Chapter Twenty-Four—The Secretary of Magic and The Imprisonment.
The weather in Washington D.C was cool and dreary; the daylight was hidden behind an opaque veil of smoky grey clouds. For most people of Washington D.C., it was just another dreary November day; but for some people, Fitzwilliam Tanner in particular, they acknowledged the dark veil of smoky clouds with caution. The clouds, for the people of the Department of Magic, symbolized the commencing of danger. For the world was now in grave peril. It was dark times now—very dark times.
When the clock struck noon, The Secretary of Magic licked his lip with nervous apprehension, his eyes straying away from the moving photograph framed on his desk, to glance at the chiming clock centred to the west of the spacious room. The clock made several more noises of distraction, until finally, the chiming ended and the Secretary's eyes moved to the closed door of his office. In any minute, his mousy assistant will announce the presence of his expected visitor's arrival and then, subsequently, the solemn face of the President of America will step through that very door, flanked by two suited emotionless-faced men.
Yet the seconds ticked by and the announcement of the President's arrival had not come. The hands of the grandfather clock passed noon and the Secretary's anxiety was reaching its limits. Catherine had scheduled the appointment for the right time, hadn't she? The Secretary wondered, but then quickly brushed the thought off. Of course she had—ten years into being his assistant, Catherine had shown nothing but competence for her work. She was a good assistant, which surely meant that his visitor was merely caught up in . . . what was that Muggle word? Road traffic? Yes, indeed, that was it.
When ten minutes had passed since the clock struck 12, the Secretary brushed away the raising beads of sweat on his upper lip, nervously licked at his lips again, and darted his brown eyes between the clock and the closed door. But then, finally, Catherine's call came: "The President for you, sir." The Secretary stifled a sigh of relief, standing from his desk chair, apprehensively straightening his maroon robes before the door opened and in came the President of the United States—just as he had envisioned, flanked by two suited-up men.
"Secretary Tanner." The President said with a tone of authority, holding out his hand.
The Secretary eagerly went to meet the President's hand, grasping it firmly in his own and shook it. The handshake lasted mere seconds—until the sound of the door closing was heard. Catherine had gone. "Please, take a seat, sir." Secretary Tanner gestured to the seat of which sat behind the desk. The President complied and Secretary skittishly moved around the desk, and placed himself in the desk-chair he had once waited upon. "I thank you graciously for agreeing to this meeting."
The President looked at the Secretary in scrupulous scepticism. "I admit . . . I didn't expect this. This out of the blue meeting leads me to believe you are not updating me on the magical community's well-fair properly." Secretary Tanner shifted in his seat and the President narrowed his eyes. "Is there something I should know, Secretary Tanner?"
Secretary quickly licked his lips. "Yes, as a matter of fact, there is." Secretary hastily spoke. "Are you aware of the strange . . . incidents happening in Britain in this current momentum of time?"
The President nodded conscientiously. "I am aware." He muttered. "I assumed it had something to do with the magical community."
"Right you are, sir, right you are." The Secretary quickly interjected. "You see, Mr. President, as of late there has been some dangerous disruptions from the magical community. A dark wizard has risen again—an old, powerful, dark wizard—and is beginning to construct evil not only to those of magic . . . but those who are Muggle—like you, sir."
"I see." The President said. "And what are this dark wizard's intentions?"
The Secretary inhaled deeply. "To reveal the secrecy of magic and make those who are of magical blood inferior to those who are not." The President's face became hard. "The dark wizard keeps his evils in the confinements of Britain—for now—but I am lead to believe that the dark wizard begins to expand his power . . . and I have reasons to believe that America will be the next country he will infiltrate once he succeeds with Britain." The Secretary gravely spoke. "That is why I have brought you here today—why I have made this meeting—to inform you of the danger which could spread to our soil."
A flicker of fear passed through the President's eyes before the cool and professional façade had returned. He curtly jutted his chin in a solemn nod. "We will make plans—plans to protect this country from henceforth. You must tell me everything you know of this dark wizard, Secretary." He commanded the Secretary with a dominant eye.
Secretary Tanner hesitated. "Y-Yes, indeed I must, but there is something else . . . another matter at hand." The President's eyebrow rose. "I suppose you remember of the other creatures, other than the magical community, that you have been informed of?"
"And which creature do you speak of?"
"The . . . The vampires, sir." Secretary hesitantly said. The President stared at him, as silent urging to continue whatever point he was trying to prove. "I believe that the dark wizard has managed to recruit some vampires from America—one in particular—and I also believe this vampire has been given the instruction to create a vampire army." The President watched as the Secretary picked up the newspaper from his smooth mahogany desk surface and outstretches his hand to the President. The President takes the newspaper from his hand, unfolding it, reading the front page.
