Pulling Down Heaven
Disclaimer: I don't own Twilight. Sole copyright belongs to Stephanie Meyer. I'm poor so don't sue. I do, however, own Maria, Izzy, Vincent, Zolan and T'eir. They're mine, all mine.
Rating: M for later chapters.
Summary: Sometimes good things can come from tragedy. Sometimes love can make someone sacrifice everything. An accident in the woods leads to some very big changes for Edward, Bella and the Cullen family.
A/N: This really is the end this time. If you like my work, please check out my other fanfic on fanfiction net and on mediaminer under Terri Botta. My inuyasha fic The Lucky Ones and its sequel (still in progress) The Coyote Child, have won numerous awards and my Buffy fic Here is Gone is also one of the finest pieces I've ever done. Also please check out my original novel, The Heart of a Fox. Izzy, Vincent, Maria and the gang will all be appearing in the sequel, The Soul of a Fox, coming out in Fall 2009 (hopefully.)
Thank you to everyone who reviewed PDH, I really appreciate it. I'll be posting it up on my wordsmiths website in the near future. I hope I entertained you, and that you enjoyed playing in my little mix of Meyers' and my sandbox. I know I had fun. Please review and let me know what you thought. Thank you.
Pulling Down Heaven
"Akihiro Hisamouto at your service."
He blinked and looked at the taloned hand.
'Shut your mouth before you catch flies,' Izzy teased. 'He's a kitsune, a Japanese Magic Fox, or half of one at least. His mother was human.'
Gathering his wits, he shook the kitsune's hand. "Hello. Pleased to meet you."
"Sorry about the illusion. Standard Operating Procedure, you know."
"Of course," he lied smoothly, not wanting to appear ignorant, but he did remember that Izzy had told him about something called a Concealment Spell that some demons used to hide their true forms.
"Akihiro's a friend. He's staying with us for a while for added protection. Mostly for Zolan's piece of mind," Izzy explained.
"And the entertainment factor," Akihiro quipped, casting an illusion of fireflies flitting around the room.
'Kitsune are masters of illusion,' Izzy told him. 'This one is especially talented in that regard.'
'Ah. I see. Thank you.'
"So? What have you been up to? Dartmouth should be starting classes pretty soon, right?" Izzy asked, drawing his attention back to her.
"Yes. Bella and I are moving in four days. Most of our things are already in transit. The last load is going tomorrow," he answered.
"Did you use Cappezzio's like I suggested?"
"Yes. I must admit they've been excellent so far."
"Your stuff will arrive with out a scratch, dent or chip. Promise. They're the best."
"We're moving too," Vincent piped up.
"Oh?" he questioned, looking askance at his friends and squashing the sudden rush of dismay he felt.
'Relax, we're actually going to be closer,' Izzy assured him.
"Yes. We're moving to Virginia at the end of October," Maria confirmed.
"Virginia?" he repeated.
"Yeah. We got an opportunity to buy a property near the Blue Ridge Parkway that was just too good of a deal to pass up," Izzy added.
"Well, at least we'll be on the same coast," he noted, a sheepish smile on his face.
"That is a plus. You'll have to come down at least once or twice a year to get the… uh… medicine for your wife," Izzy said, faltering on the words "Warrior Peach." 'I can't say it out loud because technically we're not supposed to have it.'
'Understood.' "Of course."
"Edward's wife has a mild form of CP. Maria brews medicine for her," Izzy explained.
Akihiro gave them a look that said he wasn't fooled, but shrugged, "That's cool, but then you wouldn't expect anything less from her."
"Nope," Izzy replied immediately.
"Speaking of medicine," he began, using the subject to segue towards a topic he was eager to discuss. "How are you? You look… much better."
Izzy gave him a kind smile. "I am much better."
He knelt down next to her and deliberately placed one hand on her knee, just above the point of amputation. 'How are you really?'
'I'm doing good.'
He looked up at Maria, seeking confirmation. She nodded and smiled.
"I'm glad that the damage wasn't bad enough for them to have to take your knees," he said carefully.
Izzy's face darkened a little, but she didn't look angry. "Yeah. Me too."
"And you'll never let that happen ever again, right? You'll Cleanse when you're supposed to," he insisted, letting a little bit of irritation enter his voice.
"She won't have to," Maria said happily.
He glanced up at the woman, surprised. "She won't?"
Izzy reached over and played the "bionic" music fanfare from the Six Million Dollar Man.
"I's gonna be bionic," she announced with a grin.
