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Breathe for Mercy

Summary:
No one knows her real name. But everyone calls her Mercy. And she's running from a world of pain and fear, desperately searching for a place to hide from the monsters that haunt her footsteps. But she's found again-this time by Dr. Carlisle Cullen, who takes her under his wing even though he's vampire and she's human, and takes her home to live with the rest of his family, unaware of the wicked web she's caught in. But they don't know who she is, what she's done, what she's capable of. And the voices just won't go away. This is my story. My nightmare. And now I'm putting you through it. *Rated for some graphic violence* What the heck, why is no one reviewing? Is my story that bad?


Notes:
Her real name is unknown. But everyone calls her Mercy. She's running from a world where there is nothing but pain but she is looking for a new life, a new way. That's when she runs into the Cullen family and they bring her in and take her under their wing, even though she is human. But they don't really know who she is, what she's done. And the voices just won't go away. This is my story. My nightmare.And now I'm putting you through it.


9. This is the part when somthing really bad happens

Rating 5/5   Word Count 6849   Review this Chapter

Courage is not the towering oak that sees storms come and go; it is the fragile blossom that opens in the snow.

"No-get down-bad dog...!" I tried not to holler but was unsuccessful. My voice came out oddly strained and I'm sure it would have sounded funny to anyone who could hear it.

The Great Dane puppy's front paws rested on the dining table. She turned her big brown eyes on me, sizing me up with the chicken sandwich hanging from her mouth. A drop of mayonnaise slid from a corner of the sandwich and fell to the clean carpet beneath.

I made my way towards the dog, putting on an angry face, being sure not to move too fast so not to frighten it too bad. "Duma," I snapped. "Get. Down!"

As I grew close though, Duma leapt from the chair and bolted in the opposite direction, her tail between her legs, leaving behind her a trail of mayo and lettuce. I pressed my lips into a thin line momentarily.

"Duma!" this time I didn't hold back the shout and I inwardly cringed at myself. She disappeared around the corner, unheeding to my scolding. I sighed, holding the now empty plate aloft. I muttered: "I hope you enjoy that-it was Mercy's dinner but guess it's yours now."

I carried the plate back to the kitchen, meaning to clean it off.

"Having problems?" Esme had approached me, her hair pulled back into a loose pony-tail, caramel locks falling from the band and framing her lovely face. She smiled, her eyes sparkling. "Is it Duma?"

"How'd you guess?" I grumbled, running steaming hot water over the plate.

"Oh, I just happened to see her run past me with a sandwich in her mouth. It looked a lot like the meal you were cooking for Mercy. Any coincidence?"

I chuckled dryly. "Slightly," I opened the fridge to start to prepare another meal. "She just got in the shower, so I'm hoping I can prepare another sandwich before she gets out."

"Do you regret that Alice got the dog?"

I paused. "No, I don't. I know she will be good for Mercy. Did you see her face when she ran in?" I smiled at the memory and the tension began to ease out of my body, slowly but surely and the frustration abated.

Esme came up behind me and wrapped her arms around my waist, resting her chin on my shoulder. Her breath felt warm to my skin.

"She adores the sweet creature."

I nodded.

"I know someone else whom she adores."

"You?" I asked. "You've been so helpful."

"No," she answered smugly, her finger trailing down my right arm, sending tingles down my spine.

"What are you talking about?"

I turned and leaned against the counter. Esme leaned against me, chest to chest, her smile sweet as she looked up at me. I tucked a loose strand from her face behind her ear. And she stood on tiptoes until she was merely inches away from my face.

"Don't you see how she looks to you as she ‘protector'?" she murmured.

"I'm only doing my best to help her," I breathed back, my nose skimming her jaw, drawing in her sweet scent. "She needs someone to look after her. You would have done the same thing."

"I would have," she agreed, her lips briefly brushing against my neck. "But I know you can't deny-none of us for that matter-that she trusts you and only you. Even if she doesn't realize it, you're like her hero now-her father."

I blinked in surprise, pulling my face away from Esme. "How do you know all this?"

"How do you not know?" she countered back.

"Touché," I muttered. "Do you really think so?" I felt warmed up by the fact. But my joy dwindled almost instantly. "She has a real father out there somewhere." I said solemnly.

