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Story Name: Lost Boys
Genre: Vamp/AU - Drama/Angst
Word Count: 5039
Summary: My perfect memory does him no justice. Edward is more beautiful than I remember, but he seems almost wild, in the manner the nomadic vampires often have."I can't bear it any longer," he whispers. "Their minds are full of depravity. It infects me." AU
There should be a warning attached to this story, but there isn't, for reasons that will become apparent. Enter at your own risk.
I kneel in front of the couch, before the little boy perched upon it, and I look up into large eyes framed with long, dark lashes. The child is perhaps three years old, all dimples and dark curls and tiny teeth.
I cannot tear my gaze away, but when I speak, I do so to the only other man in the room.
"What have you done, Edward?"
Even my perfect memory does him no justice. He is more beautiful, more striking, than I recall. He seems almost wild, in the manner that the nomadic vampires often have, and the fierceness in his eyes has me frozen, rooted to the spot.
I've never been afraid of another of my kind. Wary, yes, as I am now, as I see him with his scarlet eyes and untamed expression. When I am compelled to reach out to him, I do so slowly, so as not to startle him.
I am afraid that he will run from me.
Neither of us has said a word since we came face to face in the darkened street, and it is only when he speaks that I remember that I have no need to.
"I'm not going to run."
I cup his face with my palm, and he leans into it. The action is so natural, so familiar. "Edward, my God, Edward. I've missed you so. We both have."
He relaxes into my touch, his eyes drifting closed, the alert tightness of his features softening. Until I refer to my wife. Then his brows draw together, he opens his eyes, and there it is: the blatant proof that he has not been living in the way I had hoped. "Esme," he whispers.
I cannot help but be glad I am alone. It would only sadden her to see him so—
I shake my head. "You seem... distressed."
He laughs as he circles my wrist with his fingers and pulls it away from his face, then drops his arm, taking mine with it. His grip relaxes, his fingers slip further, entwining with mine, and he looks at our joined fingers for some moments, as if confused by them. And then his head snaps up and he stares me in the face. "Distress is simply a polite way of saying madness."
I don't know if it is possible for a vampire to go mad, to experience insanity when it was not already present in the human they had once been. And Edward, my Edward, had been—for the most part—reasonable, logical.
"That was before," he spits, and drops my hand. He walks away from me, back into the darkness of the alley from which he had appeared only moments before.
The alley is a dead end, and he stands against the brick wall and waits for me. "I can't bear it any longer," he whispers. "Their minds are full of so much depravity. It makes me sick. Even as I kill them, and the thoughts of it fade away, it still infects me. I think I am becoming like them sometimes. I cause them to suffer, drawing out their deaths, but then the terror... I hear it all, Carlisle, and I can't bear it any longer."
Hope floods my being. "Come back to us, Edward."
His eyes bore into mine, and I know I shouldn't focus on the colour of them, because he hears all my thoughts. I cannot help but stare, because that hue is so strange in the face of my Edward.
"I don't know if I can come back."
I approach and take his face in both hands now, opening my mind to him and letting all my affection for him flow out, no matter what colour his eyes are. "You are always welcome, Edward. You know this."
"Nothing has changed. The reason I left—"
"The reason you left is not a reason to stay away. Come back to us. To me." I know I shouldn't coerce him with such an empty promise, but he knows what I will and will not do. At the same time, he must know that I would do anything for him.
I am still surprised when he takes half a step toward me, closing the small space between us, pushing his body the length of mine, and I feel something I have not felt in more than a decade—Edward's erection pressing against me. I suck in an audible breath, tasting his arousal on the air, savouring it.
"I knew it," he whispers. "You hid it well once, but I knew you still wanted me. How hard it must have been to keep that locked inside, Carlisle. I'm sure it was a great relief when I left."
I hold his shoulders and try to push him away, but he does not go easily. I can force him to do nothing. He will always be just a little stronger than I am while he hunts humans, so I relent and allow him to press closer to me, ever closer, pushing me back against the opposite wall of the alley as I try to step away from him. "It is a relief to see you now, Edward."
He moans, but the noise blends into what sounds for all the world like a frustrated roar. He shifts, sliding his hard length alongside mine, rocking his hips against me. "Please," he breathes. Holding my wrists, he leans in close and I cannot help but shiver.
I know that I should push him away, but I am unused to denying Edward anything. Not since the night Esme was changed have either of us touched the other in such a way, and so I never had the need to tell him no.
