DISCLAIMER: The characters do not belong to me…they are all the creation of the wonderful Stephenie Meyer.
Chapter Title:The End
Chapter Song:It Ends Tonight by All American Rejects
With everyone so close, we didn't even need our earpieces to hear what was going on. But I was still glad for them because it let me feel connected to my family even though they were outside of the house now.
"Aro," Carlisle greeted.
"Where is Jane?" Aro asked. If I had to guess at the emotion in his voice, I would pick frustration. Guess he hadn't really figured we would be able to put up much of a fight.
"She's inside," Carlisle replied.
"I wish to see her."
"I'm afraid that's not possible right now. But I assure you, she is unharmed."
"Carlisle, I thought we were friends. Why have you killed my loyal guards? And my son, Alec? Why are you holding my daughter hostage?"
"Since when have you considered Jane and Alec your children?" Carlisle asked, sounding a bit surprised.
"Always, my old friend."
"No, Aro. Considering someone a valuable asset and weapon is not the same as considering them to be your child. If you truly considered them to be your children, you wouldn't have sent them here tonight. And you never would have put my family in this position. You would have been able to understand our desire to live together, away from all of this."
"But look how efficiently you turned my guard to ash!" Aro said, sounding excited. It made my stomach curl to hear the glee in his voice. "Join us, Carlisle. Share your secrets with us."
"The only thing I will share with you is the joy of having a real family and the benefits of drinking animal blood. Other than that, I have no wisdom to give."
"Old friend, are you saying I will have to fight you to get my darling Jane back?"
"Not at all. We're willing to turn her over right now. All that we require is for you to give your word in front of all of these witnesses, and to put in writing, that from this point forward, the Cullen family is not to be touched, approached, or harmed in any way, shape or form for the remainder of eternity. We leave Volterra permanently and peacefully."
"You ask for so very much, Carlisle," Aro sighed. "Such a steep, steep price when I look at Alice…and think of Edward! Where is the dear boy?"
"I thought you were concerned for Jane."
"Oh, yes. Yes, I am. But I'm also immensely curious, as you know. How is it that you've kept my darling Jane from using her gift?"
"Edward, what's he thinking?" I whispered, not wanting to distract him, but needing to know all the same. My own curiosity was running rampant.
"He's figuring his odds of getting Jane out of this house alive and how many of us he would lose in the process. He's thinking that if he allows us to live, we may still one day change our minds and return here willingly. And he's also trying to decide if agreeing to our deal will make him look weak to the rest of the Volturi," Edward explained.
"Master will never agree to just let you all go. You may as well kill me now," Jane said from beneath me.
As I looked down at her, that calculating look in her eyes did not escape my attention. She looked too much like Aro when she schemed and it gave her away instantly. "You would love for that to happen. It would allow Aro to wage war against us and possibly even kill us. Do you really hate us so much that you would sacrifice yourself on the hope that we might die?"
Jane didn't reply. She just closed her eyes and became completely still beneath me.
"No, Jane. We will keep you alive and we will get our promise from Aro. And then we will never see each other again," Edward said.
I lifted an eyebrow at him, waiting for an explanation.
"She was thinking that she just had to find the right words to anger you so that you would lash out. She knows she can't goad me into action, but she was hoping to be able to influence you," Edward told me.
Part of me tried to feel a little bit bad for Jane, having lost her brother tonight. And then I remembered that her hate for us was already extremely evident before Alec died. "So sorry to disappoint, Jane. My husband trained me well and nothing you say will force me to end your life. I think Aro and you deserve each other, actually."
"Aro, do we have a deal?" Carlisle asked.
"I'll need a moment to consider," Aro replied.
"We'll be inside, awaiting your answer," Carlisle told him.
We heard the front door open and close, and then I heard the unmistakable sound of the thick steel beam being drawn across the steel door. It was a sound I'd hope not to hear tonight.
The door to our room opened and Jasper appeared. "Is he really as stupid as he looks? He's actually going to attempt to launch an attack?"
Edward's head was cocked to the side and he had such a deep look of concentration on his face. "Aro is like a child with new toys. He wants to find out exactly how we took out those first two sets of guards. He hasn't ruled out the deal, but he wants to play with us first. He wants to figure out how eight vampires managed to take out so many of his guard."
"Jasper, let's put that extra set of chains around our dear Jane," I said. "Seems like I'm going to need to be on my feet and the extra weight will help make sure she can't move enough to toss me off."
"Em?" Jasper called.
"I'm on it!" Emmett yelled back.
