Episode II - Overwhelmed
The night had gone by extremely slow, sleepless and full of worry for the safety of my brother. The next day was no better when six more joined the four Cullens who I've gotten to know better. Alice, the small, perky girl who I met on the plane, Bella and her husband Edward, and their daughter Nessie. The six who joined were Jasper, Rosalie, Emmett, Carlisle, Esme, and one completely different from the others, Jacob. He was a huge man, one of those sick body-builders, and had dark black eyes and tanned skin, considerably different from the other pale ones. He had a strong connection with Nessie that made me believe he was her father and not Edward. It still amazed me how the two, no more than mid-twenties, could have a daughter who looked like she could be seven and quickly growing to eight. Until they flooded me with information that would make anybody explode.
"What?" I said again, unable to comprehend what they just said.
"Vaaaampiiiiirrreeeessss," Emmett said slowly as though mocking me.
"I understand it's difficult," the sweet, motherly Esme said in her soft, kind voice. "But from what Edward tells me, both you and your brother figured it out already."
"And how does he know?" was the first of the million questions fluttering in my mind. What could they do? How many people did they kill to feed? Who were the Volturi? How many of them were there? And of course, the whole reason I was here, what did any of this have to do with my brother?
"Whoa, one question at a time," Edward said, still clearly not used to the idea of sharing this information with me.
"I'm sorry, but I can't control my thoughts," I frowned. As unreasonable as it sounded, he had to be reading my mind to react the way he did to everything I thought. Brad had to be right about the mind-reading thing.
"Correct again," he grinned, eyeing me with a more friendly look than he had given me since we met.
"Are you able to control this?" I asked kindly. So he was a mind-reader.
"I know, it's a pain in the ass," the one called Jacob chuckled and Bella elbowed him in the gut. "Ow! Damn it, you know you actually hurt me now right?"
"That's payback for breaking my hand," she snapped.
"You did that yourself!" Jacob complained.
"Please, can we focus?" Edward growled at Jacob who scowled.
"Daddy's jealous," the oversized male smiled at Nessie who giggled in glee. Edward shot another dirty glance at him before facing me again.
"For your questions," he continued formally. "We are vampires who feed on animal blood much like you humans eat meat, oh excuse me, I wasn't aware you were an exception," he bowed and I grumbled in irritation. I wished there was a way to keep him out of my head. "Well, I apologize if you think our killing of animals is senseless-"
"Must you keep reading my thoughts?" I asked, slightly irritated, but I tried to curb my attitude. "It makes me very self-conscious."
"I'm sorry, but my powers are not something I can con-" Edward began.
"I can help," Bella sighed, and Edward frowned in disbelief. She smiled at him, and that seemed to placate him slightly. She continued, "As sweet Edward was saying." Emmett grunted and Rosalie smacked him across the head. They didn't seem any different from a regular family minus the super powers and white skin.
"As I was saying," Edward continued, glowering at the biggest of the vampires. "We believe that hunting animals is morally acceptable since humans eat animals as well. We never kill humans, this is our entire family you see here, but there are certainly many more vampires in the world, such as the Volturi. The Volturi are a vicious group of vampires that act as the head of all vampires, and they oversee that our existence remains in secrecy. If humans are to find out about our existence, then they hunt the vampires that are responsible, and they determine what the proper justice would be."
"And my brother found out about you guys, and that's why he's in trouble with the Volturi?" I gasped. "What happens to humans who know?"
"It depends, but the Volturi don't take it lightly," Bella replied.
"I'm too late," I whispered, and fell to the ground. I couldn't believe that I had lost the most important thing to me so quickly. It had been a matter of days, and I reacted immediately coming out here to check on him. I couldn't believe how fast things could happen.
"He's not dead," Alice said to me gravely, and I knew there was a catch. If the Volturi were known to kill the vampires who told humans about their existence, why would they let a human survive if he knew? And why would anyone act so negatively to news as good as the survival of my brother? There was only one explanation, and I fought to hold back my nausea.
"He's one of you..." I said in disbelief. I felt a heavy feeling in the pit of my stomach, and I could hardly breathe. I couldn't determine if it was better that he be a living vampire, or if he was dead. No, I was being an idiot, of course it was better that he was a vampire! I'm sure if he had the choice, he would choose to become one with his absurd love of folklore. The thought eased me up a bit, and actually cheered me up significantly. Maybe he was happy becoming what he always wanted.
"I know this is difficult," Carlisle tried to console me.
"I want to see him," I said immediately, and everyone looked at me in disbelief.
