Rosalie found Edward holed up in one of the old, decayed shops of the Seattle Underground. Curled in on himself, he hid his face between his knees and twisted his fingers into his hair. It was abysmally pathetic. Rosalie had to hold back her scathing remarks like a vicious dog on a leash. As mockable as he was in this state, Rosalie knew she would not have fared better in his situation.

Lingering in the doorway, Rosalie hit her thigh with her fist—a nervous tick she retained from her human days when she wasn't sure what to say and would fiddle with the skirts of her dresses. She couldn't mock her friend, nor did she have anything comforting to say. After several long beats of silence, she decided it was best to be informative. "Hey, the tunnels are cleared out. There were fifteen vampires in this coven. It was a big one."

Rosalie followed Edward during his vicious frenzy to get to his mate. He did the initial damage—ripping off heads and limbs—while Rose lingered behind to complete the long, methodical process of destroying a vampire. After she had taken every vampire apart, she built a fire in the tunnels, aware of the lack of proper ventilation. She didn't need to breathe, so what did it matter? Once the fire was ablaze, she tossed the bits and pieces of marble flesh into the flames officially destroying each vampire. Emmett would have enjoyed that part. He loved to play with fire.

Edward said nothing.

Rosalie swallowed. "I don't know if you realize how many you got in your frenzy, but it was eleven. You beat my record by five."

She hoped that bit of news would get a reaction out of him. He'd beaten her. He never beat her unless he cheated with that ridiculous gift of his. His small victory should have at least gotten a smile. A nod. Something. The only movement from Edward was a slight tightening of his grip on his messy red hair. If he tore out his hair and had two permanent bald spots for the rest of eternity, he definitely wouldn't win Bella back.

For the sake of his scalp, Rosalie continued, "There were only four for me to take out, hidden in the shadows like the cowards they were. There were also two more humans. But, their masters already got to them. Looking for a last meal, I guess. They're all burning in hell now."

Again, Edward did not speak; did not move. If anything, he sank further into his sea of misery. With nothing more to say, she gave up. "I am so sorry, Edward."

She didn't need to be a mind reader or a psychic to understand what happened. Bella left the underground crying into Emmett's arms, not Edward's. When she passed the siblings briefly in the tunnels, Emmett merely shook his head. It told her everything she needed to know. Bella did not accept the truth about Edward.

He had lost his mate.

Rosalie regarded Edward for another moment. Something itched at her heart—sorrow, fear, possibly her own heartbreak. The sorrow lasted for a faction of a second before it burned away into searing anger. "How did we let this happen? How could we have missed an entire fucking vampire coven?"

If Edward and Rosalie were on top of their game like they should have been, none of this would have happened. Edward would have sniffed out a vampire coven lurking beneath the city far before they could've threatened Bella the first time. On the little girl's behalf, Bella did discover the truth about Edward in the worst way possible. Well, almost the worst. The worst would have been if he had a lapse in control and killed her himself. No, Rosalie corrected herself, the worst would have been to become a Cullen. Her lips curled at the thought.

"We stopped hunting for a month."

Rosalie didn't expect that to be what Edward chose to respond to, but she was still grateful. She didn't want him to go catatonic. She didn't know if that was possible for a vampire, but if it was, it would certainly happen to a vampire who had lost their mate.

"Alice Cullen was right after all," Edward continued, his face still hidden. "There was one path for us to take where we could keep them. Only, it wasn't the one we expected."

"You think she knew." It was not a question, but a realization.

"She saw the entire thing from the start. She never needed us to have golden eyes. She needed us to stop hunting in the city. I was supped to fall on my knees and beg for her to rescue Bella, whatever the consequences."

"She might see the future, but she clearly couldn't see how obstinate you can be."

"Or how deeply I love her." Edward's voice shook, unable to say Bella's name.

Edward wanted to give in. If it were his own freedom on the line, Edward would have given it to Alice in exchange for Bella's immediate safety, no questions asked. It was only for Bella's sake that he did not cave to the psychic's whims.

