This was supposed to be under 10,000 words. *scowl* But Mervin didn’t stop me (in fact, she just laughed at me), so this one is a novelette; I guess you’ll all just have to once again endure my long-windedness.
Well, now that we’ve seen Edward finally facing what he’d done in "The Darkest Hour," now it’s time to see where he goes from there. For the last continuation, I used Rosalie’s story as the background for Edward’s journey, which had the added benefit of establishing Rose’s history in my Revamp!Canon, as well as getting a feel for her character, and showing a defining moment in Edward’s relationship with her. So, to see how Edward’s character continues to change into what it is by “The Blue Hour,” it seemed only reasonable to do the same with another sibling. And since I’m going in chronological order, you all know what that means.
So, here’s the next of my series of sequels/asides, a piece that takes up where “The Thorns Remain” left off, looking at how Edward has been dealing with the events of that story as well as TDH, how he’s getting along with Rosalie, and also as establishing Emmett’s character and Edward’s relationship with him. I’ll admit to feeling a bit more apprehensive about this one; the previous two stories in this series were re-working characters and back stories that sucked. Here? Canon!Emmett is already (albeit unintentionally) Awesome—I have a lot to live up to. Let me know what you think, and I hope you enjoy it!
Title: His Brother’s Keeper
Author: Mrs. Hyde
Betas: das_mervin and ket_makura
Fandom: Twilight Hate
Word Count: 15,135
Rating: R for thematic elements
Summary: “Emmett was quite simply like no one that Edward had ever met before.” Edward learns what it means to be a brother.
Author’s Notes: A gap-filler that takes place between TDH and TBH, and after “The Thorns Remain.”
Disclaimer: Any names, places, events, or specific back story that you may recognize from the Twilight book or movie series belongs to Stephenie Meyer or Summit Entertainment, respectively, and no profit is being made from this work and no copyright infringement is intended.
The rain had let up sometime in the night. It had been their fourth day of that same endless, steady rain that typified the weather up here in the Pacific Northwest, until last night it had slowed, the rhythm of the ceaseless drops tapering down to a gentle patter before stopping all together.
But it had left its mark. Before the rains had come, the horizon had flamed with the colors of the changing leaves. The heavy beating of the raindrops had put paid to that quickly enough. Now the flat sky was broken only by the skeletal arms of denuded branches and the bristles of the wet, black pines. The ground was carpeted with the soggy remains of the autumn splendor.
Edward flicked his gaze away from the window and towards the music before him. He scowled at that same stretch of notes that he still couldn’t get right, as though willing them to change. Practice, his mother had always said, was the key to a superior musician. It never mattered how well one could read music or grasp the complexities of the notes, if one’s fingers were so rusty that he or she could not realize what was on the page.
Edward had gone for a very long time without practicing. Literally years—not since they’d lived in Maine. They’d sold his piano before they’d moved to Wyoming, and he’d not had an instrument for all their years there. At first, he’d had no need—he didn’t stay much in the house, working and keeping to himself.
But then, circumstances had forced them to leave Wyoming, first for Oregon, and then on to their current location, buried in the mountains of British Columbia. They were still away from any towns at the moment; although Carlisle had taken a position at the hospital in Revelstoke and Esme spent most of her time bustling about town as well, the rest of them tended to stay home, away from people except for the occasional supervised foray into town. Since Edward was stuck staying home playing the child-minder and with nothing much else to do, and he’d finally relented and let Carlisle buy him an old used piano so he could take up playing again.
Because he’d needed to. He’d needed the distraction—without something to focus on, it had become that much harder to think, as home had become that much noisier Because now they were five.
Edward very deliberately went back to “Rondo Alla Turca.” Granted, the house wasn’t as noisy as it could be at the moment. It had actually been fairly quiet all afternoon, because Emmett was out—he’d gotten hungry. A small, rueful smile flicked at the corner of his mouth. Edward could well remember those days, just after he’d been changed, when it was only he and Carlisle up in the forests of northern Michigan. Oh, he’d been hungry all the time—he still was, really, even though he’d gotten used to it. But, well, some days, some times, all of a sudden he would get really hungry, and he had to have something to eat immediately, and so he’d go haring off into the surrounding forests to look for something.
Edward had gotten much better in the following years—he’d only needed a few quick snacks in the evenings during the week between their weekend hunts. Although he’d ruined that, after he’d…learned just what he was missing—he didn’t know if he would ever have that kind of control again. Maybe he already did, who knew—but he wasn’t about to test that theory. He ate regularly and often. He didn’t want to take that chance.
