The sun pours down on them from their spot in the forests of northern England, twelve hours since they left Volterra behind them. Jasper's face is split in a grin, and Isabella watches as he admires the place they are in.
"I can't believe we're here." Jasper sighs, not for the first time.
"Well we are, so you can stop marvelling now," she laughs.
Jasper turns slightly, kissing the top of her head where it rests against his chest. "I'm sorry you had to do that."
She shrugs; unable to stop her mind from conjuring the image of Aro's bleeding form. "There was no other option. It's been coming for…a long time. Alice tried to warn me, and to be honest I'd known since I first set foot back there six months ago."
"Still, he was your creation. It can't have been easy."
"No," she finally admits, "it wasn't. But it was much easier than losing you."
They are silent, as the leaves rustle on the ground around them, before Jasper once again breaks it. "What happens now?"
"Caius will take over as leader, with the aid of Athenodora. But honestly, I don't know. The Volturi as a system has been undermined, although it's not like anyone else is vying for the position."
"I did wonder at that, if people will be competing for the chance to rule."
Isabella is shaking her head before he can finish speaking, staring out into the trees as she replies. "There is a reason the Volturi have upheld our rules for so long, it is a taxing undertaking, and most vampires cannot be in the same place for so long a time, cannot work together in the way that is needed."
"Makes sense." He is quiet for a moment, stroking stone fingers through her hair. It is relaxing, and Isabella's eyes close in order to enjoy the sensation. "I should apologise, for Chelsea."
"No you shouldn't, because you're not sorry. For the Volturi to fall, she always needed to die. While I wish…I wish that she hadn't, I've made my peace with it." Flipping her hair over her naked shoulder, Isabella turns in his arms, to face him and his haunted red eyes. "I have to know though, who was helping you? There's no way you could have done this by yourself."
A small smile appears at his lips, as he brushes a loose strand of hair behind her ear. "Alice always knew of my plans, though she only started aiding me when we, that's me and you, became intertwined. And Edward, the mind reader."
"How was he able to hide his thoughts? Aro touched him more than anyone else, seeking out everyone's secrets."
"He's simply very talented, and Aro was stupidly cocky."
Since they'd run, Isabella hasn't been able to get the image of Aro's headless corpse from her mind. But now, relaxing in the woods, her mind wanders, and questions come to the forefront. Some she will have time to be answered, but there's one that strikes her, something odd about the whole exchange in the castle.
"What was the initial plan? You were caught by Alec, so I can't help feeling that if Edward was helping you, it seems a little counterintuitive for him to give you up."
By his merit, Jasper manages to look somewhat contrite as he replies. "That was the plan, almost. Edward was to inform Aro of what I'd been doing, we'd been careful not to allow Edward to do anything but keep the focus off of me, and inform us about what people thought of everything that had been going on. Then, when I was brought in front of Aro, Alice told you where I was. You would run in, distract Aro, meaning I could kill him.
But we forgot about Alec."
"I was to be a distraction?" The idea sits uneasily within her. That he thought he could take that task from her, that she was to be used so flippantly.
"After finding out about you, about who you are to them, I didn't think you would ever help us."
Isabella smiles sadly. "You didn't trust me?" A shaking head is the only response he supplies. "Don't worry," she continues, "you will."
They are silent once more, listening as the birds settle closer in the trees to their hiding place. Isabella turns her back on Jasper, smiling in contentment when his arms come around her. There will be time for trust later.
"Are we free now?" he asks.
Isabella does not reply, only situating herself deeper into his naked embrace. She knows that while they may have left Volterra behind them, there are so many more dangers lying in wait. Jasper is the next step in vampires, and she is one of the last of an old way. They will need to tread carefully, inconspicuously, if they are to survive. However, Isabella is hopeful of their choices together, for she is sure they can weather the fallout once more.
There we are then, it's all over.
Okay, time for thanks. Huge thanks must go to my beta's from PTB, without them the initial 15,000 word one shot would never have been completed. And BIG thanks to Fairusa for beta'ing all the additional chapters of Origins...though not all of them cause I'm rubbish and forgot to send them to her xD. Thanks needs to go to Lacrimosa Moon, who through the Easter Bunny Fic Exchange gave me the initial prompt which sparked this. And also to vbfb1 for making me an amazing banner.
Also! Massive thanks to you! You wonderful readers. To my regular reviewers, and everyone who reviewed, favourited and set this to alert. Thanks to everyone who has pimped out this story, cause Lord knows I can't do it myself.
I really hope this ending satisfies you all :) It's taken me long enough to write it lol.
My next story should be Having Sex, with Bella Swan, if I ever finish it. There are five chapters so far, and I shall be hopefully writing a lot more in the coming weeks :) so watch this space :)