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Turning Back (9/?)

Title: Turning Back (9/?)
Author: songforevela
Rating: M for sexual content
Genre:
Drama, Romance, Angst (heavy on the angst)
Characters/Pairings:
Edward/Bella, other canon pairings, the Pack (minus Jacob)
Short summary:
Our lives never remain normal for long. My blood can turn vampires back into their human selves, and I live in a house with six vampires, now facing a choice they never expected to make.
Disclaimer: Stephenie Meyer owns them. I'm just desperately trying to finish my version of her story before August 2nd.

A/N: Wow, this fandom seems to be in full force this evening, everyone scrambling to post chapters before the onslaught of the weekend. I feel this crazy anticipation building, which really fueled the writing of this chapter! Hope you enjoy.

Oh, and I haven't read any BD spoilers, so please be careful with your comments! Thank you!

<><><><><><><><><><><><>

Emmett's jeep is packed beyond capacity.

It was always a ridiculously large vehicle, but now the carriers strapped to the hood make it look like a monster. Surprisingly, it was the most practical choice considering where it needs to take us and how much we need to carry--Emmett, Rosalie, Edward and I to a cabin somewhere in the woods of northern Washington, equipped with enough medical supplies, food and other necessities for us to survive. If everything goes according to plan, the cabin will keep us safe while Alice and Carlisle recover. 

That is, if everything goes according to plan.

Carlisle, Alice, Esme, Jasper and the werewolves prepare to head out on foot, also deep into the wilderness. In theory, the last place Demetri will track Carlisle and Alice to will be in the middle of the vast woods, with few landmarks to help him and no people from which Aro could capture an image of the Cullens. Unlike Emmett's massive jeep, carrying enough luggage to weigh down any lesser vehicle, Carlisle's group will travel light, their only baggage being several pints of my blood.

Their last meal, I think dryly.   

Edward stands several yards to my left, Carlisle's hands on his shoulders, their heads bent and eyes locked in conversation. Although they've gone over these details a million times already, a million and one times can't hurt, and I hear snippets of undecipherable medical jargon drift in my direction. Edward will finally have a chance to put his two medical degrees to good use.

For at least 24 hours, while Carlisle is unconscious, Edward will be the doctor of the family. I don't doubt Edward's medical competence for a second and am not surprised at his own readiness to be responsible for those he loves, but I can't shake the feeling that something lurks to throw a stick into our best laid plans. That somehow this plan is doomed to pull our family apart--humans on one side of a great divide, vampires on the other. 

I will never forgive myself if that happens.

I've put my family in danger again and now prepare to sit by and watch as I do nothing to stop it. I dragged us into this mess. I insisted on becoming a vampire, and now in some taunting form of deja vu, we are fighting for our lives, while Alice, now my sister in every sense, prepares for the repercussions of a choice she never really got to make. And to add a flaming stick to the bonfire of guilt, I've actually been happy. Happy for the life Edward and I will be able to share. This makes me feel guilty most of all.

"Stop it, Bella," Alice warns as she grips my elbows, turning me to face her.

"What do you mean?" I stutter as I feign ignorance, staring at my shoes.

"Stop beating yourself up."

"Alice, this is my fault," I whisper, my eyes locking on to her worried ones.

She sighs. "I think you could find a way to make everything bad that happens your fault."

"Well, sometimes it is."

She pulls me into a hug, her small arms around my shoulders forcing the breath out of me. "Bella, I'm ready. And I don't want you to worry, stuck up in that cabin for two days. Everything will be fine. Just take care of Edward. He's more scared than he lets on." She quickly kisses my cheek and releases me, trying to avoid my eyes as she moves away towards Jasper. "And when I wake up, I better not hear about any crazy heroics you've pulled, trying to save the day."

"Alice, wait..." I reach out to her.

"I don't like goodbyes, Bella." she murmurs, half smiling at me.

"Well, I'll see you later, then," I try out nonchalantly, failing miserably. 

________________________

Final preparations last a few more minutes, and then it is time for real goodbyes, ready or not.

Esme hugs me silently. We haven't had much time alone since those awful two days stuck in a hotel room, waiting to hear from our family, and I suddenly miss her, even though she's standing right in front of me. I feel the first tears begin to spill down my cheeks as she passes me to Carlisle.

Carlisle hugs me closely, which catches me by surprise. He's never been stand-offish, just dignified and formal, and this display of affection forces the tears out in earnest.

"Thank you, Bella."

