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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.


7. The Road to Hell

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PART SEVEN: The Road to Hell

Years of watching my sister master her abilities had taught me that life is nothing but a series of choices. An endless number of forks in the eternal road every sentient creature walks. Turn left, and walk in peace. Turn right, and you walk the road to hell. Even paved with good intentions, it was a road that no one would walk willingly. I had no way of knowing when Alice had made her fateful turn or why she had made such a desperate choice. Perhaps, if I knew, I would understand it. Perhaps I could forgive. She had always been the sibling I loved best.

Jasper was less complicated. Alice was his life, where she chose to go, he followed. Were it Bella, and I in Jasper's place, I would do no differently.

None of it mattered now, as two red-eyed vampires closed the trap behind us. I heard the thoughts of one, as he caught my scent, thoughts I could have lived happily without knowing. The temptation enticed him closer and Isabel snarled, suddenly beside me in a movement too fast for my human eyes to follow.

"Diego." Alice's voice was as flat and sharp as the crack of a whip. "Control yourself, you worthless leech." Her eyes had settled on me, and I knew she had expected me along with the others. "That one is not for you. Aro wants him." My stomach turned at the thought of the Volturi elder. I searched Alice's face, looking for some trace of the person I knew, the woman who was my sister in all ways but birth. My eyes confirmed what my mind already knew. My sister didn't exist here, and the Alice that stood before me was sworn to Aro, prepared to do his bidding as long as it kept her and Jasper safe. I was simply a means to an end, tribute for her master to use however he desired.

"None of you can have him." Isabel's low, furious voice startled me. "He's mine." I looked down at her in disbelief, unable to grasp the fact that she was starting the fight.

"Fair enough," Alice agreed readily. "Seeing as how you'll be dead by the time we leave with him."

Emmett hadn't given up yet, I could feel it, he was still determined to get Rose and Isabel safely out. But he couldn't let such a direct threat go unanswered, I knew him too well. A hunting growl roared to life in his chest, vibrating across the clearing. Still chained, Jacob answered it, his own growl fierce and defiant. The fact that he was no longer alone was calming him, allowing him to fight back against Jasper's manipulations. "He can break those chains," Isabel whispered. "Why won't he?"

I closed my eyes, making a choice, my secrets were not more important than their lives. "The blonde male that stands near him. He manipulates emotions." I could feel her eyes on me, but I didn't look at her. "He's preying on Jake, making him feel helpless." Reaching out, I grabbed her wrist, anticipating her next thought. "No. Your power won't work on him."

"How do you--"

I pulled her close, looking down into her eyes from a matter of inches. "Trust me." Emmett's growl rose in pitch, they were advancing. Impulsively, I pressed my cheek against her hair, inhaling the sweet, familiar scent of her. "I'd tell you to run, but I know you too well," I murmured. We'd drawn Alice's attention, there was no more time left.

"I don't like it when the little mice hide, whispering in corners." Alice's voice was annoyed, she was trying to look ahead, to anticipate our moves, but she wasn't having much success. Good.

Suddenly, I had an idea. "The power you used on me," I said quietly in Isabel's ear. "When you knocked me out. It works on anyone?"

She tried to pull back, but I wouldn't let her. "Yes, why?"

I thought it through, it might work, but it would put her so close to Jasper... I took a deep breath and made myself say it. "Use it on the blonde. Once he's out, Jake will be free." Isabel turned, looking first at Jasper, then at Alice. The others were behind us, the way was clear. As soon as she made her decision, the clock would start running.


"Do it now!" I hissed. "Don't hesitate, don't question, just go!" I heard Alice suck in her breath, the vision hitting her mind the second Isabel began to move. I made my own decision at the same moment.

Isabel was no more than a streak of motion, but I couldn't watch her, I had my own part to play. Snatching up a fallen tree branch as thick as my wrists, I headed straight for Alice, roaring like a berserker. At human speed, that short distance seemed miles long. Distantly I was aware of Emmett and Rose turning, attacking the two that had closed in from behind. There were two more, also at the clearing's edge. God, they were going to flank them, and I was too slow, too weak, too human to do anything about it.

In those endless moments, I reflected on the irony of that. If you had asked me if I'd trade in my immortality for the chance to be human again, I would have surely said yes. It was what I wanted, the fate I felt should have been mine to begin with. But right now, faced with the possibility of watching people I loved, the woman I would die for, die horrible deaths... I would trade anything for that curse.

"Jasper!" Alice screamed his name, and I drew back my club, aiming for her head. I knew, even if by some miracle I was able to connect that the blow would do nothing. She would not even be staggered by it. That wasn't the point. And as by instinct she turned to face me instead of moving to help Jasper, I smiled.

Isabel was there. Jasper whirled to face her, but she was too fast. Behind him now, she lightly touched the back of his neck. Like a puppet with his strings cut, he went limp, falling like a stone. I heard a cry of rage and then... I was flying.

The last thing I heard before my body collided with the trunk of a tree was the howl of a wolf on the hunt.