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Jasper had never been more grateful to see an airport. [b "Finally,"] he grumbled, ready to stretch his legs after being cooped up for ten hours in the tin can.
The tidal wave of happiness and relief struck him like a brick wall. The family was waiting just outside the gate, wearing wide smiles that he'd never seen before. [i "Welcome home baby boy,"] Esme was the first to grab him in a tight hug after he'd handed Gabriel to his new parents. [i "If you ever do anything like that again, I will find you and kill you myself,"] she threatened in his ear.
[b "Sorry Mama,"] he ducked his head while being scolded.
[i "We're just happy to have you home,"] Carlisle wrapped him up next, squeezing his son in another silent threat.
The Cullen parents and siblings gathered around Rosalie and Emmett, both who would be sobbing if they could. Little Gabriel looked perfectly at home in his new mother's arms, staring up at Emmett with a curious expression. [b "Congratulations, Mom and Dad,"] Jasper smiled softly at them.
[i "Thank you,"] Rosalie looked back with eyes full of emotion. [i "Both of you."]
She looked over his shoulder and frowned. [i "Where's Alice?"]
Jasper's heart immediately sunk as he spun around. Gone. No trace of her even having been standing there with them. [b "Where did she go?"] he looked desperately to Edward and Bella, both looking as panicked as he felt.
[i "I can't hear her thoughts,"] his brother responded at the same time as Bella answered, [i "I can't see her."]
[b "How can you not hear her?"] Jasper stepped in Edward's space, but the other male stood his ground.
[i "Probably the same as you not even noticing her go,"] Edward responded lowly.
He had a point. Jasper had been so caught up in the moment with his family that when that weight of anxiety had vanished, he'd thought it was just Alice's emotions adapting to seeing the new family.
[b "I have to find her."]
Jasper had to force himself to run at human speed through the airport. As tall as he was, he couldn't see her familiar pixie cut anywhere among the crowd. [b "Alice?"] he called out, ducking through the swarms of people.
[b "Stephenie and Gabriel are definitely going to have an amazing family. One they deserve, and one that wants them—they're both gonna be the luckiest babies in the world."] Alice said softly, smiling over at Jasper, and she tried to ignore the twangs in her heart.
She then shoved everything bad into that box where everything she was had initially been for the first three months of her life without them half a year ago.
The pixie-like female planned to do her best to not let the rest of herself go numb again, but she was scared it would the moment the Cullens were gone again. [i I'll just have to go straight to the Reservation. Maybe... Jake won't hate me too much. If nothing else, I think Leah and Seth would still be cool....] Those were her thoughts, as she quietly asked Bella if she could have the isle seat instead since she wasn't feeling the hottest.
[center [b [i ~ ~]]]
Due to the fact that Forks was 8-hours behind Volterra, it had officially become the longest day of Alice's life because, as they landed in the Seattle airport, it was only 11pm on March 13th still.
Alice felt like she'd been awake forever, especially with what she knew was coming.
She hung back as Edward swept up Bella, watched as the family conversed once noticing the infanct still in Jasper's arms. She smile softly as she watched Rosalie so reverently be handed the baby, seeing the blonde beauty smile and sob a breath for tears that couldn't come, and seeing Emmett sweet both Rosalie and the small boy up. She saw Bella talking in a soft rush to Edward, and saw the happiness on both their faces.
[center * * *]
[i "You're hall to give me a week to calm Charlie down from me running off. I'll explain th entire story we thought up," Alice had said during the last few hours of the flight when Bella had finally been coherent enough from overwhelming emotions to ask how the adoption woudl work. "I'll also have to run it by Renee, but that woman adored you as much as Charlie does, so it shouldn't be a problem."
"Oh, Alice," Bella had breathed out, hugging the smaller female again, and the short girl had basked in the warmth of what she assumed would be her last contact with vampire's who she found the touch warm of.]
[center * * *]
Alice watched the happy family of mixed-origins, she having slowly edged further away from the group, and after one last look—her heart finally skipped a painful beat as she forced back a hitching breath—she turned after grabbing her luggage and headed off to find a place she could get reception.
