A/N: Thanks to the Fandom4Heroes girls for all their hard work for a worthy cause. Thanks to Mandy for making me my lovely banner and to Millie for her beta services.
Summary: Even before the change Edward had been running from himself.
After an unwelcome visitor in Bella's house Edward's true nature
finally catches up with him, Now he has a choice, does he run again or
does he finally accept the life he has spent so long fighting to
AU Edward/Riley vampslash
Watching them sleep I knew my time was almost up. Hard as I tried to concentrate on the sounds of the storm outside whipping around the tent, I was constantly pulled back into Jacobs over active mind. I was at war with myself, wanting to be disgusted at the images his unconscious mind showed me, but finding myself all the more intrigued and wishing I could make small changes to those images.
What man found pleasure in images of his intended wrapped around another man? being brought to the edge of ecstasy time and again by his mouth, his fingers, his appendage. Me that's who, only in my mind I replaced Bella with myself, imagined the pleasure that mouth and those fingers could bring me.
I have been at war with myself for a very long time, even before my change. Born and raised in a time where homosexuality could see you put to death. I had always suppressed that side of myself, only once allowing myself to be the man I knew deep inside I was. My time away from Carlisle and Esme during the early years after my change were a constant torment to me. Not only had I given into the base instinct of the creature I had become and fed on human blood, I had given in to the carnal instincts too. The family still thought of me as a virgin, and they were right to think so, when it came to laying with a woman. Laying with a man however I certainly wasn't virginal. In that time away there wasn't much I hadn't experienced with a body of the same sex. Eventually the puritan in me won over and I returned to my family and vowed to myself to forget that period of my existence.
That was harder said than done when Alice and Jasper joined our fold. With her ability to see the future and his to sense emotions, it was becoming harder to hide from myself. Not that they ever said anything to me directly, but I occasionally caught snippets of errant thoughts from them both before they realised I could hear them and changed the direction of their thoughts. Jasper had once tried to engage me in conversation whilst hunting, stating that not only had the world and its views on morality changed but being the creatures we were now , did morality and the views of the living world really mean anything to our kind. We were above humanity. Not being near ready to admit my feelings to myself let alone him, I ran and didn't return home for a week.
When I finally met Bella the pull I felt for her was a relief. Only as time went on, although the pull was still there, there was never a sexual element to it. The first time I kissed her I had actually recoiled with disgust. Bella thought I had pulled away because the lure of her blood was too much for me, and being the weak man I am I let her believe that. Gradually I opened up to Jasper, not regarding my unwanted sexual orientation, but my inability to take things further with Bella. He tried to help, sending me doses of lust whenever he knew me and Bella were alone in my room, but after years of trying to force those feeling on myself no matter how much he pushed at me, it never helped. I knew that whatever small amount of sexual attraction I felt towards her was just synthetic.
The wind dies down and I feel the slight rise in temperature that beckons sunrise. Jacobs's thoughts change from a sexual nature to what I assume is his dreams of the future. He and Bella hand in hand standing on a white painted deck, watching two small dark haired children race around a small garden. The warmth of affection in her eyes as she looks up at Jacob makes my unbeating heart clench. I have been selfish for far too long, holding her to me with promises I know I can't keep. She deserves a long and happy life, filled with love and physical affection and children.
Resigned I know what I need to do. After today's battle is over I will leave the small town of Forks, again, only this time I will do it the right way and leave safe in the knowledge that Bella will have Jacob. She cares for him deeply; I don't need to be Jasper to see that. It will take her time but I have no doubt that one day she will see it was all for the best and I know Jacob will take care of her. Knowing Bella as I do she will blame herself for my leaving, just as she blames herself for me not being at the battle with my family today. There was no way I could explain to her just why it was so easy for me to agree to her request. As loathe as I am to admit it, I am not here away from the fight for her but for myself. If what I felt the day we found out about the vampire that was in Bella's home, and what I saw in the very brief vision that confused Alice so, was what I really thought it was, there was just no way I could be of any help to my family on the field of battle today.
The minute I entered Bella's house and caught the scent I knew it was a male vampire. The first feeling that hit me was rage that he would be as bold as to enter her home, knowing she was as protected as she was by my family. Once the rage settled I was hit with an overwhelming feeling of lust, with every lung full of the scent I took the intensity increased. I needed to get away, so under the pretence of searching the area I ran. Alice saw of course, so it wasn't long before Jasper caught up with me.
After giving me a very edited version of Alice's vision we both knew there was no way I could be an asset to the family during the fight with the newborns. After much discussion and a lot of half hearted denials on my part, it was decided that I would sit out the fight and stay with Bella at the camp Jasper had planned out. I was half annoyed that Jasper thought they could fight without me and half relieved that I wouldn't be made to choose before I was really ready.
As the morning wore on the tension around the makeshift camp grew. Jacob was in wolf form awaiting word from Sam that the battle had started. To keep Bella warm, she was snuggled into his side. Although all three of us were on alert she looked content nestled against him. I stood in the centre of camp, my eyes on the tree line, lost in thoughts of what my future could possibly hold, occasionally sparing them glances when my thoughts turned to what my future would be like if I stayed with Bella.
