A/N: Awesome job, guys. Really awesome. :]
Epilogue Part 2: A Father
"Edward . . ." I whispered, still unable to accept what was right in front of me. "It can't be . . ." He smiled sadly.
"It's really me, Bella," his soft-as-velvet voice said, caressing my skin with the sound. "I told you I'd protect you, didn't I? I told you to remember that." My breaths sped up faster and faster as I looked at him, and I slowly raised my hand to his cheek. My palm touched skin, soft, warm, skin, but it was real. He turned his face into my hand and inhaled, breathing me in like I had wanted to do to him for so long. His lips touched my palm in a small kiss, his hand holding mine still, before he looked at me again.
"How . . ." I stared to ask, but I didn't know what I wanted to know. How did he survive? How was he here? How wasn't he dead?
"I can't really die, Bella. Angels are stuck in limbo until they decide to move on. They are not alive, but they are not dead. I only lost my form, Bella, but I didn't have enough time to explain that to you. That's was why I was so willing to do it. I knew I'd come back. That's why I told you—"
"That no one every truly dies . . ." I finished for him. My mind was reeling with what he had just told me, and something caught my attention. "You weren't trying to contain the energy, you were trying to hold yourself together long enough to pass it on to me. It was too much for your body to hold, and you fell apart." He nodded once. I looked down at the ground, thinking, before looking up at him again. He was just standing there with his face in my palm, his eyes closed. "But . . . what now?" He smiled, like he was expecting that question.
"Now, my Bella, we live the life we always thought about but could not have until the threat to you was gone. She is," he said, like it was the answer to every possible question, so sure of himself. I would have gladly accepted that and not questioned him more, but I needed to be sure of something, sure I wouldn't lose him for some reason so soon after I got him back.
"You . . . Are you . . . you?" I asked. I knew I wasn't being very articulate, but his smile told me he knew exactly what I was thinking. He brought my hand down from his face to his chest, directly over his heart. His beating heart.
"I am more me than I have been in a long time, Bella," he said softly, slowly spreading his wings and wrapping them around my now shivering form. I hadn't even noticed the snow falling on me. My whole body was soaked and freezing, but I didn't care. His wings around me were like an insulated blanket, and his body so close to mine kept me just as warm as I would have been inside. The tears streaming down my face were warm as well.
"And you're not . . ." I started, hesitating. He gave me another small smile and shook his head, running his thumb over the back of my hand.
"No. That is all me," he said, looking down at my hand. I smiled in wonder as his heart continued to beat strongly under my touch before I lunged at him, my arms wrapping around his waist. I cried into his naked shoulder and he buried his face in my hair, speaking soothing words in my ear as he wrapped his arms securely around me.
At some point I raised my face from his skin and plastered my lips to his and burying my hands in the hair on the back of his head. He immediately responded, moving his lips against mine and moving his own hands up to my face. I kissed him hungrily, needing to feel him against me, and my tears were still falling down my face. My tongue shot out and ran along his bottom lip and he immediately opened his mouth to me. We continued kissing, our tongues battling for dominance before I finally had to break away for air. He peppered my face with butterfly kisses as I fought to catch my breath. I moved my hands down his chest and wrapped my arms around him again as he continued to kiss the side of my neck. He stopped a few kisses later and I buried my face into the crook of his neck, breathing in the scent I thought I'd never smell again. A mix of the sea and freshly fallen rain. He wrapped his arms around my shoulders and rested his head on mine, sighing in contentment. I don't know how long I stood there in his embrace, but I finally looked up when someone called me, one of the two little someones who had been my rocks while I tried and failed to deal with losing Edward.
"Momma?" Michael called from the porch. I pulled back from Edward, wiping my eyes and leaving an arm around him before I turned to look at my son. Our son. I could feel Edward staring down at me in shock, and I looked up at him with a small smile.
"There's something you need to know, as well," I said, pointing out the obvious. He tilted his head to the side. "One month ago, I gave birth to twins, Edward. Our twins," I explained, emphasizing who's they were. I looked back at Michael and waved him over, giving him a reassuring smile. Emmet and Jasper were standing behind him, their jaws on the ground in surprise. Emmet broke his stare long enough to pick Michael up and put him on the sidewalk, since his snowsuit restricted his movement even more than usual. Edward moved his wings a little so Michael could join us. He waddled over and stopped right next to my legs, looking up at Edward and squinting. He looked up at me and pointed at Edward.
"Daddy," he said, not even asking if he was right. I nodded once, giving him a smile. He raised his arms to me and I picked him up, settling him on my hip as Edward placed his arm around my waist. Michael rested his head on my shoulder, not taking his eyes off Edward. Edward shifted uncomfortably under his strong gaze, and I gave him a reassuring smile. He gave a tight one back, and decided to make the leap.
"What's your name?" he asked Michael gently. I looked at Michael, letting him know it was okay, and he looked at Edward.
"Mike-ow," he said, trying to get the word to come out right. He almost got the sounds, but it wasn't quite there yet. I laughed and kissed his cheek, making him squirm.
"That's right, baby. Your name is Michael. What's your sister's name?" I asked him, looking at Edward. He seemed shocked once again.
