For the last three weeks, something has been weighing on my shoulders;

I couldn't shake the ominous feeling that I had been cheated,

Like all my Twilight inspired creativity had been sucked from me;

Months of plotting and speculating,

For what?

An anti-climatic ending that had me racing to Harry and his Hallows

For a little excitement and bloodshed...

I wanted,

Nay needed,

A better, more conclusive ending, if this was the last I would get.

So, what came out of my love for action and suspense,

As well as the horrible taste

Breaking Dawn left in my mouth during those final scenes is this...

And as always, Stephenie Meyer is the owner of all things Twilight.

This time, I just don't think she got it right...

38. Power

(Page 730)

"I must make the deciding vote, it seems," Aro mused...

But there was no time for him to announce his decision. His front line lowered into crouches, all sets of bloodthirsty eyes intent on me. They knew that once I had been taken out, my friends and family would have no defense left. A tiny smile flitted across his thin countenance, before the howls erupted.

The first line of attack had been immediately pounced on by the wolves as they began to leap from their crouches. Horrible ripping and tearing metallic screeching erupted all over. I turned my head frantically to Jacob, and lowered my head to speak in Renesmee ear.

"It's time, little one. Hold on to Jacob with everything you have." My bell-like voice cracked a little at the end. Edward squeezed my hand gently, and I peeked at him over my shoulder. "We love you." I said, and gave her a last kiss on her soft warm cheek. Tears ran furiously from her eyes as she looked up at me.

A sob escaped my chest and I met Jacob's round dark eye. I looked at him for a sixty-fourth of a second, and tried to convey all my love, hope, and despair with the grimace on my face. I tried to hold it together. This, being the last few moments I would have my daughter and my best friend. I quickly wrapped my arms around them both.

The screeching and snarling was getting louder, erupting on every side now, but I kept my focus as I took one last look. Finally, I straightened up and painted a fake smile across my face. I didn't want Renesmee to remember how torn I looked at our parting. Slowly, I filled my lungs with air, memorizing one last time the wonderful taste of her, and of Jacob, knowing I couldn't stall any longer.

"Run!" I shouted, grazing my wonderfully, perfect daughter's cheek as Jake stood up and raced away from the clearing. I still felt the warmth of her little body tingling my fingertips, and the melody of both Jacob and Renesmee's beating hearts, as they faded quickly into the distance.

As the music of their joined lives disappeared, I finally looked around me. It was a staggering jumble of battling wolves and charging vampires. The reek of death hit me like a semi, and my shield shrank even tighter around my comrades. I noticed that our front line had spread out, building a protective front with me in the heart. I felt a twinge of guilt, knowing they were sacrificing their own lives for mine. At the same time, I knew it was the only chance for them. As soon as I was taken out, they would be at the hands of the merciless Jane and her mist throwing twin. My resolve settled more as I quickly counted the lights I felt inside my protection. Nineteen vampires, and sixteen wolves, all currently engaged in combat.

I panicked momentarily for the safety of the wolves, especially the children who would be seeing their first vampires today. Maybe their last...

A horrific sight caught my eye. Felix loomed large and menacing in the shadowy mist. He saw me, and winked as a smile stretched across his face. Even with my super sensitive hearing, I was still surprised when he spoke, and I heard it clear as a bell. "Dibs!" Then, he darted off to the left.

My eyes went to follow and track him as he approached, but a low growl made me hesitate and turn back to Edward. Twenty feet in front of me, my husband was in a low crouch snarling viciously. The red haze clouded my mind again as I whipped my eyes around to see what he was looking at. I found the target, just as Edward sprang into the air.

Demetri wasn't even looking in our direction when Edward landed directly in front of him. With eyes widening in surprise, he didn't have a chance. Faster than a bullet from a gun, Edward leaned over the startled tracker and grazed his lips to the marble surface of his exposed neck. With new eyes, I saw the violent act for what it was, not the sensual action my human eyes had observed when Victoria had been beheaded. Edward's brilliantly white teeth pierced the flesh, each razor point sinking in like it was warm butter. All too clearly, the sound of the stone appendage detaching rang in my ears, completely drowning out the horrors surrounding us.

I nearly laughed aloud as the limp body fell to the earth with a thud, like boulders crashing down in an avalanche. Instantly, two wolves I recognized as Sam and Embry leaped onto the monster and began tearing huge chunks of marble from it, flinging them far off into the mass of violence in the clearing.

