A/n: Well, this is it. The last chapter for Rise, Rebel, Resist. It's been a really long road, and honestly, I was going to wait until the 17th to make it a full 3 years, but I just can't bring myself to wait that long. It's time to post the last chapter and move on. Who knows, I may even come back to this some day and write a sequel, but for me, right now, this is a good stopping place.
I want to thank all of you for being with me through these long few years, through my weeks on end of no update. I know I get frustrating at times with the infrequency of which I post, but I think that we can all agree that the result is usually more satisfying than me cranking out a chapter to meet a deadline. You guys have been my inspiration and my muses through all of this, and I want to give a special thank you to Lady Skylite for her encouragement and for letting me use her for my own purposes.
You've all been awesome, but here it is, the epilogue. Enjoy, and one last time, tell me what you think. Thanks everyone. Keep an eye out for more stories from me.
D/c:I don't own Twilight. Wish I did, but I don't. I just piss in the sandbox.
Whitlock Manor, as our home had come to be called, was a lovely, picturesque village that Jasper had built on the some two-thousand acres of Washington wilderness that he had purchased from the state. Each couple had their own cottage that surrounded the main house, which belonged to Jasper and me. The main house housed all of the business functions, as well as the guest rooms as well, for when our Denali cousins or the Uley pack decided to visit us. Jasper and I had begun construction on it as soon as we had come out of our six month sojourn in Texas, which he affectionately called our honeymoon, as neither of us had any inclination to actually get married again.
It was here that we had decided to spend our eternity. We were both done with the fighting. We had found our peace. Not even Maria loomed over our heads, as it was her favor that had brought us out of our seclusion. She had called the Major down to her former encampment in Laredo to help her put an end to her old life. Peter and Char had gone as well, and the four of them had put an end to the wars for good. From what I hear, all of the Warlords had done the same.
The aftermath of the Volturi's demise had been surprisingly smooth, given the upheaval it had caused within the vampire world. It seemed that we were all ready for a change. Old Covens disbanded and new ones formed, bonds of friendship and loyalty barely tested as everyone prepared to get on with their eternity as well. As each new law was announced by the Council of Voterra, things began to even out for everyone. Instead of the Guard being localized, they were allowed to spread out, start lives, live for themselves, and if ever there were a problem in their particular area, then they would be dispatched to deal with it. The only ones who remained in Voterra were Marcus, The Witch Twins, Edward, Alice, and less than a dozen others who had joined of their own free will. Those who were forced into service were set free, able to live their lives for themselves, and well compensated for their time with the Guard. I had heard rumor that some had even elected to stay on.
We were happy here, surrounded by our family. Peter and Jasper conducted business with the Council, and with the other covens across North America, as Peter had all but begged Jasper to be his right hand man. Jasper had been more than happy to let Peter take point in all of this. He had been more than ready to put The Major away for good.
I was in seventh heaven. I hadn't really pictured my self as the maternal sort, but here, in this little paradise, surrounded by my daughter, her mate, her pack, and all of the kids that came with, I was happy. Truly happy. At the ripe old age of 48, I now had three beautiful blood grandchildren, and seven that were mine because I said so.
As I watched them run around the sprawling front yard, I sighed in contentment, Nahuel's oldest sister, Maysun knitting sweaters at my side. Oddly enough, she had been the one, after Nahuel and Leah had announced their imprinting, that had attached herself to my hip. Each of the Damphir, I discovered, harbored a secret self hatred because they had killed their mothers. Maysun had taken it the hardest, being the first one ever, and thinking herself an utter monster. I wished Joham a thousand deaths for what he'd done to those women, and these children. Maysun had stuck to my side like glue ever since, partially, I thought, in a desire to have a mother, and partially to learn to be a mother. While she and her sisters had yet to find their mates, they held out hope, with the revelations of Ness and Nahuel, that they might find them in the future generations of the Quileute tribe. She had confided that the only reason that she and her sisters had ever followed their father is because they'd had no idea what they were nor how to survive.
I looked up from the kids as Jasper jogged out onto the porch, a scowl on his features. "What is it, Jas?" I asked, frowning.
"That fucking ..." He bit off his words. "It's nothing we can't handle, I guess. Potential problems within the council. Peter and I are both getting ready to head to Italy to discuss it with Marcus."
"You can't do it over the phone?" I asked, getting up.
"Afraid not, Little Sister." Peter said, coming out of the house as well. "And yes, you have to stay here with Char and keep an eye on our little village. There's no reason for both you and the Major to go raising Hell."
I glared at him. "Peter ..."
"There is one thing, though." Peter said. "I'm gonna need you to unblock your ex husband and ex sister-in-law's powers."
I growled. "Care to explain what's going on?"
