I'm not Stephenie Meyer, and Twilight belongs to her. Originally posted on my LJ.

It was glowing brightly, stabbing me through the heart with every orange flicker growing higher. I had arrived too late. We all had. The sparks. The stench. The fire tells us all that we needed to know. Much more than we had ever wanted to hear.

She was gone.

And now we are fractured.

We were back down to seven in our family, but for how long was that number to remain? How much before another is gone from our midst, into the blackness whether it be external or within their own heart? Nothing could have prepared me for this moment.

The Volturi has fled the field. Not out of fear, but to let us say our goodbyes, allowing us what they are sure to believe is a move of respect. Going in we had known there would be consequences of our inactions to join their ranks, but no one had ever really considered the possibility of this. It was an outcome had been inconceivable by all of us hours earlier, perhaps with the exception of one.

And now we'll never know.

My wife is circling the fire slowly, taking in the passage of events before her. This is the second child that has been ripped away from her. Nearly a century later, the pain was returning with a new bitterness. This child should have been invincible and should have been saved. Esme rejoins my side, hand sliding into mine as her eyes close and she takes one deep wavering breath. Her waves of grief will show itself later, as will mine, when we are alone together. This isn't the time for us to worry about it; we must focus on the others until it is our turn to mourn.

Two of our children have moved back away from the scene, although still in range for me to both see and hear their strife. Rosalie's grief stricken voice is pleading with Emmett while his rage outweighs his logic. He wants to go after them immediately and take from them what they have taken from us. He doesn't realise he can't take from them what we've lost - that his vengeance would be fruitless. Rosalie grabs the back of his neck, bringing his face down to her own and kisses him fiercely, not letting him go, willing him to stay. He pulls away, lowering her hands to her side and that's when she screams at him, pleading with him that she can't lose him as well, and when he begins to argue, she slaps him. As quickly as it started, their argument has ended, with a shocked expression etched on both their faces. They simply stare at each other, breathing heavily, unable to know what to do or say next.

The couple on the opposite edge of the flames are clinging to each other with a mix of unbreakable force and residual fragility of an earlier time. The normally collected Edward is inconsolable, sobbing tearlessly, running his hands through Bella's tangled dark hair as he holds her to himself tightly, clinging to her as if she is his life force, the glue that is struggling to keep him together, while everything else in his being is tugging at the strings and threatening to tear him apart. The closest of the siblings, he's lost a friend, a confidant, an ally against the world. His world is a little bit darker. Every part of him is fragmented. Bella is misplaced in herself, unable to shed the tears of her former body, trying to make sense of the burning rubble before her. She too has lost her closest of the family. Her arms are snaked tightly around Edward, head resting against his chest, but her eyes won't, or can't, look away. Hollow. She hadn't thought of the idea that death was still possible or at least that it could happen to us, the 'good' vampires.

The last of my children remains, crumbled on the uneven ground. Broken. The sole connection has been severed.


And now I'm afraid he'll be lost to us.

I call to Edward's, tearing him away from his grief, and ask him to return to the house with the others. He instantly straightens up and a stoic mask comes over his face. He leads Bella toward the wood, motioning for Rosalie and Emmett to follow. I squeeze my hand slightly, tilting my head and Esme understands, as she always does, releasing my grip and follows the rest leaving Jasper and I alone with the unyielding fire.

He has rolled into a sitting position, hands resting lightly in his lap. His face is empty and the dead look in his eyes frightens me, his passivity worrisome. His gaze is looking past the fire, through to something that I am unable to see. This shell isn't the Jasper that I've known for the past 60 years. Something has been ripped out from inside him. Spark extinguished.

Moving towards him cautiously, I hope that my calm front is enough to fool Jasper even slightly, giving him a reprieve from himself, although I'm certain he can feel the pain I am trying to disguise through it as well. I sit next to him by the flames and can feel him instinctively tighten up, curling himself into a ball. He is simply holding on.

"Thank you."

His gravely voice breaks through the silence of the moment while his words wash over me. So strange it is for him to be thanking me in a time like this. I had expected silence from this one of my children, for him to retreat inside himself further. To become even more lost. Turning my face towards him I can his empty eyes looking back at me.

"For all you did for us."

His choice of tense wasn't lost on me and I could see now that our family wasn't simply fractured; it was shattered and another piece was about to break off from the whole. I had been correct in my initial assessment. Jasper is retreating. Choosing to forever be lost. This reaction is not surprising, unspoken since they joined our family, but it still stabs. We couldn't save her, and now it is as if we cannot save him either. Not now anyway. I reach over slowly and place my hand on his shoulder, feeling him relax slightly into my touch, my love and compassion washing over him. Words are unnecessary. He knows that he'll forever be welcome with us. We will always wait for him.

Time passes as we sit in silence by the fire, which is finally now begins to grow dimmer, diminishing into the dark. I shall remain here until Jasper doesn't want me to stay any longer.

At once, as if he hears my thoughts, Jasper soundlessly rises up and stalks into the forest without acknowledgement, leaving me alone in the clearing. My youngest, yet oldest, son vanished from our lives. It is now that I choke back a sob when it is certain that he is going in the opposite direction of the remainder of our family.

They are gone.

And now all that remains is a hole.

I'm sorry it was so sad - reviewers get extra love.