Why is it so hard to say goodbye? I know because we just don't want to. I hope you enjoy this little look into the future.

I don't own anything Twilight but I am forever grateful to be allowed to play in the garden with these characters. The characters are not mine but the story plot is.


2 yrs. Later Christmas Morning


"Emmett quit rolling around on the floor with Evan. You two are going to knock the tree over," Rose yelled. Neither the small boy or the large one paid any attention to her.

Carlisle chased a giggling Gwen across the floor past them. He grabbed her and threw her in the air where she promptly screeched. Esme smiling watched with a shy little Cil wrapped tight around her. The only people she ever smiled at besides her parents were Alice and Edward. She'd been a little quieter today because of Edward's preoccupation with someone else.

Our family had grown. Rose and Emmett had a lovely little blond haired girl with Emmett's deep brown eyes and Rose's temperament. Rose called in colic, we called it 'little Rose'. Evan loved his little sister, Lily.

The twins had grown too, both healthy and happy little girls. There was some worry about Cil early on. At the hospital after they were born, when she was weighed she was barely five pounds, where Gwen was nearly eight pounds. The differences between the two were striking. After examining both babies and Esme, Dr. Greandy said they weren't twins at all. In fact, he was shocked to admit that he had never seen anything like it. Although cases were extremely rare it appeared that Esme was probably three months pregnant with Gwen when Cil was conceived.

It didn't take much to figure out that Cil was 'conceived' on Sondheim when Alice had 'died'.

Alice finally came clean admitting that when Esme confided her pregnancy the afternoon of Sondheim, the idea came to her. Up to that point, she really thought she would have to die to take James down. She was willing to go through with it but with Esme carrying her spirit she could put herself into a death sleep and James hopefully would not recognize the difference. And thank God he didn't.

Alice recovered completely from her time in the death sleep. All of us and even she was amazed by the simple fact that her powers had grown exponentially while she slept.

She spent a lot of her time in the lower library that first year back, reading and studying. Well when she wasn't being courted that is.

Much to everyone's surprise and Alice's chagrin, Alec did just that. It took him nearly six months to finally ask Alice to marry him and only after Carlisle and Edward gave their blessings.

Edward said he'd have to think about it for at least six months just to see the fit Alice would throw. She didn't disappoint. It was one of the worst storms the area had seen in years. Of course it only happened over Cullen land. Edward gave in after two days and to show how much he approved, he gave Alec the necklace his mother wore on her wedding day which Edward's father had given her as a wedding gift for Alice.

The best surprise came at the wedding. Carlisle and Edward re-deeded he land where the Donovan Castle had originally stood and two hundred surrounding acres to the newlyweds. It would be another year or two before the house would be ready that Alec was building for them. In the meantime, they resided at Cullen Manor and brought their first son home there. Garrett Alexander Donovan had his father's gentle spirit. But now that he was old enough to be pulling up and walking, it was clear Alice's curiosity was there in him too.

Mama stayed with Esme nearly a month after the twins were born but soon grew homesick for Charlie, apparently. After her return, she and Charlie continued seeing each other and it was around Easter when I got the call.

"He's the one I want to grow old with Jasper. I thought you should be the first to know," she sounded so happy.

Edward and I flew to the states so I could walk her down the aisle. She was a beautiful bride. We arranged to fly mama, Charlie and my new half sister, Lizzie to Scotland after school was out for summer vacation. Lizzie was your typical fifteen year old girl. Jane adored her even though she was ten years older than Lizzie. The two of them managed to bond quite closely. I'm sure they were off somewhere right now discussing Lizzie's latest crush on one of our new stable hands, Ian.

So that leaves me and the Chieftain. After the holidays, Edward moved into the cottage with me while I finished the second semester of the school year. The cottage was small but very private. It was exactly what we needed to get to know each other better.

Edward was a surprise too. About a month after classes started back I looked up during a lecture one day and there he sat on the back row of the lecture hall. The man who had pushed me out the door this morning after he'd sucked my morning wood thoroughly. After the class was over he explained that he'd gotten permission from Dean Cullen to sit in on a few classes as an observer. And so the semester went, he'd listen during my class lectures; we'd spend time between classes on campus watching spring come. In the evenings I'd cook, he'd clean up and we'd have discussions about everything. He brought history to life for me not only about Scotland but my family.

