Sunday, December 4, 2016 | By: Drotuno

Six - Chapter 21

Chapter 21
Olympic National Forest, Washington
Stepping through Bella’s window, I monitored every mind I could hear, from the small group currently on the other side of the VI property to the very intense group surrounding me, not to mention the few aware minds inside the building. Rae’s power descended over all of us slowly, securely, and with a dome-like shape that covered the woods, us, and the building. If anyone was watching, they wouldn’t have even seen themselves on whatever monitor they were using. No one would see us coming.

Randall came to stand beside me and then squatted down, placing a hand flat on the forest floor. There was a small rumble beneath my feet, then a soft, slithering sound, caused by the woods around us coming to life, growing in a rapid pace. Shrubs and vines thickened and grew taller, wrapping their grip around the large tree trunks to create a tight wall of greenery. Randall was giving us a small hiding spot in which to wait. He’d done the same to the space where the other group was waiting for the word to start.

Makenna was up next. She looked perfectly calm as she walked out of our hiding spot to a small clearing, closed her eyes, and held out her arms. Bella’s hand slipped into mine as nothing happened at first, but we waited patiently. Makenna, while only having shown us a small glimpse of her talent, was extraordinarily powerful. Her sixth sense could reach out to wild and domesticated animals for several miles. And we needed them all to obey her.
The first to respond were the birds. They flitted from tree to tree, eventually taking to the air. Swirls of wings and feathers flew up and created a dark cloud circling above us that blocked out the moon and stars. It was everything imaginable, from small wrens to large birds of prey – eagles, hawks, and owls. Hell, I was pretty sure I saw bats in the mix. And not one of them made a sound.
Bella jumped a little when crunching of the forest floor resounded around us from every direction. Herds of deer and moose drew near, and they didn’t even seem bothered that a few bears, wolves, and cougars were walking amongst them.
It’s like a fucking Disney movie, Seth thought to himself, but he liked Makenna and her talent. He liked that the girl, despite the shit she’d been handed in life, was still a happy, sweet spirit, who found solace with the animals around her. They gave her peace and comfort and a protective guard that could never be broken.
Every animal stood stock-still just inside the tree coverage. The only movements were their eyes flickering to Makenna and the twitch of a tail or muscle.
“We need your help,” she told them in a sweet, soft whisper, kneeling down when the smaller, furrier creatures started to gather around her – squirrels, rabbits, and chipmunks. “And be careful. Watch out for water and fire. Okay?” she continued to address them, and their answers were a few soft snorts and the shifting of paws and hooves. She smiled down at them. “Good.”
When she stood back up, she looked to me, and I nodded, shooting her a wink.
Closing my eyes, I pushed my mind as far as I could. I searched for all minds but specifically for the one mind that brought us all here.
Alice. I mentally called for her, tilting my head to listen while everyone waited for my go-ahead. I needed to know if my sister was unconscious or if they were banking on her blindness to keep her under control.
Flashes of visions came at me fast and loud, and I smiled as I heard my sister’s mind.
Edward, you’re outnumbered, and they’re expecting you. But what they don’t know is what you have with you, what you are capable of doing. They also don’t understand just how hard we’ll fight.
Show me, I told her, and she gave me every voice she’d counted since she’d gotten in the car with Demetri and Felix. She counted steps, turns down hallways, and echoes that changed depending on the size of the room. Her blindness didn’t mean she couldn’t “see” around her, so she showed me each and every decision that nurses and staff made around her, including who was on duty right at that moment.
Alice had listened intently from the get-go. She’d done it knowing we’d come for her, so she’d made sure to pay attention to her surroundings. This wasn’t Seattle. They had more on duty than they’d had in the city. There was more security, and this security was talented. However, their talents weren’t natural; they weren’t born with them. Aro had already started testing on humans, and he’d done it to his own private army.
“Shit,” I breathed, looking to Bella. “You see that?”
She nodded, squeezing my hand. “He’s enhanced them,” she stated, looking around at the buildings, the people with us, and the animals that were waiting for our signal. “But, Edward, the difference between us and them? We have been using our abilities since we were small children. They won’t know what to do with them. They won’t have as much control. And what are they fighting for? A paycheck?” Bella’s scoff was soft, and she shook her head. “If anything, that’s just one more reason we’re here, to stop this place from stealing from sixxers, to stop them from exploiting us, from stealing our genetic makeup to give to someone who has no fucking clue what they’re doing.”
