Disclaimer: All recognisable characters belong to Stephanie Meyer. Any song lyrics belong to their respective owners. All plots and original characters belong to me, fallanydeeper. No copyright infringement intended.

A/N: This one shot has been written for 'Fandoms Fight the Floods'. The devastating floods in Queensland, Australia have affected many people's lives, whether that's through having friends or family in Australia or simply having a kind heart and being concerned for the wellbeing of others.

I have struggled over the decision of how to end this story and hope that people will understand why I have chosen the ending that I have.

If you shed a tear over this story, dedicate that tear to the people who have lost their homes, their friends, their families and their lives.

Hero

Hero

-noun, pl. –roes; for 5 also –ros.

a man of distinguished courage or ability, admired for his brave deeds and noble qualities.

a person who, in the opinion of others, has heroic qualities or has performed a heroic act and is regarded as a model or ideal: He was a local hero when he saved the drowning child.

The early morning sun began to filter through the crack in the drawn curtains as Bella's body started rousing from its slumber. Although her mind was still fast asleep, her body was awake, awake and singing. Her hands were fisted in the bed sheets at her sides, her long, slender fingers clenched around the fabric as her head tossed wildly against the pillows which cushioned her. Her chest rose and fell as she took in deep lungful's of breath, each exhale ending with a slight moan.

Strong hands caressed her taut and flattened stomach, moving over her thighs, spreading them further apart, gripping her flesh tightly as her body continued to writhe. Her mind began to revive itself as an intense pleasure ripped through the apex of her thighs, spreading like a burning flame to each of her limbs, her toes curling against the onslaught of pleasure as the knot in her stomach pulsed with each beat of her pounding heart.

His deep chuckle permeated through the fog of her brain, her senses finally coming to, as her eyes snapped open and her head raised. She looked down at the man nestled between her thighs, her gaze settling on his large palms as they held her shaking legs apart before moving to his handsome face, the grin he wore, spoke a thousand words. Their eyes connected as silence filled the air around them, his eyes sparkling with lust, hers alight with desire.

"Good morning, baby," he whispered before leaning forward and pressing his nose into her soft curls, inhaling her unique scent. His tongue whipped out and flicked her swollen nub before he laughed again and raised his head, "I thought for a moment that I'd make you come a second time before you even woke up."

His tongue snaked out from between his lips once more, working at her bundle of nerves with rapid strokes. A guttural moan ripped from deep in her chest, her hands gripping the sheets with fervour once more, her deep chocolate orbs widening as she watched him pleasure her sensitive clit. Her legs tried to clamp shut, the muscles of her thighs tight as they fought against his hands.

"Edward," she moaned, her head falling back against the pillows with a soft thud, her back arched in an erotic display as her hips began to move against his lips. His strokes slowed, and then stopped completely and Bella heaved a large sigh, her body sagging as his grip released her, her chest rising and falling with each laboured breath she took. His lips brushed tenderly over each of her inner thighs before rising slowly, he kissed each of her protruding hip bones, trailed his tongue up the centre of her stomach, his body beginning to cover hers as his mouth caressed her flesh, until his lips covered hers in a bruising kiss.

Bella's arms rose above her head and Edward took the invitation willingly, clasping both of her wrists in one of his large hands, restraining her against the pillows as his tongue thrust into her mouth. He dominated the kiss as his body dominated hers, his hips pressing her into the mattress, disallowing her to escape from his clutches. She struggled, playfully, beneath him, her slickened sex caressing his hardened length, her head tilting back slightly as his tongue delved deeper inside her warm and welcoming mouth.

She moaned into his mouth, a sound so feral and animalistic, as she tasted her own essence on his tongue. Edward chuckled as his lips tore from hers for just a moment, the flesh of their mouths barely touching as they breathed heavily into one another. His lips parted into a grin, his eyes crinkling in the corners as he looked down at his wife. His smile infected her mind and she smiled back at him, a giggle rising up, her eyes filled with enjoyment.