He supposed it might be easier if he was by himself. Dealing with his own hunger was enough, but he had the added burden of everyone else’s as well. Well, not entirely—Carlisle’s self-control was nothing short of amazing, and being close enough to hear his mind could actually ease Edward’s own thirst. The man had been living with it for so long that he literally didn’t even notice it any more. It was a delight to be near him, to vicariously experience that serenity, even though Edward could admit that it made him jealous, too. He’d never have that, not when he knew what it felt like to…to be really sated.
Carlisle’s quiet, boundless strength helped to make up the difference when also sharing space with newborns, as had been the case for nearly half of Edward’s life as a vampire. He’d had ten years to get used to his new life before Esme had joined them. Finding himself unwillingly dragged along for yet another ride as a newborn struggling for control had not been pleasant. It had been a relief once she had gotten herself under good regulation, but even then, she was hungry still, hunger that she simply kept in check with nothing but her own iron will. No longer was it only Carlisle’s quiet strength—now there was another hunger to fight alongside his own. He supposed that had been just one more outside influence that had lead him to that disastrous decision to leave—but that wasn’t an option any more. He would just have to sit it out.
Like he was now. Emmett was gone, which did take an edge off things, leaving him a nice few hours of relative peace where he could concentrate on his music. Carlisle was in his study, reading—he’d never truly attended any sort of medical school as a student, but he’d lurked in the back rows of lectures and demonstrations over the centuries, and now religiously read all the latest medical journals to keep up with modern medicine. Edward wondered if maybe, someday, Carlisle would go to medical school—would get a real medical degree.
Since Edward never would.
His fingers slipped a little, and he frowned as he righted them, trying to bring his mind back to now, and to stop woolgathering. He could hear Esme clattering in the kitchen as he returned to his music. There was no need to cook, of course, but it was still filled with food.
Now there was a woman who was incapable of being idle. Having been babysitter and chief cook and bottle washer for her entire family of ten since the age of six, industry was as ingrained in her as was her thirst as a vampire—even more so, Edward thought sometimes. It may have been the American stock market that had crashed and had yet to recover, but Canada was not exempt. Esme’s continual one-woman relief efforts in the form of organizing soup kitchens, mobilizing Ladies Aid groups, soliciting donations, and gathering food, clothing, and blankets were well-received wherever she went.
That’s what she was doing now; the sounds and thoughts as she sorted her goods into piles played counterpoint to Carlisle’s steady mental voice in the study. Esme was going through cans now, putting vegetables apart from beans apart from meat apart from sauces, and Carlisle had finished his treatise on antimicrobials and was moving on to lung diseases, and Rose was upstairs in her room, having just gotten out of the shower and was standing in front of the mirror in her underwear and my God, those were magnificent tits—
Edward’s fingers came down hard in a discordant jangle of keys as he uselessly jerked his head to try and shake off that thought—that image.
He took it back. Having Emmett around would be better. Much better. He needed to quit fooling around outside and get back in here right now. Having to listen to his hunger, to feel his bloodlust, would infinitely preferable, because it would be a distraction, and he could think about that rather than Rosalie standing on front of her bedroom mirror, smiling at herself, watching herself bounce, and she was cupping them, and sweet Jesus, but he wanted to get a handful of that—
Edward slammed his hands down in a furious set of scales, choking down curse after curse as he tried anything and everything to get his head and his eyes away from Rosalie and her preening, anything to make his fangs and his trousers go right back how they should be!
He had a good mind to yell up the stairs and tell her to put some clothes on, for pity’s sake—but that wouldn’t do any good. It’d only remind her that he was looking (whether he meant to or not), and then she would make him sorry he’d said a word. It didn’t matter than he couldn’t help it—in Rosalie’s mind, anything and everything Edward did was a calculated move on his part, because he was simply out to get her.
Edward and Rose were no longer at each other’s throats, thank heavens; the open animosity that had characterized their earliest interactions had over the intervening months settled down into a steady resentment on both sides—but that showed no signs of waning.
Rose still nursed that old grudge from before she’d been changed—still hadn’t gotten over such a public (albeit unintentional) snub. That’s not to say that her dislike was founded on nothing but that first insult—oh, no, she’d found plenty of new things to despise about Edward since joining their family. And, true to form, most of it was entirely selfish, if not outright ridiculous.
She could find all sorts of little things to be put out with him about. Did he have to play such dour, old-fashioned music when they got that piano? Couldn’t he play something a little jazzier? Why on earth did he want to listen to those dreary news programs on the radio—she wanted to listen to “Amos’n’Andy.” Lord, did he have to follow her around when she went out hunting? She’d been a vampire for nearly two years—she could hunt for herself, and they were way out here in the middle of nowhere—she wasn’t going to eat anyone.
