HAPPY NEW YEAR! Hope you have a wonderful time with your loved ones!
Here is a late christmas present for you guys! It's quite a long chapter so get comfy. Hope you like it!
A few things... this chapter is violent, so if you are sensitive about that kind of stuff, skip it =)
Secondly, when-I-write-sentences-like-this it means that the vamps are talking at vampire speed and Bella doesn't understand but I figured you wanted to know what they are talking about, lol.
Thirdly, yes... for those of you who DM me Edward saw Bella at the river last chapter when she was having her human moment. That's why he looked like in pain when she came back LOL!
Fourthly, I borrowed a LOT from Eclipse for this chapter, since this story is basically a what if and I'm trying to keep it as close to the original as possible with a few twists here and there, also remember that I took some creative license with how vampire abilities work for this story, you might want to re-read chapter 22 for a reminder.
And lastly, I have no betta, so all mistakes are mine!
Chapter 32: Human
Human – Christina Perry
But I'm only human
And I bleed when I fall down
I'm only human
And I crash and I break down
Your words in my head, knives in my heart
You build me up and then I fall apart
Cause I'm only human
I can turn it on
Be a good machine
I can hold the weight of worlds
If that's what you need
Be your everything
I was first aware of the cool hands touching me. More than one pair of hands, actually. Arms holding me, a palm caressing my cheek, fingers stroking my forehead, and more fingers pressed lightly into my wrist.
Then I was aware of the voices, they were just a humming at first, and then they grew in volume and clarity like someone was turning up a radio.
"Carlisle, it's been hours." Edward's voice was anxious.
"I gave her a sedative, remember? She'll come around when she's ready, Edward." Carlisle's voice, always calm and sure "She's had too much to deal with lately, let her mind protect itself."
"Alice, how much longer?" Edward demanded, his voice still tense. Carlisle's soothing words had not helped.
From farther away I heard Alice's brighter voice.
"Bella will open her eyes in thirty-seven seconds. I wouldn't doubt she can hear us now."
"Bella, honey?" This was Esme's soft, comforting voice. "Can you hear me?"
"Mommy?" Warm tiny hands were stroking my cheek now, forcing me to come back from the darkness and finding my way back to my body.
My eyelids fluttered.
"Oh, Bella." Edward sighed in relief and his lips touched mine.
"Lizzie?" I slurred.
"Yes, I'm here mommy!"
I finally got my lids open and stared into liquid gold and warm chocolate.
I was confused for a few seconds, I looked around and noticed more people around me. Carlisle, Esme, Alice and Jasper stood nearby and then I remembered where we were.
"What are you guys doing here? What happened?" I tried to sit on the new air mattress but Edward pushed me back.
"You had a panic attack, then fainted." Edward explained "Esme went back to bring Carlisle up here so he could check on you."
"But… why would you do that?" I was appalled. "Won't this ruin our trap for tomorrow?" Of course, leave it up to me to ruin everything, as if they didn't already have too much to worry about.
"You didn't ruin anything Bella," Jasper was quick to assure me "Your scent is still strong back at the clearing and the rain faded your trail up the mountains. We are still good for tomorrow." I wave of calmness surrounded me, and I knew why Jasper had come along too.
"How are you feeling?" I looked up at Edward, he had a worried look on his face that somehow made him look his real age.
"I'm fine, just lightheaded." I answered honestly. My head was still spinning.
"She's been having headaches lately, she's also been dizzy and losing appetite." Edward tells Carlisle and I make an incredulous face at him.
Ok, I admit I'm still not as strong as I used to be and I still need to gain my full weight back but I've been eating properly, right? These things take time.
"Have you been taking your medication, Bella?" Carlisle asks me then.
I opened my mouth to answer but then stop, trying to remember when was the last time I took my pills… I remembered taking them the night before Edward and I left for the clearing, before I put Lizzie to bed but… after that I wasn't so sure.
"Bella." Edward groaned, reading my face.
"I'm sorry!" I was quick to apologize "I know I took them Friday night but… I'm sorry my mind has been all over the place since yesterday."
His eyes soften a little, but I can tell he is still annoyed as hell.
"Where are they?" He says irritated.
"In my toiletry bag." I say, pointing to my duffel bag at the edge of the room.
Alice picks it up and rummages through it until she takes out the purple bag and opens it. Next, she hands me my pill case with all the gazillion pills I have to take each day several times a day along with a bottle of water.
I don't miss how Edward checks the time in his watch, and I know that from now on he'll be monitoring my medicine intake.
"Bella," Carlisle says softly grabbing my attention "I need you to relax and take it easy for the rest of the day, Ok? No more hiking, running or exercise… and please eat anything my wife gives you. We need you strong and healthy." He winks at me "When you come back tomorrow after the fight, we'll drive by the hospital to pick up your tests and see what's going on. It might be just the stress but we need to make sure you are alright."
"That won't be necessary." I say "It doesn't matter."
"What do you mean it doesn't matter?" He frowns and I look back at Edward before answering.
"Edward said he'll change me… after all this is over."
At this, Carlisle exchanges a look with Edward and they both have a silent conversation. I can't read their faces but after a moment Carlisle nods and from the corner of my eye I notice Alice bouncing happily back and forth on her toes.
"Even so," Carlisle says slowly "your health is still important and I don't want you to be in pain or suffering."
"But I'm not." I say sitting up "This could be anything, you said so yourself, I've had a lot to deal with lately. My nerves are not as strong as yours." I give him half a smile and he chuckles in spite of himself.
"Ok. I still want you to take your pills until then and we are picking up your results tomorrow. Whatever you decide to do with them is up to you."
I nod at him and I feel Edward's cold lips on my temple.
"Is mommy going to be okay, then?" Lizzie asks with wide eyes.
"I will baby, I promise." I say and Lizzie scoots over to me, sitting on my lap and snuggling between my arms. I kiss her hair and inhale her sweet scent.
"Alright, so my job here is done then." Carlisle says standing up from the stool he had been sitting on and looks back at Jasper. "We should head back soon."
"Yes, now that Rose changed places with Carmen we need to change strategy."
