Edward Cullen was missing. It was all over the school when Bella returned that Monday, although she—of course—already knew. She took several deep breaths and wondered why everything seemed so alien to her. How did she function before she could feel the presence of Spock in her mind? Always there, always constant, always loving.
As Jessica planned the trip to La Push, Bella remembered how Spock had mentioned cliff diving, and she wondered if she would somehow be seeing him soon. She began to wake up from her usual shyness, talking excitedly about the prospect of rain, and she began to count down the days.
If anyone beside Charlie noticed the ring on her wedding finger, no one mentioned it.
The day was gray but dry, and Bella didn’t even mind when Charlie dropped her off at the Newton Store in his police cruiser.
Of course, she almost immediately separated from the group and headed toward the cliffs. She didn’t realize that someone was following her before she turned and saw an Indian man, probably about twenty or thereabouts, following her.
“Hey!” he greeted and she nodded, offering a small smile. “Where are you off to?”
“Cliffs,” she told him. “I—I want to go cliff diving.”
“You, one of the pale faces?” he laughed but then sobered at the look she gave him. “We heard about what that Cullen boy did to you.”
Immediately she stopped and turned to him, her eyes wide.
“Sam Uley,” the man introduced, holding out his hand and she took it.
“Bella Swan,” she responded and he just nodded.
“Are you all right?” he asked, clearly concerned. “It’s just—he didn’t hurt you? Touch you?”
“Er—no,” she informed him. “He scared me when I suggested he was being creepy and told him I had a boyfriend who would not be happy at the idea of some random—idiot—seeing me in my underwear.”
“You sleep in your underwear?” he asked. “In this weather?”
“I’m from Arizona,” she told him patiently, as it seemed the only logical explanation (and didn’t the thought of the word ‘logical’ make her want to smile?). “It’s a habit.”
Fortunately, Sam didn’t comment and they continued to walk toward the cliffs. He seemed to be considering something and then took a deep breath. He seemed to need it unlike Alice Cullen. “The Cullens,” he told her firmly, “don’t come here. They’re not allowed, but we’re keeping a watch out so we can turn that creep over to the police.”
She was surprised by that, and she turned to him and genuinely smiled. “Thanks, I appreciate it. I’ve nailed my window shut so he hopefully can’t crawl through it.” The key word was ‘hopefully’.
“Do they not come here,” Bella began to ask carefully, “because they’re not—like us?”
Once again the two stopped, surrounded only by trees, and Bella looked up into his dark eyes.
“Then again,” she mused, “Edward accused me of not being human when I asked him the question first.”
“Why would he think that?” Sam questioned, clearly confused.
She shrugged. “No idea. I mean, I was born at Forks Hospital. My parents are not—something else—so why would I be?”
“We do not speak of it to outsiders,” Sam began to explain carefully, “and I will not go against the ruling of the tribal leaders, but I want to warn you. They are not like us, Bella Swan. They are not like the Quieleute. They are not like the pale faces. They are an abomination.”
Slowly, she nodded.
“They have been here before,” he hinted.
Her eyes widened. “When?”
“About a century ago.” He shifted uncomfortably. “Of course, I don’t know if they are the same ones.”
“But they’re—different,” Bella checked, biting her lip and looking away. “If I would make an educated guess that they’re not remotely human—”
“I wouldn’t disagree with you,” he told her. “Be careful. They claim not to hurt us, but I don’t believe them.”
A sudden shiver of fear ran through Bella and Sam must have sensed it because he put a hand on her shoulder reassuringly.
“The tribe protects its own. However, if they try to hurt you—”
“Right,” Bella breathed. “Thanks—I—” She cleared her throat. “I really can’t believe that there are such—creatures” (were they creatures? She couldn’t really say ‘alien’ without possibly bringing everything into the open and the tribe, through Sam who had sought her out, had sent a representative to help her and she didn’t want to break any of their laws) “are here. On earth.”
Sam crooked a smile. “You’d be surprised.”
“I don’t think I would,” she told him sincerely. “Why haven’t they been caught? Put in some government lab? I know that sounds horrible—but—it’s kind of obvious just by looking at them. They’re all so beautiful, and pale, with the same eyes even though they’re not related, and I swear when Edward pushed me out of the way he was cold—and not just it’s Forks ‘cold’—but really cold.” Then something occurred to her. She’d never seen them eat anything. “Do they eat?”
