HellCat: Guardian Of The Gate
When Alice got back to the bar, I immediately grabbed a bag of blood from the cooler, then walked behind the bar. As I snipped the corner to pour it into a tall mug, I asked Alice to set the rest on one of the shelves in the walk-in, verbally directing her to it.
After popping the mug into the microwave and Peter pressing my finger to the right numbers to show me, he kissed my neck with a whispered, "Thanks, Angel. I feel the same way when I care for your needs." I heard several gasps from behind me, so I turned to see what was wrong.
Jasper and Carlisle looked intently at each other. After a second, Jasper asked, "You feel her, Pete? You feel her true emotions, not just a sense of her well-being?"
Peter and I both nodded, then Carlisle breathed just loud enough for me to hear, "Incredible. Bella, you feel Peter, too?"
When I nodded again, he shook his head in awe, "This is why you needed Jasper to come. Has anything else happened? Anything strange or unexplainable?”
I hummed, thinking about everything before I spoke. “After you all left, I went through an astronomical growth spurt, as you can no doubt tell. I told Peter that it was like curves just sprouted all over me practically overnight. Then there was this overwhelming feeling of home when I got here. Once Peter showed up, there were the dreams. Odd but terrifying dreams of black smoke, red eyes, and a beautiful raven-haired female dying from a fight with several vampires and a werewolf. Not wolves like Jake or the pack, but an odd mix of man and wolf. The dreams physically affected me in real life, though, which was scary.”
Carlisle looked at me with a mix of awe and caution on his features, finally asking in wonderment, “I knew you were special, but I never... if I'd have known... have they started yet? The other changes?"
I shook my head, "Just us feeling each other, and a primal part of me... Isa... emerging. I think her and Captain are connected, because when Peter scented you coming, he let Captain take over. It was like as soon as I sensed the shift in him, Isa pushed her way through. I felt a similar sort of shift inside me."
Carlisle walked over to sit on the bar stool in front of me as Peter pulled his mug from the microwave. He took a sip as Carlisle explained, "Isa and Captain are connected, just as you and Peter are, but on a more instinctual level. Captain's need to take over then triggered Isa coming through, because she is his equal. As Peter's beast is the Captain, yours is Isa. Does that make sense?"
I agreed, but stated curiously, "I didn't think my beast was supposed to emerge until after my turning, though."
Carlisle smiled, then Jasper offered, "Your true nature's been forced to come forward, so it's allowed your beast to emerge to help protect you. At least that's what I think is happening."
Carlisle added, "I do, too, Bella, That's a good thing."
After a second, I ran my fingers through my hair, then asked Carlisle the biggest question, "What am I, Carlisle? You sounded like you knew at least a little bit when you asked about my changes."
With a gentle smile, Carlisle nodded, "I do know the basics, but I need to dig a bit deeper into my old records, to go over the original legends with you. It explains so much, really. I never understood how Edward was able to fall in love with his singer, when it was unheard of, but your natural personality combined with your true nature is the perfect explanation."
I chuckled, "Still not getting to what that true nature is, Carlisle. Sorry, but.."
He smiled sheepishly in reply. “I apologise, Bella. I got sidetracked. I believe -with the contents of your dreams, them affecting you physically, as well as the changes you've already gone through both physically and personality wise- that you are what is called a 'Beast Handler'. If I remember correctly, it is written that there are only ever 3 in existence at once. One guarding purgatory's gates, one guarding the human gates to hell, while the final one guards the supernatural gates to hell. The handlers are the masters of the beasts guarding those 3 sets of gates, and they are called-”
I gasped, knowing what the not-quite-dogs were now, then shook my head in denial even as I said aloud, “Hellhounds.”
It all started making sense to me... the physical boost, the dreams, feeling the female die... but I asked anyway, needing to hear it aloud. “But why would I feel her die, Carlisle? Peter had to do a healing with me, as if we'd been parted too long, because the dreams took that much of a physical toll on me. I felt her pain... her death... as if I were in her place.”
I heard the others gasp in horror, but saw Carlisle nod solemnly before offering, “I may be wrong -and will check my books to be sure- but she was in peril when the dream first started, correct?”
