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Burn Beautiful

Summary:
Spoiler warning. Continuation of New Moon. Being a vampire comes with it's own problems: newfound bloodlust, untried strength, neverending fights between natural vampire will and human conscience. Edward and Bella's relationship takes a completely new turn as challenges fly their way. Namely, a pack of furious werewolves and a certain vampire named Victoria, who's still set on vengeance and, this time, gains some powerful followers determined to end Bella, vampire or not, and do as much damage to Forks as possible.


Notes:
I just finished New Moon and I know I SHOULD wait until Eclipse comes out, but I had to do something to pass the time! Especially since I had about a million ideas running through my head, mainly around how much could happen once Bella IS a vampire. What happens with Victoria, werewolves, Volturi? What's her special ability, if she has one at all? How does she go about realizing her ability? How does she deal with vampire instincts? What about her parents? AHH, idea overflow! I've outlined this entire story and it's turning up to be pretty much novel long, which is exciting. I'm not new to writing, I've just never done this particular "fandom" before and I hope I do it justice.


23. Chapter 23

Rating 3.7/5   Word Count 4059   Review this Chapter

I told you I got my mojo back! Only 2 days since the last update, can you believe it?

Warning: This chapter get's a little "raunchy" near the end. I personally don't think it's that bad, but yeah. There's some hot and sweaty B/E action... except more cold than hot and more non-sweaty than sweaty since vampires apparently can't sweat. Haha. I don't think it's enough to be rated M, but if anybody feels uncomfortable reading something a little more intimate than what the rest of this story has been, I'd advise you to stay away from it. But there's some really heavy conversation mixed in with the intimacy that - I think - is important. So, up to you.

Ch. 23: Rebellion

"Well?"

Carlisle looked up at Emmett's impatient face and raised both eyebrows. "Well what? It's clear what needs to be done."

"Then we fight?"

"As planned," he nodded.

And then there was silence again. I looked around at the contemplative faces around the room. Well, not entirely contemplative. Rosalie looked bored against Emmett's blatant excitement. Tanya was staring at a spot on the wall, in a world of her own.

Her face captivated me and, although I knew I should have, I couldn't look away. If I thought she'd been beautiful before, the lost expression on her face epitomize the very essence of beauty.

And I wondered why that was. Why we were always at our best when we were lost.

I forced myself to turn around and caught Jasper's eye. He gave me a slight, understanding smile.

"Well, we need a strategy!" Emmett emphasized, slamming his fist into his palm. "We need a map, a plan. For pity's sake, we need something."

Carlisle leaned back in his chair and sighed. "Well, five people are going to have to fight up front. That was their terms."

"Me, Edward, Jasper, you, and Tanya," Emmett counted off. "That's five."

Carlisle shook his head. "It's not that easy. Just the five of us alone are absolutely no match for the five of them. Remember, two of them are ex-Volturi, and Dorian has one of the strongest power of our kind. We'll need a better plan than that."

"The werewolves," Alice chimed in. "They said they'd help. We can use them as a backup plan."

"That's right," Rosalie nodded, looking up. "Alice, Bella, and I will wait with the werewolves - create a second front and trap them by the edge of the cliff."

"That sounds reasonable."

"What?" I became alarmed. "I can't wait with the werewolves. Did you not hear what we reported? I'm the only one who can counteract Iris's power - I need to be on the field."

"No," Edward disagreed - as always. I glared at him and he offered me a slight apologetic smile. "Hear me out first, Bella. You can't be in the front line - you'll be their first target because you're what they want. In order for us to win, you have to be nowhere in sight."

I paused. While what he said was true, I couldn't help but feel utterly useless. Then an idea came to mind -

"How about I be on the sidelines then? I can hide in… a bush or something."

"You think that'd be any help at all?" he lifted an eyebrow warily. "They're master vampires; they'll sense you."

Carlisle held a hand out and interrupted. "Actually, they might not," he said thoughtfully. "Hopefully, they'll be too absorbed in the fight to actually notice anything… "

Edward was silent for a few seconds before letting out a heavy sigh.

