Thank you so much for the reviews and for taking the poll. You're about to get a better idea of what Bella has gone through, so . . .

. . . WARNING . . .

There is an alarming scene ahead. It includes a vivid picture of RAPE and SODOMY. Although it's not the scene itself, it is disturbing. I tried to paint a broad canvas of Bella's injuries and the trauma she went through without actually writing the scene. I wanted to capture her agony and Caius's for the mural that is In Love and War. Please know that I do not take this atrocious act lightly; I hope that it shows by the emotions surrounding the image.

A HUGE "Thank you!" to DreaC and Twimarti for editing this chapter. Ladies, you are beyond wonderful!


SONGS – "Struggle" by Apocalyptica – "10,000 Days (Wings for Marie)" by Tool – "Soulfly II" by Soulfly – "Walking and Thinking" by Ra – "Howling" by Within Temptation


Chapter Seven

Changes

CAIUS VOLTURI

Fear was the most motivating emotion. Some would argue that love was, but I believed that to be utter horseshit—a deed in every meaning of the word. Besides, not everyone had experienced love, not in its truest form.

Where love was an intentional state and a conscious action, fear was an inborn yet learned instinct—a completely involuntary reaction. As pain was the body's natural alarm of self-preservation, fear was the warning signal of not only physical danger, but of psychological and emotional injury. It was abrupt and too hard to ignore.

Even if the driving force behind any act might include love, it was ultimately fear—the life-altering desperation, the unthinkable terror, the dread of unacceptable fate—that incite and provoke us to take action.

In this case, I was reacting . . . impetuously.

As soon as I bit into Isabella, I had to grasp and move on top of her already broken body with excessive force. I almost ripped her rigid neck open from the speed and strength of her protective gift. Although it was vacillating between on and off, I would not let it push me away. It was while I injected my venom that I heard some of her bones break from my latching embrace and was reminded of what she might be feeling as a woman who was again being injured, held down and bitten against her will.

Suddenly, I heard gasps in the background.

When I felt Isabella's gift wavering, I quickly removed my teeth from her neck and licked the new mark, the one that would force her life into immortality. The animal in me swelled in satisfaction and pride that it was my venom coursing through her.

I have heard several say love consumed, but goddamn it, so did fear; for as I bit the other side of her neck, I heard something I did not expect.

Her heart was irregularly stuttering . . . and then it stopped.

Everything turned into a complete frenzy.

"CARLISLE!" I roared. I quickly sealed the bite and laid her down. Frantically, I pushed down the blanket, felt around her sternum and ribs, and latched on. I started injecting her heart with as much venom as I could, as fast as I could.

I closed the wound and yelled, "COMPRESS!"

Carlisle began immediately while I started biting the inside of her elbows and above her ankles.

"Rose, grab me a pocket mask, the portable defibrillator and charge it!" Carlisle demanded. "Jasper, get the table and chair out of here! Esme, get a bag of blood out of the fridge and put it on the rack—AB positive!"

When I finished biting Isabella, I sped to kneel by her head. I clenched my hands and leaned my forehead against her temple with my eyes closed, paying close attention to her heart. I knew if I took Carlisle's place, I would only crush it.

"Do not do this," I plead in her ear. "Please . . . please." I have not begged for anything the majority of my miserable existence, but at this moment, I prayed to someone for any kind of mercy. I could not do this again, nor would I survive even this. I might not love Isabella now, but she was my mate, my soul mate—I could and . . . will love her someday. She just needed to survive.

As I listened to the glugging of Isabella's heart from Carlisle's compressions and him blowing into her mouth, filling her lungs with air, I heard Rosalie sobbing as she grabbed the things he asked for. I could also hear Jasper forcefully removing the table and chair before he passed them off to Demetri.

"Rose, I need you on the mask and the defibrillator. Caius, you and Esme need to help me move Bella to the floor. Then you both need to grab appendages and start moving and flexing them above her head. Contracting muscles help squeeze veins and allows blood to flow back to the heart. It'll assist the venom to spread."

Esme came in, terrified but determined. She grabbed Isabella's legs and I took her arms. Carlisle glanced at both of us. "On two. One. Two."

We swiftly moved Isabella to the floor. Esme and I started moving her arms and legs, while Carlisle continued CPR; however, now, while he was breathing into her mouth, he firmly massaged right below her ribs.

Rosalie sat opposite of him and taped the pads of the defibrillator on the top right and the lower left of Isabella's chest; then, she held the mask to my mate's face, squeezing the pump when necessary. Both women were sobbing, yet still resolutely fierce.