Esme's beautiful eyes hardened. "If you could call him a father who would let something like this happen to his little girl. She's such a beautiful, sweet little thing-how could you not be captivated? I think we're doing the right thing. He may be her biological father-but never her dad."

With that Esme drew me close again and our lips met, tenderly, softly.

An ear-piercing scream from above made us jerk apart.

Mercy

I don't really know how long I stayed in the shower, sitting on the porcelain floor with my knees drawn up to my chest, feeling the pounding of the shower water on my back, feeling it run in rivulets down my arms. My stomach was tight with pain but the warmth of the water soothed it slightly. I didn't know if I was sick from extreme stress or if I was just plain sick.

It was when the water began to run cold and goose bumps began to rise on my arms that I stood, stiffly though, for the pain squeezing my middle. I shut the water off and step out of the shower. I reached for my towel and froze in horror.

On the tile, watery blood had splattered the floor garishly in erratic patterns.

My breathing came faster. Inspecting closer, I noticed a stream of dark blood snaking down my left leg, a red river that pooled beneath my foot.

The next moment, my scream pierced the air and echoed off the four bathroom walls. I frantically spun around and noticed my blood had left a splotch on the floor of the tub and spotted the rounded side and slipped to the floor.

Another wave of pain hit me-harder this time and I doubled over, gasping hysterically, wondering if this was the end.

Someone banged on the bathroom door. "Mercy?" It was Carlisle's voice-wild with worry.

"Don't come in!" I shrieked in panic. "I'm dying!"

"What's the matter?" he asked anxiously. "Are you hurt? Did you cut yourself? I smell blood!"

"Go away!" I yelled back, crying now, feeling lost and confused and embarrassed. Realization began to dawn on me and I began to calm down, my breathing slows and the bathroom quits spinning.

There was another knock at the door, this one softer. "Mercy," Esme called gently. "Can I come in? Are you okay?"

I began to sob again, this time in relief and almost happiness. "I think I started my period." With that I sank to the floor, clutching the towel to my chest, letting my tears fall to the floor.

Carlisle

"Does it still hur-?"

"Yes!" Mercy's voice came sharp and strained, her pain evident. She lay curled up in a tight ball, her arms tucked around her middle, her eyes squeezed shut.

She had told me that had had her last cycle more than a year ago and I rightly guessed that it must have stopped due to extreme stress and the overdosing of certain medications. Now it came back with full force.

And I was relieved despite the pain she was in. Her body was beginning to return back to normal and start its natural course through life and maybe she will one day grow into the healthy young woman she was meant to be.

Mercy rolled onto her back, tears in her blue eyes, her face was white and sickly.

"It hurts really bad, Carlisle," she whimpered. "I'm going to die."

I had to smile at that. "I will not let you die," I assured her, letting her hand squeeze mine until her knuckles turned white. I could tell when another wave of pain hit her because her eyes flew shut and she dug her teeth into her lower lip.

"Owwww..." she moaned, her entire body shuttered and I stood, her hand still grasping mine tightly.

Just then the floor beneath me rumbled. Mercy tensed in fear. She curled back into her fetal position, pulling my hand along with her until she had tucked it under her ribs.

And then it stopped as sudden as it had begun.

"Odd," I muttered. "What do you think, Jasper?"

Mercy's eyes fly back open. Jasper had entered the room cautiously, his face in a slight wince.

"I'm not sure," he answered quietly, "but I came to help with the pain."

I looked up at him, slightly taken aback. But I nodded and with Mercy watching him like a hawk, he settled into a chair in the corner and closed his eyes for several moments.

I felt the tight grip that Mercy had on my hand loosen slowly and her body began to relax in obvious relief.

"What is he doing?" she demanded.

I look over at Jasper, showing him my thanks. "Jasper had the power to control emotions. Remember that one conversation we had about Alice bringing her strong human traits over and amplifying them?"

I turned back, looking for an answer and found that Mercy had fallen asleep despite my talking. I carefully pulled my hand out from under her and sat back in the chair, watching her.

"I still think the earthquakes are odd."

"I think we'll need to move again soon."

