Disclaimer: Buffy belongs to Joss Whedon, Edward and Company to Stephenie Meyer. I make no money off this.
A/N: This was my first attempt at Twilight. I dumped it, picked the basic concepts back up for my other two Twilight stories and then got back to this. Certain... parallels are inevitable. Sorry. Needed to be written though. I mean come on, people, he’s forever stuck as an emo teenager. You can practically feel the angst rolling off the guy in waves. Pity me, pity me, I am a Greek god come to suck your virgins dry. Ehh...
Have fun. Leave me a review. It makes me happy. Happy is good.
When he was seventeen, Edward died.
There is nothing dramatic about it, nothing special or tragic. He had influenza. He died. So many did, in those days. He rose again and that might be special but he doesn’t think of it that way. What rose that night is different from the boy that died before, different from what he was.
When he was seventeen, Edward died.
Everything after is something else entirely.
There is Carlisle suddenly, blonde and beautiful and full of light and stories, full of wisdom. New things. One night, when Edward can mostly be trusted around humans again, they go out. Carlisle takes him by the hand - like he is still a boy of five and prone to getting lost - and takes him to a cemetery. Takes him to a grave so fresh it has no headstone. Or maybe that is because there is no-one left to hurry the process along, no-one who cares enough.
It is a nice grave, as far as graves go, right under a tree on a gentle hill. A good place to spend eternity in. Edward stares at the freshly turned soil for long minutes as the moon rises above them, turning them both into sculptures of white and silver.
Mother. Father. The concepts are strange, distant. His parents died before him in a haze of fever and agony. He barely remembers their last days together. The last hours he has no recollection of at all.
He asks his maker, Why did you bring me here?
He did not miss them until this moment, until he stands in front of their graves and finds that he can not weep for the alien recollection of their love.
You’re starting a new life now. I thought you would like to say goodbye.
Does he? Maybe. Perhaps. He didn’t know he has to. But then his strange new gift rears its head and he can hear a hidden thought in Carlisle’s head, catches a snippet of a woman dying, a mother pleading for her son’s life. He feels a flash of shame, his mother begging for her seventeen-year-old son. It seems undignified. It makes her love for him seem real again. He takes a step back, shakes his head. I don’t want to…, he trails off.
In his maker’s head, an urgent voice says, Save him.
He jerks around, his eyes too wide, not yet used to his own speed. She wanted…, he asks, disjointed, Do you think? This is?
He can’t formulate the words.
Carlisle understands the question. Understands that he is asking, Why did she not fight for herself? Why did she push you to rescue me and not herself?
His answer comes in a thought like a whisper. To love is to let go.
To love is to let go.
He lets go of his dislike for Rosalie when she joins them. He lets go when she comes back with Emmett, lets her be happy. He keeps his loneliness close and watches over his family in silence. He reads their minds and dreams and hopes and he keeps them with him, keeps them safe.
Emmett is not so happy-go-lucky and Rosalie not so shallow. Esme is not so happy and Carlisle not so strong. He keeps all their secrets. He buries them inside himself.
He loves them.
That is why he does not try to hold on to them. Why he does not judge them, does not fight with them. Of their little family he is the second oldest and the strongest, yet they treat him like the introverted little brother, the strange boy, the odd one out.
He lets them. He loves them. Love and let go.
Bury the rest.
Alice and Jasper come like summer rain, warm and welcome. They come as freaks to join the parade and suddenly, he is not alone anymore. Jasper, too, is a keeper of secrets and when Edward reads Alice’s thoughts, he often meets her gaze and finds himself wishing he could go to sleep in her head.
She is so easy to please, so soft and warm. Alive where the rest of them are dead. Of all his family, he loves Alice best.
Loves her because she knows and keeps silences, she sees and lets people make mistakes. In their own ways, the two weirdest Cullens are the mother and father, watching their beloved children make their own way, their own mistakes.
They help when they can, they listen and they love. They let go. And they hold down the fort while the others explore the world, watched over by the seer and the telepath.
Love them and let them go.
He stumbles across her quite literally.
It is dark in Los Angeles, a city that has no angels, no matter what the name proclaims. He is wandering the streets at random, listening to thoughts and words, falling inside himself. And then a screech of tires, a scream. He whips around to see her small body flying through the air like a rag doll, thrown away and discarded.
