Stephenie Meyer owns everything Twilight but even after all this time, I still find her characters irresistible.
Thank you all for your kind words and support. You are all brilliant.
It has been suggested that I left a few loose ends and that's true. Years ago, when I first started writing Resonating Light, I had planned to tell Edward and Bella's story in Resonating Light and then tell Renesmee's story in a sequel which would have tied up all the remaining loose ends. But as I wrote Resonating Light, the story evolved and changed and the ending was completely different to the one I had originally planned. I honestly don't think that I could write the sequel at this point and I'm sure that no one would be interested in reading it but I do want to tie up at least one loose end.
I can't write it from Edward's POV. I did try but I am writing a new story in EPOV and I couldn't switch from one Edward to the other without blurring them which felt so wrong. I really hope you enjoy what I came up with in the end.
I also wanted to say how excited I was to hear that Resonating Light was nominated on twifanfictionrecs for their best stories completed in November. If anyone would like to go and vote for it, that'd be even more amazing.
The following is a short story set just after the epilogue of Resonating Light. I loved writing it even though it was really hard. I have never missed my betas so much and it makes me nervous that I am the only one who has read it so far. I hope it's okay.
End of the Line
We were so close but I had to force myself to leash my fury and practice patience.
After so many years we finally knew who he was and where he was. He called himself Reon and unfortunately he was currently protected in the dubious safety of a club full of humans.
Bella, Amy, Emmett, Edward and I were huddled closely together, concealed by my invisibility. We had no other choice as the exterior of Coalition was brightly lit and bustling with humans. They were ranging from mildly to heavily intoxicated and from merry to obnoxious. There was a fairly long queue for entry to the club and I wondered what it was that the humans found so alluring about it. Why did they wait in line to cram themselves inside a tightly packed space where they could barely move through the crowd?
We were waiting for Edward to establish exactly what Reon's gift was. We weren't prepared to lose him and we had to know how he had eluded the Volturi for so long so we didn't repeat any past mistakes. Edward wore a scowl of concentration and I had to resist the urge to shake him and shout for him to hurry the fuck up.
I'd tried to like Edward. I could even see why he was likeable. Bella had managed to maintain a friendship with him. Renesmee loved him. Even Demetri was amicable with him, and some of my children had started to treat him like an uncle. For me though, liking him had proved impossible. Every time he said or did something that made me think he wasn't the most annoying vampire ever sired, I would remember how much he hurt Bella and I would find myself furious with him all over again. It didn't help that he reminded me of the most desperate period of my immortality. I'd survived through the terror of the Newborn wars, I'd been forced to watch in the side-lines of my lost human life as my beautiful Katherine aged and died, leaving me for somewhere I couldn't follow her. But nothing had come close to what I'd gone through in the days after Edward had arrived in Volterra. I hated feeling out of control of any situation and I'd been terrified that I was losing Bella…that any moment with her might be the last time I could hold her in my arms. My heart was breaking but I'd had to hide it. That might even have been the hardest part of the whole thing.
Bella and I were always honest about how we felt but I knew her so well. She hated to see anyone hurting. She had empathy for everyone; she was even averse to those she disliked being hurt but when it came to those she loved…she would do anything to protect them. I knew that it was tearing her apart and I couldn't do anything to help her, so I had done everything in my power to support her and protect her, even though it was killing me. Sometimes I still had trouble believing that I was still hers. No one deserved her, especially not me, but I had the privilege of holding her in my arms when we were alone and holding her in my heart when we were not. As much as I wanted to kill Edward even now, I would never hurt him. In fact I would protect him with my life if it came to that because Edward being hurt would hurt those I loved and my instinct to protect them would always override any sense of self-preservation I had. So I tried to like him…and failed. I strived for indifference but never quite achieved it and in the end I had to settle for tolerance. But even tolerance was hard when he was taking so fucking long.
