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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*


29. Are You Alice Cullen?

Rating 4.1/5   Word Count 10133   Review this Chapter

Carlisle's Point of View

"Can't you just let me out?" I asked for what seemed to me like the tenth time in the last hour. "I swear to you, I will not cause you harm. I just want to help you, figure out what's happening, protect you even from what's coming."

The burly officer outside turned to me and sighed in exasperation. "Listen, buddy, I'm going to say this one more time. You are not leaving. There is nothing coming. It's just a loose circuit, that's all. We don't need no protecting. We've got guns. In case you don't know, guns kill." He rolled his eyes and turned away. I frowned at him slightly.

"There's one thing guns don't kill," I said softly to no one in particular, "and that's vampires."

I shook my head and walked up to the other side of the cell, arms crossed. In a secure building like this with backup generators and probably numerous fuse boxes, I couldn't imagine how the power would go out ‘accidentally'. In large buildings, ones used for the government, I knew they usually had five fuse boxes at the minimum. Now how the circuits could be cut from all of those boxes naturally completely stumped me. It had to be purposely. Someone had to of cut the power.

With a sigh I sat down on the musty cot and shook my head. All of this had completely blown out of proportion. Now Jasper, my most rebellious son, was gone and nowhere to be seen. Alice couldn't find him anywhere because of Jacob's presence. Renesmee's escape had almost caused an execution. Criminals had been killed from testing. The commander of all of this had been killed. And now the power was out, most likely due to someone or something.

It seemed like the last few days had been so surprising and unexpected, there would be nothing left to shock me. Then why did I feel like this was just the beginning? Why did I feel like things were just getting started?

Something slammed loudly at the end of the hallway and my head snapped up. Now what? The building goes under siege from unknown forces? It turns out there's a hurricane forming outside, cutting off all power? Just watch, I told myself, maybe it's the Volturi, storming into the hallway to rescue us in our darkest hour. The thought nearly made me laugh.

It wasn't until someone screamed that I realized something was happening. I leapt from the cot and ran towards the door, looking out of the small pane of glass. But all I could see were bodies lying on the ground. Not dead, I quickly realized. Unconscious. And someone, someone who didn't look familiar to me in the slightest, was organizing them in rows and lifting them into his arms, two or three at a time, while others did the same thing. There were five of them, I counted, five hulking vampires carrying away my guards.

One of them looked up at me and I took a step back, alarmed by his disturbingly bright red eyes. Something was clearly wrong. I'd be stupid to not realize it. But it confirmed my suspicions: the power had been purposely shut down. Why, though? So rogue vampires could invade and cart away the humans?

A soft pitter patter caught my attention and I looked at the door strangely. Someone was knocking. Knocking. I took a second step back and glanced around the room. If I counted five vampires outside, who was to say there wasn't more? And they didn't look exactly sociable. Discouraging five vampires from attacking was close to impossible; surviving five vampires was impossible.

"Come in?" I asked, controlling my voice. What was happening to my family? Surely my floor wouldn't be the only level ambushed by vampires. What about Esme? What if they had come to her, too?

The door blew in and I flew back against the wall to escape it. The heavy door just barely missed me by an inch as it collided with the concrete and smashed into pieces. I gawked at it silently and then, slowly, lifted my head to look at the barren doorway.

"Good job, Felix. Next time be a bit neater, though." The childish, sweet voice that giggled was painfully familiar. I could practically feel my heart drop. Jane.

And, of course, Felix.

They both stood in the doorway, Felix towering over the petite girl with bulging muscles and a feral grin that would chill any vampire. Jane was wrapped in a cloak, her large red orbs for eyes glowing in the dark. She smiled once her eyes fell on me. And, surprisingly, I didn't feel pain.

"There you are, Carlisle. We've been looking for you. Come on. We don't exactly have all day and I'm sure you want to see your family, don't you?" I was astonished at her actually kind tone. She tapped her foot in impatience as I stared at her.

I was trying, desperately so, to somehow put all of the pieces together in my mind but I couldn't find one explanation, not one measly reason, for her to be here. I also couldn't imagine why on earth Demetri and numerous other Volturi guard members were behind her, along with several vampires I didn't recognize. Nothing made sense. Not even in my advanced vampire mind could I put the pieces together like a puzzle.

I stepped forward, ever so hesitantly, and felt a piece of the door crinkle under my weight. "Why are you here?" I asked, not even bothering to keep my voice soft. Jane threw back her head and laughed.

"Saving you, obviously, since apparently a bunch of humans were just too powerful for you." She rolled her tiny eyes and turned away. "Really, Carlisle, I find it hard to believe your family and you couldn't defend yourself."

She disappeared from sight and I stumbled quickly through the room, stepping over bits of wood and stone from the door. Felix stood at the doorway and ushered me through, his face stone cold and emotionless. I assessed the others as I glanced around. The Volturi members were familiar. Even Sulpicia, Aro's mate, was there, with her hood actually pulled back, revealing midnight black hair and almond shaped red eyes.

But the others, the wild looking nomads - I guessed they were nomads; no cultured coven would look so undomesticated - were all strangers to me. Their red eyes glittered like sparkling rubies as Felix gently prodded me. I glanced back at him and he frowned.

"Go. Just follow Jane. She knows the way out." No explanation for who the others were, then. I sighed and trailed behind the skipping form of Jane.

Someone came up from behind and walked beside me. I could just barely see them out of the corner of my eye from how spectral they were. They almost blended right in with the walls.

I turned my head and found myself face to face with Sulpicia's haunting eyes. She turned her head to the side as her lips turned down. "Something bothering you, old friend?"

I hadn't known Sulpicia well in my time spent with the Volturi. Aro and Caius liked to keep their wives locked up tight in their rooms, allowing their only company to be each other. They didn't even come down for what they called ‘dinner'. Usually one of their guards brought them their meals up. That was why it surprised me so to see Sulpicia walking freely, hood pulled back and exposing her face. I had seen her maybe twice while living behind the palace walls and had never even heard her speak a word. Hearing her voice now, though, was like being dunked in cold water. It was ghastly, a type of voice you never forgot. It was somewhere between a hiss and a whisper, though not hostile in any way. Just chilling.

