A/N: Hey all, it's been a long time since I've written anything but this idea came to me recently and I've wanted to give it a try and get myself back into writing again. It's not going to be your typical twilight story and I warn you it's going to be darker then some may like, so be warned all of you. It's picking up before the plans for dealing with Victoria and the Newborns have been put in place during Eclipse. Other then that I really do hope you guys like what I've got and that you end up sticking around while I get about writing this story. I'm going to try and post at least once a week though I can't set a day I hope to be able to keep to an update a week.
I'd like to say a huge Thank You to my Beta The Overambitious Dreamer who has been a massive help with my work, with me being still a little rusty. So thank you.
Without boring you I'll let you get to the story hope you all enjoy.
SUMMARY: Edward had always warned Bella that the pack were dangerous. Hostile, volatile and aggressive in nature. She ignored him, testing even Edward's own vampire instinct by staying friends with his enemy, Jacob. One event will change them all, Bella never truly understood the supernatural world. Didn't understand the aggression that lay dormant even in her controlled mate until it was too late. Warning: Violence and Character death.
Disclaimer: Stephenie Meyer owns Twilight and all the Characters.
Edward could not understand how she could possibly do this to him again.
He'd been standing on the borderline that split the treaty line between where his family's land and La Push's land was. He'd asked her, all but begged Bella to not go to La Push; that it wasn't safe for her there. He knew she didn't want to listen, but he'd hoped. Hoped, just this once, that she'd actually listen to him, and refrain from visiting her friend. Even in his own mind the word 'friend' came in a tone that was violent and hissed. It was the wrong way to explain that odd relationship she had with the mutt. After all, how could a friendship work when one of the members wanted more than just friendship, when he would manipulate any given situation to keep her close to him? He'd tried to explain it to her but for some reason the moment he addressed it, it was like Bella completely forgot that he could hear the thoughts of her friend. He'd tried to be understanding of the friendship at first, after all Edward was more than willing to accept his fault in the entire situation. He'd left his true love to protect her from the supernatural world, and had all but destroyed them all in his desire to protect her, and of course the danger magnet (as he'd affectionately dubbed her) had found a pack of wolves to befriend in his absence. There was also the bitter reality that the mutt had been there for her in her time of need when he'd been the one to hurt her; he hated feeling indebted to the deceitful manipulative child but the pack had saved Bella from Laurent and ruined Victoria's attempts.
He'd offered his appreciation to the child and only received taunting insults and forced images of his twisted thoughts on how he'd kill Edward and take Bella for himself. Edward, who had garnered the respect from some of the most powerful immortals in this world - even Aro, of the Volturi who ruled the vampire world - desired him even in his millennia in age.
And there he was swallowing down the insults of a child.
His love for Bella was never meant to be a weakness, and yet each moment he left her mortal and allowed this friendship, it seemed to only make him feel pathetic. He held his patience, he swallowed his pride and he accepted that Bella wanted to keep her friendship with the pack and all the while knowing it was really only Jake she was attempting to keep in her life. She allowed for a hostile shifter to court her attention all in Jacob hopes that she'd succumb to him and leave the bloodsucker with no one. This, however, would perhaps be the last straw. He'd been putting together a logical argument for days to approach her with one to finally make her see sense. He'd tried to convince her of the danger before. That hadn't worked, but he wasn't surprised. After all, he'd once tried to warn her of the danger he posed to her but it had fallen on deaf ears. Isabella would have to finally accept her choice. She wanted to be Switzerland but that wasn't possible. She'd set the date for her transformation, made the choice to be with Edward forever. There was no fence sitting in the world of supernatural. She wanted to be a Cullen, therefore she accepted that the Cullens were not friends with the pack; she'd remain off the lands that the Cullens had agreed to stay away from all those years ago. His time of sitting back and allowing her to use the fact he'd hurt her by leaving as a way to get what she wanted was over, he could no longer sit back and allow such disrespect to him and the bond they shared. He didn't doubt her love, but he was under no illusion that she was still punishing him. Wasn't this exactly what she was doing? After all, she was testing boundaries, forcing him into this situations where he was concerned and worried, with no way of keeping her safe.
It also didn't help his patience having the wolves watching him. It was humiliating as he listened to the thoughts of Paul and Embry. Both had stationed themselves a few miles from his position. They knew he could read minds but he doubted Bella had ever truly known the extent of his ability. So, these wolves believed their thoughts safe where they stood and yet Edward could hear the mumbled sound of thoughts in Forks and La Push. The wolves underestimated the strength of the Cullen family because of the constant forced pleasantries Carlisle had demanded. He, too, had made them all look weak to these immature wolves. Ephraim Black had been a man, mature and intelligent; he'd also been terrified of the Cullens. He'd fought vampires and knew the reality of what the numbers meant. No single wolf could fight a single vampire; they attacked in packs or pods of no less than two to ensure they could fight a vampire. These children had attacked Laurent and killed him, he'd been unaware of what they were and was not talented in any sense in fighting or combat. There had also been five wolves. They had killed him relatively simply because of the numbers and Laurent's lack of knowledge on them. That victory had tainted their belief in vampire ability. Ignorant and naive, just like the children they were, they believed themselves faster than us and yet Edward knew from their minds he could out run them all. Even Emmett, the slowest of our family would not struggle remaining ahead of this pack.
