To my betas, both divine—Viola Cornuta and Vanessarae—they managed to get me to hold this thing together. So many thanks, loves.

Disclaimer: I hold no copyright over this. I thank Miss SM for allowing me to delve into her characters.

~~This is the end of Youth without Age, Life without Death (both my story, and the fairy tale I borrowed from in writing it)~~

All italicized passages are taken from Youth Without Age and Life Without Death by Petre Ispirescu (links at the bottom).

Song:

Redwings, Guillemots

www . youtube . com / watch?v=xTOpt-2DlnM&feature=related


Youth without Age and Life without Death

Epilogue: After Life

~~Visitation~~

He amused himself in the golden palace, lived in peace and quiet with his wife and her sisters, enjoyed the beauty of the flowers, and the sweet, pure air. He often went hunting; but one day, while pursuing a hare, he shot two arrows at it without hitting the animal. Angrily chasing it he discharged a third arrow, which struck it, but in his haste the luckless man had not noticed that he had passed through the Valley of Lamentation while following the game.

He picked it up and turned toward home, but was suddenly seized with a longing for his father and mother. He did not venture to speak of this wish to his wife, yet by his grief and restlessness both she and her sisters instantly perceived his condition.

"Oh! luckless prince, you have passed through the Valley of Lamentation," they said in terror.

"I did so, my dear ones, without meaning to be so imprudent, but now the longing to see my parents is killing me! Yet I can not forsake you. I have already spent several days with you and have no cause to complain. So I'll go and see my parents once more, and then come back to you, never to leave you again."

"Do not quit us, beloved prince! Your parents died two or three hundred years ago, and if you go, we fear you yourself will never return; stay with us, for a presentiment of evil tells us that you will perish!"

~Youth Without Age and Life Without Death

"And now he lives…"

Corporeal death had not been force enough to halt us.

We were yet together and of this plane, though ours was a timeless, milky existence with ghostly membranes separating us from the living.

Of body still to each other, we held together and unclothed the other with hands that had never disappeared, with a sensual current holding more power than the tangible pulse of hearts we'd left beating on the cots of the infirmary in nineteen hundred and eighteen.

Smiling, I guided his handsome face-captured as it had been in the final, vibrant dashes of life before mortality had cut us loose- down to my bosom. His hungry tongue never waned nor deviated from its thick, warm path from one orb's peak to the other.

Uncontainable, unearthed, we celebrated our son's new creation with another meeting of flesh unto flesh. Desire flashing to arcane passion. Wisps of ether willowed around us and bent like the softest flax against our bared bodies that floated up in life-giving gales of wind. Set apart, as if on wings.

His mustache lowered to my stomach, across my hips, down to the mound of my want. Tickling, tangling in the nest of hair.

My fingers ran through his dark hair, onto his shoulders whose strength had never fled, over his chest and to the strongest, hottest, hardest part of him. Shuddering, he clapped my hands behind my back, "I'm not done with you yet, wife."

I blinked, slyly pursing my mouth and blowing across his cheek, rubbing my chin into his manly torso, licking at what delicious expanse I could reach, "You would take me in hand, husband?"

My satyr, my lover, my match in all things—my mate, my man—bit down on the swollen pinpoint of flesh he unhooded with his aristocratic nose, "Take you… in my mouth, between my lips," he spread my legs eagerly, teasing me wantonly with his long shaft, "between my hips, Mrs. Masen."

He waited mercilessly until I slammed up against him with all my might, mashing our forms together, making him groan and thrust inside with the quickest, most delicious movement.

Every lunge bent me further back and the wash of the gossamer void enclosed us in a spiral of plumate softness that could never supplant our ferocious love.

Finally, endlessly, we soared up in a howling coil of breasts and breaths, legs and thighs and hands clenching-caressing-touching, knowing, knowing. Tight and together, entwined forever, we dove back down, wildly shouting enough the cracks in the cocoon parted to let in true light, true life, "Edward John!"

