This is just a short one shot. Takes place shortly after the New Moon birthday party incident.
Very Angsty, beware.
Disclaimer: Obviously not mine.
"You want to WHAT?!"
Edward slumped uncharacteristically in his chair. "Let it go, Alice," he whispered, breathing in and out deeply, his marble hands gripping the sides of the chair so tightly that his skin stretched transparent-white around his knuckles.
Alice sat, as tiny as ever, hip resting on the side of the table in the pristine dining room, her angry eyes scanning her brother's face for some sort of answer, an explanation, wearing an unusually ugly look of frustration across her face. "I wish I had your gift," she grumbled, frustrated after a couple of seconds of silence. "Then I'd see if you were joking or just plain crazy."
"I'm not joking," came his quick reply.
"Oh?" She said loftily. "Oh, I see. So then you're crazy? That explains so much."
He said nothing.
"May I inquire as to why you've made this decision?" Alice prompted.
"No, you may not."
"Ah. And why is that?"
"Because it is none of your business," Edward replied curtly, ignoring her attempt at humor, resting his forearms on the sides of his chair as his eyes flitted shut under his long lashes.
"You think so?" Alice asked nastily, traces of her joke leaving her voice as she cocked her head to the side. "You aren't the only person who loves Bella, you know. Stop thinking the whole world revolves around you. Frankly, at the moment I don't care what you feel. At the moment I am a purely selfish being. I love her. She's a sister to me. Better sister than Rosalie, mind."
"Alice –" he tried to protest, his brow furrowing, though his eyes remained closed
"– And," Alice continued in the same, loud voice, acting as though she hadn't heard him, "It's also my life you're upturning asking us to up and leave Forks!"
One of Edward's eyes opened under a curiously raised eyebrow. "You hate Forks."
Alice shrugged stubbornly and crossed her arms over her chest, balling them into fists over her ribcage. "That doesn't mean I don't want to stay."
Edward looked at her, his eyes penetrating. "This isn't about Forks," he murmured after a couple of seconds.
"Of course it's not about Forks!" Alice scoffed, impatient, her arms falling limp to her sides. "You know I'd move to the other side of the world in an instant under other circumstances! I'd do anything for you Edward, but not this. Not to Bella."
"You're being unreasonable –"
"– No," Alice laughed, high pitched and disbelieving, "You are being unreasonable! Have you got any idea what it'll do to her if you leave? She won't be able to stand it!"
"You don't know that."
"Actually, I do," Alice snapped viciously, glaring at her brother, "Because I wouldn't be able to either if were Jasper doing this to me." Edward opened his mouth to retort but she held up a hand to silence him. "Also," she continued, "I have eyes. I see the way she looks at you. She's not just some human teenager with a crush."
"You can't know that," Edward said this time in a constricted voice that would be unemotional to regular ears. His slight wince would also be left unseen to regular eyes. Regrettably, Alice's was neither.
"Maybe not," Alice said quietly, "But you do. You know that she loves you, and that it'll crush her."
Edward's head fell into his hand that flashed to the surface of the squeaky clean table. "Look, you don't understand," he insisted – his long fingers pinching the bridge of his nose in frustration – "She almost got hurt because of what I am –"
"What we are," Alice interjected, irritated, "What she wants to be, but you won't let her!"
" – feels terrible!" she shouted, leaning in. "You know he does!"
"I do, but that doesn't change what he did," Edward said coldly, his hand down again, eyes unfocused over the garden visible through the kitchen window.
"Are you mad at him?" Alice demanded then, her voice rising several octaves in disbelief, her figure recoiling in surprise.
"No," Edward replied quickly, "No, I am not angry with him. I don't have the right to be. It was to be expected. I will not judge him for following his instincts and doing what he did."
Alice's mouth dropped to form a circle, but she shut it and glared back at her brother in less than a second. "Then what the hell is your argument?" She demanded in astonishment. "You said it; what he did! Not you! Not Bella! Just keep her away from Jasper for a while! Hell, keep her away from all of us! Just don't cut yourself out of her life like you don't matter!"
Edward groaned, the deep, frustrated sound coming from deep in his chest, and slammed his hand against the table. His palm left small cracks on the wooden surface, and splintered away numerous layers of paint and varnish.
