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Morning Dew

Summary:
Did the battle scene at the end of Breaking Dawn leave you feeling cheated?
Were you expecting an epic fight and some well-deserved suffering?
Did Bella's perfect happiness get on your nerves? This is my alternate ending to Breaking Dawn.


Notes:
I don't know about you, but Breaking Dawn severely diminished my excitement about Twilight. I just didn't like the book much. The characters were all totally off, the plot was not well thought-through, and the writing made my eyes water. When the book finally advanced to the battle scene, I was exultant -- I thought that the story would finally take the right turn and amend for all the confusion from the beginning. But then nothing happened. SM later called it "strategy"... but I seriously see no connection between what happened in BD and The Merchant of Venice by Shakespeare. So I decided to test the waters myself, and see if I could do any better. That being said, I would like to remind you of two things: a) I am not an author. I know I'm not better than SM. I'm just a sixteen-year-old venting her frustration.
b) I don't mean to offend anyone who liked BD. Everyone's entitled to an own opinion. You can still enjoy this story if you did :) The story kicks off right where the Volturi are deciding whether or not to attack. Until then everything stays as it is -- if you need to refresh your memory, feel free to check Breaking Dawn (I had to do that quite a lot, especially in the beginning. I hope there are no contradictions. If you find any, however, please let me know). The italics in the beginning are straight from the book. Beta'ed by TRDancer from fanfiction.net


3. Fishing

Rating 5/5   Word Count 3263   Review this Chapter

"Bella! I am so glad you are safe and sound," Aro said, exaggerating with his hands. I glared at him in disgust—what use was there to pretend now? "We've been looking all over for you. I was almost afraid something had happened."

"Yeah, right. Something like what? Your henchmen butchering me?" I spat out. Now that I knew Edward was still alive, the anger was starting to get the upper hand. If Aro were at least honest in his intentions, I might have been able to swallow the hatred and bear my fate in silence. But he was still pretending to be an old friend! I wondered how long he would have to keep up the charade.

Aro made a mockingly sad face at my accusation. It looked twisted with the obvious joy that was looming underneath. "It makes me sad to hear you think so lowly of us. I sent my men to search for you, that's all. No one was supposed to get hurt."

The many bonfires crackled as if to protest against his statement.

"But now you are here," Aro cried out and clapped his hands together, "and we may commence! Ah, Edward, did I not say she would be just fine? You seem to be quite pessimistic—isn't this the second time you've been absolutely sure of your mate's death? Oh, well, I'm happy your fears didn't turn out to be true."

I shot a glance at Edward. He was glaring at Aro too, but his glare was oddly tired, as if he had no energy left to truly hate him. It wasn't just his glare—everything about Edward looked utterly worn-out and cold. It made me want to wrap my arms around him and assert that everything would be all right.

But Felix would have none of it. Even after I'd just shifted an inch he was gripping my shoulders tightly, pushing me against the ground so hard that it was sure to leave a dent behind.

When I looked up again, Aro was standing closer, just a few feet away. He looked down on me like a fisher would look upon his prize trout. Renata came scurrying after, looking much calmer than before the fight. She must have decided that we had already lost.

"There's an issue I would like to ask you about. I believe you know what it is," he said to me. His face looked terribly pale against the sun.

"If you mean I should tell you where my daughter is, you can go to Hell."

Aro sighed. "We wish your family no harm. Only your daughter is a threat." He made a motion to place his hand on my shoulder, but decided not to when I bared my teeth and growled.

"My daughter is my family."

Aro narrowed his eyes for a second, and then turned his back to me and looked up at the blue sky. Not quite to my surprise, he didn't seem particularly interested in getting information. Not that he ever would. I wouldn't surrender even if he ripped my every limb off separately and threw them into a fire.

As Aro turned his back to me, a smaller figure appeared over my head. It was Jane, dressed in a slightly lighter shade of black, a dark gray. Her eyes were blazing with fury and hatred and her tiny hands were curled into fists. But there was a terrible smile on her face that reminded me of a child who has just received a present she has long wished for.

I felt a sharp stab against my shield—sharp, but not sharp enough. I repelled it easily.

