songforevela (songforevela) wrote,
songforevela
songforevela

Turning Back (12/13)

Title: Turning Back (12/13)
Author: songforevela  
Rating: M for sexual content
Genre:
Drama, Romance, Angst
Characters/Pairings:
Edward/Bella, other canon pairings, the Pack (minus Jacob)
Short summary:
An AU to Breaking Dawn. Takes place post-Eclipse. The repercussions of Bella's attempted transformation profoundly alter the course of Edward's life, while the arrival of the Volturi force the remaining Cullens into a decision they never expected to make-- to remain vampires or become human.
Disclaimer: Stephenie Meyer created them. I'm just writing my version of their story.


Previously:

Aro's teeth barely graze the skin before the world erupts into chaos.

I'm thrown into the wall, and something snaps. An arm, maybe. I clutch it to my body, blinking rapidly to clear the stars from my eyes as I try to sit up. I make it to sitting, my back still pressed against the wall, but only a second passes before I'm doubled over, coughing uncontrollably as the air fills with plaster dust, bits of paint. It burns my lungs.

And the sound. The sound is deafening. Snarls, unearthly growls over the smash of wood, the scream of steal bending.

The ground shudders beneath me, and I know I should be scared, but I'm not.

It worked.

And then I'm falling as the floor gives way into darkness, and my stomach rises into my throat against gravity.

___________________________________________

"
Bella! Bella! I'm coming!"

Someone is yelling at me in the darkness, but their voice is muffled as if there are walls between us. There's a sharp pain in my chest every time I breathe, and my leg is definitely pinned. Something tears as I try to move it.

I groan.

The voice gasps. The sound comes from above me, still through layers of twisted, broken building. "She's alive, Edward!" he shouts. "I'm going to get her."

The sharp cracks of splintering wood and high-pitched screeching of metal from somewhere high above are suddenly much closer in the darkness. The heavy something crushing my leg is lifted, just as light and air rush into my lungs. I can see again, but the light is blinding, and I keep my eyes closed. I feel like I'm breathing through a straw despite the fresh air.  

"Bella, I've got you," the voice says, as arms swiftly lift me out of the rubble.

"Emmett, it worked," I murmur against his shoulder. It hurts to talk.

He laughs. "Yeah, it sure did kiddo. You're kind of a badass."

Cool hands turn to warm ones, as I feel myself passed into another set of arms.

"I've got you," he whispers, his voice breaking.

"Edward?" I want to put my arms around his neck, but I can't move them. I force my heavy eyelids open, but they immediately drift closed again. My head lolls back. I'm so heavy.

"No! Bella, stay with me. I need you to stay conscious."

He lowers me on to something hard, like a board, and I moan at the loss of his arms.

"Edward?" I try to call out, but I've already slipped away.

______________________

My next memory is of shimmering, green eyes. They blur in and out of focus, but they're always there, pouring over me. They're unfathomably deep, like an endless fern-filled woods, but not so dark and empty. Like arctic ocean water, but not cold. These eyes are warm, like home, like curling up in blankets while it rains. They sparkle like an emerald, but not glassy, lifeless. They're impossible to describe.

"Your eyes are really pretty," I hear myself croak.

A crooked smile. "I think that's the morphine talking." And his lips brush against my forehead.

______________________

I feel a warm body pressed against my side before I even open my eyes. In my half-conscious state, I feel him with alarming clarity. His breath rustles the hair at my neck, his warm hand grips my shoulder, his toes curl at my ankle, rubbing slow circles into my bones there. He leans in, nuzzles the skin below my ear.

"Are you awake?" Edward whispers softly.

I slowly open my eyes and let them adjust to the bright room. I have to blink a few times before my eyes will focus.

I need to see his face, and I turn to find his head resting next to me on the pillow.

My throat burns, and I try to swallow before speaking. "Tell me you're alright...that Carlisle and Alice are safe...." The words are scratchy and hoarse.

"Everyone is safe," he says strongly, placing a soft kiss on my lips.

I feel like I could rest for ages, never get out of this bed as long as Edward is here next to me.

My eyes flutter closed, and I'm asleep again.

___________________________________

I wake up fully some immeasurable time later. The room is mostly dark, with a little pale light beginning to creep around the edges of the curtains. Edward is still next to me, although this time his arm is secured around my waist, his lips at my temple. His slow breathing tells me he's asleep.

