I need to take this time to thank the people who've helped me get this far. My twitter/fandom friends who have supported and encouraged me (Lambie, Elusive, Roselover, Hmonster, Kimpy, Irishtwisisters, and the list goes on:). Without people like you this fandom wouldn't be what it is. Thanks for always being there to lend an ear.
To my two amazing betas...Cullenluv aka c. anna cullen (seriously wonderful writer...go read her shiz NOW) and 2littleladies...you make me shine. I know I've thanked you more than once but your help has been simply amazing and on so many levels. You're concrit makes me smile and sometimes scratch my head wondering how I didn't figure that shit out. You are truly wonderful women. Thank you from the deepest recesses of my soul.
To my snarky & slightly nuts bestie/archaeology go to gal, Aspenleaf...you know how very much I love you. Thank you so much for listening, suggesting, laughing, and spanking...oooooops. I wasn't supposed to say that:) Seriously, thank you. Your help has/is indespensible.
Finally, to all my incredibly insightful and funny readers. You have all made this journey so very much fun. It was a bit of fluff amongst mountains of angst here on ff.n. *she says as she begins writing a dramatic period fic* I do hope to one day be back with more humor. In the meantime I will be on the lookout for some writers that tickle my funny bone & I'll try to share on twitter.
All righty. For those of you who don't remember where we left off (or for those that were simply blinded by my superiour lemon writing abilities...NOT) we left off with our favorite couple deciding to give the tablet back to it's rightful owner. Here we goooooooooooooooo...
Life Goes On
Time passes; quickly or slowly is really of no concern. Things began to fall into place for Edward and Bella the moment she woke from her change, but the real test was waiting at the end of the road they were currently traveling.
"Jesus, Bella. Stop fidgeting! It'll be okay," Edward barked.
"Why didn't we charter a plane? I mean I know we have the money. Must you really challenge me to a dare while your face is between my legs? You know I'll cave every time just to keep you going!" Bella whined.
"You need this and you can control yourself. Just last week you were stuck in an elevator with five other people, and everyone made it out alive. Even that guy you said smelled like prime rib!"
The banter in the car continued with neither side winning. By the time the duo made it to their terminal, Bella was once again sweating bullets, metaphorically of course.
"Just don't breathe, babe. You fed before we left, and we have a day layover in Paris before we continue so you can hunt there too." Edward's encouraging whispers not only soothed Bella but made her a little wet in the knickers too.
Before long they were taking off and flying across the country to Dallas, where they would board a plane headed for Paris.
"Edward! Look!" Bella pointed at the small screen on the back of the seat in front of her. The minute her mouth opened her mouth filled with venom as her senses were assaulted from all sides. She pushed the reaction away and concentrated on what had gotten her so excited she needed to speak in the first place.
"What?" Edward looked around trying to decipher what had his crazy mate whipped into a tizzy.
"This screen tracks where we are! You know what that reminds me of?"
"Fuck, Bella. I thought something was wrong. No, I don't know what that reminds you of but obviously it's exciting."
"Just for that, asshat, I'm not gonna share."
"I'm sorry, B. I'm just a little on edge what with trying to control my own urges and making sure you control yours." He whispered.
"First, fuck you. I can control myself. See? I'm breathing and not eating anyone, even though there's a chic up ahead that smells like a fucking fruit salad. You know the real thing would totally gross me out, but when someone smells like it I wanna just take a lick to remember what it was like. Where was I going with this? Oh, that's right. Second, I was trying to share a little bit of my life before fangs with you, but you obviously don't give a shit."
Bella huffed in her seat and crossed her arms dramatically.
"You win, and I am sorry. By the way, I'm really hoping that insane newborn ADD thing goes away soon because I miss my clear-headed Bella. What does that screen remind you of, love?"
"Just so you know, that was the shittiest apology in the history of apologies but I'm too damn excited to care. IT'S LIKE INDIANA JONES! You know, on the movies they always had the map with a plane and a red line that showed where it started and ended. Christ, I feel like a real adventurer now."
"Let me get this straight. Digging up an ancient and important artifact, flying across Europe and the US-in disguise no less, hiding said artifact in the Grand motherfucking Canyon, and fighting a slew of mythical creatures with another slew of mythical creatures at your side didn't make you feel like an adventurer but that damn screen does?"
"Uh, yeah. I guess. I mean the other was essential to right an incredibly huge and old wrong, you know? This just makes me wish I had a bull whip and a fedora. Fuck me, Indy is one hot piece of man meat."
