1. Carlisle is not the only one searching for a family.
It's a common practice. Some vampires take part in the wars that terrorise large parts of the world. If most of them lived like that, it would not be long before humans discovered them. The closer to the poles you go, the thinner humans are spread, which makes hunting more difficult, but living easier.
After a few centuries alone, in the woods and in the cold, most vampires turn someone they can claim as a spouse or a child. Before they lose their mind entirely, go on a rampage and are killed. The Volturi are very efficient.
Alice has spent most of her life in a dark room. She can read people well and predict what they would do, how they feel, what they think. She is seven. She is pronounced clairvoyant and signed up for shock therapy. Inbetween the sessions she stays in this room, where she sees grey, hears silence, smells her own excretions. Her memories have grown dim from the hits her brain has taken when electricity ran wild through her body. At some point, when her brain could find no refuge in present or past, it turns to the future.
She dreams the silence in her room is broken by a swish at night, a handsome face appearing in dim moonlight. A voice that offers to take her away, a smile when she whispers "Anything, anything." Every night she dreams.
One day, the dream turns out to be real. A sting in her neck is followed by eons of pain. When she blinks, a gentle smile and red eyes hover over her face. "Good morning, my love."
She's thirsty. It's the only reality that exists, so she scrambles up and punches her way through a solid wooden door. The guards on the other side are her first meal. When she's eaten her way through most of the personnel present, they leave. He's waited for her by the front door and holds it open for her.
She's sated, so she stands in the hall, unsure of what to do now. She cannot remember what it's like outside. He tucks her arm in his elbow and escorts her out.
This would have been the start of a good existence as undead wife to a vampire in Canada, had not his rival been waiting outside. The rival sneers. "I saw her first when we were scouting."
Her escort shrugs. "You only wanted to drain her. I wanted to keep her. I got to her first."
A growl is the only answer, as well as a short fight. Though they move faster than human eyes can see, Alice realises she can follow them. What's more, that she knows what they will do next. She's not only able to predict it, she sees it happening inside her head.
She sees her escort die inside her head three times before it happens for real because her warning comes too late. He's beheaded. She stands stunned. The rival leaves with a satisfied sound, not even looking at her.
She sees herself as well, wandering off desolate, killing people in the town south of here randomly before being killed herself. She closes her eyes for a second, finds the stubbornness that kept her sane inside a dark room for over a decade. Now, she sees herself building a pire, burning her would-be husband like a pagan king and taking vengeance on the people that tortured her. She follows her own visions.
The asylum is closed due to a mass murderer killing all personnel. The patients that beg for death receive it, the others walk.
2. Esme is not like Alice's mother.
Carlisle calls her his child-wife, because he can do consdescending as well as the next centuries-old guy. She follows him with her eyes because, while in her human life she lived for herself and her new child, she only has this new existence because someone needs to be his companion. She calls it purgatory, because last time she walked away from her lover for the sake of her child, she lost the child and was not allowed to follow it in death.
They are not married, possibly because Carlisle will not allow her the opportunity to say no. She smiles the smile that women throughout the United States, alive or undead, happy or unhappy, have perfected.
Alice cannot pity her, because everyone has a choice.
Among the vague collection of impressions from Alice's human life is a soft hand that stroked her cheeks, her hair. It offered her cookies. It pushed her away when she is said to be clairvoyant. It trembled even while it pushed her away.
Esme cannot offer her a soft hand, they are like stone, though she tries to stroke her. Alice flinches away. She is not a child. She doesn't offer her cookies. But sometimes, when Carlisle and Edward are not looking, she offers Alice a squirrel she caught on one of her frequent walks in the woods.
Esme keeps a house that is not cosy, but mostly bright and empty, with polished surfaces that reflect whoever looks into them. She polishes herself, until she reflects what Carlisle wishes to see in her, while her eyes remain empty. Her smile is bright.
3. Emmet prefers sunglasses when he and Rosalie get married again.
He never went into a blood frenzy. His self-control is on par with that of Carlisle and Edward, tempered by a cheer he never manages to lose. His good temper is not a lie, but his obedience is. The fact that he did not kill those two women on purpose is too.
