AN: This is it! I know it's probably shorter than some of you would like, but there's really not much else to tell. Thanks for sticking with me through the journey, I had no idea where it was going when I started, but I hope you like where it turned out. If you haven't checked my other stories, I'm working on a Bella/Paul story that will be quite a bit longer than this one, and I am currently writing a Bella/Garrett fic that I will start posting once I get a few more chapters completed, so keep your eyes open for that one.
Disclaimer: I own nothing but the story line. SM owns the characters, I'm just having fun with them
Epilogue: An Occasion
1 year later
Vampires were arriving daily at our remote compound, and it was really trying my newborn frazzled nerves almost to the breaking point. This past year had been a whirlwind of training, traveling, negotiating, and learning to live in my new, improved body. James was an angel, sticking by me every step of the way and never being too busy to take time out to calm me, despite his many responsibilities. I was extremely grateful for the month-long honeymoon we spent alone here at the compound.
Garrett and Kate traveled the western half of the continent, seeking out nomads to spread the word of our rise to power. Peter and Charlotte covered the eastern half, while Jasper and Alice returned to his old territory in the south. Alice said he drug her around at night showing her battlefields from both his human and vampire war history. She retaliated with shopping at every mall she came across and they ended up having to buy a truck to drive her new acquisitions home.
Emmett and Rosalie came here a few months after my change, and I was so happy to have my best friends reunited again. He teased me about Jasper being my sire and trying to get me to call him daddy. Jasper had me wrap Emmett in my shield several times a day, just for practice of course. Rosalie and I had a tentative truce. We would probably never be real friends, but she was more sympathetic towards me after learning of Edward's abuse.
We received word that Aro and Carlisle were executed in Volterra, and the positive response to that, and to the witch twins' demise, was overwhelming. We didn't expect any challenge at our upcoming inauguration, but we also had Jasper's little prize waiting in the wings just in case. That should cause a fun reaction, especially from the kings who thought Alec had been dead for a year already.
The bubbles swirled in the tub as my mate slipped in behind me, pulling my headphones from my ears as he pulled me to his chest. "You were a million miles away, sweetheart. What were you thinking about?" he whispered, before moving his lips to my neck.
"Mmm, I was just thinking about the past year and all the changes we have made. I really don't know what I would have done without you. Probably gone insane or tried to kill Jasper," I was only halfway joking on the last part. The Major was a major pain in my ass.
Jame laughed, holding me tighter, "Well, you're probably the only vampire on earth who actually has a shot at it. Lucky for him, you're loyal to your family."
We soaked in the tub for a half hour more until James said we had to get ready. It was time for our big fancy inauguration and Alice had our clothes laid out on the bed when we walked in. I sighed and stood there so James could hep me into my fitted blue silk dress. I still had issues with control, and most of my clothes that weren't denim or flannel were ripped too easily for me to dress myself.
James threw on his suit in a matter of seconds, carrying his tie for Alice to put on him when we got to the main house. I convinced him to leave his hair down and he looked like the cover of a trashy romance novel, ready to carry me off into the sunset. As if reading my thoughts, he scooped me into his arms and carried me down the path to find the rest of our coven.
The crowds gathered in and around the throne room had my instincts up again, and James kept his hand on my mark, soothing me. A wave of calm drifted over from my sire and I sent him a grateful smile as we all moved together to the thrones. James set me down, keeping his arm around me, while Alice fixed his tie, along with Jasper's and Peter's as well. All three looked just as uncomfortable as I felt in my fancy dress, but I couldn't deny that the final effect was quite stunning.
Jasper felt my admiration and sent me his agreement, wrapping his arms around me and Peter. "We do have a damn nice looking coven here. 'Course the Whitlock genes only attract the best," he finished with a wink at our mates.
James just laughed as he pulled me to his throne, and we all sat down as the ceremony began. Garrett and Kate were off to the left side of the slightly raised platform, with Emmett and Rose to the right. The nomads and covens all gathered closer when Caius and Marcus approached, with their wives on their arms. When Esme arrived back in America wearing a Volturi cloak, we were all shocked. Well, all of us except Alice, of course. It seemed that she and Marcus had a strong bond, not that of mates, but it was close enough to satisfy them both for now.
