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 was bouncing with impatience, 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 house. We were hidden in the space between two streetlamps, the darkness creeping up on us from all four corners. When I turned toward my place, It looked like Charlie was waiting up for me, all the lights were on.

"Archie, El." Edythe's voice was a command. They slipped soundlessly from the backseat into the night and were gone. I watched after the blurs of light they turned into and my throat tightened. Somehow, not knowing when I'd see them again was awful, but I also knew 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 breathed, making her voice a low sound, her hand 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 away against my ribcage so it almost hurt, like everything was breaking apart inside of me.

"I'm so sorry, Beau." Her 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 unbuckled my seatbelt and swung the car 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 cupped my cheeks in her hands and pressed her forehead to mine before taking and kissing the bottom of each of my wrists. I pulled back an inch and saw that her pink lips were trembling a little, and all I could do was kiss them again one last time. I held her right there in front of me, 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 began walking up my driveway, 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 of my house and my sneakers slammed loudly against the pavement towards it, like I was a marathon runner falling behind and had to play catch-up. I made my face an angry, twisted snarl and I huffed down my driveway and threw the door open so it echoed out like the crack of a whip and shook the entire foundation, making sure it rattled the windows so Joss could see. I knew she was watching. I slammed it shut with a resounding BANG. Dad came running instantly, his eyes filled with only concern for me and seeing him like that, for a second, I didn't think I could do it.

"Beau? What's the matter?" He ran towards me with his arms wide open and then grabbed my shoulders. I flinched and shook his hands off me.

"I hate Forks! I hate it here." Dad raised then lowered his brows, his lips parting before he closed his eyes and nodded his head.

"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 as I 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. My bedroom door flew open as I whammed it hard against the wall before slamming it shut behind me and 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 before I dashed to the bathroom, grabbing my toothbrush and toothpaste before zipping it all up in the canvas carry-on. I yanked it over my shoulder and stormed out of the bathroom, 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 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 out the words. Charlie's mouth hung open and his eyebrows furrowed. "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 about 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 and turned to look at him 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 burned and 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 in the quietest voice 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 knew 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 hated myself most because of that, even when I knew it was the only way I could keep him safe. I let out a trembling breath and I could feel my Adam's apple bobbing in my throat, choking me. I gripped hard at the steering wheel, my knuckles turning white as bone.

I felt a cool hand touching my shoulder. 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.

"He's safe now because of you." Her voice was a soft, gentle sound and I could tell she was 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 and the rest of the car 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. When we finally got to the Cullens' big white house, Edythe and I exited the truck. Arch was trailing us in another car and he pulled up behind us shortly after. Carine and Earnest quickly ushered us all inside and we sat down in the living room to discuss.

"What's the game plan?" Eleanor asked almost happily, cracking her knuckles.

"Here's what I know so far," began Edythe. "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. She's sick." Edythe inhaled a sharp breath, her face furious yet terrified all at once, her eyes narrowed and her teeth grit behind the pink of her lips.

"And she's relentless." Suddenly, a cool 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 and her full toffee lips were pressed tightly against each other, 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 have only come to warn you all. She is absolutely lethal. Please, be careful. Je suis vraiment désolée." She added, bowing her head. 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." Edythe mused quietly. "Victor is after us too." She started pacing around the room, one hand pressed over her quivering lips, lost in thought. She turned to look at Royal just then. "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 began in a coaxing voice and touched 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; all my fault that I was putting 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 suddenly grabbed my own and jolted me out of my thoughts, her shoulders stiffening up defensively and I saw her nostrils flare 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, squeezing her eyes shut. She turned on her heel, and it was like Royal wasn't even there in the first place. She touched Earnest's wrist.

"Earnest?" She said his name calmly 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 in a hurried breath, 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 tugged it down for me. I kicked off my jeans 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 had already packed a leather satchel for us and draped it over his arm, and Eleanor had on a large backpack which was slung over her shoulder.

"Earnest and Royal will take the truck, Beau. They'll be driving west." Carine came up to all of us, handing us each this 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." Carine motioned her chin in our direction and took Edythe's shoulders. Eleanor came up behind them and everyone started moving towards different parts of the room, organizing. I stood there, frozen, and Archie tugged on 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." Carine started with a nod of her head. "Be careful." She pleaded with all of us, and everyone started to leave the room in their designated groups.

Edythe came back into the room. She stared up at me, her gold eyes huge and full of a million words she didn't have time to say, and reached up to put her hands on my face. She curled her fingers against my cheeks and I leaned down, my hands already in her hair. She closed her eyes and crushed her cool lips against my warm ones as they met once, twice, again and again with a desperation; a blaring need too urgent to deny like we were parting indefinitely. When she pulled away, she stroked either side of my face.

"Be safe, Beau. I'll see you soon." She pulled me into another hug.

"Promise?" I whispered into her hair.

"I promise." She pushed my shoulders away one last time evident it hurt her to do that, and I saw the light in her eyes fade away as she turned around, 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 tugged on my arm again. "It's time. Victor should be trailing your truck by now. I'll bring around the car." Archie disappeared into the shadows. Jessamine touched 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 said quietly and shook my head.

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

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