It felt as though all of this had taken an hour, but it had not even been four minutes. Still, it was four minutes too long.

When the small defibrillator beeped, Carlisle called out, "Clear!"

We all removed our hands from her.

I knew what to expect, but it was still shocking and distressing to see Isabella's body react the way it did. Yet, her heart did not react, did not start beating as I expected—wanted.

We all started again and waited the long fifteen seconds to shock her heart once more. Nothing.

We did it again, and again, still no change.

After the fifth attempt, we were becoming desolate.

"No! Again! Clear!" commanded Carlisle, grabbing the machine and pressing the button.

Five seconds later, we heard it . . . a hollow glug-glug.

Then another. And another.

And it was gradually getting faster. Glug-glug, glug-glug.

We all began laughing in happy disbelief. Emmett was doing a dance of air jabs that were in time with his grunts, yelling, "Fuck yeah!" Esme scolded him with little reprove.

I grabbed the blankets from Isabella's waist to cover her back up before I held her head between my hands, putting my forehead against hers. I sighed and took a moment to relish the sound of her heart beating.

Then, I mumbled angrily, "Goddamn it. Do not ever do that again in the next three days." I shook my head. I had started to believe she would not make it and I would not get the chance to truly know her.

I sat up and saw all the Cullens and Demetri wearing relieved and pleased smiles.

I looked at Demetri and started giving orders. "Take someone with you and run off to call Aro and Felix. Tell them what is happening. And yes, even about Isabella. They will need to warn some people." I gave him a meaningful look—no one was supposed know our arrangement with the wolves or even Aki; Demetri's phone calls could not be overheard.

"We leave in five minutes," I announced, before glancing at everyone else on the jet. "Every single one of you, including The Guard, is going with us to Forks. We should land before 2 a.m., and let us hope that there are not too many people at that small airport to notice how many of us there are. When we get there, Ethan and Gabriel will escort the Denali coven to Vancouver and will wait for further instructions. Now. Sit. Down."

Demetri nodded, getting the information he needed, and ran off.

It was going to be slightly crowded with 22 people on the plane; I wanted at least three of the Cullens to join us, along with Eleazar, and the succubae as I did not trust them with any of The Guard to go to Vancouver alone. I also really wanted to skip all the dramatics with the farewells that I knew would come.

I looked down at Isabella and was thankful I did not lose control of the demon within. Then I wondered why she was not screaming. She looked almost peaceful and had not made a sound . . . not even once.

"Carlisle, is something wrong?" I asked, trying to be as calm as possible. "She is not responding at all."

I saw him hesitate. My eyes widened and I shot up, snarling. "Well?"

"I do not know exactly, as I did not even get the chance to check her," he replied. "I would have needed to do some scans to know and be sure, but now, we will not get anything with the venom in her system. It could be nothing but her mind and body recuperating, or she could be in a . . . coma. She had extensive injuries, Caius. The human body works as a whole an—"

I interrupted. "Tell me after I get her off the floor. That couch pulls out into a bed."

I gently picked Isabella up and backed up against the wall of the small room. After Carlisle changed the couch into a bed and added more blankets, I laid her down. I sat on the edge of it and kept a hand on her unbroken ankle. I could see Demetri and the last of The Guard board the plane and heard the door shut. Adam, the pilot, looked to me and I nodded.

"Carlisle, your family can sit in the closet beside us. You will stay in here." I gestured to the space that once held the table and chair. As the jet started rolling, everyone took their seats, and the rest stood in the aisles. Demetri stood by the door to my left. Before he slid the door shut, I looked at him and lifted an eyebrow questioningly. I wanted to know how the wolves took the news.

He shook his head.

I winced. Damn, I knew they would not be happy about this. Especially Jacob. Still, would they rather have Isabella dead?

That reminded me of something, and I quickly asked, "Is the satellite phone destroyed?"

Demetri threw it towards me and slid the door, leaving an inch gap for him to see straight across to those in the closet. I dialed the number to the getaway jet.

"Yes?" answered the man on the other end.

As the engines on our plane started revving, I asked him, "Are you headed to the drop off?"

"Yes, sir."

I nodded to myself, satisfied. "Good. How many are with you?"

"Fourteen."

With that total, I guessed all the parents and only a few of the wolves had left the Reservation.

"All right," I started. "There is a manila envelope in the folding crew chair. Give that to the head of your group. It has the instructions for all of them."

