To the Masses: I'm banking on none of you being history buffs, but if you do find any inaccuracies a polite note is all that's required to fix the mistake.
Soundtrack: These Things Take Time (Sanctus Real), Feeling Good (Jennifer Hudson or Muse, depending on the mood), Yellow (Coldplay).
Warnings: AU & OOC (All fanfics are), Slash, mentions of some very disturbing things like child abuse and sexual assault. OC's.
Disclaimer: I don't own Twilight. I do own Lily though, and you can't have him just yet.
"When the power of love overcomes the love of power the world will know peace," Bob Marley
Edward Cullen was twenty six years old when he ran away from home and decided to drink human blood.
It started one morning –no, maybe it started before that day; nine years prior, when Carlisle Cullen offered to preserve his existence. Edward was only seventeen then, weak from the Spanish Influenza that had recently taken his mother, and he wasn't ready to die. When he said yes Carlisle had bent over him with an almost melancholy look in his golden eyes, just before he sank his fangs into Edwards's carotid artery.
The change took three days and when he emerged from the fire he realized a monster had been unleashed.
The inner most private thoughts of everyone around him were his to read or see –even against his will, when he was thinking of nothing in particular.
Carlisle was an intellectual who thought in words; like old script written on tan parchment. The first thoughts Edward read were full of worry for his new child and the people around them.
At the time Edward didn't have time to appreciate those thoughts. He only knew a deep and burning thirst. It was all consuming, the way music had been to his human mind, only he didn't know how to sate the new need.
Carlisle took him away that first night, in a whirlwind of chaos that the Influenza Epidemic had brought among the people. It wasn't hard for Doctor Carlisle Cullen and Edward Anthony Masen to slip past the frantic humans and reappear in a different state as Doctor Carlisle Platt and his son Anthony. Paperwork had been easier to forge in those days and their very existence made it mandatory that they keep a low profile.
They stayed in a shady motel, on one of the sunny days between Chicago and Ashland, just long enough for Edward to regain his equilibrium and accept the changes that had been made. Carlisle refused to give him any privacy. His thoughts betrayed him, but it made it easier for Edward to accept his presence knowing that the doctor was just worried for him.
From his mind he gleaned facts about Newborns and he read the story of how Carlisle had become what he was. Edward experienced Carlisle's struggle with self control, that first surgery that he'd performed, and the pride he felt when he succeeded in ridding a woman of gangrene.
Edward found it fascinating that the people of the 17th century didn't know how blood circulation worked, and believed that any blood they drank would go right into their circulatory system rather than their digestive one. He could see how it would have been easier in that time; no one would have thought twice about Doctor Cullen drinking a bit of animal blood here or there.
He was utterly captivated by the voyage on ship from London to the U.S. He watched the thoughts play out in awe, until he wondered if Carlisle had been hungry. Surely he would have been, Edward wondered to himself. That was when he realized the doctor had been concentrating on thoughts that would ease Edwards mind, and he turned his attention else were just to spite him.
Then he heard it, very lightly at first but the thoughts became louder as he focused. He stood from his chair in shock, knocking it over and alerting Carlisle. It was all he could do to stare at the wall with his mouth hanging open, not even bothering to curl a lip over his canines to preserve his image.
Edward didn't know what he was hearing first. It just sounded like crying to him, but his physical ears picked up nothing but the sounds of sex, which he had already learned to ignore (he couldn't possibly be embarrassed if he pretended not to hear it, right?). He could hear a man who thought in sound, taking pleasure in what he was doing. At first he thought the man was with a woman, but when he concentrated on the other mind in the room he didn't see erotic thoughts. He saw a man that looked like a monster, closer to what a grizzly would look like but with large horns atop his hairy head. He saw long, yellow teeth that snapped at her like a dog and could practically feel the long dollops of drool that splattered across her face.
A cold hand wrapped around his neck, preventing him from rushing forward –though the wall and slaying the monster. It was Carlisle who slowly pulled him towards the phone, because he didn't trust what either of them would do if he let go of his fledging, and dialed room service. He whispered hurriedly about hearing things in the next room and pleaded with the woman to send an officer or someone, anyone and he couldn't leave because his son had become violently ill. He urged Edward to lie on the bed, wrapped the Newborn in the scratchy motel sheets before he left to join the man that would nock the door down.