I didn't even know if it was proper etiquette to speak to one of the Volturi wives directly. I assumed since she had spoken to me first, I was permitted to respond.

"These other vampires," I said, keeping my voice low, "who are they all?"

Sulpicia simply smiled, her lips turning up at the corners as she gazed at me with her centuries old look. It was a look that made you feel inexperienced, naive, and even juvenile. It was a look I often used with my own children, Emmett mostly, but had never received. Now I knew why Emmett always froze when I looked at him this way. It was enough to make any vampire stop in their tracks.

"You'd be surprised by how many vampires have arrived to aide in your freedom," she said, her voice floating through the hallway and over the footfalls of the other guard members and miscellaneous vampires. "They are soldiers from Maria's army in the South. I am sure you have heard of her."

Maria from the South. Maria as in Jasper's creator. I felt myself stiffen at her words and glanced around unsurely. These were her ruthless soldiers, destined to bring destruction to the south and kill all humans? I swallowed thickly.

"And how do we know if they are..." How exactly are you supposed to ask if the people around you are trustworthy when you know they're eavesdropping?

"Loyal?" Sulpicia volunteered and I nodded, relieved.

"Every vampire is trustworthy, Carlisle. It's the humans you must worry about. Maria's army has been very helpful to us these past days, supplying us with hunting grounds and good company. I know of their infamous past but they have changed. And their size is nothing any of us could have imagined."

"How many are there?" I asked, quite intrigued myself.

"Two hundred."

I nearly asked her to repeat herself. I fell silent at her words, giving up any possibility of conversation in my astonishment. Maria had two hundred newborn vampires under her rule? How had all of those soldiers gone undetected? How had her numbers increased so high without us noticing? I could scarcely believe it. It was...it was beyond believable. Just wait until Jasper gets back, I thought. He'll be astounded. Simply astounded.

Getting out was no trouble at all. The only tough part was maneuvering through the halls with such a large group of people surrounding me. It didn't take me long to realize their reasoning. They were protecting me. From what, I couldn't imagine. Maybe being taken back into captivity? I wasn't sure.

Jane led us up several flights of stairs and Sulpicia stayed by my side quietly. Half the time I forgot she was there because of how silent she was. The only time we spoke after our talk about Maria's army was when I asked her where her husband was.

"Oh, Aro," she had replied, chuckling softly under her breath, "he's rounding up the President and getting him ready for the twins."

"For the twins?" I had asked. She couldn't have meant Jane and Alec, could she? I couldn't imagine why those two would need to speak to the President.

But I had received no reply from her except for a mysterious smile and a shake of the head. It was enough to clear everything up for me. The world had changed, I realized then. During our time here, without communication to the world or hearing any news, the world had radically changed. Vampires automatically trusted each other, something we rarely did before. It seemed as if the crisis of exposure had brought us all together.

We finally exited the staircase and deposited into the large glass lobby, something I hadn't seen or dreamed of seeming anytime soon for days. Vampires flocked here and there, huddled together around either humans or talking together. I made my way to the glass doors, spotting most of my family outside on the green grass, but something pulled me back.

"No, we must check out first," Sulpicia said, her voice sharp. I stared at her in blank confusion. Check out? What could that possibly mean?

She sighed and shook her head as her bony hand wrapped around my wrist and tugged me closer. "Just follow us," she instructed and I was once again enclosed by my bodyguards. Felix smirked down at me as we walked towards an unknown target.

"Just wait until you see this," he warned me. His voice was friendly, though, and even excited a bit. I felt myself grow nervous at his words.

And then I saw him.

He was standing atop the receptionist's desk and I found myself wondering how I hadn't seen him before. He was magnificent, standing much taller than Jacob by several inches and his position on top of the desk did nothing but add four feet to his enormous height. He was a vampire but at the same time, he wasn't. He had the slightest tan to his pale skin and even a bit of a pink to his cheeks. Vitality poured off of him in great waves though when you looked at him, you knew he was the precise term of immortal.

We approached him as a group and he looked down at us with the most implausible, stunning orange eyes. They reminded me of a cat's. His thick blonde hair fell past his ears, just brushing his shoulders, and when his lips pulled into an easy smile, it brought forth feelings of being praised, like when an admirable teacher applauds you on something.

"Good job, Volturi and soldiers," he addressed both parties and then glanced down at me. "And welcome back, Carlisle Cullen. I am quite relieved to see you are well. I take it there were no troubles in finding your way back up here?"

His voice was utterly indescribable. So affable and warm. Passionate, even. It reminded me of a king's. Compassionate but a bit forcible underneath.

"None at all," I finally said as I tried not to stare. But it almost seemed impossible. Just what was he? Vampire? Human? Not a hybrid, certainly not. The power that emanated from him was enough to knock you back off your feet. And his overall beauty was more than any vampire's genetic charm to lure in prey.

He gave me a crooked smile and nodded. "Fantastic. I believe you are the last Cullen. It was a success, then. No problems whatsoever. You may all go. Please, do not stray. We want everyone out so we can finish off our business here. Oh, and Sulpicia, I believe Aro will be out in a matter of minutes. I trust that everyone will patiently stay here until we are done inside."

I can't say I knew what he was talking about. The business he had to conduct was beyond me. I was too busy trying to figure out just what he was to pay attention to and decipher his words.

Suplicia gave him a grateful smile. "Thank you, Adam. We will be on our way then."

Adam bowed his head briefly and grinned down at us, his orange irises licking at the black pupils like flames. "Goodbye. And Carlisle? Don't hesitate to ask questions. Later, though. Then you'll have your chance."

I think if Felix had not nudged me along, I would not have moved from staring at him. Questions? He sure had that right. I had a million and one questions to ask him but what did he mean about my chance? And how did he know I was so confused?

