"Off The Page" Contest

Pen Name: LittleClareStar
Title
: Only One
Book/Written Work
: Twilight/Highlander
Summary: There Can Be Only One. Will history repeat itself, or will Edward prevail.
Word Count: 8158

For Rules and Other Submissions, please visit: http://www(DOT)fanfiction(DOT)net/u/1981556/

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San Francisco, September 2009

The lights above our heads gave everything a falsely golden luminescence. I squinted as I looked around the room. Even at this late hour the place was busy, every sage and white gingham cloth covered table occupied, harried looking waiting staff feigning interest at the orders they were taking and delivering. The streetlights glared in through the ceiling to floor glass fronted building, adding to the false atmosphere, the midnight sky outside made darker by the distorted glow around us. I looked at Bella who was sitting across from me at our corner table against the back wall, her typically alert and intelligent chocolate brown eyes down-turned, her usually confident fingers twisting and untwisting the green paper napkin that sat on her lap. Her shiny brown hair was piled on top of her head in a messy bun effort, but red tinted strands were starting to come loose, making her look less professional, more vulnerable.

"I've worked it out," she said, her normally confident voice now a mere whisper. "I've traced you back. You disappear and reappear throughout the last three hundred years of history, maybe more." She rubbed her eyes with the slender index finger and thumb of her left hand, while the right hand continued to fiddle with the napkin on her blue denim clad thighs.

She sighed. I remained quiet. She had to tell me what she had discovered. It sounded unbelievable coming from me. The forensic scientist in her would tell her that it was me, the killings pointed to me, each one led back to me. She had to know, to work out for herself, that it wasn't me, that it was James.

That it had always been James.

For over three hundred years, it had been James.

As I opened the front door to my loft apartment I peeled off my raincoat, chucking it onto a slightly scuffed, dark wood, Edwardian dining chair that sat just inside the front door, next to a matching occasional table onto which I flung my keys. Without turning on a single light I threw myself down onto the late nineteen sixties sofa which was positioned towards the back of the open plan living/dining room. I looked out through the room-wide window, staring across the bay taking in the views towards Marin that had made this apartment so desirable. Or so the real estate agent had told me, the greed evident in his sly eyes, the desire to make as much from the seller and I in the forefront of his mind. I had just wanted somewhere to live, somewhere to call home, somewhere that was unlike anywhere I had lived before.... A change.

Around me, casting shadows over my sorry soul, were the remnants of my past life. My past lives. My grand piano sat on a slightly raised plinth, paintings from eighteenth century France lined one wall, first edition English novels from the nineteenth century filled the large bookshelves on the other. On the wall behind me hung two pictures, both photographs of modern day Scotland. One of Glenfinnen, one of Glencoe. Suspended in between them, glinting gently by virtue of the moonlight that peeked in through the glass front of the room when the clouds allowed, were two shafts of carefully crafted metal: my twa handis swerdis, my claidheamohmor, my claymore sword, and next to it Jacob's Spanish longsword. I dropped my head into my hands, as passages of our conversation in the cafe ran through my head.

Edward - how old are you?

Twenty-eight.

Edward - how long have you been twenty-eight?

A while.

I loved her and I knew that I couldn't lose Bella the way that I had lost Isabella. I would not let James do that to me again. He had taken too many people from me over the years - my birth family, my teacher and inadvertently my first love. He was not going to fuck this up for me.

I stood up and ran my hands through my hair repeatedly as I walked slowly towards the swords.

There would be only one.

************

My name is Edward Cullen. I was born in the year of our Lord, fifteen hundred and eleven, in the village of Glenfinnen on the banks of Loch Shiel. I was the eldest son of the clan's chief, Carlisle, my younger brothers Emmett and Jasper following a year each behind me. Three lads could never have been considered closer, each of us a part of the other, inseparable as we grew up, learning to fight and to farm side by side. Each of us though, was obviously also an individual. We looked nothing alike, although we were all obvious combinations of our parents. We were all judged to be above average height, each of us apparently as broad as we were long, but where I had hair the tones of the leaves in autumn and eyes the color of the hills in the Spring, Emmett was black haired with eyes as dark as the night. Jasper was blue-eyed, his hair the gold of the sun. We did almost everything together. Hunted together, fished together and chased the women together.

By the time Jasper had reached his eighteenth year and Emmett his nineteenth, they had both caught the women they had been chasing. Jasper was married to Alice, the tiny dark haired daughter of the Clan's weaver, and Emmet to Rose the statuesque fair-haired daughter of our mother's cousin. I remained alone, enjoying soft warm company when the nights drew in, but happy not to have to stay attached when each morning arrived.

