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Grim Reaper's Release

Summary:
When the gruesome murder of a pastor is mysteriously caught on tape, what will happen to the vampire race? Suddenly, the world knows about vampires. The Cullens need to get out of Forks. And fast. But what will happen when the Volturi wants to interfere? Or the Southern Armies? And, more importantly, who are these strange vampire twins? Photobucket


Notes:
...I've been away for a seriously long time, haven't I? O.O

Well, I'm back with a new story and I still haven't decided if I should continue my other stories. A lot's been happening in my life and I'm sure my feelings on all of my other stories have changed drastically. Anyway, this is just an idea that's been floating around my head for probably a year now but I've never really developed it into more than just a smidge of an idea.

Just a few warnings before I continue: This story is seriously...morbid. It's not really a good story at all. There's violence, world domination, chaos, and the world kind of goes insane...but it has a happy ending! Promise!

Also, the chapters are gonna be really long on this. Like, seriously long. It's not that I want to get this done in less chapters or whatever, it's just that in each chapter, a few different character's point of view's on different things need to be included to add other factors of the story. I mean, if I had each new point of view a chapter, we'd probably be up to 50 chapters by the time I get to the middle.

That being said, I guess a few things you should know is that I don't know when I'll be getting new chapters up. I hope, with winter break here, I'll have this story done by the middle of February, maybe? I was planning on having this only 7 chapters at the maximum, but the farther I get into this story, the longer it seems. And, I hope, I'll be getting each chapter up each week. I've already written chapter 2 and 3 but I'm gonna post them weekly.

Next, I seriously need to thank my best mate Kira with this story. She gave me a HUGE idea for it and has been such an amazing supporter of all my stories from the start!

*breathes in relief* Alright, I think that's all for now. Now that I've gotten it all out, go read. I'm sure the story is much more interesting than my babbling. *snort*


21. Eclipse of the Sun

Rating 3.7/5   Word Count 9980   Review this Chapter

Leah's Point of View

I prodded the slab of fresh meat distastefully with the stick I clenched tightly in my palm. Yuck. I had lived off of animals for a few weeks with Jacob when Bella had been preggers with the little beast, but I had yet to get used to the chunky texture and raw taste. I heard Paul eagerly devour his share behind me and sighed, my shoulders slumping.

We had decided to keep Embry, Jared, Paul, and Quil in their wolf forms while the rest of us, Sam, Seth, and I, stayed in human form. It made it much easier to communicate not only with the Southern leeches but also the Denali's group. The reminder of the topaz eyed bloodsuckers from Alaska calmed me a bit. At least we weren't just some enemy pack of shape shifters to these vampires anymore. We had connections.

I mentally snorted at the mafia sounding line. In all reality, though, it was quite true. Instead of being the rugged intruders, the leeches now thought of us as allies, almost friends. My eyes fell back on the lump of opossum at my feet. Well, maybe not friends. Friends don't let friends hunt through the Texan terrain for animals to rip apart and eat. Instead, they would break into the local food store and grab the gold: bags of potato chips, lunch meat, bread, bottles of soda, doughnuts.

"Hey, Leah, you gonna eat yours"?" Seth looked at me with wide, innocent eyes and I closed my eyes for a second. Oh, what it would be like to be back home with Mom's cooking. I shrugged off the idea - it only made my stomach grumble even more - and gave Seth a disgusted look.

"Did you seriously not have enough?" It was like he had eaten half a dozen coyotes.

He shrugged, mischief glittering in his eyes. "Hey, I'm a growing boy!" I rolled my eyes at his understatement and waved my hand towards the meat before me.

"Go ahead, then, little boy. Take what you want." He snickered and reached forward, licking his lips. My nose wrinkled up in repulsion; that boy would eat anything and act like it was prized prime rib and creamy mashed potatoes.

I crossed my arms and looked away as he grinned at me with a full mouth. Staying inside the vampire scented coated mansion had been a bit too much for us. We had taken up Eve's offer of using the bathrooms and even the kitchen for experimenting on how to cook deer, coyote, and the whole lot of animals we had gathered. I had laughed at the leeches' faces when Sam came in, bare feet thunking on the clean wooden floors, with a large buck over his shoulder, heading for the old-fashioned oven.

We didn't trust them to sleep inside, though. It wasn't like we could easily sleep with them walking around outside in the hallways and talking in the next room. With paper thin walls, their discussions carried easily and their laughter and ghostly voices could be heard at every hour. Outside you could hear their conversations and the flames from their numerous bonfires glowed beneath the windows. After just one night of trying to sleep in the crowded mansion, we asked Eve for permission to carry the mattresses outside into the fields and forest surrounding the house. Of course, she said yes.

I still wasn't sure what I thought of Eve. She was certainly...different. I didn't exactly believe her whole ‘Mother of Vampires' B.S. but whatever. Maybe she really was the Queen of all vamps. I mean, I had heard Carlisle say once how the Volturi was the closest thing to royalty they had but surely they weren't the first leeches. Someone had to start the species, right? And it kind of made sense when you really looked at her. No creature could have such a frigid, flawless face or timeless dialect.

I also wasn't one to complain about our sleeping arrangements, either. Being in the forest was something all of us had gotten used to. It seemed natural, the scent of damp dirt, the breeze carrying the numerous aromas of the forest, the noises of animals and birds chirping in the early hours of the morning. I felt kind of at home here, our mattresses scattered here and there, some pushed up under trees for the shade and others lying flat on top of the weedy grasses.

Sam walked up behind me and crouched down next to my mattress. I ignored his presence, staring up at the extraordinarily powder blue sky. You never saw that in La Push.

I stiffened when I felt Sam's warm hand place itself on my shoulder. "Leah," he said, his voice a deep rumbling. I tried to cover up the sudden fluttering of my heart. "You have to eat sometime."

I rolled my eyes, watching Seth stand up and walk over towards Quil, who was sitting there wagging his tail. He was already done my portion of meat and looked fine. Not even nauseous. Huh, maybe there wasn't anything deadly wrong with the discolored meat.