"I do love you, Mrs Cullen," Edward whispered reverently, a dark shadow passing across his features, his smile dipping into a frown. He closed his eyes and shook his head, trying to dislodge the sudden feelings of despair inside of him. Bella pulled her hands free of his grip and gently cupped his face within her palms. The electricity which had flowed between them since the day they met, sparked and ignited. Edward's eyes opened, settling immediately on Bella's chocolate orbs, her gaze filled with concern. Edward smiled, turning his face slightly, his lips softly stroking at her palm. Bella could read him like a book, just like he could read her.

"Whatever you're thinking about," Bella paused, raised her head and placed her lips tenderly on the tip of Edward's nose, "just stop. Stop and make love to me."

Just like that, the bad feelings that had welled up inside of Edward dissipated; his smile was genuine as he kissed his way across Bella's perfect face, his nose running along the column of her throat, his lips pressing against her flesh now and then. The heat of Edward's touch surged through Bella's body once more, the desire building to almost unbearable levels as her body begged for more of him.

His hips began to move in a tantalising rhythm, his rock hard erection stroking at Bella's glistening lips, the tip of his hardness brushing against her overly sensitive nub, eliciting the sexiest sounds, Edward had ever heard another human being mumble, from Bella's lips. Her hands glided skilfully over his flexed muscles as he held himself above her. Down his spine, her fingers tickling his skin softly, her palm massaging the base of his spine before her hands cupped the tensed cheeks of his buttocks, urging him to press himself harder against her, to send her body into the heat of flames it so desired.

Edward shifted his weight onto one hand; his lower body settled between Bella's spread legs, fitting perfectly in the space she provided for him as his free hand lightly ran up and down the length of her body before clasping one of her perfect breasts in his strong grip. His fingers tensed and relaxed around her pert mound, squeezing her aching flesh, until she cried out for more, her back bowed off of the bed, pressing herself deeper into his hand, her sex moving harder against him. Edward moaned, crashing his lips to his wife's, his tongue pulsing in her mouth as he kissed her hungrily.

His thumb and forefinger found her hardened nipple and Bella cried softly against his parted lips as he twisted and pulled, her peak protruding more at his touch. In a hurried movement, her hands were in his hair, pushing and pulling, as she took control of the kiss, her own tongue battling for dominance against his. Edward removed his hand from her, slowly sliding his palm down her stomach, the span of his outstretched hand almost covering her entire abdomen. She was so petite beneath him.

His hand moved lower still, passing between where they were so very almost joined, his fingertips brushed over her heated flesh and Bella shuddered below him, a mewl sounding from her lips at the feel of his fingers on her. He teased her further, rubbing her clitoris twice, flicking once then moving one digit slowly inside of her. He mumbled a profanity against her lips as he kissed her once more, his finger moving a little deeper inside, massaging her inner sanctum until she was writhing against his hand, her body demanding more from him.

Edward grinned sinisterly, removing himself from inside her, delighting in the frustrated growl which Bella let forth. His hand found his length and he began to stroke himself, his lips continuing to attack Bella's, his tongue dancing with hers. He squeezed the base of his thick shaft on each pass, his thumb brushing over his sensitive, bulbous head, a hiss escaping his clenched teeth at the pleasure his hand brought to him and suddenly, he couldn't wait any longer, his need for his wife grew to paramount levels as he guided himself to his own personal heaven.

Bella inhaled oxygen deep into her lungs, her body stilling as she felt Edward move himself against her, the head of his penis pressed lightly at her opening as he raised his upper torso above her, his eyes fixed upon hers as he slowly and tenderly shifted his hips forward, his girth slipping inch by inch inside of her. The young couple let out mutual sighs of adoration as Edward's body finally completed hers, two parts of a shared soul finally joining together.

