Entry for PTB's Life and Times of Bree Tanner Challenge. Thus: no dialogue. Thanks to Betas LightStarDusting and EvilPumpkin for their help.


My life began in the dark, but ended in the light.

I became aware, conscious, while still inside my mother. My life was so short that I never forgot those moments. There were many of them, moments of happiness and love. More moments than I spent breathing air, fighting for each and every breath. And more moments than I spent lingering with my mother, bodiless, making sure she would be as happy and loved as I had been when I was with her.

She was the only person I ever knew. I began inside her, and I died in her arms. She was the last thing I saw in this world.

Her voice was the first I heard, promising me a wonderful life when I was born, full of love. I didn't know anything aside from that voice, but after hearing it, I knew love. She loved me.

Her voice was that the last I heard as I left this world, giving love to someone else, someone who loved her in return.

In the beginning, when there was nothing to see, I heard her speak to others - something about school. I never learned what school was. The other voices were never clear, and I never heard the same voice twice.

Mother moved a lot, which meant I slept a lot. The rocking motion when she moved lulled me. When she stopped I would wake again, shifting inside her. She was warm, moist and soft. She cooed when I moved, encouraging me to do it more. I would feel pressure on my leg or head and kick out with my foot, or punch with my fist. She laughed sometimes when I did, and that made me kick more. The sound was happy and I wanted her to laugh again.

I wish I'd been able to understand the things she said when she spoke with others. So many were just too big for me. The words she used when speaking to me were easier. I understood happy. I came to understand free after I was born. And she told me she loved me, something I knew already, the only thing I really understood at that time. I was able to love her even as she loved me. I didn't understand born when she told me I would be born soon. It became obvious when the time came.

After many many moments, I didn't learn the concept of day until later, my safe, closed place inside mother was disturbed. Mother began squeezing me, my head being pushed harder and tighter. Mother's moistness left from around me. She spoke to someone in a voice I'd never heard her use before. It was sharp and shrill, nothing like the voice she used with me. The other voice was like Mother's normal one. The nurse, as Mother called her from time to time, told her everything was going to be fine, that she was doing a good job. The nurse reminded mother to breathe. She said she could see the head and that it was time for Mother to push.

I didn't understand; Mother was pushing. She was pushing me through a narrow opening, my head being further squeezed. It hurt. I hadn't known pain before, but it became clear. I heard Mother crying and wanted to do the same, especially when light burned my eyes for the first time. It blinded me with its brightness, so unlike the soothing dark I was used to, even though the dark left me no less blind.

I wanted to push out my chest and draw in through the lungs I'd never really used before, but neither seemed possible. I fought to breathe. The nurse held me now. She put something in my mouth, and it pulled against the blockage. After that I was able to cry, to scream, to breathe. And I did scream - I hollered loud and long.

Mother laughed as she cried, and I was given back to her, held by her outside, instead of inside. I was first able to see her face. I knew laughter and crying only by sound. She smiled and her eyes closed; her expression was joy. She put her lips to my head, kissing me, and I felt happy again. The pain of my birth was gone. My limbs were able to stretch freely; my head was no longer pinched.

I was happy and I was loved. She called me baby. We spent many happy moments together. The light faded and returned. It was my first day.

I became hungry. I had never known the sensation before. It came from the place where I had been attached to Mother, right in my middle. I cried. She seemed to know what I needed and put my mouth on her breast. I could taste the milk there. I lapped with my tongue and finally learned how to latch with my mouth, but I wasn't able to pull properly, just as I'd never pulled the air fully. The nurse had moved the blockage but not removed it. My breath was always short; I always wanted more. Trying to pull the milk from Mother's breast was nearly impossible.

I managed to get enough to let me sleep again, and I slept peacefully in Mother's arms. Her voice was different again when I heard it next. Not soothing, not high and piercing, but very low, very rough. She asked the nurse what was wrong with me, why I didn't feed.

She put me to her breast again, and I eagerly tried, but was no more successful. A substitute breast was put in my mouth and this dripped more than Mother. It wasn't as warm, and it didn't taste like mother, but I lapped and swallowed as I could. It was more than before. I heard more voices that sounded like Mother's, low and rough. They used words I didn't understand.

Mother made it simple. She held me close to her breast, but didn't move me to suckle. She leaned until her head was close to mine and I could feel her breath on her face. She told me that I was sick. The sickness in my lungs made it hard for me to breathe, to suck. She would take care of me. She would make sure I was all right. Even as she said it, I knew she didn't believe it. Her voice wasn't soothing, but husky, like so many of the voices today.

I wasn't all right. I was in pain. Each breath came with more difficulty, until one night, while I was sleeping, I didn't breathe at all. I woke feeling emptiness, the burning need to inhale, and the inability to do so. It was the first time of many.

