This is a study of what it would be like if Bella had to be changed into a vampire due to some catastrophic event. I've written it in the form of an alternative ending to Eclipse, starting after the chapter 'Snap Decision'. (The chapter ends with Victoria's beheading.)
This is not meant to be a complete, all-encompassing conclusion to Eclipse, just an exploration of what-if. Maybe something like this could happen in Breaking Dawn…
Thank you so much to vnfan for the beta read!
By the way, you might want to have a box of tissues handy…
In Bella's words...
Unable to make myself move, my eyes followed the orange flash of Victoria's head as it rolled into the forest. A new cracking sound freed the muscles in my neck, and I turned to see Edward calmly dismembering the rest of Victoria's body. What he was doing barely registered in my mind because I was studying him, looking for flaws in his perfect form. His motions were swift and graceful as he collected the pieces of what had once been Victoria and piled them in the center of the clearing. I couldn't see any distortion in his frame; his clothes were perfect and barely a hair was out of place.
Relieved, I took a deep breath. The pain in my hand and arm started to register now, and I realized I still had the stone blade pressed into the crease of my elbow. As I forced my hand to move, the small amount of blood I'd managed to draw caught my eye as it stained the rock. At least I had done something to help…
Small pebbles were still streaming down the cliff above me from Seth's impact, and I managed to slowly take a few steps away from the granite face toward the now growing pile of vampire pieces. I froze when Edward then turned toward me, seeing his face for the first time. He still didn't look at me; his features were focused, but calm. I sighed, now confident he was fine. He was looking at Seth, and wordlessly they both darted into the forest to find more pieces of Riley.
A few larger rocks started falling down the face again and I took another step away toward the center of the tiny clearing, waiting for Edward's return. I barely glimpsed him in the trees when suddenly I was thrown to the ground with a crunching sound that I recognized immediately. The sound of my own bones breaking…
As I was rolling across the snow I saw a large rock rolling with me. Finally I stopped moving, ending up on my back, confused by what had happened. Was there another danger? Had Edward thrown me to the ground to protect me? Was he holding me down now? Questions flooded through my mind as I lay there, motionless.
I felt so strange when Edward suddenly appeared, leaning over my face, his expression one of shock and fear. "Bella…" he moaned.
I tried to reach up and touch his cheek, but my body wouldn't respond. I didn't feel cold anymore; and it was with terror that I realized that I didn't feel anything. The tears started as I comprehended what had happened… what had to happen now. "Edward… I can't move." I barely whispered.
He reached down and gently kissed my lips. "I'm here. Don't worry." His voice was soft, but panic lurked beneath. He tried unsuccessfully to hide the horror in his eyes. "Does it hurt?" His voice broke on the words. I couldn't see his hands, but could imagine him carefully feeling my body, analyzing my injuries. Luckily, I couldn't smell any blood.
"No, it doesn't hurt." The air was cold as it flowed into my nose when I inhaled, but I couldn't feel my chest rise as I tried to breathe. The feeling of my heart beat was gone, too – forever. As I looked into Edward's eyes, a very different future began to take shape in my mind.
I tried to concentrate only on Edward, for though I could no longer feel the rhythm of my heart, it still was wracked with pain. I knew my spine was gone, and that I would never be able to run my fingers though his hair again – at least as a human. All the compromising, all the deals, all the plans, everything was gone now. As I looked into his eyes, I tried to find some relief… at least we would be together.
Edward turned suddenly to Seth who had appeared next to him. "We need Carlisle here, now," he commanded.
"We need Sam, too," I whispered. Edward's eyes found mine again, questioning me. "I need to talk to him, before…" The look on Edward's face stopped my words. The grief froze in his eyes as he understood that one way or another, change was coming much sooner than we'd planned.
He composed himself as best as he could, then nodded to Seth. Seth stepped away, communicating with the pack.
"Is everyone else alright?" My thoughts now turned to the family I was joining.
"Yes, everything is over now. They are all fine." Edward's voice trembled. He watched his hand intently as he wove it through my hair, his mind clearly fighting the truth of my fate.
"And the pack?" I tried to swallow, reminded again of what I was leaving behind.
"All fine." Edward now gazed into my eyes, the sorrow on his face creating a lump so large in my throat that I could barely breathe. He couldn't speak any longer, either, and I could imagine the tears that should have been dripping down his cheeks onto my face. He bent over to kiss me again, softly, gently, then barely rested his forehead on mine, waiting, hoping.
Suddenly there was a vicious snarl and Edward vanished. All I could see was Seth's tail as he protected me, and then I heard a crash, Edward swearing, then a howl of pain. "Stop," I cried as loudly as I could. My voice sounded like a child's cry, though, and was ignored. Even without seeing, I knew what was happening. "Jacob, Edward, please stop."
