AN: Welcome to my newest vamp fic! I have been having fun with the wolves (and I still am) but I missed my vamps- especially Garrett. Also missed my vamp readers! So, I decided to go ahead and start posting this even thought I'm still writing my Bella/Paul story- Delinquent.

This is a little different. It takes place ten years after Breaking Dawn (the book, not the movie), so everything in the books actually happened. I have changed some things with Nessie, because to be perfectly honest, the girl creeps me out. I think I have fixed her here.

The chapters will vary in length because I outlined this ahead of time (yes, I planned something- shocking, I know) ;) I plan to update every two weeks or so, until I finish with Delinquent and can devote more attention to this story. First chapter is mostly background info, and then the action picks up pretty quick after that.


Summary: The Volturi may have run from the first confrontation, but they never stopped planning their revenge. Who will comfort Bella when the Cullens pay the ultimate price for their insubordination?


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assuage (verb)
1. to make milder or less severe; relieve; ease; mitigate:
to assuage one's grief; to assuage one's pain.
2. to appease; satisfy; allay: to assuage one's hunger.
3. to soothe, calm, or mollify:
to assuage his fears; to assuage her anger.

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Assuagement

Bella POV
"Ugh!" I threw the phone down with an angry huff, barely noticing that it never hit the ground. Tanya's cool fingers slipped between mine to carefully untangle the hair I had fisted in anger. I had forgotten she was still in the house.

"Trouble in paradise?" she asked, smiling at me in friendly amusement as she hopped lithely over the back of the couch to settle beside me.

I accepted her silent offer and leaned my head onto her lap, letting her magical hands work the tension from my body as she played with my hair. I couldn't hold back a snort of laughter as I pictured Edward's face if he could see us now. He was quite vocal in his disapproval of our friendship, though he could never come up with a reason why. I had a feeling it had to do with Tanya's thoughts—she was completely unapologetic about her attraction to me.

Sighing with pleasure, I closed my eyes and let her tender ministrations relax my tongue. "Of course," I said, answering her question. "Edward thinks I have been here too long and I need to come home to my husband, where I belong."

She giggled at my fairly accurate impression of my mate, and tapped me lightly on the nose in rebuke. "Now, Bella, you know he's missing you terribly. Without you there, who is rearranging his music collection, or getting smudges on his piano? Rosalie is probably having to work twice as hard to keep him at his standard level of irritation."

I laughed softly, but her words hit achingly close to home. For the past few years I had felt more and more like an inconvenience to Edward. We hadn't moved away from Forks yet—mostly because of Charlie, and Renesmee's relationship with the pack.

Our daughter spent most of her time at La Push now; she loved spending time with Jacob. I was grateful that their imprint had progressed more like Quil and Claire's, and Jacob had opened his heart to Leah. She was more their daughter than ours these days, and she doted on her younger "siblings," Harry and little Sarah.

Of course, it was also impossible to miss the growing attraction between Nessie and Seth, but I knew that while she was almost fully developed both physically and mentally, she hadn't quite reached maturity on the sexual front. That's where having an overprotective alpha pair as surrogate parents came in handy—Seth would never act inappropriately with Jacob's imprint. Leah would tan his hide.

"Hey." Tanya's voice was softer, and she looked down at me with concern. "I didn't mean to upset you. I heard what Edward said to you. I really wish you wouldn't let him speak to you that way. You're not a child, and you're certainly not inferior in any way. That's just preposterous!"

Edward's jealousy was something I thought we'd seen the last of when I gave myself to him for eternity. Of course, Jacob imprinting on our daughter didn't help, but my best friend did move up in his esteem once he and Leah were married.

No, Edward's jealousy had somehow transferred to me. It happened slowly, so that at first I thought I must be imagining things. I mean, we'd survived a showdown with the Volturi, in large part due to my shield. Our family and friends were grateful for my protection, and Edward was initially appeased by my ability to finally share my thoughts with him.

He quickly became obsessed, asking me to lower my shield any time we were talking, and any time I returned home after being away from him. Nessie and Alice did their best to keep him distracted, but it still drove a wedge between us.

Then there were my admirers. Nahuel was almost worshipful around me, both as a mother to a hybrid and as a powerful shield. Of course, he had a vested interest in my daughter as well, not that Jacob would let him around her very often. Their imprint truly was a godsend.

