Epilogue- The Last Battle

We called her Luz Victoria. 'Light' and 'Victory', exactly what she brought and meant for us. Holding her in my arms was a miracle, her beauty the most wonderful gift. It seemed as if Life wanted to somehow make up for the misery it put me through by giving me this amazing little fairy that I adored and Jasper worshipped. Like her brother, Victoria had the best from two species and we would spend hours and hours leaned over her cot -a gorgeous white cot with soft pink curtains, built by Rosalie especially for our girl-, just admiring the delicacy of her features, the rose-like shape of her lips. Her hair was totally Jasper's but with a redder shade that would look stunning with the eyes that were definitely turning blue. She had tiny feet and little hands, along with the most charming dimples. She hardly ever cried or gave any trouble at all and the whole family was charmed by the new angel.

Jasper was just crazy about his princess. There wasn't a toy in Volterra that he didn't buy, not a dress that didn't become part of Victoria's wardrobe. He said she was more beautiful than the stars and the clouds together, and I could do nothing but agree wholeheartedly with him. Our daughter was simply perfect.

I was pleased to see that Sebastian took his sister's arrival quite well; he too was enchanted by her and soon began to draw pictures of her. They would later become inseparable and one of the most beautiful duets in our society.

Shortly after her birth Jasper and I got married in a luxurious wedding that, unlike my first one, was full of friends rather than political acquaintances. There were some of those, sure, now more than ever because Carlisle had officially taken over the vampire government, but in general what I saw were warm faces that went from dazzling to dazzled the moment they met our baby girl. It was one of the most glorious days of my life.

Our honeymoon was a tour all around the coldest places on Earth. I've always been a snow type of girl, so I had the fun of my life visiting mountain after mountain and building endless rows of snowmen. Our last stops, though, were to see the blooming cherry trees in Japan and an island that belongs to Esme, which she kindly offered to us. Though I loved every minute we spent there, given the damage we left on every single surface I doubt she'll ever repeat that offer.

We returned home happier than ever, delighted to see our children and friends. For if there's one thing I thank the time I spent with Aro for is the friends I made there. Marcus and Natalia visit often, as well as Gianna, Demetri -who now that he doesn't have to babysit me is much friendlier- and their little Angelo, soon joined by Stella. Another frequent presence is that of Paloma, who usually brings her Laurent along. So many people that now are an important part in my life. I guess I do owe the Volturi that.

As for the government, of course I don't miss it. I live with it every single day. Carlisle has become a sensible leader, wise and prudent as we knew he'd be. Along with Esme, they form the team our society needs. No more need for me to witness tortures and executions; the Cullens always find a better way to solve things. These will be centuries of peace and when -if- Sebastian or Victoria ever decide to join Carlisle I know they won't have any problems.

However, not only can't I forget the years I spent with Aro, but I don't want to. I don't want to because they taught me what I wouldn't have learned in a lifetime and in the end they brought me to Jasper. That's why when Marcus suggested to restore the castle but make of the garden a kind of memorial to those we lost I immediately agreed. Somehow, he had preserved the ashes of most people almost intact, so we were able to make of the enormous lawns a graveyard to remember the loyalty those vampires showed. And that's why, when soon after Victoria was born I found out I was pregnant with twins -actually, they were a honeymoon souvenir- I knew they would be my way of thanking the two most amazing beings I've ever met and that died the bravest deaths for love. When they were born, more beautiful than the sun and the moon, I called my twins Jane and Alec.

I saw my parents one last time, in a park. I was guiding Victoria as she practiced her first steps while Jasper pushed the double pram with our twins and Sebastian -he must have been around six- picked some rocks and branches he'd later draw. It was winter –we'd chosen that day to go out because the clouded, freezing sky would hide our sparkling skin-, and the four of us were half-covered in snow, laughing with Victoria as she took two little steps without any help. My parents were on the other side of the street. Though I wore sunglasses to hide my brilliant crimson irises I know they recognized me, but they didn't make any attempt to approach us. I never saw them again.

Now it's winter once more. Jasper and I walk holding hands, kissing quickly whenever the children look away. They're so handsome… Sebastian does resemble his father, but his features are sweeter and his smile is kind and never forced. Victoria is definitely turning into a redhead, which contrasts beautifully with her paleness. Jane and Alec, curiously enough, do look like the original ones, since Janette has Jasper's blond hair, but straight like mine while Alec has my dark hair with Jasper's curls. But they are all true to the Cullen essence, and more precious than the sky. Our pride and joy, and our best hope for this peace to continue over the millennia. And they're growing so fast… Soon, Sebastian won't be my baby anymore; he'll push me away when I try to hug or kiss him and will prefer videogames over me. But that's how Nature is meant to be, and I try not to be too saddened by the idea.