Edward remained where he was, but didn't trust himself outside of the room. He paid special attention to Carlisle's presence as he treated the little, crying girl who had been gagged and threatened by a man from the town. He listened as he told her it would be all right, and he took those words to heart because everything had to be okay. If everything wasn't okay, if that man was allowed to live (which he was assured wasn't the case) he didn't know what he would do.
Then it happened again, the very next day when Carlisle allowed Edward to walk with him to check out. He was examining the individual threads that made up his favorite waistcoat when a woman, who thought in distorted images, began to think of how much easier it would be to handle her son if she gave him some of her favorite drugs. The child had been three years old, and Edward wanted to rip her fucking head off.
A strong hand on his wrist led him out of the door and towards the train station.
After three years Carlisle fell in love, again. According to his parchment thoughts he'd met the woman before, ten years prior to her dive off of a cliff.
Edward wasn't there when the town folk brought her broken and bleeding body into the small clinic, but he recognized her from the high school Carlisle had practically forced him to attend. He read through his sire's written thoughts as he asked her if she wanted to live, as he fought against every fiber of his being to beg her to take their curse. He practically sagged in relief when she'd said yes, and Carlisle bent low to drip venom into her open wounds.
He'd readied his room for her visit; tacked blankets and carpets to the wall to muffle the screams, gathered towels and a large bowl of water to use when her body started to rid of human dirt and waste, and set out to fulfill his thirst with the local wild life and collect some rabbits for her when she woke up.
He had filled the bathroom with live rabbits by the time his sire returned with a shivering woman in his arms. He explained, even though he didn't have to, that he'd listed her as deceased and that he swore with God as his witness that he was going to marry the woman.
Edward could only give him an incredulous stare before he led him to his old, modified room.
Esme joined them three days later, ready to feast on rabbits and asked Carlisle question after question. Edward read her, fascinated. The woman thought in Monet; soft colors and tiny brush strokes. He told her in so many words that he was there for her, and that her baby had been just as beautiful as her thoughts.
For a while the monsters couldn't reach him. He thought that it was quite possible he just hadn't noticed while he and Carlisle taught Esme, his new mother, their ways. She teased Carlisle endlessly about the use of her maiden name as a pseudonym while they lived in Ashland, while he teased her in return for using his. After her transition it was time to move again, but this time they used Edward's human name. They became Doctor Carlisle and Esme Masen and their son Edward of Michigan.
Edward watched his sire and his mate dance in happiness so pure it was almost disgusting for a little over six years. He could see the beautiful script of Esme's name over and over again in Carlisle's thoughts and watched the beautiful paintings Esme made in her mind that reflected their sire.
Carlisle and Edward had been invited to go golfing with the Dean of Medicine of the Michigan hospital Carlisle was working at one Saturday morning. Edward had never met the man and he wished that he never had.
Orson Combs was a disgusting man who thought in shades of green and yellow. He didn't manage stress well, but on the weekends he would drive to the next city and visit a harem house that looked more like twenty tool sheds shoved together into one pile of rooms. They catered from tastes that ranged from six year old boys to seventy year old grandmothers. Doctor Combs was a pursuer of the later, taking the hate he felt for his own mother out on the fragile women –some of which couldn't even remember their own names on a good day.
By then he had suffered nine years in silence about the horrors of the world that he gleamed every day. He was done taking humanity with a grain of salt; he just wanted it to end. He waited until they reached the ninth hole and Carlisle had moved ahead to mark where his ball had landed. Edward counted a hundred yards before he –in the span of a single second- moved forward and ripped through the neck of Orson Combs.
He read the shock on Carlisle's ink and parchment thoughts; he imagined the disappointment reflected in Esme's beautiful Monet colors. He thought of the grandmothers who had been sold by their own families rather than taken to convalescent homes.
Edward saw his own red eyes reflected in painful starkness in Carlisle's thoughts, one of the few images he'd ever thought. Then he was gone, in the span of time it took a human to blink.
First he went south; he tore the whore house apart with his bare hands, drinking from frightened customers and sadistic proprietors alike. He was no longer thirsty by the time he reached the last man, but by then it didn't matter –Edward had already decided to kill every monster he could find.
