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Into the Light

Summary:
Edward has been struggling with the loss of his humanity for almost a century when he discovers his singer, a two-year-old Bella. In a world wrought with violence, greed, and an unquenchable thirst for power, the Cullens' find themselves tangled in an intricate web of half-truths and unfulfilled destinies. There is a reason Edward has walked the earth alone for almost a century, and he is about to find out why when he discovers the consequences of tearing two souls away from each other. Now there is much more at stake than just their love for one another. Will Edward and Bella fulfill their destiny as soul mates and bring balance back to the world or will Edward let his own self-loathing and uncertainty get in the way? I want to give a shout out to eatmySKIRTSx for making this awesome banner for me! She inspired me to make my own above...yay! I was freaked out and you lead me to the right path! Yay! Thanks again!


Notes:
Story is rated Adult for overall content, but later chapters especially. THANK YOU SO MUCH TO MY BETAS AT PROJECT TEAM BETA! YOU GUYS HAVE HELPED THIS STORY MORE THAN YOU WILL KNOW!Story Summary: Edward has been struggling with the loss of his humanity for almost a century when he discovers his singer, a two-year-old Bella. In a world wrought with violence, greed, and an unquenchable thirst for power, the Cullens' find themselves tangled in an intricate web of half-truths and unfulfilled destinies. There is a reason Edward has walked the earth alone for almost a century, and he is about to find out why when he discovers the consequences of tearing two souls away from each other. Now there is much more at stake than just their love for one another. Will Edward and Bella fulfill their destiny as soul mates and bring balance back to the world or will Edward let his own self-loathing and uncertainty get in the way? ON HIATUS FOR MAJOR REWRITES AND TO COMPLETE STORY Before anyone gets too excited – if anyone is even still interested in this story – I’m taking it down to rework it. I’ve been stuck for so long and part of it is because I backed myself into this extremely complicated corner. I’ve been struggling for many months now with whether to just discontinue the story, try to collaborate with someone, or just bite the bullet and try to finish it. Not to worry though. I finally made the decision to finish it in its entirety, so hopefully the new improved and COMPLETED story will be better than it was. My plan is to finish the entire story before reposting so when it is ready, it will be ready, and no one will have to worry about how flakey I am, lol! Before anyone asks, no I don’t have a timeframe for when I plan to repost, so thanks in advance for all of your patience. Thanks to mylittlebakersdozen for listening to my rants about what to do. She is a fantabulous fanfic writer, and you should check out her story, Model Student, www.fanfiction.net/s/5697704/1/Model_Student, and I’m not saying that just because I beta the story, lol! It’s really sweet and a lot of fun, so get to it and read her stuff while you’re waiting for me ; )


5. Chapter 4: Destiny, Prophecy, and Powers

Rating 5/5   Word Count 7204   Review this Chapter

CHAPTER 4: DESTINY, PROPHECY AND POWERS

On Joy and Sorrow

Kahlil Gibran

Then a woman said, "Speak to us of Joy and Sorrow."

And he answered:

Your joy is your sorrow unmasked.

And the selfsame well from which your laughter rises was oftentimes filled with your tears.

And how else can it be?

The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain.

Is not the cup that holds your wine the very cup that was burned in the potter's oven?

And is not the lute that soothes your spirit, the very wood that was hollowed with knives?

When you are joyous, look deep into your heart and you shall find it is only that which has given you sorrow that is giving you joy.

When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.

Some of you say, "Joy is greater than sorrow," and others say, "Nay, sorrow is the greater."

But I say unto you, they are inseparable.

Together they come, and when one sits alone with you at your board, remember that the other is asleep upon your bed.

Verily you are suspended like scales between your sorrow and your joy.

Only when you are empty are you at standstill and balanced.

When the treasure-keeper lifts you to weigh his gold and his silver, needs must your joy or your sorrow rise or fall.

******

As time passed, it became increasingly apparent that Bella was a unique and extraordinary child. We all felt a special bond with her from the moment she entered our lives. It was as if she filled a void in each of us, which was especially true for me. She seemed to mold herself into the exact human qualities that each of us needed in order to reconnect with aspects of our own humanity, bridging the gap between her humanity and our immortality, so to speak.

