A/N: Hey there everybody! I suppose this is the end, huh? Out of fear of missing people out, I don't want to thank anybody in particular, but I just want to say that this final chapter goes out to those of you who took the time to review every single chapter since I began this tale, and you should know exactly who you are.
Writing this has pulled me through so many tough times over these couple of years, and I cannot for the life of me, fathom how the time has flied. It seems only yesterday, where I sat down and wrote about Jasper tearing down the Cullen house in Forks, and discovering Bella's talents.
Really, you all have been too great for words.
This is my attempt at trying to keep things somewhat cannon. I have always tried to keep as close to what Stephanie Meyer intended for her characters (specifically their biology and back-stories), and I had been toying with ending it like this for a long time.
For the last time, I apologise in advance for any errors. I do not have a beta so they are all mine.
Disclaimer: Everything belongs to Stephanie Meyer, like always; I just play around with her characters, and I suppose I own this stupefying plot.
See you at the bottom folks!
*Wipes tears from eyes*
"Shit," I hissed, rushing down the cobbled hallways of the Castle, heading for Carlisle's office, late for another meeting because of a training session that lasted a little too long.
Little Jane was standing in front of his office door, smirking as I ran down the hallway.
"You'd think after twenty years you'd be a little better at your timekeeping," she said, moving to the side and allowing me in.
There'd been a lot of this these past few weeks, the constant remarks about how it'd been twenty years since this, and two decades since that. It was getting on my last nerve. I understood that it was an important milestone, I really did. The Ivory Council of Volterra had been in power for fifteen years without a singular disruption. There had been no rogue vampires threatening exposure, and to the best of Volterra's knowledge, the only vampire's that still drank the blood of humans were the ones that slipped up: drinking the blood of humans was a forgivable and inevitable blunder. Yes, everything was going well; it was the reason why I'd been called to this meeting with Carlisle.
"Sorry I'm late," I said rushing in, letting Jane close the door behind me.
My eyes set on the glorious sight of my beautiful mate, who'd been basking in the warmth of the sunlight, perched on the windowsill. She looked up at me as soon as I entered, and smiled widely. I went over to her, and pressed my lips against hers for the briefest of seconds, and with a quick swipe of my tongue against her mouth, I backed away and joined her on the ledge.
Although I was aware of everybody in the room as soon as I walked in, I hadn't completely registered it for my mind was too occupied with Bella. Carlisle sat at his desk, and smiled warmly at me, and Caius was sitting just a few feet away from me with what looked to be The Art of War in his lap. What struck me, though, were the four others here whose arrival I had been completely left in the dark about.
Five years into the new rule of the vampire world, the three leaders—Carlisle, Bella, and Caius—had made a decision that the workload of ruling an entire species simply could not be made by their three minds. They made the decision that four more governing entities would have to be introduced, which then created The Ivory Council.
Since the Volturi would now be a more tangible authority in the world, it was necessary for us to look a lot more like a united board of members, rather than three people with what looked like to the world, unlimited power and wealth. We had even been dubbed by some tabloids as Earth's Advisors. Every so often, with the new discovery of artefacts from miraculous, archaeological digs which we had Bella to thank for the spotlight would fall on the mysterious and philanthropic Volturi, lead by achingly beautiful 'humans' who owed a significant portion of the world's wealth, but not enough that we would raise alarms.
Eleazer had been chosen as the representative of the United States of America; Benjamin from the Egyptian Coven which now included a mated pair of once-nomads called Maya and Sameer which had settled with them before the formation of the council, represented the entirety of the Asia; South America's representative was Zafrina from the Amazonian coven, but because of the lack of vampires in that region we rarely saw her in this past decade and a half, but she and her sisters seemed to be doing their job because it was entirely silent in that area. One of the most astonishing representatives was Demetri.
