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Into the Light

Summary:
Edward has been struggling with the loss of his humanity for almost a century when he discovers his singer, a two-year-old Bella. In a world wrought with violence, greed, and an unquenchable thirst for power, the Cullens' find themselves tangled in an intricate web of half-truths and unfulfilled destinies. There is a reason Edward has walked the earth alone for almost a century, and he is about to find out why when he discovers the consequences of tearing two souls away from each other. Now there is much more at stake than just their love for one another. Will Edward and Bella fulfill their destiny as soul mates and bring balance back to the world or will Edward let his own self-loathing and uncertainty get in the way? I want to give a shout out to eatmySKIRTSx for making this awesome banner for me! She inspired me to make my own above...yay! I was freaked out and you lead me to the right path! Yay! Thanks again!


Notes:
Story is rated Adult for overall content, but later chapters especially. THANK YOU SO MUCH TO MY BETAS AT PROJECT TEAM BETA! YOU GUYS HAVE HELPED THIS STORY MORE THAN YOU WILL KNOW!Story Summary: Edward has been struggling with the loss of his humanity for almost a century when he discovers his singer, a two-year-old Bella. In a world wrought with violence, greed, and an unquenchable thirst for power, the Cullens' find themselves tangled in an intricate web of half-truths and unfulfilled destinies. There is a reason Edward has walked the earth alone for almost a century, and he is about to find out why when he discovers the consequences of tearing two souls away from each other. Now there is much more at stake than just their love for one another. Will Edward and Bella fulfill their destiny as soul mates and bring balance back to the world or will Edward let his own self-loathing and uncertainty get in the way? ON HIATUS FOR MAJOR REWRITES AND TO COMPLETE STORY Before anyone gets too excited – if anyone is even still interested in this story – I’m taking it down to rework it. I’ve been stuck for so long and part of it is because I backed myself into this extremely complicated corner. I’ve been struggling for many months now with whether to just discontinue the story, try to collaborate with someone, or just bite the bullet and try to finish it. Not to worry though. I finally made the decision to finish it in its entirety, so hopefully the new improved and COMPLETED story will be better than it was. My plan is to finish the entire story before reposting so when it is ready, it will be ready, and no one will have to worry about how flakey I am, lol! Before anyone asks, no I don’t have a timeframe for when I plan to repost, so thanks in advance for all of your patience. Thanks to mylittlebakersdozen for listening to my rants about what to do. She is a fantabulous fanfic writer, and you should check out her story, Model Student, www.fanfiction.net/s/5697704/1/Model_Student, and I’m not saying that just because I beta the story, lol! It’s really sweet and a lot of fun, so get to it and read her stuff while you’re waiting for me ; )


2. Chapter 1: The Immortal Paradox

Rating 5/5   Word Count 3051   Review this Chapter

CHAPTER 1: THE IMMORTAL PARADOX

On Death

Kahlil Gibran

Then Almitra spoke, saying, "We would ask now of Death."

And he said:

You would know the secret of death.

But how shall you find it unless you seek it in the heart of life?

The owl whose night-bound eyes are blind unto the day cannot unveil the mystery of light.

If you would indeed behold the spirit of death, open your heart wide unto the body of life.

For life and death are one, even as the river and the sea are one.

In the depth of your hopes and desires lies your silent knowledge of the beyond;

And like seeds dreaming beneath the snow your heart dreams of spring.

Trust the dreams, for in them is hidden the gate to eternity.

Your fear of death is but the trembling of the shepherd when he stands before the king whose hand is to be laid upon him in honour.

Is the sheered not joyful beneath his trembling, that he shall wear the mark of the king?

Yet is he not more mindful of his trembling?

For what is it to die but to stand naked in the wind and to melt into the sun?

And what is to cease breathing, but to free the breath from its restless tides, that it may rise and expand and seek God unencumbered?

Only when you drink from the river of silence shall you indeed sing.

