AN: Thank you all for reading!
Thank you to RFM86 for pre-reading and mauigirl60 for her awesome beta powers.
Disclaimer: Sondheim owns Into The Woods and it is amazing. Also...trust me.
Chapter 19 The Reckoning.
That damned moon! Bella stared it, huddled into her coat while the cold breeze hit her face. They all weren't going to be able to make it out of this alive.
The trees were still bare from the winter, and their branches looked like skeletal fingers. Bella was trying to keep it together and stay clear-headed, but her nerves were frayed. The rest of their ragtag band of warriors didn't look any more confident.
Edward turned her face toward his and rested his forehead against hers. "We'll come out of this together. You're my love, forever and always."
"If I die..." Bella tried to smile. "You get my fish. He eats only once a day, just a pinch."
"That's not funny!"
"I know," she whispered into his mouth. "Remember me. Please!"
Edward wrapped his arms around her. "I'll follow you into the abyss."
"Don't you dare!" She kissed him. Pulling away slowly, she added, "Honor me by thriving for the both of us!"
Before Edward could disagree with her, Harry called out, "Bella, we need you!"
Edward grabbed her hand. "We'll finish this conversation later."
"I really hope we will," Bella said with sad eyes.
Bella walked over, her boots crunching on the frost-touched grass. Harry was a mess. "I can feel it, Aro! Leah is in there!"
Aro squeezed his old friend's shoulder. "Then, we get her out of there and back home where she belongs."
"We don't have Charlie! Some of the more powerful spells need the three of us!" Harry was feeling nervous. He looked at the young men from the tribe who were here to help and he knew he wouldn't be able to keep them all safe. That knowledge weighed heavily upon his shoulders.
"We have a Swan!" he said, holding his hand out to Bella.
She looked at him with worry, taking it. "I don't know how to do the spells."
"We just need to have your body be a conduit. It knows what to do." Aro looked at the group. "Everyone have their weapons? Rosalie and Garrett, shoot the wolves right between the eyes!"
Rosalie nodded solemnly. The one activity her father had participated in with her was teaching her to use firearms. She was a perfect shooter from a young age. "My silver bullets are ready to go!"
Bella fingered the hilt of the sword she carried. It was warm and pulsed in her fingers.
"Jane..." Aro looked at his 'granddaughter'. The young girl was snuggled into Victoria's arms for warmth and comfort. "We can send Brady to take you home."
"No." Her big eyes were steadfast. "You need my fire."
Victoria kissed the top of Jane's head. "I'll protect the little pipsqueak. Laurent will have my head if I don't."
She held up the jewel-encrusted dagger. Victoria was drawn to it like Bella had been with the sword. She was meant to possess it.
"Edward and Kate, I need you both to keep your wits about you. Ben will try to bewitch you to his cause," Harry said to the two vampires. "Let's get you kids to be human again."
Aro clapped his hands two times. "Just like if Sondheim sang it himself, 'Into the Woods. It's time to go. We must begin the journey'."
There were cars surrounding the cabin.
"It looks like somebody's having a kegger," Jared pointed out quietly.
Victoria quipped, "Yes, indeed, the beer pong tournament is after the virgin sacrifice."
"Vic!" Bella exclaimed softly. "Not the time for jokes!"
"I'd rather be making myself laugh when I go down. Show no fear and all that jazz."
Edward looked closely at the vehicles. Some of them were sports cars driven by his possessed friends. Others were older vehicles, a few of which had handicapped license plates. That's when he noticed the police cruiser, and he whispered, "The police?"
Bella looked at him and was worried. "They invited Pastor Weber's congregation to the festivities."
"Fuck!" Edward hissed.
"Try not to kill the poor people inside!" Aro instructed. "Keep your wits about you, children!"
All of a sudden, moaning sounds were heard. With a gaping jaw that dripped green ooze, its eyes were completely black. The creature dragged itself toward the group, followed closely by its friends.
"Goddamned zombies!" Rosalie cried. "Not fucking again!"
Victoria chucked her knife at the lead zombie and the blade pierced its skull. She grabbed a sharp stick from the ground. "No guns! We can't let them know we're here!"
Bella followed Victoria's lead and used sticks and knives to pierce their zombie brains.
It took little time to take down the rotted corpses. As Victoria ripped her dagger from out of the zombie, one grabbed her leg. "Oh, come on!" she cried.
She repeatedly stabbed it in the head and groaned, "Now I have gore on my shoes!"
"Nothing's going to be easy. Remember this," Harry said quietly. The group followed him into the house.
The smell inside was vile.
Edward looked at Kate. "Dinner?"
"They've been getting human takeout," she agreed.
Kate took Garrett's hand. She was going to make sure no one touched his beautiful head.
