Disclaimer: I do not own Twilight, Doctor Who, or any of their characters.
The Doctor hoped this worked. Because if it didn't, he couldn't see another way out.
That's not true. There was always another way out, but not one that he necessarily wanted Bella to take with him.
No, he mustn't dwell on how much danger she was currently in. It would only prove as a distraction. He kept talking, not even really paying attention to what he was saying. Just spouting off nonsense to keep the one called James focused on him and not Bella.
He finished his little speech, slipping his sonic screwdriver out from his coat pocket, and glanced down at Bella. She looked terrified, the poor girl. He positioned his finger over the sonic screwdriver's activation button and winked at her, letting her know it would be alright very soon.
Edward, standing to the right of him, caught his eye and nodded. It was time. Edward knew the plan, just as the rest of the Cullens did, except Alice. They were all okay with what was about to happen and the consequences that might occur. The lanky blonde named Jasper had assured the Doctor that Alice would be okay with it as well.
James' eyes darted between the Doctor and Edward and then he growled, snapping Bella's head to one side, about to rip into her throat. The Doctor activated the screwdriver before that could happen, however.
And it worked.
One second James moved to lunge at Bella's throat and the next he was frozen in place.
'I knew I was brilliant,' he cried to Bella, who was staring at him with her mouth hanging open.
'What just happened?' she asked, turning her head out of James' grip.
The Doctor looked around and then focused back on Bella. 'It seems I was successfully able to boost Jake's power and link him, the TARDIS, and my screwdriver together to lock on to the vampires' higher frequency brain waves, affectively freezing them,' he explained.
Bella was finally able to free herself from James' arm and straightened her shirt back into place. 'They're frozen? Like statues?' she asked tentatively, staring at Edward's still face.
'Yes, in a manner of speaking,' replied the Doctor, reaching out for Bella's hand. 'We need to leave now.'
Bella tore her eyes away from Edward and stared at the Doctor. 'Is it permanent?'
'No, nothing ever is,' he said warily, having noticed Bella's preoccupation with the mind reader. He took her hand in his and they began running south, back toward the Cullen house.
'Are they aware of what's going on?' Bella asked, slightly panting the words as she tried to keep up with the Doctor's long-legged pace.
'I'm not sure,' he answered, periodically glancing down at his sonic screwdriver to see how much power it had left.
'Do you know when they'll come out of it?' Bella looked over her shoulder, fear creeping back into her when she thought of how close she had come to being food.
That was twice in one day.
Maybe she should rethink her choice of deodorant because clearly something about her scent made some vampires go into a frenzy.
'Hopefully when I shut off the signal.'
'Hopefully??' Bella echoed in an almost shrieking voice as they came to an abrupt stop. The Doctor didn't respond as he knelt down to where Jake was standing and patted him on the head.
'I do not know how much longer I can run with this level of power, Master,' Jake said with a hint of anxiety in his tone.
'You're doing terrific, Jake. Just a moment longer,' the Doctor said, flipping open the panel protecting Jake's main input controls. 'Just need to divert the power back to the TARDIS… and then disconnect him… and voila!' he exclaimed, pushing one last button and looking up at Bella with a wide grin.
'But how do we know it worked?' Bella pointed out, casting nervous glances around them.
'Umm… right. Excellent point,' conceded the Doctor, shrugging. 'We wait?'
Edward watched, as best he could, as Bella wiggled out of James' clutches. He couldn't move his eyes, nor his eyelids, mouth or any part of his body. But he could see and hear.
Bella was going to be alright.
And James would pay for touching her, for threatening her life.
'They're frozen? Like statues?' he heard Bella ask, just out of the corner of his sight. It was frustrating to be unable to move his eyes the miniscule amount it would take to see her, but it was enough to know she was alive.
His family members were strategizing, waiting for the moment when they would be set free from this imprisonment.
James and Victoria were howling in rage and spitting vengeance in every thought. Laurent was regretting ever joining up with James, if this was how it was going to end.
Edward heard Bella and the Doctor leave. Relief moved through him the further Bella ran away.
He counted the seconds as the Doctor and Bella's footsteps, breaths, heartbeats, and voices became weaker. He listened to Jasper's cautions, Alice's predictions, Carlisle's warnings, Esme's comfort, Rosalie's wrath, and Emmett's excitement. He filed away James' ravings and Victoria's odium as fodder for his own fury. Laurent was too confused to be of much use, for either side, but he would bear the weight of his companions' sins regardless.
There would be no mercy today.
The Doctor and Bella were not far enough away that Edward had to concentrate to hear them, but just enough that it would take a few moments to reach them. He now counted down the seconds until they would be released. He knew the time was drawing close.