He began to move at a slow pace, withdrawing and entering Bella's body, over and over, until Bella became a needy, wanton, woman. Her back arched as she moved her hips against his, using her body to encourage him to take her harder, faster, deeper. Edward growled, tired with teasing his wife with his slow love making. He wrapped his hand around her right thigh, hooking her leg around his waist as he penetrated her deeper. Bella cried out at the change in angle and the sound of her pleasure was music to Edward's ears, a sound he would never tire of hearing from her.

Lips connected, tongues danced and moans ensued as Bella and Edward made sweet love to each other. Their bodies were slick with the heat that they emitted, their breaths were laboured with their exertion and still they moved as one together. As Edward moved into her, Bella pushed back, taking him as deep into her body as she could. Her ankles locked around his back, her hands fisted in his hair as she kissed him with unbridled passion, trying unsuccessfully to bring him closer.

They moved in complete synchronisation, neither of them having to think about what they were doing as they gave themselves, freely, to the passion and let their bodies take control. Together they climbed the orgasmic cliff, their muscles tensed, as they became ready to explode together. Edward's hips moved faster as he began to lose control of himself and Bella groaned loudly, a deep sound, reverberating from her chest as the immense pleasure built within her.

Edward shifted his weight to his left hand, holding himself up as his lower body continued to pump furiously, his right hand sneaking its way between their undulating bodies as he began to caress Bella's most sensitive area. Her body reacted to him immediately, as it always did, and Bella's inner muscles began to tighten around his length, signalling that she was just as ready as he was to dive off of that cliff, hand in hand, as they sought the highest of releases, burning together in flames of orgasmic bliss.

They lay in each other's arms, just minutes later, both of them breathing heavily as they held onto each other tightly. Bella's head rested on Edward's sweaty chest as she tried in vain to regulate her breathing once more. No words were spoken between the couple as they lay for a while together. Edward's hand moved gently up and down Bella's spine as Bella closed her eyes and hummed in appreciation, her leg hitched over Edward's thighs as she held herself tightly against his calming body.

"Happy anniversary, love," Edward whispered against her temple, his voice slightly croaky due to its recent misuse during their morning celebrations, "are you sure you don't mind us looking after the kids today?" Edward questioned, his fingers hooking under Bella's chin as he raised her perfect face so that he could gaze upon her.

Bella shook her head softly, pressed her lips against his lovingly, and then settled her head back down on his chest, closing her eyes and relaxing against the love of her life. "Of course I don't. We promised Esme that we'd have them for the day. I do still feel guilty that we can't sit for them tonight though," Edward had made reservations in the city at one of the most prestigious restaurants that London had to offer so that they could celebrate their first anniversary in style, "Oh, and don't forget that I have a doctor's appointment mid-morning today, so you'll be looking after the two of them by yourself."

Bella bit her lip to stifle the giggle which wanted to escape from her, yet Edward could feel her body shake against him with her amusement. He chuckled and gently tickled her ribs until she was writhing next to him, exciting him once more, which as much as Edward didn't mind the thought of taking his wife again and again, all throughout the day, he knew that they had made arrangements and therefore would behave responsibly, for once.

Edward was good with their neighbours children, no one could deny that but this would be the first time that he had been left to care for them solely, without Bella by his side to keep young Alice entertained with dolls while he did the "manly" things with Emmet - video games and football – the longest he had ever been left alone with them was for ten minutes here or there when Bella nipped to the shop for a pint of milk but she was always careful with planning her excursions during Alice's nap time so that Edward wouldn't be too overwhelmed.

Bella and Edward had moved into their first home together upon returning from their honeymoon, young and so very in love. They had been prepared to continue living on the second floor of Edward's parent's house and were ecstatic to find, upon their arrival back in the country, that Elizabeth and Edward Sr. had purchased them a beautiful detached house in a quiet town, just a short train ride from the capital city.

