Author's Note: All characters belong to Stephenie Meyer. Some snippets of Midnight Sun were also taken. Those belong to her too. Set some time during Twilight, slightly before Chapter 15 – The Cullens.
He had been an only child when he was human. He didn't mind at first, after all, he was lavished with his parents' undivided attention as a result. But as he grew older, he found himself wishing for a sibling. An older sibling who would look out for him and be his playmate or a younger sibling who he could look out for.
When he was brought into this new family, he remained an only child as well, though the word "child" now had a darker connotation to it. For years, he was alone. Rosalie was brought into the family later on with the intentions of being his mate, but he never saw her more than a sister. Though, even then, he never thought of her as a real sister. Rosalie was too preoccupied with herself, and besides, she was feisty and was more than capable of taking care of herself. She brought anger into her new life and while he would never admit to anyone else, that scared him a little. He never knew it was possible to harbor the kind of rage and wrath Rosalie carried with her.
One thing was for sure. After Rosalie, he pretty much gave up hope of ever getting a little sister to take care of.
It was some decades later before Alice and Jasper joined their family. He had been out hunting while Rosalie and Emmett were in town when they first arrived at the Cullen home. The moment he emerged from the forest and saw the pixie girl who was so obviously one of them, sitting on the patio with Esme, the first thing that ran through his mind was that he hoped Carlisle had not just gone and found another vampire to be his mate. Esme was becoming increasingly worried about the fact that he was alone in their family. She made no qualms about hiding it from him, verbally and non-verbally. She constantly badgered him to find someone for himself. In the beginning, it got on his nerves a little but with time, he managed to convince Esme that he would meet someone someday.
Not once did he believe himself but he was a good liar. He had trained himself well. But even then, he knew that Esme didn't really believe him either.
Alice was different from any other female vampires he had met before. For one, she was tiny; she barely came up to his chest. Her hair was extremely short as well. He had always assumed that girls would like their hair long. Esme had hers to her shoulders and Rosalie most certainly adored her hair. Alice sure was different and that was even before he found out that she had kicked him out of his room.
But he didn't need to be a mind reader to know that Alice would never be meant for him. When he saw her silent companion come out of Carlisle's den, she immediately ran towards him and held on to his arm. Their bodies were close and she murmured something to his ear as he leaned forward. Their body language spoke volumes and a peek into their minds told him of their endearing and deep relationship.
He remembered when Carlisle first explained to the rest of the family how Alice and Jasper came to find them; Alice had looked straight at him and winked. "You're not the only one who's special too." He heard in his head as she smiled.
For a long time, they had assumed that he was the only one with extra abilities. An abnormality. It was not until they met the Denali coven and saw what Kate could do did Carlisle came up with his theory. But he never considered himself as special. Far from it, he privately thought of Jasper, Alice and himself as freaks, freaks among those who were already freaks. But it wasn't easy, hearing voices or seeing visions of the future, and so they protected each other's secrets whenever it was needed.
He helped her with helping with Jasper. Alice was deeply troubled of Jasper's inability to commit to their "vegetarian" lifestyle and was afraid that he would backslide and succumb to the temptation of human blood. He constantly assured her that it was just a matter of time. Jasper would overcome the lure of human blood and all would be well. He promised to keep tabs on Jasper's mind, even though he felt it was an invasion of privacy. She was his sister now and he looked out for her, even if it was more of her mate who needed it.
He saw Alice as finally, a little sister he could take care of. Of course, in truth, she didn't need much protection; she was every bit as strong as he was; her height made no discernible difference. But when the humans were concerned, they had to pretend that Alice wasn't strong at all and had to rely on Jasper and him to defend her. He recalled when they first attended high school in Forks decades ago, some jock had decided to pick on Alice when he saw her alone but Edward had been fast enough to get to Alice's side to make sure no harm befell her. From that day onwards, they kept a reputation of Edward Cullen being more than willing to disembowel any guy who looked at his sister the wrong way. It was nice to be considered a big brother.
Alice's power was something that the family soon began to rely on. It was the little things at first, annoying Emmett by announcing the score of the football game while it was still playing, or predicting when they could play baseball. Later, she started seeing nomadic vampires whenever they would come across their territory and that prepared them for any potential confrontation.
It was unexpected when Alice had the vision of Bella arriving. The first time she saw Bella, she was arriving at the airport, human, fumbling with her luggage. Alice couldn't understand why she would have a vision about this particular human. Edward discussed the peculiarity with her when he saw the vision in her mind but they both came up empty.
The next day, she was bombarded with visions of Bella and him in Biology and those horrible, truly horrible visions of him killing her. Alice later told him that she had tried to meet him after class but he disappeared and calls to his phone went unanswered. She wanted to make sure he wouldn't do anything rash. It was between after he left and before he reached the Denali coven, Kate had called when he arrived, when she got the vision of Bella awakening with crimson red eyes.
At first, he knew nothing of her new vision. It was after he had returned to them and Alice was randomly recalling the visions in her head again, trying to come up with ideas so that she befriend Bella in school, when Edward saw what had his sister such deep in thought. Alice was so used to his mind reading that she didn't bothered hiding her thoughts, not that she knew she had a reason to either.
He knew she didn't understand why he reacted so badly; her thoughts were in a whirl in her mind. He had admonished her for even thinking about striking up with a friendship with Bella and told her not to go near Bella. If Alice could cry, she would have. He later overheard Jasper explaining softly to Alice, while they were in their own room, that perhaps Edward didn't want this human girl to know their family or to condemn her as a vampire. And quite frankly, Jasper didn't want her around them as well; he was afraid that he was not strong enough.
Of course, Edward later apologized to Alice, as the gentleman he was for his inexplicable outburst but his warning still remained, Bella was to be left alone. But Fate had other plans and he found himself rescuing her from a truck about to crash into her and very soon, he learnt that he was never going to be able to keep himself away from her. Thank goodness for Alice, who supported him through his decisions, frequently hunting with him so as to resist the temptation of Bella's blood. He knew Alice only did it because she had her own motives, she wanted a human friend, but it was still nice to know that his sister supported him. She even fought with her soul mate Jasper to support him. That meant a lot to him.
He was playing the piano one night, composing a lullaby when Alice burst into the room and plunked herself beside him on the bench. He chose to ignore her; maybe if she got bored, she'd leave him.
"I saw her again. She was one of us." Alice slowly ventured. "Emmett threw a baseball at her head but she caught it first and crushed it. Into dust." She paused as she became aware that he was very much trying to tune her out. She decided to try another approach. "I think she had the strength of a newborn."
"Your visions are subjective, Alice." He simply offered. He fought hard to quench the anger in him. He never liked talking about the subject of Bella appearing in Alice's visions as a vampire; he refused to condemn her to an eternity of solitude and regret. He knew that Alice was well aware of his feelings on that topic but he also knew she always chose to disregard them.
"Humans aren't." She retorted. "Bella won't change her mind."
"You don't even know her." He gave a snort of disgust.
"I know you." She stared at his fingers moving across the keys. "I know you're lonely."
He remained quiet. He refused to answer to that implication. She waited as the room filled with an unbelievably sweet melody but knew she would get no response. She gave in.
"Just remember, I'm always here for you, whether you like it or not." She laughed to herself. She was walking towards the door when she turned around. "She's going to love this."
He stopped playing the piano, watching Alice's retreating figure. She had a point and she was right. He was lonely. He may have family but that was never going to be enough.
Edward always thought of himself as his sister's keeper but as he thought about it, it was more like she was his keeper instead.