"Not right at the moment." Peter said. "Look, I know this is a crap shoot, but is what it is. We could be dealing with nothing, here, and I'm not going to let you get everyone here worked up over nothing, Bella."
I glared at him but Jasper took my arm, snarled at Peter, and drug me into the house. Before I could even register what was going on, we were in his office, and well away from the current subject of my ire.
"Bella, calm down." he told me, cupping the side of my face and feeding me small tendrils of calm. "I need you to trust me, and listen to me. This isn't going to be something that is going to be a physical fight. We have to go play some mind games because one of the council covens is being a pain in the ass. This would work a lot better if I had a mind reader and a seer at my side. Peter and Marcus agree. They've apologized, Bella. They've made their amends. Look at what everyone did to them. They've suffered enough."
I looked up at him. "I don't like this."
"I know you don't," Jasper replied, "but it's been 25 years since then, and Edward wants to be part of the grandkids' lives. He has that right, Mi Dulce."
"He gave up that right when he cut ties with her." I snarled.
"Bella," Jasper implored.
I growled low in my throat. I didn't want to do this. I looked up as Renesmee and Jacob walked into the office. The looks on their faces told me that they already knew this part. Jake stood back, arms folded, his massive frame imposing. I swear he'd gotten bigger over the years. He hadn't aged a day, but he sure filled out. My Ness had as well, with every baby, her body got a little more mature. The silence that followed their entrance would have caused my heart to stop, had it beat. Ness was pregnant again, and this time she was having twins. I could hear the fluttering of their hearts clear as day. We would have to expand their house again.
"Mama, it's time to let it go." Ness told me, walking up to me and resting her hand on my arm. "I want to be able to let him back, Mama. He'll never be my Dad again, but he'll aways be my father, and the kids have a right to know their grandfather."
I sniffed, almost as if I could cry. "When did you get so sensible?" I asked her.
"About the time my Mama told me to grow up cause I was gonna have a baby." She told me, smiling. "You and Papi have been wonderful, Mama, but it's time to let go of the past."
I sighed and smiled. "Only for you, baby girl." I told her. I looked up at Jasper. "You're going to have to either take me with you, or send them here, because I can't do it from a distance."
Jasper groaned. "Why did I have a feeling you were going to say that."
"As you well remember, it requires physical contact for me to pull the shield." I told him. "So pick one."
"I'll call Marcus and have him send them to us." Jasper sighed. "Peter and I will head back with them."
"Fine." I said. "And as long as that 8-ball stays out of my future, we'll get along great."
"Of course, Querida." Jasper replied, sitting down behind his desk and dialing Italy. I stepped out of the room and Jake followed.
"Are you happy, Bella?" He asked me once we were in the living room.
I turned to him and smiled. "Now why would you ask me something like that, Jake?"
"Because I haven't seen a glimpse of the old Bella since the day you left for Texas 25 years ago." Jake told me. He sat down on the coffee table across from where I sat down on the couch. "And I don't mean the one your mother hated. I mean the one I fell in love with."
I laughed. "Jake, she was an act. I'm happy. I promise you. I have everything I could ever want, and so much that I could have never thought to ask for. I got to keep you in my life, I have Ness, I have the pack and the kids, and I have the coven, and Jasper. I couldn't ask for anything more."
"Except for Assward to stay out of our lives?" Jake asked, smirking at me.
"Well, life isn't perfect, and if we're going to live forever, we might as well get used to it." I replied.
"I'm glad." He said, leaning forward and resting his elbows on his knees. "We've had a helluva journey getting here, haven't we?"
I laughed. "If you could change one thing about it, what would it be? Personally. I know what aspects of my life you would change."
He gave me that grin that I was so used to seeing. The one that My Jake had given me back when I was so confused, and didn't understand.
"If I could go back and change one thing?" he repeated. "I think it would have to be my behavior. I was an ass back then, especially to you, especially after he came back."
I laughed with him. "You were, but you know, I think I understand now why you were, not just because of the mystical bonding and shit, but because of us. You were, and are, my best friend, Jake."
"You're starting to sound your age, Bella." he teased. "You're what, 123 now?"
I scoffed and reached out to punch him in the shoulder. "Fuck off, Dickhead. I'm barely bridging fifty; and I'm still older than you."
He laughed with me. "What would you change, if you could?"
I sat back and sighed, thinking about it. Of all the decisions I made, of all the idiot things I'd done since that fateful day walked into Mr. Banners Science class, there was only one thing I would change. "I would have never changed my personality." I told him.
He blinked. "What do you mean?"
"I would have never turned into the demure girl I was in Forks." I told him. "If I hadn't done that, I don't think I would have fall for Edward quite as hard as I did."
Jake smiled. "Bells, you're one odd girl."
