The Otherside

Chapter Six ~ A Cemetery Where I Marry The Sea

~o0o~

NAHUEL

Far from the heart of the Volturi stronghold lies a small room where an amplified whir of machines thinking bounces in tiny echoes off the stone walls, filling the chilly air with a modern sound. A large semi-circle desk sits against the distal wall with multiple glowing screens on top, their blinking and beeping almost seizure inducing. Two other small work stations line the surrounding walls; one with a laptop, the other with various papers and writing utensils. Billboards with push pins, scratchy writing and lines connecting the dots hang from the walls. Rarely does anyone enter this room, the majority of the Volturi putting little stock in modern day advances, but it has had constant occupants for the last forty-eight hours. Jasper has always seen value where his superiors choose to overlook.

Nahuel sits at one of the smaller desks in front of the laptop, slightly slumped over. He resists the urge to lay his head against the cold metal, but cannot stop himself from rubbing his eyes. Unlike the sound of the oversized computer Jasper remains captivated by, Nahuel's brain slows itself until only a disjointed click rings in his head like a disc placed incorrectly into its player. Forcing a compromise, Nahuel's head rests on his arm.

"If you are tired, you may return to your room."

"I'm not tired."

Jasper tears his gaze for half a second to eyeball Nahuel's dazed face. "Apparently."

Feeling embarrassed by his lack of stamina, even in comparison with a full-blood, Nahuel only protests slightly in grumbled and garbled sentences before his breathing evens into a rhythmic sleep.

It was absolutely amazing, Nahuel thought, as he looked at Edward and Bella Cullen walking on the earthquake fissured streets of Santiago ahead of himself and the rest of their party. Renesmee swung between her parents, a hand holding one of each. The girl-child glowed almost, but did not sparkle as the rest of her family. Her luminescence was not unique to Nahuel, but it was as enticing as smelling a newly bloomed gardenia nonetheless. Amazing.

At the chronological age of three, Renesmee appeared eight years old or so. Already, inklings of a tremendous beauty peeked through the veil of childhood. Her bronze curls swayed to and fro midway down her back. Nahuel's fingers twitched and he itched to pull one straight just to see how long her hair really was...to see if it really was as soft as chinchilla hair as he suspected. He refrained, knowing good things came to those who wait and he knew regardless of the mind or body's age, Renesmee would still be a little girl for a very long time.

He's a very patient man.

It was obvious the odorous man-child accompanying the Cullens on this trip was not. Jacob Black, as the dark one was called, shot daggers at Nahuel who smirked and never offered a questioning, understanding, or most importantly, a yielding look. No, Nahuel had no issue with being recognized as a predator amongst the rest of the killers. He let Black's internal jealousy build and stoked the fire with every lingering stare at Renesmee.

Nahuel's delightful torment of Black was only interrupted by the companion on his left inquiring to his and Huilen's decision to relocate to the city.

"Jasper, I have had much time to contemplate this and find that while it is not safe for Huilen and I to reside amongst the more indigenous Mapuche outside of the city, we are hesitant to leave our heritage behind completely. If we were to encounter any authentic machi - the equivalent to a shaman - we would run a high risk as being condemned as wekufe or identified as Libishomen. The Mapuche oral tradition is still strong amongst traditionalists and we fear reprisal in the event of discovery."

Jasper nodded. "And within the metropolitan area of Santiago you can definitely disappear in the horde, but how can you remain in touch with your heritage?"

"Many of the Mapuche have migrated with modern times into heavier populated areas in search of economic change, but with their desire for a better life, has come unexpected consequences. Many of our forests have been destroyed for wood exportation leading to violent reaction from Mapuche activists. While some are trying to work within the system to ensure preservation and protection, many resort to more persuasive means to get the government's attention. Unfortunately, all that did was institute borderline inhumane anti-terrorism policies."

"It doesn't seem to be a very safe climate for anonymity, Nahuel," Alice chimed in as she went to grab Jasper's hand.

"No, I suppose not, but look at us," Nahuel swept his hand toward the rest of the Cullen clan and Jacob Black, "We are not anonymous. It is foolish to think we can pass off as normal average humans. Your Bella is a testament to the futility of trying to remain under the radar. Instead, Huilen and I have chosen to chart a new course. One where we can use our influence and special traits for what is right."

Jasper's brow pinched and he asked, "And what exactly do you think is right?"

Nahuel smiled and his age was lost by pure naïveté. He allowed Huilen to distract him with fawning over a shawl Alice purchased earlier that day from a street vendor.

