Twilight Fan Fiction / Twilight Fan Fiction ❯ I Know My Duty ❯ Spy ( Chapter 49 )

[ T - Teen: Not suitable for readers under 13 ]
<i>Twilight</i> and its three and two half sequels are the creation of Stephenie Meyer. This story is fanfiction based on characters, settings and concepts from <i>Twilight</i>, its first three sequels and the first half of <i>Midnight Sun</i>, all of which are the creation of Stephenie Meyer. No party other than the submitting author may alter this work in any way other than font size and other reasonable accommodations to formatting.

Warning: This chapter contains violence and gore. Oh wait, forgot who I was talking to. Special treat: This chapter contains violence and gore!


"We don't care what they say you did," the first voice interrupted. "And we don't care if you broke the law."
"No matter how egregiously," the second inserted. –Stefan and Vladimir, <i>Breaking Dawn</i>


Eighteen years of reflex took over my body. I dropped to the ground in the tall brush, letting my cloak fall over my hands and face—any exposed skin would practically glow in the dark. I didn't need my own eyes to see what was happening fifty yards away anyway, but I still blinked as hard as I could. That couldn't be <i>real</i>. Demetri pinned down by four enemies, two of them the same guards we'd defeated at the entryway, and with them...

"Rolfe?" Demetri asked.

That wasn't Rolfe. That was <i>not</i> Rolfe. Those thoughts... He had a twin brother. He had a clone. One of the Romanians could shapeshift or generate hallucinations. Our Rolfe had been captured, was tied up underground. Any comic-book explanation would make more sense than this.

Through Demetri's eyes, I saw Rolfe's face give a pained smile as he tucked the tablet into his cloak.

"Where is the mind-reader?" asked one of the Romanians. He'd only just been put back together, badly, and he was eager for revenge.

"Edward took the intel to the masters," Demetri told Rolfe coldly. "He's miles away by now."

<i>That's an order, Brother.</i> The thoughts sank into me like cold rain into the earth.

"Think about what you're doing," Demetri said to Rolfe. "I don't know what your arrangement is with the eastern scum—" his words broke and I heard the sound of crunching bone.

"I've had more time to think than you know," Rolfe answered quietly. "Believe it or not, this is nothing personal, Demetri. Well... it isn't for <i>me</i>. I'm afraid my new friends' masters have taken some of your work history pretty personally over the years."

It was him. It wasn't an imposter. That was <i>really him</i>. But he couldn't have just suddenly decided to betray us in the past half hour. If he'd planned this out, I would have sensed it. <i>Aro</i> would have sensed it. No one could fool my master.

"Take him below," Rolfe said to the Romanians.

"You're going to burn for this," snarled Demetri as he was pulled toward the compound entrance. He couldn't beat four of them alone, not four. But I could see in their thoughts what Stefan would do to him, what he'd said he'd do many times over. To any of the Volturi. To Demetri specifically.

<i>Don't try to help me, Brother. Go, and quickly,</i> Demetri thought intently. <i>Tell the masters what we've learned. Do your duty.</i>

"Goodbye, Demetri," said Rolfe, and he started to walk away through the dead trees.

I summed the situation up quickly.

I faced five enemies, one of whom had seen me in combat many times. No plan or element of surprise. Even if I got Demetri free immediately, we still wouldn't win. Demetri was right. Rolfe had our transmitter, so I had to deliver our warning to the masters in person. If I ran flat-out, I might reach Caius in time to salvage a conventional victory. I had to do it for the Volturi's reputation. For the stability of the vampire world. For the greater good. I knew that was what Aro would want me to do. That was what Caius would want me to do. It was definitely what Bella would want me to do.

And, by then, Demetri would be ash.

But if I went below to try to rescue him, we'd both die, and many of the rest of our coven as well.

My feet were moving before I realized that I'd made the decision.

Rolfe seemed to know exactly where he was going, and it wasn't back to any of our outposts. He was moving at a measured, heavy pace that I could follow without effort. His thoughts were less guarded now, shimmering like a heat-induced mirage, but they were mixed together, blended like false memories into combinations that couldn't possibly have happened. Lydia, before and after her change. Andrew's nomad. Aro. Me. Rolfe's imagination was indistinguishable from his memory. I could hardly tell how even he knew false from true.

None of this was right. Rolfe wasn't vengeful. For a vampire, Rolfe was kind. The man I was currently stalking through the half-dead woods had been my first real friend in Volterra. His guidance and insight—and yes his protection—had probably saved me months of beatings and false starts. I wanted to save Demetri and right now that meant taking him apart, but beyond that I wanted to know what had <i>happened</i> to him.

