A/N Steph Meyer owns all the Twilight stuff, and one has to wonder if she cringes over the ending to Breaking Dawn the way we do.
This is it, the finale. There will be no encore or epilogue. There will be no out takes, there will be nothing other than what has been already posted for this story.
All thank you's at the bottom.
Machine Gun: Portishead
Lux Aeterna: Clint Mansell (theme from Requiem for a Dream)
"These violent delights have violent ends. And in their triumph die, like fire and powder, Which, as they kiss, consume."
Act II, Scene VI, Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare
I watched as three men ascended a small dais in the opposite hallway, near where Edward and I had entered. There was something slightly familiar about one of them, but I couldn't quite place him.
My mind was misty, unable to focus on anything prior to waking up here. I knew who I was, I knew Edward, remembered his scent. Everything was clearer, every small noise amplified and highly defined. There were colors, there was an infinite way that I saw the world around me now, and it was overwhelming.
My body was mine but it wasn't. It had urges, something flowing under the surface that wanted me to give into it. It wanted things I wasn't sure I had a name for, it was primal and animalistic. My tongue ran along the edge of my teeth, and I noticed they were sharper, not pointed, but sharper.
Edward's hand was in mine, and I noticed that his touch didn't seem as cold. It felt warm, almost. I wanted that hand, I wanted him. And before I knew it, I turned to him, I thought the movement was slow, but it wasn't. The room flickered and I was facing him, my tongue running over my lip. I could see his red eyes, and looking closer, there was a set of red eyes reflected back at me.
They were my eyes.
I hissed, and tried to take a step back, but he held me from moving.
"Don't be scared, Bella. I know it's all new. Try not to let your demon have its head quite yet."
Is that what was inside me, something inherently evil now? I wasn't sure I wanted it. It was like having something invade my personal space that, on one hand, made my skin crawl. Then on the other, made me weak in the knees.
Give in to me.
There was talking going on around me, but all I could hear was that whisper, tempting and seductive, and dark.
To distract myself, I turned back to the three men, now seated in gilded thrones. I realized they were like me, they were vampires, their red eyes were fixed on me. I instinctively took a step back and bumped into Edward. His hands settled on me, and they focused me, like a lens finding purchase.
The one who looked familiar was looking at me, as if he were waiting for some sort of reaction. I sifted through memories that were fuzzy, like old dusty clipped movies, with pieces missing. I saw his face, and my mind associated smells of tobacco, sawdust, and paint. My old life was fuzzy and dark, and I saw it in my mind as if it were someone else's.
"Edward," I hissed, "Edward, is that Marcus?"
Suddenly, the one vampire who sat in the middle spoke directly to me, and his voice was distracting. It was smooth and luscious, but his tone was condescending.
"Bella Swan, my dear. Come closer, let us have a look at this formidable slip of a woman who would bring us to our knees. Come closer, I won't bite you." He smiled a sickly sweet smile at me, and his eyes, to me, weren't genuine.
Suddenly, a voice, a thought, that was not mine voiced itself in my mind, in his voice.
This business will soon be over, she will be ours, and I will have that Edward ripped limb from limb.
A snarl burst from my chest and throat, and I bared my teeth.
That voice from before, from inside me whispered, Give in to me, let me out, let me have them.
Hate raged through me, and the small amount of will I had started to slip, like fingers hanging onto a ledge. I almost let go, when I heard Edward's voice low in my ear, trickling over my skin, warming me. I expected a pulse, a throb, in places that normally came to life whenever he was this close. Instead, the hateful focus of that feral voice turned to him.
And rather than hate, it wanted him, wanted him inside me, wanted to tear at my clothes and his.
"Calm, Bella. You need to remain calm if we are to make it out of here intact."
"I want you," I said lowly. Was that my voice, or the demon? I didn't know.
His breath caressed the skin of my neck, and I felt his lips graze me. I moaned lowly.
"Not now, Bella. Later."
Oh yeah. I totally forgot where we were.
His hand slowly crept over my hip, and my body shuddered. I pressed back against him, I could smell him in a purely feral way, I knew he wanted me as much as I wanted him right then. Lust, pure and heavy, flowed through me.
The vampire in the middle spoke again, "My goodness, young love is so beautiful, is it not? They remind me of those two young lovers we had for lunch yesterday. They were so…enamored, even while being devoured."
I turned to him, appalled, "You're sick."
