Chapter One-Bella's POV
I was up at the window the moment I heard the velvet voice. I might not have been a vampire (yet) but I could still get quite a good speed as long as it was Edward I was running towards.
As he slipped in through my window, I felt the familiar heart-stopping sensation at his loveliness. It was inconceivable that such a god could be meant for me, no matter what he said to the contrary.
"I keep waiting for it end" I confessed, as he sat down, silently of course, on my low bed.
"What?" My heart did that jumping-up-and-down thing, yet again. Would I ever get used to it? Somehow I doubted it.
"For you to wake up, and realise that I'm nowhere near good enough for you"
He chuckled, sending shivers down my spine.
"I'm serious! You must be delusional."
He raised one perfect eyebrow.
"Have I ever told you that you don't see yourself clearly?"
"I think so… Have I ever listened?"
His easy crooked smile set my heart off on a new series of acrobatics.
"I doubt it" He stood up, slowly for him, and put his ice-cold arms around me. I shivered pleasurably, and wondered if I would ever enjoy being warm again.
"I love you." He whispered, and bent his head to kiss me, inhaling deeply.
My world was complete.
When I woke up, his arms were still around me. I knew they were Edward's, I knew every contour of his body, I knew even his fingerprints by heart. But there was one crucial difference. They no longer seemed cold.
Something else was different too. My heart didn't start beating overtime at his touch. In fact, it didn't seem to be beating at all.
My eyes were still closed, as if I was trying to hang on the last sleep I would ever have. But that was stupid. I had what I wanted. I was a vampire now, and Edward and me would be together forever. But still, the nagging doubt stuck in my head. What if we aren't? It said. What if I'm too changed? What if he doesn't want me anymore?
I forced my eyes open, wondering distantly what colour they were, and gazed up into Edward's golden ones. And then I knew that all my doubts had been for nothing. He would always want me, just I like I needed him. The minor matter of me changing species was nothing to us. He could have been an armadillo and I a sloth, and it would have still meant nothing. We were Edward and Bella. Romeo and Juliet had nothing on us.
She was beautiful; even more beautiful than she had been before. Her eyes were a rich burgundy colour, and her face, now as pale as mine, stood out against her dark hair. If my heart had been beating, it would have speeded up. I didn't know what to say, the words seemed stuck in my throat. How ironic that I should feel so human, in the first moment that neither of us were.
I let go of her cold hand, and reached up to stroke her face. It was so glorious no longer to have to be careful, to be able to touch her as much as I wanted, and never fear for her again.
She stood up, still moving as if in a dream.
"Am I still me? I fell so different"
She tried to walk towards me, and tripped over Carlisle's stethoscope.
"Oh crap! I was hoping to escape the clumsiness once I was a vampire!"
We looked at each other then, I mean, really looked, and burst out laughing.
We ran to the meadow. I was still revelling in my newfound speed, realising that Edward had never run anywhere near as fast as he could when carrying me before. My hair streamed horizontally behind me. Branches whipped past in a blur. All I could think about was the sheer exhilaration of the speed… and the fact that Edward was running beside me. For the first time ever, I could keep up. I was even drawing ahead slightly. Soon, sooner than before, I saw the glow of the meadow through the trees, and then we burst out of the forest. When we left the house, I had been too dazed to notice the weather, and since then we had been running in the thick gloom of the forest. But it was sunny, for once in Forks, and I could see my skin sparkling like diamonds in the light. It still didn't look as beautiful as Edward's. But it was much, much closer.
The meadow was still beautiful, but it paled next to his magnificence. Our magnificence. We slowed, moving as one now.
For a while we just sat staring at each other. After all, I had her new, changed face to memorize, and she had new eyes with which to memorize mine. After a while I spoke.
"You still smell the same."
She laughed, an easy, carefree sound. Obviously she did not feel damned.
"Yes?" She was looking past me, at the trees that swayed in the wind.
"Do you still think we've lost our souls?" She said it casually, but I could tell how serious she was. My face twisted involuntarily as I tried to think through the euphoria of being with her. But it didn't take long.