"How should we handle this?" Edward asked, looking up at Jasper.
"You four stay in here with Jane. She's our only bargaining chip and we have to keep her with us. The rest of us will be in the front room. Hopefully, you guys will never see any fighting," Jasper replied.
"I understand the need for that, but I don't like it," Jacob grumbled. "I came over here to kick butt."
"You did fight Jane and take her down with Seth's help," I reminded him.
"It's not the same, Bells. I didn't even get to rip off a single arm this time," Jacob whined.
"You are such a child," I replied, rolling my eyes at him.
Emmett entered the room with the chain in his big hands. "Damn, Jazz! This thing has actual weight to it."
"It has to in order to work on our kind," Jasper said, taking it from him. "Lift her up so I can wrap this around her."
"Give me a second to get off and get a solid grip," I told him.
"No need," Emmett replied. He bent down and lifted Jane up…with me still on top of her! "Finally! I get to flex my muscles a little bit," he chuckled.
"A little?" I laughed.
"You're still a light-weight, Bells," Emmett said, winking at me.
Jasper and Edward worked quickly to get the second chain around Jane's small body and then Emmett set us back down on the floor.
"I've seen some strange stuff since I first phased, but I really think this goes beyond that," Seth said, looking down at Jane and me.
"Well, if this works the way it should, you'll never have to worry about seeing it again," I told him.
"Aro's giving the order right now," Edward announced. "They're just going to swarm the house and go for the windows and doors."
"That's about what I figured," Jasper said. His lips pressed into a thin line and he shook his head slowly. "Such a waste." He drew in a breath and stood tall—in that second, I could clearly picture him in a uniform, standing in front of an army and giving a battle cry to wake the dead. I was damn glad Jasper was with us because I'd never want to go up against him.
He must have sent a thought directly to Edward because his head moved the tiniest bit—I'd been with my husband long enough to know that was supposed to be a nod I didn't see. He kept forgetting I had much better eyesight now.
"Let's get ready to greet our company," Jasper said out loud. He and Emmett left the room, closing the door behind them.
"How do you want to run this, Bells?" Jacob asked, looking serious for once.
"I need to stay with Jane to make sure she doesn't get any silly ideas, so right here in the middle of the room is perfect. We've only got the one door to cover, and they hopefully won't make it through the roof or walls," I replied.
"I think Seth should cover the door and Jacob and I will protect you and Jane," Edward said. "If they get in, it's going to be through the roof, but it's going to take them a while first. We'll have plenty of time to move you if we need to."
"I think that sounds really good," I agreed.
"So the object of the game is to keep mummy girl with us," Jacob said. "We totally got this!"
"You are so much like Emmett, it's scary," I told him.
Jacob just shrugged and picked up his saw, checking it over. "This would be easier if I could be more me."
"You really don't want Aro taking an interest in you," Edward assured him.
Jacob snorted and shook his head. "Yeah, I see how much of a party it's been for you guys."
The house suddenly began to shake and my head snapped up to find Edward. He was calm on the outside, but from the set of his jaw, I knew he was thrumming with tension. "They just launched their attack," he said.
"What? All of them at the same time?" Seth asked.
"All one hundred and fifty of them," Edward confirmed.
"Shouldn't this house be in pieces?" Jacob questioned, looking around our small room.
"If Jasper hadn't had it modified, it would be rubble," Edward answered.
"Why aren't their saws running?" I asked, attempting not to panic. I'd just realized I didn't hear any noise from the front room.
"Seth, check it out," Jacob ordered.
"No need," Edward interrupted. "I can hear them all just fine. Jasper's instructed them to wait until someone actually gets through. No sense in wasting the air." My husband suddenly started laughing and I couldn't help but smile along with him. There were few sounds in the world I loved more than his laugh, and I treasured it all the more hearing it on a night as dark as this one. "Jasper, they're completely pissed. They found the steel and can't believe their punches and kicks are so weak against it."
Emmett's big guffaw was the loudest, but I definitely heard laughter coming from every member of my family.
"Well done, Jasper," Esme said.
It didn't take long before we all started to hear the pounding. It really was coming from all directions, but it was louder from overhead. At least they hadn't bothered with the ground. That would have been a little too freaky for me, seeing a vampire pop up from the ground, like some dead corpse rising from the grave. The last thing I needed Rose to add to her list was "first vampire to be afraid of the dark" and that's exactly what would happen if I had to see something like that. I was a vampire, but I had limits damn it!
