Thank you to Jess for her rockin' beta skills!
Chapter 37: Bella
Teaching Emmett to use my gift was going to be interesting. I decided that it would be best to give him one skill at a time, starting with mind reading. After just a few minutes he was already bored and begging for more.
"Bella, don't hold back on me. I won't destroy the house, I promise."
I smiled. "I can see what's going to happen you know." I could see it as clear as day- Emmett was planning on throwing us all around. He didn't intend to wreck the house, but it was sure to happen. He also wanted to get payback on me for our little wrestling match, but he didn't realize I could use my shield against him.
"I can see it too. Maybe it's too soon for him, Bella," Rose added, smirking at him.
"It is not too soon. Emmett just needs to decide to do this responsibly," Alice said. She turned to face Jasper and winked at him before she moved him into the other room. "I love it!"
She turned to run into the other room, but I stopped her.
Just move yourself in there with him.
She was thinking about it, but nothing was happening. She frowned.
Visualize it, Alice.
Four seconds later, she disappeared. I could hear her laughter from the other room. Emmett stepped in front of me.
"Wait, why can't I hear your thoughts? I can hear everyone else's
"Because I'm a shield. You can hear me, when I let you hear me."
Darn gifted vamps never let me have any fun. Can you hear me, Bella? I know that my thoughts have been focused on silly things, but I really want to help. I plan on having some fun eventually, but for now I just want to learn and help protect us. Come on, Bella, you are hurting my ego over here.
And with that, the visions changed. He took Alice's advice, deciding to behave responsibly and for the time being, he was taking the situation seriously. He was able to use everything with ease and he was true to his word, he was totally focused on not only learning, but mastering how to use everything.
The next few hours consisted of non-stop practicing, and it was confusing at first with all of us reading each other's thoughts, and manipulating each other in various ways, so I decided to slow things down. We all sat in a circle outside the house atop a jagged outcropping of rocks and had an internal conversation. Our communication was flawless. Then we moved on to Alice's gift. She suggested we start slowly. Edward and I watched as everyone closed their eyes and began to have non-complex visions of each other and what we would do and say next. I found myself running my fingers up and down Edward's arm. It didn't take long before I found that I could extend my shield over just Edward and me, giving us privacy from the gifts I had given to our siblings. Edward placed his hand on my chest, where my heart used to beat.
You are amazing. The way you have dedicated yourself to protecting our family has touched me more than I can say.
Thank you, Edward. I love you. This family, our family, deserves peace and happiness. It's going to happen. I just know it.
The look in his eyes was of adoration.
I do too.
The day drifted on with all of us spreading around emotions, starting off with lighter, more positive feelings, and it was quite an experience with all six of us throwing around various forms joy and splendor. Everyone was laughing and smiling; the sheer zest for life bubbling out of all of us.
Jasper cleared his throat. "As much as I hate for this to end, I think for our purposes, we should concentrate on emotions that are darker. After what happened with the wolves, we know that instilling fear into our enemies can be very effective."
There was a brief silence in the room. We all saw it at the same time, flashes of each other; upset, storming off, damaging the house, and uncalled for comments both spoken and thought.
"Jazz, we need to approach this carefully. We're all eager to practice, but we are talking about hard emotions. Even though it is a manipulation, and we can calm ourselves down; we are still going to feel these emotions." Edward said with concern.
"I know." Jasper replied, "I mean, we all saw that right? Emmett? Rose? Did you see?"
"It was like a bad dream," Rose whispered. Emmett put his arm around her, and she rested her head upon his shoulder. He rubbed her back and used his new found gifts to comfort her, silently reassuring her and making her feel safe and loved. They looked at each other and the grin on Emmett's face grew and grew. I wasn't listening to their thoughts anymore, but it was pretty clear that there was some sexual connotations there. They were starting to feel lust.
"Jesus, Emmett," Jasper whined.
"I'll take care of this," Edward said. Then Rose and Emmett disappeared. "They needed a break anyways. I moved them far enough away that we won't hear."
Jasper snickered. "Thank god. I say we take a break from my gift. I can't think of a way to use darker emotions without throwing us all into a depression."
"I don't think we need to practice so much, not with your gift anyways. We just proved that we can all use it, and I think we will be able to push fear when the time comes. All of the same principles apply." I shrugged.
Jasper stiffened, looking confused, but then his expression quickly changed. He looked down at Alice and caressed her cheek.
"What is it, Jazz?"
He looked at me. "I can feel it now. Earlier, I couldn't fathom how you two could feel this way; so certain, so unshaken, I can't properly explain it... It's like everything is falling into place."
Jasper could feel everything now. He felt the world shift into place.