Everyone around us nodded, and I sent Alice one more message before I had to concentrate on the shit around me.
Brace yourself, Alice. Things are about to get ugly.
I smiled when I heard Alice’s urge to kick some ass, but it faded away when I turned to the group with me. “The north team is set. I need the south team to get into position. My team…get ready.”
My team included Bella, Jasper, Garrett, Seth, and Rose. I was leading them inside the building.
Emmett, along with Makenna’s animals, was leading the team on the south side of the property. Benjamin, with Paul’s pyrokinesis, was leading the north side, which also had a small pond not too far away. Rae was all alone, hiding safely in a tree to keep us shielded from James’s talent.
The ones who couldn’t fight were going to help take care of the sixxers we sent their way. Carlisle and Maggie were waiting for us with Irina, Tanya, Esme, and Carmen inside Bella’s old high school gymnasium. It was the largest place that Bella could quickly open a window to without thinking much about it. And it wasn’t too far away.
Facing Makenna and turning on the radio – provided by Benjamin to each team leader – in my ear, I said, “Let’s tell ’em we’re here.”
“Roger that,” Benjamin confirmed, and even from the opposite side of the building, the bright-orange glow of fire lit up the extremely early morning. With Paul’s ability, an arc of flame flew over the building, landing perfectly in the closest garbage bin on the edge of the parking lot. Then it hit the telephone poles, several cars, and finally the security booth at the front gate.
Kate’s lightning shot out to take out the transformer, and the building went dark for a moment before generators kicked on.
Nodding to Makenna, I stepped to the edge of the woods, and my team followed suit.
“Here we go,” Alistair sang softly. “We’re getting some company – front doors, side doors, and circling van.”
Makenna closed her eyes, saying, “Protect us. Go!”
I’d never felt anything like it, the stampede of large animals running at top speed. It felt a bit like an earthquake but different because the enormous predators’ steps were stealthy. Every animal swarmed the place, attacked every guard who dared step foot out the door. The deer and moose charged, using their antlers as a weapon. The cougars stalked the fences, leaping up into trees to make sure no one left the gated area. The wolves divided up into two packs, running the perimeter, and the bears decided that no one should be allowed to hide behind glass doors, so they practically ripped the doors off their hinges.
The fires Paul and Benjamin had started grew brighter, which gave us enough light to make our way toward the building.
“Bella…” I called her as we started to run, and in front of us, she opened a window in order to shorten the distance between the woods and the building.
My team ran through, leaving the fighting behind us. When we came out the other side, we were just outside the locked side door, and I turned to see the chaos that was coming from the tree line. It looked like anarchy, but I could hear and see exactly who was doing what.
A tall, angry-looking tornado swirled up, spinning furiously and gathering fire and Kate’s electricity in its wake. Animals still charged, but the guards had found some sort of footing in order to fight back. Bella was right; the powers they’d been given were not in control. They were erratic, bursting forth, only to stop just as quickly.
Heidi used her invisibility to step inside the front doors, leading the bears with her. The smaller animals and the birds attacked the wires and the generators that had kicked on. Mike had grown to the size of a giant and started picking up cars or flipping them over, which meant everyone on the time clock at that moment had no way of escaping, even on foot, because the cougars were stopping them, if the wolves didn’t get to them first.
The guards were scared, trying their damnedest to fight back, but outside, they were outnumbered, which meant inside, we’d have a fight on our hands. They were going to stop us from reaching the patients.
Before I turned back toward the door, I witnessed Gianna’s deadly touch destroy a guard with his hands around Charlotte’s throat. The poison from her hands spread throughout the guard’s body in seconds, using his circulatory system as passage and turning him a deep purplish-blue.
When the earth opened up and swallowed three guards, burying them alive, I knew Benjamin had this shit outside under control.
Turning to Garrett, I nodded. “The whole building’s metal, man. Do what you do.”