"Gabby!" he exclaimed, throwing his hands into the air. He wasn't looking at us, though, but over Edward's shoulder. Both of us turned to find a surprised Alice and Rosalie with a confused Gabrielle standing at Alice's side.
"Mikey, who dat?" she asked him, pointing at Edward. She had seen the picture of Edward, but she didn't realize who it was. Mikey explained it to her, but she was always more concerned with making me happy rather than why I was sad.
"Daddy!" Mikey explained, poking Edward in the forehead. I tried to stifle a laugh at the surprised look on Edward's face, his eyes crossing as he tried to look at the guilty finger. Gabby came running over and took my hand, looking up at Edward with her brunette head tilted like her brother's had been.
"Daddy?" she asked, looking disbelieving. I nodded.
"Yes, Gabrielle, this is your daddy. He was the one in the picture Mikey found," I explained.
She stared up at him for a few seconds before raising her hands up to him. He looked at me, shocked, and she got impatient, shaking her arms to get his attention again. I giggled and nodded at him and he slowly leaned forward, picking Gabby up under her arms. She squinted at him, suspicious, and glanced at me.
"Daddy no leave again? No make momma sad?" she asked him. Pain flashed across his face briefly before he gave her a small smile.
"No, daddy's not leaving and mommy won't be sad anymore," he answered. She nodded and smiled brightly, planting a kiss on his cheek. I was starting to get the feeling that shock was going to be the emotion of the day, at this rate.
"Gabrielle and Michael, huh?" Edward whispered, looking at me knowingly. I blushed and nodded looking at the ground. I had named them purposely, the names being those of two angels of the three ark angels I had found while researching, Rafael, Gabriel and Michael. I had to change Gabriel to the feminine version, but the purpose was still there. Gabby proceeded to poke Edward's wing, her face confused.
"Daddy fly?" she asked. A devious smile lit up Edward's face and his wings seemed to twitch in anticipation. He held out an arm towards Michael, who moved from my hip to his father's, and took a step back.
"Hold on tight," he warned, smiling as they both wrapped their little arms around his neck. He spread his wings to their full span and crouched before jumping into the air, the kids screaming in fright before the sound quickly turned to joyous laughter. I watched them from the ground, smiling in utter happiness that my life was finally the way it should be. Edward was spinning around and flipping all over, making the twins roar in delight. I felt the others come up behind me and felt Alice's small form drape an arm around me.
"I have never seen anything this romantic in my life!" she screeched in my ear. Well, as close as she could get to it. I smiled down at her, tears of joy falling once again. "Get up there, girl!" she yelled again, gesturing towards where Edward was. I smiled and nodded once, running forward and jumping into the air, my own pair of white wings erupting from my back and keeping me aloft.
Did I forget to mention the whole I-finally-got-my-wings-from-Edward's-power-after-he-was-gone thing? My bad.
I flapped my pure white wings until I was flying next to Edward, all three of them looking over at me in shock. My wings were something I had discovered only a few days after I had woken up, and also something I had kept to myself until just now. I had wandered into the woods a few times to practice, and no one ever questioned my random disappearances in the state I was in; they probably assumed I needed the air. I smiled at Edward before pointing myself at the ground, tucking my wings in until I was spiraling right towards the solid earth. I could feel Edward's gaze following me down, and I spread my fifteen foot wings again just in time to miss the ground. I shot back up towards Edward and the twins, smiling at his relieved face and kissing his lips quickly as I flew right up past him. I circled back around and stopped just under him so our wings wouldn't hit and raised my arms up to the twins.
"Mommy fly!" they both yelled simultaneously. I laughed and Gabby reached down towards me. Edward passed her down and she roped her arms around my neck tightly, her gaze looking briefly at the ground so far below us.
"Don't worry. I won't drop you, baby. Never," I whispered, kissing the side of her head.
Edward and I flew over the forest, landing in one of the large trees that towered above the others every now and then. There were two thick branches growing out from the trunk right next to each other and we settled on them, stretching out and watching as the rest of Arcadia wet about their lives, the animals flying, crawling, walking, running, hopping from one place to another, their destination only known to them. I could hear a mother calling to her child, scolding, like it had gone too far away. Everything was so serene as I watched the world turn under my watchful eye, the eye of the Arcadian Queen, and I couldn't have been happier than I was in that moment.
My family was back together, the old and the new, and we could only move on from here. There was much that would change, some soon and some later, but we would take it as it came. I thought back for just a moment to what had started all of this, how I had to lose the only person I had left in my human life to be able to move on to the life I should have been living all along. I could only hope that Charlie was happy for me, that he could see the happiness I had gained after everything I had been through. There was one thing I knew for certain, though, and it brought a small smile to my face.
I would always be his dreamer.
A/N: So, that's the end. I don't know if I'll do a sequel, but so far the poll looks like a thumbs up for one. Don't forget to vote on the poll if you haven't, though! Now, I really only have one thing left to say.
Please review, one last time, and thank you for sticking with me through this story. It was much more out of my element than I have gone with my others, but I think it turned out okay. I'd really like to hear what all of you have thought about it.
~Angels of Twilight