"No, Bella. I changed my mind about that the moment you opened your eyes as a vampire. How could someone as alive as you, as fresh and loving, not have a soul?" And it was true. While I could doubt my own deep humanity, no one who had ever seen Isabella Marie Swann, could doubt hers. It blazed from every pore that this was a person of who was so alive that she could even stay like that even when she technically wasn't. I wondered if this was how she had felt about me, and that was why she had argued so vehemently that I still had a soul.
"That reminds me" she said, a weight obviously lifted off her shoulders. She was all playful now.
"What?" I smiled in response.
"You haven't kissed the new me yet…"
"Oh yes" I chuckled and reached over to plant my lips on hers.
The kiss was the same, perfect. It was nice to know that some things hadn't changed. Well one thing had-it was no longer cold. It was as if he had become warm, even though I knew it was me who had changed. But now we could do whatever we wanted, without being bound by fear of what he could do. He but his arms round me, and I could do the same, without any fear of overpowering his self-control. And the best thing was that this day would never end. It could stretch on and on, an eternity together. I remembered our wedding night, the first time he had touched me like this.
We stayed in the meadow for hours. Talking, laughing, kissing, just being together, never getting bored. There was no reason ever to leave, but we had to at some point.
I stood up, and she followed, faster than she had ever moved before.
"Come on" I said. "Alice will want to see you."
"Oh my god. I forgot all about Alice!" She took my hand in mine, and together, we danced through the forest. I glanced down, and saw the setting sun glimmer off her wedding ring, the diamonds sparkling gold. We were running faster and faster, and I saw her raise her head and laugh in exhilaration at the speed, faster than we had ever run before. The trees around us became a blur of green and gold and black, the slight breeze became a tornado. A human would have been killed by the force of the rushing air. I was overwhelmed by the sheer power, and the fact that, finally, the one person I truly loved was sharing it with me. After all we'd been through, we were safe, and free. And fast and strong and immortal, and all the things I'd hated being were suddenly the greatest of privileges, because she was like that too.
It was over; too soon we were at the house. Alice was waiting on the driveway- of course- and instantly started screaming at me for rushing Bella off before she'd even seen her.
"… I mean, you're not the only one who loves Bella you know! She's my friend, and I think I have as much right to see her on her first day vampire hood!! Hello? Does that penetrate your skull you moron!?!"
Her rant over, she flung her arms round Bella, and hugged her long and tightly. Bella hugged her back, just as happily, until-
"I made you a party."
Bella let go quickly.
"You did what?"
"Bella! Let me have my fun!"
"No way! That wedding reception was bad enough! The flyby airplane with the banner?"
"Well obviously, I couldn't do that this time. I mean, an aeroplane saying- 'Happy Vampire Day' might not be very inconspicuous…"
While they argued, I carefully slipped away to inspect how bad it was. I didn't have to go far. I the main room, chaos reigned. Balloons, black and gold this time, festooned every surface. A tumble of presents covered the table and, worst of all, a giant banner stretched between the two walls. It read-Happy Vampire Day Bella.
I tiptoed back to Bella. She heard me coming and turned to me at once.
"How bad is it?"
"Very bad. I'm sorry" She sighed.
"Ah well. At least she couldn't get a cake now. Let's get it over with." She grinned, stoically, making me laugh.
"No. No cakes."
The next few days passed quickly. Beating Emmett at arm wrestling, to his great chagrin, my first hunt, a mountain lion, which I found rather sticky, but quite satisfying, a game of base ball in the clearing during a storm, which my team won, due almost entirely to my newborn strength. Edward said the smell of my human blood was waning, which worried me a bit.
"That won't stop you loving me right?"
"Bella darling, he said, stroking my back-we were lying together on the huge bed in his, no, our room. "It's been a very long time since your smell has even been a factor in how I feel about you. Stop being so paranoid."
Sure, I missed Charlie. But I had never once regretted my choice to become a vampire. I was the happiest I'd ever been.
There was only one thing that worried me, and that was the blood thing. So far, I had avoided coming into contact with humans, but it had to happen sooner or later. And that was when I would find out how strong I was. I was dreading it.
Suddenly, I turned towards Edward.
"Edward, I want you to promise me something."
"Anything" My heart might not be beating anymore, but his voice could still send shivers up my spine.
"If… If I'm not… strong enough…when the moment comes… I need you to hold me back. Don't let me become a killer. Please, Edward. Do whatever it takes."
"I won't hurt you."
"I know, but please, try and hold me back."
