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Title: Only Human (6/27) Author: Amethyst Jackson Rating: M/NC-17 Category: Drama, Angst, Romance Pairing: Edward/Bella Summary: A wish sends Bella back in time to Chicago, 1918, and to a human Edward. Disclaimer: All this genius belongs to Stephanie Meyer. I’m just having a little fun.
I went up to bed early and turned the lights out, hoping that would lead everyone to believe me asleep already. It seemed like ages before Mrs. Masen finally came up the stairs for bed. Her husband and son had passed my bedroom door nearly an hour ago, but she seemed to have endless stores of energy. Finally, the light in the hallway went out and I heard the close of a door down the hall. I waited, impatiently, another half hour to be sure she would be asleep. Then, I crept as quickly and stealthily as possible down the stairs.
I paused in the foyer, listening for any following footsteps. My eyes landed on the table, where today’s newspaper lay, discarded. I reached for it, curious to see the date. I still had no idea when, exactly, it was.
July 19, 1918. I swallowed and glanced over the stories. News about the war. From the tone of the
article, it seemed like the war was turning in our favor by now. Czar Nicholas II had been killed days ago. I shook my head, marveling at what I was seeing. How could I be living in this era? “What are you doing up?” a soft voice asked, startling me into dropping the paper. I whirled around and met Edward’s suspicious eyes. “I couldn’t sleep,” I lied. He smirked. “I went into your room. Your bed is made, and you’re still dressed. It doesn’t look like you ever tried to sleep.” “I made my bed and put my clothes on when I got back up,” I tried, but he rolled his eyes at me. “Tell me the truth, Bella. Where are you going?” “The hospital,” I sighed, defeated. He stepped closer, making my heart flutter nervously. “Why?” he demanded. “I need to speak to someone who works there.” His eyes roamed my face appraisingly. “Are you ill, Isabella?” I shook my head. “No, of course not. The person I need to speak with just happens to be a doctor, but that doesn’t have anything to do with my reasoning…” Edward tilted his head, taking another step forward, trapping me between him and the table. “Is it him? Jacob?” I almost laughed. I’d given him reason to be jealous of Jacob in this time, too. Good one, Bella. “No, I don’t even know where he is right now.” It was the truth. “Who are you going to see, then?” His eyes kept me locked in place. “An old family friend.” Never mind that old referred more to his actual age than his status as a family friend… “He might be able to help me.” Edward’s face relaxed slightly, but he didn’t move away. “You can’t go alone, and especially not at this hour. Why aren’t you going in the daytime, anyway?”
“I don’t know where he lives,” I said honestly, “But I do know that he works nights at the hospital. This is the only time I can find him. I have to go.” Edward sighed. “At least let me go with you. It’s dangerous.” I frowned. “I need to talk to him alone, Edward.” He crossed his arms, and I realized he was still dressed as well. Had he been waiting for me to try to sneak out? “I’ll wait outside, then, but I’m coming with you. You’re not traipsing the streets of Chicago all by yourself at this hour.” I scowled at him, recognizing the stubborn sense of chivalry that had often irked me in my Edward. There would be no arguing with him, so I gave up. “Fine,” I said. “But if your parents realize we’re gone, you get to come up with an explanation for them.” Edward cocked an eyebrow. “If you really are going to visit a family friend, I don’t see why we can’t tell them the truth.” “Right,” I mumbled, turning for the door. Edward followed close behind. He hovered close, at times placing a hand on my lower back as we passed through more suspicious areas. Twice, he had to correct me as I attempted to turn the wrong direction, and I blushed each time. I’d gone and proven I need assistance after all, which would only encourage him. “Who is this friend of yours?” he asked, evidently still suspicious. “His name is Carlisle.” I hoped he would be satisfied with that answer, but of course, he wasn’t. “How do you know him?” “He was the doctor in our town for awhile.” Or he will be, at least. “He didn’t like small town life, so he moved back to the city.” Edward pursed his lips. “And how did you know he was here?” I blinked. “Um…well, he kept in touch with some people in town. Word gets around, you know.” “Right,” he muttered. “And what makes you so sure he’s at this hospital?” We were standing outside the building now. “I’m guessing,” I admitted. Guessing he’ll be at the hospital closest to you. “I hope you’ve guessed correctly,” Edward said, following me through the double doors.
I was surprised by the interior of the hospital. It wasn’t at all like a modern hospital – no halls lined with rooms, no waiting area, no smell of chemicals. It smelled worse, like decay. I focused on breathing through my mouth as I searched for someone that could help me. I spotted a nurse at the other end of the room, and I moved quickly toward her. Edward followed silently. I should have asked him to wait by the entrance, but I wanted his comforting presence. “Excuse me,” I said before she could scurry away, “I’m looking for Dr. Cullen, is he here?” She eyed me suspiciously, then shot a glance at Edward, who hovered behind me. “Upstairs,” she said briskly, pointing to a doorway behind her. I turned to Edward. “Wait here. Please.” He nodded his agreement as I went into the rather dark stairwell and climbed to the next floor. Carlisle was immediately recognizable. He hadn’t changed at all, but that was to be expected. As he turned, taking down notes, I saw the difference, however. This Carlisle looked unhappy…lonely. As of now, he had no one, I realized. But that would soon change. Or it was supposed to. “Dr. Cullen,” I said, hesitating only slightly as I approached. He looked up, merely curious, but I don’t know why I expected to see any recognition in his eyes. “My name is Bella Swan, and I need to speak with you. Privately, if possible.” If he was puzzled, he didn’t show it. “Very well,” he said. “Right this way.” He led me into a room off the main area, little more than a storage closet. Carlisle turned on a lamp and I realized it was where they kept the medicines. “How may I help you?” he asked in his bedside-manner voice. I swallowed past my nerves and plunged ahead. “I know what you are,” I declared. His reaction was one I knew well, one I’d seen on Edward’s face, in the hospital after he saved me from Tyler’s van: practiced skepticism. “What I am?” he repeated, quirking an eyebrow. “A vampire,” I said, preparing to recite his history as Edward had told it. “You were born in the mid-1600s in London. Your father was a preacher. He had you take over his raids when you were old enough, looking for demons. You were smart; you actually found a real vampire, but you couldn’t possibly have been prepared for it. You led a raid, and the vampire attacked. He bit you. You knew you were contaminated and that your father would destroy you if he found out. You hid in a cellar for three days in agonizing pain, until your transformation was complete. Should I go on?” “No need,” he said, curious but wary. “How do you know all this?”