"Freaky, leech just standing there still waiting. I just wish...wish he'd step one foot past the line. I'd rip his head from his shoulders quicker than he could blink." Paul's thoughts were loud and antagonistic like most of the pack and yet he held an aggression much crueler then the others'. He accepted that he was allowed to be angry because he was a wolf, like it was a good enough excuse to give for any outburst he had since his transformation.
"Wouldn't want Jake to be jealous... everyone knows he wants to tear this guy up. If he'd sack up and just challenge him then he wouldn't be playing stupid games to keep Bella around." Edward listened more intently at the mention of Bella but it was clear from his thoughts and images that he'd seen Bella and Jake in his garage working on the stupid bikes before he'd left with Paul.
It was then that Edward's phone buzzed in his pocket. His hand was almost in the pocket of his jeans at the exact moment he saw another set of thoughts in the shared link of Paul and Embry. Edward could see instantly that it was Jacob Black's mind.
The complete tinge of rage in his mind shocked both boys. It only took Edward a second to see what Paul and Embry hadn't in Jake's mind. Jake's thoughts still channelled with outrage. He had shifted in the garage.
Edward couldn't see yet what Bella had said to him, but it had set off his shift and he'd been far too close to her as he'd been holding her arms tightly when he'd shifted. He'd lost control, he'd lost control while she was within arms distance of him. She had refused to step away when he'd told her and he'd savagely shifted. Edward watched the memory of her scream of the sound and feel of skin ripping under his claws as he lashed out against her. Edward was already moving before he watched her fragile body hit the ground. He'd already leapt the advancing attack of Embry and Paul when he watched her blood spatter against the wall through Jake's eyes. Edward felt a deep rage within him, like it had been there already to snap as he swept through the forest, all but sending a loud whistling sound to those close as he burst through the wooded area that lead to the small house of the Black family.
Her fragrance so strong and lulling around the small clearing of the area, and he could see her body unmoving her blood. The very blood that had tortured him, spilling into the ground. Her heart beating but so very faintly. Then he saw Jacob Black.
He had heard from both Paul and Embry that Edward was coming. They were far behind but would be here soon enough to help Jake destroy him. They had all but forgotten about Isabella, Edward's mate, the other part of his soul. Those who claimed to protect human life would let her bleed out. A boy who claimed to love her would choose to fight Edward before getting her help.
Edward's mind snapped.
The roar that left his lips in that moment chilled even the arrogant child in front of him as he saw Edward finally for what he was. Black eyed, hair windswept, a face twisted in rage he saw the vampire. He lunged, but Edward was faster.
These children knew little of a real vampire. They had failed to take Victoria, had beaten the weak Laurent. But Edward was a different foe. The wolf body was not built to battle alone, so large and yet vulnerable to attack. Yes, it was true that the pack healed exceptionally fast, but with lack of time and in the throes of battle there was no time to heal or dwell on pain. Edward was the ultimate predator, he restrained from hunting humans but unlike some of his family for a time he had embraced the hunter in him. He had even had to defend his prey from other vampires, his speed and the ability to read minds all added up to make Edward a violent and formidable enemy. Jasper, the most advanced in the art of fighting could not even best Edward. Emmet with all his strength could not pin Edward. Aro did not want Edward for simply his gift; he desired Edward for the entirety that he could become, should he turn away from the animal diet he chose to keep.
Perhaps Jacob would have had a chance against Edward. Had Edward been of right mind. He over thought things and never desired to upset Bella, and it would have made him second guess himself fighting the child but this wasn't Edward sane. This was the monster Edward fought against every day, the instinctual part of him he named the monster, the part of him that made him believe he was soulless and damned. This was not the vampire Jacob Black was prepared for, he was not prepared to fight a century old experienced vampire who was fighting to protect his mate. For all his bravado and arrogance, the battle was over before it began. Jacob lunged, his large body making it easy to pick parts to harm. Edward moved so fast, just at the right time. Jacob went to snap his large canines at him, exposing his neck. Edward didn't wait. He slammed his hand deep into the large neck of Jacob, his skin still fragile, still very mortal, and he reached deep into the frantic child and took hold of his neck. With one squeeze of the strength Edward normally controlled he pulverised the bone in his neck completely, and then for a brief second, Edward listened to the sounds of the boy's mind slowly fade away as his body shifted back to human. Then Edward dropped him.
The grotesque angle of Jake's head and large hand shaped wound in the side of his neck revealing his spine and tissue showed him to be dead. Not even the shifters could heal from such a savage attack.
