Fate Leads the Willing


Synopsis: An intolerable choice between his coven and his mate. A millenniums old conspiracy. An unremembered past comes back to haunt one Cullen as Edward and Bella flee in order to protect her endangered humanity. Fate is sometimes the path you never expected to take and things are always more than they seem. A story about lies, manipulation, blind sacrifices & a world where everything you thought you knew is wrong. AU. Extended, altered, and expanded Twilight mythology. Some characters may be OOC. Canon Pairings.

Specifics: A deep and sometimes painful look into the inner workings of Edward's mind, his struggles, his falsehoods, and his heart. No love triangles. Though this story is something of a quasi-canon "could-have-been," these aren't your average Cullens or typical Twilight characterizations, for that matter - some are darker, some are weaker, some are stronger, and some have completely rewritten backgrounds and motivations (especially the peripheral characters). There is a short New Moon-esque separation - only a couple of chapters. The fic is heavy on the angst in the beginning, but it is a mystery/romance mostly. The story will focus on the slowly unraveling mystery and the building of a meaningful and healthy relationship between Edward and Bella. Expect twists and turns in the plot. Will have an HEA.

This story is rated M for sexuality, in thought and deed. I will provide edited-for-content chapters for my under-18 readers and anyone else who wants them. Just ask. Also, I will post warnings for any content I feel may be objectionable. As it always is with my stories, this is a romance, not erotica or hardcore porn. While there will be lemons, even graphic lemons, they won't overwhelm the story. If you are looking for wall to wall smut, I'm sorry, but you won't find that here. :)

Premise: Most of my stories are based upon "what if" scenarios or dreams. This one was a "what if" scenario. Personally, I don't think I've ever read a story in which Edward had a "good" reason for wanting Bella to say human. I thought to myself, "What if he did?" The title is based on a quote by Seneca: "Fate leads the willing and drags along the unwilling."

Acknowledgments: Many thanks to InfinityPoet who graciously allowed me to filch/steal/incorporate/borrow a plot element from one of her stories and expand upon it, and more thanks for helping me hammer out this plot.

Rating: M

Pairing: Edward/Bella

Perspective: 1st person. Book One - Edward's POV/ Book Two - Bella's POV (Book Two will not be a rehash of Book One)

Beta: Katmom

Pre-Readers: Kejce, Bells. Just Bells, Belli486

Story Disclaimer: The Twilight Saga belongs to Stephenie Meyer and respective parties. This is fan fiction. It is written for fun, not profit. No copyright infringement or offense to the creator of Twilight is intended. All song lyrics belong to their respective owners - songwriters, bands, record labels, etc. No infringement is intended.


Part One-Fata Volentem Docunt

Chapter One - Stubborn


Enemy, familiar friend

My beginning and my end

Knowing truth, whispering lies

and it hurts again

...

What I fear and what I try

The words I say and what I hide

All the pain, I want it to end

but I want it again...

~Fight Inside by Red~

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September 11, 2005, 10:07 PM

Forks, Washington

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Emmett was going to die.

I was going to burn him myself and scatter the ashes.

My brother, the ever-helpful bastard, had decided to prominently display a copy of Sex for Dummies on my black leather couch. The bright yellow cover of the offensive manual stood out like flashing beacon in the middle of my room.

Bella had lifted a single brow in amused inquiry while I just spat the one word that would explain it all, "Emmett."

Last week it had been a fully detailed and illustrated version of the Kama Sutra, and the week before it had been an instructional DVD on "how to give your woman the best orgasm of her life," according to the tagline. Thankfully, Bella had not seen either.

She had grinned and walked over to the couch, picking up the book. She flipped through it nonchalantly, giving me that quirky little mischievous grin that had been gracing her lips more and more frequently as of late. Suddenly, she gasped and pulled the book closer. Then she moved it further away, blushed, and then pulled it closer again. A queer expression crossed her features before she mumbled a low "whoa" and snapped the book shut.

I had asked her if she had seen anything interesting, but she wouldn't tell me, not that I was surprised. Sometimes I hated that I couldn't read her mind, and other times—like when she was withholding her thoughts on that book—I loathed that fact. Of course, my "beloved" siblings, with the exception of Jasper who usually disappeared when Bella was over, had been downstairs laughing their ice-cold, undead asses off, knowing all about Emmett's crusade to help rid me of my "virginity problem."