"Eliza!" He moaned a final time into my lips while I sipped at his exclamation, undone with ecstasy, "Eliza Anatolia… mine."

~~Initiation~~

All the entreaties of the three ladies, as well as those of the horse, were unable to quiet the young hero's longing for his parents, which was fairly consuming him alive.

At last the horse said: "If you don't listen to me, master, whatever happens to you will be your own fault. I'll tell you something, and if you accept my condition, I'll take you back."

"I'll accept it with many thanks," replied the prince; "let me hear it."

"As soon as you reach your father's palace you will dismount, but I am to return alone in case you stay even an hour."

"Be it so," the prince agreed.

They made their preparations for the journey, the prince embraced the ladies and after having bade them farewell he rode away, but they sobbed and wept bitterly when he left them.

They reached the country which had once been the kingdom of the Scorpion Witch, but found cities there; the woods had become fields; the prince questioned one person and another about the Scorpion Witch and her house, but they answered that their grandfathers had heard from their great, great grandfathers that such silly tales had once been told.

"How is that possible!" replied the prince, "I came through this region myself only a short time ago," and he told them all he knew.

He was mine.

I hung back from the doorway to peer inside.

I still thought it was so fucking awesome, even three years later, that he couldn't hear my sneaky approach, that he didn't know I was in the house by my presence alone. Now I could watch him.

Yeah, if he was concentrating, he could definitely work out my whereabouts… but right now, Edward was deeply focusing on something else.

What felt like mere fucking seconds had passed so quickly.

We'd been locked in some sort of inertia before: me waiting, him wandering.

First, well, Edward's entire goddamn life—as a human—then his search for me, my wait for him, the very short days when we'd found our love, the hateful hours when I'd thought he was dying…

Then eternity had spit him out and time traipsed on, pulling us both with it.

He was still so fair. But the cold of weather and pleasure now bit at the crest of his cheeks and made them pink. Sex turned his body to a gorgeous blush; the rosy tips of his ears when he came always called for a nibble and taste. His body… oh, Christ! Edward's body remained strong and muscled and more than capable of tearing a foe limb from limb.

The differences were small with each year piling up: crinkly laugh lines about his eyes that made him more handsome. Hair that needed to be cut though he kept it a little bit shaggier. That color, the copper-penny hue never faded. Its silky feel never became coarse.

Just last night I'd toppled him to our bed and held his jade-gold eyes with mine while I undressed us both, almost shredding his shirt to get the motherfucking thing off him.

Naked and sexy as hell, Edward started to chuckle when I'd attacked his chest.

"You think this is funny?" I lowered my cunt above his face just enough so he could reach up and slide his tongue over my wetness, then I rose up, hovering, loving the gasps that heaved through his taut, tempting sinews.

Brusquely, he'd grabbed my waist and hauled me down, making love to my lips, mangling the pillows with every shove of his head up into me. Chin covered in clear trails of wet, lips bright berry red, he'd pulled and shook his head and slurred up into me… braising me with his teeth, melding his mouth absolutely to my pussy.

As if my orgasm had relieved him, Edward had loosely smiled, bending his arms behind his head, looking down his long body at me as I ranged and writhed over him.

"You think this is funny?" A warm paint of saffron birthed from me, its haze like the last vivid notes of a sunset.

Holding his dick in my hand, I smiled at the wonderful throbbing weight of it as it leapt in my palm.

"No," his forearms tensed and his clean, sharp jaw clamped down.

"Hmmm," I blew up and down his shaft and watched the pink, marbled concoction react with thick drops of cum racing from dark tip.

I licked the uppermost one and waited.

Harsh and strained, he'd joined his hands over his eyes, "Fuck! Isabella, please."

I gave him head slowly, loving the heftiness of his cock in my hands, between my lips, down my throat; watching the striations of his sinews. Sinuously, he rolled up into me, deliriously unable to keep his hands still, pleading with me to let him cum in my mouth.

