All recognizable characters are the intellectual property of Mrs. Stephenie Meyer, or their respective owners. The plot and the other characters are the intellectual property of ME. No part of this fanfiction may be reproduced without my permission. No monetary gain is being made from this work.
And now, the moment you've ALL been waiting for... *drum roll*
I must warn you that reading this will raise a lot of questions. Ask away, and know that, if it doesn't give away any plot info (for the next story), I will happily answer. You guys know I always hand answer each and every review. Please, keep them coming.
There will be another chapter of the Cullens, reorganizing in New Orleans. They have to, essentially, restructure the entire vampire world. This will be the crux of the next story, which will be entitled "Reproachful, Repugnant, Resigned". I have not begun outlining, nor have I done any solid writing for it. It's coming, but I need a break to work on something new.
If you haven't done so already, add me to your author alerts. When the time comes, I'll post a new chapter here, in case someone misses an alert, just to let you know that "RRR" has been put up. That being said, I hope you enjoy.
Please read and review.
Épilogue Partie Un – Edward
"Daddy!" A shrill voice called, the sound, though tiny, reverberated off of the sides of the great rock walls. "Daddy, please!," She cried, trying desperately to catch his attention, "Stay away from the fire!" His gummy, scorchingly dry eyes finally peeled open. A blistering fire roared within his throat, as soon as he regained awareness of his surroundings. Edward hadn't been this thirsty since he was a newborn. He lifted his head in time to see that he was just millimeters from the open fissures of slowly bubbling, molten rock. He had every recollection of how he got there, though he had no idea how long he had been. "Daddy!" The voice hissed, now more irritated, than soothing.
Edward's limbs were heavy, and it made moving around, even with his vampire strength, difficult without effort. His black eyes narrowed in the direction of the tiny child, standing directly over the bubbling magma. He wondered how the fire did not consume her, with her so near to touching the shifting fluids at her feet. Bubbles popped, and exploded all around her, but none seemed to cause her harm. It was as if she were there, but she was not.
Her little face was pinched in concentration, as if appearing before him was not without great effort. She had a gauzy, ghost-like composition, but was definitely there before him. Her heart shaped face was imploring him to stand, and broken though his body seemed to be, he carefully reattached his badly torn leg.
Reagitating the wound, enough to kick start fresh venom reproduction was a slow, and painful process. Once it was completed, and his limb was firmly attached, he began to follow the slowly drifting child. Edward studied her closely, and as he did, he realized that she was the younger of the two wood nymphs, from the Serpent's statue garden.
"Who are you?" He asked, easily keeping up with the child's slowly ambling pace. She moved no faster than any ordinary human being.
"Silly," She replied, looking directly into his eyes, "I'm Lily 'liz'bith. Gramma sent me to get you."
He froze where he stood, and stared at her tiny features. While he couldn't believe it, he couldn't not. In her, he saw so very much of Bella, and so very much of himself. The long, soft curls were definitely a gift from the Masen's, but her hair color, which had faded from her birth-time ginger, to a rich mahogany, was all Bella. Her nose, which was pert and button-like, was also the spitting image of Bella's. He was pleased to note that she had developed his lips, his cheekbones, and that sultry, crooked smile.
"Impossible." He muttered, pinching the bridge of his nose.
"She said you'd say that." Her eyes were alight with joy, and she beckoned him to follow her up the side of an underground cliff. "You'll hafta hold me, Daddy." She said, matter-of-factly, holding her arms out. Edward crouched down, and while he did not feel her in the slightest, he could see her hazy arms wrapped tightly around his neck. He had no idea what to make of her.
Rock climbing one-armed was not on his shortlist of favorite hobbies, and he groaned in displeasure. The weakness in his limbs, directly caused by the burning in his throat, slowed his pace considerably. "Where, exactly, are we headed, Lily?"
"Home." She said, her voice barely above a whisper. She sounded wistful, lost, and more sad than he cared to imagine. The rest of their climb was done in silence, and when he was through, he crouched again, to let her back down onto the ground. He was violently thirsty, and was more than thankful that he couldn't smell the scent of his imaginary daughter's blood, nor hear the thumping of her heart. He sat down to take an unnecessary rest. More for his mental health, than anything else, he hung his head between his knees, and took several deep, cleansing breaths. When he looked up, he saw her staring at him with a mixture of impatience, curiosity, and. She reminded him, so much, of Bella, which made him smile. He had hoped that she would develop her mother's funny attitude.
