Disclaimer: Any characters and/or places that you recognise belong to J.K Rowling, Stephanie Meyer or the USA.
A/N: I'm not apologising for the late update, work has been hectic and I've got to pay the mortgage somehow. But I am sorry that I haven't left a note to advise. Here's the next chapter, it's actually been sitting on my hard drive for a week. I'm awful, I know.
"Good Lord! What happened to you?!"
Edward slammed into the Cullen residence in restrained anger to be met with Esme's appalled question. His shirt was in strips covering almost nothing up and his pants had rips and dirt all over it.
"Ask Emmett!" he replied angrily, stopping in the middle of the living room and turning to look at his dark-haired brother.
The Vampire, at the mention of his name winced guiltily and rubbed the back of his neck as he walked slowly into the room, remorseful. His clothes hadn't fared any better then Edwards, except he was completely shirtless having lost it somewhere in the woods.
"I said I was sorry Eddy! I don't know what happened. I was just standing there and the next minute I punched you! I'm sorry!"
"What happened?" Carlisle asked coming into the room, he stared in confusion between his two sons. One of them was standing there, almost ready to rip the other apart. He could hear Rosalie putting Teddy down into his crib so that she too could come downstairs and he could feel Jasper trying to calm everyone down. Alice was holding Esme's hand staring at her two brothers' in knowing amusement.
"He threw me out a window," Edward hissed in disbelief, "In front of my mate!"
All the vampires in the room, except for Edward who had not taken his eyes off him, turned and looked incredulous at the shamefaced Emmett.
"What?!" they said in unison.
"Oh come on Eddy! I didn't throw you out the window," he said soothingly. "I punched you through the wall."
Everyone's eyebrows went up at that and Jasper had to speed forward to intercept Edward as he snarled like an enraged cat and leapt at Emmett. Edward was placated marginally when Rosalie marched forward and slapped her mate on the back of his head. For a human the slap would have been enough to send them flying forward, but for Emmett all it did was move his head a tiny bit due to the momentum.
"Why did you do that for Emmett?" she growled.
"Babe! Oh come on, I couldn't help myself. I've already told Edward that. She told me to and I couldn't say no! It was like... the best idea ever!" Emmett replied hastily, staring at his mate beseechingly.
Rosalie stared back for a brief moment; she turned her back on him until she was placed defensively in front and looked at Edward resolutely.
"I believe him Edward, Emmet may be rash but he'd never hurt you intentionally," she said authoritatively.
Edward was still angry, but he knew that the anger was misdirected; mostly what he was feeling was anger at the unknown situation they now found themselves in. His mate now knew that there was something different about them; he had heard her shocked gasp and had turned up to look at the gaping hole in her hospital room to find her staring down at him with a stunned expression on her face. The lights coming on in the other hospital rooms and the blaring of the alarm of the car that he had landed on had necessitated his quick exit from the scene. He was lucky that there had been no-one else in the parking lot when he had come flying out of the building. Emmett had caught up with him five minutes later and in the midst of his grovelling apologies there was an exchange of violence. Now here they were. He didn't know how Lija was going to explain the gaping hole away, the unknown 'thing' that had forced Emmett to do what he did could very well have exposed their entire family to the authorities. And he still didn't know what she thought about him.
He let Jasper push him onto the couch and he felt the rest of his family arrange themselves around him, Emmett was still apologising and he waved his hand at him to tell him that he was forgiven... for now. At Carlisle's prompt for more information, Emmett explained, with occasional input from Edward. Even in the seriousness of the situation he heard their thoughts and felt their amusement when Emmett explained Edward's unorthodox way of shutting up his mate.
In his anger he hadn't heard Emmett when he had explained what had caused him to lash out, but as Emmett explained it to Carlisle; he raised his head and listened carefully. They were all intrigued when Emmett described it, but when Carlisle remarked concernedly that it was almost verbatim what Bella had said happened to her before she almost stepped out into traffic; the rest of the family became uneasy. It was Alice who voiced the overall concern, looking at Edward cautiously.
