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Will you help me, or will you stay here feeling sorry for yourself?

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Will you help me, or will you stay here feeling sorry for yourself?

Click.

With a twist of her nimble fingers, Rosalie turns the key of the padlock in her hand and it opens.

Click.

Closed once more. Another twist of her fingers, it pops open again.

She doesn’t take her thumb or forefinger off the key. It stays there- waiting, then twisting, resetting, repeat. Click, twist, click, twist, click, twist. Over and over again, like clicking a pen. It’s monotonous, but it keeps her fingers busy, and right now that’s what she needs. If she doesn’t have something to do with her hands, she’s worries what will happen.

She worries what she’ll do.

She knows what will happen, and so she continues to click, twist, click, twist because she doesn’t actually want to destroy more of the landscape around her. She sits in a crater of her own making, surrounded by ancient trees that these very hands tore from the earth in the wake of her fury.

She regrets that a little bit now, but at the same time, a larger part of her simply doesn’t care. So what if the forest doesn’t regenerate? What use does she have for the beauty around her now? Who does she have to share it with?

You could have had someone to share it with.

Her eyes drift from the still lake to the mountains in the distance as she fights to ignore the vicious voice in her head, but she feels nothing for any of it. It’s all meaningless.

Empty.

Like you.

Stainless steel shatters between her fingers. Great. Fantastic, she thinks bitingly, glaring at the item that is now warped, useless garbage in her hands. There goes that. But at least this time she refrains from cursing aloud at the nasty accusations her mind continues to throw at her.

Better to keep existence of that horrible voice to herself.

“Alice said you would be needing this,” A voice calls from behind her, “I can see why now.”

Except there’s no hiding it from Edward.

Rosalie looks back out across the lake, intent on ignoring her brother, but he takes her silence in stride and sits down beside her anyway. Crossing his legs, he reaches over and places the new, sealed padlock in her lap.

This one is still in its original packaging. How thoughtful.

“It’s Lockwood,” he tells her, softly, “Slightly more durable than that no name thing you had before.”

She doesn’t speak. What would she say? She has nothing.

You are nothing.

She tosses the broken lock aside, rips open the new one, and so it begins again.

Click, twist, click, twist…

“It’s been a month, Rosalie.”

Has it? Quicker now. Click, twist, click, twist, click, twist, click, fucking twist.

.

.

The sounds of gunfire and explosions pulse through the surround sound system. Emmett whoops in victory. Jasper curses.

They’re playing video games. Alice is with them- watching, reading a magazine but throwing in the occasional cheer of support to her mate. There’s lot of laughter and happiness, and Rosalie wants nothing to do with any of it.

Neither does Edward it seems. He’d rather hide away in his bedroom composing music.

It’s sad- mournful. Beautiful.

Rosalie hates it. She distracts herself with the engine in front of her, hides under the grease and the rags. She tries not to think about the place Edward’s music comes from, because then she’s reminded of…

.

.

Edward makes a noise of pain, and it mirrors her own more silent agony. She would apologise, but they are her thoughts, her memories, and even if she doesn’t want to think them or remember, she will anyway. It’s her punishment.

You deserve it.

She does.

Click.

“You don’t.”

She hates Edward right now, too. Him and his stupid ability to see inside her head. She will torture herself as much as she likes, because the pain in her heart is what she deserves, and if Edward doesn’t want to suffer with her then he knows where he can go.

Twist.

.

.

A gasp. Alice’s laughter cuts off abruptly. Edward’s fingers pause.

She’s having a vision- Rosalie doesn’t need to be in the same room to know this. Her hand freezes where it’s reaching for a spanner…

The boys pause their game, and everything is still while they wait.

Silent.

Alice comes out of it with a cry of muted horror. Edward is soon to follow. Her spanner hits the ground with a clatter that echoes off the empty walls around her. She hasn’t had time to unpack properly- for the first time in a long time she doesn’t care to. She’s rushing into the house without a single thought in her head except…

.

.