Edward sat back in stunned silence as Bella continued to carry on about the levels of Indiana Jones's hotness. If he didn't know she loved him, he might be put out by her over exaggerated lust for a fictional character but he was secure in her feeling and his manhood. He could so take Indy in a fight.
As flights go, theirs were all fairly uneventful. Aside from the occasional smell of a particular human they had little trouble controlling their thirst. The layover in Paris had been a very good idea, though it didn't allow them time to take in the scenery. Still, Bella was exceptionally happy for the chance to fill her stomach with prime French deer before making their way to Greece.
In her travels she had been to Greece, but never taken time to appreciate what it had to offer. Seeing it now through her improved vision made her wish for a memory to compare it to. The water was the color of turquoise in some places and in others, that of sapphires. No matter where she looked the brilliance was near blinding.
"I suppose we should secure a boat and make our way to Nea Kameni."
"Lead on, captain mine," Bella quipped.
After leaving Edward to secure rental on a boat, Bella wandered around the port in Athens taking in the sights. Athens was decidedly not the cleanest of Grecian cities, but it had its charms.
"Are you ready to go, love?"
Edward led the way to a nice and rather large sailboat. Bella had never been to sea on a sailboat and couldn't help being as excited as a kid at Christmas.
"This is so cool, Edward! What kind of boat is this? Can you teach me how to sail? Pahleeeeeeze?"
"It's a schooner and of course I'll teach you. It's not like we can drown if you screw up."
That comment landed Edward in the harbor but he came up smiling.
After getting safely out of port, without Bella's inexperienced hands, Edward gave her a quick lesson in terms.
"This should be a cake walk for you, Swan."
"Famous last words, Cullen."
"Sailing, by definition is traveling in a boat with sails. These large canvas triangles are sails. This is a rudder and it moves the sail so that the wind carries you in the direction you want to go. So, when you push the rudder like this it picks up the wind and you gain speed. If you want to slow down you pull it back like this…"
As Edward continued with his "Sailing for Dummies" routine, Bella's attitude became increasingly more hostile. She opted to give his ego a break and let him continue as long as he didn't start talking like Mr. Rogers to those damn puppets. That she couldn't handle.
"Do you understand?"
If Edward had been a smart man or, at the very least, a man of attention he would have noticed the reddening face of his mate. Unfortunately, his excitement over sailing such a marvelous boat mixed with his innate need to show off for his woman blinded him to the fact that she didn't appreciate either.
"Sure do, Mr. Rodgers. Were you an elementary teacher in another life?" Bella was barely able to contain her ire as she spoke. "How about you cut that shit out and just tell me what to do before you end up swimming with the fishes, capiche?"
"You know, you're really hot when you're all pissed off and inserting foreign languages."
"Really? Well why don't you try to find out what happens when I'm really fucking mad. I can't believe you said…"
The verbal sparring that was meant to be a sailing lesson led to more primal urges as Bella and Edward made use of the small bedroom on board. Repairs would be needed before the boat was returned.
Finding a secluded spot on the volcanic island of Nea Kameni was harder than they had imagined. The island was closely observed by several scientific communities, and was also a destination for amateur geologists. How Lilith managed to hide here and survive was beyond their comprehension.
Anchoring the boat off shore Edward explained that they would have to swim to the beach as he held his hand out for Bella to take. Once on dry land, they made their way around the barren landscape of the island. The vegetation that grew was sparse and brown, littering the island's black rocks at sporadic intervals. The question regarding how she hid herself so completely was quickly revealed as several small cave openings on the side of the hill came into view.
"Fuck me, more caves. Edward, is it possible for a vampire to have a neurosis? Because I'm pretty damn sure I have a real fear of fucking caves."
"You know, I bet if we turned this into an actual 'fucking cave', your fear might disappear," he said, wiggling his eyebrows comically.
"That idea has merit but I think first we should see if we can find what we came here for and give her back her diary…uh, the tablet. Do you suppose we just start going in screaming her name?"
"It's as good a way to start as any. And don't think I'm going to forget about my idea with merit, Swan. I plan on curing you of all your ills."
"Holy fucking cheese balls, Batman, my boyfriend is off his nut. How about we just have fun trying, and if it doesn't work, at least some good came of it?"
"Fine, but I'm 98.3% sure I can fix this."
Bella was admiring how attractive determination was on Edward as she followed him into the dark cave when he came to a sudden stop.