There was a metallic crunching sound, almost like nails on a chalkboard and then a fist appeared in the ceiling above Edward's head. In a move so fast I nearly missed it, he wrapped a wire around the wrist and left only the edge of a stump peeking out of the hole.
"Holy shit!" Jacob yelled, just like he'd done on the video. "I don't think I'll ever get used to seeing that."
"Let's hope none of us have to see it again," Edward replied, dropping the hand into a large barrel. Jasper had certainly planned for every contingency.
"Jake, come here," I said, waving him over. When he was beside me, I used his arm to get myself into a standing position on Jane's back. I had one foot on her neck and one right in the middle of her back. "Thanks."
"Anything for you, Bells. You know that," Jake told me, giving me one of his real smiles.
I heard that sound of air being parted again and looked up to see a booted foot falling to the floor between Edward and me. Edward retrieved the foot and dumped it in with the hand.
"You get any more parts in there and you'll have to set it on fire," Jacob mentioned.
"At least we have a ventilation hole," Edward smirked, pointing at the spot in the ceiling.
"And we're about to have a second," I told them, pointing above Jacob's head. Tiny pieces of plaster were falling into his black hair.
"How do you want me to handle this?" Jacob asked Edward.
"Use a wire. Let's leave them confused as to how they're loosing pieces of themselves," Edward replied.
Jacob pulled a wire from the back pocket of his jeans and wrapped the ends around his hands.
"Careful, Jacob," Edward cautioned. "They're going to attempt to have two burst through at once. One will be fist first and the other feet first."
"Did they flip a coin for it?" Jacob snorted, watching the patch of ceiling above him closely.
"Rock, paper, scissors," Edward chuckled.
"Seriously?" Seth cried.
"No," Edward laughed.
"Wow! Cullen made a joke," Jacob said, whistling at the end. "Hell really is upon us."
"Jacob, shut up," I said, slapping his arm.
"Hey, I didn't tell you to marry Mr. Serious."
"No, you wanted me to marry Mr. Immature Wolf Boy," I shot back.
"Yeah, I did. But I'm glad you didn't," Jacob replied. "It would have ended so badly once I imprinted on Amber. And as much as it pains me to admit it, you and Edward were made for each other."
"Oh, Jake that's so sweet of you to say," I told him.
"Yep! Stubborn and stubborn together forever," Jake said, barely stopping himself from laughing.
Jacob's laughter died as a hand burst through the ceiling and wrapped around his throat. Luckily, it was a loose hold and Jacob was able to get his arms and the wire above his head, slicing the wrist off and dumping himself to the floor. He let out a deep cough as he climbed back up to his feet.
"I told you to be careful," Edward chuckled.
"Bite me, Cullen," Jacob grumbled.
"Wouldn't want to catch your fleas," Edward shot back.
"Children, can we deal with the matter at hand and play fight later?" Seth asked. "There are some body parts begging to be removed right above your heads."
Seth's words had barely finishing ringing on the air when the sound of a saw revving to life reached us. "They're in," Edward said. "It's a small hole, so they're coming in one at a time for now. Emmett's handling it."
It didn't take long before Aro's guards got tired of the one-at-a-time thing and we heard more and more saws come to life. In our room, the idiots were still sticking body parts through the holes and getting them pulled off. Edward had started a fire in the barrel and luckily, the purple smoke was heading straight up and out.
A few minutes passed and we didn't see any more hands or feet protruding through the roof. We also didn't have any more new openings. "Edward, what are they doing?" I asked.
Edward stood still the way only he could do, listening to all of the voices out there. His eyes widened and his roar was loud enough to actually make my ears throb. "JASPER! Get everyone in here!"
Seth flung the door open and Rose and Alice immediately backed their way into the room. Esme, Carlisle, and Jasper followed seconds after.
"Emmett, get your ass in here!" Rose screamed.
"I'm working on it!" Emmett yelled back. "Shit!" he hissed.
"Emmett!" Rose cried, running for the door. Jasper grabbed her around the waist to stop her at the same time Seth reached forward and yanked Emmett backward into the room.
Emmett fell on his butt and made a little dent in the floor. "Shit!" he hissed again.
Rose pulled away from Jasper and wrapped her arms around Emmett's neck, sobbing into his shoulder.
"I'm fine, Rosie," he assured her, rubbing his big hands along her back. "One of the legless ones just bit my leg. That's all."
I folded my legs and let myself drop down completely on Jane's back. "Give me your leg, Em."
Emmett turned, still holding Rosalie in his arms, and dropped his legs across Jane's.
"Get off me, you damn gorilla," Jane howled.