Bella had been blushing scarlet when I approached her. Not that it mattered how much I had cajoled her, she wouldn't tell me what had embarrassed her so. But occasionally, I would catch her biting her lip while her eyes roved over me in the most peculiar of ways.

I had reluctantly dropped Bella off at home a few minutes earlier and had arrived back home to change for school tomorrow before returning to her house as was my habit. I frowned, hating that my weekend with Bella had come to an end. She was the only bright spot that existed in the drudgery that was my twenty-sixth Senior year. At least college was on the horizon. Now all I had to do was convince Bella that she was indeed Dartmouth material. Since the endowment for the Masen wing of the proposed Cancer Research Center had been received, the regency board certainly thought that she was worthy of entrance.

I knew that she was going to fight me on it, but I had purchased a home that would be agreeable to Bella's sensibilities—I hoped. It was a modest Tudor inspired home with five bedrooms and three baths that was surrounded by a hundred acres of forest and backing more. In a word, it was perfect. Beautiful, secluded, and best of all, separate from my family.

Alice opened the door just as I reached for it with a dazzling smile. She was singing some obnoxious Hannah Montana song and without pause launched right into a Jonas Brothers' hit. I groaned. I knew she was hiding something, but I couldn't bear to breach the barrier of poppish, fan-girling, pseudo-musical suicide that was floating around her head to find out what she was keeping from me. Most likely, it would be something I didn't want to see-like another vision of Bella as a perfect, bloodsucking, undead immortal. I resigned myself to rushing through my preparations before I was inundated with an impromptu concert of NSync's greatest hits.

Carlisle stepped out of his office and motioned for me to follow him. I groaned internally and sent Alice a dirty, resentful look. Ali was supposed to have my back when it came to these "talks" with Carlisle. She shrugged, but at least the montage of kid-bop had ceased.

"Edward, I'm sorry, but you aren't going to get out of this one. It'll just be worse if you avoid. Might as well hear him out," she thought.

I made a disgruntled sound and approached the office, clenching my fists to hide the slight tremor in my fingers. It had been getting worse lately, especially when I was parted from Bella for too long.

I could tell from the tenor of Carlisle's thoughts that he wanted to talk to me about the diametrically opposed positions of Bella's existence and mine. It was his favorite topic of late, and it was his intention to try to convince me to change her—again.

Carlisle thought that I should change Bella as soon as it could be arranged; and the worse my condition became . . . the more adamant he became. In fact, I was almost positive that a contingency plan was already in place. It bothered me immensely that my father, the humanitarian, had no compunction, no pause at the thought of taking away Bella's humanity, her life. I knew that I was being unfair, he had also loved a mortal, but I carried no small amount of resentment because of his callous valuation of her existence, her soul. His primary concern would always be me and not her, and that was completely unacceptable.

That, along with his refusal to ever taste human blood again, was why he had refused to draw James' venom from Bella's veins in Phoenix, forcing me to imperil her existence by doing it myself. And it had been so close, lost as I was in the bliss of her blood. Seeing Bella broken like that, verging on the edge of death from my actions, my failure . . . it was enough to destroy the heinous monster that lusted after her blood forever - I hoped.

We had argued about this fiercely and often. He warned me of what would happen if I let her continue in this state of constantly shifting, temporal humanity. I knew the risks. I had seen them first hand in the convening years between his separation and reunion with Esme, my mother for all intents and purposes. The tremors, the fractured mind that had forced him to work in the morgue, the fear, the desperation, the loneliness that had resulted in my transformation, and finally the rage. . . . I had witnessed it in his mind and his actions, and now, I was experiencing it for myself.

If the first cardinal rule of vampirism was to keep our existence a secret, the second was to never fall in love with a human. And the logical reasoning for the first rule also ruled the second.

My vampiric nature was at odds with the humanity of my mate. From the first moment I had seen Bella in that cafeteria, I had ceased to be whole. I was broken and remade in that instant. My center had shifted to her. Bella would say that she was mine—and she was—but more than anything, I was hers, completely and irrevocably hers.

