I loved Breaking Dawn (and the entire series, of course), but at the end I was left still wanting more. I found myself imagining what Edward and Bella would be doing in another ten years, and it bothered me that the Volturi threat was still "out there." This story is my attempt at a sequel for Breaking Dawn.
When I began this story back in 2009, I intended to keep everything in line with canon. However, the Illustrated Guide has become available since then, and some of the things I had already written and some of the things that part of the plot hinged on are not in line with what has been published in the Illustrated Guide. Alice's past is completely different in my story, and I had made up names for Nahuel's sisters which I have not bothered to go back and change. But aside from that, everything should be in line with the four books from Twilight Saga, Midnight Sun, and the information that was available on the twilightlexicon site at the time I started writing the story.
The story is now complete and all chapters of the main story have been posted (36 chapters). The reason I am not yet marking it officially "complete" on the site is because I still have an epilogue planned as well as an outtake.
Rating: Rated T because the Twilight series is rated T. There is no foul language in this story, and sexual references/violence are be handled in a similar manner as in SM's Twilight books.
Disclaimer: All recognizable characters are the property of Stephenie Meyer.
Chapter 1: Flight
"Go to sleep," Edward murmured as he closed his eyes. I leaned over on his shoulder and pretended to sleep as the flight attendant stepped out of the cabin and came down the aisle for another routine check. The other first-class passengers were all asleep, or nearly so, and we might as well blend in.
I could hear the familiar sound of Jacob's snore just behind me. Renesmee was leaning against his shoulder as I was against Edward's - only she didn't have to pretend; she really was asleep. I had envied her that ability, on a few occasions, but not often. I truly enjoyed the extra time afforded to me by my inability to sleep. Even though we had eternity to spend together, I didn't want to waste one minute sleeping, not when I could spend it with Edward, fully conscious.
Edward and I had been married for ten years now. Our love had only deepened with time, and our desires for one another physically had not lessened. Emmett and Rosalie had nothing on us. However, as a more mature vampire, I was better able to balance my daily activities and had learned how to focus on whatever task was at hand. My current task was to sit next to Edward on this plane, for a few hours, with no inappropriate public displays of affection. Not an easy task, but I would manage.
I let my thoughts roam through the events of the last decade.
Ten years ago, I was still human, on a similar flight, headed to the same island off the coast of Brazil. Esme's island. Never in my wildest dreams had I imagined that I would conceive Renesmee on my honeymoon. Carlisle hadn't even known to warn us. As it turned out, Renesmee was not the first of her kind - half vampire and half human - but her kind was very rare. We had learned of only four others, half-siblings to one another, who lived in the Amazon. None of their mothers had survived. And their father had been hunted down and destroyed by the Volturi shortly after our confrontation with them nearly 10 years ago. Nahuel hadn't minded; his half-sisters were another story.
The pregnancy took its toll on my human body, but I kept my promise - I kept my heart beating, with some help from Jacob and Edward. Edward changed me right after she was born. I will never forget the endless pain of the fire that burned through my veins. My transformation took less time than most, but those two days felt like an eternity. It was worth it, though; I've had no regrets. The last ten years have been the best of my life.
The public story at first was that Edward and I had moved to Alaska to attend college, when in reality we had continued to live in Forks with the Cullens for the first three years of our marriage. Only Charlie, Renée, and our Quileute friends knew the truth - or at least some version of it. It was the longest Edward's family had ever stayed in any one place, and we had been seriously pushing the limits of believability for Carlisle's age. His body was frozen at twenty-three, and he was claiming thirty-seven. He was well-known in the area, being one of the few doctors in town, and he had begun getting comments from random people at the hospital about how he never looked any older. We hated moving away from Charlie, and Jacob's pack brothers, but the time had come; we no longer had a choice.
I smiled to myself as I thought of Charlie. One thing I had expected to lose when I became a vampire was contact with my human family. We were furious with Jacob when we first found out he had invited Charlie over to the Cullens' shortly after my transformation. I was a days-old newborn vampire, and the results could have been disastrous, but it had worked out really well. Even ten years later, Charlie still insisted on being on a "need to know" basis and had come nowhere close to guessing the Cullens' secret. He had taken my altered appearance - as well as Renesmee's presence - in stride. Of course, the changes to my body probably didn't seem quite so shocking when compared to seeing Jake phase into a wolf. He knew there was something "magical" going on, but he honestly did not want to know any details. I couldn't have planned it more perfectly myself.
And then there was Renée. In the beginning, I thought I might have to let her think I died. It had taken me 6 months to come up with a story that I knew would satisfy her. Emmett hadn't thought my mom could possibly be that gullible, but he should have known better than to bet against Alice. We hadn't introduced Renesmee to Renée until she was seven years old, when we were able to pass her off as Edward's long-lost biological sister. Before that, we would have Jacob "babysit" at Billy's whenever she was visiting. Renée still didn't know Nessie was her granddaughter, but she loved her nonetheless.
