ONCE UPON A TWILIGHT CONTEST
Title: The Resurrection Stone
Author: Justine Lark
Word Count: 3,078
Summary: Decades after Breaking Dawn, the Cullens spend time in Scotland, where Bella and Edward come across a curious black stone and find themselves talking to departed loved ones.
This story was submitted as an entry for the Once Upon a Twilight Contest, hosted by wishimight and staceygirl aka jackbauer. For complete contest details and to read the rest of the contest submissions, please visit the contest community at:
Author's Note: This story is a departure for me as it includes an element of the Harry Potter world along with Twilight characters. I hope my regular readers like it anyway. I think it's quite possible for Twilight fans who know nothing about the Harry Potter series to enjoy the story. I originally classified it as a crossover but for the purpose of the contest, it has to be a regular Twilight story.
It always bothered me that Harry left the Resurrection Stone lying where it fell in the forest. The chances of anyone else finding it might be small, but they are hardly zero. My youngest daughter and I were talking over this problem when the idea for this story blossomed. Thanks to my great friends, Edward-Bella-Harry-Ginny for a valuable suggestion and Juliejuliejulie for all her support.
I also must give very special thanks to my awesome reviewers! The early feedback to my story was very valuable and really sent my mind into overdrive. It was clear to me that the ending of the story wasn't quite right. It was rather abrupt and left open a lot of valid questions. (That wasn't too surprising because I did write the whole thing the night before the contest deadline and I was pretty tired at that point.) This expanded and improved version does not include certain specifics some readers suggested. Instead it develops my original vision of the story a bit further and hopefully provides a more satisfying conclusion.
"Race you!" Before Edward finished speaking, he took off into the forest, and I plunged through the trees after him. Scotland was working out wonderfully. The cloudy skies suited our family well, and we had found a remote, wild area which offered excellent opportunities for hunting and recreation. The dry leaves crackled under my feet as I chased Edward's laughter through the mist. The fog held his exhilarating scent. I was gaining on him. He must not be going full speed. Just as I was about to catch up, something caught my attention. I slowed down to scoop up the thing that I had noticed, and as soon as I glanced at it, I halted in my tracks. I called for Edward, but he had already heard me stop running and had rushed back to my side.
"What is it, love? Or are you just trying to gain some ground on me?" he teased.
"This stone," I said, smiling up at him. "It was just lying on the ground." I held it out for him to see. It was black with lines etched into it and a crack through the center.
"Somebody must have scratched those shapes," he commented.
"Yes, it just didn't look natural."
"Are you going to keep it? Maybe Carlisle would like to look at it," he suggested. "It could be really old."
"I don't know," I said, turning the stone over and over and passing it from one hand to the other as I examined the whole surface. "The design looks like a circle inside a triangle. But the crack goes right—"
We both froze. Something was happening. The cloudy air was coalescing into shapes. There were two people standing before us, but the scent of human beings was missing. They were neither solid nor mist, but they were unmistakably there. A man and a woman who permeated my early memories but who had left me decades ago. The first people my eyes had ever learned to recognize. My father and mother. And so young! As young as when I was seventeen. I reached for Edward's hand and clutched it tightly.
"Do you see?" I whispered.
"Yes." His voice was full of wonder but even one syllable in his familiar lush tone helped keep me calm.
"Bella!" my mother cried joyfully. They were looking at me intently. Automatically I reached out to hug her but she stepped back and shook her head.
"How can you be here?" I demanded. "Is this really happening?"
"Bella, we are so happy to see you!" Renee said.
"Mom, you're dead," I blurted out. She laughed.
"Dead but not gone far. The spirit world is a marvelous place," she asserted. Charlie snorted. And somehow, that little sound convinced me. Impossible as this was, it was them. My parents were here. Back from the dead to greet me.
"Bella, to see that you and Edward are well and happy, it's all I could ever ask," Charlie said.
"Dad…" I turned to him, and my eyes ached to fill with tears. "We're fine. We're great. Things are always good with us. But you! I didn't think I would ever see you again. I'm so happy! Mom and Dad, I love you so much. I've missed you!" I was babbling. But to be with my parents again, after so many years! I didn't know how this could be. I didn't know how long it would last. My heart was bursting with emotion. Words poured out. "You look wonderful. Oh, I think about you all the time. We talk about you, don't we, Edward? All of us do. I'll never forget you. But now you're here!" A new idea made me gasp with excitement. "Can you stay? The others! They'll want to see you! Renesmee and Jake and Alice and Carlise and Esme—"
Charlie interrupted me, a huge grin lighting up his face. "Nessie? Jake? And Alice? They're near here? How are they?"
"They're wonderful," I said, feeling giddy. "When they hear about this, well, it's the only thing any of us could wish for. To see you and know that you're okay. I can't believe it!"
I tore my eyes from my parents and looked at Edward. "This is real, isn't it? I'm not going crazy?" He reached for my other hand, and I dropped the stone. My parents, the shapes that had been my parents, vanished. I cried out in shock. "They're gone!" My hand flew to my mouth as I absorbed the absence of what had been absent for so long. It was over. I hadn't had a chance to say goodbye. But I had seen them, heard them, talked to them. Told them I remembered them, loved them. I was reeling from the joy of the reunion and the pain of the abrupt parting.
