A/N: Stephenie Meyer owns Twilight & Co.
- My first fanfiction ever; Review if you can :) I'm rating it M for the time being, I'm still undecided about if/when there will be lemons. It's possible that it'll only warrant a T in the end; I'm just unsure.
- These first few chapters are pretty dark. Some characters OOC.
I mentally prepared myself for another dull day of school.
The boys were taking the day off to hunt but, as I had been hunting more often to accompany Jasper, I was already well fed. It came down to a decision between the lesser of two evils: another tedious day hunting with the boys or another tedious day in school with the girls.
I hadn't seen Bella since before the weekend, so I opted to skip the hunting trip and go to school. I could already see that she would agree to a shopping trip with me after class and that even Rosalie would join us. A day out with the girls seemed like an excellent way to break the monotony. The life of a vampire posing as a human had few perks, and my friendship with Bella was at forefront of those.
I pulled into the parking lot of Forks High and quickly looked at how my day would go. It would be typical, boring, and event-free, naturally. Bella would fall and Mike would help right her, much to her irritation. I smiled and shook my head. Crazy kids.
Rosalie and I got out of the car and headed to our first period classes. I got Mr. Mason's room and took my seat, still several minutes early. English was the most boring of the boring, and I contemplated ditching briefly until I remembered my plans with Bella. They wouldn't be realized if I didn't get a chance to pitch them to her.
She walked in shortly after and took a seat next to me.
"Not hunting today?"
"Nope," I replied. "Girls day out. No boys allowed." I stuck my tongue out at her. Like she'd really want the company of a (gasp) boy, anyway. Bella was many things, but it was a well known fact that she did not approve of the Forks High School male population.
"Oooh, fun. What are we doing?" I have to give her credit, she looked genuinely excited.
"Uh, shopping?" I offered. Of course we were shopping. What else would we be doing?
She chuckled, "Okay. But we have to hit the bookstore also, okay?"
I didn't have to be psychic for me to know that would be her condition. Bella and bookstores were like Rosalie and cars. It was inexplicable but endearing.
"Naturally," I giggled.
Mr. Mason walks in, frustrated with the chatter of the overly energetic students.
I raised my finger to my mouth, shushing her. She straightened up and looked straight ahead, winking at me. The vision disappeared.
"How was everyone's weekend?" He asked as he walked in.
By third period I was ready to leave. An hour ago I had begun getting random flashes about the hunting trip. I couldn't make out what exactly was going on, it seemed like whatever was happening was changing, quickly. After the seventh different decision was made in as many minutes, my frustration grew monumentally. I wanted to call Carlisle.
The visions weren't particularly jarring, but the lack of precision was scaring me.
I saw Carlisle walking into the house, light-eyed and happy.
I saw Carlisle walking into the house covered in blood.
I saw Carlisle screaming at Esme to get upstairs.
I saw him running his hands through the river.
I saw him warily approaching a man, laying on the ground.
I saw him answering the front door.
The decisions were changing so rapidly that I couldn't get a clear read on anything. I tried to look into Jasper and Emmett's futures, but was met by the same infuriating roadblock.
I pulled my hair, frustrated.
"I need to use the restroom," I grumbled, as I walked from the classroom.
I headed straight for my car, opening my cell and texting Rose and Bella. Something came up, I'll be back to pick you guys up later. –Alice
I drove straight home and quickly appraised the house. Nothing seemed out of place. I was teetering on whether or not to go find the boys when I got my first real glimpse of what the future held.
"Carlisle!" Jasper shouts, his volume a result of the panic. Together, they walk toward a heap of flesh partially obscured by the brush. The stop several feet away from the body.
"Is he dead?" Emmett asks as he approaches them.
"It doesn't look like he's breathing from here.."
"No, no it doesn't."
"Should we call the police or something...?" Emmett again. Freaking' Emmett.
"I don't know..." replies Jasper. Carlisle remains silent.
I tried to look further into the future, hoping that I'd be able to make something of this.
