Some still have a score to settle with the Volturi and what they want, they get. So now a whole new kind of threat is endangering the Cullen family. But allegiances are fraught with turmoil, so where will they eventually lie?
The story takes place several months after the end of Breaking Dawn.
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I narrowed my eyes as I stared down the enemy. They were arrayed against me in a neat formation- a row of glittering golden eyes watching my every move. I shifted my body lower in preparation.
I caught the ball and started backing up. Seth dashed across the field, nimbly dodging Carlisle. Emmett was immediately behind him, managing to block both Alice and Esme at the same time. I watched as Edward and Carlisle started racing toward me. I had to shift quickly to the right. I saw an opening right between the two and fired the ball down to Seth. Seth aligned himself perfectly to catch the ball -- right before Jasper appeared in front of him. The ball seemed like it would go straight into his hands, but then Emmett, out of now where, shot right by him, ball in hand, and headed straight into the end zone.
This would be our third touchdown. Emmett hooted from across the field doing his customary victory dance. Alice frowned at him. She ran and grabbed Edward, who was chuckling, and pulled him aside. I frowned in return. Alice was devious when she wanted to win. I saw her gather Carlisle, Esme, and Jasper together as she wrote something on the ground so we couldn’t overhear.
Emmet laughed. “They can plan all they want, we’ve shown our skill,” he said, knowing perfectly well they could hear him. Seth laughed along with him.
Alice looked up from her written message and beamed at Edward. He grinned in return, and she kept writing.
“Alice is vicious when she’s like this,” I reminded them.
I don’t know how I ever got involved in this game. Emmett called it the “true Cullen pastime” and always tried to get us to play it whenever he got the chance. Edward told me it would be fun, so I decided I’d give it a try. Back in my human days, sports was one of the last things I would have considered participating in, but I felt a little more confident with my new vampire strength.
I didn’t know much about football, so I had to be “taught.” It was more like “babied.” Jacob took it upon himself to explain the rules to me, and I was constantly asking questions and getting confused, much to his amusement. I got a lot of “and this is a f-o-o-t-b-a-l-l.” I played against him my first game.
What surprised me was that I actually found it fun. I reminded myself not to judge Charlie so harshly next time I saw him loaf on the couch watching ESPN. It was all the more unique with our vampire powers. Edward was an amazing player, being able to hear everyone’s thoughts and find openings instantly. Alice knew when someone was going to make a pass a good minute before they were even ready, and Jasper would slow us down constantly by sucking the adrenaline out of us. Emmett, however, was something else entirely. Being the sports fanatic, he knew all the moves, and his tremendous strength made him the best blocker. With my shielding ability, I inevitably ended up playing against Edward because I could protect whichever team I was on against his thoughts. Jacob was in the same boat, ending up on the opposite team of Alice, killing her predictions.
Recently our games were very different than our usual, though. Emmett decided he really wanted to flaunt his skills, and he decided to put together a “crack team” as he called it. Our usual games had teams that were even numbered, and Emmett decided that just wasn’t challenging enough and wanted to push the boundaries. He decided it would be just Jacob, himself, and I versus the rest of our family. It ended up not being as crazy of an idea as I originally thought. I protected us from Edward and Jacob protected us from Alice. Our only threat came from Jasper, but with Emmett’s plays that hardly kept us from winning.
This match we were substituting Seth for Jacob. Rosalie never played for fear she would get dirty being shoved around, and this time she decided to take Renesmee out while we played. Jacob, not missing an opportunity to have some bonding time with Renesmee (and I suspect bug Rosalie in the process), left with her. Seth was just as good as Jacob, and he was our primary receiver. Emmett was our blocker, so I ended up being the quarterback, much to my chagrin. I feared my lack of experience throwing the football would hinder us, but when I threw my first football and it barreled in a straight line down the field and ended up going into the woods, I didn’t doubt my skills so much.
“All right we’re ready,” Alice chimed, swiping the ground to clear her message.
As we lined up I saw a wicked gleam in Alice’s eyes, and she winked at me. I looked at Edward and saw the edges of his mouth twitch, but he managed to keep a straight face. I suddenly felt unsure about our chances of winning this match.
Alice hiked the ball to Edward, and he backpedaled. Emmett rushed him but got blocked by Jasper. Alice zipped past us guarded by Esme. Seth was trying to dodge Carlisle but was failing.
Alice had apparently found the right play to keep us from rushing Edward. I ran towards Alice in preparation to intercept Edward’s throw, but I wasn’t going to make it in time. I needed a distraction, but there was none available. Alice was an excellent receiver, and Edward could read her mind and tell exactly when she was ready to catch the ball. Oh.
