It was easy to find the house once the clearing had emptied. Even hours later, I could follow the trail left by the Cullens and their witnesses without even trying, and if that had failed, the sounds of their celebration echoed far and wide. It was a short journey from the open meadow to the old, charming, white house. The only trouble I had was getting my two feet to move from where I stood frozen in place. I'd played my part perfectly, just like I used to centuries earlier when my father wished me to don the ceremonial robes of the Volturi and accompany the guard on a mission.

My job, from the time I was a small child, was to be invisible — even in plain sight. To observe, to learn the laws that immortals were expected to abide by, and to ignore when the Volturi leaders invented new laws on the spot when it suited them. Wear the robe, stay silent, and return home. Rinse and repeat for 100 years. My father always told me I was there as an impartial observer, to recount the events back to him for historical accuracy. After a century or so, I begged him to let me go into the world and do other things. To my surprise, he agreed and even helped me secure a place in a European medical school at a time when women studying anything - let alone science or medicine - was unheard of. But every once and a while, he called me home to be his silent observer. This time, however, I did more than observe. I understood.

I thought about discarding anything that would identify me as a member of the Volturi, but instead, I carried the cloak like a penance, heavier on my shoulders with every step as I trudged through the snow. Why was I even going to the house? What did I hope to accomplish? Would they forgive me for crimes I didn't commit, but still felt responsible for by association? In truth, all I knew was for the first time in my long life, I knew for certain there was another like me. And from the story told by the last witness to appear - even more than that. I never believed I was unique, but it was still shocking to finally know it for sure after so many years.

For hours, I sat on a high branch overlooking the Cullen home. Lights glowed from every window, and the earth vibrated with the energy of the dozen or so vampires that remained. It appeared most of the victorious who had gathered to witness in the clearing wasted no time in departing to their respective homelands. But a few lingered through the night. The last witnesses to arrive in the clearing - the male half-vampire and his companion - left as the sun broke over the horizon. I swore under my breath, ashamed of my cowardice; I should have worked up the courage to approach the house before he disappeared into the trees.

When I finally left my perch, my legs felt leaden as I forced myself forward through the expansive yard, and up the front porch steps. No one would know I was there until I made the decision to be seen - and I knew the exact moment my instinctive shield had dropped, for just before my knuckles could tap against the wood, the tall, blond-haired man that I recognized as their leader opened the door.

"Can I help you?" The man my father had called Carlisle wore a kind but inquisitive expression. I had taken my cloak off before approaching the house, but it was clear he recognized it even draped over my arm, and his eyes narrowed slightly. My mouth opened to speak, but I couldn't find my voice or my nerve. His expression shifted again, this time turning concerned. "Are you all right?"

I was still at a loss for words. The other man who had been at the center of the controversy in the field appeared behind him. His eyes darkened with irritation as he took in the sight of me, but I remembered he could hear thoughts like my father - but from a distance. I concentrated as hard as I could on what I couldn't seem to say out loud. Focused on his face, I knew it was working, he could see and hear what was going through my mind, so I concentrated on identifying myself, and trying to explain my compulsion to seek them out when I didn't know where else to go.

"I'm sorry," I finally whispered. "I shouldn't have come, but.."

To my surprise, Edward smiled. There was a sadness in his eyes, or pity, perhaps. At the same time, I could see realization dawning on Carlisle's face. He stepped aside, gesturing for me to come in, and placing his hands lightly on the sides of my arms to hold me still under the bright light of the entryway. He studied my face, and I knew he could hear the pounding of my heartbeat.

"You couldn't be…" he gasped, so quietly it was as if he was talking to himself. His eyes darted over my head, where I knew Edward was standing and watching him, having already seen the confirmation in my mind.

"She is," Edward replied. "Aro's daughter."