"Carlisle, please," he groans. His lips are against my cheek, his fingers clutching at my shoulders. I cannot help but hold his head in my hands, burying my nose in his hair and inhaling the scent of him.
My Edward. I've missed him so much, my heart breaking when he left, but I can't give him what he wants.
"I want you inside me." I feel his lips moving against my cheek. "Fill me with something good for a change."
I let out a growl of my own. Perhaps he is mad, perhaps he has lost his mind.
He shoves away from me, and those wild eyes bore into my soul. "I thought I was doing the right thing by taking evil out of the world. I didn't. I took it all inside me instead." He thumps his chest with his fist and a dry sob wracks his body. "It's in here. All of it. I remember every single one of the things they did, the things I did to them. You have no comprehension of how filthy I am inside." He is raging, his fists clenched, his teeth bared.
Suddenly calming, he reaches out with one hand and places it on my chest. "Once you made me feel as if I could be right. As if I could be good. You loved me once. I knew you couldn't love a monster. I want to feel a little of that again. A little of that goodness."
My heart breaks to see and hear his pain. I gather him into my arms, holding him against me and rocking him, just as I had done when he was new and afraid of what he had become.
He shudders in my arms, his immortal body rebelling against the fact he cannot find release in tears. "I will always love you, Edward. Nothing will ever change that."
He lifts his head to offer me his lips, and I cannot deny him.
It is a simple kiss at first, one without demand or expectation, and I am thankful for that. I don't know what else I can in good conscience do for him to ease his suffering. I am grateful when he pulls away from me. He seems more relaxed, but then I notice that his eyes are black, whereas only moments ago they were full of human blood.
If only he would let me help him. He could come home and things would be as they were before. We could be a family again. I can't help but reach out; I want to hold him and comfort him, but he twists away from me and I think he's about to run.
His bearing shifts and, flexing his fingers as if shaking off the tension, he turns to face the brick. I hear buttons sliding free, and his trousers loosen, shifting to settle low on his hips, as he turns his head and looks over his shoulder.
He always knew how to entice me, even in those earliest days when I thought I was able to control my thoughts around him. But never has he looked at me like this before. His eyes are dark, hooded. He gazes at me from beneath his lashes in a way that sends jolts of need straight to my groin. There is an overt sensuality to him, a blatant, wanton invitation.
My feet take me to him with no conscious thought, my hands slipping under the tails of his shirt because I need to touch the soft flesh of his hips. I remember this—indeed, I will never forget—as my thumbs press into the fullest part of his backside, as my fingertips lock into his hipbones. It is as if the two of us were made to fit together.
"We were," he whispers. He licks his lips and arches his back, and I cannot reconcile his easy way with the Edward I knew, and yet it is him, his beauty, his scent—his torment. "I can't," I moan into his shoulder, "I can't hurt her like this."
"She'll never know."
"I'll know." I shake my head. "I have a mate, Edward. A wife. One who loves and trusts me, one who loves and trusts you. We cannot betray that."
I've never seen him so fierce. He growls as he fastens his trousers, never taking his eyes from me, a low rumbling sound that chills me to my core. I'm afraid of him now, like I've never been afraid of another vampire, but I've never met a vampire like him before, like he has become.
"You are mine," he hisses. "You were mine first, and I was yours. You're not what she really wants. She will give you up."
He runs from the alley, and I am left alone, gasping for unneeded breath.
I am fascinated by the chubby little fingers, the plump little hands, the skin, pale and perfect. The child's skin is soft to my touch, and when he giggles, deep dimples appear in his cheeks.
"What's your name, little one?" I ask, barely keeping my voice from shaking.
The child frowns and looks up at the man who stands close by.
"His name is Oliver," Edward says with a smile so ordinary and relaxed that it sends jolts of terror through my being.
"I saw Edward this morning."
My wife smiles brightly at the news until she sees my discomfort. "Is he not well?"
I struggle for the words to make her aware, but I am torn between my reluctance to frighten her and my need to see her prepared. "He is changed. I am afraid that his lifestyle has affected his mind."
Her face reflects my own pain. "Will he come home? We can help him. With his family around him—"
"I'm not sure it is wise. He seems intent on resuming our previous relationship."
Esme purses her lips. Her knowledge and acceptance of my relationship with Edward before she was changed will never help her to understand it. "It sounds to me like he needs his family, Carlisle. We have to help him."
I frown and try not to let my sorrow show outwardly. "He ran from me, Esme. I'm not sure he wants to come home."
"But if he did?" she asks. "Would he be welcome?"