"Shit."

Nahuel's eye flutters and his dream Jasper's face begins to swim and fuzz before him.

"Sonofabitch!"

Nahuel's eyes fly open and the Jasper sitting at the computer is a long cry from the inquisitive one from his dreams. His vision clears and Nahuel can make out the separated remnants of the hard drive on the desk. Shit indeed.

"What?"

"I cannot believe this."

"What have you found?"

Jasper rakes his hand through his hair. "That lying sack of cow-"

"Shit, yes I know. What is going on?"

Jasper turns in his chair. "Good, you're finally awake."

"I just dozed off."

"Hours ago and I've had a few breakthroughs."

Nahuel's stomach clenches as the familiar vice of failure takes its hold and he sits taller in his seat.

"I started with the names, but obviously I received thousands of hits. By cross-referencing them by region, focusing on the southeast, I was able to narrow it down. From there it was just a matter of finding a link, but there was just too much information and nothing obvious stood out. That's when I decided to try the hard drive."

"I thought that was destroyed?"

"Appearances can be deceiving."

Nahuel almost laughs, but the sentiment is lost on Jasper's excitement. "Always."

"I was able to access bits of data and thought at first most of it was random pieces, but then I noticed several names of businesses or institutions, many of which were hospitals across the United States."

"Hospitals?" Nahuel racks his brain and finds nothing, but isn't surprised. He is on a need to know basis. His job only concerns one task and that is circling the drain right in front of him.

"I ran a search on them and most specialize in mental disorders."

"Asylums?"

"Not in the traditional sense, but similar."

"Like where Alice was before."

Jasper's silence in the room outweighs the whirs and clicks of the artificial thinking aiding him. "Yes...while searching through the various facilities, I came upon a Dr. Eli Nielda."

"Do you know him or something?"

Jasper turns back to his computer and pulls up a picture and recognition dawns. Unable to help himself, Nahuel reads the bio.

Dr. Eli Nielda

Director of Pharmacologic Research since 2015, Dr. Nielda has worked in conjunction with multiple top facilities throughout the world to research and develop new treatments in the field of Mental Health.

The bio goes on to say Dr. Nielda was a graduate from some prestigious school in the Northeast, but all of that could be faked.

"Isn't he that friend of yours from Canada?"

"Of Carlisle's. He is Eleazar of the Denali clan and evidently he did not die as we were led to believe."

Nahuel braces himself for an onslaught of unpleasantness as he silently begs for a Hail Mary. Jasper is too close. "Are you truly following these leads for Volturi interests or are you looking for her?"

For once, Jasper does not meet his eyes when he says, "Get ready. We leave immediately."

But Nahuel hears differently and it is the mantra Jasper has always lived by that Nahuel has only just learned - always. Again, as the day Huilen was slaughtered before his eyes, he feels the impotence of hope. He feels the futility of trying to dissuade Jasper from this course like trying to grasp mist in his hand.

His patience is tired; tried, tired and defeated. "You cannot do this, Jasper."

Jasper stands at his desk, gathering papers and discarding others. He rolls a few in his hands, the red ink outlaying a plan, destination, route, whatever. "I will do what I have to."

"We are Volturi now."

Jasper smirks. "Are we now?" Nahuel opens his mouth to respond, but Jasper is too fast, "We are all what everyone wants us to think we are, but in the end we all have our little secrets, don't we?"

"Aro will surely have seen your intentions."

"I have no doubt. I am also willing to gamble he is betting on me bringing her back. Don't ever forget that Aro is a collector above all things."

"You would do that to her?"

Jasper's face hardens. "Don't think that you know what I would or wouldn't do. I will find her, bring her back and find out who or what the hell she is."

Nahuel is on the verge of begging, grasping for anything. "They will kill her."

"No, that job usually falls to me."

~o0o~

Left alone in the computer room, Nahuel paces. He tries to figure out how to circumvent Jasper and stop this madness. He only had one job and that was to keep Jasper away, to keep him busy with Volturi interests so those who Nahuel has bargained with could set their plans into motion.

Nahuel ignores how ignorant he is of what exactly those plans entail.

He tells himself again and again the promises are enough.

It's becoming a rather broken record.

One day, shortly after Jasper convinced him to throw their lot in with these Italians, a dark figure approached Nahuel while he explored the lesser used corridors of the Volturi stronghold for a suitable place to set up the very room Nahuel is standing in.

