Disclaimer: I do not own the Harry Potter series and/or the Twilight Saga.

Chapter Eighteen


Edward stood outside in the front porch of his home, staring at the night sky with listless amber eyes as he tried to banish the onslaught of memories from the night before that were bombarding his mind. It refused to grant him reprieve even as he distracted himself with different activities throughout the day. He had tried everything that he could. He tried playing the piano, only to stop when he thought about Hermione and how he hadn't even shared to her his love for music. He tried hunting and was reminded of the last person he hunted with. He even tried playing Emmett's ridiculous video games but even that didn't distract him.

At this point, he would gladly face Bella and suffer through her tempting blood rather than face the memories that haunted him every second since it happened.

It had been a day since the confrontation occurred, since he learned about Hermione's tragic past, since he had last seen and heard from her, and since he had lost her due to his own ignorance. Since that happened, every step that Edward took, every word that he uttered, every move that he made, was like a chore. He wore his burden on his face and felt old and withered. He carried the world on his shoulders and the heavy weight was determined to sink him on his knees until he fell splat on the ground.

He was familiar with remorse, anger, and sorrow but he wasn't familiar with the pain that accompanied all of those three. It was punishment, he knew, for what he did to Hermione and what he had made her do. Everything in him was subdued, as though he was a wild animal that had been tamed and then abandoned and was now lost in this new reality.

Everyone had gone silent after Hermione and Sanguini left, unsure of what to do next and how to go forward. She had left them shaken beyond relief and when she left, she had taken everything good and light with her, leaving them hollow and withdrawn. In just one night, everything had gone downhill. Alice was nearly catatonic, which worried Jasper immensely, while Rosalie hadn't looked at anyone in the eye, and Edward refused to be in the same room as them. Even Emmett, who was usually the loudest and the most laidback among them, who never let serious topics curb his quips and jokes, had retreated somewhere in his mind and hadn't cracked a joke or a smile in more than twelve hours.

Edward didn't know what they were thinking, tuning out their thoughts after... well, after. Usually, he welcomed the silence, welcomed the thoughts that were his own and his alone, but right now, he craved the noise just to have something block out the memories.

Memories of Hermione, and her anguish, and his greatest mistakes and sins.

"It's crazy how big of an impact you made in such a small amount of time."

He grasped the railing with tight, white knuckled fists, clenching his eyes shut and gritting his teeth as a wave of pain and remorse slammed against him and left him rattled inside. It was not the first time that he heard Hermione's voice in his ears. No matter how much he tried, he could not evade the memories as it chased after him and latched on with heavy metal chains that strangled him. He had surrendered all of his control to Hermione and now that she was gone, he was casted adrift.

With no direction, he floated in limbo, suspended in the air by grief. He was mourning the girl that he had severely underestimated and carelessly thrown away, blaming no other person aside from himself. It had barely been a day but he already struggled how to function, how to pretend like a human at least; and he wondered how he would continue on for the rest of the year and the coming years after.

He didn't have the energy to go to school and attend classes the day after it happened, opting to stay at home and hunt in the forest with Esme instead. He preferred it if he was alone but he knew that it was smarter to have someone else around in case he listened to the monster in him and do something stupid like hunting Bella Swan. During the hunt, he had been too preoccupied by his lost to feed. So in the end, he had taken all of his frustration, his sorrow, and his regrets in the animals he encountered, making such a mess in the forest that would likely raise a few alarming questions from the locals but he was far too gone to care.

Esme had merely watched him in the sidelines, never interfering and not making a noise of any kind, only following him whenever he moved and also giving him the space he needed. He appreciated it but also resented it. He hated it when someone witnessed his displays of weakness. He especially hated the pity that he had caught in Esme's eyes before she looked away because he honestly didn't know whether she pitied the animals he brutalized or him for acting that way. He also didn't know what to do if the answer was the latter.

"Skipping! That is simply unacceptable! What is the purpose of you enrolling into this school if you are going to skip classes in the end, huh?!"

He wanted to bang his head against the wall, block out his ears with candle wax, do anything and everything just so he could stop hearing Hermione's voice in his ears, in his head. At the same time, he wanted to listen to it; he wanted to hear it just so he could remember the sound of her voice, even if it was too bittersweet to hear. She was everywhere and nowhere at once. Anywhere he looked, everything he did, there was Hermione with him. She was there either throwing her head back, laughing, or pursing her lips in contemplation, or even smiling teasingly with amusement flickering in her golden eyes. It was a form of torture that was more effective than anything the Volturi Kings could come up with.

He knew that he deserved this. He deserved to suffer through the pain just as Hermione was likely suffering for the past he had reminded her. He was the monster who had damned himself for letting go one of the few creatures who had seen his darkness but then sought the light for him. He was the dumbass who had let go the only girl that he had ever been in love with minutes after he found out that he loved her. He had done many things in his life that he regretted but he failed to realize that she would be one of those he would regret the most.

No, he didn't regret meeting her, becoming her true mate, or falling in love with her. No, he didn't regret anything about her at all. What he regretted was the fact that he had seen her worth and yet he had still chosen to hurt her in the end. He regretted the promises he made and couldn't keep. He regretted being a coward and running away at the first sign of danger he received. He regretted that he'd been so calloused and insensitive to her when all she'd ever wanted was for someone to understand and accept her. Most of all, he regretted the words he spoke that night that had finally driven her away from him.

It crippled him, this pain and regret. He knew he would carry it for the rest of his life along with everything else that made him this terrible person.


Edward went rigid in shock when he suddenly heard Esme's voice. "Yes?" He asked stiffly.

It was the first time that Edward hadn't heard someone coming to him beforehand and it was a testament that he wasn't completely himself that moment. He was usually more alert and more aware of his surroundings but that wasn't the case any longer. The only one who could ever approach behind him without him noticing was Hermione and Bella. He was certain it would take a long time before he ever came close to being his normal self. When Hermione left, she didn't just take everything good and light with her, she had also taken half of himself, rendering him incomplete.

The only comfort that he had was the thrum of the bond inside of him, the only thing that connected him to Hermione, thin as it was. Even though he didn't deserve such comfort—such precious and rare thing that many of his kind would kill to have—he clutched the bond tightly with both hands, afraid that if he let go of that, it would disappear just like Hermione.

Edward heard Esme walking towards him and he tensed when she stopped beside him. She didn't speak a word and neither did he, both looking ahead at the forest that surrounded their home. It would've been comfortable if it weren't for the heavy atmosphere between them. It was such a quiet night, the same as the night when they first found out about Hermione through Alice's visions, and they wondered if it was going to be their last day at Forks.

It felt like it happened such a long time ago when in reality, it did not even take more or less three months. In such a short amount of time, he found two people who were immune to his abilities, met his singer who happened to think herself in love with him, and finally found his true mate when he wasn't even searching for her. He met a girl, fell in love with her, and then broke her heart in the end. It was funny how everything turned out for the best and then for the worst.

"How are you holding up?" Esme finally asked, breaking the silence between them.

Edward clenched his jaw. "I don't want to talk about it."

Now, he knew what it felt like to be in Hermione's place. Just as she didn't want to talk about the life she once had, he in return didn't want to talk about his failures, his mistakes, and his sins to Hermione. He'd rather wallow in his own misery than speak it aloud and share to someone else how much he had failed her. The irony wasn't lost in him. He was certain that his mindset was the same as Hermione's although hers went on for years while he had only barely survived a day.

He wondered how Hermione could've survived such turmoil in her mind for so many years when Edward was ready to give up in a day. It was just another contrast between them. Hermione was infinitely stronger than he was in more ways than one. Imagine carrying all that guilt, all that pain, all that sorrow, and all that anguish for so many years — silently — without asking for help, for anything from anyone, and still continue on despite all those crippling emotions. What he currently felt the most was profound sadness so heavy and deep, it took all of the air in his lungs and replaced it with water instead. He didn't need to breathe but it still strangled him to the point of death.

Esme hummed at his response. "You've got to talk about it at some point," she pointed out with a gentle voice that was meant to soothe him. She didn't come here to attack him after all. "You can't keep it all bottled up inside, Edward."

"What is there to talk about?" He snapped nonetheless. "How stupid I am? How careless I've been? How much I messed up? We don't have to talk about that because I know. There's no need to talk about something that we are all fully aware of."

"You're not the only one who's hurting you know," Esme pointed out softly to him, sounding so desolate that it was a wonder that Carlisle hadn't come out of the house just to comfort her. "You're not the only one who has regrets about last night. You're not the only one who's hurting and feeling guilty. You're not the only one carrying the burden of mistakes and wrong doings, Edward."

Edward closed his eyes, letting Esme's voice wash over him. It didn't exactly close all of his open wounds but it somehow lessened the pain and stopped the bleeding. She might not be his biological mother but Esme had never made him feel less of a son — her son. They had a bond that was different from his bond with Carlisle. When he and Carlisle stayed together after his brief stint in the human side of the world, they didn't become complete until Esme came into the picture. Then they had become one true family.

Esme had been part of the reason why he had let go of his resentment and anger towards Carlisle. Her presence had soothed and filled a hole in his and Carlisle's existence and there wasn't anything in the world that they wouldn't do for Esme. In their coven, Carlisle was their leader, the one who lead and made decisions for them, while Edward was his right hand, the one behind Carlisle in terms of leadership, but Esme was their heart, the one who reminded them of what they lived and fought for. Without Esme, they wouldn't be family. While Carlisle was respected, Esme was loved.