I was pulled from my reverie by Jasper hollering my name. Why so loudly? I approached him cautiously, knowing something wasn't right. There was no reason for the shouting.
As I made my way to him, I followed his gaze. He was staring intently on what looked like a human body. The boy was naked and completely still, without an ounce of color to his skin. He was dead. I could see that he wasn't breathing and I couldn't make out any heartbeat. I followed Jasper as he took a few tentative steps forward, but we both stopped short. What to do?
I heard Emmett approaching us slowly, "Is he dead?" he asked honestly. I shook my head to myself. If Emmett used what he knew he was capable of he would already know the answer to that, but of course, he spoke without even a shadow of a thought.
"It doesn't look like he's breathing from here," Jasper told Emmett.
"No, no it doesn't," I added quietly. This boy was so much further than dead. I couldn't see his face or the front of his body at all, but judging by his back, he very well may have starved to death.
"Should we call the police or something?" Emmett again. If the situation wasn't as dire as it was, I might have laughed. Only Emmett would think we should call the police. Only Emmett.
"I don't know..." Jasper replied. I guess not only Emmett. I sighed and shook my head. The best I could think to do was move his body closer to civilization and hope he'd be found and identified before animals consumed him. That hardly seemed fair to him.
I stepped forward, gesturing the boys to stay back. Something about this situation wasn't sitting right with me. I had no reason to be wary of a decrepit human body, but I was cautious still. It only took one step.
I felt my phone buzzing in my pocket and let my head fall, hoping beyond hope that this was Alice telling me why I was so damned nervous all of the sudden. I knew she liked to keep an eye on Jasper, it wasn't an unreasonable idea that she had already seen this turn of events.
Alice. I sighed and took a step back toward Jasper and Emmett. I opened the phone when I reached them.
"What is it?" I urged, still edgy.
"He's not dead, Carlisle..."
"Of course he's dead, Alice. He's not breathing, his heart is…" I trailed off, deeply inhaling.
He didn't smell like a human should. Maybe this was the source of my unease? He smelled... empty. There were vague traces of some foreign chemicals radiating from him, but I couldn't smell blood.. at all. I shook my head, trying to make sense of it. What is he?
"Carlisle, he's dead... obviously. But only in the sense that you and I are dead..."
"No, Alice. If he were one of us I'd be able to find it in his scent. There's no blood in his system whatsoever..." I inhaled again, trying to pick up anything else from him.
"Venom?" she asked, likely already knowing what my answer would be.
The smell of our venom is faint. It's supposed to be our greatest weapon, virtually undetectable to our prey. But I guess if I concentrated on deciphering each individual scent, there were traces of venom there.
"So he's... one of us?"
"Yes," she answered. "I can't see what led him here, but I can see what you will do. I think it's right. But your future is changing pretty regularly, still. So I can't be positive."
"What do I do?" I whispered. "Bring him home?" I knew that he couldn't die from whatever was going on inside of him, but I had never seen a vampire this messed up in all of my years.
"Yes, but Carlisle," she answered, "he won't make it easy for you. I don't know what his intentions are, but I can see he doesn't go with you without a fight. He's not very strong, so it shouldn't be difficult to get him to succumb, but be cautious when you guys approach him. He's going to growl and he's going to bite. He'll do whatever he can to get away. You will be stronger. Between the three of you, you will get him back to the house."
"And then...?" I urged. Having him in the house didn't seem like the most brilliant plan, but I guess leaving him out here to starve for the next century would be too cruel.
"Then... I don't know. You haven't decided yet. When I know, you'll know," she said softly, contemplative. "I'd tell you to be careful, but I know you've got things under control for now." I could hear the smile in her voice.
"Thank you, Alice."
"Oh, and Carlisle?"
"…. Be careful." I smiled and assured her I would. "Not just with yourselves, though. Be careful with him."
And then, in true Alice fashion, she hung up.