“I’m leaving for Forks in the morning,” Edward tells her, his voice tight. Click. Rosalie pauses mid twist. “Will you come with me?”

He’s trying not to let on how upset her own memories of that day make him, but he’s failing miserably. After all, Bella was his best friend, and she envies him for that- for what could have been if she wasn’t so stubborn. But what does Forks hold for them now?

What does it hold for her?

“Answers.” he whispers. “Will you help me, or will you stay here feeling sorry for yourself and destroy locks for the rest of eternity?”

.

.

No one moves or makes a sound. They don’t need to. Alice’s face says it all. Jasper has her in his arms so fast that Rosalie barely sees him move. He asks her what happened- what’s wrong, but she can’t speak. Her eyes are filled with tears that won’t fall, and they find Rosalie’s with…

Words fail her.

Edward appears at Rosalie’s side. His eyes look so very similar to Alice’s that it makes Rosalie’s breath catch in her throat. He’s looking at the floor. Fists clenched.

Chief Swan is dead,” he tells them through the lump in his throat. “The nomad has Bella.”

Rosalie’s stony exterior cracks.

Her ears ring so badly that she’s sure they must be bleeding. It doesn’t stop. She can’t see or hear the words her siblings say to her. Hands grab her face, voices plead with her.

Like a lance through her heart, she feels nothing but the searing heat of its blade ripping her apart from the inside out. It’s good in a way though.

It paves the way for her anger, and oh, the anger- it pulses through her veins like blood.

Edward tells her later that the ringing in her ears was the sound of her own screams.

.

.

Click.

Her fingers still and she doesn’t twist the key again. She just… holds it, thinking. Remembering, waiting- torturing herself, and Edward is patient as he waits for her.

With her.

Charlie Swan was murdered, and although the news channels don’t expand on details of his death, what little details they do have doesn’t paint a pretty picture. There was violence- unnecessary and gruesome, that much is clear by the haunted look in the eyes of the Deputy Sheriff giving the statement.

Rosalie knows all of this because after she was done destroying everything around her, she went looking online.

Big mistake. Her eyes drop to the ugly crater she’s created in the earth.

That’s how this was born.

“I have to find her, Rosalie.” Edward murmurs beside her. She’s almost forgotten he’s there. “I owe her that at least. This is my fault.”

Bella Swan is missing, but she’s not dead. Alice’s visions of Victoria won’t come- she’s avoiding making any decisions that Alice will be able to see. She’s seeing snippets of Bella, she tells them, but she won’t go into detail, and neither will Edward. There’s this look in their eye when those visions come though, and Rosalie can’t handle the images her own brain conjures up, so she stays away from the house.

Away from them.

Bella Swan isn’t dead.

She can’t be.

Maybe answers are exactly what she needs. Answers, she thinks, and Victoria’s head on a pyre.

 

 

The wolves are unwelcoming when she and Edward arrive in Forks. They meet at the border; they refuse to give any details- only accusations of what Rosalie considers truth.

It is her family’s fault that Charlie Swan is dead and that his daughter is missing. Rosalie doesn’t argue. How can she?

It’s the truth.

The wolves give them permission to go to the Swan house though.

“At least you won’t have to see the body.” Sam Uley mutters to them. A tremble runs through his shoulders and down to his arms as he glares at them. “Do what you need to do and then leave. Cullens are no longer welcome here.”

Rosalie can smell death and sour blood as they near the Swan house. There’s crime scene tape everywhere, but they pay little mind to it. They slip underneath it, break the lock to the back door, and sneak inside.

The house is…

Well, it’s a mess. Forensics have clearly been through and over everything, but they won’t find what they’re after. Vampires have a surprising lack of DNA.

That being said though, there’s no shortage of other DNA around the house, namely that belonging to Charlie Swan. As Rosalie steps silently through the house, she sees that it splatters cupboards, walls, pictures on the wall, the couch- everything. Pools of blood have soaked into the soft carpet, hardening it. Furniture lay in pieces, smashed beyond repair.

Violence taints everything.

