|In the Mirror, Darkly
Author: HM Grayson PM
Monsters cannot cry. Some days Rosalie thinks she has to or she'll go crazy. Maybe she has already. Can you be sane without a soul?Rated: Fiction T - English - Tragedy/Angst - Rosalie - Words: 4,913 - Reviews: 13 - Favs: 24 - Follows: 1 - Published: 03-26-10 - Status: Complete - id: 5845596
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Disclaimer: Everything here is owned by Stephenie Meyer, but since she's not using them anymore, I borrowed them for non-profit fun. The title is from an episode of Star Trek: Enterprise.
Warning: This is not like anything I've ever done before; don't expect it to be.
In the Mirror, Darkly
The moment that you don't speak of because horror freezes your voice every time, the moment that haunts not only your nightmares but every waking moment, the moment you would have given anything and everything to forget—that moment is the rest of your life. It's the rest of eternity. Congratulations.
You must have deserved it.
Rosalie appears beautiful.
Physically she will always seem whole and good; the eternal, inconsequential part of her is the only part of her left. What a ruin it is! She is perfection personified, after all. The world will always be unable to resist her.
Like Emmett cannot. He loves her beauty, worships it, makes terrible puns so he can brag about it loudly and often.
Yet he is a good man, Emmett. A good monster. He never curses her for the way she damned him—he calls her Angel and Love and presses kisses to her golden hair. Those once blue eyes that sealed his ruined fate never look at her reproachfully. Only admiration ever shines in them when they glance in her direction. There are no hard feelings for the life she dragged him into. Why would there be when he can gaze at her for eternity?
Rosalie stares at herself in the mirror. Her mother made her do two hundred strokes each night before she went to bed, in order to create the perfect offering to the Bank of Kings. Eighty years later Rosalie never counts the brushstrokes she performs when Emmett leaves for a long hunt with the others. The golden hair gleams so effortlessly that it is unnecessary to comb it at all.
There are no more tangles in her hair.
It is a strange thing to be angry about. A foolish thing, really. To hate someone for removing the knots from her hair sounds ridiculous. It is ridiculous. Yet she cannot help herself and Rosalie has never been very good at resisting her own impulses. Life has taught her how dangerous that can be isn't my fiancé beautiful? but she has always been a slow learner.
It never bothers her that she does not have a brain for Emmett to love. Why would Emmett care for a brain? You cannot make love to a brain. Emmett is not concerned with facts or theories; he is sure of his own two hands and that is enough for him. That is enough for Rosalie, too.
The other members of her family may deal in other worlds thoughts feelings future love but Rosalie does not. Once upon a time there was the most beautiful princess in all the world and her handsome prince came riding up on his white horse and raped her. Rosalie doesn't believe anymore. She is content to live with Emmett in the world as it is.
In this real world, Rosalie Hale sits in front of a looking glass and combs her hair. She can practically hear Emmett whispering my Angel in her ear, as he has so often done in the past. It always makes the knife in her heart shift even deeper in, but she will never tell him that because the bear did its work well and she should have left him on that forest floor but she didn't. It violated every new belief she clung to in her strange new nightmare world, but he gazed at her as if she was unbroken and so she dammed him just the same. Now she cannot imagine surviving without knowing he loves her, so she will let him say whatever endearments he wishes.
They all say she looks like an Angel, even Fido and his stupid mutts, who repeat the same juvenile remarks that she has heard countless times in the years past. Even when they turn away in disgust, their eyes linger on her body. They cannot help it. They at least have the decency not to pretend—they are men who admit to being dogs. It's much easier to defend herself when her enemy declares itself so openly. It is only when they assume they cannot be overheard that they call her flawless.
This deception is her most damnable ability and it makes her laugh. The perfect Rosalie Hale she was and ever shall be even after the world ends.
Edward doesn't believe her clever and maybe he is right, having to deal with her empty-head day in and out, but Rosalie has played the grandest trick on the universe and even Edward the mind-reader does not even really comprehend it.
She is the cleanest of the Cullens.
There has been no human blood past her ruby lips—her long-lost soul is still unblemished in that respect. She is purer than Edward with his insufferable brain that allows him to tell himself that he is superior, purer than Esme who was too loving and helpful to stay away from the delicious masses until she had enough self-control, purer than Emmett who treats every minute as a game until it is far too late, purer than Alice who at first did not understand the strange visions and so made mistakes in her loneliness and much, much purer than Jasper with the blood of a thousand innocents staining every inch of his cold white body. Maybe even cleaner than Carlisle, who has tasted murdered those most dear to him. And yet...
