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TITLE: "The Same Shape"
AUTHOR: mistressmarilyn
DATE: September 30, 2010
FANDOM: Twilight Saga (books and films)
PAIRING: Edward Cullen/Bella Swan and Jacob Black (Robert Pattinson, Kristen Stewart and Taylor Lautner)
DISCLAIMER: I don't own 'em. They're characters belonging to Stephanie Meyer; Little, Brown & Company; and Summit Entertainment--not to mention the respective actors of the movies, and to the ages. This is a work of a fan, done for no remuneration save the satisfaction of the work.
WARNINGS: None, really . . . kinda songfic-y, though.
AUTHOR NOTES: Written originally for the twilight_las community for a gender-bending prompt. (Got no votes for this one.)

He hated it when he felt he was thinking like a girl, worrying too much about his unruly hair like Rosalie or feeling a spiteful, jealous pang like Jessica. Edward had been born into a world where women were considered helpmates, keepers of home and hearth and heritage, more concerned about raising children than paying taxes. Most women didn't hold down jobs or hold office; in fact, they didn't even have the right to vote, although some were fighting for it.

But that, of course, was a long time ago.

With the person he most loved and respected--a woman--by his side, he quietly enjoyed a long drive on a late summer day. Well into their fifth hour on the road, they were now in Oregon heading east on I-5, passing through one of the world's natural wonders, the Columbia River Gorge.

Edward didn't consider himself sexist. He just found it natural for men to be stronger and calmer, to be the protectors. He appreciated the differences between the genders, even though his second life--his life as a vampire--had shown him those differences were far more subtle, far more superficial than most men knew.

His gift of reading minds had lessened the gulf between man and woman, and had sometimes rudely reminded him that the separation was sometimes spanned with confusing construction. His own reaction to a ballad or a sunset or a sad movie was often more in keeping with the females surrounding him than their football-playing, beer-swilling escorts.

He wondered how many times he had overheard someone thinking he must prefer his own sex, mentally calling him "faggot."

That Cullen is so gay. Where did he get that jacket?

As he stepped on the gas pedal and switched lanes to pass an 18-wheeler, he glanced over at Bella and wished for the thousandth time that he knew what she was thinking. He figured she was enjoying the awe-inspiring sights surrounding them, but he couldn't be totally sure. She was the one person he couldn't read and the one he most wanted to.

Bella interrupted his thoughts. "Charlie took me on this ride once when I was about nine or ten. I was in Forks for a couple weeks that summer, and he got tickets to see the Backstreet Boys in Portland."

Edward grinned. "The Backstreet Boys?"

"Yeah. He thought it would be a treat for me. Then when they cancelled the concert, he ended up driving me to Portland anyway, and we came here to see Multnomah Falls."

How often had Edward been mistaken for a member of some boyband back when they were so popular? For a while he had actually enjoyed it, hiding his body but not his brain from the unbridled hysteria.

"I may have one of their songs there somewhere," he said, referring to the cd collection spread out on the floor of the car.

"That's okay. Really."

"Come on, Bella. One of the Now's, the one with 'Drive' by Incubus."

She picked through the pile and found the sixth edition of the compilation series. She inserted the cd and hit fast-forward, passing such classics as 'Bye, Bye, Bye' by *NSYNC and Britney Spears' 'Stronger.' Finally the heavily produced strains of a ballad filled the Volvo. Edward adjusted the speakers, sighing at the sound, cocking his head to listen. The cryptic words of the song 'Shape of My Heart' were like the story of his relationship with Bella--hiding who he was before he finally revealed himself.

"Oh, my gosh, that's so corny," she said. "I can't believe I ever liked them."

Edward grimaced, exposed as girly again.

"What?" she said.

"Nothing. Really."

* * * * * * *

He hated it when he felt he was reacting like a girl, when he flushed with a jealous surge of anger toward Bella or barely fought back a desire to slap Edward Cullen silly. As much as he had longed for his broken body to heal enough to allow him to phase, he dreaded the communal thoughts and emotions inherent in the experience.

Sharing Leah's naked passion and pain was not only uncomfortable, it was confusing, reminding him too much of his own romantic issues, the ones he was trying so hard to shrug off. He hated the thought that the rest of the pack was feeling the same way about him that he felt about Leah, that his emo-driven fingers were plucking inappropriately at their more stable minds.

Why the hell couldn't he just get over it?

He crouched on his belly, shoving his muzzle into the warm soil and scratchy, summer-dried grass. He loved the smell of the earth, the smell of the air, the smell of the creature who had hidden in this very spot during some not-so-distant time. The scent of the latter was musky and male, and for a moment he forgot that he was the same.

He bared his teeth, silently cursing himself, then reluctantly returned to the form that didn't fit there, face down in the dirt.

What was the matter with him?

Nothing really.

* * * * * * *

They hated it when they felt they were acting like girls, the monster in both of them as green-eyed as Edward's real mother. They would meet accidentally, their complicated natures flaring with competitive fury while Bella stood between them, firm and unflappable. She was suddenly the strong one, while they were reduced to two strident shoppers fighting over the last good cut of meat at the Thriftway store on Highway 101.

It didn't occur to them that their differences were not that substantive, that despite their disparate natures, all three were actually the same under the skin. What might they say if someone older and wiser pointed out that whether breathlessly pounding or deathly still, the fragile heart in each of them--vampire and wolf, man and monster, male and female--was the same shape?





( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Nov. 2nd, 2010 03:19 am (UTC)
It was very hard for me to vote this round. Yours was on my list of the top 2 best written.

It was great how you divided the sections into different POV.
I like how each section ends with "Nothing Really" to tie them all together.

Edward section was my favorite with his memories and the corny CD he owns. lol
Nov. 2nd, 2010 07:18 am (UTC)
Thanks for your comments. This was a strange story for me, kinda forced and unnatural. I think I tried to do too much, really. I was pretty uninspired by the topic, then blown away by what people did with it.

I was driving up the Gorge and remembering the summer the Backstreet Boys were supposed to come to Portland and A.J. ended up in rehab and they re-scheduled. And I thought about Bella spending those two or three weeks every summer with Charlie and just went with it. Multnomah Falls is the top tourist spot in Oregon, so it seems like everyone eventually goes there . . . so I drove past the falls, found Black & Blue on my iPod and just blasted it on the stereo on my way to Hood River, imagining Edward and Bella's conversation.

I think this is the only story I've ever written Edward and Bella in the same scene . . .

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )