Beyond the dawn

Over a decade after dealing with the volturi, Bella and Edward have settled into family life. Vampire blood burning in her veins, Bella is restless despite the treaty with the pack, and when a neighbouring wolf pack crossing La push territory threatens to change everything forever no one walks away unscathed

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8. Chapter 7 ~~ Battle plan

Bella.

I couldn't stand to look at Jacob's face any longer. His pain was unbearable, and radiating from him in waves. He was

still my best friend, and I hated anything that caused him pain, I hated it fiercely. I left the room, and went to seek out Renesmee. Rose had come to get her for Carlisle a little while ago, and I needed her close with this new threat rearing it's ugly head whatever it amounts to. Plus if I didn't get her back to Jacob soon, he's definitely going to start hyperventilating, then Esmee will have a huge russet wolf stumbling round scratching up the wood floors with his claws, and shedding everywhere. I snickered to myself.

I found them in Carlisle's study measuring Renesmee for the second time this week. We measure her all the time to keep an eye on her growth spurts, but worryingly they had recently began to speed up again. Rose was hovering over her, a forced grin on her face for Renesmee's benefit that made her look a little demented. The smile did not touch her eyes.

" Has it started to slow down again?"

I asked hopefully, as I stroked my daughters impassive face.

" No Bella. It's almost 4 inches this week."

Carlisle told me. Trying hard to keep an upbeat tone in his voice for Renesmee's sake.

"How can this be? Why is it speeding up again? And why now?"

I asked, anxiety loaded in my words.

" Well from what I can tell, it started the day the Kalaloch tribe crossed Renesmee and Jacob's paths."

Carlisle started; A pointed look at my un concerned daughter, who was humming to herself while Rose began plaiting her long chestnut colored locks. Understanding 'the look' I realized this might be something I would care for her not to hear?

" Can you take Renesmee back to Jacob before he implodes please Rose?"

"Sure. Come on Renesmee, you're pup is waiting for you."

She winked at me, flashing a gleaming set of vampire teeth. I laughed at the 'pup' reference, wasn't sure how Jacob would feel about that. I gave Renesmee a quick kiss goodbye, and took a deep breath ( well the motion of one anyway, it's not like I needed to breathe or anything.) and waited for what Carlisle was about to tell me.

His face normally as smooth as marble, creased a little as he began.

" Well, as I was saying...the growth spurt began that day the Kalaloch wolves became aware of her. If you recall, when the Volturi learned of her existence, the same thing happened. Her growth became rapid on the very day Irina went to the Volturi ---"

" You mean when she is threatened in some way, her aging speeds up?"

I gasped, interrupting him. I could see him thinking carefully before he spoke. Chewing the words over before speaking them.

"She reaches full maturity in 5 years, meaning the aging process halts when she reaches 17 years of age, as we learnt. She's already way beyond her years in emotional maturity, but when there is a threat to her it seems her growth and development speed up a little..."

I was so not sure about how to take this, or what it meant? I felt winded suddenly, and clutched my stomach, waiting for him to go on.

" In nature only the strong survive, and she seems to have a built in defense mechanism..nature's way of protecting her a little, so she isn't as vulnerable."

I remembered the pain and uncertainty last time she changed by the day, by the hour even while we waited for the Volturi to come. how utterly despondent we became not knowing how much time we had with her. At least now, we know that her growth however rapid, has no bearing on her surviving. I remembered something suddenly.

As we waited for the snow to stick to the ground, knowing they were coming. Renesmee had grown more rapidly than before. I whipped around to Carlisle ;

"Her aging to maturity speeds up, as the threat against her develops/gets bigger!"

I exclaimed with a grimace.

" Exactly. It appears she is even more special than we could have imagined."

Carlisle nodded, seemingly un concerned. I swallowed, taking it all in.

" When you first thought this is what might be happening, did you tell Edward?"

I asked. He nodded again.

" We discussed it a little when you, Jacob, and Renesmee went hunting yesterday."

He confirmed.

"And he isn't concerned at all?"

I said, more to myself than Carlisle. He answered me anyway.

" He sees it as I do, nature usually knows better Bella. I do understand your struggle as a mother. Having a lot of Renesmee actually being a child, taken away from you, but if it means she is stronger, less vulnerable, then maybe it is a necessary sacrifice."

He squeezed my shoulder in a gesture of comfort, before he was gone from the room.

Even as a vampire, being able to handle several trains of thought at once, this was difficult for me to take in. I had known that I would not get a normal childhood with her of course, but this meant I would probably lose her to Jacob a lot sooner than I had prepared. Had Edward thought about that ? I wondered?

**************

Edward sat at the piano watching Jacob and Renesmee together. There was no mistaking their absolute 'need' for one another, when parted even momentarily Edward hears Jacob's despair in his thoughts. Like a sucking great black hole has stolen his sun, he does not feel complete again until Renesmee is back at his side. It would be easier if it were just Jacob's pain, but whenever he had to leave for however long, Renesmee would be pressed against the glass wall of the house, devoid of the smiles that lit up his and Bella's lives. He would go to her, aching that he could not distract her until Jacob's return. She would touch his face, showing him a picture of herself standing by the window until Jacob was walking back toward the house, coming back to her. Asking him over and over, when is Jacob coming back?

Bella glided into the room, and his focus shifted instantly. Her presence never failed to take his breath away. Seeing the desire in her husband's eye's only served to ignite her own, as she settled into his lap, and he nuzzled into her neck. Trying not to lose her focus and let her desire overwhelm her, with Jasper in the room, she turned her attention to Jacob.

