Prologue - A Helpful Stranger?
Richmond, London – England – 1661
It was a pretty normal day for most people in the small town of Richmond, London. The strong, northerly winds and pelting rain had chased most families indoors to wait out the storm before church that evening. The few brave enough to face the bad weather were wrapped up in coats and hidden under umbrellas. Most families were busy playing board games or reading books by candlelight. However, in one household, it was a very different story.
Carlisle Cullen's day had been far from ordinary and was only going to get stranger. A few weeks ago he had led a group under his father's, Kenneth Cullen, orders to raid a supposed vampires nest. Carlisle, personally, had had his doubts with the story one of the local farmers had given them. He had claimed that he had found many of his cattle mutilated in the last few weeks, completely drained of blood.
Kenneth had immediately declared that it must be the work of the 'blood-sucking demons' and sent Carlisle with a group to dispose of the problem. Carlisle was smart enough to easily track down the location of the lair.
How he wished he hadn't.
None of them could have ever guessed the strength of the vampires. None of them had known that they didn't stand a chance. The group was slaughtered in mere minutes by the vampire. Carlisle was one of the last to be cut down. He supposed he should consider himself lucky. The vampire was full by the time he reached Carlisle so he turned the young pastor instead.
The only problem was that now he was a monster.
Carlisle had spent three gruesome days going through the changing before he woke. For the last couple of weeks he had been attempting desperately to control his thirst. He had feared that he wouldn't have a choice but to feed from humans at first until he remembered the cattle.
Carlisle had discovered that he could survive off animal blood but human blood was still too great a temptation. Which brings us to where we are now.
Carlisle was busy packing all of his most precious items into his suitcase, zooming around the room faster then the human eye could see. Clothes, books, photos, anything he would need to take with him. He knew he had precious few hours until his father would arrive to find out how the vampire hunt had gone. His group was supposed to arrive back today. Carlisle knew he had to be long gone by that point. Something that Carlisle didn't mind one bit. He hated his life here. Hated his job, hated his father, hated the town. There was only one thing about his life in Richmond that made his no-longer beating heart ache at the thought of leaving…
A tiny wail pierced the air of his single-story, brick home.
Carlisle shut his eyes in despair at the sound of his 7 month-old son, Harrison Carlisle Cullen, waking from his nap.
Harrison had been born to Carlisle and his then wife Aurora Hayfield. Carlisle and Aurora had been wed through a marriage arrangement organised by their fathers. Carlisle and Aurora had already been good friends up till that point so Carlisle wouldn't have been as apposed to the idea if he hadn't already known Aurora was in love with someone else. Carlisle himself hadn't fallen for anyone and would have liked the chance to choose for himself but knew his father would never agree.
In the end, the two were married. Carlisle had feared Aurora would have hated him for this but she had understood he had no say in the matter. The two steadily grew a close bond but still never were quite in love like a married couple should be. Eventually, Carlisle knew it was to be expected from them, both coming from important family lines, that a child would be born, an heir to the family line. And so, Harrison came to be.
Carlisle sighed as he picked up a painting of Aurora, Harrison and himself. It had been a present from Aurora's parents when Harrison had been born. The painting was very well done and realistic. It was one of his most prized possessions. He smiled slightly as he observed his small family.
Aurora had long, slightly wavy black hair that reached past her delicate shoulders. Her eyes were a bright, icy blue. She was tall, almost as tall as he was, and has a lethal build. She had soft, creamy skin and a heart-shaped face. She was beautiful. Carlisle had always thought so.
He reflected that his appearance hadn't changed too much since becoming a vampire. His light blond hair was the same, though now slightly softer and shinier. His skin, which had already been pale, was even lighter and now tougher. The faded scar he had had on his left cheek from a horse-riding accident when he was nine had disappeared. However, the biggest change was his eyes. They were now a bright red, though the colour was slowly starting to fade to gold. However, they had once been a bright, emerald green. The same colour as his son's eyes.
Harrison had a lot of his features already. Other then his eyes, he shared most of the same facial features with his son as well as the same skin colour. The main difference was the hair colour, which he had gotten from Aurora.
In the painting, Aurora was wearing a flowing, sky-blue summer dress with a matching bow in her hair and black sandals. Carlisle was wearing a black dress pants and an un-tucked green button up shirt and black shoes. Harrison was dressed in a baby blue onesie. They were in a park with a beautiful lake in the background. Aurora was holding Harrison while Carlisle had one arm wrapped around her waist; the other was being clutched by his son.
