Mid Chap 28: (After Aro hears from the witnesses and has to make a decision about Renesmee, etc.)
"Let us vote", Aro called, visibly delighted. The cruel Volturi leader clapped his decaying palms together once and then lowered his clasped hands to his waist.
Caius was the first to cast his decision. He stared deliberately at Renesmee as he spoke his tone loud, his words unmistakable. "The thing," he snickered, "is an absolute abomination. We all know that it must be destroyed." This was not a decision we needed to hear spoken out loud, we already knew his vote. As I listened to the reactions of the witnesses the Volutri brought with them, I was surprised to hear them gasp in disagreement.
Aro looked hesitantly at the witnesses that were left. I followed Aro's gaze toward the cloaked spectators. Several more of them had scurried away while Aro was distracted. I quickly counted; of the 43 original witnesses now only 19 were left.
Five women stood far back from us, their eyes were filled with worry, as they watched their leaders prepare to fight. Two of them I recognized from earlier as the wives, the three others paced in uneasy circles around them. Six more immortals, four of them men stood close behind Felix. I thought that I'd remembered them strategically placing themselves higher on the hill in the crowd of witnesses but they must have made their decision to stand and fight beside the Volturi Guard. Their looks were that of dominance, anger, yet no fear, with faces that showed a track record of no losses. The other witnesses swayed nervously pondering between their choices - to leave and die or stay and die.
I was unsure of the vote Marcus would cast. He always looked as if nothing mattered to him and to be perfectly honest with myself, it didn't matter to me either. I was prepared now. I was prepared to die for the ones I loved; this seemed to be a recurring decision in my life. I felt the hope swell around me from the individuals inside of my shield. "I do not see any danger", Marcus said low and toward the ground, looking bored and stiff as always. He didn't raise his head to look at anyone as he continued. Caius growled, perhaps a warning meant for us, or a threat toward Marcus.
Marcus started to make small circles in the snow with his foot as he continued "I don't know why this should turn into a fight, today." He paused for a moment as his foot abandoned his shapes in the snow, his eyes gleamed – something I imagined impossible. He then raised his head as he turned and smirked at Caius, Edward tensed. "Although if anything should happen in the future with the child that would be deemed, hmmm, how should I say this," he paused thoughtfully, "'unfit' for our society we could always . . . come back." He drew out the end of his sentence so that the emphasis gave away the true meaning to his statement; there was no hiding his true intentions.
"Well, well I guess I must decide then", Aro called, almost regretful as he swept his right arm up to cover his dead black heart.
Edward growled, lowering his head and turning it slightly toward me. He spoke with a loud enough whisper so that our friends and allies could hear the true thoughts of the Volturi leader. "He has made his decision," he paused, raising his head to look at me, and then quickly shifted his eyes away, "he has decided to use our love for Renesmee against us. Again we ask that none of you put your own lives in danger, but if you plan to fight with us you should prepare yourselves." Edward turned his head toward the wolf standing at his side. A look on his face I had never seen, determination and deep sorrow shared his features. After a deep steady breath, he spoke to Jacob. "Jacob. Please don't stop. Whatever you do, keep going," he begged. Edward lowered his face, then looked back up into the eyes of his daughter's savior, her future. "Even if you hear that the fight may be in our favor, you must not turn around, please Jacob." The russet wolf bowed his head as a tear slid down his snout to the ground below, leaving a hole in the snow where his warm tear fell. Edward lightly stroked his finger against Renesmee's cheek, "I love you," he looked at Jacob and then at me, "all three of you." Edward squeezed my hand, bowed his head once more and then shifted forward. I stayed strong, holding myself up as I turned away from my daughter and my best friend. There was no one in the world that I could trust more than Jacob. She would be safe I repeatedly told myself.
