Dislaimer: Meyer's characters. No money made.
Warnings: Slash and femme pairings, though not explicit.
This is a crazy one shot with a very crackalicious base—and yet still sorta serious in tone. For God's sake, don't imagine an old paperyskinned fart when Marcus comes into the picture. Imagine... Warren Beatty in Dick Tracy.
The Cullens are one million years old.
The world suffered through a nuclear winter. Forgetting how to start fire, mankind retreated back into the caves. Disgusted and world-weary, the vampires let it be. Then on a whim, the vampire decided to ressurect civilization. They recreated the plough, rewrote the Code of Hammurabi, retold the Epic of Gilgamesh. Once set in motion, they were curious to see if history, as humans always worried, could trully repeat itself.
They were ashamed to find that humans were not that imaginative. They even invented MTV again.
Now it's 2009—the second time around. Everything is the same.
Except our now ancient vampires.
Marcus and Bella
"Caterpillar wine," she says. "How... decadent"
Marcus hears her taunting tone, and he is in no mood for teasing. "They were destroying the cherry trees," he snaps, evincing brusqueness and practicality. "We had to do something with them. It's just by chance we discovered they were fermenting in the disposal containers."
They sit on the balcony of Bella's condo. Below them Via Malinconica bustles with Friday night foot traffic, coiffed humans briskly flocking to the latest and hottest party spot. Her butler, Gunther, sets up a small table with lit candles and a bucket of ice for the wine. The neighbor next door kept an aviary of song birds; they were going insane.
"And what lush of a vampire decided to drink caterpillar garbage?" she asked.
His lips twitch in something like a smile. "Caius."
Rather inelegantly he slumps into his chair, and the wicker back crackles under his imposing weight, almost cracking apart. "Apparently, as long as the alcohol is made from animal tissue—no matter how unevolved that animal may be—it's still palatable for us. However, it's only caterpillars we can ferment, so far."
She takes another sip. "I'm sure you look forward to the day when you can ferment human blood." She rests her hand on his arm rest and traces the rivets in his knuckle.
Below a lady stumbles in front of scooter. It veers, narrowly missing her, and her hair snaps in the wind of its wake.
He smirks. "Caius and I may have discussed it," he says.
"I'm sure more than discussed it."
He knows she doesn't like the idea of killing humans. Carlisle and Bella are the last vegetarians. Nevertheless, Bella's no zealot about it. She will even watch the feedings, impassively listening as Felix and Alec attempt to diagnose the illnesses in their food by the taste of their blood. Sickle cell, apparently, hits the palate with a scent of kiwi.
Marcus refills Bella's glass and pushes it into her hand. "Caius mentioned that he was looking into collecting a few diabetic humans. We could feed them special diets. Imagine it: the blood could ferment right in the vein-"
"—I'd rather not hear about your people vineyard."
He grumbles under his breath and purses his lips.
"Tell me about those two right there," she says, pointing to the street with her wine glass. "About their relationship."
Marcus spies a bald, tall man walking with a lady tucked into his arm. The end of his scarf is wrapped around the lady's neck, and he tugs at each step, tightening its hold around both their necks. They laugh, oblivious as drunks lumber out of their way.
"She's incredibly codependent," he says. "It effects her so badly that when he is away on business she suffers from imaginary illness, favorite among them being gastritis. This is despite the fact that she also suffers from dyspareunia so the sex hurts so bad that she sometimes cries mid-coitus, wondering if he notices. He never does. For his part... he absolutely thrives on her need for him. Before her, he felt emasculated, unworthy of being a man. Her reliance on him makes him feel very virile."
He's lying through his teeth. The human couple have been together for ten tranquil years, and the only thing dampening their happiness is her infertility.
Marcus knows Bella feels uncomfortable about topics like "co-dependence," believing that she used to be codependent on Edward. He takes every opportunity to remind her of this. He fears losing Bella, fears that she will go back to that hovel in Canada where all the Cullens live and squirm together like longhorn cattle in the corral.
"It would be interesting to see if you could flavor their blood through what they eat." Bella giggles into her wine, and it erupted in bubbles that spouted liquid up her nose. "Imagine, if you fed a human mainly juniper and fennel—maybe you could create a gin blood!"
"You're... drunk—" Marcus gaped.
"And—" She leans into Marcus's space, her head lolling onto his shoulder. "You could have a human eat only wormwood. That could be your absinthe!"
"You... are drunk," Marcus found himself stupidly repeating.
Bella never talks about human life this disrespectfully. Her sudden brazenness scintillates Marcus to his marrow.
"Hmm." She held the glass up to the candlelight, one eye squeezed shut and the other bulging slightly as she studied its content. "... maybe you're right."
She drops the wineglass then, hardly noticing as it shattered on the floor.
Gunther hears the glass shatter from one floor down and flashes onto the balcony with dust pan and broom, sweeping it away.
"I've never been drunk before," she murmurs. Her words sound almost mournful, and she stares down the street, at a velvet-roped queue in front of a bar.
"You never imbibed once before changing?"
She shakes her head. "I was changed before I was old enough."
"That's almost criminal." He feels enraged over the injustice of it.