"You're stronger than me though."
"Then get Emmett to help. You two together are stronger than me, right?"
"Probably" he admitted.
"Ok then." I smiled at him.
"You don't… regret this do you?"
I couldn't believe that he could think something like this!
"Never. Not Once."
"I mean, I could understand if you did…"
I touched his face, kissing his lips gently.
"Now I'm a vampire" I tried to explain "I miss my mum and dad" And Jacob, but I didn't tell him that "But when I was human, I was missing you. And that was far worse. Now you'll never leave me, not even when I die."
Another good thing about this was that I could no longer doubt Edward's love for me. We were equals now, I wasn't inadequate anymore. I would never get older, and neither would he. An eternity of being young and together stretched out before us.
Chapter Two Edward's POV
Watching her like this, so loving, I couldn't believe that I'd tried so hard to stop her becoming like this. I had been wrong, and now I realised why the others had never believed in my losing-the-soul theory. It was because they all had their other half-Carlisle had Esme, Emmett had Rosalie and Jasper had Alice. Love like the love they, and now I, felt, simply required a soul. Without a soul, this love wasn't possible. I could not believe how perfect this was.
But then Alice burst into the room.
"The Volturi are coming."
We were alert straight away. True, there was technically nothing they could do to harm us. We had played by their rules, Bella was a vampire. But still, the Volturi frightened me. They had no mercy, who knew what they would decide to do next. Alice's golden eyes were wide with panic, which scared me even more. If Alice was worried, we were in trouble.
"But I'm one of you now! Won't they just see that and go away?"
She didn't believe what she was saying, I could tell. Bella knew the Volturi well enough to know that they always wanted something more.
"When will they be here?" I asked Alice urgently.
She shook her head.
"Two, three days, I don't know! They keep changing speeds, it's hard to tell."
"Get everyone together."
"Rosalie and Emmett are-"
"NOW ALICE" I roared. I didn't know why I was so angry. I was just consumed by fear- fear of what the Volturi could do to Bella, even as my mind told me there was nothing they could do. They would surely find something.
When we got downstairs, the entire family were gathered round the main table. Rosalie and Emmett had managed to get back from their hunt, somehow, and they looked very confused. Evidently Alice hadn't told anyone yet.
Edward strode to the table, with me by his side. I could tell he was worried. I was worried. I knew, or course, that the Volturi shouldn't be able to do anything to me. I was a vampire now, and I hadn't done anything to provoke them.
Then why did their very name fill me with fear?
I didn't know, but I knew enough to trust that fear.
The others seemed to feel the same way, except for Carlisle.
"It's okay." He nodded. "They won't do anything bad. They're probably coming to check if Bella's still human. Once they see that she's not, they'll just go away. I know it's earlier than we expected them, but there's no reason to panic."
Edward raised his eyebrows.
"The Volturi always want something. Once they see that she's a vampire, they'll just ask for something else!"
Carlisle was about to speak, when Alice's eyes suddenly lost their focus. She gasped, and Jasper was by her side without appearing to move.
"Something happened" she gasped. "I don't know what. But they changed their plans. Aro, Jane and Dmitri just got on a plane. They'll be here tomorrow."
Chapter Three Edward's POV
We sat in the living room, no one moving, no one saying a word. Though I couldn't read Bella's thoughts, the others, without any exceptions, were concentrating solely on the Volturi. Even Rosalie, for once, wasn't thinking about herself. Emmett was wondering, no, hoping it would come to a fight. Alice was blaming herself for not seeing earlier. Jasper was worrying Alice would be hurt. Esme was worrying about Bella, who I knew she already thought of as a daughter. Only Carlisle wasn't worrying, he seemed ridiculously confident that the Volturi would hold to their promises.
Bella was snuggled in my arms. She hadn't moved a muscle in the past half hour. Her beautiful eyes stared into mine. I knew her as well as I knew myself, and I knew she was scared. I remembered our visit to Italy, and her distraught face as she watched the Volturi with their prey. All those people… It was the only time she'd actually seemed to realise what monsters we could be. And now the monsters were coming here, to Forks.