Charlie Swan suffered horribly, and Bella…

Her scent is faint and laced with terror, but Rosalie can’t smell any of her blood over the overwhelming stench of her father’s. As Edward makes his way upstairs, Rosalie finds herself fighting the urge to further destroy the items around her. She’s so angry, so heartbroken- destroying things and people is how she’s always coped.

Edward returns with a piece of cloth in his hand. “A shirt from the hamper,” he explains in a murmur, “Maybe we can use it to catch Bella’s scent.” After a month, Rosalie doubts it. The wolves said they’d followed Victoria’s scent south east, but they’d lost it on the outskirts of Shelton. Edward casts his eyes around the room and Rosalie sees his hand clench tight around the fabric. “We won’t find anything here.”

Only death.

Only truth.

And so, they leave Forks behind. They follow the wolves' directions to the outskirts of Shelton, but if there was evidence here a month ago, the rain has well and truly washed away any and all traces of Victoria, and subsequently Bella.

They stand there for a long time, drenched, unsure of where to go from here- Edward clutching Bella’s shirt and Rosalie wishing she’d brought her lock with her. Her fingers itch to break things.

“What do we do now?” he asks her, so pathetically that it mirrors her own feelings almost exactly. “They could be anywhere by now, and without Alice’s visions we’re searching blind.”

She hates it, but for the first time in over a month, she speaks. “We split up. We keep looking.”

It makes more sense this way. They can cover more ground, and although Edward hesitates at first, out of concern for her, he says… he eventually caves.

They will cover more ground this way.

Rosalie is fine. She doesn’t need a chaperone, she tells herself. They don’t say goodbye- in fact, Rosalie says nothing, only gives her brother a nod, which he returns with more worry in his eyes than Rosalie deserves.

You deserve nothing.

They part ways and they begin their hunt.

 

 

Days turn into weeks, weeks into months.

Twelve months pass.

Twenty-four.

Rosalie begins to count in years instead because it’s easier, and then stops counting even those after three crawl by. She catches faint traces of Victoria’s scent as she hunts her across the globe, always one step behind her and never close enough to even nip at her heels. But she’s on the right track, she reasons, and it keeps her going.

Edward finds her one night in late spring, thanks only to Alice’s visions of her. The days are growing longer, the nights warmer, and the smell of flowers is thick in the air. Bella’s future has gone dark, he tells her- they’re no longer looking to rescue her, according to Alice. But Rosalie’s heart seizes, and she refuses to believe it.

Alice is wrong.

Bella isn’t dead.

You killed her.

Edward tries to convince her to come home with him, but her level of disgust for him outweighs any feelings she may have about missing her family. He’s giving up. They’re all giving up.

She wonders if she’s the only one who cares enough to keep looking for her.

She walks away from her brother without a single word of goodbye, knowing he can hear every single, nasty thought she’s having about him. She wants the words to hurt, like a knife to his heart- deep.

“Rosalie, come home with me, please.” he calls to her, pleading. “There is nothing good for anybody at the end of this trail. Not anymore.”

She can’t stand the defeat in his voice, or the pity.

You don’t deserve pity.

She can’t stand him, because there is something at the end of this trail, whether Bella is alive or not, and she thirsts for it like nothing else.

“Victoria is at the end of this trail.”

That’s her goodbye, and she knows he won’t follow her, because if nothing else he’s always respected her right to deal with things her own way. This will be no different.

And so, she continues her hunt alone.

 

 

More time passes.

How much time… well, Rosalie isn’t sure. The spring flowers eventually wither away in the summer heat. Trees lose their leaves. The days get shorter, the nights longer. Snow comes, the ground freezes and rivers turn to ice. The terrain shifts and changes around her- she crosses entire oceans and swims through too many seas to count. They cross sweeping mountains and barren deserts, struggle through thick jungle and bustling cities.

The cycle of seasons repeats itself.

When Victoria realises that she has a tag along, she begins to leave behind ‘gifts’ for Rosalie. Pools of blood from a feed- a tooth, a finger, a toe, sometimes an item of jewellery if she’s feeling kind.

