Title: Twilight Soldier
Author: Azure the Dragonlady
Disclaimer: Don't own Dark Angel or Twilight.
Summary: Dark Angel/ Twilight Crossover. X5 Bella/Edward. No Pulse. After escaping the harsh treatment at the hands of a secret government organisation known as Manticore, X5-472 has tried to settle into life as an Ordinary with varying degrees of success. Going by the name Bella, which was given to her by the CO of her unit, Zack, she comes across the Swan family and is soon adopted by them.
Years later, after an Eyes Only broadcast revealing the possibility of her location being compromised, she decides to go to a small town called Forks. There, she meets Edward Cullen. They both have their seeming impossible secrets, but that doesn't stop them from being drawn to each other. However, when Bella's past finally begins to catch up with her after ten years on the run, she finds that her life just got even more complicated.
Author's Note: NaNoWriMo 2009/2013 Entry. It is set during season one of Dark Angel. This chapter is not beta'd.
Chapter 15: Questions and Answers
On an average night Bella would have horrible nightmares about Manticore and about the things that happened to her and her siblings there. She considered that the worst nightmares she had was when her imagination got involved and she dreamt about either what did not happen or what could have happened, like when she relived her vivid dream about escaping with Ben. These dreams left her shaky and depressed, wishing above all else that Ben or Zack or any of her other siblings was there with her today. These dreams made her feel very lonely and isolated, like she did not belong with the Ordinaries.
When Bella woke up the next morning after Edward dropped her off she felt strangely refreshed and almost carefree, contrary to what she would normally feel. She sat up in her bed and stretched, almost cat-like. She got out of bed, and found to her surprise, although maybe not considering her feelings when she got up, she had a slight spring in her step.
Bella began to hum one of her favourite classics, Clair De Lune. Renee introduced the young X5 to this genre of music when Renee and Charlie first separated. Strangely attracted to the tune, the young X5 was entranced by the melody. It made her feel at home and most importantly it also made her feel safe although this was illogical and contrary to how she was raised.
As she got ready for school, Bella could hear Charlie slowly moving around his bedroom. She had just poured herself some cereal for breakfast when the sleepy-eyed police chief stepped into the kitchen. He looked blearily at her and she gave him a wide smile. He blinked at her in surprise; it was not often that he saw his adoptive daughter smile and thinking back on it, Bella's smile faltered a little. Normally, she would not have much to smile about, but in this case, she did and Bella believed, judging from Charlies own smile, that he was happy because she was happy.
"Good morning," Bella greeted chirpily as she placed another spoonful of cereal into her mouth.
"Morning, Bella," Charlie said, still in the midst of waking up from sleep. He turned the kettle on and sat gruffly down at the table, collapsing with a tired slump to his shoulders.
The two sat in a comfortable silence as Bella munching on her cereal and they listened to the whistle of the kettle, loud in the otherwise silent kitchen. Within a few minutes, the kettle started whistling loud and Charlie, drawn on by the promise of coffee to start his morning, stood more enthusiastically then he'd sat down and made his coffee eagerly. Bells sat silently watching him for lack of anything else to watch, as she ate her breakfast.
She'd almost finished when Charlie had again sat down in front of her on the small kitchen table. When Bella finished the last of her breakfast, she quickly washed her dished and retrieved her backpack from where it sat leaning against the kitchen bench and made for the front door. As she passed Charlie she said, "Well, I'm off for school. I'll see you tonight."
Bella just reached out to turn the door knob to go outside when Charlie answered, "Have a good day. Stay out of trouble," He said before hesitating, and continued, "Bella, you seem a little … different today."
Bella froze, her hand still grasping the door knob, ready to turn it. Charlie and her had a unique relationship. They did not talk about feelings; they did not have the personality or patience for it. They enjoyed the silent company and companionship that each other contributed to the house. It was not very often that Charlie used his paternal side. Bella could only conclude that her behaviour and attitude this morning was totally out of her normal range of behaviour.
