I do not own Twilight.
This story is dedicated to Echo.
Bella never expected two Cullens to turn up at her house months after they left.
She also never expected to be on a plane on the way to Italy to save Edward with them but there you go.
Bella looked at the two vampires that had come with her.
Alice and Hanra.
At least she loved and knew Alice; she never really knew what to saw to Hanra.
The girl looked like a normal overly beautiful pre-teen but had lived Bella's life a thousand times over.
Ironically the youngest looking Cullen was the oldest in reality.
"You'll be fine." Alice tired to tell the twelve to fourteen year old, she didn't actually know what age she was when she was changed…
Hanra waved her of sitting back and groaning lightly to herself.
The plane finally touched down in Italy.
"How long does it take to get to Volterra from Florence?" Bella asked.
"Depends on how fast you drive." Hanra said putting up the hood of her white zip-up hoodie and placing on her raybans.
"How strongly opposed are you to grand theft auto?" Alice asked.
She didn't wait for an answer just left leaving Hanra in the care of Bella.
A bright yellow Porsche screamed to a stop a few feet in front of where Bella paced and Hanra lean against the wall in the shadows. The word TURBO scrawled in silver cursive across its back. Everyone beside the two on the crowded airport sidewalk stared.
"Hurry you two!" Alice shouted at the two.
The interior was made of black leather and the windows were tinted dark. It felt safer inside, like night time.
"There's a festival on today." Hanra said. "St. Marcus' Day."
She zoned out as Alice explained to Bella what the day meant.
"You'll be fine." Alice said suddenly to the girl in the backseat.
"How can this possibly turn out okay for me Alice? Seriously, I'm praying he forgot who I am." Hanra replied.
The car zoomed up the road passing every other vehicle on the road.
"There." Alice said suddenly.
They stared at it, feeling the very first hint of a new kind of fear. Every minute since yesterday morning it seemed like a week ago when Alice had spoken his name at the foot of the stairs, there had been only one fear. And yet, now, as they stared at the ancient sienna walls and towers crowning the peak of the steep hill, they felt another, more selfish kind of dread thrill through me.
The city was very beautiful. It absolutely terrified the people in the car...
"Volterra," Alice announced in a flat, icy voice.
They began the steep climb up the hill time running out for them.
"It's the only way in." Alice said trying to soothe Bella's nervousness.
The cars crept one by one up to the city.
"Bella. Hanra." Alice spoke quickly in a fierce, low voice. "I can't see what the guard here will decide now if this doesn't work, you're going to have to go in alone. You're going to have to run. Just keep asking for the Palazzo dei Priori, and running in the direction they tell you. Don't get lost."
"Palazzo dei Priori, Palazzo dei Priori," Bella repeated the name over and over again, trying to get it down.
"Hanra she's in your care now. Get her to Edward." She warned the younger looking girl who zipped up her jumper as far as it would go and tightened her hood around her face.
"Edward will be under the clock tower, to the north of the square. There's a narrow alleyway on the right, and he'll be in the shadow there. You have to get his attention before he can move into the sun. Hanra, the reason you're here is to slow him down as much as possible, block him out and get Bella to the clock tower."
The girl nodded again determination written on her face.
Alice was near the front of the line. A man in a navy blue uniform was directing the flow of traffic, turning the cars away from the full lot. They U-turned and headed back to find a place beside the road. Then it was Alice's turn.
The uniformed man motioned lazily, not paying attention. Alice accelerated, edging around him and heading for the gate. He shouted something at the group, but held his ground, waving frantically to keep the next car from following our bad example.
The man at the gate wore a matching uniform. As they approached him, the throngs of tourists passed, crowding the sidewalks, staring curiously at the pushy, flashy Porsche.
The guard stepped into the middle of the street. Alice angled the car carefully before she came to a full stop. The sun beat against Bella's window, and the vampires were in shadow. Alice swiftly reached behind the seat and grabbed something from her bag.
The guard came around the car with an irritated expression, and tapped on her window angrily.
She rolled the window down halfway, and Bella watched him do a double take when he saw the face behind the dark glass.
"I'm sorry, only tour buses allowed in the city today, miss," he said in English, with a heavy accent. He was apologetic, now, as if he wished he had better news for the strikingly beautiful woman.
