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War of the Heart

Summary:
Lieutenant General Charlie Swan moves his family to Forks while he and his sons our deployed to Iraq. Can the Cullens & the Hales help Bella survive while her whole family is on tour overseas? What happens when the only family member she can rely on runs away? Or when a brother is injured in a road side explosion? Thanks to XxBleedingSoulxX for the amazing banner :) NOTE!! I'VE GIVEN UP UPDATING ON THIS SITE, IF YOU WISH TO KEEP READING YOU CAN FIND THE STORY AT FANFICTION. THANKS FOR ALL THE LOVE.


Notes:
Everything belongs to the one and only Stephanie Meyer.


22. I'm Going Home

Rating 5/5   Word Count 3639   Review this Chapter

Chapter Twenty-Two - I'm Going Home

BPOV

It had been two weeks since Austin had come home from the hospital and since then I was pleased to say that Jack had only been causing a minimal amount of grief between Edward and me, and I was hoping that that was because he was trying to be a good brother and keep his distaste of Edward to himself.

Honestly, I wasn’t as naive as everyone thought I was. I knew that my brothers were teaming up against Edward, and I knew I should be angry at their attempt to ruin things for me with my first serious boyfriend, but deep down I knew they just had my best interests at heart and I had faith that soon enough they’d realize just how amazing Edward truly was and that they’d be able to see him in a better light. But also, if I was truly honest with myself, a part of me was comforted by the idea that my brothers were acting so protective of me because it just showed how much they truly loved me.

It was the night before Tory was returning home and I was very anxious. Like many other evenings, the night had been spent with Edward and me making dinner before finishing up our homework together. Once that was done, we spent the rest of the night warmly snuggling together on the couch, whispering to each other about our families, friends, school and just about everything else while pretending to watch television, all the while trying to ignore the constant glares my brothers were shooting towards Edward every time he even dared to get too close to me.

As soon as I said goodnight to Edward at the door, so my brothers could visibly see him leave, I races upstairs and dug out my phone, pressing speed dial for Edward’s number. We had already discussed the previous night about him staying over because I knew I’d be too anxious/excited to sleep, so he agreed to spend the night with me.

“That was quick,” he laughed as he answered his phone.

“Shut up and your cute ass on up here, boyfriend” I laughed as I laid back on my bed, wrapping the comforter around my waist.

“Okay then love, you’d better scoot over...”

“What?” I asked, confused. Suddenly there was a tap on my bedroom window before seconds later being pried open from the outside.

“Scoot” he laughed, climbing through the window. He signalled for me to move over before he climbed into bed next to me. He laid down on the bed, wrapping his arms around my waist, pulling me in close. I laid my head on his chest, listening to his heartbeat. It was insane just how relaxing it was to be laying with him like this.

“Talk to me love,” he whispered into my hair.

“What do you want to talk about?” I asked.

“Hmm... why don't you tell me what it was like growing up as a Swan” he suggested.

“Well, when you move around as much as we did as children, you quickly grow a reputation as ‘Army Brats’. Kids always had it in for us, teasing us mercilessly, but they soon learned not to mess with the Swan Brothers seeing as how my brothers had no problem putting the little pests in their places. We had each other’s backs, and Ryan, Austin and Tory kept an especially watchful eye on Jack and me, seeing how we were the youngest.

“It must have been nice to have such caring personal body guards,” he smiled.

“Well it’s the same as you and Alice, right?” I asked.

“What do you mean?” he asked, confused.

“I mean that if someone was messing with Alice, you would be the first one there to defend her, right?”

“Well yea, but I’d have to get in line behind Emmett and Jasper, first” he stated.

“Same diff” I scoffed. “It’s the same way with me and my brothers. I always feel safe because I know no matter what, wherever they may be, they’ll always have my back. Just like you would if someone messed with Alice.”

“Point taken” he smirked.

“Well I'm sure with someone like Emmett around, you were left alone too, right?” I asked as he shook his head.

“You’re kidding me right?” I asked in disbelief, not believing that someone as great as Edward could seriously be picked on.

He shook his head again and replied, “There was this one time, in the fifth grade, when we had just moved down here from Alaska...”

My eyes widened with bewilderment. “Seriously?! The Great Edward Anthony Mason Cullen, was actually bullied?!”

