DISCLAIMER: SM owns all Twilight characters and settings. No copyright infringement intended.

WARNING: Contains graphic sexual violence that some might find disturbing. Carlisle/Edward slash

How does Carlisle control a coven full of strong willed male vampires. Here is an exploration into coven dynamics that involve dominance/submissive behaviors. Originally meant to be a one shot, it's since turned into a series of one shots involving all the male members with spill over to include Bella and Edward's relationship. All couples are canon and this behind the scenes look is meant to be in canon. I know, I'm delusional.


My father's cross lay in two pieces on my study floor and my anger was placated only by my feelings of dread. I could feel Esme behind me, she was hesitant to approach me and this softened my anger only slightly.

"I don't know what's gotten into him, Carlisle." She said, resting her hand on my shoulder. "Should I go find him, talk to him? Bella is so upset."

Reaffirming Esme's comment, Bella's sobs resonated through the house as Alice tried to comfort her.

"No. I don't want him in this house until he's had a chance to calm down. He needs to think about what he's done. He'll come back when he's ready." I bent down and picked up the smaller piece of the broken cross, a chunk of wood the size of Emmett's thigh. I touched the wood tenderly, it brought back one of the few good memories I had of my father. We'd worked this wood together, silently, side by side, crafting it with ancient tools, turning it into not only a religious symbol of his life's work, but a part of my history, the only piece of him I had.

Esme's fingers stroked my hair. I sighed. No amount of her gentle tending would change what faced me now. I needed to address Edward's latest outburst. The evidence was all around me. Refuting it would not make the problem go away.

"Perhaps we should talk to Bella. She may have some insight. They seem so content when they are together." Esme's speculative thoughts escaped her lips in a soft whisper. "Do you think this has anything to do with Bella's change? He's fought it from the beginning and Bella is getting impatient."

Did Esme truly not understand what was happening? She had been through it twice before. I couldn't believe that she would not recognize Edward's volatile behavior for what it was.

"This has nothing to do with Bella. This has nothing to do with her change."

"How do you know that, Carlisle? Have you talked with him about it? What do you know that you aren't telling me?" The distress in Esme's voice was discernible. I never kept things from her.

"Edward and Bella just returned from their honeymoon," I paused, turning to face her. "They consummated their relationship."

"But Carlisle, we know that it was successful. Bella told Alice it was wonderful. Edward was able to control himself. The very presence of Bella shows that it went well. And she has been so happy."

"Esme," I said gently, touching her face. "Are you forgetting about Emmett and Jasper? Do you truly not know what I'm referring too?"

In that moment, her eyes widened, her mouth formed a little "O" and she gasped.

"Yes sweetheart, the time has finally come for Edward. I've tried to push the thought away myself, but denial will not solve the problem. He's getting worse, more aggressive and more unpredictable. I cannot ignore what is happening any longer. The safety of this entire family is in jeopardy."

My wife's lips quivered. If she could produce them, there would be salty tears rolling down her cheeks. "I'm not sure why, but I thought it would never come to this with Edward. He's been with us so long, I cannot believe he would confront you, challenge your authority."

"Esme, we've been through this before. This is entirely instinctual. It's like hunting. We are completely guided by our instincts. It's natural for Edward to test me. He can't help himself. It's who we are, the nature of our species. We have not had to address it with Edward in the past because he has not been sexually active. " I ran my hands through my hair. "To be perfectly honest, I didn't think I would have to deal with this in the foreseeable future. I suspect his sudden change of character has to do with the length of his celibacy. His denial of his basic sexual instincts, both human and vampire, are obviously effecting his emotions. He has been a volcano ready to erupt for decades and it has finally happened."

"Are you going to talk to him first, explain things to him, make him understand what you are doing? I can't bear the thought of either one of you being hurt." Esme's shoulders were shaking.

"Esme, it doesn't work that way. You know that." I wrapped my arms around her, noticing Bella and Alice in the doorway of my study.

"When?" Esme said against my shoulder. She knew we were no longer alone.

"The sooner the better, tonight if he'll go with me."

"Hours later, I caught Edward's scent, heard him come through the front door, and bound up the stairs. He lingered outside my study for a moment, I assume he wanted to apologize, but my thoughts discouraged him. Not now Edward, we'll hunt tonight. Bella needs you.

I did not want to speak to my son; I was still too incensed over the damage done to my father's cross. I knew it wasn't his fault, he couldn't help what he was, but that didn't dispel the lingering resentment I felt over my loss. I knew my reaction and my inability to control it, was my slide into the more animalistic nature of my being. This was to be expected; the event that loomed before me required that I pull from my more feral self, something that I had beat back, held at bay for centuries. Other than when I hunted, I seldom let those instincts rule me. I'd already asked Esme to leave me be. Her soft generous nature would distract me; pull me back to my humanity where reason ruled. This would weaken me against Edward. Now was not the time to rely on my more civilized human instincts.


EPOV

I paused outside my bedroom door, reluctant to face Bella. If I could not explain my behavior to myself, how could I expect Bella to understand? One moment, Carlisle was discussing our move and Bella's change and the next thing I knew, I was throwing his leather chair across the room. It was not the first time I had lost control and tossed a piece of furniture at him, but to respond so violently to an innocent comment by Carlisle, a suggestion that we change her as soon as possible, had been a complete overreaction, even for me. And the worst part, my indiscriminate tossing of the chair had damaged Carlisle's cross.

