A/N I think I must be obsessed with Angst!Edward. This idea kind of popped into my head today in the midst of a 12 on the pain scale migraine. Which is convenient because we all know what computer screens do to migraines. I consider it a small miracle that I'm actually alive posting this right now. lol Anyway, I'm not sure how long this is going to be yet. I have it mapped out in my head which is another small miracle because I think my brain has cleared out everything to make space for pain. Nice. lol Anwyay, enjoy :)
Chapter One - Loss
"I need to get out of here."
The words came from Jasper and they were the first that had been spoken in the Cullen household for a full twenty six hours.
Alice looked to him – her expression torn between grief, loyalty and guilt.
"How can you leave?" Rosalie demanded. Her hands were shaking and she was glancing between the kitchen and her husband who was seated next to her – his head in his hands; "That'd make everything worse."
"Rosalie, do you think Jasper can bear it. Bear… All our grief, plus…" Carlisle's words tapered off as he glanced upstairs.
Esme covered her mouth and a loud sob escaped her lips. Her golden eyes were screwed up, as if she was willing them to produce tears. "I can hardly bear it! Imagine having to feel Edward's pain as well."
Jasper leapt out of his seat then and walked to the window his fist clenching and unclenching.
"Stay Alice." He choked. He could feel her indecision – her pain derived from trying to choose between joining him and staying for Edward. "I'll be fine once I get out of here… Away from him."
She closed her eyes and nodded once.
He was gone then. It took a seventh of a second and he was flying through the forest at impossible speeds. Escaping the loos.
"We need to call Charlie." Carlisle said as another moment of silence passed. No one had noticed its unusual presence – after twenty six hours of the same thing they were all fairly used to it. Glad for it.
Alice nodded. Her eyes were still closed.
"What about…?" This unfinished question came from one person who hadn't spoken yet. Jacob emerged from his curled position beside the couch – red faced and teary eyed. Each Cullen resented him; he was able to cry. To release his pain in some physical form.
He swallowed thickly; "What about Renesmee?"
"She's fine." Emmett said, resentment thick in his voice.
"It's not her fault." Rosalie growled, silencing Jacob whose mouth was opened ready to defend the infant.
"No you're right." Emmett's head snapped up; "It's yours. You're the one who convinced Bella – stupidly – to keep her. You knew it would end badly. We all did. But we couldn't do anything."
"I didn't see you objecting to my actions!" She snapped, standing; "Bella wanted it too."
"Bella doesn't…" Emmett stopped his eyes widening at the mistake. He bowed his head once more, rubbing his forehead with one of his massive hands – whiter than it usually was with the tension.
Jacob turned away again, tears streaming down his face. "How long?"
Nobody needed for him to elaborate. His gaze was fixed on the stairs.
"We'll only know that if you and the baby get out of the house." Alice said. It was a harsh sentence but there was no harshness in her tone. Only misery.
"Well I need to go to La Push anyway." Jacob choked, looking out the window at where Leah or Seth were most likely circling, "Tell them."
"Do you think we could tell Charlie first?" Rosalie asked, her voice thick with irony.
Jacob thought for a moment; "I forgot… Yeah. Yeah I'll wait."
"I still need him out the house to tell what he's going to do." Alice said calmly, her voice pained. "God knows what he's capable of. Last time he went off to the Volturi."
"Last time he didn't have a daughter." Rosalie muttered.
"I don't think its likely that he's going to be thinking that logically." Carlisle said softly; "That might come to him later. But now, he'd still be in shock."
"I've got nowhere to go." Jacob said hopelessly; "I can't go outside without telling Lear and Seth and they'll want to tell Sue and then…"
"And Renesmee shouldn't leave the house." Rosalie said quickly; "She might help Edward."
Emmett made a sound of disgust and stood; folding his arms and purposely turning away from her.
"She might." Rosalie said indignantly. "She's his daughter."
"So you'll use Renesmee just like you used Bella." Emmett snapped, turning on her his face twisted in agony. Rosalie opened her mouth to respond but Carlisle beat her to it.
"Not now." He said calmly, but with effective authority; "Alice, how far away do you need to be to see?"
"A few miles would be best." She sighed, and without further conversation she stood and hurried out in the same direction Jasper had gone. On her way she said over her shoulder; "Jacob, get Leah and Seth to go east. Do it in human form."
Jacob nodded and headed out after her.
"Emmett perhaps you could…?" Carlisle issued the stairs.
Emmett shook his head; "I'm not in a good shape. I'd just make things worse. He'd be able to read my misery. I'd just… I'd… It'd just be worse." He said simply.
