A/N I don't own Twilight. It owns me, though.
Hi all. This is it, the last chapter. The ending as I had planned it out last year, when I started writing this fic. It won't please everybody. I hope you can live with it though :)
Thanks to Sherry, whom I met through this very story. A true and wonderful friend. She is my rock and she talked me off the ledge so many times I lost count. Thank you for your patience, for standing by me and for helping me seeing this story to its end.
Thanks to all my readers who have enjoyed this story. I hope one day to pick it back up again and write it the way I had wanted to. This has been my first fanfic and it has been a wonderful experience. The journey of these characters is now over. They will have to do it on their own from here :)
I was running before Ness finished her sentence.
"Wait, Bella!" Esme called after me.
"Where are you?" I asked Ness, trying to hide the blind panic in my voice. "Tell me where you are honey."
She gave me a general location and I sped off, not caring who was following me or who might see me. If I kept in the woods, I'd be safe from human eyes.
A soft whisper of cloth just behind me told me that Edward was following me, now on the phone with Alice.
"Are you hurt?" I asked Ness. "Are you hurting anywhere?"
"I'm ok mommy," Ness sobbed. "But Jake is in the car and he's unconscious. And he…" Her words turned into a wail before she could finish the sentence.
"Ssh," I tried to reassure her. "Jake is a tough guy. He's been through a lot before and came out just fine. I'm on my way honey. Daddy and I are coming. Where are you now?"
"I'm at the car. Jakey, please wake up," she sobbed, not addressing me anymore.
"Can you describe the scene baby? Can you tell me what happened?"
"We were driving," Ness hiccupped, "and then Dana was behind us in her car. And she just slammed into us. There was nothing we could do. I saw her eyes mommy, I was so scared."
Dana had tried to kill my child.
I think it was time I tried to kill Dana.
"I'm almost there baby. We need a few more minutes. Have people stopped yet?"
"Somebody called an ambulance. What do I do, mommy? They can't take Jake!"
"Are you hurt?" I asked again. "Are you bleeding or bruised anywhere?"
"No, I'm okay. I really am. But Jake… his legs are trapped."
"Carlisle is running from the hospital," Edward said quietly beside me. "Esme is bringing the car. Alice is staying home with Jasper and Rosalie and Emmett are coming back from their hunt to help."
I nodded wordlessly, endlessly grateful that my husband was calm enough to set all these logistics in motion while I comforted our child.
And come to terms with the gut-wrenching guilt that I had sent my daughter out with Jacob. I had sent her away, and now this had happened.
Over the phone I heard the screeching sirens of the ambulance in the far distance.
I sped up and hoped to whatever higher deity that Carlisle would be there in time, and that the regular emergency doctors would not try to tend to Jake.
I couldn't even begin to fathom the consequences of that.
I smelled the freshly spilled blood long before the scene of the accident came into view. Uncaring, I emerged from the tree line along the side of the highway as the ambulance arrived and ran at a human pace to the road, hoping that nobody would wonder where I came from.
Two mangled cars, almost indistinguishable as two separate vehicles, in the middle of the road. Debris everywhere. Behind it, cars stopping, unable to pass. A couple of people getting out, standing by, alarmed, calling out, or just looking.
Bloodlust is great, even in humankind.
Before us, a female medic was trying to tend to a frantic Ness.
"Let me check you, honey. You are burning up! Come on, let's go to the ambulance."
Ness tried to pull free, crying and desperate. "I'm fine, really. Let me go, please. Please!"
"Ness!" I called out, running to her as quickly as I reasonably could.
Ness cried out in relief and pulled back from the nurse with such force she raised her eyebrows in shock, but she let go and watched how Renesmee ran into my arms, crying. Edward was with us in an instant, hugging us both, his body almost convulsing with the force of his sobs.
We clung to each other for a moment before I pulled back, checking my daughter's face and body.
"I'm okay," she said softly. "I was catapulted through the window, but I'm okay. I really am."
We looked doubtful, but didn't have much time to pay attention to it. Edward stepped back from us to talk to the worried nurse, distracting her.
I finally took a moment to really take in the scene of the crash. It was horrid. Jake's Rabbit was completely total loss, and Dana's car behind it was in no better shape.
With my vampire sight I could see every detail in the dark, lit up by the blue and red lights from the ambulances and fire trucks that had arrived at the scene.
Firemen were working to get both Dana and Jake out of the vehicles in which they were trapped. Dana was unconscious and bleeding heavily, from what I could see.
Violent bloodlust turned my vision red and my eyes black. I started forward to go and get to her, get my revenge, but Edward stopped me with force. "Don't," he breathed in my ear. "You'll expose us."
