Part 25

Bella sat in the living room as she waited on the rest of the Cullen's to hurry up and pack whatever it was that they deemed important enough to take with them.

Personally she didn't see the point in taking anything with them as whatever they might need they would be able to purchase when they got over there. But they wanted to keep up appearances and that meant packing as if they were humans off on a holiday.

The only real issue was that Carlisle had to rearrange some of the operations he had been scheduled to carry out. He'd managed to cancel the non-urgent surgeries and so far he was managing to find other doctors to cover the rest of his work.

"Ugh!" Bella shifted in her seat restlessly. She was bored. She'd had to leave Alice to pack her things on her own when she'd made one comment too many for the younger vampire's liking.

Footsteps made Bella lift her head from where she was hanging precariously over the arm of the couch.

Jasper grinned at her and held a controller for the PS4 that was nearby. "Want a game?" He asked. "I find it best just to wait them out." He said with a chuckle.

Bella righted herself. "So, they're always like this?" She asked shifting to grab the other controller only to have to catch it as Jasper tossed her the one in his hand.

"Yes." He told her with a smirk.

"Hey! I heard that." Alice called down to them.

Bella grinned and wisely refrained from commenting on how stupid she thought the whole idea was.

"Are we playing together or against each other?" Jasper asked as the game loaded.

Bella shrugged. "Think you can take me?" She asked casually then gave the blonde vampire a crocked half-smile.

Jasper chuckled, keeping his eyes on the screen. "I can try."

"Then let's have at it!"

Over an hour later and they were still playing but they had now been joined by Emmett. Carlisle and Esme had taken a trip into town to get 'essentials' and to casually spread the word that they would be on vacation for a few weeks before the start of college took their children away from home.

Again, Bella thought this was a waste of time and completely unnecessary.

"So, do we have a plan or are we just going into Volterra and hoping for the best?" Emmett asked from his seat on the floor as his soldier did battle with Jasper's.

Bella looked down at him and then she looked to Jasper, he was eyeing her curiously, perhaps hoping she did have a plan. She was almost hesitant to admit that she did not.

She tended to leave things until they had to be addressed, unless she went on a hunt. She always thought it best to let others show their hand first before countering. But then, she understood that the Cullen's had not spent years fighting and killing the way she had.

As her silence grew Rosalie and Alice came down from their rooms.

Edward remained in his, but Bella was positive that he would be listening with rapt attention.

She looked back at Emmett as the game was abandoned and the eyes in the room focused all on her.

"Do you think we need a plan?" She inquired, keeping her expression neutral.

Jasper glanced around at his siblings and then to Bella. "I think if they find out you are from a time in the future they will not allow you to leave. They will want detailed accounts of every major event and technology advancement in order to provide them with an even greater advantage than they currently have." He told them.

"Don't I sound important!" Bella chuckled.

Alice sat down and rested her hand on Bella's thigh as she stared at the older vampire in concern. "I can't see how this will turn out, I tried but…" She wasn't sure if that was because things end badly for them or if Bella's shielding was preventing her power from working.

Bella smiled at Alice. "Don't you want to just experience life, raw and unknown?" She asked with a tilt of her head as she eyed the rest of the Cullen's. "Think on our feet, roll with the punches?"

Rosalie snorted with her arms crossed. "No." She told Bella. "I want every fucking advantage I can get if we have to walk in there, they already outnumber us and with Jane and Alex our powers are pretty useless."

Bella considered this. Not for the first time Rosalie put forward a very good argument, Bella was beginning to consider that the blonde wasn't just a pretty face after all.

"Not completely useless." Bella refuted. "Just, not the best."

Rosalie scoffed.

"I think I can be of use." Edward offered as he appeared at the bottom of the stairs.

Alice shrugged unconvinced. "Not if they start singing in their heads." She told him. "We all know how to get around your gift."

"What about you?" Bella asked Jasper.

Jasper frowned. "I could try and calm the situation down, but if it gets to that I'm not sure it would be enough." He told her.

"That would be too late." She agreed, only to earn a scowl from the blonde solider.

"Right, well, you can pay attention from the moment we walk in, get a feel for the Guard. Aro, Marcus, and Jane?" She said as she studied him. "Jane would get excited if she knew she was going to be allowed to use her power, so would the other, less disciplined members of the Guard."

Jasper nodded, that he could do.

"How does that help?" Edward asked.

Bella turned to him and gave a small shrug. "It will give us something to work with. You can look for any thoughts out of the ordinary, someone complaining that they've been told to stick around instead of go hunt, a sudden increase or decrease in thoughts as they spot you."

Then she looked at Jasper. "You can do something similar, are the Guards on edge or are they getting ready, there'll be subtle differences to the emotions once we get there depending on whether or not they want to kill us."

Emmett frowned. "They don't do they?" They'd just been asked to appear in front of Aro because of the newborns that Alex and Jane had already taken care of. One touch from Carlisle should have that question answered and allow them to go on their way.

"It would be better to be prepared." Jasper offered, liking this discussion. Waiting until they were in front of Aro and his Guard was too late to be worried about ulterior motives.

"He will probably offer some of us positions with his Guard, he does every time we have contact like this." Edward spoke up.

"Would anyone want to take him up on the offer?" Bella asked only to have Alice scowl at her. Bella smiled back at her before glancing around to get everyone else's idea.

"Hell no!" Emmett spat.

"Of course not." Replied Jasper and Edward just shook his head.

"Then perhaps it would be best for us to not all to be there at the one time." Bella suggested.

Jasper frowned. "Splitting up could make it easier for some of us to be captured."

