A/N: I do not own Twilight or any of its characters.
Chapter 6 – Your angel of destruction...
"What?" Rosalie asked, dumbfounded. She stumbled back in obvious shock and bumped into Emmett's hard chest. He wrapped his arms around her waist, his expression mirrored his wife's.
"Edward?" Carlisle stepped toward me, instantly on alert. I knew that his mind was racing right now, searching for a possible explanation to what I'd just said, but I could not hear a single whisper of thought from him.
"What do you mean you can't hear us?" Emmett asked confused.
"The voices... they've disappeared. They've just disappeared." I tried to explain through my own haze of shock. "I can't hear any of your thoughts anymore."
All of them stared at me mouth agape, like I'd just spoken in a completely foreign language.
Bella lifted her small head and patted my cheek with one of her petite hands. She was scared that I couldn't hear her anymore, either. The idea terrified her more than the loud, angry sounds of the storm outside. She liked to share her mind with me, to tell and show me things that she would never share with anybody else. And she liked the bubble we created every time we did this.
Edward? She called to me again, her lower lip started to tremble as she pouted heavily. Her eyes filled with tears.
"Shh, hush, baby girl." I nuzzled her soft, warm skin and traced my lips along her forehead gently. "I can still hear you." I breathed against her wet, rosy cheek, trying desperately to assure her. I didn't want her to be upset, even the slightest bit. Especially not because of me. I couldn't bear the thought of it.
"How is that possible?" I heard Jasper ask in disbelief, but my main focus was still on Bella. Always on her. Her well-being and happiness were my main priority, nothing had ever been so important to me than this. Her.
I felt her petite body relax against me, as my answer soothed her fears. With a big, relieved sigh, she rested her head on my shoulder, tiredly.
Blankie? She pointed sweetly to her blanket lying on the floor where I'd thrown it carelessly, along with her pajamas when I'd undressed her so hastily. She wanted it back now.
Esme rushed for it immediately and gave it back to Bella, earning a brilliant but very sleepy smile from her baby daughter. Now that the shutters were down and also the storm seemed to start to quieten finally, Bella seemed to slowly calm down, too. Though she still clung to me with more force than usual, hugging my neck tightly with her small arm, her little body cringed every now and then, hearing the loud thunders.
"Is it Bella? Is she doing something? Shielding Edward or us from him for some reason, perhaps?" Rosalie asked anxiously, her eyes were fixed on the little girl in my arms.
I felt extremely grateful that I couldn't hear her thoughts right now. I knew her mind too well and didn't have the patience to deal with her and her inner monolog in that moment.
"Probably." Carlisle nodded thoughtfully. "That seems like the most logical explanation." He seemed somewhat helpless, obviously being way out of his depth. The complexity and variety of vampire gifts always fascinated him, and though he knew a lot about it, he wasn't the master of the topic. And the real nature and complexity of the unique bond we shared with Bella was completely unknown to him.
I shook my head, rocking my sleepy, distressed mate gently, stroking her back soothingly to the rhythm of the music. She pulled her leg up and rested her foot in the crook of my arm, pressing her tiny sole to my forearm, still seeking for more physical contact. She didn't pay much attention to the conversation around her. Her mind was filled with the soft music - her thoughts echoed it beautifully - and me.
"She's not doing anything. Nothing she hasn't done before." I said quietly, careful not to disturb my beautiful girl.
Carlisle seemed rather skeptical. "Are you sure, son?"
"Yes, I'm perfectly sure. She's letting me into her mind. I could feel the steely, elastic sheet of her shield like it was my own. Both layers of it. She's not doing anything unusual with them."
"But what else could it be?" Jasper asked. "This has never happened before. Something or somebody is rendering your gift useless and she's the only one who's able to do something like this. She's a shield, isn't she? She's somehow blocking us from you, that must be the answer."
"She is a shield," I nodded in agreement. "but she's not doing anything with it, other than pushing the inner layer out of her mind so she can share her thoughts with me, like usual."
"Can't she still do something without you noticing it?" Emmett asked.
I shook my head again. "I don't think so. Besides why would she do this now? It doesn't make any sense." I shrugged. "No, whatever is going on, she's not the reason behind it. Her mind is focusing on two things right now, the music and me. And she's very tired and fussy, otherwise."
"I just don't understand it. How is it possible that you can't hear any of us but still can hear Bella?" Rosalie asked, perplexed.
I shrugged again, not knowing the answer to this, either. But I couldn't help but feel extremely grateful that I could still hear my Bella's mind.
"I honestly don't know." Carlisle said when Rose turned toward him in hope for some kind of explanation.
"This is why it must be her doing something." she pressed. She obviously didn't like not knowing what was going on, especially if it was possibly another inexplicable detail of the extraordinary connection Bella and I shared.