He raised an eyebrow at me, and his smile was cold, "Sick? I've forgotten the meaning of the word. It is our nature to enjoy all the pleasures of human flesh," he paused to lick his teeth, and the movement made my lip curl in disgust, "All of them, my sweet. Now come closer before I make you." The last of his words turned from icky sweet to a command.
The last of the sugar melted from his face, and his eyes seemed almost lethal, "Jane?" He called, to a small vampire with blonde hair and wide rubied eyes that glittered with blank obedience. She was like a living doll, her face almost too beautiful to have ever been human.
"Master," she answered.
"Show Miss Swan why it is important to respect her elders."
A small insipid smile slithered across Jane's perfect face, "Of course."
Jane's eyes fixed on me, her stare intent. I felt Edward tense behind me, and I braced myself for some sort of attack. It didn't come though, and after several seconds passed, Jane shifted her gaze to Edward. Whatever breath was in his throat choked, and I turned around to see him vibrating in what looked like intense agony.
I growled ferociously, looking around to see where it had come from.
"Stop it! Stop, you're hurting him!"
Jane merely cocked her head, that little smile on her small mouth twitching.
The vampire whom Jane called Master spoke to me, "Come closer, or she will make it worse. Now. Walk forward and obey."
I looked to Edward, to Jane, and to the Master. Jane was hurting Edward, somehow she was doing it, like she was shooting something from her eyes at him that was somehow unseen. I wanted to hurt her, to push her back.
No. I wanted to kill her. Punch her. Bite her. Tear her head from her body.
Do it. Kill her. Kill.
This time, I couldn't resist.
But before I could do anything more than put my hand up, as if to shield her gaze from Edward, Jane's body flew back from where it stood. She crashed into the marble pillar behind her, and her limbs flailed like a rag doll. I stared in astonishment at my hand, braced in front of me, of us, and Jane's crumpled form on the cold floor.
There was clapping behind us, "Impressive, young one. Impressive."
There was a noise behind me, and I turned to Edward, who was on the floor, his face slowly returning to normal. My hair fell forward, shielding us from the rest of the room.
"Are you ok?"
Edward nodded, and lithely got to his feet as I sat back from him. He put his hand out, and I took it. When our skin touched, I felt little electrical charges, they fluttered from his fingers to mine. I briefly wondered if he felt it too. It was so much more now, every time we touched.
Edward led me towards where the vampires sat on the dais.
"The one on our right is Caius. He is the one Carlisle spoke of, if you can recall any of that conversation."
I searched hard through my older memories that were part of a life I wasn't sure I had ever really lived. Not when this one was so vivid, so real, so clear.
Finally, I found what I was looking for, a voice, a face. A vampire face, with a paternal nature.
You made the decision to choose Caius' way of survival. I have never condemned you for the choices you made…
And Edward answering, "Caius' way makes more sense. It goes more with our nature…"
The memory changed, distorted to a confrontation I had forgotten about between Edward and me:
"…Caius found me. He is a member of the governing clan of Vampires. They rule our world. Caius has a very…different way of looking at things…can drink from his victims without turning them, without killing them. He prefers…intercourse with his victims when he feeds."
I blinked at Caius, who regarded me with a haughty stare. He was handsome with his blonde hair and pointed face. His red eyes flashed with something that was almost too seedy, and I shied away from it.
Edward was already explaining the vampire who sat in the middle, "His name is Aro. He, like the other two, are close to three thousand years old. While the three of them have an equal standing, Aro is the natural leader of the others, and all those who reside here as part of their coven."
Aro's face seemed full of self importance, and there was a cruel edge to his eyes, and the set of his mouth. His long dark hair was neatly pulled back, and he looked like something out of a horror film.
My eyes fell upon Marcus then, and Edward only muttered, "And you know Marcus, of course."
My rugged silent stage hand, with whom I had shared countless quiet cigarette breaks. I had always been able to depend on him, and his eyes, those eyes that I should know so well, they implored me. It was like he was asking me not to see him as a stranger. Now that I knew him for what he was, I recognized the dark hunger in his gaze, and wondered how he was able to exist in that world.
We neared the edge, and Aro looked down at us, as he studied me. The red of his irises quickly moved over my face, my body, as if he were memorizing every small minute inch of me.
He stood, a swift graceful movement, and moved towards me. I reached for Edward's hand, and folded my fingers with his.