Edward's voice broke into my welter of emotions. "It must be the stone." He leaned over and picked it up. "They went away when you dropped it."
Wild hope crowded out every other sensation. "Can it work again?"
"Maybe," he said encouragingly. "But we don't know how it worked in the first place. Did you say anything or think anything while you were holding it?"
"I was wondering about it. Whether the design meant anything, where the stone came from."
He held the stone this way and that, inspecting the cracked surface and the smooth bottom. And then another form appeared. I had never laid eyes on this person, but I knew her at once. A beautiful woman with softly waving, slightly untidy hair. Her hair was the same shade as my husband's, the same shade as our daughter's. A color I had known and admired for countless days. Her eyes were the color I had imagined but never seen, the same green as Edward's had been. Those eyes were locked on her son. Her face was suffused with joy.
"Edward, you are well," she said contentedly. He nodded, staring at her. "Dr. Cullen saved you. I knew he could. "
"'What others cannot do…'" Edward whispered.
"'That is what you must do for my Edward,'" she repeated her own words, the words that had changed so many lives. Her action had rippled out to spread love from person to person, across years and miles. Her action had given me my family.
"Mother, are you ever sorry? I would be with you now, wherever you are."
She shook her head. "Of course not. I wish I hadn't had to leave you, but I wanted your life to continue, and it has."
"Yes, because of you," he said, his velvet voice laden with feeling. "You gave me life twice. And now my life is so full. I have a wife and a child. I am so blessed. It's more than I ever imagined. More than I deserve."
"You deserve happiness, my son, and nothing could make me happier."
Elizabeth Masen turned to smile at me and I felt overwhelmed with gratitude. This magical opportunity for us to see Edward's mother was the most wonderful gift.
"Will you stay?" Edward asked her. "There is so much to tell."
"I can stay," she said slowly. "If you wish it, I will. But this world is not my place any longer."
He frowned. "It's not comfortable for you to be here?"
"Edward, to see you, to know you lead a good and happy life, to meet your wife, is a great joy. The greatest."
"But what did you mean when you said this world is not your place?"
"Only that I don't belong. We live in different worlds now."
"Do you….." His voice trailed off. He looked down at the stone in his hand and took a deep breath. "Do you think if my life here ever ends, do you think I would be accepted in your world then? Or is that impossible now?"
"Edward," she said firmly, and he lifted his head to gaze into her eyes. "I am absolutely certain. Nothing is impossible. I asked for a miracle, and my request was granted. You have been in my heart since before you were born. If the day comes that you are not able to remain in your world, I will be waiting."
"I love you," he told her. A glorious, perfect, adoring smile graced his face as he looked at her. Then he let the stone fall, and she was gone.
"Edward," I breathed, but I didn't know what to say next. I put my arms around him and nestled into his embrace. Letting her go felt right but I knew it had to be difficult. My heart and mind were overflowing with love and admiration for Edward's generous, thoughtful, noble spirit. We held each other for what could have been minutes or hours.
"I suppose I can call her back again," he commented lightly.
"But I don't have to. I know where she is. My mother and Charlie and Renee. Everyone who's gone. They're in another place, a better place, and they'll be waiting if our time comes."
The time until all the others returned home had been equal parts wild excitement and excruciating impatience. We paced back and forth, reviewing everything that had happened, all we had seen and heard and said. Finally, everyone was gathered, ready to listen. Alice and Jasper were the last to arrive.
"Sorry," she said briefly. "I saw you had something to tell, but we had roamed pretty far away."
"You know what we have to share," he stated. "Why not?"
I frowned. Obviously some silent communication had taken place. "I know what happened because I saw you two explaining it. But I didn't see it," she explained to me. "I guess I can't, because it's not part of my experience."
"Bella, Edward, please tell us what has happened," Carlisle requested. Together, we told our tale and displayed the stone, careful to hold it level. Nobody spoke for several minutes after we were finished.
A cry from Esme broke the silence. "I could hold my son again!"
"I'm sorry, Esme," Edward said gently. "You can't touch them."
"I could tell him I love him," she argued. "I could tell him how sorry I am that he never had a chance to live."
"But, Esme," I said reluctantly. "He was so young. I don't think he could understand anything you said to him."
"I should have the chance to try," she insisted.
"No, I should." Alice spoke up. "I have unfinished business with my parents. I need to ask them why they sent me away." She paused. "And to tell them I forgive them." Her eyes flashed to Jasper, and they exchanged a quick glance freighted with love and meaning.
"Carlisle, it would work for me too, wouldn't it?" Jake asked. "I want to see my parents. It's been so long!"
"I'm sorry, but I think a mother's wish to see her child is more important than anything," Esme said, uncharacteristically stubborn.
"That's right," Jake said. "I'm sure my mother wants to see me."
Alice, Jasper, Edward, Rosalie, Renesmee and Esme all began speaking at the same time, with such volume and vehemence that I couldn't sort through the noise and understand what anyone was saying.
