A/N: Mature audiences only. Violent and graphic scenes.

Reviews appreciated.

Edward, Carlisle, and Esme belong to SM; the victims are mine (and Edward's too, I suppose).


I waited patiently for Jack and his friends to arrive.

Their car was idling in front of Arthur's house as they walked up the short lawn picked up rocks and threw them through the windows of the house.

That's when the screams started. I hear Loraine and Molly cry out in fear and it wrenched at my gut. I knew in just a few more minutes, I would be coming in after them. I don't know how I could deal with the fear I would be instilling in them. But, I turned my focus back to the front lawn.

Evan held a shotgun. I knew they had no intentions of using it to kill either man—that would be too quick; it was merely a scare tactic. He cocked the gun and fired into the air. The sound was deafening.

Jack was hollering "You better get yo black asses out here before I hafta come in there after y'all."

And so they came. Fear was streaked across their faces as they walked into the fray. Evan came up to them and hit them in the back of the head with the butt of the shotgun. Both collapsed to the ground, still conscious. Don and Mark hog tied them and threw them into the back of the truck.

They drove away.

Then it was my turn.

I forced myself into their house noisily so they would hear me coming. Their heartbeats were jumping much faster than I would have thought possible. I found them together in the child's bedroom.

They screamed at me when I entered the bedroom and recoiled together inching themselves as far away from me as possible.

"Stay away from her!" Molly she cried. Loraine was trying to protect her daughter. They didn't understand that I was trying to protect them, too.

There was no escape for them though. I was quick to grab two pair of socks from the dresser and stuffed them into their mouths and they sobbed. They feebly attempted to hold onto each other, but I forced them apart and took a blanket from the bed and ripped it into strips to create ropes to hold their hands and ankles together.

Don't hurt her. Please, leave her alone. She's just a child.

The entire time, I was struggling with my inner monster. Was this really necessary? Did I have to play the role of such a hideous man so effectively? Could I stop now and try to explain to them what I was really trying to do?

No. No. I couldn't. There was no time. I was doing this for them—for their safety. As my guilt grew and my conscience became heavy with my actions, my hate was growing. I hated myself and I hated Jack and his friends for doing this to their family, for making me do this too. I was becoming one of them, but I was not racially motivated. The lines were blurring. Where was right and wrong?

I couldn't bear to listen to their thoughts. I blocked them out entirely. My last action before leaving the house was blindfolding them—I had to protect their minds from the images they would see.

Their muffled cries were like daggers into my gut. If only they could know my true intentions!

I tossed them onto my back and began to run. I knew they would be confused by the motions but I needed to arrive to the maple tree before Jack. It was a race against time but the prizes were wholly different. Even if I saved lives tonight, I'd be killing others. I had already struck fear so deeply into the hearts of two defenseless women; how could I be considered the victor in this race under any circumstance?

I did arrive to the clearing just before Jack. I couldn't let them see I was here. I had to hide Loraine and Molly where no one would see them or hear them. I took them to the forest that was to the west of the maple and sat them down at the base of an ash tree and bound them to it. I wanted to plead with them to forgive me. But I left them with a bag at their feet.

I arrived back to the clearing in the same moments that they were pulling Arthur and Paul from the truck. Don and Mark had nooses ready to slide over their heads, they were laughing and excited at the murders they were about to commit. Their elation would come to an end; I approached quickly before they had the opportunity to bring the nooses any closer to Arthur and Paul.

I advanced quicker than I normally I would have but the hatred towards these men coursed through my body, bringing it to life in an entirely new, morbid way. They changed me into more of a monster than I ever thought possible for myself. I needed to kill them. This had become my own vengeance too, to rectify the demon inside me that they brought to life. It had almost become a matter of killing in cold blood.

The first thing I did was disable their car, the only effort it took was the control to not kill the men first. They would not get away from me. Even if they ran, they were no match for me.

"Hey!" One of them shouted, and he was the first. My mind wasn't even interested by the cascading flow of blood into my mouth; I was relieved to be killing this man. I wanted him dead.

