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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.


2. A Vicious Irony

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PART TWO: A Vicious Irony

Eyes narrowed, she moved towards me. Slowly, as though she were trying not to frighten me with her speed. When no more than a yard separated us, she stopped, her eyes searching my face. "Why did you call me that?" Her voice, Bella's voice, was soft, her tone wary. It was a question for a stranger, someone who had surprised her by crossing a line she had not expected. The realization hit me like a physical blow, and it was all I could do not to stagger.

"I thought I knew you." My voice was remarkably even. It was admirable, really.

She paused, giving me that searching look again. "I think I would remember your face."

My eyes slid closed, and I swallowed hard. "I see."

"You're disappointed?" Again, she was surprised. "Why?" She took a step closer, and I listened, listened as hard as I knew how... but still her thoughts were silent. Her mind, her face, her voice... they all belonged to someone I knew as well as I knew myself. Why indeed?

"A man is always disappointed when a beautiful lady doesn't remember him." I looked down at her again, gave her my most dazzling smile. She went very still, in that preternatural way that vampires have, and then abruptly looked away.

"Do you always attempt to flirt with women after watching them kill someone?" She sounded...slightly unnerved.

"Was I flirting?" I had the oddest feeling that, were it possible, she might have blushed. But the moment passed almost before it had begun.

"You know what I am." It was not a question. "What he was." She did not look back at the still-twitching remains of the other vampire.


"You know, and yet there you stand." She raised her eyebrows, obviously waiting for an explanation.

"Would it do me any good to run? You'd be on me practically before I'd taken the first step." It was surreal, this knowledge, and with it all the memories of a century spent as less than human. My confidence was absolute, and it all but dared her to contradict my words.

"What sort of human are you that you wouldn't even try?" Now it was her turn to surprise me. Surprise and wound me, because the thought came before I could deny it. Determination to defy logic, it was exactly the sort of thing that.... Bella would say.

"A practical one," I made myself reply.

"Or a suicidal one." There was something in the way she said it, a sadness I knew all too well. "Go home," she whispered. "Go to your loved ones and pretend this was a bad dream." She had no way of knowing that there was nothing more in the world that I wished for.

"I don't know how." The words reflected the bleakness I felt. Clearly I was lost, and the world had gone insane, there was no other answer. I was human, in an unfamiliar wasteland, with the vampire doppelganger of the woman I loved gazing at me without a shred of recognition. If this was not a nightmare, then insanity seemed the only choice. Perhaps then there might be some chance of recovery.

"You're not leaving me many options." She hesitated, and I wondered if she was trying to decide whether to kill me or not. By the color of her eyes, she didn't feed on human blood and distantly I realized that I was pleased by that. It gave me hope for my Bella's future, should I ever be able to participate in it.

"Do what you need to do. I understand." Oh the vicious irony. But if I was going to die, I could think of so many worse ways than to fall to her, to give the strength of my blood and body to this lovely, haunting creature, even if her resemblance to Isabella Swan was only skin deep. "But... if you're going to kill me, can I at least know your name?"

"Kill you?" She raised her eyebrows, ghosting a step closer, and then another. "If you die, it won't be my choice." I was responding to her, I could feel it, my human senses succumbing to the elegant snare she presented just by existing. Her scent, it was the same, so delicious that I breathed it in like a dying man. I waited for the thirst to seize me, as it always did, but this body didn't crave her, at least not that way.

"Then what?" She could take me by the hand and lead me over hot coals and I would follow.

"That's for him to decide."

"I see." Even though I didn't.

"My name... It's Isabel. Isabel Cullen." My eyes snapped open at the name, a thousand questions demanding answers all at once. But I had no chance to voice even one. "Forgive me," she said softly. Before I could respond, she darted in close, reaching up to lightly press her lips to mine.

And once again the darkness dragged me down.