If you haven't yet heard the song On the Turning Away by Pink Floyd, I encourage you to listen to it like, now. Seriously.
This fic was written for the fantastically amazing otta_ff, whose penname, incidentally is also On The Turning Away. Happy Birthday, sweets!
I wanted to write her a oneshot based on a Pink Floyd song because she's my Pink Floydian Soul Mate, but, after contemplating Wish You Were Here, nothing was really coming to me, so I gave up.
Then, I shit you not, as crazy as it sounds, I had a dream last night in which I spoke with David Gilmour. I didn't see his face in the dream, just a blurry shadow with an English accent. He asked me why I was looking to force a story out of a song where the story was already so clear and if I knew what this song (On the Turning Away) meant, so I told him what it meant to me, and together we came up with this.
I might need therapy.
Nevertheless, here it is. Carlisle's POV of the night he changed Edward. The bold, centered print is the song lyrics mixed into the story.
On the Turning Away
On the turning away
From the pale and downtrodden, and the words they say—which we won't understand
"Don't accept that what's happening
Is just a case of others' suffering,
Or you'll find that you're joining in the turning away."
I stood motionless in the dank alleyway, the smells and sounds of the night overtaking my senses.
Sickness, death, decay.
It was everywhere around me, not confined to these city walls, but within the invisible borders of life itself. And I, immortal, a curse and a blessing, was made to watch idly as Death wrapped his bone-cold fingers around the throats of the living—as he stole from them the light which God had given them.
It's a sin that somehow
Light is changing to shadow
And casting its shroud over all we have known...
She begged me. With her last breath she begged me to save he whom she held dearest. She knew nothing of this life, and yet she somehow understood.
I did not ask for this, the blessing or the curse that had been bestowed upon me. The pull of compassion was as strong as the moons tug on the rising tide; an innate sense which I could not deny.
I was a surgeon, a healer of the ill. Never before had I given thought to stilling the hearts I tried so ardently to keep pumping. Never had I considered stealing away the breath which filled their lungs.
Unaware how the ranks have grown
Driven on by a heart of stone
We could find that we're all alone
In the dream of the proud
I had to consider whether it would be for the boy's benefit, or my own. My existence had been lonely—though not without purpose—for hundreds of years.
"I've never known a heart as pure as his." Her words echoed within the deepest caverns of my mind. "He has much to offer this life still. Please."
But it would not be the life of which she spoke that I gave a second chance to. He would not grow; he would not change, frozen forever in time as a seventeen-year-old boy.
A healer I was, but could I also be a teacher? A mentor?
I knew the decision had already been made, and be it for the pleading whispers upon the dying breath of Elizabeth Masen, or the selfish soul encased within my stone cold body, the boy would become part of my existence.
He would be changed this night, spared from an untimely death to awaken anew, strong and whole. His family was gone, but together, neither of us would ever have to be alone. Neither of us would be damned to a life of solitude.
On the wings of the night
As the daytime is stirring
Where the speechless unite in a silent accord
Using words you will find are strange
Mesmerized as they light the flame
Feel the new winds of change, on the wings of the night.
Cutting silently through the sorrow-thickened air of the night, I moved back into the hospital, unnoticed by any nurse that walked the halls as I entered the ward of the sleeping sick.
Approaching his bed, I gazed down upon the beautiful boy that would be my charge, my companion from this night forth. His skin, pale and sickly from the fatal touch of the Spanish Influenza, would turn creamy and smooth over his solid frame. The shadows of death which were painted in crescents under his eyes and within the hollows of his cheeks would even out once there was no blood left in his tissue to bruise them.
For hundreds of years I watched as those who could not be saved by my hands perished from this life, but this night... No more turning away.
No more turning away
From the weak and the weary
No more turning away from the coldness inside
Just a world that we all must share
It's not enough to just stand there and stare.
I bent my head, moving a hand to the nape of his neck to brace him for what I was to give.
Whispering an apology that neither he nor any other would hear, I sank my razor-sharp teeth into the smooth skin of his throat.
His weak pulse sped up momentarily as his hot blood spilled into my mouth. I feared for a moment that I would drink until his heart stopped—that I would not be able to deny my body its nature at my first taste of sweet, human blood—but it was tainted with his sickness and impending death, reminding me that my call to heal was stronger than the pull of my animalistic nature.
He gripped my shoulder weakly, hissing through his teeth in pain as my venom began to course through his veins. I was overwhelmed with the thoughts of no longer being alone.
Is it only a dream that there will be no more turning away?
Giant thanks to Detochkina and SunKingFF for pre-reading and discussing a few little things with me (some of which I chose to ignore because I'm hard-headed like that). Lots of love to both of you.