Lowering over him, spellbound by his biceps bulging and his throat swallowing, his mouth opening silently, I gyrated until my clit met his pubic bone and his balls were sunk against my ass.

My elbows to the side of his head and my tits brushing back and forth across his lips, I'd slid back onto him, fully fucking him. I'd sucked the ropey muscle where his neck and shoulder met into my mouth to his crazed, "What are you-" I'd sliced against his skin with my teeth, silencing him as his back arched up and he yanked down on my waist, winding up into me.

Hasps and locks and locked to each other, licking and fucking and sweating against the other, kissing and licking and hissing, I'd stopped to take the struggle of his tongue between my lips and struck our hips together, "Marking you as mine, so every woman out there knows you're taken, that you have a fiancée, and that you let her do wicked," I spun my hips, "naughty," I grabbed his ass, "sexy things to you."

He'd pushed me over with green flashing to amber in his eyes, risen up on his arms, knocked off all the pillows and covers and anything, everything between us disintegrated with the savage, greedy fucking he began.

Join-pulse-jerk-breathe-take.

Join.

We'd woken—I wondered how many more years it'd take to get used to these ideas: Edward sleeping, Edward eating… Edward needing me—on the floor, half under the Victorian bed.

Back in the hallway, relinquishing thoughts of last night… I must have sighed or moaned or shifted, because Edward looked up through his long lashes, stilling his hands, seeing me.

Pushing open the door, I walked into the chamber.

Outfitted in sturdy furniture of years past, the study reflected who he was, where he'd been, what he was becoming.

With all his money and all his memories… with all my fortunes made in body instead of bank vaults, this little house of ours was both bursting at the seams and a cozy haven.

Negligently, Edward dropped the... cards?...he'd been shuffling like an accordion between his hands. Unseemly, his lids lowered, his eyes became hungry umber, his face a taut mask of hedonism working up from my bare toes to my little skirt, and over my top that left my shoulders bared. He stood and stalked me, a heated, horny vision of pure want; a vein flicked against his temple where reddish sideburns grew longer than they used to, and his ruddy lips widened, his sight landing briefly at my neck to settle on my lips that were already parting for him.

I felt like prey.

I was hunted down.

Flitting away, I looked through the sheaves he'd discarded, folding out the rumpled edges.

He came at me with clashing intent.

My pussy warmed and became wet, readying.

His hands guided me back, his cock thoroughly rigid and right against my ass.

"You've been sketching."

"Mmmm," he hummed into my nape.

Everyone. It wasn't just me he was afraid of losing any longer. Lieselotte… of dandelion hair—pale like him, the aberrant gypsy.

He braided through my tendrils, lifted them off my neck, touched my shoulders with fingertips and lips.

There was Eliza with her coronet of red hair and her colorful ornaments, a bouquet brought to her mouth. Edward John with keen eyes made kind.

"I love you, Isabella," he coupled his fingers over my breasts and pinched my nipples, gathered my waist. He wanted to distract me, make me turn away from these portraits he made in a delirium only to ball-up and toss out.

I saved all of them.

Esme in seamed stockings… her belly ripe. Carlisle with a cravat instead of a tie; dapper… the ache of his being wielded in his expression. Rosalie… cradling a baby with ribbons tied all around them. Alice and Jasper joined with their foreheads fitting above and their hands linked below.

My own mom and dad at the moment they knew… that exact moment they stopped feeling guilty and gave up the past.

And always, me.

Me and Edward.

I was blinded by what I saw next.

Life beginning, life ending… the links of the chain that would keep us of this earth even when we departed.

I tried to blink away my tears.

"I worry about them… when I'm gone." His slatey tone was shales of loss.

"I know," I sheltered him within me.

"I love you, Edward," He was pure mass around me, but my iridescence fledged a stark carnelian, colluding with our emotions.

"I want to give them something… to keep." He turned me around, framed my face, kissed me solemnly. To have and hold.

"We will."

We would.

Love like this didn't end because bodies egressed.