Felix pulled me away from Adam's hypnotic stare and once we were walking towards the glass entrance doors, I felt myself grow weak with relief.

"Thank you," I said softly, "all of you for getting us out of there."

Jane glanced over her tiny shoulder at me and gave a sort of smile. It looked a bit odd on her face. Forced, perhaps. "I speak for all of us when we say it was no problem. Vampires must look out for other vampires, am I right?"

I had no response to that. Coming from her, it stunned me far beyond words.

At the doors I spotted Marcus and was even more surprised. His eyes fell on me for a brief second before staring at Jane coldly.

"Yes, we got permission," she sighed, "Couldn't you see? We just left from speaking to Adam."

I frowned. Vampires needed permission to leave? Odd. I couldn't imagine why.

Marcus, without saying a word, gestured towards the door and for us to go through while waving his free hand at-

-a wolf. A large, furry, human-like wolf. A wolf that distinctly reminded me of Quil Ateara from La Push. I ran through the doorway, not waiting for the rest of the Volturi or the soldiers to follow, and onto the green grass of what could only be described as the front lawn. The sight of it all knocked me breathless.

The scent of freedom was tangible and I breathed it in deeply as my eyes ran over the yard. I felt a warm nose hit my face and I jumped back, incredulous to find Quil staring at me with dark brown eyes. His tongue fell out to the side as his snout pulled up in what I could only guess was a smile. I couldn't help but smile back.

The rest of the scene was just mind blowing. Vampires were everywhere. More vampires than I had ever seen in all of my life. There were the Volturi, clad in black cloaks, and talking, actually talking, to other vampires. I could see the Egyptian coven, the Amazon, the Irish, the Denali, and most of my nomad friends. Several vampires dressed in exotic animal furs were here and there and it hit me that they must be from Africa. More vampires were spread all over the place, showing foreign ethnicities. I predicted the others were from Japan, Australia, and Russia. And then the rest of it was covered with Maria's soldiers who were everywhere. All two hundred of them. Of course, there were the shape shifters. The massive wolves bordered the lawn with mysterious other vampires surrounding them. I had no clue who they could have been, though. They were dressed too nicely to be soldiers. The only Pack members not phased were Sam, Leah, and Jacob.

And wherever Jacob was, my family seemed to be there, too.

They were in what seemed like the center of the lawn and they looked overwhelmed, to say the least. Vampires everywhere were speaking to them, grabbing for their attention, asking them questions, or trying to fill them in on the details.

I could see Edward embracing Bella tightly, who held tiny Renesmee in her arms. Jacob was conversing with what looked like a frazzled Sam as Leah stood off to the side, eyes wide and looking strangely distant. She was staring at an unfamiliar man with a clenched jaw and a dreamy look to her eyes. I passed over her quickly, spotting Rosalie and Emmett who were acting a bit too intimately for what I thought of as appropriate when being in public. Alice was sitting on the floor comfortably, her face a bit sunken in and lips tight. Most likely because of Jasper's absence. And then there was Esme.

The moment my eyes fell on her, I ran. I left the panting Quil behind and sprinted forward. I collided into several vampires as I pressed through the crowd and several cheered my name as I weaved through. Most of them, I didn't have a clue who they were. But they all seemed to know me. And when I felt like I would be trapped in the merciless crowd forever, trying to fight my way through, there was a break and I could see my family, all waiting for me.

I launched myself through the gap and before I had even gotten through it completely, I felt Esme crash into me, her arms thrown around my waist and head buried in my chest. I wrapped my arms around her in return and held her to me tightly, breathing in her scent of lilac and orchids.

"Oh Carlisle," I heard her murmur, "I thought you'd never walk out of there." I kissed the top of her head softly and closed my eyes. For a moment, I had thought I'd never get out of there either. I had thought we'd be forever locked up, waiting for the moment freedom was given to us on a silver dish.

I pulled back from her and bent down, pressing my lips to hers fervently. However, a moment after I did so I heard one of Emmett's infamous groans.

"Aw, come on! I hate being around when they do this! It's like watching the Pope make out with Martha Stewart. I mean, really, am I the only one who is totally bothered by watching our parents do this?"

I reluctantly pulled away and gave him the most reprimanding stare I could muster. "Emmett, it's not like you and Rosalie weren't just-"

"That's different!" he argued. "We're just kids!"

I even chuckled at that excuse. Must have been the first time I heard that one. I didn't think 100 hundred year olds really fit under the category of ‘kids'. Senior citizens? Certainly. Children? Knock off maybe 90 years.

Emmett must have read my mind because he immediately fired another. "Well, we're young at heart. Right, Rose?" He looked towards Rosalie in dire need of help and she just rolled her eyes.

"Sure, Emmett. Whatever you say."

Esme pulled away from me slightly and turned to give a stern look at Emmett. "After all we've been through this past week and being separated for days, the only thing you can think of to say to your father is whining about-"

"I was not whining! And fine, I apologize. I should have let you two just continue on your way," he took a moment to roll his eyes before, softly, adding, "And it really is great to see you. For a moment there, we were all convinced they'd decided to keep you or something."

I smiled at my youngest son before turning to the rest of my family. Alice was still on the ground, her tiny fingers picking at blades of grass absently as she stared up at all of us.

"It's great to see all of you, too. More than great, actually. It's an incredible relief to see you all, safe and sound," I glanced at wide eyed Renesmee, "and I think the only way I'd rather have it would be if the whole family was here." I could tell everyone's thoughts drifted to Jasper then, especially when Alice promptly stood up and dusted the bits of grass and dirt off her pants.

She walked up to me and gave a small smile before hugging me tightly. "Believe me, I am thrilled to see you, Carlisle. Don't mistake my current mood for your presence," she said as she pulled back and looked back at everyone else. "I think I'll just go walk around, if you don't mind. See what other wonders there are to this place. Maybe I'll get a vision or two."