I brush a lock of hair away from her face and tuck it behind her ear. A great sense of dread comes over me and I cannot say the words I know she wants to hear.
Some small part of me wishes I'd not asked the child's name.
I see how it could be. Esme gazes upon the child as if he were her own lost son, and I can only imagine what thoughts are in her mind. I see us as a family, walking among human society, the little lad with eyes as golden as our own. Esme dotes upon him and I act the role of the boy's father, teaching him to read and write, instilling in him those values I hold dear.
I know this will never be the case. I wipe the possibility from my mind. The mere knowledge of him endangers us all.
Within days, Edward's scent is gone from the streets around our home. Relief settles over me when I come to believe we will not see him again.
Esme is only saddened. She missed him as much as I in certain ways, perhaps more, and now after this teasing glimpse of him, she is like she was when he left the first time.
Two years he was gone, and still she spoke of him every day. Though I had been in my position far too long, long enough that it was a possibility someone would notice my not ageing, she insisted we stay just a little longer in case he should come back to us. Now after my having seen him, there was no convincing her.
I have an ominous feeling that all this will come to no good if we stay. Yet when he comes to our door one evening, I cannot turn him away.
When I hear the knock I know immediately it is him. I hear sounds outside that I instinctively know as those of his particular movements—the way he pushes his fingers through his hair when he is nervous, the drag of his tongue over his lips. I catch his scent, and I am almost overcome with longing for him.
But I am wary. Why has he come?
With Esme behind me, I swing the door wide.
There he stands, diffident, submissive, his eyes on the doorstep. He takes deep breaths as if he is nervous. I can do nothing but stare because his posture, his whole demeanour, is so different from the frenzied, dangerous vampire I saw only a few weeks ago.
"Edward," Esme breathes, and she pushes past me. I hold out my arm to block her path, but he has already lifted his eyes and I am frozen by the change in them.
The colour is of the brightest amber. He stares at me, his brows drawn together in worry, a tiny crease between them. I gasp at the change in him.
"I'm so sorry," he whispers.
He is a calm little thing, his tiny hands folded demurely in his lap, but he takes in everything. His wide eyes dart about the room, from me to Esme and back to Edward. Sharp eyes, bright eyes, eyes the colour of blood.
He lifts one little hand and rubs his throat. His newborn eyes on Edward, he speaks. "Hurts," he says, in a voice so sweet and small it breaks my unbeating heart. "I'm thirsty."
For Esme, it is easy. She didn't see him that night. She didn't hear the things he said or witness the things he did. She has no fear of being alone with him during the night while I am at the hospital. I want to take some time, to wait until I am sure of Edward's state of mind before I leave them, but she insists I go. She wants the two of them to get to know each other again.
When I return the next morning, I find them in the living room. They are seated on the couch together, Edward is wrapped in my wife's arms, his head laid on her breast as she slowly strokes his hair.
I am alarmed, but the reasons for that alarm are varied and conflicted.
They both look up as I greet them. Esme is full of motherly joy as she cradles Edward in her arms. I see the vampire in the alley, dark, demented, dangerous. She sees a lost boy, one repentant of his mistakes.
Esme can't see his eyes. His smile doesn't reach them. His eyes move, while the rest of him is motionless. He examines me, though what he finds, I have no clue.
Instinctively, I take the boy into my arms and hold him, the closest thing I will ever have to a grandchild, on my lap. "What do you like to eat, Oliver?" I ask.
"Don't like rabbits."
"Edward gives you rabbits to eat?"
Edward chuckles. "Not any longer. He likes to share whatever I'm having."
I take note, again, of the amber hue of my progeny's eyes. "Has he ever—"
"He's never tasted human blood," Edward assures me.
"But a child of this age... Surely you realise he can never be left alone. He'll have no control over his impulses. He can never be trusted."
Edward narrows his eyes. His lips press together in a hard line. "Why would anyone leave a child alone? I don't understand you, Carlisle."
I sense danger, barely controlled fury lurking just beneath the surface. "Of course not, Edward. I wouldn't think of such a thing." I turn my attention back to the boy. "Do you like deer, Oliver?"
"I was afraid you wouldn't take me back, after seeing me the way I was," he says when we are alone. "It was so hard to stop," he whispers, looking down at his folded hands in his lap. "But I did. I went into the forest and I stayed there. I didn't come out until I was sure all the evil blood had gone out of me." He looks up. "It was their blood that did it to me, Carlisle." He places his hand over mine and I have to concentrate not to flinch away. "Thank you," he says, and his gratitude is authentic and moving. "Thank you for taking me back. I was so afraid."