Love like this would remain inviolate.

"That's not all I was doing," sliding his fingers through mine, Edward sat at the desk and had me on his lap.

"Oh, really?" I snuggled deeper back against his hips.

His arms around me, he took up the deck of playing cards and flipped them from one hand to the other, at first casually, then with increasing fascinating quickness until all I saw was a blur of motion that finally stopped with a final snap of the last one coming to rest on top of the others.

"Card tricks, Edward?" I grinned as he beamed and became all showmanship, all flirtation. His deep voice pure suggestion against my ear, "Come one, come all," he slipped one hand between my thighs so they looped open over his knees.

With a flash of suits, he miraculously revealed the Jack of Hearts from behind my other ear. As I turned with an amused question, he made the Jack disappear only to pull him up with the Queen out from under my bottom.

I rolled my eyes at his entertainment, suspecting the next of his tricks would include him fishing the ace out from between my tits. He winked and smirked at me, the dimple in his cheek displayed.

"You used to do this at the fair."

He nodded.

"Hope you didn't prey on unsuspecting young women by magicking cards from inside their clothes."

He laughed, "Only you make me feel like playing dirty, Isabella." With that sensual utterance, he did as I'd foreseen by turning me sideways, parting my shirt's buttons, and lowering his mouth to grab the edge of a final card from inside my cleavage. His face stayed down long enough he could lick my skin as a rush of chills lashed out over my tits.

Queen of Hearts.

"Show off." I breathily berated him.

"Mmmm," he hummed up to the nape of my neck, his full lips lusciously kissing a long, wet trail. "And what have you got up your sleeves, Bella?"

Craving him, I nibbled on his jaw, rasping my tongue along the new growth of auburn stubble, "I think you'd rather see what's under my shirt."

"Show me."

I finished unbuttoning my top and took it from one shoulder at a time, letting it fall to my waist. Unhooking my bra, I shimmied down the straps, holding the cups in place while coyly daring him. His palm strolled down my throat and with the same growl he always had, Edward shredded the lacy thing in two, burying his face to my nipples and his fingers up into my panties, my pussy.

Our lovemaking was slow yet frenzied. Savagery marrying beauty.

And when we were finished, the warmth of him spreading inside of me, our thighs moist from kisses and sex, my nipples so tight and well-licked they were tender to even the breeze of the air, when our eyes had closed and opened and slammed shut, and our mouths had yelled and silenced, moaned and bit…

When we were a lax, lazy, interlaced mesh of flesh, I felt the beginnings of his laugh tumbling through his stomach and up into his broad chest.

The fullness of his happiness and astonishment flew from his mouth as he jerked back and then sat up, looking behind me at the surface of the desk. With his hands on my face and his forehead to mine, his ivy-amber eyes twinkled, "You are unbelievable."

I glanced over my shoulder to view my handiwork—created with not even a blip from my existential mind while we'd fucked—a perfect house of cards.

~~Lamentation~~

When he reached the realm of the Woodpecker Fairy, the same questions and answers were exchanged. The prince could not understand how these places had altered so much in a few days, and again rode angrily on. He now had a white beard that reached to his waist, and he felt as if his feet were beginning to tremble.

Quitting this country he arrived in his father's empire. Here he found new people, new towns, and every thing so much changed that he could not recognize it. At last he came to the palace where he was born. When he dismounted, the horse kissed his hand, and said:

"I wish you good health, master, I'm going back to the place from which I came. If you want to go too, mount quickly, and we'll be off."

"Farewell, I too hope to return soon."

The horse darted away with the speed of an arrow.

"He's going to die…"

"What are you doing, Esme?"

I looked up from the stretched wilderness of pastel yarn in my lap where I'd plaited it into soothing, little shapes, my knitting needles furiously clacking to the sad psalm echoing in my head, "He's going to die, he's going to die, he's going to die."

Choking and frowning, focusing on the booties taking shape in cotton candy pink and sky blue and pale yellow… clover green, I puzzled over the dozens of pairs lovingly matched up and placed side-by-side on the coverlet of our bed.