I watched as Alice walked away, vanishing into the crowd quickly and snaking her way through the many vampires, with a deep frown on my face.

"Does anyone know where he is?" I wondered softly as I turned back to everyone else. Edward, please tell me you know something.

Edward's eyes connected with mine and he shook his head. "I wish I could say I did. I really do but he kept most of his thoughts in what you could call mental codename. I could barely catch anything and make sense of it. And at the time of his departure, I was otherwise distracted."

Then we knew nothing. I nodded and sighed deeply. "That's alright. We'll find him."

"Or maybe he'll find us," Esme suggested softly. Ever the optimistic. I smiled down at her as I wrapped my arm around her firmly.

"I just can't believe all of this," Edward murmured from behind Bella as he shook his head in quiet disbelief. "Have you ever seen anything like it, Carlisle? So many vampires from so many places? I don't know what to make of it."

"I didn't even know this many existed, to tell the truth. Maria's numbers have grown past what anyone thought possible." I didn't even want to know how Maria had raised so many newborns. I couldn't imagine having that many vampires together and keeping them under control. It was a wonder the South hadn't been torn apart yet.

"Has anyone even seen Maria?" Rosalie asked, arching a blonde eyebrow. I shook my head; not that I knew of.

"Tanya said she was in the basement with her mate. They were doing some special tasks for the twins," Edward told her, his eyes cool. There it was again: the twins. It seemed as if everyone knew who these twins were except me. How much had happened during our time in there? Enough to shake the vampire world to its core?

Edward's head swiveled and he stared at me. "They didn't tell you who the twins were?"

Frustration crashed through me and I clenched my jaw. "No, do you all know?"

Emmett's laughter was deafening. "Wow, you don't know anything, do you? At least Tanya was nice enough to explain it to me when her and her new boy toy got me out. Oh, by the way, you so have got to meet the Australian coven. They've invited us to come out to the outback for crocodile hunting sometime. Anyway, she and Kayden, her mate, explained it all to me, as did everyone else's rescue team. Even Bella's did, and all she got were irritable soldiers and nomads. Who in the world got you? Tweedle dee and tweedle dum, Jane and Alec?"

I sighed, feeling very out of the loop. Since when had Tanya found a mate? Who in the world was the Australian coven? "Actually," I said, "Jane was there. Most of the Volturi and soldiers came and got me."

Emmett's humorous face fell and he frowned. "Oh. And they wouldn't tell you? That's weird. Must be because the Volturi's bitter about losing their reign."

My jaw dropped at his words. "The Volturi lost their...they're not in power anymore?" Unspeakable. It wasn't possible. No one could overthrow them. Except, I thought, maybe that man inside. He had the aura of a person who could take on anything.

Edward looked at Emmett with a furrowed brow before shaking his head. "Emmett, just let me explain it. You're going to confuse him."

Emmett shot him a dark look. "No way! I want to be the one to tell him who the twins are! He's going to flip!"

"Why don't you just take turns?" I snapped, which was unlike me. My patience was running short, however, and I just wanted to know. Everyone here was in on one big secret and I had no clue what it was. It was an annoying feeling.

Emmett sighed as Edward rolled his eyes. "Fine, it started last week, when the pastor was killed and we were exposed, when Tanya first called. You see, that action alone awoke the two original vampires..."

And it was all explained from there.

Maria's Point of View

"Did you find it yet?" I asked over my shoulder as I threw the walkie talkie on the ground and stomped on it. I could still hear Dr. Mitchells' frightened voice on the other line; it made my throat drip with venom in anticipation for what was to come. Now, everything was set in motion. Adam and Eve were watching everything over, Aro had found the President, and the Cullens were being freed. It was all coming to a miraculous close.

Behind me, Chester was searching for the generator. "Damn, do you even know how big this basement is? It stretches on for a mile. I can hear it but it must be behind something."

I kicked at the plastic pieces of the radio and turned, hands on my hips. "It can't be too far. The officers were looking for it and they were close." The officers who had been down here, speaking to Dr. Mitchells on their radio, were currently knocked unconscious and near the stairwell. Several soldiers planned on coming down here to take them to the human holding cell. I was beginning to remind myself of an exterminator, clearing the area of all humans.

Chester was leaping over boxes and machines as he searched, a blur of darkness jumping across the room. The basement was horrifically cluttered, making our job much harder. Several big, complicated looking machines lined the walls or were placed in random spots on the cold concrete ground. We had to be at least a mile underground, I figured, and because of this there were no windows or shafts of light. I pitied any claustrophobic human who came down here, searching for something.

I turned my heard and found Chester standing on a vibrating piece of equipment, something with tiny beaming red lights and several buttons. "Do you hear that?" He turned his head to the side and looked off past me.

My ears strained to catch whatever he was hearing but I couldn't find anything. "Hear what?"

He jumped down, landing on his two feet in a crouch. "I know it's the generator. It's a soft buzzing." I rolled my eyes; everything down here was buzzing or shaking or making some sort of sound.

I walked down the small aisle between machines and shook my head. "It has to be down here somewhere. I can't imagine Adam and Eve being wrong about anything, not even the generator's location."

I could hear Chester's footfalls as he walked in the opposite direction, growing further and further away. "They weren't wrong. It's down here alright, it's just hidden," he called out. I grumbled under my breath as I found myself at a dead end of stacked boxes and equipment. I turned to the right and continued on.

"It's like a warehouse down here," I mumbled, slightly to myself as I looked around. So huge and untidy. They most likely had a map just for the basement alone. Even I was having trouble figuring out my way around it.

"I found it!" Chester cried after a minute or two of walking around aimlessly. My head snapped up and I scowled. I couldn't even figure out where he was. His voice was coming from the right, though...

I jumped up onto one of the taller boxes and looked around, coming up empty when I couldn't spot him. I mimicked his past movements by hurdling over the boxes and machines, listening for his steps and breathing. Finally, I spotted him and I dove through the air, landing by his side and staring up at the square shaped, gray generator.

