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Meeting the Major

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CHAPTER 1

Seattle, Washington. Cold, wet, rainy Seattle. I don't know exactly why I agreed to come here. Maybe I just needed a change of scenery? Maybe I just needed a break from the monotony? Maybe I just wanted to prove to my boss that I was worth more to the company than just handling office supplies? Yeah, the latter sounds more like the real reason I volunteered to come out here. It won't be a long visit, only a few days, but any opportunity to expand the company and my boss would be all over it.

I don't normally travel. In fact, this is the furthest I've been away from home in my entire 24 years; which is a sad enough commentary in and of itself. I had finished up the meeting that I was sent here for, and instead of waiting in my dreary hotel for a call back from the sales team I had just left my company's proposal with, I decided that a walk would do me some good. I had always liked the rain. There was just something about it that had a calming effect. I'm not sure what direction I started walking in, or how long I had walked, but soon found myself close to a dock. Seeing the waves crash around the boats tied there was mesmerizing. I sat on a bench close by and lost myself in thinking of how I had ended up here.

I haven't really made much out of my time here on this wonderful planet. Although, I have managed to bring some form of normalcy and happiness to my life which I never thought would be in the cards for me. I never thought I would be the type to get married, much less become a mom of two wonderful boys, but Chris came along in all of his "dark handsome stranger" glory and blue eyes that I couldn't resist and I did the stupid thing and let my hormones take control. That's how Baby #1, Connor, happened. That's how I wound up three months later at the ripe age of 18 in a church in Tennessee, surrounded by friends and family, marrying a man I knew I didn't love.

I tried to make the relationship work because my parents had instilled in me the desire to never give up on anything. Especially marriage, which was a sacred bond that wasn't to be entered into lightly and no one was to come between. Some would call it stubbornness, others would see determination, but to me it was all the same. I didn't want the gossips to learn of my failed marriage at the age of 20 because to them, I was still a baby myself and completely incapable of keeping my family together. That's how Baby #2, Clayton, happened. Trying to save a marriage doomed to fail from the start by having another child was the epitome of stupid decision making, but it happened none the less.

Divorce followed four months into my pregnancy. I handled it well considering that I was a hormonal mess through the rest of the pregnancy. I had known that this wasn't going to last, so I wasn't as emotional as I probably should have been. I showed no emotion in regards to him. I didn't see the point because I wasn't broken. I was cold and hard-hearted to the one I had once considered husband.

Two days after our divorce was finalized, nine months after we separated, I got a phone call from Chris telling me that he had gotten remarried. I drank a lot that night. Not to mourn what could have been, but to relish in the fact that I didn't have to deal with his family anymore.

I didn't waste any time before moving myself and my sons back to my wonderful home state of Georgia. I hated Tennessee anyway. I had always loved it here. The hot summers, the cold winters, the unpredictability of this beautiful state just sang to my soul. The added bonus of having my family relatively close by wasn't a deterrent, just more reason to come back. I loved my family and everything the represented. My Grandmother, the matriarch of my family, was the first to welcome me back with open arms. Even before my own parents knew that I was back, she had an apartment set up for me in Rome, had the kids enrolled in daycare, and had gotten me a job in a small office with wonderful people that she had known for years.

I admit my previous job experience was limited, working as a waitress for most of my teens didn't exactly instill the kind of trust in me that I would have wanted for an office position, but I was a quick learner. I had managed to prove myself on more than one occasion, but this was the first real test for me. If I could get this small company in Seattle to merge with mine, then I was in for a comfy ride for the rest of my time with them. That meant a private school for my sons and a better education so they didn't have to work so hard to get into a great college and get a great job.

I was brought out of my daze by a familiar voice. "I've got a text" my phone said to me in a wonderfully British accent. I pulled my phone out of my purse and read the message that was waiting for me.

Momma, are you done yet? How did it go? – Connor

Connor…that boy was smart as a whip. He was only 6 years old, but had learned how to read at 2 and had learned how to write about six months later. I couldn't stop him from learning if I would have tried. He always had something in his hands learning about it and studying it. At 4 he had managed to take an old broken phone of mine apart and rebuild it, that was the one he was currently texting me on and it worked better for him than it ever had for me. At 5 he was already smarter than most kids in his kindergarten class, so the school administrators had to bump him up to first, then second a few weeks later, but weren't going any higher stating that the "jump from second to third grade would likely stress him out and make him regress". I seriously doubted that they knew what they were talking about, so I had let them learn the hard way. They moved him up to third grade about six weeks later, but were dead set against him moving up again until the school year was up. He was currently enjoying fourth grade and couldn't wait for fifth. I smiled to myself as I texted him back.

Yes sweetheart, I'm done. It went well. Waiting for the call back. How are you and your brother holding up? – Momma

The boys were currently staying with my Grandmother. They loved her, and she spoiled them. They have her wrapped around their little fingers even though she denies everything.

Clay is fine. Reading with Grandmama. I miss you. When are you going to call? – Connor

Clayton was just as smart as his older brother, but even at 4 years old, he showed signs of being more reserved and secluded in his world of books and fantasy. I could relate. He got that from me; well, both of my sons did, really. Although Connor has taken more to history and nonfiction books than Clayton has, at least they both love immersing themselves in books.

I miss you both, too. What is Clayton reading now? How was your Civil War book? – Momma

Clay's reading the Percy Jackson series. He likes it. The Civil War book was so cool! Did you know that they used to cut off people's legs and arms without giving them anything for the pain?! – Connor

I shiver a little as I read that. Well, apparently I need to screen these history books a bit better before my 6 year old reads them. I'm sure it was meant for someone much older and better able to handle the more morbid topics. I know its history and I know he'll learn it eventually, but there's no reason for him to read about it now. It doesn't make me a bad mother to want to shield your children from things that may ruin their innocence. At least one child is reading books that are child-friendly.

We are going to have a serious discussion about your book choices when I get back, mister. - Momma

I hate being a hard ass, but I have to keep reminding myself that I'm supposed to be their mother, not their friend.

Yes ma'am. When are you going to call? – Connor

I think about that for a moment. There's a three hour time difference between myself and them, so since it's about 4:30 here, which would make it 7: 30 there. Close to their 8pm bed time. Meaning, if I know my Grandmother right, they should be getting their ice cream in about 15 minutes.

Tell Grandmama to go ahead and give you your ice cream now and I'll call you in 20 minutes. - Momma

I get up from my bench and make my way to the nearest intersection. Perhaps I can hail a cab from here to get back to my hotel before it's time to call them. I manage to make it to the corner, but there are no cabs in sight. Luckily I have a map in my purse so I can just walk to my hotel. It only looks like a few blocks and I could use the exercise.

My phone starts ringing about halfway to my hotel with an unfamiliar Seattle number, so I answer it wondering who could be calling me.

"Hello?" I ask.

"Ms. Adams, this is Mr. Williams from Medved Construction." says a rough voice.

I reply, "Mr. Williams! It's wonderful to hear back from you so soon." I had been waiting for this call for a few hours at the very least.

"Yes, yes." He replied "Is it possible to meet with you around 3 pm to go over some final details about this merger? Your presentation was wonderful, but I'm still not sure what you can do for us when you are all the way down in Georgia."

I knew that this was coming. I really didn't see what good we could do for him either considering that no one was willing to move anywhere. Our base of operations was in Rome, Georgia. I know my CEO, Mrs. Couey, wouldn't want to move her company to Seattle, but I had high hopes that maybe we could work something out from a business standpoint. We weren't really in the Construction business, after all. Our company dealt with more the interior of a finished construction project. I could see perhaps hiring someone in the Seattle area to work for our company as the Interior Specialist, or something similar. Maybe that could be the selling point? I don't know. I'd have to discuss it further with Mrs. Couey.

"That would be wonderful." I said, "I'll meet you at your office at 3 tomorrow."

I made it to my hotel as I got off the phone. Good timing in my book, now to make a call to my boys.

Chapter Text

CHAPTER 2

My babies were a little too enthusiastic when it came time for our "phone call". It's actually a Skype call so they can see me. Apparently Clayton thinks that since he can't see me when we're on the phone, I'm not really there. I'm not sure where his mind is on that one. However, Skyping gives us the opportunity to talk and see each other. I knew that they had managed to inhale all of their ice cream in one heck of a hurry in order to actually talk to me instead of sitting at the table eating, when Clayton answered the call with ice cream running down his chin.

"Hi Momma!" Clayton yelled.

Clayton is a spitting image of me. Dark brown hair, chocolate brown eyes with hints of gold, slightly tanned skin, Cherokee features grace his face with high cheek bones and the typical Cherokee, or what I've always thought of as a bulbous, nose. He's bulky for a 4 year old, and it shows in his shoulders and legs. He usually wears his brother's clothes size, so it's like I'm buying for twins instead of children 2 years apart. I've always seen him as possible linebacker material, but that could just be me. All the child really wants to do is dance which I'll admit, I never saw coming.

"Hi Clayton, sweetheart." I replied.

"It's Clay, Momma." I hear him admonish as I see Connor waving and shouting "Hi" over his brother's shoulder. Connor is an anomaly in our family. He screams "recessive gene". He is thin as a rail, not much taller than his brother, has extremely pale skin which I blame on my Irish heritage, almost white-blonde hair, eyes so blue they look like sapphires, his cheek bones rest lower than his brother's, but his nose is sharp and pointed. Even his father didn't have any of these features.

"Hello Connor, darling." I smile at them. They are a handful, it's true, but the absolute best part of my life and I have missed them terribly.

"Hello Amanda" I hear my Grandmother say.

"Hello Grandmama." I reply back with enthusiasm. She doesn't normally stick around for our Skype chats.

I've only been gone two days, but it already feels like forever. Seeing my babies this excited to talk to me makes me realize how quickly I need to get home and have them in my arms.

We chat for about 30 minutes before Clay is out like a light. So I release the call and let my Grandmother put them to bed. It's only about 5:30 here and my stomach starts growling, so I go out looking for food. I run across this quaint Chinese restaurant about two blocks away from my hotel and grab some take out.

As I head back, I feel an odd sensation on the back of my neck. It's almost like someone is watching me, but as I turn around I can't see anyone. I rub the back of my neck to relieve the sensation and continue to walk back towards the hotel, but that…feeling doesn't diminish the further I walk. I grab my keys out of my purse and hold them in my fist with the points of the keys in between my fingers, a poor imitation of brass knuckles I know, but it makes me feel better to be prepared than to be taken advantage of. I took some self-defense classes back home and the one thing that I pride myself on is knowing how to take on an attacker, but this feels different. I scan the alleyways near me, the road, the sidewalk, but nothing I see says "this is the person staring at you". I didn't really think it would, but the feeling never ceases. In fact, it makes me rather nervous and I begin to power walk back to the hotel.

I almost collapse in relief as I walk into the lobby. I know it's ridiculous to think that nothing can get me here, but I do feel better with witnesses around and a locked door between me and whatever that feeling was. I open my takeout, turn on the TV to some crappy sitcom, and try to relax as I eat. I feel better as soon as the food is gone, so I decide that a hot shower is in order. I'm not a narcissist, but I stop to look in a mirror before hopping in the shower and admire what I see staring back. I've been working very hard over the years to get my body back into pre-baby shape. I know it's never going to happen, but a girl can dream.

My red hair is falling in a nice wavy cascade down my back stopping just south of my shoulder blades. It's gotten a lot fuller over the years, which isn't a bad thing. My chocolate brown eyes stare at themselves in the mirror. My eyes have just been copied onto my youngest son's face. My nose and cheeks are just a grown version of Clay's and with my long face, it just accentuates the curvature of the hollows of my cheekbones even further. I'm not all that tall for a girl, 5'7" but my height was a bonus in high school and college when I played basketball. Added height helps tremendously when playing basketball with shorter women. I'm pale, though not as liquid-paper white as Connor. I would look odd with red hair and a tan. I have several tattoos that present themselves when I'm this free of clothing. Nothing huge, just reminders of mistakes and a life I've lived. My stomach has stretch marks from being pregnant twice. I don't ever expect those to go away, nor would I want them to. It shows that I have two beautiful children and I carried and birthed them. I went through an immense amount of pain to give them life and I will not ever want those marks to go away. I'm not exactly muscular, but I do have muscle tone. Comes with years of playing basketball, I suppose.

I hop in the shower and begin the relaxing process of washing myself. I usually spend a few minutes just letting the hot water run over me, relieving the ever present tension in my shoulders. As I begin to wash my hair, I think over the events of the day. The one thing that seems to get to me more than anything is that feeling of being watched. As I condition my hair and start to wash my face I try to pinpoint what I felt. I couldn't name it at the time with the adrenaline coursing through me, but now that I'm in my right mind and have a chance to think I am able to narrow down what that sensation was.

Waiting with a mixture of curiosity.

Watching and waiting for something to happen. Curious as to what would happen.

Why would someone be watching and waiting for something to happen to me? Who was I? No one of any real importance. It didn't make any sense to me. Maybe it was someone from one of the gangs that seem to be all over the news here. Maybe someone had me pegged as the next victim. Or maybe my imagination was running away with me entirely and there was nothing out there in the first place. The latter was more likely. I did have a wild imagination and though it had its benefits, it also had its downfalls.

I managed to talk myself down off of the ridiculous anxious ledge I had been on by convincing myself that there was absolutely nothing out on the Seattle streets that was out to get me. I went to bed that night feeling more relieved than I had since dinner. I don't normally dream, but I had dreams that night. I was standing in an empty building with another person. She was feral looking with her mane of wild red curly hair. She had leaves and twigs embedded in her locks and her red eyes pierced my very soul. She spoke to me, but it was too quiet for me to understand. Then in the manner of dreams, the scene changed and I was staring at a man alone in the woods. He was tall, around 6 feet, with wavy honey blonde hair that came down to his chin. He was clean shaven, with sharp features underneath skin so white it would put Connor's to shame, but his eyes were what captured me. They were the purest gold I had ever seen. He stared back at me confused, but his actions towards me were not hesitant. He walked too quickly, almost seeming to fade from sight just to reappear directly in front of me. He placed his hand gently on my face, but the look on his was pained. The scene around me changed yet again to find me kneeling over a body with blood all over my hands. I looked down at the body before me to see a pair of lifeless green eyes staring back at me from a face that shouldn't be turned that direction. My gaze focused on the scene around me to see nothing but death and destruction the likes of which I had never seen outside of a movie. All of a sudden a man with light brown hair and blood red eyes was right in front of me. He said simply "I'll be seeing you soon" before I awoke in a cold sweat.

After a few deep breaths I turned to the clock to see what time it was. The numbers 3:35 were glaring at me in the dark. Well, that's stupid. Why would I have such horrid dreams the night before I need to finish the merger? I need to be at my best so I don't screw something up or say something that I may regret. I sigh heavily as I get up and walk about the room. I need to get some sleep, but I also need to calm down enough to actually get some rest. I call down to the reception area to ask if they have a 24-hour gym on the premises. Luck is on my side this morning, because they do. They also have a pool that can be accessed through the gym. Hallelujah. Swimming may just be what I need to get my head on straight. Lucky for me, I brought my bathing suit.

I step outside my room and begin the short journey to the ground level of the hotel. The gym and pool aren't very big, but at least they will work for what I need. I already had my suit on, so when I managed to get to the pool all I had to do was set my swim cap and goggles on my head and begin to swim. Easier said than done as anyone who has worn a swim cap knows, you have to stretch it out first. So, I stretch it out the only slightly uncomfortable way I know how…by filling it with water and dumping it on my head. It's completely silly and makes for an interesting wakeup call, but at least it works.

I begin my swim and set my mind on nothing else but breathing after every third stroke. Right…Left…Right…Left/Breathe. Repeat. The sound of my strokes in the water is a very calming sound, almost metronome-like in its rhythm. I lose track of time. I swim until I exhaust myself. Which, if I'm being honest, was my original intent anyway. I pick up my towel and wrap it around me as I catch my breath. I make it back to my room and head straight to the shower. I hate the feel of chlorine in my hair. It makes it feel like a giant hay bale. I wash my hair and body again to get that dry feeling off of me. I barely manage to dry off completely before I pass out on the bed again. This time I sleep without dreams.

I wake up several hours later feeling refreshed. I see that there is sun peeking through the curtains of my room and idly wonder how late I've slept. 1:47 is what I see when I turn my head to look at the clock. Holy shit. No wonder I felt better. I've slept the whole day away. I have to meet with Mr. Williams from Medved Construction in an hour.

I dress nicely for the meeting. Yesterday it was raining, so I wore a nice pant suit with some ballet flats, but today, since it is semi sunny I'll wear a skirt suit with a pair of low heels. I don't really need the added height, I just like these shoes. They make my legs look great. Add a bit of neutral makeup and put my hair up in a high bun and I'm set for the meeting.

I take a cab to Medved and make it there just five minutes shy of our meeting time. I admit I should have called Mrs. Couey to discuss the possible changes to staffing, but honestly at this point, this merger is more of a headache than it's worth. We set up shop in the same conference room that we met in yesterday and continue our business talk. We talk for hours. Going over the finer points of this merger is not exactly enthralling. We conference Mrs. Couey in to discuss the details and we finally come up with a deal.

That means I'll be out of here tomorrow. First flight to Atlanta and I'll be on it. I can't help but be thrilled about that. I miss home and I miss my babies. In a cab on the way back to the hotel after the meeting, I send Connor a text. I know he should be in bed, but hopefully he and Clay will be awake enough for me to call.

Hey sweetie. It looks like I should be home tomorrow! - Momma

It's not even a minute before I hear the tell tale "I've got a text" to let me know that someone isn't in bed yet.

Momma! I'm so glad to hear that! Clay and I didn't wanna go to bed until we heard from you. Are you gonna call us soon? – Connor

Of course baby, I'll call you in about 10 minutes. – Momma

The cab pulled up to the hotel. I got out, paid the driver, and headed up to my room. As soon as the door closed, I was dialing my babies. They were already in their pajamas and in bed, but the moment they saw my face they lit up like Christmas Trees.

"Hey sweet boys! I missed you today." I say as I sit on the bed.

"I missed you too!" they both holler at me.

I laugh at them as they proceed to steal the phone from each other and tell me all about the day they've had. Connor will tell me about something that happened to him in class, then Clay will steal the phone and tell me about his dance class. Then Connor will steal the phone back to tell me about another chapter of his book while Clay argues in the background how Percy Jackson is so much better. It's the small things like spending time with my boys that make me miss holding them in my arms every day. I can't wait to be home.

The next morning dawns and I wake up earlier than planned feeling very refreshed. My flight isn't for several hours yet, so I put on some comfortable clothes and head back towards the docks. I really enjoyed coming here the other day, so I see no harm in coming back before I leave. I sit back down on the bench and stare out into the ocean. I know I need to leave soon, but I also know I have a while longer before I need to actually move.

That's when I feel it. That odd sensation on the back of my neck. The one I identified as waiting mixed with curiosity. I look around and behind me. I see nothing, but instead of the stagnant feeling that I was used to, the feeling intensifies. This new sensation has my adrenaline pumping in my veins, sweat covering my palms, and my senses on high alert.

The next thing I know, I feel one thing and one thing only.

Fire.

Chapter Text

CHAPTER 3

Burning.

Pain.

Fire.

The pain is all I can focus on. I don't know what's happened, where I am, or what I was doing before this. Hell, I don't even remember my own name. I hear screaming. Endless screaming and endless pain are the only things I am aware of.

Time means nothing. I'm not sure what happens or when, but something changes. I can think around the pain. I can remember my name. Amanda Adams. I can remember my life, my family, my sons.

My babies. My sweet boys. What has happened to them? Where are they? Where am I? What have I done to deserve being burnt alive? Am I in Hell? What has happened to me? I was supposed to board my plane today. I was supposed to be headed home. I was supposed to see my children, my family today. A strangled sob escapes me and I come to the realization that the screaming I've been hearing is coming from me. Why would I be screaming like this? This is the absolute worst pain I've ever felt. Giving birth naturally would be a cakewalk compared to this torture.

Time passes. I'm not sure how much time, but I do know that it passes. The pain begins to change. I can no longer feel the burning in my fingers and toes. Maybe this torment is ending. Maybe I'm dying. Death would be a welcome relief from this Hell.

The pain keeps receding. My arms and legs are finally done burning. A part of my brain knows I could walk around if I wanted to, but I don't. My torso is still burning. I thought that the pain in my body would be less by now. That's not the case. It just seems to be getting hotter. I idly wonder how that would even be possible. It feels like the fire is receding from my limbs just to be added to the already scorching inferno that is my heart.

More time passes and I can finally feel my hips and shoulders. The fire seems to be concentrated around two areas now, my throat and my heart. The fire in my throat is easy to ignore, but the fire in my heart…well, that seems to be my main focus. There are no words in the English language to describe the heat that my heart is currently experiencing. Although it is beating, I can hear it stutter every once in a while.

The stuttering is happening more frequently now, the beats slowing. Counting the seconds between beats seems to help me focus on something other than the million other questions in my head. Obviously I seem to be going through some sort of transition. I'm not sure what kind, but I have a feeling I will find out sooner rather than later now.

It's been about a minute since my last heartbeat. I do not believe that it will beat again. So, does that mean that I'm dead? Is this what comes next after someone dies? A part of my brain says "no" while another part says "it's possible". That's just great. I'm arguing with myself in my own head. Not that I haven't done that before now, I mean before this I had to argue with myself to get out of bed in the mornings, but everyone I know has arguments with themselves over silly things like that.

A noise catches my attention. Footsteps. Someone is headed my direction by the sound of it. I focus in on the sound and then a sent assaults me. It's not unpleasant, but I can't quite place it. I realize that I have my eyes closed, so I open them to see who has garnered my attention when I notice everything around me. I can see dust in the air and a part of my brain starts to count the dust flying around. Another part of my brain finally recognizes the sent that has permeated the place where I'm currently laying. Pepper. It's an interesting sent, so I take a deep breath and feel my lungs expand, but there's no relief in the action. So, this means I don't have to breathe? What? That's a new revelation. I had always enjoyed breathing. You know, to keep me alive. Now I don't need oxygen? I find, however that I do like the feeling of breathing. I can taste everything around me. Metal, concrete, dirt, that peppery scent, plastic, and a million other tastes assault me. I've never been able to taste so much!

The footsteps that I've been tracking stop about 10 feet away from me and my brain tells me that it has only been about 10 seconds since I opened my eyes. Huh, I've never been able to do those kind of calculations in my head before. Interesting. I look at the person standing close to me and see a man. He doesn't look older than about 20. He has sandy blonde hair, is extremely pale skinned, he's 6 feet tall, he's dressed well in jeans and a long sleeved shirt with a long pea coat, he has red irises that are too beautiful to look away from, and is grinning at me like I'm his next meal. That grin could be my undoing. I haven't felt this attracted to anyone in so long. That grin doesn't bode well at all and for some reason, I'm strangely comfortable with that thought.

"Welcome to the Army" he says. His voice sounds like a musical instrument. It has a deep resonance to it almost like the lowest notes on a xylophone.

I'm confused by his statement and my eyebrows scrunch together to show it. "What Army?" I ask, but that voice is not mine. My voice is deeper, rougher, accented with a Southern twang. This bell-like sound that I hear, that cannot be my voice.

The man sees my confusion and comes closer to me. Unblinking, he stares at me and it unnerves me. I react instinctually and am suddenly standing in a crouch, with my arms out next to my sides, and a noise I can only describe as a hiss comes crawling out of my mouth. I made no conscious decision to do any of those things. "What have you done to me?!" I demand.

"You are not in a position to be so demanding." He replies. "My name is Riley and you have been recruited into my Army."

"Your Army? Why have you recruited me? What am I?" I ask bewildered.

"Perhaps I should let you hunt before we talk further." He replies coldly.

"Hunt?" I ask. "Hunt for what?"

He doesn't bother to answer, but instead turns back towards the way he came simply stating "Follow me" over his shoulder.

He doesn't seem like a threat to me, so I straighten up out of my crouch and start to walk the same direction without consciously thinking to do so, but that pulls me up short of him is how quickly I moved. It was almost like I thought to catch up to him and I was all of a sudden right beside him. How?

Riley notices my confusion and smirks before turning away from me to continue walking. "I promise to answer all of your questions, but first let's find you someone to drink."

"Excuse me?" I say exasperatedly. "Someone to drink?"

"Yes," he says, "someone." He makes the statement like it should be nothing. Like I should want nothing else.

A part of my brain realizes that my throat is on fire. The mention of drinking someone makes the flame that much hotter and all of a sudden it's the only thing I can think about. I nod my head at him, grab my throat to put the flames out, and he seems to notice my discomfort. He starts running out of the building that I was being kept in and after one step outside I realize I'm still in Seattle. However, there is no sun shining today. It's raining again. It wasn't raining when I left my hotel.

I follow Riley to another abandoned building that seems to be close to the docks I remember sitting at. He walks in the front door and I follow. What I see resembles a faint memory that I had once. I see a woman standing close to the door. She has the curliest and reddest hair I've ever seen. She is an inch shorter than me and her skin is as pale as Riley's, her red irises rake over me and she says "I see our newest recruit is awake."

"This is Amanda." Riley states back to her.

"Hello Amanda, I'm glad you survived. You will be a great help to me." she says.

My attention is drawn away from the red head when I hear a thumping noise. It sounds like what my human heart used to sound like. At that thought, my mouth fills with saliva. I'm thirsty all of a sudden and I rush over to where I see the only thing that can cure this burn in my throat. People. I also see that a bunch of others with red irises are surrounding the people in a big circle, but no one is approaching them.

Riley walks over at a lazy pace and stands in front of me with a curious expression on his face. "What do you want to do to them?" he asks me.

I look from the people to Riley and back before I answer. "I don't know why, but I want to bite them here" and I point to a spot on my own neck.

Riley turns to everyone in the circle before he says "I don't have enough for everyone, so you must share. Two to one human." He turns back to me before saying "I'll share with you since you don't know what you're doing. Go ahead."

I run up to the first human I see and snatch them out of the center of the circle. At my movement, everyone else does the same and they begin biting these people. I drag the man I took back to Riley and he motions for me to go ahead. I grab the man around the throat and sink my teeth into his soft flesh. I want the blood that pours into my mouth from him. I barely notice that Riley kneels next to me to take one of the man's ankles in his mouth. Long before I'm ready for the human to run dry, he does. I look over at Riley and say one word that says everything, "More."

I can see in his eyes that he knows what I mean, but he chooses to ignore it. He grabs the body in my arms and proceeds to carry it out to a dumpster next to the building. He tosses the corpse unceremoniously into the dumpster and everyone else proceeds to do the same after they're done. I watch as Riley pours gasoline into the dumpster and sets it alight. He heads my direction before he says "Walk with me."

I go with him willingly up to another floor of the abandoned building we're in. He doesn't say anything to me for a few minutes, but I patiently wait. I take the time to drink in and commit to memory the godlike creature that stands before me. He really is beautiful. He turns to me and says "This might be difficult for you to hear, but the only way I can break this to you is bluntly." He turns to me with a serious expression on his face and says simply "You are now a vampire. You were burning for 3 days and this army that you have been recruited to is going to destroy another coven. We need your help and you can never leave."

The seriousness of the situation was broken when I unceremoniously laughed at him. "I'm a vampire now? Really? The stuff of myth and legend and the excuse for the decay of human bodies back when no one knew better? Do you honestly expect me to believe that?" I ask incredulously.

"Think about what you've just done." he says, "That man you and I drained. We drank his blood and reveled in the relief that it gave. Do you honestly think that you are a myth now?"

I stare at him shocked. I knew he was right because I did just help him kill a human being. I feel nauseous and the first question I have is "What about my sons? I have two babies at home in Georgia. Do you mean to say that I can never see them again? If I am to never leave, what becomes of them? They have no one else." I'm practically shouting by the time I finish my rant. I'm in hysterics. My sons will never see me again. That's not fair! I would do anything for them, I can't just disappear!

"Your sons are meaningless." Riley says. "Your only focus now should be feeding and fighting."

"Feeding and fighting?" I ask sarcastically. "Is that all?"

Riley pretends not to hear my sarcasm. "You have a month to train with the rest of your coven before we destroy our rivals. You will be rewarded if you win fights, and punished severely if you lose."

"Rewarded and punished. Really, Riley? This is bullshit. I will not be punished for failing and what kind of reward would I want more than seeing my sons again?" I ask.

"Your limbs can be detached and reattached as your punishment, though painful, you cannot die from these wounds. You may receive scars while training because the only thing that can scar us is a limb being detached and reattached or a bite from another vampire. The venom in your system burns others like us because it isn't compatible with anyone other than you. The only way for you to die completely is by being burned." Riley states matter-of-factly and continues, "The reward that you are to receive is being given the opportunity to feed freely. This way you do not starve and drive yourself insane from thirst."

I stare at him in shock. This cannot be real. I'm in denial, I know it, but it's a lot to take in even if it seems my brain has the extra processing power to process everything.

Riley continues, "You will start your training in an hour downstairs. You will notice that your brain is able to remember everything that you do with perfect clarity. You have no need to sleep, so you will train until your next time to feed. You do well, and then you can feed. If not, you starve until it's time to feed again. Do not disappoint me."

He turns his back on me and starts walking back towards the staircase. I know he is going back to all of the others. At the door to the stairs he says flatly, "Take this time to say 'goodbye' to your old life and 'hello' to the new one I have given you. Embrace the changes that you find, do not run from them and do not be frightened of them. You are powerful now. Do not make me regret the decision to change you."

I wait until he is out of sight before I drop down to my knees and scream for the losses that I now have. My babies are gone and I can never see them again. My family is gone and they will always wonder what happened to me. I cannot stand the emotional pain I am in. I scream in frustration and anguish. I fall to the floor and curl up into the fetal position and sob uncontrollably. I cannot cry. I feel the venom in my eyes, but it does not fall.

After 45 minutes of self indulgence and self pity, I pull myself up off the floor and begin my way back downstairs. I feel dead inside as well as outside. I have said goodbye to my family and now I cannot feel anything anymore. I notice that everyone is ready to begin training and have all set themselves up in a circle similar to the one we were in while feeding. I walk to an open area in the circle that was obviously meant for me and stand there watching the scene in front of me unfold.

There are two men circling one another in the center. One is very tall and lanky, and the other is his polar opposite. Their eyes don't leave the other as they search for any sign of weakness. As if on cue, they both run at each other with fists flying. The lanky one lands a punch and it sounds like boulders colliding. The round one growls menacingly and tries to grab the offender's limb to rip it off. The lanky one tries to dodge out of the way but fails miserably as his arm is ripped off at the elbow. The noise that follows is one I can never forget. It's a screeching and grating sound like nails on a chalkboard but a thousand times louder. The round one tries to use the dismembered arm as a club to bash the lanky one in the head. He swings it 'round like a baseball bat and the resounding crash that I hear makes me realize that he's made contact. I expect the lanky one to be completely unconscious at this point, but he makes a full come back by swinging his long legs under the big one and dropping him to his ass. I have to stifle a giggle under my hand because the big one has this bewildered look on his face that clearly shows he wasn't expecting that move. That gives the lanky one all the recovery time he needs to get back on his feet and charge the big one again. This time the lanky one uses his height and long limbs to his advantage and keeps the big one at bay. The next kick the lanky one lands is on the big one's back, which makes the big one sprawl out face first on the concrete. That was apparently the opening that the lanky one was looking form because all of a sudden the lanky one has the big one by the hair and his teeth are at the big one's throat.

Apparently from what I see the lanky one won, so he grabs his dismembered arm and licks it before reattaching it below what's left of his elbow. The big one sits up in the center of the circle as Riley comes forward. He stares at the big one with what I can only describe as irritation before he moves. Quicker than any movement I've seen from him yet, Riley has the big one's head in his left hand and his body in his right. He twists his left arm sharply and I see what has been done. The big one has been decapitated. Riley reaches into his pocket to grab a lighter and immediately lights the head he's still holding on fire before throwing it on the body. It's amazing how quickly the flames catch. I make a mental note to stay away from fire for the rest of this miserable existence.

Riley looks back at the rest of us with an angry expression on his face and states, "Your comrade has outlived his usefulness. Let this be a lesson to each and every one of you, if you cannot perform as well as I expect you to, you will be destroyed. Each of you pair up with another and begin learning how to defend yourselves."

A girl no more than 12 or 13 years of age comes over to me. She has straight black hair, bright red eyes, and is dressed in what you would normally see a child of her age wearing. She sticks her hand out for me to shake and says "Hi. My name's Bree."

"Hello Bree." I reply. "I'm Amanda. Forgive me, but how old are you?"

"I was 13 when I was changed by Riley." She replies, "That was a few months ago. That was not the reason I came over, though. I know I may look young, but if I don't find a sparring partner, Riley will punish me next. I seem too young for anyone to want to spar with me, but I don't have a choice."

Her pleading look gets to me, I'll admit, but I just can't see this little girl as a threat. There's a reason why she hasn't been able to learn anything. Riley changed her too young. I know she's not as fragile as she looks, but the thought of hurting someone so young makes me think of my children and I closed myself to those emotions an hour ago.

"I don't think I can spar with you, Bree." I say to her. My voice is raw with emotion and I need to shut that part of my brain off if I want to continue to exist. I say coldly, "Maybe someone else will be willing." I start to walk away from her into the throng of my coven to see if I can work off some of this excess sadness and anger. I need a good outlet and fighting someone just might be the ticket.

Chapter Text

CHAPTER 4

It's been four days since I woke up. There's nothing to look forward to in this life other than training with the others and feeding. I have been told repeatedly that I can never go back home and I think that has finally taken root in my head. I just don't care anymore about anything. I haven't even tried to learn the names of the others I've sparred with. I just don't have the desire to give a shit, really. Whatever this new life I've been brought into is I do not like it. I've seen things the past few days that I should not have had to see and those experiences change a person.

I have been witness to males taking advantage over some of the females in our group, if they don't comply, then the males will rip a limb off and have their way anyway. I've also seen them rape and kill women who were brought in for slaughter. It's deplorable and I can never be close by when anything of the sort is happening. There's a part of my brain that realizes that this isn't right, but the bigger portion of my brain doesn't know what we would do to stop it, so therefore it isn't our problem. I'm lucky, I haven't been taken advantage of or approached that way yet mostly due to my sparring skills. I have a few battle scars, but not as many as there could be. Those self defense classes when I was human were probably the best thing that I could have done in either life. They've saved my ass more than once.

All everyone around here seems to be focused on is our bloody reward. Pun very much intended. The others are not like me, I can feed on a human and I have as reward for good fighting, but the others take it to a whole new level. Whenever most of us hear a heartbeat, we run after it. Venom pools in our mouths and our eyes turn black with desire and thirst. I'm not immune to the sound of a heartbeat, but my reason and my mind are still there. The others aren't like that. They seem to lose themselves to the call of blood in a human's veins. They are sadistic and they seem to gather some form of pleasure from it. I am the newest to join this Army, so I'm not sure if I will become a savage like those that are older in this life than I am, but I really don't want to.

I have managed to evade my prison guards, Riley and Victoria the redhead, for the moment. I say prison guards because it honestly doesn't seem like we have the free will to do anything other than what they tell us to. I don't like having my free will challenged or taken away. I'm an American. We're stubborn like that.

When I was first changed, I thought that Riley was the most beautiful man I had ever seen. Then I got to know him. He may be physically beautiful, but he has a black heart. Everything he says or does just makes me wish I could leave. Temporary evasion before I get caught is about as far as I've come to leaving, though. If I were honest with myself, I don't leave because I don't know what awaits me. Fear of the unknown. Isn't it always? The fear of going to college, getting your first job, getting married for the first time, all of which are "unknowns" at one time or another; yet a part of us always fears these things.

I'm currently stationing myself on the roof of this dilapidated building that we've been in since I was changed. The freedom I get when standing up here is exhilarating to me. No one ever comes up here, for fear of being glittery in the sunlight, but even if they did, I could just jump off and land right back at the bottom without anyone being the wiser.

"Alright everyone," I hear Riley call from far below, "I have more information about this coven that we are preparing to destroy, so everyone listen up!"

Destroying the coven that lives close by seems to be the only thing Victoria and Riley obsess over. It's tiring, to be quite honest. I roll my eyes and jump down from my perch, which would have scared the shit out of me when I was human. It doesn't take me long to hit the ground and head inside to Riley. When I find him, he doesn't look pleased. In fact, furious doesn't even begin to scratch the surface. We all gather in a loose group in front of him waiting on him to continue. We don't have to wait long.

"The time for attack has been postponed." He says. "We don't have near the numbers we need or the experience that we need in order for everyone to survive this. We will be moving camp closer to our target soon, so be prepared to move out. We will add more to our little Army once we arrive."

He turns and stalks off in the other direction without a backward glance. How can we not have the numbers to take them out? This war game is tiring and I'm quite bored of doing the same thing day after day. Training, feeding, training, feeding. It never stops. I need some excitement in this new life and I'm sure as hell not getting it. When I'm about to return to the roof, I see Bree in a corner alone looking terrified. I don't want to stop and help, she's not my problem, but my body won't seem to do as it's told and I find myself sitting beside her.

"Hello Bree." I say. "What are you doing over here? Shouldn't you be out feeding or fighting with the rest?"

"I…I don't…want to go." she says. I can hear the fear in her voice and after I take a good look at her, I can see she's trying to make herself smaller. Almost as if she's trying to hide here. Impossible considering what we are. I wonder why that is. Who or what does she have to fear?

I should just accept her answer and leave her, but can't stop the "What's wrong?" that slips out of my mouth.

"N..nothing." she says shakily.

"Bree, I'm only going to ask you one more time." I state flatly. "What happened?"

She takes a deep breath before she tells me of an encounter that she had with another one of our Army. Apparently she looks like an easy target for others to take advantage. The thought of someone hurting this innocent child infuriates me more than I thought possible. She seems to hate telling me what happened, but I can see she feels a bit better after she's finished. I, however, am so angry that I see red and that's a first for me.

"Who did this to you?" I ask her. My voice is cold, calculating and demanding and she has no choice but to answer.

"Gregory did this to me." She says sadly.

"I never took the time to learn anyone's name other than yours." I tell her, "So which one is he?"

"Over there." and she points to a man, 6'1" tall with brown hair and a beard. He's as wide as he is tall and looks to be built like a brick shithouse. Very lumberjack-y. He's not paying us any attention and is laughing with some others that I know are notorious for doing the exact same thing to other women. I don't know what possesses me, or even why I care, but before I know it I'm on my feet and headed his direction. All my brain can process is that neither he nor his little gang will live out the night for I intend on making every single one of them pay. Dearly.

Gregory looks at me as he sees me walking over and smirks before turning back to his friends. He's acting like I'm not even worth his time of day. I may not be. I'm in ripped and slightly bloody clothing, I have dirt on my face, mud on my clothes, blood in my hair, no shoes, hell I may be ugly as sin after my change, I wouldn't know without being able to shower or see myself properly and I haven't done either since I awoke. That however, does not excuse his behavior and I grab his shoulder to get his attention. He turns around to look at me with a bored expression on his face and I waste no time delivering a textbook uppercut to his jaw that snaps his head back and throws him across the room. It takes him by surprise. Apparently he didn't think I had it in me to attack him and I know I have his attention now. I'm fairly puny compared to his sheer bulk, but I'm also quick and can use that to my advantage.

He runs at me to attack and I hold my ground until the last possible second before I jump up and over him, kicking him in the ass on the way down and making him face-plant in the concrete in the process. I can't help but smile a bit as he charges me again. I think he's going in for another frontal attack, but changes his mind and tries to make a grab at my left side. I see it coming and he barely misses me as I hit the floor. I pop back up, not leaving myself on the ground defenseless as he stares at me. Obviously he's deciding how best to attack and outwit me. What I didn't count on was his goons grabbing me from behind and pinning me to the floor instead.

I may only be a few days old, but even my strength is nowhere near a match for theirs. I growl menacingly as Gregory steps over me, but he ignores it. "Boys," he says menacingly, "strip her and rip her arms off. It's my turn to play." Unfortunately for me, I know exactly what he means and his form of play is nowhere near what mine would be.

Gregory's goons begin to strip me of my clothes, but before they can take my arms, I let out this ear-piercing scream that seems to shatter the few intact windows above us and also has all of these assholes on their knees, covering their ears. I take the opportunity to get up and notice that everyone in the building is in the same position as well as those outside. Well, that's different, but if it gives me an advantage, I'll be glad to take it. As these idiots are recovering from my assault and trying to regain their bearings, I grab Gregory's head and wrench it from his shoulders. It doesn't take me too long to get to the bonfire outside where I throw his head in and gladly watch it burn.

As I move back inside the building, I see Gregory's goons have no idea what has happened to their leader, but they're out for blood, or rather venom. Mine in particular. They charge me and I scream like a banshee again, this time at a higher pitch and watch in glee as they writhe on the floor. It takes no time at all to finish the rest of them off and throw their remains in the fire. I can't help but feel a sense of satisfaction and relief that no one will have to endure their unwanted glances ever again.

Chapter Text

CHAPTER 5

Bree runs over to me and hands me the jacket that she had been wearing. It didn't even occur to me that I had burned all of them completely topless. However, for modesty's sake, I take the jacket with a word of thanks and check to see how she's holding up.

"That was impressive." Bree says to me.

"What was?" I ask. I already know the answer, but that just fills my head with more questions.

"The way you screamed and made not only the glass explode, but caused everyone to fall to their knees." she states. "It felt like nails on a chalkboard, a high pitched ringing, and an explosion all in the same noise. It was deafening. How did you do that?"

"I'm not sure." I tell her honestly. "I just knew that if I screamed, it would make them stop. I guess it was instinct more than anything."

"Huh." she says back.

We stand in silence for a few minutes, just watching the last bits of the goons burn and then she turns and walks off leaving me to my thoughts.

The next day Riley comes over to me to ask me about what happened. He and Victoria were out doing god only knows what, and someone had told him about what I could do. Victoria wasn't pleased that I had killed 4 of her warriors, but I couldn't be bothered to care what she thought. Riley, however was intrigued and wondered how I could have incapacitated an entire group of vampires from just a noise? I wasn't sure and neither was he it seemed, but I needed to find out. Quickly.

From that point on, he would walk me up the stairs in the building as he continued to try working with what he called a 'gift' that I may have. It was infuriating and painful to keep that amount of screaming for elongated periods, and considering I had never screamed when I got bitten in the sparring ring, that was saying something. The pain in my throat was excruciating and took far more blood to soothe it than I would have liked. It was during one of these training sessions that Riley kept insisting on that I began to sing to myself just to calm my nerves. It had helped when I was human, so it couldn't hurt to try now. Riley was aggravating and annoying me and I just wanted him to leave me alone, but he seemed bound and determined to "help" me see the full use of my gift. My temper was rising and I knew if I didn't calm down, I would attack him and then I would be severely punished for that hasty act.

"Riley, I don't understand why I have to keep doing this. We haven't progressed at all and my throat hurts!" I shout at him.

"Amanda, if you are gifted we need you to start testing the full range of that gift. You would be an immense help in defeating the Cullen clan. I really need you to focus and get back to work." he replied back coldly.

"And what if I don't want to? Did you ever think of that Riley? What vendetta do you have against the Cullen's, anyway? Furthermore, what makes you think I even want to be a part of this in the first place? What have they ever done to you?" I shout back.

"They have scared my mate and NO ONE scares Victoria and gets away with it." Riley shouts back. "They have her fearing for her very life and I will END them! All of them. You play a part in this just as much as the rest of them do. Maybe a bigger part. That's the only reason you're even alive."

"What am I supposed to do? Thank you for turning me into this?" I ask. "Because you're sure as hell not getting that!"

He doesn't hesitate before he turns to me and slaps me across the face. It doesn't hurt per se, but it is humiliating. I growl at him with anger flashing in my eyes and turn away from him. He ignores me and says "You will do exactly what I say from now on, or I will pay a very nice visit to your family in Georgia, Amanda. I'm tired of you defying me and I will not stand for it anymore. The only reason you are still alive is because I requested it. You are seriously trying my patience."

I was shocked that he would even know about my family, let alone threaten them. I had never even mentioned why I was in Seattle to start with, nor had I mentioned that I had children awaiting me. How did he find out? More to the point, when did he find out? If he requested me to be turned, I'm sure as hell going to find out why. Maybe this was it, my gift. Is that what he was looking for? I didn't dare ask. Not yet. I would have to butter him up a bit before I broached the subject with him.

"Can I at least have a few minutes, before we continue, to calm myself down?" I ask nicely. I had to play nice. I didn't know how much he already knew about my family, but I was going to prevent him from going as much as I could.

"Fine." He states. "I'll be back after I've fed. You better be prepared by that point."

After he walks back down the stairs, I start thinking about the best thing to calm my frazzled nerves. Music was always my go-to. I used to sing in the car during rush hour traffic, while I was doing chores that I hated, and even just for fun. I hadn't tested out my singing skills in this new body yet, so I might as well give it a go. One of my favorite songs to relax to is Enya's "Watermark", unfortunately it has no words, but I begin to hum and sing the main chords and notes to it. I begin my decent downstairs about halfway through the song and can't fathom what I see when I get back. I see everyone crowded by the staircase and they all seem to be in some sort of daze. Eyes glassy, shoulders down and relaxed, some even have wistful expressions on their faces.

It's a bit unnerving to see everyone, so when I stop humming to ask Bree why she's looking at me the way she is, they all come back to their senses and look at each other confused. I have no idea what happened and I'm not sure they do either, but it's something to inform Riley of when he gets back. Speaking of, I could really use a hunt myself. I take the chaperone-free opportunity that I have and inform Bree that I will be feeding, so if Riley comes back, he'll know I haven't gone far. Homeless are in abundance around here and one or two wouldn't be missed.

As I return, finally free of the burn in my throat, I've had a chance to think about what could have happened with everyone earlier. The only thing that makes sense is that somehow I caused it to happen. Not sure how, but it's another thing Riley and Victoria need to disclose to me. I head back upstairs to the second floor and notice that Riley is back. Sighing heavily, I know it's time to tell him what I found out.

"They were all looking at me with odd expressions. Almost as if they were stuck in pleasant memories. They all seemed a bit disoriented when I finally stopped, though." I said to him.

"Well, I'm glad that you've chosen to cooperate Amanda. Now let me have a demonstration. Would you please grab 3 of the others and bring them up here?" He asks.

"Sure." I state as I run to the stairs. I knew who I would get first and foremost, Bree. The rest, I didn't really care, but I knew she would be honest about what she was experiencing. After I spoke with Bree, she suggested two others join us. Matt and Dave. I'm not sure why she chose those two, but I wasn't going to ask. I'm sure she had her reasons.

We walked back up to the second floor and Riley placed me in front of all 3 of them. He asked me to think of another calming song, so I thought about it for a minute and came up with a Florence and the Machine song. "Never Let Me Go" was rather good, and I had perfect recollection of how it sounded, so once I had told Riley my choice, I had begun.

"Looking up from underneath
Fractured moonlight on the sea
Reflections still look the same to me
As before I went under"

As I began to sing, I noticed that Riley as well as the others had a very unfocused look in his eyes. He must be feeling the effects of whatever this is as well. That probably wasn't quite so good. I would need him focused so he could explain this to me. As I began the second verse, I placed my hands at my sides, curved them to form them into a concave shape, and focused just on the 3 in front of me. It seemed to be working, so I kept singing and kept focusing on getting Riley out from under my influence. By the first round of the chorus, he was himself again and trying very hard not to look excited. He kept motioning me to continue until I finished the song.

As everyone returned to their senses after the last note, Bree was the first to speak. "That was amazing!"

"I know what she means." Matt said.

"It was almost like being on the ocean floor, just laying there, forgetting all of your problems. You could even see the reflected moonlight on the water and feel the sand under your fingers." Said Dave.

"I'm not sure how you managed to do this, Amanda," said Riley, "but I will work with you to better improve your technique and see if you can, over time, influence just one person, multiples, or go back and forth between them. I need to talk to Victoria about this and see if she's heard of such a gift before."

I had never seen Riley so enthusiastic. Ever. About anything. He continued to surprise me by telling me to take the rest of the night to enjoy myself. I was apparently free of any duties until he heard back from Victoria. He even told me of a house near here where I would find clothes and a hot shower. I asked him why he was just telling me now and he said simply, "You had to earn it sweetheart and that icy personality wasn't getting you anywhere".

I ran off in the direction that he told me and came upon a dilapidated old house about a mile from our camp. Riley, Victoria, and at least 3 others had been here recently. I could smell them everywhere. However, I was more interested in the luxurious shower, full and fluffy towels included, and full closet of clean clothes and shoes that I found.

I was in heaven when I stepped under that hot water. I savored every drop of it as it ran over my skin. I could see all of the dirt and blood that had been on me was washing right down the drain. That left me able to see my new body with clearer eyes than I ever had before. My tattoos were still where I had put them, thank God, and even they stood out in sharp contrast to skin that could give my Connor a run for his money. I wasn't sure how they would have held up under the transformation. Unscented shampoo, conditioner, and body wash were all waiting for me and I almost squealed in delight. Before I knew it, I had shampooed my hair twice, conditioned it, and started washing the rest of me. I stayed in the shower a bit longer than was completely necessary, still relishing in the cleanliness.

Eventually I did get out and wrap myself in a really fluffy towel. A part of my brain was calculating exactly how fluffy, but the main part didn't care. I was cleaner than I had been in almost a week and it was a lovely feeling. I stayed in the bathroom to fix my hair and got a really good look in the mirror. My hair had actually changed color. It was still red, but this was a darker, more striking tone of the shade. My eyes were red, too which was a bit unnerving, although expected, but they matched my hair almost perfectly. I noticed that my face now held only sharp lines and accentuated all of the features I had grown to love about my face, without any of the negative things like crow's feet or excess roundness around my jawline. The muscles in my arms looked more defined, although the bite scars stood out in sharp contrast to the perfection, but it somehow made me feel better having them and showing them off. The same went for my torso and my legs. So, the venom makes us runway models? Who would have known that? Pleased by what I had seen, I wrapped my hair in a towel and made my way over to the closet. I found some frilly underwear in a drawer hidden behind the closet door, so I put that on, followed by a basic black tank top with built-in bra, dark wash jeans with a boot cut, and I finished the look off with a pair of black motorcycle boots. This felt right, this new look. It fit the new me and I loved it.