Looking at Bella now soothed me a little but I knew from the set of her jaw and the narrowing of her eyes that she was as impatient as I was. Reon had to be stopped and we couldn't squander this opportunity to finally end it.
"He's a chameleon," Edward finally broke the silence with his low growl. We waited for him to explain further and I clamped down harder on my urge to shake an explanation out of him.
"It's a very complicated and multi-layered gift I think," he paused again, "once he decides how he wants a person to react to him, he's able to project an image of himself into their mind that is most likely to achieve his desired effect. Right now he is not especially interested in any of the humans and he wishes to remain anonymous so each individual human is seeing someone different when they look at them and it's always someone they would automatically dismiss as not being worthy of their attention. It's difficult to understand exactly how it works as he is not really thinking about it, just using it instinctively. From what I can tell the projection of himself is specific to each individual and it is absolutely immersive; to them the way he appears, talks, moves…it essentially allows him to become someone else to them."
"So it's entirely mental? I can shield against it?" Bella sought that vital clarification.
"Yes, you shielding me is why I can pin him down now. When I almost caught up to him before, I was so close. I knew it. But I couldn't find him…I couldn't even sense him. I realise now I was looking right at him, but to me he appeared human. Everything about him seemed human, even his thoughts and his scent, so I thought I'd lost him. That's how he protects himself."
It took us a few moments to process that. Finally it made sense how he had evaded us for so long. I thought of Anna. Anna was my great, great, great, great, great granddaughter and as one of my direct descendants she was protected under my original agreement with Aro. We were so fortunate that it was Amy who checked on her. Amy had recognised the signs of a hybrid pregnancy instantly and persuaded Anna that she could help her.
I remembered Anna as such a carefree little girl. Her giggle was infectious and had caused even the most solemn adult to smile. Her kindness shone through her every action and drew people to her. Then I remembered my panic when Amy had brought her back to Volterra. She had been petrified. The pregnancy had taken such a horrific toll on her health. She had not known that she needed blood and had been slowly starving to death. She'd been barely recognisable as the same beautiful girl I had watched over when she was a child. I had been heartbroken. I felt like I had failed Katherine yet again and it was unacceptable. I had vowed that the vampire responsible would die a slow and excruciating death. For the pain he had inflicted on Anna and on my other children. For the children he had abandoned to their fate.
"We have to get him away from the humans before we can go after him," Edward stated the obvious, "he won't hesitate to use them as a shield or distraction."
The thought to going into that club after him was surely as unappealing to everyone else as it was to me. None of us had fed in some considerable time. We were almost all animal drinkers and in order to adhere to Aro's long standing directive to conceal our gold eyes from the rest of the vampire population, our eyes were black and we were very thirsty. Going into that club, filled with the close press of warm bodies, heartbeats and intoxicating scents would be absolute agony.
"Edward should go," I announced quietly, supressing my smile at his horrified expression. It was the best choice by far and we all knew it and that just made his reaction all the more enjoyable. Edward's control was unrivalled and his gift would allow him the best chance of threatening Reon whilst remaining inconspicuous to the humans surrounding him. But it was going to hurt him. A lot.
"What about Amy?" Edward asked, earning himself a furious glare from Emmett. It was true that Amy was the only one of us who had fed recently. She did not follow the diet of animal blood that the rest of us did, so there was no need for her to starve herself before we had set out on this mission. In fact she needed to be well fed as it was her best way to control her gift; she became even more dangerous when she was thirsty. Sending her into the club was a ridiculous suggestion though. We all knew that Emmett would never let Amy go in after Reon alone. The fact that she was more than capable of looking after herself would make no difference to him. Emmett was fiercely protective and loyal. If Amy went in, so would Emmett and Emmett was the least able to cope in that environment at the moment. He was not used to starving himself as Bella and I were. His thirst would be dangerous to the humans around him and to our secret. No one needed to challenge Edward though, our silence said it all and he was forced to concede to us without any further protests.
"We'll need a plan for once he's out of the club," Bella said. "We can't risk him going further into the city centre or escaping out to sea."
