ofthefamily: (empty chair in a box of a room)
The dais starts to visit him at the end of the first week. Every time they come by Carlisle rushes to his feet, taking care to brush off any dirt or grime from his clothing as they enter his (cell) room. Make himself presentable.

It's Marcus today, with a human. Bleeding human.

"Fix him or feed," Marcus launches the human on the floor at Carlisle's feet. "It matters not to me."

There is no choice in the matter to be honest -- the wounds are infected and aggravated by the treatment he's received. The least Carlisle can do is use his shirt to staunch the blood.

To keep the smell away.

An hour later a guard comes to take the human away. Carlisle tries to give the man a slight smile, some shriveled up piece of kindness to his near-black eyes.

There is no way that man'll last the night, even if the Volturi do not kill him.


"You chose to help yesterday," Caius notes calmly. Carlisle still stood for him, even if he is picturing launching Caius against a wall.

This time a human walks in. A woman, short, blonde like Carlisle himself. She keeps her gaze downward.

"She is dying. You could help her if you cared to."

Carlisle knows what he means. What he is inferring. He walks up to the woman, leaning into her ear and swallowing back the venom that wants to pool in his mouth. "You do not want this, my dear," Carlisle tries for politeness. It comes off harsh. "You have my jealousy, but my sympathies as well."

The woman starts to cry; Caius doesn't take her outside before killing her.


It all smells like blood.

He still won't drink it. Doesn't want it. He's still locked away, hungry and close to forgotten.

The door to his (room) cell turns blue and begins to shimmer. Carlisle thinks it's a trick, until he hears the voices.

Then that could just be a talent. Like the talent he saw in court, one of the few times he attended.

But the door opens, and he has nowhere else to go.
ofthefamily: (the things he wishes he didn't know)
Volterra was not all court politics and years spent in dusty books most had forgotten. Carlisle had been invited to sit in on a portrait being painted of Aro, Marcus and Caius by a painter he barely hard heard of but with whom the three older vampires appeared to be enamoured.

All four of them manage to sit in a room and just be, a quiet joke or three passing between them in languages Carlisle still needs to practice.

It feels relaxing; Carlisle's eyes are closed in the finished painting - he still looks youngest.


Sulpicia told everyone what she saw. Not in front of Carlisle, but it was obvious by the way Caius and Marcus started speaking with him as much as Aro ever did.

The edict dictating hunting in groups for the foreseeable future is what brings Carlisle his first true dose of fear in decades. If he will not be allowed to hunt without the guards, then --

"Aro, I must respectfully protest," Carlisle starts, keeping his voice as calm as possible. He sees Sulpicia biting back a smile beyond the dais and Aro just ignores him.


Carlisle knows he is faster than the guards he leaves the tunnels with to go hunting at night, but if he were to run he would have to be prepared to never return, alongside any retribution from the Dais as to what would be considered a personal rebuke against their hospitality all these years.

Can't run, except to keep up with the cloaks flying in the wind as they comb the streets noiselessly.

no not here

They are approaching the inn with gruesome intent; Carlisle can smell the innkeeper in the front room of the house, the boy upstairs he has to be warned have to run my patient don't

Carlisle forces himself to trip against a cart parked in a cobblestone cross-street and the force rends the cart to splinters. The three guards spin and face Carlisle, knowing the distraction for what it is. The innkeeper isn't as quick on the uptake to stay inside -- he leans out of his front door with an iron poker.

Carlisle is faster than the others. He runs full-tilt at the door, thrusting himself between the human and the guard.

"No. Non hai bisogno di fare questo."

The guard hisses in reply, grinding out, "You would deny me my prey, English?"

I am denied mine. Carlisle doesn't move. Neither does the human; he seems frozen in place and Carlisle can hear his heart palpitating.

The two other guards had been only in the periphery of Carlisle's focus. They manage to surprise him from either side, thrusting him forward into the clutches of the group's leader. Carlisle doesn't know what to expect, but he knows the rules -- travel with the group, obey the group, punished by the group.

He's never been bitten before (that he remembers). He inflicts some of his own that send the vampires in red snarling backwards and away from him, but in the end he has to be carried back to the Volturi gates.

The innkeeper survived.


"Do you have any idea what it is to protect you here!" Aro shouts at Carlisle, more remonstration than question or demand. His scars still sting but the yelling helps Carlisle to focus. "They want me to hand you over to them! You attacked a guardsman! What am I supposed to do with you?"

Carlisle's voice cracks. "Let me hunt on my own?"

"What did you just say to me."

There is no point in repeating; Carlisle can feel Aro's anger roll off of him in heavy waves.

"I have to hide you now -- the guards will expect retribution and I am not prepared for that," Aro starts. Carlisle lets himself feel a glimmer of hope for his predicament and follows the black-haired vampire away from his library home to a less-traveled section of the palatial grounds. Carlisle theorizes the doors they pass as old apartments or guest chambers. At least none have windows.

There is no point asking Aro how long he will made to stay here. Carlisle has no place to go, no demands on his time.

No one that needs him.