When he and Rosalie grow tired, they move. They have a stag-and-doe with mortals for dinner. If you stab someone, and then suck from that wound, it doesn't look like a bite.
Most weddings they throw are spur-of-the moment affairs on tropical islands, the top of the Eiffel tower, in Vegas. Most of the time, they wear sunglasses to hide their red eyes.
Emmet likes his life, likes Edward well enough. He simply does not appreciate someone spying on his thoughts, so he thinks many thoughts at the same time, or does not think at all, and gets along with everyone.
When he has had enough, he simply vanishes for a while. He is Rosalie's escape ticket. Alice never, ever thinks of his future, because she once sensed rebellion in it. Not thinking of it keeps him safe from Edward, their brother and jailor.
4. It's been a while for Rosalie.
She saves Emmet from a bear. She wishes to eat him, but she is scared Carlisle or Edward will find out.
After Carlisle gave himself a wife and Edward a mother, he decided they could do with another woman around the house. So when he meets her, raped, he feels she is already sufficiently damned that making her a vampire won't make a difference in her losing her soul. The idea that she, as a victim, is not to blame, does not catch on until fifty years later, when it only serves to deepen her hatred of her creator who sentenced her to an eternity of suffering.
She loses her sanity for a while and kills the mortals that made her suffer, because she cannot kill the one that ensured it will last forever. After that she painstakingly reassembles the tatters of her sanity. She learns not to think of her hate for Carlisle and Edward, because Edward will lecture her every time. She is proud of the fact that no matter how vulnerable she gets, she never gave into Carlisle's order to be Edward's wife. The fact that Edward was not interested after she mouthed him off one too many times helps.
She cannot last centuries alone. Esme is distant. When she finds herself with a mortal she cannot kill, she begs and begs Carlisle to turn him, pretending to have found someone who can be her husband in lieu of Edward. She does not need a husband, does not want one, but she does want a friend and an alibi.
Emmet is happy he did not die and he will pretend to love her in repayment of the debt he owes her. After some time, he starts to relish the challenge their double life provokes. In front of their family, they are the loving couple, perfect, passionate, with a good relationship with their family. In private, both of them want to be free and together they can, in the too-short periods they live elsewhere before they are ordered back to live with the clan. They try to stay away only once. Edward tracks them down, all smiles, and tells them flat-out that they cannot outrun him.
They pretend to have a lot of sex. Instead, they wrestle and train, hone Emmet's strength and her manoeuvrability while they think extremely raunchy thoughts. Edward, the prude, leaves them alone as soon as they think of a good snog. They train for a time that they might get rid of their masters forever.
She sits in front of a mirror, brushing her perfect blonde hair. She makes herself as beautiful as she can. She makes all men pant after her. She will leave all of them unfulfilled. It's a better form of revenge than any other.
Emmet stops behind her and takes over the brushing. His touch lingers, like it only does when his hunger for women is on the rise again. "I think it's time we got married again."
He nods, gives her a kiss on top of her head. "I'll be looking forward to it." He finishes brushing her hair. He fingers it. "Like fine strands of ice, my queen." He puts down the brush.
"Whatever would I do without you?" she asks with laughter in her voice.
"Lose a partner in crime."
5. Jasper prefers AB+.
Edward does not understand. He thinks Jasper is weak for being worse in resisting the call of human blood, but he knows nothing . Jasper has been cruel to humans as a human, been cruel to vampires as a vampire. Edward has only been cruel to humans as a vampire, in a short, little rebellious phase. He considers humans boring and vampires companions to be controlled by the strongest around. The Volturi serve that function worldwide, according to Edward. Carlisle serves that function in the northwestern United States, with Edward as his right hand.
He has not seen anything of the world before or after he died.
Jasper has lived. There are other methods to receive blood. At any one time, a fifth of adult human women bleed. Jasper smiles to himself between the thighs of a brunette, licking it all up. He does not need much blood, but it needs to be rich. It does not get any richer than this.
The women he seduces simply thinks he has a... kink. Quirk. They appreciate how good he makes them feel about themselves in a time they often feel a bit sick, a bit sore, a bit less confident. He likes to stroke their ego, so they leave with a smile and he leaves with a full stomach.
