i know i shouldn't be putting up another story but when i thought of this, the idea wouldn't go away. this isn't like other fan fiction i've written so please let me know what you think of this.

disclaimer- twilight, new moon, eclipse and breaking dawn belong to stephenie meyer

Edward's hand skillfully twisted around the man's neck as his grip tightened. He grinned mercilessly at the man's fearful face, his smile widening with every fight put up by the young man's weakness. The man's pulse slowed but he continued to thrash his feet, lashing out at Edward whose legs seemed unaffected by the harsh kicks. Eventually, the man stilled and in case he did decide to wake up from his unconscious state, Edward made sure to snap his neck just before smoothly walking away. The man fell against the brick building with an audible crash.

It got easier every time.

"We have to get going or else Jasper's going to be furious," Emmett called as Edward lingered a while longer to admire his work.

With a nod and a roll of his eyes, Edward strolled past Emmett through the slums of downtown New York. He made sure that he was a safe distance away from his burly brother before asking the question that was annoyingly nagging him.

"How long?" Edward asked after a few minutes of comfortable silence. He made sure to keep his expression stoic just the way he had been taught.

Emmett glanced at his watch with a frustrated sigh as he slowed his pace. The kid was good without a doubt and he knew it. More accurate and a lot faster than Mike Newton or Tyler Crowley although telling Edward Cullen that would only be a boost to his inflated ego. He didn't need to know how much Carlisle praised him behind his back. It would only come back to bite him later.

"Exactly ninety seconds. You're getting better and progressing a lot faster than the rest of us," Emmett stated. "So congratulations."

Edward only shrugged his shoulders, his stoic expression morphing into a smug smile.

Being a part of Carlisle Cullen's mafia hadn't been his original intention. It didn't matter though. Whatever gave him a place to live and food to eat was worth risking his life for. So what if his dream to become a soldier hadn't come true? Or that he wasn't going to be the doctor his biological father had made him promise to be? At least he was living, wasn't he? Nothing else mattered more than that fact. Carlisle was his father now and he'd given Edward a piano.

Edward listened as Emmett discussed the events of his day of action not that Edward really cared about what went on in Emmett's life. Apparently he'd met a woman named Rosalie Hale whose friend, Royce King, was also a part of some other known mafia in New York.

"She says she likes the dangerous ones before she left. Can you believe that?" Emmett beamed. "And she said it in such a way that-"

"What's for dinner?" Edward asked not bothering to consider the hurt look on Emmett's face.

Honestly, feeling emotional about what he had been taught and trained to do was the first step Carlisle had told him to avoid and he was going to be successful at that. He didn't care if Emmett was upset with him. What did it matter anyway? Sooner or later, they were all going to get caught by the cops or mauled by James' cronies. It wasn't as if Rosalie Hale was ever going to see him again either.

If he were being honest with himself though, he would have to tell himself that his attitude toward something that clearly made Emmett happy wasn't something to be proud about. Emmett and Jasper were like his own brothers even if they didn't share the same blood. He had known them for the last five years of his twenty six years of living. He was closer to them than he was with any of his friends from school or even with the mother who had given birth to him.

In the end, he knew that they would all turn away from him just the way he would walk out of their lives without a second glance at Esme's comforting gaze.

Emmett's answer was subdued. "I think Esme made roast beef tonight."

Edward made a face but didn't complain. Esme wouldn't have liked that Carlisle definitely wouldn't have tolerated that. Instead, he halted his trek and glared up at the sky into the skyscraper where Edward Senior used to work almost ten years ago. Morris and Doone's Law Firm, it said in glowing neon red letters.

"After Dad's death, life still goes on doesn't it?" he asked to no one in particular.

"After anyone's death actually," Emmett corrected from behind him. "And it'll continue that way until the end of time."

"I wonder what he would think if he knew that a man like Carlisle adopted me. He'd have a heart attack, that's for sure." Edward let out a quiet laugh. He turned to study Emmett's expression and quickly added, "Not that I care."

