A/N… Okay so it's been almost six months since I updated. And honestly, it's just been 2020. It's viruses and quarantines and working/not working/working again. It's the inability to find a mental moment that is good enough to put words down. If you ask Jenny, this chapter has been in the works for those six months. Not even joking. It was…write a paragraph and done. It was stare at the open doc page and close the laptop. It was literally so hard to pull words from my brain. I'm so very sorry for the delay.
Now… all hell breaking loose at Aunt Kate's. Kids in the bunker in the barn. Kim Min-Jun ran to the mountain trails. And still has men on the attack of the farm. I know you're ready. I'll see you at the bottom.
"Austin, Junior, hold your position here," Carlisle ordered, glancing my way and jerking his chin toward Tom's truck. "Bella, stay on me."
Nodding, I followed him. Mickey and Emmett had already taken off toward the mountain trails. Aunt Kate's front yard was chaos, and my earpiece was a cacophony of communication. Alice and Alec were trying to watch everyone. Aunt Kate and Jasper were on the roof of her house, calling out their sniper shots. Ned and Harry were stealthily working their way through the trees, taking out as many intruders as they were able. Eleazar and Dean were flanking the opposite side of the farmyard from us.
Staying low, Carlisle and I ran toward the truck, which would spread all of us out to aim toward the onslaught of Kim's men who were coming through the front gates on foot.
Movement caught my eye from the tree line.
"One o'clock, trees," I told Carlisle, raising my bow. "I got him."
I let loose an arrow, nodding to myself that I hit my target perfectly, but a flash of light from the mountains and the delayed echoing sound of an explosion following after caused me to spin my gaze toward the trails.
"Christ," I whispered, glancing at Carlisle, who immediately checked on Edward.
"I'm okay." His reply was low, barely audible over the earpieces.
"You're scaring the shit outta me, Edward," I told him, firing off another arrow.
His chuckle was low, sexy, and like a balm to my nerves. "My bad, sweetness."
"Pretty boy, what's your location?" Mickey queried.
"The wooden bridge over the creek. I'm about to cross the water beneath it."
"Can you stay put, Ed?" Emmett asked.
"No, I've got to keep moving. Kim hasn't slowed down, even though I took out one of his men."
"Copy that. We'll double time it when we lose the ATV," Mickey advised.
I met Carlisle's gaze, shaking my head. "He's not going to stop."
"I know," he said through a sigh as he raised his rifle, letting loose a stream of bullets at the trees across from us. Cries of pain and suffering made a small smile quirk up on his face – a trait he totally passed on to his son.
Movement just behind Edward's helicopter caught my eye.
"Motherfu—" I stopped myself from finishing that word, raising my bow.
I didn't have the shot with the arrow. Instead, I pulled out my nine mil. Kneeling by the front of Tom's truck, I braced my arms on his bumper and pulled the trigger three times. My target collapsed in a heap, with another man taking his place. I fired my weapon again, shaking my head.
"So that's what they're after," I muttered mainly to myself, but it caught Carlisle's attention.
My father-in-law's eyes narrowed dangerously toward his son's helicopter as I took out two more of Kim's men. "They can't be that damned stupid."
I shrugged a shoulder, bringing binoculars up to my face. "I'm questioning all of our minds at this point as to whether they're sound or not."
A silent part of me wished for Boris back. He could've flown Edward's chopper away from here in order to remove the item they were aiming for, but he wasn't here. In fact, I couldn't think of anyone who could fly it now – other than its owner.
"I wish we could move it," I stated, scanning the trees for any more of Kim's men.
"We could," Carlisle agreed.
"I can still fly, Bella," he said through a chuckle. "I mean, it's been a minute, but I could still move it, and so could Eleazar for that matter."
Frowning, I studied the tree line, which had gone eerily quiet. "What if you took us to the mountain trail? Give Edward an eye in the sky?"
He raised an eyebrow a little as he mulled it over. "Use the chopper for Alice's camera, for your aim…" he mumbled to me, and I nodded vehemently.
"Yes," I reiterated verbally, nodding again.
"That plan has possibilities…" He trailed off, aiming and firing over the hood of the truck. Two more men fell.
"We have got to be making a dent in these assholes," I stated in a frustrated grumble, tapping my earpiece. "Alec, Alice… How many more of these guys are there?"