She snorts. "Well, some people were very eager for me to be changed. I could hardly wait until I reached the drinking age."
He idly strokes her neck, watching the hairs bristle at his touch. "As I hear it, you were just as eager to be changed as we were, my little contessa."
As he pets her neck he studies that dead artery in her throat and smiles because he can't hurt her for it. They wouldn't be together if she was a human—she would be dust in his lungs now. He can't help but applaud himself for having a hand in her outcome.
"The Volturi and I were in accord in that one sense," she murmurs, leaning into the hand that is caressing her.
Her eyelids flutter, plainly enjoying his touching, and he wonders what he would sense if he was standing on the street gazing up at them. What would he make of their relationship? Would it be a strong connection, timeless as nothing really is—or could he sense its imminent demise, see it fading into a sexy memory to be recalled on a rainy day?
Emmett and Edward
Late at night, Edward stands at his bathroom window. He leans over the sink, the porcelain edge pressed against his stomach, his wrists propped up on the sill. A line of soap suds darkens his shirt.
Arctic moths were once rare, but they have multiplied in recent years. Something in the pesticides mutated them. Moths follow vampires now like they are lights. Perhaps it's the same quality that makes vampires glitter in the sunshine that has attracted them.
And tonight, Emmett is playing with them. He was always the most childish of us, Edward thinks.
Emmett is outside in the cold winter night—he just swam in the pool. He gleams with water, a puddle collecting around his feet on the patio floor. One gas lantern illuminates his back, which faces Edward, lighting his body up in a warm amber glow, and Emmett faces the woods beyond the house, a rolling darkness of pine trees that ascend to the mountains.
There are clusters of moths on his arms and across his shoulders. Emmett's arms are too big, too much. Veins stand in stark relief against his muscle. Too much tissue resides in a confined space.
Emmett pinwheels his arms toward the sky, casting the water off in a spray of bright starlight. The moth wings are winking against his chalk-white, slick skin, and Edward imagines little moth breaths puffing against Emmett's back.
The moths whisper to each other, "We can do it—just flap a little harder, and we can fly him into the sky…"
Jacob and Rose
The imprint wore out very quickly.
Once Renesmee sprouted breasts, Jacob found himself terrified by the prospect of touching the girl he had come to see as a daughter.
The same thing happened with Quil and Claire. Everyone had waited to see how the relationship would transition from platonic to sexual, and when the time came, Quil couldn't resolve his paternal instincts with his carnal desires.
Claire had declared herself a lesbian—and her first lover had been Renesmee.
Today they sit in a park across the street from a high school. They don't go to school anymore, but when Rose feels nostalgic she drags Jacob to this location, and together they watch as the students leave after the final bell.
Rose lays across a picnic bench with her legs propped on top of Jacob's lap. Her head dangles off the seat, her gold ponytail sweeps the grass. He fans her with a fashion magazine—for no real reason, except that Rose preens prettily under the attention.
"Oh, Jacob, look! That's the boy I'm in love with!" Rose yells, shaking his elbow and pointing. She pulls herself into a sitting position.
A fifteen year old boy with platinum ringlets and a full-blown blush walks in front of them. He walks with a bumbling stride telling of a recent growth spurt, and indeed he is over six feet tall.
"He has a scrawny chest though," she says sadly.
"He's plainly gay." Jacob shakes his head, considering his over-styled hair and long lashes. "Why love a gay boy? Why not fixate on someone—"
The boy's skin is flawless and pale. Jacob imagines crushing the fine nose between his two wolf claws.
"Because gay boys are gorgeous and unattainable, and women like me only love the chase," she says. "And because they don't desire me—so they'll never beat me."
Jacob thinks of when he discovered Emmett and Edward in the glass shower together. Emmett was laughing as he daubed a soap suds beard onto Edward's chin with his loofah.
"He could never beat you," Jacob says sensibly. "He's a human."
"He's capable in my dreams."
"You don't have dreams."
Rose stands, twirling as she rises, and her skirt swings around her hips. Jacob glances as the fabric catches around her thighs.
"Do you think I could beat you?" he asks.
"I'm not the fortuneteller in the family," she answers, rather cryptically, with a shrug.
Rosie, Rosie, Rosie.
Jacob rolls the name around in his mouth and considers the two venom-slick folds between Rosie's legs.
Rose's twat is awkward to fuck. Soft human shape shifter in the cold cunt of a marble maiden—it's something one has to get used to. The first time he entered her, it felt too stiff, like he was fucking a hollowed-out potato.
On the cliff faces of La Push were ancient drawings depicting his ancestors tangled in battling embraces with the cold ones. He saw it and remembered craning over Rose's back and poring sweat onto shoulders. He wondered what his ancestors would think of him.
He has kissed every female in the Cullen clan—he's practically their escort. It makes him wonder why, in all these years, he hasn't sought a partner outside of this family.
It is a vampire thing to stay within the coven, he knows. Once a coven lives together long enough, they develop almost a hive brain and frequently tour each other's partners. What was arousing for one member was immediately attractive for the other. They thought as a unit in many ways.
