Author's Note:

Hi everyone!

First off, I just want to say that I know this has been done on here before (and very well at that too), but I just wanted it to be that there was a canon version out there for my own retelling of Breaking Dawn (Life, Death, and the Breaking Dawn if you'd like to check that out in my bio) which I am currently working on and possibly other future retellings of the other books in the saga (I know, I know, it's all backwards. But as Edythe would say, I'm breaking all the rules now anyways, so let the chips fall where they may, lol.) What we have here is going to be a rewrite of the last few chapters (Chapters 19-24) and epilogue of Life and Death, which I'm mainly basing off of the original Twilight ending - and which, just for me personally, is the ending I absolutely and wholeheartedly wish Stephenie Meyer would have stuck with for Life and Death - with particular emphasis/inspiration from the 2008 film as well as my own little touches scattered throughout; things that I feel would further strengthen the narrative and just build more on what's already there. You'll also see that I've changed a few minor details in both universes - for example, the reason Beau gives Charlie for leaving (as I felt it would have made more sense to Charlie for Beau to want to leave if Edythe had "broken his heart") and making it so that Beau actually took ballet lessons as a kid because, obviously, boys can and do take ballet.

Just a quick note to my Life, Death, and the Breaking Dawn readers: As of today (May 27, 2022), I'm running behind schedule in getting the next chapter up as I've just been swamped with schoolwork and have also been cycling through some Writer's Block and working through a couple of things. I just wanted to apologize if you were expecting a new update for Life, Death, and the Breaking Dawn this month but I hope releasing part of this rewritten ending might make up for it! Currently, I am working on both Life, Death, and the Breaking Dawn as well as Life and Death: The End, Reimagined simultaneously, so if I don't update one, I'll most likely update the other as this will help me keep my sanity for a little while, haha. I don't say this enough to you guys, but thank you so much for supporting me on this little journey! You are all amazing :)

Whew, I know this Author's Note was pretty long, so thank you all for sticking around this far! Without further ado, I present to you Life and Death: The End, Reimagined. Thank you for reading, and I sincerely hope you enjoy! :)

19. GOODBYES

I thought about Charlie all alone in the house and my knee bounced with the dread of anticipation, my heart clenching up in my chest. Too lost in thought, I hadn't even realized when Edythe pulled the vehicle up against the curbside in front of my driveway. We were hidden in the space between two broken street lamps, the darkness creeping up on us from all four corners. It looked like Charlie was waiting up for me, all the lights were on in the house. Edythe, Eleanor, and Archie went ramrod straight in their seats, tuning in to every sound in the forest, looking through every shadow around the house, and searching for anything; even one tiny little thing out of place at all in my world. The engine died and I sat quietly as they continued to listen.

"She's not here." Edythe hissed. "Let's go."

Eleanor reached over to undo the harness. "Don't worry, Beau," she said in a low but cheerful voice. "We'll take care of things here quickly." Archie nodded in agreement, trying his best to show me a reassuring smile.

"Arch. El." Edythe's voice was a command. They slipped soundlessly from the backseat into the night, and then they were gone. I watched after the blurs of light they turned into and my throat tightened. I barely knew them, but somehow, not knowing when I'd see them again was awful. I also knew too though that this was the easiest goodbye I would have to survive in the next hour, and the thought made my stomach churn.

"Are you ready?" Edythe asked, her hands tightening on the steering wheel. I swallowed hard, taking a deep breath.

"I have to be." I said, reminding myself just as much as I was answering her. My stomach lurched, twisting itself into knots and my heart thumped and thumped away in my chest so hard it almost hurt, like everything was breaking apart inside me.

"I'm so sorry, Beau." Edythe's voice grew thick, full of repentance. "I'm sorry you have to do this, I'm sorry for putting you in danger. This is all my fault."

"It's not your fault, Edythe. None of it is. I'll be right back." I swung my door open, exiting the vehicle.

"Wait." I stopped and rounded past the front bumper to the driver's seat. "One thing." Through the open window I bent down and kissed her once, hard. "I love you. So much. Whatever happens now, know that doesn't change."

"Nothing's going to happen to you, Beau. I promise."

"Keep Charlie safe for me."

