AN: Twilight's characters belong to Stephanie Meyer. No infringement intended.

This story has been floating around in my mind for a while now. I'm not quite sure how long it will be, but the story is fully "written" in my head. We'll just have to wait and see where the muse takes me when it comes to getting it from my brain to my keyboard.

My vampires are different than Meyer's, more closely following the "traditional" vampire traits.

I have no beta, so all mistakes are my own. Apologies in advance.

Chapter 1

Emmett reached the edge of the cliff just as the sky began to lighten faintly at the horizon. There had been a storm the previous evening and the sea below was angry. It churned and rammed against the rocks at the base of the cliff. Normally, he'd enjoy watching the waves, but no pleasure had penetrated the numbness for some time now.

Ennui, the older ones called it. He was supposed to be too young to fall victim to its effects, but for too long he'd been merely going through the motions. Once he'd made his decision, it was as though a fog had lifted; he'd been happier his last week than he'd been in a very long time.

Would his clothes burn? He wasn't sure. He'd never seen a vampire destroyed by the sunlight and it wasn't a subject most of his kind discussed at any length. Too disturbing. Too morbid.

He unbuckled his watch and tossed it into the rocky surf below. It had been a gift from Edward who had, as usual, spared no expense, so it was waterproof and very sturdy. Even its baptism in the pounding waves wouldn't harm it, so it was likely the watch would be found eventually by some lucky beachcomber. If the finder was an honest sort, they might turn it in, but when no one claimed it, they'd find themselves the owner of a watch worth more than a luxury car.

Emmett fished out his wallet and upended it. His credit cards spun and tumbled toward the waves. He rarely carried cash. The few bills inside caught the breeze and fluttered away. One caught on a nearby bush, an anonymous gift to some passerby. He liked that thought.

He dropped his now-empty wallet, uncaring where it landed. The sky was now beginning to warm with the impending dawn, turning pink at the horizon. His skin tingled with warning. He moved a little closer to the edge. When the sun broke over the horizon, there would be nowhere to hide. The nearest house sat a hundred yards back and there were no trees to shield him. It was why he'd chosen this particular location during his aimless wandering of the previous week.

He wondered briefly if it would hurt. His age worked against him in this respect. Fledglings would conflate the instant the sunlight touched their skin which was why nature attempted to protect them during their most vulnerable hours with deep, death-like slumber. Most fledglings would already be unconscious at this time of the morning. As they aged, their sun-tolerance gradually grew allowing them to remain awake later; Ancients like Edward rarely slept, but few of their kind made it to his venerable age. (Edward had once said, in the wry tone that often made even those who knew him well unsure of whether or not he was serious, that only sociopaths became Ancients.)

What Emmett feared was that his age would make it a slow burn and the pain might cause his resolve to break, diving beneath the waves to hide from the scorching sun, or God forbid, charging into one of the houses nearby, crazed with pain and hunger, desperate for blood to heal his burns.

He dismissed the thought and replaced it with determination. A feeling of deep peace flowed through him. It was over. He closed his eyes.

"Oh, no. Please don't."

Emmett started. He spun to face the woman behind him, shocked that a mortal had managed to come so close without attracting his notice. He should have heard her steps, her heartbeat.

The woman took a step closer to him. She was a tiny thing, plump and soft-looking, her heart-shaped face framed by long brown hair. Gently pretty. Her chocolate eyes pleaded with him. "Don't," she said again.

"How do you know-" Emmett's voice trailed off as the wind shifted and brought her scent to his nose. His gut clenched as he inhaled. Oh, God, it was the most delicious thing he'd smelled in... how long? He took another breath. Her scent was vaguely familiar but he couldn't place it. He felt his fangs elongate with bloodlust.

"I know because I once stood there myself, with the same intentions you have," she said. "And I'm hoping you won't do it for the same reason I didn't."

"What reason is that?" he asked, shaking his head a little to try to clear it. He turned his face into the clean breeze coming off the ocean and inhaled enough unscented air to speak. Vampires didn't need to breathe, but they did need air to talk.

"Someone told me something. They told me that they cared." She took another tentative step toward him. "I didn't think anyone would care if I died. In fact, I felt the world would probably be better off without me."

Emmett wasn't egotistical enough think the world notice his passing, much less that it would be any better or worse for it, but he had felt that Edward would be happier without having to drag Emmett's ass around and coax him through the motions of life.

"But this guy," the woman continued, "stood right where I'm standing and he said that even if no one else did, he cared. He didn't want to see me throw away my potential."

"What if I have no potential?" Emmett said, and it was Edward's tone he was using, the sarcastic, amused, flippant tone of someone little effected by the tiny dramas of the world around him. It was the attitude he'd attempted to assume to protect himself but had never quite assimilated it.

The woman frowned and he had the crazy notion hat his words had hurt her, and even more crazily, he cared that he had. This woman, reaching out to a stranger, her gentle soul in her eyes, wanting to help him in the same way she'd been helped. "Everyone has potential," she replied, her tone firm and resolute. "Sometimes we just need a little help in finding it."

Emmett looked back toward the horizon, now a bright orange that stung his eyes. There wasn't much time left before the decision would be out of his hands.

"Please," the woman said softly. "Please don't do this. Come with me." The wind shifted again and he was once again drowning in her delicious scent but also mesmerized by her sweet chocolate eyes. He was surprised to find himself aroused- that hadn't happened in a while.

He hesitated. If he surrendered to her plea, he might not get another chance like this. What if he lost his courage? The idea of going back to his numb routine was unbearable.

And yet... This woman sparked his interest. She swam through the fog, cut through the numbness. In a rare flash of insight, he knew that if he followed her, she would lead him into a new life, a new sense of purpose.

He stepped forward, away from the cliff, away from oblivion. She smiled, a genuinely happy smile that lifted his own heart a bit. He had made her happy and found, to his surprise, that he liked that very much.

She led him away from the cliff, toward the last house he had passed. "I'm Bella", she offered.

"Emmett," he replied. He could feel the heat of the impending sunrise on his back. They reached the back of the house, which had been built into the side of a hill and climbed a set of stairs to the balcony above. Bella pulled a key from her skirt pocket as they approached the door and he hoped like hell she'd manage to unlock the door and get them inside before he caught fire on her stoop. That might be difficult to explain.

They stepped through the door and Bella closed it behind them just as the sun broke over the horizon.