DISCLAIMER: I don't own anything associated with the movies or the books.

Chapter Five.

2 days earlier. 21:15PM.

5th Avenue, New York.

Simultaneously, countless millions of super horns wailed through the streets of every city and town across every borough of the entire United States, no matter how rural, and the connecting loudspeakers, equally as numerous, rattled off a pre-recorded, mechanical, message;

"By order of The President of the United States of America, a nation wide curfew will commence at 22:00 hours. During this time military law will be in effect, and will continue until 7:00 hours tomorrow morning. Anyone found breaking this curfew will be detained. For anyone resisting this state sanctioned detention, the use of live ammunition has been authorised. Remain indoors for your own safety."

"...Figures show the national crime rate has risen by another 82 percent over the last two months alone. This poses the question, what is our government..."

Indifference simmering in dark honey eyes, Victoria turned away from the electronics store front with feline grace. Inside the store, rapidly being closed and locked up a full forty five minutes ahead of the curfew by two swarthy male humans, a sixty inch, ultra HD, touch screen TV was proudly showcased in a polished window. Tuned into the nightly news, two human anchors sat behind a high desk, conferring about the country's newest highlights.

Victoria tucked her cold, pale hands into the silk lined, front pockets of her black denim, tawny fur lined, jacket as she crossed the empty street, slipping between lifeless vehicles to reach the opposite sidewalk. She pondered about the plenary strangeness of such a deafening silence settling over the tri state area as she cut into Central Park.

Twenty years ago, New York had been a cluster storm of noise, the shrieks of car horns, the thrumming of hundreds of thousands of humans bustling about, the howling sirens of emergency services, the thunderous clashing of music's resonating well beyond the walls of any club, the hammering of construction sites and the screeching of subways had earned the city a towering reputation of being one of the loudest places on Earth.

Now, the quiet hung heavy over the once rowdy head of New York.

Victoria advanced through the expanse of Central Park along a path of gravel, passing beneath the mellow ray of streetlights, a soundless predator on the hunt for a pixie. The lights caught on her silky mane of crimson curls, the thick tresses glimmered like blood stained rubies. Squirrels and birds chittered in a panic when the fauna finally took note of her approach, too late to escape had she any real interest in the wildlife, and beat a hasty retreat into the trees.

Stalking through the Park, Victoria's long legs swiftly carried the Vampire past Bethesda Terrace, streams of water swished out from the spout of the sizable, lakeside fountain. She strode through the lush vegetation along narrow paths and crossed over Bow Bridge, taking a moment to appreciate the beautiful vista of nature, stalwart trees swayed on the breeze, water bugs skated across the tranquil surface of the lake and fireflies floated about in harmony, and she made a note to suggest a return visit to her beloved mate, Esme. When the time was right.

Instinct bellowed to life from the pit of her soul as a vision of Esme, passionately affectionate, timelessly beautiful, wholly intelligent, downright courageous, artistically talented beyond belief, came to her mind's eye.

-Mine. Protect. Provide. Mine-

Compartmentalising her yearning for the physical touch of her mate away from her duty to serve her Coven. Victoria struggled to ignore the throbbing ache in her chest, lengthening her stride to cover more distance.

Rather than conform to the winding trails of The Ramble, the woodland walk already chiselled into the landscape by innumerable visitors. Victoria sculpted an undeviating track of her own through the gatherings of tress, lines of hedges and the thick, untouched undergrowth. Effortless and supple, Victoria didn't splinter a single spider web or snap even one branch and her preternaturally fleet footed gait prevented the fragile blades of grass under her boots from totally crumbling, and giving her presence away, on her seamless approach to Belvedere Castle. She left not one minuscule shred of evidence of her passing in her wake. It was a subconscious motion, born of necessity from her days as a roving nomad with James and Laurent. She would not be followed by any being lesser than the primordial race, The Sicarri.

Feeling a stomach churning chill run down her spine at the mere thought of a Goddess's monstrous, murderous creations, Victoria growled at herself, stubbornly refusing to glance over the curve of her shoulder to ensure she was truly alone in the Park. Her Vampiric gift of enhanced self preservation had served her well in the past, and with Akasha's millennia's worth of experience to finely attune her ability, she was uniquely qualified to detect such an enormously dire threat to herself, and her Coven by default.