I lay in Edward's arms, but even his touch couldn't dispel my awful, gut-wrenching fear. One scene replayed over and over in my mind. Those people, filing into the underground chamber where the Volturi fed. I could even remember individual faces-two American tourists, snapping photos, a dark Italian woman with a crucifix, praying in terror, a bored looking pre-teen, hands in pockets. What would happen if they decided they were hungry while in Forks? It was a small town, what were the chances that they would pick on someone I loved? Angela, or Mike, or Jessica? And… another terrible idea crossed my mind… how would the werewolves react? Would they attack? If so, they had no idea what they were up against. They would be annihilated.
"We have to warn Jacob's pack." I said to Edward.
His face hardened.
"You can't go over to La Push now." He said, not looking at me. "The treaty, remember?"
"Ok. I'll call him." I pulled my mobile out of my pocket, trying not to show my emotions. I hadn't spoken to Jacob since the transformation; I was worrying how he would take it.
He answered on the first ring.
"Hi Jake!" I gushed, trying to sound as normal as possible. It didn't work.
"Oh" I said, his voice cold. "Hey Bella. How's it going?"
"Great." This was not good. The last time we had been on monosyllabic terms was just after he first phased.
"Well, I just thought you should know that, um… there's going to be a few more er… vampires… in town over the next few days. Alice saw them coming. But… don't attack them ok?"
"Friends of yours?"
"No! It's just that… These ones are powerful. Really powerful. They would kill you." So don't… do anything rash."
"Um… It was great talking to you. Why don't you come visit some time?"
"I don't think that would be a good idea. I don't think you'd like a stinking dog around the place."
His words hurt me.
"Jacob, it's not like that!"
"Yes it is. Look, it was nice… being friends. But we're enemies now. It's a species thing. You can't change that. I wish it was different, but it's not."
"It doesn't have to be like that. I still like you, so why can't we be friends? Do you not like me anymore?" Do I smell too bad?"
"Bella, what is it about the phrase mortal enemies that you don't understand?"
"Look Bella, we can talk later. I'll pass your message on to Sam and the guys."
And he hung up.
Of course, I heard every word he spoke, and I could tell how much it hurt her. I still couldn't understand why she liked that mongrel, but I knew that he had been her best friend. And now he had rejected her. I'd known it was coming of course, and most of me was glad, but I could see the hurt in her eyes, and I hated myself for rejoicing. She had never understood why vampires and werewolves hated each other so much.
She would understand when she met him again, smelled the foul, fetid stink of them, saw him in this new light. She would realise what animals they really were. But till then… she would simply remember him as the friendly guy who had helped her put her life together after I left.
Jasper spoke; presumably to break the tension he could feel between us.
"How long now?"
"Six hours." Replied Alice straight away.
"Are they hungry?" Bella asked. Alice understood her worries immediately.
She said, turning to him. "Can you call Aro and ask if they could
refrain from hunting while they're here?"
"Of course." He replied, typing in a number. He spoke quietly for a few minutes, and then hung up, nodding at us.
"It's fine." He said. "No problems"
Everything covered, we sat and waited.
Chapter Four Edward's POV
I tried not to think, concentrating on Bella's rhythmic breathing against my chest. It was soft, and was still finding it hard to get used to the fact I couldn't hear her heart any more. I used to be able to pick out her heartbeat from a room full of strangers. Her cold hands were on my chest, under my shirt, and I concentrated on them. Whatever happened tomorrow, when the Volturi arrived, we had each other now. After a while, we stood up, and left the room. I could see Alice rolling her eyes, but then she smiled, taking Jasper's hand.
When we got to out room, Bella fell down on the bed, turning to me with anguished eyes.
"I'm scared Edward."
"I know Carlisle trusts them… but I don't."
"And those people!"
Her brows furrowed.
"You're being very calm about this"
"I was thinking…"
"No matter what happens tomorrow, we still have tonight. Nothing's coming for us in the next twelve hours. So let's not think about the Volturi."
I kissed her gently on the lips, wrapping my arms around her. She responded in the same way, and just like that, all our problems were gone. Everything felt right again. We lay like that for a while, wrapped around each other, our lips touching.
The day faded into night, and we lay on the bed together.
I sighed as I got out of bed. Edward was sitting up beside me. He smiled.
"Back to the real world" he teased.
"You mean the real world where a gang of evil vampires are coming to get us in about" I glanced at the clock, and started "half an hour!"
His face was suddenly serious.
