Chapter 1: Vision
Alice was flipping stones into the ocean while humming a song. I didn't recognize the tune; it must be one that she was composing in her mind. The sun was shining down on us as we bathed in the warmth that we could never have as tiny little rainbows were reflecting off of our skin. Exposure would be my first thought but we were miles away from any human, several miles north of Perth, Australia. Suddenly she turned to me, a smile prominent on her face making her teeth gleam in the warm golden glow of the sun.
"You know," her voice was musical, "that was one of the best meals I've had in a long time."
I returned her smile, though that was not one of my best meals.
Her energy was pouring into my veins, sending wave after wave of pure happiness through me, making me forget my thought. I didn't need this gift to be reveling in the bliss that seemed to consume our lives. Alice continued to smile in my direction. I opened my arms in welcome and in a quick flash she was there, bringing her arms around my neck and kissing me. She didn't need to tell me how much she loved me because it entirely consumed every particle of my body.
She pulled away, still smiling. "It's been two months," her lower lip jutted out but her mood hadn't changed. "I really miss Bella…and Esme," she sighed.
"I know," I clutched her closer to me. "I'm sure Nessie is still throwing a fit about moving to Rockport."
Alice's grin grew even wider, something I didn't think possible, as her mood turned excited. "School's about to start!" she exclaimed.
"Shopping," I muttered as I realized the real reason she wanted to return.
Rockport, a small town east of Seattle, was where we just moved. Jacob wanted to be closer to La Push and we all missed the never ending cloudy days, so we all decided to move there during the summer. Nessie and Jacob, now married, were staying with us – after Bella's persistent begging – so we were all now living under one roof. Luckily, Alice was still predicting stock market changes so our cash flow hadn't changed and we were all able to live peacefully under a very, very large roof.
"It's time to go back, Jasper," she winked at me as she jumped off my lap and began dancing towards civilization. "Emmett is missing you like crazy. I keep seeing him knock on our bedroom door, forgetting we're gone," she laughed over her shoulder.
A chuckle escaped my lips; I was never going to let him live that down. I got up to sprint towards her side where she grabbed my hand and kissed it lightly. "Let's go home," Alice said eagerly.
"Let's," I agreed.
We arrived in Perth as the sun disappeared behind the horizon. The sky was still glowing a soft pink color as we reached the airport. As we began to edge our way through the crowd I had to hold my breath as each human rubbed up against me or flipped their hair in my direction. Even after roughly one hundred years you would think that the smell of a very appetizing human would be easy to overcome but I wanted to taste them all and have the flavor or their blood rush down my aching throat. The reason my eyes were a honey stone color is because of the angel who was holding my hand. Alice.
She turned and looked at me, grimacing. "Jasper," she reprimanded.
I gave her a withering look and mouthed, "Sorry." I knew that she probably saw the many plans that were shuffling through my head as we walked through the airport. How I could just follow one girl into the bathroom and have a taste…I licked my lips in approval of my plan and I felt a light slap across my chest.
"Jasper," Alice scolded, "behave!"
I lowered my head in shame, the same shame I felt every time she caught me gawking after someone's throbbing, pulsing neck. We continued to ebb through the never ending crowd of humans. We finally arrived at our gate. Alice turned to me like she was going to give me 'the speech' about not having any snacks while on the plane.
When her eyes met mine I had a half smirk on my lips, waiting to catch her off guard. Her worried expression became playful. "I'm not going to say it again," she giggled. "Regardless, I bought the seats surrounding us to give you some space.
I shook my head while chuckling at her. "I wasn't going to do anything."
"Of course not," she grinned. "I was just taking precautions."
"Uh-huh," I continued to laugh.
An announcement over the sound system told us it was time to board so we picked up our bags and headed towards the gate. "This is going to be a long flight," I mumbled under my breath.
I felt her hand rub my back. "It'll be okay. I brought you some magazines to read."
I looked sideways at her, "Magazines?" My eyebrows rose.
"Well…yes, digital versions of the last fifty years of Car and Driver." A tinkling laugh came through her lips.