"Alice? Can't you see something about it?" my father asked. He was determined to figure this mystery out.
Alice frowned. I knew her expressions very well and knew that she was concentrating very strongly on the future now and trying to force a vision to come to her that might be able to give some explanation, but for the first time I couldn't watch it with her. It felt weird.
"No, I can't." her frown deepened, she was frustrated. "I can see her so clearly. The bits and pieces of her future that shows up in my head time and time again are more certain than my visions of the upcoming weather, which is practically impossible, but still. But somehow I can't see anything about her gift. She's not using it in any of my visions and we're not discussing it, either."
"It can't be a coincidence." Jasper said, rubbing her shoulders gently, trying to soothe his upset wife.
"What do you mean?" Carlisle asked curiously.
"She can see so much about Bella, except the most important things. Like how her gift really works or the complexity and real depth of the bond she and Edward share. These things must stay hidden with a very good reason."
"For their safety?" Carlisle guessed instantly, his eyes widened.
Jasper nodded thoughtfully. "Probably. These things seem to be just as unapproachable as they are physically right now. I think, it's part of the defense mechanism of their connection. There must be something more powerful going on between them than we originally thought. It obviously eliminates any possible vulnerabilities and averts even the slightest separation between them."
Their theory piqued my interest. Could they be right? What kind of thing could be this strong? To be able to completely block certain parts of Alice's visions?
"Can we concentrate on the problem at hand, now?" Rosalie asked impatiently. "Something's blocking Edward's gift. And it's obviously not this connection you're talking about now, because, really, it would've done it already, from the beginning if that would be the case." she shrugged. "We should figure it out what it is and solve this problem, because if you ask me, I'd say that it's quite a big one. Especially if it's not Bella's doing as he states. We have plenty of time to figure out what kind of bond they share, later."
Esme gave a firm nod, agreeing with her. "What did you do right before our mental voices disappeared?" she asked me.
"Bella asked me in her thoughts to hum to her some more. She liked it very much and wanted to hear it again." I explained, smiling softly at the memory.
Bella yawned against my neck, then let out a soft baby sigh. I felt her eyelids drop slowly, her long lashes tickled my skin. She was falling asleep again.
I let out a small sigh of relief.
"And to hold her tighter to make her feel safe." I added, quietly, pressing a soft kiss on top of my Bella's messy curls.
"That's all?" Jasper asked, furrowing his brows.
"Well, that's not much help." Emmett shrugged.
"We should probably figure out first if Bella or maybe even you have something to do with this somehow. And if not, what might it be that's blocking you." Carlisle suggested.
We all nodded in agreement. That could be a good start.
Suddenly, Jasper's whole posture tensed. "What if it's an intruder?" he asked, instantly on alert.
"An intruder?" Esme whispered in shock.
I tightened my hold around my tiny mate and wrapped her blanket more securely around her precious little frame, hiding her from any prying eyes. She let out a soft sigh and my name echoed in her sleepy thoughts. I buried my nose into her hair and kissed the top of her head softly again.
"Do you think there's someone on the island, besides us?" Carlisle asked, pondering the possibility. He frowned, his eyes darkened.
"Maybe," Jasper nodded. "It could be a possible explanation. If it's not Bella's doing and, I think, it's very unlikely that it's Edward's, then only one logical explanation remained. It has to be a third person. And because none of us has the ability to do something like this, then it must be an outsider."
"Wouldn't Alice have seen it? A vampire coming here?" Emmett asked, looking at our petite sister for confirmation.
She furrowed her brows, then shook her head. "I haven't seen anybody coming towards our location."
"Maybe they're blocking you, just like they're blocking Edward now." Rosalie suggested.
I narrowed my eyes, fighting my instincts to just bolt with my mate at this very moment. Everything was screaming inside me to ensure her safety, at all cost. Instinctively, I sank down in a low crouch, preparing.
Sensing my sudden tension, Bella lifted her head slightly and blinked open her eyes, her sleepiness instantly forgotten. She wriggled her hand out from under her blanket and placed her tiny fingers upon my mouth. Her soft fingertips stroked along my lips gently, their warmth sent a shiver of pleasure down my spine. I straightened slowly and felt my tense muscles relax.
"I'm not sure." Alice said hesitantly. "I'm not sensing anything. My visions come just as easily as usual."
"But you can't see anything about Bella's gift, those visions are clearly blocked by something, too, and you had no idea about it until now." Rosalie pointed out.
Alice frowned, obviously not liking the idea at all.
"Who could do such a thing?" Emmett asked. "Some kind of super vampire? Blocking other vampires gifts? So many quite powerful gifts at once? Alice's, Edward's and most likely Jasper's too, because he's not sensing any strange emotions nearby, either. Are you, bro?" He looked questioningly at Jasper, who shook his head in response, pursing his lips slightly.
