The Last Minute Holiday Fun Times One Shot Contest
Title: Saving Lucifer
Your Pen Name: SarahYoungEun
Characters: Bella Swan & Edward Masen (With minor bits of Esme Platt and Angela Weber; references to Carlisle Cullen, Charlie Swan, Renee Swan, and Elizabeth Masen)
Disclaimer: Stephenie Meyer is the creator of these wonderful characters.
To see other entries in the contest please visit the C2 page:
Title: Saving Lucifer
Rating: M (references to child abuse, foul language)
Pairing: Bella & Edward
Disclaimer: Stephenie Meyer is the creator of these wonderful characters.
Summary: Edward Masen needs help. He's the fallen angel – the Satan – living in the dark shadow of his nefarious past. Bella doesn't have to be involved, but she knows she has to be the one. She has to show him that the evil is the frown of the good, and the good is the smile of the evil. She has to show him that beneath his indifferent mask, he actually yearned for an outstretched hand. She must save Lucifer before it's too late. Entry for "The Last Minute Holiday Fun Times One Shot Contest!" AH/ExB
Extra Information: Mostly In Character; interlaced with Christianity; references to child abuse in later chapters
"Already," Bella Swan muttered into her red scarf.
The girl tugged on her ponytail until it was thrown down completely to cover half her face; she pocketed her hands back into her coat, shrugging her shoulders. The weather changed so abruptly over the last couple of weeks that it was absurd.
Her feet fluttered along the ice of the sidewalks, in a hurry to reach the school campus and arrive to her first class of the week.
She noticed the change of view in the streets, and honestly, she was uncertain if she should be as joyous as other pedestrians shuffling around her.
It was only nine o'clock in the morning of the first day of December, yet the blaring music of Christmas carols surrounded every step of her way. She could see the fancy decorations left and right, and the sparkling lights added to the mood of the jolly atmosphere.
Christmas seemed so far away when she had been too busy cooking turkey for Thanksgiving, and now only twenty four days were left to count. Christmas was definitely on its way.
She still remembered her childhood Christmas mornings – the very Christmastimes when both her father and mother were there to celebrate the day with her.
Every year, their celebrations were ordinary and conventional, but at the same time, incredibly special. Bella would open her presents under the Christmas tree with the ornaments she made at her grade school, her mother would announce that Santa Claus didn't forget to eat his chocolate chip cookies, and her father would sit next to her, excitedly waiting to see how his little girl would respond to the presents.
Bella Swan also remembered the Christmas day when she was fourteen years old.
Her mother's last breath was taken that day after a car crashed into her, and from that day on, her father looked like a man who had all the weight in the world on his shoulders. The rest of her life had been miserable, tedious, and silent.
Her father and she never had a real conversation anymore. They still loved for another, but with a piece of the circle missing, nothing was ever the same. The two shied away from anything related to Christmas, too. Christmas day was a horrible memory to summon, though neither her father nor she ever announced aloud.
Bella tried to shake off the thoughts of her past. She knew far too well that what she had gone through was not tragic in the slightest compared to so many other things other people in the world went through.
And this year, she was going to spend Christmas with her father, smiling and feasting just like her youthful days.
Just like those days.
"The First Noel, the Angels did say was to certain poor shepherds in fields as they lay. In fields where they lay keeping their sheep on a cold winter's night that was so deep. Noel, Noel, Noel, Noel, born is the King of Israel!"
The words blasted through the speakers of a CD store at such early time in the morning, and he hated it. His steps quickened until he was jogging, and from there, his jog sped up to a run.
It was pathetic to Edward Masen. Everything looked like it at the moment.
He would take a look at the gray sky, only to curse it because he once thought God was there to look over him.
He would take a look at a little boy and his mother chortle away with the thoughts of Christmas toy shopping, only to look away because the scene brought him heartache.
He would take a look at that big Christmas tree in the center of the shopping center square with glaring lights that could blind people, only to have moisture gathered in his eyes because it meant Christmas was near and the year was coming to an end. The year was coming to an end when he achieved nothing the past 365 days.