"You're a smart kid, Edward. Try not to say stuff like that in front of Carlisle. In fact, try not to say anything like that at all no matter who you're around."

Edward nodded, knowing all too well what Emmett was talking about. He'd once seen Mike complaining about working for Carlisle. The next thing he knew, Jasper was getting a pat on the shoulder while Mike was dangling upside down for twenty straight hours on a metal pole.

It was silent again with both men lost in their thoughts. Again Edward studied Emmett's features. Emmett had been quiet for quite a while lately. His voice no longer boomed with laughter when he talked and his blue eyes didn't shine in excitement at the next "mission" set by Carlisle. Instead, he looked lifeless, almost dead.

"What's the matter?" Edward's tone was casual. When Emmett didn't answer he added, "What did Alice say to you this time?"

Emmett winced and immediately, his face reddened with blood. "You wanna head to the bar before dinner?"

Nodding slightly, Edward turned away from the giant building. Why he was thinking of his dad, he had no idea. It would be the first time in three years. A feeling of sudden dread washed through him so Edward distracted himself.

"I don't drink but if that's what you had in mind, then I'm all for it."

"Thanks." Again Emmett blushed.

Realizing that Edward was staring incredulously at the blood in his cheeks, Emmett hastily diverted the attention from himself. "Why don't you drink again?"

If Emmett was too uncomfortable discussing himself, then Edward wouldn't mind deflecting his own interest away from his brother. Edward decided to go for the truth. Maybe Emmett would tell Carlisle what Edward had to say and then he would get even more praise. The thought almost made him smirk.

"Dad died of alcohol poisoning some years back and I thought that if I were to die, it would be because of a nobler cause. Maybe a bullet to the chest I suppose. I'd do anything for Carlisle so I would prefer dying as a martyr, you could say.

We weren't talking about me, though. We were discussing you."

Emmett's eyes widened at the intensity and the sincerity behind Edward's words. The boy was selfless whereas he was not. With another bout of blood rushing through his cheeks came humiliation.

Edward couldn't help but be amused. Since when did women have such an effect on Emmett McCarty? Since when did he ever care? "Is that your game plan? Drink all your troubles away since you don't think you have a shot with this Rosalie Hale?"

"How'd you know?" Emmett mumbled.

The last thing Edward wanted was to admit he knew Emmett better than he knew himself. In Carlisle's family no one was allowed to express their feelings unless it was to their respective mates, whether it was inside the house or not. There were, of course, times when they did slip and right now, Edward had to fight the urge to not pat Emmett on the back.

The only thing he could do was shrug.

For the next few minutes as they slowly trudged toward Edward's prized silver Volvo, Edward had a distinct feeling of being watched. That wasn't anything new, though. He always felt that way. He was other mafias' target since Carlisle cherished him above his other children. Edward Cullen was the best and it made sense to get him out of the way first before slaying the rest of the Cullen clan.

He glimpsed at his watch. It was a quarter to nine. If Jasper hadn't been furious before then he was certainly now.

After some wary glances at Emmett's hulking form, Edward made it to his car.

It was a cool November night. The wind was calm but leaves still fluttered to the ground into the puddles left by the afternoon's rain. Dead leaves lying about everywhere he looked just like the man he'd left unconscious against the building. The remains of both would be gone in the morning.

"I don't have all night," Edward seethed.

"Yeah, yeah. I'm coming. Don't get all Edwardish on me," Emmett bit back. "Have some patience."

Drumming his fingers on the hood of the car, Edward waited as patiently as he could while Emmett took his time. It was getting late and he was sure his phone would be vibrating in the pocket of his jeans any minute now.

On cue, his phone hummed. He flipped it open and held it a foot away from his ear.

"Where are you?" Even in anger, her voice sounded like chiming bells. "Jasper's on a rampage here and I'm the one who's paying for your stupid mistakes!"

"Don't blame me," Edward shot back. "Emmett's taking his merry time to get to the car. If anything, you should be yelling at him."

