Disclaimer: I do not own Twilight.

An: This was original written as part of the Fandom for Preemies compilation. Thank you to those who donated. As a mother of a former preemie, your support is more appreciated.

I'm trying something a bit different with this story, going perhaps a little on the dark side. I will touch on some topics that may be sensitive to some, primarily alcoholism. I hope you enjoy.

*Now revised as of 1/12/12*

Broken yet Still Breathing: Prologue

They say your life flashes before your eyes right before you die, but of one thing I was certain – mine did not. As I laid there, cheek pressed to the cool pavement, there was no movie reel of memories or quick-changing mental images. I couldn't even think in that moment.

Instead, I felt.

An overwhelming sense of peace and finality bloomed from deep within and spread throughout my body like wildfire, releasing me from my ever-consuming guilt. It was the most free I'd felt in years, and I reveled in it in my final moments.

When I felt my heartbeat slow, a stuttered staccato replacing the once steady rhythm, I braced myself for images that would never come.

So, no, I didn't see my life flash before my eyes before I died, and for that - I was grateful.


There's crunching, screeching, metal on metal, and then there's nothing.

An eerie silence settles all around me. It feels like the calm before the storm, and that is the scariest feeling of all. I'm not sure what has happened, yet somehow, it is all quite familiar. I try to remember, but I the memories are buried deep in a place I cannot touch.

Trying to move proves futile because I cannot feel a thing. It is as if my mind as severed itself from the rest of my body. There is no numbness, no tingling sensations to be felt in my fingers or toes … just, nothing.

Have I finally succeeded in death? I wonder.

It feels as if I have been abandoned on a deserted island without even the waves to calm my anxious nerves. Darkness is all that I know at this point, all that I see or feel, and even his voice has gone silent; though I sense his presence nearby, surrounding me.

I want to reach out, but I can't.

Help me.

I silently plea, beg, that someone comes to my aid. I don't mind death so much, but the blackened silence I am living in now frightens me greatly.

It is as if time has stopped, and I can no longer know how long it's been since I was last in touch with reality. Has it been days? Weeks? Mere minutes? I can't be sure.

However much time has passed is irrelevant because it feels like an eternity. But then it happens – a quiet, muffled sound that gets gradually louder, and then it's as if someone has answered my plea because my hearing returns.

I want to physically cringe away when it does because there is nothing but chaos all around me. The scraping sounds of metal from earlier have returned, though now they are intermingled with blaring sirens and a shrill, high-pitched wail.

It takes a moment to realize, but then softer, so close to me, there is a voice. Though it is not the one I crave, it lets me know that someone is here, with me, so I hold onto the sound. I know they are trying to tell me something, but each word sounds as if it is being spoken under water.

I concentrate harder, knowing these words are important, but the effort brings forth no result. My mouth tries to form a response, to try to tell them that I can't hear what they're saying, but my lips refusing to cooperate.

I say nothing and allow the muffled sound of the voice to fall into the background of noise.

Instead, I wonder again where I am. My memory is hazy and dark, and I do not recall how I ended up in such a state. My thoughts are cut short, however, when a sudden coldness begins to creep its way through my body, chilling my veins with its icy grip.

As the icy feeling dances across my spine a shudder wracks my body. It is immediately followed by a sudden surge of pain, and I am taken by surprise. Somehow, my mind and body have reconnected, and it feels as if I am being ripped apart from the inside out.

Agonizing cries pour out of me as I squeeze my eyes shut and wince. Pain, however, is not new to me, and I have other things to worry about, other thoughts forcing their way into my consciousness.

Where is he?

I'm filled with a sudden panic. I have to open my eyes and find him, but I have yet to regain my sight.

Fissions of jagged, fiery pain lick their way from my toes to the tips of my fingers when I attempt to turn my neck. It is unlike anything I have ever felt before, and the only thing I can do is bite down on the inside of my cheek as hard as I can; it is only a matter of seconds before the coopery taste of blood fills my mouth.

The fire is over almost as quickly as it began, but the numbness has returned. Again, I am still.

Different than last time is that my hearing remains, though still garbled. Even better is that my vision begins to move from complete blackness to a clouded, hazy light. The sensation is similar to if I was searching my way through the dark with only a nightlight to guide me on my journey.

I am unable to focus on the blurred, darkened shapes moving around me; the ones I can see anyway because my cheek is flat against a cool surface I can only assume to be pavement, and I am still unable to move. It makes my head throb like a thousand beating drums to keep my eyes open, but somehow I know I must.

Sirens grow louder, and I try to focus on them. I try to remember how I ended up in this dreadful place.

But I can't.

This single thought is more terrifying than anything else that has happened.

Save me.

Save us.

The sounds around me shift then, and one rises above the rest, very close to my ears. It is loud, high-pitched, and never-ending. I want to make it stop, to scream for it to shut-up, because it's not helping to cease the beating drums playing a rhythm in my head.

It takes only a handful of seconds to realize that the sound is me. My body may be in a numb-like state, but my mind is not. I cannot feel the physical pain, but the emotional pain cannot be pushed away.

I do my best to quiet myself, knowing that screaming will do me more harm than good. I must save my strength if I am to find him. To save him.

The relative silence is most welcome.

Finger tips brush my arm. I am ecstatic that I can feel them touching me, even if it means some of the pain has returned. Their hands touch my arm, my face, and then a light is shining in my eyes. I think for a second that it's him, that he's okay, but something reminds me that can't be right.

I see no one but the light, and the garbled sound that must be their voice irritates me because I still can't hear them.

Blurring flashes of red and blue lights blind me further; shapes that had begun to take form dissolve in a haze, their shadows washed away by the light.

Somewhere, somehow, it finally registers that whoever is touching me is trying to help me, to save my life. But it's not me that needs saving, it's him. I try to scream for them to help him, to leave me be - let me go, but I can't form the words, only moans.

Someone please, help him … he will die, let me go … help him.

A dark shadow shifts in front of the light until I can make out a form. A man.

But then the familiar darkness I am coming to know so well slips in, unwanted, and pulls me under. It threatens to consume me. Perhaps I was under water after all, slowly drowning …

His voice taunts me, sounding clear among the garbled voices, "I'll drive."

I want to claw my way back to the surface, to find him, but it is too late, and I can tell that I'm already gone.

An: Don't say I didn't warn you it'd be dark. Leave a review to let me know your thoughts?