Emmett lifted his leg…and then dropped it across Jane's again. "Shut the hell up before I decide to drop an elbow to your head," Emmett warned her.
I did my best not to laugh as I put my hands on Emmett's leg. It was such an odd sensation to feel the energy coming from Jane, flowing through me, and spreading into Emmett. No one spoke as we watched the teeth marks fade before our eyes.
There was a loud crash and the entire house shook once again…and then there was dead silence, except for Jacob and Seth's breaths and quick heartbeats.
"Carlisle? Are you still alive, old friend?" Aro chuckled from the other side of our door.
"Very much so," Carlisle replied.
Jasper started using hand signals, getting everyone armed and into different places so that I was in the center of all of them. Only this time, they were helping me to protect all of us instead of it being about protecting just me.
"Have you decided if you want Jane back?" Carlisle asked.
"In total tonight, you've killed over a hundred of my guard and permanently injured another twenty. What do you suggest I do with your little barbaric family?"
"Agree to our terms for Jane's release and leave us in peace, once and for all."
"Can we possibly negotiate the secret to those wonderful weapons of yours?" Aro asked, actually sounding hopeful.
"NO!" all ten of us yelled.
"Jane, dear, are you hurt?" Aro asked.
"Don't you dare lie to him," I warned her. "If you do, I'll take your gift away permanently." I doubted I really could manage that, but Jane didn't know I couldn't.
"I'm unharmed, Aro," Jane said. "They've killed Alec," she added, actually managing a bit of a sob.
"Yes, dear, I know. It's a sad thing. We should get you back to the castle so you can grieve properly," Aro told her.
"The chains," I whispered low enough for only Edward to hear.
He flagged Emmett and the two of them quickly unwrapped Jane while I held her from behind, keeping my arms locked around hers. I had a few inches on her so it was easy for me to keep her in my grip while they unchained her. And just like that, the chains disappeared into a backpack and out of view of any vampires stepping into this room—just another item we hoped to keep secret from Aro.
"Do you have the papers drawn up, Carlisle?" Aro asked.
"Ready and waiting," Carlisle replied.
"Will you be passing it under the door, or will I actually get to see you one last time, old friend?"
"You may enter the room. Alone."
"That cannot be done. However, I can enter with only Felix, Demetri and Heidi."
Carlisle looked at Edward. "Every thought is confirming he's going to go through with this deal," Edward said.
Emmett, Jasper, and Rose moved forward with their saws as Seth and Jacob readied themselves to protect the other side of the door. Alice darted forward, opened the door, and then shot behind Jasper.
Aro was standing right in front of the door and he actually had the nerve to smile at us as he entered the room. Felix, Demetri, and Heidi were right behind him—I also caught a glimpse of about twenty pissed off looking vampires filling up the front room.
Carlisle unrolled the paperwork he'd drawn up earlier with Jasper. Edward had explained that as the governing body, the Volturi had to honor their written and verbal words, no exceptions. So as long as a copy of this document was around, we would be untouchable.
Aro took his time reading over the page, his eyes flickering over to Jane and me on more than one occasion. It was a greedy look and I wanted this to all end so he could go back to his damn castle and I'd never have to see him look at me or my family that way again.
"This seems straightforward. We leave you alone, you leave us alone, and we all live in harmony," Aro said with a very fake smile on his face. "But I would like it said that should any of you change your mind in later years, you will be welcome in Volterra. You're determination and show of force here tonight are things of beauty and I would gladly welcome you as additions to my family."
I wanted to tell him where to shove his invitation, but Edward put his hand on my hip and pinched me, warning me to keep my mouth shut. And I listened to him this time, knowing we were close to getting Aro to agree. We just needed him to say it and sign that paper.
"I, Aro of the Volturi, proclaim the Cullen family free to leave Volterra without any recourse upon them for the deaths they brought about tonight. Furthermore, the Cullen family is to be left in peace for eternity. No vampire, Volturi guard or nomad, may go after the Cullen family. The penalty for disobeying will be death to any who defies me." Aro put the paper on the wall and put the pen Carlisle had given him against the page. "I sign my name of my own free will and grant an eternal pardon to the Cullen family."
Aro handed the paper and pen back to Carlisle, who quickly checked it over to make sure it had been signed correctly. "Thank you, Aro," Carlisle told him. "I wish we could have reached this agreement without all of the death and destruction that occurred tonight."
"Remember what I said in the castle, Carlisle. Do not add to your family. If you do, that agreement I just signed will be void and we will come to visit," Aro promised.
"We will honor our side of the agreement," Carlisle assured him.