"Done. Hurry, Beau." She pressed her forehead to mine, taking then kissing the bottom of each of my wrists and when I looked into her beautiful golden eyes, for that one tiny moment I felt that I could be strong. The instant they disappeared from view though, I could feel nothing but the freezing air slamming into my body as I marched up my driveway with footsteps of lead, knowing exactly what I had to do. Remembering everything Mr. Brenner had talked to us about in Drama class and all those soap operas Mom used to watch, I took another shaky breath and steeled myself mentally, shutting my eyes tight. When I opened them, my sight locked on the front door and my sneakers slammed loudly against the pavement towards it, like I was a marathon runner falling behind that had to play catch-up. I made my face an angry, twisted snarl and huffed down that dark path, throwing the door open so it echoed out like the crack of a whip and shook the entire foundation of the house, making sure it rattled the windows so Joss could see - I knew she might be watching us right now. I slammed it shut with a resounding BANG and Dad came running instantly, his eyes filled with only concern for me. Seeing him like that, for a second, I didn't think I could do it.

"Beau? What's the matter?" He took my shoulders. I flinched, shaking his hands off.

"I hate Forks! I hate it here." Dad raised then lowered his brows, closing his eyes and nodding slow right after.

"Huh. Okay, I see what's going on here." He crossed his arms over his chest, his lips pulling inwards like he really understood it – but he couldn't. We had to make sure of that. "I take it that the date didn't go too well, did it Beau? Did Edythe break up with you or something?"

"Yeah, she freaking did. Picture it – a nice date with a beautiful girl and her family to soften the blow. And then when it's over she pulls the rug out from under you. I'm too boring, too clumsy. I was just a toy, the new kid at school she could mess around with. She never liked me. Never has and never will."

"You know, maybe she just thought you guys were moving a little too fast, hm? I mean, did she really say all that, Beau?" Dad looked confused.

"No, obviously not. But she was thinking it, I know. I mean, look at me and look at her. She dumped me, alright? I just need to get out of here." I pushed past him and stomped upstairs. I could feel the heat stinging my eyes and my vision blurred, the tears threatening to spill out like a water glass tipped over on a table. I guess that was good. It would sell it to him more. I threw my bedroom door open, the handle whamming hard into the wall. I grabbed my suitcase and started filling it up with a bunch of clothes, Edythe's face appearing in the window as she threw me anything she could get her hands on and then I dashed into the bathroom, grabbing my toothbrush and toothpaste and zipping it all up in a canvas carry-on. I yanked it over my shoulder and stormed out into the hall, but Dad caught the strap of my bag.

"Where are you going, Beau?"

"I'm going home, Dad."

"But your home is right here-"

"I'm going back to Arizona." I cut him off, saying the words extra loudly. "I can't stay another minute here. I have to get out."

"Beau, I'm sorry it didn't work out, but there's plenty of other fish in the sea. Look, just sleep on it, alright? If you find that you still want to leave tomorrow morning, you can do that-" I yanked free from his grip and he just stopped and stared. I had to do this. I had to hurt him in order to keep him safe. I had to convince him to let me go.

"No, Dad. I'm just so sick and - and so tired of this place. I'm tired of this house, I - I'm tired of this town and everyone in it. I'm so done." I spat the words out. Charlie's mouth hung open, hurt infiltrating the creases of his warm brown eyes. "Look Beau, I know I'm not a whole lot of fun to be around, but if I can just make some more time for the both of us, we can- "

God, why did he have to go and say all that right now? Why did he have to make this a thousand times harder for me to do? For me to leave? For me to keep him safe? I'm sorry, Dad. I'm so, so sorry. But I couldn't stop now. I knew what I needed to say.

"Look, Dad. You work and work and work, and then you come home and sit on the sofa watching TV every night still so obsessed with Mom and she left you almost twenty years ago. It's so freaking sad. I don't want my life to be like this. I'm so done, and I can't wait to get out of this godforsaken town. I need to get out, or else it'll be too late. I'll be trapped forever. Nothing's right, here. Nothing is." My breath caught in my throat as I prepared myself to deliver the final blow. I opened the door and stood in the doorway, turning to look at Charlie square-on in the eyes. "If I don't leave now, then I'll just be stuck here, like Mom. Just let me go, Dad."

Silence.

It looked like I just sucker-punched Charlie in the gut, and I wasn't faring any better myself.

My heart sank into the deepest pit of my stomach.

Those were the exact same words Mom said to him when she left with me.

My eyes stung, and I wrenched my gaze away from his hurt expression; his quivering eyes and lips. I couldn't bear to stay there a moment longer knowing how I had wounded him. There were no words then, only the stretching, endless silence of the night between my back and his eyes that deafened us all. I hopped into my truck. Edythe was already waiting for me there, hidden in the backseat. She squeezed my hand once and I started the ignition, pulling out of the driveway. Charlie was still standing there.

