Ficawesome Gift Echange- TAKE 2
Title: Embracing Humanity
Written for: MinaRivera
Written By: Ferla V
Summary/Prompt used: vampire/human mating, the vampire searched for his/her mate for a long time.
If you would like to see all the stories that are a part of this exchange visit the facebook group: Fanficaholics Anon: Where Obsession Never Sleeps
You gave all you had
And now I am home
'My Love' by Sia Furla
I looked at him, the man of my life, the love of my existence. His eyes were closed, his face so peaceful, and I pondered how he wouldn't have liked me finding out his intentions this way. I, therefore, folded the note and held it against my palm as I continued to watch over him.
I thought about life and how it had brought me to this very point. That one small thought brought back a flood of memories like a king tide. The memories rushed at an excessive speed, not at all hesitant in their intent. I lay myself down beside him and rested my head on his chest. As I embraced him, I closed my eyes and let the memories wash over me.
My life wasn't always so perfect. There was a time that I'd often questioned myself. Who am I? Am I human or animal? There was only one true answer, I had become both. There were some days that I felt as though I was more of one than the other, but essentially, I was both human in shape and an animal in the way that I lived my life.
I would hunt and often kill. I killed, not only for survival, but also for the pure pleasure it gave. To feel the life force of something mortal being drained right beneath your fingertips, then to feel it run anew through your veins, is a euphoria that has to be experienced to be understood.
Taking the life of another for your own survival, truly makes you comprehend the sacrifice of life, and appreciate how easy it is to be here one day, and gone the next. Even for an immortal, it was a thought that had often crossed my mind.
I know what people think of my kind. However, what they don't comprehend is that they do just the same, only their meals are already prepared for them ... though it wasn't always this way. Subconsciously, they know that an animal has died so that they might sustain themselves for yet another day, but all the hard work has already been done for them. Therefore, they don't truly appreciate their meals as I do.
I became picky about where my next feed came from. Living in a large city allowed me to be choosy, but also seven hundred and sixty four years of experience made me this way.
I was born in Novgorod, Russia in the year 1247. My parents, Renata and Anton, named me Izabella. My surname simply meant 'of Novgorod,' but I don't have a surname anymore. Last names eventuated from the need to identify where one came from, of what class, and to make it easier to follow family lines. I have no family. My ancestral line died out many years ago, along with my town. When it is necessary to have a last name for any reason, I always tell them that it is 'Swan' or 'Lebed' in my native tongue. The swan is graceful and independent, as am I. I had two sisters, one older, Rozalina and one younger, Alisa. In the year 1266, my life changed, forever.
Alisa began defying our father's rules, by wandering from home, and she rarely returned before dusk. One night, she did not return at all, nor did she the following evening. Father searched the land for many days, covering countless miles by foot, and yet, there was no sign of my beloved sister. The townsfolk talked, of course. Gossip was rife about a gentleman who had been in the village for but a week, and he, too, had disappeared. They prattled on about my sister leaving with the man, but I knew she would not disgrace our family in such a way. At least, I had hoped she would do no such thing.
On the sixth night, heartbroken and desperate, I had snuck out to search for my sister, and to once and for all, prove the villagers wrong. I waited until night fall, and our home had grown quiet. Then I crept out of the house led only by the dim glow of a candle.
I trudged through the surrounding brush for what felt like a lifetime, before realizing I was hopelessly lost. Panicked, I began to pick up my pace, praying that I was headed in the right direction. In my haste to be home among the comforts it offered, I tripped, grazing my hands and knees badly. What was left of the candle fell to the ground, and the flame was snuffed out. Afraid of the dark and feeling the sting of my bleeding skin, I began to cry out for help.
I had only called out "help" twice, when muscled arms wrapped around me from behind, and a hand was cupped over my mouth, muffling my screams. I was lifted from the ground. My smothered cries were pointless, but I cried, nonetheless. I was so delirious with fear that I barely felt the cool of his breath as his lips touched the sensitive skin of my neck, closely followed by the pain of his teeth piercing my throat.
