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Choices

Summary:
Choices Banner This story takes place in Eclipse when Riley goes to Bella’s room to gather her belongings for Victoria. This is what could have happened if Bella had arrived while he was still there, and the events following. Written pre-Breaking Dawn, so that book will be disregarded here. This will include my idea of how the series would have ended.


Notes:
Choices Banner *Written before Breaking Dawn was released, so that book will be ignored with this story.


35. Caius's Decision

Rating 5/5   Word Count 2460   Review this Chapter

(Previously):

BPOV

"You look absolutely stunning tonight, Mrs. Cullen. Have I told you that already?" Edward whispered in my ear.

"Maybe just a few hundred times," I giggled back. Before I could say one more word, he swept me up, into his arms. He was carrying me up the stairs, to our room. Thank goodness my heart was silent - I believe I was on the verge of a panic attack, I was suddenly so nervous. As we entered the room, he swiftly shut the door behind us, and set me down softly.

"Bella, are you all right? You’re very quiet," Edward spoke softly, gazing intently into my eyes.

Taking a deep breath, I forced myself to look back at him as I answered. "I’m fine, just very nervous. For someone who couldn’t wait for this moment when they were human, I’m suddenly scared to death."

Edward smiled softly, before lightly kissing my lips. "Bella, if you’re not ready, we can wait. I only want to make you happy," he said quietly.

"No - I don’t want to - I mean, I don’t want to wait, I’m just...so nervous," I said, incredibly embarrassed.

"I’m nervous too, love. Trust me. Just know that I love you, and that we’ll take things very slow," he whispered.

Nodding my head, I felt myself begin to melt into him as his lips resumed contact with mine.

As I felt his hands on the back of my dress, slowing unfastening the buttons, I willed myself to remember this moment forever; it was going to be the most beautiful ending to the most perfect day of my entire life.

Chapter 35: Caius's Decision

BPOV

As the sun rose the next morning, I found myself gazing into Edward’s eyes. We’d been like this for hours now, just staring at one another. It had truly been the perfect night, far better than I’d ever thought possible - words could not explain it.

"So what are we going to do today while we wait for the family to come home?" I asked, finally interrupting our blissful silence.

"Well...as much as I would love for us to stay here, as we are, I was thinking perhaps we would hunt? It’s been a few weeks for you, Bella," he suggested quietly.

"Oh, I suppose that’s true... All right, that sounds good," I replied. Not my favorite thing to do, but it would make him happy, which would make me happy. "So, I’ve packed what you told me to for our honeymoon, but do I need anything else?"

Edward chuckled. "I know you’re trying to get information out of me, Mrs. Cullen, and it’s not going to work. What you’ve packed will be more than sufficient."

Hmph. Well, that didn’t clear anything up. I guess I’d just have to wait.

Later, as we approached the house after hunting, we found the remains of the reception had been cleared away. The family had returned while we were out, and they’d made quick work of it; they’d given us strict orders to leave it, and that they would take care of it when they got back.

As we entered through the back doors, Edward and I paused, glancing at each other. We both heard Alice’s thoughts immediately, and saw the vision she’d had earlier that morning. Caius had become angry at our family’s defiance, and had gone behind Aro’s back, making a decision on his own. The family was in the living room, discussing what Alice had seen.

"Hello, Edward, Bella. As you can see, we have a bit of a problem," Carlisle greeted us quietly. The rest of the family greeted us tersely. They felt horrible that this was happening so soon after our wedding.

Carlisle met Edward’s gaze. "We knew Aro was set on discovering what Bella’s powers are, to see if she’d be useful to their empire. It appears as though Caius has been made aware of the letters between Aro and I. He’s furious Aro has been as patient as he has," he surmised.

"So where does all of this leave us?" Edward seethed, resentment dripping from his voice.

Hesitating, Carlisle looked around at everyone seriously. "From Alice’s vision we know only one thing - Caius is angry, and has decided to act - without Aro’s knowledge. He’ll be sending Jane and Alec, to destroy what we have here - to destroy all of us."