Jasper, as always, senses my feelings and wraps his arms around me, his chest pressed against my back. Now that we're equals in strength I finally notice how much of himself he'd really been restraining at the beginning of our relationship. I compensate him now by pushing myself tighter against his body. He leans forward and kissed his way down my head to my ear.

"Let's go home," he whispers urgently. "Please."

I can feel his mood, and believe me, I share it. He kisses me behind the ear and below the jaw and it takes my entire strength not to fully react to his touch; now that our skin has the same temperature I get to enjoy the feeling of his body even more, if possible. I turn around and kiss his lips. He pulls me closer and deepens the kiss and then… we get hit by a shower of snowballs.

"Mom! Dad!" laughs Victoria. "Join us!"

"We're coming, sweetie," Jasper tells her.

She's so pretty and delicate… I can't bear the idea of her growing up and leaving us. Already, though she's still a child, Jasper is becoming the classical jealous dad, overprotective of his little princess, and I know he loves her as desperately as I do. She, after all, is the mark of the triumph of our love when we thought we'd lost, when we had nothing. Victoria and the twins are the walking proof or how miracles do happen.

Jasper and I look at each other and know that we'll have to wait. Even little Jane and Alec are preparing themselves for the snow fight, taking enormous masses of snow in their little hands. They have no gloves on, yet they can hold the balls for a long time without getting burned or without the snow melting. Ah, my little vampires.

Jazz hands me what seems like a ton of snow and we hide behind some bushes. For the briefest of instants he takes advantage of that little, dark space where the kids can't see us and pins me against the ground, hovering slightly over me as he kisses me passionately.

"I love you," he says.

"I love you," I answer.

Cries are echoing around us. We kiss again, briefly, and get on our knees. Sebastian officially declares war and everything after that is whiteness. But we do not fear as four little demons jump over us screaming at the top of their lungs. After all, we have won the battle.



God, am I actually crying? Don't tell anyone.

The only ones I must thank are all of you, guys, the only people who have always believed in me and in this project. For a little over a year we were together, some since the very beginning, some joined later, but, for me, you have always felt like a family. You all know more of me than most of the people who I've met face to face, because the true me is not in my body; she lives in my words. She lives the lives I write and feeds on your trust and love. Without you and your patient reading, your kind comments and your supports, she would be dead. We both owe you what we are.

Hope was born as a flash, an Alice-like vision I had on the night of November 9th, 2009, while I watched the news with my mom. The flash was an intimate moment between Alice and Aro, and a fight between them. At first, I fought against my impulse to write the story, I fought hard. Then, finally, I made the decision (and I'm quoting from my personal diary): "After a lot of hesitation, an agony of 48 hours, I've decided to write a little whim I had." When I posted the first chapter, I was sure everyone would hate it. It was so different from my other story, and I was scared. Yet… look what Hope became. And that is solely because of you.

Thank you so, so, so much for these months we shared, for dedicating your time to read and review this story. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

And now… a sneak peek at Sugar Star, my first Belldward story, coming soon. Enjoy!

I would tell you what I loved, but I prefer to give you Nothing. I would tell you what I love, but I prefer to give you Emptiness. I would tell you what I will love, but I prefer to give you a mirror.

It all started with an old piano inside an old diner run by an old man who lived in an old town. I happened to be walking outside this place, looking for my brothers after we'd split up to hunt. I could catch whispers of their thoughts and was about to follow these voices when I heard the old man complaining.

"Ah, my grandfather paid a fortune for it! Quite a lot of money, yes. The least I would expect is that the thing could hold itself together for a handful of years. But look at it! Standing there, taking the whole corner and not a single note comes from it."

Peeking inside the man's head I saw the object of his anger: a piano, the piano, an exquisite piece that looked totally out of place inside the diner. It was a pity to see it in such a state, for it must have been quite an instrument, so I thought that, given that I'd just hunted, I could take a look at it and, who knew, maybe there was a way to repair it.

I walked into the place and tried to avoid the eruption of thoughts that followed my entrance, addressing the owner immediately and offering my help to fix the piano. As soon as I sat myself in front of it I knew what the problem was: sheer neglect. Trying my hardest not to shake my head in frustration, I ran my fingers across the keys until they were perfectly tuned again, then I even played a bit of Debussy's Clair de Lune for everyone's enjoyment.

And it was there when It happened. When She happened. Right in the middle of the song the door of the diner opened and a middle-aged man came in. He was evidently the chief of police in that town, his attitude and thoughts said so. I'd barely had time to thank that his scent wasn't anything extraordinary when he turned around and called,


Right behind him, a girl appeared. She didn't look much older than seventeen or eighteen, but she was the most beautiful girl I'd ever seen: translucent skin so pure that it looked like a vampire's, soft, brown hair that fell in long waves across her back, and the most expressive eyes, the color of chocolate. She was certainly an amazing creature. I smiled at her, hopeful. Then the wind blew.