The Gift

A Mercy Brown Story

Disclaimer:

Twilight is owned by Stephenie Meyer. This is a work of fan fiction based on her original creation, and is only intended for the enjoyment of the readers. This work is not intended to infringe in any way that causes her any material or other harm.

And another thing: Mercy Brown was a real woman who died of consumption in 1892 and was accused of being a vampire. This story borrows heavily from the Mercy Brown Incident (you can Google it), but it is a work of pure fiction and is not intended to do her, or her descendants any harm. If anything, I wanted to bring Mercy back as a very kick ass character, but this particular character bearing her name is from my imagination only.

And something else: This story is rated very M for lemons and is not suitable for anyone under the age of 18 or wusspervs. It features Edward Cullen and Mercy Brown in a light bondage scene. If this isn't up your alley, or if you freak out when Edward gets paired with anyone besides Bella, please skip this one.

Also? This story takes place in the world of my novel length fanfic, Osa Bella. It is the story of Edward meeting Mercy, and it takes place about 40 years before Edward meets Bella.

All that said, I hope those of you left reading will enjoy this.

Many, many thanks to ASaville, Texas Katherine, Gkkstitch and Lolashoes for their assistance.

#

Portland, Maine 1974

Some believe that all vampires are in their own way beautiful, and I suppose if you were to judge from the luster of their flawless skin, the contours of their lithe and nimble forms, the playfulness of their wanton eyes, I would agree. But when you can see inside the vampire's anatomy, as I can, you see that most of us are not beautiful at all. We are fueled by a dark and powerful lust whose pursuit drives us deeper into the abyss of damnation. To someone like me, who has the ability to see inside the human and once-human form, most of us appear loathsome.

So on my first encounter with Edward Cullen and his two companions, Alice and Jasper Hale, I almost didn't believe they were vampires at all. It was the eve of Thanksgiving, 1974, and I had just taken the stage to perform my set when Edward strode into Jim's Bar and Grill. He wore a navy pea coat and his hair was unkempt from the cold blasts of wind that evening. He had naked, amber eyes, the color of honey when the sun hits it, not the blood red of a sated vamp or the black of a thirsty one. One quick look inside of him and his companions reassured me that these were no humans. Yet they were decidedly, unapologetically beautiful, animated by some light energy that caused the paleness of their skin to appear more glow than pallor, the litheness of their form more graceful than devious. The lightness of their eyes would cause one to consider them grounded angels before lesser devils.

As I played, they all stood on the far wall together, Edward smoking an unfiltered Camel. They stayed in that location for the duration of my performance, Edward staring openly, deliberately, until I had finished the last note, and then they all left. This they did twice more in the coming weeks before we ever met.

The Portland Coven buzzed with agitation on the arrival of this large, wandering coven of so-called humanitarian vamps, the creatures who sustained themselves on hunting large game like a human hunter. Their reputation for allying themselves with the indigenous peoples of the Pacific Northwest and clearing the Olympic peninsula of our kind earlier in the century did them no favors in terms of earning a warm welcome anywhere.

On the evening I finally made Edward's acquaintance, my current bed partner Allston Kaine, the head of the Portland Coven, had marked a tasty looking doe in the audience for pursuit. I had been quibbling with him over the girl when without warning Edward whisked her away under our noses. I assumed some argument would ensue as Allston followed them outside, but when I went out to join them only Edward was there, waiting for me.

"He'll never find her," Edward said. "But he'll be busy the rest of the night looking."

"You tricked my date into ditching me?" I asked.

"That's right," he said.

"Mr. Cullen, I believe you owe me now," I said.

"What did you have in mind, Miss Brown?" he asked.

What could I do after a stunt like that? I took him home to bed.

Even with my ability to see the extra paranormal activity of Edward's vampire brain, it took far too long for me to understand he was a mind reader. By the time I'd figured it out, he'd already gleaned the more shameful parts of my history without my consent.

"Mercy Brown, the last American vampire," he said. "I already knew your story—you're a legend."