Aro began to pace in large sweeping arcs in front of his vampire army, "We cannot take chances against the unknown. I'm sorry young Bella, but your child must be destroyed." Growls and loud hisses broke through the crowd. "My dear friends, calm yourselves." Aro smiled and tilted his head to the side, "this is for the safety of the entire immortal world. I am looking out for each and every one of you. If something, anything could possibly expose us, we mustn't keep it alive. Do you not agree?" As Aro continued with his ridiculous speech, he tried catching the eyes of as many of us and his witnesses as possible, to show his sincerity. "I have given up my life as a nomadic vampire and instead have lived my life as your protector. I protect our kind, the lives of all immortals" he paused with his arms outstretched and turned his face to look over his shoulder at our allies, "and I have no intention of allowing anything to disrupt or corrupt our lifestyle."
He lowered his arms and turned toward Edward, "you, yourself are worried about this child."
"But for other reasons, she is of no danger," Edward kept his voice low and steady as he spoke to Aro.
He put up his hand to silence Edward and continued. "We can never be sure of the unknown, we have no other options but to destroy her and move on, act as if something like this" he outstretched his hands to Renesmee, "never existed, so let us go back to living the way we are supposed to, interacting with humans only to appease our thirst." As he spoke he paced, like a general about to sacrifice his battalion. He continued as his eyes narrowed and he pointed at Edward, "Edward this comes down on you, as much as it does on me." I felt the words cut through Edward like a knife, the sting of the blade of truth. "If you had just stayed away from a human, if you could have just controlled your lust for the poor girl this would have never happened!" Edward turned his eyes to me, what did I see there? Regret? "Even if you turned her when I first recommended that you do so, again we wouldn't be in this predicament. More of you should listen to what I say, am I not always right? So I assure you, that no one can truly take the blame for this but yourself."
No Edward! I tried to tell him with my eyes, but he looked solemn, his head fell low, he was taking the blame. I pushed hard against the shield that was so tightly bound to my mind. I sucked in a breath and as I breathed out I lifted the shield from me, keeping it above me and around all of our friends. "Edward!" I shouted with my thoughts "Do not regret this! Do not regret Renesmee and me!" His eyes stayed planted toward the ground, "Look at me!"
Edward looked up; as he did he began to speak out loud, "I would never," he breathed, and then sucked the air back in when he saw my face, lips unmoving, he grinned.
"I love you Edward." He gripped my hand squeezing it, his grin grew to a smirk, and I grew more furious. The intensity of my anger was a new feeling to me, strong, almost overwhelming. I felt like my skin should be steaming with fury, even my ears were burning. Edward reached for me as he read my thoughts but I ignored him, "Your wrong!" I shrieked and stepped toward Aro, Edward pulled on my hand to hold me back. The shield that I had pushed away from me flung back against my mind like an elastic band.
"Unless of course Renesmee would like to join us" the spectators gasped as Aro smiled proudly, "she and her mother of course, it would be wonderful" he said this with a sweep of his hand. Renesmee and I let out a hiss in unison. "We would spare the rest of you," he looked directly toward me, the blood, red glow of his eyes pierced my own. "If Bella would stop shielding, and come to stand with the rest of us, and bring with you Renesmee," he rolled his eyes "Edward too," he said sharply, "we would allow every one of you to go free." Would you sacrifice all of your…" he hesitated, "family Bella, by not joining us?"
What? I looked at Edward, with questioning eyes. Edward spoke quickly. "He is lying Bella," well of course he is, I thought, "You don't need to be a hero." He said, I slightly remembered a moment when I said that to him. It seemed so long ago now, my 18th birthday, light years behind me. "It's true he does want us to join his side, but he thinks once you drop your shield Chelsea can loosen the ties between you and I, since you're still just a newborn. I don't think it would work on you love, but let us not try to find out." Edward turned to everyone else, "He no longer cares about his other witnesses, he wants to destroy us all, every single one of us, his witnesses and our witnesses. I am truly sorry my friends but," he sighed "this will be a fight to our deaths."
I saw out of the corner of my eye, Peter grab Charlotte's hand as he tugged her toward the woods and out of sight. I exhaled slowly as Aro continued, smiling as he watched two of our witnesses sneak away, not realizing that Edward had already told us his thoughts. Caius was frustrated, "What is this Aro, what are you doing?" his fists clenched and lips pursed.
"What better way to find out about the unknown then by keeping it right there next to us, my brother," Aro smiled, looking through the crowd and then ending on me.
