A/N- If you have questions feel free to ask away, I will answer them. Comments and reviews are extremely welcome. I will try to be clear on the whole transgenic thing just in case you haven't watched Dark Angel. Full explanations are to come, after I string the Cullens along for a bit :)
January 20, 2019
"Edward? Jasper? What are you guys doing here?" She croaked out.
Shit. They had seen her kill a full grown Grizzly with her bare hands and shoot a gun like a pro. What the hell was she supposed to say? Sure, they were obviously not human, but she knew the idea of a government funded project to breed a new kind of human for its own purposes was a hard pill to swallow.
Before she could open her mouth to try and come up with an explanation she felt her pocket begin to vibrate. Her cell phone apparently got great reception, even in the middle of nowhere. Max was the only person that had her number so she decided to answer it and not worry her big sister.
Jasper and Edward cautiously moved away from the trees they were hiding behind, their aborted hunt forgotten when their meal was dispatched by the strange and beautiful Bella. Edward heard a vibrating noise and was shocked when Bella put her finger up as an indication to hold on and answered her phone.
Jasper and Edward exchanged looks. She was telling them to hold on when they had just seen her take out a bear with nothing more than a her hands?
"Maxie, if this is you checking up on me, I'm fine. This isn't the best time-" As she spoke into the phone her eyes darted between Jasper and Edward warily. Edward heard another voice cut Bella off but couldn't make out the words clearly. He did catch a few words, Ben, Priest and woods.
Jasper felt a shift in her emotions and relayed it to Edward.
She looks as cool as a cucumber but her emotions are all over the place. When she saw us she was worried and after she answered the phone she was amused but it quickly changed to panic and anger and love. I don't understand! Jasper thought to Edward.
"I'm on my way. ETA 30 minutes, I upgraded our phones so I will be able to triangulate your position from my phone as long as you keep it on. Don't lose your phone, I need to track you! Don't do anything rash Maxie, we'll take care of him." Her tone was clipped and she uttered the last tone with a finality that made Edward shudder slightly. Bella slammed her phone shut and grimaced at them.
Take care of who? Sounds like she's planning on killing someone the way she said it... Jasper's thoughts trailed off.
"Boys, explanations are going to have to wait. I gotta blaze." And with that she turned on her heel and blurred away. Jasper and Edward were both able to distinguish her movements, but had they been human they would have missed her tucking in the Glocks again in the waistband of her jeans.
The guys stared at each other in shock for a few moments before jumping into action.
We'll follow her on foot? Jasper thought.
Edward nodded crisply and began his pursuit of Bella. By the time they reached the edge of the forest that lead to Bella's cottage they saw her roaring away on her motorcycle. They stayed in the trees as they ran, keeping tabs on her by listening to the roar of her engine. While Vampires were incredibly fast they weren't sure they would be able to keep up with her.
Luckily for them they were able to keep up until they heard the the engine cut out.
What happened? Where did she go? Jasper thought frantically.
Edward was confused until he smelled her strange and beautiful scent ahead of them.
"She left her bike, I think she's headed deeper in the woods. Let's watch out for her and see what she's up to." Edward replied following the scent that was Bella. He saw Jasper nod his assent and they ran towards what looked like a small clearing near a brook.
They stopped short of entering the clearing when they met a sight that shocked even their world weary eyes.
A blond man had a light mocha skinned girl by the neck, pinned against a tree. Bella ran up behind him and tapped his shoulder almost leisurely.
The blond man dropped the darker girl in surprise and whirled around to face Bella. Shock and wariness shone on his handsome features. Jasper had to restrain Edward from going to Bella and stepping in between her and the blond man.
Wait. We have to know what she is, and what she can do. Maybe if we watch we can figure it out. Plus that other girl may be the person that called Bella. Jasper explained to Edward.
"Wow. This is weird. You look exactly like him but you're so different. I never realized it before. So what's new Ben?" Bella said nonchalantly. "Oh, hey Maxie. Looked like you could use some help."
The girl, Max, just sent Bella a glare while holding her neck.
"Who are you? Why won't you both just let me do what we all know we were born to do?!" Ben cried, his eyes darting around looking for an escape route.
Bella stepped into his line of vision, setting herself up to block his escape.