There was a dark side to Edward's natural instincts that wanted him to further disgrace the body of one who had so arrogantly been sure he'd defeat the century old vampire. He'd barely lasted a second in a true fight with an immortal that had dark intentions for him, so sure was he of his ability he forgot the reason why wolves hunted in packs. The treaty had never been put in place to protect the Cullen family; of course they had wanted peace between them but it had been Ephraim's only choice. If he'd denied the treaty and then tried to fight them then with his pack of only three it would have been a slaughter. This pack had more within it and yet were so naively foolish they didn't see their enemy clearly. Edward could hear the howl of Embry and Paul, both shocked and in grief at what had happened, both still confused and enraged. They couldn't believe Edward had been so fast to out run them with such ease but then they had witnessed the confrontation through the shared link. They too had shared in the fading of Jacob's mind and suffered his pain as Edward had killed him and they for the first time doubted they had what it would take to fight this immortal. They had mocked and taunted him endlessly and only now were the once naive children being awoken to the reality of what the vampire kind were truly capable of. Had they ignored the tales their people spoke about the cold ones so deeply that they had chosen to ignore the legend of the third wife? The female vampire had devastated them before the human had sacrificed her own life to protect a shifter. Edward was not going to be distracted by blood though. For so long he had feared his instincts, the dormant monster, and what it would mean for Bella. The monster didn't desire to harm her any more than Edward had. Both loved her, both of them wanted her, both would be ruined without her and for the first time in the depths of his own sanity, Edward felt himself thanking the monster for protecting his love. He had accepted the monster's place in his life and it was like a binding had broken over him; he was suddenly so much more free in his own being.
Edward realised that he could continue to keep track of Bella's heartbeat while the monster took charge of the coming fight, his deepest desire was to help Bella. He couldn't move her, though, without care, and right now he was on enemy land and had provoked a war. He'd need to survive the fight with two more mutts before he could get Bella to Carlisle. Her heart while still beating, but was far too weak to begin the change. It shocked Edward to his core how little he suddenly cared for her humanity when faced with the real possibility of her dying. He'd hand over her soul to the devil himself if he could just keep her, he'd swear to carry the burden of all sins of this world in his eventual demise if he was just allowed to keep her forever. There was no punishment he wouldn't suffer to have her. No obstacle he wouldn't endure to love her, a century of this life alone with his gifts had been a curse for Edward, his self loathing and hatred of his own desires and the sins he'd committed, and yet in this moment he'd promise more devastation to whoever took her from him; if there was a god, Edward knew that should he lose Bella in this moment he'd turn the world to ash in his need for vengeance for having her taken from him.
Paul and Embry broke through the tree line, their large bodies knocking aside trees and colliding together slightly in their urgency to get to Edward. He watched them intently. Paul and Embry, too, paused briefly seeing Jacob dead at Edward's feet, they knew something was deeply different about the vampire they had mocked only moments before. The arrogance of youth had finally left and now Edward stood blocking the sight of Bella still on the ground from their view. Edward didn't wait this time. He was the first to move. Years of having access to Jasper's mind, the most skilled fighter Edward had ever come across in the immortal world, gave him strategy that these children would not know. They'd been preparing for the dangers of Victoria, and the Cullen family had taken training themselves seriously. Had it not only been days ago that Jasper had made the mental musing about Edward. He'd heard his battle scarred warrior of a brother muse of the idea of how easily battles would have been won in the South with Edward present. Of course, Jasper had layered ways to try and use Edward's own thought process and forced control against him, but Jasper had seen in Edward something not even Carlisle had ever been willing to see. Jasper, an immortal that had spent so much time around the truly evil of their kind, had seen while sparring with Edward the true depths of Edward's darkness; a century of bitterness and anger, a self loathing that had been so evident but even in that, Jasper had felt such anger in his brother it had made him stumble. Edward hated everyone. It had disturbed Jasper for a moment when he'd truly seen Edward's hate for the first time.
Jasper had then, as his mind was vulnerable and open with Edward pinning him to the ground, said what Edward had always believed, what Edward had even heard from Aro's own mind in Volterra. It would have been so easy for Edward to become one of the most deadly of them all, with his speed and mind reading he'd always be a step ahead. He'd always be able to react just quick enough. Had they all not witnessed the countless times Edward had even managed to somehow beat Alice who saw the future? Even with her gift of visions, Alice was hard pressed to best Edward. Jasper knew that behind Edward's held control and restraint laid a dormant beast, not the monster of his thirst but one created in anger. Finally that side of Edward was being recognised as he attacked Embry and Paul.