That was it! How dare he think I'm dumb enough to play his little games? My eyes were glazing over with venom. My shield glowed with a tint of red. "Never" I whispered, not caring enough to keep my growl under control. Edward grabbed my arm again. Zafrina and Esme made an attempt to stop me, but I was stronger than all of them and it took less than seconds to shake them off. I crouched forward, "No!" I shouted across the field. "No, we will not let you take our daughter, we do not want to join you and I will never drop my shield!" I started to shake with fury, ready to kill. "Renesmee is my daughter and I will do everything in my power to protect her. Enough with this charade!"
"Fine." Aro said angrily. He raised his hand, the eyes of the Volturi guard lit up, this was the sign they all were waiting for. The entire guard began to move in unison toward us. The other immortals that seemed to have sided with the Volturi also moved forward with pronounced dedication to their master. The last four witnesses swayed, still looking unsure. The guard was swarming around us as best they could, but we didn't back away, they had no chance at winning this.
The guard descended, slowly with Demetri in front. Behind him Felix and Afton, Corin, and Heidi. Jane and Alec stood on the hill, panic in their eyes. Yes, this is what I was hoping for, they didn't fight, they couldn't. There were three more vampires on that side of the line, than ours. I corrected myself as I watched Mary and Randall turn and run toward the trees, there were five more immortals, but we had 16 ferocious, yet child-like wolves on our side, out-numbering them by eleven.
I quickly went through my plan in my silent thoughts, my first and foremost priority was to get Renesmee out of here. She held my absolute precedence above all else. Then I would concentrate on keeping my shield surrounding my loved ones. The person I would protect most would be Edward, even if Demetri snuck into my shield I could not give him the advantage by allowing Jane to attack him. I must also protect Kate and Vladimir they will be up against Jane and Alec, I cannot let my shield drop from them. Two more Zafrina and Ben, they had the strongest of powers. They would protect me, and I would protect them. The wolves and finally my family, all their lives rest on my shoulders, I must stay focused.
Aro, Marcus and Caius were encircling around us, from the front, while the other members of the guard tried spacing themselves so that we were completely surrounded by them. I looked around for an escape route; pushing my knee into Jacob's side to get his attention and pointing toward an opening. Edward looked at us; a look of determination and sadness swept through his glance and then he shifted himself back at Demetri who was closing in on him. Edward lunged forward and the fight began.
Zafrina took my arm and pulled me toward the center of the clearing, Senna followed closely behind us, "you will see better here" as she pointed to the battle.
She was right I could see the entire fight as it commenced. I watched as Tanya marched, unafraid toward Caius with stealth-like movements. I was incredibly grateful I was on her side, she looked determined, almost evil. I grinned, anxiously at her as she looked back toward me. The wind blew through her pretty blonde hair, her rage filled eyes turned back toward Caius, narrowing in on him. She was beauty and imminent death personified.
Kate snuck past Felix as she made her way to Jane, I pushed my shield out to her as she got further and further away from me. Jane stood in front of Kate, attempting to use her power. It was a useless attempt. Jane was shaking like a timid mouse; she moved her feet back and forth, then back more toward the forest. I hoped Kate would catch her before she got lost in the trees, I would be no help to her then.
Vladimir's movements were slow, and cautious as he moved toward Alec, who unlike his twin prepared to fight. He crouched down letting out a cloud of his poison it continued to creep around my shield, which I held tightly against Vladimir. I searched Vladimir's eyes for any sign that he lost feeling, but he continued toward Alec with vengeance and purpose. I kept my shield intact with Vladimir, as he moved forward, it stretched with him.
Edward and Demetri were dancing, both crouched down making circles in the snow, moving so fast the snow was disappearing, they would reach grass shortly. I shut my eyes for only a moment, frightened as Demetri tried reaching for Edward. I was relieved to see that as Demetri leaned in Edward was always a step ahead of him.
Benjamin stood on my side gripping my hand. "Stay focused Bella." I opened my eyes wide, as I turned my face to Ben when our bodies suddenly began to shake. The rumbling started below my feet and took off from where we stood knocking Felix, Heidi and Corin over like bowling pins.
