Don't get me wrong. I used to love Twilight. When I was in 6th grade. I read it the year it came out and adored it. It was soooo romantic to my 12 year ol self. Yeah, I know, what was I thinking? But I didn't realize what an anti-feminist story it was and how creepy it really is. So warning EDWARD-BASHING AND MILD CULLEN BASHING. Enjoy!
It had been a year. A year since a left my beautiful Bella. I loved her with all of my unbeating heart but I knew I was no good for her. After her disastrous 18th Birthday party I left her to live a normal life. I loved her so…
I couldn't stand to be in the country for a while after that. But I had worked my way up to avoiding the coast, and then just the state. I felt that my exercise in self denial had built up my tolerance so I was now in California heading up to Oregon to see if I could spend some time there before finally returning to Washington.
"Edward" said my sister Alice. "I really don't see the point of this"
"I wouldn't have expected you to Alice" I replied stiffly.
"Well enlighten me. What's the point" she said
"The point", I replied, "Is to make me strong enough not to go back to Bella".
"Why?" she asked. "It still seems pretty pointless to me".
I was starting to agree.
I would have never expected to be where I am today. Not that I was complaining.
"Yo, baby-B, let's get a move on girl" called Faith. "Vamps to stake and apocalypses to avert, girl".
"Coming" I called.
Shortly after Edward left me, in comatose state in case you were wondering, a stuffy old man in a tweed suit, a guy with an eyepatch, a kind faced redhead, and a tiny dainty blonde showed up at my door. They talked to me about destiny and work and saving the world.
I just looked at them. Told them my world had already been ripped away. The beautiful blonde who I had initially dismissed as an airhead narrowed her eyes with me. She grabbed my arm, yanked me off to the side and we had The Talk.
I realized a lot of things. My relationship with Edward was deeply unhealthy. And I wasn't the only one in pain. She told me about Angel, about how she had to kill him knowing he loved her to save the world. Told me how she ran away because she couldn't handle it. Told me how she realized that people still needed her despite her pain. Told me how Angel returned from hell, how they rebuilt their relationship. Told me how he left her, supposedly for her own good.
"We did have a co-dependant relationship" she had said. "We needed time apart to grow as people. If something is meant to be then it will happen. That's something my life, prophecy ridden as it is, has definitely taught me".
So I left with them and trained as a Slayer. Buffy made sure I was settled in and then took off for Europe. I kept in touch with her when no one else did and I really felt that she was like a sister to me, more so than the other slayers. While she was gone I met her love, Angel the souled vampire. He was a kind and god man and when he spoke of her there was reverence and love and acceptance in his face. He knew exactly what she was and loved her for it. I can't say that I ever had the same thing with Edward.
Buffy had returned two months ago bringing stories and presents for all of us. She gave me a lovely silver necklace that had a Celtic symbol for strength on it. For angel she brought back a cookbook. It was called One hundred and one cookie recopies.
We didn't see either of them for a week after that.
Once they had gained enough self-control to actually leave Angel's penthouse they informed us that they had gotten back together. I had never seen Buffy so happy.
Angel continued to function as the CEO of Wolfram and Hart to some general discomfort but Buffy had faith that he would always do the right thing and everyone else just had to accept it.
Now the two of them lived together and the two of us along with Faith often hunted together. L.A. was a big city with lots of demon activity and all of the slayers who lived there saw plenty of action.
I was happy, not perfectly, but I was happy. My life was fulfilling and I was surrounded by good people. I still missed Edward but there was no doubt in my mind that I would survive. When guys asked me out I actually went out with a few of them on a couple of dates. Nothing lasted or got very serious but I was taking steps. I was a new person. I was Bella Swan, slayer, friend, and an independent woman who finally knew my own worth.
I realized I didn't need Edward to be complete in myself. And as I looked back at our past I no longer saw it the same way. Some of his actions were, as Faith put it, "A-grade stalkerish with a bit of schitzo thrown in". And I behaved in a ridiculous manner for a woman of the 21st century.