By the time Jasper had reached his nineteenth year and Emmett his twentieth, we were in conflict with the clan Fraser.

What had started as night time raids on our livestock and thieving from our fields soon escalated to much, much more and just after the twenty second anniversary of my birth, I found myself riding into my first battle, my sword at my side, brothers flanking me, our Cullen plaid, the colors of the heather and the peat, wrapped around each of us. The cold nip in the late Autumn air was evident through the gooseflesh on our arms and the steam emanating from the nostrils of our over excited and somewhat skittish horses.

With the rest of the able bodied men of the clan riding and walking behind us being given a subconscious morale-boost by the swirling screeches of the clan's piper and drums, my father, my brothers and I lead the way to meet the bastard Frasers. The damp morning mist swirled around our heads, the tops of the mountains of our home hidden behind it. The elder men and the young boys had stayed in the village to watch the women and the bairns, to keep them safe. Too old or fragile or young to fight effectively at our sides, they were ready if we lost the battle, if the battle broke through and came to them.

As we rode towards our destinies I began to feel an unexpected fear mixed in with an irrational excitement. All our lives we had trained for this. Prepared for the day when we would have to defend our homes and livelihoods. And yet, it was possible that we could lose this battle, we could lose our homes and families.

As we came around the bottom of the mighty Sgurr nan colreachan I could all but smell the foul stench of our enemy. The horses started to get more giddy, our nerves affecting them, their senses telling them that they weren't safe.

And then there they were. Ahead of us, about a half of one mile away, were the bastard Frasers. I sucked my breath in, and exhaled again hard, my exhalation looking like smoke coming from the snout of an imaginary beast.

Carlisle held his huge bulky sword aloft, brandishing it high and steady as if it weighed no more than an eagle's feather. We stopped. The men behind us stopped. The pipers and the drums came to a tuneless halt. Suddenly there was a deathly silence behind where we stood. Not a sound from a man nor beast. God's works still continued around us - the burn gushed by at the mountain's feet, the birds were waking and starting their shrill calls, and the wind was blowing the leaves on the trees against each other.

I witnessed Carlisle deliberately lower his shoulders, keeping his claidheamohmor, his great sword, held high where his men could see it. And then he roared. The usually quiet, peace loving man whom I adored and who had raised me to be the best I could be, roared. The unearthly sound bounced off the hills, reaching up through the mists to the tips of the mountains, surely to be heard by the heavens. Then he dropped his arm down, and we charged forward. Yells and shrieks and cries and howls coming from every man, rough panting emerging from the horses as we pushed them towards similar sounds coming from across the land directly towards us. This was it. There was no backing out, no turning around. Kill or be killed.

I raised my heavy sword above my head as my horse thundered towards the Frasers, noises I couldn't identify as my own issuing from my mouth, fear gone, anticipation of victory filling my every bone as I charged along with my father and my brothers. Victory or death.

The sky was an early morning blue, the sun just appearing from behind Sgurr nan colreachan, still not yet warm. Fine mist billowed around us as we met our foe in the middle of the battlefield, our feet squelching through the peat and into the burn, their war cries matching ours. Within seconds broadswords were meeting claymores, our targes repelling their blows and theirs forcing back our attacks. Around me I could see my friends falling, my family fighting. Emmett making short work of anyone who stumbled into his path, his a thump and chop mentality. Jasper was slyer, ducking and anticipating his opponent's moves, planning each move he made.

It only took a moment for me to realize that no one would fight me. I was standing amongst bodies, in the thick of the battle, and no one would touch me. They seemed to run away from me, seeing me and at the same moment turning to fight elsewhere. Anywhere else, and anyone other than me.

"Here Edward, come stand with me, that way I'll stay safe," yelled Emmett, laughing whilst still fighting, his glee at being in the centre of the battle evident.

Still the Frasers ran from me, a silent pool of safety in the mire of battle. I wanted to fight, longed to fight, and yet was alone. A strange sensation started to fill my being, starting at my feet and filling me, an almost searing pain enveloping my body, spiking at my veins, surging through my soul.

And then, amongst the chaos, the fear, the smoke, the mud, I saw him.

Hair the color of straw, eyes the blue of frozen water, a sword longer than I had ever seen, he stood a good head taller than me, made all the taller by the helmet he wore, which was made from the skull of a stag.

"You're mine, Cullen," he screamed as he raced towards me, his claymore held high, his tigne thrown to one side.

I raised my claymore, ready for the fight. And then I felt a sharp crippling pain. A non ending pain. With his first strike the man in the skull had stabbed me. As the sword twisted in my gut, the last thing I remember were deafening screams as Jasper and Emmett rushed him, jumping past me, pulling him off my flailing body, his words ringing and fading simultaneously in my ears, "Cullen. You WILL be mine. There. will. be. only. one".