The sides of the building started to shake, the rivets shooting out toward the woods like bullets, but Garrett didn’t let them get that far. He caught them, bound them together, and meshed them into his usual orbiting balls. The metal door, which was locked and barred, fell away in a pile of metallic dust, right at our feet. The hallway inside was dark, but we stepped in as the fight waged on behind us. It was then that Rose transformed from her human form into the largest, deadliest-looking white Bengal tiger I’d ever seen. Teeth bared, growl rumbling, and nose in the air to seek out scents of patients and my sister, Rose’s mind was focused on ending this, no matter what.
We had to have come in the corridor of the office side of things. Names with PhDs on the end were stenciled on some of the doors that lined the hallway.
Blood. Medicines, Rose thought to me, chuffing toward the end of the hall. Her head lowered menacingly, and the last thought was, Humans.
Tilting my head, I listened to the other side of the door for sound and thought. I heard both. Sounds of shuffling, scurrying, and hissed instructions were traded, but the thoughts were what gave me the advantage. Pointing to different spots on the door, I looked to Garrett, who grinned and nodded. I could see where each and every one of them were through their minds – behind desks, filing cabinets, and tucked around corners.
His orbiting ball bearings shot through the wood and glass door like bullets, splitting up into more than just the three. They turned into six and then nine, twelve, fifteen, and the eruption of screams, glass breaking, and feet running met my ears before I looked through one of the holes. Holding up four fingers, I told them how many were still waiting for us on the other side of the door, despite the multitude of holes in the walls, furniture, and what looked like a body part or two, and all of them were armed.
Garrett walked to the entryway, melting the hinges on his way, and he looked to me. Let’s scare the shit out of them, shall we? he asked wryly with his usual half smile. Placing his hand on the door, he closed his eyes, and every single gun was snatched away from its owner. The thumped to the door one right after the other, sounding like a hammer hitting a nail.
Now, Edward.
With as much force as I could muster, I pushed at the doors in front of us, sending them to the left and the right as hard and fast as I could. The guns that were stuck to the wood melted, twisted, and divided up before joining Garrett’s little orbiting ball bearings. Gun powder sprinkled to the tile floor.
A flash of white shot across the small room, and we all ducked. Someone had the ability to control ice, and as another frozen shot aimed at me, and then Rose, the guard suddenly fell away into nothing.
Grinning back at Bella, I shook my head as I saw through her mind where she’d sent him – right outside in the middle of the fighting. In fact, two of the three guards remaining in the room immediately dropped out of sight. One last guard remained, and he had no desire to fight, but he wasn’t exactly given a choice when well over four hundred pounds of tiger landed on him with paws the size of dinner plates.
Ask him! Rose snarled in my mind and in the scared shitless guard’s face. Claws started to pierce his uniform at the shoulders, and long, deadly teeth snapped right in front of his nose. Fucking ask him, Edward!
Kneeling down at the guard’s face, I smiled his way. “You’ll have to forgive my sister. We didn’t feed her before we came. If you answer a couple of questions, I’ll make sure you aren’t her dinner.”
Garrett and Seth chuckled behind me, and the former had a grip on Jasper to keep him from darting down any more hallways in search of Alice. We couldn’t let him go blindly into this shit, but I understood his impatience. Had it been Bella we were here for, I’d have simply ripped the siding off the building and rolled the roof back. But we needed to make this a statement. We needed to ruin this building and everyone inside it.
“You think you could answer?” I asked him, tilting my head and smiling when he nodded, only to flinch when inches of long teeth snapped at his face again. “Good. Now… I need the whereabouts of the patients you have trapped in this place.”
A low, deep, rumbling growl emanated from Rose while tendrils of saliva dripped from that frightening mouth full of teeth as he hesitated a split second. His mind answered before his voice did, showing me the way, but he pointed a shaky finger to the hallway on the left.
“Good boy,” I praised him sarcastically, looking to Rose as she continued to dig those claws into his shoulders. “Now… Where’s the blind girl? She was brought in two days ago. Where is she being held?”
That question scared the shit out of him, because apparently my sister was high priority, and I froze for a moment. But not as high a priority as James.
“Interesting,” I mumbled, nodding a bit. “Thank you.” I stood up, patting the big, angry cat. “Let him up, Rose.”
She stepped off him, head still low, teeth still bared.
“But I didn’t tell you—”
He was cut off when he suddenly dropped through the window Bella opened beneath him.
“You told me everything,” I muttered, turning to face my team. “We can either split up or stick together, but Alice and James are on one side, and the patients are on the other.”
