A New Unexpected Arrival
The Cullen family currently housed twenty-two vampires, the majority of who fed from humans. To say Jacob Black was feeling torn in half was putting it mildly. It was his duty to kill vampires and preserve human life. Yet here he was, standing there, feeling useless because he couldn't attack them. They were trying to help his Imprinted. He appreciated that but that didn't mean that he had to like all of the consequence their mere presence caused.
Because there were so many vampires in the area more and more of the tribe were being turned. Most of them were quite young like Seth and not all of them had parents who knew the truth about their legends. Therefore they had no idea that their children possessed the ability to shift into a wolf form. Sam wouldn't relent on his decision to not allow the new pack members to show or even tell their parents the truth.
It was an awful secret to keep, Jacob, mused. Sam was their Alpha and when he demanded the wolves presence at night, well, they had no choice but to obey him. Sneaking out was getting the kids who'd recently Shifted into trouble. Needless to say, the situation was becoming rather strained.
The distinctive sound of a car backfiring disrupted the unusual companionable atmosphere that was currently permeating the house – with so many vampires residing in the one house it was quite difficult not to feel claustrophobic no matter how big said house was. A sharp knock on the front door was heard as well as someone tapping their foot impatiently. Odd as it was, there was no scent to be sniffed at.
It was Carlisle who reached the door first; if Jasper had been present he would have been curious to sense Carlisle's surprise and happiness. It seemed as though he already knew who may be at the door. The smile that broke out on his face when the door was swung open only served to confirm his suspicions.
"Harry?" Carlisle's amber eyes were wider than normal and there was a hint of barely masked awe in his voice. It was obvious for everyone to see that he couldn't believe who was standing in front of him.
"Did I miss the fun?" The vampire on the other side of the threshold asked. He was grinning at Carlisle and there was a twinkle in his eye. His red eyes, Jacob couldn't help but notice with a grimace.
"What are you doing here?" Carlisle asked, forgetting that there was anybody else around, his attention solely focused on this unexpected vampire. This 'Harry.'
"You didn't think I'd miss this did you?" Harry asked wryly, still standing face to face with Carlisle, wondering when he'd get over his shock.
"It's good to see you!" Exclaimed Carlisle stepping forward and surprising his family and the other vampires who knew him well by encasing the stranger into a rib-cracking hug. Carlisle was known for his compassion but that didn't mean that he went around hugging people spontaneously.
"That's more like it," laughed Harry, hugging him back briefly before they parted. "Well, what's been going on?"
"You don't already know?" Asked Carlisle teasing the younger vampire.
"I've heard rumors," Harry replied. "But rumors tend to distort the truth a little so I'd prefer to hear the whole thing."
"Who's Harry?" Bella asked her husband quietly. She thought that she had met most of Carlisle's close friends by now.
"An old friend of Carlisle's," Edward answered. He had his head cocked to the side which indicated that he was listening to somebody's thoughts. Bella reckoned that Harry and Carlisle were most likely the subjects of Edwards focus. Edward, however, was unable to get wind of the stranger's thoughts. The only person that Edward wasn't able to hear was Bella and that was because she was a natural shield. What sort of vampire was this? He could shield his mind and he didn't have a scent. Did that mean he could shield his scent as well? It was times like this that Edward wished Jasper hadn't left. He wanted to know if Jasper could sense Harry's emotions like he had always been able sense Bella's. That way Edward would have an idea whether this 'Harry' would be a threat or not.
"Come in," said Carlisle. Obviously, he didn't view Harry as a threat. "Edward, would you bring Renesmee over?"
"Let's go meet someone," said Edward lifting his daughter up. She seemed resigned to the fact that her fun with Zafrina and her illusions had been interrupted. Renesmee loved spending time with Zafrina, she could show her anything she wanted to see and lucky for her Zafrina was just as beguiled by the half-human, half vampire child.
"Did she survive?" Asked Harry as soon as he saw the child. What a sight she was indeed. He could hear her heartbeat as well as smell the vampire in her scent. The heartbeat said she was human but her scent said she was a vampire. The obvious conclusion in Harry's mind was that this child had a vampire father and a very human mother. He'd heard of this happening before, but to actually meet one of these children… well, he was lost for words.
"Yes," Carlisle replied. "Edward changed her in time." Harry nodded in relief. Even after all these years he still hadn't managed to shake that 'saving people thing.' Loss of life always bothered him, whether he was acquainted with the person or not.
"Hello little one," said Harry, crouching down beside the child. She reached out her hand and Harry couldn't help but smile. Not only was she a hybrid but she had a very nifty gift as well. He could feel her consciousness pressing against his shields but instead of relaxing them he expanded them so that they encompassed the child as well. Whatever the child was trying to do to Harry he wouldn't let her telepath father into his head. No, his thoughts were his own and nobody else's.
