Monster and Man

I really don't know where this one came from…. It just popped into my head at about two in the morning New Year's, and I had to write it. Most of the story, and the entire dialog, is a direct quote from Twilight. You should be able to guess the scene…

Disclaimer: As much as I wish otherwise, the only parts of Twilight that I do, or will, ever own are my very much abused copies of the books. I'm just having a little fun here.

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"Are you ready to sleep?" I asked the slender young woman in my arms. "Or do you have any more questions?"

"Only a million or two," she replied.

I was euphoric as I reminded her that we would have other days for questions. There was so much I wanted her to learn about me. So much I wanted to learn about her. I'd never imagined anything that could compare to the reality of this.

"Are you sure you won't vanish in the morning? You are mythical, after all."

How could she doubt me? She trusted me so completely; how could she fear that I would leave? But she needed the reassurance. I needed the reassurance. "I won't leave you."

"One more, then, tonight…" she murmured. I was shocked to feel a sudden blush spreading under her skin. What could she be wondering that brought a blush to her cheeks? I was getting impatient; she had been quiet too long. It threatened to drive me mad.

"What is it?" I asked gently, hoping to coax the question out of her. That tone had worked before…

She shocked me again. "No, forget it. I changed my mind." Her blush deepened. It was unbearable.

"Bella, you can ask me anything." I prayed she would. I couldn't handle not knowing. She didn't answer.I groaned in aggravation. I was so used to hearing every thought in the minds of those around me. Why was she different? She needed to know what she did to me. "I keep thinking it will get less frustrating, not hearing your thoughts. But it just gets worse and worse."

Again she surprised me. "I'm glad you can't read my thoughts. It's bad enough you eavesdrop on my sleep-talking." Her tone tried to end the conversation. I couldn't allow that. I needed to know. She was driving me absolutely insane. I begged her, but the only response I got was a shake of her head, almost as though she didn't trust herself to speak. I should have let it go, but I couldn't stand not knowing. What could she want to ask me that was so embarrassing?

I admit it, I stooped to threatening her. "If you don't tell me, I'll just assume it's something much worse than it is." Indeed, my mind was already spinning with the possibilities. "Please?" I begged again, shameless.

"Well," she began. Then she stopped. She really was going to be the death of me.

"Yes?" I encouraged her softly, fighting to keep the burning need from my voice.

"You said that Rosalie and Emmett will get married soon…. Is that… marriage… the same as it is for humans?"

It took me a moment to figure out what she meant. Her words, coupled with that delicious blush, quickly made it clear, however. I started to laugh. I was shocked that that question had come from Bella, but it proved that she could occasionally be a normal human girl. "Is that what you're getting at?" I was almost as embarrassed as she was.

She fidgeted in my arms, confirming my question with her silence. But I had promised that she could ask me anything. "Yes," I replied, "I suppose it is much the same. I told you, most of those human desires are there, just hidden behind more powerful desires." Desires that could overwhelm any other rational thought.

"Oh." She replied, as unshakable as ever. She was an amazing creature. But I was again overwhelmed by a desire to know.

"Was there a purpose behind your curiosity?"

She blushed again, and I prayed she wouldn't deny me an answer this time. I wasn't disappointed. "Well, I did wonder… about you and me… someday…."

For a moment, the possibilities behind that statement took hold of me. I felt my body stiffen. She froze in my arms, an automatic reaction. I was afraid that I was scaring her, but the images wouldn't leave…. I was shocked to realize that I could picture myself doing the things I'd seen in so many minds with her. It was the first time that had ever happened. But then I remembered how fragile she was. The passionate fantasies dissolved into the stuff of nightmares. I could see her, the light in her eyes gone forever. I couldn't handle that. "I don't think that… that… would be possible for us." I told her as gently as I could.

"Because it would be too hard for you, if I were that… close?"

"That's certainly a problem. But that's not what I was thinking of." In that moment, I had honestly forgotten the bloodlust. Completely. It had been overshadowed by another lust entirely. "It's just that you are so fragile. I have to mind my actions every moment that we're together so that I don't hurt you. I could kill you quite easily, Bella, simply by accident." I was whispering now, hardly able to speak as I thought about how easy it would be to hurt her. Hurting her would kill me. I lay my palm against her cheek, needing the contact, but willing her to see how different I was. How dangerous I was. "If I was too hasty… if for one second I wasn't paying enough attention, I could reach out, meaning to touch your face, and crush your skull by mistake." Hadn't she seen me lift that van? Did she have no concept of how strong I was? "You don't realize how incredibly breakable you are. I can never, never afford to loose any kind of control when I'm with you." Because my loss of control would mean her death.