'Help' had come in the form of a Upir,' as we called them back in those days, or a demon of the night. In the eighteenth century, we became more commonly known as vampires. I was turned that fateful night, by none other than the mystery man the townsfolk had spoken of … Jasper Whitlock.
Jasper was an American, and he taught me many things. English, geography and the history of our kind, were some of his lessons, but so was how to hunt and how to control my insatiable thirst for blood. As far as my family and my village was concerned, I was dead, but it was the first time I could ever remember feeling truly alive. The days of transition were indescribable. The incredible thirst, the intense sensation of having super-human abilities and the animalistic nature, all fought to take over my humane sensibilities. It was everything all at once, and it was the most alive I had ever felt in all my living and undead days. That was, at least, until my reason for everything came along.
Since the day I was changed, I have fed from both animals and humans. Lurking in the brush, or in the alleyways of the cities, I hunted whatever was available.
"Human blood will always sustain you for longer, but there is less of a risk of being head hunted when feeding on animals. It is also easier to make the carcass disappear," Jasper had said in one of his first lessons.
I stayed behind in Novgorod, watching my family from afar as they aged and passed away. It was hard to watch them go through the pain of losing Alisa and me, but time passed. Rozalina married and had two children, who went on to have children of their own. Sadly, I watched the last of my family get slaughtered by Ivan the Terrible and his men in 1570. I did my best to assist by draining a few of the murderers, but there were too many, and my town was already in famine. They were much too weak to defend themselves. I could only watch on helplessly as my family home was burnt to the ground.
My other sister, Alisa, lived an eternal life with our maker, and her mate, Jasper. She was alongside me as we learned all about our new life. Once he had made me faint with his bite, Jasper had carried me back to their camp, It was intended for me to be Alisa's first 'human meal', and I almost was, but Jasper persuaded her to control her blood lust upon learning that we were sisters. Once she had calmed, Alisa was most upset when she realized that the venom was already working its way through my body, and that in mere hours, I too would be one of them.
Jasper and Alisa moved around Europe for many years, and I found them in France in the same year that I left Russia. I took on the last name of Swan, and I lived with them among the humans. Despite the sun being our enemy, for the most part, we managed to live inconspicuously.
We moved around frequently and, countless times over the centuries, traveled around the world. Once too often, we fled when villagers would pass through on demon hunting pilgrimages. In between staying in villages, we would spend a few years living in the wilderness, returning to our natural instincts and enjoying the thrill of the hunt.
Years turned into decades, and decades turned into centuries. I had learned so much and accomplished many things. I owned numerous companies under several different names. I had the money, as well as the knowledge, to forge papers and create tall stories, to aid my companies to prosper year after year. A talent for compulsion was frequently handy, too. However, after more than seven hundred and fifty years, I found myself 'homeless,' on the streets of New York.
New York was vast and crowded, and it was easy to go unnoticed. On some nights, I'd lived the high life. I'd dress up and visit a fine establishment where I would socialize, let the men buy me a drink, and then I'd head home to my tidy flat before dawn. However, it was not one of these nights that I met him. No, it was not. He was nothing like these men.
Daytime would see me at home, where I would sleep, read and continue to learn. "Learn all you can, Izabella. Education is the key to survival." It was sageadvice that I had received from my maker.
Alisa and I had always looked forward to our lessons, and we would often beg Jasper to tell us everything he knew. Knowledge is an accomplishment in itself, but surviving for over seven hundred and sixty years is another thing altogether. It is easy to learn that in 1682 the city of Pennsylvania was founded, or that in 1844 the first electric telegram was sent.
However, it wasn't easy surviving the medieval times, when witch and demon hunts were common. It wasn't easy to learn how to live among humans. It wasn't easy, having to rein in my vampire strength and speed. Nor was it easy to change with the times and become a completely modern woman of the twenty first century. It is true that I've enjoyed some of the technology of the modern day. The internet, for instance, made it easier for me to research.
