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NM Alternate Ending

Summary:
It's page 449 of the hard-back version of New Moon. Bella is running across the plaza in Italy. She has to get to Edward before the clock chimes. Before the Volturi do. His life depends on it. This time Bella stumbles and doesn't get there in time. What will happen to Edward now? Will Alice make it out of Volterra and keep her promise to Jasper? Will Bella be able to survive, thinking she's failed... alone in Volterra?


Notes:
So, you remember of course, in New Moon, Bella is running for her (and his) life toward the place where Alice saw Edward would be. It’s a race against time and she’s fighting the crowd…


11. Chapter 11

Rating 5/5   Word Count 2165   Review this Chapter

Alice

It was always unsettling to see things play out exactly the way I’d already seen in my head. I was mostly used to it by now, but it still gave me an odd sense of deja-vu.

Edward was standing exactly where I knew he would be. The expression on his face was one of peaceful surrender. That look alarmed me. It meant he was blocking out the thoughts around him, blocking my thoughts. When I could see that he wouldn’t hear me with his mind, I decided to try his ears. I needed him to hear me somehow. I was running out of time, I wouldn’t be able to stop him physically before the clock struck. There were too many people around, I couldn’t get there as quickly as I needed too.

“Edward!” I used my normal speaking voice, knowing that if he wanted to, he could hear me.

His eyes fluttered open in surprise as the clock chimed for the first time. I said his name again, louder. I pushed my way through the people that were standing in the shadow I was using for cover from the sun.

He turned his head and our eyes met. I sighed with relief. Don’t even think about it.

He shook his head at me, his devastated expression told me that he wasn’t going to listen. He lifted his foot to take a step forward, a step that would take him out into the sun. The first chime rang out.

Stop! Edward, hold it1 She’s alive! I promise she’s alive and she’s here. Don’t you dare move! I was almost there. I shifted around a family of four that was lingering near the pocket of darkness Edward occupied. Finally I was next to him. I let my memories from the last couple of days flood my mind as I held Edward in my gaze. I showed him Bella, alive and beautiful, over and over again.

At first he looked at me sadly, and then skeptically, a look of disbelief, and then finally a look of blissful relief spread across his face. I gripped his arm and pulled him deeper into the shadows. I don’t know what I want to do more right now, kiss you, or throw you against this wall.

He just grinned at me and let out a relieved laugh. “Where?” He breathed, “Where is she?”

In the square. She fell-

Edward quickly turned as if to run into the middle of square, probably forgetting about the sun, and all of the people... I gripped his arm again, harder this time. Do you think you could stop overreacting for about three seconds? She’s fine, she just tripped. A nice man is going to- Wait! Without warning another vision was breaking into the foreground of my mind. Three hooded figures emerging from the darkness, one very large, another who was smaller than me-

“Felix,” Edward growled through clenched teeth as he experienced the vision with me, “and Demetri… and Jane.” Apparently he was familiar with the people in my vision. Jane… that name was familiar.

I was so used to communicating with Edward through thought that it never occurred to me to speak out loud. Jane? Jane from Carlisle’s Volturi stories? The one who tortures people with her mind?

Edward nodded glumly and turned to greet them as they appeared in real-time. “Will she really be alright?” He breathed.

I closed my eyes and focused. A man would take Bella away and take care of her, I had already seen that and it hadn‘t changed. Things were fading in and out of focus the way they often did when I tried to force myself into the future. Flashes of Volterra, a bookshelf, a dark sitting room, a cold morning, a black dungeon, footsteps in the night, Jasper!, the figures from the painting, a flight to Atlanta… so many decisions yet to be made. Still, Bella didn’t seem to be in any immediate danger. Edward, who had been listening as I sorted through the foggy future, nodded uncertainly beside me. That was all we had time for before the immediate future immerged from the darkness.

Aro’s hand was oddly cold. It was a sensation I wasn’t used to feeling since my skin was colder than almost everything I touched.

The way he read my mind was much different than the way Edward did. With Edward, I never knew when he was listening and he could only hear what was passing through my head at the time. Aro needed physical contact to listen to other’s thoughts, but that wasn’t the only difference. Having him in my head was like seeing my life flash before my eyes. Almost as though there were invisible fingers flipping through the my thoughts like index cards in a file box. He could look at whatever he wanted, any thought I’d ever had. It was unsettling to say the least.

“Alice, Alice, Alice, Alice.” He sang my name in an eerie chant, as he let go of my fingers. I did not let my gaze waver from his strange milky one. I tried to put on a calm air, knowing it was vital to our future. “What a strange existence you have had so far, young one.” He continued with a smile, “I am fascinated by your talent, what a wonderful gift!”

“Though sometime’s inconvenient. It’s inaccurate as nearly often as it’s right, as you have just witnessed.” I smiled, trying to play down the value of my talent. It didn’t take the gift of mind-reading to know what was going on in his head. I was sure my abilities were irresistible to him.

“Yes, it’s gotten you into trouble before,” Aro smiled, “But the things you have been able to foresee and avoid because of it… amazing.”

“Thank you.” I tried to give him what I imagined was a sweet smile.

“So Bella is here…” Aro mused, almost to himself as he turned away from us to gaze out the narrow window beside him. I heard Edward let out a low growl behind me and I stepped back to grasp his hand. Be calm. There’s no danger yet.

“She’s in our city?” The one named Caius spoke from his seat in the corner of the room. He and their brother Marcus hadn’t spoken since we had been brought to this room.