Every vampire knew that legend, and many humans knew it too. In an attempt to save my brother from the consumption that nearly killed me in 1892, my body had been exhumed from its grave, my heart cut out of me and then burned, the ashes fed to my poor, dying brother.

"How did they manage to get your heart out of you?" he said. "If you don't mind me asking."

"It involved a witch from Boston and a 14th century dagger," I said, shaking off the memory. "It was very unpleasant."

"I'm sorry," he said.

"Oh, that's okay," I said as cavalier as I could.

What did displease me was that Edward heard my thoughts about the small heart engraving etched into my breast by that Boston witch when I tried to cut a deal to get my real heart back. That was a story I would have rather kept private.

"So without your physical heart, as dead as it was, you still couldn't feel love?" he asked.

"Cannot," I corrected.

"So you've never been in love?" he asked. "Not even as a human?"

"Love is what drove my sire to rob me of my right to heaven," I said. "I never even knew the old ghoul loved me until he came to me on my deathbed. I've no use for love. I have music, and that's enough."

"I'm not sure I believe you," he said. "Your songs are full of romance."

"That's different," I said. "I can imagine it, I just can't feel it."

"You've never had a mate in this life then?"

"I have no intentions of being tied down." But soon as I said it, the vision of being tied up by Edward flashed in my mind and I smirked in spite of myself.

"Liar," he said and then growled in my ear, "Had you shown me earlier your tastes I would have come prepared."

"So you're that kind of vampire," I said.

"Next time," he said. "You will see exactly what kind of vampire I am."

But I promised him there would be no next time unless he disclosed exactly what kind of entanglement he was after. I would suffer no unrequited lover, no matter how beautiful he was.

My persistence and his determination to see me again won me the following information: he believed himself in love with a woman he'd never met, and had no ability to meet, as he had no name, no location, no information about her other than some vision his companion had of him dancing with her at his own wedding. The vision had plagued him ten years already with no luck in securing even her name. But he swore he would never love another, and he would never stop looking.

"Then you are my kind of vampire," I said. "I think I can see you again."

"Because I won't fall in love with you?" he asked, though he already knew it was so.

"Exactly," I said.

"So we understand each other," he said, sliding his hand up along my thigh.

"You are an insatiable sort," I said.

"I have to channel the lust somewhere," he said. "The blood of animals keeps a vampire strong, but it does little to satiate some of the lesser drives."

And so he had me again, deliciously ravenous as he was, fueled by the frustration of that unrequited desire he held in reserve for whomever his true love might be. I wondered if she could see him now, would she forgive him the indulgence of his immortal flesh?

"If I ever find her, I'll let you know," he said.

"I'm sure if you ever find her, you'll never have need to see me again," I said.

"You speak the truth," he said.

Then he brought me to climax several more times before he was satisfied, spilling inside of me, and then he relaxed, finally, in my arms, his head nestled in the crook of my long neck like we'd been lovers for much longer than a single night. As I stroked his hair, I let slip the careless thought, that if I ever did feel love again, he was just the sort of man I might love. Then I quickly trained my thoughts back to a more pressing matter—my growing thirst. Edward propped himself on an arm and studied my face, which I made into a pleasant and playful expression.

"I'm hungry," I said.

"I want to show you something," he answered.

I had no idea what to think when he went to my wardrobe and began pulling skirts and boots and sweaters from it.

"Don't you have anything in here suitable for the woods?" he asked. "There's not a single shoe in here without a heel."

"But I can run in them all," I said. "Probably faster than you."

"We'll see about that."

He pulled together a long wool skirt, a high pair of boots with the lowest heel I had and a sweater and then he drove me to Sebago Lake, where we strolled up a path and then off of it a good mile or so. This is where Edward showed me how to hunt moose. He wrestled a large bull to the ground and invited me to come drink, which I did, deeply and thankfully. Its blood was warm and thick in my throat, and a bit on the flat side as far as these things go, but I did feel surprisingly sated and adequately nourished as I let the spent animal drop from my grip.

I looked down, inside myself, and saw light swirling in my chest. It bubbled and rose and felt like effervescence under my hardened skin. I felt like I could levitate, like I might just float with the lightness of my being. I felt real joy for the first time in many, many years.