This was never more obvious than when I observed Bella's interactions with the rest of my family. She represented a piece of what was missing from both Esme and Rosalie's lives, as they approached raising her as their own daughter and sister. She gave Carlisle a sense of coming full circle in the completion of his family. She connected with Emmett's eternal childishness, but also gave him someone to sympathize with because of their similarities joining our family. She filled Alice with the joy and excitement of witnessing Bella experience childhood-something she had no memories of from her own human life. She helped Jasper with his blood lust-not just for her, but for other humans, and now he seemed more at peace with whom and what he was. I came to realize, though, that Bella gave me a sense of completion that I have yet to understand. What I did understand was how much more intensely I was affected by her than the others' were.

Aside from the very obvious affect that Bella had on all of us, it was still astounding from our perspectives as vampires, to witness a human child grow and develop an unnaturally high level of perception and intellect, which far exceeded any other humans we had encountered. Given our lack of familiarity with human children on a day-to-day basis, our astonishment quickly parlayed into a natural ebb and flow in our daily lives. It seemed natural for her to read way above her age level and cognitive development, to learn and master how to play chess in a matter of weeks, and to learn to play highly complicated piano pieces by the age of four.

I was not surprised when Carlisle became utterly fascinated with our observations of Bella the longer she lived with us. He said to me once that it was as if she was the missing link in the family, completing us in ways we did not even know needed completion. Eventually, he decided to do a little ‘research', as he called it, playing it off as his insatiable curiosity of the unknown. We all knew better, but kept our distance to let him discover whatever it was he was searching for when he wondered up to his study.

On one such occasion, Jasper, Alice, Rosalie and Emmett thought that it would be fun to take Bella sledding not far from the house where there were smaller hills, but still shielded by surrounding trees. Bella, being the perceptive child she was, had caught on to how we sparkled in the sun light. She was thrilled whenever she got the chance to see any of us outside on a sunny day, and I would be lying if I didn't admit that we were all putty in her hands when she asked any of us to do something. So, when the sun came shining through the windows, the four of them were as eager as Bella to get outside just to hear her cries of excitement. I, however, chose to stay back to relax in the quiet peacefulness left in their absences.

On my way up to my room, I heard papers rustling in Carlisle's study, so I decided to investigate. "Carlisle?" I called through the closed door.

"Please, Edward, come in," he said in a conversational, but somewhat tense voice.

I walked in to see Carlisle intently studying several books and scrolls.

"What can I do for you?" he asked me somewhat distractedly.

"You have been rather sparse around here lately, so I thought I would come and say hello is all," I said to him with a smile.

Although we were not kin seeded in blood, we were kin nonetheless. I often enjoyed our casual report and easy conversations with one another. I found comfort when I spoke with him as both a father and a friend.

"Oh, yes, I suppose I have. I've just been so wrapped up in my work that I sometimes forget to come up for air-figuratively speaking, of course," he said, with of a nervous smile, as he tried to make light of his obvious anxiety at my presence.

That is when I noticed that he was reciting the Bible in his head. I eyed him warily. Blocking his thoughts was not something Carlisle normal did, so it must have been extremely important for him to be making the effort. I eyed him cautiously.

"Not to worry, I know how easy it can be to lose track of time. What are you working on that has captivated your attention so completely?" I was trying to be direct without inquiring about what he was trying to hide from me.

"It is interesting that you ask me that, because I think you may want to hear what I have discovered," he said looking me squarely in the eyes.

"Really? Now that my interest is peaked, please, do tell." Apparently, I did not have to try that hard to find out what he was withholding from me.

"Alright, please Edward, make yourself comfortable." Something he was highly aware that I did not need to do, leading to my speculation that he was stalling. However, I acquiesced and played along with his little tap dance until he found the words to tell me what was going on.

"It involves Bella," he stated firmly, but still calm in his tone.

I cared immensely about Bella, and it was obvious to everyone. I still strained myself to remain indifferent on the outside, but I often failed miserably. Coming to Carlisle today, though, would definitely make some of this effort moot. I found myself admitting that I did not care at this point. My inability to hear Bella's thoughts only raised my anxiety level for her overall safety. At least that was what I kept telling myself. Bella's safety was a priority-my priority, to ensure she would live a long and healthy human life. I was steadfast in my mission to keep Alice's vision of Bella's imminent change from coming true. If Carlisle had discovered something that involved Bella, then I was definitely concerned.

