Title: Watched Your Eyes As They Poured: Chapter Two
Word Count: 2336
Warnings: Violence, Slash, AU
Summary: Set in the early 1930s when Edward rebelled and left Carlisle and Esme, the story takes place in New York City during the construction of the Empire State Building. Though at least a hundred deaths were rumored to have occurred during construction, five people were actually killed. Jacob and Edward, both young vampires, explore the story behind these five deaths while exploring their own tangled relationship.
Author's Note: Many, many thanks to kaiwynn for beta'ing this fic. I could not have done it without her much appreciated help, and all remaining errors are my own.
I've been photographed and painted up, and I've been in love only once.
And I've feared the best and loved the worst, and insisted that I go first.
And watched your eyes as they poured, and I never really loved you more.
And I never thought I'd see you as I did today.
The Angels Hung Around - Rilo Kiley
"So we should run past the police and get into the crime scene."
"And then we'll look for evidence. We need to be fast..."
"Ahh, speed. So difficult for vampires," drawled Jacob.
"Right," Edward said, grinning. "Almost forgot."
They took off, running so fast the human eye would never be able to catch them. Past the line of police officers and inside the steel frame and half-finished walls of the building. Outside the back of the building to a small service street at the rear. They stopped. This was where it had happened.
No one was in sight; the police had evidently moved away from the crime scene for the time being. Still, they needed to be quick--though that should not have been a problem.
There, lying on the ground, was the body of the victim. Crushed and broken, the body sat in a pool of bright red blood on top of the white snow. All around the victim, the snow was trampled down by the feet of a hundred police officers who had examined the scene. Edward closed his eyes to block out the sight, hoping if he couldn't see it, he wouldn't long to drink it.
His efforts were to no avail. Bloodlust was the hardest thing for a vampire to ignore. The sight of this mangled, bloody body stirred something inside Edward. His throat itched, his mouth filled with venom, his stomach ached, his muscles tensed. He rushed forward towards the body, absorbing the smell of the victim's blood as he went. In the space of a few seconds, he was leaning over the body, preparing to drink, out of control. And then--something hit him from the side, pushing him away from the body and over onto his back in the cold snow. Jacob.
Edward shook his head to clear his thoughts, then looked up at his friend, who was leaning slightly over him.
"Are you all right?" Jake asked.
"Yeah. Thanks for… that," he said, swallowing tightly. Jake stood up and offered Edward a hand. When both men were on their feet, Jake said, "Don't worry about it. Let's just get out of here. We're not going to learn much from the body, anyway. It's practically disintegrated."
"Practically disintegrated," Edward said aloud, his voice melancholy and heavy with emotion. That's what we do to people, too, he thought to himself. It's what I wanted to do just now. Killing. I'm a monster.
Jacob shuddered, then started to pull on Edward's arm, turning him away from the victim's body. "Come on. We've got to go before I lose control, too."
They raced around the side of the building and back out onto the street, getting as far away from the crime scene as possible to give themselves time to calm down.
"We'll start investigating again later, okay?" Edward said a couple of minutes later when they had made it back to their apartment. "I'm not ready to give up just because of one little out-of-control moment."
Jacob nodded. "Good for you. Listen, let's reschedule our tour of the construction site for tomorrow morning. That way we can try again."
"Sounds like a plan."
Unfortunately, the construction site seemed to be doomed.
Jacob, Edward, and several other wealthy, influential New York residents toured the construction site. Edward was the most interested in the actual design of the building; Jake and the other guests were either tagging along with friends or just visiting so they could say they'd done it. After all, the Empire State Building was going to be a piece of history.
Just as the tour's guide, a middle-aged man who was some high-ranking member of the construction team, was telling them about the steel framework of the building, the tour was interrupted. The group had stopped next to one half-finished wall, and the tour guide was leaning up against it as he spoke.
Suddenly a worker appeared out of nowhere, coming at a run. Breathless, he called, "Hey, boss!" Jacob took one look at the young man and could tell how frightened he was. His heart beat was racing and his blood was hot. Jacob fought a rising feeling of lust, forcing the monster inside of him back down. He glanced at Edward carefully, hoping his friend was as successful in controlling his bloodlust. Edward looked shaken, but steady. Jacob stopped worrying about him and instead focused on the tour guide and worker. The pair of them had moved off to the side of the group and were talking quietly, not that that mattered; Jacob could hear every word.
"Another death, boss. I can't explain it. It looks like he fell down an elevator shaft… but hell if I believe that," said the employee, shaking his head.
"And what exactly do you believe, Thomas?" asked his boss carefully.
"Same thing I was trying to tell you yesterday," the worker, Thomas, replied. "You know people are so superstitious about this damn building. People aren't fond of skyscrapers, and this'll be the tallest of them all. I think there's a murderer around here, trying to send us a message: stop working, or I'll kill."
"Well, now, I'm not saying you're right… But two suspicious deaths in two days… that's a little much to be just coincidence. Have you called the cops yet?"
"Yeah, they should be on their way. But boss, we don't need another mob scene like yesterday. We need to hush this up."
The boss thought for a couple of minutes, then said, "Well, bring the cops in through the service street and tell 'em not to make as big a deal out of it as they did yesterday. Make sure they know we don't want this death to be public knowledge yet. "
"Yes, sir," replied Thomas, before running off to meet the police. The boss turned back to his tour group.
"I'm afraid I'm going to have to cut this tour short, folks. I've got some business to take care of. I apologize, and if you'd like to reschedule your tour for another day, please let my secretary know. I appreciate your coming out here this morning."