She was silent for far too long once I finished speaking. Dual desires battled within me. On the one side, I hoped that I had finally shown her how dangerous I was. That she would start screaming, run from me. Protect herself for once. On the other, I was terrified that I'd pushed her too far. That part wished that I had never pushed her to ask that question… "Are you scared?"

She was quiet for another eternity before finally replying, "No, I'm fine." There was no hint of falsehood in her tone. Relief nearly overwhelmed me.

And then curiosity took its place. I needed to know… but I was afraid of the answer. I forced myself to ask, fighting to keep my tone light. "I'm curious now, though. Have you ever…?" I couldn't bring myself to say it. I couldn't believe I'd even implied that question. It was not something I would have ever considered asking her, earlier today. It was out of my character to ask any woman that particular question. And I had no idea how I would react if she admitted to doing that with anyone. I had plenty of experience dealing with the thirst. I wasn't positive I could handle the jealousy.

I felt her blush again. "Of course not. I told you I've never felt like this about anyone before, not even close."

Relief rushed through me. And now I was even more grateful that I'd found her in time, that night in Port Angeles. "I know." I told her. My cold, dead heart thrilled that she felt anything for me at all, let alone that. "It's just that I know other people's thoughts. I know love and lust don't always keep the same company." Oh, how rarely those two emotions were found together!

"They do for me. Now, anyway, that they exist for me at all," she sighed.

"That's nice. We have that one thing in common, at least." I tried to keep the satisfaction I felt from my tone, but I don't think I fooled her.

I would have been content to leave our conversation there, but Bella had one last question for me. "Your human instincts…," she began hesitantly. I waited. What now? "Well," she continued, "do you find me attractive, in that way, at all?"

She had no idea. I laughed, and ran my fingers through her nearly dry hair. "I may not be a human, but I am a man," I assured her. She was the only woman I had ever desired.

When she yawned, I realized that it was very late. I had completely lost track of the time. "I've answered your questions, now you should sleep." I knew she needed to. I wasn't going to let her distract me again.

"I'm not sure I can."

"Do you want me to leave?" again, dual desires warred within me. Rational me wanted her to say yes, wanted her to make the decision that I couldn't force myself to make. The newly awakened human howled at the thought of leaving her.

"No!" she cried, too loudly. I was lucky that Charlie had grown used to hearing her voice in the night. That may have brought him running otherwise. I laughed again, relief flooding every cell of my body. I shifted so that my lips were a little closer to her ear, and began to hum the melody that had been playing in my head all day. Exhausted, she drifted to sleep in my cold embrace.

As her breathing deepened, I became increasingly aware of her warmth, radiating though my chest. Holding her like this was the most… fantastic… thing I had ever done. It was unlike anything I had ever imagined. I felt… whole. Like I had found a piece of me that I never realized was missing. I knew, in that moment, that I would never be whole again without her. She had become my life. Thanks to her, I had a life, not merely an existence. I had drifted for so long, alone, while everyone else I cared for found their other half, one by one. I never believed that I would find someone. But I had. She had dropped into my lonely existence, a wonderful gift. A frightening curse. But I felt human for the first time since my new birth. It was wonderful.

Nevertheless, I was keenly aware of the price she would have to pay in order to be with me. She would be giving up her human life, human experiences. Even as she gave me so much, I would steal so much more. And when she realized how much I had taken, she would hate me. Even if I never changed her.

Alice's visions rarely frighten me. But the visions she had about Bella terrified me. She saw her one of two ways. Dead, or one of us. Both options were more than I could stand. In one, she was gone, forever beyond my reach. In the other, she was one of us, soulless, forever imprisoned on this earth, barred from the heavenly paradise an angel deserved. Both options were unbearable..

I lay like that, holding her. Waiting for the moment she started to talk. Waiting to hear my name whispered on an angel's lips. Waiting for the moment that some of her thoughts became clear to me, when I could be sure she wasn't editing anything.

When that moment came, she said something I had never expected to hear. She said she loved me. Loved me? How could she? How could an angel love a monster? Wasn't that against the laws of nature? But, then again, wasn't I against the laws of nature? She couldn't love me. She couldn't love a monster, a man who lived off the blood of other creatures, a man who had once hunted humans, feeding off the dregs of society for several years. She couldn't love the monster I saw each time I caught sight of my reflection in the mirror. She couldn't.

