A/N: Ok, not only is this my first fan fiction, it also the first time I've let anyone besides teachers and professors read something I've written. So be gentle, but still critical. I'd be happy with just one review honestly, so I won't beg for them. Hopefully you are intrigued by this first chapter.
P.S. Alice has a special nickname for Bella that only she is allowed to call her…Isa, which is pronounced "eesa". Just wanted to mix things up a bit.
Disclaimer: I own nothing…but Twilight owns me. Go SMeyer.
And here we go...
Chapter One: Nomads
"You're eyes are blacker than I've ever seen them."
"Shut up Al."
"Ooo, aren't we testy today."
"Yeah well, yours aren't any lighter than mine. Oh, and your shoes don't match your outfit."
Alice gasped and ran to her ruck-sack. I knew that would get her off my back. I will never understand her. She's been my best friend and only companion for almost 70 years, and I still don't get why fashion matters to her. I've been wearing the same pair of jeans and the same tight-fitting blue t-shirt for weeks now, and she prances around in sundresses like she's a wood nymph. She's a nomad for Christ sakes; she gets dirty and bloody daily.
And yet whenever we near a town, she takes a chance and goes in to get a new outfit. I suppose it makes her feel almost human. She never hurts the shop owners, though they know immediately that something isn't right with her. The big sunglasses covering her blood-red eyes can't help shake the eerie feelings we give off. It amuses me that Alice gets so sad when people can't just have a nice normal chat with her. It's those times I have to remind her, You're a VAMPIRE Al, you kill people, you can't BE normal.
But we kill BAD people, she'd whine.
Killing people is killing people Al. It's who we are. It's what we do. There's no other way.
She wouldn't even try to argue after that.
At least, that's how it used to be. We haven't been near a town in ages, and she's slowly but surely running out of shoes to match her also dwindling wardrobe. We haven't fed in ages, and the burn was raging in both of our throats. Truth be told, we just didn't want to be like that anymore. After that night. After the girl. We'd never felt so human, even when we were human.
I remember it was raining that night in Philadelphia. We weren't very thirsty, having just fed, but that didn't stop us prowling. That's when we saw her, all alone on a park bench, crying. She was a tiny thing, with dark hair. I couldn't see her face, but she couldn't have been any older than seven. Her wet hair clung to her face and her thoughts were frantic.
Mommy? Where's mommy? I want to go home! Where is home?! I want my mommy!!
It was heartbreaking, and we would have gone right by if it weren't for her damned scraped knee. Al smelled it first, the blood trickling down her leg into her sock.
Alice approached her slowly, intent to kill but in no mood to chase, giving in to her bloodlust. As soon as she grabbed her, though, the little girl turned with shocking speed and just held Alice in an unmistakeable hug. The girl wasn't scared, she wasn't even surprised. She thought Alice was her mother, come to rescue her from the dark and stormy night. I saw her little face turn up through Alice's eyes, her tears mixing with the rain on her cheeks, and if my heart had still been beating I swear it would have stopped.
She was like a clone of Alice. From her tiny pixie face to her short dark hair. Her eyes, albeit not bright red, had the same sparkle. It was how I'd always pictured Alice looking as a little girl, how she thought she may have looked before her human memories turned to nothing but blackness and only vampire remained.
"You're not my mommy," the girl moaned.
I can't do it. I can't. What's wrong with me?
Alice was panicked, not understanding her hesitation. How could she not? She saw herself in that little girl, beyond the uncanny resemblance. A lost girl, not knowing where she was or how to get home. Though I'd never say so, I often heard the thoughts Alice had about her time as a human. Feeling guilty that she can't even remember the people who gave her life. Hell, I remembered my parents and I still felt guilt. I was torn from them by a sadistic creature who got off on making people suffer. They'd never known what happened to me. I couldn't go near them for fear I would kill them. They'd died wondering where I was, and if I'd ever come home.
Neither of us could do that to this tiny human, or to her family.
When did we get consciences? Alice seemed to come to the same conclusion I had. She set the girl back on the bench and put her arms back at her sides. I could sense that the blood wasn't having the same effect on her, that she was beyond caring about it. She cared about this girl now.
"Where do you live little one?" Alice asked sweetly, smiling at the girl, but not showing teeth.
"I…I…d-don't know!" the girl wailed. Alice turned to me. Go find her mother. I nodded and walked toward a block of apartment buildings across from the park, tuned in to the thoughts of the occupants, searching for the frantic mother. It didn't take me very long.
…was just here! How could she just vanish?! My god, what if she's been kidnapped!? I have to call the police…
I waited for the call so I could hear the apartment number.
"Yes, officer, please, my daughter…she's gone! She's only seven! I don't know where she is, and it's so dark, I'm so afraid someone's taken her, the window to the fire escape is open…yes, it's number 432, apartment 3G…"
I sprinted back to Al and told her where the mother was. The girl still had not let go of Alice's hands, not even flinching at her cold skin.
She won't let go, we'll have to take her.
I gave her a pointed look that she knew said "a vision would be helpful about now…", and she nodded. Her eyes unfocused and I saw what flashed through her head.
The two of us, walking with the girl between us, each holding one of her hands…walking up stairs to a third floor apartment, the door opening at the sound of our knock…a young woman, panic in her eyes with a telephone to her ear, regarding two inhumanly beautiful women, one tiny with short hair, the other only a bit taller with long hair, darkened from the rain, her small daughter smiling at her from between them…Alice explaining that we happened upon the girl in the park, and she told us where she lived…our smiles unsettling to her, but also letting her know that we hadn't kidnapped the girl…her thanking us profusely, offering us a drink…
Looks good. Alice gave me a half-smile that didn't brighten her face like usual as she set the girl on her feet and told her we'd take her to her mommy.
Hours later, Al and I had sat in the same park and didn't speak, though her thoughts were anything but silent. I felt like it was my place to talk first.
"Look Al…well, that was weird," I said rather lamely.
"No shit Sherlock," she snapped. It wasn't like Alice to be harsh. This had really shaken her up.
"Talk to me," I said gently.
She turned to look at me then, and sighed, her face softening.
She was me Isa. She was ME. She was lost. She was alone. She LOOKED just like me, but miniature. And I thought of my family, even though I don't remember them. I like to think I had a mom and dad that loved me just as much, maybe even more than they loved each other. And that I had a brother and a sister, and we would play and tease each other and have fights and scrape our knees and get lost and want our mommy. And then I thought, how must they have felt when one day I was just gone? Would they have looked for me? Would they have found any clues as to what happened? Or would it just be like I was never even there? And…how could I do that to another family? To another mother? To another little lost girl with a scraped knee?
If Alice could cry, she would have been. The dry sobs escaping her now were nothing I'd ever experienced from her before. She was happy, bubbly, eccentric, sometimes mellow, but never like this. Never…hysterical. I thought about slapping her. Then I remembered she probably wouldn't even feel it.
"Al, you don't have to defend what you did to me. I would have done the same thing. I remember my family, but I felt everything you did. It was…kinda scary," I said lamely again. Not my best night for uplifting speeches. "And don't forget, you're not alone anymore…" I put a hand on her shoulder.
She gave me a small smile, but the frown soon returned.
"Things have to change Isa. I can't do this anymore. We kill people. Yes, we kill bad people, but even they have families. And that little girl? Shit, the worst thing she's ever done is probably breaking one of mommy's vases and blaming it on the cat. And I almost took her. I don't want this feeling anymore, this guilty feeling. I don't want to be a monster."
I surprised myself by agreeing with her. I mean, we were vampires, we killed, we drank blood, what was there to change? And yet…somehow, it had to.