"Jane, dear, let's go home," Aro said, moving toward the doorway.
"I'm going to let you go now," I whispered into her ear. "If you try to use your power on us, I will take it away permanently and you'll be just a normal vampire, no longer useful to Aro. And if you don't have your power, how long do you think Aro will keep you around?"
Jane's shallow breathing hitched and I hoped that meant I had her attention and belief.
"Do we have an understanding?" I whispered.
She nodded her head the slightest bit and that was good enough for me. I took my arms away from her and stepped to the side.
"Bella, would you tell me how you did it?" Aro asked, drawing my attention to him.
My refusal to give up my secret was cut off by Jane's shriek. "For Alec!"
I turned just as one of the wires slid into Edward's side and made him cry out in pain. The wire was nearly halfway through his body before I tackled Jane to the floor. I couldn't hear anything over the roar of my own screaming thoughts as my hands encircled her throat. "Edward! She hurt Edward! Can't let her hurt anyone else!"
My stubby nails dug through her skin and muscles, ripping and tearing out chunks as my fingers moved to meet in the middle of her neck. I could feel someone grabbing my arms, but no one was going to stop me. Jane had harmed my Edward for the last time. It seemed to take so long to get through it all and pull her head off her neck, but it couldn't have been more than a few seconds. With a triumphant cry, I held her head up and then threw it into the barrel in the corner. With any luck the fire would still be hot enough to burn that bitch's head.
"That doesn't void anything!" Jasper said quickly.
I knew I should care about what he was saying, but the only thing I could focus on was Edward. I crawled over to him, moving around Carlisle and Esme to get to Edward's head. I gently moved it into my lap and started stroking his bronze hair. "Edward."
"Edward, hold as still as you can while I get it out," Carlisle ordered.
I moved my hands to Edward's shoulders so I could help him hold himself still, while Esme grabbed his legs. He grunted in pain as Carlisle took hold of the wire jutting out of his stomach. Carlisle tried to do it quickly, but Edward had already started to heal around the wire. Carlisle had to rip it back out, tearing through Edward's stomach for the second time. His scream of pain made my ears ring and my heart throb painfully.
I'd never heard Edward in so much pain before and it left me feeling weak and useless…and human. I put my head next to his and hugged him the best I could in such an awkward position. I wanted so badly to heal him, but I'd given the excess energy to Emmett earlier when I'd healed his leg. "I'm so sorry, Edward. I should have been watching her closer."
He didn't answer. Edward always answered me, even if it was just a sigh or a growl.
I lifted my head and looked down at him. His eyes were closed and his body was completely still, as if he were sleeping. "Edward? Open your eyes, Edward," I demanded.
"Bella, he can't," Carlisle said softly, putting his hand on mine.
"Carlisle, what's wrong with him?" I cried.
"Nothing that we can't fix," Carlisle assured me. "He's very weak, but he'll be just fine. We need to get him out of here and fed."
"Then, let's go," I said, wrapping my arms under Edward's. "I'll help you carry him."
"Bella, we have to get Aro to agree the deal isn't voided first," Carlisle said, stopping me from moving. "Just wait here with Esme and Edward. I'll get him to agree. I promise you."
I felt both numb and full of pain as I watched Carlisle get up and walk over to Jasper and Aro. This wasn't part of the plan. The plan had been to capture Jane, ransom her, and go home. Nowhere in that plan did it call for Edward getting hurt. This was all my fault!
"Don't you dare," Rose hissed in my ear as she put her arms around me. "I can see it written on your face. It isn't your fault and Edward will be furious to know you thought it was for even a second. You did all you could to save us, Bella."
"He warned me, Rose," I argued, shaking my head. "He warned me not to underestimate her and I took my eyes off of her. It just took a second."
"Bella, calm down," Alice pleaded, hugging me from the opposite side. "Edward's going to be okay."
"You can't know that. You can't see anything right now," I whispered carefully, not wanting Aro to know of our disadvantage.
"Heal him," Rose whispered.
"I can't," I choked out. "I don't have any extra left."
"Take it from me," Rose insisted.
"And me," Alice added.
"Your husbands will kill me," I argued.
"Take just enough to get Edward alert," Rose said. "It shouldn't take that much."
"Take from me as well," Esme demanded.
I looked over at Carlisle, Jasper, and Emmett. They were all talking to Aro, Felix, and Demetri. "I can't risk it. We might need you guys to fight."
Jacob's warm hands settled on my shoulders and his lips grazed my ear. "Take it from me. You know how quickly I heal. Even if they start something, you guys can protect me while I finish healing."