“You’ll need me either way,” Bella countered, shrugging a bit.
“And me,” Seth added.
“Not necessarily,” Jasper argued. “I can get Alice. You guys can get started on the patients.”
“And James?” Garrett asked. “Because that little sixxer needs to be stopped. His equipment needs to be destroyed.”
“Fine, go.” I pointed toward the right-side corridor. “Rose, you and Garrett get to James and destroy that computer. Jasper, you and Seth find my sister. Meet us in the patient room. Bella, you’re with me.”
I waited until the four of them disappeared down the hallway, and then I turned to Bella. My mind was completely open to hers, and I made sure to show her we’d work this next step together. She nodded and then faced the long hallway that led to the other end of the building.
Before she took one step, I pulled her back to my chest, my mouth at her ear in a soft whisper. “Defense, pretty girl. Send everyone to hell, outside, Timbuktu for all I give a shit, but use those windows as shields, and I’ll shove ’em through. Okay?”
She smirked a little and nodded, leaning in and closing her eyes when I kissed her cheek. “And you…don’t overdo it. Too much all at once, and you’ll be in pain,” she breathed back at me.
“I’ll do my best.”
The corridor was empty until we reached the labs, and once again, Bella’s theory on the guards who’d been given sixth senses instead of being born with them proved to be pretty damn true. Just as we reached long glass viewing windows for the lab, a ball of electricity hit the window and dissipated, and Bella and I ducked down below the window. It wasn’t controlled, and it was horribly aimed. Another ball hit again, this time shattering the glass around us. I pulled us back behind the wall, listening with ears and mind.
There are five or six inside… A couple of lab techs and some guards. Ready? I asked her silently, and she nodded when she saw what I wanted to do.
We waited until one more ball of sparks shot out from the room, and Bella stepped into view. Another ball lit up the dim room, aimed right at my girl, but she shot a window up in front of her and another to the side of the guard sending the electrical balls our way. It hit him and the metal tables around him, which shocked everyone who was touching the tables, whether they were hiding beneath them or using them for a shield. Blue lightning crawled and stretched all over the room, which seemed to be one giant conductor. When screams echoed out of the lab, Bella opened another window, and I stepped forward, pushing out my hand and sending everything not nailed down out through that window. Tables, techs, and guards, not to mention equipment, papers, and files all got shoved through that window out into the fighting that was still going on outside. She’d sent them right over the pond, where Benjamin immediately took over with a giant wave of water that practically emptied the small lake.
Kissing the side of Bella’s head, I urged her to keep going. We needed to make some sort of headway by the time the four on the other end of the building joined us. They were running into resistance as they searched for James and Alice. However, with Jasper’s speed and Seth’s ability to stop people, Garrett was having way too much fun pulling wires from the walls and using them to secure them. By the time he was through, they were gagged and bound to poles or each other.
Bella and I reached the end of the hallway with no more interruptions. The double doors that led out into the main patient area had windows, and despite the lack of power inside the building, most of the equipment had their own battery backups, so from one end of the room to the other, there were at least forty occupied beds.
However, there were several scared and angry minds on the other side of those doors.
This needs to be fast, Edward, Bella thought to me. They’re hiding behind beds and equipment. And there’s a bunch behind the nurses’ station and in the pharmacy room.
Using the shadows to our advantage, I stepped to the wall so I could look through the windows. Bella was right; there were a shit-ton of guards and employees all over the room, which was the size of an empty Wal-Mart. Closing my eyes, I listened to minds – scared minds, angry minds, plotting minds. They were confused and worried. They’d been given powers and jobs to do, but they weren’t sure it was worth it. I wanted to know where the hell Jane and Alec were, but I finally found the two other minds I was hoping not to find – Demetri and Felix.
The two men stepped out into the open, armed and dangerous.
“You’re outnumbered, Cullen!” Demetri called, and laughter laced his tone. “I know it’s you! And thank you for bringing Isabella with you. It’s about time she fulfilled her contract.”
Let’s see about that, Bella thought angrily.
My gaze shot to Bella, whose eyes were narrowed on the two in the middle of innocent sixxers who couldn’t defend themselves. She started at the back of the room, and swiftly and quietly the guards and employees started to drop out of sight. One, two, three at a time, they would simply drop through the floor. Bella worked as quickly as I’d ever seen her, using the shadows and hiding guards to her advantage.
