A/N: A tremendous thank you goes out to my favorite beta, Mr. Bigg. If you like this story at all, you can thank him because this story would never have happened without his guidance and encouragement.
All rights to the characters and stories belong to Stephenie Meyer.
All Gone Into The World Of Light
I never let myself lapse into periods of darkness, although sometimes the darkness found me on its own. I had been so worried about Jasper's hunger, other, more minor things were getting by me. I knew they were, but Jasper needed me. He needed to know he could hold on without hurting the humans that walked around him.
I scanned out months ahead, and Jasper's eyes varied from butterscotch gold to onyx black, but never shifted to red. I tried to push forward, but it was hazy; too many decisions hadn't been made yet, so the varying options overlaid each other, blurring my focus.
I smirked at Jasper, and gave him a quick shake of my head. His head tilted in response, asking me how long. I rested my head on my hand, four fingers against my cheek. Four months. Four months of perfect behavior with no slips. He seemed happy with the assessment.
Suddenly, something changed.
The girl's body twisted and fought beneath the vice of his grip. She was dying; Edward was killing her. The bloodlust he felt was nearly sexual, dark and primal, satisfying in so many ways. His entire body was erect, consuming her as her struggles became less and less effective, as if she were relaxing to his touch. Seconds later, her entire body went slack, life leaving her as he dropped the corpse. The room full of children was panicked, only now beginning to grasp that a monstrous predator was in their midst.
The killing began systematically.
I winced as I watched the horror unfold before me. Edward was the most disciplined and controlled of us all – it was what made him who he was. And there was more, something… I couldn't describe the feeling, the loss… The vision continued, the pace ever quickening.
The family simply left everything as it stood. Rose and Emmett fled first, then Jasper and I. Esme and Carlisle embraced Edward.
"Son, try to forgive yourself. It's bound to happen to everyone."
Edward's tortured eyes blazed crimson with the human girl's blood in his veins. "Then why do I feel so desperately alone, Carlisle? What have I done?"
Esme wrapped him in her arms. "Oh sweetie, I am so sorry. Come with us. You can't be alone – you shouldn't be alone."
I shook my head, trying to dislodge the frightening foreknowledge and the uncomfortable claustrophobic tension it carried. I'd never felt this way from a vision before, sick and dizzy, my own mind drugged and fuzzy. The images grew transparent, fading away into the mists of my mind just as I was barraged with another vision.
More death in Edward's classroom, this time more horrific than the last. Torn bodies, lifeless, lay in heaps at the girl's feet. She shook with fear and horror, her eyes staring at Edward, unblinking. He said nothing as he stalked toward her, crouched and bloodthirsty.
He grabbed her, turning her in his arms for better access to her jugular. She struggled against his death hold, futilely attempting escape. His hand slid up her blouse as his teeth descended…
Jasper was watching me as I came back to the present. "Something's wrong," I mouthed, knowing he understood. Another vision blasted across my sight.
He waited for her at the door.
"Hello, Bella, I'm Edward Cullen." His voice was seductive and smooth. "May I walk you to your next class?"
"Uh, sure," she said, curiosity flaring as embarrassment flamed in her cheeks. The blaze of blood beneath her skin drew his tongue out over his lip. "How did you know my name?"
His brow knitted for a moment. "Tyler Crowley told me. Small world, you know."
"Yeah, I'm beginning to find that out."
Edward checked around him, ensuring they were not followed. "I left my book in my car. Would you come with me? It will only take a moment…" He herded her with his shoulder, his arm reaching up behind her back…
The bell rang loudly, pulling me back to the present. Jasper was at my elbow. "It's Edward. Something's wrong." I wanted to run to the Biology lab, but there were too many people around, someone would notice. We walked as quickly as we could without running or attracting undue attention.
I couldn't explain all the urgency I felt about this sudden future of Edward's. It was more than just the bloodlust, even though Edward hadn't been tempted in all the decades I knew him. It was than the change it would bring to Edward; it was a change in me, in Jasper, in all of us. It was strange and frightening because I couldn't understand what was happening.