"Yeah, about that…" Edward says and my heart skips a beat "I'm staying here too, I'm sorry."
I can hear the pain in his voice and I avoid everyone's eyes and focus on my hand stroking Lizzie's hair. The guilt is ripping me apart, but that's just something I'd have to endure if it meant he was safe with us.
"Don't apologize, I understand" Jasper says lightly, as if it was obvious "Although I'm not sure Emmett will be as understanding" He laughs the last part and I want to roll my eyes at them.
"If Edward is staying, then there's no need for me to stay here, right?" Esme asks softly and I see Carlisle frown. "With Edward, Rose and Seth here they are enough to protect them from any straggler."
Esme… oh god, no, no, no.
"I suppose so," Jasper says slowly " but there's enough of us Esme, you can stay here if you want."
The guilt becomes almost too much and I try to say anything to stop her but before I can open my mouth Esme steals a quick glance at Carlisle and I know. I know because if I were on her shoes I'd do the same.
"I'm coming with you." She says firmly and Carlisle lets out a sigh in resignation.
I burry my face on Lizzie's hair trying to hide the shame, Edward rubs my back in assurance.
I'm a horrible person.
Ten minutes later, everyone is gone and it's just me, Edward, Lizzie, Seth and Rose. It took me a while to calm down after I had hugged Esme goodbye but Edward assured me she was going to be fine, that Carlisle won't allow anything to happen to her, that they will take care of each other.
Later that afternoon, after I had calmed down enough Edward made me swallow two sandwiches and an entire bottle of orange juice before he finally let me out of the tent.
It was twilight by now, Seth –in his wolf form- and Lizzie were sitting by a fire roasting marshmallows. I look around but I can't see Rosalie anywhere so I assumed she was in her tent.
Edward and I walk hand in hand towards our daughter and I sit beside her but Edward drags me to sit between his legs not letting me go for a second.
I close my eyes as soon as his cold skin makes contact with mine. The hot weather is not ideal for a fire, but what kind of a camping trip this would be without roasted marshmallows? Besides, I'm sure I'm the only one bothered by the weather.
"Mommy, do you want a s'more?" Lizzie offers, looking up worriedly at me.
My poor baby, I should be the one taking care of her, not the other way around.
I stare at the treat and immediately my stomach protests.
"You know what, honey? I just had a big dinner," I squeeze Edward's leg, blaming him for my uneasy stomach "maybe later."
"Okay, I'll just keep feeding Seth then." At this, Seth's tail swayed faster in excitement.
"Why is Seth in his wolf form?" I ask.
"He is the phone." Edward chuckles "He'll help me stay in contact with the pack and whatever happens in the battlefield."
"Are they close?"
"No, the army is still waiting on the same spot they where this morning."
My eyebrows shot to my hairline.
"Are they still waiting for their leader?"
"Yes, I suppose he is with Victoria."
"Bored." He smiles at me, always reassuring "But thankfully he listened to Jasper and is staying back."
"Good, that's good."
"We'll be fine angel." He tightens his hold on me.
But I can't say anything back. I still have that feeling that the other shoe is about to drop. He is here, so I do feel a lot better but… there's still something at the back of my head. We are missing something. If what they are saying is correct and they have the upper hand… then it's too easy, too simple. This doesn't sound like Victoria.
"It's going to be fine, Bella," he promised, sensing the tension on my shoulders "We've got skill, training and surprise on our side. It will be over very soon. If I didn't truly believe that, I would be down there now and you'd be here, chained to a tree or something along those lines." He joked but I can't laugh.
"Alice is so small," I moan and he chuckles.
"That might be a problem… if it were possible for someone to catch her."
"You remember your priorities, right?" I ask quietly, not wanting to grab Lizzie's attention by mentioning her name.
This sobers him and I feel him nod behind me.
The hours pass and the sun is long gone leaving us surrounded by darkness. Everything is quiet, the only sounds the crackle of the logs on the fire. Even the woods are quiet without any sign of nightlife, they looked dangerous, resembling the woods from my nightmares.
I turn sideways on Edward's lap and burry my face on his neck, closing my eyes and inhaling his scent. That always seemed to calm my nerves somewhat.
As time passes, Edward's body language changes too. His posture becomes rigid, his eyes staring into the distance, focused on something far, far away. It was as if his body was here but his mind somewhere else. His face was hard to read, his jaw shut and lips set in a tight line.
I know it's killing him not being there, not knowing exactly what's going on, what Alice is seeing, he has no way to reach his family since we don't have phone service up here but at least he has contact with the pack.
I reach up with my right hand and palm his cheek, he looks down at me but keeps his eyes ahead.
"Thank you for staying…" I whisper and that makes him look at me "And I'm sorry for earlier."
He gives me a small smile and lowers his forehead to touch mine.
"Whatever you need."
"You are not mad with me?" I whimper, my eyes watering.
He gives me an incredulous expression.
"Why would I be mad at you?"
"The stuff I said… you know I didn't mea-"
"Shhh…" Hi hushes me by kissing me. "I know. I'm sorry too."
"Why are you apologizing for?" I wipe away my tears with my fingers.
"I shouldn't just be taking care of you physically, I should also be taking care of you mentally and emotionally."
"And I should have known you'd find some way to blame yourself. Please stop. I can't stand it."
"What would you like me to say?"
"I want you to call me every bad name you can think of, in every language you know. I want you to tell me how of a horrible person I am."
"I'm sorry," He sighed "I can't do that."
"You are bizarrely moral for a vampire." I deadpan and he chuckles.
"I love you," He kisses me and then points towards Lizzie with his chin, who is about to drop next to Seth. "Why don't you and Lizzie go to bed? It's getting late and tomorrow is going to be a long day."
"What about you? Aren't you coming?" I asked with pleading eyes.
When did I become so needy?
"I'll keep Seth company and stand guard so he can sleep for a bit, we need him at his best tomorrow too."
"Would you wake me up if anything changes? I want to know everything that's going on."
"Thank you." I kiss him once before standing up and going for our daughter.
