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Clouded Night

Summary:
After returning from Italy, Alice has a very clear vision. How does Edward feel about this?
Skipped and unskipped parts from New Moon.


Notes:


1. Chapter 1: Home

Rating 5/5   Word Count 3687   Review this Chapter

Bella’s hands were desperately clutching at my shirt, as if she was afraid of what would happen if she’d ever let go. With the same ardent intensity, she was fighting to keep her eyes open. The whole way, from Italy to Forks, she had been fanatically trying not to fall asleep, even though she was extremely exhausted.

She truly deserved and needed to rest now, after all she’d been through. Risking her own life to save me. Still she wouldn’t act like any human at all. In that way, she hadn’t changed. But she wasn’t completely the same girl I had left all those long months, days and seconds ago. Her eyes seemed different, desperate, sad.

Was she afraid of being enveloped by nightmares, like she had told me on the plane? Or was she being haunted by other fears as well?

Ignoring both Charlie’s thoughts and shouting, which were perfectly identical to each other, I carried her up the stairs and into her bedroom.

Instantly, I was almost overwhelmed by the scent of it. I hadn’t thought about that, but the sudden blaze in my throat helped me remember. I had been surprised by Bella’s delicious aroma, which was ten times stronger here in this room. But I ignored it, just as I had always done.

I gently placed her onto the bed. I was even more careful when I fumbled her soft, warm fingertips loose from my shirt. Reluctantly, she finally relaxed her hands and let her head touch the pillow.

What the HELL does that boy think he’s doing? Charlie raged as he came storming up the stairs. Suddenly after all these months he shows up again, and he tells me what to do in my own house! I didn’t need to hear his thoughts to know how furious he was, I could tell perfectly from the way he thumped on the steps. And Bella! She looks like she hasn’t slept at all these last few days. Which is also HIS fault, I’m sure of that! It’s his fault she left like that to begin with! She was finally starting to recover from how he abandoned her LAST time.

Tired from running up the stairs, he was now standing in the doorway, gasping for breath. I turned around to look at him. I had never seen him so angry. His face was distorted by rage and deep red. The dark look from his eyes almost scared me, the vampire.

Although he wasn’t shouting anymore, I put my finger to my lips and quietly begged him not to disturb Bella. In response, his thoughts raged even louder than before, but he didn’t open his mouth.

Like earlier in the car, despite of her efforts she had fallen asleep. Her eyes were shut tight, and I could already hear her heartbeat calming down. I gently freed her of her shoes and pulled up the blanket to her face. Fast asleep, she almost looked peaceful.

I hovered over the bed half a second longer than necessary, admiring the face I had missed so much. I smiled at her, and my mind was filled by my eternal love for her. I could have watched her all day.

Reluctantly I pulled my eyes away, turned around and walked past Charlie. He was entirely right to be angry at me, he didn’t even know how much. Bella had been in so much danger because of me.

“We need to talk.” He hissed, as he followed me down the stairs. He was having trouble not to shout, but just like me he didn’t want to wake Bella. By ‘talk’, Charlie meant that he was going to make clear how he would never wanted to see me anywhere near his daughter. In fact, it was better if he never saw me again at all.

That boy will cause her nothing but misery. He thought with complete conviction, still silent. I moved to the small hall because, after all, he was going to throw me out.

He’s rotten for her.

“Edward.” he began. He spoke very precise, every syllable carrying his dislike of me. But his words were driven by his wish to protect Bella from danger and sorrow.

“I want you to go back wherever you came from and never come near Bella again. Do you understand?” Now he was telling me what to do, he didn’t feel the need to shout anymore. But he was still ten times more angry than I had ever seen him before. His fists were trembling. I wished I was a normal teenage boy, so I could give him a more appropriate reaction.

“Yes, sir. But I’m afraid I can’t do that.” I didn’t want to lie to him more than necessary. His eyes widened in disbelief.

What!?

I continued quickly before he could speak. “It would kill me.”

This was the truth. The past few months had been horrible. Of course I couldn’t tell him that there were things more dangerous than me out there, and Bella needed proper protection.

I had already caused Bella a lot of pain, and her life had been in danger because of me. Not once, or even twice, but many more times. It was unacceptable. But I wouldn’t leave Forks. I couldn’t, and not only because I was too weak to do it.

I had to stay with Bella, stay near Bella, to keep her as save as I possibly could. I had to protect her from the perils she would never have had to face if she’d been granted a normal, happy human life.