Over the past few years we'd had visits from the Amazon coven, the Egyptian coven (well, Benny and Tia, at least), the Irish coven, and even Alistair. With each visit, Edward grew more possessive and even more arrogant. It was as if he no longer viewed me as a mate, but as a valuable possession.

Alice confided to me that it was his fear that was driving him—he worried that the Volturi would still send an assassin to take me out. The holes in her visions worried him about my future safety.

Just as I was about to answer Tanya, we heard the approaching footsteps of Garrett and Kate. I sat up quickly, knowing we would likely get a ribbing from Kate's affable mate. He loved to tease us about our friendship, begging us for compromising images he could replay for Edward at his earliest opportunity.

They came through the door, still locked in each other's eyes. Kate adored the former nomad-turned-vegetarian, and her love was written all over her face as she gazed up at him from her place at his side.

Garrett's dark orange irises still shone with the evidence of his recent slip in our diet, but, unlike Jasper, he hadn't been banished from the family home in shame. The Denalis bolstered him up and supported him in a way the Cullen family would never understand.

I squeezed Tanya's hand as I thought of my own newborn slip all those years ago. Jasper agreed that the young man I'd killed had absolutely been my singer, and he and Emmett were the only ones understanding of my situation. Edward, ironically, was deeply ashamed of me.

To avoid a problem with the wolves, I'd been sent to Denali until my eyes regained their proper coloring. Tanya was still mourning the loss of her sister, Irina, but she took me under her wing and we gained a bond that is still closer than my 'sisters' or 'mother' back home. Tanya was my mentor, my truest friend and sister. Other than Charlie and Ness, I was pretty sure she was the only person on earth who loved me unconditionally.

"Oh, ho! What do we have here?" Garrett's called out boisterously as they stepped further into the room. "Did we interrupt anything?" His rather bushy eyebrows waggled in exaggerated humor, and I couldn't hold back my answering smile. Garrett could always boost my spirits.

The couch bounced with his weight when he plopped himself down beside me, pulling Kate onto his lap with practiced ease. I couldn't help but feel a pang of jealousy at their easy relationship. They never fought, and they respected each other as equals, despite the fact that Kate was so much older than he.

Sensing the shift in my mood again, Tanya put her arm around me, and I laid my head on her shoulder. I had only been here a week, but I really did miss Edward. Even if he was being a complete ass most of the time.

"I'm sorry, little one. Has your mate called again?" Garrett's hand on my knee was comforting, and Kate reached out to lace her fingers with mine in silent support. She and I had made our peace after the showdown with the Volturi. She enjoyed having a family member other than Garrett who didn't occasionally flinch when she reached for them.

I nodded, and started to recount the conversation that Tanya had overheard, but decided it wouldn't help things. "Maybe he's right. I've had a nice visit, but I should be home with my mate and daughter."

As if I had summoned his call with my words, my phone sounded with the ringtone reserved for my husband. The soothing notes of Clare de Lune filled the quiet of the room, and I stood to leave and take the call in private. I appreciated the Denalis' support, but it was time for me to stand on my own.

"Edward?"

"Bella, my love. I wanted to apologize for my harsh words earlier. I-"

"No, Edward. You were right. I was upset about Jasper and Alice leaving, and I have been hiding out here. I'll come home now."

"NO!" I had to pull the phone away from my ear at his loud rebuttal. "No, it's fine, love. I think you were right. You need some space, some time away, like you said."

His voice sounded strange at the end, and I couldn't decide if he really wanted me to stay or come home. Maybe Carlisle had fussed at him after our last conversation, and he felt like he had to say that. "Edward, I really don't mind. I really was about to call you and tell you I was coming home."

"Bella, please listen to me. Renesmee is staying the weekend with Jacob, and he said they had a lot of things planned with the Pack. I'm helping Carlisle with some things at work, so I don't want you to rush home when you have friends up there that you're enjoying. Just... have fun, okay?"

I stood up and began pacing the room, completely thrown by the way this conversation differed from our previous one. I had defended Jasper again, and Edward called me immature and accused me of running away from home like a rebellious adolescent. Needless to say, I hadn't appreciated his tone or callous words.

"Edward, are you sure you're not mad at me? I want to do the right thing here..."

His sigh sounded forlorn, heartbreaking really, and I just wanted to reach through the phone and hold him tight. "Love, please. This is one of those times I need you to trust me, okay? Stay there, and I promise I'm not angry. I love you so much. 'Plus que ma propre vie...'"

The line went dead and I stared at my phone in confusion. It wasn't until later that I realized what he'd said. "More than my own life..."