I curled up to Edward, feeling a simple wave of relief. The knowledge that I had bestowed a massive amount of power upon our family, enough to keep them safe was tickling me, filling me a sense of purpose.
There were several boxes lying around the house, so I started going through them as we waited for Carlisle and Esme to arrive, and for Rose and Emmett to get back. The boxes were filled with miscellaneous items, most of which we had no need for, and also a few books, blankets, canned goods, candles and matches.
"Bella, can I move you across the room?" Alice asked.
"Sure. Go for it, and thanks for asking."
I let Alice practice on me while Jasper thoroughly enjoyed whipping Edward around. I could hear Emmett and Rose on their way back. I grabbed some candles from a box, and lit a few before sitting with my back against the wall. I suddenly scooted forward and Edward stood before me laughing- then moved me a few more inches forward and then sat behind me.
Rose walked through the door with Emmett following, taking a spot on the floor next to us. Alice and Jasper sat down soon after, and Carlisle and Esme arrived a few minutes later. We all sprang up to greet them. Esme was running in a flash hugging each and every one of us; the poor thing had been worried sick. Carlisle was composed but a bit unsettled. Edward approached him with a hug.
"Let's all sit down. We have some things to discuss," Edward said, nodding at Carlisle.
Carlisle had news for us, and could barely contain himself from speaking.
"Esme and I made a detour before coming here. We traveled to Iceland and spoke to an old friend of mine, Siobhan. He is a first generation vampire, very knowledgeable. He knew of Imperturo Tutore."
My eyes widened. Each one of us was entirely focused on Carlisle, and the anticipation was palpable.
"IT never existed, IT is a prophecy."
"IT?" I laughed.
He grinned. "Yes, short for Imperturo Tutore."
"Go on. What did you find out?" Rose asked impatiently.
"As I said, IT is a prophecy. Siobhan told me that IT is supposed to be a powerful protector, but not in the way you think." He paused, his mind racing. He took a breath and continued. "Let's step back for a moment. Many theorize that our kind descends from the epitome of evil, the devil or Satan perhaps- some dark force keeps us alive, while taking away basic human qualities and replacing them with the need to take life away from others: a vicious circle. It was once predicted that immortals would become rich with greed and power leading to a state of overconfident vampires trying to take too much and disrupting the balance of life. The Volturi was created to maintain secrecy and to ensure the survival of our kind.
"Obviously, these things have already come to pass which leaves us to our current situation. The prophecy Siobhan spoke of was that the vicious circle continued within The Volturi, fueled by Aro, who has blurred the lines of power. His irrational fear of being overpowered has thrown off the balance."
Carlisle's mind was fluctuating through memories and recollections of the time he had spent in Italy. His thoughts were moving so fast, and yet they were so clear, each and every notion blended with one another, a perfect mix of wonder and worry, all topped with compassion. He didn't fully understand what he was about to say, and he struggled for the words. I moved toward him and put my hands on his shoulders. I had a compelling urge to give him something... No, I want to give him everything at once. He shuddered as I began to push my gift to him. He pulled away a bit, but my fingers held tightly and I focused on him.
Look at me, Carlisle.
His lips parted in surprise. He could hear my thoughts.
Esme touched his back. I love you, Carlisle. Please trust this. It feels right.
He turned to his wife and his hands shook. "I love you too, and I will."
Esme started to lift her hand away, but I moved it back and I made her press it against Carlisle's back again. She nodded and put her head on his shoulder, leaning her body against his, her arms slowly wrapping around his torso, still squeezing.
In unison they breathed deeply as I calmed them, invading their minds with my thoughts, showing them what they needed to know. I stepped away to give them space and waited.
When their embrace ended, Carlisle smiled and slowly raised his head, his eyes meeting mine. His thoughts were at a standstill except for the whisper that he wanted to practice too.
I sat on the floor, taking two candles and placing them in front of me and lighting only one before looking at Carlisle.
I moved the air slightly and the flame moved, as if a light gust of wind blew through the room. The flame drifted and caught the wick of the other candle so both candles burned.
"You moved the flame?"
"No, I moved the air."
The air? The concept left him puzzled.
I nodded. Molecules and particles are physical things that we can move and manipulate.
I recalled the process of willing something to move, and Carlisle knew immediately that I was teaching him. It was moments like this when Carlisle's gift for rapidly processing information was abundantly clear. It took no effort for him, as he moved the air back and forth, lighting the candles one after another. It didn't take Esme long to pick up this gift, although her movements were not quite as smooth, but that would come in time. I looked at Esme and used Eleazar's gift. Her aura was light, and as the haze around her drifted slightly in my direction I could see Jasper's gift the most. I knew then that she would use his gift with ease- that would be her strength.