Jasper and I both looked up in unison at Alice who stood only few feet away, twirling a dying rose between her thumb and index finger.

"Do you think I should get red roses next?" she asked in a thoughtful tone.

"Red is for love," Jasper answered.

Alice smiled wistfully at him. "I know."

I felt an edge of impatience creep up on me as I waited for her to continue.

"I think I'll stay with pink." Alice slid the rose back into its vase. She turned to me. "We should keep moving lest the Volturi picks up on our trail." She sat cross-legged on the floor. "It'll keep them guessing."

"Did you see something?" I asked, my hand instinctively reaching for Mercy's limp one. She continued to sleep, unaware of what was happening.

Alice shook her head. "No."

Jasper shifted uncomfortable in his seat. "I have this feeling that the Volturi could have found us by now if they really wanted to."

Edward was approaching the bedroom. "It seems you may have too much confidence in the Volturi," he raised his eyebrow at his brother as he entered.

"Maybe they're afraid," Alice's smile was almost cunning or devious.

"What's that supposed to mean?" Edward snapped.

"Shhh!" I scolded as the sudden height of volume in the conversation made Mercy stir. She rolled onto her back and her eyelids fluttered open. But I knew her body was only reacting to sound and that her mind was still entangled in sleep.

"You're okay," I whispered soothingly in her ear. "Go back to sleep."

I watch her eyes roam lazily towards my face before slowly disappearing as they rolled back.

Edward and Jasper didn't hesitate to pick up their whispered argument. "With Bella and I working overtime, I pretty sure it has been basically us who have kept us hidden."

"I was just saying that the Volturi are cunning and will stop at nothing to get what they want-if Mercy even is what they really want-we may be over exaggerating on our part!"

"How do you explain their scent all across the hills near La Push, then?" Edward asked.

"I was just saying...!"

I glared at them both. "That is enough," I reprimanded in disapproval. "There is no need to argue pointlessly. But if you really feel the need to, please step out and let the poor girl sleep!"

No one spoke for a moment. Edward looked away and Jasper looked down at his hands.

Alice broke the silence, "We can leave tomorrow," she said with a twinkle in her eye. "And if Mercy is up to it, there's a thunderstorm tonight!"

Mercy

"I don't like thunderstorms," I whispered as Carlisle took a book bag and neatly put folded clothes in it, a jacket and a small first aid kit. I sat at the edge of the bed, playing with my short curls. The pain from my severe cramps had now receded and I only felt a slight discomfort.

Carlisle looks at me. "Why is that?"

"The noise," I answered in a small voice, ducking my head away. "And the tornados..."

My hands dropped into my lap and I hunched my shoulders in shame.

A cold hand took my chin and forced me to look up. Carlisle was looking down at me sternly. "Don't ever be ashamed to admit your fears." He said in firm and quiet voice. "For without them, there will be nothing to conquer and the world would be a very dull place, now wouldn't it?"

He let go and placed his palm against my cheek, his golden eyes melting into a look of caring. "I will be there to protect you. When I'm near you, I won't let anything ever hurt you."

And I believed him-his sincerity, his gentleness...and without even registering what I was doing, I let him pull me against him in a hug and I let myself sink into this haven. He handled me as though I was fragile glass as I knew from previous experience that one wrong move from a vampire could mean a costly effect on a human. Sometimes minor-sometimes...well...not so minor and I had the bruises to prove it.

But I knew Carlisle would never allow that to happen.

I pulled away from him and tilted my chin to look him in the face. He waited, watching as I struggled to voice the thoughts running through my head.

"Carlisle," I spoke in a low voice that quickly shot up several octaves as anxiety pierced my heart. "There's something...something I have to tell you...

"Are you guys ready?" someone boomed behind us.

I leapt a foot in the air, my heart stuttering than picking up at an uneven pace.

Carlisle glared at Emmett. "We'll join you shortly," he said firmly.

Emmett held out his hands in mock defense. "Whoa! My bad!"

With that, he left, leaving so fast that I suddenly found myself staring at an empty space where he once had stood.

Carlisle turned back to me intently, waiting.

My shoulders droop. "I don't really want to go." I mutter.

