Walking Among Us

Rating: PG-13

Genre: AU/Canon

Content Descriptors: Drama/Angst/Supernatural

Major Pairings: Edward/Bella

Summary: Who has the ability to incapacitate an invincible vampire? And why would they attack an innocent, human girl? Edward is desperate to save the love of his life, but he's fighting an unknown enemy… one he doesn't realize is walking among us all.

Thank you to Project Team Beta & my amazing beta's for this chapter: carinelautner, Edwardsfavoritebrunette


~ Chapter 1: Homecoming ~

EPOV

Life had returned to normal after the incident with James. Well, as normal as life could get for a family of vampires. We'd spent a quiet summer together, enjoying the warm weather and the lazy days that only this time of year brought. School was starting again in a few weeks, and for the first time, I wasn't dreading the purgatory that was Forks High School.

Alice, Jasper, Bella and I would be seniors. Of course, my siblings and I had been high school seniors countless times before, but this would be Bella's first.

First of how many? I scoffed at myself.

First and only if I had my way, but Bella seemed determined to join me in this life. She'd rebuked me countless times for not letting James' venom run its course, but I knew the consequences of the choice she was making. She wasn't ready. There were so many human experiences I wanted her to have. And while I wanted those experiences for her, deep down, I wanted them for myself, too. Being turned at 17, I'd missed out on so much, and I did not want her to be by my side for the rest of eternity with any regrets.

Regardless of the human experiences she did or did not have, the root of the problem still remained. Bella believed we – vampires – had a soul. I didn't agree. We'd… debated it numerous times over the last two months, and our discussions always ended at an impasse. At least for now, I'd convinced her to put the issue to rest until after she graduated – for Charlie's sake.

I smiled to myself as I remembered her lips curling into a resigned pout. It was manipulative, playing on her love for her father, but if it kept her heart beating a little longer, I'd gladly use all the weapons in my arsenal.

Up to no good again, Edward?

Jasper's thoughts permeated my mind. He picked up the shift in my mood as he ran beside me.

Are you planning something devious?

I shook my head. "Just a memory," I said aloud.

Jasper, Carlisle and I had spent the weekend hunting in the Canadian wilderness. Emmett and Rose, having graduated in the spring, left for the East coast a week ago under the pretense of attending some Ivy League school. Esme had gone to visit the Denali clan, leaving Alice and Bella at home to enjoy another weekend together.

They had grown so close over the last few months. Sometimes, I had to remind myself not to be jealous of my sister and the time they spent together. We actually got into a quarrel about it once, arguing over whose "turn" it was. Esme just laughed and scolded us like children fighting over a toy. Then she whisked Bella away for a spa day in Port Angeles, neither of us getting to see her. We had learned our lesson after that.

But seeing as how Alice had just spent two days with my Bella, it was definitely my turn.

Before we left on this hunting trip, Alice warned us the weather would take a turn for the worse and that we should head home early Sunday to avoid the storm. That suited me just fine. Two days away from home was plenty for me.

We were a few miles from the house and the wind was already blowing fiercely, whipping through the trees around us with powerful gusts. This was going to be a violent storm. I hoped Alice had the forethought to inform Charlie that Bella would be staying another night. I was not about to allow her to drive home in this.

With Jasper on my left and Carlisle on my right, we ran together at a steady pace. I was just beginning to pick up frayed images of Alice's thoughts, and I chuckled at the absurdity I was seeing.

"What is it?" Carlisle asked.

"It's Alice. She's blocking me already."

"Ah. Well, I'm sure she knows when we're due to arrive. Besides, this wind is carrying our scent directly toward the house."

"What is it this time?" Jasper asked, amused. "The Battle Hymn of the Republic? Translating the complete works of Charles Dickens into Latin?"

My speed slowed as I concentrated on the images. My father and brother fell in stride beside me.

"She's getting really good at this." I chuckled again. Alice usually blocked me by thinking of trivial things: songs, books, poems, clothes. I'd tune her out from sheer boredom. But now, the images that flashed from her mind to mine were captivating. "The best way to describe it is like… watching someone dream. She's showing me… I don't know… scenes from a movie, maybe? A very blurry movie at that. It's very… strange."

"Whatever she's hiding must be good, if she's trying that hard," Jasper taunted.

"My guess is she finally convinced Bella to cut her hair and doesn't want me to see."

"Well, if it's a movie she's throwing at you, it must have been a horror film. I'm starting to sense her too."

I could see it in Jasper's mind – the tiniest hints of fear.

"I hope Alice didn't keep Bella up watching scary movies," Carlisle admonished. "The poor girl will have nightmares."

"She's dating a vampire," Jasper pointed out in a mocking tone. "I think she can probably handle a few slasher movies."

We all chuckled again and resumed a faster pace. The trees began to thin at the edge of the property. Only a few more steps and we'd be home.

"Thank you for a lovely weekend, gentlemen," Carlisle said. "I wish Emmett could have joined us."

My brother and I nodded, returning Carlisle's sentiment as we left the forest behind and stepped into the front lawn.

In that moment, time froze. The three of us stood like statues, bewildered, staring at the house before us.

The glass wall that encompassed the entire front of the house was completely shattered. Shards of razor sharp glass littered the yard and the porch. The unrelenting wind whipped and tore at the gauzy curtains, which billowed into the house like tethered ghosts. One hinge suspended the demolished front door at an odd angle. It, too, was missing the pane of glass that was contained within the torn wooden frame.

Jasper saw her first.

"No!" he shrieked, and tore across the yard to the figure lying in the entrance.

Alice.

In an instant, Carlisle and I were beside him, kneeling down next to Alice's lifeless form.

"Alice!" he screamed, pulling her limp body into his arms.

"Jasper!" Carlisle tried to pull Alice from his grip, likely so he could examine her, but it was impossible.

"Edward!" he called to me instead. "Can you still hear her?"

The question confused me, and it took me a moment to process what he was asking.

"Yes, I can hear her. She's – she's still... dreaming?" My answer sounded more like a question, but Jasper seemed to snap out of his panic when I spoke.

"Jasper, can you feel her?"

He nodded. "She's afraid."

"She's alive. She's just unconscious," Carlisle said, and my brother and I turned to stare at him. "That's the only way I can think to describe it."

"Unconscious?" I repeated. "How is that possible?"

"I don't know."

The wind, which had been whipping mercilessly through the unprotected house, paused, allowing a scent from the second floor to float down on us.

Blood.

Dear, God. No!


www. twitter. com viridian6

Let me know what you think! New chapter tomorrow!