DISCLAIMER: SM owns all Twilight characters and settings. No copyright infringement intended.

The newborn battle is over and Bella is dead. Can Edward survive without her? Can the Cullen's save him from himself and his bad decisions? Does he want to be saved? This is the story of Edward's journey of self-discovery. Can Edward find another reason to live? This story takes place six months after the end of Eclipse. Canon couples.

This story is very angsty and has scenes of extreme violence against vampires and humans. Consider yourself warned.

Told mostly from Edward's POV with some insight from Carlisle.


The familiar voice sounded far away. Concerned. Had my name been just a fleeting thought or was I being called. I tried to focus on the source of the interruption. A vision of Bella lying in our meadow amongst a plethora of purple wildflowers broke up and drifted away. I realized that I was sitting at my desk, staring at blank computer monitor, my hands balled in fists in my lap. With some effort, my eyes shifted to the doorway. Carlisle was there, watching me, waiting for an answer. But what was the question? I couldn't recall. I searched his thoughts, winced at the familiar anxiety I saw there, but could ascertain nothing else.

"Yes," I said tentatively. My tone could have been in response to a question, or an acknowledgement of my name, whatever seemed appropriate. He nodded. Hesitated.

"We'll leave shortly…"

Then, as slowly and deliberately as any human, he left my room.

Leave? Leave where? I felt a slight sense of panic. I probed his mind. Nothing. He was blocking his thoughts. Frustrated, I sought out and found Emmett and focused on him. He was thinking about hunting, disappointed that we would be hunting close to the house. So that was the question; we were going hunting, a short hunt. I knew why of course. The why was because of my refusal to go for long weekend hunts with any of my family, my refusal to leave Bella, though I couldn't voice that reason out loud.

I thought about calling Carlisle back, telling him no, hoping they would leave without me, maybe for several days, leave me in peace, but that would only draw suspicions. Carlisle had caught me in an unguarded moment. He would not be easily swayed into believing that I had simply been distracted. He didn't often have to traipse up three flights of stairs to fetch me. He would be watching, gauging my mood. I sighed.

In my room I felt safe to drift away, remember her, be with her. In my room she was still with me, her scent, her warm skin, her kind, depthless, brown eyes. I felt her, craved her, hungered for her and after a time, with no interruptions, her presence in the room would solidify, her image would be real; almost. But if I let her hold on me keep me behind closed doors, there would be more worried thoughts from my family, thoughts that I tried to keep out now; their pitying looks and sad gazes would be followed by a reassessment of the progress they had perceived I had been making after all of these months.

I sighed again. No, it was best to go. Besides I was thirsty. It had been almost two weeks since I'd last fed. Spending the night with my family, trying to be normal, would buy me several days of freedom and time alone with my memories. And I needed that alone time, so I could remember properly. Leaving now was just a small price to pay for the hours of bittersweet bliss that awaited my return. I grabbed a jacket out of habit and with one soulful glance back I whispered to my empty room. "I'll be back soon Bella, my love, take care of my heart."

I was relieved to see only Emmett and Rosalie waiting for me with Carlisle. A barrage of emotions, thoughts and silent questions would not hound me on this trip with Esme and Alice's absence. Emmett offered me a grin and I smiled back, noting through his eyes that the smile looked like a painful grimace under my own hollow black eyes, in a drawn pale face.

Poor kid, he looks like hell.

Emmett, thankfully, didn't voice his observation out loud and instead, ever jovial, he cuffed me lightly on the head as I passed by. "Well look who decided to grace us with his presence".

"If I'd have known you were coming…" I trailed off, trying to make my voice snide and sarcastic, something that use to come naturally for me. I saw Carlisle's eyebrow go up and I wondered if he had mentioned my hunting companions when he'd asked me to accompany them. I still could not read him. He was being very, very careful.

"Hunting is beginning to feel like a chore, what with Rosalie always complaining about her hair. I want to have fun," Emmett groused, throwing his wife an apologetic look as she glowered at him.

Good luck having fun with Edward.

She meant the comment to be heard, but I ignored her, following Carlisle out the door.

Emmett remained at my side, or rather I remained at Emmett's as we moved through the thick foliage barely touching the ground. He was the easiest to be with, the least intrusive and the least concerned. He didn't acknowledge my black moods, drowning depression and my inability to communicate with him on anything more than a rudimentary basis. I hadn't tried to dissect his reactions or lack thereof, to my moods preferring to believe that he didn't think me on the edge of some breakdown as the rest of my family did. Perhaps his nonchalant attitude was his way of hiding what he was really feeling, hiding his thoughts the way others did by concentrating on specific tasks or in Carlisle case, thinking in Arabic or endlessly reciting medical terms. All I knew is that being with Emmett wasn't a chore, wasn't a dreaded confrontation, and I much preferred his company over anyone else in the house.