She's more sleep walking than awake when we reach the tent so I help her onto the bed and she crashes as soon as her head hits the pillow. I change her into her pj's and then I change into mine. I didn't think I would be able to sleep, especially without Edward helping me cool down but I guess the day had been more tiring than I though because soon enough I'm dreaming of dark woods and monsters flying everywhere.
"Bella, wake up."
I open my eyes and it takes me a moment to adjust my eyesight. It's not completely dark anymore but it's still very early in the morning.
"Yes, it's me." I feel his cold hands brushing my hair away from my face.
"What's going on?"
"The army is on the move." That has my attention and at once I'm wide awake. "It won't be long now."
"Oh," I say sitting up.
"Don't worry angel, Jasper and the others will be ready for them at the clearing. Everything will be fine."
I reluctantly nod at him, then stare at my daughter sleeping next to me.
"Why don't you get dress and join us outside, if you want I can give you a play-by-play of the fight."
"Ok, I'll be there in a minute."
"Take your time." He kisses my forehead and disappears through the entrance.
As soon as he is out, I quickly get to my feet and dress up for anything. I put on a pair of jeans, hiking boots, a grey tank top and tie a flannel shirt around my waist. After brushing my teeth I wake up Lizzie and dress her in a similar getup. I want her to be able to run if she has to.
When we finally emerge about fifteen minutes later, I feel something different in the atmosphere. There are no birds singing in the early morning, no squirrels jumping in the trees, there's no wind, no sign of life. It's as if the forest knows there is something dangerous approaching and every animal and life being went into hiding.
Edward is waiting for us next to Seth by the long extinguished fire. They are both staring intently into each other's eyes with absolute concentration and I don't miss the hint of confusion in Edward's face, but he is quick to mask it when we approach.
Rosalie is by the edge of the clearing doing her hair into a French braid, she is also wearing hiking boots but unlike me she is wearing cargo pants and a black Henley, similar to Edward's attire and I'm glad I'm not the only one prepared for anything.
When we reach them, Lizzie sleepily holds her arms up to her father, motioning for Edward to carry her and soon Lizzie is asleep again on her father's shoulder.
Without a word, Edward hands me a granola bar along with my pills' case. His eyes never leave Seth's though.
And that would be Rosalie.
I turn around and see her approach us slowly, she has a bottle in her hand.
"Esme told me to make sure you drink this with your meals."
I grab the bottle and see it's a protein milk shake.
"Thanks." I say looking up at her, but that's when I notice she is not looking at me either. She is staring at Edward.
"Everything alright?" She asks.
This seems to floor Edward and break his gaze with Seth, he blinks a couple times and focuses on us.
"Yeah, sorry. Just following the pack." Edward seems to notice the bottle in my hand then. "Drink that, it's good for you. There's also fruit and yogurt in the cooler."
Since he's missing out on the battle, I figure he is going to be bossy today, and that's a small price I'm willing to pay if it means he stays with us. So I do as he says, not wanting to be on his way and turn around to go and fix myself some breakfast.
I eat the granola bar, take my pills and chug down the protein shake. Then grab a strawberry yogurt and an apple. By the time I'm done with my food, I see the first signs of sunlight in the distance. A quick glance at Edward's phone tells me it's almost six in the morning.
I walk out the tent to put the trash out and that's when I notice something has changed again. If you didn't know what to look for, you'll just see Edward and Rosalie staring at each other intently, but after all these years, I know better. I notice the way their lips are barely moving and I realize that they are having a quiet conversation at vampire speed.
"Edward, tell me what's wrong?" I demand as I come to a stop next to him.
"Nothing's wrong exactly." He admits reluctantly "It's Victoria, she just joined the army in the chase."
I gasp and my heart stops.
It was her all along… Edward was right.
And now, if everything turns out the way we planned, everything will be over soon.
Did I dare to hope?
Will everything really be over soon?
"But, that's good news right? Isn't this what we wanted?" I ask hopeful.
Why does he look worried? Is he worried about his brothers? I'm so stupid, of course he is worried about his family.
"Yeah, but… I'd have thought she would join them at the last minute in the middle of the chaos… they are still far away from the trail that would lead them to the clearing."
"So? Does it make any difference?"
He frowns, and I swear the man has frowned so much since yesterday that by now he should have wrinkles between his eyebrows.
"No, I suppose not."
"How's the pack?"
"They are good, after the army crosses the river they'll make their presence known as soon as the army comes across your trail."
"How much longer until they get to the clearing?"
"An hour, tops."
I nod to myself and look up at Rose. She has her arms crossed across her chest and she's looking away, her eyes following the sound of the river around the cliff.
"Daddy?" Lizzie mumbles, waking up again.
"I'm thirsty." She says between yawns and Edward chuckles.
"I'll take you hunting on our way back home today." He kisses her forehead and Lizzie opens her eyes.
"Can I get a mountain lion?"
"Of course, angel."
I smile at them and get on my toes to kiss my daughter's cheek.
"Morning, mommy." She smiles sleepily at me.
"Can I get you anything for breakfast?"
"Can I have s'mores?" She asks with a sheepish smile and I make a face, my stomach protesting at the thought of too much sugar so early in the morning.
"The fire is out baby, and it's better if we stay as unnoticed as possi-"
I whip my head around, startled by Edward's unusual foul language, especially in front of Lizzie. But he is not paying us attention at all. Both him and Seth are so close their faces are almost touching.
"No, what the hell? Jacob, tell Sam's group to go around them and take them back to the river." Edward orders.
"What happened?" Rosalie demands urgently, her eyes dancing between Edward and Seth. I don't think either of them noticed how close she is to them.
"They didn't cross the river… they are going north?" Edward explains incredulously.
The sudden absence of sound was the only warning. The deep rush of Seth's breathing cut off and Rosalie's sharp intake of breathe resonated in the silence.
I stopped breathing too, too frightened to even make my lungs work as I realize that Edward had frozen into a block of ice beside me. Something happened. His eyes were huge, wide with panic, dazed and horrified.
Oh, no. No. No.
"How did they know?" Rosalie hissed, her eyes black with fury.
"Irina," He said, spitting out the word like a curse "She's with them."
