A/N: What if Stefan escapes from the bottom of the falls but doesn't return to Mystic Falls? In his weakened state, he is found by a vampire and her half-human half-vampire child. He remembers little of his life, only the bits that haunt him. Stefan follows the vampire and the hybrid child on their journey. And on that journey, he finds something he hasn't found in sometime: a family.
"Well Damon, I hope you figure out who you are soon." Bella smiled at him in a light-hearted way that made his entire body feel light. She was beautiful and just one look at her caused his breath to hitch and his insides to float around. He couldn't help but return the smile he gave her as best as he could, but he was sure the smile came out crooked or wavering. Regardless she didn't seem to notice his struggle, if anything upon seeing his smile in return, her smile widened. Their eyes connected and for a short moment of time, he felt as if everything around him had disappeared.
But he came back down with a crash landing when a small body squeezed through the gap of their seats, her face appearing beside their shoulders, peering up at him with wide eyes. "You don't look anything like a Damon to me." Renesmee interjected, rather abruptly.
From the other side of the car, Bella gasped, turning to look at Renesmee like she had just done something completely criminal. "Renesmee Carlie Cullen—apologise!"
Renesmee looked at her mother, eyebrows plucked together, protruding an expression of confusion. "What? For what Momma?"
"You were being rude!"
He watched the two of them interact with each other. The smile from before hadn't wavered, even with what Renesmee had just said. There was something about the way the two of them interacted with each other—it was entrancing to watch. He knew he could watch the two of them for hours and never got bored. He also see the love for each other coming off their bodies in waves. Even just the way they looked at each other showed the love for each other—what with the look of fondness in Bella's vivid gold eyes, despite the fact she was scolding her or the look of adoration in Renesmee's own eyes as she argued back. After some time, he realised that—perhaps—he had let their bickering go on for too long.
"It's fine, really." He said, holding up his hands. Bella looked at him disbelievingly. "She doesn't have to apologise," he addressed Bella and then turned to look at Renesmee. "You're right. I don't really look like a Damon do I?" Renesmee blushed and shook her head. He found the notion adorable. "So . . . what do you think I look like?" he challenged the small child and begin to watch as Renesmee thought seriously about his question. He watched, with a smile, as her entire face scrunched up in thought. "Paul?"
Renesmee scrunched up her nose and shakes her head vigorously. "No way."
Renesmee shakes her head again.
"Mike?" Bella scoffed at this one. He turned to look at Bella, suddenly amused when he saw that Bella was looking incredibly sheepish. "What's wrong with the name Mike?"
Bella looked at him, as if pleading for her not to make her answer that question, but when his face remained unchanged after some while she sighed exasperatedly. "Nothing I guess . . . it's just I knew a Mike and, well, we didn't exactly see eye to eye." Bella shifted uncomfortably in her seat. "He spent his entire day trying to chase me down while I spent my entire day trying to get away from him." Bella explained further.
He couldn't help but laugh, quickly catching on to what Bella meant. "I hope for your sake my name isn't Mike then." Bella shot him a smile that told him that she wouldn't really mind if his name really was Mike. It made him want to laugh further. Instead he shook his head, laughing silently to himself, before looking at Renesmee who was looking between the two of them with a thoughtful look on his face. He knew she was still trying to figure out what kind of name suited him best. "Whatta you think Renesmee? Do I look like a Mike?"
Renesmee sighed and shook her head. "No . . ." she said, resting her chin on the shoulder of Bella's chair. Bella glanced at Renesmee through the mirror and smiled at her lovingly. He continued to watch her, patiently waiting until Renesmee came up with something. He stared at her in silence for some time until finally, she sat up straight, her eyes wide and bright. "Oh I know!" he laughed but waved at her to continue. "Edward." Renesmee suddenly announced. "You look like an Edward." A smile erupting on her face—it was a smile of triumph. She had finally found a name that he suited and he couldn't help but smile back in return.
The smile, however, did not last when he looked at Bella. Her reaction was not what he anticipated. Her face looked like she had seen a ghost. Her skin looked almost grey and her eyes were filled with an emotion he couldn't quite put his finger on. Whatever it meant to her, the name 'Edward' had made her react this way. He wanted to know why, but he guessed that was for another time. Right now he just wanted that horrified expression on her face to leave.