MULTIPLE MURDERS THROUGHOUT SEATTLE—AUTHORITIES BELIEVE MASS MURDER
"And how do you know—Secretary Tanner—that this is a vampire causing these deaths and not just, as the newspaper says, a mass murderer?" The President tested.
The Secretary licked is lips. "If you were to turn to page 2, then you will see the paragraph I have circled; it talks of not just of the murders, but also the people who are reported missing." The Secretary nodded towards the paper, as The President opened it up to the second page and froze his eyes on the circled paragraph in maroon ink. "I sent some of my employers—experienced in this matter of business—to check out what we're dealing with just two days ago. It's the start of a vampire army."
"And you are certain this dark wizard's behind all this?" The Secretary nodded adamantly and The President sighed. "What shall we do?"
The Secretary inhaled. "I have already sent two undercover Aurors on the problem. They will be observing the situation—seeing what we're dealing with. I should hear back from them in the next few days." The Secretary spared glance towards the framed photograph on his desk with a perturbed look on his face—the pretty dark-haired, pale-faced girl in the picture smiled and waved at the Secretary happily—before looking back at The President. "I have faith in them both. You should too, sir."
The President slowly nodded. "Now . . . tell me everything you know about this dark wizard, Secretary, and don't leave anything out."
Bella slowly felt herself being peeled out of the darkness that had draped over her. Before then, it almost felt like she had been floating in an empty, cold abyss of darkness. As her senses returned and she began to get a sense of reckoning again, she began to struggle to remember what happened to her. She remembered Ron, the Apparation to the funeral . . . the speech; she remembered feeling a sharp sense of nerves—like she was facing something or someone—and then it was darkness. It was like someone had knocked her out or something.
The first thing Bella noticed of her surroundings was that she was on a dusty floor. She could feel the dirt sticking to her face, scraping and clinging to the skin of her right arm of which she lay upon. She lay on one side of her body—her right side—with her legs bent at the knees. It was when she became aware of her limbs that she realized her wrists were attached. Coarse, cord rope was wrapped tightly around her wrist—and her ankles too, she later acknowledged.
Her mind quickly began to assume the worst. She had been captured at the funeral. But by who? A chill shuddered down Bella's spine when she thought that a Death Eater had captured her. What if Draco had remembered? What if he told another Death Eater and they had come to capture her? And what of Ron—had they captured him too? A hard lump of fear began to rise and enlarge in her throat at the thought of her friend being caught too.
It was her fault. She was the one who brought them here to Forks. She was stupid to think they wouldn't look in the most obvious places.
Her fearful thoughts were momentarily placed on pause at the sound of a familiar voice. "Bella?" the voice lowly hissed. It was Ron. Bella's eyes snapped open at the sound, only to be snapped back closed when the stream of bright sunlight burned her eyes. "Bella—are you awake?" Ron's voice returned. This time Bella slowly opened her eyes, squinting as everything gradually came back to clarity. She realized, when everything focused, that the light was coming from the small window at the top of the wooden red wall opposite her. She then turned towards the direction of Ron's voice.
"Ron?" Bella cracked. Her voice was surprisingly sore. As she searched for Ron, she found him not a foot or two from her, in a similar position to her—like her, his wrists and ankles were bound, but he was also tied around the chest to what Bella could only assume was some sort of engine? The first thing she noticed was that he seemed OK—pale and coated in dust, but OK. "Ron . . ."
"You're awake—good. We need to figure a way out of this place." Ron muttered lowly, making a habit of tugging at the ropes coiled around his wrists.
Bella swallowed and looked around her. "Where are we—what happened?"
Ron exhaled deeply, looking up at her with his cautious blue eyes. "You remember the man in the wheel chair at the funeral?" The man in the wheel chair? "He was middle-aged, black hair, Native American—he seemed to know you pretty well. He knew who you were—he knew you were Bella Swan." Ron worriedly said. Bella's eyes widened in remembrance: Billy. She thought aloud. Ron nodded with his shrug. "Yeah, that's his name. Well . . . there's no lighter way of putting this, but then, well, he kidnapped us."
"What?" Bella screeched, struggling to believe someone like Billy Black was capable of kidnapping. He had to be wrong.
Ron nodded again. "It's true. Some weird henchmen of his crept up on us and put this damp cloth to our mouths." Ron's nose scrunched up as he remembering the damp cloth being pressed to his mouth, his nose being tightly clasped nose, and inhaling into the dampness of the cloth.
"Chloroform." Bella confirmed. "Why in the name of Merlin would Billy chloroform us then kidnap us?" it didn't make sense. No-one of this was making sense; perhaps she was dreaming—perhaps she'll awake up any minute now and realize she and Ron had yet to arrive at the funeral, and the Denalis had yet to leave the Cullen residence. She hoped for that scenario greatly.
Ron hesitated; he turned his head, a perturbed look radiating from his eyes, making Bella realize that Ron was holding back more than he was saying. "From what I've gathered from those pig-head thugs of his, he was angry, Bella—with you."