“I don't know about ‘Great’,” he scoffed, “but yes, and it was very traumatic,” he laughed, fainting hurt, “I wasn’t always this fine specimen of male that’s sitting before you this very moment. Before this I had braces and glasses and was the very epitome of a geek, actually before getting in shape for track I was quite lanky and thin” he laughed.

“Anyway, unlike some people-” he said, poking fun at me, “I didn't have personal body guards looking out for me. I had to learn to fight my own battles myself. It was just after Christmas and there was this bully, Blake, and a couple of his friends who were teasing me on the playground and they started throwing snowballs at me. One of the snowballs had a rock in it and it hit just above my left eyebrow. The result being a trip to the emergency room where Carlisle ended up giving me seven stitches.”

“So that’s where you get this scar?” I asked, genuinely curious, as I gently ran my finger over the contour of the pink mark above his left eyebrow. He nodded in conformation.

“That’s sad,” I said, faintly kissing the scar above his eye, “but I don't understand why Emmett didn't help you? I can’t see him taking too kindly to bullies messing with his kid brother.”

“Well Emmett was in middle school at the time and I was still in elementary, so it wasn’t like he could do anything. But Alice sure as hell gave them hell to pay, the next day when we returned to school.”

“She did?” I laughed, trying to imagine my pixie-like best friend being scary and intimidating.

“Yea, the day after the snowball incident, she marched right over to Blake at recess and punched him in the gut, he landed on his ass in front of the whole school. She then went on to straddle him and force feed him snow before a teacher came over and pried her off of him. She got suspended for two days, but she didn't care because she just said that no one messes with family.”

“Wow. I just can’t fathom why kids would do such a thing...”

“Well they were kids, and you know how kids can be... Are you seriously telling me that you were never picked on as a kid?” he asked, stunned.

I shook my head, “Of course not, that’s where having four older brothers comes in handy.” I laughed. “People would have to be stupid to even dare mess with me with four army buff’s hanging around.”

“Yea, Okay” he scoffed.

“Bite me Cullen,” I laughed.

“Don't tempt me Swan” he chuckled, causing my face to turn bright red.

...

...

“Do you think their ever going to except me?” he asked, after a while of silence

“Don’t worry about it so much, you might not be able to see it but their already slowly starting to let their guards down when there around you. Austin has even begun to start calling you ‘Edward’ rather than just that ‘kid’,” I stated proudly.

“I guess,” he laughed. “Are you tired yet, love?” he asked as he let out a yawn, I shook my head no. “Okay, why don't you talk to me about your brother, what’s he like?”

“Why?” I chuckled.

“I already have two Swan Brothers breathing down my back; it would be nice if I could get in the good graces of at least one of your brothers.” He sighed.

“Tory?” he nodded, “Well Tory was great growing up; he always took on the role of father figure when dad was away on tour. He always looked out for me. He was actually the one who ended up giving me ‘the talk’ when I started my period, while dad was away in Germany. You see, no one seemed to remember back then that I scheduled to be hitting puberty because they were all too busy dealing with mom being sick and then after her death they forgot to give me a heads up on what was to expect with my body. So you can imagine my surprise when I woke up one morning to my monthly visit and Tory had to sit me down, while the other three scaredy cats ran away as fast as they could. Talk about embarrassing!” I mumbled causing him to laugh.

“Stop laughing, it’s not that funny! It was humiliating” I whined.

“I’m sorry love,” he murmured, burying his face in my hair.

“Edward, I'm glad you agreed to stay the night with me” I whispered, snuggling into him so my legs were intertwined with his.

“It’s no problem love, there’s nowhere I’d rather be” he yawned, holding me tighter against him

“Thank you” I murmured.

“Shh... sleep now love, tomorrow everything will be better and you’ll have your brother home safely in your arms again.” He assured me, kissing my forehead before snuggling into my side and pulling the comforter over to cover us.

I buried my face in the nape of his neck, wrapping my arms around his torso, intertwining my fingers with his. I sighed and inhaled his warm, soothing scent before allowing myself to fall into a blissful night sleep.

*****

I was woken up, by someone pressing sweat, gentle kisses along my face. I opened my eyes and came face to face with my own personal Adonis. My arms were still around his waist, and my face that had been previously buried into his chest, was now facing him. ‘I could definitely get used to waking up like this.’

“Good morning beautiful,” he whispered into my hair before kissing the tip of my nose.

