Chapter 1: Batman
"Oh my god," Edward, of all people, gasped out loud. Rosalie, along with the rest of her siblings, looked at him with raised eyebrows.
"What crawled up your butt?" Emmett asked teasingly, although he seemed curious about the uncharacteristic behavior of his brother.
"She's going to do it tonight," Edward blurted out, obliviously not explaining the context. Alice opened her mouth to say something but as soon as she did, her eyes glazed over as she was hit with a vision. Then, she too, gasped out loud and shared a horrified look with Edward.
"Will either of you explain your dramatics or just be quiet," Rosalie demanded impatiently. Edward and Alice shared another glance, a sad one this time, and they both looked at the blonde with what could only be explained as sorrow or pity, which irked Rosalie even more.
"Now Alice," Jasper bit out, his face scrunched up as he battled with Rosalie's anger.
"I…it's…look…" Edward trailed off, struggling with words. Rosalie's anger deflated for a moment, too surprised by his stuttering. Edward was usually uptight and always had a smartass response at his disposal, in Rosalie's opinion at least, so this was definitely a rare moment.
"Just out with it," she ordered.
"It's about your mate Rose," Alice spoke up in a serious manner, which was also uncharacteristic of her. Rosalie swallowed thickly but retained her aloof expression, trying to mask her worry and apprehension. Up to this point she refused to acknowledge the fact that she did actually have a mate, let alone that her mate spent at least seven hours each day in the same building as her. Most importantly, she tried to ignore that her destined one was actually human. It filled her with sorrow, rage and self-hatred. She would not condemn a human to her lifestyle if she could have any say in it. She wished no human the life she had, much less the-so-called love of her life. If Rosalie could choose, she would want nothing more than to abandon her vampire life and go back to being human. To be able to grow old, raise a family and eventually die, was nothing but a bittersweet wishful thinking at this point. There was no going back for her.
"What about her?" Rosalie said in a disinterested tone as she inspected her perfect manicure.
"She has… plans tonight," Edward tread carefully.
"Great for her," Rosalie deadpanned, almost smirking when the bronze haired boy ruffled his own hair in frustration.
"She plans to kill herself tonight," Alice picked up where Edward had left off. Rosalie entire body froze, and her eyes widened in shock.
"Remember to breathe," Jasper reminded her gently, when the blonde still hadn't moved an inch nor let out a breath in almost a full minute. On reflex, Rosalie exhaled, but her mind was fixated on Alice's words.
"Why do you… why would she… how do you know?" Rosalie finally asked. "I thought you couldn't read her mind," she narrowed her eyes at Edward, who had the gall to roll his eyes at her.
"It's a bit glitchy but sometimes I can. It comes in dozes and there is complete silence in between. I have no idea how she does that, but I reckon it's something she's doing unconsciously. It's really frustrating at times and I have to concentrate – "
"Get to the point!" Rosalie practically growled.
"Sorry," he looked oddly sheepish. "Short version; sometimes I can and sometimes I can't. It's spotty,"
"Not a reliable source then," the blonde remarked unimpressed. "Maybe it was just a stray thought,"
"No," Edward shook his head. "I thought it was just a few days ago but now she's determined,"
"What?" Rosalie bit out. "She's had that thought before and you didn't tell me?" the terror was replaced with anger.
"To be fair you told me you want nothing to do with her and we shouldn't even mention her to you," the bronze haired teen folded his arms, although he faltered under Rosalie's intense glare. "Like you said, it might have been a stray thought. Humans think a lot and often it's just random tidbits that make no sense,"
"She has it planned?" Jasper jumped into the conversation, sensing Rosalie's feelings of wanting to attack Edward.
"She does," Alice answered her husband.
"We have to do something," Emmett said sombrely, his usual childish glee forgotten. Although Rosalie had forbidden any of them to converse with her mate, he still had fondness for the human. He did not talk to her, but he observed her regularly and he genuinely thought she was a good person.
"Like what?" Rosalie spat out. She knew she was being overly harsh, but she was panicking.