"Remember a while back when I became intrigued by Bella's unique effect on all of us?"

I smiled inwardly to myself. He already knew I was aware because we were the most vocal about it, but I acknowledged his question with a nod anyway.

"Well, we have all talked either together or in passing about how Bella seems to fill a void in each of our lives. She has an uncanny way of reaching right into our very being, leaving us all with a sense of being whole. At first, I thought it was just that we were all so elated when she joined our family. Who knew a human child would have such an impact on a vampire-or vampires in this case." He said the last statement almost completely under his breath. I was not sure if I completely followed where he was going with this, but I knew I needed to find out. He continued, bringing me back from my own thoughts.

"History, both written and spoken, often depicts humans that have demonstrated extraordinary qualities ranging from intelligence to clairvoyance for example. As such, I was interested in finding out more to see if Bella might fit into any of these scenarios."

Carlisle paused, carefully choosing his next statements. I remained silent, urging him to continue.

"My search was not really that compelling at first. Most of what I found discussed psychic abilities. While this could explain what we have all been feeling since Bella's arrival to a degree, it did not convince me of anything out of the ordinary. Therefore, I let it go for a while, my curiosity appeased," he said, lowering his eyes.

I could not help myself; I had to ask, "Then why all the dramatics with what you are trying to tell me, Carlisle?"

He paused briefly, but immediately continued when he saw my anxiety level increasing. "Fair enough, Edward, I will try to get to the point. I was looking for one of my medical books a few days ago when I came across this box." He point to an intricately carved box in pristine condition, a testament to the artisan that created it.

"Where did you get it?" I asked him, my curiosity overwhelming my anxiety momentarily.

"As you know, I traveled the world studying and collecting ancient artifacts in my own personal quest to understand what we now consider modern medicine."

I nodded, acknowledging his question.

"During one of my many journeys I came to an ancient temple in Tibet, where I was invited to spend some time with the Buddhist monks living there. I remember it being a very calming and enlightening experience."

As he said this, a flood of his memories of the temple and monks washed over me. Even though I did not harness the power of emotion as Jasper did, Carlisle's memories were overflowing with emotion that I almost felt the memories as they flashed by in my mind.

"Unfortunately, my trip was cut short when the temple was attacked. I tried to help as many of the monks escape as I could without giving myself away. The head of the temple, which was the oldest and wisest of the monks I was visiting, was adamant that the temple's sacred texts be saved. No amount of arguing changed his mind. He insisted that he knew I could keep them safe and out of harm's way. Of course I assisted him. What else could I have done? We moved quickly through the network of secret passages that the temple was built upon.

"It all happened so quickly that I did not have time to think or react to the fact that this monk obviously knew more than he let on about my nature. When we made it safely out of the underground tunnels, the monk refused to go with me. He told me his time was over, that this was meant to be. He handed me this box, told me to keep it safe...keep the contents in the box safe until the time would come when they would be needed. There was no time for an explanation, as the monk quickly disappeared, leaving me with his last wishes and this box full of ancient Buddhist texts. Out of respect for my friend, I did as I was asked. I never tried to unlock it or return it, because he told me to keep it safe." Carlisle paused now in remembrance of the event, his face reflecting the sadness of the memory.

I took the opportunity to interrupt. "If you have kept the box locked all these years at his request, why would you open it now?"

"That is just it, Edward. I did not force the box open. When I was looking for one of my medical books I noticed the box was slightly ajar. There was no evidence that it had been tampered with, so I could only assume that the contents of the box were needed, so I opened it and found these ancient texts and scrolls." He held a few of the items sprawled across his desktop, still seemingly bewildered by the event.

"Is that what you have been cooped up in here the past few days for?"

"Honestly, yes, that is exactly what I have been doing. Come over here for a moment." He motioned with his hand for me to join him at his desk. "I have been looking over the writings for some time now. What do you see?"

I looked closer, but I did not recognize the language. "What language is that?"