Jane's smile didn't falter. "Start talking, newborn," she whispered to me. "Do you think you're safe from torture? There are many more ways to hurt you."

I refused to answer because I knew it was true.

And yet, would Aro really assent to torture? Edward had implied that he was not really interested in Renesmee—that she was just an excuse, a cover under which they could attack our coven to gain the powers they coveted.

As I looked around at my fellow captives, I noticed an evident pattern in the survivors: all were talented in some way, or otherwise connected to someone who was. Zafrina, Kate, Benjamin, Maggie, Edward and me. It couldn't be a coincidence that precisely we had been spared. It reminded me of what Elaezar had said not long ago: "And then, once the whole coven was all but destroyed, Aro would grant a pardon to one member whose thoughts, he would claim, were particularly repentant. Always, it would turn out that this vampire had the gift Aro admired…"

Horror engulfed me.

"If Renesmee is all you want, you can let us go. She is clearly not here," Carlisle said softly, a hint of despair still in his voice. I had a feeling he'd already had the same revelation.

"No, indeed, she is not," Aro answered, turning back to face us. I glowered at him with all the loathing I could muster. "But we have good reason to believe that young Bella has an idea of her whereabouts." He turned to me. "Hasn't she?"

I considered all my possible answers—something typical, like "Even if I did, I wouldn't tell you", or something more theatrical, for example "Over my dead body"—but I decided that it would most insult him to stay silent.

Aro waited for the response that never came, and then pressed on. "You've hidden your secret well. Made sure no one else knew of it, not even your mate. You knew that it would be impossible for anyone to hear it from your mind." He heaved another sigh. "But you do understand that this makes everything much more difficult, don't you?"

I continued to glare at him smugly. In my peripheral vision I could see Edward glance at me with a proud smile on his face, looking less like a zombie than before. His posture was more upright and demanding now. He reminded me of a prince who'd lost his last fight and was waiting to die with his head raised high.

"Bella," Aro bemoaned. I had to stifle a smile—he sounded like a little child. "I understand you feel responsible for Renesmee, but please remember that the fate of our whole kind is in your hands. What is one life compared to hundreds, if not thousands of others—"

"Renesmee is not a threat!" Edward hissed at Aro from across the field. The men in his vicinity jumped and poised themselves above him like dark watchtowers.

Aro smiled a sad smile and stepped further away from me. "We cannot know that."

Edward's glare was sharp and deadly like a knife. "Why don't you say out loud what you really want? You have no witnesses left to lie to. Everything you're after is right at your fingertips, served to you on silver plates."

Aro didn't flinch. His expression stayed exactly the same as he looked at Edward, half smiling at his accusation and half frowning life a disappointed father. But Edward's stare was just as fierce and unwavering, and there was something behind Aro's eyes—a dim glint that crackled in the sun's pitiless glare.

"My dear boy, you misunderstand my intentions. Your coven has misused my trust, attacked me, and killed many of my irreplaceable friends and allies. And yet I stand before you as a friend. I could easily have destroyed you and your coven, but I do not believe in revenge. It is sad how long-standing friendships can be broken so easily by their owners. I did not expect this unfathomable behavior from you." He shook his head. "But I can forgive."

"You make me sick," Edward replied. "How dare you twist the facts to turn them against Carlisle? He has been more lenient to you than you deserve."

"Edward," Carlisle mumbled softly. Edward cast a quick glance on him but ignored his reproof.

"Why don't we be honest in our intentions?" he said, quietly but menacingly. "I am happy Alice was smart enough to escape. Admit that all you want is Benjamin, Zafrina, and—over everything else—Bella."

Silence banished the noise from the air. For a few fleet seconds everyone just stared at Edward—some in the shock of realization, others in disbelief that Edward would be so straightforward about it. But those fleet seconds were soon over, and another sound pierced through the air.

"I hate you!" a high voice squeaked. I was about to turn my head to see where it was coming from when an object flew into my side, knocking me away from Felix's grasp and into the snow.

My muscles tightened reflexively and swung at whoever my attacker was, but met with only air. When kicking and punching didn't work, I tried to roll them of me—this time with success. My opponent was surprisingly light.

I jumped to my feet and looked down. It was Jane.

