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A Dark Adaptaton of New Moon

Summary:
It's been a year since Edward left Bella. Strong ties bond Jacob and Bella together, but one night of surpise and misfortune will forver change the lives of these three people. What would you do when all you love is violently taken away?


Notes:


22. Chapter 22 - The Volturi

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Chapter 22 - The Volturi

The seventeen hour flight to Italy blew away in minutes, at least to me. My mind was too pre-occupied with thoughts of Bella to even notice when the plane landed. Once again, I've put her in danger and against my wishes, she was with Gabriel. Then there was the tracker, Demetri, who stayed behind. I was unable to penetrate his thoughts but I fear that my resistance cracked somewhere, revealing my most treasured thought... Bella. I feel like I'm on the brink of insanity.

"This way" says Alec as he leads us down a long elaborate corridor in the underground city of the Volturi. Caius follows closely behind us.

Since arriving here, Alice has muted her thoughts. I have no idea what we're walking into or what to expect from Aro. Carlisle looks troubled, though he tries to disguise it with a smile. Jasper appears to be on edge. All I can think about is getting back home. We'll have to leave, Bella and I, to someplace safe. Although, this summon may have nothing to do with her, I can't continue putting her at risk. We'll take off to somewhere remote and elope. Once I have her as my wife, I will change her, against my better wishes.

We reach the end of the corridor where two tall golden doors open revealing a cathedral-like room, decorated in black velvet and gold. Ahead, on a wide altar, sits our host, the leader of the Volturi, Aro. He stands and beckons us with his long and pale hand.

"Ah, my dear friends! Welcome! Welcome! Please come forward!" he says jubilantly.

We begin to approach the altar and I can see that he is surrounded by four tall figures dressed in long black cloaks. To the left of him stands the only female, child-like and porcelain faced, wearing a red hooded cloak. Her smile twists into a wide grin and nothing about it seems welcoming.

"What an honor, old friend" says Carlisle splendidly.

"I'm so glad to see you all, standing well and full of health! This is wonderful!" he smiled.

This is the first time I've ever come face to face with Aro. I had seen him once in a painted portrait, but upon seeing him now in full clarity, I find him to be revolting. His skin is much paler than I have ever seen on any of our kind. It's almost opaque like that of a jelly fish. Though vampires, immortal as they are, do not age - his years have worn his skin.

"And this must be Alice, I assume" he says smiling grandly at her. Jasper, instinctively, pulls her closer to his side.

"You assume correctly" says Carlisle. "And these are Jasper and Edward" he says gesturing to us.

"Ah, yes! I've been looking so forward to finally meeting you!" says Aro, looking at both Jasper and I. Neither one of us return the friendly compliment.

"My wife, Esme, and the rest of our coven send you kind regards" says Carlisle and I know he's trying to point out that fact that they are not here.

"How lovely! I would have wished for them to come along but I must confess that my invitation is one of business. I promise to make it up to them" he smiles.

"Business, you say?" asks Carlisle, clearly taken aback.

"Yes" says Aro, his smile dimming a bit. He turns to face his company and motions them to leave. One by one, they bow and exit the room until just the five of us remain. He turns and sits on a lush velvet throne.

"My dear friends, I will not dance around the subject of the matter for which I called you for" he says with a more serious tone. "I've called upon you for your help."

"Our help?" echoes Carlisle.

"Yes. I have received disturbing news of an impending war against our kind, one that will require the unity of our most gifted men and women. Your coven is truly one of the most talented I've seen. Alice's ability to read the moment destiny changes course, Jasper's calming ability and Edward's mind reading ability make them very valuable assets to our guard. Together, we can form a strong defense against our rivals."

"Can't you read minds" I ask dubiously and I can sense Alice's apprehension to my blunt question.

"Why, yes... I can" he says pacifically, "however, my ability stops where yours picks up. See, I can read the mind of anyone, and not only their immediate thoughts, but every single thought and memory they've had since birth. I can hear them all but only by touch. Whereas you can hear the thoughts of everyone around you without having the need for physical contact, even though the only thoughts you hear are the present ones. So, yes... I, too, can read minds - just not as freely as you."

"Forgive me my dear friend, but who would want to wage a war against us?" asks Carlisle.

"Our oldest enemy... the wolves. In the past, we were able to dominate them but as time passed, they've evolved into a more sophisticated breed, combining human and wolf. Their numbers have grown and though my army is vast, I don't want to take any chances against them."

"Why would the wolves want to wage a war after all this time, if you don't mind me asking?" asks Carlisle.

"Their reason eludes me. My prophet can't see why they would want to attack us but knows with all certainty that they will come soon."

I glance at Carlisle and his face is fixed on Aro, frowning in concentration. I'm sure he's thinking the same thing I'm thinking; why on earth would the wolves want to start a war with us?

"And what if we don't want to take part of this war?" I ask and again I feel Alice's rigidness.

Aro tilts his head towards me and smiles.

"I'd ask you to reconsider it" he says and I get the notion that he's not open for debate on the matter.

"Aro, this is very grave and delicate news" says Carlisle, "and I am honored that you would call upon my coven for service but I cannot decide for any of them. If they chose to fight, then they have my support. However, if they decide not to join the guard, I will side by them as well. My apologies if this is not what you expected to hear."

"I can understand your decision, Carlisle. Please know that this is not an order of any sort. Should they decide not to participate in this war, then that will be the end of that. Of course, my invitation will not expire and I will continue to hope for their change of mind. However, should they choose to fight for me, I will forever be in their debt and will compensate them generously."

Carlisle glances at all of us and stares back at Aro, deep in thought.

"May I ask that you allow them some time to think it through?" he asks finally.

