ok i probably shouldnt be starting a new fic right now but on the other hand this is all ive written for this fic... im sure i'll continue it eventually but updates may take awhile for lack of time - feel free to throw ideas at me :) (and reviews are always good motivation :) and yay! my first twilight fic :) ive wanted to write one for so long :)

i know i havent updated masked happiness yet (sorry) - its next on my list and i will when i find the time, i have no intention of not finishing it, it may just take awhile (and i know i keep saying that but the next chapter needs finishing and editing first and i want to do it properly)

disclaimer is on profile

onwards... :)

Breathing Softly

Breathing softly. The sound soothed Edward to a state as close to sleep as he was able to get. Watching Bella breathing, her eyelashes fluttering against her cheeks every so often when she dreamt, soothed Edward. He could watch her, hold her in his arms and see her sleeping, see her breathing, and know she was alive.

He had thought she was dead. The thought had scared him like nothing else in his unnaturally long lifetime, had depressed him more than he thought was possible. It had ended his life again, very nearly for good. And it was her that had saved him as well. Not for the first time, but the in most obvious way so far. She had hurtled into him, probably giving herself bruises against his hard, unforgiving frame, and begged and pleaded until he understood that he wasn't dead yet and that she wasn't either. What did he do to deserve her?

They had been back from Volterra for a week. The whole incident, the last six months – it was as though it never happened. Of course it all had consequences, it seemed that nothing was the same, but in this moment, in watching Bella – his Bella – sleep, everything melted away and nothing mattered. It was as though none of it had happened. He knew that he was incapable of sleep but at the moment, he felt he was the one who was dreaming.

It had happened. It had all happened. In this moment he could ignore how gaunt Bella looked, how pale and thin she looked. How like him she looked. He could ignore the dark smudges beneath her own eyes, so much like his. And her eyes, oh her eyes. In this moment, with them safely shut, he could ignore the heart-breaking mixture of desperation, fear, helplessness and the worst of them all, hidden deep behind the others like it was as natural as breathing for her, the complete and utter faith that he knew she still had in him.

The look of child-like hope in her eyes whenever she opened them in the morning and the following look of ecstatic surprise when he was still there made him want to cry. She didn't deserve this. And it made him wonder how she woke up when he wasn't here, all those mornings he'd missed. Had she woken up with those hope-filled eyes? What was the look that replaced the hope when he wasn't there? He didn't want to think about it but he knew he had to. He had to think about it everyday. Every time she opened those eyes that he frequently fell into, drowned himself in. He had to think about it to remind himself that this was where he needed to be, always. He needed to be here, looking right back at her, making sure the hope was replaced by something positive.

And if one day his presence brought something negative instead, if his presence ever became the reason her face fell in the mornings like his absence apparently had for the last six months, then he would leave. He would be gone instantly, so fast her face wouldn't have time to fall completely. No, he reminded himself, not that fast. Never again that fast. No, he would explain this time. Honestly. He wouldn't lie to her a second time and he couldn't do it anyway… to either of them. He was far too selfish. No, he would make sure she smiled before he left, and he would always watch her, keep an eye on her. He would never really leave again.

He cringed inwardly that he had actually left. If it came to it again, if she ordered him away he would go, but never so far that he couldn't see her anymore. He would be her shadow, behind cars and trees, flitting after her, looking after her, loving her from a distance, what she would probably refer to as her 'guardian angel'. He smiled at that, gazing down lovingly at her as she slept. She already does.

He knew he was getting too far ahead of himself, he always did, she always told him so. Instead he spent his time watching her. Committing every millimetre of her skin, her face, her features, her hair, all of it to his long, perfect memory. He gazed for an immeasurable amount of time at the rise and fall of her chest, just where her neck ended and her collar bone cast a slight shadow. Not slight enough, he thought with a frown, it was still more pronounced than it should have been. Than it had been. Edward shook his head free of the thoughts and began again.

If this was the only way he'd learn to stop over analysing everything, by watching Bella sleep, well it almost wasn't worth learning the lesson just for the chance to repeat it every night.

He kept a completely still vigil by her side through the night, not moving once and just watching her take deep, slow breath after deep, slow breath. The first small glimpse of sunlight that spilled over the windowsill set millions of tiny lights reflecting off of every surface of Edward that was exposed to it. It was to be the only glimpse of sunlight all day, as the sun slipped quietly behind the dense cloud cover immediately afterwards, but seeing his own reflected rainbows shining warmly from Bella's face and her eyelids fluttering in reaction made Edward grin.

He was glad that on some level she hadn't missed the glimpse of sunlight. She loved sunlight.

She lay still again for a few moments more before letting out a small, almost inaudible whimper as her body began to wake up and her mind refused to, even as it complied. Her hand that lay next to her head on the pillow between them curled, making a loose, incomplete fist before releasing again. Edward watched raptly.

She let out her small sound again as she unconsciously rolled slightly, facing Edward a little bit more. Her eyelashes fluttered again and he watched, utterly enthralled by every movement, as they slowly opened, the ever-present morning hopefulness shining blearily up at him. He smiled gently but with so much tenderness that it made her momentarily breathless. He smiled.

And her face fell.

a cliff hanger so soon in a story that may take awhile to update... does that make me mean? heh sorry, but please please please review and let me know what you think - first twilight fic, i need to know what im doing right/wrong and what people would like to see next too :)

thanks for reading :) have fun