Survival of the Soul
By: Lady Saffir
Story Rating: R
Chapter Rating: PG
DISLCAIMER: I do not own any character associated with the Twilight universe.
"Life is suffering" Buddha
"Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending.■ Maria Robinson
The family knew something was up when the large delivery truck arrived at the house with a king sized bed. Emmett and Jasper had shrugged at each other, mouthing, 'not me' and smirking. Carlisle had looked to Esme, wondering if she had ordered a new piece of furniture, frowning when she shook her head. Every head turned when Alice bound over to the doorway and thanked the delivery men for such prompt service.
"Alice? Is there a reason you ordered us another bed?" Jasper questioned. Perhaps his wife had foreseen they would break the bed the next time everyone else was gone?
"It isn't for us," the serene answer floated down the stairs. Alice already had the frame up the stairs and was piecing it together in an empty room on the third floor when the rest of the family arrived.
"Alice, if it isn't for you and Jasper, and I'm assuming it isn't for Emmett and Rosalie or Esme and me, why did you order a bed?" Carlisle questioned.
"I don't know. I just saw that we would need it," Alice admitted, straightening up and beaming at her husband. "Jazz, sweetie, could you and Emmett please bring up the box spring and mattress?"
Jasper nodded slowly, he and his brother disappearing down the stairs and returning seconds later, placing the set on the completed frame. By now the rest of the family had dispersed, used to Alice's odd requests and actions in regard to a vision. This vision seemed to be troubling his wife more than usual. Her feelings were fluctuating between happiness and sorrow, anxiety laced throughout. What had she truly seen, and when would she know exactly why they needed another bed?
"Alice?" he asked softly, walking over to place a hand on her shoulder. She turned to him then, wrapping her arms about his waist and burying her face in to his shoulder. "Alice, what did you see?"
A shudder ripped through his wife's body. "Someone important to our family," she whispered. "But we don't know her yet. We might never know her. I keep seeing the bed, sometimes with her in it, other times empty. I think it's going to be a close thing, us finding her in time," Alice confided, her hands clenching the fabric covering Jasper's back.
"We'll find her, Alice," Jasper soothed, sending a wave of calm to the distraught woman in his arms. "I promise you we will."
That had been two days ago.
Alice tore in to the living room, yanking on her shoes as she yelled for her family. "Carlisle, Esme, Jasper! We have to go - NOW! HURRY!"
In the blink of an eye her family was in the room, Emmett and Rosalie included. Only Edward, out hunting the past three days, was unaware of the tension the family had been living with.
"Emmett, you and Rose need to go the store, get things like broth, milk, juice, crackers," Alice ordered, yanking on Jasper's arm as she hurried him to the garage. "No complaints, Rose! Just do this, please," she begged, reaching back and pulling Carlisle and Esme after her. "Carlisle, we're taking your car. Get us to Seattle as fast as you can."
A quick look at his daughter's face had Carlisle nodding grimly, pealing out of the garage and whipping through the turns of the drive at eighty. They were on the interstate before anyone spoke.
"Alice, what did you see?" Esme asked, twisting to look at her adopted daughter.
"Death," came the quick reply. "Some of the Volturi, Aro included, are in Seattle to deal with a rogue. There's someone there we need to save," Alice stated, her face going blank as another vision took hold. Her breath hissed out in anger at what she saw. "I'm going to rip him to pieces," she muttered.
"Who, Alice? And where are we going?" Jasper questioned.
"The outskirts of Seattle. I'll tell you when to turn, Carlisle. And we're going to save a young woman named Bella."
Esme gagged at the smells emanating from the house. It was surrounded by woods and well away from any prying eyes, the structure itself in disrepair and looking to be in danger of collapsing in on itself. Despair and misery permeated the air, palpable even to those who weren't sensitive to the emotional climate. The silence surrounding the structure was unnerving, not even the wildlife dared make any noise.
At Carlisle's voice Alice allowed visions to take hold, shuddering as they progressed.
"We want the second floor bedroom to the left of the stairs. She's in the closet. We have one minute before Aro and company arrive and begin cleaning up," she stated. "Ignore everyone else in the house. Jasper, you'll need to provide as calming an influence as you can. Carlisle, you'll need to be the one to open the closet."
"Closet?" Esme questioned as they were speeding up the stairs.
Alice nodded grimly, allowing Jasper to take point as he opened the bedroom door.
