I actually sent this into the contest for Nov./Dec. It's Edward's coming back from his rebellious stage--and the one who saves him is Bella's grandmother.
1. Chapter 1: Saving
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Midnight. A dark alley. Predator stalking its prey. It would never change. Every night would always be the same. Nothing ever changed. What the predator did not realize was that he soon would be the prey to something else. Something different; something greater; something...dare I say it?--god-like.
The past ten years of my wretched life had been this routine. Wait, hide, stalk, save, feed, satisfaction. Wait. Hide. Stalk. Save. Feed. Satisfaction. It was permanently etched into my brain. It was all I knew; all I allowed myself to know. I could know nothing else as of this moment.
Wait...I would wait for my prey to attack its prey...wait for my opportunity to put the miserable creature to justice...
Stalk...I would stalk my prey as it so viciously intended to harm the innocent person it chose...
Save....I would save the innocent, play the role of the hero, and save another innocent life...my self-appointed role of heroism--though, most would not accept me as the hero in this piece. It didn't matter. I knew what I was. I saved lives, did I not? The world was a better place without those evil creatures anyway. I was doing the universe a favor.
Feed...I would reward myself with the only prize I truly wanted, the only reward I would need. Blood...blood. I would make that pathetic monster's neck my sweet chalice and drink deep...drain the life from it as it had done to many others. The searing fire surging in my throat, scalding my flesh--or so it seemed--would die down. It would be calm...it would be soothed as the sweet, ethereal sensation of blood flowing down my throat, through me, like a river of life, would temporarily save me...giving me life, hope, happiness...and it would all pay off in the end...
Satisfaction...I would rid the world of one more worthless being and save someone who might be needed. There was no wrong in my judgment, no error in my ways. This was simply who I was...it was what I was... I was a vampire...and nothing could change that.
Christmas. Happiest time of the year? Not for all. And, luckily, not for me. The one good thing about these criminals was they never rested, never took "holidays" or "vacations". Which incidentally, worked out quite well for me or else I would have to wait.
As snow drifted down upon me in thick sheets, I hid behind an alley wall, peeking around the corner every so often. Innocents would come and go, but I would never harm them. I would refuse to ever hurt someone who did not deserve it.
It had been this way for the past ten years--I had killed around 40-50 people--but, not once had I ever touched an innocent. I never would. I made that promise to myself when I left my so-called father. Only prey on the truly evil--never on an innocent.
I was just about to give up when I heard a man's thoughts--cruel, vile, malevolent, wicked, malicious, ...evil...and...showtime.
I prepared myself for the kill: crouching behind the alley, waiting for my moment to attack.
The creature carried a little girl, unconscious, in his arms, intending to do the worst possible things to her. His thoughts were focused on this little girl and his sick, disturbing musings.
His pulse was racing in anticipation, his blood surging through his veins, faster and faster, with each beat of his heart. If he even had one. The only proof I really had that people like him even had hearts was the temporary quenching of my insatiable thirst--the blood.
What did he need it for anyway? He didn't deserve it anymore; not after all the horrible things he had done. She wasn't the first. There had been others.
He came to a stop right in front of the building I was behind, facing the other direction. He looked rapidly from side to side, making sure he hadn't been followed, making sure he was alone.
He laid the little girl on the thick blanket of snow, and she shivered involuntarily in her sleep, her teeth chattering slightly.
She had no blanket and was wearing only a thin little silk pajama dress. The pale blue shade of her skin suggested that she was close to hypothermia.
He knelt down beside her and trailed his fingers down her face to the side of her neck. I bared my teeth and snarled angrily, as he made to pull her dress up.
At that moment, I lunged for him, slamming him into the wall, and growling as he struggled uselessly against me.
"What the hell are you?" He gasped, as I grabbed him by his throat and brought him closer to me so that his face was mere inches from mine.
He let out a strangled yell of fear and pain, his thoughts pleading with someone to save him. He prayed pathetically with all his might, praying for God to spare him, for me to be smitten.
I threw him to the ground and hovered over him, making him cringe away, in fear, "No one's going to spare you. You're getting what you deserve." I spat.
"Please," he begged, "Please, I'm begging you. Don't do this. Please, I'll do anything."
I kicked him and then grabbed him from behind, holding him roughly against me. "You didn't show mercy to your victims, did you? Why should you get the easy way out?"
"Please," he sobbed, hysterically, "I don't want to die."
"And, you think she does? Life for a life. And, if anyone's going to go, it's you. See you in hell." I said, coldly, grabbing his head, snapping his neck easily, lowering my mouth to his now exposed neck, and sinking my teeth into his skin, as he collapsed, falling limp in my arms.
I drank deeply, the feel of the blood flowing through me, strengthening me, being one of great power. I moaned as I clutched him closer to me, the searing fire in my throat dying down, seeming unimportant.