I shrugged. "Jake, you're one asshole."
We laughed and he rose from his seat as Ness and Jasper came downstairs. Ness went straight to Jake's arms as Jasper came and sat down next to me on the couch.
"They'll be here in two days." Jasper told me. "And they plan to bring their mates with them."
I bit back a growl and nodded, not making eye contact with him.
He sighed and shook his head, getting up to go do something else. Ness and Jake said their goodbyes and rounded up their kids before heading home. I watched as slowly, pups trickled out of my yard, and houses settled down for the night.
I made my way into the kitchen and began cooking dinner for the three girls that still lived in the main house. Serena and Jennifer didn't stray far from Maysun if they could help it because they were used to her. They loved their brother dearly, but the girls had a special bond. They had found, after some time with us, that they preferred human food, to blood, though they still had a balanced diet of both. As I made preparations for a rather elaborate Italian dish, Jasper came up behind me and wrapped his arms around my waist, resting his head on my shoulder.
"I'm sorry." he murmured.
"Its not your fault." I replied as I went through the motions with him wrapped around me, perfectly capable of doing it despite the would-be hindrance. "The fact of the matter is, you're right. It's been 25 years. They've suffered enough. Hell, Kate still shocks them to hell when she sees them. It's time for them to have their abilities back." I turned in his arms and looked up at him. "I'm sorry for being such a baby about this."
He shrugged it off. "You have a right to be. This was their punishment for all the wrongs they did us and the kids."
I rested my head on his chest. "Just promise me that we'll be okay?"
"I swear to you, we'll be okay." He responded.
It was all I wanted to hear.
Two days later I was standing in my front yard watching as some flashy BMW wound its way up the road to the main house. Why was it that this asshole could never be subtle about anything?
The car parked behind Jasper's truck and I watched as Edward stepped out of the driver's seat in a pair of pressed Italian designer pants and a flashy designer shirt, with shined-to-sparkle Italian Loafers on his feet. Jane stepped out of the Passenger side in a designer label dress I'd swear was more appropriate for the Grammys than for visiting someone's house for the sole purpose of getting one's abilities back.
Yeah, I could honestly still say that I hated every one of them. What horrified me most was that I was starting to sound like my mother when she talked about Charlie when I was a kid.
Alice slipped out of the back seat in a similar dress to Janes, and Alec stepped out in the same clothes as Edward, only in different colors.
Clearly Alice hadn't changed at all.
"Edward." Jasper greeted, holding out his hand. "Alice. Nice to see you."
"Jasper." Edward greeted, shaking his hand. "Isabella."
I had to bite back the hiss that was building in my throat. "Edward. Alice."
"You remember Jane and Alec, I trust." Edward said, motioning to the brat on his arm.
I honestly wanted to rip all of their faces off.
"Can we dispense with the pleasantries?" Jacob asked from where he sat with Ness on the porch swing. Oh, my Sun, I knew there was a reason I loved you most of all. "We all know that there's only one reason for them to be here, otherwise Bella would be clawing their faces off already."
I had to smirk at that. He just knew me too damn well.
Jasper sighed and shot me full of calm as he turned to lead us all into the house. Jake plopped down in his favorite chair and pulled Ness into his lap, his hands resting on her not-yet-bulging stomach.
"Where are the children?" Edward asked Ness.
"They're playing at Leah and Nahuel's." Ness told him. "We didn't want them to come over just yet. You have to understand, Dad, that they don't know everything that's going on. They know that they have a Grandpa out there that they've never met, but they don't know how Mom would react to you, so we decided that they would stay away until we knew that the situation was under control."
"See, Bells never fully recovered from that time in a box your so-called father put her through." Jake said, hammering on tender nerves. Gods, I loved that boy.
"Alright." Jasper said, standing behind my chair with a hand on my shoulder, force-feeding me calming waves so that I didn't leap at him and do some serious damage. I hadn't felt this out of control since my newborn years.
"Can we just get this over with please?" Alice asked.
"Oh no, it's not that simple." I said, folding my fingers on my stomach and crossing my legs, trying my best to look positively diabolical. By the grin on Jake's face, it was working. "Have a seat, we've got some explaining to do before I even consider yanking those shields."
Jane snapped to her feet. "Whitlock, you said ..."
"You might want to sit down, Jane." I said, flashing a shield over Jasper and I, and Ness and Jake. "It doesn't take physical contact to put up one of those shields, only to take it down."
She lowered herself back onto the couch and glared at me, obviously trying to use her powers on me, though it didn't do anything.
"I want to know why." I told Edward and Alice, ignoring their mates completely. "I want to know why everything happened. I want to know what Alice showed you to make you leave me the second time, and I want to know what the flying mother fuck possessed you to think that you could treat your daughter the same way you treated me when you left me after my eighteenth birthday party. I want to know why Jasper and I got played the way we did, because it was complete bullshit, and you both know it."