The house was quiet around them, the other occupants going silent as they sensed vampires entering the building. The fast beat of their hearts betrayed their anxiety, the quickened breathing coming in pants. The air swirled with the unique scent fear produced.
Jasper struggled with to control his emotions and block out the feelings of the humans around him. Alice had said he needed to provide calm but the emotions being inflicted upon him made this a difficult task. 'Calm, calm' he chanted to himself, forcing his mind to empty of any negative thoughts. With a deep breath he finally settled and was able to project calm in to the room.
Carlisle nodded, motioning for Esme and Alice to stand back. Regardless of the fact that it was a human behind the doors, he wanted to take no chances. He studied the dirty wood door before him. There was a small air vent at the base and numerous chips and dents were scattered over the wooden surface. Dried smears of blood were interspersed, one barely congealed. Carlisle smoothed away the frown he wore, slowly opening the door.
The girl huddled on the floor blinked rapidly, one hand near her face as she attempted to see who was before her. Her brown hair was dirty and greasy, her clothes overly large and in danger of falling from her shoulders. A multitude of emotions flashed over her face before settling on fear.
"Bella?" Carlisle spoke softly, crouching down so that he was at eye level with the girl before him. She simply stared for a moment before nodding shortly. Her gaze flitted to the three other vampires in the room quickly before settling back on Carlisle's face.
"My name is Carlisle Cullen and this is Esme, Alice and Jasper. We're going to get you out of here in just a minute, okay?"
Another short nod.
"Are you hurt anywhere?"
A quizzical look met this question, Bella's head tilting to one side as she thought over the question before nodding reluctantly.
"No time," Alice whispered, turning to face the doorway. Carlisle rose smoothly, stepping forward as Aro appeared in the doorway, Jane at his side.
"My friend!" Aro exclaimed. "This is quite the surprise. What brings you to this miserable place?"
"Alice had a vision that we needed to be here," Carlisle answered.
"Did she now?" The Volturi leader murmured. "And what did she see?"
"That we needed to save this young woman," Carlisle gestured behind him.
Aro drifted further in to the room, edging to the side in order to get a better view of Bella. "Child, do you know what we are?" he questioned suddenly.
Bella nodded again.
"Then we have a problem," Aro addressed Carlisle. "She knows what we are and you know the rules."
Alice stepped forward, ignoring the warning hiss from Jane. "If you'd like to see, Aro," she invited, one hand extended out confidently. The dark haired vampire took her hand easily, his eyes gazing in to the distance as he processed everything he took from Alice's memories.
The room was tense for one long moment before Aro exhaled, turning to smile at the head of the Cullen family. "Ah. Shall I offer my congratulations in advance, then? Another daughter," he trailed off, smiling at Esme before heading towards the door. "Come, Jane, we have others to take care of," he stated, gliding soundlessly out in to the hallway. Jane gave a parting glare at the Cullen family members before following her master out.
Carlisle exhaled, exchanging a look with his wife before turning back to the human still huddled on the floor.
"Bella, can you walk? We need to leave."
Brown eyes widened at the statement. Silence followed before the young woman nodded her head timidly, looking away, shaking her hair forward to cover her face. She struggled awkardly to gain her feet, using only her left arm to push up from the floor. Concerned with the difficulty Bella seemed to have with such a simple action, Carlisle looked her frail form over, hissing when his gaze zeroed in on the awkward angle her right arm laid as it was cradled against her chest. The sound froze Bella as she crouched on the floor, distress etched on her features as she waited to be punished for her delay in standing.
"Alice, get my bag out of the car," Carlisle murmured, kneeling down to better assess the damage. "Bella, I'm a doctor. May I look at your arm?"
An indifferent shrug met this question.
Carlisle took this as assent, gently running his hands over her arm. He looked up to check to see if this caused any pain, only to find his patient had closed her eyes and leaned her head against the wall. His fingers, though gentle, still pulled a whimper of pain from the girl huddled before him. She bit her lip against the sound, choosing to keep her eyes closed as Carlisle fashioned a brace around her arm.
"Bella, I'm going to pick you up now," Carlisle informed his patient, waiting for a slight nod before slipping his hands behind her back and under her knees. He lifted her slight form, frowning to himself. Her weight regardless would have been inconsequential to him but he was hyper aware of the press of her bones against her skin. They would have to work on improving her nutrition when they arrived home and took care of her injuries.