"Will do," the man replied.

I hung up. Money does not buy everything, but with a handsome fee, it can certainly get things done for you.

I waited until we leveled off before I started demanding answers from the one man who could give them. "Tell me, Carlisle. All of it. And in layman's terms."

Carlisle nodded. "All right. But may I look at her while I explain? It will help me get a better idea of what happened."

I stilled, but it was ridiculous of me since he had already helped. Even though I still didn't trust him, I wanted to know what happened and how it would affect Isabella—seeing as it already was.

I nodded once in acquiescence and removed my hand from Isabella's ankle; nevertheless, I stayed where I was.

"I would also like to give her a blood transfusion," Carlisle added. "Bella has venom in her system, but she needs blood to speed up the process and circulate it throughout her body. It may even help her in the long run."

I nodded again.

"Jasper, please get the blood off the rack in the other room and give it to Rose. Rose, please set up IV lines from the supplies you have with you —one for blood and one for a general vitamins solution. Then, give it to Jasper to bring to me."

Carlisle put on some gloves and approached slowly. He started with Isabella's head first, checking her ears, nose and eyes while he began explaining in a calm, matter-of-fact tone. "My biggest concerns were the lacerations, her fractured bones, internal bleeding, and possible blood clots. First, the lacerations cause blood loss, tissue and blood vessel damage, as well as leaking into the organ itself. If it is a large amount of blood, it can cause the organ to rupture and bleed into the rest of her body. When that happens, and depending on how long it has been occurring, it can put pressure on the other organs and prevent them from properly functioning.

"When the pressure on a muscle is greater than the actual blood pressure of the patient, blood will not get to the muscle cells, causing the muscles to die. All of that is internal bleeding—one of the largest threats to Bella. Um . . . may I move the blanket around to examine her?"

I reminded myself he was a doctor and reluctantly nodded.

Carlisle moved the blankets carefully, only uncovering her abdomen and examining the slits. A rumbling erupted in his chest before he covered Isabella back up and straightened. He was swallowing the venom pooling in his mouth, and his eyes were black from anger.

"The stabs wounds appear to be one of her last injuries," he stated through clenched teeth. "I would say her uterus did not rupture or cause internal bleeding, but it would have had irreparable damage."

I could hear Rosalie sobbing in the other room and chanting, "No, no. Please no . . ." while Emmett tried to comfort her.

Carlisle moved to Isabella's lower right leg that was crushed at the ankle. "The broken bones can cause more damage than one would think. Bones have bone marrow, which is essential for blood production. Add the major blood loss with the fact she will have a harder time producing blood because of so many fractured bones, and it becomes extremely dangerous for every organ in her body."

He rubbed around her calf gently, before grabbing antiseptic wipes off the cart and cleaning off blood under her knee.

"I would guess her right ankle and foot were stepped on since it has a comminuted, or multiple, fracture—which occurred before the lacerations. It also caused her tibia and fibula to have a compound fracture, meaning the bone broke through muscle and the skin, and she probably got a fractured knee before those two bones had given into the force and broke." He shook his head, clearing his throat, and moved to her right arm and then the left.

"As you can see in her right foot, both arms and wrists, and above this knee, there are these welted bruises, known as a sub-dermal hematoma. That is blood leaking out of the veins or arteries and pooling in the tissue under the skin. It might look like bruises to anyone else, but it is worse than that. With this, her dislocated shoulder and broken arm, I would say she fought and tried to pull away from a powerful grip . . . more than once." He breathed out with pain. I could smell the venom pooling in his eyes as he finished checking her arms and hands.

"May I look at her back?" Carlisle asked shakily. "You can hold her while I do that."

I nodded and stood up to sit on the other side. Simply deciding to lie down, I held her front to me as gently as possible while he looked at her back.

He hissed, causing me to tense and hold my breath.

"She has massive bruising all over her back from either strikes or being held down. Um, it looks like they . . . " he started sobbing ". . . oh, God."

Carlisle started tugging on his hair. Esme was bawling harder than before.

"I'm sorry . . . uh, can you . . . can you turn her towards me . . . just a little? I need to see the front of her hip."

I tilted her body back.

"They dug their fingers into her hips and um . . . broke the pelvic bone on both sides. Uh, was there . . . was there something black and tarry where you found her?" he asked, looking absolutely frightened of the answer.

I nodded.

He gasped. "And what about . . . an object, that uh . . . maybe . . . had the . . . the same on it?"

