This is written for Twilighted's Breaking Dawn's Missing Moments Challenge

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Bittersweet

Bittersweet.

Surely I knew the definition. Certainly I've experienced the sensation. The feeling of both ecstasy and sorrow in the pit of my stomach. A kind of twisting, tingling feeling on the surface just below my skin.

The feeling was known to take over a creature's mind and body – usually pulling them in different directions. A human game of tug-of-war, perhaps? Or maybe an arm-wrestle. Pushing against one another instead of jerking away?

I wasn't sure.

But it was never just my mind and body. Bittersweet for me was more like a round of archery. There wasn't just a struggle between my mind and body – the bow and arrow were also involved. In my abnormal analogy, the bow and arrow represented the part of me that thrived in the kill of the hunt. The targeting of the prey. But the target had a face. The target had a soul. The target was absurdly beautiful.

The question was; was Bella's beauty the sweet part?... Or the bitter?

I'd never been so unsure of a situation in all of my existence.

She was always a part of my eternal struggles.

She was also the woman I wanted to spend an eternity with.

It was safe to say that my existence was bittersweet. But even the core of my existence couldn't measure up to this feeling of bittersweet.

The infant looked up at me. Her eyes were a bottomless brown color. A replica of Bella's.

Sweet.

I roamed over the rest of her features which were clearly mine. Her hair was feathery and bronze on top of her head. Her jaw was strong. And her eyes – though they appeared to be Bella's – were also my own. They were ancient in her young face. As if they'd seen too much.

Bitter.

I closed my eyes, urging the image away.

"I would recommend keeping your eyes opened," Rosalie's voice snapped at me. "I don't like her in here. And your time is almost up."

I mentally added a tally mark next to bitter.

My mind struggled to find a good comeback. Something that would get my message across; Go away. But I was too emotionally drained. I opened my eyes.

She was still staring at me with her obsolete eyes. Her body squirmed in the blanket she was swaddled in, thudding against the sides of the basinet.

"She wants her mother." My gaze shifted towards Rosalie as my murmured words hung strangely in the air.

Rosalie rolled her eyes and muttered, "Because that worked so well last time."

My gaze automatically snapped towards Bella. She wasn't moving now. The trembling had stopped, but her skin was just beginning to turn a sickly pale color. The scent of her blood was thinning in the air, the aroma fading. One of my hands was clenched on the edge of the bed, as if I could grasp her humanity with my fingertips.

How much longer?

"Not long," I muttered, answering Rosalie's unspoken question.

Rosalie's thoughts were uncharacteristically silent for a few moments.

She looks exactly like you, you know, she thought finally.

I tore my gaze away from Bella to stare at Rosalie.

Maybe she's not half-human, half-vampire after all. Maybe she's only slightly human. Rosalie's thoughts were racing now.

"Only slightly human," I scoffed quietly to myself. "And how would that alleviate the situation?"

For once, Rosalie didn't sneer at my sarcastic tone, instead her eyes became round, almost appearing innocent. She looked… disappointed?

She's your daughter, Edward. She's not a situation.

I frowned. "That's not what I meant Rose. I just –," my eyes closed again and I picked up Bella's clammy hand, pressing it against my cheek. My words came out sharp as I spoke them through my teeth. "It's my instinct now. To… loath anything that hurts, her."

Edward, if there's anyone in this universe who can go against instinct, it's you.

I shook my head. "No, Rosalie. This is different…"

Rosalie waited, staring at me blankly.

The hand that wasn't holding Bella's automatically reached up to pinch the bridge of my nose.

How was I supposed to explain this to her? How was I expected to generate these feelings into words?

I knew that loving Renesmee should be enough to eliminate everything, to make everything else endurable, but if anyone exceeded Bella's inability to lie, it was me when I was lying to myself. I knew that love was moot point in this situation – and it was a situation no matter what Rosalie said – because I would love her whether my hate was right beside it or not.

She was a miracle, and she was Bella's daughter. I never had a choice in loving her.

I still wasn't sure if I had the choice not to loathe her, however.

"It's only different because you think it's your fault. But, Edward, you're convinced that everything concerning her is your fault," Rosalie spoke aloud this time but I wasn't exactly listening to her. I'd learn to block out word's like Rosalie's. My family's loveonly hurt more. Just another thing I didn't deserve.

Beside me, Renesmee began to whimper.

"Your Mom is sleeping," I murmured to her. I tilted my head as I tore my gaze away from Bella to look at the small child. Her eyes were wider now, though they appeared even more aged, shadowed beneath her delicately furrowed brow. My own brow furrowed as I realized where her gaze settled.

"I think she wants her Daddy," Rosalie murmured from behind the basinet.

Wants her Daddy? The words baffled me. Why in the world would she want me? I was the one who had wanted her demise all along.

Sure, I had detected her thoughts through the womb and was aware that she loved both Bella and me, but that had just been our voices. All she knew was the sound of my voice; not the words I spoke. I was sure that if she could understand them she would detest me.

I hadn't even noticed Rosalie's retreat from the room, and the action surprised me. Rosalie hadn't let the baby out of her sight since it's gruesome delivery. I flinched at the reminder.

Renesmee moaned beside me. This time, her body squirmed anxiously before she pulled a small ivory colored arm out of the swaddled blanket. The unbelievably small hand extended towards me, her fingers curling as if she could grasp the air.

Dumbly, I pointed my index finger towards my chest, raising an eyebrow. Her head tilted the slightest inch forward and then back. Was she nodding?