"This is it?" I asked, inspecting it closely. I didn't know much about modern sources of electricity. I just knew the more wires you pulled, the more damage done.

Chester nodded distractedly as he reached out and laid his open palm on it. "It's warm; probably because someone's trying to charge it up from upstairs. It shouldn't be too hard to destroy-"

I kicked it, not even using half of my strength, and the thick metal curved inward. I sent Chester a satisfied smile. "Hard? Please. This will be easy."

His ruby eyes rolled in a sweeping arc and then he climbed deftly up the side, pulling chunks of metal off and throwing them on the ground. "Just pull it apart," he said, glancing down as he kneeled on the top, "and destroy the pieces. It won't be possible to put back together then."

I nodded absent mindedly and picked up the silver shards he had already thrown to the ground, crumpling them in my hands and throwing them far off in the distance. He did the same, rolling them into metal balls and tossing them with the speed and distance that would make any baseball pitcher proud. I tugged on more and more parts, snapping some off with my teeth or kicking them off.

"What about the wires?" I asked, reaching in and wrapping my hand around a knot of red and blue coated circuits. Chester leaned down over the machine, his head dangling next to me.

"Just tear them, I suppose. Yank them out and shred them."

I did as he said, tugging the wires out and ripping them with my teeth. He reached over and his hand momentarily disappeared in the darkness of the center of the generator before pulling a handful of wires back out and splitting them apart.

Five minutes later, the generator was no more. Its parts were scattered all over the basement, as were parts of the wires. Chester stood next to me, looking at the empty spot where the generator used to be. Particles of dust littered the ground where it had been. A banging sound caught my attention and I turned, craning my head back and gazing towards the center of the basement.

"What's that?" I asked as I heard shuffling, like someone walking around or dragging someone around.

Chester looked up for a moment and shrugged. "Maybe the soldiers coming down to get the humans? It sounded like a door opening and closing." I nodded idly. That was a possibility.

"Is anyone down here?" I called out loudly so a human would hear easily. Chester arched a brow and frowned at me but I ignored him. The shuffling had stopped.

"Maria? That you?"

I sighed in relief. The voice belonged to one of my generals. "Yes, Henry. What are you doing down here?"

Chester began pacing behind me, hands on his hips as he looked about at the piled boxes and other mismatched objects. I heard Henry grunt and then call out, "Collecting the bodies, miss! Sure is a load down here. It'll take a while to get them all up to the main floor, good thing I brought back up. Thanks for getting them unconscious, too. It would have been difficult to get panicking humans up all those stairs."

"Has it been difficult getting the humans to cooperate?" I asked curiously, strolling closer towards the center where the staircase was. Chester followed behind slowly, pryingly poking at objects here and there. I swatted his hand away from a threatening looking piece of machinery and he shot me an impish grin.

"Not really, miss. They're too scared to put up much of a fight. Plus, it is pitch black basically everywhere. Most don't realize what's going on. In the holding cell there are flash lights for them. I think it's worst when they get their hands on those, if you know what I'm saying. Once they turn them on and look at just what brought them down there, they freak out." Henry snickered and I heard a clicking. "Are you coming up, too?"

"No, Henry," I returned, "you can go. Thank you for getting the bodies. We'll be up soon enough." Then, it was just Chester and I down there; Henry and the other soldiers were well on their way, carrying up the humans. I turned to Chester.

"You ready?" I asked, reaching down into my pocket and pulling out the almost microscopic cell phone Adam had given to me.

Chester rolled his eyes. "If you don't want to do it, give it to me. I've been looking forward to this part since he told us about it." He smiled evilly, watching the cell phone almost impatiently with an outstretched hand. I smacked his shoulder and clutched the phone closer to me.

"If either of us are doing this, it's me. Now back off," I threatened and he choked out a laugh. I turned my attention to the phone and pressed the little buttons until the phone number Adam had rehearsed to me was displayed on the lit up screen. It was just enough light to illuminate a few feet around me, casting a ghoulish light on the area.

I put the phone to my ear and gulped, my eyes caught in Chester's eager stare. I waited for what Adam described as ringing but all that came was silence. I frowned at the phone and pulled it back after 30 seconds of nothing but a technological stillness.

"It's not working," I said to Chester, panicking slightly. "It isn't ringing."

Chester's lips turned down and he reached for the phone, taking it into his hands and rolling it around. "Er...I've never worked one of these things," he admitted sheepishly.

"Neither have I! What do we do?" It had to work. If it didn't, how were we supposed to get in contact with-

"Oh, look at this, the little green button. The one with the phone on it. Think we push that?" I looked down at the phone as Chester pointed to one of the miniscule buttons. Opposite it was a red button with a horizontal phone engraved. I took the phone back and pressed the green one, shrugging. Green means go, right?

"Well, we'll see." I waited for a moment and then the most glorious sound of ringing began. "That was it! It's ringing!" I cheered, jumping up. Chester grinned as he listened to the humming of the phone.

I waited patiently, clutching the mysterious little phone to my ear. "Come on," I chanted under my breath, and when I thought it would be impossible for anyone to pick up, the ringing abruptly stopped.

"Hello, this is ABC 7 News for the District of Columbia, Amy speaking. How may I help you?" In the background, I could hear all sorts of loud conversation, phones ringing, printers scanning out papers, and even numerous televisions running. It took me a brief moment for me to get my bearings and speak into the phone and took me even longer to get my voice under control.

"Amy," I said, trying to sound smooth and cover up my excitement, "it is so lovely to be speaking to someone in the media. Tell me, do you cover any stories on vampires?"

There was a pause in which I could hear Amy's breathing hitch. "Y-yes, miss. Do you have anything of importance? Have you seen the missing Cullen, Jasper?"

I stilled at her words. "No," I said as calmly as I could, "Definitely not. But do you know the Williams Building? Where the Cullens are locked up, supposedly safe and sound?" All background noise had ceased and I grinned up at Chester. We had gotten their attention and it had been almost disappointingly easy.