But what really did it—what really set her against him—involved their gifts, both his and hers. All vampires had them, even if only the tiniest bit—they all had a little extra something beyond the basic physical changes to their bodies. It was a little something to help overcome the natural human wariness and the inherent cleverness of the prey, just a tiny extra edge as a hunter. But Rosalie hadn’t seemed to (which was just one more thing for her to sulk about regarding her change); she had never drawn their particular attention as a human, and hadn’t shown any signs of there being anything special about her afterward.
Edward had eventually figured it out. In hindsight he felt like a fool for not realizing it sooner. Lovely, pretty, charming Rosalie, who everyone loved, who always held her point, and who always got her way. Edward hadn’t ever really questioned why he let her walk all over him—honestly, it was a tendency that he had with anyone. In hearing people’s thoughts and wishes and desires—truly going inside their heads as no one else could—it was hardly surprising that he would find himself empathizing with what they wanted—to the point of actually wanting what they wanted as well. So, naturally, when he was around Rose, he couldn’t help but want what Rose wanted too.
But Carlisle and Esme didn’t have that problem—and yet Edward began to notice that as often as not, they also seemed to want what Rose wanted. Like when Esme needed help putting together baskets to distribute at Church—Edward was trying to teach himself Trigonometry, and Carlisle had been working, but when Esme pursed her lips, they both gamely came over to help…yet when Rose jutted out her lower lip, not wanting to muss her nail varnish, somehow Esme let her off. Or when Esme brought home a new load of old clothes for them to fix up to wear, rather than buying new, since they were so hard on them, but Rose fussed and whined that she hadn’t had anything new for so long, and then the very next day Carlisle brought her home a brand new, store-bought pair of patent leather shoes, and then Esme got her some lovely cloth to make a new dress. Or the way that when they’d first moved into their house in Oregon, Edward had picked the room further away from the others for himself, because it helped him think a little more clearly, but it was bigger than the one that Rose had and she liked the view better, and somehow in the end all of them, Edward included, had agreed that she should have it.
It didn’t add up. Or rather, it did add up, once Edward realized what was happening. It took something particularly unreasonable to finally clue him in. Rose was complaining about their tatty, pea-green couch—she’d always hated it—and Esme had patiently explained to her that times were hard, so they couldn’t be spending money all the time, that since it was second hand, they didn’t have much choice in how it looked, and anyway, they weren’t human any more, so things like that didn’t really matter.
Rose had pouted for a while, and then started idly mentioning the things she would do to the room—what she would change, how she would decorate, what she would get rid of and what new things she would buy.
…And really, now that she mentioned it, Edward could see what she meant, this was a pretty drab little house, really, and some new paint would do wonders—blue, maybe, like Rose suggested. And Esme thoughtfully mentioned that she’d never really cared for the curtains, maybe they could do something about it—maybe Rose had the right idea about something in white, a lace or a sheer. And Carlisle said that, well, they’d been saving money so well, and being so careful, maybe Rose was right and it wouldn’t hurt to buy a few new things, and Edward had agreed—they weren’t human, after all, and the money was there, so why not spend it—
“How did you do that?” Edward had demanded.
Despite taking immediate umbrage with his tone, Rose had honestly had no idea what he was talking about. Neither had anyone else, until Edward, suddenly suspicious, had pointed out how not two minutes after dismissing her suggestions, they were all eagerly seconding them. And then he had begun to list all the other times that he had only then realized Rose had suddenly, inexplicably gotten her own way. She’d scoffed at him—but Carlisle and Esme had not. Carlisle had met other vampires, knew about other vampiric gifts—and knew that one of the most common was the ability to fascinate one’s prey beyond the inherent vampiric allure, to influence a person’s thoughts to make it easier to lead them to slaughter.
In other words, to make others do what he—or she—wanted them to do.
Rose had been in some ways pleased to realize that she did have a extra ability—and doubly so to know what it was—but the mere fact that they did know what it was had lead to a sudden drop in its effectiveness. Rosalie hadn’t had any sort of particularly outstanding potential as a human, the way Edward had—and so her ability was correspondingly common and weak. Merely knowing what she was doing was enough to let Carlisle and Esme and Edward fight off her unwitting compulsion to do what she wanted.
And so, because Edward had pointed out how often Rosalie got her way, suddenly she didn’t get her way anymore.
Just one more thing to hate him for. And she most certainly did.