But my life had changed (drastically) and I finally knew who I was.
Just as well considering what happened next.
I was in L.A. with my family. Carlisle had gotten tickets to see the opera and decreed attendance compulsory. So I joined them despite my heartache.
I missed Bella. She was so pretty and delicate and innocent. She was like a fragile china doll. She was really a true lady in an era when those were far and few between. God I missed her…
We were in the lobby during intermission when I overheard the strangest conversation.
"-And she just wailed on that Fryyall demon, I mean, she was seriously upset." Said a woman with a light attractive voice.
"Why do you think she was upset, Buffy? " said a masculine baritone.
I looked around to identify the voices and discovered the sources. An attractive couple in very expensive evening clothing were deep in discussion in one of the alcoves in the lobby. As I watched the tall dark male grasped the hands of his petite blonde companion and kissed them.
"I think-" she said with a sigh, "-that she is unhappy with her inability to have a deep meaningful relationship". As her companion turned over her hands to kiss the insides of her wrists she continued, "That guy just left her in the forest, I think Bella just needs some kind of closure in her life"
"Mmmm" the man said. "What if they are meant to be though? Soulmates."
"Hmmm" the blonde said, "I sort of doubt that, not that I could discount the possibility, but it sounds like this guy was more in love with his own tragic pain and this ideal of her as this perfect dainty doll than the vibrant, beautiful young woman we know and love"
"True" the man said. "Buts let's not talk about Isabella and her idiotic ex-boyfriend any longer. Rather, lets talk about what I'm going to do to you when we get home"
"Mmmm", moaned the blonde, "Whatever shall we do?"
"Hey. Bells. Wait up, girl" Faith said to me.
"Hmm, what?" I looked up from the pavement where I had been attempting to burn a hole in it using my nonexistent powers of hole-burning.
"What's the matter, girl? You aren't exactly your usual self".
"Oh? That's it? Come on girl, I used to be that poster child for issues. Still am for a few of them. I know that when you have the God-given gift to kick demon ass and some unhappy feelings there tends to be a whole lotta pain before the big finish".
I paused to consider her words. I was unhappy. I just didn't really know why. I was a bit frustrated that I had gone out with yet another decent guy and it went absolutely nowhere.
We continued on in silence, passing the opera house where Angel and Buffy were. As I gathered my thoughts together to prepare an answer for Faith I heard my name being called.
"Bells!" Buffy exclaimed as she hiked up her dress and rushed over to me. Behind her, Angel followed at a more sedate pace.
"Buffy!" I exclaimed, "You look amazing"
After the three of us girls (and Angel) spent the prerequisite five minutes gushing over her dress (Which was pretty amazing, a deep green velvet number that she looked even better than usual knockout self in), we moved on to more pressing things.
"So how was patrol?" Angel inquired in his usual solicitous manner.
Faith and I exchanged glances.
"It was…" I began hesitantly.
"Shit" Faith finished. "We saw almost no action. We staked one vamp, a fledgling by the looks of it. It was dead tonight, man. And we all know by now that it means that some big scary shit it coming up".
"Oh" Buffy said. "Well crap, I was really hoping to stay in tonight".
"We can beloved" Angel murmured in that adorably enchanted way to his fiancée. "Nothing will be happening tonight and if it is I am sure my people not to mention, Faith, Isabella, and the other slayers will be more than capable of handling it."
"Go", Faith commanded. 'Go and be disgustingly gooey somewhere else. You're making me lose my appetite"
As they trotted away I absently remarked "But you just ate", feeling a goose prickling sensation charge my skin. I could swear…
"There is more than one kind of hunger, Bells" Faith grinned lustily at me.
…that someone was watching me.
When the opera was over (Oh how I wished that my beautiful Bella had been there, she would have cried so exquisitely) the seven of us hesitated in the lobby for a moment before moving outside. I had informed my family of the obviously insane couple who had discussed an actual demon, as though such a thing existed, and informed them of my desire to keep an eye on the deranged couple.