I tilted my head to the side to see Jake's face. "Are you sure?"
"Can you live without him?" he asked.
"No," I sobbed.
"Then do it, Bella. Take whatever you need to get him alert and talking to you," Jacob ordered.
I nodded my head as I tried to find the courage within me to do this and do it right. I'd never used this against a creature other than our kind and I wasn't even sure if it would work. "Okay," I breathed, trying to think of everything. "Rose, put your hand on Edward's mouth. I don't know how he'll react to this and we don't want to get Aro's attention. Esme, sit on his legs. We don't want him moving either. Alice, I need you to stand in front of Jacob in case he needs to lean on you to stay standing."
"Why don't I just sit?" Jake asked.
"Because it might catch Aro's attention," I replied. "I don't know how much attention he's paying to us. I can't use Edward's gift if he's not alert to use it himself."
"How many friggin' powers do you have, Bells?" Jake whispered, sounding a bit awed.
"Later, Jacob," I told him. "Now, stand up straight and stay directly behind me. I'm going to grab your ankle, and with any luck no one will notice us over here." I took a deep breath and then grabbed Jake's ankle.
I bit the inside of my cheek to keep from crying out. Jake's energy was completely different from a vampire's. With Jane, it had been a soft, evenly-paced throbbing sensation. With Jake, it was wild and erratic and felt more like giant shocks to my system. I wasn't sure I would be able to tell if I was taking too much from him and that made me nervous—but Edward needed my help.
I slipped my free hand under Edward's shirt, touching the scarred tissue on his backside. The wire had had sliced completely through his front and back before lodging in the middle of him—I bit my cheek again, forcing myself not to sob at the feel of so much damage.
As slowly and carefully as I could, I let a little of Jacob's energy flow through me and into Edward. I did my best not to recoil from the shock of that untamed energy roaring through me. It seemed the more I tried to slow it down, the harder it bit at me. I ended up having to let it go at its own speed to keep from having my own body jerked around. After the fourth burst of energy passed through me, Edward's eyes flew open and his back tried to arch up from the ground. I could tell from the way Rose was pressing against his mouth that he was trying to scream. I immediately cut off the connection with Jacob and brought both of my hands to Edward's cheeks, rubbing them softly and trying to soothe him.
Rose and Esme moved so that anyone looking our way would be completely blocked from seeing Edward.
"Ssh! It's okay, Edward. Just try to relax," I whispered.
"Bella," he managed through gritted teeth. "It's burning."
"It'll pass, Edward."
"What did you do to me?"
"Jake let me take from him to help you. We can't leave to feed you because I killed Jane. Carlisle and the others are trying to negotiate with Aro, but I don't know if he'll agree to let us go."
"I don't know which to focus on first," he grunted. "Why did Jake help?"
"Other than you being my best friend's husband?" Jacob snorted.
I looked up at him, hoping he was okay. His skin was a little ashy and he was leaning on Alice heavily, but he didn't seem in danger of dying. I'd have to call this little experiment a success.
"I figured it was the least I could do. That was my wire Jane grabbed," Jacob admitted. "I figure the burning is because the damn thing was coated with venom from all those vamps I amputated tonight."
"Your energy burns, too," I told him.
"Cool," Jacob said, nodding his head a little.
Edward turned his head and pressed against my hand, trying to get my attention and succeeding. "You killed Jane?" he questioned.
"Yes," I sighed. "I'm sorry, Edward. I heard you scream and I lost it. I think someone tried to stop me, but all I could think about was stopping her from hurting anyone else."
"Emmett tried to stop you," Rose told me. "And he couldn't even get your hands off of her."
"And now we're all in danger again," I sighed, pressing my cheek against Edward's. "I'm sorry."
"It's not your fault," Edward whispered, rubbing his cheek against mine just a little. He was still so very weak, but I didn't want to risk taking anything more from Jacob. And if Edward was overly healed, Aro would definitely notice.
"But it is. If I just would have let her head fall to the ground, they could have healed her and we could have been out of here. But I just had to go and toss it in the damn fire," I muttered.
"Crime of passion then," Aro announced loudly. "It pains me greatly to be without Alec and Jane. But I cannot fault Bella for this. Jane attacked and Bella defended her mate. It's a sad and wasteful loss."
"Thank you, Aro. We'll be on our way now. We need to get Edward fed," Carlisle said.
"Feel free to stop in and visit if you ever find yourself in Volterra again," Aro offered. "Good night, old friend."