"I did not recognize it at first either, but after a little digging I found the same language used in this," he said, handing me a large papyrus scroll.

My stomach began churning nervously. I had seen this scroll before. I had found it long ago among other items documenting the history of our kind. I have never actually looked at it though. I did not need to in order to make the connection between the scroll Carlisle handed me and the documents from the box. "Do you think there is some connection between what is written on this scroll and the texts from the box?" I asked, more nervous than before.

"Not exactly, but what it did was confirm the language for me. The texts from the box seem to be incomplete, so I was having trouble piecing together what is written. Edward, I think it is important that I continue by mentioning the fact that we all know what Alice saw when you first brought Bella to us."

I looked up at his face as I wondered where he was going with this train of thought.

"I think that she was right in that you were supposed to find Bella. I think science aside, there are some things truly meant to be. Just as you were meant to find Bella, I was meant to keep these ancient texts safe," he said finishing his disclaimer.

I nodded only slightly at what he was saying, not sure that I was willing to fully acknowledge the elephant in the room, so to speak-yet, anyway.

"So far what I have been able to translate coupled with conversations I have had with Eleazar over the past few days..."

I did not give him a chance to finish the sentence. "Eleazar? I thought we agreed not to mention Bella to anyone, even close friends, until we were confident that she would understand what we are?" I immediately felt guilty for having raised my voice, but it did not seem to faze my father in his infinite patience, especially where I was concerned.

"My apologies, Edward, but it was necessary to confirm what I had found, and we both know that Eleazar is the most knowledgeable about the subject of abilities and gifts-human and vampire alike, given his own ability and his work with the Volturi," Carlisle calmly answered my cries of disbelief.

"What does this all have to do with Bella?" I managed to ask with a little less anger, but still with an edge to my voice.

Carlisle continued to speak with an earnest patience. "Edward, the origins of our kind go back many centuries. Over the course of our existence, we have amassed documentation of history that would rival any other human race or culture. In some ways, it is the basis for which our kind is governed, but is not all inclusive, as you know. Early on in my immortality, I held an insatiable need to understand what I had become. It was during this period that I had taken a keen interest in the historical footprint of our kind. I wanted to know more about our origins. I simply wanted to know how we came to be.

After I realized that the texts from the box were actually written in an ancient vampiric language, I began the process of translation. While this might seem a bit farfetched, bear with me. We are, after all, immortal." He gave me a slight smirk to ease the tension that was rising again.

I could not help but smile back at him. He was right. Being that we were immortal how much could really surprise us-or be that farfetched as he so eloquently put it?

"These texts describe an ancient prophecy, which I have translated as the Prophecy of the Light. If my translation is correct, the text speaks of a coming war between good and evil in our world that will spill over into the human world. It says that an imbalance between the natural and supernatural worlds will be ignited when a battle for power between covens begins. From what I have discerned so far, the birth of a human child-a female child, will lead the resistance against tyranny and the dissolution of free will of our kind. In other words, we are talking about a supernatural apocalypse of sorts." Carlisle paused once again as he saw that I was trying to mentally work out what he was telling me. I remained silent, so he took that as his queue to continue. "The interesting thing about the child is that she will begin to show tendencies toward absorbing or mimicking the powers of others. Although vague with regard to timeframe, there is mention of ‘full manifestation of powers'. What this means, exactly, I am not entirely sure; however, based on these texts alone, I am beginning to think that Bella is this child." Carlisle was looking at me intently now as my emotions began taking hold of me.

What?! Does he actually believe that Bella is somehow destined to save our world from some sort of war and devastation? He could not possibly think that our Bella... I thought angrily before I voiced my thoughts directly. "Carlisle, you cannot seriously be considering that Bella is somehow wrapped up in all of this? Tell me you do not really believe she is supposed to fulfill some sort of vampire-human prophecy?! I cannot even begin to fathom where to begin in all of this nonsense!" I was throwing a fit, and I knew it. Carlisle patiently waited for my uncalled for reaction.

"This cannot be happening!" I thought angrily. "My apologies, I know that you would not just make something of this magnitude up. I am just having a little trouble wrapping my mind around everything you have told me thus far," I told him with the utmost sincerity.

