A/N: This is it! The very end of our story. It's with a heavy sigh and happy heart that I post this chapter today.
Thanks so much to all of you for reading this little story that almost couldn't... We both had so much fun writing this baby. The Rob/Jackson discussions were a hoot... The characters were all tackled...
With love... I should say that we tackled those characters with love. Can't believe I forgot that part.
Thanks to Robert Pattinson for bringing so many odd, unusual characters to life on the big screen in only the brilliant way he could. It's brought such enjoyment to us and we feel honored to commemorate them with words.
Thanks to kiTT for her beta'ing and support of this story. She's been working on a fic of her own... Harvard Can Wait No Longer. (GO READ IT!)
Discalimers: We own nothing. Except now we own the ideas compiled in this completed fic. Other than that, the characters belong to Ms. Meyer and whomever wrote the wonderful characters that Robert Pattinson chose to play throughout his acting career so far. Am I forgetting something else? I apologize if I have... It's been a while since I've had to write one of these things.
Someone has to spread the good news that we survived.
~*Edward Cullen, Twilight
*~*~*Dr. Carlisle Cullen*~*~*
"Everyone be seated," the bailiff says.
I sit in a chair directly beside Edward. We had talked prior to the judge coming into the room. I assured him that this was essentially a hearing to determine whether or not he should stand trial for Edward Sr.'s murder. I promised that nothing negative would happen, but some things were going to be said that he might not want to hear. We go over the calming exercises, making sure he has his stress balls within reach.
As a file is handed to the judge, the bailiff announces, "Your honor, this is court docket number 3482, The State versus Edward Anthony Masen, Jr."
The judge flips through the file before looking directly at the prosecutor. "Mr. Berty, what is the state's intention in this case?"
Mr. Berty stands, buttoning his suit jacket. "Judge Meyer, the state wishes to hear whether or not Edward Anthony Masen, Jr. is mentally competent to stand trial for the murder of his father. It is our intention to prove that while though he was in Forest Meadow Mental Facility, he was fully aware of his intentions and actions."
"Mr. Jenks, defense?"
Edward's state appointed defense attorney stands, brushing his black hair back. "Judge Meyer, we fully intend to prove that Edward Masen was not himself at the time of the incident. We will show proof of mental duress and that he suffers from Dissociative Identity Disorder making him fully unaware of his actions at the time of this murder. We will further ask the court to enter a motion that Edward becomes a ward of the state and be allowed to remain with Dr. Cullen at Forest Meadows Mental Facility."
Judge Meyer begins the trial.
Mr. Berty spends the better part of the hour presenting his information... or lack thereof. The only proof he had in his possession was a few of the security tapes - one of which showed Edward standing over his father, talking to him before cutting out.
When all was said and done, he says, "Prosecution rests, your honor," and takes his seat.
Judge Meyer looks our way and says, "Mr. Jenks, you may present your defense."
"I know this is a little unorthodox, but I have two people I'd like to call on Edward Masen's behalf," he replies after standing.
"Mr. Jenks, this isn't a trial. This is just a preliminary hearing to determine if a trial is necessary."
"I understand that, your honor, but to best serve Edward, we need to present facts to prove our position... that he is unable to be held mentally competent over his actions."
As Judge Meyer ponders the motion, I notice that Edward is squeezing the stress ball under the table. I place my hand on his knee to get his attention. When he looks at me, I give him a reassuring smile. He looks forward again without a reaction, and that worries me.
"I'm going to allow you two witnesses but no more, Mr. Jenks. Do I make myself clear?"
Mr. Jenks nods at the judge and I find myself being sworn in.
"Dr. Cullen, do you understand that what I want are the facts you have pertaining to Edward Masen?"
"Yes your honor," I state sitting in the witness box.
Mr. Jenks paces in front of me. "Dr. Cullen, I want you to tell the judge what you know about Edward's mental state - past and present."
"Anthony Masen was brought into Forest Meadow Mental Facility last December. He was covered with bruises and lacerations indicating that he had endured some physical abuse. He didn't answer to the name Anthony, which is what I was told was his name upon admittance. Instead he went by Giselher. I believe that that personality was his outward portrayal of bravery.
"The next day, he was Edward... the same young man you see sitting before you today. He's calm and thoughtful... opposite of Giselher. A few days after that, we met another identity. He was the child that lived in Edward who went by the name Cedric. Over time, Edward had shown upward of fifteen different personalities, some of which went by the same name, but were entirely different in their actions. He used these personalities to cope with the stresses of daily living. I believe that he developed them to cope with the daily abuse he suffered at the hands of his father."
"I object!" Mr. Berty shouts while getting to his feet. "Your honor, are we really to believe that this young man has thirty-five individual personalities? That's ridiculous! This is all hearsay... Mr. Jenks has not shown anything to prove the abuse before introducing the good doctor here. Where is your proof, Jason?"
Judge Meyer bangs the gavel. "Mr. Berty, you may only address me, not Mr. Jenks. Mr. Jenks, what evidence is there that Edward was abused?"