"Ben, don't you remember me? Well, it has been awhile and apparently you all thought I was dead, so maybe the number 477 will ring a bell?" Bella continued her nonthreatening approach.
Ben's face lit up with recognition and happiness for a brief moment before darkening again.
"Bella?" He asked tentatively. Bella nodded, a wry smile on her lips.
"Oh baby girl. We should have never left without knowing if you were really dead or not." He said sadly. Edward felt his dead heart twist in an emotion he had never experienced before.
What's with the jealousy Edward? Jasper questioned.
So that's what it was. Jealousy over the fact that Bella was being referred to as Baby Girl by a man that was previously trying to choke Max. Strange.
"The past is dead and gone Ben. What your doing now is the present and we can't have you continuing on your path." Bella replied softly. "I don't want to fight you, but I will if I have to. I want to keep you and the others safe. You're risking exposure, they are on your trail. Do you want to go back?"
Fight? Others? Exposure? Who's on their trail? Go back where?Jaspers thoughts zoomed around Edwards mind.
Pain flashed across Ben's face and he replied shakily, "We should have never left. Nothing makes sense out here. You know why I'm on this path. You were there that day. We have never felt as alive as we did that day and you know it baby girl."
Bella watched as Max gained enough strength back to stand behind Ben readying herself for the inevitable fight.
"Ben, I just left that place and it got so much worse. I'm never going back, and I won't let you either. We are better than that day. We are better than what they expected of us. Don't you see? Please stop. I don't want to fight you." Bella pleaded.
"We all have too much blood on our hands baby girl. We are no better than what they wanted. I'm doing this for all of us, to protect us. The Blue Lady requires sacrifices. I don't want to hurt you but if you want to stop me I will." Ben answered, his face going blank.
Edward watched as Bella made strange hand signals to Max.
I got him, step in only if its life or death. Why would Bella say that to Max? Jasper thought. Edward wondered how he knew what the signals meant but decided to ask later.
Edward noticed Max's slight nod as Bella slipped into and attack crouch.
"Then let's do this." She said to Ben. Ben moved quickly to punch her in the face and Bella moved just as quickly to dodge. She sidestepped and blurred behind Ben's back and elbowed him in the back. Ben stumbled forward but quickly regained his balance. He sent a high kick to Bella's head which she ducked. They continued the fight in a blur of limbs, some blows connecting to their targets.
If I thought they weren't human before, Im positive of it now. No human can move that fast. They are as fast as us! And that fighting technique, it's amazing!Bella is holding her own against a man that outweighs her by at least 75 pounds. Jasper mused.
"Bella, incoming choppers from the North East!" Max shouted. The shout left Bella unfocused for a split second but that was all it took for Ben to land a precise kick to her ribs. A crack was heard and Bella winced.
"Fuck Ben! That hurt! I'm over this! We need to go now! They are coming for you!" Bella cried.
She seemed to penetrate Ben's brain enough that he faltered slightly thus enabling Bella to kick his Knee in, effectively breaking it.
"Sorry Ben, but you're not running away from us. Let's go!" She motioned to Max.
"Lets carry him to my bike. We'll go back to my place. They are moving in! Let's go!" Bella instructed.
The guys watched in awe as Bella grabbed Ben under his arms while Max grabbed him by his thighs. They leapt up and ran towards Bella's bike. They blurred the entire way.
"We should follow her just to make sure this guy doesn't hurt her." Edward whispered to Jasper. He needed to make sure that Bella would be o.k. They watched silently as Bella hopped on her bike, waiting for Ben to be helped on.
Edward growled lowly as Ben held her waist.
Bella's eyes flickered to where Edward and Jasper were watching the scene. They ducked quickly.
"Max, go back to Seattle. Lay low and if shit hits the fan, I'll call you. I got Ben from here. Come down in a few days if you can ditch work. Love you sis!" Bella said cheerily.
Weird mood swings. She's excited now. Jasper commented. Edward had to stifle down another jealous growl, he didn't want to be discovered spying.
Max nodded and hopped on her own motorcycle and speeding away. Bella followed suit. The sounds of the helicopter they had been trying to avoid faded as they ran, sticking near to the sounds of Bella's bike.
Soon they reached Bella's cottage again.
