Okay, this disclaimer goes for the whole story since I might sometimes accidentally forget to stick it on: I own none of the characters, they all belong to the wonderfully amazing mind of Stephanie Meyer, who brought us all Edward, so we won't steal her work. I own nothing *pout*.
My family was waiting for us when we arrived. They were tense, looking at me questioningly.
How dare you bring that thing into our house? What is she? She drank from you and now you're inviting her over? How do you know she won't harm us? Rosalie raged at me in her head. I growled at her, narrowing my eyes.
Bella walked straight into the center of the room and extended her hand to Carlisle, just as she had done with the wolves. He stared at her for a moment, and then pulled her into a tight hug.
With a start I remembered that Carlisle had been Bella's doctor, and therefore knew her almost as well as I did.
"It's been a while, Bella. You have changed much since the last time I saw you."
Thank you, I heard Bella speak into Carlisle's mind, for keeping your promise all this time.
"Of course. It was my pleasure," He said, smiling.
"Promise?" I asked, looking at them questioningly.
"A long time ago, Bella asked me to promise to take care of you. It was on that condition only that she left with her parents. I'm sad to say that at that time I didn't do a very good job of it," Carlisle's eyes dimmed with remorse.
I shuddered, "It wasn't something you could have helped. But why did you never mention Bella to me, after you changed me?"
Carlisle sighed, "Even if you didn't, I still remembered everything. You became a zombie, Edward. Aside from the things you were required to do, you took no interest in anything. When I changed you, it seemed as if the old Edward had come back, if at the cost of most of your memories. At first, I had resolved to tell you after you had gained some control over your instincts. But then, I saw how you had changed, and I knew that if I told you then you would forever agonize over her, wanting to change her but not permitting yourself to. I decided not to tell you. And then, when you left us, I searched for Bella, if only to see what had become of her. She disappeared. I looked everywhere, but I couldn't find her,"
Carlisle, Edward left ten or eleven years after he was turned right? Bella asked.
"Yes," Carlisle said, sounding surprised that she knew of my shameful past. Of course she knew. As I had learned of her past, she had learned mine.
"That was around the time that Bella completed her transformation. She left civilization permanently after that. And with her power, you probably would not have been able to speak to her even if you found her," I explained.
What exactly has happened to Bella since we last met? Carlisle thought.
"I'll explain more once we've introduced Bella to the rest of the family," Turning to Esme, I said, "Esme, this is Bella. Bella, this is my mother."
I watched Bella cautiously. Bella had only met my real mother once, but she had grown very attached to her, and her memories of my mother were more vivid than my own. I hoped the thought of my having an adopted mother would not upset her. Though how anyone could do anything but love Esme I didn't know. Bella looked up at me questioningly, and then a slow smile appeared on her face. She touched my hand.
This is your mother? She asked.
She's beautiful, Bella stated, staring at Esme. Quickly she let me see through her eyes at the glowing aurora that was my mother's soul. She reached out to touch Esme's hand.
Thank you so much for taking care of him, she said, sincerity exuding from her beautiful voice. Surprise flickered in Esme's eyes as she heard my lady's voice.
I rolled my eyes, "You make me sound like a helpless child. I can take care of myself you know,"
Bella stared at me in amusement for a moment and then shook her head, not at all.
Esme laughed, "He is my son. I could not help but care for him."
Hiding a smile, I turned to my siblings. Jasper stood protectively in front of his wife, nearly having to physically restrain her from jumping up to meet Bella. As it was Alice vibrated excitedly behind him. Emmet held a similar posture, but Rosalie was staring at Bella with distinct animosity, clearly in no hurry to meet her at all.
"Jasper, Emmet, relax. She will not hurt you," I said. Bella looked at me sadly,
Are your siblings afraid of me because I drank from you?
I looked at her reassuringly, "They don't understand yet,"
Carlisle stepped in, "I think we would all appreciate an explanation, Edward," he said calmly.
I took a deep breathe, "Bella is not a vampire. She is the root of a legend that originated somewhere in Japan, which told of a creature which drank from vampires. The creature is known as the Krusinik. However, Bella can only drink the blood of her vampire mate, my blood is her blood, and nothing else can substitute for it."
Can I speak to them? Bella asked. I nodded.
"You guys, can you hold hands? Bella wants to speak with you," I said.
Alice made a move to touch Bella's hand, but Jasper pulled her back. Instead, Esme took the hand which was not captured in my own, smiling at Bella kindly. Bella smiled back briefly, and then turned to the other members of the circle.
Memories of our kind are passed down to the children of each generation, so I know much more than would be probable of the Krusinik. We are not vampire hunters. Long ago your kind gave their blood to mine as an act of love. We became bonded through that blood, it became our own. When Edward said his blood is mine, he was not speaking metaphorically. It is physically my own, my true blood. It's call is magnetic, instinctive, and unavoidable. From what I remember, traditionally a newborn will drink once from the blood of a stranger so that they can find the one they need to drink from. A newborn can wait for centuries for their true blood, but once they've tasted it they become dependant on it alone. You see, there have been cases in which a newborn's true blood did not appear at once, but once the person whose blood belongs to a Krusinik is born, that person is destined to become a vampire. There is no choice. I drank the blood of a vampire once before, though unlike Edward he did not live through the experience. Afterwards I laid on the verge of consciousness for days, unable to move. But that blood, compared to Edward's, is like comparing mud to the finest wine. Now that I have had it once, I don't think I could drink any other without serious consequences. I guess it would be a lot like in a human, any other blood would be foreign to me, and it would fight with my body, and besides that it is the blackest kind of blasphemy to betray your other half, body and soul, to taint yourself with another's blood. I promise to you, I would never wish to harm Edward's family by drinking from you. And besides, my kind never evolved as a predator of the vampire. We have similar characteristics because we share blood, but physically I'm probably a bit weaker than you.
"That's very interesting. But how did you undergo this transformation?" Carlisle asked.
Bella winced, If you imagine the pain you went through in your own transformation, stretched out over something like a year's time, that's what mine was like. I didn't feel all the pain at once, but cumulatively, it had the same effect.
"Ah, and what exactly is your power? It seemed quite formidable from what I saw. You managed to keep six vampires as well as several werewolves at bay without seeming to even try. Though, it seems, your power had no effect on Edward."
I smiled, "I suppose that would be fair, if it were true, since my power has absolutely no affect on Bella. However, if anything I would say that Bella's power affects me more than anyone."
Everyone looked at me, surprised. They did not seem to have realized that I could not read Bella's mind.
I think it would be easier to understand if I began by explaining what it is that Bella does, I said. From what I saw, Bella's power functions like a shield. But it's strange, because it does not shut people out; rather, it pulls people in. It's your own fear and uncertainty in Bella's world which pushes you out of it. The more she learns about someone, the deeper she can pull them in, which is why she had a much stronger effect on me than she did you. However, I understand her world more than you do, so I was able to break through her shield and enter her world. The shield makes those who try to break it blind, but more than that is strips emotion and feeling from her attackers. The shield is a state that Bella goes in during times of pain, it takes away all feeling, even that of hunger, which is why Bella was able to avoid the call of my blood for so long. She has enough control over it that she can expand and contract its field, and can go into it voluntarily, but it isn't a very pleasant place, and I don't plan on you ever having to go there again, with this I addressed only Bella. That she can speak with her mind is another part of Bella's power; she brings people into her thoughts. However, again, it has a limit, because she cannot speak without contact. Bella and I can speak back and forth mostly because we have known each other long enough that our souls share a connection. It's deep enough that when our bodies touch as our souls do we can speak to each other telepathically, and share feelings and images. I can also see through Bella's eyes. Finally, one of Bella's talents as a human was a certain intuition for people's personalities, so as Krusinik she can see people's souls.
"But can't she speak out loud?!" Rosalie said rudely, still glaring at Bella.
I glared back, but Bella spoke for me.
I will speak again when I am ready, and no sooner, she said calmly.
Finally Alice's limited patience ran out.
Alright, alright enough interrogation! Introduce me to my new sister! She thought.
She finally freed herself from Jasper's hold and held her hand out enthusiastically to speak with Bella.
"Hello, my name is Alice and we're going to be best friends!"
Bella stretched her hand out to meet Alice's with a confused look.
I know we will. I can see our relationship forming even now. Bella smiled, Please go easy on me, I don't have quite as much… exuberance as you do.
Alice laughed, "I can see the future, so I already know all the fun things we're going to do, including the shopping trip to Port Angeles we're planning for this weekend."
I laughed at Bella's expression; it was one of ill-disguised horror, as well as resignation at the sight of Alice's heartbreaking pout.
I'm not getting out of this am I? She said, turning to me with silently pleading eyes.
"Sorry love, but Alice is incorrigible. And besides, you do need new clothes…"
Well, you're no help at all. Bella said, making Alice laugh.
"No whining, it will be fun," Alice said, "Now meet my husband and my other siblings.
Bella touched two fingers to the back of Jasper's outstretched hand.
I will not hurt her. No matter what, I can see that she is my sister already, so you don't have to worry. Your wife is a very beautiful person. You two make a good match.
Jasper nodded his head, "That's all I ask," and commented to me in his mind, you had better take care of this girl, Edward. She's a little broken, but she has a big heart. Already she is devoted to Alice and Esme, and I could feel her love for you and Carlisle the moment she realized who you were. I let Alice meet her only for that.
I nodded. To Jasper, only Alice mattered. Bella had proved her loyalty to Alice, and with that Jasper was satisfied.
Bella lightly slapped my arm, No having silent conversations in your head.
I smiled down lightly and kissed her nose. She clearly had not expected my open affection, and her face became an adorable mix of pleasure, embarrassment, and surprise. I laughed openly at the expression. My family started at the sound. I rolled my eyes, I surely I hadn't been that bad before she came.
I was wrong, Carlisle thought absently, this is the Edward I once knew.
"Alright Bella, meet Emmet and Rosalie," I said, glaring at Rosalie warningly.
Emmet raised his large hand and Bella wrapped her tiny one around two fingers.
It's very nice to meet you Emmet. I'm Bella. She said simply. Unlike most, Bella felt no intimidation upon meeting Emmet. She simply took his great size as part of the playful soul she saw inside of him
"Wow, so you can see souls? What does mine look like?" Emmet said enthusiastically.
It looks, sort of like a teddy bear. Big on the outside but very soft and comforting on the inside. Like a very immature, playful older brother.
Emmet looked disappointed, "I look like a teddy bear?"
Everyone stared at him for a moment, and then burst out laughing. It was an apt description.
A very, very big teddy bear, said Bella, trying to comfort him. Emmet rolled his eyes.
"You have to admit, the description isn't far off," I said, still muffling my laugh.
"Alright then, what does Edward's soul look like?" Emmet said.
I looked at Bella attentively. Her eyes softened, her gaze met mine and I saw utter adoration flowing from them. My connection to her widened until I could see as she did.
He looks… Beautiful. Indescribably so. If an angel were to come down to earth, all of his soul's glory would pale in comparison. To me, Edward's soul glows more brightly than any other. It calls to me, it is my own.
That it is my darling. I traded my own soul for a piece of yours long ago. I bent down to swiftly kiss the top of her head. She smelled like heaven.
Bella snorted, You have far more than a piece, Edward. You have everything.
Good, I replied, because I have no intention of sharing.
Emmet made awkward coughing noises to regain our attention. "Enough with the mushy stuff. Bella, meet my beautiful wife, Rosalie."
Bella reached up to touch Rosalie's shoulder, but Rosalie immediately shrugged it away.
"Don't come near me," she said, the venom in her voice more than apparent.
I growled, wrapping my arms around Bella, who cringed away from Rosalie's hostile voice. From habit, she automatically reached up to place her hand on my cheek and calmed me.
Tell her that I'm sorry to cause her distress, Bella said.
"What?! You're not the one who should be sorry! She's the one acting jealous for no reason," I exclaimed.
Rosalie glared at me, furious that I had revealed her thoughts while everyone else looked on in surprise.
It doesn't make sense! That girl doesn't have half my beauty, yet the moment he saw her he changed into this! He laughed! How can she have such a huge effect on him? No, it's nothing, Edward is just being as weird as usual. If he truly loved her, then how could he have lived this long without her? He probably doesn't even care for her. He's just bored and wanted something interesting to play with.