I nodded, causing him to say sadly, “As I thought. She had no time to safely transfer the power to you before she died, so when it happened, you felt her pain during the power transfer. If she would have waited to do the transfer, then died before she could, Bella... it would have brought about the permanent fall of the supernatural hell gate.”
I stood before I started pacing, not wanting to believe any of this, but knowing deep down that my dreams were more real than anything I've ever dreamt before. I was so lost in my thoughts, that I was surprised when I came in contact with a cool tingly chest.
I looked up into my mate's eyes, feeling lost as the malicious thought of me being evil twisted in my head. He gently held my chin as he said seriously, “Now what did I tell ya about that? You. Are. Not. Evil. Hellhounds are guards, Sugar. They aren't evil either, or they'd be lettin' out the souls trapped in hell, instead of keepin’ ‘em from gettin' out. They need a master at all times, though... a handler to care for them. That's you now. Ya aren't evil, my beautiful mate, and deep down, ya have what it takes to make sure your hellhounds do their job.”
I let out a breath, melting into him as his arms came around me, then Carlisle said, “Peter is right, Dear. They are not evil creatures, and neither are their guardian masters. They may have hardened physical attributes, but that is because they must teleport between hell and earth. Evil beings naturally shy away from -or become riled by- Hellhounds and their masters. Beings that have good souls are naturally calmed to an extent in their presence. All supernatural beings, whether good or evil, are drawn to them, which accounts for much of your danger magnet. That's what I meant by it making sense that Edward was able to fall in love with his singer. With you being a beast handler, and him being a good person, his inner beast was calmed in your presence, allowing him the opportunity to fall in love.”
I let that information sink in for a second, then couldn't help but smile at Edward. “See? I told you that you had a soul, and a good one at that. If I’ve always had this beast handler mojo in me, then Carlisle just gave you all the proof you should ever need.”
Edward gave me a sheepish smile, offering, “Point well made, Bella. I promise to try and let go of preconceived notions.”
I nodded in finality, causing Peter to chuckle as he kissed my neck, then looked to everyone before asking Carlisle, “So what does this mean for me?”
Carlisle let out a breath as he returned to his barstool. “I can not be certain, Dear, without referring to my books on the subject of your handler nature. Please inform me of any odd occurrences, as I should be able to track your progression of becoming a handler by cross-referencing them with my texts.”
I nodded, but after a long moment, Em let out a long breath. He looked utterly bored, now that he wasn't finding out something 'cool', so I chuckled, “Em? As long as your mate doesn't mind you tearing something up, why don't you go have fun with the cabin demo? Peter can show you where it is on the property map he drew up.”
Rose chuckled at Em looking suddenly excited, offering him a kiss as she said, “Go on, you goof. Just try not to tear up the land around the cabin, too. It'll be less work for you to keep it neat now, than replace all the landscaping later.” Em kissed her quickly, threw me a huge grin, then was out the door before Peter could even tell him which direction to go.
With that said, everyone broke off into their own conversations, with Esme offering to help Carlisle bring his journals, tomes, and books in from the vehicle. I smiled at their effortless communication, then offered, “Carlisle, I've not gotten any of my books or things unpacked yet. I'll leave the organization to you, so you can place your things in whatever places you want them. Just please place mine on the shelves when you're done.”
He offered me a tender smile, replying, “Of course, Bella. It would be my pleasure.”
When they disappeared, and it was only Rose, Jasper and Alice left, Alice chose to speak. “This house is amazing, at least from what I can see so far. Will you two take us on a tour?”
Rose got excited at the prospect, so I said, “Sure. You'll all need to know the layout, in case anything does go down, so we should probably get that detail out of the way.”
Peter kissed my neck, offering, “Why doncha take the girls, since I can hear Esme comin' back in. I'll take the guys in a bit. I wanna show Major the security panels in the safe room.”
I nodded kissing him lightly, then said with a smile, “Follow me, Girls.”
We snagged Esme from Carlisle's snuggling arms on the way to the top floor, since I wanted to work from the top down. All three of them loved the gothic era of the house. I mentioned that the furniture for the rooms was coming soon, which prompted Esme to ask if I had pictures of what was being trucked in. I told her all the pictures were saved on my laptop, so I'd show her once we got done with the tour.