Edward moved away from the carcass and flashed me a quick smile of victory, which I returned. Renesmee and Jacob could be safe, at least.

Too soon, the smile washed from his lips as another vampire charged him from the left. He dropped low, and sprang to meet the advance. Behind the spot his had vacated I glimpsed Emmett barreling through the low purple haze. I glanced farther ahead and saw his intended target, two guards blocking Caius from view. They were low, waiting Emmett's approach. Rosalie trailed behind her fearless husband, grabbing some of the guardsmen by the neck and tearing hungrily into them. A path of limbs trailed behind the menacing couple as they rushed forward. Following them, I could see some the of the new, younger wolves of Sam's pack tearing fiercely at the remains strewn out like they were at a buffet.

It stole my breath watching as the God and Goddess themselves single handedly destroyed half a dozen Volturi guards on their approach to Caius. His guards stepped forward quickly, reaching for Emmett's thick neck. Emmett ducked lithely out of the way, and wrapped a huge arm around the vampire's waist. With a quick pull upward, Emmett had the guards feet three feet off the ground. A flick of his strong wrist, and the legs were in the air, flailing, for an instant, before Emmett dropped down hard. The Volturi's head smashed into one of the flat boulders Benjamin had placed around the clearing earlier, head crumbling into a thousand pieces as it impacted.

Rosalie was directly behind Emmett, snarling loudly as she danced a twisted attacking form of the waltz with a mahogany haired woman. I recognized her as Heidi from my trip to Italy. I barely remembered comparing the two when I had seen her bringing home dinner to the rest of the Volturi. Their graceful violence seemed too out of place, but I could see that Rose was just a touch faster than her counterpart, bobbing and weaving out of reach of Heidi's powerful grasp.

While this was going on, I was aware of Zafrina conversing in hushed whispers behind me. Rosalie finally got a grip on Heidi, and was lifting Heidi above her head. Heidi screamed, but there was no hint of hesitation on Rose's face. She brought down the other vampire down, bending to her knees as she did so. Heidi landed with a sickening snap across Rose's perfect knee, violet eyes rolling into her skull. Rosalie pushed the body from her, and stood, dusting off her hands. Emmett was laughing aloud, having just beheading Caius' other personal guard, and reached up a hand which Rose smacked lightly, joining in his laughter.

Out of no where, Kate, blond hair undulating in the air currents of the battle, crashed into Caius, who soared twenty feet before sliding across the muddy ground to a stop. He snarled at her, leaping to his feet with a grace only the ancients seemed to posses. Before he even had the chance to change his grimace, Tanya slid behind him. She didn't even have to use her teeth. Caius' body crumbled to ash beneath Tanya's fists of fury. She pummeled the carcass until it was nothing more than dust, rising lazily into the air.

The guilt of bringing this situation upon us all tried to creep back into my mind, but Tia, who still must be gathered around me, with Benjamin, finally said something that caught my attention.

"Zafrina, they'll get through soon. They already know of Ben's gift. Let him try first." Her tone was urgent, but like everything she said, I knew it was well thought out.

Benjamin was nodding. He came and stood next to me. "They won't get near you," he said confidently.

I smiled weakly, and began to count the lights inside my shield again. Nineteen vampires. Sixteen wolves. But they were stretching the fabric of my protection and I could still feel as Jane and Alec continued trying to find a way in.

My focus was again pulled away as I heard screaming to my right. I instantly recognized the voice as Esme and whipped my eyes around quickly. It didn't take long to find the reason for her terror. A large, looming guard had crept next to Carlisle and given him a blow that knocked him to the ground. The man, with dark, greasy hair and a crooked nose loomed over him, ready to finish the patriarch of my family. I gasped loudly.

Benjamin!" I shouted and pointed.

Instantaneously, a fissure opened next to Carlisle's slumped figure and the attacker fell in. I felt sick. This went against his very nature. My stomach tightened uncomfortably, and a deep snarl rumbled from my throat. There was no hope for any one in this world, if Carlisle no longer existed. Attacking him was beyond low, and my muscles coiled in on themselves in response to the fury that was rising in my chest. Newborns were supposed to be wild and bloodthirsty, right? I could feel it building inside of me. I was half a second away from bringing my wrath down on the Volturi. They had gone too far.