“Not food,” he told her. “That’s why we’re worried.”
A shiver ran through her. “Are they—cannibals?”
“Not in the traditional sense,” he told her, which really didn’t make her feel any better. “Bella, we’re looking for Edward and we’re keeping an eye on them. They swear they only drink from animals.”
She let this turn through her mind and her throat went dry. Drink. He said ‘drink.’
“Oh my god,” she realized. “They drink—blood? What kind of alien are they?”
Shock ran over his face. “You think they’re from space?”
“Er—yeah,” she returned. “It’s kind of obvious.”
“Read much sci fi?” he laughed as he began to slowly walk down the path they had been taking.
“None,” she returned. “Still, I observe—”
“Well, I’ve never considered they were from some other planet,” Sam told her conversationally. “Neither has the tribe. Then again, who would have thought of such an explanation a hundred years ago?”
“The only other thing that drinks blood beside some weird alien that shouldn’t be here,” Bella stated firmly, “is a vampire. And that’s crazy.”
The same smile quirked at the side of Sam’s mouth. “As I said—we don’t speak of it to outsiders.”
“Of course not. Do you think he’ll hurt the police when he’s finally caught?”
“Hopefully not,” Sam responded carefully. “Then again, the warrant for his arrest might be the only thing that’s keeping him away.”
She nodded and looked up the steep incline. “Maybe I should come back with a car.”
This only made Sam laugh. “That might be ideal. Have you ever done it before?”
“No,” she admitted. “My boyfriend might have mentioned something and I thought—well—I’d give it a try.”
“I’ll make you a promise, Bella Swan,” Sam told her with a smile in his eyes. “I’ll teach you personally this summer when it’s warm enough. If you hit the water from that height without being used to the ocean’s winter temperatures, you could freeze up and then drown.”
Looking at the cliff longingly, she nodded her head. “I guess I’ll just have to wait to tell him if I liked it.” And she would have to wait to see him again. The thought was disheartening. Pulling herself together, she turned to the good-looking man next to her, and remarked, “You must have a girlfriend.”
He laughed. “I do. Emily. She’s my world.”
“I think I’m beginning to understand that,” Bella commented as they turned and headed back to First Beach. “I didn’t realize the separation would—depress me so much.”
“Is he back in Arizona?”
“San Francisco,” Bella half-lied. Remembering his view of Edward Cullen, knowing that he must have known, she added, “he’s infuriated by this whole thing with Edward Cullen.”
“I would be,” Sam agreed with her, “if someone snuck into Emily’s room in the middle of the night. No woman should go through that.”
“No,” she agreed. “Let’s hope he’s found soon.”
Of course, Bella wasn’t counting on Edward being the one to find her. She had fallen into a sense of complacency and agreed to go dress shopping with Jessica, Lauren, and Angela, and had eventually been convinced to try on a few herself even though she told everyone she wasn’t going to even be in Washington State.
Still, when she wore a teal-blue strapless gown that hugged her chest and then fell straight down to the floor, Bella seriously wondered if she should reconsider.
She separated from the group to go to a Native American bookstore when she got lost. The thrum of Spock in her mind calmed her but then a bunch of men began to follow and heckle her. Bella sensed the danger and kept on walking faster. Her mind told her to stay calm, to know that Spock loved her, to remember that he had seen her before so she would see him again.
The memory of Spock’s kisses washed over her, comforting her, as she continued to walk when a car swerved up with its headlights on. She stood in confusion, looking at it, and then Edward Cullen stepped out of the car.
She took a quick step back, immediately afraid of him.
“Get in the car, Bella,” he ordered her, and she shook her head.
The men who had been following her began to press closer, and Edward slammed his car door and stalked forward, his eyes black with anger.
“Bella—” he demanded.
“So you can abduct me,” she spit out angrily. “Are you out of your mind?”
“Are you out of yours?” he breathed—
And then she was grabbed by one of the men and she tried to pull her arm away, but she just wasn’t strong enough. A second later and the man was screaming on the ground, the bone sticking out of his arm, Bella released again.