With regret, I realized that if anything, Emmett avoided me. I wasn't the same Edward he had known and I think he mourned the loss of the old me, who despite all my flaws had an appreciation for the fun and silliness that made up our relationship. I tried to concentrate, to remember what our relationship had been, determined to give Emmett some peace even if I couldn't find any myself. I slapped Emmett on the back with a contrived playfulness and burst into an all out run with Emmett at my heels. Despite Rosalie's non verbal protests from somewhere behind us, we passed on a small herd of deer just miles from the house. I longed for the exhilarated feeling of the run and Emmett, picking up my mood, increased the pumping of his legs in a futile attempt to keep up. Rosalie with a frustrated hiss, darted after a lone deer undoubtedly eager to feed and head home; it had begun to rain.

Emmett sighed, throwing me an exasperated look which gave me the opportunity to quip,

"Hey, you married her,"

I saw his thoughts before he acted upon them and gracefully dodged away as he threw himself at me, in an attempt to wrestle. His massive frame tumbled end over and end, crashing and taking down several young saplings before he regained his footing.


He was up in an instant, charging at me again. This time I didn't dart out of the way as I saw his intent and let him plow into me with the full power of his considerable strength.


But before he could enjoy his advantage too much, I rolled him and tossed him off me, quickly springing to my feet and breaking into run. He was up and after me in an instant, and I adjusted my pace to allow him to get closer, just barely out of reach of me. I could feel his internal frustration and a small amount of brotherly rage, as he tried and failed to catch me. Yes this is what I longed for again, the camaraderie with my brother that didn't include any of the angst, sorrow and fears for my sanity that clouded the rest of my family's thoughts when they dealt with me.

In the early days, right after it happened, I'd longed to end my existence and try to follow Bella into that other life. I had little hope that I would actually find her. Wasn't I a soulless monster with no chance of redemption? How could I ever conceive that I would be granted an everlasting life with the women I loved? But the thought of spending all of eternity on this earth without her, without her in it somewhere, was unfathomable to me.

And the guilt, perhaps even more overpowering was endless feelings of guilt. It was my fault she had fallen in love with a blood thirsty monster, my fault that she had turned away from her human life, ready to embrace the a soulless existence, my fault she was dead. Forget I was a monster, forget that I had no soul, and didn't deserve her, didn't deserve to be happy, I had risked then forfeited her life all in an effort to disguise my never ending despair over my own circumstances. Not only was I a monster, I was an evil, selfish deceitful one.

My family, much to my dismay, made sure running off to Italy would not be easy. My passport was confiscated, I was under twenty-four hour surveillance by one or more of them at any given time; and Alice was always watching. I was told and retold how Bella would not have wanted me to end my own life, how horrified she would be that her death would be the catalyst for my own demise. But the most persuasive argument came from Esme, who with a mother's understanding and love, inspired me to believe that it was my duty to carry on Bella's memory for all of eternity. I OWED her. If not I, then who would? She was an only child, her parents would be dead within the next half century, there was no one else, no other family. It was my duty to remember her, how she looked, her warm liquid, brown eyes, her dark mahogany hair, her pale complexion and beautiful full lips, and more importantly, her beautiful soul, her unselfishness, her kindness, her forgiving nature and how she loved me, passionately and without reservation; even her stubbornness and her endearing clumsiness that was so uniquely her. It was my duty to remember these things. With my head cradled in Esme's lap, her encouraging words sounded reasonable, something that I could do for my Bella, a self imposed purgatory for all the rest of my days.

It was torturous to exist, but this in itself allowed me some penance for what I had done. This was my punishment. I should not be allowed to extricate myself from my responsibilities to Bella, because of the pain it caused me. I'd thought I'd been managing, been fulfilling my new destiny while putting my families fears of my self destructive tendencies behind me . I was determined to be the Edward they wanted me to be. The Edward I'd heard Emmett wish for in silent fleeting unguarded thought.

The "Before Bella" Edward.

I sucked in a painful breath at that thought. Even with all of my faults, all of my trademark insecurities, the loneliness, angry, moodiness and self loathing that was part of my existence during my pre-Bella time, that is what my family wanted back. As I clung to my memories of her, my family wanted me to forget. Not possible for a vampire. But I knew that to give them some piece of mind I had to let them think that I was moving on, moving forward and my conscious shift to put my family's worries at ease had not been in vain.