But still, I yearned for the old days, when families worked together to hunt and gather, and to raise their children. Back in the day, we relied on one another to survive. There was more of a community spirit.
People didn't ignore each other or rely on technology to stay in touch with their loved ones. Most of all, I missed the gentlemen, those men who had manners and knew how to put their lady love on a pedestal. I missed the old ways in which a couple would court and get to know each other; that marriage, more often than not, came before children.
That was until I met him … the man on the street. He had kind eyes that were as green as the budding leaves on a birch tree. They reminded me of home in the spring time. It was late at night, almost midnight, when I first saw him. He wore an expensive suit and held a briefcase in his hand. If not for his wild bronze hair, he would have faded into the crowd. I watched as he walked toward my post. I had come to the conclusion that he was my target. I don't exactly know why, but I just knew that I had to have him.
It was one of the rare nights that I was on the hunt. I didn't like to draw unwanted attention to myself, so I only hunted on the streets once every few months. I stood on the busy sidewalk, dressed as a homeless teenager. I always made sure I looked the part as best I could. My rag-like clothes held a stench that even the local dogs would probably have hightailed away from, if they came within miles of my post. My hair was wild, un-brushed and unkempt. I would purposefully bump into people or ask them for money. The nice ones lived. The nasty ones died, and any money collected went to charity.
You may say it is cruel, killing humans, but so is telling a homeless teenager to 'fuck off and get a real job' or 'I'll give you a dollar if you suck my cock.' How does that saying go? 'Sticks and stones may break my bones but mean words will turn you into dinner.' Or something like that.
I put my head down and walked toward him, making sure that our paths would cross and our arms would touch. I cried out, despite the impact only feeling like a breeze across my toughened skin. I then looked up at the man, accusingly. Surprisingly, he looked shocked and then guilty. His free hand wrapped around my upper arm.
"I'm so sorry, miss. Are you hurt?"
I had looked at the man in confusion. We had collided pretty hard, that is true, but certainly, he would have been hurting much more than I. I shook my head in reply.
"You must be terribly cold; can I offer you my jacket?"
The man offered me a thick black jacket that I hadn't noticed lying across his arm. I shook my head once again and the man looked concerned.
"Please, I insist." He proceeded to put the jacket around my shoulders; he then squeezed my arms and looked back to my eyes imploringly. "Stay safe." I could only nod in reply and watch on as he continued to walk along the crowded sidewalk.
I slipped my arms through the garment, breathed in deeply, and absorbed his scent into my memory. I slinked down the alleyway, and then I jumped from roof to roof, following the scent until I could see the man again. I followed him home and kept watch outside his apartment until just before the break of dawn.
For weeks, I didn't feed, and I rarely slept. All I could do was think, and my every thought was of the man with the wild hair and green eyes. I watched him every night, mostly from afar, but he noticed me twice, and twice he paused to speak to me. Each encounter was longer than the previous one, and the very last time that he spoke to me on the street, he asked me if I was hungry. I wasn't thinking. Normally, I wasn't so reckless, but I was smitten and mesmerized by the man before me, so I had simply nodded and allowed him to lead me to his home.
Along the way, we learned of each other's name, and it warmed my heart when I heard him introduce himself as "Edward." It was such an old world name that it made me feel like I was home.
We arrived at his house, and I waited for him to invite me in, before setting a foot over the threshold. I set my borrowed jacket on the rack and smiled at him when he asked me to follow him through to his kitchen.
"What would you like to eat? I could offer you a sandwich, or if you'd like, I can cook us something?"
The seriousness of the situation then hit me. We were alone and he was asking me if I was hungry. I thought of food - of blood, and recalled that I hadn't fed in weeks. I had, instead, chosen to follow the man around like a smitten fool. My fangs elongated. I placed a hand over my mouth and gasped. He looked on in concern, and I turned my back to him. I felt a hand on my shoulder and heard him sigh heavily.
"If you're uncomfortable being here, I understand, but I promise you ... I'm not going to hurt you. I just want to make sure that you aren't hungry. Is there something, in particular, you want to eat? I can go to the grocery store if you'd like?"