The remaining areas of the world, the remote islands, the barren desserts of Africa, were under Demetri's authority. Bella had tweaked his gift a little, so he would get a hundred percent accurate reading of anybody's location throughout the entire world. He would be able to get through any shield—well apart from Bella's—and not even need to catch the essence of a person before he looked for them. He was the epitome of a tracker.
Amelia, Demetri's mate, had been turned by Carlisle ten years ago. After Amun's quasi-death, Amelia had lost all her abilities. She had thrown a hissy fit for three weeks before she'd calmed down about that. Because Amelia had once been in possession of the ultimate power, the Council decided that it was simply not worth the chance to have Demetri change her into a vampire by the power of his own venom, because we did not know what to expect. We had also a little help from Peter, who had phoned Volterra in a mess of words, warning us that under no circumstances were we to allow Demetri to change Amelia because he had 'the worst feeling' about it. Bella had wholeheartedly agreed with Peter, seeing that as soon as we made the decision to let Amelia be turned by Demetri, our futures were unsure and hazy. The next morning, with a little help from Bella, Amelia was turned into a vampire in a matter of seconds, with a singular bite from Carlisle.
Amelia had developed a gift similar to mine (a little weaker, though) so it was impossible for us to be in the same vicinity without Bella's help in fear of me going mental. Every emotion in the room was multiplied, every sensation felt as though I was being hit by freight truck. It had been a little joke among the castle and The Council that we were both master manipulators in our human lives, that's why our gifts were as they were.
So currently in this book-filled study, the entire Ivory Council sat: Carlisle, Caius, Bella, Eleazer, Zafrina, Benjamin, Demetri, and I. I was the final member of the Ivory Council; if the need ever arose, I would lead the Volturi into battle. The tension in the room, and the very fact that I was here led me to believe that this Golden Age was under a mass threat.
Bella squeezed my hand in a tight grip, and I sighed loudly.
"What's wrong?" I asked, looking around the room for some quick answers.
Zafrina spoke from her seat by Carlisle's desk. "Two nights ago," she started in her thick accent, her extensive, elongated fingers toyed with the end of her long braid, "I received a call from a woman called Makenna insisting that I go to the forests of Chile—I believe she was there in the gathering which you turned the newborns, Isabella. She told me her story, a very interesting one.
"Makenna comes from a Maltese family with the most unusual connection to vampirism. One of her ancestors named Luca was turned into a vampire five hundred years before the birth of Christ." My eyes widened, Luca was most definitely on the list of vampires that were the oldest among our kind. "Unlike most of us, this Luca did not leave his mortal family behind; he continued to look after his family's prosperity and safety. And, with a vampire on their side, the family prospered greatly. The secret was amongst common knowledge within this family, and they regarded him as a saint! His family grew up with a much different perception of vampirism than the remainder of the world.
"Luca looked for other members of his family to help protect the family line. He converted his relatives into his vampires, and some did as he asked and other broke away, relishing the freedom; Renata, for instance, was turned by Luca and then adopted by the Guard." My jaw hung open, how had we overlooked this? The quick tightening of Bella's hand around mine and then relaxing told me that she was well aware of this fact, but chose not divulge it; we had developed our own form of wordless communication. "It became the tradition that every other century, one child would be trained to become the Protector, and then turned once ready. Makenna was one of the chosen ones, and she grew up knowing that this would be her destiny. She looked forward to her fate until she met a man called Charles. Luca told her she could give up her heritage id she wanted to grow old and die with the human. Makenna declined, choosing immortality, however she told me she had always planned to go back to Charles. With the knowledge that the last thing her 'uncle' would do is change a human outside her family, she changed Charles herself after a couple of years of adjusting to vampirism, but only after Charles was completely aware of what being a vampire entailed.
"Now, we get to the real issue," she said with a deep sigh, "there's been unusual activity in Southern America, according to Makenna. I, along with my sisters, moved out of the forests and to Mexico, knowing that if any conflict were to arise it would be where there were still vampires who were loyal to Maria and her sisters. Makenna told me that she came across the body of a woman, a horrifically mutilated human woman."