Emmett, fortunately, knew her well enough to understand that, for he did not look offended. "It's not as if I can walk over and talk her out of it. She doesn't even know me!" she muttered under her breath, feeling very frustrated with herself and her strict rule to not acknowledge her mate.
"We'll figure something out," Jasper said soothingly, sending a wave of calm her way. This time however, Rosalie didn't want his comfort. She felt ashamed of herself and had no idea how to fix this situation. She wanted her mate to have a long life as a human, find real happiness. Suicide had never crossed her mind.
"We'll help you," Alice offered sincerely, which was echoed by Edward and Emmett. Rosalie nodded absently as her eyes scanned the cafeteria. Finally, she found what she as looking for.
Her mate was sitting at her usual table with her friends, listening intently at some story Angela was telling her. She didn't look any different than usual, in fact if Rosalie didn't know better, it was as if there was nothing wrong.
Breaking her own rule, she dared to look closer and longer than usual. Bella was smiling and nodding along with Angela's story, and while she seemed a bit tired, Rosalie didn't see anything that raised any red flags. About to scold her siblings for frightening her without any reason, her words died on her lips as for the first time since Rosalie ever saw her, her eyes met Bella's.
Rosalie's breath hitched and she felt unusually vulnerable under the scrutiny of dark brown eyes. It was then when she noticed it. The spark that always resided in Bella's eyes, was gone. Realising that fact, Rosalie began to see other pieces to the puzzle fall into place. Bella didn't just look tired, she seemed jaded almost. The more Rosalie stared on, the more worried she got, and it must have shown in some way, because dark brown eyes seemed conflicted all of the sudden. Rosalie wasn't sure if she wanted to hug Angela or punch her when she grasped Bella's arm to get her attention, tearing dark brown eyes away from topaz. Rosalie felt winded and oddly empty after the small exchange, something that did not go unnoticed by her siblings, whom all stared at her in pity.
Emmett was right, they needed to do something. Or more importantly, she needed to do something. With that in mind, Rosalie steeled herself and began brainstorming for ideas to intercept Bella's plans.
It was already three o'clock in the afternoon and Rosalie still hadn't figured out a way to stop Bella from killing herself. Last bell of the day rang, and the blonde felt little hope as she walked down the hallway.
"Help her up," Alice appeared next to her, looking pointedly at Bella, who was walking calmly towards the exit. Rosalie frowned in confusion, wondering what her sister was on about. Not offering any explanation, Alice ran away, at human speed thankfully, and lightly shouldered Bella. It wasn't enough blow to actually hurt the human, but it was enough to trip her. Alice called out an apology as she skipped out the door. Rosalie blinked in surprise as she watched Bella sprawled out on the floor, cursing softly under her breath. Remembering Alice's words, Rosalie hurried towards her mate and held out her hand. Bella grasped it and the blonde gently pulled her up.
"Thank you," Bella murmured gratefully as she dusted herself off. Finally, she looked up and her eyes widened briefly in surprise as she realised it was Rosalie who helped her.
"You're welcome," Rosalie replied calmly. "I'm sorry about my sister,"
"It's fine," Bella waved her hand dismissively, as if it was no bother. "She's a whirlwind that one,"
"She is," Rosalie agreed, inwardly cursing at herself for sounding so stiff and formal. Luckily Bella only gave her a small smile, unknowingly sending a spark of joy to Rosalie's heart. She had seen that smile multiple times, even committed it to memory, but never directed at herself. It felt different and she didn't know what to do with the feeling it gave her.
"Are you okay?" Bella hedged, staring at her worriedly.
"Huh?" Rosalie blinked in confusion. "Yes? Why?"
"Well you got this far-away look in your eyes," Bella explained and adopted a small smirk. "And there's the fact that you're still holding my hand," as if burned, Rosalie dropped her hand and took a half step back. If she was human and actually capable of it, she would have blushed scarlet.
"I'm sorry," Rosalie stuttered, hoping with every fibre of her being that her siblings were not listening to their conversation. She was acting so out of character and a far cry from her usual calm demeanour.
"No worries," Bella's smirk slipped into a soft smile. A moment of silence passed between them. "Well we should probably head out," Rosalie nodded in agreement and the two started walking down the-now-empty hallway. Bella seemed content with the silence but Rosalie was struggling to find something to talk about.