Mother's voice was high and shrill as she turned me over and thumped my back. I coughed and sucked in air as much as I was able. I cried and screamed and breathed. The air was sweet and wonderful. Mother's tears were terrible. I was causing her pain, too. She wasn't sick though; this pain was different. It was new to me. I understood it better after my death, when I had no body. This pain came from her heart.

The third time I woke unable to breathe, Mother thumped my back, but nothing happened. I couldn't cough. She thumped harder and screamed. More women and men came, nurses and doctors. They took me from Mother and did things I didn't understand, things that hurt. They put things in my nose and mouth; they pulled from my lungs and pushed air into them. Although I didn't know how they had done it, air was available to me again, and I breathed. I couldn't scream anymore even though every breath burned. I didn't have enough energy.

The doctors and nurses were called several more times, and each time it was longer before I was able to breathe again. It became harder for me to focus, to understand. I continued to try though.

I hated seeing Mother with her face drawn down. I always remembered her as she was when I first saw her - smiling and crying, the face that reflected her voice. This face was the opposite of that. I still didn't understand worry, or heart pain; I was full of physical pain. I looked up into her face as she rocked me, singing sadly.

I closed my eyes for the last time, and everything was as dark as in the beginning. I couldn't feel my body any longer. I was as peaceful as when my awareness began. The peace was broken by my Mother's scream.

Mother's voice changed to the shriek again. She cried for me, clutching my body, but I wasn't there any longer. I looked down, trying to understand. The doctors and nurses took my body from her, did the same things as before, but they seemed to know none of it would work this time. Mother watched, weeping.

I followed her in her next moments. She tried to sleep; she tried to eat. Neither attempt was successful. I followed her as she left the place where I was born, with my body in a box. I followed her to where they put it in the ground. She cried again, harder and longer than before. I wanted more than anything for her to not cry anymore. I wasn't crying anymore. I didn't hurt anymore. She shouldn't hurt anymore either.

She spent many moments in that place, kneeling and lying where my body was buried. When she rose, she moved with purpose, and I followed her again. She walked to an open area, a place full of freedom, a place from which we could see for miles. She walked until there was no further to walk, the ground stopped at her feet, her toes over the edge. I looked down to the rocks below.

Then she jumped.

I had never had reason to understand gravity before; I had never been allowed to fall. I fell with Mother. Something fell with us, whispering to me, calling me to join them. Or calling Mother, I'm still not quite sure. Neither of us listened.

Mother lay still where she landed. Red fluid, blood, poured from her. I heard a shrill voice that wasn't Mother's, but it reminded me of her voice when I was born or when I stopped breathing, shrill and screaming. People I didn't know rushed to Mother. They picked her up and took her to the place where I was born.

I never left Mother. She was all I had. They put things in her nose and in her mouth as well. They straightened her limbs, but as they had with me, they knew it was pointless. They voices were husky and their eyes had no light of hope. They pushed the bed she lay on into a room where their breath made mist in the air. I didn't understand cold; I had never felt it. A man came in, pushing another bed. He stopped and looked at Mother. His voice was like hers when she sang to me the last time, sad and almost musical. He promised to make it better. I didn't understand how he could. He kissed her neck and then picked up her body, carrying it from that room.

He moved faster than anything I had ever known. I was able to follow, although I didn't know how. Everything blurred around us. All I could see was him and Mother, and I wasn't leaving her. He laid her on a bed and I saw the mark on her neck. He hadn't kissed her but bit her. Her eyes opened and she started to cry and scream, just as I had when I was born. Was she being born?

The man spoke to her; told her his name was Carlisle. He had helped her once before, fixing her broken leg. He wanted her to be the happy girl she had once been. I wanted that, too. I liked this man. He would be good for my mother. He left the room, but I stayed with Mother.

He returned with a second man. Carlisle introduced him as Edward. Edward was his son, just as I was Mother's. But Edward didn't have a mother, not any longer. His mother had died, as mine had. Carlisle hoped my mother would be Edward's mother now.

I wasn't ready for that. She was still my mother. I became angry with them and the lights flickered in the room. Edward shook his head. He wasn't ready for my mother to be his mother either.

Carlisle stayed with Mother. He used a soothing voice, the same as she used when she spoke to me for most of my moments. He told her he loved her, and I knew it was true. Love was one of the only concepts I fully understood, seen and experienced. He told her he loved Edward, but that a son wasn't enough to fill his life. I wondered, if I had lived, if I would have been enough for her life. I didn't think so. I thought she would need to love more than just me, just as Carlisle needed to love more than just Edward.