When Bella woke this morning she had just focused on her feelings, which were quite different then what she was used to and therefore did not think about the cause of the feelings. Her positive, out of character emotions could all be related to one person – one individual – Edward Cullen.
Charlie cleared his throat at Bella's lack of response. It snapped Bella out of her monologue of thoughts.
"Look," Charlie said awkwardly. Bella groaned inwardly as he probably was starting to regret mentioning it in the first place, but he had now committed himself to it and he continued, "All I'm saying is, you seem happier today. Happier than in a long time, since I've known you."
Bella gazed at him, not knowing what to say, or what to do. It was a very accurate observation, but she should have expected that in a police officer, and her adoptive father.
"You're right," Bella admitted quietly. "I'm happy. I'm glad I came here, Charlie." She all but beamed at him. She turned the door knob and walked out, but not without a casual glance back at her adoptive father. He looked stunned, and pleased causing Bella to smile at his reaction. As she opened her truck and slipped inside, her thoughts drifted back to Edward.
Edward made her happy. She realised that now. Since they admitted last night that they had mutual feelings for one another, she couldn't help the grin the manifested, unbidden. He liked her, loved her and she like-loved him. It was a thought that made her very happy and very comforted. She did not think in her life that she would feel such a thing and yet here she was, with these feelings. She let out a pleased sigh as she started her truck.
The bombshell that he dropped on her last night, that he was a vampire, did not deter her in the slightest. She felt oddly content that even though he was this vampire creature, they could still have a relationship with each other. And the fact that she felt this way even though he was a vampire was enlightening enough of her feelings. Edward had feelings for her despite the fact that he knew she still had secrets and that he had just revealed his. Bella thought that maybe, just maybe, she would have the courage and strength to reveal her own secret.
Manticore ingrained in their soldiers from birth that this operation must remain secret. Bella struggled against that order. Logically she knew that while it was important for Manticore to remain secret, it wasn't like anyone would believe her anyway. She knew in her heart that Edward and perhaps even his family could be trusted with her big secret.
Zack, she knew, would be dead set against her telling them anything. He would also be dead set against a relationship of any type, especially now that she knew he was vampire. Zack would say that there were a lot of unknown variables and it wasn't worth the risk. He would order her to leave Forks and go to ground yet again. Bella knew that it was what they were trained to do, but the thought of leaving, the thought of not acting on what she was feeling was mind-blowing. She just could not bring herself to leave.
Bella would stay and see what would come of this newfound relationship with Edward, whatever it was and however it turned out. It was definitely worth all the risks. If she were back at Manticore and under Manticore's thumb now that she had no hope of feeling anything like this. Bella knew within every inch of her being that this feeling was worth fighting for.
And besides the way she saw it, Zack ordered the escape this give them a chance to lead their own lives, away from the pain and orders and structure of Manticore. So, what she had with Edward, whatever it was, was exactly what Zack should have hoped for them when they escaped.
Before now, Bella had been surviving, leaving day-to-day, still under the threat with Manticore. Now though, with this relationship with Edward, she felt as though she could live.
Soon enough, Bella pulled into Forks High School. Immediately she noticed the shiny silver Volvo parked in its regular spot and she pulled into hers. Bella turned off the truck and grabbed her backpack before getting out of her truck. As she slammed the door closed on her truck and span around, she came face to face with Edward.
"Edward!" she gasped. She wasn't used to having people sneak up on her like that. Vampires were faster than her X5 advanced senses. Interesting, the unbidden thought came to her. It would be good if they could compare their enhanced abilities, see to what extent Manticore products, the X5's, were able to keep up with the vampires, who were quite literally the top of the food chain.
"Good morning Bella," Edward greeted with his smirk that Bella adored. "How are you today? I was concerned especially after last night."
"I'm good. I really enjoyed spending time with you last night," Bella said with a smile.
