First things first: this story is a continuation in many ways of new canon established in my fic Down The Rabbit Hole. As the story progresses, you will need to know that mythology to follow this story. Click my profile to locate it.
Alright, you asked for it (especially a certain handful of you): what happened to Alice and Jasper during their time apart from the Cullen clan in Breaking Dawn? We're about to dive in and find out, with a few surprises along the way.
Reviews are, as always, critical. I'm hitting a busy phase in life, so those spoiled by my previous speedy updating speed will have to remain a little more patient this time. Hopefully, you will agree it's worth it.
This first chapter borrows dialogue from chapter 28 of Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer for continuity; no infringement is intended.
Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author; they merely vacation in my brain now and again. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.
This story is a work of fiction and is not based on any actual events. No implications about publicly recognizable places, settings, people etc. are to be made based upon the events of this work.
One: Opening Move
Red and orange on lightning-white.
It was a fiery prism, almost blinding to her sensitive eyes as she scanned the carnage, the smell of burning flesh and bone assailing her as she drew in a deep breath, a habit of the life she masqueraded for her family's survival . She had seen it twice already, a loop she'd give anything to shut down in her mind's eye yet felt powerless to ignore.
She watched the men in black robes chuckling as what was once a blonde woman melted into a flame matching her fierce temper in life, her long locks singed and charring, her body paralyzed not by fear, but by force. A small cherubic young girl with a sinister snicker danced among the seven burning statues in the large clearing. All sounds of nature were absent.
There was nothing natural about this.
Atop a hill, a woman with long brown locks shook and screamed as several of the cloaked figures held her, her words repeating at a dizzying pace: Edward! Damn it, Edward, don't give in! She turned to follow the slender and pale woman's gaze, horrified as her brother mutely followed a trio of figures she had come to know well in her life. The Volturi were taking him, by mental force it seemed. His face seemed pained, but he ignored the struggling woman fifty feet away, ignored her plea to remember her and their child.
Renesmee. Where is Renesmee?
Figures turned to ashes all around as she scanned the crowd, desperately seeking the tiny blonde she adored as if she were her own. Her answer lay bloody and broken beside the fallen russet wolf in the distance, a single paw drawn protectively over the now lifeless body, a final declaration of his devotion and loyalty. Other wolves lay strewn along the field, other bodies lifeless and unseeing. She could see at least five. Splashes of red met the patches of pale snow dusting dark earth, weeping into the frozen soil as she now wished she were still capable of doing, and a desperate thought wondered if she could staunch the flow somehow with her tiny pale hands. She also wondered how she could see anything, if their fates were blended with their own. Perhaps if destined to die, their immunity to her gift eroded?
She saw him next, his long black flowing hair standing in stark contrast with his translucent skin, and cringed, heard his thoughts as clearly as if he'd spoken them aloud in her ear: We have the assets we sought to acquire... All except for one. His smile as so many of their kind perished about him shook her to her core; were she able to feel chilled, she would be icy with that sight, with its silent sound of sick satisfaction. His associate, long white hair flowing in a sudden winter breeze, nodded: A shame to lose one so useful. In the growing ashes nearest him, tumbling blonde locks fell atop the head of a slight girl with short black hair, his scarred arms wrapped about her as fiery tongues licked their feet, their arms, their torsos. In her head, the echo of their last words reverberated, striking a dagger into her chest that made her long to vomit as humans did with rage and sorrow.
I love you, Alice.
Hold me tight. Don't let them take me, Jazz.
Unconditionally and forever.
I love you. I'm so sorry...
Together in death, just as she had always hoped for, for the possibility of life without Jasper was a life she could not dare to imagine. He was her complement, the moon to her twinkling starlight. He was her reason for all that she'd endured, the one who had stood at her grave and pledged his love, his amber eyes welling with tears that could not be shed. But death... This...
The Volturi are coming for us. There's nothing we can do.
From beyond the vision, the voices of her family seeped in, a frantic debate over witnesses, over support from friends. Their decisions carved out a new image, one with more bodies, more burning.
Absently, she spoke to them, "We'll have to ask them just right. They'll have to be shown very carefully."
Her eyes scanned to the muscular blonde man beside her and over to the blonde child, the one whose limp corpse haunted her memory, a vision she quickly shoved away and denied, clearing the slate in her brain and keeping it hidden in her breaking, unbeating heart.
"Tanya's family," she said. "Siobhan's coven. Amun's. Some of the nomads— Garrett and Mary for certain. Maybe Alistair."
"What about Peter and Charlotte?" the blonde asked.
And then, another flash, a tearing across her field of sight, revealing an ugly truth beneath it. An unknown figure yanked the brunette's hair back violently, her teeth bared and a snarl ripping from her throat. You had NO proof she would be dangerous!