I knew how much it meant to him, and when I saw it fall into pieces, I'd wanted to run away in shame. I didn't need Jasper's gift to gauge the emotions in the room. Carlisle, shocked and angry, Esme horrified and disappointed and worst of all, Bella afraid, afraid of me. My shame was replaced with rage, and I screamed at Carlisle, blaming him for my unrestrained outburst. My emotions were so out of control that fears for Bella's safety became my family's primary concern. Alice and Jasper were immediately between Bella and I and Emmett was backing me out of the room. It was strongly suggested that I go for the run and return only when I could behave in a civilized manner again.

Even now, I felt a wave of resentment over Carlisle's opinion that Bella needed me. How dare he tell me what Bella needed. I knew what Bella needed, and I didn't need him to dictate his will where she was concerned.

I pushed the door of my room open and saw Bella curled up on our bed, a laptop open in front of her. She glanced at me, her face guarded but otherwise emotionless. I felt annoyed by her reaction. I needed her understanding and love, not her apathy.

"I'm sorry Bella, sorry about my behavior, sorry I scared you. I don't know what is wrong with me." I crossed the room and sat on the bed facing her, my fingers running through my hair. "Please forgive me."

"It's not me you need to apologize too." Her voice was flat. She did not look at me; her eyes didn't leave the laptop screen.

"I know. We are going hunting later, I'll tell him then." I tried to sound contrite, but I must have failed, as Bella looked up at me sharply.

"It's not my fault," I blurted out. Stupid…..stupid, she was glaring at me now.

"And tell me Edward, whose fault is it? Whose fault is it that you threw a hissy fit because Carlisle made a suggestion? Whose fault is it? Is it Carlisle's for trying to do what is right by us? Or maybe it's mine? This is about my change, so does that make it my fault, or perhaps it's Esme's, she was in the room, so by association it could have been her fault."

"No, I don't mean it like that." I'd never seen Bella so angry, angry at me. "I can't control it, I don't know what is wrong with me, I just have all of this resentment, this rage and I can't control it, not as far as Carlisle is concerned. It's like everything he does, is wrong by me, sets me off; I don't know how to explain it."

Bella was still staring at me, her expression had not changed and my arguments were having no impact. I felt a twitch in my cheek.

"Please Bella, please I'm sorry. I'll try harder, I've been so happy. It's just since we've gotten back, I've had a hard time, I don't know why. Maybe it's because this is so new for me, having you with me all the time, I don't know how we fit in here. I want it to be just us, I feel like I have to share you with my family now and I don't want too." I could not find the words to explain to Bella the anxiety and stress that had been growing in me since we returned from our honeymoon. This should have been the happiest time of my life and yet, I felt restless and displaced.

"How can you be jealous of your own family? We live here; do you want me to just stay in this room every day of my life for the rest of eternity?"

"Of course not," I stammered, but in truth the idea held a certain appeal.

"I've been so happy, I don't know why you want to ruin it, I won't let you ruin it." She snapped the laptop shut and climbed off the bed. "Now I'm going down to watch a movie with Alice and Jasper. I think you should stay here and figure out a way to get back into Carlisle's good graces. Maybe he'll forgive you for destroying the one thing that he still has of his father."

Bella left me alone, but I couldn't concentrate on the why anymore, all I could think about was Carlisle. Carlisle, Carlisle, Carlisle. Bella was only worried about Carlisle. My black mood returned. Hunting with Carlisle tonight, would not be pleasurable, for me or him.


CPOV

We ran further than usual for a normal evening hunt. Edward's mood was foul; his time with Bella had not improved it. She had not tried to appease him and this pleased me though it would make my task tonight that much more difficult. Strong minded females in the family were a valuable asset. I never doubted Bella's resilience, bravery or unselfish nature, evidence of her outstanding character had been proven time and again. She would only strengthen us as a family unit. But I had always questioned her ability to control Edward, to stand up to him, to show him that he couldn't take her for granted. Recent events suggested her strength carried over to him as well. As a human, she was more than his equal, as a vampire, she would dominate him.

I stayed behind, but close enough to push him. His competitive nature would drive him on; he would not slow down as long as he felt I was challenging him. This suited me. I was not interested in hunting tonight. I had other business to attend. I could not think about specifics, analyze what I was doing, how I was going to achieve my ultimate objective or how I could maximize my chance of success and minimize my chance of failure. None of these thoughts could even touch on my consciousness, or Edward would hear them, and in his state, it was difficult to know how he would react.

I could not attack Edward directly, could engage him in a face to face battle. I would not be fighting for the kill, only on the defensive and this would be to his advantage. He, on the other hand, after the initial shock, would rise up to the threat, every feral instinct, culminating in that moment, his ultimate goal, to take me down in any way he could. He would finally grasp the nature of his displaced anger and aggression towards me and I would only be viewed as a lethal threat to him and his mate. On the other hand, his speed was a problem. I could not catch him, could not come close to him; I could not attack from the rear. All of this had been analyzed prior to our hunt, now I just reacted, giving no thought to my next action.

I veered to the right abruptly and shot through the woods, propelling myself through the trees in a tremendous burst of speed. Every thought going forward was premeditated. Using my thoughts against Edward was my one significant advantage.

Mountain Lion.

I heard Edward change direction behind me. It was his favorite kill. He would want to take it from me. It wouldn't matter that he couldn't smell it, that it didn't exist, he was only reacting to my thoughts and that was enough.

I must get there before him.

Edward was coming up on me fast. I would not be able to pick my point of attack. Only one opportunity would avail itself to me and I needed to be ready. I could feel the venom pooling in my mouth. Because he couldn't smell his prey, he was relying on me to guide him to it. His competiveness along with his current cantankerous temperament would be his undoing.

He was at my shoulder, running stride for stride with me, his confusion becoming evident. He could not take the lead, if he didn't know the direction of the prey. It had to be now. I slowed just a step, and fell in behind him. Then bursting forward, I leapt. Knowing exactly what I was going to do before I did it, not having to think about it, process it, analyze it, gave me all the advantage I needed. Despite our recent confrontations, Edward was not prepared for an assault from me. He would not have been cognizant that I was even capable of such a thing. It was the ultimate surprise attack.