"Tell them where the baby is," she screamed, and before I could make a move to attack her she was out of sight. Expecting the worst, I twirled around—but not fast enough. I was hurled off my feet yet again. I flew a few feet and then crashed against a tree. To my surprise I felt no pain, but the tree groaned beneath me and cracked, crushing a few bushes by falling sideways to the ground like a sword blade.

In the brief second I had before Jane hit me again I swept my eyes over everyone else, wondering why nobody was there to help either of us. That short glance enlightened me—Aro was holding back his guard, which in their turn was holding down my allies. Most of them were too shocked to respond anyway. Only Edward was putting up a real fight.

When Jane came running at me again, I was ready. I ducked away from her blow and—just as Emmett had taught me—slammed into her from behind when she was still recovering from missing me. We both landed hard on the ground, me on top of her. I quickly adjusted my position so that I was impossible to throw off. Jane thrashed about underneath me like a fish brought onto dry land.

"Wow, you really are useless without your power, aren't you?" I sneered, savoring in the feeling of finally doing something physical. "It must really suck to lose against a newborn."

Jane hissed against the snow, but made no noticeably harder effort to wrestle herself free.

But just when I was about to dig my teeth into her, a second figure blew me into the air. With my fighting instincts already activated, I could instantly identify them—it was Alec this time, right on cue to rescue his sister.

He was quicker and more composed than Jane. With one graceful motion, more agile than I'd expected, he had me pinned with my back to the ground. But as fast as he'd attacked me, he was gone again. Confused, I propped myself on my elbows and looked around.

My heart made a horrified somersault. Edward was there, fighting with Alec more capably than I could ever dream of doing myself. When I saw the transparent mist against the ground I panicked and quickly checked my shield to make sure everyone was fully protected. I had a hard time fitting it to Edward—he was moving constantly, and Alec was always dangerously close to being sucked into my protection, too.

Once I was reassured that Edward was mentally safe from the twins, I made a move to assist him against Alec, but was stopped by a cry from Zafrina.

"Bella, Jane!"

True enough, she was back on her feet, also getting ready to pounce on the fighting couple. I shifted my jump a few inches so that instead of flying to Edward, I flew to her.

"This is between you and me," I hissed and kicked her in the stomach. Jane staggered back.

"Absolutely," she hissed back. Her little eyes narrowed into slits.

I lifted my hand, ready to strike her for one final time, but before I could land the blow someone grabbed my arm from behind.

"The show's over," he whispered in my ear and twisted my arm behind my back so that I was unable to move. All my struggles were in vain—Felix was much too strong.

Edward, I noticed, was also being held back by someone from the guard, and perhaps more surprisingly, so were Jane and Alec. The former was still hissing and staring at me in utter hatred, her teeth bared and ready to sink into my neck.

"Please, children, calm down," Aro said disapprovingly. "Really, Jane, I am quite upset with you. I do not remember giving orders to attack."

Jane made an even more fervent effort to escape her friends' grasps. "She knows something," she hissed. "Let me wring it out of her!"

So she just wanted to be the one to get what Aro wanted? But that didn't go together with what she'd screamed just before she'd attacked me. There was no goal in her eyes other than to destroy me.

"Of course! You're just afraid of losing Aro's affection, aren't you?" I exclaimed, half to myself and half to Jane. She emitted a short, unnatural laugh but said nothing.

"Why did you let this continue for so long?" Marcus said, attracting all attention. He'd been so quiet throughout the whole thing that I'd forgotten he could talk. His bored expression was still there, only that it was—if possible—even more bored than before. He looked more than jaded now. He looked dead-tired.

Aro answered with a chuckle. It seemed to say something to Marcus because he resigned and fell back into the background.

"Yes, it was a fun little circus performance, wasn't it?" Edward jeered. "You can tell your guard to release me now. As long as no one is offending my wife, I will not be offensive myself."

With a wave of his hand, Aro signaled the guards to let go of Edward and to return to their posts. Only one stayed behind to watch over him.

"Aro, we must progress. We have already wasted too much time," Caius said, letting his fierce gaze touch on both me and Edward for a second. His lips were set in a grim line, a line so thin that it looked like it had been drawn by a pencil.