He thought to himself as he carried a torch through the dark hallways how futile this exercise was. He thought how stupid they were for trusting these monsters and wondered how once again, he is rendered useless. But Jasper had faith in something beyond what Nahuel could understand and deals with devils could serve their purpose as Jasper spun a beautiful web of propaganda for Nahuel to buy.

Which he didn't, but Jasper was all he had left and he was also Nahuel's best chance. Nahuel has always been resourceful if nothing else.

Just as Nahuel was about to give up and go back to tell Jasper he could search the unused bowels of the Volturi pit himself, a whisper called his name. He followed the sound and it backtracked him to a small alcove which really was a cleverly disguised hallway leading to a room.

As he crossed the threshold, his fire went out. Brandishing his extinct torch as a useless weapon, he felt a tiny insect of fear crawl up his spine. "Who's there?"

"Put that down before you hurt yourself," the voice answered. It sounded slick and echoed softly, so much so, Nahuel could not tell if it was male or female.

"Reveal yourself!"

Laughter, hard and screeching like nails on chalkboard. "I'm going to forget my annoyance at you in light of the comedy you've brought me today."

"What do you want?" Nahuel's body began to match his voice in tremors.

"Not much at all."

But the figure did want so much more than Nahuel had bargained for. He sees that now. He sees it as clear as he hears the voice from the shadow of the doorway.

"Nahuel."

Nahuel stops his pacing and faces the interruption. He doesn't even bother to try to see the face or any identifying features.

"You've failed."

"Not yet."

"It's only a matter of time. Jasper will find her. You cannot allow her to come back."

He isn't sure what brought on the taunt, but the constant shaping of his life by the whims of others makes him weary. "And if I do?"

"Our bargain is void as is your life."

So be it.

"Think carefully, Nahuel, before you decide. Do you honestly think Jasper will care for you after he reunites with his beloved Alice? Where will you be then? Who will help you exact the vengeance driving your every waking step? Who will protect your precious Renesmee?" Nahuel flinches at the thought of all of his hard work, his vengeance, Renesmee's life, being thrown out like rotted trash. "You see, we are so much more alike than you wish."

"I will do what I must."

He feels the satisfied smile. "As we all will."

~o0o~

ALICE

Barefoot, Alice stands at the shoreline of the riverbank where mud and rock press against the flesh of her feet. She relishes every pebble that rolls between her toes. Dense foliage and trees of varying thickness in the trunk line the water and gives a fleeting sense of privacy. It isn't much, but she'll take what she can get at the moment. Carlisle had hammered her with information and questions. Once again, he took up the mantle of leader and tension ran more taught and suffocating than a corset in the cabin.

The time since waking up had gone by in a tornado of activity and emotions and instead of days that had actually passed, it felt like weeks or months. But that was only until reality hit her like a sledgehammer, awakening her to a new reality. The one where she is alone.

Shedding her borrowed clothes, Alice steps naked into the frigid water causing ripples across the top as her entrance protests the natural path of downstream progress. Clear water turns murky as her feet disturbs the shallows and she walks until the depths covers her completely. Without concern for air, she allows her body to ascend face up and just stays there while her short locks of hair fan about her face in fluid spikes and her distorted breasts peak out over the surface.

With the gentle rush of water sweeping past her, Alice feels the dirt and grime slither from her body as a snake sheds its skin, but a tight sheath clings to her and before she can interrupt her floating to scrub away, Alice realizes it is nothing but her own tainted skin. No matter how clean the water, she feels dirty; the leftovers of whatever is left over from everything that is happening.

She wishes, not for the first time this day, that she could shed tears as easily as dirt. But she cannot and even the weightlessness of the water can't take the weight of her losses away.

Actually, it's just Loss. Singular. One person. One man.

Jasper.

But can she actually call him a man anymore?

A shudder racking through her body at the memory of the feral look of hatred in his eyes threatens to buckle her back under water. She lets her physical response win and drifts with a small splash beneath the surface.

The river, it turns out, is narrow, and as narrow as it is, its also deceptive. Instead of an endless abyss where she could temporarily drown out the world, she finds the depth of just above her head is about as abyss-like as the river gets. Instead of bursting through the flimsy ceiling of water, Alice twists and somersaults underneath. She pretends the water is washing away her pain, her imaginary tears, but no matter how many times she twirls and spins, the riverbed is too close and she is no match for the hard force of the ground. All she has done is disrupt the peaceful flow of the river, but it is a resilient force and without much work, resumes its movement as nature always intended around her; settling back into the natural order of things.

