Rating: M, for blood, violence, etc.
Disclaimer: I do not own anything.
Author's Notes: This fic is AU with vamps and werewolves.
It's set over the time period that Edward left Carlisle and Esme to hunt people. It's dark, it's angsty, it's ~Edward Cullen~. ;) Some other things are different, and they'll become clearer with time.
FF.net: ONE; TWO
EL-JAY: ONE; TWO
He used to have green eyes.
He used to play in this small garden with a little girl – her name was Viola, and she had long curls down to her waist, chubby cheeks, and a tinkling giggle. They played games under a spring sun with muddied pastel-colored clothes. Viola liked to be the pirate, and she would swish around a stick and stomp on flowers, making guttural pirate noises.
He didn’t mind being the captive.
When they got older, when Viola’s cheeks weren’t as chubby, they’d lay in the dewy grass until their mothers called them inside, chastising them as always about grass stains. They’d laugh and pretend to do schoolwork, exchanging little peeks from their scales.
Sometimes they’d go for a walk, and sometimes they’d hold hands on a quiet road. Viola would blush when their skin met and he’d kiss her cheek lightly.
One day when he was finishing his arithmetic and she was studying French, he’d leaned in and kissed her pink lips. He could still remember the taste – that warm puff of air he’d stolen from her mouth.
When they parted, Viola had smiled and placed her hand upon his. “Edward,” she’d said with a shaky sigh. “Edward, I can hardly think when you look at me like that.”
He wondered what Viola would think of him now.
His eyes weren’t green anymore, and he wondered if Viola would be too stricken with fear to think at all.
He scoffed, because Viola couldn’t think anything – she was dead.
Edward knew she had been dead long before his father had died. Before his mother had died. Before he had died.
Someone placed a mug beside his hand. He smelled a whiff of human sweat and jasmine – it tickled his nose and his mouth filled with venom, but he only curled a hand around the glass, not looking away from the mirror embedded above the old chipped counter to his left. Only two things obscured the image of his snowy-white pallor and inky black pupils – the dirt clinging to the reflective surface and his slow blinking eyelashes. Everything was slow before the kill.
He’d been listening to a man for the past hour, his rancid thoughts congested in a smoky bar – illegal, of course, hidden underneath a barber shop. Prohibition was in full swing and even Edward, usually disinterested and apathetic about the prattle of human events, knew of it. It was hard to avoid – especially when alcohol-tainted blood more often than not stained his tongue.
This man was swinging home-brewed beer down his throat, and Edward watched him from a table, his own drink untouched. As far as beverages went, Edward had never been partial to the drugging kind, even as a man.
Besides, he’d get a taste of it soon enough.
Piss water, that’s what this tastes like, the man grumbled to himself.
Letting in scum like Gordon is bad for business, the bartender was thinking, beady eyes watching Edward’s prey. Who knows the pigs he talks to-
-have to find a new place. Maybe Annie’s, that little wench. Pretty piece of ass her daughter is. What I would give-
The side of Edward’s mouth twitched; his eyes flashed in the dull lighting.
Gordon stumbled up from his seat, belching loudly. He gave too much money to the bartender on the way out, his thoughts flitting from finding his friends to finding a warm whore. He left the room, the building. Edward rose and followed him out. No one asked him to pay.
The cold hit his upturned face as he strolled into the thick night. The streets were lined with old lamps, the gritty glass muffling the licking fires. There was no moon and the shadows were dark and deep, but Edward could see. He could see Gordon, who worked construction and spent every last dime on empty comforts, weaving an uneven path down the street.
He followed, confident the fat old man wouldn’t take notice of him – he hadn’t taken notice all night, not since Edward had spotted him sneaking into the forbidden establishment, thinking greasy thoughts.
Edward smiled, but not out of amusement, as the drunk stopped at a seedy looking motel, slipping the bellhop clinking change. The man had obviously chosen finding a whore.
He could smell the heady scent of blood inside; the rush of pumping crimson seemed to assail his senses. He’d have to wait until the horny bastard came out to drink his fill, unless he felt like a large supper – for two, he thought grimly – this evening.
With a near sigh he slunk past the building and into the neighboring alleyway, blending into the shadowed brick.
He knew when Gordon was in his usual room and stopped paying attention. He didn’t need to loose his appetite so soon into the hunt.
Edward closed his eyes and buried his chilly hands into his pockets. For the moment he tried to remember what it was like to be warm. He tried to remember his mother, and his home. He tried to remember Viola’s tinkling giggle, but it had been so long and he felt so detached from those memories, from that time. He felt as if it had all happened a century ago – no, like it had happened to a different person, some poor boy’s life he had read about in some sad book.
Seventeen going on thirty took on a whole new meaning for Edward.