Carlisle sighed. There were no possibilities of ever having a moment like that with his family. Never had been, never would be. Aurora had suffered problems during childbirth that led to her death just two days after Harrison was born. His son would never grow up with his mother and now, he wouldn't have the chance to grow up with his father either.
Carlisle gently laid the portrait down on top of his other belongings in the case before edgily moving towards his son's room.
Harrison's nursery was done up in several shades of blues and greens, the same colours as his parents eyes. It had a bookshelf in one corner with several baby books and toys on the shelves. A closet filled with baby clothes stood next to the bookshelf. A bassinet lay in the opposite corner, near the window, with soft baby blue blankets. A change table lay across one wall, opposite the door. A teddy bear rug filled the floor.
Carlisle stared around the room in grief as memory after memory of all his time spent in this room flashed before his eyes. Decorating the room for the baby's arrival, bringing Harrison home for the first time. Reading him books before bed. Teaching him to stack blocks. Putting him to bed at night.
Carlisle shook his head and turned towards where his son lay whimpering in the bassinet. His son's scent had hit him the moment he walked into the house that afternoon. He had struggled with his bloodlust all evening and it was almost unbearable standing in the room right now. His love for his son was the only thing holding him back from biting the small child as he carefully moved to his son's side and gently lifted the fragile being into his arms.
Harrison immediately stopped crying the moment he spotted his father. The little baby giggled and cooed as he was lifted out of the bed. Carlisle smiled sadly at his beloved child. He knew what he had to do, knew since the moment that vampire had bitten him, and it broke his heart.
He didn't have a choice in the matter, not anymore. He wanted to keep his son, more then anything in the world, but he couldn't risk biting Harrison. He would rather burn in hell for all eternity then cause his son any harm. It was for that reason he would have to say goodbye to Harrison.
He was planning on leaving Harrison with his father. He despised the idea. His father had always been harsh in instilling his beliefs into Carlisle and he had no doubt that Kenneth would treat Harrison the same. Still, he didn't have any other options.
"I'm so sorry Harrison. I wish it didn't have to be this way, with all my heart. I love you son, so so much! I'm sorry." Carlisle whispered brokenly. The baby, as if understanding his father's words, began to cry again.
Carlisle quickly shushed the child and was just about to lay him back down when a foreign scent appeared out of nowhere with a faint popping sound.
"There is another way"
Carlisle quickly spun around, clutching Harrison firmly to his chest, to see a woman standing on the opposite side of the room, leaning on the bookcase.
She was dressed in fancy scarlet robes and black boots. Her black hair was long and reached down to her mid-back. Her brown eyes glimmered in amusement as she observed the now growling vampire.
Carlisle shuffled Harrison around so he was almost out of sight of the stranger and growled, "Who are you? How did you get in here?"
"I am a witch Dr Cullen", she replied smoothly.
Carlisle's eyes widened in horror before he stepped back, tightening his hold on Harrison. "Stay away from my son!"
The witch smiled softly, stepping away from the bookshelf. "I do not wish to cause either you or your child any harm Dr Cullen. You really love your son, don't you? An unusual emotion to see in a vampire, particularly a newborn."
Carlisle frowned in confusion. "I'm not a doctor."
Although he had being studying medicine in secret he had never had the chance to properly practice it.
"Well, not yet but that's hardly the point."
"What do you want?" Carlisle asked, feeling quite uncomfortable by the current conversation. Harrison whimpered slightly, unhappy with the tension in the room.
"I'm here to offer you a proposition that will give us both what we want." She replied, walking closer before stopping in the centre of the room.
"What do you mean?" Carlisle inquired, suspicion evident in his voice.
"I wish to take your son to another place and time where he will be safe" she answered in a voice so casual she could have been discussing the weather.
Carlisle growled. "You want to take my son?" He moved Harrison so he was completely out of view of the witch and moved back even further.
The witch blinked, not even slightly fazed by the snarling vampire. "Yes, if he remains here he will have a terrible life until he is wrongfully accused of witchcraft by your father and sentenced to burning at the stake at the age of 7."
Carlisle's eyes went wide in horror as he frantically glanced down at his son, as if he might disappear any second. He had to admit, that thought terrified him. It was one of the reasons he hated having to leave Harrison here. His father's paranoia with the supernatural saw to many people being burned, hung, drowned, shot and various other medieval methods of execution. He didn't want his son growing up round all of that.
Still, something else confused him.
"What's in this for you? What do you want?" he repeated.
"Your son will have a great destiny ahead of him if you allow him to come with me. The lives of my people depend on him" she answered truthfully.
Carlisle narrowed his eyes in anger. "My son is not a weapon!"