Bella shook her head incredulously. "What? Impossible. Billy . . . why would he . . .None of this makes sense." Bella struggled to make sense of it all, let alone her own words. "What have I done that Billy was so mad about, he had us chloroformed and tied up?" once again the perturbed look in Ron's face reappeared. Bella felt herself irritated by Ron's reluctance. "Ron." Bella firmly said. Ron looked up at her with wide eyes. "What do you know, Ron? What have you found out?"
"Well, a while before you woke up, I tried to find a way out of here, but a guy—one of the guy's that was with Billy at the funeral—he heard me trying to escape. He tied me up again and he . . . he said something."-Ron sucked in a deep preparing breath-"That man you know—Billy—he . . . he knows what we are. He knows about our magic. He took our wands." Ron swallowed. Bella knew there was more. "A-and he think-thinks you killed Charlie. The man's mad, Bella—I think . . . I think he wants revenge."
Bella's insides went cold as ice.
This still didn't make any sense. How could Billy of all people think she would kill Charlie? How?
"You think we should have left Irina's arm at the Cullens place?" Kate scrunched up her nose as the four of them slowed down from their inhuman speed. "I mean it's a big disgusting—what if someone came across it?" Kate snickered at the thought of Bella's freckled friend walking into the kitchen to find a dismantled arm in an ice-box. As if reading her thoughts, Tanya from beside her nudged her and gave her a warning look. Kate merely rolled her eyes and looked away. "Whatever—I was just wondering."
They continued their steady run through the Forks' forest. They were only a few miles south from Forks, searching for any sign of Irina's scent. They figured that if Irina would have escaped, she would have decided to run south away from the border; none of them could imagine Irina returning to their residence in Denali they had in the state that she was in. They figured she'd go further into the states down South or head east, keeping in the cooler regions.
After a steady run through the forest for several minutes in silent, Eleazar and Carmen re-joined them.
Eleazar shook his head and Carmen spoke: "None." Carmen said, in her Spanish drawl. Her face was frowning with worry, making her beautiful face look much older than it truly was. "Maybe we should start heading back to Forks and head east—we might have better luck there." Tanya and Kate both nodded in agreement. Tanya nor Kate have found one ounce of clues since leaving the Cullens residence.
"Hold on," Kate said holding up a finger and then suddenly she disappeared. With the look on her face, Tanya felt a spur of hope running through her and followed quickly being Kate who was flashing through the forest. Carmen and Eleazar shared one look before following after Tanya, curious to see what Kate had found. They followed each other in a zig-zagging line, Kate a few miles ahead, following each other's scent and the flashes of their hair in the distance before they disappeared.
"What have you found?" Tanya called through the forest, her excitement buzzing, when suddenly she saw Kate pounce. "Kate!" Tanya sped up her movements, only to come to a halting stop when she saw what Kate had been running for. She groaned. "You were hunting?" Tanya groaned in annoyance. "Why couldn't you just tell us so before you ran off?" Tanya put her hands on her hips as she watched Kate drink the deer dry.
Carmen and Eleazar appeared at Tanya's side and looked down at Kate. Kate jumped to her feet and tossed the carcass aside. "Well I couldn't scare the deer off, could I? I almost lost it when you starting calling for me!" Kate said, putting her own hands on her hips, and sniffed sternly. Tanya opened her mouth to retort when Kate suddenly froze and held up her finger for the second time. "Do you smell that?"
Tanya rolled her eyes. "Another deer, I presume? Or perhaps a mountain lion this time?" Tanya tiredly waved her hand.
"No! Smell the air!" Kate snapped. Carmen and Eleazar smelt the air, Tanya begrudgingly following shortly behind. "Do you smell it?" Kate excitedly said. "It smells like . . ."
"Irina!" Carmen breathed, a smile gracing her lips.
Eleazar scrunched up his nose. "And humans . . ."
The coven looked at each other worriedly before, in sync, they began to run quickly in direction of the scent; Tanya and Kate in lead, Carmen and Eleazar following behind. They followed the scent desperately like a hound to foxes until finally the scent became too strong to bear. They were close—dangerously close—and what they found didn't bring a smile to their faces.
"Oh God . . ." Tanya muttered, putting a hand over her mouth, as they all came to an abrupt stop.
There, scattered across the forest floor was pieces of human mauled beyond repair. A head, decapitated from its body, lying bloodied and sky-upwards, a scream still on its lips. Insects were picking and clawing at some of the flesh. Carmen let out a cry and buried her face into Eleazar's chest. All of them stared at the carcass, wincing as they smelt the old scent of human flesh mixed in with the unmistakeable scent of Irina.
"She's finally lost it . . . she's finally lost it . . ." Kate chanted in a mere whisper, shaking her head slowly. "We never should have came here—coming to Forks has driven her mad! She's gone mad."