Carlisle didn't say anything for a moment. Then he sighed. "I think it will be a good idea for us to get out and have some fun. And besides," he added with a quirked brow. "That wasn't what you wanted to tell me."

Darn. I didn't think he would notice something as minor as that and I dropped my head back onto his shoulder. "I don't want to talk about it," I said into his shirt, shame burning my face as I nearly cried in defeat. "Please don't ask me...to..."

I felt Carlisle nod above me. "That is alright." He soothed. "If you don't want to talk about it than I won't make you-but never hesitate if there is something you want to talk about with me or Esme or Alice or whoever suits your need."

I didn't answer but I knew he felt the relief flowing from my body. I didn't mean to be so weak-I cringe, waiting for the voices but there was only silence-as I thought this.

"Are you ready to go? It's just me and you in the car."

I looked up at that, surprised. "What about everyone else?" I asked in bewilderment. I thought this was an "everyone" thing. If Carlisle thought I was going to play baseball with just me and him than maybe he was a little cracked from being around for so long after all.

Carlisle chuckled, obviously reading the look on my face. "They are travelling in a different means than us."

"Oh." I narrowed my eyes at the wall in thought. "Oh." I repeated and Carlisle's smile grew larger.

"It's alright. We'll be able to drive part of the way."

Carlisle

She was sitting quite stiffly in the passenger seat beside me, one hand gripping the door handle, the other clutching the seat belt strap. Her face was white.

"You need to relax," I told her gently and she shot me a panicked look. "You look as though you're about to make a flying leap out of the moving car."

Mercy scowled. "I'm thinking about it," she muttered, relaxing slightly and I realized what must have been frightening her. I ease my foot away from the gas pedal and the car slows and I could tell this brought her great relief. She lets go of the car handle and both her hands drop in her lap where she fidgeted. She was wearing the baseball jersey that Alice had brought her and a gray-blue cap on her curly head. She catches me studying her and she smiles at me-a forced one, but one nonetheless.

She was the one who started talking this time. "Do you think she'll be alright all alone?"

I looked at her quizzically. "Who?'

"Duma," Mercy replies impatiently, looking annoyed that I didn't know what she had been talking about and I smile at that.

"Ah, yes," I cleared my throat of all laughter before speaking. "The dog."

She nodded.

"She'll be fine. I locked her up in the kennel and gave her fresh water. She already had her meal for the night." Which was actually yours...I grudgingly thought. "So I believe she'll be just fine."

"What if she gets lonely?"

My smile grows larger. "She won't."

"How do you know?" she pressed.

I look at her seriously. "I'm seven hundred years old, Mercy. I know everything."

She didn't take my teasing. Instead, she looked unimpressed.

"Maturity doesn't come from how many birthdays you have."

I nodded my approval. "Very wise of you to think that."

Mercy accepted that and looked away, out the window, looking thoughtful in a forlorn sort of way.

"What are you thinking?' I ask her, wishing I could ease the thoughts going through her mind and soul.

Mercy doesn't turn to look at me. "I was thinking of Aimee."

This shocked me because I couldn't remember her actually answering such a direct question as the one I just asked. I look her but she still was refusing to turn her head towards me.

"Aimee," I repeat slowly and the name was nearly sour on my tongue.

"She used to have a cat." Mercy continued. "She loved the thing."

I waited.

"But it died the day her dad left."

I wince then. "Did her father ever come back?"

She nods slowly, her face tinged green. "She was dead by then though."

This time I was the one averting my eyes, determined to stare at the road in front of me.

"Maybe if I had gotten her another cat she would have had something to live for."

I gave her no answer.

"But I didn't think of that." Mercy's voice breaks. "I wish I had though. But I can never think of the right things."

"I don't believe that," I counter softly.

Nothing.

"She was my hero." Mercy continues.

"I know."

"She shouldn't have been. Heroes don't kill themselves."

"Not everyone is perfect. Superman was defeated by a green rock from space." I faltered for something right to say, realizing that what I had just said probably wasn't it.

Mercy sniffles. "But she wasn't Superman. And Superman didn't do it willingly."

I pull into the grass between two trees that discreetly hide the Mercedes.

"You and your family are perfect." It came out nearly as though it is was an accusation.