She shook her head. "While some may see him that way, I assure you I am not one of them. This will benefit you both just as much as me or I would not be here."
"Oh, and how's that?"
"He will be given to a wonderful family that will treat him like a son. More importantly, however, you will get to see him again someday."
For the first time in weeks, Carlisle felt hope. "When?" he breathed.
"I cannot say but be assured that if you give him to me now, one day he will be returned to you and you will not have to fear harming him"
Carlisle closed his eyes as his thoughts tumbled inside his head. Witches. They were everything he had been raised to hate. Satanic, evil. And yet, here was one promising him something so precious he simply couldn't refuse. She was promising his son a good life and that they would one day be reunited. What if it was a trap? What if it wasn't? Could he truly afford to say no? What if she was speaking the truth and he left his son here to be burned at the stake? He couldn't take that risk. He just couldn't. That possibility was just to real. He had to trust her. If there was some hope….
Carlisle opened his eyes and gently lifted Harrison so that the baby was cradled against his chest. Harrison blinked owlish green eyes up at his father. A cute, baby smile spread across his face as he cooed happily. He reached up with tiny hands to grip onto his fathers shirt.
Carlisle was sure if he was human he would be sobbing uncontrollably at that moment. He gently reached over and placed a soft kiss to the baby's head with a whispered 'Daddy loves you, Harrison".
He turned to the woman, gently handing over the baby.
"You've made the right choice, Carlisle." She said.
Carlisle stared at his son for a minute before turning fiery eyes on the witch. "I hope for your sake, you're right because if I find out that you have lied to me tonight; I will track you down and kill you."
The witch smiled. "I would expect nothing less."
The last thing Carlisle saw of them was his son's emerald eyes staring into his, then they were gone.
The vampire stood in that spot, completely frozen, for hours lost in memories before he finally prepared to leave this life behind forever.
He walked over to the bassinet, gently picking up the powder blue, baby blanket that lay there. The name 'Harrison Carlisle Cullen' was hand stitched lovingly into the soft material. Moving over to the bookshelf, he grabbed the white plush dog that he had gotten for his son the day he was born.
Carlisle glanced around the nursery one last time before heading back into the lounge room. He placed his last two reminders of his son into the suitcase with care before sealing it and heading outside into the chilly, night air towards a new life.
Godric's Hollow, London – England, 1981
Lily Potter was washing the dishes after dinner as her mind wondered to the current war in the Wizarding World. Voldemort and his followers were steadily gaining power and influence in the community and the death rate was increasing by the day. The madman had already killed many of her friends and his reign of terror didn't seem to have an end in sight.
It was for this reason that she and her husband, James Potter, had joined The Order of the Phoenix, a group led by the famous wizard Albus Dumbledore to fight Voldemort and his legion of Death Eaters.
Lily sighed as she looked at the clock on the wall, above the sink. She did not however, look to check the time for that was not the function of this particular item. The clock had 5 hands instead of 3. Each had a name on the hand and ended in a small picture of that person. The hands read Lily Potter, James Potter, Sirius Black, Remus Lupin and Peter Pettigrew. Around the edge of the clock said Home, School, Work, Hospital, Shopping, Travelling, Unknown, Mortal Danger and the most dreaded one, Dead.
The clock used to belong to James' parents, Charlus and Dorea, before their untimely deaths due to Dragon Pox.
Her hand currently pointed to Home while James and Sirius' hands pointed to Work. Remus' hand pointed to School while Peter's pointed to Unknown.
Lily frowned when spotting the location Peter's hand pointed to. However, she didn't get long to ponder it when she heard a knock at the front door. Frowning further, she quickly dried her hands before grabbing her wand and turning to the door.
Lily certainly wasn't expecting any visitors and all her close friends would use the Foo Network.
Slowly, she approached the door. When nothing happened, she unlocked it with a flick of her wand, grabbed the handle and opened the door. What she saw made her gasp.
There, wrapped in blankets and crying his head off, was a little baby boy.
His midnight-black hair was messy and his face was scrunched up and red from crying but Lily immediately fell in love with the adorable little child. Glancing round, she didn't notice anyone on the street.
She smiled as she reached down and gently scooped up the still crying child before softly rocking him and whispering words of comfort. When he finally calmed and opened his eyes, Lily knew she was done for. His bright emerald eyes seemed to plead with her to not leave him. Lily cooed happily at the boy as she closed and locked the door before moving into the lounge room.
As she sat down to wait for James to come home she noticed a name stitched into the emerald green blanket.
"Hello Harrison. I'm Lily. I promise you're safe now, I promise"