She was tenacious in her antipathy, too. Carlisle and Esme both simply learned to cope with the things they didn’t like. Like Edward’s gift—dealing with it was extraordinarily difficult for him, but he could admit it was no walk in the park for those around him to learn that all their innermost private thoughts and personal moments were out there for his perusal. He hated it, and he’d apologized countless times for hearing or seeing something he shouldn’t, but it was simply the way things were. It was embarrassing and uncomfortable for all parties, but first Carlisle and later Esme had learned to simply accept it and move on.
Not Rose. On some level he could excuse her initial violent reaction to finding out that he could hear, feel, and see everything that she did. After what had happened to her, how she had died, Edward couldn’t blame her at all for the sudden feeling of violation the knowledge imparted, for her to be so filled with outraged fury to know that he could see what she didn’t want him to see.
He did, however, think that throwing him down the stairs was a little excessive.
It had been quite unfortunate, how she had first found out—he’d been hiding in his room and trying to ignore the fact that she was showering down the hall. It wasn’t so bad, in some ways, when she was just washing—but afterward she had to pause to admire herself in the mirror…Rose had been so lovely before her transformation that the deep, physical changes to her features had really been quite minimal. She was still recognizably herself—only now, she was perfect. And she liked it. That was one thing about being a vampire that had taken her no time at all to become accustomed to—and so, much to Edward’s alarm, she spent an inordinate amount of time admiring her new and improved self in the mirror. And that day, she’d been doing so sans clothes—and when she was doing so in front of a mirror, when he looked through her eyes, he saw it all.
He’d managed to get himself under control when she finally got dressed, and he thought it was safe to come out—only he’d had the very bad fortune to meet Rosalie in the hall. He couldn’t help it—it didn’t matter to that eternally adolescent part of him that the two of them didn’t get along. His still-teenaged eyes had bounced hungrily over her body, his traitorous brain merrily conjuring up all the images it now held of what she looked like out of her clothes, and the blood had pooled in his cheeks.
Rosalie was no stranger to admiration of any kind, and she’d recognized his reaction for what it was immediately. She’d been filled with a nebulous sort of anger, irritation, haughty dismissal, and even a tiny twinge of pride, but above it all was suspicion—she knew he wasn’t one of her smitten swains, knew he didn’t like her like that, and knew him well enough to know that his sudden discomposure was not at all in character. Since he was already not thinking clearly, and at the time still unaware of her ability, her angry demands to know what his problem was had eventually produced a confession.
Rose hit the roof. Edward had found himself lying dazedly at the foot of the stairs, his arm broken and his head ringing, before he even knew what had happened. And then she was bearing down on him with clawed hands, shrieking like a banshee; in the end it had taken Carlisle and Esme both to keep her from all but rending him limb from limb for peeping on her.
And it didn’t matter that all three of them had done their best to explain that he couldn’t help it, that he wasn’t “peeping” on her, that he wished he couldn’t see so much—no, Rose had flat out refused to allow him within a mile of the house when she was undressing.
Edward had seethed over such an indignity, but ultimately went along with it anyway. It was either go willingly, or be forcibly ejected from the house by an outraged Rosalie. In the end, it was just easier.
They’d eventually come to a truce of sorts, after—well, after he and Rosalie had come to understand each other a little better. And after she’d learned that it was possible to keep him out of her head, at least a little, she took advantage of that knowledge when she was undressed. She’d in time come to grips with what he could see (or had at least gotten used to the idea), and had simply fallen back into doing what she did best—ignoring him.
He hadn’t gotten off that easily, though. Sometimes she forgot to hum or think of something else when she was busy admiring her new shape after a bath, and Edward was treated to a tantalizingly horrible peepshow. The first time she’d forgotten, half out of respect for her privacy, and half out of desperation for his own sanity, Edward had called to her up the stairs in a strangled voice, reminding her that he was in the house, and she might want to take care.
There had been a flare of embarrassed outrage, and then—she’d responded the way that only Rosalie could. She wasn’t stupid—his flustered reactions and clear discomfort with the situation had made it more than clear what seeing her was doing to his seventeen-year-old body. Despite justifying her anger by refusing to acknowledge that it was unintentional, she could clearly see that he didn’t like his unwilling voyeurism—she knew that he didn’t want to see it. And so, just as her own fiercely determined sense of entitlement had allowed her human self to overcome Edward’s vampiric fascination, now she actually managed to throw off her own modesty and embarrassment in the name of revenge.