I tried to make sense of what my eyes were seeing and what my brain was telling me but I couldn't concentrate. Her thoughts seemed to take residence in every part of my mind. I wasn't sure if it should surprise me that all I could see was my face repeated at a thousand times over, all at different angles.

Abruptly, her small moans and whimpers transformed into blood curdling screams. I forgot how to use my hands for a moment. The panic seat in quickly as I reached for her. My mind wasn't fogged up enough, however, to forget how to be gentle. With the softest of touches – though she seemed much 

more durable than her once human mother – I folded my hands around her diminutive mid-section and brought her towards me.

Her cries stopped, almost immediately, as I held her in air – an arms length away – unsure of what to do next. Though, I knew what I should have done – what any father would do – her expression stopped me.

Her head fell forwards slightly, and her chocolate brown eyes peered at me through copper fringe. Her eyelashes still held diamonds of moisture and something inside of me – the human father that still lingered in me? – told me to brush the tears away. But the look in her eyes… I couldn't place it. It was… unsettling, to say the least.

We knew from the beginning that the child would be… different. The rate of it's growth, it's strength, it's existence at all. But never would I imagine… would I fathom…

The newborn stared at me with eyes that were forgiving. Primeval with understanding. As if she could read my mind and was trying to… what?... comfort me?

Abruptly, she began squirming again. She extended a pale hand, still reaching for me.

What did she want from me?

What could I possibly give her?

Not a warm embrace, that's for sure.

I sighed as I brought her closer, watching her curious eyes the entire time. Finally, when she was close enough, her tiny hand skimmed my cheek. And then her thoughts – that had barley surpassed the classification of white noise before – suddenly played like a movie; more picture than sound in my head.

The rush of information was fascinating. I felt like Aro as she feed her thoughts to me, every single one in her short life.

I saw blood.

A lot of blood.

I didn't know why, but that bothered me. And it wasn't that it was just Bella's blood – because god knows how much that bothered me – it was because she had to witness it. Witness the gruesome things that no father would want their daughter to see.

Daughter…

The word was still awkward for me, even in my thoughts. Such a gentle, innocent word would never associate with myself. Daughters were meant for caring, loving fathers. Not murderers.

Renesmee made a soft sound in the back of her throat, as if trying to get my attention, as if she knew my mind had wandered from the small movie she was letting me examine.

As soon as I willed myself enough to concentrate, I didn't need the will power anymore. Her mental picture held me, captivated me.

It was… me.

Through her eyes, I could see myself, and it was anything but pretty. My eyes were dead black, bottomless in their depth. My mouth had disappeared into nothing more than a tight line. The dark rings beneath my eyes were purple and my face, sunken in. The hands that I'm reaching out for her with are glistening and crimson.

I try to tear away from the image but Renesmee presses her palm harder against my cheek. I stare into her boundless brown eyes for a moment, before I am thrust back into the horrifying image of myself.

But this time, there's a difference. Something that I couldn't put my finger on at first, but then, as my hands reach closer and closer – as if in slow motion – I see the difference, and it's stifling. I still look the same – famished and covered in blood – but this time I see… the bright side?

Through Renesmee's eyes I can detect the dull sparkling of my skin under the bright light. It… fascinates her? No not fascinates… she finds it… beautiful.

I can feel the placidness of my action as I reach for her – holding her for the first time. My blood covered hands are… gentle, welcoming.

And suddenly, everything I viewed in a negative way before becomes positive. My eyes – black as pitch – are not angry in their darkness, but full of love. My lips that are pressed together seem to lift at one side. The rings under my eyes are not those of a vampire, but of a parent who stayed up all night to make sure their daughter made it home safely.

For once in my existence, the word father fit.

Renesmee pulled away gently and her hand reached up, patting my untidy hair.

I laughed, though the sound was desperate and hysterical.

Without thinking about it, I brought Renesmee closer and pressed my lips to her forehead. She smelt like citrus – thanks to Rosalie, no doubt – but beneath the heavy musk perfume I could make out the distinct scent of freesia.

Sweet.

"Just like your mother," I murmured against her skin.

She giggled, the sound was like the soft chime of a silver spoon against fine china.

Your time's up. I turned to look at Rosalie as she entered the room. Her thoughts were gentle though, so I nodded, ignoring the curious look on her face .

I kissed Renesmee forehead once more before placing her in the bassinet and handing it to Rosalie.

"Who woke up on the right side of the bed for once?" She muttered, turning with the bassinet in her hand to leave the room. Perhaps Rosalie could detect the amount of emotion in the room. Nothing scared Rosalie more then emotion.

I smiled back at Renesmee before she disappeared around the corner.

And then I took a deep breath.

Surely this was too much to take in one day, even for a vampire. My head felt heavy and clouded with emotion and my veins throbbed under my skin.

As if it was my instinct – though it certainly wasn't – my hand wrapped itself around Bella's.

I leaned forward in the chair I was sitting in and let my chin rest on the bed, a few inches from Bella's ear.

"She's beautiful, my love. Just like you." Bella didn't respond. Her mouth was quivering, holding in the sound; the screams.

"Perceptive, too," I murmured after a moment, my lips aching, yearning to take residence on her pale skin.

"I love her very much, you know." And the words were so true that it hurt. It seemed like an understatement.

Because, now, I had two things to life for.

I leaned forward, and pressed my lips to Bella's neck. When I pulled away, I winced. I guess I had missed a spot while cleaning off her blood.

I chuckled and pulled my fingers tenderly through Bella's hair, humming as I gazed at her.

Furtively, I ran my tongue over my bottom lip.

Bittersweet.

Thanks for reading!

If I make it past the evaluation (making sure we have the proper criteria for the challenge) voting begins August 25th!

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