Disclaimer : All characters belong to Stepenie Meyer.
A/N: Sorry this has taken so long.
My phone rang at the same time Leah came through my back door with a huge smile on her face. Her eyes connected with her mothers and I could almost feel the relief flow between them. Esme answered the phone in a flash of movement and switched on the speakerphone again. Edwards voice came through loud and clear: "Bella, Sue. The test worked and Charlie's control is incredible! He was calm in the face of your scents in the house and the pack didn't tempt him at all. Quite the opposite actually." The chuckle from Edward was dwarfed through the speakerphone by Emmett's booming laugh. Sue and I both exhaled loudly and at the same time said "Thank God". Rose and Esme were beaming as they both started to clean away the remnants of our morning tea.
"So does this mean Sue and I can come back now? Do you think Charlie can handle it? What does Alice say? And Carlisle?" The words were tumbling out of my mouth in a hurry; the anticipation of seeing my father was almost too much. I wanted to be there, now! I looked at Sue and it was all over her face too, we both just wanted to be there with Charlie as soon as we could.
"We think so love. Carlisle wants you both to come home with Esme and Rose. Stay in the car at first though okay? Your scents will be lessened if you stay contained in the car at first. We have asked the wolves to leave for a few minutes to give Alice's visions a chance to become clearer. Would you ask Leah to do the same? She can go and meet up with the pack, then come back with them to the house. You both will be fine with Esme and Rose in the car. "
Leah's scowl showed her displeasure, but she was nodding just the same. "Mum, I'll see you back there. Please don't get out of the car until we are all in place, ok?"
"Sure Leah, we won't move until we are given the ok, I promise, but please just remember that this is Charlie. We both love him and if he does do anything unexpected, don't hurt him too badly, okay? Or hold it against him." She added almost as an afterthought.
"Yeah, okay Mum, I'll try to remember that. I'm not making any promises though. Human or Vampire, Charlie or not, I can't say how I would handle it if I see someone trying to hurt you. I will try though."
Leah stalked out the back door without another word or look backwards.
Rose snorted, causing us all to turn in her direction. "What? She is just a little ray of sunshine, isn't she?
Pot calling the kettle, is what was going through my mind, and Esme looked at me and smirked. She knew exactly what I was thinking.
From the look on Rose's face, as she helped Sue gather her things, she probably did too. I appreciated the uncharacteristic effort Rose was making though to break the tension, and smiled right back at her.
"Edward, we are leaving in ten minutes, unless we hear from you before then. See you soon." I said as I hung up the phone and pocketed it. All we had to do now was wait and hope that Alice could give us the okay.
Ten minutes had passed without word from Edward.
"Okay then, are you ladies ready for this?" Esme asked.
"Yep, lets go!" Was all I said as I headed for the car.
The pack had left our grounds and headed out to meet up with Leah back on Quileute land in the hope of Alice's vision clearing once they were no longer in close proximity.
"So pixie, what do you see?" Emmett asked. He wasn't able to keep quiet any longer; anxious to hear that our way forward was clear.
Alice was concentrating, visions of Bella and Sue sitting with us on the deck in the back of the house flitting through her mind. Charlie was there too, engaging in conversation as if it was any other normal day.
"All clear for later today, as far as I can see. I can't see them actually arriving here, I guess because the wolves were intent on being here then. I can see later today, and everything seems fine."
"Ok then, I will call the wolves and ask them to return."
They arrived within minutes. Everyone gathered in our front yard. The pack was on either side of the drive near the garage, where Esme would stop the car. Charlie was flanked by Emmett and Jasper, which was something he would have to get used to for the time being. He didn't seem bothered though. I think he was happy to see that we were all absolutely ready to do whatever was needed to keep our girls safe. Every now and then I would hear snippets of Charlie's mind. It was always as he was looking directly at me. He was trying to see if he could broadcast his thoughts to me. We were all enthralled with the possibilities of Charlie's gift, but still held a healthy dose of caution about what could happen.