Within weeks they had found themselves well acquainted with their next door neighbour, Esme Cullen, and her two young children, Emmett who was six and little three year old Alice. Emmett was a boisterous young lad and had immediately taken to Edward, constantly hounding for his attention over the chicken wire fencing which separated their two properties. Alice, however, had taken a lot longer to open herself up to them but that was completely understandable, considering the unfortunate communication barrier between them.

Alice was deaf.

She had been born with total hearing loss and even at the age of three, she was very nearly fluent in British Sign Language, as were Esme and Emmett.

Bella smiled against the flesh of Edward's chest as she remembered back to the first few weeks of them moving into the area, Esme had immediately made herself known to them, bringing one of her homemade apple pies around for the young couple as a welcome gift, being only a few years older than Bella and Edward, the trio found that they had a lot in common and a bond was made between them very quickly.

It soon became apparent to Edward and Bella that Esme was struggling. They had never asked about the children's father, they felt that it was not their place and that Esme would tell them about it when she felt comfortable enough. She worked hard, two jobs Monday through to Thursday, three on a Friday and Saturday, allowing herself a day of rest on a Sunday, not that she ever seemed to get much of that with two young children to care for and entertain but she did the best that she could, with what she had.

With Edward earning enough money as a paediatric registrar, to support both he and Bella, it allowed Bella to stay home and live out her dream of writing her own novels. She was part way through negotiations with a publisher and spent her days slumped at her laptop writing about the fantasy world she had created for herself. Until she realised that she could be a help to Esme.

And that was how Bella came to look after Alice during the day while she worked from her own living room. Her daily routine had changed to cater for the children's needs, she had Alice all day, Emmett after school and then she and Edward would care for them during the evenings until Esme returned home and Bella couldn't be happier with the situation, as Edward had repeatedly joked, every bone in her body was a maternal one.

It had taken Bella over a month to gain the trust of little Alice and it wasn't until she and Edward had mastered BSL, some months later, that she really began to open up and bloom into the beautiful little girl that she was today. There was nothing that Alice liked more than to play with her dolls while Bella worked or to play dress up with her new friend.

Bella had come to see the children as members of her own family. She would never claim that they felt as if they were her own but they were pretty damn close to it. Esme herself likened Bella to an aunt and role model for her children.

Edward moved his arm from beneath Bella and began to sit up, laughing as Bella made a slight noise which suggested that she was less than happy at him for disturbing her comfort. She pouted playfully at him as he stood and walked into the bathroom, her eyes lingering on the sight of his retreating form. She listened as he turned the shower on and slowly placed her feet on the soft carpet, pulling herself upright and traipsing into the bathroom so that they could clean themselves up and prepare for the children to arrive.

.::B&E::.

Bella lay on her stomach, sprawled across the cream carpet of the living room, little Alice mimicked her positioning on the floor, her tiny hands working furiously as she tried to copy Bella and change the fiddly outfit which belonged to the Barbie in her hand. Bella was much like her mother, Renee, when it came to belongings, she was a hoarder and as often as she had tried to kick the habit, she just couldn't. Most of her childhood toys, still in excellent condition, now lived in their attic, packed away in boxes and plastic bags, waiting for the day when her future children would play with them. She had everything from playmobil to spirograph to scaletrix, having been more of a tom boy as she grew up; she now had a multitude of games and toys.

How are you doing, Alice? Bella signed, her fingers stumbling minimally over the formation of the words.

She laughed as Alice's pink tongue poked out from between her lips, her head nodding furiously as her fingers continued to work on dressing the tiny doll. Bella looked up to see Edward leaning against the door frame, a serene expression on his face as he watched the two of them. Bella's eyes dragged up and down his body and she groaned as she moved onto her knees, taking in the grass stains stretching the entire expanse of his right thigh, all the way down to his knee. Edward noticed Bella's expression and looked down, his signature smirk spreading across his face as he saw the mess.

