Through A Nightmare, Darkly

BY : AlongCameASpider
Category: Twilight Series > Het
Dragon prints: 1135
Disclaimer: I do not own The Twilight Saga, or anything therein. This work is for recreation only. I am in no way profiting from this story.

Chapter Five

 

“Brother,” Aro addressed, as he walked toward the man with a hand extended. Marcus stood, reaching out his own. Aro took it and was immediately lost in his concentration. He needed to know. Although he claimed to stand by the choice he made, he knew it was a lie in an attempt to uphold his reputation. In reality, he felt a strange sensation grow in his chest. Every time he looked in Ashleigh's eyes, seeing the fear and the pain that had settled in them, made him feel...guilt. Regret. He was unaccustomed to feeling such a way. With one other exception, Aro didn't feel regret. He made a decision and if was the wrong one, he learned. But he didn't regret.

 

Marcus said nothing at first. He knew Aro may not like what he found, but it was a truth he need accept. “She is your mate, brother. You'll destroy her, and yourself in turn.”

 

He removed his hand from Aro's grasp and returned to his reading, leaving Aro frozen where he stood.

 

* * * * *

 

Aro was absent the next day. Which meant Rosetta keeping me plenty of company. Too much, perhaps. When she brought me lunch, for some reason, she felt I needed a crash course on vampires. I doubted she was anywhere close to an expert on them. But she had likely been around them longer than I had, so I decided it wouldn't hurt to listen. She told me about the founding of Volterra and how vampires are not permitted to hunt within it's walls. She talked about the St Marcus Day celebration the citizens held yearly. There were many covens around the globe. They typically gathered in groups but there was the occasional rouge vampire that traveled alone. The vast majority feasted on humans, but there were two smaller covens in North America that drank from animals. Which sounded very strange to me.

 

Many of them had powerful talents. Aro read minds through physical contact. A member of the Olympic coven could mind read from a distance. Another had visions of the future. Aro's brother, Marcus, could see the bonds that tie people together. One member of the guard could track a person to the ends of the earth, which was disconcerting but good to know. Not that I planned to escape. Aro was always seeking out gifted individuals to recruit.

 

And then she started in on something she referred to as their “mating bond”. Apparently vampires have a thing where they have a single, “true” mate. And when they find them there's this inexplicable attraction between the pair. She said it was similar to something called imprinting. Whatever that is. Rosetta went on about a vampire from the Olympic coven who found his mate in a human. This was the same vampire that went on to produce the hybrid Aro had met and was now obsessed with the idea of. She then started trying to dig into my mind.

 

“Aro seems...different, now that you're here. I heard about what happened that morning in the counsel chamber. He was so focused on you he missed out on feeding entirely.” she said in an inquisitive tone, “Tell me, how do you feel about him?”

 

I stared at her for a moment, not knowing what to say. Or if I even wanted to. It was terribly lonely here at times. The only person I saw regularly was Aro. Rosetta was the closest person I had as a friend, someone else I could confide in. “I don't know,” I said with a heavy sigh, “He confuses me.”

 

“What do you mean?”

 

“I mean, he terrifies me. He's controlling, he purposely intimidates me, he's...abusive,” there was a certain amount of pain with saying the last word. Like I didn't want to admit it and it killed me to do so. “But, it hurts when he says and does certain things. For some reason it feels as though he's betrayed me. Sometimes I crave his company and his touch. I don't understand how I could feel that way about him.”

 

Her reaction seemed a bit out of place considering what I'd just said.

 

“Aww,” she gushed, “See, that's what I was talking about. You're so lucky!”

 

“...What?”

 

“You get to experience the mating bond, and I'm jealous.” she looked at me with a longing expression in her eyes, “I can only hope I get to feel it too someday. I don't understand why you're fighting it.”

 

The way she spoke of it made it seem I should feel privileged. I certainly didn't feel that way. For a moment I, sarcastically, thought of offering Aro to her. The idea melted quickly into nausea as I realized I didn't like the idea of him being with another woman. I could feel the blood drain from my face.

 

“Are you alright, Ashleigh? You look really pale.”

 

“I need to lay down.” I said weakly.

 

* * * * *

 

There was a knock on the door.

 

Go away, Rosetta. You're not helping. But when the door opened, it wasn't Rosetta that entered. Aro ushered in a blond man who wasn't unlike him. His skin gave away he was a vampire also. But, instead of bright red eyes, this man's were the color of honey. The way he smiled warmly was very calming.

 

“My dear,” Aro gestured at the man, “This is my good friend, Carlisle. He's a physician and will be taking care of your wrist for you.”

 

My cheeks warmed as Carlisle offered a hand. I hesitated for a moment before placing my own in his. He gently shook it, “How are you, aside from the wrist injury?”

 

I just stared. It was like I suddenly forgot how to speak. From the corner of my eye, I swear I saw anger, or maybe hurt, briefly flash across Aro's face. The guilt I felt brought me back to my senses, “Pretty well. Aro's been taking good care of me.”

 

I glanced his way but he didn't react to my words. Carlisle took my injured wrist in his hand and carefully began prodding the bones with his thumbs. I winced at the pain that sparked under his touch. “It does appear to be broken, though quite cleanly. Nothing is out of place, so setting it won't be required. I will need a bucket or large bowl of water so that I can cast it.”

 

“Rosetta, my dear,” Aro called into the hallway. When she appeared in the doorway a moment later he ordered, “Get the water for Dr. Cullen, if you would.”

 

He returned his eyes to me and I held his gaze. Aro had said he cared about me, in spite of his actions suggesting otherwise. Rosetta said he'd missed feeding because he was busy fussing over me. I felt guilty seeing his reaction to my admiring another man. Was there some kind of supernatural bond between us? Is that what was making me feel the way I did? Did he really feel the same way?

 

I felt like I was going crazy.

 

My thoughts were interrupted by Rosetta returning with a basin. Carlisle thanked her and began opening all his supplies. An awkward silence hung in the air. At the very least, I felt awkward now. “So,” I finally said, “You work with humans regularly, then?”

 

“Yes. I've been doing so for quite some time, actually. I hope you don't mind red, I only grabbed what was closest.” He nodded his head at the ribbon of fiberglass he was placing in the water.

 

“Red's fine.”

 

He placed a sleeve over my hand and arm and wrapped some heavy padding around it.

 

“Isn't it difficult?” I asked, my curiosity getting the best of me, “Isn't all the blood...tempting?”

 

Carlisle smiled as he wound the fiberglass around the padding, “Not so much anymore. As I said, I've been at it for many years. I almost seem to be immune now, for lack of a better term.”

 

I was instructed to keep still while the cast set, and he began to put the remainder of his supplies away. When he was finished, he checked to make sure the fiberglass had hardened as it was supposed to. He smiled that smile again, “There. Should heal in a couple weeks. I'll return to remove the cast and check on it again.”

 

“Thank you, Dr. Cullen,” I said appreciatively. Now that it was immobilized, it didn't hurt much at all. More of a dull ache that was more than manageable. He nodded and then headed for the door. I looked to Aro. He looked at me. Then turned and followed Carlisle out of the room



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