... Hi?

So I kind of feel like I'm going to be publicly slaughtered for revealing that, no, I was not actually dead, nor did anything incredible happen in my life to explain my absurdly long absence, and you all would be completely right in killing me for that. I really can't apologize enough, only say that I feel terrible and that I'm an awful person and will do better next time, I swear. The amount of time I left you all waiting is completely unacceptable. That being said, and having hopefully stalled my impending execution at least long enough for you all to read the chapter below this small supplication (longest chapter yet- does that help? Probably not, but I figured I'd try…), I can only hope that you'll at least like some of what I made you wait way too long for.

Again, I'm so sorry, and your reviews and faves despite my extended absence are more than I probably deserve. Hope you like it!


"Animal"


"Edward?"

No response.

"Eeeeeeddward?""

Still nothing.

SLAM!

The telepathic vampire's eyes finally (and abruptly) flashed back to a measurable level of awareness as they focused in on the large hand now resting on the hood of his Volvo. It took his sluggish mind another few seconds to realize that that hand was connected to an arm, which in turn was connected to Emmett.

"What?" Edward noticed idly that his voice sounded almost hoarse when he spoke, as if his throat wasn't used to the action. But his attention was quickly dragged to the beaming, excited form of Alice all but jumping up and down behind Emmett, who withdrew his hand to give her room to leap closer to Edward's rolled down window.

"You've been staring forward at nothing for almost three minutes now!" Her words were spoken with a hurried excitement, but the fashion in which she cut off her sentence practically screamed that she had much more she wanted to say but was holding back with all the patience of a gnat.

Edward laughed lightly, a hand trailing up into his hair. "Yeah, I guess I have." He had driven back to the Cullen home after leaving Harry's (who, unlike Edward, required at least a modicum of sleep), but after parking in the driveway had sat there, not even realizing as whole minutes slipped by.

All at once, Alice burst.

"I saw everything, Edward! And it was so cute! The way he blushed, and the way you held him, and just… oh! It was just too adorable. I'm so glad you two finally kissed, I mean, yes, it's only been like a week since you two met, but you're mates, so it had to happen, and I'm just so happy that you're together now…"

The tiny vampire was gushing and smiling and gesturing so much that Edward was afraid she might hurt herself. Then he noticed Emmett standing behind her, miming all of her excited motions and expressions. The sight of them on someone that large made them that much more ridiculous and hilarious, and Edward found himself laughing uncontrollably for the first time in almost longer than he could remember.

He only calmed after he noticed that Alice had stopped her frantic babblings, causing him to look up. The looks of surprise on both Alice and Emmett's faces quickly caught his attention.

"What?"

Alice's smile reappeared, tugging at her lips.

"I haven't seen you laugh like that in… well, I don't even know how long."

Edward's smile persisted, widening marginally as he realized the truth of her words.

"I guess I can't help myself… I feel better than I have in ages." He stepped out of the car and closed the door, heading up into the house feeling that much better about the coming day for it.


Harry dragged in a staccato breath of the frigid air, trying harder than he ever had to hold the tears at bay.

He was running.

Running faster than he ever had before. Simultaneously running to and away. It hurt- something did… what was it?

Lungs burning. Legs weakening.

Of course.

He had to keep his thoughts on this. His body. Then he didn't have to think about it- didn't have to the think about what he was leaving behind, or what he was approaching.

Not approaching fast enough.

A quick jump got him over the rock that had been in front of him, but the pain the impact sent up his legs threatened to sent him crashing to earth. He refused to acknowledge the burn, instead focusing on the roaring in his ears, the feeling of blood running scathingly hot through his veins.

There wasn't time for pain, just motion.

Potential being transferred to kinetic at a rate that couldn't be sustained by the limited source of the energy.

Harry didn't have long.

All at once he stumbled, smashed through the door to the house. How he had gotten there he wasn't entirely sure- the home was miles and miles from the school…

His thoughts plunged into black as he saw what he had known was coming.

I just wanted to-" Sniffle. "To say I'm sorry. F-for everything."

The two others parts of his divided soul were laying there in front of him, motionless.


Something dark was moving in the tree-line- moving fast. Only basic features could be made out in the blur, but it was obviously male, and obviously a vampire if the scarlet eyes were anything to go by.

Long, graceful limbs moved in a rhythm that was all his own. Exertion pulled his clothing taut, making obvious the sharp lines of trim muscular expanses of alabaster skin.

Crimson irises remained locked forward, a predatory gleam of hunger and determination seething in their intensity.

Whoever he was, he was after something. And he was going to get it.


Overtaxed eyes abruptly opened their floodgates, and waterfalls of silent tears began to carve their slow paths down the blood and dirt stained planes of his cheeks.

No.

He had known it was coming, but that hardly helped. The raw emotions, so long repressed as he ran, now came rushing back, all the stronger for their forced absence.

It was an ache so black and pure and wrong that he couldn't feel himself anymore. Numb legs crumbled, and Harry's knees hit the floor with a solid crack.

Directly in front of him, emerald eyes blurred by tears honed in on entwined hands, eternally locked together. In that final, defining moment, they had at least had each other. He silently thanked whatever power had allowed that small respite.

But who did that leave him with?

He let out a sob.

As much as he loved Ron and Hermione, he couldn't find it in his heart to pity them. The dead feel nothing- not the pain and the grief and the torment he knew would never truly release him. And wherever they were, he knew that, for everything else, they were together. It was the living, the hollow ones left behind that suffered when death came to claim the newest members of her collection.