I go back into the bathroom to see the whole outfit and make sure I can pull it off. Satisfied, I take my gaze away from my body long enough to start the always arduous process of getting my hair to cooperate, but find that my hair is silky, smooth, tangle free, and has decided to fall in a wavy cascade down my back. I may be a bit vain, but I have to admit that I like the new look. It suits the new me. As I head back to camp, I grab a black leather motorcycle jacket to complete my badass ensemble and walk out the door. Now I just have to prove that I have the badass attitude that the clothes insist I have. I may have to work on that one.

Chapter Text

CHAPTER 6

It has been several months since my change. Time holds no value to me anymore, so I don't really pay attention to its passing. Riley and I have made several fascinating discoveries over the past few months about my gift. Depending on how and what I sing, I can influence those around me to take the literal meaning from the songs and either get riled up enough to fight, calm enough to fully relax, tell me truths that they've never told anyone else, start a feeding frenzy, spread mass amounts of chaos amongst unsuspecting townsfolk, and even see something that I want them to. Case in point, when Bree, Matt and Dave seemed to be lying on the ocean floor.

Victoria seems over the moon at the possibilities that my gift can be used for, but I have a mind of my own and don't use my voice to my advantage too often. That could cause major problems. Especially now that I've learned that I can mimic other sounds I hear, including voices, I'm a bit more cautious in regards to how my gift is used. Riley has told me that I am what they call a Siren, similar to the ones in Greek mythology. I suppose if I really wanted to, I could lure unwary travelers to their death. Maybe I could try that the next time I hunted that way I don't hunt any innocents. Technically speaking, I would be Death in that scenario considering that my main food source is the exact same as the Sirens of old. Although, I find the thought of sitting on shoals in the middle of the ocean in a skimpy outfit a bit far-fetched and boring.

We moved our little gang of misfits from one dilapidated building to another a few weeks later, but this one was apparently closer to the Cullen's. I had stopped calling us an Army at this point. We weren't one and I think the only thing Victoria was concerned about was numbers. She didn't care if any of us, apart from me and possibly Riley, lived or died. She had started off as a very strict leader, but I think her patience was wearing thin. She didn't care what we did now, or about the chaos that we seemed to cause, as long as none of us died before the fight. I think she was just hoping that her numbers would be overwhelming. I did like this new location, though. We were well hidden and we had the advantage of a mountain at our back, so nothing could really sneak up on us. Riley also changed 5 more people while we were moving and now our zoo crew was at 20, not including Riley, Victoria, or myself. I was in charge of helping the others through their transformations. I wasn't sure how it was going to work, but I thought that at least they would hear me and understand that they would be waking up to a different life. At least I had found a song that was appropriate enough under the circumstances. "Burn" by In This Moment was the one I was currently singing, and I would be for the next few days until they all awoke.

I feel this is the beginning
The beginning through the end
There's nothing left to fear now
So watch me close as once again you

Burn me alive
Set me on fire
And watch me die
Burn me alive
Watch me resurrect
Right before your eyes

There's no reason to cry now
There's nothing to forgive
This suffering's my blessing
The death of sin is how I live
Burn me alive
Set me on fire
And watch me die
Burn me alive
Watch me resurrect
Right before your eyes
Set me on fire
And watch me burn
Set me on fire
And watch me

Burn me alive
Set me on fire
And watch me die
Burn me alive
Watch me resurrect
Right before your eyes

The literal meaning to the words is what I was after. Metaphors didn't work with my gift, anyway. That way at least these newbies knew that the burning that we all go through is a necessary part of this life and they would be prepared for something completely new when they awoke. Not that they would be my problem, they wouldn't. Riley took the charges under his care, but they were also completely savage. I wonder why I wasn't like that when I awoke. I wanted answers more than anything at the time, not to mention the opportunity to go home. So perhaps I kept more of my mind than others because I had something to return to? It was a thought for another day.

I was still waiting on the leaving option. I knew that as soon as this group attacked the Cullen's, I would make a break for it. Out of this miserable life and back home. That was the plan anyway. All I had to do was bide my time. Pretend that I was here for the greater good. Pretend that I believed every word that Riley and Victoria had said. It made me want to vomit blood into their faces, but I played my part well by seeming to forget my human life entirely and they bought it. That was all I could ask for…for now.

It was a normal day, just like any other when I saw them. A male and a female were walking towards where our camp was situated. They were covered in scars like mine, but the female less so. Riley seemed wary of them, but I trusted them immediately and completely. I couldn't figure out why, but I did. We all ran outside to meet them before they got too close. Riley of course was the speaker of our group, but before he even began to speak, the male stranger spoke first.

"Word has it that y'all are plannin' on takin' down the Cullen's." he says conversationally. "Is that true?"

"Perhaps," says Riley "but what is it to you?"

"Look," says the male again, "I don't have no bone to pick with any of y'all, but I my mate and I would like to have a go at them, too."

"Oh really?" says Riley. "And why is that?"

"Well," the male says "they have in their coven a woman. She has done wrong by my mate and me and has gone to the Cullen's to seek refuge. Normally, I ain't one to ask for help. Hell, we were both in the Southern Wars and lived to tell the tale so we can handle ourselves pretty good, but my mate and I can't attack a coven like that on our own without sufferin' loss and I ain't puttin' either of us in harm's way unless we can win."

"Who told you we were attacking the Cullen's?" asked Riley.

"Word travels between nomads. I came up here as soon as I found out. I want vengeance for my mate and me, and if that means joinin' y'all to get it, then that's what I'll do." says the stranger.

"What are your names?" I ask.

Riley looks at me completely infuriated that I had the gall to speak out of place, but he lets it slide. For now.

"Peter is my name, and that's Charlotte." He says.

"Peter and Charlotte Whitlock?" Victoria chimes in unexpectedly.

"The very same, ma'am." Peter says.

Victoria continues, "I've heard those names in several circles. You once fought side by side with The Major, did you not?"

"Yes ma'am we did." he says, but chooses not to elaborate.

"Very well," Victoria says "You are free to join us. Your reputation precedes you. I would be lucky to have you fight for us."

"Very much obliged, ma'am." Says Peter.

As Peter and Charlotte pass me to walk into the building we've made our home for the moment, I nod my head to both in greeting, but keep my eyes down. They have far more scars than I ever thought one body could hold. The ones I have that I'm so proud of are nothing compared to the pair before me. I wonder what their lives have been like, how they met, who this Major is that Victoria seems to be so fond of, and why is it that I completely trust them? None of this makes any sense, so I run off to hunt somewhere. Perhaps a full belly is what I need for a clear head.

Chapter Text

Jasper POV

CHAPTER 7

The Pixie was up to something. She had been having visions more frequently and they were filled with some unnerving emotions from her. Deceit, anger, sadness. She had been very unlike her usual bubbly self since these particular visions started, but she hadn't been sharing the full extent of 'em like she normally would. Maybe she was looking too far in the future and her visions weren't as clear as they normally were? Maybe she was nervous about what was happening in Seattle? It's true that we were all a bit worried about the situation, but no one other than me wanted to go check it out for ourselves. Courtesy of the Pixie's interference, I wasn't even able to sneak away to get a better grasp on what we would soon be facing. Damn seer.

I wasn't really mad at her, I loved her with all of my heart even though she could be annoying and irritating at times. Her happiness is what came first to me, but I was still frustrated that I couldn't go check the threat myself. Every time I had made a conscious decision to do so, Ali had stopped me in my tracks saying something about 'not being able to see' what would happen. I mean, I understand that she's worried for my safety and as mates I can reciprocate, but if this is as bad as I think it is, then we need to be fully prepared for what's coming and from what I've seen we aren't anywhere near close to ready.

I've been getting more and more restless as the days dwindle on. The only form of information I've had in the past six months about this, and the only comfort I can seem to gain, is leaving the local news on in my study so I can keep an eye on what's happening. I now spend most of my time in here, sitting at my desk, just listening to the news. From the information I can gather, the "wildly active serial killer" that they assume is causing all of these disappearances plus the addition of "heavy gang violence" that also seems to be causing one hell of a ruckus can only mean one thing. Newborns and lots of 'em. It all makes perfect sense. At least in my mind.

All of the chaos that these newborns are causing reminds me a lot of what I went through in the Southern Wars. Back then, as Major Jasper Whitlock and second in command of Maria's army, I probably would have gotten similar press coverage, if they would have had it, from all the damage I helped inflict. Most of what these newborns are doing is causing panic in the general population. I can see the point, adrenaline makes the human's blood taste that much sweeter, but I can also gather that they aren't as controlled as I had once kept my brood, courtesy of my own gift. It's almost as if who controls 'em just wants the chaos. If that's the case, it's really not a good plan.

Most of these newborns won't live out their first year and I know that from personal experience, so they don't ever get the 'education' that they so desperately need to live this way. I didn't until after I left Maria. However, they also don't know that there are higher powers that can put a stop to their existence really fuckin' quick if they so choose. I'm surprised the Volturi haven't already made an appearance long before this. In the Wars, they would be dispatched fairly quickly to eliminate any threat of exposure that they saw. Truth be told, back in those days they would have been dispatched to take care of the threat long before it got as bad as it is now. That's what has me worried.

Ever since my idiot brother fell in love with a human our lives have been…different. When Alice left with Bella to go to Volterra and 'save' Eddie dearest, I nearly lost it. My mate all the way in Volterra without me to protect her. I know that she can handle herself, but I was still infuriated with her when she got back. Ever since then, she's been more distant with me and, even though it hurts a bit, I can understand her hesitation. I wasn't exactly filled with fuckin' rainbows and butterflies when I saw her at the airport and I'm not exactly the 'forgive and forget' type, but even though she did come back in one piece I still wasn't fully able to prevent the Major from coming out to verbally rip her a new asshole.

I will give the Pixie credit though, she took my verbal lashing like a champ. I still can't really remember what all I said to her considering I wasn't there for most of it, but whatever it was it must have worked because she hasn't been pushing my buttons quite as much as she usually would. It almost seems like I never get any alone time anymore, so the reprieve I have is kind of nice considering that I haven't had to shop with her recently, or go hunting with her, or be with her constantly, and she hasn't gotten pissed off if I call Peter and Charlotte just to see how they're holding up. It's been fairly nice. Lonely occasionally, but nice.

I snap out of my reverie when I hear a knock at my study door. Everyone knows not to come in here unless given permission. All of my books, my sturdy oak desk, my Civil War uniform, my Major's sword, and everything else that holds actual meaning in my life is in here and I don't want it fucked around with. I reply with a lazy drawl "Yeah?" before the scent of honey, oranges and lilies and the feeling of curiosity with an undercurrent of deception and hostility assaults me.

"Hi Jazz, what are you doing in here all by yourself?" asks Alice as she walks across the room.

"Jus' watchin' the news." I drawl out. My Texan accent is still fairly thick when I speak, but I honestly haven't wanted to try to get rid of it. I have to be a bit rebellious every now and then. It's too much fun to speak this way when I know it annoys everyone else in this family, who make it a point to speak so prim and proper all the time. Well, except Emmett who lets his slip a bit when he's angry, but tries to hold it in all the same.

"You aren't still thinking about going to Seattle, are you?" Alice asks. I can hear as well as feel the irritation in her voice. Almost like she would rather be anywhere else but here; discussing anything else other than this. I can completely agree. It's not like we haven't had this discussion, or something similar to it, every day for the past four months.

"Now why would I go and do a damn fool thin' like that?" I ask incredulously. "Especia'ly since we seem to be havin' this exact same conversation. Every. Single. Day. I get it, Alice. I ain't goin'."

She looks at me with one eyebrow raised and her arms crossed over her chest. I can feel her annoyance and disbelief with me, but I pay it no mind. "Well, I got a vision of you heading off that direction…again…and wanted to come remind you that you can't go because I can't see what will happen if you do!" She starts her tirade at a normal level, but by the end she's shouting at me.

I look at her eyes wide in utter disbelief that she raised her voice to me. I'll admit that the thought had crossed my mind, but I dismissed it just as quickly. I knew I wasn't going to actually be able to go without serious Pixie interference. I know she's only trying to help in her own way, but my eyes narrow in anger and I can't help the next thing that comes out of my mouth. "It ain't like you don't already know, but I don't need reminders, Alice. We're vamps, darlin'. We remember." I reply.

We stare each other down for a few minutes, both angry now. I won't break eye contact first and never have. No one challenges me and gets away with it. Not even Alice. As I knew she would, she breaks first, huffs at me and turns and stalks away, slamming the door behind her. I'll admit that I may have been a bit cold, but I absolutely hate being bossed around and I hate being told something more than once. Like I said, we remember the first time. Those two things could get someone on my 'shit list' real quick. I mean hell, I wasn't the youngest Major in the Texas Cavalry or Maria's 'Major' and 'God of War' by second-guessing my own decisions. There is no excuse for someone second guessing or challenging me. Ever.

I know I'm going to have to apologize about my snarky attitude eventually, but I really don't want to right yet. It's not like she won't see it coming beforehand anyway. All I really have to do is commit to apologizing and she'll see it happen. I sigh heavily and continue to watch the news reporter discuss what or who could be the cause of so much devastation in Seattle. Overturned cars, demolished buildings, gigantic holes in the pavement that seem to have come from out of nowhere, and it's only getting worse. Maybe I should call Peter and see if he can scout for me. It's not like he has anything better to do.

I reach over and grab my cell off the corner of the desk. It's almost like magic how my phone starts ringing in my hands and has my study filling up with notes from "The Devil Went Down to Georgia". I don't know why, but I've always thought that song appropriate for Peter.

"Captain," I answer delightedly, "what can I do for ya?"

"Major." Peter says in greeting before continuing, "I got a feeling ya might need me soon, so instead of waiting for your pansy ass to call, I figured I'd call first. Whaddya need?"

It's amazing to me how much I miss having Peter and Char with me. They always seem to know what I need before I need it. I would never tell 'em this, mainly for fear that I would never live it down, but I really am glad that they've always been there for me no matter the circumstances.

"I have a problem." I state.

"No shit, Major." Peter retorts with a chuckle. "I wouldn't be callin' if everythin' was fuckin' double-rainbows and unicorns."

I can hear Char in the background just laughing her ass off. Peter sure is something else. I have to give her credit, though. Char can hold her own.

"Alright." I reply. "I believe we have a newborn situation up here in Seattle. Do y'all think you can do some scoutin' for me and report back what you find?"

"Newborns, huh? What the fuck are they doin' in Seattle? That don't make no fuckin' sense." Peter replies.

"It actually does make fuckin' sense." I reply. "There's a hell of a lot of people in Seattle. That means more blood to farm out. That also means that whoever is doin' this wants territory, but what I can't see is the reason behind it. The warlords of the South never made any armies this far North. I just don't understand what would be the motivator for that to change now."

"Do ya think Maria is behind this, Major?" Peter asks. "She does want ya back somethin' fierce."

"Nah, it doesn't seem to be her style. I know the last time I spoke to her that she didn't wanna give up on me, but this just seems too loud and too obvious for her." I state.

"Well," Peter begins, "you'd know her better than anyone else, so I believe ya. Char and I'll head that way immediately. We'll report back in 48."

After Peter disconnects the call, I can't help but be a little relieved. In two days at least we'll have some idea of what awaits us and how we can beat it. Worst case scenario, I'll have to teach the rest of my family to fight, but it's not like we've never sparred before. I know they could pick up a few moves quickly if the need arises. I just worry about Carlisle and Esme. I know that they abhor violence at any cost, but they may not get much say in the matter. I wonder idly how I'll have to break it to 'em if it comes down to it. It won't be easy, that's for damn sure.

As I start to think of the best moves to teach my family and strategize around that, I hear a tentative knock at my study door. What is it with these people? Can I not get even a few hours to think before I get interrupted?

"Yeah?" I drawl once again.

Surprisingly it's not Alice who enters, but Esme, for which I'm glad. That means I don't have to deal with Alice just yet. Esme smiles at me before asking if she can sit by me. I nod my head to acknowledge her and she sits in companionable silence with me for a while. I can feel her contentment and her love flowing out of her in waves. She really is just here to sit with me and keep me company. It's a nice change from what I was used to. After about an hour she breaks the news.

"Alice told us that you called Peter. She's not too thrilled with your decisions right now." She states matter-of-factly.

Of course she wouldn't be. It's almost like she doesn't want anyone knowing what's happening until it's too late. "Well, truth be told, he called me." I reply. "I'm not sure why Alice doesn't want me goin' myself and since she's my mate I will honor her wishes, but I need to know what's really goin' on in Seattle. He offered his assistance as a scout and I saw no reason to deny him. He'll be in touch in two days. I just wanna be prepared for what's there, Esme."

"I understand, son." She states back. "To be honest, I'm not sure if waiting as long as we have has been the best option. You would know more than I would about such things, but I do not think it bad that we have at least a little knowledge of what we face if, or rather when, we decide to act."

She put a bit more emphasis on the 'when' than I expected. She knows that this is the right move even if Alice doesn't agree with it. Esme will do anything and everything in her power to protect her family and I can feel her protectiveness and determination heavy in the air around me. If I can train her to fight properly, Carlisle could very well have a little hellion on his hands. I may as well take the opportunity to ask her if she's interested. Wouldn't hurt.

"Esme," I begin, "how would ya feel about possibly taking some fightin' lessons from me, just in case it comes down to it? I know that you and Carlisle try to avoid violence at all costs, but we may not have much choice here." I look at her somberly, not really apologizing, but willing her to understand.

"Ha," she laughs, "it's not me you're going to have to convince, son. It's your father." She stands and ruffles my hair affectionately. "Although," she continues, "I could assist by breaking the idea to him myself. I trust your training and knowledge more than anyone else's. I'm sure he would love to hear your side of things, but he can never refuse me. Why not take advantage when I have the chance to protect those I love?"

She does raise a very good point. I can only hope that Carlisle feels the same. Sometimes compassion can get you killed and I think he may be our only real 'weak link'. He doesn't seem to have the desire to let out his 'inner demon' for any reason. I'm not even sure he has one. Although, if he does, then I need to find a way to let it come out and play. I can only hope he would be willing to try. He may actually find it fun.

Time passes. I'm not sure how much time. I don't really pay that much attention to it nowadays. I know I still haven't heard back from Peter and I'm growing impatient. I know he'll call me when he said he would, but I can't help but wonder what could be keeping him. To occupy my mind I have mentioned the possibility of fight training to Rose and Emmett. They are both on board, although Emmett may be a little too excited about it. Rose should be able to keep him distracted until I hear from Peter, but I don't have long before his attention is focused on trying to take me down…again. Pretense for training or not.

Esme and Carlisle are also on board. Shocking as that is, it would seem that Esme did get Carlisle to consider the alternatives and what he considered he obviously wasn't happy about. That just leaves the Pixie and Edwierd. I haven't seen either of 'em since Alice left my study, but I'm not concerned. Eddie usually stays with Bella all the time now, and I've been given the silent treatment from Alice before. It usually winds up with Alice shopping for a few days, where the phrase 'shop 'till you drop', has a more literal meaning, and then coming back to burn all the clothes in her closet just to replace 'em with what she bought. I've never really understood either one's actions, but neither of their behaviors are anything new.

I go off by myself to hunt. I tell Carlisle and Esme that I'll be gone until I hear from Peter. By then I should have the information I need and a plan to execute all of these infuriating newborns. Hopefully Peter will call soon. I really don't have much to do until he does.

Chapter Text

Alice POV

CHAPTER 8

Damn it! Damn it! Damn it! Why did they have to go and change her of all people? Why? I'm so livid I'm surprised I don't have smoke coming out of my ears! Everything was perfect in my life until that decision was made. I had a vision a week ago that someone was stalking her, but I couldn't get a clear read on who she was or why she was important. Just some random stranger on a Seattle street. Now that she's been changed, I understand and I do not like.

Jasper hasn't been oblivious to my visions, but he's waiting patiently for me to go to him and explain. He just doesn't understand that I can't. How would I even begin to explain this? Nothing I ever said or did for him was a lie, but of course he'd be wrecked if he knew. That I did see.

That's why I'm on a mission to Seattle myself. To sort this. I know that Peter called, so that would be a distraction and possibly get me the time I needed to complete this. He thinks I've given him the usual silent treatment, so I'll need to make it convincing when I get back. Instead, my mission is to find her and destroy her. If I don't, everything I live for will be gone. One look, that's all it would take and he wouldn't be mine anymore. He wouldn't ever forgive me if he knew, but she's too dangerous to be kept alive.

Need drives me. I find the Army right where I knew I would. I'm downwind, so they can't smell me and none of them has a gift to sense me here, so this is a good vantage point. They aren't hiding very well, not like it would matter to me. I see three people, two red heads and a sandy blonde, standing in the middle of a circle of around twenty newborns. One of them is who I'm after, one is not who I expected, and the last, a male with the sandy hair, I don't recognize. I see Victoria start forward. She is speaking to what is obviously her Army, but because she's speaking so quietly I can't quite hear what she's saying. So she's the one behind this. It's a blunt way to handle a single human, but unfortunately it's effective. Jasper has told me over the years how much damage newborns can cause when not controlled. I'm actually surprised that they aren't fighting with each other and have a calm enough mind to take orders.

The sandy blonde one comes forward and introduces the second red head. His voice is a bit louder, so I can make out what he's saying.

"Amanda is now our third in command. Without her gift, we would not be able to grow this Army to its full potential without the threat of infighting. Please show her the same amount of respect that you show to Victoria and I. She is a great asset and a wonderful fighter."

Another male in the crowd looks at Amanda curiously, "What is it that she can actually do?" He asks.

"I think a demonstration is in order, what do you think?" sandy asks Amanda.

The sandy male looks over at Amanda and gestures for her to move forward. He stops her and whispers something in her ear, when she looks at him and nods, he pulls away. I can get a better look at her now that she's not standing behind anyone. Her hair is a different shade of red from Victoria's fiery locks, it's darker…like the actual color of blood and falls in ominous waves down her back to in between her shoulder blades. She's tall, I would say 5'8" from this angle and thin. Though not overly so. Her face is striking, even with the scars of battle criss-crossing patterns over her, she high cheekbones and deep hollows, but her eyes are what capture me. They're the exact same color as the red of her hair. Deep blood red. I've never seen a vampire's eyes that color before. I have to say that Amanda's beauty does make me a bit jealous, but I still don't really see what makes her powerful enough to have Victoria of all people trust her.

Amanda smiles at sandy and says with a slight Southern twang to her voice, "Thank ya, Riley." That makes me shudder in the worst way. I hate that accent and have been trying to wean Jazz off of it for decades. I know that name 'Riley'. It takes a minute to register in my head, but I bet that's Riley Biers. The boy who has been missing for over a year. I'll feel bad that his parents will never get answers as to what happened to him. He'll just be a cold case in a dusty file somewhere.

I get hit with a vision of me laying, eyes wide and unseeing, laying in the dirt a few seconds before Amanda opens her mouth. She stands facing most of the crowd, with the palms of her hands facing forward and her fingers splayed out. I think she's about to speak and explain what she can do, but I don't hear any words. I see both Riley and Victoria cover their ears and I idly wonder why before I feel it. What does assault me is hypnotic. The most beautiful vocal music I've ever heard has me completely enraptured and it seems to be coming from Amanda herself. There are no words, yet I can feel my body responding, relaxing at every note, enjoying the sensations of calm and happiness that are infusing themselves in my very soul. Time means nothing. Movement means nothing. Self-preservation means nothing. I could listen for the rest of my life and never tire.

I'm not sure how much time passes before the assault finally stops. It could have been seconds or days. I'm quick to get on my feet and notice that I wasn't the only one affected. Everyone surrounding Amanda, Victoria, and Riley seem to be in the same position I was. Unseeing and laying down on the ground. I now understand why Victoria and Riley covered their ears. Seeing other vampires incapacitated like that, just from a voice, is not a comforting sight. Especially if the vampire wielding that power is not fighting for you, but against you.

I've heard one of Carlisle's friends, Zafrina, can make you see anything her still heart desires. She makes you believe you are really wherever it is she puts you. This is different. Amanda can actually influence a hypnotic state among our kind and hypnosis in a fight isn't good. Her voice could be lethal. That's why Alec is feared so much in the Volturi Guard. His gift is similar, but instead of hypnotizing you, he cuts off all of your senses using a mist-like substance.

I refocus on the group as they all come to their senses, snarling at Amanda. That could be beneficial to me. The Army hates what they've just been through and now they're pissed. Riley comes forward to speak to Amanda again. Whatever he says to her, she seems compliant with. Not happy, but compliant.

"Amanda has just demonstrated for you one effect that her talent has. Her voice is our greatest weapon. She can take an entire rival Army down with just a few notes, but that is not all she is capable of." Riley states as he looks at Amanda proudly.

"You mean to tell me that there's more?!" A blonde female almost yells.

"Much, much more." I hear Riley's voice, but he didn't speak. Instead, Amanda continues to speak, borrowing Riley's voice. "You all are probably wondering why there hasn't been any fighting amongst us in the past few months, am I right? Well, truth be told I have been quietly singing to myself every day over the past few months. Singing was something I did to calm my nerves when I was human. It was actually Riley who made me aware of, and helped me better control, my gift. Apparently I was calming everyone around me as well as myself without even realizing it. I can also mimic any sound that I hear. Any. Sound. That means voices, cars, rain, and even the wind."

I stare at Amanda a bit shocked. Having someone else's voice is extremely creepy. It's like a part of you is being stolen and mutilated into something else entirely. What she could do with that voice was way too risky. I've seen two very different demonstrations from her and there's no telling what all she could do. If she sang a certain song, I may be willing to throw myself on a pyre without thinking twice. Not good at all.

I can see her hand fly up to her throat. She must not be too old to this life yet, but she's still a force to be reckoned with. She turns to ask Riley and Victoria for permission to hunt so she can cool the soreness in her throat. Since she has been successful in her endeavors this evening, she's given permission and runs off towards the city. I follow her to see if I can catch her off guard during her bloodlust. That would be the perfect time to strike. She had to be dealt with for more than one reason. A) Because my family would be defenseless if we met them in battle. You can't fight by keeping your ears covered and earplugs and earmuffs can only do so much for a vampire. B) This woman was going to take Jasper from me. She was his true mate.

Chapter Text

Alice POV

CHAPTER 9

I follow Amanda to a dingy part of the city where she hides in an alleyway awaiting her next meal. She doesn't seem to notice me, so I get a bit closer to her. To a human, this alley would be very dark and near impossible to see anything. To us, however, we could see everything. She was standing at the mouth of the alleyway just patiently waiting. I was shocked to see several groups of people walk by without her attacking them. She must not be as new as I thought.

We wait for several hours before her body tenses up. I focus my attention in the same direction as hers and see a tall man, short black hair, clean shaven, blue eyes, and has a scowl plastered over his face. She must have been waiting for him. He starts to head towards the alley, seeming to want to pass it until Amanda steps out. She looks down, avoiding eye contact, and proceeds to talk to him about something. He excitedly nods his head and follows Amanda further into the alley, away from the street.

I have to keep myself hidden further up on a roof of one of the buildings that makes this alley, but I can tell she's probably offered him something to get him to follow her. It's amazing how thick some men can be. I can hear his heart racing, but I can't tell if it's from excitement or fear. Perhaps a mixture of both.

Then she does something that I did not expect. She stares directly into his eyes and begins to sing.

 

"No light, No light

In your bright blue eyes

I never knew daylight could be so violent

A revelation in the light of day

 

I know the song. "No Light, No Light" by Florence and the Machine. With the others, she sang and made them all feel her influence. Now, I can see that she can focus it on a single target. He seems to be completely taken by the sound of her voice. Acting as though he's a lost puppy awaiting his owner.

 

You can't choose what stays and what fades away

 

I see now what she's doing. She's telling him that no matter what, he will die this night. There's nothing he can do or say to change her mind.

 

And I'll do anything to make you stay

 

I get this line, too. She knows she will drain him, but she wants him to be a willing sacrifice to her. That mindset is just deplorable.

 

No light, No light

Tell me what you want me to say"

 

On the last line, she leaves an open ended statement. Almost like she expects him to answer. Surprisingly he does.

"Kill me." He says.

"Why would I do that?" she asks.

"Because you are right." He replies.

"About what?" she asks. She's playing with him now. Getting him to admit something to her. What it is, I hope I don't have to wait long.

"I am violent. I am not a good person." He replies.

"What are your crimes?" she asks. This is different. She can influence someone to tell her anything just from a chorus of a song? Granted, it is a good song, but still. He doesn't hesitate to answer her.

"I use women. I hunt them. When I find one I like, nothing can stop me from getting what I want." He says. This seems to anger Amanda and she wastes no time.

"Thank you for your sacrifice." She says to him before she bites him. Surprisingly there's no screaming, no fighting for his life, just a grudging acceptance that he knew this was his payback for all that he had done.

I'm so shocked by what I've seen that I can't move. She has drained him completely, left him in a dumpster, set it alight, and run back to the Army before I can even think to move. I start to head back to the Army's camp and try to come up with ideas for getting rid of her. She's more lethal than I've come to believe. The only way to possibly take her down is by either becoming a friend and confidant, or by sneak attack. I do know one thing, I'm going to need some help. I obviously cannot do this alone. The question is, who would be willing to help me?

Perhaps Peter and Char would be willing to help. I never really liked them, they're too crass, have no manners, and they're human drinkers. However, I may be able to play on their love for their Major. All I have to do is call and ask. Perhaps they could help by infiltrating the camp as others that want the 'golden eyes' gone. I'll tell them that I was worried for Jasper and I had a vision that this red headed nightmare was going to kill him if they ever met in battle. As far as they know, my visions have never been wrong and why would I lie about something like this? Especially concerning Jasper's safety. They will never doubt me and they shouldn't tell Jasper if I don't want them to. I can play on his macho 'I can beat anyone' attitude. It's foolproof. Now I just have to make that call.

Chapter Text

Peter POV

CHAPTER 10

It had only been about 36 hours since I'd contacted the Major and I know his patience would be runnin' out soon. Char and I had made it to Seattle a while ago and were able to find this newborn army without much fuss. They weren't exactly keeping quiet while they were here. I had made it here in time to see the "demonstration" of their 3rd in charge and, lucky for us, I told Char to cover her ears about a second before the song assaulted everyone around us.

The Major would say that I had a gift, my Char would say that I just "knew shit", but I just thought I had luck on my side. Lucky that I was already travellin' before I called the Major, lucky that we got here in time to see this amazin' demonstration, and luckier still that we didn't seem to be the only ones doing some scoutin'. As soon as all the others hit the ground from Amanda's gift, I heard a 'thunk' from fairly close to us. So I sent Char to see what it was, but told her to keep her ears covered. What I did not expect is who she told me she found layin' on the ground about a hundred feet away.

"It's the Pixie, Pete" she said.

"What in sam hill is the Pixie doin' here?" I asked. I didn't honestly expect an answer, but sometimes I ask dumb questions out loud.

"I wouldn' know, Pete." Char said. "Didn' the Major say that he couldn' come here because she couldn' see what would happen if he did?"

"Yeah." I said back. "Still don't make no sense why she would be here."

"Maybe you should call the Major and let him know. I doubt he knows what's goin' on or even where she is." Char said.

I know if it were me, I'd want to know where my mate was if she just ran off. Not that Char would do that. Refuse sex as punishment? Yes. Run off? No.

"He'll also be wantin' to know what all we've found out about this." I say gesturing to the vamps down the hill from us. "Especially that red head." I say pointin' to Amanda. "There's somthin' about her, Char. I don't know what, but I get a feelin' about her."

Char sits down beside me and we continue to watch as Amanda runs off, I guess to hunt, and comes back several hours later. Nothin' much happens in the interim. Groups of vamps sparrin' with eachother. It's sad to see how untrained they all are. They won't stand a chance against the Major. It's almost sad. We didn't have to wait for somethin' entertainin' to happen too long after that, cause who do we hear from? None other than the Pixie herself.

"What can I do for ya, Pix?" I ask. I knew everything about me and Char grated on her nerves, but there must be a hell of a good reason for her to call me, of all people.

"I need your help, Peter." She states. Needs my help? I'm callin' bullshit on that, but I'll hear her out.

"Ok, what do ya need?" I ask.

"I had a vision recently and I can't tell Jazz about it." She says.

"Uh huh," I reply, "go on."

"Well," she begins "you know that I've been keeping Jazz away from Seattle, but I want you to know why first. I had a vision a few months ago about a woman with red hair walking alone on a Seattle street. I thought it was odd, but I dismissed it. Now, I'm not so sure I did the right thing by ignoring it."

"Oh really?" I ask "And why is that?"

"Because…" she hesitates "this woman has now been changed and is in Victoria's newborn Army."

"And that has what to do with the Major?" I inquire. She seems to be beatin' around the bush about somethin', but I can't quite pinpoint where she's goin' with this.

"The red head…she's…going to kill Jasper." She says as she breaks down in tears. Granted, over the phone it sounds genuine, and the fear for Jasper is definitely there, but there's somethin' else that I can't quite pinpoint that doesn't feel quite right.

"So, what do ya need me to do about it?" I ask.

"I want you and Char to infiltrate that Army and kill her." She states bluntly. There's no waverin' in her voice and no hesitation. Cold and calculated. Very un-Pixie-like.

"Well," I say lazily, "it does liven things up a bit. You know how monotonous this life can be, Pix. I'll talk to Char about headin' out there. I'll be in touch."

As I hang up the phone I get a feeling in the pit of my stomach that her word isn't somethin' to be trusted. Not that I ever did in the first place. The only reason I was even on speakin' terms with her is because she made the Major happy. That's it. However, this favor she's askin' for…it may be a good idea to infiltrate. It will give added numbers to the Army, and with mine and Char's backgrounds, we would be welcome teachers. Although, I won't be killin' anyone unless given a damn good reason to do so…or perhaps if it does come to a battle, we could always turn on the newborns. Double Agents…I like the sound of that.

As I pick up the phone to call the Major, I wonder what his thoughts on infiltration would be. The phone doesn't give a full ring before he's answered it.

"It's 'bout damn time you got back to me, Captain." The Major says irritably. I grin mischievously as I hear the irritation. I know I had plenty of time to call and I'm cutting it pretty close with an hour to spare, but I still had plenty of time.

"Don't get your knickers in a knot, Major. I had plenty of time left. I said 48 and it's been 47." I say nonchalantly.

"So what news do ya have for me?" he replies.

"Well, they're pretty well stocked in numbers to take on your family of 7. 20 newborns with 3 leadin'. Victoria seems to be the head of this ridiculous Army, but she's got a gifted up her sleeve and another over a year old to this life. They seem fairly controlled when the 3rd in command is near, but when she leaves, all hell breaks loose. Well, all hell for them. For us, it just seems like fairly standard sparrin'. Reminds me of the good ol' days, when you used to go off alone to hunt and all the rest would get rowdy and carried away. They don't seem like they're movin' anytime soon, but Victoria seems like she's tired of waitin' around, so she might decide to move soon." I reply automatically.

"Shit" I hear him say. "I didn't expect this from Victoria. I'll need to let everyone here know what she's up to. Edward especially considerin' that this is all his fuckin' fault to begin with. I told him we shoulda hunted Victoria down, but noooo he wanted to leave his pet here, unprotected, with a bunch of shaggy dogs for company. Idiot boy."

I find his ramblin' pretty damn funny and find it difficult to keep my laughin' quiet. Char, on the other hand, can hear every word and doesn't hold back her laughter. Lucky for her, he doesn't care if she laughs at him; as for me however, I have to be a tad bit more professional. It wouldn't do for him to get pissed off at me before I've had the chance to enlighten him with my bright idea.

"I was havin' a thought, Major," I begin to say, but he replies back too quickly with a snarky "Did it hurt?" before I can finish. That just makes Char laugh harder and I glare playfully at her before I continue.

"As I was sayin'. I was havin' a thought about something and wanted to know if it'd be a good idea." I say.

"Well, what is it Peter?" he asks.

"I was thinkin' that maybe we could do this double-agent style." I answer.

"Oh? And how are ya plannin' to do that?" he asks.

"Well," I begin "let me start from the beginnin' and tell you that the gifted they have here is a Siren."

I pause a bit for dramatic effect and relish the heavy sigh I hear on the other end of the phone. "Yeah, I know, Major."

"I've heard of 'em, but never actually met one. Is she as powerful as I think she is?" he asks.

"I hate to say it, but more so, Major. She's good. She can also mimic any sound she hears including another's voice. It's kinda creepy to be honest. Didn't Alice tell you any of this already?" I ask accusingly. "I mean, I know I can be an ass," I continue before he has a chance to answer, "but I didn't think a second opinion would be necessary." I say with a little hurt in my voice.

That was all for show, but I don't think Pix told the Major she'd be here. Otherwise he never would have asked us to do this.

"What do you mean?" he asks. "Alice hasn't talked to me for days. Do you think she saw this in a vision?"

"No. I do not." I reply honestly.

"Why do ya think that, Peter?" he asks.

I can't wait to hear his reaction when I tell him this next bit. "Because the Siren even had the Pixie flat on her back, lookin' up at the sky without a care in the world." Now I just have to wait.

Wait for it.

Wait. For. It.

"Wait, what?" He finally asks. I can tell by the sound of his voice that this'd be good. It'd be better if I could see this in person, but I'm also glad I'm not there in person.

"Yeah," I say conversationally "Pix was out here doin' the same thing Char and I are doin'. Scoutin'. She had a lookout about a hundred feet away from where we settled ourselves. Char and I had just enough time to cover our ears before the Siren gave a demonstration, but apparently the Pixie got the full brunt of it. Char heard the sound of a body fallin' fairly close to us and went to investigate. That's when we discovered she was here. We did not engage her. She don't know we're here as far as I know. Anyway, after the demonstration the Siren left and Pix followed her. I'm not sure why. However, a few hours after they left, I get a phone call from none other than Pixie herself."

"Oh really? What was this call about?" he asks. His voice is a bit too hard and too cold. It gives me the shivers. I'm glad I won't be on the receivin' end of whatever the Major has in store for the Pixie.

"She said that she had a vision about the Siren and that the reason she was preventin' ya from comin' to Seattle was because the Siren would kill ya if y'all ever met." I said. "However, I will warn ya Major that I don't think she's bein' entirely truthful about that vision. There's just somethin' about what she said that ain't sittin' right with me."

I waited patiently for him to calm down. It took a lot to rile the Major up, but once his temper got the best of him, it was time to head for the hills.

"Thank you for tellin' me, Peter." He says after a few minutes. "Now back to this idea that you had, what was it?"

"Well, I can't completely take credit for it because it was Pix's idea, but she asked us if we'd be willin' to infiltrate the enemy camp. That way we could dispose of the Siren before y'all got the chance to meet. However, that got me thinkin' that the infiltration idea wasn't a half bad plan. All Char and I'd need to do is pretend we hate y'all's guts. Fairly easy when it comes to the Pixie, but if they decide to do anythin', then we'll let ya know. It'd be nice to have eyes and ears inside and, if the occasion calls for it, we'd turn on 'em and kill 'em all."

Chapter Text

Jasper POV

CHAPTER 11

I have to give Peter credit where it's due. Even if it was an idea hatched by my mate, who I was very angry with at the moment, it would still be beneficial to have a status report as often as I could get it. I also would have to find a way around Alice to meet this Siren. I seriously doubted that she would be the one to kill me. She wasn't even a year old yet and I had never been beaten. Ever. I had hundreds of scars to prove it, but I'll have time to think on this later.

"Peter," I say "I think it's a great idea to infiltrate. Do it, but do not hurt the Siren, try to make friends with her instead. She may be willing to divulge more of how her gift works to you and you may find a way around it. I want daily updates texted to my phone by either you or the Lieutenant. I wanna know how this Siren's gift works, I wanna know everyone's strengths and weaknesses, and I wanna know what battle plans they'll come at us with. Basically, I wanna know it all."

"Yes sir." said Peter. "I will tell you one thing, between you, me, and Char, this Siren really lives up to her gift's name. I've never seen anything like her in my 150 years. I'm lucky I have a mate, or I'd be in a hell of a lot of trouble."

"Just out of curiosity, Peter," I ask "did you happen to learn this Siren's name?"

"Yeah, Major I did. It's Amanda." He says a bit too wistfully and I'm apparently not the only one who hears it because it isn't a second later that I hear a crack followed by "Damn woman! That hurt!"

"Captain," I say trying to get his attention.

"Yes Major. Sorry 'bout that. Char whacked me across the head." He says. "I'm all ears."

"If she is as powerful as we think she is, I want to meet Amanda myself. I've never been beaten in combat and I don't expect to be now. Not even from her. Once I get more information from you both about her, I would like the opportunity to end her before she destroys this family. Y'all are not to engage her in combat without me present, understand?" I ask.

"Yes sir, Major." I hear them both reply.

"Good." I state. "Keep me updated, Captain. Every 24 I want that text."

"Yes sir." Peter replies.

I hang up the phone and immediately head to Carlisle's office to have him call a family meeting. I send out my gift and notice that everyone apart from Deadward and Alice are here. I'll have to have Carlisle call Pansyward and tell him to get his ass here now and bring Bella as well. After all, Victoria is after her. No reason to keep her in the dark about it.

Alice, on the other hand, I could go without seein' just yet. She has been keepin' quite a bit from me and I'm not thrilled by that fact. I understand she just wants to keep me protected, which would account for her not tellin' me her visions as well as the feelin' of deceit I'm getting from her, but I trust Peter's gut. If he says she's not bein' truthful about this, then I believe him. I'm just not too sure what I wanna do about it just yet.

I stand outside Carlisle's study door and wait. There's no reason to knock, he can smell who it is that's on the other side. The waiting is so I don't seem rude by just barging in unannounced.

"Come in, Jasper." I hear him say.

I enter and see him sittin' at a beautiful mahogany desk, reading another one of his various medical journals. He looks up at me and smiles.

"Take a seat, son." He says. "What's on your mind?"

"I would like you to call a family meetin' to be held immediately." I state bluntly. "I have news about Seattle and I would like to share it. Please call Edward and have him attend and tell him to bring Bella as well as this concerns her, too."

I can see feel the confusion and suspicion roll off him in waves. "You didn't go to Seattle yourself, did you? Alice said you wouldn't."

"No sir, I did not." I say. "However, I do have a way of gatherin' information and it's from a very reliable and trustworthy source."

He looks at me curiously before he states, "Ok, son. I'll call a meeting and have everyone here in 15 minutes."

"I've already tried contactin' Alice myself," I start "but she is unreachable at the moment. Probably shoppin' the local mall out of all of its stock. However, I will speak to her about this when she returns. I just want everyone to know as soon as possible."

Carlisle laughs at the reality of that statement before walkin' downstairs to the dinin' room. I know it was a lie, I obviously hadn't tried to contact Alice, nor did I want to. Although, what I did want was an explanation the next time I saw her. I turn and follow Carlisle out of the office and down the stairs towards the dinin' room and await everyone to join me.

Esme and Rosalie enter the dinin' room first, followed by Emmett and Carlisle. We all wait patiently for Carlisle to take his seat at the head of the table, Esme on his right and Emmett on his left. Rose takes the seat to the left of Emmett and I sit across from her, to the right of Esme. That leaves 3 seats open for Bella, Alice, and Edward. Alice of course won't be here for this, so now we're just waitin' on Bella and her ever-faithful mind-readin' lap dog. It fills me with a sense of vindictive pleasure to call Edward all of these names in my head. Especially when he can't hear it, but truth be told he does act little too high and mighty for my likin'. His attitude is almost to the point of bein' a spoiled brat, but even though we've never really gotten along I can sense he has a bit of respect for me. There's always fear there, too, but there is a respect even if it is grudging and I needed that respect now.

It doesn't take long before they both arrive and sit down at the table. Edward sits beside Rose and Bella at the foot of the table, leavin' the only seat next to me. No surprise there. The family wastes no time in welcomin' Bella back and Esme thanks her for bein' brave enough to join this family meetin'. Carlisle has a very somber expression on his face and I feel his concern for the family, especially Bella, before he begins speakin'.

Chapter Text

Bella POV

CHAPTER 12

Edward had just showed up in my bedroom after Charlie went to sleep, a normal thing for us now, when he got a phone call from Carlisle. He seemed a bit puzzled to be hearing from him, but he excused himself from my presence and went outside on the roof to answer. I'm guessing what he heard didn't please him. He said that we were both going to a family meeting and we were to be there in 15 minutes. That means travel by vampire. Not that I didn't enjoy it, but my stomach and equilibrium took a minute to return to normal afterward.

I didn't hesitate to throw on a coat and some shoes and before I knew it, I felt like I was being hurled out of my bedroom window. It's a strange feeling, that. Falling from two stories just to land like you never really moved. Of course my rolling stomach knew better and I was breathing heavily and deeply trying desperately to keep dinner down. It didn't take us long to reach the beautiful Cullen house. It never did when we traveled this way.

The house never ceased to amaze me with its beauty and light. It was almost as if my human eyes couldn't see the real beauty of it and my human brain wouldn't be able to process it even if they could. Edward placed me on my feet and made sure I was steady before heading up the front steps to hold the door open for me. And some people say chivalry is dead.

We headed into the dining room, which I still thought funny that the only thing they did in here was have family meetings, and I took a seat across the table from Carlisle and Edward sat to my right. I was welcomed back by everyone and Esme especially thought I was brave for showing up, but since I was requested to be here, I couldn't very well say no.

"Where is Alice?" I asked Esme after I noticed an empty chair next to Jasper.

"She won't be joining us tonight, dear." Esme replied.

I thought that a bit odd but Jasper didn't seem to be concerned with her whereabouts, so perhaps she was out hunting or shopping. Both were likely scenarios if I were being honest. Carlisle took a moment to take an unneeded breath and then began, "I have called this meeting this evening because we have news about the Seattle problem. I don't know much about it, personally, but Jasper does. So I will defer to him."

Everyone at the table looked towards Jasper to continue. He looked a bit nervous about being the center of attention, but he seemed to handle it well none-the-less. "Carlisle is right." Jasper begins, "I told him to call everyone here as soon as I learned everythin' I could, but I'll need to start from the beginnin'."

As I listened to Jasper recount the knowledge he'd gained over the past two days, I realized that this is the first time I've ever heard him speak so much. Even in Phoenix he kept his distance, but I realized how much I had been missing by keeping that distance. As he spoke, I realized he had quite the Southern twang and found it endearing and calming, but also quite commanding. He almost seemed to radiate power as he relayed his information to the family.

"How do you know all of this, Jasper?" Edward asked.

"Because I have insider information, Edward." Said Jasper. I'm sure the tone he used was an indicator that we needed to drop the subject, but of course no one did.

"Insider information?" Asks Rosalie astounded.

"Yes, Rose. Insider information from a source I trust completely." Jasper said staring directly at her, daring her to argue.

"Who can we trust that's an insider?" Emmett wondered aloud. I'm guessing he missed the 'drop it' look between Rosalie and Jasper, either that or subtleties were completely lost on him. I believed either one was possible. "I mean, they're newborns, right?" he continues, "So, why would you of all people trust a single one of them?" He asked shocked.

I had to admit, I may not know Jasper as well as everyone else sitting here, but Emmett had a valid point. Why did we trust this person? I didn't hesitate to ask Jasper as much, but soon regretted it when he turned his gaze on me. There was a hardness and a coldness there that I had never seen in Jasper's eyes before as he told us about his friends Peter and Charlotte and what he had sent them to do. He seemed defensive, almost like he was waiting on someone to question his actions, but thankfully no one ever did. He must have very extraordinary friends if they were willing to put themselves in harm's way like that.

He had also mentioned that Victoria was behind this newborn army and that had a whole new string of thoughts running through my head. None of them good. Why would she make an army to destroy ME? Whose lives had she taken for her vengeance? What would happen to the army? What would happen to my family? What about my father? Would they get into the town and wreak havoc? The list could go on and on with its maddening possibilities.

I was just glad that we had other skilled vampires on our side and who would be willing to fight to keep this family safe. Keep me safe. I felt guilty about it, too though. Mostly because it wasn't their fight and yet it was brought to them because of me, a measly human. What if they were found out? They were risking their lives to get us anything we needed and the guilt I felt crippled me with the thought that I may never be able to repay them for their kindness.

As the guilt I was feeling seemed to dissipate only to be replaced with a sense of calm, I realized that Jasper could probably feel every single emotion in this room, from my overwhelming guilt to Rosalie's obvious anger, and he was just trying to diffuse the situation the only way he knew how. I looked back up at him and sent him a small smile of thanks to let him know how grateful I was to him. I didn't feel like I was drowning in my own guilt anymore. I could actually think around it and for that I felt gratitude towards him.

I didn't realize that the words had left my mouth until they were already out. "I think it's time I were changed."

I cannot deny that the looks I got from everyone at the table were a bit priceless, but I could focus on those later. You could have cut the shock and silence with a knife. Now I just needed to get my point across before Edward decided to open his big mouth.

"I agree with Bella, Carlisle." Said Jasper looking at the patriarch.

"Now wait just a minute!" Edward began, "You cannot be serious?" He looked at both Jasper and I with shock and disbelief etched over his perfect face.

"I am serious." I said turning to look at him. "This was all started because Victoria wants a mate for a mate, right? Well, as a human I'm more vulnerable and breakable now than I will be if I'm changed."

"I can protect you." Said Edward. "I can kill her before she gets anywhere near you."

"I don't doubt your ability." I said to Edward. "Nor do I doubt anyone else's," I said looking at everyone around the table, "but I would like to be able to defend myself if she gets too close, not to just sit and wait for a rescuer to do it for me."

"What about school? What about Charlie?" Edward replied with a knowing smirk.

