We're in this Together Now
Awake to the sound as they peel apart the skin
They pick and they pull
Trying to get their fingers in
Well they've got to kill what we've found
Well they've got to hate what we fear
Well they've got to make it go away
Well they've got to make it disappear
The farther i fall i'm beside you
As lost as i get i will find you
The deeper the wound i'm inside you
For ever and ever i'm a part of
You and me
We're in this together now
None of them can stop us now
We will make it through somehow
You and me
If the world should break in two
Until the very end of me
Until the very end of you
Nine Inch Nails-We're in this Together Now
A/N: Thank you to my betas Aciepey and AGoodWitch. Thank you to the dozens of WC lovelies that I've written with while working on this chapter. I'm always grateful to my fellow deviants, and more recently, the ladies of the UU. Lastly, my fellow twitter folk...you all keep me motivated and feeling inspired.
Disclaimer: Twilight isn't mine. NIN isn't mine. The cloak and the pustules? All me. This is a horror story. In this chapter there are just pieces left, on the floor and in the hearth. Okay, actually this chapter is the least graphic of this fic, but I cannot resist having some disclaimer fun. To be honest, the best disclaimer would be "this chapter is in no way indicative of the tone or content of future chapters."
When Bella woke on the third day of her confinement to bed, she was relieved to find herself alone. Edward had been at her side every minute. While she had been appreciative of his attentions, his amorous affections, and his commitment to her health, it was nice to take a breath without him measuring it's depth and strength.
The family had come to insist that he hunt with them. He resisted for some time, but eventually gave in to logic. He simply could not ensure her continued health if he was not in his best form. He also would be increasingly at risk of injuring her if he did not feed.
She had been free to wander the grounds, ride Edward's steed, and spend some time in the kitchen. She almost felt like herself again after spending some time helping the Cope woman assemble the servant's meal. Of course she had resisted at first, but Bella insisted, and Shelly relented.
The truth was, Bella had started to feel like one of the rare books in Edward's collection. She had no true purpose other than pleasing Edward. While keeping Edward happy had come to be more to her than a life preserving technique, she looked at Alice, Rosalie and Esme, and wanted more.
Back in her chambers, spending another evening alone, the swirling of the various conflicts were haunting her. Edward was still gone, all of the Cullens were gone. As she stoked the fire in the hearth, she contemplated each issue, trying to assign priority to them.
Her connection to Edward, her place in his family, her survival, the survival of the people who were becoming family...it was so much to balance, so many choices and paths. Certainly, she already belonged to Edward, and the connection she felt with him was turning into a need for him. Surely the key to keeping what she needed was staying useful. Her usefulness could eventually lead her to what she desired.
That he would be hers too.
She plucked one of the foreign blooms that Edward replenished in her vase on a regular basis. She laughed as she saw that he had removed all traces of the thorns that had pricked her that first visit to the garden. Then, thinking of her dilemma, she crushed the bloom in her hand, grinding the petals between her palm and fingers until they fell to the floor in a pulpy mass.
Unsatisfied, and still without any understanding as to what she should do, she grabbed another. She pulled one single petal from the flower, rolling it between her fingers as she thought.
Certain facts she had accepted, some she had embraced.
They couldn't help what they had become. Not a single member of the Cullen family had chosen this life. They practiced restraint, intentionally forming a lively community. Unlike them, others of their kind roamed the streets of London, taking advantage of the scourge as they recklessly increased the death toll.
She dropped the decimated petal to the floor, and pulled another off.
The nature of the Cullen's, well, they were passionate people. It seemed as if not one of them believed, or acted, half heartedly. Edward's passion was unpredictable. It ignited as an indiscriminate fire, and burned strong until, it seemed, only she could put it out.
Another petal dropped. Another plucked from the bloom. This one she started to tear into fragile little strips as she thought.
Thankfully, with him gone for a hunt, she now had time to think. On her own.
She knew what her choices were. The Cullen's were not willing to tell her, but oh, she knew.
There was a schizm coming, no matter what she decided. She could be the apathetic puppet in their ruse, or she could be an active participant.
She pulled multiple leaves this time, squeezing them in her fist as if she could wring juice from them.
She need only weigh the consequences of her choices. She did not need her eager almost sister, to tell her the certain paths her future would take. If she understood correctly, Alice had nothing, until she made a decision. Well, she could be rather indecisive, couldn't she? At least for the moment.
She threw the petals across the room, twirling the rose stem between her thumb and forefinger.
Father was gone, there was no way to reverse that. There really was not a life for her in London, not if the scourge had continued on it's course as the Cullen's implied. Implied? It had to be real if it had been so bad as to force her father to sin against God. To take his own life.
This had to be the worst possible situation for humans to be in. Humans. The Cullen's though, outside of a lack of desirable feeding sources, they were healthy. Immune.