Edward's immediate path came in sharply, as if he'd just that instant changed his mind and begun to execute. "The car." Jazz changed direction immediately as my foot fell. He held me below the elbow, deftly guiding me as the visions took hold again.
The images were indistinct and hazy, the path only now taking shape. A small stone cottage nestled in the forest, light pouring from the windows. Two figures melded together in silhouette behind the drawn shade.
Edward wasn't at the car when we reached the parking lot. We loaded into the car silently, waiting for his appearance. I caught another glimpse of his future that was painted bright with blood and death. I gasped aloud. "Are you all right?" Jasper asked, tense and worried.
"Yes, it's just… kind of gruesome." My head snapped forward. Jasper and I waited anxiously as we watched Edward cross the grounds. He wasn't breathing, and his expression was murderous and filled with fury.
"Edward?" I asked. Worry, anxiety and fear tumbled out with the calling of his name. He shook his head, cutting off further questioning. This was the Edward I knew, the Edward in control of his emotions, even when he felt out of control. I would have smiled with the relief that comes with familiarity, if the situation weren't so grim.
I watched as Edward drove away.
"When is he coming back?"
"He didn't say." In unison, they all turned to me.
"Alice? When is he coming back?"
"He's not sure. Maybe a week…"
"You're leaving?" I didn't want him to go. Couldn't he work this out with us? We'd help him if we could.
"Am I?" his words were a hiss, pushed through gritted teeth.
"Oh," I murmured as the visions picked up again. The passing scenery faded, replaced with a variant on the dead classroom, then switched again.
She was alone in the small house, puttering with ingredients in the kitchen. Chief Swan's home was quiet.
The back door opened silently as Edward slipped in. He stood motionless for a full minute, watching her move as she diced the chicken, inhaling deeply as he stalked her.
"Darn it," she whispered and lifted her bleeding finger to her mouth. She turned on the faucet, but her finger never made it beneath the stream.
No. He was stalking her! I watched the scene play out, the light bleeding away as Bella's life left her body. What was going on? Why her? Why now? I shifted in my seat uncomfortably. Jasper, Rose and Emmett all studied me with grave concern.
Nighttime. Edward sat in the tree, watching the sleeping girl with hungry, desperate eyes. He lifted the window, and stole in soundlessly. Her chest rose and fell with regularity as he watched her, considering the life he was taking. Slowly, he moved closer, and gently pushing her head to one side, let his teeth slide below her left ear.
"Stop!" It was a tortured plea, a moan against the visions. Edward was in agony as the visions filled my mind. I couldn't' help what I saw, I couldn't make them stop.
"Sorry," I whispered, surprise painting my expression.
Sorrow curled around the edges of the mental images now clouding my sight; snow, branches, and empty, endless highway. He was going north.
"I'll miss you, no matter how short a time you're gone." His teeth ground in determination. I could see his only hope of regaining his senses was to get away from here. "Drop us here. You should tell Carlisle yourself."
Edward slammed the car to a skidding stop. The others piled out of the car quickly, watching me with expectancy. I would answer all their questions after Edward was gone. Another tableau unfolded in the back of my mind.
Charlie Swan, standing over a casket, his heart breaking as he said goodbye to his only daughter, the only family he had in this world.
Edward winced. I can't help it, Edward. His expression stiffened and solidified, closed off to the world. With all the love I could garner, I put my hand on Edward's shoulder as I got out of the car. I knew he needed no direction from me, but I couldn't let him go without saying something. "You will do the right thing, Edward. She's Charlie Swan's only family. It would kill him, too."
"Yes," he said, his voice flat and emotionless.
I climbed out of the car, wishing there was more I could do to stop Edward's pain. My mind was numb, the visions were vivid and fast and vicious. I tried to focus on the leaves on the trees, counting each as they swayed in the wind – anything to keep my head clear until he was away.
Edward made a wide turn, spinning the gravel as he blasted away. Over the shoulders of my siblings, I turned to watch him drive away, gripped with sadness for my brother's struggle. Images overlaid each other as they flickered indistinctly in my head, reflecting Edward's indecision. Edward was ruled by his control; this must be driving him mad.
I turned to answer the questions that waited for me.
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