Without any warning at all, Zafrina projected the image to us. Everybody apart from Zafrina gasped, seeing the dead, bloody corpse of a tan, naked woman in the forest, the area where her I supposed her womb to be, torn and bloody, the wound gaping. Her breast was coated with splatters of blood, and a bite. A bite that could be nothing other than one of an immortal child.
There was a loud, simultaneous growl that ripped from our mouths.
"What the fuck?" I hissed, as I was once again looking at the people before me. "An immortal child?"
She nodded solemnly.
"It's worse than anything we had foreseen," Eleazer whispered gravely, pacing. "We expected some activity, but never this! For the love of all that's holy! Is our race incapable of learning from our mistakes?"
Isabella stood, holding her hand out asking us to stop our train of thoughts. "They're not immortal children," she said, her words and body exuding surprise. "If we think about this rationally, Carlisle, we would see that. Her stomach has been torn apart; something has escaped her body, Carlisle, her womb."
"That's not the work of a newborn child, Isabella!" Caius seethed.
She shook her head. "You're right. But this isn't the work of a human baby."
An uncomfortable silence flooded the entire castle.
"Are you suggesting . . . ?" Caius trailed off, unable to finish his sentence.
I had learned over the years that Bella was always right. I followed her blindly. If she said that this was not a human child, but rather a vampire child, then that's exactly what it is. I fought past my momentary petrification, and looked over to Carlisle. He sat staring blankly forward, her emotions fleeting and changing. We were silent again for a minute or so, waiting for Carlisle to speak.
"It's not a vampire baby," Carlisle said definitively. "Why don't you explain, Bella, I think I need a little more time to assimilate this all."
Bella nodded, and came to sit by me once more. "Because the male body does not need to change to reproduce," Bella started, "it is able to reproduce. Male vampires have the ability to therefore pass on genetic material with a fully human female partner." I knew that Bella stressed the word 'fully' for my benefit, and I was a little embarrassed as to how quickly she had latched onto that train of thought. "However, it is beyond the ability of most vampires to be so close to a human physically and still resist the lure of their blood. Also, vampires are so much stronger than humans, as you know, that any loss of self-control at such close proximity can quickly lead to mortal injury to the human
"Female vampires still carry ova similar to the human ova, but the unchanging state of their bodies results in a total absence of the reproductive cycle. Even if the vampire would somehow find a way to continue her cycle, her frozen body would be unable to grow and change to accommodate a growing and changing foetus."
"It's not the only child," Zafrina told us.
"What?" all of us apart from Bella said.
"I called Demetri here to locate any vampires other than us in this area, and he got back to us with only one."
"Oh," Demetri said, feeling a little uncomfortable that he was left in the dark like that.
"I'm sorry I did not tell you," she apologised to him. "But I wanted to be sure of what I'd seen before I reported it to you all."
"It's okay," he said, waving his hand in a dismissive motion.
"Did you find him?" Benjamin asked.
She shook her head. "We found his daughters, Serena, Maysun, and Jennifer." My eyes widened. Fucking hell. "The girls told us very little, completely unaware of our Authority. They had the child, a little boy named Nathaniel."
She showed us the beautiful image of a small dark haired child, who looked to be the size of a four month old rather than a newborn, crawling on the forest floor, at the feet of three teenage-looking daughters, who were equally striking and bared some resemblance to one another.
"The hybrids in the vision," Bella said, "were created along with their brother Nahuel who is with his biological vampire aunt Huilen in New York, as an experiment by their father who's called Joham.
"Vampire hybrids have both human and vampire traits. The hybrids are much stronger and faster than humans, with sharper senses, but not as strong, fast, or sharp as a pure vampire. They are strong enough, however, that human females are rarely able to survive the gestation period. The movement of the hybrids in the womb, similar to the movement of a human child in the womb, often caused injury to the mothers of these children. Even if the mothers survive such a brutal pregnancy, they don't survive the birth. The hybrid tears itself out of the womb with its teeth, which is made from a strong membrane nearly as durable as vampire skin, which is why we saw that woman so bloody. I suppose, though, if this Joham cared for the mothers just as he cared for the hybrids, then he would have realised that if you introduce venom into the system of the mother, then she at least could have a chance at survival.