He would take a look at himself in the reflection of the window of a storefront, only to walk away swiftly with a grimace because he looked like a man of wrath.
Everywhere he glimpsed at, there was a reminder of his mother and his presence. Everywhere he stood, he was surer that God had given up on him.
Edward Masen was solitary in the darkness of his soul, and he had no idea what to do.
He didn't know why he came back to his hometown. His plan was something else, yet he came.
He knew he would get hurt in the end. He knew he would find this sentimental yet frustrated feeling chewing off his insides. So why did he come back?
"Why did I come back?" he whispered out loud, his warm breath fogging the cold air. His steps decelerated into a full cease, and when he glanced up, he couldn't help but begin laughing like an insane man.
He was a bit more surprised to see that he was standing right below the grand cathedral of the town. How was it possible that he walked all the way to his least favorite place without even noticing it?
There stood Mother Esme in front of the golden door of the cathedral, clearly shocked. The small wrinkles around her eyes were the marks of her good nature, her kind smiles, her concerns… The woman was as same as ever. The number of years was just that – a number. Time didn't change her temperament.
Edward's head snapped toward the source of the voice, and instantaneously, his breath caught in his throat. He cussed profusely and fluently before pirouetting on his feet, ready to flee.
"No, don't! Don't leave!"
Whether it was her desperate words, his unconsciousness, his guilt, or his curiosity, he didn't know, but he did stay as instructed. Silently, he stood with his back toward her, breathing in and out anxiously.
The woman appraised the man with amazement. He had grown from a sweet teenage boy to a handsome man. He had grown so much taller; his facial features were more masculine and mature, while his shoulders have become broader… Edward had turned into a strapping young man.
But there was one thing that didn't change. Even in that smallest minute he was looking at her, she never missed the ambiance of his eyes. The boy's eyes were the same dull green she last saw them – so different from his deceased mother, Elizabeth Masen, who had a sparkling pair of wisdom.
Ah, Edward once had the eyes that were even brighter than Elizabeth's…
"You're back!" Esme said tearfully, bringing one foot on the first step. She was, however, careful not to come too close to him. "Father Carlisle had been waiting for you all these years…"
Grinding his teeth and aiming his lethal glare at the ice below his feet, he tried to ignore the nausea in his stomach.
Mother Esme took quick assessment at his clothes too, and her facial wrinkles folded into a frown. "Oh, dear, you don't have a jacket… or gloves… or a muffler… You must be so cold… Hold on, boy, hold on…"
Then she retired back into the cathedral. Although it was considered indecent for a nun to run back and forth as she was, she couldn't bring herself to care at the moment. God's gift – the boy – had come back, so how could she? The wide grin gracing her features never disappeared as she sneaked a coat from a container near the hall, whispering a quick prayer that she will repent later in the evening for putting her hands on the clothes that were supposed be sent out as gifts for the homeless this Christmas. Then she rushed to the small kitchen, grabbing a loaf of bread and a glass of warm milk.
Mother Esme was out of breath with strands of neatly stacked hair askew when she met the cold December air again.
And then she had to blink away the tears, for the boy was nowhere in sight.
Finally after what felt like crossing the deadly Sahara Desert, which actually was the streets of dazzling Christmas lights and holiday carols, Bella Swan had her feet on the silent college campus.
She had never felt so relieved to be so close to it. But it was short-lived, for that was when a flash of memorable burnt umber near the sidelines of skirting deciduous trees caught her eyes. Her faint solace transformed into one of nagging worry, shock, and curiosity.
First, she thought she was mistaken, but her eyes weren't playing tricks. Below the dim shade of a tree, something lay in impeccable stillness.
Carefully, she crossed the campus in many steps. At her destination, she discovered something surely was there. There lay a man with ears redder than her own blossoming cheeks, lips bluer than her own violet sweater, and skin paler than the ice he lay on top of.
Was he dead?
Bella had to control herself from gasping out loud as she checked vigil in all directions. But no, not another living soul was in sight; it was a bit too early. Moaning a little, her eyes danced back to the man before her.
