Ficawesome Gift Echange
Title: Setting Sun
Summary/Prompt used: "What if Edward didn't have the restraint necessary?"
A/N: This one-shot was written as a gift to Jaqui based upon her above prompt as part of the FanficAholics Anon group's special event FicAwesome Gift Exchange. This is a fantastic group that welcomes both writers & readers – you can find/join us on Facebook at: http:/www (dot) facebook (dot)com/pages/FanficAholics-Anon-Where-Obsession-Never-Sleeps/124067670958784.
Disclaimer: The italicized words are from the partial draft of Midnight Sun by Stephenie Meyer.
I own nothing Twilight-related. Anything recognizable as Twilight belongs to Stephenie Meyer.
Highway run into the midnight sun
Wheels go round and round
You're on my mind
From "Faithfully" by Journey
The fire's heat blazes up behind me. Its influence borders on sting against the stagnant skin of my back. A part of me registers that the others of my kind, pseudo siblings, standing so much closer to the flame, would cringe away from it if not for the euphoria of their kill.
It knew it.
Of the kill.
I knew it now.
"Son, you have to stop." The dying part of my remnant human conscience barely registers the sound. The remnant clings to the sound, the voice of its father. Its father. Not mine. Because the shard of my being that cared for fathers and family was dying as surely as the form writhing on the ground below me.
That piece had a father. Not me. Not for much longer.
"You must find the strength to stop, Son."
Idiot. Compassionate idiot.
A long pull of nectar from its wrist – across my tongue and down, scents and tang slip down my throat to swirl and echo in my chest. While it still has moments left, I do not. The Cullen in me is dead as surely as if it's been torn and tossed in the inferno behind me. Its last gasp a surge of memories from when my duality met the girl.
Memories, thoughts that had come full circle to remind me, to mock me.
Because, as I pull the life from its body, it has never been so clear that the past months have been folly.
And I recall…
In that instant, I was nothing close to the human I'd once been; no trace of the shreds of humanity I'd managed to cloak myself in remained.
I was a predator. She was my prey. There was nothing else in the whole world but that truth.
Pull. Swallow. Savor.
The tedium was not something I grew used to; every day seemed more impossibly monotonous than the last.
My life was an unending, unchanging midnight. It must, by necessity, always be midnight for me. So how was it possible that the sun was now, in the middle of my midnight?
I would have to be inordinately careful. I would never, ever be able to let my guard down. I would have to control my every breath. I would have to keep an always cautious distance.
I would not make mistakes.
I'd been a fool to even contemplate it.
I've had three lives thus far in my existence.
The human boy, frail and felled by the same disease as so many. The boy in whose body I now reside, his soul probably with the God that created it. He's somewhere I will not go; when I'm done with this body I will simply cease to be.
The vengeance creature, drunk with a God complex. Killing the scourge of the earth, their kind barely less monstrous than myself. It had been as close as I'd come to embrace the natural state of the unnatural that I am. Devourer. Dark. Rationalization of my acts spurred me on, cloaked the twisted nature of it all.
The Cullen. Freak among freaks. Solo for so long. Numb. Existing through countless school classes simply because he'd had the misfortune to die decades ago looking like a minor. Then, abruptly, irrevocably altered to care for his dinner. Like dating a potato.
I was on the cusp of a new existence.
Incarnation number four. Become what I was meant to be. Demon. Red. Full. Sated. The grand opening gala currently serving the best refreshments in recorded history.
I can feel the old one beside me, pulling me. He wants me to stop. He wants my kill.
Pull. Swirl. Lick. Revel.
She had been nothing special at first.
She was common. Pointed chin. Uneven, chapped lips. Her singular unique quality was her odd ability to block her mind from me. Even then, the weak Cullen ruling me had known it was foolhardy to become intrigued by the unavailability of a random human's thoughts.
I didn't want to develop any interest in her hidden thoughts simply because they were hidden from me.
Familiarity breeds contentment, as the saying goes.
Pointed chin becomes heart-shaped face.
Uneven lips become pouty.
Plain becomes interesting.
Not ugly becomes beautiful.
Spontaneous transformations. All viewed through the lens of love.
It had been her veiled thoughts that kept her alive. A weakness for intrigue in the midst of decades of sameness.