My body began to shake. Carlisle had a good idea of what had happened for him to ask that.

Before Demetri set the cabin ablaze, there was a pipe and a leg of chair—both bloody and black.

It was the one thing that was too hard for me to tell Carlisle—the fact that she was violated in the worst manner known to man, and it was not just the . . . conventional way. It was wholly atrocious and unmentionable.

I pushed it from my mind when I felt myself grip Isabella. She did not need me squeezing her; she had been through enough. I caressed her hair as I looked at her. I marveled in the fact that she had endured so much, and not just physically, yet she was still fighting. She had even warned Jacob when she was broken in, suffering—immeasurably so.

I heard Rosalie wail then slap her hand on her mouth to stop it, obviously deducing what had happened. Carlisle quickly covered Isabella back up. He plopped down on the ground with his face on his bent knees and his hands desperately clutching his head. Jasper had come out with the IVs on a pole, looking heartbroken but murderous.

We all took a few minutes to compose ourselves.

Carlisle stood up slowly, shaking just as bad as I was, and hoarsely thanked Jasper. He took deep breaths as he gathered the supplies he needed to start an IV.

"You can lie her back down. While I do this, I will explain the rest of it," he whispered gruffly.

I did as he asked, then sat up and watched what he was doing while I continued stroking Isabella's hair.

"Flat bones, like the pelvis, require more force to fracture," Carlisle started, though not as pragmatic as before. "Yet, the pelvis is surrounded by many blood vessels that can be easily torn—causing much more bleeding. I would guess that this had caused her to bleed internally . . . quite a while ago. The other danger of internal and uncontrolled bleeding is the body eventually cannot circulate blood, or more importantly red blood cells that carry oxygen and white blood cells that fight infection. Not just to the organ, but throughout the body to heal the injuries or the process called clotting."

Carlisle moved on to the left arm that was closest to me with the needle as he continued. "The cold temperature would also slow down circulation. However, the most worrisome is a forming of a blood vessel clot that creates a blockage. It will stop circulation or cause the clots to separate. Sometimes, even debris from the fractured bones can travel to her lungs, to her heart, and even to her brain—known as an embolus.

"Even with just a couple of her injuries, it could cause a lot of reactions, including the body going into shock, having multiple embolisms, cerebral hemorrhaging, a stroke and respiratory arrest, or cardiac arrest. And that is not all of it."

As Carlisle stepped over the bed to go to the restroom, I moved to watch him as he flushed everything with blood on it down the toilet.

He came back and sat down on the ground. "Has she lost consciousness repeatedly?"

"Yes."

"How long has she been captive?"

"Less than 40 hours," I answered.

Carlisle nodded. "A few things took place and right on top of each other. One, Bella had gone into shock from massive blood and fluid loss, but maybe even a failed organ or infection from the internal bleeding. Two, she was already experiencing TIA, transient ischemic attack, or a 'mini-stroke'. That is the decrease of blood going into her brain from either blocked vessels or an embolus. Generally, TIA only affects one part of the brain, and the episode will only last for seconds to a few minutes—yet it keeps occurring. Both the shock and TIA can make her lose consciousness. And with TIA, some are not even unconscious.

"When I first came in here, Bella could form a sentence, but I saw her face droop on the right side, meaning the left side of her brain lacked oxygenated blood. Face drooping, or facial paralysis, is an after effect of a stroke. The fact that she was conscious and aware told me she experienced a 'mini' one."

Carlisle rubbed his face, appearing exhausted. "It was while I was coming out of the closet that I heard a rupture in her head, known as a cerebral hemorrhage or an aneurysm, which caused a major stroke. I would have needed scans to tell if it was outside of the brain or if it occurred within. But no matter what, I would have needed to do immediate surgery, and there would have been severe brain damage from blood coming into contact with it or from immense pressure.

"That is why we called for you, Caius, and the venom will help her. What you saw with the convulsions are muscle spasms. It can be a sign of a stroke. With her heart, it was already working too hard by beating faster to compensate for the loss of blood and low blood pressure from the lacerations. Moreover, it is common for a heart attack and a stroke to occur at the same time or within minutes of each other."

He looked down at his hands and shrugged. "Now, we just wait for her to wake up; however, it may or may not be in three days. The fact that she is not reacting to any pain from the change tells me she is in coma right now. Again, it could or could not last long. The venom will heal her, yet there is nothing we can do but wait until she is ready to wake up."

