You ask and you shall recieve. So this is shorted than the other one but that just means that the next chapter will actually be long. Yay. I was going to make this one long but we really are reaching the end and instead of giving you a really long chapter that would probably take me another three months to write (this is me we're talking about) I decided to give you another short chapter. I think I'll have at least two more chapter and maybe an epilogue and then this is over. Or I might write more, it all depends on how I feel.
Still doing NaNoWriMo and I'm still sadistic . . . so . . . cliffy? Sorry.
Harry/Edward (duh!), Alice/Jasper, Esme/Carlisle, Rosalie/Emmett, Draco/Jacob, Paul/Luna/Seth, Bella/Blaise, Neville/? (I'm allowed to keep some pairing secret)
This story is based on characters and situations created and owned by JK Rowling and Stephenie Meyer, various publishers including but not limited to Bloomsbury Books, MT Books, Scholastic Books and Raincoast Books, Little, Brown and Company, and Warner Bros., Inc. No money is being made and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended.
When Rosalie had called him in February to tell him that Bella was dead – had jumped off of a cliff of all things – Edward had thought his entire existence had gone up in flames. He had thought that he would never, never know pain like that ever again.
He had been so very wrong.
Harry hit the ground like a puppet whose strings had been cut.
Edward was by his side in a second, his arms sliding behind Harry's head and pulling his body close. Blood was going everywhere, oozing out from the gaping hole in the wizard's chest.
Harry wasn't dead. But Edward could hear the slow thrum of his heart, the loud stuttering in what was supposed to be a steady rhythm.
His mate was dying.
"What's going on," Bella demanded as soon as Blaise let her go. She stumbled a little once she was released from his hold, just managing to catch herself as she took in the grim expressions all around her. "What happened?"
Dread filled her when she got no answer. Her gaze swept over the area, but she saw no sight of Edward, Luna, or Harry. Nor did she see any of the wolves.
She couldn't figure out what was wrong. Everything had happened so fast.
Harry had just up and disappeared and right as he had done so Luna and Blaise had teleported onto the cliff side. Bella remembered Blaise grabbing her, and Seth running off into the trees, and then she had been teleported here.
There was a bonfire in the middle of the clearing, a thick wall of purple-black smoke hovering like a disease against the bright grass. Jasper stood closest to it, his shoulders tense and his arms slightly extended.
Bella squinted against the dark smoke and a small gasp escaped her when she caught sight of what was there.
A girl, curled into a small ball beside the burning remains of her companions. She was the youngest person in the clearing, barely over fifteen – and dark haired. Her eyes were focused on Bella, the irises a brilliant shade of red.
And surprisingly, she was extremely calm, for a newborn in the presence of a human.
"What's going on," Bella asked again, staring at the girl.
"She surrendered," Carlisle was the one to say. Bella blinked again before turning her attention fully on him.
"Okay, but that doesn't explain anything. Something happened. What was it?" Carlisle looked uncomfortable for a good moment. Bella narrowed her eyes at him. "Carlisle? Where's Harry? And Edward?"
"They're coming," Neville said into the silence. Bella turned to looking in the direction he was faced just in time to see Edward and Luna walk from the forest. Harry was Edward's arms, his face extraordinarily pale. There was blood all down the front of Edward's shirt and Bella had never seen him look so much like he was being burned alive.
Bella couldn't understand what she was seeing for a moment and then she made the connection. She felt the ground shift beneath her as she dropped to her knees. All the sound seemed to leave the area.
"No," she whispered.
"That idiot," Draco growled and he marched over to Edward, his wand out. Edward growled at him, but Draco rolled his eyes before saying, "I'm trying to heal him."
There were a couple of wand waves and then Draco cursed.
"I already tried all that," Luna murmured softly and there were tears in her eyes. "Nothing worked."
"Bloody fool and his damn saving people thing," Draco growled again.
"This isn't happening," Neville protested. "He's probably faking." Draco gave him a rather droll look.
"I don't understand," Bella whispered. "How did this happen?"
"Potter a bloody idiot that's how," Draco hissed irritably.
"Leah managed to catch a stray newborn," Lune spoke over him calmly. "But the newborn got the jump on her and she was going to lose. Harry Apparated in to save her and then the newborn stuck her arm through his chest."
Bella's mouth dropped open in horror.
"But . . . but you guys have magic. Can't you . . . fix him?" Luna was shaking her head before Bella could ever finish the question.
"Guys," Alice interrupted. "They'll be here in three minutes."
"What? Who will be here," Bella asked, grabbing onto Alice's words like a life line. Anything to distract her from the thought that Harry was dying.
"The Volturi," Carlisle answered.