I wondered if he knew that Aro had no intention to deliver justice. There was no way Aro was letting anyone so much as scratch us—after all, we were to crown his collection of precious gems. We were valuable goods.

My thoughts were confirmed by Aro's answer. "Caius, we cannot punish these vampires. They have broken no rules."

"Excuse me?" Caius barked out, angry incredulity spreading across his features. Still, a slight undertone in his voice hinted that he wasn't nearly as surprised as he pretended to be. "They have attacked us for no reason. They refuse to surrender their hybrid which is a threat to all our species. We offered them reprieve and they declined. It is clearly their decision to die for their cause."

Aro raised a hand to silence him. Never averting his gaze from Edward and me, he spoke with the same mockingly sad and sanctimonious tone that I had grown accustomed to. "Still, Caius, they have broken no rules. They attacked us merely out of defense—how can we punish them for that? We have come in great numbers and with a clear intent to destroy. It is only natural that they should feel threatened."

Caius hissed. "Enough is enough, Aro. I don't understand you anymore." He turned around to the group of gray-cloaked vampires behind him and barked out an order. "Destroy them all. Now."

I braced myself as the two vampires nearest to me made a move to attack, but breathed out in relief when Aro protested. "No, don't hurt them. Caius, remember our responsibilities. We must act as role models to the rest of our kind. Vengeance is not a virtue."

Suddenly, I wanted them to kill me. Although I was not suicidal, death had to be a better option than servitude. For the first time I regretted being a vampire—if I had stayed human, I could have easily killed myself before the Volturi could capture me.

To my surprise, Edward didn't seem to share my anger. His expression was distressed, miserable—and resigned. It made me remember the thoughts I'd had a few weeks ago: all the Volturi had to do to make me comply was threaten Edward, and vice versa…

I felt like crying.

"If you have no intention to punish, why are we still here?" Carlisle asked calmly. He was the only person in the field who still looked a little hopeful. But even his tone was careful, and his hope wary—he knew we didn't have much of a chance.

Aro walked over to him a laid a hand on his shoulder—earning a hiss from Edward. "My dear friend, I have an offer to make."

"Surprise, surprise," someone murmured under their breath.

Carlisle's hopeful expression vanished in an instant, but his voice was still as calm. "We are listening, my friend."

Aro straightened himself and strode to the front of the field like an actor would stride to the middle of his stage. Renata hastened to catch up with him.

"I can tell you repent your actions—" I rolled my eyes. Surprise, surprise, indeed. "—and have, in truth, not broken any rules. You refuse to give in your child's whereabouts, but that is only natural. Who would hand in their child willingly? I understand your dilemma."

Up front, Benjamin crushed Tia to his chest and closed his eyes. I let my thoughts flicker to Renesmee—my darling, sweet Renesmee—who was no doubt terrified at that very moment, holding on to Jacob for dear life. Suddenly I didn't care about what would happen to me anymore. If I could never see my daughter again, I didn't know what would become of me. At that moment, they could have beaten me with a sledgehammer and I would not have felt it.

"We have no choice but to let you go," Aro continued. Caius gasped angrily, but did not counteract. "However, I believe it is only fair to make sure you, your daughter or your allies do not prove a threat to us in the future. As proven today, we vampires are vengeful creatures. We have—unfortunately—been forced to eliminate several of your friends. Who is to say you won't attempt to avenge for them later on?"

Carlisle shook his head. "We don't want war, Aro."

"I wish I could believe you. But after today…" Aro sighed. "Your word is not enough. Nonetheless, I have a solution."

We all knew what was coming, but the news still hit us hard. It was our nightmare put to reality, our worst-case-scenario in flesh and blood. It was what Alice had known.

"If some of you were to join us," Aro spoke quietly, "perhaps you would feel less inclined to take revenge."

Everyone went silent—everyone but Edward.

"What is our other option?" he growled. "Death? Because I'd rather die than join you, and I know I'm not alone in that sentiment."

A murmured agreement swept through the field. I tried to ignore the implications of Edward's request—like the thought of seeing him ripped to pieces—and forced myself to nod.

"I can offer your daughter total amnesty," Aro replied. That silenced us all.