All vampires must be able to overcome bloodlust, or all menstruating women would be eaten. Most vampires avoid them like plague, including Edward. Jasper has never had trouble being inventive. He needs to survive in a cruel world, after all.
He is an expert in emotional manipulation, but this is the best way, where he makes someone happy for the price of an excellent meal. If his eyes are red for two hours afterwards, well, only Alice knows. And she has never had a problem with what he has done, now or in the past. He loves her all the more for it.
They are all a bit broken.
6. Alice creates her own Wonderland.
The first time she's addressed by a vampire stronger than her, it's a young male in a bar where she wanted to find someone to eat. She sees what he will do to her if she does not find a way to change the future. She only has the element of surprise on her side.
So when he calls her a pretty lady and asks her to step outside with him, she flutters her eyelashes, calls him a sweetheart and gives him a kiss on the nose.
He startles long enough for her to leave the bar.
It becomes her strategy for survival. She sees a path, and makes a new one if it suits her, sidestepping violence with charm and truth with fiction. Like Emmet makes himself the cheery lump of a guy, Rosalie becomes the happily married drama queen and Jasper tortures himself with memories and drowns himself in the lust for human blood. They all learn to think in disguise.
Alice stops drinking from humans a month after the first time she sees she will need to join Carlisle's family. She tries to avoid it, tries to find an alternative future for a month. Nothing comes to her.
When she accepts the path that will cost her her freedom however, she sees Jasper, and smiles. A southern gentleman all her own to make merry with, even where she's going, sounds like good times. She makes sure she is in the bar on time to meet him when he stumbles into it.
7. Charlie can be quite the charmer.
The man smiles down at Alice, deliciously pink and oblivious, and she's sold. With the whimsy she's cultivated, she declares she will visit Bella often. The girl provides her with new outlets for decoration. The father provides her with a new phenomenon: a person whose future never changes.
Charlie seems ordinary when she discovers him sitting on the couch the day she makes the mistake to visit at dinnertime. Bella cooks.
When she knows him longer, that image changes. This man without a story experiences dozens of little incidents and tragedies every day. He meets them, passes through them, changes what is necessary and forgets them.
When an accident happens, he provides aid. When a fights starts, he ends it. When he is alone, he takes care of himself. When someone else exists to fulfill a role, he finds a new place to be needed.
In her mind, she sees small opportunities open and close, but the course of his future stays the same. This is Charlie to Alice: an oasis in an ever-changing world of possible choices. Here she lives a life in harmony with the human world. She and Jasper both need a connection to the mortal world.
Like a river, Charlie flows contentedly through life, where his daughter skips around like a tumbleweed in a changeable breeze. Alice sees more of Angela than she. Another interesting human: her future dating and marrying Mike switches on and off at least once a day.
Once, Alice visits when Bella is gone. Charlie takes her to see a movie. "It's not every day I get to treat a young lady like she deserves." He offers her an elbow.
She accepts. "You are never too old for some romance. Why not try it again?" Many mortals remarry.
He shrugs. "I loved. She left. It is not so bad, being alone."
So unlike a vampire.
8. Edward stops using Brylcreem in 1952.
The thing to remember with both Carlisle and Edward is that, in their own opinion, they are the good guys. They seek to keep themselves and anyone they know on the straight path. But that means that they wish to control others as well as themselves.
Edward styles his hair. He comes out of his newborn craze in tome for the introduction of Brylcreem and used it for four decades. He lets it go in 1952 only because he is switching brands. He likes to know how his hair sits on his head, even though some days that seems to be a bird nest coup.
When he meets Bella, she smells good and she has a head that is completely empty, to him. Unlike the rest of the Cullens, he's never had to deal with the full blow of bloodlust, when their favourite bloodtype walks by. He nearly loses it, but doesn't, and struts around the house. In Edward's mind, he's met his ultimate temptation and he would eliminate it.
The rest watches while he plays her out and reels her in like she is on a yoyo. He leaves when, even after drinking her blood, the bloodlust lingers. He returns and retrieves her from the hands of a wolf. They become engaged. They marry. They have a child. It's very romantic. At least, Alice thinks she decorated everything enough for it to be remembered as such.