Jacob let out a particularly loud snore, jolting me from my trip down memory lane. I checked my watch, noting that we still had about thirty minutes of flight time remaining. Everyone was still sleeping - or pretending to. I resumed entertaining myself with memories of the past few years.
When it had become a necessity to leave Forks, we moved to Wisconsin and remained there for five years. Our new house was quite similar to the one in Forks. Edward, Emmett, Jasper, Alice, and Rosalie had enrolled in high school once again. Jacob had looked twenty-five for some time and could not pass for a high school student, so he posed as the Cullens' groundskeeper. At first, he had objected (to put it mildly) to the idea of playing what he saw as the role of a servant, but he eventually agreed it was the most believable explanation for any humans who might ask. After all, he looked as old as Carlisle; he couldn't be another adopted child.
I stayed home, where Esme and I homeschooled Renesmee; Nessie and I stayed out of the public eye so that the locals didn't know we existed. Our story if anyone happened by the house and saw us was that I was Edward's sister-in-law and Renesmee was his niece. But our house was quite secluded, and none of the locals ever happened by. We did get out of the house during this time of course; in fact, we had traveled extensively, enjoying a number of vacations, as well as several field trips to supplement Renesmee's education. We just avoided the local town and its surrounding communities.
We sent Charlie plane tickets, and he visited about once a month. He just couldn't stay away from his granddaughter. We also sent tickets to Renée, but she visited less frequently, as she had a busy life with Phil and was completely unaware that she had a grandchild.
When it was time to leave Wisconsin, Alice and Jasper, and Emmett and Rosalie, took an extended vacation - traveling the world and enjoying some time alone with their mates. Carlisle and Esme moved to Massachusetts, where Carlisle had accepted a position with Harvard, teaching and conducting research.
Edward and I, along with Renesmee and Jacob, moved - of all places - to La Push. Charlie had been delighted. The wolves and the tribal council had come to accept us because of Jacob's imprinting, and with time, they grew to trust us enough that the treaty was amended to permit our family on Quileute land. The wolves had given up trying to keep their existence a secret from their own tribe a year earlier; too many of their people had noticed that the pack members weren't aging. Jake had never given his pack the same orders of secrecy that Sam had, so the knowledge had traveled to the extended families and close friends of his pack members even before that. So there was no need for Edward or me to conceal our lack of aging, since the Quileute people already knew our secret, and the Volturi already knew they knew. It was also unlikely that anyone we knew from Forks would see us there. Many of the people who had attended high school with us had moved away to larger cities to attend college and had not returned to Forks. We just avoided touristy areas like First Beach, and Edward was able to give us sufficient warning if any familiar minds from Forks wandered into our vicinity.
For a long time, Renesmee had been begging for us to let her attend a "real" school, like her dad and her aunts and uncles did throughout much of her life, but we hadn't been able to allow it when she was growing at such an accelerated rate. The risk of exposure would have been too great - we couldn't have her in the public eye long enough for anyone to notice her unusual growth. So she was thrilled when we moved to La Push because she was able to attend the Quileute high school.
Renesmee's childhood had passed so quickly. She had physically matured to adulthood in less than eight years, and her rate of mental maturity had been even more astounding.
My thoughts were interrupted as I heard the flight attendant make her way down the aisle to once again check if anyone needed anything. Once she had returned to the cabin, I looked up at Edward's face - the very definition of perfection - and saw that he was looking at me as well. He kissed me gently on the forehead - he knew not to distract me too much - and then gazed into my eyes. I recognized the curious look on his face and felt the familiar pressure against my mental shield. Over the years, I had become much more sensitive to my shield and could detect whenever anyone was trying to get through it. Not that Edward was actually trying, but whenever he focused on me and wondered what I was thinking, I could feel it nonetheless. I had learned how to move my shield off of myself temporarily but it still required some effort and concentration, and to be honest, I rather liked the ability to keep my thoughts private.
"What are you thinking right now?"
I answered verbally, as was my habit. "I was just thinking about how much things have changed in the last ten years. And how they have only gotten better."
"Yes...I was thinking the same thing." He smiled.
Then a look of distaste and irritation crossed his face.
"Would you mind?" He whispered to me, as he glanced back toward Jacob, who was still sleeping soundly. Jacob must be dreaming of Renesmee again. Jacob's vivid mental pictures had been a source of irritation to Edward before we were married, back when Jacob thought he was in love with me. But Jacob had become our son-in-law; he and Renesmee had gotten married about a year ago. So now Edward found himself subjected to Jacob's vivid mental images and thoughts about our daughter. Of course Edward recognized that these thoughts were not inappropriate for Jacob to have about his wife, but no father wants to see such visuals of his daughter.