In a single instant that made the black flare darker, he let slip the single thought he had always tried to avoid.

Would anyone be there with him when his darkness finally came?


The vampire finally slid to a stop before jumping straight up, climbing to the top of the nearby tree with absurd speed and grace.

He looked down from his new vantage point, his eyes settling in on a small collection of lights that was obviously Forks. He took in a deep breath, his eyes slipping closed as he did so. When they opened again, they seemed to have honed in on a target, and a hazy mist immediately clouded over his eyes.

A smirk pulled at the edges of his lips, twisting his face into a look of menacing fascination…


There was a cruelty in the method of Avada Kedavra, Harry now realized. A gun shot or a knife wound left clear marks, obvious signs that the victim had sustained too much damage to continue living. But that acid green curse was the most meticulous of thieves, claiming the life of its target without leaving so much as a scratch. The lifeless shells before him might have been merely sleeping, if not for the unnatural chill of their skin, or the blank expression plastered over their still-open eyes. It made it that much harder to believe that he had lost two of the few things he had ever truly cared for in this world.

A soft sound was hitting his ears, but Harry paid it no mind. He slid forward on his hands and knees, arms shaking and lips quivering, trying to get closer to his misery.

A gentle, tinkling voice some part of his sluggish mind recognized slowly rose up through the silence, finally piercing his thoughts enough to look up.

At the top of the stairs to the second floor of the house, framed by the light seeping down, was Luna. Blond hair caught the light so that it seemed to glow as she slowly descended, one step at a time.

"I'll never talk again, oh boy you've left me speechless… you've left me speechless, so speechless…"

Invisible instruments seemed to back up Luna's words, a soft tune somehow accompanying her as she drew closer, a single hand slowly sliding down the banister.

"And I'll never love again, oh friend you've left me speechless… you've left me speechless, so speechless…"

Harry's eyes widened as he watched her step down in front of him. Then he followed her gaze.

Ron and Hermione's hands now lay on top of his.

Something in his chest dropped away as he desperately looked up to see-

Ding Dong!

BOOM!

Every particle of air in the house seemed to detonate at the same exact moment, and with a feeling as if flying backward, Harry crashed landed back into his body.

His body in his bed, in his room, in his house, in Forks, Washington.

Dream…

"Fuck…" he growled out, clutching his eyes to block out the bright light streaming in through his window.

He knew he should have realized it was a dream- in real life, he had never seen Ron and Hermione's bodies in the house- it had been miles away, after all. It wasn't until afterwards, when they were brought to Hogwarts. And Luna, singing with instrumental backup… but in dreams, the most absurd can be acceptable.

Ding Dong!

Harry suddenly realized just what it was that had woken him up.

Shit- doorbell.

He hurriedly grabbed a shirt thrown on the nearby chair and headed downstairs, trying to ignore the persistent feelings his dream had left in him.


Alice's eyes flew back open with an intake of breath.

A new vampire? Here, in Forks?

The prospects that that kind of vision offered for the future were concerning ones; if she was right- if that was a vampire- then she wasn't sure how this was going to play out.

With Edward and Harry so involved with themselves at the moment, they might not be as careful as was normally essential whenever rogue vampires were added to the mix.

First things first, then- tell Edward.

The small vampire raced up the stairs and threw open her brother's door-

Only to find the room empty.


Edward fidgeted impatiently, rubbing his arm repeatedly. Biting down on his lip, he considered pressing the doorbell again, then thought better of it. Harry was probably just asleep.

He glanced at his watch- but it was noon! He really should have woken up by now. Maybe he should press it just one more time…

Edward reached forward, faltered, pulled back again with a sigh. His leg bounced anxiously. He chanced a glance at the window to his right, but with the curtains drawn he couldn't see anything inside. A wayward hand curled into a fist to keep from reaching forward again.

Shit.

Finally conceding, Edward threw his hand forward, impacting on the doorbell just as the door swung open.

Ding Dong!

The unnecessary breath caught in the vampire's throat at the sight in front of him.

"Sorry about taking so long." The muffled voice of his mate drifted out from behind the shirt currently bundled over his head. He seemed to have been in the process of pulling it on when he opened the door, as it was now remaining stubbornly caught on top of his shoulders, his head unable to find the proper opening. But it was what was just below the shirt that had stolen Edward's air.

A crisscross myriad of thin scars formed a crosshatch over the surface of Harry's otherwise flawless, tight chest and extended down to a lesser extent over his abdomen. He couldn't tell if they were older or more recent, but in an instant the monster in him had seethed its way to the surface, detonating like some grenade in his chest.

Someone hurt my Harry.

I'll destroy them.

All at once Harry found the hole and dragged the shirt down over himself, blocking Edward's view. The monster stumbled backwards, weakened by the disappearance. Without its rage-strengthened assurance, Edward felt as if a rug had just been ripped out from under him. The flow of adrenaline had stopped, now leaving only its side-effects without its strengths- his breathing was shallow and quick, taut muscles begging to be used were now shaking, and his pupils had dilated to the point where there was barely any amber left.

Harry ran a hand through his hair to bring some semblance of order to it after the shirt had disturbed it. He cocked his eyebrow as he noticed Edward's odd demeanor. "Are you ok?"

The vampire struggled to normalize himself, determined not to show his weakness at such an inopportune time. He blinked forcefully and allowed a shiver to rock his body, loosening some of the tightness. A smile crossed his lips.

"Just caught a chill." He redirected the conversation. "How are you?" He prayed the new topic would divert Harry away, keep him from asking questions, making assumptions.