The next year passed in a blur of criminals and victims. He never changed his clothes, and lost his shoes and favorite vest along the way. He looked positively feral in the minds of other's, when he allowed them to glimpse him. It was better that way though, more likely to strike fear into the men and women whom he would kill.
Edward also became a master at hunting, not just in search for more evil-doers, but he learned to cover his trail so that Carlisle and Esme couldn't find him. At first he relied on other's thoughts; his parents always stuck out in a crowed place and people remembered them clearly. It only took six months to loose them completely, and if his calculations were right they were likely looking for him in Texas somewhere. If he was lucky they'd get as far as South America before they realized he'd sent them on several wild goose chases.
It was nearly the anniversary of his first year as a dangerous vigilante when he stumbled across his first lone vampire.
At first sight it was hard to tell their gender, but a flat chest and deep, possessive growl cleared the issue up. Edward himself, had been ravaged by the Spanish Influenza and left thin, but this man was tiny on an entirely different scale. His long hair had also been rather deceptive, and fell around him in pitch black waves that were held away from his face by a band of embroidered silk. He wore a blood stained tunic over a pair of common slacks, but remained bare armed and barefoot.
Edward was very embarrassed to be caught still staring by the time the little man was done feeding, and pushed the very criminal Edward had been tracking to the ground. His eyes watched every tiny movement as the man brought a hand up and wiped the blood away from his round chin but accidentally streaked it across his high cheekbones. When he glanced at red, almond shaped eyes he felt that if he could flush he would have.
Only then did he realize he hadn't been listening in on the man's thoughts. Not because they were quiet, or he couldn't. To Edward people thought in the different ways they tended to perceive the world, but this tiny person saw the world exactly as it was. His thoughts didn't look any different then the way the world really was; a realist in the very definition of the word.
"Who are you?" Edward asked, or rather demanded to know. He was watching the man's thoughts closely and was shocked to see the golden letters appeared around his head and spiraled around his body.
Carlisle had once explained his theory, that everybody thought their strongest quality to the other side. It made since to him, because he'd always been able to read those around him with only a glance at their expression or posture. So the golden letters in his thoughts must have been his own gift.
He smirked in return, "You can call me Lily." His voice wasn't as deep as the growl had been, but was light and airy. "You can read my thoughts," he added a moment later.
Edward followed his thoughts and nodded, "Your full name," the man that called himself Lily thought of it, "Is Laelius Laurentinus. That's Roman, correct?" That was apparently a good enough answer. "Lily is easier to pronounce," Edward agreed.
"You mean that it doesn't catch as much attention," Lily replied, brushing his long waves behind him before kicking the dead man to the very edge of the alley and walking towards Edward. "I don't think I have to tell you how I know that."
Edward had nothing to fear from the man, except perhaps the rather obvious sexual propositions on the very tip of his tongue. Edward was twenty seven, celebrated his birthday by feasting on a ring of human traffickers, and had never been with another person in such a way. He was embarrassed, excited, curious, and nervous all at the same time.
"You know the truth," Edward said aloud, "of everything."
"I see the universally accepted truth behind other's words. And you," Lily said playfully while tapping Edward's chest with a strong finger, "are excited to meet someone like you, who is offering relations that you will most certainly accept."
That was the beginning of a world-wind romance, the first of many that involved the two of them.
Lily understood him in some ways. When a woman said she loved her husband Lily could read, in a code that involved Roman numerals that appeared in his vision, that she was afraid to be alone. When one man said he loved his daughter what he meant was that he loved the way her hips were shaping and would take advantage of her soon or already had. A very memorable prostitute had said she enjoyed her work, but the truth was that she didn't see another way to feed her four children.
When they knew each other well enough to share their histories Edward told him of the Spanish Flu and his death. He spoke of Carlisle and Esme, and Lily was fascinated to know they survived off of animal blood without any ill side effects. In return Lily thought long and hard of ancient Rome, something Edward felt confident he could watch for hours and hours –in fact he did, so long as Lily (who eventually allowed Edward to call him Laelius if as he used the proper, ancient Roman pronunciation) felt inclined to share.
