A/N: Sorry about never finishing this story; my muse went bye-bye last year and I never got it back. I suppose the whole waxing/waning thing should be nothing new by now. I hate leaving things, unfinished, so I figured I'd just make this the end. I may write more if it's requested, but I don't blame you guys if you gave up on me here.
It was worked out ahead of time what they would do. Edward volunteered his heart, though it pained Bella to see him cut open. Carlisle would do the surgery.
Getting Edward's heart out was tough, but once they had made the skin incision, it got easier. By the time Carlisle had placed the silvery, stone-looking heart onto the tray, Edward's skin was sealing shut. He was awake through the entire process and he said it only hurt a little bit. Bella had held his hand but was unable to watch the process. Pumpkin stayed nearby, focusing her energy into Dawn's body to keep it alive. The radio still played.
Carlisle opened Dawn's chest up and parted the skin, the muscle, and finally, the center cartilage that held her ribs together. With the coolness of a seasoned surgeon, he clamped off the veins to the diseased heart and removed it. As soon as it came into contact with the metal tray, it disintegrated. It was a good thing that they were all vampires; the sight would have made them ill otherwise. He connected all the valves, then gave the heart an electrical shock. To everyone's astonishment, it shuddered and started to beat. Then, he and Edward took the prepared syringes of venom and injected them before closing the incision.
The change was almost instant: Dawn's skin took on a silvery sheen like frost. Within a few minutes, the heartbeat on the monitors registered a steady beat.
"I have an idea," Edward commented. He retrieved a donor's bag of blood and tore it open with his teeth. Then, he squeezed it little by little into Dawn's mouth. The swallow reflex still worked.
It was an hour after that when the new hybrid regained consciousness.
"I had the strangest dream," she announced, "I dreamed I was drinking blood."
The room was filled with laughter and sighs of relief. Carlisle was the first one to embrace her.
"Before anything else happens, I have a question," he said to her, "will you marry me?"
The room was filled with applause and suggestive whistles when he kissed her.
The wedding was small and simple and they spent their honeymoon in Dawn's castle. After having had some time off, Pumpkin joined Dawn's band and they made a surprisingly good duet. No longer jealous of Pumpkin, Dawn limited the "sibling rivalry" to a few wisecracks here and there. Her songwriting abilities improved significantly now that she was writing from personal experience rather than guesswork.
The vampire lifestyle continued and things were as "normal" as could be expected. They even got used to Dawn's illusions, which she sometimes used to play jokes on them. And of course, now that she didn't have to sleep, she had plenty of time to devote to her artwork as well.
Carlisle never forgot about Esme, but he no longer had the empty, aching feeling in his soul, either. She would have wanted him to go on, he knew. Dawn understood that he would never forget her and she never fussed about it if he said her name.
You must have been a great woman…shame we never met. Don't worry, I'll take good care of him. It's because of you that I appreciate him, I guess… Dawn thought. She placed an armful of white roses on the grave. Then she got in the car and the Cullen family was on to their next adventure.