There was nothing for me to say in reply. Carlisle gave me more information than I had expected, actually. I was extremely grateful, though now I was even more worried than before.

"Oh, and Bella's gift might be draining her and could have been hurting her more than she realized. She is—was—human," he added.

Ah . . . so he does know about her gift. Although, it probably did not matter, for the Cullens would most likely be sentenced to die anyway. They had broken the Law.

"Eleazar, come here," I urged. I stood up and waited for him to get past The Guard as it was a tight squeeze with this many people on a business jet.

"Caius," Eleazar said in greeting.

"Tell us about Isabella's gift."

Eleazar appeared to thinking exceptionally hard, and he looked unsure.

"It is hard to classify or even describe," he muttered. "It is akin to . . . an introverted energy field. More of a defense. Isabella's gift is similar to a shield, but not quite, as I know Edward could not read her mind. Yet, it is more . . . evolving. Since it is a mental gift, I would say it evolves with her mind and works more with . . . her emotions and thought processing. I know she can create invisibility for anyone under it—only from seeing that you disappeared with her, Caius, and a couple times."

I had not even noticed, I thought.

Eleazar continued. "And that might have been because she was . . . 'imagining' she was not here or that something was not happening. It is almost like her mind has its own . . . rules?" He shook his head in exasperation.

"Isabella does not perceive or think like most, a strength and weakness. One used against her. She can think of something, yet it does not always come out that way. Her feelings somewhat govern her, causing her to react without thinking, without considering things. It makes her more surprising than she already is. She has . . . unknown depth. So much that I cannot get a proper read on her gift."

He paused before nodding to himself. "I would say it is comparable to . . . gravity or a mathematical equation with two unknown variables. Gravity would first have to be experienced—much like her gift—to know it exists. To measure gravity we need an object that falls and the instruments to know the speed, mass and the like. Isabella's feelings are the object. Her mind—thoughts—are the actual instrument. And her gift would be the gravity—the unknown, yet experienced fact. Defensive, but also offensive. It just is and just will be.

"Certain things can change it—well, appear to change it. For example, a triangle has three corners; granted, that is one dimension. Change it into three dimensions and it is a tetrahedron*. Yet, look at tetrahedron from one side, and it is a triangle. It is like that! How you—she—perceives something, matters. All the same, you have to know to . . . know!

"I am sorry I do not know more," Eleazar said, shaking his head again. "But, I can comprehend that it is not limitless and will depend on Isabella and her mind. I am sure she did not trust Edward, not entirely, which is why he couldn't read her. And Carlisle was right—it had to have been draining her, because not only does she actually use her own energy, but she also uses energy from us when she is projecting it. I do not know if she can use our abilities or take abilities; for that, we would have to wait and see." He finished with a frustrated shrug.

Again, I thought, good explanations that helps one understand, but nothing can be donewhich is more than a bit aggravating. Nevertheless, I reminded myself that any of this could be different now that Isabella would be immortal.

"Ethan, how long until we land?" I asked.

"Twenty minutes. Max."

Eleazar went back to his seat while rubbing his temples as though he had a headache. He also moved his hands around as if it would help conjure answers.

I sat down and began stroking Isabella's hair, praying she would come to in three days' time. Then, I thought about how I was going to react when Isabella awoke and how she would react to me. I acknowledged that I would need to be patient and even tried to plan what I could actually do for her to make this easier. She would be a newborn in an unfamiliar place and with people she did not know and trust; obviously, she would be very cautious and more volatile because of what she had experienced.

Worry about getting rid of this army, I told myself, then we can go home and I can get to know Isabella. And hopefully, she will want to get to know me.

I knew that much—that what could happen next would depend on Isabella. And we had all the time the world had to offer . . . sadly . . . yet for once, I was grateful for the fact.


JACOB BLACK

Four hours after having left the cabin, our group was still sprinting across British Columbia.

The pack was already worried about Bella, but now we were also afraid for the tribe, our families, and Forks. New feelings and thoughts overwhelmed everyone's minds, making a goddamn fucking mess.

We were all grateful for the head leech's quick thinking to get information from Victoria and were relieved the Volturi would make it to the Rez in time, because we never would've. They received more respect for it. The fact that they're actually doing their "job" didn't go unnoticed either. Yet, we still couldn't trust them.

All of us were beyond pissed. Bella was becoming a vampire, and we couldn't do anything about it because we didn't have a treaty with the Volturi—at least not that kind. And, Taha Aki asked us to hear them out before attacking them. When I first found out Bells would've become a vampire if Cuntward—that's right, fucking pussy ass bitch just did cut it for that fucker—had let her, I had been angry with her for the longest time.