"It's going to be difficult, but I think our best bet is Moulscombe Wild Park," Amy spread out the map against the wall and pointed it out to us all. It is fairly big and fairly close. There are other possibilities we could fall back on…" Amy ran through the pros and cons of several smaller nearby locations and some larger ones that were further away. She was an excellent strategist and I knew that she wanted to stop this vampire as much as Bella and I did. She had spent the longest hunting him and dealing with the worst of his consequences. Bella and I had the privilege of helping those children who had survived. Amy had to deal with the consequences of those of his children who hadn't. I knew she had had to cover up horrific things.
Amy's information was invaluable but it was Bella and I who needed to finalise our strategy. Only we understood the capabilities and limitations of our combined talents. This was going to be a huge strain on Bella and I wouldn't have allowed her to be put under such pressure for anything less important than this. Bella could sense individual life forces. She could even get a sense of the personality driving each life force. Once she could sense a life force, she could shield it using her gift. In close proximity, her precision was flawless. She could wrap her shield around whoever she chose to and keep them protected with her gift. It was easier for her to recognise the life forces of those she loved, trusted and knew well. She could keep them shielded from some considerable distance. But we were talking about shielding the five of us spread out miles apart, with tens of thousands of other human life forces in close proximity. If we complicated her gift with mine, things got even more challenging. We had spent years practicing blending our talents. It was something that Bella could only do with certain types of gift and even then only with someone she trusted implicitly and I was proud and privileged to be one of those. In order for it to be effective we had to be in physical contact at all times and, as it was against all her natural shielding instincts to let another talent intertwine with hers, it required a huge amount of concentration on her part. When we had attacked Maria's army, Bella and I had stood absolutely still to maintain the cloak of my invisibly and Bella's shield protecting Demetri, Felix and Jane while they tore the newborns apart. This situation was more difficult because we needed to be involved in the chase. We would have to keep moving but we couldn't afford to let Bella's shield down for any of the guard, as that would leave them vulnerable to Reon's gift and give him the chance to escape.
As Edward finally entered the club, Bella and I were headed inland, hand in hand. I could feel the tension pulsing though Bella and I tried to support her as best I could. Guiding her way through the trees so she could concentrate. When our gifts were linked, I could sense life forces the way she could. She was shielding us all with her protective shield but only she and Emmet were also under the influence of my invisibility. Amy was on the beach. Reon would be able to sense her if he went towards the coast and that should deter him from heading to the sea. Edward was going to chase him inland and towards possibility Emmett, but hopefully Bella and I. Bella was going to try and pick out his life force and adjust the invisibility of whichever of use she needed to trap him where we wanted him. We needed to get him far enough away from any human so that we could confront and apprehend him without the risk of exposure or collateral damage. We were asking so much of Bella, but if we caught him it would be worth it.
Minutes seemed like both seconds and hours. Through our link, I instantly realised when Bella had been able to pinpoint Reon's life-force amongst the thousands of others. He was moving too fast to be human and we could detect the powerful thrum that suggested an immortal and the tinge of his panic. Recognising him was our signal. He had avoided Amy on the coast but was veering towards Emmett. I looked at Bella. She acted instantly and without question on our unspoken communication, lifting Emmet's invisibility. It had the desired effect because Reon changed course, it took him closer to us but not exactly on the trajectory we wanted him. We started to run to cut him off. Bella cloaked Amy in invisibility so that she would have the chance to catch up with the rest of us and I felt Bella's mental strain from the complex manipulation of our talents that she was attempting.
We were closing on him. It would only be moments before our path intersected with his and I would have to let go of Bella's hand if I was going to attack him. As soon as I did, Bella would be visible to him. I wasn't going to allow her to be vulnerable to him when I was not so I dropped my own invisibility as the same moment that I let go of her hand. Reon skidded to a stop as soon as he registered our presence. He spun to escape us but I was quicker and more determined. We slammed together with a thunderous crash. We fought momentarily and his arm almost wrenched off in my hands as he desperately tried to escape capture. He didn't get more than a few steps before I had a firm hold of him again. I lost myself to the momentum of fighting him. Bella stood back and I instinctively kept myself between Reon and her. I knew that she was perfectly able to defeat him in a fight but she knew I needed this and she left him to me. I added that to the billion other reasons I was so in love with her.