She had to find a ride home back to what had become her life, after all.
The Cullens would touch her life again, of course, in a week when Bella and Edward came for Stephenie. She didn't want to make the pain of what that final goodbye would be like by one of them offering her a ride home in pity.
Alice had saved their family and made it bigger. She loved them, and she'd brought them joy.
[i At least I was finally good enough for [u something] for them.] The girl thought to herself, her breath hitching softly this time as she got to the door that exited the airport, she reaching up her hand to swipe at her eyes as she shot a text off to Angela for a ride home. She was the only neutral party she could consider messaging at the moment.
He smiled faintly. [b "Love certainly won't be an issue,"] he held his finger out for the baby to grasp as tightly as he could in his little hand.
Jasper was distracted by the sheer calmness of the baby. He felt no tremors of fear, or unease from the little man. Hell, half the adults on the plane were scared senseless, but the little boy in Alice's arms was nothing but peaceful.
And then he was in Jasper's arms.
[b "What?"] he blurted out, unsure of the sudden change of seating as Alice nudged him into the window seat while she slid behind him into his own.
He looked at Gabriel, staring up at him with his big doe eyes. [b "Uh...hello there, little baby,"] he bounced him lightly.
How does one talk to babies? He'd certainly heard gibberish being spoken by mothers in stores towards their little ones, and fathers blathering on and on in high tones. Neither of which he was going to do. [b "You're going to have quite the amazing family,"] he murmured to the baby, holding him a little closer to his chest as Gabriel gave a small gummy smile.
Looking over to where his sister was clutching at her niece, Jasper smiled. [b "And you certainly won't be alone."]
The news about Stephy was new to him. To be fair, however, he'd disappeared on her. Alice wasn't obligated to keep him informed about anything. He wasn't stupid. He had felt her anxiety around him; something he hadn't felt since they had first met. It killed him to know that he had caused her that pain. That being said, he knew he had a lot to make up for, and he was more than willing to go at whatever pace Alice set.
[b "You hear that, Gabey? You've got yourself a cousin,"] he tapped his finger against the baby's nose.
Alice had opened her mouth, about to respond to Bella's words, but then Jasper had led to her to keep her silence. Her words had never mattered to them before, and she saw no point in voicing them after he'd already all but declared the matter dropped for the time being.
It wasn't long until take-off once they made it through security, and Gabriel hadn't cried a peep as the plane took off.
She heard Jasper's words, and her lips couldn't help but twitch. She had mentioned during the car-ride to the airport to Bella and Jasper that perhaps Gabriel should go to Rosalie and Emmett. The other two had agreed. That had been one step of the plan down.
[b "It's only spoiling if it's done without love, Jasper,"] she spoke softly while smiling down at Gabriel, and then her face smoothed a bit—soft, subtle, but it was as if there was a brief flicker of something negative. It was a hard thing to focus on, hover, since she moved to craddling Gabriel with only one arm and usde her freed hand to pull out her phone. [b "Speaking of spoiling babies, adopting babies, and love, though, um... Bella? Around the time that... you all moved away,"] Alice shifted a bit in her seating, turning to look at her biological, vampiric aunt on the other side of the blonde who stole her heart over a year prior. [b "Renee told me that she was about four or so months along in a pregnancy, and she had the baby last month."]
[b "Since then, little Stephenie Marie Dwyer has been living with me, cause over the course of a lot of long conversations, me and Renee decided what be best is if I adopted her after I graduated. But..."] Alice paused, biting her lip, [b "You see, if... i-if I'm going to go to college, that means Charlie would find himself wanting to uproot his life to help me with my little sister. I don't want that. And..."] she held the phone out to Bella, but then continued once the other female had taken the photo with the little Stephenie's image pulled up, [b "Stephy's got green eyes from Phil, the same brown hair as you and Renee, and she's [i blood] to you. I was just wondering if maybe, since we're in some contact right now, if you and Edward might be intersted in something...."]