"Don't you see? Don't you understand?" He demanded, casting his head forward so that he could stare right at her.
"No," she snapped back. "No, I don't see! For the first time, I don't see! And I sure as hell don't understand! Because there's no logic in this, there's no argument!"
"It won't help! Nothing will! I could tell her to stay away from my family, sure, but I'm the same! We're all the same! It makes no difference who she sees and who she doesn't! Because I'm the only thing that she needs protecting from; I'm not supposed to be doing the protecting!" He sighed deeply. "What she needs – what she deserves – is to be normal. And the worst thing is, I'm keeping her from it – our world is keeping from it. I would give her anything, anything, but I could never give that to her. I could never be normal."
"Good god," Alice moaned exasperatedly, her eyes rolling to the ceiling with a sigh. "Edward, normal isn't any different. In a sense, we are an abnormally normal clan of our kind."
Scoffing, he leaned back and raised a painfully sarcastic eyebrow, a disgusted grimace on his features. "Do you really think if she dated Mike Newton, he would – "
"Why is Mike Newton even in our conversation?" Alice interrupted incredulously, still angry. "Who the hell is Mike Newton?"
Edward's posture stiffened, his voice turning curt and business-like. "Bella's potential, normal boyfriend. Someone who probably doesn't have a brother that wants nothing more than to take a bite out of the love of his life. At least he had potential until I got in the way."
Alice narrowed her eyes. "Jasper didn't – he didn't take a bite – That's beside the point!" She spluttered, but regained her attitude quickly, throwing her hands up into the air in annoyance. "She doesn't want Mike Newtorn! She – "
" – His name is – "
"I don't care what his name is!" she yelled, her shriek like wind-chimes. "She wants you, Edward! For some, weird reason, she wants you and your whiny-self!"
Edward leaned back in his chair and cleared his expression. "She doesn't know what she wants."
Alice snarled under her breath. "And clearly, neither do you."
There was a pause.
"Can we not talk about this?" Edward groaned, massaging his temple. "Later? Please?"
"No, not later. We talk about this now. I'm trying to get you to hear the voice of reason because I think what you're about to do is incredibly stupid."
He scoffed. "My voice of reason is hugely irritating."
Her eyes narrowed. "Fine," she blurted. "Fine, we won't talk about it."
Edward's posture relaxed infinitesimally. He closed his eyes and leaned back in his chair, and had peaceful silence. For about a minute.
And then it began.
He groaned again, and his eyes shut against Alice's glare he knew was there.
You didn't say anything about thinking.
He cracked open one eye with growing dread, and sure enough, she was staring through him, her eyes scorching, judgmental.
He wished now, more than ever, that he could summon up the mental strength to tune out everything. But she was screaming at him. And it was impossible to block it. She had brought every thing relentlessly to the forefront of her mind. It would have been better if she'd shouted. Attacked, even. Instead, her lips remained pursed in concentration as she flung retort after retort at him in complete silence.
I know you're listening, Edward. Don't pretend you aren't. Don't force yourself not to. You're going to sit through this, no matter where you hide.
Edward cringed. At the expression, Alice dove deeper into her thoughts. And it began, like a shower of rocks; each notion digging deeper and deeper into the shredded remains of his thinning resolve.
I can't believe you'd do this! You, of all people! I don't understand what's wrong with you – maybe you've got some sort of hero complex – some crazy, unexplainable need to complicate every single thing in your life, is that it?
He flinched internally – at the truth behind what he couldn't properly admit to himself.
Is that why you're ruining something so good, the only good thing that's happened to you, that's made you happy in centuries? Because if that's the reason, I think you're fucking absurd, to be honest – completely, utterly, crazy!
And this is all a moot-point, anyway, because there is no way in hell she'll let you leave.
Her scrutinizing eyes caught Edward's and held them for a fraction of a second before realization hit her fully in the face. Her mouth fell open, but no audible sound came out.
– that's why you aren't telling her, isn't it? Isn't it? Oh, my god, you make me sick, Edward! She's in love with you and you're sitting here, planning to leave! It's –
He heaved a sigh and his eyes flickered open, and Alice's thought process halted. He felt her glare through her thoughts, and saw his own tormented face reflected in her eyes.