I nod in acknowledgement, but say nothing. I know he can read my mind. I know he can see inside me. He knows I cannot let go of my fears, and yet he says nothing of it.
"Esme is happy I'm home, isn't she?" he asks. "I know she is. She needs someone to take care of, I think, and you are so capable, Carlisle. You wouldn't give her much to do, I'm sure. Me, I need someone to care for me, especially now, don't you think?"
There is nothing in his manner or his speech that would lead me to fear, and yet it does not leave me. "We both care for you, Edward. Very much."
He smiles and comes toward me and wraps his arms around me and holds me tight enough to make me afraid. Then he is gone again. "Thank you, Carlisle. For your forgiveness. For everything."
I don't trust you, I think. I'm afraid of you.
Edward gives no indication that he has heard me.
"Something happened, Carlisle, when I stopped. It was as if my mind opened, as if all I had been hearing was the rapists, the murderers. Now I hear everything, all at once. I purged the evil blood with the pure blood of the deer, and now I hear you again. All the time. Telling me you want it to be like it was before she came."
I stare at him, horrified, as I realise he believes what he is telling me. I cannot fathom what has become of his mind, but I know that I am to blame. "Edward," I say, using all of my strength just to keep my voice calm and even. "We were lovers once. What you suggest would make us adulterers. There is no going back to the way it was. You must understand."
I brace myself for an explosion of demented anger that does not come. Instead, he smiles confidently. "But she tells me what she wants as well. She doesn't want you, Carlisle, not really. She never did. I'm going to give her what she wants. What she needs. And then we can be together again, like we were before."
He leans in and presses his lips gently against mine as I fight to remain calm while my mind roils with panic and fear and confusion.
Edward scoops the child up. "We'll hunt soon, little one. You still have to meet Esme, remember?" He passes the boy into my wife's arms. "He's for you, Esme. I knew what you wanted. I was right, wasn't I? You want him?"
Esme's eyes are wide as she stares at Edward. She is afraid, but she nods, slowly. "Thank you, Edward," she whispers.
"You love him, don't you? I knew you would. When I saw him, I knew he was the one."
Esme buries her face in the tiny neck, inhaling his scent. "Yes. I love him very much."
Edward is home only a few weeks when he begins staying away all night, and he becomes confused, sometimes angry with me when I enquire as to his activities.
"I'm not hunting humans," he hisses one morning. "As if I want their filth inside me." Then in a shift of mood that startles me, his face softens, he slips his arm around my neck and presses the length of his body against mine. "I only want you inside me, Carlisle." He closes his eyes and sighs, and he sways gently against me. "Yes," he whispers. "I know... I feel the same way... I promise it will be soon. I'll find what I'm looking for and we can be as we were before—"
I grasp his shoulders and push him away from me, holding him at arm's length. I stare at him in horror, but he only looks back with that contented smile on his face, as if nothing at all is amiss.
"Let me help you," I gasp. "These voices you're hearing, Edward, they can't be real, you know nothing of what is truly in my mind."
But he keeps smiling, though his brows draw together in confusion, and then he twists out of my grip and walks away from me as if nothing has taken place.
You've endangered us all, I think. Edward gives no indication that he has heard me. "The Volturi," I say, choosing my words carefully. "How do you propose we protect Oliver?" And ourselves.
Edward laughs. "Don't concern yourself about the Volturi, Carlisle. I'll hear them." He drags his gaze from where he's been watching Esme play with the child and fixes it on me. He gives me a smile, like he would to child that didn't understand. "I'll hear them. I hear everything now. The whole world. All of it. Nothing can stop me. Nothing can stop us, do you understand?"
He doesn't see the look of fear and panic on Esme's face, but I do.
One morning he doesn't come home. I assume at first that he has returned to his previous diet, but he returns two days later, dishevelled, but with eyes as golden as mine.
"I finally found it," he whispers to me as if Esme will not hear as easily as I from the other side of the room. "I've hidden it. I want it to be a surprise, you see, but it's not ready yet."
I've never felt such anger toward him before. When I hold him and shake him and insist he tell me where he's been and what he's done, he stares at me in shock.
Then he wrenches free of my grip and slips away again.
It's the last time we see him.
Months pass, and we assume he has returned to his diet of rapists and murderers. I hate myself for being glad of it, for being unable to help him, but what could I have done? The human mind is barely understood; that of a vampire is unfathomable, even for one of his own kind.