"Hurry!" She said urgently, starting to drift away noiselessly. He rose to follow her, having to move slowly, to keep up with her pace. "Mommy needs your help. She's really lost. Really sad." Her once joyous voice turned hollow, scared, and very, very sad. "I can't go home unless I bring you with me, daddy. Gramma said so."
"You're just a baby, Lily. You were just born, hardly three months ago. How, exactly, are you here, looking like an eight year old?"
"That's cuz I am eight, Daddy." She put her tiny fists, on her tiny hips, and Edward hid his chuckle with a cough.
"Why can't I touch you?" He asked, swiping his hand through the haze that made up her figure.
"It's my gift." She said haughtily, with a silent, "Duh!" tacked onto the end of the sentence. "Hurry, Daddy. We have to hurry. Luke Masen is in big trouble, and mommy doesn't know what to do! She's been lost and alone since you didn't come home."
"Didn't come home?" He asked incredulously. "Lily, how long have I been laying there?"
"Long enough that everyone thinks that your dead. Hurry, Daddy! We have to keep going, or mommy is going to make a mistake that will cost us all everything!"
Climbing with only slightly renewed vigor, he placed one foot in front of the other, and carried his beautiful child up from the center of the earth.
"Lills," He began, laying weakly on the stone floor. "I need to hunt. I feel like I can't move a muscle." Edward's missing arm, and his newly reattached leg had weakened him badly. The instant that he stopped moving, his body felt like it was made of lead. He found, for the first time in a century, that he could hardly lift his hand. He was weak, and while that weakness wouldn't kill him, it certainly had the potential to make his existence miserable for the foreseeable future.
"You have to keep going, Daddy, or we'll be too late. Don't worry. I'll take you somewhere to feed; you'll be okay." His hollow, sunken black eyes followed his daughter's lithe movements as she drifted slowly over the vast expanses of rock. Each step he took, was one step closer to his wife, and children. And he'd be damned if he stopped moving before all three of them were being held tightly in his arms.
Epilogue Partie Deaux – Jane
In the months after the battle, Jane carried Alec's ashes everywhere. She couldn't accept that he was dead, but after much intense coaching, she was finally able to admit that she was wrong. Alec Volturi was gone, never to return. Jane felt that keeping his ashes contained would be dishonorable to his memory—his human memory. While he had made a fearsome vampire, he had made a fantastic twin brother. She grimaced as her inside tensed, as she pondered over their lives together.
She had, initially, wanted to scatter his ashes on the site that held their mother's grave. Like so many of "human" Jane's familiar haunts, however, it had been urbanized, and turned into an apartment building. The idea, while novel, no longer seemed appropriate. Jane knew that her mother was no longer there, and neither was her spirit. Not to make the trip a total waste, she wandered into the area's only nature preserve. As if it were yesterday, she found their favorite meadow
Realizing that all that was left of her brother was in that metal urn was gut wrenching. She felt more vulnerable, more human, than she ever dreamed possible. The emotions coursing through Jane's body were very unfamiliar to her. She, who had led a life wrought with both detachment, and violence had had no idea how to deal with the sudden onslaught of feelings on her own. After a time of intense heartache, she enlisted the help of a therapist. A not-so-young vampiress, whom Jane had met in the trenches, ran a very successful practice outside of Vancouver. She was happy to "squeeze Jane in" to her busy evening schedule.
They had spent countless hours pouring over Jane's long lived life, which had often been comprised of playing a double agent. Pretending to have unwavering loyalty, when the exact opposite was true, had paid a toll on Jane's ability to trust others. While she still had a long way to go, she was much closer to being at peace than she had been, in over three hundred years. Her biggest hurdle now was the inappropriate nature of Aro's relationship to her. She had always considered their consorting to be incestuous in nature, and it had twisted her already gnarled insides, and had made her a colder, harsher vampire. She realized, in a particularly spectacular moment of clarity, that that may have been Aro's exact intent. He was smarter than she had ever realized. She shook her head quietly, and sighed.
Jane stood barefoot, on the lush, green forest floor. It was springtime, and she could smell the wildflowers as they swayed in the breeze. This was her first trip back to the meadow since her siring, and with all likelihood, it would be her last. There was little holding her to the land now, and there would be even less, once she completed today's mission. She held the heavy, metal decanter in her hands reverently, and sighed.
"It shouldn't have been like this," She began, catching the reflection of her crimson eyes in the nearby stream. "It didn't have to end this way, you know..." She sat the urn down on the spongy forest floor, and waded, ankle deep, in the stream.