"Like the amniotic sac, the hybrid's skin is as almost as durable as a vampire's skin, but it doesn't have the same reaction to sunlight like ours do. They have a circulatory system, are warm-blooded, and tend to live on a diet of their preference, blood or human food. It seems that the pregnancy lasts around a month, and the hybrid grows to full maturity in seven years. This maturity also extends to the brain too," she finished, rather relieved of this final fact, just as we all were. The greatest problem with the Immortal Children was that they simply did not learn or grow mentally.
"What are we going to do?" Demetri asked.
Carlisle, who had been quiet throughout Bella's explanation, began to speak. "It's necessary that we pay them a visit, every person in this room. They need to know that unless they're planning on exposing themselves—something I worry Joham might do—then we are not their enemy."
"Are you ready to leave?" Bella asked, jumping to her feet. There was a murmur of agreement. "I've let Emmett and Felix know that we're leaving, but I doubt there'll be much problem . . . Get ready, people."
Bella, over these last few years, had been working on perfecting her teleportation ability. Nothing, however, could change the overwhelming feeling of your life almost leaving your body, but she had managed to drastically speed it up so that most places took only a couple of seconds to bounce between. Difficulties only occurred when Bella's thought process interfered mid-command and we'd end up a couple of hundred miles away from where we wanted to be, or like one particular time, we ended up in Siberia instead of Denali, because I decided to give Bella a spontaneous kiss. It seemed that intimacy really screwed up her inner GPS.
We landed in a dense rainforest, and at once, the humidity hit me, and I was left longing for the cold, dry air of Volterra. I wondered if, after time, water would gather up in my lungs after being exposed to this weather, but Bella's small scoffing sound told me otherwise.
"What?" I chuckled. "It's a valid deliberation."
"What is?" Carlisle asked.
In fear of humiliating myself further, I just shook my head, and motioned for Zafrina to show us the way to go. She pressed her forefinger to her lips in the universal sound of 'quietly', and we followed behind her in a swift run, our feet barely touching the forest floor. I noticed how quiet it also was, which indicated that vampires were in the vicinity, because every creature with even a hint of self-preservation would flee the moment they realised that such a superior predator was in the area.
After a little while, we came across a large clearing that was seeping with the glorious scent of blood, but strangely, it didn't have the same delectable nature that pure human blood had. I had abstained long enough from human blood that it hardly tempted me anymore, but occasionally, Bella would spike the blood I drank from animals with her human blood, which was more due to foreplay than my dietary requirements.
The clearing was like a front lawn, and towards the back of the perfect natural circle, there was a large house, with large panelled windows, and ornate wooden frames. Inside the house came the sound of five fluttering heartbeats but six lungs working for breath. It seemed that along with teleporting us here, Bella also had a hand at making sure that Joham's children plus the aunt were all here.
Carlisle gave a brief nod for us to proceed further, and in a very human-like gesture, he knocked on the front door, and we waited to be allowed in.
A few seconds later, there was the opening click of the door, and a dark skinned male stood in the doorway. Immediately we were all struck with the vampire-like looks of this boy who was around my Bella's age, and stood at five foot seven. He wore his hair in a long braid down his back, and was wearing a simple tan shirt and some jeans. His heart was racing, and the vein in his neck was pulsing. He judged us with critical teak brown eyes, and was radiating contempt.
"Hello," Carlisle said, recovering from his shock at something completely new to us. He introduced us firstly by name. ". . . and we're the Ivory Council of Volterra."
"I'm Nahuel," he replied warily, making no indication to invite us inside.
Carlisle nodded. "It's a pleasure to meet you," he said. "We were wondering if we could come inside, there's something we need to talk to you about, and we fear that you've been misinformed about our intentions."