"How should we do this?"

A slow, calculating smile that was so foreign to Carlisle's kind features crept over his lips as he opened his mouth and started to explain.

We were going to win.

I was settled against Alice's bedpost, buried nose-deep in an Ann Rice novel and thanking all the gods above that I couldn't blush. I never knew literary could be so erotic and soon, I found myself thinking about Edward and …

Bang.

"Shit!"

My head shot up as a figure by the window let out a string of muffled curses. Slowly, I folded my page down and tossed the book on the bed as I made my way to see who the intruder was.

A familiar blonde head bobbed up and climbed through the window.

"Stupid trees," Tanya grumbled, looking thoroughly pissed off.

"Um," I tilted my head questioningly as she brushed leaves out of her long, blonde hair. "Why were you on those trees in the first place?"

She glanced at me and sneered. "What is this, the inquisition? I was out. Obviously."

"Well, sorry for being curious," I snorted, leaning back against my bedpost. "But you did just climb in through the window. If it's not odd, then I don't know what is."

"What it is, is none of your business," she snapped, shaking her hair out. I blinked - it was as if she hadn't just been clambering about in the trees and had actually just spent all night filming a shampoo commercial.

I rolled my eyes and reached for my book again.

There was precious silence in the room for another few minutes until Tanya let out a tiny disbelieving grunt.

"You're reading Ann Rice?"

I nodded, not bothering to look up. She didn't say anything for a brief moment.

"I never read the books," she informed me. "But I did see the movies."

I glanced up. "Which ones?"

"Oh, all of them. I think Hollywood's romanticized vision of what we are is so interesting. Very sexy."

A small, almost non-existent laugh bubbled out of my throat and I shook my head, smiling.

"What? You don't find it hot?"

My mouth opened, but I snapped it shut so I could find an adequately answer. I realized I couldn't.

"Oh, come on, you shouldn't have to think about it," she leaned forward with a wicked smile on her face. "Just imagine … the most beautiful male creature you've ever set your eyes on. Think about Edward."

I threw her a wry look, but she quickly flicked her wrist, rolling her eyes at me. "Seriously, do this," she demanded. "Close your eyes."

"What exactly are we doing here?" I asked, warily complying.

"We're transforming you into the sensual, erotic vampiress you are."

My eyes snapped open.

"We're what?"

She grinned, "You heard me. Rosalie and Alice told me that you and Edward haven't consummated - "

"Rosalie and Alice should mind their own business," I grumbled.

She ignored me " - or done much of anything yet, and seeing you here with some Ann Rice book makes me want to fix that problem. Because if I were you, I would've jumped that boy in the matter of seconds."

When I narrowed my eyes at her, she groaned melodramatically.

"Not that I would," she amended. "I've got Fin - " she abruptly stop talking.

From my vantage point, I almost thought she had started crying until I remembered what she was. It was physically impossible for her to cry. And suddenly, I knew what she was feeling.

Knew how she was feeling in the very minuscule, barely-existent extent. I thought about Edward - about that rocky timeframe that now seemed like so long ago, yet was only a few days ago. We had been so close, yet so far, and it tore my heart out.

I couldn't even begin to wonder what was going on through her heart.

"Just - " she breathed in and closed her eyes. "Just remember that he…" and then she gave up.

Her hands clutched her eyes and her entire body was suddenly trembling and I was so lost. I didn't know what to do.

So, I did the only thing I could - I inched over to where she was slumped against the wall and wrapped my arm around her strong, hunched shoulders.

"It's okay," I murmured pathetically, knowing that it wasn't.

"Oh god," she sobbed. No tears trickled down her cheeks and no redness appeared on her skin - and it only made everything more heart wrenching than it already was.

"Shh," I tried to soothe.

"I love him," she choked. "I love him. I never stopped… all those years. And tomorrow… tomorrow night, I have to … I have to -to fight him and - God, no! Please, no."