“I know because I know you – not now, but ninety years in the future, where I was until earlier today. Somehow, I went back in time…and you’re the only person that I know of in this time who could even begin to understand. Who could even believe me?” I watched Carlisle take a slow breath before leaning against the shelf behind him. “All right. Let’s start with how you know me, in the future.” With a sigh of relief, I began to explain. “In the future, you have a whole coven, a family, really. Four that you changed and two that found you, who all share your diet. The first you change is Edward. He’ll be dying of the Spanish flu, which will hit Chicago sometime this year…I don’t know what month, but I know he’s still living and human now.” “The Spanish flu?” he questioned, brow furrowing. “Oh…um…I guess it’s not called that yet. It’s an epidemic…a pandemic, I guess, of influenza that’s going to spread around the world. I don’t know for sure – I don’t know much about it – but it was probably the worst epidemic since the bubonic plague…” “This Edward…you’re close to him? That’s how you know me?” “I’m married to him,” I said, feeling the missing weight on my finger. “We were just getting back from our honeymoon when this happened. He was going to change me…now it might never happen.” Carlisle actually showed his surprise. “You married a vampire?” “He has extraordinary control,” I said, full of pride for my vampire. “He doesn’t believe it, but he does. He’s never once hurt me…even though my blood calls to him more than anyone else is…” Carlisle frowned. “And you came back to this time…to Edward? As a human?” “Yes,” I sighed. “The last thing I did before it happened was make a wish – it was my birthday, I was blowing out the candles on my cake. Then I opened my eyes, and I was here.” “And your wish?” “To give Edward all the human experiences he’d been giving me, making sure I did everything possible before he changed me…do you think that’s it? That I actually wished my way here? Because it seems so far-fetched…” Carlisle chuckled. “More far-fetched than vampires?” “Well, if that’s really how I got here…how do I get back?” I asked, knowing he wouldn’t have an answer.
Carlisle frowned. “You could try a few things, I suppose, see if anything works. You could try making another wish. Or maybe fulfill the one you made. And if that doesn’t work…you do the best you can.” I swallowed. “I’m scared. I don’t know this time – I don’t know how to act, I don’t have any place to go… Edward’s family has taken me in, but what if they ask me to leave?” Carlisle placed a hand on my shoulder. “If this is the same Edward you fell in love with, then you should have faith that he won’t let any harm come to you. But,” he went on, pulling out his tablet and scribbling something down, “here is my address and my telephone number, if you need anything. You’re not alone.” I took the paper from him and felt relief all the way to my bones. “Thank you, Carlisle.” “You’re welcome.” He smiled warmly. “I really have a family in the future?” I was surprised by the question. Carlisle seemed so hopeful, so…young. It was strange. “Yes,” I said. “Would you like to know?” He hesitated. “Desperately, yes. But I think it would be better if I didn’t.” I nodded. “All right, well, Edward is waiting for me. I should probably go, before he gets worried.” “He’s here with you?” Carlisle opened the door and gestured me out. “Yes,” I sighed. “I tried to sneak out, but he caught me. He wouldn’t let me go alone. Too chivalrous for his own good.” Carlisle merely smiled. “It sounds like he cares about you.” “Would you like to meet him?” “Perhaps another time, when I know what you’ve told him about me. I wouldn’t want to ruin your story.” I nodded. “Okay, then. Thank you, for everything.” He nodded and smiled. “It was wonderful meeting you, Bella.” I left Carlisle upstairs and went to look for Edward. I found him near the front entrance, with his arms crossed, fidgeting like any schoolchild. It was such a contrast to the Edward I knew, who would have been completely still, unnaturally so… “Thanks for waiting,” I said, catching his attention. He nodded in acknowledgment. “Was he able to help?”
“Yes,” I said, leading the way out of the hospital. I was ready with my story. “He’s going to help me look for some kind of employment and a place to stay.” “You don’t need a place to stay,” Edward said, walking close as if he expected attackers to pop out at any moment. Typical Edward. If he only knew the kinds of dangers I’d faced… “But I can’t stay with your family forever,” I argued. “I don’t want to impose on their kindness.” Edward shook his head. “We want you to stay.” I swallowed. “But you hardly know me.” Edward shrugged head down. He looked so…shy. “I feel like I’ve known you forever.” “I feel the same way,” I admitted. I wasn’t merely referring to the future, but to the day I’d spent with him as well. This was Edward, a little different but essentially the same, and I was slowly realizing that I couldn’t help loving him. “But this all sort of scares me…” Edward took my hand in his warm one. “I don’t want you to be afraid.” My heart ached for another time, a sunlit meadow and pained golden eyes… I squeezed his hand. “I’ll try not to be.”
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