"Of course I know the Williams Building. Why? Is there something going on over there?" Sweet little Amy's voice had risen several octaves and I snickered quietly.

"Oh yes, Amy. You may want to get your cameras and crew down here. The Cullens are loose as are nearly three hundred vampires and a wild pack of shape shifters. I truly believe this story is just too good to pass up to your rival news stations. But don't worry, Amy, we won't come after you and your news team. It's perfectly safe outside the barbed wire fence."

Amy was frozen on the other line, her breathing shallow and shaky. "O...okay? We'll be there."

"Good," I said, smiling up at Chester cheerfully. I was close to hanging up by pressing my thumb down on the red little button but Amy surprised me by speaking.

"Is anyone alive?"

"The humans? Oh yes, Amy, they're in good health, locked away just like you locked the Cullens up. Some are dead, however. We vampires do get hungry sometimes. And your President is currently...busy, you could say. But, I am warning you Amy, if anyone goes past that fence, I can't predict exactly what will happen. You could have three hundred vampires fighting for a meal and that's not a very pretty sight. Do you understand what I'm telling you, Amy dear?" Chester smirked as he leaned back against a box, watching me with a crooked grin.

Amy hesitated only briefly. "Yes, of course. We'll stay outside."

"Good," I repeated, greatly satisfied by her words, "we'll be waiting for you." And then I pulled the phone away from my ear and pushed in the red button. Amy was cut off and I snapped the phone shut, placing it in my pocket before looking up at Chester.

He stared back unrelentingly. "Why do you think Adam and Eve want them here anyway?"

I shrugged before grabbing his hand and tugging him through the maze of boxes and machinery, towards the stairwell in the center. "Most likely to broadcast our whole exposure act once they're done speaking with the President. I bet they'll come out together holding hands, symbolizing unity or something of the sort," I teased.

He sighed behind me. "Have you ever second guessed their actions? Wondered if their old age has made them completely crazy?"

My laugh was shrill as I shook my head. "Always, Chester, always."

I pushed open the door to the stairwell and ushered Chester inside, closing the door behind me. He looked at me strangely. "Then why do you follow their orders?"

I paused on the steps, my foot dangling between one step and the other. I thought about it for a moment; really, if their orders seemed slightly insane, why would I obey? What if they led to danger or more mayhem? What if they caused death? I grimaced and looked over my shoulder.

"Because they're all we've got."

Alice's Point of View

"You're Alice Cullen, right?"

I looked up at the question, hearing it asked for the twelfth time in the last ten minutes. I was tired of being asked if I was a Cullen, tired of vampires applauding as I walked through or having them pat my back awkwardly, tired of being stared at by Maria's soldiers.

And I was tired of being alone.

"Yes, I am," I replied, plastering a cheery smile on my face. The unfamiliar man looked back, eyes wide and lips parted. He was clearly one of the soldiers, clad in a dirty pair of corduroy pants and a frayed plaid button up shirt. His messy mousy brown hair fell into his dark red eyes as he looked down, far down, at me.

He extended a hand out and I shook it curiously. "I hope you're alright. It looked awful in there, just horrible. And I heard about your mate -what's his name? Jason? - leaving. I truly am sorry about all of this."

I flinched and let his hand go silently, crossing my arms around my torso tightly. The cold breeze bit at my exposed skin, not causing any discomfort, but annoying me all the same. "His name is Jasper," I said slowly, grimacing as I did so and looking past the strange vampire into the fuzzy distance. "And it was pretty dreadful there. Thank you all so much for getting us."

He grinned back, exposing perfectly aligned white teeth. "I knew it started with a J. Anyway, it really was our pleasure. Things are going to go well with Adam and Eve. I can sense it. Hey, do you want to come with me and meet some of the other soldiers? I feel like everyone else here knows who you and your whole family are except for the soldiers."

My lips turned down at his invitation and I gave him an apologetic look. "I'm sorry, really, but I was just-"

"Oh, it's fine," he said, waving my refusal down, "I understand. You must be pretty overwhelmed, especially with your mate's disappearance and all. I hope he returns soon, I really do."

I ground my teeth in silent annoyance and nodded. "Thanks," I muttered through gritting teeth, "It was great talking to you."

I slipped away from him before he replied and dashed back into the crowd of unfamiliar vampires. Very few I recognized. I wiggle wormed my way through the throng of vampires, apologizing softly when I bumped into one or two and blatantly ignoring them when they called out and tried to converse. I just wanted to get out of the tight, crammed mass of vampires and actually be able to breathe.

There was a gap of bodies and I easily slid through, fighting my way out of the mob and finding myself on the other side of it from my family. I sighed, grateful to be alone, and walked further away from the horde of excited and chattering vampires. To them, this was a huge success. They had saved the renowned Cullens and gotten them out safely. Everything was perfect; everyone was together.

Though I was grateful for my family's escape, I wasn't as relieved to be out as everyone else was. Being out meant being on the move. There were plans being made, plans being set to action right now. And if those plans took us away from the Williams Building, Jasper would never be able to find us. He'd come back to this place and find it empty of our presence. And then what? He didn't have a cell phone with him. My only reassurance was the knowledge that Carlisle firmly believed in not leaving a family member behind. I wanted to believe that Carlisle wouldn't take us away from here without Jasper but what if he didn't care? Jasper had left us first.

And then there was the painful realization that Jasper had abandoned us all. I couldn't imagine why he would just...leave. Not even Edward knew of his actual reasoning. Where would Jasper even go? Who or what would he be searching for?

With a small huff, I sat down on the grass and leaned back onto a rigid tree trunk. The canopy of leaves above me blocked out the sun, causing my skin to dim and the glimmering to go out. I sighed and turned my head away from the many vampires to stare through the holes of the barbed wire fence. There was nothing but dense forest past the enclosure.