Do we stay? Jasper questioned. Edward nodded. They saw Bella help Ben limp his way into her house and she shut the door behind them.
They slunk quietly towards the back window, allowing them to view Bella's room. They saw Bella set Ben on the bed, being careful of his leg.
"I'm sorry Ben. I didn't want to break it, but I didn't want you to run from us. We need each other, your not alone now." Edward heard Bella say softly. He watched as she ran her hands through his hair and looked at Ben with tenderness.
Quit with the jealousy Edward, I can't take it! Jasper thought.
Edward tempered his jealousy down and looked away for a moment. When he looked back he almost gasped aloud. Bella had taken her shirt off and was standing in front of Ben in only her jeans and a bra.
"Sorry about your rib baby girl." Ben said morosely. Edward watched with barely contained anger as Ben began to feel around the bruised area on Bella's ribs. Bella winced and Edward accidentally let out a low growl. Both Bella and Ben snapped their heads in the direction of the sound.
Damn it Edward. We've been made for sure! But wait, that growl was way below the range humans can hear. Just another strike against Bella is an ordinary Human theory. Jasper thought to Edward
"Jasper? Edward? Get your asses in the house NOW!" Bella cried angrily.
The guys moved at vampire speed to her side after coming through the front door. Bella, still clad in only her bra and pants placed her hands on her hips and glared at them.
They could barely meet her eyes. Jasper felt her anger slice through him like a knife and he winced. He looked at her shamefaced, while Edward looked abashed.
"How much have you seen?" Bella demanded.
Ben was watching the scene with a small smile. He was amazed that his Bella could make two men that towered over her cower in fear. He could sense the bronze haired ones embarrassment at seeing Bella so undressed. He resisted the urge to chuckle. Nudity had never been an issue amongst his unit, they had all seen each other stark naked with no qualms; you couldn't be modest and be a soldier.
"Everything." Jasper took the liberty of replying. He felt her shock.
"You've been following me since I left you guys in the woods?" She asked. They nodded.
"What the hell?! Are you guys stalkers or do you have a death wish?!" Bella cried angrily. Jasper chuckled at the irony. Edward looked ashamed.
"What the hell is so funny? Jasper have you lost it?" Bella questioned.
"No, I just find what you said ironic. We can't die." Jasper replied easily. Edward glared at him.
Bella and Ben froze.
"What he means is, well, we wanted to make sure you were okay. You took off so suddenly and it seemed like you might need help so we followed you. We saw everything, the way you move and fight. We know something is different about you and we want to know what." Edward explained.
Ben scoffed from his seat on Bella's bed. She glanced at Ben and quirked an eyebrow. They seemed to be communicating with their eyes.
What are they thinking Edward? Jasper asked mentally. Edward shrugged. You can't read their minds?!
Edward shook his head no.
Jasper was nervous now.
Bella and Ben looked away from each other and she turned to Edward.
"Quid pro Quo." She said simply.
"Excuse me?" Edward replied, confused.
"You want to know what we are? Well, we want to know what you are. Pretty simple. You tell us, we tell you. Quid. Pro. Quo." She stated as if he were slow. Edward scowled. Before he could reply he felt his own phone vibrate. He answered quickly, never breaking eye contact with Bella.
"Yes?" Edward said into the phone.
"Edward, we are on our way. Carlisle is bringing his doctor's bag to patch them up. Don't say anything until we get there. We should see you in five minutes." Alice chirped in his ear before he heard the click of the call being disconnected.
"My family is on their way. We will explain and then you will explain after my father fixes you two up." Edward relayed.
"I heard." Bella replied. Of course she did, everyone in the room heard the soft voice of Alice through the phone.
"Well this is just great. Baby girl, your just great at making friends with the wrong types aren't you?" Ben teased, as if the fight in the woods never happened. Bella began to suspect a chemical in-balance in his brain as a cause for his homicidal tendencies.
She gave him a scathing look. "Ben, you're one to talk! Hunting Father Destry. For what? To recreate that day? For the Blue Lady? We need to talk and after that, we are going to get you some help. You can be helped, and you are better than that and I don't want to hear another word in doubt of that or I will break your other leg!"
Ben looked down, his face darkening instantly. Jasper sent a wave of calm to him, and he saw Ben relax.