I couldn't hold it in. The whole scenario was completely out of control, and his words were so ironic. It bubbled from deep within me until my body shook with laughter. Though, my chest was aching at the thought that this was probably the beautiful man's last night alive, the laughter left me freely.
"What's so funny about that?" I could hear the confusion in his voice, and I was so delirious with laughter that I turned to face him.
I stopped laughing and took my hand away from my mouth. "I'm not so sure that you can get me what I need from the grocery store," I stated, revealing my fangs as I spoke.
Edward shot backwards; his back hit hard against the kitchen bench, which he then grasped onto, as if needing it for support. His heart rate was alarming, and I could smell the fear exuding from him. I put my hands up in defense and looked at him pleadingly.
"I'm not going to hurt you. It has never been my intention to cause you any harm, nor do I ever want to," I promised.
"Are you - I - Are those real?" He was becoming hysterical, and I decided that I needed to do something drastic before he hurt himself or passed out from shock.
I stared intensely into his eyes, and he looked back into mine. I spoke slowly as I continued to hold his gaze.
"My name is Izabella; I was born in 1247 in Russia. I am a vampire, but I am not going to hurt you. I am only here to talk. You are safe with me. Do you understand?"
"Are you safe?"
"Yes, I'm safe with you."
"Good." I released his gaze and stepped away from him, allowing him some breathing space.
Silence fell around us and I looked back at him, only to find him staring in awe.
I nodded and smiled, again showing my fangs.
"Can I … can I touch them?"
I looked at him, slightly confused, but nodded in agreement. Ever so slowly, he began to walk toward me. His trepidation, however, wasn't due to fear; he was merely unsure about how I'd feel, doing what he'd requested of me. I darted in a blur the rest of the way, and he jumped when I suddenly stopped right in front of him. I looked up into his eyes.
"I'm not going to hurt you, remember?" I reminded him, using a bit of compulsion to put him at ease.
He simply nodded and tentatively held his hand out. I grabbed his hand and moved it the rest of the way. I kissed his palm gently, before holding his index finger and gliding it along the point of my right fang. I was careful not to prick him and spill his blood. I felt him shiver, and I smiled up at him. I released his hand, and surprisingly he brought it back up to my face, and then moved my hair behind my ear.
"You're real. You're really real!" He breathed out in excitement.
"Yes," I whispered.
"Take me!" he said frenziedly. I could hear his heart begin to beat faster once again.
"What do you mean 'take you'?"
"Take me! You can feed without killing someone, right? I mean - I – I read that …" He looked slightly concerned as he waited for my answer.
Then the realization of what he was saying hit me, and I began to panic.
"No! I mean, yes. I can feed without killing, but I could never- not with you. Besides, I don't just feed to feel full," I finished ashamedly.
"What do you feed for?" His hand moved up to caress my cheek; curiosity furrowed his brows.
I gave him a steely gaze. "I feed to kill."
His hand dropped to his side, and his eyes went wide. I breathed a sigh of relief that I had scared the crazy idea out of his head.
"To kill? You like to- to kill?" he stuttered.
"I'm an animal, Edward. It's my primal instinct to kill. You eat meat. You just don't kill the animal yourself, right?" He nodded. "Well I like to know where my meal is coming from," I tried to reason.
I could see he was giving serious thought to what I had told him. His face brightened, as he seemed to come to a conclusion. He smiled at me.
"But you said you'd never hurt me, right? So, I trust you. Drink from me I want to help you, Izabella. I can't stand the thought of you going hungry," he said determinedly.
He was so blasé about the peril he was in, that I grew frustrated at his lack of understanding. Just by being in the same room as me, meant that he was in danger, and that fact frightened and confused me. Despite not wanting to hurt him, it didn't mean that I couldn't. In a nanosecond, I could unintentionally kill him with just the flick of my finger.
I lifted my hand and placed it on his chest. I heard him sigh contentedly at the touch, and I reveled in the warmth of him, before pushing him gently. His body flew backwards but he managed to stop himself, once again, by holding onto the kitchen bench.