"Fucking little priss," Rosalie seethed. She took a deep breath, then slid down the wall to join Edward on the ground. "The next time I see her, I'll rip her ever-seeing eyes out. That'll show her to play with us like pawns on her board."

Rosalie uttered several more threats, each in more vicious detail than the last. When she finished verbally breaking every bone in the vampire's body, Rosalie slammed her fist on the floor, cracking the wood in two. It didn't feel as good as cracking Alice's skull, so Rosalie slumped back against the wall, unsatisfied.

"You don't need to stay here with me, Rose," Edward said, his voice still a quiet murmur. "Emmett accepted you. You should go be with him."

"Emmett won't want to be with a vampire if they frighten Bella. He would choose her over me. He should choose his sister over me. Besides," Rosalie rested her head on Edward's shoulder, "I wouldn't want to be miserable without you."

For the first time, Edward lifted his gaze. He looked down fondly at Rosalie's blonde hair before he rested his cheek on her head. "And I wouldn't want to be happy without you."

The vampires remained still. Both squeezed their eyes shut, mourning what they had lost. Thankfully, they both knew they would not have to face their misery alone. If the events of the past few months told them anything, it was that they would never have to do anything alone. They always had each other. Forever.

"It's kind of better this way," Rosalie murmured after a long stretch of silence. "If we did what we were supposed to, the Swans would have become vampires, whether they wanted to or not."

It was the smallest sliver of a silver lining, but Edward would take it. "That's true. At least this way, they had a choice."

"We may be miserable, but they're going to be happy."

Edward's lower lip quivered. There was nothing else in this world that he cared about more than Bella's happiness. As wonderful as it was to be the source of her happiness, being without her would be better than being the source of her misery.

He wrapped his arm around Rosalie, adjusting so she could tuck her head between his neck and shoulder. Bella might have been his universe, but Rosalie was still his world. He needed her to be happy, as well. "Emmett will positively affect more lives with his kind heart than he would as a Cullen abstaining from human blood."

"And the planet will benefit more from Bella's lifestyle than they would if they were trapped in the Cullen's wasteful, lavish world."

The vampires sighed, in contentment as well as contempt. If becoming a Cullen was the only way they would be vampires, their mates would be better off staying human. Everyone would be better off with the Swans remaining human.

"What are we going to do now?" Edward asked.

"I guess we'll have to try again in the next century when we find another pair of siblings stupid enough to trust us."


Freshly showered and holding a steaming cup of chai tea, Bella sat on her worn sofa. Emmett had put on her favorite movie—a nature documentary about whales—but Bella hardly seemed to notice, let alone enjoy it. She didn't even gasp in unrestrained delight when the babies swam onscreen.

Occasionally, she sniffled, but so far, no more tears had fallen. She must have cried herself out.

Halfway through the documentary and two sips into her drink, Bella cleared her throat. "How long have you known?"

Emmett spoke quietly and with more caution than he had ever exhibited in his life. "Since Thursday night. Not long before you…found out."

Bella shook. The tea in her mug splashed out, but the normally scalding liquid had been sitting out long enough that it was room temperate, so it didn't burn her skin. She had been deceived by everyone she loved. Played like the fool she always feared she was.

"I'm sorry," Emmett said for the hundredth time. "Rosalie said Edward wanted to be the one to tell you. He was waiting for the right time."

"And when was the right time, Emmett?" Bella exclaimed, her frustration finally bursting through her calm composure. "When his teeth finally sank into my neck?"

"They're not like that."

"You don't know that! Rosalie could have been tricking you, too. The entire thing could have been a trap!"

Despite Bella's outburst, Emmett's response remained quiet and level, "That's not true."

Bella closed her eyes and repeated, "You don't know that."