"Emmett's getting pretty good," was his reply to her unanswered question, not that he had even needed to answer really, Bella could easily have guessed that the two had been playing football in the garden, it was all they ever did, so long as the weather held. It was obvious that the boy looked up to Edward. Even on a Sunday when Esme was free from work, if Edward was home, Emmett would be knocking on the door, begging to play on the playstation or go to the park for a kick around.

It was hardly a surprise, however, that Emmett saw Edward as a role model, a father figure, if you liked. After they had lived in the house for almost six months, shouting and cursing woke the couple one night. They had peeked out of their window to see a tall, muscular man, pounding his fists against Esme's front door. Edward had immediately set into action, throwing on a pair of jeans and insisting that Bella stay in the house while he went to make sure that Esme and the children were ok.

Bella had watched with concern, through the curtains in her bedroom, as Edward approached the man, who swayed on his feet so much that it was obvious he had had a good deal to drink. She had reached for her mobile phone, ready to dial for the police should it look like Edward was getting himself into trouble but the guy just cursed at Edward, screamed profanities toward the house, then turned and staggered down the road and out of sight.

Esme's door had opened immediately after that and Bella had watched as Edward slipped inside, she joined him minutes later wearing the bath robe she had taken from the hotel they had stayed at on their honeymoon.

That was the night that Esme had finally opened up about the children's father, Carlisle Cullen.

Bella had sat in Esme's cluttered kitchen, evidence that young children lived there was plastered all over the room, her hand gripped Esme's tightly as the young woman sobbed her way through her life story. She had fallen for bad boy Carlisle when she was just 16 years old, in her last year at senior school. Carlisle was had been a college dropout, older than Esme and a bad influence on her, not that she knew that at the time.

Carlisle had encouraged her to leave the safety of her parent's home and move into his squalid flat when she had finished at school, then he insisted she didn't need college, that she could make it in the world without further qualifications and being the young, innocent girl that she was, believing she was firmly in love with him, she had listened to his advice, only to find herself living in hell.

She had fallen pregnant with Emmett just months after her 18th birthday and was surprised with Carlisle's reaction. She had panicked over telling him about their impending parenthood, scared that he would make her abort the pregnancy but instead, Carlisle had been thrilled and insist they marry, that no child of his would be born out of wedlock. The difficult years she had already spent with Carlisle and his mood swings all faded into nothing as Esme's fairy tale dreams came back to her but her happiness wouldn't last long.

Carlisle was constantly in and out of work, his short temper losing him more jobs than anything else, so Esme worked all the hours that she could, right up until her due date and she only took a month off after Emmett's birth before money got tight and she had no choice but to go back to work, leaving her new born son at home with his father, who had begun to drink his way through the day.

Alcohol hadn't been Carlisle's only vice, however, as Esme found out when she came home from work with a sudden bout of sickness, to find Carlisle hovered over the coffee table, which she had been given by her parents when they had finally made amends, a rolled up note in his hand and powder residue left on the surface of the heavy wood. Carlisle, it turned out, was hooked on drugs.

Esme had left; she packed a bag for her and Emmett and fled to her parent's home, vowing never to return to her husband who had behaved so neglectfully toward his son. Her sickness continued until she discovered that she was pregnant again, she told Carlisle, believing that he had the right to know and that was how she found herself being sucked back into his life, and working all the hours she could to support her little family.

Carlisle had walked out on them on Alice's first birthday, not being able to cope with her deafness. Esme was torn, sad that the man in her life had left but also feeling light and free, knowing that she could start to build a happy future for her children, who were her world, a happy home, even if she were a single mother.

By the end of Esme's tale, Bella too had been in tears, the two women holding onto each other as they sobbed. Edward had stood across the room from them, anger clouding his usually handsome face, his hands fisted at his sides as he vowed that he would never let Carlisle Cullen cause any pain to his friend again, neither physical or emotional.

"You're going to be late to your appointment if you don't leave soon," Edward said to Bella, smiling as she quickly looked at her watch and jumped up from the floor, bending quickly to drop a kiss to the top of Alice's head, which grabbed her attention, and signing that she would be back soon.