"You don't have to - "

"Yes, … yes I do! Finleigh… Dorian. You don't know what he's done to people, innocent girls, children. He's - he's so evil and I love him. I'm disgusting. A creature like him can't even know what love is and he needs to be destroyed and I just - I just can't help... But… damn it, I love him so much. How can I do this? I'm not strong enough…"

And suddenly, I felt like the most selfish person in the world. Here was this girl - this strong woman - who's been through so much, more than me, more than so many people, and all I'd been worried about was an argument between Edward and I.

What choice would I make? If I ever had to kill Edward for the good of mankind and happiness and bells and Christmas - could I do it? I decided not to think about it.

What could I say to her? There are other fishes in the sea? Not likely. I held her tighter and patted her shoulder, trying to calm her down.

Esme had walked into Alice's room and rushed to the quivering Tanya. In many ways, I was relieved. If anybody could comfort her, it would be Esme and her mothering ways.

I, on the other hand, had something else to attend to.

The old house creaked slightly under my weight and I winced, cursing the fact that some of my clumsiness seemed to seep into whatever new vampire-like grace I might've picked up.

I heard the faint trickle of a classical melody filter through Edward's closed door and stopped, placing a hand against the door stand. My head fell forward gently to rest against the wood as I closed my eyes and listened. Other than the music playing in his stereo, there was absolute silence. No breathing, no heart beating, no nothing. And yet I could feel his presence.

What would I do without him?

Die.

A slow scratching noise reached my ears and I smiled. He was writing. From behind my eyelids, I made out his angular profile, forehead slightly bunched up, straight nose, strong chin, curved back. Beautifully molded, pale hands around a fountain pen, creating intricate curls around the cursive letters.

His bronze hair would be slightly mussed up, his eyes smoldering. All of that beauty, that body, that man. And he was all mine.

So why wasn't I with him right now?

In less than twenty-four hours, we would be in the middle of the most important fight of our lives. The ultimate showdown between what is evil and what is good - the last stand between a vampire's animalism and human's compassion.

And if all were lost, there would be nothing left. Not of Forks, not of the Cullens…

I could almost feel my still heart pounding and suddenly felt the strangest urge to take a breath.

What a human thing. To breathe and take in that oxygen that kept the blood flowing through their veins and kept a simple, weak body alive.

What a human thing, to feel love.

My hand reached out and grasped the bronze doorknob. I counted to three before I twisted it and quietly slipped into Edward's room.

He looked up from the sheet of old parchment he'd been writing on and once again, I was taken aback by the sheer force of those dark, amber eyes.

"Bella?" his lip curved up slightly but his eyes remained serious. "What are you doing here?"

What was I doing there? I fought for an answer.

"I - I wanted to see you," I finally responded, breathless.

He studied me carefully and I could feel a blissful warmth shudder through my body.

"You're upset," he noted and I frowned. Before I could dispute him, he silenced me. "I can tell, Bella. And I also have magnificent hearing. I heard you talking to Tanya earlier."

And of course, the indignant fury replaced my earlier awe of him.

"That wasn't for you to hear, you know," I glared. He seemed surprised.

"It wasn't?"

"No," I repeated. "Girl talk isn't for men to listen in on. Really, don't you know this by now?"

He smirked. "No, I don't. But I know you didn't come all the way here to talk to me about the do's and don'ts of girl talk."

His eyes smoldered me and I fought for the remaining shards of my dignity before I had to resort to falling into his arms. I wanted to, so badly.

"It's hardly 'all the way'," I swallowed. "Just a few steps down a hallway."

Suddenly, he was standing and slowly moving towards me. His gaze darkened and his steps were predator-like. I suddenly forgot how to breathe. Suddenly forgot that I didn't need to breathe.

And then he was too close. I backed up, not able to look away from the intensity of his eyes.

"Edward - " I breathed out, closing my eyes for a moment as my back hit the wall behind me. He was inches from me and I could almost feel something akin to warmth seeping from his body, which was -

"Impossible," he whispered, amusement gleaming from his eyes and his impossible smirk.