I caught the message from Sam as soon as it passed through Jacobs mind. The battle had started. Through Jacob I watched as the newborns approached the clearing, then all hell broke loose. It was hard to keep track of who was where, but the one thing I did pick up quickly was the fact that no one had seen Victoria.
About the same time Jacob realised Victoria was not on the field fighting, I heard an array of vicious thoughts approaching. With a quick look in Jacobs's direction I warned them "It was a ruse, she never had any intention of fighting. She's on her way here now. Bella, get in the tent and stay there"
There wasn't time to see if Bella had done as I had asked. As the last word left my lips HE stepped through tree line. I recognised him instantly, Riley Biers, I had seen his face many times over the past year on the missing posters around Forks and Seattle.
As our eyes met across the clearing everything around me seemed to freeze in time. I didn't see or 'hear' Victoria, Jacob or Bella, all that existed in that moment was him. His thoughts were a confused array, wanting to follow Victoria's orders to kill Bella, wanting to approach me, and wanting to run.
He felt it too, I didn't need to hear it in his mind, I could see it written all over his beautiful face. In this moment I wanted nothing more than to take him in my arms and seal our bond.
As I took a step forward so did Victoria and I was pulled from my trance like state. "You'll never touch her Victoria" I growled out to her. She fell to a crouch and snarled back "I won't need to touch her, Riley will deal with the human for me, it's what I trained him for. You're the one I want." Casting a quick glance at Riley she turned back to me, smug look in place and I knew that she could either sense or knew full well that he was to be my mate.
Jacob, still in wolf form was pacing and snarling not far behind me "Enough with the chit chat Cullen, the battle in the clearing is over, let's just clean up here and go home"
Ignoring Jacob I spoke to Riley, my eye's never leaving Victoria's face "She's using you Riley. Getting you to do her dirty work. If she wants either me or Bella dead I suggest she does it herself because no one will touch Bella."
"You hear that Riley?" Victoria sneered "He only wants the human girl. He'll never be yours while she's still alive"
Breaking my gaze from Victoria I looked over at Riley and saw the hurt written in his eyes, He believed what she said. Her plan fell into place for me then; I could see it running through her mind. She had known all along that Riley was to be my mate. Seeing in her mind that this was the reason she had tracked him down and turned him, polluting his mind with the thoughts that while Bella lived I would never be his, I unleashed anger in me I hadn't felt for almost 90 years.
I assumed an attack position pushing everything else from my mind; I needed to deal with Victoria before I could deal with Riley. In the back of my mind I could hear Jacob grumbling, trying to get something through to me but my only thoughts were of getting Victoria out of the way and talking to Riley. And then I smelt it, the rich coppery tang accentuated with strawberries. Bella was bleeding.
Everything happened in almost an instant once the scent of Bella's blood hit Victoria and Riley. Victoria made to leap over me, I countered her attack to keep her from Bella and Riley came out of nowhere and tore Victoria's head from her shoulders.
He dropped the head like it was a hot stone and stood with a look of utter shock and loss on his face. Reaching out my hand to him I spoke "Riley?" asking in that one word so many things. Was he okay? Did he feel it too? Would he run with me to the ends of the earth just to be together?
Hearing Bella gasp behind me, I turned around quickly "I'm so sorry Edward" she sobbed her eyes never leaving Jacob's face. Looking to Jacob, I saw he had phased back into human form and was gazing at Bella in shock and awe. Reaching into his mind once more, I was stunned and amazed by what I saw, after all this time he had finally imprinted and with Bella at that. He was just as shocked by this turn of events as I was, but unlike me he didn't question why now? What had changed so suddenly to unclad Bella's eyes, and finally see Jacob for what he was, her future?
"Jacob, get Bella out of here" His gaze never leaving hers, he spoke to me, mind to mind "Why are you not angry? You can see the imprint, does she mean so little to you?"
"No Jacob" I spoke out loud "She will always hold a very special place in my heart, but she is where she truly belongs now, with you. Now go, get her out of here"
Taking her in his arms, he a gave me a nod that spoke much more than a mere thank you he turned to leave the makeshift campsite. Over Jacobs shoulder Bella's eyes met mine, I could see the pain she held in them for what she thought of as her betrayal of 'us'. Not having the words to express to her how right this was, I just smiled and watched her leave in the arms of the man she was always destined to be with.
Once out of sight I turned back to Riley. If my heart had been beating it would have stopped. He wasn't there. Victoria's body was still there, broken and seeping venom onto the forest floor, but he was nowhere to be seen. I couldn't even hear his thoughts, so I knew he was nowhere nearby.
With a heavy heart, and an overriding sense of rejection and loss, I take the lighter from my pocket and set light to Victoria's corpse. Watching for a few moments as it ignites and burns, before I turn heel and flee home.
Arriving back home I am met by Alice and Jasper on the front steps. Alice, as small as she is sweeps me into a bone crunching hug before she steps back and looks at me with a huge knowing smile on her face. I reach out to her thoughts and I am blocked from what she knows by an overly peppy rendition of the Forks High football teams' anthem. Jasper looks more subdued but again I can't get a read on his thoughts just a monotone diatribe of civil war history.