"I know," I whispered, staring down at my clamped hands. Sam exhaled and I shivered as his hot breath wove its way up my neck. He nodded and stood, giving me an awkward sort of pat on the back. I bit my lip at the action, angry that he felt like he had to treat me like ‘one of the guys' or something.

There was a sudden shout of joy and I turned my head towards the huge Southern mansion, its roof and third story just barely visible over the waist high grasses. I strained my hearing, trying to catch the source. All I could hear was murmuring, eerie sighs and words barely reaching my ears. A shudder ran down my spine at the sound of the parasite's soft voices. It sounded so unnatural, like something from a kinky Sci-Fi movie.

I stood up, standing next to Sam, who seemed frozen on the spot, his eyes flickering here and there and his face alert. I looked to my right for Seth, wanting to make sure he was alright. I breathed a sigh of relief as I saw Quil wind his long torso around Seth as he stood in his vulnerable human form.

"Should we see what happened...?" Seth's voice sounded unfamiliarly meek and trailed off absently. Sam's jaw clenched at the obvious commotion happening outside of the house.

"Hold on, stay here. Let me see what's going on." He started off hesitantly towards the house, Paul and Jared in tow. I swallowed down the hard lump rising in my throat at their disappearing forms. They made their way through the grass, reminding me of that movie Jumping with Wolves.

Oh. Wait. Was it Dances with Wolves? I shrugged, whatever, it's not like I had actually seen the film.

Embry and Quil wandered towards Seth and I, their heads bowed and lips curled as their eyes flickered towards the house. I reached forward and ruffled Quil's furry head, hoping to ease the tension. His wide brown eyes focused on me and he blew out a big breath of air.

"What should we do?" Seth asked, his arm slung around Embry's flank. I bit the inside of my cheek and looked to the left where Sam and the others had wandered towards. My eyes narrowed on the spot where the grass was pushed to the ground, carving out trails where the wolves had stepped through. I stepped forward and the others did, too.

"Hold on, guys. Embry, Quil, you stay here, let Seth and I go see what's going on." The idea unsettled the two wolves and Embry gave a low whimpering sound.

Seth, on the other hand, readily stepped forward, the usual impish grin covering his features. I took off towards the house, watching the two lonesome wolves over my shoulder. They stood, awkwardly, their muscles tensed and waiting for the first sign of trouble.

At the start of the high grasses, I pulled on Seth's arm and yanked him down. "Come on, if we're gonna do this, we have to keep low. Someone's bound to see us we just stand there watching, especially in all of our 6 foot and higher glory."

Seth snickered and nodded consentingly. We got down on all fours and I groaned as the bare skin of my knees touched the squishy brown dirt that caked the ground. I ran my fingers over it, my face twisted up in disgust. It was almost of a mud quality but firmer. Gross.

A dry coughing sound came from behind Seth and I and I turned to glare at the laughing wolves. They immediately shut up, looking unusually respectful with guiltless eyes. I snorted quietly at their pure expressions.

"Come on," Seth tugged, beginning to crawl through the grass. I followed behind him, trying not to think of how stupid we must look. I shook my head to erase the images that came to mind of two massive teenagers crawling through mud. I pretended I was creeping on top of feathers, soft, plushy, and smooth feathers. Not dirty, staining mud. The thought made everything a bit more bearable.

Finally, we reached the brink of the front lawn. I pulled on Seth's arm, pulling him far from the obvious trails left from Paul and Jared. My knees were aching from being pressed into the ground and I sat back on my behind, knowing Maria's abnormal hospitality would cause her to grudgingly give me a second pair of jeans. It wouldn't take too much to cut the material off at the thighs until they were shorts.

The soggy wetness of the mud seeped into my jeans and I tried to ignore it. Seth sat back on his knees, his heals digging into his lower back. We leaned forward eagerly, watching the mob of people in front of the house.

It was a strange sight, that I had to admit. There were two large groups of vampires spread out on the front lawn and if it hadn't been set before a countryside mansion, I would have thought it was a setting for some cool vampire slasher film.

Not that I liked those types of movies or anything.

One the left, closer to the house, was the misfits of the vampire world. The Southern army was crowding their territory, their clothes torn and ragged and their bodies vicious in posture. With their mouths turned down into angry lines and their eyes as hard as rubies, I could have mistaken them for bitter statues by Michelangelo if he had suddenly decided poverty was his biggest inspiration. It was a sea of pale, dirt smudged faces and the very look of their hostility made my blood run cold.

It was easy to spot the vampires from the Denali group among the rebel vampires of the South. They were cleaner, their faces a bit more welcoming, though I could tell they disliked the presence of the other group of vampires. Their clothes were neater, too. Most, I could tell, were designer. They resembled the Cullens' style and appearance, though a lot of them had the treacherous ruby eyes of their species. They were scattered throughout the crowd, close to fitting in with the soldiers. Maria stood at the front, the pale arm belonging to a blond man wound around her tiny, slim waist.

It was after I had taken in the appearance of the group I was most familiar with that I switched my attention upon the others. Their numbers were much fewer, looking to be about twenty or even less, almost nothing compared to the opposite three hundred. Their black robes stretched down their bodies and even dusted the ground.

My eyes widened as it hit me: The Volturi. I smothered the hiss growing in my throat as I watched the small gang of so called royalty. Something drastic had been altered since the time I had last seen them. When I had been with the Cullens in the meadow months ago, they looked fearless and in control. Their presence was more intimidating than anything else I had ever seen but now...not so much. Their gaunt faces had lost all power and the leaders, Aro, Caius, and Marcus, even appeared drained of all life and vitality. They were nearly bent over, I also noticed, like the immeasurable number of years spent on earth had finally caught up with them.