She lands on the sidewalk with the crack of breaking bones and he finds himself unstoppably drawn to her. Not by blood, but by thought. Her greatest worry is discovery. I’ll heal too fast, she thinks so loud his head hurts. Can’t go to a hospital, please, God, not a hospital. I can’t…
Her left leg is twisted all wrong and her shoulder is clearly shattered. She bleeds profusely and her conscience flickers like a candle in a storm. He kneels beside her and feels for her pulse.
She stares at his hand through her pain, looks up at him, and then screams inside her head, Vampire!
I will not harm you, he whispers in her ear. Be calm.
Why he tells her this he does not know. Why he wants her to trust him he does not know. All he knows is that somehow, she matters.
He looks her over, small, blonde, barely a teenager from the looks of it. A child. A dying child. Yet she recognizes him, speaks of fast healing. The blood flow from a cut on her brow slows and ceases as he stares into her green eyes – the colour his used to be, when he was still seventeen and alive. As a crowd gathers she suddenly clamps a hand on his wrist and begs, low and urgent, Get me out of here. Please!
For some reason – a reason he neither knows nor cares to understand - he obeys. He scoops her up in his arms, ignores the protests of the people around them and takes her away. Around the nearest street corner and then up to the rooftops, across them, homeward.
He holds her close to his silent, hard chest and carries her through the starless sky to a place where he knows trouble will await him for his rash decision. He does not care. He kept their secrets and let them go when he knew better. He loved them for a century and never demanded anything. To love is to let go.
In his arms, she clings to consciousness with a stubbornness he has only witnessed in his favourite sister before. She tells him things. She is fifteen. She goes to high school. She loves cheerleading. A man she loved died tonight. A vampire stabbed him with his own stake. She saw him die.
My name is Buffy. He barely hears her over the song of the wind in his ears.
Alice is there by the window, holding it open when he arrives. He slips through as she pulls pillows from the never used bed so they can lay her out flat. She saw his decision, saw him come across the rooftops. Saw his helplessness in the face of a living girl.
The others come, drawn by the scent of blood. While they clamour for answers Carlisle fetches his bag and begins to patch Buffy up. Buffy. Buffybuffybuffy. It sounds strange in his head, that name. It bounces around his mind, warm and yellow.
Her leg starts mending as soon as its set straight and the shouting for answers fades to a whisper as wonder sweeps through the minds around him.
Rosalie stomps off in a snit and Emmett follows – a familiar dance. Esme goes to organize food for their guest and Jasper leaves the room quietly when the pain gets too much for him to bear. Carlisle takes a sample of her blood and disappears into his office. All that’s left then is Alice who lies next to the mortal girl, face only inches from hers, staring, unblinking.
And Edward who leans against the wall next to the two of them, refusing to get closer to the bed. Buffy fainted halfway through fixing her shoulder. It’s probably better. He watches Alice softly stroke the blonde’s hair, pet it like she’s a kitten, not a human.
He growls quietly and demands, What are you doing, Alice?
His sister looks up at him with mischief and joy in her eyes, smiling. It’ll be wonderful, Edward, wonderful. We’ll have so much fun together, her and me. And someone else, but I don’t know who that is yet. We’ll be best friends and you’ll be…
She trails off, averts her gaze. He can hear her finish her sentence in her head: You’ll be happy.
I’m not unhappy now, he tells her and it sounds flat to his own ears. But he’s not. He simply died when he was seventeen and since then nothing’s been quite the way it should be because he reads thoughts and knows people’s secrets and that makes it hard let them close, to let them in. And he is the oldest, almost, but they treat him like the youngest, like the unwanted tag-along sibling because they are all paired off and he’s alone and he knows they love him but sometimes it’s hard. So he keeps his distance, from them and their thoughts and their happiness. He stays aloof.
To love is to let go.
He loves his family very much. That does not mean he’s unhappy.
I’ll see what Esme dug up, he offers as he slips from the room, leaving Alice to her daydreams.
Buffy wakes close to dawn and immediately tries to get up, to leave. She is scared of him. He laughs a humourless laugh and says, We fixed you up. We didn’t eat you. Calm down.
She frowns and stops, looks at him as she sinks back onto the bed with a silent sigh of relief. Why didn’t you eat me?
We don’t hunt humans.
She believes him. For some very strange reason, she believed him and asks, Why did you save me?
Now that’s a question. I have no idea, he smiles.
Maybe… she trails of, embarrassed. Forget it.