Aro brings his chalky hands together, folding his long pale fingers.

"Certainly" he smiles. "However, I ask that you stay here for just a few days, so I may provide you with splendid hospitality for your visit."

"Oh, you really don't have to go out of your way, my friend" says Carlisle.

"I insist" Aro says flatly, leaving no room for refusal. "Now if you'll excuse me, there are some matters I must attend to. Alec will show you to your room."

He stands and walks out, leaving the four of us silent in our thoughts.

****

We walk through another few corridors before arriving to our lavish three bedroom suite. As Alec leaves and closes the door, we hear a lock engage and my suspicions are now confirmed. This is not a friendly invitation. It is an order, a draft for war. I march to the door and pound on it hard with my fists, not even causing the slightest dent in its titanium surface.

"Edward," pleads Alice, "that's not going to help. Please try to calm yourself."

I turn and glare at her. "How the fuck can I stay calm, Alice? How, when she's out there and we're in here?" I yell.

"Alice is right, Edward" says Carlisle grimly. "You're aggression does nothing to help the situation. It will only agitate them if you show them resistance."

"And so what do you recommend?" I sneer at Carlisle. "That we agree to engage with them at war? If it means getting out of here sooner, then consider me enrolled."

"Edward," he says quietly as he comes over to me and places his hands on my shoulders, "we cannot fight this battle. We have lived by the wolves for years and they have not crossed us in anyway..."

"Perhaps they haven't crossed you" I seethe.

"...Edward," he says, eyeing me directly, "Bella would never forgive you for it. You know this."

I break away from him angrily, wanting to shake sense into him.

"Did you not hear what he said? Did you miss the part where he said we would be attacked by them? Is this not reason enough for retaliation?"

"Indeed. However, the future is not written in stone. Rather than prepare for battle over a prophecy, we should and we could prevent it from ever happening."

I stare at him, feeling a shift in my temperament. He walks closer to me, his face animated in the midst of his idea.

"If we could somehow convince Aro to allow us to mediate with them, to find a solution other than war..."

"That's an excellent idea, Carlisle" says Alice. "He's right, Edward. We've proven ourselves to the Quileute and I'm sure they would at least listen to us. Bella would want this. I know it."

My body is quivering in rage. Of course Bella would prefer reconciliation between the wolves and our kind but I know that it's an impossibility. Carlisle's humbleness means nothing to them but at the same time, the Volturi means nothing to me. The fact that they've imprisoned us in an effort to manipulate our will is something I cannot accept. To fight for them would be submission and a sign of weakness from our part.

"Edward, I think Carlisle has a strong point" says Jasper. "I've never trusted the Volturi. They work in twisted ways. It would be wise to speak with the wolves first and find out what is going on before signing up for battle. Carlisle is a likeable person for any kind. With my influence, I'm sure we can talk about it."

"And do you really think Aro will just let you waltz right out?" I ask exasperatedly.

"I trust that he will, Edward. Like I said, he's an old friend and I've provided some invaluable services to him in the past that I am sure he has not forgotten" says Carlisle.

There is a certain charm, a reassuring sense that seems to flow out Carlisle's mouth when he speaks. Though I would I simply prefer to get this over with, to fight the damn beasts and go back home, I know I won't. Carlisle's wise choices have triumphed more over the years than some of my best ideas.

"Fine" I resign.

He smiles and gives me a reassuring pat on my shoulder. Though his plan has tamed my fury, it has done nothing to quiet my constant paranoia. Here I am, in Italy while Bella is off somewhere with Gabriel. Before he took her, he allowed me a quick peek at his thoughts, only long enough for me to hear him say ‘Alaska'. I know this is where they are but what I don't know is if they're ok. Granted, Gabriel is rumored to be a very powerful vampire, but there's so much of him that I don't trust. My mind goes back to the moment we learned of the Volutri's visit. I feel my blood run colder through my veins.

"Carlisle?" I ask almost weak with apprehension.

"Yes" he says and turns to face me as he notices the sudden change in my voice.

"Why did you give Gabriel bags of human blood?" I ask, hoping to be proven wrong, fearing that I won't.

Carlisle's silence rings loud and true, setting off a tremor in my body.

"You let him take her" I say almost in a whisper. "You let me believe he was harmless." I feel like I can't speak anymore.

"Edward, Gabriel wouldn't harm her. He knows she's means so much to us..."

I turn and grab him by his sweater, rushing him against the wall. All the love I felt for him seems to wither between my hands.

"I let her fucking believe that he wouldn't harm her!" I glower.

"Edward! Please let him go!" cries Alice. I can feel Jasper's calm tingling against my skin but I'm much to enraged for it to faze me.

"He won't harm her, Edward. You've marked her!" says Carlisle, his voice strained under my grip.

I feel the ease seeping through me now.

"Jasper, stay out of this!" I hiss as I continue to stare furiously at Carlisle.

"He can sustain himself on human food long enough for us to return but even if his thirst for blood dominates him, I am confident that he would not harm her. He wouldn't!"

"How are you so sure?" I ask, feeling Jasper's aura sedating me.

"Because you've claimed her blood. He will not want to feed from her, Edward. You've marked your territory."

I stare at him a moment longer but Jasper's tranquility has gotten the best of me and reluctantly, I release him. Even though my body is now at ease, my mind is not. Carlisle's words did nothing to secure my thoughts. Gabriel is a Nomad, surviving off of human blood and my Bella is with him right this instant, probably thinking that she's safe, because of my assurances. Is this the reason why he's hidden his thoughts from me? To hide his desire to kill her? Marked or not, her blood is like the forbidden fruit, strong enough to lure any predator and make them believe that her blood is worth dying for, because indeed, I would kill him should he even imagine drinking from her.