"It doesn't...bother you?" Alice asked.
"I see that all of you are more human than many humans I've met," I replied. "And I know Brad. He's still going to be the same person whether he was a vampire or a werewolf." Jacob chuckled at my last statement, and Bella elbowed him again. "I'd rather my brother be a vampire than be dead. I want to see him."
"It's not that simple..." Alice mumbled.
"I don't understand," I frowned. It was so irritating to
get information from them pieces at a time. "Can you just tell me
everything, as quickly as possible before I explode?"
"Sheesh, your impatience reminds me of someone a little while ago," Alice looked at Bella who glared back. "Your brother is being trained by Aro, the head of the Volturi. As you've seen between us, some vampires have special powers. I can see things in the future, Edward can read minds, Jasper can control the atmosphere of emotions, Nessie can make you see everything that goes on in her mind, and Bella has the ability to shield all powers that work through the mind. To the Volturi, Bella's powers are the biggest threat. Up until recently, the twins Jane and Alec were their strongest fighters. Jane can inflict great pain through your mind, and Alec can numb all your senses, but Bella can defend against these, making their powers useless against us."
"Wait," I shook my head. "These powers you speak of seem extremely powerful, but you say that they were the strongest fighters...until recently?"
"Yes...I'm afraid...they've acquired some new powers..." Alice grimaced.
"New powers?" Carlisle asked, intrigued.
"My brother?" I could barely think of him as a vampire, and now he was the strongest fighter in the Cullens' enemy group?
"Yes," Alice sighed. "I can't see very clearly, but Aro is very excited about his powers, and the creation of this new vampire was what made the Volturi decide to come fight us. They will use Edward and Bella's clumsiness of letting Brad find out about our existence as an excuse to destroy us."
"But that's crazy! They turned the only witness into one of them!" Emmett shouted out.
"Yes, and they are playing safely. They've decided to kill one of their strongest fighters, one with the power of invisibility for leaking out information to a human, even though he cleaned up his act by recruiting the witness to the Volturi clan," Alice explained, covering her face with her tiny hands. "If the Volturi kill one of their own, particularly someone of high rank, they can get away with killing us on the same terms without controversy."
"They are smart..." Carlisle sighed. "I guess the fight is inevitable. I will start the calls." The beautiful blonde sulked to a corner, concern and anguish filling the flawless features of his face. It was obvious he disliked battle, but even he knew that it was unavoidable, and I saw him quickly pressing numbers on his phone.
"So what is Brad's powers?" I asked curiously.
"I'm not sure, I don't see it clearly," Alice shook her head. I could tell she hated when she didn't know something.
"Can I...venture a guess?" I offered.
"What do you know?" Edward asked, interested.
"My brother...he always had this mysterious gift to get what he wanted, as long as he wanted it badly enough. He thought it was mere coincidence, but I had an objective view of how he acted and what he got in life, and I could tell it was more than just luck. I mean, he figured out about you guys so quickly, and I feel like some things had to be more than just chance. Even coming here...he could barely finish high school because he worked so many hours at a restaurant, and he had no extracurricular activities or recommendations, but Dartmouth somehow accepted him."
"Like Siobhan," Carlisle offered before turning his attention back to his phone.
"Siobhan?" the name was unfamiliar to me.
"She is another vampire, with the mysterious abilities to skew the outcome of a situation in a way that she desires," Edward explained. I could see by the way he talked that he respected her ability. "That may be the reason why Alice cannot see him clearly."
"I see," I nodded. "In that case, I believe that his powers will be something similar. And...if Alice is right in saying that Brad is now the strongest fighter, I assume that Aro thinks something he can do will be used as a primary weapon against-"
"Bella," Edward looked at the young girl who now stood frozen. "No I can't let her-"
"Edward, stop it," she replied. "We all knew I would be the first target, and with Zafrina helping us-"
"We don't know how strong he is-" Edward started.
"Stop!" I shouted angrily. "Are you guys telling me that you are going to fight him?"
"We have no choice," the quiet blonde muttered his first words since we met. "Unfortunately, if he puts Bella in any kind of danger, I will have to make it my duty to take him out." I shuddered at his words.
"Jasper!" Alice shouted.
"There is no other way," the male said coolly, and retreated back to his silent corner.
"I agree with him," the blonde female now spoke. "I swear to protect my sister, just as I'm sure you would swear to protect your brother."
"Rosalie..." Bella seemed slightly shocked at her sincere words.
"I'm sorry, if we could find another way, we will," Esme told me. "We will try our very best to keep him alive, but we cannot promise anything. This is a battle and we must do what we can to protect our family. Please try to understand."