Tanya shook her head frantically. "No! You can't say that . . ." Kate looked at her incredulously and pointed down to the mauled mess of human carcass. ". . . She's still Irina. All of us have gone off the rails many times before this, this is just another exception. I'm sure with just a little push we can get Irina back on tracks again." Tanya tried to make her voice sound hopefully, but it was painfully forced that it made Kate wince.
Eleazar took in a deep breath. "I agree with Kate; Irina has finally lost herself. We've all known this will happen eventually. She is becoming mad with grief."
Carmen let out a small wail, walking away from the scene. She couldn't bear to look at the sight any longer.
"What are we going to do?" Kate whispered.
Eleazar clenched his jaw. "We'll have to find her and stop her—before the Volturi get to her first." Tanya and Kate flinched sharply. "And we'll have to act fast; since the southern newborn wars, the Volturi have been more ruthless when it comes to vampires causing even the slightest indiscretions. Ruthless enough they will not give second chances to those who they find guilty."
". . . Wait." Carmen's voice came softly from nearby. The three other vampire's looked at her. "Irina wasn't alone."
"What?" Tanya sharply asked, baffled.
Carmen waved them over. They quickly complied, using their inhuman speed, making them appear at Carmen's side in a millisecond. "Do you smell that?" the three vampires sucked in a deep breath. "Vampires—two of them." Carmen closed her eyes began to smell the air again. When she reopened her eyes, she looked at her coven-mates excitedly. "That could mean Irina wasn't the one who killed the human!" Carmen naïvely spoke excitedly, smiling brightly and hopefully.
Kate shook her head. "No, the scents of these vampires were not around the carcass; we would have detected it as soon as we found the human. The scent is only coming from over here." Kate winced. "Irina had to have killed the human." Carmen's shoulders dropped. Kate sucked in a breath, closed her eyes and slowly began to walk. She moved around blindly, following the scents. "The scents of the two vampires come from the south-east; from Seattle perhaps?"
Tanya thoughtfully smelt the air. "They're definitely not from Carlisle's coven."
"Nomads?" Carmen questioned.
"There is a possibility." Eleazar mused. "Irina could have joined two nomads who were passing by."
Tanya was now walking away from them, following the scent. "The two scents and Irina's join here." Tanya announced, coming to an abrupt stop a few metres away. "And then the scents start to do a U-bend, heading in the direction of . . ." Tanya trailed off, her eyes turning blank. ". . . Forks." She finished, her voice turning darker. "Oh God; What if . . . what if she's gotten the nomads to help her get revenge on the wolves?!" Tanya looked at her coven frightened. "She's going to get herself killed!"
Carmen intakes a sharp breath of fear. "We have to go back!"
"Bella?" Ron muttered after several long moments of silence. Bella had swerved her body away from Ron and had taken to staring out of the window where the light streamed through. Now that everything around her had become clear, she could see the sun was now drifting behind a dark-grey rain cloud, streaming the last of its rays into the shack that Bella had recently recognized as the Black's garage beside their tiny red-hut home in La Push reservation. "Say something . . . or at least help me think of a way to get us out of here."
Bella swallowed, inwardly realizing that she was being stupid; Ron was right—they needed to find a way out of here . . . or at the very least, out of these ropes. "Sorry, I-I just . . ." Bella struggled for the words; her head dropped, squeezing her eyes shut to push away the stinging in her eyes. Her fingers curled into the palms of her hands, the grimy tips of her fingers touching the dirty and frayed ropes knotted around her wrists. "I. . . I can't believe Billy would actually believe I would . . . I would . . ."
"It's OK, Bells." Ron attempted to sooth from his tied spot. "It's not true and that's all that matters. If this Billy guy believes you did something like that . . . he can just go jump into a basilisk's mouth for all I care." Bella quirked a shaky half-hearted smile at Ron's desperate attempt of lightening the mood. "Seriously, Bells, since when have you ever cared what people thought of you? In first year, everyone thought you were some imposter trying to get close to the legendary Boy-Who-Lived. People called you names in the corridors, people pushed books off your desks in classes. But you never cared—not one bit . . ."
"This is different, Ron." Bella sniffed. "I'm not being called an attention-seeking imposter—I'm being framed as a murderer." Bella chocked. "They think that I murdered Charlie . . . my Dad." Bella pulled up her entwined wrists, brushing the scratchy rope yarns against her cheeks to scratch away the tears. "I think I know how Sirius feels now." Bella humourlessly laughed. Bella then sighed at the remembrance of Sirius, the gutsy man that was her god-father. "Sirius." Bella mumbled. "Charlie. Mum. Dad. Edward." Bella's throat squeezed. She looked up at Ron with her desperately wide green eyes. "How many more people do I have to loose in my life, Ron? How many more people I love do I have to lose to make me feel so worthless and alone?"