"One second, one second, one second," Alice chanted. She muttered something about charging and batteries, but the barely there sound of her drone could be heard above our heads.
"Heat sources…" Alec started, pausing just a moment. "I'm seein' a dozen or so still moving out there."
"Copy that," I replied, scanning the area by Edward's helicopter again. Things went still and quiet for a moment. Not even the radio made noise. Leaning close to Carlisle, I added, "Maybe you and I should move in on the helicopter."
"That might not be a bad id—" he started, but the glow of fire in the night caught our attention.
"Shit, the barn!" I gasped, starting to get up. My kids, Esme, Tom, Obie, the animals…all were inside that barn.
"Wait, Bella," Carlisle cautioned. "It's a distraction, I fucking promise you. They're pulling our attention away from the chopper." He scanned the barn area. "Eleazar, come in."
"I need you and Dean to cover the chopper. That's what they want. Give us time to clear the barn. Tom, Obie, get your asses out of the loft and move the horses."
"Ten-four," everyone responded.
Carlisle turned to me, grasping me by the shoulders. "Sweetheart, we have no choice but to empty the bunker. We can try to make it to the other one, but it would only lead Kim's men to Ji-Yun."
I was already shaking my head. "No. I don't want to do that. It's too dangerous to have them out in the open for that far."
"I agree. We can take them to the house, or we can put them on the chopper. The house is probably safer. You and I can personally escort them there."
I let out a nervous breath, nodding a little. "Okay."
Carlisle's face steeled into something almost frightening as he addressed everyone on the radio. "Everyone on me! I need coverage on the chopper, and take out any motherfuckers surrounding the barn. In fact, if you've got grenades, fucking use them!" He turned to me, muttering, "I'll personally pay for Aunt Kate's landscaping."
I cracked a small smile, shaking my head. "She'll hold you to it."
"I know," he said through a soft chuckle. "Okay, let's go."
The fire on the barn's wall was starting to take hold. The open end, which was closest to the house, suddenly erupted with Samson, Noah, Ruth, and Mary, and they ran toward the opposite side the house. The keeper of the bunker – Goliath – still hadn't appeared, and the fire was growing fiercer.
Carlisle and I ran in through the barn doors to find Tom and Obie struggling with a slightly panicked Goliath. He was a stubborn thing on a normal basis, but this was a different level of anxiety. Edward was always calm and gentle with him, but he wasn't here.
We hurried to the stall, and I immediately reached out a hand to Goliath's nose. "Hey, big guy, don't be scared. We got you. C'mon." I took him by his bridle, giving a gentle tug.
A grenade went off outside, and the big black horse flinched, almost bucking, but I rubbed the side of his neck, shushing him to keep him calm as I led him to the door. Goliath flinched again, but he took off behind Aunt Kate's house once I popped him lightly on his rump.
A loud crack resounded from behind me, and I turned to see the fire spreading to the stalls and up the walls to the roof. This barn was not going to survive.
"Bella!" Carlisle called, waving me over to the stall with the bunker. "Let's go. We're going to take them straight to the front porch."
Nodding, I reached down, pulling up the door. Several faces gazed up at me. Along with the faces of my two kids and Esme, Dean's wife Miranda and their son, Marcus, peeked up at me. Caleb and Katelyn were also trying to see, but the latter was in Esme's arms, a scared, teary mess. I couldn't see Abby or Sarah, but I knew they were in there.
"Okay, we've got to get you guys up and out of there. Hurry, but be careful. C'mon," Carlisle told them.
"Holy—" Bethy started but trailed off when she came up out of the bunker holding the mother cat. She was wide-eyed and scared when she reached for me. "Mom?"
"Get back just a little, Bethy. Do not leave this barn just yet."
She nodded, backing up a few paces, her eyes wide on the spreading flames.
Sammy was next, and he apparently was the keeper of the kittens, so a mewling box was handed up before he scrambled up out of the door in the barn floor.
I kissed his forehead. "Go stand with your sister. No farther."
He nodded, staying quiet as he scooped up his noisy box again and stood by Bethy.
Miranda, Marcus, Abby, Sarah, and Caleb were next. Lastly Esme struggled to climb with Katelyn in her arms. When I tried to reach for Mickey's little girl, she started to freak out a little.