It seemed to succeed. After a momentary pause of incredulity, Harry answered in turn. "I'm good." Another pause stretched awkwardly, during which Harry tried to think of something else to say. All that came out was "… Just woke up."

Not exactly his most impressive line, but his mind was blanking on rational thought again, like it so often did when around Edward.

The other boy didn't seem to mind much, however; instead, unfazed, he eagerly let loose with what he had been waiting to ask.

"I've already eaten- you've seen how Esme can be- but I'd like to take you to lunch." He glanced at his watch. "It's just about time, though I guess it would be breakfast for you." He added with a smirk.

God did that smirk look good…

Without even thinking, Harry easily replied with a "Sure," moving to step towards the door.

Faster than his eyes could process, Edward was at his side, holding it open for him. The other boy's eyes widened slightly, seemingly surprised by his own initiative and willingness to show a facet of his supernatural nature.

Though this relationship was odd in that both parties knew the other wasn't human but neither would say so, Harry felt an obligation to keep Edward from worrying over it. He offered the most sincere smile he could as he stepped through the door, finding it far easier to do so than it had been previously.

Before he could even turn to wait for Edward, the vampire had stepped outside, closed the door, and was now standing in front of him, obviously trying hard to contain his excitement. Harry found himself laughing lightly at his eagerness, evoking a still larger smile from Edward.

The wizard climbed into the front seat of Edward's car, wondering idly just what he had planned for lunch.


Alice glanced up at Carlisle in frustration.

"He turned his phone off, and all I know is he's somewhere with Harry!"

The blond vampire smiled softly. "Edward is many things, Alice, but he's not foolish. He can take care of himself, and there is no way he would let harm come to Harry."

Alice's frown remained. "He would be a lot safer if he at least knew that there was some possibility of danger."

Carlisle laughed softly. "Be careful, Alice- paranoia over danger is a quality more fitting for Rosalie than yourself." At her continued look of frustration, he softened his tone and took her hand, deciding on a different tact. "Your vision of this new vampire was at night. Unless something changes- and if it does, we can reassess the situation- Edward should be fine to have a day alone with Harry, without distracting phone calls. We can discuss the vampire tonight as a family."

Alice held his gaze for a while longer before she sighed. "Alright." She looked back up, more determined now. "But if I get any other kind of vision, we'll go find them?"

Carlisle nodded. "Yes. And we'll be careful, like always." He laughed lightly. "Besides, who's to say this vampire will be so bad, anyway? Not everyone is evil, Alice."

The prophetic vampire sank back into her seat, putting a hand to her head. "Oh god- I really am starting to sound like Rosalie, aren't I?"

A voice drifted in from the other side of the house, inciting laughter in both of them.

"I heard that!"


Edward smiled over at Harry. "Will this be okay? It's about the only place here in town to go." He shrugged. "One of the problems of living in such a small town."

Harry surveyed the diner. Small, but friendly looking enough. Besides, he really didn't care where he was so long as it meant he could be with Edward. He shot him a grin.

"Looks great. And I'm starved, so just about anything would taste great at this point…"

Edward laughed in reply, and they stepped out of the car and headed towards the small restaurant together, trading small talk as they went.


Alice's brow furrowed as she squeezed her eyes shut. It was normal to not be able to get a vision of Harry, but she was trying anyway. Unfortunately, the only thing she was getting was the sound of Dead Space 2 filtering through her thoughts as Emmett and Jasper waged war on a legion of undead creatures from the comfort of the living room seats near hers.

Edward's image was equally unclear, which, again, though it made sense since he was with Harry, was nonetheless a source of anxiety.

On a hunch, she tried to see the future of the new vampire that would soon be in town, but the image she was getting was a faded one. Her head tilted as she tried to ignore the sound of Plasma Cutter blasting the limbs off its victim, but the scene of the vampire running simply replayed, though this time the stretch of forest seemed slightly different- more reminiscent of that which was nearer the actual town. Then the image snapped out completely.

Was he close to Harry and Edward? Was she just losing her power? She tested it on Jasper, and saw that a swarm of necrotic, disturbingly child-like things were going to kill him in game in the next five minutes, so that obviously wasn't the case. The small vampire fidgeted, debated telling Carlisle.

He'll probably just tell me I'm panicking. And he's right- Edward's a big boy, he can take care of himself. Maybe I am being too much like Rosalie.

Alice settled back down into her seat, deciding to instead immerse her nervous thoughts in the sights and sounds of intergalactic undead warfare for a few hours and leave the worries of the true "living dead" for a later time.


Laughter burst from Harry, bubbling up and pouring out in a way that made Edward's entire world flare with more vivid colors. The black of his mate's hair shone brilliantly like the feathers of a preened raven; the greens of his eyes were entire fields of spring grass just waiting to be rolled in- even the pale, chipping blue of the diner's walls glowed brilliantly in the warmth of Harry's light.

The wizard's grin stayed strong as he shook his head. "You realize we've been sitting here for-" He glanced at his watch. "Oh my god- four hours? I'm surprised they haven't thrown us out!"

Edward grinned back at him. "I'm sure they've just forgotten about us by now. Though it's practically time for us to order dinner, seeing as it's almost quarter to five."

Harry laughed again, softer this time, but no less brilliantly. He chanced a glance out the window. "With this storm the way it is, it seems even later though. Practically like night out there."

The thought of nighttime sparked all kinds of images in Edward's vivid mind that probably weren't exactly opportune right now- images of a certain wizard who just happened to be sitting right across from him.