Harry ignored the growl that came from Edward when access to his daughter's mind was abruptly cut off and focused on the images Renesmee was projecting into his mind – he saw everything from the moment she was born to the second before he walked through the door. He could also feel the underlying sense of guilt that she felt when she thought of Alice and Jasper leaving; she believed it was her fault. "It's not your fault, Little One," Harry told her gently. "Alice and Jasper's decisions were theirs to make. You had no bearing on them. This would have happened some other time if they did not do it now. You have a very gifted family and the Volturi do not like it. If they weren't coming now, they would only come later. You are not a reason for the Volturi to come, merely an excuse. Remember that."
He wasn't sure how the others – especially her parents – had allowed themselves to become so preoccupied that they'd not realized how the child felt. They were trying to protect her, he knew that, but he couldn't help but think that they'd gone about it the wrong way. This girl may have looked like an ordinary five-year-old child but the truth was, she had the intellect of an adult. This, Harry, realized, combined with the emotions of a child would make life very difficult for Bella and Edward. He couldn't blame them for wanting to shelter her for as long as they could, especially when it was obvious that they were scared at how long they'd have her due to her rapid progress.
"How have you blocked her mind from me?" Edward demanded. "And what do you know about Nessie's kind?" Harry had taken it too easily. He'd understood the situation for what it was before Nessie could give her explanation. Nobody else had reacted like that when she had been presented to them. Everybody's first thought had all been 'Immortal Child.' Just who was this vampire?
"What gives you the impression that I know anything?" Harry asked. He stood up, hoisting the child onto his hip as he did so and gently reshaped his shields so he would still be able to communicate with the child privately but so Edward would be able to hear his daughter but not Harry. He smiled gently as Renesmee started continued to show him things she'd done and seen. He gathered from the emotion in the images that she liked him – most probably because he hadn't acted shocked or repulsed by her at first sight.
Harry began to send some images of his life back to her. He made sure to keep them child-friendly though and kept to images that would excite a child. She laughed out loud at the floating and exploding feathers she saw as well as the funny talking hat. She cooed in amazement when she saw an amazing red phoenix that burst into flames instantly but left behind a chick in the ashes.
"You realized what she was," Edward replied, his amber eyes boring into Harry's red ones as he watched the scenes playing in his daughter's mind.
"Yes, her heartbeat gives her away." Said Harry dryly.
"Nobody else accepted it that easily," said Edward. "Not even family." He gave Tanya and Kate a look that said he forgave them for their judgement. He truly couldn't blame them; their mother had created an Immortal Child and had been killed because of it. It was understandable that anything related to Vampire Children would upset them and impede their judgement. "How are you doing that?" He sounded exasperated. "I can't get a read on your mind." How was this vampire showing his daughter imaginary things?
"No you can't," Harry replied seriously. "I value my privacy." Not many gifts worked on him. That was one oddity that he liked about himself.
"Are you like Zafrina?" Asked Nessie. Harry was surprised to hear her speaking properly. He would have thought that she would prefer to use her gift instead, it made life so much simpler.
"Zafrina?" Enquired Harry, turning to face the brown eyed girl curiously. His nomadic nature notwithstanding, Harry knew quite a number of vampires. He had never met one named Zafrina though.
"She has the ability to make you see something that isn't there," explained Carlisle, smiling almost wistfully.
"Ah, an Illusionist," Harry said with a smile. "No, I'm not like her Renesmee." He said nothing more, obviously choosing not to share his gift with the little girl that he already seemed so fond of.
"Do you have a plan if you have to fight?" Harry asked, staring at the Cullen vampires pensively. They were all in the spacious living room. Renesmee had been put to bed some time ago.
"Demetri's mine," growled Edward. Harry got enough of his thoughts to see the reasoning behind this and he agreed. Demetri was the biggest danger to Renesmee at present. Eliminating Demetri would handicap the Volturi's tracking system. It would buy the Cullens time if nothing else.
"Exactly how many are we fighting against?" Asked Harry, sitting down on a chair. Alistair stood next to him. Across from them, sitting on the couch, was the Denali Coven, accompanied by Garrett. There was no doubt in Harry's mind that he would be the next addition to the Denali Coven from the way he was almost attached at the hip to Kate.
"The guard has ten members," Eleazar began. "Then there's Aro, Caius and Marcus. The wives don't fight but the witnesses should also be taken into consideration." He sighed and when he spoke again his regret and resentment was clear to be heard. "I am gravely disappointed in them. I always held them in high regard for upholding the law."