In her head she says, Silly Buffy. Believing in fairy tales. But he did save you, didn’t he? And you’re alive, which is of the good. Aaaand you’re freaky comfortable. Why is that anyway?
She remembers that fairy tale then, remembers her grandmother telling her, Sometimes you have to close your eyes and just hope. She remembers how she hit the pavement and fear filled her, fear and panic and pain and she closed her eyes and hoped for help. And then he showed up, whoever he is.
Edward smiles and can’t quite resist saying, I’m Edward.
She jumps about three feet high and stares at him with wide eyes. Are you…
He nods. I’m reading your thoughts, yeah.
She blushes a mortified red, flashes through every embarrassing thing that has ever happened to her in two seconds and then starts reciting the national anthem. He raises an eyebrow. That was fast. Even Alice took months to figure out that by concentrating really hard on something else, she can keep him out.
Then she wonders aloud, Why aren’t I totally freaked out?
He shrugs. He has no answer for her. Only more confusion because he feels comfortable with her. He feels… calm. Her thoughts don’t bother him. She doesn’t bother him. Form what he has figured out she is a teenaged cheerleader with a bubbly name that hunts vampires and heals within hours. A girl who blows bubble gum and screams inside, full of shadows and dark corners. He doesn’t understand her at all.
Are you hungry?
This is kind of neat, she says as she settles next to him on the edge of the roof overlooking the city. He risks a grin in her direction and dangles his legs daringly.
How did you find me up here?
She shrugs and dumps the duffle bag containing her slaying paraphernalia on the gravel behind them. Rosalie told me after I threatened to tell you she was being mean again. She really doesn’t like me.
It’s his turn to shrug and say, Rose likes few people.
Especially not people who are pretty and alive. People who have what she dreamed up for herself a life time ago. Never mind that she would be an old woman now, if she’d had those things. Never mind that Buffy is going to die like Edward has, as a teenager with no-one left to mourn her. Only she won’t come back from the dead. She won’t still wear a child’s face when she should, by rights, be a crone. She will not feed of the living. She will never have a monster inside of her. She will not be like him.
He wraps an arm around her then, draws her close and snorts into her hair as he thinks that in so many ways, all those that count, she already is like him.
Yeah, I figured that, she mumbles and it takes a second or him to realize that she is still talking about Rose and her hate of all that looks like the dreams she once had.
They sit in silence until she says, I have a new lead on Lothos’s lair.
Involuntarily, his arm tightens around her shoulders. His only consolation is that she does not break like a human, but merely snuggles closer. She is strong.
Be careful, he orders sternly.
Always am. And hey, if I die, you can just fix me right up.
No. He snarls and rolls backwards of the ledge they are sitting on, gaining his feet ten feet away from her.
She turns, startled. Wow. Chill, Edward.
No, he repeats, You will not be-
A monster, he corrects.
Do I get a say in this?
You know, Alice says-
This time he is the one cutting her off. I don’t care what Alice says. You will live. You will be happy. You will close your damn eyes and hope, he whispers, too low for a human to hear. You will hope for a better life and you will find it.
No more vampires? She asks.
Nope, he replies, borrowing her flippancy. No monsters. Only normal things. Good things.
She looks at him then and he remembers that she’s fifteen. Too young for all of this. Too sweet. Too fragile. What if I don’t want normal, she demands. What if I want what Alice sees? She says I’ll be your sister.
He retakes his seat silently, slings his arm around her again, to anchor himself and her in this moment. A sister. A confidant. A best friend. She could be his twin in heart and mind and soul, if he would just let her, might even, one day, become the lover he has never thought he’d have. Might be. Could be. Maybe.
Alice isn’t always right, he whispers.
To love is to let go.
Lothos is dead and her parents have split up for the last time when she comes sneaking into their house late at night. She hugs Emse and talks with the others for a few minutes before unerringly making her way to his room. She slips inside like a ghost and settles next to him on the couch.
He pulls her head into his lap, feeling her exhaustion. Not only from the fighting, no, but from the upheaval of having parents that don’t care, of being friendless and different. Of being unique in a world that tolerates only what it knows.
Her life, he muses, in sad in a way his never was. The people who are his family have always stood by him, have always tried to be there for him. When they failed it was his fault, not theirs. But Buffy has no-one to hold her close and tell her things will be alright. She has no-one to lean on.