I had told her many times that she was my sun, lighting my universe and providing a reason for existence in the endless midnight of my life, but it was more than that. I revolved around her. The innate sense of her needs dictated my every action now. The connection between us was invisible yet strong, binding us and residing on a level that transcended the physical. And though I could not read her mind, on some primal and visceral level I could hear her. It wasn't just Bella's blood that sang to me. Her soul did as well, telling me her desires, her needs.

But this wasn't what had Carlisle so worried; he suspected that the near constant tremors I was suffering were rooted inseparably in the shifting nature of Bella's mortality. He had experienced it firsthand. Being with Bella had put me in a unique situation. While having her in my life lent me a certain level of emotional stability that was absent in Carlisle during his separation from Esme, the inherently fluctuating nature of Bella's humanity had thrust me into emotional chaos on a different level. As Carlisle would say, I had become the most fluid vampire in existence—and that was the problem because my nature was the very antithesis of fluid.

Because of my transformation into a vampire, I had evolved to be unmoving, unchanging, but Bella . . . her very nature was perpetually shifting. Humanity was a constant flow of change, growth, and evolution; therefore, I was torn between the two natures, beholden by our connection to revolve around her and adapt to her needs. If she were a vampire, this would not be a problem as my mate's stability would become my own—as it should be. The change would be instantaneous and permanent, as my nature demands, but with Bella . . . the constant flux was chipping away at the immutability of my vampiric nature.

If it were possible, I would become human for her. But it wasn't possible, and now that the shifting gravity that was her life had become my foundation, thereby robbing me of the invariable base that was vital to my existence. In other words, what was only meant to crack was being forced to bend. Feelings so foreign, so outside of the scope of my nature have inundated the depths of my being, and I had no point of reference, no instinct for how to cope.

To put it quite simply, as Rosalie had so often accused me, I was in the slow, drawn out process of losing my mind. And there was one cure—one I would never consider. I knew that I could not hold myself together indefinitely, but I could outlast Bella's human life because in the scheme of eternity fifty to sixty years wasn't that long, a mere blink of the eye relatively. After that . . . it really didn't matter what happened to me.

I had discovered that the key to holding it together was simple. Focus. I desperately needed a constant and had found it in one thing: protecting Bella. Her safety was my compass. When everything else was in dizzying motion around me, I could focus on that. Her need for protection never changed, never shifted, and I found my stability in that need—satisfying not only my vampiric nature, but the vital quest to fulfill her needs. Whether Bella was a human or a vampire that imperative would always be paramount.

Unfortunately, we had hit a snag. Though I was programmed at the deepest parts of my being to give Bella anything and everything she could possibly need, she now had a desire that was endangering not only her life, but the only thread of constancy that existed in my immortal night.

On one hand, I couldn't fulfill her desires, but on the other . . . how could I not?"

"Edward? Son?" Carlisle questioned.

I glanced up, not even realizing that I had been standing in the doorway of his office for who knows how long staring at my feet, lost in my thoughts. Alas, another symptom.

Carlisle sighed and motioned me to a tan leather chair that was situated in front of his desk. He took the opposite chair, sitting quietly for a moment, contemplating and collecting his thoughts.

"Son, you can't continue like this."

I smiled ruefully, pinching the bridge of my nose. "I don't have a choice," I replied.

"Edward . . . son, please . . ."

I shook my head, preempting his argument. "I can't do that to her. I won't."

"It's destroying you. Edward, this is unnatural."

I hissed and sat up, glaring at him. "And what solution would you offer? I won't steal her life away from her! I won't be that selfish!" No matter how much I wanted it and, God help me, I did. . . .

"Edward," he tried again.

I held out a hand to stop the inevitable tirade I could see building in his thoughts, not bothering to hide the constant trembling.

Carlisle's gaze narrowed in on the quivering. He frowned deeply, approached me, and took my hand in his, examining my fingers and tracing the tremors up my arm.

"They're getting worse."

"I'm fine," I snapped.

He sighed and shook his head before pinching the bridge of his nose. "Edward, you have to see what this is doing to you."

I laughed, and I have to admit that it sounded somewhat hysterical. "I know, Carlisle, believe me, I know!"

"You are fighting an impossible battle, Edward."

The lines of my face fixed stubbornly. "That's what you said about the bloodlust too. I conquered that and will conquer this as well."