"That was barely a shove, Edward. Just because I don't want to harm you, it doesn't mean that I can't … If I ever lost control…" I dashed over to him and brought my hand back up to his chest. I soothed him with my touch, reminding him that it wasn't my intention to hurt him, but I'd needed to get the message across; I was a predator. "Please, don't ever ask that of me again."
He was breathing heavily, and rather than looking frightened, as he rightfully should, he looked sympathetic.
"I promise. I won't ask you again, and I'm sorry, but … how do we get you something to eat?"
I was taken aback by the question, and I looked at him with concern. I had begun to think that maybe I had used too much compulsion; he wasn't frightened of me, or the idea of what I was, at all.
"We don't do anything. I will go for a run and hunt for something … an animal," I added. "I promise. Your neighbors are safe."
He grabbed my hand and looked at me with slight panic in his eyes. "You're coming back though, right?"
I looked deep into his eyes and only saw the truth there. He really wanted me back. His other hand cupped my cheek, and he begged me silently with his lush green eyes.
"What is this?" I whispered as I moved my hand up to mirror his caress.
His thumb stroked idly along my cheek and the warmth of it spread through me, bringing my cool skin alight.
"I don't know, I only know that I go crazy when I don't see you," he replied.
He leaned down and touched his lips to mine. It was soft and brisk, but up until that point, it was the best kiss I'd had in all my seven hundred and fifty nine years.
I did hunt that night, and I did go back. From that day forward, we never spent a day apart from each other. After our first year together, Edward moved in with me, as my place was already equipped to block out the sunlight. We spent our days inside, or else Edward would be at work while I rested. Our nights were spent doing as other couples did. We'd go for walks, or to the movies; make love or talk.
I was in love. For the first time in over seven hundred years, I had found the love of my existence, and he was more than I could have ever dreamed. He understood my needs, and he loved me for whom and what I was.
Edward had a thirst for knowledge that was big, just like mine. I told him almost everything I knew. Often, I would awaken to find him on the computer, reading up on stories I had told him, and we'd discuss the truths and details that had gotten lost in translation over time. Every night I would tell him a firsthand story, and we would discuss it until one of us fell asleep.
There were days when I thought that life couldn't get any better, and then it would, just by a simple gesture, such as Edward coming home early to spend time with me or taking me out on a date. I couldn't remember feeling so human, so loved, so fulfilled.
Before long, our five year anniversary had come around, and while the span of five years seemed almost insignificant to me, Edward said he had big plans for us. I got up in the early afternoon and prepared myself for our date. I waited ... and waited. He had said he would be home early, but time continued to tick on. I tried his phone but it was switched off. I felt a lump of anxiety form in my throat and I swallowed past it. The sun was still setting; it was not quite at the horizon. I would turn to ash if I stepped outside, but my body ached to run to him.
I paced a hole in the family-room rug, literally, as I waited for the sun to slip over the edge of the Earth. The moment I saw the last glint of light fall from the sky, I didn't even think twice, before flying out through the front door to search for my love.
Ignoring the risks of being caught, I ran at vampire speed and only stopped when I came to an alleyway, close to where we had first met. I could smell his scent. It was so strong that relief washed over me, and I frantically searched for him in the crowd. It only took a few anxious seconds before I came to the realization that the scent was overwhelming for a reason ... Blood.
I followed his scent into the alleyway and stalled when I saw him. My Edward was on his back with his eyes closed. A rivulet of crimson trickled from a bullet wound in his head. The blood had pooled on the cool concrete, marking the spot where he had met his demise. In that moment, it felt as though two invisible hands took a hold of my cold dead heart, and then squeezed and twisted in opposite directions, wringing and draining it of everything beautiful that it had once held.
I screamed out in agony and ran to him. I knelt beside him, scooped him up and held him close to me. I pressed my ear to his chest, but I knew it was completely pointless. I had recognized that the familiar sound of his heart beat was absent from the moment I saw him.