He blinked. "You are?"
"Yup. Jamie Sommers is gonna have nothin' on me."
"There have been quite a few advances in prosthetic technology in the past five years. T'eir is fairly certain that Izzy can be outfitted with a new set of cybernetic legs that will be able to handle the chi energies without the detrimental side effects of the demonic flesh ones," Maria explained.
"In about three months, I'll go in for surgery to have osseointegrated implants put in. Then once the bone around the implants heals, I'll go back to be outfitted with a set of brain-controlled, cybernetic legs," Izzy added.
"That kind of technology isn't available here," he stated.
Izzy shook her head. "Not yet, but it's coming. Advances in the human world are always capitalized upon by the demon world. They typically can take a breakthrough further and faster than human scientists can once they have the base materials and techniques. Then those advances cross worlds again and become part of the human plane.
"That… that's just wonderful," he said, genuinely pleased.
"Yeah, with Vincent getting stronger, he'll be able to protect himself pretty well on his own soon, so I won't have to fight so much," Izzy said.
"Hey, I'm doing a fair job right now," Vincent complained.
"Yes, you are," Maria agreed.
"And getting better every day," Izzy added.
Vincent beamed and preened proudly. "Thank you. Thank you."
They laughed and he smiled at his friend. "No, really. I cannot tell you how happy I am to hear that you won't have to put on another pair of legs like the ones… T'eir took off you," he admitted.
"Me too. Maybe we'll actually get some decent songwriting done around here," Izzy said.
"Yes, I heard part of what you were playing when I came in. What are you working on?"
"Some light rock tracks. Maria sent the demo to a couple of our contacts in the music biz, and it's already generating some interest. One of the producers we know is looking at a couple of the songs as possible singles for some new, aspiring singers," Izzy answered. "Right now we're just tweaking a few things to polish them up."
"It sounded wonderful. Do you mind if I listen in?"
"Listen in? Wouldn't you rather help?" Izzy countered with a knowing look.
He returned her look with a smile. "What can I do? How can I help?"
"Well, you can help us with some of the newer tracks. We need to get the melodies down before we can have fun with counterpoint and rhythm," Izzy told him.
"And lyrics! Don't forget the lyrics!" Vincent added.
Izzy rolled her eyes. "And lyrics."
Edward laughed and motioned to the array of instruments. "What would you like me on?"
"The acoustic guitar if you please, sir. Today the keyboards are all mine," Izzy replied with a wide smile.
"My pleasure, my lady," he agreed, and rose to his feet.
He crossed the room as Izzy wheeled herself back behind the keyboards, and picked up the acoustic guitar from its stand. He joined his friends just as Izzy was using a small projector to display the music tracks from the computer on a white wall so all of them could see the music score easily. He quickly scanned the composition, playing the song in his head while he checked the tune on the guitar, and sat down on a stool a few paces from Izzy. Maria picked up Rosamun and Vincent grabbed his violin. Even Akihiro joined in by opting to sing and play woodwinds, and together they spent the rest of the afternoon making music, laughing and sharing their talents.
Later that evening, when they had called a halt to the recording work, he and Izzy retired to the back deck to watch the sun set over the forest. The clouds had cleared out some during the course of the day, and now the sky was mostly the twilight colors of red and deep blue. Izzy had transferred, quite easily he'd observed, from the wheelchair to a padded cast iron lounge chair on the deck. He occupied the high-backed chair next to it, and a glass of Blood Vine for him and a glass of iced tea for her sat on the little cast iron end table between them. Somewhere nearby Akihiro was playing basketball with Vincent using a hoop hung above the garage door. He could hear their game and teasing clearly.
"Nice shot, shorty!" he heard Akihiro say after what sounded like a rim shot.
"Who you callin' shorty!"
"You, the kid I have to kneel down in front of in order to have a face to face conversation."
"That can be arranged!"
They heard Maria's laughter ringing high and clear over the banter, and both he and Izzy snickered.
"He becomes more like his father every day," Izzy commented, shaking her head.
"Really? And here I was thinking he sounded more like you."
"Thank you. Thank you."
Izzy reached for her iced tea and sighed, "This is a nice place. I think I'm going to miss it."
He gave a grunt of agreement.
"And I'll miss you," she admitted.
He smiled. "I'll miss you too." It was true. He was going to miss the ease of their friendship, the sanctuary and solace she and Maria had given him.
"Rosalie is going to cry when she hears you're moving away. She adores Vincent."