It wasn't any of this, though, that finally caught my attention. Between both groups were two vastly different vampires. Eve stood closer to her followers, her back turned on them and the hood of her cloak turned down. The wavering sunlight caught on her ebony hair and it seemed...duller, like it was almost turning a dark gray. I blinked my eyes, astounded I hadn't caught this anomaly before when I had seen her in the sunlight. I had observed how her skin didn't glitter in the sun like most but this was even more noticeable. The angled features I had gotten used to were softened and almost tender in expression.

She stood with her hands out, intertwined with a huge man. I mean, Eve was tall. Like my height tall. She was most likely about 6 foot and not too many men when standing next to her were very noticeably taller than her. This man, though, towered above her. He was most likely close to Sam's height, probably about 6'8'' or taller.

And he absolutely glowed. I had seen vampires in the sunlight before and it was a pretty weird sight but this was different. The light that bled from his skin was so consuming it caused my eyes to water. I blinked away the tears, my eyes squinting against the intense radiance of his skin. I struggled to look past the illumination of his skin and look at his features. His skin was deathly pale, matching Eve's corpse-like complexion. Broad features and a strong jaw set his face with unusually wide eyes. He was shirtless, only wearing a pair of loose white pants and the blonde hair that trickled down his face and fell at his neck was glimmering brightly under the sun, like it was made of pure gold.

In the end, it was his eyes that ultimately captured my interest in him and kept it there. They were like bottomless pits of fire embedded on his angled face. It almost looked like lava had been poured into the gaping cavities of where his eyes should have been. They were beautiful, yes, but deviant, even more so from the burgundy, black, topaz, and even violet I had witnessed.

The two strange vampires were conversing quietly and the pair sharply reminded me of day and night. Kind of a weird similarity, I thought, as I kept watching them.

Seth's large shoulder bumped against mine and I looked up at him, only to see him point far off to the right with a frightened look upon his face. With squinted eyes, I turned my head towards the house and my gaze swept over the army. What was he pointing out?

All I could see was the army, their hundreds of soldiers spread out over the lawn. Every now and then I would see some vampire from the Amazon, their animal skins standing out, or a mega creepy Romanian vampire with their spectral faces. Something in the far distance caught my eye and I lifted my head a bit, trying to get a better look.

Sam, Paul, and Jared were guarded behind Eleazar and Garrett, who had their long, pale arms stretched out to keep the wolves behind them. My eyes widened as Paul growled, his pointy canines dripping saliva, and Garrett swiftly hit him over the head in response, an agitated look on his face like Paul was a disobedient dog and he was the tiring dog owner. I pushed down the chuckle that gathered in my throat as my shoulders shook in silent laughter.

I quietly wondered why Eleazar and Garrett felt the need to protect them. It wasn't like we were friends of the Denalis. They had only tolerated us before and just barely. Because of their little black-haired friend, Laurent, they kind of felt a grudge against us. And one bad thing about vampires? They can hold grudges for a long time.

Looking back, though, they didn't seem especially hostile towards us. Tanya had tried to reassure me that unlike Irina, they didn't blame us for Laurent's death. They understood that it had been only our instinct and we had been protecting Bella. I think it was that little fact that made them maybe even a bit gracious towards us. Vulnerable little Bella had been kept safe. Hallelujah. And the fat lady finally sings a hymn or two.

Still, though, I didn't understand why the vampires were protecting the shape shifters. Maybe Eleazar and Garrett thought it was dangerous to be among the Volturi? I wasn't sure.

Seth and I kept peeking through the tall grasses, our butts and knees getting tired from leaning on the mud for so long. Eventually, I refused to look at my hands. I knew the sight of them covered with thick brown ickiness would shove me overboard.

"But how?" My head snapped up at the unanticipated voice. Hardly anyone had spoken at all, except the lover resembling couple in the center. I wrinkled my nose up at the very sight of them; I thought Eve had mentioned a twin. Not a polar opposite incest relationship.

The two words had come from someone on the left and I swiveled my attention towards the Volturi. There was a tall, slender man standing maybe a foot in front of the others. He looked so thin, I thought the wind could have picked him up right then and there and pull him away. His skin was disturbing, not like the once-in-a-while pretty marble skin of the Cullens (Yeah, I admitted it. It's sometimes pretty. It's not like you can look at the perfection of Emmett Cullen and not think he's attractive.) This guy's skin was pasty looking, like he had been changed early in the process of decaying or something.

With a full head of charcoal black hair and the most spine-chilling opaque red eyes I had ever seen, I placed him as Aro. His presence made my hands tremble in the mud and the hair raise on my arms. I ignored the spreading goose bumps over my body and kept my eyes on him.

Maria, on the other side, snarled rancorously with an upturned lip and severe eyes. "What do you mean how? Did you think I couldn't do it?" Her voice was defensive, like Aro's simple words had been the worst insult she had ever heard. I rolled my eyes, only vampires would get in a verbal throw down with practically extended family after only minutes of being reunited.

Aro's face turned into a mask of repugnance and he looked at her like she was a homeless man on the streets on New York City, begging for change. "Of course we didn't think you could," he replied, his voice unkind. "No one could, or ever should, for that matter. This is an abomination what you have here, something that should have been exterminated a long, long time ago.

I felt comical, my head turning back and forth from Aro and Maria, like this was a tennis match. Maria straightened like he had personally shoved a stick up her you-know-what and glared at him. "How dare you speak like that! This will be our ticket to victory! What I have created here is probably larger than every single vampire in this world combined. They're not the unruly little soldiers you knew of before, Aro of the Volturi. They're killing machines, obeying all of my rules and knowing their place."

My face fell into my lap. At this rate, this could go on forever and I meant that literally. Seth heaved a sigh next to me, understanding my thoughts, and shook his head.

Upon the opening of Aro's mouth, the man in the center held up his hand. "Come now, let's not fight." My brows furrowed at the sound of his voice. It was calm, soothing even, but there was a sharp undercurrent, like he was ready to snap into action if the situation called for it. Kind of like James Bond, I thought, sexy, but stringent. "We have better things to do than yell at each other about events that cannot be undone. What has been done is done. All grudges in the past must be forgotten now, this is a new revolution, a new age, and the world depends on our actions."