Nahuel's eyes widened in shock, but he nodded, and stepped back. "Come in . . ."
The house held mainly wooden furniture that was intricately carved, and looked to be handmade. Nahuel's sisters stared at us all with fierce and angry eyes, all looking dissimilar but sharing some of the same features, like their brown eyes, slight build, and wide lips. The girls stood stoically, a united front, and made no move to introduce themselves to us, and neither did our party. Out of the corner of my eye, I caught Bella smiling slightly at them, and then looking over to a vampire woman who had an olive tone to her skin, who sat with the beautiful child who I knew was Nathaniel, but looked shockingly different to what Zafrina had showed us earlier. His dark ringlets were a little longer, hanging around his shoulders, and he was holding himself up and staring at us with inquisitive eyes. His body seemed a little less round, and he was controlling his limbs perfectly. I couldn't hold back my gasp, much like the rest of us.
I tore my eyes away from him, and we sat down on the overstuffed couch, Demetri and Benjamin choosing to stand to the side.
Carlisle hesitated for a second, before looking over to Bella and handing over the reins to her with the simple action. She smiled, and then turned back to the expectant gazes. "Hello," she said, "I'm Bella. I suppose you're all wondering just why we've come unannounced . . . It's just that we wanted to assure that we mean you no harm whatsoever. None at all." Immediately the girls relaxed and even little Nathaniel smiled. Although Nahuel and Huilen were a little on edge still. "We just came to let you know that if you ever face a problem, something that you cannot face alone, and it's threatening your existence, then our doors are always open. We have a permanent residence in Volterra, Italy, but Zafrina here"—Bella nodded over to her—"lives a little closer, in Mexico in fact.
"We are utterly fascinated that being like you exist, since a few minutes ago, we didn't even think it was a possibility . . . Hello there," Bella said to Nathaniel, getting up and crouching over to where he played on the floor. The air was tense once more, but that was to be expected. Bella reached out and tickled his chin, and he giggled. "Are you Nathaniel?" she asked.
He nodded his head, leaned over, and crawled into Bella lap, astounding us all. The tension left the air, and his sisters laughed at his willingness.
Eleazer cleared his throat, and too moved over to where the child was. "Little Nathaniel here has a gift," he cooed, and I gave shocked laugh at how quickly Eleazer changed his demeanour.
"Oh?" Carlisle enquired, shooting us all a look.
"Yes . . . His gift is a little like Benjamin's . . . The child can control the weather."
"What?" One of his sisters gasped, flashing over to where he was sitting in Bella's lap and snatching him away. "What on earth does that mean?"
"Serena . . ." Huilen sighed, shaking her head.
Eleazer and Bella stood. "It means that he can control the weather," Eleazer said, smiling at the boy. "Some vampires have certain abilities and it looks as if this is not limited to just them."
"He can control the weather?" she asked, it finally sinking in.
Bella nodded, and reached out for Nathaniel. He almost leapt into her arms, pressing his face into her neck. Bella looked down at him with tender eyes, and then back at me with a raised eyebrow. He likes me, she whispered into my head, and I nodded. Bella rocked him gently, a wave of lethargy came over him, and he yawned a little.
"We need to be certain," Caius started, "that you do not intend to expose yourself."
The family looked at one another, and then Huilen said, "It's a fear of ours that Joham, the father of these children, will do that eventually." It was just what we'd expected. "He has expressed some want in created many hybrids, and then present them to the world."
One of the girls scoffed and shook her head. "He wants to create a master race," she half-laughed.
"Jennifer," Huilen said looking at the girl and then back at us with a look of trepidation. "She speaks the truth. Joham is out of control . . . He is impregnating women, and then leaving them as soon as he knows they are pregnant. Many are too weak to survive to survive the pregnancy . . . He requested that we look after the women and child but not many make it that far."
"He needs to be stopped," Caius hissed.
Huilen nodded. "His intentions are far from pure."