I'd never heard her thoughts, and now I never will. She won't be thinking them in a moment. I've taken enough at this point that she probably isn't capable even now.
Her mind had shielded her in many ways.
But, it was always her blood that endangered her.
The Cullen had been fascinated with her mind. It belied my purpose.
Every moment, every single moment, I'd wanted to drain her.
Denial. My entire existence was denial.
Don't eat this. Don't touch that. Like smacking the back of a child's hand.
Don't listen to the thoughts you don't really want to hear anyway.
As if I could stop hearing.
As if I didn't want to.
As if I could stop drinking.
As if I wanted to.
She was put on this earth for me, and me alone, to drink. That is the fulfillment of her purpose.
If I wasn't destined to drink from her, she wouldn't have been made so delicious.
It's like Dennis Hopper explained in Speed: If you stop the bomb from exploding, you don't let it become. The bomb wants to explode. That's what it's for.
That's what blood is for. That is definitely what this blood is for.
But Cullen, the vegetarian, the anomaly, had been weak. Too self-assured of his restraint. Too cocky. Even coming back from Alaska after fleeing there like some pathetic turncoat was an affront to his self-professed prudence.
Either embrace the demon or leave it. We had done neither. The Cullen had tried to walk the thin line.
I craved her blood. She craved our body.
Cullen denied us all.
I push my tongue against the roof of my mouth and bask in the sensation of the blood as it covers every surface inside. It runs between the slivers of space between my teeth. It flows across the inner flesh of my cheeks.
I feel my eyes roll back in my head at the sensation. Let those with mates take pleasure in each other. I would love the blood. I do love it. I wrap my lips around her wrist. Suction. No waste.
It's so sweet. Like swallowing spiced silk.
There has never been a sensation such as this. The revelation hits me. This is why I've been alone. This is my mate, my purpose. This moment. This taste. This blood. This is my eternity. This is my forever.
Swallowing, I stare at the patterns created in my mind. I embrace the full liquid like a lover.
Bite. Venom. But only for a moment, then back out.
Below me, it writhes again.
It's not over.
I don't have to be done.
Several hands pull on me now. I can no longer feel the heat of the fire, but I don't know if its absence is because it has been put out or because of the blood's heat surging through my core. Their lips are moving, but the pounding in my ears blocks all sound, save the thrumming of its heart pumping sustenance to me like the obedient servant it is.
Suddenly, I feel lethargic.
I begin to drink again, but the wave ebbs and turns, the charges at me in full assault. This time, the wave is nausea.
I want to fight through it, the rolling of my stomach, but it is so foreign.
The wave doubles and my euphoria lifts enough for me to take in other sensations. I begin to hear beyond its pulse as I drain it.
"Only on him! How do you expect me to yank him off her if I'm puking?"
I weave my arms around its arm like a braid. I can still taste the blood in my mouth. The nausea does nothing to abate its draw, but I know there can't be much left and I want to enjoy it fully. So, I wait and enjoy the affect it has had on my body, the completion I feel.
There are so many sets of hands on me now. I do not fear the fight. I will fight for it. But I cannot bring myself to disentangle.
I want the rest. Without interruption.
I want it all.
"Not the head, Son. Alright. On three."
A tug registers in my arms. At first, all I see is a pale mass fall away from body. Its limp. The old one begins inspecting it. He lifts its arm and holds its wrist in his hand.
Its wrist. The siphoning point.
I hear myself roar. It echoes in the empty wooden hall. My cry reverberates in the many mirrors.
I make to launch myself at him, but I'm still restrained by the many hands. I make to fight them off, but that's when I become cognizant of my condition. I cannot fight. My arms lay twenty feet from me.
I wail. I curse.
The old one frowns and continues to gaze at my kill. My kill. The hands double the effort as I try to launch my torso at him, to dislodge him.
"Hold him off," the old one says, and begins to loosen the garments from my kill. "Just a bit longer. It may not matter now."
The blood, the song, is faint. So faint. But I still hear the tune. It plays for me. If he can't hear it, why must he come between us?
I howl again, this time as much for the pain of my severed limbs as for the longing for the blood.
No, the howl is still more for the blood. Everything is about the blood.