"Katelyn," Obie called to his daughter, and that calmed the youngest of the kids instantly. She reached for him and was immediately wrapped up in his strong arms. "You're okay."
Esme was able to climb the rest of the way out. Carlisle let the door drop, and that was all the mother cat could take. She wriggled and growled in Bethy's arms, biting and scratching her a little before launching herself out of the barn and into the night.
Bethy started for her, but I yelled, "Don't you dare, Elizabeth Renee!"She started to argue, but I shook my head. "No, ma'am. You can't go after her. We have to get you safely to the house. Understand?"
"Bad guys?" Sammy asked, looking up at me and then to his grandfather.
"Yeah, buddy." Carlisle's voice was calm as he placed a hand on my son's shoulder. He kneeled in front of the kids, but he was addressing the adults who had been in the bunker. "When I tell you to, I need all of you to run straight up the front porch steps and into the house. We're going to do this in pairs. Got me?"
Everyone nodded, flinching when a piece of the burning barn stall cracked and fell.
Tapping my earpiece, I said, "Alice, Alec… I need someone at the front door now. We're sending them your way."
"Copy that, Bellissima," Alec immediately responded. "I'm in position, waiting on your mark."
"Kate, Jasper? I'm going to need all the coverage I can get," Carlisle stated.
"On you, Carlisle," Jasper acknowledged.
"Copy that." His voice was firm, but he was waiting on a signal from Alec at the front door, and when the door cracked a little, he spun to face everyone. "Bella, you and I will provide cover-fire. On my mark—"
Rushing to the barn door, I dropped to one knee to aim outside toward the trees at the entrance. From the corner of my eye, I saw Esme guide Sammy and his box of kittens into the house as I fired at any movement in the trees. Miranda and Marcus went next and then Sarah and Abby. Caleb ran with Obie and Katelyn, which left Bethy and Tom.
Tom placed a hand on Bethy's shoulder to prepare her to run, but just before they made it through the doorway, an object landed in the bushes a few feet away from the front porch.
"Grenade!" I yelled, spinning to wrap my daughter up and cover her. We landed with a grunt as heat and debris covered us. I took a second to make sure I wasn't hurt and gazed down at Bethy. "Pretty girl?"
"I'm okay," she said shakily.
I kissed her forehead in relief, turning a bit to check on Carlisle and Tom. The latter had been knocked flat on his back, and my father-in-law was brushing himself off and looking rather pissed off.
"Ladies, you okay?" he finally asked, helping his granddaughter to her feet and offering me a hand next. "Tom?"
The barn's roof gave a wicked crack as the fire continued to consume the back of it. The windows of Aunt Kate's house had been blown out, but the house was still intact and luckily not on fire yet.
"Carlisle, Bellisima… Check in!" Alec called.
"We're okay, but we can't get to you," Carlisle told him. He assessed our position and looked to me as he stated, "El, we're heading to the chopper. I'm going to need all the cover you can get me."
"Roger that," Eleazar answered.
Carlisle rushed to the weapons cache, pulling all the ammo and equipment he could take. Finally, he snatched up a Kevlar vest and rushed to Bethy.
"Poppy?" she asked.
He shook his head, his eyes dark. "C'mon, Bethy, let's get you in this."
She did as he said, and we all jumped when another part of the barn roof cracked and fell.
"We gotta go," I urged, tapping my earpiece. "I need all cover!"
"You got it, Bells." Jasper sounded firm and ready.
Gazing down at my daughter, I checked her vest and said, "You'll stick close to me and stay between me and Poppy. We're heading to Daddy's chopper. Okay?"
Bethy nodded, staying quiet.
Carlisle paused at the open barn door, nodding once when he was ready. Bethy and I followed him, and Tom took the rear. Aunt Kate's yard looked like a battlefield – burned shrubs, deep craters from grenades, bodies fallen everywhere.
We ran low, and the radio was filled with calls of enemy positions. Although, I noted that those seemed to be slowing down. It seemed we were making headway with it.
We reached the helicopter, and I slid open the door, boosting in Bethy,who immediately took her spot up front. It was habit, of course, but I wasn't sure what Carlisle wanted. When he took the pilot seat, he said nothing to her at first. However, as she started to prep the chopper, a small smile quirked up the corner of his mouth. It was pride, pure and simple. Pride in her bravery, pride in her intelligence, and pride in his son for having taught her so well.