Gordon was leaving the building, tucking his cotton shirt in.
He was content and his blood was warm and flooding his veins. Edward knew that in a few hours Gordon had plans and a switchblade to slit a man’s throat, and Gordon wasn’t worried about it. The man’s name was Sawicki and he was more than willing to end some Pollack’s life for a sum of money.
Edward was too fast as Gordon passed the tight alleyway.
The man didn’t have time to scream, only a gurgle erupting from his lips as sharp teeth tore at his jugular, blood flooding his lungs.
Edward drank in long, gulping drags, lapping up the intoxicating blood with a greedy hunger.
He snapped the man’s neck before leaving him there, just to make sure he was dead.
He’d been alone for two years, one month, and five days.
He wasn’t keeping a count or a tally on his bedpost, because he didn’t have one. But the day’s newspaper was strewn across a homeless man on a rickety bench and his sharp red eyes couldn’t help but catch it, his able mind doing the necessary math.
The number didn’t hurt – after all, it was just a number – but instead of hurting, it made him feel empty. If Edward were honest with himself, he’d realize he felt lonely, but these days Edward was hardly ever honest with himself.
It was snowing lightly in the small market and Edward bent his purple lips into his scarf, acting like the icy winter air bothered him. A woman and her children ran around his legs. One small girl was lagging behind, and she had braids in her hair, her tongue licking the falling crystals. Her eyes caught his and her jaw went slack, her little breath caught. She was scared and her face was flushed prettily.
He clenched his teeth together and pushed past her.
The next few meters he strode too fast, tongue darting out to lick his dry polished lips.
A little girl.
She was a little girl, and he knew she would taste sweet, a warm treat on such a cold day.
A growl left his chest and he darted faster onto another less crowded road. She was a little girl with a mother who would miss her. He imagined the lady he’d just seen finding her dead little child, tears stroking her withered face. Edward held onto the image, because unlike that harmless number – two years, one month, five days – this image hurt. It clawed at him and subdued his salivating mouth, ridding him of any other thought besides: I’m a monster.
He was a monster. He’d killed. He’d fed.
That taste of hot human blood was an addicting burn on his tongue.
There was no forgiveness for the things he’d done. There was no reprieve. There was only gripping hell that reaped its vengeance. It was his only comfort, his only pain. He reveled in it, embraced it.
Edward slowed as he reached the park, narrowing his eyes to the bright white sky. The child’s imagined taste was but a whisper, and her scent was but a memory. He stopped in the snow, breathing in ice, in blood and human stink. Had it truly been over two years? Had his life become this? This constant struggle, this eternity of punishment, this god-complex of picking who was to die? Did it make him more of a monster – he, who had a conscience to choose who deserved death – than a disgusting thirst-driven savage?
Did it matter? In the end, in the twilight of night before the kill, in the satiated dawn, did it matter if he’d drank a murderer dry or an innocent child?
He wanted to believe that this was true, that it did matter. But nothing could assuage the hatred coursing through him, intensifying to the peak of wrath. It did not matter. Murder was murder, and he’d signed that deal with the devil a long time ago.
Two years, one month, and five days ago.
The thought had been festering in his mind, tantalizing the corners of his thoughts. It was only now, in full gaze of his hated reflection, in the ruby-tinted color of his eyes, that he saw it clearly.
It hadn’t taken long to track down scum that night, hadn’t taken long at all to find prey to drain dry, to find some poor fortunate victim to save. Under the silver light of the moon he’d tore into a fresh meal, letting the warm heady liquid warm his insides, letting the taste wash over him. It wasn’t until he dropped the body onto the cold ground that he’d seen the girl’s eyes, those frightful orbs gleaming in the darkness.
She didn’t scream, but he could hear her ragged breathing, the rabid pulse of her heartbeat, that thrumming that beckoned his appetite. She’d stared, terrified, frozen, clutching at her ripped clothing and her exposed throat simultaneously. Her dark hair flowed across her shoulders like waves of silk, her wide brown eyes stricken and beautiful. He’d seen it there.
It lurked beneath his chilling red irises. The demon, lapping at his insides, and nothing else more.
Monster. Murderer. It was all the same. He was not human, and he hadn’t been for decades. Where was his humanity in that hard killing gaze, his soul?
Had the blood washed it away, had every thoughtless and vicious death he’d inflicted devoured it? What was he, if not but a soulless demon? If not a damned killer? Was there anything left of his humanity?
He’d left her there to weep, striding into the slushy street with quick footfalls, coalescing into the night like a phantom, like the shadowed creature he was. He’d latched onto her panicked thoughts, her cries of terror. They echoed in his mind and numbed the world around him.