But this time was different. This time she was going to die, actually did die for a while there. Demetri said they'd give us more details later; they needed to fly out. I didn't know what to think. Even though I was pissed, an itty-bitty part of me was relieved she didn't die. Still, I had to ask myself, Was this really better than death?

We were shocked and skeptical about what happened. On our way to rescue Bells, Aki had told us of his closest friend; he was very old, and when someone "lived" long enough, it created a lot of resentment. Aki advised us not to take the head leech's piercing scowl or angry demeanor personally—it was just his face. Caius hated everyone, especially Taha Aki when they first met. So, to learn that he was the one that had bitten Bells was more than a little surprising.

After the phone call from Demetri, Aki briefly mentioned that Caius had changed only one person—so add more shock. Felix then explained to us the whole 'mates' ordeal and what that meant for Bella. He made it sound like imprinting. I called bullshit. The rest of the pack was fast to second that.

Of course, we were all sad and worried. Bella was family, family that was now becoming our supernatural enemy. No one wanted to hate her as we did the rest of the damn bloodsuckers. Could I actually hate my best friend? Would she be all that different? What diet would she choose? Does she even have a choice? When could I see her? Will I, or anyone, ever see her again?

I was also scared. Why were they bringing Bells to Forks with them and not back to Italy? Would she want to stay with the Volturi now? And what about Charlie? He was dragged onto the plane with the Elders, causing a scene at the airport. He finally went willingly after the elders convinced him that he'd see Bella, unknowingly human, in Italy.

Aki told me not to worry about anything, that the Volturi knew how to do their job, and he was only disappointed about not being there for the confrontation. He kept trying to assure me Bella was in good hands, we could visit her and everything would be fine.

None of us thought so.

More questions and even more thoughts swirled around. I really couldn't make up my mind, and I tried to ignore everyone else's as we continued running home.

= IIVIII =

Paul and Quil were running rounds east of Forks. The youngest of the pack were ordered to leave with their parents and the elders. Although . . . Sam was actually torn on sending Colin, Brady and Seth; he didn't want to split us up even more, and the elders didn't know where they were going until later—just so no one could pick it from our brain, like Numb Nuts, with their gift.

Sam and Embry were tailing the bloodsuckers from a forest by the airport to the Cullen house because nobody wanted that many of them coming to the Rez now that the elders weren't there, and to make sure they didn't eat anyone along the way.

A few of them were rubbing out contacts, and then a group of seven split off to run to Vancouver.

Funny. We actually hated the fuckers with piss-yellow eyes more than the demon, blood-red ones at the moment.

Despite the fact that I knew the leechy doc would be there to help Bells, seeing the fucking Cullens in her vicinity was infuriating. It was probably a good thing I wasn't with them—I couldn't wait to get my hands on all of those damned parasites.

Maybe Bells could do it now that she'd actually be a vampire—if she was even angry at them. Knowing her, I wouldn't count on it. I didn't see how she couldn't be somewhat angry. They not only left her, but fucking left Victoria undead, causing all this fucking shit.

Sure, I was happy their asses left, but it broke Bells in a way one wouldn't have imagined. It wasn't just the fucker's departing words, it was the entire goddamn "family" leaving her the way they did—as though she was the rodent carrying the Black Plague. They made her feel like trash, when it was really the other way around.

In my book, they were more dangerous than any other parasite, with the pretense of being human within the human society—especially when they didn't have as much control as they'd believed—and led us and Bella to think they weren't as bad. Wouldn't that be exposure of the worst kind?

Neither Sam nor Embry could get a good look at Bells since most of The Guard and the dangerous, parasitic empath surrounded her and Caius—another thing that didn't go unnoticed. We wondered if it was for protection or something else.

There were ten Volturi vamps staying in Forks that would be able to fight, plus the supposed God of War; the rest of the Cullens wouldn't be fighting at all. I noted a couple of the guards carried the cases that held the various body parts of Victoria.

When the group got to the House of the Damned, only Sam phased back and immediately asked if he could see Bella.

The Guard parted.

There were sharp intakes of breaths from the entire pack. Embry, and in turn the rest of us, would've thought Bells was dead if it wasn't for her beating heart; she looked like a giant blue and purple bruise, yet her face was peaceful. Felix had warned us that she'd be in a lot of pain, but it didn't look like she was—she looked . . . dead.