Toward the end of the semester, Carlisle called us to come to his office one morning. As soon as we walked in we could tell he was extremely excited.

"Sit, sit! I have the most wonderful news Jasper," Carlisle was practically beaming. "The college has been given an endowment. It matches the one Edward gave."

Surprised, I looked at Edward and he just shrugged and mumbled 'good investment'. Then Carlisle continued to say that it was enough money to have our own archeological dig, starting this summer.

Damn that was exciting news. I'd not been on a dig since I was in college myself and I was surprised to find that the whole idea energized me.

"The endowment came with a couple of stipulations. One was that the site to be excavated is the original Douglas Castle and grounds, with Edward's permission of course, now that the original land is a part of Cullen property," he said toward Edward.

Edward looked at me and told Carlisle "Aye".

"Second, the official site direction should be a staff member from the University here," he smiled over at me. "Prof. McRoy, Dean of Histories has decided not to accept due to his age and present health. He said he would welcome the chance to advise but the actually work should be done by someone younger. Therefore, the job would fall to you Jasper. What do you think," Carlisle asked.

My mind was a tangle of thoughts. Next to Civil War historic sites, I couldn't think of anything I'd like more than a site on what was once Douglas land. There was a time when I would never hesitate but now the man sitting here beside me had changed me forever. We were a team, partners. I would never consider doing something this large without including him in the decision. Edward had been unusually quiet during the meeting and I glanced at him. He was smirking and trying not to laugh. It dawned on me then.

"You son of a bitch," I said slugging his arm in jest. "You knew about this already."

Edward laughed loudly while rubbing his arm and then kissed me soundly.

"I gave my endowment the day after ye accepted the job of Dean of American History. I thought ye might fall for me quicker if I showed ye I was rich," he laughed as I scoffed at him. "Do it Jasper find yer heritage and ye never know ye might find the treasure too."

"There's treasure," I asked astounded.

"There are some old stories about a lost treasure but there's nothing that we've been able to find that would confirm it. I did have Mr. Volturi agree that any finds at the site would, of course, be Cullen property, who would be inclined to turn it over to Scotland to be placed in museums for future generations," Carlisle finished. Edward straightened up in his seat and looked upset for a moment.

"What did ye say that name was Carlisle," he asked.

"Volturi, Aro Volturi and his brothers gave the endowment," Carlisle said handing Edward some document across the table. "Is there a problem, Edward?"

Edward looked over the papers silently then handed them back to Carlisle.

"Nay, it all looks quite right," he answered without any other explanation.

"The endowment will allow for a staff of about ten, so you could ask students from all departments to apply and then chose those you wish," Carlisle finished handing me a binder with all the information on the endowment. "So what do you say Jasper?"

I thought for about ten seconds. Looked at Edward, who was looking at me with smiling eyes and asked, "Would you work with me there Edward?"

"I was hoping ye would ask," he answered then squeezed my hand. "Sounds like a great adventure. So yes, I'd love to join yer team Professor Whitlock."

I turned to Carlisle, stood and reached to shake his hand and said, "Hell yes, I'm in!"

That first summer was mostly grunge work setting up the site. Forty five students applied for the eight positions available. Bella joined the team as my assistant and she was a life saver on more than one occasion. Next summer the real fun begins, excavation of several building foundations we found on the site, including the main structure and what appears to be a chapel. The fire had destroyed much but the farther we dig down the more promising the site looks. Oh, and the other thing I should have mentioned was Edward asked me to marry him. Our commitment ceremony took place at the end of the summer at the dig site. It just seemed the right place under the circumstances.

Then came…

"What are you doing," Alice asked as she wrapped her arm through mine and held on tight. "You've been staring off in space for half an hour standing in this one spot."

"Thinking, remember two Christmas's ago and everything that's transpired since. Sorry, bampot," I laughed when she scowled at me. "Has it taken him that long to change on little diaper?"

"Hey, he's new at this. Give him time," she said as my Edward walked into the room.

