Summary: At times one's path in life comes down to nothing more than luck. When the tracker's teeth pierced his skin, Beau Swan thought his fate sealed—except, maybe it wasn't. (The conclusion of Life and Death rewritten with the original Twilight ending.)
A/N: Yes, this has already been done before. I was tempted to skip this and go straight to the New Moon Reimagined I was hoping to start (a concept which has also already been done by others, but none I could find that have gotten very far yet), perhaps referring people to those that have already been done, but I decided that for sake of continuity, it was better if I wrote out exactly how things go from the point that the change happened.
Disclaimer: Twilight and Life and Death are both owned by Stephanie Meyer, and you'll find that about seventy percent of what you see below is shamelessly plagiarized. (Chopped up, shifted around, and mashed up in a way that hopefully makes sense, and sets things up for a reimagined New Moon.) I also rewrote and rearranged a lot of lines in minor ways, for the sole purpose of keeping it from being too exactly like the original(s), even if that does mean the flow and overall writing quality will inevitably go down.
Well, see you on the other side~
Chapter 23: Voice of an Angel
"Just tell Edythe how much this all hurts," crooned the hunter. "Tell her that you want vengeance—you deserve it. She brought you into this. In a very real sense, she's the one who's hurting you here."
I heard her, trying to convince me to tell Edythe to go after her, avenge me. I heard her soft threats, the sadistic pleasure in her voice. However, I said nothing. I didn't want that. I didn't want to see her put herself in danger. So long as she was safe, I didn't mind dying here.
"It doesn't want to scream," said the hunter in a funny, little singsong voice. "Should we make it scream?"
I waited for the next broken bone, for her cold hands to close around those fingers which were still whole and untouched. However, she merely held up my good arm, almost gently, and I felt her teeth nip the end of my finger. Compared to everything else, it barely stung.
The hunter immediately straightened and sprung away from me. My body ached with a thousand pains as I watched her pace back and forth, snarling and shaking her head frantically. My blood, that was the problem. She'd gotten some of it in her mouth, and now the feeding frenzy was trying to take hold of her. But she didn't want to kill me just yet. She wanted to torture me a little more first.
I suddenly felt something in the finger where she had bitten me. Heat, like I'd accidentally brushed it against a hot stove. I remembered Carine's story, and I suddenly knew what was happening. What had begun.
While I still had the strength, I stretched out my good arm and my fingers closed clumsily around the camera—the camera the tracker had been using to film my entire death, all for Edythe's benefit. I raised it high to smash it into the linoleum.
Before I could register what was happening, I was suddenly slammed backwards. My back struck the surface of one of the broken mirrors, and I felt the cold glass cut into my shoulders and scalp, making me gag and gasp with the pain. I looked up, dazed, to see the hunter standing before me, the undamaged camera in one pale hand.
I stared up at her for a moment, my thoughts muddled, until I realized I could feel something, something that slowly seemed to rise above everything else. A growing pain that overshadowed all the rest.
Before I had time to think, a scream suddenly ripped itself from my throat. My hand—that heat, that burning I had felt, had suddenly burst open, driving out all reason. My arm was splayed out at an unnatural angle, as was my index finger, my leg was turned sickeningly in the wrong direction, and my ribs felt like shards in my torso. Yet all of that was nothing to the pain that seared through me now.
I saw, as though from a great distance, the tracker's nostrils flare, and she gazed down at me with bloodlust in her eyes. Her lips drew back from her teeth, her mouth spreading wide, and I knew this was the end. At the very back of my conscious mind, I was relieved. Anything that would end this pain.
But as I lay there, screaming from the fire in my hand as it spread through my palm, when she lunged for me I heard another piercing scream drown out mine, like a chainsaw cutting through rebar. The hunter's teeth snapped just an inch from my face, before she was suddenly dragged rapidly back, like a videotape in rewind.
I stared uncomprehendingly as she disappeared from my vision, and heard a terrible snarl of fury, then a wild keening cut short followed by the sound of metallic tearing, shredding, like something being ripped apart.
A familiar voice was suddenly beside me, and it momentarily cut through the haze of the burning in my hand.
"No," the voice moaned, frantic with agony. "No, no, no, no!"
The fire had moved from my palm to my wrist now, but I tried to concentrate on the voice, the voice that, even screaming in horror, still sounded like an angel.
"Beau, please," Edythe begged. "Beau, listen to me, please, please, Beau, please!"
I tried to find my mouth to answer, but it was disconnected from the rest of me. I'd stopped screaming, but only because I was out of air.
"Carine!" Edythe's high, strangled voice again cut briefly through the pain. "Help me! Beau, please, please, Beau, please!"
I could feel her cradling my head in her lap, and I felt the tips of her fingers pressing into my scalp. I looked up into her face, and it was unfocused, just like the hunter's.