In the momentary silence brought on by Harry reaching for his drink, Edward let curiosity take over again. He knew that Harry was aware of his efforts whenever he tried, but he pushed lightly against his mind anyway, the gold in his eyes shimmering as he did.

Harry glanced up slightly. His brow furrowed in confusion for a second before a smirk curled at the edge of his lips. With a raise of his eyebrow he set the glass down, leaned back, and let the Occlumency shields fade.

Edward's eyes slipped closed for a second as he plunged into Harry's lush thoughts.

Telepathy's a pretty personal thing, Edward. Are you sure you want to hear all my thoughts? He posited playfully.

The vampire smirked.

Well, I can hardly blame you- I wanted to hear yours too. Remember that? In my car? I tried to get in your head, but all you'd give me was Lady Gaga lyrics. A bit of a downer, really. Harry grinned. But in your situation, I would have probably done the same. Like I said, thoughts are pretty personal… His eyes twinkled deviously. But you know what's even scarier to think of someone knowing?

Edward raised an eyebrow, and Harry's smile widened in reply.

If they could see the kinds of things I picture in my mind… the images and scenarios that are supposed to be just for my viewing. A translucent scene of Harry grabbing Edward's hand and leading him outside and towards the back of the diner began to materialize in Edward's own thoughts as the wizard projected his fantasized images into the vampire's mind. It grew still more solid, Harry now turning to face him as they reached their destination away from the public eye. It's a crazy thought, right? Something you could practically get lost in.

The image snapped away as Occlumency shields flew back into place, and with a glance to the left, Edward realized Harry was standing beside him, his hand outstretched, a small smile on his face.

Without thinking, Edward took it, and allowed himself to be lead to the front door. They stepped out into the humid air with a ding from the bell over the diner's entrance, and Harry gave him a slight tug towards the side of the building, mirroring the image that had overtaken his mind just moments before.

Anxiety suddenly punched into Edward's stomach, a feeling that this was wrong, that it shouldn't be happening like this, not when they hadn't told each other the parts of themselves that would probably rip this apart, and he couldn't help but give voice to his concern.

"I- Harry, there's," he pulled him to a stop, "there's something I should tell you."

The wizard bit his lip, turning back slowly to face him. "I know." He sighed, shook his head. "I know, and you're right, and there's something I should tell you too, but-" he looked up at him urgently, determinedly, those green fields looking more painfully inviting than they ever had. "But for now- for this second, at least- let's just let it lie;" Harry's voice was growing stronger, more assured, and Edward felt him pressing against his mind again. "Let's pretend that we're normal, and there're no secrets, and it's just us, and this moment, and every-" A painfully high-definition close-up image of Harry's hand squeezing his thigh suddenly exploded in Edward's thoughts. "Thing-" Another flash, this time of their bodies grinding against one another, their groins in particular focus- "We've ever-" Harry moaning breathlessly against Edward's neck as he held him close. "Wanted…." A final scene alighted in the vampire's already strained mind, this time of two tongues fighting for dominance in one of their mouths, teeth and lips dancing with each other in a similar fashion at the same time. "… To do…"

The monster roared triumphantly deep inside Edward, and with a gasping breath he finally conceded to his desires.

Harry's warm hand seemed small in Edward's cold one, but it was like a sun spot in the vampire's senses, seething hot in the best way possible and flaring his instincts red. He nearly stumbled in his attempts to follow Harry in his haze, but finally stepped around the corner to the back of the diner.

The completion of his turn was met with a white hot explosion of force as Harry simultaneously slammed him against the back wall and assaulted his cold lips with his own violently heated ones. Caught off guard, Edward slipped down the wall slightly, bringing himself level with Harry. The wizard's moan- or was it a growl?- of agreement proved his appreciation of the new development as he gripped the vampire's hair tightly, forcing himself on him that much more strongly.

Edward's lips parted, and the inferno that poured into his mouth because of it finally truly caused the monster deep inside to awaken from its slumber. Higher thought disintegrated as it clawed its way into control of the vehicle known as his body.

Heat. Good. Want. Need. More. Now.

Mine.

With a growl that rumbled up from his core, Edward pushed himself back up the wall firmly before spinning himself and Harry around at lightning speed. The small wizard's back collided with the wall heavily, but his silent muffliato charm left the patrons none the wiser. A groan of what seemed to be relief burst from Harry's lips as Edward again seized them with his own, pushing with just enough strength to make it resolute without pain.


Harry may as well have surrendered to a monster inside himself as well, considering how mindlessly he was acting. But in this heated battle of passion, what little cognizant thought could be formed he was more than willing to ignore. He gripped the collar of Edward's shirt and pulled downward with adrenaline-strength, ripping it in half down to his abdomen.


Harry's hands collided with Edward's chest with searing ferocity. The alabaster flesh that had so long been frigid in its neglect was suddenly burning up under the wizard's touch, causing a low purr to spill from Edward's mouth and resound against Harry's bruised lips.

The vampire found himself completely unable to recall anything- all of Edward's timidity seemed to be some dream from the past, something that couldn't be real. The only thing left was the here, the now, and just how amazing his mate felt and tasted. From the resultant haze came his decision to pull back from Harry's lips for a moment, just long enough to grip him gently but firmly by the back of the neck and direct him down to his chest.

Harry didn't disappoint.

