Chapter 1 – Prologue
More than one year ago my husband asked me if somebody ever wrote a Twilight fanfiction inspired by Faust. I said I didn't think so, but that set me thinking, and here is my version of it. As I start posting only when a story is completely drafted, it took me many months to get here.
Warning: OK, something very bad happened to the Cullens. I hope you can accept it. Somebody, however, survived and Edward is NOT a Cullen.
Disclaimer. Stephenie Meyer owns Twilight and its characters. This AU plot is mine.
When not otherwise indicated, the chapters are in Edward's PoV
Silence. Eerie underwater silence. No time passing - no before or after. Nothing but my own thoughts.
Why, why can't I drown? Enough, enough, no more. I want to die… I want to die … I want to die … I want to die… I want…
Damn my memory, my everlasting vampire memory. No reprieve.
The children; it was always the children. Such beautiful, beautiful abominations. They had to be destroyed, didn't they? But first they had to be found and I, Anthony Volturi, the Coven's precious mind-reader, was brought in for the task. I could scan every thought within a few miles radius and discover if somebody was thinking about children. With love - or with horror, if the mind was human. Then it was easy to find what we were looking for. As the Volturi had better executioners than me, I was not required to actually destroy the creatures. I just had to watch and needed to be involved only if a fight ensued. The pain that echoed in the minds of the culprits nearly overcame me at times. The dams even lost the will to fight, after their child was burned. Yes, the ones who had created immortal children were always females, rebelling against a cursed, barren eternity.
Afterwards, back in Volterra, I tried to bury the horror in sex, not lacking willing partners, but the horror was never completely buried, and mindless couplings left a bitter aftertaste. I seldom bothered, now.
Not that my existence had improved much when, after decades, the discovery of immortal children became less and less frequent. I was instead sent out to interrogate vampires over alleged misdemeanors. It was impossible to lie to me and – once the so-called crime had been exposed - the punishment was death. Always death, unless the malfeasant was gifted. Then the vampire was spared and added to the Guard. In time I realized that the real aim of many missions was not justice, but the acquisition of talented vampires for my masters.
But now I had had enough. My mission in the Pacific Northwest of the United States was the last straw. The coven we came to destroy didn't deserve it. I remember their golden eyes and what they meant. At least, I could be happy that I did not betray the secret found in the mind of a tiny female, who tried desperately to deflect me, but could not keep it up. Minutes after that – after all the members of the coven but one had been felled - I bolted and ran from my comrades, faster as I'd never run before. I was no executioner, after all, and nobody was paying attention to me. Now, deep in the middle of nowhere in Canada, submerged in a nameless lake, I thought about achieving my goal.
The Volturi wouldn't destroy me, I was sure. If did something that enraged them, I would be punished, have my limbs removed perhaps, but still they would keep me. Was there a way I could set myself on fire? Build a pyre and make the venom flow, using my nails? Would it work? Would I have the courage to do it? I knew that the sense of self-preservation vampires have is extremely strong, so maybe my body would rebel instinctually, despite the promise of eternal silence in my head, despite the oblivion I craved.
Suddenly I heard a thought – loud, clear and nearby
"No, it won't work, that is not the way you'll die."
Somebody was in the lake. I turned. A man, or something that looked like a man, was suspended in the water. His face was obscured by black, loose garments floating around him. Other than his clothing, he was immobile.
I wanted to ask what the creature was, but it was impossible to speak underwater. However, the visitor heard me, because it was enough that I thought, "How will I die, then?" to have an answer:
"If you try to put your foolish plan in action you will be stopped – even if you attempt it, which is doubtful. Demetri is already looking for you. He is around here. Your being underwater helps to delay him, but once you resurface he'll find you, and he is not alone. You'll be subdued."
"This is not what I asked. Who the hell are you, by the way?" I thought angrily.
"You are immortal, therefore you can't die. Not easily, that is." There was a hint of mockery in the voice infesting my brain. "In case, you must convince somebody to terminate you. Suicide is not natural to your kind. Plus, of course, your coven will make sure that enough of you survives to serve them."
"I'll find a way," I insisted stubbornly, "there must be a way."
"To be able to die you have to reconnect with mortality, to recover at least some of the humanity you have lost. You have to find your human feelings again. Call me when you are ready."
"And then you'll claim my soul?" It was my turn to mock.
"Oh, that's great! Do you believe you have a soul, then?" The irony was unmistakable: Obviously he knew I believed I no longer possessed a soul.
Before I had the time to think of a retort, the voice added, "No, I am no Mephistopheles, thank you. Good literary reference, though. No, I am the one every human will meet, when the time comes."
"Death." It was like a dream, but vampires can't dream, so it was real, even if it was unbelievable. After all, a few minutes ago I had invoked the Grim Reaper, hadn't I?
"Indeed, so I came. Pleased to meet you, Edward Antony Mason."
This, the reference to a name I had not thought of for two centuries, the name of a human Scotsman – a presumed victim of the Clearances - I had all but forgotten about, was what convinced me.
"But you can't take me now, you say. Please, tell me what to do."
"You have to find your own way. But, yes, Faust is very, very inspiring. Mm, I got it. To be human is to celebrate life, recognize its perfect imperfection, recognize that time on this Earth runs quickly and yet offers instants that are infinitely precious. So here is my wager, vampire: when you recognize the human perfection of that instant, when you will be able to sincerely say, 'Stay, fleeting moment, thou art beautiful!' then you'll be ready and I'll come for you."
Was Death delusional? I sincerely doubted it could ever happen. What I knew of human life and mortal people was not much, but I knew that their reality was ugly, misshapen and greedy. After all, vampires where enhanced humans, just that.
However, Death had something to add, ignoring my incredulity:
For your quest you need to be free. Free of your coven, first of all. Yes, let me do this…" Unaccustomed to physical pain, I felt something hurting in my head.
"Here, your brain map has changed now. Just a little, but enough. Demetri won't be able to track you anymore. As for Chelsea, I know that her hold on you is very weak. You wouldn't be here, otherwise. Your coven will wonder what happened to you, because you will be gone from Demetri's radar. It will remain a mystery, unless the Volturi find you again. They will think you are dead, for lack of a better explanation. Wait a day and resurface. You are free of them. Good bye, until we meet again."
I was again alone in the water.
I have anticipated my posting because I remembered that tomorrow is a big festivity in America. Happy Thanksgiving!
This chapter is short, but not a drabble . The next one will be longer. I plan to post every week, and - life or sanity threatening events apart – it will be completed, as it is all drafted. So you don't need to wait for the end to read and I need reviews. To post in a void is really, really depressing.
Self-preservation: indeed a vampire could commit suicide in the way I describe. But they don't. Their self preservation sense is too strong, as Edward surmises. This will be explored in later chapters.
I have written Mason, not Masen, intentionally.
My deepest thanks go to my pre readers and betas Raum, Serendipitous-Meilleur Café, Nuttyginger (for the first chapters) and Echoingwhisper. My final editor is Stefanie the HobbitIvy.