I shook my head slowly. "No, Mercy. We're far from perfect." I sighed. "You have no idea."

Mercy

Carlisle pulls the keys from the ignition and looks at me calmly. "No one can change the past, Mercy. But we can learn from it and create for us a new future."

I was afraid to move, to ruin this moment of serenity. The wood around in front of us seemed hauntingly beautiful-quiet and mysterious. Carlisle didn't speak, as though he was allowing me to process my thoughts, letting me to decide what is right.

"Aimee's death was unfortunate," he spoke slowly, choosing his words carefully. My chest constricted. "It was life short lived-but it wasn't your fault Mercy. Do you think she wanted you to suffer?"

"Yes," the answer sent me mentally stumbling back a few paces. I hadn't meant to say that so freely. It just sort of came out without my thinking.

Carlisle looks at me sharply as though to reprimand me for such an answer but he only opens his mouth slightly, no sound moving past his lips.

There was silence. And we both sat in the silent car, Carlisle looking at me and me looking out the window. It was a tense silence in which I waited for the anger-either from me or him. But I knew he wouldn't be the one to get angry and it would be me who finally blows the top.

Then he spoke: "How do you know that." It was more of a statement than a question. I hated questions though-because I hated answering them for fear of revealing too much.

"She always said that I was different." I wince, clenching my fists, digging my nails into the flesh of my palms. When he didn't answer I looked to him and was taken aback when he wasn't sitting next to me.

My back straightens like a wire and I rise up slightly off the seat. "Carlisle?" I panicked.

"Yes?" I whirled around to see he had opened the car door for me, his hand waiting for mine.

It took me a moment for me to steady my pounding heart.

"I'm sorry. I didn't mean to frighten you. We just have to get going." Carlisle smiles. He helps me out of the car. "Different isn't always a bad thing. How does being different answer my question, though?""

I flinch at the slam of the car door and glare down at the grass. "I don't know." I answer softly. "It just does."

He sympathetically places a hand on my back and I did my best not to tense. "Do roller coasters scare you-I mean the speed?" he asks.

That was an odd question-and totally random. I give him a weird look. "No. Why?"

"Well..." he tightens his eyes. "We're going to have to run the rest of the way."

"I can't run as fast as you," I say quickly and his mouth twitches in humor.

"I know."

That was all he said. I wait for more but Carlisle remains quiet.

"Sooo...how are we going to run, then?"

"You have to ride on my back."

I shudder before realizing that I had done so. I step away from Carlisle, shaking my head in a jerking movement. "Ummm..." I choke out a panicked laugh. "I-I don't know about that..."

Carlisle holds out his hands in a helpless gesture. "It's the only way." He said.

"I'll walk." I narrowed my eyes at him. I take another step back, away from the crazy vampire standing motionless. He cocks an eyebrow.

"I don't think that will be possible."

"Oh I think it will be." I turn my back to him but he catches my arm.

"All you have to do is close your eyes. There isn't really a need to be frightened. It'll be over quick. They're waiting for us."

I sighed, frustrated but unable to say no. Who was I to be stubborn when these...'people'...had given me so much, including protection and money?

"What if I fall?" I bleated unable to keep my voice from sounding pitiful.

"You won't." Carlisle smiled but it wasn't a condemning smile but one of understanding.

I ducked my head and nodded. I knew it was bound to be an awkward situation but I had to endure. Yet even with that thought, I couldn't suppress the scream that ripped from my throat as I suddenly found myself pulled up abruptly onto his back and the wood around me whipping past at incredible speeds that I never thought possible. I wrapped my arms around his neck in a strangle hold and I squeezed my eyes shut, willing myself not to scream again. The speed sent my stomach jumping to my throat but at the same time, I felt a touch of exhilaration in my chest.

But it was over before I knew it. The ride was over and I found myself slowly sliding from Carlisle's back to sit on the grassy floor of the earth. My head was still spinning from the heart-throbbing trip and it somehow felt as though the ground beneath me was still moving as my equilibrium struggled to catch up.

"Are you all right?" Carlisle asked apologetically, crouching down to be eye level with me.

I nodded.