"I liked your presentation!" she finally blurted out in sheer desperation.
"Thank you," Bella gave her a sideway glance. Rosalie nodded tightly, almost sighing when there was another lull in the conversation. "I'm surprised you were listening. I thought everyone was half asleep," her mate offered another way in.
"Not me," Rosalie spoke too fast. "It was very interesting,"
"That's very nice of you to say," Bella replied politely, yet genuinely. "Angela thought I was laying it a bit thick there in the end,"
"I disagree," the blonde argued. "Misogyny is a disease. Plus, this is a small town, you kind of have to be clear in order for people to get the memo,"
"True," Bella quirked a smile. "I'm afraid I missed your presentation though," she honestly seemed sad about that.
"You didn't miss much," Rosalie frowned. "Emmett picked the topic and I pretty much just stood there while he rambled on about Batman,"
"Batman?" Bella let out a light laugh. Rosalie was torn between feeling proud that she made her mate laugh, and feel embarrassed that instead of presenting something important and intelligent like 'the continuous dangers of misogyny in modern society', as Bella did; she was stuck with a dumb fictional superhero her brother insisted was the 'coolest'.
"Not my idea," Rosalie muttered, definitely feeling the latter. "I couldn't exactly say no,"
"I never mistook you for someone who was afraid of speaking their mind," Bella countered.
"Very true," Rosalie quirked a smile, satisfied with the observation. "The fact is that I've picked the last four," more like twenty, "topics so I felt he should at least choose one," she admitted.
"That's kind of you," Bella smiled. "To be fair, Batman is pretty awesome," she added with a mischievous glint in her eyes. Rosalie let out a small laugh in surprise.
"If you say so," the vampire glanced at her smirking mate. "They classify him as a superhero but to me he's still a rich bored bachelor with superior complexes who likes to run around in leather at night," this time Bella laughed.
"That's one way to explain it,"
"How would you go about it?" Rosalie asked in a teasing voice, although really curious about the answer. Bella adopted a thoughtful look.
"Well I agree with the assessment of the rich guy superior complexes however I like to think there's a bit more to it than that. Batman might be just a man running around in leather at night, but he's a symbol," the brunette began, oblivious to Rosalie's rapt attention. "He fights corruption and does what the laws cannot promise us,"
"He's no Superman though. Just a man with expensive gadgets," Rosalie pointed out.
"And that is the heart of it," Bella nodded. "Like you said, he has no superpowers. He's just a man,"
"I don't understand," Rosalie frowned.
"He symbolises that you don't have to have any special powers, literal or metaphorical, to fight for what is right. He's only human, like the rest of us. I'm not saying we should all become vigilantes and literally fight criminals at night, but it tells us that just because you are not in a position of power, doesn't mean that you are powerless. We all have voices and if we choose to, we can speak up when we know something is wrong. You can interpret that as you wish, whether it is on a political field, with the law, your personal circumstances, discrimination or even in situation you witness that go against your sense of justice. In a way, Batman represents all of our potential to fight for what is right," Bella finished with a small shrug. Rosalie blinked in surprise, not expecting such an intellectual in-depth answer. She stared at her mate in admiration, wondering if Bella would ever cease surprising her.
"I like your explanation better than mine," she blurted out when she realised that she had just been staring at Bella for a long minute. Rosalie wondered if she came off as seriously unbalanced as she felt. "Or Emmett's," she added.
"What was his explanation?" Bella wondered.
"That he was cool, had a theme song, fought bad guys and drove a kick ass car," the blonde deadpanned, making Bella laugh once more.
"He's not wrong,"
"Maybe I'll give Batman a chance," Rosalie admitted with a small smile. "Just because you are not in a position of power, doesn't mean that you are powerless," she recited softly. "I like that,"
"It took me a long time to realise that," Bella murmured with a far-away glance. Reacting on pure instinct, Rosalie gently grasped her mate's hand, squeezing it once in reassurance.
"Some things we learn the hard way," Rosalie smiled bitterly, pictures of her own life flashing before her eyes.