A small part of me was happy I had a reason to stay with her. Being without her was unbearable. Another part of me felt utterly miserable.

“I want you to know that I am very, very sorry for what happened. There is no possible excuse. I’d gir13;”

“If you EVER walk through that door again, I WILL use my weapon. Now get OUT!” He yelled, finally releasing all his anger. I didn’t argue with him and left the house. He closed the door with a loud bang. I noticed the car across the street. Emmett and Rosalie had been waiting for me, keeping up the human façade.

I’d rather have run, or even better, sneaked back into Bella’s bedroom right away. I didn’t care it was wrong, and that Charlie had forbidden me to see her only minutes ago. I was too weak to be good.

The thought struck my mind like a bolt of lightning. Without a soul, I’m too weak to be truly good. Shocking? Not really.

You know, Rose really is sorry. Please forgive her. Emmett didn’t speak the words out loud because, obviously, he knew I’d hear them. I sighed.

“I know.” I paused for a moment. I knew that if she’d have been able to, Rosalie would have been crying right now. Instead, she drove the car even more fierce than she normally did. The steering wheel was at a serious risk of being crushed.

“And I will.” It was hard not to forgive someone when you could hear her regret so clearly. Especially when that person was your sister.
I was still mad at her. But I knew that, eventually, I would forgive her. I knew Bella had. Bella probably hadn’t been upset with Rosalie to begin with.

Silly, kind, forgiving Bella. I knew I didn’t deserve her. I yearned to see her, talk to her, but she needed her sleep.
The unused stereo showed that the time was 11:42. I marvelled at the fact that not one full day had passed since I had thought her dead.

Dead, and eager to follow. Not that I believed I could possibly follow her to whatever heaven or afterlife or even nothingness her soul would embark to.

I needed to talk to my family. They would want to know whether I would banish us all from Forks again.

I was glad I had so much experience in blocking Emmett’s and Rosalie’s thoughts out. I needed to think about what to tell them. None of us said a single word until we were almost at the house.

“Edward, we all want to know...” Emmett finally started, do we finally get to return here? “are we staying here now?”

Although Emmett respected my wishes, he had a hard time understanding them. ‘So if she’s in danger, just change her into a vampire’ seemed to be his view on the subject. But how could I ever take life and soul away from her? It would make me more of a monster than I already was.

“I’ll... We’ll stay in Forks.” I finally replied both his questions as Rosalie killed the engine. Almost in the literary sense, I might add.

Yes, I would stay in Forks. And not only because I wanted to. Bella needed to be protected. I was glad to have a justified reason to be near her. I hated that part of me that could be genuinely happy Bella was in danger.

“I...” couldn’t finish my sentence. “Besides, haven’t you heard about what has happened here?” I continued quickly. “Young werewolves running around, and what’s even worse,” and now my voice grew hateful as I spoke her name, “Victoria.” How I’d love to rip her wicked head off and watch her rotten body burn.

Jasper, on his way to the garage, was startled by the sudden murderous intent. I heard him hasten his steps, my anger growing fainter with every step he set. Alice was right behind him. Of course they wouldn’t leave each other alone. Not now, right after she’d returned to him safely from perilous Volterra.

“Jazz, relax. It’s okay.” Her murmured words soothed him.

Edward, you know I know she’s safe right now. Please just come inside with us before you dash off to her again, please? Alice pleaded as they walked into the garage. Of course ‘dashing off to her’ was exactly what I wanted to do, but I needed to talk to them, all of them.

Especially Alice. She was usually quite proficient in hiding things from me, but she had yet to find a way to prevent me from knowing she was hiding something. Right now, the lyrics of one of her favourite songs she was silently singing gave her away.

What could it be she was hiding? Had Bella been devoured by werewolves only minutes ago? Was Victoria there right now? But no, it wouldn’t make sense at all if she was hiding those things from me. But then again, Alice was Alice. Her actions seldom made sense. My mind raced trying to think of everything she could possibly and impossibly be trying to conceal.

She danced towards me and looked up to me with dark, defiant eyes. I scowled at her.

Please be patient for a minute there, okay? No, that was not okay. She shouldn’t be making me so darned anxious like that!

Emmett and Rosalie were standing with Jasper now, waiting for us. It had been a long time ago private conversations between my sister and me had still puzzled any of them.