Carlisle was thinking about a 'Jeanie' he had met during his stay at Volterra. This woman was able to imagine something she wanted or needed, and one way or another, it would usually happen. Someone would do something that would cause her 'wish' to occur. For instance, Carlisle had told me, Alexandra, the Jeanie, had hated Jane for her cruelty towards others. One day, when Jane had tortured one of the human staff of the castle for some perceived slight, Alexandra had come into the room and was horrified at Jane actions. Suddenly, Jane's power was nullified. The human girl, Cristina, was able to flee the room; unaware of why Jane had stopped, but thankful of the reprieve. At the same time, for no clear reason, Alfonso, a vampire that Jane couldn't stand entered the room and saw what had happened, much to Jane's dismay and embarrassment. As Jane was forbidden to use her gift on Alfonso, one of Aro's favorite henchmen, he had no hesitation in teasing her mercilessly for days. Aro had to put a stop to it, or Jane was going to end up defying his order to not harm Alfonso. He didn't want to have to punish her for disobedience. The interesting thing was, Alfonso could not explain why he ended up in the room at that end of the castle, and he just felt compelled to go there. When Aro questioned Alexandra about the incident, he could tell that she had just wanted Jane to stop torturing the human and maybe feel what it was like to be humiliated and hurt for herself. Alfonso's teasing was torture for Jane so that worked, although Alexandra hadn't specifically wished for Alfonso to walk in when he did. It just so happened that was the result.
I huffed to myself at that – Jane deserved so much more than what she received and when I voiced my opinion to Carlisle, he smiled.
"You may be right about that Edward, but Alexandra was of the same ilk as me, she didn't like the violence that surrounded her in the castle. She wouldn't wish physical pain on anyone, no matter how much they deserved it. She stayed because Aro wanted her there. He had given her asylum when she needed it. Her gift enthralled him, even though he didn't understand it. He wanted to study her, and find out exactly what she was capable of. He could not read all of her past you see, so she was an enigma to him. She had no coven to speak of; her sire was destroyed when the Romanian's tried to take them both into servitude for them. From the little Alexandra had told us, her sire was her uncle. They were Roma Gypsy's, and he had disappeared when she was 12. Ten years had passed since he had vanished with no explanation, when her entire family was attacked by a coven of vampires as they travelled. She watched her family be slaughtered and just as she was certain she was to die, her uncle appeared out of nowhere and took her with him. He was able to disappear and reappear at will. It all happened so quickly; her human mind could not keep up with what was happening.
One moment she was watching her family be slaughtered, and the next she was in a cave with her uncle. He explained to her about vampires and what had happened to her family and with her permission, he changed her. They stayed together for years until Vladimir and Stefan heard rumours of their abilities and hunted them down. When she lost her uncle, she ran to the only place she knew she would be safe from the Romanian's. Volterra. She threw herself on the Volturi's mercy and asked for their protection.
"So what happened to her?"
Carlisle shook his head, "I don't know, she just disappeared one day, nobody had any idea where she went or what happened. Even Demetri could not track where she went. It has intrigued Aro for the better part of two century's.
I was about to ask Carlisle why he was thinking about this particular memory when we all became aware of the car about to turn into our drive. Bella and Sue were almost here.
I watched Charlie carefully. His face showed his determination but his mind was still silent to me. Jasper was throwing all the calm he could Charlie's way, and it was helping to an extent.
"Can you sense that Edward?" Jasper thought at me. His eyebrow raised as he appraised Charlie's emotions. "There is a friction there. I can't put a name to it, a building tension, or need. It's love, and fear and whoa, it just spiked big time!"
I gasped at the same time Jasper doubled over in pain. Charlie clutched at his chest and slumped towards the ground. Emmett caught him as he fell, but was stung by the heat emanating from his skin. It physically caused him pain. Charlie was out cold. At least that is what it looked like
We all rushed to him and I stared up into Carlisle's stunned eyes as he tried to check on Charlie but the heat coming from his skin would not allow Carlisle to touch him.
"What the hell just happened?" Jasper yelled.
None of us had an answer for him.
"Stop the car from coming any further!" I yelled out to Jacob, needlessly it seemed as Esme heard my plea and stopped where she was.
The pack surrounded the car, ready to protect the occupants from any danger Charlie might pose.
"Edward!" Rose screamed from the car. I was there in an instant, pushing Jacob out-of-the-way. Bella was out cold too, her skin burning at the same temperature as Charlie's.
Carlisle" I screamed as I pulled Bella out of the car and laid her gently on the soft grass beside the drive. "What's happening?" We were both checking Bella's vitals. Her heartbeat was strong although raised. Her temperature was at fever strength though. It was dangerously high.