There was a low murmuring of voices and I frowned. What did he mean exactly? A new revolution? New age? I got the fact that humans knew about vampires now. Whoop dee do. It was about time they put the puzzle pieces together. But so what? Did this guy actually think that the present condition called for a new world? Why couldn't things just go back to normal?

"Leah, why don't you and your brother step forward?" I looked up from the speck of dirt I had been glaring at to look around, dumbstruck at who had called us out from our hiding spot. My eyes connected with Eve's lucid violet irises and I gulped. All of the parasites' heads turned towards us, their eyes confused and eager to see why she was picking on me for.

Eve threw back her head gently and laughed, the sound reminding me of tinkling teacups being lightly smashed together for little girl toasts. "Dear, I am not picking on you. You have a good point and I want you to bring it to the attention of the others."

My eyes widened. Damn mind reader. Really, was it not enough to make me have to deal with Mr. Vanity himself, Edward Cullen?

I grabbed Seth's hand within mine, tightly, and yanked him up with me. He stumbled on the dirt a bit but I didn't take any heed of it. A breath shook its way out of my lips as I walked forward, practically dragging Seth with me. I sneered a bit at his posture. What had happened to the leech loving boy I had once knew? Now he looked around the anxious crowd with fear evident in his eyes.

Welcome to being a freakin' minority, kid.

I stopped about six feet away from Eve and her boy toy. He gazed at me with mild interest as if he...as if he already knew what I was thinking. A quick scowl covered my face but then vanished. If I found out he was a damned mind reader, too, I think my head would have exploded.

"Oh, I am," he interrupted the awkward silence with that velvety voice of his and I gnashed my teeth together in frustration. Just wait until Edward meets these guys, I thought. The poor boy'll be distraught knowing he's not the keeper of everybody's business anymore.

Eve giggled softly, muffling her laughter behind her slender hand. She calmed herself as I warily watched the crowd. Every single Volturi member stared at us openly, their eyes betraying zero emotion but curious of our presence, regardless. The ones to my left, though, all watched worriedly. I bit my lip; it was kind of weird how Maria's army seemed to actually care for us. Too bad they didn't care enough to get us some real food.

I turned my attention back to Eve, suddenly grateful for Seth's warming company. His scorching hand lay on the small of my back protectively and it brought me back to the damp days of being on La Push when I, the big sister, would protect him from juvenile bullies.

"Leah, how about you tell everyone your concerns," Eve finally said. I swallowed down my nerves and glanced back at Sam, Paul, and Jared. They all watched with agonized eyes.

I took a deep breath and looked up at Seth. He replied with a crooked grin that didn't quite meet his eyes but did soothe me further. "Well," I hesitantly began, "I just don't understand this new revolution you speak of." I turned towards the blonde haired stranger and put my hand on my hip. If I was going to speak in front of hundreds of vampires, I might as well prove that I was not someone you messed with and got away from.

His eyes widened, most likely at my thoughts, and he nodded. "I know," he stated simply, the corners of his lips turning up at the hint of a smile.

"It's stupid," I shot back as everything over the past few days erupted within me. The heat of the South was frickin' irritating. I was tired of being hot, tired of being sweaty, tired of sleeping outside on mattresses and eating uncooked meat. This was all Jacob's fault and I suddenly hated him with a burning passion. If he had put his own damn species first - which I didn't think was too much to ask from him - I wouldn't be shoved out of my comfort zone in front of most likely the world's population of vampires and talking to their damn King and Queen.

It was there that I decided the second I saw that asshole again, I'd punch him right in the nose. If luck was on my side, it'd break.

The man sighed and shook his head, like I was a child that knew nothing. I shuddered from the sudden anger. I was so sick of being treated like that. So what if he was thousands of years older than me? I was Leah Clearwater, not some ignorant prick who had wandered in off the streets.

I growled under my breath. "Is it so hard to just go back to how things were? Grab the Cullens and go! I understand the need to save them and all that bullshit but do we really have to begin a whole new world of what? Supernatural creatures? The humans aren't going to fall for that crap."

There was a sudden stillness and I glanced around, anxious to find out why what I had just said had such an impact on the crowd surrounding me. Eve looked at me with wide, unfathomable eyes, and frowned deeply, her full lips turning down in almost disappointment. The man beside her closed his eyelids, momentarily shielding me from his tangerine colored eyes.

"Leah," Eve began, setting her palm gently on my shoulder. I tried not to shake it off, especially at the frigidness of her skin. "Leah, dear, we cannot go back to how things were before. It is impossible."

She said it so simply, so candidly. It wasn't even an opinion, no, not the way she said it. It was the undeniable truth. Like there was no escape. This was what was and what was going to happen. The old days of telling little kids on the reservation of myths of vampires were gone. No one would dress up as Count Dracula for Halloween or rent a furry werewolf costume. There was no way to go back and erase time and make it so the world was as clueless as it had been a year ago.

And with this sudden realization came another and it shocked me far further than I think anything this whole past week had.

Before I could voice it, though, the man opened his cat-like eyes and smiled. "You see, Leah, and to those of us who have not realized the piercing truth just yet, the world is in chaos. We do not see it because here we are hidden in the forest and wildlife of a country my sister and I are as unfamiliar with as we are with modern technology. But outside, in the cities and villages and capitols of this world, people are in a pandemic of pandemonium. They do not know what to do or where to go or even how to save themselves from the madness sprouting in their sharp-witted minds. They are as afraid of us as there are of the very idea of us. Pick up a newspaper, my friends, and you can even see the headlines screaming out of bedlam and killings and uprisings of people who are just simply scared."

"And what are we supposed to do about it? It's not like this is even our species we're talking about." The annoying little twerp Jane interrupted him, her burgundy eyes gleaming hungrily. I looked away from the sight of her; she creeped me out too much.