I took him down in one motion. My arms slid under his and my fingers locked behind his neck. We tumbled onto the ground, toppling end over end eventually grinding to a halt. Unfortunately, I was under him, he was above me, back to me, struggling wildly against my iron grip.

"Carlisle! Have you gone insane? What are you doing? Let me up!" He screamed, bucking wildly against me.

His feet were braced against the ground and he was trying to leverage himself, so he could pull himself to a standing position. I used this to my advantage and thrust myself forward following his motion but not stopping when he was on his feet, driving him face first into the ground.

You will submit.

He was growling, his instincts taking over, verbal communication would not be part of this encounter. We were animals in the truest sense. I concentrated on holding him, refusing to give him the slightest chance to break loose. My growls matched his, my lips vibrating against his ear, he was in an extremely vulnerable position and his attempts to free himself increased exponentially as he realized it.

You will submit.

He roared, the ferociousness of his rage echoing through the forest, his frantic efforts to escape my clutches were bearing results. By lifting his arms over his head, he was able to wiggle down giving himself more latitude to move. I planted my knee between his legs, effectively stopping that progress, but securing him in a vulnerable position was only the first step in this dance.

Submit

"Never," he screamed, wildly flailing against me.

He had no idea what I was actually suggesting and for this I was grateful. His ignorance was my second advantage.

For two hours, I held him firmly, unrelenting in the strength of my grip, as he thrashed and screamed beneath me. I emitted one word in my thoughts, over and over again, submit, submit, submit, but his body never faltered, he never stopped struggling, his teeth constantly mashing together as he tried to get a piece of me. Our bodies were not stationary. We moved across the dense vegetation, uprooting small trees, scattering the wildlife, creating a crater in the soft soil with our frenzied battle.

Eventually I realized we were at a deadlock. I could not release him, knowing he would attack at his first opportunity, yet I could not proceed with what needed to be done, if I could not secure him. I should not have expected anything less of Edward, he was not going to acquiesce without cause, he never had.

Grappling with his arms, I pulled myself firmly against his back, and clamped my teeth on the flesh between his neck and shoulder. He screamed but fought viciously to free himself, not caring that his flesh was tearing under the force of my teeth, the damage from my bite significantly more than I wanted to inflict. Roaring in frustration, I released his shoulder and I went for the kill bite, the one place that a single bite would disable a vampire.

I buried my teeth just under the base of his skull in his neck, clamping down hard enough to secure a hold, but not so hard as to inflict the debilitating injury. And in that moment, all struggles ceased. Instincts drove both of us, and Edward, even if he wasn't consciously thinking about it, understood the significance of that bite. He was the animal held by the neck that played dead in a futile effort to save its life. Growls continued to emanate from him, but they were low, rumbling up from his chest, less an expression of aggression, then a warning. But I was in control now. I no longer needed Edward's cooperation. Venom was dripping from my mouth burning his flesh and for the first time, I felt my arousal. The air was filled with the scent of my lust, and I snarled in anticipation.

Don't move.

Still holding him firmly by the neck, I unlocked my fingers and slid one hand down between us. I could feel him tense as my fingers gripped the waistband of his jeans. With one yank, I ripped the fabric away, exposing him. His growls increased, but I ignored them, my fingers taking more care with the buttons that held my swollen member confined. Slowly I sank back on my heels, pulling him with me, my bite never loosening, it gave me all the control I needed. I no longer gripped his arms, at all, and he used them to push himself up, following me back, being careful to not create any resistance. But the moment he felt my rock hard swollen flesh slide between his legs, he jerked forward, crying out as my teeth dug into his neck, holding him, keeping him from escaping.

Submit.

He obeyed as much as he understood and allowed me to manipulate him in a way that suited me. I immediately slid my hand between us, grabbing my rigid organ in my fist. Venom was flowing from the tip of it, lubricating it and him as I slide between his buttocks, searching for his opening, groaning in anticipation. He surprised me then, jerking forward, the seemingly lifeless animal making one last ditch effort to free itself from the beast, but my teeth were unrelenting, my grip secure, and I easily moved forward pushing him onto the ground, his knees collapsing under my weight, his position ideal for penetration.

I moaned, feeling the heat of his flesh surround me as I slowly eased into him. This act, though sexual in nature was initiated out of the need to dominate. It was the conclusion of a confrontation between coven leader and a challenge to that leadership by a sexually active male. However I couldn't deny the lust I felt when taking another male of my species. This primal reaction was not entirely vampire in nature but the challenge itself was.

My hips pumped rhythmically against him, searching for my release. Though I could not deny the physical pleasure during the act, I wanted it over quickly. I did not relish the idea of hurting anyone I loved, unduly. The act of my penetration was not painful, only dismemberment, decapitation or a bite inflicted any real pain on us, so as my thrusts quickened, seeking my release, I kept my mouth steady, not pulling on the flesh between my teeth. My release was imminent, I could feel it building, Edward must have felt it too; he was rocking his hips back against me, hastening my orgasm. A few primitive grunts escaped my lips as I shot my venom into him.

Edward was still growling softly, though in no way would I read it as aggressive or even hostile, but his carriage was stiff and uncompromising. He certainly didn't display obvious signs of submission. Lingering doubts kept me from withdrawing from him, my male organ, still stiff, though less so, a reminder that he was under my control. I had to release the death hold I had on him to properly gauge his mood, so with some trepidation, I slowly unlocked my jaws. My lips lingered near the wound, first in anticipation that he would whirl and attack, then in a need to heal the injury I created.

