Twenty Four Hours

Disclaimer: Don't own anything Twilight.

Chapter One: Twenty Four Hours

"Twenty Four Hours?" Edward repeated as he circled the golden haired vampire before him, keeping tabs on her mind, ready to jump the moment she decided to attack. He held his hands and arms outstretched and walked in a side step while keeping a defensive crouch position. Her stance mirrored his own.

"How did you know?" She answered with a question.

Edward didn't respond, just squinted his eyes and continued circling. He could sense the danger that rang loud and powerful like a steam engine in her mind. She was remembering previous fights she'd taken part in, remembering maneuvers that had saved her life before. Edward memorized each move, knowing he could counter every one. She'd never been defeated before this day, but she'd never battled with a vampire that could see the attack before she struck.

"Can you sense gifts?" She asked, carefully yet intrigued.

She was still preparing to fight so he didn't let his guard down, but he stopped circling and crouched deeper towards the ground. She imitated his movement, her enigmatic crimson eyes blazing, forewarning of the danger she seemed to inhabit, as if it was about to jump off her and encircle his own little world.

All her memories, all her past battles; Edward couldn't deny she was lethal, but in the heat of the moment, it was hard to tell if she was, to use his own terminology, a good guy, or a bad guy.

While his thoughts ran rampant of her battle scenarios, the presence of danger, his passion for the woman he loved, his opponents own errant thoughts; he couldn't distract himself enough from one peculiar detail he saw in her mind. If they fought now, he may never have another chance to ask.

"Why is it only twenty four hours?"

Her eyes grew wide for a moment, but then narrowed. With the same accuracy Alice would have had, he saw the lung before she made it. He let out a growl that echoed through the forest and caught the tempestuous female as she flew at him.

He threw her to the ground, but she was up before he could face her. She charged him again, and with uncanny speed, he stepped aside letting her pass, then followed behind her and knocked her to the ground once more. This time he went with her. He had her pinned, and even though he could see her next move, he didn't have the strength to avoid being tossed in the air, and into a tree, and then another, and then another. Like dominos another four trees fell to the earth. She was incredibly strong. As strong as Emmett.

Edward wasn't shaken. He half expected she would use the distraction to flee, but he knew better than that from her memories. She was a fighter through and through. She charged him again, and despite the blow, he was two steps ahead of her. For every lung, he was out of the way half a second in time. For every blow of her fist, his hand was there to catch it and twist her around. For every strike of her claw like hands, he had a strike of his own.

At one point he had her pinned down, and she managed to angrily cry out, "how are you doing this?"

Normally, he would have finished the job right then, especially when she was as great a threat as she was to his heart's one desire, but he'd seen this vampire's gift in her thoughts, and somewhere deep inside he was aching for it.

"Tell me why it's only twenty four hours?" He asked one last time. "How does it work? I've never seen anything like it."

She froze. He could see in her mind she knew she was defeated, and that now all that mattered was survival, and giving him the information he asked for might ensure that.

She jerked her shoulder in one last attempt to escape his grasp, but he held it firm. She let out a resistant groan and then stared at him one more moment before speaking.

"First tell me how you know. Is it as I guessed? Do you sense gifts?"

"No." He answered, but spoke no further.

They both glared at each other, and then her expression changed. "Your eyes." She proclaimed in a softer tone he'd ever guess she could possess. "They're… gold…"

She didn't know what to think of it. He could read that in her mind. "No, it's not part of my gift." He answered her unspoken question.

"Mind reader." She professed, finally understanding. "That's how you know."

Do you have to be touching to hear my thoughts?

"No," he answered her second unspoken question. "I could hear you miles away."

That's… irritating.

Despite himself, he smirked. "So I've heard."

He could see she was relaxing, just as intrigued by his gift as he was by hers.

"I don't know why it's only twenty four hours." She spoke out loud, finally answering his first question. "Why can you read minds for miles, and not just up close? Why can you read minds at all? We didn't ask for our gifts. We just got them."

"Does it really work?" He asked, his tone changing to a softer, more hopeful sound. "Could you do that for me?"

"Why would you want me to?"

He just stared at her. Even seeing it in action in her thoughts, it was almost too much to hope for.

He sighed, and thought about releasing her, but he knew she would most likely run the moment he did.

"I guess it's really none of my business. Just never met one of our kind that hated it so much."

"Most of them don't have a reason." He answered her.

"True." She replied. "Most are too absorbed by the speed, the strength, the beauty, the thrill." She slipped an arm from his grasp, but he didn't see any escape attempts, so he let her reach up and lightly touch the skin below his eyes. "What is it?"

"We don't drink human blood." He answered without hesitation.

"Awww… I heard about vampires living that lifestyle. Didn't think it existed, or that I'd ever see it if it did. Then again, I will live forever, so…" She chuckled.

"Only twenty four hours. It's doesn't seem fair. Not long enough."