The man exhaled slowly, as if he was trying not to yell at the little girl. He should have. I would have loved to see the spoiled little brat get her ass whooped by someone more powerful than Daddy Aro. The upturning of the man's lips made me think maybe he wouldn't have minded too much, either.

"No, Jane," he spoke softly, "you're wrong. Weren't you all human once? You all had families, friends, lovers. You all had lives. It is our species, our roots and backgrounds. And we owe it to them to take the baton and run with it to save them now that they need rescuing from this great turmoil in which they battle." He voiced the words calmly, as if he was the ever patient professor teaching and preaching his lessons and beliefs to a class of imprudent children.

I felt a weight of sadness pour upon my shoulders. My head lowered, a deep grimace etching its way onto my face. "You want the vampires and shape shifters to rule the world," I muttered, my eyes glued to him.

The crowd froze, stunned by this idea. Wasn't this what they had all wanted, though? I felt stupid for ever thinking maybe Eve and this guy could bring something but endless tyranny over the humans. But how could I ever think that? The Volturi and Southern army were the same as them. Both groups had wanted world domination, it made clear sense that these two creatures would, too.

The man turned towards me, slowly, and gazed down at me with poignant eyes, flaring and glowing as if actual fire was razing in his irises. "No," he whispered, almost sounding like I had offended him greatly. "The last thing I want is for creatures like us to rule the world. The very idea sends shivers up my spine. A world like that would be nothing but chaos and I personally think the world is going through enough of that right now. No, I would never allow this beautiful, miraculous world to be taken over by us."

I felt confusion at his words. I was never one for speeches or great public speaking and sermons always lost me in the beginning. It was already wearing me down to even try to understand his words.

Maria pursed her lips and stepped forward, her tiny hands on her even tinier waist. "Then what do you want? Speak clearer, Adam, and speak nothing but the truth."

I glanced back at who I now knew to be Adam. Huh. Kind of made sense, when you thought about it, the whole Adam and Eve concept. Only thing was, they were the Adam and Eve of the vampire community. They were the beginners, the starters of a whole species which would transform into a joke of the media and basis of books and entertainment.

Adam paused, his eyes strained strangely on Maria's form. "I want us to expose ourselves publicly. The reasons the Cullens are staying in captivity are for ethical reasons. Most vampires would never do what they are doing and so we know that the humans have virtually no power over us. I want us to give our identities to them and see what they want from us. Hopefully, we will have nothing but amalgamation from our past brothers and sisters. With luck, they will accept us."

Maria stared at him with shocked, wide eyes. I had to agree a bit with her, though I didn't show it. The idea that today's people would be accepting of our differences, of our powers and abilities and needs (like...erm...blood) seemed inconceivable.

"You think they'll accept us? They'll want to live with us? And what, we'll eat our next door neighbors? The idea is ridiculous! All they'll want is us to be gone, to be exterminated and sent back to hell where we belong." Maria's face was flushed with the tiniest bit of pink from her anger and I wrung my hands together in concurrence. She was right. There was no way the humans would tolerate us sharing this world with them.

Adam sighed while shaking his head. He reached up and pushed his fingers through his hair as a look of contemplation took over his features. It was then that I realized who he resembled. I was actually a bit taken off guard by the similarities of his features to Carlisle's. I blinked, trying to see just how alike they really were. Their faces were almost identical, though Adam's features were broader and more ferocious while Carlisle's were finer and gentler. The hair, though, was almost identical in its color, texture, and length. I wondered if it was just me seeing this or if there really was a sort of connection between the two.

"No," he muttered, sounding almost unsure of himself. "I think you underestimate the power of modern humans, Maria. When you were alive they were simple beings with one tracked minds and awful ways. Now, though, they're above that. They're more accepting than they used to be. I know it is too soon and I would have wanted to wait another century or two to expose us but maybe this is a sign. Maybe it's time."

I looked up at Seth, eager to see his response. He stood there, close to eyelevel with Adam, with tight lips. A spike of fear wound its way around my heart. It was rare Seth was deep in thought. He wasn't one to worry excessively or think too profoundly.

Maria sighed, looking down at her feet. She crossed her arms around her torso as if the small breeze was making her bare pale arms cold. "I think you're out of your mind," she said finally.

Adam smiled, a wide grin breaking out across his smile. The last glimpse of sun over the horizon hit his lustrous white teeth and they reflected the rays magnificently. "And I think you'll be surprised by what the human race is capable of."

"I hope you're right," she mumbled before turning on her heel and walking towards the house. Her army created a walkway for her and Chester, who trailed behind her like some sort of overbearing bodyguard. With her exit came her army's. After she had vanished into the mansion, the walkway collapsed upon itself as her soldiers loyally followed her.

I breathed a sigh of relief as they left us. Their presence put me on edge too much for my liking.

I looked back to where Sam had been only to see that Embry and Quil had joined them. Eleazar and Garrett lowered their arms cautiously and they all bounded towards Seth and I. Their faces were all worried, or as worried as a wolf can appear, and when they reached us, I couldn't help but chuckle at their evident relief.

To my surprise, Sam wrapped his long arms around me, pulling me into a giant hug. I gasped, astounded by the sudden physical contact, but my breath was muffled by the bare skin of his chest. I tried to pretend it wasn't awkward (cause what ex-girlfriend just loves to be hugged by the guy who dumped her?) and cleared my mind. Damn you, I told myself, you've wanted this for how many years and now that he finally has the freaking nerve to touch you like this, you freeze right up.

He finally pulled away and I stiffened, readying myself for the teasing to come from Seth or maybe even Paul who probably would phase back just to laugh in my face.

Instead, I felt Sam's searing breath tickle my earlobe. "Your dad would have been proud of you," he whispered, "You standing up to the King and all that. It was pretty...remarkable." He paused, as if catching his breath. I stood there, prisoner in his arms, shocked by the intimacy hidden in his voice. "And...I'm pretty proud of you, too."