"I could go…" Rosalie began but Emmett cut her off with more angry words.
"As if he wants to talk to the person responsible for his wife's death."
Esme stood quickly. "I'll go. Should I take Renesmee with me…?"
Carlisle shook his head; "We don't know how he's going to react yet. Maybe we should wait until Alice gets back."
As if on cue Alice appeared in the living room once more, her face pinched in panic.
"Rosalie. Go." She said simply.
Rosalie appraised her expression, took one second to evaluate the danger and then sped out the door heading east.
Alice took another breath, seemingly calm now that a potential victim of Edward's grief and blame was out of the house. She looked to Esme; "It's best when you go in. Emmett makes things worse because… Well Rosalie." She seemed to struggle with her words; "And he doesn't react well to Carlisle either. And eventually I'll come up with Renesmee. He can't know about Jacob yet. Jacob is going to have to stay away for a while."
Carlisle nodded but Esme seemed to be fixed on the spot; "What do I say to him?" She whispered.
"You'll know." Alice said softly before approaching Emmett and putting a comforting hand on his shoulder.
Esme nodded; determined. She took a deep breath and ascended the stairs at human speed, trying to think of anything remotely helpful.
She came to the door. She shuddered slightly; it was as if the room was emitting an aura of silence. As if death had blanketed the room and separated it from the world permanently.
And as if to contradict it, she pushed open the door.
She tried not to look at Bella's ravaged body lying motionless on the hospital bed. The scent of her blood no longer floral and irresistible filled the room now smelling old and decayed. Her white skin almost matched the marble colour of the rest of the family. Esme couldn't contain the single sob that racked her chest.
The sound didn't arouse any movement in the unmoving figure leaning against the window sill. His shirt sleeves, rolled to the elbow were spatted with blood and Esme could imagine the front of his shirt. Imagine the reminder.
She could see him shaking his head. She wondered if it was in contradiction to her thoughts or just some memory he had. Perhaps he hadn't noticed her at all.
"I wish that were the case."
She jumped slightly. His voice was hoarse – dead sounding.
"I wish." He said again.
She approached him softly. Battling inwardly whether to put a hand on his shoulder.
"I know it's ineffectual." She whispered; "But I'm sorry."
He didn't move for a moment. Maybe absorbing the words? But finally he nodded. Once. And it was only a slight inclination of the head.
There were so many things she wanted to ask. She knew of course that simply by thinking them she was asking them so she tried to think of other things. Distract herself from the quantity and the curiosity. But there was one that escaped her grasp; something her maternal instinct refused to let go.
Are you going to the Volturi again?
Again it took a moment fro him to react and even then it was only a whisper of a reaction.
"I don't know." He said quietly.
Don't. She tried to silence her Mothering voice but it refused to listen – breaking through her carefully placed façade in desperation.
"I don't know what else to do." He said almost as if he was talking to himself; "And yet, I can't do that either."
He ran his head up the length of the window sill.
She rushed forward then and placed her hand on his shoulder. She half expected him to tear it off and throw her from the room.
"You think me a monster?" He asked; it was barely audible.
"I think grief can make us one." She said gripping it tighter.
He thought for a moment before replying – again in a hoarse whisper; "You're right. I am a monster. Look at what I did…"
He half turned, almost as if to issue the bed holding Bella's body but he couldn't fully turn to face it. He made a few more feeble attempts before giving up.
"I can't look at her." He choked; "But I can't leave this room. If I leave this room I'll never see her again. It's unfathomable. Impossible. Impossible that I could exist in a world where she doesn't."
"If I don't look at her." He continued, swallowing slightly; "It's like, she's in this room but she's not… She's not like she is."
His knees buckled then. Esme's hand fell with his shoulders. His head was in his hands and his body was heaving with loud sobs that didn't accompany tears. Esme sank down next to him and wrapped her arms around him – rocking back and forth. Sobs escaped her too, though she tried to hold them back. She tried her hardest to ignore the grief because as soon as she thought about it she knew Edward would think about it too. She couldn't bear intensifying his grief but she couldn't leave him either. Why did her son have to endure this? Why did such awful things have to happen to someone so good?
She thought for a moment about whether it would be alright to mention Renesmee. But of course she only remembered too late that Edward would hear her thoughts before she could reach a decision on whether to voice them or not.
"She's healthy," she added audibly, trying to be quick; "Strong."
She winced at the word. She tried not to think that the evidence of her Granddaughter's strength was lying on the bed behind them.
"Evidence of your son's monstrous nature." Edward added darkly through his sobs.
