How could I ever understand!? How!? How could I understand you betraying all our trust and almost killing one of the closest people to me!?" Bella shouted.
"Because that's what's happening to me," I closed my eyes. "Bella, I am very sorry that I hurt Jacob. I regret this more than anything I've ever done in my life. All I've ever done was let the people important to me down and now all I want is to stop failing at protecting my brother. I need your help to do so.
"I can hear their thoughts, I can see what Jasper wants to do and what he has asked from you. I can also see you disagreeing with him, claiming how inhumane it is to just let Brad die. Please. I have no one else I can go to. You have to understand, you have to understand what it feels like to have the people you love and trust so unconscionably accepting the death of someone so important."
"I..." Bella sighed.
"I know you think Brad will be a monster, but he's not. I'm the monster. All he's ever done was right while I failed at anything I could. I had an easy life but still reigned misery down to the people who matter. He had a hard life, but still managed to find a way to make everyone happy. This is my last chance at redemption, in proving that I can be valuable to the people I care about. My life will be meaningless without Bradley, and without your powers we stand no chance of survival.
"Bella please...you've seen what it's like to almost lose the most important thing, and I'm about to lose mine."
"I'm sorry," Bella shook her head. "I understand your pain, but I can't go against my entire family."
"Bella please," I collapsed onto my knees, overcome by grief. "Without your powers, Alec and Jane will kill him almost instantly."
"I can't choose your wishes over those of my family," Bella said firmly. "I'm sorry."
"Mommy," Renesme mumbled as she skittered into the room. She placed a hand on Bella's.
"There was only one person in this entire house who you could ask for help. Unfortunately, she liked you the least out of everyone here, yet despite that she risked everything, turned against her whole family to protect you. And if it weren't for her, I wouldn't be here right now," the girl explained, and Bella sighed, Renesme filling her mind with many beautiful memories that would not exist had Rosalie refused to protect her.
"Nessie..." she scooped up the girl in her arms. "I don't know what to say," Bella shook her head in confusion.
"Say yes," she smiled.
"I say yes!" Renesme smiled at me.
"Thanks Nessie," I replied.
"Bradley loves me!"
"He loves you very much," I agreed.
"If you ever attack Jacob again-" Bella started.
"You have my word that I won't," I frowned.
"Then you have my word that Alec and Jane won't hurt Brad."
"Thank you..." I couldn't find any other words to say to her.