Summary: After the Volturi seemingly leave the Cullen's in peace, Alice's visions begin to fade and her reality takes on a shaky existence. Unsure of what is in her mind and what is actually happening, Alice becomes lost in herself until one day everything changes.
After what she thinks is life in a constant state of flux, Alice awakens into another life seventeen years later where vampires are hunted and civil war between the Volturi, rebels and a ghost faction is ripping apart the supernatural world they live, including her own family. Lost and confused, she is rescued by her family from the one person she thought she could always count on only to find out she had been presumed dead for the past five years.
Lies within lies layer the intentions of many and sides must be chosen as the war escalates and a new invisible threat rises from betrayal.
Disclaimer For Entire Story: None of the characters or histories shaping this work of FANfiction belongs to me. They are the sole property of Stephenie Meyer and no copyright infingement is intended. Also, the title of this story comes from The Red Hot Chili Peppers as does most of the chapter titles - any deviation of this will be noted at the beginning of chapters.
Disclaimer for Author's Purposes: This fic is a Post BD AU taking place predominately 17 years after the events of Breaking Dawn with the central focus being Alice. Canon remains intact. Canon Couples also remain intact - for the most part. I will post a timeline as well as any pertinent information pertaining to this fic on my profile. Also, please remember that I write this as purely a work of FANfiction - nothing else. Reviews are always greatly appreciated and personally responded to, however, my anonymous reviews are turned off. **WARNING** The first chapter is meant to be confusing, as our protagonist is in a state of confusion,but this is not a fic of instant gratification and will take some time to build as revelations come in each chapter. Thank you, if you choose to hang in there!
Chapter One ~ How Far Can I Slide
She wonders how long someone can pretend. After all, she figures, pretension is what makes the world go round; what possesses someone to pay more money than they make in a week for a pair of shoes, what convinces someone to smoke their first cigarette, what justifies someone to let the greater population fight a personal war.
Fallacies are so much more powerful than any one person really knows. They encompass so many of the cardinal sins, the sins Moses wielded above his head on a tablet God himself personally approved; vanity, greed, coveting, to name just a few. She thinks He could have saved Moses some wind and numerals with a slight restructuring of those commandments. But she'd leave that to the Pope and Born-Agains.
A common dislike amongst the human populace is being lied to, but what constitutes a lie? If you believe it then it's real, no? It's as real to you in the moment that you accept those words are fact as anything else. Its veracity is sealed the moment your decisions are swayed by information you hold true.
These are the lies, those powerful fallacies, she tells herself more often than not because she has no other explanation. These are the truths she faces when her mind defogs enough for any semblance of clarity. Thankfully, this is no longer a common occurrence.
Thankfully, her life has become such a jumble of vague memories interspersing with questionable visions and haze filled days any heroin junkie would be blessed to welcome, because if what she thinks is real has any basis in truth, she would rather slit her throat if that were possible.
Even though she cannot discern between fact and fiction most of the time and any of her thoughts are suspect, she begs that this moment, with him standing beside their bed, to be real.
His fresh shirt hangs loosely from his shoulders while busying himself with the mundane process of buttoning his cuffs. Even without speed, he radiates a steady grace with every movement not unlike the soldier he once was. Lying on the bed with one delicate leg exposed over the cotton sheet, Alice can see the ever present scars peeking from under his shirt sleeves, a faint reminder of realities she accepted before they even met.
"You should have waited for me to hunt, love."
Alice turns herself away from him, feigning a satiated stretch. "I thought you would appreciate some time with Emmett and Edward."
Jasper sits down on the bed and leans over, trailing his lips up her back until he reaches her neck. "You could spend some time with me."
She laughs, attempting to infuse the sound with genuine feeling. "I thought that was what we just spent the afternoon doing."
Jasper leaves one last kiss behind her ear and stands up, a stiffness replacing his previous languid demeanor. She feels his stare on her back, the unanswered questions hanging over them. She closes her eyes, stops breathing, prays for him to let it go just once more, to understand the need as she had understood his for all years past.