"He only wishes to touch you, Bella. His ability is to know every thought you have, from one single touch. However, your defenses will lock him out. "
If I had a heart that was alive, it would be in my throat as he loomed closer to me. His tapered fingers reached out to touch me, and I tried not to flinch as those fingers brushed my cheek.
Disappointment flooded his unblinking crimson eyes, and I heard Edward snicker behind me. There was movement to my left, and I noted Jane had recovered herself from where she had been flung. I picked up more movement, and more scent. I could feel my hackles raising, and Edward confirmed the danger that prickled up the back of my neck when I felt him tense as well.
To our left, was a large vampire, his frame and size stirring an older memory in me, of another vampire, picking up my human self in a large hug.
"Don't let him fuck you around."
Another vampire moved forward, his movements graceful. He had eyes for Jane, and he moved to her side. His eyes flickered to me, and he gave me a cold angry glare.
I looked around, and realized there were about a dozen in the room behind us, and when I looked back to where the three ruling vampires sat, another half dozen vampires stood behind them.
We were severely out numbered.
My head was starting to hurt, I felt all this intense pressure building up inside me. The room trembled slightly, and I wondered if I felt shaky or if it really was moving. A piece of ceiling cracked and fell, startling me.
Aro spoke, "Edward, control your mate before she brings the place down around us."
Edward squeezed my hand, and spoke softly in my ear. I could feel myself melting back against him as the words caressed me, "Softly, Bella. Focus on something else."
I focused on him, and I trawled the dredge of my memories, and saw his hands on me, remembered the sensation of his body meeting mine.
When I looked up, Aro was seated once again.
"You will wait outside while we deliberate on what is to be done with you and your mate, Cullen."
Edward's hand was at my back, and he guided me towards a hallway lit by torches. I could feel eyes at our backs, and he quickly led me through into what appeared to be a waiting area.
They left us alone, although I could hear them quite clearly, their minds loud enough for me to get enough perspective on their deliberation.
But Bella was a distraction that I could not ignore.
She clung to me, unsure of herself, and her new awareness of what was around her.
We stood, and once again I realized just how much of a change she'd gone through. When my fingers brushed her smooth cheek, the warmth of her human skin no longer burned below the surface. The small scar that had always appeared as a permanently etched tear track was now gone. She was exquisitely frozen, her immortal flesh somehow even more enticing. Her eyes closed during my scrutiny, the long lashes softly touching her cheek.
Her hair was no longer the black of a raven's wing, but a softer dark glistening brown that caught the light. I noticed earlier that the inked bird on her neck had disappeared, lost with the change. Her lips were a perfect blushing rose, her breasts her hips, while still the same perfect symmetry were now of the same indestructible flesh as mine.
I wanted to explore every new inch of her, taste every piece of her, run my hands over every part of her, until she begged for more. Until she arched and writhed, responding to me. I felt a need to renew the dominance of our relationship, her newborn strength something new to conquer, to have, to explore. Of their own volition, my hands started at her back, running under the clothes she had been dressed in when she had been taken from me: a thin black tank and black pants of the same material. It was flimsy, and would tear easily. If we were in another place, at another time, I would have no qualms about removing them from her body.
Bella's hands, which were on my arms, moved up to my neck. Meanwhile, in the Judgment Room, our fate was being decided. Because of the thickness of the walls, the sound was muffled, but I could hear their thoughts plainly as if they were standing in the room with me. I watched from the minds of those present in the room.
They have not broken any laws, Aro, Marcus said.
Are you suggesting we allow them to leave? He retorted.
What would you have us do? Execute them without reason? You will exercise your power out of fear for your position?
My eyes glanced back to Bella's, and I felt my entire existence pause. There was a hooded look to her eyes that added to the tension that gripped us. Her need matched my own, and it tightened around us, as her lips met mine. The beast grinned wickedly, knowing we no longer had to be careful.
And all of the dammed up instincts that I constantly held at bay flooded over and out. I pulled her closer to me, her body pressing against mine. I could be rough, and she enjoyed it, grinning wickedly at me before biting my lip. Venom surged in my mouth, and I growled at her as our lips met.
You have not seen what I have seen. What she has seen, Aro hissed.
You were quite happy to allow her visions to influence your decisions. She told you young Edward would be dead by now, and that Bella would be pliable to control. Obviously, she was not successful. How can you put any trust in what she says now?