Tentatively, my tongue flickered out and I licked at the ragged gash, feeling him shudder against me. I kept my mind devoid of any thoughts, not wanting to compromise my tenuous position as the dominate member of this coupling with second guesses or explanations.

My tender ministering, seemed to have an effect and I felt him relax against me, the rumbling from his chest ceased. Buoyed by his reaction, the flickering of my tongue became more purposeful, and I moved from the healing wound on his neck to the one on his shoulder. The speed of repair was always startling, no sooner did my venom touch his injured flesh, when it started to close up, sealing itself shut.

"Carlisle?" Edward said tentatively.

"Yes," I mumbled, my lips against his damaged shoulder.

"I'm sorry." He sounded ashamed and unsure.

"It's alright Edward, it's not your fault, it's who we are."

"You don't understand. I think…..I think…if I'd have gotten free, I think I could have killed you." He sounded horrified now.

Ahhh, Edward, the most intelligent of my children yet so scantily educated when it came to understanding the beast within us. I suspected that was my fault. Edward always displayed such self loathing for what he was; I spared the truth about the true nature of our kind whenever possible.

"I know, Edward. Why do you think I bit you?" My tongue continued its gentle healing ministering.

"You don't hate me?"

"Of course I don't hate you, I love you. I want you with me forever."

I felt a slight shift in Edward's posture against me. Felt him lean back into me, and the collection of venom in my mouth increased tenfold. Now I smelled his arousal. This wasn't completely unexpected. A willingness to submit to ones coven master often manifested itself into serving as a receptacle for that pleasure. I felt the slight twitch in my loins, felt the hardening of my organ within the walls of Edward's flesh, and fighting the urge to once again bite down, I hide my teeth, letting my tongue and lips caress the now healed injuries, I'd caused.

He sagged forward, burying his face in his arms, arching his back, pushing himself against me, his legs spread offering me full access, a gesture that confirmed he was offering me his complete submission. This time, I did not thrust wildly, wanting to end the act quickly, a means to an end. Instead I moved slowly varying my strokes, measuring Edward's response, wanting him to feel pleasure as I did. His muffled purrs, moans and cries reinforced my own gratification and I marveled at the difference between giving pleasure and simply taking it. I bent over his body, drawing my member almost completely out of him, before gradually descending back into him, my lips in his bronze hair as I whispered his name.

"Carlisle, please," He gasped after a particularly well placed thrust.

"Tell me Edward,"

"I need to…I need you to….." His fingers were tangled in his hair, tugging in rhythm to my thrusts and I knew he was begging for his release, even as he couldn't bring himself to say so.

My hand slid around his waist and found his member, rigidly hard against my palm. I slide my fingers over its head, coating them with his pre-cum, before trailing down the shaft, pumping him in time to my own thrusts.

"Carlisle….. ohhh… Carlisle." He groaned into the ground, his body trembling against me, the venom shooting from his swollen manhood.

My own orgasm was only moments behind and with a few more deep thrusts; I collapsed against him filling him with my fluid for the second time. The tension and dread that had commenced this night, placated with this simple, very human sexual act.


EPOV

We walked for a time through the woods. My jeans, which had been torn off me during Carlisle's initial attack, were tied on me in a makeshift fashion. I felt detached from myself, as if I had left something of me back in the woods. What had just happened? The raging emotions that had been with me at the start of the day were replaced with a ambivalent melancholy. I no longer felt any of the displaced anger towards Carlisle that had dominated my thought's in the weeks since the return from my honeymoon. Gone was the need to argue with him about inconsequential things, challenge him on his opinions, or quarrel with him over simple day to day decisions. I felt somehow at peace, yet empty at the same time.

Edward, are you alright?

I nodded, unsure how I was feeling. "I'm just confused, I don't know what's wrong with me, why I behaved the way I did, and why all of that…..that anger is suddenly gone."

You aren't unique, Edward. Both Jasper and Emmett went through the same thing. Don't you remember?

I stopped walking and Carlisle stopped too. "No." I said confused. How was it possible that I couldn't remember?

"Forgive me. I think that is my fault. I've kept you too sheltered in the ways of our kind and only told you things you needed to know. Though I am surprised you didn't pick anything up from your brothers' thoughts." He started trotting. "Let's hunt, and I'll remember for you."

In Carlisle's mind, I saw Emmett. We were still in Appalachia, Carlisle's memories showed Emmett's unprovoked rage over some inauspicious comment from Carlisle about staying away from humans. That led to a confrontation in the woods which ended with a completely naked Emmett meekly submitting under Carlisle's thrusting body.

"Why was Emmett nude?" I found the memory unsettling, though there seemed to be little violence in Carlisle's actions.

"Did you not notice, I was nude too." Carlisle smiled. "I was worried about Emmett, he was so big and strong, he wasn't a newborn any more but he was still stronger than me. I suggested we go for a swim. I took him on the bank of the river."

"And…..and…..how was that? How did you manage to contain him?"

"It was surprisingly easy. Emmett never really meant to challenge me, he never wanted to lead a coven and he's naturally good natured, so his rages were never too violent. It was only his instincts that drove him and once he saw that I wouldn't relinquish anything to him, he submitted immediately."

"Unlike me," I said miserably, surprised when I heard Carlisle chuckle.

"Edward, I never expected you to be easy. There is nothing in your history that suggested you would be. You, unlike Emmett, do have leadership qualities. You could have your own coven or lead this coven if something happened to me."

"I would never want that." I said furiously, like a petulant child.

"A few hours ago, I'm sure your response would have been much different, but don't worry yourself son. I don't plan on going anywhere, and unlike the Volturi, I won't let my family leave me. " He chuckled again.