The two of them were better suited to fight Edward, though there were two of them they used the same manoeuvres that Ephraim had trained into his own men. It was old, yet still affective when they had numbers, and Edward could see in that moment as he dipped and slashed down Embry's side and cracked the boy's hind leg joint that against any normal vampire it may have been enough. They weren't accustomed to dealing with the gifted of the vampire kind. Hadn't Aro shown just how effective those gifted in immortal life were in the world? He'd created an entire ruling guard with the talents he desired to have him remain in power. Edward found that while the shared link was somewhat of a hindrance to him, it was even more so to the pack. Pain clouded a person's mind and here as Edward sank his teeth into Paul's neck ripping the chunk from the crook of his neck, he felt the moment that the poisonous venom seeped into Paul's system and then watched as Embry stumbled under the agony of it. A shared mind. They were still not completely used to it. While Edward had shared the minds of all around him for a hundred years, he was used to not having the silence of only his thoughts. What had once been agony for Edward was now becoming a weakness for the wolves as Paul now lay in human form, his body twisted and mangled over his shoulder, a large chunk of flesh missing from Edward's bite.
Edward left him to die slowly; he didn't offer the angry child mercy even in his pleading. Edward left Paul in pain on the ground as he moved slowly, stalking Embry. This boy couldn't understand the pain that had filled his head and while now the shared mind was gone because Paul was once again human, the hint of thoughts had remained in this boy. Embry's wolf form was cowered and weak, his mind scared and frantic, finally showing the true reality of them being children. This didn't slow Edward advancing on him. Embry didn't even have it in him to defend himself. He was there, a defenceless child who had believed himself indestructible. Edward moved to Embry slashing his fingers across the muzzle of the child. The thick large gashes ripped open over his face as the wolf whimpered and Embry's mind cried.
"You will let them know," Edward hissed, gripping the thick skin of Embry's wolf underbelly, lifting the large wolf easily over his head, "You will live to tell the tale of what was done here. Never again will you cross me, mutt. You harmed my mate. That shall never be forgiven. Consider the treaty broken!" Edward roared, then brought the wolf down forcefully and drove his knee into the spine. Horrendously folding the large body of Embry over his knee and felt the satisfying crunch and rip of his back being broken and muscle tearing from bone. Embry's mind only registered the pain and then the complete numbness of his lower half as his body shifted and then hit the soft ground. Edward could see every step he took away from Embry in the boy's mind. His fear was something he reveled in. Edward had never been one to play with his food even when he hunted humans, but here playing with this child, his body broken laying naked by the dead. He knew this would awaken this child for the rest of his existence. Embry would be haunted by this night and perhaps finally the pack would see what Ephraim had all those decades ago; the treaty hadn't been placed to keep the Cullen's safe from the pack, it had been in place to keep the pack safe from the Cullen's.
Edward moved then, and was at Bella's side, crouched over her broken body and couldn't help the dry sob that rocked through his own body in despair at the sight of her. Her blood had soaked through her clothing was covering her. She had never been more fragile, not even when James had harmed her. Now he could see that she was dying. Her heart too weak to change her, he wasn't sure if her body would even be able to handle the venom as it was now. While venom could heal much, the heart still had to be strong enough to pump the venom through her body. This time for the first time, Edward did not decide to not change her for her soul, but simply because he didn't believe she would survive it now. She had to be healed, then Carlisle would need to fix her and then once she was strong enough, once her heart and body could handle it, he would do it himself. Too long they'd played games and risked it all by holding out; he'd been a fool to ever believe he could keep her human. There was no existence for him without her and she'd made her choice. All those arguments now seemed wrong to him as he slowly moved his broken mate into his arms and lifted her gently.
"Shush Bella, I have you. I'll protect you, my love, just hold on a little longer please." Edward murmured into her forehead as she whimpered at the jostling of her body. Her blood tainted his lips as he kissed her skin and even the taste did nothing for him in that moment. He tasted his singers blood on his lips and it changed nothing. So foolish he had been, so scared of his instincts. Wasn't it, too, an instinct to protect your mate? His monster did not wish her death even if their body called for the blood.
Edward did not give the grounds a second look. Three bodies; two dead, the third broken beyond repair, waiting to give the message of what had happened. Edward had broken the treaty he'd helped make. They had forced his hand though not only the wolves but Bella also. He had also not helped matters nor had Carlisle. A war was coming for his family now, not only the one that was being led by Victoria, but he knew that Sam would have no choice but to avenge the fallen of the pack. It wouldn't matter to them that Jacob had harmed Bella, it wouldn't matter if he'd simply been crossing the treaty line to save her; members of the tribe were dead at his hand. Edward felt no guilt or remorse. Jake had hurt her. His death had to happen. Paul and Embry had then wanted to defend their lands. He hadn't broken everything to not save Bella so both had to be stopped. Paul was dead now no doubt, the venom killing him slowly, and Embry would remain as he was now. The wolf part of him would not heal his shattered spine. Children had tried to play war and they had lost. Edward couldn't find it in himself to care. Not as he held his reason for existence in his arms, not as she still bled out and her heart slowed.