Bella looked over Edward's shoulder and saw his family standing there on the other side of the high school parking lot. Bella frowned as she took note of some of their expressions. Rosalie in particular looked angry and when she noticed that Bella was staring at her, Rosalie's expression grew harsher. The expression would be terrifying, if Bella were an Ordinary human, but as an X5 super soldier, Bella returned the look with a pleased smile, if only out of principle. Jasper seemed a little concerned, if Bella could judge from the pinched expression of his face.
However, it was Emmett and Alice's expression that Bella found was most encouraging out of the family. Emmett just looked happy and decidedly unconcerned about the whole affair between whatever was going on with her and Edward. And Alice, like a little pixie, was practically dancing on the spot on the tips of her toes. She looked genuinely happy for her and Edward. It was Alice's expression in particular that Bella found to be very welcoming and heart-warming, like her and Edward's relationship was meant to be.
"Don't worry about them," Edward murmured in her ear and Bella settled her gaze back on him.
"They know what happened last night, about what I know now," Bella deduced correctly.
"Yes," Edward answered simply.
"Did you tell them?" Bella inquired curiously.
"Not exactly," Edward hedged. Bella looked at him closely. She knew there was more to this story then he was letting on. "It's complicated. I will tell you later. The bell about to ring and you should get your things from your locker."
At that, Bella glanced at her watch and saw Edward was correct. Edward held out his hand for her to take. She didn't even hesitate when she moved hers so that their hands were intertwined. It felt right. The feeling of an electrical current, a pleasant one, went up her arm.
"I'll walk you to your locker and first period," Edward said.
"Come on then, we better go," Bella urged as she moved forward, away from her truck. Edward kept her pace easily as they manoeuvred their way into the school, past all the students who were quite obviously staring at them. Bella supposed that this whole relationship between her and Edward was quite sudden and decidedly weird to onlookers, especially teenagers, who Bella had found over the long years of trying to fit in that teenagers did not deal with this kind of sudden onset of things. Ordinaries liked a certain amount of predictability.
Bella's face was set as she ignored the whispering and the rumours. By the end of the first period, it would have gotten around to the rest of the populace, how Bella Swan, the new girl and adoptive daughter of the Police chief of Forks somehow snagged the hottest bachelor of school – Edward Cullen, recluse extraordinaire.
Bella inwardly groaned though at all the attention that their action just brought and will continue to bring. Bella, as she was on the run, was used to blending into the background, determined not to stand out for fear that she would draw attention to herself and therefore somehow garner the attention of Lydecker and other Manticore operatives. Well so much for that inconspicuously. She glanced up at Edward who caught her eye and sent her a smile. It was well worth it.
Edward and Bella arrived at her locker just as the bell rang. She quickly and hurriedly retrieved the books she needed.
"You better go to class," Bella said, looking at Edward.
"I can walk you to yours," Edward replied.
"Nah," Bella said dismissively. "You'll be really late. And we're already the talk of the school."
"It does not bother me at all," Edward said unconcerned, but he considered something and looked more closely at Bella. "Does it bother you? All this talk?"
Bella smiled. "No. I'm just glad we're together in whatever capacity this is. But you still need to go to your class. We'll meet again at lunch. Save me a seat?"
"Of course," Edward smiled.
"Got to dash then, see you at lunch," Bella said hurriedly and she resisted giving him a small peck on his right cheek.
She got to first period, not last thankfully, but still with enough people seated to draw attention when she made her way to her seat towards the middle of the room. Her seat was right next to Jessica, one of the school gossips and she inwardly groaned to herself at the look on Jessica's face. She was in for a grilling and interrogation the first chance the Jessica got to start it. Bella resisted the urge to bang her head down on the desk at the thought. She would almost wish for Manticore's style of interrogation over a petty Ordinary teenager's desire to fuel gossip mill.
Thankfully though, Jessica did not have the opportunity to begin her interrogation and Bella only had to sit through the silence of wilful stares which promised an interrogation.
A few minutes before the bell was scheduled to ring, Bella ensured she packed all her things so when the bell did ring, she was the first one to dart out of the classroom. She would have been almost to her next class when Jessica even walked out of the classroom, amidst all the other students. Bella could not help but laugh at that thought.