On the night Renesmee is conceived, the dark future Alice saw before joining Carlisle's coven is back. She can imagine no alternative path. Jasper knows, somehow, he soothes her when he can, and leaves her alone when he cannot.
She taps Emmet on the shoulder. "It's still quiet," she tells him. "It won't be for long." Carlisle overhears, but that is alright. She tells him the Volturi might be up to something. Inconclusive. She'll keep him informed.
Edward and Bella return. For a while, everything is tense, dramatic, turns and twists, but then all the tension she has felt building up simply evaporates. Everything is perfect. Too perfect. The future in Alice's head grows in gruesome detail every day.
9. Wolves make bad allies when pack law is broken.
It is easier to tell it like a tragic fairy tale. Then it won't seem like it happens to people she grows to like as time passes. Even Edward. Even Carlisle.
Once upon a time, there is a lonely girl, the daughter of the sheriff. (The whole school had been anticipating her arrival for months. She was instantly popular.)
She meets the son of the local vampire lord, a noble, tortured soul. (Though he had a big family and all the immortal talents and pleasant distractions he could wish for.)
Instantly, they are attracted to each other. (She wanted to kiss him. He wanted to eat her.)
He saves her life when they barely know each other and they develop a unique dynamic. (I ignore you. I ignore you not. I ignore you. I ignore you not. I stalk you... all the time.)
After her life is threatened, they begin an epic romance. (They go to prom.)
The young man feels he must leave to protect her. (He still wants to eat her, a bit. He also wants to kill the guy who almost ate her instead.)
Her world is utterly destroyed. (She does not lack for supportive friends or family. She has all the food, sleep and amenities she could wish for.)
She almost chooses another man to love. (Only not really, for she still loves Edward too much. The world ends at eightteen.)
The other man loves her utterly. (No, seriously, he does.)
She almost kills herself; her true love almost kills himself. (She saves him. As a bonus, they get to go to Italy, where creepy, mysterious vampires are unapologetically creepy and mysterious.)
The lady dwells discontentedly in her bower. (He will not let her leave. She will not marry him. He will not turn her into a vampire. They kiss.)
Vampires and wolves are enemies. (But they can also be allies.)
The lady and her love dwell contentedly in the mountains. (She will marry him. He will turn her into a vampire. They kiss.)
The other man almost kills himself. (He heals. He goes into exile.)
People threaten them. (But soon leave or are dispatched. Wolves and vampires together are unbeatable.)
They encounter problems. (He wants to eat her, but it is alright. It is not the done thing to marry before thirty, but it is alright. She also loves another man, slightly, but it is alright. The family has their doubts, on both sides, for a while, but it is alright.)
She is pregnant. (She is dying. She is undead.)
Vampires and wolves are allies, especially when a vampire is a wolf's true love. (She becomes so the day she is born. Her mother was never his true love, really.)
The lords over all vampires wish to kill the child. (Only not really, they are misinformed. Vampires gather together to tell the truth.)
All is well. (All is perfect. All is quiet.)
Everyone loves Renesmee. (She has no weaknesses. She can do anything.)
Renesmee is a wolf's true love. (Everyone loves her. She can do anything.)
Renesmee is another wolf's true love. (They fight. This is breaking pack law. This is impossible.)
The conflict means the wolves drift away from the perfect girl. (Everyone flocks to her court. They compete for her attention.)
Vampires and wolves are allies no more. (It is tragic, but that is life.)
Everything is perfect. (She tells them. She can tell them anything.)
The young vampire lord and lady have a perfect princess of a daughter. (She is perfect. All bow down.)
Nothing is clear to Alice. All she knows is that the nightmares are plenty, that she does not know what to do about them. That a second wolf has imprinted on Renesmee. Nahuel is circling somewhere around the edges. Jacob does not leave her now, but hunches over her and growls at anyone who comes near, even his own packmates.
It is fatal to them, he is their true leader, even when he denies it. One of them becomes so conflicted that he simple lies down all balled up and does not wake up again, too grieved by the conflict in their collective of minds. Lost, so lost.