"If you do this, Bethy," he started, making sure she was looking up at him, "then you need to follow my commands to the letter. If you can't, I'll put you in the back."
"Poppy," she said through a bit of a sarcastic tone. "I got this."
He laughed, starting the chopper, and the blades started overhead. "You sound like your dad."
"Well, yeah," she teased him back.
The silly moment was cut short when shots were fired around us. I was about to take a seat when a hand slapped down onto the floor of the chopper, and I immediately aimed at its owner, sighing when I realized it was Dean.
"You know, I could've shot you," I told him.
He grinned, pulling himself up inside. "I'm sure I deserve it, but let me help you. Let me help Edward. I know you're heading that way."
Nodding, I moved a little more when Eleazar joined us.
"I was going to offer to fly, but…" he started, jerking his chin toward the pilot and co-pilot seats. He let out a small chuckle, but it trailed off. "Okay, Bella. You, me, and Dean. We'll help Edward finish this asshole."
Carlisle lifted off, and I tapped my earpiece. "Edward, come in," I called.
"Go ahead, sweetness." His voice was low, almost a whisper.
"We're in the air and inbound to you. Emmett, Mickey, what's your location?"
"We're at the creek," Mickey stated. "About a click away from pretty boy."
"Copy that. Backup is on the way."
"Ten-four, Bella," Edward said, adding, "and I'm not far from the head of the trail. I have no idea if Kim's got more men there."
"Copy, Edward," Carlisle said, turning to me. "We'll head there. We'll clear the parking lot, trap Kim's men between us and Edward." When we all acknowledged him, he turned to Bethy. "You, pretty girl, will keep us level and steady once we get there. Okay?"
The sound of rushing water, panting dogs, and distant gunfire met my ears as I slowly stepped to the bank of the small creek. Glancing up, I noted no movement on the bridge overhead, but I wasn't far from this asshole. I'd successfully cut some of the distance between us since leaving the main trail.
Four dogs took advantage of my pause to catch my breath, slurping up as much water as they could from the creek. Load was already up to his belly in water, glancing back at me with a soft "boof," as if I were wasting his damn time.
Grinning, I shook my head. "Okay, okay."
Kneeling down, I cupped my hands to get some water. I was exhausted. It felt like we'd been fighting Kim for a damned year. It seemed forever ago that Twi Tower had been infiltrated and attacked. It felt like a lifetime ago that we'd been in the mountain cabin. I could barely remember the shipyard. All of it was a blur, a black and white memory. I drank another handful of water, standing up and making my way across the creek. It barely came to my thighs.
Once across, I pulled myself up onto the bank and stopped to listen. Aside from the rushing of water over rocks, there wasn't much sound…until there was. The rumble of an ATV suddenly revved and then halted. The heavy thump of my chopper blades echoed from behind me. And finally, whispers and hushed voices came from ahead in the woods.
I gave a sharp whistle, breaking into a run toward the tree line.
"Mickey, Emmett," I whispered over the radio.
"Go ahead, pretty boy," Mickey replied.
"Take the bridge at a run. I'm not far from the end."
"Copy that," Em acknowledged.
I worked my way through the brush alongside the suspension bridge, glancing back when boards creaked. Lock and Load planted themselves at the entrance, teeth flashing and growls rumbling.
"Easy, boys," I soothed, grateful that I now had backup.
Mickey rushed to me, removing a black bag from across her shoulder and handing it over. "Here, stock up."
"Thanks, wild child," I muttered, pulling out ammo clips, two grenades, and a large knife. The latter was tucked into my boot.
"We'll have air support in less than two minutes," Emmett advised carefully.
"I heard," I said, and Mickey grimaced but didn't say anything.
"What aren't you fucking saying?" I asked roughly, glaring between them.
"Um, well… And Ed, don't get fucking twisted, but they had no choice. Your dad's flying…with Bethy," Mickey stammered.
"Motherfucker," I said through gritted teeth, wondering why I hadn't heard that shit over the coms. My nostrils flared in anger. "Why—"
"Easy, Ed." Emmett wasn't laughing, and there was no teasing in his tone like he normally would have in a situation such as this. "There wasn't a choice. These assholes set the barn on fire. The bunker needed to empty. Bethy got separated from everyone who made it into the house and was trapped with Bella and Carlisle. I guess your dad felt it was safer to keep her."