"Demons are actually real, Edward" Carlisle told me.
"Thank you!" Alice exclaimed.
"But Carlisle-" I began.
Alice held up a dainty hand.
"Vision" she said.
I let out a sigh at her highbrow attitude.
"Ohmigod, ohmigod, ohmigod!" she exclaimed. "There are a big group of humans being attacked by these blue scaly things. And Bella was there!"
Horror of horrors that such wretched creatures should beset such a delicate creature! I had to save my Bella from these monsters! But how could I leave once I saw her beautiful face again! I would have to forbear! Such a monster such as I was made me unworthy to kiss the hand of such a frail lady, so noble and true! And she had no doubt fallen madly in love with a man who was perfect in every way and worshiped the ground on which she walked such as I once did. They would no doubt be married by now and perhaps with a child on the way, I knew that a lady like my Isabella would never be with a man before marriage. I would have to endure for her sake and leave once I rescued her from her plight.
"I have to save her!" I announced heroically.
And several members of my family rudely rolled their eyes. When we went outside I pointed out the two people I had seen earlier and to my utter shock and horror they were speaking with none other than my Bella and some other dark haired girl dressed like a horror.
"-And we all know by now that it means that some big scary shit it coming up" the slut said. (Though now that I looked closely the clothing Bella was wearing was far to revealing to be in good taste as well)
"Oh", the blonde said. "Well crap, I was really hoping to stay in tonight".
"We can beloved" the dark man replied, "Nothing will be happening tonight and if it is I am sure my people not to mention, Faith, Isabella, and the other slayers will be more than capable of handling it."
"Go", the slut said 'Go and be disgustingly gooey somewhere else. You're making me lose my appetite"
"But you just ate" Bella said as they walked away.
"There is more than one kind of hunger, Bells"
Bella laughed. Just then a pack of scaly blue demons ran into an alleyway behind the girls.
"Yo B! Angel! Time to move!" the other woman shouted.
It was oh so typical. We think it's a quiet night and split up to enjoy our various nocturnal pursuits when a bunch of demons attack.
Me and Faith ran into the alley with Buffy and Angel on our heels. I grabbed my crossbow from my bag and Faith eased her short swords out of their hidden arm sheaths (pretty cool, right? She got the idea form Angel's arm stake things). Angel for his part simply grabbed a piece of metal piping and bludgeoned one of the four demons to death. Since they were pretty wimpy and there were only four of them Buffy chose not to mess up her dress.
It took the three of us about 45 seconds to kill them all.
"Well, that was no fun" said Faith.
"Hardly even a challenge" I agreed with a grin.
"Well" , said Angel, "if we're done here…"
"Go. Shag." said Faith.
The two of them linked arms and moved to walk out of the alley. Only to halt once confronted with all 7 of the people I never thought I would see again.
"Well, crap" I said.
As we moved to the alley I saw the slut take out two sword and kill one of the blue things. The dark man was beating one to death with a pipe. One was on the ground with an arrow in its throat. As I watched. Bella, Bella of all people, calmly fired her crossbow (where the hell had she gotten that!) striking the other monster in the heart.
"Well, that was no fun" said the slut.
"Hardly even a challenge" said my Bella (was she even Bella?) with a grin that could only be properly described as feral.
"Well", said the man taking hold of his companion's arm, "if we're done here…"
"Go. Shag." said the slut. Disgusting.
As the pair turned towards us where we stood stunned in the mouth of the alley, the four of them froze, with identical looks of surprise on their faces. Then to my utter shock and horror the woman-who-could-not-be-Bella-because-my-darling-doll-would-never-swear opened her mouth.
"Well, crap" she said.
There was a long silence as we all stared at each other in the alley.
The silence was broken when the tall man, who did not appear to be breathing said
"No heartbeats. Interesting. Care to introduce yourselves?"
