Please consider this a disclaimer for the duration of the story. I do not, nor have I ever or will ever, own anything associated with Twilight... I don't make any money from this and no copyright infringment is intended. The original characters and the plot, however, belong to me... and it is inadvisable to steal my shit, it makes me cranky and you wouldn't like me when I'm angry.

Don't make us late on our first day, Edward, Alice thought menacingly from downstairs.

I was so incredibly sick of first days.

And yet here we were again, another town, another new start, another first day… in Seattle this time. But it was Syracuse before that. And Nova Scotia before that. And Alaska before that… And Forks, Washington before that.

It was oddly comforting to be so near to Forks where I spent some of my best days. I could almost feel her near me, and I absently wondered, as I had so many times before, where she was and what she was doing, what had happened since I left her in those woods 22 years ago.

I wasn't sure if it made me noble or cowardly for never going back- I didn't want to hurt her or disrupt her life by showing up, but I also knew I couldn't handle seeing her go on without me. But it had been over two decades, and while I can't say it didn't still hurt to think about her, it was more of a dull aching pain than the sharp, persistent stabbing feeling that once occupied my chest for so long. Alice had seen her, she was alive and she was well and that's all I needed to know. I left so that she could be happy and lead a normal, healthy life and it made me happy to know that I'd accomplished that task.

So when Carlisle was offered a job by Seattle Grace Hospital's chief of surgery, I encouraged him to take it. The weather is right for us, we can still be out during the day most of the time, and I liked the feeling of being here, far enough so we were safe from recognition by any of the remaining Forks residents who might remember us, but close enough that I could feel a connection to the place that had brought me such happiness at one time. The only place I ever really thought of as home.

I was drawn out of my reverie by Alice stomping up the stairs. "Honestly, Edward, I could spare you some sympathy if you were at least playing with that glorious mop of yours, but you're just sitting here, and I really am anxious for our first day. I have a feeling it will be… interesting," she smirked.

"Should I bother trying to see what you're hiding from me?" I asked.

Impenetrable encryption, she thought, as she proceeded to recite the Book of Genesis, backwards, in Latin.

"Great, let's go." I pulled on a leather jacket and shuffled out to the garage with Alice on my heels, where Jasper was leaning up against my Mercedes. Minutes later, we were in the parking lot of Wilson Regional High School and making our way to the building.

Enjoy your day, Alice thought, taking Jasper's hand and tossing a smile in my direction as we parted ways. In that moment, I sort of envied Rosalie and Emmett's decision to live on their own for a bit and forego the high school façade. They had bought a house nearby and were doing their favorite newlywed act. I loved my family, truly, but Alice's clairvoyance combined with her secretive nature made me want to throttle her sometimes.

I took a seat in the back of my homeroom and looked over my schedule. So we meet again, junior year. So little has changed in the high school curriculum over the years, I was certain that I was in for a very dull semester. Metal shop, great, I can show the kids how I reshape steel without the use of tools or heat.

I looked down at my hands, listening intently to the thoughts of a brand new class of high school humans who would be boring me this year. Yes, I'm sexy… No, don't sit next to me.

It was a little better that it was the first day after summer break, everyone was just starting school and there was less of a spotlight on my siblings and me, so we could blend in easier, which was always helpful.

The bell rang too soon, and I started my day. Time crawled as I moved from class to class, until I seriously contemplated "home schooling" this year. I couldn't figure out just why, but I simply didn't have the patience for school at the present.

Eventually, I made it to chemistry, my last class before lunch. I sat at a lab table near the window and waited while the rest of the class filed in, gazing out the window at a rabbit hopping along the grassy lawn at the north end of the campus. I knew it was almost lunchtime, I thought with a cynical laugh. I heard the chair next to me move and ignored it, hoping to deter whoever planned to sit next to me.

That was when I smelled it.

Something I hadn't smelled in 22 years, something I had missed desperately and despised at the same time.