For maraudersaffair, continued...
Title: Watched Your Eyes As They Poured: Chapter Three
Word Count: 2677
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
It was two o'clock in the morning. Edward stared out his darkened window, contemplating his future. He sighed and turned his head away, closing his eyes. The first movement he'd made in over half a day. "Who the hell am I anymore?" he wondered aloud, breaking the heavy silence that surrounded him.
Yesterday morning--which felt like more than mere hours ago--after announcing that he didn't know what he wanted any longer, Edward had fled from Jacob, running back to their apartment to hide in his bedroom. He'd spent the rest of the day thinking, pondering, reflecting, and generally feeling sorry for himself. Jacob had followed him back home at a much slower pace, walking in the door two hours later. Edward had heard him come in, but he hadn't moved to talk to him until now: the middle of the night. The time when he and Jacob usually met in the living room and talked until the sun came up.
Edward felt like he and Jacob were the only two people still awake in the world. And suddenly, as he sat in his room thinking this thought, he wanted to be near Jacob, to talk to his best friend. Edward left his bedroom and padded down the hall to Jake's room. He poked his head inside the doorway and knocked softly on the wall.
"So… do you want to talk?" Edward asked. He bit his lip, expecting Jacob to reject him after their unfinished conversation and his rude departure. Jake looked up from his paper where he had been scribbling only seconds ago. Edward could hear Jake thinking about the last lines he'd written, and he could hear as thoughts of the story fled Jacob's mind, replaced by thoughts of Edward. Edward immediately retreated from Jake's mind so as not to intrude on his friend's privacy.
"Yeah. Come sit with me," Jacob said, patting a section of his bed. Edward walked forward and took a seat, putting his hands in his lap and staring at them, saying nothing. "You look like hell, Edward."
"I've got a lot on my mind."
"Do you?" Jake asked, somewhat sarcastically. Edward flinched at his tone. Jacob continued, "Wish I had your talent. Then you wouldn't have to tell me you're leaving me. Wouldn't be as hard on you."
"I'm not leaving you, Jake," Edward said, frowning. "I never said that. I just said I don't know what I'm doing anymore. I don't know if I'm comfortable doing… what we do."
"Edward, if you're not comfortable being a vampire, you have a giant dilemma. You're stuck like this for eternity. You had better lose some of this self-hatred or… " He let his speech trail off, leaving his sentence unfinished and open to interpretation.
Edward seized the chance and did interpret. He told Jake exactly what he'd been thinking all afternoon and evening. "Or I'm going to have to find a way to end my existence."
Jacob choked at his words. "That's not what I meant!" he protested. He shook his head. "I don't want you to die… or whatever it might be called for us. I want you here, with me, being my best friend. But Edward, if you can't be here, if you can't kill humans… I'll survive if you leave. I'd rather you were gone from me than gone from the entire world."
They stared at one another from across the bed, both wearing hopeless, desolate looks.
"I'm just not happy like this," Edward whispered, barely moving his lips.
Not happy with me? Jacob asked internally, but Edward heard.
"No, Jake. You know I'm happy here with you," he said, almost reaching his hand forward to place comfortingly on Jacob's knee. He stopped himself just in time. "It doesn't have anything to do with you." Except that it has everything to do with you, Edward thought. "You wouldn't go with me?" he asked.
"Edward… I couldn't." Not unless you're in love with me.
Edward gasped; his stomach muscles tightened with nervousness. He knew this was the moment to tell Jake. And yet… fearful, he let the moment slip away. He was silent just a few seconds too long.
"Uh, how's your writing coming along?" Edward said, desperate to change the subject. He could feel Jake's disappointment, but he wasn't ready to talk about his feelings yet. They needed to be just friends for a while longer.
"It's okay," Jacob replied. "But I think I need the rest of the night off. Let's go into the other room and you can play some music for me, clear my head."
"Sounds good." Edward stood up and started walking to the living room; Jacob followed a few seconds later.