"First of all, Bella holds one thousand times more appeal to me than you or anyone else could ever have. Don't you understand? I am what I am precisely because that was what she needed me to be. My blood and body were made specifically for her, to serve her, and to love her. She is my world, the sole reason for my existence, not some careless affection as your immensely irrational vanity would have you believe!" I exclaimed, unable to hold my temper at her incredibly ignorant thoughts. She could see the effects Bella had on me just as clearly as the rest of my family, yet she chose to purposefully ignore them to sooth her ego.
"I won't accept her. She's a danger to all of us, she could drink all of us dry, most of all you, because you would lie down and let her!"
"Yes, I would. But that is beside the point, because it would kill Bella to hurt anything at all, she isn't even capable of killing someone,"
"Didn't she say that she has before? How do you know she will not do it again?"
Because I was empty and broken then, from not having Edward. And I paid for it, I nearly died for it. But I won't make excuses. I cannot kill you, even if I tried, because I love you all who are his family. Even you who seems to hate me. You have a beautiful soul by the way. You shouldn't tarnish it like this.
Rosalie looked as if someone had slapped her. She stared at Bella, stunned, and then flew upstairs, Emmet running after her with an apologetic glance at Bella.
"I'm sorry about that Bella. Rosalie can be a bit… pig headed when it comes to letting other people in. She'll get used to you soon enough," I said.
Will she? Bella looked after her in concern.
"She'll have to," I said, smiling down at Bella, "Because I'm not going to let you go. Ever."
Bella smiled, reassured.
Oh, and Edward?
I love you too. Now, where is your piano? I haven't heard you play in far too long.
Bella? I said, panicking. She ignored me, looking around, quickly scanning the entire house with her strange vision.
It isn't here. Edward, where is your piano? I can't find it. Bella looked confused, and... pained.
"I haven't played in years. Not since Carlisle first turned me," I said, hesitant.
Bella whirled around to face me, shock and anguish swamping her clouded eyes.
You stopped playing?!! You loved to play, why would you quit?
"When Carlisle first turned me, he got me a piano, telling me about how I loved to play. And I remembered how, in the technical sense. I could read music as well as I could English, and my hands knew exactly where each note fell. Yet, it... ached, I couldn't play without feeling a burning, inexpressible loss. I stopped playing long before we even met Esme."
Bella hugged me tightly, How much pain has my leaving caused you?
No more than my allowing it caused you. In fact, I would say, considerably less. But it doesn't matter. You are here now, and we are both healed.
No, it doesn't feel as if we were healed. It feels as if we were never hurt in the first place. Together we are perfect, whole, one soul, one body. Nothing else.
"I'll have to get a new piano. And then I'll play for you as I once did," I said.
I kissed her forehead, laughing and breathing in her beautiful freesia scented skin. I let my lips linger, staring into my lady's eyes, and occasionally flicking down to notice her soft, pouty lips.
Suddenly Bella collapsed.
"Bella? Bella! What's wrong? Bella, speak!" I panicked, looking frantically at my family for help.
Edward? I lost you for a second. I think I'm going to sleep again. Like when I drank from James.
But why? This is your blood, why is your body rejecting it?
I think James' blood must have tainted my body more than I realized. I don't think it's as bad this time, your blood feels like it's washing through my body, cleaning it. It feels… relaxing in a way. Just let me rest for now, and we'll figure this out when I wake up. And don't worry too much, I'll be fine as soon as I've rested. Go out and hunt, your eyes are practically black.
Don't worry me like that. I said, burying my head in the crook of Bella's neck.
"Carlisle, Bella needs to rest. We think her body is getting used to my blood. I'm taking her up to my room alright?"
"Of course," Carlisle nodded.
Take care of her son.
I quickly lifted Bella up in a bridal hold and carried her to my bed. I pulled back the molten gold colored bed-sheets, and gently laid Bella down.
Mhmm... Edward... So pretty... yum... Bella mumbled incoherently in her mind, making me tremble with suppressed laughter. Jasper, who, like the rest of my family, had followed me upstairs, gave me a strange look.
"She's talking in her sleep again. She used to do it all the time when we were human. I remember having to save her from various dreams about pillows, bacon, and some misbehaving popcorn..."
Carlisle chuckled lightly, and I could hear Emmet's deep laughter in the other room.
I love you Edward...
As always, the moment she said those words emotion swamped my senses. I channeled my adoration for her to her own soul, hoping that she could feel and be comforted by it in her trance.