Without a moment's hesitation, a tongue that burned with the same heat as every other part of the wizard pressed against Edward's collarbone, sweeping across it from the shoulder down to the base of his neck. Soft lips came together there, offering a whisper of a kiss on the steel skin there before blowing ever so lightly. A chill that some dim part of Edward realized he probably shouldn't be able to feel rocked his body, but for all he knew it had nothing to do with the cool breath. The trail of soft kisses slid tantalizingly slow as they dipped lower to the area between his pectorals. Edward let his head loll backwards. He hissed out a scarcely contained breath before it melted into a purr nearly as warm as the mouth lavishing his skin. The vampire gripped his mate tighter as the monster he had become began to slip into a darkness of sinful luxe.


Twin eyes stared outward from the tree line, honing in on the scene with meticulous interest. They tilted to the side as if intrigued while the restaurant's dim lighting reflected in them menacingly.


What. Are you. Doing?

Harry continued his machinations, letting the small voice in the back of his head fall by the wayside.

What I want. For once.

Yes- yes, that option sounded much better. He let his teeth scrape teasingly, almost imperceptibly, across Edward's skin, barely even touching it. A sharp growl rewarded his efforts, followed by a swelling of Edward's chest so that it forced him into more solid contact.

A smirk crossed Harry's lips as he realized he was finally pushing Edward's nerves to the breaking points the vampire had so recently pressed his own.

So that's it then- you want the first time you two had sex to have happened behind some diner?

These voices of reason in his head were getting really annoying. Harry's smile spread deviously wider- time to shut them up once and for all.

It's not sex- just some fun.

The wizard reached his hands in the remnants of Edward's shirt, gripping his hips firmly before throwing his head forward and dragging his tongue resolutely over the vampire's nipple. Before Edward could then finish his shuddered breath, Harry swirled once before biting down teasingly, though firmly.

Something akin to a roar tore from the other boy's throat before Harry felt himself thrown sharply against the building's wall. Edward's face was now disarmingly close to his own, panting, even as one of his legs pressed firmly between Harry's, bringing their lower bodies into complete contact. The steel reminder of just what Harry was doing to him pushed all but painfully hard into the wizard's thigh.

Tell him that.

… Oh shit.

If Harry's voice of reason had arms, he was sure they would have been crossed smugly at this turn of events. As it was, suddenly the only thing Harry could think of anymore were the words he himself had intoned just the day before.

Notsafe, notsafe, notsafe, notsafe, notsafe, notsafe, notsafe…

Quaking blacked-out amber eyes heaved with every breath of the taut body in front of him. The feelings he had so easily ignored before- the fear at Edward's contained strength, the anxiety at the thought of pushing the boundaries of this relationship- were all at once igniting in the forefront of his thoughts, refusing to back down. The situation had become all at once far too real. The wizard's hands shook in their attempts to continue holding onto Edward's shoulders, his blood became a dull roar in his ears, and darkness began to tunnel his vision until all he could see was the object of his simultaneous and paradoxical passion and fear.

"E-Edward?" His voice came out as little more than a whisper.

Fluxing golden torrents became slightly more obvious as the black shrunk, but there was no verbal reply. He instead just pushed in closer, his eyebrow rising almost imperceptibly. Harry took that as his invitation to speak.

"I-" He swallowed heavily, trying to firmly ignore the alluring scent swirling around them. "I… I think…"

Edward growled lowly in what Harry prayed was a warning, not a threat. The vampire then rushed forward again with his inhuman speed, pressing their lips together once more.

Harry's mind became an explosion of shattered images- black satin, ice, red velvet. Chocolate and gold and snow and silver and white and hot and luscious and dangerous

Not. Safe!

His thoughts buzzed painfully with the overload, seething like a bottle being shaken far too hard. Pressure built somewhere behind the wizard's eyes; his brain was surely about to blow like a grenade, and if the heat between his legs was anything to go by, his pants were about to ignite, too. The tips of his fingers sizzled and ached with pent up magic.

With no air and even less chance of forming coherent thought, Harry did the only thing he could, given the situation. He silently prayed it would be enough as he released his magic out onto Edward, baring open the vampire's mind.

Eyes closed, Harry threw his consciousness full onto into the cyclone of Edward's thoughts.


A bullet train of light exploded into being in the front of Edward's mind. It flared warm, lush green, reminding him of the other times Harry had tried to gain access to his mind. Far too involved in the physical sensations rocking his body, the vampire let his mate slip in without resistance, watching only passingly as Harry derailed and smashed against the solid black of the monster inside.


Edward, we have to slow down.

Something black and feverish swirled around Harry violently, making manic rounds in the vampire's churning thoughts. It pulled in tighter, wrapping around him more forcefully. Harry almost pulled back behind his Occlumency shields again in fear, but he steeled what was left of his resolution before he lost himself to the darkness, however inviting it may have been.

Scraps of words were pushing through the black, pieces of what Harry recognized as the Edward he normally dealt with. The one Harry kept forcing to surrender to this primal thing in him. He spoke as directly as he could to the sparking amber amid the black that he was sure must be the more conscious-Edward.

Edward, please? Can you hear me?

In the physical world the lips roaming over his faltered slightly, and the amber spark became a flame curling its way around him.

I thought… it's what you wanted… that I'm what you wanted…

The voice was an odd hybrid of Edward's normal controlled, if unsure speech and the strong, passionate shift that had occurred the previous night. The combination made replying even harder than it already was with his mind about to explode and his body crumbling under Edward's touch.

You are, but… I… It's…

His inability to come to a conclusion fueled the monster, pushed the cyclone to further heights. The amber began to fade again, and Harry felt his legs give out, falling completely into Edward's grasp.

With nothing left to fight with, Harry's Occlumency shields collapsed, his mind too overtaxed. The single, final thought they had held at bay slipped free and was immediately dragged to the center of the hurricane.