I could hear other voices now, Carlisle and Alice, trying to break up the fight. The tumult finally quieted, and I saw Seth tense. Carlisle's voice was calm, but I still couldn't see him. "I just want to see her injuries, that is all. I give you my word." He said.
Seth growled in warning and didn't move.
"Please Seth, it is alright; let Carlisle by," but there still was no reaction from the sandy wolf. I changed my tone. "Jacob, please…" I pleaded. I knew that it was Jacob who had ordered Seth to prevent any vampires from touching me, from biting me. I didn't know where Jacob was, but he had to be close.
Neither Seth nor Carlisle moved. The pain in my heart grew. "Oh, Jacob… let Carlisle try and help, please," I begged him, staring straight up into the bright sky.
A heart wrenching howl broke the silence and Seth finally moved to the side. He didn't relax, though, and watched tensely as Carlisle slowly moved forward, joined by a now human Jacob. All of Carlisle's movements were deliberately slow, nonthreatening, as he carefully leaned over me.
"What happened, Bella?" Jacob looked at my motionless body, his face dark. He didn't try to touch me for fear of making things worse.
"A rock fell on me." I tried to stay calm, but a tear escaped when I looked in his eyes. "It was no one's fault." Jacob watched Carlisle now. "Where's Edward?" I had to know he was okay. Jacob's face fell at my words.
"He's fine, Bella, just behind you." Carlisle reassured me.
I couldn't see or feel anything Carlisle was doing, confirming my suspicions that my back was broken. As he worked up to where I could see him I watched as his expression never changed. He had his clinical face on, not showing any indication of what he found. He couldn't hide from Edward, though.
"No…" Edward moaned, and I knew that he was close. The despair in his voice made it clear that his worst fears were confirmed. Jacob shuddered at the word, but then closed his eyes and concentrated on staying in control. When he opened his eyes again they were filling with tears.
Carlisle now moved up to my neck, and I could now feel his cold fingers as they worked up to my hair. "Is there any blood?" I whispered. I could see in his gold eyes now, and he shook his head slowly.
He finished his exam, and then stroked my cheek, trying to find the words to break the news to me, but I saved him the trouble. "I know, Carlisle, I know. Can you please help me talk to Sam?" I smiled weakly at him, trying to ease his concern.
"Of course, Bella." The love in Carlisle's voice warmed my heart. I closed my eyes, trying to stay calm, knowing I had to break Jacob's heart here, in front of everyone.
"Don't Bella, please… you'll be alright." Jacob pleaded, refusing to accept the reality of the situation. I could hear Edward struggling to get near me, but someone was holding him back. Probably more than one someone, I thought. I kept my eyes closed as another tear traced down my cheek.
"Carlisle, please explain to Jacob how bad it is," I barely breathed.
Carlisle cleared his throat and looked up. Even as practiced as he was, Carlisle couldn't hide the grief in his words. "Bella's back is broken in several places and her spine is severed as well." I heard several gasps, both from women and men. All the Cullens were here now. I wondered how many wolves were here, but since I couldn't turn my head, there was no way to know.
"She will be paralyzed for the rest of her human life." I appreciated his description, hoping that Jacob would understand.
"But she will live, though." Jacob's voice tried to be hopeful. Edward growled at his comment and struggled again.
"Yes, but she will be completely incapacitated." I opened my eyes, and saw Jacob's lips trembling. Carlisle leaned away from me now, but didn't rise. Jacob turned back to me, tears in his eyes.
"I'll take care of you, Bella. I promise." He gently reached down and brushed my cheek. "I'll make you happy. I love you." He bent down and kissed my forehead; his tears wetting my hair.
The lump in my throat grew even larger and I tried to force it down with a swallow. Edward was snarling now. My time with Jacob was up – I had to let him go.
"I love you, too, Jacob." I took a deep breath and tried to stop my tears. "But think about what you are saying. What kind of life would that be for either one of us? I'll never feel your touch, never hug you, never enjoy your warmth again." Another tear escaped and rolled down my cheek as I watched Jacob sob. "No more motorcycles, no more walks on the beach. I will never hold our children, never tickle them, never wipe away their tears. You'll have to do everything for me, like a hundred pound infant, a man with a paraplegic father and quadriplegic wife. Is that really the life you want us to have?"
I inhaled, the tears coming freely now. "And what about Charlie? Seeing me like this will probably kill him." Another stab went through my heart as I realized Charlie was going to suffer so much now no matter what happened. The list of people I was hurting kept growing. I tried to swallow my guilt.
Tears were now pouring down Jacob's face as he ran a single finger through my hair. My eyes shifted to a sound on my left side now, and I saw Sam in his human form, quietly watching Jacob.