I gasp in horror and cover my mouth with my hands, finally understanding. He didn't have to explain it anymore.
"They are coming here?" My eyes immediately lock on Edwards. He has his arms like an iron hold around our daughter who has an equally confused and petrified look on her face.
"WHAT ARE YOU STILL DOING HERE?!" I screech at him, the gripping fear breaking me from my state of shock "GO, GO GOO!"
So quickly that I wasn't exactly sure how it happened I was on Rosalie's back and we were out of there like a bullet being fired.
"We need to go around them! There are too many for us!" Rosalie screams at Edward over Lizzie's terrified wails.
Seth starts howling then and Edward and Rosalie talk to each other at vampire speed.
"I-know-that!" He hisses "The-pack-will-cover-us-until-we-get-to-the-others!"
I have no idea what they are saying, they are talking too fast for my human ears but what I do know is that I can still see Edward ahead of us. What the fuck is he doing? He is way faster than Rosalie.
Damn it! Stupid vampire!
"Edward! GOOO! YOU PROMISED!" I cry, all air leaving my lungs, my heart wild, threatening to pump out of my chest.
He looks back at me, his face contorted into one of pure pain.
Rosalie and Edward start another shout fest that I can't understand.
"GO!" She screams.
After one last painful look, Edward looks ahead and disappears in front of us.
"Rose, leave me here!" I demand.
"Are you crazy?!" She asks bewildered.
"It's me they want! Leave me here and you all can escape!"
She fucking rolls her eyes at me.
"Bella, this is not just about you. It won't end here. Now shut up and let me concentrate."
I'm not sure for how long we've been running but after a while we hear growls and the familiar sounds of heavy paws hitting the ground at a fast speed around us.
I let out a cry when I see a shadow to my right.
"It's Jacob." She is quick to explain "They are making a circle around us to keep them away for as long as possible."
"Are we far?"
"Hang on, we are almost there."
More time passes and I'm sure I almost had a heart attack when a big figure jumps out from the trees and lands next to us.
"Emmett!" I cry, and my eyes blur with tears. This means Edward made it to the clearing, thank god!
"What took you so long?!" Rosalie is angry and I remember that they got into a big fight yesterday about something. "It's been an hour!"
"I'm sorry babe, we came as soon as Edward arrived."
"We?!" I ask, who else is here? "Who's protecting Lizzie?"
"Hey Bella!" That would be Eleazar. "Rosalie, may I?"
Without a warning, I felt as if I was being flung through the air and now I was on Eleazar's back. The wind on my hair increased as we moved impossibly faster.
And finally after what it felt like an eternity we entered the clearing were I knew my scent was the most potent. Where my blood, and clothes were lying all around.
They were all at the opposite edge of the clearing by some rocky formation and I could tell a big ass argument was going down.
Though Edward's expression was past the fear now, it was pure fury that was suddenly plain on his features. Without a word, he pulled me tightly against his chest, our daughter sandwiched between us.
One cool hand found my chin, and pulled my face up so that he could press his hard lips to mine. I could feel the tension in his jaw.
This kiss frightened me. There was too much tension, too strong an edge to the way his lips crushed mine like he was afraid we only had so much time left to us.
"Please, for me. Please make a conscious effort to keep yourself safe. I'll do everything I can, but I would appreciate a little help."
Before I could get the first syllable out, I felt as if I was being flung through the air once again, but Edward's hands never let go of me, I was only being moved so quickly that the sensation was like falling sideways. Then, I found myself with my back pressed against the sheer cliff face with Elizabeth between us. Edward stood in front of us, holding a posture that I knew at once.
Far away into the woods, we heard a long painful howl.
"Tell them to wait, do not engage alone!" Edward snaps and Seth nods.
"Edward I'm so sorry. I didn't know!" Tanya cried and Edward gave her such a murderous glare I swear he finally looked like the monster he claimed to be.
Another argument broke down but they were talking too fast I couldn't make any sense of it.
"Please-she-is-in-pain!" Tanya was crying "She's-not-thinking-straight."
"How-could-you-have-been-so-stupid-Tanya?!" Alice's was outraged.
"How-could-she-do-this-to-us?!" Kate seethed, she was furious.
"Tanya-you-need-to-stop-her." Carlisle seemed to be in pain "I-won't-stop-Edward-if-he-tries-to-kill-her."
"Guys! Stop. There's-no-time-for-this." Jasper appeared to be the calm in the middle of the storm and as if on cue the forest seemed to become alive with howls, growls and the heavy thump of paws hitting the ground at lighting speed.
Another wolf cried, the sound deafening.
"They cannot hold them off any longer!" Edward barked, his voice cold, it didn't belong to him, he didn't appear to be here at all.
He held a defensive position -half-crouched, his arms extended slightly- that I recognized with sickening certainty. It was the same position he held that time we met James.
"Fall in! Now!"
At Jasper's command everyone shut up and not even a second had passed everyone stood in a defensive formation in front of Elizabeth and I across the clearing.
Edward, Emmett, Seth and Eleazar stood in a semicircle a few feet in front of us while I held Elizabeth to me for dear life. Her face pressed against my stomach, her eyes shut tight as she cried quietly in fear. Tears streamed down my cheeks blurring my vision as well but I didn't dare to let her go even for a second to wipe them away.
In an outer circle stood Esme, Carlisle, Carmen and Kate and at the very front were Jasper, Garret, Tanya, Alice and Rosalie.
A minute later, the forest suddenly burst to live and we could hear now what could only be described as a nightmare. The ground trembled, roars, snarls, growls, hisses and screams seemed to come from every direction I didn't know where to look.
And then… all hell broke loose.
Sharp crunches and cracklings reverberated off the cliff face, but everything was happening so fast for my human eyes to follow. Edward was still in front of me and I assumed the blurry forms on either side of him were Emmett and Eleazar. I could make out the wolves as well and I think Seth was the one closest to us. But other than that, the scene before my eyes looked as horrifying as it sounded.
A terrifying maniacal laugh that could only belong to Emmett reverberated across the clearing, followed by a hideous, grating screech.
"IRINA! STOP NOW!" I could hear Tanya's enraged screams, but I'm not sure where they come from, everything was in chaos.