It's in there.
It rings in my ears.
I see the old one speak with one of the ones holding me. He nods, looking sad, and drops the wrist.
They've given up. Good.
I've never strained so hard. I push. I twist. But they have me, the old one grips me as well.
They have me and my kill lies prostrate on the floor.
Beckoning me. Come.
Oh, my love, I will. I'm on my way back to you.
I jerk to the side suddenly. Only the smallest of hands anticipates this and I nearly break free.
It becomes easier to move within my prison. The largest one has given up. I see him, bent and broken, move to my kill.
The brute flashes a glance at me, his eyes malevolent. He would burn me in the fire now if he could. I know it. He would end me for finally giving in and being myself. He would deny me the only happiness I've felt since before he was born.
He bends over its crumpled form and scoops it up. He nuzzles it.
He's too close. Mine. I twist and the nausea is replaced by a wave of sadness so acute I can barely keep my eyes open. But I must watch my kill. If the big one who holds it decides to run, I cannot waste the precious moment it would take to determine in which direction he carried it away.
The large one shudders. It looks like a tearless sob.
The wave of sadness becomes excruciating and I double my effort to break free and finish the job.
He moves its long hair aside and kisses its face, then neck.
He turns to me and the glint in his eyes is triumphant.
He knows! He smells the last of it.
He's stealing it!
Mine! Mine! Mine!
He sinks his teeth into her throat and pulls away as if it burns him. He's out the door of the hall before the terror at the loss escapes me.
The old one slips to the carcass. The remaining sets of hands on me reaffirm their purchase, but it's for naught. All that I can smell of the blood now is tainted. Tainted with venom.
I've had the last of its perfection.
I cease my fight. The hands hold me fast.
The old one places his hands on its chest and begins compressions in a pattern, but I don't care. I'm done with it. He can have his game. They've won, they've separated us.
I was sane again. I could think again. And I could fight again. I could fight against what I didn't want to be.
Obviously, I was a rational, thinking creature, and I had a choice. There was always a choice.
I was the last person who would ever stand as a protector for Isabella Swan. She would never need protection from anything more than she needed it from me.
I do not know how long it has been since the pieces of me were carried from the hall. My severed limbs had been bundled up like so many shopping bags from one of Alice's runs. The reason for my existence had bobbed limply in my father's arms.
How he could fail to disown me after all I've done was beyond me. I'd failed. I'd failed her. I was a disappointment to him.
Disappointment isn't a strong enough term.
When he'd first let my body knit back together, I'd thought surely it was out of a sense of fairness, so then I could be taken down in an even battle. But, it wouldn't have been a fair fight, because I wouldn't have fought. I would've embraced the oblivion like I'd embraced her, like I'd embraced her blood.
The damnable blood.
I felt my lips smack at the memory.
And, like a miracle, I hated myself even more.
After a time, I shower. I try, again, fruitlessly, to make myself feel clean. The water is as hot as I can make. I try not to let myself think of her and how warm she had been before I ended her. The sobs wrack my body. The tiles crack when my knees hit them.
As the water cools, I shut it off and leave the shower. The mirror is fogged over as I knew it would be. That was my plan. I don't want to look at myself.
But, I catch the hazy outline in the mirror and hesitate, transfixed by the one thing that is distinct in the glass: the red. The red of my eyes, now fading surely, glows back at me through the fog.
It's all I have left of her. The red.
But it will be gone soon, too. My eyes will be as black as my heart.
I make my way back to the bed. Not my bed. I don't have one, but this cabin does. It's down the road from my family's home. I've been sent here, no doubt while my family decides whether I truly can ever be incorporated again. I cannot blame them for their reluctance.
I slide on some combination of attire and slip into the bed for no reason - the same reason I've used since my arrival.
Suddenly, I hear the approaching trill of Alice's thoughts. She's reciting the lyrics to a pop song. She officially hates me.
Within moments, she is at the door and lets herself in.
"You knew I wouldn't answer."
"Of course." She whips the comforter off of me. "You disgust me Edward."
I disgust myself. I shrug.
"I've been sent to get you."
"If I'm so disgusting, let me be."
She flits to the closet and tosses articles at me. "Put those on and I'll stomach you."