"He's lost some blood, but the head wound isn't deep," a calm voice said. "He has some broken bones. Leg, arm—possibly some ribs, too."
I heard a hiss, mingled fury and torment.
I blinked once, and suddenly my vision sharpened back into focus. Edythe gazed down at me, her perfect face twisted and tortured.
I stared up at her, trying to focus on her instead of the pain. But it was overpowering, trying to take over everything. They were trying to take care of my leg and arm, but they didn't seem to realize that those weren't that important. Not compared to the other pain.
"Hand," I managed to spit out through gritted teeth.
"Archie," Carine said calmly, as though she hadn't heard me, "make splints for his leg and arm. Edythe, straighten out his airways. Which is the worst bleed?"
"Here, Carine." Then she added in a hoarse whisper, "Please—something for the pain."
Carine pulled something from a black bag and handed it to her.
Edythe bent over me, and I felt her cold hands on my face. "Keep breathing, Beau. Breathe. Here—this will help."
"Shhh, Beau, it's going to be okay, I swear, it's going to be fine."
"It's burning," I said, staring up at her through a haze of agony. "Hand—fire."
Edythe's eyes dropped to my hand for the first time, and she sucked in a sharp gasp. "Carine," she said, and she couldn't seem to get her voice to come out above a whisper.
Carine lifted her eyes and immediately saw what Edythe had seen.
"She bit him," she said very quietly, and beneath the calm was an undercurrent of revulsion.
"You have to do it, Edy." A new voice—I vaguely recognized Archie. "You have to let this happen."
"No," Edythe hissed, but she stared down at me, eyes wide with horror.
"There may be another way," Carine said in a low voice. "The wound is fairly clean. You may be able to suck the venom out."
Archie had frozen. "Can... that work?" he asked, sounding stunned.
"I don't know," Carine answered quietly. "But we have to hurry."
I could see fear in Edythe's eyes.
"I don't know..." she said softly. "I don't know if I can do that."
"It's your decision," Carine replied. "I can't help you either way. If you're going to be taking more blood, I have to get this bleeding under control."
"If you try, there's a good chance you'll kill him yourself," Archie said in a low voice.
Edythe's face was drawn, but I watched as her doubt was suddenly replaced by blazing determination. She held my hand tightly in place, though I couldn't feel the ice of her fingers through the burning. Then, just as the hunter had done, Edythe bent her head to my hand.
I screamed and bucked as I suddenly felt the fire dragged down my wrist, back into my hand. The pain was unreal. I dimly felt something holding my leg to the floor, and Carine kept my head locked in place with her stone arms as I struggled.
Then something miraculous happened. The pain began to recede, leaving my hand blissfully numb as the fire focused into an ever-smaller point. My thrashing slowed, until at last I lay still.
At the same time the pain subsided, I felt my consciousness begin to slip.
"Edythe," I tried say, but I couldn't hear my own voice. However, she heard me.
"I'm here, Beau," she said softly, and I felt her hand close around one of mine. Her voice was strained, but with an odd note of triumph.
"Stay..." I mumbled. "Stay..."
"I will," she whispered.
I sighed. The fire was gone, and the other pain seemed dulled by the sleepiness slowly spreading through my body.
"Is it all out?" Carine asked from somewhere far away.
"His blood tastes clean," Edythe said quietly. "I could taste the morphine."
"Beau?" Carine called to me.
"Mmmm?" I mumbled.
"Is the fire gone?"
"Yeah," I sighed. "It is. Thanks, Edythe."
Edythe was gazing down at me, and her ocher eyes were gentle. "I love you," she said softly.
"I know," I said, and felt my mouth almost tug into a grin.
"It's time to move him," Carine said.
"I'd rather sleep," I muttered, teetering on the edge of consciousness.
"You sleep, Beau," Edythe said soothingly. "I'll take care of you."
I felt myself raised from the floor. I felt like I was floating, all the pain gone.
"Sleep, Beau" were the last words I heard before I finally drifted off into oblivion.
A/N: Again, shamelessly plagiarized. I tried to mesh both Twilight and Life and Death together as best I could, though clearly Meyer had already made quite a few changes fairly early on in the scene to set up the different ending. (Joss paces around for a while, fighting the instinct to eat Beau, and Edythe and Carine do a lot of taking care of Beau's other injuries before they realize what's happening.) The main differences here are that I tried to make it seem that Joss gives up and tries to attack Beau much sooner (hence, meaning that Edythe and company arrive earlier to stop her), and also Beau, like Bella, is quicker to communicate his problem.
Well, I suppose I have to do the last two chapters now, don't I? I'll keep my fingers crossed they'll be a little simpler than this one.
Thanks for reading, let me know what you thought!