Strangers

Pre-Twilight

Edward's POV: Edward and Emmett return to find Alice and Jasper as members of the family.

Disclaimer: Everything belongs to Stephenie Meyer. I'm only playing around in her fascinating universe.

The trees flashed by us as we loped home. It had been a long hunting trip, and while I'd enjoyed the solitude whenever I'd been able to escape Emmett's thoughts, he was in a hurry to get home. His thoughts were on Rosalie, and I groaned, tapping my forehead to remind him I could hear.

He grinned, unapologetic. Sorry, little brother, can't help it. Say, when are you going to get a mate? Then you won't be able to lecture me on the propriety of my thoughts.

I rolled my eyes. "Don't you start, too, Emmett. I already have to put up with everyone else's speculation."

Okay, okay…Then his 'voice' brightened with a different sort of excitement, and he challenged, First one back to the house?

I flashed him a grin. "You're on."

After all these years, Emmett should know better than to challenge me to a race. I took the lead easily, grinning while his thoughts turned sour as he fell farther and farther behind.

I was almost home now, and I was just able to hear the faint whispers of other minds and catch the scent of vampires.

Suddenly I froze.

Strangers.

Emmett came up behind me. "Hey, why'd you—" Then the scents hit him, and he stopped in his tracks, all thought of competition forgotten.

We were instantly in warrior mode. Emmett's thoughts turned protectively to Rosalie, while I cursed myself for leaving our family weaker by two strong fighters.

There were two, a male and a female. Our family inside still outnumbered them, but it was close. Carlisle and Esme hated conflict, but they would fight to the death to defend their family and each other. When angry, Rosalie was a worthy opponent as well. Nonetheless, the odds didn't make me feel any better.

"What the hell is going on in there?" Emmett demanded, his body rigid, preparing for a fight.

I 'listened' harder, and what I heard didn't make a lot of sense.

I wonder what Edward will think when he gets home. I hope he's not too angry. They're guests, but hopefully so much more. They're such a sweet couple, I hope they stay…That was Esme. Why would I be angry?

Fascinating, I wonder what causes that. She has no memories at all, yet can see in the opposite direction. Carlisle's musings were nonsensical as well.

Rosalie's thoughts were the only ones that were predictable. She's nowhere near as pretty as me. I wonder if they'll stay, and if they like me. When is Emmett coming home, anyway?

Emmett's eyes were tense and impatient as I 'listened'. "It doesn't seem unfriendly," I offered, and he relaxed slightly.

I continued to sift through the 'voices' until I found an unfamiliar male voice. It was deep, rich, and full of emotion.

She's so happy here. I've never felt anything like it before, there's so much love and calm in this house…

A high soprano female voice interrupted the male's.

exactly the way I knew it would be—oh! Her mind went oddly blank, and to my surprise I saw a split-second image of myself entering the house, flanked by Emmett, approaching a tall blond male and a petite black-haired female. Their eyes were gold. Edward and Emmett are coming home!

Clearly, these newcomers were far from ordinary.

Emmett was shifting impatiently from foot to foot as my gaze refocused on him. "Let's go," he hissed.

I nodded, and we hurried together toward the house. We entered just as they rushed downstairs to meet us, and with a shock, I realized that this scene was exactly what had played out in the strange female's mind just a moment ago.

The soprano 'voice' addressed me, her eyes locked on mine. Hello, Edward. I'm Alice, and this is Jasper. We've been searching for you all for a long time. Her mind presented me with a dizzying collage of images of our family. Suddenly, it all clicked together, something Carlisle had thought about "seeing in the other direction", and how she knew when we were coming.

"You can…see the future," I guessed.

She nodded in confirmation. Possibilities, actually. Things change, depending on decisions made. I've been trying to find your family for many years. And you can read minds. That's neat, nobody's ever been able to see my visions before!

Jasper caught my attention as his thoughts shifted from Emmett to me. Different, his feelings are darker, more suppressed than the others'. There's curiosity on the surface, but beneath there's a deep-seated apathy and moodiness. A hint of self-loathing, too, but his family ties are strong…

I caught his eye, and he winced, remember that I could hear him. Sorry, he muttered in his head. I forgot.

"You are talented, too," I probed for more specifics.

I could 'hear' his nonverbal response, but he answered me aloud anyway. "Yes, I can sense, and manipulate emotion."

I nodded, as Emmett stared. Esme broke into the introductions then. "Boys, Alice and Jasper are going to stay with us. We'd love to have them as part of the family."

I nodded again. "Welcome."

Actually, Edward, Esme continued guiltily, they've moved into your room for the moment. There was no other space for guests, and Alice really liked it…her thoughts trailed off apologetically.

Alice laughed then, anticipating my reaction.

I groaned and rolled my eyes. "Thanks, Alice."