"What do you expect?" Harry asked seriously. "Maybe when they began they were honest but you know the saying: 'Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.' Great men are almost always bad men." Eleazar just nodded sadly in reply to Harry's statement. He still couldn't shake the feeling of regret that lingered in his gut when he thought of how the Volturi used to destroy entire covens just to acquire the unique gifts that some vampires possessed.
"How many of them have gifts and what are they?" Asked Harry leaning forward toward Eleazar. He seemed to know the Volturi the best. To defeat ones enemies, one would have to study them. To prepare for their strengths and exploit their weaknesses. Only then could one have any semblance of a chance when going up against an enemy that had the greater advantage.
"Two have the most lethal gifts to those fighting against them," said Carlisle drawing Harry's attention away from Eleazar and onto himself. "Jane has the ability to incapacitate us. She causes pain to course through us. The only drawback – from the Volturi's point of view, that is – is she can only focus on one person at a time. Her brother Alec, however, is much more dangerous. He can deprive us of all our senses, sight, feelings, and emotions. His 'gift' is not limited to one person at a time."
"Sometimes if the Volturi are feeling kind they have Alec anesthetize them," Eleazar broke in bitterly.
"Once in a blue moon you mean," snorted Harry sarcastically.
"Renata can stop anyone physically attacking," Eleazar continued as if there had been no interruption.
"Tell me," Harry asked curiously. "Does a person just meet a shield and fall, or, do they find themselves going off course and wondering what they were doing?"
"You just can't attack," replied Carlisle.
"Alright," Harry said, nodding his head thoughtfully. "Anyone else?"
"Demetri is the tracker of course." Eleazar took up the narrative again. "Then there's Chelsea, she has the ability to create and break bonds. She can make vampires feel loyal towards the Volturi and resentful towards their own coven. We think that this could be a contributing factor as to the reason why the Volturi Guard are so close."
"They'd have to be stupid not to use that in battle and one thing Aro isn't is stupid." Harry murmured quietly.
"No," Eleazar agreed, just as quietly. "He definitely isn't."
"How many of us have gifts?" Harry asked abruptly, sitting back eying the vampires around him curiously.
"Want me to show you?" asked Kate a sneaky grin on her face.
"Kate," admonished Carlisle.
"What?" she said innocently.
"Go on then," said Harry. One thing he would not allow be said for him was that he would back down from a challenge. He inwardly hoped that Kate's gift would be one of the many that were ineffective when it came to him. Knowing his luck, though, it probably wouldn't be.
"You're saying that now," teased Garrett, amusement dripping from his voice.
Kate touched him, a predatory smile gracing her features, but unlike all others – with the exception of Bella, of course – Harry didn't fall under the power of her gift. He wasn't immune, of that she was certain. His face was screwed up in pain but he managed to battle through the pain and he turned Kate's palm upwards so it was facing the ceiling. He kept a hold of her hand and to the shock of everyone, especially Kate; electricity flowed from her hand creating a ball in the center of her palm. The longer Harry held on, the larger the ball grew until it was bigger than her hand. Then, without warning, Harry shoved Kate's hand toward the window and the ball of electricity smashed through and headed straight for the trees beyond.
"Reparo," murmured Harry, and the broken window began to levitate into its place like a jigsaw before sealing itself shut once more. The vampires surrounding Harry and Kate were looking at them in amazement and awe.
"How did you do that!" Gaped Kate, utterly shocked at what Harry had just helped her accomplish.
"It's what you could be capable of," said Harry simply. "You've just never thought your power could extend beyond your body."
"But nobody can stand the pain if I use it on them," said Kate. It was due to this that she'd never had reason to see if she could develop the power even further. It served its purpose and kept unwanted hands away from her. But still, what a feeling! A live ball of electricity resting in her hand! If she was able to harness that herself then she would be an even better asset in the upcoming battle and she would be able to defend herself and others better.
"Maybe not," Harry said quietly. He massaged the smooth, unblemished skin of the back of his right hand unconsciously. "But unfortunately I'm not like everybody else. Pain has been my constant friend, during my mortal and immortal life. Understandably I've developed a rather higher than usual tolerance for it."
Nobody knew what to say to that, though Carlisle reached out a sympathetic hand and grasped Harry's shoulder in silent support. Few of the vampires there had tested Kate's gift, choosing to rely on Garrett's reaction to it from a few days ago. By the looks of things, it had been rather painful.
"How do I enhance it?" Asked Kate eagerly, grabbing hold of Harry's arm the same way Bella had earlier that week.
"The same way you always do," Harry replied simply as if he was conversing about the stormy weather outside. "Command it."
"What is your gift?" Asked Alistair, breaking his self-imposed silence, his red eyes boring into Harry's head. He had been deeply impressed with Harry's tolerance and ability to enhance Kate's gift. It seemed that Harry was different from them all.