Renesmee only lets herself be fought over.
Finally, the other wolf strikes. Jacob beats him, but in the ensuing struggle, the pack splits down the middle. The psychic backwash sends them whining and half-mad into the forest. She never hears from them again, except as threatening growls when they come too close to Quilleute grounds.
Nahuel does not join the Cullens, for Renesmee sends him away, too sad for any romantic interest, she says. Everyone believes her.
10. Renesmee's charm only increases with the years.
When Renesmee is born, Alice forgets she had a task in joining the family. Renesmee puts her hand on her arm and the projected affection settles into Alice as if it is her own.
The girl can charm the birds out of the trees. They fall dead at her feet.
Alice enjoys these years, initially, despite the nightmares that darken her days. With Renesmee's coming, the family finally becomes one in more than name. Edward has settled down and does not pay so much attention to anyone else anymore. Carlisle seems satisfied now his family has three generations.
None of this is strange, until Nahuel comes back and wishes to have Renesmee for a wife. Until a second wolf imprints on her. Even then, her supporters draw close around her and allow no harm to come to her. Every time doubt turns a head and a frown settles on Renesmee, she smiles and lets her thoughts stream out of her. Dazzled, people turn away again.
At seven years old, she stops growing. Her powers do not. Animals come to her out of the woods and lay at her feet, only to turn on each other when she does not pay them attention. Trees burst into bloom and leaf when she passes by them in winter, only to have them shrivel behind her. The forest suffers.
Alice's visions turn ever darker, until she cannot hide them from Edward anymore. She tries to tell him it's his daughter, but they never feature Renesmee. He doesn't believe her. Even she is only clearheaded enough to worry when she is not near Renesmee.
The day Renesmee stands on the coast and makes the spray rise up far above their heads, Alice stands far enough away that when the vision hits, no one notices. A hill of skulls. She closes her eyes.
She waits until they are home. In three seconds, Renesmee is beheaded and on fire. In Alice's head, the future turns bright white.
Bella runs outside. "What have you done?" are the only words hidden in a stream of shrill cries.
Rosalie follows, less hysterical, the rest of the family in tow. Edward unleashes a growl.
Alice swallows. "Bella, you're a good Christian girl. You found the love of your life, you married him, you became powerful, you did not even suffer the fate, the hunger, most of us suffer from. You had the perfect daughter, who could charm anyone and with time, would have been able to do anything. You never wondered?" She pounces on Edward and sits on his chest when he tries to put out the flames behind her. That would not stop him. The visions in her head in the past, the ones he denied, do.
This is what Edward sees in Alice's head: people flocked to their home to see Renesmee for themselves, and loved her on sight. They competed for her attention. They would have done anything she asked. Alice'd seen the Volturi come, that absolute authority over nature's ultimate predator, and bow at Renesmee's feet. They would have revealed themselves to humans, for all vampires could live on animal blood now. Renesmee made it so. The humans were quickly subjugated. No one complained. Those that did, only needed to see Renesmee to love her. Eventually, she could project her own love for herself around the world, until everyone competed for her attention, man against man, country against country, continent against continent. Until the entire world was at war. Until the entire Earth was dead.
Alice cocks hear head "Only two perfect people will walk the earth, and Renesmee was never Jesus."
Bella makes a choking sound, and even now seems ready to strangle Alice. Alice looks down. Edward's eyes, always searching for flaws inside others, inside himself, searching for a perfect family, a perfect wife, only settling down contentedly after he had read Renesmee's thoughts for the first time, now search her face.
Almost softly, she says, "No one said the Antichrist had to be a guy."
Edward's eyes go black and his hands go around Alice's throat. A disconsolate howl is the last thing she hears. Before her vision goes black, she can see the new future. Jasper falls on Edward, Bella on Jasper, Rosalie on Bella, Carlisle on Rosalie and Emmett on Carlisle. Esme does not interfere. It is Esme's choice, in the end, that decides the future. In her inaction she saves the world.
The wolves live on somewhere else, ever unseen.
The stream of Charlie's life goes on, unhindered.
They will have freedom and, after a time, even peace. Alice smiles.