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A year or so after The Cullens' run in with the Volturi, Alice has a vision that will bring the terrible Italian vampires back to their doorstep, only this time, there are 3 new commers. The Cullens must fight for their right to survive yet again, and battle against a new danger that appears as a beautiful face.

Just about everything in this story happened in a week long dream I had a few weeks ago. I just never got around to writing it out until now.

18. Family

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Time passed. Jacob regained his health swiftly, and again Carlisle marveled at his ability to heal so quickly. Jacob did not heal as fast as he had before. Stephanie had done quite the number on him. He suffered from the unavoidable broken bones, but his heart and lungs had been punctured. How he survived, was nothing short of a miracle.

Jacob lounged on a chair back in the Cullen's house, a large bowl of food in his lap. Seth and Leah lingered near him in human form. Edward, Carlisle and I sat close together on the couch, talking quietly.

"Bella, how were you able to mutate your gift?" Carlisle asked seriously.

I looked at Edward for a moment, then back at Carlisle and shrugged. "I'm not exactly sure. I just became so angry when I saw Jacob hurt, I couldn't really help myself."

"What was it like?" Emmett asked from across the room, obviously eavesdropping.

I turned slighting to face him and smiled. "It was incredible. It felt like a whole other me had taken over my body or something..." I trailed off. The raw power, truthfully, was a bit unnerving now that I thought about it. To know I had that kind of destructive force in me, that I could kill people with it. I wanted to kill Stephanie, and I knew I could. I guess knowing that I have the restraint was good enough.

Emmett cleared his throat. "Well?"

I laughed. "It's really hard to explain. Imagine ghostly arms extending from your own, and being able to use them like normal arms, but they cause extreme pain to anyone they touch. That's what it's like, I guess."

"Fascinating." Carlisle mused, looking deep in thought. "Could this be how Stephanie and Connor are able to have two gifts? They mutated the one they had to become another."

"Carlisle, I'm not sure it would work that way. Bella is a mental shield, and she morphed it to be able to shield physical attacks. Stephanie is a shield, yes, but she can read minds, not exactly in the same category. And Connor is a tracker, but also able to shape shift." Edward commented quickly.

Carlisle was nodding. "Not so far off, son. Stephanie can shield mental attacks, like Bella, so, naturally, she is in tune with the mind. Is it so hard to believe she manipulated that part to be able to read them? And Connor, always tracking, knowing every iota of detail about the thing he is looking for, could it then be so hard to think that he could have changed that to allow him to become the very thing he was tracking?"

Edward thought for a moment, and then froze. "Well, we could keep speculating, or we could ask them ourselves. They're about 100 yards away. They want to talk."

Everyone stood up at once.

"Should the wolves..." I didn't finish my sentence.

"We're not going anywhere, Bells." Jacob cut me off.

I nodded, my lips pressed together in a hard line.

Edward wrapped his arm around me and squeezed me gently.

"Rose keep Nessie back." Edward ordered. I didn't look back to see if Rose complied, but I knew she would.

We all waited a few moments. I could hear them running. Three sets of feet racing up the path to the house. They were on the porch quickly. There was a slight hesitation, before one of them knocked quietly on the door.

I flinched slightly, and my hands balled into fists. A hint of the power I had felt in the field flared up inside me again, and I knew I could throw them out if they tried to start anything. Edward looked down at me, but said nothing. Smart man.

Carlisle walked to the door with exaggerated slowness. He opened the door, no kindness anywhere on his face.

"Hello." He said flatly.

Connor answered first. "Carlisle, we want to talk. May we come in?"

Without a word, Carlisle stepped aside, and the three vampires walked cautiously into the great front room.

They all wore looks of great sorrow, and regret, all of them looking at the floor as they walked. They paused a few feet in front of where Edward and I stood, and then looked up.

My anger flared more ferociously as I looked at Stephanie's face. All I could remember was her arrogant grin, even though now she was expressionless.

"I..." She began, taking a half step forward, and opening her arms.

"Get back!" I snarled, taking two full steps towards her.

She didn't move. "Bella, I understand your anger, but please, let me apologize." She spoke calmly, like a parent trying to reason with an unruly child.

Edward put his hand on my shoulder, and brought me back to stand beside him. I crossed my arms and waited. She nodded once, and sighed.

"My behavior was... unacceptable, to say the least. You all came to us in your time of need, and I betrayed you all over a stupid grudge. I am a shameful creature for ruining the relationship we had. We are family, not only by both being vampires, and following the same diet as one another, but by blood. Well, blood that we once had, but that is beside the point. I know what I did was wrong. And I say I, not us, because it was solely my fault. I convinced Connor to follow. I told Emm to take Alice's sight, for fear of you finding out. It was all me, and I take full responsibility. I am truly sorry for what has been done here, and I hope that one day, our family can be together, as one." She looked at me, gravely.

"You know the wolves are included in our family. You would have to fully accept them too." I hissed.

Stephanie turned her head and looked at Jacob thoughtfully. Jacob made a face at her, and she grimaced ever so slightly, before turning back to look at me.

"Maybe that day will take a bit more time to come than I would like." She murmured.

Jacob barked a laugh, and I couldn't help holding back the smile that stretched across my lips from hearing it.

Edward took a step forward and placed a hand on Stephanie's shoulder. She looked up at him, and again I was shocked at just how much they looked alike.

"Stephanie, you are my sister, I cannot deny that. But what you have done has devastated the lives of my family, and those of our friends. I know we will forgive you one day, but for now, please leave in peace." He nodded to Connor and Emmanuel to include them as well.

Stephanie and Connor bowed their heads and began to back away to leave. Emmanuel stayed where he stood, though.

"Emm, come along." Connor said quietly.

"Dad... I want to stay here." He said just as quietly, looking over at Nessie and smiling. Nessie turned her face into Rose's hair and tried to hide her returning smile and blush. Jacob growled under his breath, noticing the exchange.

"That is not a choice for you to make, son." Connor refuted.

"If Emmanuel wishes to stay with us, he is more than welcome." Carlisle exclaimed, making Stephanie and Connor stop in their tracks and look up.

"Emm... are you sure?" Stephanie asked.

"I am, if you would allow it." He looked sheepishly down at his feet.

"If that is what you want son." She whispered, gliding back to where Emmanuel stood, embracing him tightly. Connor joined them, wrapping his arms around both of them.

"I want updates. Often." Stephanie demanded, letting Emmanuel go, and taking Connor's hand.

"I will, mom." He said, smiling.

"Behave yourself." She reminded him, as both Stephanie and Connor walked out the door.

"Okay mom!" Emmanuel rolled his eyes, like a normal teen annoyed with his over protective mother.

"Goodbye sweetie, we love you." Was the last thing Stephanie said before Carlisle closed the door behind them.

It was silent for a full minute before anyone breathed.

"They are gone." Alice announced.

Everyone relaxed and I smiled at Edward. He glowed back down at me.

"Aunt Bella, Uncle Edward... could you forgive me?" Emmanuel asked awkwardly, looking down at the floor again, his shoulders hunched up.

"Emmanuel, there is nothing to forgive." I murmured, before embracing him as his mother had, Edward following me, along with the rest of my family.

The End.