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Juxtaposition

Summary:
Edward/Bella. Edward POV. Reality turns on its ear and you have no choice but to forget everything you think you know about Twilight. Is it AU? I guess you'll just have to read to find out.


Notes:


10. Wounds That Never Heal

Rating 5/5   Word Count 1388   Review this Chapter

PART TEN: Wounds That Never Heal

[POV Shift: Edward]

Narcotic-induced sleep kept me dreamless. In time, the drugs lessened their hold on me, and eventually my conscious mind broke the surface into awareness. I opened my eyes to the muted light of late afternoon. A steady beep kept time with my pulse, and the soreness in my throat made me certain I'd spent some time intubated.

"Hey." I think, for the first time, I knew it was Isabel's voice when I heard it. Eyes gone nearly black watched me anxiously as I turned my head. She was holding my hand, and I realized the coolness felt good, soothing.

I swallowed hard, wanting to speak, but she stopped me with a look. She left my side for no more than a moment, coming back with water. I drank gratefully, letting the moisture ease my tortured throat. "How long?" I whispered hoarsely when she took the cup away.

"Four days." She closed her eyes for a moment, and something in her face told me that she'd been here the entire time.

"The Volturi?"

"Nothing yet." She smiled, but it was a grim expression. "It's just a matter of time, though. We stung them badly."

She was right, the Volturi wouldn't let their actions go unchallenged. The Cullens already had a price on their heads, this would simply increase the intensity with which they were hunted. "Isn't it dangerous for you, to stay here in the open?"

The look on her face almost made me regret asking. "Let's not talk about what is and is not dangerous, shall we?" Her jaw clenched. "I'm a bit more equipped to handle it than you were."

"I was thinking about everyone else in the hospital if it became a battleground." That wasn't completely true, I hadn't thought of those people until after she looked ready to have my skull for a flower pot.

"Oh." Her face fell, and she folded her arms on the side of my bed, leaning on them. "Even then... I wasn't going to leave you." Long lashes dropped low, hiding her eyes from me. "You tried to die on me, you know." She laughed, but it was not a pretty sound. "All that blood... I nearly killed you myself."

"Isabel..."

"Yes?" The wariness in her voice made me think she knew what I was about to ask.

"Why didn't you change me?" I gazed at her until she had no choice but to meet my eyes. Her own were as wary as her voice, perhaps a little defiant

"Would that have been your choice?"

"Not my first choice, no." That was simple truth. But I was practical enough to know that she'd been in a dire situation with few options. If she'd chosen that one as opposed to watching me die, could I blame her? When I'd stood in that clearing, helpless to fight, I would have given anything to have that curse back. To find myself still a living, if gravely wounded, human was oddly unsettling.

"Then you know the answer."

The number of my questions that still lacked an answer were beyond measure. Why was I here? Where was here? Was I a part of this reality permanently, or was there a way back to my own? My eyes went to Isabel's still face. Did I want to go home? I sighed, closing my eyes, because the answer was painful. Yes, I wanted my life back. I wanted my Bella back. Not looking at the beautiful creature at my side made it easier to remember that.

Again, I had the overwhelming desire to tell her everything. To try and explain. I had a desperate hope that maybe she would understand, might even hold the key to the entire puzzle. I looked up at her, searching for the right words to make my confession.

"Edward, what is it?" The care and concern in her voice, I didn't deserve them.

"There's something I need to tell you."

"It can wait." Jacob Black's voice cut me off, sharp and unfriendly, a fact which his hostile thoughts merely confirmed. He'd appeared silently behind Isabel, resting a proprietary hand on her shoulder. I didn't miss the meaning behind the gesture. Neither, apparently, did Isabel. She turned her head, frowning at the offending hand.

"Did you need something, Jake?" Isabel's voice was almost as unfriendly as his had been. The tension between them was pronounced, and it made me wonder what had happened while I was unconscious.

"You need to hunt." There was a ring of command in his tone that made her stiffen.

"I'm fine." I arched an eyebrow. Looking at her eyes, I knew better.

"No you're not. You're starving, I can smell it." He put a hand on the edge of my bed next to her, leaning in close. "It will fuck things up for all of us if you slip, Bel," he'd switched tactics, trying to reason with her. "Let me take you out so you can feed."

"I will notslip," she snarled angrily. "I haven't slipped since I was a newborn."

"Bel," he rolled his eyes, "that's not what I meant. If you want a fight, I can do that, too. But not here."

"He's right." I let go of my thoughts of confession. She didn't need that burden right now. "I think I could sleep again anyway."

"I'll stay with him," Rosalie said from the doorway.

And where Rosalie was, Emmett was never far. Isabel knew that, too. She looked at me, torn, and for an instant I could see in her eyes what sort of discomfort she was in. Again, I could remember all too well what that felt like, and I willed her to give in. "We won't go far?" She looked up at Jacob, pleading with him.

"As far as we need to go," he said a bit darkly, but he rubbed her upper arms with his hands. I could feel his concern for her then, his feelings went deep... and I caught myself resisting the urge to snarl.

Leaning down, she pressed a kiss to my forehead. "I'll be back soon." Then she turned and was gone, Jacob right behind her.

I glanced at Rosalie as she moved gracefully to my bedside, claiming the chair Isabel had vacated, an gossip magazine in her hands. "He's good for her," she said in a quiet, conversational tone. "Emmett doesn't always think so, but that's an older brother for you." She crossed her legs, turning a page in the magazine. "She's resistant to it, but Jake thinks she'll come around eventually. I tend to agree with him." Another page turned. "Eternity is a long time to be alone." Her doubts about me had returned, she didn't like the way I had put her family in jeopardy. She could see the attachment Isabel had to me... she could see that I had feelings for Isabel in return, but she wasn't sure of the exact nature of those feelings. I wanted to laugh, that wasn't far off from how I felt about it.

"I want what's best for her," I said quietly, and the irony was painful.

"That's good to know." Looking up at me, she smiled. "You need to get some more rest. You still have a lot of healing to do."

"Yeah..." I turned my head toward the window, watching the last of the sunlight fade into twilight.

He's been so still. If I didn't know better... Esme's voice was soft and sad. I wanted to comfort her, to hug her tightly and reassure her.

I hope you realize I won't forgive you, Edward. It felt like an age since I'd heard Jasper's voice, and it was hard to separate his words from my memories of four days ago. If you keep making her sad... I swear, you'll regret it.

Charlie's beside himself because Bella won't come home. I'm not sure what to tell him. Alice again. I'm not sure there's anything I can tell him. I know you're there, Edward. I can feel it. Please find your way back to us.

Please...