I'm scared.


Everything abruptly froze- the swirling jerked to a halt, Edward's lips ceased their motions, and his hands stopped moving on Harry's body.

Harry is scared.

It's my fault.

Like a drowning man shooting to the surface, Edward slammed full force back into his body with a gasp. As if realizing this would require a gentler touch, his more animalistic nature faded into the back, again offering full control to its more considerate counterpart.

Edward pulled back, at the same time letting Harry trickle from his mind. Concerned eyes lanced over his mate's face, searching for recognition.

"Harry? Harry, are you ok?"

The realization that he had nearly lost himself to the monster inside was a terrifying one, but what was still more frightening was the idea that Harry had nearly given himself up to it as well. Edward himself was scared of his mind sometimes when he let the beast within take over- that Harry was willing to dive straight into its den like that was alarming, but it spoke volumes for his mate's courage.

Harry's eyes suddenly flew fully open and Edward felt him launch out of his mind completely, the Occlumency walls coming up again. The wizard seemed to immediately regret that decision however, as his head snapped back with the force of it and his eyes snapped shut again in apparent pain and dizziness.

"My fault…" He heard the wizard mutter before he went limp in his arms, unconscious.

Edward supported Harry's weight with one hand even as the other gripped his own hair painfully.

What the hell just happened?

Not knowing what else to do, Edward gathered his mate up in his arms and raced back into the car, depositing him lightly in the passenger seat before getting into the driver's.

From the treeline behind the diner, the twin eyes followed his movements curiously, flaring in the dark.


Harry's eyes fluttered back open, the sound of a motor and the blowing of air-conditioning greeting his newly aware ears. He glanced right, then left, and the sight a panicked-looking Edward brought the memories of a few minutes before punching back into the forefront of his thoughts.

The slight difference in his inhale caused Edward to glance over, nearly sending them off the road with the speed and intensity at which he did.

"Are you alright Harry? I can't believe I did that- almost lost control, I mean. You had me so worried when you passed out like that, I'm still not really sure what happened, but whatever I did I can't even tell you how sorry I am, and believe me, I'll completely understand if you don't want to-"

Harry had a suspicion that that sentence was about to end with "see me again.", and since he had no intention of letting that happen, he cut off Edward's breakneck-speed rant to assert his opinion.

"Edward, Edward- just breathe. Calm down." He paused to make sure he did just that, however marginally, before continuing. "I'm fine, and it's not your fault. I just got… caught up, that's all." He bit his lip. "Kind of panicked."

Edward shook his head forcefully. "I shouldn't have let that happen- I should've been stronger. I can't lose control like that, I might hurt you, and then-"

Harry gripped his arm, partially to emotionally steady him, but also to keep Edward's jerking movements under control so they didn't fly into oncoming traffic.

"Edward, stop. I'm fine, you're fine. That's proof that you didn't lose control. I'm just not use to something that… intense, is all."

The vampire bit his lip, gripping the steering wheel harder. Harry knew he wasn't convinced, and found himself wishing for just some small part of the self-assurance that went with Edward when he was being passionate.

"Edward, promise me something."

He immediately glanced over, a world of fears and possibilities swimming in those amber pools.

"What?"

"Promise me you won't stay panicked about this, or think this means I don't want to be with you. This was just…" Harry struggled for words- he wasn't used to having to console someone in a way like this, and the vestiges of his unconsciousness still lingered, slowing down his thought process. What he really needed was some sleep- he finished the sentence in the most articulate manner he could muster. "Just something that happened. You deal, and you move on. You don't panic and run away. Can you promise me that?"


When asked to make Harry a promise, Edward had been tempted to say "Anything," since that was true. He just hadn't expected it to be such a difficult one to follow. It just felt so natural to see this as a clear sign that their relationship was too volatile, and would end up hurting Harry. But here was the very person in most danger and he was refusing to leave, and making Edward promise to do the same. It didn't make sense, but that still couldn't change Edward's answer.

"… I promise."

Harry met his gaze for a while, seeming to search for validity in his words, apparently satisfied, he nodded and turned to again face the front just as they pulled into his driveway.

"Good." He glanced back. "Now call me tomorrow, okay? We'll go hang out, or catch a movie or something."

Edward smiled. Harry still wanted to go places with him… That was a good sign right? He nodded. "Ok. I'll see you later then?"

Harry opened the door and took a step out into the rain-scented air. A slight breeze blew his sable hair across his forehead, and the grin he flashed him could have lit up the dark night around them as he nodded in reply.

"Good night, Edward."


Harry fumbled with his keys as he tried to shove them into the lock. He found himself secretly thankful that Edward had left quickly- he didn't want to look like he was really so affected by what had happened that he couldn't even open a door.

But how could he not be affected? That was the single most intense encounter he had ever had- and he had never been that turned on, if the blatant truth was going to be told. The only question was how in hell he had been the one to initiate something like that.

Seriously, what is going on with me? I'm acting like someone who not only has experience in relationships, but wants it really badly. I mean, honestly, what in hell did I expect at that diner, the way I was acting all over Edward? He makes me do things I never would have thought myself capable of.

He finally got the lock to open, and he stepped into his house, heading immediately for his room and warm, waiting bed.

And the scary part is, I think I like it…


Edward finally stepped back into his house, and was almost immediately ambushed by Alice, who abruptly swept him up in a hug only to then slap his arm with enough force to knock over a Mack truck.

"What was that for?" He snapped off angrily, as Jasper and Emmett snickered in the background.