I scarcely paid attention to the others around me until one tried tackling me from the side as I stood with my mouth latched to the throat of his friend. His attempt at stopping me broke his shoulder. He was down on the ground as he thrashed in agony. I let him stay there; I let him suffer through the throes.

I released the freshly drained corpse from my grasps and I turned. Evan was facing me with his shotgun. His thoughts were incoherent. But they didn't matter to me, nor did he. I lashed the gun from his hands effortlessly and I pounced on his jugular. That would be the quickest route to drain him of his blood. There was a feeling of vindictiveness that washed over me yet again and I relished in the feeling. It didn't matter that the monster inside me was getting what it wanted at such primitive and primal levels completely overshadowing my conscience. I was in the moment killing this soulless creature.

Having two of them killed and one already incapacitated on the floor, I turned my focus to the last one standing: Jack.

Now he truly knew what fear was. There was no reason to fear the men he had set out to kill tonight. He had only need to fear me. And what a menace I was!

I wanted to inflict onto Jack the terror and agony he inflicted on so many others. His thoughts were just as jumbled as Evan's, but I didn't care what he was thinking or what he had to say. I would make this painful for him. That's when the venom started to flow in my mouth.

I reacted impulsively. I bit, and merely bit, Jack in four different places: his left wrist, the inside of both his elbows and his jugular. I let his heart do the work of pumping the venom through his body letting it burn him from the inside out, torturing him while I turned my focus to the man with the broken shoulder—Don, it seemed.

I stopped Don's pain—I stopped his life. His blood had been pooling into the wound at his shoulder so that's where I had attached myself. The blood nearly dripped from my mouth with the force that it flowed from him. But I didn't let a drop spill. Don's heart fluttered one last beat and his body went limp.

It burns, it burns. It did burn, I knew that. I would only allow it to torment him for a few more moments. Make it stop. Kill me.

I came to a halt. My feelings caught me off guard when he thought that. Could I give this man what he wanted? I wanted him dead, but now that he welcomed it, I felt differently. I wanted to let him endure the pain.

I had to, I had to kill him. I couldn't create another villain like myself—much worse than myself, rather.

His pain was nowhere near subsiding and I was enjoying each and every moment of his suffering. I had become the bringer of pain and death, in that order.

I lifted his right wrist to my mouth; I wanted this to last, the jugular vein would end it too quickly and I needed him to suffer more. I affixed myself to the arteries in his wrist which were enough to keep the constant flow of his blood into my mouth; it soaked without fuss into the not-so-parched coral of my tongue. My venom was nearly tasteless and it saturated every ounce of his blood, it never ran clean. I was pleased with myself that I caused him that much pain.

Then it was over.

I paused. It took me a moment to regain any composure and find a single thread of humanity still inside me. The realization of what I had just done washed through my body and haunted me—I had needlessly tortured a man who I knew in the depths of my soul would die anyway. I didn't need to make it so painful for him—it had become my own sadistic pleasure that desired his pain. The wonton ardor that I never thought I'd feel.

I did become as ruthless as my victims. I shuddered but I knew what I had to do next, where my next move would be.

I turned to Jeffery and Paul. They were lying on their bellies, still hog tied, and only had visual access to the scene through their peripheries. I slowly walked towards them.

Stay away from me, man. Stay the fuck back.

It was disappointing that they didn't realize I had done this for them. I left behind every righteous thought to get them to safety. Was it worth it?

I didn't say a word to them. I just untied their knots and stood back. But they didn't run.

"Loraine and Molly are just inside the forest, I'm sorry for what I did to them," I said to Jeffery, not meeting his eyes.

"What did you do to them? You sick fuck, if you did anything to them—"

"No, they're fine, just scared. I can't bear to explain it, but know that I did it all for you. I was just trying to help." I was buried in a world of sorrow. I realized how I had also, in the same evening as killing four men and torturing one, that I also tortured a woman and child. Would they ever be able to sleep a peaceful night after experiencing what I did to them?