Four more of the guard, having found a hole in the wolves defensive line, were advancing on us from the left, closest to Esme. I shifted, pulling her behind me.

"Oh, Bella," she squeaked softly placing a soft hand on my shoulder. "You need to protect yourself."

She was trying to mother, so I had to clear her conscious, before anything happened. I placed a steady hand over hers. "I love you, Mom, and I'll do whatever it takes to keep you out of this." As I spoke, I wished Carlisle would stand behind me. I would give my life for them. Yes, this world would be far worse off without them in it.

I sank lower into my crouch, letting the growls slid effortlessly from my throat. Suddenly, the quartet hesitated, staring around blankly. One started screaming. Then, the other three joined him. Their shrieks echoed everywhere, building in intensity and drowning out all other sounds. They fell to the ground, waving their arms uselessly above their heads, trying to protect themselves from the onslaught of whatever terrifying nightmare Zafrina was feeding them.

Luckily for the guardsmen, they didn't endure the utter terror for too long. Benjamin ripped the earth from beneath their feet. They screamed with no more violence than before as they were swallowed swiftly into the bowels of the earth.

Edward stalked past me again, body low, eyes tracking a figure I couldn't locate in the throngs of raging murder enveloping the rest of the clearing. I quickly counted again. Nineteen vampires. Sixteen werewolves. And, because I wasn't sure I should trust those numbers, I counted the Volturi. Eighteen...not including the two frail looking wives that cowered in the back of the massacre with huge staring eyes.

As soon as he danced off, I knew it was time. I had to make a move. "Benjamin," I whispered quietly so only he would hear standing at my right shoulder. "Protect Carlisle and Esme." I didn't turn to face him fully, but I saw him nod slightly through the corner of my eye.

I spun quickly to face Esme. I grabbed her into a tight hug and kissed her soft cheek before I placed my hand on Zafrina's tall shoulder. With a jerk of my head, I turned around and bounded lightly forward, knowing Zafrina and Senna would follow. Behind us, a heartbreaking sob was exhaled, as Esme tried to endure her suffering silently.

The flare of guilt tugged at my insides again, reminding me of my resolve. I would do everything I could to save as many as I could. But I was the only one who could take out their key offense. The howling of the wolves increased. They seemed more excited than they ought to be, even if we outnumbered the Volturi, even if we hadn't lost any one...

Out of no where, I felt my shield snap back at me. It was almost painful, like it the rubber band hit me square in my face. At first, I wasn't sure what had happened, but I quickly rolled the numbers again. Thirty four lights. Some one had been lost.

Letting my focus slip, I let my eyes rove the battlefield, searching for the one. Far in the corner of the clearing, I saw Stefan rearing up with a shriek. A small angel-faced vampire stood before him, shaking his head, pleading with the Romanian. "Mercy!" he cried over and over.

Stefan smiled wickedly. "Where was your mercy when you killed my family?" A white hand curled around the small vampire's throat. "If I could give you any less mercy, I would." And with those words, he stepped forward, and ripped the head from the body with his flashing teeth. When the body fell, Stephan dropped Alec's head, and crouched low over the ground. I suddenly understood who's light had been lost. Beneath Stefan's crumpled face was Vladimir, in half a dozen pieces. His light had been snuffed out.

I gathered my thoughts back and stepped tentatively forward, keeping my eyes everywhere at one. If anything, Stefan had taken care of one of my problems for me. Now, for Jane.

I was aware of Zafrina and Senna creeping silently behind me, knowing they were as alert as I was. It seemed impossible that we had made it this far with out attack. Seeing Emmett and Edward fly by in pursuit, forced me to realize, it was not with out reason. My family was still watching out for me. I was sure Edward would have preferred me to stay locked on the inside of our defense, but would also know, there was no other way.

We continued forward, stepping lightly through the dismembered vampire pieces, until we came to a wall of fur in dozens of hues. "Seth," I whispered, spying his familiar sandy coat. He snapped his head around immediately, an arm still dangling from his jaws.

I reached up and touched his face quietly, saying a million things in that touch that I hoped Jacob could hear now as he ran. For half a second I stared into those dark eyes, almost seeing my Nessie as she clung to Jacob's russet fur as he bounded faster and faster from the scene of carnage.