The door shuts behind him without a sound.
She rolls over, closes her eyes and continues to pretend
This time when she opens her eyes it is a special day.
Alice places the last delicately shaped daisy on the sugar bouquet. Underneath, the pale pink fondant stretches across the top of the confection without a wrinkle and the scripted Happy Birthday just fit off to the side. She purses her lips in evaluation. Something is still missing. Quickly, Alice fashions a bow out of the remaining icing to put around the daisy stems. She is confident Renesmee won't be able to resist at least a small bite regardless of her continued proclivity for human blood these last five years. No matter her niece's palate, today is her fifth birthday and every little girl has a soft spot for sweets - hybrid or not.
Absentmindedly massaging her temples, Alice begins the task of placing tiny pearl drops along the circular base of the cake. She steadfastly ignores the increasing throb at the bottom of her neck and concentrates on aligning the dots perfectly. She forces a smile rather than grimace, but as soon as she thinks her happy thoughts have got her burgeoning headache licked, a shadow flashes before Alice's eyes. Her hand slips and she becomes still; sniffing, looking, seeing nothing but the line of icing haphazardly marring her perfect pearls.
It is absolutely nothing.
She wipes the icing up with a towel and proceeds to complete this final task. Today isn't the day to confuse herself with something so small as a headache.
Alice gives the cake one last glance over and with a decided nod approves her final work. She opens the stainless steel door of their industrial sized refrigerator, a necessity with a wolf pack frequenting the premises, and is hard-pressed to find a suitable spot with the plethora of dishes for the evening's festivities taking up space. Moving over Jacob's favorite chicken pasta, Alice places the cake front and center on the middle shelf.
Closing the door with a smile of satisfaction, she sways from a wave of dizziness. She blinks rapidly and as fast is it came on, the feeling and her smile dissipates, leaving only the remnant of a headache and a far off buzzing in her ears. Deciding fresh air might improve her senses, she leaves the kitchen for the air outside in search of any wolf and the quiet blankness their presence can promise.
Alice emerges from the house and lays in the grass, feet away from where Jacob and Seth erect a tent in the back yard. Storm clouds continue their assault on the blue sky, taking over the sun with the help of a brisk wind. Rare thunder echoes in the distance and Alice relishes the feeling as the sound reverberates through her bones down to her fingertips. She doesn't even attempt to see how the inevitable rain will effect the party, she just remains prostrate, loving the silence in her head. A small smile of relief graces her lips.
"Enjoying the madness before the mayhem, love?"
Alice peeks through her lashes playfully. "Why, do I look crazy?"
"Always." Jasper lowers himself to the ground next to his wife and takes her hand into his, drawing their entwined fingers to his lips. "Everything quiet?"
"I wouldn't say that. How anyone can get any peace around here with those two mutts over there screwing up that tent is beyond me."
Jacob turns towards the couple. "I heard that blood-sucker!"
Alice laughs and waves him off, turning her attention back to Jasper. "It's about to get louder around here, that thunder will be over head soon."
"Thunder?" Jasper looks at the sky, his brow crinkled in thought. "Did you see it?"
Alice sighs. "No, off in the distance. I heard it awhile ago."
"I must not have been paying attention."
"Your senses are dulling in your old age." Alice's eyes close once again, hoping she has delayed any further questioning about her premonitions. It is no secret amongst her family that they have been lacking. However, she has at least tried to hide her soft stalking of any wolf in their vicinity. If anyone knew how bad the headaches, fogginess and dizzy spells had become…well, she just doesn't want to deal with the hovering and questions.
Jasper lifts her head and lays it in his lap. He strokes the side of her face. His hand travels to her hair and threads his fingers through, massaging her scalp. She breathes in and out, emptying her thoughts of anything but nothingness and the feel of his hands on her skin.
"You can talk to me."