Carlisle stepped forward, "Ah, we are the Cullen family, Bella? Is that you?"
The love of my life took a step forward hesitantly, "Yes. Well, I guess. I've changed a lot, though."
That was enough for me. "Oh Bella!" I cried, "You are in danger! WE must take you away at once!"
She raised an eyebrow. "I'm not going anywhere." There was an emotion in her voice that I couldn't detect. And as I couldn't read her thoughts…. I listened carefully. My family's voices were there, but from the four in the alley? Nothing at all.
So I tuned into Jasper's, instead. So many emotions! Fear, confusion, self-confidence, a bit of love, amusement, and…Acceptance? Woah, way too much lust from the blonde and the man…love too. Damn, this is uncomfortable.
"Perhaps you all could introduce yourselves?" said my father.
The dark man smiled, "You all evidently know Isabella, this is Faith", he said jerking his chin towards the slut, "And this is-" he began with a smile on his face.
"I'm Buffy." The blonde interrupted, giving a smile that showed her teeth, "The Vampire Slayer."
We stood still in shock for a moment and before we could say anything that dark man began speaking again.
"Oh, well, if we're using titles, Faith and Bella are also slayers. And I don't believe that I introduced myself. I'm Angel." And here he gave us a smile that could almost be called bashful.
I was in a state of shock. And panic. And I was babbling internally. Never a good sign….
It was just such a shock to see the Cullens after so long. It had been a fairly long time for me, a couple of years anyway. I had forgotten the faces of a few. And here we were, in an alley splattered with demon goo. Life was SUCH a bitch. If I ever meet her… or would it be him…Arg, get a hold of yourself Swan.
"As much fun as it is talking in a dirty alley covered in demon goo, maybe we should, you know, move somewhere else" I heard myself say.
This was a good sign. The old Bella would never have been this assertive.
"Excellent idea" said Angel. "I believe the Hyperion is completely finished. The library should do nicely"
So to the library we went.
I was in a state of shock. I couldn't believe this. My Bella, fighting demons and vampires. It was awful. What had I left her to? What kind of life had I condemned her to?
Do you mind? Jasper thought to me. All your guilt is giving me a headache.
Bella had explained what had happened to her life since I had left her. I was horrified. But I knew what needed to be done. I had clearly made a grave error in leaving her. She needed me to get her life back on track and as the man it was my duty to do so.
"I really must apologize. I had no idea… " Carlisle was saying.
"No." said Bella. "Listen, it was really heard at first. I was in an awful state I'm ashamed to say. But you know what? I think it was good for me. I learnt how to be a person who could stand on their own, independent and strong in my own right. And I have a real purpose in life. Saving the world is a big responsibility you know."
"Saving the world!" Emmett exclaimed.
"You would be surprised," the man Angel was saying, "how often apocalypses occur these days. I have seen quite a few myself. Buffy here," and there was a look of strong affection and pride, "has stopped the world from ending nine times."
"Well" said Buffy (a stranger name if you asked me) "It wasn't always the end of the world. Sometimes it's just the destruction of humanity"
A flash of guilt stole across Angel's face. (seriously, what was with the names of these people?)
"I have heard of the legend of the slayer" said Carlisle. "Who hasn't (I hadn't) but, and correct me if I'm wrong, wasn't one called when the other died."
"I always liked to break the rules" said the blonde, Buffy. I died for about five minutes when a friend revived me with CPR. So a girl named Kendra was called and after she died Faith was. About four years ago we were facing the First and, well, long story short, we did a spell so that all of the potential slayers were activated. The power was shared. And so now there are around two thousand of us."
"Oh." Carlisle managed to say.
"How do you fit into all of this" Alice chirped to Angel.