I hate to wake him, so I take a quiet, internal inventory of my body. It still feels heavy, but the pain has a dull, medicated edge to it. An arm and a leg are in casts, and I feel forced to take shallow breaths, like my lungs are having trouble expanding. It's not too uncomfortable though. The heat of Edward's body is soothing, and I feel it calling me to lean into him and sleep more.

A slight jostling in the mattress catches my eyes before they fully close. Edward is waking up, and he slowly raises himself on to one elbow.

"Bella?" His groggy voice is tentative, hopeful. 

I smile up at him. I decide that I adore sleepy Edward, with his disheveled hair and half-lidded eyes. Precious, innocent and seductive without meaning to be.

He smiles, too, and leans down to kiss me gently, barely brushing my lips as if I might shatter into a million pieces. He places slow, sweet kisses against my lips, the corner of my mouth, my cheeks. He's leaving me room to breathe, I know, but all I can really breathe is him. With him here, there's barely room for regular, old air in my broken lungs. 

At one point, he pulls back, his hand gently cupping my face in concern. "Are you alright? Do you need anything?" he murmurs.

"Just more of you," I whisper.

"That I can manage," he smiles. "You're not in pain? Carlisle asked them to increase your morphine dose."

"Carlisle?" 

Edward nods, his lips curving into a small smile.

I close my eyes in relief.

"I'll let you rest." He rises so that he's sitting on the edge of the bed.

"No!" I say a little too loudly, and I wince at the sharp pain in my throat. "I mean, no," I continue much more quietly, reaching for his hands with my one good one. "I feel like I've been sleeping my life away. I want to hear what happened."

"I think you know better than the rest of us, Bella. You were there." His eyes take on that haunted quality, like he's a million miles away, not safe with me here in this hospital bed.

"But I'm here now, Edward," I whisper, gripping his hands fiercely. "I'm right here."

"And in the hospital, no less. What did I tell you about pulling any crazy heroics while I was unconscious?" A light voice chastises me, as a small figure walks slowly into the dim room.

"Alice!" My heart bursts in relief.

She stands on the opposite side of the bed from Edward, smiling down at me. Other figures appear in the room, gathering around the bed. My family. Safe.

"Watch out, I think she's going to cry again," Emmett warns.

Rosalie elbows him in the ribs. "Don't harass her. I think she deserves to do just about anything she wants after that crazy stunt." Rosalie gives me a small smile. It floors me. I'm not used to her support, but it's nice.

"Do you feel up for talking a little about what happened, Bella?" Carlisle asks from Alice's side. "It can certainly wait if you'd rather rest."

"No, I'm fine."

No one says anything.

"Um, should I start? I don't really know where to begin."

"How about the part where you abandoned Edward, Carlisle and I and went wandering through the hospital?" Alice says, but I can tell from her eyes that she's teasing.

"That's not funny, Alice. I feel really bad about that."

"Well, you should!" she laughs.

"I just needed some coffee," I grumble. "I was having a hard time staying awake."

"You should have woken me up," Edward says gently, but I can tell he's trying to hide how much my decision upset him.

"Maybe, Edward," Esme smiles. "But if Aro would have found the four of you in that room, things would have transpired very differently. We most certainly would not all be standing here today. It's rather lucky Bella decided to get coffee in that moment."

I explain about getting lost and running into Aro, Jane and Demetri, trying to summarize our conversation the best I can.

"So Aro didn't have any suspicions about what had happened to us?" Carlisle asks.

"No, he had no idea. He wanted to change me. We made a deal..."

"Wait." Edward's eyebrows raise in surprise. "You made a deal with Aro?" He shakes his head in disbelief. "I don't see why I'm surprised. I've seen your bargaining power." He smiles weakly.

"I'm ruthless," I tease back.

"Cut-throat." His smiles grows. "What was the deal exactly?"

My grin falls as I sober, remembering the horrible prospect of the life I had agreed to. "My...service for your life. I said I would join them--the Volturi--even if you begged me to stay. And in exchange, Aro wouldn't hurt you. Wouldn't hurt anyone else." I look out at the people scattered around me.

The silence grows between us.

"Your life for ours," Edward whispers darkly.

"That was the idea."

I try desperately to meet Edward's eyes, to bring him back to me, but he's staring down at our clutched hands. "You knew what would happen when Aro bit you," he says as he finally raises his eyes to mine.