***

Tanya's Point of View

"Come on," I giggled, pulling at Kayden's hand. "We should get back there. People are probably starting to look for us." The sun had already set, to my surprise. Time flew so fast out here, I noticed, with nothing but Kayden and the broad meadow in which we lay in. I looked up at the sky, watching the stars slowly begin to come out from hiding in the night.

He laughed, pulling me back down to him. I huffed in slight agitation as I hit the ground beside him. "Not just yet," he whined, sounding like a five year old. A very cute five year old.

I scowled up at him and rolled my eyes. "Yes, now. Come on." I paused, kneeling on the ground and began dusting the dirt off my pants and picking the loose leaves and petals from my hair. He snickered at my disarrayed appearance and reached out. He plucked something from behind my ear and held it out before my eyes, his face childish.

"Did you still want it?" He twirled the little wildflower in his fingers and the petals tickled the tip of my nose. I laughed at the crumpled look of its poor bent petals and twisted stem. "It lasted pretty long, when you think about it," he observed, drawing it closer to his own face for minor inspection. I smiled brightly at his thoughtful expression.

"Mmhmm," I agreed whole-heartedly. "I almost forgot it was there, to tell you the truth." He looked up at me and gasped theatrically, his face flashing in pain.

"You forgot it was there? How could you?" I chuckled at his wounded expression and smacked him playfully.

While standing up, I responded slowly, "Well, it's not like we weren't busy out here." I smirked lightly, stretching out my arms to the suddenly very dark sky above us. I could see the moon hanging, the top of it just visible over the full leaves of the large oak tree. The sky was stained with streaks of plum red and light blue. The beautiful sight caused me to sigh. You never saw nights like this in Denali.

Kayden slowly got up and with a small frown, tossed the flower over his shoulder. I reached up on my tip toes to pull the strands of grass from his hair. He watched me with amused eyes. "You never are going to tell me what exactly Chester did want, are you?"

I sighed and stood back on my heels. The conversation with Chester seemed like millennia ago. I could barely pick up his scent in the air around us and though it was evident this was his spot for thinking, his presence seemed absent. I immediately felt guilty for tainting it with my scent, along with Kayden's.

"Promise you won't tell?" I asked sternly, crossing my arms as we began to head back to the house. The grass under my feet crunched noisily and the chirping of the nighttime bugs could be heard from miles away.

Kayden nodded eagerly. "Of course. Scout's honor." His bright smile was pearly in the moonlight and I took a deep breath.

"He...kind of...has feelings for Maria. He just wanted to know if Jasper's prior relationship with her would...cause trouble for them." I bit my lip as I strained my eyesight to try and see the glowing lights of the house ahead of us. I couldn't spot it just yet.

I waited for Kayden's response but he kept silent, most likely thinking. The only sound he made was the noise that drifted from the grass as he waded through it. Finally, he spoke.

"Do you think it will?" He sounded genuinely curious and as he looked down at me, his gaze anxious, I felt the most overpowering rush of love towards him. Here he was, obviously showing concern and worry for people he didn't even know. He had never met Jasper, never talked with him or joked with him. He didn't even like Maria, or Chester for that matter, but the fact that their personal lives could be disrupted caused him great uneasiness.

I reached out and grabbed his hand in mine as we wandered through the sea of grass. A firefly whizzed past and its light reminded me of how my world was becoming illuminated by his very presence.

"I don't think so. Jasper is happily married and depends strongly on Alice. I don't know about Maria, however...," I trailed off, a bit lost in my thoughts. Kayden simply ‘hmm'ed in response, already knowing that I wasn't completely there with him.

Instead, I was wondering about the Cullens. Where were they exactly? What did the government want with them? I couldn't bear to think of them in emotional pain or anguish. The thought was too excruciating.

"Hey, what's going on here?" I glanced up at the sound of Kayden's voice and looked around. We had already reached the house and were on the very edge of the lawn where the surrounding prairie sunk into the front lawn.

The house was almost unrecognizable. Numerous bonfires scattered their way over the lawn and continued into the backyard. I blinked, realizing that this must be what the house looked like at night. Vampires of all sorts surrounded the beacons as they conversed, the fire reflecting in their eyes to create a distorted illusion of flames within their irises. They chattered amiably, some with their arms around each other and some smiling and grinning as they recounted old tales. I even saw some with a deck of old cards, gambling on who got the next meal.

In the dark corner of the yard I could see Chester with a bunch of newborns. They were shrouded by the deep shadows of the encroaching trees but his voice wafted forwards and I caught the topic of discussion. He was teaching them how to fight, how to survive in the real world. One brought up the subject of controlling the thirst and Chester gave him a sympathetic smile before launching into instructions on how to resist. A small grin covered my face as he looked up as someone joined the crowd and took his hand in hers. Maria.

To the other side were the wolves, their own unique fire enclosed by numerous mattresses with sheets, pillows, and even fresh clothes. The youngest, Seth, cheered as the Alpha came forward, a tray in hand of hotdogs and a six pack of Coke shoved under his arm. I grinned at the sight of them, all of them in human form for the first time I had seen them. One of them looked up, the girl Leah, and grinned at me. She waved at me to come over and I obliged, tugging Kayden behind me.

They all looked up as we drew closer and the friendly chatter seemed to die away. Why had she invited us over here, anyway? I felt almost like I was intruding on a special family tradition as I stopped to the right of Leah.

"Hey," I mumbled, gazing down at her young face. She looked up, her eyes bright from the sparks of the fire.

"Hey, I just wanted to see if you had heard the news. I didn't see you at the...meeting so I thought I could fill you in. I think your coven went to go hunt anyway." She looked different to my eyes. I wasn't sure if the change of her expression was subtle or if it was as clear to everyone else as it was to me.

I glanced up at Kayden in confusion. "No...we didn't hear anything. What meeting?" I looked down at her again and she frowned slightly, as if the news upset her.

