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Sunrise

Summary:
It has been sixteen years since Meg Cullen was kidnapped by the Volturi. Sixteen years of Edward and Bella mourning their dead daughter...supposedly killed by the Pack. Then, Meg returns to Forks. Only then does the race for answers (and survival) begin... ~SEQUEL TO MY STORY "CHOICE"~EPILOGUE: BRILLIANCE IS UP!"BY THE PRICKING OF MY THUMBS, SOMETHING WICKED THIS WAY COMES." ~MACBETH


Notes:
Here it is! The sequel to Choice! Hope you enjoy it! Disclaimer: I own nothing. All characters belong to the lovely Stephenie Meyer. Except the characters of Meg and Ambrosi, though. As well as the lovable (but annoying) Dean Newton. They come from my own imagination. © Edward's Rose 2008


15. Chapter 15: Breath

Rating 5/5   Word Count 3406   Review this Chapter

Chapter Fifteen: Breath

MEG’S POV

I leaned heavily against the seat of Edward’s silver Volvo. The faint smell of vanilla clung to the seats, something I seemed to remember from my childhood. Through weary eyes, I could make out the surrounding forest flash by at an inhuman speed.

Perfect for my taste.

Bella sat next to me, one of her hands resting lightly over my own. The slight chill radiating from her skin caused my aching heart to slow its wild course for a moment. I remembered all those lone nights in Volterra, staring out into the night, wishing for a mother’s gentle touch.

All my nightmares of two faceless people crumpling in the fire’s ghastly inferno. I’d steeled my heart over long ago, shut it away in a tight casing. And so far, only one had been able to penetrate it. It was still slightly awkward around them, though. I was used to being alone…the thought of people actually caring about my well-being was slightly disconcerting.

The names “mother” or “father” were hard for me to choke out…so I stayed with Edward and Bella. And another thing…their youth. Edward still looked seventeen; Bella only a little older. The thought of being young forever wasn’t a new concept to me…however, when it came to my parents…

They had told me the barest threads of their story…which had started almost eighteen years ago. I had no time to press for details, though. And then there was another realization. Another secret kept from me.

I was half-vampire.

They thought I was asleep, so for once, I could detect worry seeping into their tones.

“Are we going back to the house?” Bella questioned softly.

“Yes, I called Carlisle. The rest will be there shortly.”

“Is anyone else on our side?” Alice questioned.

I heard a low sigh escape from Edward’s lips. “Well…Carlisle tried Tanya’s coven, but they won’t help us. After all, we are fighting against the Volturi. Who knows the consequences if we…lose.”

“We won’t lose,” Bella said fiercely. I admired the sureness in her voice.

“Can you hear any of them?” Alice asked urgently.

“No,” Edward said tightly. “Bits and pieces keep floating into my head…as if their damn block is failing.”

“Same,” she replied. “All I can see is a person on the ground…”

“Who?” Bella asked sharply.

“I don’t know.”

A grim silence hung over the car…settling like dust.

“What about the werewolves?” Alice asked. “Will they come?”

Bella’s arm tensed and I resisted the urge to open my eyes. “They won’t come,” she said. “Not after…”

I thought of Jake’s kind face…how he loved my mother, how he missed her. And I was the cause of his pain…the baby that could’ve been his.

“They’ll come, Bella,” I said shortly, sitting up. The illusion of sleep was too hard for me to maintain.

She blinked, taken a-back.

“How do you know, Meg?” Alice asked. I could sense the slightest tone of indulgence in her voice, as if I were a small child…

I swallowed my anger. They still viewed me as just that, a child. I understood. “Jake wouldn’t just abandon us! I know the pack doesn’t like me that much, but…”

“You’ve met Jake?” Bella whispered, her face a replica of pain.

I stole a glance at Edward, whose impassive gaze was reflected in the mirror. “Yes,” I said slowly. “I don’t think he’s changed…at all.”

Bella ducked her head almost guiltily; she guessed my words' meaning.

“I can ask them,” I said softly.

Edward’s velvety-smooth voice carried towards me: “After Carlisle fixes your arm, though, Meg.”