"It's okay," he said, his voice ridiculously calm giving the situation. "They aren't here for us. It's just the normal contingent of the guard that usually cleans up situations like these. Simple routine."
"This is the absolute worst time for this," Rosalie hissed. "Who knows what they're going to do to us with you here."
For once Bella knew Rosalie's ire was aimed at her, but at the wizards. And Bella was wondering the same thing. What would the Volturi do when they found out some more humans were in the Vampire know.
"Can't you guys do you're disappearing thing," Bella asked, directing the question at Blaise who was hovering above her.
"We could but why should we," Blaise asked smoothly. "These Volturi don't scare us."
"They're here. The north end of the clearing," Carlisle warned.
Blaise held out his arm and pulled her too her feet. Bella then turned her head to look towards the north end of the clearing. Everyone was crowding in now, around her and the wizards and Edward who appeared to be completely out of it. Bella couldn't blame him.
Everyone was staring in one direction now, but Bella couldn't see anything beyond the billowing smoke before her – dense, oily smoke twisting low to the ground, rising lazily, undulating against the grass. It billowed forward, darker in the middle.
"Hmm," a dead voice murmured from the mist. Bella recognized the apathy at once and her fingers clenched into the sleeve of Blaise's arm.
"Welcome, Jane," Carlisle greeted, his tone as polite as if he were talking to a friend.
The dark shapes came closer now, separating themselves from the haze, solidifying.
Jane was in the front – the darkest cloak, almost black, and the smallest figure by more than two feet. Bella could just barely make out Jane's angelic features in the shade of the cowl.
The four grey-shrouded figures hulking behind her were somewhat familiar to Bella. She was sure who the biggest one was. It became obvious when he tilted his head to let his hood fall back. Felix winked at her and smiled.
Jane's gaze was sweeping the field, shock reflected in her eyes as she took in the wizards but she dropped her gaze onto the newborn first.
"I don't understand." Her voice was toneless, but not quite as uninterested as before.
"She has surrendered," Carlisle explained.
Jane's dark eyes flashed to his face. "Surrendered?" Felix and another shadow exchanged a quick glance.
"I gave her the option."
"There are no options for those who break the rules," Jane said flatly.
"That's in your hands," Carlisle said after a short pause. His tone was mild now, the careful lightness to it gone. "As long as she was willing to halt her attack on us, I saw no need to destroy her. She was never taught."
"That is irrelevant," Jane insisted.
"As you wish."
Jane sated at Carlisle in consternation. She then shook her head infinitesimally, and then composed her features. "Aro hoped that we would get far enough west to see you, Carlisle. He sends his regards."
Carlisle nodded. "I would appreciated it if you would convey mine to him."
"Of course." Jane smiled before turning to look back at the smoke. "It appears that you've done our work for us today . . . for the most part." Here her eyes flickered over to the newborn. "Just out of professional curiosity, how many were there? They left quite a wake of destruction in Seattle."
"Eighteen, including this one," Carlisle answered.
Jane's eyes widened and she looked at the fire again, seeming to reassess the size of it. Felix and the other shadow exchanged a longer glance.
"Eighteen," she repeated, her voice sounding unsure for the first time.
"All brand new," Carlisle said dismissively. "They were unskilled."
"All?" Her voice turned sharp. "Then who was their creator?"
"Her name was Victoria," Jasper informed them, no emotion in his voice.
"Was," Jane intoned.
Jasper inclined his head towards the eastern forest.
Jane's eyes snapped up and focused on something in the far distance. She looked between that area and the closer bonfire before asking, "This Victoria – she was in addition to the eighteen here?"
"Yes. She had one other with her."
"Twenty," Jane breathed. "Who dealt with the creator?"
"Edward," was the answer. Jane's eyes traced over Edward and Bella almost wanted to protect him from her sight.
She stared for a long moment before her eyes narrowed and moved to the girl seated by the bonfire.
"You there," she said, her dead voice harsher than before. "Your name."
The girl shot a baleful glare at Jane, her lips pressed tightly together. Jane smiled back angelically.
The newborn answering scream was ear-splitting. Her body arched stiffly into a distorted, unnatural position. Bella had to turn her gaze away and fight the urge to cover her ears. She found her eyes trailed over the group surrounding her, everyone's expression were cold, unemotional – except Edward who still looked like he was being burned alive.
Finally, after an eternity, it was quirt.
"Your name," Jane said again, a demand not a question.
"Bree," the girl gasped.
Jane smiled at her and the girl shrieked again. Bella held her breath until the sound of her agony stopped.
"That's quite unnecessary," Carlisle said into the silence. "I'm sure she'll tell you what you wish to know."
