Preface

I never thought that my life would include such a death. I knew I would have to see my human friends die, while I lived on, but I never expected to see one that was immortal have the life snuffed out of.

When one that you are fond of is gone forever, you feel hurt, you feel pain, but you feel what you never thought to: anger. No matter how much they wished not to, no matter how much they did not choose to, they have abandoned you in your greatest time of need.

They may have died in honor, in sacrifice, yet their death has stuck a heavy blow, and they have left you there, to continue on, without his leadership and guidance.

I look in the eyes of his brothers, his sons, and it is misery beyond what is possible to feel without losing someone so close to you yourself.

He has left, leaving his role in the hands of one of his family and they have no choice but to subtly acknowledge his death, and continue on, leading his family as though nothing had happened.

And the one that has had leadership thrust upon them is one of the closest to me in my existence.

If a battle is won, but you lose a close one, is that a true victory?

Chapter 1

Gold. My eyes were gold. Obviously, a cramped airplane restroom wasn't the best place to figure that out, but hey, you can't have everything in life. Or existence in my case.

Finally, after almost a year of being a vampire, my eyes matched Edward's. They had been red almost until February, which was the worst, because I had to wear brown contacts as to not startle people with my crimson irises. Then, as Carlisle promised, they turned amber from hunting animal blood rather than human blood. Finally, my eyes were gold.

Satisfied, I slipped out of the airplane restroom, and walked down the aisle to sit next to Edward and Renesmee. Edward grinned up at me as I sat down. "I thought vampires didn't need to use the restroom, Mrs. Cullen."

I shuddered. Even as his wife for almost a year, it still creeped me out when he called me "Mrs. Cullen". He chuckled at my expression. "So what took so long, anyways?"

Uh… "I was just amazed that my eyes were gold now." I mumbled. "I'm glad."

Still smiling, he murmured, "You were always beautiful, even with red eyes. But I'm glad you have gold eyes now. It makes you look even better."

Renesmee reached over and touched my cheek, flooding my vision with the scene that just happened. There was happiness colored in. "I'm glad you like it, too." I whispered.

Renesmee was only 9 months old, but because of her super-speed growth rate that was slowing down everyday, she appeared to be an average eight-year-old girl. Intellectually, though, she was so much smarter than an average eight-year-old girl. She could talk, read, and do probably anything else as well as a normal adult. But there was something else, special even vampire-wise. Through physical contact, she could put images of her memories in your mind, which she preferred as communication rather than talking.

She grinned at me, and replayed my expression when Edward had called me "Mrs. Cullen." Edward chuckled as he saw the images through reading her mind. "But you are, officially, Mrs. Cullen, and nothing you do can ever change that, not even if you, er, if your existence ends. From the moment you said 'I do', you were Bella Cullen forever." He smirked at me.

I rolled my eyes, but, in truth, I was glad that we were married. He was mine now. Mine and nobody else's. I sighed happily, and closed my eyes. I wouldn't sleep, or rather, I couldn't sleep, as a vampire, but I didn't want Renesmee to stay awake until we touched down in Seattle, now matter how eager she was to see Jacob. I ground my teeth, still slightly annoyed that Jacob had imprinted on my daughter.

I expressed my annoyance to Edward nonverbally, by removing the shield that protected my mind from anything that could get into my head, so Edward could hear my thoughts. It was easier now, to control my shield, after a year of practice in my free time while going to Dartmouth. By now, I could easily push my shield out to include others, that it was almost instinct that whenever we were in danger, I would silently push my shield out, like a balloon, so that Edward and Renesmee were protected by any unwanted interference in our minds. I could also simply lift the shield out of my head, to allow this "interference" from entering my mind, but I only did this on the occasion that I wanted Edward to hear my thoughts.

Edward sighed, obviously irritated as well. He and Jacob's relationship was edgy when I was human, Edward afraid that Jacob would hurt me and vice versa, but he allowed Renesmee and Jacob's relationship live, because he knew that he owed Jacob.

Renesmee was already sleeping. I stroked her bronze curls gently before looking at Edward again. "How do you think Charlie will react to her growth spurt?" I whispered worriedly. The last time my father had seen Renesmee, before we left for New Hampshire, she was physically three years old.

Edward rubbed my arm soothingly. "I'm sure he'll consider it one of her… special things." he reassured me. "By now, it should take a lot to surprise him."

I nodded, sighing. "Still, I hope he doesn't have a heart attack or anything." Edward rolled his eyes at my concern, but he didn't push it. I knew he was anxious to see that his family was well, after a year. Carlisle, Esme, Emmett, Rosalie, Jasper, Alice, the wolves. I wondered how things were going in Forks, as well.

We were silent the rest of the way, but we were probably both as fidgety as Renesmee by the time we touched down in Seattle.