Edward had never moved faster than he had in that moment as he cleared across the space between the two lands, his phone still buzzing in his pocket but forgotten. Alice had no doubt seen him vanish from her vision. He wondered if she could see him now with his broken mate in his arms. He hoped she had and that she'd removed the family because he couldn't bear having to defend her from his family too. Not again.
"Carlisle!" Edward cried as he broke into the area around his home and saw as Carlisle moved out of the front door, eyes worried and his thoughts quick and frantic. So relived was Edward that Alice had seen enough to have Jasper, Emmet and Esme removed from the house. He needed Carlisle and Rosalie now, more then he'd ever needed them before.
"Carlisle," Edward repeated as he moved to him cradling Bella in his arms and looking at his father of over a century, his eyes pleading with the man who created him, and Carlisle could see that Edward's eyes were red and for a moment believed maybe Edward had attacked Bella. Edward's eyes weren't red from his mate's blood though. No, his once golden eyes had changed the moment he'd lingered on his bite of Paul. They were shifters, but blood still ran through them and just that little taste (even foul as it had been) had been enough to change the colouring of Edward's eyes.
"Save her," Edward demanded, his chest panting even though unneeded as he forced himself to offer Bella towards Carlisle. He wanted nothing more than to hold onto her forever but now he needed his father's more experienced hands to heal her broken body. "Save her please. Her heart, it's too weak to change." Edward continued and sobbed out again. Carlisle didn't waste any time as he took Bella from his son and blurred into the house. Rosalie had already set up an appropriate area, Carlisle's equipment out and ready to help the task at hand.
Edward tried to ignore the thoughts of both Rosalie and Carlisle as they took in what had happened to Bella, he tried to ignore the visual of the long slashes cut into her once flawless soft skin. Thick garish cuts that ran down her body and neck. One had caught the side of her face, he didn't care if she was scared he just wanted her alive. He didn't care if she had an extra finger and webbed feet, he'd love her forever and now even as he listened to Carlisle and Rosalie work on her he found himself offering a soul he had before believed he'd never had.
"Edward, you should go. This can't be easy. Her blood. Your eyes son?"
There was a question in his thoughts and words. Carlisle wasn't sure what had happened, he believed Bella was in La Push. He didn't understand how she'd become injured like this, or how Edward had killed a human, drank their blood. Carlisle hadn't wanted to believe what the depths of his mind feared.
"He hurt her. For all the times she swore he'd never hurt her, for all the times I begged and she refused he finally did it." Edward whispered harshly, his eyes turning from bright ruby red to black in only a brief instant as he looked at Carlisle.
"What did you do?" it was Rosalie who spoke out this time as she hooked Bella up to a machine and then came around to her brother, standing before him. For all the years of hostility between them, they truly did love each other as brother and sister, and she knew, knew beyond any doubt that control she'd taunted him about for decades had come to an end here today. She had never wanted Bella in the family, not for Edward to be hurt, but because she'd wanted the girl to have the options in this life that she'd lost due to becoming a vampire. She'd known the change in Edward just as deeply as Esme and Carlisle. It had been the four of them for a time, she had known finding love would change him. She'd witnessed that already now she feared his love may break him.
"Too long I've had to accept it all. The disrespect, the taunting. They come to Forks, our land, and we are held to rules still. Even Bella forcing me to be civilised while that mongrel pursued her and held nothing but hostility for me." Edward found his anger building. Jacob's death had been too fast. He'd wanted to torture the child, make him beg for death before he gave it to him.
"Edward." Carlisle whispered shocked at his son
"She promised me she'd not visit him and then she went. She waited until I was hunting to go to La Push, and now look at her!" Edward cried out, pointing at her body as Carlisle sewed the deep cuts over her body closed, stabilising her with a speed and skill far beyond any normal doctor.
"She ignored my every desire, punished me for leaving her to protect her after her birthday. She never believed me, not about my kind and not about the fucking dogs and now she's like this. I killed him. I crossed that treaty line like they have countless times and I killed that child, then I killed another and then I broke a third, and I swear I'll kill every single one of them. She wanted to play with her safety, she didn't believe what laid hidden inside. The monster is me and she is mine. I would turn this world to ash before I allowed her to die, not a soul on this earth would live if I had lost her!" Edward screamed out, unhinged, his anger at them all and even himself becoming too much for him to handle. He'd remained silent in his battling and killing of the dogs but now in the safety of his home, words left his lips and he didn't hold back.
"Edward! Please, son, control yourself!" Carlisle hissed firmly at Edward as he worked on Bella, and Edward felt so much, and he knew he had to leave. He needed Jasper now. Even in his anger he knew he could offer no help to Bella. He couldn't trust himself to work on his mate and remain balanced enough, but he didn't want to leave her either.
"Go Edward. Find Emmet and Jasper hunt. Carlisle and I will make sure your Bella has the best care possible." Rosalie said, gently placing a hand on her brother's chest, and it was one of those too rare moments where the two understood each other. Would she not have done the same for Emmet? Would she have not reacted in the exact same way? They were very similar in many ways. It had been the reason they would have never worked as a match together but they really were brother and sister.
