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Mortality Race

Summary:
Humanity. Everybody wants it. Everybody would do anything for it. Now that re-transformation is possible, how far will the vampire population go in order to obtain it? And what if not everybody wants it? The race for mortality has begun.


Notes:
This story was beta'ed by TRDancer of fanfiction.net. A big thanks to her! All the chapters are written out and ready to go, so you can expect fast updates. I know -- I'm shocked too! The story has been my little project for a while now, so naturally I'd be very grateful for some feedback. It's just no fun writing something when nobody tells you how they liked it (it's very depressing too!). Please remember to always review the stories you've read -- you'll make the author's day :) The POV changes quite often so you can get a glimpse of what all the characters are thinking and feeling. Enjoy! :)


2. Hosts and their Guests

Rating 5/5   Word Count 2095   Review this Chapter

__Chapter Two__
Hosts and their Guests

Rosalie's POV

The car ride home was painfully slow.

We hardly said a word—and if someone tried to start a conversation, I shot them an evil look that stopped the sentence before they even got to the first syllable.

No, I didn't want to talk about it. I noted that Alice especially had a hard time believing that.

"Rosalie," she addressed me at a crossing. "Please don't do anything stupid."

"Why, do you see me doing something stupid?"

"Well… yeah."

Emmett shot me a worried glance from behind the wheel, but I ignored him and snapped back at Alice instead.

"I'm being perfectly rational, thank you for your concern."

I knew she wasn't convinced, but heck—what was the point? We could argue about it for ages. Alice was usually quite bearable, but what she lacked was an understanding of what it was like to be human, whereas to me it was clear as day that we were different from the rest of the world. To Alice, "vampire" was just an abstract word, the definition of what we were. I considered it more of a description.

I was disappointed, though, to see that the topic still hadn't concluded, and that even my own husband had joined the enemy side.

"Rose, honey, I just don't want you to be hurt. The guy could be a lunatic, you know, and then you would have gotten yourself all hyped up over nothing at all."

I rolled my eyes.

"He's right, Rosalie," Alice echoed from the back.

They just didn't understand, now, did they?

"Shut up," I spat out. "All of you. Just shut up."

That silenced their talking, but not the looks that ranged from worried to cynical. But I knew they'd regret those looks on the day that I returned home human while they were still stuck in their vampire bodies because they'd been too late to believe and react.

My eyes wandered to the car we were following, Carlisle's, and saw the stranger's mane staring back at me through the rear window. His hair was a matted brown, and had obviously not been washed for days like the rest of his body. Apart from that little detail, however, I could tell he was a good-looking man. I liked the shape of his nose and mouth—though they didn't fit together at all, the warped shape fascinated me—and I absolutely adored the brown of his eyes. He was so… alive.

Fine, so I couldn't fool myself. The man looked awful, and a bath probably wouldn't change that.

But no matter how he looked or talked or smelled, he was alive.

And that made him beautiful to me.

As I turned my head to the side, the reflection of another pair of eyes jumped back at me from the side mirror. The ocher irises were fixed on the car ahead of us, looking hopeful and unconvinced and pensive all at once.

Jasper was in a whirl of emotion, and this time I was pretty sure it had nothing to do with his powers.

Carlisle's POV

I loved how Esme managed to keep her calm in every situation.

When we finally reached our home in north Oregon, the stranger was practically dragged from my back seat to the living room, and every one of my reprimands was ignored. I felt worried—my family seemed to have forgotten that despite his interesting news he was still a human being, and not a newspaper that could be crumpled up and tossed into the corner after use. Whoever this man was, he needed to be treated with the same respect that we usually showed all our guests.

But no one listened.

He was chucked onto a couch and surrounded within seconds of our arrival. I was still in the process of entering the room when I already heard all sorts of questions being flung at him:

"Where were you changed?"

"What's your name?"

"Where were you changed?"

"Did you feel anything during your re-transformation?"

"Where were you changed?"

Needless to say, Rosalie's screams were the loudest.

It was only when Esme intervened that I heard the right question asked, the only question that was correct and civil in this situation.

"Can I get you anything?" was Esme's gentle inquiry, followed by a polite smile.

This calmed down the interrogation, and although Rosalie threw her arms into the air and groaned rather loudly, the break was accepted well by the rest of the family.

When the man didn't answer right away, Esme narrowed down his choices.

"We have nothing but tap water."

This made his decision easier.

"Tap water it is, then, Mrs.…?"

"Cullen. But please, call me Esme," my wife answered with another warm smile. She was truly a jewel of the rarest kind.

Eventually, the man received his glass of tap water, and certain bodies were restless again as they waited around the room. Rosalie, of course, was very much on edge, and I could understand Jasper's impatience, too, but I was shocked to see Edward as stressed as he clearly was. There was a strange confusion in his eyes when he looked at our visitor, and his tense pose beside Bella suggested that he was wavering about something. I felt a twinge of sorrow when I realized what it was.

Edward had seemed so content in the last few years that I'd not had a doubt in mind that he had finally found his place in our family. I'd thought—perhaps foolishly—that he'd accepted what we were and made the best out of it.

Had I been too blinded by my own happiness to notice his true state of mind? It grieved me to notice that I'd left my first friend, my first son, hanging.

