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Grim Reaper's Release

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

...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*

31. My Moonflower

Rating 3.5/5   Word Count 10914   Review this Chapter

Adam's Point of View

Over the years, I had created quite an accumulation of relationships with different members of royal lineage.

I had been invited to King Henry the Eighth's palace several times, conversing quietly with his numerous wives and later in life, been a secret advisor to Queen Elizabeth the First. I had known the great Charlemagne while he was experiencing his greatest defeat at the Battle of Roncesvalles and declined the invitation to fight alongside him. I was just down the road when Julius Caesar was assassinated and even discussed the murder with Marc Antony later that night over a glass of wine. And at one point, I ‘dined' with Hatshepsut and Thutmose the Second. But there had been hundreds of more encounters with hundreds of other kings and queens and celebrated historical figures.

To say I was now immune to the charms and importance of legendary individuals was precise. I enjoyed meeting them, of course, and trying to weave myself into their minds, decoding their thoughts, strategies, and plans. It was always a highlight for me to meet such people. But had I ever been rendered speechless by their presence? Had I ever been what they call ‘star struck'? No. Oh no. Usually, it was they who were awed and put off by my company. Because I was more legendary than they could ever wish to be.

I was often impressed by such humans. Or, shall I say, pleasantly surprised by their knowledge and calculations of the world. I had hoped that this ‘President' figure would be even more astounding than past humans. To be a leader of such a new world, a surprisingly successful young territory, I would think would take much talent. Especially in such an advanced time like this one. Most unfortunately, my hopes were crushed almost immediately.

He is not what I expected...I tuned into Eve's thoughts and cracked a smile. How correct she was. This scrawny, fearful little man before us was certainly not what any of us imagined he would be.

I glanced to Aro, who stood near the doorway with a manic grin on his face. What a bother he was. All of the Volturi was infuriating, actually. Marcus was certainly the most pleasant and that was only because he never spoke. However, I could not wait for all of this to be over so I could do something about those wretched twins, Jane and Alec.

"You are dismissed," I told Aro, whose red eyed danced from the President, located in his chair, to myself. He heaved a disappointed sigh - which irritated me further - before giving me a sort of pleading look. I ignored his thoughts. If I listened to those, his begging would surely drive me to lunacy.

He stayed put and Eve then looked to him, a stiff smile on her face. "Aro, you are no longer of service to us."

Aro objected through a grumble before leaving the room, closing the door behind him. I looked back to the President, who was blinded still by the lack of light in the office. He was in for such a surprise, I thought almost giddily. I was looking forward to this greatly. Actually, I had been looking forward to this since the moment I opened my eyes. All of those years of hiding, of our species being veiled by society, had all added up to this moment. And Eve and I had been waiting for this for centuries. For millenniums.

Eve snapped her fingers quietly by her side and I felt the familiar sucking sensation as she mentally pulled a candle out from the time warp she had created. A flame appeared in her hands, sputtering atop a wick. She set the waxy candle down on the desk and simultaneously, we both looked towards the only human left in the room, whose eyes were wide in dazed fear. I wondered for a moment if we should have explained that to him, how we could drag items from other times and places.

It was always like this, I had realized. Whenever humans - or even vampires themselves - saw us, they were always stunned completely. There had been a time in both of our lives when all of the vampires knew us and recognized us. But that had been a long time ago, before Eve and I had eliminated all of the potential threats of our species, and since then we had become mysteries. I was beginning to grow old of the custom gaping mouths and disbelieving expressions. For ages, vampires had wondered where exactly their roots came from and how they were in existence. It almost pained the two of us to keep quiet, watching and listening as vampires created silly myths and false stories.

We wanted him to make the first move; quite like chess, if you knew the game. Eve and I would work around his actions for our own advantage. And so I lazily leaned against the thick wall, watching him silently as he sat like a fool on his throne, while Eve tinkered with the small candle. Not so powerful now, was he? He resembled a slippery fish out of water, gaping and gurgling.

"Who are you?"

The words had always maddened me. Such a vague question, when you thought about it. How could one correctly and completely answer it? There were a million and one responses I could have answered with, as with Eve. Every time I met a human, every time I even saw a vampire, the question arose. And I always condensed the answer until it was simple and short.

Ladies first, of course, I told Eve, who smiled lightly as she stuck her hand through the fire and twisted it in the blazing glow. My eyes narrowed on the flames and they automatically flared up higher in a tangle of light and heat. Eve hastily retracted her hand and cast me a glare.

We both turned to the President, whose face was shocked. Ah, I had forgotten humans were unable to touch fire and come out unscathed. My mistake.

"We are vampires," Eve murmured quietly as she stepped away from the candle. How awfully vague. I scolded her through my thoughts; now I would have to explain further. Her face turned the tiniest bit haughty as she smirked over at me.

The President looked between us with a repulsed look on his face. "Vampires? I figured that." He rolled his eyes lightly and I bristled at his thoughts. What an insignificant, dreadful man. If he had not of been so vital to this country, I would have gladly killed him. He was in our way, and such a nuisance he was.

"We are more than just vampires," I said and his head swiveled to look at me, "We were the firsts, born before humankind." His emotions roared of disbelief and amaze at my casual tone. Eve glided to one of the chairs and sat down, peering at him with large innocent eyes.

"We want to make you a sort of deal," Eve began without any reaction on his part.

The President let out a large breath of air and then shook his head frantically, reminding me of the shape shifters outside with their shaggy fur. "No," he mumbled with a trembling voice, "tell me what you've done first. Where is everyone else? And the Cullens?"

"The Cullens are free, like they should have remained all along," I told him curtly, "And the rest of the humans are locked together on the main floor, waiting for someone to release them." Which was what Eve and I would be doing as soon as this was finished. Then they would listen to whatever orders their leader gave them, just like our vampires would listen to us.

"And what do you want, exactly?"

It was the million dollar question. I straightened up and left the wall behind as I sat down in the chair beside Eve. Somehow, this man seemed to know all of the right things to ask. But this had a more straight-forward, specific answer.

