Something that I've been mulling over for a while. This is for those who wanted a happy ending. Well, here is an ending. Not necessarily a happy one, but an ending all the same.. :)


I'll keep hoping, as she keeps dreaming
A
Twilight FanFiction,
By Musings of a Shaken Mind

Alternate Ending.


The congregation sits, as one. Silence reigns in the ornate, beautiful hall. Not a word is spoken. And then, a slight shuffling alerts everyone present. Hundreds of reddened eyes follow the progress of that one man, as he makes his way toward the front of the room. He stoops, though he is not particularly old. He looks like the weight of the world is resting on his shoulders, hammering him down. He only just supports the burden.

It breaks the hearts of those watching. One set of loud, heart-wrenching sobs fills the room, and suddenly, people look everywhere but the front row. Charlie Swan reaches the source of the noise, and shuffles into the seat beside his ex-wife. Her husband sits on the other side, and the two men exchange a solemn nod.

In a town like Forks, births and deaths are whole-town events. Nearly everyone is here. Outside the church, rain patters gently against the window. It reminds people of where they are. This is Forks, and the weather is apt.

Indeed, the whole world seems sombre and solemn today. The autumn wind blows through the trees, nearly all of which are bare, now. The fallen leaves have lost their colour, and are now merely grey underfoot. The town seems to know that it has lost a cherished person, and it mourns the loss, just as humans do. The clouds overhead are a murky grey, and the rain continues to fall.

Only the grass is still a vivid green.

A truck stands outside. It is red and rusted and old, and it has been recently resurrected from its long-disused state to become a hearse. Bella would have liked that, you see.

Outside the church, an expensive car pulls up. The sophisticated roar of the Mercedes' engine tells of the driver and passengers. The Cullens have arrived.

Carlisle leads the way, with a sobbing Esme. Jasper follows, with Alice, and then Emmett with Rosalie. Even Emmett finds nothing remotely humorous about the situation, as they move inside with supernatural grace and silence, and take a seat in the only remaining pew, directly behind Charlie Swan. The pew that has been reserved, on The Police Chief's orders, for his daughter's 'other family'.

Carlisle Cullen rests a cold hand on Chief Swan's shoulder, a gesture of comfort in this, the hardest of times.

Edward Cullen is the last to enter the church.

His appearance creates a gasp from the congregation. Gone is the charming, handsome young man who was so taken by little Bella Swan. For the first time in one hundred years, Edward looks his real age. If Charlie walked with the weight of the world, then Edward is burdened with the universe. His pale skin is paler, his eyes a flat black. No gold warms them in the slightest. His usually messy hair is, if possible, messier than normal. It is painfully clear to all onlookers that he has run his hand through his hair several thousand times in recent hours.

There is something else, too, though it is not as easily spotted. Something about the way he holds himself, the way he walks, tells of sincere, all-consuming heartbreak. This is a broken man.

He takes a seat beside his adoptive father, his face buried in his hands. Gawping residents of Forks suddenly feel the need to look away, to respect the utter sincerity of the moment.

Mr. Weber stands. He has been asked to conduct the ceremony by Charlie. Like Carlisle, as he makes his way to the front, he rests a hand on the silently heaving shoulder of Bella's father. He looks worried, but he has to continue, so that they all may pay their respects.

"Isabella Marie Swan was a cherished member of the community. When she moved here, in January, she brought light into the lives of not only her father, but many others, too. She made many friends at Forks High School, and found another family in the Cullens. I would like to invite several people up to speak for Bella."

Charlie Swan rises awkwardly. Renee's sobs quieten, though the tears that course down her face do not slow.

"I was so glad, when Bella decided to join me here. I felt like I'd never been enough of a…" his voice breaks quietly. "I felt like I was never enough of a father to Bells. She was great, too. She meant everything to me. I was so happy to have her back, even just for a few months." He looks like he might need to say more, but he can not find the words to say. The Police Chief has never been one for words. " Love you, Bells…"

He sits down, his head resting in his hands as he sobs for his daughter.