When dawn broke a few hours later, Edward was still sitting at the piano, music tripping off his fingers. Jacob sat on their couch, his head dropped back, his eyes closed. He was as close to sleep as a vampire could be.
Edward quit playing as he watched the sun come up and then disappear behind the heavy winter clouds that hovered daily in the sky. When the music stopped, Jacob came alive again, moving, breaking apart the marble sculpture he had resembled for the past few hours. He stood and stretched, and so did Edward.
"Get dressed and then back to the building?"
"Definitely," Jacob replied. "I have a feeling our murderer will be striking again today."
They both headed off to get ready for another attempt at catching the killer.
When they arrived at the construction site, it seemed to be deserted. Of course, it was much earlier in the morning than when they had arrived the previous two days. Still, the eerie quiet was unnerving. They approached the building from the service street where the first death had occurred and entered through an unfinished doorway.
"I don't really like this," Edward commented, stepping lightly around a loose board with a nail sticking out of it. He looked around and bit his lip.
"I don't either. I feel like the killer could be in here, right now, murdering some innocent human and staging another accident to cover up the death."
"We'd better make sure that's not happening," Edward said, frowning.
"Don't you find it weird that we could just get in here, no trouble, no security bothering us?"
"I was just thinking the same thing…"
"I'm getting concerned."
They headed towards the stairs they'd walked up yesterday when they'd been following Thomas. Edward strained his hearing, both mental and physical, to catch any sounds. He heard nothing. "Let's go up," he told Jake, gesturing toward the steps. They climbed upward, passing the hall of elevators on the second floor after checking to be sure no one was in it. They moved quickly, and soon they found themselves at the topmost finished section of the building. Construction on this floor of the building had just been started recently. The floor was half-finished, the rough wood exposed. The walls were built to nearly a third of their future height. A plastic tarp covered most of the area, but on the opposite side of the floor from where Edward and Jacob stood, the building was opened to the air so tools and materials could be brought up with a hoist; indeed, there was a hoist, rotating slowly around in the early morning breeze. Scaffolding and small ladders surrounded the building.
The two of them walked along a narrow strip of boards to the open area. The top was uncovered; above them was sky. Areas of the floor were unfinished, leaving gaping holes in the wood; below them they could see the lower floors of the building. They crouched down so their bodies couldn't be seen from the street and they looked around, carefully searching for suspicious signs.
"Oh my God," whispered Jake, horror in his voice. "We... we're too late." Edward looked down, his eyes following Jake's finger, which was pointing through a hole in the floorboards to another broken body, lying spread-eagled and bloody a few floors down.
"Did he fall from up here?"
"More likely his body was pushed. There's some blood on the ground over there, I think." Sure enough, Edward was correct. Near a hole in the floorboards, a few dots of blood were visible on the wood.
"Killed up here, then pushed off to cover it up?"
"Looks like it," Edward replied, nodding. "Should we go down there and... see?"
"See if the killer's gone, or see if this was another murder?"
"I guess," Jake said. His voice and mannerisms lacked any enthusiasm. "I can't believe we're too late again," he whispered. He and Edward jumped lightly down, landing a few floors down on either side of the victim. They leaned in to examine. Jacob stopped his breathing, but before Edward could do so too, he caught the victim's scent.
"It's Thomas, Jacob," Edward whispered, horrified.
"Thomas…" Jacob said, his head in his heads. "God damn it, Edward, we should have done something! It's obvious he was up here searching for clues and then he got caught--and killed."
"He was probably the security guard. That's why it was so easy to get into the building," Edward said, fighting a rising feeling of hopelessness.
"The killer eliminated the one person who was most suspicious yesterday. He's going to get away with murder."
Jacob and Edward stood in silence, staring at the body, wondering exactly how bleak the prospects were. Then--
"Hey, Edward… Look at the way the teeth go… the front teeth are crooked. I remember the same sort of pattern on the second victim," Jacob commented. He reached a tentative hand down towards the bite marks and traced one with his finger, pointing.