That's why being here with Esme had relieved some of his pain. He remembered the time when rage and hate had coursed through him and nearly consumed him whole and remembered that it was Esme's kind and motherly voice as well as tender amber eyes that had quieted the rage and hate for the first time. Edward owed a lot to Esme and he figured he owed her this honesty too.

"I shouldn't have done that," he confessed brokenly to Esme. "I shouldn't have made her leave. I— I should've handled the situation better. I messed up, Esme. I promised her that I would never leave her and yet... I ran away the first chance I got. What does that say about me? About us? I've put her through so much pain and made her leave. And you know what? She's better off without me."

Hermione Granger was destined for great things, after all. No matter where she was now, he was certain that she would make it, even without him. Hermione was resilient like that. She didn't need him to make her life better; she only needed herself. He had no doubts that once she let go of her past and embraced who she was now, she would be unstoppable.

And then, one day, she would forget about him and what they almost shared and what he discarded in the end. He'd be just another landmark in her journey, nothing but a little detour to teach her a lesson that she would soon walk away from. He wasn't worth thinking or wondering about in the end.

Did he have the right to feel this ache in his chest once that realization came to him?

Esme shook her head and reached out to wrap her fingers around his arm and squeeze. "Don't say that, Edward. Please, don't. You deserve love. You and Hermione both deserve love and each other. So, don't ever think that."

"How could I not think that, Esme?" He retorted, unable to handle Esme's kindness. "I made a mistake. If only I listened, if only I didn't force her to tell us the truth, maybe things would've gone differently."

"It wasn't just you who made a mistake, Edward. All of us wished that we had done something differently that night. It's not just you so stop blaming yourself."

He knew that they all felt guilty as well. Even though they had finally found out the truth, it didn't make them feel any better. There was no sense of accomplishment among them, not when they had hurt someone else in the process of getting the answers they sought. Their views of magic and the wizard kind in general had been so tainted that they hadn't even given her a chance to explain herself. They all based her on what they'd known — as little as it was — and wrote her off immediately. They had all judged her harshly and quickly without even considering her side of the story.

But they weren't the ones who had pushed Hermione away; they weren't the ones who made her leave; they weren't the ones who decided to let go of her. That was Edward and the blame laid solely on him. He preferred it if it was only him to blame. He did not even want to find Hermione, feeling so ashamed of his own skin that he didn't think that he had a face left to show to her. There were no other words to sum it all up aside from he had fucked it all up. So great was his pain that he had sought to brand the same pain to her as well, never realizing until it was too late that her pain was greater than his.

"It doesn't change the fact that I've hurt her." He turned to face her. "Before I came back last night, I saw Hermione's memories. I saw Harry in her memories and felt what she was feeling for him. I thought that she was in love with him and I— I let my pain overcome my judgment. I... I wanted to hurt her as much as she hurt me. And you know what? The part that I feel so ashamed about is the fact that it was easy. It was easier to hurt her and push her away rather than... rather than face the truth." He looked away and stared at his hands. Strong hands that were capable of destruction. "What kind of person am I to do that to her?"

"So, you're just going to give up that easily?" Esme retorted.

"What am I supposed to do? Find her and make her come back? She's better off without me or any of us."

"You don't really think that," Esme whispered.

"I do."

She suddenly sighed and gazed at the night sky. "We all make mistakes and we will continue to make them. That is a fact. Immortality doesn't make us wise but experience does. Making mistakes and learning through them does. Yes, we don't age and we've seen more in life than any human had, but that doesn't mean that we know everything and that we're incapable of mistakes. We might not be alive but we are still living in this world, Edward, and it's impossible to live without bad consequences. Whether we like it or not, we won't stop making bad decisions. But you know what we have? Time. We have time. Time to right the wrongs we made and to heal the wounds that our mistakes had caused."

Edward wanted to believe that. He truly wanted to. But he didn't think he deserved it.

"What if it's too late?" He whispered to her.

"It's never too late for people like us."

Edward hoped that it was true.

"So, this is where the source of all these bleak emotions are coming from."

Edward stiffened at hearing Jasper's voice behind him, the front door shutting shut as his footsteps came closer to where the telepath was standing in the porch. Esme smiled at seeing her other son before squeezing Edward's arm.

"I'll leave you two to talk," she whispered, walking back to the house just as Jasper stopped beside Edward.

Jasper bent his body forward to prop his elbows against the railing. He spared Edward a sympathetic glance. "I apologize. I didn't mean to startle you."

Edward's throat bobbed as he tried to find the right words to say but with Jasper, he knew that he revealed more with silence than with words. "I'm sorry for subjecting you to my emotions," he said.