Edward was unsurprised by the earthquake below his feet, unlike Demetri who attempted dramatically to catch his balance, throwing his arms into sweeping movements. Edward lunged forward ripping off Demetri's arm as he fell toward the ground.
I scanned the fight, quickly, making sure all were distracted in some way or another. Aro and Marcus stood still as the others fanned out around them, they watched Edward and Demetri closely. Marcus tapped his fingers on his hip, the boredom was evident, as he waited for any type of action. Caius stood next to his brothers, peering at Tanya. He made snide, hurtful comments about her sister Irina. Tanya flinched as if the words slapped her across the face. Her eyes closed to hide the pain, and then opened again, with fury.
I looked at the russet wolf, with the beautiful little girl on his back. Somehow, even in all the madness they looked perfect together. I took a deep breath, then shouted, "Go Jacob!" He looked at me, his big brown eyes were fearful, "Go!"
That was it. Jacob didn't look back, he ran where I pointed and not one person noticed their disappearance. Renesmee did, however look back. Her eyes were terrified and sad, releasing an abundance of tiny tears. Edward froze in place, his expression was filled with sheer grief, he moved for only a moment to blow his daughter a kiss, one last time. I watched as his determined eyes crumbled into utter sorrow and agony. Renesmee held Jacob's hair tightly as they ran through our allies and our enemies. The last thing I saw was her golden red curls flowing around a tree. Jacob was out of sight with my daughter, my beautiful, warm, earthbound sun fading into the trees with my beating heart.
My still heart burned as the thoughts of my daughter never in my arms again, ripped through my conscience. My eyes pricked, as panic took over my mind. My shield whirled around me, causing me to feel dizzy and uncoordinated, almost as if I were human again. I couldn't pull my thoughts together. The entire fight, everyone's lives depended on me, and all I wanted was my daughter back.
In my peripheral vision Stefan crouched in front of Aro who turned and fled toward Marcus. "Where are you going, old friend?" Stefan crooned. For a split second and for the first time ever, I saw fear in Aro's eyes; he took off in a run as Stefan lunged forward. Caius dove away from Tanya to protect his brother. The sound that came from Caius was so small and quick, but a sound I couldn't forget, from hearing it only moments before when Irina was still living. The sound sent a shiver down my spine and I pivoted completely so that I faced them. Stefan was on fire before anyone could stop Caius from raising his fire thrower. I heard Vladamir let out a yelp of desperation as he ran, barreling toward his brother.
I tried to grab hold of something, anything. I reached for Ben's hand and found nothing. My heart sunk as I searched for him in the darkness. I was supposed to protect him! Relief eased my mind as I found Ben standing only a few feet behind me. I watched Ben as he moved his hands toward the sky turning it black as pitch. Without the flames caused by the burning of both Stefan and Irina, the darkness would have consumed us, leaving us blind.
The fire brought me back to the ballet studio, the memory of that day opened up so clearly into my thoughts, surprising me, bringing me into a different frame of mind entirely. Suddenly Edward was struck to the ground. Jane, instead of retreating backward from Kate ran forward right under my shield and was now attacking the love of my existance. Emmett locked eyes with Edward and took off toward him but he was quickly thrown to the ground, withering in agony alongside his brother. Felix steadily moved toward Emmett as Garrett unexpectedly grabbed Felix, pulling his arm and leg simultaneously out from under the vampire and throwing him across the field as if he were playing a game of Javelin.
Jane attacked everyone she was capable of, stopping at nothing, "Alec" she shrieked "hurry."
Alec was suddenly running behind Vladimir. I began to lose my focus. My shield swayed with the uneasiness of my thoughts. I watched it shaking, and slowly pulling back, retracting with every unsteady breath I took. I felt as though I was on the verge of exploding from all the pressure that was building from every side of me. I took a deep breath, trying again to steady myself, and unexpectedly I was able to, a sudden calm crept over me. I felt a smooth soft hand grab hold of mine. I turned, already knowing who was holding me.
Jasper was by my side, "Bella, get control, they need you." A serene feeling swept around me and brought my focus back to my priorities. My daughter was safe, and I would not allow her to be found again.