My fingers wrapped around a tiny blade of grass and I tugged, pulling it from the damp ground. Absentmindedly, I twirled it around my fingers as I looked around.

Even the wolves were staying away from me. The only one nearby was Paul, his silver fur glinting in the small amount of sunlight that wafted down through the leaves. He was nearly twenty five feet away, sitting down on the grass in the direction of the forest. I watched him curiously but grew bored and glanced away.

I had given up trying to catch a vision of Jasper's future a long, long time ago. The only snippets I got were of him driving an unexplained car down the highway, red eyes intent on the road. Once, I got one of him at a front desk of a fancy looking hotel, talking amiably to the faux blonde receptionist. And then another of him standing near a bright yellow taxi, looking up at a shabby building with hanging shutters and graffiti on the bricks. And then they just stopped. There was no hope in finding a vision because there were none to be found. I hoped endlessly that an absent of visions meant he was returning but I couldn't be sure.

My head fell back against the trunk as I picked at the blade of grass. I couldn't figure out why he would just get up and go like that. What purpose was there in leaving? I kept flipping the question over in my mind, struggling to figure out his actions. Jasper wasn't an unpredictable person. He liked routine, I had learned, and disliked it when surprises were thrown in our path. Like me, he didn't like to be caught off guard and abhorred spontaneity.

He was the type of person who could go his whole life living in the same house with the same furniture and doing the same things every single day of his life. If he took a walk at seven in the morning one day, he would leave at seven the next day. If he went hunting one Wednesday, the next week he'd leave at the same time he did before. While I liked to stir things up, liked to experience new things and visit new places, he was entirely comfortable staying in his office rereading a book or discussing philosophical topics with Carlisle. I didn't mind that. It was just his way, just like my need to know everything was my way.

And it was exactly this reason I couldn't fathom his motive for leaving. Why would someone who hated twists and turns surprise everyone around him and leave?

Another thing about Jasper was that he planned. He enjoyed creating strategies, making schemes and developing methods. That went hand in hand with his hatred for surprises. I soon found myself wondering how long he had worked over his escape plan. Part of me blamed Edward entirely. Jasper wouldn't have gotten up and left just like that. He wouldn't be pacing his cell one moment and breaking down the door the next. There had to have been some type of warning. Maybe Edward had been lying. It didn't make sense otherwise.

"Excuse me, miss, are you Alice Cullen?"

My jaw hinged, shutting loudly with a snap. I leapt up; I was furious that my quiet peace had been disturbed by yet another intruding vampire. I found myself face to face with a male vampire, his exposed flesh glimmering under the vibrant sun, as he peered at me unsurely.

"Yes, I am," I snapped, "What do you want?"

The redheaded vampire's ruby eyes widened and he took a small step back. I felt guilty for a second but shook it off. I had just wanted to be alone and he had ruined it by coming up and asking that infuriatingly annoying question. Are you Alice Cullen?

I never thought my name could provoke me so much.

"I am sorry, Mrs. Cullen," he hastily apologized, "I just wanted to speak to you about Jasper." His eyebrows were raised greatly as he pushed his hands into his pockets. A deep sigh escaped my lips and I tumbled back down to the ground, exasperated with the whole world. He watched me, interest shining in his bright eyes, and cautiously sat down next to me.

"What about him?" I asked as I struggled to keep my tone polite to make up for my outraged remark earlier.

He crossed his legs Indian style as his hands fell in his lap. "I know where he is," he stated simply.

My head swiveled to stare at him so fast, the world spun before my eyes. He was staring at me calmly, his face entirely neutral and relaxed. I felt the strong urge to reach out and grab him by the shoulders to shake him senseless. Why hadn't he approached me earlier? Here I was pulling my hair out in agony and he was here, knowing where my husband was?

"Where?" I breathed softly, eyes wide. My chest felt tight and I realized it was because I had stopped breathing.

He looked down at the grass and tugged on a blade, then dropping it on the ground. "Philadelphia," he told me quietly with his head bowed. He glanced up through golden lashes. "Said he had to go there for personal matters. He left last night. He came and found my coven in downtown Washington D.C. We had known him a while ago from long before he met you and recognized him. He was the one who convinced us to come here."

Philadelphia? Why on earth would he go to Philadelphia? I turned away from him and scowled deeply at the grass. Philadelphia. I turned the city name over and over in my mind. What was in Philadelphia? Nothing but...nothing but where we met. That was the only importance of the city I could think of. We hadn't been there since all those decades ago when he found me in that run down diner. He had no connections there, let alone ‘personal matters' to take care of.

"You knew him?" I whispered softly and he looked up and nodded.

"Yes, a while ago. It was before you knew him," he said, looking away and towards the other vampires.

I frowned deeply. He had never mentioned them to me. What more did he know about that he had never mentioned?

"Do you know if he's coming back?"

The question hung in the air as he slowly turned back to face me. His eyes were wide, honest even. The corner of his lips turned up into a wild looking smile. "He said he would return as soon as things were finished in Philadelphia."

Relief flooded my heart. He was coming back. He hadn't just abandoned us without a second thought. Suddenly, I didn't care what was in Philadelphia. As long as he was returning to us, to me, whatever had captured his attention there was unimportant. I didn't even care about how he would respond to Maria's presence. The only important fact was that he would soon be here.

I jumped up into a standing position. I needed to tell everyone else. They needed to know Jasper was coming back. "Thank you..." I faltered. I didn't know the vampire's name.

"Brandon," he supplied and I nodded.

"Thank you, Brandon. Thank you so, so much. You can't even imagine how helpful your information was." He looked up at me, not moving an inch from down on the ground, and shrugged.

"I just thought you'd want to know. Now go, I'm sure the rest of your family will want to hear the news." We shared one more smile before I left him there, walking slowly back to the crowd of vampires. Once again, I ignored the other vampires as I stood on my toes, looking out and around. My height limited how far I could see but I couldn't seem to stop myself from searching for Jasper in case he had already gotten back.