She worked around the walls, leaving the ones Demetri and Felix could see, and when the nurses’ station was empty, we were still outnumbered but only marginally.
Taking Bella’s lead, I started to shift and push desks and filing cabinets in front of doors, especially the pharmacy room, where I could see faces peeking through the door’s window. We worked fast.
“Come on out, asshole,” Demetri called again, “or I’ll just start opening fire up in this place. We don’t need them alive. We’ll start with the youngest.”
If anything could’ve stopped us cold, it was that threat. The sound of a weapon engaging made me look out over the room again. We had at least ten guards, with unknown medically induced powers, and I still wasn’t sure where Alec and Jane were, but neither Demetri’s nor Felix’s minds were giving that information away. They had to be close, though, because the executive offices were inside on the right, and they had the most guards.
Grinning, I looked to Bella. Aro’s here.
She gasped, gaping up at me, but then focused back on the room. And I quickly relayed that message through the radios. Some of the answers back were panicked and some were celebratory, because we all wanted this to stop, and if Aro was here, then he may not be able to walk away from this. Several sixxers wanted him dead.
I didn’t care if the asshole lived or died; I just wanted him to stop exploiting us. And I wanted him to stop hunting my family, my Bella.
“I’m gonna count to three, Cullen!” Demetri threatened, pulling the hammer back on the gun in his hand. He stepped to a bed in front of him, pressing the muzzle of that gun to the middle of a forehead; it was a little boy, and he couldn’t be more than ten.
It was right then that Demetri’s thoughts betrayed him. He wanted me to lose my shit, he wanted me to snap, because he’d told Aro exactly what he’d seen that day in the hospital in Manhattan. They’d known from when I was a kid that Alice and I would’ve been the biggest acquisitions they could get, but they’d settled for other sixxers over the years. I couldn’t let Bella know this shit either, because I knew her well enough to know she’d drop us out of sight and off the grid before anyone could blink, but this shit needed to stop now.
“Shit,” I barely breathed aloud, gazing down at my girl, and then I switched to thoughts. Together, pretty girl. We sweep the room. Ready?
Bella shifted on her feet nervously, nodding a little.
I took a deep breath, readying my power, because this would be fast and ugly, but in order to save the kids, the innocent victims in those beds, I needed to stop the rest of the VI people in the room. And we wouldn’t be alone for long. I could hear the fighting outside slowing, and I could hear Garrett mentally yelling at me to stop and Rose’s rumbling growl as she padded quickly our way, but there wasn’t time to wait.
“C’mon, Cullen! Three!” He grinned toward the door, but just as he started to squeeze the trigger, I pushed with all I had against the doors with one hand, pulling his gun away with the other.
It flew between Bella and me, and I could hear it skid down the hard floor of the hallway behind us.
Bella’s attention was on the guards by the offices on our right. A large window opened beneath a cluster of them, and they fell out of sight. A few more aimed some sort of power our way – wind or water, I wasn’t sure, because I pushed it right back at them at the same time Bella opened a window behind them, which caused them to fly right through the wall.
From the left, something heavy was launched our way, and I mentally caught the desk long enough for Bella to push open a window and throw it right back. Once it landed back on its owner, she dropped it and everyone beneath it out another window.
I caught new minds from my right again, and a pop and flash landed right behind Bella. Just as quickly as the guard appeared, he wrapped Bella up and popped out of sight again. And they reappeared right next to two men I’d only ever seen in pictures. The little fucker looked like a weasel, all sneaky and smiling. Aro and his brother, Caius, were on either side of my Bella. The latter had a needle to her neck, and he was whispering for her not to move or he’d kill her right there where they stood.
My nostrils flared, because they’d picked the wrong one to fuck with. They’d picked the wrong negotiating tool. Bella was telling me to be careful, because she knew I was about to unleash hell, and I could hear Garrett and Rose coming. Even louder than all that, I could sense my sister’s visions playing out, and that was the one thing I needed, because she showed me exactly what would happen if I snapped.
Thank you, Alice, I thought her way.