Instinctively, Edward reached out, pulling me tightly to him, growling under his breath.

Esme spoke next. "Does he not realize Aro will be angry at his decision when he finds out? Aro used to be a respected acquaintance of yours, dear...surely Caius knows he wouldn’t want to destroy you, or the rest of your family, if there were a way to avoid it?"

Carlisle sighed heavily. "Caius is very different than Aro. Aro’s mind works uniquely - as I’ve said before, when he becomes curious about something, he must find resolution. He’s been curious about Bella ever since he first met Edward. Yes, he used to be an acquaintance of mine, perhaps at one time even a friend, but back then, the only thing I did that irritated him was refuse his choice in diet - hardly threatening. In time, he would have possibly acted to do something himself, as our continued defiance would have angered him - friend or not. While I don’t know if he would definitely act to destroy us, it would have been a possibility. Caius is far more calculating. He’s merely speeding the process along, as he is less patient. He’s likely grown tired of seeing Aro waste his time, mulling this over."

"Yes, when we were last there, if it had been up to Caius, I believe he may have killed all of us. He was intent on killing Bella, since she was still human and knew about our kind, and when Aro overrode him, he was livid. I can’t believe he’s sending both Alec and Jane...isn’t that unheard of?" Alice whispered.

"Well...it’s certainly unusual. The Volturi place Jane and Alec above all other guards. They are like prized possessions. Usually, only one of them leaves the castle at a time, while the other stays and guards. The fact that Caius is sending them both only shows exactly how angry he is - he’s not taking any chances," Carlisle replied quietly.

"We know what Jane can do...does anyone even know what Alec’s power is?" Emmett asked, confused.

Alice hesitated, nodding her head slowly. "It was there, at the end of the vision. It was hard to understand at first, but when Caius ordered Alec to accompany Jane, he also thought of what Alec was capable of..." she trailed off, horrified.

"And what, exactly is Alec able to do?" Carlisle questioned gravely.

Alice looked to Edward, willing him to explain. She was too upset by the idea to have to tell the rest of us, although thanks to our gifts, Edward and I already knew.

There was silence for a moment, until Edward spoke. "When we were there, they all went to a great extent of hiding it - the only thing I could get from any of their minds, including Alec’s, was that he is the reason why the Volturi guard is thought to be invincible. Now, from Alice’s vision, we know what they were hiding. Alec’s power is sheer mind control. It’s similar to what Bella can do when she’s agitated enough - how she can control other’s actions, but it’s different, and more intense. Bella can control actions, but the person affected knows their body is doing something they aren’t in control of. Alec can control the mind, convincing someone that they want to do something, to believe it - strongly. For example, if there were an opposing force threatening the Volturi empire, and it came to battle, Alec is what guarantees them victory, usually without even getting their hands dirty. He uses his ability to turn the members of the opposing force against one another, and the Volturi simply watch, as the other group tears themselves apart. It’s an effortless battle for them," Edward explained bitterly.

Pinching the bridge of his nose, he continued. "I should have known it would come to this. When Jane was here last, to check on Bella, she let her irritation get the best of her. She had been hoping to find Bella still human - all three of them were. Ever since we appeared before Aro in Italy, Jane has detested us - she’s actually quite jealous of how intrigued Aro is by us, as he’s almost a type of father to her. Her jealousy overcame her rationality while they were here, and she entertained herself with thoughts of letting Alec deal with us - she managed to block her thoughts from me just enough so I couldn’t tell what he would do to us," he finished, distraught.

"There is no reason for you to feel that you should have known, Edward. Jane enjoys making people feel miserable, but she does not have the power to make the decisions - only Aro, Caius, and Marcus do. You had no way of knowing Caius would decide to intercede. We knew we were taking a chance as it was, and that the chances weren’t good," Carlisle said in an effort to comfort Edward.

Hearing Edward’s thoughts, I reassured him that he should not feel any guilt, and he squeezed my hand gently, letting me know he appreciated my efforts.

Sighing heavily, he turned toward Alice. "Any idea of how long we have?" Edward asked.