"Be safe." was all he said as he watched me leave. I looked at him from the rearview mirror until he disappeared from sight. I left him. I left Dad. It was finally sinking in - his pain, my horrific words; every last one of them. Maybe he could forgive me for what I said about him not being able to get over Mom - not that he should of course, but I knew he was just that type of person. It was one of the lowest blows I could think of, and I hated myself for saying that to him. But I know what really did it though was what I said last - Just let me go. Now that was the worst possible thing I could have ever said to him. I kept telling myself that this was the only way I could keep him safe, but it only made me feel worse and worse; that intense weight on my chest getting heavier and heavier, more suffocating. More than I can bear. My breath trembled out of me and I could feel my Adam's apple bobbing in my throat, choking me. I gripped the steering wheel hard, my knuckles turning white as bone.

A cool hand touched my shoulder and I realized Edythe was sitting beside me now, but I didn't even remember seeing her get there from the backseat.

"You should have seen the look on his face." I shook my head slowly, the memory sending pinpricks of ice down my spine. It made my chest hurt.

"Don't worry Beau, your father's going to forgive you. He's safe now because of you." Her voice was a soft, gentle sound and I knew she was only trying to make me feel better. It's not that I wasn't appreciative of the effort, but I just couldn't answer her right then and there. Our ride to her place was filled with nothing but silence; dark, and heavy. She didn't try to push me. I just hoped she knew that it wasn't her fault; that I wasn't blaming her - I couldn't bear for her to hurt like that too, she was hard enough on herself as it was already. My hands were unsteady on the steering wheel, I could barely feel the leather as I desperately tried to beat back my drowning thoughts; keep those dark, encroaching waters at bay. I couldn't panic right now; couldn't let myself feel all that because I couldn't let it show.

"Come on, Beau. Pull over." Edythe gently pleaded. Charlie and the house had long disappeared, but the hurt in his face, his voice, his eyes - they never left me, not once. I don't think they ever would until we made this right. And I didn't even know if I'd ever get the chance to, now.

"I can drive." I sniffed. Driving kept me busy, and I thought I could really use some kind of distraction like that right now.

"No, you can't." Edythe shook her head, tracing an ice-cold path down my cheek with the tip of her finger. I realized then she'd wiped away the tears I didn't even know were there in the first place.

"Yes, I can." I whispered, my voice breaking. I scrubbed a hand hard over my face to dry it off; get rid of the weakness written all over it.

Suddenly she was sliding over my lap, her hands on the wheel and her foot pushed mine off the gas. She moved into the space between my leg and the door, then shoved me over with her hip. The truck didn't swerve an inch and she was in the driver's seat.

"Just let me help you, Beau." Edythe urged, taking my hand. "Besides, you wouldn't be able to find the house from here, these roads are confusing especially at night. Let me do this much, Beau."

No use in arguing now - she was right, anyways. Maybe I had to let myself feel all that for a second; let it all out and not have to put on a brave face for once. Deep inside, I was grateful because I knew I could be like that in front of her.

"Thank you." I whispered, leaning my head on her shoulder. She kissed me.

Lights flared behind us. I jumped and stared out the back window.

"It's just Archie, Beau." Edythe explained, stroking my cheek.

"The tracker?" I remembered to ask.

"She'd caught the end of your little performance. She's running behind us now - about a mile back."

My body felt cold. "Can we outrun her?"

"No," but she sped up as she spoke, the truck's engine whined. My plan didn't seem so brilliant anymore.

I was staring back at Archie's headlights when the truck shuddered and a dark shadow sprang up outside the window.

"E-!"

Her hand clamped over my mouth before I could finish shouting the warning.

"Calm down, Beau, it's only Eleanor. You're okay; we're okay." She dropped her hand to my knee and gave it a squeeze.

We raced out of town, headed north.

The forests thickened on either side of the road. "I really did a number on you, didn't I? Breaking up with you on our first date - truly, I'm the worst!" She shuddered playfully, but her tone was only half-joking. I knew what she was getting at.

"You're the best." And I meant that completely. She sighed, looking to me. But then she turned away and shook her head, hard.

"No, I... I shouldn't have exposed you like that, I-"

"Edythe, it's not your fault. Okay, I was there. No big deal. It didn't bother the other two, did it? It's just Joss, only her. You had nothing to do with that, alright?"

Edythe bit her lip, hesitating. "I got a good look at her mind tonight. I suppose... I'm not sure if I really could have prevented any of this at all. But I wish I could have, Beau. My God, I wish I could have-" her voice broke.

I put my finger to her lips. "It's okay, Edythe."