Bella's mouth continued to move with mine, her taste now changed from the human I wanted to constantly devour, to the mate I could not ever have enough of. I fisted my hands in the material at her back, and could hear the material starting to tear, the sound of the threads snapping was stark in silence.
You have seen what she can do. You have felt it. How can we let her leave this place?, Aro answered. He turned to Caius, You are oddly silent, brother.
Bella's lips broke from mine, she kissed my jaw, and I felt her sharper teeth bite into my neck, the pleasure mixing with the slight pain of her venomous kiss. I could feel myself growing harder, and if we continued this way, I would not be able to stop.
You know how I feel about the idea of mates and la tua cantante. I refuse to acknowledge either really exist for our species. We are beings of instinct alone: killing, fucking, it is all the same.
The fabric tore from her, and my hands moved over her skin, immortally frozen in perfection. My fingers moved from her spine, to her side. I could feel her nipples harden in response to my touch, and I cupped one of her breasts, squeezing as our mouths joined again. My tongue pressing and moving against hers as she ground herself against me, her hips moving. Her nails scratched at the fabric of my shirt, and I knew that mine would suffer the same fate as hers.
And so, brother? Your opinion?
Kill them both. She cannot be trusted with her abilities, and if we kill her, he will inevitably strike back. We must strike quickly.
Marcus was horrified, This is madness! I refuse to be a part of this, or subject to what you are suggesting.
I broke away from Bella, staring into her eyes, the black of her pupils nearly eclipsing the burgundy of her irises. She tried to move forward to kiss me, but I moved back from her.
"What is it?"
"Bella, we must stop," I put my hand on her cheek, and she tried to bite me.
"But I want you."
And the rest of the Cullens?, Aro asked, ignoring Marcus completely.
They are harmless, allow them to go in peace.
"We must try to leave this place. We have to escape."
She looked up into my eyes, and understanding mingled with the desire.
"Are they going to kill us?"
"At this point, that is their intent. It is two to one decided."
I started to take off my shirt, and her eyes widened, "What are you doing?"
I smiled down at her, "Lovely as you are, Bella. I do not think it would be wise for you to bare all to the world."
She looked down at her nude torso, and I knew at that moment, if she had been able to, a blush would have flushed those cheeks. Handing her the shirt, she quickly put it on, her fingers working over the buttons. Brushing her hair back over her shoulder, I groaned.
"I think you look better in that than I do."
She pursed her lips at me, "I'm trying very hard not to jump you and have my wicked vampire way with you. Stop telling me I look sexy."
I smiled at her for a moment, and grabbed her arm to lead her, "Let's go."
There was a stair access, so the elevator wasn't entirely necessary. We would be faster running than the mechanical lift.
I found the door, and the stairs a stone medieval part of the building that was carefully maintained. We made our way down them swiftly, but I could tell they were already in pursuit of us. I shut the door, and attempted to break the stone, so they would have to dig their way through, rather than simply push. The sound was loud, and Bella got the gist of what I was trying to do, and helped breakdown the brick.
Once it was sealed, we continued farther, darkness enveloped us, but it didn't matter. I easily found our way to the sewers.
Footsteps could be heard, and there was a hiss of frustration. I smiled to myself as I could hear hands trying to make quick work of the brick and mortar.
"That won't hold them off for long. We must move faster." Bella and I were already running, and I attempted to pick up the pace. I was fast, had always been the fastest when I had been part of Carlisle's coven, and I could feel Bella trying to keep up.
You won't get past me, Edward. You will die here, in the darkness.
"Alice!" I hissed.
"What?" Bella asked.
"Alice. She's here. She must have known and somehow went around to cut us off."
Alice was busy trying to keep me out of her mind now, she was thinking about Jasper, fueling her need for revenge further. We rounded a corner, and burst upon her, building a smoldering fire.
"I will feed you into these flames and roll in your ashes, Edward." Alice crouched low, her form poised and ready to kill. She growled angrily at me and Bella growled back, from behind me.
She made a loud hoarse cry, and launched herself at me. I let go of Bella as Alice and I tumbled together. A blur of movement, both of us trying to kill the other. Between her thoughts telling me what she would do, and her predictions to my reactions, it was a grueling fight, constantly block and circling each other.
Footsteps echoed down the dank corridor of the sewer, and I knew the Volturi had caught up with us.
"You have your orders," Jane's smooth cold voice echoed off of the walls, "eliminate them. And the psychic."