He starts to go hungry at the end of the first week.
ofthefamily: (doing what needs doing)
It's getting harder to leave the city to feed. There has been no edict or decree from the dais to stop Carlisle from going out, but even when he leaves in the red cloaks required of him, the guards mumble and make a great show of unsuccessfully trying not to stare. Carlisle never looks anyone in the eye -- gold eye meeting red here never wins him anything.

It's nearly dawn; he's running late and the gates will already be closed. Aro is going to be displeased but Carlisle can't focus on that. It's time to hide. With the coins in his purse Carlisle had thought to carry while walking through Volterra he is able to pay for a room for the day at a small inn as close as possible to the south gate. The innkeeper apologetically shows him to a small windowless room claiming it as his only vacancy. Carlisle is magnanimous about accepting it. A boy comes by later to bring Carlisle water to wash the grime of the street from him and all Carlisle can hear is the crackling in the boy's chest. The boy hasn't seen a doctor in some time, the innkeeper mentions; Carlisle pays the man to go buy him supplies.

He leaves after nightfall, the boy's breathing eased some and Carlisle is smiling.


They've culled the human herd again. Carlisle can smell it from the library. He slams his latest book shut, leaving the library and making his way to the lower parts of the building. The reek is stronger in the tunnels; Carlisle nearly laughs at himself calling it a 'reek' since it smells so fragrant to him (simply because he does not drink it does not mean it does not smell pleasant) but he refrains himself for the higher interest of remaining utterly silent. He does not want to be seen here.

The bodies of the dead are left in special rooms to be disposed of later. Those tasked with doing so have yet to arrive so Carlisle slips in unnoticed and finds an adult male, late into his twenties, mostly unblemished if Carlisle doesn't look too hard at the gaping hole in the man's throat. Someone had been inefficient.

"Hello Carlisle."

Carlisle is turning the man's liver over in his hands when he is startled by Sulpicia, Aro's wife, in the doorway. She is smiling.

Oh no.

"I wasn't -- I don't want you to think that -- "

"Carlisle," Sulpicia shushed him with one pale hand raised, "You have nothing to be ashamed of. It's only natural that you would eventually want to come and feel what is meant for our kind on your own terms."

Carlisle stiffens nearly to a growl. "That is not what I was doing here Sulpicia." His protests are useless, but he knows Aro will believe him. He has to, with his talent. Aro has to see. Someone does.

Sulpicia leaves and Carlisle practices his stitches.
ofthefamily: (the things he wishes he didn't know)
For the first year living in Italy, Carlisle only leaves the east library to feed.


"How have you not read the entire library yet, Carlisle?" Aro chuckles, all but whispering in the wide hall. "Come with me for a walk, won't you?"

Carlisle had only visited a small portion of the Volturi's holdings in the city during his time thus far. Aro's walk takes them nearly the entire circumference of Volterra, wearing heavy ornate cloaks the rare instances they pass outside of the intricate tunnel system underneath the feet of unsuspecting humans.

"You study human physiology and medicine," Aro starts, all factual and careful with Carlisle even when Carlisle has already stiffened against Aro's words in anxiety, "yet you interest yourself not with the study of your own kind. Why is this?"

"I...suppose, that it is because of what we can be." Carlisle stops himself there; so does Aro, appearing confused. "I understand what we can be and of what we are innately capable, Aro. What I would like to establish is...how much more we could be. Does that make sense?"

Aro returns a diffident smile to the explanation. It is enough to soothe Carlisle's nerves about his commentary until they reach the east gate to return to Carlisle's library haven. There are other robes in Carlisle's field of vision then...and humans. Following the servants into the tunnels silently.

Aro pays no mind, but Carlisle knows that Aro sees his attention as being over Aro's shoulder and not on Aro's words.

"You say you know of what you are capable, Carlisle, but you have yet to ever experience it. Our life is not theoretical."

A little petulantly Carlisle retorts, "Neither are theirs."

Carlisle goes back to his library.


Carlisle is refused access to the west library unless he starts appearing in court. He takes advantage of our hospitality without paying due respect to our traditions, Marcus commented acerbically once. Aro looked apologetic about it, but agreed with the determination.

Which is what leads Carlisle to stand to the right of the dais in the main hall in the ruby-red cloak required of him for official events. Carlisle is the only one to appear shocked at the shackled vampire dragged into the chambers by his hair and sent sprawling to his knees in front of Marcus, Caius and Aro.

Please, I didn't do anything wrong; S'il vous plait, j'ai pas fait rien de rien; Per favore, non faccio --

One of the guards that dragged in the prisoner bashes him in the head with a staff and the mental pleading stops. Carlisle is still processing the broadcast -- a talent he had only read about previously -- when two guards start tearing the prisoner limb from limb.

Carlisle can't watch, but he can't leave either.
ofthefamily: (dark hair)
Gerard and Carlisle walked (or ran) from Arras to the Swiss Alps. The weather has become clearer, harder to go out during the day even if Gerard saw a need for it, so the pair traveled at night only. Gerard only laughed in Carlisle's face at the wolf he kills the first night traveling; Carlisle takes it as a blessing that it did not continue and doesn't broach the topic. He prefers to listen instead of speak to the nomad anyway.