“Yes, brothers,” Aro turned to face them, “Alice brought her along to save Edward.” I’m so sorry. He squeezed my hand and I knew he didn’t blame me. Edward never blamed anyone but himself.

“Then where is she?” Caius came to stand beside his brother. Marcus watched with a bored expression.

“It seems she got lost in the crowd and was helped by a stranger.” Aro turned to me, “It’s a shame your vision didn’t allow you to see his face, or catch his name. Demetri won’t have much to work with, but I‘m confide-.”

Edward, who could hear in Aro’s head what he would say a moment before the sentence was finished, had already leaped for him. A fierce growl echoed around the stone room, but was cut off when he collapsed onto the ground at Aro’s feet. He lay there writhing in agony while Aro watched with a look of amusement. I stood, frozen in horror, while my brother suffered silently.

“Enough Jane.” Aro said after a short moment. “Your temper Edward, has already gotten you into enough trouble don’t you think? If it wasn’t for your unique abilities and self-control I would have killed you already. If you have any hope of surviving-”

“I don’t.” Edward said through clenched teeth as he rose to his feet. “If you intend the kill Bella,” his voice broke over the last to words, “then I don’t wish to live.”

“You seem to be under the impression that we care about your wishes, Edward.” Aro walked forward until he was inches from Edward’s angry face, “We only care about the interests of our kind. I think it would be in our best interests to have you on our side, despite your overreacting tendencies. I’m sure we’ll find a way to remedy them.” He threw Jane an adoring look, which she returned with a wink.

“Is it really necessary to hurt Bella?” I tried to smile at Aro, but knew that if it were possible, there would be tears in my eyes.

“Don’t be sad, dear Alice.” Aro left Edward shaking in anger and walked toward me. “Our laws would be useless if we didn’t uphold them, my dear.”

“Speaking of our laws,” Marcus finally spoke from the corner, “I think we need to make a new one, don’t you Caius?”

“A law preventing one of our kind to kill another for the protection of a human.” Caius spat the last word.

“Yes, that was indeed appalling behavior.” Aro nodded in agreement. “I’m surprised my friend Carlisle would condone such a thing. But brothers, we cannot punish them for breaking a law that didn’t yet exist.”

“It didn’t exist because none of us ever though someone would think of doing such a thing. Such an act deserves immediate and swift justice. Existing law or not.” Marcus had now risen to his feet and the three of them began a heated debate. It seemed they were talking about last spring and what happened with James. Out of the corner of my eye I saw Edward barely nod.

I tried to scan the future, but since they couldn’t agree on how to handle us, everything was foggy. Except one thing. Carlisle was now on his way, and he was bringing Jasper. My relief at seeing Jasper was battling with the fear I felt for him. I wanted him to be safe, but oh, how I needed him here! Edward stiffened as the vision of Carlisle’s arrival played out in my head. It seemed that the Volturi would be happy to see him.

Should we tell them he’s coming?

Edward frowned as if unsure.

It might buy us some time. I pointed out.

At that moment Demetri walked into the room and Edward quickly turned his head and looked at him in shock. I didn’t see anything different about the Volturi guard, so I concluded that the expression on Edward’s face had something to do with what was going on in Demetri’s head.

What is it?

Edward frowned, his eyes still focused on the new arrival.

Demetri’s entrance also caught the attention of Aro who greeted him with a smile. “You’ve returned!” He held out his hand for Demetri to grasp. “Come friend, tell me what you’ve discovered.”

Demetri looked grim as he put his strong looking hand into the binds of Aro’s feeble looking fingers.

Aro only held on a moment and he didn’t seem as disappointed as I had been expecting him to look, judging from Demetri’s countenance. “Don’t worry Demetri, I’m sure you’ll discover where this man is hiding her. You really haven’t had very much time, and what with the sun, and all of the people… Don’t worry, I’m not disappointed in you. You’ve never failed to find someone you were tracking, and I doubt you ever will.”

“Thank you. I won‘t fail you.” Demetri stepped back and as he turned around to go to his place at the door opposite Felix, I was surprised to see his gaze flicker to meet Edward’s. Edward let out a small gasp which I’m sure no one else noticed but me. Something big was happening and not knowing what it was, was beginning to drive me crazy.

“Aro.” Edward suddenly spoke, “Alice has just foreseen that Carlisle will be arriving within the next 18 hours or so. I thought you would want to know.”

“Wonderful!” Aro seemed truly pleased, “Surely you will agree then brothers, that nothing more can be decided until he gets here. It simply would not be just, he is our friend.”

Caius and Marcus nodded glumly and floated back to their seats, content to wait until later to finish their debate.

“In that case Jane, I think you can escort these two down-stairs.” Aro continued, waving his hand our direction. “Behave Edward, it was nice to meet you Alice.”

I still had Edward’s hand in mine and he eagerly pulled me out of the room behind Jane. His expression told me that he had something to communicate and I was dying to know what it was.

Once we were locked in the dark chamber under Volterra Edward finally spoke.

“Has Bella’s future changed?” He asked anxiously.

“Um…” I pushed my mind ahead. I couldn’t see any immediate danger, though things were still very foggy. “Not really.”

Edward sighed, “Good.”

What was going on in there with you and Demetri. I switched to using my thoughts to talk to him, in case we were being listened to.

Edward shook his head and seemed to be listening to the thoughts around us. Finally he leaned forward and whispered almost silently into my ear. “I can’t tell you because I don’t want Aro to find out through you what I just heard in Demetri’s head. I can only say that from now on, no matter what happens, I can’t let Aro touch me.”