Dismissing the notion, Victoria passed through a break in the vigilant row of trees to be faced with a small lake dipping into the earth. Skirting around the still water's edge, she continued on to the castle looming high, as one of the Park's highest natural elevations, in the distance. An architectural blend of gothic and Romanesque styles carved from schist and granite.

Belvedere Castle served the public of New York as a visitor's centre and gift shop.

Standing at the base of the stone structure, head tilted back so the wavy ends of her fiery red hair brushed her firm backside, she was fondly reminded of home in Denali and what awaited her there. Her mate, her Esme's loving embrace and the thriving life of tamed domesticity. A life, as a Newborn, she could never have predicted she would really take to, once preferring the headiness of her nomadic and often violent lifestyle, but she enjoyed immensely. Even if that life existed in the shadowed byway of an inevitable hurricane.

Circling around Belvedere Castle, she came to a halt beneath the castle's outcropped parapet.

"Oh!. We all love Cornish pasties!. Stuff 'em, fold 'em and try not to burn 'em on a candle stick holder!" A shrill, nasally voice suddenly exploded over the parapet's rampart, assaulting her ears below from all angles. Victoria cringed, offended at the ridiculous attempt at music, gritting her perfect teeth as the piercing sound resonated painfully in the shells of her ears.

"Would you shut it, Argyle?!. Its no wonder the Cornish Clan banished us with your singing!" A second voice squealed, annoyance colouring the slightly lower, smoother octaves.

"Never!. In fact methinks I feel a jig commin' on!. Guinness is the stuff of glorious...!" Argyle continued despite the scolding of his sensible companion.

The sharp slapping sound of skin quickly impacting on skin was unmistakable to Victoria, "You gonna bring the human military down on our heads, you clown!, they gonna think some one is dying!"

Crouching low to the damp grass, Victoria, with the easy dexterity of a primed jungle cat, leapt up toward the parapet, fourteen feet above. She rapidly adapted to the sensation of buoyancy as she cleared the space with exquisite adroitness, she landed atop the outstretched wall on the balls of her feet, forearms crossed over her muscular thighs.

"Pfft Alma!. Y'know the humans don't come into the park this close to curfew!. Stop hitting me!. Alma!." Argyle held up his dwarfish hands to protect his head of shaggy dark hair from Alma's onslaught of open handed swats.

Silent as a wraith, Victoria unfolded herself from her crouch, straightening to her full impressive height. She rested her elegant hands on the flare of her hips as she watched, vaguely amused by, the two pygmy pixies spiritedly wrestle around on the frigid stone floor of the parapet.

Alma and Argyle, a pair of displaced Cornish pixies, were recent acquaintances of hers, purely by fortunate happenstance while the vampire scoured the length and breadth country searching for a mage. Broadly humanoid in appearance, there were subtle differences that inhibited pixies from ever melding into human society. The top of his head level with the Vampire's wrist, Argyle was the taller of the two. Both pixies had pointed ears and the corners of their too-bright emerald eyes drifted upward toward their temples. As a species, pixies had a proclivity for mischief and trouble, all with a child-like innocence and charm. Their natural habitat erred toward Woodlands, as a result, there was a small host of pixies to be found in Central Park.

Argyle's small head tucked under her arm in a headlock, Alma froze instantly when Victoria cleared her throat, announcing her arrival on the parapet. Abruptly, two pairs of big green eyes were trained on the Vampire. She heard the pixie's heartbeat quicken, not with fear as she had given her word not to eat the two having discovered they didn't smell at all appetising, but in excitement at their friend's speedy return to Belvedere Castle.

"Lassie!" Argyle shouted with a wide joyous grin.

"Vicky!" Alma smiled, twin dimples appearing in her pink cheeks.

Their heated argument utterly forgotten, the two pixies rambunctiously skipped toward the vampire, joined their hands together in a circle and began dancing around her legs animatedly.

"I told ya I felt a jig commin' on, Alma!" Argyle laughed. A high pitched sound, though not unpleasant, Victoria doubted she could endure for an extended term.