Ron shook his head firmly. "You're never alone, Bella. You have Harry . . . me . . . Hermione."
"For now." Bella muttered. Ron looked up at her. "I have Harry and Hermione—for now." Bella's eyes rolled skywards, watching the dark-rain cloud draw ever closer to shielding the light of the sun from the Earth. "For all we know right now we don't even have them." Bella looked back at Ron. "What if it's just us Ron? What if everyone back home . . . they're all gone." Her lip began to tremble.
"Don't." Ron sternly said. "Don't you dare, Bella. Don't you dare think they're dead. I did the exact same thing back in England with Harry and Hermione, and look where it got me—got us? Trapped in some vengeful man's garage." Ron looked around him and almost laughed, for the why Ron had put it, it was almost humorous. But then his eyes deadened and he looked back at Bella, solemn. "There's no room for doubts, Bella. Not when we're fighting in a war. I realized this . . . thanks to you."
There was a moment's long pause between the two of them. In those words that Ron said, Bella came to realize how much Ron had grown and matured—not just in the time that they had been away from Hermione and Harry but overall. He wasn't the ginger-haired boy with the dirt on his nose from the Hogwarts Express anymore. He had grown into a man. A man that only the likes of Hermione Granger would deserve.
Bella smiled faintly at the red-headed boy. "You really are a good person, Ron." Bella told him softly. "I know you feel that you're always second-best to Harry but . . . you're not. You're really not." Bella's eyes dampened again. "You have a good heart, Ron, and it will do Hermione good to see that." Bella's smile stretched. "If she hadn't already, that is." Bella almost laughed when she saw Ron look away, flustered. "So," Bella clucked her tongue, her tone light and spirited. "How are we getting out of here then?" Just as the words fell from her mouth, the sound of the garage door opening with a loud bang and crack sounded throughout the room.
Bella and Ron looked towards the garage entrance to see two tall—perhaps just as tall as Emmett—Native American men with bulging muscles and emotionless faces stepped through the doors. Their eyes looked at Ron—looking momentarily happy to see he was still in place—and then turned to look at Bella, acknowledging her newfound consciousness.
"You're awake. Finally." One of the Native American's said in Bella's direction. "Billy will be glad to hear it."
Bella's eyes narrowed her eyes. "Why would you do this? Why would Billy have you chloroform, kidnap and tie us up in his garage?"
The other Native American made an unkind snorting sound at the back of his throat. This one looked the most intimidating from the two—he was twice the size of the other man and he was twice the size of an average male alone. He also looked much angrier, much fiercer, than the other. "Shut up, freak—you know why you're here so don't play dumb with us. The both of you freaks are getting what you deserve." Bella shook her head from side-to-side, laughing throatily. The angrier on snarled. "What are you laughing at?"
"You." Bella said simply. The snarl loudened and she noticed that the larger one began to shake. "You calling us freaks is a little hypocritical since you can transform into a wolf." Bella leant forward, a slight smirk hovering at her lips as she watched the way the shape-shifter trembled. "Just saying." Bella finished, leaning backwards, smug smile on her lips. From where Ron was tied up, she heard him chuckle and from the corner of her eye, she saw him smirk—equally amused by this—though there was a sense of concern in his eyes… they were, after all, without wands and it looked as if the larger one was a step away from exploding into a massive wolf.
The smaller man placed a hand on the angrier wolf-man's shoulder. "Calm down, Paul. Billy will want her to be alive to admit the truth."
"Fuck off Jared." The larger one—Paul—said to Jared, shaking off the hand on his shoulder and stomped over in Ron's direction. Bella tensed—for a moment she thought Paul was going to attack Ron. She felt the sizzle of magic inside her, awakened up by the overwhelming sense of fear for her best friend. Paul stopped, noticing Bella's reaction, and smirked darkly. "Not so smug now, are you freak? What—scared I'm going to bite your friend's head off?" Ron shuddered and Bella swallowed with fear.
"Paul . . ." Jared said, warningly. "Sam won't like the way you're treating them."
"Who the fuck cares? They're murderers aren't they? Well, at least she is." Paul pointed a large sweaty finger in Bella's direction. She winced. "Who's Sam or Billy to care if we tossed them around a bit. It'll probably make them easier to get the truth out of. A little bit of fear doesn't hurt anybody." Paul's lips opened, revealing a wicked smile and his full set of gleaming white teeth. Bella already loathed this guy with extreme passion.
Jared was becoming exasperated. "We don't even know they killed these people."
People? Had there been more than Charlie's death now?
Paul's eyes narrowed. "What are you trying to say, Jared?"
"Nothing." Jared hastily said. "I just feel like. . ."-
"Like we've been too quick to judge! She may not have been the ones to kill all those people… Let's face it; no-one ever saw what those sorcerers looked like. For all we know, it could have been someone completely different." Jared shrugged.