I would be attending so many schools after I was changed that I'd be sick of it, honestly. So he didn't have a point to argue there. He thought he had me when he mentioned Charlie though, I'll give him credit for that, but I had a backup plan. No one was going to change my mind. I wanted Edward, which meant immortality. Not even the threat of my father would be able to deny me what I wanted.

"The roads around Forks are very hazardous this time of year, are they not?" I asked rhetorically. "It's not unheard of that a teenage driver loses control of a car and dies from the impact. I will miss Charlie, I can't deny it, but I also don't see how we have any other choice. Keep in mind that the Volturi know about me and they will be looking to see if I've been changed. I don't want anyone in this family to lose their lives because of me. I won't have it! The sooner we get this taken care of, the fewer threats we'll meet and the better I will be able to help defend us if necessary."

I looked at everyone sitting at the table and each seemed to be in their own thoughts. "Look," I began again, "I know you all are worried about me, especially because everyone believes I will be completely crazed my newborn year, but we all already took a vote on this. I am to join this family for eternity, that's already been decided. The only thing holding me up was fear of leaving Charlie and I would bring him right along with me if I could, but we all know that's not going to happen. Now that he and the rest of the town are under attack because of me, I can't stand not being able to defend it or them."

The next thing I know, everyone begins arguing. Very loudly. Rose was still completely against this, and Edward was backing her. Esme and Carlisle were trying desperately to gain some semblance of order so we could discuss this like a civilized group. Emmett was fighting for me very boisterously and I was thankful. The way I saw it, there were no loopholes in my logic. The fact that Jasper agreed with me was a bonus. At least I had him in my corner if things got bad. From the way everyone was reacting to my declaration, I could see this was going very badly. I had to diffuse the situation quickly before things got really out of control.

I turned to Rosalie, "Rosalie," I said. She was arguing with Carlisle, but went quiet and looked at me with anger and contempt, but I wasn't backing down that easily. "I know that you told me that you didn't want this life for yourself. You wanted a family, kids, and grandkids. I'm sorry that you cannot have those things, but you have a family that loves you and a husband who adores you. Think about that before you judge me on my decisions."

Next I spoke to Edward, "I know that you do not want me to become a soulless monster, but with you and your family's help, I know I won't be. I love you too much to let you go. If I stay human, we will never be able to live the life we were meant to. Together."

He looked at me with pain in his eyes and said, "You don't know what you're asking for."

I shook my head and said "Yes. As a matter of fact, I do."

With that I got up from the table and walked outside to sit on the back porch. It didn't take long before the arguing erupted again. I didn't want to hear them discuss my humanity anymore. I just knew that now was the right time to change me. By the time the army arrived, I would be perfectly capable of standing with my family to help defend it. I was determined to be.

Chapter Text

Jasper POV

CHAPTER 13

I had to give the human credit. She certainly knew how to make a point. I wasn't lyin' when I told her that I thought she was right. She was. I had wanted to kill her or change her since the moment Edward started havin' feelin's for her. Rose had just wanted to kill her. I could understand that she was worried about the threat to our family, but I could feel the love that Bella and Edward had for one another. It was genuine and reminded me of the love Rose and Em and Carlisle and Esme had. I had never felt like that with Alice, but perhaps we were just different.

I had already said my piece in this meetin' so I stood up and followed Bella outside. I was tired of the arguin' anyway. She heard me open the door leadin' to the back porch and turned to see who had followed her. I felt her shock at seein' me, but I felt her gratitude towards me as well. She turned back around facin' the back yard and asked, "Can you hide your thoughts from Edward?"

I thought this was a bit of an odd question, but answered honestly, "Yeah. Why?"

She turned to look over her shoulder into the kitchen where everyone was still arguin' and sighed. I could feel her determination, annoyance, and irritation. I wondered what had her feelin' like that.

"Hide your thoughts from him." She whispered to me.

Never one to disappoint a lady, I said "Done." And watched her sigh in relief as I thought of white noise. That should keep him out.

"I want you to do something for me." She whispered again. Hopeful that no one could hear us.

I laughed a bit at her effort and said "I know, I'm just waitin' on ya to tell me what."

"I know that what happened on my birthday wasn't your fault." She stated matter-of-factly.

"Oh really? And how do ya know that?" I ask. I'm shocked that she thinks that, but I'll hear her out.

"You're an empath. Meaning you can feel every emotion of the people surrounding you." She begins. "I've had a lot of time to think about this and I know what happened that night. I know that I am to Edward what they call a singer. Meaning that my blood calls to him more than any other, correct?" She asks.

I reply, "Correct." I was wonderin' where she was goin' with this.

"When we were in Phoenix together," she continued, "you were very controlled and you even spoke to me on occasion, so I know you didn't want to hurt me or you would have done it. Plus you ignored the smell of my blood while you were destroying James." I had never really thought about it before, but she was right. I was able to ignore it.

"Go on." I say to her.

"However, when I cut myself on my birthday there was an obvious reaction from you, but I don't believe you were trying to attack me. I believe you were trying to protect me." She says.

"How do ya figure that?" I reply dumbfounded.

"You're an empath, remember?" She asks mockingly.

"I know what I am." I reply.

"I don't think you do." She states with a gleam in her eyes. I can feel the mischievousness rollin' off her.

"Explain." I say looking at her curiously.

"Well, what I believe happened was that you felt the bloodlust in the room, most of it coming from Edward no doubt, and ran to me to protect me from the others. Edward especially, but they all saw your actions as an attack on me instead. We both know what happened after that. Which, if I were honest, just made the situation ten times worse." She replies.

I had never really thought of it like that before. I guess I could see her point though. I was able to change hundreds of others in the Southern Wars without killin' and drainin' 'em and I was able to ignore flowin' blood when the need called for it.

"Alright, I'll bite." I said. "I can see your point and I appreciate your trust in me, but what does that gotta do with hidin' my thoughts from Edward? Or that favor ya wanted of me?"

"Well, considering your ironic choice of words," she says with a giggle, "that's what I want. You to bite me. Tonight."

I look at her astonished. She wants me to bite her? Right now? That don't make a lick of sense in my book.

"Hold up, you want me to bite ya?" I ask incredulously. "Why?"

"Yes. I do." She states simply. She was looking at me very calmly and she was feeling an overwhelming sense of relief at this revelation. "You and Emmett are the only ones other than Carlisle that have completely agreed that I need to be changed and while the rest of your family is in there arguing about it, I just want to get it over with. I would have liked it to be Edward, if I were being honest, but obviously he isn't ready for this type of commitment. I am."

I can understand her need to hide this from Edward, but that would also be causin' quite the rift between me and my younger brother if I decided to do this. Hell, it would cause quite the rift between me and the entire family if I decided to do this, not just me and Edward. Although, I knew he was bein' a pansy about it. He had been for a long time. Bella needed to be changed and that was final. I just didn't know how to break it to the rest of 'em that she asked this of me. I guess the only thing I could do was tell 'em the truth and hoped they believed me.

"Alright," I said to her. "I'll do it, but not tonight."

"Why not?" she asked a bit angrily.

"Cause we need to do this while no one can try and suck the venom back out. Again." I said pointedly. "Also, you need to say goodbye to Charlie tonight. Tell him you're goin' out of town tomorrow durin' the day. I'll get Em to help with the car accident, but there's a place close to Port Angeles that might work. So just head that direction and I'll meet up with ya."

"Deal." She said smilin' at me.

I walked away from her and back into the house as Edward walked outside searchin' for her. I was relieved that I was able to block my thoughts from Edward because he would not be a happy camper with me tomorrow. As it was, I had to get some help gettin' Edward away from her long enough to make this work. I knew Emmett would be thrilled at the opportunity to help Bella, but I would need Carlisle as well to help me get Edward out of the house long enough to get the transformation started. I didn't really care if either of 'em were there after the first hour.

As I came out of my thoughts and came back into the kitchen, I noticed that the anger in the air was astonishin'. I took stock of what was goin' on and everyone seemed to have all their limbs on correctly, so no one got heated enough to rip each other to shreds and I consider that a bonus, but no one was talkin' to anyone else. All givin' each other the silent treatment. Actin' like gigantic children. Every one. I sent out wave after wave of calm just to get everyone unthawed and then I was gonna take Em and Carlisle out to 'hunt' with me.

"Carlisle, Emmett, would y'all mind goin' huntin' with me?" I ask. No time like the present, it seems. Everyone could use a break from the others anyway.

"Sure son. I'll go with you." Said Carlisle with a wan smile.

"Heck yeah, I'll go." Said Emmett as he leapt up from the table. "I need to get outta here anyway. I can't stand all of this anger and aggression without having something to take it out on."

They both followed me outside again without question and we ran for a while. I was thirsty, so as soon as I heard heartbeats, I followed them to a heard of deer. Not exquisitely tasty, but they'd do. I took one, as well as Carlisle, but Emmett took two. Understandable considering his sheer bulk. I sat down on a rock after I fed and waited for the others to finish. Carlisle joined me first, followed by Emmett.

"So," I began, "Bella has asked me for a favor and I need both of y'all to help me."

"I take it that since you're bringing this up now, you didn't want Edward to be aware of this?" Carlisle asked.

"It wasn't me that didn't want Edward to be aware." I stated with a knowing look in their direction.

"So what did Bells want?" Asked Emmett.

"When I met her outside on the porch, she asked me to bite her. Right then and there." I said. They both looked at me bewildered, then looked at each other, then looked back at me. I would have found humor in it had it not been for the seriousness of the situation. "I told her that I would be willin' to give her what she asked for, but that we weren't gonna do it tonight. I told her that I would also be willin' to help her stage a car crash so Charlie wouldn't wonder what happened to her. So he could mourn properly."

"Why are you telling us this?" Carlisle asked.

"Frankly, I need your help." I said. "The both of y'all want Bella to change just as much as I do, but y'all also know Edward would never allow it. He's been fightin' her on it for ages. She's tired of it. She said, and I quote: "You and Emmett are the only ones other than Carlisle that have completely agreed that I need to be changed and while the rest of your family is in there arguing about it, I just want to get it over with." I have to say that I agreed with her."

"That's not entirely true," said Carlisle. "Both Esme and Alice also want Bella to be changed, but I see your point."

"I'm all for it!" said Emmett. "She's already like a little sister to me. She just needs to be a bit more durable when I hug her. As it stands now, I'm afraid I might squash her." He looks down at his shoes a bit dejectedly.

"So what do you need from us, Jasper?" Said Carlisle getting us back on track.

"Emmett," I say, "I need you to help me stage the car crash. There are several possibilities of places to stage one on the 101, but over Lake Crescent seems the most ideal." He nods at me in understandin' with a childlike gleam in his eyes and excitement rollin' off of him.

"Carlisle," I continue, "I need you to get Edward out of sight. I don't care where ya go or what ya do, I just need him gone for a few hours."

"I think I can do that. I've been meaning to get Esme a special gift for a while, taking him with me under the pretense of a second set of eyes would be the most likely thing to work." Carlisle says.

"I don't care if you put him on a plane to Timbuctoo, Carlisle." I say. "I just want him gone. This will all happen tomorrow mornin'. Bella will be leaving her house under the pretense of goin' shoppin' for somethin' in Port Angeles. Emmett, you and I will head over to Lake Crescent and do some scoutin' around it before it's time to meet up with her at the crash site we think is best. I'll run her home, while Emmett stages the crash. After Emmett gets back to the house to cover my back, I'll begin her change."

I take a deep breath before continuin' "Edward cannot know what we're doing until after it's done. I cannot stress that point enough. If he finds out, he'll end up hurtin' Bella to prevent us gettin' to her. That means you have to think of anythin' else when we go back to the house. I need the both of you to back me up on this. I know the shit will hit the fan when Edward finds out what's happened and I don't wanna hurt him if I don't have to."

"Why did she ask you to do this for her instead of me, especially after the disaster on her birthday?" Carlisle asks.

"I asked her part of that myself," I replied, "she said that she understood what happened on her birthday wasn't my fault. She told me that since I was an empath, I felt everyone else's bloodlust and tried to protect her from everyone instead of attacking her, like it seemed I was doin'. She gave me two examples of what happened in Phoenix to support her theory. She trusts me."

"Considering your pervious history," Emmett said, "I can see that now." He looked up at me with an apologetic expression before continuing, "I'm sorry that we blamed you for that, Jazz. I understand that it wasn't your fault."

"I ain't one to hold a grudge against my brother," I said slappin' his back, "so you have nothin' to worry about."

As we all got up to run back to the house, I wondered how badly this was all gonna turn out. I would help Bella, that much was obvious, but why was I so willing and at what cost? Plus, I had Alice to deal with whenever she decided to come back. I didn't even begin to know what I would say to her.

Chapter Text

Bella POV

Chapter 14

I'll admit that I was excited to have Jasper's acceptance. Truth be told, I wanted to ask Carlisle, but Jasper was the one who followed me outside and there was just something about him that made me ask for his help. Perhaps it was a spur of the moment decision to ask the first vamp that came outside, and I didn't know very much about the Southerner, but I did trust him.

I was, yet again, glad that Edward wasn't able to read my thoughts. It would be impossible to hide anything from him. I wanted him to be the one to bite me. I wanted his venom to be flowing through my veins. I guess it was some twisted way of him claiming me as his, but obviously he was against that commitment. So, we would see if his feelings for me had changed after I awoke to my new life. If they had, I would be devastated, but at least he wouldn't suffer by being near me anymore.

I was smiling like the Cheshire cat when Edward came to find me. The thought that we could finally be together as equals was so exciting, it was almost euphoric. Hiding it from him was going to be easy on my part, but I wondered how good the guys were about hiding their thoughts from Edward. Hopefully they were good, or we would have problems.

"What are you thinking about that could possibly have you smiling like that?" Edward asks, grinning at me.

I had to think of something pretty quickly to cover my ass. As we were walking back inside the house, I answered, "Nothing much." I said back. "I was just thinking about how ridiculous that whole argument was back in the dining room. The entire situation was funny. Everyone arguing over me isn't something I'm used to."

He looked at me with a confused expression before he said, "Losing your humanity and your soul is nothing to laugh at, Bella."

"That's not what I meant." I replied. "I was thinking about it from an outsider's point of view. You know, separating myself from it. I mean it is really funny if you look at it from another perspective." It was a lie, but I hope he bought it.

"I don't think there's anything funny about it no matter whose perspective it is." Said Edward haughtily.

I turned to look at him with an eyebrow raised before I said, "Lighten up. I love you with everything that I am. How can you deny me the happiness that I will get from being with you? The way you want this to stay is the way we have it now, but I guarantee that what we have now isn't going to be enough for either of us. We can't have children, not that I saw myself as mother material anyway, so that's out. I age and you don't, so in 20 years, our relationship will look ridiculous, so that's out as well. We can't be intimate with each other without you worrying about breaking me, so that's out, too. This is a no-win situation for either of us, you're just too stubborn to see it."

"I want you to be able to have a normal life." Edward says. "If you find another guy you would rather be with, then I would let you go. I want to give you that option. I don't want you to become a soulless monster like me."

I stared at him astonished that he would think I would leave him. I was even more shocked that he still believed he was soulless when he had proven to me time after time that he wasn't. He honestly believed it, too. I could see it in his eyes. He wanted me to have a normal human life, a human family, and completely forget about him.

I got mad. I'll admit that what happened next was entirely my fault.

"I cannot believe you just said that!" I shouted. How was I supposed to knock it into his thick skull that I was going to love him for the rest of eternity! Then it hit me, 'knock it into his thick skull'…perfect. Maybe then he'll come to his senses. Now I just had to find something heavy, but not too heavy for me to lift. Ah, dining room chair. Perfect yet again.

I continued my rant, "If you honestly think that I would leave you, you are thick in the head. I love you! I'm. Not. Leaving. Ever!" I said. Now, I just had to back up to the chair so he doesn't see it coming and wait for the right moment.

I continued on, "Do you honestly think that little of me? That some other guy would sweep me off my feet? News flash! Jacob's been trying to do that and hasn't succeeded yet!" I scream and I hear him growl. The sound turns me on quite a bit, but I can't lose focus. I can think about that later. Alone. I can see that everyone that was in the house; apart from Carlisle, Jasper, and Emmett, who were still out, have come to watch the show. Even the Ice Queen is giving me a shocked and impressed look.

"Jacob isn't the type of guy you'd fall for, and I'm grateful for that, but who is to say someone else won't be? I just want you to be happy and healthy." Edward says pleadingly.

"And mortal." I state harshly as I grab the back of the chair with my right hand.

"And mortal." He agrees a bit dejectedly.

"Did it ever occur to you that if I did stay this way and I even wanted to date anyone else, that you wouldn't let me? You are far too protective of me to let me see anyone else, not that I would want to." I state. "My friendship with Jacob, and your reactions to it, are a prime example."

"That mutt is dangerous!" Edward shouts.

"So am I!" I shout back and swing my right arm around me. The chair that I was holding satisfyingly shatters when it makes contact with his marble skin.

Anyone in this room could have stopped me. They're all fast enough to stop a chair mid-flight. They all saw it and they all let it happen. Everyone looks at me completely bewildered, but my focus is on Edward. I don't think that he knew how much he was pissing me off with all of this self-deprecating bull. Frankly, I didn't realize it myself until I let that chair fly. He looks more shocked than anything. Which, if I were being fair, shouldn't have surprised me.

"Sorry about the chair, Esme." I state as I head out of the kitchen. All I want now is to go home and prepare for tomorrow. As I spot Rose, looking happier than I had ever seen her, I ask her to drive me home. She seems to be the only one functioning at the moment. There was no way I was letting Edward anywhere near me right now. Although, I would get the last laugh. I just had to be patient.

I thought Rose would complain about my asking, but she's still grinning from ear to ear as she joins me in her beautiful red M3.

"I cannot believe you hit him with a chair, Bella!" she all but squeals.

"I just got mad." I tell her. "Besides, if I would have smacked him without it, I only would have hurt myself in the process and I couldn't be sure any of you in the house would be willing to smack him for me."

"Oh, I know, and I don't blame you," She replies, "but I can't wait to see the look on Emmett's face when he realizes what he missed."

"You don't blame me for hitting him?" I ask.

"No. I don't." She states.

"Why?" I ask.

"He had it coming. He's been insufferable lately and I can't take it. He needed a wake-up call." She told me.

"I know you don't like me very much, but I appreciate you driving me home. You seemed to be the only one that was able and I needed to get out of there. Pronto." I said to her.

She replied, "It's not that I don't like you, Bella. I envy you."

"You envy me? I mean, I know that you wouldn't have chosen this life for yourself, but that's no reason for envy." I state confused.

She stayed silent for a minute before she said, "Yes. There is a reason, but it's not pleasant to hear. My story is not for the faint of heart. So please understand that while you listen."

She proceeds to tell me the story of her human life. Some of which I had heard before and she made it fairly obvious that she wasn't happy with this life. She wanted a family, kids, and a husband who worked hard and adored her. Other parts of her story were entirely new and it wasn't a tale I was fully prepared to hear, but I could understand her reservations about telling anyone. It sounded like her life was going exactly the way she had dreamed until Royce met up with some friends and got drunk. Luckily for me, she didn't go into too much detail about exactly what happened, but I got the gist.

"I got my revenge on them though. One at a time. I saved Royce for last so he would know I was coming." She said smiling coldly.

"You found Emmett, though." I said to her. "Doesn't that count for something?"

"I did and I have never regretted saving him from that bear. Although I regret that we had to meet in a life such as this. There was just something about him that I couldn't let go of." She replied.

"I can understand that better than you think." I replied. "That's the way I feel about Edward. I may be mad at him, but I still love him. Nothing will change that. I found where my place is in this world, Rose. It's standing side by side with Edward. I just want the opportunity to be happy. I know that you may not be completely fulfilled, but we are two very different people. Please understand and respect my life choices, Rose."

"I may not understand or respect your choices, Bella" she states somberly, "but I think we both understand each other a bit better now."

We stop outside of my dad's house and as I turn to thank her, she says with a small smile, "Who knows, one day I may actually learn to like you, Bella Swan."

"One day, I may just see you as my sister, Rosalie Hale." I reply. "Thank you for driving me home."

"Anytime." She replies with a wave.

I'm almost back in the house and I hear her window roll down, "If you ever feel like beating on Edward again, let me know. I'll be your muscle." She states with a laugh as she drives off.

I smile to myself as I walk in the door. She doesn't need to be my muscle for long.

Chapter Text

Bella POV

Chapter 15

I didn't realize exactly how late it was when I walked in the house. Charlie was sitting in the recliner, arms folded, staring at the door with a sour expression on his face. The TV was even off, so I knew I was in trouble. He had been keeping an eye on me a bit more than normal after my 3 day impromptu trip to Italy to save my ridiculous boyfriend's life. I couldn't tell him the real reason I left. He would lock me in a looney bin for sure, but when he found out the Cullen's were back just as swiftly and completely as they had left he was not a happy camper at all and didn't hesitate to let everyone know it. I couldn't fault him for his actions in regards to Edward, he was just being a dad trying to protect his daughter.

"Hi dad." I said sheepishly.

"Bella," he began, "where have you been? Curfew is at 9:00 pm, and last time I checked, it's closer to 11:00 than I would like it to be. You have some explaining to do young lady."

I wasn't a very good liar. Everyone knew this. So I had to think of something that would not only sound truthful, but I also needed to sell it to make it believable.

"I know I do, dad. I'm sorry I was late. The time slipped away from me." I stated.

"You need to let Edward know that if he wants to be in my good graces, then he needs to at least respect your curfew, which I put there for a reason." Charlie says.

"I wasn't with Edward, dad." I say. "I was with his sister Rosalie."

He looked a bit shocked at this, but waited patiently for me to continue.

"Rosalie and I don't really get along." I stated sincerely. "I wasn't sure what I ever did to deserve her loathing me, but tonight I kind of confronted her about it. I asked her if we could go somewhere to talk and even though I could see that she didn't want to, she agreed. I followed her out of her house and over to a creek close by so we could talk. I explained to her that I wasn't sure why she didn't like me and I wanted to clear the air. She told me that she didn't trust me and was worried for her brother. She said that she was afraid I'd break his heart again and she didn't want that. I explained to her that I didn't break his heart to begin with and I understood that she just wanted what was best for her brother. She's very protective."

"Uh huh." Said Charlie. "What else?"

"That was it, really." I replied. "We didn't really get the chance to become friends before they moved and I told her that I wanted to try and earn her trust. I guess we got caught up talking and by the time we were done it was 10:30. I asked her to drive me home and she agreed. That's it."

I knew that the only way I could get away with a lie was to throw some truth in and hope for the best. Rose and I had talked, that was true. The subject was the false part, but sounded believable enough to Charlie's ears. We women were notorious for our 'cat fights' over silly things. He seemed to be taking this all in and I would need him to forgive me if I wanted my plan for tomorrow to work. I would need to get out of the house, but I would also need both of us to be on good terms with each other before I 'died'. He would never forgive himself otherwise.

"Ok." He said. "Just make sure not to miss curfew again, and if you do, call me to let me know where you are." He looked at me sternly, but I could see the love he had for me shining out of his eyes.

"I will, dad." I replied. "I'm sorry. Although I do have a question for you since you're still up."

"Oh? What might that be?" he asked.

"Well, I was wondering if you would mind me going to Port Angeles tomorrow. I have a History paper due and the library here isn't equipped to handle the research I need to finish it. I was going to head to a bookstore tomorrow so I can get the books I need. Is that ok?" I ask.

"Why don't you do research online here at the house, Bells?" He asks.

"Well, I have. The paper that I'm doing needs 3 sources and one of them has to be a book." I state quickly. Again, all the best lies have some form of truth. I did actually have that History paper due, but I wasn't going to finish it like he thought I was.

"Fine," he states, "but be back home before 5:00 tomorrow. I would like to spend a little bit of time with you this weekend."

"Thanks dad!" I said enthusiastically as I run over to hug him. "I'm going to go ahead and get ready for bed. I'll see you in the morning!"

I hear him say "Goodnight, Bells" before I eagerly run up the stairs and into my bedroom. I take a minute to squeal a bit at my good fortune. This plan was actually going to work, I couldn't believe it. I decided that I needed a moment or two to shower and get changed, so I grab my toiletries bag and head to the bathroom. As I shower, I can't help but think that at this time tomorrow, I will be changing into a vampire. It's exciting.

I can't help but wonder what this will mean for mine and Edward's relationship. I guess I never really thought about the consequences of what asking Jasper to change me meant, which isn't like me at all. I should be feeling guilty for keeping such a secret from Edward, but I don't. I should be feeling more guilt and sorrow for leaving Charlie and Renee to mourn for their only child, but I don't. I should feel horrible for giving the wolves no say in this, especially Jake, but I can't find it in me to feel anything other than excitement and gratification. I feel at peace about this. It's the right move for me and it means I change on my own terms. That's satisfying. All I have to do now is wait.

Edward joins me in my room an hour later, after Charlie has started snoring, and the look on his face wasn't one I was familiar with. Understandable, I did hit him with a chair. I'm surprised he showed up and it must have shown on my face.

"You're wondering why I'm here?" he asks.

"Yes. I didn't think you'd want to see me tonight." I reply.

"Well," he states casually, "I admit I was shocked that you would be so mad at me that it would resort to physical violence, but I love you and I couldn't just leave you alone all night because we were mad at each other. We need to talk about your feelings and why it is that you decided it would be appropriate to hit me with Esme's dining room chair. Besides, it's become a bit of a habit for me to lay here at night with you and I can't easily break that habit."

"I really am sorry that I hit you." I said.

"You didn't hurt me, so there's nothing to forgive. It was just shocking, that's all." He states with a smirk.

"It just seemed to me that no matter what I said to you I couldn't get you to listen to what I had to say. Yes, you heard me, but that isn't the same thing. Not by a long shot. You honestly think I don't know what's best for me and that's not true. Believe it or not, I'm perfectly capable of making my own decisions and choices. The only thing I could think of was maybe if I beat it into your thick skull, you would finally listen. Obviously smacking you myself would just get me hurt, so the chair was the sacrifice. It was the only thing big enough yet light enough to get your attention." I said willing him to understand.

"After you left with Rose," he says, "Esme sat me down and told me that I was being unkind to you. If there's one thing that gets on her nerves more than anything else, it's being rude to others. She made me realize that I made you angry with everything I said. She told me that I wasn't giving thought to your feelings and desires and because of my stubbornness your emotions ran away with you and you lashed out."

"That's pretty spot-on." I reply.

"I honestly didn't know I could make you that angry." He states. "I just want you to be happy."

"You've made that point very clear, Edward." I say. "Did it ever occur to you that I'm happy withyou? Did you ever think that I love your family as much as my own and I want to be a part of it?"

"How can you say that you love me? I'm a monster, Bella. I've taken human lives." He replies coldly.

"And how many times do I have to tell you that you are not a monster, Edward? I don't care about your past. I only want you in my future. I understand that you've killed people, but they weren't innocent. You saved more lives than you took. I can't fault you for that. Nor could I fault you for feeding like a normal vampire does. This is who you are and I love you." I state back.

He doesn't look like he believes me at all. Soon though, he will realize I would do anything for him. Including going behind his back so he doesn't feel that he 'killed' me. I would rather place that burden on someone I know that can handle it and someone I know who wants to.

"I'm tired of fighting with you, Edward." I say exhausted. "Come lay with me so I can sleep. I have a paper to write tomorrow for History and after Charlie gets home and I eat dinner, I will be at your place. We can continue this discussion then. Ok?"

"Fine." He says. "I'll be with Carlisle in Portland tomorrow during the day anyway. He's looking for a gift to get Esme. I'm not sure why he wants my opinion, but he seemed really insistent that I go and help him. I think that he doesn't want to be completely at fault if she doesn't like it."

I laugh a bit at the possibility that Esme won't like something Carlisle gets her as I curl up next to Edward on the bed. I wonder if Carlisle will actually end up getting Esme anything or if it's just a way to keep Edward busy tomorrow. Probably both, but I appreciate Carlisle's willingness to help none-the-less. Edward starts humming my lullaby for me and before I know it, I'm out like a light.

I wake up the next morning nervous and excited. Today is the day! Edward wasn't sitting beside me, but in his place was a shiny silver cell phone with a note on it. He must have left at some point during the night, but since he's headed to Portland it wouldn't surprise me that Carlisle would want to get an early start. I reach out and grab the note. All I see is one sentence in Edward's script:

Alice said you would need this today.

Great! She must be back from wherever she had been and she was apparently on board for this. Of course she would have seen it. I was starting to miss her cheery disposition recently. As I pick it up, I hear a telltale ding to let me know I have a message. It's from Jasper, which shouldn't surprise me. He was letting me know where on the 101 we would meet up to stage the crash. Now I have to play my part convincingly for Charlie, but not for too much longer.

I quickly get dressed in something comfortable and functional that I don't mind destroying. Jeans and an old sweater will do. Add some comfortable shoes and I'm all set. I head downstairs to see Charlie off to work and eat my final meal before I leave. I manage to make myself some bacon, eggs, and toast and manage to dig in quite a bit before Charlie comes downstairs in his uniform.

"Remember what I said, Bells." Charlie reminds me while heading for the door. "Be back before 5:00 this afternoon."

"I will be dad." I lie back.

"Alright, I'll see you this afternoon. Love you sweetheart." He replies.

"Love you too, dad." I say as I get up from the table to hug him goodbye for the last time.

I can't help but get choked up at the thought of never seeing my father again, but it's for his own good. I know what I have to do and no one is going to stop me. Not today. I finish my breakfast and wash and dry the dishes before putting them away. I grab my coat and my truck keys and start towards the front door. As I turn the handle to leave, I can't help but look back over my shoulder at the place I have called home. So many good memories have happened here and I will be sad to see it go. I heave a heavy sigh as I walk outside of the house and lock it for the last time.

I start up my truck and as I'm waiting for the cab to get nice and warm, I send Jasper a text to let him know I'm on my way. It wasn't too long before a reply came through that he was waiting at the general store for me. I'll admit that I was nervous and feeling a bit guilty at the secrecy, but excitement overrode all of that. It was about a 40 minute drive to my destination, so I turned on the radio to keep myself occupied. I was glad that there weren't many cars on the road this morning. That would make this disappearing act so much easier.

There was a general store at the beginning of the lake and a Lodge in the middle. The plan was simple, yet obvious to make something happen to my truck in between those locations. As I pulled into the parking lot of the general store, I noticed a movement in the trees. I pulled up and parked close to where I saw the movement and got out of the truck. It wasn't 3 seconds before I found myself squeezed to within an inch of my life by Emmett.

"Hey sis!" he said as he picked me up and swung me around.

"Hi Emmett!" I reply enthusiastically.

I could tell that Emmett was just as excited as I was about me joining the family and I couldn't help but laugh.

"So what's the plan, then?" I ask Emmett.

"Well, I'm going to drive your truck down an embankment!" he replies.

"Sounds like you'll be enjoying yourself." I chuckle. "Where's Jasper?"

"Right up here, Bella." He says as I look up.

"What are you doing in a tree?" I ask.

"I can see better from here." He says simply. "I can give Em the 'go-ahead' when I don't see any cars comin'. It's better not to have witnesses especially since he will be drivin' and looks absolutely nothin' like you."

"Fair enough." I reply.

"I am goin' to need some things from you though, Bella." Jasper says as he jumps down from the tree. "In order to make this believable, I will need to get blood from you so Emmett can pour it in the truck and along the windows. I will also need you to leave everythin' that could I.D you in the truck and I'm goin' to need scraps of your clothin' to hide amongst the wreckage. This way Charlie will "know" for certain that you were in the truck, obviously injured, and he will come to the conclusion that you drowned in the lake."

"Won't there be search parties that look for my body?" I ask.

"Probably," Emmett replies, "but even I can barely see in that lake. I know that if they hire any divers to go looking, they won't be able to find a thing."

"Sounds like you two have thought of pretty much everything." I say.

"Well, we've all had our fair share of hidin' our kills. This is the same concept, really. Just without the body." Jasper states.

"Ok. Let's get this show on the road." I say.

They both look at me with twin smirks and eyebrows raised until I realize what I've said, then I blush furiously and put my head in my hands in embarrassment.

"You know what I mean." I state embarrassed.

Jasper apologizes to me before ripping a corner of my shirt off and does the same with my jeans. Emmett holds out an empty water bottle and I turn away as I feel a sharp pain in the crease of my elbow. No doubt nicking a vein. I hold my breath so I don't pass out and after a minute or two I feel another piece of fabric pressing on the cut. The only thing I did notice after I bent my elbow back to add pressure to the wound was that their eyes got a few shades darker. That was all. No harm, no foul. I wasn't worried about either of them losing control and hurting me once my blood was spilled. They wouldn't and I wasn't quite sure how I knew that.

I watch from the safety of the trees as Emmett gets into my truck with my "items" and starts driving down the road. Jasper pulls out his cell phone and says something too quick for my ears to pick up and the next thing I see is my truck careening off of the road. I didn't get to stay and watch the "scene" that Emmett was going to set, but I wasn't worried. I knew he would make it believable.

Jasper didn't wait too long before throwing me over his back as he took off running. The only thing on my mind at the moment was the vast difference between being carried by Jasper and being carried by Edward. I couldn't help but notice that the way that Jasper ran. It was sheer power. He may not have been as fast as Edward, but that didn't matter when you had this much power in your muscles. Edward ran more quickly and more lightly and frankly, I enjoyed the way that Edward ran more. I didn't feel like a sack of potatoes, which was an unpleasantly accurate description of how I felt now.

When we finally made it back to the Cullen house…our house, now…Jasper ran all the way up to one of the guest bedrooms before setting me down. I'm sure I was a sight to behold in my ripped clothing with dried blood all over my arm and my hair in a mess from the run, but I didn't care at this point. Soon I would be changing. Soon I would be with my family forever. I couldn't help but be thrilled about that.

Jasper didn't wait with me in the guest room. I didn't think he would. I wasn't sure where he went, only that he was still in the house. He wouldn't leave me now. I laid back on the bed for a good half hour, with only my thoughts for company, before I heard a light knocking on the door. I don't know why Jasper or Emmett bothered to knock, they knew I was expecting them.

"Come in." I said. They walked in with determined looks on their faces. I knew that this wouldn't be easy for either of them, but while I was waiting, I had come up with an idea. I wasn't sure how they would react to it, but I was willing to find out.

"Hey guys." I said.

"Are you excited about joining the family officially, Bella?" asked Emmett.

"A bit, I'll admit that. However, I was thinking about something while we were waiting on you to get back." I say.

"Oh really? What might that be?" Asks Jasper.

"Well," I say nervously. "I wanted to thank you both for agreeing to do all of this for me. I honestly feel like a real member of the family already, but I felt kind of bad for not asking Emmett to change me, too."

"What do you mean, Bella?" asks Emmett.

"Well, I don't really know how this is done, but I wanted to know if it would be possible for you both to change me? I know it's an odd request, but you both have done more for me in the time that we've known each other than I could ever thank you for. You both are the big brothers that I never had and I want to thank you the only way I can right now." I confess.

They both look at each other, obviously having a silent conversation between them, and Emmett shrugs as Jasper says, "I don't see why we can't do that."

"Really?" I ask.

"Really, Bella." Says Emmett.

"Ok. What do we do now?" I ask them both.

"Jasper is the only one between the three of us who has tried and succeeded changing someone. So I will defer to his good judgment." Emmett says.

Jasper orders me to sit back on the bed, he'll take my right side and Emmett will take the left. They will proceed to bite me at my wrists, ankles, and the creases of my elbows. Jasper had originally wanted to bite my neck, but I felt that was too intimate, so the elbows it was. Jasper also explained that I would burn for approximately 3 days. The fire would consume me and only get hotter until the change was complete. I remember the bite from James and the fire I felt at the time. My entire body was going to feel worse than that and the realization made me nervous. I took a few deep breaths in and out to calm my nerves and I was ready to go.

"Ok. Let's do this." I said.

"See you in a few days, sis." Emmett says before biting on my left wrist.

At first I don't feel much, just a stinging sensation in my wrist, and another as Jasper bites me on the right wrist. Then they move to my elbows and finally my ankles. By this point I know what they mean. All I can feel is the fire. It just keeps getting hotter. I force my eyes closed, but all that does is let me see the flames. I grit my teeth to keep my jaw closed and hope to God that the next 3 days will be over soon.

All other thoughts stop as the fire consumes me and I embrace its pain gladly.

Chapter Text

Amanda POV

CHAPTER 16

Several weeks have passed since Peter and Charlotte have joined us. I will admit that those two are not what I would have expected from experienced killers. They keep to themselves a lot and don't really seem interested in anyone else. Charlotte seems to be the quiet one out of the two and I'm drawn to her more than I am her obnoxious companion. He seems to be the one that knows what's going to happen before it does and rubs it in. Usually he rubs the wrong person, Victoria, the wrong way. It's not that I don't like Peter, I do, but there's just something about him that I can't quite figure out. Almost like he's holding something back. It doesn't help matters that I see Peter leave the safety of our camp once a day for a half an hour. Every time he comes back he seems a little bit happier. I know he's not hunting. We don't need to hunt that much. I can't get a good read on him and it makes me wary.

Victoria seems to be besotted by these two even more so than she was when she learned of my gift. Although she gets annoyed with Peter, she doesn't seem to show it. It's nice not having to be the center of attention anymore. I don't have to pretend that I belong when no one takes notice of me. Better still, I don't have to use my gift quite so much either and that makes me more than happy. It takes a lot of energy out of me and I have to hunt far more frequently than I would like to.

Victoria has completely given up on teaching any of us to fight at all. She was growing impatient and it showed. We basically just run rampant through the streets of this little Podunk town and do whatever we want. It's nice not being on a feeding and fighting 24/7 schedule anymore. It gives me the opportunity to do other things. I'm not exactly sure what those "other things" might be yet, but maybe I can ask Charlotte what she does to pass the time. I haven't really gotten the chance to know her yet, but I would like to. She seems like she has a level head. I start walking around our camp, trying to find her, and I hear both of them talking about something. I know it's not right to eavesdrop, but I can't help it. My curiosity gets the better of me every time.

"Pete, I don't care what he says. I ain't leavin' him to just meet up with her all on his own. Not without backup." I hear Charlotte say.

Peter follows with a "Well, I swear to ya that when it all boils down we don't have nothin' to worry about. Trust me."

"How can ya be so sure, Pete? We hardly know her and you of all people should hate her with a fiery passion."

"You're right, we hardly know her. So why don't ya decide to get all buddy-buddy with her while I think of our next move? We have to find neutral ground for them to meet and make sure that he doesn't rip her to shreds. And what do ya mean I should hate her?"

"She was made to kill him, Peter." says Charlotte exasperatedly.

"So what if she was? She isn't gonna." says Peter.

"How do ya know that? All she has to do is sing one note, Pete and he's a gonner." replies Charlotte.

"She won't do that. Not once she sees him." growls Peter assuredly.

Obviously they had been arguing over me, so instead of keeping to the shadows pretending like I didn't hear anything, I turn the corner and stare at the both of them with my arms folded.

"Y'all wouldn't be talkin' about me, would ya?" I ask angrily.

My Southern twang tends to get worse if I let my attitude get the better of me. This is no exception. They both have guilty expressions on their faces, but I would like an explanation of why I became this, and if they know, then I want to hear it.

"You're angry," Charlotte begins, "I can understand that, but you don't have to be hostile. If ya take a few moments to sit with us, we'll explain."

It seems like a reasonable request, so I agree, but they proceed to take me into the surrounding wooded area before they begin to tell me why they agreed to join us. I'm not concerned with going with them, they won't hurt me and even if they did, I would be able to stop them before they could. What I am concerned with is being a pawn in someone else's game. It doesn't sit well with me to be used without my knowledge.

Granted I can't be too picky about how I'm being used, considering my present predicament with being involved with a vampire army dead set on revenge against others that I've never met, all without my previous knowledge or acceptance before my recruitment, but I digress. Better the devil you know.

We don't travel too far into the surrounding trees before they both stop and look at me. I can see that they are having a bit of a difficult time knowing where to begin, but I don't say anything to get the ball rolling. I've learned patience the hard way by being a mother and I'll be damned if I'm the first one to break now.

"I guess I'll start from the beginning." Peter says.

"That would be great." I reply.

"We aren't really with your little band of fighters to get revenge on the Cullen's. Although I would like to, the Pixie that they have with them is not only dangerous, but she's also devious and quite the vindictive bitch in order to get what she wants. That being said, we never lied about being in the Southern Wars or about fighting alongside The Major. We did for many decades before he allowed us to leave. We managed to go back for him and get him to leave with us, but he wasn't happy. He left us to go with the Pixie who he thought was his mate. They live with the Cullen's and live another way of life that he seems happy with, but we can't be entirely sure. We still keep in touch although it's rare now, but we still care very deeply for him. He is our maker, sire, or whatever you want to call it. We just want to make sure he realizes the same thing we have and he doesn't kill you for it." Peter states.

"Ok, let me get this straight." I begin. "This Pixie is currently living with the Cullen's and has manipulated The Major into a relationship with her?"

"Yes" says Charlotte.

"Ok. You think that he may try to kill me?" I ask.

"Yes," replies Peter.

"Why? What am I to him for him to target me?" I ask.

"This is where we may lose you." Charlotte says.

"Try me." I reply.

"Ok, we are actually here on The Major's orders." States Peter

"And the Pixie's, too." adds Charlotte.

I let that sink in for a minute and said, "Explain."

It doesn't take them long to tell me the real reason they're both here. Apparently this human girl Bella started all of this with Victoria. James, Victoria's mate was killed when he kidnapped the girl and blames the entire Cullen clan for his murder. Victoria knew of the Major and also knew that he could possibly be rusty from lack of fighting, but she also knew that the only way to win against the Cullen's was to start changing newborns and teach them how to fight. Kind of like in the Southern Wars, but to a lesser degree. The Major and I are supposed to meet in battle soon and due to my wonderful gift, the unbeatable Major will fall along with the rest of the Cullen's just for revenge over a lost mate. I have to admit that from a battle standpoint, I could see a hell of a lot wrong with this plan. I would essentially be the Ace in the Hole. Without me, the plan wouldn't succeed.

"What is a mate?" I ask Charlotte.

"Your mate is the one person that ya are to spend eternity with. The one that makes ya feel complete, happy, whole, and at peace. You can breathe easier, talk about anythin', argue with each other and yet, at the end of the day they will be there for ya." She replies.

"So every vampire has one?" I ask.

"It's possible. It could be a hundred, a thousand, or even five thousand years before your mate appears, but they will be there." Says Peter.

Five thousand! That's a hell of a long time to wait. "How do I know when I've met mine?" I ask.

"A very good question." Charlotte says. "You'll know as soon as ya see 'em. It's almost like your soul has found its other half. You cannot even think of being parted from 'em. If you die, so do they. If they die, you will soon follow willingly. You would do anythin' and everythin' in your power to protect 'em and keep 'em happy. Just as Peter does to me."

"Peter, do ya already know who mine is?" I ask hopefully.

"I do." he replies. "But I ain't tellin' ya. You'll have to figure that one out on your own."

"Fine." I say. "So now that you've told me what's going on, how do we fix this?"

"Fix this?" Asks Charlotte.

"Yeah, fix all of this messed up shit that we're in right now. How do we get out of here with some semblance of our lives left? I have other places I'd rather be than here. How do we make that happen?"

"You would be willing to leave here?" Asks Peter.

"Hell yes!" I say. "I can't wait to get out of here, find my mate if I have one, and go somewhere other than here."

"Well, we would start by killing the Pixie." Says Charlotte.

Peter and I both look at her quizzically, but she proceeds to explain. "Alice can see the future. Any decisions that we make, she can counter. She is the first one that needs to go because she is a liability. We cannot trust her, nor can we change her mind about you, Amanda. She wants you dead. So you have to get to her first."

"I would like to know more about why she wants me dead. I don't want to kill her if I don't need to. Is there another way?" I ask.

"We could try kidnapping her, she isn't much of a fighter, but she will see if we do try to take her." Replies Peter.

"Ok, so how do we get around that?" Charlotte asks.

"It's simple." I say. "You get her through me. Like you said, she wants me dead. If she wants me dead, she will come to me to kill me herself when I tell her I have you two captive. If she has been watching me, she'll know it's possible to even put experienced fighters on their backs with my voice."

"Or, we could call her and say that we kidnapped you and if she wants you dead, she can do it herself that way." states Peter.

We spend the next few hours hatching a plan, not quite sure if it will work, but hoping that she will be too busy to see unless we want her to. After finding a deserted cabin between Port Angeles and Forks, we play our parts to perfection. I am inside the cabin, chained to the wall with duct tape over my mouth and I hear Charlotte say to Peter, "Make the call."

Chapter Text

Amanda POV

CHAPTER 17

The plan was simple. Peter was to call Alice and tell her that they finally had me secured and alone, a picture was taken on Peter's phone to prove it. The picture that Peter sent to Alice was a bit staged, but hopefully it would be enough to circumvent her visions for a while. The tank that I was wearing is now ripped, the jeans have various holes in them, my hair looks like a bird has been roosting there for a while…all in all, I look like I've been put through the ringer. However, for this to work, I had to look like I've been in a scuffle with Peter and Charlotte and unfortunately the outfit that I was in didn't quite work unless slightly destroyed. Pity, I liked that outfit.

Peter knew that Alice would have wanted him to kill me, but Peter wasn't too keen on doing someone else's dirty work no matter the situation. His time in the Southern Wars just being used as a piece in Maria's army just made him that much more adamant about never being used for someone else's gain again. Alice knew this, so he would suggest to Alice that she come and finish me off herself. Now, all we had to do was wait and see if she would take the bait.

From what I've been told, she isn't omniscient and her visions are based on the decisions that people make. I can understand why that would be beneficial, but I can also understand how we can get around it. We don't make concrete plans unless we want her to see them.

Fortunately for her, the plan isn't to kill her straight away. I want answers and she's the only one that can give them to me. So, here I am chained to the wall of this random cabin, hoping against hope that she'll be too excited to see what lies in her future if she does show up, and going through the 'song list' in my head for an interrogation. I need something that will get her to open up. Something that will get her to tell me the truth without holding anything back and I think I know just the song.

Alice POV

Things have been a bit chaotic in the Cullen household since I came back. I wasn't gone long, only about a week, and since I knew what Jazz expected of me with my shopping sprees, that is exactly what happened. What I didn't pay much attention to was Bella's decision to join our family permanently. I couldn't see her all that well anyway, but I didn't care. She was inconsequential and wouldn't interfere in my plans. Besides, seeing my bronze haired brother at a complete loss for words, with my father, husband and my big brother all backing their decision about Bella, was enough to keep me happy for the next few decades. He had needed to do this from the start, but they were working around what Edward called a "family betrayal".

I however, was more worried about my decision to call in the Whitlock's for a favor. Peter put up a surprisingly small fight to get him to do what I wanted him to. I wasn't quite sure how that made me feel. Would he betray me? Doubtful. He thought that I was his beloved Major's mate and even if he did hate me, he wouldn't risk my Jasper's wrath. It had been a while since I had heard anything from Peter, but I wasn't concerned. He knew what I wanted and he was willing to help just to save Jasper.

My priority now was just keeping Jazz happy until I heard back from Peter. Easier said than done. I know that Jazz and I had a bit of a falling out before I left, but I've been trying my hardest to make it up to him. He's just been so distant with me and not even the promise of sex would get a normal male reaction out of him. It's so frustrating! He would be either too busy writing, reading, playing games with Emmett, or in the garage tinkering with that Harley of his with Rose. Normally in this situation a woman would wonder if her mate was being faithful, but I know better because I would have seen it. I've been keeping an eye on our future and we are still together now that the Siren won't get a hold of him.

I see the decision a few seconds before my phone rings. The call I've been waiting on has finally arrived! I'm too excited for words! I grab the phone and run out of the house to take this call in private.

I answer with "It's about time!"

"Howdy to you, too Pix." Peter replies.

"Tell me the news." I state.

"Well, I have one red-headed troublemaker currently chained inside a cabin waitin' on her final death, but I don't really feel like endin' her myself. Interested?" he asks.

I can't help a squeal of excitement as I hear him, but I want proof. I don't ever look into Peter's future so I can't be sure he's being sincere. He gets bored easily and that means he's overdramatic for drama's sake and makes split-second decisions that can usually fuck up my sight pretty quickly. Apparently there isn't as much excitement in his life as there used to be and he might just decide to let her go just to spite me.

"I want proof that you have her, Peter." I demand.

"Already sent the info to your cell. You'll be gettin' it in 3…2…1…" he says as I hear a *ding* on my phone.

"Very clever, Peter. I didn't know you could count backwards from 3." I reply acerbically.

"I'll let that one go for now, Pix, but remember that I'm doin' this for ya out of the niceness of my heart." Peter replies.

"No you aren't. You're doing this so your Major doesn't meet his final end." I state.

"There's no point in arguin' with ya. Are you interested, or not?" He asks again.

I look down at my phone to see a picture of Amanda herself chained and gagged to the wall of a cabin. She looks a bit worse for wear, but she doesn't need to be pretty for her death.

"Where are you?" I ask.

Amanda POV

So, she took the bait. How kind of her to come kill me herself. What she's unaware of is that over the past several weeks since I've met Peter and Charlotte I've been learning to fight from them. I'm nowhere near as good as they are, but I can hold my own pretty well even without my gift. I'm going to need those skills today if I plan to survive this.

The way I see it is that Alice has two options when she arrives. The first option would be to set the whole cabin on fire with me still chained inside, which is not the option I would like; or, she could want to see me face-to-face and gloat a bit before trying to rip my head off. From what I've heard about her, she would choose the second option which is my preferred choice anyway. Any reason to rub her superiority in everyone's faces would be a good day for her.

Peter walks into the cabin to finalize a few details and make a few checks before walking back out again and as he removes the duct tape from my face, I ask "Where on earth do you get vampire-proof chains?"

"I don't." he replies with a smirk.