She stands and finds herself at a depth where the water only comes just above her hips. The muck filled cloud riled up from her underwater dance is already dispersing back to their home beneath her feet and she screams in frustration while batting at the water. All it accomplishes is splashing back with all the alacrity of a child's laughing taunts.

She feels an overwhelming powerful urge, what exactly she is not sure, but she knows something new, small and just a kernel of a maelstrom in the water. Just a bud waiting for the right blend of sustenance to bring it into full bloom. A tiny thing for sure. A small seed planted. Black and consuming. Spiteful and hurting. A bad thing.

She feels the hate growing.

"We have running water, you know."

Alice jumps at the voice, even though she knows it's Rosalie. Her arm comes up to cover her exposed chest, but it is jerky and undecided. The old Alice would have no qualms about exposing herself so thoroughly in front of her sister and although she is still Alice, she has yet to decide if this is the sister she remembers. Rosalie's gaze lifts from her mutilated chest.

"I know."

An uncomfortable silence falls between them and Alice lowers herself into the water until only her collarbone, neck and head stay exposed. Feeling a little out of sorts, she fidgets and moves about, attention completely on how this move or that make the water go this way or that. She especially admires how her skin slices through the liquid and only the rustling of clothing on the riverbank reminds her that Rosalie is still present.

Looking up, Alice sees her sister undressing, her ever glorious body entering the water like the Lady of the Lake in a golden splendor as her long tresses hit the water. She cannot help but playfully think bitch at Rose's perfection. It is an old envy, one filled with benign sibling rivalry those in love are familiar with.

Far beyond her time with the Cullens, this is an old thing Alice misses; this comfortable way of just being with a sister.

She feels the water surrounding her heat as the hate boils and pops deep in her gut.

Now she sees her earlier mistake without seeing. Her losses are indeed plural.

Rosalie wades out to where Alice crouches and turns to float on her own back. Alice copies her and their heads almost touch as each is lost in their own version of melting away.

Alice contemplates the place they both find themselves in. A true sister's heart never wavers regardless of what comes from her mouth. All actions in the moment of any turmoil are temporary, therefore flimsy in their steadfastness. Alice knows her sister's heart and recognizes this gesture of joining her as one of a thousand words that Rosalie cannot speak. She takes it and accepts this gesture - at best an apology, most likely a grudging resolve.

Rosalie, it seems, is not so different at all. Alice thinks maybe it's just herself who has changed.

"Have you hunted today?"

"No."

"I suppose we have enough in our stores to feed from."

Alice remains silent.

"But I'm sure you already know that. Typical, you didn't even ask." Rosalie says the words without derision.

"Typical, you didn't offer."

Rosalie snorts. "I never have been good at sharing."

"Ain't that the truth."

Their bodies turn and they float side by side with each head facing the opposite way like the yin and yang and for them it just works. Alice reaches out and grabs Rosalie's hand.

"Do you think, if you tried harder, you could have seen this?"

Alice sighs, not offended, but she understands. "I don't know. I think I gave up then. It was just easier. Remember when I fought so hard for visions with Bella? I sometimes wonder..."

"If we just left things as fate meant for them to be."

"Yes." Alice pauses. She knows Rosalie has pondered this question since the day she was born unto her vampire life. She wonders how much of an answer to her burning questions she actually wants, but can't wait for a decision to come from her heart. "Will you tell me about Jasper?"

Rosalie stops floating, drops Alice's hand and stands. Towering over Alice, Rosalie peers down. Alice meets her calculating gaze with her own begging one. "Please, Rose. I have to know what really happened."

Rosalie nods and dips back down into the water, her head close to Alice's. "You know the Volturi attacked us on Renesmee's birthday, but you don't know the aftermath. All of us ran and hid in Quileute territory. They weren't pleased by this, but protected us initially. That only lasted through the first battle. Carlisle spoke with the elders and given Renesmee and Jacob's special circumstances, they agreed to allow her to stay, but she refused unless Bella and Edward could to, so they stayed."

"The six of us left and went to locate our friends, but found most had met a similar fate. The Denali were dead...or so we thought, as well as Liam and Huilen. No one's heard from Zafrina, Kachiri or Senna, although Carlisle suspects...hopes, they have just gone deep into hiding. Nahuel eventually found us and that was right about the time Edward and Bella rejoined us to help."