"You think so?" She asked softly.
"I do. I can see it."
Carlisle was in a daze. He looked to each of us as though he had never seen us before. I peeked into his head. He was using Eleazar's gift.
"How do you use it? I don't understand..."
"Emmett, I want you to stop using the powers. Just sit and be Emmett."
He sat down and I moved so that I was sitting next to Carlisle. When Emmett wasn't actively using any of the powers, they could not be seen in his aura.
"What do you see when you look at him?" I asked.
"He has a soft glow around him, it's barely visible."
"That is what you will see when looking at someone who doesn't have a gift. Emmett, start reading thoughts."
Carlisle cocked his head to the side when the Emmett's glow radiated around his head; the movement slight, but picked up speed as it circled around his eyes and ears.
"When you see all the activity around the head that represents a power of the mind. Eleazar's is the most complex gift I have come across so far. There is so much of it that you have to interpret! You have to watch the movement to decipher what one can do. Oh! Look at Esme. What do you see when you look at her right now?"
She was sitting next to Alice, both of them engrossed in passing emotions back and forth between each other.
His breath caught as he looked to his wife. "She... It's so beautiful. I can see her joy. I can see it swirling around her and when she pushes it away, I can see it drift and encompass Alice. It's incredible. I... Wow."
"I agree. It is by far the most visual of the gifts, and the most interesting to me."
It was the first time I had stopped to think about it; every gift was precious and they all had their benefits, but what Eleazar possessed was special. It was the only gift that was so visual, and for me, the most difficult to understand. However, it was a challenge that I was enjoying.
Now Carlisle's gaze was fixed on me, his eyes squinting as he stepped backward until he was standing with his back up against the wall on the opposite side of the room. Edward leaned up against the wall next to him.
"Quite a sight, isn't it?" Edward said with a chuckle.
Carlisle nodded. "The way it moves around her... It is pure brilliance. She looks like... like..."
"An angel," Edward finished.
"Yes." Carlisle whispered. He stood up straight, before he returned to my side again. "Bella, I never finished telling you about the prophecy. Your capacity for power is limitless, but there is one thing that you have that trumps everything else. Humanity."
Humanity? I would've liked to have thought that I had it, but I had never considered it a gift. I considered it an act. It is what I offered to this world to make up for what I had taken.
"I know it seems like something that could be easily overlooked, Bella, but when you were changed, you held on to some basic human traits that are normally swallowed by the venom. Vampires are by nature malevolent creatures, killing machines, evil in its most basic form. It's not natural for anyone of us to feel humanity, but you can see it, you can feel it, and you can give it away. The prophecy says that you will use it to be the restorer of light and the guardian of balance."
"Was there anything else? Did it indicate how this ends?"
"It doesn't end. You simply exist."
Again I searched for a clear vision, but I saw nothing. The concept of humanity having been such a tremendous gift eluded me, and I was not the only vampire to feel that way. The entire family felt it; they dripped with kindness and love, which is what drew me to them. I could still remember meeting each of the Cullens and their extended family, so different from any others I had known. I had instantly felt a sense of true compassion for the first time in this life.
"That's exactly it- most vampires feed into their dark side. Human memories fade and we are left with no sense of humanity." Edward put his arm around my waist and pulled me close. "I speak for myself, of course, but even living in this family; pretending to be human... I never felt human. I lost the connection to my human life, never fully understood Carlisle's way of life. I secretly questioned whether or not we should deny ourselves. You were the one to open my eyes. You made me feel all of these human emotions; feelings I previously believed to be impossible for me. You've given me balance."
Jasper sighed, moving to sit beside Carlisle. "Me too."
"I don't think you realize how much you helped me. I always struggled the most, battling with myself on a daily basis. You gave me something that night- you reached inside of me and filled what was once dark with something lucent. You made me feel like I could breathe again, if that makes any sense..."
Alice squeezed her arms around him. Thank you, Bella.
Emmett jumped up. "Alright, we know that Bella is bad ass. Now what do we do?"
"We go to Italy." Alice said confidently.
"You've seen it?" Esme asked.
"Not quite... I can see us going to Italy but I can't see what happens. I get flickers, but nothing solid. They will continue to look for us, that is certain. I don't want to keep running, so I say we face the problem head on. Besides, they may have the numbers, but we have Bella. We can see what is going to happen, read their thoughts and make them quiver in fear or incapacitate them."
"Is there a gift I don't know about? Incapacitate them? How?" Emmett asked.
Edward smiled. "Bella met Kate at the wedding. We can use her power too."
I smiled and we both looked at Emmett.
He backed away slowly, his hands raised. "Oh no, no. You are not practicing that on me."