"How do we know that what she did, she didn't do it on purpose?" referring to both the current situation and with Bella.
"She didn't," he replied assuredly, he may not know his mate well, but he knew the reaction that she had on her face when he had gone through the wall, there was no artifice to that reaction. She had been surprised that it had happened and had been horrified at what it had done.
"How do you know this Edward?" Esme asked uncertainly, sharing a worried look with her husband.
It was Rosalie that replied, so earnestly that Edward was taken aback and he had to grace her with a smile, grateful for her support.
"He knows the same way that you knew that Carlisle wasn't going to hurt you, the same way that Alice knew that Jasper wouldn't harm her, and the same way that I knew that Emmett was the one for me."
The anxious expressions all fell away at her words and they all whispered their apologies to Edward for thinking ill of his mate, which he accepted with a smile of understanding. Rosalie then continued scornfully, she was obviously uneasy with the thought of becoming 'soft'.
"I don't know why you're all worried; over the last year this family was more then happy to open their arms to trouble and danger for the sake of a plain looking human that wasn't even Edward's mate. God forbid you should find your commonsense now when it is. Back then it was, 'Go ahead Edward, let's put you in the path of temptation and rely on your awesome mental fortitude, we're just going to forget that about a few months ago you had to flee to Alaska because you wanted to drain the idiot dry', now it's 'Oh no Edward, we don't think your awesome mental fortitude could stand up to your own mate'. But don't listen to me; I'm only the voice of reason and rationality in this house."
"Rosalie..." Carlisle sighed exasperated; it was a very human reaction and tended to happen a lot whenever Rosalie was involved. He was interrupted from finishing his reply when the phone went off.
"I'll get it," Alice offered, already dancing towards the cordless phone, bounce back in her step now that Rosalie had decided that her future sister was no longer a threat. Waiting until the tenth ring, she made her voice sound like she had just woken up. They listened as Alice spoke a few sentences with the caller before making it sound like she was waking up Carlisle.
"Dad, it's for you," she said, walking lightly towards her father, she glanced amusedly at her brothers. "It's the hospital; apparently there's been a disturbance."
Carlisle took the phone from her with a worried grin. They all knew what the 'disturbance' was, but he hoped that his family had not been exposed. Preparing himself he spoke into the phone with his family listening into the call.
"Cullen," he said in lieu of a greeting.
Carlisle, its Mathews... I don't know how to tell you this but there's been a bit of an accident.
"An accident? Was there anyone hurt? What kind of accident?" he asked with fake concern.
No, no-one is harmed. But one of our patients was hysterical since she was in the room when the wall caved in unexpectedly.
"The wall... caved in?" he replied, not having to fake his surprise.
Yes, Miss O'Carroll, the patient, she was asleep when it happened but she said that it was as if the wall just... blew up. She uh shattered her cast when she tried to get away but we've reset it already.
They didn't need Jasper to know that there was a feeling of relief in the air, it was written on everyone's faces. Except for Edward who looked upset at the thought of his mate being hurt, and Rosalie who was staring at her nails, bored.
"That's very unfortunate. Have Miss O'Carroll moved to another room, I'll be there in twenty minutes."
Already done, we've already started cleaning up what we can. The police and fire department are here at the moment; they're making sure that there was no ill intent involved, oh, and a piece of the wall fell on Nurse Timothy's car. There's really no reason for you to come in Dr Cullen, we have it all in hand and it is almost morning, we can hold down the fort for the next four hours.
"If you're sure," he replied uncertain, looking at his watch he saw that it was almost four in the morning. Maybe it was a good Idea to allow everyone involved some time to think things over. Obviously Lija had decided not to expose his son's so he had faith that she wouldn't say anything else in the next four hours. "I'll be there at eight then, thank you John."
After hanging up he joined his family in silence. They were all pensive, thinking things over. They were thankful that they had not yet been exposed but in their many years together they had enough experience to know that there was always something else to worry about.
