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Juxtaposition

Summary:
Edward/Bella. Edward POV. Reality turns on its ear and you have no choice but to forget everything you think you know about Twilight. Is it AU? I guess you'll just have to read to find out.


Notes:


14. The Angel of Destruction

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PART FOURTEEN: The Angel of Destruction

[POV Shift: Edward]

"Thank you for coming." Her voice was light and soft, melodic. "Much as I would have enjoyed the alternative, I think your choice has the better outcome." Tilting her head, she smiled. Alice was feeling quite satisfied with herself. From what she saw, in every instance she held the upper hand. Depressing, that. Although it surprised me to realize that she'd come alone, motivated by the desire to protect Jasper from danger and the potential consequences of her actions. In her place I would have done the same, but that didn't make it wise.

"So..." My voice was hoarse, exertion made it even harder for me to breathe. "Where do we go... from here?"

She drifted closer, her nostrils flaring as she scented the air. "I would prefer not to change you here. It would cause delays." She frowned. "But there seems to be some question as to whether you'd survive the trip to Italy in your current condition." Her frown deepened, it displeased her that she'd inadvertently created her own complication. "Humans are so fragile. It's remarkable you live as long as you do."

"The blessing... of mortality," I said wryly. Stepping past me, she gave me a light shove out onto the surface of the roof. I was in no condition to keep my balance under those circumstances, and I went down heavily on my knees. She made a sound of annoyance, and then I heard a great deal of metal screeching against metal as she destroyed the control panel on the elevator.

"Just to make certain no one crashes our little party before Jasper picks us up," she explained as she stepped out of the now-defunct elevator with a smile. So she hadn't excluded her mate completely from her plans, but simply relegated him to the sidelines. Knowing Jasper as I did, I couldn't imagine that he liked that.

"Your errand boy... is coming to fetch us?"

Her expression darkened, and then she was beside me, seizing the front of my shirt. "Don't you ever talk about him that way," she warned in a hiss. "He's a better man than you could ever dream of being."

I laughed, it hurt so badly, but sensing her anger increase made it worth it. "Don't you mean... a better monster?"

A growl began in her throat and she hauled me up so that we were on eye-level. I knew it was a vain hope that she might kill me here, but I was just stupid enough to try and provoke her. "Careful," she snarled, "there are many unpleasant things I could do to you that would leave you alive to enjoy them." Then she abruptly went still, cocking her head. "Jasper..." A smile lit up her face, and she dropped me. I collapsed painfully, looking up at her through a haze. "He's almost here," she said with satisfaction.

Somewhere in the distance, I thought I heard the sound of a helicopter.

****

[POV Shift- Isabel]

I was clinging to the wall, almost to the top, when I heard it. It was coming in quickly, flying low. I flattened myself against the building, debating how to handle this new complication, when the sound became deafeningly loud. The helicopter appeared beside me, rising steadily so that it could land on the roof. The pilot I recognized from our confrontation in the woods. With that knowledge, I didn't take the time to think, I just gathered myself and leaped.

I barely grabbed onto the landing skid, hauling myself up so I could get a more secure grip. The helicopter shuddered under the unexpected weight and I had no hope that the pilot hadn't noticed, but there was little he could do about it. We were almost level with the top of the building now, and I threw my leg over the skid, bracing myself. Rose would have known exactly how to disable it, I couldn't do more than guess. Picking a likely spot, I ripped at the metal plating, shredding any wires that were exposed. Arcs of electricity bit my fingertips and I hissed in pain, but just kept at it, clawing at every surface within reach.

Apparently I'd hit something vital, the helicopter was foundering when it lurched over the rooftop. Letting myself drop, I kept a tight grip on the landing skid. As soon as my feet had leverage, I grit my teeth and pulled with all my strength. Metal groaned in protest, trying to resist, but I gave another vicious tug and the entire skid peeled away from the belly of the helicopter. I tumbled, trying to make myself small as the helicopter literally rolled, the engines straining as they tried to hold it vertical, but momentum was already against them.