She spent the next few minutes flying around the house, picking up her coat, keys and bag before kissing Edward's cheek quickly and yanking open the front door, calling out instructions as she made her way outside. "Make them a sandwich at 12 but check the ham first, it's been in the fridge for a while…I'll see you soon…Don't look like that, you'll be fine…Oh and if I'm not back by 12:30, put Alice down for her nap."

Edward just chuckled at his wife as he waited for her to climb into her car and drive off down the street, shutting the door when she was out of sight. His heart filled with love for her each and every time that he saw her with Emmett or Alice; he knew that she would make a fantastic mother, one day.

Emmett came running into the living room; his muddy trainers leaving clumps of dirt on the cream carpet, Edward groaned and ran his fingers through his hair in frustration. Bella was not going to be happy when she saw the mess. He sighed, picked Alice up from the floor and held her on one hip as he picked Emmett up in his other arm, upside down. Emmett laughed, a real belly laugh, as Edward carried the two of them outside to play.

Half an hour later and Alice and Emmett were playing happily on the lawn, kicking a ball to and fro. Edward smiled as he watched the siblings play, it was evident in the way that Emmett would barely kick the ball toward Alice, how protective he was of her but unfortunately, he couldn't help Alice's clumsiness when she tripped over her own feet and fell to the ground, dropping the Barbie doll she had insisted on carrying throughout the game.

Edward rushed over as Alice sat up, tears streaming down her face; she brought her knee up to her chest and rocked backward and forward, her tears still falling as undistinguishable sounds escaped from her young lips. Edward coaxed her hands away from her leg as he sent Emmett inside to collect his medical bag. The cut to her knee was not as bad as he had first suspected and judging from the blood on Alice's Barbie, her injury had not been caused by the ground but by the plastic toy as she had fallen.

Edward worked quickly and tenderly to clean Alice's small wound, wrapping her injured knee up with an oversized bandage which Emmett had insisted she needed. Alice's body shook minimally with each of her reduced sobs, her eyes focused on Edward's hands as she watched him clean and cover her cut. Edward smiled reassuringly at her as he helped her to her feet, holding her hand as she accustomed herself to the sensation of the bandage around her knee. She smiled up at him, a wide, toothy grin, and then began to move her hands.

"What is she saying?" Edward asked Emmett, his sign language skills nowhere near as advanced as his wife's.

"She says you're her hero," Emmett replied, signing something back to his younger sister, the girl he had sworn to his mother that he would protect.

.::B&E::.

Bella sat awkwardly in the waiting room, crossing and uncrossing her legs as she thumbed through a 6 month old magazine. Her eyes scanned the glossy pages, the celebrities and headlines not registering in her mind as she remained stuck within her thoughts. Her gaze flicked repeatedly to the clock on the wall, directly in front of her, the second hand seeming to move even slower than usual as she waited for her appointment time.

"Mrs Masen?" Bella sat up abruptly, smiling at the sight of her GP as she stood and followed the young woman through to her consulting room. Bella sat herself down in a chair and waited for her doctor to be seated.

"What can I do for you today, Bella?"

"I think I'm pregnant."

Bella left her doctor's surgery almost thirty minutes later, clutching a pink folder to her chest as she made her way out to the car park, specifically for the use of the patients of the doctor's practice, she used the remote to disable her cars locks then slid into the driver's seat, holding the folder almost tenderly in her hands, her smile growing further as she thought back of her doctor's words.

"It's positive, you are pregnant, Bella."

Bella and Edward had been trying since their wedding night to fall pregnant and as of yet had failed to do so. Bella had panicked after a few failed months and insisted that there was a problem and they should see their GP who encouraged them to keep trying for a year before consulting on the issue again and now, on their one year anniversary, Bella had received the best possible news. There was nothing wrong, conceiving had just taken time.