They all heard a knock at the door and Bella for them to enter. Soon the room was filled with the Cullen's.
Ben began to look overwhelmed, but Bella looked as calm as ever. She sat next to Ben and grabbed his hand, interlacing her fingers with his. Alice smiled knowingly at the pair and stepped up to hug Bella.
"This is going to be great! Oh, hello Ben. I'm sorry about what you have gone through lately. We will get you some help and soon, you will be as good as new!" She hugged Ben quickly as well. Ben looked shocked but seemed to take comfort in her words. We all knew that Alice must have seen something and her words held a ring of truth that could not be denied.
"How do you know?" Ben asked pleadingly. Alice smiled.
"I've seen your future. Everything will be great!" She exclaimed. Bella and Ben looked at her warily. Carlisle chose this moment to step in.
"Alice, I think we should explain ourselves properly before you burst in with that information." He reprimanded lightly. Alice looked sheepish before smiling again and sitting next to Bella on the bed.
"Then let's explain!" She said cheekily. Rosalie shot her a glare that no one missed.
"This is a bad idea! We shouldn't tell them anything. They can't be trusted." Rosalie voiced her negative opinion. Emmett placed a hand on her shoulder to stop her from continuing.
"Well if you don't tell us anything, we wont tell you anything and I think I've made Edward and Jasper so curious they might burst with it." Bella replied, non plussed by Rosalie's attitude.
"Silly Bella. They can't burst, we are all vampires! Indestructible!" Alice blurted. She covered her mouth quickly glancing at Carlisle with remorse. "Oops."
Bella squeezed Ben's hand tighter, a gesture that was lost on no one.
"Huh." was all Bella could manage.
"And you think I'm crazy," Ben muttered to Bella under his breath. The occupants of the room chuckled, easing some of the tension the confession had caused.
Ben's eyes widened. No one should have been able to hear that but Bella. Okay, maybe they were vampires.
"Allow me to elaborate," Carlisle began. "We are vampires. While we do need blood to survive, we choose to drink the blood of animals as opposed to humans. We try and live amongst humans to retain our humanity and to avoid becoming what so many of our kind can be, monsters. We have immense strength, speed and we are impervious to human weapons. There is only one way to kill us and it can only be done at the hands of another like us or something equally as strong like the werewolves down at La Push."
"Werewolves?" Bella asked incredulously.
"Well, I suppose the proper word would be shape-shifters. Its a genetically encoded in their DNA to phase into wolves when Vampires are in their midst. At least that is my theory on their abilities. They are our natural enemies and we stay away from them. We have a treaty with them, dictating that we will not enter in their territory and they will not expose or kill us. That would only be possible if we did not kill humans. They would come after us to protect the town if we did."
"Anything else?" Ben questioned calmly.
"Our senses are heightened and we can see and hear things better than any human. Some vampires also have extra abilities. Powers, one could say. Jasper, Edward and Alice are all gifted. The rest of us have strengths that are unique but not exactly powerful." Carlisle continued. Emmett scoffed.
"I'm powerful." Emmett interjected." I'm stronger than any vampire we have ever come across. Just because I don't do what the freaks do I get no credit."
Jasper, Edward and Alice glared at him.
"Right," Bella began warily. "What can you guys do?" She looked at the three 'freaks'.
Alice perked up and grinned, "I can see the future! It's kind of subjective, based mainly on decisions but there are somethings that are destined, therefore unchangeable."
Jasper spoke up next. "I can feel and manipulate the emotions of others."
"So what am I feeling now?" Ben asked skeptically.
"Hmm... while you look skeptical, you feel awed and remorseful. Now you feel shocked and confused. Now you feel angry and slightly amused." Jasper watched Ben process his words. Ben nodded slightly. He looked at Bella and gave her a meaningful look.
Edward felt the need to interrupt their eye communication and burst in, " I read minds."
Bella's eyes snapped to Edward's and her cheeks heated slightly.
"Well, I can read all minds, except yours." Edward corrected looking from her to Ben significantly.
"What's a transgenic?" Jasper asked suddenly. Everyone looked at him in confusion. He shook his head and continued, "Bella was tapping on Ben's hand in Morse code. She said 'Must be because we're transgenic'"
All eyes turned to Ben and Bella. Bella shot a glare at Jasper.