Despite his upbringing in a nice, Catholic home it didn't bother Edward a bit that he slept with Laelius (which he called Lily after he took the time to learn the proper, tongue tying pronunciation). At first he thought it was because Lily looked so feminine and claimed a woman's name, but that theory made way for a new one when he learned that Laelius had been a concubine for the Seventh King of Rome before he'd been turned and maybe his sexual presence had followed him over. That hypothesis lasted as long as it took for him to think of it, and as soon as he opened his mouth to ask a question golden numerals appeared above his head and Laelius threw a book at him.
Eventually he decided it didn't matter what attracted him to the ancient vampire –the very one he'd jumped in bed with that first night, just as soon as Lily had ripped his pants off and exposed long, lithe legs. What did matter was that they fit together, almost seamlessly. Even their Cursed-Gifts (as they'd taken to calling them) complimented each other.
Lily never had a problem with Edward's anatomy, his sour or introspective moods, or his fondness for ripping Lily's clothing. If he was going to be annoyed about anything it would be how young Edward was. He absolutely hated Newborns, couldn't stand the thought of them, and nine years born was still a Newborn in his opinion.
Relationships proved to be hard when you could hear your lovers every thought though, and they knew the deepest truths behind something as simple as a sigh. Granted, it took a year and a half for it to become an issue between Edward and Lily, but it really was considered a record for the both of them. Edward never wanted a relationship with a human because they were just so breakable and he could never expose what he really was to them, and Laelius could never date his food so it wasn't exactly common for either of them to take lovers. And they did love each other, very deeply, but they didn't always like each other.
For the first year and a half they hunted together, until Laelius began to give thought to the humanitarian diet that Carlisle was so passionate about. Eventually it became routine for Lily to part with Edward when they'd found a suitable criminal for the night, and he'd try the different livestock. Edward had once told him mountain lion was his favorite, but Lily was rather partial to wolf –possibly because of the irony, that the man who founded Rome had supposedly been raised by one. The red in his eyes slowly gave way to a shade of orange that reminded Edward of the sunset.
Then Laelius' thoughts began to drift to annoyance at Edwards feeding habits and Edward would say he wanted to read quietly but he would mean that he wanted some space -without Lily in it.
The final catalyst came when an ancient showed up at Laelius' cave with conviction, because if King Leonidas was going to enter a room it would be with the certainty that he was the most important person in the immediate area and he should be treated like the king he was. His aggressive thoughts reflected it all and it didn't take long for Edward and the ancient Spartan to start nipping at each others throats. What really lit Edward's fuse was the annoyance Lily had for Edward's behavior and the adoration he had for the intruder.
Leonidas was a good looking man; there was no doubt about that. His hair was near shoulder length and he kept the ancient hair style he wore when he'd been alive. His muscles were thick but didn't hinder his movements at all, and he carried the many scars he'd won as a human warrior. He and Lily looked perfect together, like old statues of lovers with complimentary features and matching clothes. Edward's esteem certainly took a blow standing next to him.
For an hour Laelius spoke to 'Leo' like an old lover, telling him of the vegetarian diet that Doctor Carlisle believed in. Edward felt positively infantile around them when the conversations turned towards the old times, old friends, and other things that used to have been.
In the end he'd stormed out and didn't look back. He'd been angry at the two of them, thinking they'd be perfect for each other. They were both old as dirt, both arrogant, both willing to leave the path of the vigilante vampire. Lily didn't even think about following him.
He lasted six more months by himself, which he spent tracking down an entire mafia family. For an entire six months he despaired over his parents and his first love lost. After that time he'd had hauled himself up in a small cave for the day when it clicked. He'd been jealous of his parent's love for one another, he'd been angry over the monstrous humans, he'd been jealous of Leonidas (king or not, it didn't matter to Edward). He knew Lily and he would never live in unperturbed happiness like Carlisle and Esme, it just didn't work when you knew the unforgiving truth like they did. That didn't mean he couldn't love Lily in his own way though, and it was Laelius' love that had driven him to feeding from animals. It was out of love that Laelius needled him into returning to his vegetarian ways, because Lily knew he missed his parents and would never hurt them by returning with red eyes.
It took a month for the red to bleed away, but instead of the light gold color his eyes used to be they were a darker hue. It took a week to realize his eyes would remain topaz, and that they were forever tainted as proof that he'd fed off of humans. He hoped that Carlisle wouldn't mind.
