The present can't alter the past
The story of the Cullen's watching James's home video
For the first time.
Chapter One: Revealed
There she was on a hospital bed, covered in gauze and plaster. Hardly any of her was unbandaged. It was a relief to know I had been just in time. Just in time, but barely. A few seconds
later and… but I couldn't think it. It would torture me if I imagined not what could but what would have happened if I had been too late. I had made her promise me she would take care of
herself, and what had she done? Run off to meet with a sadistic vampire intent on taking her away from me forever. It was so typically Bella. Worry about all the things you didn't need to,
but the bigger picture, the things you should worry about seemed to evade her. I sighed as I listened to the heart monitor continually beep. As I watched her sleep I thought, of the last
conscious moments she had had, and what she had felt during those moments. Anger tore through me as I thought of the state I had discovered her in. Bella had been lying next to a
shattered mirror, blood pooling on the floor. When her chocolate brown eyes had finally opened they had been flecked with blood, conveying something crucial. She had been in agonizing
pain and we didn't understand. She had screamed the only description she could, "My hand is burning!" in so much pain and alarm that I had truly feared for her. It was only when Carlisle
had said with so much disgust "He bit her." That I finally understood what she had meant. Looking at Bella now, I felt strangely proud. I was proud at myself that I had been able to save
her, and resist the temptation of draining her already mangled body. Yet more than that, I couldn't help being proud of the unconscious girl lying millimeters away from me. She had been
brave enough to pay the ultimate price for making sure we were safe. No one had done that for us before, and I knew from their thoughts that after the incident my family felt more
admiration for her. All except Rosalie who was as ungracious as before, and still just as ignorant. Thinking of Bella's conscious moments reminded me of what she had said in a voice barely
more than a whisper. "Alice, the video-he knew you Alice, he knew where you came from." I knew of a video of course, Emmett had retrieved a video camera from the ballet studio but none of
us had paid much attention to it. We had taken it from the studio so as not to leave any evidence for police when we had burned it down. My sudden memories aroused my curiosity, and I
desperately wanted to see what was on that tape. According to Bella, information on Alice's human life was on that tape, another mystery to be unraveled at last. Knowing that Bella would be safe and well cared for, I left her temporarily to pursue Carlisle.
I heard his thoughts before I saw him. I found my father sitting on a chair in a room usually reserved for waiting families. Some of my siblings were there too, in fact all of my family were
there except two. Rosalie had gone home as soon as Bella was in hospital, deciding the matter was over and done with and no longer her concern. Esme had stayed with Rosalie, making
sure that the home stayed standing. Everyone knew what Rosalie was like when she was really angry or frustrated. Her rage was something that even scared Emmett. We had had to
move the last time she had had erupted in a rage. They all looked at me when I came in and instantly Carlisle assumed the worst. "Is she…" he trailed off still with his gaze on me. I shook
my head all through his question of two words. "No Carlisle, Bella's still unconscious." I answered his unfinished phrase. "Then why are you here? You should be with her." Jasper spoke
swiftly. I glared at him. Of course I should be with her, but something important had to be done first. "Something she said, before she fell asleep, it bothers me." I frowned reliving the
words she'd uttered about the video. "What's the concern?" Emmett quizzed his curiosity now awake. Alice answered his concern. "I see us watching a video. A film from the video recorder
we picked up from the ballet studio." Her eyes were speculative as she gazed at things far away. "You want to watch a home-movie?" Emmett now asked suppressing laughter, but not
quite managing to stop some laughs escaping his mouth. I glared at him with such a force that he stopped immediately. "Bella said information about Alice was on that tape. Information on
Alice's human life." I said quietly. My three siblings flickered their glances from me to Carlisle, and then my brothers turned their gold eyes to Alice who had the look of a rabbit being confronted by headlights. "We'll watch the tape. I'll get a TV in here."