And when you have reached the mountain top, then you shall begin to climb.

And when the earth shall claim your limbs, then shall you truly dance.

******

The wind rustled the trees around me softly as I walked through the snowy landscape surrounding my family's home. Without a doubt, Alaska is one of the most breathtaking of any of the places we have lived. It is in this place that I can truly bask in the sense of peace that I find here. The quiet seclusion from the constant assault of mindless banter streaming through people's minds is easily overcome by the soft winds, endless tree lined horizon, and sparsely populated area. We keep a home here as much for the beauty and tranquility of the forest that gently folds around us in all directions as we do for our home between homes. This is the place we come to when we need time-time for each other and ourselves.

On this particular occasion, we were on hiatus from the monotonous but necessary, routine of attending and graduating an endless sea of high schools. Monotonous in the sense that one can only stand going through high school so many times, let alone only once, yet necessary because assimilating with humans helps my family and I lead somewhat normal lives. The idea of "normal" for a family of vampires, though, leaves little room for interpretation; the thought almost an impossibility. Somehow, we have managed all these years to keep up the charade and to mimic life around us. Our success owed much to the fact that my brothers, sisters and I have routinely matriculated high school and college with great ease. My father, a doctor, has continuously demonstrated the omnipotent control he possesses working in such close proximity with humans, and my mother with her everlasting love, has acted as the immortal glue that holds our family together.

Our way of life is considered taboo by many of our kind-feeding from animals, going against our natural instincts, carefully imitating humans around us all so that we can live among the living. We are what some might consider the epitome of the immortal paradox-torn between embracing what we are, and trying to hold on to who we were. It is our eternal struggle, however self-induced, to hang on to what is left of our humanity, if there is any left to be held onto. This struggle drives all that we seek and all that we do in this immortal life.

To some, it may seem easier if we were to cut ourselves off from the rest of the world. Becoming nothing more than ghostlike recluses, living in fear of what we are, with little to no contact with any humans at all to maintain our kind's complete anonymity from humans, safeguarding our presence from them. Yet Carlisle-my creator, my adoptive father-with a strong sense of wisdom that seems to be taken from time itself, truly believes that we must immerse ourselves in this chaotic human world in order to remember where we came from in our former human lives.

In a sense, he wants us to remember who we are, even if human memories are nothing more than an afterthought for most of our kind. I cannot help but think that who I am in terms of my humanity-has long been dead. With no humanity to define who I am, all that remains is the monster I have become. Carlisle pushes all of us, though, to remember that we were once alive, that we were born into this world human.

In this context, human-immortal intermingling seems to become very important. For me though, it is only out of the complete and utter respect I hold for Carlisle that I follow his way of life. I trust in his wisdom, his strength, and his undying quest to heal the sick and mend the broken. Although I have struggled with being changed, feeling at times hopelessly lost in an eternal wakefulness that is a constant reminder of what I have become, I find solace in my father's ideals and beliefs. I may not agree that we have a soul, or that our immortal lives should be valued, but it is comforting to know there is one of our kind who does believe this even if I do not. We call ourselves a family instead of a coven, marking a clear distinction between the natural and the supernatural. For us, something as simple as the concept of "family" is surprisingly important when the goal is to blend in. We have discovered though that just because we call ourselves a family, does not mean we are a family. If we truly are to imitate life, and embody what it means to be a family, we do so through our thoughts, our actions, and our reactions.

In the face of our perceptions of self and each other, we acknowledge our flaws because to be human is to be flawed, and so for my family and I, we are a family-a family that finds its origins in life and is practiced in death. Therefore, being immortal, the values and beliefs that we established as humans have played a fundamental role in how my family and I have shaped our endless afterlife. We understand that human life, embedded in free will, is a gift often taken for granted by most humans. In recognition of this fact, we are always cognizant of the choices we make. We choose to hold onto our human values. We choose to hold onto our human beliefs. We choose to hold on to certain fundamental truths of right and wrong, good and evil. We choose to respect life. We understand first hand that life is fleeting and can vanish in the blink of an eye.