Alice was momentarily distracted by this edict, and I saw my chance. I dove and landed on her, pinning her with my body. She thrashed and kicked underneath me, but I was stronger. I grabbed for her neck, and I whispered in her ear.
"It didn't have to be this way, sister. I am sorry."
"Kill me, please," her agonized whisper filled my ears, as I ripped her head from her body. I threw it towards the fire, just as Bella screamed.
Turning, I saw that Felix, one of the larger of the guard, had taken Bella by surprise.
"Hold her! She's trying to push against me!" The ground rumbled beneath my feet, and I could feel Bella trying to grapple with her ability.
Other rushed forward, and I started running towards them. It was a short distance for me, but shorter for them.
They grabbed at her arms, and for a brief moment, her eyes met mine, and the look we shared sliced through me.
"No, Bella, no! Fight!"
The walls trembled around us as they pulled at her, and that wrenching, twisting sound of immortal flesh being pulled apart scraped across the walls.
The walls shook, pieces of rock falling around us now, and I could hear the foundations cracking.
I tackled Felix, and Bella was between us. Thick ash from the fire billowed through the sewer as Alice's remains were consumed. We rolled, and other strong hands pulled at us. I fought, ripping at Felix, and I saw Bella struggle with trying to maintain control. The others grabbed her, and she snarled, as the violent shudders around us intensified.
I wanted to help her, but Felix was much stronger than I, and I wrestled with him, trying to maintain the upper hand.
But there is a reason why Felix is in the Volturi guard. And as I felt myself slipping, as I could feel my flesh being torn apart, my eyes searched for Bella, for a final glimpse of her. Her eyes met mine, and I wondered if heaven would exist for me, or if she was the only ethereal peace I would ever find…
"A terrifying fire has been contained in the ancient city of Volterra this evening,. Officials are blaming a gas rupture in some of the old pipes that run beneath the city. While no one has been seriously injured, a collapse from the force of the blast has occurred in one of the cities most oldest quarters, underneath the Piazza dei Priori."
A glooming peace this morning with it brings;
The sun, for sorrow, will not show his head.
Go hence, to have more talk of these sad things;
Some shall be pardon'd, and some punished:
For never was a story of more woe,
Than this of Juliet and her Romeo.
Act V, Scene III, Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare.
Oops. More character death btw.
There were a lot of warnings throughout this fic for how it was going to go. If you're unsure, go back and look at the quote for Chapter 1.
To lambie, that fateful night last November when I shared an idea, which was a half written prologue and a Jace Everet song. You inspire me beyond words that I have to describe.
To Snshyne for her time, her comments, her skills, and her friendship. Love you, doll. It is beyond epic working with you.
To shoewhoreninja, who was one of the first few people I ever whispered this idea to.
To JaG for helping me off the floor, and the rest of the RAoR h00rs who really gave this story a chance.
To tby789 who tweeted her rec for this story, and gracefully accepted my awkward fan girl tweets.
To KStew411, if you're still reading this, I miss your snark in the fandom, doll.
To Nitareality for hosting the readalong for this story…was that really so long ago?
And Nita and IrishTwiSisters for writing beautiful words about my mediocrity over at The Deviants of the Dark.
A massive thank you to Biel and MyRobAddiction for the AMAZING videos they created for this fic. I've watched them multiple times in order to stave off writer's block…and every time I'm even more entranced. Thank you!
To Roselover24 for interviewing me and reviewing IA for her blog, So You Think You Can Write.
And her partner in crime, Crypthing, for being such a staunch supporter, and an all around awesome guy.
To Bleriana for lovingly reviewing the demon over at The Cold Shower.
To my lockerbestie, hillcrestella, for just getting me. Just getting it, and understanding on so many levels what I was trying to do with this story. Save you a seat at lunch, mom packed me an extra pudding to share.
To Clio1792 for sharing your thoughts, your ideas, and yourself.
To the gals who hung out with me on the very quiet twilighted thread, Lizf22, Lorilei, Nita
To every reviewer who told me this Bella sucked, this story sucked, and my Edward sucked. Ha fucking ha. *I did it myyyyyyyyyyyyy way.*
But most of all, thank you to everyone who patiently waited for updates, who read, reviewed, tweeted, recommended, and re-read this story. These last few months have been crazy in my life, and you have no idea how much your words, even a simple, I enjoyed this, meant to me.
So thank you. If you're reading this and you made it through all of that above…thank you.