And just like that, Aro and his remaining guards disappeared into the night. Although, it wasn't really night anymore. It had only seemed that way because of the number of vampires that had been surrounding the door to this room. Now that they were gone, I could see past the door and into the yard, where the first faint rays of dawn were trying to touch the ground. They'd completely knocked down the front of the house.
"It's dawn!" Alice shrieked excitedly, shaking my arm. "We made it through the night!" she laughed.
Jasper swept her up into his arms and spun her around once before giving her a sound kiss on the lips. Carlisle bent down and kissed Esme's cheek, while Emmett pulled Rosalie up and then bent her backwards, giving her a greedy kiss on the lips.
"Not to break up the celebration or anything, but can we please get Edward fed first?" I begged.
"Sure thing, Picky," Emmett chuckled. "We need to pack up first, so you just keep him entertained until I come to load him in the car."
Jasper, Emmett, Jacob, and Seth collected all of the wires and saws and took them away. Rose, Esme, and Alice stayed at my side while Carlisle lifted the tattered remains of Edward's shirt and checked his side.
"I don't understand why the scarring is so intense," Carlisle muttered to himself.
"It was a used wire," I told him. "Covered in venom."
"Then I'm afraid these scars will remain," Carlisle said with a deep frown.
"Jake's energy doesn't work like vampire energy," I said. "It woke Edward up, but it didn't do anything for the scar. Not like when Jane's energy faded your shoulder and nearly took away Emmett's bite mark."
Carlisle sat next to us, looking off into the distance. I knew that look. He was turning something over in his mind. "Emmett, Jasper, get in here!" Carlisle suddenly yelled, looking excited.
They came running with Jacob and Seth hot on their heels. "What's wrong?" Emmett asked, looking around for something to beat up.
"Hold my hand," Carlisle instructed.
"Dad, I love you and all, but hand-holding is kinda gay," Emmett replied.
"Emmett, do what he says now!" Rose demanded.
"Yes, Baby," Emmett said, grabbing Carlisle's hand immediately.
"Jasper?" Carlisle called, holding out his free hand. Jasper took it, looking just as puzzled as I felt.
"Quickly, girls! Take Jasper and Emmett's hands and grab Bella. We have to make a full circle," Carlisle ordered. "Bella, take from all of us and focus it directly on the scars. Put a hand on his chest and back, right on top of the scars."
"Carlisle, what if we need to fight?" I argued.
"Aro can't. He signed our papers and agreed Jane's death didn't void anything," Carlisle assured me. "The fight for our freedom ended with the night. So just relax and listen to me, Bella. When you healed my shoulder, it had been well over an hour and I think that's why mine didn't fade nearly as much as Emmett's bite. It's only been about fifteen minutes with Edward, so there's a great chance you can fade it to almost nothing. There's no time to waste, Bella. Pull from all of us and give it a try."
"I've never pulled from more than one at a time! I don't know if I can control it!" I cried.
"Bella," Edward said, sounding so very tired. He wasn't supposed to ever sound that way. He was a vampire. My vampire! My super-hero.
"Edward, I don't know if I can control it," I said, looking down into his black eyes.
He somehow managed to get his arm up and press his hand to my cheek. I grabbed it with both of mine and held it in place. "Isabella, I have faith in you," he whispered. His eyes were so intense and filled with belief and hope that I wished I could cry, just to let out an ounce of the feeling he was giving to me.
I nodded my head stiffly and then moved my hands to his chest and back, just like Carlisle had told me. I closed my eyes as Esme and Alice grabbed my shoulders.
So how many of you wanted to kill me when you saw that? Hee Hee. What kind of Halloween would it be without a good scare??
My eyes flew open once again as the energy slammed into me, knocking my head back onto my shoulders. Edward and I both cried out as the sensation throbbed strongly through both of us. And then my cry became one of fear because with so many touching me, I couldn't feel where the energy safely stopped. I tried to pull away and unplug from them, but I couldn't move. All I could do was pray that Carlisle was watching closely and would see something was wrong.
And my prayers were answered as the energy abruptly disappeared. I was panting heavily as I lifted my head up—it felt heavy, like it weighed so much more than any of my other body parts. Carlisle was grinning; Esme, Rose, and Alice looked flustered; Jasper was leaning against the wall; and Emmett was kneeling on the floor near Edward's feet, grinning for all he was worth.
I forced myself to look down and see if Carlisle's idea had worked. I gasped at what I saw.
My shaking fingers reached out to touch Edward's chest, needing to verify that what I was seeing was real. The thick, puckered scar that had been there just a minute before was gone and had been replaced with a thin silver line that faintly glittered in the early morning light streaming through the doorway.