Wrapped in a Cullen plaid and held very close to Edward's heart, he carried our new son. Edward had given me so much and the only thing he had asked for was an heir. How could I refuse him? I did warn him that I knew nothing about babies and that the cottage was not big enough for a family. So he did the only thing he could do, left the details of finding us a surrogate up to Alice and bought us a larger new home close to the campus.

I had worried about leaving that surrogate issue up to Alice but I should have known better. She said she knew the perfect woman in Ireland.

Before the dig started, we got the news that our son would be joining us for Christmas this year. That's why it was important for us to have the commitment ceremony and name changes before our son arrived. We brought him home to Cullen Manor on Christmas Eve yesterday, right on time.

I watched as Edward holding the baby sat next to Esme and little Cil. He reached for Cil and pulled her into his lap where she could see the baby easily.

"See he's sleeping," Edward whispered to Cil as I crossed the room to stand by my partner. His smile lit up the entire room and was brighter than the lights on the Christmas tree.

Our son was beautiful and looked so much like Edward. What little fuzz covered his head was a light brown with Edward's red high lights. His eyes were blue right now but we were pretty sure they'd eventually turn toward a shade of green.

"Baby," Cil giggled and smiled up at Edward.

"Aye," he answered her. "Cil this is yer new little cousin, Riley."

Yep, that's what we named him, Riley Douglas Cullen-Whitlock.

"Welcome to yer family Riley," Edward said grabbing my hand and squeezing tightly. "Right daddy Jasper?"

20 years later

Alice's POV

"I don't know Aunt Alice," he said using Aunt because he knew I'd pinch him if he didn't.

"Riley we've been over this a dozen times already. You have been trained and you have your notes," I told him once again.

"I have every confidence in you to see this through. I've seen all three possibilities and this is the only one that makes sense. I promised you. You have the skill and you have the training," and this time I added the really important part he needed to hear. "And you are the only one who can save your dads, both of them."

His eyes grew wide, so much like Edward's; it hurt to send him on this dangerous path. He was young and he'd be alone. I couldn't be there for him.

"Alright Al…Aunt Alice let's go over it one more time. One, you're going to send me back through time tonight on Sondheim. I'm going to wake up in Ireland about six months before you enter your death sleep. Dad, Edward, will come looking for Riley Beers but I won't know him at first, dad I mean. I'll be using my alias, Bo. We end up together, come home and then Dad, Jasper and Uncle Alec help me bring you out of the death sleep. And when Cil is born I disappear and reappear here in this time," he said without stopping.

"That's it Riley. All of it will take about a year in that time line but here you'll only be gone about five minutes," I told him as we walked back to where the others were gathered for the celebration.

I could see he still wasn't sure or something was still bothering him.

"What is it Riley," I asked as I hugged him.

"Dad won't know me will he," he asked quietly.

"No sweetie, neither of them will. But for everybody's sake it has to be this way," I tried to reassure him.

"Can we tell them when I return," he asked as he waved across the ceremonial fire at his dad's.

"I don't think that's a good idea Riley," I answered. I knew Edward and Jasper would be furious at me for risking Riley's life to do this. They wouldn't understand there was no other way to save them, to save all of us.

"Will they miss me," he asked, worry clear in his voice.

"Remember Riley, you'll only be gone a few minutes in this time," I reminded him and he nodded at me.

"I just don't want to forget them, ye know," he answered sounding so young. Maybe I was sending him too soon. Would it hurt to wait a year or two more?

"Alice," he said seeming to grow up before my eyes; a determination in him that I hadn't seen before tonight. "Let's do this. I'm ready to save my dad's. They'd do it in a heartbeat for me."

The moon shone down on where the pillars had stood a thousand years ago but was only crumbled ruins now. Riley gave me a brave smile clutching the bag with everything he'd need. We chanted the words together and I watched as the smoke lifted from the ground around us. Swirling into a funnel wrapping around Riley taking him through the door into the past and he was gone.

That's end sweeties. I know some you would have wanted something longer. Some of you are going to be pissed that I left you with still another mystery. And then there are some of you that just know I can't end it without a cliffie. Thank you to all of you who have put me or my stories on alert over the past few months. Thank you for each and every review they meant everything to me. I'll miss you all while I'm on this hiatus but I promise I'll be back. Send me some love one last time for Highland Dreams. Thank you for reading and reviewing, cbaty