"Oh yes. That real world." But he still threw a pillow at me. "Better get dressed then."
I stuck my tongue out at him as I walked to the wardrobe, and pulled on a tee shirt and jeans in barely a second. He was beside me, and dressed in as short a time.
We walked down together. The others were already dressed and in the living room. Alice grinned at me as we went to stand beside her and Jasper. She seemed about to speak, when her entire body went stiff. We looked at her in alarm, but she relaxed soon.
"They're just driving through Forks. Don't worry; they aren't going to attack anyone. They'll be here in a few minutes."
Carlisle relaxed, and I realised that that had been his only worry. He quickly took command.
"Ok everyone, get ready."
Esme smiled as she stood beside him, every inch the gracious hostess. The time we stood there seemed much longer than it actually was, but no one moved an inch.
Then Aro strode in through the main doors, Dmitri and Jane at his side.
Chapter Five-Edward's POV
Everything changed after that. In slow motion I saw Carlisle heading forwards to greet Carlisle, registered Aro's surprised thoughts – So. They changed her – and Jane, wondering if Bella was still immune to her torture. I wanted to scream, but I was frozen to the spot. They were obviously trying not to give away their plans by thinking of something else, but Dmitri had already given it away, and then cursed himself for doing so. I had heard his thoughts clear as a bell.
We're going to kill them all he had thought.
I was thinking fast. If I told the others, it would tip off the Volturi, give them a head start. But I couldn't let us all walk into a trap. I looked at Bella, praying she would see it in my face.
Edward turned to stare at me, panic in his golden eyes. Obviously something had changed. He'd seen something in their thoughts, and it didn't look good.
Rage flooded through me. What right did they have to come here, and destroy my newfound paradise? Through my anger, I heard Carlisle speaking.
"We are very glad to see you. May I enquire as to your reasons, or is this purely a social call?"
Not surprisingly, it was Aro who answered.
"Yes. We did have a reason" He looked sad, his eyes downcast, almost regretful.
"And what was it?"
"Carlisle, your little family is… unusual, to say the least. For over a hundred years we have tolerated-or perhaps 'humoured' would be the right word- your existence here. But it is becoming to dangerous. Already Bella here knows about you-
"Bella has been changed, as you can see."
"You cannot change half the town."
"We were planning on moving soon."
"Nevertheless." Aro shrugged. "I'm sorry about this, Carlisle. But I'm afraid we have come to eliminate all of you"
Edward roared, stepping in front of me, then screamed in agony as Jane focused her glare on him. She stepped forward, teeth bared, and without even thinking about it, I punched her in the gut.
To my surprise, she flew backwards, crashing through the glass wall in a shower of splinters. There was absolute silence for a second, and then Emmett whistled.
"Way to go Bella!" He rolled back his sleeve to expose his enormous muscles. "Looks like we're ready for you."
Jasper laughed, and Alice and Rosalie exchanged exasperated glances.
"Bring it on!"
Dmitri snarled, and suddenly Jane rose from the ruins of the window. Emerging out of the forest, and coming to stand beside her, were at least ten other vampires, there eyes glinting red.
Chapter Six Edward's POV
Emmett's laugh froze in his throat, and he crouched into an aggressive pose. The others mirrored his stance, and I picked up Alice's desperate thoughts.
Why didn't I see this? They're all going to die because of me!
I wished I could comfort her, tell her it wasn't her fault, but there was no time to speak. Thirteen of them versus eight of us. The only thing we had on our side was Bella's newborn strength, and even that might not be enough to save us. After all, we had beaten an entire coven of newborns only last year!
We stood there, all frozen, waiting for someone to make the first move.
And then a huge russet-coloured wolf leapt down amongst us.
Edward was right; he did stink. Fetid and animal, like fur and blood and smoke. But it was Jacob. No matter what he smelled like, this was Jacob.
Ignoring the wrinkled noses of the others, I ran forwards, throwing my arms round Jake. He made that laughing sound at the back of his throat and wrinkled his nose too, then licked my face, making slobber drip down my chin. The smell nearly made me gag, and I knew he probably felt the same, but I didn't want to move. Despite everything, I felt a laugh bubbling up in my throat. Jacob had forgiven me, and come back. My best friend. My rock. He had saved my life nearly as many times as Edward had, and he had kept me alive when Edward left. Memories flooded through my mind, Jacob and me arguing about how to determine age, Jacob throwing bits of blueberry muffin at me, messing around in his garage, riding our motorcycles together. There was a fierce growl from behind us, and I looked up to see Sam and the rest of the pack standing a little way away from us, all in their wolf form.