Saying goodbye for the final time, I smiled sadly, and leaped over Seth, to continue my pursuit of the second witch twin.

Past the wolves, there seemed to be much less confusion. Garrett and Kate fought a pair of guards side by side. The entire time, Garrett was shouting triumphantly.

"I bow before no one!"

"I am my own man!"

And finally, "Viva la Revolution!" as he slammed into his opponent, ripping a leg off with a twist.

Kate laughed along with him, having gotten a stiff grip on her attacker and was sending her electric voltage into the flailing Volturi. I smirked, then ducked as a piece of marble torso flew from behind me. Lifting my eyes from my crouch, I saw my target: little Jane, standing wide-eyed and focused as she tried in vain to permeate my shield. Her face was twisted in anger, as she quickly switched her gaze from person to person, trying to find a weak spot.

Her dark red eyes eventually drifted to mine and she grimaced. Without thinking, I raised my hand and blew her a kiss. I could almost see as her anger went from simmer to boil. She shrieked in outrage, launching herself at me. I held my ground, smile nailed fast on my lips, and watched her reaction turn to horror as Zafrina and Senna stepped to my sides. Jane halted immediately and began to flail her arms around her head, just as the other guards had done, when Zafrina had glamored them. Her once angelic beauty was now twisted into oddly contorted grimaces as she screamed.

Almost like she was taking pity on the evil shrieking wreck, Senna stepped forward to tower above the oblivious cherub. She bent down, blocking her from my view, and began to shred the screaming vampire to bits.

With that accomplished, I felt much better. Maybe, we could win. Demetri was gone, Alec, Jane, Caius...Now, for Aro. Without me, no one would be able to get past his body guard.

I spied him to the left, hanging near the tree line. Marcus stood as bored as ever on his right hand side and a brown haired, plain faced woman stood to Aro's right, and slightly behind him. Every move he made, she mirrored, making it look like they were attached by a million strings. In a strange way, that could be very close to the truth.

I bent low again, stalking forward. To destroy Aro, I must destroy Renata. No one else would be able to get close, if she still clung to his side. I used the tall grass near the trees to sneak up on them, Zafrina and Senna always half a step behind me. When I was less than thirty feet from my destination, I felt them hang back, and Eleazar's conversation about Renata's ability to sufficiently distract normal vampires who got to close to her charge replayed in my mind. Without hesitation, I continued my silent dash forward.

It was so easy that I laughed as I leaped from the grass, and wound my thin arms under Renata's, and back behind her head. I applied just enough pressure to make her gasp aloud. Aro turned surprised eyes on me.

When removed from physical contact from Aro, Renata's ability was dulled enough that Zafrina and Senna could approach. They glided animal-like to my side. Aro's eyes were wide and he shook his head.

"Bella!" His voice layered with shock. "None of this is necessary--"

But he was cut off but a loud and familiar scream. From the corner of my eye, I saw a sight that caused Aro and I both to gasp in shock.

Lightning quick, in a run that could be best described as dancing, Alice was charging toward us. Her eyes blazed with anger and they were fixed on Aro. Jasper, not quite as quick, was looking every where as he emerged from the trees, but he mostly looked like he was trying to stop Alice. She took no notice of the horrors that flashed across his pallid face.

I smiled neurotically at the sight of her. Her face was like a breath of fresh air and I inhaled deeply, watching with utter satisfaction as Alice barreled into Aro and pinned him to the ground with her tiny frame. He struggled against her limply, with no conviction, like he accepted the inevitable. And he probably knew exactly what would happen, Alice giving him one last glimpse of her beautifully unique mind.

Jasper was on him then, and together, they demolished the ancient one into a fine powder, which Alice jumped up and down on before racing into my arms. I kissed her on the cheek and wrapped my arms around her shoulders to return her embrace. The reunion couldn't have been sweeter, despite the gore that laid piled around us. We only released our hold, when Jasper wrapped his own long scarred arms around us both.

Taking inventory again, Seventeen vampires. Sixteen wolves. Some one else had been lost! I spun my eyes, taking everything in. The wolves were still busy shredding the carcasses. Minor battles raged all over, but the Volturi were nearly extinct. My yes found the body of Alec, where one of the new wolves was busy attacking it. I realized Vladimir's body was gone, and almost just as instantly, realized Stefan was no loner in the clearing, either. He had taken his brother and fled, more than confident that the Volturi had fallen.

