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Alice was snuggled between Jasper and Edward on the couch as the family spoke to Huilen and Nahuel and rehashed the events of the day before but she hadn't been paying much attention until she noticed Esme looking at her with a frown and she realised, as usual, Esme was noticing something was wrong with one of her children. Alice offered Esme a smile and turned her attention to Edward quickly.
"Alice gave Aro the excuse he needed to get out of the fight," Edward was saying. "If he hadn't been so terrified of Bella he probably would have gone ahead with their original plan."
"Terrified of me?" Bella frowned.
"When will you ever see yourself clearly?" Edward smiled and glanced at the others. "The Volturi haven't fought a fair fight in about twenty-five hundred years. And they've never, never fought one where they were at a disadvantage. Especially since they gained Jane and Alec, they've only been involved with unopposed slaughterings. You should have seen how we looked to them. Usually, Alec cuts off all sense and feeling from their victims while they go through the charade of a counsel. That way, no one can run when the verdict is given. But there we stood, ready, waiting, outnumbering them, with gifts of our own while their gifts were rendered useless by Bella. Aro knew that with Zafrina on our side, they would be the blind ones when the battle commenced. I'm sure our numbers would have been pretty severely decimated, but they were sure that theirs would be too. There was even a good possibility that they would lose. They've never dealt with that possibility before. They didn't deal with it well today."
"Hard to feel confident when you're surrounded by horse-sized wolves," Emmett added with a grin as he poked Jacob's arm and Jacob smirked at him.
"It was the wolves that stopped them in the first place," Bella pointed out.
"Sure was," Jacob grinned.
"Absolutely," Edward nodded. "That was another sight they've never seen. The true Children of the Moon rarely move in packs and they are never much in control of themselves. Sixteen enormous regimented wolves was a surprise they weren't prepared for. Caius is actually terrified of werewolves. He almost lost a fight with one a few thousand years ago and never got over it."
"So there are realwerewolves?" Bella gasped. "With the full moon and silver bullets
and all that?"
"Real?" Jacob snorted. "Does that make me imaginary?"
"You know what I mean," Bella shrugged.
"Full moon, yes," Edward nodded. "Silver bullets, no. That was just another one of those myths to make humans feel like they had a sporting chance. There aren't very many of them left. Caius has had them hunted into near extinction."
"And you never mentioned this because... ?" Bella asked.
"It never came up," Edward shrugged. Bella rolled her eyes and as she did they moved to Alice sitting on the other side of him and her eyes narrowed as she glared at friend and sister.
"Just get it off you chest Bella," Alice sighed.
"How could you do that to me Alice?" Bella demanded.
"It was necessary," Alice shrugged.
"Necessary!" Bella yelled and Jasper tightened his arm on Alice's shoulders. "You had me totally convinced that we were all going to die! I've been a wreck for weeks."
"It might have gone that way," Alice murmured. "In which case you needed to be
prepared to save Nessie."
"But you knew there were other ways too," Bella snapped. "You knew there was hope. Did it ever occur to you that you could have told me everything? I know Edward had to think we were at a dead end for Aro's sake but you could have told me."
"I don't think so," Alice smirked. "You're just not that good an actress."
"This was about my acting skills?" Bella snarled in disbelief.
"Oh, take it down an octave Bella," Alice laughed at her. "Do you have any idea how complicated it was to set up? I couldn't even be sure that someone like Nahuel existed. All I knew was that I would be looking for something I couldn't see! Try to imagine searching for a blind spot, not the easiest thing I've ever done. Plus we had to send back the key witnesses, like we weren't in enough of a hurry. And then keeping
my eyes open all the time in case you decided to throw me any more instructions. At some point you're going to have to tell me what exactly is in Rio. Before any of that, I had to try to see every trick the Volturi might come in with and give you what few clues I could so you would be ready for their strategy and I only had just a few hours to trace out all the possibilities. Most of all I had to make sure you'd all believe that I was ditching out on you because Aro had to be positive that you had nothing left up your sleeves or he never would have committed to an out the way he did. And if you think I didn't feel like a schmuck…."
"Okay, okay," Bella interrupted. "Sorry. I know it was rough for you too. It's just that, well, I missed you like crazy Alice. Don't do that to me again."
"I missed you too Bella," Alice laughed. "So forgive me and try to be satisfied with
being the superhero of the day."
The family all burst out laughing and Bella looked suitably embarrassed as she hugged Renesmee tightly to her. Alice tuned out of the conversation again as she laid her head on Jasper's shoulder and she was aware of Bella and Edward talking on one side of her and Esme and Jasper on the other but she was quite content to just rest against her husband until she heard Bella say Jasper's name.
"Oh Jasper?" Bella said and Alice realised Edward, Bella and Renesmee were standing by the door, obviously leaving and that Huilen, Nahuel and Jacob had already left.