Less than two minutes later, a seating change had occured. Jasper had ended up in the window seat, Gabriel in his arms, and Alice now seated in the center.... Well, partially in the center, cause Bella had tugged her niece halfway into her lap, softly sobbing tears she could never actually cry, and thanking the short pixie-like girl over and over agian between soft whispers of disbelief.
Alice, ever gentle and ever her, hugged and soothed her aunt.
The flicker of hurt that had come and gone in her emotions was hardly noticeable as the flight continued. Most of her emotions were next to non-noticeable, really, from inside or out. It was hard to tell with Bella so hyper-emotional at the moment, though.
[i "Carlisle is going to need to be informed of your new friendship with Jacob Black, as well,"] Bella added. [i "He may need to speak with the wolves to ensure the treaty is still in place when we return."]
Jasper had entirely forgot about the wolf who had eyes for Alice. A flare of jealousy built up in his chest. He threw a glance over his shoulder at the Swan girl. He was grateful that she hadn't been alone, but a big part of him would have been happier to hear she'd sought friendship with just about anyone else in Forks. In his eyes, Jacob was one step below Mike on the list of people he trusted around Alice.
[b "We'll deal with all of that later,"] he said, turning his eyes back to the road.
The airport didn't kick up much of a fuss over the new addition to their group. Jasper handed over the paperwork and played the part of a happy father basking in the birth of his first son. He charmed the security agents until they stamped the documents to let them board the plane without further questioning.
[i "It's nice to see you smiling, but it's terrifying when I know it's fake,"] Bella remarked from his left as he was sat between the two women in their row of three.
He'd given Alice the window seat, hoping that the clouds passing by might pacify Gabriel and take his interest if he began to get fussy. [b "Haven't had much to smile about lately,"] he replied, turning slightly to give his attention to Alice and the baby.
Gabriel had chubby cheeks that gave him a chipmunk appearance. It was adorable, Jasper would admit. [b "They're going to spoil him senseless,"] he said quietly to Alice, hoping that she was beginning to feel at least a little better.
Alice had responded in a semi-dazed way to all the things they spoke to her on the way to the car, she not really tuning back into anything until she was buckled in and had Gabriel placed in her arms. She shifted about the the backseat of the Porsche, getting into the most comfortable position to hold the child for for an hour. Potentially less, considering how fast she and Bella had made it to Volterra from the airport in the first place.
[i You won't be taking him, you knew that already,] voice of reason whispered within her mind as she gently brushed a thumb against the temple of the sleeping little boy. [i You're supposed to be adopting Stephenie when you graduate—though Charlie might be tempted to adopt her, you can't do that to him. ...Come to think of it, it's a little insane that this little guy shares a birthday with her....] The voice of reason continued, though the stern seriousness of her mental voice trailed off at the end as, in general, her own mental thoughts trailed off as, fuzzily, she heard Bella mentioned the Cullen family from the front seat of the Porsche.
Closing her eyes, flickering of emotions danced behind her eyelids as she thought up a few possible choices, and she smiled briefly before reopening her eyes, glancing down at the baby in her arms once more. [i That'll work. They'd never get tired of you and Stephy....] Alice thought to herself, feeling a slight twang in her heart.
Speaking of the rest of Bella and Jasper's family, however, there was probably something she should mention considering Forks....
[b "So they don't freak out, one of you should let the family know there's a vampire who's been living in Forks."] The short thing said simply, not taking her eyes off of the little baby that Gabriel was as he sleepily cooed with fluttering eyelashes.
If it weren't for the whimpering baby cradled tightly to his chest, Jasper would have jumped at another chance to rip Felix's head from his shoulders. A low growl rumbled in his chest until they were left alone once more. [b "Looks like we'll need a hotel room temporarily,"] he looked to the papers.
If they were taking the infant with them, the paperwork needed to be filled out before they got to the airport. [i "Not necessary,"] Bella waved him off. [i "We can fill it out in the car on the way. Alice can hold the baby while you drive. My penmanship has always been better than yours anyway."]