Rosalie took a deep breath, an effort to subdue her voice's newfound shakiness.

"Nahuel told us they had been attacked in Santiago and he escaped just barely, but not before the Volturi said it was his father and half sisters who gave away their location for their lives."

"I don't understand...how can Jasper fight for the Volturi when they are responsible for all this death."

"He doesn't see it that way, and neither does Nahuel."

"Nahuel?"

"He's become Jasper's right hand, as it were. Shortly after he came to us, you, Jasper, Bella, Edward and Nahuel went on a reconnaissance mission hoping to gather information about where the Volturi were targeting next. They had grown in the years, turning more into a conquering army rather than just a band of imperious law enforcers. We had no illusions about fighting them off, but we planned to warn. Your visions weren't reliable so we had nothing but what we could physically uncover ourselves."

Alice stops floating and faces Rosalie, starving for her words.

"You five went to a station they held in Germany. We thought they were hunting the Romanians at the time, but really they set up multiple places like this with the hope of drawing us out. What they really wanted was Bella. You see, she was the one who truly insulted Aro and he has killed so many of us trying to get to her that I think we all forget what really started the war."

"You can't mean that."

"Of course I can. Why do you think he went to them? When you all went to Germany, you were ambushed. You and Bella were pinned by Felix. Jasper was with Nahuel fighting against some of their soldiers and Edward was the only one-"

Alice's eyes roll into the back of her head and her seizured body jerks as she sinks into the water.

Terrified he would disappear in a cloud of ash if she let down her guard even for even a millisecond, Alice clung to Jasper in a fevered desperation. He gripped her even tighter, dragging them both deeper into the forested night. Occasionally, they stopped long enough for Jasper to sniff, listening to the secrets floating on the dust in the air, changing their course as the scent of their enemies crept closer.

Jasper's eyes stared back, piercing, calculating, blood red - a mirror image of Alice's. The human blood coursed through them with an almost foreign strength - it had been so long. But no satiety could belie the deed of making their eyes such a color.

They couldn't rely on her visions anymore. Too many enemies, too many intentions. Plans within plans. The endgame had become so convoluted. Alice saw nothing but the decimation on the way to get there.

As their enemies approached, snarling putrid spittle, the lovers nodded to each other, understanding hanging between them like a crucible of carnage. Jasper gave Alice one more kiss. Gentle. Enduring.

"I promise to find you in this life or the next." With Nahuel at his side, he turned and bared his teeth at the army hunting them.

She stepped over so many limbs and dead in her attempts to find her family, trying her best to avoid the piles of ash. She came upon Bella and Edward overcome with the graveyard in front of them, but still working diligently to set the trap. It was their last resort - a fail safe Jasper came up with for exactly this sort of situation.

She hugged them both, thanking some intangible source for sparing their lives. In her relief, she let her vigilance waver, long enough for the warrior to descend. Her mind registered one word to Edward - run.

The warrior, Felix, as Alice recognized him, clenched her arm and she knew she was lost. Edward moved toward them and she pleaded in her mind louder than she could scream to take Bella and run. His face became torn and distorted as melted clay. She saw his personal war and calmed herself. She already felt Felix trying to rip her apart. Giving herself over, giving up to purchase the one second she needed to save her family, everything stilled and all that remained were her and Edward. He nodded and she mouthed how much she had always loved him.

Edward grabbed Bella as she flipped the switch on the small box before her. Alice heard the ticking in the distance, amplified by her own consignment to death. The sound became urgent and a pure silence enveloped her. She didn't hear Felix's promised pain or even the crickets bold enough to stay in such a place filled with violence. She closed her eyes, but the fire from the explosion was too strong to block out. Red heat danced through her eyelids and she smiled remembering how Jasper walked into that diner so many years ago.

In the distance, the last thing she absolutely remembers, was a howl of such rage and pain, she knew it would stay with her for the last moments of this life and into the next.

Alice's eyes snapped open and through a liquid haze she sees a pale arm diving toward her from the surface. The arm encircled her own and pulled her up with breakneck speed.

"What the fuck, Alice?"

Her face wide with confusion and droplets dripping from her, she breathes harsh and rapid before stuttering, "I-I s-saw it."

Still holding onto her arm with an iron fist, Rosalie leans into Alice, "You saw?"