"For what?" I blubber into his chest.

"For being Edward's wife, for joining our family. Your presence in our lives has given us so much joy." He pauses, his body going rigid under my hands. "If something happens to us...If something happens to me.."

"Don't say that." I begin to push away from him, but he takes both of my hands in his.

"I need you to take care of Edward, which means keeping yourself safe. Promise me..."

"Of course," I whisper.

Carlisle turns to Edward just as Esme is releasing her son from her arms. Edward tries to smile at them  in reassurance, to look at the only two people he has ever truly known as parents and say without words that everything will be alright, that they will be together again. But his small smile quickly turns stoic, and Edward's mask that has protected him in the past from emotions too strong to handle, obscures his face and keeps the tears threatening to fall at bay.

He gives his parents' hands a final squeeze and turns to Alice and Jasper. Alice hugs Edward quickly, her small frame enveloped in his arms as Edward kisses the top of her head. Alice lets him hold her for just a few seconds before pulling away, retaking Jasper's hand and moving too quickly off towards the woods. 

Edward stares in their direction for a few moments before coming to stand beside me, slipping his warm hand into mine but refusing to meet my eyes.

"Alright, it's time," Carlisle whispers, taking his gaze away from the woods and turning back to look at those that remain.

"Take care of yourselves. Take care of each other," Esme says, her voice low and thick.

"We'll see you in a couple days," Edward whispers, and we watch them disappear into the woods.

_____________________

I toss and turn, trying to recapture sleep. The air is still, almost stifling, practically begging for a Washington rainstorm to relieve it of its misery. Instinctively I reach out next to me, searching for Edward on the air mattress, but the bed is empty.

I sit up, panicked, all traces of sleep gone. For at least the next several days, if not longer, I know I'll overreact with worry if he's not next to me.

"Edward?" I call, quietly into the darkness, pulling the quilt up against my T shirt, suddenly cold.

No answer.

I push myself off the mattress, fumbling in the darkness for my hooded sweatshirt. The wood planks of the cabin are rough and worn on my bare feet, and I wince loudly as a toe stubs against the dresser holding our clothes.

Finally, I find my sweatshirt and a pair of socks, pull them on, and tiptoe to the door of our bedroom. I should have thought to find a flashlight, but now that I'm warmer, I feel anxious to find Edward first.

The creak as I push open the door is loud enough to wake every sleeping animal within a mile's radius. So much for stealth.

Our bedroom opens into a small living space. Although the half-moon provides some light through the couple of windows in the room, I can barely make out the outline of a shabby couch and a couple chairs in the darkness. Compared to the open, modern feel of our house in Forks, the cabin feels cramped and plain, but the four of us spent the day trying to make it livable. It has well water, and we brought a propane generator for electricity, but it certainly resembles roughing it to me, considering how little living in the wilderness I've done.

Not seeing Edward inside the cabin, I creep to the front door, hoping that he's at least outside on the small front porch. Rosalie and Emmett are hunting tonight, stealing a chance to feed before the Volturi arrive in just less than 24 hours, so we've had the cabin to ourselves.

"Edward?" I call, as I push open the front door.

I hear a gasp in the darkness.

"Bella, you startled me," he says hurriedly, as he wraps his arms around my waist, helping me through the door and on to the porch with him.

I immediately take a deep breath. Compared to the stifling cabin, the air in the woods is cool and refreshing, and I feel a calmness settle in me now that I'm back in Edward's arms. A soft wind rustles the trees, and the sound of crickets is deafening.

"What are you doing out here?" I mumble against his chest.

"Can't sleep," he says softly. "Will you sit with me for a while?"

"Of course, you don't even half to ask."

One thing the cabin does have going for it is a porch swing. One of those old-fashioned, creaking wooden ones that I picture old ladies in ruffled skirts gossiping on as they swing themselves through an uneventful afternoon.

Edward pulls me towards it and on to his lap. I tuck my head under his chin, and lean the side of my body into his chest. While my feet dangle off the side of his legs, his feet touch the ground, and he begins to gently rock us.

"If I squint hard enough, it's almost like you and I are on a romantic getaway to the Pacific Northwest wilderness, not hiding to save our lives," I murmur, trying to lighten his dark mood.

I peer up at him, and he offers me a small smile.

"Sorry, that wasn't really funny," I whisper, as I nuzzle against his neck.

"You're just trying to cheer me up."

"What's wrong?" I settle in closer to his chest, running my fingertips across his T-shirt. "I mean, besides the obvious."

