Hi Everyone! This was my submission for Ms. Kathy's Haiti Relief project. It was a bit of a rush-job, so I'll apologize if it's lacking. This i s my first attempt at writing vampfic. I usually write AH. Anyone who has read my fics (Branded, Road Maps, Encore) knows that I love Emmett. Emmett is the embodiment of the boys I grew up with, not to mention my own brothers, so he holds a very special place in my heart. After he stomped around in my head for a while the other night, I decided to write my take on Emmett's transformation. I'm sure there are some discrepancies with what SM has mentioned over the span of the books, but that's the great thing about fanfic...it's my story! *grin*

BURNING MAN

Holy shit, that burns! I screamed, or at least I tried to scream. I couldn't move, couldn't talk, couldn't do anything but burn.

It started off like a tiny spark, like when I light the fire in the wood stove for Ma, but now it feels more like I'm stuck in the coffers of a steam engine.

The past few minutes, or has it been hours? Days? Weeks? Hell, how long had I been trapped like this? Whatever time had passed, it had been bizarre; I sort of remember going hunting with the boys, and maybe we had gotten into the whiskey, or not, I really don't remember. I DO remember the bear that snuck up on me. The damn thing sucker-punched me and tried to turn me into breakfast. I tried fighting it off but the damn thing shredded me pretty good.

And then I saw her—the angel.

Ah shit, there's my answer right there. I'm dead. If I saw an angel then I must have died, and if I'm burning, I must be in Hell. Ma was right.

Goddamnit! Oops, sorry Big Guy in the sky.

I have to be wrong, right? I mean, an angel that beautiful couldn't belong in hell, could it? She killed the bear with her bare hands or was it her teeth? I don't know. All I know is that she killed it, picked me up, and started running faster than the horses at the Independence Day races in the city.

There were flashes of gold too; I think it was her eyes. I don't know, I mean, it was like we flew someplace and this man with golden eyes was whispering about it being too late, then the angel stomped her foot and said she wanted me.

Wanted me? What good was I to her now? I was in an inferno. I was paralyzed. I was probably dead or worse, IMPOTENT!

Voices drifted in and out of focus and none of what I thought I was hearing made sense. Ma said it was rude to eavesdrop, but...MA! She was going to be worried sick! And who was going to chop the wood or go hunting for meat in the lean months to feed her and the little ones. She was gonna be more than a little annoyed with me.

DAMN, that burns!

Yankee Doodle went to town

Riding on a pony

Stuck a feather in his cap

And called it macaroni

Hmm...why the hell did he call it macaroni? What is it about a hat and a feather that would lead someone to call it macaroni? I think that Yankee Doodle got into the moonshine.

Reciting poetry, singing songs, and going over the Pledge of Allegiance wasn't helping with taking my mind off the infernal burning either. The only thing that offered any kind of reprieve was focusing on the angel's voice.

"He's going to be okay, isn't he, Carlisle?"

"I don't know, dear. We'll know better when the transformation is complete. He appears to be a strong, sturdy lad, so I would imagine that he will be fine. Don't worry, sweetie. Wipe that frown off your face. Talk to him; let him know he's not alone. Maybe if he recognizes your voice when he comes out of it, he'll be less afraid, less volatile."

Afraid? Me? Emmett McCarty fears no one and no thing. Even that damn bear didn't scare me. I wasn't afraid of it; it was more of a challenge than anything.

Holy shit—enough with the damn burning. This is getting a little annoying. Oh, wait, what was that? Cool breeze? Mm...that helps a bit. I wonder what it is.

"I'm sorry, I hope you don't hate me when you wake up. I know I'm being kind of hypocritical because no one gave me the choice, and I totally stole that from you. Please don't hate me.

"God, I saw that bear mauling you and I just couldn't stop myself, there's something about you, mystery man, I'm drawn to you, which is strange in and of itself because..." she choked quietly, "because I don't usually trust men."

Why does my angel not trust men? What did they do to her? I'll kill them all.

"Rosalie?"

Ah, my angel's name is Rosalie, but who is that other male voice?

My angel sighed and sounded annoyed. "What, Edward?"

"He's going to be okay. I can hear him and you're doing a good job of calming him down. He likes hearing you speak and he's already feeling very protective of you. My advice to you right now, though, is to stop playing with his hair so much or else he's going to be bald, and I know how much you love his silky curls."