Well into the night, I held onto him, cradling him to my chest, and I cried until I could cry no more. I had nothing left. Nothing worth living for. I had survived for over seven hundred and sixty years and now my very reason for existing was gone, forever. Taken by a single bullet. Departing before I could give him eternal life.
I checked his pockets. They were empty. I realized then that my kindhearted soul mate had been mugged and killed, in the very same alleyway where I used to stand to watch him. The very same place that he had stopped and offered me assistance, the place where I was so overwhelmed by the human emotions he brought out of me, that I had blindly followed him. The thought of his generosity being the reason for his demise, tore me inside out.
I looked around the dark alleyway, its surroundings appearing as bright as the day to my sensitive eyes. By his foot was a small box, and I picked it up and smoothed my fingers over the lush velvet. I opened the box to find it empty of the ring it had once held, but the corner of what looked to be lined paper, poked out from under the inner casing. I pulled it apart and opened the note within. I read it over and over again until the words became a blur.
I held the small ring box in one hand, and caressed the luxurious velvet with the pad of my thumb, as I read the note that I held in my other hand, one last time. The words were scrawled hastily, but I had recognized his writing instantly. Between crossed out words, the letter was written in speech form. I imagined him down on one knee, reading it out to me in his usual nervous manner. The thought momentarily made me smile before a sob overtook me and made my body jerk.
Izabella, it's true that as a man of twenty nine, I have had many successful years, but my real life only truly started five years ago today.
When I first saw you, I knew there was more to you on the inside, and from that moment on, I needed you in my life. God knows that my heart hurts if I don't get to see you every day. You have inspired me to be a better man simply by being who you are. I know that life holds many obstacles for us, but without you in my life, I am positively sure that I could never breathe again.
I am in love with you, Izabella. Will you marry me?
My body ached by the time the sobbing had stopped, and it was such a foreign feeling that I embraced it. I looked at him, the man of my life, the love of my existence. His eyes were closed, his face so peaceful, and I pondered how he wouldn't have liked me finding out his intentions this way. I, therefore, folded the note and held it against my palm as I continued to watch over him. Hours passed as I was submerged in the reverie that was my life up until this day.
Coming back from my memories, I took a large shuddering breath and gripped tightly onto Edward's limp body.
"Soon, my love. We'll be together again soon. I promise you. Not a day will go by that I won't see you. I won't let you leave me. We can't be apart, remember? Soon, Edward, soon," I whispered into his chest.
I closed my eyes and tilted my face to the sky. I could feel the warmth of the rising sun, and I smiled as I recalled, for just a moment, how it had felt to be carefree in the light of the day. My skin prickled as the rays of the sun hit it, there was an intense burn, and I looked down as the daylight began to set me alight. The scorching holes matched my hollow chest, and I watched as they coalesced and got bigger before my limbs crumbled to dust. I was centuries old. It wouldn't take long, and it would leave a permanent mark on Edward's body, just as he had indelibly left his mark on mine. I tucked my head into his chest and cringed as the pain intensified.
"I'm coming," I whispered, and then I finally felt relief as my body fell away into a heap of ashes.
I felt as if I'd been catapulted into the air. I felt the wind at my face and my hair flailed wildly around me. However, all around me was black … nothingness ... emptiness. I began to panic, and I reached out in front of me in a desperate attempt to feel something. Anything.
"I'm right here, Izabella. I'm right here for you. It's about time you showed up. I was going crazy. You know I can't go a single day without seeing you." The voice was teasing and rugged. It soothed my soul.
The black fog cleared and the wind stopped. My feet seemed to touch solid ground, and there before me, stood my Edward. He was as handsome as the day we'd met, and he looked at me with a crooked smile on his gorgeous face.
"Sorry I'm late," I replied, and then I ran into his open arms where I planned to stay, for all eternity.
AN: Thanks to my hand holders and to Beta Bower Of Bliss, you MUST check out her stories (on my faves list). I have added and deleted from this since it was last up so if you see any mistakes they are mine and not BOB's.
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