Jane looked up, sudden humor in her usually dead eyes. "Oh, I know," she said, grinning before turning back to the young vampire, Bree.
"Bree," Jane said, he voice cold once more. "Is his story true? Were there twenty of you?"
The girl lay panting, the side of her face pressed against the earth. She spoke quickly, mostly out of fear, "Nineteen or twenty, maybe more, I don't know!" And then she cringed, terrified that her ignorance might bring on another round of torture. "Sara and the one whose name I don't know got in a fight on the way. . . ."
"And this Victoria – did she create you?"
"I don't know," she said, flinching again with her hands over her head. "Riley never said her name. I didn't see that night . . . it was so dark, and it hurt. . . ." Bree shuddered. "He didn't want us to be able to think of her. He said that our thoughts weren't safe. . . ."
Jane's eyes flickered over to Edward and then back to the girl.
Bella was coming to realize how carefully Victoria had planned this all. If she hadn't followed Edward, there would have been no way to know for certain that she was involved.
"Tell me about Riley," Jane said. "Why did he bring you here?"
"Riley told us that we had to destroy the strange yellow-eyes here," Bree babbled quickly and willingly. "He said it would be easy. He said that the city was theirs, and they were coming to get us. He said once they were gone, all the blood would be ours. He gave us her scent." Bree lifted one hand and stabbed a finger in Bella's direction. "He said we would know that we had the right coven, because she would be with them. He said whoever got to her first could have her."
Blaise curled an arm protectively around Bella's shoulder, drawing her into his side.
"It looks like Riley was wrong about the easy part," Jane noted.
Bree nodded, seeming relieved that the conversation had taken this non-painful course. She sat up carefully.
"I don't know what happened. We split up, but the others never came. And Riley left us, and he didn't come to help like he promised. And then it was so confusing, and everybody was in pieces." She shuddered again. "I was afraid. I wanted to run away. That one" – she looked at Carlisle – "said they wouldn't hurt me if I stopped fighting."
"Ah, but that wasn't his gift to offer, young one," Jane murmured, her voice oddly gentle now. "Broken rules demand a consequence."
Bree stared at her, not comprehending.
Jane looked at Carlisle. "Are you sure you got all of them? The other half that split off?"
Carlisle's face was very smooth as he nodded. "We split up, too."
Jane half-smiled. "I can't deny that I'm impressed." The big shadows behind her murmured in agreement. "I've never seen a coven escape this magnitude of offensive intact. Do you know what was behind it? It seems like extreme behavior, considering the way you live here. And why was the girl the key?"
Her eyes rested unwilling on Bella for one short second. Bella shivered at the attention, relaxing when those eyes left her.
"Victoria held a grudge against Bella," Carlisle told her, his voice impassive.
Jane laughed – the sound was golden, the bubbling laugh of a happy child.
"This one seems to bring out bizarrely strong reactions in our kind," she observed, smiling directly at Bella, her face beatific.
"Would you please not do that?" Edward suddenly asked in a tight voice. Bella glanced over her shoulder to see that he was still looking down at Harry, but his eyes flickered over to Jane for a moment.
Jane laughed again lightly. "Just checking. No harm done, apparently."
Bella shivered, suddenly understanding what had happened. She was deeply grateful that the strange glitch in her system – which had protected her from Jane the last time they'd met – was still in effect.
"Well, it appears that there's not much left for us to do. Odd," Jane said, apathy creeping back into her voice. "We're not used to being rendered unnecessary. It's too bad we missed the fight. It sounds like it would have been entertaining to watch."
"Yes," Alice answered her quickly, her voice sharp. "And you were so close. It's a shame you didn't arrive just a half hour earlier. Perhaps then you could have fulfilled your purpose here."
Jane met Alice's glare with unwavering eyes. "Yes. Quite a pity how things turned out, isn't it?" Jane turned to look at the newborn Bree again, her face completely bored. "Felix," she drawled.
"Wait," Esme interjected.
Jane raised one eyebrow, but Esme was staring at Carlisle while she spoke in an urgent voice. "We could explain the rules to the young one. She doesn't seem unwilling to learn. She didn't know what she was doing."
"Of course," Carlisle answered with a soft smile for his mate. "We would certainly be prepared to take responsibility for Bree."
Jane's expression was torn between amusement and disbelief.
"We don't make exceptions," she said. "And we don't give second chances. It's bad for our reputation. Which reminds me . . ." Suddenly, her eyes were on Bella again, and her cherubic face dimpled. "Caius will be so interested to hear that you're still human, Bella. Perhaps he'll decide to visit."
There was silence at this statement. Bella could remember Harry telling her that they would find another way. But he was dead and she didn't know what to do anymore.
