AN: This is my After Ever After story re-vamped by my new awesome Beta, LaniLynne. This fic is now harder, better, stronger, and faster.

Summary: Set immediately after Breaking Dawn. While the Volturi return to Italy to plot their ultimate attack, Bella must learn to unlock her full vampire potential. It's mostly Bella's POV, but switches views to Edward, Jacob, Kate and Garrett. There's also the happenings between Garrett and Kate and what goes through Edward's head when he periodically reads Bella's thoughts. The vamps must unite with the help of a mysteriously dark vampire. M for Lemons, language, and violence.

Disclaimer: I do not own Twilight or any of these characters. I just love them.

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Edward's POV

"Forever," I said again, but this time to myself. I gazed in amazement at the beautiful vampire in my arms. After an ordeal like today I had to fight the urge to insist Bella went to sleep- which was now impossible.

Immediately my mind went to the horrifying events that had just past less than four hours ago. The Volturi and their army of witnesses, Aro reading my mind, stealing a glimpse into mine and Bella's most private moments… I felt a low growl building from the pit of my stomach.

"Hey could you keep it down? I'm sleeping over here," Bella growled, her face buried in my chest and the pillow.

"Ah, my apologies," I chuckled. Bella's interesting sense of humor was without a doubt my favorite thing about her. Then again there was her lips, her skin…

"What were you thinking just then?" Bella murmured as she pulled herself upright on the bed.

I didn't have to answer her. She saw the way my hands clenched into fists just remembering it.

"Oh duh. What else would you be thinking about? Our apocalyptic near showdown with those mafia wannabes."

I chuckled again. "Very clever, Bella"

"What do I get a cookie?" This time she giggled too. "Seriously though, I was thinking about them too. I can't get over the way Aro looked at me- Like I was enemy number one. Today they backed down, but what about tomorrow? And Nessie... Will she ever be safe?"

"Lets not think of it," I said, more harshly than I meant to. Luckily I'd read Bella's thoughts earlier and knew for a fact that my voice always sounded like music to her.

I'd read Aro's thoughts too and knew that if anyone was in danger it was Bella. I'd seen his mind shift the minute he realized that Jane and Alec's powers were no match for Bella's shield. He now saw her as the only threat to his power. Oh, he'd be back, but I didn't see it being anytime soon. The Volturi needed time to rebuild and recruit vampires with powers able to penetrate Bella's.

War was now inevitable and I knew that when the time came I would do everything to keep Bella and my daughter safe. But for now I wanted Bella to relax and settle into motherhood with our little family. No way in hell was I going to allow Aro and his fiends to intimidate, or scare, my wife.

"Bella, I won't allow anything to hurt you-"

"Hurt me?" Bella interrupted. "It's you and Nessie I'm worried about. Your days of protecting me are over Edward. Now it's time for me to shield you."

"Getting a bit arrogant are we?" I mused. Gone was the weak, breakable Bella. Instead lay a very feral mother vampire able to scare the pants off of the Volturi.

"Moi? Arrogant?" Bella pointed to herself in feigned shock. "Well I learn from the best." She smirked and touched a finger to the center of my bare chest sending a jolt of electricity through me, stronger than Kate's currents.

"Not you too," I snorted. What was with everyone insisting that I was arrogant?

Bella rolled her eyes. "Anyway Edward, now that I'm all powerful and everything…"

"Uh huh," I smiled. I couldn't resist teasing her. "And they call me the arrogant one."

Bella sighed and threw her hands in the air in exasperation. "That's not what I meant."

"Alright you were saying. Now that you are powerful..." I trailed off, waiting for her to continue.

"Well, I was thinking a lot about preparing myself for a possible confrontation. I can't just sit around waiting for Alice to have a vision of them ambushing us. I want to use this time to not only test my powers, but to learn to kick some serious vampire butt too."

I sighed in exasperation. She was right. We couldn't just wait until the Volturi were once again on our doorsteps, and knowing Aro's intentions I couldn't leave it up to me to protect her. She was my equal now, perhaps even my superior, in strength and abilities.

"And don't even think about trying that 'woman, get behind me' crap. If the Volturi come back I'm fighting," she warned.

Chuckling at my now very cross wife, I took her once again into my arms and stroked her hair. "Bella, I was about to say you're right. You must be trained but... not by me, ok? Try Emmett." I really hated fighting her; the way my mind automatically went into predator mode. It reminded me too much of those first days with Bella when I actually was the predator and she my all too willing prey. I could think of nothing but ways to kill her. My mind calculated every angle, every probability, and every weakness in her breathing. I thought of nothing but what it would be like to finally have Bella's sweet blood running like honey down my throat.

"No, not Emmet again," she whined. "I swear, he's taken out some personal vendetta against me every time that we train. And besides, I want to train with the very best, which I happened to be laying right next to." She innocently snuggled up against my chest.

"Emmett is the strongest and will be the toughest challenge, given your newborn strength," I answered matter-of-factly, before recalling that she hated when I did that.

"And Jasper's technique is unmatched by anyone in the house," I added.

"Yes but…" She purred while snuggling even closer to me, making it very difficult to think. "You're the cutest, making you by far the biggest distraction, and I'll need my concentration." She moved her face just inches to my lips, but didn't kiss me, and raised her arms to my face in the precise manner she had when she'd let me into her thoughts just hours ago.

Tempting. Very tempting.

"But," she shrugged and let her arms fall to her sides without touching me. "If you're scared that you're no match for me…"

Little minx. "I can take you," I rasped.

"Prove it!" She countered, rolling us around and pinning me under her. "Tomorrow, bright and early. You, me, in the Meadow, and don't you even think about wimping out."

"Fine." I said flatly. Really, there was no point in arguing when we could be otherwise occupied.

"Really?" She squealed. "But don't you think about going easy on me!"

Damn it. "And if I do?"

"Well… Let's just say that if I don't get the right training it's going to be really hard for me to motivate myself to try to let my husband into my thoughts."

That did it.

"Bright and early then," I confirmed.


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