The Volturi were looking astounded, but then Jane snarled, and glared at Jacob. He fell back, one short whimper escaping his lips. I stood up, and headed towards her.
"Stop that." I commanded.
She seemed to consider, then, obviously remembering my punch, shifted her gaze. She curled her lip.
"You associate with werewolves? God, you lot are even weirder than I thought."
Emmett, grinned his natural optimism back.
"Well?" He challenged, "Unless you've got some more of your army waiting in the wings, let's get started.
And he leapt forwards.
The battle was confused, fast. I saw Bella struggling with Jane, and moved to protect her, but Jasper held me back. It made sense. Bella was the only one Jane couldn't torture.
I could only imagine what this must be like for Aro. All those memories poring in on him, every time he had he touched anyone. I was having a hard enough time concentrating as it was, with all those thoughts criss-crossing, moving so fast they almost left trails in the air. But I pushed them to the back of my mind, and leapt back into the fray, grappling with a blonde muscular female I didn't recognize. She was strong, but I could see her thoughts, and anticipate her every move. It was an unfair advantage really. As I sank my teeth into her neck, ripping her head off in the same movement, I heard Jane's thoughts, loud with terror. She was petrified of Bella.
I pushed the body away, and searched the clearing for her. I saw Bella, her teeth shining.
I caught my breath, astounded, as always, by her beauty. Jane's eyes were wide as Bella advanced, then Bella was on her, pinning her to the ground, and burying her teeth into Jane.
I became aware that the battle was over. The corpses of the Volturi littered the ground, and everyone was staring at Jane and Bella
Sanity returned the moment my teeth punctured Jane's rock hard skin. I had been fighting totally on instinct, but my incredible strength had won out. Jane relied much too much on her extra power; without it she was not a very good fighter.
But now she was dieing. I'd killed her.
Remorse hit me for a second, then in my minds eye I saw the tourists, filing into the Volturi's killing room. My resolve hardened, and I reached down and snapped her neck.
Chapter Seven-Bella's POV
Her neck snapped easily, and remembering what Edward had told me, I began methodically tearing the body into shreds. When I turned back to the others, I saw that they had already assembled a bonfire, and were carefully burning the pieces of vampire, scattered everywhere. Only Edward and Jacob, now back in his human form, were still watching me. I blinked rapidly, automatically fighting back tears that couldn't come. Edward was by my side in a second, taking me in his arms.
"Well done" He murmured.
"I killed her!"
"It's OK Bella"
I let go of him, unwillingly, and walked over to Jacob.
"So do you."
"That was amazing, what you just did."
There was a pause. Then I said what I had wanted to say.
"So… am I forgiven?"
"Oh Bella, I was never mad at you. I was just… I guess I was a little resentful that you would abandon humanity for… for him. But I get it now. He really loves you."
"Then why didn't you want to see me before?"
"I just…" He struggled for words. "I didn't want to remember you like this. Cold… and smelly." He cracked a grin. "I wanted to keep the picture of you in my head as the human Bella I fell in love with"
"But you still came to help."
He was laughing now, the sunny Jacob I knew and loved.
"Hey, you vampires can't manage anything without us."
I hugged him tightly, trying to ignore the smell.
"Think you Jacob. I hope you find someone soon."
He seemed uncomfortable now.
"Um, actually… I think I did."
"You imprinted? Wow, that was quick! Who is it?"
I saw the lean grey wolf that was Leah Clearwater walk forwards, nuzzling against Jake's hand, and I smiled. These two had both been heart-broken; it was only natural that they should end up happy together. I bent down, and threw my arms round Leah. She flinched in mock horror at the smell, then rested her head against my cheek, and growled playfully.
"Congratulations you guys!"
"Thanks" Said Jacob
I felt happy now. Everything seemed right. Emmett was high-fiveing Sam, and boasting about who had taken out the most, Carlisle was finishing with the bodies, and even Jacob, who I had to admit, I felt a grudging friendship for, had finally found his soul mate. Now he wouldn't have to keep chasing after mine.