"It's a private tour," Alice said, flashing an alluring smile. She reached her hand out of the window, into the sunlight. I froze, until I realized she was wearing an elbow-length, tan glove. She took his hand, still raised from tapping her window, and pulled it into the car. She put something into his palm, and folded his fingers around it.
His face was dazed as he retrieved his hand and stared at the thick roll of money he now held. The outside bill was a thousand dollar bill.
"Is this a joke?" he mumbled.
Alice's smile was blinding. "Only if you think it's funny."
He let them through and Alice sped up the streets.
"There at the Southern End of the Square. Run straight across to the right of the clock tower. We'll find a way around."
Bella did as told.
"It's too tight for my liking." Hanra said.
Alice nodded before setting the car in motion. "I'll get you as close as possible; you'll have to do the rest." She told the girl.
True to her word Alice got her as close as possible before Hanra was out of the car and running.
She got there nodding to Edward as soon as he said.
"Shit." Bella swore she could hear Hanra curse.
I don't think I'll be requiring your services today. I would appreciate it very much, however, if you would send my thanks to your masters." Edward said.
"Shall we take this conversation to a more appropriate venue?" a smooth voice whispered menacingly.
"I don't believe that will be necessary." Edward's voice was harder now. "I know your instructions, Felix. I haven't broken any rules."
"Felix merely meant to point out the proximity of the sun," the other shadow said in a soothing tone. They were both concealed within smoky gray cloaks that reached to the ground and undulated in the wind. "Let us seek better cover."
"I'll be right behind you," Edward said dryly. "Bella, why don't you go back to the square and enjoy the festival? Hanra will stay with you."
"No bring the girl." The first shadow said. "And you're little friend."
"I don't think so." Edward looked like he was waiting for an attack and Hanra braced herself for a fight.
"Felix," the second, more reasonable shadow cautioned. "Not here." He turned to Edward. "Aro would simply like to speak with you again, if you have decided not to force our hand after all."
"Certainly," Edward agreed. '"But the girl goes free."
"I'm afraid that's not possible," the polite shadow said regretfully. "We do have rules to obey."
"Then I'm afraid that I'll be unable to accept Aro's invitation, Demetri."
"That's just fine," Felix purred. Bella's eyes were adjusting to the deep shade, and could see that Felix was very big, tall and thick through the shoulders. His size reminded her of Emmett.
"Aro will be disappointed," Demetri sighed.
"I'm sure he'll survive the let down," Edward replied.
"I really don't think she needs to come along." Hanra said eyes on the shadow that was Demetri.
Felix and Demetri stole closer toward the mouth of the alley, spreading out slightly so they could come at Edward from two sides. They meant to force him deeper into the alley, to avoid a scene. No reflected light found access to their skin; they were safe inside their cloaks.
Edward didn't move an inch. He was dooming himself by protecting Bella.
And so was Hanra, her body was coiled and ready to leap
Abruptly, Edward's head whipped around, toward the darkness of the winding alley, and Demetri and Felix did the same, in response to some sound or movement too subtle for my senses.
"Let's behave ourselves, shall we?" a lilting voice suggested. "There are ladies present."
Alice tripped lightly to Edward's side, her stance casual. There was no hint of any underlying tension. She looked so tiny, so fragile. Her little arms swung like a child's.
Yet Demetri and Felix both straightened up, their cloaks swirling slightly as a gust of wind funnelled through the alley. Felix's face soured. Apparently, they didn't like uneven numbers.
"We're not alone," she reminded them.
"And you're outnumbered." Hanra said cracking her knuckles.
Never in Bella's life had she met a girl so itching for a fight, especially a girl who had been silent on the plane over.
Demetri glanced over his shoulder. A few yards into the square, the little family, with the girls in their red dresses, was watching them. The mother was speaking urgently to her husband, her eyes on the six of them. She looked away when Demetri met her gaze. The man walked a few steps farther into the plaza, and tapped one of the red-blazered men on the shoulder.
Demetri shook his head. "Please, Edward, let's be reasonable," he said.
"Let's," Edward agreed. "And we'll leave quietly now, with no one the wiser."