"I totally understand how you feel," Bella spoke above me. There was a bit of a laugh in her voice. "I nearly fainted my first time but you get used to the speed after a couple times."

"Oh." Was all I could breathe out.

"Surely you've experienced it before..."

Carlisle was shaking his head infinitesimally at Emmett who had been speaking.

I knew what he was getting at but I was able to curb the sharp cut of fear in my chest. Seeing Jasper wince out of my peripheral vision, I did the best I could to repress the sudden bloom of emotions. I took Carlisle's offered hand and stood, slightly wobbling but I was well enough to smile. Esme picked up my baseball cap and fitted it back on my head. She cocked a grin.

"Play ball?"

The helmet felt heavy on my head. I wobbled slightly under its weight as I made my way to home base. I could hear the thunder in the distance and I shivered with a slight chill. Edward stood motionless on the pitcher's mound, the baseball cap on his head slightly askew but still looking as though it was meant to be stylish. The stripped baseball jersey felt baggy. I couldn't believe I was doing this.

"Gently, Edward," I heard Carlisle murmur behind me and I didn't think I was supposed to hear that. I rested the bat on my shoulder, finding my balance, feeling my heart pound within my chest.

I could feel Jasper shift slightly behind me. Edward stayed motionless, his golden eyes seemed to burn as he stared at me.

I thought he had moved and I saw this glimpse of a white blur and I felt a brief wind graze my face. My eyes popped. I couldn't move for shock. They were laughing in the outfield.

Jasper cleared his throat. "Er...strike one."

"Edward!" Carlisle chided and I could nearly feel his nervousness radiating towards me.

Edward grinned in obvious amusement and I scowled, planting my feet again.

This time, I actually saw Edward move. He raised the ball slowly, exaggerative, cocking an eyebrow my direction.

"Come on, Edward!" Bella called impatiently, her body tensed as she readied for a sprint from third base. "I don't want to wait a hundred years.

Then the ball was flying towards me. I tensed my muscles, waited, then....smack! My ears rang with the target. I was momentarily stunned.

"Go!" I heard both Esme and Carlisle shout at me. I snapped to life, dropped my bat then sprinted forward, my curls flying in the wind. I was suddenly alive, running like I used to when I was in track. I left everything behind me and looked at nothing but my goal.

Edward went for Bella first, obviously allowing me a head start. I couldn't remember the last time I had ran so hard...it was wonderful.

Then Edward was coming upon me as I neared first base. He ran at a fast human pace but it was still intimidating to have a vampire running at me.

I squealed with triumph and surprise as I touched first base. My toe caught the edge of it and my ankle twisted. My body followed and I twisted in mid-air before hitting the dust, head first, the helmet echoing with a dull thump.

Maybe I had blacked out momentarily for the next moment every Cullen was standing over me, their faces inquiring. Carlisle had a furrowed brow and was kneeling by me. "Are you all right?"

I giggled somewhat drunkenly, not able to form any words with my mouth. Carlisle gently removed the helmet from my head, placing his cold hand on the side of my neck.

"Did she hit her head?" Emmett asked, his hands on his knees, his baseball cap sat backwards on his head.

I giggled again, goofily, and tried to sit up but Carlisle wouldn't let me. "Lay still, Mercy."

"I'm fine," I said, brushing his hand aside and pulling myself up. "Can I have another go?"

Carlisle chuckled. "Why don't you sit this one out?"

I stumbled when I stood and four pairs of hands reached out to steady my drunken form. "That was amazing..." I sputtered with another laugh, letting myself collapse against Carlisle; his arms supported me as my cheek pressed against his chest, my eyes closed, my face in a permanent, blissful smile.

It didn't bother me that I didn't hear the erythematic beating of a heart within the doctor's chest. I only heard the gentle whooshing of air as he breathed in and out. I mimicked him, breathing in sync to his empty chest.

"I think I'll umpire the next round." Carlisle said. "She's had enough excitement for one day."

"Odd." Rosalie mumbled but I was pretty sure I heard a hint of a smile in her voice. Emmett boomed with his laughter.

"PLLAYY BAALLLL!" He practically roared, making me jump in start. I opened my eyes to see Alice fling the ball into the air, which Edward caught with a saucy grin.