And then all at once his muscles relaxed and he could move.
In the next millisecond he lunged for James. Alice and Emmett went after Victoria. Rosalie and Carlisle went for Laurent. Jasper helped Edward tear James apart as Esme started the fire that would burn all three, marking their exit from this earth.
Before the time it would take a human to breathe, it was done. And then Edward was off, flying over the short distance that separated him from Bella. He needed to be near her. To see for himself that she was in one piece.
'We wait?!' That was the last straw. Bella was good and mad now, working herself up into a right tiff. 'That's your brilliant plan? I can't believe you would put them in that much danger!'
'They knew of the consequences and accepted them. That's why it took so long to get to you. I had to explain what I planned to do and then go get Jake here and position him within 500 feet of you,' he shouted right back. 'Now calm down because lover boy is right behind you, completely unscathed.'
Bella whipped around and gaped at the sight of Edward standing not ten metres away. He did indeed look unscathed, but she couldn't help asking, 'Are you alright?'
'Yes. It took less than a minute for us to… dispose of them.'
'By dispose, you mean…' Bella couldn't say the word, much less think it.
'Yes,' Edward stated, not bothering to hide it.
'Do I want to know the details?'
'No.' He didn't want her to have those types of images in her head. She deserved better. 'Are you alright? Did he hurt you?'
'No, I'm fine,' Bella replied. She turned back to ask the Doctor something, but he wasn't next to her anymore. He was several yards away, talking to the rest of the Cullens, four of which she still hadn't met.
'Want to introduce me to the rest of your family?' she asked, giving Edward a shy smile.
'It would be my pleasure. But may I request a favor first?' Alice saw what Edward had decided to do and shouted joyfully in her mind. Then she warned him to take it slow.
Bella smiled brightly. 'Of course.'
'Would you follow me?'
Bella nodded slowly, looking confused, but determined.
Edward took a deep breath and let it out slowly. He didn't need to do such a thing, but it relaxed him for some reason. Bella's scent hit him hard, but having seen her in James' clutches moments ago was enough for him to want to be better, stronger than his overwhelming lust for her blood.
He turned and walked through the dense trees until he determined it was far enough away for the Doctor to hear anything. He pivoted around and saw Bella stop about the same distance away that they had been before.
He wanted to be closer to her. He wanted to be able to stand next to her and feel the warmth radiating from her body without having murderous thoughts. He knew he was selfish for wanting this, but the only thing that could stop him would be Bella's request for him to do so.
If something were to happen, his family was close enough that they could stop him and he could still hear Alice's thoughts. She would see if he planned on hurting Bella in any way. Alice sent an encouraging thought his way with the image of him and Bella conversing in close proximity without the need of anything standing between them.
That knowledge reassured Edward enough that he took a step forward, watching Bella as her eyes widened and her breaths became shallower. He waited and then took another step forward. Two more and he stood right in front of her.
'Edward…' she breathed, staring up at him with a heartbreakingly hopeful expression. Her heart was pounding away so hard in her fragile chest that he was worried that it would hurt her. Her pale skin turned a beautiful shade of pink, tempting him to reach out and touch her.
He found it was easier to be near her with each breath and Bella performed admirably throughout, remaining still and trying to keep her breathing even.
It was perhaps a few minutes before Edward allowed himself to relax the tiniest amount and smile at Bella.
Her eyebrows rose in question and he nodded, wanting to hear her thoughts.
'Can I touch you?' she asked demurely, another radiant blush streaking across her cheeks.
Edward swallowed. Touch? Could he handle that?
Alice sent vision after vision of him doing such a thing and it slowly built up his confidence.
He could do it.
A touch. A single touch from her, to prove to himself that he could be stronger than the monster living within him.
Edward slowly nodded, amazed that she willingly wanted to touch him, and watched as she gathered her own strength. She reached out timidly and slipped her hand into his, gripping it lightly. The heat seared his skin, but he bore it without flinching, not wanting to scare her off.
'Is this okay?'
'Yes,' he replied, because it was.
How was it possible that only ten minutes ago he had been viciously tearing apart another vampire and now it was as if time stood still while this beautiful, wondrous girl held his hand?
He wanted to touch her in turn.
So he lifted his free hand and softly caressed her cheek with one finger. Edward stared into her eyes, searching for any sign of reluctance or revulsion, but she showed neither. Her eyes, he decided, were so deep that he could stare into them for the rest of his days and never tire of them.
"Windows to the soul."
The phrase echoed in his mind as he tried to figure out Bella's soul. It was an old one – that he recognized almost immediately – but had he a soul himself, would it have recognized hers on any other day, in any other situation?