"I know..." Alice pauses. The worries about her visions bubble just beneath the surface, but today is a special day and she wants it to be about something else rather than her own fears. "Today let it just be about Renesmee."
Jasper nods and resumes his calming ministrations. She feels a wave of peace and contentment float over her person and silently thanks him for the effort by leaning her face further into his touch. Her eyes close and she hates herself for it because she never knows what she would open her eyes to.
With every decision, no matter how minute, there is a moment between intentional thought forming and actual execution of the action. Even with the quickest reflexes, the brain still originates the movement of a body - even a vampire's. It is just more likely a vampire will be aware of this moment, this thought.
It is in this millisecond before Alice opens her eyes and goes to unlock her door that she stops frozen in place, outstretched arm, hand gripping her cold metal key. She isn't so old as to not remember what Bella used to fondly call her "human" moments, but she is old enough to note the oddity of this particular action and wonders when she started to lock her doors again. After all, deadbolts pose no obstacle for the monsters that are likely to hunt her.
Alice shakes her head, rattling the thought from her mind and inserts the key, twisting. She enters the house, hyper-aware senses indicating the domain empty. Shutting the door behind her, she lets out a sigh of relief and sits her purse down on the foyer table, catching a glimpse at the reflection in the overhanging mirror.
Completely still, she notes no obvious changes; unblemished skin, no bags under her eyes, pert nose, short black hair, golden eyes - nothing exceptional really. Her eyes are all she truly cares about.
Alice turns back toward the door and one decisive click later, the house holds the illusion of security.
She walks into the Cullens' spatial living room where floor to ceiling windows betray the day. The sun dips beneath the trees surrounding the home and once again, Alice is reminded of Edward's insistence to claim twilight as their most vulnerable time. She doesn't agree.
The dark is what scares her the most. It's what clouds her visions and when the fog begins to permeate her mind, cloying at the thin line of her consciousness, she finds silent retreat into the fade of black her only option. Alice's mind has been silent from coherency for ten years now. Ten years from that fateful birthday, a perfect cake and lying in the grass with her head in Jasper's lap.
No matter how many days, seconds or hours tick by, she feels her visions on the periphery, a finger's breath away, hungry - no starving, to be released. Their vicious claws pulsate with hatred at her inability to see, mocking and hurt at the same time, pressing upon her until she feels her chest will collapse from the force. But relief never comes and only the merest traces of fear remain. The blood always remains.
Alice's family trickle in as the sun completes its decent. They sit in varying positions and degrees around the room. Emmett and Jasper watch football, an occasional enthusiastic whoop or profanity falling from their mouths when appropriate. Renesmee and Carlisle peruse an oversized decrepit book translated in Latin and written for knowledge's sake. Even Esme and Rosalie find some measure of occupation in the magazines written purely for vanity's sake. It seems so long ago that Alice would indulge and comment with them on the latest this or that, even tease Rosalie about doing something better, unconcerned by any pertinent happening in the world outside their little coven.
The absence of Edward and Bella had long ago lost its sting. His mind's eye cannot handle the torment with which Alice now lives. If she is honest, it is a small blessing. She finds it hard not to let her thoughts stray to unflattering commentary on Edward's supposed anguish. He knows nothing beyond Bella and the true horrors of her existence would be too much for his naiveté. She absolves him, but they both know abandonment is a hard mistress to appease.
She never leaves the windows, facing the oncoming night, unwilling to let the darkness creep in without at least a weak objection while ignoring the surreptitious glances of the remaining Cullens who promised to leave her in peace after so many failed attempts at bringing her any. She may not be able to see but she can feel their open eyes as she closes her own.
Alice takes away her hand from rubbing her eyes and sees the cake on a table under the tent, almost surreal on its lonely stand. Everyone sings a jubilant halted rendition of Happy Birthday to Renesmee, but the sound is muffled in Alice's ears. She looks over to Rosalie who seems impressed and Alice tries to find satisfaction, but there is a glaze of fog over everything in front of her.
