Rating/Warning(s)/Note(s): T, Shadows
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Dartmouth sent me a letter, asking if I'd like to repeat my last semester or have my professors average the grades I'd earned with my missed finals and see if I passed. Alice assured me I didn't need to repeat anything, so I had them average in my missed finals. Turns out all my professors took pity on me, understanding that my dying father was a higher priority, and dropped my finals. It helped that all my grades were A's before I left.
It was a good thing. Human memories were fading fast. It was like looking in the wrong end of a telescope, everything on the other side seemed distant, small, and slightly out of focus. Small details seemed to slip away faster than I could force myself to remember them. When Alice told me I probably needed to retake my degree to remember it all, I groaned in despair. Emmett found that funny.
"Bella, hello, you're a vampire now. No more cramming! You'll remember everything they tell you, perfect recall," he said with a smile.
"Which gets to be very annoying when they contradict themselves," Edward said, shaking his head as he wrapped his arms around me.
"Not as bad as when they get it wrong to begin with and refuse to be corrected," Jasper added, getting nods of agreement from everyone.
Esme sat next to me on the couch and stroked my hair. "Don't worry about it, you'll remember more than you realize. When you sit in on your class, and they cover a topic you learned as a human, it'll be like being reminded of a distant memory."
"What about Charlie?" I asked, looking to each person. "Do you remember your parents?"
Alice shook her head. "It's different for you. You interacted with him as a vampire. You'll never forget."
"And you'll never stop mourning," Rosalie said as she came into the room. She settled down next to Emmett, snuggling into his arms the same way I was cradled in Edward's. "I went to visit my family a year after my change because the memories of them were fading." She shook her head and looked off into the distance. "I swear my father didn't have grey hair before, but it was completely white when I saw him. My mother looked like an old woman and my brothers seemed so sad." She returned her gaze to me, an eternal sadness in her eyes. "At least your parents know what became of you."
I laughed, thinking of my last phone call with Renee. "I think my mom is a little jealous."
Edward's body shook beneath me as he chuckled. "Not really. More that she's trying to figure out how to not look any older without being changed into an X-man."
"Sometimes it helps to pull up memories before they fade away," Esme said. "They may look cloudy, but at least then you'll have them always."
"Good idea, but I think I should skip last month." Everyone nodded. No one wanted me to relive that pain.
It turns out I had to in order to find a jumping in point. Charlie's funeral was two weeks ago. When his body was lowered into the ground I realized a dead heart could split in two. It was impossible to get enough air, even if I didn't need it, as I wished for the relief of tears that would never come.
Three days before that I held his hand as he passed from this life. "Take care of Sue?" he asked. All I could do was nod. "Don't be sad. I've lived a good life." He shifted on his bed, took Sue's hand in his other one, and took a deep breath. "I love you both. Don't ever forget that."
We murmured that we loved him too as he closed his eyes and exhaled. He didn't take another breath. Sue was incredibly strong, planning his funeral. "I've done this before," she said when I asked how she managed. I gave her my father's house, he hadn't changed his will, and only took from it those things that were special to me.
That happened a month after the battle. Pushing back from there was where it got difficult. Edward prompted me from the things he remembered, helping me recall events after we met.
After I got going, I understood what Esme said about it feeling like I was recalling a distant memory. Because I didn't want to forget my mom either, I added her in. It was sluggish at first, but then time seemed to melt backward.
My high school graduation. Going to prom with Mike Newton. Watching Jacob grow massive one day to the next. Trips back and forth between Arizona, Washington and Florida as Renee moved but Charlie remained grounded. Learning to drive. I saw my grandmother rocking in her chair. Faces of friends floated in and out, growing younger as I searched my memories. Birthday parties, gifts, styles, music, important moments growing farther between as they all raced by.
Finally I hit a wall, impenetrable, behind which I knew were events my brain should know but simply couldn't recall. I moved forward again, noting how some things changed in importance when viewed from that direction. This time, though, I focused only on my family.
Watching Charlie die again was too much, so I jumped back to today. I looked at each person in my vampire family. They would never change. With a start I realized that while my father grew older in my memories, my feelings for him never changed. Nor did my feelings for Renee. The love I held for them would go on into eternity. Even as they faded to dust, I would also remember that feeling. Even if each person in my vampire family became ash, I would remember the love I shared with them. That part of who I was would go on forever.
*Sigh* That's it ladies, the final chapter. Thank you so much for favoriting, alerting, and most of all, reviewing. I've grown to look forward to hearing from each of you who review regularly, and will truly miss you.
I may write another story based on witfits in the future, but for now I really need to focus on writing my second original book. If my first one ever gets published, I'll try to remember to send out an alert here. The first one is based on my one-shot, Taking Liberties. If you like that, you'll love the book.