I heard my angel growl and it was kind of sexy.

"Shut up, Edward."

The Edward guy laughed. "He's an interesting creature, Rose. I think you two are well-suited for each other. I'll keep listening to let you know if something is wrong."

"Thanks, Edward. Oh, can you please stay out of my head for a while? I'd like a few moments to myself."

"Of course. You know where to find me if you need me."

So, it seems that this Edward guy annoys my angel and can read minds. Man, I MUST be dreaming, or I'm in Hell, or...HOLY SHIT! ENOUGH WITH THE DAMN BURNING! Is it ever going to stop?

Ma always said that pain is many things, but its most important purpose is to remind us that we're still alive. I'm starting to think, though, that if this is all I have left to look forward to, maybe I don't want to go on.

"I wish I knew your name, big guy," my angel whispered, taking my mind off my agony for a moment. "I wish I knew who you were. I'm really sorry; I hope you'll forgive me."

Why doesn't she keep asking for my forgiveness? She didn't hurt me, the damn bear did. I've probably got the rabies.

"I can't wait for you to open your eyes so I can explain everything to you, and hopefully get to know you."

There was silence for a long time. I knew she wasn't far away because I could sense her. I don't know how, but I knew she was near. I needed her to keep talking, to take away the pain, to douse the fire that was consuming me.

One hundred bottles of beer on the wall

One hundred bottles of beer

You take one down, pass it around

Ninety-nine bottles of beer on the wall...

...Sixty bottles of beer on the wall

Sixty bottles of beer

You take one down, pass it around

Fifty-nine bottles of beer on the...

"ENOUGH! Please! Rosalie, talk to him. He's singing the world's most annoying song. Okay, big guy, I know you can hear me, so please do me a favour and stop singing!"

I chuckled. This guy was easy to annoy. I could really drive him nuts if I wanted to. Heh heh.

"Oh, dear God, Rose, if he spends eternity making my life hell, you're going to pay. I will make it my life's mission."

"Edward?" My angel asked quietly. "Do you know his name?"

Eddie? My name is Emmett McCarty. Please tell me what's happening and please tell the angel to keep talking; it doesn't burn as hard when she does.

"Rose, his name is Emmett McCarty. He says that when you talk he doesn't burn as bad, and he wants to know what's happening. He also refers to you as an angel. Pfft."

"He won't think I'm an angel for long. What do I do, Edward? Do I tell him now? Can you get Carlisle?"

"Okay, I daresay our new friend Emma here is nearing the end. Did you notice the change in his heartbeat?"

"His name is Emmett, not Emma," she scolded, making me chuckle.

"If he insists on calling me Eddie, I shall persist on calling him Emma. If you'll excuse me, I'll go get Carlisle."

"Hi, Emmett, I'm glad you have a name now, it makes it easier to talk to you."

And she did talk to me. She talked about who lived in the house, about her likes and dislikes, she sang songs to me, and it helped. I could feel the fire retreating from my limbs but soon it was centered in my chest and my heart started to race from the intensity of the pain.

"CARLISLE? ESME? EDWARD? Something's going on," she called out. She sounded nervous. Angels should never be nervous or sad. When I snapped out of this, I would make sure that she smiled all the time.

"Emmett, son? My name is Carlisle Cullen and I'm a doctor. I just wanted you to know that you're doing fine. Your heart is being rapidly and that's normal at this stage of the process. Try not to fight what's happening, it will make it easier."

Okay.

"What's he thinking, Edward?" An unfamiliar female voice asked.

"He just thought okay to what Carlisle said, and now he's wondering who you are."

"Oh goodness, how rude of me. Hello, Emmett dear, my name is Esme Cullen; I'm Carlisle's wife and, well, sort of a mother figure to Rosalie and Edward. Hopefully you'll learn to look at me the same way. I'm looking forward to meeting you."

Hi, Esme. I'd wave or hug you but I can't move. I'll do that when all this shit...crap is over. Sorry, didn't mean to cuss.

Edward chuckled. "Esme, he said he would wave at you or hug you, but he can't, he'll catch you later. Then he cussed."

Tattletale.

"Now he's calling me a tattletale."

Edward? I'm scared. Don't tell the others, but I think I'm going to die. My heart is going so fast that I really don't think it will last much longer. Please don't tell them, I'm begging you. I'm not used to being scared.

