Author's Note: Haunting Moon is coming to an end! *sniff* After this chapter there will be a short epilogue and HM will be complete. It's been a fun ride and I hope you guys will put me on your author update lists. I have several new stories that I will be working including The Island. I'll put a link to the trailer on my profile page. Thanks for sticking with me!
I had been in a silver cage for two days and my body hurt like hell. Normally, silver had very little effect on my kind. Since I was wounded it was a whole different situation. My cut throbbed and I pressed on it gently, trying to relieve some of the pain. When that resulted in even more pain, I hissed and knocked my head against the top bars. I could smell the start of an infection. If the wound was not treated in a few hours it could become fatal.
My head slammed into the bars once more and I cursed whoever was driving. We had been on rough terrain for the past hour and it was beginning to test my patience.
Xavier sat on the passenger side of the vehicle, speaking in hushed tones. From my angle in the bed of the SUV I could not catch a glimpse of who he had been talking to. Xavier's face had not changed since I had seen him last. His shaggy black hair was slicked back making his features more prominent and harsh.
Three heads in the backseat bobbed up and down as the truck flew over the rocky path. My brothers. Muted blue eyes flickered back at me.
"Do you think I can get something for this?" I asked motioning to my wound.
Bane shook his head sadly.
I rolled my eyes, annoyed with their blind allegiance to that man. "At least give me something to cover up with." My exposed body quivered and goosebumps pimpled over my skin. I wasn't cold but I did feel a need for cover.
Christian, hearing my request, shrugged out of his crisp white button up shirt. He handed it to Bane without looking back at me. Bane shoved it through the bars and I pulled it around my shoulders, stuffing my arms in the sleeves gratefully.
The cotton rubbed against my cut and I bit my lip in pain. Blood stained the fabric. If that had not been a silver knife the wound would have healed on its own. The bleeding had slowed but the cut remained open. I could practically hear the residual silver bubbling as it festered in my blood.
I fought the exhaustion that threatened to take over not trusting to close my eyes for even a second. Christian had his head angled to the side as if he were trying to keep tabs on me and listen to Xavier at the same time. I noticed that his eyes had changed the most. They had always been serious and deep, but now they were also dark.
Rafe coughed and my attention turned to the second youngest brother. Finn's twin. Out of the two, Rafe had been the more mature one. He tried keeping Finn in line, but Finn always knew how to get both of them into trouble regardless. Rafe had been envious of Finn's carefree nature yet he still loved him fiercely. Once, Finn ventured into the village to scare some of the townspeople. Rafe pled with him insisting that it was a stupid idea but somehow Finn got him to cover and lie to our father. Finn got as far as the edge of the forest when two of father's watchmen spotted him and brought him back home. Rafe was so scared for Finn that he told our father that it was all his idea. He claimed that he dared Finn to do it and it was his fault, he should be the one punished. I believe father knew that Rafe was lying but it seemed to please him that he would be there for his brother no matter what. It still didn't stop him from giving him household chore duties for the next month. Rafe hated washing dishes.
Tonight, his cheeks held evidence of tears. I frowned. When had he stopped being Finn's protector?
Snores erupted through the truck. Bane had fallen asleep. He had always been a wild card. Bane had this 'I don't give a rip' vibe about him. He was never one to follow orders. Seeing him this obedient was sobering. What kind of hold did Xavier have over my brothers?
The truck slammed to a complete stop and Xavier told my brothers to start setting up camp. Rafe smacked Bane, jolting him awake. As they clambered out of the vehicle I heard Xavier climbing into the backseat. I feigned sleep.
"What do I do with her?" The timid voice came from the driver.
"She has silver in her blood. She needs-"
"Are you giving me orders, Landry?" Xavier's cold voice growled angrily.
"That is what I thought. Bring me the antidote. Be quick about it!"
Landry scrambled out of the truck and was back in less than a minute. I heard a shuffle and felt a prick on my hip and warmth enveloped my body. I could feel my wound begin to tingle.
"It should heal quickly now," Landry stated.
Sure enough, I could feel the skin tighten and prickle around the open flesh. The pain instantly vanished.
"I need her healthy for mating. That will be your job now, Landry. You will care for her during the pregnancy as well. Do not get attached, understand? Once my son takes his first breath she will have her last."
Landry gasped. "You mean-"
"You know as well as anyone that the Seer's visions always come to pass. She saw Isabella having my son, but she also foresaw my death and it is because of this bitch that I die. I won't let that happen. Are we clear?"
"Leave her here. Make sure the locks are secure on the cage and get Frost and Telford to take first watch."
The night crept by slowly. I started counting the seconds just to pass the time.
My eyes blinked open rapidly. I felt groggy and disoriented. Cursing, I sat up once again knocking my head on the top of my cell. I must have fallen asleep. Rubbing the bump, I checked my side, smiling as I fingered the smooth skin where my cut had been.
I jumped when the back door of the SUV swung open. Landry stood there studying me warily.