"Nothing more than the obvious, really," he sighs, pulling me closer. "I have you safe here in my arms," he  murmurs, rubbing long, slow lines down my back. "But I'm still so scared of losing you," he says shakily, gripping me to him and pressing a kiss to my temple. 

I slowly sit up on his lap, reaching for his face and holding it gently in my hands.

"Edward, that's not going to happen," I try and convince him. "They won't find us here."

"I just feel helpless, Bella. I can't protect you, I can't protect our family..."

"Edward, that's not true. Look at your medical expertise. There's no way that we, that Carlisle and Alice could do this without you. You are helping your family--just in a different way, now."

He grips my shoulders. "Bella, just promise me, if something happens...if the Volturi show up, if you're in danger in any way..." His voice grows frantic. "Promise me you'll run, that you won't sacrifice your safety to help me..."

"Edward, I can't promise that. There's no way..."

He kisses me, and his lips are hot against mine. One arm secures my body against him, while another hand gropes the back of my neck, pulling my lips even harder against his. My hands are lost in his hair, gripping handfuls of it, and I moan as his tongue begins to slide against mine.

As he kisses me, I try and regain some conscious thought through the haze of wanting him. I love his mouth against me, but the frantic way it moves reminds me of something...of another time when his kisses felt like we were running out of time.

"Edward, wait." I try and whisper against his lips, but my body betrays me and I crash even harder against him.

"Bella, I want to take you inside," he murmurs against the skin of my neck, his panting drowning out the crickets, "I want to lay you down in our bed and undress you and feel you against me. May I do that? Will you let me?"

"Yes," I moan into his hair, my breath hitching as he effortlessly stands, cradling me in his arms.

He carries me through the front door, his lips still moving frantically against mine. The bedroom door screams in protest as it's kicked open, but Edward doesn't seem to notice as he gently lays me down on the bed and covers my body with his own.

He continues to kiss me deeply, his hands on either side of my face, his hips rocking gently against mine in a slow, steady rhythm. He knows just how to make me crazy, and I involuntarily buck against him, feeling him grow even harder through layers of clothing.

He smiles against my lips. "Don't rush this, love, I want to make this last for you." He lifts off of me slightly, and I moan as his hips move away from me. "I want to touch you," he whispers softly, as he begins kissing my body, cupping my breasts reverently through the cotton fabric.

My mind rushes to catch up with the desire pulsing through every blood vessel, every nerve.

"I...." I attempt to speak, but Edward has lifted the bottom of my T-shirt and is wetly kissing my stomach, his hands traveling slowly up the skin of my ribcage.

I untangle my hands from his hair and use them to weakly trap the onslaught of his fingers, stopping them just as they reach the bottom curves of my breasts. 

"Edward, wait," I say, urgently, my mind breaking free.

"Bella? Are you alright?" He shifts his weight off of me and peers down into my face, concern scrawled across his features.

I take a deep breath, trying to stop the tremor in my voice. "I need to say some things to you."

He gulps. "Ok," he whispers, "I'm ready."

"This is not the last time we're going to make love."

His face softens, and he presses a kiss to my forehead. "Bella, I know that."

"Well, you're kissing me like you did before Victoria came, when we realized the vampire in my room was one of the same ones terrorizing Seattle." I try and continue past the lump in my throat. "You're kissing me like time is running out, and it scares me."

His eyebrows come together, and he leans down gently, kissing the tears running down my temples. "Please don't cry. I don't mean to scare you, I'm sorry," he says softly.

"We're going to wake up next to each other for the rest of our lives and make babies and grow old together," I say desperately, pulling his face to mine so that I can see his eyes. "Tell me you believe me."

He swallows again and brushes the damp hair from my forehead, his eyes sparkling in the light from the moon.

"I believe you," he breathes.

"Then I need to hear you say it."

He smiles down at me. "This is not the last time we'll make love, and I'm going to give you lots of babies, and we're going to grow old together."

"Thank you," I murmur as I pull him down to me. "Now where were we?"

________________________________________

Edward and I spend the night clutched in each other arms, making love as the desire surfaces, finally collapsing, spent, just as the morning light filters in through the worn, musty curtains. I feel the growing light burning against my eyelids, but I press my naked body closer to his chest, warding off the impending doom the light brings. He pulls me closer in response, burying his face in my hair, cupping my face with his hand.

"We should get up, love," he murmurs. "I'll make you some breakfast."

He kisses my forehead, and I groan as he peels his body from me.