Bella blinked at Jasper. Now wasn't that taking things to the extreme? "And do you think that is likely? If Aro meant harm to this coven it would have been easier for him to have Jane and Alex come here and use the newborns to attack us, instead they are passing on Aro's request for a meeting."

Rosalie considered that and found it comforting. Maybe they were over reacting.

"Still, I think it would be better for us to prepare, just in case." She told Bella.

"I agree." Jasper added.

"Me too." Emmett said quickly, not one to be left out.

Bella grinned. "Then we come up with ideas on what we can do and discuss it with Carlisle during the trip. He will want to honour Aro's request and treat this as a meeting between friends." Carlisle did spend time among the Volturi in his younger years.

"He won't like going in there knowing we might have to fight, he will believe that any misunderstanding that may arise will be talked through and we will eventually leave with Aro's blessing." Edward said, feeling like he knew Carlisle's thoughts and beliefs well enough after so long reading his mind to allow him this much insight.

Bella grinned at Edward, her eyes twinkling. She liked having her own thoughts spoken by others. "Then this stays among those of us here in the room and we don't let Carlisle or Esme know about our doubts over this enforced visit."

The others looked around at each other nervously but nodded their agreement.

Bella eyed Edward. "It will be your job to bring up some fears as we travel, you can tell Carlisle that you worry about Aro asking you to stay, or Alice or me."

Edward frowned. "Carlisle will be the first of us that Aro will use his power on."

"Which is why we are keeping Carlisle out of this discussion." Rosalie told her brother.

"There are other things to consider." Jasper said, as eyes looked to him he continued his thoughts. "If they feed while I am close I may have trouble controlling myself." He told the others looking disheartened by his own admission.

Bella chuckled and moved to slap Jasper on the shoulder. "Which will be our reason not to accept any offer to stay at Volterra, in fact the further away from them the better."

Jasper perked up, while that would mean using a hotel or hiring out a cottage, it would limit his contact with humans.

"We can stay further into the surrounding valley, we can use our need to hunt the local wildlife as another excuse." Rosalie said, nodding along with this idea. She wanted to spend as little time in Volterra as possible, once her husband saw the Guards there would no doubt be good humoured test fights over who was the strongest vampire. And while she would normally enjoy watching her husband flex his muscles under any other circumstance, she didn't want him showing off within view of Aro.

Alice gripped Bella's hand in her own, turning it over and intertwining their fingers. "In your time, what became of the Volturi?" She asked very quietly as she kept her eyes focused on their joined hands.

The silence that fell in the room after that was deafening.

Bella watched her mate with a smile. Did the smaller vampire think she would be angered by such questions? Alice could ask her anything and it would be hard for Bella to find reason to deny her.

Emmett watched on anxiously, he could clearly see how uncomfortable Alice was becoming but Bella was smiling at his sister.

"Alice?" Bella gave the smaller vampire her full attention and blocked out the others in the room. She squeezed the hand in her own and waited until the dark haired girl looked up at her. She smiled warmly at her to ease any fear that Alice might have that she was upset. "You can ask me anything, okay?"

Alice nodded and a smile curled the corners of her lips.

"So?" Jasper asked, interrupting their staring.

Bella chuckled and glanced around to see curious, questioning looks all aimed her way. "I had many encounters with the Volturi over my years. I spent a few years on my own hunting and killing, and those actions eventually drew Aro's attention. He was quite surprised when we met face to face after Alex, Felix and Jane were sent to capture me." She chuckled thinking back to how shocked the trio had been when she had easily eluded their attempts until finally following them back to Volterra to introduce herself to Aro on her own terms.

She grinned wryly at how reckless her behaviour had been during that time, but she had nothing to lose and nothing to fear. She would have welcomed death, although she would have taken as many of them with her as she could have.

"After a few tempestuous meetings I joined them for a time." She told Alice whose eyes widened at the information.

"You joined the Volturi?" Emmett asked his jaw going slack. The Volturi were killers and ruthless amongst vampires, they ruled by strength and by fear.

Bella shrugged. "At the time I had run out of wolves to take my anger out on, and it was either allow Aro to direct that anger or I would have gone against them." She told the others.

"Why didn't you?" Rosalie asked after some silence.

Bella chuckled remembering her argument with herself and why she had chosen the way she had. She just wasn't sure what the Cullen's would think of her answer.

"Because then who would I have had left to take out my anger on?" She asked them. She could see in their eyes that they didn't understand, in fact Rosalie looked horrified.

Alice glanced at her siblings. She wasn't sure she liked the way they were looking at Bella now. It made her stand and tug the older vampire up with her.

"We are going to finish packing, Carlisle and Esme are on their way back." She told the others and quickly ushered Bella up to her room.

Emmett watched the pair leave then looked at Edward, Jasper and Rosalie, still stunned by the thought of Bella working for the Volturi.

"Wow."

Rosalie shook her head. As shocking as she found it, it also made some sort of sense to her. She knew what it was like to hate people enough to want nothing more than to see them die at your own hand.

She had lived it.

She had also known that it didn't make the anger go away, or the pain.

If you had nothing left to focus on all you had were your thoughts and if you couldn't live with the memories then what would you do?

"I guess now we know why planning anything isn't a priority for her, she probably doesn't need one. She would have used her instincts to keep herself alive." Jasper said quietly.

Rosalie nodded. "Let's hope Aro doesn't do anything stupid then, and we can just come home."

Emmett grinned at the others. "This is going to be awesome!."

xxxxx

AN/

Sorry for the wait!

Thanks for reading guys ;)