"Yes, I do!" Emmett declared, finding more volume. "Because I know Rosalie and she would never do anything like that. Especially not to me. I trust her with everything I got." Emmett placed his hand over his heart and gathered the material of his shirt into his fist, wishing his fingers were digging into stands of silky, blonde hair. "You can't look at me and tell me you don't feel the same about Edward."

Bella stared ahead, just above the TV screen where whales were swimming with their cubs across the sea. If Emmett wasn't going to be rational, she didn't want to talk to him at all.

But Emmett wasn't through speaking with her. "He loves you, Bells. Is that what you're worried about?"

The slightest quiver of Bella's lower lip told Emmett he was on the right track. Like Emmett, Bella didn't fear underground tunnels or monsters of the night. Bella feared losing those she loved. If Emmett wouldn't let vampirism take Rosalie from him, there was no way in hell Bella was going to let it take Edward from her.

"Edward might have lied about almost everything about himself, but what he felt for you was always real."

The words easily punctured the walls Bella hastily built around her heart. She was never very good at construction.

"I knew he was too good to be true," Bella lamented. "The entire time I knew, and I was ready to compromise. And do you want to know something insane? I'm ready to compromise again! Even after I found out he lied to me for months. Even after I watched him tear a sentient creature apart with his fangs, my better judgment had to fight the instinct to go back to him. Am I crazy?"

"Of course not, Bells. Listen, I watched Rosalie break some guy's neck, and all I thought at the time was, damn, I wonder what she could do to me."

"Great," Bella laughed once without humor. "So, we're both crazy, then."

"Would you call Lois Lane crazy for loving Superman?"

Bella rolled her eyes. "This is completely different."


"For one, this is real life."

Emmett groaned. "Ignore that. We're talking about vampires here, Bella. Nothing's real anymore."

"Okay fine. What about the fact that they're vampires, not superheroes!"

"They saved your life. Three times, by my count. What's more heroic than that?"

Bella bit her lip, considering that.

Emmett used Bella's hesitation to push his point. "Rosalie told me that the first night you saw Edward, he had saved your life. Even before he knew you—before he loved you—he was saving your life."

"Really?" Bella had to admit that was awfully romantic.

"Yeah!" Emmett leaned forward. "They were hunting some serial rapist who was lurking in that alley you were lost in. But they swooped in, set you free, and ate the bastard!"

Bella narrowed her eyes. "They saved me by eating a serial rapist?" she asked, doubtfully. It seemed too convenient that there was a villain for her to be rescued from. The sort of trap the real villain would set to lure the protagonist into a false sense of security. Bella had always been able to see those sorts of plot twists coming from miles away.

"It's what they do! Rosalie and Edward are like these vigilante vampires. They find the worst people in the world—murderers, rapists, pedophiles—and they feed from them. And only them."

That matched up with the Edward she'd known for months more than anything that happened that day. Throughout their whole relationship, Edward had been sweet and protective. Never once did Bella feel threatened by his presence. In fact, she felt the opposite. She always felt safer when Edward was around. Bella liked the idea of a knight in shining armor more than a superhero. Edward was her vampire in shining armor. A brand, new trope, created just for her. Enjoying that private fantasy, Bella put her tea on the table in front of her so she could wrap her arms around both legs.

There was a chink in Bella's armor, and Emmett knew just how to break it. "That's not even the best part! Have you ever wondered why Edward never invited you down to his apartment?"

Bella quirked her head in a quick, bird-like motion. "He said it was because he doesn't own as much kitchen equipment as I do."

Emmett chuckled. Looking back, Emmett found it amusing how both vampires danced around the truth. Edward's excuse wasn't technically a lie.

"The real reason is that if you or I went up there, we would know they weren't human. It's completely empty."

Just as Emmett suspected she would, Bella perked up. "Really?"

"Yeah. Vampires barely need anything to survive. They only had clothes in their closet and a few library books. And both of those were luxuries. No plastic products. No food. They don't even own a trashcan because they don't have any trash."

Bella's brown eyes widened into saucers.

