Chapter 13 – Alice

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A/N Alexis sent me a guest review expressing some concerns. My answer is: don't worry (too much). Or pm me.

Alice's PoV here. From her we will get the last details of the back story, from the Volturi's visit to present time.

Thanks a lot to the lovely people who are putting TFM among their favorites or are following. I am not so far form 400 reviews now. Let me see if I get there with this chapter.

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Why didn't I See Demetri at all? To be blinded is horrible. And now the bastard is trying to infiltrate the Quileutes.

Of course the elders could deny the researcher's request, but maybe it is better to let the spy in, than to have Demetri send another one who might be harder to detect. Now I have to go by hunches, like everybody else, but perhaps the spy could be used against Demetri and be a channel for us to reach him. Oh, to be able to surprise him… my mouth filled with venom, the hate I felt for him almost overwhelming.

Eventually, I proposed that the elders invited this guy in just for a short visit. He wouldn't be able to gather much intelligence in a short visit.

But I had another problem: for the last two days Bella had been with Antony Volturi. Not as his prisoner, no. She was convinced that he had broken with the Italian coven for good, and that he was trying to help us. I hadn't much to go by on this, but I had Seen Bella with him in his home, and the general feeling I got from that vision was positive.

And now this Antony wanted to meet me. Could I risk it? If he was in good faith, the help he could give us would be invaluable. But he was a telepath; I would be naked in front of him, defenseless.

My mind went back to the worst day of my existence, when the squad from Italy came to exterminate my family. The guilt I felt for not having paid attention, for not having Seen them in time, was still killing me inside. The wolves could have helped us, fought with us, had they been warned. But I was looking for Jasper, always looking for Jasper. I was consumed by the need to find him, so I hadn't been monitoring the Volturi…

At least, having deserted our family, having deserted me, Jasper was not with us that day. Bella also wasn't with us, thank God. She was at the Rez, tutoring a bunch of kids in English. When the memory of her had come to my mind, I had tried to erase it, but the more you don't want to think about something, the more you do. I felt the crimson gaze of the Inquisitor on me. Shit, he had seen that we had a human in our family - another crime to add to the list. But he didn't tell the others. Not when we were being interrogated. And not in the immediate future I was getting glimpses of.

Then Rose lost it, and our future changed. It was all black, we were dead. I screamed hoping to stop her, but it was worse… no, I wasn't dead, but the others were in pieces and about to be burned, Carlisle, Esme, Rose, Emmett…and Felix was coming for me… but then the Inquisitor, who had assisted to the massacre standing still like a statue, bolted suddenly. I couldn't understand what he was doing. And now I too was running… running… I couldn't See where… Well, of course, I was running to La Push and my future was disappearing again… I could See that the other warriors were following the one who had ran, leaving Felix there with the orders to torch everything… But the Inquisitor, Antony, was fast as lightning. The last Sight I had of him was somewhere far, North Canada probably. He plunged into a small lake and disappeared.

Had Felix asked me to submit or die, what would I have done? I like to believe I would have willingly joined the dismembered remains of my loved ones scattered in front of our house. But I wasn't tested, because I was able to make my escape. Jasper was still living and I had to survive too, for him. Plus, I had to take care of Bella.

When I reached La Push, my visions left me completely. I could only hope that the wolves' powers would disable Demetri's talent as they disabled mine. In any case, he was trying to track Antony now, and that gave me some time.

I still don't know how I found the words to tell Bella, the pack, and the elders what had happened. The wolves wanted to run to the house, but I already knew that only ash and charred wood remained. I didn't think that - once those who had gone after the inquisitor were back - they would wage an attack on the tribe. Surely it would come, but not immediately. The squad was too small and the risks of exposure too many.

After everybody's tears, and my frame-wrecking dry sobs subsided, I asked Bella for my computer. By some incredible stroke of luck, her own laptop was malfunctioning and, since she had needed one for imparting her English lessons, I had lent her mine for the day. Now I had work to do with it.

Two hours later, I had moved as much of my family and Bella's funds as I could. Now they rested in new and untraceable accounts. A coded message to J. Jenks – we always used codes for contacts with him – made sure that the next day we would receive a complete new set of documents for Bella and me. He was used to keep new identities always ready for all of us, as we frequently demanded them.

Coming back from their rounds, the wolves' patrols told us that they didn't sense any vampire nearby. After Bella finally fell into a fretful sleep, I tried to plan the days and months to come, so that my friend remained safe and undiscovered and I wouldn't be captured. Then, when I found Jasper again, I would try to strike back.

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Now, after more than one year, it seemed that things had started moving, but I was flying blind.

"Leah," I told my guardian, "we need to set up a meeting with Bella."

She reached for her cell phone, ready to start the charade, but I stopped her.

"Wait, I have more to tell you. She won't be alone: there will be another immortal with her." On learning the identity of the vampire, Leah almost phased, such was her fury.

"Please, Lee-Lee, don't panic. I have had a partial vision of him, and, like Bella, I think he isn't an enemy. A few facts confirm this, and I'll have to hear him out, because he might help us out of the impasse we are in."