"Fine," I growled out. "We're not far from Kim. Let's go. Air support will catch up."
Air support. I didn't have time to concentrate on being pissed off that this was the second time Kim had tried to kill all of the kids – the first time being in Twi Towers. I couldn't be fucking pissed that Bethy was now smack in the middle of this shit. Knowing Bella, she wouldn't have put her on the chopper without good reason. Knowing my dad, though, he would treat this as a teaching experience. He certainly did that shit when I was a kid. But above all of that, Bethy would follow what they said, especially in this type of circumstance. After Twi Towers, I knew for a fact that my kids were genetically predisposed to this fucking job.
I rolled my eyes, shaking my head a bit at that thought as we walked through the dark woods. It wasn't the first time during this job that had me confused as to whether to be proud or scared about how easily Bethy and Sammy took to Gravity's work.
"What?" Mickey asked warily, her eyes darting around.
"I'm gonna have to put my kids on the fucking payroll after all of this," I mumbled sarcastically.
Emmett snorted into a soft laugh. "Right?"
Lock and Load came to an alert standstill just up ahead, and we followed their lead. The path disappeared into the trees, winding around to the left. We had to be nearing the head of the trail. I was assuming that Kim had more armed men waiting with vehicles to get him out, because that just seemed to be his MO. That fucking weasel always had a damn escape plan.
"Edward, Edward, Edward," Alice practically sang over the earpieces.
"Go ahead," I answered as softly as I could.
"Fuck me, I've missed the chopper's camera," she muttered in a relieved tone. "Okay, everyone, listen up. We've got heat sources – a shit-ton of them, too. Edward, from your position, you've got four spread out off the main trail. The parking lot of the trailhead has about ten or twelve…give or take. And finally, we've got two running the rest of the path as fast as their legs can carry them. The damned cowards."
"Copy that, Alice," Dad replied. "Edward, we'll cover the parking lot. You need to push that asshole my way. He left those four behind as a damn trap."
"Ten-four. We'll catch him in the middle," I said before giving a small whistle to the dogs to get their attention and then turning to Emmett and Mickey. "Take the left and right. I'll take the trail up the middle. We'll use the dogs to flush them out."
Mickey knelt down, scooping a bit of dirt from the forest floor and swiping it across her face like I'd done. Emmett did the same, and both readied their weapons.
"Lock and Load, clear!" I ordered, and all four dogs took off into the dark woods. Mickey and Emmett split right and left, and I stayed low, running up the trail.
The dogs pushed through the underbrush with more noise than the three of us were making, but it was Alice who was guiding us with confidence that she'd been missing for a while now. She was using the camera on my chopper like she had needed it the whole time.
"Okay, okay, okay, so the dogs are working like a fucking pack. They're about to flush out the first target, so Mickey, watch yourself at one o'clock in three, two…one!"
Two shots popped off on my right, and Mickey returned fire, answering with three bullets of her own, saying, "Got 'im."
"Good!" Alice praised. "Edward, you've got one moving in closer to the trail in order to avoid the dogs. Stop, get down, and he'll come to you. Watch your shots, though. The dogs are rounding around behind him."
"I'll fix that. Emmett, I'm sending the dogs your way," I muttered, giving a sharp, shrill whistle, smirking when Lock, Load, Ada, and Zeke burst from the tree line at top speed. They came to me, and I gestured in the direction Emmett had taken. "Clear!"
The dogs took off again, and the target Alice had warned me about stepped onto the trail a few yards ahead. I dropped down just in time for the asshole to fire at me, and I rolled off the trail and into the bushes. Using the underbrush as cover, I crawled a bit closer. However, the pounding thump of chopper blades caught my target off guard. The idiot looked up when he should've been paying attention to his surroundings, and I popped off three shots.
"Clear, and thanks, Dad, for the distraction," I advised over the radio.
"You're welcome, Daddy." Bethy's voice came over the coms like a rainbow after a storm.
"Little sweetness, don't crash my chopper." I couldn't help but tease her as I continued up the trail. She was in excellent hands up there.
"Yeah, I'll do my best," she snarked back.
