Author's Note: Well, I never thought I'd be posting this.

Me and Margaret, aka Swing Girl At Heart, wrote about six chapters of this thing (along with a few others) months ago. We had big plans for it. It was going to be epic, bro. But life happened, and now we have come to terms with the fact that none of our stories will ever be finished. But I think this thing is way too interesting not to share with the world. So, here it is. Maybe if ya'll like it enough, I'll squeeze out some new chapters. Maybe I'll even post some other stories I wrote. Maybe.

"Begin at the beginning and go on till you come to the end: then stop."

-Lewis Carroll, Alice's Adventure's In Wonderland

21 Guns

(by ItsTimeToDance and Swing Girl At Heart)

Scars: a refrain

"Our scars remind us that the past is real."

-Papa Roach

There are facts.

Fact: They think they are the survivors.

Most of Earth's human population had known that it was coming for years – ever since the construction of the first atom bomb – but had pushed it further back in their minds with the explosion of each new warhead. Which is why, when it finally did come, they were completely unprepared. One bomb had gone off, leaving half of East Asia nothing but a barren wasteland, and before they knew it, countries were tearing each other apart. Actually, that's inaccurate. Maybe "blowing each other inside out" is a better description.

I don't suppose it matters, though. I wasn't born until afterwards. I was not there to remember the tidal waves of radiation that shook the ground, toppling buildings and roasting people where they stood. I was not there to watch the sky turn a blinding white before, years later, finally fading into the familiar blood red of my childhood. I was not there to see the disease caused by the radiation in its early stages, when people collapsed where they stood, writhing in agony for days, until it had changed them.

Fact: They think it's over.

My parents had seen all of it, though. They had survived the radiation, until they caught the disease, too, and had become something non-human. They had become the Infected. Shortly after that, it was World War II all over again – the sick were exiled, isolated, beaten, enslaved. In the cities, they were kept caged in ghettos surrounded by stretches of gravel where the naturally Immune would leave their monthly blood supply, exiting the fenced-in compound as fast as they could. It didn't matter that they were Immune; they wanted nothing to do with the savage, red-eyed humanoids that were always thirsty.

My parents had been lucky enough to be Infected much later than the rest – the ghettos had been filled, and they were sent to live in absolute isolation, where the sky was still a deep crimson, in the wilderness.

Where they had me.

But still, this doesn't seem to matter very much in the grand scheme of things any more. I'm all that's left of them; the humans from the nearby village had raided our godforsaken home, and that was that. I was forced to run, and I never saw them again. These are my scars.

But scars don't matter.

What matters is this:

I am a human.

I am Immune.

And I know, for a fact as certain as my own heartbeat, that the Infected are not monsters. My name is Edward Cullen, and my parents loved me with their dying breaths.

Fact: The end has only begun.

Oh the sweet refrain, Soothes the soul and calms the pain Oh Albion remains, sleeping now to rise again -"Achilles' Last Stand" Led Zeppelin