He thought out of everyone he'd ever come across, Bella was the only one for whom he would willingly give up his immortality, his "gift", his life. For a day, an hour, a minute. To know what it would be like to just be a boy, standing in front of a girl, knowing it was just a matter of time before they fell in love.
Edward took a step back, breaking their connection as he realized his mistake.
He had hoped for the impossible.
He had hoped for her love.
Bella didn't know what just happened, but whatever Edward had thought of before stepping away, he was closed off to her again. She felt harrowing sadness as she trudged alongside Edward, making their way back to the others. Once she had the Doctor in sight, she ran over to him and remained by his side throughout the introductions to the rest of the Cullen family, mustering a smile for each new person.
Edward was staring at her. She knew this because she could feel the heat coming from his eyes, but she refused to look at him. She was being petty, but she was a woman scorned. She needed more from him than he was going to ever give her. Plus she traveled with the Doctor. There was no room for him in her life, so why should she bother?
After chatting away amicably with the Cullens for a while, Bella noticed the sun had almost set, which is when the Doctor turned to her and announced that they should be leaving.
Bella's stomach dropped as she nodded, shooting a look over to Edward. She wanted more time with him, but such was life with the Doctor. They never stayed in one place for very long.
This was what she wanted, she reminded herself. She had left everything for him – her mother, her school, her life – everything to be with the Doctor.
'I need to say good-bye to Charlie first,' she said evenly, proud of herself for staying strong when all she wanted to do was stomp her foot and demand more time.
'Alright. Do you want to meet me at the TARDIS when you're finished?' suggested the Doctor.
'Sure.' She looked around and then flushed. 'Um… which way do I go?'
'I'll take you,' Edward volunteered quite unexpectedly.
Bella shuffled her feet and looked pointedly at Alice, who she thought was her friend. Alice stared back with a smirk. Bella's eyes narrowed and then she sighed. 'Fine.'
Bella waited until Edward walked a little ways into the trees before stomping off after him. She was relieved he hadn't insisted on carrying her on his back.
Fifteen minutes later she found herself in front of the Cullen's house. She looked at Edward skeptically and he gave her a little smile.
'I said I would take you there. You didn't think I meant walking, did you?'
'Oh,' was all she managed to say because she had thought that.
Edward led her to a garage behind the house, right up to a silver Volvo. He opened the passenger door and held it for her as she slid across the seat's soft leather.
The drive over to Charlie's was terse and tension-filled, but silent. Edward brought the car to a stop across the street from Charlie's place.
'I'll wait here,' he said quietly. Bella scrambled out of the car and headed across the street.
Charlie was happy to see her, only giving her a short, stern lecture about leaving the house after he had told her to stay there. Bella played her part of the chastised daughter well, making her bottom lip quiver a little, which quickly halted any further "lecturing". She found a way to say good-bye to him without actually crying and they hugged. Charlie made her promise to visit him more and she agreed, because she really had missed him, and Bella threw in with her promise that next time she would stay longer than a day.
The street lights were the only illumination outside when they waved good-bye, Bella on the sidewalk and Charlie framed in the open front door. Bella walked over to Edward's car and opened the passenger door, slipping inside just a little sadder than when she had left.
Edward started the engine and waited until they had turned off Charlie's street before finally speaking. 'Bella…' he started and then found himself unable to say anything else. What could he say? This was for the best. She was leaving him, just as she should.
But was her leaving with the Doctor the best thing for her? Shouldn't she be with her father or mother instead of traipsing through multiple universes, getting into all sorts of trouble?
'Are you sure you want to do this?' he finally asked, parking the car in an available spot down the street a little ways from the TARDIS.
'Yes. My life is with the Doctor now. I can't think of anything else I would want to do,' she said, only slightly unsure if that was true anymore, before getting out of the car.
Edward exited the car as well and placed his hands on top of the roof. 'Under different circumstances – wait, Bella.'
He closed his door and jogged around the car as she started walking away. He gently reached for her hand when he caught up with her, forcing her to pause in mid-step. Now that he knew he could touch her, he found himself unable to stop. He tilted her head up until her eyes met his. 'Under different circumstances, do you think you… that we… could have been friends?'
'Friends?' Bella repeated, staring into his eyes. When had this boy marked his name on her heart alongside the Doctor's? When did wanting to make him happy become a need for her to fill? Had she really only met him this morning?
It seemed like longer.
'Yes, I think we could have been friends,' she answered, not having to think about it. She would have been friends, acquaintances, lovers with him – whatever he would have wanted and was willing to give. But that was before she met the Doctor. Leaving people behind was what she did now. What she had to do to stay with him.