"Your honor, I was afraid to call my other witness before Dr. Cullen, because Dr. Cullen needs to remain in the room with Edward. I didn't want you to throw out the case because you thought Dr. Cullen's testimony had been compromised."
"You had better show me proof of this alleged abuse by the end of this hearing, or your client's future is in jeopardy."
Mr. Jenks nods and says, "Yes, your honor. We will prove the abuse beyond a doubt." She motions for me to continue.
"As I was saying, Edward has shown over thirteen different sides to himself. He's had a French accent as his conniving personality took over to accomplish tasks he knew were wrong. He had a Spanish accent when he took on a personality he called Salvador Dali. That one was also homosexual and acting on those urges. Even the Toby Jugg persona was paralyzed and unable to walk.
"He took on these other identities to help him cope with life... or it was a means to escape... or both. It was how he had to survive. I feel that one of his darker personalities did commit the murder of Edward Masen, Sr., but I also think that in some way, they thought it would heal Edward overall.
"I can't say that I disagree with that. Since the murder in question, Edward has been under close watch. He has shown no signs of regression and his outlook is positive. I believe he will remain whole, but he still needs to be closely monitored. High stress situations can cause him to relapse. I am working on techniques to help him cope with stress, anger, hate... any emotion that he might want to disappear and avoid.
"I would like to recommend that you place Edward under my permanent care at Forest Meadow. It's his home. He belongs with us."
Judge Meyer writes a few notes before asking if there are any questions. Of course Mr. Berty comes for my throat.
"Dr. Cullen, don't you think this label of multiple personalities is a curtain for Edward to hide behind? Don't you think we would be better served if he was sent to prison for his crime?"
"Mr. Berty, I'm sure you cannot comprehend the thought of so many people living in one mind. I can also gather that you haven't suffered through years of abuse and trying to cope with severe mental and physical trauma such as that. To have him serve for a crime that he, in his mind, never committed would be a huge injustice to him. In my professional opinion, sending him to the stress and known abuse in the prison system would hurt him, and so many others. Again, I stress that Edward belongs with me at Forest Meadows. Not just for his safety, but for the safety of others."
After no further questions are asked of me, Judge Meyer asks me to take my seat.
"We call Police Chief Sam Uley to the stand," Mr. Jenks states.
Sam enters the room and walks to the stand. The bailiff swears him in.
I take my place on the stand. I hold in my hand a file folder about two hundred pages thick. The file covers the last year of Anthony's life outside of Forest Meadows.
"Chief Uley, please tell the judge in your own words about Edward."
"Well, I'd like to start off by saying that until recently, I knew him as Anthony. Anthony was always quiet and withdrawn. When I'd see him around town, he kept his eyes down and didn't really speak.
"Now, in the past year alone, our department has responded to over one hundred domestic disturbance calls, ninety percent of those calls being made in the last half of the year. I have the records right here, your honor."
Judge Meyer asks the bailiff to hand her the file, then for me to continue.
"On most of the calls, my deputy and I were the responders. We would show up, and Edward... the senior... would give us some song and dance. He would tell us his wife was accident prone and that his son was roughhousing with him. I have no idea what that man thought roughhousing was, but I promise the broken ribs and bashed in skulls are not a normal part of any type of play that I had ever heard of.
"If you look in the file, your honor, you will see multiple pictures of Anthony's contusions and abrasions. And that doesn't begin to cover what I've personally witnessed at their residences over the years I have been in service.
"Anthony had a sister, who has been thought to commit suicide. That was one case we never had a final ruling on... not enough evidence either way you looked at that coin.
"His mother, Elizabeth, was a quiet woman. She never spoke out against Edward Sr. nor did she ever take Anthony's side. She suffered at the hands of Edward as well. She was spotted quite a few times in the local market with a black eye or a cast on her arm."
The judge interrupts my testimony there. "These are from that night in December or are they from various events?" she asks while holding up a stack of photos of a bruised and battered Anthony.
"Those are a series over six months, your honor. Some of those were taken when we responded to a 911 call at his residence. Anthony was in his room, unable to breathe. We opened his shirt to see he had severe bruising over the location of his heart. We noted the welts on his abdomen from being whipped with something. We took those pictures while he was unconscious. His father had left the scene. His mother said he was in a fight with some boy from his school, although she never named a name or could she describe the boy.
"If you flip down, your honor, a few weeks later, you can see his broken leg. It was like someone had stomped on it, snapping into two pieces.
"Things only got worse from there. The house fell into disrepair. The calls went from a few times a month to almost every day. It made me sick knowing that I couldn't do anything to help.
"It wasn't that I didn't try, either. I would plead with them to say something. Chief Swan and I offered them solace and safety in exchange for turning in Edward Sr., but they never said a word. I wanted nothing more than to help them, and to get Edward Sr. behind bars for what he put them through.
"Without their testimony, our hands were tied in the situation."
As I am talking, I look over at Anthony. He seems to be disconnected and in some far off land, like the past few times I had encountered him.