Jane's expression was rather triumphant as she turned to face Carlisle. "It was nice to meet you, Carlisle – I'd thought Aro was exaggerating. Well, until we meet again . . ."
Carlisle nodded, his expression pained.
"Take care of that, Felix," Jane said, nodding toward Bree, her voice dripping boredom. "I want to go home."
Felix lunged suddenly and then he was flying backwards. Jane turned to look at him, shock written all over her face. Bree was gazing about in opened mouth awe.
Bella looked around to see what had happened. Had someone knocked Felix aside?
"I don't think so," a voice groaned and Bella's head whipped around.
Harry was struggling in Edward's arms, a glare on his face as he batted his mate's hands away.
"If she's surrendered then you have no right to take her life. You are not God," Harry was saying amidst the looks of shock he was receiving. He finally managed to get to his feet although Edward kept an arm around his waist.
Jane turned to look at him, anger clear in her dark eyes. Harry made her poisonous glare head on, his eyes practically glowing.
"Who are you to question the Volturi?"
There was a long pause. Bella looked over to see fear suddenly reflected in Jane's eyes. She actually backed up a step.
"I see you know the name," Harry said calmly. "This girl is under my protection now. So is Bella. In fact, this entire area is under my protection. I don't wish to see you here again. Tell that to your boss."
"I . . . We're leaving," Jane suddenly snapped. The shadows around her hesitated for a moment before following her out. Once they hit the tree, the group vanished.
Bella stared after them in shock, confused about what had just transpired.
"What just . . . did that just happen," Emmett was the one to voice the confusion.
"They ran away from big, bad Harry Potter," Draco said with a snort. "Typical."
"Don't be so jealous Dragon. James can't help the power he has," Luna admonished before turning to Harry. She pulled out her way and the teen sighed.
"Can't we do this later," he asked warily.
"You just came back from the dead mate," Neville told him. "And it wasn't like before either."
Harry scrunched up his nose before rolling his eyes.
"Fine. But let's take care of her first." He tried to move towards Bree, but Edward was still holding tight to him. "Edward?"
"I'm not letting you go," Edward said, steeling in his voice. Harry titled his head up to look at the vampire, his eyes searching the smooth face, before he sighed.
"Fine. But I want to at least talk to my new charge."
Stiffly, Edward guided Harry over to Bree who titled her face up to him.
"You save me," she said, her voice filled with the awe reflected on her pale face. Harry nodded and then girl bit down on her lip before asking, "Why?"
"Everyone deserves a second chance," Harry told her gently. "But it's going to be a little hard. Neville will help you. He's also recently turned."
Bree's eyes drifted over to Neville and her eyes widened a little.
"You're the one that got away," she said slowly. At the questioningly look she receive she went on to explain. "I was with a group. I didn't want to go feeding but I had to. And Sara, she found you. You took out our entire group except for me and Sara."
"The day we got here," Blaise said and Bree shrugged.
"Well never mind that," Harry interrupted. "I need to go check on Teddy."
"But wait a second," Carlisle called out. "How did you heal yourself? Luna and Draco said they tried everything. It's not possible that you're still alive."
Harry looked suddenly uncomfortable at all the eyes focused on him.
"Does this have to do with the Hallows," Luna asked curiously.
"I can explain, but I'd really like to see my godson. And maybe get something to eat and sit down."
"Of course," Esme jumped in. "You must be exhausted. We'll worry about all this tomorrow."
Harry smiled at her thankfully.
And then there was a loud crack and a figure stumbled into appearance in the clearing. The wizards had their wands drawn in a second, Edward coming to crouch in front of Harry.
Bella titled her head so that she could see around Blaise's bulk.
A red haired teen had appeared, swaying on his feet and clutching at his chest. His blue eyes rested on Harry and he took a staggering step forward.
"Harry, mate I—"
"Oh no you don't Weasley," Draco growled. "Don't you dare come any closer."
An annoyed look came onto the red heads face and he glared over at Draco.
"I'm not talking to you Malfoy so bugger off," he shouted before turning to Harry again. "Harry. They're coming for you. They want to turn you in for . . . err . . . I can't remember but they're coming here. They know where you are."
"What the bloody hell are you yammering on about," Draco demanded, waving his wand at this Weasley person. He opened his mouth again but before he could say much more he tilted forward, his face clenched in pain.
"Ron," Harry shouted, skirting around Edward and running toward the other wizard. He reached Ron just as another crack rented through the air.
This time Bella's jaw dropped open in shock, her eyes wide as she took in the figure of her father, standing there blinking at them . . . with a wand clutched in his fist.
Yea . . . cliffy. My bad.
Review, review, review . . . really that's why this chapter came out so fast. Just saying.