Chapter 16: Final Future

Bella stood next to Damon in the airport, panicking as the humans rushed past her, their scents slamming into her face over and over. She felt her fangs slowly inch out from her gums and quickly covered her mouth with her hand.

Damon glanced down at Bella humorously. "You're doing great for a newbie," he promised.

Bella took a deep breath, inhaled all of the different scents, trying to get used to the incessant hunger which tore at her throat. She could hear everyone's heartbeats, like millions of drums pounding in her ears.

"They all smell so good," she whispered to herself, her eyes still shut.

Damon laughed. "Not really. You're just not used to the smell of human blood. You'll become pickier as time goes on."

Bella took one last deep breath from her nose, and then slowly expelled the air from her mouth. She was calm. Her fangs retracted.

"I'm good," she whispered, nodding to herself.

"I knew you'd be," a tinkling voice said from behind them.

Bella and Damon turned to see Alice and the rest of the Cullens standing behind them. No one had any luggage, despite the fact that they were all travelling to another country. Bella wondered if the humans would notice that.

"Hi, Alice," Bella said, a little awkwardly. She hadn't forgiven the Cullens yet for what they had put her through. She wasn't sure if she ever would forgive them.

"We don't have much time," Alice said. "Edward and Elena only have two more days until they have to complete the ceremony."

Bella and Damon still weren't entirely sure why the Volturi had taken them all, but from what Alice had told them, it was clear that they were in trouble.

Edward laid Stefan down onto Elena's bed. He yanked the steaks from his chest. Stefan was so still, Edward wasn't entirely sure he was even alive. He paused, focusing on Stefan's mental voice in his mind, to see if it was even still there….

She's a…vampire. My fault…. Life is ruined…just like Damon. My fault. I did this.

Edward sighed. Like always, he felt like he could relate to the guilt which not only constantly resounded in Stefan's mind, but Elena's as well.

Stefan is hurt because of me. I have to get us out of here. I don't deserve to live. I don't want to be this monster…

Edward cut her off abruptly. He squeezed his eyes shut, and sighed, shaking his head. It was hard for him to listen to other people's thoughts, because with their thoughts came their very vivid emotions. Sometimes, he thought of Bella, and how he couldn't read her thoughts. How nice that had been. He had always been able to feel normal around her – human. He missed that. He missed her. He wondered what she would think if she knew this trouble he was currently in. Would she care? Had she already moved on with her life?

"Ugh," Stefan moaned.

Edward looked down, suddenly pulled from his musings. "Are you all right?" Edward asked.

Stefan slowly sat up, confused for a moment, from what Edward could gather from his jumbled thoughts. As soon as his mind cleared itself, Elena's face broke through to the forefront of his mind. In a flash of movement that only eyes such as Edward's could see, Stefan jumped up from the bed and ran out into the hall in search of Elena.

"Elena!" Stefan called. He was in a panic. He had heard that Elena had been changed. He had failed her. She had become the very thing which she hated most in the world.

Elena suddenly materialized in front of Stefan, too fast for his eyes to catch since he was so weak. She had tears in her eyes, her lips pressed together to keep from quivering. She opened her mouth to speak, but instead let out a defeated sob. She fell against him, finally letting herself fall apart.

"Stefan," she sobbed. "I-it's over."

Stefan encircled his arms around her, resting his chin on her head. "I'm so sorry they did this to you."

"It's not done yet," she whispered almost too quietly for him to hear.

"What do you mean?" he asked in confusion.

Elena looked up at him. "I haven't completed the change. I lied. I haven't fed yet and…and I don't know if I can, Stefan."

Stefan hadn't thought of this. What if Elena didn't feed? What if she…died?

"But you'll die," he whispered, his green eyes wide.

Elena's lips began to shake. "I know."

Stefan's eyes were that of a crazed man's, a man about to lose everything. "But you-…I can't- Elena, no-"

She silenced his babbling with her urgent lips. She threw herself so hard against him that his back crashed against the wall of the hallway. Stefan grunted. He pulled Elena up as she wrapped her legs around his waist. Stefan decided that whatever Elena chose…he would accept. He wouldn't force her into his world if she didn't want to be in it.

