Disclaimer: Nothing here is mine, all is Meyers...all but the wishful plot manipulations.
Chapter One: Change
I had always considered myself to be something more than what I was now. Covered in delicious blood, knee deep in the tangible ecstasy of my kill the dead body beneath me, the taste in my mouth and throat. Murderers had more of a bitter taste to them, like almost sour milk or the acerbic tang of a dirty penny.
I had always thought I was more than this. I, Edward Cullen, had to be more than a creature bound to his desires and hunger.
But as I looked around the dark alleyway, silence deafening in the absence of my heartbeat, I knew I was not. I had become a scourge, an animal. I was wasting what I was with my indulgence. I had disappointed my beloved father.
I stepped away from the drained, cooling body of the murderer and wiped my mouth with powerful self loathing. The hunger returned almost immediately but I ignored it. Insatiable as always. Carlisle said after time that would fade.
Carlisle. The very thought was enough to make me feel ashamed of my behaviour. He thought I had given up my human drinking ways years ago. I had rejoined him, rejoined the society in which we sometimes circulated. But he could not read minds. I was deceiving him, and I suddenly realised how terrible it was. My secret forays into the night to slake a thirst I so despised, it had to end.
So it was with resolve that I left the expired meal behind me and returned to my family, expecting to find them exactly as I left them.
The very short return journey to Rochester was filled with brooding regrets. Regrets over imprudent things I had done. I had wasted ten years of time being stupid, wasteful and indulgent. I had so missed Carlisle and Esme, my parents, my companions, my family, my everything. Missed them so much that I had had to return to them. Carlisle had forgiven me of everything, I was his son and had never ceased to be. He did not know that I still drank human blood. In the crystal sharp retrospect, I could see how pathetic my little rebellion had been. The desire for blood, even for the blood of wrongdoers, was inescapably childish. I reflected upon it bitterly as I made my way home. Home being Carlisle, not Rochester. The small town outside of it had seen a reduction in their crime rates recently, but an increase of dead murderers and rapists. Carlisle would read of my transgressions in the papers tomorrow.
As I drew closer, I began to feel something was wrong. The vague shape of thoughts that were fraught with guilt and worry. Those thoughts belonged to Carlisle. Panic shot through me instantly. I was a half mile from our house. What had happened?
I threw off the human pretence and jumped from the carriage. It was thickly night, the coachman was almost asleep himself and did not notice my light spring from within, nor my soundless landing on the cobblestones of the street. The smell of human blood was not far, barely a day old. What had happened? Something was wrong, and it was related to the smell of blood. Carlisle's thoughts became shapes, then a blurred writhing figure and then finally a girl.
A girl screaming and begging him for death, and Carlisle could not oblige because of the change he had set in motion. I was frozen for a moment, mere feet from my home. The isolated house would betray not screams to the outside world, but I could hear them. I could feel Esme's concern for the girl, her soothing thoughts. Carlisle was beside himself, riddled with guilt. He missed me, wished I was there.
That did it.
The house, if nothing else, was the same as when I had left it. Comfortably decorated, but minimally so. A few chairs here and there, props for when (if ever) we entertained. The walls bore art, beautiful and ornate. The colours were soft and creamy. The halls echoed with screams, bitter blood curdling screeching. I remembered my own throat making such a resonance. But no…surely not.
Down though the beautiful bowels of the house I went, absorbing the thoughts as they came to me. By the time I opened the door, I was in no doubt that Carlisle had found a girl, raped and beaten almost to death in the streets and that he was changing her to save her.
What I was not prepared for, was who it was. Neither Carlisle nor Esme had thought her name once, why would they when all they cared for was her suffering?
Rosalie Hale shook and shuddered in agony, great bouts of the invisible fire ripping through her as she screamed and pleaded almost incoherently for Carlisle to kill her.
And there he was, my father, sitting beside her talking to her in a broken voice, fractured with remorse. Esme was beside him, stroking back the girl's blonde hair, damp with sweat and coloured with blood. They both looked up suddenly.
"Edward!" Esme cried out, running to me arms thrown wide to embrace me. I returned her hug, so pleased to see her as always. "Oh my darling," she said, kissing my face and cupping my cheeks. "Oh thank heavens you're here!"