"What do you think?" Edward asked, expectantly. "Could you do it again?"

"You know, I think I could," I said, a broad smile breaking across my lips as I pulled several coarse hairs from my mouth. "I feel so light. I can imagine it's much easier to face yourself in the mirror when you develop a practice of hunting animals."

"That's the whole point," he said. "It gets better with time and practice."

"How do I look?" I asked.

"Peaceful," he said. "Radiant."

"Thank you," I said. "I mean it."

"You're very welcome." Edward helped me to my feet.

"This is such an incredible gift—I would like to repay you somehow," I said, so buoyed by the enlightenment I felt. "There must be something that you'd like—something I can do for you."

"Well, yes," he said, a sportive light in his eye. "There is something I'd like very much."

"Is that so?" I asked, my ears perking up at his tease and the swirling lust growing inside of him.

"Yes," he said. "It involves some rope and an evening of your time."

Did Edward think that playing at bondage with him would be some chore for me? Something to be endured for his pleasure as way of repayment for the great gift he'd given me? It was such a silly, simple thing to ask, I could not refuse it. I had been on both sides of this kind of play many times, and I would have played with him anyway, all he had to do was ask. No life altering experience necessary.

Edward said he would meet me the following week. He would come to watch me perform at Jim's and then he would take me home, where I would then repay him for the hunt with an evening of my sexual submission. I agreed without any reservation.

The days that followed were some of the best I'd known since entering this doomed life. I could think more clearly, I had written three new songs and I'd completely reorganized everything in my loft, from the books to the sheet music to the many scattered contents of my wardrobe. I wasn't worried about going out in public with the red eyes of a satiated vamp or the blackened eyes of thirst, straining to keep myself from pouncing on the more tender prey I found in the clubs.

There was only one problem with all this good feeling. That hunt had opened more to me than just a new way to feed—it had unlocked a corner of my psyche that I hadn't visited since before my death. There was a new kind of optimism I was feeling, and this was a direct threat to the nihilism that kept me at home in the gloomy corners of the world where I was damned to dwell. But there was nothing to do about it. It was like the gift of sight—once you see something, you cannot unsee it, you can only stop looking.

The night of our date arrived and Edward came alone this time to watch me perform. I could feel his eyes on every small movement of my hands over the guitar, on the subtle vibrations from my chest as I sang more clearly than I ever had. Every so often I would imagine him naked, imagine myself on my knees before him, knowing he would read the contents of my fantasy. Then I would spy the cold fire of his lust spiraling inside of him.

Two can play this game, Edward Cullen, I thought and caught his nod from across the room.

Back at my loft, he was ever the gentleman, taking my coat and guitar and stowing them for me. Then he came and stood before me and I could see the red intensity of his hunger pooling in his abdomen, down in his pelvis, and I smiled.

"Mr. Cullen, I think you might have missed me this week," I said.

"I did indeed, Miss Brown," he said. "And I brought you a gift."

"Oh?" Though I had a very good idea of what it was.

He pulled out of his coat pocket a long but simple piece of rope, thin and coiled like a snake, sturdy and unobtrusive, the kind you might see tying boxes down to the deck of a freight-liner at the docks.

"What's this?" I asked coyly. After all, it was a thin little rope. I could easily shred it with my fingertips. But as I considered it, I felt anticipation tingling inside my chest, bubbling up into my head, out to my limbs as I watched him slide his fingers along the coils ever so deliberately.

"This, my dear Mercy, is the rope of an 18th century vampire slayer," he said, and then paused to study my reaction. I felt my eyes go wide with disbelief, and then he continued, "I bought it from a gypsy the last time I was in Algreciras. It was blessed by the monks of St. Bees back in 1552 and has the power to ward off all supernatural elements. It was used to capture vampires and bind them before they were publicly destroyed in flames."

"Oh my," I said, stunned by this impossible find, unable to say more. I peered into Edward's brain and saw the showering sparks of his cognition, the fiery reds and yellows of his churning desire, matching the fuel that spread through his core.