Carlisle pulled up at his creased trousers and knelt before me, stopped my hands in their untiring creation, "Esme. What are you doing?"

The honey wave cresting up off his forehead called to me, and I jerked my fingers free, crocheting those wheaten locks through my hands, holding onto his skull, shutting my eyes of the worry in his that tided over his patrician features.

Snagging a breath, I wilted back and covered my hands in my lap, "He's going to die."

"Shall we start with my first question, my love?"

"Oh, these? I don't know, my hands needed to be at work I suppose. I was remembering the layette I'd made for meine Annaliese Carolla." I'd thought I'd laid that gloom to rest, that dreary longing for mein neugeborenes Kind.

For all that we were vampires, we remained human. And even though tears would never fall from my eyes, I sobbed nonetheless as Carlisle used his hard thumbs to gently round up over my cheeks as if catching a wet trickle.

I whispered with a wounded anguish, hating this selfish, selfish turn to my heart, "He's going to die."

Sitting still as a Gargoyle—oh how these men learned to watch out for the wild woman in us!—Carlisle quietly channeled me in the opposite direction, "It's what he's always wanted."

"He'll leave us!" True to the saddened rage eviscerating me, I jumped up, pushed past Carlisle and whirled on him, "He's going to die, and he's going to leave us forever!"

Steady as the surgeon he was, compassionate as my mate, knowing me as my lover, he just held his arms long enough to touch against my waist, nothing but a grounding whisper of a caress, "I know."

"You feel nothing over this?" I was screaming now, only inside myself enough to hope the others had left the manse.

"You want me to react?" His lean legs brought him forward, "You want to know how I feel?"

"He's my son, Esme. As much as he is yours." The formality with which he held himself loosened, and he hung his hands and head low.

How cruel of me to accuse, how hurtful to think he didn't… "More than that… more than that, Carlisle." I dropped my hand over his hunched shoulders, down to his forearms, "You are his sire."

"This was never for him," Carlisle hunted through my eyes for comprehension.

"This is the gift of life to him, not death!"

As the night piled its heavy blackness around us, it was I who consoled.

Naked together, we plied our hands and words to bodies intemperate, tempted to go slower by the mortal fate of our son.

"Shhh, remember when you first came to me in the surgery?"

"I saw you in the street, you approached me, you recognized me."

"On the bench, young and pregnant and beginning anew."

The way our tongues joined was of imprudence over worshipful memories.

Gaining speed and thrusts, aching engorgement and painfully exquisite railing… jostling, tearing, hissing and roiling from bed to floor to wall to the hall.

We were unfettered.

"The first time you made love to me, you seduced me."

"You're… aaaaah, Carlisle! You gave yourself to me."

"I do it now, I do it now, Esme, I give myself to you always."

He did, with not just his grand shaft inside me, heaping up and jetting out, but with everything, everything.

"You are everything to me."

The sun rose, and it was heavenly with giant, billowy clouds skated through by rays of pink and orange and candied colors I would have liked to remember from my childhood.

The only colors then had been my one worn, dog-eared book—The Pied Piper.

My mother… Carolla,and my brother…Schorsch.

That sun set the day in motion, lifting higher and higher.

An insulated silence secluded me as the wedding party amassed.

It was only after the vows that the shouts of ethereal joy rebounded me from my non-existence, depositing me straight into the moment where they kissed so longingly, and for such a wonderfully long time, I sent up a workman's whistle such that Emmett clapped in my direction and Renee joined me, and Carlisle and Charlie hooked their elbows to one another as if to say, "Get a load of our woman." All manly winks and appreciation.

It was only during the toasts that I did finally salute with all my feeling, recognizing at last Bella Swan's boon to us all; a gift I was grateful and humbled to accept.

She had saved Edward, as had been foretold… but that directive hadn't been solely meant for the children… it had been aimed at Carlisle, from Eliza Masen. About me.