I deepened the bite and drank even more hungrily, eager to get every last drop, to drain him of every ounce of life he had. When I finally finished, I let him him fall to the ground, his body hitting a dumpster.
I turned to the little girl, who was now standing and staring at me. Her eyes held no fear, no trace of the terror that she should feel. She had just seen me kill a man, but she seemed to be unaffected by it. She wasn't in shock. She wasn't in pain.
Oh, no. How could I have let this happen? What was I going to do? Why wasn't she running? What was I going to say?
I finally found my voice and choked out a small, "Hi. Don't be scared. I won't hurt you."
She was holding a little teddy bear, which was dragging in the snow. Her blond, slightly curly hair was in disheveled pigtails, about to fall out of the rubberbands. She shook her head, making the pigtails move with her, and said, in just as small a voice, "I'm not scared."
I furrowed my eyebrows, struggling to decipher why she wouldn't be scared after what she had just seen. I slowly approached her, taking cautious, careful steps, so as to not scare her now.
When I reached her, she looked up at me, with the most beautiful chocolate brown eyes I had ever seen. They were almost mesmerizing. I saw trust and appreciation and almost affection in them.
I knelt down beside her and she said, "You saved me," her voice stronger now, with a sense of conviction in her words.
Hardly. But, still, I had to get her home safely. "What's your name?" I asked, hoping she could help me bring her home.
"Marie. My name is Marie Swan."
"Marie?" I repeated, "Okay. I can help you. Can I help you get back home?"
She nodded weakly and asked, "What is your name?" '
"It doesn't matter," I said, rising to my feet and offering her my hand.
"I'm cold," she said, wrapping her arms around herself, struggling to warm up.
Oh, no. I wouldn't help with that. How was I going to get her warm?
I scooped her up in my arms and said, "I'm sorry about this--I'll get you home as fast as I can, okay? I promise. Then, you can get warm."
Seeing where she lived in her head, and recognizing the area, I took off for it, running as fast as I could, struggling to keep her conscious. If she fell unconscious now, with the possibility of having hypothermia, there was a slight chance that she might not ever come out of it.
We reached her house and I climbed through the window so that her parents would not see me, and I laid her in her bed, tucking her in.
I turned to leave, but she sat up and whispered, "Wait."
I stopped and then turned back around, "What?"
"Can...you stay here...until I go to sleep? I'm...scared. I don't want to be alone."
I nodded and sat in the rocking chair beside her bed. "It's okay. Everything will be okay now."
She reached her hand out, from underneath the blanket, and said, "Hold my hand."
I hesitated and shook my head, "I don't...my hand...it's...I'm really cold. You need to be warm."
"Please?" She begged, "I don't care."
I breathed a soft chuckle and then, against my better judgment, reached out and took her hand. "I'm sorry about what you had to see today. I should've been more careful; I--"
"How did you do it?" She asked. The wrong question.
"What?" I said, tensing up.
"How'd you do that to him? How'd you stop him?"
"Well, what did you see?" I asked, hoping to keep as much from her as possible.
"I don't know." She said, shaking her head, confused. That was all though. Only confusion. No fear. Nothing. "I think you killed him."
"And that doesn't scare you?" I said, neither confirming nor denying her accusations.
She shook her head. "You saved me. That's all I need to know. I trust you."
I let out a sharp breath and released her hand, so as to not crush it in my disbelief and anger. How could she possibly trust me after having seen what I do?
"I'm..." I buried my face in my hands, shaking my head, miserably. "How old are you?" I asked, softly.
"Four." She said, holding up four fingers.
Four? Well, maybe, all things considered, she'd forget what I told her when she woke up the morning. Even so, for some strange reason, I trusted her. She was a child. She wouldn't want to exploit me or hurt me in any way.
"Do you promise not to tell anyone?" I asked, dreading the answer. What if she was one of those children who liked to tell everything to everyone?
She nodded and I continued. "I'm...a vampire. But, I don't hurt innocent people like you. I only hurt the people who hurt people like you. I only hurt the bad guys."
I stiffened up, worried that I had maybe said too much. But, she simply nodded and sat up, interested now.
"But, you killed him. That man."
Why was she so upset about it? He had tried to do that exact same thing to her?
"Yes," I said, softly, regretfully. For some reason, I felt guilt by saying that word. Like maybe I had done wrong.
"But, why?" She was incredulous.
"He was going to hurt you." I said, just as incredulous. Why was she making me out to be the bad guy? I just saved her life.
"Yeah, but...God loves everyone. No one deserves to die. No matter what."
I flinched. Carlisle had been telling me that from day one, but for some reason, it hit me a lot more when this little girl said it to me.
"What...do you mean?" I asked, guilt now taking over me.