I woke up after at least one night's deep sleep, knowing from the sun's low position that it was early in the morning again. The pain in my side was gone, and I was alone. I ventured from my croft house and out into the village, and upon hearing noises from the tavern and clan council, headed in that direction, bracing myself for the onslaught of laugher and goading that I would no doubt receive having passed out like a lassie on the battleground.

I entered the wooden structure, and the noise stopped. Dead. The silence was deafening. My fellow clansmen and women moved out of my way, staring at me, whispering to each other as they moved back to create a path towards my family. Jasper and Emmett stood up with my father, all facing me, their faces confused and stern, shocked and sad, all emotions evident at the same time.

I grabbed the arse of Jessie, a lassie that I had been enjoying time with more recently than most and brought her in for a kiss, still walking as I crammed my tongue into her usually more than receptive mouth.

She pulled back, a sneer crossing her freckled face, her mouse colored hair swinging as she spoke roughly, "See how he stands. He walks. He was all but dead this past night." She paused as she built up her breath. "He is with the devil".

And that was all it took for my life as I knew it to be over. I was jumped by many men, and carried outside. All the while I fought for my life, trying to see my brothers, my father, as the mob beat on me, bellowed obscenities at me. Where it not for the fact that my father was the chief and wielded power, and that Jasper and Emmett stood to defend my body, the mass would have killed me. Instead, at Carlisle's insistence they turned me out, banished me, to leave Glenfinnan, Loch Shiel, my family, my Clan. To be alone.

I travelled for many days, perhaps weeks, my physical wounds inflicted by my fellow Clansmen healing, the wounds in my heart and head not.

And then on a normal, murky day, with tiny drops of rain sprinkling from the sky, the clouds a pale grey color, and a rough wind in the air, I met her. Isabella. Daughter of a blacksmith who took me in, gave me a chance, and honed my skills. Our pull towards each other was instant, like a force unknown to either of us, and within months we were wed and living in Glencoe in our own croft house beneath the two peaks known as the Three Sisters, where we lived and loved and laughed. Nothing else mattered, just Isabella and I, our lives entwined always, our bodies as often as possible, and our hearts as we promised in God's sight for eternity.

I loved to just watch her. As I struck at the iron horseshoes and the broadswords which I made in my forge, I could see her as she tended to our animals and our small holding of crops. I'd never seen myself as a one lassie man. But Isabella had changed that. Her eyes were the color of the finest bark, her hair so brown and yet so many other colors that shimmered in the highland sun. When she ran, her body moved as if it was water running through the burn, smooth and yet rippling. Her beauty was beyond compare. And she was mine. I was grateful every day that she was mine, that she chose to love me. Before, I was a worker, a farmer, a fighter, and a lover of lassies for the short term. Now I was a husband with a wife who looked at me as if she had won a prize at the Whitsun celebrations, as opposed to the reality. The reality showed that it was I who had won the prize. Her.

It was a typically cold and wet day, the first time we met Jacob Black of the Quilluite Tribe.

Neither Isabella or I had seen such a man, with long dark hair tied up behind his head as if it had been combed through, with clear fine skin the color of warm sand. He was as tall as me, but broader, the muscles in his arms and on his torso evident through the soft red outlandish clothes he wore.

I knew of him before I could see him. A familiar yet strange sensation filled my body from my toes to the ends of my long hair, the near pain that had enveloped on my body on the battlefield, pushing at my veins, surging through my soul. Fear struck me, which was unfortunate as Isabella and I were as one at that moment, enjoying the feel of the air on my back and the moss on hers. As the sensations increased, the strength of my pounding decreased, and by the time he was upon us, I was pulling out of her, away from her, getting her to cover up while I pushed myself back into my plaid and groped around for a weapon, a rock, a branch, anything.

An amused voice called to me, "Greetings Edward Cullen, of the Clan Cullen, my humblest apologies for interrupting your pursuits this afternoon."

I stumbled up, pushing Isabella behind me, whilst she pushed her breasts back into her dress.

"Who are you? What to you want," I called back.

He smiled at me. "I've come to help you" he replied, "to train you, to teach you".

Pulling out my sghian dubh, I faced the tanned faced man sitting above me on my horse.

"Who the devil are you? How do you know who I am? Who I was?" I demanded, one arm out with my wee knife held aloft, the other behind me, holding Isabella to me, trying to keep her safe, keep us both safe.