His lips tipped up into a weary grin. "I'm used to it," said Jasper. "Since I joined the family, I've always felt that out of all of us, you're the most conflicted and damaged." He looked away and continued quietly, "and alone most of the time."

"I'm always alone," Edward retorted.

"With Hermione, you weren't," Jasper shot back, rendering Edward speechless.

Edward looked at Jasper who met his gaze steadily. There was nothing but pure honesty and understanding in Jasper's eyes. For a moment, Edward felt the slightest tinge of relief. Relief that he was understood, that at least someone knew what he felt and empathized with it, but Edward quickly banished the feeling away. He didn't deserve relief or understanding. He deserved to rot in whatever pits of hell that was especially reserved for him.

Beside him, Jasper growled under his breath. "Stop doing that," he admonished the seventeen-year-old immortal. "I know what you're feeling, Edward, and this has got to stop. This self-loathing that you feel is not right. I know you're upset and guilty because of what happened. Everyone of us feels that, but that doesn't mean that you have to torture yourself like this."

"You don't understand—"

"I do," Jasper cut him off before he could finish his sentence. "I do understand and know how you feel, Edward. That's what I felt everyday since leaving Maria and the newborn army. I spent years all by myself, alone, thinking about my actions, hating myself each and every second of the day. You know, out of everyone in our family, you're the one that I understood the most. From the moment I met you and felt your emotions, I felt like we were kindred spirits. It was like looking at a mirror, thinking to myself that I found someone who feels exactly what I feel. So, don't tell me that I don't understand because, Edward, I do."

A gusty breath escaped Edward's mouth at the intensity of Jasper's voice. It was full of conviction and trying to refute it felt more like a death sentence than anything else.

"It wasn't until I met Alice and a new future was opened up to me that I thought that, maybe, I can finally be saved," Jasper continued. "I can finally be worth it. When Alice loved me despite of what I did before, I began to accept myself. It's a long process, Edward, and I'm not gonna lie and say that it's going to be easy because it's not. The enemy you are facing is yourself, and that's never going to be easy. Until now, I struggle with myself. I'm constantly doubting my actions, my worth, to the point that I began fearing myself—just as you fear yourself as well. But with Alice, and with my family by my side, I know that there will come a time where I don't have to be afraid of myself anymore."

"And I'm here for you, Edward," said Jasper, grasping his shoulder in brotherly affection. "I'm here for you, brother. In fact, we're all here for you. Even though you felt like it, you had never been alone and you never will be. And Hermione? I don't know what she's thinking but I do know what she's feeling. That's why I know how much she values you, Edward. More than you can possibly comprehend. You two might be hurting right now and there's a chance that you might never see each other again, but that can all change one day. It's like what Esme said to you. You have all the time in the world to make it right again, Edward."

Edward listened to Jasper's words, unable to believe that after all the years they spent together, he had never been more connected to him until that moment. Maybe he had always been a self-absorb idiot, too focused on himself and his problems to even think about anything else. He was so self-centered and selfish that he didn't even think about the fact that they understood his pain, because they all felt the same pain and loss he felt. Maybe they didn't have the same experience but they all knew pain—and it was time he stopped feeling so alone when he had his family with him. Even with his telepathic abilities, his ego, self-pity, and self-loathing led him to believe that he was alone when in fact, he wasn't.

If Hermione was here, she'd call him an idiot.

He missed her.

"Thank you, Jasper," Edward said with more sincerity than he could ever convey to someone else.

Jasper smirked and patted his back. "Anytime, brother."

In the glass house full of vampires, Alice gasped as her vision of Edward hunting Bella Swan vanished—but then another vision had replaced it.

A scream. Wide brown eyes. Broken glass. Wild crimson red eyes. Smell of blood. Golden eyes turning red.

Hermione Granger with blood dripping down her mouth and Bella Swan on her feet.

A/N: Wow, the amount of people reviewing last chapter surprised me and then made me a bit happy hahahaha thank you guys! It's nice to know that you feel so much for these characters and even though they're not truly mine, I'm still happy. Though it seems like mostly everyone jumped to the "hate-Edward" bandwagon hahahaha. But I get why you're upset with what he did last chapter. Please, let me make it clear to you guys that it was never my intention to make him out as an asshole when his character in SMeyer's books are questionable enough (and with the Midnight Sun out, it seems like everyone's just hating him a bit more haha).

By the way, I made a playlist of this story called 'Vampirism' in Spotify so if you want to get an insight of what Hermione is feeling or get a clue about the story in general and where I plan to take it, you might want to check out that playlist :) If you also want to suggest songs that you think is appropriate for this story, you can drop a review or a PM to send to me directly! Thank you!

Reviews are always welcome!

~ NR xx