"What about Jasper?"

"Well, Jasper was different then Emmett. Jasper came in knowing exactly how hierarchies within covens worked. He was surprised to see Emmett and you coexisting with each other and me. The size of our coven was an anomaly in itself. Jasper's challenge was less a possibility of becoming master, and more a test of my strength. His biggest concern was Alice and keeping her safe. A weak leader would put his mate in peril, especially with so many other males around. Once he was satisfied that I was worthy of his respect, he had no trouble, submitting to me."

"So you just had to talk with him, make him see that you had control."

"No, Edward, it doesn't work that way." A perceptible shift in Carlisle's movements suggested he'd picked up the scent of something. "Ultimately, I had to take control of Jasper, dominate him in the physical sense; it's our way. Why do you think I didn't explain all of this too you before we hunted tonight? Animals don't explain their actions before they do something, and first and foremost we are animals. We are ruled by our instincts. Setting up large covens, living in houses, interacting with each other as a family, all of this is a contrived effort to hold onto our humanity, but we will always be ruled by our instincts. "

"So I've been right all along." I stopped running and Carlisle was immediately at my side.

"No son, you think of us as monsters, we are not monsters. We may be more connected than humans to our instinctual nature, but that does not make us monsters."

I was not convinced, but it was an old discussion, and I was more interested in hearing more about Jasper. "So what of Jasper, did you fight him?"

"Yes. I felt his weakness was his hesitance. He had been with us less than a year and he didn't want to displace Alice. Remember, Alice had actively sought us out; she wanted to be part of this family. But Jasper's instincts were finely honed. They'd served him well, kept him alive, and they were driving him to challenge me. If he could take me then he was in a better position to protect the coven, and ultimately his mate."

I saw Carlisle's memories of him and Jasper circling each other. Saw Carlisle grab his neck, take him down, cringed as he flipped Jasper on his stomach and deftly removed his trousers, taking him in a similar but less violent prelude to my own experience.

"He didn't fight you." A statement rather than a question. The proof was in the memories.

"No, not really, not like you. Of course the battle went on much longer than what I showed you, but once I had him down, he was ready. He didn't want to beat me, didn't want to disturb the family. He knew it would upset Alice, and his mate came first.

"So it was only I that wanted to destroy you, ruin our family and everything you've built. I didn't care enough about anyone including my mate, to stop myself." My voice broke. I was evil.

"Edward, what propelled you to challenge me is proof enough that you do care. Do not criticize yourself for your vampire instincts. You are responding exactly as I would expect you too given your intelligence, your strength, your love for your mate, and your concern for your family. You cannot compare Jasper's intentions with yours. And always remember that both Emmett and Jasper could have injured or killed me if I had not brought with me my centuries of experience. The entire point of their challenge was to test for my weaknesses. I had to prove myself worthy of their loyalty. My memories might not convey the violence that made up those encounters, but never doubt it was brutal. Yes you were my most formable opponent, but that was to be expected as you are my most worthy adversary. You, much more so than the others, are my progeny, my heir.

Before I could protest, Carlisle held up his hand. "Enough Edward. We have plenty of time to debate this and for a change it may not have anything to do with whether or not you have a soul." He smiled.

Now let's hunt.

I welcomed the opportunity to obey him.

Carlisle had picked up the scent of a large group of deer and we were upon them in minutes Over the years, my family was resigned to letting me lead, I was the fastest which also meant I would reach our prey first and take the choicest kill. But I felt out of sorts, unable to focus on the hunt and I did not take my usual spot out front.

The herd of deer did not break until we were almost upon them. Carlisle, who never glorified his kills, took down the closest animal too him without sizing up the herd. I, on the other hand, ran on, scattering them, searching for the biggest, the strongest, the one with the most fight, and immediately found him. Once he was in my sights, there was no chance of escape; the buck was doomed before I touched him.

As I held the struggling animal, preparing to bite, I heard Carlisle stealthily approach through the trees, he had fed quickly and was closing in fast. I usually didn't feel the need to defend my kill, around Carlisle as I might with my brothers. But this night, with my memories so fresh, I suddenly felt defensive and protective, and I dragged the two hundred pound animal towards the trees. I heard Carlisle's low growl before I saw him, and I froze, he was just yards from me, crouched and ready to spring.

A hiss escaped my lips, as I hovered protectively over the struggling deer, my hand locked around its throat, a knee against its ribcage keeping it from fleeing.

"Mine." The predator in front of me snarled, his posture shifting, advancing.

"I could smell him then, the musty odor of his lust. It had shocked me earlier in the evening, confused me, I'd only associated that smell on him in the past with Esme, hadn't realized it conveyed more than just sexual desire. Now I knew it for what it was; if power and control had an odor, this was it. I felt myself responding to it, my resolve weakening; my instinctual need to protect my kill evaporating. I had no will to resist him, could not fight him, and had no desire to. My combative emotions were replaced with a desire to please, a need for approval, an over powering urge to submit.

Mine.

The beast in front of me had risen from his crouch and was standing over me his growls radiating off of him. My head drooped; I withered under his powerful gaze, a whine escaping my lips. The power of these new emotions left me weak-kneed. Everything that I perceived to be strong about myself, was buried under a rush of new, unfamiliar emotions, that contradicted everything I'd felt in the past. I felt no desire to fight, to protect what was mine, to hide my weaknesses against a more formable opponent. Quite the opposite, I felt a burning need to yield under his gaze, surrender to his desires, bend to his will and show that I could capitulate to his whims.