Had, he corrects himself mentally. He is here now, as much of a big brother as he is able. At least for now. For a while.
My mom’s moving me down south, she says suddenly. He thought she was asleep.
Away from LA?
She rolls her eyes to look at him, straining against his hand to sit up. You’re joking, right? How am I going to see you, when I’m rotting in some hicktown?
And then she reads the look on his face, the sorrow in his eyes and thinks that she will not see him at all anymore. He will not allow it. And because it’s late and she hurts and her life is falling apart, she closes her eyes tightly. Closes them against the tears and even as she scolds herself for being childish, she squeezes them tighter shut and hopes.
Stop that, he demands, suddenly irate.
Her eyes snap open to glare at him. Stay out of my head, if you don’t like it.
I don’t want you disappointed.
Disappointed? Why? Because you don’t believe in my silly little game? Or because you suck? I can close my eyes and wish all I want, jerk.
He sighs then because he doesn’t want to fight with her. Especially not with her. That’s not it, he tells her. Just… wish for something else, please. I can’t –
Love and let go. Love and let go. As he watches her storm out of the room the mantra becomes a prayer for strength. Love and let go.
Her words ring in the silence long after she’s gone, accusations coming at him from all sides, bouncing off the walls. Why does wishing only work when I want what you think is right for me? Why can’t I want to stay here with you guys?
He lets her go and the front door slams like a hammer.
Hoping never changed anything and this is what he has to do.
He sees her one last time before she moves away with her mother to a new life. He wants to wish her farewell, to tell her to forget him and all will be alright.
But when he stands in front of her he can’t bring himself to say the words. They won’t pass his lips, no matter how hard he tries. He doesn’t want to let her go, doesn’t want her to forget him. He wants her here, by his side. He wants everything she could be. He wants…
He wants to close his eyes and hope for happiness.
She hugs him like he is forgiven, like she has accepted his verdict. Hugs him like she loves him still after their fight. Then she whispers, I won’t see you again, will I?
You can hope, he breathes into her sunshine hair.
She smacks his stone cold chest. You don’t believe in that crap, remember?
When he was still working as Carlisle’s assistant, a lifetime ago, he learned how to care for human injuries. He learned that cuts need to be precise and wounds need to be clean. The cleaner a wound is, the sharper the knife that made them, the smaller the scar will be. Clean cuts. Clean wounds. Leave nothing behind that can infect the tissue.
Yes, he confesses, I remember.
She lets go of him with an air of disappointment but she does not fight him, resigned to her fate.
Clean cuts. It’s best for the patient.
They are in Denali a year alter when Alice storms into his room, flinging his car keys at him, screaming, You have to get there now! You have to help her. She’s dying, Edward!
He doesn’t ask who ‘she’ is. He just moves.
Relief floods him when he reaches Sunnydale and finds her alive. Soaked, grumpy, traumatized, but alive. Breathing. Gloriously, wildly breathing. Not dead. Not gone. Not lost.
He can let her go, did let her go, but he is not sure that he can live in a world where his almost-sister doesn’t exist anymore.
Never mind that that world will one day come because he doesn’t believe in the power of wishing and she is doomed to die young. Doomed by her destiny and doomed again by his refusal to take the light form her green eyes. Eyes that are like his were, once upon a time when he was seventeen and mortal. When he died.
He knows he’s not being reasonable. He wants her to live and the only way for her to do that is by first dying. But he can’t let that happen. He can’t kill her. He can’t keep her with him because to love is to let go and it’s better for her, better to live a few years in the light than to be like him, lonely and bitter and loved but never a part.
He loves her. So he must let her go. He must let her live her life and when she dies, he must grieve for her and remember her and not regret what he did. He must let her go.
He watches long enough to see her kill an ugly monstrosity of a vampire. Watches to see her kiss someone she calls Angel. Watches to make sure she is alive and happy.
Then he slips back into his car and leaves town, ignoring the blonde girl in the white dress, standing in his rear mirror with tears in her eyes.
The next year it’s her who finds him and he takes only one look at her, one look, before hugging her within an inch of her life, hugging her like he will never release her. Guilt rises in him like bile, a forgotten taste after all these years. He sent her out to live her life and it broke her, broke her good.
He takes her home and Alice washes her, Esme feeds her, Jasper calms her and Emmett and even Rose try to distract her. Carlisle watches from his perch against the wall next to his oldest child.
Why do you do this to her? He asks.