The growls intensify, trees shake and the ground vibrates with the sound of thunder as vampires clash against each other. Elizabeth trembled in my arms as she tried to hold in her crying, knowing it won't do any good but even if I'm not letting her see anything, the sounds around us were enough to scare her for life.
I'm looking everywhere, trying to spot that red flare but cannot see her anywhere.
A few feet from us I swallow up a scream as I see Garret violently pinning a man the size of Emmett to the ground. He sinks his teeth to his shoulder and pulls, ripping his arm off and throwing it away, the limb still trembling as it rolls on the ground to the edge of the clearing. The man shrieks in pure agony and Garret laughs as he turns him on his stomach, plants his foot against the vampire's back and heaves. The clearing was filled with the vampire's piercing shriek of agony. Then, I stare in horror and utter shock as Garret rips his head of with his bare hands and throws it away with a kick like a football.
"That's two for me guys!" He says before disappearing again.
Edward grabs my attention by finally shifting his body– only infinitesimally, but it tells me where to look. All blood leaves my body as I stare at the black shadows of the forest. It was like having my nightmares walk forward to greet me.
Two vampires edged slowly into the small opening of the clearing, eyes intent, missing nothing. They glistened like diamonds in the sun.
I could barely look at the blond man, though he looked young he was muscular and tall, maybe my age when he was changed. His eyes – a more vivid red than I had ever seen before- could not hold mine. Though he was the closest to Edward, the nearest danger, I could not watch him. Because, a few feet to the side and a few feet back, Victoria was staring at me.
Her orange hair was brighter than I remembered, more like a flame. There was no wind here, but the fire around her face seemed to shimmer slightly, as if it were alive. Her eyes were black with thirst. She did not smile, as she always had in my nightmares, her lips were pressed into a tight line.
Her restless, wild gaze flickered between Edward, Elizabeth and me, but never rested on him for more than a half-second. She could not keep her eyes from us any more than I could keep mine from hers.
Tension rolled off of her, nearly visible in the air. I could feel the desire, the all-consuming passion that held her in its grip.
Almost as if I could hear her thoughts, too, I knew what she was thinking. She was so close to what she wanted – the focus of her whole existence for years was just so close.
"Riley," Edward said in a soft, pleading voice. The blond man froze, his red eyes widening.
"She's lying to you, Riley," Edward told him "Listen to me. She's lying to you just like she lied to the others who are dying here now."
"You know that she's lied to them, that she had you lie to them, there's no war, there's never been a war. We never attacked you in years, we never came back to Washington. Is it so hard to believe that she's lied to you, too?" Confusion swept across Riley's face.
Edward shifted a few inches to the side, and Riley automatically compensated with an adjustment of his own.
"She doesn't love you, Riley." Edward's soft voice was compelling, almost hypnotic. "She never has. She loved someone named James, and you're no more than a tool to her."
When Edward said James's name, Victoria's lips pulled back in a teeth-baring grimace. Her eyes stayed locked on me. Riley cast a frantic glance in her direction.
"Riley?" Edward said. Riley automatically refocused on Edward. "She knows that I will kill you. She wants you to die so that she doesn't have to keep up the pretense anymore. Yes — you've seen that, haven't you? You've read the reluctance in her eyes, suspected a false note in her promises. You were right. She's never wanted you. Every kiss, every touch was a lie."
Edward moved again, moved a few inches toward him, a few inches away from me. Victoria's gaze zeroed in on the gap between us. It would take her less than a second to kill me — she only needed the tiniest margin of opportunity. Slower this time, Riley repositioned himself.
"You don't have to die," Edward promised, his eyes holding the confused vampire in front of him. "There are other ways to live than the way she's shown you. It's not all lies and blood, Riley. You can walk away right now. You don't have to die for her lies."
Edward slid his feet forward and to the side. There was a foot of space between us now. Riley circled too far, overcompensating this time. Victoria leaned forward onto the balls of her feet.
"Last chance, Riley," Edward whispered.
Riley's face was desperate as he looked to Victoria for answers.
"He's the liar, Riley," Victoria said, and my mouth fell open in shock at the sound of her voice. "I told you about their mind tricks. You know I love only you."
Riley's jaw tightened, and he squared his shoulders. His eyes emptied — there was no more confusion, no more suspicion. There was no thought at all. He tensed himself to attack. Victoria's body seemed to be trembling, she was so tightly wound. Her fingers were ready claws, waiting for Edward to move just one more inch away from me.
The snarl came from none of them. A mammoth tan shape flew through the center of the clearing, throwing Riley to the ground. "No!" Victoria cried, her baby voice shrilled with disbelief.
Jacob's sudden attack reminded me that we weren't alone, I had been so engrossed with what was happening a few feet from me that I seemed to have blocked the war that was on full swing around us.
Nausea hit me when I noticed the chunks of cadavers and limbs around us, my head started spinning and I felt myself go dizzy.
Don't black out Bella, don't black out. Please, not now.
And then, Edward and Victoria started dancing. Not quite circling, because Edward was not allowing her to position herself closer to me and Lizzie.
She sashayed back, moving from side to side, trying to find a hole in his defense. He shadowed her footwork lithely, stalking her with perfect concentration. He began to move just a fraction of a second before she moved, reading her intentions in her thoughts.
Jacob lunged at Riley from the side, and something tore with a horrendous, grating screech. A heavy white chunk flew into the forest with a thud. Riley roared in fury, and Jacob skipped back as Riley took a swipe at him with one mangled hand.
More screams and razor like sounds engulfed us, and it was clear that some people were in utter agony. Victoria looked around her and her lips formed a thin line.
She was torn, her feet pulling her toward safety while her eyes yearned toward me and my daughter as if we were a magnet, reeling her in. I could see the burning desire to kill warring with her survival instinct.
Edward could see that, too.
"Don't go, Victoria," he murmured in that same hypnotic tone as before. "I know Riley was supposed to distract me but you'll never get another chance like this."
She showed her teeth and hissed, unable to move farther away from me.