But the moment that thought entered my mind, Edward shook his head furiously and looked at me with meaningful intensity. His eyes were apologetic, but there was no accusation there. I sighed and smiled at him, letting him know that I understood. Of course I understood. The man's revelation had brought unpleasant memories back to all of us.

He drank his first cup with eagerness, and then a second, and finally a third. I guessed he hadn't eaten for a long time.

Esme, too, noticed his thirst, and regretted aloud that we stored no food in the house since Renesmee and Jacob had moved out. He waved it off, however, and said: "The Lord nourishes me enough. It is apparent that I have a task to fulfill before I can get to my physical needs."

The little references to God irritated me again, like they had when he'd first spoken at the party. They reminded me, once again, of the fact that our species was found nowhere in the bible. My own Christian faith had left me when I'd noticed this, for what was a God that abandoned a part of his own creation? Not a real one, I was sure.

I reminded myself of my manners, however, and refrained from starting a discussion that would have surely turned into a dispute. Religion was, and had always been, a delicate affair.

"You say you were once a vampire? How long ago?" I asked him, feeling the scientist in me come to life. To my great shame I noticed myself, like the others, considering the man a bit of information, nothing more. I repeated the word "guest" in my mind.

But before I could receive an answer to my basic question, Rosalie was looming over him and spit out one word:

"Where?"

"In a motel in Anchorage, Alaska," the man answered, "just north of the main road."

And in one swift, concurrent motion, two vampires left the room to plot their chase upstairs.

I sighed. Anchorage was about to become a very central point of North America indeed.

Tanya's POV

"Can you believe the guy's nerves?" I asked my sisters, irritated beyond belief.

What right had he to ruin our party? World-altering revelations were the ultimate atmosphere-killers.

And what was worse, I seemed to be the only one whom this little detail bothered. The others, especially Kate, were far-away in their own thoughts as they helped me clean up, and I had a worrying notion about what those thoughts might contain.

"Don't blame him," Carmen reprimanded me. "It would be egotistical of us to think about our party when there might be other, more important issues ahead."

"Troubles, pah! That man was crazy, and that's all the Cullens will find out about him. Really, all this panic for nothing at all!"

"So you think he was never a vampire?"

I gave Kate my best you-can't-be-serious look.

She stopped arranging tables and crossed her arms.

"Don't be stupid, Tanya. Think about it. Do you really think it was a coincidence that a man ran into the one house that was full of real vampires to talk about once being one himself? A lunatic wouldn't have known where to go."

"So? Maybe he wasn't a lunatic," I answered indifferently. "Maybe he knew about vampires. Maybe he just lied that he'd been one of us to save his dear life."

Carmen looked up from the far corner of the room where she'd been quietly discussing something with Eleazar.

"Did you see Edward's face? He wasn't lying."

I rolled my eyes. Why had everyone suddenly become insane? After the Cullens had left half the room had emptied in just a few seconds, some not even bothering to say goodbye. As if that wasn't enough to endure, I now also had to listen to my own sisters discussing the truth of the man's words. Only Garrett was unaffected by the thought of becoming human, but worried about the Volturi instead, and how they would react if they heard about a human talking about vampires. To me, too, that seemed to be the bigger worry than whether what he said was true.

"Why did Carlisle get to take him home?" Kate asked at some point. "I know he's our friend and all, but this is just going too far. He doesn't own us. Or has he suddenly become the king of America?"

I hissed at her.

"We do not talk about the Cullens like that! We owe them more than we can ever pay back, and if you ask me, it was a perfectly good choice to let the man go with them. I understand your agitation to some level, but I will end that understanding if it turns out to be poisonous to our friendship!"

"All right, all right. Point taken. There's no need to yell at me," Kate calmed me, taken aback by my sudden outburst. I loved my sister with all my heart, but sometimes she had to be reminded of traits like loyalty and compassion, and I saw it as my job to clarify them to her. Our alliance with the Cullens was more than just for the sake of convenience.

Carmen rolled her eyes and whispered, "Kids."

I took a deep breath, trying to steady my voice. The last few years had been a tough trial for us all, and had therefore taken a toll on all our acquaintances. Some century-long friends had suddenly disappeared, and even the bonds within our coven had experienced some strain. I didn't want to start another fight.

"All right, listen to me, Kate," I started as calmly as I could. "I'm sorry. I just don't like to hear the Cullens talked about like that. We owe them at least some honesty, okay? If you have a problem with them, just say it to their faces, please. Gossip is cowardly and not something good friends do. I'm also pretty sure they'll listen if you find something to criticize. They'll take you seriously."

I was pretty pleased by the way that came out, and Kate seemed to approve of it, too, for she nodded and returned to her work without starting a fit. I smiled, happy to see that some of our sisterly love was still there. All siblings fight sometimes, don't they?

Resigned, Kate continued to work in silence, but then raised her head to make a declaration: "I just wish I knew what was going on, that's all. The Cullens do, and we… don't. I'm not condemning them or anything, but that just doesn't seem fair to me."

I sighed.

"We can always call them, Kate," I reminded her. "They won't hide anything from—"

But before I could finish my sentence, Kate had a phone in her hand and was dialing a familiar number. There were two rings before a man picked up.

"Kate?"

"Hello, Carlisle," Kate said cheerily. "How is the poor man doing?"