Sensing the seriousness in my reproach, Carlisle tried to explain himself further, but did so with more empathy. Most likely because he, like me, did not want any harm to come to Bella.

"Initially, I was just intrigued by the similarities between what I was reading and what I have observed of Bella. The problem has been that these documents do not fully explain the details of what is meant by ‘full manifestation of powers'. This is why I contacted Eleazar. I asked him about the ancient prophecy in general, but also inquired about the specific powers that the prophesized child will have, including power absorption and mimicry. We also spoke about whether he knew of other potential manifestations of powers in this child-this ‘chosen one', as the texts describe her." He trailed off as if he were contemplating his words carefully...I must tread lightly, I do not want to upset him, he thought, looking directly at me.

"What is it, Carlisle? I can handle it," I pleaded with him to continue.

"Okay," he obliged me, but continued with a slight hesitancy. "When I spoke to Eleazar, he was aware of several human children that were discovered with early signs or manifestations of the powers described in these texts. He asserted that, at first, it would be little things like a keen sense of intellect and perception. He also said that if the prophecy is correct that as the child grows, they will begin to take on lesser versions of other's abilities or their most prominent human qualities. However, if allowed to reach full manifestation, then this ‘chosen one', this ‘child of the light', will become the most powerful immortal of all in our world. The child would demonstrate such powers as telepathy, telekinesis, levitation, and strength that would make a newborn look weak in comparison, but will never diminish. Because the prophecy has not been fulfilled, these other powers and abilities are only speculation at this point. Eleazar did explain though that none of these children were ever alive at the same time, and that when one dies, another seemed to be born. There is no rhyme or reason to when the next child is born-it just happens. He described it as some sort of cycle that cannot be broken until the child fulfills her destiny to realign the world-both human and supernatural."

Silence. This was a lot to take in at one time. I needed a moment. I quickly pulled myself together. "Please, Carlisle, continue. I will be fine," I said, encouraging him to finish what he was saying.

"Although Eleazar was able to fill in some of the gaps of what I have been able to piece together thus far, he was not able to clarify any sort of timeframe for this child to fully manifest her powers. He did tell me, though, that once reached, it will act as the catalyst for ‘great change' that will ripple throughout our world. While Eleazar was gracious enough not to pry, he was deliberate in his warning that Aro has been after any human showing any indication of potential for this type of power. That said, Edward, everything I have been speaking about could clearly be a coincidence, but I just discovered a specific passage describing the physical characteristics of the child, one of which being a small birthmark in the shape of a star burst on the underside of the child's upper left arm, which I have discovered is a symbol for light. Bella has this birthmark; I have seen it."

I could only stare in complete disbelief, as Carlisle paused with a sense of anguish and seriousness. I had to break the deafening silence.

"By chance, do we even know how many children have gone through this cycle? Is there any sort of pattern associated to when and where these other children were born?" I asked Carlisle with a great sense of unease as the magnitude of this situation slowly began to unveil itself in front of me.

He answered me with a sense of sadness, if not fear. "Unfortunately, there is really no way for us to find that information out. Having confirmed the abilities of many before, Eleazar has been privy to only two such instances where the human was able to mimic the powers of others, but nothing of the fully manifested powers he was describing to me previously. Edward, the reality is that Aro is intent on sustaining his stronghold over our world because, according to Eleazar, his guards were given standing orders to track these humans and kill them, ensuring the prophecy does not come to pass. We both agree that this is why the cycle has been continuing as it has been over the past several centuries. The Volturi are determined to maintain the power and control they have exerted over our kind for centuries, and, as Lord Acton argued, ‘Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.'" He again looked at me as if he were deciding if I was handling this news okay.

Once he was satisfied, he continued. "While there are still large gaps in my understanding of what all this could mean for Bella, and for us as a family, what I do know for sure is that she is beginning to display similar characteristics to those that Eleazar illustrated for me. For better or for worse, it is my fear that Aro will try to come after Bella if he finds out about her. I know this is difficult for you to hear, Edward, but let us assume for the moment that Bella is this child. As she grows older, she would be able to manipulate emotions as Jasper does, read minds as you do, and probably even see the future as Alice does. She has shown time and again that she is highly perceptive and highly intelligent for her age; it is only a matter of time, really."