"And how do you feel about this?" Carlisle asked, looking over his children. "He's your father after all."
Serena shook her head. "Biologically, yes. But he's not fulfilled one duty that comes with fatherhood. We would not miss him if he was to die."
"We would not kill him," Carlisle said firmly. "That is simply not how the Volturi works."
"Then what would happen to him?" Nahuel asked.
"I'd have a little word with him," Bella said quietly, still gently rocking a sleeping Nathaniel, "maybe inflict a little permanent damage so that he cannot impregnate any more women."
There was a small quake of laughter from us all. "Yes," Nahuel said, smirking, "that would do the job."
Six Months Later
"We have a problem," Jane told me, rushing into the Training Room where I was currently teaching Renata how to control her shield a little better. I looked over to Jane, forever the bearer of bad news here at Volterra. "The Council has gathered in the Throne Room."
"Bloody hell," I muttered. I looked over to Renata. "We'll resume this later," I told her. "Practice with Jane." Suddenly, Jane moved across the room by the simple mental power of Renata's shield. It seemed that when tuned enough, Renata could control just where she wanted her victims to travel when hitting her shield, and if she was concentrating enough, just like now, it was akin to mind control.
I rushed off to the Throne Room, to find the entire Council gathered, and Carlisle and Caius in some kind of stare off.
"What's the problem?" I asked, drifting over to where Bella sat in her seat, her head in her hands. Are you okay, Darling?
She looked up at me with her golden eyes. "It's Nathan," she answered, her voice shaky.
"What happened?" I asked immediately, ready to do whatever was necessary to ensure that the boy was okay. Over the past couple of months, the Volturi had almost adopted Nathaniel, and Bella and I made sure to spend a little time with him every day.
"Apparently," Eleazer started, "there has been some unusual weather in South America. Snow."
There was silence as I processed this. "Whose fault?" I asked directly, knowing that Nathan would never have used his gift unless it was necessary.
"Joham," Carlisle said. Ah, ball-less Joham. "He discovered that Nathaniel was gifted, and came to take him away from his family. Currently Joham is completely frozen, and unable to move."
"Why are we here then?" I asked, enraged. "They need help!"
He shook his head. "It's snowing in Argentina, Jasper," Carlisle sighed, slumping into his seat. "The moment it was reported—a half hour or so ago—every reporter in the area and most of the world's news has been covering it. They're currently questioning anybody they can find in that immediate area, and Bella tells us that Serena is one of them. It's impossible for us to bring Nathaniel here without raising some suspicions."
"So why have we gathered?" I asked.
"To discuss the possibility of moving their family here permanently," Bella answered.
Caius shook his head, and settled into his seat too, and there they sat, the most powerful people on this earth now, my mate a third of that power.
"Why is there even a discussion?" Demetri asked. "We should have done this months ago!"
"It's not that simple, Son," Eleazer said. "If we suddenly bring hybrids into the Castle, then we have to explain to the entire vampire world of their existence, something we had agreed not to do."
Oh, so that's what it is? I asked Bella, moving to sit at her feet, and stare up at her.
Yes, she answered. "The future is blurry," Bella said ominously. "It is tricky for us to make a decision that will wholly benefit us all . . . If we reveal to the vampire world that hybrids exist, unmated males will try to impregnate women without a second thought and then turn the mothers. The females would want their mates to go and bring back a child, and it has the potential of causing thousands of deaths. And if we do not reveal, and keep the hybrids here, it was completely decimate the trust that we've built with the vampire world. If we leave the hybrids be, then within this decades humans will find out about vampires despite all our efforts, and there will be war."
"Perhaps a change in biology then?" Carlisle said with enthusiasm like a five year old.
"How to you mean?" Bella asked.
"Vampires could procreate," he answered. There was another tense silence, where we all just stared at him in shock, unable to believe the words had come out from his mouth. "It would eliminate the need for humans and vampires to mate. This, however, is based on the assumption that we would want children that were full vampires rather than half human. I'm not quite sure how it would work, but we can fix that can't we?"