Talking of Bella, she left Jacob and Leah, and was by my side in less than a second.
"You're happy for them" She said.
I nodded. Bella knew my thoughts as well as I knew hers.
"He deserves his own love, after what he's been through. Besides, now he can leave mine alone."
She laughed, and kissed me gently on the lips. We were alive, and that was what counted.
Alice wandered over to us.
"You do realise that without the Volturi, there will probably be a major increase in new-born wars?"
"Oh yes." I laughed, ready to take on the world. "Well I guess we'll just have to deal with it."
Alice rolled her eyes.
"Oh great. Suddenly we're the new Volturi. We don't have to move to Italy do we?"
"You'd like it" teased Bella "Lots of shopping"
Chapter Eight- Bella's POV
We left Alice, and walked into the forest, talking. I was still in a kind of shock-after all; I had just murdered a person. True, she had been about to kill me.
She was also going to kill Edward. I remembered the time she had tortured him in front of me. It was OK if I thought of it as revenge for Edward.
We weren't looking were we were going. Suddenly the trees parted, and we were in a tiny clearing, only ten feet across.
And standing right in the middle of it was Aro.
His eyes were shut, and a breeze I hadn't noticed till then lifted his white hair off his shoulders. The pose was kind of similar to those scenes from the Disney version of 'Pocahontas', only a lot scarier.
He opened his eyes, and I stepped back in shock. I had expected him to be furious, to attack instantly. But his eyes weren't angry. They were sad though, with the weight of death, and impossibly old. His papery skin shook as he breathed heavily.
Edward stood in front of me, protectively, but I moved past him, and leaned towards Aro. He sighed, and then crumpled to the floor.
"Edward!" I shouted.
I rushed to Aro's side, feeling for a pulse, then feeling rather idiotic.
"Bella" He murmured.
"What's the matter?"
He shook his head.
"Please… help me die. I don't know how to on my own."
I felt stupidly sorry for him
"Then let me tell you my story
"I know you thought you were the only one ever to choose this life, but you're wrong. I was happy, so happy. I was engaged… to a wonderful girl. Safy, her name was. I loved her more than everything else in the world. I would have chosen her over the rest of the universe. I would have gone down to oblivion with her… but I couldn't. She died, Bella, two days before the wedding. I don't even know the name of the disease; doctors then were not as good.
But when she died, my world went out. I wanted to die to, to be with her again. But then I realised… that if there were a kind, loving god, he would not have taken my Safy. So there must be no heaven; either only an endless hell, or nothing; black oblivion. I didn't know which frightened me most.
So I decided that I must never die.
There was a man, in my town. He was very pale and incredibly beautiful. He lived on the outskirts and avoided people. I had guessed the truth about him months ago, but out of fear, I kept it secret.
I went to him, in the middle of the night, and begged him to change me. He refused at first, but when he saw my sorrow, he agreed.
It was very painful… well, you must remember it better than I. But when I awoke, I felt… happy, that now I would never die. Would never have to face what Safy did.
I am ashamed.
And now? What is the point of me anymore? I may be strong as a young vampire, but I feel old. Everyday I regret the choice I made. Understand, I'm not saying anything about you. You chose this out of love. I chose it out of cowardice.
I changed my mind a while ago. Actually, I changed it when I saw you two together. You're so happy and perfect; I feel there must be a god. And so there must be a heaven. I know I will be going to hell, of course, but it will be all right. Safy will be with me. I know she'll have waited."
I was chilled by his story.
"Do it now, Bella." His voice was a whisper.
I smiled, although I felt anything but cheerful. I bent down carefully, and bit off his head. I just heard him murmur-
I watched Bella, the angel of death. I didn't know what to say, so I walked over, and helped her gather up the pieces of Aro. We carried them back to the fire, which was roaring loudly now, and stood in silence, as we watched the last of the Volturi burn.
Bella looked up at me, and I saw the question in her eyes.
"You did the right thing" I said.
The wolves were all back in their human form now. Leah was dressed in one of Rosalie's tee-shirts, and looking as if she was about to throw up from the smell. Jacob was by her side, holding her hand.
"Everything's alright now."
We had weathered this storm. Nothing could hurt us. Eternity? Bring it on.
And I bent my head and kissed her.