This chapter rated 'T' for slight language, crime, and death.

Previously: Bella gets her almost-happy-ending.

Bella's P.O.V. (1910 words):

"I just don't want to die without a few scars." ~Chuck Palahniuk


(Just over one hundred years later)

"Stop laughing at me, Peter!" I whined, hiding my face in my hands. That just seemed to make him laugh harder, and I heard Jasper join in softly. "It's not funny."

"It's pretty funny, darlin'." Jasper said, projecting his humor at me, causing me to raise my head to glare at him. He smirked in return.

"I've never heard of a vampire tripping before. What about you, Major? You ever heard of it?" Peter pressed, pushing his luck.

"It happened once to a new recruit for the army, but I had to dispose of it in fear it was mentally challenged. We couldn't have a vampire like that in the wars." Jasper replied seriously, but I could see the mirth in his eyes. The next person that made fun of me was going to lose a limb.

"You hear that, Mrs. Whitlock? Did you hear about the tripping vampire?" Peter asked me, chuckling. I stood slowly.

"No. I didn't hear that. You wanna repeat it for me?" I hissed between my teeth.

"Woah, boss." Peter said, holding his hands up. He began to back up slowly. I shadowed his movements. "I was just kidding, you know? Funny? Ha-ha?"

Just as I was about to leap for him, the phone rang. Peter took advantage of the distraction and fled from the house with a very girly shriek. Charlotte just shook her head as she answered the phone.

"Whitlock residence, Charlotte speakin'." She drawled, winking my direction. I smiled a bit, but her face went serious really fast. Jasper moved to stand next to her. I listened more closely in order to hear the other side of the conversation.

"...imperative that I speak to her." I recognized Jack the Ripper's voice. I held out my hand, and Charlotte obeyed my silent request by placing the phone into my palm.

"What is so important, Jack?" I asked.

"I don't even get a hello, boss?" He said, faking hurt. I smiled. It had been a good century since I'd spoken to him.

"I've missed you. How are you, Jack?" I wondered, truly curious.

"Jane and I are together, as I was told you had guessed."

"Who told you that?" I questioned with a laugh.

"Aro was one of the only people that heard your parting words." Jack said, and his voice grew soft with his next words. "I've only ever wished you the best as well, you know that right?"

"I know that." I assured. "I'm assuming this wasn't purely a social call though."

"Sadly, no. I'm traveling down there with Jane, Alec, Jean, and Rich tomorrow. We got a tip, and-"

"Why are Jean and Rich coming with you?" I demanded, knowing that my anger was showing itself in my tone.

"They volunteered, boss." Jack let me know softly. I sighed, closing my eyes.

"Alright. Sorry, Jack. Keep going." I allowed, opening my eyes again. Jasper was watching me closely.

"Well, we got a tip, and it seems that some dumb ass has decided to begin secretly creating newborns in a cave somewhere in Argentina. I've been assigned to go check it out and see if the tip is any good. I'm also supposed to remove the problem if it turns out to be true. Since the South is under your jurisdiction, I'm calling to see if you'd like to join us." Jack the Ripper informed, letting the offer hang. I looked up at Jasper and Char, and I raised an eyebrow. Char smiled and nodded. Jasper shrugged. I took that as a yes.

"Where do you want the Whitlocks to meet you?" I asked.

"Hell yes!" Jack shouted, and I heard a girly giggle in the background. It sounded like Jane. Jasper and Char looked as shocked as I felt. "Let's meet in Mexico City. That's where we're flying in. Sound good, boss?"

"Yeah, yeah." I replied, rolling my eyes. "Call Santiago's old cell when you get in."

"You still have that ancient thing?" Jack the Ripper asked with a loud laugh.

"Was I supposed to return it?" I questioned, truly curious. Jack just laughed harder.

"I'll see you soon." He said before hanging up. I turned to Jasper.

"Was I supposed to return it?" I asked again. He just shrugged.


"Welcome, boss." Jack greeted as we made it to Mexico City where they were already awaiting us, a smile gracing his face. "This is my mate, Jane, her brother, Alec, and Mr. and Mrs. Tate."