"You can always run later," Edward purred "Plenty of time for that. It's what you do, isn't it? It's why James kept you around. Useful, if you like to play deadly games. A partner with an uncanny instinct for escaping. He shouldn't have left you — he could have used your skills when we caught up to him in Phoenix." A snarl ripped from between her lips. "When I killed him… when I turned him into ash."
With a strangled screech, Victoria darted out of the trees again, feinting to the side. Edward responded, and the dance began again.
She shook her head, fast and jerky, fighting his diversions, and tried to duck around him, but he was in place to block her as soon as she'd thought of the plan. Her face contorted in frustration, and then she shifted lower into her crouch and stalked deliberately forward.
Victoria was not an inexperienced, instinct-driven newborn. She was lethal. Even I could tell the difference between her and the newborns around me.
The dance increased in tempo and soon enough it was too fast and wild for me to follow.
More snarls, growls and screams resonated off the cliff face whenever someone slipped in their formation. But they were moving too fast for me to see who was making the mistakes.
Out of nowhere, there was an explosion and a big fire burst to life on the other side of the clearing and there was a big cheer. I couldn't hold the scream of horror when I noticed a body was fueling the flames.
My eyes went back to Edward, desperate to see if he was alright but all I could see now was the twisting flame of Victoria's hair and a blur of white. The increasingly frequent metallic snaps and tears, the gasps and shocked hissings, made it clear that the dance was turning deadly for someone. But which someone?
Riley was distracted by the violent ballet, his eyes anxious for his partner. Jacob struck, crunching off another small piece of the vampire. Riley bellowed and launched a massive backhanded blow that caught Jacob full in his broad chest.
Jacob's huge body soared ten feet and crashed into the rocky wall over my head with a force that seemed to shake the whole peak.
I heard the breath whoosh from his lungs and adrenaline took charge as with a strength I didn't know I possessed, I picked up Lizzie in my arms and threw ourselves out of the way as he rebounded off the stone and collapsed on the ground exactly where we had been not a second ago. A low whimper escaped through Jacob's teeth as the rock behind me shattered and an avalanche of rocks and gravel started pouring around us. I tried to cover us both me and my daughter but in the mayhem I lost my grip on Lizzie and tripped.
I landed on my right arm and winced when I felt the gravel scrape my skin. I smelled the blood the second the skin broke.
Then, as if in a movie everything seemed to move in slow motion.
First, I saw Victoria. She was distracted by the sound of my gasp. Her eyes met mine and though she looked oddly deformed- as if she were unable to straighten up completely I could see the smile I'd had been dreaming for years flash across her wild face.
She coiled and sprang.
A white figure whistled through the air and collided with her mid-flight, setting of a tremendous thunder that I swear resonated all the way back to Calgary.
Secondly, I saw them. All of them. More red eyes than I could count as they lurched towards me. Sharp, white teeth snapping and ready to suck the life out of me.
I froze, my muscles locking down as if for impact. There's no way I'm walking out of this one alive.
But just before the first newborn reaches me a blur of blond hair steps in front of me and pushes me out of the way.
My scream is drowned by Emmett's horrified cry and when I look back in direction from where the blow came I stare, my face disfigured in complete horror and bewilderment as I see Rosalie being impaled to the ground as a dozen vampires try to devour her alive.
I cannot move, the ravenous screeching sounds as teeth sink into hard cold skin drill a hole in my head and I'm unable to function.
Then, it happened so quickly that it was over before I could follow the sequence of events.
Victoria was flying in the air once again and smashed into a tall spruce about half way up the tree. She dropped back to the earth already crouched to spring. Simultaneously, Edward – all but invisible with speed – had twisted backward and grabbed two unsuspecting vampires that were chewing at Rose's chest by the neck and pulled them away, sending them flying across the clearing and colliding with Victoria sending her farther away into the woods.
Emmett, his eyes the blackest I've ever seen them manifested next to the pile of vampires attacking his wife. And don't ask me how, but he alone singlehandedly dismembered four vampires within two seconds.
At the same time, Jacob leaped to his feet, cutting off most of my view and launched himself against Riley who I hadn't noticed had lurched towards me again. Seth, along with Paul stepped in, helping him finish him off.
I looked to my left and saw that Esme held an hysterical Lizzie and Carmen stood in front of them with a protective stance several feet away from us. I should head over there, but for the life of me I can't make my body function.
Carlisle and Alice were helping Emmett taking care of the vampires that had attacked Rose, the earsplitting metallic screech of their cold skin being ripped apart overpowered the tortured screams of the newborns being dismembered, and Tanya along with Kate were pinning Irina to the ground, holding her there at the edge of the clearing to my right about fifty feet away from us. Eleazar and Jasper were nowhere to be seen and Sam along with four other wolves were fighting the two vampires Edward had taken off of Rose. The fire in the background seemed to become bigger and bigger as Garret and the rest of the wolves threw limbs and torsos into the fire.
Finally, I spotted Edward again.
The impact sounded like an explosion as Edward sent Victoria flying against another tree, snapping it in half. She landed on her feet, crouched and ready, but Edward was already in place. Relief swelled in my heart when I saw that he stood straight and perfect.
Victoria kicked something aside with a flick of her bare food and my stomach lurched when I realized she was kicking Riley's head out of the way, his arm a few feet away began to drag itself mindlessly across the ground.
Though she had spared Riley no farewell glance, Victoria looked around her and seemed to realize she was on her own, her army was almost completely wiped out and the few that were left where too preoccupied to save their own lives. She began to back away from Edward, frenzied disappointment blazing her eyes. She threw me one short, agonized stare of longing and then she started to retreat faster.
"No," Edward crooned, his voice seductive. "Stay just a little longer."
She wheeled and flew toward the refuge of the forest like an arrow from a bow. But Edward was faster – a bullet from a gun. He caught her unprotected back at the edge of the trees and, with one last, simple step, the dance was over.
Edward's mouth brushed once across her neck, like a caress. Rosalie's tormenting screams of pain covered every other noise, so there was no discernible sound to make the image one of violence. He could have been kissing her.
And then the fiery tangle of hair was no longer connected to the rest of her body. The shivering orange waves fell to the ground, and bounced once before rolling toward the trees.