"Since when did turning your phone off all day seem like a good idea?" The tiny vampire was furious, and if he hadn't been already emotionally riled from the day's events, he probably would have had the intelligence to be scared by it.

"It's called privacy, Alice. I realize it's a foreign concept in this house, but sometimes the urge just hits me. Crazy, right?" He was scowling, but he didn't care.

Emmett glanced up at him, grinning widely. "What our sister seems incapable of articulating, Edward, is that there is a new vampire in town, and she was worried about y- Fuck!" Emmett slammed at the controller, panicking over some new wave of necro-morphic villains.

"Emmett, language!" Esme's voice called from some area of the house, but Edward ignored it, suddenly too intrigued by his brother's words.

"Wait, what do you mean, a new vampire?" Emmett and Jasper's eyes remained glued to the screen, and Alice was too busy fuming to reply. "Emmett? What vampi-" With a growl of frustration, Edward reached down and ripped the plug for the Xbox out of the wall, snapping the screen to black.

"Hey!" Emmett and Jasper called out in unison.

"Vampire- what do you mean?"

Alice rolled her eyes, finally choosing to explain. "I got a vision of a new vampire coming to Forks. Tonight. He's probably already here. I wanted to warn you, but no, you were too busy wanting privacy to pick up the phone from someone who can see the fucking future…"

Edward was too shocked to speak for a second at both what was said and the strength with which Alice had said it. What came out of his mouth was in no way what he had intended.

"You sound like Rosalie."

Alice immediately threw her face into her hands with a frustrated growl.

"Why does everyone keep saying that?"

The aforementioned blond stepped into the room and patted Alice on the back before sitting happily on the couch next to Emmett.

"Consider it a compliment." She raised a brow at the T.V. before waving her hand at it dismissively. "Shouldn't that be doing something?"

Jasper rolled his eyes as he struggled to get the plug back into the wall now that Edward had bent it in his fervor to get it out.

Alice glared at her before directing her gaze back to Edward.

"I'll let Carlisle and them explain- I need to go drink away my frustration at the thought of turning into Rose… I'll probably need something like a bear to deal with something that bad…"

Rosalie rolled her eyes as Alice traipsed out of the house, leaving a very confused Edward in her wake.


Hurricane winds buffeted Harry, sending his hair into tumultuous motions. His vision blurred repeatedly, fuzzing over on and off again like a radio tuning in on a specific frequency. Without his sight to go by, the wizard could really only characterize this space- whatever it was- through his other senses; the air swirling around him was cold, uncomfortably so, and smelled familiar, but in a way that seemed to be… off, somehow. It was like a memory of something he remembered enjoying, but as if some underlying warmth of it was missing, making the scene incomplete. But oddest of all was the sound reverberating in his ears- a dull pounding, rhythmic but untraceable. It was equally familiar, but Harry found himself just as unable to determine why.

All at once the 'tuning' came to a halt as it finally snapped into place. The wizard blinked forcefully, wondering if some spell had influenced his eyes, but no change occurred- instead, an unexplainable compulsion to walk claimed his body, forcing him to step forward in the darkness his vision had finally decided on manifesting.

This entire landscape was colored in shades of black; the 'sky' was the darkest, like a pool of pitch, while the 'ground' was slightly lighter, more like volcanic ash. The delineation at the horizon was all but indiscernible, but as Harry marched resolutely forward he began to see something white forming in the distance, which then became three specific points.

A particularly strong blast of wind pushed his head to the side to help block some of its severity. A moment later when the wizard looked up again, he had come to an abrupt halt, and just out of arm's reach, directly in front of him, the three points of white had formed into a pair of hands and a head that were remarkably familiar.

"… Edward?"

Harry's voice felt disconnected from his body- it carried through the wind encircling him and the other boy, but didn't seem to originate from any specific point. Nonetheless, Edward obviously heard him, as he turned to face him with the downtrodden eyes of someone in the roiling grasp of depression. The gold of his irises had dulled so that it was barely noticeable in the shadows of their surroundings, but they flared dimly at the sight of Harry.

"He's broken, Harry… And it's your fault…"

The disembodied voice whispered conspiratorially from the darkness, an unfamiliar and chilling one that instantly sent a shiver down Harry's spine. He moved to reply, but the heart wrenching nod Edward performed in agreement with the words temporarily locked the words in his throat.

He had never seen the boy look so utterly, completely without hope or happiness. Even in the worst of times, there was something, some fire behind Edward's eyes that showed that he at least hadn't given up. Now, there was nothing.

"He's too scared now, Harry- he can't give you what I can. Not even close…"

The wizard's brow furrowed. Who in hell was this voice? And why could he suddenly feel a heavy breathing beginning to hit his neck, drawing closer… still closer…

Some invisible force kept him from turning his head to see anything but Edward as the boy took a single step backwards onto a darkness as black as the sky. A moment afterwards, Harry realized it was the sky- or at least the air, anyway.

Edward had just stepped off a cliff.

That forlorn look still burning in his faded eyes, Edward fell backwards, soundlessly plummeting out of view.

"No!"

Just as the unseen force at his side contacted his neck with something cold and steely, Harry finally broke free of the invisible forces constricting his movement, lurching forward with a stumble. Another step had him dropping off the solid shadows and into a darkness somehow more complete than any of the others, with Edward nowhere in sight.