The other men just stared in shock before running away and Bella stood in the headlights, a murderous look in Edward’s eyes as he just stared at the bloody bone. Thinking of what Sam Uley had said, she quickly put a hand on his chest, and whispered, “I thought your race only drank animal blood.”
He looked at her in complete shock.
She barely had time to take in the expression on his face when he had grabbed her and thrown her into the passenger seat. The car was quickly driving and Edward was clearly fuming. Bella contemplated whether it would be a smart idea to roll out of the car. Edward, after all, wasn’t paying attention to her—so she could just—
The wind hit her first and then her side exploded with pain as she hit her arm at a weird angle. But the cold was suddenly gone. It was warmer and she was lying on what seemed to be a stone. Or ice. Or both.
How could it be warm with ice?
She breathed in painfully and realized that the warmth was localized and when she let her eyes slit open, she saw a fire on the other side of what appeared to be a cave. Searching her mind, Bella hoped that she could feel Spock—and he was there. His emotions were no longer muted and he was in such distress. His soul was weeping and so she immediately sent out joy, desire to be with him, and tried to hide the fact that she was injured.
At first there was no response, but then there was a tentative hope followed by overwhelming relief.
Despite her hurt arm, she pushed herself up and walked toward the fire, only to see two unfamiliar figures. The older one was Vulcan, wearing protective gear for the ice, his hands placed on the side of the face of—Jim Kirk.
Glancing around in shock, she hurried up to them and looked between them, uncertain of what was happening.
Almost immediately, the tense face of Jim exploded with Terran emotion, and he asked, “What was that?”
“Jim?” she asked in hope and he turned away from the Vulcan, looking at her in equal parts astonishment and confusion. “Where are we?”
“I did not realize,” the older Vulcan, strangely familiar, stated, “that there was another marauder aboard the vessel. Welcome, Madam.”
He bowed to her slightly and she blinked before turning to Jim. “Where’s Spock? I can feel him—he’s so sad. I’ve never felt such grief in my life—”
Jim blinked and the Vulcan was taking her in. She glanced at him for only moment before she demanded, “Jim Kirk, where is my husband?”
He seemed lost for words.
It was the older Vulcan who answered. “Am I correct in understanding, Madam, that you are married to Spock, Son of Sarek?”
“Bonded. In our minds,” she responded, “married by the tradition of my—home planet. I understand I’m only the twelfth non-Vulcan to marry into the race.”
Jim glanced between them. “You’re not—married?”
“Never,” he responded, observing Bella in a way that made her nervous.
“How did you get here, Lady Isabella?” Jim asked carefully. “I was marooned on this planet and I know you weren’t on the Enterprise and I know for a fact that Commander Spock never would have marooned you.”
Her eyebrows furrowed in confusion. “I—” She licked her lips and looked down at her hands that were bare and rather cold. “I suppose I might as well—I don’t understand it at all—but I’m from a non-Federation planet that doesn’t have the ability to travel in space past our moon. I—somehow—can transport myself to Spock when I’m injured or my life is—” It really was confusing. “I don’t understand it. I don’t think Spock does either.—So,” she looked around. “Where is Spock?”
The elder Vulcan was still observing her carefully and Jim was staring at her with his mouth open.
“Come on, Jim,” she told him. “I didn’t even know how to use your communicator. I never knew there was life on planets until I just—arrived—after I was nearly hit by a car.” She looked at him intently, begging him to understand. “Please.”
Jim seemed to come to himself and carefully rested two hands on her shoulders. “Spock is on the Enterprise. You kind of—missed him—by the atmosphere of this planet.”
Her eyebrows furrowed and then, for some unknown reason, tears began to streak down her face. “Do you have your communicator?”
The Vulcan looked at her and responded, “There is a Federation outpost not far from here. I was about to advise Jim Kirk to attempt to reach it, for the sake of the future of the Federation.”
Glancing at him in confusion and taking in his lined face, she asked, “What?”
“No time to explain,” Jim told her. “But if you need to get to—well—Spock, we’ll get you to Spock.”