I looked back at Jasper, breathing calmly again, "thank you." I dropped his hand and called her name "Jane!" I screamed across the field, marching toward her. Rosalie was at my side in an instant both of us walked steadily toward Jane. She turned and her bright red eyes were clouded with fear. Jane turned toward Rosalie, as I quickly pulled my shield back, like an elastic rubber band, so that Jane and all of the others behind her were exposed. She tried to unleash her fury upon Rosalie to no avail, Rose smiled and hissed "I don't think so." I had to admit, Rosalie was much better to have as a friend than an enemy.
In the firelight Jane looked nothing more than a fragile child, in a way she was, without her powers she was extremely breakable, and I wanted to break her. This wasn't the first time she had hurt Edward but it would be the last. As we continued toward her with purpose she released her focus on Rosalie and I flung the shield back around everyone. It was only seconds that I pulled it back, not long enough for anyone else to be affected or even notice, except Jane and Rosalie. I noticed a one-armed Demetri spit his venom on a white stick, his arm and thrust it back on himself, he plunged toward Emmett, who was recovering from Jane's gruesome attacks.
Overhead a flash of lightening lit up the darkness. Ben's fingers danced toward the sky causing bright flashes, followed by loud bursts of thunder but no rain.
I kept walking, watching in my peripheral vision, making sure my shield continued to hover over my loved ones, so that Alec's mist would continue to affect no one. Jane screeched and turned away already in a run. My venom was on fire, I felt it burn through my veins, as my body flooded with rage. Jane's dainty run was no competition to my strength and Rosalie's long galloping leaps, we were on her in by taking only a few steps. I inched the shield back so that it was no longer around Jane. Rosalie grabbed her arm as Kate came from the darkness and grabbed Jane's other arm, pulling it toward her. I dove upon this tiny devils waist and ripped her head off throwing it toward Benjamin.
"Ben, Fire!" A flash ignited in the pile of flaming ashes that was once Stefan, Ben pulled the fire from the inferno and suddenly Jane's blonde hair was waving in the flames as it burned. Rosalie and Kate gathered the rest of Jane's body and threw it toward the burning pile.
I twisted my body to face the rest of my friends and family, and grinned, making sure my shield was protecting them. Edward and Emmet stood stunned by my brutal attack, Edward's face looked smug. Emmett recovered and punched Edward in the arm, "that's my little sister!" Edward smiled, that brilliant smile that always made me so weak. He winked at me and then turned toward Demetri.
Emmet moved swiftly to the other side so that he and Edward could Demetri in between them. Garrett joined them, and together the three of them shredded Demetri tossing him easily in the fire. Two Down, I thought.
I continued to watch the battle, all of my allies seemed in control, everyone was doing something.
Siobhan, Liam and Maggie moved swiftly around Alec. His head stayed high and he continued to look unafraid.
Zafrina was using her gift to blind Heidi, Santiago, and Afton. Santiago didn't look like he was fighting back, more like he was trying to retreat. He carefully walked backward blinded entirely, tripping every so often over whatever image Zafrina was showing him.
Esme and Corin were moving around each other, like two lionesses on the prowl. Corin suddenly crouched and dove toward Esme. Carlisle came from behind Corin and reached out pulling Corin's leg out from under her ripping it from her waist, before throwing it toward the blazing fire.
Tia, Eleazar and Carmen were circling in on Chelsea, her screams made Afron furious. He started running toward the sounds.
Felix ran toward Chelsea as well, and as he did his large mass was able to easily push aside Zafrina, distracting her as. Zafrina's illusions fell from the eyes of both Heidi and Santiago. They stood prepared to fight back, when a line of wolves stopped them from moving. Sam stood at the point of the line, protecting the young wolves. He pushed his paws into the ground and stood tall, letting out a loud, frightful growl, panting heavily into the cold air. His warm breaths were visible in the frigid temperature and his appearance reminded me of a protective bull, preparing to take down his matador. In no way would Sam let down his guard, not when he had these innocent, young wolves to look after. Heidi screeched, visibly terrified and took off toward the forest. Santiago crouched, as Sam lowered his head toward the immortal and growled so loudly it caused Santiago to shake. His eyes widened and he sprinted into the woods behind Heidi. Sam bowed and allowed the young wolves to run into the forest for some fun. Sam looked into my eyes at once and I nodded, knowing that they would be safe as long as he stayed behind and under my shield, as their Alfa, I only needed to keep him safe and the others would be safe too.