Her face cleared and she scooted over. "Sit down," she patted the mattress next to her and ignored the glares of the other wolves. I shared a cautious look with Kayden before stooping down to sit next to her, trying not to touch her bare arms and legs. It wasn't that her temperature perturbed me. It was just that it felt wrong against my skin, almost like my hand was immersed in hot lava. Not painful just uncomfortable.

Kayden stood there, unsure of where to go, but then I spotted a log a foot behind me. I gestured towards it and he sat down, his eyes glued to Leah as she sat there, legs crossed and arms calmly at her side. She reminded me of some great Indian goddess with her serene expression and still posture.

There was a brief moment of silence among us as the rest of the pack greedily chewed and gulped down the soda. I wrinkled my nose at the smell of human food but ignored it.

"I see you have real food," I offered, glancing at Leah's half eaten hot dog lying on a paper plate at her bare feet. She looked up at me and nodded, a small smile on her face.

Sam coughed and nodded along with her. "I guess Adam and Eve thought they should be nicer hosts," he smirked lightly and shrugged. "They heard how much we disliked hunting the wild animals and sent some of the soldiers to scavenge what they could from locals and grocery stores. We're not exactly complaining."

I nodded in thought as he reached out to grab another hot dog and roll. It was good that they had done so, in my opinion, though I had no clue who this Adam was. They were in this as much as we were and had even lost more than most of us. To them, Jacob was their family, their kin. They missed him just as much as my coven missed the Cullens.

"What was the news?" Kayden grumbled from behind me and all of the pack glanced at him, their dark brown eyes watchful.

Leah exhaled and picked at the roll on her plate. "The Volturi arrived while you were gone," she muttered, glancing over her shoulder as if expecting Aro to jump out of the woods any second.

I gasped in quiet surprise. "I knew they were supposed to be coming but I didn't know now." I lowered my voice, my head bowed. "I was actually hoping they wouldn't show."

The men barked out laughs and nodded, grinning and agreeing with me. I smiled a bit at their shining smiles, sparkling white teeth set against tan skin. I guess I could understand why the Cullens didn't exactly mind their presence too much. They were friendly enough once you got past the shedding and smell.

"I know what you mean," Leah snorted. "They're not exactly who I wanted to spend my summer with. Anyway, with them came Eve's...what is he exactly?" She turned her attention back to her pack, her eyebrows furrowed. "I mean, she called him her twin before he came but...no siblings touch each other like that." Her eyes briefly widened and then she shuddered.

The corner of my lip turned up at her reaction. The rest of the pack just shrugged, looking just as clueless as she was.

One of them mumbled softly as he bit into his hot dog, "I don't know but hell, if they're together, they need to get with the times. Incest isn't exactly popular now." Some of them laughed in response to his comment while others looked off into the woods, frowning in thought.

Leah shrugged and turned back to me. "Well, whatever he is, he came, too. He's her...comrade, I guess? I don't know. But wait until you see him. You're not gonna forget him anytime soon. He kind of looks like Carlisle. They all say I'm nuts," she jutted her thumb out and gestured towards the hulking men around the fire, "but see what you think. I mean, you've known Carlisle longer than us."

I blinked, kind of taken off guard by the topic of discussion and nodded. "Sure, I'll tell you what I think."

She smiled lightly and went on. "Anyway, tonight is kind of like the Last Supper, if you can imagine. We set off tomorrow at dawn. Right now Eve and Adam, the guy who came with the Volturi, are sending out hunting parties. I think right now it's your coven's turn. If you need to feec, you could probably find Adam and Eve in the kitchen. They're going over routes and such. I'm sure if you told them you weren't here when they sent the coven off, they would allow you to go a bit late. They're actually pretty nice. Adam's a real comedian." Her face had briefly twisted into an expression of disgust as she talked about hunting and I gave her credit for trying to speak of it so flippantly.

The idea that we were leaving in the morning didn't surprise me too much. I knew we would be leaving soon but I just didn't know it would be this soon. I took in the news as I turned my gaze to the growing fire.

"So everyone's pretty much celebrating?" I waved my hand around at the different groups of vampires here and there. I could see the Amazon coven close to the front door, their animal skins looking exotic and even intimidating in the glow of the fire. It sure was an odd sight, I decided, as I looked around the lawn. It reminded me of what humans called ‘cliques'. At different fires were different types of vampires. One was full of women, giggling and laughing together, as they gossiped about some of the other soldiers. Another had big, muscular men discussing killing strategies and stories of their human past.

I could even see a bit into the backyard, where it seemed no different from the front lawn except it looked like a type of game was also happening back there. The atmosphere was friendly everywhere I looked. People were getting along, covens merging and swapping tales with other covens, and it gave me a shred of hope to see so many of our species together without violence. I felt myself grow warm next to the fire and it reflected how I felt my heart was turning. I almost didn't want to leave this place. It was so homey, so cozy and welcoming. We could all be ourselves here and no one would see us or judge us by our differences. We could have races in the backyard or gamble with millions of dollars. No one cared.

I looked back at Leah, who was nodding, a small bit of sadness in her eyes. "Pretty much, yeah. Some are planning in the house but it's kind of just a do whatever you want kind of night. I don't think we'll be getting much sleep tonight." She winked as she grabbed her cup of Coke and took a small sip. "It's about 9:30 now but I can tell the celebration's going to last well into the night because none of you sleep. You know, for vampires, you guys seriously do know how to throw a party." She grinned over the rim of the cup and I laughed.

"Yes, you could say that." We sat for a few more moments in comfortable silence. The night breeze was a bit cool but nothing too freezing. I sat there, not minding that I was in my enemy's inner circle what so ever. Everything here was embraced, every abnormality, every personality, every species. As I looked around, I realized there were absolutely no prejudices or bad feelings from one vampire to another.

I eventually stood up and Kayden followed behind closely. "Well, thank you for letting us know. I really do appreciate it and I hope you can get at least a few hours to doze off." I smiled politely and they all grinned back.