She still whispered to him as he stared into his own feral eyes, serenading him with the frivolity of awe and pain, of consuming fear. Edward dropped his gaze to the heat of candles, his face bathed in their soft yellow glow. Each flame was a pinpoint of beautiful warm light, of shapes of melted clear wax and red glass holders.
He hadn’t been in a church since he was one of them, since he had a heart that still pumped blood. Since he had a reason to breathe besides out of convenience and habit.
It was wrong to be here. It was blasphemous; it was an affront to taint the house of God. Edward knew well enough the evil that was in everyone, the forbidden thoughts each person indulged in. He knew of the monster inside of himself. He knew he did not belong here; he was not pure or wholesome. If Edward had an end, there would be no forgiveness for him. He’d have much awaiting him after Judgment Day.
His jaw tightened, and he lit three candles with a steady and sure hand, each one blazing to life. One for his mother, his father. One for his own soul.
His soft grim laughter echoed in the wide space, the dark amusement filtering as he mentally witnessed the girl stumbling home into the dangerous night, her thoughts frantic, and her heart in the pit of her stomach.
Something painful gripped him, that feeling of guilt he was so accustomed to. He should not left her there, not alone and frightened. He should not have fed in front of a human, should not have been so reckless, so foolish, so stupid.
Yet lately Edward had been anything but sensible.
Her feet were cold, and she was gasping into numbing fingers. She wanted desperately to return home, to be with her family. Her mind had not yet processed what had happened to her, only that the terror was driving her further and further from the dead seeping body of her attacker. She was vowing never to sneak out again.
Edward listened carefully to each word, still with concentration.
Would she bury this night into the recesses of her mind? Would she choose to forget her demonic savior, never to cry wolf – or rather – vampire? She must know that no one would believe her. She’d be sent to an asylum, locked up in those disgusting and inhumane houses without a second thought.
He cursed his thoughtlessness with a hiss, frowning as his venturing footfalls brought him out into the freezing night once again, into the welcoming darkness. Anger – for himself, for his recklessness – filled him with violence. He could not help her. He’d saved her life, but he’d also exposed himself as the monster he was, and now she would have deal with those gruesome images.
Growling, he blurred past buildings, down alleyways, trying to pinpoint her location – for what means, he did not know clearly. If anything, knowing she arrived safely at home would assuage the worry he felt, lessen his guilt. Fill him with some sort of grim peace.
Soon enough, he found her, saw her path super-imposed on his. She was home and he could see her from the corner, scrapping her little fragile knees and shins as she climbed inside a low-hanging window. The sweet fragrance of her blood hit him on a breeze; he heard the rapid beating of her small fluttering heart, that blood-filled organ that beckoned the rush of venom into his mouth.
He hissed out of desire, out of disgust for himself and walked forward, licking his already red lips. He heard the muffled thump as she hit the floor, felt a surge of lust at her thoughts. She smelled the blood, was sickened by it, saw the image of her bruised skin in his mind through hers. She smelled unlike anything he had ever smelled before, like perfection, like a delicious meal sent to tempt him by the devil himself.
He wanted her. All of her, every drop. He needed to taste her, to drain her dry, and he was going to.
He knew it, he felt it in his bones, in the lust gripping him and driving him to a horrible beautiful madness.
She left her window open. Not that it mattered. Stupid, silly girl.
Easily he slipped inside, the devil inside him snapping its jaws, his crimson eyes growing wide at the smell of her everywhere. Everywhere, dripping off of every surface. He stood still in anticipation, locking his gaze on her back – she’d stumbled to her vanity, hands shaking as she searched for gauze and medicine, but it didn’t matter.
She was dead. She was his.
He took a step forward; preparing to lunge, to encircle her in his cold embrace, hand over her mouth to stop her inevitable scream. He couldn’t kill her – the useless struggle she’d make would mean something to him later, would weigh down on his conscience, but for now he wanted her blood hot, infused with irresistible terror that would taste even sweeter. He’d take what was his, take it all, every drop, every drop.
But she turned around, her pretty eyes rounding in surprise, lips parting – and then she was against the wall, pressed down by his hard body, her scream smothered by his hand. Her thoughts raced, he saw them reflected in her brown orbs. I don’t want to die I don’t want to die I’m going to die no please no. Sickened, he stopped listening, leaning into her and hearing her little ribs snap, smelling the salt of her answering tears, his body reacting to her pained whimper. He hissed, angry, wrathful, full of insatiable rage at his thirst, at his loneliness, at himself for what he was about to do.
He pushed her head to the side, careful not to break it, exposing the pale skin of her neck. He breathed her in, venom bursting double-fold into his mouth, the small lines of her capillaries and her thick arterial pulse detectable by his sharp gaze.
Oh God, oh please no. Oh please. This isn’t happening. I thought I was saved-
“Shut. Up!” The growl left him, his hand leaving her mouth for her neck, pushing her up on her toes.