Bending down, Victoria firmly gripped a shoulder of each pixie in one hand, taking great care not to fracture delicate bones beneath her fingers. She ushered the two pixies to stand in a line, shoulder to shoulder, in front of her.

"Quiet now." Victoria spoke softly, her velvety tone earning her the rapt attention of her two tiny companions.

"Aye, aye ma'am." Donning a mask of seriousness, Argyle saluted with two short fingers to his forehead.

"Didja get it, Vicky?. Didja?." Alma whispered, wringing her hands together anxiously.

Chuckling airily at their eagerness, Victoria dropped to one knee on the parapet, bringing her closer to the pixies' own height. Reaching into the inside pocket of her jacket, she produced a folded square of yellowed and dog-eared paper.

Argyle clamped his hand over his thin lips, struggling to contain his impending scream of delight. Alma's eyes were practically glowing as she snatched up the paper. The two pixies huddled together closely, heads bowed while they carried out their inspection of their loot.

"Ah ha!..." Argyle cackled, clutching the unfolded sheet of paper to his scrawny chest, "...My great nana's recipe for Cornish pasties!. Its home again." The male pixies big eyes glistened with unshed tears.

Victoria shook her head slowly, incredulous at the pixies' outlandish behaviour, though she couldn't help but smile.

"Yes. Now you can stop singing about 'em and start cooking 'em again." Alma whispered, patting Argyle on the shoulder with a pronounced roll of her eyes. Argyle wasn't listening, instead he swayed to unheard music with his angled eyes closed.

Alma took up Victoria's larger hand in both of her small palms, the pixie bowed her head and pressed her forehead to the vampire's knuckles and muttered a verse in Gaelic.

"You really, truly, positively, have no idea how grateful we are, Vicky. One more night of his unholy howling, and I swear..." Alma broke off with a dimpled smile, "...Anyhow, a deal is a deal."

Alma scrambled toward the rampart, she was barely tall enough to see over the edge of the stone balustrade. Gripping the wall, Alma grunted as she pulled herself up off her feet to gain a better view of Central Park. Voice strained as the unforgiving rampart bit into the pixie's sternum, Alma flung her arm out, pointing.

"So once every two months, a mage pops up through an entry portal over there at the zoo, in the seal enclosure. No idea where the exit portal is, but it ain't in the park." Alma pushed herself off the wall, landed steadily on her feet and brandished her arms proudly.

Exuberance flooded Victoria's veins with such potent force she nearly fell to her knees. After two decades of searching fruitlessly for a possible solution to the destruction of the Sicarri's binding stone. Finally, a solid lead. A lead she could relay to Bella and Rosalie. At last, she could provide her children with the news they had desperately waited to hear for twenty years. A reprieve her maternal instinct had demanded she track down and deliver to them. Before an elated purr could escape her full red lips, Victoria wrapped her arms around her middle to dampen that swell of jubilation. She remained stoic in the night air.

She chewed on her lower lip and forced steel into her tone, willing her voice not to waver, "And when was the last time a mage came through, Alma?."

The pixie's pointed ears wilted with disappointment. Alma tucked her hands behind her back and shuffled on her feet nervously.

"I was kinda hoping you wouldn't ask that."

Sensing the answer to follow, the Vampire was dismayed, Victoria's irises faded to deep, inky black. Her long, slender fingers curled into white-knuckle fists with her frustration.

"Last week. I remember because he went trampling through old man Brieue's mushroom patch." Alma admitted, barely above a whisper. "Brazen swine didn't even look back." The pixie rambled, studying the ground with overt interest.

Victoria lifted her foot, planting her boot on the stone railing. Swallowing back a primal roar of fury lodged at the back of her throat. She leaned forward, resting her full weight on her bent knee. Dark eyes flashed dangerously as she chewed on the inside of her cheek.

A gentle hand touched her upper thigh. Her onyx irises flicked to land on Alma's almost elven features. Faced with the bestial intensity of the vampire's glare, she pixie jerked back her palm, like she had gripped a boiling hot pot.

"I dunno why you're fishing for Mages, Vicky, slippery little snots that they are. And I know you're not gonna tell us, but we do have something that might cheer you up. Argyle!, bring the box, you lazy twit!."

