BRONZE by mothlights
Summary: Edward is a rebellious newborn lashing out at those who try to help him. At his wit’s end, Carlisle asks Isabella, the woman who was once his mentor, to take Edward in until his bloodlust cools. ExB Very AU – COMPLETE
I don’t read a lot of het fic. Very little. Probably less than 5% of all my fic reading is het. Probably 0.5% Edward/Bella. Just not a fic-Bella fan, I’m afraid.
Well. After reading BRONZE, I’m not sure I’ll be able to go back to reading even Steph’s Bella. There are some similarities, sure, but overall, mothlights Bella has very little to do with canon-Bella, and I like it that way.
Edward’s fingers twitched, but there was no pushing away Carlisle’s thoughts, so he swung his attention to the mind of the one who would soon be his keeper. Carlisle had called her Dae and Genovefa and her latest name, the name by which he had known her, Isabella. Even ten miles away, Edward could read her. She was focusing on the cool give and bristle of moss beneath her feet. Her heel came up; the air caught the moisture from the dew on her skin. Cool. Damp. Pressure. Motion. Skin and pine needles and earth. Then the smooth conformity of wood as she stepped into her house. If these wordless sensations were the only thoughts invading his mind until he mastered his godforsaken bloodlust and set out on his own, then it would be an improvement over his time in Washington.
In an alternate timeline, BRONZE’s Bella is an ancient vampire, a hermit living in a cabin in the mountains, who takes on the newborn and volatile Edward as a housemate. Edward himself is quite close to his canon self, or at least what he might have been like in his first few years. He is a mind reader, but is frustrated at the simplicity of Bella’s thoughts, which gives him no opportunity to figure her out.
Isabella turned to face him. The breeze was gone, and all the birds had flown, leaving the forest silent. She didn’t bother to blink, but Edward found himself blinking repeatedly. He had never felt quite so looked at before. Power seemed to roll off of her in waves, and he was certain that, like him, she had a talent – perhaps withering something on the spot or causing storms. Whatever it was she could do, why hadn’t Carlisle told him? Don’t growl. Do not growl, the most basic part of him warned. He wanted to pull his arms back as far as they would go and send her through the rough logs. Instead he felt himself bending slightly, almost bowing his head.
I’m not telling you what Bella’s gift is, only that it’s nothing like canon, and it is so well imagined and executed as to blend seamlessly into the Twilight universe. And I do love this Bella. She is strong and wise, yet not perfect.
“How old were you, Edward?”
“How old, when you ran your car off the road?”
“Nineteen,” she repeated. Her voice was soft. “You’re not a child, so I’m not going to treat you like one, no matter how you choose to act.” She dropped down so her face was in front of him. “But if you ever lay a hand on me again you will wish Carlisle had let you die. You understand?”
I hate to give away plot in reviews, and so I won’t. I will say that this is a real story. Sure, there is romance there, but there would still be a whole lot of story without it. There are surprises, thrilling conflicts, bad guys, daring rescues, and original characters that have depth and rich histories of their own. And mothlights explores the Children of the Moon (the real werewolves), fleshing out the tiny details we got from canon into a very adequate mythology.
Though set entirely in the 21st Century, BRONZE took me on a journey through history. It gives glimpses of mammoth hunts, the markets of ancient Sumer, and the eruption of Mount Vesuvius. It touches on Aro’s humble beginnings, and the time before the Volturi made the laws, when the Romanians ruled the vampire world. And while brief, these glimpses are vivid, well researched, and used in just the right way within the story.
Mothlights didn’t bore me with details however. She gets right to the point without meandering, and yet she allows Bella’s history to come out gradually. Necessary exposition doesn’t seem out of place, it is integrated into the story and is as compelling as the rest of her words. Her prose is simple and unaffected, and yet so lyrical, with an ebb and flow that had me reading aloud to myself without realising I was doing it.
Once you’ve read it, check out the prequel that details Carlisle and Bella’s first meeting. It should have a glowing review all of it’s own: Corruption : Compassion