"That's right, Bella," Emmett nodded slowly and evenly. "The man who loves you does not produce any waste."

"Oh my god," she breathed. Bella pushed the blanket from her shoulders and pulled at her collar—she became uncomfortably warm. "Tell me everything."


"Where should we go next?" Rosalie asked.

It was close to three in the morning. Edward and Rosalie decided the middle of the night would be the safest time for them to move out without running into the Swans. Usually, they would toss everything in the dump and be done with it, but Bella's environmentally conscious lifestyle stuck to them like glue. Their plan was to take the couch and chair to a local thrift shop and sneak their books into a donate pile at a used bookstore.

"Maybe we should try Europe this time. I could build you a cottage in the woods. Set up a permanent home…"

"That sounds nice…" Rosalie mused, already envisioning gingerbread trim and circular windows.

"Children would wander right up to the house. You wouldn't have to leave to feed."

Rosalie elbowed Edward in the ribs, which he neatly dodged. "Oh, shut up."

"What?" he chuckled. "I think you would make an inspiring wicked witch of the woods. You already have the face for it."

Though she knew she had the face of an angel, Edward's taunts still annoyed Rosalie in the pettiest way. "You are so annoying!" she seethed, trying to pull his hair.

Edward laughed, effectively dodging each of her attacks. He had more insults ready to fire, but when the door to the elevator opened, he froze.

The sweet scent of freesia and lavender wafted in the hall.


Bella's scent was on the floor.

Edward had never taken Bella down to his apartment—for obvious reasons. She must have been there. Recently, too. Without even telling himself to do so, he flew down the hall, not bothering with human speed at the late hour.

"Bella?" he breathed, as he wrenched open the barrier that kept him from his love.

Surely enough, his face was washed over with her fresh floral scent. Strong notes of imitation strawberry hung with them—she must have showered recently. His eyes found her immediately in a small lump on his sofa, nestled under the duvet from her bedroom upstairs.

"Edward?" She mumbled into the darkness, barely conscious.

"Yes, my love. It's me. I'm right here."

Though he wanted to close the gap between them as quickly as possible, he crossed the room at the human pace Bella was used to, so as not to frighten her any more than he already did.

From her bundle on the couch, Bella reached both arms out of her blanket. Edward gratefully took her into his. The hug was at an awkward angle, with Bella prone on the couch and Edward kneeling beside it, but she was in his arms, nonetheless. Edward readjusted them—comforter and all—so he sat on the couch and Bella lay in his embrace.

It was heaven.

They had been apart for only a few hours, but after the events of the day—her kidnapping, the attempted murder, and her rejection—Edward couldn't handle a single inch of space between them. He had wanted her in his arms the second he learned of her disappearance. Since then, the desire only grew until it became claws scratching at his insides. Now that he held her again, Edward wasn't sure he would ever be able to let her go. He had been so frightened, so heartbroken. In Bella's presence, he felt secure and whole once more.

"What are you doing down here, sweetheart? You should be asleep in your own bed."

"Mmmm," she melted against him—she always fit so perfectly with him, as if they were made for each other, decades apart. "I didn't want to risk missing you before you left. I must have fallen asleep."

Edward picked the sleep out of her eyes, adoring her and her humanness. "I see that."

"I'm so sorry," she whispered.

"You have nothing to be sorry for," he swore. "You had every right to react the way you did."

Still, she hummed mournfully. As if their time apart had affected her as much as it affected him, Bella's hold on Edward tightened. "I love you."

The words filled Edward's heart with so much love, it seeped out and poured into the rest of him. "I love you, too."

Edward looked up briefly for Rosalie, to share in the joy that they would keep their humans, but she wasn't in the apartment. Nor did she linger in the hall. Something told Edward she hadn't left the elevator after he picked up Bella's scent.