I sat staring at Carlisle in stunned silence. How could I respond to this? His mind had already decided. Carlisle believed Bella to be the child of an ancient vampiric prophecy to bring balance back to our world, which is apparently giving itself over to the greed, corruption and power hungry vampire royalty, the Volturi.

"Edward, we cannot keep ignoring the fact that Bella is not like other humans. She seems to take on each of what makes us who we are-Esme's passion and love, Rosalie's obstinacy and loyalty, Emmett's rambunctiousness, Alice's liveliness, Jasper's empathy, your quiet seriousness. She has even taken a keen interest in healing things. We cannot keep her in the dark about what we are and what the future holds for her for much longer..." he trailed off, as we heard everyone return from their sledding adventure.

"Edward!" Bella called to me.

"I am in Carlisle's study," I said loud enough for everyone else to hear. I heard Jasper tell her that I was upstairs, and soon heard the pitter patter of little footsteps running up the stairs.

The door to Carlisle's office flew open, and Bella ran into my arms singing my name. "Edward! Hi! I had so much fun! Jasper dared Emmett to go down the hill on his stomach without a sled, and he did it!" she squealed excitedly.

Jasper and Emmett were laughing downstairs at Bella's recollection of the afternoon's activities.

She looked at me intently realizing something was wrong. "What's the matter, Edward? Is everything okay?" she asked me just as everyone else came into the room.

I hesitated in my shocked state. "Uhhh...well, Bella..." I tried answering her, but stumbled pathetically over my words.

Carlisle interrupted my thoughts, so Bella would not hear, Edward, perhaps I am wrong. At this point, it is only speculation, aside from the birthmark. I know it might seem like a bit of a stretch, but I just have this feeling. If I am right, though, we have a responsibility to see her live as long as her human life will allow. She has a well-defined roll to be play out, and it is my belief that we, as in collectively as a family, are to help show her the way. I think this is just one more reason why you were meant to find her, and why she was meant to be a part of our family. We are running out of time to decide what we are going to do. You know this.

I looked at Carlisle and nodded, agreeing with his thoughts, then spoke to everyone else. "I think we should all talk tonight about this after Bella has gone to bed. We do have some decisions to make, but we should all be a part of those decisions," I said fast enough and low enough that Bella would not hear. Carlisle agreed, while Jasper, Emmett and Rosalie looked slightly confused. Alice of course already knew what we would be discussing.

I turned back to Bella to soothe her anxiety. "Oh, everything is okay, love. Carlisle and I were just talking. It is nothing serious. So you had fun sledding, I see," I said to her, changing the subject.

Although Bella had proven herself advanced in her perception of her surroundings, she was still a child. Quite simply, this meant that she still got easily excited to tell everyone about her activities. On this particular occasion, however, I could not help but sense that she was only appeasing me at the same time.

"Oh yes! It was cold, but it was so sunny. I wish I sparkled in the sun like you do! When Emmett went down the hill, he looked like a shiny tree rolling down the hill! It was so pretty!" she exclaimed, excitement now rolling off her in waves.

Emmett and Jasper both started laughing again. "Well, Bella, you are pretty whether or not you are shiny. You know that?" Emmett said to her, still laughing.

She smiled brightly at this, and Carlisle, Jasper and I both could not help but smile at her sense of pride as we walked downstairs, ending the conversation for now.

****

Later that evening, I was sitting in the living room with Bella while she sat coloring at the coffee table. I was trying not to think about what Carlisle and I had discussed earlier, and it was good that Bella had on long sleeves because it kept me from trying to look for the birthmark that Carlisle described in our earlier conversation. There was no need to draw unnecessary attention right now. As I have demonstrated time and again, I could be patient. Rosalie came in into the room just then, pulling me from my internal thoughts.

"Belllaaa! Oh, Bellaboo where are you? It's time for your bath, sweetie!" Rosalie called softly to her.

"Did you say bath-time?" Emmett ran up to Rosalie practically jumping up and down.

"Uhhh, yes, why?" she asked him with a scrutinizing glare.