Alice shook her head. "They’ll be leaving soon, so no more than a couple of days, depending on their course - it’s not clear."

We all sat quietly, consumed with reality. Eventually, Esme spoke. "So what now? What are we going to do? What can we do?" She was wrought with concern.

Carlisle looked around the room, his gaze finally settling on me. "Well...after hearing what Alec’s ability is, I don’t believe he’ll have any effect on Bella. His gift is similar to the others that she is immune to - it works within the mind. So, although he may be able to influence the rest of us, it shouldn’t work on Bella. I think we should focus on that... figure out how that knowledge could help our situation," he said.

We all thought about this for a while, trying to come up with a solution. The suggestion of involving the wolves was brought up, but only for a moment - that would only make things worse, as it would merely add more individuals into the battle against ourselves. Aside from that, we didn’t want to alert the Volturi of their presence - it would guarantee their eventual demise, even if they somehow survived the fight. It was Jasper who eventually broke the silence.

"I think I have an idea of what they will try - it’s simple enough to figure out. Alec will turn all of us against one another, of course. When they notice Bella isn’t affected, they’ll find some other way to deal with her - due to Jane and Aro’s inability to have any effect on her, they may already be expecting that." He paused. "Bella, since you most likely won’t be affected, if you could stop Alec by using your ability to control him - that may work. It would break his power over the rest of us, although you’ll have to protect yourself at the same time - it all depends on how many are with them..." he trailed off, thinking.

Carlisle leaned forward. "Yes...that sounds like it may work, but it will be difficult if it does. Bella, you will be seeing all of us fighting against one another...do you think you’ll still be able to focus enough? You’ll have to get yourself agitated enough - Jasper won’t be able to focus on you, since Alec will be influencing him. Also, you’ll have to be fairly quick, as well, before any - permanent damage is done..." he glanced around at the family, looking as though he were going to be sick. "And if Jane’s coming, there’s no telling what she may do..." he trailed off.

How horrifying - the mere thought of seeing my family members trying to destroy one another, and the realization that Jane may add to that hell by using her gift...could I deal with that all at once? Would I be able to remain focused enough to stop Alec before it went too far, and something devastating happened?

"Bella?" Edward interrupted, concerned. He’d been listening to my internal panic attack.

"But he’s considered to be invincible," I whispered in response, worried about my family’s future.

Edward ran his hand along my jaw, whispering back, "That was before you came along, Bella. Don’t worry, nothing will happen to you - I won’t let it."

"Edward, you won’t be able to stop it... I’ve seen what happens when Jane uses her power on you, not to mention you’ll be trying to kill either me, or your family - you won’t have any control over yourself," I replied quietly.

Edward merely growled in response, pulling me even closer to him. His thoughts were full of rage, contempt...he was absolutely furious with the situation.

"Actually, Bella, Edward has a point - they know nothing of your powers. Yes, they have Alec, who is seemingly invincible, up to this point - but we have you. Astoundingly, this whole situation only reconfirms my theory about you, about your unique existence. Your ability to control others actions, to protect yourself, will be extended to protect your family - the family you belong with - essentially neutralizing the Volturi’s greatest weapon..." Carlisle trailed off, shaking his head in astonishment.

"Unfortunately, I’m afraid this means you two will need to postpone your honeymoon," Carlisle said quietly. He felt horrible that we had to change our plans, that such a happy time for us was now overshadowed by such horror and fear. "Oh...and Bella, you’ll need to start feeding frequently, at least until they get here," he added somberly.

The next two days passed in a blur for all of us. We had gone into an immediate cycle of hunting twice a day, and we were training every second in between. By now we were all fairly sure I had my powers well under control, but Carlisle had wanted to try to prepare me for what I was going to experience. The sessions were extremely unpleasant, as I fought to remain focused while the rest of the Cullens all thought of nothing but utter hatred and anger, in whatever shape or form they could. It was draining for everyone, and incredibly disturbing, but necessary. Hopefully this would at least help to prepare me for the mental part of the ordeal. I would still have to be able to somehow ignore the physical images - that was something that was simply not possible to rehearse.