Caius may have had the needle to Bella’s throat, but he wasn’t expecting me to attack him first. With a loud grunt, I pushed my power out and away from me, which sent Demetri and Felix tumbling away down the aisles of hospital beds. Spinning Caius’s way, I yanked him off the floor, and my hands balled up into fists as I essentially wadded him up like a piece of paper. I could hear bones breaking as he folded up into an unnatural knot of flesh. He screamed in pain as I continued to squeeze, to break, to snap, and then I finally threw him at Demetri and Felix, knocking them down again.
“Let her go!” I snarled, rounding on Aro, who had taken Bella’s ponytail in his hand.
The power that was leaving me couldn’t be stopped. It was wave after wave of pushing force. Glass shattered, metal walls started to crumple, the hospital beds started to shake, and IV poles started to topple over. Everything in the room – people included – started to push out toward the walls. I stepped farther into the room, the pulsing rings of power leaving me without any control.
Aro grinned my way, jerking Bella’s ponytail, which really pissed me off because he’d produced another needle. I could hear my name being called, I could hear thoughts of friends and family, but it was Bella’s mind I connected with fully.
“Oh, Carlisle’s hidden you well, Edward,” Aro taunted, bending Bella’s head back so that her neck was exposed with the needle too close for my comfort. “My, my…aren’t you a powerful thing?” he asked rhetorically. “Let’s trade, shall we? You for everyone else. I’ll even let little Isabella’s contract go.”
“No!” Bella cried out, flinching when he gripped her hair harder. “Edward, don’t do it!”
Snorting, I shook my head and kept my gaze on his when I brought my fist down to the floor. I pulled from Bella’s talent, opening a window the entire size of the patient floor. My temples throbbed when each and every sixxer lowered through the concrete floor – beds, IVs, and all – and the window closed, leaving the middle of the room bare and empty, except for a broken and writhing Caius in a pile. Demetri and Felix were back on their feet, with open and shocked expressions on their faces. Again, my power surged from me, launching the two assholes back against the wall. The little weasel fucker who took Bella from me when we came into the room couldn’t move from the door he was plastered against.
I heard the rushing of footsteps behind me, but unfortunately, I couldn’t let anyone beyond my power. I was far from in control. My temples pounded, and I felt the pressure in my head start to release through a nosebleed – something I hadn’t experienced since I was a damned kid.
The hair-raising growl of Rose’s tiger form shook the room, and my mind latched on to Garrett’s. The more my Bella struggled, the angrier I became, which caused my mind to open up wider than ever before. Blood trickled down my face as Garrett’s power became my own. The metal walls, the metal needle at my pretty girl’s throat, and the metal rebar in the concrete foundation answered to my command. It melted, twisted, and all sharpened into dangerously pointed objects, all aimed at Aro. They surrounded him, singing with the movement in which I’d pulled. The floor was in crumbles around my feet.
Seth was trying his damnedest behind me to stop everything, but my ability had filled the large room. However, I’d exposed part of the wall to the outside, so the fighting grew louder.
“I said let her go!” I yelled, ignoring Bella’s worry, ignoring my siblings, ignoring the radio in my ear.
Aro had no weapon with which to threaten Bella, so with a quick window, she dropped out of his grip and reappeared in front of me. I saw her through a haze of hate and rage, through the almost debilitating pounding in my head. Suddenly, that pain quadrupled, and I fell to the floor. I felt like I was burning from the inside out, and everything that I’d accomplished in that room came to a stop. There was yelling and movement, loud explosions, not to mention warm hands on my face, but I couldn’t see through the pain.
It stopped just as abruptly as it started, ending with a brief feeling of falling and a rather ugly bump to the floor.
“Carlisle!” I heard Bella cry, and I tried to roll over, tried to see, but my head felt like someone was continuously stomping on it.
“Jesus, son. Sweetheart, what happened over there?!”
I shook my head, fighting both of them as Bella said the one word explanation.
“Edward Anthony, you be still! Stop fighting. You’re going to break this building!”
“M-Mom?” I breathed.
“Let me try,” I heard softly, and the feel of cooler, smaller hands met my face.
The pounding in my head slowed, the sharp pain subsided, and my whole body went limp with the pressure that left my mind. Squeezing my eyes closed and then opening them again, I saw Maggie’s worried, concentrated face looming over me.
“Better?” she asked, her brow furrowed as someone cleaned my face.