Alice and Jasper ran off holding hands, and I heard Marcus speaking softly to Zafrina. "It is a mercy if you put me out of this eternity of misery," he said bowing low on his knees. "Fifteen hundred years I have existed without, my love, my heart! Please, show me mercy and I shall not live another."

Senna nodded slowly at Zafrina, and stepped toward Marcus. The wives approached behind him, begging to be shown the same mercy. I turned my back, and allowed the Amazons to show the Volturi royalty mercy.

Marcus muttered a name softly before the screeches began. "Didyme."

The battle was slowing down. All the Volturi witnesses had scattered when the fighting had first broken out, and those that remained to fight had been disposed of. Everything that twitched was being shredded by the wolves, who were scattered across the entire clearing, ripping happily into the flesh of their enemies.

My eyes were scouring the scene for Edward, but couldn't find him anywhere. Panic began to build, but I tried to choke it back down. I now felt thirty-five lights inside my protection. He had to be out there somewhere.

As I scanned the clearing, I began walking toward the line of werewolves that marked the original line of defense. A quick movement flashed in my peripheral. I swung my head in that direction, looking for the cause of the movement, but could see nothing, just more wolves.

Then, a strong hand grabbed my waist and flipped me around. I gasped, and he winked at me. "I always knew I'd get you Bella," he said in an amused tone, a broad smile stretching his mouth widely.

"How very nice for you," I mumbled feeling more irritated than anything that I had walked right into his waiting arms.

He chuckled appreciatively. Almost instantaneously, I heard the musical velvet voice yell my name, fear coating his tone. I could see Edward over Felix's shoulder as he began to race toward us. I glanced back at the huge vampire, whose arm was wrapped tightly across my chest. "Do you mind?" I nodded toward my breast pressed uncomfortably against me.

Felix smile widened. "No, I don't mind at all," he said, and released me enough to slide his hand slowly across my body, groping me, before leaning into my neck and whispering, "That's one thing ol' Eddie and I have in common."

His breath smelled like rotting death, and made my head swim, but I knew this was my only chance. With Felix's teeth resting on my exposed skin, Edward would never make it to me. This time, I had to save myself.

Not taking time to think, I slammed my flat palm into Felix's chin above my shoulder. The force was so great that his head snapped clean from his body, flew ten feet in the air, before falling back to earth. Edward skidded to a stop just in time to miss the falling appendage, which hit the ground right in front of his toes.

For three eighths of a second, he stared deeply into my eyes, a look of wonderment lighting his features. I couldn't help but smile, as he shook his head and muttered, "Amazing..." under his breath. In two long steps, he was by my side, pulling me from beneath the twitching body of Felix and into his strong arms. My favorite crooked grin danced on his face, lighting his eyes.

I took a mental count. Nineteen vampires. Sixteen wolves, and...was I dreaming?

I looked at Edward in confusion. "They're all gone?" I asked him.

Edward stayed silent, but his smile grew and he flashed his perfect teeth. "Thanks to my personal hero, we did it!" He started quietly, but the music of his voice grew with the excitement of the truth. "We did it!"

All around us, the clearing erupted in barks and cheers. I let the words sink in. We really had doneit. Defeated the Volturi and survived! I felt like I was flying.

Everything I had done in preparation was over, and I could have my daughter, my Renesmee, and I would never leave her for the rest of my life. And Jacob! I owed him everything for his strength to run, when his family had to fight in his place.

Edward swung me around in a lazy circle, and we laughed, even when we heard the ground open up to swallow all the remains that littered the clearing. I caught a glimpse of Emmett kicking stray chunks into the crevice like soccer balls, causing the infectious giggles to continue.

When he bent over to kiss me, I laced my fingers in the soft texture of his hair, and threw as much passion at him as I dared without causing him any discomfort. But Edward grabbed me and pressed me tightly to his body, kissing me with more feeling than I knew him capable.

"Jacob's already turning around," he whispered happily into my ear.

I smiled hugely, and grabbed on even tighter. When we released, both slightly gasping for air, smiles lit our faces. The danger had truly passed, and we had won! There was a happy ending for my little fairy tale, after all.

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