"Excellent," I smiled back at her exuberant mood. Now only if I could wear a gas mask to eradicate the temptation of all those humans so closely packed…like sardines ready to be eaten.
She gave me a grim look and I switched subjects in my mind quickly.
We entered the plane and took our seats as everyone filed past us to claim theirs. It was not long before the small cabin was full of warm bodies. The continuous worried looks Alice gave me kept me in check every time she caught me imaging wreaking havoc.
The plane finally lurched forward and shortly we were in the sky. Alice closed the windows opposite us as I shut the ones near me. We didn't need the sun sneaking up on us as we flew east. She began flipping through the many TV channels that were on the little screen in front of her. She was constantly flipping between two designer shows.
It was only two hours into the flight when I felt a mood shift so devastating that it knocked the breath, which I had been holding in my lungs for the past seventeen minutes, right out of me. I turned quickly to Alice, prying her fingers from the arm rests and pulling her close to my chest.
"What is it Alice?" I pulled her chin up so I could examine her face.
Nothing. There was nothing but a blank expression in her eyes – her lips parted slightly as if she were gasping in horror. As her vision blasted through her body I could feel the tenor of the insight that she was still receiving. Pain and anguish so pure, so rich, that I could taste it as it was flowing deep in her veins– my mouth was so full of death that the humans no longer smelt appetizing.
After several minutes I began to panic as she was still deeply into this vision. I rubbed her cheeks and her hair and brought her ever closer to my body, trying to think of some way to snap her out of this, to bring her back to reality. I could feel her pain as it passed through her body, each flame lashing at me tenfold.
"Alice," I cried softly, "please, come back to me."
I heard a stewardess walking down the aisle and pressed my fingers over Alice's eyes, closing them so she imitated sleep.
"Pillow?" the woman asked.
"No thanks," I tried to smile but only a crooked grimace showed.
She turned and walked back up the aisle, confusion in her mood.
I felt Alice stiffen in my arms and a tiny sob leave her parted lips. I looked down at her, bringing her face only inches from mine. She blinked twice.
"Are you okay? What did you see?" the word's escaped my lips in a rush.
"The Volturi," she cried.
I stared at her in silence, waiting for more of an explanation.
"They have finally decided to get revenge on the Cullen's and anyone who stood to witness with us," she finally explained, her voice unnerving.
"All of us?" I gulped.
"Even the wolves," she whispered. "They are going to attack the most talented first, until all of our allies are dead. Then, they will come for us." She paused for a fraction of a second. "Zafrina is first," she barely whispered.
Zafrina. My mind whirled at the thought. Zafrina, I shook my head, our fierce and loyal Nomad friend from the Amazon, the one who thought of Nessie like a daughter. My mind briefly wandered, uncomprehending to the many times we had visited.
"Alice, when?" I asked urgently, quietly, aware of the curiosity of the flight attendant. I worked to calm Alice while sending calm mental reassurance towards the concerned human observing us from behind.
"I… it's not certain." Alice closed her pain-filled eyes in concentration. "Soon," she whispered.
I considered our options while looking out the window, realizing we were three thousand feet in the air. The most frustrating part of air travel, despite the advances of the past century, was being trapped for the better part of an entire day. I could feel Alice's anguish at the same thought. We flipped open our phones at the same instant, Bella's face appearing on Alice's screen a split second before Carlisle appeared on mine. I grabbed the ear bud and inserted it before I spoke, it would prevent the curious human ears from listening, although I knew Alice would be able to follow the conversation.
"Jasper!" Carlisle was saying as I adjusted the volume. I could hear Alice murmuring, low and urgent, to Bella, already.
"Son, it's good to see you! Are you heading…" his voice trailed off at the expression on my face.
"Carlisle, we need to get in touch with Zafrina. Now," I said quietly.
I turned to glare at the flight attendant at this point. Her eyes grew wide and she blushed scarlet. Ugh. Alice was too distracted to even notice. As I turned away, I heard her retreat back into coach. A quick glance at the few other passengers told me that they were oblivious to the change in atmosphere in our section.
"She isn't easily reached. You know that."
Of course. Zafrina considered phones intrusive, and eminently impractical in the jungle. When we visited, she had graciously allowed that we meet in Tefé, but she was clearly more comfortable in the wild.