"Let me go!" Edward roared. He was going insane, unable to reach me.
"Edward… please be patient. I'm not going anywhere, it's alright." I closed my eyes again. There could be no pain worse than what I was feeling now. The two people I loved the most were both suffering because of me… A sob escaped my lips now, and I fought to make it the last.
"So you'd rather be a paralyzed bloodsucker with him" Jacob growled the last word. My eyes popped open.
"Of course not… for mortal enemies, you seem to know very little about each other…" Annoyance crept into my voice. Why does this have to be so hard?
"She will be completely healed as she becomes a vampire. But you'd rather see her dead." Edward snarled. A fresh round of tears dripped down my cheeks as I felt his pain, even without seeing him.
"Yes." Jacob's voice was solemn as he stared at my face, igniting my temper.
The words came out fast, without thought. "Then you'll have to kill me, Jacob. I won't live like this." My voice turned sharp at Jacob's stubbornness. I heard Edward begin to struggle again, growling and snarling. Snarls were erupting from others now, too.
Jacob jumped in shock. "Bella… You know I can't do that…," he moaned as he covered his face with his hands.
"Not quite as stupid as…," Edward started.
"Stop it, Edward," I silenced him and the anger subsided. "Jacob, do you know what happens if I die here?" He didn't respond. I glanced at Sam. "If I die, by your hand, or another's, you will be at war. Edward will come and kill you Jacob." Jacob lowered his hands and looked to where Edward must be, snorting. He turned back to me with a look of rebellion in his eyes, but he knew I was right. Edward growled again, threateningly.
"Then he will wait for Sam and your brothers to kill him." My voice broke, imagining Edward ripped apart one piece at a time by the wolves, refusing to fight back. I sobbed again, knowing that it was the truth. "He won't live without me, you know that. And then his brothers and sisters…" I couldn't go on. Sam's eyes tighten at my words. I was as bad as Victoria… a monster, inflicting pain on everyone to meet my own ends. And now I would become worse. I turned back to Jacob.
"Jacob, would you condemn us all to die just to keep me from him?" Jacob smeared his tears away with the back of his hand and his eyes filled with pain as he argued with himself. I forced the next words out. "Jacob, I wasn't going to stay with you, you know that. Even if I do love you, I love him more. I can't live without him." I pinched my eyes shut in grief, severing my connection with Jacob forever.
Even though I couldn't see or hear Jacob, the pain he felt permeated my consciousness. I fought to keep my eyes closed, to keep from looking into his eyes and telling him that it would all work out somehow. He had to be free of me. This had to be the last time I hurt him.
I waited for some response from Jacob, but the silence wouldn't end. I was trapped in this hell, unable to touch anyone I loved, only able to torture them all with my words. Maybe it would be best if I just died now.
Carlisle finally ended my suffering. "Sam, is there any possibility of renegotiation?" I slowly opened my eyes. Jacob looked at me one more time, and then slowly nodded his head. He bent down, stroked my hair and tenderly kissed me on the lips just once. He leaned back and stared at me for one long moment, memorizing my face. Without a word he rose and was gone.
Sam's voice was even as he stared after Jacob. "Well…"
I turned my eyes to Sam now. "You know better than anyone what it is like to be in love with two people. You know what it is like when there is no choice, when all you can do is break a loving heart." My words came out between sobs. "I only have the advantage of being able to leave the heart I've broken."
Sam looked at me for a moment, slowly realizing how similar our two situations were. He closed his eyes briefly, then looked at Carlisle. "Let's talk." He stood up and stepped away. Carlisle looked over my head before he followed.
Edward appeared over me, and immediately started wiping my tears away. He couldn't make any headway, though, as the tears intensified when I saw the pain in his eyes. "I'm sorry you had to watch that. Can you forgive me?" I so wanted to touch his face.
"Bella, you are absurd." He kissed me, and briefly I forgot everything as my head spun from his scent. When he let me catch my breath, I began to think about the future now, if I still had one. As much as I wanted to mourn Jacob, staring at Edward brought my future into stark focus. So many things that I'd planned – that we'd planned – were gone. And now I would be dead – at least that is how Charlie would see it, no matter what happened. My heart ached again; how much more could I take?
"Charlie… What will you tell him?" I murmured as Edward stroked my hair.
"I won't tell him anything. Alice will take care of him, don't worry." His voice was smooth, comforting.
"Alice will?" It didn't really matter at this point, but I wanted to know how I would be dying for my father.
Alice appeared next to Edward, and she spoke gently. "I'll tell Charlie that this weekend was just a ruse for Edward to propose to you, but you two didn't come home as expected. He was planning to take you to the mountains today and pop the question looking out over the valley. When Charlie goes to search for you, he will find that an enormous boulder has fallen on the road, and that there is a silver Volvo barely visible under it." She stroked my cheek as she spoke, sweeping away my tears uselessly. I could picture the scene in my mind, and Charlie, grieving.