"Acceptance, for one thing. To be welcomed by humankind and not exiled," I began and he set his pen down on his mahogany desk.

"I can't promise you that," he argued vehemently, "I can't just wave my hand and have the population turn into vampire lovers. It doesn't work like that; you should know this by now."

I do willingly admit he is a smart man; definitely not as dim witted as we both had figured before. He was in no way the best President this country had ever had but far from the worst. Just a smidge misguided in his thoughts and actions. But certainly intellectual and incisive.

Eve leaned forward, a small smile covering her face, "We are willing to work for our approval. We do not expect to walk out of this building today, and be accepted. That is utter foolishness. But you can help us reach our goal. Please, give us a chance."

He seemed to transform before our very eyes, turning from a red-faced, twitching man to an angry, commanding leader. His chair scraped against the floor as it slid back and he stood up, his teeth grinding together loudly. "Give you a chance?" he spat, "Why should we do that? You kill! You're all a bunch of wild murderers! Why should the human population even allow you a place in society?"

I was silent for a moment. Of course, he did have a good point. I was not so naïve as to defend my species completely. They all had killed ruthlessly before and he had justified reasons to be distrusting of us all. Even though Eve and I had not been present at all these past centuries, we did know the vampire world a bit better than this man. And we knew their limits.

"We deserve it," I said quietly, "We are not asking to be loved and admired. Far from that, actually. We just do not want to be outcasts or feared. To be tolerated, that is all."

I shared a sidelong glance with Eve before she opened her mouth; of course, I already knew what she was about to say. "What if we told you we could control our species? What if we could all work together instead of apart or against each other?"

The President shook his head once again with hooded eyes. "It's not my decision."

"Then whose is it?" I asked.

He sat down and sighed, folding his hands in his lap as he leaned back. His thoughts were a jumble of nonsense, viewing things through a logical lens. I stilled under his gaze, waiting for his reply. Finally, he nodded slowly. "Alright, here's what we're going to do. Before we, meaning all of the humans, give you anything, I'm going to set some terms for us all to follow."

"Of course," Eve smoothly agreed and I nodded to show my consent.

"I'm going to make some calls," he said, "You're going to leave this building, taking all of your...your...people with you. I don't even care about the Cullens anymore; just get them out of here. You're going to free the rest of us, the humans, and let them go. And I'm going to try to get all of the world leaders to the capitol."

"The United Nations?" I interrupted, mostly curious at this strategy.

He grunted and scribbled a note down on a piece of paper. "Yes, exactly. I can't make decisions that affect the world; I don't have that power. We have to discuss things, look at this from different viewpoints. Whoever I can gather is going to arrive and we're going to have a meeting, think this all through. And then-"

"We come?" Eve predicted merrily. He let out a deep breath and nodded.

"Give me 48 hours to rein everyone in and catch them up and then, yes, you'll arrive and we'll go over things further. I'll need to give you some sort of directions to..."

"Do not worry about that," I told him, "48 hours from now, that will be at about three thirty in two days. We will be there, at your house, I assume? The large white one?"

He actually smiled a bit. "Yes, the White House. I shall have my guards waiting. I'm going to have to ask you to keep your vampires from...feeding...until that point, though. I don't want this city massacred in just one night. And if I can't assure safety for the world leaders, they won't come. They'll refuse to even consider the possibility of flying here."

"Agreed," I said, "you won't have a problem. I think we need to have a meeting of our own, don't you, Eve?" And, as I had told Carlisle, we needed to explain ourselves to him and his family. It was only fair to them all. Eve and I had done the best we could to explicate everything to the other vampires. The Cullen family should not have to hear it secondhand from others.

Eve nodded, "Of course. We'll speak to our vampires and meet up with you in two days." It would be of no problem to get everyone out of the capitol and, most likely, back to the mansion in the South. Teleporting was simple, even which such a large number.

The President frowned for a brief moment. "I don't understand; where will you all go?"

"To the South, I think. Do not worry about us, we have been living on our own for millenniums. We know how to keep inconspicuous. All you need to know is that we will be here two days from now and, hopefully, come to some sort of agreement." The President nodded at my words as he listened.

I abruptly stood up, Eve echoing my actions, and pulled a small metal key out from my pockets. "Here," I handed it over to him, "it's for the humans below. Go let them out and we'll follow. I think it will be best for the world to see us exit together."

He took the key and turned it over in his hands thoughtfully before looking up at me. "You really have thought this through, haven't you?"

I chuckled; if only he knew. "Yes, we both have. We've been plotting this since birth. Believe me; it would be more meaningful for the rest of the world to see us all, safe and sound."

He shrugged, sending Eve and I both a peculiar glance, before turning towards the door. "And there's no one out there who will hurt me?" I could not blame him for asking. Surely Aro had not been too pleasant to our little President.

"Of course not. We are the only vampires in here at the moment. Let your humans go and wait for us." He gave a shaky sort of hysterical laugh before leaving us, opening the door and exiting into the hall. I turned to Eve, who was near the candle and looking at it curiously.

There was a peaceful silence between us as I watched the President race down the halls through my mind's eye. I could see him dart down the stairwells, anxious and deep in thought, and I also watched the nervous humans, locked together like animals. Some were praying, others plotting an escape, and others just...waiting. I was a bit impressed by their actions; most kept levelheaded through the whole ordeal. They had already accepted the fact that they had been overruled and quite easily, too.

"What do you think of the news station?" Eve asked quietly as she dipped a finger into the flame. I walked over to her and pulled her icy hand out.

"You should not do that," I chastised, "You know how sickly you become during the day. Fire does not help." She shook me off and kept her hand in place as I sighed. Daylight was often worst for her than night was for I. A large amount of fire could easily decrease her power as it was similar to the sun with its fiery composition. There was not much that symbolized the moon, which I was grateful for. It was a bit bizarre, when you really thought about it. We were so close to being the same, almost identical, but then we were each others' enemies. I flourished under the sun during the day while she weakened and grew frail. And when she blossomed under the moon, like the mysterious moonflower, I cowered from the start of dusk until dawn.