I don't think I could ever account for what I did. "I left a bag with them. Everything you need is in there. Go north and find work, then send for your mother to join you."

I didn't stay to listen to their bewilderment. In the three years I was gone from Carlisle and Esme, I was growing further and further apart from them, both emotionally and physically, it was time I tried to return to them.

I had once thought that Carlisle was wrong, that the lifestyle he chose was wrong, but he wasn't. He was wrong to have so much faith in me. I didn't deserve it. I lost the purity he saw in me all those years ago. I felt a new kind of guilt, I had let Carlisle down—I betrayed him. I could hear in his thoughts how truly genuine his motives were for refusing the blood of humans and I ignored it for my own selfish desires.

I didn't even give him the respect of a proper goodbye. How much he must hate me, the disappointment he must feel. Would they allow me to return to them? Could I ever be the son they thought I would?

_____________

Four days later, I found myself back in Portland. I carried myself through the town, barely ready to see them even though I could feel in my core that their home was a warm and safe place. I was relieved to find them at the same residence.

I didn't make myself known immediately. I spent four more days lingering in the forest outside of their home. I was careful not to get too close, but not far enough that I couldn't hear their thoughts.

I was nervous as to how they would interpret my return. Wouldn't they care how long it's been? Would they realize how many people I must have killed?

It had been so many years that I've lived my yearnings, but in every town it led me through, I saw their faces. The weight of my conscience never left me. Even at my darkest moments, I was weighted down by the depression of what I was doing. I knew Carlisle was right; he was the best father and teacher. If I could have written a letter, I would have tried, with every line, to say that I still remembered their warmth. But I never thought they'd have me. I betrayed them so deeply.

I finally decided it was time to get closer, I could smell their inviting aromas as I approached the home. But, instead of going to the door, I perched myself in a tree, still listening.

Other sources claim that Columbus lost heart and that the captains of two other ships— Carlisle was reading. Was it a new book to his collection? I was curious and wanted to find out what else he had read while I was away.

"Carlisle," That was Esme, calling his name. I have never heard a more sweet and sincere voice.

"Yes?"

"What are your plans for tomorrow? I was hoping you could come with me to find some new furnishings for Rochester."

They were moving? Had they moved on from me, too; had they gotten past the pain of losing me, their son? I could only vainly hope they still thought of me that way. But, I supposed that it was fair, them moving on. I wasn't sure I even meant to return to them when I left them three years ago. I was still devastated, though, at the thought of them moving on without me.

"My plans are to be with you, Esme, always." He was still just as genuine as I remembered him. "Come here, please" he asked in a most sincere tone.

She walked over to him to join him on the couch. She was just as beautiful as ever and I admired her. They sat together, their thoughts and souls attuned to each other, happy and comfortable in silence.

My thoughts had almost reached an envious state, but I didn't hold onto those ill feelings. I was home and with any luck they might possibly be able to forgive me.

Edward?

My scent! I had lingered too long without considering their heightened senses as I was lost in my own. I leapt down from the tree reaching the earth soundlessly. I approached the front door as Carlisle opened it. He was still apprehensive to believe I was back, he didn't want to hope. I was furious with myself that I could take that away from him.

"Edward, it is you." He was so relieved.

"Edward!" Esme came running into my arms, embracing me. I buried myself in her hair and though I couldn't cry, my emotions were too powerful for me. I was completely overwhelmed.

You're home, Edward, you're home. And safe. I was so worried.

She barely released me when Carlisle was there, wanting the same reunion. He hugged me with identical passion as Esme. He was just as happy to see me home.

"I'm sorry," I whispered. "I'm so sorry."

"Shhh." It's okay, son, you're here—you're home.

Home, I thought, what a beautiful word. How have I evaded this place and this feeling for so long? I truly did lose myself. I even realized how lucky and spoiled I was that they would take me back so willingly. I loved them for that, I was entirely grateful.

I vowed never to let another human take me away from my family, there could be nothing worse than taking me away from them.

They still had room in their hearts for me; and although I didn't deserve it, I would spend the rest of eternity being the son I should have been from the beginning.