"What?"

"You were projecting," he laughed softly and I could feel the slow vibrations through the air. "Unconscious responsibility of your new power, I presume. You'll have to control that, Bella. You might give a man ideas…"

His forehead pressed against mine and I lifted my face up, seeking more. I was on fire and he hadn't even touched me. I searched his eyes, trying to gauge what he was thinking.

"Am I giving you ideas?" I asked softly, breathily. I watched, fascinated, as his eyelids fluttered shut.

"Bella," his voice sounded slightly strangled. "If you're going to start something then back away - I'm not sure if I'll be able to stop and…"

I reached up to touch his face, but his hand shot up to stop mine.

"Don't," he shook his head. "If you're not ready, I'm not in any sort of condition to - "

"Shh," I silenced him, moving my hand forward and tracing the sharp curve of his cheekbone. His eyes were hard; intense and probing. My finger moved across his jawbone and his chin, then moved up to outline his lips, which parted immediately.

"Bella - " he whispered as my other hand wove around his neck and pulled his body against mine. "What are you doing?"

I couldn't answer him. We both knew what I was doing. The question behind his question was: Are we ready?

And I couldn't answer that, either. I had no way of telling if I was ready or not. I wasn't sure if my heart could take it, or if I was mentally ready to give everything to him, even though I knew I loved him more than life itself. What I did know was what my body was telling me though. And itit was more than ready.

My lips were suddenly dry as I opened my mouth to speak.

"Do you love me, Edward?" the question came out weakly, barely a whisper. His eyes widened, surprised.

"Bella, what kind of question is that?" his voice hardened slightly, as if affronted. "You know I love you - "

"Would you love me enough to kill me?"

He was rendered speechless and I could see the confusion written plainly across his face.

I smoothed out the wrinkles in his forehead with my fingers.

"What I meant was," I started, slowly, "If a time came when … you would have to kill me. If I became… evil or like Dorian. Would you love me enough to kill me?"

"I'd love you enough to fight for you," he said, fiercely. "I would never kill you. Never. I would - "

My fingers skimmed across the surface of his soft lips, silencing him. The reality of the cruel world, full of twists and turns and hordes of people, creatures, set against us solidified until it was almost tangible and the time that once felt like eternity seemed like mere seconds… and suddenly that was not enough.

I pulled his head down to mine and paused millimeters short of his lips, swallowing deeply as I closed my eyes, trying to narrow in my senses. I felt the cool sweetness and burning ferocity of his breath against my mouth and pressed the side of my nose against his.

"Promise me that you will," I whispered to him, letting my fingers slowly curve the shell of his ears and grasp the side of his neck, his cheeks.

He kissed me instead, kissed the plea right from my lips, kissed me until all there was, was him and me and his lips against mine. There was no time, no evil, no circumstances, no world that could come between his soul and mine.

The tension in my heart fell apart, overwhelmed as I pulled him closer.

There was no more time for questions and doubts, because if we waited, there might never be another time. It was a silent agreement and as he backed me toward his sofa, the cold blood swirled through my veins, contracting and constricting in anticipation.

The back of my knees hit the edge of the leather sofa and he followed as I fell back.

"I promise you," he gasped between kisses as his hand traveled down my torso, "I promise you that I'll love you forever."

Then his lips trailed across my chin, my jaw, my throat.

"That's good enough for me," I could barely make out what I was saying, the need for him was so heavy. I couldn't stop touching him, alternating short caresses over his perfect face, running my fingers through his soft, silky hair, examining the crevices of his muscled back.

The layers of clothing between us were suddenly too much and he apparently thought so too, because soon, his hands were pressing against my skin, pulling at my shirt. I arched my back and lifted up my hands, helping him as he slipped off the shirt and flung it somewhere in the wall.

His lips met mine again; hard, fast kisses melted into slow, deep ones and I pulled him as close as he could possibly get. His cold hands burnt my skin as they trailed down my stomach and back up again, danced across my rib cage, cupped my breasts. He swore softly as he fumbled with the bra clasp and I reached back to undo it for him.