"Ok, so how do we keep these" I shake my arms to demonstrate, "from breaking?"

"There are quite a few tricks I learned back in the day to keep newborns such as yourself in check. Maybe one of these days, if you survive this, I'll teach 'em to ya." He states casually.

I glare up at him, but let it go for now as he places the tape back on my face and walks out. I begin to think about all of the things I have to look forward to once this is done. It may not be a long list, but it keeps my hopes up. I will survive this and when I do, I have a mate to find and children to see.

It doesn't take long before I hear another set of footsteps outside the cabin. Alice must have finally joined us. As I prepare myself for what's to come, I see Peter open the door and a small woman walks in. Now I get why they call her a Pixie. She's not even 5 feet tall, short spiky black hair, weird golden eyes, and a murderous yet satisfied expression on her petite face. I look over her shoulder at Peter and Charlotte who are looking at me with determined expressions on their faces. They won't help me, but they know I can do this alone. Peter nods in my direction, a subtle reminder, as he closes the door. I hear their footsteps as they run away from the cabin, probably going for a hunt, giving me time to get what I need from this evil woman standing before me.

It doesn't take long before she starts talking. Gloating how she's better than me, how I'll never get what she has, yadda yadda yadda. I stopped paying attention after her second sentence. Apparently I'm not giving her the reaction that she wants because the next thing I know she's slapping me across the face to get my attention. It doesn't hurt, but it's extraordinarily degrading and I show her my discontent at her actions by growling behind the tape. She pays it no mind before continuing her rant at me.

Something she says eventually catches my attention, however and I now see her for who she really is. She begins telling me her plans for a new vampire run world. She tells me how sick she is of the animal drinker pretense. What she thinks and how she really feels about everyone in her 'family'. She has no real feelings for anyone and her betrayal knows no bounds. As she tells me more of her plans for her ruling future, I can't help but to start laughing at her. Which isn't easy when I'm muffled by tape. She has the most insane plans I've ever heard and she hopes to use The Major and his Captain to make it happen. All I can think is that Peter would be sorely offended that Alice was planning to use him this way.

I can tell that she's coming to the end of her rant because now everything she says is about me again and how I would have ruined her plans for a new world. So I tune her out and begin thinking of my next move. On the surface, I seem resigned to my fate, but underneath I'm not quite ready to give up. I bide my time until she is in the perfect spot before I attack. I don't finalize my plans before they happen, I just feel what needs to be done and do whatever instinct tells me.

As she's been talking, I've been moving my hands up on the chains around my wrists to get a better grip on them. Now that she's coming to a close, she steps right where I want her to and I react without thought. I swing both of my arms in front of me and let the chains themselves come free of the wall. They weren't meant to be too well held in place for this plan to work, but even with the force I was using it gives me an advantage that she wasn't aware of. As my hands come closer together, the chains act like whips and wrap around the Pixie. She wasn't even aware of what happened until I had her torso completely immobile. I don't waste any time before I push her down onto the floor and move to wrap her ankles as well. Just to make sure that she can't go anywhere.

She looks at me completely bewildered and angry. She probably thinks I want to kill her for threatening my life, but all I wanted were answers. Which I got without having done anything at all. I know she's mad that she didn't see this coming and a part of me is really glad for that otherwise this would have never worked. I rip the tape off of my face before leaning down to her and telling her "It was far easier to take you down than I would have expected. You know, if I was really that much of a threat to you, you should have just killed me. Instead, you got cocky and told me your plans for world domination. How stupid could you possibly be?"

As I begin to walk away, she angrily tells me "You'll never have him now! He'll kill you for killing me!"

I grab the duct tape off of a counter in the small kitchen before ripping off a piece and placing it over her mouth. "Kill you? I'm not gonna kill you. I'm gonna make you talk. Besides, I don't know who the bloody hell you're talkin' about ayway, but frankly I don't care. It's not like I plan to be here much longer after this is done." I say.

I walk out of the cabin and finally allow myself to feel the freedom that this life can offer. Victoria probably thinks I'm dead because I just ran off with the Whitlock's, but I feel better for not wanting to go back. That's no way to live. I don't have anywhere to be, anywhere to go, or anything to do. It's a wonderful feeling that I revel in until Peter and Charlotte walk back through the trees.

Chapter Text

Amanda POV

CHAPTER 18

I wanted to kiss Charlotte when I saw what she was carrying. New clothes. I knew they were for me, hers and Peter's were immaculate, but mine needed help and I was never one to have the skill or patience for sewing.

"I have the Pixie inside." I said as they came closer to me. "She didn't put up much of a fight like I thought she would, but I do have information that you may find useful. Best part is she thought she had beaten me and felt the need to unload this heavy burden that she had been carrying, so she told me everything without any kind of persuasion."

They both waited patiently as I told them of Alice's plans to start a new vampire rule, how she was sick of the veggie diet that she had been 'forced' into, and how she needed both Peter and the Major to make sure her plans came to fruition. As I expected, Peter didn't look happy about any of what I said. However, he would make sure that the Major could do his own interrogation. I told Peter to tell the Major that I would be available to help if he needed me to be and I knew Peter would spin this situation in my favor. According to Peter, it was high time I met this infamous Major. Now all we had to do was take care of the other problem. Victoria and Riley's Army.

I knew they needed to be ended, but I wasn't sure exactly how to make that happen. There were several others in the army that just wanted to live their new lives in peace, but again I wasn't sure how to get them out safely. Hopefully, if Peter and Charlotte agree, they may have an idea that could work. They have far more experience with this sort of thing anyway, so I will defer to them.

As they passed me into the house, I heard a very loud guffaw and a slightly less loud giggle. I could only imagine the sight that they walked into. I hadn't left our little prisoner any room to move as I had tied both of her ankles and had wrapped the clunky chains around her petite body. All you could see were her feet, knees, hands, and her head peeking up through the metal. It was a humorous sight I suppose, but I guess I just didn't find it as funny as the others.

"I never thought I'd get to see this!" shouted Peter. "The know-it-all herself, hoisted by her own petard!"

"Wow, Pete." said Charlotte, "I didn't know that you knew what that meant."

"I don't." he replied with a grin, "I heard it said once on TV and thought it was funny. I figured this'd be the time to use it."

"Well," I replied off-handedly, "it means that she was beaten by her own plot. She wanted to take me down, but thanks to you two, I took her down instead. It was an appropriate sentiment, though."

The looks I got from them varied, but the one most obvious could only be described as "really?" and I replied quickly "I took a few Literature classes in college" like that was supposed to explain everything. I could tell that I needed to get out of there quickly before I continued to embarrass myself. "Um, I'm gonna go shower or get dressed or…somethin'. Charlotte, these clothes were meant for me, yes?"

"They sure were." She replied. "However, you aren't goin' to find any bathrooms close by, but there is a nice pond about 2 miles out towards the east that will do ya just fine."

"Don't forget to call the Major and let him know what's goin' on." I said before I left.

I thanked Charlotte again, grabbed the clothes, and headed out to the east. I knew they would watch Alice there was no way she was getting out of there anytime soon. All I was worried about right this second was meeting this ally that everyone was so fond of. I admit that I was a bit nervous about meeting someone with such an amazing reputation. I also hoped that I could earn his respect quickly and not make a fool out of myself. Asking for something like friendship from someone so formidable probably wasn't gonna happen, but a girl can dream.

I reached the pond Charlotte had mentioned in no time. It was a quaint little place in a beautiful area. It was set up almost as if their branches were trying to make some sort of roof, but it wasn't complete yet. It reminded me so much of a Disney movie that I half expected the birds to begin singing. The pond was littered with boulders on one side, but was big enough to go for a swim so I couldn't complain. I set the clothes out one by one on one of the boulders closest to the bank and noticed that she got me a nice pair of dark wash jeans, a white tank top, a nice pair of brown cowboy boots, a short sleeved emerald green button down shirt, a towel, and a bra and lacy underwear included. I wondered idly how Charlotte knew what sizes to get me in all of those.

I stripped down and dove right in. The water was wonderful! I could feel the grime and dirt running off my skin. I was enjoying myself so much that I started to sing just for fun. I started with Enya's Carribean Blue then moved on to some harder Irish Gaelic songs with Siuil A Ruin by Connie Dover and Ebudæ by Enya. I decided to switch genres and throw in some Evanescence with Bring me to Life and Call Me When You're Sober and Florence and The Machine with Howl and Heavy in Your Arms before ending on some good Country music. She's Country by Jason Aldean and Travelin' Soilder by the Dixie Chicks were good choices.

It wasn't until the end of Travelin' Soilder that I felt like I wasn't alone anymore. I looked around but I couldn't see anything, so I finished the song and prepared to get out of the pond and return to Charlotte and Peter. They were probably worried about me being gone so long, but I had just gotten caught up in this peaceful feeling and lost track of time.

I started towards the boulders where I had left my clothes and realized that, indeed, I was being watched. I grabbed the towel and proceeded to get out of the pond while watching from every direction, but I still couldn't see anyone. I started to feel nervous and my eyes were busy trying to locate the threat while my brain was coming up with plans on how to defeat that threat. What I didn't expect was a blond god to start walking towards me from the opposite tree line. I vaguely recognized him from somewhere, but I couldn't place it.

"Who are you?" I asked. He wouldn't meet my gaze, but I noticed he was 6'2" I could see that he was slender, but muscular, he had wavy honey blond hair falling in a bit of disarray down to his jaw line, but the most prominent thing I saw was his scars. Scars a lot like the ones I wore so proudly, but his were everywhere that I could see and I was sure he was covering more of them up. I started to build a growl in my chest warning him to keep away, but once my eyes caught his as he looked up to answer, I knew I was done for.

"I'm Major Jasper Whitlock ma'am." he replied.

Chapter Text

Jasper POV

CHAPTER 19

I knew that Alice was still hidin' shit from me, but I had chosen to ignore it and her for the moment. I was still mad that she had gone to check out the Seattle situation while Pete was there, but wouldn't let me come along. I'm the Major for fuck's sake. I can take care of myself, Siren or not. I would deal with her after we dealt with the newborns, though. I hated the thought of causin' a fight, but she wasn't leavin' me much choice and truth be told, I resented her for takin' matters into her own hands without havin' me there to back her up.

Fuckward was another story all together. I'd gladly fight with him any day and win. He was so pissed at me for changin' his mate, but all he could do was glare at me and I ain't intimidated by that shit. I did help Bella through her unusual newborn phase as much as I could, but honestly it didn't seem like she needed me at all. That was both good and bad. Good because we weren't havin' to restrain her at all, but bad because it didn't give me nothin' to do.

I was gettin' really bored recently. Restless even. I could have dealt with Alice like this, but I figured that for the sake of what was left of our relationship I ought to calm down before that discussion.

Finally, I got the call I had been waitin' on for weeks. Peter had kept me updated every 24 like I asked him to, but this call felt different before I even answered. It seems that Victoria was losin' her patience with her newborns as well as with us. She'd moved camp closer to our location, so I knew it was only a matter of time before she struck.

"Report Captain." I said as I answered.

"We have ourselves a coup, Major." he replied.

"Explain." I demanded.

"I think it may be better if you come to us. We can't really get to you at the moment." he said.

"Location?" I said.

He gave me the location of the cabin that he was in and I said I'd be there soon. I wasted no time before I was out the door and on the way. I wasn't payin' that much attention to where I was goin, but a noise stopped me in my tracks. I could faintly hear it on the breeze. It sounded like music, but what would anyone be doin' this far from town? As I listened closer, I realized that it was someone singin'. I couldn't make out the words even with my vampire senses, but it was the most beautiful thing I had ever heard and I immediately rerouted myself to find the source.

I called Peter back to let him know that I was goin' to be later than I thought. I told him I came across somethin' I needed to investigate, but that I would be there after I found what I needed. There seemed to be somethin' off in his tone when he replied back, but he said that he would be there waitin'.

After runnin' a bit further followin' the sound I came across a beautiful scene. A woman was bathin' in a pond under some fir trees. The noise I had heard was her singin' somethin' in a language that I didn't understand. It sounded beautiful as it left her lips. I jumped up in the trees to get a better view and was astounded at what I saw. She was floatin' on her back in the pond completely naked and she was layin' like she was presentin' her body for my inspection. She was still singin' away and completely oblivious to my presence which I was glad of.

She was a vampire that much was obvious by the diamond glint to her skin as the sun hit it, her hair was the darkest shade of red I had ever seen and I couldn't wait to see what color it would be dry. She had various tattoos, all of which I could see were added with artistic precision only artists these days had so she must have been turned within the past few decades. Her lips caught my attention as they made this amazin' pout on her face before she started singin' again. This time it was some alternative rock. I'd heard this before and could ignore it and continue my inspection of this glorious creature in the water. I ran my eyes along her neck and noticed the lack of any marks, so she was unmated. I wasn't sure why I was thrilled by that thought, but I was. I did notice that she had a fair amount of scars like mine, although not quite as extensive, she also showed signs of being dismembered before.

Who the fuck would hurt this beautiful creature? Why? What good would come out of it? Furthermore, why was I actin' like a blind man seein' the sun for the first time? This isn't the first naked female body I've seen, but I certainly wanted it to be the last. I knew no other could compare to her beauty and that thought unnerved me. I was mated to another, so why the fuck was I havin' all of these inappropriate thoughts about this woman? I wasn't sure, but it was somethin' I could think about later. For now I just wanted to enjoy the sights.

She wasn't petite by any means, but she wasn't big either. She had muscle and it was very apparent that she has had to use it. Her hourglass figure alone could make a lesser man keel over. Hell, she was makin' it difficult enough for me now. She had the most perfect set of breasts I had ever laid eyes on and her hips just begged to be roughly held. I couldn't help but feel my pants tighten at the thought of my hands on those hips grinding my body into hers. I almost couldn't contain my excitement as she turned over so I could see her backside. A few more tattoos here, but they added to her beauty and didn't detract from her at all. My eyes followed the line of her spine down to her ass and I could feel my pants get painfully tighter still. She had a perfect ass. It reminded me of the apples I had eaten as a boy and I wanted to take a bite.

As she started on her next set of songs, Country I noted happily, she turned back around so I could see those luscious breasts again and started kickin' and splashin' the water to the beat of the music in her head. It was adorable and gave me the chance to see her legs to their full extent. Her legs went on for days before they met up with her ankles and her feet. I could feel her humor at herself as she did this and her resulting smile was blinding. If I could get weak in the knees, I would have. Thank God for the tree branches I was sittin' on.

She had just finished her rendition of Travelin' Soilder, which I thought appropriate before she noticed that she was no longer alone. So she did sense me here. I wanted to run, which was an odd fuckin' feelin', I don't run from nothin' and no one, but somethin' held me in place. She reached for her towel and wrapped it around herself as I dropped down out of the tree and waited just inside the tree line across from her. I could see her lookin' for what she perceived as a threat and I could start to feel her nervousness, so I took an unneeded breath and walked into her line of sight.

"Who are you?" she asked. Her eyes showed a flash of recognition, but I know we've never met. Her voice was beautiful and had a bit of a Southern Twang to it, but it didn't take over her speech like mine did.

"I'm Major Jasper Whitlock ma'am." I knew that my eyes were black as night with my lust for her as I looked directly into her ruby ones and replied back courteously. Manners mean the world to us Southerners and we know better than to be discourteous to anyone especially someone of the opposite sex.

"I'm sorry" she said, "I don't believe I heard you properly." A lie. Her hearing is immaculate like mine. "Did you just say that you were Major Jasper Whitlock?"

"Yes ma'am. I did." I reply.

"The Major Jasper Whitlock?" she asked in disbelief.

"I believe that I am the one and only, ma'am." I reply.

"So you didn't die and you didn't disappear. I'm astonished." She says.

I'm a bit confused by her answer, but manage to say with a smirk, "Well, that depends on your definition of 'die'."

I was not prepared in the least for her reaction. "Where are my manners?" She chides herself. She proceeded to drop to one knee in a kneeling fashion and bow her head in my direction before sayin', "As I cannot curtsey to you in a towel, I hope that this will suffice as a sign of respect for you."

"Please rise and dress, my Lady. There is no call for that out in the woods and certainly no call for any such ceremony for one like myself." I state. Her show of respect for me had brought me up short. My reply just served to confound me more. It reminded me of the proper way people used to act while I was still human. The words she used weren't quite right with her modern way of speakin', but the sentiment behind the show of respect was. Her show of submissiveness wasn't helpin' me keep my lust for her under control. In fact, it was just exacerbatin' a very pressin' problem.

She stands back up and proceeds to stare at me. I can see that I don't make her nervous anymore. Instead I feel awe, respect, and admiration coming from her. Somethin' about this beauty draws me closer to her and I don't bother fightin' it. I start to walk to her slowly so she can run if she feels threatened or if she thinks she needs to. She still hasn't gotten dressed yet, but I'm more focused on her eyes than anythin' else. I could get lost in those deep red pools.

When I'm about fifteen feet away she starts to move towards me. It's almost as if our bodies are actin' like magnets and the closer we get to each other, the closer we want to be. She reaches one hand out hesitantly to touch my face, her nakedness forgotten for now. As her fingers brush my cheek I feel an electric shock everywhere her fingers trace. She places her palm on my face and says "How can you say such things? You are an honorable man and always have been. You deserve any and all of my respect, ceremony or no. I know quite a bit about you Major Whitlock. Most, although not all, of which I learned back in my human life. You see, my son was always obsessed with everything Civil War related. He is a brilliant child, but any book that had your name mentioned I bought. You were promoted rapidly through the ranks because you have a potential that outshines everyone else. Out of all of the nightmarish situations you were in, you never once lost or left another. Even though your time leading was short, your leadership won the South battles that a lesser man would have lost. You are a hero."

"I wouldn't call myself a hero, darlin'. I certainly did what I had to back then, but that doesn't make me a hero. Everythin' I've done since bein' introduced to this life definitely doesn't deserve this amount of respect." I state dejectedly.

"We have all done things in our past that we regret, but we move past them. It's what makes us stronger, Major." she says sadly usin' my title as another show of respect for me, but I would rather her use my given name instead. I cannot think what she has to regret in this life or her human one. I feel her humor and realization before she allows a small giggle to escape those pouty lips. "Major. I get it now." She says to herself as she removes her hand from my face. "I'm assuming that you are the one that Peter has been speaking with regarding the Victoria situation?"

"I am," I reply, "and I'm guessing that the asshole has been gettin' into all sorts of trouble."

She turns her back to me and starts walkin' to her clothes. I hear her laugh before she replies "Trouble? Never, Major. He's a charmer, sure, but I wouldn't say he's trouble."

"We're both talkin' about Peter Whitlock, correct?" I ask.

"I certainly am." She replies looking back at me. "He and Charlotte have been more of a help to me than you might think. I learned how to fight from them, and in turn it seems that I've done quite the favor for them as well."

"What favor might that be?" I ask.

"Well, I have a certain Pixie that I know they both hate just waiting on her comeuppance in a cabin close by. I also know that you would love to get some information from her and I would be more than willing to assist you in getting said information." She replies. "What she had to tell me was certainly eye-opening."

I took a second to think about this. Alice is the only Pixie that I know of that Pete and Char hate. Why would this lovely lady have her? There must be something that I'm missin' in order for them to have my mate waitin' in a cabin. Worse still, I don't seem to be all that mad about it and I know I should be. Hell, I should be kickin' myself for all of the thoughts I've been havin' about this she-vamp and I don't even know her name.

What I do know however, is that I would follow this woman to the ends of the earth if she asked me. I'm not sure why, but now that I've seen her, I'll be damned if I'm lettin' her go.

Chapter Text

Amanda POV

CHAPTER 20

I'm not quite sure what got into me when I up and touched his face. I'm not the touchy-feely type. Never have been apart from family, but for some reason I felt the need to run my fingers across those prominent cheekbones and couldn't find it in me to stop myself. He's lucky I didn't try to run my fingers through his hair. I wanted to. Badly, but I held back.

Something also went a bit wonky with my speech and I found myself speaking more formally than I would have for anyone else. I was yelling at myself to stop revealing so much about where I'd heard of him, but again I couldn't find the will to stop. The kneeling didn't help my inner voice to shut up at all, but I couldn't have stopped that even if I'd wanted to. He was one of Connor's favorite Majors and I admit that I had respected the man in my human life, but to find out that he's a vampire and that he's the Major that Peter's been referring to...it's all a bit unreal. If I ever introduced him to Connor, he'd faint on the spot.

Woah! Where did that thought come from? Why would my sons ever meet Major Whitlock? It's not like he doesn't have other things to do. Although, it would be nice for the kids to meet him. Hell, it's nice to meet him myself. We'd make a great family together and I would be lying to myself if I didn't feel the desire to see him with less clothing, but those thoughts are pointless. I'm sure he's got a mate somewhere who fulfills his every need. What more could I possibly offer him? Nothing, really.

I close off those hurtful thoughts and proceed to explain that I'll only be a minute while I get dressed, then we can both go to the cabin where I'd chained Alice and he can interrogate her all he wants. The only thing that I could ask of him in return would be freedom to go elsewhere and live this life in peace. I don't think that's too much to ask for.

I take the clothes off of the boulder and turn to look at the Major. Like a true gentleman, he has turned his back to give me some semblance of privacy. The clothes that Charlotte got for me fit perfectly and I'll admit that the jeans make my ass look great and the green makes my hair stand out that much more. I was honestly afraid that I would look like Christmas Tree lights with the red and green, but for some reason, it works.

I'm towel drying my hair when the Major asks if it's safe to turn around. I laugh a bit, but concede that it is. He stands there a minute after he turns, various emotions playing out over his striking face including lust, awe, surprise, and joy, but finally seems to settle into an unreadable mask. Did that mean he felt something for me? I'm not sure how I feel about that. It would be nice if he did, but that notion is simply unrealistic. As I put on my boots I see desire flit across his face again before he shakes his head and looks at me with a mixture of sorrow and expectation. I can't begin to understand this man, but it's not like I'll have to understand him for long.

"Alright," I say to him, "if you're ready, we'll head to the cabin. It's about 2 miles west of here."

"Lead the way, ma'am." He replies.

It doesn't take us long to get back and when we arrive, we're met with twin expressions of mischievousness and expectation.

"You're back a lot quicker than I thought you'd be." Peter says with a knowing grin.

"Well, I did enjoy my little swim, but figured I'd need to get back when I found none other than the Major himself trying to sneak up on me." I reply.

The Major looks a bit abashed before he says "I wasn't tryin' to sneak up on ya. I heard ya singin' and got distracted."

"Uh huh. Sure you did." I say back as I wink at him.

Why am I flirting with him? Why? I don't know! Maybe because I'm a glutton for punishment? That has to be it, right? Sure. That's it.

"So, Major," Charlotte says, "It seems you've already met the lovely Amanda."

Why didn't I like the way she said that? Almost as if there was an undercurrent there that I should have been aware of.

"Amanda?" the Major asks. "Amanda the Siren?"

So he has heard of me. All thanks to Peter I assume. "That's my name, don't wear it out." I reply blandly.

"Oh I'd love to wear somethin' out." I hear him mumble under his breath before he turns to Peter. "I'm missin' somethin' mighty important here Captain and I'd like to know what it is."

"Then I think ya might wanna come inside where we can discuss this further." Peter replies.

When we all walk in the front door I expected there to be some kind of scene, but I didn't expect Peter to be thrown up against a wall with the Major at his throat. "WHAT THE HELL IS MY MATE DOIN' CHAINED UP, CAPTAIN?"

Ah! So the Pixie is his mate? That makes this very awkward. Probably deadly, too. I'm in deep shit now and I know it. I'm the one that chained her.

"Major, if you would calm down and let us explain everythin' you will realize that Alice is no more your mate than Char is." Peter replies calmly.

"The HELL are you talkin' about?" the Major replies.

Since formalities seemed to work last time, perhaps if I step in it could save Peter from losing something vital. I know I could lose my head for this, but that's a risk I'd willingly take. Besides, if I play my cards right, he won't hurt me. I don't know how I know that, but I do.

I step further into the cabin, moving closer to Alice and proceed to take a knee. I need him to see that I won't do anything unless he gives me permission and for some reason I know that this is the way to get his attention. "Major, sir, if you would allow me the honor of assisting you? I could help you get every facet of the truth from both Peter and Alice and hopefully this will explain the sight before you. I was the one to chain Alice, but only did so after I learned the truth. Will you allow me to help you?"

I heard a deep resonating growl from where I knew Peter and the Major were, and truth be told it was a turn on, but I needed to rein in those thoughts if I was going to be of any help. I didn't move. I didn't look up. I don't even think I was breathing.

"What truth do you speak of, Siren?" the Major asks back formally. I was relieved that he had replied, but nervous because I wasn't out of the woods just yet.

"I cannot tell you that, Major." I stated as I heard a growl closer to my head. "I hasten to add, sir, that the reason I cannot say is because you will not believe me. Hence why I have Alice chained. So she cannot escape without you knowing the truth."

I heard more than saw Peter being released from the Major's hold. "You will help me." He said. "And then I will decide whether you live or die."

"Yes sir." I reply. "Should I begin with Alice?"

"Yes." he says simply.

I look over at her and she is glaring daggers at me. "While I have her under my influence, she will be able to answer any question that you ask her. The song that I choose will give her no choice but to answer completely and honestly." I state before unleashing the full weight of my gift upon Alice. The song I've chosen is "Tell the Truth" by Empire's Jussie Smollett.

Tell the truth

Tell the truth

Tell the truth

It doesn't take me long to start tapping the beat on the floor as I'm singing. I can hear the Major asking Alice questions and her answering them, but I'm so focused on keeping my gift under control that I can't pay too much attention to what they're doing.

Everyone, has a closet
In the night, they wear disguises
In the dark, they hide from the truth
In the end, they lie to you

One day the skeletons are gonna come out
One day the elephant in the room will make a sound
Watch out for lions and tigers and bears
It's bout to hit the fan, better beware

As I get lost in the song, I hear commotion above me and it almost makes me lose focus. I keep up what I'm doing throughout the entire song and when I'm done, I feel exhausted and incredibly thirsty. As I come back to myself I can see that the cabin is pretty demolished and Charlotte is standing in a corner waiting for me.

"Where did the guys go?" I ask her as I stand up.

"The Major had to go blow off some steam. He and Pete will be back soon. After they do, we can go hunt." She replies.

"So what happened?" I ask.

"Did you not hear anythin'?" She asks back.

"No. I've never used my gift like that before. It was almost like I was pulled into it as well. I know there was a lot of commotion, but I don't know what happened." I reply.

"Let's just say that the Major had to learn some very hard truths. Pete did as well, but the Major has thought Alice was his mate for decades. Now, come to find out, she was just usin' him for her own gains." She said.

"Like Maria all over again." I state coldly. Peter and Charlotte had told me their sides of the Maria story, but apparently she just used the Major as a puppet and nothing more.

"He was thinkin' the same way you are." She said.

"I don't understand it, Charlotte." I state frustrated. "Why does everyone think that they can use and abuse him? He's a good man! He's an honorable man! He's been through hell and back! Why would they do that to him?"

"I uprooted a few trees tryin' to figure that out myself, darlin'." The Major stated as he walked in the door.

I don't hesitate before dropping back down to my knees. "I'm sorry. I didn't mean to be disrespectful to you. I just…"

He cuts me off with a wave of his hand. "Look at me."

There is no hesitation before I do and I can't seem to look away from those obsidian eyes even if I wanted to. Not that I did. Not at all. He smirks at me like he knows what I'm thinking. That smirk does things to me that make me wish we were alone. What happens to be on my mind would be completely inappropriate to act on in present company.

"There's nothin' to be sorry for and you didn't disrespect me. I actually owe you an apology for growlin' at ya like I did. Ya gave me no reason not to trust ya, and my reactions were very ungentlemanly. I hope ya will forgive me." He says. I can see he's come back to himself because his speech is polite, but informal.

"You had every reason to act like you did. I chained your supposed mate and made her talk against her will. I would have been surprised if you hadn't acted the way you did." I reply.

He chuckles a bit at me and before I can stop myself I ask, "Would you like to go hunt with me?"

I don't know why, but after I ask, the atmosphere charges with anticipation. "I'm sorry. Was it wrong of me to ask? I need to hunt and I thought you might want to join me. It looks like you could do with a good meal. Not that I don't like your black eyes…I do. That came out wrong. I didn't mean to imply… I mean…hell, I haven't been this tongue-tied since high school. Now that I've officially made a fool out of myself, Charlotte, would you like to go with me instead?"

I don't wait for her answer before I'm out of the cabin and running towards the nearest town. I stop about a mile outside of town and proceed to berate myself as I sit under a tree. I place my face in my hands and groan in frustration as I hear footsteps heading to me. Something happened back there in the cabin and I made a fool of myself because of it. Maybe I was reading too much into the situation and I let my mouth run away with me. I hear the steps stop and don't bother to open my eyes. I know it's Charlotte that followed me, so I know I can ask her what the hell is going on with me.

"How much of an ass did I make of myself back there?" I ask.

"I wouldn't say you made an ass out of yourself, darlin'. It's just that I gave up human blood a long time ago." The reply did not come from the voice I had expected and my eyes snapped open.

"Major!" I say shocked. I stand up too quickly and manage to beat my head against a low hanging tree limb in my surprise. As if this embarrassment could get any worse.

"There's no reason to be embarrassed." He says calmly.

"There's plenty of reasons for me to be embarrassed." I reply as I rub the top of my head. The branch didn't hurt, but I don't want any critters crawling around in my hair, nor do I want any tree bark in there either.

"Give me one good reason why you feel that way." He says. "Also be aware that since I am an empath, I can feel everything you're feelin'. I'll know if you lie to me."

Oh! An empath, too?! That's just fucking perfect. I guess I'll go into this all guns blazing then.

"I can feel your determination, so I'm guessin' I'm about to get an ear full, yes?" He asks.

"You're damn skippy." I say. "I was feeling embarrassed because I felt an attraction to you at the pond, but didn't say anything about it at the time because I figured you had a mate waiting on you at home and I knew that there was no reason for me to feel that way, but I did. I tried to control it even more when you growled at me, but that sound was just panty-wetting in the best way and then I got caught up in my own gift and came back to myself completely discombobulated and needed to feed. Which," I giggled humorlessly, "by the way has never happened to me before. Then when Charlotte told me what happened, I wasn't able to control the anger I felt that Alice" I spat her name, "would use you the same way Maria did. I felt that you were unfairly treated and proceeded let my mouth run away from me in both telling Charlotte how I felt about it and asking a vegetarian to hunt with a human drinker. I should have put two and two together when you said she was your mate, but of course I didn't."

I took a breath before I continued my tirade, "Finally, I feel the most embarrassed that I off-the-wall admitted that I liked you and then proceeded to trip over my own tongue in the process."

I felt the relief flood me that I had said all of that out loud, but I wasn't sure if it was my own or if he was manipulating me. The thought of either wasn't really all that disconcerting.

As I started to relax, I looked back at him and expected him to say something like "I appreciate you telling me," or even "thank you, you can hunt now", but what I got was completely unexpected. He was in my face before I knew what was happening. He startled me, so I took a breath and my brain went fuzzy at the smell of fir trees and worn leather. Oh dear God he smelled good! I could roll in this scent for an eternity and never get tired of it.

He chuckled a bit as he felt my emotions, tilted up my chin to his face, and kissed me. Hard and dominating. I was glad that I didn't need to breathe anymore because it would have taken my breath away. I ran my hands up his arms, across his shoulders, and when my hands met his neck the pleasant electric feeling was back. I continued to kiss him as I ran my fingers through his hair.

I was a complete goner. I needed to be closer to this man. I felt his tongue asking for access into my mouth and gladly gave in. Our tongues intertwined with one another and it just turned me on more. I'm sure he could smell my arousal in the air. I could feel his hands roaming my back and when he got to my ass, he lifted me and settled me against the tree with my legs wrapped around his waist. In this very intimate position, I could feel that he was as aroused as I was and he wasn't a small man by any means. That just made me more excited and I whined into his mouth.

I needed more. Desperately. I could feel the lust heavy in the air and I wasn't sure if it was his, mine, or ours. I didn't really care. He broke his hold on my mouth and began to kiss down my jaw and even further down my neck. When he got to the sweet spot in the crook between my neck and shoulder, I could feel my lust rise even higher and my panties dampened considerably.

I couldn't take the torture anymore. Sweet that it was. I started ripping his clothes off. Buttons flying everywhere and noticed that he was being more careful with mine. I didn't understand it, but I didn't care. I wanted him naked. NOW.

I managed to get a grip on the tree and pushed us both to the ground. I wanted to see this man in all of his glory. I was straddling his hips and managed to remove his undershirt without ripping it, but it was a close call. I stilled as I saw his bare chest. He was cut. Every muscle defined. He had scars, yes, but that just added to his appeal for me. Hell, I had scars all my own. He was an Adonis in jeans that hung off his hips deliciously and showed off that lickable V that lead to my goal. I finally got the button to his jeans undone and was pleasantly surprised that he was going commando. I looked up at him with a heated gaze and he just smirked sexily and shrugged.

I turned around and tugged his boots off, then turned back around and straddled his knees so I could pull his jeans down further. As I got a full view of his gorgeous cock, all ready to go for me, I couldn't help but moan. I got his jeans off the rest of the way and proceeded to finish undressing myself. It didn't take long before I was naked and straddling him again.

I crawled up his body and planted another heated kiss on his lips, resulting in a pleasant moan from him in reply, before trailing kisses down his throat, across his chest, and down his muscled abs. I let my fingers trail after me, and heard him inhale when I lightly nipped and licked at his hips. I let my tongue trail from one hip to the other without touching him where he wanted it most. I could see his hands by his sides digging grooves into the forest floor. I finally showed him some mercy when I gently kissed the head of his cock and then licked it causing him to moan again. I took his head in my mouth completely as I took his balls in my hand and started gently massaging them before pushing my head slowly down the full length of him and back up again just as slowly. He growled at me and I could tell that I was torturing him in the best way, but I didn't stop and I didn't go faster. He took my hair in his hands and tried to push me up and down faster, but I wasn't having any of it. I wanted him to feel as I took every inch into my mouth and down my throat. It took a while at the slow pace I was setting, but I wanted to make him feel like a real man should. Only when he came hard down my throat, moaning my name did I allow him to take control. He didn't disappoint.

He had me flipped on my back and pinned underneath him in less than a second and assaulted my mouth with his tongue. I may have moaned.

"That was torture." He growled.

"You loved it. Don't lie." I said mischievously.

"You're goin' to regret doin' that, darlin'." He said.

"You don't scare me." I said back.

He growled at me and hungrily kissed me again before moving down to my neck. I felt his tongue trace a pattern on me before getting to that sweet spot and he nipped just hard enough to get a moan from me before he continued exploring my body with his tongue and his hands. When he got to my nipples, he pulled one into his mouth and I wriggled against him needing the friction that only he could provide me. He licked his way down into the valley between my breasts before giving the same attention to the other nipple. He continued to move slowly down my body while tracing the pattern of his tongue with his hands. When he got to my hips he kissed each of them in the spot where my hip met my lower abs and my muscles automatically contracted pleasantly and I was incoherent for a minute.

The pleasure this man gave me was unlike anything I had ever experienced before. I never wanted it to end. He started kissing up my inner thigh from my knees and before he got where I wanted him most, he switched to the other leg. I groaned. He laughed a husky laugh that had me writhing. I could almost feel myself vibrating with need. I know my panting was unnecessary and embarrassing, but I couldn't find it in myself to care.

It was only when I noticed that he'd stopped that I looked up at him. He was staring back down at me with a hungry look in his eyes. "Are you ready to beg yet?" He asked huskily.

I would have gladly begged for anything at this point, but all I managed was "Huh?".

"Are you ready for me to make you come?" he asked.

"Dear God, yes!" I practically shouted.

He laughed again before saying, "That's not beggin', darlin'. That's shoutin'."

"Please?" I whined. "Please? I need you to make me come."

I didn't even get the last word out before his head dove in between my legs and he started licking my sensitive nub. I was a moaning and writhing mess on the forest floor. I needed him inside me. When my need for him was almost painful, that's when he pushed one finger inside me. I nearly screamed as he added another to the first. I didn't have to wait long before I was at the precipice of that familiar cliff and was gloriously pushed off shouting "Major!" as I came.

After riding that high he was kissing me hungrily again and I knew that we needed each other to be connected in the most primal of ways. There was no build up before he pushed his substantial length into me and proceeded to thrust in and out of me fairly quickly. Both of us moaning for the other, both of us getting what we never knew we wanted. Before I knew it we were both reaching that peak again and, for some reason as I came I bit down on the side of his neck. I felt him do the same to mine and we came together again.

"Well," I said as we laid in the forest together, "that was…somethin' else."

He chuckled and looked at me. "You are mine, my mate, as I am yours."

"I think I like the sound of that." I replied.

Chapter Text

Jasper POV

CHAPTER 21

I fully expected to walk into that cabin and sit down and discuss things between Alice and me. It would make the most sense and would be the most logical way to get answers that I needed without me losin' my temper and rippin' limbs off. I'm not too sure what happened to me, but when I saw Alice chained up like that, I blew a fuse. I'm not sure why, exactly, but I guess it was just seein' my wife in such a vulnerable position that made me lose it. Why the hell did Peter have Alice chained like that?! I was goin' to find out one way or another. Yes, she's kept things from me, but she didn't deserve this kind of treatment.

"WHAT THE HELL IS MY MATE DOIN' CHAINED UP, CAPTAIN?" I yell as I throw Peter up against the wall. I can feel my eyes darkenin' with anger and rage. He better have a damn good excuse for this.

"Major, if you would calm down and let us explain everythin' you will realize that Alice is no more your mate than Char is." he replies calmly. I feel no deception from him, but I still don't like this. Not at all.

"The HELL are you talkin' about?" I ask angrily. I'm in no mood for his games. He better tell me somethin' quick.

My attention is diverted as I start to feel movement in the cabin, but it comes from an unlikely source. The Siren slowly moves closer to Alice, her eyes downcast the entire way and as I start to feel a growl building in my chest, she takes a knee. Odd behavior.

Still lookin' at the floor, she says "Major, sir, if you would allow me the honor of assisting you? I could help you get every facet of the truth from both Peter and Alice and hopefully this will explain the sight before you. I was the one to chain Alice, but only did so after I learned the truth. Will you allow me to help you?"

She is polite and formal, this one. I feel a constant hum of anticipation, respect, and awe from her. No fear. No deception. Interesting.

I feel straight fear from Alice, an undercurrent of fear from Peter and Charlotte, no doubt that I was the cause of that, but those two mostly feel excitement, anticipation, and oddly…glee. Very interesting.

I turn to Peter and growl at him to let him know to stay put while I get the answers I've been waiting months for. I feel desire and lust from the Siren as I growl, but she reins in those feelings fairly quickly. I ignore it for the time being. I have other things that require my attention.

"What truth do you speak of, Siren?" I ask her in the same formal tone. Relief and nervousness from Peter, Charlotte, and the Siren. Fear from Alice, still.

As I move closer to her, with my hand still around Peter's throat, I hear her say "I cannot tell you that, Major." I don't like that answer one bit and show my disapproval by growling close to her head. "I hasten to add, sir, that the reason I cannot say is because you will not believe me. That is why I have Alice chained. So she cannot escape without you knowing the truth."

So she is the one that chained Alice? How? No one can get the drop on Alice. This situation is lookin' more grim by the second and I've been left out of the loop for far too long. I shove Peter towards Charlotte and turn to the Siren. I am beyond angry at this entire situation and I will do whatever it takes to get what I want. "You will help me and then I will decide whether you live or die."

"Yes, sir. Should I begin with Alice?" she asks.

"Yes." I reply.

I adjust my stance and face my wife, who is currently radiating anger and fear. Anger towards the Siren, fear towards me. What is it that she doesn't want me to know? What could possibly be so bad that she's been this determined to keep me in the dark?

The Siren gets my attention again by sayin', "While I have her under my influence, she will be able to answer any question you ask her. The song I choose will give her no choice but to answer completely and honestly."

That's good. I have felt her deceit myself, but have never been able to get her to answer my questions. That changes now. As the Siren begins to sing, I feel somethin' unlike anythin' I've ever felt before. Powerful, raw desire. Desire to do anythin' and everythin' that is requested of the one bein' influenced. It's astonishin' to witness and I can see why she could be both an asset and a devestatin' enemy.

I see Alice's eyes glaze over. She's under for now which is preferred considerin' I don't want to hear any more of her lies before I begin to question her.

"Captain," I say, "remove the tape from her mouth and record this in case I need it for any reason." Who knows? I may need proof of this later. In my experience, it's better to be safe than sorry.

Peter doesn't hesitate before flashin' over to Alice, removin' the tape, and joinin' Charlotte in the corner. He pulls out his phone, presses "record" and nods at me. At least they're out of the way. As the Siren starts to beat a tempo into the floor, I see Alice's gaze follow the motions. I take an unneeded breath and let it out slowly reinin' my anger in. Time to get this over with.

"Alice." I say to get her attention. She looks over at me, but I see no recognition there. So, she is well and truly under.

I start with the hardest question. "Alice, are ya my mate?"

"No." She replies dazed. I'll admit that I'm angry and hurt. More than I thought I would be, but I can't deal with those emotions yet, so I push 'em aside for now. I will deal with 'em later.

"Why did ya lie to me and tell me that ya were?" I ask.

"Because I needed you and Peter to help me and I knew you wouldn't if you didn't think I was yours." she replies.

Betrayal. I would love the opportunity to rip her head clean off her shoulders and would happily dance around her pyre. I have never felt betrayal this deep. I can't help but destroy the furniture as I try to regain my focus. Once I'm settled, I ask more questions.

"Why did ya need our help?" I ask.

"My plan would not have been successful without both of you." she replies. Ok, now I may be gettin' somewhere.

"What plan is this?" I ask.

"I am tired of hiding in the shadows, acting human. I wanted to create a new world where vampires were worshipped instead of feared. I wanted to feed naturally and on our natural food source without the risk of being discovered and reported. You, Peter, and Bella were the main keys to taking down the Volturi and without them, we would take over. We would announce our existence to the world. Kings, Queens, Presidents, all of them would come and bow at our feet. If we didn't like them, we ate them. We would be untouchable. No one would be able to defeat us. You both would be the Kings of the world and Charlotte and I would be Queens." she replies quickly, but honestly.

I'll admit that I'm a bit stunned and disturbed at this new revelation. She doesn't seem the type to want world domination, but the more I listen, the more she begins to sound like my bitch of an ex, Maria. Why do I let these crazy women gain so much control over me? Do I just have a flashin' neon sign above my head that says "Use Me" in red letters? I chide myself and push the emotions aside for now. I can vent later.

"You were given the opportunity to join the Volturi. Why did you refuse to take it?" I ask.

"Aro would have read my intentions in my mind, and I would have died." she replies.

If there is one thing that Aro hates, it's a threat to his throne. I believe that she would have been killed immediately after Aro figured out her plans.

"What about the rest of the Cullen's?" I ask.

"Simple, we would end them. The Denali's, too. With Bella's shield we could end anyone and everyone we wanted." she replied.

"I thought you were happy with your family since you don't remember your human one?" I question.

"They were simply a means to an end. Nothing more. I use their gifts, then destroy them when they are of no further use." she replies.

Wow. Did not see that comin'. I honestly thought she would feel some sort of attachment to the family we've been with for 55 years. Apparently I was mistaken.

"What about when we become of no further use?" I ask.

"Impossible. You are the God of War, Peter is your Captain. Your reputation alone would keep anyone from wanting to attack or challenge you. You are both expertly skilled and would win any battle." she replies.

"So, on the outside we would be Kings, but in reality we would be security to your rule?" I ask.

"Exactly." she says.

She's soundin' more like Maria the more questions she answers. Maybe I'm not meant to be in a relationship with a woman. Maybe all they see is a wounded soldier that would do anythin' for the love only a woman can give. That's a depressin' notion.

However, if that's really the case, why did I get nothin' but respect and honesty from the Siren? I look over to her and she seems to be preoccupied with keepin' Alice under her influence. She's not even blinkin'. Hopefully if I ask, she'll be able to hear the answers.

"Why were ya so determined to let Amanda die?" I question.

"She was the undoing of all of my plans. She is your true mate. You would follow her anywhere and do anything for her. I had to kill her before she got to you." she says.

So the Siren is my mate? Is that why she feels respect, desire, longin', and lust for me? Is that the reason she is actin' the way she is? Is that why I felt the way I did when I was watchin' her bathe? Does she know she's my mate, or are her reactions just because she's heard of me and my reputation? Thoughts to ponder…later.

"Do ya realize what the penalty for keepin' mates apart is?" I ask.

"Death." she states.

At least she knows what's comin' after this is over. I have never been more glad to have a recordin' device than right now. I will have to send this off to Aro, Marcus, and Caius as soon as I get home. They'll need to hear all of it. So will the Cullen's and this is not a conversation I wanna have with any of 'em.

"How long have ya been plannin' this?" I ask.

"Since my first vision as a Vampire." she says.

"How were ya so good at hidin' your emotions from me?" I ask.

"I had to keep my real emotions hidden from you and the only way I found how to do that is to be constantly hyper, happy, and excited all the time." she replies. "It was exhausting."

Makes sense. With the bubbly personality that she usually had, it made readin' her emotions unnecessary. She was just constantly happy and excited. Who knew that it was all a fraud?

"How were ya so good at hidin' your plans from Edward?" I ask. Certainly he would have picked up on somethin', right?

"Edward hated being in my head almost as much as he hated being in yours. He only reads the surface thoughts. I thought about fashion, high-end and pricy cars, money, the stock market, or anything else that I knew wouldn't be interesting to him." she states.

"Who else knew of your plans?" I ask.

"I couldn't trust anyone not to betray me, so no one else knew." she replied.

I breathed a sigh of relief that I wouldn't have to track anyone else down to put a stop to this.

"Why did ya contact Peter and get him involved in this?" I ask curiously.

"He was the only one I could trust that could get in to the newborn camp, kill Amanda for me, and leave without causing too much suspicion. His reputation got him in." she replied.

Shit. The newborns. Yet another problem to deal with.

"What have ya seen in regards to the newborns?" I ask.

"Victoria is getting restless. They have 15 newborns plus Victoria and an older vampire. They will attack in 3 days. The clearing right above Forks is where they will meet you. Get the wolves involved and you will win with no casualties." she states.

Damn. I can't get the wolves involved. They don't know about Bella. Technically, even though it was her choice, Emmett and I broke the treaty. I can't get them involved in this without causing another battle to ensue. Unless I get Carlisle to work his magic on Sam and get them to see that this was what she wanted and it was the only way to keep her safe from the Volturi. I can continue thinkin' about that later.

"Is there anything else that you are hidin' from me?" I ask.

"No." she replies.

I have learned quite a bit from this impromptu interrogation. All I can feel is anger at the one I used to call "mine". She's held so much back from me. She used me. She is no better than Maria. She hid my mate from me and was going to have her killed. All of this for her shot at the throne? It's more than I can wrap my head around. For now though, I need to get out of here and destroy somethin' so I can get my anger under control.

"Leave her to me." I say to Peter and Char before I walk out the door. Once I'm inside the tree line, I take off and run until the anger catches up with me. I start tearin' trees apart with my bare hands. Knockin' them over, kickin' them, throwin' them, anythin' to help me feel better.

I'm not sure when he started followin' me, but as soon as I heard him break through the trees, I attacked. Peter was ready for me and blocked my initial attack before retaliating. I'm not sure how long we fought for, but once I had him on the ground with my knees planted on his arms and my teeth at his throat, I finally came back to myself.

"Still can't beat me, huh, Pete?" I ask with a smirk as I let him up.

"Nah. Didn't even try to. I knew ya needed to let off some steam and the only way ya could do that is by fightin'." he replied as he sits up next to me.

"I guess we should head back. I need to deal with Alice." I said.

"So do ya want me to go ahead and send the recordin' to Aro?" he asked.

"Yeah. May as well get it over with. See what he says and let me know how he wants me to proceed." I reply.

"Consider it done, Major." He says. "Now let's head back."

As we run back to the cabin, I feel a bit lighter and know that I can handle whatever comes of this without losin' myself again.

As we make our way back to the cabin, I can feel anger, frustration, and determination comin' from Amanda. I wonder idly why she would be feelin' these things before I hear her defend me to Charlotte. Not that she would need to, Char wouldn't care, but it's nice to hear someone I barely know get angry over my previous treatment. When I walk in the cabin, I explain how I was just as curious about the answers to her questions as she was. She drops to her knees before me, but I can't keep havin' her do that every time we meet. I mean, it's a great ego boost to have someone so beautiful literally falling at your feet, but it's completely unnecessary.

I can both see and feel her thirst when she looks up at me, but it morphs itself into a different sort of hunger. Could she possibly be feelin' the attraction, too? We chat for a few minutes, not anything over-stimulatin', but when she asks me to hunt with her I feel a tension in the air. She must not realize that I don't hunt humans anymore. I feel her embarrassment as she obviously feels that she overstepped her bounds and quickly asks Char to accompany her for her hunt, but I hold Char back. I would like to get to know this wonderful creature further, so I agree to go after her and help ease her worries. I find her easily, simply followin' the waves of embarrassment to find her sittin' under a tree beratin' herself. She doesn't seem to realize that instead of Char, I was the one to follow her.

"Major!" she all but screeches in surprise and stands up too quickly, bangin' her head on a low-hangin' branch. I swallow my laughter at her adorable expression. Laughin' at her wouldn't be in my best interest if I wanted to get to know her better.

As we talk her anxiety and embarrassment surge once again when she comes to the realization that I can feel everythin' she feels and then her determination and frustration spike when she's ready to talk. I know she's gonna let me have it one way or another. She proceeds to tell me exactly how she feels and her reactions to it, seemingly unafraid at the repercussions, but I can't help feelin' my ego get bigger and bigger as she speaks. Once her verbal barrage is done, I feel her immediate relief at tellin' me everythin' and then her expectation as she waits for my reaction.