She paused and when I went to listen to her thoughts, I was blocked by an unnatural force. I dropped my hand, disturbed by the fact that she was preventing me from reading her mind. "I think we are about to change," she whispered surely.

Her words momentarily left me confused. "Well, yes, the vampire world is about to be altered greatly but-"

"No," she stated flatly, "no, not the vampires. Us."

"Why would you think that?" This change that she spoke of, I did not understand it. I felt no such thing. Possibly a certain eagerness to finish this, to start the world anew, but a physical change coming on? Of course not. But then, Eve had always been the one to feel things with her heart. I thought everything through too much, analyzing and critiquing. She allowed herself to sense, to believe. I rarely did.

She shrugged a tiny bit as her head fell to the side, staring at the fire deeply. "It does not hurt. Not as much as it used to. The sun...it is painful, as it always will be. But it is not as searing as it was before. I think - no, I wonder - if maybe this is it."

My brow furrowed and I glared at the fire, extinguishing it mentally. The flame gave up and faded as Eve's fingers curled around the candle top before she threw it back into the time warp. "If maybe what is it? Are you suggesting...death?"

The very idea of dying perplexed me. I understood it or at least tried to. From the very beginning I knew I would never die and so I never concerned myself with it. I killed, yes. I killed animals, humans, vampires, werewolves. But very rarely would I sit at night and ponder it; wonder where they had gone, if the soul really did live on afterwards. All I knew was that I had come from somewhere - nature, maybe? - and that was it. My body would never give out, like most elderly humans. My heart, which actually did pump, unlike most vampires', would never stop. My lungs, which I could shut down at will, would never take an involuntary rest. And my blood, which flowed through my veins, would never thicken and clot. So why think about death? It was like a wealthy celebrity pausing his work to consider the poor. I would never experience death and so I found it useless to think about it.

Eve sighed and turned around, facing me directly. She did look less sickly, I confessed. But that could be because she was in the darkness instead of direct sunlight. "I do not mean death. How idiotic is that. We will never die, I know. I was thinking about the opposite; life."

"I do not follow," was my automatic response. She frowned and looked down, her lips pursing. "Show me," I said as I cradled her head. "Let me in."

"What if...what if we did not have to hibernate in five years? What if we could stay? I want to live here, Adam, I do not want to separate and sleep for hundreds of years, watching as everything changes. I am so sick of that." Her pleading tone broke my heart. For centuries she had been growing tired of the routine; who would not? But somehow, I had encouraged her to give it one more try. To leave it behind once more.

I did not know, after all of this, that I would have the heart to force her to do it again. The vampires needed us. True, maybe in a year or two things would die down and it would be perfectly secure for them. But what if something happened? An emergency that called for our aide?

"Do you not want to stay?" She asked, reaching up to me, "Do you not want to stay with me?"

I closed my eyes and shook my head. "That is utterly ridiculous. We both know that if I could have it my way, I would make it so we never would have had to sleep in the first place, that we would be awake permanently. But the world, Eve, the world is not ready."

She huffed in disagreement. "I think it is. That is what I am talking about. I feel it changing, feel it moving and shifting. If the world could survive us both forever more, would you take the chance?"

It was tempting, I thought. To live forever, to be awake forever, was enticing. And every time we did hide away, it was excruciating to break away from her. That was the curse, I figured. Whenever time and space was put between us, it left a scar. I was tired of that, as was she. I knew her breaking moment, the second she decided it was enough, was far before my own.

"Of course I would," I told her softly, "I would do anything to be here forever with you but what if you are wrong? Could you risk the world, this new earth that we are trying to create, just for our own happiness?"

She was shaking her head before I had even finished. "I know what I am talking about, Adam. It will not backfire. I know the world is ready for us."

"How? This is not part of the plan-"

"Who cares?" She cried loudly in an exasperated tone, "What we thought was set in stone has been wrong before, has it not? Damn it, Adam, the French Revolution was never ‘part of the plan'! Abraham Lincoln was never meant to be murdered! You know this. Sometimes what we think is infallible proves to be wrong. Sometimes, not even we can predict the whole world's course of events. Sometimes, we are meant to follow our instincts, not what we know." She was outraged, I could see that. A fool could see that. I just did not know how to calm her down.

"They are your instincts," I muttered, "Not mine. I do not feel this way, not in the least."

Her mental wall all of a sudden broke down, crumbling in waves of deep grief and disbelief. Her face fell, as did her lips as they turned into a trembling frown. "What are you saying?" she gasped.

I scowled as I walked away, sitting down in one of the spare chairs. Her thoughts made no sense to me. We had always known that we would never be able to stay awake forever. The world would never be strong enough to maintain our power and presence. Always, we would hibernate and give the world a chance to charge up and prepare itself for us. So why would she suddenly believe we could walk free of this bane? And to feel this way from pure instinct was utter thoughtlessness.

"I am saying you are being preposterous. We will never be able to fully live, you know that. I know that. We have always known that." Just because the world was changing did not mean we had to also. We were meant to do this forever, until the world ceased. Not change directions halfway through.

Her jaw clenched unbearably tight and she crossed her arms before her. "What if I were to stay awake? What if you slept, five, ten years from now, and I refused."

It was an interesting proposition, one I never thought she would hint at. We also both knew if one were to slumber while the other walked the earth, we would perish. It was our only means of death. And up until this point, I knew it would never occur.

"You would never do that," I told her, confident in my words. She knew if she did, it would not only kill her but me, too. Eve was many things; a martyr was one of them, but a cold blooded murderer of her only equal? Certainly not.

She lowered her eyes. "I did not ask ‘would I'. I asked ‘what if I'."

I turned completely to face her, my face frozen in shock. "If you did, we would both...die...you know that. I know what you are doing, Eve. Do not forget I know you better than anyone else does. You are simply saying this to test me. We both know if you were to do just that, I would not allow it. I would stay with you. There, that is your answer. If you were to do it, I would refuse to let you kill the both of us and then, in the end, you would end up being the cause of the Earth's apocalypse. Is that what you want? To be the only survivors of a world going up in flames? And then where would we go? Float around in space for all of eternity? Damn it, Eve, you cannot mess around with fate like this. Certain things can be changed, but not this."