He looked at Renesmee and gave her a face. "Hmm . . . the name doesn't seem to ring any bells. I guess that means it probably isn't my name. I'll just stick with Damon for now. But don't worry, kiddo, I'm sure we'll find the right name soon." He watched as Renesmee slumped back in her seat sighing. She picked up the iPod beside her and plugged the ear-phones into her ears. Soon the muffled sound of music filled the car. He turned back around; getting a glimpse of the grateful look Bella was casting his way, but pretended to remain ignorant of it—staring straight ahead. He moved his arm to rest on the passenger door and repositioned himself into a more comfortable, slouching position. It was then that he noticed a strange ring positioned on his finger. "What's this?" he murmured, fingering the ring from side-to-side.
Bella looked at him and answered nonchalantly. "It's your daylight ring." he looked at her confused. Bella rose her eyebrows and elaborated: "Y'know, the ring that protects you from the sun?" Bella looked at him for a second longer before sighing. "Damn. Don't tell me you forgot about that too . . ."
He looked at her even more confused than ever. "Forgot what?"
"That you're a vampire."
The words crashed down on him like a ton of bricks.
"I'm a what?" by this time Renesmee had taken her ear-plugs out to listen.
Bella looked at him with sympathy that made him feel more uncomfortable than before. "I'm sorry . . . I—I thought you would remember something like that . . ."
He sighed. "No . . ." he whispered, closing his eyes. Images, memories, were flashing before his eyes. "Don't apologise. Now that you've said it—images, memories—are coming back to me now." He said, finishing with a wince when he remembered particular memories of tearing humans' necks apart with long vampiric fangs. "It makes sense now . . ." he murmured, reopening his eyes. "It explains why I can hear, smell, and see everything."
Bella nodded. "Heightened senses. One of the perks of being immortal." She said, as if knowing exactly what he was talking about.
He suddenly looked at her in a new light. "You're a vampire too?"
Bella couldn't refrain her laugh. "Um, hello, have you seen these?" Bella pointed with one finger to her gold eyes. "They're a dead give away. My kind aren't exactly as discreet as you Walkers; we don't look and sound like a human like you do."
"Walkers?" he asked, eyebrows furrowed.
Bella shrugged. "It's what my kind of vampire calls your kind of vampire."
"Right . . . and what do we call your kind of vampire?"
Bella hummed at that question. "I don't really know; I've only really encountered one of your kind, and she seemed pretty oblivious of my kind of vampire. She was who I got the ring from, by the way." Bella added, gesturing to the ring on his finger. "When I found you, you were without one of those. It's lucky I still had one in hand or else you would be a pile of ashes right now." He winced at this and Bella sighed. "Sorry—didn't mean to be so graphic." He shrugged, dismissing her apology. "Anyway, our kind has been known to be referred to as the 'Cold Ones', purely based on the fact our skin is cold to touch." Bella glanced sideways at him. "Unlike you, we can't use coffee to keep the blood in our body warm because our blood is frozen cold, like we've been left in a cooler for too long."
He nodded taking in this new information carefully. He had no idea whether he knew of Bella's kind of vampire before now, but maybe he would find out in time. He sighed, turning to look out of the window. They were driving along a winding road caged with high evergreen trees. He realised then that he had no recollection of where they were going and where she was taking me. In fact, he had no idea where he even was right now—North America, he guessed. "Where are we going?" he asked finally.
Bella blinked. "Oh," she said, and looked incredibly guilty. "I'm sorry; I should have said this before . . . You see, when me and Renesmee found you—well—we were . . . travelling, per say . . . and we—erm . . . Oh what am I saying?" Bella scolded herself. And then, taking in a large exhale of breath. "When we found you, barely conscious on the waterfront, we knew we couldn't leave you there . . . but we couldn't exactly stop."
He looked at her, struggling to understand what she was trying to tell him. "I'm sorry, I-urr-don't understand. What are you trying to tell me?"
Bella glanced quickly into the driver's mirror, thankful to see Renesmee's earplugs lodged back into her ear. "For the past two years, me and Renesmee we have been running."
He blinked stupidly. "Running from what?"
"The Volturi." Bella rushed. "For the past two years we have been running from the Volturi."
The Volturi . . . it didn't ring any bells, at least, not straight away it hadn't. But from the way Bella spoke the word, he guessed it was something he had to be scared of. Were they vampires like them? He wanted to ask, but he guessed - judging by the way Bella lowered her tone to keep Renesmee from hearing - now wasn't exactly the right time. He would save it for anther time.
"So . . . where are you taking me exactly?"