A man at last by Camilla10

Summary

This story can stand alone, but it is part of a series called "Growth". It addresses moments of Edward's growth, from teenager angst to adulthood. This first story is called "A man at last" and is written in Carlisle's POV. It describes the last moment of growth, at the end of Breaking Dawn, recalling briefly what the other steps were. The other two stories are "Epiphanies", set at the end of Eclipse, and "The Unicorn in the Blue Room", happening on Isle Esme. They will bw posted soon

Carlisle

Our friends and witnesses are all gone now. My family is happy, but somehow subdued, like we are convalescing. As indeed we are, after a near death experience that turned into an elegant stalemate thanks to Bella and Alice, the two daughters that were not changed by me, the two daughters that saved us all.

Now Bella sits on a bench in the back of our house with her husband and their miraculous child. Bella, once apparently the weakest, is now the strongest among my sons and daughters. Rainbows dance over their faces in the setting sunlight of this exceptionally mild winter day. I muse on her talent, and think it is strangely fitting that my children who have powers, have mainly defensive ones: seeing the future, reading minds, throwing a powerful shield, empathizing. Yes, talents proper for peaceful people. Well, peaceful vampires, that is.

I look at my son and rejoice.

I have spent decades wallowing in guilt for what I did to Edward. He was tormented and saw himself as a soulless monster with no hope of redemption, despite the fact that, after his rebellious years, he had decided to abstain from human blood and had stuck to his decision. He thrived in a solitude that was not healthy, but was just too proud to consider alternatives. He was very young when I changed him, and his growth ceased. Despite his real age, despite his culture, despite the ability to know every mind around him, he remained a teenager for a very long time, with the worst tracts of a sensitive one: arrogant, obstinate, often deeply unhappy.

Then, he met Bella and fell in love for the first time in his life. Controlling his renewed bloodlust was the first step of his growth. Even before he knew he loved her, he was able to keep his thirst at bay, despite her being his singer. His second step was to accept the she loved him in the same way he loved her. It took a long time. Because he believed that he loved her more, he left her, to let her have a so-called normal, safe and happy life, while he was supposed to go on alone, heroic and miserable. Ha, he almost killed her in the process, and then almost killed himself.

Romeo and Juliet were teenagers, after all.

Once he acknowledged the strength of her love for him, he found new ways to torture himself. He refused to change her, while it was obviously the only possible outcome for them. To become like him was something that her heart wanted immediately and her mind worked over until complete acceptance, until she was sure that she could release her hold on human life. Bella eventually overcame his resistance and, by agreeing to her wishes, Edward went a step further toward maturity.

However, like most teenagers, he was not completely sure of himself, so the green eyed monster made his entry. Jealous of Jacob Black, Edward became a control freak, never treating Bella as his equal. Then something happened, I never knew exactly what, but, after the battle with Victoria and the newborns, he changed again, for the better. In the last months, swept over by Bella's determination, he also stopped being such a prude and was able to manage his fears and accept his desires. When they left for their honeymoon deliriously happy, I was quite sure that everything was going to be fine.

Well, too fine, apparently. The possibility of a pregnancy had never entered my mind. I supported, like Edward, the idea of an abortion because of the terrible risks, but I had under evaluated Bella's capacity for love, self sacrifice and hope. Yes, hope.

It was a lesson for us both.

She became a mother and a splendid vampire, strong and in total control from the very beginning. And Edward bowed to her, loving her even more than before.

After that, in the most dangerous moment of our existence, I realized that Edward had undergone a last fundamental change. He said something, and it dawned on me.

We were standing in the clearing, the Volturi in front of us, deliberating. Deliberating on how to destroy us in the best and most thorough way, but Bella already had a plan B, if not for all of us, at least for her daughter. She was speaking fast and low to Jacob and Edward. I was near enough to hear her, while keeping my face averted, careful of not attracting our enemies' attention. She wanted Jacob and Renesmee to run away in the moment of confusion that was certain to come once the battle started. She had prepared forged documents and money and kept the plan secret, lest Aro got wind of it. Jacob was appalled, and so was Edward, but Renesmee's safety was foremost for them, the father and the imprinted wolf.

So they were saying good bye to each other, nothing that would give them away since everyone was saying good bye and embracing.

Edward leaned his head against the same shoulder where he'd placed Reneesme. "Goodbye Jacob, my brother…my son."

I tightened my arms around Esme, and I would have cried if I could. Here was my son, ready to fight, ready to die, but now complete, in peace with himself.

A man at last.

------

Note: the sentence in Italics is from Breaking Dawn