Disclaimer: The 'Twilight' series and its characters, names and places, belongs to Stephenie Meyer. Title taken from the song 'Across the sky' by Emilie Autumn. I seek no profit from writing this.

Rating: PG – 13

Spoilers: 'New Moon'

Pairings: Alice/Bella, mentions of Edward/Bella and Jasper/Alice.

Warnings: Femslash

Word Count: 3, 159

Summary: 'She wants to know what makes this human different from all others, she wants to see what Edward sees in her.' Alice watches Bella… and sees more than she should. Alice/Bella, femslash.

Music: Across the sky – Emilie Autumn


Light lives in the darkness

She watches. She always watches.

She is observant, they say. Her eyes, enormous and piercing, can see beyond what's in the realm of the visible, for she has been blessed – or perhaps cursed – with a rare gift. A gift that shows her what lies ahead of the road, that displays in front of her eyes events that have yet not come to pass.

Her sight, although extraordinary, is not flawless. She cannot see the consequences of every action, she does not know the end of every path. Many things are clouded and concealed from her eyes and therefore, if she wants to be useful to those she loves, she must be observant. She must not only watch for the future, but also for what comes to pass in the present. Not even the very wise among them can know which tiny detail will evolve and become a pivotal change, which insignificant gesture will bring them joy or sorrow. Not even she can foresee it all, and so she watches, paying attention to the small changes, the almost imperceptible shifts in their everyday lives, measuring them and calculating where they might lead them to.

She is the first one to notice Edward's distress over the arrival of a new student, the first one to see his eyes darkening and his resolve wavering. She worries, because she sees the gruesome, horrid possibilities that take shape in his future, but she trusts him. She knows him well, for him and her are very much alike, bound by the burden of their gifts and the affinity between their minds and souls. She knows his strength, she knows that despite what her sight shows her, he won't betray them.

She sees his doubts, his struggle, and in the end she sees his fragile triumph. The others catch glimpses of this as well, but not even Carlisle in all his kindness and wisdom can see what she does and for the first time she feels wary. Because she sees that Edward is drawn to this unknown human girl, she sees that to him this girl not only embodies temptation, not only possesses an unique, intoxicating smell… he also feels the need to protect her. And she can't understand why, because she is observant but not omniscient and there are things beyond her understanding.

When he opposes most of their family and insists on keeping this girl alive, though, Alice stands by him both because that's what she has always done and because she wants to know. She wants to know what makes this human different from all others, she wants to see what Edward sees in her.

She starts watching the girl as well.

-

She is beautiful.

It is not extraordinary, considering she belongs to a family of impossibly perfect features, flawlessly smooth skin and smoldering eyes. She is not even the most beautiful of them, as she doesn't possess Edward's bronze hair or Rosalie's statuesque figure.

But there's something unique to her, something intrinsically Alice and Bella can't quite put her finger on it. Perhaps it's her delicate face, which makes her look like a fairy out of a children's tale, or her graceful movements that would make a prima ballerina jealous. Perhaps it's her voice, soft and enchanting, or her eyes, golden depths of knowledge that cannot conceal her inherent sweetness.

Back when they first meet Bella's mind is flooded with EdwardEdwardEdward and horror tales and ancient legends that take form before her eyes, but even then she can sense something special about Alice, something that sets her apart from her already extraordinary kind and makes her unique.

In the beginning, though, Bella thinks nothing of it as she's mostly curious and awed. Later on she will assume that she just feels grateful because Alice is the first one to give her the benefit of the doubt, the first one to open the door for trust and friendship.

-

Alice watches.

Out of the corner of her eye, when Jasper is immersed in his own thoughts, when Rosalie and Emmett are lost in their private world, when Edward is too mesmerized by the object of his fascination to listen to her thoughts, she watches. She watches the girl that will change their fates forever, the girl that holds the key to her brother's heart and she tries to see what makes her different from all others.

She watches and begins taking notes in her mind. Her hair is brown and looks very, very soft, like the fur of a lynx, and according to Mike Newton's comments to Ben Cheney, it sparkles red under the sunlight. Alice wonders, she wonders whether her hair would be as soft as she imagines it to be if she thread her fingers through those brown curls, she wonders whether one day she could see her hair sparkle red under the sunlight, but she knows those are answers her sight won't grant her.

She notices her skin, smooth and almost as pale as her own. Her cheeks blush scarlet easily and Alice can see why she can become such a dangerous temptation to Edward, a constant reminder of the delicious blood waiting for his teeth just underneath her almost translucent skin.

She also notices the shadows under her eyes, not unlike her own, and she wonders whether Isabella Swan might be the only human being that never sleeps. She ceases to wonder when she sees Edward climbing into her window to watch her dream, and then she starts to wonder what her dreams might be like, for Alice cannot remember one single dream she's ever had as a human.