The thunder from earlier rumbles once again, but no one else comments on the threatening weather so Alice remains quiet, not wanting to spoil the moment, but feeling like the picture in front of her is only a scene from a grainy film. She sits in the closest chair, hoping her shaking hands go unnoticed.
The song ends and candles are blown out. Only the wolves and Renesmee eat slices and give exclamations of appreciation and delight over the dessert. She thinks she smiles in response to their proclamations, but there is now a cotton barrier over her perception. Minutes later, Seth and Jacob leave Alice's close proximity to retrieve the rest of Renesmee's presents. In the future, Carlisle will suppose their absence is the catalyst for the beginning.
The attack comes on like a freight train, without warning and unforgiving, leaving only indiscernible wreckage in its devastating wake. As Alice's eyes roll to the back of her head and she falls to the ground, mouth gaping, the occasion of Renesmee's fifth birthday becomes a forgotten treasure.
Terrified he would disappear in a cloud of ash if she let down her guard even for a moment, Alice clung to Jasper in a fevered desperation. He gripped her even tighter, dragging them both deeper into the forested night. Occasionally, they stop long enough for Jasper to sniff the air, listening to the secrets floating, changing their course as the scent of their enemies crept closer.
Alice writhes. She twitches and claws. Gaping marks appear in the ground beneath her fingernails. Ethereal voices from beyond her shrouded mind call her name but she can't see where they come from, can't find that path home. The freedom of the last five years since Renesmee's birth and the Volturi retreating back to their citadel erodes with every erratic jerk of her body.
Jasper's eyes stared back, piercing, calculating, blood red - a mirror image of Alice's. The human blood coursed through them with an almost foreign strength - it had been so long. But no satiety could belie the deed of making his eyes such a color.
They couldn't rely on her visions anymore. Too many enemies, too many intentions. Plans within plans. The endgame had become so convoluted. Alice saw nothing but the decimation on the way to get there.
As their enemies approached, snarling putrid spittle, the lovers nodded to each other, understanding hanging between them like a crucible of carnage. Jasper gave Alice one more kiss. Gentle. Enduring.
"I promise to find you in this life or the next." He turned and bared his teeth at the army hunting them.
Alice's screams are no longer silent. They cut through the daylight and no amount of shaking or pleading can make them stop. Jasper clings to her form, agony distorts the scars on his face. He whispers. He coaxes. He pets. He soothes. Nothing but incoherent obscenities and unintelligible cries erupt from her mouth.
Edward rocks far from the rest of his family, hands clutching his hair. He doesn't understand what is happening and her pain becomes too strong for him to overcome. Before he falls completely fetal, Bella picks Edward up and runs.
She stepped over so many limbs and dead, trying her best to avoid the piles of ash. She came upon Bella and Edward overcome with the graveyard in front of them, but still working diligently to set the trap. She hugged them both, thanking some intangible source for sparing their lives. In her relief, she let her vigilance waver, long enough for the warrior to descend. Her mind registered one word to her family - run.
After an eternity of seconds, Jacob and Seth return in wolf form, skidding to a halt before the family. Alice stills. Her eyes flutter and open. She stares past the sea of faces in front of her, letting the sunbeams attempt to beat down her impervious eyes. The lighted blindness becomes the last moment of clarity she will have.
Jasper grasps her tightly, whispering tenderness in her ear promising to take her somewhere beautiful if she would just come back. Esme hovers, wringing her hands, praying to God to spare her child. Carlisle checks her various body parts, asking pertinent questions she assumes she answers correctly. Rosalie and Emmett hold each other, completely at a loss as to what to do except watch their sister suffer. Renesmee's hand lies on her exposed ankle, asking in her special way if she is going to be okay.
Alice never answers back.
As it becomes apparent Alice will be fine for the moment, Edward and Bella return to them. His face is distorted into a crinkled anguish. He hesitates before approaching too close and Bella prompts him forward. Alice looks at her beloved brother.