He turned to Bella now looking at both of them with extreme interest. "I got you a surprise, Bella, do you want to see it?" he asked her. "It is a toy for bath time, sort of a rubber ducky." Emmett smirked slightly at what he was about to show her as he moved toward the coffee table where Bella was coloring. He had a huge grin on his face, and I wondered what he was up to as I noticed his hands hiding behind his back. Bella immediately stood up, clapping her hands with excitement as Emmett brought his hands in front of him holding a small bag. He pulled out something that looked like a rubber duck in shape, but resembled something more familiar.

"Oh my goodness! You got me the vampire ducky! Emmett you are the best!" Bella cooed as she ran up to him hugging his leg.

"Emmett!" Rosalie and I yelled at the same time.

"What do you think you are doing?!" Rosalie demanded from him.

"Oh you two need to stop worrying so much! We found it one day on the internet when we were on a mission to secure the most awesome bathtub toys! We totally succeeded, right, Bella?"

Bella started giggling, "Well it's not shiny like you all are, but Emmett said we could fix it up to be shiny!"

Both Rosalie's and my mouths fell open in awe and shock at the connection that Bella had made with the toy vampire and us.

We had to wonder...

"No, I did not say anything, so stop looking at me like I have committed a major crime! We just came across it on a website, and she is the one who said it reminded her of us. What was I supposed to do, tell her no? You try looking at those big puppy dog eyes and tell her no to something! I dare you!" Emmett said both a little exasperatedly and jovially at the same time. Only he could manage this.

With a smile threatening from the corners of my lips, I turned to Bella. "Alright, love, time for you to go get a bath. Go upstairs with Rosalie, and I will come to read to you before bed, okay?"

She jumped up, ran to Rosalie and took her hand immediately, "Okay, Edward! You have a deal!" she sang down the stairs to me, as she hurried to get her bath over with quickly. I now allowed myself to display a full smile at her reaction.

****

With Bella safely tucked in bed for the night, I called everyone to the living room, so that Carlisle could explain what he and I had already discussed earlier in his study. After he went through all the details, everyone was silent for a moment.

Alice was the first to speak, "I...I have not seen any of this," she said with astonishment and sadness. "I am so sorry I did not see any of this coming. I still do not see anything of what you are describing, Carlisle. My visions of Bella's future were so clear at first, but began to lack clarity until I was only getting a repeat of the first visions. I just assumed nothing had changed." She began to shake with dry tears, beating herself up inside for something she had no control over.

Jasper sat next to Alice rubbing her back, trying to ease her obvious self-loathing.

I spoke now, both in an effort to bring some order to this chaotic conversation and to sooth my sister's pain and sorrow, "Alice, you cannot blame yourself for not being able to see what may or may not happen. We all love and care for Bella. We will deal with this as a family. Assuming that this is going to happen, we still have plenty of time to make plans, while we try to figure out how to confirm with certainty that Bella is in fact the child described in this prophecy. If she is, Alice, this may have something to do with why you cannot see past your initial visions, or it could be something else, but the main thing to remember is that it is not your fault," I said to her, trying to sound reassuring, and shocking myself with how calm and rational I was being.

Alice looked straight at me as she thought, Thank you, Edward, for understanding. I am in awe of how calm and collected you are about this. You truly are amazing. I hope you realize that. She tilted her head back down to stare at her clasped hands on her tiny lap.

"I agree with Edward; we need to confirm that Bella is in fact the child described in this prophecy. Until we know for sure, I think it best that we refrain from moving to Syracuse for the time being," Carlisle said decisively.

As an empath, Jasper was more than aware of the intense emotions permeating the entire room than the rest of us, so it was surprising when he spoke with an intense calmness. I could tell he was putting up a front though.

"I agree that we need to be sure. Even if you were wrong, Carlisle, it would not change the fact that Bella is a unique child living with a unique family. Right now, it makes the most sense that we stay here until we know more. If Bella truly is targeted by the Volturi, we need to be sure we know what they know, if not more," Jasper stated with an edge of weariness breaking through his calm demeanor.

Emmett brought up an earlier point that Carlisle made when we spoke privately. "We will have to help her learn how to control whatever abilities or powers that begin to surface, and you know I am up for the challenge!" Emmett exclaimed. He always was the shining beacon of optimism under darkened circumstances. He glanced over at Rosalie. She could not help but smile at her endearing husband, softly laughing and nodding to show her support for this new plan.