Once I knew that the others that caught up to us, I threw Reon to the floor before completing the circle they had formed around us, leaving him alone in the centre. He ran at each of us randomly in his furious desperation to escape but we were all more than capable of repelling him and each time he attacked us we would throw him back to the centre of the circle. Eventually he gave up, stilling his attacks whilst his eyes continued to dart around searching for a means of escape.
"What do you want?" he hissed.
"Reon," I commanded his attention and his eyes snapped to mine. "You are accused of violating human women, leaving them pregnant and then abandoning your children to their fate. You have repeatedly and significantly risked the exposure of our kind. Have you anything to say in your defence?"
"Violating human women? Are you even serious? They slept with me willingly. And what do you care? What business is it of yours?" Reon spat furiously.
"I very much doubt any of them would have consented to being with you if they had of had any idea of the consequences," Bella cut in. "As for who we are…we are the Volturi. You have been responsible for too much horror for far too long. It ends now. We will end it."
"That means nothing to me. I don't recognise the Volturi as an authority over me," Reon sneered, remaining defiant even in his obvious defeat.
"You will," I promised him. I kept my voice calm. I knew he would be able to sense the cold chill of my absolute certainty.
"Did you know? What you were leaving behind? What you were putting those women and your children though?" I knew Bella had found it almost impossible to believe that any vampire could behave as callously as he had. Her urge to protect her children was so overwhelming that she couldn't fathom the disregard for his children that he'd exhibited. She wanted him to have been unaware he was abandoning them. Reon allowed a small defiant smirk to quirk his lips and he almost died in that moment. He was fortunate that I would never allow an enemy to goad me into a reaction.
"Edward?" I asked steadily, not allowing my fury to fracture my calm demeanour.
"He didn't know at first," Edward answered me immediately, "but once he realised, it added to the thrill for him. He liked knowing that he had killed those girls without them even realising it. He goes back to search for the children once they are grown up and no longer dependant. He has met up with some of his oldest children already. There are more than we knew about."
Well shit. Even though I knew Aro wanted to interrogate him, I'd held a slight hope that we would be forced to kill him. That was out of the question now. Aro would have to read him. We needed to be able to find any children that he had fathered and help them however we could. Reon stared in disbelief at Edward with a new air of nervousness about him.
"What are you going to do about it?" Reon demanded. "Kill me?"
"Not yet," Bella told him. "You will be taken to Volterra for trial."
"I won't come quietly," he warned.
"Yes, you will," I told him unequivocally and in one swift move, I parted his head from his body. His mouth gaped in a silent scream. Without the ability to force air from his lungs over his vocal cords, it was pointless for him to try to scream but he continued to try anyway. His body continued to fight so I dismembered it. It would be easier to carry that way.
As we ran back to the airport we were not in our traditional V formation but it didn't matter as Bella and I were cloaking us in invisibility. It would be unfortunate indeed for anyone to catch even the briefest glimpse of our macabre convoy. I was holding Bella's hand in my right one, and in my left hand I had hold of Reon's decapitated head by his hair. I was careful to drag it through as many brambles and bushes as I could, knowing he would feel the discomfort of every small impact. Emmett had the torso under his arm. Edward had a leg over each of his shoulders and Amy had tight control over his arms. Once we reached the airport we leaped over the fences and circumvented the security that offered excellent protection from human infiltration but was no obstacle at all to invisible vampires.
Emmett knocked on the door of the Volturi plane and stepped back. Our pilot, Davidas, opened it and was unfazed to find no one there. He left the door open wide as he descended the steps to do his pre-flight exterior checks, leaving the way clear for us to enter the plane.