Truth be told, I've never felt like this with anyone else before. I thought I loved Maria, but that turned into one giant shit storm. Then Alice came along and showed me another way to live and gave me a 'family', but her professed love was nothin' more than a lie and turned out no better than what I had with Maria. As an empath, you would think I would be able to tell fake emotions from real ones, but apparently not when it involves me. This woman is different from both. Alice admitted that Amanda was my mate, but does Amanda know what that means?

For that matter, do I?

Do I want to know?

Do I put myself back on the line again like that?

How do I explain this sudden change to the rest of the family?

Would there even be a place for us at the Cullen's?

When did I start thinkin' about a future with Amanda?

The attraction between us is there. It's undeniable to me and has to be somewhat palpable to her, but do we move forward?

Maybe I should take this slow, but maybe I don't want to. Maybe this is all just physical attraction. Maybe once we've taken that final step, we'll be able to move on.

I know these are all lies.

The sheer likelihood that I could leave this astonishin' creature in front of me is zero. Damn it.

The monster inside me sees absolutely nothin' wrong with takin' her as mine. In fact, he seems to be rather enjoyin' himself. So much so that I don't notice before my feet are movin' to stand directly in front of her. I startle her with my quick movements, I don't see how, but apparently I do and she inhales my scent. Her scent is mouthwatering. Lavender. It smells like she's been rollin' around in it for years and it's calmin' and excitin' all at once. I chuckle a bit as her lust hits me like a freight train and before I know it, I'm no longer in control. The monster of my instincts is loose and all I can do is sit back and watch as I kiss her.

Her lips are soft and eager. I lick her bottom lip askin' for entrance to explore her mouth. She graciously gives in. Her mouth can't seem to get enough of tastin' me and mine can't seem to get enough of her. I feel an electric current over my body as she runs her hands along my neck and up to play with my hair. I could tell, both by her emotions and by the musky smell of her arousal, that her lust was overtakin' her and, not one to disappoint a lady, I wouldn't let her suffer needlessly. I let my hands roam over her and when I got to her luscious ass, I couldn't help but pick her up and she immideately wraps her long legs around my waist. I can tell when she feels how turned on I am by her as her excitement spikes. I know I'm not a small man, so when she whines into my mouth at my impressive size, I can't help but be smug.

I released her mouth to travel further down her beautiful body and when I got to an apparent sweet spot at the base of her neck, I could feel her dampen further through the clothes we were both still wearin'. All of a sudden I wanted these clothes fuckin' gone! She must have read my mind because in the next second, my shirt was bein' ripped from my body.

I didn't know how many pairs of clothes she had, where they were, or if she would let me buy her new ones, but her impatience was obvious as I took my time slowly taking her clothes off. She wasn't havin' any of that and pushed me onto my back. She took the rest of her clothes off in haste before straddlin' me to keep me down. I wasn't used to bein' the one on the bottom, but somethin' prevented me from movin'. She removed my undershirt a bit more delicately than the other one and just stared at my torso. I could feel her lust increase ever higher as she let her eyes roam over every inch of exposed skin. When she got to my jeans and realized I went commando I couldn't help but shrug. I hated underwear. Too constrictin'. She didn't waste any time gettin' the rest of my clothes off and once I was bare, her eyes drank me in. I was extraordinarily hard for her and it was obvious by a throaty moan that escaped her lips, that she enjoyed the sight.

She started to tease me in the best and worst ways. When that gorgeous mouth of hers finally took my entire length, I thought I was gonna lose it right then. I tried to adjust her speed, but she was stubborn and wouldn't let me change her pace at all. Normally, I wouldn't stand for this shit, but even though I wanted her to go faster, I wasn't gonna take a chance that she would stop completely. That would be a worse torture. I endured her slow pace until I was finally able to come down her throat, moanin' her name in the process.

I didn't hesitate before flippin' our positions and I could feel her humor, playfulness, and her lust assault me. She moaned into my mouth as I kissed her. She knew I loved the torture, but I knew that I would get her back for it tenfold. She would be beggin' me before too long.

I kissed her mouth once more before I started to trace my name over and over again along her neck. I'm not sure if she knew what I was doin', and I'll admit that it was slightly narcissistic, but I didn't care if she did notice. I spent a wonderful time lavishin' her breasts with attention, and I knew I would have to give them the proper attention they deserved later, but unfortunately my intended target was further south. As I kissed her hips, her muscles involuntarily contracted and elicited wonderful moans from her. Her inner thighs were my next target. Purposefully ignorin' her slick folds for the moment, I gave attention to one leg and then the other. I had to laugh a bit at her as she writhed her hips to get me to go where she wanted me. She was so sexy when I had her at my mercy like this.

"Are you ready to beg yet?" I asked with lust very apparent in my voice as I stopped my ministrations. She didn't seem to be coherent enough to answer my question, so I prompted her again, "Are you ready for me to make you come?"

"Dear God, yes!" she shouted at me.

I laughed at her antics and said "That's not beggin', darlin'. That's shoutin'."

She finally conceded and begged for her release, so I gladly gave her what she needed. My head dove into her slickness and I thoroughly licked her swollen clit. I could feel how close she was, so I inserted a finger inside her, then another. Her cry of "Major" as she came was the single sexiest thing I had ever heard and had me throbbing with my need to claim her fully. I let her ride her high back down before I thrust my aching dick up into her. There was no preamble, no preparation, and no warning. There really didn't need to be. We needed each other and I was damned if we were stoppin' now. I started thrustin' into her and felt a sensation that's difficult to describe. It was almost as if more than our bodies connected. That electric current that I felt whenever she touched me was magnified and I honestly thought my heart would beat again.

As we started to reach our peaks again, she leaned over the side of my neck and bit down. Hard. I didn't hesitate before doin' the same to her and we both reached the height of our orgasms. It was pure bliss. I've never felt this with anyone else and I don't want to experience it with anyone else.

"Well, that was somethin' else." She said to me as we lay on the grass.

"You are mine, my mate, as I am yours." I chuckle.

"I think I like the sound of that." She replies breathlessly.

"Come on," I say, "let's get you fed, then we'll get me fed, and then we'll talk about what the hell that just was."

She laughs at me and rolls over to get her clothes. "I've never lost control of myself like that before, but I really enjoyed it."

"Me too." I say. "I hope we can do that more often. It'd be a cryin' shame if that's the only time we do that."

"True." She says casually as she begins to dress.

I can see more of her tattoos and notice one that was previously hidden by her hair. "Is that really what I think it is?" I ask her.

She freezes at my sudden outburst. "What are you talking about?" she asks puzzled.

I scoot closer to her and move her beautiful red locks off of her left shoulder and see a beautifully drawn Native American Dreamcatcher with two Eagle feathers hangin' off of it. "A Native Dreamcatcher?" I ask the shock very apparent in my voice.

"Oh that!" she says animatedly with a small smile crossin' her features. "Yeah, it is. My family has a very long history in Georgia and the Carolina's. My mother's family is Cherokee, and my father's family is Irish. Considering my genetic history, I felt it an appropriate tattoo even with my naturally pasty skin."

"All of your tattoos have more sentimental meanin' than anythin', don't they?" I ask.

"Well, all except for this one," she says pointing at her right shoulderblade where I see a black and grey cross with a black rose in the middle and a banner with the Latin word for 'justice' inside. "This one was the first one I ever got, and I admit that I got it on a whim courtesy of an amazing movie that I obsessed over, but over the years it's come to mean a lot more to me than I would have thought."

"How so?" I ask.

"I don't take anything done against me lightly." She begins with a cold look in her eyes. Hate bein' the most prominent emotion comin' from her. "I've lived a life I'm not entirely proud of, but who is, really? I have always learned to mete out justice to those that wrong me. That includes the one who turned me. I had plans to make life better and was in the process of it, but this happened instead. He will see the Hell he has created in me and beg for death before the end. Then I will gladly end him for what he has done to me." Her voice is calculating and honest and I can tell she means every word.

"I can understand the need for that tattoo, then." I say. "Do ya have any that show off the Irish side of your family?" I ask her hopefully. I want to get her away from those darker thoughts as I feel her emotions start to spiral downwards.

"I do, actually." She says, but her emotions don't change. She lifts up her long hair and shows me a small Celtic knot on the back of her neck. "This is a Celtic Knot of Motherhood." Her emotions quickly spiral down towards despair and depression as she tells me what it is. I can almost hear the sobs in her voice and I remember that her son was a Civil War buff.

"How old is your son?" I ask her.

"I have two." She says quietly. "Connor is the History buff like me, he's 6 years old. Clayton is 4 and I could see him becoming linebacker material if he didn't love to dance so much. I miss them every second of every day." She finishes her statement with a sad smile and I immediately want to help her. I didn't expect them to be so young.

I suddenly feel guilty about what we've just done. I would never fool around with a married woman, but considerin' my current marital status I'm not one to be able to judge or feel guilty, really. "What about your husband?" I ask curiously.

"Ex-husband" she states with venom in her voice and I immediately feel better. "That asshole probably has them and there's nothing I can do."

"I wouldn't be so sure about that." I state matter-of-factly. Maybe I could get her acclimated to the 'vegetarian' lifestyle and she could see her kids again. If I could get Carlisle and Esme to welcome her into the family, then I see no reason that an 'adoption' can't take place under the right circumstances. Although I'll have to get Peter or Garrett to set up those circumstances, but I'm sure they won't mind.

"What do you mean?" she asks.

"Well, I'm sure that Peter and Char have informed ya of the Cullen family dynamic?" I ask.

"Not really, no. I was more focused on staying out of the bonfires than learning about the Cullen's. Sorry." She states apologetically.

"No need to worry, darlin'." I state. "The Cullen's have a family dynamic with Carlisle being the 'Father' and Esme the 'Mother'. They're a mated pair, obviously, but they aren't really much older than ya or I, if you were changed in your early 20's like I suspect ya were. Carlisle is also a doctor at the local hospital, if ya can believe that. Then you have the 'Cullen children'; Emmett whose brawn is worse than his bite and his mate Rosalie, who also plays my twin on occasion, she seems like an Ice Queen until you earn her respect and then she'll stay loyal. Edward is the youngest physically and acts like an emo teenager and he can read your mind and it's annoyin' as fuck, but his mate, Bella is a sweet girl. She's a mental shield and worries about everyone else before herself. Finally, we had Alice, whom you've already had the pleasure to get to know."

"Ok," she states, "what does this have to do with my sons and their current living arrangements?"

"Well, if I know Rosalie, and I think I do, she would be more than willin' to help ya get your kids back. Not to mention Esme. The thought of ya bein' away from them would send her into a tizzy the likes of which this world hasn't seen." I chuckle at the mental image of Esme ready and willin' to fight to get Amanda's kids back even if she doesn't know 'em.

"Why would I want Rosalie and Esme to help get my kids?" She asks confused.

"Well, since our family only hunts animals, we have a better chance to actually have a relationship with humans. If you chose to stay with us, I can teach ya everythin' ya need to know to keep bein' a mother to 'em." I state.

"Why would you do that for me? What am I to you? You barely know me and now you're willing to do all of this for me? I don't understand." She says calmly.

"To answer your questions in order, I would do that for ya because I care about ya and I want to see ya happy. You're my mate, which means I can't be without ya and ya can't be without me. It's a natural way for vampires to find their other half. A soulmate if you wish. Yes, it's true I barely know ya, but since we're a mated pair, I'll get to know ya more and you'll get to know me. We'll be each other's rock, calming influence, best friend, and lover." I state calmly back.

"Is that why I bit you?" She asks.

"Yes. Vampires are territorial creatures, I'm sure ya know this, but we like to mark our territory. Bitin' our mate is just another way to do that." I reply.

"This is going to take some getting used to." She says. I can feel that she's overwhelmed, but the possibility of seein' her kids again is givin' her hope.

"It will, but for now we won't worry over it too much. We both need to hunt." I say. "Do you wanna try huntin' animals, or do you wanna keep up with humans?"

"Considering this Victoria situation isn't quite resolved yet, I want to keep my strength up with humans for now, but after she is ended, I would be more than happy to switch." she says calmly. I can understand her hesitation to start drinkin' from animals and respect her decision to keep with her human diet while we have a threat loomin'.

"Alright. Go hunt and meet me back here in an hour." I say. "That way we can go back to the cabin and deal with Alice before we meet the rest of the Cullen's."

"Deal. See you in an hour." She replies before pullin' the rest of her clothes on quickly and runnin' towards town.

I get dressed quickly myself and proceed to take down two deer before I'm satisfied enough to return to our meetin' place. Amanda isn't back yet, but we still have time before the hour is up. I wait patiently thinkin' about the different plans we could put into action to get Amanda's kids back. I may have to make a call to Jenks, but we'll see. I also need to make plans on how to get rid of Victoria's army. Should be a fun way to spend an afternoon. Amanda comes back ten minutes later and we set off to see if Aro has gotten back with Peter yet on Alice.

Chapter Text

Peter POV

CHAPTER 22

Well isn't this just one giant clusterfuck? First, I have to call Aro and the rest of the Volturi and tell them of the beloved seer's betrayal; then I have the Cullens to deal with, which wouldn't be so bad if they weren't so fuckin' weird; and to top it all off, a vamp Army bound and determined to destroy the Podunk town of Forks? The Major surely does know how to drag my happy ass into the shit.

I don't think any of us were truly prepared for the full extent of Alice's betrayal and I'm sure that the Cullens and the Volturi will both be incensed to realize how badly they'd all been played. I'm reminded that I'm not alone in dealin' with the backlash of all this when Char wraps her arms around my waist to bring me back out of my thoughts. Nothin' needs to be said between us. We both just know that whatever happens, we'll get through it together.

Char hands me the phone I'd left out on the table as a reminder that I had a call to make. Aro was the "leader" of the vampire world and would want to know about any and all possible threats to his throne. Not that I was in the business of keepin' Aro or his brothers happy, but the Major needed Aro's judgment on the Pix before taking anythin' into his own hands. He didn't want there to be repercussions on any of us for what we may do to her in the heat of the moment and I honestly couldn't blame him for that. The only thin' I was worried about was the possibility that Aro would wish to keep Alice in Volterra to use for his own gains instead of havin' one of us kill her. Aro's no fool, but sometimes he doesn't think too clearly when somethin' he wants is on the line. And he wants Alice. Bad. However, if she was left alive, she would do everythin' in her power to get revenge on us for what we're doin' and I'm just not entirely sure that Aro is gonna be willin' to forfeit her gift just to spare us. It makes me wonder what exactly we're worth to the brothers.

I took a deep, but unnecessary breath before headin' outside. I didn't want to make the call inside the cabin where all I had to entertain myself was the Pix and her incessant growlin' at me and tryin' to break her bindin's. There wasn't any menace behind it, it was more annoyin' than anythin', but that didn't mean I wanted to listen to it. So, Char and I headed outside to get a little distance from our captive while we made the call and waited on Amanda and Jasper to return.

I dialed one of the few numbers I'd kept programmed into the phone and the only one I'd hoped never to use. Aro's personal cell phone number. The devil himself picked it up on the second ring.

"Ah, Captain Peter Whitlock!" Aro began cheerfully, "It's a surprise to hear from you! To what do I owe the pleasure of this call?"

"Aro," I replied calmly, "I wish I could say that this call will be pleasurable, but I sincerely doubt it. I have information for you that you may-strike that-definitely want to hear."

"Is that so?" He asks. "By all means, please do tell."

So I spend the next 45 minutes telling Aro my story. I told Aro everything, full disclosure. I told him about Victoria and her newborn Army, Amanda, Alice's part in all this, Char's and my infiltration, and I even told him about Bella's change (which I hadn't quite gotten confirmation on, but I was pretty damn sure). I ended my very long update with "We currently have Alice bound and gagged in a cabin near here awaiting your verdict on what happens to her. We also have a video of her confession that clearly details her plans and also clearly shows what the Siren is capable of. I will email the file over to you as soon as we disconnect so you can see for yourself."

Speechlessness wasn't something I was used to when dealing with Aro. He was more the vocal and verbose type. However, it was a full minute after concludin' my update that he finally spoke. "Please send me the file. I need to show this to my brothers and update them on the situation. Await my call." Then he disconnected the line.

I didn't wait before I sent the video over so he could update Caius and Marcus as quickly as possible on the situation at hand and see that we were bein' honest with 'em. Not that I could give two shakes of a rat's ass about what they thought, but the Major would want to seem as forthcomin' with information as he could.

A part of me couldn't believe everythin' that had happened these past few months, but another nagging part of my brain told me that this was only the beginnin'. The latter was the part I chose to listen to. It had gotten me out of some sticky situations before, and I was only hopin' it was on my side now.

Chapter Text

Amanda POV

CHAPTER 23

It didn't take me too long to find my next meal. The homeless seemed abundant in this area and if I kept my feeding quiet, then no one should be the wiser. My victims were always the same; males with dark hair and blue eyes. Any therapist would tell you that I was subconsciously picking my victims based on my ex-husband, but there was nothing subconscious about it. I loathed the man and his new wife, so I took out my frustrations the only way I knew how. If that required me to be picky with how -or who- I ate, then so be it.

While I was searching, I had some time to think, and boy was there ever a lot to think about. First, the possibility that I could get to see my babies again was astounding to me. I never would have thought that I could see them again, let alone have custody of them. It left my heart full of hope just with the possibility, I could only imagine how happy I'd be if this were to come to fruition and I could hold them in my arms again. I would hold onto that hope, but I could think about the details of how to make that happen later.

The feeling that distracted me from that train of thought was something I had never experienced before and it was only thinking of Major Whitlock that made it better. It was a painful tugging sensation right where my heart would be. Which brought a new round of thoughts into my head regarding this whole "mate" thing. I mean, from what Major Whitlock had told me, he was my mate and that meant something akin to soulmates. Which – hello – was beyond astonishing to me! I mean after I smelled him, I practically threw myself at a man I barely know and had my way with him! I mean, yes, I did enjoy it. Very much so. However, I'm not some floozy that just throws herself at the first available man that she sees! It was almost as if I couldn't control what was happening to me and I couldn't have stopped even if I would have wanted to.

And the biting.

Oh, the biting.

It turns me on far more than it should to even think about me biting him or him biting me. Why did I do that? I don't just go around biting random strangers!

Well…I take that back, considering I kinda do…but still! Biting others for sustenance is one thing, but biting for pleasure? It's like all thought and all sanity that I had was just blown away by the wind.

What even was my life right now? How does this shit happen? Did that mean I was meant to be turned into a vampire so I could spend eternity with someone who should have died over a century ago? Is there some deity up there that just fucked up my human timeline and this is how they were trying to fix it? Was I meant to be born in a different century? Was he meant to be born in this day and age?

The questions could honestly go on forever and I wasn't doing myself any favors by being panicky about this. I needed to put on my big girl panties, stop being dramatic about everything, and focus on feeding. Major Whitlock did mention that we would be discussing the whole "mate" thing when we next saw each other, so maybe some of my questions could be answered then. I just needed to chill out and focus on one thing at a time.

Unfortunately, with the extra brain power I was currently experiencing, my brain didn't exactly feel up to focusing on one thing at a time and my thoughts were brought to Victoria and her Army of newborns. What did this new development mean for me now? Would I still go back with Peter and Charlotte? Would they go back at all? Would I go back alone? I know I've been gone a hell of a long time. Have I been missed? Are they sending out search parties for me? Do they even care? As unsure about these questions as I am, I feel the need to discuss some of this with Major Whitlock. I'm sure if anyone would know where to go from here, it would certainly be him.

I also needed to come to terms with the possibility of becoming a part of a real family again. Granted this family would be a tad different, but it would be nice to belong somewhere again. It would be even nicer to have my babies feel at home somewhere. The rest of the family sounds nice from what Major Whitlock has told me about them, granted it isn't all that much, but if he's excited for me to meet them, then I don't have anything to be worried about.

My thoughts cease as I hear a heart beating close to me. I let instinct take over. I focus on it and close in. My victim luckily fits my profile and I don't hesitate before taking him down. The fresh blood running into my mouth helps to calm my thoughts further. As it settles into my stomach, I'm able to think a little more clearly and it helps me relax. After I drain the man, I dispose of him according to how I was taught and head back to where I will be meeting the Major.

As I show up in the clearing, I see he is waiting for me, he seems to have fed already and his eyes are a bright gold color now. I should find it odd that his eyes aren't red, but to me, it just seems like I'm staring into the sun.

"Howdy, ma'am." He says to me, standing and tipping an invisible hat.

"Howdy your own self." I reply. "Did you find somethin' good to eat?" I ask as I walk over.

"I did, actually." He replies. "Took down some deer while I waited for ya."

"Oh? How were they?" I ask curiously.

"Not as good as a mountain lion or a bear, but I make do." He says.

"It's a shame we can't eat the meat anymore. I used to make one hell of a venison steak when I was human." I state.

"Humans still know how to cook deer?" he asks.

"Not as many as back in your human days, I'm sure," I state as we start walking back to the cabin, "but my grandmother taught me well."

"I'm surprised. I would have thought that would've fallen outta fashion." He says.

"Oh, don't get me wrong, it has." I replied. "My grandmother just wanted to give me a thorough cooking education. I can't say I was ever ungrateful. She was an amazing cook."

"You miss your family, don't ya?" He asks.

"More than you can imagine. Although, I do have you to thank for the hope of seeing my sons again, so thank you for that." I reply.

"My pleasure, ma'am." he says.

"Why did you want to help me, anyway? I mean, I understand that we're supposed to be mated now, but forgive me if I don't quite understand what that means or why it happened." I say.

"Well, as to "why" I don't quite understand it myself. It just…is. I know it don't make a lotta sense, but I don't think anyone really gets the "why", nor do we really care in the end because we're the happiest we can be in this existence. And I wanted to help ya because I can feel how sad bein' without 'em makes ya." He begins, " I want to do anythin' in my power to keep ya happy and if bein' with 'em again makes ya happy, then hell, I'm more than willin' to help out in any way I can."

"Thank you for that, truly, but they aren't your responsibility. They're mine. You don't have to do anythin' if you don't want to." I state.

"Before I get into everythin' that's wrong with that statement, let me explain somethin' to ya." He says.

We find the nearest set of boulders and sit down face-to-face before he begins again. "Bein' mated to someone is a big deal as a vampire. A much bigger deal than marriage as a human. Bein' someone's mate means they're the other half of who you are and you're the other half of them. Without each other you have to battle constant loneliness, unless you wanna take a temporary lover, but even then, it wouldn't be forever. You'd leave them or they'd leave you for their other half. Let me ask ya a question, when ya left me to feed, did ya feel a…tuggin' sensation right where your heart would be?"

"Yeah, now that you mention it, I did. How did you know that?" I ask.

"Because I felt it, too." He replies. "It's your body's reaction to leavin' your mate's side. As vampires, we feel more fully, love more deeply, and our hurt can be more painful than anythin' you'd ever experienced as a human. See how that feelin' is gone now?"

I didn't realize it, but he was right. The feeling was gone now that I was back by his side. I nod at him to let him know I understand before he continues. "I never knew what it felt like until now, but I can understand why Peter and Char, Rose and Emmett, and Carlisle and Esme hated bein' away from eachother so much. It is physically painful and even bein' an empath didn't allow me to feel the full extent until you left me to feed."

"So let me get this straight," I begin, "being mated is more binding than marriage, more painful than having your heart ripped out, and I have no control over any of it? Am I getting all of this?"

He chuckles at my baffled expression. "It's more than that. You'll have someone to live this long existence out with, someone who can lift ya up when you're down, calm ya when you're angry, soothe ya when you're upset, celebrate with ya when you're happy, and mourn with ya after a loss. Mates do all of this instinctually and willingly to each other."

"So what does this mean for us? Are we technically "married" in the vampire world now? I mean, we barely know each other. How will I know that in 100 years, you won't wind up mated to someone else?" I ask.

"I know we barely know each other, but the "monster" in me recognizes that ya are the one for me." He states. "No one else will have the effect on me that ya do. The same goes for you. Your internal "monster" has recognized me for who I am and won't want anyone else. It's all instinctual. So in 100 years or 1000 years we will still be together. As for how we move on, it's all up to you. We can go as fast or as slow as ya like. And no, we're not technically "married"," he grins, "just "off the market" as it were."

"I wouldn't leave the speed of our relationship up to me if I were you. I don't exactly have the best track record with men." I state sourly. "Although, I suppose learning more about each other would be a good place to start."

"As you wish, little Lady." he says standing up. "What would you like to know first?"

"Well, I keep calling you either Major or Major Whitlock in my mind. I know addressing you that way is a bit formal, so what would you like me to call you?" I ask as we resume walking to the cabin.

"I've noticed that ya do that. You don't have to be so formal, in fact I prefer it if you weren't. My family calls me Jazz, and ya can use that or just call me Jasper." He replies.

"Sounds good. Is there anything that you want to know about me?" I ask.

"I wanna know everythin' about ya, Darlin'." He replies. "However, for the moment my curiosity can wait. I believe that we have other issues to deal with, don't ya?"

Crap. I had almost forgotten about Alice.

"I suppose you've got a point." I reply. "What are we gonna do?"

"Well, I asked Peter to put in a call to Aro to inform him of the situation. All we can do now is wait on his verdict." He replies.

"I'm sorry, but who is Aro?" I ask.

"Ah, shit Darlin'. I keep forgettin' how much you don't know. Aro is one of the leaders of the vampire world." he says.

"The vampire world has leaders? Like, actual leaders that keep us in check? I had no idea the vampire world was big enough to need leaders." I reply.

"It's a lot bigger than ya might think. The leaders are Aro, Marcus, and Caius Volturi. They live in Volterra, Italy in an actual castle. They're three brothers and Aro is definitely the one ya need to watch out for. He craves power and he craves anyone who'll help him keep it. He may actually be interested in adding ya to his guard, so be prepared for that offer. Marcus is a bit different. He just wants to be left alone to mourn the loss of his mate in peace. Caius is the last brother. He's what you'd consider a hot-head. He lives for battle and destruction. They are surrounded by and in control of their personal guard. Aro hand picks every member according to how badly he wants 'em and how useful they may be. His guard is very gifted, but he has the Witch Twins, so hopefully he'll see no need to ask ya to join."

"Have they ever asked you to join them?" I ask.

"They have. I'm sure Peter and Char have told you about my reputation as the unbeatable God of War, yes?" He asks.

"I know a bit, but not too much." I reply.

"Well, Aro did ask me if I wanted to lead his guard as their Major. I think the thought of me leading his guard was too temptin' for him not to ask. However, I declined. I didn't want that life anymore." He says.

"I can understand that. Bein' brought up in this way of life is…difficult. Not knowin' if or when you'll feed, or if you're the next to burn. I'm lucky I'm gifted, otherwise I never would have lasted this long." I say."But why would Aro want me, specifically and why do you hope he wouldn't ask me to join?"

"The Witch Twins, Jane and Alec, are his not-so-secret weapons. Jane can make you feel excruciatin' pain without even touchin' ya. Alec is the opposite and cuts off every sense you've got and leaves ya blind, deaf, dumb, and incapable of doin' anythin' to resist. What ya can do for him is pretty similar, so I hope he won't find any need to have ya on the guard. Aro doesn't have a Siren, and to be honest, I don't think he's actually ever met one. They don't tend to last very long because they're so dangerous. So, they're usually killed off before they can cause too much damage." He says, "The power you could wield makes ya a great asset to your allies, but it's also devastatin' as hell to your enemies."

"I don't understand what makes me so damn dangerous." I reply. "I haven't done anything to warrant a death sentence."

"Not yet," he replies, "but ya have to think about it this way; ya have the power to mimic other people's voices, which – although creepy – could also be used against someone. Think about it. If ya heard your sons' panicked and scared voices, you'd run straight toward the sound without thinkin' and instead of what ya expected, ya get trapped or killed. It can be used as a diversion for the setup of a trap. Ya also have to think about exactly how ya sing somethin'. If ya sing in a perfect imitation of the Artist's voice, it's deadly. People fall under your spell; however, if you sing in your own voice, it doesn't have quite the same effect. It's just beautiful music. And that doesn't even cover all of the other things ya can do. Imitating every sound that you hear, from a bomb, to a car, to a telephone ringin'; the sheer possibilities are endless for what ya could do."

"I guess it's a good thing I have no desire to be all powerful then, huh?" I ask.

Jasper laughs a bit before saying, "No one would be able to stop ya either. All ya'd need to do is convince 'em it's a good idea."

As we round the next grouping of trees, the cabin comes back into view and we notice Peter and Charlotte are standing on the porch outside waitin' for us. We don't walk two steps into the clearing before Peter is rushing up to us. "So," he says mischievously, "I see that ya didn't waste no time in getting…properly acquainted with each other."

Charlotte comes up behind him and smacks him across the back of the head, "Peter!" she scolds, "No need to embarrass 'em." She looks over to Jasper and I and smiles sweetly before saying, "We're really happy ya finally found your mate, Major. Y'all both deserve some happiness in your lives. Congratulations."

"How did y'all know what…uh…happened?" I asked a bit embarrassed. I was so glad I couldn't blush anymore because I honestly think I would have been as red as my hair.

Charlotte answers, "Easy, sweetheart! Those bites on the side of your neck are matin' marks. Basically like flashin' neon signs that say "MATED" and for some reason, all vamps are programmed to look there upon seein' other vamps. I guess our brains subconsciously catalog the information until we need it."

"Aww, Char, you're so smart." Says Peter while wrapping his arms around her waist.

"Boy," she replies exasperatedly as she turns to look at Peter and pokes him in the chest, "I swear, you're crusin' for a brusin' if you don't behave."

"I hate to cut the fun short, y'all, but where are we on Aro's verdict, Captain?" says Jasper.

"Sorry, Major", Peter replies, standing at attention, "I sent off the video to Aro about ten minutes after y'all left. I haven't heard anythin' since. Maybe ya ought to give 'em a call."

"I think that's a good idea, too, but I have somethin' to add." I said. "Why don't we make this a video call? I'm sure if Aro has the technology to have somethin' emailed to him, then I'm sure he has the capability of a FaceTime call."

They all manage a look of utter bewilderment at my suggestion before Charlotte asks, "Why would you wanna do that?"

"Well, think about this for a second." Looking at Jasper, I say, "Your family still believes that Alice was your mate, correct?"

"Yeah." he replies. "But what does that have to do with anything?"

"And Peter," I state, ignoring Jasper for the moment, "you still have access to that recording of her confession, correct?"

"I do." He replies.

"Ok, hear me out. Jasper, you said that you were awaiting Aro's verdict on Alice. Which means that in order to take any action against her, you need his approval. However, as part of your family, I'm sure that Alice has a fair few people that would be willing to come to her defense if she was threatened in any way. So, how would it look to them if you just showed up with some random she-vamp and said that we had killed Alice? I'm guessing 'not good'."

They all looked at each other questioningly, but I continued. "We need evidence that what we did and why was in an effort to neutralize an obvious and dangerous threat. Anything we do needs to be faultless and by-the-book that way it absolves any of us of falsifying information or holding back the truth. I wouldn't want there to be any discord between you and your family on my part. So, we need to do this right."

"So what exactly are you suggestin', Amanda?" Peter asks.

I turn to Peter and say, "I'm suggesting that you record the phone call. The video call is just to prove to Jasper's family that what we told them Aro said was actually what Aro said. I'm also suggesting that we record the verdict that Alice receives, so we can prove to Aro and to Jasper's family that the sentence has been carried out the way Aro wanted. This way everyone gets the full and true story and no one is left in the dark."

"Well, damn, Darlin'." says Jasper. "I certainly do like the way you think."

"It makes sense, Major" says Peter "I can only imagine the kinda hell that could rain down on us if this goes sideways. We're gonna need the Cullen's help to fight off Victoria and I'd hate it if they were to turn on us or, worst case scenario, not go into battle with us at all."

"Just outta curiosity, sugar" Charlotte begins, looking at me quizzically, "how'd you come up with this?"

"Well, I'm a woman who loves her modern technology," I admit "add that with a minor interest in criminal law and I'm a force to be reckoned with. I can always manage to talk myself out of trouble with a few loopholes and technicalities."

"I like her, Major." Charlotte says. "I hope you're gonna be around a long time, sugar." She says, pointing at me and grinning like the Cheshire cat.

"Alright then," Jasper says "It looks like I've got a call to make. Peter, be ready to record."

As the guys get prepared, I can't help but wonder what Alice thinks about all of this. I don't know what possesses me to walk into the cabin, but I'm shocked to see she's still there, in her chains, waiting for something to happen. I half expected her to have broken free of her bindings, but I should have known that Peter wouldn't give me chains that would break. She still looks at me with loathing, but as I turn to face her fully, her eyes wander over to see the side of my neck where my mating mark is. Her eyes widen in shock and then immediately narrow and I hear growling from behind the tape over her mouth.

Again, I don't know what possesses me, but I remove the tape from her mouth so she can speak.

"I hate you." Alice says to me.

"You don't even know me." I reply.

"You ruined everything. I could have been great. I should have been great. I would have been respected and feared and loved. You ruined that dream for me." Alice states.

"I would apologize, but I have nothing to be sorry for." I reply. "It wasn't my choice to become this. All I wanted that day was to get on a plane and fly back home to my family. I never wanted this. You, however have plenty to be sorry for. Where I come from, the word "family" actually means something. How could you be so heartless to people who took you in? Clothed you? Spent money on you? Loved you? I don't understand how one person could be so selfish."

"You will never understand." She replied.

"Try me." I said. "I won't understand unless you tell me."

She stays quiet for a minute, refusing to look in my direction, but instead choosing to stare a hole into the wood over my left shoulder. "It'll never work, you know." She states.

"What won't work?" I ask.

"Getting your family back." She states. "You're a savage. Dangerous. You eat humans. You'll never be able to see your kids again. You're more likely to kill them than to love them as a real parent should."

"You obviously don't know me at all. I would more likely hurt myself than lay a finger on them. Although, you wouldn't know anything about being a real parent considering you aren't and will never be one." I reply. "And wasn't a part of this master plan of yours to be able to eat humans? So does this make you a hypocrite? I think it does, which makes that reasoning invalid."

She just looks at me acerbically and doesn't reply for which I was grateful. "Do you know what's going on out there right now?" I ask as I point outside. "My mate, his Captain, and Charlotte are calling Aro to determine what to do with you next. I hope you remember everything about your little confession, Alice because Aro heard it all."

"He was my mate first, whore." She spits.

"Actually, he was your lover." I state. "Not your mate. I don't see a mating mark on you, so that means he just used you for his pleasure until I came along. Normally, I would be angry about that sort of thing, but he had to do something – oops, someone – to relieve the pressure and unfortunately masturbation only goes so far. I bet you put out for him whenever and wherever you thought he wanted without a second thought just so you could keep him around until this plan of yours came to fruition. I'm also betting you think most men just think with the brains in their dicks, and that they only want one thing, but you'd be sorely mistaken."When she looks me in the eye, I can see that's exactly what she had thought. I look at her in complete disgust as I realize I'm right. "Who's the whore now?"

"My family is going to see you dead." She replies.

"Oh, really?" I ask. "That would be the same family that you wanted to end after they were of no further use, yes? Or, is that the family that you took advantage of and used in order to get your way? Because, I've got news for you, they'll be seeing that confession, too and I'll be shocked if anyone can love you after that."

She averts her eyes from my gaze and I turn to leave, but I see that Jasper has made himself comfortable leaning up against the doorframe of the cabin. "How long have you been there?" I asked.

"Long enough to hear ya tear Alice apart." Jasper replies. "I'm really glad I witnessed it, too."

"Why is that?" I asked. "I figured you'd be pissed. You did love her at one time, ya know."

"Because ya didn't hold anythin' back. Ya told her exactly how ya felt and exactly what ya thought. She needed to hear it. It's true, I may have loved her at one time, but recently it was just easier to let her have her way. I don't know if I've truly loved her in a long time and it took me a hell of a lot longer to realize that than it should've." He said. "Come on, Darlin'. We've got a call to make."

Jasper sounds guilty. I don't like it. As we walk out of the cabin, I come to the conclusion that he shouldn't be feeling guilty for thinking that what they had was love. He knew no different and he had no reason to suspect that anything she felt was false. I was determined that after this call was made, I would make sure he realized his guilt was unnecessary.

Peter had been busy since I went inside. He had Jasper's phone situated on a boulder and his own phone was in his hands ready to record the conversation. Once Jasper gave the signal, Peter started recording, and Jasper made the call to Aro. He answered the call before the first ring was over.

"Ah, Major Whitlock! It's wonderful to hear from you!" Aro begins.

"I sincerely doubt it Aro. Ya know why we've called. Have ya, Marcus, and Caius had a chance to review the footage we sent over?" Asks Jasper; the authority in his voiced leaving no room for doubt as to what he meant.

"We have, yes." Aro states sadly. "It's such a shame to hear that dear Alice was going to betray us and that she was going to use you and the Captain to do it."

"So what do ya want us to do with her, Aro? She threatened your throne. You know she kept me and my mate apart for her own gains. Breakin' either law results in death. She said it herself while she was bein' interrogated." Jasper states.

"Ah, yes. Your mate, the Siren. It was her lovely voice I heard singing in that video wasn't it?" Asks Aro.

"Yes," Jasper says "it was."

"I would like to hear from her, if you don't mind." States Aro.

Jasper, Peter, and Charlotte look to me before I shrug my shoulders and walk further into the frame so he can see me. "I don't mind at all, sir. It's a genuine pleasure to finally meet you." I say as I lay on the thick Southern charm.

"Well, the pleasure is certainly mine, my dear." Aro states formally.

So we were going to see who could out-do the other in politeness and formalities, huh? I could do this in my non-existent sleep. "I apologize for asking, but since I'm unfamiliar with vampire custom – being so new and all – I was wondering what the proper address would be for you and your brothers? I would hate to start my time as a vampire by being un-courteous to royalty."

"You can just address us by our given names, my dear. It's easier on everyone that way." Aro states. "Might I inquire as to how to address you, dear?"

I can feel the looks I'm getting from the three beside me, but I ignore them for the moment. I need my wits and charm about me when dealing with Aro. Otherwise I'm just asking to be talked into a corner. "Since you were so kind as to allow me to address you so informally, I would have you do the same. It's only polite. My name is Amanda."

"Amanda, it means 'worthy of love'. A fitting name for one so beautiful." Aro says. "I take it you are the Siren, Amanda?"

"I am." I reply.

"Would you mind telling me how you came into this situation so I can better understand how this interrogation happened and why?" He asks.

"That's more than fair, Aro and I will be glad to tell you everything." I reply. Then I tell him my story. All of it. I don't leave out any detail and I back my statements up with facts that he could check if he doubted any of my story. As I speak, I can see he's getting more and more concerned with every fact I give. He doesn't show it, but his milky-red eyes give him away. It takes a good while to finish my story and I conclude with the conversation Alice and I had in the cabin before this call began.

"Well, it seems quite a lot has been going on in the sleepy state of Washington." Aro states.

"Yes, sir." I reply. "Luckily we do have the numbers and the skill to take down Victoria's Army, once we add the Cullen's to our ranks, so that's not a concern at the moment. What does concern me is Alice. I have heard that she has the ability to see the future, is this correct?"

"Yes. It is." Aro replies. "And it's a gift I had very much hoped to eventually gain."

I understood that for what it was…a hope that one day Alice would have been forced into, or willingly gone, to serve Aro in his guard. "I understand that, sir. I really do, but I fear that if we let her live, she will use her skills to destroy myself, my mate, and our family in order to exact her revenge for foiling her original plans." I say.

"I hate to see a gift like that go to waste." Aro replies.

"And I would hate to see this new life cut short, sir. Especially by something as petty as revenge. Can you honestly give me your word that if she were in your care full-time that she wouldn't find some way to exact her revenge on us?" I ask.

Aro considers my words for a moment, but I continue "If she can see the future, as you say, then she can see 3…4…10 moves ahead of us. I'm sorry sir, but I won't take the chance that she could very easily see us into the nearest bonfire before we knew what hit us. I would always assume that she knows more than she's willing to say."

"I can see your point, child." Aro replies, "but I too have the gift of sight. I can see every thought your mind has ever had just with a touch. So I would be able to tell if she were planning something untoward."

"Again, I'm sorry Aro, but I'm not willing to take that chance. She lied to and deceived both Jasper, an empath, as well as his mind-reading brother. She kept her plans and her feelings secret and safe in her mind and no one was the wiser." I reply. "Even if you were to take hold of her 24 hours a day 7 days a week…there would be times that you'd need to take a break; to feed, to rule, or to do various other things. Who would be responsible for listening to her thoughts then?"

"Just to make sure we're both on the same page, you're saying that she's too dangerous to be left alive and that you wouldn't trust the Volturi to watch her every move?" Aro asks.

"It's not that, sir. Truly. I believe she is too dangerous to be left alive because she will always know more than she is willing to share. Even with you. If she is kept alive and you place her under constant guard, how can you be so sure that she won't use her charms in order to get her way? She could ask her guard to do something miniscule and inconsequential at the time, but it's just the first domino to fall in another grand scheme. Are you really willing to take that chance just to know the future?" I ask.

Aro thinks on what I've said and, after conferring with his brothers about my testimony, he comes to a conclusion and a decision. "Amanda," he says "you have given me much to think about and I'm not normally one to listen to the reason of one so young, but your argument today is valid. I wish I could convince you that transferring Alice into our care would be advantageous to everyone, but you raise some valid concerns. The least of which is that she did keep her plans secret, even from Edward. I would like to know how she managed to do that."

"Aro," Jasper chimes in "I believe that I have an answer to that question."

"Please, Major. Enlighten me." Aro retorts.

Jasper slides up next to me in full view of the camera, but doesn't push me out of the way. He just shares the space with me. "Edward once told me that he can't hear every thought in someone's head, just the thoughts a person is havin' at that moment, so if Alice never thought about any of this around Edward, then he would have no reason to question her." Jasper answers.

"That…makes sense, Major." Aro replies. "However, your mate still did raise valid points in her argument." He takes a deep unneeded breath and lets it out slowly. Almost seeming to deflate as we watch. "My decision has been made. Major, please feel free to mete out justice as the law demands. Her life is now forfeit and you can do with her as you please. Just let me know when justice has been served."

"We will let you know as soon as it's done." Jasper says, disconnecting the call.

Chapter Text

Amanda POV

CHAPTER 24

Jasper and Peter didn't waste any time trying to figure out the best and most humane way to end Alice. I could understand why they wanted to be humane about it. Not that she deserved it. Far from it, actually, but if Jasper's family were to see this he wouldn't want to cause them anymore unnecessary pain.

"I think you should end her, Major." Peter says.

"I'm not sure I feel the same way." Charlotte replies. "Alice tried to have Amanda killed, so I think it should only be fair that Amanda kills Alice."

"I can see where you're comin' from, Char, but Alice betrayed the Major. No one betrays him and lives to tell about it." Peter replies.

On and on they go, arguing and bickering over who gets the pleasure to end another of our kind. I honestly wouldn't have been able to handle this so calmly a few months ago, but after killing several vamps myself, I can honestly say I've gone numb to it all.

I know Jasper's unhappy about this, but he hasn't said anything to anyone since he disconnected Aro's call. I haven't really said much either. What would I say? There's nothing to make this easier.

I don't say anything as I walk up to Jasper and place a comforting and understanding hand on his shoulder. He looks at me with a mixture of sadness, regret, anger, and betrayal and I know he can't do this alone. Now that he has me, he won't have to. I walk up to Peter, grab his phone, and begin my walk to the cabin. I hit the record button and place the phone on a windowsill to capture all of what I'm about to do.

I walk over to Alice and say, "Alice, I stand before you now as no more than a mouthpiece for Aro and the Volturi. I will state the crimes you are accused of as well as the verdict Aro has reached and the sentence Aro has imposed upon you. After such time, you are allowed a final statement and then your sentence will be carried out." Alice pretends to ignore me, but I can tell from the set of her face that this is not the way her visions showed her this ending was supposed to go.

"On the count of you purposefully and knowingly keeping a mated pair apart, Aro has found you guilty." I pause a moment to let the verdict sink in and then I continue. "On the count of you purposefully and knowingly setting plans in motion to overthrow the current government, Aro has found you guilty. According to vampire law, the sentence for both of these crimes is death. Do you have a last statement you wish to be heard before your sentence is carried out?"

"You are nothing to them, you know?" Alice begins. "You will lose everyone you've ever loved just like I have."

"You never loved any one of them, Alice. You used them and their humanity for your own gains. You admitted to all of it." I said. "At least my life isn't based on lies and deceit. If that is the only thing you have left to say for yourself, then I shall carry out your sentence."

"I do have one more thing to say," she states, "I'm sorry that I never acted on my plans before you showed up. You ruined everything I should have had."

"And…you're done." I reply as I walk over to her and rip her head from her shoulders. I grab the phone and walk out of the cabin for the last time. Jasper, Peter and Charlotte are waiting for me on the porch and I don't say anything as I hand Jasper a lighter. I look at him and push my understanding out to him. It's his call to take the final step and truly end Alice. All I've done is inform her of her crimes and then incapacitate her for them. It's Jasper's responsibility to light her up and he knows it. It's far tamer and more humane for me to have done what I did to her. I don't realize it at the time, but it makes Jasper that much more grateful to have me by his side.

Jasper hesitates before walking into the cabin. I'm not sure what could be on his mind right now, but I do know that whatever it is, it's unpleasant. The rest of us don't follow. Instead we back away from it a safe distance and wait. No one says anything as the minutes pass by, but I'm still recording.

As I start to wonder if Jasper is ever going to come out of the cabin, I see a light flickering. I realize it's firelight about 30 seconds before Jasper comes walking out, Peter's chains in his hands. I hand the phone off to Charlotte to keep the recording going, but I know that Jasper needs me right now.

I walk up to him slowly and remove the chains from his arms and deposit them on the ground by Peter's feet. As we turn to watch the cabin burn, I intertwine my fingers with Jasper's. He doesn't say anything to me. He doesn't need to.

We stay like that as we watch the last embers of the cabin burn to ash. It shocks me how quickly everything burned, but with a little vampiric accelerant, it really shouldn't surprise me at all.

"Captain" Jasper says "I want that recording sent to Aro immediately so he can see that justice has been done. Then I want all of the videos sent to my phone and I want you and Char to return to Victoria's Army. I want you to determine if Amanda's been missed, and if she has, I want you to come up with a feasible cover story for her disappearance."

"Yes, Major." Peter replies.

"I want an update in 12 hours, Captain." Jasper states before Peter and Charlotte take off toward Victoria's camp.

"As for you, Darlin'" Jasper says to me "I think it's time you met the family."

I look up at him panicked and surprised that he wants to introduce me so soon, but he just says "We need to let them know what's happened and we need to let them know what our next move will be."

"Ok. I understand." I reply. "Let's go meet the family."

Jasper picks up his phone and begins to make a phone call, "Carlisle, will you call a family meeting, please? Something has happened and I don't want to have to repeat myself more than once." "Yes, I understand, but they need to be there when I get there." "Will you also call Billy Black and see if Jake and Sam can come over, too." "Because they'll need to hear what I've got to say." "Fifteen minutes? Fine. I'll be there." Jasper disconnects the line and I don't hesitate before pulling him into a hug. I know it's not much to offer to make him feel better, but it was all I had.

He hesitates and stiffens automatically, but relaxes as he takes in my scent and wraps his strong arms around my waist to pull me in tighter. We stay like that for a while before pulling away, just relaxing in eachother's company. Jasper takes my hand and begins to walk towards what I'm assuming is his house. We don't say anything for a few minutes, but Jasper breaks the silence "There is somethin' 'bout my family that you need to know before we show up. They've settled in this part of the country before. I believe it was back in the 1930's or fairly close to that. I wasn't part of the family back then, but Carlisle, Esme, Edward, Rosalie, and Emmett were. While they were here, they ran into a tribe of Native Americans that also called this territory 'home'. This specific tribe is a bit…different in that they have developed a way to protect their tribal lands from our kind. They have the ability to become what we would call werewolves."

I can't help but stop and stare at him in shock. "I have to admit that that's the last thing I expected on this walk." I replied. "I think you may have to explain further."

"Fair enough." Jasper replies. "I'm not sure how it started, but the men in various families of this tribe have developed the ability to change themselves into giant wolves. They're the protectors of their tribe and have all of the necessary tools in which to take any wayward vamp that comes into their territory down without much of a fight."

"Like, real wolves? With the tail and ears and…everything?" I ask bewildered.

"Yeah, like with the tails and ears." Jasper says chuckling "Our family has a long-standin' treaty with 'em that says that we are not allowed to hunt any humans. If we do, then they have every right to kill us."

"Well, that sucks on multiple levels." I state exasperated. "I come from Cherokee heritage, the Wolf is a family symbol – hence the tattoo on my ribs – and I can't help that I feed on humans! It was what I was taught to do! So are they gonna kill me?!" I started my mini rant annoyed and hurt, but managed to finish it panicked and scared. I wasn't ready to give up this life yet.

"Don't worry, Darlin'" Jasper says as he runs his hands up and down my arms in a soothing motion "they can't touch you once under my protection. You're my mate and I won't let nothin' happen to ya. Besides, they wouldn't stand a chance in a fight against me and they know it."

"So what's gonna happen when they realize I'm a human hunter?" I ask scared.

"Well, luckily for you, you aren't the only one in my house that's currently sportin' a set o'red eyes. My brother, Emmett and I turned Edward's mate, Bella not too long ago. That plan was fraught with drama from the beginnin'. Granted the wolves don't know about her yet either, but why hold anythin' back from 'em at this point? We're gonna need the wolves to help us with Victoria, so we might as well come clean about turnin' a human while we're at it. I honestly think they'll be far too distracted with her change than they will be about you."

"Why is that?" I ask.

"Because one of the dogs is 'in love' with Bella." He replies honestly.

"And that means what exactly?" I ask.