She didn't even have the time to think; it was instinctual. For unknown reason, she had the urge to revive this man, and so she withdrew her self-knitted red scarf and got onto both knees.
Then she released a sigh of relief. His body had started trembling.
He wasn't dead.
"Are you okay?" Bella whispered, concerned. He seemed too under the weather to hear her voice.
Removing one of her gloves, she tentatively placed one hand on his forehead. She flinched at the iciness. What did he go through that led him here in absolute coldness?
She began to pull the scarf over his neck. "Can you hear me?"
Then things happened in a fraction of a second. She felt a whoosh of air escaping through her nose and mouth, and the girl was suddenly on the pile of rotten leaves, facing the gray sky. Something hard and wintry covered her neck, and she felt as if she would suffocate.
Then an intimidating green was all she could see.
She was so out of logic, and her senses were in overdrive, but if she knew one thing, it was the fact that the coldness around her throat was his hand. Bella lay still, paralyzed with fear.
"You have five seconds," he rasped out. "Who the hell are you, and what were you trying to do to me?"
The man was furious. But somehow, it appeared as if he was trying hard to make himself look dominant…
"I was –" She didn't know what to say. She was a captive under his burning gaze, and it wasn't because of its beauty, for his eyes were far from beautiful at the second. The green was unapproachable and terrifying, and she had a sudden rush of different arrays of emotions pervade her body. For one, she wanted to empathize and mourn for the suffering behind that wall and window of his soul. "I was just… trying to help…"
That seemed to provoke him more. "I – don't – need – help – from – anyone."
"I'm sorry," she breathed.
With a glare, he disengaged his limbs from hers, tore her scarf from his torso, and walked away.
She stared straight ahead at the chalkboard.
Fellow students were beginning to flood into the classroom, taking their respective seats as they prepared for the lecture.
Bella Swan's mind was still rebooting, so she barely took notice of her surroundings; her heart was stuttering from the encounter she had with the frightening man a few minutes ago. She wanted to extract herself from the crystal clear memory, but couldn't.
How could she?
"Bella," her classmate Angela greeted, taking a seat. "You're early today."
She came up for air from the pools of her daydreaming. Then she had to peer away from the chalkboard, for the green reminded of his eyes…
She just nodded.
Her friend's slightly suspicious face swiveled into a scowl as her hand rose to Bella's hair. "What happened to you?" She plucked out the big pieces of fall leaves. "Your hair…"
The girl inhaled, and then ducked, beginning to remove all the bits of debris. "Are the leaves still there?" asked Bella to her friend who had one eyebrow arched.
"Why don't you just throw it into a bun for now?" Angela suggested. She gestured the brown-haired girl to come near, and the friend tied the messy tangles into a neater pile on top of her head. "It looks better."
"Thanks," breathed Bella, not meeting her friend's gaze.
"Bella, what's wrong?"
"Nothing," she answered too quickly.
Angela rested her elbows on the table. "You can tell me, you know."
"It's really not that big of deal. I'm just overreacting," she said quietly.
There was a short pause before the other girl smiled reluctantly. "If you say so."
In matter of minutes, the professor walked in, and the lecture commenced. Bella worked hard to gather her thoughts together and concentrate; after all, winter break was only few weeks away. This meant that the semester would be over, and her first set of grades would be finalized.
But things weren't working out for her because no matter how hard she tried, her head was still up in the air. It also didn't help that several minutes into the lesson, the classroom door banged open. Most students were too busy listening to the professor's oration, but several turned to see a scruffy man walking in. One of these several people included Bella herself.
It was no surprise in universities that some students made habit of attending classes late, while some others left. Therefore again, this was no shock, and the professor paid no attention. His job was to teach, not to babysit the students.
However to Bella Swan, the little attention she had mustered for the class had evermore evaporated because of that student. It was no guess that her previous attempts for concentration were now completely lost.
Her interest and attention were restored and directed to none other than the boy himself as he moved to sit in one of the empty seats in the front.
Except, he was no student of University of Washington.