"W-what...that was different," he croaks out, "I don't understand what kind of vision that was."
Alice closes her eyes, blocking the stares boring into her and thinking of blinding sunlight. "That's because it wasn't. I don't know what's happening to me."
Alice smells Renesmee right before she crosses the threshold of the room and opens her eyes, feigning alertness. Mentally chastising herself for not noticing sooner, she turns her body and corners of her mouth to face her grown niece.
"You're getting quicker." Renesmee's lithe form glides past her, the years of maturity evident in every step.
"You can't expect results overnight when you have spent so long relying on one sense to translate the world for you."
"My visions are not just a sixth sense. They're part of me."
Alice angles her head, looking Renesmee directly in the eye, unable to stop venom leaking from her gaze at the blatant truth.
"No one else will say it."
"Because they are considerate."
"No, Alice, they are indulgent and delusional." Renesmee's voice lowers into a barely audible octave no person without supernatural capabilities could hear. "Thisisnotyourlife."
Alice blinks from shock. "What did you say?"
"This is not how you want to live your life."
Alice moves quickly, stopping no more than a needle's width from Renesmee, her mouth twists into a sneer. She searches her niece's passive face looking for answers, trying to find a source of the madness she felt consuming her body like a swarm of cicadas blindly buzzing until death takes them over.
Unperturbed by the anger she evokes, Renesmee brings her hands to Alice's shoulder, a gentle reminder of where, who she is.
"You need to hunt."
Alice closes her black eyes, regaining composure. "Jasper will wonder why I didn't wait for him…again."
"He will accept whatever excuse you give him. Run with me."
Choked, Alice nods and they leave.
She feels the ground beneath her feet as she pounds her way through the forest. All traces of Alice's former delicacy left behind in an urge to escape. She lets the natural force of the hunt transform her into something primal, uncontrollable. A metallic earthen smell wafts to her nostrils. Blood. Leaving recognition of her former self offers only minor relief, but she grabs it with a desperate ferocity, squeezing mercilessly at the protests in the back of her mind.
With a slight angling of her body, Alice alters her trajectory bringing her within feet of her prey. A new smell - fear. She takes it in, coddling this precipice of the inevitable between prey and predator like the bloom of first love. The mammal only needs a second for understanding to dawn, but it is too late. Alice leaps, arching over the grass covered ground between them. The wild animal begins the final eternal struggle as her hand cups its throat. She pauses, waiting for the throws of limbs to calm, for acceptance to dawn. Teeth bared, she feels the air thrum with the thrill of killing, the power surrounding this act organically filling her with a satiety long overdue. With an unintelligible cry begging for forgiveness, Alice eviscerates the sinew and bone on display, sucking and suckling, letting the orgasmic feeling of creating death encompass her.
Overcome with an exhaustion unfamiliar to her vampire life, Alice falls limp over the carcass, face nuzzling the silent neck. Heady from the rush of blood, she thinks the most satisfied addict surely would not feel this euphoric. Sniffing, she notices an awkward scent, nothing game-like as she has been used to, but fuller, richer. Her eyes snap open, her hangover tampered down. Smooth creamy skin fills her sight. A body lay curled crab-like in her arms, similar to that of a child seeking the comfort and protection of a mother.
Alice slowly draws back. A definite jaw line angling out, much like her own, comes into view. Panic grows in her chest. A mouth once capable of intelligent speech hangs slack, never to utter another sound. Glazed over eyes see nothing. Beautiful tumbling blond hair matted with its own life. Blood. Human.
Dropping the body, Alice scrambles away. Renesmee comes into her peripheral vision, disbelief evident on her face. Or is it a smile? Her mouth moves, clearly speaking to Alice, but she doesn't hear anything. The scene before her swirls, Renesmee fading into the distance, a static buzzing takes over any sound. The face of a young hiker, a girl, the last thing she sees before her eyes roll back and what she hopes is a final blackness takes over.