Paul's jaw clenched—a vein in his cheek twitching in rage. "Oh, so it just happened that another witch or wizard passed by in the area, huh?"
Bella looked between the two of them thoughtfully. It was when Jared said what he said last that she remembered something—something that Draco had said: "There are a group of Death Eaters nearby that, when found me, will want to know what happened to me." Bella swallowed thickly; Death Eaters had been in the area when Draco had been in Forks. Bella had no idea if these Death Eaters were still in the area but Bella was certain they had been the culprits to these people's deaths Jared and Paul were speaking of. Bella was certain that Charlie was included in the list of people that had died, whom had been brutally murdered by Bellatrix Lestrange. Whomever else had died there was a strong chance Bellatrix and killed them too.
"I'm just saying we shouldn't be too quick to judge. We're meant to use her abilities to do right for people—not slaughter upon the slightest bit of evidence that suggests someone, who could be potentially innocent, had murdered."
Paul lifted a hand and pointed a shaky finger at him, his other hand coiling into a tight fist. "You better watch your mouth and make sure you don't say that in front of Billy or you'll find yourself exiled from the pack." Jared swallowed and said no furthermore, his face turning hard and emotionless. Bella felt sorry for the wolf—obviously he was the only one in La Push who seemed to have an ounce of common-sense. "You grab the girl. I'll take the boy—just to be sure he doesn't try to pull a fast one on us again."
"Where are you taking us?" Ron and Bella both demanded at the same time.
Paul smirked, yanking a still-bound Ron to his feet. "To Billy. He wants to have a little chat."
It felt as if Edward had been on the back of this Threstral for hours and his anxiety was slowly reaching his limits. He knew there was nothing he could do the mythical creature to increase the speed—from the shake and clenching of the animal's muscles, Edward could see it was already straining with the debauched speed it was taking through the sky and against the torrential wind that crashed against them, attacking and whipping at their skin and at the Threstral's skeleton-like black wings.
All Edward could think about was Bella and the vision he had seen. Edward knew if he didn't get to Forks in record time, Bella would soon be perished in the hands of Victoria. A flare of self-hatred overcame himself when he thought of Bella being killed by Victoria plagued his mind. If Edward had never left Forks, Edward would never have been in the situation—flashing across seas, racing after Bella, in hope to save the jeopardized life of Bella. If he had still been in Forks to this day, then maybe he would have seen the signs of Victoria's return and destroyed her before she even had a chance to lay a finger on her. all of this—every bad thing that is happening—all leads down to the fact Edward left Forks.
In light of this conclusion, Edward thought about how life would have been different if Edward had never left Forks. He would have never felt that aching feeling in his chest with every mile he took away from Bella and he probably never would have felt this hopeless to Bella's whereabouts or her well-being. At least if he stayed in Forks, he would have known if Bella was dead or alive. Edward swallowed, pushing that thought away from his mind, continuing his evaluation of what life would have been like if he and his family had never left Forks.
Although life would have certainly been better having Bella in his life, things wouldn't have been perfect. If he had never left, the hatred he would have felt after the paper-cut incident would have still be fresh in his mind. He would have drawn away from Bella for a long time, mulling over how he could have moved passed and ignore the fact he was placing Bella's life in danger every day that she was with him. At least being away from her, he was able to learn from the mistake he had made. Edward sucked in a breath, as something his biological mother would have always said in a situation like this, passed through his mind:
"You can never learn from your mistakes if you never make the mistake in the first place." His mother's gentle tone drifted through his mind. His biological mother had been a wise woman, who managed to see the logic in almost every situation. She had always been his confidant when things were tough in his human life. But this wasn't just any simple mistake; from this one mistake he had made, so many other mistakes had come from it—Edward had left the love of his life, potentially meaning he could never with her again from the pain he had most probably caused her, whilst also abandoning her at a time he would have needed her most. Hell, he wasn't even there to comfort her when his father died. What kind of so-claimed mate was he?
A failed one that was it.
Edward jostled when the Threstral made a noise. Edward looked down at the mysterical horse he rode upon just before the Threstral swooped downwards, heading for land. A wave of hope overwhelmed him. Could they possibly be close? Edward hoped so, intently waiting for the veils of clouds that surrounded them to disappear and for them to break out into the sky. Before long, they did, and they were swooping downwards towards a vast forest spread out across the land. Somewhere in a distance, Edward could recognize the outlines of buildings found in Forks.
A small smile spread across his face. He was home.
He only hoped Bella was still alive and Victoria hadn't gotten to her yet.
Bella and Ron both made their sounds of protests as they were dragged and tugged into the modest sized cabin, up onto the porch-steps and through the door. They hadn't gone into the Black residence—on the contrary, upon being yanked from the Black garage, Paul and Jared had completely side-tracked it and tugged the both of them towards the truck that was waiting at the edge of the Black driveway. They pushed them both inside and got into the front. Before they knew it they were driving out of the Black residence and down a bumpy lane.