We'd killed Kamini and transmitted intel before we'd left the city. The men who'd dragged Demetri away had been surprised to find him. The Romanians hadn't known we were coming...

...which meant that Rolfe hadn't told them.

I listened carefully, hoping that Rolfe would think about where he was going and whom he expected to see there, but it was already clear: Rolfe was working with a third party, with Andrew's nomad, not with Vladimir and Stefan, and <i>that</i> meant...

I couldn't beat him in a straight fight. Rolfe knew all my moves and had somehow managed to outsmart my gift. He was far stronger than I was. I closed my eyes. <i>Think like Felix</i>, I told myself. Do something he couldn't stop. Neutralize his advantage.

Speed. That was my edge here, that and the fact that he thought I was ahead of him.

Rolfe was making no effort to move quietly. Why should he if both parties—three if I was right—thought he was on their side? I timed my footsteps to his own, rushing up behind him through the dead trees. He turned his head over his shoulder just in time to see me snatch the cloak off his neck. I broke left, hopping up onto a thick limb that cracked ominously under my feet as I broke off in a new direction.

"Edward!" he called out. "What are you doing?" His thoughts held genuine confusion, as if he actually didn't know why I'd attacked him. It only lasted a second, breaking away like a layer of dead skin. Then he launched himself after me.

I dropped to the ground and he sailed over my head. I took off in the opposite direction, hands moving automatically to fish my tablet out of the cloak pocket. Before I could reach it, Rolfe had rounded on me. I dodged, but Rolfe got his hands on the cloak, rounding it in his arms so that my hand was trapped in the cloth.

"Edward, think about what you're doing!" he hissed.

When I opened my mouth on reflex to answer, he yanked on his makeshift rope, almost pulling me off my feet. I jumped toward him, creating enough slack to turn the rope back to cloth and loosen his grip. Then I twisted in place and ran flat-out. First I needed to get the tablet. I would need a four-second head start to turn it on and send my report to Caius. Another two seconds and I could add that Demetri had been captured and Rolfe subverted.

Behind me, I heard Rolfe think, <i>Volterra</i>, and I saw his mind rearrange itself like a jigsaw puzzle whose pieces fit together more than one way. He wasn't a triple-crossing traitor delivering information to the enemy; he was Aro's loyal man, and <i>I</i> was the one who'd given Demetri up. I was a criminal who'd never wanted to be part of the guard, and Demetri had been my unofficial jailor for nineteen years. With the tracker gone, I could run away.

The scenario was so seamless that for a sickening moment, I was sure Aro would believe it.

Holding these thoughts firmly in his mind, Rolfe cried out. "You may as well come back, Edward!" I heard his feet pounding against the earth. I'd had to slow down to dig the tablet out of the cloak, and he was gaining on me. "Stop running. We can do this together. Aro can't punish you if he's dead, and if what my friends are planning works, he won't see sunrise."

My fingers scrambled as pulled wristband of my tablet across my metacarpals. Aro wouldn't believe Rolfe, not if the truth was in my own mind. But he <i>might</i> execute both of us just to be sure.

"Edward!" he called out again, this time with a hearty laugh. "You of all people should be glad! Don't you want to know how I did it?"

The images that appeared in his mind were so vividly distracting that I ran headlong into a tree. Splinters crackled across my face as I pulled myself free. Rolfe had closed the gap between us to mere feet. I threw the cloak in his face, buying myself a few more seconds.

<i>Our masters have a lot to answer for. You know that,</i> Rolfe said in his mind. He knew me, and he knew how I'd thrown myself into the study of my gift and how to apply it to our work. He knew I'd want to know how I'd been fooled. "They know things are wrong, and they keep pushing down the same road they've been pushing for a thousand years. Aro knew it was wrong to let Jane dig into the rest of us like that, but he still didn't stop her."

Nineteen years was nothing to our kind. I of all people knew how long someone could wait for revenge. But Rolfe had been hurt worse at other times. What made this so special?

"Demetri could never understand," Rolfe continued, ducking toward me. I barely dodged, amazed at what I was hearing. "He's not like you and me. He's not a mated man."

"Neither are you," I answered on reflex.

"<i>And whose fault is that?!</i>" he screamed, mind filling with images of Adrienne's smile, Adrienne's white arms, the banal nothingness on her face as she'd walked out of our lives. Rolfe's eyes squeezed shut. "You of <i>all</i> people should understand. I wanted to go <i>find</i> her. I wanted to go find her, Edward, and he wouldn't let me go unless I earned a boon." I remembered that decision, the first time Rolfe had asked. He'd waited until things with Jane had died down. But Aro had said it wasn't a true pair bond. He'd said that Rolfe was needed where he was—and he had been. But Rolfe had taken that decision in stride ...hadn't he?