Alice pushes away the damp tendrils hanging in her eyes. "No, no, I just remembered." Alice looks straight at Rosalie so clear and everything makes so much sense. "I remember what happened that day. Felix caught me and I gave myself up so Edward and Bella could run..." She straightens and jumps, positively twittering with realization. "That's what happened! I told them to go."

"Yes, we know this. Edward told us."

Alice's jubilance deflates. "Then why did Jasper leave?"

A pitying look overtakes Rosalie's eyes. "Because Edward listened."

Confusion dawns and Alice cocks her head.

"After they came back, Jasper was destroyed. He was just a shell for awhile and only Nahuel could go near him without being attacked. He didn't eat or talk or anything really, but Edward could hear his thoughts and toward the end, he knew Jasper blamed him and Edward felt the same."

Rosalie's arm comes around Alice and they walk to shore. Once there, they put on their clothes over their damp skin.

"The day before Jasper left us, something happened. He came into the room where we all were, I think we were hiding in Canada at the old Denali place, and just stood there staring hard at Edward. Next thing we knew, they were at each others' throats and it took me, Emmett and Carlisle to separate them. All Jasper said was 'You know it's true, Edward' and he turned around and left. Nahuel followed and that was it for about a year. Next time we saw them, they were leading a contingent of Volturi soldiers toward Egypt, probably scouring for nomads."

Shaking, Alice backs up until her feet hit a nearby log. She sits because she doesn't think her body can do much else right then. "What did Edward hear?"

"Do you really want to know?"

"Yes," Alice whispers.

Rosalie sighs. "Jasper thought that all of this had one source and that was Bella. He felt that if we turned her over, not only would we be reprieved by the Volturi, it would also satisfy justice for your life. He thought Bella should bear the consequences of her audacity and so should Edward for choosing to leave you for death."

Alice trembles at the thought of Jasper making such unwavering demands. Of course, it makes sense from him though. He was a soldier, but more importantly he was volatile. He reined in so much of himself to be with Alice and because she had to be with the Cullens, he compromised. He compromised to the point he became something he was not and after the loss of half of his soul, he felt owed.

She didn't agree, because she wasn't that jaded...yet, but she understood. Oh, how Alice understood. Because today, she felt owed too.

"So that's why Edward and Bella returned to LaPush."

"Partially, but I suspect my agreement with Jasper probably had something to do with it. Needless to say that put a big damper on my visitation rights with Renesmee. And of course Bella the Martyr was all ready to lay down and die for her people which lead to the Protective Edward Hero Complex taking effect. They rode off into the sunset of stinky LaPush that night. I'm not surprised Edward hasn't grown fur yet."

"You never would have done it. Edward and Bella know that."

"Don't assume to know what anyone would do when someone they love has been taken away. I would have damned Bella to the Volturi without regret if I really thought it would have made a difference, but I know better. They will never stop." Rosalie turns to walk away, but stalls. "And don't judge me for it because I like to think you'd do the same for me."

Alice isn't sure what she would have done, but keeps it to herself. "Why haven't the Volturi attacked La Push yet?"

"I don't know, but all I can guess is between the wolves' threat and mass human casualty it would cause would bring too much attention, however, there is something changing and I have a feeling there will be nowhere for any of us to run. You'd better get cleaned up. We're leaving tonight for Atlanta."

Alice stays where she is as Rosalie walks away. Her mind is convoluted with so much information that it takes her this time alone to align her thoughts.

It's not fair she thinks, how much has been taken. She isn't even sure the breadth of pain everyone has endured on their own level is something she can fully comprehend, but the hollowness left inside her at this new awareness is only an inkling she suspects. She is thankful to have been oblivious to the lost time and heartache, but she knows that too isn't fair. She knows she is being selfish, but she doesn't care. She may not have been sure what the old Alice would have done; would she have sold one to save all? She thinks no, but today is anew and maybe she really isn't Alice. Maybe she is the person who would do whatever it takes. Maybe she is capable of breaking all of their hearts, but then again, maybe they would understand. She knows Rosalie would.

Alice digs her feet into the dirt, pushes hard and fast. She shoves her body forward and digs in so deep, her forearms are covered. This time, since she woke up, she really means it. She buries as she claws without knowing it. Chunks of rock and mud hit her face, but they don't cut. She does this until she is spent and then stands up and walks away clinging to this new awareness of who she needs to be, leaving behind who she used to be, what she's lost, a little bit of everything that makes her her. She leaves it all behind, buried in a muddy riverbank, on this side of her reality - the one where she is alone.

Because she knows only alone can she fight to get him back.

~o0o~