"It's not your fault Edward." She said desperately; "You're good. Pure. That's all you've ever been. You didn't know this would happen. You couldn't stop her. It would have been wrong to stop her."
"If I'd… Worked more quickly. If I hadn't been distracted by… by her." He struggled to acknowledge his daughter; "Then I might have saved her in time. The venom may have had an effect. I was too slow. And Jacob was too slow. And Rosalie's attack made everything harder."
At the mention of Rosalie Edward stood in fury; "Where is she?? SHE'S the one to blame for it all. SHE was the one who deluded Bella in the first place!"
He made to turn but remembered that Bella's corpse was behind him. He shuddered and made for the window instead.
"She's gone Edward." Esme said quickly, grabbing him by the shoulder again.
They stood motionless for a moment before Edward guessed; "Alice?"
Esme nodded, tight lipped. "Don't blame her Edward. She knew you'd do something to Rosalie that you'd regret."
"I wouldn't regret it." He growled.
"Think of Emmett." Esme suggested; "He's almost as bad as Alice right now. Don't make his grief worse."
"Perhaps I'll just kill him then." Edward muttered vindictively, "Show Rosalie what it's like to lose a mate."
Esme shook her head; "You wouldn't do that. Emmett's your brother. He loves you. He loved Bella."
Edward though about this for a moment and finally nodded. Esme quickly tried to return to what she needed to say desperately.
"Don't blame you efforts." She said, "You did your best. You saved Renesmee. If you couldn't have saved Bella, no one would have."
"I could have saved her in the beginning." He moaned; "I could have stayed away. I should never have come back to Forks."
"And made her so miserable?" Esme said; "She was lost without you. You gave her everything she wanted. You. Your marriage and a child she died to protect. How could you possibly blame yourself?"
"Because if she was having Jacob's child what would have been the worst thing that happened? They didn't get to the hospital on time? She would have been fine… Alive…" He dropped to his knees again. Esme fell with him rubbing his shoulder comfortingly.
"She didn't want Jacob. She wanted you. She got you. She got everything she desired and needed. I know what it's like to lose a child Edward. Death is nothing when your child is alive. Just like life is nothing when your child is dead. It doesn't exist. It has no meaning. If she had aborted that child your love wouldn't have redeemed her."
He didn't respond to that. He simply stared out the window, his eyes as black and as bleak as the entire world seemed.
They remained that way. Kneeling, she with her hand on his shoulder, and he looking out the window. Past the trees and the sky and beyond, further into nothingness.
Night had fallen before either of them spoke. It was Edward who opened the discussion, bowing his head.
"Do you know what I promised her?"
Esme turned to him in concern; "What?"
"That I'd look after Renesmee. If anything happened to her… I promised her I wouldn't… Go with her."
Esme let another sob escape her lips – in gratitude or grief she didn't know – and leaned her head against his shoulder.
"I don't think… I could leave Renesmee." His voice sounded amazed, "But where does that leave me? Because I can't remain here without Bella either."
"Where does that leave me?"
She wrapped her arms around him again. Maybe if she held him tight enough she could pull him back together. She couldn't bear this pain for her son.
"With us Edward. We love you. We all need you. And she needs you as well."
Unwelcome, a joke bounced around in her head. We can't let Rosalie raise her alone can we?
Edward growled, despite knowing Esme's humorous intent.
"I can't forgive her." He spat; "I never will. I'll forgive myself before I forgive her."
"She was the only thing that kept Renesmee alive. She made sure Bella's last few weeks were the ones she wanted. Think of how unhappy Bella would have been if you had forced her to get rid of the baby."
"Rosalie didn't do it for Bella." He growled again; "She did it for herself."
Esme didn't reply. There was nothing to be said. He was right, of course. She loved Rosalie, but that didn't lessen her mistake or her wrong doing.
"Thank you." Edward said quietly.
A knock came from the other side of the door.
"Carlisle?" Esme inquired.
"Alice." Edward and Alice answered at the same time.
Esme looked back at him, silently asking if it was alright for her to enter. He nodded once but didn't turn towards the door.
The door creaked open slowly. Alice didn't look at Bella, pointedly keeping her eyes trained on Edward's back.
"Renesmee is awake."
"Don't bring her up here." Esme said quickly, focusing on the bed.
Alice shook her head – the movement looked too awkward for it to be free of hysteria. "She wants you Edward."
The silence Esme had felt before entering seemed to return and envelop them all. She gripped Edward harder now. There was nothing else she could do. The situation had rendered her useless.
"No it hasn't." He choked. He swallowed, a lump sliding down his white throat, "I can't leave her Alice."