"Where are you taking us?" Bella tried asking.
Neither of them answered. Paul made this obvious that he had no intent to answer her—whether to annoy her, she was unsure—by reaching over and turning on the stereo full blast. Bella narrowed her eyes and glared at Paul through the driver's mirror. His dark eyes happened to catch her glare through the mirror causing him to chuckle tauntingly and sing along (poorly) to the music. At some point through the drive and the loud penetrative music, Paul finally chose to speak up:
"It's a shame, y'know." Paul said, disturbingly casually.
Bella shared a glance with Ron before glaring at Paul. "What is?" Bella spat out.
"That we have to kill you." Paul said, his voice still casual. Jared shuffled in his seat. Paul's attention was directed at Bella through the mirror, watching her reaction. "If you hadn't been a freaky witch murderer, I would have totally fucked you. It's a shame such a beautiful girl is such a psychopath. But then again, all the beautiful ones are psychopaths." Bella didn't like the way his eyes trailed down to where her breasts were. Bella wished she could cover them, but her hands were tied behind her back.
"You're a sick fuck, you know that?" Ron seethed, his ears turning bright red with anger. "As soon as I get my wand back, I'm going to show you what wizards do to sick fucks like yourselves." Ron snapped. If only Harry was here, Ron spat in his thoughts angrily. He would have gone ballistic to what that sick fucker said—maybe we would have had a chance of escaping then. Ron sighed to himself. Hermione would have known how to get out of this. He knew that was true, but a part of him was now thankful that Hermione wasn't with them—he would have never wanted to put Hermione near someone as sick and twisted as that guy. Ron's glared harder at Paul.
Paul threw his head back and laughed. "Empty threat, freak—there's no way I'm giving you your wands back. I might even snap them." Paul smugly patted his jean pocket, the other hand lazily driving the wheel. "I may even snap them in half. What will happen then? Will you lose that freaky magic of yours?" Paul chuckled deeply.
Bella gritted her teeth. "Actually, a wand is merely a tool of which used to channel our magic. Snapping our wand will not vanquish our magic. It's not that simple, dog. You need magic to vanquish magic." Paul scowled at being called a dog, his hands tightening on the wheels so tightly that Jared shot him a warning glance, silently telling him not to snap the driving wheel. Bella didn't want to tell him that it takes a powerful witch or wizard to be able to master magic without a wand; she didn't want to make them seem weak.
Before long, they had parked up a driveway that lead to the modest-sized cabin they were now being towed up to, present time. Neither of them bothered knocking on the doors, Jared opened the door and tugged Bella through it Paul with Ron was following close behind. Inside, the first thing Bella noticed was the crowd of people in the room—all of which were residences of La Push, Native American. Bella recognized only four of them: Billy Black, Jacob Black, Sam Uley and Harry Clearwater. All of them turned in their direction as soon as the four of them loudly moved through the door.
"Thank you, Jared. Thank you, Paul." Was the first thing that was said and it was from Sam whom strode up to them and patted Jared's shoulder.
Ron's eyes nervously moved around the room, taking in the crowd of people that were watching them with cold unblinking eyes.
"Bella Swan, how nice of you to join us." Bella's eyes moved to Billy's. He was glaring at her, his hands clasped on his lap, placed in his wheelchair. The comment was sarcastic, of course, but his voice bared no sense of sarcasm—in fact, it bared no tone of voice at all.
Bella inhaled. "Billy." She tensely said.
"You very obviously know why you're here." Billy then said.
Bella's face tensed, her jaw clenched momentarily, before she spoke up again: "I've heard it through the grapevine."
"And you have nothing to say on the matter? No plea of innocence?" Billy snipped.
Bella shook her head, a glimmer of smirk. "Oh, Billy, I think you'll find I have a lot to say of what you're accusing me of. But instead, I'm just going to let you say what you want to say first—I mean, you have gone into so much trouble to get us here. I bet it must have been such a bother trying to carry out two unconscious people from a funeral without anyone noticing. I'm curious; did you hide us in the trunk of the car or something?" Bella shot Billy a feigned sweet smile, fluttering her eyelashes for extra measure. She knew she was probably going the wrong way about making herself look innocent, but the frustration and aggression of being tied up was getting to her.
"Bella. . ." Ron said, warningly, quietly for only her to hear.
"Your father died not weeks ago and you have the nerve to mock the situation? Do you even care that your father is dead?" Billy spat.
OK now that hit a nerve. "Excuse me." Bella seethed. "You had the nerve to kidnap Charlie's daughter from his funeral where I was blatantly mourning the loss of my father. What kind of best friend are you?"
"One that has the bravery to avenge his death!" Bill spat back.