His lips twisted wryly, and I didn't need to be a mind reader to know that he didn't believe me in the slightest. "Son, the connection between mates makes the bloodlust a cakewalk. In fact, I believe that connection is the only reason why Bella is still alive. Edward, we are already denying so much of our natures as it is; the added stress . . . makes you vulnerable."

His mind turned to the defenseless and insignificant populace around us and his worry that I might kill inadvertently kill someone. I felt like growling. So what if I did? Better them than Bella . . .

"So you would have me murder her just to avoid the stress?" I hissed.

Carlisle sighed again. I knew that it wouldn't be the last time during the course of this conversation. I did not seek to intentionally frustrate my father, but I couldn't agree. I couldn't do what he was asking of me.

"Edward, you know that's not what I meant."

I did. Growling, I raked my hands roughly though my hair.

"Son, I know that you feel it, but do you understand the connection? Do you really understand it? I know you've seen it, but I don't think that you properly comprehend just what it means. And for you to have forged this connection with a human girl . . ."

"What would you have me do, Carlisle? It's not like I can take it back. She's my mate!"

"I just think that if you understood, you would see how vital it is to your existence . . ."

I jumped up and paced the room alternately growling and hissing. "I do! You think I don't know?"

Carlisle slowly stood, watching me warily. "Then, Edward, why—"

"I won't do it, Carlisle! For the last time, I will not change her!" I roared.

"Then you will continue to be ripped apart in this constant flux she has you held in!" he snapped in return. "We orbit our mates, Edward. They are our gravity."

"I know!"

"Our entire existence is tangled up in them."

"I know!"

"They are our stability, our constant, but Bella—"

"Damn it, Carlisle, I know!"

Carlisle approached me cautiously, knowing that I was working myself into a fine rage.

"Son, Bella deserves the opportunity to know you fully, to be an equal partner in this relationship."

I shook my head vehemently. "She will never know this side of me." That was completely and utterly out of the question.

"Edward, if you would tell her, share with her what you loving her entails . . ."

"She would what? Sacrifice herself for me? Undoubtedly, that is why—"

"Son, in a relationship, a human relationship, couples sacrifice on one another's behalves. Bella deserves the opportunity to give you what you need."

"At the expense of her soul? No. No, Carlisle. Any sacrifices that need to be made will be made by me alone. I won't ask that of her. I won't put her in that position. I'm fine," I said, unsure of who I was trying to convince, Carlisle or myself.

The left corner of his mouth lifted ruefully. "No, son, you aren't."

I turned away unable to look my father in the eye. He had to understand that I would do anything, give anything. There was no sacrifice too great for me to make on Bella's behalf, but the thought of her doing that for me . . . everything in me rebelled at the very thought.

"Edward, I know that it is our nature to make all the sacrifices on behalf of our mates but, son, you . . . need this from her . . ." he finished silently.

"She gives me everything by just . . . breathing," I replied.

"I know that she does, but she could give you more. You need to give her the chance to understand you—not only as a man, but as a vampire as well."

"No," I replied, "Never." Bella would never know this side of me. I wouldn't allow it. I didn't want the pureness of her life tainted any further by the evil that prevailed in mine. I would do anything to prevent that. Loving me should never hold Bella back. It was the last thing I wanted.

He sighed again. "Son, our mates . . . they are our stable foundation in this life. They keep us grounded and you know that we need that constancy. Our world is very black and white, but humans . . . Edward, their world is bright and colorful and ever shifting. By keeping Bella human, you are beholden to her every whim and her oft changing emotions. The differences between you—between her nature and yours . . ." he paused and shook his head sadly. "You are caught in the whirlwind of her humanity, drowning in the tidal wave of her inconstancy. You cannot continue like this, Edward. It's destroying you. As a vampire, Bella would . . ."

"No!"

"Edward, be reasonable!"

"I am," I replied quietly.

Carlisle approached me and rested a hand on my shoulder. I wanted to shrug him off, but I resisted the urge. "Edward, please."

I closed my eyes. If only he knew how much I wished that I could do what he was asking me. "It's selfish, Carlisle."

He nodded. "Yes, it is."

"I can't ask her to make that sacrifice for me."

"You must."

"No."

"Edward, listen to me, you must."

I shook my head sadly.

"If Bella knew—"

I gritted my teeth, turning my face away stubbornly.

