Aro almost felt bad, seeing how terrified Emmeline Hale was when Emmett brought her downstairs. He tried to smile kindly to reassure her. "Do not fear, little one. I have merely come to find out from the source the truth of things that happened in Yorkshire." He looked at her caregivers then. "You can set her down. I have no plans to harm her." He watched as Emmett her sit down in his lap then. "Very well." He sat across from them.
Emmeline watched Aro through round, honey colored eyes, as she gripped Emmett's shirt tightly. "I didn't mean to be a bad girl...." She looked up at the vampire pleading to be understood. "Kammy made me...."
"Ah, Kammy. Yes, well, Caius and my other brethren are going to make sure Kammy doesn't "make" any one do anything again. " He reached out a hand, and stroked the frightened child's hair. He was seeing the memories of the incident from the child's point of view. "Ah, I see. You did try and get away, but she grabbed you."
"Uh huh." Emmeline buried her face in Emmett's chest, and she felt her best friend wrap his arms around her more securely in a gesture of comfort. "I didn't mean to do it. I didn't want to hurt Mama and Daddy, or the others... but especially not Mama, Daddy and Emmett..." There were sobs in her voice as Aro heard from within Emmett's chest.
Aro stood up then, pacing. It was a very bad position he was in. One the one hand, she had broken the deal, and fed on a human. But on the other, it had been another uncouth of their kind that had tempted her, indeed, nearly forced it on her. How could he fault her for that? She was still a newborn as it were. It would have been very easy to tempt her, and with the child that had done it so close to age.... He glanced at Alec, who was offering no help for the situation, merely awaiting orders. At length, he looked at the Cullens again. "Has she been around other humans recently?"
"Yes." It was Alice that spoke. She stood in the doorway, not surprised at all to see the living room full with her family, and their Italian guests. "She was a part of the a play group, along with Kammy." She watched Jasper walk over to Emmett and swiftly scoop Emmeline into his arms. She saw their baby wrap her arms very tightly around her sire's neck, and she had to smile. Jasper and Emmeline had both been suffering without each other. "She had not been tempted before this incident, Aro. You have my word."
"Take into account, as well, that Emmeline is around Jacob Black a lot of the time, since he's here with Renesmee." Esme put in now. "He may be a shape shifter, but he is still very human to her nose."
"Right." Alice nodded, and moved to stand with her husband and their baby. She reached up, and played with Emmeline's damp hair slightly. She smiled a bit when Emmeline reached down, and gave her a big hug. She turned to Aro then. "We promise you that we took care of the situation immediately. She did not go without reprimanding, even if it wasn't totally her fault."
"I can see that. She has been feeling rather like she's disappointed you. " Aro turned to Emmeline then, and reached out his arms to take her from Jasper. "Just for a moment, little one." He held her gently, as he studied her. Her eyes were a honey color now, and she appeared to have made a full adjustment to immortal life, as if it was all natural to her now. "I want to make a new deal with you, Emmeline."
Emmeline looked up at Aro then, giving her full attention to the Volturi elder. "Okay."
"I'll spare you. This time only. On the condition that you give me your word that you will never feed on another human. And that you will remain with your family at all times." Aro had seen how upset she had been over not being with Jasper and Alice Whitlock. He didn't want to see her hurt that way again. She didn't deserve it.
"I promise, Aro." She said now, and she was relieved to be returned to Jasper's arms. She buried her face deep into Jasper's chest, and she felt him rub her back, and a thread of calm swept through her. "It's okay, Daddy."
"I know." Jasper eyed Aro, not completely sure he believed it was going to be that easy to keep his Emmeline alive.
"I can see you are astounded. I am out to prove that we are not one hundred percent without heart. Or at least, I'm not. This child has proven that with the right upbringing, even children can be made immortal under the proper circumstances. I will be taking that knowledge back to the council myself, and who knows. There might be a change to the rules in the future." Without another word to any of them, he gestured to Alec, and they both left.
Five months later
Jasper sat in the darkened theater next to Alice. The rest of his family were sitting in other parts of the theater. Alice took his hand in hers as the curtain went up, and the overture for Swan Lake began. They watched with the audience as Emmeline's very petite form appeared on the stage. She danced flawlessly, never missing a beat. Jasper took Alice's hand, and squeezed it. They were both very proud of the girl. The ballet had been Alice's idea. Emmett had fought with her tooth and nail about it, but stopped when Emmeline decided that she wanted to do it herself.
"She's perfect." Alice whispered as the child's scene came to an end.