"Guys, can you vacate for a few minutes? I need to have a brotherly talk with Emmett. I promise to call you back the second we're done, okay? And please, no listening."

The angel grumbled, but I heard them leave. Edward waited for a minute before he started talking.

"Emmett, you ARE going to die, but don't be scared. It's just your human life ending. It'll mark the beginning of a whole new life that I think you're really going to enjoy. Once the burning is over, you'll be better than new. I was going to let them explain everything to you, but it's getting kind of late for that. First and foremost, I want you to know there's no reason to be scared. We won't hurt you, so don't be too afraid, okay?"

Okay, but how do you know?

"Because I was where you are not that long ago and I remember the burn like it was yesterday. We've all burned, brother. One of us will be with you until it's over, okay?"

But what's happening to me? I don't get it. How did I get here? Why is this happening?

"Rosalie carried you back to see Carlisle because you were going to die. She saw something in you that she liked, so instead of letting nature run its course, she brought you back, hoping he could help you.

"Emmett, when you come out of this, when the burning stops and your heart stops beating, you will no longer be human. Your body is in transition, you are passing into the new phase of your life. You're becoming a vampire."

As in Dracula?

He chuckled. "Yeah, kind of like Dracula, but different."

Is Rose a vampire too?

"Yes."

And you?

"Yes."

Carlisle and Esme?

He sighed and sounded like he was losing patience with me. "Yes, Emmett, we're all vampires, but not so much in the traditional sense. I'll let them explain that to you when you're up."

Okay. Oh, wait. My angel? Rosalie? Is she...is she as beautiful as I remembered? I mean, I didn't see much of her, but I just want to know.

Edward sighed. "I hope she's not listening, because I'll never hear the end of it, but yes, she'll be even more stunning than you recalled. Now, you need clothes—do you have a preference?"

Am I naked? Holy shit! Your mom and sister didn't see...

"No, Emmett, they haven't, and if you don't want them to, you need to tell me what you want to wear."

I'm not picky, Ma always made my clothes. Just don't put me in a dress, okay?

"Okay," Edward said, laughing, "although I have to say that if Rose wouldn't tear off my testicles and burn them, I might have considered it."

Just then a terrible flash of pain left me reeling and disoriented.

"You alright, Emmett?"

Hurry and get me some clothes. I can't hang on much longer.

"You'll be okay, brother. I'll be right back."

My heart continued racing for God knows how long before it stuttered. I was in so much pain that I couldn't hear anyone talking to me, but could feel them and I hung onto that until my heart coughed, sputtered, and finally stopped.

I'm dead.

Wait. The burning stopped.

Is that my big toe? Oh, hello Emmett Junior.

Bit by bit I felt my body coming back to life. Instead of fire coursing through my veins, it felt like cool water and it was soothing. My throat, however, was another story. It felt dry and it burned almost worse than my chest had.

"Emmett?"

My angel.

"Edward?" she asked nervously.

"He recognizes your voice, well, he called you his angel, which is what he was calling you earlier. Hey, Emmett?"

Edward, right?

"He recognizes me too. Emmett, brother, can you open your eyes? Do it slowly, though, you're probably going to be a little overwhelmed."

Okay, come on eyes, open up. I want to see the angel.

Slowly, I managed to crack them open a little, and Eddie wasn't wrong when he said I'd be overwhelmed. It was bright and man, I could see every single detail of the ceiling. It was a nice one, not like the one in...where was I thinking of?

Hmm...that's odd.

Alrighty, where's the angel?

As if she heard me, the most magnificent creature I'd ever laid my eyes on came into my line of vision and I knew that I'd died and gone to heaven. Her hair was spun gold and her eyes...is that even an eye colour? Who has eyes THAT golden? Mm...those lips...is it wrong that I want to kiss them?

"Rose, you might want to step back, he's thinking about kissing you."

"Good," she said, licking her lips, "because I've been waiting for this moment for the past three days."

She leaned in and kissed me, gently at first, but it soon intensified and I felt myself responding to it. My arms rose slowly and I planted my hands in her silky hair, and my little soldier stood at full attention.

Edward?

"Yes, Emmett?"

Can you guys please leave the room for a while?

Edward laughed aloud. "Yes, and thank you, Emmett. Carlisle, Esme, he's fine. We need to give them some, er, space. Rose, please call us when you're done."

Thanks, brother.

"Welcome to the family, Emmett McCarty."