My words came out fiercer than I meant them, something I realized as soon as I saw her face. I knew Maria liked to describe me as that modern disorder of being ‘bipolar' but I was not. I was simply short tempered. But allowing my anger to flare up at Eve was something I rarely did. I closed my mouth and leaned back in the chair, closing my eyes as I listened to her faltering heartbeat.

"Just," I paused, clenching my jaw together tightly, "Just tell me you will not attempt that, ever. We were meant to follow a certain path. Do not stray from it," I said gentler.

She was silent for a moment and then she let out a soft, whispering sigh. "Why will you not even allow yourself to contemplate it? Why can you not take a moment to at least try to feel this? To imagine the results?"

"Eve," I warned, "I just told you the results. Death. Either way, it would cause it. Maybe not ours, but the deaths of billions. I would not be able to live with myself if we were to cause that."

"You're too stubborn," she said crossly. "Too stubborn for your own good. Someday, you will see what I mean. Soon, you will understand."

I gave a light roll of my eyes, a gesture she could not see from her position behind me. "Do not count on it, love." She made no response and so I kept silent, waiting for the President to control his humans. Down below, I could see him lead them all out, down the twisting linoleum hallways and towards the front entrance. The camera crew was already here, with little difficulties, and filming it all. It was all going excellently. They would tape the humans, exiting unharmed, and then the President and us, completely safe and secure. What other way to gain the human's trust than to see their own President, protected by the leaders of the vampires?

"Come on," I said, standing up and reaching for her hand. She ignored the movement and I grimaced. "We should get going."

She moved towards the door and held it open for me, "Fine by me," she snapped.

I sighed.


Amy's Point of View

"So, the Williams Building is down there, I believe," I said as the news van made a sharp right and turned down the shady road. "We've got enough film, right? And cameras?" I wanted to have everything we needed for this story. If we were the only news station to get the tip off - from whomever the tip even came from - I wanted to do the story right. I wanted all the details, all the clips, everything. I was planning on this being my big break, not just a minor cover up story.

Jim, our head cameraman, clicked open the recorder and popped a tape in. "Yessir, we've got enough tape to last us a century. We'll get everything, don't you worry." I nodded in agreement and looked out the window, trying to crush down the pre-story jitters.

We had five cameras ready. A bit extensive for just one story, but I didn't care. When a story this big came along, nothing was too grand. We even had a helicopter set on flying overhead, catching some bird's view shots. It was only reasonable to be just a bit nervous for this. I mean, this was what they called being out in the field. I would be with the vampires, just a feeble wire fence in between us. I would take the caller's tip seriously and not pass over into their territory but, hell, I'd get close as humanly possible.

"Is it just me or is anyone nervous?" I turned and looked at our techie, a constantly caffeinated college graduate by the name of Colin. He hugged his laptop to his chest and pushed up his glasses as his beady eyes flickered around the van.

"Colin, you can't let the story get to you. If you really want, stay in the van. I'm sure the wires will extend that far," I suggested. Truthfully, I didn't want him messing this up for me. And a panicky grad student who was probably high on Starbucks coffee had enough potential to be my downfall.

He let out a relieved sigh and fell back against the van wall, taking shallow breaths. I rolled my eyes, popped my gum, and turned to Jim.

"When we get there," I began, "I want you to tape the beginning in here; just a bit of an introduction to what's going on. You'll follow me out, we'll gauge their reactions, and from there on out, we're rolling. Maybe we can score an interview or something." My eyes lit up at the thought. Interviewing a real life vampire. Good God, this deserved a promotion.

Jim gave a gruff nod and then prodded with the cameras as the other cameramen, rough looking guys who I had no desire to learn their names, all prepared their cameras. Eventually, the driver, Samson, stopped the van.

"We're here," he said shortly and waved to the right. I pressed myself up against the side of the van, pushing a few cameramen out of my way, and peeked out the window.

And, oh my sweet Lord, was it a sight.

They were crawling all over the whole lawn, sparkling and...and...glittering. Like diamonds or something. They were all so damn attractive, too. Grossly so. Just one smile could land them a job as a full time news anchor. They all turned to look at the van and their eyes! Yuck. They were ruby and creepy and reminded me of blood. Huh, kinda fitting, though.

I turned to Jim and hissed. "You're catching this?"

He juggled the bulky camera in his hand, pressed the lens against the window, and pushed a button. "Now I am."

I rolled my eyes and reached for my sacred microphone and glanced at my compact mirror. If, at the end of the day, I looked like complete shit in this video, I'd scream. I fluffed my hair a bit and smudged a bit more gloss on before turning to Jim and waving for him to turn the camera onto me. Show time.

"This is Amy Krissenton from ABC 7 news and good afternoon to the civilians of Washington D.C. I'm here at the Williams Building, the low key, hidden spot where the government has hidden the Cullen family. News reached us this afternoon that the Cullens had been freed by nearly three hundred vampires along with a pack of mysterious shape shifters from an unknown source. As the station you can always rely on, we thought it would be best to get down here and tape this for all of you to see. After all, this is history, folks." I gave a bright smile and Jim nodded before turning the camera back to the window.

"As you can see, the vampires are simply everywhere! Their skin looks like it is sparkling for some reason or another under the sunlight. Looks like these vamps don't fry quite as easily as Dracula." I wrinkled my nose at the incredibly cheesy line but continued, "We have also been told that the humans working at the building have been locked up inside, along with our President who we have been told is distracted at the moment with another issue. Let's see if we can get closer, shall we?"

I threw open the van door, sliding it back and crawling outside. I took a moment to straighten my skirt and poof up my thin hair. Jim slid out, still rolling, and I turned to the encampment.

And froze.

They were all staring. All of them. All turned towards us, watching us curiously. Some licked their lips in deliberate frightful motions, watching us like a dog watches moving steaks. I gulped and took a shaky step, struggling not to trip in my heels. "Well, here you have it," I said, trying to fake enthusiasm to the camera, "Three hundred vampires!"