It’s all rather macabre of her, but it is Victoria. It sickens Rosalie less than it should though. As it is, she feels only relief that the body parts don’t belong to Bella. These people have no face to her- no names. They’re nobody to her and that’s what she chooses to focus on as she disposes of their remains.

Wildlife is sometimes hard to find, and so Rosalie adapts. She stalks the streets as she passes through towns and cities- she preys on men and women who the world will not miss. Dogs, cats, whatever poor soul is unfortunate enough to stumble across her. She doesn’t feel as bad about it as she thinks she would.

Blood is blood, and she needs to keep her strength.

The nasty voice in her head becomes less loud as time passes, too. Either that or she’s getting very good at blocking it out. In any case, it’s a relief that she welcomes. Victoria’s scent gets stronger, her gifts fresher. Whether it’s by accident or on purpose, Rosalie gains ground.

Slowly.

Surely.

Rosalie continues her hunt.

 

 

It’s unfortunate that when Rosalie does find Victoria, it’s in the middle of a bustling city that never sleeps. Luck appears to be somewhat on her side though, because it’s winter and there are fewer people on the streets than would be usual for any other time of the year.

Victoria’s scent is so fresh that for a moment Rosalie almost doesn’t believe it. She needs to be sure. It is Madrid, after all, and it’s not unlikely that there are more than a few of the un-dead lurking about.

Eyes shut; she draws in a deep, steadying breath. Her senses are assaulted with the usual filth of the city- garbage, piss, fumes, cigarette. Rot. The smells burn her nose, but it’s right there underneath the stench of city life that she smells it.

The cloying scent of the un-dead, entwined with the subtle undertones of burnt spice that Rosalie is intimately familiar with. Crimson eyes open slowly, with dangerous precision.

Victoria.

The scent twists through the city- fades and reappears, in and out, but Rosalie has it. She scales the city walls older than she- searching, scenting, following. She listens to the sounds of televisions, loud music, soft music, talking, laughing, shouting. Doors open and close, some slam shut. Cursing, moaning, more laughter. Car engines, a motorcycle or two- the sound of a horn.

Cities are overwhelming, but Rosalie keeps searching as she moves. She slinks by a bar below, and the music is loud- the acrid stench of piss and alcohol so intense that it travels up her nostrils and makes her eyes burn. More shouts and drunken laughter.

Victoria’s scent grows stronger beneath it all. She picks up her pace, softens her footfall until…

There.

In a poorly lit alley way just off the main street, she spots flaming red hair. The woman is hunched over a man beneath the rusting staircase of a derelict apartment building. The windows are barred, the building silent. And unaware, distracted, Victoria feeds from the dying man without apology.

Rosalie’s body pulses with what blood remains from her kill the day before, and the colour steadily fades from her eyes until they’re the shade of night. She can feel it- feel her control slip away, feel what little humanity she has left melt away into nothingness.

The air whistles as she launches herself from the rooftop.

Gone is stealth or care. Victoria isn’t getting away this time. But she’s older, more experienced- faster, and she manages to duck away to the right as Rosalie takes a swipe at her head. The body she feeds from drops to the ground with a heavy thunk.

She’s breathing heavy now.

A giggle from the shadows, and Victoria slips into view once more. She looks positively thrilled at Rosalie’s appearance, and delight lights up her face as fury twists Rosalie’s own. Venom drips from her fangs- salivating at her chance to…

“You’re a little late, aren’t you?” Victoria taunts.

Where is she?”

There’s an edge to Rosalie’s voice, and the words are harsh in her throat. She feels the venom burn her bottom lip- allows the pain to fuel the rage inside her like gasoline to fire. Her body drops low, nails bite into asphalt.

Victoria’s response is to simply tilt her head like an inquisitive child, and fucking smile at her.

Rosalie’s body vibrates.

Her head hurts.

Her heart breaks.

The snarl tears its way from her throat without restraint- harrowed…

Anguished.

What did you do to her!?”

She lunges.