"My judgment was flawed," he began in a low voice, his head down as he observed his slender, snow-white fingers with distracted attention. "I was so…selfish. There isn't a word dreadful enough to describe how incredibly self-centered I was. I couldn't see reason, couldn't see anything but her. So blinded by my own gain. By her. It's logically clear to me now that I weren't in her life, she'd be happier – "
Jumping back into the vocalized, two-way argument, Alice cut in before he could finish his sentence. "– she'd also be dead! Twice!" She screeched, shaking two pale fingers in front of his face stubbornly. "What's your logical reasoning for that, I wonder?"
His jaw clenched as he shook his head. "She didn't have anything to be saved from before she met me. And she won't after I leave."
Alice exhaled furiously. "Yes, except out-of-control vans and rapists and practically every physical obstacle in her way of her overly-clumsy feet," she spat in a hollow voice, her tone devoid of amusement. "Yes, I'm sure she'll go on outstandingly without you. Might even last the month, don't you think?!" she shrieked with an edge of hysteria to her voice.
Edwards chin jutted out at he struggled not to growl at her. It exploded through his lips, through his chest without his consent.
"You're going to kill her," she continued bluntly – relentlessly – ignoring the flash of hurt in his eyes to the prospect. "The pain alone is going to kill her."
"I'll kill her if I stay!" Edward countered furiously.
"Oh, for the love of God!" Alice shouted in disbelief, moaning in disgust. "Would you please stop being so goddamn dramatic!" She slapped a hand against her heart in mocked emotional pain. "Oh, woe is me! Woe is me! Your life isn't a Dostoyevsky novel, Edward!"
At her sarcastic attitude, a wild, frenzied roar ripped through Edward's chest, and in sudden movement, he rose an inch from his chair, preparing to lunge at his sister. For one, crazy, incomprehensible second, Alice reacted instinctively and coiled on her back legs, ready to defend herself if (and when) his body collided with hers.
By the next second, the moment had evaporated. Edward's reality came crashing down around his head. His face fell limp, but his body remained tensed, on edge. Sensing, more than seeing, the change in his mood, Alice relaxed her posture. He gripped the arm of his chair with both hands, stopping himself, the force snapping off one side of the armrest, which was left dangling uselessly in his hand. The muscles on his forearms bulging ferociously with the effort, he forced himself back into his seat under Alice's noncommittal gaze.
"I am not being dramatic," he muttered through clenched teeth. Alice thought she distinctively heard the cracking of his jaw every time he tensed and relaxed it with the effort of restraining himself. "Don't pretend you don't understand. You know Jasper would have killed her in a second if I hadn't gotten in the way. He wanted to. I saw it." He paused, and looked up. She kept her face clean of emotional response, but he didn't need to see her expression to know. "You saw it too. You know it as well as I do."
"But you stopped him," she said dully, careful to not let any of her vision through to his mind. "And she's not dead, is she?"
"That's not even the point," Edward bit back sharply. "The point is the moment I saw her blood, I wanted to kill her as much as Jasper did. More than you can even imagine."
"And so what?" Alice demanded angrily. "You've wanted to kill her a thousand times; you're just now realizing that you can never be the perfect couple? She's human Edward! And she's Bella! You've been resisting for a year, what's changed? Why can't you just – "
"Because I'm tired of it!" Edward exploded, his head falling into his hands. "I'm tired of controlling myself, of feeling like I'm sitting on a pile of needles all the time! I'm tired of worrying day and night if she's terrified, if she's in danger, if she's….I'm complicating her life, and it's hardly fair to me, and it sure as hell isn't fair to her!"
"That's not – "
"If I hadn't restrained myself…If I hadn't been there – " Edwards voice dropped to a low, morbid murmur.
"But you were!" Alice said desperately. "You were there, and you did save her! Stop doing this, stop torturing yourself!"
"But – "
"Look, Edward," Alice cut into his sentence in a voice of suppressed calm. "You can't just take yourself out of her life –"
His head snapped up, his eyes full of contradictions. "Why not?"
"Because – because that's just not how it works!" she declared, infuriated. "You're a part of her now, and she's a part of you!"