He is the only member of his (long dead) wolf pack to imprint outside the tribe. He'd long accepted he is more vampire than wolf.
He tilts his head back against the bench, back until it feels as though his neck might pop off—could he break his own neck? He has the strength.
He has it.
Esme and Renesmee: Materfamilias
Nessie is only ticklish in her sleep.
The older Nessie gets, the less she needs sleep. Her schedule is irregular at best. Sometimes she goes weeks without it, and then she'll stay in bed for several days at a time.
Esme does housework while she's in repose.
The walls of their bedroom are lined with shelves of their respective knickknack collections. Nessie collects snow globes (432, all from different cities), and Esme collects porcelain animals, all of mythic origin. Her favorites are a four inch tall Ming dynasty dragon and a Danish mermaid with sapphire inlaid eyes. She cleans them with a feather duster and sings Duke Ellington.
Sometimes Nessie rolls over, sniffing or mumbling in her sleep. Then Esme brushes the feather duster across her neck, and Nessie swats at it, her face screwed in irritation.
Esme hears her other children whimper and sigh in other rooms. Hears Carlisle pacing the floors, content and alone.
She loves them all in their own way, but she's fondest of her Nessie. After all, the girl was named partly for her. The rest of her children were collected by and by, vampires that drifted to her home or Carlisle's charity cases. She's loved them all, but none were born into her family.
Renesmee, well, she's the culmination of the Cullens in many ways.
Just thinking about it, and Esme's womb starts to itch with heat.
Sweet Carlisle—dewy eyed, aquiver with compassion—was wedded to humans and all the abstracts ideals humanity encompasses.
Esme is wedded to nothing so noble. She is wedded to her family.
Edward and Bella
They meet once a year on their wedding anniversary. Bella is with Marcus, and Edward is confused, but they set all this aside on August 13, when they rendezvous in a small conch house in the Florida Keys. The sunny locale is mandatory: it forces them to stay in the house together all day, no matter how uncomfortable and tense it becomes.
Bella steps into the house at dawn. She stands uncertain in the open doorway, and the rose morning light gives a faint glimmer to her skin, almost like she spent the previous night at a nightclub and still wears the remnants of her body glitter. Slowly, she tugs at each finger of her white elbow-length gloves and tosses them onto an end table. Then she removes her Panama hat and shakes her hair out of its loose bun, and before Edward's eyes, his Bella emerges from the stiff woman that entered.
"Come here," he whispers, opening his arms, inviting her to sit with him on the couch.
"How's Nessie?" Bella asks. She sits on the couch, angled away from him, studying a Matisse print on the wall.
"I think she's being pressured into having children."
Bella appears less than shocked. "Esme would make a good grand-mother.... or whatever she'd be." Bella shrugs. "It's just seven years of raising it. Why not?"
Edward nods. Nessie's apathy toward motherhood does worry him sometimes. They know she's in no danger, as they've witnessed several other hybrids endure childbirth. Though the pregnancies were as harrowing as Bella's, all the women regenerated fully afterward.
The Cullens have certainly endured worse pain than that.
Nessie can't stand the idea. For her first thousand years or so, she would dream about her birth. Edward understands that the experience was probably traumatizing, especially if she remembers it. However, it's disturbing that she can still be afraid, after all these years. Having a phobia for a million plus years is beyond tenacious.
"I know a vampire in Bosnia who used to be a social worker," Bella says. "I'll give her his email. He holds therapy session via web cam."
At Bella's mention of mental health, he remembers to bug her. "Are you eating any better?" Last time he checked, she only ate octopus, and that was rarely.
"I... it's fine." She smiles to herself. "I've been drinking a lot of caterpillars."
"And Marcus allows his paramour to survive off of larva?" He doesn't disguise his distaste as he speaks.
Bella doesn't flinch at his cold usage of "paramour." She gazes at his ear. She never looks him in the eye, and he wonders if it's because they are red.
"Hold me," she says. She slumps into his chest.
He sighs, and lifts a hand to her hair, running through his fingers.
"Do you want to...?" she asks.
His hold tightens against her scalp, and she squirms. The smell of her arousal flushes the air. "Of course," he mutters into her hair, and he hears the sound of buttons popping and fabric tearing as she yanks off her blouse.
They have their differences. They've been alive too long to not accumulate a few grievances, and even if they could forgive everything that's been done, their love feels a little worn thin.
They broke up on an island in the North Sea the year Gutenberg was born. The break up was simple and uneventful. Bella was so good at faking it during sex that she could even control the spasms in her body. At her discretion, her warmth would clamp around him, and it felt like she was having an orgasm. On that day on that island, they had been making love when her mental shields slipped—and Edward saw how deathly bored she was.
He asked how long it had been like this.
She said, "Since the pyramids were built."
Still, he knows she's his wife, and they will always come back to each other.
"Bella." He's pulling up her skirt- and there she is, a spread of cool red flesh. "Bella. Bella. Oh Bella..."
Because all in all, they are a habit too glorious to break.
A/Note: Caterpillar wine is very real. You can google it.
We'll return to our regularly scheduled Emperors program shortly. I just had to get this outta my head.