The group members groaned at his words, but he ignored them for the most part. "Let me just show you out. Step this way, but make sure you watch your feet. There are some loose boards…"
Before the tour guide even had time to look back at them, Edward and Jacob were gone, dashing off in the opposite direction as the group, too fast to see. They were going to find the murder victim and, once again, look for some sort of evidence.
Their path put them back into contact with Thomas, the construction worker. They slowed to a quiet walk, following him. He didn't turn around, and any noise their walking might have made was covered by the sounds of construction work going on all around them. They were safe to tag along behind Thomas, and they hoped he would lead them straight to the scene of the crime.
"Now," Jacob whispered, once he was sure they wouldn't be heard, "I want you to stay under control this time. Fight the bloodlust. This is an innocent man, a victim of murder. Not our type."
"I know, I know. It's just… " Edward broke off without finishing his sentence.
"You're a vampire, and drinking the blood of humans is in your nature," continued Jake in an undertone.
"Right," Edward replied, frowning.
Still so sure animal blood will satisfy you? Jacob thought in his mind, though he knew better than to bring it up. As soon as he thought it, he hoped Edward hadn't been listening to his thoughts.
"You know I wasn't sure, Jacob!" Edward hissed, the tone of his whisper rising slightly in anger. "You know I left Carlisle because I wasn't sure!"
"I do know. I'm sorry, Edward," Jacob said. "I didn’t mean to bring it up, I'm sorry."
Edward's anger deflated at Jacob's apology. "Yeah, well. It's fine," he mumbled. "Shouldn't have been listening to your mind, anyway."
"It's okay. Let's just worry about catching this killer," Jacob told him. They turned back to Thomas, who was making his way up a flight of stairs. When he reached the top, he headed through an open doorway and stopped just inside. Edward and Jacob followed him and came to a halt when he did. They hid just outside the door; Edward poked his head inside the room to see where Thomas had gone while Jacob kept watch.
"It's a hallway for elevators," he whispered. "This must be where the victim 'fell' from. Thomas is staring down the shaft of one of the elevators."
"Memorize which elevator and we'll look at it later. We've got to go now; I can hear someone coming…" Jacob said.
"No, let's go in to the elevator room. Thomas is leaving."
"Through this exit?" asked Jacob, alarm in his voice.
"No, no, there's a way out on the other side. He's not going to see us. Come on," urged Edward, grabbing Jacob's hand and pulling him into the elevator room. "Er, sorry," Edward said, dropping Jake's hand as soon as they had entered.
"Don't worry about it," Jacob replied, looking around the room.
It was a short hallway with exits on both ends. One wall was empty, but in the middle of the other wall, there was what would become a bank of elevators when the building was finished. Now, they were just open shafts, easy enough for a man to fall down. Edward led Jacob over to one of the elevator shafts and pointed downward.
"This is where Thomas was looking… And if you look in, you can see there's something at the bottom…"
"I'm assuming so," Edward replied grimly. "Let's go down. We need to beat the cops to the scene so we can look around."
"Agreed," Jake said. He closed his eyes and jumped down the elevator shaft, landing lightly on his feet at the bottom, narrowly missing the body. No one was around to see him, and he thought back up to Edward, It's okay. Come down. A few seconds later, Edward was beside him.
They knelt down near the body and stopped their breathing to better maintain control over their bloodlust. For this body was certainly bloody. The arms, legs, and neck had broken upon impact with the floor of the elevator shaft, and bone was protruding, puncturing holes in the victim's skin; pools of blood had seeped out through the holes and were slowly creeping outward, covering the floor in a thin layer of red. And…
"There are... bite marks. Edward, look at this. You can see the definite shape of someone's teeth on the skin. The front teeth are even kind of crooked, so it would be possible to recognize the killer later." Jacob leaned in close to the body, examining the mangled flesh and pointing to an area on the victim's arm. "And I highly doubt this kind of damage came from just falling down the elevator shaft. He's much too bloody."
"Hmm," Edward said, a musing look on his face. "You know…" he continued thoughtfully, "I remember thinking that, for a man who was run over by a truck, there was much less blood on the ground at that first crime scene than I would have expected."
"You're saying you think a good amount of the victim's blood had already been, ahh, consumed?" Edward nodded, and Jacob continued, "That's what I'm thinking, too."
Both men were silent for a few seconds, trying to force their minds away from the obvious conclusion. Neither wanted to think about the inevitable prospect.
Vampire attack? came Jacob's unspoken question, finally.
Edward stared at the victim's body for several long moments. Then he nodded, a look of utter disgust on his face.
"Let's go. I can't look at this. We have to get out of here before the police arrive, anyway." They ran out of the construction site, and they were half-way back to their apartment when they stopped, popping into sight in a back alley. Edward leaned against the icy brick wall, gagging, though of course there was nothing in his stomach to throw up. Jacob watched him, pity in his eyes. He put a tentative hand on Edward's shoulder.
"Edward. We're not like this vampire. We're better. We're... Hell, Edward, we're more humane."
He shook his head. "How do you figure? We still kill."
"We don't kill innocents."
"Who are we to judge someone's innocence?"
That stumped Jacob; he wasn't sure how to reply. "I don't know," he said finally.
"I don’t want to play God," Edward said quietly. "Not anymore."
"What are you saying?" Jacob asked, his eyes narrowed suspiciously.
"I don't know," Edward admitted.