"Are you okay?" Bella asked gently, making the blonde snap back to reality.
"Well you got this far-away look in your eyes," Bella explained with a familiar small smirk. "And there's the fact that you're still holding my hand," she echoed the words at the start of their conversation and yet again, Rosalie quickly dropped her hand. She wanted the earth to swallow her. She was acting more like a fumbling schoolgirl with a crush, and not the graceful hundred-year-old vampire she was.
"I'm sorry," was the only thing she could offer.
"Don't be," anyone else probably would seem smug but Bella only offered kindness.
"I'm not usually like this," Rosalie shook her head, feeling completely out of her element.
"You surprise me, and I rarely feel surprised," Bella told her with a small smile. Rosalie wasn't sure what to say so she said nothing. "There's a lot of talk about you around school and everyone either are in awe of you or feel intimidated, mostly the combination of the two. This is the first time we talk, and it was nothing as I pictured,"
"You did not expect a philosophical conversation about superheroes?" Rosalie quipped jokingly.
"Oddly enough that was not the surprising part," Bella mused thoughtfully.
"Then I'm afraid to ask," the vampire chuckled nervously, almost shifting under the small smirk she received.
"I won't answer then," her mate replied cheekily and started walking again. Rosalie blinked and hurried along, wondering when they had stopped walking. They walked in silence until they were outside of the school and halfway through the parking lot. Only a few students remained, Rosalie's siblings being the obvious ones, and some of Bella's friends. While they all tried to seem casual, it was clear that they were curiously watching Bella and Rosalie. Rosalie herself was having an inward panic attack, realising that she never accomplished her task and the small interaction with her mate was over. She had to do something. If would have been painful enough to lose her without ever properly meeting her, but now when she already caught a small glimpse inside Bella's mind, it would destroy her.
"Got any plans tonight?" she tried to sound casual. Bella gave her a curious side glance.
"Oh. Anything interesting?" Rosalie's voice betrayed her, and she sounded more anxious if anything. She closed her eyes and cursed herself for sounding so pathetically invested.
"Depends on what you find interesting," Bella replied with that same damned smirk. She was definitely amused by the vampire fumbling behavior. If it had been anyone else in any other situation, Rosalie would have punched them for it.
"Are you always this deliberately vague?" she almost pouted.
"When it suits me," Bella exclaimed smartly. Emmett's booming laughter across the parking lot reminded Rosalie that her siblings were definitely listening to their conversation and probably having a field day with her behavior. She would never live this down.
"Brilliant," Rosalie sighed in both frustration and exhaustion. A warm hand on her arm made her look up. Topaz eyes met dark brown.
"In another world I would say that I am not busy tonight. I would in return ask what your plans are, in hopes that you are free as well," Bella's tone was gentle in great contrast with her intense stare. "I would then ask you to spend the evening with me. I would walk you to your car and say that I look forward to tonight. Then I'd drive home and think about all the things I want to ask you, to find out what more surprises you have in store for me," Rosalie's breath hitched in her throat. If she were human, her heart would be racing by now.
"And in this world?" she asked shakily, dreading the answer. Bella's answering sad smile said it all.
"Do you know what I discovered about you that I found surprising?" the brunette asked instead. Rosalie shook her head gently. "Everyone is intimidated by you, but I find it to be the exact opposite," Rosalie frowned. "You are exceptionally cute,"
"I am not!" the vampire argued in an indignant manner, finding the notion ridiculous. Never before had she been described as cute. Her siblings seemed to share that thought since they all started laughing at her expense.
"Borderline adorable," Bella continued, unfazed with Rosalie's protests.
"Maybe Angela is right. You lay it on a bit thick," Rosalie complained, feeling delighted when her mate laughed.
"I'm rarely wrong darling," Bella winked playfully, and Rosalie's heart fluttered at the pet name.
"Arrogant, are we?"
"Occasionally," the brunette answered airily before sobering up. "Do me a favour and never stop surprising people Rosalie," Rosalie swallowed when she heard her name from her mate's lips for the first time.
"Why does this sound awfully like a goodbye?" the blonde asked in a small voice, hating the empty feeling that washed over her. An array of emotion flickered in dark brown eyes.
