By the time Alice, Jasper, Rosalie and Emmett made it back to the Cullen household, night had fallen. Over the past month, many had joined and elected to stand by the Cullens' and Bella in a potential battle against the Volturri. While the hope would be to avoid such a fate, the presence of Alec and Demetri within the Washington area proved Aro was determined in his goal of eliminating Bella as a threat. Time preparing for battle allowed bonds to be formed, particularly between Kate and Garret. It was hopeful to see good come of such an unfortunate circumstance.
All those who had gathered were situated around a campfire in the back, sharing tales and war stories of their pasts. Everyone was enjoying their time until the four rushed in, unexpectedly.
One look at the frantic expression on Alice's face and everyone new the festivities would once again be put on hold.
"What is it, what's happened?" Carlisle was by Alice's side almost instantly. Others began to gather closer.
"Edward and Bella aren't back yet?" Alice asked, looking around the crowd.
"Back?" Carlisle and Esme exchanged a glance. "Where did they go? I thought Edward with with all of you at the school today."
"Nevermind that," Alice brushed off. "We need to get them and fill them in."
"Fill them in?" Garrett reiterated. " I take it today's plan didn't go well?"
"I didn't say that," Alice huffed. "But there is new developments that everyone should be present for. We need to get Edward and Bella."
"You could always fill them in later," Emmett suggested. "Maybe tomorrow…" Rosalie rolled her eyes.
"This can't wait until tomorrow!" Alice rebutted. "We need a plan of action!" She looked to all the vampires surrounding her, confusion evident on their faces. "Aro's made a decision. The guard will be here within a week."
"There's more, isn't there?" Esme asked. Alice's sudden pause did not go unnoticed.
"While he's coming here for one purpose…he's letting the rest of the guard believe they are coming here for Carlisle." Alice told them.
"Me?" Carlisle said, surprised.
"Word has spread that you're gathering members for a battle against the Volturri. He's claiming treason against you." Alice said, looking down. At this new information, Carlisle took a seat. He had expected Aro to conjure many tales to falsely lure the guard out of Volerra and gather against his next victim. But the two had a history. And it became more and more clear that all of this would end in one way. It was Aro and the rest of the guard…or it was him and the rest of his family.
There was silence among everyone for some time. The reality of the events leading up to a battle now feeling more and more real by the passing second. It was Garrett who once again broke the silence.
"How about a drink," he turned and started walking away. When no one followed, he turned to see the incredulous faces. "What?""A drink, really?" Tanya huffed. "Of all the things to think and do right now, you want a drink? Nice pick Kate."
"Well he's not coming here tomorrow to fight," Garrett rebutted.
"We still should develop a strategy," Kate said.
"We can't make any concrete plans without Bella and Edward…and the wolves," Esme replied.
"Why are they not with you?" Carlisle finally spoke. He was met with no response. The four looked back and forth among themselves, not wanting to share in what activities the two seemed to have been partaking in. "Where are they? Have they been harmed?"
Emmett snickered. He kept his mouth shut, knowing whatever he said would get him into trouble.
"They're fine," Alice assured. "Maybe we should go get them."
"And spoil their fun?" Emmett replied. "Let's give them 'til morning."
"Until morning for what?" Carlisle pressed. It didn't take others to catch on to Emmett's implications.
"Really, Carlisle," Esme shook her head. "Let's take the night and follow Garrett's lead. We have a week. A few more hours would go a long way with what's to come."
Bella lay comfortably cocooned in Edward's arms. She could not remember a time she felt so relaxed and safe, with no other care in the world. It was odd, Bella had thought, that they were truly able to manage to go uninterrupted for as long as they had. While the barrier was up and no one was welcome, Bella still expected to detect some resistance.
"What are you thinking about?" Edward asked as he lined a trail of kisses along Bella's neck. She couldn't help but smile and move her neck in such a way to grant Edward more access. She didn't want him to stop.
"I'm pleasantly surprised, is all," she admitted.
"Oh?" Edward questioned.
"I just thought someone would have tried to interrupt us and pull us back to reality by now," she added.
"And here I thought you were thinking about something else," he suggested as his hand gradually traveled to her stomach, going lower and lower until he reached his destination. He could feel how wet she was as he slipped a finger, then another, into her moving at a torturous pace sliding them in and out. Her back arched further into him as a moan escaped her lips.
"I can multitask," she breathed a low, breathy moan. It amazed her how responsive her body was to him and how he knew just what to do to get her going. She was close. His movements purposefully drawn out to tease her and make her want more. She couldn't take it. She took his hand and moved it out of her. He looked confused for a moment, but the look in her eye said it all. "I want to feel you inside me Edward."
He didn't need to be told twice. He didn't waste time before he pushed himself inside her with one quick thrust. Bella wrapped her legs tightly around his hips, trying to get impossibly closer than they already were. She matched his movements with fervor. It wouldn't take her long to get her over the edge.
"Edward," she breathed into his ear. "Don't hold back…go faster!" He quickened his movements as he thrust into her. The only sounds which could be heard were their grunts and moans. He could feel her begin to tighten around him as she reached her release. He wasn't far behind. She captured his lips as they came down from their high. The beauty of it all, Bella had thought, was that like Edward she didn't need to stop to eat. No sooner had they reached their release were they both hungry for more.
"As much as I'd love to continue doing this," Edward started between kisses. "You should really try to get some rest." Bella pouted. She didn't to rest…she wanted to stay in their perfect bubble. "Rest love."
Once again secured in Edward's arms, Bella drifted off to sleep. It had been a draining and eventful day. With Alec and Demetri gone, it would just trigger more alerts within Aro's mind. Bella was sure of it.