"Indeed." Jasper replied, nodding. "She's come a very long way."
"Sh!" Emmett said now. "She's back on." He may not have liked the idea of his little sports buddy in a ballet costume, he had gladly supported her when she made the decision to join a ballet class to please Alice. That was one thing he loved about Emmeline. She never wanted to do anything that would upset her parents. The compromise was that Alice allow her to join them on the baseball field every game. Once all the compromises had been made, Emmett had even agreed to drive to her classes when Alice was busy. He watched his friend with pride, as if he was her father too, though not so much.
"This was a good move on your part. She's adorable." Bella whispered to Alice then.
"Thanks." She smiled gently, then joined the family in a standing ovation when it came to the intermission. Emmeline would not have to stay for the rest of the performance, per the agreement with her ballet instructor. Alice followed Jasper and Emmett backstage, where Jasper pulled Emmeline close to him.
"We are SO proud of you, Emmy!" Jasper told the child proudly. He held her close to him. "How are you feeling?"
"Good. It was fun up there, Daddy. I want to stay." She looked both of her parents in the eyes then, before reverting her attention back to her sire. "Please? I can hang on just a little longer. It's almost over. Kelsey invited me to a party afterwards too. Emmett can go with me."
"Sure, Emmy, I'd love to." Emmett knew he'd have to skip out briefly and get something to eat for him, and some provisions for her to drink on the way there, but he thought it was a good idea for Emmeline to get some socialization in. She had been doing so well with her classes, he felt as though Jasper and Alice owed it to her.
"I don't know, Emmeline...." Alice said now, however. "I think you should just come home with us now." She figured that they already been pushing the envelope, allowing her to be alone without them backstage. Neither she or Jasper were ready to really let her fly alone, so to speak.
"Alice, she's not going to be six forever. You need to give her some room to develop." Emmett said now, surprising himself. He had always promised himself he'd stay out of it when it came to how Jasper and Alice wanted to raise their child, but he couldn't stand by and allow them to keep holding her back in development anymore. "She'd be fine, you know. I'll even stay back here for the remainder of the show, and take her myself."
"Emmett...." Rosalie was surprised by Emmett's words. They had promised each other not to get in the middle of Jasper and Alice's child rearing.
"It's too soon." Alice insisted in a low voice, as the director passed. "She's not ready."
"How do you know that, Alice?" Emmett persisted. "You won't give her a chance to try. I know what happened with Kammy scared you, but that's never going to happen again."
"Emmett, she's our child, not yours. Stop trying to interfere." Jasper said now, his voice firm. He turned with Emmeline in his arms, and headed for the exit.
"I don't wanna leave!" Emmeline said now, her voice louder than she had intended. But they weren't listening to her, and now they were fighting. "I can do this, Daddy. I promise."
"You see, Emmett? This is why we don't want you involved like this!" Alice said now, upset by the fact that now they'd have to make Emmeline listen. It wasn't often they had to reprimand her, or scold her for that matter. She turned her attention to that task.
"It wouldn't be a problem if you'd just let her develop, just a little bit." Emmett said, his voice remaining calm. "It's not fair to keep her back when she so obviously wants to make steps forward." They were all out in the hall now, away from the human ears of Emmeline's classmates.
Jasper sighed, setting Emmeline on her feet. He crouched to her level then. "Are you sure, Em? I can feel your hunger. Are you sure you can hold off for another two hours?"
"Yes." Emmeline pulled away from Jasper, and went over to Emmett. "Will you really take me to Kelsi's?"
"I will." Emmett nodded. "Go on back out there, honey. I'll be back stage, should you need anything." He watched her go, and then looked at Jasper and Alice. "Guys, look...."
"No. You're right." Jasper said quietly, laying a hand on Alice's shoulder. "We're only hurting her, Alice, if we don't let her start making her own decisions. She's young in body, but her mind... it needs to develop. It's not fair to deny her that, since we took her human life away from her." Jasper walked back into the wings, and watched Emmeline perform flawlessly. She was growing up beautifully, even if not physically. She would always be his baby, and he knew that. As her final scene came to an end, she turned towards the wings, feeling them there. She gave Jasper her famous adorable smile, and her sire smiled back. You're going to be fine, Emmeline, and I promise, I'll always make sure you're healthy and happy.
(A/N: And this concludes "Eyes on Fire". I'd like to thank the readers that came back for this fic, and those that have continued to read the things I come up with. Please go to my profile for a special announcement in regards to any future fanfics.)