Disclaimer: Twilight and New Moon are the property of one Stephenie Meyer. Not me.

Author's Note: This is Chapter of Eight of "Dusk", my own fanfiction based on the world of Twilight, from Esme's point of view. It is complete. Shocking, no? Enjoy, and tell me where it needs improving!

All of the lights in the first level of the house were on, flooding through the glass window that made up the entire rear wall of the home. I could hear the strains of Edward's music from where I stood in the backyard, watching my brilliant, tortured boy agonizing over the ivory keys of his instrument. He was everything my birth son should have been, and so much more, for there was nothing of Charles in him. Instead, I saw Carlisle in every shadow of his face, the twist of expression, that charming crooked smile he didn't even know he had. I saw myself reflected back in his deep, intelligent brown eyes when memory overcame him, the true sorrow that resided deep in the soul that he believed had fled from him. And, more recently, the light that love had brought into his life. I recognized the changes that occurred in him: they were the very same changes wrought in my heart when Carlisle brought me into his life.

There were aspects of love that were going to be very hard for him to grow accustomed to. Edward had become rather… infallible, over the years. He may not have realized it, but he held a position of authority over his siblings, with more experience and a certain quickness of mind that allowed him to easily gain the upper hand. No, come to think of it, he realized it, very well, and utilized it, sometimes mercilessly. He was not used to being brought to heel by anyone, so it came as a shock to him how easily he bent to Bella's will to make her happy. The girl didn't even realize what she was capable of doing to him. Already, she had changed him for the better, brought him out of a spiritually catatonic state, into this life, colored with the palette of love.

Already, in just about one year, she had given us the real Edward. The Edward that sat there now, disquieting his own heart, judging by his expression. I didn't need his talent of hearing thoughts to know what he was thinking. It had, after all, been on all of our minds quite a lot lately, especially after one late night.

This too would pass in time.

The thought of gaining a daughter like Bella pleased me to no end, though it seemed odd to wish for her to suffer the pain of transformation. If there was a way to spare her that… She was genuine, with a soul as beautiful as her small heart-shaped face. The timing of the event was up to Edward, however. I had no doubt that, when the time came, he would be the one to do the deed.

He may claim that Rosalie was the stubborn one in our little family, but that was the pot calling the kettle black. And Bella was a match for him. She'd nearly forced his hand during our little midnight conference. She'd do it again if he insisted on thinking that he knew best.

It was quickly becoming impossible for me to imagine a better match for Edward. The boy…no, the young man, my son… deserved more than a lifetime alone with his thoughts. He didn't even get that though. He was spending eternity with every thought belonging to the people around him. Oh-- How much slower each dull tick of time must seem to him, who was subject to the seething mass of humanity, and inhumanity, around him!

His expression called out to the maternal instinct that resided deep in my chest, and I was not inclined to resist the dull pressure it exerted upon my heart. I let my feet carry me swiftly through the grass with the speed that had been granted unto me at my rebirth. Rebirth: that was what I called my transformation, because that was what it was. Carlisle had done more than made me whole when he had brought me from a life of brutalization into this life and into his arms.

I remembered the look in his eyes when I had confessed to him, with bowed head and slumped shoulders, why it was that I had thrown myself from a cliff, the hidden outrage in his eyes when I revealed what I had endured at the hands of Charles, the quiet ways he had gone about rebuilding my self-esteem, the ways he taught me to trust again.

But this was not a time for me to think of myself. The door swung open gently before me, and the sound alerted Edward. By the time he lifted his head, I was seated next to him on the piano bench as his hands manipulated the ivory keys.

The look in his eyes was pained, and his expression was screened by the fall of his beautiful bronze hair across his forehead. He seemed so lost sometimes, even after a century of existence. I reached out one hand and smoothed the hair back, even as he continued to play.

The beautiful music filled the air like an ethereal, ephemeral cloud created of tragic beauty. I closed my eyes as I listened, letting the notes fill me with pride for Edward, his talent, strength of character, integrity, his soul, everything about him. He called himself the prodigal son, the one who had sullied himself in the temptations of the world, of instinct. I, and Carlisle as well, placed all emphasis on the word son. He was not flesh of my flesh, nor bone of my bone, but so much more. How many human mothers could boast of such a strong connection with their children as Carlisle and I had with all of our "fosterlings", as the community dubbed them?

As the last chords faded, I opened my eyes to watch his face. His eyes darted to my own, and a small smirk barely lifted the corner of his mouth. That was the sign that he was right about some conjecture: most likely that I, and the others, had been absent because we were feeding.

"The others?" he asked. His voice was just a little strained, a sure sign that he had been concerned about something. I let it pass without mental comment: he'd had enough of that lately. Instead, I briefly informed him of their location, and occupation.

They miss you, Edward, I added, letting brief pictures of his "siblings" float through my mind. I wasn't lying, not even exaggerating the truth. The others did miss him, horribly, but they understood.

"You mean they miss someone willing to take on Emmett," he said, lifting one eyebrow in a detached expression. I laughed: indeed, that was part of the reason. Emmett was absolutely enthusiastic about all forms of competition, and Edward nearly so. Jasper was marginally more cautious in his approach, as were Alice and Carlisle, and usually Rosalie as well. He may not have realized it, but they missed him because he was family too, and not just a partaker in their sports.

I couldn't help but think how dearly I loved my family, every one of them. I let Edward know this, thinking and dwelling on my unconditional love for him, unable to express it in words because there were no words sufficient. My devotion to them was absolute, unwavering.

"Perhaps after I get back," he mumbled, a certain hesitancy in his voice. It wasn't hard to guess that he felt guilty for all the time that he had spent away from our family. That was Edward's way: he was always taking the world upon his own shoulders, trying to bear every burden. I couldn't stand to see him like this, tempting Fate to break him. My son was too dear to me for that.

I watched his face for a short moment as his eyes met mine. I allowed a small smile to creep over my face.

"Play for me before you leave," I said, knowing he wouldn't refuse. My gaze fell on his fingers as he began my favorite composition, the song that stirred the depths of my soul: the song that my own dear son had written for me.