Abruptly I was lifted up and thrown aside. The frantic deer had no chance to bolt; Carlisle had him down an instant later, his mouth fixed over the artery in its neck, sucking the fresh flow of blood. He'd dropped to his knees to feed, but his eyes never left me as I lay where he tossed me some twenty feet away. His arousal was still quite evident, and I had all I could do to break away from his overpowering scent, and run after the herd that had scattered in all directions. I found another deer quickly enough, this one, a yearling buck, scarcely half the size of the other, but venom was pooling in my mouth, I needed to feed.

Mine.

This time I didn't need to evaluate the source of the growl or contemplate the musty odor that accompanied the soft predatory footsteps, as they moved towards me. A soft growl rumbled from my chest, a growl of submission and I surrendered my position over the animal at my feet, backing off quickly watching my master feed.

As before, his eyes bore into mine as he drained the young buck. Despite feeding multiple times, they were still black as coal, no hint of ochre touching the irises. I found I could not hold his gaze, my eyes darting away, smelling the air, trying to disregard his powerful scent, trying to concentrate on finding something to feed on. I ran again, the burn in my throat, unusually strong. I had not started this night unduly hungry but now my thirst was all I could think about. Another deer, maybe two were in front of me, and as Carlisle always did, I took down the closest one, not concerning myself with its size or strength and as with the others, just as I pulled the animal to me, he was there.

"Mine."

Oddly, despite the uncontrollable desire to feed, I felt no discontent, no resentment, and above all else, no anger at his presence. Instead, I grappled with the deer, lifting it in my arms, its struggling warm body, arousing my thirst even more; and carried it to where I knew he was waiting; it seemed for me to do this very thing. As I held the animal to him, my eyes looking everywhere but into his, I sensed a change in the highly charged atmosphere, a dispersing of the musky odor, an easing of my frazzled emotions.

"Yours." He whispered, showing no sign of the growling beast he was just seconds before.

It was all I needed. I fell to my knees in front of him, the small doe under me, my lips seeking out the hot spot on its neck, feeling the flow of the sweet blood rolling across my tongue, a weak sigh of relief escaping my bloodied lips. As I drained the animal, pulling at its neck, forcing every last drop from its twitching body, it occurred to me that I had not backed away from Carlisle, in an attempted to protect my kill as I fed. In fact, I was at his feet, completely exposed and I realized that it didn't matter. Carlisle could take whatever he wanted from me, when he wanted it. I would never have to defend my position with him again.


CPOV

We walked home slowly, for us. I sensed Edward had questions, many questions and I wanted to give him time to compose himself and find the words to ask them. It had been a spontaneous decision to test Edward with the deer. I had not been entirely confident that he understood his new role in our family or that he would back down if I demanded it. Besides mating, there was nothing more instinctual than hunting so testing his level of submissiveness when his instincts to protect would be at their most dominate, gave me the opportunity to view his level of passivity at our most feral moment. I found his behavior reasonable in face of the bewildering feelings he had to be dealing with. The final potential obstacle was before us. Would the males in the house accept his conformity within our pack?

"Carlisle, can I ask you something?"

"Yes, Edward."

"How do other covens work? Is it the same everywhere? Does everyone follow the same rules?"

"I'm not sure I understand what you mean. There are no written rules, only instincts that dictate our behavior."

"Well, for example, Denali, how does it work for them?"

"Ahhhh, yes it would be easier to discuss specifics." I smiled as I thought of Eleazar's envious position within a coven of women. "They are different because they are led by females and Eleazar is the only male. Tanya, Kate and Irina share coven leadership. Because they are female this is possible. Females are not nearly as territorial as males, and are less driven by their instincts, more able to make decisions based on what is best for the coven as a whole. Females well formidable in battle, do not rule by domination. Eleazar and Carmen came later. As the only male, he is not challenged for position within the family. Their living arrangement is much less explosive than ours."

"What if Eleazar wanted to take over the coven?" Edward asked enthralled. This new information about vampirism after decades of thinking he understood everything was reviving his spirits.

"Seldom does a male challenge a female for leadership of a coven. The reason most covens are formed is to accommodate the needs of females. If a male takes over a coven, the females will just leave and form another, which defeats the whole purpose. Only if a male takes the leader as a mate, would he naturally proceed to coven leader, and even then, it may not happen. In Eleazar's case, he would have to defeat all three sisters in order to become coven leader. Impossible."

"What about the Volturi?"

"Another unique situation," I said smiling. The house was within view and I started to jog anxious to get home to Esme, I knew she would be in a panic; dawn was approaching, the sky was just starting to turn pink.

"To have males share leadership responsibilities within a coven is highly unusual. It goes against our nature. I've never seen two much less three males share leadership responsibilities. Their bond was established long before I was acquainted with them, several centuries before, so I'm not sure how it came into fruition. I suspect it helped that they were all mated at the time. Once Marcus lost his mate his responsibilities diminished. He does not hold the power of his brothers but because their unique bond works, they wouldn't think to push him out." I paused glancing at Edward. I could see he was bursting with questions.

"But what of the Guard? How do they control them? Keep them from fighting amongst themselves?"

"Various methods. Seldom do the brothers engage directly with the guard as I did with you. It's too dangerous. "I saw Edward cringe, apparently remembering his own violent feelings towards me. "The biggest form of control is quite simply death. Because of the size of the coven they will not tolerate, unruly disobedient, defiant behavior and will quickly dispose of any troublemakers."

"But Carlisle, I thought you said it was instinctual. If they can't help themselves….."

"I'm afraid that the Vulturi brothers are not very understanding. Unless one is extremely gifted, they don't waste their time with insubordinate vampires. They expect obedience above all else. Death might not be the only method they use to ensure it, but it's the most effective."

"What other methods do they use?"

I sighed. Edward would want to know every detail and once he had secured all the information he could from me, he would use it to berate himself for his own shortcomings. And before this night was out, he would quite possibly come to the conclusion that he was responsible for some vampire's death in Volturi during his brief visit there.