Edward picked it up and threw it into the raging fire that was now sending a pillar of chocking purple towards the sky. The thick smoke curled up slowly, looking more solid than it should; it smelled like burning incense, and the scent was uncomfortable. It was heavy, too strong.
My ears rang loudly, my head pounded and I felt my legs give in as all air left me. I fell on my knees and started heaving violently.
"Mommy!" Lizzie cried appearing by my side, Carmen kneeled next to me and rubbed my back soothingly.
"It's over Bella, you are safe." She said softly as she pulled my hair away from my face. "Shh… it's ok."
Rosalie kept screaming, it was deafening, how can someone be in such pain?
I looked her way and another round of nausea hit when I saw her deformed body.
Pieces were missing, her legs twisted in an unnatural way, she was missing an arm and her clothes were torn apart, exposing her multiple wounds.
Oh my god.
Emmett's face seemed to be as much in pain as hers, but physically he was perfect. He kneeled beside her, his eyes never leaving her face while he held her left hand and caressed her hair as Carlisle worked on her body. Edward was kneeling beside him too by Rose's head.
"We need to reattach her now, before the wounds heal themselves." Carlisle said as an anguished and crying Esme sat beside him caressing Rose's head.
"But she's been poisoned she's already in too much pain." Emmett sobbed "If we fix her now, we'll only be adding more venom into her system and it'll make it worse for her."
"We cannot wait Emmett, you know her, she'll scar if we wait for the venom to burn off." Edward reasoned, his face looked so distressed.
"ROYCE! NO!" Rosalie wailed and you could see the torment clear on Emmett's face.
"She's already hallucinating." Jasper said, appearing next to them.
"How long will it last?" Emmett cried and Jasper grimaced.
"How many vampires got to her?"
"Almost a dozen." Carlisle said in a hard voice, the doctor in him trying to stay as level headed as possible.
I got on my feet with Lizzie in my arms, I made her hide her face in the crook of my neck so she wouldn't see Rose's broken body and walked slowly in trembling legs towards them, but came to an abrupt stop when I got a clear view of Rose's face.
"Oh my god." I gasped.
A horrendous gash run across her once beautiful face, all the way from her forehead to her chin on the left side. It looked like a big bear had clawed at her face. There was no blood, but you could still see the bone and tendons. Her eyes were completely black, unfocused and staring at nothing. She seemed possessed.
At my approach, Edward's face snapped up and in an instant he was on his feet and holding us tight in his arms as I sobbed uncontrollably. I clung to him until I could breathe, and then I was kissing him – his chest, his shoulder, his neck – every part of him that I could reach. Slowly, my brain started to work again.
"Are you okay?" I demanded between kisses "Did she hurt you at all?"
"I am absolutely fine." He promised, burying his face in mine and Lizzie's hair. "I'm so sorry. It's over, it's over."
"I'm fine," I sobbed "I'm okay. I'm just…" His arms tightened around us. "Oh my god, Rose. Why did she do that?"
Why on earth would she sacrifice herself for me? She hated me.
"She did it for Elizabeth." He explained in awe. "She loves her."
"TANYA LET GO OF ME!" I whipped my head to my right and saw Tanya struggling to keep her sister down, Irina's furious eyes were glued to Seth who was with his brothers at the edge of the clearing, they were hovering over something.
Tanya's eyes locked on Edward's whose face was murderous now. He let go off us and stood in front of Elizabeth and I in a protective stance.
"Edward, please don't." Tanya begged, her eyes full of pain.
"We are so sorry Edward, please, we'll take care of her. She won't come close to you ever again." Kate added.
"KATE! BRING ME THAT MUTT!"
Edward couldn't speak, he was too outraged to say anything.
"She betrayed us all." Alice said with a glare "Look at Rose!" She pointed towards the broken vampire "That could easily have been any of you too!"
"I'm sure she didn't mean any of us to get hurt." Tanya cried, but I could see the complete sorrow and the incredulity in her eyes.
"She sold us out, including you to Victoria." Jasper hissed "If Edward hadn't changed his mind and stayed at the campsite, everyone up there would have been slaughtered."
"But that didn't happen!"
"Because she slipped!" Edward finally shouted enraged "She joined the army too soon that's why I saw her! When she called you last night you gave her our general location, she assumed we would be lower in the river that's the only reason why my daughter and Bella are alive!"
"Edward please don't." Tanya begged weakly but Edward was already in motion.
He lurched forward but Kate intercepted him, Edward let out a screeching scream in pain as Kate electrocuted him and brought him down.
"EDWARD!" I tried to run towards him but Jasper stopped me.
Garret, out of nowhere appeared next to them and grabbed Kate, pulling her away from Edward, she turned in her place and tried to free herself but Garret never let go of her, no matter how hard Kate attacked him with her currents.
"NOOOO!" That was Tanya.
We all turned to our left and saw as Emmett, who had taken advantage of everyone's distraction had slipped past us and was now pushing Tanya out of the way. Irina tried to make a run for it but Emmett was faster and way stronger. With ease, he grabbed her by her hair, put his right arm around her neck in a choking hold and ripped her head off. In a swift motion, he threw Irina's head towards the blazing fire.
Kate let out a wail as she let go of Garret and fell to her knees crying. Tanya did the same and Carmen and Eleazar were quick to come forward and comfort the sisters.
I struggled on Jasper's hold, especially since I was still carrying Lizzie with one arm and he finally let go of me. I ran towards Edward with my heart on my throat and knelt by his side.
"Oh my god! Are you Ok?!" I cried as he sat up and I let go of Lizzie so I could grab his face with both hands. I searched of any signs of pain but other than winded he seemed fine.
"You are so stupid! Why did you do that?!" I yelled at him.
"I owed it to Emmett. He needed the distraction." He whispered and I understood, my eyes widening.
"You mean you let her do that to you?!" I hissed and he smiled tightly.
I wanted to scream at him, but one look back at Emmett and I had to swallow up my profanities. Of course he would sacrifice himself so Emmett could avenge Rose. We were fine now, Rose and Emmett weren't.