Esme spoke up with her usual sense of nurturing and attention to detail. "Good. So we all agree that the Syracuse move is now on hold. I do not think it will be too much of a stretch to say that collectively we are capable of educating Bella ourselves. For all intents and purposes, we have already been doing so," she said, looking around the room at her children's faces with such admiration and confidence. "As far as understanding how Bella fits into this prophecy, if at all, I am wondering if it would be a good idea to ask the Denalis to come down for a visit. My thought is that, with Eleazar's ability and firsthand knowledge, it might be helpful to have him meet her in person. Perhaps his ability will shed some light on the situation for us, as well as save us a lot of wasted time and energy trying to figure it out on our own."

Carlisle wrapped his arm around the woman he loved so dearly with a look of reverence and awe on his face. "I think that given the circumstances, we could use the help, especially since Eleazar has seen what these children look like. I will call him to see if they will be willing to pay us a visit. We can discuss long-term plans once we know for sure whether they will come or not. In the mean time, we need to consider how to broach the subject with Bella. We cannot be sure of her reaction, regardless of what the future holds. She is still human, and a child, at that, so we must be mindful to proceed with great care and diligence."

Although there was silence in the room, the thoughts permeating my mind told me that everyone agreed.

Rosalie's thoughts revealed that she was feeling a bit useless, and that she wanted to help in some way. "Carlisle, while you are contacting the Denali's, the rest of us can try to see if we can come up anything new by going through all those ancient books and scrolls in your study. We may be able to catch something that you missed," she said hopefully.

"Yes, that would be most helpful. Edward, can you organize all of your efforts in my study? I will join you after I have contacted Eleazar," Carlisle said.

My mind was racing, but my outward appearance was nothing but absolute calm. "Not a problem, Carlisle." I turned to the others, "I can show you all what he showed me, and we can go from there." With that, we dispersed, Carlisle to contact Eleazar, while the rest of us made our way to his study.

****

Over the next couple of days, we prepared for the Denali's arrival as Eleazar, a loyal friend and confidant, graciously agreed to meet our Bella. Kate, Irina, Tanya, and Carmen would be joining him, as well. Our families had become quite close over the decades, and, since Bella's arrival, a visit from our ‘extended' family was long overdue.

Just as we thought, Carlisle's initial efforts that translated the ancient documents and texts were exhaustive, leading the rest of our efforts to nothing more than dead ends. Each passing moment left me more anxious about Bella's safety, especially if there was any validity to this prophecy, which one look at Bella's unique birthmark seemed to strengthen. Given the delicacy of present circumstances, we made plans to talk with Bella before our ‘family reunion'. We were all nervous about talking to Bella even though the extraordinary always seemed to be the norm where she was concerned.

Distracted by my own thoughts and conjectures, I found myself once again watching Bella color contentedly at the coffee table in the living room. I could not help but think that if Bella's mind were not locked away from my own ability, I might have a better chance of protecting her. For me, this fact was even more frustrating given our recent discovery that Alice has not been able to lock down any new visions of her future. It was then that Bella interrupted my thoughts as I stared at her arm. I was staring at the exact spot where I had seen the birthmark the day before.

"Edward, you could just ask me you know," Bella said to me as she sat coloring without turning to face me.

As per usual, Bella never failed to surprise me. "Ummm...what do you mean love?" I was not entirely sure I heard her correctly. I wish I could get into her mind, if only for a moment.

"I am sorry you cannot hear what I am thinking, you could just ask me what I am thinking about, though," she said ever so nonchalantly.

What? She can hear my thoughts? No, that is not possible, I thought to myself in a vain attempt to sidestep the reality that was clearly unfolding in front of me.

"Yes, Edward, I can hear your thoughts," she spoke again with ease, a slight smile forming at the edges of her lips.

My jaw practically dropped to the floor. Then she said something I will never forget, "Mommy always said there was something special about me. I like being special because it means I can help people."

As I tried to collect myself to wrap my mind around what had just happened, it was if my thoughts were stuttering. Bella can read minds...