"Son, what happened?" Carlisle broke into my reverie.
I glanced at Alice, who didn't look up from her screen. "The Volturi," I replied grimly. "Alice saw… Carlisle, they have made the decision. Alice… apparently, they intend to exact revenge," I spat out the last word, infuriated, "starting with the most talented."
Carlisle's face became incredulous. I could hear murmuring in the background, indicating that Esme and perhaps others in my family were in the room. "Yes, go," Carlisle said, distracted, before returning his attention to me. "Emmett and Rose are going to head to Brazil. Hopefully they can track her down before…" he looked back at me, "Jasper, is Alice sure? I can't imagine Aro destroying Zafrina when he covets her talents."
Alice's head whipped toward me before I could answer. I heard Bella calling her, but her face was vacant. "Only two," she whispered.
Carlisle was silent, unable to see her on the monitor, but able to hear. Bella, too, went silent. "Alice?" I whispered. "Alice, what is only two? What do you see?"
She shook her head. "I…. I see two… Caius and Marcus. They have ordered this. Not Aro. Aro…" she paused as I watched her face ripple in concentration. "Aro… I can't see Aro. I need to concentrate, Bella," she said, turning back to her phone, "I'll call soon." She snapped her phone shut and leaned back against the headrest, closing her eyes.
"Jasper, let me concentrate."
"Carlisle," I murmured, "What do you make of this?" I idly noticed the flight attendant making her way back down the aisle towards us. Thankfully, she must have noticed Alice feigning sleep and my distraction. She passed by, and I wondered if she prayed to any God that was wordlessly protecting her from the monster in row 2, seat B that would otherwise have brought her life to an abrupt end. I swallowed the searing pain in my throat and returned my attention to the issue at hand. "What do you make of it?"
"I don't know, son. Alice's vision could mean many things. It may mean that Aro is letting Caius have his way after these many years. It may be…. Alice's visions have been wrong before…." His voice faded, a pensive look on his face.
I snorted. "When?" I asked derisively.
"Well, a certain loved one didn't die when she jumped off a cliff," he stated gently.
"Point taken," I said, conceding nothing. "What are Emmett and Rose going to do when they get to Brazil?"
The thought of my brother and sister heading directly towards the focus of the Volturi offensive worried me. I loved Emmett, truly, like a brother, but he wasn't very thoughtful about these things. As a warrior, he was excellent. But at strategy…. That was not his strength. Rose, too, was a fierce and formidable opponent, especially when someone that she loved was threatened. Frankly, I could imagine only one other situation in our mutual histories when someone, or several some ones, she loved had been in great peril. But for all her passion, strategy, again, was not her strength.
"They will be calling in once they get in the air. I'll have them call you." Carlisle paused. "Has Alice…." His voice trailed off.
At the sound of her name, my love came back to me, head snapping around, eyes luminous pools of concern. "I only see Caius and Marcus, ordering the attack. Jasper," she said faintly. What was once my heart shuddered with concern for the pain she was obviously in, "Do you think it is a trick? Aro knows what I can do. They may be counting on this."
Carlisle, unable to see Alice but hearing every word, answered for me. "It's a possibility Alice. As I said, I can't see Aro condoning killing what he considers to be 'the best and the brightest' of our kind." He frowned, but imperceptibly shook his head.
"Carlisle, is that possible?" I could hear Edward in the background. Apparently Bella had alerted him to our call, and they had joined the family in this bizarre conference call.
"How long 'till you land, son?" he asked me, ignoring Edwards question.
I looked at my watch. "Miss?" I queried in my most polite voice. The Flight Attendant was standing at the front of the cabin, preparing a meal that would not be touched by the passengers in seats 2A and 2B. She jumped at my voice. "Can you tell me when we will be landing, please?"
She smiled tentatively at me, unsure of my shifts in mood. "We should be in Seattle in about 10 hours, Mr. Hale. Our arrival time should be 6:45am, local time." I nodded and turned back to the phone.
Carlisle had heard. "We will meet you at the airport."
This story was Co-Authored with LATAS.
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