Chapter Two: Harsh truths
With Carlisle's respected reputation, it took him no time to ensure a porter brought us a television monitor. The monitor was old, but it would serve our purpose. "So, what now?" Emmett
asked once the porter was gone. Jasper was holding the recorder, twisting the device in his hands as though unsure whether to attach it to the monitor or not. Carlisle placed a hand on
his shoulder and gave a quick nod. We all understood. The tape needed to be watched, if it contained information on a Cullen. Especially Alice. The three of us turned to her as though we
had all been struck by that thought at the same time. Though being a mind reader meant I could determine that it had indeed happened. Alice seemed to have a glazed over expression,
and by viewing her thoughts, I could see as she could. Images flashed behind her eyes rapidly like a slide show. I could only make out an odd word or growl, and once part of a scream but
it was always the same two figures. Bella and James. Suddenly Alice snapped out of it and turned her gaze on us. "I didn't catch much of that," I said softly. She turned to me, spiked hair
glistening in the hospital light. "I caught enough," she replied just as softly and then to Jasper "Hook it up. We need to see this. Trust me." He paused, testing her emotions before giving
her a slow nod. Then he turned to the television monitor and attached a connecting cable from the video recorder to the monitor. After a few more minutes pressing buttons, Jasper declared the video ready.
We all settled into our respective chairs before Jasper hit the play button. An image appeared on screen with Bella staring out from the monitor with a look of horror. Then her eyes flickered
back to the figure at the edge of the screen, James. Then his voice cut through the room. "I'm sorry, but I just don't think he'll be able to resist hunting me after he watches this. And I wouldn't
want him to miss anything. It was all for him, of course. You're simply a human, who unfortunately was in the wrong place, at the wrong time, and indisputably running with the wrong crowd, might I add." I glared at the screen unblinking. A game. That's all it was to him, and according to his speechI appeared to be the star player. He'd terrorized Bella to get to me. And you weren't
there, a small voice in the back of my mind whispered. I permitted a small growl to escape my lips. Jasper sensing my emotions slid his eyes towards me. Patience Edward, Jasper thought. He was right of course, I had to be patient now, as I knew from the aftermath the worst was yet to come. James stepped toward Bella, his voice making an unwelcome reappearance "Before we begin…" and as he said that I saw Bella pale further. No, not because of what he'd said but what he'd done, a large step towards her and the expression on his face hidden from view.
"I would just like to rub it in, just a little bit. The answer was there all along, and I was so afraid Edward would see that and ruin my fun. It happened once, oh, ages ago. The one and only time my prey escaped me." I was outraged. Ruin his fun? Tracking down my love in order to kill her so he could fight me? I would've bolted out the room in order to rip him apart myself if he had not already been dead. It's coming Edward, Alice suddenly thought her eyes fixated to the screen. What was coming though?
"You see, the vampire who was so stupidly fond of this little victim made the choice that your Edward was too weak to make. When the old one knew I was after his little friend, he stole her from the
asylum where he worked- I never will understand the obsession some vampires seem to form with you humans- and as soon as he freed her he made her safe. She didn't even seem to notice the
pain, poor little creature. She'd been stuck in that black hole of a cell for so long. A hundred years earlier and she would have been burned at the stake for her visions. In the nineteen-twenties it was
the asylum and the shock treatments. When she opened her eyes, strong with her fresh youth, it was like she's never seen the sun before. The old vampire made her a strong new vampire, and
there was no reason for me to touch her then. I destroyed the old one in vengeance." The three of us astonished turned to Alice. Her mouth was parted in a silent "o" and she gazed intently at
the screen. I felt her thoughts scream through her head in rapid fire succession. I was in an asylum, I saw visions as a human, James had hunted me, I'd had shock treatments, I couldn't remember because there was no reason too… Her thoughts continued to race at this pace. "Alice?" Emmett asked hesitantly. She did once slow blink and closed her mouth, before turning
her head to see Jasper's hand tenderly placed on her shoulder. "My history in a nutshell," she whispered. Jasper picked her up of the chair and gently pulled her onto his lap, arms creating a protective barrier. "We can stop the recording Alice, if it's too much." Carlisle stated firmly. Alice shook her head. "We need to see," she said simply. With that we returned to watching the video.