"It's just that... once she caught your scent..." She took a breath. "Maybe it is partially your fault." She chuckled a little, looking to me from out of the corner of her eye. "If only you didn't smell so ridiculously delicious, she might not have bothered. But when I defended you... that made it so much worse." Her eyes slid shut and she shook her head, hard. Ashamed, blaming herself. I took her hand. She didn't shake it off. "It's just that she's not used to being thwarted, no matter how insignificant the object. She thinks of herself as this sort of... hunter. No, she really thinks of herself as the hunter; takes pride in it. Her life is so consumed with tracking, the Hunt, and a challenge is what she loves best in life. And suddenly, we've presented her with the most amazing challenge yet - a large clan, full of strong fighters, all determined to protect the one vulnerable element. It's her favorite game, and we've just created the most exciting round ever." Her tone was full of disgust. "But if I had stood by, she would have killed you right then!" she hissed in frustration.

I was a little confused. "I thought... I didn't smell the same to the others... as I do to you."

"You don't. But that doesn't mean you aren't a temptation to every one of them. If you had appealed to the tracker the same way you appeal to me, it would have meant a fight right there."

I shuddered.

"She has to die, there's just no other way." Edythe muttered. "Carine won't like it."

"I don't like it." I whispered.

She looked at me, surprise then disgust flashing in her eyes. "What, so you want me to spare her?"

I stroked her cheek. "No - I mean, yes. That is, I don't really care if Joss... dies or whatever. I mean, it would be a relief, right? But it's just the thought of her hurting you-" My breath got stuck in my throat, the words choking me. "I couldn't... I couldn't bear for that to happen, Edythe. To you, and your family. And then Joss will be after you guys too, I can't - I can't-"

"Stop, Beau. You just focus on staying safe. Don't worry about me."

"How am I supposed to not worry about you?" My mouth fell open.

She smiled a half-smile then, but it didn't touch her eyes. "I have my ways."

Ways? "Okay, so now you're just going to talk to me all cryptically. Come on Edythe, what does that even mean? But you know what, it's besides the point anyways-"

"I don't fight fair." She was already answering me, shrugging. "I'll see every single thing she plans before she does it, every hole in her defense. The only one who can really hold their own against me is Archie, because he can always anticipate what I'll do next." She laughed a little. "So, I repeat, don't worry about me, Beau. We're going to be fine; you're going to be fine. Be selfish for once Beau, and just focus on keeping yourself alive, alright?" She gave my hand another squeeze and kissed it.

"Fine. But promise me that you'll be safe too, Edythe. That you'll come back. It's a two-way deal, you know. Me and you."

"I promise, Beau." She chuckled, and then we were both quiet again. Thinking. Planning.

Lights shone up ahead through the darkness and Edythe turned off onto her invisible drive. Archie's headlights followed. We drove right up to the Cullens' big white house and exited the truck. Carine and Earnest ushered us all inside and we sat down in the living room to discuss.

"So what's the gameplan, sis?" Eleanor beamed, cracking her knuckles.

"Here's what I know so far," began Edythe, her eyes moving over everyone in the room. "Joss is nearby, I can hear her thoughts. She won't strike yet, obviously – she wants to play Cat-and-Mouse with us first. You have no idea how exciting tracking Beau is for her with all of us right here beside him, we've just made this her most thrilling game yet. She's sick." Edythe inhaled a sharp breath, her face furious yet terrified all at once, eyes narrowed and teeth grit behind the pink of her lips.

"And she's relentless." The shiver of an urgent voice came nearer towards us from the doorway. It was Lauren, Archie had let her in. Her ebony skin shone in the light of a lamp by the bottom of the stairs. Her full, dark toffee lips were pressed tight together, concern washing over her cool, beautiful features.

"She has to die. We'll tear her to pieces; burn the remains." Edythe seethed through her teeth. "It's the only way to kill a vampire. That's the only way to stop her from hurting Beau, and that's the only way this will end. I'll make sure of it." Edythe's golden eyes burned even brighter now as she looked up at Lauren.

"I'm afraid you don't understand – once you get Joss started, there is no stopping her. That tenacity was what attracted me to her so immensely in the first place. It was the only reason I chose to walk alongside her and Victor. She's formidable; she's a fighter. Nothing, and I mean nothing, stands a chance against her – at least, nothing really has before up until this point. She never fails." Lauren explained with a solemn shake of her head. "She has Victor by her side now as well in the hunt. I am intrigued by the life you've created here, but I won't get in the middle of this. I bear none of you enmity but this is not my fight, I have only come to warn you all. She is absolutely lethal. Please, be careful. Je suis vraiment désolée." Her burgundy eyes were downcast and she left us as quickly as she had come, leaving nothing but a small, trembling breeze in her wake.