"It's a very long story" he said with a slight smile. "Even the abridged version would take about an hour"
"He was a vampire cursed with a soul who was sent to protect Buffy and they fell in love and when they did the deed (here many of us winced) he lost his soul because of a loophole in the curse terrorized Sunnydale, tried to suck the world into hell, Buffy had to kill him, after which she was majorly depressed, he came back from hell all crazy, she made him better he had to leave after the apocalypse so he wouldn't lose his soul again, came to L.A. started a detective agency, worked for his redemption saved the world a few time, defeated a bunch of evil lawyers who offered him a job as their CEO got his soul bound and got back with Buffy" said that girl, Faith.
"Or apparently not so long" Angel said with a note of astonishment in his voice.
"You're a vampire!" I said, startled at this revelation. "Don't worry Bella. I'll protect you", I reassured my beloved.
"Is this guy for real?" said the dark-haired whore?
"Listen buddy" said the girl, Buffy, to me, "Bella is stronger than you are. She is faster than you are. And it's becoming quite clear that she is smarter than you are. She can look after herself. If she couldn't, then there are plenty of people here who would be willing to lay down their lives for her. As for Angel, he is one of the best people I know. Don't insult my boyfriend"
"Bella-" Carlisle began.
"No." said Bella. "I love my life right now. I am touched and admittedly more than a little surprised by your concern but rest assured that everything Buffy has told you is true. I am perfectly safe."
"Bella!" I cried. "This is madness! You are only a delicate girl! I cannot allow this travesty to continue! You must come away with me at once!"
Gunn was roaring with laughter. "You're kidding! That sparkly bastard actually said that!" His girlfriend gave a nervous little laugh.
"He sounds sortta sexist"
"It was fuckin' unbelievable man, this guy was certifiable, let me tell you that" said Faith.
"Uh, guys? I am standing right here, in this very room" And they continued to ignore me.
"Ignore them Bella" murmured Wesley in my ear.
"Oh! Wes!" I smiled at him. I liked Wes. He made me feel all tingly.
"So what happened then?" asked Gunn, in rapt attention to Faith's story. Fred looked at him bemusedly.
Faith grinned. "I slugged him"
"You did not!"
"Let's take a walk" Wesley said to me.
"Okay." I breathed. We left the others in Buffy's living room and exited the Victorian home. We slid around back and entered the maze. He took my hand without seeming to even think about it. My breath hitched.
"Are you alright" he asked me. I smiled reassuringly at him.
"Yeah. I've been over him a long time. I'm actually glad that I saw him. It really acted as a measure of closure for me, you know?" I said. He smiled.
"Yes. I imagine that it was good to put the past to rest. But it must have hurt to see him. After all you did love him…"
"Yeah. I did. But I didn't love all of him. And he clearly didn't love all of me." I said.
"You sound upset?" he said, concerned. I debated telling him for a moment. But this was Wes. He had been a very good friend to me ever since I had moved to L.A. We were both bookworms, and my Friday nights often involved coffee and novels at his apartment. We had come to discuss almost everything from our lives with each other and I realized with a jolt that I would trust Wes with anything.
"I just feel stupid. It's like the first person I ever loved, the first time I felt this way was just a sham." I told him.
He looked shocked.
"Of course not. I was madly in love with Mary-Lynn Rothbourne when I was 15. It didn't last at all but it certainly seemed convincing enough at the time. I was just a kid. For a lot of s, we have to learn how to love like adults. Not all of us have soulmates and destiny. Sometimes we just feel and it doesn't last" he told me.
I realized he was right. The past was in the past and now I was putting it there. Pleased with my own realization I looked up at him with a smile. I swore I saw him blush.
"Dinner tonight?" he stammered. What was the big deal? Why was he stuttering? He only did that when he was nervous…
"Sure" I said brightly, greatly cheered up by this prospect. "Chinese at my place?" I offered.
"Ah, no. I was ah, wondering if you wanted to go out with me" he said nervously but surely. "Like on a date. We could go to that new place. Le Revoila Blu. If you're feeling up for it" he added.
I thought about it for a moment.
"What time are you picking me up at?" I said with a smile.
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