All at once the black, now glinting dimly like a satin under candlelight, seemed to rush up at him with incalculable speed. The air-turned-satin-sheets enveloped him in a silent whirl of cloth, tightening painfully over his every extremity. The black stretched across his mouth refused to transmit air, rapidly sending Harry into an adrenaline fueled panic attack as he could no longer inhale. The wizard thrashed desperately, but the motions only seemed to make the satin tighten still more painfully around him.

The scream that tore from Harry's throat somehow got caught up in the threads of the fabric, leaving him alone in a silent shadow that was swiftly growing darker still…


"Do you think the vampire is a threat?"

Carlisle was forced to shrug from his position at the counter of the kitchen. "We can't really be sure- Alice didn't see much of him expect for when he was running. There's no way to know unless we actually meet him, and given the circumstances, I think we should avoid that."

Edward bit his lip. "I can still meet up with Harry, though, right?"

The rest of the family looked over at Carlisle, likewise intrigued to hear his response. The blond took his time in answering, clearly thinking it through.

"I think that would actually be a good idea- we were able to tell relatively easily that there was something… different about Harry. I imagine he'll be able to do the same. Having you there might throw off his ability to detect that, and in the worst of cases you would be able to defend him. Until this vampire leaves, your mate is probably safest with you by his side."

The rest of the family filtered back to what they were doing, satisfied that the situation had been resolved.

Edward climbed the stairs to his room slowly, his hand dragging along the banister as nagging thoughts plaguing his mind. One in particular shone through the strongest, however:

If Harry is safest with me, then is he in danger right now?


"There's no one here to save you Harry. You're alone, just like before- just like you'll always be…"

Harry thrashed desperately, ripping and clawing at the shadows with whatever strength remained in him. Bands of steel were tightening around his chest, and the wizard screamed once more at the knowledge that he couldn't have long left. The thrumming beat in the background was reaching manic heights, pounding so loudly he was sure his ears should have been bleeding by now.

"It's getting a little harder to keep fighting, isn't it Harry? You'll find a lack of air will do that. Just slip into the darkness… it's where you're headed anyway, seeing as you can't breathe…"

A blossom of red abruptly ignited in the darkness, burning somewhere in his chest like a miniature supernova.

He would never- never give in- not like this. Not to this… thing speaking in his mind.

Lightning lanced through his veins, a crackle of static that pushed his blood into a frothing mania and made his skin ache with the sting of needles forcing their way beneath his flesh.

A shockwave of magical force suddenly exploded like shrapnel from Harry's core, ripping holes through the shadowed satin holding him in place. White hot flak tore into the air around him, shattering its black image. Through the newly formed cracks he could see what he recognized dimly as the four walls and furnishings of his own room, seen from a position on his bed.

Dream?

All at once this world detonated into flame, a crumbling palace of smashed glass and torched fabrics, the spaces of reality becoming increasingly obvious.

A frustrated growl roared in Harry's ears painfully loud, but with a gasp, frigid oxygen immediately punched down his throat, causing his lungs to burn with relief as the wizard's emerald eyes truly snapped open.

The threads of the dream world abruptly pulled taut and ripped free from his flesh, a thousand stitches torn from their knots in a millisecond explosion of incalculable agony. A guttural, tortured scream drilled out from his ravaged vocal chords, but his tear-blurred eyes suddenly locked in on the sight from the window to his left. Air froze mid-breath, and the blood rushed from Harry's body as he realized just what he was looking at.

Two blood red irises shone in the moonlight, and beneath them, amid the shadows, perfect white teeth glittered with menace.

In another instant, the image was gone, and Harry was sure that, had there been any contents in his stomach, they would have now been on the floor.

A breath slowly crept down his throat, then another. They shook, but gave him enough oxygen to give his racing mind the strength to form an imperative thought:

Call Edward. Now.

Harry scrambled to grab the cellphone sitting on his night stand and flip it open. His hands shook so badly that he dropped it in his attempt to punch in Edward's number and had to start over, but before he could put them all in, a new nagging thought began to overrun the initial adrenaline-driven panic.

And say what?

That he had had a bad dream? That he had been scared by something he saw in his window? The eyes could just as easily have been a part of that crazy nightmare, or any number of the large variety of animals no doubt wandering these forests. Telling Edward would just make him nervous and upset unnecessarily, and wouldn't solve anything.

Harry sighed, biting his lip.

Nightmares happened to everyone. Wizard or not, he wasn't spared from that. That they were coming more often just showed that he was going through a lot right now, what with his newly developing relationship with Edward.

…Right?

Harry leaned back down onto his bed, pulling the covers up a little higher against the whispering shadows.


So yes- plot twists. Gasp! Knew they had to come. Now I finally get into the part of the plot I was most excited for the almost 11 months ago I first came up with this story. Hope you all like where it's going too- it's going to get much more involved, and this "new vampire" will be showing his name in the next chapter…

Now onto what you all probably care about the most- when I'll update again. I'm really scared to try and put any real date on it, since I'm terrified that I'll end up disappointing you guys. All I can say is that it will be nowhere near as long a wait as this last, horrendous one was, and that this is spring break and I'm too broke to go anywhere, hence how I finally pulled my head out of the sand, faced the messages that were yelling at me to update or die, and pumped out some more story into cyberspace, so I'm sure I'll at least get some more writing on the next chapter done, even if it won't be finished by this week. However, after that, finals will be coming up, and I really have to do well, so we'll see what happens. I'll have to play it by ear. But among other things I stand by my promise I made a while back- that I won't abandon this story, because it's true, it always depresses me when other writers do that.

Anyway, hope you liked it, and if you can find it in yourself to review, then I might feel a little less awful, lol. Thanks!