He told her about Edward, about vampires, about what her new life would be like. He didn't wait for her to stop screaming to answer, like he knew she couldn't. I didn't understand much of what he said, but she was being born. I had been right before. This pain was birth pain. It would end, and she would be happy.

Edward crept in again. He looked at his father and my mother, smiling at them. He spoke to Carlisle even though Carlisle never spoke to him. He told his father that he didn't need a mother, but Carlisle needed a wife. He also said that Mother was filled with pain, not just birth pain, heart pain. I knew that. I had caused it.

Edward told Carlisle that he would try to help when Mother woke, help with the newborn. Would Mother need as much help as I had when I was born? Would she become sick? No, Carlisle had said vampires didn't get sick. I was glad. I didn't want Mother to hurt ever again.

Mother stopped screaming, weeping only after a while. She called for me, for her baby. Carlisle mustn't have known about me, because he didn't answer. Edward knew, although I didn't understand how. He told her that I was dead, but that I would want what was best for her, and Carlisle was that. I agreed. Edward also told her that she was safe with them; no harm would come to her while she was here.

Carlisle hugged Edward and thanked him. Then he left, going back to the hospital. I had finally figured out that that was the name of the place where I was born, where I had died. The hospital was where he had found Mother.

Edward left with him, but he didn't stay away. He came in and told her more about her new life, about how hard the first days would be. She would have to fight not to kill people. Mother would kill people? I didn't believe Edward. He told her she would have to fight her emotions; they would be wild and shifting, one moment happy, the next devastated, the next murderous. I understood angry, but not murder. He told her about his first year, only a few years previous, about the people he had nearly killed, about how he still wanted to kill people and had to fight it every day.

I wasn't sure I wanted this for Mother any longer. It sounded like there would be a new kind of pain in her life. Even more than just the pain in her throat that he described. Then his voice became lower and harsher, like Mother's when she was sad. He told her he could hear what she was thinking; he knew how much pain she was in, how much pain she had endured.

Edward told her that Carlisle didn't wish this life on anyone. He was surprised Carlisle had made Mother one of them. Edward's mother had begged Carlisle to save him, otherwise he never would have. Mother must be very special to Carlisle for him to do this.

Edward was right. Carlisle loved Mother, and the more I listened, the more I learned that Edward loved Mother, too. He didn't want her to hurt anymore either. He wanted to help her, in any way he could. Edward insisted that he had a mother, that he didn't need another, but Edward was wrong. He needed a mother in this life; he needed my mother. I didn't want to go, I didn't want to leave her, but I knew she would be happy with these men, with her new life. She would be Carlisle's wife; she would be Edward's mother. I could do that for this boy who faced all of eternity without a mother of his own.

The whispers from the fall came back. It told me to go with them. It told me my moments were over. I had only been given extra time because I needed to see my Mother. When I was ready to let her go, they would take me with them.

Was I ready to let her go? Hadn't I just thought that she would be happy with Carlisle and Edward? Hadn't I just agreed to give my mother to the boy who didn't have one of his own any longer?

I looked at Edward again, at his dark eyes. He looked at Mother's eyes, still closed, and smoothed her hair back. Her hair was shinier now, sleeker. Her face was more pale, more perfect, even as it contorted in pain. She was becoming one of them. Edward whispered to her that I loved her, that I wasn't able to go because of her.

That made me angry! I could go any time. I was here because I loved her, not because she kept me. The lights flickered again and Edward looked around the room. He knew I was here, although he couldn't hear me the way her heard her and Carlisle's thoughts.

Edward told me that he would take care of her. That he would be a good son, just as he had been in life. She had only ever wanted to help children, in school or as family. He would make sure she did, even if it was only himself.

The voices whispered again, telling me that I had let go; I shouldn't linger any longer than I already had. They warned that I could be trapped here, unable to go with them. I wondered why I should go with them. My mother was here and would be here forever. They told me the place they lived was filled with light, love and happiness, more of all three than I had ever known here.

I didn't believe them. Mother's love was enough; she had made me happy enough.

They continued to implore me, tell me she would join us there eventually. Her time here would be very long, but even vampires didn't live forever. But when her body was destroyed and her soul joined theirs, I wouldn't be able to follow. My soul would still be trapped here.

I was reluctant. I wanted to see the pain stop. I wanted to know she was going to be happy here.

Edward left when Carlisle returned. Carlisle held Mother's hand and caressed her cheek. He kissed her lips once. Love was in every touch, every word, he gave her. I watched her eyes open. I saw the recognition when she looked into Carlisle's face, and the happiness.

It was enough. As light blinded me for the second time, I watch my mother pull Carlisle's face to her own, whispering her own words of love for him. The whispers told me, that although more moments than I could fathom would pass before I saw her again, they would seem like one.

I was happy; I was loved. And now, so was Mother.