And then it hits me "You knew, about Bella and Jacob. About Him!"
Alice smiles serenely "I didn't know about Bella, It was an informed guess when she suddenly disappeared from my visions, but the sense of loss wasn't there as when someone dies"
"A heads up would have been nice Alice"
Unbecoming of her she snorted and giggled "More important things were happening than Jake finally imprinting on Bella brother dear"
"So you knew about Riley too!" it wasn't a question more a point of fact and she had the decency to look guilty. Turning to Jasper I said "And you too! She never keeps anything from you. How long have you known about Riley? Is this why you tried to instigate all those conversation? Why you annoyed the shit out of me with your babble on morality and all?"
"As Emmett would no doubt say, we don't shit Edward. I'm not saying what I know or don't know either way. But what I will say is that there is no better place for a blood crazed confused newborn than right here with us" he chuckled.
Chuckled, fucking chuckled, now he chooses to adopt a personality. "If you two have finished having fun at my expenses you will no doubt realize that Riley, my mate, a fact you have kept from me for to long is not here with me. He's gone and I don't know where. All I know is that I NEED him. NOW."
Alice looking suitably chastised "He's not far Edward, just follow your heart and you will find him" I turned to run, to find him, I would run to the ends of the earth to find him if needs be "Edward" she called out to me "Don't fight it, just find him and let it come naturally, don't be scared. He's where your eternity starts"
With a slight nod of acknowledgement to her I ran and ran, no idea where I was headed but knowing that I was on the right path. It is two days before I catch his scent and another day before I know I am close. The stronger his scent gets the slower I run, until eventually his scent becomes so strong I know I am mere minutes away from him. My sense of geography never being that strong, I have no idea where we were but we are still in a densely wooded area. As I enter a clearing amidst the trees I am drawn up short. He is here, crouched over a large deer, the scent of the animals' blood is as strong in the air as his scent was.
Tossing the animal aside he stands, spits out a mouthful of blood and venom and snarls "How can you bear it? It tastes like shit"
"Because I don't want to be a monster" I reply
With a dark laugh he sneers at me "But we are monsters"
Taking a step towards him, keeping my voice level I say "We don't have to be monsters Riley"
With a choked sob he replies "But it's all I know. Did you know, when I woke up, like this, She had 4 humans waiting in the room with me?"
He starts pacing the clearing, hands deep in his pockets, shoulders hunched "Of course you don't know, or do you? Did your sister see what happened to me, did she have one of her visions? It was a massacre, a damn bloodbath. I couldn't help myself. They were just there and I was so thirsty. She laughed at me as I killed the first one, said I would be the perfect warrior for her" his rambling is almost frantic.
His pacing has bought him closer and closer to me until he stops dead, realizing just how close we are. All I would have to do is take one step forward and we would be toe to toe. As if sensing I am about to make a move, he steps back away from me and it hurts. That small distance between us could be miles.
That small space is unbearable, he was so close and I needed him closer, bracing myself I take that step and reach for his hand, the moment our fingertips touch a pained whining sound filled the clearing. My sight flashed to the deer Riley had been drinking, it wasn't dead and was trying to stand to flee. In a flash Riley tore his hand from mine and landed on the deer, stepping towards him he lifted his head and growled at me. Sinking his teeth back into the deer's flesh he drained the beast until it's heart stopped beating, his weary gaze never leaving mine.
The second the beast's heart stopped he tossed the carcass aside and stood to his full height. With a predatory gaze he stalked towards me. Even though this was the first move he had made towards me I can't stop myself from backing away from him, until my back hit a tree.
"I was confused for a long while Edward, ever since I woke to this life I have been unsure of why I was like this and what my future would hold. That first day Victoria sent me to Forks and I sensed you, I blamed you for what I have become. I didn't understand then what I know now"
"What do you understand now Riley" my fingers are digging into the tree bark so hard I think I may bring the tree down.
"I don't just understand Edward, I know, you are mine. Although we were born decades apart you were made for me, just as I was made for you."
He runs his hand up my chest, his sharp nails cutting through the buttons that hold my shirt closed. "I can feel you better now, something changed as Victoria died, what was that?"
"Bella imprinted with Jacob, my blood tie to her was broken" I gasp as his hands roam my exposed chest.
"So" he says as his lips descend to my chest "You are now free of your ties to the human?"
Clenching my teeth as he bites down on my nipple I whimper "Yes, but even before that bond was broken I was yours"
"Too damn right you are mine" he growls as he rips my pants from my legs and throws me across the clearing. Landing on the carcass on his last meal, its body creating a pillow for my head I have just enough time to raise up onto my elbows before he is upon me.
"I have much to learn about this life Edward but with you by side I know it will be okay"
His lips crash against mine in a claiming kiss and I almost felt like I was home. He lifts one of my legs over his arm, opening me to him, as he thrusts himself inside me he moves his lips to my neck and bites down, claiming me with a mating mark "MINE" he growls.
"Yes, Yours" I gasp, and for the first time in almost 90 years I know I was where I am where I am meant to be, I didn't need to fight anymore and nothing could make me flee from his side.