Jasper merely shrugged and laughed.
"We told you what we are, so 'fess up. Quid Pro Quo, remember?" Edward taunted.
Once again the pair exchanged a look that made Edward's jealousy spike. Jasper sent him a look.
"Go for it baby girl, you do the honors," Ben told Bella while watching Edwards reaction. He had a feeling Edward was jealous and his thoughts were confirmed by the look on Edward's face at Ben's comment. Interesting.
"Hmm... Where to start...." Bella looked thoughtful before continuing. " Ben and I are soldiers. We were genetically engineered to be a kind of super human. To achieve these results our genes were spliced with any number of things that include but are not limited too animal, reptile and extraordinary human DNA. This project is referred to as Project Manticore. Manticore is a covert operation that is funded by private investors and government funds that have been secretly diverted. Only a select few of the politicians in Washington know of Manticore's existence. Apparently on paper our facility appears as a Veteran's Hospital. The project has been going on since the early 90's. Scientists used trial and error to get the package you see in front of you. There are different types of transgenics. Ben and I are included in what Manticore called the X-series. We were designed to be perfect soldiers, our reflexes are cat like, we have speed, stamina, and are geniuses. Our hearing and eyesight are enhanced due to all the different animal DNA in us, though we are mainly feline besides human. We are designed to be physically good-looking in order to blend in easily and infiltrate target's lives if necessary. There are others that Manticore refers too as Trans-humans. They are more animal like than human and are designed for specific areas to be deployed in a combat situation. There is an Arctic division that look slightly like very albino humans and they were made for combat in the ice regions of the world. Desert division soldiers look like Lizard people and are designed to withstand extreme heat and little water. They don't get out much anymore, unfortunately for them. They get bored on base." Bella looked thoughtful. She was interrupted out of her musings by Carlisle.
"You're saying that you were created by scientists to do the bidding of our government?"
"Yep. We were born and raised by Manticore drill sergeants. We have trained to be soldiers since we could walk. We have seen more combat then a regular army General. Well, I have at least. Ben escaped with my old unit back in 2009. They thought I was dead so they cut and run. The place is a glorified prison." Bella said with a bitter edge to her voice. Ben looked guilty.
"Not that I blame them, the trainers kept taking our siblings away. We were being killed for things we couldn't control. Like the seizures." Bella was quick to reassure Ben she didn't blame him for her captivity.
"Seizures?" Carlisle questioned with his doctor's voice.
"Well, we are made by human scientists. They spliced our DNA and created embryo's and stuck them into surrogate mother's to carry us to term. But they made mistakes some times. 3 whole series, X1-X3 had to be killed because of those mistakes. X4 and X5 were created with a tendency for serotonin deficiencies causing us to have seizures when the levels are too low. They have since corrected the mistake with the X6-X8 series. The X5 series is considered the best of all the X-series. After the escape, they simplified the later series, meaning they made them less independent, less questioning of authority. They are mainly used to support the X5's in combat situations or rescue and retrieval missions. X5's are used for everything from assassinations to leading troops into battle." Bella explained.
The Cullen's looked at her and Ben in shock. Bella knew this would be their reaction. Esme broke the silence.
"You don't have a mother or father?"
"No, we have genetic contributers and surrogates. I have 3 genetic siblings however, meaning our genetic contributers were the same." Bella answered unemotionally.
"You've seen a lot of combat?" Jasper questioned excitedly.
Bella laughed a little as his expression. "Yes. I was Second in Command in my unit. My C.O and I led our unit in combat in Afghanistan, North Korea, Iran, Lebanon, Palestine and other random places. The wars we fought in were never advertised to the American public. We are America's dirty little secret."
Jasper looked at Bella in awe and respect. Alice hugged Bella close.
"I'm sorry Bella." Alice murmured.
"Assassinations?" Emmett voiced.
Bella looked down at her interlaced hand. She trailed her eyes from Ben's hand to his eyes. She seemed to draw some comfort from his gaze and turned back to face the Cullen's. Her eyes were shining with unshed tears. Edward felt his insides twist at the sight of Bella in pain.
She is in so much pain, she feels angry, sad, hurt and so remorseful. I don't know how she hasn't collapsed from it all. Jasper grimaced at the onslaught of emotions from Bella.