I grabbed a branch above my head and swung onto a rise, landing with my knees bent. As my fingers worked automatically to activate the tablet program, I processed what I'd seen. Those weren't the thoughts of a man who'd lost an ordinary love. Rolfe vaulted after me, but I ducked and hit the ground running. <i>Shit,</i> I thought. I had to keep my distance until it made contact with Marjane's cloud.

He really had felt the change for Adrienne. He'd felt it, and she'd left, and it had broken him the way losing Bella had almost broken me.

Funny thing about a bad fracture: If you did manage to heal, you might find yourself in a different shape, flexible where you'd been strong before.

"You didn't think that idiot Lydia was actually the spy, did you?" asked Rolfe. "Oh she found something useful here and there, but mostly it was me." That was why he'd wanted to give Lydia to the masters himself—he'd been going to kill her in the elevator to keep her silent. But why hadn't I seen him thinking about it at the time? I'd been <i>there</i>.

"I've got no illusions, buddy," he said companionably as he hurried after me. I felt sick. It was like he was thinking two thoughts at the same time, about how he wanted me to understand and of the best way to pull my body into sections. It was like a melody and harmony in perfect discord. "I know Adrienne didn't love me. Would you believe I even <i>asked</i> Chelsea to cut her out of my head? Stupid bitch wouldn't even try. I don't <i>want</i> to be like this." I choked as he got a handful of my cloak in his fist. The fabric didn't tear, and he pulled me off my feet toward him. I struggled but he pinned my arms and got one of his hands free. I was cradling the tablet against my chest, but he was digging for it, and so much stronger than I was.

"It was kind of your fault too, but at least you had the guts to cop to it. At least you fucking apologized." He remembered my hand on his shoulder, saying how sorry I was, how I should have warned him not to get involved with Adrienne. He'd valued my respect, and now he was going to pull my head off. The tablet image flickered, indicating that it was ready for upload, but I couldn't reach it.

"Edward, I can't let you send that message," he said, trying to pry my arms apart. "It has to look like you or Demetri defected to the Romanians, both if I can manage it. Then the survivors tell how Aro and Marcus were fooled and Caius couldn't make up for it. Then no one will fear them anymore, and no one else will take their place—Vladimir and Stefan will be dead too, I promise you. Our kind will be free forever."

Croatia. Free like that coven in Croatia. Vampires would kill thousands of humans, and then the humans would kill all of us.

"You have no right to judge me, Edward, <i>none</i>. You betrayed your old coven when you thought you had to live without her." Images of my first appearance before the masters appeared in his mind. "Betrayal" was a strong word for attempted suicide, but what else could he mean? "I can try to find Adrienne. <i>I</i> have a chance." His voice turned pleading. "You have to let me take it, Edward."

Maybe it was the feeling of my vertebrae smash together, but my life seemed to flash before me. Growing up in Chicago. Coming out of my transformation with Carlisle's voice in my head. Emmett and Rosalie. Meeting Bella. Demetri and Caroly. But right now... Oh Emmett would laugh. Emmett with his James Bond movies.

"Before you kill me," I said, feeling Rolfe's arms like a boa constrictor as the air left my lungs, "how did you manage to hide your plans from Aro?"

"You really don't get it," Rolfe said, as if he were surprised. I felt one of my collarbones crunch. "Can't say you're not committed." I didn't stop fighting against his grip, but at the same time, I could see his thoughts building and re-building like houses of twigs, a pattern I'd recognized as pride.

His words were a cold hiss in my ear, "Public service announcement, pal: <i>I learned it from watching you.</i>"

What in God's name was he on about? Rolfe kept trying to pull the transmitter from where I was sheltering it and I kept trying to get out of his grip. He was stronger, but I had the better position, and neither of us could get tired. But I was on a time limit and he wasn't.

<i>Who knew Aro's not-so-willing slave would fight so hard to help him?</i>

"It's called loyalty, Rolfe." It had been a mistake to speak. Without air in my lungs, Rolfe gained enough slack to lock his arms around my chest and squeeze, hoping to break the transmitter if he couldn't retrieve it intact. Finally he twisted so that we could see each others' faces. He didn't like what he found in mine. In the dim light, I could see his eyes narrow. His thoughts were coalescing like smoke. There was something he hadn't tried yet, some special move. I braced my muscles against anything he could—

"Alice Cullen," he said.