Bella once again found herself in a room she now recognized. It was in the Volturri's throne room. She could see them now, sitting mindlessly with the exception of Aro. He appeared lost in thought and angry.
"My lords," a nomadic vampire knelt before the Volturi guard. He was there with news that was traveling fast around the country."I come bearing important news. There's word of an army gathering in the States."
Aro's eyes instantly shot to look this vampire in the eye.
"An army?" Caius inquired.
"Where, pre-tell is this army gathering?" Marcus asked.
"In Washington, my lords," he answered quickly, not daring to look them in the eye. "They say a coven in Forks, Washington is gathering forces preparing for a battle. A battle…against you, my lords."
"Against us?" Aro spoke slowly. "My, my, this is certainly intriguing information. Come forward." Aro stood, meeting the terrified vampire half way and taking his hand instantly. Bella could see in Aro's mind answers he found by touching the vampires hand. She was terrified at the realization of what he was now planning.
"Brother, what have you seen?" Marcus asked, as Aro threw the nomadic vampire back against the walls.
"Dispose of him, will you?" Felix was at the vampire's side within an instant. Carrying him out to dispose of his body. "It seems our dear friend Carlisle is behind this gathering."
"He is no friend of ours," Caius stood, angrily. "This is treason! Such behavior will not be tolerated!"
"We must move immediately!" Marcus stood.
"No," Aro said, after some thought. "We haven't heard from Alec, Demetri or Jane…Something tells me this is no coincidence brothers. Washington seems to have exactly what I've been looking for. We prepare."
"Prepare?" Caius asked.
"Yes," Aro answered. "Gather the guard. Prepare for battle…visit with the old witch in the dugeon…see if she has any charms to aid us in this battle."
"With our abilities combined and our defenses, there stand no chance. Do what you need to do, prepare…recruit as many more special vampires you can find. You have a week. Then we bring the war to them."
"You heard him," Marcus instructed to Felix.
"We'll get as many vampires we can, my lord," Felix assured him. "You have my word."
"Good," Aro said, a sinister smile forming on his face. "They'll never know what hit them."
Bella sat up, screaming in the bed. The sun had only just started to rise. Edward's arms were around her in an instant, trying to help keep her calm.
"Bella, what is it?" Edward tried his best to help calm her but she would not stop shaking. She thought they may have more time. "It's just a dream, it's ok" He consoled.
She didn't get a chance to answer him when loud noise came from outside.
"Would you drop the fucking shield already!" Emmett shouted from outside, annoyed from being knocked on his ass by the barrier, yet again. Bella and Edward exchanged a glance.
"You had to jinx it, didn't you," Edward teased her. He stood up and put his jeans on, not bothering to grab a shirt and went outside. "You mind Emmett?"
"No," Emmett smirked, taking in Edward's disheveled hair. But I wouldn't have come if it weren't urgent either. Get Bella and come to the house. Emmett was blocking out any information.
"What's going on?" Edward asked, all joking instantly put aside.
"It's the Volturri, isn't it?" Bella stepped outside. "They're claiming treason against Carlisle for gather an army."
"What!?" Edward nearly shouted.
"How could you possibly know that?" Emmett asked, taken by surprise. "That damn pixie beat me here, didn't she? Damn it!"
"You're the first one here, Em" Edward answered as he came over to Bella, searching her eyes. "Bella, how do you know this?"
"I dreamt it," she whispered. "I hoped it wasn't real. But Emmett didn't deny it. We have a week and they'll be here. That's why you came, isn't it Emmett?"
"Afraid so," Emmett regretfully replied. "We need to start talking strategy. We can't do that without you two and the dogs. Carlisle's already called Sam. They should be at the house soon. We just need you two. I'll let you guys get cleaned up and head on over."
Bella didn't waste any time heading back in to get herself cleaned up and put together. Any and all joy and happiness she had felt was now gone, a look of determination now could be found on her face.
"Bella, take a minute," Edward tried to stop her frantic movements and get her sit down.
"Edward, we can't waste time," Bella tried to get back up but he held her in place.
"Bella, it'll be ok," he cooed.
"You don't know that! And now because of this damn prophecy they're bringing war against Carlisle! I should've never had involved anyone in this." She cried.
"Love, you're not forcing anyone to do anything." He replied. "We're doing this because it's the right thing to do. Family protects one another. And we are going to help you defeat Aro once and for all. You've already taken down Jane, Alec and Demetri….their biggest defense. It will be alright."
"How can you be so sure," she asked, searching his eyes.
"Because I believe in you Bella and if there's something you've shown me time and time again is that you are more than capable. Don't doubt yourself now…you'll defeat them. And we'll be with you every step of the way ensuring that will happen.
Bella closed her eyes and took a deep breath. Edward was right. Now was not the time to start doubting what she could do. She had feared so much that giving in to certain abilities would cause her to completely lose herself. But with the help of the wolves, she did not need to resort to certain measures to take out the threat. She was able to do so without being seen at first with Alec and Demetri. This element of surprise was to their advantage. But she could not do this again with so many guard members coming in for the battle. She had to eliminate the main line of defense in order to allow the wolves and the others to get close enough to defeat the Volturri. There was only one way of doing this. She knew there was.
She had to use the one power she knew she may not be able to come back from. It was the only way to keep her family and Edward safe once and for all. No matter what the cost.
A/N: It's definitely been a LOOOONNGGG time since my last update. I apologize. Many life events got in the way. I've regained access to this story and have written up a layout of how the next few chapters-leading to a conclusion-will go. I plan on updating by the weekend. I hope you enjoy the update. Thank you everyone for reading!