"Just… just get home. Esme is missing you both," Alice said in a softer voice.

Edward could practically hear what Alice didn't say. That she was missing them too. That she wanted them to be home. That she wanted them to be the normal family they possibly couldn't pull off.

"Yes Alice. We'll be there," he answered with a resigned sigh.

He shut off the offending phone so that there would be no more calls disturbing him for the rest of the night and turned his attention to Emmett who was leaning against the passenger side of the Volvo.

"I'm waiting," was all he said. Edward almost threw his phone at him in irritation. Deciding against it, he fumbled in the pocket of his leather jacket until he found his keys.

"Did you check the body?" Emmett asked as he wrenched the car door open and ignored the angry glower Edward shot him. "No surface where your fingerprints can be found? No stray hairs?"

"I didn't leave anything behind." Edward pulled the latex gloves off of his fingers and threw them into the backseat of the Volvo. "Right now, I'm not gracious enough to help out the cops and I don't plan on being in the future."

"They say 'there's a first time for everything'," Emmett replied. "You're not perfect."

Edward flashed his infamous crooked grin. "I can be, though."

He put the key into the ignition and waited while the car heated up. Emmett shuffled through the radio stations while Edward stared out the windshield. He watched as a woman appeared out from the corner of the sidewalk. He couldn't see her face but he could tell she was young. Her walk was quick and she stumbled a few times.

She probably had a normal life too, he thought acidly. A normal home with normal friends and a normal family and a normal job with a normal future. She could only be a normal girl living in an extremely abnormal world.

She wrapped the coat around her tightly when the wind's blow became harsh and stumbled again against the stable concrete. Edward grinned widely, wondering what an average woman was doing walking through unsafe streets at this time of night.

Under the amusement Edward was feeling, he had the sudden urge to protect her, to pull her into the backseat of his car so that she could be safe again. When the pretense of being an indifferent gangster became too much for him, the Volvo became his safe haven, his sanctuary, one that he was almost willing to share with this stranger whose face he couldn't even see.

Then, all too quickly, when he heard the sudden outburst of gunshots roaring through the air, Edward could think of only one thing.

"Damn it!" he roared as a bullet nearly missed the car's metal.

Instinctively, he pulled the gun out of the glove compartment and aimed at the men shooting at them from behind.

"It's James' men and there're seven of them!" Emmett informed as he directed his pistol at a scrawny man who fell instantly when Emmett's bullet hit him. "Drive!"

Panicking, Edward frantically pushed on the gas pedal and in blindness, steered the wheel. Emmett's head shot out of the window and he twisted his frame so that he was facing his enemies. His finger pulled the trigger expertly until only three men remained.

Edward's thoughts were only filled with the woman walking by. The car lurched to a sudden stop and he watched in horror as a Hummer jumped out of the street towards him filled with more of James' thugs. He cussed again.

Why did he have to turn off his phone tonight of all nights? Two men were not enough to handle twenty.

"Emmett, call for backup. We can't do this alone." With that, he veered out of the car and into the direction of the woman who had frozen on the street.

He watched her face pale with terror as he grabbed her and pulled her behind a stray car.

"Don't move," he whispered as he targeted his gun at as many men as possible.

The woman nodded her head helplessly and he turned to face her, forgetting that he was in the middle of a fight. She looked oddly relieved when he looked into her face, like she wasn't at all afraid of the fact that her life was in danger and he was partly the cause of it, almost grateful.

Edward's pretense almost crumbled from the expression on her face. No one had ever looked at him like that before, not even before the time he had chosen this path for himself. Why she would even look at him like that, he couldn't imagine but she was and he wasn't about to question it.

As lost as he was, Edward still felt the bullet that had been pelted into his shoulder blade. His hand immediately shot out at the sting on his shoulder that coursed through his entire being like blue flames. His face scrunched in pain and he bit his lips from screaming out an oath.

When he looked back at the woman, the relief from her face was completely gone. Instead, she was looking at his shoulder and the blood covering his hand with her wide brown eyes.

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