In the vision, Aro shook his head. We had no proof she wouldn't be. You do understand, we must protect all of us, our secret, Bella.
Her mind whirled wildly as an idea hit: Proof. We need proof.
"The Amazons?" her father suggested suddenly from beyond, "Kachiri, Zafrina and Senna?"
The image exploded, a supernova, and there was humid junglescape in its place, trees and flora she had never before witnessed in her many years. The greens, yellows and blue flooded together into a spiral, spinning away to three dark-skinned and elegant figures, set in silhouette against a setting sun…
Suddenly, there was blindness. The visions halted in a way she'd come to understand meant one of two features within her fate: wolf or hybrid. Her eyes snapped back into focus, her adoptive father's face staring at her with concern. Quickly she averted her eyes, knowing instinctively that choices would have to be made, choices that would tear her family apart emotionally. Choices that could save all of their lives, or end them.
"I can't see," she said quietly.
Her brother's searching mind felt almost palpable in her pounding head, "What was that? That part in the jungle - are we going to look for them?"
"I can't see," she insisted again, "We'll have to split up and hurry—before the snow sticks to the ground. We have to round up whomever we can and get them here to show them."
In her mind, the dreadful vision in the field rewound: We have the assets we sought to acquire... All except for one.
"Ask Eleazar. There is more to this than just an immortal child," she added, intentionally vague.
The jungle whirled back into view. One of them reached out to her, a strong hand, a single word: Libishomen…Again, the blindness. The blinders to all but the trees, the vines winding about, large brilliant insects settled upon the emerald leaves. The running, the scenery rushing by, the understanding that she was pursued, by friends, not foes, bodies charging into water, diving deep, arms flailing desperately against the tides. A waterfall. A cliff. A haunting voice: Libishomen…
"There is so much. We have to hurry," she whispered.
"Alice? That was too fast—I didn't understand. What was—?"
"I can't see!" she snapped at her brother, desperately seeking distraction, "Jacob's almost here!"
A stunning blonde, one whose fiery temper had met a fiery end moments before, stepped forward, "I'll deal with—"
"No, let him come," she said quickly, the urgency an electric charge in each limb, driving her to movemovemove and now, damn it, NOW.
Her hand seized that of the tall, strong blonde whose companionship and love had supported her for so many years. With a strength that would seem impossible for her size to a casual human observer, she nearly dragged him towards the back door of the house, her mind shouting random words, driving her brother's probing backwards. The less he knew, the more hope they had in the hell to come.
"I'll see better away from Nessie, too. I need to go. I need to really concentrate. I need to see everything I can. I have to go. Come on, Jasper, there's no time to waste!"
His eyes met her, wide with confusion. She understood it, understood her reasons merited it, and still, it pierced her soul for being the cause of any grief. Her eyes locked with his, pleading: Trust me, love. You promised. Unconditionally and forever.
Their bodies spilled into the shimmering light of the full moon above, her tiny hand seizing the doorknob and yanking it shut in almost synchronized fashion with the wolf she felt entering the front door.
"Hurry!" Alice yelled, praying they'd heed her, "You have to find them all!"
Her hand intertwined with her mate's, she ran desperately towards the creek's shore, leaping it without hesitation, trusting he would follow. He did, and her fear began to fade into a calm that she was certain was his doing. Grinding to a halt near a fork towards the small cottage where Bella and Edward made their home, she spun to face him.
"You're not helping!"
"You're not giving me any answers," Jasper snapped in reply.
"I will, out of Edward's range. Do you trust me?"
"I do," he whispered.
"You will follow me?"
"To the end of the earth and beyond, Alice."
"Then follow, and once we've left Forks, I promise I-"
His words broken in, his face furrowing in confusion, "Leave Forks?"
"Quiet! He'll listen. I need to see. I need silence."
Reluctantly, the questions hovering on his lips remained silent, his arms winding around her frame, pulling her against him. His fingers slipped into the wild spikes of her jet-black hair, twirling them about as he kissed her head.
"Will we return?"
With some hesitation, she sighed and pressed her cheek to his chest, "If there's anything to return to…"
"It's that bad, then?"
"It could be."
The bodies strewn along the field echoed through her memory, and she shuddered. If that blindness isn't what I hope it is, it could be that bad, and worse. In her mind, she began to search, untangling the web of the decisions of dozens of players, each with their own butterfly flutter on the outcome of what would be a battle bordering on war, a winner-take-all she didn't dare entertain losing. She had four hours at best to plan, to prepare for the journey into blindness ahead.
Eternity suddenly felt terrifyingly finite.