Rosalie is the worst of the Cullens.
Her fiancé's bones were not broken ever so slowly in a desperate mess of need. Death had come for him coldly, cruelly and with a vengeance that the rest of her family cannot understand.
Even Jasper with his war and his battles cannot understand. Before Carlisle, before Alice, despite what he may think, he was merely a rat running in a much bigger wheel. Instinct and reaction but nothing that was a punishable offence. Each throat he tore, however horrifically he did it again and again, he never did so with malicious intent. There was a goal, a purpose, and unlike Rosalie it had never been for himself.
It was about power, about pride, about pain. It was wrong, of course, and forbidden now that he resided in this Temple of Cullen they all live in. He cannot be worthy of his beloved Alice while he clings to his ancient beliefs. But pride and power and even pain must bow down to Rosalie's idol.
Hate trumps all.
Jasper is a monster, but a monster of a different kind than her. There's blood on his hands but not pouring from his heart and he may never be clean again but oh! he will be whole and Rosalie hates him sometimes.
He knows. Jasper always knows though he does not parade his knowledge like Edward and Alice. She stays furthest away from her most recent brother because her feelings may be simple and shallow, but he comprehends better than the rest what exactly they mean though he tries not to.
Her hate is not constant because he does try, says nothing when she becomes scared or annoyed by things she should ignore. Unlike Edward, he does not turn her into a specimen to be deconstructed and discarded. Jasper wants to know her feelings as little as she wants to share them. Sometimes she thinks of course Jasper struggles so hard—the world is violating him worst of all.
Or maybe the reason she stays so far away from him is because the first time she was alone with him, he took a step towards her and she darted across the room without thought stay away from me! stay away! of how it might look. And Jasper looked at her and at his blood soaked hands and nodded once.
He was a soldier, after all. He understood.
She asked him once, because she will never understand but he is her brother, her twin only his scars are on the outside. How can you drive a bayonet down and not stay your hand when a human being cries out for mercy? How can you forget the love you are supposed to have for one of your own? How can...?
It's all too easy, he apologized. She laughed too loudly and asked him to tell her something she didn't know.
Did little Alice know of the horrors he witnessed? And the horrors he committed? When Jasper whispered about his past did he tell her that blood and death and sex and despair were all bound together and there was no escape?
Alice knows, too. They love each other too absolutely for there to be secrets. Other couples may tell each other little white lies, may try to save each other from the horrors of the world, but not Jasper and Alice with their religious fervour, their all-consuming passion that exists outside of this world.
But hers is a false knowledge; second-hand news cannot accurately convey the tragedy of the universe to a woman who lives in the glorious future. Rosalie tries not to begrudge her sister this joy escape and for the most part she doesn't. Let Alice live for visions; Rosalie will just try to live. They can meet at the mall and laugh and talk.
Alice dwells in the future and Rosalie dwells in the past. Why should they be begrudged the way they cling to the present? It may seem superficial, it may seem silly, but if the clothes and the cars and the sparkling gifts Alice manages to find in the middle of nowhere anchor them to the there and now, why should they apologize for it? So Rosalie doesn't.
It makes the days less long, Rosalie decides, having her sister back again. Now that Bella is no longer human, the shine has worn off Alice's pretty little new toy. Dressing the girl is still amusing, but Bella's ungratefulness is less entertaining now that colour no longer rises in her cheeks and her heartbeat doesn't race. Alice's enjoyment is greatly diminished now that Bella is dead and Rosalie reaps the rewards. Once again she has a sister, a friend—once again Rosalie can remember there is a now that is so much better than before.
Alice is a good sister. Rosalie may not have chosen Alice, perhaps, but she is glad that Alice chose her. It makes the days less dark to have the pixie in them. For Alice with her easy joy, even when she know all too well what the world can take from you, makes Rosalie feel less responsible about her lack. The two of them achieve balance in the universe.
Bella is an unnecessary addition to their sisterhood. Unnecessary and unwanted. If Rosalie must have another sister, and she does so Edward can finally be at peace, it should not be one who could so carelessly throw aside her humanity.