The fight ensued as Felix fought alongside Chelsea making their way toward Tia, Eleazar, Carmen, Carlisle and Esme as they prepared to fight back. Carlisle stood directly in front of Chelsea, he moved his body as she moved hers, blocking Esme from any harm. Afron tried to focus on Chelsea but it was difficult for him to see her past Carlisle. "Carlisle", a voice yelled in the distance, Afron started running in a straight line toward the heart of the Cullen family. He attempted unsuccessfully to pass by the vampires and wolves in his way. Piece by piece Afron was ripped apart, as he ran through our allies.
Seth was first to rip off his hand, then Sam pulled his arm entirely off and tossed it toward the fire. Senna grabbed Afron's waist, pulling him down on his knees. Benjamin looked up to the sky and pulled a bolt of lightning out from the storm above and struck the bolt directly through Afron like a sword, instantly setting him a blaze. No one was going to let Carlisle stand unprotected.
Alec ran, vampire speed toward Liam, slipping under his legs entering my shield. Alec released his poisonous power and I had to pull back my shield away from the Irish Coven and away from Alec to protect the rest of us as the coven stood behind him now. Maggie, Liam and Siobhan were quickly blinded moving but unfeeling as they stumbled around. Alec ran toward Siobhan who was closest to him and began to rip and destroy her, throwing pieces toward the blaze of ashes. Siobhan was silent, letting out no sign that she was in any pain. I saw her eyes go dead as I watched a friend get torn apart. I couldn't help but be thankful that Siobhan felt nothing.
Maggie walked quickly backwards, inching further away from Alec. When she was far enough away from him I pushed my shield back over her. The mist sunk around Siobhan and Alec as I threw my shield over Liam. He blinked twice then focused on his mate who was being destroyed by Alec. Maggie quickly grabbed Liam. "Liam, Bella can't protect you if you go out into that mist, you will see nothing again, is that what you want?"
Liam looked down at Maggie, "Let go of me Maggie!"
Maggie touched his face, "You know that she would not want you to die, Liam, you know that she cares about you more than anything." She looked back and held her hand against Liam as she was forced to witness the death of her friend.
Liam fought back against Maggie, "I cannot live without her."
Edward ran to Liam, holding him back. Carlisle paced quickly toward Liam, shaking his head in confusion. "I always believed Siobhan had a gift to will any outcome she wished. I know she didn't believe it but I just thought…" Carlisle's words trailed off to silent shock.
"She does," Edward continued. "As much as she wanted this outcome to be peaceful, deep in her thoughts she doubted it, knowing that if the Volturi wanted Renesmee enough we would fight, she wished more and more throughout our time together that Liam and Maggie would make it out of this fight alive." Edward put his hand on both Maggie and Liam's shoulders. "It was her wish more than anything that you both live through tonight." Liam bowed his head into Maggie's shoulder, as she reached up wrapping her arms around him.
Flames flashed in different directions as our enemies were destroyed one by one. Tia, Senna, Eleazar and Carmen fought easily alongside of the abundance of wolves. Together they had the rest of the Volturi Guard retreating into the woods. Felix made his way next to Alec. Garrett, Kate and Emmett stood beside two enormous wolves, Quil and Embry who moved in for the kill. Alec tried pushing his silly useless mist up against them but it caused no reaction; Alec looked at Felix, realizing his skills were failing him and turned taking off toward the woods. Felix, not willing to be outnumbered so drastically, turned and ran not three seconds after Alec.