Neither my family nor I chose immortality; rather, each of us was forced into this supernatural world out of violence or impending death. Carlisle does not tread lightly when it comes to choosing immortality over death. He has bared witness to human ignorance and violence for over three centuries, but has also experienced all the beauty and joy that humanity has to offer. It is because of this hopeful idealism and eternal optimism that Carlisle is able to see the good in humankind, holding steadfast to the belief that any amount of good far outweighs all that is evil in this world, and is therefore worth upholding. Although it might appear hypocritical of Carlisle, as he changed me, my endearing mother Esme, my unnaturally beautiful sister Rosalie, and my bigger than life brother Emmett, we have never begrudged him for the actions he took that ultimately led to the creation of our family now. In some cases our family is far more than we had in our human lives.

While there are very few of our kind who understands the path that my family has chosen as a way of life my sister Alice and brother Jasper came to us actively seeking this path. She, a life force compared to no other, and he, the introvert with a keen insight and power over human and immortal emotions. It is true that most of us were dying when we were changed, and it is true that we did not choose this path; however, as Alice would say all things happen for a reason, and for lack of a better explanation, my family and I were meant to find each other. We represent the puzzle pieces in the complex pasts we left behind and the even more complicated futures waiting for us.

On this day - a day not out of the ordinary - I sat pensively among the sea of trees and foliage of the vast forest floor just beyond our home, taking in my surroundings as my thoughts wandered through my memories - a subtle reassurance of my enduring humanity that I often feel slipping away, or feel is lost altogether. These reassurances were about to be fundamentally questioned, as the most intoxicating scent I have ever encountered in my immortal life hit me with the force of an on-coming train. Instantly, my throat began to burn.

I was subjected to the most excruciatingly painful and slowly rising fire that I have ever experienced in all the years since my change almost a century ago. The venom pooled in my mouth begging to be released into whatever the source of this most alluring scent. On the heels of the cool northerly wind, the scent bombarded my very existence. Absent a conscious decision, my body began working independently of my mind, which had momentarily taken leave of any judgment that I had compiled over my vastness of my life. I moved with a speed and agility of which I did not think myself capable in light of the fact that I am the fastest among my family. I was getting close now, the scent was all around me-I could smell it, taste it, and almost feel it. Then I heard a soft and muffled cry, which was almost as inviting as the overwhelming scent that kept invading my senses. I abruptly halted my inhuman sprint across the snow covered forest floor, and I instantly held my breath.

My mind began to clear as I gained enough focus to recognize that the soft whimpers floating toward me. Even from a distance I could tell that these sounds did not belong to an animal, for no animal could produce such sad, melodious sounds; sounds that encroached upon my hearing as if I were sitting at a live performance of Debussy's Clair De Lune. It was the voice of an angel. As I slowly regained my composure I was able to see a small child, a little girl, sitting alone inside the base of a large, hollow tree a few miles away. Wearing only a winter coat, the small child appeared to be alone, not more than two or three years old. Her shoulders were slouched forward, hands clasped tightly on her lap with her head down. I could see the tears flowing down her pale delicate face as she stared intensely at her hands; her small fragile body shaking ever so slightly.

I hastily scanned the landscape up to the horizon, carefully letting myself go to my senses just enough in a fruitless effort to figure out why a young child was here all alone with the impeding darkness quickly closing in. My feverish and unsuccessful search for answers catapulted my anxiety to levels I never knew existed as Alice's voice began yelling to me through her thoughts.

"Edward! If you can hear me, stay where you are. I am almost there!" My sister's frantic thoughts tore me from my restless quest.

I continued to hold my breath to keep the invading child's scent at bay, only slightly subduing the power it had over me. No sooner had I reacquainted myself with the rather addicting sounds escaping the young girl's mouth than Alice had reached me. Although I am sure Alice knew I would be waiting for her, there was something about the urgency with which she spoke, but I could not place it.