To the side I spotted some enormous wolves and the hair rose on the back of my neck. What the hell had I gotten myself into? Three hundred vampires? A wild pack of wolves? I suddenly didn't care about the damn story. I wanted to jump back in the van with Colin and play Dragons and Dungeons on his laptop. Anything but being out here exposed to them.

One near the front, a tall man with ashy blonde hair and sparkling red eyes, grinned manically. "Why don't you come closer, little girl?" He whispered hoarsely, "We'll show you what being a vampire is all about."

Oh my God. I nearly dropped the microphone. What was I thinking? This fence wouldn't hold them back. From the hungry look on their faces, it was like nothing would hold them back. They could tear it apart with their teeth probably.

Suddenly, another blonde vampire cut through the crowd, sliding between vampires and coming closer. I drew back from the fence and wiped at my face. This was such a huge mistake. And poor Jim, who taped it all with a steady hand, didn't even falter. I wanted out of here, far away from all of the vampires and supernatural creatures.

The vampire came out of the crowd and I looked at him unsurely. Maybe it was the fact that he had these weird golden eyes - not the deep red - that made him seem more trustful. Or possibly it was the warm smile on his face.

He stepped up to the fence and it was like the other vampires stepped further away from it. Like he had some sort of rule over them.

"Hello," he said through the fence, "I'm sorry for that, they like to think all humans are simply meals. Forgive them. I'm Carlisle Cullen; I take it you're from the news station."

Carlisle Cullen. Sweet Jesus, I was about to speak to one of the vampire captives themselves. I looked over to Jim to make sure he was taping and then back to Carlisle. What do I say? Ask him what it was like in there? Ask him where he came from, what the hell his species wants from us? I took a deep breath and stepped forward.

"Hi," I introduced myself, "I'm Amy from the local news station. We got a tip that there was some activity here."

He gave small smile and nodded. "Yes, as you can see behind me. May I ask who-"

Something stirred behind him. The front entrance to the building swung open and for a moment, there was silence. I couldn't hear anything but my own heartbeat and the mechanical hum of the camera. I jabbed Jim in the ribs and he hissed in pain.

"Are you getting this?" I snapped, looking frantically between the building and him. He rolled his eyes and nodded.

Humans, hundreds of them, began pouring out of the building like rats out of a sewer. They scampered out, running down the marble steps and when they realized there was nowhere else to go but to the shark's jaws itself, they all paused. The vampires moved back, watching them with wide eyes, and the humans uncertainly looked back at the building.

But then they stepped out and the whole place went silent once again. The President, flanked by two of the most beautiful people I had ever seen, exited the building. A man and a woman, both impossibly gorgeous. I looked away from the strange man, the bright sparkles his skin threw off hurt my eyes, and settled for watching it through the camera instead.

For a whole minute, it was still. No one knew quite what to do, I guess. The President looked all around, from the vampires, to the humans, to the wolves, to us, and all over again. Maybe he was in some sort of aftershock. Or maybe he was just in denial that the whole world was becoming ruled by vampires.

And then the vampires, all of them, began applauding. Some threw themselves into the air, whooping and crying out in...happiness? Others just cheered or clapped calmly. I, for one, just stood there. It was clearly a big thing for the vampires. The humans seemed unsure of what was even going on, though. At least I wasn't the only one behind, I thought, or out of the loop. The expression of confusion I wore seemed to be identical to mostly every human.

I suddenly turned and raced back to the van, leaving a very confused - though still videotaping - Jim behind. I threw the van door open, scaring the crap out of Colin. He jumped, resulting with a burger from McDonald's falling off his lap onto the floor.

"What?" He cried and stared at me with wide eyes.

"Is it possible to broadcast this live? Now? Hook everything that Jim's taping onto mainstream television?" If we could get this to play everywhere, on every television set in the world, I would be...I'd be set for life.

Colin's face fell and his jaw dropped. "You mean hack into every channel's database and plug this in?"

I nodded, "Is it possible? And don't do it live, start with the beginning that Jim filmed in here." It had to be possible. The government had done it before, hadn't they?

Colin snapped his jaw back up and began typing quickly. "You don't get a diploma from MIT for nothing," he grumbled.

I froze. "You mean you can do it?"

Colin pushed his glasses up, tore a piece out of his greasy burger, and snorted. "Yeah, I can do it. Can I go to jail for it? Yeah, I can do that, too."

The laugh that I returned was shaky and a bit frenzied. "Believe me, kid, by the time this hits the air, you'll be untouchable.


Maria's Point of View

I wasn't entirely sure what to do.

Jasper was back, Alice wanted me to stay away from him, Chester had disappeared - most likely out of jealous anger - and I was alone. Well, not all alone. One of the wolves sat next to me, huffing and panting on the marble steps. The warmth that emanated from him was a bit sickening, as was the stench, but I sat tight. After all, I didn't exactly have anywhere else to be. Or anyone to look for.

Seeing Jasper was painful. Seeing Jasper look at Alice was painful. And seeing Jasper completely ignore me was heart wrenching. He didn't even glance my way. His eyes, these odd blue eyes, skipped right over me to her. Almost like I wasn't worth his time. I couldn't understand how he could be so oblivious when it came to me.

And the worst part was that I didn't want this to hurt. I didn't want him to affect me so. I wanted to be able to look at him and not feel even the slightest bit of emotion. Instead, I was doomed feeling this awful agony every time I saw him or caught his scent in the wind. I knew that was the reason Chester had left me here, stranded and lost. He could probably see it in my eyes the second I saw Alice, see the envy and anguish.

I leaned over my knees and sighed, letting my hand fall on the cold marble. Soon, Adam and Eve would be walking out, most likely with the President in tow. I was eager for them; I had grown too dependent on Eve. She had become the mother figure I had never had and though I wasn't very close to Adam, he seemed nice enough. Eve was just...different. She understood everything, it seemed like. And now that I was stuck, I felt the need to talk to her and listen to her advice.

I looked over at the large wolf and sighed. Sitting here with shapeshifters. What a new low. The wolf looked back over to me and grinned, causing me to roll my eyes. As I turned away, miffed by his very presence, I spotted Chester.