She pays special attention to her eyes. At first glance, they look common and dull, a regular shade of brown, nothing peculiar in their size or shape. But Alice sees them alight with enthusiasm, darken by sadness, dance from enjoyment. A myriad of emotions are reflected in those brown eyes, every feeling, every thought poured into them. Alice has never seen eyes so warm, so alive. Their colour had nothing to do with her diet or the lightning surrounding her, their colour is a reflection of Bella's mind and soul, their colour and spark are intrinsically hers.

She notes her less than graceful movements, she watches her stumble and fall countless times. To someone who walks with the natural grace of a ballerina and can run faster than a human's eyes could ever see, Bella's clumsiness is incomprehensible. It makes her all the more curious, and as she watches Edward pull Bella from the floor one more time, she wonders what the warm touch of her skin might feel like under the coldness of her own fingers.

-

There is a hole inside her, a hole that is eating her alive from the inside out.

The place where her heart was once beating is empty now, leaving only hollowness and cold in her chest and a wound that won't heal.

She tries not to think about it, not to think about them, not to think about him. But her mind is treacherous and more so is her not-quite-dead heart, and at the least expected times a thought, a memory filters through the cracks in her armour. The sound of Emmett's laughter will ring in her ears, the flash of gold in Rosalie's hair will blind her eyes, the sweetness of Esme's smiles and the tenderness in Carlisle's eyes will touch her heart. Even the guarded expression on Jasper's face has the power to injure her and the distant smell of roses leaves her without air in her lungs.

She tries to push those images, sounds and smells out of her mind, out of her memory and most of the time she succeds. But then there's them, the two people whose departure has wounded her the most, whose absence is felt in every passing second, in every breath she takes.

Because he might have been her Prince Charming, her Romeo, but she was the best friend Bella's ever had, the person she was the most unguarded with. And she misses her terribly, even though she won't acknowledge it because she downright refuses to think of the subject altogether. She misses her eyes, full of understanding and ageless wisdom that could not tarnish her tenderness, she misses her smiles, her dance-like walk and her laughter, harmonious and musical.

She misses their conversations in hushed whispers, the exchange of confidences and secrets never before revealed, she misses the comfortable silences they used to share. She misses her soothing voice and even her smell, which always managed to make her at ease, not unlike her mother's favourite cologne did when she was little. She misses the coldness of her touch when she stroked her hair on occasion, she misses her words of advice.

She longs so much, so hard for her company that sometimes, even in the broad light of day, Bella can see her. Like some fanstastic creature that escaped from a forgotten fairy tale, she sees her walking in the shadows just out of her sight, her light steps barely echoing in her mind. Her movements are as graceful as always, her eyes alight and ever observant and Bella once more thinks she is not a creature from this world. She is a benevolent spirit, an elf or perhaps a pixie, some enchanted being that walks as though she were dancing, always away from her reach, her understanding.

Those visions of her lost friend end in more heartcache and hollowness when Bella remembers she will never see her again. Her treacherous mind whispers horrid things in her ear, about how Alice did not even say goodbye, about how soon she seems to have forgotten all about her and in the dark, when shadows seem to engulf her, she wonders whether it was as easy for Alice to tear Bella apart from her heart as it was for her brother.

Every time she lets such somber thoughts enter her mind, she falls into an uneasy slumber and wakes up with a jolt, her screaming worse than ever.

-

The vision hits her with a strength not even a speeding train could have and almost knocks her out. Bella falling, falling into the emptiness, into the cold embrace of dark, deadly waters, sinking down towards her last resting place.

Alice doesn't want to see it, she doesn't want to accept it but Rosalie adamantly demands to know what has scared her thus. Rosalie, ever the vain creature, believes such terrible vision must affect her or someone dear to her, so she shows relief – and some confusion – upon hearing Alice's explanation. But Alice is horrified and her mind is reeling (Oh, Edward, Edward, this is going to kill Edward and how could you? How could you be so senseless? And she doesn't know whether she is referring to Edward, Bella or herself). She has to find out for sure, even when she doesn't want to, even when she doesn't want to face Charlie's devastated look, Bella's cold corpse, the light in her eyes forever gone.

It's a mixture of relief, confusion and wonder what swells in her chest when Bella runs towards her and wraps her arms around her neck, sobbing uncontrollably. Alice almost feels like crying herself even if it's been ages since the last time she's shed any tears, and she almost, almost wraps her arms around Bella's lithe form, she almost sinks her face in the crook of her neck but then her intoxicating smell makes her remember. She stiffens and Bella realizes her mistake, but tears keep rolling down her cheeks and Alice can't figure out how she can be standing before her, very much alive when she's seen her fall into darkness.

There are other concerns, though, that trouble Alice deeply, such as the hollowness she sees in Bella's eyes, once so full of life and emotion. Now they are dark, dull orbs, not a flicker of feeling or hope illuminating them.