She nodded once and then looked at the other Vulcan. “Who are you? Sorry—I just—I—why is Spock in such pain?” This time she sobbed and nearly doubled over, holding her injured arm, and it was the Vulcan who caught her. She looked up into his eyes—his strangely human eyes that weren’t black and weren’t purple, and yet might be a deep shade of brown—and her eyes furrowed again.
“The planet Vulcan was destroyed,” the Vulcan told her, his voice somehow softer than she supposed it would be. “Lady Amanda of the House of Surak did not survive.”
Once again, Bella was confused and she searched her memories. “That’s—Spock’s mother is named Amanda.”
“You never met?” the Vulcan asked her carefully, his eyes assessing her.
She shook her head and then carefully pulled away, cradling her arm. Trying to sound imposing, trying to sound Vulcan, she told him, “I need not explain the inner workings of the House of Surak to—others.”
It was almost as if bemusement crossed over his face, just a flicker and then gone, and then the older Vulcan simply nodded.
Tension filled the cavern, the flickering firelight playing across their faces.
Jim clapped his hands together. “Did you know that your husband gave us all demerits for ‘unseemly behavior and lewdness’ after that rainstorm?”
The thought flickered through her mind that Jim meant to distract her, but she allowed it to. “You did all strip down to your underwear. I gave a tonguelashing to this total creeper back home—who I know is from another planet even though he won’t admit it—for coming into my window when I slept and I was only wearing Vulcan underwear.”
The Vulcan lifted a slanted eyebrow and Jim had to cover his mouth as he laughed. “That must have been something.”
“There’s a warrant out for his arrest,” she responded casually. “It’s illegal to break into people’s houses and watch them while they sleep.”
“Quite,” the Vulcan responded. “Are you injured, Lady Isabella?”
She looked down at her arm and nodded. “The creeper abducted me so I threw myself from the car when it was moving—and ended up—” She looked around “—here.”
“You should not endanger your health,” the Vulcan told her calmly.
“He drinks my people’s blood,” she returned. “I didn’t really want to die.”
The Vulcan nodded and Jim fussed over her, even giving her his gloves, before the three of them set out for the nearest Federation base.
It was unusually cold. She always thought Forks was the limit, but that was nothing compared to this planet—and she didn’t even know what this planet was named.
She didn’t even realize it when she stumbled and was lifted into strong arms. The arms were familiar and yet not and she turned into the warmth of another body, her face pressed against a shoulder. When warmth finally hit her and the cold blast of the wind was gone, she looked up and saw herself looking at the strangely familiar Vulcan.
“I’ve met you,” she murmured, still slightly confused, but he didn’t answer, he only put her down.
What happened next was just confusing. Everyone was speaking about transporting at warp—and what was warp?—and then she was being placed on a transporter and her atoms were being dispersed and rearranged.
She arrived in some hull of what appeared to be a building, but with the hum of an engine that told her it was a spaceship. The thought terrified and yet thrilled her and not even looking back at Jim, she immediately sent hope and a welcome through the bond.
Montgomery Scott ended up in some sort of tube, and it all happened so quickly, but Jim at least knew how this strange technology worked and got him out. She smiled and when the door opened to reveal men in uniforms she didn’t recognize—they wore red shirts of some sort—they were escorted to the bridge.
She was the first out, feeling the bond hum in desperation and love, and she saw Spock standing perfectly still, his uniform now blue, and no emotion on his face.
Then there was a shimmer of love and concern through the bond and she walked into his arms, barely cringing when he accidently jostled her arm. “You are injured, adun’a,” he murmured in worry as he pulled away and took in her face. “Your face is flaked with blood.”
A crooked smile graced her lips, “Am I ever not injured, Baby?” she whispered, placing her forehead against his and just breathing in their affection and happiness.
“I cannot fault your logic,” he agreed quietly. “What happened?”
“Um,” she responded, pulling away and glancing at Jim. “I ended up in this cave down on that planet—with Jim and some older Vulcan. Never got his name.”
“There is a Vulcan survivor on Delta Vega?” he asked carefully.
“Yes,” she responded. “He stayed behind. Something about ‘destiny’—don’t think I didn’t hear you two whispering, Jim Kirk,” she accused, “along with the bit that it was illogical that I would be married into the House of Surak.”