I was unsurprised to find Nathan sitting in the main cabin. He looked up even though we would still be invisible to his eyes.
"Did you get him?" he asked, his voice devoid of its characteristic warmth and my heart broke for him.
I let the invisibility slip from us all and Nathan's eyes locked with those of his biological father's. I wanted so badly to protect him from this confrontation even though I knew he had been desperate for it. My beautiful eldest son was in so much pain and I was powerless to end it. Gone was the confident young man he had become and I recognised the scared, furious and bitter little boy we had found alone in the woods. I knew Bella would be seeing exactly the same as me but mercifully Nathan had managed to hold on to his composure so I doubted anyone else was aware of the turmoil he was going through.
"I'm coming home with you," Nathan stated and Bella and I nodded our assent. Even though I wished I could spare him from this, he was fully grown now and I respected him enough to let him make his own decisions and support him though them.
On the flight back to Italy, we reassembled Reon. He was no threat to us with Nathan's kinesis to hold him prisoner and it would save time when we arrived in Volterra. The moment Reon's trachea healed and reunited his larynx with his lungs he began to plead with Nathan. Nathan ignored him and his pleas became more and more pitiful.
"Please, you are my son…" he tried again and again before Nathan snapped.
Nathan sprang to his feet. "I am not your son," he growled, "You are nothing to me."
"They have poisoned you against me…" Reon pleaded.
"Did you know?" Nathan demanded, cutting him off again. "Did you know my mother was pregnant? What you were doing?"
"No," Reon replied without hesitation. "If I had known, I would have come back for you, I swear it."
"He lies," Edward cut in. I was grateful for his quiet, kind voice that was meant for Nathan only.
"You're sure?" Nathen asked. He still didn't trust Edward completely.
"You're the same age as Renesmee?" Edward sought conformation and proceeded at Nathan's nod. "He has known for well over twenty years that children were a possibility." Edward looked at sharply at Reon and faltered, clearly dismayed by what Reon was thinking.
"What is it?" Nathan demanded.
Edward shot a concerned look at Bella and then briefly at me, but Nathan called his attention back.
"The truth please Edward," he asked fervently.
"He remembers your mother…you look like her," Edward said but was drowned out by a high pitched keening from Reon. I leapt up and grabbed his head in an aggressive tilt.
"Shut the fuck up or I will cut off your air supply by feeding you your balls." His keening cut off as abruptly as it had started. He knew I wasn't bluffing. Edward hesitated to continue. "Nathan can handle whatever it is you've heard." I told him.
"He did come back to see if your mother had had a child. He found you in the custody of a pair of mated vampires," Edward stopped for a moment, his sympathy for Nathan was apparent and I knew how much it would hurt Nathan that Edward had seen what he had been subjected to as a young boy. Edward wouldn't be able to read it from Nathan's mind though, Bella shielded us all from Edward at all times, but I thought Edward might be able to read it in Nathan's face and that was confirmed when he tried to hide his sympathy and continued. "Reon decided not to challenge them, he didn't want the responsibility of looking after you while you were still young so he left you there but was planning to return for you soon. He planned to use his gift to gain your trust and lure you away from them."
"He left me with them for years and was only now planning to come back for me…and what then? Pretend to rescue me from those psychopaths? What did you expect to find?" He turned on Reon, his voice shaking with incredulous fury.
Reon had never been in more danger than in that moment. Bella, Nathan and I wanted to kill him. We wanted it so badly that almost nothing else mattered. We would face Aro's wrath. We would comfort the other children after denying them their resolution, but he had to die. Instantly and in the most hideously torturous way we could imagine, because leaving Nathan with those repugnant monsters was incomprehensible and deserved vengeance. When I thought of what my son had had to endure…
"Think of the others who might need our protection," Amy knew us so well and whispered the only words that could have saved Reon in that moment because she was absolutely right. If there were some of his children that we did not know about, still suffering out there, then they needed us to find them.