I took a deep breath and squeezed Edward's hands so hard he must register pain, but he didn't show it.
Carlisle arrived at the scene next, his white coat still on from the hospital and his medicine bag in hand. Nobody would even notice he appeared from the woods – he might have been in one of the ambulances.
He ran up to us and did a quick check on Renesmee, looking into her eyes and focusing on her heartbeat. His face was tight, shocked, and his eyes betrayed his intense worry.
"Go to Jake," Ness urged him. "Please."
Carlisle did as he was told and went to Jake's mangled Rabbit. The firemen just succeeded in pulling the roof off the wreck so Carlisle could reach him. He bent over Jake's unconscious figure, checking his vitals and looking into his eyes.
"He's going to be okay," Carlisle said softly, but we could hear. "He's badly wounded, but his heart beat is strong and his blood pressure is good. He is already healing."
He looked over Jake's body, still trapped in the vehicle.
"His legs are crushed," he continued and Ness whimpered as her knees buckled, "but they will heal I'm sure. We'll need to reset them though, the bones are already healing."
I swallowed thickly when I thought back to the last time that had happened and I really wished he didn't need to go through something like that ever again.
"Ness!" Rosalie's voice drifted over to us then. "Are you okay?"
She came running up to us and when I looked over her shoulder I saw that Emmett had arrived too. He looked ashen with worry.
"I'm okay," Ness replied, letting Rosalie hug her fiercely. "I really am. But Jake, he's still trapped…" She broke out in tears again and Rosalie held her against her, rocking her body gently as she tried to give comfort.
I felt a lump in my throat and clung to Edward in my distress to see Ness so upset, to see Jake so badly wounded. My breathing was irregular, and vaguely I registered that had I been human, I would have been hyperventilating. Edward was tense, his black eyes showing his worry.
"He'll be fine. He knows better than to make you worry like this," Rose murmured.
As Ness was now cared for by Emmett and Rose, Edward and I walked up to Carlisle and Jake.
"He's trapped, see?" Carlisle pointed us to where Jake's legs were surrounded by mangled steel. The skin was already whole again, but the bitter smell of wolf blood was still thick in the air. "We can't get him out unless we show our strength, but I don't want to wait for the firemen, either."
I looked at Jake's face, serene in his unconsciousness. I cupped his flaming hot cheek, feeling my eyes burn with the tears that would not come.
"We'll get you out of here," I whispered. "Don't worry."
"Doctor, is he stable enough to be removed from the car?" a fireman asked as he walked up to Carlisle.
Carlisle closed his eyes for a moment, thinking fast. "Give me a bit more time. I need to be sure," he finally stalled. The fireman nodded and stepped back, signaling to his men they needed to wait.
In the other car, they were just getting Dana out. I looked at the scene, not feeling anything for a moment.
"She'll still alive and she'll live," Edward said darkly, nodding at Dana. "But I am not sure for how long."
I knew he was referring to the same desire that was clawing at my backbone — kill Dana, for she had tried to kill our own.
"Not now, Edward," Carlisle said sternly, unknowing of how Edward had stopped me earlier from getting to Dana. "We take care of our family first. We need to figure out how to get Jake out without having the firemen witnessing the healing process."
Right at the moment the piercing smell of gasoline reached my awareness, there was a hiss and an explosion, and Jake's car was on fire.
We stumbled back, deadly afraid of the flames and panic overtook me. Jake was still trapped in the car. The heat of the flames beat against us and lit up the scene of the accident. Around us were shouts and panicked cries.
I rushed forward to the car, but two sets of hands pulled me back forcefully.
"No Bella!" Edward shouted. "You won't survive!"
"Jacob!" I cried, frantic. "Jacob!" I broke into sobbing and heard Renesmee's panicked voice behind me as she realized what was happening.
A light gust of air alerted me that Rosalie and Emmett had run past us. Emmett was on top of the car immediately, dangerously close to the flames, wrenching the wrecked metal apart with his bare hands.
Rosalie was at the side, doing the same. Esme and Alice held Ness while Jasper — when did they arrive? — was shooting wave after wave of emotion over the attending medics and firemen, distracting them and making them sluggish, slow, disoriented. Carlisle helped, somehow making sure that the attending medics all turned their back to the accident.
Mere seconds after Rosalie and Emmett pulled Jake out of the burning car, it exploded completely, the flames rising high in the air.
Jake was on the ground, his rolling head telling us that he was coming to.
"Jacob!" Ness cried again and she squirmed away from Esme's hold and ran towards him, falling to the ground near his head, sobbing.
"Jakey, please open your eyes," she whispered, her tears falling on his face.