"Get her into the house. A cold bath. Alice get lots of ice!" Carlisle ordered.
"On it!" Alice and Rose disappeared into the house as Sue sat beside Bella on the grass.
"She just passed out, right there beside me. She wasn't this hot before then, I know because we were holding hands in the car. She suddenly clutched at her heart and then fainted. Doctor Cullen, what is happening?" Esme was standing to the side and a sob escaped her as she watched helplessly.
"I have no idea Sue, but we need to get this fever down now. She needs an ice bath." Carlisle answered as I went to pick her up. Sue stopped me and laid a hand on Bella's forehead, "She feels like she is the same temperature as the wolves!" I could see a flicker of an idea go through her mind. "Where is Charlie? "" she asked.
"He has fainted as well Sue. What are you thinking?
"What do you mean fainted? Can vampires faint?"
My head snapped towards Charlie as I began to get a glimmer of his what could only be his mind. It wasn't a coherent thought as such, more so a fuzzy monologue of memories of Bella as a baby, then a newer memory of her here in Forks. As these memories became more intense, Jasper spoke up.
"Edward, he needs Bella. And she needs him. It's like they are fused, it's as if a current of need is passing between them. I've never felt anything like it. Can you not sense it?"
"Charlie's thoughts are open to me, at least we know he is still in the somewhere." I commented as I watched his inert form. "His thoughts are of Bella, memories of times they have been together over the years. I am not hearing anything from him, just seeing images of Bella." I wasn't sure of what to do. Jasper was adamant that there was a connection between them, but I could sense nothing of the sort. None of us had ever seen a vampire faint, let alone having Bella do the same at the same moment. Jasper was experiencing this incredible pull between the two and it was disturbing him.
Bella was my priority though. Charlie was still a newborn, a danger in itself, and far more durable than Bella. His needs could wait. Bella was in danger from this fever, or whatever the hell it was.
"Edward," Carlisle warned, "We need to get her in the house, now. Emmett, Jasper, please keep an eye on Charlie. I will be right back as soon as we have Bella taken care of."
I lifted my reason for being gently up off the ground and started toward the house. I got only as far as the front porch, when an unseen force stopped me. It felt like the cushion of air I met earlier when Charlie had first woken. Against my will, I was propelled towards Charlie with Bella lying helpless in my arms. I panicked and yelled for Carlisle's help as he and Jacob, who were closest to us, realized what was happening. They were powerless to stop it though. Both men were being held away from us by whatever force was propelling me toward Charlie.
Emmett and Jasper tried to stand between Charlie and myself, but they were brushed aside as Bella and I were brought right to him. Charlie was still unconscious, but as I watched helplessly, Bella woke and stared at me with unseeing eyes. She pulled herself out of my arms and knelt beside Charlie.
"Bella!" I screamed, but it was to no avail. It was as if she was in a trance as she took Charlie's hand. I could see the connection between them then. By the gasps of shock all around me, everyone could.
The air around the two was alight with an unearthly glow. We all could see what looked like an electric current running between the two of them, as if fusing them together.
I was terrified Charlie would wake and be overcome by Bella's scent, but there was nothing any of us could do. An invisible wall that could not be penetrated was holding us all away from them. No matter what we tried, the force field or whatever the hell it was held firm. Emmett was pounding against it time and again, his frustration and fear for Bella compounded by Jasper who being affected by everyone's extreme emotions. Alice was trying desperately to force a vision, but none were forthcoming.
"Stop!" someone called out from behind me. I turned around to find Sue looking at Bella and Charlie; memories of past tribal councils and prophecies foretold during them were flitting through her mind. She looked at me uncertainly, but with a growing determination she said, "Just wait, they will come back to us. If this is what I think it is, we just have to wait for the ascension to complete."
"The what?" I said, glaring at her. Every single vampire/wolf standing in our front yard echoed my words in their thoughts.
"I'm not sure, this should be impossible, but looking at them" she mumbled almost to herself "it is the only explanation."
"Sue" Carlisle said, "I think you had better explain what it is that you are thinking might have caused this."
She nodded and turned to Jacob, "Call Billy, we need both him and old Quill here. Now."
Thanks for reading everyone. There are a couple of ways I could take this story. I'm not certain yet which way it will go. Could you please help me by letting me know your thoughts?