He’d had only the briefest warning (oh so you want to peep at me you filthy little pervert well then how do you like THIS) before she started posing—strutting in front of the mirror, flaunting herself, fondling herself, showing him everything—
Edward had fled the house, lurching across the dead winter grass, running as far away as possible, but it didn’t do any good, not after seeing that, and in the end he’d been forced to crouch behind some shrubs and sort himself out manually.
Since then, he’d found that he’d generally rather leave on his own when she was naked.
He glowered at the sheaf of music resting in front of his eyes. Rose had put on her camisole, at least, and as distracting as it may have been to watch her admiring her pert little bottom in a pair of distressingly tiny underpants, it was better than nothing.
The most ridiculous part of this whole farce was that he was being treated to someone else’s show. Rose had settled down and largely stopped the blatant admiration of her own figure after a year or so, simply going methodically about her business like a normal person and affording Edward considerable relief—only now had she started her preening back up again. But this time, she had someone specific in mind. And so now Edward had to writhe with mortified, unwanted arousal, while the object of Rosalie’s thoughts went on, happily oblivious to her efforts.
Edward couldn’t help the grumble that escaped him as he danced his fingers through his scales. It’d be better all around if Emmett was the one to watch this. That way he wouldn’t have to—and Rosalie would be happy. Because, in all honesty, she probably wouldn’t mind if it was Emmett who was being forced to watch her—because as far as Rosalie was concerned, Emmett could do no wrong.
Edward sighed and rifled through his sheet music, flipping over to some Cole Porter. He didn’t particularly care for it, but he played it now and again in the interest of keeping the peace, because Rosalie liked it. And so did Emmett, incidentally.
Emmett McCarty. Or, as he was now known, Emmett Cullen.
Emmett, who had nothing but an eighth-grade education and who considered The Complete Western Book to be high reading. Emmett, who made sure that his overalls were clean when he went to church and called a spotted red bandana a handkerchief. Emmett, the youngest of three brothers who all worked their father’s land and who wrangled cattle and hauled hay and potato sacks like a beast of burden. Emmett, who would disappear into the woods with nothing but matches, a knife, and a gun to hunt for days. Emmett, who had actually eaten squirrel and opossum—before he’d been changed into a vampire.
Emmett, who was quite simply like no one that Edward had ever met before. If he’d lived in the eastern part of the country, Edward would have called him a hillbilly.
As it was, Emmett had actually been born and raised on a farm in northern Oregon. He’d lived there his whole life and seemed to have no intention of ever leaving. His family had weathered the Depression well enough; as victims of the Dust Bowl could attest, food still grew on the west coast.
However, “well enough,” did not mean “well off.” In point of fact, Emmett’s family had been dirt poor—he just hadn’t realized it. But he’d been happy enough, blissfully ignorant of his own straits, and just rocked along, working all day so that he could spend his nights in dancehalls, and occasionally disappearing into the surrounding woods to find some meat for supper.
Unfortunately, that last time, another sort of hunter had found him first.
The Cullens’ little family of four had moved up to Oregon when they thought Rosalie might be able to handle being near people again. She’d…backslid a little in Wyoming, and so it took her a while to manage decent control over her urges to feed, but Carlisle had finally pronounced her fit to start rejoining society. And so they’d decided to move, to go away somewhere where she could go out, far enough away from her home where she wouldn’t be recognized.
Rosalie immediately lobbied to go East—she was gorgeous, she was used to money and the nightlife, and she wanted to be sophisticated and social, so she clamored to go to New York, or at least Chicago. Edward nixed the idea at once and would brook no argument. It was too loud, too dangerous, and too close to Imperial outposts—particularly given that Edward had managed run afoul of two Imperial governors in the space of a week. Carlisle and Esme took his side unequivocally, which surprised nobody but Rose, and nothing she said would sway any of them, so she sulked the entire way to their new home in Oregon.
Edward had never been that far West, and Oregon was just as different from Wyoming as Wyoming had been from Maine. They’d chosen a whole new place, and had ended up in a tiny house buried in the forests of Tillamook County near the coast. Edward had been fascinated by the deep, endlessly green jungle, the massive trees, the strange plants and animals that looked like something out of a fairytale—or at least something from the equator. And he loved the rain—it was cloudy well over half the year, and cloudy days and rain meant less sun, which meant that they didn’t have to stay inside all the time. And the ocean! Edward had never seen the Pacific, had never seen water so blue, not even in his memories of growing up on Lake Michigan. He had never imagined a place so beautiful.