"Close your eyes," he said.

"Wait," I said, suddenly filled with trepidation.

"I swear no harm will come to you," he said, his tone serious.

"I wasn't worried."

"Yes, you were," he said. "Now close your eyes or I'll have to blindfold you."

"Fine," I said, taking one final look at the erection straining in his pants, and that made me feel better. I closed my eyes, but then he wrapped a heavy blindfold around my head anyway. "Well then," I said. "You're not taking any chances, are you?"

"Not tonight," he said, and as he said the words, I could hear him smirking even though I couldn't see. "Now take off your clothes. Everything but the boots."

"The stockings, too?"

"Leave those," he said, fingering the elastic of my thigh-high fishnet. I pulled my dress up over my shoulders, and then removed my bra and panties. I could feel his presence just mere steps from me, could sense his gaze resting on my face, and then my neck and shoulders, straying to my breasts and belly and then there, to the most private part of me. He made me stand there beneath his gaze, waiting patiently for some move on his part, until every inch of my skin began to hum with anticipation.

I suddenly felt that wisp of a rope lassoed around my waist, rough against me. He pulled me across the room like prey in a snare, blind but intensely sensitive now to feel of things, the warm air of the loft, the heavy, soft cloth of the blindfold, the coarseness of the rope against my back, and then I felt the cool touch of glass on my breasts, then my arms and face as he pressed my naked body to the full length window.

"Edward Cullen… " I began to protest.

"It's so dark in here," he casually interrupted me and stroked my back affectionately, like I was a pet manx. "It's almost a shame to keep such a lovely sight to myself, really. I wonder, shall I turn on some lights, Miss Brown?" he asked. "It would vastly improve the view from the street, and I would be able see your fine form all the better."

You wouldn't dare, I thought, but then stopped the words from coming out of my mouth, realizing that a dare was the last thing I wanted to put to Edward just then.

"As you wish," I said, compliantly.

"Good girl," he said and then stroked the curve of my bottom. "Let's leave the lights off. I'm in no mood for sharing tonight anyway."

The rope slid from my hips and then it was gone, but in the next second I heard it slithering and felt its pitted surface winding once around my neck and tightening, and then I felt it again, and then a third time. I had no need for breathing, but still my hands went instinctively to the makeshift collar, feeling it close against my windpipe, causing me to feel a flutter in my belly and a tingle between my legs. He knotted it and let the long end hang loosely down my back like a leash. It was not too tight, but it was securely fastened there and I did not protest.

"Hands behind your back, Mercy," he said, and as I obeyed and felt him tie my wrists tightly behind me with the dangling end of that slayer's leash, another door opened there in the darkness of my psyche. Surrounded by the sound of his stillness and the scantness of his speech, immersed in the feel of my naked, blind and bound body and stunned by the bareness of my very thoughts and desires as they lay helplessly exposed to him, I began to take those short, shallow breaths the humans take when they are nervous or giddy. The influx of oxygen did nothing more than remind me that I was no human, that I'd lived and nearly died without ever knowing love, and that after all the casual tumbling into bed with vampires over the years, not once had I willingly experienced such an overwhelming vulnerability to another being as I now felt.

This was not play—it was real submission.

I would have trembled with the magnitude of this realization, cursed my own naivete, but if I could not control Edward's access to the contents of my mind, I would not let him see how undone my body had become in this position. He would know my arousal by scent, he would know my excitement by reading my thoughts, but I would control my body's response to the fear I felt. I willed my mind to silence and when I could not achieve it, I simply stated, "Mr. Cullen, I do believe you are the most dangerous lover I've ever had."

"I am certain of it," he said.

He turned me around and then backed me into the glass window. He trailed his hand lightly along my hairline and then pulled my hair from its tidy bun and combed his fingers through, now raking the loose mane of a wild mare, an act that caused me to shift my position and feel the light strain of the rope against my neck and wrists, and this made me wild with want. But in my state of blind immobility, I could do nothing but wait to see how he would use me to his satisfaction.