Spock ran a hand through her hair. “It was eminently logical,” he reassured her, his love pouring through the bond, telling her the truth of it. “If you will excuse me momentarily, adun’a.”
She nodded and stepped aside and realized she was standing next to another Vulcan—who bore a striking resemblance to the one on the planet.
When Spock and Jim started arguing about emotion—which was confusing as she had informed Jim what Spock was feeling—she stared at the two men as the tension rose throughout the bridge.
“It must not even compute with you!” Jim demanded, getting in Spock’s face. “Did you view her as property as you clearly view your own non-Vulcan wife? Are you ashamed?”
She felt hatred and anger run through the bond, causing her to visibly shudder.
“You never seemed to have introduced her to your own family, you were so ashamed!” Jim spat and then Bella felt the snap in her mind.
Just as Spock was about to physically attack Jim for his words, Bella leapt forward and placed herself in between the two. Remembering something she had read over a month ago when she was on Terra, she seethed, “The Prime Directive protects everything about my home planet, including its name, its people, our ways. We have sent barely a handful of probes out of the solar system and they never send anything back to us. The fact that my husband respects me and my home to the point where he does not try to contaminate it in any way, speaks of his—dedication—not only to logic but to me. I expected better of you, Jim Kirk! I’ve even thought of you as a friend, but clearly I was mistaken.”
Regret and gratitude fluttered through the bond and, only after she was certain Jim wouldn’t say another word, did she turn and smile at her husband.
“Now,” she asked, “is there a doctor here? I think I broke my arm.”
“Put Acting-Commander Kirk in the brig,” Spock ordered. “I’ll deal with him later.” Then he turned to the Vulcan who was standing at the back of the bridge. “Would be kind enough to escort the Lady Isabella to sickbay?”
He bowed and indicated that she should precede him to the turbolift. She glanced once more at Spock and thought, considering that they were on a ship he was commanding and Vulcan was destroyed, she should perhaps restrain herself.
His adoration filled her body and her own affection and contentment washed through her, and at the relaxation of his beautiful eyes, she knew that he felt it through their bond.
She turned to the turbolift and entered it, the Vulcan following her.
As soon as the doors slid shut, she turned to him and asked, “May I know your name?”
He turned to her, his expression blank, and she wondered what he was thinking. After a moment, he responded, “I am Sarek, son of Skonn.”
She blinked. Something must have shown on her face, because he responded:
“I must confess that I have doubted your existence for over a decade, Daughter.”
Nodding, Bella remarked, “I would probably doubt the existence of a strange alien that appears and disappears at random, sight unseen.” After a moment, she whispered, “Is it true that Vulcan is—gone?”
Her own sorrow swept over her and she looked down at her shoes, realizing that they were almost completely in pieces after the harsh journey over the ice planet. She needed new clothes, preferably soon.
When the doors opened, they walked into a corridor, Sarek falling into step with her and guiding her with his own movements. “I am curious, how do you possess a telepathic bond with my son? My own wife, the Lady Amanda, was unable to hold one with me upon our marriage.”
She paused and looked up at him. “I’m sorry. I can’t imagine how horrible that would have been, how lonely.”
“You comprehend,” he stated, perhaps the slightest hint of shock in his black and unfathomable eyes.
She nodded. Then she admitted, “I don’t know. It just—it exists. There’s nothing like it on my home planet. We have an idea of ‘soul mates’, two perfect halves of one soul that find each other. However, there’s nothing like a telepathic link between them.”
“Indeed,” he returned and then led her to a set of doors that slid opened. “Is there anything I should know about your physiology?”
Looking in, she saw that this was indeed like the futuristic ‘medical’ she had visited before on Terra. “Spock won’t let anyone take my blood or do anything invasive. I assume it’s to preserve my privacy and to uphold the Prime Directive.”
She gazed back up at Sarek and he was clearly observing her, though not as obsessively as the Vulcan down on the planet. “Indeed, Daughter,” he returned and then he indicated that she should enter.
Another hospital, though this one was strangely in space. Bella wondered if she should try her hand at writing a novel given—her strange life. It was a thought. Definitely a thought.