Pixies were physically stronger than they appeared, as evidenced by Argyle hefting a solid crate as wide as he was tall, from inside Belvedere Castle out onto the parapet. The vampire's nose wrinkled as she scented the air, attempting to determine what lay within. A sickly sweet smell, similar to treacle, wafted up her nostrils as her hawk like gaze zeroed in on ancient Celtic runes inscribed on each of the crate's faces. Magic, she surmised feeling her beast in her heart peel its lips away from sharp teeth and hiss in response, to contain the contents of what lay within and to disguise it's odour.

The crate landed heavily at Victoria's feet as the Vampire stepped back from the rail. She glanced down at the pixies, curious, despite herself. Argyle groaned, stretching and clutching his back as he looked up at her.

"Either that. Or give you a hankering for barbeque pixie on a stick." Argyle laughed apprehensively "Haha, stop talking, Argyle. It's a bad, bad idea." The male pixie wondered off to the furthest corner of the parapet, muttering to himself and gnawing on his short finger nails. Shooting her intermittent glances nervously.

"We found it while you were off tracking down Argyle's nana's recipe..." Alma explained, patting the top of the wooden crate.

"Down by the lake it was...Chewing on a duck. An adult duck if you really wanna know..."

"Do get to the point Alma." Victoria prompted brusquely.

Alma nodded shakily and opened the crate with a hard pull and a forceful shove. The thick lid fell to the ground with a ringing clatter.

Her muscles locked rigidly and her hackles lifted instinctively, Victoria was totally taken aback by the shocking sight before her. That of a quivering, starving newborn vampire.


Present.

Denali Mansion, Denali National Park, Alaska.

Hunger and desire momentarily sated, Bella lay languidly sprawled across the kings sized bed she shared with Rosalie. Multi thousand thread count Egyptian cotton sheets shredded and ripped, were in utter disarray. Goose and duck feather pillows were discarded throughout their bedroom. The air was thick with the musky scent of sex.

Her head of thick mahogany hair rested on her bent, lightly muscled arm. Naked, her hard stomach and high, ample breasts were bare. Between her parted legs, her mate lay on her front. Rosalie lovingly nuzzled her belly, just above her navel. Bella ran her long, slender fingers through the glorious ness of her mate's silky golden tresses, stroking Rosalie's scalp tenderly. Content and fulfilled for the first time in days, since their separation, she felt an audible purr rumbling in her chest, deep and husky. A sound of complete devotion and happiness mirrored in the back of Rosalie's throat as the blonde Fae pressed a sweet kiss to her abdomen.

"Her name is Bree." Rosalie murmured distractedly.

The rich and cultured melody of the blonde's voice soothed the jagged breaches in her soul that every trip away from her mate and their young caused. She had listened intently to those calming octaves as Rosalie explained the friction filled exchange that had greeted her on her return home.

"The newborn." Bella clarified absentmindedly, intimately running the pad of her thumb over the silky, glossy of a blonde curl.

The torn sheets were gathered at Rosalie's lower back, hiding the firm perfection of her female's backside. Flawlessly tempting dimples framed the graceful shape of her mate's spine. The silver moonlight spilled into the bedroom through a domineering line of floor to ceiling windows, exalting the sublime milky paleness of Rosalie's warm supple flesh.

Rosalie hummed her affirmation. She welcomed the firm weight of her female as Rosalie crossed her arms over her sternum. The blonde rested her sculpted chin on her linked forearms, studying her with fond neon blue eyes.

Her mate's luscious pink lips parted, "V has accepted all responsibility for Bree, and Esme..." Rosalie smiled with affection for their mother.

The corner of Bella's mouth curled knowingly, "Already loves her as a daughter."

"Yes."

Her eyes drifted closed and her unbeating heart seemed to flutter as Rosalie shifted slowly. Her female moved up the stretch of her body, her mate rested her weight on her elbows planted either side of her shoulders. Long blonde hair brushed teasingly over the curve of her shoulder. A sigh of pleasure burst from her lips as the softness of Rosalie's sumptuous breasts pressed into her own. How she loved this female. She had only ever known peace with Rosalie.