"If you let me get down from my horse and let me rest for a while with you, then I can tell you everything," Jacob Black responded, his grin still wide. "I'm like you, I feel the sensations too. And I know all about you". He slid off his horse. "Look," he said softly, holding both hands up indicating that they were empty. "No sword, no knife, nothing. Please. Let me speak with you. Both our lives depend on it. Yours more than mine, mind you".

He walked towards me slowly, hands still up, his red velvet outfit moving with his body, softly, unlike my plaid that just kind of hung there, his dark long hair shining somehow in the sunlight, his teeth almost sparkling, white like a wolf's. The pain increased greatly, the sensations building again, and then they subsided. They were still there, just bubbling along under the surface, but the intense crippling feelings had gone.

Isabella moved around from behind me, and ran off to the croft, hair flying behind her, stumbling a little as her bare feet came into contact with some loose rocks hidden under the grass, her skirts getting tangled up with her ankles. She recovered herself, and getting inside, closed the heavy wooden door roughly behind her.

Jacob Black and I walked side by side, me eyeing him carefully, taking in his fancy clothes, his strange appearance, keeping a watch on his hands at the same time so that I could counter any attack that he might make. He just kept grinning at me, his arms still slightly aloft making sure they were in my sight.

For one day and one night we talked. Isabella silently moved around us, cooking us food, pouring us drinks, making sure that we were attended to. She never said a word, listening to everything that Jacob Black had to tell us about himself, about his recent past, his travels, and a little of what he knew about James.

The next morning, as was already planned, I took out my boat onto the loch to catch some fish. I enjoyed my time on the loch, the peace and quiet of the mountains drawing me in, the gentle lapping of the waves against the sides of the wee boat that I rowed out to the same point once each week and caught enough fish for a few meals, making me feel at rest. Waking early as I did, I ventured outside to find Jacob Black, who proceeded to invite himself to join me.

The sun was coming up around the back of the hills as we rowed out to the spot that I usually went to, about one hundred feet from the shore, neither of us speaking, both just taking in the morning around us. When we stopped rowing, he started talking.

"You realize," he said bluntly, his grin that I was now beginning to understand was usual for him, plastered across his face, as he rocked the boat slightly from side to side, "that you are immortal?" I looked across at him "Immortal? D'ya mean I cannae die?" I made a humphing noise, and standing up, put the lines out for the fish, making sure that the worms were firmly attached at the ends to attract the prey. Jacob rocked the boat a little faster "Yes Cullen, immortal. No dying. It's what we all are. You, me, James, a few others. Immortal".

I looked at him feeling slightly panicked, "Please don't rock the boat. I cannae swim"

He laughed, a belly laugh, deep and forceful as he rocked the boat faster and faster

"I. Can. Not. Swim" I repeated, wobbling more and more, and unable to clutch the boat's sides quickly enough, I toppled over the side. As I fell, I could hear him laughing harder and harder and his voice calling out to me "Immortal Cullen, Immortal".

As I plummeted though the freezing waters, I kicked my legs, and waved my arms frantically, but couldn't get my body to rise back up through the murky waters. Someone had told me that just before you died your life flashed before your eyes, but as I sunk like a rock all I could see was, well, the water in front of me. I hit the bottom with a thud and started to panic, my feet tangled up in the kelp that lined the loch floor and rocks that littered it. And then I noticed that I wasn't actually dying. That I wasn't so much struggling for breath as apparently actually still breathing. Somehow, I wasn't dying.

I wasn't dying.

I was immortal.

I made my way across the bottom of the loch, marveling at the world around me that I had never seen before. It wasn't easy, but as I didn't seem to have to worry about dying, I just went with it, struggling a little to walk but managing to make distance. Somehow.

When I eventually reached the lochside, the sun had moved across the sky and the shadows were indicated that it was past the time we should have been heading back to the croft. I threw myself down on the first bit of dry grassy ground that I came upon, and found myself with the point of a sword at my throat.

"The water didn't kill you then, man" said Jacob Black "but I could have". He pulled his sword away, and I backed off pulling myself away from him with my hands, my clothes sticking to me as I went as quickly as I could. "We have to speak Edward Cullen. I have to teach you. Because otherwise he will win. There can be only one and it cannot be James. You have to find the way to stand a chance against him, and I will be the one to teach you to live".

Over the next few hours, days and weeks, Jacob Black became part of my, and Isabella's life. He ate with us, he slept in the croft and he made himself scarce so that Isabella and I could be one, although we often either just snuck out or waited until we could hear him snoring and went about it anyway. But more than anything he trained me, he taught me, he gave me physical and mental strength, and he gave me the wherewithal to keep myself alive. "Just remember Cullen. Keep your head. If you keep it mentally you win. If you keep it physically you win. If you lose it, that's it. No more life, no more immortality. Wounds heal, but you can't stick your head back on."