"Stop!" Carlisle's voice rang out, and everyone fell silent. "We need to consider this matter carefully and calmly. It's natural to be excited. This stone is amazing. The ability to call back the dead! We live with the incredible every day, and yet this is something I never imagined could be possible. We have to think it through."
The atmosphere in the room changed as we absorbed Carlisle's words. He was right. We shouldn't fight over the stone as if it were a toy. It was an awe-inspiring mystery. When he saw that we were composed, he spoke again.
"I think the first thing we have to agree is that the stone has to be a secret. People would fight. They might even kill for it, I think." We nodded our agreement. "The next question is what we are going to do with it. I'm not sure it's right to bring the dead back to be with us. Bella and Edward did nothing wrong, as they had no idea what the stone could do. But now we know. Perhaps we should let them rest in peace."
"It would be wrong to try to keep them here," Jacob agreed. "I can see that from what Edward's mother said. That makes sense. But why can't we just see them briefly?"
"They were very happy to see us," I pointed out. "They were overjoyed, weren't they, Edward?"
"Your opinion is as good as mine. I couldn't hear their thoughts."
Carlisle smiled slightly at Edward's rueful expression before answering Jacob's question. "First, could you see them only briefly? Wouldn't you be tempted to repeat the experience again and again? Second, we know it's difficult for them. They don't belong here. What if it's like extreme thirst for us, or not being able to breathe for humans? Would you want to ask that of them? And finally, maybe most importantly, what is your purpose? For what reason would you disturb those who have left this world?"
"I have something to say," Esme announced. "I don't want to use the stone to try to see my son. That wouldn't do any good for either of us. I have missed my baby boy every day, and nothing will change that. But he is not my only family. I am so lucky that I don't need magic to be with all of you."
"Esme, darling," Carlise said, pulling her close and kissing her temple. "We are the lucky ones to have you in our lives."
"Carlisle," Edward said. "You're right that it is very alluring. I ended the enchantment myself, but I still want to use the stone, and that makes me think that it's dangerous. And there's something I've been wondering about. Bella saw Charlie and Renee, but when I held the stone, we only saw my mother. I think that might be because, even though I loved both my parents, I was closer to my mother. My point is, the stone doesn't do whatever you want." His gaze flickered to Alice, and I saw Jasper squeeze her hand a little tighter.
"So, you think….," Alice's voice trailed off. We were all used to her speaking with confidence and verve. Esme crossed the room to sit next to her and hold her other hand. "Tell me what you think," Alice requested, looking steadily at Edward.
He spoke very gently. "I didn't see my father. You might not be able to see your parents. What if you tried to use the stone and nothing happened?"
"I see," she said quietly. "They didn't want to see me when they were alive. They probably don't want to see me now that they're dead."
"Oh, Alice!" I hated to see my sister sad or disappointed. Her nature was to be lively and joyful.
She closed her eyes for a moment and then took a deep breath and opened them. "It's okay," she said, in the same small voice. "It's like Esme said. I can't forget. What they did, it hurts. But I forgive them, because they did what they felt they had to do. I hope in the end it was the right decision for them. And things are very different for me now." She smiled as she looked around the room. "There's nothing I want that I don't already have right here."
"Are you sure?" Carlisle asked. "Are all of us willing to refrain from using the stone?"
"I don't need it," Jacob said. "I have good memories of my parents. The best. I don't need to bother them for any more. Besides, I have an advantage over all of you." He chuckled as his eyes swept the room and took in our puzzled expressions. "I see them in my dreams."
Jasper cleared his throat. "I don't like the stone. It makes people feel desperate and unsatisfied and agitated and regretful. I think we should get rid of it."
Clearly, we couldn't keep the stone. We would be too tempted to use it, despite the reasons not to. But it wasn't safe to put it back. There was no way of knowing how long it had lain there, but if I had found it, someone else could too. We debated possible hiding places, and finally, once again, we relied on Carlisle's judgment.
Edward and I led everyone to the spot where I had discovered the stone. We stood in a circle holding hands while Carlisle spoke. "This stone is a precious gift," he said. "It allowed Bella and her parents and Edward and his mother to be together again and reaffirm their love. We know now for certain that everyone who loved us while they lived loves us still. We are so grateful for a glimpse of the peace that lies beyond the grave. But this stone is also an evil object. It goes against nature. It defies the most basic truth of this world, that the dead are gone. It lures us to selfishly drag our loved ones away from the place where they belong. We reject its power. Some of those we love have left our world. But they have never left our hearts, and they never will."
"Thank you, Carlisle," Edward said, and the rest of us murmured our agreement. In Emmett's powerful fist, it took only seconds for the stone to crumble to powder. He opened his hand, and the dust particles glittered for a moment as the breeze carried them through a shaft of sunlight to mingle with the forest earth.
Author's Note: I'd love to know what you think! Did they make the right decision?
If you read only one other story in the contest, it should be Bella and the Haunted Wood by the wonderful EBHG. And if you like fairy tales, I really, really think you would enjoy my story Bedtime Stories, in which Edward puts his own spin on classic tales to help Renesmee fall asleep.