"Prepare to loose, bro," he mocked.

"Yeah, whatever," Emmett answered, sprinting with ungodly speed towards home plate. He picked up the bat I had flung down and spun it around several times before catching it with his other hand.

***

Three hours later, I rode comfortable in the front seat of Carlisle's Mercedes. Alice and Esme sat quietly in the backseat as I dozed, fading in and out of not-quite-slumber. My euphoria had faded away and left behind only a severe head ache and a lingering chill that clung to my bones. I was so out of it that I didn't even flinch when Carlisle's rested the back of his hand on my cheek than my forehead.

Esme leaned forward and I flinched when her hand touched my shoulder. "How're you feeling sweetheart?" she asked me.

"She feels a bit feverish. I think you overdid it this time," Carlisle removed his hand.

I shrugged. I didn't want their pity. I didn't need their pity.

"Oh, stop looking so grumpy, Mercy," Alice said from the back seat. Her, herself sounded grumpy and when I turned around in my seat, I saw that Alice was not looking at me but glaring out the window at the passing world.

"Turn around in your seat, Mercy." Carlisle said. "It's dangerous for you to do that."

"Why?" Alice asked. "Are we going to crash?"

Esme smiles at me. "She's just mad because when you're around her visions get all musty."

Alice stuck out her tongue at Esme and I was instantly shocked at her behavior. Was it really because of me? But I didn't do anything wrong...well...I guess that could be considered a biased opinion.

"You're fine," Esme assured me with another sweet smile.

I turned around and put my hand to my forehead, seeing if I really was feverish, wondering if I could somehow push back the headache.

Now...it is time...

I jerked in my seat so suddenly that Carlisle snaps his head to look at me. "What's wrong?" he asked.

Three pair of vampire eyes stared at me for an answer.

"Just a cold chill," I lied but I knew he didn't buy it. I knew he could see the fear widening my eyes and the sudden paleness my cheeks had gained.

"I'm fine," I whisper, knowing they would hear, knowing that they would see right through the lie.

I kept my eyes on my lap for the rest of the trip.

I couldn't do it without you...

****Carlisle

I was relieved from the progress Mercy had seemed to be making. She was definitely growing a lot more comfortable with Emmett who had terrified her in the beginning. He was being gently with her, aware of my watchful gaze, aware of her fragility.

I watched as he slung her on his back and zipped down the staircase as I shouldered the bag of Mercy's clothes. I did a quick once-over of the room. Making sure that nothing was being left behind. I noticed that one of the drawers to the white dresser partially open and move over to it.

A faded pink rose laid dried and shriveled in the drawer, but somehow still containing its beauty that could only be found in nature. Mercy must have hid it here for some reason or another and I decided to pack the rose as well, thinking that she would look for it in the near future. Mentally agreeing on this, I quickly found a plastic, zip-lock bag and gently place the flower in the package than wrapped it as careful as I could with tissue paper from a box in the closet.

I checked the room. It was empty, devoid of life, completely and utterly barren without the glow of a human soul

I sighed.

Preparing to move again was not exactly appealing but I realized it was necessary. I had gone into hiding before, knew what to expect, knew that tensions got high, but they were always straightened out in the end. Hiding from the Volturi was another story, though. Something that I had believed virtually impossible yet here we were, evading them was ease. It was impossible, really. But we were doing it. Somehow...

I smiled to myself, hearing Mercy giggle two stories below and hearing Emmett's booming laugh echo hers. She needed to laugh, need to feel that joy was still possible. I had been in a position of despair before and I knew that Mercy could pull through this, that we could get this all behind her and she could somehow learn from her past and formulate a promising future. I wondered if that future included being changed into a vampire.

I shuddered. No, don't think of that. I chided myself inwardly. The key was to just get through this day first before moving onto the next. Before trying to make any more major decisions. But the lingering smile quickly slid from my face when I heard the squabbling below pick up between the sibling vampires-it was never a good sign. Vampires fighting with a human around was never a good thing to have. Esme must have thought the same thing for she met me in the hall as I jogged down the first spiral of stairs. Together we ran down the remaining flight of.

What I saw chilled me to the bone and I froze, fully aware that any sudden movement could kill the little girl in front of me.