"Chief Uley," Mr. Berty says, "You state that Edward Anthony Masen was abused, the pictures seem to corroborate that, but what about his mental state? Do you think he should stand trial for the crime he has committed upon his invalid father?"
I give this man a look of contempt. "Anthony has not been in the right frame of mind for quite a while. On a few occasions, I have seen him use other names and talk as though he were actually someone else. I will say that after what he's been through in his life, especially the past year, I'd be surprised if he could ever be normal again. He's too far gone to know right from wrong."
Mr. Berty paces in front of me, his hands behind his back. A scowl appears on his face as he asks me again, his voice loudening with each word. "That didn't quite answer my question, Chief Uley. Do you think that Edward Masen can and should stand trial for the murder of his father?"
"No. I don't think he should. Edward Sr. was a monster. He abused his family for years. I see it as not so much Anthony is a murderer; I see it more that Anthony was trying to find some sort of peace for the first time in his life. I don't think he should be punished for that."
The judge dismisses me and I sit in the audience, waiting for the verdict. She motions the attorneys to the bench for a sidebar. They whisper and talk, while motioning towards Anthony the good doctor, and myself.
If I had my way, Anthony would have a parade thrown for him for saving the world from such a monstrous bastard. It would make me sick if Anthony had to endure a trial. He would never be right... ever.
It's nice to be back on the ward. I felt skittish at the court hearing with all those people I didn't know. They were too near and watching me a little too close. I had almost forgotten what it felt like to be judged. Almost. I didn't feel quite myself and before I knew it I had zoned out during the proceedings and lost an hour of time.
Yes, I prefer to be here, in my home. I'm happy for the first time in my life and, thanks to God and the state of Washington; I can officially keep my bliss forever. I lean against the wall in the common room with my arms crossed against my chest watching them.
Alice and Jasper are playing with Legos. She's building a castle as Jasper constructs the fortress walls. Her positive nature overshadows his pessimism and there is no animosity or conflict as they work together with small smiles for each other.
Rose sits on the sofa, leafing through a magazine. Emmett stands behind her like some sort of personal bodyguard. He watches us all, protecting us from the evils of the world, but none as much Rosalie. The way she glances at him over her shoulder as she turns the pages shows a look of divine love in turbulent times. Almost unheard of, I know. Long live our god and goddess!
Carlisle-he says I can call him that-stands at the door with Esme. He takes notes in his book, like a good clinical analyst, always trying to do his best for us aesthetically. Esme is more vocal. If Carlisle can non-surgically pick our brains apart, it's Esme who puts us back together with soft, kind words of praise.
Looking at them all now, I feel camaraderie, familial allegiance, and love. The best of these is love. She sits next me with her back against the wall and her knees drawn up to her chest, reading her latest novel, a paperback title "Child 44". An aura of bright light surrounds her but, fortunately for me; I am the only one with permission to bask in the warmth. I'm also the only one allowed to touch her girly parts and, for that, I am truly grateful.
Bella closes her book and stands, wrapping her arms around me and squeezing tightly. She smiles up at me as she pulls away, joy reflected back at me from her smiling face. And with stars in our eyes and the moon ascending in the sky, we exist in Twilight, ever between darkness and light. No more eclipse to suffer through and no longer afraid of the break of dawn, I hold her hand as we walk toward a new moon.
The new janitor started work today and I don't like him. He makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up with the way that he watches the women on the ward. His long dirty blonde hair flips around his shoulders as he turns back and forth studying the girls.
He wears sunglasses constantly, a fact that disturbs me deeply but without having seen, I know the look in his eyes, I've seen it before in the mirror, he's a predator...a monster. I can see the pain and anguish he itches to inflict. I see the lashes and bruises he dreams of leaving on their bodies. I see that the things that make his dick hard in the dead of night are the things most people's nightmares.
Bella empties her lunch tray and kisses me on the cheek. It's time for her art therapy and as much as I hate to have her leave my side, I know she has to go. She slips gracefully from the room and I watch with narrowed eyes as James moves to follow her.
Lightning quick, I am by his side, swiftly kicking over his mop bucket and effectively ruining his exit. "So sorry," I say smiling without a hint of regret on my face or in my voice.
James glances around the room before gazing back at me, his expression stormy. Barely concealed rage engraved in his features. "I'm watching you fella, what's your name?" he asks coldly as he takes the sunglasses off his face.
I stare at him for a moment, seeing that I was precisely right with my assessment. A shiver runs down my spine, but my confidence holds and I dare not break eye contact as I respond.
With a glint in my eye, I take the sunglasses from his hand and place them on my own. "Eric," I tell him, smiling.
You mustn't read and yet you have to read.
This is the double bind.
It's wrong to act and it's wrong not to. There's no escape and whatever happens it's your fault. When Daddy tells you that he loves you, that you are special, but then hurts you horribly; when you're told that you'll go to Hell if you tell your secret; when you are instructed to honor your father and mother despite their betrayal and when you know that you are responsible for making these horrors happen, you're in a double bind. The double bind, repeated over and over, is a living contradiction that simply blows your mind.