“Yeah. Thanks, kiddo.” I sighed in relief, sitting up a little and looking around. Every bed I’d sent from VI was empty, and the stands of the high school gym were filled with people coming around slowly. “Did you help them, too?” I asked her, and she nodded. Turning to Bella and my dad, I said, “I need to get back. Alice…Rose…Aro!”
“Easy, son,” Carlisle soothed, giving my shoulder a squeeze when Maggie shifted away from me. “Give me a second, and I’ll go with you.”
Once he stood up, Bella was on me in an instant, her tear-filled eyes overflowing as she kissed my face all over. “You scared the shit out of me, Edward Cullen!”
“Yeah, well, you didn’t exactly give me warm and fuzzy feelings either, pretty girl,” I mumbled through the kisses she didn’t stop, and I finally grinned, pulling her back enough I could see her face clearly. “Stop, baby. I’m okay.”
She huffed and pouted just a little but finally nodded and let me up. I was still a little shaky when I got to my feet, but Bella wrapped my arm around her shoulders to help steady me.
Maggie stepped up next to us. “I wanna go too. People may need my help.”
I smiled her way, knowing that she really just wanted to check on Makenna.
Carlisle walked back to us, his doctor bag in hand, and Bella opened a window back inside VI.
I barely recognized the room when we stepped inside. All was quiet, the dust settling a little. Everyone spun our way, and then most of my family rushed to me.
“Fuck, Ed, you scared the shit out of us,” Jasper scolded in his usual drawl.
However, the one person I’d needed to set eyes on walked carefully to me with Emmett by her side.
“Alice,” I said, stepping to her and wrapping my arms around her. “You’re okay,” I stated, hearing her mind. She nodded, her milky white eyes leaking tears. I hugged her tighter, whispering in her ear, “You are in serious trouble.”
Her giggle was adorable, but it stopped quickly. “Yeah, well…no other decisions worked, big brother. You would’ve died, Edward!”
“Sorry.” I acquiesced, setting her down, and I turned in my spot, seeing everyone I knew okay and safe. Employees and guards were restrained by the rebar I’d pulled from the foundation, but the one person I was hoping to see tied down wasn’t there. “Where the fuck is Aro?!”
“He got away.” Benjamin’s voice was terse and tired. “That little teleporter he had with him disappeared with Aro, Demetri, and Felix.”
“And Jane?” Bella asked, her lip curling in hatred.
“She and her brother ran,” Seth answered her. “I dunno how far they got. The wolves were busy for a few.” He pointed across the way. “Actually, if it hadn’t been for those two, we would’ve all been toast, because Alec started to kick into overdrive.”
All of us turned to see an older couple on either side of a teenaged kid in a wheelchair. When the man looked up, I knew exactly who he was.
“Marcus,” I breathed, my mouth hanging open.
He stood and walked to us, smiling at my father. “Carlisle, it’s good to see you,” he greeted, shaking Carlisle’s hand. “Quite the family you have here.”
“Marcus,” Carlisle said with a nod. “Thank you. I wish I could’ve done something sooner. I didn’t know.”
Marcus waved that away and then looked to me. “You… You’re the one I heard. You’re the one who set us free in Seattle.”
“Sir,” I said with a nod, shaking his hand.
“Hoshit! You’re the two who split off from us?!” Seth asked him, and he nodded.
Marcus gazed around at us all, his sixth sense so very interesting to see through his mind. He saw the loyalties between people. He saw their connections and who they’d fight for. While all the sixxers were bound to each other in various ways, there were individual relationships that were stronger. My family – Rose, Emmett, Jasper, Alice, Bella – they were all tied to Carlisle and me. Seth was tied to his group. The boy in the wheelchair and the woman doting on him were tied to Marcus. Bella and I had an unwavering tie, which made me pull her close and kiss the side of her head.
Finally, the groaning, complaining, whimpering Caius was tied to no one. Not even his brother standing in front of me.
“Interesting, right?” he asked me wryly, and I nodded. “Don’t you worry about finding Aro. He’s as stubborn and predictable as he is arrogant. And I owe you for setting us free from his imprisonment. I’ll help you find him.”
Benjamin stepped forward, his badge clearly hanging on his belt. “He’s facing a bunch of trouble, Marcus.”
“Which he deserves. Wholeheartedly.”