As the bloodsucking king explained Bella was in coma, some of us stumbled and howled.

"What is it, Jacob? Is everything all right?" asked Taka Aki.

"Bella's in a coma! I thought you all said the venom would help her?" I accused.

"It will, it will," he insisted. "Give it time to repair her brain along with the rest of her wounds. I saw her in extremely bad shape. Frankly, I am surprised Bella was even alive when we got there, that Victoria did not just kill her, leave her and make a run for it, seeing that she knew we were coming."

As they entered the house, Caius started to tell Sam what the leechy doc believed had happened to Bells. Our group was slowing down as we listened to him closely, and I opened up my mind to Taha Aki.

Embry stayed phased so they could know if Paul and Quil ran into any trouble and watched the group through the window.

Caius put Bells on the couch gently and stood by her feet, but still in front of her as he continued explaining what happened. Sam was shaking his head while looking at her. It was really hard to believe that her heart had started beating again, let alone that she survived what we were all sure was just a recap of her injuries.

When he finished explaining, Sam nodded to him and The Guard but wouldn't acknowledge any of the outcasts, which were obviously the Cullens. Sure, they had helped Bella—only now. Their asses were looking more and more confused, probably wondering what in the hell was going on between us and the Volturi.

Knowing what had happened, the pack could see that Bells was, in fact, dying. Even if she lived without being changed, she would've never been the same. It softened our anger, but only a little. We were still unsure how to respond because we still hated them all.

Rosie-bitch stepped around Emmett, and we all started growling.

She gave Embry a disgusted look before asking Caius, "Is it all right if Esme and I gave Bella a bath?" She looked a little worried for asking, yet also had a look daring him to say no; Bella really needed it and there were no other females, except for the one called Jane, who was just a girl.

Caius tensed further, which was hard to believe because he was always stiff, but he nodded. "I will bring Isabella to you and Esme. I will stay just outside the open bathroom door."

Caius took the bag I had brought up with Bella's clothes from Demetri and picked her up so carefully, it was hard to believe it was the same vamp with the hard, angry exterior. We had noticed he would always look at Bella every so often without really moving his head, almost as though he was making sure she was there.

As we all watched through Embry's eyes, you could see it—so clearly—the softening in his face and around his eyes, the sigh of relief when he touched her. It was all slight but still there, noticeable when you knew what to look for. It was the same way Sam would look at Emily.

Adoring.

And a hint of guilt.

But fear and determination would flash across his face for only second and then it was back to the cold, domineering face of a scowl when he looked at anyone that was not her.

A part of me was sad—I had wished before for Bells to be my imprint, even tried to force it when I knew it wouldn't help. Eventually, I figured it was for the best in case I do find my own imprint, and it would've pained me to hurt Bells in the end.

And now . . . I knew. She never would've been really mine. She was always somebody else's.

"And it wasn't Edward," thought Quil.

That little fact made me angry. Did they know that?

Carlisle went to a chest to grab Bells a pillow and new blankets.

I then realized she would never sleep again. It would be better for her since she normally had nightmares, especially after what she went through, but it was still devastatingly . . . sad.

When they came back out with a clean Bells, the group planned on what they would do and who would be doing what. Caius was always near her, stroking her hair, and we were certain that he didn't know it.

= IIVIII =

More than two hours later, not quite 4:30 a.m., everyone was in place.

All they, and we, had to do for now was wait.

Seeing it through Sam and Paul's eyes was nothing short of dauntingly beautiful, with patches of misty fog that was creeping over the already ominous, hunter green forest. It was still dark, and the only sound was of rustling leaves from their huge paws hitting the ground.

They were just strolling along, seemingly without a care in the world—just a damn morning stroll.

An hour later, we heard it . . .

. . . the cell ringing northeast of their position—the sign from Demetri, who was waiting, watching from the mountains of Olympic National Park and would be coming up behind the last of them.

It meant the army was close and near the direction of the ringing.

It was a great scheme because it would give Sam and Paul an idea of where those fucking bloodsuckers were and maybe even distract those in the army.

Sam and Paul cautiously approached the spot where they left one of the phones. When they came upon a few tattered vampires . . .

. . . they ran.

Acting as bait, they ran back towards one part of The Guard that was situated southwest, a good two miles from where they actually were. Not far for us, but far enough, and it was more than ten miles southeast of Forks.

With their massive bodies, they were actually blocking the following motherfuckers' lines of sight—meaning they wouldn't see the three badass vampires that were waiting for the last moment to move out of Sam and Paul's way.