"If they manage to get the rock off of the car, Carlisle will volunteer to do the DNA testing, confirming that you and Edward were both crushed, dying instantly together." She paused to kiss my forehead lightly. "I'll stay with him as long as he needs me, Bella." I could hear the love in her voice. When she finished she touched Edward's cheek, then stepped away.
It was the best I could hope for. "Thank you Alice. I know you will take great care of him." I looked at Edward again, and another wave of sadness washed over me.
"I'm sorry about your car…" Edward managed to roll his eyes and smirk through his sorrow. A weak chuckle managed to escape my lips. I took a breath and became serious again. "Will you still want to marry me if I'm a vampire?" I whispered. It was the one thing from my human life I could still possibly get.
Edward's eyes warmed. "Of course, if you'll have me." He kissed me again. "You know, once you're a vampire, I'll really be able to kiss you." The seductive look on his face made me smile through the tears. I wondered if my heart still reacted the same…
Edward looked up now, and Sam and Carlisle appeared over me again. Carlisle spoke. "Bella, Sam has agreed to let you be the one exception to the treaty. You can become a vampire, if that is your wish."
Relief filled me as I looked at Sam. "Thank you." I paused, knowing that there was more. "What are your conditions?"
Sam looked at me but spoke to the whole group. "Neither you nor the Cullens can ever come back to Forks. Not for any reason." I looked at Carlisle and he nodded in agreement with the terms. I thought for a moment. There is only one thing that I could think of to come back for.
"Is there no possibility that someday I could visit my father's grave, just once?" I would never see Charlie alive again, but after he was gone I would like the closure of knowing his life was complete. I could live without it, though, if I had to.
"If I am still alive, you can call me and ask then. For now though, I will say no."
"I understand. Thank you, I appreciate your compassion. I'm sorry for all the trouble I've caused." I could feel the end coming.
Sam just nodded, then rose and left. No one spoke for a while. I just stared at Edward's face, preparing myself. I assumed that all the wolves were gone when he turned and looked down at me.
"You are okay, right? She didn't hurt you, did she?" I whispered, remembering what had led up to my current state.
"I'm fine, Bella. Not a scratch, really." Edward softly tousled my hair.
"Are they all gone now?" I tried to control the trembling in my voice. I wanted to touch Edward so much that it hurt.
"Yes. They'll be out of range in another minute or two." His voice was calm.
"Is Carlisle ready?" Another tear dripped into my ear.
Edward's face twisted in confusion. "Carlisle?"
"Yes. He's going to change me now, right?"
Edward's face softened again and his voice turned to a whisper. "Don't you want me to be the one?"
I caught my breath. "Of course I do, but I can't meet your condition."
"Through no fault of yours. If you want me to do it, I will, no strings attached. If not, that's fine too. I'll be with you the whole time, though, no matter what." His determination was strong. Edward brushed the tears away, with his lips this time. When he finished, he kissed my lips again and leaned back. "The wolves have returned to the reservation now…"
He gazed at me, waiting. "Please, Edward, will you save me?" I whispered.
Edward bent close to my ear. "Yes. I love you so much."
"I so want to touch you. This is the worst torture," I moaned. Edward gently lifted my unfeeling hand and held it against his cheek, sliding it down to his lips and kissing my palm. Even though I couldn't feel my skin touching his, I knew that he felt the emotion that I would have put into exactly that movement. I loved him so much…
Edward now bent over and kissed me again. "You'll be able to touch me soon enough, my love," he whispered. He stared into my eyes for another moment, and I could see resolve fill him as he prepared to bite me.
"Carlisle, we're ready," he said firmly. Carlisle, Alice, and Rosalie now hovered in a circle over me.
"We will need to hold you still at the beginning, Bella, so you won't injure yourself further," Carlisle murmured. I looked into each face again, then focused on Rosalie.
"Thank you for doing this." I said to everyone, but didn't take my eyes off of Rosalie. She smiled weakly back. All the faces except Edward's disappeared, holding me down, I could only assume.
"Ready?" He whispered.
"I love you."
"I love you too. Forever," I said as I closed my eyes. I knew that he was biting my wrists and ankles, but I only felt Edward's cool lips on my neck just before the slicing pain of his teeth. I gasped and opened my eyes as he paused at my throat, fighting the temptation to satiate his thirst. As he pulled away, his eyes were blazing. They calmed as he leaned over and kissed me again, then moved to hold my head in his cool hands.
I could feel the fire engulfing me, and I looked up at Edward. The last human memory I would have would be the image of his perfect face smiling down at me…