I'd not caught his scent near our home since that night, and I had grown complacent, confident that we would not see him here for a very long time, if he was ever coming back at all.
I was wrong.
"Oh," Esme says, as we return to the house after a hunt. "It's Edward."
His scent fills my senses, but there is another, an unfamiliar vampire scent woven into it.
"Who is it?
My grip tightens on Esme's hand. "I don't know."
We approach our own home cautiously. An unknown vampire is always cause to be wary, though I've never had occasion to cross paths with one who meant me harm.
"Perhaps it is someone who has helped him," Esme wonders aloud, and I murmur my own wish that that is the case.
But I don't allow myself much hope. When I open the door, I catch a distinctive flavour, one that immediately puts me on my guard.
But of course my wife will not know it.
"Newborn," I whisper to her, as we cross the threshold.
Nothing can prepare me for the sight that greets me when I turn and walk into our living room. My eyes immediately lock onto the image of Edward, crouched beside the couch, his fingers smoothing the dark curls of a tiny child seated there.
A child, whose brilliant red eyes dart about the room and finally settle on me.
"Oh, God," I whisper. "Edward, what have you done?"
"He's a good boy. He'll do as he's told. Won't you, sweetheart?"
The child looks at Edward with a serious expression on his little face. The scarlet eyes are enormous. Long dark lashes frame the vivid orbs. The look is of complete and utter innocence.
Edward laughs, seemingly oblivious to Esme's horror and my shock. He smiles as Esme cradles the child protectively, as she presses her lips to the boy's hair. She is shaking, and I can almost feel her grief.
Edward leaves them, and approaches me. He takes my hands in his and steps close. "It's all right now, do you see? She has what she really wants. You're free." He smiles with such innocence that my heart breaks for the loss of the man he once was.
"Now we can be together. It can be like it was before."
I glance at Esme. The fear is evident in her eyes, but my wife is an intelligent woman. "Go ahead," she whispers. "I'll take care of little Oliver." She kisses him once more as her body shudders and her arms tighten around the little creature.
I allow Edward to lead me by the hand, up the stairs, past the room Esme and I share, to the room that had once been his.
I close the door behind us.
He looks down at our intertwined fingers, then raises his eyes to mine. His eyes are pure amber, all animal blood. I wonder if he even tasted the child.
I cannot stop myself. "How did innocent blood make you feel? How did it taste, Edward? Do you believe you took his goodness into yourself?"
He smiles coyly. "I barely took any of it. It was too important that he survive," he says, with a touch of pride. "I would do anything for you."
I swallow heavily. "I know."
He steps closer to me, and he brushes his lips against my jaw. "I've missed this so much, Carlisle. Being with you in this way, alone like this."
I inhale his scent, filling myself with it. I touch his face, memorising every angle and curve. "I love you, Edward," I whisper. "I've always loved you. I always will.
He smiles, content, relaxed. So beautiful. "Then kiss me," he says.
And I do, pressing my lips to his, feeling the softness, tasting his venom. As he presses his body flush against mine, I feel him growing hard, and he lets out a little moan.
I pull back, holding his head in my hands. "Forgive me," I say.
A tiny crease appears between his brows as he wonders what he is to forgive.
I twist, hard, quick, violent, and I will see that expression on his face for eternity for that is the one frozen into his features. I stare into blank eyes as his body falls to the floor and I am left holding the severed head of my progeny, my creation. My former companion and lover. The boy I had come to think of as a son.
It has been a hundred years since I've tasted the scent that drifts up the stairs. I don't hurry down, knowing what I will find and dreading the thought of it.
The first thing I see is the blaze in the large fireplace. Tendrils of purple smoke wind up and over the mantelpiece as Esme stares into the flames. She looks up. Her face is scratched, healing as I watch. Similar marks mar her bare arms. Her dress is torn in the front, and high on one breast is a tiny, crescent-shaped mark that will scar.
"Edward?" she whispers so softly even I barely hear it.
I look into her eyes. Her grief is palpable, her eyes red rimmed, as if her body wishes to cry real tears, to have some release, but is denied.
I clear my throat of the lump that has formed there. "He's dead." I reach the bottom of the stairs, and she meets me there, and we hold each other as our bodies exhibit grief the only way they can, in dry heaving sobs.
I turn my face toward the fireplace to see the evidence of her own difficult work. White, stony chunks fuel the purple flames.
I will never forget the sight, if I live till the end of the world.