"What does is matter?" he asked bitterly, his tone tight and his figure still as stone. "It's going to be like I never existed. I'm going to make sure of it. Like I never was a part of her. Her memories will fade soon enough. She'll heal."
"You'll be miserable. Forever."
Edward turned his head and looked away, speaking almost too quietly for anyone to hear. "So? My happiness isn't worth anything. She'll move on. She'll forget." He paused. "They always do."
His impassive attitude and serenity seemed to intensify Alice's already flaring temper. "Fine," she said viciously, her voice trembling to stay quiet. "Say she moves on. Say she can stand it. Can you?" she demanded curiously. "Can you exist without her? Without seeing her everyday? Can you truly, ever forget her? Because I don't think you can."
"It doesn't matter."
She sneered and laughed; short and humorless. "Yes it does! That's exactly the point – and that's exactly what matters! Because she can't live without you, nor you without her! I can see it in both of you! It's not as easy to hide yourself from me as it is from humans, Edward!"
His head whipped around faster than physically possible, and he was standing, his browbeaten chair soaring through the air to the corner of the room, where it finally broke apart into pieces, the legs clattering ominously to the ground. Breathing furiously from his nose, "That's enough!" He shouted, his hands clenched into fists, his eyes wild with uncontrolled anger.
She didn't flinch at the display. "No, no it's clearly nowhere near enough," she muttered, rising from her chair in overstated slowness in contrast to his temper. "You have to hear this before you make a mistake. You can't do this to yourself. You can't do this to Bella. I'm not about to take another century of moping and moaning for you, because I know that's exactly what you're planning to do." Her eyes turned cold, her tone leering. "I'll kick you out of the house, I swear I will."
They stared at each other unfalteringly for an incalculable amount of time, both gazes challenging, though one slightly more so. Alice, though possessing a petite frame, ironically commanded far more presence in the situation. Even if from the outside, she looked positively ridiculous glaring at her brother, (who was close to double her height), she stared obstinately at him until the flames behind his eyes cooled down and died away, giving room for hopelessness and despair to flood in.
"Alice," he said finally, as his body relaxed its rigid position, "Please. I don't want to talk about it anymore. I don't think I can bear – I – I can't – "
Fine. I'll be quiet. I'll also go tell her you're leaving to be noble. Asshole.
His sentence was cut short as he froze and stared incredulously at his sister, who stood in the middle of the room with a stubborn expression, her eyes boring into his. "You will do no such thing!" He shouted finally, aghast.
Alice snorted. "Oh, yeah?" she trilled furiously, walking slowly towards the center table in graceful contrast to the mood evident on her face, "Stop me, then!"
His lids shut under his lashes slowly for the millionth time that night, and his figure became unnaturally still again. "Alice – don't –"
"You don't have any idea what it'll do to her! Or maybe you do, and you just don't care!"
His eyes flew open, and his head snapped up. "Don't be absurd!" he spat viciously at her. "You know perfectly well I would give anything to not to have to do this!"
"Do I?" she demanded. "Really?"
"Don't for a second suggest otherwise!" he shouted, outraged. "Do you think I'd rather not stay? Rather not be with her forever, if I were given the choice?"
"You are given the choice," Alice said fiercely. "And you're choosing wrong!"
"This is the only right decision I've made in a while," Edward said wretchedly, his anger evaporating as fast as it appeared as he moved to sit on one of the still-intact chairs around the table.
Alice's eyes widened in rage. "So your wonderful, flawless, foolproof plan is to completely cut yourself out of her life?!" After a few tense seconds, he nodded. "That's what's absurd here, not me!"
"You won't change my mind, Alice. I've decided."
"No, you haven't yet," she declared confidently, a smug smile on her face. "I still see her as a part of our family in the future. One of us. Either your resolve is wavering or leaving won't help either."
Edward's brow furrowed, appearing as though the expression was permanently gouged into his marble face. "What are you – "
"Maybe I get so fucking pissed off with you, I change her myself, do you think?" Alice suggested flippantly, shrugging as if taking Bella's humanity was a laughing matter.
"You wouldn't dare," Edward said quietly, his eyes fixed into hers.
She narrowed her own. "Maybe I would."
"Maybe you'd like to keep your head?" he snarled, his upper lip curling over his teeth threateningly.