One of the first things he explained was regards to that pain, the one that I could feel in his and in James' presence. "The Quickening," he called it "It compels Immortals to battle each other" he explained, "we pursue The Prize within The Game. When the few who remain participate in the final battle, known as the The Gathering, there will be only one of us left. One will live, one will attain the prize. It might be you, it might be me. It just can't be James".

Each day we would venture to a different area near to where we stayed. Perhaps the loch side, or at the top of the Glen, and sometimes in the forest. One day as we were fighting with our swords, Jacob accusing me of having all the skill of a child with a wooden stick, he managed to break my heart.

"You shouldn't love her, you know" he shouted as we dodged around the trees, trying to outsmart one another, ducking and diving, our swords clanging as they met forcefully.

"I can't help it. She's my life, my everything"

"But you can't love her forever, you won't die, she will. And you'll probably break her heart before that - you cannot give her children, she wants children. You should leave her"

I could feel the rage building up inside of me, as I fought harder and harder, my anger and sudden resentment pushing me to try to hurt him physically as his words had somehow managed to hurt me mentally.

"I will not leave her. We will work it out".

"I loved three times over the past eight hundred years. And each time, they have not had the children that they desired, they have lived to be old and I have stayed young." His breathing was becoming ragged as he tripped and stumbled as I managed to move him backwards into the trunk of a large tree. I pinned him up to the bark, my sword angled towards his throat.

"I will work it out. I will beat James. I will win the prize. She and I will have our lives together."

I brought my arm down, my temper abating, and turned on my heel, running back to my Isabella, to assure myself that she was there, for me. My love.

I couldn't help myself that night. I had to be with her, lay with her, make her mine, claim her again and again. She was my everything, more important to me than anything, and it seemed that because I could not die, I also could not give her what she wanted, bairns of her own to bring into the world, to love, to teach, to cherish. She never mentioned children, but I could see that it was something, perhaps the only thing, we were missing. If I was immortal, and she was not - that was another matter. I would perhaps live eternally. She would probably see another thirty winters. A lot to look forward to, but not enough, not an infinite amount. One day we would be apart forever. The thought tore through my head into my heart and caused it such pain that I thought perhaps I wasn't immortal after all.

I took her hand after we had finished eating dinner and Jacob was sleeping in front of the fire, his britches covered in grass from the days training, his boots caked in mud, and creeping past him I lead her silently outside. The sky was dark and full of clouds, the only light coming from the fire and candles in the croft and occasionally from the moon when the clouds past it by leaving it exposed to the world for a few moments at a time.

We sat a little distance away from the croft, resting underneath the only tree next to the burn, and as we sat against it, I pulled her to me, hugging her tiny waist with my rough hand. She rested her head on my shoulder her dark hair waving down both our bodies, and she sighed a deep, happy, sigh, pushing herself into me as closely as she could.

"I love you, lass" I whispered, my lips skimming over her forehead

"I know," she whispered back "I love you too".

She lifted her head and looked at me, her eyes studying mine, one of her hands steadying my chin.

Very very slowly, she moved towards me, her eyes staying fixed on mine, her right hand still holding my face, controlling and restricting my movements.

"Isabel-" I started

"Weeshed" she quietly interrupted, as she moved her face still closer to mine.

It seemed like a lifetime, but eventually our noses met, her eyes closed and she moved hers against mine, the tips rubbing so gently together. Her right hand moved up to my cheek and her left under my shirt, rubbing circles on the skin at the bottom of my backbone, causing my flesh to shudder at her touch.

She gently moved her head to one side and moved her nose away from mine. I froze at the lack of contact. Then she equally gently pushed her soft lips to my chapped ones, licking the bottom one lightly, causing me to open my mouth to hers.

I couldn't bare it any longer, I clamped my mouth onto hers and kissed her as hard as I could, my tongue in her mouth, pushing in and out, licking along the gums just above the backs of her top teeth where it made her laugh, as I maneuvered us around and pressed her perfect, yet unfortunately still clothed body onto the damp ground.

Isabella wriggled a little underneath me, and let out a giggle against my mouth "tree root in my back" she muttered with a wide grin, squirming her fantastic, and yet still clothed body until she found a more comfortable position to lie. The jiggling underneath me caused a number of things to happen at the same time. Firstly, she found an area of ground that was root free, soft with moss and grass, and thankfully nothing left by the sheep or deer. Secondly, my cock that had already been on the way to becoming hard just having been in her presence, literally sprung into life, the friction between our bodies meaning that I was going to lose any semblance of gentlemanly behavior that I thought I could muster, and I was going to have to have her. Now. Now would be good. I kissed her harder, and harder, her sweet tasting mouth meeting me in retaliation, our hands grasping at each other's clothes, trying to find flesh as quickly as possible.