The next few lessons were uneventful, although Bella did seem to be on the receiving end of quite a few curious stares, which reminded her of Edward's ability and she thought of how he would be coping, receiving all their thoughts about her and Edward. It would be really hard for him to try and tune them all out, Bella thought, suddenly a little concerned for the vampire.
As soon as the lunch bell rang, she gathered all of her things and proceeded to her locker, dumping her things in there haphazardly, determined to get the cafeteria. When she reached the cafeteria and stepped through its doors, she scanned the noisy room. Despite her rush, there was a crowd of student already gathered. Her eyes settled on a lone figure on the table away from where this figure normally sat. It was Edward. Bella started towards him and as soon as she did Edward turned round to look at her directly. Bella glanced curiously at the long line for food, but looked back at Edward when he started gesturing at her to take a seat. When she walked around to the opposite side of Edward, she noticed his own plate full of food, the food that she normally brought at the cafeteria.
"Hungry?" Bella asked as she took her seat.
"Not for this," Edward replied with a wry smile.
"Oh," Bella said, "Then what's all this for?"
"I got this for you."
"You did not need to do this," Bella said quickly.
"I know," Edward answered just as quick. "But I wanted to." And with that he pushed the plate and tray of food over to her, which she accepted gingerly, knowing that she did not want to cause an argument and thus cause a scene in the cafeteria.
As Bella began to eat her lunch, she glanced around the cafeteria lunch room with mild curiosity. Most students, especially the ones in her year, were looking with open curiosity and even a few with distain – such as Lauren. Mike and Eric on the other hand were looking at Edward with bitterness, their expressions so awkward on their faces that Bella stifled a laugh as she turned back to her own table to Edward sitting across from her.
"May I ask what you are thinking?" Edward asked her softly.
The smiling still prominent on her faces she replied, "Just the look on the guys faces."
Edward glanced over at them.
"Can you…" Bella hesitated. "Can you read their thoughts?"
Edward turned back to Bella and answered, "Yes."
"Are their thoughts as funny as their facial expressions? I do wonder," Bella commented with a laugh.
Edward gave another glance at the Mike and Eric before he replied, "They are jealous."
"Of what?" Bella asked immediately.
"Of me. Of our… they are not sure what to call it. They are surprised we are sitting together… it was sudden for them. They cannot comprehend that this is actually happening."
"Hmmm," Bella murmured thoughtfully. "I guess they have good reason to be jealous. I am sitting across from a great looking guy after all."
Edward froze at her statement and if vampires could blush, he would have been bright red. Bella burst out laughing at the same time there was another roar of laughter. Bella looked over curiously before she realised it was coming from the Cullen table and from Emmett in particular. Bella smiled over at Emmett who grinned mischievously back at her, giving her a thumbs up, which promptly caused another round of laughter between them.
"Just kidding," Bella said finally turning back to Edward. "You know, you should really take a load off. It's okay to laugh at least some of the time."
There was another roar of laughter from the Cullen table.
"It seems my family would agree with you," Edward stated.
"Well you do have a sense of seriousness about you. You've got to live a little though," Bella told him and a little softer added, "I know this from experience".
"Oh?" Edward questioned fully aware she let something slip.
"Yes." Bella said, hesitating sightly before she elaborated. "Because of my past, I recently came to the conclusion I wasn't living to my fullest capabilities. Now, I don't know about you, but I don't take this as a good thing. There are worst places to be in, mentally and physically as well."
There was silence and Edward looked at her and Bella felt that she was being scrutinised. It made her feel momentarily uncomfortable.
"From experience," Edward murmured it seemed like to himself.
"Yes," Bella said. "I've gone through a lot of crap in my life, but a few good things have come out of it like my siblings, like Zack."