"Jean, Rich, how have you guys been?" I asked. I hadn't seen them since I'd ordered Riley to lead them from the camp.

"With your word and Aro's, we are completely safe and respected. We have a house in the middle of Greenland... it's quiet and cold. A nice change, you know?" Jean said, smiling widely. She approached me slowly. I didn't move. She reached me, stood straight, and saluted. "I know you told me I was released, boss, but I couldn't just leave you. When I was told you'd gone to the Americas, I hired a scout to keep an eye on you."

"You could have gotten this scout killed." I commented, wondering how I'd never noticed someone following me.

"Well, you see... he has the ability of time travel. I hired him out of the Volturi ranks. You never saw him because he's watching you in the year 2850. I just wanted to make sure no one ever killed you." Jean admitted quietly. I chuckled a bit, and she looked at me in shock.

"It's the thought that counts, no?" I said, and she smiled hugely back.

"Thanks, boss." said Jean seriously. I nodded in return and turned to introduce my family formally.

"This is Major J. Whitlock, my husband and mate. This is Charlotte, beloved sister and the Major's third. Lastly, meet Peter, shared second-in-command."

"Peter, you're their shared second?" Jack asked in surprise, looking impressed.

"I am." He replied, bowing traditionally.

"A servant to both the infamous Major and legendary Boss Swan, you must be honored." Jack the Ripper commented seriously.

"Yes." Peter said, the ghost of a smile beginning to show on his face. "Their egos are large enough already though, so don't tell them."

"Alright then!" Jasper stepped in, pulling Peter back behind him. I pursed my lips to keep from laughing. "I assume we're runnin' to this newborn camp?"

"You assume rightly." Jack said, waving his hand to order us out. I smiled slightly at how comfortable he looked giving commands. Jasper watched me knowingly, reaching out to take my hand. We squeezed lightly at the same time and followed the others. It took us just under a week to arrive. Jack sent the Whitlocks to take care of it alone, so the four of us approached the camp without sneaking in any way. The obvious second-in-command of the army met us as we neared the cave.

"Date la vuelta. Si te quedas, te mueres." He threatened calmly, his bright red eyes reminding me of times best left buried.

"La creación de un ejército es ilegal." I replied easily, letting him know that a crime had transpired. "¿Dónde está tu Caudillo?"

"I told you they would come for us, Carlos. Did I not?" A man said, jumping from the top of a tree a ways away. It was obvious that he was the Warlord. "I did not expect the Volturi to only send four vampires though. Surely they know I have cultivated an army like none in history."

"I highly doubt that." Jasper drawled, appearing torn between amusement and boredom.

"Your ignorance blinds you, northerner." The Warlord said, causing me to groan in dread. There were two reasons it was a bad thing to call Jasper a northerner. Firstly, he was a Southern Warrior. Most importantly though, he was still a Confederate at heart.

"How old are you?" Jasper spat, taking a threatening step in the Warlord's direction.

"I am 122."

"I am 269. I have seen things you cannot begin to imagine, necio incompetente! ¿Quién eres tú para me llame un-" Jasper growled, and I grabbed his arm to pull him back. He rounded on me, and I raised an eyebrow. He took a deep breath and closed his eyes. "Perhaps you should take over from here."

"Perhaps." I replied, letting him feel my love for him. He relaxed further, and he stepped back to stand next to Peter. "You must pay for your crime. Before that is taken care of, your army must be destroyed."

"Only if you are not destroyed first." He replied, smirking. I sighed. I had really hoped this could be resolved without a full-out battle.

"Aaron, you idiot! You'll get us killed!" A woman shouted, running out of the mouth of the cave. "Please forgive my mate. He is a fool to think he could best the law. He was well aware that Boss Swan had changed the South from what he was born into."

"Aaron, you are an old soldier then? How did you escape me?" I wondered.

"You're Boss Swan?" Aaron gasped in horror. "Why are you working to exact the law?"

"I will only harm you if you force my hand." I whispered, putting my hands up. "The Major is my mate. I am a Whitlock now. I work with the law only when the South is involved. The South is under my jurisdiction now."