"She already knows. Maria told her, but she also talked to her about joining the demon community. There are lots of opportunities for her to work with interspecies children like Sparky if she wants."
He nodded and took a sip of his Blood Vine, smiling. It was his favorite variety, the one that tasted slightly floral, but today Maria had added a dash of mint. It was very good, and he marveled at how much the two women had changed his life.
"Just think, if I hadn't gotten bitten by that Komodo Demon, I never would have met you. I would have gone on with my life and never have known about Blood Vine or demon communities and councils. I would have been forced to turn my wife into a vampire like myself or risk the Volturi killing her…"
"And I'd be dead because that Questias Demon would have killed me for sure," Izzy interrupted. "Thank you. I owe you for that."
"No," he insisted. "You owe me nothing. After everything you and Maria have done for me, I consider it a very small part of the huge debt I owe you."
"I told you before that I'm not keeping score."
"Me either." 'Was it truly terrible?'
'I woke up in a Regeneration Tank,' she replied, sending him images of what it was like to awaken floating, naked, in a tank full of thick bluish fluid with tubes stuck down her throat and more tubes running from her arms and torso. He nearly gagged, and for a moment he experienced her initial panic upon waking.
'Only for the first few seconds. Once I realized where I was, I calmed down. Later Mia would tell me I'd been in there for five days.'
He frowned. 'I saw the damage. It was… bad. Your stumps were black and necrotic.'
She nodded gravely. 'I suspected as much.'
'What I don't understand is how you could stand the pain. Gangrene is excruciatingly painful.'
'I didn't feel it. There's a numbing effect associated with the socket joint of the demonic legs so I don't feel the merging of the blood into mine. It masked the pain of the wounds too.'
"So? You looking forward to Dartmouth?" she asked him aloud.
He shrugged and took another sip of his Blood Vine. "College. Again." He sighed. "But I'm doing it mostly for Bella's sake. I don't want her to miss a single human experience that I can give her. I'm most looking forward to having her all to myself. I've found a perfect little cottage just outside of town. It's only a few miles from campus, but it's on two acres, and it has a stream and gardens…" He sent her the images of the pictures he'd seen and smiled as she nodded in approval.
"Nice. Maybe we'll come up to visit you."
"You will always be welcome in our home."
"That's good to know."
"And I mean it, anything I can do, any way I can help. Ask me and it is yours."
She gave a huff that she understood. "Y'know, you might want to get involved with the interspecies community in New Hampshire. I'm sure Dartmouth has an Interspecies Student Council. They could get you in contact with what's available in that area, and maybe help you make your college years more fun this time around."
He didn't dismiss it out of hand. "It's an idea."
"I think you'll find them very accepting. They're very diverse. They have to be, and it might help Bella to have some interspecies friends, or maybe some human friends and spouses of non-humans. Keeping secrets all the time can get old after a few years."
He snorted. "Try a few decades. You have no idea how wonderful it is to come here and just be myself."
"You and every other demon trying to assimilate into human society." She looked at him, her eyes understanding. "It's a real problem. Demons that are out there on their own with no support group usually slip up and get themselves killed or become so isolated that the loneliness eats them alive."
He knew that all too well. Carlisle had brought him over because he was lonely and wanted a companion. For that reason alone he had turned a dying seventeen year-old boy into a perfect, ageless predator.
"I mean it. That's why I push so hard for demons to get involved. You get into an active interspecies community, and you can do anything, Edward. You could pursue any career and stick with it for decades. You could be a teacher, a writer, a songwriter or musician. Anything. You can live in a demon neighborhood and not have to worry about moving all of the time. You'd have the added protection of some very talented neighbors keeping the crime rates down. The possibilities are endless."
"I'll think about it."
She smiled. "That's all I ask."
He looked at her, returning her smile and held up his glass. "To one of the best friends I have ever had."
"To one of the bravest, stupidest vampires I've ever met," she countered, holding up her own glass.
He smirked. "To one of the most brazen, foolish, stubborn, irritating, remarkable human beings I've ever crossed paths with."
"Are you sure you're not talking about your wife?" she quipped.
"She's the most brazen, foolish, stubborn, irritating, remarkable human being I've ever crossed paths with," he clarified.
"To the most controlling, know-it-all, obsessive vampire I've ever butted heads against."
"To friendship," he offered more seriously.
"To the families you choose."
"To courage in the face of fear."
"To endless possibilities."
"Hah. I'll drink to that."
They grinned and clinked their glasses together, each drinking deep, then they both sat, content in each other's company, and watched the sun go down.