I stalked past all of them as I made my way towards the house. Except for maybe some dust and cobwebs, the living room looked like Bella’s disastrous birthday party had happened only yesterday. My six senses told me Esmé was cleaning the rooms upstairs. Carlisle was up in the library, probably creating evidence for his proclaimed job in Los Angeles or making sure some of us weren’t accidentally reported missing r13; whatever it was, it involved hacking into some facility network.

“I’m hor13;” no, I wasn’t home yet. Home was, wherever she was.

“I’m here.” I muttered. They immediately came to the living room, completing the family. My siblings had already arranged themselves throughout the living room.

Six pairs of eyes, ranging from a warm shade of amber to the darkest black, were beaming up at me from six faces, all of them equally pale, flawless and familiar. My family didn’t say anything, waiting for me to speak. Everyone, even Rosalie, patiently giving me time to think and rack up the words I needed.

I glanced around the room. Their thoughts filled the silence surrounding us.

I do hope he made the right choice. The right choice for him.

Edward does not deserve this penance he has inflicted on himself. He has earned right to happiness a long time ago.

O Hell! I had no idea he loved her that much! Even now he looks like he’s in pain. But everything should be okay again, shouldn’t it? No, everything was definitely not okay again!

Namida ga egao ni kawaru toki. Sekai wa nurikaerareru wa.

Really, there is no need to be hating himself like that. It freaks me out.

Let’s just get this over with.

Yes, what am I waiting for? I was unable to answer my own question, so I spoke.

“As you know, Bella jumped off a cliff. Not to kill herself, but apparently she thought it would be fun. One of the werewolves saved her.” I flinched, paused, but not long enough for anyone to interrupt or ask questions.

“These werewolves had to save her from a lot of things while we were... away. They killed Laurent, and have chased Victoria of every time she got close.” Just thinking about Victoria made me feel furious. I noticed my fists were clenched tight.

“But she will come back. And her heart is set on killing Bella. When she does return here, I will chase her down. I ask your help with this.”

“And our help you will receive, Edward. Bella is part of our family as well. Even if you hadn’t asked us, we would protect her.” Carlisle complied. I thanked him, all of them.

“What happened in Italy?” Emmett asked. I sighed. I was sure Jasper already told them everything he had heard from Alice. I began pacing up and down the room as I spoke, rapidly and not lingering on details.

“I told the Volturi my story and asked them to kill me. Aro and Caius were against it because they didn’t want to kill one of Carlisle’s children. Aro, of course,” my voice was dripping with malice, “thought my ability far too valuable to be thrown away. Marcus was the only one who did want to help me. I think he was... jealous of me. In the end, they refused to do it. They offered me a job, though.” Ridiculous.

“So we should expect the Volturi knocking on our front door sometime soon? What can we do? I imagine your thoughts on Isabella’s life haven’t changed… ” But what about hers? Esmé inquired after I had finished recounting the rest of my story.

“It depends on how you define ‘sometime soon’. They will come within this century. I don’t think they measure time in decades anymore, so I don’t think we should expect them in our definition of anytime soon.”

She’ll be dead by the end of this century, no need for them to come after. Rosalie blurted out. I flinched, and then froze in place. Her cold golden eyes widened in shock at what she’d done.

Of course I knew this. I had thought about it for a million times. A lifetime of happiness was enough for anyone, so it would certainly be enough for me. But I had been so wiped up by joy over seeing Bella alive that I hadn’t yet realised that I would have to experience her death a second time.

The agony. I was happy she would never have to go through it herself.

“Carlisle?” Jasper hastily asked as he felt the uneasiness. “You know the Volturi better than we do. What do you think?”

“I think Edward is right. They will come, but not in a few years or so. My guess is they won’t think of conducting a visit in the next eighteen to twenty-three years.”

This gave me the time to recover. “To answer your second question, no, my opinion hasn’t changed. I think Bella should stay human, regardless of whatever she or anyone else is thinking or saying. She just isn’t aware of what she’s throwing away. She thinks she does, but she just really doesn’t.”

“I just don’t think that’s really true, you know.” Alice replied in a pestering fashion, tilting her head.

“Well, maybe you trust your visions a bit too well, Alice.” I snapped at her. “You’re not bringing this stuff op again, not now.” I heard my own voice grow loud and harsh. “You saw Bella as one of us, I saw it too, and I prevented it from ever happening. Period.”

“And what have you to trust on? Your own know-it-all obstinate mind?” She really was angry now. Even before Jasper, who was standing right next to her, could calm her down, her mind slipped.

And I saw it all.