Her tear-soaked face was in a grimace and she choked, little hands fisting the jacket at his shoulders, pulling and pushing and doing nothing. “Please don’t.” Her voice shuddered, was spat on tiny gasps.
There was something in her eyes, something innocent and terrified, and he saw himself through her: a monster that looked like a man.
He gasped; he sucked in her scent and stumbled back, letting her fragile human form fall in a heap to the floor. She coughed and sputtered, crawling away from him and into a corner like an injured, frightened animal.
Edward watched her, lungs heaving with effort, taking in her perfect scent and wanting it even as if felt his revulsion amplify, turn into something dark and loathing.
“I’m sorry,” he choked. “I’m sorry.”
Her mind was oddly quiet, her thoughts subdued. Shock, he realized. She was in shock.
He stepped towards her, unnaturally fast, and she jerked against the wall, unable to move further away. She kicked and fought as he scooped her up but didn’t cry out, her voice strained beneath her panicked breaths.
He lied her out on her small, rickety bed, the covers mused and blue. Gently, he felt the broken curve of her ribs, the indentation, locking his eyes with hers. She wheezed on every inhale, every exhale accompanied with a painful sob, looking up at him in fright and confusion and agony.
Edward knew what he had to do, looking down at her broken body, his thirst reigned.
Swiftly, carefully, he picked her up again and ran.
He was watching her sleep.
Her dreams were vivid. Full of him, of terror and of prophesy. Full of nightmares that ate away at her tentative rest.
The drapes were drawn; he was sitting in a far pitch-black corner and not breathing, never breathing, although the smell of her was still on his tongue, promising pleasure he never would deserve in his long existence.
He’d set her ribs the best he could, placed her in an unused bed in an unused room in an empty house. One of Carlisle’s, one the family owned in case Seattle seemed like a good destination one day, as it had decades before.
There was no way he could let her leave, not now. Not after he’d killed in front of her. Not after he’d almost taken her blood, only to find himself before that final strike. Not after he’d chosen to care for her out of guilt.
She murmured something soft in her sleep and shifted, pain shooting across her features. He was mesmerized. He was afraid. She was so small and pretty, like a porcelain doll, and her blood called to him like a siren.
She should be dead, he thought. This innocent, beautiful, stupid girl.
Her eyelids fluttered, her thoughts clearing, becoming ever lucid. Edward froze and watched as she rose to sit with much discomfort, her heart beating like a rabbit, and its calm pace doubling.
Where am I?
“You’re safe,” he answered, and her blind eyes searched for him.
He stood and walked into a greyer light, lips twisting into a knowing humorless smile as she recoiled.
“I won't hurt you,” he promised. “What is your name?”
Isabella Swan. “Bella,” she answered, voice trembling. He stepped closer and she went rigid, her eyes unable to leave his. He’s so beautiful, was what she thought and Edward only felt laughter raising in his throat.
Stupid, silly girl. Even after he’d nearly murdered her, his face did not turn her away.
“My name is Edward,” he offered.
There was silence, or at least that was what she heard – a thick horrible silence, her predator’s eyes probing hers, black with a thirst he couldn’t control.
But Edward could only hear her, listening intently to every reaction.
Where am I? He almost killed me. Where did he take me? What’s he going to do with me?
But he stopped. He didn’t kill me. That’s not to say he won’t later, Bella. Think, will you? Think, you have to get out of here before you end up a meal.
Why didn’t he kill me? He’s a vampire. He could have killed me so easily. This isn’t like Jacob said.
The last thought made him pause, stirred an undeniable curiosity.
Slowly, he walked to the edge of the bed, stilling the stream of her consciousness. He gritted his teeth in frustration but came closer to perch at her feet, eyes never leaving her draining face.
“I won’t hurt you, Bella,” he said soothingly, but he was not sure if he could keep such a promise. “I lost control before. It will not happen again.”
She didn’t believe him – or she didn’t want to, she wasn’t sure.
“You hurt that man,” she argued, a flash of her attacker running through her mind.
“I needed to eat,” he explained carefully. “I saved your life.”
“You broke my ribs.”
“But I did not kill you.”
Her lips pressed together, the pink of them turning white. “I want to go home,” she breathed the request, lashes fluttering.
He’s not going to let me go.
“I can’t do that, Bella,” he said in a low voice.
“I won’t say anything.” Her heart was speeding up again, a deafening thump that roused his thirst.
I have to find a way out and Jacob will come looking for me.
Edward saw Jacob then: a broad-shouldered man with a wide smile, his being stretching and contorting and bursting into – Edward hissed under his breath, panic filling his chest, and the sound made Bella flinch and back up into the headboard.
“You cannot leave,” he ordered, raising to his feet and towering over her.
Now there was no way.