When Edward did decide to find his parents he discovered they'd settled in a town only an hour's run away. The knowledge filled Edward with guilt and relief, then he couldn't help but wonder if Lily were somehow involved –as the little Roman tended to believe that everyone's business was his business.
Esme flung her arms around him before he even reached the little piece of farmland they'd been living on. She tearlessly sobbed into his chest as he wrapped his arms around her and he let her rock them both back and forth. Carlisle stood in the doorway, two miles off, but Edward could see him with clarity and would treasure the reassuring smile for centuries.
They didn't invite him in. Instead Esme took his arm and led him inside to show him the room that she had designed with him in mind, and she'd kept all of his vinyl on neat shelves next to his gramophone. They sat around the dinner table that night, without dishes or food, and talked well into the morning.
"You almost lost us when you drifted south. We could have ended up in Mexico," Esme said cheerfully as her mind filled with beautiful images of bison and flat plains.
They told him of all the many ways they'd gone and both chastised him and congratulated him on his efforts. They didn't talk about the many deaths, all of which Edward remembered with clarity and knew that his parents had marked in the obituaries of whatever newspaper was local. They talked about the changes that they didn't go through together, but it had only been three years and they could talk very fast. Then, they shocked him both with the knowledge that an ancient that appeared on their front porch one evening and introduced himself as Leo. They hadn't known his age, but Carlisle reflected that he must have been very old to have an old roman hairstyle.
Edward marveled at the image of King Leonidas stalking in and proclaiming that their idiot son was doing well and washing behind his ears before stomping out. He'd returned the next month and said something along the same lines, only staying long enough to tell the Cullen's his name before disappearing again. It went on for seven months, and then Leo appeared with Lily in tow, said that their idiot son was once again off on his own but that Lily was confident he would get the point sooner or later and thanked Carlisle but didn't elaborate.
"Lily," he'd almost called him 'Laelius' in front of his parents, before he remembered Lily was always very picky about how his name was pronounced, "he's a humanitarian," he tried to explain. "He was so happy when I told him you," Edward paused to reevaluate his words, "That we only feed off on animals. Leo," here he had to keep himself from growling in a rather childish manner, "seemed equally excited about the idea. They both seem to really like people."
"You've met them then?" Esme asked excitedly. Edward stared for a moment at Esme's perception of Lily, so beautiful and childlike in a timeworn tunic. They'd been apart for six months and Edward missed his teasing jibes and old songs, and he so desperately wanted to apologize for the way he'd walked out.
"I," Edward began. He had become so used to telling the truth exactly the way he'd thought it, because Lily was just going to know anyway so there was no point in hiding it. Because when he told the absolute truth the golden letters wouldn't appear around his head and that always made Lily happier than anything else could, even if they were screaming at each other.
"I met Lily two years ago, and we stayed together for a while," he admitted, but didn't disclose the nature of their relationship. Not that it mattered because there was something about parents that led them to the truth no matter how cleverly disguised he thought it was. Esme gave him a knowing pat and Carlisle began to reevaluate everything he knew form the brief meeting he had with Leo and Lily. In the end his sire decided he must have been lonely and noted to himself that he would like to see Edward happy and settled down soon.
Two years later Edward met his punishment with as much grace as he could muster, when Rosalie Hale walked into the house stinking of human blood as if she owned the place.
To Those Who Just Read:
I worry about how Lily turned out. Too Gary-Stu? I despair…quietly…over in my middle-child corner.
This is just the prologue. I'm not going to take you all through the clandestine meetings turned sour that Edward and Lily have over the years. I do have a favorite…it happens…right before 1970. Anyone who can tell me what that major event is will get a giant Spoiler Cookie.
I didn't include a lot of dialogue on purpose. If I got into writing it then I wouldn't have stopped and the chapter would turn into ten. Also it's meant to highlight some important information and characterization for later. Next chapter does include Bella, and takes place….gosh, I haven't decided yet. Either during the time right after Edward leaves Bella, right before Edwards meeting with the Volturi, or sometime right before the Newborn attacks. I'm still debating, internally.
I'm sure there's something else I wanted to say…and I am forever forgetting what it is. Again, five am writing is never good writing…Except, the extreme tiredness lowers my inhibitions just enough to actually write with emotions and stuff. Just you wait, after I get some rest I'm going to be mortified I actually posted this.
I like quotes, song suggestions, and reviews,