And it's not a cry that you hear at night.
It's not somebody who's seen the light.
It's a cold and it's a broken Hallelujah…
Alice stands at the front window and so is the first to see him coming. She'd 'seen' him about an hour before, but she still sighs in relief now, when his car pulls up in front of the house. His mind had been veering from one course to another over the last day, wanting to abandon his car and run as fast and as far as he possibly can at one moment, planning to turn around and go back the next. She wasn't sure if he'd ever decide to come home, and despite the vision, she daren't hope that the decision would stick, until she sees him. For a terrifying time, his car had been approaching airports, images of the Volturi's dark coats and red eyes in his future. But those had been brief flashes and she managed to convince herself that he didn't mean it- that he hadn't even really thought of-
But then he gets out of his car and she sees his face clearly, and suddenly she isn't so sure.
Jasper stands by her side, but he feels him coming before he's even gotten out of the car and into their view. Every movement he makes is slow and precise- like a lethargic human's gait. His eyes are frozen, empty, focused on things but not really seeing them. And the mask has cracked, peeling off, taking with it any remains of vitality. He can feel the agony in every step he takes from the car to the door- and it's a struggle for him to remain standing in this aura of despair, so he's got no idea how his brother is achieving it. It's not a feeling he can nullify- it's like it's overpowering his own sense.
Without thinking, he clutches closer to Alice instinctively, seeking her calming aura over this. And then he stops, sensing a new agony within him. It hurts to see them standing together. But he can't pull away. He can't shy away from her, and it's cruel and selfish to stay close to her now, when it's only increasing his agony, when this is all his fault. But he's not enough of a martyr to let go- to become what his brother is. Because he's a coward and a monster and none of them can argue otherwise.
Emmett stands by the door, holding it open for his brother, as he stumbles in. In a normal state, he probably would have resented this. But not now. Now he's not even sure if the boy can stand and he wants to stay close, just in case someone has to catch him. Just so Esme isn't upset and Jasper doesn't cringe and Alice doesn't say something she'll regret. Even though Esme's already upset- upset that the mask has fallen, that he doesn't even have the strength left to want to pretend to be okay. And Jasper looks like he's already faltering under his distress, clutching Alice's arm, even if that does make it worse. And Alice doesn't look as if she can say anything right now- either reassuring or vindictive, and she wouldn't dare, regardless. That isn't her style. Now that all chances of convincing him to stay are gone, she'll go back to being the Number 1 supportive sister.
Not that it will help much anymore. All hopes of saving their brother from this hell are lost.
Rosalie stands just out of his sight; a hand of Emmett's reaching around the wall she leans against and resting on her shoulder. They all know she's there- they can all hear her even if she's struggling not to even breath, but she can't bare to see them- to see him in the state she knows he'll be in. She can't bear to see him crushed and forlorn and actually regret the move. Because she doesn't want to want Bella around- to wish this change upon her. And she doesn't want to resent Bella for doing this to her brother- because it isn't Bella's fault. Only it is. She can't decide.
And then he winces again and she realises it's because someone's thinking the name- and she doesn't know if that's her fault or not. She might be causing pain without even being quite in the same room as him. So she stands out and once again, can't quite decide where she stands and whether they're better off or not.
Esme stands with her arms folded over her chest, so as to stop the uncontrollable urge to reach over and hug her son as he passes her on his way to the stairs. It wouldn't help, she tells herself. It can't make everything better. It isn't as if she's his mother and he's five and she can disperse all the monsters under his bed with a flash-light. This is real life, and he's heart-broken because of what he is- no one's fault at all, and she can't make it all better. She wishes she could. God, she wishes she could have stayed in the same room with Bella, without having to run from the blood. Or that she could have found a way to make this work, without having to leave to this dark empty house in a rush. Or that she could banish all his fears, with a smile and a lullaby.
But he isn't five and he hasn't been in a very long time. She isn't his real mother and even if she was, it wouldn't make any of this better. She can't even quite blame herself, because there is no blame and there is no making this right.
Carlisle stands with his arm around her shoulder, even though it's not necessary, because she isn't, at the moment, about to throw herself at him. Which in the present would probably knock his feet out from under him. He does it because she needs the support and her heart is breaking, and he feels as if this is the only thing keeping him standing at the moment. He's never seen pain like this, never imagined it could quite exist- unconcealed, bare for all to see and raw. He's seen things that made him cringe, seen patients that would almost be better off dead than going through with the tattered lives they have left. He's heard stories of attacks and lives that would have make him cry were it possible. He's had to tell people of loved one's deaths, and seen the weeping, the screaming, the dead look in their eyes.