I wanted to hate them for what they were saying, I wanted to kill them all right now, but I knew I couldn't. Even if I was strong enough to kill this entire room of vampires, I knew I would not be able to find it in me to do it. As they spoke of potentially ending my brother's life, the one person I swore to protect, I could find no enmity towards them and that made me hate myself more than anything.
I trembled in rage and fear as I mulled over the possible loss of my brother, but also wanted to prevent the loss of any member in this room, though I had just met them. It was clear how genuine they were, and I could believe that the Volturi was nothing but a menace. I didn't understand how my brother could ever want to side with them, and I chose to believe in him. He was the most morally just person I knew, and he would never choose to join the Volturi to kill the Cullens, whether they tried to brainwash him into thinking the Cullens were bad. He would never choose to kill anyone, and even with just reason, he would still hesitate.
The Volturi were definitely trying to control him, and I knew that if I were there on the battlefield, I could undo any manipulation they may have inflicted on him. I knew for a fact that he was one of the strongest people, not even my deceptive tricks able to persuade him to do something he was firmly against. I knew, that when it came down to the battle, he would be able to resist the urge to fight. No, he would definitely resist the urge to fight, and as soon as the battle began, the twins would destroy him before he lifted a finger. I could not let that happen.
"Let me kill him," I finally said, and everyone in the
room stared intently at me. "He's my brother, and I will not allow anyone
to touch him, but if his life means saving you all, let me do it myself, then I
wish for you to let the Volturi kill me. Do not defend me, and let us die
together on the battlefield if it is the only option."
"Absolutely not," Esme said firmly.
"I will not let any one of you touch my brother," I said bluntly.
"And what can you do?" Jasper challenged, taking a step forward. Alice held tightly onto his arm.
"Jasper, stop it," Carlisle instructed. "I believe everyone is thinking too hastily. We will bring David onto the battlefield. I'm sure the Volturi will want to talk before the battle begins, particularly if David is present. I know Aro, and when he found Alec, he did all he could to capture his sister as well. I'm sure the same is happening now, and Aro is sure to try and preserve David's life. On the battlefield, you will have one chance, and one chance only to persuade Bradley to change his stance," he directed his last few words to me. "And if he refuses-"
"I will be the first to kill him," I said. I respected the kindness of this man, and it made my attachment to these vampires stronger. There was no way I would fight against them, even if it meant truly fighting against my brother, though I knew it deep inside me that it would not get to that.
"It's too risky to bring a human onto the battlefield!" Jasper snarled.
"It's a chance we will have to take," Carlisle said firmly.
"We can convert him," Alice glanced over at Bella.
"I don't believe that is a wise decision," Carlisle frowned.
"We have less than one month, we cannot train a newborn!" Jasper agreed.
"He won't be a newborn," again, Bella defended me as she had before.
"You were a single exception."
"And he will be another."
"How are you so sure?"
"His intent is the same as mine."
"And that makes all the difference?"
"And I am turning him myself," now everyone stared at Bella in disbelief, and even I could not take my eyes off of her. I knew from folklore that changing someone into a vampire involved biting them, but I wasn't keen on the details.
"We are taking too many idiotic risks!" Jasper shouted angrily.
"You want him dead," Bella challenged him. "There is the highest chance of your wish coming true if I am the one to change him." Was this some sick, twisted way of comforting him because I wanted to take the lowest chance of my death, if there even was one.
"I'm not a monster, I do not wish his life to be thrown away haphazardly," Jasper said quietly.
"I apologize, but I cannot agree with this," Esme chimed in. "Regardless of what David wants, I believe converting him is out of the question."
"If it's the only way I could protect Bradley, I want to be converted," I argued, though I knew not what I was arguing for.
"The decision should not be made so simply," Esme responded. "It is not a simple thing."
"If you have a choice, you should always opt against it," Rosalie urged.
"I want to be the same as my brother," I replied.
"David, please think clearly about this and please understand what we are trying to explain," Carlisle said kindly. "And please understand why it is so difficult for us to allow you to become one of us. This is not something we take lightly."
"But what other way is there for me to help Brad?" I asked, concerned.
"If he sees you, he will do all he can to protect you," Edward reassured me. "If you two are as close as you say, I am sure of this."
"And if his life is in danger, how do I protect him?" I retaliated.
"Please trust that we will do all we can to protect him," Esme smiled genuinely. I looked over at Bella who held an unemotional expression. She was not convinced, and neither was I.