I saw then the dynamic between the brothers. Aro had hated Marcus’s extra sense, while Caius wanted to profit from it. Together the two had worked against him, even when Marcus had married and started a family. It was all disguised as “help” for James, who’d been born with a neurological disability and a sixth sense, but really it was a trap to milk the sixxer family for their powers.
Marcus’s eyes met mine, and he smiled a little. “You can see that, can you?”
“Yeah, that’s… That’s pretty shitty.”
He grinned, nodding a little. “It’s very shitty.”
There was a bit of laughter from the wide-open wall as Maggie and Makenna ran in, a couple of wolves at their heels. Apparently, the two large dogs had been injured, and Maggie had healed them, along with several other animals outside, but when Maggie caught sight of James, she practically doubled over with the need to heal, to help.
She didn’t stop. Walking right up to the wheelchair, she knelt to look at his face. “I can help you,” she whispered, and through her mind, I saw the pull, the beacon that drew her to him. It was his body and his brain. All of it pulled at her almost painfully.
“She’s a healer,” I whispered to Marcus. “Your brother couldn’t help James, but Maggie sure as hell can.”
The hope that crossed his features was almost heartbreaking, and I nodded his way.
Maggie reached out with her usual tentative and gentle touch to the boy’s arm. Where usually her healing was just about instantaneous, this took a minute. She healed mind and body. Her power was strong, but it was draining her a little. She didn’t stop, though. She tilted her head a little when muscles changed and strengthened, when his spine straightened, and when his eyes began to focus on the room, alert and sharp. When she felt everything in him firing normally, she pulled her hand away.
“He’ll have to learn to talk and walk, but…” Carlisle walked to James, giving him a brief examination, but smiled Marcus’s way.
“James?” Marcus’s wife whispered, and the boy’s head turned with no problems and he smiled.
“My boy,” Marcus gasped, rushing to his family. He wrapped his arms around them.
Benjamin walked to me, muttering, “Aro can hide, but not forever. We’ll get him. We have to do this carefully, without letting the public know about sixxers. We need the patients’ testimonies, but we have to keep our powers secret. If we do this the right way, we can get him on fraud, on malpractice, on false imprisonment… Hell, if all the contracts were done under the same or fraudulent efforts as Bella’s here, then we’ve got a helluva case. I still need to speak with her mother.”
“Yeah, I still want to go with you.”
“Me, too,” Bella said, her chin jutting out a bit in a defiant gesture. “I think you’ll need me.”
Marcus stood up, walking to us. “Whatever you need from me, just ask. It’s yours. Actually, it’ll be my brother’s pleasure,” he said, pointing to his pitiful brother, still moaning because I’d broken several of his bones. “Miss Maggie, if you would, please.”
Maggie grimaced but walked to Caius, setting a hand on his ankle. We all groaned and winced at the snapping of bones back into place and his screams. When she was done, she walked away from him.
“You can take Caius in first for stealing everything I had and kidnapping my son.” Marcus smiled at Benjamin. “And he’ll cut a deal with you, because he’s a coward. Ask the right way, and he’ll tell you everything.”
“Caius Volterra, you have the right to remain silent…”
“This is a helluva mess to clean up,” Rose said, back in her human form.
“Not to mention people that need to be returned to their families,” Garrett added, wrapping an arm around Kate.
“That fucker is still out there,” Seth countered, sneering.
“Not for long,” Bella argued softly, leaning into me, and I wrapped my arms around her and kissed her forehead. “He’ll show himself eventually.”
“We’ve got plenty to do until he does,” Rae stated firmly with a nod. “And he’d be a fool to do it anytime soon. He’s outnumbered and out-powered. And it seems his little experiments only last so long,” she said, pointing to a few of the tied-up guards.
They were struggling, but their enhanced senses were snuffing out quickly. They were winding down and human again.
My eyebrows shot up. “Well, that’s good to know.” I turned to Bella, smirking a little. “Now, the deserted island.”
Her laugh, her blushing cheeks, and her resulting giggly kiss was the best shit all damn day. It couldn’t happen yet, but I really did want to escape with her when the time was right. Until then, though, we had sixxers to help.


Kristi said...

An intense battle with a positive ending but so much more to be done to clean up Aro's mess. Keeping Sixer's safe and secret all the while.

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