"No more tonight, Edward. We need to get back. Esme must be frantic with worry."

"Worried about you." The shame in his voice was perceptible.

"Worried about both of us." We reached the river and I prepared to jump.

"I'm going to swim across."

No Edward.

He looked at me sharply. I knew he wanted to wash away the odors that lingered on him, but that would not do, his brothers needed proof of my authority over him, and confidence that I could make him submit to my will.

I could see the confusion on his face, but whatever awaited him at the house, he would obey without question. We easily scaled the river and approached the house just as the sun was peeking through the trees. I could hear the rhythmic beating of Bella's heart, slow and steady. She was asleep. This was one issue I would not need to worry about. Bella's humanity would not allow her to understand what would transpire next.

"Edward, your brothers are going to approach you as a threat. I need you to stand your ground, but you must not react, do you understand. You must not act aggressively no matter what happens." My voice was low, for Edward's ears only.

The tension in Edward's body was obvious. "What will happen?"

"Nothing, if you do I as I say." My face was grim; this night could still turn into a disaster. "I expect you to do as I say."

He nodded, head bowed, ready to accept whatever punishment he perceived his brothers were about to dispense. "I'm afraid."

Edward, don't be afraid, no one is going to hurt you. It tore at my dead heart to smell his fear. He was still after all, a seventeen year old boy.

"You don't know that."

Oh but I do, being the leader of this coven has its advantages. I grinned, winked, and led the way into the house. I didn't remind him that he had participated in this same formal reintroduction to the family with both Emmett and Jasper, but being a non sexual being at the time, he had not recognized anything significant about it.

They were waiting, my family, not in a procession at the front door, but scattered around the lower level of the house. There would be no happy greetings, no emotional expressions of relief or concern, nothing that resembled the usual giddy household commotion when seven strong willed adults congregated together. The house was silent, the vampires as still as sculptures, they might as well have been part of the works of art that Esme collected, for all their animation.

Edward came in behind me, his bewilderment clear on his face. I motioned for him to stand where he was. Unless something happened and an escalation of tensions occurred, my duty to my family was over. I walked past my mate without looking at her and waited near the foot of the stairs. Esme's face was expressionless as she moved to follow. She hesitated near Edward, he tensed visibly as she lingered, I could hear the low warning growl of Jasper who moved forward. Edward froze, and did not react again to Esme's hovering. She sniffed the air, then moved past him and joined me at my side.

In a choreographed approach, Alice and Rosalie repeated Esme's inspection, smelling the scents wafting off Edward. He remained frozen; his compliance was the only thing that kept Jasper and Emmett from moving in to protect their mates from an impending attack. Had Bella been changed, she too would have mimicked the actions of her sisters. As a human, her sense of smell would have revealed nothing and the primitive nature of this ritual would have only confused and frightened her.

Satisfied that Edward no longer posed a threat to them, the females wandered back to the sides of their mates, there was no tension in their movements, and though I frowned visibly at her, Alice's lips were parted in a smile.

Emmett, never one for formalities, managed to maintain at least a semblance of protocol as he moved towards Edward. He stopped short next to Edward's shoulder, towering over him, daring him to move, challenging him, domination clear in the very outline of his posture.

Don't move son, don't move. I held my breath waiting. I hadn't intended on communicating my thoughts to Edward, but I knew he heard me, as his eyes flickered at me pleading with me to call off his brother, something I could not do.

Emmett sucked in a few deep breaths, waited for any reaction from Edward that might suggest aggression, finding none, he casually moved to Rosalie's side, nudging his face in her neck, filling his nostrils with his mate's scent, wanting to purge Edward's odor from his memories, I suspect because they reminded him of my domination over him.

Only Jasper remained. I held my breath watching him move across the room towards Edward. The tension in the room could be cut with a knife. Jasper as a predator, as a warrior, as a killer was without equal. His experience as a fighter and his abilities to control the emotions of those around him made him an invaluable member of this family. Edward, on the other hand, with his powerful mind reading abilities, his immaculate control of his bloodlust, his intelligence, brought his own set of strengths. They were equals in so many ways which ultimately created conflict. Now that Edward had a mate and was sexually active, it would be unlikely that they could co-exist as equals any more. A reckoning was coming, a hierarchy within the coven would need to be established and it would not be something I could dictate based on my own personal preferences.

As with Emmett, Jasper assumed a dominating posture. He moved uncomfortably close to Edward, waiting for that flinch, that growl anything that might indicate a challenge or in the unlikely case, submission, from Edward.

You must not react, Edward, no matter what he does, no matter what is in his thoughts.

Again, I interfered with this process, using my own thoughts, as I had no wish to see this situation escalate. Edward's eyes were on me, trying to focus only on me. A confrontation between the two was inevitable. It was reasonable for Jasper to assert his dominance when Edward was in a susceptible frame of mind, still reeling from my assault on him. I felt the need to protect him as much as I could. But I could not protect him if he rose to Jasper's challenge, at least not without losing credibility amongst my family.

Jasper's nostrils flared as he sniffed the air. My scent was embedded in Edward's flesh and as with Emmett, this would ease Jasper's protective anxieties over the safety of his mate. It should have stopped there. Edward had not moved, made no sound; he was standing for inspection as he had with all the others. But then, as I feared, Jasper's grasp of the weakness of his rival became apparent.

He threw back his head opened his mouth, his tongue flickering out, his lips quivered, his jaw moved, he was tasting the air using my musky scent to fuel his own need. I could smell the lust radiate off of him, saw the startled reaction of the rest of the family as they caught the odor too, and then to my horror, realized that his gift was generating the same reaction in the rest of the family. My eyes locked on Emmett, he was turning from his mate, his eyes narrowing, turning predatory, his tongue, flickering out of his mouth as he too sought to taste the tantalizing scent that permeated the room.