Around us, the wind was starting to pick up, and I could feel the smallest of rain drops hitting the bare sections of my legs that my kilt kept naked. I lifted mouth away from hers and smiled down at her, her face flushed already, her brown eyes dancing.

"Just 'cos you have a crooked grin that could melt the winter ice on the burn, doesn't mean that you can charm me, Edward Cullen..." she teased.

"You think, Isabella Cullen, that you can resist me?" I queried, grinning broadly at her words. Her eyes opened wider, and I went in for the initial kill, attacking her neck with my mouth, licking and sucking my way down towards her collarbone, then along and back up the other side. I nipped at her ear and she laughed, a throaty chuckle, and then I started kissing her again, gentle soft kisses, brushing the stubble on my chin against her silken skin until I reached the uncovered rise of her breasts, which as she was now arching her back were conveniently closer than they had been moments before.

Her fingers were pulling through my hair, scraping roughly at my scalp, backwards and forwards, then brushing around the tops of my ears as if she held a feather. Every touch, both the rough and the smooth, felt unimaginably magical. I could never believe that she was mine, that she could control me like this, that she could make me feel like this. So powerful that I could take on the most dangerous and fierce of the stags on the mountain, and yet as delicate as newborn lamb, breakable at any comment, not stable on my own legs.

I ran one hand up to cup her face, her head moving to kiss and suck the tips of my fingers. My other hand started to untie the front of her dress, removing the strings that held her bodice together as quickly as possible, so desperate I was to feel her in my mouth, that I was not being gentle about it. Within a moment, she was exposed to me and to the elements, her nipples dark pink, hard, taut, waiting for me.

The rain was starting to come down a wee bit harder, off the leaves on the tree we were lying under, and just nearby splashing into the burn and back out again. We were both breathing a wee bit harder now, and as I took one nipple into my mouth and began to tug on it with my teeth she yelped, really yelped and then moaned. I brought my hand away from her cheek, brushing my fingers through her mane of hair and to the currently ignored breast, which then felt heavy in my hand I rubbed my thumb backwards and forwards, backwards and forwards over the waiting nipple. Her hips were starting to buck, just a little, and her breath was warm on my head as she kissed where her fingers had been raking through my hair. I was licking and kissing her breasts now, faster, devouring them, as my hands moved down to pull up her skirts, allowing myself access to her soul. At the same time, she was moving her hands up and down my arms, bringing my shirt with her on the downward strokes until it was off my arms and we were skin to skin, both shuddering, not at the cool air and the rain, but because of the desire, the ache that we both felt.

I ran my hand up her exposed thigh, savoring the soft skin under my fingertips, and the gasps that I could illicit from her just by being that close to her. I could feel the heat radiating from her, and as my fingers crept closer, her face twisted in the sweetest of agonies.

"Please Edward. More. Now. Touch me," she gasped, and subconsciously bucked her hips towards me again. I moved myself down her body, and kissed her thighs, alternating between the left and the right, starting at her knees and moving up, inch by inch, torturing her, making silent promises of things to come, my fingers touching each kissed spot when my lips left it. She was writhing around underneath my touch, her hands scratching at my shoulder-blades and back now, her moans becoming louder and closer together, her breathing erratic,

"Edward Cullen, For God's sake, touch me" she demanded, her voice deeper than usual, husky with her lust "you're bloody killing me here." She was trembling now, spasms passing through her body. I slowly, almost cruelly, licked gently around her folds, teasing her, making her unsure of when it would happen, and then without any warning, let my tongue slip in, while one moved her left leg out to an angle and my other lightly breezed around her clit, causing her to moan loudly again. "Christ, love, you are so wet," I muttered against her, the vibrations from my words causing her to shudder again.

The rain was now starting to pound down around us, and neither of us cared. The rain was pelting onto my back, running in streams off me onto Isabella, and still neither of us cared. What remaining clothing we had on was soaked through. And even then neither of us cared.

All that mattered was that she was starting to tense up, as my tongue drew circles on her folds, drinking in her wetness, and then as I started to plunge it in and out, still playing with her clit with my fingers, she started to become unraveled.

"Ahh, Edward," she breathed, her panting becoming more irregular. I made her feel like this; I made her sound like this, I was the king of the fucking mountains... I could do anything.