"Carlisle, you've gone mad!" Caius hissed, shaking his head. "This would fundamentally change how our world works, we can't just do this."
And then Bella spoke, and we hung on her every word. "We could do this," she answered. "If I work on it enough, there should be no complications—"
"Isa," Caius groaned, shaking his head.
"—and we could provide the change here in Volterra. We could regulate it, so it doesn't go completely out of hands. It would be a little tweak in the female vampire biology, just in the reproductive cycle, and their body's response to being impregnated, and then the body would go back to normal once the child was conceived . . . and by conceived I mean going through the excruciating pain of labour."
I looked at Bella with worried eyes. Do you want this for yourself? I asked her. It had not been something we had considered in our time together, the possibility of children; because it was ludicrous to assume that it was possible! Would you like a child?
No, she answered. But I know women in this castle that would love nothing more—Rosalie, Esme, and even Amelia. In the case of Rosalie, she hates what she is because this one thing, the ability to have children, was taken away from her. This would be a gift to her.
I smiled at her. "So the change to the body would be administered here?"
"Yes," she answered. "I think it's best for you all here to gather the vampires in your domain, and notify them of this . . . gift, and if they ask I can bring them to Volterra and do it instantaneously."
The Council departed within a blink of the eye after a brief smile from Bella and a collective nod of acceptance over the decision. We had decided after brief deliberation that perhaps it was best to leave the hybrids in Argentina for a while, right until the possibility of vampire children was introduced to the masses. Then, when the coast was clear, would we successfully bring the hybrids into the castle.
I lay in the gardens that afternoon after we had all decided to take a break from that bewildering conversation. Bella had decided to stay behind with Caius and Carlisle and iron out some final decisions, and all I wanted was to escape and feel my skin react with the strong sunlight of the Italian summer. For a split second, I imaged my Bella and I with a dark haired, golden eyed child that was entirely too beautiful to tolerate. He had Bella's wide eyes but my curly hair, and I fell in love with him the moment he flashed in front of my eyes. I realised that I had told Bella that I did not want children, instead figuring I'd make a pretty cute uncle to the toddlers that were soon going to be running around this castle—it would happen, too. I reckoned that before the year was out, Esme and Rosalie would be round with the babes of their mates, because they had longed for this their entirely lives. I, on the other hand, had accepted my fate and thought it was an impossibility to father children; even knowing the sheer extent of Bella's power, the thought of children had not even crossed my mind. But now!
The image of the gorgeous child vanished from my head, though after living with Bella for as long as I had now, I knew that she would have seen it. She knew my every thought before I even had it myself—our relationship would simply not work if we had anything less than the level of openness that we had now. Knowing this, I dreaded the conversation we would have intertwined in the aftermath of our feral mating. I would have to explain to her that the decision was entirely hers, but I halted all thoughts of that discussion because it would do me no good to over think it now and freak myself out. Instead, I focused on another incident in the two decades that we had spent together: the discovery of Edward and Alice.
Bella and I had retired to England after the five years we had dedicated to the Ivory Council. After an entire week of enraged and passionate sex of every kind two people could try, we had ventured, on a cloudy day, into the city of London to do some shopping. As soon as we had entered the cities outer suburbs, Bella and I were overcome with such an overwhelming feeling of nausea that we darted into a dark alley and proceeded to dry heave, the echo of removing the contents of my vacant stomach.
"What the fuck?" I had gasped so eloquently.
"Edward and Alice," she had said in return.
"Here in London?"
"That's some potent stuff you conjured there," I told her, choking at the memory of that feeling.
"It was kind of the point," she said. "Would you dare go back?"
"Not even if my life depended on it," I said, shaking my head.
"Luckily it doesn't."