Demetri sighed in frustration. "At least let us discuss this more privately."
Six men in red now joined the family as they watched them with anxious expressions. Bella was very conscious of Edward's protective stance in front of her sure that this was what caused their alarm. She wanted to scream to them to run.
Edward's teeth came together audibly. "No."
The voice was high, reedy, and came from behind them.
Bella peeked under Edward's other arm to see a small, dark shape coming toward us. By the way the edges billowed; Bella knew it would be another one of them. Who else?
At first she thought it was a young boy. The newcomer was as tiny as Alice, with lank, pale brown hair trimmed short.
The body under the cloak which was darker, almost black was slim and androgynous. But the face was too pretty for a boy. The wide-eyed, full-lipped face would make a Botticelli angel look like a gargoyle. Even allowing for the dull crimson irises.
Felix and Demetri relaxed instantly but Hanra looked even more ready to fight with this newcomer.
"Jane," he sighed in recognition and resignation. "Hanra don't" He warned the child who still had her hood up and raybans on.
"Dammit." She hissed under her breath.
Alice folded her arms across her chest, her expression impassive.
"Follow me," Jane spoke again, her childish voice a monotone. She turned her back on them and drifted silently into the dark.
Felix gestured for them to go first, smirking.
Alice walked after the little Jane at once. Edward wrapped his arm around Bella's waist and pulled her along beside Alice. Hanra stayed at the back on the head down fists clenched. The alley angled slightly downward as it narrowed. Bella looked up at Edward with frantic questions in her eyes, but he just shook his head. Though she couldn't hear the others behind them, she was sure they were there.
"Well, Alice," Edward said conversationally as they walked. "I suppose I shouldn't be surprised to see you here."
"It was my mistake," Alice answered in the same tone. "It was my job to set it right."
"And Hanra why are you here? You of all people in our family have the most reason to stay away from Volterra." He said over his shoulder.
"Fuck off." She told him darkly.
"What happened?" His voice was polite, as if he were barely interested. Bella imagined this was due to the listening ears behind them.
"In summary she did jump off a cliff but it wasn't to kill herself."
"In other words she did what I do when I get bored…something stupid." Hanra told him.
Bella's cheeks flushed.
"Hm." Edward frowned.
There was a loose curve to the alley, still slanting downward, so I didn't see the squared-off dead end coming until we reached the flat, windowless, brick face. The little one called Jane was nowhere to be seen.
Alice didn't hesitate, didn't break pace as she strode toward the wall. Then, with easy grace, she slid down an open hole in the street.
It looked like a drain, sunk into the lowest point of the paving. Bella hadn't noticed it until Alice disappeared, but the grate was halfway pushed aside. The hole was small, and black.
"It's all right, Bella," Edward said in a low voice. "Alice will catch you."
She eyed the hole doubtfully. She imagined Edward would have gone first, if Demetri and Felix hadn't been waiting, smug and silent, behind us.
I crouched down, swinging my legs into the narrow gap.
"Alice?" She whispered, voice trembling.
"I'm right here Bella." She promised through the darkness.
Edward dropped her into the darkness.
And followed after her.
Hanra jumped then in an elegant motion.
Landing below she sighed stretched lightly.
Bella's teeth were chattering and her clothes were still wet from running through the fountain, the temperature under the city was wintry and Edward's skin was as cold as ever.
She then felt herself getting warmer and knew who it was.
"Thanks Hanra." She whispered.
The girl didn't reply.
At the end of the tunnel was a gate with thick iron bars. A smaller door inter laced with bars was standing open.
Edward ducked through and hurried on to a larger brighter stone room.
The door slammed shut with a bang followed by the snap of a lock.
On the other side of the room was a wooden door.
It too stood open.
They stepped through the door, Bella relaxed automatically.
Edward tensed his jaw.
Alice sighed and Hanra cracked her knuckles again.
They were in a brightly lit hallway.
Edward pulled Bella along and Alice walked beside them.
Their other sibling walked behind.
The heavy door bolted shut behind them.
Once inside the elevator, the three vampires that belonged to the Volturi relaxed further. They threw back their cloaks, letting the hoods fall back on their shoulders. Felix and Demetri were both of a slightly olive complexion. It looked odd combined with their chalky pallor. Bella had seen this olive complexion before on Hanra.