I threw my shield around Jacob and Renesmee, and the relief in Edward's eyes was instant.
"Thank you." He sighed, and then shuddered as if trying to shake off the images that had just intruded into his mind.
I was in the habit of shielding them whenever we were all awake and together, so that Edward would not have to listen to their passionate thoughts about one another. With practice, I had developed better control of my shield and it had become much easier to expand it to encompass more people than just myself; I no longer needed to be angry or threatened to manipulate it. However, it still took a portion of my concentration to maintain it, so I had dropped it about an hour ago when Jacob had started to snore.
Jacob had imprinted with Renesmee the first time he saw her face - when she was just a few minutes old. Edward and I had both reacted with shock and anger when we first found out, but we knew he truly had no choice in the matter. So we accepted - reluctantly, at first - that he would always be an integral part of her life, and thus ours as well.
When she was little, he was her best playmate. As she grew, he was her trusted friend. When she hit puberty, she began to develop romantic feelings for him. Edward had been quite impressed by Jacob's self-control when our five-and-a-half-year-old teenager began hitting on him. It reminded me a bit of Edward's self-control with me when I was still human, except Edward said that Jacob's thoughts and desires were actually much more pure than his own had been. Jacob always did what was best for Renesmee.
Renesmee had reached physical maturity a few months before her 8th birthday. She had the appearance of a seventeen or eighteen year old when she finally stopped growing and changing. Only then did Jacob begin to return her romantic interest. That was around the time we moved from Wisconsin to La Push.
They both enrolled as seniors at the Quileute high school and "dated" that year. Jacob had completed his junior year 8 years earlier, but had not returned for his senior year because he had imprinted with Renesmee that summer and refused to be away from her to attend school. Renesmee's homeschooling, along with her natural abilities for learning, put her way ahead of the other seniors, and ahead of many college graduates, for that matter. She had no problem keeping up with the course work. Renesmee tutored Jacob in the evenings, though Edward said it was just an excuse for him to spend more time with her, and I suspected they mostly concentrated on each other during the school day as well.
That had been an interesting year. Renesmee thoroughly enjoyed high school, and Jacob was the perfect boyfriend. It had been a difficult time for Edward, hearing their thoughts about one another. Though he knew she was nearly grown and recognized that this romantic relationship was not only inevitable but actually desirable, he wasn't quite ready for his little girl to be an adult, and his ability to hear their thoughts was awkward, to put it mildly. I often shielded Renesmee to give her some mental privacy, but Edward persuaded me not to block Jacob, as he determined to keep an eye on "the dog" and make sure his daughter's virtue was protected.
Jacob had made a great effort to be careful with his thoughts and went out of his way to be considerate and respectful of Edward during that time. He was as protective of his "Nessie" as Edward was, and would do nothing to jeopardize his relationship with her. In addition, he knew he had gained Edward's respect as a future son-in-law, and he was not going to risk losing it.
They were married a few months after graduation, in a traditional ceremony on the reservation. They had gone to Hawaii on their honeymoon - I did envy their ability to publicly bask in the sun. I had been shielding their thoughts, as much as possible, since their return.
My thoughts then turned to the immediate future. This was our first trip back to Isle Esme since our honeymoon. It seemed a fitting place to celebrate our tenth anniversary. Jacob and Renesmee were traveling with us as far as Rio, where they would be staying in a beach house to celebrate their one year anniversary, which happened to be a few days after ours. They also hoped to make a side trip to the Amazon jungle to visit Nahuel and his three half-sisters, Launhe, Shua, and Mishna.
I thought of Kaure, the part Ticuna Indian who was a member of the cleaning crew for Esme's island home the last time we were there. Her tribe was more superstitious - or more aware - than the general population, and she had recognized Edward for what he was, or close enough. And she had dared anger him - had risked her life - just to check on me. She had been worried about why he had me, a human, alone with him on the island.
And when she noticed my pregnancy, Edward was able to persuade her to share some tidbits from her tribe's legends about half-vampires with him. She did not have a lot of information, but simply learning that there were legends was immensely helpful, and gave Edward and Carlisle a starting point in their research on how the pregnancy might progress and how they might be able to keep me alive at least long enough to be changed. And if I had not heard her tell Edward "morte" I might not have suspected how he was initially planning to kill our "monster" to save me; I would not have had time to get Rosalie to protect us until Renesmee herself could convince Edward that she wasn't a monster.
Also, knowledge of Kaure's legends helped Alice and Jasper track down the Amazon half-vampires, and Nahuel had accompanied her back home to prove to the Volturi that the existence of mature half-vampires posed no threat of exposure.