Edward was correct. The second Edward flew towards Bella, Rosalie pressed the button for the top floor. She willed the elevator faster, wondering if it was truly her fastest route, and took off the second the doors opened. She could have burst down the door to Emmett's apartment, but picking the lock only took a few extra seconds. Moments later, she slipped into bed beside Emmett. Though she was careful not to jostle the bed and wake him, Emmett moved aside the pillow he curled around in favor of Rosalie. She gratefully settled into his embrace, savoring the way his large hands perfectly caressed her lower back.

"Oh, thank fuck," he whispered. "Please don't let this be a dream."

"Every moment with me is a dream," Rosalie teased.

"Then it's real life," Emmett grunted, sniffed, and stretched. "The Rosalies in my dreams aren't this cocky."

"Please. It turns you on."

"Who said my dreams about you are dirty?"

Even though Emmett could not see in the darkness, Rosalie cocked her eyebrow. Emmett must have sensed the gesture because he laughed.

"I take it Bella was up there."

"She was."

Emmett snorted; the sound was one of affection. "I told her to leave a note… but she insisted on staying up there herself."

"She's as melodramatic as Edward," Rosalie shook her head. "They really are perfect for one another. Thank you. I don't know what you said to convince Bella to take Edward back so quickly but thank you."

"Oh, it was easy," Emmett chortled theatrically. "Babygirl, I may be a large guy, but I am still nimble enough to practice the dance of persuasion."

"You told her we didn't own a trash can," Rosalie guessed.

"Yeah," Emmett deflated, "That did the trick."

"Thank you," Rosalie whispered, readjusting her head so it nestled just under Emmett's chin. "I couldn't stand the thought of leaving you."

"I wouldn't have let you leave. I would have done anything to keep you. Anything. No matter how stupid. Made a deal with a devil. Physically fought that psychic. I would have even locked Bella up in a vampire castle for Edward to hoard her. Which sounds mean, but honestly thinking about it, Bella would secretly love that."

"No," she sighed. "You wouldn't have. You would have stuck with Bella just as I would have stuck with Edward." She loved Emmett with every part of her soul, but to leave Edward behind to be miserable alone would cut her just as deeply. Her love for Edward might not have been the same love she had for Emmett, but it was just as potent.

Emmett's hard swallow informed Rosalie that he felt the same for his sister. The fact troubled him. The two were bound to protect their own, whether they liked it or not.

"Don't feel bad," Rosalie placed her hand over Emmett's heart and spread her fingers out. "Your noble heart is one of the many reasons I love you so much."

Emmett sprinkled a few kisses into her hair. Then, began the route down to her lips, stopping to nibble on her ear. When their lips finally met, it was with the fervor of a couple who had been apart for months, rather than a few hours. Again, he licked the top row of her teeth, knowing how Rosalie loved that specific gesture of acceptance.

Emmett shifted to begin taking off her clothes, but for the first time, Rosalie stopped him before they could go too far. She gave him a moment for his breath to even and his heart to settle before asking the question that nagged in her mind.

"How did you get to the underground to save Bella?"

"Alice brought me in her Porche."

Rosalie lifted onto her elbow so she couldn't properly glare down at Emmett, "Emmett that was extremely dangerous. What if she took you?"

"She wouldn't. I challenged her and won fair and square. If Alice won, I would go home with her. No matter the outcome, she would take me to Bella. And Alice agreed."

Rosalie opened her mouth, then closed it. Her fury constructed some very colorful phrases for her human mate. "Challenged her to what?"

"Mouse Trap."

"What the fuck is Mouse Trap?"

"It's this board game where you move mice around and collect cheese and pieces to build an elaborate mouse trap. You risk your mouse getting stuck in the trap to gather resources. We have a copy at the retirement home for the residents to play with their grandkids."

"You bargained with a vampire using a children's board game?" It was a string of words that should have never been strung together.

"Babe. No one can foresee the outcome of Mouse Trap: not man nor immortal, no matter how powerful."

Pinching her forehead with her thumb and forefinger, Rosalie wondered if she was entirely stable. Surely not, given the fact that this man was the one who held her heart.