If Rosalie stares at the looking glass too long, she ends up back there, on the street, in the dark alone all alone and that was somehow worst of all. It has been part of her for a very long time and she knows it will never stop. What would her newest sister done when she say the creature girl lying in the gutter?
Nothing at all.
It is unfair, perhaps, but far less inaccurate than Bella would claim. The foolish girl managed to spurn everything Rosalie craved, craves still with a desire that frightens even Emmett the heedless sometimes. Bella wanted neither her humanity, nor her soft, working body, nor the soul that had been ripped away from Rosalie. Everything Rosalie longs for, Bella threw away without thought.
Foolish, foolish girl. But Rosalie bears no ill will towards Bella for becoming a vampire. She keeps Edward occupied and that earns her a reprieve.
That is what she says. The real reason Rosalie loves her new sister now no no no no no is how she first said I love you but Bella didn't hear, is the same reason she hates her more than ever.
Rosalie wanted a child for eighty years. Eighty long years, in which she learned the bitter truth monsters don't get happily ever afters that her dream could never come true, despite how she longed to share with Emmett the perfect result of their love. She is barren, cursed, no longer a woman but a demon. No child can be born from her marble body.
But Bella brought a child into their world, the world of monsters and blood and evil. The child was born to this world and therefore has to remain in it. There is a beautiful little girl who belongs to parents who have no real inclination for her. Parents who can be convinced to leave their daughter in Rosalie's capable, loving coveting hands. And Fido's.
He is a tiresome burden that she has to bear in order to have the child, but Rosalie endures it as best she can. His repetitive jokes and nonchalant manner irk her, but if his sin stopped there stop, please, stop! then she would not have spared him a second thought.
But he never stops. He is always too close, too friendly, too involved. Even though she is a vampire, his enemy, he still stands too near. And it kills her when she demands he leave and he will not. All she wants is to be left alone with her prize, but Fido continues talking, continues smirking, demanding attention look at me my pretty little whore that he has no right to demand.
Fido does not have Edward's impotent intellectualism, or Emmett's deep love, or Jasper's smiling Alice, or Carlisle's high morals. Where is the dog's leash? How can she survive with this beast wandering through her life, uncaring that she draws back at the very sight of him?
Rosalie tries not to think of Fido, despite how he is the one who assists her most often. In a way, she cannot blame him she asked for it—who can resist such perfection? Nessie has such tiny little fingers, such delicate little lashes, such round little cheeks. She is beautiful and clever.
If only she didn't grow so fast. That is Rosalie's one complaint. If this is her only chance to ever be a mother, Rosalie wants it to last and Nessie seems determined to ruin that.
There are days when she is tempted desperate mad to go to Emmett and ask him beg him to do this one thing for her. She cannot have a child, but fate is cruel enough not to restrict him such. He could go forth and find a foolish woman and give Rosalie what she craves most. Only for her could Emmett exert such control and it is only because he would do it, would throw away every belief he has for her sake, would never even think to fight her if she asked, that Rosalie keeps her silence. She will not further destroy this man who loves her.
But how she wants to!
Instead, she loves Nessie as hard as she can and pretends that the girl is her own. That, it seems, is Nessie's great purpose. To allow them all to pretend.
Close your eyes...
Only Alice is immune. Bella uses her daughter to pretend she is now an adult, that dying at eighteen has not made her a child forever. With a daughter by her side, Bella tells herself that she is complete, that she has achieved everything she has ever wanted, that she hasn't given up her chance at ever knowing herself for a monster.
A daughter allows Bella to pretend that she is still part of the world, that it will not forget her as it passes her by. Or maybe Bella doesn't need to pretend, because she has not discovered the truth yet. Vampires are cursed it wasn't just Edward's neurosis. And being in high school forever just sucks.
...and make a wish...
Esme, darling Esme who refused to lie with her husband until Rosalie pretended she forgave him, sometimes looks at the little girl and sees a little boy that is infinitely more dear. When she holds Nessie her face is pained, but more at peace than Rosalie has ever seen.
Esme is a creature built for love. Rosalie loves her new mother even as she acknowledges they are polar opposites. Esme does not have an unkind bone in her body. Nothing she does is ever done with malice. She does not even harbour dislike for Carlisle for his selfish sin, for cursing her to long for her son for all eternity and yet to never see him again. Esme looks into the pain and finds love.