He was that boy who pummeled her to the ground when she had tried to help. He was the reason she had to tie up her hair.
He was the reason she was so off-color right now.
Angela nudged Bella. "What are you staring at?"
"Nothing," Bella answered breathlessly.
Her friend didn't take that as an answer this time. Her eyes followed Bella's stare, and she too found her gaze drawn to that boy with crazy hair and just as crazy eyes. She frowned. "I never saw him before. Is he a transfer?"
Bella was still speechless.
Then Angela's eyes widened, moving her eyes up and down his form. "Did he just fly here from Australia or what? Look at what he's wearing! He must be freezing!"
The boy was clad in jeans that were so dirty that the true color of the pair could be the flashiest yellow, and a filthy shirt; his shoes looked as if they could get holes if he took another step. His clothes were far from those worn in Washington during December.
But Bella began to wonder. How was it possible that even when it was glaringly obvious that he was perpetually aloof and angry all the same, he was still beautiful in it?
Frightening but beautiful… Evil but luring, he was.
Like Lucifer, for instance, a fallen angel who turned into Satan.
Bella got chills down her spine at the comparison she made. It was uncanny that it made absolute sense.
That boy was just like Lucifer.
Bella was never impulsive. She was collected and logical nearly all the time.
But this time – just this time – she was going to let her unreasonable side take over.
She didn't even give herself time to think why, because if someone should ask her that, she'd blush and say she didn't know either.
It was well known to people around her that her loving and caring spirit was one of the most prominent parts of her essence. But it didn't make sense even to her own self that she'd care so much for someone who threatened her like that.
He was supposed to be dangerous. It was obvious. He didn't want help either; he made that very clear. Bella wasn't stupid; she knew.
But maybe it was because she knew that furious mask on his face. She saw it before. In fact, quite several years ago when she was a choleric high school student, she had that very face herself.
Maybe it was because he looked so lonely under that mask of a demon. She was lonely too, once upon a time.
Maybe it was the fact that she felt grief over him, although she knew nothing about the boy. She didn't even know his name, and she didn't even know what his voice sounded behind that gruff hum this morning. Yet, she was compelled.
Maybe it was because she wanted to believe that he wasn't always that angry and sinful. She wanted to believe that he could get better.
Maybe it was that she wanted to see a smile on his face. He had such lovely features… How would he look if he truly smiled?
Or… maybe it was because she was once a Lucifer too, and wanted to help.
Yes, she was once crestfallen. But for her, everything had become better when she met someone.
And now, just like the way that someone helped her out from the mayhem, she wanted to be the guide to lead him out of it too. That was why she was dashing through the blaring streets of Washington, taking her first step to save the fallen angel.
As she dodged through the nooks of the streets, her head suddenly cleared from its twirling thoughts, and finally, she realized one pivotal fact.
He wasn't intimidating, after all. He seemed intimidating to her because she and he were so similar. It scared her because he was a remnant of her past.
Yes, that was it.
"Mother Esme?" Bella called as she ran through the gates.
A pair of legs traversed, and a nun's face appeared from the side door. Her serene grin was welcoming. "My Bella! You're here!"
The young woman, still breathing heavily, brushed a strand of her hair that got caught in the webs of her eyelashes; tears stung her eyes from the harsh winds that blew against her while she had been running.
Esme waited patiently.
And Bella Swan only had one thing to say. "I'm confused. I think I need help."
"I'm always here," the nun said, gently gesturing her to come further inside.
"Yes, that's exactly the point." Bella shook her head to herself in disbelief before smiling in melancholy. "I have to tell you something."
Bella met the nun during the winter break of her graduating senior year of high school. It was already three years ago. Mother Esme brought her out of the rebellious and immoral state she was in, and helped her repent and reborn into a new life.
Bella had a lot to work on it, still. Nevertheless, the progress she made was commendable. The loss of her mother had been the start of the havoc. Esme knew this, and so she became a mother for her herself.
The girl knew she could tell Esme everything.
And so she did – for the millionth time.