How had he known…? Bella gently pulled my sleeve back, enough to expose the bone, which was protruding at an odd angle from my skin.

“Meg!” Bella breathed, her fingers resting a hairs-breadth from my skin.

“I’m fine,” I snapped, pulling the sleeve back down.

Actually, I’d forgotten about it. With all that had happened, the ache in my arm had seemed to stop…just like the one in my heart.

“Injuries like that are only supposed to happen to your mother!” Alice declared lightly, but I could sense the undercurrents in her voice.

“What happened?” Edward asked softly.

I sighed…they shouldn’t know of all the things wrong in my life. “I…thwarted Jane a bit.”

“She did this to you?” Bella demanded, gesturing wildly at my arm.

“Yes.”

I remembered who rescued me from her…kissed me until I thought my heart would burst…

“She’ll regret that,” a voice hissed. Shocked, I realized it came from Edward. His hands had tightened on the steering wheel and his golden eyes flashed with a deadly fire.

The car descended into an eerie silence, and as I stared out the window, dark sheets of rain came down from the heavens.

I only wished that our battle would not turn out the same.

****

“Does that feel alright, Meg?” a musical voice questioned.

I twisted my arm in its cast, looking up into Dr. Cullen’s face. “Yes, thank you, Dr. Cullen.”

A gentle smile danced on his lips as he helped me off the kitchen counter. “Please, call me Carlisle.”

I managed a smile in return. Upon our arrival at the house (surprisingly the house I’d found my way to earlier), the sheets had been stripped away and the Cullens settled back in as if they had not been gone for seventeen years. Here I’d met Carlisle, Esme and Jasper. They all had been overjoyed to see me, but Carlisle and Jasper both acted slightly wary…as if not to startle me. Esme, on the other hand, had embraced me like any mother would….something strangely comforting.

“I’m so glad you all have another chance,” she’d whispered softly, smiling at me. “Unlike me…”

I’d continued on into the hallway, walking slowly towards the front door. As I opened it, I glanceed towards the piano, my father's, in the corner. Why would I have ever been afraid of this place…?

“Meg!” a voice called.

I turned sharply to see Bella framed in the doorway. Her pale face was drawn and her dark curls were pulled up into a messy bun.

“I’m going to La Push now, to ask them,” I said

“Meg, I don’t know if you should do this,” she broke off for a moment, as if unusre of what to say. "I don't want you going," she ended up finishing, a note of finality in her voice.

The tell-tale anger flared in my veins, and I regarded her coolly. “I am my own person, Bella. You may be my mother, but after sixteen years on my own, I don’t need anyone’s pity or help!” I snapped.

Bella’s eyes widened momentarily, as if she’d been slapped.

My anger died like a quenched flame, and I tentatively took a step towards her. “I-I’m sorry…”

She shook her head. “I can’t get over the fact that you’re not a child anymore. You’re going to have to give me some time. Meg, I’m not offering you pity…or help. I have, always will, be giving you something totally different.” She reached a hand out, brushing the side of my face for a moment.

Then, she turned on her heel and was gone. I stood alone for a minute, pondering her words. Slowly, I raced out onto the porch…staring into the gathering darkness.

All my hopes, our hopes, rested on the pack’s decision.

****

JANE’S POV

I paced the small clearing, cursing the insistent drops of rain which pounded through the leafy canopy. Demetri and Alec stood in front of me, watching my every move with a guarded wariness.

“So…Meg has found them again?” I hissed, my words aimed at Demetri.

“Yes,” he answered slowly.

“And he has escaped again?”

Demetri knew I was referring to Ambrosi.

“Yes-I’m sorry, Jane, he shouldn’t have gotten away from me…”

I wove off his excuses; my mind being too focused on other issues. “No matter. He has chosen his side. However, a certain business regarding his family warrants attention back in Volterra…” I flashed Alec a knowing smile.

“Are we to fight them, Jane?” Alec asked.

I stopped my pacing, looking my brother directly. “Every single one of them will die, brother. And I will be the one taking that insipid girl back to Volterra…regardless of all else!”