Alice Cullen stands, graceful even in her grief. It has been decided that she will speak for the Cullens; Edward would simply not be strong enough. She makes her way beautifully to the front of the room, her eyes dark with emotion.

"I loved Bella like a sister. We all did. She was the unspoken eighth member of our family. It just felt like she fitted in. She completed all of us, not least Edward."

Her eyes flick across the faces of her family. Carlisle and Esme, mourning the loss of their daughter. Emmett, grieving for the little sister he never got to know, though he wanted to. Rosalie, silent as she thinks of how she always behaved towards Bella. Jasper, his eyes downcast, struggling with the emotions of everyone else, as he tries to keep his own anguish at bay. He grieves, too, for a lost little sister. And Edward… broken by the loss. The loss of humanity. The loss of his one true love, the girl for whom he had been willing to die. The girl for whom he has died.

"She wasn't just a friend, she was a sister. And she would have been a real sister soon anyway—as soon as Edward could have gotten a ring on her finger."

Alice chokes on a dry sob, wishing that she were able to cry. It would make it more real, she thinks. More final. The finality of Bella's death is a dull blow to every one of them. She feels a gripping emptiness now, as she looks out over the faces.

"She will be missed for all eternity."

Alice sits, knowing she has said enough. Carlisle moves to stand, but Edwards stops him with an energy he has not displayed in weeks. Carlisle's eyes search Edward's, and the younger man nods once. Carlisle sits. Edward moves to the spot that his sister has just vacated.

"I loved Bella. I loved her so much. I would have given her the world, but somehow, instead, she chose me." His voice breaks no less than fourteen times in the short sentence. "She completed me. She was the other half of me… and I don't know how I'll survive without her blush and her clumsiness and her warmth and love.

"I love you Bella. I'll love you forever."

Edward stumbles back to his seat, and his mother moves a comforting arm across his shoulders. He sobs in earnest now, thinking of what he has lost.

The ceremony draws to a close, and the congregation moves outside. They gather around a square of ground that has been awaiting the coffin. It is a closed coffin. None of her family could have borne it if it had been open. The mahogany box is lowered gently into the earth as Mr. Weber recites the eternal words.

"Ashes to ashes, dust to dust…"

Each person comes forwards with a handful of soil. Some say a few words, while others say nothing at all as they toss the earth onto the coffin.

Finally, only the Cullens are left. Even Charlie Swan and Renee Dwyer have tossed in their soil and moved away.

"Sorry, Bella. I was never fair to you. Good luck."

"I wish you hadn't smelled so good, Bella. I wish I could have gotten to know you."

"Sorry, little sister. Sorry we didn't save you in time."

"I love you, Bella… I'm sorry I didn't see this coming. I love you."

"My daughter… we will never forget you."

"Oh, Bella… this world was never enough for you. You were the best of what is human, and the brightest of stars in this place. I loved you like a daughter, and will always regard you as such."

Carlisle and the rest of the family step back. Edward steps forwards, dropping to his knees beside her as he says his final goodbyes.

"Oh, Bella… I love you so much. I'm so sorry, Bella. I'll love you forever. I wish I had saved you, Bella. You deserved to be saved. I love you."

The rest of the earth is returned to its rightful place in the ground on top of the body of Bella Swan, and the congregation slowly disperses, after wishing the Swans and Dwyers well.

After a long time, only Edward is left, kneeling beside the grave of his beloved.

A pair of stone arms encircle his waist, and he smiles, though his expression is still heartbroken. Soft lips brush his cheek, and he turns to face her.

Though her eyes are still red, she is the most beautiful thing in his world. Her expression is sorrowful, her voice like bells when she speaks.

"I'm sorry you had to deal with that."

"For you, my love? Anything."

"This is it.'

"Forever."

Their lips meet in a kiss, and they smile simultaneously.

"I love you, Edward."

"As I love you, my Bella."


By the way, this is just out of interest--does my british spelling bother all you Americans? I know that some American spelling bothers me, so it would only be fair for that to work either way. I'm not judging--I'm just curious. Review?