She smiled a sly smile at him. "Cinderella only got till midnight you know. At least it's better than that." She paused again. "What would you do with such a gift? How would you spend it?"

He knew exactly what he'd do. He saw her face in his mind. His love. But could he accept such a gift? To only have twenty four hours, and then have them ripped away from him? Was it worth it? Would it be too much for his non-beating heart?

"What would I remember when it was over?" He asked.

"You… everything. Everyone else… nothing."

"She wouldn't remember a thing?" He gasped. He hadn't meant to let that slip.

"Awww… I see now. There's a girl. A human girl, I'd guess by your interest in my gift. Hmmm…"

They once again held their stares, until finally, he let her up, almost wishing she'd run away and not give him anymore chances at such a temptation, but he knew she wasn't going anywhere.

She stood before him like something out of a fairytale, something other than what she already was. She towered above him, and the golden curls that cascaded all around her face and shoulders added to her height, and presence. Even with the sun that sent glittering diamonds bouncing off her skin, he wasn't sure she wasn't Glenda the Good Witch from Wizard of Oz. He pictured her in a big, poofy blue fairy dress, a tiara on her head and a wand in her hand.

And just to top it off she asked him, "Would you like to make a wish?"

He was already standing as he had assessed her, but now he looked down, fighting a furious battle inside him. Two forces raced against time. One that wanted this twenty four hours with everything inside him, everything that loved her, and the other knowing this would end in pain. Too much to bear.

"It doesn't work like that." He responded.

"Oh I know." She replied, still smirking, wiping a wave of curls out of her eyes.

"What will happen to me?"

"You'll spend the next twenty four hours in a life you never knew. I've been told it's quite disorienting. The emotions. The people. The life you live now will not be apart of your new one in any way."

"My family?"

"Not sure. If they are there, they won't be your family anymore."

"But she will be?" He asked quickly. "It's not worth it if she's not there."

"If that's what you wish. You want to stay here? In forks?"

"Yes. I need to stay in this town, in this school, and I need her to know me."

She smiled an almost evil smile at me, but I could see she was decided.

"You must know I'm only doing this for you because I'm intrigued. Usually I ask for something in return, but things I've never experienced before always capture me. Your eyes for one. Your love for the human girl. I'm interested in how all this will play out."

His instincts were telling him to run. Something was going to go horribly wrong, He could feel it. Or perhaps it was just his pessimistic nature that was feeding his fear.

He looked back up at her and nodded. Her devious smile widened. Edward waited for something magical to physically manifest itself, but instead was surprised to find the girl cross her arms, wink, and then everything went black.

In the darkness, he could hear her voice. "Don't forget Edward Cullen. You have only twenty four hours before your clock strikes midnight, and you turn back into, a vampire."

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It was dark, but I could hear noises shuffling around me. The sounds were different though. Not as clear as they should have been... for me.

I felt something strange creep up in my throat. Before I could react, I yawned. Yawned? I don't yawn! I haven't yawned in almost one hundred years.

I was laying on something soft, with something else covering my face and body. Something comfortable. I spread my hands out and felt around. A bed? But beds didn't feel like this to me. It was one entity instead of the thousands of little fibers I could normally feel with the tip of my pinky finger alone. A blanket? I pushed it down off my face.

With extreme and deliberate slowness, I opened one eye, and then the other. With almost vampire speed I shut them again. Nothing looked right. Even slower than the first time, I opened them again. I was surprised to find my eyes sensitive to the light. I shielded them with my arm, but then was distracted by my skin. It was white, but it wasn't my white.

I picked up one finger and pushed at my flesh. Soft… and warm…

Trying to move with my speed, I stumbled out of bed. I then proceeded to trip over a shoe, and landed on the floor. I was too shocked to notice the soreness developing on the shoulder I had landed on.

I pushed myself back up and immediately took in my surroundings. A room I didn't recognize, with posters of modern bands on the walls. Everything was a mess. My room would never be this messy.

I would have studied my surroundings further, but my eyes caught the attention of a mirror, and a strange man looking back at me.

I saw his eyes widen with the surprise I felt. He raised a hand to his face and felt his skin. Warm, and soft, like the arm. Impossible, I thought.

The man in the mirror looked like me. Sort of like me. More like what I looked like decades ago when my skin had a similar texture. Some of the beauty had diminished. And was that… Green eyes?

It worked.

I was… I was…

Her voice echoed in my mind. You have twenty four hours Edward. Twenty four hours to be human.

And then another voice, coming from down the stairs, and you didn't need Vampire ears to hear it.

"Edward Newton, if you don't get your butt down these stairs in the next thirty seconds, I'm sending your father up there to drag you out of bed! You will not be late for school again!"

A thousand memories flooded my mind, (and with them a giant head ache) as I remembered a life I'd never known.

Newton?

No!