It is a skill that Rosalie cannot begin to understand, yet it makes it so very easy for her to love Esme. One cannot help loving Esme, who never thinks of herself, who happily waits on the world when it asks her to.
The past is no secret in the Cullen household. Esme shared her story with Rosalie early on in their acquaintanceship. And Rosalie did not understand. How could Esme glue herself back together with love? Rosalie cannot manage with hate, and it is twice as strong and five times as fast. Yet somehow Esme is mostly whole and Rosalie will never understand how that can be.
...and forget for a while that dreams never come true
Not fully whole, not even the ever smiling Esme can manage that. There is still her need to hold Renesmee and see the little boy who will always be her world. This Rosalie can at least understand. When you're dead, all there is left to do is pretend.
They all pretend the existence of the werewolves does not prove they are monsters. Rosalie loves needs her family and hates the mutts, but she is not blind. When their bodies revolt, when they are slaves to forces beyond their control, when their skin tears and stretches in ways that it was never meant to, Rosalie knows they curse her family. It is a waste of breath they're already damned, but it doesn't mean it's undeserved.
They didn't ask for it. They never asked for it, no matter what it might have looked like. Knowing they were forced just because the Cullens felt a momentarily inclination does not sit well with Rosalie.
Not that she'll ever admit that to Fido. She apologized once to Fido's bitch, because she couldn't to Fido himself, but that's the best she can do. The bitch had said some very rude things some things are unforgivable and somehow become Leah instead.
Even if Leah hadn't told her—reluctantly, slowly…neither of them was built for trust anymore—Rosalie still would have known there was something familiar about the female werewolf. Over time, Rosalie realized it didn't matter if it had been on a dark street as the heavens cried above you or in the freshly turned earth of your father's grave, just that you had whispered, in a broken, choking voice that could barely form the words…please please! why won't you let me die…?
Death never came. Or if He did, He slipped away when a good foolish man crept through the filth and took your hand in theirs and dragged you to a place darker than hell any you had ever imagined.
It was the way Leah walked into a room that first made Rosalie suspect, because it was the same way she did. If they were going to burn forever in the fires of their own torment the world better watch. The world must see its sin—the proud woman brought low, over and over and over again. Life and then brimstone and there was only a beautiful corpse left standing anymore.
Leah burns, but not forever; Rosalie hates her, too, for everyone knows that a phoenix will rise from the ashes. Rosalie, frozen to the core, knows they only pull dead things from the ice.
And yet Rosalie warned her, despite her dislike of the bitch, despite the wet dog smell she can't stand, despite her jealousy (not only for never having to unlearn that a lady should hold her tongue, but for somehow being able to make Bella reconsider her actions if only for a moment no no no no no but no one ever listens when she says that). Rosalie warned Leah.
He can't help himself, she said. At first, it's enough that he owns you, enough that he can display you proudly to his friends and deny them the right to touch you, the right to even look at you with desire. But slowly, his pleasure decreases. They aren't allowed to touch you, but they are vermin, they are scum. He is a Leader an Alpha a King and he should be allowed to have what he wants. And then his hands find your body and you twist away and that final denial causes something inside him to snap and then your head is against the cold stone ground and your fine clothes become rags not fit for street urchins and you can only watch with empty eyes as he takes what belongs to him and then slinks into the night.
Leah said nothing for a good long while, that day, when Rosalie tried to explain. She paced a good deal and balled her hands into fists so tightly that her long fingers cracked, but she was silent as she moved. It was only when she was again stationary that she spoke.
"That's what happened to you?" Rosalie nodded. "That's when Carlisle found you?" Rosalie nodded again. "Do you want me to kill him for you?" Rosalie nodded a third time.
Neither were talking about a man who had been dead eighty years, dead at Rosalie's own hands.
Rosalie would have nodded a hundred times and then happily skipped off to collect her thirty pieces of silver.
Leah didn't do it, of course. Rosalie would have never been able to return the favour in kind, for she is weak and she would not harm her family, would not harm even herself, though she knows they are demons wrong. But Leah didn't do it for the simple reason that Rosalie didn't really mean it. Carlisle might be a demon under his kind smile, but Rosalie is twisted enough to love him still.