And for her parents. Because of Edward, they'd been reunited. A dark and unpleasant history shoved aside to show the first light of love they'd manifested… as they danced together; they were joined by hands and hips but also by the march of time that mated them together.

What we most desired was coming to us: at Edward and Bella's conjoined lives, the most fortunate coupling.

Jasper and Emmett both knew from whence they came… their people were immutably adhered to Edward.

Alice shed her past darkness, because she had angelic lightness at her side in Jasper. Even though she was haunted—as they both would always be—they rejoiced effortlessly with Edward and Bella's communion.

There was Rosalie, stood off to the side. Alone.

Emmett watched her, as he always did. A covetous expressed in his slouch towards the woman he loved.

Even though we were no longer of this realm, we felt everything.

Rosalie bowed away with a touch and a kiss to both Edward and Bella.

I caught my young Emmett's snowy eyes, "Go to her."

What we all waited for was something, just something small, for Rosalie. The never-mother, their sister, the most harmed of all in this existence where life was static and unbegotten.

Just something now, for Rosalie.

~~Creation~~

When the prince saw the ruined palace and the weeds growing around it, he sighed deeply and with tears in his eyes tried to remember how magnificent these places had once been. He walked around the building two or three times, tried to recollect how every room, every corner had looked, found the stable where he had discovered the horse, and then went down into the cellar, whose entrance was choked up with fallen rubbish.

He groped hither and thither, holding up his eyelids with his hands, and scarcely able to totter along, while his snowy beard now fell to his knees, but found nothing except a dilapidated old chest, which he opened. It seemed empty, but as he raised the lid a voice from the bottom said: "Welcome, if you had kept me waiting much longer, I too should have gone to decay."

Then his death, which had become completely shriveled in the chest, seized him; but the prince fell lifeless on the ground and instantly crumbled into dust.
Into the saddle then I sprung,
The tale to tell to old and young.

"And now we live…"

I was enamored with her backside when she titled forward on the bed, arcing up so I had no recourse but to get on my knees behind her, lifting her more so I could sink into her flaming flesh.

Running my palm down the bow of her spine and squeezing her ass, I shook myself from the sight of her plump orbs, glided my fingers over the hot cleft, pumping my fingers with my dick between her legs.

"Like what you see?" Cheeky as always, Bella looked back and hooked her foot against my thigh, propelling me forward.

"Always," I'd been entranced with my reddened length widening her, and my fingers pinching and pushing and thumbing inside, outside of her.

Treasures. These moments were treasures.

Reaching around, I hefted her nipples, the heavy globes of her breasts. I came in and out of her with every long wrenching of her hips up and up and up into me.

Under her, I held the full womanly curve of her belly, I remembered to stave off my erotic need enough to slow… slow.

Each loop of my hips hitting her ass had us both sweating and grunting until she was face-first to the mattress with me riding on top of her.

Our hands clasped her hips and nothing elapsed but lips puncturing a steady ream of curses:

Fuck!

Now, please… Oh-God-damn-now!

She was heavy and gripping, an assuaging need over my dick.

My arms shook aside her when I planted my fists to the bed and pounded hard and fast, keeping her up, thighs quaking, lips trembling, everything breathtaking.

Let it go.

"Let it go!"

She fragmented with a scream, flying out in a life-giving carnal color that ran around the room like oil paint spattered to canvas.

The windows shattered... again.

A half-hour in her arms and I tiptoed across the shards, closed the shutters.

Unwieldy and off-kilter, Bella brought me the broom and dustpan, deadpanning, "Damn this supernatural shit."

"You need to sleep, love."

"Keep off my feet, you mean?" She wouldn't ever be commanded.

A hazed and majestic picture, naked and bold… her womb bowling out, with our own gestation, Bella yawned but sparked up in dusky, violet lights.

"Please."

She looked skyward as if contemplating the constellations, but she relented, "I need chocolate cake, I think. And cocoa. But not with those dehydrated marshmallows… I want the big ones."