During the trek home, a pattern was established. I was carrying the vampire in my arms, Jasper staying on my heels doing everything in his power to keep the boy calm. I still hadn't gotten a good look at him and had done virtually zero assessment of his injuries, as we had decided immediately that the quicker we got him the house the better.
As soon as I had taken my first step toward him a low rumbling emanated from his chest. It was weak and it was labored, but it was still a sign for me to approach cautiously.
I looked back at Jasper questioningly.
"Fear," he said simply. "That's all I'm getting. Just fear."
I shook my head. I think I'd have preferred anger or hatred over fear. Fear made me the bad guy, and him the victim. I didn't like the idea of causing him any discomfort when he was already so fragile, but I knew leaving him wasn't an option. And getting him to the house would, without a doubt, be uncomfortable for him.
"Try to get him under control, son," I whispered, willing the gods to comply and help me with this task.
I felt a wave of calm rush over me and immediately the growling changed. It didn't cease altogether, but it became more hopeless. It was pleading rather than warning. Begging me to step back.
I squared my shoulders and closed the gap between us quickly and quietly. His fear overrode Jasper's calm and he began growling viciously and thrashing under my touch. That was when the 'quickest route possible' decision was officially made. I lifted him into my arms and began running. He was struggling and growling but too weak to fight me. I had just fed and he hadn't fed in years, and I was clearly going to win if it came down to a match.
We ran the miles back to the house quickly. We would make it a half mile or so and he would lose any calming effect Jasper was attempting to throw at him again. Jasper would then close the gap between us and touch him, throwing him into frenzy before nearly knocking him out with emotion.
I could tell this was all having an extreme effect on Jasper. This boy's pain was, to an extent, Jasper's pain. It wasn't as if Jasper could actually feel the pain, but he felt the nature of it.
We made it to the house several minutes later, and Alice opened the door while I rushed the body inside.
"The basement," was all Alice said.
I had considered it as an option earlier; I guess she saw it was as good a choice as any. It was only temporary, until we could figure out the next move. He wouldn't be able to hurt anyone in the basement. He wouldn't be able to hurt himself in the basement.
I bee-lined for the door that led down the stairs; the struggling, screaming body never once relaxing. When we reached the last step I briefly contemplated what to do, but decided it was too stressful on him to keep my hold. I laid him on the ground and he immediately put distance between us. He moved himself backwards until he was up against the wall, shaking and growing and.. terrified.
Behind me, I heard Alice. "Come upstairs, Carlisle. Give him some time. He'll be more comfortable by himself down here.. trust me."
Admittedly, I was eager to leave him. I couldn't stand watching him suffer so severely, and I was happy for the escape Alice had provided me, if only temporarily.
I headed up the stairs behind her, closing the door and clasping the lock behind me.
We had to get out of there.
The look in Jasper's eyes was enough to make me to sacrifice everything I had to never have to see that look again.
I knew that Jasper wasn't suffering even a fraction of the man downstairs' pain, but I couldn't handle it.
"We need to leave for a bit, Carlisle."
The family had convened in the living room to figure out what to do.
"Of course, Alice." He smiled. Always so understanding.
I could see that the family would be fine for a few hours, we just needed to get away for a bit. "Don't go down there until we get back, okay? Approaching him without Jasper for a buffer is a suicide mission."
Esme nodded in agreement. "We absolutely won't do anything until the whole family is present. Strength in numbers," she smiled. We all knew it wasn't true. Well, maybe not Emmett, but still. Most of us knew. When it came down to approaching him, it would have to be just one of us. If he felt cornered his instinct would be to attack.. and he was going to feel cornered no matter what, but he didn't need to feel outnumbered as well.
"Okay, we'll be back in a bit. Don't leave the house unattended..."
As we walked out the front door, I flipped open my cell phone.
Are we still on for shopping extravaganza? –Bella
I dialed and waited through several rings.
"Alice! What happened?! Rose ditched too. Do I need to get Yorkie to give me a ride home?"