Edward let his hands settle on my shoulders, his lips trailing softly, too sweetly along the contour of my face, then onto the fullness of my lips, the tip of my chin, and then along the curve of my neck and shoulder. His hands skimmed over my breasts, his thumbs circling each nipple into a tight point. Then he gripped me around my waist, his eager grasp a more honest telling of his intentions than his steady kisses trailing who knew where. He caressed the etching of the heart on my breast and fingered along the outer line curiously, feeling the indentation in my skin.

"Don't tell me there's nothing inside here," he said softly. "I will never believe you."

"Only my immortal shame resides in the emptiness beneath that mark."

"I can feel the fire of your passion here," he said. "There is such potential for you, Mercy Brown."

"Not with you," I said. "That's a promise I know you will keep."

"That inevitability is the only way you'd ever allow me to take you this far."

And then Edward kissed me, his tongue a persuasive emissary for his intent. He pushed my thighs apart with his hand and stroked between them lightly, damp and aromatic with my compliance. Then he knelt before me, an act that took me by such surprise I looked down, as though I could actually see anything with the heavy cloth wrapped around my eyes. I felt the smoothness of his face glide over the taut skin of my belly, his nose nudging the crease of my leg and then he drew a deep breath in through his nose.

"There's something I'd like to ask of you," he said.

"If there's something you want from me, now is the time to let me know."

"I want you to sing for me," he said.

"Now?"

"Yes," he said.

"Well… what would you like to hear?"

"Diamonds," he said.

"Oh," I said and then felt his tongue, laced with venom, drag that effervescence across the need of my skin. I swallowed the air and tried to remember the first line of the song, and though it was quite difficult, I began to softly sing.

I used to believe

My fingers were diamonds

And the men they would pay me

Just to draw them

All night long

Edward pushed my thighs further apart and slid just the tip of his tongue into me. I shifted against the glass and felt the rope pull against my neck and moaned loudly, and then he stopped.

"Keep singing," he said.

"It's very difficult when you do that," I said. "I can't concentrate."

"Don't argue," he said. "And don't concentrate. Just sing."

So I began again, keeping myself very still so that I would not put more pressure against my windpipe, but no matter how I tried I could not keep my voice strong and even-toned. He began to thrust his tongue up inside of me, his thumb pressed to my clit, circling with increasing pressure, until I could not think of words—they came out of me as sputters, gasps and groans.

And you can encircle me

Your own little island

And you are the archer there

And there are trees, all those trees…

I was all but screaming the final line of that verse, grateful I had no neighbors above or below. I'd never known such a feeling before, never knew a feeling like that could exist—not in reality, not even in the finest moments of my imagination could I have conceived of it. Edward's tongue was hard, steadily stroking inside of me as I stood naked, blind and restrained, singing that song to him until the notes were stopped from the spasms of the strongest climax of all my years. When the peak of it passed and there were just smaller aftershocks and he rested his ear on the soft curve my belly, I finished for him.

Speak not of violence

There is peace on our little mountain

So I'll race you for those diamonds

And I will meet you there

All night long.

"Thank you," he said. "That was the first song I ever heard you sing. For weeks I've been wanting to do that while you were singing it."

You are unravelling me, I thought. Is that what you intended?

"That's enough, Mercy. Release yourself from your bonds," he said.

"No," I said, still shaken by the force of my release, the realization that I still had the capacity to be vulnerable. I felt as though the bonds were the only thing holding me together. Edward pulled the blindfold from my eyes and I first noticed the softness of his smile.

"There now," he said. "You already have, see?"

I looked down and at my feet and saw the broken pieces of the rope binding my wrists were on the floor, not the tattered remnants of some magic slayer's lasso at all, but the shabby pieces of an ordinary sailing line. He pulled the rope that still hung from my neck and gave it a light snap and it broke easily against my neck, and this he let drop to the floor.

"You lied." I said, incredulous. "That was no vampire slayer's rope."

"I know," he said. "That's an old line from my boat."

"Why?"

"How did it feel?" he said.

Terrifying, I thought. And incredible. Unlike anything I have ever felt. I will never be the same, and it is all your fault.

"That's why," he said. "I wanted to be part of your story."