"I love you too my lady," I whispered tenderly into her ear, laying down beside her and looking up to see that my family members had disappeared. I pulled her into my arms and buried my face in her curling brown locks. She smelt like strawberries and freesias and absolute heaven. She continued to mumble incoherently, and I enjoyed the opportunity to hear her words unfiltered. I distinctly heard her say "so tasty" at least twice. She mentioned my name constantly, and every time I heard it I felt a warm glow in my chest.
Suddenly a memory flitted across her subconscious, making Bella squirm with discomfort.
She had gotten lost in the crowd, and she was beginning to panic. A girl with cold, stone-like hands grabbed her forearm, making Bella shiver. Her presence seemed... disconcerting. Bella didn't know what was wrong, but she felt afraid of this girl.
"Are you lost, little girl?" a bright, childlike, yet subtly cold voice asked her.
Bella nodded her head frantically, desperately wishing that her irresponsible mother would find her.
"Well, perhaps I should take you with m-"
"Bella! Bella, I'm so sorry I wandered off like that! Thank you for finding her, I thought I'd lost you!" Renee babbled, "Please, tell me your name, so that I can thank you properly!"
"I am Jane of the Volturi. And there is no need to thank me, it was my pleasure," Bella shivered at the sound of the girl's voice. Jane smiled beatifically, and melted into the crowd.
"What a beautiful girl" Renee sighed after her, looking wistfully at her own daughter.
Bella stared after the girl until her mother began pulling impatiently on her arm. It was her birthday that day. She turned three years old.
Another memory flashed, one which had occurred just after Bella had been turned.
Bella curled up in her customary ball, trying once again to numb the tears off her face. She almost didn't notice the faint presence of a vampire close to her. Instantly Bella's hunger flared, but she beat it down firmly, slipping further into numbness while still paying close attention to this woman. She moved lithely, her body almost catlike, and her soul much like that of a hunter. This woman was angry, full of hatred and malice with clouded her soul, but also of a pain which was achingly familiar, if not a all encompassing as Bella's own. This woman had lost her mate.
"She's here, I can tell. I will find her, and I will make her suffer," the woman snarled, her voice a high, bubbly soprano which did not at all match the low, catlike growl Bella had expected.
"You will do nothing without Aro's permission Victoria, or you will feel the full extent of my power," another voice answered in a cheerful tone unfitted to her words. This voice seemed familiar, but Bella had long since learned not to search through her memories, for fear of reliving things which she could not endure.
"That girl is one of her kind, her mother died long ago. Aro is curious." The voice continued, allowing distaste to seep into her tone. Bella gasped quietly when she saw the second girl's soul. So much darkness and hatred blackened it, burning it like agonizing flames created by Satan himself. That girl must have been in a constant state of pain, without even realizing it. So different from Bella's own pain, yet for the first time she felt thankful: if nothing else, she did not have to live as that soul did, the epitome of what Hell truly is. Bella realized then that if Hell truly existed, it probably lay simply within the depth of people's own hearts. It made her want to laugh, because her Heaven so obviously lay in someone else's. The pain returned at that thought, and she clutched her hands around herself, wondering if this time she would finally tear in two. It was always bad on these days. The anniversary of the day she had left.
"Dammit! Every time we get close to her she disappears again. I can't find her anymore," the Victoria said.
They departed soon after that, leaving Bella unnoticed, trembling in pain, on the floor of the forest ten feet from where they stood.
Memories continued to play in Bella's head, strange flickers of unconscious discomfort. I realized that Bella had unknowingly been able to sense vampires all her life. But furthermore, I understood that the Volturi, leaders of the vampire world, an organization headed by the brothers Aro, Cauis, and Marcus, knew to some extent of Bella's existence, and that now the numb shield which had previously been her only protection from them was gone.
Okay, so sorry for taking forever, but I went half-way across the world to India for Chistmas break and then coming back I had exams... so I got very little time to work on this. I promise from now on I'll try really hard to update every two weeks or so. Also, I read the Host over Christmas break and I really liked it, and I wanted to read some fanfic, but I don't know any good ones and I hate trying to sort through... So, if you have suggestions, that would make me smiley the whole day. Reviews tend to do that too (hint hint)...