"What do we do now Carlisle?" Jasper asked with concern.
Getting to his feet, he held out his hand for his wife, he didn't know about the rest of them but he was going to spend some time with her.
"The hospital is not the ideal place to have a conversation with Lija and there is nothing we can do until she has been discharged. I believe it would be best if we allowed matters to settle, we will give her the benefit of the doubt and let her lead the eventual discussion and wait until she is ready to discuss it."
Lija tossed and turned in her bed; two hours ago the hospital had moved her into a new room at the end of the hallway and had given her a new cast along with pain killers to numb the pain in her wrist and the throbbing in her leg. Giving up on falling asleep she slipped out of the bed and with her pillow and blankets in hand, she padded barefoot across the room to set up her bed on the cushioned window seat. Laying there, looking out the window she tried to calm her troubled thoughts.
It was obvious now that she knew what to look for that the Cullen's were not human. When Edward had kissed her she had felt the absolute cold of his lips. If it hadn't been for the fluttering feelings in her stomach and the tingles that went up her spine she would have thought that she was being kissed by a corpse. And when she had hit him, it was like hitting a marble wall, nothing moved. Not the flesh on his cheek or his facials to resemble pain. Then there was the most obvious indication of all. No human, who flew through a wall and fell two storeys to land on a windscreen of a car, should have been able to just get up and walk away completely unscathed. Then there was Emmett's disappearing act from her room, she only had her back on him for two seconds and he was gone.
She wasn't scared of them, from what she knew about Rosalie and her father she was confident that she and especially Teddy were not in any danger. But she was petrified about what this could mean and her worry lay with just what kind of non-human they were. She had a few ideas.
The Divine Mother had been absolutely specific on the terms of her assistance; she was not to be near a being of magic. But the Mother had also stated that being near a magical being would result in pain, she didn't feel any of the pain that she had felt in England so did that mean that the Cullen's were not magical? And she had also said that breaking the terms would result in her death and the return of Voldemort. She wasn't dead yet, so it could mean that she hadn't broken the rules... or it could mean that her death was still coming.
She needed to speak with someone about this. This was going to drive her nuts just going round and round in circles; she needed an outside perspective from someone that she trusted, someone who could keep this confidential, but most importantly someone who wouldn't think she was absolutely crazy.
That only gave her three people. Her attorney, her son and Rosalie Hale. Her son was going to be of no help and well, Rosalie was part of the problem. So that left her attorney.
Getting out of her warm makeshift bed she rummaged in the small unit next to the hospital bed. Pulling out her bag she took out her cellphone. She did a quick calculation in her head to figure out the time in England and then confident that he was still in his office, she dialled her attorney's number. He was really earning the money that she way paying him.
Settling herself back into her blankets she waited as she was put through to his office, mentally composing how she was going to broach the subject.
Lija, Hello, how is things on your side of the pond?
Hiding a grin, she responded to Alan's greeting. They made small talk for a few minutes, Alan was aware that Lija was trying to avoid the reason for her call.
Not that I'm not delighted to hear the captivating resonance of your voice, but what is the real reason that you've deigned to make an expensive transatlantic call on your mobile?
Taking a deep breath, she decided to approach it hypothetically.
"Alan, say for example that... God... decided that he would stop... a war you were losing but the catch was that you could no longer be an... American and you couldn't interact with other... American's and even be in America without feeling... pain. You with me so far, Alan?" she asked uneasy.
Without hesitation Alan responded. Of course. So you've been approached by a Republican member of Congress?
She let out a surprised giggle before sobering.
"No... Alan... This is serious!
I apologise my dear. So you've been offered something and in exchange you have to give up everything that you are. Carry on...