His eyes were squinted, his teeth clenched, his forehead wrinkled with effort at trying to disguise his worry , and keep it from Renesmee, who was happily chattering away and showing him her drawing.

It had mattered none that Carlisle , and Esmee had returned a short while ago from speaking to Sam, and had passed along the message that Sam had no intention of letting Renesmee be hurt, or threatened in any way. It made no difference to any of us, the worry was still paramount.

Jasper sensing Jacob's worry, and intense anger, had moved to sit close to him. Manipulating his feelings to the best of his ability to try and give him some sense of calm, controlling his anger, and keeping it at a manageable level so he wouldn't phase suddenly. Alice flitted around, but still it was moving slowly for her, unnecessarily tidying the already immaculate space, straightening esme's curtains, and centering vase's. Her elfen features somber as her eyes flashed from aware to blank again. She was searching the future , trying to see the outcome of the Kalaloch's discussion with the elder's. Unable to see past the blind spots caused by Jacob, and Renesmee.

Bella tore herself away from the intense need to be alone with her husband as he brushed his lips across her jaw. His feather light kisses causing her to groan with frustration. She gave him a pointed look, that read 'later' , he understood too well, the fact he could not hear her thoughts , not an issue. A playful smile dancing on his lips.

In a move so fast it didn't exist, Bella was across the room and putting a hand on Jacob's knotted shoulder.

" Geez Bell's I wish you wouldn't do that, some of us need to see you coming you know?"

Jacob joked, his dark lips parting to flash that familiar Jacob'y grin.

" I forget, I'm sorry. Are you ok Jake?"

Bella asked. His face grew stony again, dark eye's flashing with pain, and anger.

" Sit with me awhile."

He said softly.

" Do you remember when you didn't know about me, I was trying to get you to remember the Quileute legends I'd told you that day on the beach?.."

" Sure! " Bella answered.

" Well, I told you that day how tightly I was bound by the laws of the pack. It's the elders who create our laws. If the Kalaloch wolve's are going to them, then it's serious. If it was just other pack's I had to worry about I could deal with that, but this? This is the unknown for me."

Jacob's eyes were as hard as Flint, as he spoke.

"What do these elder's do exactly?"

Bella asked warily.

"I only really know stories from the Quileute legends but --"

"Jacob, I think we should probably talk on the porch?"

Edward interrupted from across the room. He flicked his eye's toward Renesmee who had now moved on to building a house of cards with Rosalie and Emmett. She had stopped being immersed in balancing cards, and was peering at them quizzically from under a soft curtain of hair that had fallen over her hazel eyes.

Jacob nodded, and went to Renesmee to kiss her on the cheek before following Bella, and Edward out to the front porch of the house.

" Jacob, I can hear your thoughts! You have no idea whether or not the elders will sentence Renesmee to death or not do you? Your head is telling you that they would not destroy a pack that way, but I can HEAR the uncertainty creeping in, getting louder and louder with each passing hour."

Edward's golden eyes narrowed in anger as he spoke. His anger was not directed to Jacob, for he knew if the situation arised Jacob would lay down his life for Renesmee, and protect her at all costs. There was no fear of losing her, not really, not yet. They all knew that nothing would be allowed close enough to Renesmee to take her life.

" You had better tell us what you know about the elders, maybe we will understand better what we are dealing with here."

Bella said, her body coiled and tensed in anticipation. Jacob took a deep breath, and let it out again slowly, chewing his thoughts over before he spoke.

"Each pack has an elder, like Billy is elder to the La Push wolves. They don't run with the packs, but look on and guide. They prefer to stay in human form, with the exception of the occasional run."

He shrugged, his expression wistful, and the mention of 'a run'.

"The tribes elders all meet together as a council if you will. They make sure that pack law is withheld, make sure the youngsters coming into the change are properly integrated into the pack. Legend has it they have even been known to liaise with the Volturi when truce's are necessary."

Bella, and Edward turned cold . Their faces turning absolutely white as the implications of the Volturi becoming involved in Renesmee's life again.

" Edward, what if..."

Jacob interrupted quickly, raising his palm to stop her continuing.

"It's ok Bell's , it won't come to that. The elder's wouldn't go to Volturi unless absolutely necessary, and certainly not without talking to me about Renesmee first!"

The fear that had been crackling in the air between them quickly dissipated.

" Go on Jacob.."

Edward encouraged Jacob to continue.

" There's not really much else I know about it."

He shrugged.

" They make sure vampires are being kept from the territories of course, that's our job, but even though I know it happens I haven't had any first hand knowledge of any wolf being called before the council, or what they might have done to have to do so?"

They were interrupted as Leah, and Seth bounded out from the tree's across the river in human form. Even while in their human forms, they moved quickly and had soon reached the porch.

Bella, Edward, and Jacob stood silently waiting for them to speak.

" Did Sam tell you what time the meeting was tomorrow?"

Jacob asked Leah.

" 1pm at Samson's café outside La Push."

Leah answered flatly.

" We should go inside, and discuss what should do at the meeting."

Jacob said, sweeping his hand toward the door.

" I am going to need to give Leah a script so as not to piss off a room full of angry wolves."

Jacob's dark eyes twinkled, as a cheeky grin spread across his face. Leah hissed softly under her breath, her nose wrinkling up with distaste as if she had tasted something nasty.

*****************************************


 

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