“Mornin-” I replied, rolling over onto my side so I was facing him. “What time is it?”

“Just a little past six, I’m guess I should be heading out...”

“Yea... probably, unless you want my brothers to find us like this.” I replied, causing him to grimace.

“Have a great day today, beautiful. Say hello to your brother for me when you see him, and call me later when you get home.” He murmured; as he bent down to kiss my head. I slapped his sexy ass before he continued to climb out of my bedroom window, scurrying down the old oak tree.

*****

After Edward had left I fell back asleep for another couple hours before waking up to a whimpering dog, doing circles on my carpet signalling that he needed to be let out. I reluctantly got out of bed and brought Riley downstairs, letting him outside. When he was all finished up, we went back in and I fed him a quick breakfast before skipping up the stairs to hop in the shower. I was so excited; today was the day Tory would be coming home!!

As I walking down the hall, returning to my room after my nice long shower, I was startled by an obnoxious pounding sound. I arrived at my room to find Jack hammering nails into my window, nailing it shut. Austin was sitting beside him in his wheelchair holding a box of nails out for him.

“What the hell?!” I hissed, storming into my room.

“Oh don't take that tone with us young lady; you know perfectly well we’re in the right here.” Jack said as he continued to hammer.

“What the hell are you talking about?!” I yelled, thoroughly confused about their new renovation project.

“Don't kid with me, I saw your boyfriend’s scrawny white ass high tailing in out of here this morning. God, Bells! You sure know how to pick them don't you?” Austin grimaced.

“Nothing happened.” I stated.

“Un huh, well were just making sure that no future quests are met”

“Whatever!” I sighed, giving up. A new this was one argument I wasn’t going to be winning anytime soon so I decided it best to try and change the subject. “So Jack, are you basically telling me that you came up with this idiotic plan and lugged Austin up the flight of stairs to my bedroom, so he could sit around and hold some nails?” I asked, stunned.

“Well yea, he’s my partner in crime.” He smirked, bumping fists with Austin.

“And how exactly did you manage to get Austin and his 100 pound wheelchair up the flight of stairs, by yourself?”

“Simple, I got Jasper to help me.” He replied, very nonchalant.

“Jasper!” I yelled, pissed. “Get your but in here, NOW!”

I few seconds later he stuck his head in the doorway, sheepishly looking into the room. “What’s up Bells?”

“I don't know, why don't you tell me? What exactly prompted you to go along with my brother’s idiotic plan?”

“Simple,” he grinned. “He gave me an offer I couldn't refuse; He promised me I could keep my room when Tory came home tonight. And since there’s only four rooms upstairs, other than the room the was renovated for Austin, I thought it was good idea since You, Jack and I already occupy three of the four rooms, and the fourth one already belongs to-”

“My dad” I stated, finishing his statement. “He claimed it before he left in September.”

“Exactly! Anyway, Jack promised me that if I helped him, Tory would room with him if it came down to that.” He confessed.

“Fine. Anyway, mission accomplished you three, Edward won’t be climbing in the window any time soon. Now you all need to get out so I can get ready.” I said, pushing them out my bedroom door. “We’re leaving for Seattle in an hour, and I suggest that you two be ready by then if you still plan on coming.” I yelled to my brothers, before closing my door.

I probably should have been more furious with my brothers, but I didn't have it in me. I was just too excited to see Tory. I would be sure to give them all hell later when we returned home from Seattle, Tory in tow.

*****

After getting dressed and throwing some sandwiches together for the drive, I went outside and got the Volvo ready for the trip.

Edward graciously leant me his Volvo so Jack, Austin and I could travel up to Seattle and meet Tory at the airport. Seeing as how we couldn't take the Harley, and there was no way we could all fit in my truck.

I thought about leaving Austin home because I wasn’t sure how he was going to respond to being around army men, recalling about what happen in Iraq. I didn't want his PTSD acting up again and any threat of him harming himself, but he had his heart set on coming so I reluctantly agreed. I mean, who was I to stop him from seeing his brother? Before I knew it, it was finally time to go and the three of us piled into the Volvo.

“Next stop, Seattle!” Jack cried from the driver’s seat as we backed out on the road.

*****

After a very long seven hour drive, and countless rest stops later, we had finally arrived at the Seattle International Airport, just shortly after six.