"She's on the run now as well, I saw it in her head. Up north to our cousins in the Denali clan - far, far away from here." Edythe muttered and started pacing around the room, one hand pressed over her quivering lips, lost in thought. Then she turned, looking straight at Royal now. "Roy? I have an idea - we need to throw Joss off of Beau's scent. Get him upstairs and trade clothes with him."

"And why exactly would I do that?" He sniffed. "What is he to me?"

"Come on, Roy," Eleanor coaxed, touching his shoulder like she was a teacher and Royal was some shy kid at a kindergarten orientation hiding behind his parents' legs. He shrugged her hand off and looked at me with daggers of ice in his eyes and I literally felt like I was an already-dead body being thrust into a freezer. Yeah, this guy really did not like me. But can I blame him? It was all my fault we were in this situation in the first place; that I was putting him and his loved ones in danger. Royal's lip curled away from his teeth as he looked at me and I swallowed hard, feeling both terrified and like I was drowning in this deep, dark lake and dragging them all down with me. But then Edythe's hand grabbed my own and jolted me out of my thoughts, her shoulders stiffening up defensively when she looked at her brother. I put my arms around her to try and calm her down, afraid she'd lose her temper but she stepped away with me instead, and it was like Royal wasn't even there anymore in the first place. She touched Earnest's wrist.

"Earnest?" she said his name calmly enough but her eyebrows were furrowed in desperation.

"Of course." The next second I was off the ground in a fireman's hold and before I could even register what was happening in my brain, I was set down in a dark room somewhere down the left of the second-story hallway.

"You think this will work?" I asked, already tugging my gray sweater over my head.

"Not for long, but you'll at least be able to get a head-start this way. Come on." He handed me his wool cowlneck sweater. I had a little trouble getting it over my head and finding all the right holes but Earnest helped me with it. I kicked my jeans off quickly; him his slacks and we traded those, too. Besides being a little too short, they fit me just fine. He rolled up the hems on my jeans and we hurried downstairs again where Archie was packing the last of the bags for the family.

"Earnest and Royal will take the truck, Beau. They'll be driving west." Carine came up to us, handing us each a tiny silver cellphone. Royal made a face but followed silently after Earnest.

"Archie and Jessamine will take the Mercedes. You'll be going with them." Carine added in a calm voice, trying not to give in to the panic I could see creeping up into her eyes for my sake. Doctors were good under pressure like that, and I saw it clearly on her face. "Edythe, Eleanor and I will take the Jeep; draw Joss away – she'll be thinking you're with us, not them." she explained, and then everyone started moving towards different parts of the room, organizing. Archie took my arm, bringing me to him and Jessamine. I realized like a punch to the gut that this was the hunting party and I felt like I could throw up. How did it come to this? What went so wrong? How was this going to end? The thought of them – any of them – getting hurt made me sick. They didn't need to do this for me; they didn't need to risk their lives for my sake, on my behalf. It was just so wrong.

"Let's go. And please, be careful." Carine pleaded with us and everyone started leaving the room in their designated groups.

Edythe came back. She stared up at me, her gold eyes huge and full of a million words she didn't have time to say. Her fingers curled in against my cheeks and I leaned down, my hands already tangled in her hair. And then her cool lips were crushed against my warm ones as they met over and over again with a desperation; a fervor, as if we were parting indefinitely.

"Be safe, Beau. I'll see you soon." She stroked either side of my face and pulled me into another hug.

"Promise?" I whispered into her hair.

"I promise." she declared. The light in her eyes faded away as she left me, her body disappearing in a blur of white. I just stood there, frozen, staring after her and the vast emptiness of the white room.

"Come on." Archie took my arm. "It's time. Victor should be trailing your truck by now. I'll bring around the car." And then he disappeared into the shadows. Jessamine left a reassuring touch on my shoulder but I barely felt it, my head hadn't stopped spinning yet. How will this end? Was I just condemning them all to death?

"You're wrong, you know." Jessamine's voice was soft.

"Huh?" I still couldn't look at her.

"I can sense what you're feeling now, Beau. But trust me when I say this – You are absolutely worth it."

I could still feel the sharp ache in my chest that wasn't letting up, like all my skin had been ripped from it in a slow acid burn. "If anything happens to any of you, it'll be for nothing." I whispered, shaking my head.

"You're wrong again." She showed me the flash of a smile. I looked away.

We flew out the doors together, leaving the lights on behind us.