Mercy had slid down from Emmett's back, looking slightly frazzled, from the run. But her disorientation was quickly dying off, fear replacing like oil in water-a thicker layer that sent her heart pounding and her body into a cold sweat. She stood in between Emmett and Rosalie, a tiny, porcelain doll caught in between two ‘monsters'. I didn't like the terminology my brain used but that was exactly how it looked. My eyes widened, fearing the outcome but willing to take it all in calmly.

"What's going on?" I demand in a quiet but firm voice. I gesture for Mercy to move towards me. She begins to comply, rather gratefully but Rosalie was quicker and she suddenly grabs her forearm. I freeze again, mentally sending up a prayer.

Mercy's answering cry was drowned out as five vampires bristle.

"This is what's going on!" Rosalie answers in anger, shaking Mercy roughly. Esme besides me cringes in fear and I feel her body tense; she was fighting the instinct to jump in the middle but she, like me, realized that might not be the best plan.

"Stop it!" Alice shouts at her; she falls into a crouch.

"Rose, you're kinda pushin' it-" Emmett cuts in a strained tone.

"Lay off, Rosalie!" Edward growls a warning as Esme gasps and Bella hisses. Jasper moves forward quickly, hands reaching for the human girl; I could feel the waves of calm washing over me. But it wasn't helping. Not me, at least. And obviously not Rosalie, either.

"First Bella, now her!" Rosalie continues unabated. "Why do we keep putting ourselves in these situations? I thought the goal was to lead normal lives. But now we have to misfit stirring up trouble with none other than the Volturi! And now we're in the middle!'

"Rose..." Emmett takes Mercy's other arm and trying to pull her towards him, trying to break her free and send her towards me. "Just let her be, it isn't her fault..."

Rosalie pulls back in a unthinking, violent yank.

"No-wait!" I shouted, launching forward towards them with the speed of a bullet.

It wasn't fast enough.

A sudden, sickening pop made everyone freeze in disconcertion.

All this happened in less than a second.

Mercy's eyes grow blank from sudden pain and her face drains to a pasty white. Emmett releases the arm he had and it falls loosely, awkwardly to Mercy's side, obvious even to a human eye that it was no longer connected with the shoulder. Rosalie had enough sense not to let go as well.

"Oops." Emmett says, his face twisted.

"Yeah, oops is right!" I admonish in anger, rushing to Mercy's side.

An explosion to my right makes me stop and whirl. The line of glass vases, delicate and complexly made and sitting on a hanging shelf begin to explode vehemently, one after another in quick eye-blurring, succession. So quick, that human eyes wouldn't have picked out the pattern. In less than three seconds, the vases had ruptured into a billion glass shards, littering the floor like shimmering clear, fragmented jewels.

An ghostly pause.

Turning around quickly, I watched in disbelief as the wall of portraits spilt straight down the center of their paintings, then fell to the carpet with an echoing thump, the nail they had been hanging from shooting from their buried position and glancing off the opposite wall. Then the lamps shattered in horrified unison, the light bulbs popping as they flickered than cracked, sending us into gray-darkness. The windows trembled, as though shaken by a great earthquake, fractured loudly than gave away as well, splintering, spitting glass dust haphazardly.

Then there was an eerie silence where nothing moved, no one breathe.

"Is it over?" Esme asked in the quiet, fear and horror in her voice.

"I think so," Bella answered in a breathy, scared, disbelieving voice. "What. Was. That?"

It was Alice who answered. Her voice was ominous. "I think...I think that was Mercy."

I was unable to move or breathe as I stared at the innocent waif in front of me, eyes blank, dead, staring at something unseen. Rosalie had dropped in the middle of the chaos and she lay limply on the floor. I moved towards her carefully, hesitantly. "Mercy?"

A tremendous crack reverberated off the walls. The ground rumbled and shuddered. A spider web crack split the floor in two. It shifted and one half of the room fell two feet lower than the other half-pipes, wires, plaster, and cement crumbled and snapped. I jumped away from it, back to the wall, staring at the destruction with a gaping mouth.

Everything fell into a dark silence once more.

It was Jasper who broke it.

"I think I know why the Volturi want her."