The girl didn't know why, but she felt herself fidget the entire time talking, assessing the blue eyes of her mother figure and friend with her own. She wanted to see if the sparkle and the wisdom in those eyes would shift; she wanted to see if she would disapprove.
Mother Esme didn't.
Her face broke into a peaceful smile. "Let me tell you something, Bella," she murmured, taking Bella's hands that were perched on the pew next to them. "Father Carlisle once told me… and I quote, 'Why don't people realize? Why don't they realize that sins make camouflage for a wounded soul? Why don't they realize that sins conceal the tears?'"
"I don't know what to say," answered Bella, feeling warm in the heart at those strongly strewn words.
"Sins aren't good," Esme stated in her sagely voice. "But that doesn't mean the person who have those sins can't repent. Sins have their reasons. It's just that most people don't realize it."
"But how does that matter with –"
"It matters with everything," Esme interrupted with the rare mischievous expression hidden behind that usual smile. "'Give, and it shall be given to you. For whatever measure you deal out to others, it will be dealt to you in return.'"
The girl's eyebrows made a thin line. "That's a Bible verse."
"If you're so adamant about helping this boy – and to be honest, I have no clue why or how you will – I still have a feeling this verse would make a good place to start."
"But… I just… I'm not trying to be a hero. All I'm trying to do is help him come to you, actually," Bella explained, eyes slowly peering up to the front of the cathedral where glorious and erudite designs were carved intricately. "I just want to be the bridge that will lead him to here. I want to bring him here, and show him the power of this… belief. It helped me, and it can help him too." She suddenly chuckled. "I don't know how and why – especially the why part – like you said. It just feels like my mission after he reacted to me like that. I'm sure he does need help; he just doesn't realize it… just like I didn't when you found me."
"Or, Bella, it could be that he doesn't want one."
Bella nodded. "Yes – or that."
That enigmatic boy didn't return to her first class – or the campus altogether – after that day, and Bella was beginning to realize that the chance was gone.
She began to feel afraid that she missed the right time.
Bella still prayed for the boy, though, when she visited the cathedral the next several Sundays. She still hugged the hope every night before going to sleep, yearning for another occurrence that she'd bump into him again.
Yet, he still never showed up.
However, as she prepared for the last day of school before winter break, she had the strange sensation that today might be the day she'd been waiting for. Perhaps, God would be with her, and he would lead her to the boy.
Or, lead the boy to her.
And so as she sat on her usual seat for her class, hands clutching her backpack tighter than what's normal, she stared at the door.
She chanted her prayer in her head like it was a spell. He wasn't sleeping by that tree this morning, but hopefully, he'd come… Hopefully, he'd come…
And he did.
As aloof, secretive, and aberrant as she remembered from the last time she saw him, he took the vacant seat on the third row, listening to the professor.
Then fifteen minutes before the lecture was officially over, he rose from his position – just like that first day – and was strolling out.
Bella expected this, and was now massacring through her materials as she packed up her paperwork and college books.
Angela's eyes were wide. "Class isn't over."
"Then what are you doing?"
"Saving Lucifer," answered Bella, glee playing on the corners of her lips. She jumped out of her seat and jogged to the door, leaving her friend staring after her.
For this moment – for this split second – she felt she possessed all the confidence in the world. Somehow, she knew this would work.
"Wait!" Bella cried at the figure of the man walking away.
It was obvious he heard, but he made no movement to face the voice. For unknown reason, he was still walking away.
She didn't give up. She moved her feet faster. "Don't leave!"
With her hand, she grabbed his elbow. He flinched at the contact, but turned. His posture was defensive; it was as if… as if nobody ever touched him like that. It was as if he didn't want her – anyone – to touch him.
"Hi," she whispered, giving him the best convincing smile. Maybe he wouldn't take notice in the way her face was flushing and her lips were shaking.
His eyes, for a second, were simply wide and shocked. But the next, the pair narrowed, changing from dull green to irate electrifying neon. "You're that girl."