Focusing more on their thoughts I found that it took very little to alleviate their constant apprehension over my fragile mental state. No longer did I barricade myself in my room for days on end with little or no interaction with my family. I made a conscious effort to join their games which I was now always welcome to play, the conversations about our plans to move from Forks and short hunts, particularly with Emmett and Jasper. I played the piano for Esme, test drove Rosalie's souped up cars, teased Alice mercilessly about her latest fashions, showed interest in learning new languages (particularly Arabic) much to Carlisle's pleasure and suspicion and tried to keep my emotional meltdowns limited. And while doing all of this, I was still able to concentrate on Bella, each new activity reminding me of her, how she would react, what she would be thinking if she was there enjoying it with me. She was always with me, at my side, my invisible companion and this brought me some small amount of pleasure.

Catching the scent of a larger herd of deer to the East, I adjusted my direction and speed and forgot about everything but the hunt. I was thirsty, more so than I realized and blissfully let my instincts take over, one of the few times I didn't have to think about anything. My legs were pumping hard and fast, my feet barely touching the ground, Emmett had fallen well back and I could vaguely hear his frustration as he knew I would easily beat him to our prey, scatter them, pick the choicest among them and have one drained before he could take down his first. The thought pleased me and at that moment I wished he could read my mind, I wished my family could read my mind, I almost felt normal. It would make them happy to know that.


It was Carlisle. I felt him gaining behind me. He was faster than Emmett. His presence surprised me. I'd thought he'd cut off with Rosalie much earlier. I tried to shut him out. The joy of not having to think was such a welcomed respite. He should know that; understand it more than anyone. Why did he always have to invade my head with worry? I just needed peace, needed to be away from the endlessly prying, speculating, pitying, thoughts that was in all of their heads. Was he trying to reach for me? I redoubled my efforts and felt the wind rush against my face, felt him drift back. I could smell the deer now and was that an elk? Hardly a mouthwatering scent, yet the instinctual pull was strong.


Carlisle's thoughts were more forceful, hard to ignore. I was confused by this, felt a fluttering of indecisiveness; but then the deer broke through the trees in front of us and into a clearing and I was no longer listening to any voices in my head. The smell of elk had faded, they were safe from my teeth on this day, but the scent of deer was everywhere and I felt my muscles coil, felt the small adjustments in speed that my predatory body did without any conscious thought from me, felt the venom pool in my mouth, my hands reaching for a large buck, his pungent musty order, burning in my nose as thirst scorched my throat.

And then I was down, crashing end over end, the buck easily escaping my hands that could not grip, my arms that could not reach, my body crumbling under me as my legs gave way. I tumbled, unable to stop myself, my limbs flopping loosely at my side. My velocity carried me across the clearing, leaving a furrow of mangled vegetation, soil and small trees in my wake.


My mouth wouldn't work, I couldn't cry his name. Something was wrong, terribly wrong. I was finally stopped by a large outcropping of boulders. My shoulders crashed into them bringing an avalanche of broken rock and gravel down on my head. I felt hands on me, pulling me from under the debris. Nothing hurt, there was no pain, yet why was Carlisle looking at me in anguish and why couldn't I speak or move. I felt a numbness permeate my body, felt it drift up dulling my senses, an unpleasant but not physically painful sensation, just uncomfortable. There was a pressure on my chest, behind my eyes; some old human memory flickered in my mind, the need to breathe, I was smothering, my lungs were burning for oxygen.

Edward, calm down.

I arched my back laboring to catch my breath. My fingers clawed at the ground wildly, I was drowning. Why wasn't Carlisle helping me? My eyes shifted wildly, I could see his face but I was losing it, my perfect vision was beginning to fade, blackness closing in on all sides. I struggled against the weight that paralyzed me, the oppressive invisible force that was crushing my chest. I could draw no air and with no air, could not call out for help.

"Edward, stop. You're fine. You don't need to breathe, you're fine, just relax, son."

Carlisle's voice was calm and soothing meant to comfort yet his thoughts darted wildly, making it impossible for me to focus on them. I could feel his hands on my arms trying to subdue my struggles.

I felt like I was dying. Dying? As the neurons in my brain shut down, this word resonated with me. Was I dying? I didn't think so, but now, rather than fighting to breathe, I welcomed the oppressive weight. I was overcome with a sudden urge to burrow underground, hide myself, escape the hands holding me. Another familiar memory drifted through my mind.

"What's wrong with him?" I heard Emmett say, from far far away. I didn't understand Carlisle's reply, it was muffled, sluggish and thick. His thoughts too were foggy, drifting, until they didn't resonate in my brain at all. I didn't want to think about them, or what was wrong with me, I wanted to crawl away from all of them and just think about her, find her in the dark, my Bella. She was the only one that could relieve this aching pressure that was swallowing me whole. Bella wasn't dead, she was just waiting for me, I had to find her, go to her, I needed her so much more than she ever needed me.

Author Notes:

Next chapter will be from Carlisle's POV. Bella's death will be explained in an upcoming chapter.