Felix's black hair was cropped short, but Demetri's waved to his shoulders.
Their irises were deep crimson around the edges, darkening until they were black around the pupil.
Demetri's cheekbones and the shape of his eyes and the wave of his hair was very familiar to Bella.
Under the shrouds, their clothes were modern, pale, and nondescript.
Bella cowered in the corner, cringing against Edward. His hand still rubbed against her arm. He never took his eyes off Jane.
He wasn't alone, Hanra had her eyes on Jane as well but every once in a while they darted to Demetri and back again.
The elevator ride was short; they stepped out into what looked like a posh office reception area.
The walls were panelled in wood, the floors carpeted in thick, deep green.
There were no windows, but large, brightly lit paintings of the Tuscan countryside hung everywhere as replacements.
Pale leather couches were arranged in cosy groupings, and the glossy tables held crystal vases full of vibrantly coloured bouquets.
The flowers' smell reminded me of a funeral home.
In the middle of the room was a high, polished mahogany counter. Bella gawked in astonishment at the woman behind it.
She was tall, with dark skin and green eyes. She would have been very pretty in any other company but not here. Because she was every bit as human as Bella was. She couldn't comprehend what this human woman was doing here, totally at ease, surrounded by vampires.
She smiled politely in welcome. "Good afternoon, Jane," she said. There was no surprise in her face as she glanced at Jane's company. Not Edward, his bare chest glinting dimly in the white lights, Bella, dishevelled and comparatively hideous or Hanra's wrapped up state
Jane nodded. "Gianna." She continued toward a set of double doors in the back of the room, and they followed.
On the other side of the wooden doors was a different kind of reception. The pale boy in the pearl gray suit could have been Jane's twin. His hair was darker, and his lips were not as full, but he was just as lovely. He came forward to meet us. He smiled, reaching for her. "Jane."
"Alec," she responded, embracing the boy. They kissed each other's cheeks on both sides. Then he looked at us.
"They send you out for one and you come back with three and a half," he noted, looking at Bella. "Nice work."
She laughed the sound sparkled with delight like a baby's cooing.
"Welcome back, Edward," Alec greeted him. "You seem in a better mood."
"Marginally," Edward agreed in a flat voice. Bella glanced at Edward's hard face, and wondered how his mood could have been darker before.
Alec chuckled, and examined me as Bella clung to Edward's side. "And this is the cause of all the trouble?" He asked, sceptical.
Edward only smiled. "Hanra, don't even think about it." He warned suddenly.
"Fuck." She cursed.
Then he froze.
"Dibs," Felix called casually from behind.
Edward turned, a low snarl building deep in his chest. Felix smiled his hand was raised, palm up; he curled his fingers twice, inviting Edward forward.
Hanra smirked eyes on the twins.
Alice touched Edward's arm. "Patience," she cautioned him. "Hanra."
They exchanged a long glance, and Bella wished she could hear what she was telling him.
She figured that it was something to do with not attacking Felix, because Edward took a deep breath and turned back to Alec.
Hanra sighed too.
"Aro will be so pleased to see you again," Alec said, as if nothing had passed.
"Let's not keep him waiting," Jane suggested.
Edward nodded once.
Alec and Jane, holding hands, led the way down yet another wide, ornate hall would there ever be an end?
They ignored the doors at the end of the hall doors entirely sheathed in gold stopping halfway down the hall and sliding aside a piece of the panelling to expose a plain wooden door. It wasn't locked. Alec held it open for Jane.
Bella wanted to groan when Edward pulled her through to the other side of the door. It was the same ancient stone as the square, the alley, and the sewers. And it was dark and cold again.
The temperature suddenly warmed up.
The stone antechamber was not large. It opened quickly into a brighter, cavernous room, perfectly round like a huge castle turret which was probably exactly what it was.
Two stories up, long window slits threw thin rectangles of bright sunlight onto the stone floor below. There were no artificial lights. The only furniture in the room were several massive wooden chairs, like thrones, that were spaced unevenly, flush with the curving stone walls. In the very centre of the circle, in a slight depression, was another drain. Bella wondered if they used it as an exit, like the hole in the street.