Lightning illuminated the sky with a ghastly glow, and thunder rolled like a gong throughout the forest. A solemn seal of the vow I’d just made.

MEG’S POV

I paused on First Beach, gazing out over the waters with a lingering sadness. The briny taste of ocean spray filled my mouth, a sea breeze blowing tendrils of hair wildly around my face. My gaze strayed towards the set of cliffs…the waves crashing violently at their base. I drew a sharp breath, only to hear a low sigh echo behind me.

I whirled around, to meet Jacob Black’s impassive gaze.

“Hi,” I said slowly.

He cocked his head to the side, hands dug into jean pockets. “You know, I never realized until now, but you look a lot like her.” His voice was soft, dark eyes full of pain.

“Jake, I’m so sorry I didn’t tell you before… About my real name, my ties to the Volturi, my…powers.”

Jacob bit his lip, and I stood silently…waiting. To my great surprise, he stepped forewords and wrapped me in his arms. There wasn’t anything wrong with the embrace…just like one between a brother and sister.

I inhaled the warm scent of his jacket and, not for the first time in his presence, began to cry. Tears leaked from the corners of my eyes, and I squeezed them shut.

“I-I’m sorry, Jacob. If it weren’t for me…”

He drew away and looked me directly in the eyes. “Hey, none of this is your fault, honey. I told Bells once that I would love you like my own daughter, and that still rings true.”

Another pathetic flurry of tears threatened to come on, and I wiped them away hurriedly. “Thank you,” I whispered.

He smiled. “No problem, kid.” He turned his head ever-so-slightly, looking behind us.

“I came alone, Jake,” I said gently.

He didn’t respond.

“I-um-actually have a favor to ask of you. Of all the pack really.”

“Name it.”

“You know the Volturi are here…”

His gaze tightened.

“They won’t let me go without a fight, and the Cullens are outnumbered…”

“You want the Pack to fight with you?”

I nodded slowly, holding my breath in anticipation.

Suddenly, Jacob’s gaze swerved to the right, and mine followed. Rising out of the mist was a figure…who I recognized as Sam.

“Hello, Meg,” he said slowly, his stance relaxed as he studied my face.

My eyes slid to Jake’s, who only shrugged his shoulders. “Sam,” I said.

“We haven’t had any troubles with…vampires for nearly seventeen years. The last war we had was in your mother’s time, with the newborns.”

“I know, and I’m sorry for disturbing the peace. But this battle could decide all our fates. If the Cullens are defeated, there is no telling if the Volturi…”

Sam held up his hand to stop my nervous babbling. “I understand, Meg; your dilemma speaks for itself. Jake has spoken to the Pack already, and I think the general consensus was in your favor. We will not fail you.”

Elation coursed through my veins, and I felt like jumping up and down and hugging him. Instead, I mastered my emotions, and in my most composed voice asked: “Do we have a deal, Sam?” I extended my hand.

He took it without a moment’s hesitation. “A deal.”

EDWARD’S POV

I sat on the piano bench, staring hard at the ivory keys beneath me. I reached a finger out, to strike a note. My finger hesitated, though. All my worries and doubts could not be quelled by music’s gentle touch. A soft sigh blew from my lips as I thought of Meg. My daughter had been gone for so long…all memories of her sealed away tightly in my chest. Lest the emptiness inside swallow me whole.

Bella and I had finally reached a point of acceptance…no matter how much it had hurt. And now, that blessed, blessed girl was in our lives once more. But what of this battle…? The Volturi were ruthless, and her powers would be a valuable asset to them. All of us were prepared to die for Meg’s safety, Bella and I especially. My hands curled into fists as I thought of my daughter a prisoner…

My talent had failed me as well. The Volturi had kept me out for so long, but they were not the first. When Meg was a baby, I could never read her thoughts. I didn’t think much of it, because children of that age had not reached a path of clear and formulated thinking. But now, the same case prevailed. She was like her mother in that regard.

Suddenly, I heard the door close with a bang. I looked up to see Meg race silently through the house, her hair dripping from the rain outside.

“Meg?” I questioned.