When his lids fluttered, he looked up at her and gave a watery smile, before his face contorted in pain. He managed to cup her cheek before he cursed.
"I know son," Carlisle said as he knelt down at Jacob's side. "Your legs are healing but they're healing in the wrong way. I'd rather rebreak them now, before they are fully healed. It will hurt less."
Jacob chuckled humorlessly, wincing with the pain it brought. "Hurt less?"
"You know this, son."
Jacob took a deep breath and found Ness's eyes. "Do it," he said, looking at her. "I want to be able to dance with my girl again."
In the midst of the hassle and the confusion, and the loud noise of Dana's exploding car, Carlisle rebroke Jacob's legs so he could set them properly and the bones would heal correctly again.
And even though the humans could probably not hear Jacobs piercing cries of agony over all the noises, we could, and they cut right into my soul, where I knew I would remember them forever.
Ness sat with him as Carlisle did what he could, holding his head in her lap and whispering reassurances.
I finally gave in and sank to the ground. Edward, who was still holding me, sank down with me and held me tightly, trying to stop my uncontrollable shivering.
Jasper kneeled behind us and put his hands on our shoulders, giving us the same calm he was giving Jake.
Around us, the medics and firemen were still moving around, still clearly confused but trying to help where they could, talking to bystanders and trying to put out the fire in the burning cars. Carlisle refused any assistance and was left alone with Jacob.
"I never saw this coming," Alice said softly as she walked up to us, plopping down to the floor and leaning back against Edward, who wrapped his free arm around her. "I really didn't."
"It's because Jake was there," Edward said. "You're absolutely not to blame for this."
"A snap decision," Alice whispered. "She must have recognized their car and gone mad."
Medics only now wheeled Dana past us on a stretcher bed. She was conscious and I flew to my feet, intent on telling her the truth and kill her.
In that order.
Edward was behind me instantly, holding me with such force I almost yelped in pain. The medics stopped for a moment, probably thinking we knew Dana. Our black eyes were not noticeable in the dark — the medics wouldn't see any danger.
Dana looked back at us with an empty gaze, her head wrapped in bloody bandages.
Her eyes shifted from me to Edward and then lit up. "You're pretty," she slurred, her voice as innocent as I had ever heard it.
I blinked in confusion and looked at Edward, who looked as surprised as I felt.
The medics moved Dana into the ambulance and it sped off, the sirens sharp in my ears and the lights blazing in the night.
Just as I wanted to ask Edward what had happened to Dana, another medic came up to us and asked us if we had been in the accident too, but we shook our head.
"Please leave the scene, kids," the medic continued. "The police is arriving and they'll be clearing the roads soon."
I looked around me and saw that Carlisle and Jake had disappeared from their spot on the road, and realized that the sluggishness that Jasper had been spreading to confuse the attending medics and firemen had settled on us, too.
I nodded vaguely at the medic who had asked us to leave and wobbled to the side of the road, Edward's strong arms supporting me.
Emmett, Rosalie and Ness were waiting for us there. I hugged Ness fiercely before I looked around me, wondering where the others had disappeared to.
"Carlisle is carrying Jake home," Rosalie said softly. "Esme went with them. Alice and Jasper are further down the road to see if there were people who saw too much."
I nodded numbly, then fell into Rosalie's arms, overwhelmed by emotion and most of all gratefulness. She, the one who had hated Jake the most of all, who had had the hardest time to accept him as a member of our family, had risked her own life to save his. "Thank you," I cried. "Thank you." I moved so that I could hug Emmett too, and he returned the embrace, his force telling me how shocked he had been during this all.
Edward and Ness joined he group hug and we stood for a long moment, until Edward broke away from us. "I am going to help Alice and Jasper. Rosie, Em, can you take Bella and Ness home?"
I turned to face my husband, alarmed. "Don't leave us."
"It's okay baby," Edward said, his voice rough. He cupped my cheek. "I'll see you at home."
He turned and walked away stiffly, into the direction of the traffic jam where Alice and Jasper were walking ahead.
"His biggest fear is that something happens to either of you, and that just happened," Rosalie said softly, comfortingly. "He needs some time to process it all."
"By walking away?" I asked.
"Give him some time, Bella. He's saving you from a severe bout of intenseness," Emmett replied.
I wrapped my arm around Ness when she leaned into me and looked at Edward's retreating form.
"Is daddy angry?" she asked softly.
"No honey," I replied as I kissed the top of her head. Unintended and unbidden, the memory of the crash drifted into my mind's eye through Ness's touch. It was traumatic. "He just needs some time alone I guess."
"Let's go home," Rosalie offered. "Alice and Jasper will take care of Edward. Let's go check on Jake."