With one of my rare strokes of brilliance, I cast my shield over everyone but Edward. As I turned to look at Edward, he hesitated right before he threw the ball, and with my speed that was just enough time for me to get into position. Esme tried to block me, but I was too strong for her. The ball arced perfectly into my hands. Alice didn’t have time to react before I was darting the opposite way. Emmett suddenly reversed his block, and Jasper couldn’t escape. I suddenly felt my rush of excitement leave me, but I had experience with Jasper’s powers too many times for that to hinder me. I kept my objective in my sights. Edward tried to block me, but I still had my newborn strength and agility going for me, and I dove right past him straight in for a touchdown.
Everyone just stood bewildered. “Whoohoo!” I shouted as I tried to imitate Emmett’s victory dance. Emmett chuckled and ran over and gave me a hug that I was sure would have crushed me in my human days. Seth was ecstatic and gave me a punch on the shoulder. I smiled at him and gave him a punch back. He cringed.
“Oh, sorry. Still don’t know my own strength,” I apologized.
Edward came over to me with a huge a grin on his face that I instantly recognized as pride. He wore that same look as he gloated about me after our encounter with the Volturi. He gave me a hug, and we kissed.
“Someone deserves a Heisman.” He laughed.
“And what would Charlie, think? His own daughter playing football like a pro,” I said in mock chastisement.
“He’d ask what team you were on and if he could get into the games for free,” Edward said, chuckling.
I laughed along with him and stared into his eyes. The vampire vision only made them more bold and rich in golden color. They were every bit as striking as when I first saw them, no-- better. We kissed again, something that would never get old even if we did it every second for the rest of our eternal existence. I only stopped knowing that we had better places to do such things.
His lips traced a line down my neck and all the way to my arm and stopped on my hand. I tingled with excitement, and he took my hand as we started walking along with the rest of our family across the field.
“I know that you must feel quite amazing in your newfound skills, but I like to hear other’s thoughts, my love,” Edward said, smirking as he looked at me, as if I was playing a joke.
My eyebrows furrowed at him. “I’m not doing anything,” I told him. I heard a sharp gasp.
“What’s wrong, Jasper?” I heard Alice say in a horrified tone.
Edward and I raced toward them. Jasper was standing there staring around at all of us. He looked sick. He continued to stare at us until his eyes rested on Alice.
“I’ve lost my power…” He trailed off, his voice fading into a whisper.
Edward and I exchanged a glance. I reached out with my mind, searching for the points of light that I knew were my family around me. I felt nothing. There were no lights, no shields I could sense around them, just… nothing.
“I have, too,” I said, subdued. What was happening?
I heard a whistling sound, very faint. Something my heightened vampire senses could only pick up. It sounded like wind whooshing around a small object. I heard a light thud of something hitting the ground. I looked at where I heard it land to see a small, silver, cyndrilical object. We all stared at it for half a second.
Suddenly, it exploded. The shockwave was tremendous, and I felt the air rush toward me as I dropped to brace myself, my reflexes on alert. I could the see fire start to leap through the explosive, and I could feel the hot gushes blow me backwards across the field. I heard other objects flying through the air as well, falling in various spots throughout the field.
I landed about twenty feet from where I was. The fire had spread in a large circle from where we had been. More explosions happened, popping all around me, creating a wall of fire everywhere I looked. I heard a scream. It sounded like Alice.
“I need some help over here!” I heard Seth yell.
“Bella!” Edward called.
The flames roared around me. The sensations they were sending my body were strange. It felt almost… painful. My nerves were clear in their warning: stay away. The smell of burnt grass assaulted my nose.
I got up and started running toward Edward’s voice when another firestorm erupted right in front of me and threw me to the ground again. I could feel the fire tear at me, stunning me. I tried to get up again, but I felt arms around me. I struggled against them only to find that I couldn’t. They were a vice like grip around my arms and chest. They started dragging me away from the inferno. I heard a snarl come from my left. The arms threw me to the side, smashing me into a tree.
I shifted my eyes to where I was flung. I saw Emmett run at a dark jacketed figure. As I stared at him a familiar smell hit my nose. It sent an ache down my throat. The figure was a human.
Emmett launched himself at the man. They both fell to the ground. I expected the shreds. I prepared myself for the sound of ripping flesh. Instead, the figure shifted out from underneath Emmett and turned him around. He got Emmett in a headlock. Emmett struggled but it looked like he was… weak? I got up and raced toward them. I was too late. I heard the tearing sound of vampire flesh.
I tore at the man holding Emmett’s now limp body, but he blocked me. His hand came up, grabbed my arm, and twisted me toward him. I was powerless. He had me in his vice hold again. I had enough time to look at Emmett lying there. A round object rolled lightly to the ground next to him. I stared at it. Emmett’s eyes looked back at me.
I saw no more as my capturer dragged me deeper into the forest.