One more day.

The wait is excruciating, but we try to pass the time by busying ourselves with preparations. I help Edward set up the medical equipment in the second bedroom, while Emmett and Rosalie, returned from their hunting trip, finish cleaning the cabin and organizing our other supplies.

At sunset, Edward begins pacing in the small clearing in front of the cabin. He periodically stops, faces the tree line as if he hears their approach, only to continue pacing after a few still moments. Emmett is convinced he'll wear a track in the meager grass sprouting across the yard.

I sit on the porch swing with Rosalie, while Emmett sits on the front stairs. We don't say much, just stare into the trees until the light fades, until Edward and I can no longer see their tall forms at the edge of the clearing.

I finally stand, stretch and walk out to Edward, who has temporarily ceased pacing. He's just a dark shadow, still staring out into the forest. I wrap my arms around him from behind.

"We should go, inside," I whisper, kissing the skin between his shoulder blades. "I don't like you standing out here in the dark."

"Well, it's dark inside, too. We shouldn't turn on any lights unless its absolutely necessary," he says, pressing my arms to his stomach.

"I know." I shiver. "It just feels a little safer inside...now that they're here. Somewhere."

Edward turns toward the house, resting his arm along my shoulders, and I keep my hands around his waist as we walk towards the cabin.

We don't get far before Emmett comes bounding down the front steps, Rosalie on his heels. They're a blur as they run past us, stopping just at the tree line a few yards away.

"Emmett? What is it?" Edward demands, pushing me behind him, our backs to the cabin. "Bella, go inside," he briskly orders me.

I stare incredulously back at him before standing my ground, and he gives me an exasperated look. 

"Someone's coming," Emmett growls, so low I can barely hear him. My heart clamors wildly, and I'm suddenly scared my heart will give our presence away.

No one speaks again. Edward's grip on my wrists tighten. 

A rush of wind and a muffled exclaim of surprise are the next sensations, but these sounds do little to calm my nerves. Edward and I wait, unsure of whether to move or speak, until we finally hear several familiar voices in the darkness.

Jasper. Esme. And a husky voice that might be Sam.

Edward relaxes his grip then, and we move toward the voices, following them up into the cabin. The group moves into the second bedroom, and I hear Edward begin to make inquiries about his unconscious family members. I blindly feel along for the light switch. Finding it, I switch it on, and a very dim light spills across the small room.

I press myself into the wall at my back, not quite ready to take in the scene before me. Alice and Carlisle are laid out on two twin cots, Jasper clutching Alice's hand, Esme at Carlisle's side, peering into his slack face with more worry than I have ever seen her express. Edward is the picture of calm, working at Carlisle's side first, quickly placing an IV catheter in his arm, adjusting the fluid rate, taking his heart rate, all while gathering a detailed account of Carlisle's change from the others in the room.

I have trouble paying attention, but I gather that something went wrong with Carlisle's transformation, he reacted very strongly to the antidote, is showing signs of shock. Alice is doing well, more similar to Edward's transformation. Edward moves to check on her, also placing an IV, but is more quickly content with her status and returns his attention to Carlisle.

I only hear a string of words in the subdued commotion. Something went wrong.

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Continue...Chapter 10

Comments

( 23 comments — Leave a comment )
kudosirony
Jul. 30th, 2008 03:23 am (UTC)
Oh no, not Carlisle!! *tears*

At least Edward is using those medical degrees.
songforevela
Aug. 15th, 2008 05:03 pm (UTC)
Yeah, it's fun to have Edward finally put those degrees to good use!

I've posted the next chapter here: http://songforevela.livejournal.com/4569.html

Thanks so much for reading and commenting!
legally_blonde
Jul. 30th, 2008 04:32 am (UTC)
oh no!!
songforevela
Aug. 15th, 2008 05:03 pm (UTC)
I know!

Here's the next chapter: http://songforevela.livejournal.com/4569.html

Thanks for reading!
wednesdayscat
Jul. 30th, 2008 11:38 am (UTC)
Noes!!! Argh I hate cliffhangers! Thanks for the update, can't wait for the next installment.
songforevela
Aug. 15th, 2008 05:04 pm (UTC)
Sorry about the cliff...I'm such a sucker for them.

But here's another chapter in apology, if you'd like to continue reading!

http://songforevela.livejournal.com/4569.html
wm_law2003
Jul. 30th, 2008 01:11 pm (UTC)
NO NO NO NO NO!!!