Emmett continued with a shrug. "Even though she lost, Alice loved it. Turns out, she never gets to play games anymore. Isn't that sad? I gave her the copy so she could take it home. I told her we'd come to play with her when I was a vampire."

"When?" Rosalie picked out the word with a quirk of her eyebrow.

Emmett gifted her with a wolfish smile that would have caused her heart to skip a beat if she had a pulse. "Alice said it was as clear as day. You and me, Baby. Immortality."

Rosalie couldn't believe it. Minutes ago, she thought she would have to trudge through a hundred more years of a gloomy night. Now, the sun burst over the horizon.

"I love you," Emmett whispered. "Enough to drive me crazy."

"You're already crazy."

"Then, it's working." She could hear the smug smile in his voice and hers grew.

As Emmett drew Rosalie closer and removed that pesky sweater of hers, back downstairs, Bella sat perfectly still and allowed Edward to pepper her face with kisses.

"I swear," kiss, "I will be whatever," kiss, "you want of me." Kiss, kiss, kiss. "I can go back to pretending to be human if you wish."

Bella smiled, brushing the soft hair around Edward's ear. "How would that work? You wouldn't age."

"I'd wear make-up. I'd get a series of wigs that slowly fade to grey."

Bella laughed, touched by Edward's sincerity over such a silly concept. "You'd do that just to let me live in denial?"

"For you? Anything. Everything. Just name it and I will do it for you." Edward placed another kiss, this time on Bella's lips, and deepened it. Moments ago, he never thought he'd see those lips again, let alone kiss them. He was being greedy, but he didn't care. "I love you."

"You don't have to be anything but yourself for me. It never mattered to me what you were," Bella explained. "When you a passing stranger in the night. When I thought I was nothing more to you than an act of charity. Even when I found out you were a prostitute…"

"A what now?'

Bella continued without acknowledging Edward's interjection, "…Right from the beginning, I knew I wanted you." She stroked his perfect face, able to now marvel at the perfect smoothness of his skin without a question of doubt forming in the pit of her stomach, "Nothing changed how I felt about you and I doubt anything ever will.''

Touched, Edward brought his lips down to hers again. This time, it was Bella who was overcome with need. Like the boldest of her favorite heroines, Bella climbed on top of Edward, straddling his body between her hips. She kissed him with all her might, knowing she could never break him.

When she did remove her lips from his, it was to whisper, "I was more scared of the thought of losing your love than I was of your nature."

"You will never, ever lose me. You're it for me, Bella. There will never be another."

For years, Bella had read through the eyes of heroines being told that exact same thing from their romantic counterparts. The books got everything right. Her heartbeat quickened, her bones softened into jelly, and her soul itself seemed to alight.

She belonged to this impossible creature, just as he belonged to her.

"There's still the matter of what happens next," Bella said, her tone suddenly serious.

"Well, we can do whatever you want, love. We can continue with our lives here if you wish. Rosalie and I discussed going to Europe if you want to try something new."

"I meant in regard to my mortality."

"Oh," Edward stiffened, caught off guard. He relaxed again by running a hand through Bella's silky-soft hair. "There's no reason to think about that quite yet. We have as much time as you need…"

While Edward spoke, Bella fished through the pocket of her sweatpants and handed Edward a small notebook.

Perplexed, Edward took it. He opened it to the page in the middle that had been dog-eared. On a brief inspection, it was a list of people's names. Names he had never heard Bella mention before.

"What is this, love?"

"There are ninety-three specific people responsible for climate change," Bella tapped the list with her finger, indicating that her list was made up of those people, "I would like to eat them."

That's a wrap! I had this final line planned out from the second I thought of this story, and I cannot believe I finally got to share it. I had a really fun time writing this story, and I hope all of you had just as much fun reading it. As always, I am open to any and all constructive criticism. Tell me what you liked, and what you didn't like.

Thank you again!