She lifted the flower to her nose, inhaling the beautiful scent, so different than the odor she recalled from the London streets.
How long would it be, before she became the only way for one of them to satiate their thirst?
No. She could not allow that.
Edward was obviously fond of her. She had succeeded in making sure that her body was of interest to him, her blood as well. He drank so deeply from her as to raise the ire of his family. She knew this much.
She knew that whether he wanted to or not, he spent most minutes of every day obsessing over her, when he wasn't with her. She no longer found him disagreeable, at all. While she could not name her feelings for him, they bordered on fascination, fear and lust. As shameful as it was, this is what he had cultivated in her.
He had implied that she was desirable. Perhaps, if her father could no longer bring acceptable people to the Cullens, she could? Though she deemed herself plain, Edward and Alice seemed to think otherwise. Could she possibly lead people to them?
She walked to the hearth in her chamber and threw the rose in. It ignited with a fury.
Could she live with herself if she joined them? She knew for sure that she would not live if she did not.
The bloom blazed, while the stem merely smoldered.
If she went to them with her proposition, how would it be taken? Surely, Edward would be happy. He was the reason she was here! She could not be sure that Esme, Alice or Carlisle would be in favor of the idea.
Did she not belong to Edward though? It would be he and she that made the decision, then. She hoped. With that thought, she began to search the well stocked wardrobe that Alice had prepared for her.
As the flames died on one end of the flower, red heat shot through to the other end, rendering it to nothing but ash in seconds.
She was surprised, days later, when he did not show up at her door. She knew they were home, and Alice would have known the minute she had made her decision. From what she had seen, it was less than a blink of an eye before Edward could see what Alice saw. She knew the games they played in each other's minds. .
She was quite tired of games.
She could feel her anger coloring her cheeks as she envisioned him with Alice, plotting, at this very moment, about what would become of her. The notion that even when she had made a decision, a new proposition for her, and that they would sit and confer about her, without her, was infuriating. Even as she attempted to take control and become more of a part of the family, on equal footing, they would treat her as a child, whispering about her as if she could not handle the reality of her situation.
Unless she was wrong about him. What if he did not agree with her plan? Why would he not?
Did she care?
Truly, what could he do to her now? If he banished her, she would die. If he decided to drink fully from her, she would die. If he decided to keep her with him eternally, she would die. A different death, but death just the same, and a death with no chance of seeing the light of Heaven.
Her patience gone, she ripped open her door and started for Alice's chambers at a quick clip.
Before she even reached the room, she could hear him shouting. "No Jasper! Feel free to whore your own mate out on the streets for your meal!"
Alice interrupted. "Edward! She intends only to lure them, not engage with them!"
Bella was at the door now, watching them. Edward stalked towards Alice, his growled words earthy and feral. "She is mine, she will not offer herself to another even as a ruse."
She stood in the doorway, enraged at the sight before her. When Edward sensed her, he turned to her slowly, then took steps towards her, prowling like an angry animal. Before she had time to gasp, she was in his arms, while he raced through the corridors of the manor toward his chambers.
The pounding of her heart, the blur in her head, and the pulsing between her legs assured her of one thing. She needed him, his body, what he did for her. Whether her need for him came by natural desire or manipulation, the heat was the same.
E/N: Thank you for sticking with me. I know it's been a long time between updates.
*I'm co-hosting a contest with loss4words, The Never Ever Happily Ever After Contest. You can find contest info and, coming shortly, submissions: www dot fanfiction dot net / u / 2733868 .We want your angst, your heartbreak, and you know me, I want some death. We're taking submissions until a very non-HEA day, April 15th.
*The FGB Autism compilation includes one a one shot from me, it's in my comic smut genre. It's called "Neighborhood Vampire". AH, BxE, comedy. It's a good charity, give give.
*My friend and beta has organized an important fundraiser complilation. Finding Your Voice - Fandom Fights Mental Illness. The blog is here: www dot findingyourvoice-ffmi dot blogspot dot com. I will be launching a new story with the publishing of that compilation. Chapter one will be exclusive to it until July. This will be a departure for me, AH, super angsty. Bella and Edward meet in the Pediatric Intesive Care Unit while there with their respective children and spouses. Friendship and sorrow, comfort and grief.
*If you are inclined to try newer stories and enjoy stories with a much darker Edward, I would encourage you to give Prey for the Wicked, by Alleab4u, a shot. It's only four chapters in, so I know it's a risk, but it's really very good. Www dot fanfiction dot net/s/6785758/1/Prey_for_the_Wicked Edward, he's delicious. I can't rave enough, I'm seriously going to post this and go reread the four chapters.
*I'm writing for Japan/Tsunami relief comp.
*Join me on Twitter, I'm fairly active (or an addict). I'm at Nitareality.