"Do you remember when we would come here as children?" She picked up a handful of pebbles, and began to skip them across the water's surface. "We would play hide and seek, and catch fish for our supper?" Having skipped enough rocks, she returned to the stream's edge, and stretched out upon the soft, spongy, grass. "What about when we hid in the trees, and dropped rocks on any riders that we could find? That's how we found that signet ring; do you remember?" The breeze blew softly, but it didn't bring any answers. She knew, rationally, that he couldn't come back to speak to her, but it still hurt, that he didn't.
The meadow was almost all that was left of their familiar human world. Their home had long since disintegrated, but she could still give him this. It's what she would have wanted, had their positions been reversed. Much of what had once been the lush forests, of their childhood, had now been urbanized. The the last smatterings of verdant beauty had been made into a small nature preserve.
"I remember when you got caught in my fishing line, and the hook went through your arm. You cried like a child, until mother pulled it out of you!" She chuckled briefly, but the action brought her little relief. She couldn't escape the pain in her heart, though she so badly wished that she could.
Her crimson eyes were closed, and she silently reminisced about their final meeting. She'd sought him out immediately, upon her arrival at the castle, and thankfully, he'd been completely alone, at the time that she'd found him. She knew that he would be held off until the final moments of the battle, and she had known precisely where he'd be. When she first approached him, Jane had ultimately hoped for reconciliation. He, too, had once served Marie, and had even loved her like a mother. Alec was a different man then, she realized, as she looked into his time hardened eyes. The centuries with Aro had made him shrewd, vengeful, and the polar opposite of the boy she had once known. Aro had molded her brother into a perfect replica of himself.
Their conversation had been brief, but stilted. She begged him to reconsider his stance, but he would not. He could not. Chelsea's grip on Alec had been strong, and he had no compassion for his sister, who stood just inches before him. He told her that she meant nothing to him, and that she was the very lowest of traitors, to be supporting a leader who's coven had so clearly fallen.
At some point, Alec had begun to race to the dungeons, perhaps feeling that the time for his intervention had come. Jane had given chase, but Alec had always been faster. She cared for him too much to use her gift upon him, and she hadn't come to the point where she was able to separate herself enough to do it. He had already begun to invoke the rolling fog that would incapacitate any who were unlucky enough to be embraced within. She knew that she needed to stop him. It was now, or never, and she knew that she now had no choice.
While she didn't relish in the thought of killing her flesh and blood, it had been absolutely necessary. She was under no false pretenses that he wouldn't have returned the favor. Their altercation had been surprisingly brief. Alec had been fully immersed in his task of conjuring up his deadly weapon, and had not realized that Jane was quite so close. She'd ripped his arms from his torso before he had time to react to what had happened.
Jane looked down at her brother, adoringly, when he was little more than a torso and a head. She noticed with anguish that his expression had changed. His brow had significantly softened, and the way his shoulder moved, she knew that his hand would have cradled her cheek, had it still been attached to his body. Everything about his body language was contrite; he said that he loved her, and that he was sorry. For everything.
It was at that moment, that Jane knew, Chelsea had finally been destroyed. Knowing she was gone, however, did not change her options. Alec, too, needed to be destroyed. He was too far gone, down a path where she could not rescue him. She could never fully trust him, after his centuries of servitude to Aro. Despite what he would have her believe, he had served the Volturi, and believed in their cause, with his full heart. Wholly without thought, she mechanically pulled his head from his shoulders, and threw his limbs into the raging fire.
Jane's mission today was to offer something that he would have never given her; an honorable scattering of his ashes, in a place that had meant something to him. With little flourish, she screwed open the outer lid, and placed it next to her, on the soft, green grass. After, she pulled the plastic top loose, with a slightly audible 'pop'.
"Goodbye, my brother." She shook the ashes onto the grass, and the wind carried it into the air, and into the stream. The bright sunlight, which already had kissed Jane's skin, was reflecting off of the last of Alec's ashes, as he returned to the earth. She fished into her pocket, and withdrew a weather-worn signet ring, one they'd found as children, playing in this very location. Reverently, for the boy that had been, she kissed the top. For the vampire, she hurtled the ring far out, and it landed with a splash, in their small, childhood stream.
When it was pulled from his ashes, her first thought was to keep it as a memento. But in the time that followed, as she carried it with her, it became obvious that she could not see the good memories, without also seeing the bad. Now, with both the ring, and her brother lost forever, she was able to remember her past as she chose, and build her future as she saw fit. She saw no reason why her future could not involve the Cullens, who had also suffered terrible losses. She picked up her bag, containing all her worldly possessions, and began her long journey back to New Orleans.
As I mentioned, next chapter will be back in New Orleans. We'll be seeing lots of the twins, Bella, and how she handles her new role. Keep reading, and be on the lookout for new stories!