Carlisle was there the moment she stepped away. He hugged me tightly, I knew he so wanted my approval for what he had done. Our strange little family stood together, trying to speak over the fading screams of a dying Rosalie Hale.
"I had to," Carlisle said instantly, his eyes pleading with me but his voice strong and assured. "She was dying."
I looked at her, tearing at her own face as she cried. I knew of Rosalie Hale in society. A vain, stuck up little creature who wanted everything - the perfect husband, beautiful babies, fabulous home. We had met twice and I disposed to dislike her. She was the sort of person so enraptured in her own life that she could not see anything beyond it. Of all the people I could imagine spending an eternity with, Rosalie Hale was at the very bottom of the list.
"Who did this to her?" I asked, trying to detract from giving my approval.
Esme closed her eyes, shaking her head a little. It was Carlisle who answered, his voice taut. "Her fiancé, Royce King. His scent is all over her and I encountered him a few streets from where I found her. He was drunk, laughing - he bore her blood. He and his…friends."
I felt pity for her then, she was trembling uncontrollably. But it did not sway my opinion. Carlisle's good nature had led him too far this time. I listened to her beg for death in murmurs and I could not contain my frustration.
"What were you thinking, Carlisle?" I asked, closing my eyes. "Rosalie Hale?"
Carlisle turned from me and sat beside her once more, holding her hand gently. "I couldn't just let her die. It was too much - too horrible, too much waste."
That was not the point. He wasn't seeing the point. Clearly, she did not want to live. Had he not considered that living with what had happened to her might be unbearable, and worse - us having to live with it. But telling him this would have been unfair, he already felt the guilt as if he had committed the crime upon her. I could feel it in waves, hear it echo in his mind. "I know."
He seemed not to hear me, lost in the horror of what had been done to her and what he had done. "It was too much waste. I couldn't leave her," he whispered.
Behind me, Esme was so much more ready to reassure him than I was. "Of course you couldn't."
Now I felt angry. Not jealous. Never jealous. Of course not. To see my beloved father holding her hand like that, whispering to her. My mother thinking forward to a time when she would be fully changed, how she would have a daughter. Why would that make me jealous? "People die all the time," I said, harshly. "Don't you think she's just a little recognisable, though? The Kings will have to put up a huge search - not that anyone will suspect the fiend."
I was a torrent of mixed emotions. Sympathy, jealousy, confusion. I had my own problems to deal with, my own confessions to make. The centre of the world was suddenly swerving around Rosalie Hale. Just as she would want it, I suspected.
As the crying began to fade, I could more clearly hear the thoughts of my parents.
'Forgive me, forgive me. I should have let death claim her. I am not God, I am not worthy to judge…but I could not leave her there, so broken…forgive me.'
'…poor girl, such pain. Perhaps even a daughter…perhaps even more for Edward…'
I had heard enough to know that they already felt strongly for her. Carlisle would be bound by his guilt for her pain, Esme by her motherly love. And it hadn't taken either of them long to latch onto the fact that we were both the same age and we were both deeply beautiful. She, of course, had been beautiful before Carlisle had set in motion the change. I had no doubt that she would be breathtaking when fully immortal.
I was suddenly somewhat resigned to it, sensing the loving determination of those I thought of as my parents. "What are we going to do with her?"
Carlisle sighed, her hand still in his, even though it trembled violently. "That's up to her, of course. She may want to go her own way."
'Oh I do so hope she will stay!' Esme thought. 'Stay and be a daughter, be a friend beautiful girl.'
'She will stay,' Carlisle was sure. He did not believe she would go her own way. So it was only me who did not want her in my home, with my family. My mother and father were already sold. Their sympathy and pity had moulded into love as they endured her screams. Carlisle, I suspected, would be forever bound to her. I must not have screamed so loud when I was transforming. Esme already loved her. Unfathomable. I could not stand her.
She stopped shaking. One last breath exhaled from her body and then she was still, as she would be forever more.
"There now," Carlisle said, his voice shaking with relief as he stroked her hair. "It's over."
A/N - Really hope you enjoy this, it's kind of my obsession. Review if you feel like it, I adore and worship reviews. Thanks for reading!
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