*screams*

Not Carlisle!!!!
songforevela
Aug. 15th, 2008 05:05 pm (UTC)
Everything will be OK, I promise :)

Here's another chapter if you'd like to continue reading!

http://songforevela.livejournal.com/4569.html

vi0lent_delight
Jul. 30th, 2008 03:31 pm (UTC)
i agree with the rest
oh no
not carlisle
grr for cliffhangers :)
songforevela
Aug. 15th, 2008 05:07 pm (UTC)
Sorry for the cliffhanger...

But I've got another chapter up, if that's any consolation. http://songforevela.livejournal.com/4569.html

Thanks for reading!
mana1023
Jul. 30th, 2008 03:52 pm (UTC)
Aah! Give more. And I adore the scene in the cabin.

songforevela
Aug. 16th, 2008 02:12 am (UTC)
I'm glad you liked the scene in the cabin! I think it's one of my favorites, and it came totally on a whim. Thank you so much for commenting!

I've got the next chapter posted, if you'd like to continue!

http://songforevela.livejournal.com/4569.html
hayley_cullen
Jul. 30th, 2008 04:07 pm (UTC)
no!! what are you playing at?!
how can u stop it there!! =[

noooo!! noo.. not carlisle!! =S
if something really bad happens to carlisle i will actually cry!!
update soon.. im not sure how much longer i can take! lol
twilighter1012
Jul. 30th, 2008 05:00 pm (UTC)
more! <3
this was soo good!
songforevela
Aug. 16th, 2008 02:13 am (UTC)
Thank you!!

I've got more posted!

http://songforevela.livejournal.com/4569.html
oleandergirl
Jul. 31st, 2008 12:19 am (UTC)
Ooh is it because Carlisle has been a vampire for too long? Aah, can't wait for the rest!

Also I just assumed they would each have to bite Bella to transform... it makes more sense your way though. lol.
songforevela
Aug. 16th, 2008 02:18 am (UTC)
Hey there!

I've been meaning to write back and say that your comments on my BD postings really made my day! I dove back into writing and Turning Back is finished! (minus an epilogue that I will write soon. It's going to be pretty different than the rest of story).

The next chapter is up, and the next two chapters will be up really quickly.

http://songforevela.livejournal.com/4569.html

Thank you for reading!!
oleandergirl
Aug. 16th, 2008 05:49 am (UTC)
Aw, YAY! Thanks SO much for letting me know :)

I'll definitely keep reading & commenting!
bubbadoghouse
Jul. 31st, 2008 03:44 am (UTC)
Arghhhh! This is fabulous! I can wait to read your next entry!
songforevela
Aug. 16th, 2008 02:19 am (UTC)
Well, it's up!! Thanks so much for reading!

http://songforevela.livejournal.com/4569.html
(Deleted comment)
songforevela
Aug. 16th, 2008 02:22 am (UTC)
I'm late in responding to my comments!! I'm such an irresponsible author :(

But I had to respond to your comment about the bit of foreshadowing. I'm so glad you caught that! And his strong reaction is because he's been a vampire longer. His body is more resistant to the antidote.
(Deleted comment)
songforevela
Aug. 16th, 2008 12:55 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much for the comment. Turning Back is actually the first fiction I've written. I've wanted to try out writing for a long time, but mostly lurked in fanfic fandoms (Buffy, and then Twilight) before trying to write something this summer. It has been such an incredible experience. To actually participate, not just lurk. So rewarding. And to discover that I actually can do this whole writing thing! That's like icing on the cake.

I do want to write more...Grad school will get in the way real soon, but I want to continue.

I'm anxious to see what you think of the next chapter. It was by far the most difficult chapter to write because all of this tension I've been building finally comes to fruition. I didn't anticipate the climax of a story being so difficult to get across.
(Deleted comment)
songforevela
Aug. 22nd, 2008 02:31 am (UTC)
Action scenes are hard! It's a weird balance between describing enough of what's going on, but not too much so that the movement gets bogged down with words. I'm glad writing fanfic has allowed you to write a little more action! I think I might stick to more angsty, simple stuff for a while :) I don't think I have it in me to do another huge, multi-chapter fic any time soon.

Interesting what you said about posting in parts before the entire fic is done...I think Turning Back has suffered from that some...I want to keep the readers with me, keep them going, but it takes me so long to write a single chapter, that sometimes there's too much time between chapters, and the story doesn't flow as well as if someone was able to read it all in one go.

( 23 comments — Leave a comment )