A New Addition

Edward and Bella lay curled together on the sofa in the large living room of the Cullen house. Alice and Jasper sat nearby. It was just after 10 pm on Friday night and they were watching a vampire movie, chuckling over green skin, glowing eyes and vampires that could fly.

"Oh no," Edward gasped, "no, not the cross!" He held his hand up in front of his eyes and screamed. They all laughed outloud.

A loud, keening cry sliced through Edward's consciousness. He jumped up and looked wildly around, a low growl coming from his throat. Getting himself quickly under control, he glanced at Bella. While his gift of telepathy inexplicably did not work on her, he didn't have to be a mind reader to know she was afraid. Her fear was written across her features, from the widening of her eyes to the way her mouth was slightly agape.

"What's wrong, Edward?" she asked quickly.

"Alice?" he asked. The cry continued to echo in his mind.

The intensity of the cry drowned out Bella's question, making it difficult to maintain his equilibrium.

She nodded, indicating that she had heard it too.

Carlisle ran down the stairs and looked at them. Esme followed closely.

"I think we have company," Carlisle said, calm authority edging his voice.

Alice closed her eyes and gripped the arms of the chair in which she was sitting.

"Alice? What do you see?" Jasper asked, kneeling in front of her and rubbing the backs of her legs gently. He hoped to soothe her, as her gift of foresight could at times be difficult for Alice to bear alone.

She opened her eyes and looked sadly Jasper and then Carlisle. "It's a little boy. Maybe five or six. He's at the edge of the river, near the large oak. He's alone."

"Is he human or..." Esme asked, looking at Alice.

"I can't tell. I can't get past scared and lonely."

Carlisle looked at Edward, who was hugging Bella to him. "Can you hear anything?"

"He's starving. He's alone and he's scared. I think he's one of us."

"Carlisle, we must go to him. He's a baby. We can't leave him out there," Esme said, immediately starting toward the door.

"Wait," Carlisle said, grabbing her arm. "It could be a trap. It wouldn't be the first time. " He looked at Alice and Edward again. "Are you sure he's alone?"

"Yes," they said at almost the same time.

"Let's go get him," Carlisle said, nodding at Edward. "Jasper, Alice, we'll need you too."

"Bella, stay here. It's safe here," Edward said, brushing a quick kiss over her lips.

She nodded in understanding.

Carlisle, Esme, Edward, Alice and Jasper quickly made their way up the trail beside the river. Alice could still clearly see the child.

"Edward? Alice? What's he doing now?" Carlisle asked.

"He has a very strange mind. He knows someone's coming. He's hiding and he's on guard," Edward said. He made a frustrated sound and growled, "I can't hear what he's thinking."

They rounded a bend and before them was a very large oak tree. In the moonlight, they could see small foot prints in the mud of the river bank.

"Where?" Esme asked. She was aching to find the little boy. The thought of a child in pain was more than she could bear.

Alice closed her eyes and took a deep breath. She pointed to a stand of bushes beside the bank. "In there," she said.

Edward moved forward and put his hand on Carlisle's arm. "Be careful. I'm just getting bits and pieces of thought. I have no idea what he's going to do."

Carlisle and Edward eased forward. Carlisle pulled a branch back and caught sight of the child. He and Edward reached into the bush but just before they got their hands on the boy, he shoved them backwards. The force of the shove knocked them to the ground, momentarily stunning them.

The high pitched cry sliced through their minds again. Jasper felt waves of fear coming from the area around the bushes. He slowly stepped forward.

"Hi, Little Guy," he said, easily. "You're very strong. Can you come out now? We're not going to hurt you."

A hiss, followed by a low snarl, could be heard.

The Cullens looked at each other with raised eyebrows. That sound could only come from one kind of being...a vampire. It confirmed what they already believed.

"Come on, Little Guy," Jasper said, "we're here to help."

The only response from the boy was his moving further back into the bush.

Edward could feel the force of Jasper's mind trying to reach out and calm the situation.

"It's not working. He's closed his mind to us," Edward said. "We can't just leave him out here to wander. He's too dangerous. We've got to...to...take control."

Esme, realizing that Edward was saying they were either going to have to capture him or kill him, cried out, "NO!! He's a baby. He has no idea what he's doing. He's all alone and this the only way he can protect himself." She inched forward, kneeling in front of the bush.

"Esme! Be careful!" Carlisle urged in a low voice. "We have no idea what he might do."

"Baby?" Esme said in a quiet voice.

They all saw him tilt his head slightly, not moving forward, but not moving farther into the bush.

"Baby? Please come out. I'm here to take care of you. I won't let anything happen to you. You're safe. Baby?" she crooned.

Edward looked at Carlisle. "It's working. He's letting his guard down. He's still scared though." He looked over at Jasper and nodded. Edward felt a wave of calm spreading through the air.

Esme reached into the bush and guided the child out.

The little boy that stood before them was of unearthly beauty. His hair was a mop of loose, dark curls that framed a round face. His eyes were the vivid red of all newborn vampires, and wary. Large dark circles were under his eyes and his lips were very pale.

"What's your name?" Esme asked.

"Dylan," he whispered hoarsely.

Carlisle stepped towards him. "Where did you come from?" he asked, wondering again if this was an elaborate trap.

Dylan's nose flared and they heard a low growl.

Esme held up her hand and shook her head. She looked at Dylan intently.

"Dylan, we're like you. We can help you. Will you come home with us?" Esme asked, holding her hand out.

Everyone looked at the child, waiting for his answer.

Dylan fleetingly touched her face, stared at her, seeming to look directly into her mind, nodded, and took her hand.

Esme felt a silent question in her mind, the question was tinged with distrust and an overwhelming yearning. She knew he had to have guidance and lots of love.

The mood of the others relaxed when they saw the child take Esme's hand. They started back towards the house.

Esme, unconsciously brushing leaves and dirt out of Dylan's hair, looked over her shoulder at Carlisle and Jasper. "You'll need to take care of his meal. He's starving."

They nodded in understanding and were quickly gone.

"You'll want to get Bella out of the house," Esme said. "As thirsty as he is, she might not be safe."

Edward was instantly gone.