We nodded and left, running home at an even pace, but I couldn't stop crying for leaving Edward alone, even if it was what he needed right now. Renesmee held my one hand and Rosalie the other. Rose squeezed my hand comfortingly, whispering reassurances every now and then.
Back at the house, Carlisle had treated all of Jake's wounds. Jacob was in his bed now, sleeping soundly. Renesmee hugged me one more time and went up the stairs quietly to sit with Jake until he woke again.
We stayed in the living room, sitting down in silence as we waited for the rest to come home.
"Seth and Janet have been warned," Carlisle said as he joined us. "They are coming home now, but will take their time to give us some time alone."
"Okay," I whispered, still feeling lost in the chaos of it all.
Esme saw my confusion and sat down next to me, rubbing my back. "It will be all right, honey."
"I know," I breathed. "Just shocked, is all."
"I understand," Esme replied.
We sat quietly, almost unmoving until Seth and Janet came back home, looking ashen and worried. Esme filled them in on what happened exactly and Seth went to see Jacob as Janet stayed with us in the living room, looking lost.
"I can't even make you tea for comfort," she said forlornly.
"Would you like some tea?" Esme asked. "Let me make you some. Come."
Both went to the kitchen and silence descended upon us again until Carlisle knelt in front of me.
"Are you okay, Bella?"
"Just shocked beyond belief," I replied. "I mean, I know Ness can't really get hurt, and she wasn't, but then Jake, and the fire…" I stopped talking, unable to continue.
"It was a close call," he said softly. "But all was solved well in the end."
I huffed, not sure. "I want to kill Dana," I confessed. "She tried to kill Jake and Ness."
Carlisle was silent then. It surprised me that he was not immediately refusing to even listen to such an idea.
Just at that moment the door opened and Edward, Alice and Jasper stepped into the house.
Edward was with me in an instant, pulling me up against him and kissing me, forcing my body to fold backwards with the force of his embrace.
Ness came running down the stairs then, having heard Edward come home, and ran into his arms just as he let me go. He wrapped his arms around her tightly and hugged her, his large frame enfolding her tiny one.
"I'm so glad you are safe," he whispered.
"Daddy," Ness said quietly. "You know I can't get hurt."
Edward just tightened his embrace, not replying to her statement.
"What happened?" I asked in general, hoping that Alice or Jasper would answer.
Edward still held Ness, swaying to the left and right gently. It didn't look like he was going to let her go anytime soon, and Ness didn't look like she minded at all.
"You won't believe this," Alice said. "Dana lost her memory. She lost it all. Jasper and Edward went to the hospital and they listened in to what the doctors were telling each other and her parents. She's child-like now. Her brain damage is so severe the doctors don't expect her to ever come back to normal again."
I blinked, unbelieving.
"And what do you think?" I asked. "She was so close to finding out."
"She was," Jasper agreed. "But Alice has looked into the future and there really is no chance at all she will ever think of it again, let alone speak of it. Her memory is wiped clean, she's lost her entire character, basically. She won't ever get it back, and if anything recovers, it's memories from her childhood. Her short-term memory will forever be lost."
I stood, stunned. "She doesn't remember."
"She doesn't. She doesn't know who we are. She didn't recognize her parents or her brother."
"She's rendered harmless," Alice added softly. "It's bleak, but she lost her soul basically, and all she knows, and her parents lost the essence of their child due to her actions."
"Apart from that, she'll never walk again," Edward said quietly. "I heard the doctor's thoughts."
I looked at my husband, who still stood holding Ness.
"That is horrible," Janet whispered as she came back into the living room, holding a steaming mug of tea.
"Poor child," Esme said. "Surely this should not have happened."
"In a way, this is a good solution for us," Carlisle said carefully. "There is no damage control that needs to be done now. You say Dana will never remember?" he asked Alice, who shook her head in reply.
"Her entire mind is reset. She'll have to learn her own first name again," she said.
Even I could feel some sadness for this girl, who had obviously been so crazy that she had become a danger to others and herself — just as what she turned out to be.
And now she would never be able to hurt anybody ever again. She had taken care of our problem by herself, in the worst possible way. The only good thing about this in the end I guess was that she was still alive, and that her parents didn't need to mourn the loss of their child.
Although I wondered how they would cope with what had happened to her now.
I stepped forward to join Edward and Ness in their embrace and for an endless moment we stood, the three of us, surrounded by the rest of the family.
Dana was dealt with. Ness was okay and Jake would heal. Our family was still complete, like it would be for the rest of forever.
And I knew that as long as we all had each other, we would survive.
As long as we had each other to love, we would be fine.