I quickly found my way back to my family, recognizing their voices over the low hum of the other vampire's conversations. I emerged from the crowd and bumped right into Edward.

"The way that Zafrina told it, Carlisle, it sounds like the Volturi literally aren't in power now whatsoever. Adam and Eve have taken over completely and - There you are. We were beginning to get concerned," he said, looking down at me as I collided into him. He straightened me, looking at me strangely as he did so. His frown deepened when I began bouncing in excitement. "Alice? What happened?"

I looked around at my family, at their concerned gazes and sad faces. I couldn't keep the news to myself any longer. I burst open in happiness. "Jasper's coming back!" I wailed gleefully. "He was in Philadelphia and now he's coming back!"

They all began talking at once and it grew tougher and tougher to decipher their words as one blended into the other. Esme ran forward and hugged me close, telling me how happy she was that the family would be reunited once again. Carlisle smiled behind her but I could tell his mind was elsewhere, most likely from the explanation Edward was giving him that I had interrupted. Bella had a small grin on her face as she giggled with Renesmee, who was excited by the news. I saw Emmett whoop loudly and Rosalie rolled her eyes at her husband as even Jacob was grinning ear to ear to the side. The only person who didn't look too thrilled was...Edward.

I pulled back from Esme and looked up at him, cocking my head to the side. What's wrong? I mentally asked him. He glanced down at me uncertainly.

"Who told you of this?" He replied, dodging my question.

Why did it matter? "Brandon. He's a vampire. I think a leader of the Washington D.C. coven-"

"I know who he is," he cut in sharply. Bella jerked and looked up at him, eyes wide, as did I. What was his problem? I shrugged and placed my hands on my hips as I glared up at him.

"So? What does it matter? What, was Jasper's whereabouts supposed to be a big secret?" I rolled my eyes quickly at him and waited for an explanation.

Edward looked down at me with an awkward expression on his face, as if he didn't want to be caught in this conversation. I arched a brow, urging him to continue. "Well," he began, "yes, actually. Jasper asked me not to tell anyone where he was."

I felt like someone had slapped me. Boiling rage bubbled inside of me and I stared at him in livid shock. "Excuse me?" I hissed. "You didn't think it would maybe be of importance to at least tell me where he was? I'm his wife, Edward! I have a right to know these things, especially after I asked you if you knew where he was. Even Carlisle asked! And you said no! You fed us lies about not making sense of Jasper's thoughts. Why in the world would you not tell us?"

All had grown silent around us and I felt Esme's comforting arm around my shoulders. Everyone looked towards Edward with an accusatory look. Bella just stood uncomfortably between us, glancing between Edward and I as his pursed lips tightened until they were nothing but a white line.

"I didn't tell you," he said slowly, "because he asked me, begged me, not to tell you. I respect his wishes, especially after hearing his reasoning. He didn't want you following him, for your safety. I had to agree. I knew if you knew where he was, you would go after him immediately. You can't blame him, Alice, he was doing it for you."

I grimaced at him, frustrating by response. I couldn't argue with that and he knew it. We all knew he was right; I would have followed after Jasper if I knew where he had gone to. I wouldn't have even hesitated. I would have escaped from the building after him and ran. I gulped as everyone's eyes fell on me.

For the second time this day, I felt the overwhelming need to get away from them all. Strange, I thought, I had never really felt that way about my family until all of this had happened. Now, however, I felt like I was suffocated by their presence and their pitying looks. I wanted Jasper to be here, more than ever, to break the tense moment and calm us all down. I had made a fool out of myself, jumping to conclusions about Edward, and now I probably looked like an insensitive, rude jerk.

But I was still angry with Edward. He could have at least told me after we had gotten out and I was content with waiting for Jasper to come back. He didn't have to lie to Carlisle, right to his face, or reassure me that Jasper was alright when he knew where he was. I had been worrying excessively, to the point where I felt even nauseated, a difficult feat for a vampire, and he had just watched without ever telling me the truth.

I was still seething as I glowered up at him. I couldn't help but feel a bit betrayed by my adoptive brother. "No," I spat at him, "I can't blame Jasper. I blame you."

His eyes widened momentarily and he opened his mouth, about to say something else, but I walked away. I didn't want to be around him anymore. Who else knew what other secrets he had been keeping from the rest of us? My tiny fists clenched into balls as I strode away, back into the crowd of vampires who parted for me. I felt like hitting something, which was so unlike me.

I reached the front of the building after fighting my way through the tight knit crowd, where Quil was parked like a big stone guard dog that you often saw in front of big estates and mansions. The only thing was he was panting, furry, and smiling down at me.

"Hello Quil," I addressed him. His head bobbed and his eyes slowly blinked. I figured he was good company. Silent but would listen if I needed to talk. I was about to sit down on the stone step when Tanya called out.

"Alice! Over here!" I spun towards her voice on the stoop and smashed right into...

...a vampire.

She was exiting the building, arm looped with a tall, muscular blonde man. She was exquisite, reminding me of a little girl's doll with her porcelain skin and red lips. Very petite, though taller than me with much longer hair. It was thick and wavy, falling to her hips and curling off in untamed directions. It was the type of hair I always envied; the type Rosalie had. Her eyes were almond shaped and bright cherry. Her features hinted at Mexican descent and also at youthfulness. She couldn't have been older than maybe fifteen or even, at a stretch, sixteen.

"Oh, I'm sorry," I mumbled, glancing between her cold stare and the man's. His lips twitched up into an easy going sort of smile but the woman showed no sign of forgiveness. Her eyes narrowed sharply as they fell on me, drifting as she inspected me. I felt the unfamiliar tingle as my embarrassment brought forth an invisible blush to my cheeks.

The man stepped down another step and tugged on her sleeved arm. "Maria, come on, let's go. I'm sure the other soldiers are waiting for us," he said, though his eyes were studying me curiously.

There was only one word that stood out among his sentences. And it was her name.

Maria.