A/N: I started to write this for the Mistletoe contest but it quickly got out of control… Thank them for requesting Christmas angst…
Disclaimer: Welp. STILL not Stephenie Meyer.
WARNING: Please mind the summary! If you have a question, please ask. I'll be happy to explain. Also, FYI, there is no cheating in this story.
"Sweetheart, I think it's time."
"No." Edward stared as his wife, pleading even though her expression was just as broken as his had to be. He knew this wasn't her choice. Of course it wasn't her choice. This was out of both of their hands, and it had been for six months. "Not yet. Please not yet."
He wasn't ready. He wasn't ever going to be ready.
Tears filled his Kate's eyes, and her voice whined in the back of her throat. "Edward, please." She looked from him down to their son, cradled in her arms.
Two simple words, and yet he heard what she didn't say. This was happening. Now. And she didn't have the strength to watch him break down.
Edward closed his eyes. Somewhere in his head, someone was screaming. No. No. No. No. He opened his eyes and stepped toward his wife and Xavier, their son. With each footfall his heart and soul twisted inside him, their death throes a stark contrast to his son's steady decline over the last few weeks. What was going on inside Edward was violent and agonizing. His son's struggle for each breath was heartbreakingly quiet.
Xavier had been fighting for a long time, and tonight he was going to lose.
Edward came to a stop in front of his wife and son. His fingers trembled as he drew his fingers down his sleeping son's face. When he was born, the baby's cheeks had been full and pink. Now his skin was a bloodless, sickly pale. His lips were tinged blue and chapped. His beautiful blond curls lay, like the rest of him, limp and lifeless.
Wordless, he swept Kate into his arms, baby and all, and carried her to the living room. He settled all three of them in the recliner, his wife cradled on his lap and their son secure against her chest. He kept one arm around her and used the other to stroke up and down his son's back. There was a lump in his throat so large it choked him.
His wife rested her hand on top of Edward's, and together they watched the rise and fall of Xavier's back with each of his labored, uneven breaths. Kate wept, though not uncontrollably. She shook in Edward's arms, or was it that he was shaking all of them? Edward couldn't tell. All he knew was this pain was unfathomable. He couldn't understand how he could live through it. Surely when Xavier's breaths stopped, his would too. Surely he wouldn't survive this, and if his son had to leave, Edward couldn't say the idea of following displeased him.
The baby whimpered, opening his eyes, trying to focus, and Edward knew he had to speak.
"Xavier?" The word came out like gravel and hurt his throat about as much. Edward pressed his lips together hard to control the tremble. He needed to say this. "Shhh, baby boy." He ran his fingers through his son's golden curls. "Xavier, I need you to listen to me, okay?
"You don't have to be scared, son. You're so brave. You're the bravest boy I've ever met. You've fought so hard for a long time, and I'm so proud of you. Mommy and I are so very proud of you."
Edward took another breath. It was impossible to fill his lungs when they were squeezed so tight. His heart hurt. It just hurt. He drew a trembling finger over his son's cheek. "It's time to rest now, sweetheart. It's going to be okay. Me and Mommy…" His voice broke, and he sniffed. "Me and Mommy are going to be okay. You don't have to worry about us."
"I'm so glad I got to be your mommy," Kate said in voice that broke with tears. "Baby, we're so glad we had you. You've been the very best part of us, the best thing in our lives. The best thing we ever did, and we're going to love you forever. Baby, I love you so much." Kate dipped her head with a cry and kissed the baby's crown.
Xavier whined a little, but his eyes closed. He was tired. Edward could see how tired he was. He took in a shallow breath, still fighting.
"You can sleep," Edward said. "You can sleep now. Rest, baby boy."
Over the next fifteen minutes, Xavier's breaths slowed. Slowed.
"You're okay now, baby." Kate's voice was thin and broken, her body shaking as she cried. "You're free."
Edward turned his face into Kate's hair and sobbed, clutching them both closer to him. The pain of loss was going to kill him. Surely it was going to kill him.
It didn't. It just stretched on endlessly.
Xavier Kieren Cullen was born on January third, and he died on 11:59 PM on Christmas Eve, having never seen his first Christmas.
A/N: Many thanks to jessypt, songster, myheroin, and Packy 2.0 for all their help.
Um. Hi, guys. How are we?