Carlisle frowned and clenched his fists. I could hear the creak of the friction his stone fingers created against his palms. But he didn't say anything.

"I'm fine, Carlisle. I'm handling it."

"And when she needs more?" he questioned.

I groaned quietly. She already did. I could feel it, the tug inside, the not so subtle changes in my unchanging body as it responded to the silent demand of hers. My mind was consumed with the overwhelming urge to claim her as my mate bodily. I could smell the changes in her chemistry and feel it in her reactions, her needs. God help me when she became more aware of it. It was the death knell of the last bit of sanity I had in place.

On some level, I believed that my care for her safety would win out, but . . . I knew the weakness, the need was there constantly chipping away at my resolve.

I swallowed hard before answering my father. "If she . . ." I swallowed again. "If she outgrows me, outgrows what is possible for us . . . I'll—I'll . . ."

"Let her go? Let her be with someone else?"

I nodded, unable to voice it, much less contemplate it seriously.

Carlisle's lips twisted wryly. "No. You won't."

I glanced up at my father; his serious golden gaze was steadily holding mine. I started to object, started to point out that he had done it, but then I remembered the consequences of his actions. I could tell that he was thinking about the same thing.

"You won't, Edward. One day, and most likely one day soon, she will ask and you will give her what she desires. You won't be able to resist her."

"You resisted."

His face was humorless. "I loved Esme with every ounce of my being, yes. But she didn't know me. I haunted her life, always on the peripheral, but Bella is in your life daily. When she asks—and it is when—you won't stand a chance."

"You're wrong."

He was still gazing at me unblinkingly. "Do you really want to take that risk? With her as a human?"

I closed my eyes, biting back a growl at the pictures his suppositions had inspired. Bella broken and lifeless in my arms . . . Bella bitten and changing . . . Bella flushed with pleasure, naked and sated . . .

I resisted the temptation of that last image. That would never happen. It was as impossible as her change, but Jasper had assured me that it was possible, that we could be together that way. He had told me how. . . .

I shook my head. No. No, that wouldn't happen. It couldn't.

"No?" Carlisle thought, "then you know what you have to do. It's the most reasonable choice."

"No, I won't risk her that way, but I won't change her either."

Carlisle stared at me incredulously. "Edward . . ."

His thoughts were centered on the rapacious sexual needs of a vampire when with their mate. I closed my eyes and pinched the bridge of my nose. I couldn't let my mind go in that direction. Already my desire was held under a tenuous and straining leash. It would take so little to cause it to snap.

Each day with Bella, I became weaker. Each touch of her hand on my skin undermined my carefully erected limits. Each time I smelled the slightest hint of her arousal, my body responded forcefully, and I had to struggle to maintain reason. I was slipping, failing Bella. Failing in my desperate need to keep her safe from all harm.

"Carlisle, please, I know. I know that you think I'm being unreasonable, but I—I—"

He sighed, his thoughts resigned and focused on my inevitable failure. "I will leave it alone for now, son, but you will learn just as I did that there is only one outcome when you fight fate."

"And what's that?"

He turned his face away from mine, his thoughts full of Esme. "You lose," he answered solemnly.

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Chapter One Key Points:

* Edward is suffering some pretty heinous symptoms - shakes, time loss, separation anxiety, pain, borderline insanity, etc. Carlisle believes this is because he is mated to a human and dependent upon her shifting nature for stability. Edward is hiding these symptoms from Bella.

* Carlisle experienced similar symptoms after meeting Esme.

* Carlisle's loneliness and insanity led to Edward's change. Carlisle worked in the morgue at Clark County Hospital. He was the coroner during the Spanish Influenza epidemic because he was no longer able to function well enough without Esme to practice medicine.

* Carlisle is insisting that Bella be changed because he believe that Edward will continue to degenerate as time goes by.

* Carlisle refused to draw the venom from Bella's veins in Phoenix because he wanted her to be a vampire.

* Edward absolutely refuses to change Bella.


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A/N: The Key Points are just reminders of important subplots, clarifications on deviations from canon, and things that will come back up at a later time in the story as the mystery is revealed.

Many thanks to Katmom for beta'ing!

And thank you for giving the story a chance. If you feel so inclined, I would love it if you left a review! :)

~Shay