"I'm pretty sure Poppy is a bad influence. Just putting that out there. You know?"
"We'll be in position in a few seconds, Edward," Dad said, and I was certain he was laughing.
"Roger that. Alice, what's my path look like now?"
"You're good. Emmett and the dogs cleared the last two men. Although don't leave the cover of the trees at the end of the trail. Like I said, you've got ten or twelve targets at the parking lot, and the two runners just made it to the end of the trail."
"Ten-four. My team, let's go. Move it!"
To keep the dogs safe, I made them stay far back on the path. This shit was about to get ugly, and they couldn't help now. The three of us ran the rest of the trail to the parking lot. I noted a few cars, vans, and SUVs, not to mention the dozen or so men readying their weapons against the chopper that was approaching.
"Papa bear, targets are awaiting your arrival," Emmett advised, patting my shoulder as we stayed low behind a fallen tree.
"Copy that," Dad replied.
"Wait for my signal before you approach," I told them, pulling out the grenades I'd gotten from Mickey. "Cars. All of them. If this asshole survives the next ten minutes, then his ass can walk down this mountain."
"With the bears and wolves and…" Mickey said with a laugh, pulling the pin on her grenade. "Okay, let's do this."
The parking lot wasn't very big. Most of the cars were parked together in the center aisle. There was a van to our left, and Emmett aimed for that one. Mickey and I rolled ours toward the middle of the cluster parked together. Emmett's discharged first, causing exactly what I'd wanted – the assholes all ducking behind the cars parked together. The two Mickey and I had rolled caused a massive explosion, sending car parts, fire, and men in several directions.
"Dad," I called, readying my weapon, and the chopper flew low over the trees, coming to a stop to hover over the parking lot.
Gunfire erupted in every direction – from the side doors of the chopper, from the trees, from behind burning cars.
"Edward, the car on the far side!" Mickey yelled, pointing to where two men were guiding Kim to the last surviving car.
"I need cover!" I snapped angrily, keeping to the trees but running as fast as I could.
"I've got you, Edward," Bella immediately responded.
I had to grin at that, because as soon as I stepped from the trees, Bella was on point. Two of the tires of the last car popped flat, the driver fell to the ground, and Kim's last guard was only able to get off one round before he collapsed in a heap. I didn't even wait for anyone to call clear. I didn't care. Kim was trying to make it to the woods, and I was too pissed off to heed any caution. Just before he made it to the trees and before he could turn around with his weapon, I had him wrapped up and tackled to the asphalt.
We landed with grunts, and my rifle skidded away. Kim rolled, using his legs to attempt to kick me back. I had a weight advantage on him, but not by much. Bringing my elbow down onto his knee, I grinned at his outcry of pain and the sound of something in his knee giving way. That split-second moment gave me a chance to land two punches to his face.
A boot collided with the side of my head, pushing me off to the side. I briefly saw stars but shook it off just in time to catch Kim as he landed on top of me. Our punches were sloppy, considering we were trying to hold each other back at the same time. My fists landed in his ribs, and his were landing against my jaw, ear, and temple. My earpiece was obliterated.
It was the sound of several automatic weapons engaging that caused both of us to pause. My team had their guns trained on Kim, and his men were no more. Emmett and Mickey particularly looked like it wouldn't take much to set them off. A glance above, and I saw my Bella, Eleazar, and Dean aiming out of the side of the chopper, which was hovering overhead.
"Get up, asshole," I grunted, shoving Kim back, and simply because I wanted to, I swung hard, breaking his nose into a bloody mess with my punch.
I grabbed the front of his shirt, pulling him up to his feet and slamming him into the side of the car next to us. It was the same car he'd tried to use for an escape – flat tires and all at this point. I began punching him again, and again, and again. I felt the skin on my knuckles split. I felt his cheekbone crack, teeth break, and breathing falter.
With every punch, I saw all the death and destruction this motherfucker had rained down on all of us. It was the attack on Twi Tower and the hostage shootings. It was the attack on my mother's mountain cabin and the sinking of a cargo ship. It was the attempt on the lives of my wife, my father, my friends, my children. And the fucking loss! We'd lost Twilight employees, our good friends Felix and Boris, and so many first responders that I wouldn't dare guess a number.