Rose hated it, and hated that they were still living out in the middle of nowhere and not somewhere civilized (meaning rich and fashionable and urban), and she blamed Edward for it. She’d assumed that by “ready,” Carlisle had meant “immediate total immersion,” not that she was ready to start easing in among people. And when he’s said “society,” she’d taken that to be “big cities,” despite the fact that, being vampires and having to hide what they were, big cities were not a good idea. It didn’t matter to her that big cities were invariably Imperial seats, or that there were no convenient animal food sources, or that being in among so many people was just asking for one of them to make a mistake that would cost someone his life. No, in her mind, the only reason she wasn’t playing the debutante in Manhattan was because Edward was a drip.
After a long period of pouting, she eventually decided the town of Tillamook was not entirely beneath her notice and began making small forays out in public. She was always accompanied by one of the others, of course—usually Edward, since Carlisle was working in the Tillamook County Hospital and Esme was often busy at the local soup kitchen. She didn’t like being stuck with Edward as her escort—she felt that being seen being squired about town with someone so obviously younger than her would ruin her reputation. Edward hated these excursions, and would have even if she didn’t treat him like she was doing him a favor by allowing him to be seen with her. He avoided towns when possible, and having to go through them next to Rosalie, who was still grappling with the urge to attack and eat anyone she passed—well. Suffice to say that they were not pleasant for either of them, and that they were both so snappish by the end of it that the two of them were usually not speaking by the time they got home.
She never admitted to his face, but Edward knew that she’d come to grudgingly acknowledge (to herself, at least) that if she was having that much trouble around people merely making a short trip into a small town, living in the heart of a metropolis was probably unwise. And, he knew, she’d been secretly having fun in new terrain in which to enjoy her still-new strength and agility. Edward himself was not above climbing the towering trees, and once in a while, if no one was around to see, swinging like Tarzan on the great swags of greenery that draped the branches.
But he was not playing that day in the spring of 1935 when he was out wandering the woods, looking for food, and he smelled blood.
Human blood—he’d know it anywhere, want it anywhere, and it was fresh and hot and his fangs were long and dripping in his mouth and he was running wildly towards the smell, that beautiful smell, before he even realized what he was doing.
He forced his knees to lock so sharply that he went skidding to the ground, getting a face full of turf and ruining his clothes. But he was glad for it—the moist, loamy earth in his nose was quite effective in dampening that smell (not blocking it, no, nothing could ever truly block it, he would always smell it) and helped him bring him back to his senses. And as such, he did the only sensible thing he could—he ran.
He ran as fast and far as he could in the opposite direction, despite being starving and parched and aroused and panting. He nearly ran right into Esme, so focused was he on maintaining his control that he didn’t hear her coming. Her pinched face told him as much as did her thoughts: She’d smelled it too, and she had fled like Edward had.
They ran home together, neither speaking, but both still thinking of what they’d smelled—and wishing that they could have gone and found out what had happened, but they couldn’t risk it. They both knew that for them to smell what they had, a lot of blood would have had to have been spilled. Someone might have needed help—but they couldn’t give it to them.
Edward had been sitting in a chair with a book, too tense to see the page and his head still buzzing, his teeth unpleasantly long in his mouth, when he’d heard it—when he’d heard her.
He’d shot to his feet, trembling all over, his fists clenched, at the sudden rush of hunger, of the taste of blood in her mouth—in his mouth—and his stomach had clenched in horror, oh, God, no, not Rose, not again, not when she—
But—no. She was running towards the house, coming closer, and her thoughts became clearer. He listened, and he heard (oh save him please save him), and he went limp with relief, flopping bonelessly back into his chair. Distantly, he heard Esme’s voice, urgently wanting to know what had happened, and he managed to answer. “It’s Rosalie. She—she found the—the blood.” At Esme’s stricken expression, he hastened to add, “But she didn’t—she didn’t eat him.”
No—she didn’t. And if he hadn’t seen the evidence for himself in her mind, he wouldn’t have believed it either. A new vampire, not even two years old, and one who was trying to stick to an all-animal diet, after…when eating animals was so hard, and human blood so sweet, to come across a big, strong, healthy human bleeding out all over the ground? Edward wouldn’t have given the poor man a snowball’s chance in Hell. Hadn’t he himself nearly rushed to eat him?
So had Rose—she’d smelled it too, and she was younger, wilder, and didn’t have Edward’s control. And so she had run towards the smell, he could see it in her mind, and he leaned forward in his seat and closed his eyes under the onslaught of her memories as she neared, of the mad, wild rush that he saw in her mind as she ran closer and closer to the smell, that lovely, lovely smell of food, of blood, of life.