The room was empty, but sounds were coming from behind a closed door. There was chanting and moaning. The boys of the tribe started shifting into ferocious beasts, the exceptions being the couple of hawks. Bella hoped they'd be able to peck out a villain's eyes.
A leopard growled softly.
They opened the door quietly and headed down the stairs to a disturbing sight. Jane gasped as she saw both Angela and Alice strapped down to long tables. A beaten and bloody Jasper was chained to a wall. Surrounding them was a rogues gallery of monsters. Werewolves howled. Vampires sipped the blood of the bodies of the good people who worshipped with the Webers. The ones who weren't being noshed on were lined up against a wall like a buffet. Angela's father was ripped to pieces on the concrete floor.
It was a horror show.
Leah noticed the group and made a motion toward her father.
Ben stood in front of them all, a large urn decorated with scenes of depraved acts raised above his head.
"In this vessel is our Master, brothers and sisters!" Ben was maniacally gleeful. It was his shining hour. "The blood of the virgin shall awaken him in the womb of my darling Angela. Praise Caius!"
The room cheered. It was horrifying.
All of sudden, Bella Swan was filled with a familiar warmth. She remembered the times she'd snuggled into her father's lap aa he told her tales of knights protecting castles, princes pledging undying eternal love and dragons being slain. It had been those moments that his love had flowed over her and made her feel truly complete. Bella was certain her father was now with her and she was no longer afraid.
"Always over-dramatic, Benjamin!" Bella gave him a cocky grin. "Do you ever get tired of being a drama queen?"
Rosalie chuckled behind her.
He looked at Bella, eyes blazing. "You fucking bitch! You can't stop this!"
"Demons, Ben? Really? Are you really so impotent that you couldn't get a kid the old-fashioned way?" Bella taunted. Ben liked to be in control - obsessively so. He was dangerous that way. She needed him unhinged.
"I will kill you, Swan!" Ben's face turned crimson. "Kate...Edward...you two are like us! You know where you belong!"
Kate fingered the talisman Harry had made her. "We fight with Bella!
"Bella is non-negotiable, Bennie!" Emmett held up his hand toward Ben. He hissed, "She's mine! You don't worry, little buddy! I'll suck the snark right out of her! You'll love it, baby girl!"
"Aww, shut up, Edward! I'll let you watch me eat and then fuck her. Then she can watch me kill you. All-around win!"
Emmett tapped his chin. "Never mind. I'll kill you first, brother! I hate your face!"
Bella just grinned at Emmett. "I'll enjoy cutting off your head!"
Emmett growled. "You're going to feel unimaginable pain!"
Bella inched closer to the evil before her. "Shaking in my boots, Em! How about you crawl back up into Ben's ass? Or, is Ben up your ass? I always got confused about the two of you."
An alarm clock upstairs started beeping. Ben cried, "I have no time for this! The moon is calling for our Master's entrance into this world! Open up, sweet wife!"
The wolves howled.
He lifted the urn and Bella knew she had no time to run and stop him. The rest of Ben's motley crew inched toward the heroes.
Rosalie raised her gun. With a bang, a bullet coursed through the air and pierced the ceramic container. A black mist in the shape of a beast rose into the air, shrieking. It was almost deafening.
Aro yelled, "Harry! Now!"
The men started chanting words that would send Caius back to the underworld. Bella felt their words in her bones and let the power flow through her.
Ben screamed, "Stop them!"
That's when all hell broke loose.
Poor Brady took the first hit. A wolf jumped up and chomped that poor hawk in half. Jared growled and pounced on the murderer and attempted to rip him apart.
More zombies filled the room. They were the deceased homeless and the unfortunate congregation who'd been dinner earlier. The boys of the tribe in their various animal forms attacked them.
Kate was pushing the zombies away from Garrett who blasted them in their rotting heads with his revolver.
Bella and Edward just kept moving forward to get to Alice and Angela.
"Hey, munchkin?" Victoria took Jane's hand. "I need you to get some Fire Starter action going."
That's when she saw the elderly owner of Forks Antiques Barn rushing toward Jasper to eat him right up. She grabbed Jane around the waist and ran toward the poor man. They were too far away. Vic wanted to cry. She had to save him for Alice.
To Victoria's amazement, she saw the handsome man, who'd helped abduct Angela, plunge a large axe into the elderly woman's head. Jasper fainted. Victoria held Jane under one arm and her dagger out toward the man. "Why did you do that?"
Jamie gave a sad smile. "Just making things right. I think we should stand the little girl next to Mr. Whitlock. We can have more luck protecting them together."
Victoria trusted him. Instantly. Sometimes you just had to take that leap. Love at first sight was true.