The room was not empty. A handful of people were convened in seemingly relaxed conversation. The murmur of low, smooth voices was a gentle hum in the air. As Bella watched, a pair of pale women in summer dresses paused in a patch of light, and, like prisms, their skin threw the light in rainbow sparkles against the sienna walls.
The exquisite faces all turned toward the party as they entered the room. Most of the immortals were dressed in inconspicuous pants and shirts things that wouldn't stick out at all on the streets below. But the man who spoke first wore one of the long robes. It was pitch-black, and brushed against the floor. For a moment, I thought his long, jet-black hair was the hood of his cloak.
"Jane, dear one, you've returned!" he cried in evident delight. His voice was just a soft sighing.
He drifted forward, and the movement flowed with such surreal grace that Bella gawked, her mouth hanging open. Even Alice, whose every motion looked like dancing, could not compare.
She was only more astonished as he floated closer and Bella could see his face.
It was not like the unnaturally attractive faces that surrounded him (for he did not approach us alone; the entire group converged around him, some following, and some walking ahead of him with the alert manner of bodyguards).
She couldn't decide if his face was beautiful or not.
She supposed the features were perfect.
But he was as different from the vampires beside him as they were from her.
His skin was translucently white, like onionskin, and it looked just as delicate it stood in shocking contrast to the long black hair that framed his face.
Bella felt a strange, horrifying urge to touch his cheek, to see if it was softer than Edward's or Alice's, or if it was powdery, like chalk.
His eyes were red, the same as the others around him, but the colour was clouded, milky; Bella wondered if his vision was affected by the haze.
He glided to Jane, took her face in his papery hands, kissed her lightly on her full lips, and then floated back a step.
"Yes, Master." Jane smiled; the expression made her look like an angelic child. "I brought him back alive, just as you wished."
"Ah, Jane." He smiled, too. "You are such a comfort to me."
He turned his misty eyes toward them, and the smile brightened became ecstatic.
"And Alice and Bella, too!" he rejoiced, clapping his thin hands together. "This is a happy surprise! Wonderful!"
"Ouch." Hanra muttered behind them, causing Edward to lightly chuckle.
Bella stared in shock as he called their names informally, as if they were old friends dropping in for an unexpected visit.
He turned to our hulking escort. "Felix, be a dear and tell my brothers about our company. I'm sure they wouldn't want to miss this."
"Yes, Master." Felix nodded and disappeared back the way they had come.
"You see, Edward?" The strange vampire turned and smiled at Edward like a fond but scolding grandfather. "What did I tell you? Aren't you glad that I didn't give you what you wanted yesterday?"
"Yes, Aro, I am," he agreed, tightening his arm around Bella's waist.
"I love a happy ending." Aro sighed. "They are so rare. But I want the whole story. How did this happen? Alice?" He turned to gaze at Alice with curious, misty eyes. "Your brother seemed to think you infallible, but apparently there was some mistake."
"Oh, I'm far from infallible." She flashed a dazzling smile. She looked perfectly at ease, except that her hands were balled into tight little fists. "As you can see today, I cause problems as often as I cure them."
"You're too modest," Aro chided. "I've seen some of your more amazing exploits, and I must admit I've never observed anything like your talent. Wonderful!"
Alice flickered a glance at Edward.
Aro did not miss it.
"I'm sorry, we haven't been introduced properly at all, have we? It's just that I feel like I know you already, and I tend get ahead of myself. Your brother introduced us yesterday, in a peculiar way. You see, I share some of your brother's talent, only I am limited in a way that he is not." Aro shook his head; his tone was envious.
"And also exponentially more powerful," Edward added dryly. He looked at Alice as he swiftly explained. "Aro needs physical contact to hear your thoughts, but he hears much more than I do. You know I can only hear what's passing through your head in the moment. Aro hears every thought your mind has ever had."
Alice raised her delicate eyebrows, and Edward inclined his head.
Hanra's hand moved to her sunglasses.
Aro didn't miss that either.
"But to be able to here from a distance…that would be so convenient." He sighed.
Aro looked over our shoulders. All the other heads turned in the same direction, including Jane, Alec, and Demetri, who stood silently beside them.