"If anything..." Edward was cut off by both of them thinking that Alice would know the second anything happened right now. Both needed to concentrate on Bella. Edward needed to be with the others to ensure they knew that he'd shattered the treaty and that now they had more enemies then just an army of newborns being sent by the ever elusive Victoria. They would be fighting two wars now. He'd made their lives so much more complicated but he couldn't regret it, not even now in his more logical controlled sense he didn't find any guilt at the deaths, at the killing of two boys and the life he'd ruined in Embry. He'd been brutal and evil but they'd taunted a monster. They'd always looked for a reason to fight the Cullen family, now they had one, and were down three wolves. He doubted Sam would be preparing yet for a war. They'd be in mourning and the fact Edward had been able to best three wolves alone would show Sam just what could happen should he show up unprepared. He'd come though, of that Edward was absolutely certain.
Edward moved to Bella's still body, her heartbeat slower than he was used to and gently, with a heartbreaking tenderness, caressed along her unharmed cheek and brushed his lips against her forehead. He wondered if she'd resent him for all he'd done, if she'd see him for a monster now that he'd allowed himself free of the restraints he'd kept in place. He'd killed two men to save her and yet he'd killed them for himself too. He loved her more than life itself. He'd wanted to die when he had believed she had killed herself, had been ready to provoke the Volturi to attack him so he could be with her. Did she still doubt his love? Couldn't she see how broken he was every time she turned away from him, every time she questioned his feelings?
"I love you." Edward whispered against her warm forehead, moving up and looking down at her, his eyes closing in sorrow at her appearance, already so blind to her beauty he feared her reaction to seeing what he knew would soon enough be scars. She would always be beautiful to him, she would always be everything he ever wanted and one day once she was strong enough he'd change her. Her scars would fade and then they would move on from this, forget that there had ever been a wolf who she had trusted and who had harmed her and died for his crime, even if she didn't see it that way.
Edward struggled with himself as he stepped away from the room and was aware enough to change his clothes and burn them in the fire in the living room on his exit. He felt himself almost buckle when he heard the sound of her heart even out slightly and looked to the sky as if to thank God himself for her becoming somewhat stable. There were no doubts that she wasn't out of the woods yet and they would need to continue to care for her and the wounds that had been inflicted upon her. They would need to create a lie to tell and yet Edward found himself curious what the tribe would tell the people of the death of two boys and the paralysing of a third. Edward knew that dealing with Charlie would be difficult but for once Charlie was the least of his worries. Edward could respect Charlie for being Bella's father but he wasn't blind to Charlie's part in this either. He'd tried to force Bella and Jacob together ever since Edward's return and while Charlie may never know that it had been Jacob who had harmed Bella, Edward would hate him for his part in this game.
Edward moved to his family already able to hear them only a few miles from their home, and while Alice had come to some correct assumptions they weren't prepared for the sight of Edward red eyed and full of so much anger. Jasper had all but felt himself hissing under the emotion seeping through Edward once he was close enough to experience it. He'd expected guilt, shame even, but Edward only seemed to feel complete rage and sorrow. Alice had panicked when Edward's future had vanished. She'd only become more hysterical when she then had Edward's future reappear with him returning to the Cullen home with a wounded Bella and red eyes. Alice too had for a moment believed that Edward had perhaps slipped and made a mistake, that his worst nightmare had finally become reality, but there was too much blood for that to be true. If Edward had been the one to attack there wouldn't have been a drop wasted. She was his singer after all and vampires weren't usually messy eaters. They drained completely. Humans were easier to drain cleanly than animals, too, and Edward rarely came home from a hunt with a hair out of place, let alone blood on his clothing.
"Edward, is she okay?" Alice had rushed out at the sight of him. Even though Jasper tried to hold Alice back from approaching Edward and forced the calm around them all, it was evident that Edward was still very much on the edge. It worried Jasper.
"What happened?" Jasper spoke before Edward said anything. It was clear to the family that Edward was tense, on edge, even in Esme's need to mother her clearly upset son, she knew now wasn't the time. Sometimes comfort didn't help situations like this and she knew when Edward was likely not to welcome such a thing, and he was showing all the signs of wanting no one to touch him.
"Carlisle and Rose are doing what they can. She's stable for now, her heart was weak but it's stable." Edward said with little to no emotion in his tone, but Jasper couldn't believe the rage that was pouring from his usually morose brother.
"Then everything will be okay. Rosie and Carlisle will fix her up just fine and she'll be as good as new" Emmet barely finished his sentence before Edward was on him, lunging at him and knocking the larger vampire clear off his feet and into the ground, Edward gripping tightly onto Emmet's shirt as he hissed down at Emmet.