It is impossible to hate him. At first, she tried so hard. That first year when she was so close and yet so far from everything she had ever known, when Edward was scoffing at her every thought that was not exciting enough for his brilliant mind, Rosalie tried desperately to hate Carlisle for what he had done to her. She never believed passionately in God, but she did believe in her soul and when it was taken, she wanted someone to pay for its loss.
But it can't ever be Carlisle with his comforting smile and iron-clad control. If he is a demon, he is Lucifer himself, perfect in every way except for his silly human need to prove to God that he is as very good as everyone says.
Carlisle said that he saved her because he couldn't stand to see the waste. If Edward had been there, Rosalie suspects she would have been allowed to slip away that night. He would not have deemed the loss of her silly thoughts a waste, which would have been strangely ironic. Edward lives in the world of abstractions, of theories and ideals, and her perfection should appeal to him. Like the way men crave art and statues and golden halls, Edward should have wanted to preserve her the same way Carlisle did, mounted on the wall for the world to admire.
Edward did not. No, he prefers a silent trophy beside him.
It is not because he damned Bella that she hates Edward—his reluctance to do so was the only bit of common sense he had ever shown get your nose out of your damn book and listen to me! No, there are worse reasons to hate Edward Cullen.
And she does hate him. She hates him most of all.
they took her soul and they destroyed her body even if she doesn't know who stole what
More than Jasper with his hands that had taken from others what was stolen from her, more than Fido who doesn't recognize the monster he will become and even more than Carlisle who changed her and damned her and let her soul slip qway in the night. She hates Edward above everything in this new world of theirs.
From that moment long ago when she first awoke in a strange house, during every single second these past eighty years, he has been taking from her and taking from her and hasn't she given enough? Must he try and enter places he never had any right to be near in the first place? Is there nothing left that is sacred? Take her words, take her actions, leave her mind alone!
she doesn't like to think of it but her mind is the little she has left
It was a sign of how sick Rosalie is that she loves Edward just as much. She is a monster with a fake child and love Edward she does.
For the beautiful child that makes the hole inside her just a little less gaping, she loves him. For his speech and his eye for beauty and his cars, she loves him. For his manner and his manners and his crooked smile, she loves him. For knowing the horror of what Carlisle did, for wanting to spare her that night, she loves him.
He would have given her mercy just leave me and she loves him for that.
At least Carlisle was right about something. She did feel Edward most of all, even if she never could be with him.
She has Emmett, instead.
Emmett will never raise a hand to her. When she flinches under his touch, he lifts his hands and asks what is wrong. He kisses her hard and crushes her to his chest, but she never feels anything but safe. With every moment of his hands, he promises never to do her harm.
When she first made him, he stood in the shadows and begged her to accept him—but made no move until she did. She loves this monster she has created, the sweet man who adores her every movement.
He's what she chose. What she would always choose, which should be a surprise for fatherhood is not a mantle people think Emmett could take up and it would be her only criteria. But he would shock, Rosalie thinks.
His interaction with Puppy seems to prove this. Perhaps she wouldn't want her children to be wrestled with in quite such a way, or teased that loudly, or used for target practice, even if they did seem to enjoy it, but both Puppy and Emmett can't seem to stop laughing when they play. In eighty years Rosalie has come to the conclusion love should be the only requirement for fatherhood wear your good dress like a good girl and love is something Emmett has in spades.
Even if Leah was furious—the one time that Puppy had asked Emmett for romantic advice— that Rosalie's husband had given her younger brother a copy of the Kama Sutra. But Rosalie calmed the other woman down and Puppy and the mutts were allowed to keep following Emmett to their heart's content.
Rosalie privately chuckled; Emmett could make her laugh like no other.
The sounds from downstairs alert Rosalie to the return of the men. Emmett is inside the room before she has done more than stand up. He picks her up without thought, his strong arms gentle even now.
Rosalie loves Emmett.
It is not because his eyes sparkle when they see her, or because of how soft his hands feel against her frozen skin. It is not because he picks her up and dances her around the room in his enthusiasm until she is laughing, despite the way she once thought she never could again. It is not even because she knows she is finally safe, now that she is with him, because he will use every bit of strength in his enormous body to shield her from harm.
She loves him because when Emmett kisses her, gently presses his cold lips against hers with only love and lust and adoration, Rosalie swears she can feel it in a far off, long-lost place that she once called her soul.
if she had a soul she wouldn't be so empty