Rose and Ali picked their rooms. Esme asked hesitantly if it was possible for her and Carlisle to take one of the dual-level lofts. I told her not the one with the skylights connected to the private master wing, but if they wanted to take the other one, I'd have no issue with it. “Carlisle could set up the higher area for a study/sitting room, and lower level could be your private area. I'll see about having Peter replace the railings with privacy glass or something... to let light in, but give you some type of privacy between areas.”
When we reached the double doors to the master bedroom, I opened them both. Alice let out a low whistle as she looked around. “Damn, Bella. This is incredible. I have to say, I never figured you for the type to want extravagance, though.”
I shook my head, “That's just it. Even though I never outwardly was, I've felt at home here since the moment I arrived.”
She eyed my clothes with appreciation, asking with a hand flourish in my direction, “ Pray tell about the clothing style. When did this come about? Not that I don't absolutely want to drool over those killer heels, because... yeah. Speaking of which, can I?”
We had reached the closets by then, so I nodded with a chuckle, “Sure, I'm just gonna show Esme the awesome shower features while you look.”
I had just gotten done showing Esme the different control functions on the shower panel, when I heard an excited squeal. I dashed into the closet as Alice yelled out, “Okay. I seriously want the name of your tailor now, because these are all hand-made and completely awesome. Really, Bella, where'd you get them?”
My breath caught at the sight of my closet. Yes, my other clothes were still there, but they were in one small section of the closet, while the rest was taken up with clothing I had never seen before.
Just as I was getting ready to freak about more clothes popping into my closet unwarranted, Rose opened one of two huge chests on the floor, shrieking, “Weapons, Isabella Swan? Jesus! Since when do you keep weapons in your closet, Hellcat?”
I groaned, knowing this could only be the weird happenings Carlisle was talking about, then gasped at the veritable armory hidden in the chest. It was filled with blades, swords, axes, and a few things I couldn't name, all in lined trays that slid. The outer box of each tray was actually the metal outside of the chest, yet I couldn't even explain what type of metal was used for both the chests and the weapons.
Just as I was going to reach for a large sword that seemed to be calling to me, I heard Esme say cautiously, “Bella, Darling? Maybe we should tell Peter about this. You look truly confused about how this is here in your closet.” I nodded, watching as Rose had some kind of epiphany. With an extremely cautious expression, she carefully closed the chest layers, letting a breath out as she closed the lid.
We walked out toward the main gathering area, with Esme telling Carlisle we needed him on the way. Peter wrapped me in his arms as soon as I was in sight. He asked me if I was okay -I guess because he could feel my feelings.
Before I could say anything, Em came back into the room with a look that was both confused and slightly scared, then scratched his head before saying, “Ummm... Bella? Did you do any remodeling over at the cabin site already? 'Cuz I didn't find it, no matter where I looked, but I did finally come across a big ass valley with a flaming gateway... and some wicked-looking overgrown puppies.”
Peter scowled at Em, and I couldn't help but pull away from him to point my finger in Em's chest. “Now's not the time to be fucking with me about gateways, Em. Seriously. Save it for another day when really weird shit isn't already going on.”
He shook his head, telling me with the most truthful look I've ever seen him have, “No, Bella... honestly. It scared the shit out of me! I've never seen anything like it, so I hauled ass back here. Those puppies were wicked-looking, and that fire cave thing gave me the damn creeps.”
Just then, I heard an eerie howl, followed by three more, causing Peter to look at me with alarm. I felt something calling me to go to those howls, and hissed, “Fuck... alright, let's go.”
The others quickly made their way to their mates, then dashed out ahead of Peter and I, with Em and Edward in the lead.
As Peter picked me up to wrap my legs around his hips, he asked, “What else has happened?”
I shook my head, “More clothes popped into my closet all by themselves, plus two huge chests were on the floor. One was filled with deadly-looking weapons, but we didn't look in the other one. I think, if what I'm feeling is right, the second chest contains yet more weapons... but special ones.”
He let out a breath, inhaling my scent for a split second, then was dashing through the woods toward the cabin site.