"Well, Jacob has always had a soft spot for Bella and before we changed her, we had to stage a car accident so her human family could say good-bye to her. It tore Jacob apart. He was always hopin' that Bella would leave Edward so he could have his shot, but Bella's a stubborn girl and wasn't interested in Jacob. Now that he'll realize we turned her instead of her actually dyin', well, I can only imagine that he'd be angry enough to wanna torch some of us and in a house full of vamps, it wouldn't be the wisest choice."

"Sounds like a daytime soap opera." I say. "Are you sure this is a good idea, bringing me into all this?"

"It is a bit like a soap opera now that I think about it, but you've always got your gift if you need to use it to diffuse the situation." He replies. "Just think about a song calmin' enough to have the effect we want, but not calmin' enough to put 'em into a catatonic state."

"I have a feeling I'm gonna need to brush up on my song knowledge at some point." I say.

"Well, Edward might be just the person to go to for help in that department. His music collection is vaster than my Civil War book collection, and that's sayin' somethin'." He states grinning.

"So…I know it's probably not my place to ask, but why did you decide to turn Bella?" I ask.

"You can ask me anythin', Darlin'. I promise I won't hide anythin' from ya." He says looking at me seriously. "And to answer your question, it was because she asked me to."

"Why did she ask you and not her own mate?" I ask bewildered.

"Because Edward can be an idiot and he was brought up in the early 1900's so his views on women and religion are extremely puritanical. He met Bella when she was still human and they fell for eachother hard, but Edward didn't wanna change her and risk her bein' 'damned' for all eternity. However, her life has been threatened, just by bein' associated with us, far too many times for her to stay human, but Edward was still a persistent fucker when it came to her humanity. So, she got tired of him always makin' decisions for her and she took things into her own hands. Carlisle, Emmett and I were just there to help."

"Did Edward not read her mind to figure out what she was planning?" I asked.

"He can't." Jasper stated simply. "Bella's is the only mind Edward can't read. She's a mental shield."

"Interesting. I'll have to see if I have any effect on her at all, then." I state.

"That would be a good experiment to try at some point." Jasper says.

As we finish our conversation I notice that we've walked into what appears to be a huge back yard. In the distance I can make out a beautiful, white 3-story house with glass panes all along the back. "Wow. This is beautiful! This is where you live?" I ask shocked.

"Yes. And soon it'll be where we live…if you'd be willin' to stay." Jasper replies.

"How can you be so sure I'm even invited to stay?" I ask.

"Because we're mates. If they don't understand that, then we'll both leave." He replies simply and honestly.

"Yo! Jazz man!" I hear booming from a spot in the yard, "I'm glad you finally decided to show up! Everyone's been gettin' antsy."

As I see the scene in front of me, I can't help the reaction that comes out of me. I immediately get into a defensive crouch in front of Jasper and a growl tears its way up my throat as I see this huge monster of a man running up to us. What I didn't expect was his reaction. He completely stops running and looks at me shocked.

"Uh, Jazz" he says, "who is this, why is she with you, and why is she growling at me?"

Jasper ignores the man for the time being and looks me directly in the eyes and says "Amanda, this is my brother Emmett. He won't hurt me or you. I swear." I look over at Emmett, but Jasper regains my attention "Look at me, Darlin'."

I look back at him and see there's no lie in his eyes. So, I straighten up out of my crouch and stop growling at Emmett. Jasper grabs my hand again and the action relaxes me further. I shake my head a bit to clear my thoughts and immediately regret my actions.

I turn to Jasper and say, "I'm sorry. I don't know what just happened."

"You were actin' on instinct. It's alright and it happens to all of us." Jasper says. Then he turns to Emmett "Em, this is Amanda. She was growlin' at ya because she thought ya were gonna try and hurt me. As to why she's here, that's why I requested Carlisle to call the meetin'."

"Hey little Lady," Emmett says to me as he approaches me slowly with his hands up in a 'surrender' motion "I wouldn't hurt Jazz. To be honest, I don't think I could. He'd be more likely to kick my ass."

I had to giggle a bit at that statement, because even though Emmett may be bigger than Jasper by a lot, Jasper could probably kick Emmett's ass. "I'm sorry for my behavior, Emmett. I don't know what came over me. It's a pleasure to meet you." I say to him as I extend my hand for him to take.

He doesn't hesitate before taking my hand in his and, in a rare show of Southern manners, kisses the back of it before letting it drop. "I have no idea why a looker like you is within a hundred miles of Jasper's ugly mug." Emmett says humorously.

"I'm not sure how to take that Em." Says Jasper. "Is everyone here yet?"

"We're just waiting on Eddie and Bella to get back from a quick hunt, but they should be here soon." Emmett replies.

"Ok, good." Jasper retorts. "I want to give Amanda a minute to prepare herself to meet everyone."

"Alright, I'll gather everyone in the dining room." Emmett states before casually jogging off.

"Dining room?" I question "you actually bring your meals here?"

Jasper laughs at me "No. We only use that room as a meetin' room. It's the only room in the house big enough to hold all of us without having distractions for Emmett."

"Ah." I state. "Now I feel kinda stupid."

"No reason to feel that way." Jasper tells me. "I want ya to do me a favor. I want ya to keep a calmin' song in your mind when we get in there. It'll help ya relax a bit while you meet everyone else and keep ya from growlin' at my whole family."

I look at him a bit abashed and embarrassed "I am sorry about that. I don't know what happened."

"Like I said, Darlin'. Instinct." Jasper replies smiling at me. He takes my face in his hands and gently lifts so I'm looking into his eyes. He slowly brings our heads closer together and I know what he wants. I wrap my arms around his waist and pull him into a gentle kiss.

As soon as our lips connect it's almost like I see fireworks behind my eyelids. The spark of electricity and warmth that I feel is quickly being drowned by pure and raw desire. I'm not sure if it's mine or his, but all I know is that I want more.

Apparently I'm not the only one either. Jasper's tongue traces the crease of my lips begging for entrance to make the kiss deeper and I grant it willingly and eagerly. Hands start to roam as we get caught up in the kiss and before I know what's happening, I'm being backed up into a tree. As Jasper pushes me back, I take my legs and wrap them around his waist and my hands fist in his hair. I can feel his erection through both sets of our clothing and it just turns me on more to know how badly he wants me.

Unfortunately for the both of us we are interrupted by a very unhappy looking Emmett. "Uh Jazz," Emmett says walking closer to us "you're projecting and it's getting very uncomfortable in the house…if you get my drift." He finishes the last part of his sentence as he sees Jasper pressed up against me in a very intimate way.

I can only describe the look on his face as shock. Which I would have found funny under normal circumstances, but then I remembered that he still thinks Alice was Jasper's mate. Suddenly the guilt is a bit overwhelming and I push Jasper away from me.

"Jazz man, it looks like you have some explaining to do." Emmett says. He looks extremely hurt and betrayed and I can't help but feel worse that I'm now a home-wrecker in Emmett's eyes.

"Em, you don't understand what you're seein'." Jasper calmly tells Emmett.

"Well then brother kindly explain it to me. Cause from what I'm seein' right now, it looks to me like you're cheatin' on Alice and I'm not havin' that." Emmett retorts crossing his arms like a scolding parent.

"I'm not cheatin' on Alice." Jasper states clearly. "Alice and I are through."

"That's not possible." Emmett replies. "Y'all were mates."

"Actually, we weren't, Em." Jasper calmly states.

Emmett looks on Jasper disbelievingly and waits patiently for some sort of explanation. Jasper exhales exasperatedly "Emmett, I don't wanna have to repeat myself more than once, so can you please trust that I'm tellin' ya the truth? I swear when Edward and Bella get here, y'all will know what's been goin' on with me recently, alright? Just please give me the benefit of the doubt before you go makin' judgments."

Emmett narrows his eyes at the both of us before agreeing to listen to everything we're going to tell him. That's all I can ask for. I just hope everyone else will be willing to listen, too. As we watch Emmett storm back into the house, Jasper pulls me in for a hug and I feel an emotion that's not mine surrounding me. It seems to be Jasper's way of communicating without words and I understand it's an apology for Emmett's tactlessness and a promise to pick up where we left off…later.

"Have ya picked out some music to listen to while ya meet the family?" Jasper asks me casually. He makes it sound as though I have my iPod on stand-by just waiting for the appropriate moment to turn it on.

"I think so," I reply grinning "Damien Escobar has always been relaxing to listen to and Freedom is one of my favorite songs. The things that man can do with a violin are inhuman."

"I've never heard of him, Darlin'. You'll have to let me listen to it sometime." Jasper replies. "Are ya ready to start headin' in?" He asks as he points to the house.

"Not really, but I'll do it anyway." I reply.

"That's my girl." He says proudly as we begin walking to the house with his arm wrapped around me and my arm wrapped around him. We start talking about the most inconsequential things on our walk, but I make him laugh and he makes me laugh as he regales me with stories from his childhood. I understand it's his own way of making me more comfortable and relaxed, but it's almost as if there's no effort involved in just making eachother happy. It truly is the best I've felt since this existence began.

He must feel my gratitude and happiness as we cross the last few feet to the porch and smiles at me in understanding. I never do make it that last step onto the porch, though. Instead I find myself being hurled through the air and when I land, I'm 50 feet from where I started and I see a boy and a girl in front of me, blocking my path to Jasper. The boy has coppery-bronze hair and like the rest of Jasper's family, he has gold eyes. He looks a bit too young for my liking and I take a dislike to him immediately. The girl looks about the same age and has long brunette hair with red highlights, but what stands out about her are her red eyes. This must be Bella, the newborn.

"Get away from him you red-headed trollop!" says the boy.

"Trollop?" I ask back annoyed, standing and placing my hands on my hips. "Is that seriously what you're going with? I mean, I'm used to being called a whore and a bitch, but a trollop? That's a bit old fashioned, don't you think?"

"What does it matter what he calls you when you shouldn't be all over another woman's man in the first place." says Bella.

"Another woman's man? Are you serious?" I look over at Jasper who is angrily, but calmly watching the proceedings while trying to make his way over to me and ask, "Jasper, is she serious?"

As the rest of his family is making their way outside, Jasper clearly says "Yeah, Darlin', she's serious."

"I'm sorry to rain on everyone's parade, but Jasper and Alice were officially over about 2 hours ago. So, just so everyone's on the same page, Jasper can be with whomever the fuck he wants to." I state angrily.

"How is that possible, Jasper?" the coppery douche asks.

"Because they were never mates, you dumb ass!" I all but yell.

Everyone except Jasper looks at me in complete shock. Like I just told them the earth is flat instead of round. It would be hilarious under different circumstances, but my patience for these golden-eyed, holier-than-thou vamps is getting really thin. I can see Jasper out of the corner of my eye making his way to me through the gathering and I feel better that I have at least one person on my side.

"What do you mean 'they were never mates'?" Asks a man that I could swear was Jasper's father. He was around my age with almost white-blonde hair and had an aura of authority around him that everyone seemed to respect.

I can't help that my anger seems to be getting the best of me. I'm dure Jasper can feel it because he places a calming hand on my shoulder and looks pointedly at me. I was supposed to be doing something…oh! Right! Calming music. Ok. I got this.

I nod at Jasper when I get the message and immediately think of the Damien Escobar song. As I remember the beginning chords of the beautiful song, then the beat, then the notes, I begin to calm down. Jasper takes my calmer state as an opportunity to explain and begins with a question as I continue to calm down.

"Let me ask you a question, Carlisle" Jasper begins and I realize that he must be the leader of this little family. I'd need to remember to stay on his good side if I wanted the opportunity to stay, "after you turned Esme, how long was it before you marked her?"

"It was just after I fed the first time, dear" a woman with caramel colored hair and a heart-shaped face answers "so it was probably an hour after I had awoken to this life. Why do you ask?"

We're all distracted as the coppery douche begins some sort of trance-like movement. I wouldn't call it dancing, necessarily, but I'm not sure what else to call it. His arms are held out to one side and he seems to be sliding one on top of the other with a good 9 inches separating them. His eyes looked a bit glassy and glazed over as well, but I wasn't going to point it out.

"Edward. What are you doing?" The red-eyed brunette asks, but there's no response from him. He just keeps doing the same thing. With the glazed look in his eyes and the lack of response it almost looks like he was…but that can't be. It's impossible unless…

Then it hits me.

Edward is the one who can read minds and I've been thinking of a song played by a violinist in order to calm me down. I did not expect him to be affected, let alone influenced, just by my mind! To be honest, it fascinates me. I start to walk closer to him and realize that instead of dancing, like I thought he was doing, he's actually playing an invisible violin to the music in my head!

"No!" I state disbelieving. "I don't believe it! No way!" I almost squeal excitedly.

"What?" Jasper asks. Which is followed by various forms of the same question from everyone around us.

"Jasper, look at him!" I say.

"I am lookin', Darlin'." He replies.

"No, really look." I reply. "What is it you told me Edward could do?"

"I said he could…" he begins and you can almost see the lightbulb switch on in his head as he realizes what's happening "No way." he retorts while looking at me disbelievingly.

"I know! I can't believe it either!" I reply.

"Will somebody please share with the class what the hell is going on?" Asks a beautiful blonde bombshell who looks like she'd rather be anywhere other than here. There's something about her that feels almost familiar, but it can wait for the moment.

Jasper decides to take this as an opportunity to explain "He's listening to Amanda's thoughts."

"What do you mean, Jasper? Edward's never been put in that state just from thoughts before." Replies Carlisle.

"That's because Edward's never heard thoughts from a Siren before." Jasper states simply yet proudly.

The next thing I hear is an uproar with everyone trying to talk over each other at the same time.

Chapter Text

Jasper POV

CHAPTER 25

All I hear is noise. Everyone's decided they wanna talk at the same time and now I can't get control of the situation without losin' my temper. I do catch a few questions thrown at me, though. "What the hell do you mean 'Siren'?" - Emmett. "What is she even doing here, Jasper?"- Rose. "I don't understand; what is a Siren?" - Bella. "Carlisle, you have to do something." – Esme. "Jasper, you better have a good reason for bringing this woman to our home." – Carlisle.

All I can do is try and block 'em out temporarily.

The only person I wanna hear from is one of the only two out on this lawn that isn't talkin'. I look over at Amanda to see what she's up to, but she's just standin' next to Edward with her arms crossed over her chest, just waitin' for all this ruckus to stop. Meanwhile Edward's been left to mime the music he hears all alone. Apparently Amanda's choice in instrumental violin music is a lot more modern than I'd originally thought. I'd find it funny if it didn't look like he was havin' a seizure with the upper half of his body.

Oh, who am I kiddin'? It's fuckin' hilarious! I can't help but laugh a bit at the whole scene. This is turnin' out to be a disaster and we haven't even explained ourselves yet. I can only imagine what hell awaits us when we tell everyone why we're here.

I raise an eyebrow in a silent question to Amanda, but she seems to understand and replies back with a simple shake of her head. Then, she surprises me by coutin' backwards out loud from 5; everyone just gets louder to try and drown her out...

4; they start to quiet down again...

3; for some reason almost everyone here has quieted down to normal, but they're still talkin'...

2; now I'm startin' to find this a bit funny because everyone's practically stopped talkin' except Rose and Carlisle...

1; well, I'll be a sun-of-a-gun everyone's completely stopped talkin' and they're all starin' at Amanda with puzzled expressions.

"Congratulations, y'all." she begins "I've just proved that stopping a fight between toddlers is basically the same as stopping all y'all from hurtin' my ears."

"What just happened?" asks Emmett bewildered. "You didn't use your gift on us, did you?"

"No" she replies. "although I can't really help it with this one." she says while hookin' her thumb in Edward's direction. "I didn't need to use it with y'all. I've used that counting trick before and I swear by it. Works every time. It's just that the way y'all were acting was ridiculous. Everyone shouting and talking over everyone else is annoying no matter what species you are, apparently."

I had to agree with her there. They were behavin' like rowdy children who didn't get their favorite toy to play with.

"What exactly are you doing here?" Carlisle asks as Amanda looks over at Edward and, I assume she's tryin' to shut off the musical portion of her brain as Edward slowly comes back to himself. He certainly looks anything but pleased.

Ignoring Carlisle and before Edward has a chance to open his mouth, I'm sure to throw some sort of insult at Amanda, she states "Ok, I'm gonna lay some things out for y'all right now. First, I can leave whenever the fuck I want, taking Jasper with me, and there's not a damn thing y'all can do about it, so if I don't like the way I'm being treated then I will leave. Second, I'm here to offer my help, which from what I've seen so far, y'all desperately need. Third, my mate wanted me to meet y'all because y'all are his family and he loves each and every one of you and hoped you might accept me – hell of an introduction, by the way." She says pointin' at them all like she's scoldin' her kids.

She continues "However, back to square one. Hi. I'm Amanda Adams. I'm a Siren. I'm also Jasper's true mate." With this statement everyone starts to try to talk again, but Amanda's faster, "Hold on. I'm not done." She says seriously while lookin' up at everyone. They all immediately shut up and she continues, "Considering this was a gigantic clusterfuck from the beginning, why don't we rewind a bit. It would be really nice, since y'all now know my name, for me to also know yours. I can make assumptions on who everyone is based on what Jasper's told me, as well as what I've seen for myself, but I'd rather be correct in addressing you than make a fool out of myself by getting it wrong. So, let's begin with the head of your family, shall we?"

Carlisle steps forward a bit and introduces the rest of our family. He groups everyone in mated pairs so Amanda will be able to distinguish couples. He doesn't go into much detail, but we don't really have time for that right now. He lets Amanda have the floor after he's done.

"It's really nice to meet all of you. Truly." Amanda says to everyone. "Now, to answer the most pressing question first; 'What do you mean Jasper and I are mates?' right? Well, Esme stated that Carlisle waited about an hour into her new life to claim her. I'm guessing it was purely instinctual for the both of you, correct Esme?"

"That's correct, dear." Esme replies.

"I would ask all of you mated couples the same thing." she holds up her hands in a 'stop' motion before continuing "I don't want to know the answers, but how long did it take before you marked the other as yours? It was an immediate and instinctual thing." Amanda is now walking away from Edward and back over to me. "When I saw Jasper, I didn't have a choice but to mark him as mine." She says to everyone. "The whole time you've had Jasper and Alice in your family; did not one of you notice they hadn't marked eachother as mates? Did no one think it odd or unusual? Did no one think to question why two people who were supposed to be mates were never actually marked as such? I mean, come on y'all. It's the first thing our eyes are drawn to!"

Amanda shakes her head in exasperation, "And you call us slow in the South?"

The way she is able to talk herself out of any situation she's been in is somethin' to behold. She is a lot more observant of her surroundin's than most tend to be and she's capable of reading between the lines when most can't. She's stunnin' and she's mine and I have never been happier.

Then she turns to me and says, "Jasper, why did you say that Edward's never heard the thoughts of a Siren before?"

"Because as far as I know, you're the first one he's ever met." I reply honestly.

"Wow." she states shocked. "Lord save me from the idiocy of this coven."

"What now?" Emmett replies annoyed. I think he's just tired of Amanda callin' everyone out on their faults and he doesn't wanna be next.

I don't think any of us were at all prepared for the words that came out of her mouth next. "I'm not the first Siren any of y'all have ever met."

"What do you mean?" asks Carlisle.

"You really don't know." she replies shocked. "That…wow…I'm sorry, but y'all are some thick sons-of-bitches. Seriously. Y'all have had a Siren living with you this whole time and not one of you realized it."

"What on Earth are you talking about?" Bella asks.

"Because I can spot one of my own Sisters and by the look she's giving me, she has no idea either." Then Amanda does somethin' even more unexpected and we all stare in shock as she starts walking towards Rose.

"Sister, why do you hide?" she asks Rosalie, more kindness in her voice now than the rest of the time we've been here.

I don't know who in our family is more shocked to realize that Rose actually was gifted, herself or the rest of us. "I don't know what you mean." Rose replies, although her answer isn't as cold as she usually is.

"You mean the Siren we've been living with this whole time has been Rose?!" Edward asks astonished.

"You have no idea what you are, do you?" Amanda asks Rose, clearly ignorin' Edward for the moment. "When was the last time you enjoyed music enough to sing or to dance?"

"I don't think I've done either one since before I became this." Rose states gesturin' to herself. "Music always was a source of enjoyment for me as a human, but I've never been able to enjoy it like this. This was never my choice and I've always hated what I am and how I came to be this. If it weren't for Emmett, I don't think I would have survived this long."

"That's a shame, Sister. Self-loathing doesn't look good on anyone, but if you wish I would be more than happy to help in any way I can." Amanda states placin' a comfortin' hand on Rose's shoulder, then pullin' her into a hug, which Rose returns enthusiastically. I can feel the sorrow and self-loathin' comin' from Rose and the determination from Amanda to make her understand how truly valued she is. I can't be sure, but I'm beginnin' to see a terrific friendship blossimin' between 'em.

"I hate to break up this whole 'feelings fest'," Emmett states, "but why didn't Alice see that Rose was a Siren? And for that matter, where even is she?"

"That's part of what we've come to discuss with you, Em." I reply.

"Well, what are we waiting for?" Emmett replies. "Let's get this show on the road!"

"We can't yet, Emmett." Carlisle chimes in. "The wolves have arrived."

Chapter Text

Amanda POV

CHAPTER 26

The wolves are here?

I turn away from Rose to look in the direction I hear paws running across the Earth. I'm not sure if I'm more nervous or excited about the possibility of seeing real werewolves! I mean, honestly, who wouldn't want to meet werewolves?

I look around at everyone else expecting them to be a bit more excited about the wolves, but it looks as if they all just stepped in something horrid-smelling. I don't quite understand their reactions, but they obviously know what's coming better than I do.

My attention is gained by a gigantic black form coming through the trees, and I think that this cannot be one of the werewolves Jasper was talking about. It's HUGE! The midnight black fur seemed to shine a bit in the sunlight when the wolf moves, just seeming to make it that much more unbelievable.

It's soon followed out by a russet brown wolf that is nearly as big as the black one. Several smaller wolves come into the yard and they are all of varying sizes and colors from sandy brown to chocolate brown and a few that are grey. These are impossible to mistake for the real animal they have taken the form of. I'm honestly dumbfounded that these werewolves could get this size.

I hadn't realized that I had started making my way towards them until I was only about an arm's length away from the black one. "Oh! Y'all are BEAUTIFUL!" I gush. "Seriously!"

I don't see the look that the black one gives Jasper's family over my unusual reaction. I'm too busy walking through the pack looking at every wolf my eyes can take in. "I can clearly see the hierarchy! The Russet one behind me is clearly the Alpha, although the Black one is not too far behind as the beta! Although why the Russet one hasn't declared his place yet is beyond me." I state calmly, but surely.

I feel more than see the air shift weirdly at my back. I'm too distracted to really care what's going on behind me, but I turn around to see that the Russet wolf has vanished and in his place is an extremely tall and extremely built Native American man. He has managed to garner my attention further with a pained, yet whispered cry of "Bella?" and I know that this must be the wolf that Jasper was talking about. The one in love with Bella. I can tell that this confrontation is going to be fraught with drama.

I try to ignore the tension for the moment, but don't get too far in my re-scanning of the pack before my attention is pulled back to the drama towards the house. I see the wolf, who had apparently thought all of this was Edward's fault, jump directly at Edward. Now, my interest is piqued and I can't help but hope that the wolf gets a few good hits in even in human form. I'm guessing his intention was to rip Edward limb from limb, not that I'd mind. In my opinion, that's what he gets for calling me a trollop.

I look over at Jasper to see his reaction to the drama unfolding, but I almost forgot that Jasper and Emmett are the reasons that Bella has now changed. It looks like both of them have now convinced the wolf to listen as they explain what happened the night she made her decision. Bella it seems is also trying to convince the wolf that this was her decision.

I catch the tail end of an apparently heated conversation with "…think we should go somewhere and talk about this." Bella says to the wolf.

At least it seems Jasper and Emmett are in the clear and free of blame for the moment. I'm grateful for that because I don't want my mate hurt in any way. I catch his eyes as he wanders back towards me and I can almost hear the eye-roll that he gives me. Clearly he thinks that this may be more trouble than it's worth.

As I resume my wandering through the pack, I spot a smaller silver wolf towards the back and know immediately that there's a female amongst them. "Oh!" I say in excitement, breaking everyone out of their tense discussions. "There's even a female! Why does she have to be the smallest, though? That's completely unfair!" I look over at her and continue, "Girl, I don't know who you are, but you are gorgeous! Show these knuckleheads and egotistical jerks whose really in charge, huh? You deserve to be right up there with the big boys, not stuck in the back of the pack! Someone has to keep these boys' egos in check when they get too big for their britches!" I don't hesitate before reaching my hand out to scratch behind her ears and she gives her tail a small wave in appreciation and delight.

I'm so excited that there's a female werewolf! I look over at Jasper and see that he has the most adorable confused expression on his face. It almost makes me want to run back to him, but then I notice his family all have the same expressions. I'm not sure what all could be causing that kind of reaction. I honestly don't think it's just my random outburst, but I just continue to gush over every wolf. The sandy one even presents his belly to me with his tongue lolling out of his mouth in a wolfy grin, so of course I don't hesitate to kneel down and give him some good ol' belly rubs!

I didn't notice, but while I was down on my knees, several of the other wolves started surrounding me. They were just sniffing me curiously and yipping at me. The female surprised me though by walking up to me and pressing the side of her face into my cheek in a wolfy show of affection that knocked me sideways and onto my ass. All I could do was laugh as the wolves surrounded me. It was exactly like being surrounded by over-playful puppies when I was human. I was feeling very joyful and elated that they seemed to at least like me.

I'm busy scratching the chocolate brown wolf under his chin when I feel the female step into my lap and curl herself into a comfortable position before she just lays there contentedly. The sandy one, yips at the female and I take my free hand and start to scratch behind his ears. He decides to get comfortable just laying beside me on the ground with his gigantic head on my right knee.

This whole situation is a bit too surreal, so as I look up at Jasper to make sure I'm not dreaming, I notice that the two biggest wolves have now been replaced by two huge men instead of just the one there before.

"I don't understand what's happening here, either Sam" says Carlisle as Esme looks on horrified.

"Yeah," chimes in Emmett as he subconsciously rubs his hands soothingly up and down Rose's arms, I'm guessing she must have been concerned for my safety and this was the only way he could calm her "shouldn't y'all be growling at her and trying to kill her?" he honestly looks confused; as if he should expect me to be torn apart right now.

"Thank you for your support, Emmett." I reply sarcastically. "I think they just like me."

"I don't understand how you can even stand to be around them!" says Edward "They stink! It's like someone poured sewage up my nose. How can you stand it?"

"For one, that's rude. You smell obnoxiously like Axe body spray and it's overwhelming and hurts my nose, but I wasn't gonna mention it." Everyone has a good chuckle at Edward's expense except Bella who still looks at me angrily. Oh well, it looks like I won't be making a friend there.

"Two, I don't know what you mean. They smell like the Earth right after it rains. Granted there are more smells. Like I think this one" I point my finger at the Sandy colored wolf on my leg, "was playing in flower bushes at some point today, but they all smell just fine to me." The aforementioned wolf just huffs at me in response.

"Surprisingly, she actually doesn't smell all that bad to us, either." says the man Carlisle addressed as Sam. "Who are you?" he asks me.

"Oh, sorry! I forgot. Introductions, again." I state. "My name is Amanda Adams. I'm Major Jasper Whitlock's mate."

I hear Sam state to Jasper, "I thought the Seer was your mate. Where is she?"

I reply to Sam "There is a reason that Jasper has us all gathered here today and I think that now that everyone's here, we can actually get to it."

I start to stand up, but both wolves currently taking up my lap grumble at me in protest. "I know." I reply back, "but there's a reason we're all here and you'll want to be able to hear what it is, so you have to let me up."

I can still hear both wolves grumble in protest a bit before they move, but they finally and reluctantly let me up. Jasper comes over to assist and reaches a hand down for me as I grab it and he hauls me up.

"Thank you." I say to him.

"You're welcome, ma'am." he replies back with a smirk.

"Before we begin, though" I state to Sam while still holding tightly to Jasper, "I would like to know all of the names of your pack-mates so I can address them properly if I need to."

Sam agrees and begins with himself and Jacob Black, who is apparently the rightful Alpha of the pack just like I'd thought. Then he proceeds in order from his beta Paul down to the omega of the pack, Leah. As he calls everyone's names, I hear a huff from that wolf so I know which wolf belongs to which name.

"Thank you for that." I say to Sam as he finishes introductions.

"There is something different about you, Amanda." Sam replies. "I don't know what yet, but maybe we will have more time to talk after this meeting you had planned."

"I'm not sure about that, but I hope I can answer any questions before my story is done." I reply.

"Alright, everyone" Jasper says from beside me. "We can either get to this out here, or we can do this inside. I have some videos I need to show y'all at some point, so inside would be best."

As all of the vampires head back inside the house, I notice all of the wolves are heading into the forest. Jasper must sense my curiosity because he says, "They're naked when they change from wolf to human, so they'll be back when they've put on clothes."

"Good enough explanation to me." I say to Jasper as we walk into the house and into the dining room.

"Uh, I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but this room is too small for all of us plus the pack." Emmett states.

"We can just as easily move this into the living room." Carlisle replies.

I notice that everyone is still keeping their distance from me and it hurts a little bit, but that's only because they don't know the whole story yet. At least the pack seems to like me and at least I have Jasper with me in case this goes the wrong way.

I can tell he feels my gratitude and he leans down and brushes a gentle and chaste kiss across my lips before leading me into the living room where everyone else has already gathered.

Sam, Jacob, and the pack have decided to stand on one side of the room while the Cullen's are on the other side. I can almost feel the tension in the air. Jasper takes a seat next to Rose - who still looks a bit shell shocked - and Emmett and I stand up in front of everyone to begin my story.

"Hello, everyone." I say taking a deep and unneeded breath "Thank you for coming. I know you all have a lot of questions, but for now I would appreciate it if you would allow me to speak, and if you have any questions later, then I can address those. My story begins one day in Seattle several months ago."

As I tell my story I can see everyone taking in the information I'm providing them. Some look surprised, others just look angry, and through it all, Jasper stays calm. My rock. If I have trouble getting through something, I just pause and look at him. He knows all of what I'm telling already, but it's nice to know at least one person in this room doesn't judge me.

Chapter Text

Peter POV

CHAPTER 27

Headin’ back to Vicky without Amanda was probably not the best idea we’ve ever had, but she had some explainin’ to do with the Cullen’s and, since she couldn’t be in two places at once, we had to let her go with the Major. We would need the Cullen’s and the wolves soon, so any help that she could provide with swayin’ their decisions in our favor was where she needed to be.

Char and I had discussed the different situations and possibilities that we could use in order to keep our current cover and I think we came up with one that may work. I knew that the battle to come was gonna be in that damn baseball clearin’, so I was plannin’ to use the knowledge of that area to our advantage. I just had to get Victoria to believe that we were still sincere in our desire to ruin the Cullen’s. If we could make her believe that then everythin’ else would fall into place nicely on our end.

We had noticed some scouts placed in strategic places within a mile of the camp itself, but it wasn’t until we met up with one of the newborns, Dave, that we realized how close we were cutting it.

“There you two are!” Dave shouts from a tree above us. “You two have been gone so long, Victoria thought that the Cullen’s had gotten you. Where’s Amanda?”

Char and I knew this question was comin’, but we wanted to tell Victoria our story first. “Where’s Victoria?” I ask instead. “We have some information she may need.”

Dave apparently heard the seriousness of my tone and didn’t hesitate before runnin’ ahead of us and straight back into camp, hollerin’ for Vicky the whole way.

Once we ran back into the camp, we were immediately surrounded and herded off to see the Queen Bitch in charge. I can’t say I was surprised at the treatment-we had been gone for nearly a whole day-but I was surprised that Vicky didn’t run out of her hidey-hole and demand to know where we’d been. If this was Maria, we’d have at least one limb removed already for bein’ gone so long.

However, this wasn’t Maria. It was a weak ass substitute for Maria and frankly, I was both grateful and disgusted by that fact. Vicky clearly didn’t care about anythin’ other than revenge anymore and that was obvious in the way that she took her time comin’ out to meet us.

She and Riley exit the buildin’ that we’ve stopped in front of and I can see a change in her that wasn’t there a day ago. She looks fed up. I do notice that her eyes roam over all of us, but she looks disappointed when her eyes fall back on Char and I.

“Honestly, I don’t really care where you’ve been for the past day and it’s not really my business anyway,” she begins airily “but I do care that my one and only shot at destroying the Cullen’s is missing. Care to explain that?”

“Well,” I begin defiantly, “your mission here was to destroy the Cullen’s, yet I’ve seen nothing in the way of intelligence gatherin’ from you or your Army since we moved out here, so I took the liberty myself. I took Amanda and my mate with me so we could spy on the enemy for you.”

Her eyes flare with what looks like excitement before she regains control over herself and the poker face is back. “Well, what did you learn?” She asks in a falsely sweet voice.

“They have a newborn in their coven now. She’s very volatile and only a few weeks old to this life. Her emotions are gettin’ the better of her and she will be a liability to them. The coven leader and his mate are as anti-aggressive as they can possibly be. When the fightin’ starts, I’ll have trouble believin’ that they’ll be willin’ to participate at all. There’s also a blonde woman who seems like she’ll avoid gettin’ into a fight because it might get her clothes dirty. The mountain of a man in the coven is the only one you may need to worry about. He looks like he could rip apart someone just by accident. There’s also a young boy who seems more preoccupied and distracted with this newborn than should be warranted. We saw no one else.”

Vicky just smiles at me and I’m beginnin’ to think she may not believe me. “Curious.” She states simply. “I’ve met this coven before and they all seemed like they would want nothing more than to rip me apart.”

“How long were you in their presence, Victoria?” I ask. “Because we’ve been spyin’ on them for a day and I can tell ya that ya know nothin’ about this coven. It may be true that you’ve met ‘em before, it may also be true that they wanted to kill ya. I don’t really know cause I wasn’t there. What I can tell ya is what I’ve seen. You can either take the information and use it. Or not.”

I had planted the seed, now all I had to do was wait for it to grow and luckily I didn’t have to wait long.

“It seems like good and solid information, Victoria.” Riley states from beside her. “We may be able to win this after all.”

“Perhaps.” Victoria replies. “That still begs the question of where my Siren went to.”

“I left her to search the immediate area for a good point of battle.” I state calmly. Victoria looks at me a bit perplexed before I continue. “There were several possibilities of places that we passed on the way to spy on the Cullen’s that seemed like they would be beneficial to us. I let her scout the possibilities to find out which one we could use to our advantage. She should be back in a while if it bothers ya too much to have her gone.”

“No. It’s fine.” Victoria replies with a forced smile. “I trust you.”

As she turns to go back into the buildin’ I manage to halt her with a bit of advice. “I would suggest ya not waste any more time, Victoria. If I were you, I wouldn’t wait more than two more days before ya attack. All of this waitin’ around doin’ nothin’ is gonna get us all killed. Especially if they find us all here.”

“Duly noted.” Victoria replies lookin’ at me over her shoulder. “Make sure the rest of my Army knows that in two days, we attack.”

I look at Char with victory shinin’ in my eyes. I did enjoy a good fight, but this whole double-agent thing was a lot more work than I’d previously thought. Only two more days before we get this shit done and over with and I couldn’t be happier about it. I sent the Major a simple text message that had all the information in it he’d need.

Baseball clearing. Two days.

Chapter Text

 

Amanda POV

CHAPTER 28

It had been an hour ago that the last video was played. The one of Alice getting what she deserved.

It had been a full forty-five minutes ago that I had stopped talking. Relating everything that had happened and bringing some context to the videos that were shown.

No one had bothered to say a word since.

They were all staring at me completely dumbfounded and I could see the expressions of rage and betrayal in their eyes, but the one I saw the most of was complete shock. No one had any idea how to handle Alice’s betrayal and no one was willing to believe it until I offered up the videos as proof. Not even the wolves knew what to say.

I looked over at my gorgeous mate and I could see he wasn’t sure what to do to snap everyone out of their collective daze. We couldn’t afford the time it would take for everyone to come to terms with this as much as they should. We had one day to figure out a plan of attack and the next day we would be fighting for our undead lives.

“Jasper, could you send some alertness to everyone. I’m not quite done yet.” I request.

“Yeah. Gimme a sec.” He replies thoughtfully. I knew he was struggling with everyone else’s emotions and needed a moment to block everyone else out so he could do what I asked. If I could see their suffering clearly on their faces, I couldn’t imagine what he felt from them. I could see him concentrate to include the wolves in his gift and I could see everyone react slightly when the alertness reached them. A blink here, a breath there, the twitch of a hand over there, and finally everyone looked like they were back in the land of the living.

“I’m sorry.” I state sincerely. “I know it’s a lot to come to terms with, but we’re far from out of the woods yet. We have one day to come up with a plan of attack and I’m going to need all of you to focus so we can all come out of this in one piece.”

Jasper stands up from the chair he’s occupied since we got here and walks over to me to wrap his arms around me for support. Whether it was support he needed, or support I needed, I wasn’t quite sure, but I was glad to have it none the less.

“I have some semblance of a plan for what we can do to defeat Victoria, but I’m gonna need y’all’s complete cooperation for this to work. I know how her Army behaves, how they react, and how they’ve been trained.” I tell them quickly.

“I’m ready to rip some vamps to shreds.” Paul states enthusiastically.

“Why should we listen to you?” Edward asks. “Clearly you don’t care about our survival, only your own.”

 “We should listen to her, Edward because she has insider experience and knows their weaknesses” replies Rosalie.

“I don’t care if she knows their entire battle strategy,” Edward counters, “I don’t trust her.”

“No one’s asking you to become bosom buddies with her Ed. She’s asking for cooperation, not to be your best friend.” States Emmett smartly.

“That reminds me, Rosalie” I say looking at her, “you and I have things to discuss in regards to your gift. You’ll be a major player in this plan if we can get your gift working the way it needs to.”

“You’ve got to be kidding!” Jacob exclaims. “The Ice Queen has a gift?! What can she do? Glare someone to death?”

“As useful as that could be, Jacob no. She’s a Siren like me.” I state proudly.

“Ok. So this Siren business,” states Sam, “what exactly is it. Everyone seems to know but us.”

“Let me explain it to you like this: the term Siren comes from Greek mythology of creatures by the same name. I’m sure you’ve heard of tales of beautiful women who, with some sex appeal and a great voice, would lure weary travelers to their deaths on the oceans. Yes?” I ask the room. After receiving several nods and a few ‘yeah’s I continue.

“Our gift is kind of similar to that, but with more to it. I’m sure it hasn’t escaped your notice that, even though vampires are inhumanly beautiful to our prey – in this case humans – Rosalie and I are the most beautiful beings in this room. That’s not ego talking, it’s fact. We have to be more physically appealing than other vampires because we have a gift that relies on our beauty and sexuality. We can also mimic any sound, voice, or song. If one of us were to sing in our own voice, it’s just a song, but if we mimic the artist’s voice then we can put you into a kind of trance. While you are in that trance, or under our control, the words that we sing can calm you, rile you up, or get you to tell us something you’ve kept hidden. Exactly like I did to Alice in the video of her confession. The lyrics we sing are more literal in their influence than metaphorical which is how I was able to garner that confession in the first place.”

“Do you mind if we get a bit of a demonstration?” Sam asks.

“It would be nice to find out exactly what influence you have and if it affects the wolves at all.” Jacob states.

“Ok. I’ll be willing to give you a demonstration, but we have to go out to the yard. I don’t want anyone to destroy the house.” I reply.

Everyone starts to make their way outside, but what shocks me is how excited some of the wolves and even a few of the Cullen’s seem to be to experience what I can do. I guess if you’ve lived as long as they have, you kinda have to make your own entertainment. I have a song chosen for this experiment and I can’t help but to giggle a bit. This might end up being a lot funnier or a lot more embarrassing for some people than it would be for others.

I can’t wait.

“Ok. I have my song picked out. Rosalie, you’re gonna need to be over here with me. I won’t be able to influence you, but you’ll see what kind of effect you can have. I’m gonna need volunteers from the wolves because there’s so many of you. Cullen’s I’m gonna need all of y’all to be involved in this little experiment.” I state.

“Does that mean ya want me in there, too Darlin’?” Jasper asks.

“It might not be a bad idea. I would never willingly use my gift on you, but you might get caught in Rosalie’s unaware. You need to figure out what it feels like.” I reply.

“That’s smart thinkin’.” Jasper replies as he heads out to join the rest of his family on the lawn.

Rosalie and I have taken our positions on the porch and half the pack has joined us. The other half are fighting with each other about who gets which spot next to whom on the lawn. I would find it hilarious if I wasn’t trying not to think about the next step in this little experiment. I wouldn’t want Edward to get hit early.

“Rosalie,” I state calmly, “I hope you don’t have any qualms with your family making fools of themselves. This might just be the funniest thing you’ve seen in quite some time.”

She looks at me raising one perfect blonde eyebrow, but I don’t elaborate as I grin mischievously. I take my position standing with my hands cupped by my sides like amplifiers. The first few notes of “Beast Within” by In This Moment start to run through my head and I begin to sing:

I don’t know how I got here
But we cannot get out
I’m surrounded by strangers
As the music starts to pound
I see the bodies slowly swayin’
Movin’ side to side
I feel the animal is rising
As I slowly come alive

After that last line I can hear a bunch of answering growls. I can see that everyone but the newborn Bella out on the lawn has started swaying to the lyrics that I’m singing. I’m not sure why she’s unaffected, but I just nod my head to Rosalie and she grabs Bella and pulls her onto the porch.

So everybody starts to move now
I wanna see you all give way
I wanna tear this place apart tonight    
- A few wolves have decided to tear apart some trees at this line.
And have you thank me for my rage
Tell me what you came for
Can I give you just a taste?
I wanna see you lose your fucking minds
And rip apart this place   - again with the trees…very interesting.

Now the dancing is starting to get a bit more…heated. I can see Sam and the portion of the pack that stayed on the porch all looking on in awe at the effect I’m having on the other members of their pack and the Cullen’s. I do manage to hear a snarl from Bella as she sees her mate starting to get a little too friendly with the rest of the people out on the lawn, but it looks like Sam is holding her back so I can finish this.

Let me see you move your bodies
Let me see you move your bodies
Let me see you move your bodies

I’ll tear you apart
I’ll feed off your heart
I wanna see your bodies grinding just for me
I’m just what you need, the perfect disease
Don’t you wanna turn the beauty into the beast?

I begin to walk through the writhing bodies, still singing and now everyone around me is beginning to grind on one another. It’s getting quite sexual up on this lawn. If I wasn’t concentrating, it would be funny as hell.

Endorphins start to swell now
As I step up to my throne
I feel the monster caged inside of me
Screaming through my bones
I wanna see you start to sweat now
I wanna see you lose your minds
I wanna feel you all from deep within
Swayin’ back and forth all night

Everyone’s actually swaying, grinding and getting a bit…friendly with their neighbors now, and if I don’t get a move on with this song, we could have a full fledged orgy on our hands. I can hear the faint giggles of some of the pack members as well as Rosalie as the group of writhing bodies gets closer and closer together and hands start to wander to various bodies. 

Let me see you move your bodies
Let me see you move your bodies
Let me see you move your bodies

This next set of lyrics will be a good chance to get Rosalie to participate and see if she can mimic me. I give her a meaningful look as I begin walking back to the porch. I start signing with my hands telling her to repeat after me when I point to her.

I’ll tear you apart
I’ll feed off your heart
I wanna see your bodies grinding just for me
I’m just what you need, the perfect disease
Don’t you wanna turn the beauty into the beast?
Let me see you bleed
Let me hear you scream
Hey oh    -my line, then I point to Rosalie

Hey oh     -she sings back and it matches what I’m doing, so I smile widely at her.
Let me see you move
Let me hear you say   - My line and I point to Rosalie.

Hear you say    - she repeats.

I decide that now would be the best time to take Jasper and Emmett from my influence so I start to draw it back from them a bit and nod my head towards the porch so they can see the rest of the demonstration. While I do that, I up the influence on everyone left and I can see a few trying to get rid of clothing that they have on. Considering it’s mostly men, with only Esme and Leah out there, I may want to switch things up a bit. I start to pull my influence back from the only two women not currently on the porch and they hurry up to us once Rosalie beckons for them.

I see the bodies slowly swayin’
Movin’ side to side
I feel the animal is rising   - more growling.

I’ll tear you apart
I’ll feed off your heart
I wanna see your bodies grinding just for me
I’m just what you need, the perfect disease
Don’t you wanna turn the beauty into the beast?

So now we currently have only men under my influence and they’re getting pretty damn friendly with one another. I don’t wanna finish the song early, but I’m a bit nervous that this might go a bit too far.

I’ll tear you apart
I’ll feed off your heart

I’m just what you need, the perfect disease
Don’t you wanna turn the beauty into the beast?

I finish the song and pull my influence back and I get a lot of perplexed looks from everyone out on the lawn, but I get a lot of laughter from everyone behind me. There are several bits of clothing missing from several wolves and Carlisle and Edward all have their shirts missing and I believe Edward may have undone his pants at some point. Clearly that boy needs to get laid.

I hear him growl at me and remember that he read that thought directly from my mind. Well, no one said I had to be nice. I just giggle darkly, shrug my shoulders and roll my eyes.

“It seriously looked like everyone was about to break out into an orgy in the middle of your yard, Carlisle.” Paul says grinning.

“It was an interesting feeling, that’s for sure.” Replies Carlisle trying to put himself back to rights and keep at least some of his dignity in place. I’ve gotta give the man credit. He’s trying a lot harder to keep his Coven Leader persona intact than most would. Esme sure seemed to be enjoying the show, though.

“Although it may have ended with a bit of humor, it certainly didn’t start out that way.” Emmett states.

“Yeah, I know what ya mean. Although it was nice at the time, I didn’t like that my desire to move my body like that wasn’t exactly comin’ from me. I could certainly feel the lust in the air and it was a tad overwhelmin’, but I couldn’t stop.” Jasper replies a bit embarrassed.

“Shit! I didn’t even think about that! I’m so sorry!” I reply feeling a bit guilty. Of course he would be the only one out there to feel the amount of lust being projected from everyone under my influence.

“No need to be, Darlin’.” he replies wrapping his arms around me tightly and letting me feel his understanding and affection towards me. “At least most of us know what it feels like now and we can be semi-prepared if it happens again. It was a good idea.”

“It was an interesting experiment I’ll admit. Although, one person wasn’t influenced like I hoped she would be. Bella didn’t go under.” I reply looking up into his beautiful golden eyes.

“Well isn’t that interesting. I had already assumed that she was a shield. Perhaps if we can get her to extend it around someone else, perhaps that person wouldn’t be able to be influenced either.” Carlisle manages to say as he runs his fingers through his hair.

“I’d be willing to help her experiment with her shield. If we can get her to cover our side during the fight, then the likelihood that one of ours would be influenced by either Rose or myself would be significantly diminished. We would have an advantage in the upcoming battle.” I state clearly.

“It’s not a bad idea, to be sure.” Jasper replies. “We would hate to lose someone on our own side simply because they couldn’t control what they were doin’.”

“I can help her practice with it. I’ve never been able to hear her thoughts, so if she were able to project it, I wouldn’t be able to hear the thoughts of anyone under it.” Edward states.

“I’m not so sure you would be the best person to help her.” I state simply. “No offense, but I think we would need more motivation than that and using you as the guinea pig would probably be more effective.”

“Well, we don’t really have another gift that we can use.” Edward states matter of factly.

“What am I, chopped liver?” I ask offended. “I just showed the entire group what I could do. Mine seems to be the only gift here she could practice with without it getting too out of hand. I would ask Rosalie to help, but she’s got some studying to do.” I state simply. “I may need to hunt before we begin again, though.”

“I think we all may need to hunt after that. I feel a bit drained and I didn’t do very much.” Rosalie states embarrassed.

“Wait, you did that, too?” Quil asks, trying to button his pants back up.

“Yeah, she helped me out a bit, but we’ll work on enhancing her gift a bit more later.” I reply.

“Alright, why doesn’t everyone take a few hours to hunt and then come back here for training.” Jasper states clearly. I can see a lot of people nodding in agreement and then everyone leaving in groups to go hunt while the wolves head into the house. As for me, I’m gonna need more than one meal if we’re gonna be at this a while.

 

Two hours later, Jasper and I come back from our hunt. I headed out to a place called Port Angeles and found an asshole about to rape a woman. After deciding that even though he didn’t fit my usual victim pool, he was gonna die regardless for trying to hurt someone so horribly, I made him my first meal of the evening. Now there was one less asshole the world had to deal with. I also managed to find a drunk homeless man as well. Lucky for me, he did fit my usual victim pool, so I made his death quick and as painless as I could. No need to make him suffer needlessly. I felt kind of sloshy after the second meal, but if it was going to keep my strength up, then I’d need to be sloshy. I didn’t care as long as it worked.

I see Rosalie and Emmett in the yard waiting on us once we get back and I can tell Rosalie is excited to begin her foray into becoming the Siren she knows she is. I’m not entirely sure if her gift will work like mine, but we can experiment with it later. For now, she had some studying to catch up on.

“Alright Rosalie,” I state when Jasper and I are within normal and casual human distance from her and Emmett “the first thing we need to do is go over your music knowledge. I have a very eclectic taste in music and it works to my benefit to get what I want. If you haven’t listened to music since you were changed, then we need to get you up to date.” I state to her simply.

“I agree with you. My music knowledge is barely remembered songs from the early 1930’s. So I guess it’s sorely lacking.” Rose replies.

“Well, that’s easily fixable.” I state smiling at her. “Your brain will be able to remember and catalogue any and every song you hear from here on out. I tend to think of the way I select music as something on an iPod, but you could think of it as a jukebox or a rolodex. It really just depends on your personal preference. Whatever music you need, you’ll have. You just need to have something to put into that jukebox. What we need now is a room, a computer, and WiFi.”

“We have everything up in my room. Follow me.” she says as she runs for the house. I turn around and give Jasper a kiss before following. I’m not sure what the guys have planned, but I’m needed with Rose for the moment.