What they do speak of is mostly centered around the coven they are traveling to Tuscany to meet. Gerard tells of the Volturi in nearly reverent terms -- three leaders and their closest mates and vanguard, followed by a large group of servants and underlings. Castles and tunnels to travel during the daylight (Carlisle had wondered how they managed to live for so long in Tuscany), libraries and music and more libraries --

"How had they heard of me?"

Gerard laughs, his vibrant red-orange hair shaking. "The Volturi hear everything, Carlisle. It is about time you were educated."


Carlisle starts to hear the city's guards about a mile outward. It is a mental broadcast unlike anything he has ever heard of in his relatively limited experience as a vampire. Carlisle is to announce himself at the court at nightfall.

Carlisle. Not Carlisle and Gerard.

"They know me already," Gerard shrugs. "You will be fine. You are...of interest."

Carlisle doesn't know whether to thank Gerard for traveling with him or turn on his heel and run back to the French chalk mines. The second option seems far more comfortable than following the two vampires in robes which flank him as soon as he crosses the city gates, but by that point it is too late.

He thinks they are leading him to the center of the city. Volterra is perched dangerously upon one of the slopes that has made Tuscany so famous, with winding passages and walkways, and only the occasional prostitute walks past the trio when they turn into a nondescript archway.

It is too silent, even for Carlisle. All too soon he is abandoned by his (wardens) escort in a room he is just now beginning to take in. Dais at one end, heavy tapestries on the walls that make him wonder if there used to be windows that have since been boarded up behind them. The color in the room would be better with stained glass...

"Carlisle Cullen." The blond snaps out of his thoughts to the chairs on the dais -- thrones -- and the three ancient vampires stepping around them to sit. Two of them sit, at least; one continues around his chair directly towards Carlisle standing at the other end of the long room. The distance is spanned in seconds. The closest one speaks. "Do you prefer English, sir? I am afraid mine might be stilted. I have not often the occasion to use it."

"I..." Carlisle appears temporarily lost, startled by the closeness of this vampire so unlike him. He has become accustomed to never seeing another pair of gold eyes like his own, but whereas Carlisle's skin is still human-like in its consistency if not its color, the vampire who addressed him is so -- fragile-looking.

"Perhaps I will be able to improve my Italian while visiting your city."

One of the two back at the dais smiles. "Look, Aro. Manners."

Without warning, Aro reaches out and locks Carlisle's forearm in a vice grip. Two seconds later he drops Carlisle's arm again, shaking out the shock in his expression before twisting into a pitying sort of smile.

"Oh, Carlisle," Aro croons to him softly. "You should not have been left alone so. We can rectify that here. If you would like to have somewhere to stay."

Carlisle is still debating running to the chalk mines.

Where they scream "Degage-te" at him when Carlisle tries to help.

Timidly: "I was told you have libraries here?"
ofthefamily: (the things he wishes he didn't know)


He helped when he could, how he could. Carlisle has been living in France for long enough now that English starts to feel awkward on his tongue and in his thoughts when he comes across the odd medical text when he absconds with them from any library he can break into. The cellars of Notre Dame des Argent is safe most of the time; the priory had been decimated in the Forty Years' War. The see had reinstituted its use as a hospital and didn't mind Carlisle coming and going as he pleased.

Le Beffroi squarely in front of him, Carlisle moves quickly with scrolls in hand back to the church at the far end of the city across la Petite Place d'Arras.

" -- Ramaseu d'sous! Va t'en, putaine d'mirde!"

All they do is fight. All they do is fight and when I can't sew them up and make them better I'm the one that has to move to a different city, Carlisle thinks acerbically to himself, immediately angry at the lack of charity he feels towards --

"J'vas t'tuere."

It's not screamed or shouted as a warning or threat. It's a statement; Carlisle goes sprinting. The papers get saved first, placed carefully in a corner. "Arr'te!" Carlisle cries out around the corner to stop the young man trying to beat down a shopkeeper's door with a plank of wood.

"Degage-te."

Carlisle lunges at the man, enough to barrel him off the stoop of the shop but stops before his weight crunches the attacker between himself and the ground. Carlisle's standing again (too quickly) and wrenching the plank out of the human's hand.

-- The human's run off before it sinks in that his 'fuck off' isn't the same voice as he heard say 'I am going to kill you'.

Carlisle doesn't need the board to knock the door down. The copper of the blood is immediately assaulting Carlisle's thoughts. Exsanguinate, from the Latin exsanguinātus. Drained of blood.

A orange-red hank of disheveled hair flips backward, wiping his mouth. He smiles.

"Buongiorno."

Carlisle stares at him blankly. Once he looks up to the gold eyes so different from his own red ones, the stranger stares back.

"Français? Italiano? English?"

" -- English," Carlisle stutters finally. "And French. A little Italian."

"...You're him. We've heard about you." The smile becomes awed. The stranger steps over the prone human form lying on the ground; Carlisle doesn't know the dead man's name.

"Who?"

"Come with me."

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Dr. Carlisle Cullen

October 2015

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