Bella gritted her teeth. "Correction: what you are doing is not brave—you are pointing fingers because you can't accept the fact that Charlie has died!"
"Charlie. Was. Murdered."
Bella felt the burning of angry tears welling up in her eyes as she stared Billy down. Bella had never seen so much hate in his eyes until now and she wondered what had changed—prior of her father's death—to make him think that she was capable of killing her own father. It sickened her that Billy—someone whom she used to consider a nice, loving man—would believe something so ludicrous. She knew if Harry was here he would have something to say about it.
"And you think Bella did it, is that right?" Ron spat angrily, speaking up for the first time. "Accusing your best friend's daughter of murder? You should be ashamed of yourself."
Billy's raged eyes snapped on Ron. "Ashamed? Ashamed? You think I should be ashamed of myself? I know Charlie's daughter is a witch and I also know she isn't even his daughter - she's adopted! Just like I know she"-he pointed a shaky finger in Bella's direction-"is the one that killed Charlie. She killed my best friend with that magic of hers she'd been given from Satan himself! And she killed five other innocent people of La Push with that devil magic as well!" Billy turned back to Bella. He was gripping the arms of his chair angrily, shaking from head-to-toe. "She probably found out she was adopted and went mental! And she probably got you involved, 'n all!" Billy waved his hand at Ron.
"I have known about my adoption for longer than I have known about my magic!" Bella spat. "Charlie and Renée had always been honest about my heritage from the very start and I have never hated them for it. Charlie and Renée were the most caring and loving people I was blessed to be raised by!" Bella was now shaking. She felt the magic within sending sparks through her veins, making her hairs stand up on end. "Why would I ruin that? Why would I kill the only man who has been the closest thing to a father to me? Huh? Why?" Billy's nostrils had flared with anger. Bella's upper lip curled backwards in rage, her emerald green eyes flashing. "Answer me!"
People jumped and flinched away from her as they watched her face being to contort. Her hair was turning redder and redder by the minute and her eyes were turning black with rage and her skin seemed as grey as a corpse. The people that had jumped and seen the sparks that flew from her fingers. The sparks crackled and whistled—flying to the floor.
"Bella." Ron tried to get Bella's attention. Paul's grip on him tightened. "Bella!" Her eyes were turning blacker by the minute—there was no pupil left to see anymore—and people were itching further and further away from her. Even Billy rolled back a few inches. "Let me go,"-Ron struggled against Paul's constraints-"Can't you see she needs my help?!" Paul chuckled but made no movement to let Ron go. Ron huffed frustratingly and began to call at her: "Bella!" he screamed loudly. The sparks at her fingers stopped. "Bella—calm down! Before you get us killed!"
That seemed to calm Bella down. Her skin slowly turned back to its normal ivory tone, her eyes became emerald again, and her hair the dark crimson red it was.
Billy smirked, his eyes glinting with triumph. "See?" he said to the people in the room. "Can't you see the girl is out of control? She probably lost control that night and murdered Charlie in a fit of uncontrolled magic! And who's to say the same thing didn't happen the poor, innocent five people of our blood died." Billy turned his face back to Bella Swan. "Bella Swan is a murderer."
A/N: Long time no see... Yeah, I know, it's been a while. I had a bit of writer's block for this story - and I still do - which is a bad excuse because its obvious where this story leads to: the Battle of Hogwarts. I've been trying so hard to make this story different from all the other crossovers like this out there, and trying to make stuff make sense, that it was becoming difficult to just be able to write a simple opening paragraph. Yeah . . .
But I'm back and hopefully for good. It will still take me a while to update for I still have exams going on, despite finishing two of my courses now, and those exams are important for they depend on whether I get into uni or not. Regardless, I'm back, and I'll be writing the next chapter when I can.
I'm not exactly happy with how this chapter turned out but I feel its essential to how I want the next few chapters to pan out. The segment involving the President of the USA and the Secretary of Magic is pretty important. Since Victoria will be rising a vampire army in the States, I felt it would be a little - well - unrealistic if the Secretary of Magic didn't get involved. For anyone who is wondering the Secretary of Magic is what Rowling described the American magical authoritives to be. Phil works with him and he will be one of the people going to 'investigate' Seattle to help bring down the vampire dilemmas.
In the next few chapters we will be finally encountering the long overdue reunion between Bella and Edward. Things will also be going down with the pack, Bella and Ron. We will be discovering why Billy is so cray-cray; he may seem all bad for the way he is accusing Bella of killing her Dad, but he has had some pretty bad past experiences with witches and wizards. There will also be a Bella & Jacob moment at some point - though it will be purely innocent. I don't plan for Jacob to have any love-infested feelings for Bella. . . yet.
Sorry for the late update,
Hope you are all enjoying the beautiful spring weather - I know I am here in the UK! :-)
P.S. This chapter hasn't been beta'd so apologies for any spelling/grammar mistakes guys.