She turned to look at me, and her eyes were wild. “They’ll help!” she exclaimed in delight. She raced towards me, stopping to catch her breath at the piano.

I rose from the bench. “What?”

“I talked to Sam…he told me that the Pack would fight!”

Relief washed over me in waves, and I stared at Meg’s face…realizing that there was hope once more.

“Where’s Bella?” she continued.

“Hunting,” I said slowly. “With Alice.”

I watched her face warily, to see if she portrayed any surprise. She didn’t, though.

“Oh.”

Silence hung between us for a moment, but not an uncomfortable one.

“Edward?” she asked suddenly, turning her golden eyes up to meet my own.

“Yes?”

“This will be a hard battle to win.” Her tone was not despairing or panicked, but calm and serene.

I sighed. “I know, love. I know.”

MEG’S POV

I sat silently on the porch steps, the lights from the house bathing me in a surrealistic glow. Chin on my hand, I stared off gloomily into the darkness. The elation which had filled me so rapidly had gone, replaced by a cold fear of what would happen if we lost… I shifted uncomfortably, fiddling with a loose thread on my sleeve. My eyes wandered back towards the forest…where my heart jolted involuntarily.

Ambrosi.

He stood just beyond the fringe of trees, a small sliver of light on his face. His eyes were riveted on me, making me feel like I was being X-rayed. With a burst of energy, I leapt off the steps…speeding across the overgrown lawn. I threw myself into his arms, ignoring the sensation which felt like I was throwing myself at a stone wall.

His arms caught me before I fell, hugging me closer to him. Ambrosi spun me around once before setting me back down gingerly. My hand rested on the side of his face, which I studied in horror. Dirt streaked his marble skin, his dark curls were knotted and his shirt had been torn open at the neck…exposing his chest.

“What happened…?” I questioned.

He silenced me with a kiss, but not a gentle one. One that was hard and teeming with passion.

“You didn’t wait for me,” he said softly.

Pain shot through me as I remembered his words…before meeting Bella. “I know, I’m sorry…” I began.

He shook his head, tracing my lips with his thumb. “I understand.”

His touch couldn’t detour me from my question, though. “Did Demetri do this?” I asked, gesturing wildly at his face.

Ambrosi stared directly into my eyes for a moment. “Do you know how we first met?”

I cocked my head to the side, puzzled. Why was he ignoring my question…? I was seized with curiosity, though. Ambrosi had been the only constant thing in my life; some of my earliest memories were of him.

At my silence, he continued: “It was late one night in Volterra…unusually cold for autumn. I had been in my rooms, staring out the arched windows. My life was meaningless then, Meg, you must understand that. There was a knock on the door and Jane swept in. The hood of her cloak was drawn up and her face was angry. She carried a small bundle in her arms…but held it as far away as possible.

'Here, Ambrosi,' she said. 'You’re being charged with a duty.'

“She abruptly handed over the bundle to me, and to my surprise, I saw a sleeping baby girl.

'Take care of her, be her guardian. She’s an orphan…and her name is Meg.'

“She left after that, so I was left staring at you. How could I possibly take care of someone, when I barely knew who I was! Especially a small baby such as yourself. Then, your eyes opened. You looked at me with those golden eyes, and smiled," he broke off with a slight laughter, tinged with an emotion I could not read. "A smile so full of love and reassurance that I knew I could never leave you after that. No matter the circumstances.”

His hand gently stroked my neck, and I looked at him steadily for a moment. “Love works in mysterious ways,” I said slowly.

“Love conquers all,” he replied simply, quoting the age-old saying. He drew me against his chest and my head rested right where his heart should’ve been beating.

We stood like this for a while, and I found just being in his presence was enough.

“Meg?” he said suddenly.

I drew away. “Yes?”

“I…found out the Volturi’s plans from Demetri.”

My heart tightened. “And?” I asked evenly.

“They will fight for you, and they will come tomorrow.”

A strong breeze blew through the trees, and I lifted my chin defiantly. “Then we will rise to the occasion, and show them what happens with all those who bear them enmity.”

Despite my confident words, why did I feel a strong sense of foreboding on the horizon…?