Our trip, since that visit, became overshadowed by the realisation that we were close to Alice and Edward, and we returned to Volterra a couple of weeks early, though that hardly stopped our insistent fucking. Bella and I had not told anyone that we had found Edward and Alice because that would defeat the purpose of Bella creating such a strong aversion to them; we mustn't let anyone know whether we found any of the people we had sentenced because that would no longer conceal them from our lives as we had wished. The phrase 'out of sight, out of mind' was all too applicable here.
I stayed out in the gardens until the sun began to set over the Italian countryside, and then finally made my way indoors and up into our small quarters. I found Bella immersed in a well-worn copy of Wuthering Heights that she'd owned since before moving to Forks to live with Charlie.
Charlie was a subject that I tried not to think too often about because it pained Bella to know how little time he had left. He had married Sue Clearwater after her husband Harry had suffered from a heart attack a couple of months before Bella had left Forks. And then, a couple of years later, Sue herself had died giving birth to Andrew, Bella's half-brother. Charlie had grown old looking after Andrew, and he'd retired from the Police Force when Sue died, becoming somewhat of a recluse but still a devoted parent to Andrew. Andy now had a full ride to Dartmouth (which Bella might have been responsible for, though she had never admitted it outright), and Charlie was living out his days on the Reservation where he was within spitting distance of social interaction.
"Hey," I said, joining Bella on the bed where she read.
She put the book down and smiled, pressing a lone kiss on my lips, before giving me that 'I see you decided to finally man-up and decide to have this conversation with me' look. I chuckled, and nuzzled her neck with my nose, breathing in her calming scent.
"How are the details?" I asked.
"Fine," she answered. "We were just spreading a little rumour about the new proposition because I saw that everyone would respond to that much better than us telling them ourselves." I nodded, yes, it would be better to ease people into this rather than dump the news on them. "And then I had a little talk with Esme and Rosalie who are more than willing to be the test subjects to see how this will pan out. They are simply euphoric, Jasper."
I smiled, and kissed her soundly. "You're perfect," I whispered.
She made a sound of disgust. "I don't think so."
I growled. "Well I do. You're opinion on the matter is irrelevant."
"Yes . . ."
She raised a single brow in challenge, but all this mock arguing had me hard and I made no effort in concealing that when I pressed her harder into my arms.
"Jasper," she sighed, her fingers toying with the buttons of my pristine white shirt. "We need to talk."
"Afterwards," I answered, kissing my way down her neck.
"No," she moaned. "Now. Please."
I relented at her mumbling of 'please'. "What?" I asked dumbly, half-panting, uncomfortable with the way I was confined in these jeans.
"Do you want children?" She asked rather candidly.
"Someday," I answered running the backs of my fingers over her cheek, sirens going off in my head, wondering whether this was the answer that she was looking for.
"But not now," she said definitively. I shook my head in agreement. "Maybe in a couple of decades," she said.
"Yes," I answered kissing the corner of her mouth. "I just want your undivided adoration for a few more decades."
She laughed softly, an action that was in stark contrast to the way she tore open the front of my shirt. "Me too," she said, leaning over and giving me an all-consuming bite over my silent heart. I groaned in ecstasy, our hands tearing at one another's clothes for the umpteenth time.
In movement that we as familiar as the falling and rising of our chest when breathing, I pushed into her tight opening, my palms pressed against the small of her back to ensure that she would not slip away. She panted my name, and her fingernails dragged down my spine, making me shiver. I thrust into her in smooth calculated movement that would give us both pleasure. Bella then decided, with a dark glint in her eye the only indicator, that she had enough of the tender and sweet. She shifted our weight, and I fell under her. I would never get used to the beautiful sight of Bella sinking down onto me, her eyes fluttering close, and mouth parting; no matter how many times she did this, this display of dominance, the sheer exquisiteness never dwindled. She pressed the tips of her fingers over my chest to give her unneeded balance, and then she began the sinful act of driving me to the edge of madness.
I pulled Bella closer as she fucked me, enveloping my arms around her. And as we came apart, with the image of a the beautiful boy behind my closed eyelids, never had we been more at peace.