“Ok,” I state as we reach her and Emmett’s room, “you need to familiarize yourself with the musical side of YouTube to start off with. I’ll talk to Edward and see if any of his music is worth listening to for your benefit. I will let you know, though that you need to step outside of your comfort zone when it comes to the music you listen to. Find something that you like, but don’t just stick with that genre.”

She nods at me and says, “When I was human I think I remember listening to artists like The Boswell Sisters or Chester Gaylord.”

“I’m sorry, but I have no idea who those are.” I state honestly. “What you need to do for the next several hours is try and find something that fits with your personality, but you can also use to your advantage. For example, I tend to stay with more modern music; In This Moment, Evanescence, Halestorm, Florence and the Machine, Sia, Pink, and various others. It just depends on my mood. You could listen to and add whatever songs you wanted into your jukebox .If you wanted to listen to The Boswell Sisters or Chester Gaylord, then you can. You need to find songs that work for you.”

“What was that song you sang earlier? I want to hear what the original sounds like.” Rosalie requests excitedly.

So I pull up In This Moment and let her watch some videos and let her listen to some songs that we find.

“Why do you like this kind of music? It’s so dark.” She asks about half an hour later.

“I’m not sure.” I reply honestly. “I suppose that it’s beautiful in its own way. It’s raw and full of emotion and desire. It reminds me that the world is so much darker than I had experienced as a human. Other people had lives that were far worse than mine and as hard as my life was, I was still able to pick myself back up, dust myself off, and continue on. I was lucky though.” I said smiling. “I had two beautiful boys that made every day worth all of the pain and heartache I endured.”

“You had children?” Rosalie asks astonished.

“I did. I still do, technically. They’re still young. I miss them every day and I can’t wait to end this so I can get them back.” I reply honestly.

“I always wanted children.” Rosalie tells me, “but my life was cut short one night.”

As Rosalie proceeds to tell me about her story, I can understand why Jasper said she’d be willing to help me get my kids back. I’m beginning to feel that the friendship between Rosalie and I will only grow from here and I can’t wait to have a real friend again. I know I have a friend in Char, and I know I had a mate in Jasper, but I didn’t have many friends as a human and I’m not going to deny that the thought of having friends in this life didn’t even remotely cross my mind. It would be nice to actually make something out of this life I’ve been given and making friends was a good way to start. Maybe this life was actually a blessing? I’m not sure, but it would be something to think about…later.

“Thank you for telling me your story, Rosalie.” I say to her after she finishes.

“Family calls me Rose.” she replies honestly.

“Well, thank you for considering me family, Rose.” I reply honestly and a little taken aback at her sincerity. “Before we get too into the serious stuff though, we need to focus on what is coming for us in the next few days. I’m going to leave you to your music while I try to help Bella manage that shield.” I state as I stand, give Rose a hug and head out of her and Emmett’s room.

I make my way outside and notice that Jasper has a group of wolves and vamps standing around and training to see the best way to take down the newborns. I walk up to him and wrap my arms around his waist and place a kiss just under his right ear.

“Hi Darlin’.” he states turning and smiling at me. “What can I do for ya?”

“I was hopin’ that I could borrow Edward, Bella, and a few others so we can work on Bella’s shield. What do you think?”

“I think that’s a brilliant plan.” Jasper replies. “Edward, Bella, Jake, Carlisle, Seth, and Embry will y’all follow Amanda so she can work on Bella’s shield with her?”

I hear a rousing chorus of “sure” and I’m being surrounded by everyone Jasper called for. I smile at my mate and turn and walk the other direction so I don’t influence anyone I’m not meaning to. While we’re walking, it gives me a chance to think of a song that may get Bella to project her shield. I don’t want to piss her off more than she already is, but I may not have a choice in the matter.

While I’m lost in thought, Edward walks up to me and asks “Why are you so willing to help my mate with her shield? Clearly you don’t like her and you definitely don’t like me. I don’t understand why you would be willing to help us at all.”

“Believe it or not, I like helping people, Edward.” I state calmly. “We may not get along right now, and honestly we may hate each other after this is over, but that doesn’t mean we aren’t fighting on the same side and for the same ends. I want to survive this as much as you do, so I’m willing to put my personal feelings aside to get the job done.”

“That’s very professional.” Edward replies.

“Professionalism’s got nothing to do with it. It’s the end game. We all want to live, so I’m gonna do anything in my power to make that happen.” I reply honestly. “And I do mean anything.”

“Fair enough.” Edward replies quietly.

“Alright, y’all. We’re far enough from the house now to be able to start this.” I state as everyone gathers around me. “Bella, I know you don’t like me very much right now, and frankly, the feeling is mutual.”

She glares at me and lets out a little “humph”. I was right that I wouldn’t be making a friend with her. Oh well, I still had Char and Rose.

“However, as I was explaining to your mate, we have more important things to worry about than our personal feelings towards each other. I’m here to help you and I will do whatever it takes to get the reaction I need from you. Got it?” I ask her hotly.

“Fine.” She says just as hotly. This’ll be fun.

“I need all of you to stand in front of us. I’m gonna start with something soothing and calming. If I can’t get the reaction I need, I’ll up my game.” I state simply to everyone. “The more songs I go through without getting a reaction, the more I’ll have to up the ante. Be prepared for anything you may be doing when you come out of it.”

“I’m prepared.” Bella states.

“Uh huh. We’ll see.” I reply back. I start off singing something calming “She Wolf” by Sia is a good and calming song, but it has a bit of a beat to it. I start off with that. I can see as I’m singing that her shield is having absolutely no luck in reaching any of our group. I can tell I’m gonna have to piss her off a bit. That should be fun.

“Breath of Life” by Florence and the Machine is what I choose next. Still nothing. “Dance Without You” by Skylar Grey gets some pretty interesting dance moves going, but still no effect from Bella’s shield.

I release everyone from my influence and address Bella. “Alright Bella. I’m gonna have to try something a bit different since I can’t seem to give you the right kind of motivation. I mean, making your family dance is rather entertaining, but I’ll admit that those aren’t the best moves I’ve ever seen.” I state barely managing to hold back my laughter.

The wolves are howling with laughter and the vamps are chuckling a bit, but it’s not the reaction I wanted. Hmmm. I’m gonna have to get creative.

The next song I pick is another In This Moment song. Apparently I seem to be in a mood. Adrenalize is a great song, so we’ll see what happens.

Adrenalize me

I know this song will probably push the buttons that I need, but at what cost? I begin to walk toward everyone I have under my influence and I sing:

Come a little bit closer, before we begin    -I beckon everyone closer to me and they willingly follow.
Lemme tell you how I want it
And exactly what I need
I’m here for one drug
I’m only here for one thing
So come on and tell me
Can you fly like you’re free
Cause I need to feel
Yeah, I need to say

I can hear the music in my head and I begin to move my hips to the beat of the music, the reactions I’m getting from everyone are not quite what I need, but I can see Bella’s pissed off and glaring at me. So perhaps it’s working a little bit.

I must confess
I’m addicted to this
Shove your kiss straight through my chest
I can’t deny, I’d die without this
Make me feel like a god
Music, love and sex
(Adrenalize me)

Still nothing, so I take it to the next level and begin to dance a little bit with the music in my head. The guys love this change and before I know it I have hands all over me. I look at Bella, and I can see she’s infuriated, but I don’t care. She needs to learn to do this. So I continue.

I crave excess
Turning wine into sweat dripping down my neck
I can’t deny, I’d die without this
Make me feel like a god
Adrenaline and sex

As I finish the song and seductive dance combo a few minutes later, I realize I’m gonna have to pull out all the stops. It seems that Bella still doesn’t have the right motivation. Hmmm. Maybe if I just place Edward under my influence that should get a reaction.

“Ok,” I state simply. “Apparently we’re still not getting anywhere, so what I want to do is just put Edward under my influence and see if that’s enough motivation to get Bella to shield him. Everyone else just stand behind Bella. If she can do what she needs to, then I’ll move on to other targets.”

Everyone moves behind Bella except for Edward. I walk over to him and stand in front of him. I think to him I’m sorry for what I’m about to do to you. All he says in return is a simple “I understand” before I start on another song. “Whore” by In This Moment. I really must be feeling some kind of way today for this to be a constant theme. I’m sure a therapist could have a field day with this revelation. Oh well, I’ll worry about it later. Right now, I have to sing. It doesn’t take me long to get the right music to start in my head and before I know it, the first lines have left my mouth.

I’m the girl you’ve been thinking about
The one thing you can’t live without
I’m the girl you’ve been waiting for
I’ll have you down on your knees
I’ll have you begging for more

By this point, I have Edward on his knees and crawling to me while I back away from him almost teasing him.

You probably thought I wouldn’t get this far
You thought I’d end up in the back of a car
You probably thought that I’d never escape
I’d be a rat in a cage, I’d be a slave to this place
You don’t know how hard I fought to survive
Waking up alone when I was left to die
You don’t know about this life I’ve led
All these roads I’ve walked
All these tears I’ve bled

I gently lift his face to look in my eyes while I sing the next lines. I can see Bella’s practically shaking with anger at the moment, but Edward’s still under my influence. I’ve gotta keep going.

So how can this be?
You’re praying to me
As I look in your eyes
I know just what that means
I can be, I can be your everything

I stand back up and begin another semi-seductive dance in front of him. I hate myself for it, considering I’d rather be dancing for Jasper, but I’m doing this to try and make Bella as mad as she can get. It’s the only way this is really going to work.

I can be your whore
I am the dirt you created
I am your sinner
And your whore
But let me tell you something baby
You love me for everything you hate me for

I’m beginning to sense something around me, hopefully it’s Bella’s shield.  

I’m the one that you need and fear
Now that you’re hooked, it’s all becoming clear
That all your judgments that you placed on me
Was a reflection of discovery
So maybe next time when you cast your stones
From the shadows of the dark unknown
You will crawl up from your hiding place
Take a look in the mirror
See the truth in your face

At this point, Edward is still crawling around on the ground, but I can see he’s fighting it, so I take my booted foot and kick him just hard enough to land him on his back. Then, miracle of miracles, I can’t feel him under my influence anymore. So I turn my eyes to my next target. Jake.

So how can this be?
You’re praying to me
As I look in your eyes
I know just what that means
I can be, I can be your everything

It takes Jake less time to fall prey to me than it did Edward, but he’s also back before I can make him do any groveling. On to Carlisle, then.

I can be your whore
I am the dirt you created
I am your sinner
And your whore
But let me tell you something baby
You love me for everything you hate me for

Nothing. Carlisle isn’t under my influence at all. That’s good. So I try Embry next.

I am the dirt you created
I am your sinner
And your whore
But let me tell you something baby
You love me, you want me, you need me

Nothing from Embry either. Fantastic! Seth is my next target.

Well I can be your whore
I am the dirt you created
I am the sinner
And your whore
But let me tell you something baby
You love me for everything you hate me for

Still nothing. I’m beginning to feel very happy about this! So I turn my attentions to everyone to see if it’s just individuals or if she’s covered the whole group.

Let me tell you something baby
You love me for everything you hate me for
You love me for everything you hate me for

Brilliant! She’s managed to cover all of them! That’s great news. Now, we just have to figure out if she can hold it while there’s fighting going on around her. That’s a job for my man, though. I’ll need to hunt again. Using my gift this much is exhausting. I manage a very tired “Bella, I’m very impressed. You managed both not to attack me and to cover everyone with your shield. Very well done. Now that you know how it feels and what it does, we can head back, and I can go hunt.” I state exhausted.

“You go ahead and hunt.” Carlisle says concerned. “I’ll let Jasper know where you are.”

“Thank you.” I say before running off to find my next meal. Apparently my sloshy state before now did help, but not as much as I would have hoped.

Chapter Text

Amanda POV

It had taken me three humans to satiate my thirst this time. I suppose using my gift like I have is really draining, but I had thought I could have made it a whole day before I had to feed again. Apparently not. This would be the last time I fed until after the fight was over. We only had a few more hours before we were to meet Vicky’s army and I was ready to get this done. I wanted to spend time getting to know my mate and I wanted to see my babies again. On that note, I took a deep and unneeded breath to center myself and I followed my own scent trail back to the Cullen house.

I could hear Jasper barking orders on the Cullen lawn before I saw him and a part of me was rather proud that he was taking charge after being out of the game for so long. You can take the vampire out of the war, but you can’t take the war out of the vampire, apparently. I took the time to lean against a tree and just watch him as he gave order after order and taught both wolf and vampire how to win against what we were facing. His directions were precise and his family didn’t disappoint. They took his instruction without second-guessing or questioning him and it was probably the only thing they could have done in order to improve their flawed way of fighting.

I hadn’t been watching long before I noticed that I was no longer alone. The Pack Alpha was watching me intently, but trying not to be obnoxious about it.

“What can I do for ya, Sam?” I drawled. For some reason, my accent always got thicker if I was angry or stressed.

“I was wondering if you could tell me more about yourself, Amanda.” Sam replies.

“I’m guessin’ you wanna know why we don’t mind eachother so much, huh?” I ask.

“It’s just strange to me.” Sam replies. “Instinct dictates that my Pack kill every vampire in this yard except for you. I don’t know why, but my instincts refuse to let me harm you.”

“Well” I reply turning to face him, “my mother’s family is Cherokee. My great-grandfather was full-blooded Cherokee, but something dramatic happened between him and his tribe and he left the tribe without so much as a ‘goodbye’. I was never privy to what all went down, considering it happened well before I was even a thought, but I do know that whatever it was had a significant effect on my great-grandfather. He never spoke about it and married out of the tribe as soon as he could. He married a European woman, although I don’t know what country she was from. He also requested that my grandfather marry anyone other than a Native American. My grandfather married a woman of English decent and he was happy about that. The same request was given to my mother and she agreed and married an Irishman. When I was of marrying age, my grandfather requested the same of me and considering I was young and naïve and “in love”, I agreed and married an Italian that I later divorced.”

“You never thought to question why your grandfather asked that of you?” Sam asked.

“Of course it did. I’m not a person that likes secrets. Not even in my own family. However, every time I tried to find more information, I was shot down.” I shrugged.

“Do you know if your family’s tribe had Spirit Warriors?” Sam asked.

“I’m not sure.” I replied. “Like I said, every time I tried to find more information about that side of the family, I was shot down.”

“After this is over,” Sam replies, “ I could help you get the information about your family that you want. If you would like, that is.”

“Thanks, Sam. I just might take you up on the offer. Although at this point I don’t see what good it would do. I’m not human anymore.”

“Be that as it may, consider it payment for your assistance with Victoria’s Army.” Sam states matter-of-factly.

We watched Jasper and the wolves train a bit longer before Rose came out of the house and I had to leave Sam to tell her what her part in this whole thing would be.

We had to find some way of luring the Army where we wanted them to be. We couldn’t use Bella’s scent to our advantage because it had changed from when she was human, as all of our scents do. So, we had to go about this a different way. I was banking on Rose’s perfect vampire memory and her willingness to put her new ability to the test.

“Rose!” I called as I ran toward her as she was standing on the porch.

“What’s up, Amanda?” she asked as I came to stand in front of her.

“How do you feel about a little acting?” I asked raising an eyebrow at her.

“What do you need?” she asked.

“I need you and I to be the lure that gets the Army where we need them to be. Victoria doesn’t know that Bella has been changed already and we want to keep it that way for the first few minutes of the fight. Her shield will be the ace in the hole for us because once she shields everyone, they won’t be affected by what we’re doing.” I reply.

“And what exactly will we be doing?” Rose asks.

“We are going to set a trap for Victoria and her Army.” I reply confidently.

“I believe you capable of doing that, but how?” Rose asks.

“Well, I’ll sing a short, but effective song called “Come Little Children” from Hocus Pocus. It’s only about a verse long, but it works for what we need. Then I’ll need you to act a bit. When they’re in hearing range I’ll need you to mimic Bella’s human voice and I’ll mimic Edward’s. We need to have an ‘argument’ about something and you need to storm off angrily within Victoria’s hearing to give her the impression that she actually has a chance to get to Bella without being hindered. She’ll think she’s come at the perfect time, but…” I say grinning mischievously. “I just need to talk to the Major about how we’re setting the trap before we get into the specifics of it, but that’s the gist of what you and I will need to do.”

“I’m in.” Rose replies confidently. “Better still, I know exactly what ‘fight’ we need to have.”

“Go on.” I state.

“Bella wanted to be changed for Edward as soon as she realized what we were. Edward and I were the only two to veto this idea. Edward didn’t want to be selfish and take Bella’s soul away from her because he believed we’re damned regardless. My reasoning was a bit more personal and we won’t get into it right now, but I heard enough of the constant argument between those two to last me a lifetime. You may need to speak to Edward to get his replies right, but this was definitely a sore spot in their relationship before Emmett and Jasper changed her.” Rose replies.

“That’s perfect.” I reply looking at my glorious mate in action as he takes on three of the wolves. “I’ll be sure to speak to Edward about it. In the meantime, I think it’s time to get in on the Major’s training. Wouldn’t you agree, sister?”

“Absolutely.” Rose replies watching her mate take on two wolves and Carlisle.

We both run onto the training field to assist our mates in taking down their ‘adversaries’. Rose attacks Carlisle with a beautifully executed football tackle and before Carlisle knows what hit him, she’s back up and has turned around to watch her mate’s back as the two wolves and Carlisle begin to circle the both of them.

I decide on a less direct approach. I can see that the Major has his adversaries under control, but Esme’s trying to sneak up on his left side. I take that as my cue and climb the tree closest to me and hop the branches until I’m right over her. She has no idea I’m there and as she lunges for my Major, I drop right on top of her. She obviously wasn’t expecting that because she goes down like a ton of bricks and my teeth are at her throat before she realizes it.

“Stop thinking in two dimensions.” I tell her as I help her to her feet. “Your attackers could literally come from any direction and it’s detrimental to you if you don’t realize that.”

“I’ll keep that in mind.” she replies.

“I had that, ya know.” my Major tells me as he leans against a tree. The absolute picture of relaxation.

“Oh, I know.” I say grinning, “That doesn’t mean I can’t improve on her knowledge.”

“Let’s see if I can improve on yours.” he replies before moving quick as a viper strike to attack me.

Damn he’s fast! I think to myself.

I mean, I figured he would test me sooner or later, so I had expected an attack from him and barely managed to dodge out of the way, but he came far too close to getting a hold of me. As he turns back around to face me, he’s got a very sexy smirk in place that makes my girly parts all tingly. I know he can feel what he does to me, but I have to ignore the reaction my body is having to him and see if I can best him in a mock battle. I know my efforts are futile. He’s the Major for God’s sake, but that doesn’t mean I’m not gonna give it my best shot.

He moves to an empty spot in the yard and waits for me. He stands across from me, seemingly relaxed, and just observes me. I pace back and forth in front of him, never taking my eyes off of him and never facing my body to him completely. I’m trying to make myself a smaller target and trying to show him that I have no weak spots. It’s not true. I have a lot of weak spots, but he doesn’t know that. Yet.

As I pace, I observe him and think about my options. If I go at him from the front, I have no chance of winning. Period. Only newborns who don’t know any better attack that way. He’ll be expecting that I’ll try to distract him and attack him from the side, so I can’t do that. That leaves behind, above, and below. Below wouldn’t work because it would take too long to dig and it would give me away. Behind won’t work either because his first rule is “Never turn your back on your enemy”, so it would be impossible to get behind him. Which leaves me attacking from above. However, he just saw me attack Esme the same way. Which begs the question, would he expect me to attack the same way twice in a row? I don’t think so. However, there aren’t any trees I can climb where he’s moved to, so I’ll need to think quickly.

Once my mind is made up, I rush at him. I fake like I’m going to take out his legs, but when he moves into a low crouch I jump over his head, twist around, and manage to land on his back. He seems ready for me though, because before I get my teeth anywhere near his neck, he immediately rolls to try and dislodge me, but I manage another jump to my right as he’s going down.  He must have felt me jump off of him because instead of rolling like I expect him to, he pivots his body on one hand and is up facing me again before I have time to think about another attack.

He’s on the offensive this time as he rushes me, but he feints to the left and like an idiot I fall for it. He hits me on my right side and we go tumbling onto the ground. I try to get my feet back under me, but he anticipates this and wraps his legs around my thighs so I can’t move them. His arms are bracing mine to my side and I can’t really do much with them. My Major is wrapped around me like a warm blanket, and although it’s nice, I know I need to get out of this hold. I can’t really do much, but I do have use of my arms below my elbows, so I’ll have to make something work.

I think quickly and decide that, even if it is juvenile and perhaps a bit unfair, I need to try anything to get me out of this, so I twist one arm behind me and pinch the skin right under his left butt cheek. It’s a sensitive area on anyone and I feel incredibly guilty about it, but I’ll use whatever I can to get out of this hold. I’ll apologize for it later.

The move pays off when, out of instinct, he growls lowly at me and moves his left leg to close off the sensitive area to my touch and that’s just the opening I’m looking for. I growl back in response and I know that I’m in trouble, but I take the opening for what it is and use my now freed legs as an anchor. I dig my right leg into the dirt and use my left leg to pull both myself and my Major off the ground. It’s not far, but once I drop the both of us onto his back, he loosens his hold on my arms and I grab both of his wrists as I twist away from him. I land above his head with both of his arms pinned under my hands, one knee in the dirt and the other balanced on my toes ready to spring if I need to.

As I go in for the kill shot, he pulls off a move I’ve only seen done in Jackie Chan movies. He kicks both legs out in a fan over his torso and manages to knock me free of his wrists with one leg and, using the momentum from the other, manages to get into a crouching position and charges me again before I even have the chance to get into a ready stance. He knocks me flat on my back. His body is pushing mine into the ground with both of his hands pinning mine above my head and his legs in-between mine giving me no leverage at all to work with. His eyes are ebony pools that hold lust and anger in equal measure and he’s growling so lowly that I’m surprised the earth around us isn’t shaking from the vibrations.

“I win.” He states simply, placing his teeth on my neck and nipping just hard enough to be noticeable.

“You win, indeed, Major.” I reply breathlessly and more than a little turned on.

“You’ve been taught well,” he replies, “but using juvenile tricks will get you nowhere in the long run. I’m kinda pissed at ya for that.”

“I expected you to be. I wanted to prove that I could get out of the hold, even if it was unconventional.” I reply.

“You will pay for that later.”

“I have no doubt about that, Major.” I reply with a saucy wink. “I look forward to it.”

His reply was only to growl at me some more and he was not impressed that I couldn’t hold back a dark chuckle. I wasn’t laughing at him. I was laughing at his response to me. He wanted to be pissed, but I could feel the evidence against my thigh that he was anything but. Good to know.

I raised my head up to capture his lips, but he pulled away from me, I’m guessing he was still pissed, but I wasn’t having any of that. As he pulled away, I captured his bottom lip with my teeth and gave it a nip, the growling continued, but I wasn’t worried. Instead I captured his lips in a kiss that got heated very quickly. As I felt the tip of his tongue touch my lips asking for entrance, I didn’t hesitate to allow him in. He would always win the battle of dominance between us, but it’s nice to know I can hold my own to a certain degree.

“Well, that was certainly a show I won’t be forgetting anytime soon.” Emmett said jovially.

It was at that point that I realized that everyone in the Cullen’s yard had fallen in line watching us try to best one another, but this little mock battle had become quite the spectacle. Even the Pack seemed to be enjoying the show.

“It seems we’ll have to put this on hold for the moment, Darlin’.” The Major says begrudgingly as he stands and helps me to my feet.

I can’t help but glare at Emmett, who doesn’t look the least bit sorry about disturbing us, and get to my feet. “You know how long it’s been? Far too.” I state snarkily to Emmett as he just grins cheekily back at me.

 However much my hormones want me to ignore each one of these nosy fuckers and strip my mate here and now, my Major is right. We’ll have to put this on hold for the moment. We’ve got bigger concerns and I need to stay focused on the upcoming battle ahead.

Chapter Text

Jasper POV


I gotta admit that the plan Amanda laid out for us for this upcomin’ battle seemed pretty straight-forward, but I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t look at all the possibilities and ways each one might fail. I was more concerned with her usin’ her gift from a distance when she’d never tried to before. We couldn’t really afford for our lure to fail when it was necessary for it to work.


“So, what makes ya think this’ll work, Darlin’?” I ask my beautiful Siren, wrappin’ my arms around her slim waist and pullin’ her flush against me. I loved the feel of her body pressed so close to mine. All the right curves in all the right places, and a rather prominent part of me was tryin’ to convince the rest of me to just say ‘fuck it’ and have my way with her here and now. Not that it wouldn’t be a good distraction – it would be the best distraction – but I couldn’t really afford it when my family’s lives were on the line, so instead I had to will myself to focus even if it was extremely difficult.


“Well, Major,” Amanda replies placin’ her hands on my hips and loopin’ a finger of each hand into the belt loops of my jeans, “I’m not quite sure it will. I’ve never used my gift from a distance before, but if it doesn’t work, we could always have Peter lead them here. I’m sure he’d be willin’ to lead these asshats to their final deaths.”


“Then why don’t we just go that route instead? Pete should be able to come up with somethin’ to get ‘em all here.” I state lookin’ into the blood-red, fiery, passion-filled gaze of the only woman on earth that mattered to me. When she opens her mouth to reply, I dive in and silence her with a passionate kiss. There’s no hesitation from her at all, but instead she willingly lets me in and I swallow a breathy moan from her as our tongues dance together. It gets heated very quickly and I can feel her fingernails scratching the skin of my back trying in vain to pull me closer. I have one hand on her lower back and one hand cradling her head so I can deepen the kiss further, but the unnecessary clearing of a throat slams us back into reality and I growl lowly at Emmett for intruding.


“You don’t scare me, Jazz.” Emmett says smirkin’ at me. “Amanda’s gotta go see Bella and Edward if we’re gonna get this show on the road.”


“He’s right, Major.” Amanda replies a bit breathlessly, lookin’ at me with dark eyes ant the barest hint of red in her irises full of lust and regret. “The sooner we get this over with, the sooner you get to have me in your bed.” She states with a saucy wink as she makes her way over to Bella and Edward.


I can tell I’m gonna have my hands full with this woman when I finally get her alone. She’s a tease and she fuckin’ knows it. I can only imagine what surprises she has in store for me, or even what all she’d want me, or allow me, to do to her. She seems like a freak in bed and from our only experience so far, she seems to instinctually know what to do to please me, so I can only hope I can keep up with - and be able to - please her in turn.


I shake my head to clear the thoughts of what my mate and I could get up to once we’re alone and remind myself to focus. I don’t need to be worryin’ about that right now. I have a battle to win and family to keep alive. I send a text off to Pete to let him know the plan and I impatiently await his response which comes in a few minutes later with a ‘consider it done, Major’ and our trap is set. Now we need to head over to the open field a few miles from here to set up and await a second text from Peter.

 

Peter POV


I knew my orders would arrive soon, but I wasn’t sure what they’d end up bein’. I knew that we had to be ready for anythin’ though.


I had been excited when Amanda and the Major finally got together and I had been even more excited when he realized how useful she was gonna be for this whole thing to go our way. My orders arrived a short time later with a simple text. ‘We need y’all to meet us at the clearin’ a few miles from the Cullen house. I don’t care how you get everyone there, just make it happen.’ As I sent my reply back, Char and I headed to see Victoria. She was standin’ just outside our camp and was talkin’ to Riley about some shit I didn’t bother to care about, but their conversation halted when they saw us and I knew what I needed to do.


“I just received word from Amanda.” I began in a truthful tone. “She’s spotted the Cullen’s and thinks that now would be the best time to move on ‘em. She said there was a human with ‘em and that she seemed to be fightin’ with one of the Cullen’s over somethin’, but she couldn’t be sure what.”


I took this time to really look at Victoria and there was a light in her eyes that I hadn’t seen there before. Hopefully she thought that this would be her chance to get her revenge after all. “What do you think? Do you believe that the time is right to attack?”


“I honestly don’t believe our timin’ could be any better than now.” I reply back actually sincere this time and shruggin’ my shoulders in a non-committal gesture. “Why wait at this point? What’s the strategic advantage of puttin’ this off any longer? We have an openin’, so I see no reason why we shouldn’t take it.”


“Where are they?” Victoria asked.


“A clearin’ in the forest not too far from here. We should be there within half an hour.” I reply. I was gettin’ excited about finally handlin’ this nuisance and finally bein’ able to spend some time with my brother. I’d never tell him, but I sure as hell missed him while he was under the Pix’s thumb.


“Let’s move out.” Victoria replied grinnin’ darkly.


Within five minutes we were headed to end this bitch once and for all.


‘On our way, Major.’ I sent.

 

Jasper POV


My mate had spent the better part of the past ten minutes on the other side of the clearin’ with Edward, Rose, and Bella to mimic their many arguments on the topic of Bella’s change. Edward and Rose remembered everythin’, of course, but Bella didn’t remember all of it and Amanda was never there, so she’s experiencin’ this fuckery for the first time. I didn’t envy her one bit, but I certainly was gonna sit back and enjoy the fireworks once they started. I was never one to pass up good entertainment.


“I can’t believe that you told her that we don’t have souls!” Amanda shouted angrily at Edward. “The hell we don’t! We have a soul now just as we did when we were human. God! You’re so stuck in the extremely repressed puritanical 1900’s that you can’t even see how truly fucked that line of thinkin’ is! I mean hell, my grandfather was a true bible-beatin’, podium slammin’, hellfire and brimstone Southern Baptist Preacher and I know better than to believe the shit you were spoutin’ at her!”


Even without my gift I could tell that she was about to blow a fuse. Her beautiful southern accent only slipped when she was passionate about somethin’ and I couldn’t help but chuckle at the whole situation. What she said was pretty spot-on considerin’ that Eddie could be more than a bit repressed when it came to…well…everythin’, but honestly I’d thought that him losin’ his century-old v-card would have un-bunched his panties, but apparently not as much as I had hoped.


“I was just trying to keep her safe and happy and give her a chance at another life!” Edward nearly screams back, causin’ more than just Amanda to growl at him in response. “It’s not even something I have to worry about anymore anyway! Jasper and Emmett changed that when they bit her! So what’s the point in rehashing all of this?!”


Amanda hissed at him and jammed a finger in the center of his chest before replyin’, “You’re lucky I have somethin’ else to focus on right now or I’d rip you apart myself for the way you treated the one you claim to love.” She moved away from him and began pacin’ up and down the clearin’ tryin’ to get her anger under control. After a few circuits she returned, “Rose, I think I can manage a decent argument from this fuckhead’s perspective.” She stated jerkin’ her head in Fuckward’s direction. “Let’s get set up.”


Rose flitted toward Emmett for a kiss as Amanda headed my way and before my lips met hers I had one last bit of advice to give her. “Be safe and watch your left side.” I told her seriously.


“Don’t worry, Major.” She replied back with a smirk on her lips. “I’ll come back to you in one piece. You just worry about your own self and let me worry about me.” She pulled me into a gentle, but very passion-filled kiss, but before we had the chance to really enjoy it, the girls were off into the trees and it was time to spring the trap.


As the wolves and the rest of the Cullen’s spread out just inside the tree line on the opposite side of the field, I could see Rose and Amanda in the middle of the natural openin’ that the trees provided. They had their heads bent close together and were obviously talkin’ about somethin’, but their voices were too quiet for even me to hear. I wasn’t concerned about whatever they were discussin’ because their emotions were calm with a bit of frustration, anxiety, and a slight bit of humor. Whatever it was eventually had both Rose and Amanda laughin’ so hard both their heads were thrown back with mirth. It was a beautiful and appeasing sight to see that they were so unconcerned about the results of this fight that they were just handlin’ it like they would anythin’ else. I honestly didn’t expect them to feel any sort of humor before this, but everythin’ else they were feelin’ was common when preparing for battle.


The rest of our group was a mixture of anxiety, nervousness, fear, and excitement. I sent a small wave of calm out to everyone in the clearin’ so they could keep their heads in the game. I didn’t want anyone freakin’ out on us when the shit hit the fan.


I snuck a glance over at Em and noticed his attention was on his mate, just as most of mine was on my own mate. I suppose it was natural to worry that they were puttin’ themselves in harm’s way for no reason, but Amanda had a plan and as far as we were concerned, Rose and Amanda were the two least likely to get hurt during this foray. Their combined gifts would make them less of a target.
Which reminded me that Bella also had a part to play in this charade.


“Bella,” I whispered to her, “do you have us all shielded against Rose and Amanda?”


“Yeah. We’re good.” Bella replies with a hint of annoyance tapping her left temple idly.


“Good, now on a more personal level,” I reply staring at her coldly, “you may not like my mate for whatever reason, but you need to get over it. She came here to help us with your damn problem when she could have just asked me to leave and I wouldn’t have thought twice about goin’ and leavin’ all y’all to deal with this shit yourselves. Show her a bit more respect.”


She just held my gaze for a few seconds, mimicking the coldness in my eyes, but she had no chance of winning. It was only a few seconds later that she broke and turned her eyes towards where Edward stood and givin’ me a curt nod in acknowledgement.


With a subtle shift of the wind, the easy camaraderie that Rose and Amanda had with eachother immediately changed to one of tension and anger as they started arguin’ in Bella’s and Edward’s voices. It was more than a little unnervin’ lookin’ at Bella and Edward who were about ten yards from me and stayin’ silent as the grave as their voices flowed over us loud enough to get anythin’s attention that was within a five-mile radius from us.


“But your soul is in jeopardy!” Amanda shouted at Rose in Edward’s voice.


“I don’t care!” Rose replied as Bella. “You can have my soul! Take it! It was yours the first day we met!”


As their arguin’ continued, I trained my gift to the opposite side of the clearin’ and felt Victoria’s Army on the edge of my gift, movin’ swiftly in our direction. I recognized Pete and Char immediately due to the years of battle we had shared and the familiarity I had with their mixture of emaotions. Pete was givin’ off a very excited and mischievous feelin’ and Char was just aggravated and lookin’ to relieve a little stress. They wouldn’t be disappointed.


“They’re here.” I stated quietly enough for only our side to hear.


Fifteen seconds later, Victoria and her Army emerge from the trees and halt to find two vampire women arguing instead of a vampire boy and a human girl.


“Hello, Vicky.” Amanda states simply at Victoria’s bewildered expression.


I have to admit that seein ol’ Vicky’s face at realizin’ that her golden goose was fightin’ on our side was worth the headache that she caused us. Her sheer outrage and hate will be somethin’ I will cherish until the day I burn.


“What have you done?!” Victoria practically squawks.


Instead of answering, Amanda glances at Rose who immediately starts to sing Phil Collins’ “In The Air Tonight” and half of Victoria’s Army stops in their tracks to listen. Half was more than I had hoped for with Rose doin’ this for the first time, but I’d take what I could get at this point.


“Bella! Cover Peter and Charlotte, too!” I shout to her as we head out to meet the first wave of vampires.


“Who the hell are Peter and Charlotte?” She shouts back as I remember she’s never met them before. I turn to look at her and gesture to my two best friends, who have their hands clasped tightly over their ears, before Bella nods her assent and I see Pete and Char immediately relax. Knowin’ they can take care of themselves, I turn my attention back to the fight.


Amanda doesn’t bother usin’ her gift for the first wave, but meets them head on with the rest of us and heads right in Victoria’s and Riley’s direction smilin’ like this is the most fun she’s ever had. Bella and Edward are also headin’ towards Victoria, but the wolves, Carlisle, Esme, Pete, Char and I all begin takin’ out the rogue vamipres around us. Emmett chose to hold back, takin’ the opportunity to protect Rose while she worked her magic.


Unfortunately Rose’s gift doesn’t last long and before we know it, the rest of Victoria’s forces were upon us. Rose tries to keep them under by startin’ on another song, only to be hit from behind. Emmett was fightin’ off two more that had tried to get at Rose before she could sing again. She wasn’t too thrilled about her failure or bein’ distracted, so after throwin’ the female vamp from her back and screamin’ at her like a banshee to keep her down, Rose dispatched that vamp’s head with little more than a flick of her wrist. Once the threat was eliminated, she tried again to get her voice to work.


I managed to take the heads off two newborns on my way to assist Em with protectin’ Rose, but after seein’ that they had everythin’ under control, I made my way through the Army to assist with whoever needed it.


I managed a glance at Carlisle who seemed to be injured and missin’ an arm, but still managin’ to hold his own against two vamps who seemed determined to take him apart limb by limb. What they didn’t count on was Esme comin’ to his rescue. She took the lesson Amanda gave her to heart and attacked one from above, beheadin’ the girl before she could realize what was happenin’. Esme’s appearance gave Carlisle a bit of a respite so he could locate his missin’ limb, but he seemed unconcerned with the pain at the moment.


The wolves had formed a circle a few yards away from Carlisle and Esme and had three vamps in the middle. It looked as though the wolves were just toyin’ with the trapped vamps, but were instead dartin’ into the circle and dartin’ back out with a ripped limb from one of the three. It was a slow way to go, but I couldn't fault them for bein' effective.


This time Rose was successful in getting’ the rest of the Army to turn their attention to her. Although I think she’d started takin’ a leaf outta my mate’s book with her choice of In This Moment’s “Sex Metal Barbie” not that it isn’t fittin’, but I may need to separate them for a few days or Em and I could be in real trouble. I had to give Rose credit though, her gift worked like a charm.


The wolves seemed to be handlin’ themselves fairly well once Rose’s trance hit the vamps and the fightin’ ceased for the moment. The halt in the attack gave the rest of us the chance to properly behead and dispose of the rest of Victoria’s Army without much fuss. Although, the wolves seemed far too happy to be destroyin’ my kind, in my opinion.


I had been watchin’ my family fight against the Army for close to a half hour now. These fighters were more skilled than my family realized they would be even after I told them not to underestimate the enemy. We had several injuries on our side, unfortunately, but we were handlin’ things the best we could. I'm sure we would have lost several of our number, bot wolves and vamps alike, had Amanda not shown up when she did. Teaching Rose that she had a gift and helpin' her to use it was probably what helped us win this fight, if I were bein' honest.


Once the fightin’ finally ended, I could take stock of the injured and dismembered. I see Embry had a broken leg that Jacob was tryin' to splint, Paul was missin’ part of an ear, Leah seemed determined to look over every inch of Seth and I could feel varyin’ levels of annoyance comin’ off both of ‘em, but the other wolves seemed alright for the most part.


The vamps looked a little worse for wear, but at least none of us had been burned. Carlisle still hadn’t found his missin’ arm yet, but seemed to be hopeful. Esme was still searchin’ for it amongst the piles of ripped vampires. I could tell that it may take longer than expected to help find it, so I asked Edward in my head to help Esme search for it. Four eyes were better than two and it would take them half the time to locate it. Edward didn't hesitate and moved to another pile to start searchin'.


It was at that time I noticed that Amanda, Bella, Sam, Peter, and Charlotte were not in the clearin’ and I immediately reached out with my gift to find them. What I felt from about a quarter mile out was…not what I expected.

Chapter Text

Amanda POV

 

This was it. 

Finally. 

The pinnacle of months of training, weeks of planning, and 26 hours of absolute madness. The battle had finally arrived. 

It was kind of astonishing to me how I had wound up beginning this fight with Victoria and Riley and ending it with Jasper. Never in my wildest dreams - had I actually been able to dream after I had been changed into this - had I ever thought that there would be some sort of life for me after this battle. I don’t think I realized until now that what I was originally training for was a suicide mission. This was all there was for me. No future, no kids, nothing after this battle. Just darkness.

Until I met Jasper. 

Now, I can actually have another reason to want to make it through this without burning. I may actually be able to find and see my kids again. I may actually have a happy life after all of this is over. I may be able to properly live the life I want to after this. I may even get the chance to know more about my mother’s family, if what Sam had said was true. All of these were things that I had to look forward to, as long as I survived the next few hours. 

Now that I had a reason to, I was determined that nothing and no one would end me today. 

My main focus was on Riley. If I had the chance to take anyone down personally, Riley would be it. He was the one that turned me, told me that I had no other purpose than be his puppet, and told me that I had to give up my two boys and I could never see them again. 

I wouldn’t say that what I had was a vendetta against him personally, but my need for revenge against him was certainly something that wasn’t going to go unacknowledged. 

After Rosalie’s second wave of influence hit, I noticed something a bit odd about our current fighters. Riley and Victoria were nowhere to be seen. This presented more than a small problem. If I couldn’t find Victoria and put a stop to her, she would be back, and like a toxic ex, she wouldn’t ever stop. Personally, I didn’t feel like watching my back for the rest of my life, so it would certainly be in my best interest to get rid of her as soon as possible and be able to keep my own head attached while I was at it. Truth be told, Riley was probably also with Victoria, which, if the old adage was correct, two birds; one stone.

The more I thought about it though, the more I realized that, as good as I was, I probably wouldn’t be able to take on Victoria and Riley alone. So, I reached out an olive branch to the closest vamp on my side. Bella. Who seemed as shocked as I was that I had even asked.

While the rest of the Cullen family were busy beheading anyone left standing of Victoria’s newborns, Bella and I headed off in the opposite direction in search of the two MIA Army leaders. 

“Why me?” Bella asked as we scanned the surrounding forest for traces or a scent of either one.

“Simple” I begin while crouching down to sniff a boulder, “this whole thing started because of you. Why shouldn’t you be the one to finish it for good?”

“Hey!” Bella nearly shouts back “Don’t blame this on me! All I did was fall in love with a vampire for God’s sake! It was James who started this! It was his own fault he burned!”

As stunned as I was by her outburst, I couldn't help but agree. “I’m not sayin’ it’s your fault!” I start shouting back defensively. “Whoever this James was, he deserved what he got! I won’t deny that. Nor will I deny you your right to some revenge of your own! Now, if you’re done bein’ irrationally mad at me, can you please focus and help me find these two illusive assholes!?”

“Fine!” She snaps back as she walks the opposite direction. 

I don’t know what her problem with me was, but I would find out once this was all over. I doubted that we would be besties, but at least mutual respect for eachother wasn’t too much to ask, was it?

“You know,” states a voice through the trees “for being as quiet and introverted as you seemed to be in the Army, you sure do know how to make friends now.” 

“Riley!” I shout into the trees. “Where are you, you asshat? I have a bone to pick with you!”

“I know.” Riley responds insidiously. 

“You know, all I need to do is open my mouth and I’ll have your head on a silver platter.” Although, I would like to see him suffer for what he did to me, I am already sick of this game and can’t wait until he shows himself.

“I know” Riley responds again, but before I have a chance to do just that, he states confidently “but you won’t.”

“Oh really? What makes you so sure?” I ask as I catch eyes with Bella and gesture for her to circle the area and see if she can spot him. 

“Pride.”

“One word answers aren’t going to get you anywhere.” I state back angrily. “And my pride has nothin’ to do with this.”

“Your pride has everything to do with this.” He states back seemingly unconcerned. “Especially when-” I feel myself being pushed forward and down on my face, completely taken by surprise as he jumps from a tree branch above me and lands directly on my back. “-I can catch you off guard.”

I growl lowly and as I start to move to throw him off, Riley moves first and jumps off my back landing in front of me. Taunting me without saying a word. 

I get to my feet berating myself for not doing something as simple as looking up. I should have seen it coming, but I didn’t. I was too busy in my own head and fighting with Bella to realize I was doing exactly what I caught Esme doing not hours before. Two-dimensional thinking.

I take the opportunity to charge him and he easily avoids me. “I’m older in this life and more experienced than you. Do you honestly think that you have what it takes to win?”

I stand before him defiant. There was no way I was going to back down now and he knew it. I remember what all I have to look forward to, what there is in my life that I need to live for, and respond with “Absolutely”. 

Before he has a chance to charge at me, or decides to run, I open my mouth and begin the first few lyrics of In This Moment’s Sick Like Me. Before he knows what’s hit him, Riley is in a trance. 

 

Is it sick of me

To need control of you?

Is it sick to make

You beg the way I do?

Is it sick of me

To want you crawling on your knees?

Is it sick to say

I want you biting down on me

Are you sick like me?

Am I beautiful

As I tear you to pieces?

Am I beautiful?

Even at my ugliest, you always say

I'm beautiful

As you tear me to pieces

You are beautiful

Even at your ugliest, I always say

You're beautiful and sick like me

 

This is a song that I have kept in my mind for just this occasion. I mean every word as it begins to pour out of my mouth and the more emotion that I feel and let go through the song, the deeper within the trance Riley becomes. 

I start from his fingers, and after every question I ask within the lyrics, I rip a part of him off. I would have loved to have seen the pain that I was putting him in, but in order to do this the way I had wanted to, I had to keep him under. I would release my hold on him right before I was well and truly finished with him. 

As my pile of Riley parts gets bigger, I idly wonder where Bella and Victoria are. Honestly, I hadn’t really paid either of them much attention since Riley had found me and a part of me worried that Victoria might decide that using Riley as a distraction to end me wouldn’t be a half bad plan. She was used to using others for her own gains, so I didn’t see any real reason for her to hesitate. 

However, the fact that I was still here and not being attacked, I felt like I could let my guard down a bit. Perhaps Bella and Victoria were battling it out somewhere in the forest. It wasn’t really my biggest concern at the moment and I was sure Bella could take care of herself until someone showed up to help her.

Once the song had reached its conclusion, I had a decently sized pile of Riley pieces that were just waiting to be burned. Since I knew Jasper would be starting a bonfire in the clearing with the rest of the vamps, I debated whether or not I should just burn him here, or take him back and burn him there. 

When my influence was lifted, and Riley’s head realized what had become of him, he started to snap his teeth at me in - what I guess was supposed to be - an intimidating manner. Apparently I had severed his vocal chords from his head and he couldn’t speak. That was honestly a better option than listening to him ramble on anyway. Therefore, burning here won out in my mind and I grabbed two sticks and began to rub them together. Being a vampire gave me the ability to be able to start a fire in this manner a lot faster because the friction between the wood was much more than it would have been had I been human. Added bonus was that my arms didn’t tire out nearly as fast as they probably would have otherwise and before long, I had a nice sized fire going. Not overly large, but just big enough for my needs. 

“Ya know,” I state idly to Riley’s head, picking it up by his hair and looking at him in the eyes, “this whole thing could have been prevented had you just left me alone.”

He just gnashes his teeth together and grins menacingly at me. In retaliation, I just take one of the bits I had in my pile and toss it unceremoniously into the fire. There was really no telling what it was at one point, or what it attached to, but now it was nothing more than kindling. “No, really. The future rule of the Vampire world was at stake, your whole army was at stake, and your life was at stake. All of that could have been avoided completely if you would have just. Left. Me. Alone.”

I punctuate my words by throwing more of his pieces into the fire to join the first. Riley again clicks his teeth together in anger, but I just grab another piece and toss it in the flames to join the others. “Who would have thought that by completely ignorin’ me, you may still have had a chance to live? The Cullen’s would have gone to war with our Vampire leaders - which by the way thanks for tellin’ us about - plus your idiot army here;  and the Cullen’s might have actually meet their final end between Victoria’s plan and what they were originally fated for.” 

The more I thought about what my role had been in this whole plan - and the more I realized that the fate of the Vampire world had rested on the hope that I was or wasn't ever changed - the more I was just baffled by the whole situation. I couldn't seem to wrap my head around the possibility that one person's life would make such an unbelievable difference in the fate and lives of hundreds, or thousands, of others. 

I still didn't really know how big the Vampire World was. I was still a baby by its standards and that; that was just unfathomable to me considering all that I had been through. 

I came to the realization that having an existential crisis like this would change anybody's perspective about what really matters in their own lives and it made me realize what didn't matter in mine anymore. 

“Ya know, I thought I had it in me to be sadistic and watch you burn piece by piece, but frankly I really don’t give a shit anymore Riley.” I state as I grab a large handful of parts and dump the whole thing in the fire. His mouth just opens and closes like a surprised fish and I can tell the shock in his eyes is genuine. “Did you honestly think that if I got my hands on you, you’d actually live?”

Riley just closes his eyes. I guess he didn't want to come to terms with his own mortality. Now that his life is currently ending, maybe he just hadn't realized that this was the actual end. “Wooow!” I was honestly shocked, although why I thought he'd act any differently, I don't really know. “And you wanted to talk to me about my pride. Well, I hate to break it to ya buddy, but your pride is far worse than mine will ever be.” 

I placed the remaining parts I had piled up into the fire and happily watched it burn for about thirty seconds before grabbing Riley’s head again. He opens his eyes one final time and I take the opportunity to really look at him. That unmistakable look of defeat written on his features was there in all its glory for me to witness.The last possible inkling of hope that he would get out of this had diminished. 

Now it has come to it, I had a choice to make. I could either let Riley suffer the rest of his immortal life as a head incapable of anything else; or I can show him the slightest mercy and put him out of his misery. Who wants to live their life as just a head anyway? I know I don’t. 

Decision made, I can't help one last bitchy “Enjoy Hell.” before I toss his head in the flames to join the rest of him. It was better this way. I take a deep breath and revel in the fact that I no longer have to think about the man who used to be Riley Biers. 

The moment doesn’t last long though as I hear a scream deep in the woods that immediately garners my attention and I just know in my gut that Bella is now in trouble.

I ran as fast as I could in the direction that I heard the scream and wonder why in the hell Bella wouldn't have called for anyone to help her so she didn't have to battle Victoria alone! I would understand Bella stalling until help arrived, but actually doing battle with a vampire far older than herself? I didn’t think it was in her to do such a thing, even if we’re technically stronger than the remaining majority. 

I put on a burst of speed and hope I’m not too late. I know that if anything too detrimental happens to her, I would immediately be held responsible in Edward’s eyes as well as most of the Cullen family. I can’t in good conscience let another Cullen die on my watch today. They already fault me for Alice’s death and rightfully so, but the repercussions of Bella’s death would be far worse. 