Stefan ran into the room across from Elena's, which happened to be Edward's. They fell onto Edward's made bed, kissing and panting loudly as they tore at each others clothes. Elena hadn't been with Stefan like this in what felt like years. She felt tears pour from her eyes as she realized it may be her last time – her last time either human or alive, to touch Stefan in this way. She began crying. Stefan kissed down her neck, across her chest, on the delicate skin of her stomach.

"I love you, I love you, I love you…" he whispered against her heated, human skin.

Elena tangled her fingers in his blood encrusted hair. She didn't care though. The only thing on her mind now was Stefan with her in this moment.

"I love you, too," she sobbed.

She didn't let herself think of Jenna, of Jeremy, of Bonnie, and all of her other friends back in Mystic Falls. She let herself believe that they were happy without her. They'd wonder where she was of course, but after awhile, they'd move on. Jenna would get a new boyfriend and get married and have kids, finally growing up. Jeremy would graduate high school and make some real friends. He wouldn't be so sad all the time. He'd meet a girl who would stay in his life, who wouldn't die like Anna and Vicki. Both of them would never have to be a part of this horrifying world she would die in.

Elena shook the thoughts from her mind and gave in to the pleasure Stefan's lips made on her skin. She pushed him up and pulled the rest of his clothes off until they were skin-to-skin. They made love, and Elena, for that moment, didn't think of her impending death.

Edward awkwardly stood out on the balcony of Elena's room. He could hear everything – both their words which they spoke aloud to each other and their mental thoughts. He tried ignoring it, but then again, he could hear the noises. He shook his head, focusing on the scene in front of him. The wolves paced around the Volturi castle dutifully. Edward wondered if maybe Elena had been right in considering suicide. Edward fluidly jumped onto the railing of the balcony, landing with not so much as a stagger. His arms were out at his sides, like wings beginning to spread for flight. He knew if he let himself fall he'd survive, but maybe the wolves would rip him apart….

EDWARD!

Edward gasped in shock, nearly falling over. He righted himself and jumped back down onto the balcony, not believing what he was hearing in his head

Edward, I'm in Italy! We're coming for you! Don't jump!

It was Alice's thoughts.

We're going to save you! Look:

Alice showed him two visions. In the one scenario, his family saved him and Elena, and the Volturi were defeated. In the other, they all were killed and he and Elena made the hybrid children. It all depended upon one decision, a decision which wasn't made yet.

Edward wasted no time to run into what was once his room. Stefan and Elena were in the middle of…reuniting, when Edward rudely interrupted.

Elena gasped, yanking the red bed sheets over her and Stefan.

"What are you doing in here?!" she demanded.

"I'm sorry," Edward said, looking at the floor, "but I have something urgent to tell you both."

"It couldn't wait ten more minutes?" Stefan muttered.

Edward shook his head. "I'm sorry but we're short on time as it is."

Elena rolled her eyes. "What is it, Edward?"

Edward met Elena's stare. "You have to complete the change, Elena," he whispered.

Elena looked at him in shock. "What are you talking about? I don't have to do anything."

"My sister – Alice – she sent me a vision. She can see the future, like how I can read minds. She told me that if you don't change, and you let yourself die, we will all die. But, if you go through with the change, there's a chance that we can defeat the Volturi. They're coming for us – my family. They're going to save us."

Elena shook her head furiously, her hair flying back and forth. "No, no, no! I- I already decided. I-I want to die!"

Edward stared at her gravely. "You hadn't decided, Elena. If you had, the future would be set." He came to their bedside. "Do you really want to die here?"

Elena didn't respond.

"We both know you don't," Edward whispered. "I can read your mind, remember."

Elena growled furiously, yanking a sheet up with her as she paced across the room. "I don't want this!" she cried. "It was never what I wanted!"

"None of us wanted this for any of us. But it happened. You have to make a decision, Elena. We can still all make it out."

Elena looked at Edward, desperate. Tears spilled from her eyes.

The future is set, Edward! Alice's thoughts ran through his mind. We're coming for you guys!

"I don't have a choice, do I?" Elena whispered.