What was that supposed to mean? It was Carlisle's last name, and Rolfe was picturing a small vampire woman who resembled some celebrity I'd seen once. No, she looked like my mother. No, she looked like—

My head jerked to the side as a stabbing pain went through my skull, followed by a dull, spreading ache, like phantom pain from a lost limb. Wrong. Something was wrong. My arms and legs trembled and the scent of the contaminated soil seemed very loud in my head.

It couldn't have been more than a second, but I came to on my hands and knees with Rolfe pulling the tablet straps from my nerveless hands. He'd taken his eyes off me long enough to turn the item over in his hand. Network information. Built-in passcodes. He swept his thumb across its surface and the screen flickered out.

Bracing my arms against the ground, I leveled a kick at his elbow. He cursed loudly as the tablet flew out of his hands. Staggering to my feet, I launched myself after it, following the faint gleam of starlight against its smooth edges. If it fell into the uneven brush while it was deactivated, it could take hours to find it again. I got one thumb and forefinger on a corner as Rolfe's hand closed around my ankle. I managed not to drop the device, kicking Rolfe hard in the face as I went down. His grip loosened enough for me to pull free.

I had to get out of the woods. If I had room to run flat-out, I would outdistance him easily. Unfortunately, the dying trees had left nothing but uneven ground and dangerous, sliding mud. No wonder local humans had stopped coming here. Instead of going back the way I'd come, I headed off at an angle, through territory I had studied on maps but not yet seen.

"Edward!" he called out. "They will <i>never</i> let us go. Never!"

Two second lead. I pulled the tablet around my hand.

"Edward!" Rolfe's mind was focused.

Four seconds to activation. The holograph screen gleamed as it came to life.

He was gaining on me again. I felt a rush of empty air off to my right.

<i>Send all.</i> I entered the command.

I pulled the tablet from my wrist and threw it over my head, ducking off to the left into the dim as the shard of light turned head-for-tail in the air. On reflex, Rolfe lunged past me after the device. He let out a shout as the earth gave way beneath him to a hundred-foot-drop.

I turned and jumped after him. He hadn't realized where we were. I had. He flailed as he fell. I didn't. He landed hard on the rough ground, leaning forward. I came down on top of him, right foot jamming into his shoulder hard enough to break bone.

He was jammed down in the soft earth. I had his right arm off before he could recover, throwing it hard toward the woods. He managed to lift his torso before I got his leg loose, kicking hard enough to knock one of my molars from my jaw.

I had to separate myself from what I was doing. I had to forget, if only for thirty seconds, that I was taking one of my best friends apart.

I couldn't light a fire, not here. I had to leave the limbs and torso for our clean-up operation. Caius planned for everything. None of that would stop his voice from screaming into my head.

<i>Don't do this to me! Don't!</i> Memories of helping me with Afton. Memories of helping Bella fight off Byron. A thousand easy moments over the past two decades.

I looked around for the tablet. Hopefully, it had managed to upload Demetri's and my findings to Marjane before hitting the ground. If it wasn't too damaged, I might still have a chance to send a supplementary message with the events of the past few minutes.

There was a faint, unsteady flickering near where I'd thrown Rolfe's left kneecap. I picked up my transmitter. It had fallen in the mud, not the rocks, but at that height it was still going to do some damage. I waved through the screen with my hands. It seemed to register my presence, but the image remained a set of brightly lit threads. Some of the colors seemed to match the "message sent" screen, but I couldn't be sure that wasn't wishful thinking. I closed my eyes, remembering where all the key entries were. Was it three upward movements or four before I reached the send command?

Working blind, I entered what I hoped was <i>Third army. Unknown affiliation</i> and <i>Rolfe traitor. Demetri captured.</i>

I hit send. I heard the familiar, cricket-quiet sound of a message moving. Or I imagined I did. I looked over my shoulder. It would take me at least three minutes if I ran flat-out, longer if I was quiet. Then I closed my fist around the machine, grinding its metallic innards to powder, leaving nothing for any of Rolfe's "new friends" to find.

I looked at the body parts strewn around me. If anyone found him, whether they were Volturi, Romanian or something else, they'd put him back together before they knew how much danger they were in. I couldn't leave him like this. But I couldn't light a fire without alerting at least one hostile army to my presence and, judging by the smell of the place, some of the chemicals that had been dumped here were flammable. I didn't have much choice.

I held his head in both my hands, looking into his rolling eyes. With one last motion, I worked my hand into the gaping neck and pulled his jaw from the rest of his head, ripping off a dangling artery like a stray thread.

I took him with me.



The reason this took so long was because I had to make sure that this chapter matched the one following. That meant writing them both before posting either.

drf24 (at) columbia (dot) edu