He was walking towards me, head down and hands in his pockets. I noticed how dreadfully sad he looked and it stung to know I had caused that. He sat down next to me on the marble, ignoring the eavesdropping wolf.

"I'm sorry," I suddenly apologized. He looked up and over to me, his eyes widening a tiny bit.

"Sorry for what? You haven't even done anything." I groaned at his words; they made me feel worst. He knew what I was apologizing for; he was just trying to cover up the fact that I had hurt him. And I hated that.

I straightened up and tucked my hair behind my ear nervously. "You know what for. For acting the way I did. I was just taken off guard, that's all."

He fell silent, as did I, and I gulped. Chester was not one to become angry. He mostly vented his emotions through fighting and killing. But usually the anger was still tangible. That was why I surprised to find no trace of fury on his face or in his body language. He did look defeated, though, and saddened. That was what frightened me.

"Say something," I begged quietly. He glanced over at me and gave a stiff shrug.

"I don't really know what to say, Maria. I've kind of given up. I can't compete with him, I know that. I'll never be enough." I flinched at the crushed tone of his voice as the overall grief poured in. I felt simply horrible right then. Alice had mentioned me doing so much damage to Jasper. Not only had I hurt him, but I was now hurting Chester. Neither had deserved any of the pain I had caused them.

"It was just the initial shock, that's all, I swear-"

"I don't think it was," Chester interrupted, sighing deeply, "I think you'll always be like this."

My jaw slackened and I bit my lip. I wasn't going to let him go this easily, I decided. I couldn't lose both him and Jasper in just one day. I hadn't realized it before but these past few days, Chester had been keeping me from losing my mind. I was only still sane and under control because of him. If he left me, like Jasper did all those years ago, how was I supposed to make it out of this without a broken heart and crushed spirit?

"I don't think I will," I said and he raised one brow, "Please, Chester, I'm not...I'm not like how I used to be. And you know why? Because of you. Alice took me off guard, as did he. I'm not even planning on talking to him. I don't want anything to do with him."

Chester was shaking his head before I was even halfway through. He reached up and raked his fingers through his hair as he stared deeply at the step. "That's not the truth," he muttered, "I heard Alice. She asked you to stay away from him. It wasn't your idea. You want everything to do with him, you just won't admit it."

It wasn't the way he said it that got to me, how sure and confident he sounded. It also wasn't his facial expressions that bothered me, how calm and collected he was. It was that what he said was positively true. But I couldn't find it in me to despise him for being so accurate. I hated myself for feeling this way, for being so torn between two men, one who wanted nothing to do with me and one who loved me far more than I deserved.

"I'm sorry," I moaned, letting my head fall in my hands. I didn't know what else I could say. I couldn't deny it; we both knew he was right. And I didn't dare ask him what we were supposed to do now in absolute fear that he'd leave me.

He sighed and looked away, off towards the other vampires. "I don't think you're ready," he mumbled and I felt my hope sink.

There had to be another way, though. I had never once given up on something like this. I wasn't going to suddenly let him walk away, just like this. I loved him far too much, something I actually was sure of. I loved both of them, in two different ways, but similar enough. I was still both of their creators, something I had nearly forgotten.

"And if I could prove to you I am?" I turned to him, completely serious. This was something I could do, I was sure of it. There had to be some way, no matter how impossible it may seem, to reassure him I could forget about Jasper.

Chester looked over to me, his brow deeply furrowed. His lips were turned down in a deep set frown. "How could you possibly do that?" He asked, perplexed.

I paused for a moment. How could I? I thought for a moment; there had to be something to do.

"I'll talk to him," I blurted out before I had even thought it through. Chester's face formed an expression of complete shock. "I...I will go speak to him and get this all out of the way. We'll talk things through and then, you'll see, it'll all be over. This whole mess will be put behind all of us and I'll be fine. Promise."

He looked frozen in surprise for a little while, like he couldn't believe what I had said. Then, slowly, his face began to thaw out until he was just staring at me incredulously. "You do realize Alice practically threatened you to leave him alone, yes?"

That was a problem. I wasn't quite sure how to get past her. She was a vicious little thing and no doubt powerful. But I had heard rumors she couldn't receive visions because of the shape shifters. If I could just get him alone, without her watchful eye, I could finish this for good.

"Yes, I know. I can get past her," I said confidently. He looked amused.

"Do you, now?" He asked, his voice teasing. I gave a curt nod and stood up, flicking my hair over my shoulder as I did so. His eyes watched me, as did the wolf's, as I haughtily placed my hand on my hip.

"Of course I do. It won't be that hard at all. And then you'll see that I'm perfectly fine. He's a part of my past, Chester, not my future." I glared at him when he began smirking, ducking his head as he chuckled softly. I arched one brow in response.

"Sorry, it's just, well, he actually is a part of your future if you ever plan on getting this over with, which I suggest you do now. There he is." Chester jerked his chin towards the left and my head swiveled around as I searched him out.

I grew nervous at just the sight of him. He looked so different from before but yet, underneath those gauche clothes and juvenile smiles, he was the same man I had bitten nearly one hundred and fifty years ago. I swallowed thickly and turned back to Chester, whose face looked greatly disappointed. I cursed mentally; was it so obvious I still had feelings for Jasper?

"Right now?" I asked in a small voice, "As in like, right now?"

Chester's eyes turned hard, like cold ruby stones, and he shrugged. "Why not? I thought you wanted to get this over and done with?"

He had me there and he knew it. I looked between both men and frowned. Jasper was walking out from behind the building, his hand tightly intertwined with Alice's as they conversed quietly. She looked better, I thought. At least not so petrified and frail. And he looked almost frighteningly happy. I had never seen him like this, not even when he was a human. It made my skin crawl, knowing she was the one making him like this.

I shook the feeling off and looked back to Chester. "Fine, I'll do it right now. Alice present and everything."

Chester suddenly looked concerned. "Oh, I wouldn't do that. She'll bite your head off. No, ask to speak to him alone." For a moment, I was wholly lost as to why he was trying to help me with this, why he was suggesting tips and encouraging me. And then I realized the quicker I got this done, the faster he got to have me.