Bella's eyes drifted open lazily as the wondrous sweetness of Rosalie's lips brushed lightly over her own. As desperately as she wanted to lose herself in Her mate's kiss, she sought a fleeting resolution before asking, "And Jane's problem with that, would be?."

Rosalie uttered a harsh sigh. The blonde rose to straddle her lean hips, elegant hands rested on her pelvis. Lust punched low, stirring in her pussy as she possessively raked her darkening gaze over Rosalie's plump, upturned breasts, feeling her mouth moisten as her black eyes caressed the pebbles pink nipples. She helplessly canted her hips slowly, deliberately upwards into the cradle of Rosalie's flared hips as her hot gaze was drawn to the hairless mound and brightly glistening slit between her mate's splayed, toned thighs.

-Mine. My female. Soon be ready to breed again.- Instinct whispered seductively in her ear.

Animalistic and growing more and more aroused, Bella snarled as Rosalie moaned and trembled, shameless in her want. Abruptly, the blonde gripped her waist and firmly pinned her hips to the bed beneath them.

"Jane is of the opinion, still of the Volturi stance, that immortal children should not be allowed to live." Rosalie licked her lips, her voice thickened with the heft of pensiveness and raspy with deep seated desire.

Covering the back of Rosalie's hands with her palms, she linked their fingers together in harmony, lifting their joined hands from her hips as she sat up with a dissonant growl. This would not be the first occasion Jane and the rest of the Coven had clashed over ideals.

"We're not the Volturi. How many times... how could she..." Bella sighed roughly and bristled.

Words fled her as she began to shake with rage. Rosalie crooned calmingly, squeezing her hands gently.

She was abhorred at the unthinkable suggestion of murdering a child, simply on account of that child being turned into a vampire under unknown circumstances. Anger simmered beneath her skin. How could Jane possibly infer such a thing?. Even had she not been a sire to two young herself, such an evil thought would never have entered her head. It was repulsive. It was unsurprising her sire, Victoria, had looked furious enough to tear Jane's head from her shoulders in the mansion's vestibule earlier.

"I made it clear that we would never entertain it..." Rosalie whispered quietly, equally as disturbed, "...But you will have to speak to Jane."

Releasing the hold of their clasped hands, Rosalie wrapped her arms around her neck. Bella allowed herself to be drawn into an tender embrace, burying her face in the silky hollow at the base of her beloved mate's throat.

"If I speak to her, I'll throttle her myself." Bella growled darkly.

"An impulse I completely understand..." Rosalie snorted without mirth, "...But you're the head of this Coven. Your words carry more weight than mine."

"Now that is ridiculous, besides, Jane was fourteen when she and Alec were turned. She is practically an immortal child herself!" Bella exclaimed, resting her temple against Rosalie's collarbone. She shook her head, dumbfounded.

Rosalie nodded, rubbing her cheek against the top of Bella's head.

"A thousand years ago, she would've been considered an adult. Old enough to marry, have a child, have a home. It was a different time." Her wise mate murmured thoughtfully.

A grumbling reluctance to empathise with the former Volturi guard evident in Rosalie's tone.

"I'll speak to her. Shit. I'll be telling her exactly how I feel about the fucking subject." Bella relented vengefully.

Rosalie drew slow, geometric patterns along her shoulder blades with a feather-light touch.

She reared her head back from Rosalie's chest, sending a withering glare at the closed door to their bedroom when she detected the faint patter of footsteps rushing in the direction of the bedroom.

"Dammit. What is it?!" Bella bellowed irritably, knowing full well that a Coven mate was about to burst through the door. She was not yet ready to share the mother of her young with the ever churning outside world.

Alice barged in through the heavy oak, polished door, eyes wide and dark with panic. Every ounce of warmth in the room bled out through the open doorway. Sensing their sister's anxiousness to mean a most dreaded occurrence. Cradled in her lap, she felt Rosalie instinctively pressed closer to her, clutching at her. A fearful whine resonated in the blonde's chest. She held Rosalie protectively against her, a thousand thoughts thundering through her head turned the venom in her veins artic cold.

It can't be. Not yet.

"Trouble at the school."

TBC . . .