And she’d found him—a big, brawny man, laying prone on the ground, his chest and face raked with claw and teeth marks. Half-in and half-out of her mind as he was, Edward could see that he’d clearly been savaged by something. But Rose hadn’t seen that, no, all she’s seen with the thick red fluid staining his torn shirt, seeping over the ground and spattering his ashen face, and she’d leapt at it.
Edward had started in his seat at the sound of the door banging open—there was Rose. Her eyes were wide and dilated and nearly mad, and she was frantically sucking and gnawing at the flesh of her fingers, anything to lick up those last remnants of blood that clung to them, she had to have it, and Edward barely managed to keep from vaulting across the room to worry at the bloodied fabric of her shirt as the rich, coppery smell of it assaulted his senses, and for a moment, he thought that surely she had—no. She hadn’t.
But she nearly had. She’d borne down on him, her fangs out and dripping and ready, oh, yes, that smell, so delicious so warm so alive and yes she would have it and—
And he looked up at her. His face was pale, his breathing shallow, his eyes glassy—but abruptly, they focused. He looked at her—truly looked at her, saw her, and his face filled with wonder. “Oh,” he said, his voice little more than a papery whisper.
And then, as Rose leaned in, leaned down to sink her teeth into him—he smiled. Slowly, as if it took all the strength he had left, he moved his bloodied, dirty hand to cover the cold white one that rested on his chest. “I never knew,” he breathed, his eyes never leaving her face, “that an angel would be so beautiful.”
And Rosalie stopped.
She had frozen, her face inches from his own, her eyes stretched wide, her body quivering with bloodlust, and she looked at him, looked back into his wide, trusting eyes, saw his smile, felt his hand weakly squeeze her own—and she bolted.
She ran and ran and ran, anything to get away, away from the blood, because she couldn’t, she just couldn’t, couldn’t eat him, couldn’t bite him, couldn’t hurt him.
Edward just stared at her where she stood in the doorway, chewing her own fingers and half insane with hunger even as a man lay dying out in the forest, and he felt the most absurd, inappropriate urge to laugh.
Only Rosalie Hale could be snapped out of newborn vampiric bloodlust with an appeal to her vanity.
Esme had sat Rosalie in a chair and talked her down; she was fidgeting and tense, and she’d torn off the hem of her shirt to chew at the bloodstained cloth. Edward watched her jealously as Esme tried to get her to focus enough to find out what had happened.
She’d managed a disjointed narrative that more or less coincided with what Edward had seen in her mind. As it happened, in her wild run away from the dying man, she’s nearly run smack into Carlisle—the only one of them who could go to him, who could help. Rosalie had been wild with bloodlust, and he’d nearly feared the worst, but she managed to point him in the right direction, and he sent her firmly on her way.
Or he’d tried, anyway. She wouldn’t leave immediately, despite the long fangs that jutted out over her chin and the venom that ran in rivulets from her mouth and the crazed hunger that was urging her to turn back and to pounce; she stayed for a moment, her fingers clutching at Carlisle’s clothes as she desperately begged him to save the poor man—begged him, urged him, commanded him not to let him die.
When Carlisle had assured her that he would do all that was in his power to save him, Rosalie had come straight home, and now sat twitching in her chair. Edward too was restless and stiff and hungry, the smell of the man still in his nose and mind twice, thrice over. Esme told them both to be still and wait—Carlisle would take care of it, and they were just going to sit tight, thank you very much, and she brought her mending basket out into the living room where she could watch the pair of them while they sat.
And there they had sat for several hours. Edward didn’t move from his chair, just stared at his hands and recited Shelley, trying to ignore the bloodied scraps of cloth that Rose kept putting in her mouth. It wasn’t helping her, but if he told her so, he knew she’d just snap at him—if she heard him at all. Her thoughts weren’t there, but still with the poor fellow who lay in the dirt outside—thoughts of gore and death warring thoughts of fear and pity. Eventually, Esme had shooed her upstairs to get cleaned up; Edward had not even seen her body as she bathed, his mind all to focused with envy on the way that she licked the dried crusts of blood from her arm and gnawed on the tatters of her shirt.
She’d come down again quickly enough, scrubbed and beginning to calm, and she sat with them and went back to waiting. They didn’t expect any news, not for a while—but no news was good news, and if the man was still alive when Carlisle found him, he’d have taken him to the hospital, and so he would be a while there. And as the night stretched long, Edward couldn’t help but be buoyed by Rose’s hopes that he would be all right.
Finally, late that evening, Edward had heard Carlisle coming home. His thoughts were heavy and dark and…guilty?