But he'd take it all- all the atrocious, staggeringly nauseating things he's witnessed and heard about in his three-and-a-half centuries. He'd take it all now, all squashed into an unbearable second or dragged for a century. He'd endure it all, if only to rid his son of that pain. He's never regretted changing him, never thought his life was better over than reborn and cursed- until now.
Edward stands alone- for longer than he can stand, even though it's just a moment, just a second that freezes in that room. Then he slowly leaves the gathering at the doorway, unable to remain in the same room as the pairs of people, their clasped hands and the sets of their eyes around him- always two sets of yellow irises staring at him, with pity, any way he turns. He climbs the stairs, taking them slowly, lethargically, one at a time.
He reaches the landing and then realises he doesn't know where to go. Not because he doesn't know which room belongs to him- Esme thoughts told him as he came in, but because he can't go in there- because he has no idea if the room will be too similar or too different to take. And he can't stay out here, because the doors seem to be mocking him- all leading to paired rooms, with Esme and Carlisle in one, Rosalie and Emmett in another, Jasper and Alice in adjoining rooms. And then his room, solitary at the end of the hall- to be shared with no one…
He can feel something looming, something jagged and painful jabbing into his chest, where a heart hasn't beaten in almost a century, and he can't think of anywhere else to go- so he dives into the laundry cupboard to his side, squeezing himself in among the towels and sheets, just managing to shut the door, if he clasps his knees to his chest- the ways she always did…
And he's falling apart and he can't stop it. He can't block any of it out now- any of the memories of the forest yesterday, any of the voices below, thinking the name in whispers that they can't bare to say aloud- but their thoughts speak it loud enough. Closing his eyes, covering his ears with his hands, doesn't help- it only brings on the image of her face- crumpled. Broken.
And he can't stand that face. Before he couldn't stop himself. He knows it was wrong- he should have left it. But it was all he would have- just a single reminder unto eternity. And now he thinks maybe it will be worth it, as he reaches into his pocket, to see that face in a different way, with some life left in it- before he pilfered it all. He takes out a photo- craggy and blurred from clasping it in his hands too much.
He realises too late that it was the worst one to take.
There's a stranger staring back at him- wearing his clothes, his hair style, but covering the face, a mask of disdain and indifference- and it infuriates him so much that before he knows it, the half of the picture with himself on it has been ripped away, cut into tiny pieces, and scattered among the bedding, leaving only the half with her.
This half, he holds with reverence, hardly daring to handle any part she covers. Except, there is his shadow-self's hand upon her shoulder, tainting her with its demonic touch. And the rest is gone, shredding her body, just to get rid of the hand. Her face is all he has left- all that he needs- her pale skin, her slightly curling brown hair, her warm eyes, her unsure-half smile, all within the palm of his hand. Only really, she's so far away. Now she stands alone too. And he can't stand that, seeing her standing alone as well, lost and alone… He tries to tell himself that she's human, that the suffering can't be as great for her as what is beginning to roll over his head. He tries to convince himself that she'll move on- she won't always be standing alone- but thinking of that is almost as painful to him. Even though it's what he wants. Almost.
He sighs and drags his eyes from her face, letting it fall into his lap. And, with that, the waves of pain rear up high and wash over his head, pulling him under.
He does not resurface…
"Time passes. Even when it seems impossible. Even when each tick of the second hand aches like the pulse of blood behind a bruise. It passes unevenly, in strange lurches and dragging lulls, but pass it does. Even for me."
Because Edward's pain should be remembered. It took me a while to do this, mostly because once again Esme and Carlisle evaded me. I just mumbled a bunch of crap last night and it seeed to fit. I just wanted to get it finished. I promised myself a week to do this, and it ended up stretching for a month- but at least I got it done. More than I expected.
Went over-board with Edward. It was supposed to be a brief summary of each character (hence why I didn't give Alice nearly as much as I should have liked and messed up Jasper), but Edward didn't really have a real chapter to express his emotions- just one in which he was stuck to what he felt he had to do, little regret. So I rambled on a bit with the picture. Which is unrealistic, but I liked the idea (I had it originally of Alice finding the shredded pieces, all but the face, but it wouldn't have worked. Too much of Alice once again). And it nearly killed me inside writing it because I love Edward so, and so that's why I wrote his name only once.
Thank you for following my first multi-chapter fan-fiction! Review if you like and hope you enjoyed.