"I knew what I hoped would happen. I thought since Carlisle had such a strong reaction, Aro's would be even stronger since he's an even older vampire."

"You were right, of course," Jasper admits quietly. "When he lost control, he demolished that wing of the hospital."

Edward takes a deep, shaky breath and lets it out slowly. "And it collapsed right on top of you."

I'm lost in Edward's pained eyes as I hear Jasper speak again. "There was probably very little Jane or Demetri could do to stop him."

This breaks some sort of trance, and I start to panic. "Wait! Jane and Demetri--where are they? Wh-what happened?"

"Jasper." Edward's voice is demanding, but his eyes don't leave my face. I immediately feel a gigantic wave of calm settle over me, so much so that it makes me a little giddy and I laugh to myself.

"Wow, who needs morphine when we've got you," I chuckle.

"Sorry," Jasper smiles. "That was a little much."

"The Volturi have left Washington, Bella," Carlisle says. "If Aro's change was at all similar to mine, the initial violent outburst in response to the antidote would have quickly waned, making it possible for Jane and Aro to restrain him. I imagine they left rather quickly in order to avoid drawing attention to themselves." He pauses, introspective, his voice quiet. "I think Aro is dead. I only survived because I received such prompt medical care," he says with a nod to Edward. "But Jane and Demetri will not be as prepared," he says, his voice a little thick with sadness. 

Edward raises his eyebrows at Carlisle, obviously surprised at his remorse.

"I do not mourn the loss of Aro. Our family is safe, and that is what matters most. But we cannot deny his power, the ruling force that he created." Carlisle explains. "I only hope this does not cause chaos in the vampire world. Chaos that then spills into ours."

Ours. Our world. The human world.

"Whatever," Emmett shrugs. "If any vampire tries to bite me while I'm human, I'll still kick their..."

"Ok, that's enough." Rosalie rolls her eyes, but they sparkle a little in amusement.

Silence settles over us, and I feel my eyes drawn back to Edward, but he's not looking at me. His eyes are locked with his father's, and simultaneously, their gazes shift to Esme.

If I didn't know better, it would seem as if Edward is reading minds again.

Esme looks back at them, smiles, and then turns her face to Jasper, who is lingering behind Alice, next to my bed. He nods solemnly, then fixes his attention on Emmett and Rosalie, standing at my feet.

Emmett wraps his arms around Rosalie's waist, kissing her softly on the cheek before they both raise their eyes to me. I look around the room and see seven pairs of eyes fixed on me, expectant, waiting.

"What," I murmur. "Why is everyone staring at me?"

I find Edward's face, and he smiles. "They wanted to make sure you were going to be alright, Bella," he says softly, "before they--"

"Oh!" I exclaim softly, suddenly interpreting the watchful stares. "It's time, then," I whisper. "Time for you to change, too," I say, letting my eyes drift over the four remaining vampires.

"No need to worry yourself, Bella," Emmett says as he pats my leg, nonchalantly dismissing the nervousness in my face. "Take care of yourself. We'll see you in a few days."

The rest of my family takes turns saying goodbye. Alice rolls her eyes when I get all weepy, and with a pointed look at Jasper, the tears promptly stop and I feel calm like the rest of them.

Soon, it's just Edward and I alone together, him still perched on the edge of the bed. The repetitive motion of his hand smoothing the hair from my forehead pulls me into a state of peaceful drowsiness. My eyes start to drift close.

"Bella, I know you need to sleep," he whispers, "but there are some things I need to say to you."

I force my eyes open. "Ok," I whisper back. "I'm ready."

"Are you awake?"

"Hmmm? Very." I smile.

He leans down, so that his lips are right at my ear. It sends shivers down my sleepy body. "You saved our lives." He kisses my temple and lets his lips linger there. "Thank you."

***

To be continued with an Epliogue.....






***

A/N: Thank you to all you have read and commented over the past months as I've painstakingly finished this story. It has certainly been a wonderful journey for me, and I hope you've enjoyed it as well!

The Epilogue is going to be mighty different..It'll be from Edward's point of view and take a peak at their lives in the future. I want to write it SOON, but real life is going to get in the way very shortly and steal me away (although not completely) from the Twilight fandom. I will do my best not to keep you waiting too long!


Tags: fanfic, turning back, twilight
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