"Edward, please, I'm -"

I moved my head slightly and fastened my mouth to where my fingers were on her clit, and moved that hand down a little, pushing one finger, two fingers, three fingers into her, making her gasp and then pant even harder. I twisted them around inside her and felt her muscles clench around them.

As she came, she screamed my name. Best. Fucking. Sound. Ever. Immortality may be mine, but I knew I'd never hear anything as beautiful as my name on her lips as she came. My cock was growing harder with each passing moment, I wanted her so badly, to make her mine again and again, to pound my body against hers, but this was good, this was pleasing. I couldn't give her the bairns she surely wanted, but I could give her this.

She threw her head back as she violently quivered, her whole body vibrating. "Christ, Edward, that was..." The water from the heavens was running across her face, her hair was soaked, she never looked more beautiful. I pulled myself up to her and kissed her. She kissed me back, hard, passionately.

"I love you Edward Cullen." She shifted slightly and onto her side. Her smile widened into a wicked grin. "More!" she demanded, and rolled me over, so that I was now facing the heavens. God, I loved this woman, adored her, worshiped her. She crawled down on all fours towards my feet, wriggling her beautiful arse as she went, and then she turned around, looking back up at me through her eyelashes, her glorious hair hanging loosely around her head, sopping wet, dripping, her breasts hanging deliciously down, her skirts back around her legs, but not for long if I would have my way. She smiled at me, a wicked grin, and licked her lips. I put my head back on the moss, and groaned, allowing the rain to run over my face unfettered, as her hands moved up my legs, pushing the folds of my kilt at they went.

She prowled towards me like a cat after it's pray in the grass, slow and low, looking at me the whole time through her long lashes still, her wicked eyes sparkling as she took in every breath, pant and grunt I made. She seemed to move more slowly than I thought was possible, kissing and licking as she went, moving the rough material of my kilt inch by inch, teasing me, kissing, licking, teasing, kissing, licking, teasing. I felt my breath hitching in anticipation of what was to come. My cock was as hard as the rocks underneath my body, my heart was pounding within my chest, and I pleaded with myself to hold off, to wait for her before I exploded. Suddenly, my cock was cold and wet, and exposed to all the elements. Moments later it was warm and wet, as she carefully and gently put her mouth over it, spiraling her tongue around the tip, sucking and licking, and very very carefully nipping. I gasped to stop myself shouting out, as she took me in further, sucking and licking and humming as she went, one hand working the end nearest my body, the other on my balls, squeezing lightly, teasing with her nails, scratching between the sac and my arse, softly, tickling.

As her mouth went up and down, still licking, still nipping, still sucking, I grabbed at her, trying to be soft in my touch, but knowing that I was almost at the point of no return. My balls started to tighten and I knew that she would feel it. My hips were moving in time with her head, up and down, faster and faster

"Fucks sake Isabella" I gasped, knowing that any second it would all be over.

And then she bloody well stopped. She looked up at me....

"You want me, Edward Cullen?" she asked slowly, seductively, back on all fours, crawling up my body, slowly, purposefully.

"FUCK YES," I yelled.

She grinned again, sat up and then pulled herself up on her knees slightly. She concentrated for a second and bit her bottom lip, and pushing her hair back over her shoulders, slowly, so very slowly moved down onto my cock. She was still so wet. Or wet again. Whichever. I didn't care. She started to move up and down, her head thrown back, her still naked breasts thrust forward, her bottom lip still being chewed in concentration. She looked like a goddess. My goddess. My goddess who was giving me a damn good seeing to, her breathing becoming ragged again, matching my own.

I sat up carefully, meaning that she could draw me more deeply into her, holding her to me so tightly that I couldn't tell who's heartbeat was who's, where she finished and I began. She started to move more quickly, using her knees to position herself, give herself leverage on me. I placed my hands on her shoulders, and took one nipple back into my mouth, nipping at it again, enjoying the react that it garnered from her. The friction between us was almost unbearable, and I could feel the familiar feeling inside my stomach as my climax began to reach its final build up. Her walls started to clench around me again, and I dropped one hand from her shoulder down to her clit, rubbing it in time with our movements

"Isabella, now, come with me now," I cried into her chest, my head between her perfect breasts, and as if on cue she screamed again, repeating my name over and over again as she came for a second time, just as I came, hard, exploding into her, marking her again and again, making her mine, again and again. I clutched her to me, shuddering, and then pulled us both over, still joined, so that she was lying on my chest, and I was back on the ground, my back wonderfully situated on the sticking out tree root.

"I love you, " I said to her, my head and hers at the same level, each word punctuated by a kiss.