"Was I right? After all this time, are the Whitlocks out of practice?" Aaron asked desperately. I sighed again.

"War isn't something you forget. Scars aren't marks that just fade away." I replied, letting the darkness into my voice. "Fighting is like riding a bike... you'll always remember how to do it once it's been mastered. The Whitlocks will never be out of practice. Help us destroy your army, and you can be taken to Italy for your trial."

At my declaration, Aaron's mate headed back into the cave. Aaron growled a bit under his breath at her obvious decision. There was fire inside the cave within five seconds, and she came strutting back out. "Done. Carlos is Aaron's True Second, so if we could keep him, we'll take full responsibility for his actions. Aaron needs him, and-"

"He will be tried with you." I snapped, not wanting to hear about their bond and how strong it was. I waved my hand and turned on my heel. I headed back to where Jack the Ripper and the others were waiting. I was followed by my mate's True Second.

"Isabella!" Peter called, and I slowed just enough for him to catch up. He stepped in front of me, causing me to glare at him.

"What, Peter?" I pressed, ready to go back home.

"This might not be the best time, but what was all that talk about scars never fading? Are you ashamed of your scars?" Peter asked, and he seemed truly disbelieving of the possibility.

"I would never be ashamed of my scars. I am proud of them, just as I am proud of yours." I replied truthfully. This topic was wonderfully distracting.

"What do you think about your scars? I can't believe I've never asked you before." Peter said, moving to stand to the side of me. I continued walking. After a short silence, I smiled over at Peter. I knew what I was going to say.

Scars told of journeys, of hardships, of strength and pain, and they were just as immortal as the one that wore them. Lifting my arm a bit, I looked down at my wrist and gazed at the scar that James gave me so long ago. My smile widened as I gazed at my first marking. That one told of strength... of beginnings.

"That's easy, Peter. Our scars define us."

A.N.: Bam! Sorry it freakin' took so long. My grandpa died, so I was away for the funeral and to have some family time, I had to rush home for finals and graduation, and then FanFiction was doing work on the site. Basically, my life exploded.
I refused to leave you all without your last chapter though, so here it is... finally. Next order of business is to finish The Heart's Dilemma. Sigh... Once I force myself to do it, it will get done quickly.
POLL NEWS: Big surprise, the Bella/Aro story won, so that shall be my newest project. I'm excited. Here's the summary and a teaser to get you into it. I'm shameless like that. =P
Add me to author alert so that you'll know when it goes up!

Summary: Life has never been easy for me, and the drama that came with my decision to join the Volturi was nothing. Within a week of joining, I was falling for my Master, leading the Volturi Guard, and trying to save the vampire world as we know it. Fun, right?

***(In Italy right after Bella refuses to join the Volturi when Aro asks.)***
In a whisper, I called for him to wait. I was petrified at what I was about to do.
Edward looked at me, shocked. Alice looked confused.
"Yes, Bella?" He inquired, turning to look at me with a thousand questions in his eyes.
The second his eyes locked with mine, I was his. I was trapped, and I didn't even know how it had happened. I couldn't walk away, not after what he'd just offered. Maybe it was Chelsea breaking my ties to the outside world, but I didn't care. From the second I had entered the room I had felt like I would never be leaving, not as a human anyway. His eye contact gave me the confidence and strength to do that which I so utterly wanted to do.
"I would be honored to join the guard..." And with a final word and a bow, I gave him everything, "Master."
"Magnificent!" He boomed, and at the same time, Edward shouted.
"No, Bella!"
"Jane, my dear." He said, ignoring Edward's outburst. "Please take Bella to..." He suddenly stopped midway through his command and tilted his head, looking at me quizzically. It appeared he was trying to make a decision. I stood as motionless as I could, unable to break away from his penetrating gaze.
"Brother?" Caius asked from his throne, obviously questioning Aro's pause.
"Take her to my quarters, Jane." He finished at last. At his words, all Hell broke loose between the three vampire rulers.
"You cannot be serious!" Caius all but spat as he flashed to his feet. "This one?"
"Yes, Caius." Aro replied calmly, still looking at me as a smile lit his eyes. "This one."