The ugly leeches were getting close, yet perfectly timed to when Jane, Afton, and Denis actually moved. They gave just enough room for Sam and Paul. Their large, heavy forms had to separate and arc back around because of their speed as the fucking leeches passed the awaiting three.

Jane hit them with such extreme pain that there were screams of agony so loud that some folks ten miles away might even hear it.

As Sam and Paul turned, they caught sight of Afton and Denis tearing apart the only four that followed, along with Jane taking out a tiny-looking torch and setting their dismembered parts aflame.

"Get to the other group," ordered Jane. "Ten miles north, they have ten of them."

Sam and Paul ran.

As they were coming up to the other group that would only have four against ten, we all saw something . . .

. . . in our minds from Embry and Quil.

Four had arrived at the house, one of them claiming they had smelled Bella and was demanding to know where Victoria was.

We should've known when Jane said there were ten attacking the other group that something wasn't right—that was two more than Victoria had said. Where the fuck did those two come from? Could Victoria have lied? Wouldn't the fucking Empath have caught that?

Sam and Paul almost turned to run towards the house instead, but saw that Caius, Balthazar, and Jasper could handle themselves fine.

Balthazar, who could rival a body builder's physique, was one fast bloodsucker. He was fighting against one who seemed to be pretty good, but Balthazar was goddamned better—smarter and more precise with his hits and bites. The fucking leech was arrogant, yapping away and saying his name was Raoul. He went crazy when his first arm was ripped off. Balthazar laughed . . . loudly.

Jasper had two that were trying to back away, quivering in fear. He shook his head, did a "Tsk," and before they even knew it, the leeches fell to their knees as if they were begging. Jasper began beheading them before moving onto their appendages. He seemed almost bored, like he had done it a thousand times, and these two just didn't cut it for him.

He and Balthazar were tossing body parts to Embry and Quil to burn, but they only saw all that in there peripheral since they were watching Caius.

Caius was something else. He was doing some kind of predatory dance—cunning, smooth and unflustered. It was the first time I had seen Caius smile. It was small, but still there. His young, dirty blond opponent wasn't trying to approach him, and it was probably because Caius looked like he knew something the leech didn't. Caius suddenly flew at him and knew exactly what the fucker would do—move to his right to get out of the way to punch Caius in the back with his right fist as he passed.

But no, Caius went behind him first. Then went back to the fucker's front, moving clockwise and grabbing the douche's extended right arm. Caius pulled back while pushing on the guy's neck with his left hand. The arm snapped right off. Caius used the grip on the leech's neck to turn him around as he continued doing clockwise circles around him, all while grabbing the stunned leech's left arm and slipping his legs out from under him. The dumbass fell face down so the arm was ripped clean off—the same as the right. By the time the fucker fell down, all of his appendages were gone.

Goddamn, I thought. He was faster than Jasper and Balthazar.

The pack was amazed; the King could actually fight.

The last group, consisting of Alec, Gregory, Aldric, and Adam, had three out ten taken care of. Demetri was just about to join in with Sam and Paul, which would make it an even fight.

Seven against seven.

Now, have you ever seen anything coming right before it happened? Something that made your blood run cold from fear? Watching through minds could be confusing, but it could also be a blessing. Sometimes, you didn't focus on what everyone else did because your attention was on something else.

Paul was fighting against a carrot top, yet he knew—because of what I saw—that a leech was behind him, moving in for a bite. Paul bucked up, using his hind legs to kick him away. Although better than being bitten, the leech grabbed Paul's tail.

But the other thing I saw a split second before actually happening . . . was also a split second too late.

Three things happened at once. Paul yelped from his tail being pulled. A little girl in the distance yelled, "Diego!" Sam was distracted from Paul's yelp and the little girl. And, what I saw . . . what was only a blur . . . was the bloodsucker moving to bite into Sam's neck when he hesitated. Sam dropped to the ground, oozing a good amount of venom and began to shake violently.

The howls of the pack could be heard for miles—in Forks and in British Columbia.


Author's Note: As always, please let me know whatcha you all think. :)

References:
*All the medical info from MedicineNet – medicinenet . com
(I have no medicinal knowledge, and I'm sorry if I got any of it wrong.)
*TETRAHEDRON – an equally four-sided triangular pyramid = a three sided pyramid + base

Advocate Rec: Hair of the Dog by mjinaspen, Edward & Leah - AH (Fuck-awesome!)