And she finds the same hollowness, the same excruciating sadness in her voice, in her desperate pleas for her to stay and Alice thinks that if her heart were still beating it would break into a million pieces. She knew, she imagined something like this and warned Edward about it and yet, she was not prepared to see Bella like this, looking so sad and hopeless, surrounded by dark clouds of misery. She knows better than give into Bella's pleas, she knows that she's breaking her promise to Edward when she's never done such a thing before, that she's compromising Bella's safety just by standing near her, when her thirst is so raw and demanding, but she looks like a lost little girl who hasn't known warmth or affection in a long time.

Against her instincts, against her better judgement, she stays… and Bella's smile lits up the entire room.

-

Bella is afraid to close her eyes, but for the first time, it's not the nightmares she fears. A horrid, malicious voice keeps whispering in her mind that when she opens her eyes again in the morning, she'll realize it was all a dream and Alice will be gone, her absence leaving an even more unbearable ache behind.

Alice tries to soothe her fears but Bella clings to her marble arms like a man lost in the middle of the ocean would cling to a piece of driftwood, and begs her to talk about every little bit of news on her family, not only because she wants to make sure they are real, with lives of their own that keep going on in spite of her, but also because she needs to keep hearing her silvery voice. Alice obliges and just talks about anything and everything and Bella gets lost in her soft tones, in the sweetness of her voice lulling her to sleep. But she refuses to fall asleep, she needs to make sure that Alice is there, next to her, for real, that she won't vanish at daybreak like a dream. She touches her cold, ivory arms to make sure she is not an illusion made of smoke and fantasy and there's a strange look in Alice's eyes, which are no longer black now, flashing golden instead, but she doesn't try to stop Bella. She caresses her arms and then raises a hand to touch her delicately sculpted face. Her fingers trace the contour of her jaw, her mouth, they graze the arch of her eyebrows and slide down her cheeks and then her chin. She is perfect, absolutely perfect like an angel and as cold as a marble statue, but she is there, she is real and Bella hopes with all her heart she remains thus.

Bella is barely breathing now and Alice has stopped talking, and their gazes lock and she can no longer read her friend's eyes but she doesn't care, because where for so long there was a hole in her chest now there is a whirlwind of confused feelings and erratic emotions that make her feel alive for the first time in months.

She dazzledly thinks that Alice has healed her poisoned wound with just her voice, her smell. She is an angel, she thinks, she is Bella's salvation and she's not willing to let her go.

She does not know when she starts to lean forward, but before she is aware of what she is doing her face is inches away from Alice's (and if the vampire sees it coming she still doesn't try to stop her). Bella hesitates for a fleeting second, but it's not of Edward she thinks about before closing in the distance between them and pressing her lips against…

-

… Alice's own lips, and it's not at all what she would have expected, but she couldn't have known because she's only foreseen it a millisecond before Bella's warm mouth claims her own.

It's warm, more than warm, it's blazing like nothing she's never felt before because Jasper's kisses might be tender and loving and passionate but they are oh so cold next to Bella's clumsy attempts to claim her mouth, so freezing next to her warm, warm lips and her scorching mouth. Alice should know better, she knows better but the heat is intoxicating and she feels something rushing through her limbs, through her veins, something that could be boiling blood if her heart hadn't stopped beating years and years ago. Alice has never felt this warm, has never felt this alive before, perhaps because she has no recollection of her human life, perhaps because no one has clung to her with the same reckless abandon Bella shows now. She wraps her arms around Alice's neck and practically jumps onto her lap, her mouth never leaving hers, her tongue begging for entrance. Her smell is bewitching and Alice takes complete leave of her senses as she inhales it, as she places one hand on the small of Bella's back – even through the fabric she can feel her burning skin – and she starts caressing her soft, so very soft hair with her free hand.

Alice's entire body is on fire, heat spreading through her skin in a way sunshine has never been able to provoke, and something rises inside her, and she doesn't know what this avid desire for more means, she doesn't know whether it's her thirst raging again or something else entirely, or perhaps it's both, but when a growl escapes her mouth she regains consciousness. She doesn't wince, she doesn't jump: she just grabs Bella's fragile shoulders tenderly and pushes her away.

Bella's eyes are wide and ablaze, her lips red and swollen and more tempting than the incensed blood pulsating in her veins.

'Alice…' she breathes, her voice a throaty whisper. Alice smiles and strokes her hair.

'I know, Bella.'

And they stare at each other for the longest time, no words needed. Bella's lower lip trembles as she says:

'Please, Alice, don't go. Just don't.'

Alice has a million reasons to leave right now but Bella is still broken and hollow inside and her pain is Alice's pain now that they are bound.

'I'll stay. I promise.'

Bella nods and she places her head in the crook of Alice's shoulder, who starts to hum softly as she strokes her hair. Bella's eyes close as Alice keeps rocking her back and forward like a small child, until her breathing becomes regular and she falls asleep.

-

Bella wakes up, but she doesn't want to open her eyes. She is afraid that if she does, Alice would have vanished into thin air, like mythical creatures do when the harsh light of day shatters their enchantment.

Then from the kitchen comes her voice, as soft and melodious as ever when she answers to Charlie's questions, and a smile spreads over Bella's face. Alice is there with her, and she knows everything will turn alright.