"The bite marks on all the victims are similar, then," Edward acknowledge, nodding.
"So it's obviously the same vampire doing all three of the attacks. We thought that before, but it's a good thing we can confirm it. We just need to catch him, preferably before he succeeds in killing any other innocent people on the construction site. Which makes me wonder... why is he targeting this place?"
"Lots of accidents happen on work sites," Edward said. "And plus, people are expecting deaths to happen here. Easy cover-up. Instead of the newspapers printing a story about three unexplained disappearances, they'll be writing about three terrible deaths at the doomed construction site of the Empire State Building."
"I suppose that makes sense... But the bite marks. This vampire is leaving them so obviously visible. Aren't the police going to get suspicious anyway?"
Edward shrugged. "If the cops want to see vampire, they'll see it. But I highly doubt that, don't you? This will just go down as part of the mystery."
Jacob nodded slowly. "He shouldn't be allowed to get away with this."
"He won't be. We'll catch him. We'll destroy him," Edward said, forcefully pounding his fist into the palm of his other hand.
"Let's come back tonight," Jacob suggested. "We'll get here early--before the vampire arrives for his next murder. We can find him when he enters the building and stop him before he kills again."
Jacob and Edward spent the night at the Empire State Building. They snuck in as the last worker left at nightfall and placed themselves strategically so they could see all entrances to the building; they would be able to see the killer enter no matter where he came from. They sat themselves comfortably on the floor and prepared to wait. A few hours went by before they felt the need to talk; they just enjoyed each other's company up until that point.
"Edward," Jake said, a strange sort of tone to his voice, "can we talk about something?"
"If I were to talk about… my feelings… towards you… how would you respond?"
"I don't know," Edward whispered, not entirely sure if he had actually spoken the words out loud.
"We need to get this out in the open. If you're leaving me soon… I don't want you to go never knowing how you feel, never knowing if we… " He paused to take a deep breath. "Hell, Edward, we both know there's something here."
"You're right, Jake, but--"
"But you're too scared. Edward, get the fuck over it. We're running out of time, and I can't put up with your fear any longer."
Edward swallowed, unsure how to reply, his mouth dry and his stomach muscles tightened in nervousness. Then--
"Someone's coming," Edward whispered. "I don't think it's the killer, though. He's thinking about having dropped something on the scaffolding yesterday. He's coming back to retrieve it. We should move out of sight, but we need to keep an eye on all the scaffolding… For a building this size, well, this is going to be difficult."
They padded silently into the shadows, keeping their eyes alert, spinning around frequently to check all angles.
"He's coming in, over there," Edward whispered, barely moving his lips. He pointed to a doorway coming off the service street. A short, fat man opened the door, letting in the faint light of dawn, and entered the building. He headed over to a ladder, obviously intending to get his wallet from the scaffold.
"I'll watch him, see where he goes," Jake said. "You keep an eye on the doors."
A few minutes went by, and the man was still slowly climbing up the scaffold. But out of the corner of his eye, Edward noticed a small movement near one of the doors. Suspicious, he focused on that area of the darkened building, but he saw nothing else and he dismissed it. He let his eyes return to darting around to each door.
"Damn! Look there!" As he spoke, Jacob pointed to a body falling from the scaffolding three stories up. A dark figure darted off the scaffolding, running around the outer edge of the third fourth floor, searching for a place to jump down to escape far enough away from Edward and Jacob.
Edward focused on the victim's body. He rushed over to the scaffolding, trying to catch the body, but he was too late. It landed on the floor with a sickening crack, and blood spurted up from the impact, flying towards Edward's face. He instantly spun around to avoid it and stopped breathing to curb the bloodlust. He felt dizzy with repressed desire, but he forced himself to lean down to the body to look.
"He's dead!" Edward called softly. "Broken neck. Bite marks." My fault.
"Well, there's nothing we can do for him now. Let's go!" Jacob yelled. He and Edward pursued the vampire, who had jumped down near a door to Jacob's left and was now running down the service street at the back of the building, at a sprint.