The words roll off his tongue the same way they were whispered inside his maker’s head eighty years ago: To love is to let go.
Carlisle shakes his head and says, Look at her. What are you letting her go for? She can be happy here. We all want her here.
Yes, her. Not what she would become.
It has to be better than this, Carlisle says, waving an all encompassing hand at the bruised girl with the broken heart, who just killed her only lover and lost everything she loves.
Alice is beside the two men suddenly, remarking, You’ll have this very same conversation again in a few years, you know? But this time you can’t decide, Edward. She’s not yours. She’s ours. She belongs to us all. She’ll be my little sister. I’ll need her to find the other one. You have to –
- Leave it alone, Alice, Buffy suddenly speaks up from the couch. Leave it alone. Please. Don’t fight.
Then she holds her arms out to Edward, like a child and begs, I just want to sleep.
He watches her. For three months, months that mean so little, pass so fast, he watches her, lurking in doorways and against walls, perched on tables and chairs, couches and floors, never farther than three feet from her, who suddenly looks more fragile than she ever has.
She cries at night, barely speaks during the day and watches him watch her with eyes like glass, shattered, reflecting a million images of himself, distorted.
In her eyes, he looks like a monster and he wonders if that is what he sees, or what she sees.
I’m seventeen, she says, one day, her voice like a young bird, desperate for flight.
He looks at her, long and hard and hears, inside her head, the rest of her statement. Like you. Change me now...
Bury the rest.
He runs and runs and runs, runs until he is three states away from her. Safe. Safe from her thoughts and her hoping and his own desperate need. He doesn’t believe in her game. He doesn’t.
She is yellow and bubble gum and sunshine and to kill her would be to blow out the light of her soul. He cannot. He will not.
Love and let go.
Bury the rest.
As deep as you can.
The phone rings and he knows it’s Alice before he rolls off the lumpy motel mattress and answers it. You have to come, she says. Buffy is gone and I can’t find her.
And I can?
You know her best. If anyone can figure out where she went now...
It’s him. He knows. Just like he knows where he has to search. Just like he knows that he will search. The last time he left her, she shrunk into nothing in his rear view mirror, crying. But she kept moving. She had a reason.
He knows where he has to search.
An intersection in downtown LA is where she waits for him, in jeans and a t-shirt too wide for her shrunken frame. She looks younger than she did two years ago, when he picked her up from this very spot and carried her home into his life.
He looks at the concrete under her feet and fancies he can still smell the last traces of her blood there, soaked into the dust. She broke. He fixed her. And then he broke her even worse.
What are you doing? He asks.
She walks a few steps, stops at the curb, bouncing a bit on her toes, hands at her sides. In her head he finds nothing but an old eighties song, looping endlessly.
I’d be different if I’d never met you, she says suddenly and before he has a chance to ask how, she adds, Colder. Harder. I’d be... I wouldn’t.... She tilts her head and smiles at him. She looks so tired.
I wouldn’t believe in wishes anymore.
What are you doing? He repeats, a bit urgently, as the silly song in her head grows louder and she turns so her back faces the busy street.
I’m hoping, she says and steps off the curb and into traffic.
When she wakes, her eyes are red and not green, like his used to be.
When she wakes, the sunshine is gone from her and the moon has come.
When she wakes, Alice is beside her, the others around her, Edward as far from her as he can get without leaving.
He can’t leave her. Not now, not ever again. Her blood is in his veins and on that street, red and bitter on his tongue.
She loved and let go. She hoped, in that one, star-bright second between when the song in her head stopped and the truck hit. She hoped to be happy.
Close your eyes and hope, he thought, and did. But all he heard was the screech of tires and metal, the sound of a girl breaking and flying and falling. This time, there was too much blood.
She looks at him over Alice’s shoulder, looks at him across a room filled with all his family. Their family now. She is...
She is like him.
When she was seventeen, he thinks and almost laughs, Buffy died. There is nothing dramatic about it, nothing special or tragic. She stepped into traffic. She died.
Love and let go.
But he couldn’t. For the first and last time since he stood above his parents’ graves, he couldn’t and he can still taste her death on his tongue, like sunshine and a lone tree on a grassy hill.
She meets his gaze, red on gold. Edward? She asks and for one lightning bright moment he hates her for teaching him to close his eyes and hope.
He averts his gaze and in Alice’s head, the future reels and tilts, becoming something else.
Bury the rest.