Bella embracing me, her skin pale as only a vampire’s could be. Bella faintly smiling, her eyes as red as the blood dripping from her lips. Bella, laughing out loud while jumping over a ravine I recognised as being close to Tanya’s house. Bella, eyes closed, screaming out of the pain her dying, changing, body made her feel. Bella and I, both blissfully happy, gracefully dancing the Viennese Waltz to a song which somehow felt extremely familiar. Bella, her dark eyes panicking while ripping Charlie’s head off. The blood splattered everywhere and she was pulled back into the crazed frenzy.

Countless of images, all of them including her, as a vampire. In some of them she seemed happy, embracing and kissing me or talking to Alice or arm-wrestling with Emmett. I even saw her and Rosalie, joined together by arms white as ice in a tight hug.

But there were just as much images showing a frightened newborn vampire, a despairing Bella next to the empty body of Charlie, one of her friends or someone else, a horrible wounded Bella in front of a panting Wolf or a smiling Victoria. The absolutely worst pictures were those showing a fire. A burning body, already too damaged to be saved, and the horrible smell of evaporating venom, so like the scent of her body but at the same time so entirely different.

I felt a sense of relief when I finally saw a vision which included a healthy, human, blushing Bella. But then that image was ruined as well because someone leaned in and bit her! He r13; no, I, because I now realised it was myself seen from the back r13; bit her dozens of times, everywhere over her body. After that, the screaming began again.
Other visions of a human Bella, but now she wasn’t being changed by me, but by Alice, Carlisle, Esme, a vaguely familiar woman, and even by Marcus.

All these enraging images, and not a single one of them showing me a human Bella, or even a slightly older vampire Bella. This was why Alice thought it was inevitable. No.

The mental torment still hadn’t ceased, the images refused to stop hunting through my head, one after another after another after another... No!

I refused to believe this. Alice had missed things before. Not too long ago, she had failed to see the outcome of Bella’s cliff diving.

“No! No! NO!” I roared, and I scampered off, into the forest. I fled home.

Bella. I was dashing through the wet woods surrounding Forks, running towards her as fast as I could. I flew past the trees so fast that even to my vampire eyes, they seemed to have resolved to a palette of a million different green colours. There was no wildlife nearby, but my senses told me what I already knew: They had fled, fled from me, the predator.

Maybe it was irrational, but I was afraid something might have occurred in the hours I had been away. And I had been away for months! The things that could have happened...

Images, every single one of them even more horrible than the last, began flooding my mind again.
I would never forgive myself for leaving, not in all eternity. It was unforgivable. I tightly clutched my teeth together to suppress a snarl, and ran even faster.

I wondered if Charlie would still go to his work today. He had been at home when we arrived, and today was a Monday. The fact that I still knew what day of the week it was extremely surprised me. Charlie couldn’t keep me away from Bella, but he would check on her from time to time. It didn’t matter.

I got the answer when I saw his cruiser in its usual parking spot. Maybe he wanted to make sure I was leaving his daughter alone. Maybe he was sitting in the kitchen, his gun nearby and ready to scare me off.

Too bad I’m not human. I was too tense to even chuckle.

I could already sense her smell, growing more intoxicating with each of my strides. In her bed, there was a silhouette tightly wrapped in various blankets.

She was sound asleep. Vampires did not sleep. An enormous sense of relief made my heart feel hundreds of pounds lighter, much to my own confusion. Hadn’t I decided to stay unaffected by Alice’s latest visions?

I abandoned these thoughts to a far-away corner of my mind. I could ponder on this as much as I wanted later.

I braced myself before I entered r13; through the window, like always. In the room, I relaxed and deeply inhaled the sweet air surrounding us.

There was an immediate reaction. I welcomed the familiar burning which danced throughout my body, starting at my nose but quickly scorching almost every inch of me, with the most intense flames centring around my throat.

I had missed absolutely everything about Bella, including her delicious (and very human) scent and even the inevitable reaction this monstrous body held towards it.

I hesitated. I was used to laying next to her on the bed, but something prevented me from doing that. Should I settle myself on the rocking chair instead, like I had done before she knew how and where I spent my nights?

This was silly. I knew I wanted to be close to her, feel her warmth. I carefully approached the bed and sat down beside the beautiful figure among the sheets. She made a soft sound, and I knew she was talking in her sleep.

“No! Edward!” she murmured with unexpected intensity. I flinched. But as I should have known, Bella was still deeply asleep. In her dream, she was probably shouting.

“Don’t leave...”