She pinned her gaze to my crotch, and I resoundingly answered with a ready erection. The broom aside, I grasped my cock and came close enough to tease her lips with my dick, "Cocoa, then sleep, then me."

Undulating, Bella licked her bottom lip, arched one brow, "Oh yes, Sir."

I returned, steaming mug in hand, to a scene that had me absolutely terrified.

Bella was in labor.

It took less than an hour for everyone to come.

Her companions in the birthing room were me to steady her, Carlisle to attend her, and Esme to aid him.

Angels lined the room with us.

Alice made me know them.

They were silently on the threshold… here and there. Here and there.

Horrified by the amount of agony ripping through Bella's body, I could have sworn the trials of becoming a vampire had nothing on this testimony of giving birth. Closer and closer with my incantations to pant-pant-breathe, pant, pant, breathe, I huddled next to Bella until, like a warrior woman, she grabbed my t-shirt and hauled me right down to her face, "Say that one more time, Edward, and I'm gong to-"

A sharp fizz crackled through the fluorescents one-by-one until it settled on the light in the far corner of the ceiling and blew it up.

Clearly, no more verbal encouragement required.

I stroked her brow, rubbed the sides of hips that had always ached with cramps through the nights, I timed the contractions instead of measuring her twisted features and thought this was the most hellish torture a man could face: watching his mate in unrelenting affliction with no means of relieving it.

With a lessening of the roiling contraction, Bella appeared to know exactly what I was thinking, "Still so dramatic, Edward," she said while regaining her breath.

I whispered—to Carlisle's chuckle and Esme's resounding smack-, "But Bella, it's going on for hours…"

"Baby, they don't just pop out effortlessly."

Well, obviously, someone needed to remedy that, then.

I was a stricken mess, Bella was up on her elbows with my strong hand bracing her back, the other to one of Esme's holding her thighs wide apart with Carlisle preparing to deliver.

A roaring scream exploded through the room, causing the walls to buckle and roam closer to us until they halted just outside the circle we made, holding us four in our own embryo.

Then, Jesus Christ… then, Bella's body parted to let first a silken, wet head elapse… and then, shoulders coming out—one and two. Torso, arms, legs; an entire body claiming life was borne from Isabella!

Claiming us.

Our daughter.

Her matted hair was whorled upon her head and her nose a miniature and her crumpled eyed never opened, but her mouth-that tiny purse—yawned wide with air and then wails until she was wrapped in a bundle and handled from Carlisle to Esme, to me,to Bella.

Her eyes, cloudy and unseeing, opened.

A blush, a rush of rose cushioned around us.

Bella's hand brought me into the dome of quaint, quiet light, into our dominion, and I nuzzled them both.

I grinned and held on and… Isabella… my baby…

Ebullience, blessing.

On the threshold, they lingered; those from the past and our family of the present, to regard the future swaddled in so much love.

I am a grandmother. Fulfilled. Flesh of my flesh, blood of my blood. Esme was spellbound. "And Adam said, 'This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.'"

So much more than I had hoped! To see our son, his wife, and their begotten.Eliza worked a spell to lash herself to earth one last time, at her granddaughter's birth.

Renee was no shadow, more glimmer and fortitude as she entered, "I'll be a better elder than Old Mother Goose ever was! Just look at Charlie, already charmed. Born to his role… another woman to look over, to love unbearably."

Carlisle was right there, patiently tendering to Bella, letting her know with his benevolent understanding that her body was ready to take over the nourishment of our daughter, and that the sooner she began breastfeeding, the quicker their bond would become inviolable.

He hugged me tightly and grabbed Bella's hand behind me, "Many years I've wondered… would I bring his end, could I save him for something more? An heir to his people," he was talking to Bella. "A savior to my own."

His hands asked with gentle openness for just one more touch of his granddaughter. With her not even as long as the reach between his wrist and elbow, tucked inside, he welcomed Esme's fingers into his.