She knelt back down to help Alice back to her feet. [i "We aren't parked that far. We need to move fast, so just lean on me if you're still feeling weak, okay?"]
With that, the Cullen siblings led the way through the shady covers of the buildings until they came across the Porche. [b "You're only a little ridiculous, you know that?"] he looked to his sister as she helped Alice squeeze into the cramped backseat of the four-seater sports car.
[i "I've always wanted to drive one, okay? Plus it wouldn't be as much fun if Edward and Rosalie were whining for a turn behind the wheel,"] Bella defended herself, extracting the baby from his arms to hand to Alice.
The siblings got in the front seat and Jasper wasted no time in getting as far from Volterra as possible, before Aro could change his mind. In the passenger seat, Bella diligently filled out the forms. [i "For the purposes of boarding the plane with no trouble, Gabriel is temporarily yours and Alice's son. Once we get back home, we can get official documents done with the permanent arrangements for him,"] she informed the two.
Alice was trying to focus on her breathing, she really was, but it was hard to do with the memories of visions and the lingering dread mingling with intense relief and peace since the current hazards had passed. It was even harder to breathe still with the baby out of her arms but still hearing his cries.
Soon Bella had her in her arms, and the Gabriel's young cries were gradually ceasing, and Alice found her eyes and ears able to refocus on the world around her. She was gasping slowly through breaths, her breathing evening out, and before she knew it she was back to the current moment with her head gently craddled on Bella's shoulder. [b "I think I'll be okay.... If I'm not insane, anyway,"] Alice offered a weak smile, closing her eyes and focusing on her breathing a few moments after seeing Gabriel safe in Jasper's arms.
The elevator dinged, signalling Felix's return, and the hulking red-eyed vampire approached at a noticeably slow pace before setting the cloaks down.
Bleasedly, Alice was unable to hear the softer-than-breath granted information that only vampires could hear. She did not have to relieve the information of Caius occasionally enjoying the taste of new mothers and how, if a babe was unfortunate enough to be brought in with the mother, that they'd be use to torture the mother for hours before the mother would be slowly drained to the sound of their infant's screams.
The guard stood, staring at them—but mainly at Alice, as if trying to figure her out—before reaching into his cloaks, pulling out a manilla folder, and tossing it into the short pixie-girl's lap. [#cc0092 "Should make the travel easier until you can get to some falsifying resources of your own. The standard documents needed for American's to travel back to the states with their infant born out of the country,"] Felix said simply, giving a feral grin, and then he was gone as quickly as he had arrived.
[b "Alice!"] Jasper quickly grabbed the baby, handing him off to Bella.
He grabbed her in his arms and eased her down to sit on the floor. [b "Focus on me, okay? Deep breaths,"] he advised.
He couldn't even focus on the fact that they now had a human baby with them, who was beginning to fuss in Bella's arms. [i "Shh, it's okay,"] she tried to soothe him. [i "Jas, if you wouldn't mind?"] she looked to her brother for help.
Torn, Jasper looked between the crying bundle, and the love of his life. [b "Help her,"] he ordered Bella, carefully taking the infant into his arms.
His golden eyes locked on the baby's, and he willed the crying to stop. The shrieks became dull whimpers, until the little boy fell silent. He watched the vampire curiously; big doe eyes looking up as though trying to solve a puzzle.
[b "I don't suppose you'd like to fill me in on why we have another traveler joining us?"] he knelt next to the girls, letting the baby play with the fingers of his free hand.
[i "I'm sure Alice has a good reason. Besides, I'd rather him come with us than go through whatever the hell was going to happen back there,"] Bella chimed in, still rubbing soothing circles against Alice's back.
[b "Are you really okay?"] Jasper looked to Alice, worry creasing his face.
The next minutes were... a blur, really. Long, blurring minutes that felt like hours and days with how they blended, but really they had been just mere minutes.