"Yes. I have been ordered to kill as a 'preventative measure' according to Manticore. You have to understand something. You don't say no to Manticore. They have ways of torturing you that make you wish for death, yet they won't kill you if they can still use you. I've seen unit mates go to Psy-Ops and come back hollow shells, as if their souls were missing. I've been tortured physically, mentally and emotionally for months on end for simple infractions like talking back to a trainer. If I refused to kill at their will I don't know what they would have done to me. That doesn't excuse my actions and I wish I could take it back, but I had my unit mates and my C.O and they needed me to survive."
"Baby girl, you did what you had to do to live. I understand. You are not selfish if you survived for those depending on you." Ben said softly, stroking Bella's hair. Every Cullen nodded their heads in agreement with Ben's words.
"We've all done things we are not proud of. What matters is the choices we make when we realize our transgressions. You are choosing to try and be free away from Manticore, a chance to stop killing at the will of a corrupt government agency." Edward assured Bella.
Bella rewarded him with a small, genuine smile.
"Thank you all for understanding and not judging. I don't think of you differently either if it matters." Bella stated. Ben jumped in, "Me neither."
Smiles were given all around. The lighter mood was abruptly ended when Bella shifted wrong and winced. Carlisle noticed and swiftly went to her side.
"Can I assess the damage?" He queried.
"I can tell you the damage, thanks to my field med expertise. Two cracked ribs, I just need to brace them and they'll be as right as rain in about two days."
Carlisle looked shocked as he felt her ribs carefully, "You're correct. But this damage usually takes weeks to heal. Two days and you'll be as good as new?"
"Transgenics heal 10 times faster than an ordinary human. Our blood is filled with stem cells that repair damage quickly. We are also universal blood donors. We literally are as close to perfect as you can get without being you guys."
Carlisle began to tape her ribs up while smiling excitedly. "That's amazing!"
"I guess. I just feel like someone's science project." Bella muttered.
When Carlisle was done taping her up he went to Ben and began examining him.
"I can set this easily, if your abilities are what you say they are he needs about a week or less to heal fully." Carlisle began the painful process on Ben. Bella winced as Carlisle set Ben's leg and Ben squeezed her hand so hard her joints popped.
"Are you okay Bella?" Edward asked, throwing a glare at Ben. Ben was to busy grimacing in pain to care.
"I'm legit. It's my fault anyway, I broke his damn leg." Bella replied, still holding onto Ben.
"In self defense." Edward reminded her. Bella just shrugged.
"What was that all about anyway?" Jasper asked suddenly. Ben looked at Bella questioningly. She tapped a message into his hand that Jasper caught but did not say aloud : It's your story Ben, tell it if you want. I trust them, strangely enough.
Ben looked at the group and started his story.
"After we escaped in 2009 our C.O ordered us to split up and go to ground, or hide, for you civilians. I was 9 years old and I was eventually picked up and placed in the Foster care system. I was all alone and as scared as I had ever been before. At Manticore I knew what to expect and out here I was as lost as all hell. I kept running away from homes, I moved from place to place and kept under the radar. One day I was attacked by a group of guys, a gang initiation I think. I killed a guy in self defense. I felt so guilty because not only had I killed a human being but I felt comforted when I did it. It took me back to Manticore, the last place I felt safe. I didn't intend on continuing but I did. Not often and only criminals until today. Max and Bella stopped me before I could take the Priests life. I don't know what's wrong with me. I want to stop but I can't!" Ben was crying silently. Bella wrapped herself around him and held him as the tears fell. She looked around at the Cullen's as if daring them to judge Ben.
"Big brother, I'm going to help you. Maybe Dr. Cullen can help too?" Bella's eyes pleaded with Carlisle. He nodded back to her, his compassion rising for the broken young man in Bella's arms.
You hear that Edward? Big Brother! She sees him as a brother, now you can stop getting so blindingly jealous every five seconds! Jasper directed his thoughts to Edward.
Edward relaxed significantly. He felt the weight on his chest lift and felt relieved at Bella's statement. Ben was a brother in her eyes. Yes!
A/N- Questions? Comments? Hit the review button! Also for those who haven't watched Dark Angel Ben's character is played by Jensen Ackles if you want to google him for images.