Bella curled our palms with theirs, unto our borne.

Her thoughts rang most clear… bells that came through a drift of all the emotion and all the time we'd aimlessly sought the other, "I am a daughter. A wife. A lover. I am a mother. I broke through time and brokered with witches, knew myself to be one of many incarnations. This life is mine, and Edward's."

A carillon trumpeted, tolling and ringing cataclysmic crashes like heaven had cracked open herself in a rain of celestial music from the sky to us… the most divine.

I am a father. A husband. I am… alive.

Later, safely sortied to our house from the Cullen homestead, I wanted them all out.

I wanted to be with my wife, with our young.

Possessive and always guarding, I was relieved to take her back from Renee… worriedI might handle the fragile, wriggly bundle wrong.

Charlie adjusted my arms with a father's know-how, "Don't you worry, Edward. Two days from now and you'll be an old pro."

Astoundingly, as he assured, my body learned this new curve, understood just how gently to carry her.

My heart, however, would never get used to this boundlessness… I was unfathomably in love with her.

Even though the audience looked on, I took utmost care to lay down beside Isabella with our babe carried against me. She turned to touch her lips to the downiest skin of our child's cheek, teasing out a finger and smirking when the pale pink lips opened and smacked for milk. "In a minute, my darling."

A kiss to both cheeks and upon her wrinkly fingers and all her miniature toes, Bella wrapped our baby back up and held one hand to both our faces, "Take her to Rosalie now."

I struggled for air, overcome by Bella's generosity.

She sat up and readied to breastfeed, looping a sheet over her burgeoning body, lifting it up to make sure her milk flowed and was ready.

Rocking back on my heels, my feet bare, unshaven and wearing the same clothes as yesterday but nestling all the future against my chest, I looked at the most pretty, puckered face and made my way across the room.

I heard her suck of breath and saw her arms shoot out in a ready cradle..

"Auntie Rosalie, meet Eliza Mae Cullen."

I laid little Eliza against Rosalie's strong arms and stood back… all of about a foot.

Overwhelmed, Rosalie shadowed across my daughter and brought her eyes up, meeting everyone, jostling lightly as if her body knew motherhood as much as Bella's had on giving birth… hushing, patting her bottom, soothing her back.

Her eyes landed on me and skipped aside to Bella.

"Thank you."

They filed out, one by one, slowly.

Grandparents and aunts and uncles.

They left the house blooming with emotion.

Nested into our bed, pillows behind us, Bella facing me, Eliza between us, the lamp glowed, keeping company with one final candle.

Breaking the suction from her nipple when Eliza's eyes sifted to settle and close, Bella brought me to her, "I love you."

A funny contortion made Eliza curl her face and suck her fist, looking for her thumb. Bella easily plucked it out for her.

I kissed Bella for a long time, treasuring the feel of her lips playing on mine.

"She's beautiful," I cupped Eliza's whole head in my hand, awed by the person we'd made.

"Yes, yes she is," Bella yawned and curled her hand over my hip, and we were a warm armature over our baby.

To leave a legacy.

Forbears to children.

This… this was the meaning of Youth without Age and Life without End.

~~Fin~~


~So, we have read a lot of fairy tales, you and me, during this story. Maybe even made up a few ;). But, the biggest fairy tale to me-the one that got me started back on this whole writing lark-was Twilight. So, I wanted to put something back into it for you all who have given so very much to me (Innocence. Romance, Purest Love...all those emotions to remind us why we fell head over heart for Twilight in the first place). My only hope is that you've finished it with me and that it means as much to you as it does me…~

YwA links:

www . childrenstories .ca/Stories/Youth-Without-Age-And-Life-Witho . html

www . polyvore . com/youth_without_age_life_death/set?id=12721442

Quote from Esme:

Genesis 2:23-24 (King James Version)

Up next? Dead Confederates, of course. The final two chapters of CK101. And perhaps something new, perhaps something old…hope to see you all there!

Cheers,

Rie~