Alice had released her hands from Jasper's and Bella's, had stepped her way between the two guard and the young mother, and after a few soft words spoken in Italian; asking for the woman's name, the babe's name and birthdate, what lullaby calmed him, and a request for the crying mother's phone.
After quick movements of her fingers that had consisted of sending every photo of the mother and the child in the phone to her email, she typed a brief moment more before handing the phone over to Demetri with the slightest of arched eyebrows, and the blonde hunter had returned the gesture just slightly before glancing at the phone screen.
In mere heartbeats later the group had finished being lead out by Felix, Demetri having stayed behind with the woman, and... the baby—Gabriel, whom was days shy of being even a month old—was in Alice's arms.
[#cc0092 "Cloaked will be brought up momentarily for easy exit from the city."] Felix said with a feral grin, and then left back down the elevator. It was moments after the hulking guard was gone that Alice felt exhaustion fill her, her knees trembling as she left the small haze. [b "...O-One of you take the baby before I faint,"] She managed to gasp out, voice thick with overwhemled emotions as her body swayed slightly.
Jasper wasn't quite sure what was happening, and he didn't like it. [b "We're free to go?"] he looked to Aro for clarification, who merely nodded and waved them off.
The blonde wasted no time in turning to his ex-girlfriend, holding her face in his hands. [b "Are you alright? Are you hurt anywhere?"] he looked frantically to make sure she was unscathed.
His search was cut short as Felix and Demitri started edging them towards the door. Before they exited, he felt Alice's hand leave his. [b "What are you doing?"] he called to her, but she continued to speak with Aro.
[i "Just relax. We're getting out of here and going home. Stop struggling,"] Bella hissed in his ear when she noticed his fists clenching again.
Jasper didn't relax until Alice returned to them and took their hands in hers. He was all too eager to follow the burly guards through the corridors. The sooner they left Volterra, the better.
Echoing off of the stone walls, a baby's cry suddenly pierced the tense air. The small family huddled close together as the mother tried to soothe her son, looking up with a terrified gaze as the vampires appeared in front of them. [i "He'll stop crying soon enough,"] Felix flicked his tongue against his razor teeth, baring them to make the poor woman quiver even worse.
The short female managed to slowly nod her head. [b "If they weren't dependable, I wouldn't even be here. It is what let me know where to go. You saw that one as well, Lord Aro, and the one that makes my claim true for what I will one day be."] Alice replied, her voice strong despite the most subtle of trembles in it. If it weren't for vampiric hearing then its existence wouldn't be know, for the tremble defintiely wouldn't have been noticed by human ears.
Blessedly, Aro finally released her hand.
She felt Bella's steadying arm go around her, and she believed she heard Jasper move up to his feet. The dread was fading from her veins, the seemingly inevitable switches between her living or dying now gone... for the moment. She felt as if they would return one day, though hopefully not any time too soon.
[#cc0092 "My brothers,"] Aro began, clapping his hands happily together, [#cc0092 "It appears I have jumped to an ignorant conclusion. Miss Swan's transformation will take place as soon as it's least noticeable for her to disappear. It will happen within the year, I am sure."] Aro declared to his brothers, that smile still on his place. Turning his attention to the group, he continued, [#cc0092 "Be warned, though: we do not offer second chances. This is your first. Do not mess this up, hm?"] Aros smile grew as his eyes landed on the human he now seemed rather fascinated with. [#cc0092 "I so look forward to see you as part of our world, Little Alice.. Safe journey's home. Demetri and Felix will show you out."]
And with that, the trio was dismissed, and the two guards began to usher them civilly from the throne room. Before they left, though, Alice felt there was something that must be done. A tingle that prodded her, and she asked Demetry and Felix to give her a moment. Turning back to the room at large, she bowed to the five vampire looking at them, she bowed politely. [b "I thank the Lords and their Guard for their service and choices."] Rising up, she swore she noticed curiosity on the faces of the male and female who looked younger than her.
She took no time to digest it, though. Alice simply turned back around at the sight of Aro's smile becoming far too please. She put one hand in Jaspers, her other in Bella's, and let herself be led away as Demetry and Felix continued their duty.