"I'm glad you saved my life, but...you shouldn't have hurt that man. He was mean, but that's not up to us. Only God can decide who dies."
I was having a hard time believing she was only four. She was highly intuitive for a four-year-old child. I was shocked into silence. I had no words. I simply stared at her, struggling to understand what her and Carlisle had been trying to tell me. Were they right? Was it wrong?
"And, it's not fair...for you to do that...to him." I had totally missed her entire speech of why I shouldn't kill anybody anymore, but I got the gist of it. This was one brilliant girl. Perceptive.
"Wow..." I choked out, the pain of my mistakes finally hitting me, taking over me. "I just--wow."
She placed her hand on mine and said, "It's okay."
"No...it's not." I said, angry with myself, "I should've known. I shouldn't have...done that. How could I...how could I have done that...to them? To Carlisle? Oh, Carlisle. What have I done?"
I buried my face in my hands miserably, hating myself. "Who's Carlisle?" She asked.
"He's my..." I raised my head, "Father." It sounded natural. It sounded right. "Carlisle is my father." I had never liked to acknowledge him as my father before. I had had a father and Carlisle could never take his place. And, I resented him for trying. But, now...to be honest, Carlisle was the only father I could remember. He was my father...and...despite what I had been trying to convince myself all these years...I loved him.
"I have to go." I said, standing up.
"Wait," she said, taking my hand again, "What's your name? Please, tell me."
I simply looked at her and then knelt down, taking her face in my hands and kissing her forehad lightly, "I'm Edward." I said, softly, smiling as warmly as I could. "Thank you, Marie. For everything. You have no idea what you just did for me."
She smiled and repeated, "Edward...thank you. For saving me."
I stood up, "Believe me. You just saved me more than I ever could have saved you."
"Oh, Edward? Merry Christmas." She said, with a smile.
I returned the smile and nodded, "You, too. Take it easy, honey."
Then, I leapt from the window and ran to find my father. I had to see him; I had to return to him. I would never be complete again until I did.
By the time I reached him, he and Esme, my mother, had picked up my scent and were waiting for me on the porch.
They both cried my name with enthusiasm as I ran towards them. I barely came to a stop fast enough to not knock them over as they gathered me in their arms, and just held me. They simply held me as I sobbed relentess tearless sobs of pain and regret onto them.
"I'm sorry. I'm sorry. I'm sorry." I repeated, the meaningless words, over and over again as they both cried with me.
Carlisle held me against him and Esme was at my side, running her fingers through my hair and down my neck, caressing my neck, laughing through her sobs, as she cried, "Edward. Oh, Edward, my boy. Oh, thank God. You've finally come home."
"Welcome home, son." Carlisle choked out, "We've missed you."
We all stood there, simply sobbing onto one another, holding each other, for the longest time.
When we finally went back inside, we sat on the couch, as I told them about what had happened to me and how that little girl had brought me to see the error in my ways.
When I finished, Carlisle placed his hand comfortingly on my shoulder, and said, "I'm just glad you came back to us, son."
"You aren't mad at me?" I asked, miserably, "After all I've done to you...to Esme...how could you forgive me? I don't deserve it."
Esme stroked my arm and shook her head, "No, Edward, we love you. Nothing you do could ever change that."
Carlisle nodded, "She's right. It doesn't matter. All that matters is that you're here with us now."
"How could you say that? I left you to kill people. I took their lives. How can you say that it doesn't matter?" I was so miserable. I was scum.
The entire ten years, I had convinced myself that they were the monsters. That they were the villains. But, I was wrong. I was the monster; I was the villain of the story.
"Edward, look at me," Carlisle said, firmly. I obliged and he continued, "You are my son and I love you. I never expected you to be perfect at this. I expected you to slip up a time or two. I assure you, you could slip up a million and one more times and I would still love you. No matter what you do, to me, you will always be my son--the same boy I saved in that hospital. You have to know that."
I hung my head, "I don't deserve you."
"You're right," he said, making me raise my head, "You deserve the universe...and so much more. And, I know that one day, you will get just that."
I grimaced and he continued, "You couldn't have come back at a better time...Merry Christmas," he said, as the clock struck midnight, letting us know that it was Christmas day.
I smiled slightly and he kissed Esme softly on the lips before resting his head against hers, and they both looked to me and smiled happily.
Then, we spent the rest of our day simply staring out the window at the endless snow storm, enjoying each other's company.
Their thoughts revolved around their joy and love for both me and each other.
I could not believe how easily they accepted me back. How was I supposed to go on living with the endless guilt and pain of what I had done? I wasn't sure of anything anymore. My life was a pointless, meaningless torment and hell. I was absolutely sure of my love and need for Carlisle and Esme--my parents for now and for always.
One other thing I was absolutely sure about was that I was destined to be saved by a Swan.