"See you in the morning!" Seth called after Kayden and I as we began to walk away. I turned back and waved, feeling almost giddy at the idea of it. For the first time, I felt like I really belonged somewhere. I mean, having the coven would always be my family. We loved each other and cared for each other much stronger than most human families. Sometimes, though, it got stressed with only a small amount of members. It was nice to spread out, to be with others, to meet others. I felt like a part of a bigger picture by being with all these vampires and shape shifters. It felt consoling to know they all had my back.

Kayden and I walked through the lawn, twisting and turning to find a path through the fires. Leah had been spot on with the comment of doing whatever you wanted. People were trailing from bonfire to bonfire, cheering and laughing, shouting and talking. It was hard to weave through all of them and between the crowds of vampires and the different vampires calling us over to say hello or to fill us in, it took Kayden and I almost an hour to reach the front of the house.

We walked through the door, feeling flushed and excited from the contagious electricity of the crowds outside. Their enthusiasm for tomorrow was tangible and before long, I myself couldn't wait until dawn.

We wandered through the main hall where even more vampires were stored. They lifted their heads and smiled as we walked past, pressing up against the wall because of all the bodies filing into the rooms. I could hear groups of vampires upstairs, playing games or talking. I pulled Kayden through the crowd and towards what I knew was the kitchen.

The whole thing reminded me of the infamous high school party but without drugs or drinking. In some rooms music from all sorts of decades and eras played from old and new pieces of technology. Vampires danced to the throbbing music, some slow dancing to the romantic sounds of the piano and some thrashing their bodies along to the beat of a more modern rock song or even to an electro beat.

We finally reached the kitchen and I knew if I had been human, I would have been covered with a sheet of sweat from the effort of making our way through the throngs of bodies. I leaned against the doorway, watching the vampires in the kitchen with curiosity.

Maria was absent from the elite group of vampires which I already could have guessed from seeing her with Chester. It seemed out of character for her to miss out on planning but I didn't dwell on the fact that she wasn't here.

In the center of the room was the large kitchen table and stretched on top of it was a large map of the United States. A man leaned over the table, his back to me, as he ran his index finger along a trail going up from San Antonio to Washington D.C. Across from him, facing Kayden and me, was Eve. She stood, her face scrunched up in thought. She was in her normal black cloak and I narrowed my eyes at her as I noticed a distinct difference. The back walls of the kitchen were mostly windows, exposing you to the sight of the backyard, and the moonlight beamed through the panes of glass. As it hit her ashen skin, it caused her to glow softly. The halo of light around her skin glimmered and caused some color to flush her cheeks.

My jaw widened slightly when I recognized Aro, Caius, and Marcus gathered around the table with Eve and who I guessed was Adam. They all had expressions of deep concentration etched on their faces and nodded in time with the low murmurings of the other man. Overall, the sight of it was actually a bit startling. Their pale faces poked out from under their thick hair and looked ghastly in the darkness of the room.

One thing I had noticed was that none of the lights were turned on throughout the whole house and the kitchen was no exception. Few candles were scattered here and there within the different rooms but this one was lacking all light, except for the shine that came from the moon above us.

Eve looked up and her youthful face split into a grin. "Tanya! Kayden! Welcome, welcome. Come on in, don't just stand there. I was wondering where you two had gotten off to." She winked suggestively and I could have sworn I blushed, though that was pretty much impossible. I stepped forward, as did Kayden, and fully entered the room.

Aro narrowed his cloudy eyes and gave me a dazzling smile. "Ah, it's nice to see some familiar faces here." I forced a smile back at his greeting and returned the stiff nods from Caius and Marcus. Kayden was tense next to me with his rigid hand on the small of my back.

The man who's back had been to me straightened as he stood up. I felt my eyes grow wider and wider as it seemed like he grew before my eyes. I looked up at the back of his blonde head as he turned slowly. He must have been at least 6'7'', maybe even taller. He looked to be the size of Sam and his broad shoulders and chest could have also matched the alpha male. On the other side of the spectrum, though, he was as pale as Eve and dressed in a thin white material. He wore a long sleeve button up shirt that exposed his pallid throat and the sleeves were rolled up, revealing long arms of tendons and muscular flesh.

When his eyes met mine, I gasped softly. Such an odd color! They were the most vibrant shade of orange I had ever laid my eyes upon. It was the color of a foreign flower or tangerine. His face was warm with dark blonde eyebrows and an infectious smile. I immediately made up my mind that, yes, Leah had in fact been right. He resembled Carlisle strongly, though his face was of a warrior's, not a compassionate savior. If you could just tweak the features, though, and make them a bit narrower and extend the square face, it could have passed for Carlisle's larger and fiercer older brother.

"This is my twin, Adam," Eve introduced him, walking slowly around the edge of the table to set her delicate hand up high on his unreachable shoulder. I nodded dumbly and Kayden coughed.

"I'm Kayden," he mumbled and then waved in my direction, "and this is Tanya." Adam smiled, his iridescent teeth momentarily blinding.

He leaned back against the table and crossed his arms against his bulking chest before giving one small nod. "I know. It is a pleasure to meet you both, especially yourself, Tanya Denali, beginner of the vegetarian ways in the Americas." The corners of his lips twitched again, as if he was resisting the urge to once again blind us with his smile. I felt my eyes widen at the title and glanced downcast in slight embarrassment.

Adam chuckled under his breath, his rich voice sounding bottomless. It was a cultivated voice but I could make out the slightest bit of an accent hiding under his modernized tone.

"I am sorry," he continued, "that I was unable to meet your creator before she passed, and I feel the same way about your beloved sister, Irina. I would have loved to encounter them but I hope you can understand that it is rare I am...present...in vampire matters." He sounded truly sorry and I glanced back at him just in time to see him share a fleeting look with Eve.

I sighed, taking a moment to remember my past loved ones. If only they could see these sights now, experience the magic of change in this world around us. "I'm sure they would have loved to meet you, too."

The responding smile I received was so bright, it could have blocked out the sun.