Vladimir sprinted toward the three Volturi leaders out for vengeance; his brother's death would not be in vain. Tanya tried springing onto Caius. She distracted him but Caius was too quick and avoided her attack. Aro and Marcus stood on either side of him. Aro's look was that of sheer horror, while Marcus continued to stare blankly at his brother. Caius lifted his hand ready to light him on fire, when suddenly an enormous wolf, Sam, leaned down and bit the hand that held the shiny toy right off. Aro yelled at Reneta to use her powers on the wolf and she fearfully obliged. The other wolves had Marcus cornered between trees and began to rip him apart limb from limb throwing the pieces into a pile. Reneta placed her hand on Caius, causing Sam's ferocious eyes to suddenly lose focus, as if he were blind. Sam shifted his body as he dropped Caius' arm from his mouth and stumbled away toward the trees. The other wolves in Sam's pack, linked to the Alpha through his mind, stumbled away, leaving Marcus' body parts in piles, already reassembling themselves. Reneta's touch did not stop the members of the other pack, as Embry and Quil grabbed her with their teeth and threw her directly into the fire. She screamed as her body was taken over by flames.
Aro franticly collected the pieces of Marcus as Sam stumbled toward the deep forest. Caius ran toward him. Edward sprinted toward Sam, but it was too late. Caius crouched as he leapt onto the back of Sam, biting his neck and injecting his poisonous venom through Sam's veins. Seth ran toward Caius, ripping him off, and throwing him against the ground. Edward stood above Caius as Tanya ran toward his feet, grabbing his legs, Edward reached down to take hold of Caius' head. They pulled him up like a plank, as Leah bounded through ripping Caius's body in half. Together, Edward and Tanya threw the pieces of Caius into the blazing fire as Aro held the pieces of Marcus and ran toward the forest, yelling for his wife, Sulpicia to follow.
No Volturi were in sight, but the sense of relief that I was waiting for never came.
The wolves gathered around Sam, weeping and sighing as they caught a glimpse of the unmoving wolf. Paul pushed his paw up against Sam, looking for any type of response. Sam let out one last sigh and phased back to his human form. Edward pulled his shirt off; placing it over Sam's wound to stop the bleeding. Leah bent her head down, pulling a piece of clothing off the ankle of one of the new wolves and draped it over Sam's nude body. She let out a howl, one I have never heard before. A howl of agony, depression and misery. The sound hit me like a bullet to my stomach.
I gasped, as I watched Leah weeping over Sam's lifeless body. She curled up, next to him, placing her chin on his bare back as enormous balls of salt water dripped from her furry face. Tears fell silently from the Quileute wolves. Seth, Jared, and Embry phased back to their human forms and crouched over Sam. Carlisle knelt next to Sam's lifeless body, placing his hand on his neck to search for a pulse.
Edward stood, hovering over Seth, who slowly inched back so that he could lean against Edward's legs, and then sighed. "He's gone," Seth cried. This young human that fought adult like, alongside Edward looked nothing more than what he was, a young, innocent child as the tears streamed down his face, dripping onto the body that once was his protector, his leader, the only father figure that Seth had since his father passed away only months ago. "Jacob is the only Alpha now," Seth continued, between breathless cries. "I could hear all of their thought's before I phased, I. . . I. . . I couldn't when we were separate packs. We are one now."
The wolves cries became overwhelming as I fell to my knees, the sounds coming from the pack were painful and shattering. I sat alone, still in my center spot from before. Everyone swarmed around the deceased grieving the immortal deaths of Siobhan and Stefan.
I was brought back to a memory that I held deep within, the day Sam had found me in the woods; he had been my savior that night. I owed him so much. He fought for me, for my family, and for my daughter. I owed him everything and I let him die. I let a good, honest man die. My head dropped into my hands and my fingers raked my hair pulling and stretching it to its limits, if I had them, tears would never be enough. Remorse flooded into me as I was filled with darkness. I felt my body curling in on itself with the pain, and felt a sharp stab in the center of my dead heart.
