A/N: This song was written for a challenge on the LiveJournal community partofhim. My prompt was the lyrics from the song "Waiting For The Night," by Depeche Mode. I strongly recommend that you listen to the song (which you can find a link for on my profile) before or while you read the story. The lyrics are posted at the end of the story.

Standing in the bedroom of their cottage, his feet buried in the plush carpet, listening to the sound of water splashing in the bathtub, he is sharply aware that if he had had his way he would not be here in this moment, surrounded by this happiness.

He had wanted this -- desperately wanted this, but he would not allow himself to take, to have, to savor it. He was better than his base desires; more civilized than his depraved lusts; more generous than his devouring greed. She was everything he wanted and needed and craved; everything that he would not allow himself to have. He had hated himself for wanting her.

At times he had come horribly close to hating her for offering herself so freely, for holding her mortality so cheaply. She was all wanting and giving and loving and flesh and heat and fragrance and so, so unwise. He had known better than her, and was determined to prevent her from making such an epic mistake.

She thought she wanted this life, wanted him, but he was convinced that not long after it had been given to her, she would hate both this life and him. He wasn't strong enough to endure her hate.

Her assault against his will had been relentless. She was so soft and frail compared to his granite, but she had broken him down like a tiny weed breaks through cement. She wore away his excuses and insinuated her will into his until he had finally, grudgingly given in.

But still, he had done all of it: married her, agreed to change her in the future, without having truly taken action. She was the force, the push and he was simply in a state of reaction to whatever she did. He had happiness right in front of him and he let it grasp him, rather than grasping it for himself.

Even worse, when she had conceived, he had been forced to sit at her side day after day and watch her die. Watch her be the carrier to some hideous monstrosity that couldn't even be allowed to live once it had been born. To waste herself with her usual selfless love for something that was killing her.

It wasn't until the moment of her impending physical death that he truly took action. It felt so good, so right to be saving, preserving, claiming what he wanted. What he needed. He watched her change, still fearing that she would hate him when the stark reality set in.

She would have been right to have done so.

Regardless, she was his and he was hers. They would be damned together.

He knew that no matter what she was, he would always want her. In the most secret place in the furthest corner of his mind, though, he had feared that he would miss her humanity. Perhaps if he could look at her with half closed eyes, he could see her as the living human girl that she had been, that she should have remained. He could imagine her warm and blushing instead of cold and pale.

He could imagine her still in possession of her soul.

The moment he first held their daughter, though, he knew he had been wrong all along. It was impossible that this child of his was soulless. Then, as he kissed Bella for the first time as she awoke, he was sure that she still had a soul. He was astonished to feel the stirring of his own soul at that time, too. It called to hers and rejoiced in the forever and always that had just begun.

Ten years had passed since her change, marked only by their daughter's unusual growth, the aging of the few humans they had contact with and the slight changes in the world around them.

Before his marriage, he had expected to feel keenly the sense of wrong and loss as Bella failed to age naturally. To see that what was right and normal was not happening to her.

Instead, he felt a secret, burning pleasure in the physical youth of his wife. He would have loved her just as dearly, desired her just as much had she remained human and aged naturally. But the part of him that was forever seventeen rejoiced every time he grazed the supple firmness of her flesh, flesh that would remain unchanged.

He had done this. He had taken, bitten, claimed, and created her for himself.

What had once seemed the ultimate act of selfishness now had come to feel like the most natural and perfect decision he had ever made. How could he not have kept her? How could he not have changed her?

He needed her. She needed him.

He watched her there in the dark of their house, pale in the glow of the moon as she finished with her bath.

He watched the sway of her hips as she moved; the heave of her chest as she took unneeded breaths; her rosy lips slightly parted, her hair loose and swinging behind her. He was mesmerized as he watched a single drop of water slip from her hair and down the flesh of her back before it fell to the floor and another as it slipped down her throat and over the swell of one perfect breast.

In the day, they were parents, siblings, children, students, normal people with jobs and responsibilities and demands on their time and attention.

Every day, he waited for the night to fall. His impatience grew exponentially as the day waned. He needed this, to be alone with her, and his need overwhelmed him.

This, when they were finally alone, made everything bearable. Here in the dark, she was his and he was hers and they were all that mattered in the whole world.

She was his deliverance -- everything that he could ever need or want incarnate in one beautiful body. A mind that worked in ways he would never fully understand and would never tire of hearing when she let down her guard. A heart so pure and kind and loving and alive that he never ceased to admire it. A soul, without a doubt a soul, that restored his belief in his own.

There in the still and the dark, hands and lips exploring, adoring, ceaseless in their journey over each other's skin, over their two-become-one flesh, all he can feel is tranquility.

She, this, they are right. It is more than he deserves and he came so close to not having it that it still frightens him to think about it.

This -- the flesh, the touch, the give, the take -- is what he lives for now. He endures the days, enjoys them even, but always, every day, he waits impatiently for the night to fall.

Waiting For The Night To Fall Depeche Mode

I'm waiting for the night to fall

I know that it will save us all

When everything's dark

Keeps us from the stark reality

I'm waiting for the night to fall

When everything is bearable

And there in the still

All that you feel

Is tranquility

There is a star in the sky

Guiding my way with its light

And in the glow of the moon

Know my deliverance will come soon

There is a sound in the calm

Someone is coming to harm

I press my hands to my ears

It's easier here just to forget fear

And when I squinted

The world seemed rose-tinted

And angels appeared to descend

To my surprise

With half-closed eyes

Things looked even better

Than when they were opened

Been waiting for the night to fall

Now everything is bearable

And here in the still

All that you hear

Is tranquility