When Bella had realised that her period was late, she'd immediately booked herself in for an appointment and had considered telling Edward but didn't want to get his hopes up once again, only to have them dashed when they were told once again that stressing about falling pregnant was likely the reason her monthly cycle had turned irregular. But now here she was, sitting in her car and feeling guilty that she had attended the appointment alone, how would she tell Edward? Should she tell him as soon as she got home or wait until they went out to dinner and tell him there?

.::B&E::.

Edward helped Bella from the car, his hand clutching hers firmly as he pulled her against his body, leaning down he pressed his lips to hers in a chaste kiss before pulling back and smiling at her lovingly. They had spent a lovely evening together, in one of the finest restaurants that London had to offer, celebrating their anniversary. Edward slipped his arm around Bella's waist and led her toward the house, his eyes scanned over next door's property as they always did these days, checking to make sure that there was no trouble as there had been on so many evenings over the past year.

Edward noted that Esme's little Ford Escort was not on her driveway which must have meant that she had managed to find a sitter after all. Edward breathed a sigh of relief, having felt guilty all evening that they wouldn't be able to have the children and Esme would have had to miss a night's work. Bella gripped Edward's hand, turning his attention to him; she smiled up at him as they began to walk toward their front door once more.

"I wonder who's looking after the children tonight," Bella whispered as Edward hustled her inside the house and out of the cold.

"Emmett's staying at a friend's tonight," Edward reminded Bella, locking the house behind them and leading Bella up the stairs. The drive from London had taken time and it was late, Edward could tell something was on Bella's mind, several times over dinner it had been like she was about to say something, stopping herself at just the last moment. He wasn't worried however; he knew that she would tell him when she was ready to. "It's all he talked about this afternoon."

Bella smiled softly as Edward's hands caressed the skin of her neck as he stood her before their bedroom mirror, his hands slowly slid down her spine, pulling the zipper of her dress down in the same movement, until the entire expanse of her back was bared to him. Slowly he slid the fabric from her shoulders, letting it pool on the ground at her feet. Edward chuckled as Bella let out a yawn, his plans of making love to her, until dawn, shattered, instead he helped her into her nightclothes, slipped off his suit until he remained in only his boxers before leading Bella into their marital bed and pulling her small body against him.

"Thank you for tonight, Edward," Bella whispered as she rested her head on Edward's shoulder, her hand caressing the skin above his heart as she closed her eyes and thought back on their perfect evening. There was no better time than the present to tell her husband that finally, their wish was coming true and they were to be parents. She slid her hand into his, her fingers entwining with his. She squeezed his hand gently then brought their joint hands to rest on her stomach.

"Edward, I…" Bella began but she was cut off as Edward sat up abruptly, his brow furrowed, his nose scrunched.

"Can you smell burning?"

"I…" Bella inhaled, the acrid scent of smoke filling her lungs. Her eyes widened as she turned in fear to Edward who was already bolting out of bed, throwing on a pair of jeans and hoody that had been slung over a chair in the corner of the room. His gaze settled out of the window as he dressed in a hurry, the location of the blaze becoming obvious as the orange flames danced in the windows of the lower floor of Esme's house and the black smoke began to plume in swirls.

"Stay here," Edward ordered as he dashed out of the door and down the stairs, running out of Bella's sight, who reached immediately for Edward's mobile on his bedside table and threw a robe on other her night clothes, dashing out of the house just in time to see Edward on Esme's front lawn and a tall figure stumbling out of the house, his blond hair, sporting flecks of black, his nose and mouth covered in soot.

Edward rushed forward and reached for him as he began to teeter on his feet, coughing harshly as he breathed in the clean air. Bella joined the two men as Edward helped Carlisle down to the ground and began checking him out in a way only a doctor would, while Carlisle mumble something about falling asleep and a lit cigarette.

"Carlisle, where's Alice?" Edward pleaded, whilst Bella called the emergency services.

"I… woke up, couldn't breathe… I screamed for her to get out," Edward's head snapped up, anger marring his features at the man's words.