She spoke softly, "You have seen her." It was a statement, not a question.

"I have," I said, returning the statement with the same softness as I turned my gaze back to the still crying child; her body shivering more intensely with the fading sunlight; the cold and dampness of the night lurking in the shadows.

We were both silent for a moment before Alice could not take it anymore, and she practically exploded with built up fear and anxiety. "Her parents were attacked and killed by a bear, leaving their bones as the only remains. They were able to hide her in that hollowed out tree before luring the bear away from their daughter. She has no one left in this world to take care of her! We cannot leave her there knowing she will most certainly die scared and alone! Edward youYou have to do something. It must be you! You found her!" must save her.

My tiny sister spoke with such ferocity that had I not lived with her all these many years, I would have taken her tone much more aggressively than I am sure she had intended. Even still, I stood in front of her awestruck and dumbfounded-her emphasis on you not registering. My mind was racing and I was once again losing my composure as I distractedly took a breath.

Alice's eyes grew large with fear. Just as my instincts were about to take over, I saw myself through Alice's vision. My eyes were black as night, and I was running with the same agility and speed as I was before. What was I running after? I was not sure. I knew instantly though that I was not just running, rather I was hunting. I saw myself hunting with an intense desire I have not experienced since my newborn years. I was uncertain of what I was hunting though. I saw myself jump gracefully and silently to a large tree branch just over a small clearing. It was then that I recognized the small child whose blood sang to me; whose voice called to me. I watched as my stealth like movements kept my predatory crouch hidden from the child's eyes and ears as I prepared myself to attack my prey. Just as I was about to pounce, the branch I stood upon abruptly cracked causing the child to look in my direction, and the vision ended.

My body became rigid with both fear for the child's life and desire for her blood. It was as if the internal struggle I have become so accustom to became somehow different - my struggle to suffocate the monster I believe I am was being overtaken by something else. My defenses immediately became alert as I was overwhelmed with a new desire to protect this child. I needed to protect her from myself. Somehow, Alice's voice broke through my burning desire, and my all-encompassing panic.

She spoke to me calmly, but firm and confident in her words. "Edward, you will not kill this child. You will not lose control. You are not the monster you so readily believe yourself to be. You exercise the control of no other vampire, save Carlisle. You need to trust yourself, trust in the way of life we have chosen."

Alice held my shoulders at arms length as she assessed my reaction to what she said. Satisfied that I would not take off running, she began to speak again. "Edward, you have a choice. You can attack your prey or protect an innocent child. I think we both know which decision is the right one."

I could only look helplessly into my sister's caring eyes. I knew she only wanted what was best for me as much as I knew she was right. Logically I knew that I did not want to kill this child.

Alice hugged me tightly trying to calm my mind and body. "You must understand that this child is your destiny, and fate has brought her to you. You were meant to find her, to save her. She is the answer to the question you have been too scared to ask yourself. She is what has been missing from your life-both human and immortal. You must hurry or she will surely die."

Her last statement weighed heavily on my cold, dead heart. Alice's utterances to trust myself, that this innocent and beautiful child was my destiny, and that fate had brought her to me for a reason, fell on deaf ears. Her words did not affect me as a palpable fear ran over me. The only thing going through my mind at that moment was the fact that this child would most certainly die if I did not do something to save her, to protect her.

"Go." Alice's soft voice helped me to act on the decision I had already made. It was clear that Alice knew things would be okay by the slight sense of joy and excitement slowly emanating from this small pixie of a woman that I was lucky enough to call my sister. With that, I took off toward the now near dark forest to find her, to save her knowing the answer to the question I had been too afraid to ask myself-am I meant to walk this world alone for eternity? I did not wait for the answer that I already knew. She needed me, and I would not let any harm come to this beautiful child. She was my world now.