"Of a sort. Not actually biologically, as I've told you, but my brother in heart nonetheless. Zack, would take care of us," Bella admitted softly there was a pause before she continued, "But enough about me." Her sombre tone was suddenly bright. "What do your siblings think about me knowing your big secret?" Bella asked curiously.
"They are happy for me.. for our relationship and that you seem so accepting of … what I am," Edward said, albeit somewhat reluctantly and Bella knew that he wasn't telling her something.
"But not everyone," Bella guessed correctly.
"No, some are concerned. It is very important to keep what we are a secret. Otherwise it could bring trouble down on us, on everyone here in this town," Edward admitted.
"I won't tell anyone. You have my word," Bella said reassuringly. "I'm good at keeping secrets."
"I can tell you have some of your own," Edward told her honestly.
"Yes, when it comes to you though, I seem not to be able to help myself but let a few secrets or things slip," Bella said. "But… just give me some time, please. I will," she hesitated slightly as she went against her training that had been grilled into her from when she was a child, "I will tell you but it's a big step for me."
"I know." This time it was Edward's turn to reassure her.
"So," Bella cleared her throat. "I'm quite curious."
Edward stared. "What are you curious about?"
"You are… you know," Bella said, glancing around to ensure no ordinary was within hearing distance.
"How old are you?" Bella blurted out in question.
"Seventeen," Edward answered promptly.
"And how long have you been seventeen?"
Edward's lips twitched and Bella looked closely as she waited for his answer. "A while," he admitted at last.
"And you just go through high school again, for a while?" Bella asked curiously.
"It's easier to stay in one place for years when the younger you pretend to be, the longer you can stay."
"So you move around a lot," Bella deduced.
"Every five years or so."
"How long have you been here?"
"Two years. We will have to move again soon."
Bella's heart sunk at that thought. For some reason she had not anticipated this answer, although she knew it was logical. She didn't like the thought of Edward leaving. It made her stomach tighten horribly at the thought.
"Oh," Bella said quietly.
"We still have enough time to finish high school first," Edward said quickly, noting her facial expression.
"Well, that's something at least."
Bella looked down miserably at her slowly diminishing lunch. There was silence. It was a little uncomfortable and not like the ones she has with Charlie. When she had finally finished her lunch, it was almost time for the bell to signal the end of lunch period.
She placed her hands clasped in front of her and looked at Edward. Having had time to think about things, she realised it did not matter that Edward and his family had to leave in a few years, if their relationship progressed favourably, she would just go with them. In fact the Cullen family moving around and staying under the radar so much would only help her also to stay under the radar of Lydecker and Manticore soldiers.
But for now…
"We'll just have to make use of the time you have left in Forks," Bella said with a small smile.
Edward returned her smile with his own encouraging one. "Yes we will." He reached over to her, moving her lunch tray to the side and unclasped her hand and grasped them in both of his. He seemed to be debating with himself over something and Bella stayed silent, letting him ponder his thoughts.
After several moments he seemed to come to an agreement with himself and he leaned forward slightly. "Bella, I want you to come with me somewhere on the weekend," he said earnestly.
"Like a date?"
Edward hesitated only for a moment before agreeing, "Yes, a date."
Bella's smile lit her face brilliantly and Edward smiled at her lovingly. "Yes! Of course I would," she agreed enthusiastically.
As soon as she finished her sentence the bell rang and with a small sigh Bella removed her hands from Edward's with notable reluctance. She retrieved her previously discarded lunch tray and placed it on top of the provided rubbish bins dispersed within the cafeteria. When she walked back to her and Edward's table and he grinned at her, causing her to smile at him in return.
"Shall we go to class?" Edward asked her as he once again held out his hand.
Bella grasped his hand and intertwined his finger in her own. I could become used to this, she thought to herself, smile still brightly etched on her face. They moved off together to head to their Biology class. Bella, still in her positive thoughts, could very much ignore the stares which continued to follow them through the school.
She could indeed get used to this.
Sorry for such a long wait between chapters. I hope you enjoyed the new chapter. Feedback is appreciated.
-Azure the Dragonlady-