"Did you forget that your own daughter was deaf?" He seethed, getting to his feet as he began to run toward the burning house, the heat of which could be felt out on the lawn, where Bella stood. Her heart stopped beating in her chest as the scene unfolded in slow motion before her eyes, she knew what her husband was about to do and before she knew what was happening, she was screaming for him to stop.

"Edward! No! Come back! Edward! Please, we need you" Bella screamed as she watched the thick black smoke billow around her husband, swallowing his form as he disappeared inside the blazing house.

.::B&E::.

Darkness. Crackling. Heat.

It was strange to Edward how the screams of his wife had stopped as soon as he stepped over the threshold. He knew she was still screaming for him to stop, he could feel it in his heart but it was almost as if the burning walls of the house were magically soundproofed. No noise from the outside came in and all he was surrounded by was the atrocious scents and sounds of a fast approaching death.

Edward was glad that he had spent a considerable amount of time inside this house and new the layout almost as well as he knew his own, it made finding his way to Alice's bedroom so much easier, since the smoke restricted his view so much, he couldn't even see his palm if he placed it right in front of his face. He had seen on a documentary once that when the fire brigade walked up the stairs of a burning building, they would place their foot on the step, keep their weight balanced on the foot which remained on the solid ground and then tap at the stair to make sure it was safe to continue. They would do this until they reached the top.

Edward took a deep breath to steady his nerves and immediately wished he hadn't as his lungs began to burn as they filled up with smoke. He shuffled his way up the stairs, knowing that it had taken him some time but unable to risk his life more than he already had and run the danger of not being able to get to Alice. He pushed her bedroom door open and was pleased to see the air was thinner in there, clearly showing him that Alice was curled up on herself beneath the window at the far side of the room. She looked up at him, as if she had sensed his presence and although the fear was palpable on her face, she crawled immediately to him and allowed him to pick her up.

Edward looked around the room, grabbing a blanket off of Alice's bed and throwing it over her tiny body, covering her completely before turning and swiftly making his way out of the room. The orange flames danced higher up the staircase, like bolts of lightning through the mist of the burning smoke. He took each step slowly, holding Alice's trembling body close to him as they began to descend, the flames licking at his shoes, the nearer he got to the ground floor.

Then, disaster struck.

.::B&E::.

"Edward Masen was a hero, of that, no one can deny. This young and caring man, a doctor and a husband, gave his own life in his quest to save the life of an innocent child…" the minister said as Bella just stared at the coffin in the centre of the church, a framed photograph of Edward's smiling face sitting amongst a wreath of flowers.

Bella's hand rested on her stomach, her other hand clutching on to Esme's, although she felt and heard nothing around her, it was all just words and nothing that anyone said or did would bring her husband home to her and their baby.

"…A tragedy which has shocked the community, a man who will never be forgotten for his courage or his kindness…"

Tears streamed down Bella's cheeks, her shoulders shook as she remembered back to that night, remembered the scream which tore from her lips as a fireball ripped through her neighbours home, while her husband was still inside. The fire brigade had had control of the flaming inferno within minutes but still they didn't enter the house for fear of their own safety being compromised and by the time they did go in, it was too late, Edward was dead.

"…Alice would like to read a poem, in memory of Edward."

Bella's head snapped up as she turned to Esme who smiled wearily, saddened by Bella's loss but unable to hide the happiness that her daughter had survived thanks to Edward's courage and ingenious thinking. Emmett took Alice's hand and led her to the front of the congregation, turning to face everybody, she began to sign as Emmett read aloud.

"Do not stand at my grave and weep
I am not there. I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow.
I am the diamond glints on snow.
I am the sunlight on ripened grain.
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning's hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry;
I am not there. I did not die."

And Edward wasn't gone. He wasn't gone because he lived on inside the child that he would never know.

He would never know his son or his daughter but Bella vowed that their child would know that he was a,

Hero