"I don't want your tolerance. Let me be."
I curl into a ball, not caring how infantile I must surely seem.
"I won't be leaving without you."
"Alice, simply tell Esme, or whomever it is that has sent you to retrieve me, that I have no desire to sully your home."
Alice huffs and begins to yank the clothing from my body. I smack her away. "What do you think you're doing?"
"Don't be a prude Edward. I'm helping you dress."
"No, you are most certainly not." It was apparent she would not be letting me out of this little venture, but I would not let her enthusiasm compromise all sense of decency. "Just because you wrenched my limbs from my body does not mean you can come back later and do as you please."
"As I please? Edward Cullen, if you think any of this pleases me…"
I interrupt her. I cannot bare the words she will surely speak. "You needn't say it. I understand what I've done."
I just looked at Alice. Of course I did. I murdered her. I broke my family's heart. I broke her heart as I drained her. Even Esme hated me, as was evidenced by my banishment to this musty, barely inhabitable cabin.
She spun around and I dressed quickly. My haste was incongruous with my state; I had no desire to hurry off and nothing to which I would be returning. Ever.
Within minutes we arrived at the house. Of course, everyone's thoughts were guarded. I could not fault them for it. Despite their efforts, I picked up moments.
"And they always thought I'd be the one to slip up."
"It's bound to be uncomfortable, but this must be done."
"Yes, more drama, please. Oh, how have we managed without Edward's melancholy painting the place?"
"It was wrong to let him be my favorite, I can see that now."
The last one, Esme's, stings the worst. It is the closest I've ever known her to come to saying something ill about another creature. And it is about me – and how undeserving I am.
I hang my head and think about leaving, not sure what good could come of this. The backdoor jostles and I hear Emmett's clear thoughts as he enters the house.
"Better, faster, stronger."
Yes, he was. He'd even gotten in the last lick. A vestige of the beast roars as I recall the image of Emmett over her body, taking the final bite. Every piece of my being surges with revulsion.
"You," I spit.
"You!" He chuckles and knocks me to the ground. I make to pounce on him but catch Esme's widened eyes and stop myself. I will not do this in her home. I will seek him out later and deal with him.
"Son," Carlisle approaches me and places a hand on my shoulder. "There's someone here who has asked to see you."
To see me? Let it be the Volturi. Let them come to end me for breaking the one rule. It is the answer I've been too dense to come up with until now.
I listen over the familiar tenor of thoughts and hear nothing. Perhaps the Volturi had left or not actually arrived as yet. I look at him questioningly. He smiles, somewhat sadly, as if he thinks I'll be disappointed. A guarded looked clouds his visage as he spins me to the archway leading to the stairs. He is gauging my reaction.
That's when I see her. She descends the stairs like a reverse angel. Surely she is one. I'd done this to her. I've killed her and she's been allowed back to visit. It could happen. Vampires and werewolves…why not angels?
She is luminous. Her long hair pools on her shoulders and a red slip dress falls to just above her knees. I have no right to even look at her. I drop my head and force myself to look at the floor. She is instantly at my side, her small hand on my face.
"Edward. Look at me."
I try to obey. I tilt my head up, eyes closed, and let out a needless breath.
I open my eyes and meet hers. Red. As red as my own. More so.
Every cell of my being is split in twain. I rejoice in her existence. I curse my own, as I have brought her to this. I war with myself to not let the remorse show, she does not need to think that I harbor any regrets that some part of her survived me.
"Bella. Love. Can you, someday, forgive me?"
She shakes her head. "No. No, I can't."
I cannot tell if I gasp over the other gasps that echo throughout the home. No one has expected this revelation. Well, no one else.
I nod my fallen head in understanding. I shall never forgive myself for my gluttony. How could she?
Both her hands are on my face now, cradling me.
"I can't forgive you someday because I can't forgive what is already forgiven. I won't fault you for being who you are. To deny the natural actions of your being would be to deny you as a whole. When I first fell for you, I told you it does not matter. I accepted you so long ago. Accept yourself."
I fall abject at her feet. Where I belong. I'll do whatever she tells me to.
"Besides," she says, a smile on her pouting lips reveals gleaming teeth. "I imagine this will save us a lot of trouble."