Jasper and Alice tried their best to intercept Edward. Even Emmet held tightly onto Edward's forearms as he gripped his shirt. While Emmet hadn't meant to set him off he'd done so by making it seem like everything was okay. Edward didn't believe anything was okay. His mate was hurt, she'd suffer not only physically but emotionally. He hated the doubt he felt in him as he considered her reaction to killing the mutt, killing her friend who she'd defended constantly. Nothing was 'just fine'. He'd started a war with the remaining wolves when they'd been hoping to use the wolves to aid them in the coming fight with the newborns and Victoria, the Volturi were always laying in wait too. Edward knew his family was on a knife edge now with enemies surrounding them and closing in. That was what had been brought onto them for his love for a human. He was seeing the mistake in his actions finally, seeing the fatal flaw in his need to keep her human he'd risked them all. If they had simply taken Bella once he realised she was his mate and changed her straight away this could have been avoided. If he and his family had worked this correctly they could have masked the accident of the car almost hitting Bella as her death and they'd be safer. Countless times he'd had the option to just change Bella or allow it to happen and he'd refused, his misguided need for her to remain human could possibly result in their end. He'd made so many mistakes but now he wouldn't, no longer would he risk not only his family but himself and the one person he couldn't live without. Things needed to change of that, Edward was certain.
"Edward you know he wasn't down playing what has happened to Bella. We aren't even sure what happened yet. Please, you need to gain control of yourself." Jasper said firmly reaching down and wrapping his hand around the back of Edward's neck yanking him up as Emmet pushed up and the two tried to reel in Edward from the brink of his outrage.
"I'm sorry." he hissed towards Emmet as he simply grinned at Edward, while he knew it wasn't the time to joke about it he had always enjoyed it when the prim and proper Edward snapped and lost a little of that iron clad control. Emmet always enjoyed a scrap, especially against such a challenge as Edward.
"Edward! Your eyes, they're red!" Esme said, still slightly standing back away from the confrontation. She'd never been one to find enjoyment in the rough housing, she'd relied on Carlisle for separating much of the physical altercations. It was something even now Edward worried about, realising that the woman who loved him as her son was not nearly prepared for the hell he'd unleashed. He wouldn't be able to hold that guilt should something happen to Esme, especially knowing what that would do to Carlisle. Edward knew now better than any the true depths of depravity he would go to if he lost his mate. Esme had voiced, however, what the others hadn't wanted to, they all knew what it was like to slip with the diet they lived by. All had carried that shame and regret. Edward had never slipped. He'd once, long ago chosen to hunt humans, but he'd never accidentally killed anyone. The idea that he may have slipped with Bella worried them all, and not just for Bella's safety, but for Edward's own sanity. But they also knew Edward hadn't been with Bella, he'd been waiting on the borderline between their land and that of La Push.
"He lost control." Edward struggled to get the words out from his very mouth, sneering even then. He didn't want to blow up like he had in front of Carlisle and Rose. "He shifted while he was holding her. I watched as he ripped into her flesh, I watched helpless forced behind a treaty line they do not respect as my mate was harmed." Edward could see the shock, even feel and experience Jasper's power as the rage and fear filled those around them, finally understanding what had transpired. "I couldn't... I refused to sit by and watch. Too long we've allowed them to interfere and dictate to us the rules that we agreed to only to give them mercy. These children are not Ephraim. He was an honorable man. A man who knew his place." Jasper tried to send more waves of calm toward Edward as he felt himself edging that fine line once again. "I crossed the treaty line. I found her bleeding on the ground dying, and he stood there with only the thought of finally being able to kill me. My world lay dying at his feet, the woman he claimed to love and he did nothing, he would have ignored her to kill me." Edward's eyes changed, thickening and darkening into the coal black that had put fear into those children he'd massacred.
"You broke the treaty?" Esme said as Edward's dark eyes flashed to hers and for a moment the hint of a sinister smile crossed her first son's face, a smile she'd never witnessed before in their shared existence.
"I shattered it. I killed that dog, put him down like the vile animal he is! - and then I dealt with the two others with him. They didn't even think of her, she lay dying and all they cared about was killing me. Well, they failed!" Edward growled deeply his chest rumbling his family were shocked but he could sense the hint of pride from some of them too. Jasper couldn't even help the respect he felt for his normally timid brother. No doubt he'd believed Edward possibly a dangerous vampire but he'd been too deeply centred on hating himself, finally that hatred for the world had slipped through and Jasper respected that Edward had done what had to be done to protect his mate.
"They'll want vengeance. This will be war." Emmet stated, already prepared to fight beside his brothers for any coming battle with the wolves. Had the three of them not spoken of this exact threat when they'd learned of Sam's shifting behind Carlisle's back? The three of them had spoken about ending the wolves without Carlisle's agreement should they become a threat. It had been that way for decades. Carlisle preserved life and while Edward certainly never enjoyed harming someone before, he'd accepted the reality of protecting the family from any threat and had always offered his help in any movements planned by Jasper and Emmet.