"Yes Bella?" Jasper replied.
"I'm curious," Bella admitted. "Why is J. Jenks scared stiff by just the sound of your name?"
"It's been my experience that some kinds of working relationships are better motivated by fear than by monetary gain," Jasper smirked and Bella frowned but let Edward lead her from the house without another word.
Once they were gone only Carlisle, Esme, Emmett, Rosalie, Jasper and Alice remained and Carlisle looked around his family with a soft smile on is face.
"It has been an eventful few weeks," he commented.
"More than you know," Jasper murmured and glanced at Alice. "There is more the family needs to know, things that happened in Brazil that no one besides the family needed to hear."
"Jazz, no!" Alice whispered as she realised what he was going to tell them.
"Yes Alice," Jasper said firmly, in a voice she knew meant it was pointless to argue with him.
"What is it?" Esme asked with concern.
"That Joham, the Volturi will never find him!" Jasper snarled angrily.
"Why not?" Carlisle frowned.
"I killed him, tore him to pieces," Jasper hissed as Alice let out a whimper and crumpled closer to him like she was trying to hide inside his body.
"Why?" Esme demanded fearfully, her eyes taking in Alice's reaction.
"He tricked Alice in the cruellest way he possibly could," Jasper snapped. "He promised her he had an injection that could ensure she could have children."
"Oh no!" Esme gasped.
"That monster!" Rosalie hissed angrily.
"As cruel as that was you shouldn't have killed him for it," Carlisle chastised lightly.
"I didn't," Jasper hissed and his hate and anger suddenly flooded the room. "I killed him after he had given her the injection, after I walked in on him, raping my wife!" Alice let out another whimper in his arms and Emmett angry roar was almost overshadowed by Rosalie's hiss as she leapt over to Alice's side and pulled her sister into her arms.
"You definitely killed him?" Emmett demanded angrily.
"Piece by piece," Jasper nodded.
"Good," Emmett snarled.
"Are you okay Alice?" Esme whispered softly.
"Yes, I'm okay," Alice nodded and offered Esme a weak smile as she pulled out of Rosalie's embrace. "Jazz got there before too much could happen. He saved me, like he always does."
"It's my job sweetheart," Jasper grinned at her as she snuggled back into his arms. "And you do it for me too. I just thought the rest of you should know what happened."
"Of course," Carlisle nodded. "And I think now we could all do with some time alone with our partners."
"That sounds like a plan," Emmett grinned and grabbed Rosalie and as she laughed at him he tossed her over his shoulder and bounded out of the house with her.
"They are crazy," Esme giggled.
"I'll just get changed and I think we should do the same thing Jazz," Alice grinned and leaned up and kissed Jasper's cheek before getting to her feet and hurrying up the stairs.
"I might tidy up too," Esme smiled and drifted away as well and once they were alone Jasper got up and grabbed the satchel he had brought back from Brazil and then walked back to sit beside Carlisle.
"What is that?" Carlisle asked with interest as he noticed the bag.
"It's the research I found at Joham's house," Jasper explained as he handed the bag to Carlisle. "Alice doesn't know I took it. At least, I don't think she does. She hasn't mentioned seeing it so I think I got it past her."
"His research on half-breeds?" Carlisle asked.
"No, I didn't think to grab that," Jasper admitted and reached over and patted the bag. "This is his research on vampire couples being able to have children. The injection idea with Alice didn't work but maybe there might be something there you can work with. I haven't told Alice because I don't want her hopes raised and I am guessing it might be wise to keep it from Esme and Rose as well. But Carlisle, maybe there is something in this, something that will help you to help them. It could be useless but I didn't want to take the risk of leaving it behind."
"It's a good idea," Carlisle smiled. "I'll keep it tucked away in the study and look into it all. I will let you know when I have examined it all."
"Sounds good," Jasper grinned and turned his attention to the stairs and moments later Alice came floating down the stairs and she moved instantly into his arms.
"Ready?" he murmured.
"I'm ready," Alice smiled softly up at him and Jasper felt himself getting lost in her eyes.
"We'll be home in a few days," he murmured towards Carlisle, not taking his eyes from Alice's for an instant.
"Quite a few days," Alice whispered huskily as she looked back at him and Carlisle laughed behind them as they drifted dreamily out of the door and headed into the forest together.
That is the end of this one. Thank you to everyone who has reviewed and supported this story and encouraged me while I wrote it. I hope you all enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. This is by far nowhere near the end of the ideas I have for this, I just decided to end this one where the books end and then explore the rest of my ideas in a sequel. I have already started to write it and I will start posting it tomorrow. It is called Bitter Sunrise so keep a look out for it. Again, thanks again for all your fantastic reviews throughout this story.