"Right! So, you're no longer an American you're now... French. And then you decided to move to France, but while residing in this small French town in the middle of nowhere, you meet people and interact with them and they're really nice. But then something happens which makes you realise that these supposedly French people aren't French... they may be American. But you see, that's where I'm stuck, everything that was supposed to happen like the pain, isn't happening, so are they American or aren't they? Alan, would I have broken the terms of the agreement?"
There was silence on the other side of the line while Alan processed what was being said, she didn't know how he was going to help her but she really hoped he did.
It depends on God's interpretation of what constitutes an... American. For example, to be an American Citizen in this day and age, you would need to be born in America, or hold a document saying that you are American. A green card or visitor's permits wouldn't class you as an American even though you reside there. But if you look back to before the existence of the Declaration of Independence, we were not American; we were governed by the British Empire and its Monarch and were technically classed as British. It is the existence of that official document, signed by the founding fathers on behalf of a nation that enables us to declare ourselves... American.
"Oh... good... god!" Lija exclaimed joyfully after a pause, her lawyer was brilliant, so bloody brilliant. "Alan, I think you've just saved my life. I can't believe that I didn't think of this, that's why Hermione was always the brain of our outfit, because I could have never thought like... that!"
You're welcome. So... are they American or are they French?
"I don't know... yet! But I've narrowed it down to three different... nationalities. Two of them would mean that I'd be absolutely screwed, but the third would depend on which side of the border they fall on. Oh Alan, thank you so much," she babbled deliriously. She needed to talk to the Cullen's now.
After hanging up with Alan she sat there staring at the phone allowing her joy to settle. She had hope that not all was lost and the fact that she wasn't yet dead would mean that she hadn't inadvertently broken anything. She just needed confirmation.
During her conversation with Alan she remembered learning about the Ratification of the magical Government and its people by Merlin. When Alan mentioned the Declaration of Independence a light bulb went off in her head. Merlin had created the Classification Act two thousand years ago and it defined what beings were magical and therefore covered under magical law, the document had then been signed by the leaders of the various beings making it law. Once signed any infraction would be dealt with by the International Confederation of Wizards, the supreme governing body of all things magic.
The Cullen's, from what she could remember of her magical classes, could belong to three magical species; Veela's, Fey or Lamia. All three were governed by magic, but there was one exception which for her could make all the difference.
When Merlin presented the classification act, the Vampire council rejected it. A small number, led by Tempus Vlad Narzigner, already disillusioned with their empty existence chose to oppose the Vampire council and travelled to England to sign the Document; they were exiled and their punishment for ever entering a Vampire city again was Death. A century after that rebellion, an Army led by a vampire named Aro, destroyed and dissolved the Ruling Council and took power. Aro, or the Volturi as the leaders came to be known, sent a messenger to the International Confederation of Wizards declaring that any Vampire, who acknowledged that they were governed by the Volturi, would not be regulated under any of their magical laws. The Confederation had agreed to this and had included an exception in the Classification Act for Vampires.
If the Cullen's were Vampires then the world and her bacon was safe as long as they associated themselves with the Volturi, if they weren't Vampire or if they didn't associate themselves with the Volturi... then she'd deal with the repercussions later.
Picking up her phone she dialled Rosalie's number, there was no way she could go to sleep now and she'd never be able to rest until she could find out, and she didn't care if Rosalie was asleep, this was important.
Rosalie held Teddy in her arms, she really couldn't put him down, he was far too adorable and holding him eased an ache in her long dead heart. She was in the living room with her siblings, once again smiling down at the sleeping toddler when her cell phone rang. Absentmindedly she raised the phone to her ear, not even checking the caller ID.
"Yes," she stated, she could see Alice in the corner of her eyes rolling her eyes at her greeting. She didn't do Hello's.
Rosalie? Came the hesitant reply, recognizing the voice, she sat up straight.
"Lija? Are you okay?" she asked, at the mention of her name everyone in the living room stopped what they were doing. She sensed Carlisle and Esme speed into the room from where they had been, having heard her name as well. Everyone stared at her and Alice moved forward to take Teddy out of her arms so she could concentrate on the conversation.
