Genre: Canon through NM, missing scene fic
Characters: Edward, Alice, mention of Bella, ensemble
Word Count: 1450
Summary: IAfter leaving Forks, Alice can't stop her visions of Bella, and Edward can't stop reading her mind. It's making both of them miserable. /I
Author's Note: Why did Edward Ireally/I flee all the way to South America? This is my take on New Moon from Alice and Edward's POVs from the breakup until the cliff jump.
Alice knew the visions would come, unheeded or not, no matter how many miles Edward put between them and Forks, and no matter how many times he demanded she block out her gift. She's simply too attuned to Bella to command her brain to cut off all connection so suddenly, to demand a cease of the futuristic glimpses her mind conjures so seamlessly like threads intertwining, weaving their patterns, telling their tales. This is not a thread that can be snipped, or stretched so thinly by time and distance that it finally snaps.
She knows this is how Edward would prefer it; like a cord severed, brutal sheers glinting. It won't happen.
But what she isn't expecting--what she could not have planned for and combated, even had she wanted to--are the emails.
They flood her head at the most unexpected of moments--Alice, you've disappeared. Like everything else.--while she's hunting in the far north with Irena, while she's shopping with Kate in Anchorage, while she's sitting in silence with Edward. The crisp black Times New Roman font stamped on stark white swims into focus in her brain, telling her, rather than showing her, all she emphatically does not want to know.
But who else can I talk to? I'm lost. When you left--and…he…left--you took everything with you. But the absence of him is everywhere I look…
The words cause Bella's very voice to burn into Alice's skull, and she winces, head cradled in her arms, until Edward's harsh hiss cuts through the pleas on paper like a jagged knife.
"Stop it! Just stop it right now!"
And then he's begging--his own head buried in his palms--but she can't stop. No more than he can stop picking her brain for information, no matter how torturous. And as the text keeps scrolling across her brain, the ache is almost enough to cause her to remember the echo of her own heart beating.
In the back of her mind, somewhere past her agonized apologies to her brother, she thinks that this is unfair, this double dose of vampiric 'gift': thoughts--desires, fears, cares--these are Edward's domain, not hers. She's not used to feeling the bite of human emotion adding this messy tinge to her visions.
When he's at his worst, she feels her own patience waning. "Don't shoot the messenger," she snaps back at him, or, at other times: "Don't you dare act as though any of this was my genius idea," because this is Edward's fault, all his doing, and the pain makes her testy. The glare of the Macbook screen clouds her ability to be civil, especially to him, the hesitant type appearing behind her eyelids in bursts and stops.
No, this brand of misery was not meant for Alice's brain at all. She's not cut out for this sort of onslaught of human emotion.
At least not when it comes from Bella.
It gets to where he can't stand to be in the same room as her.
The last time he risked it…what he heard--It's like a huge hole has been punched through my chest--wasn't something he was strong enough to bear.
And so he spends his days away from Denali, away even from Tanya--especially from Tanya--and Kate and Irena. Away from Carlisle and the others. And out on the snowy plains, the wind whipping past him as he stands as immoveable as stone, is the only place he feels any peace.
He's starting to think he needs to make this sort of solitude a permanent condition.
Because as disciplined as he'd like to think himself, there are times his mind wanders cruelly. At night, since there's no sleep--or chance to sit and watch…her…sleep--to distract him, he stares out at the starry sky and entertains questions that tear at his flesh like a hundred Volturi feasting: is she sleeping? Is she dreaming? Are her dreams still of him?
On those nights, he lies back and breathes in the muted scent of pine under snow, and allows the smell of her to rise to the forefront of his mind. It's the sweetest form of torture.
But in a way I'm glad. The pain is my only reminder that he was real…that you all were.
Other times, his perfect recall and razor-sharp senses seem to fail him, derailing his careful self-flagellation. As though dragging him through his own version of a nightmare, his brain latches not on her own intoxicating scent, but the garbled one from the hospital in Phoenix, when she smelled so completely wrong. Those times, it's as if he doesn't even know her…as if she's a crowd of people, all in one body.
It takes a lot for him to do it, to sever this last tie he has to her. Specifically, it takes this:
Dear Alice, I wish I had your real address. I wish I could tell you about Jake.
Because as much as he wants what's best for her--and surely, that's all he's ever wanted--he still feels human in all the worst ways; her mention of the Quilleute boy hits him like a sucker punch to the gut, leaving him gasping.
He makes me feel better. I mean, he makes me feel alive.
He screams at Alice to "Shut up! Shut-up! Shut-her-up, for the love of God!!" but she can't, and he knows she can't.
The hole in my chest, well, when I'm with Jake, it's like it's almost healed…for awhile anyway.
He screams again, and Alice cries, and shakes her head violently as though to dislodge something stuck there, and as he walks out the door of the Denali house for what they all know is the last time, he cannot even hug her goodbye.
By the time he's boarded his Anchorage flight to Rio with a stopover in San Francisco (he'd refused to book through Seattle), the numerous voices of his fellow passengers inhabiting his head are welcome. Compared to Bella's words through his sister's merciless (non)-filter, they're quite nearly melodic.
And so he never hears the rest. He never learns what Alice does:
That not even Jake can keep the dreams away.
Alice... things are bad again.
She jerks upright, a puppet on a string. Across the room, Carlisle notices; Alice imagines her expression--like a face slapped--has given away the subject of her vision. He frowns, and she knows it pains him too, but she cannot help but feel thankful that at least Edward--so far away--is now immune.
Without Jake... I can't stand it. I don't see Edward anymore. Now it really feels like he never existed. I will find a place where I can see him again.
She'd been so quiet, the typed words literally fading on the page of Alice's second sight. For months…nothing.
Nothing from Bella. Nothing from Edward.
Until this…newfound despair. This echo of that raw, fresh pain Alice had hoped was behind them all. Alice pinches her eyes closed, but it's no help. She concentrates on other visions about other people in other places, but it's no use. She even seeks out Victoria, chasing her through their shared futures, but she's absent.
Silent in every way Bella is not.
Over the course of the next week, she dials Edward's number a dozen times, but there's no answer. She can't decide whether she hates him for this or envies him: to be cut off from this misery? To avoid the torture by the press of a button? It's both cowardly and brave. It displays both the depth of his selfishness and the depth of his sacrifice.
But then there's no time to worry about Edward, because there's this:
Alice, is it possible that everything's true? The fairy tales and horror stories? Is it possible that there isn't anything sane and normal at all?
There's a note of hysteria to the words, a staccato beat of fear and excitement not to be missed even on the typed page.
And then, there are no more words to worry about. Only a new vision of a vista, viewed through imperfect human eyes. Bella's eyes. The sea churns below her (them), the sky flat and gray above. Alice stares into an empty Alaskan landscape as Bella's watch slides off her wrist. As her shoulders shrug out of her coat.
There's a precipice. Space. A heartbeat of indecision that pounds in their ears, and then:
the sensation of falling.
Alice watches as the sea rapidly rises to greet her.