"Good idea. I'll be right back," I told him as I hitched up my skirt and began walking down the steps. Jasper was nearby, paused and speaking to Tanya as Alice swung their hands back and forth childishly.

"I'll be right here," Chester called out and I grimaced, but kept going. I was doing this for both of us, I reminded myself. I needed to get over whatever sort of infatuation I still had with Jasper. It was unhealthy to still love him when I knew he'd be forever with his annoying mate. I owed it to Chester to be able to give him all of me, not just the available sections of my heart.

I walked through the grass, letting the cloth of my skirt trail behind me. Jasper was facing the opposite directions, his back towards me, but Alice was turned sideways. At the sound of my approach, she glanced over and her mouth turned downwards. She glowered at me, as did Tanya over Jasper's shoulders. He was entirely oblivious of my presence, I noticed, as he continued to talk animatedly.

I took a deep breath and stopped directly behind him. Alice's eyes were wide in fury as she stared me down but I pointedly ignored her. I reached up and tapped him on the shoulder, squeezing my eyes shut tightly for a moment in sheer terror.

His voice broke off midsentence - something about the streets of Philadelphia and the violence - and he turned around. He hadn't of been expecting someone so short because he looked out over my head and then, quickly, his eyes fell down. And when they did, I almost expected them to fall out. He openly gawked, his lips slightly parted and his eyes wide.

Alice let out a quiet hiss but I kept my eyes on him. Let Chester think whatever he wanted of this. I was going to end this, right now and right here.

"I need to talk to you," I told him, struggling to cover up my shaky voice. Damn it, I needed to keep that under control. It was a dead giveaway, though he could probably already sense my fear and nervousness.

His brows quirked up and his mouth closed. He glanced to Alice, whose hand, I noticed, was squeezing his to tightly I was sure it was enough force to shatter a titanium block. I took a second calming breath and waited for his reply.

Alice and he shared a long look before he turned back to me. "Of course," he said quietly, it was a sound that came close to accelerating my dead heart. And I despised that fact. Actually, I realized then that everything about him that I seemed to love, I hated. I hated the control he seemed to have over me, the hypnotic pull. I wanted out. I wanted my first taste of freedom from Jasper Whitlock.

"Without...others?" I suggested slyly, stealing a glance at Alice. She ground her teeth in complete agitation and I looked back to Jasper.

He reached up and ran his fingers through his already ruffled hair before nodding. "Yes, alright. Come, I know just the place-"

He had let go of Alice's hand, letting it limply drop to her side, and had turned to face the opposite direction when he froze. He lifted his head and frowned. "Does anyone else hear that?"

I listened and scowled. I heard nothing. Alice, however, had an awed look on her face. "It's the camera crew. Of course, it has to be. We heard the helicopter overhead before," she told him directly as she reached up and touched his shoulder. He nodded distractedly. "They must have arrived."

The news station that I called? I lifted my head and listened closely. I still heard nothing, just the chatter of vampires and discussions all around. I looked back to Jasper, about to pull him away, when the doors to the Williams Building suddenly burst open.

I watched as Chester darted out of the way from sitting on the staircase and the large brown wolf stood and took a few steps back. Humans began pouring from the innards of the building, like a wave of fish running from a hungry shark. They all ran down the steps, hurriedly and frightened, and once they hit the first layer of vampires, they looked up shocked and horrified. With nowhere to go, they turned and were about to run back up the stairs when Adam, Eve, and the President followed them out.

It was the perfect look of unity, I thought. Adam on the left, throwing off rainbows under the sunlight, the President in the middle, calm and collected as he looked out to all of the vampires and humans, and Eve on the right, smiling tenderly with a sort of regal look to her.

I heard Jasper let out a hissing breath and he turned to Alice. "That's them?" he asked, his blue eyes flickering from her to them. I grimaced and looked away to Chester, who I found watching me with sharp eyes.

I tuned out Alice's response and watched the three above us. The President didn't even look scared with the two of them next to him. He looked...ready. Determined. Resolute on finding a solution to all of this.

The President began to speak, his voice carrying over the stillness of the crowd easily. I wondered for a moment if the reporter could hear him, though. Unlike vampires, humans didn't have the greatest hearing. But then I decided it didn't matter and I got lost in his words.

"First of all, I think I owe a massive apology to the Cullen family," he said, startling many of us, "The world was still in a large amount of shock from the discovery that you all even existed. Because of this, we felt pressured to learn as much as we could about you. It was a frenzy to save ourselves and everything that we made you go through was incredibly wrong and just awful. We didn't think of how you must have all felt and for awhile, I am ashamed to say, you didn't even exist to us as people."

I frowned; we still most likely didn't count as humans to them. They probably still viewed us as monsters, unfeeling and frozen in time. I found his words hard to believe, as sincere as they sounded, and settled for thinking he thought of us as bloodthirsty criminals. It was easier to trust him that way.

"I hope you can forgive not only me for being so cruel, but the rest of the population for automatically thinking you were hostile just because of that one vampire up in Canada. I hope to be able to give all of you the acceptance you deserve, all of the tolerance and kindness. Unfortunately, as I have told your leaders here," he gestured towards the stiff Adam and Eve, "the decision is not mine. And this results with a meeting I am now organizing. In two days, you will all return to the capitol and your leaders will undergo a conference, complete with all of the world leaders. I hope we can come to an agreement on what we shall do next. Until then, let my heartfelt apology go unnoticed and wait for the moment to come in which we can settle all of this."

I didn't know what I had expecting from the President but a short speech, not directed to his ‘people' or the humans but to us, was beyond anything. It may have been simple and not even earth shattering, but it was promising. It was enough to preserve all of our hope for this assembly in two days. And, even though I wasn't sure whether he really felt this way, he had spoken to us like real people. That had to count for something.