Edward remained frozen, but I could see the slight shift in his stance. He was ready to go into a defensive mode. He would see the thoughts of his brothers, would recognize the danger. If he ran, their prey drive would kick in and they would take him down and if he fought them, they could easily destroy him.

Edward, you must not move. I will protect you.

I felt Esme's hand tighten around my forearm. She could not help me, Alice and Rosalie would not, their thoughts were on their mates, their own arousal not manifested in violence but rather a need to couple.

Jasper was as close to Edward as he could get without touching him. Edward stared straight ahead at the wall, as Jasper moved around him, behind him. I shifted my focus to concentrate only on Emmett who was inching forward out of Rosalie's grasp. Disengaging myself from Esme's frantic grip, I moved across the floor to my giant of a son, he was so fixated on Edward and Jasper, he did not notice me until a long protracted growl escaped my lips, then only a brief flicker of resignation touched his face and he stopped his forward progress.

My lips folded back from my teeth, as my growling intensified and my body tensed as I readied to spring. I had Emmett's full attention now, he hissed at me, crouching, but in a defensive manner, as I suspected, he would not challenge my authority.

"Leave!" The word escaped my lips as a snarl and I continued to advance on him.

I paid no attention to Rosalie's warning hiss as she moved forward to protect her mate. She would not attack me, her reaction was entirely instinctual. But her presence helped Emmett concede, and he immediately straightened up and backed away, not willing to turn his unprotected back on me as he exited the room with Rosalie's help.

Jasper had been paying no attention to me too caught up in his yearning to change the dynamics of his status within the family. The effect on Edward's psyche was taking its toll. His shoulders had lost their rigidity, he was starting to crumble. I could choose to let this confrontation carry on to its natural conclusion, but the outcome was obvious. Jasper would take Edward. I had no strong feelings against this; Jasper was more than a worthy Beta to my Alpha. But I had, perhaps in a moment of weakness, given my word to Edward that I would protect him. Besides, if, there was to be a battle for position within the coven I wanted it to be when Edward was at his strongest. I owed it to my family.

Controlling my own feelings of lust brought on my Jasper's overpowering need, I moved towards them, my growls, though less aggressive, still implying at the hostility that lurked beneath.

"Jasper, now is not the time for this." I whispered evenly.

"It's the perfect time," he replied, his voice breathless. And he was right, for him, it was the perfect time.

"No Jasper," I growled louder, baring my teeth. "He's mine. Mine! " Claiming Edward might be the only way to stop this.

"But, you've had him." Jasper sounded confused, he stepped back, only slightly, his eyes turning to meet mine.

"And I'll have him again," I knew Jasper could smell it on me, my craving, my need. He would not need further confirmation of my desire.

His eyes flickered, he could not hold my gaze, and he took another step back as I slowly eased between him and Edward. The venom was pooling in my mouth and I did not try and swallow it, rather letting it ooze from between my bared teeth. Edward was wavering behind me, ready to submit to me again, if I gave the signal.

"I misunderstood, I smell you on him. I thought it was over." Jasper's ramblings confirmed that I'd broken his fixation on Edward. His eyes no longer held the glazed look of a beast controlled by instinct, he'd come back to the man he was. Alice was behind him pulling him too her. She would take control of her mate now.

"Go Jasper, you can resume this at another time." My growls ended abruptly, I too was back to my more civilized self.

He nodded, sent Edward a conciliatory look and too his credit, turned his back on me, and walked with Alice out the door.

I sighed with relief, it was over. The strong scents in the room suddenly abated, the challenges of the night confronted or pushed aside, but in either case, they would not be resumed anytime soon.

Are you all right, son? I turned to face Edward, who had not moved. His back was too me, his shoulders sagging in defeat.

He nodded his head slightly. "Can I go to Bella now? I think she's waking up."

"Of course you can. We'll talk later." I placed a hand on his shoulder.

Esme was in front of him, touching his hair, leaning forward to kiss the top of his head. "It will be better now Edward, you'll see."

He nodded his head again, touching her face as he moved by her towards the stairs. He looked exhausted if that was possible.

And Edward, make sure you take a shower before you come back down. The scent would continue to provoke Jasper and Emmett until he cleansed himself.

"I will."

I turned to my wife, kissing her full on the lips, feeling her relief as she melted into me.

"Carlisle?" I heard my son's voice call from the top of the stairs.

"Yes Edward."

"I think you were right, we should change Bella as soon as possible."

"Very good, son. Let me know when you decide."

"And Carlisle?"

"Yes, son."

"I'd like to help you try and fix the cross, if that would be okay."

"Of course Edward. I'd like that very much."


Later that day, as we laid next to each other on the bed, my lust thoroughly spent, I gripped my wife's hand in mine and rolled on my side so I could stare into her face.

"Esme?"

"What is it darling?" She said in a relaxed contented voice.

"Esme you must promise me something," Gripping her hand firmly, almost desperately, I leaned in closer to her.

"Anything Carlisle." Worry had crept into her voice.

"You must promise me that you will never again, let me bring another male into this house. Females, yes, I'll give you all the daughters you want, but no more sons, Esme, please promise me."

Her peels of laughter rung like bells in my ears, and she playfully thumped me on the top of my head before kissing me hungrily, showing her desire had not completely abated. And as I took my wife again, delighting in her cries of pleasure, I realized that she hadn't promised me anything. She'd distracted me instead. Esme always did love her boys.


Author Notes:

A Edward/Jasper appears to be the next logical one shot.