Edward's hands were suddenly gripping my face, pulling my lips down to his. He gave me a fiery kiss—the sort of kiss that made it hard to believe he'd been so weak just moments before.
"Edward, behave," Carlisle cautioned. "You still need to eat."
Edward let me go, giving me his crooked smile. I'd never seen a sight more beautiful in all my life and I sobbed from the intensity of it.
"Emmett, get him in the car," Carlisle ordered.
"Please be careful with him, Em," I begged as I watched my brother lift Edward.
"I'll treat him like the princess he is," Emmett chuckled.
Jacob, Seth, and Jasper laughed openly while the rest of us did our best to chuckle quietly. We followed Emmett out of the house and as soon as Emmett laid Edward on the seat, I climbed in and put his head into my lap again.
"Bells, Seth and I have to get going," Jacob said, standing in the doorway.
"Thank you for coming, Jake. And thank you for what you did for Edward," I told him.
"Sure, sure," Jacob said, smiling wide. "Anytime you want some vampire butt kicked, I'm your wolf."
"How about you just go home and be a husband and daddy instead?" I suggested, smiling at him.
"Yeah, I think I'd like those roles better for awhile," Jacob agreed. He leaned inside and hugged me tightly, covering me in his woodsy scent and overwhelming warmth. I breathed deeply, determined to never forget his smell again.
Jacob let me go and put his hand on Edward's shoulder. "You do as your told until you're healed and then you do something special for this amazing wife of yours."
"I plan to," Edward replied. "Thank you, Jacob. Once again, I owe you."
"Nah," Jacob chuckled. "We'll just call it even for me leaving the wire on the floor. And for me being a jerk in the past."
"Be safe, Jacob Black. And don't be a stranger," Edward said, gripping Jacob's hand.
"You know I can't the same because of the baby and all, but if things were different…" Jacob shrugged. "Anyway! We have to get going. Amber's expecting us back tomorrow and we have a lot of miles to cover."
Jacob moved away and Seth replaced him. He gave me a big hug before carefully shaking Edward's hand. "If you guys don't mind, I'd like to come visit. At least until I have a reason to spend more time on the Res," Seth said.
"Seth, you're always welcome," I told him. "You guys will always be a part of our family."
"Honorary Cullens! Cool!" Seth said, smiling wide.
Jacob shook his head as he hooked his arm around Seth's neck and pulled him away. "Come on, Seth. We've got to see a man about a boat."
"Do you need money or anything?" I asked.
"Nope," Jacob replied, popping the "p". "We have our own connections, Mrs. Cullen."
"See you around, Mr. Black," I chuckled.
"So!" Alice chirped, appearing near Edward's feet. "Where to first? Catalonia, Monaco, or Gloucester?"
"I think Gloucester would be good," Rose offered, leaning an arm on Alice's small shoulder. "We could rent a house in the quiet, gloomy country-side and just enjoy the slow pace for a week or so."
"Everyone get in," Jasper instructed, sliding into the driver's seat. "We can discuss destinations once we get the hell out of Italy."
"Jasper, what's going to happen to the house?" I asked, as our family piled in around us.
"The demo crew should be here any minute. They have strict instructions to knock it all down and haul it off. Whether we would have survived or not, I didn't want Aro having any piece of this house to look over and figure out how I'd done it. The crew is going to turn it to rubble and ship the pieces to Romania, where it'll be melted down and reused to make other things."
"You really did think of everything. Thank you, Jasper," I told him.
"Thanks, Jasper!" everyone echoed.
He chuckled as he sped down the dirt road. "Just doing my job for my family."
"What's going to happen to the wires and saws?" Rose asked.
"We'll lock those away in one of the vaults. Just as a precaution," Jasper replied.
"Can I use my saw for my Halloween costume this year?" Emmett asked.
"Emmett!" we all yelled.
Had I not lived through it, and if that silver scar wasn't right in my line of sight, I might never have believed we'd actually faced the Volturi and won. By some miracle, we had survived the night and we were finally, completely free of Aro. As long as we had proof of our treaty with him, we would always be safe. And I had no doubt in my mind that Carlisle, Jasper, and Edward would make damn sure there was always a copy of that paper, no matter what else happened in our eternity together as a family. It was definitely good to be a Cullen!
The End for Real.
Special thanks to Hellopants. She gave me the tip on the diamond-studding and let me bounce ideas off of her as I was writing. I hope you all enjoyed this fun little spoof.