"Xavier says you need to be cleaned up before we get to the airport. I have some clothes for you." He placed a stack of clothing on top of the cage, reaching for the lock. He hesitated. "Listen, I don't want to hurt you so please don't try anything stupid, okay."
"Yet." I deadpanned.
"You're not going to hurt me yet. Not until I have Xavier's baby. Right?" I hissed.
Landry's eyes dropped to the ground and he walked off quickly. I sighed in frustration. I should have kept my mouth closed. I tested the padlock on the side of the cage. It had been modified with spikes of silver. The only way to get it off would be to grab it and pull. If I pulled, the jagged silver would slice into my skin, reinfecting me. I turned around in the cage and used my feet to try and kick it open. The door gave but the padlock held.
"Stop that," Landry growled. He had returned with a bucket of water and a rag. "I don't trust you so you're just going to have to get ready in there," he insisted, shoving the clothes through the cracks and setting the bucket down beside the cage. "Enjoy your bath."
Landry slammed the truck door and stalked off. I screamed. I cried. I roared. I wanted out. Grabbing the bars I shook the cage violently, knocking over the water in the process. Just when I thought I would go mad from being imprisoned in that tiny cell, a sweet velvety voice invaded my mind.
Bella! Are you okay?
Oh God, Edward! I'm so happy to hear your voice right now. I'm in an SUV, in a cage. We're somewhere in the woods. I think we went North but I'm not sure. I can't tell.
We know where you are, love. We've been following the whole time. We just needed reinforcements. The Denali clan is with us. They wanted to help. Bella, how is your wound?
They gave me an antidote. I've completely healed. Just being in this cage... It's driving me crazy.
I'm sorry. I shouldn't have let them take you.
It's not your fault, Edward.
There was no response. Edward. Edward! Panic took over. I sat up, peering through the tinted glass. Xavier was nowhere to be seen, but Landry, my brothers and who I assumed were Telford and Frost sat around a fire a few yards away, chatting lightly.
Making a hasty decision, I pushed my hands through the bars and grabbed the padlock. I felt the deep incisions as the silver spikes penetrated my skin. I yanked roughly. Once. Twice. Three times before it broke. I dropped the lock and pulled my hands in towards me. Blood gushed down my arms and the sting of the silver set in.
I grabbed the clothes Landry had left and started ripping them apart. My hands throbbed in agony has I wrapped them up with the shreds of cotton.
As I opened the cage, the cell door banged against the SUV, only leaving three inches of space for me to escape. I groaned. There would be no way I could fit through that. I would have to kick open the back door and that would alert everyone by the fire.
I was weighing my options of escape when a loud commotion by the fire interrupted my thoughts. Xavier was back with a beat up looking Edward in tow. Xavier had shoved him to his knees in front of him, his hands placed firmly under his chin and on top of his head.
My feet slammed into the truck door, forcefully knocking it off it's hinges. I clambered out, nearly toppling over because my legs started cramping from being stuck in that small cage. Xavier looked pissed and motioned for Landry. I watched as Edward's eyes widen in horror when he saw the bloody bandages on my hands and the dirty, blood stained shirt I was in.
He knocked Xavier down, running to me. Frost and Telford intercepted him, forcing him back on the ground. Landry was pulling me back by my waist and I was desperately reaching out for Edward. I felt a sharp pain in my throat and I realized I had been screaming his name.
I felt the cold metal on my back as Landry tried to push me back into my cell. I balked, knocking Landry back into a tree with all my might. The large pine snapped, falling over and pinning him to the ground.
Xavier barked out orders at my brothers and they came after me next. I pled and begged for them to help me but they wouldn't listen. Bane and Rafe held me while Christian pulled a silver chain out of the SUV, twisting the metal around my hands creating an ironclad shackle.
Bella. Bella! Look at me. My eyes found Edward's and my tears began to fall.
Where are the others?
I had to get close enough to get through to you. They're coming. I promise they'll come for you.
What about you, Edward.
Don't worry about me, Bella. I love you.
"I love you, Edward!" I cried, pulling against the hold of my brothers.
"Disgusting," Xavier spat. "How can you love this creature. I will never understand that."
Telford and Frost held him as Xavier placed his knee on Edward's spine. His hands wrapped back under his chin and on top of his head, tilting it back. "Any last words, leech?"
Edward's gaze locked with mine. "I love you with all of my heart, Bella."
I felt Rafe's hold on my right arm let go and I quickly twisted out of Bane's grasp, lunging at Xavier. The surprising force knocked him off of Edward. I flung my arms over his neck, pulling the silver shackle taunt against his throat. I held on as he frantically struggled against my hold. Frost and Telford came after me and Edward grabbed hold of their ankles.
Rafe ran over to help Edward, grabbing Telford so he could focus on Frost. Christian and Bane looked torn.
Xavier gurgled out what sounded like orders but my grip made it inaudible to the others. "Shut up."
"Rafe!" Christian and Bane were closing in on Rafe. "Think about what you're doing."