The grip on Jasper's neck slackened only a fraction. [b "Alice!"] he choked out.
[i "Hush, Mr Hale,"] Aro's voice maintained it's permanent calmness. [i "Pray tell, Alice Swan, what exactly do you mean that you have seen these events?"]
Jasper watched helplessly as Aro once again approached the love of his life. His fighting skills were more than a little rusty after nearly a century without having to fight for his life. So, it was easy for Felix to keep a firm hold on him to keep him in place.
[i "Alice is family,"] Bella tried to interject on her niece's behalf. [i "She is going to be with us."]
[b "Bella, quiet,"] Jasper hissed.
The look she sent him clearly meant for him to get her message of 'shut the hell up'. Aro barely spared the siblings a glance. He came to a stop in front of the pixie girl, and took her hand in his.
Immediately, his head snapped back as he took in her visions. A laugh escaped from his lips. His red eyes flickered back and forth as though watching a film play out in front of him. [i "Marvelous,"] he breathed out, dropping her hand and meeting her gaze. [i "This is all to come to fruition?"]
Bella and Jasper exchanged a concerned glance, not exactly sure what it was that she had shown Aro. The smile on his face, however, did not comfort Jasper in the slightest. [i "Let them go,"] the Volturi lord commanded.
Bella darted for Alice as Jasper scrambled to his feet and took on a defensive stance once more.
Why did things always move so fast? Months ago, things had been going far too slowly, and now they moved far, far, far too fast.
One minute she was still be examined like a rare prize, the next she was alone in the center of a room while Jasper and Bella were both held by their throats. Dread filled her, thoughts racing in her mind, and as Jasper was knelt before the thrones and Bella was still in the grip of another vampire behidn her, Alice felt like she might explode as shock finally escaped her.
[b "Wait,"] She managed to gasp out, fighting through the drowning of the cold dread in her vein, [b "No. No, please! Please-!"] She watched as Aro raised his hands, stopping Felix's actions. And though she wouldn't know it , Felix's and Demetri's hold on the siblings had lessened on a very microscopic level. And, off to the side, a set of twins had glanced her way, Those were not things of her concern, though, whether she had been able to sense it or not.
[b "I'll be a vampire, whether Jasper wants me to be or not."] The Swan girl gasped out, standing tall. She hesitated just slightly, revealing something she was still sure was some sort of sign of insanity, but on the journey here Bella had asked where what she'd seen, and what she'd seen had come true to an extent. [b "I will be vampire,"] She repeated for firmness, looking at Aro dead in the eyes, [b "I've [i seen] it."] And then, on some instinct, she held out her hand towards the leader of the vampiric world's authority.
The vampire lord tilted his head slightly and gave a cold smile. [i "You are a strong-willed girl. I like that. However, it is unfortunate that I have known Mr Hale long enough to know that he would be incapable of inflicting that kind of pain on you. The moment you are bitten, it will be an excruciating experience. You will wish for death. And from what I've seen and heard from Mr Hale today, he would never be able to bring it upon himself to do that to you."]
Aro turned and gracefully walked away, scratching his nails at his chin. [i "So you see my dilemma. He will not turn you, and you would still have knowledge of us. The only way to ensure what you've said is true, is to take the matter into our own hands."] He paused and a flicker of a smile appeared. [i "Felix?"]
The large brute at the side of the room marched forward like an attack dog. [b "No!"] Jasper pushed Alice behind him, and darted forward to tackle him to the ground. [b "Don't you fucking dare,"] he snarled in Felix's face.
The larger male just smirked and grabbed him by the throat, flipping their position and slamming Jasper into the floor. [i "Jasper!"] Bella struggled against her own captor, holding her by the neck.
Felix tossed him aside like a ragdoll and slammed him to the stone floor once again. Turning to Alice, he resumed his march, only for Jasper to lunge for him once more. [b "You're not going to touch her,"] he hissed, holding Felix in a headlock.
[i "You think you're going to stop me?"] the Volturi bully spat back.
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