"No, me and Jasper are leaving now, we'll come pick you up, but I have to cancel the shopping plans..." I cringed. It didn't cease to amaze me that I still felt bad about missing shopping. Jasper, feeling my regret, smirked at me. I stuck my tongue out at him.
"Alice Cullen, canceling a shopping trip? What is the world coming to?" she responded.
"I know, I know. We'll be there in a few."
"'Kay," she replied. "See you then," and we hung up.
We took the Mercedes that was known to the great people of Forks as Carlisle's car. We tried to avoid standing out, and figured if we were in our father's car it wouldn't be too weird. We said little during the drive, both of us contemplating what the right course of action was. I could see now that he would stay in the back corner of the basement until the morning, when we would try to approach him. I couldn't see the outcome of that approach though, which made me nervous.
The back door opening startled me out of my daze.
"Hey, guys," Bella said, throwing her bag into the back seat.
We both nodded and mumbled our helloes.
"Nothing's wrong... stop worrying."
"You two both look like someone ran over your cat... Seriously, Al – what's wrong?"
"Just disappointed I had to cancel our trip. My wardrobe is in dire need of a makeover," I winked, plastering a smile to my face.
"Haha, riiiight. So do you want to hang out at your place? Maybe watch a movie?"
"Uhh.. sorry Bella, can't tonight. Maybe this weekend?"
She looked confused but then accepting. "Sure, this weekend sounds good. So, what could possibly have come up to make you of all people back out of a shopping trip?"
"Jasper and I needed a romantic evening."
"Oh? Oo la la," she teased, smacking my arm. "Ouch."
I laughed. Silly Bella, she would hurt herself slapping me.
We made it to her house in record time, and I pulled into the driveway.
"Do you guys want to come in for a bit?"
"No thanks, we're sort of in a hurry. Commence date night and all!" I could tell that my blasé attitude wasn't fooling anyone, Bella was a horrible actress.
"Oh. Okay, well, call me tonight?"
"Sure," I smiled and nodded my head. I could do that. I briefly checked Bella's future to make sure she didn't have a rebellion planned. She had a ridiculous tendency to give in to her morbid curiosity at any given point in time, and right now we couldn't afford to have her poking her nose around the house.
Dinner with Charlie. Reading. Pacing. Looking out the window. Reading some more. Calling me. Calling Renee. Calling Angela. Reading. Going to bed.
I sternly nodded my head in approval of her plans. I knew eventually we would have to deal with things, but tonight there was still so much up in the air. Surely she could wait one night, couldn't she?
Yes, something was definitely wrong.
I marched into the house and started sifting through the fridge for dinner ingredients. I numbly began tending to the chicken while contemplating what the hell was going on with Alice Cullen.
She was just... off. Date night rather than shopping? Really? Really? I think not, Alice.
And Jasper hadn't said a single word the entire car ride. He just sat there, staring out the window, looking like his life was over.
My first instinct told me that something had happened to one of the other Cullens.. but what? It's not like vampires can get sick. It's not like they can die — WHAT IF ONE OF THE CULLENS DIED?
I knew I had to keep my cool. But suddenly a thousand different scenarios played out in my head. What if they ran into a real life Buffy while hunting AND SHE KILLED EMMETT?
Alice would tell me that, right? I shook my head. No, she wouldn't. Not yet, anyway.
I sighed, knowing that it was useless to try to infiltrate the mansion with Alice keeping an eye on me.
Stupid.. annoying.. psychic.. vampires!
As the evening went on, I began plotting in my head. I knew as soon as I decided anything Alice would be there to stop me. It's how we rolled. So I couldn't actually make any plans. But I also knew I had to do something.
I couldn't just let them pretend like everything was fine while poor Emmett lay in a pile of ashes.
As I cooked, I planned.
A/N: I won't be jumping POVs so much in the future. It seemed like the best way to introduce the story, though.
Review so I know how it's being received, please. Thaaanks. :)