Caius' mate, Athenadora, was as beautiful as the goddess she was named for. Her raven hair flowed in waves almost to her feet, and together with Caius, they really made a striking couple. She stood slightly behind him as he walked to the front of the room and raised his hands for attention. "Welcome, everyone. As I'm sure you are aware, we are here for the official inauguration of the North American Ruling Coven, led by Tracker James Williams.
"This coven was appointed by the kings in Volterra, but James has requested a popular vote to secure their position. All those in favor, please raise your hands." He waited as every hand in the room went up. I turned and smiled at my mate, who was clearly shocked by the overwhelming support. "All those opposed?" Not a single hand was raised.
"This it's official. Vampires of North America, I give you your new ruling coven," Caius finished with a bow in our direction, before stepping off the platform to stand with Marcus. A loud cheer went up from the vampires, and James wrapped his arms around me when he felt me tense up. Jasper reached over to lay his hand on my arm, concentrating his power to keep me in check. I was really getting tired of this newborn phase.
James pulled me up with him when he stood to address the audience. "Thank you for coming, everyone, and for giving us your support. We have no intention of abusing your trust and we will try our best to rule fairly and impartially. Now, I know most of you have met us, but I'd like to introduce the rest of my coven." None of us missed how his chest puffed out with pride when he finally, publicly, claimed his role as coven leader. I shot a grin at the others who came to stand around us.
"I'm sure you are all familiar with Major Whitlock, and his brother, the Captain, from their roles in the Southern Wars. They are now members of my coven and my co-rulers, along with our mates. Major Whitlock is mated to the lovely Alice, and Charlotte is the beautiful lady who got stuck with the Captain." The crowd laughed lightly and the formal atmosphere seemed to ease a bit.
"And last, but certainly not least, is my gorgeous mate, and niece to the Whitlocks, Miss Isabella Whitlock." I would have been blushing if I was still human. As it was, I had to fight the urge to wrap my shield around myself and my mate.
"Now, I'll turn the floor over to the Major, who is our resident executioner. As you know, we were attacked shortly after moving here and we held a trial for Jane and Alec Volturi who admitted to treason, murder, and attempted murder. They also implicated Aro and he was executed in Volterra along with Carlisle Cullen." James stepped back and motioned Jasper forward.
"We executed Jane at once, but I had a special little treat for Alec that's been cookin' up for the past year. I know my reputation speaks for itself, but in case there was any doubt left about this coven's ability to rule, I wanted to show you what happens to those who challenge us. Emmett?" Jasper held his hand out and Emmett handed him a burlap sack that I knew contained Alec's head. When he pulled it out, the entire room gasped in shock, and I was impressed with Jasper's ability not to be moved by the huge wave of emotion.
"Alec here was buried in the backyard for the past year, to help him understand the seriousness of his actions against the vampire community. I know most of y'all think he and his sister were invincible, but my little niece here took Alec out the very same day she woke up to this life. Her mate handled Jane at the same time. I hope this lays to rest any doubts you have and lets us move on to the new age of self-rule today, here and now." With that, he walked through the crowd of awestruck vampires, to toss the head carelessly into the fireplace where several more vampires jumped back in fear.
Jasper was smirking as he returned to his throne, lifted Alice, and settled her back on his knee. We all breathed a sigh of relief when there was no adverse reaction, and the crowd slowly began to applaud once again. The six of us stood and joined hands as James leaned over and whispered to me, "None of this would have been possible without you. I am so proud to have you as my mate, and I hope I will make you proud as well. I love you, my Bella."
"I love you too, James. And I'm so proud of you, you're finally accepting what you were meant for all along," I told him with a smile.
Peter came up behind us and kissed both of us on the cheek, which James immediately wiped off with a grimace that made me laugh. "Aww, I love y'all too! Now, let's get this party started, alright?"
We spent the rest of the night dancing with our coven, with kings and nomads, red and gold eyes alike. Forever was gonna be a pretty sweet place to be, as long as I had my Tracker and my family by my side.