When we pulled up and parked in the parking lot of the Airport, Jack got out and went around the Volvo to lift Austin out of the car and into his wheelchair. When Austin was all strapped in, Jack wheeled him up the airport ramp, following me as I excitedly lead the way towards the arrival area.

When we arrived, airport staff and military personal ushered us into a separate wing, that had been taped off reclusively for the families of the returning soldiers. There we met up with many other families who held similar anxious expressions, all longing to see their loved ones safely return home once again. ‘There was just something about knowing that you were mere minutes from coming face to face with my brother. I was both nervous and excited at the same time.’

Suddenly, after what seemed like ages, the military personal that were in the lobby gathered together, lining up in two straight lines on either side of the entrance. This was it, the moment that I have been waiting for, for over the past year; my big brother was finally home. One soldier proudly held the American flag, standing tall and humble beside a bagpiper as he began to play, filling the room with its majestic music. After the bagpipes began to play, the metal doors were thrust open and we caught our glance at our returning heroes. The soldiers that lined the entrance saluted the soldiers as they entered, welcoming their brothers home from war.

As the returning soldiers entered the room, one by one, a blissful and excited atmosphere filled the air. You could hear the jovial cries and shrills of families greeting their loved ones in embraces. It all was making me more and more anxious to see my brother. I held on tightly to both Jack and Austin’s hands, as the soldiers continued to pile in. My grip on my brothers’ hands continued to get tighter and tighter as I desperately craned my neck in search of any sign of Tory, yet I still couldn't find him.

All around us, families were reuniting in emotional and joyous embraces. The sight was so overwhelming that it was bringing tears to my eyes and sending chills up my spine. The atmosphere in the room was so powerful, our soldiers were returning home. It was just all such a powerful and moving moment. It was crazy, I was already crying and I had still yet to see my own brother.

Finally, as the secession came to an end, I finally caught sight of my brother.

“Tory!” I shouted, pointing him out to Austin and Jack when I saw him enter the room. I saw him immediately start looking around the room for any sign of us. The nine months overseas had definitely done him well in the looks department. His normally toned body had become increasingly more built and defined; his skin was much tanned like Austin’s had been from the sunny, hot desert days. He was sporting the normal military coif, and finished it off with his army fatigues.

I snapped out of my reverie and continued to call out to him; "Tory! Tory! Over here!” I then let go of my brothers hands as I excitedly started hopping up and down, trying so desperately to gain his attention. He finally saw me and started heading in our direction.

"Bella!" he cried, when he finally made eye contact with me. he dropped his duffle bag and ran up to me before swinging me around. I lost all my self control when I saw him shoot me his famous grin, showing off those glorious dimples and I sobbed into his shoulder.

“You’re home!” I cried, not daring to let go of him.

“Hey baby girl,” he grinned. As I looked up I could see tears building in his eyes. “I missed you” he whispered to me.

“Oh god, I missed you so much Tory...” I sobbed.

“I’m home Bells, it’s all over now” he whispered, trying to sooth me.

After I had calmed down enough, he reluctantly let me go and greeted his other two brothers.

“Hey man, long time no see,” Tory mused as he greeted Jack with in a one armed hug. Jack seemed taken aback by the genuine affection towards him. I guess he had assumed Tory would be rather ticked at him for having taken off in such an abrupt manner like he did. But you could tell none the less that he was pleasantly surprised by his oldest brother’s affection.

After Tory was done greeting Jack, I saw him lean down and embrace Austin. He whispered something to him and Austin nodded in reply, patting his brother on the back. I knew it would be hard for Tory to see Austin for the first time, so physically and emotionally hurt like that as he took in the sight of his missing left leg with the right still encased in a cast. Austin was not only Tory’s brother by blood, but always his fellow military brother who had lost his leg in the pursuit of protecting his country. You could see the respect and admiration Tory had for his wounded brother, for he knew like Austin, it could have so easily had been him injured in the line of fire.

"So, how was the flight?" Jack asked, trying to break the emotional atmosphere.

"As good as can be expected. You know I hate flying." Tory laughed, playfully roughing his brother’s hair.

After some more playful banter, Austin swooped up Troy’s bag onto his lap and Jack began to wheel him out as I took Tory’s hand in my own. "Common boys, lets head home" I said as I lead the way towards the entrance.

That night I sighed a sigh of relief, I was one step closer to having all my men back home again...