After I had given Leah all the elements I had, we decided to set up a meeting in a town we would leave immediately afterwards, with no decision to where to go next, so that - just in case - the former Volturi wouldn't know from our minds where to find us.

A place was chosen, a lodge and cabin resort in New Jersey, not far from Bernardsville.

After two days we finally met. Bella and Antony – no, no longer Antony, he was Edward now – reached us in the afternoon. They came by motorcycle, and I thought that the helmet was a great solution for sunny days, like this one was. Our cabin was well screened by trees, so he took the helmet off and walked toward the entrance, his skin glittering rainbows. I realized he was extremely handsome, even among vampires, with his red-brown hair in striking contrast with his perfect features and red sensuous lips. When I had seen him before I had not formed any opinion on his physical aspect – he was just one of the enemies who had come to terminate us. Now, however, his attractions were obvious. Once they were inside, Bella ran into my arms while Edward remained near the door. I was holding Leah's hand and felt her tremble. Oh, please don't phase, was all that I could think.

We didn't move for a while, till Leah's trembling subsided. Bella went on the other side of her and took hold of her left hand. Edward's red eyes were boring into mine.

"Alice," he said, and lowered his head. Acknowledgment and… what? I couldn't define it but I thought he was asking forgiveness.

"Yes, if it were possible," he acquiesced. And I was touched by the infinite sadness of his expression.

This man was different from the cold inquisitor I'd met in front of our house. He had looked stern and unfeeling then. Not now.

"Alice," he repeated, "feel free to refuse me. But I have things to tell you that should be for your ears only. Can we go some distance away from Bella and your guardian?"

"Over my dead body!" Leah growled, but I was curious. All my instincts told me that he was the solution, not the problem.

"Demetri will track me if I do," I still had to object.

"Demetri can't no longer sense me. Something more powerful than him made it possible, and I have a hunch that what repels him would also make invisible anybody who is near enough. We can, if you wish, stand in a creek, but not fully submerged, because we need to speak. Should I be wrong on my assumption, and he senses you, I think I can protect you and destroy him. He is, for the moment, alone in New York."

So that is what we did, walking to a nearby stream. Leah came with us till the bank and was very reluctant to go away.

"Please, Lee-Lee, I'll be fine," I insisted. Sighing, she phased and ran away.

Now I was alone with Edward, in a rather ludicrous position, feet in the water and able to keep ourselves balanced just because we were both vampires. But there was nothing ludicrous in what he told me.

"I won't try to ask to be exculpated, because there is no exculpation for what I did to you and your family. But I want to help you and Bella to be safe from my former coven. And you will never be safe while Demetri walks this Earth, so he has to be taken out. I think that the spy he planted with the Quileutes could be the key to achieve this. If you agree, we need to discuss it with your friends, starting with Leah. But there is more…" Edward paused for a moment and it was evident that he was steeling himself.

"Now I'll reveal you a secret," he continued. "Aro used me, but he feared my ability too, and was very good at deflecting me. There are techniques to do it and I too learned some of them. However, he slipped – once - and I discovered something that would cause the total disruption of his coven if it were known. But before I tell you what I saw in Aro's mind – something you can use to convince him to leave you in peace - I have a request. When we are done, and you are safe, you have to terminate me."

Stunned, I watched his impassive face while he stoically waited for my answer. But, much before I had found one, the universe went awry, as visions after visions came to me, so many and so strong that I lost my equilibrium and would have fallen in the water, hadn't Edward gripped my hands and kept me upright. I couldn't make sense of them, at the beginning. He and Bella kissing, embracing… Bella with red eyes…no, still human… but, if they were destined to love each other, how could I kill him?...then a guy I didn't know … not a Quileute, but he was in La Push…was he the researcher? The spy? He was driving a car … Leah was with him, why?... Now somebody was reading a letter… Aro? then Jasper, Jasper, Jasper. He was in Port Angeles. And so was I, and Bella, and Edward

The images became a vortex, as if they were trying to make up for the time lost, and finally I could stand them no more. Obviously the mind reader had seen all that I had Seen and was no less confused than me. But something was clear.

"You are in love with Bella," I said.

His eyes widened, but he didn't deny it. It was like he was acknowledging it himself, for the first time.

"Maybe," he finally answered. "But nothing must come of it."

"You are not the only part of the equation, you know," I retorted. "She might have something to say, too." As he opened his mouth again, probably to rebuff me, I continued:

"Indeed, you should pay for what you did, but I am not going to be the one who kills you. Not now and not ever. In any case, we have things to do first. Jasper is in Forks or soon will be, and I need to go there. The secret you were about to reveal must wait a while. Let's join the others, we have a lot of planning to do."

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Note

In the fic Of Lionesses and Little Rams by Designation Kik, there is a very good description of Alice's talent, which I subscribe to and report here. "Sometimes she asked one question and got the answer to another. Sometimes, she wasn't looking for anything at all and one slammed her in the face. Sometimes, all she got was a flash of something… an apple or a box of tissues, and it was up to her to figure out what it meant. Therefore, even without the wolves' interference, Alice can't see, and prevent, everything, like other authors pretend.