I admired Kaure's courage, and I felt somehow indebted to her. Had Kaure not been there, or had she ignored what she had seen in the interest of her own safety, I felt quite certain my life would not be so perfect. I might not have survived the pregnancy. Or Edward might have been successful in terminating my pregnancy, in which case we would not have Renesmee. If Alice had not found the Amazons, we would have fought the Volturi, and even if we had won that battle, it was unlikely that all of our family would have survived. Yes, I owed Kaure my life. I wondered if there was something we could do for her to show our appreciation.
"Edward, do you think Kaure will still be part of the cleaning crew? Or do you think we could find her? When we were here before, she risked angering a vampire to check on me, and if she hadn't shared her tribe's legends with you, I'm not sure how things would have turned out. I would like to thank her, maybe do something for her to show my appreciation." I spoke in a voice too quiet for humans to hear.
"I don't know. But we can certainly try to track her down." I could tell from the tone of his voice that he liked the idea and was starting to make his own plans. "Hmmm. We will need to go without Renesmee. Kaure would undoubtedly recognize her resemblance to both of us, and she does not need to know about the accelerated aging - that was not part of her tribe's legends."
"I have some old pictures we could show her. Kaure would expect her to look about nine years old now, so we could show her pictures from the first 3 or so years." I thought some more, trying to think of what we could do to show our appreciation. I had no idea what she might want or need. "I'm not sure what we could do for her. We'll have to just ask her, and even if she won't tell us maybe you will hear something in her thoughts, and we can return with a gift for her."
"Yes, my little talent does prove to be useful from time to time," he agreed, with my favorite crooked smile. "But she's not aware of my mind-reading, so we'll need to be careful about that." He paused, then continued his thoughts about our plan. "If we go together, she will see that I have changed you. She should not be too surprised, since their legends of the Libishomen do include the ability to change humans, but she will probably be frightened. But I think we can convince her that we mean no harm."
"My thoughts exactly," I said, feeling and relieved that he had objected to the idea of us visiting Kaure. I had been concerned he might not think it was safe for her to see I had been transformed. But Edward had already confirmed to her that he was what she had suspected. Would it really matter if she knew of two vampires instead of just one?
"We're almost there," Edward whispered. A few seconds later plane began to descend.
Jacob and Renesmee both woke up as we landed.
We once again took a taxi through the streets of Rio, headed toward the ocean. But this time Jake and Renesmee were with us. We would be dropping them off at their beach house on our way to the dock.
The beach was far enough from Esme's island to allow each couple privacy - it was well out of Edward's "hearing" range when we were on the island, but it was close enough that we could meet up and do some activities together as well. Mostly we would want to spend this vacation time alone with our mates, as it was an anniversary trip after all, but we also made plans to meet a couple times during our two-week trip for a bit of family time.
We arrived at the beach house, and Jake and Nessie got out of the car. I kept my shield around them until they went inside the house, and then we were speeding away to the dock. We got in Carlisle's boat and headed to "our" island. On my first trip in this boat, all I could see around me was darkness, but with my vampire vision the short trip was more scenic. I could even see the fish down in the water, darting away from the boat as we approached. I thought about how I would be able to "snorkel" with Edward without any gear this time.
"What are you thinking?"
"I was just watching the fish. I couldn't see them last time." I smiled as another thought came to me. "Have you ever hunted underwater? Sharks are predators - I wonder how their blood would taste."
"They're quite good, actually. Almost as good as mountain lion."
"Seriously?" I asked. I wondered when he had been shark hunting - hadn't he told me he went to the mainland to hunt the last time we were here?
"They're more difficult to hunt, since we can't use our sense of smell underwater, but we can keep an eye out for one when we go snorkeling. One would be enough - they're big enough that we could share."
I suppressed a smile as an image of Lady and the Tramp sharing their meal of spaghetti sprang to my mind. Two vampires sharing a shark would not have quite the same sweet, romantic quality as the image from the movie.
I could see the island up ahead, in clear detail even in the faint light of the moon. It was even more beautiful than I remembered. We arrived at the island, and once again he swept me into his arms and carried me into the house. We flipped on the lights and Edward went back for the luggage. Everything looked the same as before. I peeked in the bedroom and noted the headboard had been replaced with what appeared to be an exact replica. I went into the room with the big white bed and sniffed the pillows. They were new, and these were not filled with feathers. I smiled at his preparedness. It was unlikely he would bite a pillow again, but who knew what other damage we might do. Best to avoid the possibility of another feather mess.
He returned and set the luggage down. No need for a human moment this time, I thought to myself.
"How does a midnight swim sound?" I asked suggestively.