Oh, just peachy. Funny thing happened tonight, you probably already heard of it, Lija replied dryly. How's my son?
"He's good, really good. He's asleep at the moment otherwise I'd put him on the phone... do you want me to wake him up?" she asked hopefully, eager for her friend to say yes so that she could put Teddy back to sleep later.
No, let him sleep. Rosalie heard her take a shaky breath as if preparing herself for something; she was now feeling very apprehensive of this conversation.
Rosalie? You and your family...you aren't human are you?
"No Lija. We aren't," she replied softly, sharing a look with her siblings. It was out there now, no longer able to take it back. Esme had moved closer to Edward and had her arms around his waist.
Okay. What are you?
"Are you sure you want to know?" she asked evading the question, she didn't want to be the one to tell Lija this, it wasn't her job to break the news to people.
Rosalie. I need to know, so much depends on it.
"Okay, well you asked for it. Don't say I told you so when you don't like the answer," she warned, ignoring everyone's raised eyebrows at her avoidance. "We're Vampires."
When there was nothing but silence, Rosalie thought she might have been in shock, so she decided to go more into detail.
"We drink blood, we avoid the sunlight, we don't sleep, we're very fast, we're very cold, we don't –"
I know what a vampire is Rosalie, came the emotionless reply. I just wasn't able to apply that knowledge to a physical representation of your species.
She didn't know how to answer that, so she kept silent. Every being in the room was on tenterhooks, so far she had accepted what they were without much of a fuss, which was good, but where did they go from here?
Is your family allied with Tempus Vlad Narzigner?
The question came so out of left field that Rosalie was left speechless. Who?
"Who?!" she asked bewildered, but she wasn't able to elucidate on her answer as someone snatched the phone out of her hand. They all looked in shock at Carlisle, who had taken the phone out of her hand and was now speaking to Lija with a look of surprise on his face.
"Lija, this is Carlisle. I am more interested with finding out how you know that name, but due to the urgency I can sense in your voice I will save my questions for the next time that we talk. The answer is no, my dear. My family does not ally themselves with the Narzigner's, we are governed under the laws of the Volturi."
They sensed a moment of stunned quiet on the other end of the phone before they heard a lot of static as if the phone had been dropped. And then they all heard it, someone was chanting and singing, it was muffled as if the phone had been buried under a few pillows and a lot of blankets, but they could still make out that she was extremely happy with his answer.
About five minutes later Edward's very peculiar mate came back onto the phone.
Thank you, now I can sleep. Can you ask Rosalie to bring Teddy tomorrow, oh, and I'm going to sign myself out of Hospital the moment that I'm able. Give me a day or two to settle at home and then we can talk. Okay? Thank you, bye!
Carlisle stared at the phone in his hand and shook his head; the more his family was exposed to her, the more questions they had to ask. Looking up at his family's expectant faces he prepared to explain the history of Vampires. It had only been 24hours and so much had happened, he found himself looking forward to the future.
A/N: Once again thank you very much for your reviews. If you ask a question and I don't reply then please don't be offended, the most likely reason is that I will be addressing it later on in the story (so far I've only written 8 chapters), but I do read them all. Even the bad the ones : )
Oh, shout out to the late Alexander G Bell, who without his creation of telephones this chapter would have never been possible! I've taken artistic liberty with history in this chapter, so please don't be offended if I've gotten anything wrong, just suspend your disbelief further, you've already done so since chapter 1 anyway : )
Oh, and I have a new plot bunny that ended up writing itself last week. I've written the first two chapters but I don't think I'll post it for a very long while if at all. For one, it's my first attempt at slash and two, it's Harry/Edward, which I'm not sure if people still want to read (there's so many!) and three, I want to get my rhythm on this story right first. I've put the summary of it up on my profile page if you want to look but I have no expectation of posting it at this time, mostly it's being written for stress relief. If I did share it, it would only be if I am absolutely sure I won't make a fool out of myself.