"Forgive me for being selfish," Bella murmured, which made Rosalie frown in confusion.
"What are you – "then Rosalie's words were swallowed with a kiss. Warm and impossibly soft lips touched her own as a hand gently grasped her waist. Taken completely by surprise, it took Rosalie several seconds to respond. It was as if something clicked inside of her and all the restriction she had put on her feelings, flew out the window. Nothing mattered anymore expect soft warm lips and a steadfast heartbeat. Too soon, the kiss ended, and Bella drew back. A thumb touched Rosalie's lower lip.
"In another world," Bella quirked a small smile and took a step back away from her personal space, as if she hadn't just flipped Rosalie's entire world around. Rosalie stood frozen in the same spot as she watched Bella hop into her car and drive away, too stunned to think of stopping her.
"Rose?" Alice's voice snapped her out of her trance.
"I… did that just happen?" Rosalie asked her sister in a distant voice.
"It did," Alice replied, cautiously watching her, as if she was afraid, she might break down.
"She sure has balls!" Emmett appeared next to them. "I never thought anyone would dare to kiss you without warning in public," he gave her a silly smile.
"Although many wish to," Edward scrunched his face up, as if he was remembering something. "Too many," Rosalie rolled her eyes at them, although she secretly agreed. It did take her by surprise that Bella did something like that.
"It pegs the question if she would have done that under any other circumstances? She's planning on dying tonight, I guess impulsiveness is a high factor. Maybe it was just something to check off her bucket list," Rosalie muttered under her breath in an odd show of insecurity.
"You forget that I felt what she felt," Jasper said gently. "The intent was pure," Rosalie's shoulders relaxed a fraction at his words.
"It sure looked like she meant it," Emmett nodded firmly with a devious smile. "Plus she thinks you're exceptionally cute,"
"Borderline adorable," Alice added teasingly. Rosalie was thankful that she couldn't blush. She was never going to live this down.
"No, you're not," Edward grinned.
"Whatever," Rosalie rolled her eyes and folded her arms. "She doesn't know what's she's talking about, we've only had one conversation. Obviously, she's going to realise that I'm not adorable," the notion was a strange one to her. Beautiful, hot, gorgeous, sexy, cold, bitchy, indifferent and intimidating were words that people used to describe her; no one had ever used cute or adorable.
"In her defence you were stuttering a lot back there. I've never seen you so off your kilter," Emmett grinned happily.
"We need to keep her around," Edward smirked. "It's entirely amusing to see you so out of your element,"
"Shut it!" Rosalie spat icily, feeling a lot calmer when the boys took a step back at her tone. At least she hadn't lost her character completely. "You're right though," she added as an afterthought.
"He is?" Emmett asked in surprise.
"We need to keep her around," Rosalie stated seriously. Emmett whooped; his joy mirrored in his siblings' expressions. "I need a plan,"
"We'll help," Alice offered without hesitation, reaching out to give Rosalie's arm a small squeeze in comfort. Rosalie glanced at her sister for a moment before shifting her attention to her brothers, who nodded in agreement. Gratitude filled Rosalie and she exhaled in relief.
"Let's go home and figure out our next move," Jasper suggested softly.
"Operation Save-Bella is a go!" Emmett intoned dramatically, making a ridiculous superhero pose.
"Batman," Rosalie murmured to herself. "I am not powerless," she steeled her resolve and with newfound purpose in her steps, she strolled to her car with pure determination in her eyes. She missed the questioning looks her siblings exchanged before they followed.
Poor Emmett misinterpreted her Batman comment and barely managed to dodge the textbook Rosalie flung in his face when he started singing the Batman theme song in the backseat.
"I thought we were playing Batman?" Emmett pouted.
"We are," Rosalie assured him. "Just no theme songs,"
"Lame," the big man whispered to Alice, who only just managed to keep her face neutral.
To be continued...
AN: I posted this originally on Archive of Our Own - but decided to put it here too. I'd love to hear your thoughts on this so don't hesitate to comment.
I also fixed the format issue - thank god. Shout out to Faith the Border Collie for the help!