Edward’s heart sank; he had known instantly that something was very wrong—and when Carlisle was near enough to hear clearly, he knew why at once.
Carlisle was carrying something. Or rather, someone.
The man—Emmett, apparently, was his name—Carlisle had found him bleeding out on the ground, and he’d known at once that he wouldn’t make it to the hospital in time. He was white as a sheet from blood loss and his left lung was punctured, and so when he’d opened his eyes to peer up at the face above him, Carlisle had as gently as possible told him that he couldn’t help him, and had offered to pray with him.
Emmett had given a barely perceptible nod—all he could manage. Carlisle had taken his hand, and bowed his head—and then Emmett’s lips had moved, a tiny puff of his remaining breath coming out as words, and Carlisle had leaned close to hear.
“What a pisser.”
Carlisle had blinked at him, nonplussed, and then had shaken himself and moved to speak again, when Emmett had said—no, had groused—the one thing that was guaranteed to pierce Carlisle right through to the heart: “Don’ wanna die.”
Carlisle went very still, and then slowly asked, “You don’t?”
Emmett shook his head.
He didn’t want to die.
But that wasn’t all. Rose hadn’t wanted him to die, either. Rose had desperately begged Carlisle to save him.
Rosalie always got her way.
Carlisle had urgently whispered to the young man prone before him, offered him the choice before he’d realized what he was doing, before he realized that he was doing exactly what he’d sworn never to do again after seeing what his misplaced compassion had done to Rosalie.
And Emmett accepted. So Carlisle had bitten him.
Edward had been appalled when he realized that he’d brought the young man home, his body already changing—what had Carlisle been thinking? Biting people right and left and with no thought to the consequences—
He’d had no chance to voice his misgivings. The minute Carlisle had entered the room, his back bowed under the weight of the huge, limp form swung up on his shoulder like a sack of grain, Esme and Rosalie had been on him like a shot, demanding to know what happened, was he alive, what should they do with him—until they realized that his burden was quite dead and his blood smelled all wrong, not like food at all, and Carlisle admitted what had happened.
Then, amazingly, it was Rose who took charge—well, they had to get him upstairs, somewhere they could put him while he changed, and don’t be ridiculous, Edward, of course he’ll come back, I did, but just in case, Carlisle, you’d better not leave him until he wakes up, and Esme, could you get some clean clothes for him, and we can put him up in Edward’s room, he has that fold-out couch and he doesn’t need it anyway, he can stay down here for a few days—
Edward ground his teeth as Carlisle followed Rosalie up to his room and Esme started going through her work basket, and barring any other choice, he flopped down in the chair downstairs to wait it out.
And wait he had. He stayed out of his room, like Rose told him, and Esme got some fresh clothes like Rose had asked for, and Carlisle stayed in the room with Emmet for nearly three days, exhausting himself in using his weak ability to coax Emmett back to vampiric life just like Rose wanted. And Rose flitted here and there, willing him to wake up.
And once again, Rosalie got her way.
A few days after Carlisle had dragged his body back to the house, Emmett woke up.
Edward had absented himself from it; living through it on his own had been bad enough, as had enduring Rosalie’s change barely two years ago. He stayed near enough to the house to hear what was going on when Emmett woke up, but not so close that the experience overwhelmed him.
As with the three other members of their family before them, Carlisle was the one in the room when he finally opened his eyes. Carlisle, the one to soothe and calm that initial rush of pain and fear panic, and then to console and explain what was happening.
Emmett hadn’t quite believed it, not at first. Even Carlisle showing him his fangs, or Emmett accidentally crushing the end table with one hand when he tried to grab the side wasn’t quite enough to convince him that he hadn’t dreamed the whole thing.
But when Rose had peered anxiously into the room, and he looked up and saw her and she beamed at the sight of him, he’d gone rather quiet, and he listened to what Carlisle told him.
And when he was done, Emmett blew out a great sigh, scratched his head, and then said, “Well—all right, then.”
And that had been that.
Edward finished up the last chords of “Night and Day,” and couldn’t help but huff in exasperation at the memory. When he thought of Carlisle, who had spent the first years of his life starving himself and convinced he was an unholy demon and trying to find ways to destroy himself, or Esme, who worked so hard to be human as if to try to convince herself that she still was, or Rosalie, in her wild grief at the loss of all she held dear, or even himself, who had let the change turn him into something no better than an animal—and then there was Emmett, who accepted it just like that.
Night and day, indeed.
Table of Contents | Part II
Part II and the conclusion either tonight or tomorrow, depends on what she wants to do. See you guys then!