Alice and Edward shared a look. Alice was reluctant, but Edward held firm. He was finally going to tell us.
"Not many people know this, but Alice and I were turned on the same day." Edward told us, looking between Jasper and I. "It makes us a type of twin, for lack of a better term. Ever since that day, Alice has been able to see visions of me, of Jasper, and of a brown haired woman with gold eyes."
"So she saw the four of us, big deal." I said.
"No, Bella." Alice told me. "I didn't just see the four of us. I saw all of the possibilities. If you and Jasper had gotten together when you first arrived in Forks, then the wolves would have declared war on us because you would have been turned within the first month. If it had happened right there around your 18th birthday? Then we would have lost Edward to the Volturi. Despite what you two think, we did love you. We did what we did for your own good, for our own good, and for the good of the vampire community."
"Bullshit." Jake snapped.
"Quiet, Dog." Alice hissed. "You don't know anything about what I've seen. The day we left with Aro, I didn't show Edward anything. I just told him that it was time to go, that it was time to let the two of you find each other. We should have let it happen sooner. Well before Nessie and the wedding, but Edward fell so damn in love with that facade you'd created that I couldn't get him to see reason until he was too scared of you to do anything."
"What we didn't know at the time, is that if we hadn't let things get as far as they did, thing's wouldn't have worked out." Edward said. "The ultimate goal was always getting rid of Aro and Caius, Bella, for all of your reasons and more. Do you honestly think that we're the first family to have been destroyed by them? Hardly. There have been Damphir before, there have been vegetarians before. Gifted shields and even seers."
"There's supposed to be a balance." Jane said. "Always a balance. Nothing is truly immortal. Vampires and Werewolves were created to counter-act each other. When Caius hunted down and destroyed all of the werewolves, that balance was destroyed, and so the shape-shifters were created. That Wolf didn't agree to share with your ancestor on coincidence, Dog. Nature compelled a balance."
"You talk like you know." Jake growled.
"Jane and I were burned at the stake for being witches," Alec said. "Do you honestly think there wasn't any truth to it? Salem was a hoax, but in Europe, they were actually right once in a while."
"So what you're telling me was that this was all some elaborate fated ruse to get Jasper and I together to get rid of Aro and Caius?" I asked, incredulous. It was ridiculous. It was too elaborate and out of this world to be truth. It was something you would only find in some cheesy teen fiction novel.
"It didn't have to be you." Jane said. "You could have failed. I've seen it happen before. There was a book written once, about a physical shield and a telepath that tried to stand against the brothers once."
Jasper's fingers tightened on my shoulder. The book Maria had given us...
"But because of what Edward and I did, what we knew we had to do, you had the drive to succeed." Alice said. "We needed you to hate us, hate them. Want them dead so badly that you would dance on their pyres. We knew the Major could do it, and we knew, after the first time they'd come, that with the right incentives, you could help him."
I snorted and got out of my chair, shaking off Jasper's hand. "You two are so full of it." I dropped my hands on either one of their heads and pulled hard on the shielding layers I had planted in their minds, ripping them out with no small amount of force. I heard both of them cry out and stepped away. "Whenever you want to give me the real story, let me know. Until then, stay the hell out of my house." I turned and started out of the room. I stopped at the door and turned to Jasper. "Come see me before you leave." and I left them all sitting there, staring after me.
I folded my arms and shook my head. "Take note of the fact that she said house, not property. You're more than welcome to see Ness and the kids. Steer clear of Bella. I'm not even going to try to control her after this. You have your powers back because Ness and I asked for it, and no other reason. You stay out of our futures, you stay our of our heads, and you stay out of Bella's sight, and we'll all get along just fine. I'll see you in three hours. Our plane leaves at 7 from Sea Tac."
That said, I followed my mate to her day room, where I found her, Jennifer, and Maysun all sitting around, watching the sunlight play off Bella's skin. I still, after 25 years, had yet to fathom my mate's fascination with the way the sun played on our skin, but I had a feeling it had something to do with the ADD I was now fairly certain she'd developed while confined into that box. I wasn't complaining in the least, though.
She was largely at peace, and that was all that mattered to me.
Maysun looked over at me. "It's going to take forever to get his stench out of this house, you know."
"Jake's?" I asked. I barely even noticed it anymore.
"No, the red-head's." Jennifer said, looking at me as well.
Bella laughed and lay down on the floor. She looked over at me with a smile. "I love you, Jasper Whitlock."
I smiled and came to sit down with them, content to bask in my mate's happiness. "I love you, too, Isabella Whitlock."
This was peace.