I don’t have far to run, only about a mile or so before I come upon a scene that makes my stomach turn. Victoria is standing over Bella and gleefully taunting her, with Bella’s dismembered leg raised above Victoria’s head. How she managed to dismember Bella’s leg, I’m not sure, nor am I sure I want to know. Hell, I don’t even know what Victoria had planned to do at that point, maybe beat Bella with her own leg? The whole scene is confusing, but I can’t just stand by and wait for whatever it may be to happen. 

I run at full force and football tackle Victoria to the ground. I probably would have made both of my sons incredibly proud at that moment had they seen it. Two of my punches land on Victoria’s face before I grab Bella’s leg by the ankle and throw it back in her general direction. I don’t have time to tell her how to reattach it, so I’m hoping that was covered by her family already in Vamp 101.

Victoria takes my distracted state and uses it to her advantage by rolling us so she is now situated on top of me. I realize my incredible disadvantage here and start to panic. I need to get out of this vulnerable position right now and I have no way of doing so. She looks down at me and smiles menacingly before growling at me and punching me repetitively in the face. 

Again, she takes the distraction and uses it to her advantage. As I’m trying to think of a way to push her off of me, she grabs one of my hands and rips it from my arm. Now, she could have gone for my head, which would have been the smart thing, but for some reason she didn’t. However, not only is Bella dismembered at this point, but now so am I. The only difference in this scenario is that I learned how to fight without all my limbs and being torn apart just pisses me off. I growl angrily, push my legs up in the air, and use them to wrap around Victoria’s shoulders so I can slam her into the ground. No one dismembers me and lives to tell about it. 

Once she’s down, I turn to my right and get to my feet. Victoria makes her way to her feet as well, and we face off. I know that the only way to make her stay and face the consequences of her actions is by making her angry. We’re red-heads. Hot headed is kind of our nature.

“Where’s your little friend, Vicky? I don’t see him anywhere. Isn’t he comin’ to help you?” I taunt. 

“What did you do to him?” She asks angrily, understanding what has happened before the question had even been asked, but unable to prevent it from escaping anyway. 

“Easy. I burned him.” I state giving the answer she already knew. “After I tore him into little bitty pieces.”

An angry growl is all the answer I get before she charges at me. She’s like a bull in a china shop. No finesse. 

“So answer me this question, Vicky.” I ask curiously, easily avoiding her, “Who is James?”

“Get his name out of your filthy whore mouth!” Victoria rages. 

“I just did, but ok.” I say snarkily before continuing with, “James, James, James.”

She charges at me again, eyes black with rage and fury. I use what methods I learned from Jasper, Peter, and Charlotte and am easily able to avoid her. 

“I don’t think it’s working Vicky!” I state sarcastically, placing my good hand on my hip in dramatic confusion. “Can’t seem to get his name out of my mouth. It just kind of stays there no matter how much I say it.”

Infuriated even further, she charges again, this time aiming for my legs, but I easily manage to jump over her and avoid her. However, she doesn’t wait long before making her next move. She turns and charges again, but as she passes, I grab onto her arm and rip it from the shoulder socket. 

She screams in rage and pain. “How dare you!”

“Now we’re both at a disadvantage, bitch.” I say with as much venom in my voice as I can manage. “Let’s see which one of us is worthy enough to continue livin’.”

She comes at me like a bull. All anger, no thought. It’s easy enough to deflect, but although I think I have the upper hand here, I’m quickly shown that I don’t. She grabs me by the dismembered arm and throws me through a nearby tree. I roll out of the way just in time for her knee to come into contact with the ground just where my face had been. 

As we collide again and again, I put in every ounce of training I possess to throw her off of me. She gets in some good hits and before I know it, my left arm has been ripped from wrist, to elbow, then to the shoulder. I am now literally fighting with one fully-functioning arm.

I know I can't panic. It won't get me anywhere. Instead I realize I want to be on the offensive in this situation. It's the only way I can make a move and God forbid if I don’t get it. However, the longer we fight, the more I realize that she is just using her anger as motivation to keep going. She’s not actually thinking about how to attack or why. She just knows that she must. That the pain she’s in will cease once we are all destroyed and I can’t help but be a little sorry for her.

The next charge that she takes at me is incredibly sloppy. She makes it easy to grab her and throw her into a large boulder just hard enough to daze her for a second while I finally make my move. 

There has been enough talking, enough fighting, and certainly enough of revenge. I don’t waste any time before grabbing her curly mane and ripping her head from her shoulders. 

Backing up from her body, I sit down with her head in my hands, exhausted, covered in dirt and venom, still dismembered, and the realization that this whole thing is finally over hits me full force like a freight train. I begin to sob uncontrollably. I can’t help the sheer amount of varying emotions that I feel right now and I realize that I have no outlet for it. Relief that this is finally over. Hurt and anguish over what I’ve been put through. Sorrow over what I’ve lost. Finally, hope over what I have now gained and have still yet to gain. It all seems too much. Crying as a human gave such sweet relief, but crying as a vampire? There’s no relief in the action at all. 

I don’t know how long I sat there, Vicky’s head in my hands, sobbing, but what finally brings me around is when I hear the snapping of a twig to my right. I immediately get up and growl at whoever dares to intrude on me right now.

Chapter Text

Amanda POV

 

“Easy there sweetheart.” I hear Charlotte say as she makes her way towards me, hands raised in a nonthreatening manner. “It’s alright. I ain’t gonna hurt ya.”

My voice is thick with emotion as I reply “I know” and plop myself back down on the ground. 

Charlotte takes one look at me and motions to my arm, “Where’s the rest of ya?”

“No idea.” I reply back shrugging weakly. 

“Alright then,” she says grabbing me and lifting me to my feet, “we’ll help ya. Come on.”

“Thanks Char.” She just gives me a small smile before wrapping herself around me so I can lean on her as we move. 

Char helps me back to where I see Peter and Sam helping Bella put her leg back on. I give a small nod of acknowledgement in her direction, and she gives me a sad smile in return. Just before Char sets me down though, I manage to make my way over to Bella and drop Victoria’s head right in her lap. Bella looks up at me quizzically and I say simply “Her life was not mine to take.” and I walk back to Char who seems to be looking for the pieces of my missing arm.

“Sit, sit, sit.” She says pointing to a tree root that seems fairly flat. I sit without hesitation and lean back against the tree, closing my eyes for the moment just to relax. Not for the first time do I wish that I could sleep. Unconsciousness would be exactly what the doctor ordered right about now, just so I can give myself the time to process the past two days. 

With Peter assisting Bella, Sam wanders over to me and plops down right beside me with a wolfy huff. “How did things go in the clearin’?” I ask. “Is your pack ok?”

He can’t answer me like this, but wags his tail once to let me know everything’s fine. I’m sure there were some injuries on our side, but if Sam seems more concerned about what is going on here than in the clearing, I know everyone’s doing better than we currently are.

I close my eyes again and just allow myself to rest, but before I get too comfortable, I hear “Found it Amanda!” from a very cheerful Char. I open my eyes and see that she is proudly cradling my forearm and upper arm and happily waving my own hand back at me from about twenty yards out. 

“Do ya need help puttin’ 'em back on?” she asks walking back up to me. 

“Please?” I nearly beg. "I can't reach the shoulder joint and I've never been able to lick my elbow.” I quip trying to lighten the mood. Char just rolls her eyes and licks the joint of my shoulder and the joint at my arm before placing both back together and holding it as they fuse. 

This is always the worst part of being dismembered for me. It isn’t the actual removal of the limb, but the replacement of it. The burn lasts longer because the likelihood that your own venom is being used to fuse the pieces is slim to none and the addition of another's venom is usually what leaves severe scarring. Plus, the pain is that much worse if the bones and muscles aren't lined up properly.

Char and I manage to get my limbs reattached, but they aren't quite done fusing before I hear footsteps in the woods. It sounds like someone running, maybe to find out where we all went. I can't really blame them, I too would be worried if five members of my team went missing. Someone was bound to notice eventually.

“Amanda?!” I hear shouted in my general direction. 

“Bella?!” accompanies it milliseconds after. 

“Over here Major!” Peter returns back and not ten seconds go by before I see Jasper and Edward enter the warzone. I see the shock on both of their faces as they take in the scene before them. Bella is being crowded by Peter, making sure that her leg stays on as it heals; Sam and Charlotte are with me as I rest and repair my arm. Both of us look like we’ve been through hell and have dirt and venom everywhere. And in the middle of it all lies Victoria’s head, right on Bella’s lap.

“They need to feed” I hear from Jasper as he takes in the situation. I’m not sure if saying it out loud was more for his own benefit, Edward’s, or the rest of us. He looks at Edward expecting him to start running back into the forest, but Edward doesn't move. "Edward" Jasper demands, gently gaining his brother's attention as he steps in front of the younger vampire, “that’s the only thing that will help ‘em heal now.”

Jasper solemnly looks at me before running to go find fresh blood for me. The love and worry that he sends my way are still present after he leaves and I know he’s going to give me an earful when he gets back. I’m surprisingly looking forward to it.

Edward on the other hand, can’t seem to take his eyes off of an incredibly weak Bella. “Edward!” Peter demands as Edward looks over to him kind of dazed. “Go get your mate something to drink!” 

This time Edward doesn’t hesitate before leaving the area and going after something for Bella. He isn’t gone long before bringing back a deer for her to drink from. As he places it in front of her, she latches onto its neck and begins to drink. Peter goes up to him and, being sure to keep a safe distance, informs him that one won’t be enough. So, off Edward goes to get something else for Bella too. 

I begin to worry a little when Jasper is gone for so long, but Peter and Char both assure me that he will be back. Char tells me that she isn’t worried about him, but instead is worried about the state she’ll find the forest in once her and Peter leave to clean up whatever mess Jasper has made in his anger. Not at me, but at the fact he wasn’t here to save me the pain of dismemberment. I have to give him credit, the sentiment is sweet, though unnecessary.

It isn’t too much longer before I hear footsteps in the woods again and Peter rouses Sam and asks him to go be with his pack for the time being. Peter and Char take the opportunity to leave the area that we’ve made camp in, but not before telling me that they’ll be back when the Major has had a little bit to calm down. 

Initially, I’m confused by this behavior, but upon laying eyes on Jasper, who not only has the look of a man that is clearly not to be messed with right now, but also has a fully grown black bear and a mountain lion in his grip, I can’t really blame them.

Jasper brings the bear to me first and lays it gently across my lap. He then moves the mountain lion to the side, out of the way, but easily accessible. He doesn’t say anything, but he grabs the bear’s head and presents the neck of the bear to me. Honestly, I don’t know what I’m doing, but I get the feeling it would be extremely rude of me to refuse this gift from my Mate. So, I bit the bullet, as it were, and bit the bear. 

Initially, a mouthful of fur is all that I’m able to get, but after looking at Jasper with an unhappy glare, he gently rips the fur off the bear and returns the neck to my mouth. This time, when I bite down, I can taste something hot and gamey. It tastes nothing like a human, and is frankly revolting, but I continue to drink anyway. I know that if I stop drinking, two things will happen; one, my mate would be incredibly hurt that I didn’t drink what he was able to provide me, and two, my arm wouldn’t heal properly. As I continued to drink though, I realized that the taste of the bear wasn’t quite as revolting as it had been originally. The blood was hot and quenched my thirst the same way a human would, but this just had a gamey aftertaste that wasn’t really all that pleasant. 

The bear drained, I looked at Jasper and he had the most curious look on his face, but before I could ask the question, he shoved the mountain lion at me. I knew what I was looking for this time, so I grabbed the neck of the large cat and bit down into it without preamble. No mouth full of fur this time, but the taste was a bit different from the bear and quite a bit different from a human. I assumed that this was going to be something that I would have to get used to. I hated the loss of human blood, but if that loss was what it took for me to live my new life the way I wanted, then I’d take it.

“Thank you.” I told Jasper after I had drained the lion. “I feel much better now.”

“It’s disgustin’. I know.” Jasper responds with a small smile.

“I wasn’t gonna mention it.” I reply.

He laughs a bit, “It’s true that human blood would heal ya faster, and I know that we haven’t really discussed the diet yet, but-”

I gently place my good hand over his mouth and calm his fears. “The blood was fine once I got past the taste and I appreciate you taking care of me. We can work on the diet a bit later. Ok?”

He nods his head in assent and changes the subject entirely. “Here, let me see.” He demands as he places his hand palm up for me to rest my arm in. I place my wrist in his hand and he gently moves my wrist, then my elbow, then my shoulder from side to side and front to back to make sure that the fusing had done its job. “You did a good job puttin’ this back on.” He says a bit astonished. 

“You honestly think this is my first time bein’ dismembered?” I ask concerned. “I woke to this life in a newborn Vampire Army. It isn’t the first time. Plus Char was a huge help getting everything started for me.” 

“Alright, that’s fair.” Jasper says seemingly convinced. He looks over to where Bella is in this little site and sees Edward attending to her. "Edward, finishing Victoria for good is your responsibility." 

"No." We hear from a mending Bella. "It's mine, but don't worry. I'll handle it."

Jasper nods at her in acknowledgement and picks me up bridal style in his arms and just starts running. I don’t know where we’re going, but the only thing on his mind currently seems to be getting me away and honestly, I’m alright wherever we end up. 

“How did things go for you in the clearin’?” I ask him hopefully. 

“Well, things went alright, I suppose. There was one vamp that got ahold of Carlisle’s arm and tore it off, a couple of the wolves had minor injuries, but nothin’ that can’t be fixed given a few hours.”

“Well, I’m glad everyone’s alright.”

“Funny thing though,” Jasper states as we start to slow down and I see we’ve made it back to the Cullen house, “there was this one vamp that refused to fight. Said she didn’t want anythin’ to do with the Army or Victoria. Even had Carlisle’s arm and told him how to fuse it back.”

“Bree?” As far as I could remember, there was only one within Vicky’s Army that refused to fight. I seriously hoped Bree was alright.

“How’d you know that?” Jasper asked as he entered the house and headed up the stairs. It was the first time I had really gotten the chance to take a look at the house itself. The last time I was here I was rather busy and the only real room I had the chance to see was Rosalie and Emmett’s. It seemed now though that we were headed to a different room entirely. 

“She was the only one that others in Victoria’s Army refused to fight. She just looked too young.”

“Well, that makes sense then.” Jasper states as he walks into what looks like an office. This is very obviously his office if what is on the walls gives any clue. There’s an authentic Civil War Confederate Major’s uniform just hanging off the wall and beside it sits a ceremonial Sword to match. 

I can’t help staring at the history in front of me. With my eldest son being so fascinated with the Civil War before I was turned, I learned quite a bit about this particular war. Both the good and the bad. Jasper actually having this in his office in all its glory must have meant that he was captured or changed long before the war ended. By that point the Confederates barely had the materials for shoes, let alone an actual uniform.

“Why do you keep it?” I can’t help but wonder.

“To remind me.” Is all he says on the matter before leading me from the room and into a large bathroom. It looks like he’s been rather busy in here while I was staring at the history on his walls.

“To remind you of what?” I can’t help but wonder.

“My life.” He says simply. “What I’ve been through.”

“Oh.”

“There’s no reason for ya to feel dejected.” He says standing in front of me and raising my face to meet his. “One day I’ll tell ya everythin’. I swear. Today just isn't that day. Right now, it's time to take care of you.” 

He kisses me gently and leaves the room for a moment. It’s just long enough for me to get a good look at this massive bathroom he’s brought me to. There is a huge bathtub in here that looks about ready to get into, fluffy towels to wrap ourselves in, a standing shower, an incredibly large mirror on one wall, and as I’m making my full circuit, he comes back with new clothes for me that I’m sure he stole from Rosalie. I send him my gratitude and he just looks at me and smiles. Then, he proceeds to walk around me and starts pulling bits of twigs and leaves out of my hair. “Not that I don’t love the natural you, but I’m sure Esme would prefer that you didn’t track so much nature into the house.”

“Ah!” I scoff surprised at his snark. “Last time I checked, I didn’t bring me into Esme’s house, therefore it’s you who needs to quit trackin’ nature into her clean house.”

Jasper just laughs at me and begins to strip me of my ruined clothes. I know that he’s trying to be nice, but I also know that with the simplest touch, our passion for one another can be reignited. 

As he removes my torn top, my hands find themselves in his glorious hair and I pull his head towards mine for a kiss. He doesn’t stop me, but instead his gentle and loving touches turn harder and more demanding. Instead of gently removing my jeans, I just hear a ripping sound and feel a cool breeze on my legs. After that all thought goes out the window for me. I desperately try to get his clothes off in turn and may have ripped a few things myself in my haste, but he doesn’t seem to mind. 

Once we’re both free of any clothing, he grabs my ass and hoists me up so I can wrap my legs around him. How he manages to actually make it to the tub without falling or dropping me I’ll never know. I was too focused on how good his skin tasted right under his jaw to really care about anything else at that moment.

I do feel it as soon as the warm water makes contact with my skin and I let out a sinful moan. He kisses me fiercely, just that sound turning him on more than he already was. Once he is seated in the tub, I don’t hesitate before straddling him and plunging myself right onto him. We both let out dual moans of pleasure before I captured his mouth with mine again. 

“Shit woman.” Is all I hear from him before I have him thoroughly distracted by the roll and movement of my hips. His hands are everywhere just trying to get more. More feeling, more urgency, just... more . If I were still human I’d have hand-shaped bruises on my hips from how hard he’s gripping them, but I can’t find it in me to care. I love it. 

He breaks the kiss and quickly finds one of my nipples and gently begins to nip and suck at it. My eyes roll back in the sheer pleasure that is being given to me and I let Jasper feel it. I do my best to project exactly what he’s doing to me right back at him and, apparently it works because he growls lowly and begins to thrust up into me with more force. 

My hips meet his thrust for thrust and the pleasure is so all-consuming that I can’t think of anything outside this moment. I can feel the pressure building in my stomach, the tingling of my toes, and I know I’m close. The only thing that could make this any better, and has me completely careening off the edge, is the feel of Jasper’s teeth piercing the skin at my neck. Instinct and need drive me to do the same and as my teeth puncture his skin and I get the taste of his venom in my mouth, I hear him say “Amanda!” and both he and I explode in bliss. 

Coming back to ourselves, I realize what a disaster we’ve made of this bathroom. “I hope Esme’s not too upset when she realizes what we’ve done.”

“We’re consentin’ adults.” Jasper responds obliviously. “Why would she be upset? It’s not like either one of us are blushin’ virgins, here.”

“No.” I say placing my hand on my head in exasperation. “Look at what we’ve done to the bathroom.” I grab his face and show him that the evidence of our lovemaking hasn’t apparently been limited to the bathtub. 

“Oh” was all Jasper could say as he looked around the now sopping wet room. “The hell happened?”

“No idea.” I manage out between giggles. 

“This was not what I had intended when I brought ya up here, but damn if I’m not glad about it.” Jasper says grinning devilishly.

“Well, mister” I say sassily, “what was your intent bringin’ me up here, then?”

“Just to help ya relax, honestly.” He says with a bit of a guilty look. 

“Well, we may want to clean ourselves and then the room so Esme doesn’t have a conniption fit if she comes in here.” I say feeling a bit guilty myself. 

Jasper reluctantly agrees. “We may also wanna do what we actually came in here to do. Ya know, while we’re here.”

“Snarky.” I reply grabbing the loofah. 

Washing each other got a bit dicey there at the beginning. I couldn’t help but want to touch every part of Jasper I could reach. It didn’t matter that we had already enjoyed some rather intense and satisfying sex, I wanted more and I know he did, too. Ever the gentleman, Jasper tried to diffuse the situation by turning our bath into a relatively nice bubble bath. I had thought this sweet, but soon realized that he just wanted to torment me with bubbles.

“Blowin' those into my face is not goin’ to endear you to me, ya know?” I state as he takes yet another handful of bubbles and proceeds to do just that. 

“Liar.” He laughs. “I can feel exactly how endearin’ I am to ya right now.”

Like a grown ass adult, my only response is to splash him in the face. 

He laughs that deep sexy laugh that sends shivers all over my body as the water hits him and winks saucily at me. 

I just stick my tongue out at him and try to ignore him as I continue to clean myself. 

He’s having none of being ignored and apparently decides to take this as a personal challenge. He promptly moves behind me and begins kissing on the mark he made on my neck. My reaction is instantaneous. My head drops to the opposite shoulder to give him better access and I moan.  

We get distracted for about an hour, but when we finally come back to ourselves - with renewed mating marks firmly in place - we know we need to get out of the tub. If we don’t do it now, we could be in here for weeks and nobody wants to experience us in that state, I’m sure.

It doesn’t take us long to clean up everything, although I do admit that it was more difficult to clean with Jasper in the room than when he was out getting clean towels. As satisfied as this man made me, I just couldn’t help but get distracted by the look of him shirtless, in jeans that were hugging his hips just the right way. I mean, can you honestly blame a girl?

Once dressed and the room clean, we made our way back out to the rest of the Cullen family who were still waiting at the Baseball clearing. Why they were still out there, I had no idea, but I was soon going to find out. 

“There you two are!” I hear from an exasperated Esme. “We’ve been worried sick about you two!”

“I went to care for my Mate, Esme.” I hear Jasper say with a bit of an annoyed tone. 

“She’s just worried.” I whisper to him. 

“And she should know that my priority would have been takin’ care of you.” He whispers back, quickly adding “She has a Mate, she should know that.”

From a little ways across the clearing, we hear an exasperated “I told y'all that y’all had nothin’ to worry ‘bout!” that obviously came from Peter. 

Jasper rolls his eyes and demands, “Status report.”

Peter, being the ever dutiful second-in-command says, “The entirety of Vicky’s Army has been destroyed, save one.” He gestures to Bree and continues, “I think Esme wants to take Bree here under her wing and see if she can live like the rest of ya.”

"Victoria?" Jasper demands.

"Ash in the wind." Bella says from a position near Carlisle.

"I think you mean Dust in the Wind." Rosalie quips and I can't help but giggle at her music joke. She just looks over at me and grins proudly, but stays on the other side of Bella, content to sit in Emmett's lap.

“And the Wolves?” I asked curious about why they weren't here.

“They’re fine for the most part. One tried to get the drop on Jake, but I took that fucker out.” Peter says with pride. 

“This is all great news and everythin', and I’m glad that everyone survived, but don’t we need to call Aro and let him know this threat is gone?” I’m concerned that the ruling vampires in our world might have a thing or two to say if they don’t stay up-to-date on these things.

“I never really thought about it, but it might be a good idea.” I hear from Carlisle, who I notice is still cradling the now-fused arm he had lost. “They’d certainly be happy to know we have prevailed and that their orders were followed in regards to Bella’s change.”

“Do you really think that’s a good idea, Carlisle?” Edward asks from beside Bella.

“You were told to change me, and this proves that I am changed.” Bella responds. “You don’t really want the Volturi to come here and see for themselves, do you Edward?”

“No,” he says resigned, “I guess not.” It's fairly easy to tell which one is gonna end up wearing the pants in that relationship. 

I see Jasper pull out his phone, prepare for a facetime call, and hit the button, “Ah, Major!” I hear from the speaker. “This is unexpected. Two calls in two days. One might think you had started to miss me.”

While I try not to laugh at Aro’s attempt at sassing Jasper, he actively ignores it and gets down to business. “Aro, Victoria’s Army has been defeated; Victoria and her second, Riley are ash; and Bella has been changed.”

“Oh really?” I hear Aro ask. “Forgive me if I don’t believe you, Major. Is there any way to see this with my own eyes?”

“Why do ya think I video called ya?” Jasper asks as he turns the phone around to show the pile of burning Vampires. “This is what remains of the Army.” Jasper says as he turns the phone back around. “As for Bella, I’ll pass the phone over so you can see for yourself.”

He flits over to where Bella and Edward are sitting and hands the phone over to Edward. “Bella can’t hold the phone at the moment, she’d break it.” I hear from Jasper and I can’t help the giggle that escapes me. I don’t know why I find that funny.

As Jasper, Edward, and Bella begin to talk to Aro, Peter and Char head in my direction. 

“Did I look that lonely?” I ask them with a hint of humor in my voice. 

“Nah.” Peter responds, “I’m just curious as to what y’all would be doin’ now that this whole thing is over?”

“Peter” I say in a very mockingly-shocked tone, “does this mean that you want to live with us? Are y’all lonely?”

“Dammit woman” Peter responds running his hands through his hair as Char and I laugh, “I’m just tryin’ to make conversation.”

“I know” I say between giggles, “I just thought I’d take the opportunity while I had it. But to be honest, I don’t know what our plans are now that this is done. Jasper and I haven’t really discussed it. I do know that once I get my bloodlust under control, I want to go back home and see my kids again. Maybe, if I’m lucky, get to be their mom again.”

“That sounds like a lovely plan, Amanda” Char says placing one hand on my forearm in a comforting gesture. 

“Why do you ask, Peter?”

“Well, the Major always seemed to stay with the Cullen’s because the Pix wanted to stay with the Cullen’s. Now I’m not sure what he’ll wanna do.” I think I'm smart enough to be able to read between the lines in this scenario. 

As happy as Peter and Char are, they are indeed lonely living by themselves. I can tell Peter wants his brother back and I honestly wouldn't mind staying with these two for an extended period of time. I've grown to respect both of them quite a lot and don't want to dash their hopes of being reunited.

“Neither am I, Peter. However, I do know one thing” I state confidently as I make eye contact with Jasper as he takes the phone from Edward and hands it to Carlisle, “wherever that man goes; I’ll go. And yes." I state before he can start up again, "I'll let you know what we decide."

And I would.

Chapter Text

Epilogue - Two Years Later

 

Amanda POV

 

The past two years had flown by. 

Both Bree and I had been welcomed into the Cullen coven with open arms and for the first time in nearly a year, I had felt like I truly belonged somewhere. There was still a bit of animosity between myself and Bella at the beginning, but we were able to be cordial with one another and eventually, we became friends. I’m not sure what finally made her see reason. Perhaps it was that she realized I was no threat to her; perhaps it was even that I treated her like an equal instead of like a child. Hell, it could have been both. Who was I to say?

Spending the first year with the Cullen’s so they could teach me how to act in society and feed off of animals was quite the experience. The world as I had known it had changed and now I had to start from the beginning. I suppose this is why they call the first year of a vampire’s life the “newborn” year. Doing things like driving or writing had to be relearned. The proper way to hunt an animal had to be learned. I also managed to observe several different ways of interacting with humans, and in the months that followed, I got the chance to try all of my new skills out. 

Carlisle and Edward had wanted to wait another full year before they were ready to introduce Bree and I to the human world, but Jasper came to my defense. If anyone would know how thirsty I was, or how much of a danger to society I was, he would be it. After a rousing debate that I wasn’t even a part of after more than five minutes, I took the opportunity that their distraction presented in order to test myself. 

We had moved from Forks to a rural city in Canada. I didn’t know the name of it, nor did I really care, considering I hadn't done so much as leave the house or the surrounding woods without a chaperone, but this little town did have a rather busy mall that Edward and Bella frequented. So, I headed to the nearest town just to walk around. If I did well and there were no incidents then I may even visit that mall. 

I could smell the stench of humanity long before I reached the edge of the little town, but there was no covering the scent of the blood in the air. I had to keep reminding myself that this is what I had wanted. I had wanted to be tested. I had wanted to prove to myself that I had what it took to be around humans without wanting to feed from them. I knew that keeping that bloodlust under control was the only surefire way I was gonna be able to see my kids again and I’d be damned if anyone was gonna stop me. 

Well, according to Edward I was damned regardless, but that wasn’t the point.

I was only gone from the Cullen’s for two hours, but in that time I was able to blend in extremely well with the humans around me. No one stopped me, no one took a close look at me, and no one really cared that I was even there at all. I took the lack of human interaction to be a sign that I was ready to stop being put on house-arrest, but when I returned to the Cullen house, all hell had broken loose. 

Jasper and Edward were facing off in the back yard when I made my way onto the property. They were both growling menacingly at each other as the rest of the family stood by on the porch and watched. I could see a large hole in the side of the house and the glass sliding doors leading to the back yard had been shattered. Obviously someone had been tossed through it, and I bet I could guess who. I don’t know why Edward was stupid enough to think he could take Jasper on, but for whatever reason, they looked like they were ready to rip each other apart. However, once I was close enough for Jasper to feel and smell me, he turned away from Edward - not scared in the least that Edward might attack him - rushed to my side, and gently lifted my face to his. I thought he would kiss me, kind of a ‘welcome back home I missed you’ kiss, but instead turned to look at Edward smugly and simply said, “Told ya she wouldn’t slip.” and it was at that moment I knew that we had to leave the Cullen’s for a while. 

I was astonished and insulted that Edward of all people would think I would need to be watched like a child. When I realized that it wasn’t just Edward that thought that way, but Carlisle and Esme, too, I was completely over the Cullen’s. I was physically older than Carlisle, and the same age as Esme. I had given birth twice. I had even managed to build some semblance of a life for myself before this happened to me and every decision I had ever made was being taken into question. 

I was a mature adult dammit and they couldn’t seem to see past my “newborn” status in order to see the real me. 

Jasper felt my frustration and annoyance with the whole situation and took me for a hunt. I didn’t really need to, but he felt like it would relieve some anger and aggression. 

I tore down a few trees, threw boulders, and even fought with a Grizzly bear to see if that would alleviate the foul mood I was in. However, it wasn’t until after I had drained the bear and Jasper and I had made a new clearing in the forest (decorated with bits of clothing), that he suggested that we move down to Texas with Peter and Char. 

After a lengthy discussion, and him being honest enough with me to tell me that even though he had seen everyone as family and was truly grateful to everyone for teaching him how to handle his bloodlust after the Southern Vampire Wars, he was ready to leave the Cullen’s for the time being. He had learned as much as he could from them, plus the monotony of repeating high school over and over, with the addition of being around hormonal and emotionally-charged teenagers all the time, was taking its toll on him. He was ready to go and I whole-heartedly agreed.

The following week, we packed our bags and headed down to Texas. 

Peter and Char lived on about fifty acres of land that had once belonged to Jasper’s family. Once the property became available for purchase in the 1970’s, he had decided to keep it in the family and purchased the land hoping to eventually set down roots here. He had started to build a house on the property with Peter’s help, but Alice kept distracting him from finally finishing. Instead, he had handed everything off to Peter and Char and told them to make that home theirs. 

He also told me that he was excited by the prospect of starting a new life with me and finally getting around to finishing the house he wanted to build, with my help of course. I was thrilled that he would want my help with a project like this and I knew that this would be a true home that we could make together. 

Six more months passed while Jasper and I built our dream home. Peter and Charlotte helped tremendously with gaining all the permits and drawing out the blueprints. We had decided on a two-story house. Simple and understated, but very homey. All the actual building - I was shocked to realize - was handled by Jasper, though I did help as much as I could. Peter tried to help too, bless him, but I think he was more a hindrance than actually being of any use. 

The day we officially moved in was the day that Jasper had told me the other project he had been working on. He had been in touch with his lawyer, Jenks, and had information on what had happened to my kids after my “death”. What I heard was what I expected, but that didn’t mean I had to be happy about it. 

Turns out that the information he’d been able to find was court documentation for custody of Connor and Clayton. My family had put up one hell of a fight, but unfortunately the court system wanted to keep the boys with the only biological parent they had left. The only stipulation was that they had to stay in the state of Georgia until they both turned eighteen. 

So Chris, feeling petty, had moved the boys from Rome, in North Georgia, to Statesboro, in South Georgia. A four hour drive for my family to even see them. Bonus petty points for Chris refusing to let my family see the kids after he won custody. 

That bit of information obviously wasn’t in the court documentation, Jasper’s lawyer was just thorough. I don’t know how he managed to get the information, but I wasn’t going to question his methods when they worked. 

This whole thing stunk to high heaven and just meant that our biggest worry now was getting my babies back and I had no clue how to do it.

The way I saw it, our options were slim. Option A was going right up to Chris' house, demanding the boys, and bringing them back here without being arrested for attempted kidnapping. Option B was similar, but involved sneaking in at night, taking the boys, and having Chris wake up the next day to no children. That could only end with their pictures being plastered all over the national news as victims of a kidnapping, so that was out. Option C though, that one was by far my favorite. This particular plan involved sneaking into Chris' house at night, taking the boys, and killing any other adult we came into contact with. Jasper soon pointed out that my family would then panic when they couldn't find the boys and the word "kidnapping" came up again. 'Round and 'round we went.

It was actually Char who came up with a plan that might be feasible enough to actually work. The only thing we needed in order to enact this plan was, believe it or not, Rosalie. The specific technique behind this plan was something neither Rose, nor myself had ever attempted, but the idea was very similar to what the both of us could already do. 

The plan was to hypnotize Chris and his wife into believing that the boys were living with my family, and it was their decision all along. I could see about a million different ways that this could go wrong, the main one being that it wouldn’t work at all. However, I was willing to give it a try. 

Jasper wasted no time calling up Emmett and Rose and before a full day had passed, they were pulling up in the driveway. Once they had toured the new house, Jasper got down to business. He explained that we would need Rose and myself in order to make the hypnosis work the way it was meant to. Personally, I was under the impression that we knew everything there was to know about the way a Siren’s gift worked, but Jasper wasn’t so sure. Researching the history behind the myth a bit more, he came to the conclusion that it wasn’t how the words were said, but the words themselves that had the power. I’m not sure where he came up with that theory, but I was willing to bet that he may have a point. 

I remembered all the times I had used my gift and I realized that I had always had a specific song prepared for the situation I was in. The words of the song were always what I used to get the reactions I had hoped for. Singing, dancing, and even confessing were all done with the words already within the song. As far as I knew, there weren’t any songs out in the world that would make your ex give up your children without a fight, then think it was their idea the whole time. Frankly, it sounded like a bad Country song. I was just missing the pickup and hound dog.

However, I did see a glaring problem with this plan and no matter how much I wanted to ignore it, I had to remind everyone that Edward was affected by what I could do without words. The song I had chosen when I first met the Cullen’s was instrumental and it had Edward playing an invisible violin without me having to do a thing. 

This reminder was not a welcome one and sent us back to the drawing board. Several hours of discussion followed and the only thing that we had come up with was just to Google songs that even remotely used the word Hypnotize. I couldn’t think of anything better to do at that point, so I took that as my queue and started doing research. Bands like Coldplay, Wang Chung , and even Fleetwood Mac had songs that I got lost in just looking for the right one. 

An untold amount of time later, it hit me that short of writing my own song, I didn’t think I was going to find one that fit my needs. Peter however, had been doing some thinking and he had sworn up and down he had it figured out. His theory wasn’t the words that put my victims into a hypnotic state, but the sound. The actual notes themselves. He proceeded to drag me outside to the front yard and told me to sing any notes that I felt like. When I asked why, he replied with a snarky, “I’m your guinea pig woman! Just do it!”, so I did.

The first thing that entered my mind was a C scale, so note after note I sang and note after note, nothing happened. We tried again with a different scale, A this time and still nothing. E was the third one and yet again, nothing. I even tried arpeggios with no effect whatsoever. 

Angry about my failure and extremely thirsty from the toll it was taking on my throat, I took the opportunity to hunt. As frustrated as I was at Peter for making me try something that seemed doomed to fail, I was more mad at myself for not having the skill to achieve what I wanted to. Jasper found me not too long after and after expressing my frustrations, he felt like he had the answer. He wanted to try the same thing again, but this time he wanted to add a little...emotional assistance. 

Jasper explained that all of the situations that I had needed to use my gift were times that I’d had heightened emotions, he felt like adding an emotional element to what we were trying to do may make all the difference. Feeling a bit run down and option-less, I thought it was worth a try. Apparently I was willing to experiment as much as I could in order to get the appropriate response.

A skeptical as this idea was, I was also willing to give it a try. Especially with Em and Peter being the ones that I was going to try to hypnotize. Jasper would stand behind me and influence the emotions that I was feeling, while Rose and Char would see if anything happened with either of the guys. This seemed like a simple enough test, just to see if I could get them into some sort of trance-like state. Once that was accomplished, the rest would just be implanting ideas into their minds. 

We started off slow with the same set of scales I was doing earlier, but this time I could feel my teeth clenching together, my body was lowering itself into a crouch, my shoulders and neck were becoming tense, my fists were clenched and trembling slightly, and I could feel a growl beginning to build in my chest. Anger. The notes I was supposed to be singing had gone from a lovely and flowy melody, to me just growling the notes out at the guys ready to rip their heads off. Anger was clearly not the way to go for this. 

Next, we tried another set of scales and this time I began to feel a shortness of breath, a heightened sense of awareness, I had a slightly nauseous feeling in my stomach, an extremely dry mouth, and a ringing in my ears. Fear. I don’t think this one would work very well. I wanted to be able to stand my ground, not run away from the confrontation. 

Not satisfied with the reaction, I felt a new change. This one felt like I was being wrapped up in a warm blanket. I was fully relaxed and didn’t have a care in the world. Contentment. I was perfectly fine with this, but it didn’t last long before another sensation started taking over and all I felt was joy. 

Disgust, Surprise, Anticipation, and Trust soon followed. I thought that trust was going to give us what we needed because it would be the emotion we’d need to have this succeed. Indeed, having trustworthiness on my side did work to an extent, the guys were more willing to be influenced, but the hypnosis never actually happened. 

After playing around with my emotions for another couple of hours and adding in the possibility of two or more, we finally landed on one that might just be what we needed. It was a mixture of Confidence, Surety, Determination, and Empowerment. The “I Know I Can Do This And Ain’t No One Gonna Stand In My Way” mixture. It was apparently effective in that it kept both Em and Peter under long enough to have Rose experiment a bit with just saying what she wanted them to do. Did she tell them to act like chickens? Yes. 

They did. For an hour. It was glorious. 

Now that we had figured out the right mixture, it was time to figure out the specifics of the plan. Figuring out this part took a while, but not nearly as long as I would have thought. Everyone wanted to come with me and Rose, but I knew that we didn’t have a part for everyone to play. Jasper just flat refused to let me go without him, Emmett was pouting in a corner because he wanted to be useful in whatever way he could, Peter was sitting in a chair and tilting it back so far it might break, all while grinning like the cheshire cat, and Char was just leaning against the wall, arms crossed, and shaking her head at everyone. 

I didn’t care who all came with us, I just wanted to go ahead and go as soon as possible. They all could go with us and be spectators to the whole thing if they wanted. The details didn’t matter very much to me when I had bigger things on my mind. 

The arrangement finally decided on would require Jasper, Rose, and I to pay a visit to Chris where Rose and I would put Chris and his wife under hypnosis. Rose would keep them that way while Jasper and I spoke to my kids. Ultimately it would be their decision whether or not they wanted to stay with Chris, or come back to Texas with me. Either way, we had to be prepared. Emmett had volunteered to keep watch over the perimeter and be on the lookout for any nosy neighbors, and Peter would drive the getaway car back to the airport. Char had chosen to stay here and prepare the boys rooms with clothes, bedsheets, blankets, and anything else she thought they’d need. 

We headed to the airport that same day. There was no way I was going to be able to wait once this whole thing was finalized and everyone knew that. The plane ride to Georgia was horrible. Turbulence, not enough room to stretch my legs, people leaning their chairs back into my personal space, and I felt like I had been shoved into a syringe with the amount of blood I could smell. I’m sure my eyes were black as night when the plane finally landed and I practically ran out of Hartsfield Jackson International Airport just to be able to get some fresh air. 

The next stop we made was to the Enterprise Car Rental to pick up the huge SUV Peter had rented for this trip. Apart from smelling like cigarette smoke and B.O, it wasn’t all that bad once the windows were rolled down and we started the long drive South down I-75. Getting down past Macon was the difficult part, but once we hit I-16, it was smooth sailing. I even got the chance to find a deer to drain while Peter filled up the gas tank about two hours before we reached our destination. Feeling much better, and far less likely to drain the next human I saw, we continued the journey to Statesboro and my boys.

Jasper had been able to find quite a bit of information from Jenks in regards to Chris and his wife, including but not limited to his current address. I had to admit that when we pulled up to the lot, there were many things I had expected to see; from a double-wide all the way up to a three hundred thousand dollar home. What I had not expected was to come face-to-face with the RV that was parked right in the middle of the lot.

That’s right. An RV. A recreational vehicle, if you will. 

This whole setup practically screamed "I don't give a fuck" to anyone who happened by this place. To say I was appalled was an understatement. I knew in my gut that there were some people out there in the world that would have been thrilled by this home. Mobile or not, they’d be grateful and I’d be the first one to hand something like this over to them. However, I knew Chris made quite a bit of money before our divorce, and getting a proper loan for a hundred grand to build an actual home was not out of reach for him. Which begged the question why on earth was he living with his wife and two sons in a damn RV in the middle of nowhere? 

I got angry. Rightfully so. And when Emmett made a move to get out of the SUV to go patrol the perimeter, I made a dash for the RV. It became apparent rather quickly that Jasper had sensed what I was going to do right before I actually did it and managed to stop me from tearing the place, and Chris, apart. Although I was grateful for my Mate stepping in like that - and dragging me to a wooded area to the left of the lot where I could throw a fit all I wanted - a part of me really wished he hadn't and I said as much. Perhaps I said it with a little more...vehemence than I had meant to direct at him, but he didn't bring it up. I knew I was going to apologize for it later anyway.

With a little extra emotional help, I was finally able to get my head back in the game and focus on why I was here. Emmett had patrolled around the perimeter a couple of times before he was ready to tell us what he knew. According to him, there were two heartbeats that he heard coming from inside the RV. And just so I was aware, they both were faster than a normal human adult's. 

I didn't waste any time. I ran up to the front door of the RV, took a deep breath, listened to the heartbeats that Emmett heard, and knocked gently on the door. My sole focus was on the RV and the two people in it. The world could have ended in that moment and I would have never known it.

"Who is it?" I hear from Connor. I know it is him immediately. No other kid could sound like such an adult. He doesn't come to the door. In fact, he stays as far away from it as he can, which under normal circumstances I would have been impressed by.

"Connor? Sweetheart, it's Momma." I reply to the closed door. I feel Jasper walking up behind me. He doesn't say anything, but lets me know that he's supporting me in his own way.

"Momma?" I hear from Clayton, who seems to be a little more excited.

"Hush Clay." Connor shushes his brother under his breath. "My Momma's dead." He says loud enough for us to hear his voice crack a bit on the last word.

As painful as it is to hear it, under any other circumstance, I would have to agree with him on that one. Technically speaking I am dead. However, if I want this to go my way, I need to remember that details like that can wait for another time.

"No baby." I say to the still-closed door. "I'm right here."

"You don't sound like our mom." Clay responds, and I can almost see the look Connor gives him.

"I know Clayton, but I swear it's me." I respond trying to figure out a way to prove who I am enough for them to open the door. "I remember the last phone call we had together. You were staying at your great-grandmother’s house and Clayton answered the call. He had ice cream and chocolate syrup running down his chin. It surprised me that he was also the first of the two of you to fall asleep that night.”

“How do you know that?” Connor asks. 

“I told you, baby.” I reply with growing confidence. “I’m right here. If you don’t believe it’s me, all you need to do is open the door.”

I could hear whispering and debating between the both of them and finally, I heard the lock click and I was staring into the eyes of my oldest son. 

“Connor!” I quietly exclaim. “Hi sweetheart!” I kneel down to his level and open my arms for a hug. I’m smiling so hard that I feel like my face might crack. 

Connor just looks at me. I can’t tell if he’s trying to parse together what he remembers of me to what he sees now, or whether he even believes it is me. 

“What took you so long?” He asks as he runs into my arms. Clayton followed immediately behind and after two years, I was finally where I was meant to be. 

Now all we needed to do was get back home. 

“Boys?” I ask tentatively, “How would you feel about coming back home with me?”

“Is that where you’ve been all this time?” Connor asks. 

I sigh heavily, “No baby, it isn’t, but that’s where I've been for the last year. Making sure I had a place for you boys to come home to.”

“Who’s that, Momma?” Clay asks pointing over my shoulder. I remember that I had felt Jasper come up behind me and I say, “That’s the man who saved my life and I wouldn’t be here right now if it wasn’t for him.”

Connor takes a long look at him and I can almost hear the wheels in his head turning. “I know you.” He says confidently. 

“Do ya now?” Jasper asks simply.

“Uh huh.” Connor replies. 

“Where is your Dad?” I ask curiously. 

“No idea.” Clay responds. 

“Ya mean to tell me your dad left ya here alone?” Jasper asks astonished. 

“Yep.” Clay responds popping the “p” at the end.

I growl angrily and both of my boys look at me shocked that such a sound could come out of me. “What was that?” Connor asks, while Clay snuggles closer to me. 

“I’m sorry about that boys. I just let my anger get the best of me, it seems.” I respond apologetically.

“It’s alright, Momma.” Clay says sweetly. 

Time for a topic change, “Well, boys. Why don’t you go ahead and grab your things so I can take you home with me? You’ll still have to go to school, and you’ll still have chores and things to do, but I promise that I won’t leave you again. What do you think?”

“I don’t want you to leave again.” Clay replies. 

“So does that mean you wanna go with me?” I ask him. 

“Yeah.” 

“Alright, why don’t you go ahead and grab all the things you want to take with you?” I suggest gently. Clay just nods his head and wanders into the kitchen area of the RV to go and pack his things. 

I turn my attention to Connor, “What do you think?”

He’s very skeptical about this whole situation, but after thinking it over, he responds with “Clay’s going, and I’m still trying to figure out who this guy is,” he gestures over at Jasper, “and I know I’m not going to get the answers that I want if I stay here, so yeah. I’ll go.”

“Is that the only reason?” I ask a bit hurt. 

“No.” He says giving me a sly cat-ate-the-canary grin that would give Peter a run for his money. 

“Oh you little turkey!” I exclaim as he runs further into the RV, laughing maniacally the whole way. 

“These two are gonna give me a run for my money, aren’t they?” Jasper asks as the boys fight over who gets to pack what. 

“Well, you’ve managed Peter just fine over the past century, so mini versions of him won’t be too much of a problem, will it?”

“Ah ha!” Connor exclaims proudly, “I knew I had seen your face before, but I didn’t remember where. Now I remember!” He hollers as he grabs a book, flips it to a page, and turns it around for us to see. 

On the page he’s happily pointing to, there is a black and white picture of a man on a beautiful black horse. The man is tall and proud-looking with a Confederate Major’s uniform on. The man looks extremely severe and I can’t help but let out a little giggle as I see a human version of Major Jasper Whitlock staring at the camera.

“It’s you!” Connor exclaims joyously. “You’re Major Whitlock!”

Jasper gently takes the book out of Connor’s hands and looks at the photo. “I don’t ever remember this bein’ taken.” He says in awe. He flips the book over to read the title and is shocked to read “Great Officers of the United States Civil War” on the front.

“Well, it looks like that sever expression hasn’t changed much in over a century.” I tease. 

The expression he shoots back is one that clearly says “we’re gonna have a discussion about this later” and it just makes me laugh harder. 

The boys don’t take too much longer to pack all of their things and before we know it, we’re on our way back to Peter and the car. He pulls up into the driveway just about the time I begin to wonder where he’s gotten off to. Jasper makes the introductions to the boys while Peter enthralls them with a story. I go off to find Emmett and Rose and tell them there was no reason for us to stay. 

When I finally smell them, I smell another scent right along with it. I quickly follow the path they’ve laid and arrive about a hundred yards away from the RV. When I step through the little clearing I see that Emmett has Chris lifted high in the air by his throat. Honestly, I would be perfectly fine with Emmett just snapping his neck where he stands, but I don’t make it too far before I hear Chris’ whiny voice.

“I fucking knew you were still alive. Like a cockroach, you just refuse to die.” He says trying to hurt me. 

I’ve moved past all of his hate for me and don’t respond with anything. That only makes him angrier. I’ll call the cops if you take them.” He threatens. 

“Oh really?” I question sarcastically. “ Somehow, I rather doubt it. What did you think was going to happen? You leave the boys in an RV with no neighbors and a simple locked door and expect them to be safe?!”

“I didn’t know what I expected until this big brute showed up.” He replies gesturing to Emmett. 

“Drop him” I demand and Emmett does so without question. “Go go wait for me by the car. Jasper and Peter are already there with the boys.”

Both Em and Rose flit out of the clearing at record speed and leave a very shocked Chris lying on the ground massaging his throat. “What are you?”

I flit over to him very quickly, startling him. “I’m dead.” I reply honestly. “Amanda Adams died two years ago. This is what remains of her. Now you have a choice, you can either let me have the boys without a fight, I can hypnotize you to make you believe that you gave them to me of your own free will, or I can kill you and save myself the trouble.”

“You wouldn’t kill me.” He replies back venomously. “You haven’t killed a thing in your life.”

“Oh really?” I stare into his eyes as my anger boils to the surface and I can see that he can see that my eyes are changing colors. “You don’t know anything about me Chris. Haven’t known me even when we were married. What do you possibly know about what I have or haven’t done?”

Chris sees his only chance and takes it, “If you take them, I swear to God I will let everyone know that you’re alive. I’ll tell everyone that you kidnapped my sons.”

“They were only your sons when they became some sort of sick benefit to you.” I reply acidly. “Never once did you actually care about them. If you had, they wouldn’t be living out in the middle of nowhere in a damn RV!”

“They’ll come after you.” He threatens vaguely. “They’ll arrest you. They’ll hunt you down. They may even kill you.”

“Alright,” I begin ready for this conversation to end, “To hell with the plan.” I grab him by the throat, lift him up, and say one last thing, “No one threatens me or my boys and gets away with it.” And with that, I snap his neck. 

Making my way back to the car, I come across Rose, who just hugs me tightly and walks silently by my side. Once we make it to the car, the boys and Emmett are playing some sort of eye-spy game and I leave them to it. Jasper feels the rolling emotions within me and gently grabs my hand as he helps me into the SUV. 

On the road back to Texas, boys now in tow, I can’t help but be amazed at this found family that I have. Two are my own family, it’s true, and one is the man I would trust my very being to, but I’ve never felt more content or happy in my life. I try my hand at adding to whatever game Em and the kids are playing and just revel in the feel of Family. 

This will be my family for eternity and I’ve never been more ready to take eternity on. 

THE END