"A war that we didn't need. We already have the newborns and Victoria to contend with. While I certainly do not fault you for what you've done this shall be much more complicated now. However the Denali family shall stand with us now. Irina will be given free rein to kill the wolves." Jasper chuckled darkly at that and Edward nodded in agreement. The Denali Coven had decided not to stand with them against the threat of newborns because of the alliance with the wolves. Now that was something they could offer. Edward knew the wolves would come and they needed numbers if they were to survive the newborn army coming for them.
"I'll contact the sisters with this news." Alice said, already seeing in her mind the conversation going well. While Edward certainly had no problem with the wolves killing Laurent, he'd play down his annoyance at Irina's infatuation with Laurent to gain the aid of the Denali.
"We can't be planning to kill them. Carlisle would never agree to this. They're just boys, children. I understand that you're upset and that you want to protect Bella but we can't kill them all for one's mistake Edward." Esme pleaded with him and Edward could understand why she would plead with him. In the past he'd always caved, too little desire to care to do anything he'd shied away from most things, never having to face anything. Not anymore. His time as docile and morose were over. He'd made a fool of himself and that had ended with his mate harmed. Now was the time to think about making the family safe. They had too many enemies, it was time to end them before they grew too much to handle.
"Children with dangerous powers. They don't fear us or respect us and that is why they've become so daring and hostile towards us. Ephraim feared us and respected our power. I've killed the rightful alpha; I've killed the chief's daughter's imprint in Paul and paralysed another of them. They will never forgive, I'm surprised they haven't already come here to kill us or attempt to." Edward told Esme and he knew his words hit deep within her she was beginning to understand that there was no chance for peace to be made; Edward had shattered the treaty but he would not feel guilty about it. He wouldn't feel a single part of remorse.
"Edward's right Esme. They'd hunt Edward for what he's done. The treaty would have been null and void the second he crossed the treaty line, even though they have repeatedly gone where they please on our lands. They've pushed and provoked us into attacking so they can feel justified in harming us, they just thought they were stronger than they were." Emmet said seriously. The fun loving joker had morphed into defender of his family. With his human sister harmed and his brother in possible danger he was ready to defend them.
"The problem with youth is it holds too much arrogance. I warned Carlisle these wolves were far too sure of what they could do and our constant backing down only made them believe their power. I don't for a second believe they are going to let this slide but I also know Sam is mature enough that he's seeing us for what we are. Edward alone was able to best three of them, one of them being the true alpha. They've viewed Edward as our weakest simply for his love for Bella. That fact will give us time to prepare because Sam will want to prepare himself before he comes to attack. Do you know the numbers of them now?" Jasper turned back to face Edward already mapping out ways to single out wolves before they could plan an assault against them. It was times like these that Edward found himself truly stunned at the complex structure of Jasper's mind. He must have been a truly fascinating human.
"I can't be sure if any more have made the shift of recent. Sam, Leah, Seth, Collin, Brady, Quil and Jared. I know there are a few younger members who Sam has tried very hard to keep unknown to us but they're even younger, barely past puberty. They'd be of no challenge to even the weakest of immortals. I'd say as a pack at full strength they have no more than ten members" Edward told Jasper and Emmet for the briefest moment considered just taking Jasper and Edward across the treaty line and ending it now if Edward had been so easily able to beat three of them what would ten do. Edward had known though that his rage and overwhelming need to get Bella to Carlisle had helped as well as the complete lack of belief that he would be able to beat Jacob. All three of those wolves had believed Edward an easy kill; they had underestimated him. He doubted Sam would allow anyone else to do that again.
Alice then zoned out from the moment as a vision consumed her. Edward watched intently as she saw that Carlisle was getting ready to call them back. Rose and Carlisle had done all they could for Bella now, this was all down to her now, overcoming the wounds. He'd need to take her into the hospital. It also appeared Carlisle had heard from someone and had information. While Alice's vision hadn't revealed what it was that Carlisle would say, it was time for the family to come together now. It was time to place false stories in place and work out how they would explain this to the humans. Bella had Charlie who no doubt was concerned where his daughter was this late in the evening. There was also the unknown of what the wolves would say about the two deaths and attack on Embry. They had just as many lies to twist, unless they decided to out the Cullens. Time was precious now as all of them had much to lose in this moment. It was time to come together as a family and prepare to close ranks and work out all the tales they would spin. Edward and Alice's gifts would be needed even more so now to help aid in moving the family around suspicion and threat of exposure. Edward moved before Alice's vision finished urgently, needing to see Bella to be with her even as she remained unconscious to the world. The yearning to hold her was strong even though he knew there was a place in his anger that remained hers. He loved Bella more than anything in this world but once she could handle it there would need to be a conversation. He knew that the hardships of their relationship were only beginning. It was time to piece together the shattered parts of what they'd allowed to become broken.