"Renesmee needs you more." She said softly in reply.
He stood in a swift movement, still facing the window but obviously itching to confront Alice head on. "I need to stay here! If I leave… I'm not sure if I'll be able to stop myself getting on a plane to Italy."
Both Esme and Alice shuddered together.
Silence crept into the room again. It was stifling in nature and almost hurt Esme's ears. Where did it come from? Why had this happened?
And then as if it was designed to cut the silence like the sharp blade of a knife, a babies' cry rang through the air.
Everything was loud. Carlisle pacing downstairs. Emmett trying to shush the infant child, Jacob crying outside, contemplating fazing.
Edward's pain multiplied in intensity.
Another cry reached their ears. This one more desperate. Her crying was forming a pattern of hiccups and gurgles – flowing freely through the house.
A white hand with long fingers reached up and banged the wall.
The crying stopped for a moment before returning this time louder and more demanding. This crying spoke of an endurance. It wasn't going to stop until the one doing it had what she wanted. Needed.
"Could you both give me some time?" Edward asked through gritted teeth. "I need some time."
They both nodded at the same time. Esme hesitantly stepped away, but she changed her mind a half stride from him and turned to kiss him on the cheek. Alice shot him a brief and very pained hesitant smile before turning and stepping out of the room.
The absence of his mother and Sister seemed to allow the silence better access to the room, but Edward could still hear the cries of his daughter below. They seemed to intensify the worry in his chest each time. It was like waiting for a phone to ring out. He could feel the tension building in his chest.
He didn't think it was possible, but eventually he curled his hands into fists and turned.
He looked past her fatal wounds, past her open belly, past the blood spattered sheets and finally up into her angelic face. She didn't look troubled or pained as he would have imagined her to look after such a brutal death. Her expression was peaceful. Happy almost. He could remember the expression from her last moments alive – she had seen Renesmee. Has seen him holding Renesmee.
His legs shook with each step towards her. It should have been impossible. His legs were moving when they should have refused to. His gaze was level when it should have been faltering. His will to live was strengthening with each cry when it should have been diminishing.
Yet the pain was unimaginable. Unbearable. In the same breath he couldn't understand it – because how could Bella not exist? How could there be this pain at Bella's death when Bella's death was impossible? Unimaginable?
He reached the side of the bed and remembered his promise.
"Don't let her grow up without knowing either of us. Stay. Promise to stay." She grasped at his hand, her large brown eyes never leaving his golden ones.
"Bella this is ridiculous. Carlisle will…"
"Please." She insisted.
He thought of the tiny being growing underneath her soft flesh. The happiness it felt when he was near…
"I promise." He said.
He leaned down carefully and stroked the side of her face. The grief in his chest screamed, slashing apart his insides. He used his other hand to wrap around his chest. Letting a stray sob loose he bent down and laid a gentle kiss on her smooth forehead.
"I love you." He whispered.
He looked at her loving face one last time before escaping out the door and away from the silence with inhuman speed; increasing as his desperation grew. He tore down the stairs, the grief slashing apart at him the whole while. He skidded to a halt in the living room before whirring past a shocked Emmett and Carlisle and into the kitchen where the cries were originating.
There was a crib there, beside the bench. Edward didn't think to wonder about her placement and he didn't care. He simply walked to the crib and reached out blindly.
Chocolate brown eyes found his.
The grief increased – this beautiful baby in his arms was the daughter Bella had died to save – but so did the room in his chest for love. For a moment he found he was almost forgiving himself – he had made this creature. Her bronze curls belonged to him. The curve of her lips, the shape of her eyes, the shape of her face, her toes and fingers, all his. But there was Bella there too. Fierce in its abundance. Her eyes were the most obvious. Brown. The prettiest brown he'd ever seen.
He resisted the urge to collapse and instead pressed his shaking lips to her forehead. He could feel the grief accumulating in her thoughts. Somehow miraculously she understood. She realised Mommy was never going to hold her, or satisfy her need for love. He closed his eyes and leaned towards her carefully.
He was surprised when he felt a hot hand on his cheek.
His eyes opened in surprise at what he was seeing.
His face – devastated and almost unrecognisable in that devastation – but also her need to rid him of that devastation. He could feel her own grief but she was more worried for him. She loved him so much she didn't care for her own grief. The loss of her mother.
So selfless. He thought.
He pressed his lips to her forehead again.
"My precious living memory." He choked.
I would really appreciate reviews. Even viruses sent on Bella's behalf. :) A Cullen vampire of choice is up for grabs for those who do review ;)