"Looks like we didn't have to search long to find her," Edward said.
Bella peeked around him to view the fabled Lilith and found her…frail. Her skin was ashen and brittle looking, giving her the look of the walking dead, literally. Her hair, she could tell, had once been lustrous and raven black but now appeared almost grey. Bella immediately wanted to help this creature, bring her back to whatever life she had originally had.
"Hello, Lilith. My name's Bella Swan and I have something of yours." Bella spoke the one language she and Edward had decided the ancient would know, Greek, and held out the tablet for her to take.
"Hello, Bella. It's a shame you found that piece of rock. I'd meant for it to remain hidden for all time. How very much trouble the two of us have caused, myself and the tablet, that is." Lilith responded in a broken version of the Greek Bella had begun with. Her conversation skills were lacking and with good reason. Her seclusion on this island would have given her no one to converse with.
"Actually, ma'am, your tablet has set a lot of wrongs right and given many of our kind hope they never thought they would have. There was a little trouble in the process but nothing we couldn't handle." Edward put his arm around Bella and held her close.
"You know, just your run of the mill chase around the globe and fight to the death with the bad guys. Nothing we couldn't handle."
"Would you share with me who was at the root of the ill will? I have a feeling I already know but would very much like confirmation." Lilith asked as they walked out of the cave and into the sunlight.
Bella watched the elder move with a grace that was at odds with her frail body. She assumed Lilith's body was the result of poor nutrition but her healthy gait spoke volumes. Perhaps her delicate figure was merely the result of the thousands of years she'd spent on earth. Either way, both Bella and Edward gawked awkwardly at the woman in front of them as she stretched and soaked up the warm sun like a cat after a long nap.
"Aro and Caius were the ones searching for the tablet. Actually, they hired us, as well as several others to search for them, though we didn't know it at the time. Edward and I just happened to be the ones to find it. I think it only fair to tell you that the only surviving member of the original three is Marcus, but we all feel he is trustworthy." Bella continued, telling the entire story from beginning to end, noting several times that her colorful language made Lilith flinch or smile. When she was done, the ancient one looked on the two of them with kind eyes.
"The lengths you and your family went for the protection of the truth gives me hope that all is not lost, as I'd thought so very long ago. I want you to know that I never meant for my selfish act to create the chaos that followed. Thank you for returning my tablet and for putting an end to the brutality of my sons."
Bella listened and let every word soak in before stepping forward to envelope Lilith in her arms.
"It was the least we could do for the woman behind the tablet of truth. I pray God is watching you now and absolving you of your past deeds. No one need suffer as you have and continue to."
Lilith walked the couple back across the barren trails to the anchored boat off shore. She noticed Bella's pinched brow when they stopped.
"Child, is there something bothering you?"
"Honestly it's the silliest question and I feel ridiculous asking but what do you eat here? There are no large animals, and I'm not even sure I noticed any rats."
"Hmmm, yes, no large animals to be sure…on land. There is rather a lot of fish around here though, so that makes up most of what I eat, when I need to. Otherwise I make do with the bats in the caves. Flying rats I believe I've heard them called."
"Fish?" Bella's look of total disgust did not go unnoticed by Edward or Lilith, and it was the first time the old vampire laughed. It was like tinkling bells, light and melodic. "Isn't their blood, what they have of it I would assume, kind of gross? And don't even get me started on the irony of you eating bats."
"What does "gross" mean?"
"Um, disgusting, putrid…you see where I'm going."
"The larger fish have plenty of blood and while it doesn't taste wonderful it does keep the pains away. I find your language very entertaining, little one. I'm not sure what irony there is in my eating a bat, but it is what I do. This island is my penance, and I shoulder it as best I can though I do make my way to Santorini on occasion. My clothes only last so long and there are those that would throw away a perfectly good tunic. Now, I believe the two of you should be off as there is a rather large boat of scientists landing on the far side of the island, and I must take shelter. Thank you again and remember me kindly."
Lilith gave gentle hugs to both Edward and Bella before they swam back to their boat. Heaving a sigh she turned to seek her shelter before she was discovered and thought about the lovely couple that had given her back the truth she had hidden away. If ever she hoped it was now that what Bella said about God absolving her was true. She understood his punishment and would live a thousand lifetimes in isolation to prove herself worthy of His trust. Perhaps fallen angels could be heavenly creatures once again.
Thanks again, my darling dears. You are phenomenal!