Kim slumped down to the pavement again, and I dragged him back up.
"Look at me!" I yelled in his face, and when his eyes rolled up to mine blearily, I sneered. "I was going to kill you on this mountain. You deserve it. Actually, you deserve to be skinned alive and left for the fucking bears."
I pulled out my Glock, pointing it in the center of his forehead. I gave a quick glance around me and then up to my chopper where my little sweetness was holding her steady. Behind her seat sat Eleazar, and I turned to Mickey and Emmett.
"Ask El if he wants him. My earpiece is gone."
Mickey passed on the question, and Eleazar's nod was all I needed. I couldn't pull the trigger point-blank on a man when Bethy was watching. I just…couldn't. And I wasn't going to tell Kim what changed my mind. My daughter knew what we did, what we'd done in the past, and hell, she probably remembered some things, but I wasn't going to give her that memory.
Emmett stepped forward to guard Kim, and Mickey glanced up at the chopper, saying, "Wise decision, pretty boy."
"Yeah," I said through a weary sigh, swiping at the blood on my face.
My eyes landed on Kim again as Emmett stripped him of everything in his pockets, and I realized just how fucking done I was with it all. I was exhausted, having been fighting for almost twenty-four hours straight. My head was pounding, and I was starving. And despite how much the asshole in front of me had done, I simply wanted it all over. Giving him to Eleazar was the best idea because it gave the good guys the villain they needed to punish for all the deeds starting with the attack on Twi Tower. We'd removed his followers – the majority, anyway – and whoever was left would crawl back under whatever rock from which they came. They weren't important.
"Your dad is setting down in the meadow over there," Mickey told me, pointing to the far side of the parking lot, where there was a small cluster of trees and then an open field beyond.
Nodding, I turned to Emmett. "Let's meet him over there. Bring that piece of shit with you."
I gave a sharp, loud whistle for the dogs. "Lock and Load, front and center!"
The four huskies came from the woods at top speed to catch up as we made our way to where the chopper was setting down. As the blades slowed down, my wife and daughter were already piling out of the cabin and running.
Bethy made it to me first, and I knelt down to catch her up in a bear hug. Bella was a little slower due to that ankle of hers, and I stood up with Bethy wrapped around me to open an arm for her too.
"My girls," I whispered, kissing them both on the forehead. Turning to Bethy, I gave her a little smile. "You did awesome, little sweetness."
Bethy grinned. "Thanks, Daddy."
"Edward, are you okay?" Bella asked, lightly touching my face and studying my cuts and bruises.
"Yes, sweetness. I promise."
Both girls gave me a side-eyed, unbelieving glare but seemed to let it go, and I was grateful.
As Eleazar took possession of Kim Min-Jun, Dad walked our way. He gave my shoulder a firm squeeze, nodding a little that I was okay.
"Let's get back to Aunt Kate's," he said, glancing back to Kim. "Our work isn't done, I'm afraid. It's done for tonight. Just not over with completely."
"Yes," Bella agreed with him. "Kim needs questioning. I honestly don't think he's the sole person behind all of this."
"You know what?" I started, shaking my head and waving them both away. "I don't care at this moment. I might give a sh—…crap tomorrow, but not now."
Bethy giggled but let my slip-up go, laying her head on my shoulder like she used to do when she was little. And at that moment, I was sure I'd made the right decision not to end Kim in front of her.
Dad chuckled, nodding a bit. "Fair enough. Everyone load up to head back. Leave everything where it is. We'll clean up tomorrow. Eleazar has already called in a cleaningcrew."
"C'mon, Edward," Bella urged, tugging me by the shirt. "I want the doc to look you over."
Leaning to her ear, I whispered, "I'd rather you look me over."
Bella laughed, sounding just like our daughter. "Edward. Doctor. Now."
Grinning stupidly in punch-drunk exhaustion, I hugged Bethy tighter. "Yes, ma'am."
A/N… To finally answer a question that everyone keeps asking, there is at least one more chapter to this story. Maybe two. But for sure one more.
Answering another question… No, I'm not abandoning this fic. My muse abandoned me.
I'm hoping it won't be so long until the next update, but I won't make promises, just know I'm not going anywhere. I do have something else I'm playing with, but it's not time yet to talk about it. So hang in there for me. Until next time… Mooches, Deb ;)