The trial was almost unendurable but essential. Aro was grim faced as he listed Reon's crimes in full. The sheer number of humans he had abused was almost incomprehensible. It might take us years to find all the children he may have sired. I could see from Aro's reaction that it would become the Volturi's top priority. As it should be.
We had let the older children speak at the trial if they wished. Daniel chose not to but there could be no mistaking his hatred for his biological father when Michelle gave her evidence. Hers was the most heart-breaking story by far and I knew how much courage it took for her to stand up and speak about the early years of her life. She had been born amidst a civil war. Her mother's family had hated her for her traumatic birth that had killed her mother and had sold her to a militia group as a potential weapon. From a baby, Michelle had been incarcerated and experimented on. A whole crude research facility had been built up around her. It took too long for rumours of her to reach us in Volterra. By the time we had torn it down and burnt it to the ground she had already suffered too much. I was impressed by her quiet dignity and bravery, her desire for her testimony to condemn her father to his fate overcoming her fear of speaking out.
I watched my family unite against Reon. They drew together to protect and support each other and I was so very proud of them all. I hoped that the older children could gain some kind of resolution from this and that my younger children would understand when they were old enough to hear of why Reon had to die.
He was not brave or dignified. He whimpered and moaned and pleaded and fought. He seemed constantly amazed to find himself in this position. He had been so sure of the protection his chameleon talent had offered him and was dismayed that it was failing him. I felt vindictive pleasure when he saw Anna for the first time. His disbelief that she was still alive and her clear bond with Daniel confounded him. It was one small victory.
When the time came for the verdict to be reached, Aro, Marcus, Caius, Bella and Renesmee stood solemnly to cast their votes. There was absolute silence in the chamber. They were flawless and stoic and radiated the power they wielded. In turn, each spoke a single word without hesitation.
Nathan stepped forward. He had argued with Aro to be allowed to be his father's executioner. Aro was so worried about what it would do to him. We all were, but we knew that he needed this. I was still worried he might lose a part of himself but I couldn't deny him either. Nathan had dressed in Volturi robes for the first time ever. He wore the Volturi crest and I knew how pleased Aro was to see him so aligned with the Volturi, even if he wished the circumstances were different.
Nathan's eyes locked with Reon's and he ignored the pitiful pleading. Then the lines slowly started to appear. As they were snaking ominously across Reon's visible skin, he began to scream. They intersected and widened, cracking open and fracturing. Nathan didn't waiver or hesitate. He continued to crush Reon until he was ground to dust. An eerie silence had fallen as we observed the evidence of what we had known Nathan was capable of, but had never fully witnessed. Caius stepped forward and reverently handed Nathan his ornately decorated flame thrower. It was an awesome display of trust. Nathan and Caius' relationship had never evolved the way that Nathan's and Aro's and Marcus' had. Caius never relinquished his flame thrower and yet he gave it to Nathan who was forbidden from even having matches in the castle. Nathan aimed the flamethrower at the apex of the mound of Reon's dust. Under the burst of flame that jetting out, Reon's dust ignited instantly and spectacularly, fizzing and sparking and turning to ash.
I gathered my family close to me as we watched the purple smoke leisurely climb its way up the concealed chimney and the fire burn itself out. We had finally stopped Reon. It was over. But now the search for his other hybrid children would begin. I wondered how much my family would grow and change over the next few months and years. I hoped that the love and bonds we shared would be enough to help and heal them, as they had healed me.
AN: Thank you so much for reading. I'd love to hear what you think.
If you enjoyed Resonating Light, it would be so lovely if you could take a few moments to go to twifanfictionrecs and vote in their completed stories poll.
Thank you again for all of your support. If anyone is interested, I am still planning on posting some of the earlier chapters from Fred's POV but it probably won't be until the New Year as I am working on my new story, Stop The Tears From Falling, at the moment.
Hope you all have an amazing Christmas.
Lots of love, Kay x