"And why can Edward still hear Bella's mind, but no one else's." Emmett continued. "This is just weird. I mean either his gift would work on everybody or wouldn't work at all. Or maybe it'd work on everybody but this intruder, this option would be logical too, maybe the most logical. But this just doesn't make sense. He can hear Bella but not us. Why? As I said, weird." he shrugged. "And the same goes for Alice's gift. Why just block certain visions of hers and not everything? And Jasper's? Why can he feel every one of us, but this intruder? This mysterious gift works quite strangely, if you ask me. Blocking certain abilities completely, while only messing slightly, almost unnoticeably with others. Maybe it's not an intruder, after all."
"Yes, you're right. This gift seems to work in a very strange, illogical way." Carlisle nodded thoughtfully. "But there are many kind of gifts, talents in our world. Some are innocent and harmless, while others are quite powerful and even dangerous. But there's one thing that is true for each and every one of them. Every gift – weak or strong, offensive or defensive – is exceptionally complex. Quite often, there's no logic or any simplicity in how they work. Eleazar said once during a very long discussion about this very topic – one of many over the centuries that we've know each other -, that vampire talents are so very complex that most vampires who have some kind of gift, even the most practiced ones, can grasp only bits and pieces of the full working mechanism of their abilities, only the surface of it. That's why most gifts are so unpredictable, works on only certain people, or in a certain way, for example only by making physical contact.
"We can't know how this vampire's gift works. Maybe it affects differently to certain kind of abilities. Edward's is purely a mental talent, while Jasper's is physical. And Alice's gift works in a very different way compared to theirs because it doesn't affect to the mind or body at all. That can be an explanation why this intruder is blocking them so differently."
"So this can be a vampire's doing." Jasper concluded.
Our father nodded in agreement. "I'd say, it's possible, yes."
"Do you know someone with a gift like this?" Esme turned toward him, placing her hand on his chest gently, probably trying to comfort him and seeking comfort herself.
"No, I don't." he shook his head, agitated, and placed his own hand on top of Esme's, grasping her fingers. Their worried gaze flashed toward the small bundle in my arms.
I didn't have to be able to hear their thoughts to know that they both feared for their baby daughter.
"We should search the island for him then." Jasper said, gripping Alice's hand in his.
"Or her." Rosalie murmured.
"Yes, let's find this trespasser or at least their trail." Emmett rubbed his hands together eagerly.
"I don't think it's possible in a storm like this." I noted, silently cursing the heavy raining and thunderstorm that was still raving outside, though not nearly as wildly as before. "The strong wind and the rain have erased any trail, already, if there was any at all."
Anger bubbled up inside me, wild, blazing rage. I felt so utterly helpless, because as much as I wanted to put my hands on this unknown vampire, I knew that it was nearly impossible to find them in a weather like this, if they didn't want to be found.
"We should still try." Carlisle said. "We can't let a stranger wander around here. Not with Bella here with us. And we especially can't let them render our gifts useless."
"Let's inform them then that this is Cullen territory." Emmett cracked his fingers menacingly.
"Emmett, don't do anything rush." Esme stared at him worriedly.
"He won't." Carlisle assured her. "We have to find them first, if there really is an intruder on the island, then we'll talk to them. We'll try to solve this problem as civilly as possible and without exposing Bella's existence."
"Let's not waste any more time. Let's go." Jasper rushed out of the room, pulling Alice with him.
Emmett and Rosalie followed them without a word.
"Stay with Bella and Edward." Carlisle pressed a loving kiss to Esme's forehead and caressed her arms.
She nodded, a deep frown marring her face.
"Be careful," she whispered as Carlisle disappeared through the door after blowing a kiss to Bella.
"Daddy?" Bella asked, pointing after our father.
"He'll be back soon." I assured her, rubbing her back. "We should go back to sleep some more and when you open your eyes again, he'll be here."
Can Momma sleep with us too? She asked sleepily, nuzzling back into my embrace.
"Of course," I said. "But you need to ask her yourself."
I felt her cheek heat up against the cold skin of my neck. Its pleasant warmth turned into blazing hotness in a blink of an eye.
"Why are blushing now, love?" I chuckled. "Don't be so shy."
"What? Does she need something?" Esme asked, unable to keep the smile off her face, watching her baby daughter, despite all the disturbing events of the past hour.
"Yes." I smiled too. "Her Momma."
She gasped and venom pooled in her caramel colored eyes.
"Lay with us, Momma." Bella mumbled shyly, her voice muffled against my neck. "Please?"
"Of course, sweetheart." Esme nodded, her own voice choking with emotions.
I moved to our bed and laid down on it with my mate still tightly in my arms. She wiggled in my hold until she was laying comfortably on my bare chest, with her head buried tightly into the crook of my neck.