She shrugged again. "Frankly, I don't care what you do to my head," she said boldly in a voice that carried around the room, "I'm not going to let you do this. To her, or yourself."
He shrugged too, a complete mirror expression of hers. "Stop me, then," he said, squaring his shoulders as if bracing himself for a fight.
Alice's mouth turned from an angry grimace into a sad smile. "I'm hoping it doesn't have to come to that. Because you know I'll try."
"It already has," he said in a ghostly murmur.
I'll let Emmett loose on you.
"I'll slip him," he reassured. "He's too clumsy."
I'll get Jasper, then.
His smile mirrored hers once again. It was sad, miserable. "He'll let me get by him," Edward said slowly. "He's too ashamed to stop me from protecting Bella."
A second of silence passed as Alice stopped to consider this. Then –
Have you told Carlile?
Edward nodded solemnly. "He agrees."
Alice gasped, horrified. "He does not!"
"He respects my decision," Edward said simply. "I'd be happy if you tried doing to same."
"Well," Alice grunted sourly, "Enjoy your disappointment, then."
Edward rolled his eyes. "If you won't do that, just please don't interfere," he pleaded. "I'm doing what's best for Bella."
"What you think is best for Bella! There's a huge difference!" Alice corrected in a venomous tone. "She won't let you go, anyway!"
His expression turned strangely distant for barely a second, but Alice didn't fail to catch it. "Yes," he murmured. "Yes, she will."
As his decision finally clambered into place, images began to flood Alice's mind like an overwhelming avalanche of information. She clutched at her temples and fell to her knees with a groan, the room spinning around her, the violent outbursts of scenes and color chasing each other through her mind. As she swayed back and forth, Edward watched the vision play out through her eyes, experiencing the mind-numbing change between the trance-like state of the scene and the horrified expression following it.
"Bella, I don't want you to come with me."
The vision paused, sharp and clear on Bella's face. Her body looked bruised, broken, the emotional pain too much, bordering dangerously on the physical. He saw her shoulders slump and her bottom lip quiver. If he had a heart to be broken, Edward knew it would have broken then. It would have been broken now.
He saw resolve flash across his own features. Alice let out a low, pitiful moan.
"You wouldn't!" she screamed finally, the vision coming to a screeching halt. Edward's own eyes flew open in alarm as hers glowed red with anger, her whole body tensed in frustration on the floor. In a second she was composed and on her feet, though she still looked mad beyond conscious thought. "You can't say that to her! It's lying! It's – It's cruel! It's – it's – "
Edward's face remained unchanged. "I'll do it if I have to."
Alice's terrified expression was replaced by cold fury. "She won't believe you," she murmured, her tone livid. "She won't believe you even if you lie for hours on end. She knows you love her. You can't convince her otherwise." She smiled a sardonic smile. "That's what happens when you start wearing your heart on your sleeve, Edward."
"You didn't see far enough," he commented idly. "You don't know what she'll say."
Alice clenched her jaw, her pixie-like hair bobbing around on her head as she spoke in a tremblingly furious tone. "She'll see through it," she said viciously. "She knows you too well."
He shrugged, infuriatingly impassive. "I lie well enough." Edward suddenly looked up, seemingly through the ceiling to the second floor. He stared for a second. "Carlisle wants you," he said finally, turning his gaze back towards the floor.
Alice ignored him. "You don't lie well enough for this. Not nearly enough for this." She turned to leave the room, but paused, and a new, bitter edge filled her voice as she looked around and spoke. "You're going to regret it."
Surprised, Edward looked up. At the calculating expression on his sister's face, his own mask of indifference fell, for the first time leaving behind sadness etched deep into his eyes. He stared at her miserably. "Is that a vision?" he asked in a despondent voice, even lower than usual. He searched her mind half-heartedly, and he wasn't surprised he couldn't pinpoint anything. It was like his own vision was foggy, clouded, and unbearably unclear without Bella in his future.
"No," Alice murmured gently, turning back towards the stairwell. "But this, I don't need a vision to be sure of."
A/N: And he left anyway. What a huge moron. I love Edward, but honestly, he should have known better. The whole noble thing just annoys me to no end. I love Alice. Tiny voice of pixy-like reason.