For the first time ever, Tanya Denali had to make a choice. She had been in love with Felix, but the boys she'd known since childhood had ripped him from her life violently. She'd always been manipulated by the group. The youthful need to be popular had fueled her to help them ruin Edward's life, by fabricating a relationship between them. What they did to Felix and her fear of going against the young men led her to be complacent with their savagery. Her drug-addled nightmares were fueled with dreams of Alec's knife plunging into Felix's gut and the group eating his innards in front of her terrified eyes. Those images came rushing back to her mind.
That made her decision clear. As Alec went to grab Edward, the boy whose life she tried to destroy, Tanya tripped him and Alec skidded to the floor. Edward gave her a small smile and kept following Bella.
Alec stumbled up and grabbed Tanya by the neck. "You're more trouble than you're worth!"
She whispered, "I'm coming, Felix."
Her head was ripped clean off her body and thrown across the room, where it rolled in front of Jane's feet.
The girl instantly turned into a bright orange ball. Alec went up in flames. His scream joined the others.
Rosalie tried to quickly get over to Leah. She needed to keep the woman, who risked her life for hers, safe. She grabbed a knife from her waistband and tossed it over the large, mangy wolf that stood in front of her friend. Howling, he stared behind Rosalie, his head moving in a tiny motion. Leah plunged the knife into the wolf's back and screamed, "Rose, my father!"
A brown wolf was about to chomp down on Harry Clearwater. Rosalie took a shot and hit the wolf right between the eyes.
Rose turned quickly to see the injured wolf next turn toward her friend. She realized at that moment it was the insane Sam. He let out a horrible howl and clamped his massive jaws into Leah's neck.
Rose ran toward Leah, as Garrett shot at Sam. He hit the beast in his skull.
Kate was grappling with Riley and she called to Garrett, "Help Rosalie!"
She ripped off Riley's head and Jane made it burst into a bonfire.
Garrett headed over to Rosalie and helped her move Sam's dead body off Leah, but it was too late. Her lifeless chocolate eyes looked out into nothing. Rosalie wept.
Garrett looked over at Harry. Tears fell from the old man's eyes as he kept on chanting to rid the world of the demon threatening them all.
Edward and Bella were fending off zombies, as they desperately tried to get to Ben. The evil pastor was trying to recite any spell he could think off to ward off the old men's magic. All of a sudden, Ben smiled. It didn't take Bella very much to figure out what was happening, because Emmett grabbed her around the waist. Bella's sword fell to the floor with a crash.
"Look what I have here! We're going to have so much fun, Miss Bella! Well...I will!" Emmett grinned. "Edward, you die tonight! I'll give Mommy and Daddy your love before I fry up their eyeballs with a nice cream sauce. You'll love it, Bells. I'm quite the chef."
Edward inched toward Bella and Emmett. "If you're holding Bella, how are you going to kill me? You want to fight? Let's do this the big boy way, you coward!"
Emmett glared. "I'll kill her!"
"Destroy your obsession in one quick snap? What will you do, then? She'll be gone and all your sick dreams will be unfulfilled!" Edward braced himself.
Emmett flung Bella to the floor. He grabbed Edward by the neck and hissed, "See you in hell, brother!"
Bella stood up, took her sword and swung it at Emmett's skull. She split him in two. Blood splattered all over her. She didn't have time to register her shock. She yelled over to Jane, "Burn him, kiddo!"
She grabbed Edward's arm and pulled him away from Emmett's burning flesh. Edward grabbed her face. "You saved me!"
A terrible scream rent the air. Ben was watching in horror as the spell was making the mist demon start disappearing.
"Fuck this!" Ben screamed. He held his knife over Alice. "This little bitch is still going to die!"
Bella pulled away from Edward and ran toward Ben, but it was as if she was running in slow motion. Every time her foot hit the ground, his knife inched closer. She watched as he plunged the knife into her heart. Letting out a scream, Bella swung her sword. All she could do was hope she wasn't too late.
"Die, Ben!" He turned to her with a malicious smile and took the bloody knife out of Alice. Ben attempted to jab Bella with it, but her sword struck his middle and, with a force she didn't know she possessed, cut the monster in two.
Caius let out a shriek and its black arms grabbed the two pieces of Ben. It hissed, "My payment!"
The ground shook and a section of the floor opened up. The demon pulled the body into the hole which then closed up around them.
Bella went over to her bruised and battered friend. They were like sisters. Alice whispered, "I love you", as the blood was pooling at the side of her mouth. "Take care of them all. Please!"
"No! Ali!" Bella felt her tears drip off her face and onto Alice's. "You can't leave me!"
Alice eyes started to close.
Bella felt the love for Alice, her sister. Her body flushed with warmth and she knew she had to try.
Bella Swan pressed her lips to Alice's in a chaste kiss and prayed, as the stars joined the moon to harken a new beginning.