Tears filled my eyes again and I let my head fall on his shoulder as I cried. Everything was too much, I didn't know how much longer I could take it.
"Daddy?" Lizzie spoke in whimpers.
"Yes, princes?" Edward kissed our daughter's head.
"Is Rosalie going to be ok?"
"She is in a lot of pain baby, we are going to do our best to help her but she'll be fine in a few days. Don't worry."
Lizzie was biting her lip, thinking, her forehead frowned with worry and uncertainty. She looked around her with apprehension.
"Can I help her?" She asked in a small voice and Edward's eyes softened, he looked around us before refocusing on our daughter.
"You don't have to do anything you are not comfortable with, baby. Grandpa Carlisle is going to fix her." He whispered, only for us to hear.
"But she's in pain… I can help her. She saved mommy." She whimpered "I want to help her."
Edward let out a sigh in relief.
"Thank you, princess." He gave her a hard kiss on her cheek.
Edward took Lizzie in his arms and walked us back toward Rosalie, he took his place again by Rose's head and kneeled with Lizzie next to him. I sat right behind them and out of the way as Rosalie kept screaming and rolling in pain. Carlisle smiled softly and Emmett stared at them curiously but as Lizzie's intent became clear, his face filled with gratitude and awe.
Lizzie hovered over Rose's face, she was obviously distressed by the sight in front of her but she put a brave face on and started to cry quietly.
All of us, including Tanya and Kate who were still crying and holding each other watched in awe at the miracle that was our daughter. Up until now, only Lizzie's immediate family knew about her true powers.
I guess it was time for her to shine.
As the fresh tears started to fall off her cheeks, Lizzie caught them in her fingers and valiantly spread them over Rose's face. Edward helped her in closing the wounds as Lizzie applied the cure carefully, her brow furrowed in concentration.
When they were done with her face, it was turn to reattach her arm. Carlisle held it in position as Edward applied Lizzie's tears and Lizzie took care of the bite marks around her chest and neck. Slowly but surely they worked their way down her body and even though you could tell the pain was quickly lessening the hallucinations weren't.
Ten minutes later and Rosalie wasn't rolling around in pain from her wounds anymore, the wounds were closing and now that her body was slowly healing and functioning Emmett, Edward, Carlisle, Eleazar and Jasper had to restrain her and held her against the ground so she wouldn't hurt anyone.
She was dangerous now.
"What do we do now?" Eleazar gritted his teeth as he held Rosalie's legs to the ground.
"GET AWAY FROM ME! ROYCE STOP! VERA!"
"It can be days, she took too much venom. We cannot take her back like this, it's too dangerous." Jasper said.
"IT BURNS! VERA MAKE IT STOP!"
"Rose, babe, it's me Emmett. I'm here, I love you." Emmett tried to sooth his wife but she couldn't see or hear him.
She cannot be like this for days, it's too much torture I thought as I held Lizzie. Now that Rose's strength was back, we stood several feet away in case she freed herself.
"Bella," I looked up to see Jacob and Seth approach cautiously in their human form, the rest of the pack stood at the edge of the woods, they still formed a circle around something and I think Jared and Embry were in the middle, lying on the ground.
"What happened?" I ask alarmed "Are they hurt?"
"They are fine, they'll be as good as new in a couple minutes. Collin got bit, though." I gasp and look again, now seeing Collin, a boy younger that Seth lying still, paralyzed between Jared and Embry.
"How's blondie doing?" Seth asked now, frowning.
"They are done reattaching her, her wounds are healing but… there's nothing we can do about her hallucinations."
"What are those about?" Jacob was confused "And who's Royce?"
I ignore his second question, not wanting to ventilate Rosalie's past and instead explain to him what Edward told with me once about vampire's venom.
"Vampire's venom works different on you. You guys get paralyzed but with them" I say nodding towards the vampires surrounding Rosalie "if you are a vampire and get bit by another vampire, it enhances you, it makes you stronger and deadlier, it also blinds you with lust but if more than two vampires venom make it into your system… well, it literally drives you mad, hence the hallucinations, it's also very painful. It's like being drugged and having a withdrawal at the same time. She's not herself right now."
Jacob and Seth shudder, no wonder remembering when each of them got bitten. Jacob by Riley, when he first came to Forks looking for the Cullens and I and Seth by Victoria, that time she attacked them in the woods.
"How many bloodsuckers got to her?" Jacob asks with a grimace.
"About a dozen, we are not sure."
"And now what? You just wait for it to pass?" He is incredulous.
His eyebrows pull together, and he is deep in thought. Then slowly, he gets closer to them and kneels next to Carlisle, not bothered at all by being surrounded by a handful of vampires.
"What about Lizzie's tears?" He suggests and Carlisle looks confused but Edward's eyes widen in excitement.
"We already closed her wounds with them." Carlisle explains but Edward speaks over him.
"You think they'd work?" He asks and Jacob shrugs.
"I don't know, maybe? I used them on Bella, worked like a charm." He says pulling out a dropper like the one he had given me years ago. "Won't hurt to try, right?"
"What are you two talking about?" Emmett says, his eyes pleading, anything to help his wife.
"Jacob is suggesting that Rosalie drinks Lizzie's tears. Bella used to drink them when she was in pain after her chemo, worked like a sedative for her. Maybe it can help her burn off the venom faster."
"What if it makes it worse?" Esme says worriedly.
"Lizzie is not poisonous, I don't see how." Edward insists.
"Screw it. It can't be any worse than this." Emmett grabs the dropper from Jacob's hand, opens the lid and pours its content on Rosalie's mouth.
We all hold our breath as we wait.
Several seconds pass but nothing changes.
I start to give up that anything will happen at all when suddenly, out of nowhere, Rosalie's eyes close and she goes completely still.
OMG! What happened to Rose?! Is she dead? Poor thing I bet she wishes she was!
Finally we got to the battle! Did you see the Irina thing coming? Did you forget about her? FINALLY VICTORIA IS GONE! And poor Bella I bet she's about to break down too. Should we worry about her?
Please let me know what you guys think! This was a hard chapter to write I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did writing it.