The next words spoken were from Bella, the first words she'd said since the tape had started were filled with realization. Alice's name left her lips, before James continued his sadistic
regime. "Yes , your little friend. I was surprised to see her in the clearing. So I guess her coven ought to be able to derive some comfort from this experience. I get you, but they get her. The one
victim who escaped me, quite an honor, actually." I gripped the chair handles tighter, not caring if I accidentally destroyed them. Snarls were slipping through my teeth quite naturally and for
once, I was being joined by Jasper and Emmett. Carlisle and Alice made no attempt to stop us. James's next words cut the air describing the difference in smell between my Bella and my
sister. I glared at the screen as he walked towards Bella and touched her, sniffing her hair, brushing her throat and stroking her cheek. I would never forget the expression on her delicate
features, frozen and paralyzed with fear. This time the chair handles did crumble into grainy dust. I continued to watch as James stated that he should get on with it, before telling us where
to find Bella's body and the recorder. So that was this recording's purpose. To inform us of Alice, and Bella's method of execution. My snarls progressed into growls along with Emmett and
Jasper. I noticed Bella's knees begin to tremble and I wanted nothing more than to reach through the screen and protect her, but I wasn't there, not yet. We watched as James circled her before shifting into a crouch. Bella ran, and I found myself thinking that she did indeed posses the natural human instincts to avoid danger, yet they only made themselves known when she
was seconds away from death. We watched as James used his hand to hit her chest and send Bella, my Bella backward into instantly shattering mirrors. Bella lay awkwardly on fragments of glass, blood visibly starting to manifest on her head. James began to say something, but I couldn't hear him our growls had risen in volume. Bella scrambled to her hands and knees in a
desperate attempt to get away, but he was already there and suddenly a sickening snap echoed around the room, the shock cutting off our growls before a heart breaking scream of pain, Bella's scream drummed through my senses and that little voice from before came back whispering You weren't there.
James nudged her leg and again she let out a shrill piercing scream. "Wouldn't you rather have Edward try to find me?" He stated as though this torture was perfectly normal. She would never forgive me for this. She would answer yes to his question. I was not worth this suffering she was having inflicted. Her mouth opened and I waited for the disinheritance, the disownment. But unexpected words flowed out her mouth, "No! No, Edward, don't" before she was cut off by being forcefully slammed against the mirrors. Blood poured freely now, darkening her shirt and pooling on the floor. All of it was hers, my Bella's and I hadn't prevented it. We watched as her eyes fluttered and then closed after she lazily raised an arm across her face.
Chapter Three: Worth
We didn't need to see anymore. We'd arrived shortly after, thinking we'd be able to save her, protect her and then found her a crumpled mess with a hunter poised over her. Everyone was quiet, still staring at a blank screen. The Emmett spoke, "She endured all that, all that agony to keep us safe?" He sounded unsure, as though he had made a mistake in his assumption. "That appears correct Emmett," Carlisle stated calmly looking at us all. "I know it's correct, she never worries about herself, only other people," I stated quietly. Jasper looked thoughtful before saying, "Before all this happened, while we made plans to protect her, I sensed her feelings. They were strong and suffocating." Jasper turned his head to me before continuing. "She felt she wasn't worth our protection Edward," he finished quietly. I disagreed with that whole heartedly, Bella never saw herself clearly and I was going to make a point of it if-no when she woke up. Then Alice piped up from Jasper's lap "She was wrong." And with that simple sentence, a silent agreement filled the room, agreement with Alice, agreement of how worthy Bella was after what she'd done for us, and a final agreement of something else. "Go to her Edward, we'll be fine," Emmett half smiled with a dismissive wave in my direction. I rose to the door uttered a thanks to Emmett before stepping into the hospital corridor, and tried to keep from running at vampire speed towards Bella's bedside.