The Doctor needed her.
Her decision was made.
One corner of Edward's mouth quirked up sadly, almost as if he had read her thoughts, and he released her.
They continued on to the TARDIS in silence and when they reached the rest of the group, they shared a lingering look before Alice grabbed her into a heartfelt hug. Alice whispered, 'I'm glad I met you.'
Bella smiled and squeezed Alice as hard as she could, returning the sentiment. They separated and Bella turned to say good-bye to the rest of the Cullens. The Doctor and Carlisle shook hands and Carlisle gave him an open invitation to visit them whenever they were in town.
After Bella was done saying good-bye to everyone but the one she didn't think she could say those words to, that very person walked up to her. Edward smiled sadly and gently brushed his knuckles across her cheek. 'I hope you have a great life, full of adventure and excitement,' he wished in earnest.
Bella bit her lip and nodded at him, eyes filling with tears as she silently thanked him for understanding her and not making this harder than it could have been. The Doctor called for her to hurry because it was time to go. Bella spent one last minute staring at Edward before he bent down and whispered in her ear, 'Be safe.'
With that he turned and walked over to his family. Bella made her way to the Doctor and hugged his side. 'Let's go,' she said, trying to sound strong, but failing.
They headed inside and not ten seconds later, the TARDIS disappeared. Air and empty space were once again the only occupants where the blue police box had stood.
Edward felt a part of himself rip away in that instant. He couldn't stop looking at the spot where she had just been. Members of his family drifted away, giving him his space, and soon it was only him, Alice and Carlisle.
Alice hugged him, but he didn't respond. 'It's going to be okay,' she said quietly.
Sure it was, he scoffed. He riffled through her thoughts, but she wasn't giving him anything, especially not about Bella. In fact, it seemed she was better at blocking him now more than ever. His eyebrows found their way to each other and a little crease line appeared in between them as he stared down at her.
She let go of him and shrugged. 'The Doctor gave us some tips,' she explained.
He snorted. The Doctor. Of course.
Edward looked over at Carlisle and sighed. It was time to go. Time to become a faux human again and pretend he wasn't dying instead with loneliness. Time to forget that for a second he had glimpsed happiness in the form of a petite, brown-haired girl.
He moved to leave, but Alice suddenly grabbed his arm in an unbreakable grip. Edward frowned and tried to pull his arm away without hurting her, but she didn't budge. 'Wait,' she pleaded, looking over her shoulder.
Edward's gaze followed hers and he heard the sound that had preceded Bella's disappearing. If his heart had the ability to beat, it would be pounding right now as the TARDIS appeared in the exact same spot.
Alice dropped his arm, but he didn't notice as he stared with mouth agape at the blue box, willing for one of its inhabitants to come outside.
The door opened to two astonished vampires and one smirking one. Bella popped her head out. She smiled at Edward's expression and tilted her head to one side. 'You coming?' she asked.
Alice smiled smugly and let him see what would happen if he went with them – he was actually smiling in her vision, which didn't happen often – and he made a spilt second decision. 'Are you sure?'
He needed to know before he would ever agree to do something so dangerous. He refused to think of all the little details that should have been guiding him in his decision and instead focused on Bella and what she wanted. He couldn't deny her anything.
'Yes, I am,' she replied, her eyes starting to shine with something akin to hope. The door opened wider and the Doctor appeared behind Bella.
'Well, come on then. We haven't got all day. Places to see, people to save, a stable to build… things to do,' he said impatiently before disappearing back into the box.
Bella grinned and Edward met her smile with his own before stepping in front of her. 'He does know that the fun part about hunting is the actual hunt, right?' he teased before reaching for her hand. Bella laughed and eagerly entwined her fingers with his. They both turned to wave good-bye to Alice and Carlisle before heading inside.
The door closed behind them and the TARDIS vanished for the final time that day. Carlisle looked at Alice when she sighed. 'Don't worry,' she assured him. 'They'll be back in thirty-three days.'
'You can see them right now?' Carlisle asked curiously.
'No, not right this second, but I know when they'll be back,' she answered with a small smile.
They started for home at a human pace, letting their minds go over everything they had experienced today with the knowledge that they wouldn't have to hide their thoughts any longer, when Alice stopped without warning and glazed out for a second. 'Make that thirty-four days,' she corrected herself with a smirk.
A/N: I've been asked if I'm going to continue this at all and I think I will. It won't be anytime soon since I have to finish RG first, but another adventure featuring the Doctor, Bella and Edward is working itself out in my head as we speak.
Thank you so much for reading.