Bella was the slowest to turn.
Felix was back, and behind him floated two more black-robed men. Both looked very much like Aro, one even had the same flowing black hair.
The other had a shock of snow-white hair the same shade as his face that brushed against his shoulders.
Their faces had identical, paper-thin skin.
The trio from Carlisle's painting was complete, unchanged by the last three hundred years since it was painted.
"Marcus, Caius, look!" Aro crooned. "Bella is alive after all, and Alice is here with her! Isn't that wonderful? And they brought another member of the Cullen clan!"
Neither looked like they thought it was wonderful.
Their lack of interest did not curb Aro's enjoyment.
"Let us have the story," Aro almost sang in his feathery voice.
The white-haired ancient vampire drifted away, gliding toward one of the wooden thrones. The other paused beside Aro, and he reached his hand out, at first they thought to take Aro's hand. But he just touched Aro's palm briefly and then dropped his hand to his side.
Aro raised one black brow.
Bella wondered how his papery skin did not crumple in the effort.
Edward snorted very quietly, and Alice looked at him, curious.
"Thank you, Marcus," Aro said. "That's quite interesting."
Bella realized, a second late, that Marcus was letting Aro know his thoughts.
Marcus didn't look interested. He glided away from Aro to join the one who must be Caius, seated against the wall.
Two of the attending vampires followed silently behind him bodyguards.
Bella could see that the two women in the sundresses had gone to stand beside Caius in the same manner.
The idea of any vampire needing a guard was faintly ridiculous to me, but maybe the ancient ones were as frail as their skin suggested.
Aro was shaking his head. "Amazing,"' he said. "Absolutely amazing."
Alice's expression was frustrated. Edward turned to her and explained again in a swift, low voice. "Marcus sees relationships. He's surprised by the intensity of ours. And he's surprised about…." He indicated his head toward Hanra.
"Dammit." The younger girl said.
Aro smiled. "So convenient," he repeated to himself. Then he spoke to us. "It takes quite a bit to surprise Marcus, I can assure you."
They looked at Marcus's dead face, and believed it.
"It's just so difficult to understand, even now," Aro mused, staring at Edward's arm wrapped around me. It was hard for me to follow Aro's chaotic train of thought.
Bella struggled to keep up.
Hanra wasn't far behind, she obviously looked nervous from under her hood shifting her weight from foot to foot.
"How can you stand so close to her like that?"
"It's not without effort," Edward answered calmly.
"Butstill la tua cantante! What a waste!"
Edward chuckled once without humour. "I look at it more as a price."
"I would like to know." The blond beside Aro asked pointing to Hanra. "Who you are. And what Marcus finds so amazing." He snapped the order.
"Yes…I'm curious too." Aro said turning away from Bella and Edward.
"You're bond with one of our guard members is so strong and yet no old it's almost disappeared. Who are you?" Aro asked.
"My name is Hanra Cullen. I was born in Greece, but I was changed in Alexandria Egypt." She put down her hood, taking off her hoodie and took off her glasses and that's when Bella saw it.
The cheekbones, the shape of her golden eyes, the wave of her hair.
It mirrored Demetri's.
Demetri seemed to know this as well his gasp evident in the room.
It mixed with other vampires' gasps in the room.
"Amytna." Demetri whispered.
"That was the name of my mother, I was eight when you became a vampire and never returned home to your wife and child. Mother wanted a clean break then I guess she grew to hate you and then me for looking like you. She sold me into the slave trade and ended up in Egypt, my master was a kind man but his son was not. At nine I think he ordered to be engaged to me, his father granted that request…. I was changed when a nomad ripped through the palace slaughtering everyone. Or so he thought. Amun picked me up, this was not long after you joined the Volturi. He helped me master my gift before he set me free to wander." She explained.
She turned to Demetri and cracked her knuckles again grinning sheepishly.
"Hi Dad." She told him.
Something changed then, Bella sensed that.
Something had definitely changed.
And now, they had to deal with what.
So I'm sick again seriously my health is jacked up…like big style, so i'm using the time that i have that i wish i didnt to write stupid things lol
I'm not so sure about the ending though *sigh*
Please review and follow but no flames please.