Esme followed us then, and laid down carefully beside us on the edge of the bed, keeping her distance.
"Sleep well, my darling girl." she whispered softly, her eyes caressing the tiny form of her daughter.
I felt Bella's eyelashes fluttering softly, they tickled my skin. She lifted her head, just enough to look at her mother.
Momma, the simple word rang in her thoughts loudly, with longing and possessiveness.
She reached towards Esme with one tiny hand but couldn't reach her, she was too far away. I rolled onto my side, sliding my whimpering mate onto the bed ever so carefully.
Momma, Momma, "Momma," she chanted both in her thoughts and out loud. Though very sleepy, she was still quite determined in her actions.
"I'm here, sweetheart. What's the matter?" Esme cooed to her in a soft, soothing voice.
Bella kept wriggling and rolling on the bed, pulling me with her, till we were only a very few inches away from Esme. In her mind, I could already see what she wanted, what she was absolutely determined to do, and strangely, I found myself quite okay with it. She wanted it, so I wanted her to have it. My instincts, for once, weren't screaming at me, demanding to protect her and keep her safe from our own mother. For the first time since Bella came into my life, I didn't feel that raging frenzy coming at the thought of someone else, other than me, being so close to her, and touching her. Maybe because it was her choice. She chose to do this. She wanted it. Maybe it always had to be her choice, this was the key.
Bella reached for Esme again, and placed her hand on top of hers, curling her tiny fingers around her mother's in a firm grip.
"Momma," she sighed adorably, then smiled a shy smile at her. Her eyes were fixed on her momma's face. Momma...my Momma...
Esme was frozen for a very long moment, her mind probably blank as she stared back at the beautiful creature in front of her. Bella held onto her hand patiently, just watching her.
Suddenly Esme's eyes widened and flashed toward me in slight panic. Though I still couldn't hear her thoughts, I knew that she was afraid that she was hurting us both.
"It's okay." I tried to assure her, carefully analyzing my own feelings in every passing second since Bella had touched our mother. I couldn't be sure how long the tranquil serenity would last, or if it would last, at all. But for now, I was in peace with what was happening.
"Are you sure?" Esme asked in disbelief.
"Yeah," I nodded, running my hand down on Bella's small leg. I cupped one of her tiny feet and started rubbing her sole with the pad of my thumb, gently. She curled her toes in respond.
"Oh, darling girl," Esme turned her attention back to her patiently waiting daughter and beamed down at her with the most tender love shining in her eyes. She turned her hand slowly, letting Bella's tiny one slip into her gentle hold, then leaned down ever so carefully and pressed her lips to it, peppering Bella's soft, warm knuckles with kisses.
Momma's kissed me, Bella looked up at me and giggled softly, making both Esme and me smile.
"Because she loves you very much, baby girl." I whispered to her, nuzzling the top of her head lovingly.
Esme reached her free hand out and brushed her fingertips along Bella's heart-shaped face, caressing her rosy cheeks. Bella blushed under her momma's gentle touch.
"Sleep, sweet girl, and have wonderful dreams." Esme cooed to her, her voice low and soft, full of love and wonderment for this tiny creature in my arms.
Bella yawned and wriggled some more, until she finally nestled her tiny form between me and her mother comfortably. She pressed herself against me, her back against me chest, but still had a very firm grip on Esme's hand. She refused to let her go, she was hers, utterly and irrevocably – her momma.
I rested my hand on her tummy and drew small, soothing circles on her bare skin, earning a soft baby sigh from her. She fought her sleepiness for a little while, blinking tiredly up at Esme's face which was only a few inches away from hers.
"Kiss, Momma." she whispered softly, and Esme obeyed her daughter's sleepy command with a joyous smile – but not before seeking permission from me.
I nodded to her, reassuring her silently that it was still okay, and she leaned forward slowly and peppered her baby daughter's angelic face with soft, loving kisses.
Bella giggled, cradling her mother's face in between her tiny palms. Her little fingers tangled into Esme's caramel colored hair. She was immensely happy – they both were -, her earlier fright long forgotten as she basked in the love of the woman who she'd chosen as her mother for an eternity.
As I held my mate securely in my arms and watched her interact with Esme, happy, carefree, part of my mind drifted to darker places. She was the most incredible, beautiful, exquisite creature who'd ever graced the face of this earth. And she was mine. I was her guardian, her first and most fierce protector, her mate. And for her, I was ready to set the whole world on fire, just to destroy anything and anybody who might ever try to threat her precious life in the slightest way.
A/N: Thanks for all your support, kind and encouraging words, and most of all, your patience. I'm very busy nowdays with work and all, and I have very little time to write, I'm sorry for that. I hope you liked this new chapter and it was worth all the waiting. :)