The feeling in the pit of my stomach was that of guilt, sadness and loss, loss for my new allies, an old friend and my daughter. I was exhausted. That moment I wished I was human so I could sleep. Holding my shield was tiring, my breathing was heavy, almost a steady pant. I leaned back on the ground curling up in a ball. My eyes pricked uncomfortably, I wanted to cry and let myself fall into pieces. I felt empty, my daughter was gone. Safe, yes and I couldn't feel more relieved about that but being out of my hands and nowhere in sight made my stomach contract painfully. I heard familiar footsteps behind me, as warm hands scooped me up, cradling me against his bare chest. I looked up at him, his eyes burrowed into mine. He looked lost and incomplete.
We began a march back to our house, Edward held me close, unwilling to put me down. Liam carrying Siobhan's ashes and Vladimir carrying the ashes of Stefan led the march. No one spoke; sobs and footsteps were the only sounds as we headed toward home.
Suddenly ear-piercing howls took over the woods. The pain of a brother lost, the grief that will never fade. One howl crushed my heart more than the others. Leah. Her cries sounded as if her soul had just died, and in a way, it had.
Carlisle placed his hands on the glass door to the house and sighed, turning heavily, around to the rest of us. He looked around at the waiting crowd as we all huddled together waiting for his words. "There is nothing that can be said today that can even begin to describe my gratitude to all of you. We lost three extraordinary friends and I can only place blame on myself." I leaped from Edward's arms to the ground and moved toward Carlisle. That's not right he can't blame this on himself, Edward and I must have had the same thought because he moved simultaneously with me. Carlisle put his hand up toward us. "In the end I cannot be grateful enough for the sacrifices you all had to endure, please know that I never intended this to turn into a fight, nor did I ever want any of you to involve yourself in it if it did occur. The sacrifices that Sam, Siobhan and Stefan have made, do not end in vain. We were able to destroy several of their guard that will now be unable to cause a burden on our lives, Demetri, Afton, Corin, Reneta, Jane and Caius are no more, and will never hurt any of us again." A few vampires let out smirks and quietly rejoiced over the destruction of the Volturi clan. I could not smile, as much as I was glad that so many of them were destroyed, especially Demetri, I couldn't help but take on the guilt. If I only went to see the Volturi when I first became a newborn, or even if I had stopped Irina myself before she had gotten too far. The lives of Sam, Siobhan and Stefan lie in my hands. I let out a cry, as Edward grabbed my hand, pulling me close. He knew what I was thinking and he was most likely thinking it himself. Not only was the fight our fault in many ways, but also along with losing friends, we were now without our daughter. I felt incomplete. I felt dead.
Carlisle continued, "because of you," he scanned the crowd, "my granddaughter is alive and safe. I cannot thank you nor apologize enough."
Vladimir was first to interrupt, "Carlisle," he said in a whisper, "do not blame yourself, Stefan would have loved to see Caius get ripped to shreds by our young wolf friends," he smiled down at them as they walked into the gathering of immortals. "This was inevitable, if the Volturi did not come today, they would have found a reason to come tomorrow. I'm sure your son, Edward can tell you that they wanted not just his mate but many of us. They would have found some reason to attack in the years to come." He scanned the crowd as he stepped up on the patio next to Carlisle, "this is not the fault of the Cullen's, we all know they would have been right there with us if any of you called on them. This is the fault only of the Volturi and yes, you are correct Carlisle," he placed his hand on Carlisle's shoulder, "Stefan my friend, my brother did not die in vain. We waited for centuries for the destruction of the Volturi, and although only half of them were destroyed, it's a start." He took a step closer to Carlisle, swinging his arm around him and pulling him in.
"We cannot despair about tonight, we should be proud of ourselves," Vladimir raised his hand in a fist toward the sky and then pointed a finger toward the stars. "This night is for all of the innocents who lost their lives to the Volturi!"
Garrett shouted, his voice rejoiced with excitement "Yeah!"
The crowd erupted in hugs of joy and sadness as well as sighs of relief that they, we, made it through. Esme leaped up the stairs and into Carlisle's waiting arms. Rosalie and Emmett turned and kissed long enough that if I was human, I would have been blushing. I turned to Edward, his crooked, beautiful smile crept slowly upon his face as I climbed up on my toes and pushed my lips against his, wrapping my arms around him and pulling him close to me.
"Bella" he pulled back and whispered in my ear, "I'm so proud of you."