Embarrassment flooded over my face once I was uncovered; he stared at me, unabashed. I had never felt more exposed in my life and fought the urge to shield myself from him.

"Please don't," he whispered, holding my arms back with his hands. His kiss was gentle, questioning, and when I moaned, I felt his lips curve into a soft smile against my own. The kisses started venturing southward; chin, throat, throat, throat, collarbone, collarbone, shoulder. His fingers carefully traced the side of my breast, unsure of whether or not propriety should come into play or whether passion would surpass it.

The answer was inevitable. There was too much at play for caution to restrain us and when his head dipped down, I couldn't stop the gasp from leaving my throat. His tongue was hot against my cold skin, yet so cold that it froze me and all I could do was black my vision and revel in the pleasure.

My fingers tugged at the back of his loose shirt.

"Why are you still wearing that?" I managed to complain and he chuckled as he nudged me with his nose. I glared, frustrated, and touched the collar of his shirt. With one, neat rip, it was thrown off his body, buttons clicking and clacking against the hardwood floor.

"Impatient, are we?" he teased me, but all I could do was stare. It wasn't something I hadn't seen before - his body, but never did I want it against mine as I did right now.

"I have to be impatient," I swallowed, rolling my eyes to the top of my head as his mouth found a breast and his tongue swirled around a nipple. "There's never enough time."

His fingers made quick work of my jeans.

"There's always going to be something," I hissed as his hands kneaded my inner thighs, pulling them apart.

"No matter what happens," he said, breathing heavily, "there's always going to be us."

Even he couldn't fight the instinct to breathe in and out in a time like this and it made him seem more human than he'd ever seem before.

"You can't know that," I felt like sobbing as I clung to him. His bare chest pressed against mine and for the longest time, we stayed like that, skin against skin, still heart beating against still heart.

"Yes, I do," he said, his dark voice scratchy and hoarse, velvet marred with hard rocks.

"How?" I asked as my hands slid between our bodies and undid his belt buckle.

There was a short pause as he stared straight into my eyes, then gave me a small, crooked smile.

"Because you're Bella and I'm Edward," he told me and I nearly cried. He brushed a loose strand of hair from my face as he continued to smile softly. "Because I love you more than life itself, more than the night, the sun, the sky, the need to drink blood and live. Because no matter what, nothing can break us apart. We're written in the stars, Bella. Look at them."

I almost peered over his shoulder and out the window, but his eyes were gleaming in the moonlight and those were the only stars I needed. I held his face in my hands and leaned my forehead against his.

"Okay," I whispered and nodded, taking in a shaky breath. He took me in his arms, took me in his heart, and took me with him as we traveled through a galaxy of stars to a heaven where there was only him and me and breathing and love.

Where there would always be love.

Author's Note: So there it is. If I'm not crazy, there's only a few more chapters left to this story. Perhaps only one really long one and an epilogue or two medium ones and an epilogue. I'm very excited about the ending because I don't think it's going to be anything anybody suspects. Hopefully not, anyways.

About this chapter. The 2nd part with Tanya - it took so much to not write more about Tanya/Dorian since I'm half in love with their relationship. I'm even thinking about writing another story just about the two of them, but that will probably forever be an "idea" in my idea queue.

The "intimate" scene was... hm. It was hard to write. Not because it's hard to write an intimate scene, but because it's hard to write one between Edward & Bella. Buffy & Spike? No problem, it pretty much goes with the whole character. But Edward and Bella have always been so... pristine that it was difficult to write something where they're the opposite of pristine, but still... pure and special in that B/E way. To tell you the truth, the conversation between them was something that I imagined between Tanya and Dorian, but I thought it worked rather well for the two of them instead. I don't know. It was supposed to portray the sense of urgency - because after their moment together, everything about their future is uncertain. They don't know whether they're going to live or die or make it through the fight.

Hopefully, I did it justice.

Next chapter shouldn't take very long. Maybe a little longer than this one, but no longer than a week. R&R!!