"I love you too, Mr. Cullen," she smiled back, copying me by placing a kiss between each word. "But," she continued "I'm soaked as well as satisfied. Can we go back in now? I'm sure he'll be asleep still, we can sneak in and go to our bed". She rolled off me and attempted to loosely tie her bodice back up. I jumped up, fetching back my shirt, and making sure that my kilt was in some form of order, and then swept her up into my arms, and carried her back through the onslaught of water from the sky, both of us soaked, both of us tired, and both of us unbelievably happy.

I left the next morning, entrusting my darling Isabella to the care of Jacob. I knew that he found her beautiful and serene, and I also knew that I could trust him with her. I couldn't bear to leave her for long. Two nights at most, less if the weather held and didn't make the pass difficult to travel. Enough time to get to market with the swords I wanted to sell, a day there, and then back again. She cried when I left. She clung to me for a moment, her arms flung around my neck, her head buried into my shoulder, her legs dangling from the ground, until I pulled them around my waist. I whispered my love for her into her ear, breathing in her sweet clean smell, trying to burn it into my memory. I left quickly after that, not wishing to see the tears, knowing that it wouldn't take much for me to stay with her, to wait until the next market, four weeks later. But she wouldn't wish that - the sooner I left, the sooner I would be back.

I kissed her hard, one last time, holding her still tightly to me, and then gently dropped her to her feet, and left amid much back slapping from Jacob, and promises to keep her safe and happy.

The journey to the market was easy, the rain held off, and the roads were not too uneven and the horse remained fast and unworried. The market itself was as I expected, I delivered and took further orders for more broadswords, and other goods that I could make at my forge. I returned home as quickly as I could, arriving back in Glencoe after the Sun had set on the second night, cold, exhausted, but beyond excited at the thought of seeing Isabella again.

As the croft came into view I knew that something was wrong. I could feel it. I could feel a desperate energy around the glen, the hills seemed darker than usual for that time of night, sadder somehow.

There wasn't a single light coming from the croft. Not the flicker of a candle, not the light of the fire.

No smoke coming from the chimney stack.

Silence apart from the noises from God.

I panicked.

I spurred the horse on to get there faster, faster, kicking my legs against the tired beast's sides, willing him to give me a final chance.

I was aware of someone screaming. Then I realised that it was me. I was screaming her name. As I reached the croft, our home, I jumped off my horse, letting him head towards the burn for a drink, and threw myself at the croft. I bounded through the door, my broadsword in one hand, my sghian dubh in the other. I was aware of my voice booming around the tiny smallholding "Isabella? Isabella? Jacob?"

The furniture was in disarray as if there had been a fight. The table which we ate at was on its side, both benches broken and against the wall. The fire had obviously not been lit today; it looked as if it had been out for a while. There was ash everywhere. And the strangest feeling kept filling my soul, as if he had been here. I kept shouting, screaming her name. When I finally silenced myself, I heard a noise coming from the second room, a whimpering noise mixed in with weeping. I carefully pushed back the curtain separating the areas, my sword leading the way in.

"Isabella, Lassie? Is that you?" I whispered, hoping to God that she was there, that she was okay.

There she was, huddled into a corner, cowering, apparently naked, with the rug from our bed covering her as best she could manage.

"Oh E-e-e-edward," she whispered, shaking violently, her face whiter than snow, black circles lining her dull barren eyes, purple patches showing on her cheeks, her arms, her exposed legs, blood evident above her perfect breasts, which were partially hidden by her limp hair. "Edward."

San Francisco, September 2009

I brought myself out of the mire of my memories, shaking my head as if that could make a difference now. My brain was moving at a mile a minute, my past was my past, and as much as Isabella was the love of my life, Bella was the love of my future. I sank back into the soft brown leather sofa, running my finger carefully along the blade of the claymore that I had removed from the wall.

I would not let James near Bella, I would not let him defile her the way he had Isabella. I would keep Bella safe, I would not, could not fail her as well. I would find him, I would finish him. I wanted The Prize: I wanted to live, laugh and love with Bella, be mortal, have children, have a real life.

I would battle at The Gathering. I had to win.

There would be only one.

**************************

AN: A huge thank you to Kat, who beta'd this for me. And who puts up with me all day, every day. Kat - you are a star.

Quick Glossery:

Bairn - child

Burn - small river / stream

my twa handis swerdis - Claymore sword in broad scots

claidheamohmor - Claymore sword in gaelic (pronounced claymoore)

sghian dubh - small knife (pronounced ski-an du)

Cannae - cannot / can't

Sgurr nan colreachan - the name of one of the larger mountains near Loch Shiel (pronounced s-cuer nan crachan)

If I've missed any - please do PM me.

BTW: This is my first ff & my first attempt at writing smut..... Hope it's ok!