Chapter 1: Reform
Riley had never felt so much pain in his life. It was even worse than when he was changed, worse than any treatment or punishment he received from Victoria or the other newborns. The pain was so intense he couldn’t scream, just laid rigid and twitching in the snow as his body essentially glued itself back together. He was in hell. When it was finally over, when the cracks sealed together and he was finally in one piece, he laid in the snow, eyes closed, breathing heavily through his nose and letting out the occasional whimper or hiss of pain. Riley managed to gain the strength to stand, leaning heavily against the pine tree that the werewolf had left him by. He looked around. The other vampires had gone. His eyes fell on the pile of ashes in the snow, still smoldering.
“Victoria,” he croaked, stumbling down the small hill and falling to his knees in front of the remains of his lover. His hands shook as he planted them into the snow, his shoulders shaking with repressed sobs. Victoria was gone, but Riley wasn’t crying because she was gone. He cried because of his last moments seeing her. He begged for help, pleaded for her to save him. Victoria had ignored him to fight Edward and to avenge...James. Riley had faintly heard his name as he tried to fight off the young wolf. James, Victoria’s mate. Riley was never her mate, just a toy, as he had suspected in the fearful hours of the night when the newborns and Victoria left him alone to his thoughts.
Riley got to his feet and staggered down the mountain, too tired and hungry to run at his usual vampiric speed. He leaned heavily against any tree he came across and ignored the pain in his arm where his hand had completely reformed itself. He didn’t know where he was going. He didn’t need to know. He needed to get away from the ashes and the lies and the guilt, from both not saving Victoria and listening to her in the first place. Edward’s words were ringing in his ears as he made his way down.
The people who got him into this damn mess in the first place, them and their little wolf friends. Well...they weren’t exactly little. Not by a long shot. Riley shuddered and a hand ghosted his shoulder as he remembered the young werewolf digging its teeth into him and dragging him to his death Or would be death. Or not really his death, since he was already dead. Whatever. As the wind picked up around him, Riley instinctively pulled his jacket tighter around him. The temperature didn’t really bother him, but he had done that a lot as a human. It was almost like he tried to hide all the time. He never really thought about it much when he was with Victoria. She made sure that she was his only priority.
“Emmett, there’s someone over here!” a voice shouted, shaking Riley out of his thoughts. Riley scrambled backward and tried to hide, hearing the footsteps of the two other vampires rapidly approaching. He crouched behind a thick, tall pine tree, shielding himself with the needles and curling up, wrapping his arms around his head and shivering. They were going to kill him, he knew it, like they killed Victoria. Riley cried out in shock as a hand wrapped around his wrist and pulled him out from behind the tree, out into the open. He thrashed and kicked at the person holding him. It was another vampire, with short brown hair, broad shoulders, and a well-built frame. Based on what Victoria told him, he could only guess that this was Emmett Cullen. The other vampire, a leaner, blond male with a ferocious snarl on his face matched Victoria’s description of Jasper Hale.
“What do you want, Jazz? Arms or legs?” Emmett asked his surrogate brother with a wicked smile, forcing Riley to his knees and gripping him so that he couldn’t move. Riley tried to beg for his life, that they would spare him, but the words died in his throat. Jasper smirked and approached Riley, his eyes filled with amusement.
“Legs. That way, he can’t get away.” Emmett laughed at his brother’s response and forced Riley to his feet, gripping his neck and holding his arms behind his back. Riley whimpered but closed his eyes, accepting his fate. Just as Emmett and Jasper were about to begin ripping him apart, yet another vampire came crashing through the trees. His presence was familiar , however, and Riley’s eyes widened in surprise. Edward stormed over to the small group and forced both Emmett and Jasper off of him, pulling Riley towards him by the back of his jacket.
“What do you two think you’re doing?!” Edward hissed, positioning himself in front of Riley. “Alice told us to come to get him, not kill him! Do you two listen to her at all?” Edward sounded pissed. Emmett and Jasper looked pissed. Riley felt as if he were about to be in the middle of something that he would not be very happy about later. He started to back away, but Edward lashed out and grabbed his wrist, sending him a warning look. Riley froze, standing as still as a statue. Jasper and Emmett grumbled complaints as Edward picked Riley up and swung him over both of his shoulders, like a hunter carrying back a deer that they had killed. Riley hissed in protest, got another warning look, and decided to shut up was probably his best option at the moment.
“Aw, spoilsport,” Emmett said playfully, grinning at Edward before taking off towards the forest. Edward followed, and Riley scrambled to grab the back of his jacket so he wouldn’t go flying off. Edward overtook Emmett easily, rushing through the trees at speeds fast even for a vampire. When he stopped, they had reached a modern looking home in the middle of the woods. A small group of vampires stood outside, whispering among themselves. Riley’s throat tightened in fear, but he didn’t have much time to worry about that as Edward swung him off his back, tossing him to the ground. Riley quickly got to his feet, grimacing as pain shot through his left leg. He quickly checked, and sure enough, a large crack ran from his knee down to his ankle. It healed quickly, but Riley still eyed Edward warily.
“There you are, Riley! Took you long enough to get here!” Riley, startled at the use of his name, looked up. A short, pixie-like vampire that had to be Alice smiled brightly at him and went up to him fearlessly. Riley went rigid as she wrapped her arms around him in a hug. She was touching him. Touch was bad. Touch meant pain. Carnal instincts pushed in and Riley lashed out, pushing Alice away from him and getting into a fighting stance, glaring at her with wild eyes. Jasper snarled and posed to defend his mate.
“Jasper, don’t! You’ll make it worse!” Alice protested, grabbing the vampire’s arm. Jasper’s jaw clenched and he didn’t attack, but he stayed right where he was. Riley’s mind was going a mile a minute and he stumbled back, hands beginning to shake.
“Please...Please, Don’t…” Riley barely managed to choke the words out as he fell to his knees, wrapping his arms around himself as shaking as Victoria’s words rang in his ears.
They’re murderers. They kill their fellow vampires for sport. They did it to Laurent. They could kill you too. You can’t let them catch you. Carlisle approached the young vampire, kneeling in front of him and placing a hand on his shoulder. Riley’s head jerked up and he flinched away, curling up tighter on himself. They could kill you too. They could kill you too. They could kill you too. Riley wanted to scream. He wanted to fight, to slaughter them all and take revenge for Victoria and his army, but all he could do was let out a whimper.
“I don’t want to die. Please, I’ll do anything,” Riley pleaded, looking up at Carlisle with eyes filled with pain. The older vampire looked back into his eyes with sympathy, the hand moving from Riley’s shoulder to squeeze his arm reassuringly.
“We’re not going to kill you, Riley. Alice told us we needed to help you,” Carlisle said gently, taking Riley by the elbow and helping him to his feet. He was still trembling, and he couldn’t get himself to speak. Carlisle cast a look over his shoulder at Jasper, who made a disgusted face. After a moment of being held under Carlisle’s firm gaze, jasper huffed and looked at Riley. Riley immediately began to feel calm, an almost warm feeling spreading from his fingertips to his toes. His shivered, but for a good reason this time, and closed his eyes. Carlisle smiled.
“Why don’t we get you inside? We have a lot to discuss,” Esme said gently. Riley opened his eyes to see she was holding a hand out to him. Jasper continued to manipulate his emotions so he was completely calm, so Riley took it without a second thought, even smiling as Esme began to lead him towards the house.