Adam then stepped up and any conversations that had been starting immediately died away. The look on his face was intense and enough to quiet probably a whole football field of people. "If all is alright with Maria," I jumped at the sound of my name, "we shall be returning to our home in the South for now. In two days, Eve and I, along with a selected few, shall be returning here for the conference. And as for the humans watching this, which I am sure there will be quite shortly, not only do I, but all of my species, promise you protection and safety until a solution has been settled. There is no reason for you to fear my kind until further notice."

I chuckled into my palm at his words. He made it sound like the second the humans refused to accept us, it would be a hunting spree. Interesting way to threaten them into doing what we wanted.

"And now, if all is fine with Maria...,"

"Yes," I called out, "Going back to the South is perfectly fine with me." We had held all of the vampires there before; ten more from the Cullen family would be no difficulty. Adam nodded and gave a small smile.

"Then we shall be going now. Thank you, for listening," he said as he turned to the President and they shook hands. Eve did the same and I knew then that the image would forever be imprinted in my mind. Who ever knew that a human, a President of the United States no less, would one day be shaking hands with the leaders of the vampire world, knowing just who they were. It was a magical moment all around.

Adam and Eve left the President standing there, sweeping down the stairs elegantly. The wolf scuttled down behind him, as did Chester, and the two twins held each other's hands.

I watched, awestruck, and then gasped. That barely familiar sensation of being teleported erupted in the bottom of my gut and spread throughout my whole body. I screwed my eyelids shut, surprised by the feeling of having my insides torn apart. Just a second ago, I had been listening to Adam speak to all of us and now I was being ripped out of Washington D.C. and dropped back in the South. I wrapped my arms around my torso, like it would somehow ease the pain, and cried out in agony.

And then it stopped. The pressure suddenly faded, leaving me breathless. I peeled open my eyelids and looked around, astonished to find myself on the weedy, grassy front yard of my beautiful white Southern mansion. I gulped down a breath of fresh air and let the warm Southern air cling to me.

Adam was in the center of the crowd, eyes scanning over all of us. I could only assume he was making sure we were all here and not ‘lost between the worlds', as he had eerily hinted at before.

"Everyone is here, excellent. I suggest you all rest up and just wait for these next two days to pass. Absolutely no hunting, though. I meant what I said earlier; until we reach a decision, no human shall be harmed. Now, if Eve and I could just speak to the Cullen family, inside, please, for a moment, I would be most appreciative." The idea of no hunting was foreign to me. I knew most of the other vampires would grow restless at the idea of this, too. Being refused the chance to feed was like telling a human not to breathe.

I watched as the Cullen family somehow weaved themselves out of the crowd and towards Adam and Eve, their eyes worried and confused. Alice began to dance off, watching Jasper strangely. Funny, I had forgotten he was even there.

Jasper turned to look at me, an apologetic look on his face. "Can we talk later?" He asked as he glanced over to an impatient Alice.

I nodded slowly before opening my mouth, "Sure, why not?"

His face split into a grateful smile before he turned and walked off with Alice, his hand on the small of her back and her step with a certain bounce in it. I shook my head to clear my thoughts and reached up to rub my temples. I immediately wondered if vampires could get migraines.

"That was fast." I turned around to find Chester watching me, leaning up against a large oak tree. Automatically, as if a reflex, I grinned at him and walked closer. He watched me solemnly from a distance.

"It was, wasn't it? I feel like it was too fast. Everything's happening so quickly now, isn't it?" I sighed and stopped next to him as I reached down and clutched his hand tightly. I needed someone now, someone who wasn't going to leave me suddenly for a pixie-like snot. And there was no other person I would rather be with than him.

Chester nodded absentmindedly. "Yes, it is. I feel it changing, though. Things are going to turn out okay for both sides, ours and theirs, the humans. I guess I'm just surprised more wasn't done at the Williams Building. I figured it would all be settled there."

I chuckled in agreement and leaned my head on his shoulder. "Yes, but that would just be too easy, wouldn't it? And, plus, the President did have a point. If we're going to do this, if we're all going to live side by side in harmony, we need ground rules and terms. We can't do this without the other leaders of the world."

He was silent for a moment and I assumed he was just thinking things over. "What do you think they'll decide?" He finally asked.

I pushed myself off of the tree and sighed, looking out as the other vampires confusedly scurried about. The Washington D.C. coven looked livid at the fact that they had been dragged away from their home and the wolves were all running into the forests so they could phase without exposing themselves for the entire world to see. Leah, the female shape shifter, was speaking with a...a human man. I reminded myself to speak to someone about that later. I hadn't realized humans would be allowed to come with us. And then the rest of the vampires were just talking, predicting what was to come and sharing their dreams of a new world.

I shook my head; this was my world. Where the supernatural was free to do what they wanted when they wanted without restraints. I had yet to decide if I still wanted it to change, if I wanted to experience a new world where vampires roamed free.

"I think they'll create some sort of base for a new government," I answered truthfully and glanced back at Chester over my shoulder, "I think they'll accept us because there's nothing else for them to do. And if they somehow refuse, I think Adam and Eve will fight for us, fight for our freedom."

"You really think that?" Chester asked, "About them, I mean. You think they care about us that much?"

I was slightly insulted by his question; from the start I had never doubted they both cared. It was evident the way they looked at us, like we were their blessed children. "Yes, I do. They're our own God, if you want to think of it like that. They created us, raised us, and started a whole new species all on their own."

He said nothing in reply and when he stayed silent, I turned back to face him. The sun hit his hair through the leaves in a certain angelic way, lighting up the golden highlights and illuminating his ruby eyes. His beauty hit me in a sort of painful way. I had this, this impossibly stunning person inside and out, and I was spending my time thinking about Jasper.

"What are you looking at?" He suddenly asked, a frown forming on his face. I hastily looked away, embarrassed that I had been caught.

I shrugged my shoulders and looked up towards the sun, letting its strong rays hit my eyes directly. "The most beautiful thing in the world," I replied wistfully.

Chester snorted quietly, "The sun? Honestly? That's what you think is the most beautiful thing in the world?" I could almost hear him roll his eyes as he came closer and walked past me. "Sometimes I really worry about you, Maria," he teased.

I sighed and closed my eyes.

Men could be so stupid.