Could she?

Either way, the feeling that swept through me in the instant those words washed over me was staggering. I had known, had admitted, of course, what I felt for her. I was having a hard time believing that she felt the same for me. But I loved listening to her as she slept because I knew that she always told the truth in the night, when she had no conscious control over what she said. I pulled back for a moment. Could it really be true? It had to be. I wanted it to be. I wanted it more than I had ever wanted anything else in my life.

And then she rolled over in my arms, exhaling directly in my face. The thirst I thought I had managed to control flared as I caught the scent of her breath. It was overwhelming, and stole every bit of the pitiful resistance I had managed to cultivate. But I also felt another desire explode through me as I lay so close to her. Her warmth was almost as intoxicating as her scent, lying next to her like that, but for another reason entirely. What had possessed me to believe that this was safe? That she was safe as I held her like this? She wasn't. She never had been. She never would be. And I was delusional to think that it was even remotely possible.

It was too much. I let go of her, flinging myself out of her bed. I was out the window before I even had a chance to think. Outside, it was easier. But I was still too close. It would be far too easy to slip back through her window, and take her before she even knew what was happening. And I still didn't know which desire was stronger. Giving in to either one would mean her death. I started to run, trees flashing by me in the darkness. Usually, when I run, I run for the pure joy of it; the euphoria of the hunt, the elation of playing games with my family, the pure jubilation I find in the speed. This time, I ran to escape. I ran to escape the demon that haunted me, and the emotions I had never felt before and didn't really understand.

When I reached the house, it was empty. I had no idea where the rest of my family had gone. In truth, I really didn't care. I was thankful. I didn't want any of them seeing me when I was so close to loosing control. Too close.

I didn't stop until I reached my room, flinging myself on the couch. I threaded the fingers of one hand into my hair, gripping the bridge of my nose with the other. I squeezed my eyes shut, trying to calm myself. The monster inside me howled in concert with the man, both denied their desires. For a split second, I wished that Jasper, at least, had been home. His talent would have been very helpful as I tried to regain domination over my own thoughts and hungers. But in the end, it was better that he wasn't here. I didn't want to see how my lack of control would affect him. His own control was already weak enough. Eventually, I managed to regain control of the monster. The man was harder because I'd never really had a reason to control him before, but in time I was composed again.

Then the guilt took over. I was ashamed of myself, of my weakness. I had made a promise I was too pathetic to keep. I won't leave you. And I'd left. No matter that I'd left to keep her safe. I would do it again, if I had to. But I hated myself for it. I couldn't let her wake and find me gone. I couldn't break that promise. I wouldn't break that promise.

I leapt up from the couch, and changed quickly. An excuse, if she had awoken to find me gone. I would tell her that I couldn't leave in the clothes I had arrived in. Blame the neighbors. Not that there were any close enough to see me. Not that they would be able to see me if they were close enough. I hoped she wouldn't realize that. I couldn't tell her the real reason I left. I was far too ashamed for that. I didn't want her to know that I was too weak to control myself. That I'd had to run away from her. Again. I hated that I was so weak. So, I took off running again. Returning to my salvation, and my damnation.

She was sleeping just as I left her. She was beyond lovely as she lay there, a slight smile on her lips, her hair spread around her shoulders. I wanted to return to her bed, to hold her in my arms and feel her warmth. But that was a recipe for disaster. I had come too close once already tonight. To try again would be to court disaster. I flirted with it already, returning here tonight. Where could I go, close enough to keep my promise, but far enough away that I did not further tempt disaster? Then I saw it. A rocking chair, tucked in the corner near the window. The breeze would help keep my head clear of most of her scent, and I wouldn't be able to feel her seductive warmth. I settled into it, watching my love sleep.

And prepared to battle the dual hungers I now felt for her. The hungers of both the monster and the man.

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I'm going to post this now. Usually, I reread and edit for days, if not weeks, before I like my stories. But I'm afraid that that kind of OCD treatment will ruin what I wrote here. So, if there are any problems with this, that's why. Besides, my dad keeps reminding me that I haven't done my laundry yet, so I better go do that….

Please, let me know if I'm doing anything wrong. I can't fix what I don't see.

Thanks for reading!