"I am thinking! Look at what he did to Finn and Isabella! They are our family, Christian. Does that mean anything to you at all?"
"Of course it does."
"Then prove it," Rafe growled. "Help me."
Christian looked at Bane and nodded. "Okay."
Xavier roared. His head crashed into my nose causing my grasp to loosen. He phased and before I knew it his teeth were on my neck.
You'll regret this, he snarled.
A flash of ivory flew by my vision and Xavier's weight was lifted off of me. Alice and the wolf tumbled through the trees.
The vampires swarmed the campsite, easily overtaking the outnumbered wolves. Frost and Telford surrendered quickly. Finn limped in after the vampires. Rafe ran to our brother, apologizing. Finn wrapped his arms around Rafe telling him there was nothing to forgive. Edward, Jasper and I ran to Alice.
She was standing in a pool of Xavier's blood, her eyes murderous.
Xavier lay naked on the forest floor beneath her. He was practically in two pieces. Silver traces were visible along the edges of his wounds. She held up her bloodied nails. "It was Rose's idea to paint our nails in silver."
I ran over to her, hugging her fiercely.
"It worked!" Rosalie laughed. "You owe me fifty bucks." She punched Emmett playfully in the stomach.
Christian, Bane, Rafe and Finn all stared down at their former alpha's lifeless body.
"Now what?" Finn questioned aloud.
"We return to our home," Christian answered. "All of us." His eyes met mine letting me know that I was included.
"Romania is not my home anymore, Christian. My home is with the Cullens." I felt Edward's reassuring arm fall over my shoulders and Christian nodded.
"I thought you might say that. Just know that you can come visit us whenever you would like. We're still your brothers." He sighed sadly. "I know we have a lot to apologize for and I don't even know where we should begin. Xavier threatened us with each other's lives constantly. We feared stepping out of line. We didn't want to lose another sibling. I know that's no excuse but-"
"No, Christian. I would have done the same to keep my family safe. We're okay."
He smiled. "Thanks."
Carlisle and Eleazar herded Frost and Telford over. They gasped when they saw Xavier's body. "Christian," Frost growled. "You should kill that bitch for this," he roared, pointed an angry finger at Alice. Jasper smacked the back of his head making him stumble.
"We're leaving." Christian ordered. His challenged them both with his eyes and they dropped their gazes to the ground feeling the empowering current of a new alpha in their presence. Bane and Rafe waved goodbye as they started to pack up the vehicles.
Finn limped over to me, pulling me to him for a hug. "The Cullens are nice people," he whispered. "I'm glad you were able to find a family since we were such sucky brothers." He chuckled and I snorted.
"I'm so glad you approve."
He winked and I patted him on the back, wincing as the pain in my hands returned tenfold.
Edward was by my side instantly, cradling my hands in his. "Carlisle," he called.
Carlisle unwrapped the cloth from my hands and I hissed as it pulled on my open wounds. Rosalie peered over Edward's shoulder, gagging in disgust. "Gross."
Esme shushed Rose, telling Emmett to take her, Jasper and the Denali clan to see off the wolves.
"It's a silver wound," I explained. "It won't heal without an antidote."
"What's in the antidote," Carlisle asked.
"I don't know. We didn't have them back when I was a part of the pack. They used a shot. Landry gave it to me for my cut. I don't know if they have anymore."
Edward was gone and back just as fast with a dazed Landry in tow. "Where do you keep the antidotes," Edward questioned him.
Landry began picking stray pine needles out of his hair. "Why should I tell you?"
"Because if you don't we will kill you." Esme stated icily.
His hand shook and he paused thinking over his options. "Alright, it's in a safe in the Jeep."
Finn jogged over and shouted. "What's the combination?"
"Only Xavier knew it," Landry fibbed.
"He's lying," I informed them. "He's the one that got it out last time."
Edward shoved Landry back against a tree, his hand closed dangerously around his windpipe. "Let's try this again," he threatened. "What is the combination?"
"Four. Three. Five. Eight." He gasped. Edward released him and he bent over wheezing, trying to catch his breath.
"Got it," Finn called bringing over the syringe.
Carlisle administered the drug and the wounds started closing up instantly.
Alice stared, amazed at the sight. "That was cool," she laughed attempting to poke her fingers at my newly healed flesh.
Carlisle, Esme and Edward all gasped loudly. "No!" Edward grabbed her wrist right before her silver polished nail came in contact with my skin. Her eyes widened in shock.
"Oops." She apologized quickly and I laughed.
"I missed you guys!" I exclaimed happily. "Even grumpy Rosalie!"
"I heard that," she huffed.
After saying goodbye to my brothers and thanking the Denali clan for helping, Edward ushered me home. I fell asleep in his arms somewhere after we had crossed the Canadian border. Fully aware I was nodding off, Edward continued talking to me about random things somehow knowing that the rumble of his voice helped me slip further into unconsciousness. I finally felt at peace. Thankfully the Seer didn't make any more appearances in my dreams that night.