Bella suppressed the crazy urge to laugh; his voice was as gruff as that last time. She dismissed the feeling immediately, though, because she didn't need him to remember her. It was irrelevant to what she was going to do. "I have something for you. I have a gift."
His errant mask was forever in place. Actually, he looked at her as if she was crazy.
And in point of fact, Bella probably was.
"What do you want from me?"
A smile, Bella thought inwardly. But she never said that. "A chance for me. And you."
His eyebrows furrowed.
Although she was unperturbed by the lack of response, she still had a hard time forcing herself to keep eye-contact with those terrifying eyes. She blindly fished for the box in her backpack. Grinning when she grasped it, she pushed it forward.
He didn't move.
Biting her lip, she reached out to take his cold hands into one of hers. He cringed again, but she acted as if she didn't notice. Bella placed the wrapped box on his palms.
"It's for you, Lucifer," she murmured, taking a step away.
They were both wordless after that. The only notable thing that happened was the boy's glare detaching from the girl, only to redirect it to his hands.
Back and forth. Back and forth.
And then his jaw tensed, and his nostrils flared.
Bella Swan expected this too. After all, she would have reacted the same way if the situation was reversed. She would have reacted the same way if some crazy girl was giving her a gift too three years ago. She knew what it felt to be… Lucifer.
"It's an early Christmas present," she clarified.
"I'm not helping you," she defended herself in a soft voice. She never recoiled from his glower. "I'm offering the chance for you to allow yourself to be helped again."
At those words – at those monotonously yet softly spoken words – the boy felt his heart leaden, and lastly, burst like the Super Nova.
Then with a figurative clink, one of the million icicles in his heart melted.
She was offering him kindness. She was offering help. She was offering him the strength that might help him stand.
"And have a Merry Christmas," she whispered.
His face twisted into something between resentment and disorientation, trying to figure her out. He wanted to know what she was trying to do to him.
Bella took notice of this minute change in his demeanor. And this time, her smile was genuine and not shaky. She wanted to say something on top of that, but instead, she just nodded at him once with a special unspoken message engraved in her eyes – the nod meant so much more than words – and walked away.
Then at the exact second, the classes were being dismissed one by one. The hour was over.
He could see dozens of college students dwindling down the hallway to their second classes, while the others were heading back to their dormitory rooms.
Edward, the Lucifer, was neither these two kinds of students. He was an illegitimate student in this university, standing in the seas of yelling and running people, holding a box that was given to him by a girl he didn't even know.
He wasn't sure what made him take off the packaging, but when he did, his throat tightened at what he saw.
It was the red scarf she tried giving him that day.
But it wasn't exactly the scarf that made a seed of tender emotion sprout deep down in his lifeless heart. It was the sticky note on the bottom of the inside of the box, written in her scribble of a penmanship.
God bless you, Lucifer. You can always rise back from the fallen.
More icicles melted away in his heart as an extraordinary feeling spread through the entire fiber of his being. Quickly, he raised his head and craned his neck, eyes roaming through the thick crowd.
Then he finally spotted the girl, still walking away, her brown hair flying behind her. Her head was ducked, but it was easy to see that she was suppressing a triumphant grin. Edward's eyes trailed after her until she disappeared down the corner.
She disappeared just like that.
He took a glimpse at the scarf again. His Christmas present…
Was she an angel?
A Demon abhors, but at the same time, loves.
A Demon destroys, but at the same time, creates.
A Demon is a shadow of an Angel.
I had no intention offending anyone with the religion. Any points I wrote regarding Catholicism were not for any purpose but to shape this story into one that I thought was for the best. If I had done something wrong with anything regarding to this subject (offending customs, overlooking important qualities, stating wrong facts and details, etc.), I apologize. And please, I would appreciate if you will inform me about this; I'll change and/or delete the detail immediately.
The winner of this contest will be decided by public vote. Voting will be open from December 26, 2009 through January 2, 2010 11:59 PM EST.
I will extend this one-shot to a short chapter story after the contest, so it is recommended to keep up with my updates if you enjoyed this.
I wish you a very Merry Christmas. Have a good one!