The blades hit the rooftop, crumpling like tinfoil, and the beast went down, flipping end over end before it came to rest against a huge, cylindrical holding tank. On the side of the tank were the words 'Warning: Contents Highly Flammable.' Shit. That had to be where the hospital kept its oxygen reserves. I could already smell gasoline as the copter shuddered to a halt. This was going to get bad very quickly if we didn't get out of here.

Where's Edward? Bella's voice brought me back in focus, and I turned, looking for him. He lay curled on his side near where the elevator shaft jutted up from the surface, very still.

"Oh god, please..." I started towards him, when something slammed into my side, sending me sprawling. She was on top of me in an instant, trying to close her hands around my throat. I growled, snapping my teeth in her face as I rolled violently over, trying to get her under me instead. Sensing my intent, she disengaged and fell back, very light and quick on her feet.

Fortunately I was just as fast, and I pursued her. But somehow she kept evading me, always one step ahead, anticipating my moves. She hit me in blind spots, coming in swiftly and dancing back out of range before I could counter. I switched strategies from using force to getting in close enough to put her down with my power, but she seemed to realize that too, making sure I never landed a solid touch above her shoulders.

Sparks were beginning to dance around the twisted wreckage of the helicopter, and it was gradually emptying its tanks, the pool of gas spreading beneath it like blood. The blonde vampire hadn't emerged yet, and I wondered if he were trapped inside. The female seemed to be wondering, too, she kept casting frantic glances that way, but I made a point of never letting her get close to it. If she concentrated on getting around me, then maybe she'd get sloppy.

There was a small explosion as one of the systems on the helicopter overloaded, and something underneath it began to smoke. "Edward!" I didn't dare look at him, I couldn't take my eyes off my opponent. "If you can move at all, get as far away as you can!"

"He's dead!" The female vampire snarled furiously.

"No he's not!" I didn't believe it. I couldn't. "I'd know if he were dead!"

He's not. He's not dead, Isabel. Trust me. I did. I held onto her voice like a lifeline.

Shrieking with fury, the female slammed into me headlong, not stopping until my back collided with the side of the oxygen holding tank. I tried to hold onto her, but she was already moving toward the helicopter wreckage. My eyes desperately sought for Edward, something painful letting go in my chest when I saw him on his feet, staggering towards the foundered elevator.

This had to end. All of it. I had to make sure that he and my family were safe. I had to let him go.

No Isabel. There has to be a better way!

Closing my hand around the butane lighter in my pocket... I finally knew what I had to do.

****

[POV Shift- Edward]

The journey to the elevator was the most arduous one of my life. Just a matter of a few steps, and it seemed to take me a lifetime. When I reached the support of the wall, I turned, looking for Isabel.

The nightmarish landscape had gone still. Isabel stood against the white tank, seemingly lost in thought. Alice was digging frantically at the wreckage of the helicopter. I could sense that Jasper was alive, but the cockpit was crushed around him, trapping him. Good, it would give us time to escape. We could rejoin the others, find a way out of this mess.

My eyes went back to Isabel. She was looking down at something in her hand, fascinated by it. "Isabel... Let's go..." My voice was faint, but I knew her ears would catch it. She raised her head, her eyes meeting mine. They were shining, beautiful, her long, dark hair drifting around her like silk, dancing on the breeze that blew across the roof. "Come on."

A smile curved her lips. It was heartbreakingly lovely, oddly peaceful, and she shook her head, just once. She raised the lighter and held the trigger down, a bright flame jumping up from it. "Isabel!" Fear seized my heart like a living thing, trying to strangle me. "Isabel, what the hell are you doing?" A short distance away from her, Alice's head snapped up, her face a mask of horror.

Isable's smile went soft, gentle, an angel's smile. "I'm letting you go." The words were clear and melodic, like a song. Then she turned and thrust her fist through the side of the oxygen holding tank.

There was no time to move, no time to breathe. As all at once, the world caught on fire.