Summary: "Immortals never die, they are just reborn." Carlisle dies in the battle with the Volturi, forcing Esme to come to terms with her husband's death in the only way she knows how: by killing herself. Will she find her love again or be lost for the rest of eternity? BD pt 2 spoilers. Angst and Love. C/Es. One-Shot
I've never really understood the word. It always seemed so…avoidable. As an immortal creature death was a misunderstood and somewhat fake act. We don't die, we are just reborn. Vampires aren't supposed to die; we are built to last an eternity. We are given mates to keep us company, but not just mates, soul mates. The bond between a vampire and his or her mate is one of the strongest relationships in nature. The only way it can be broken is by death, and a formal one at that. Tear off the head and burn the pieces. Ashes don't come back to life, I've tried.
I suppose I never thought that one day I would have to approach death, place myself inside the flames and allow my body to burn, my soul to sink. Am I not dead already? I died over a hundred years ago, back when I had nothing to lose but my own life. That misery, though never exactly weak, is somewhat dull when compared to what courses through my cold veins now. The pain reminds me more of death than anything else I have ever felt, much more than the pain of mortal wounds. The pain I feel now is like a knife, slicing away at my stone hard tissue, cutting out my heart and all my veins. I never thought I'd have to actually deal with this, that I would have to think about life without him.
I can't say his name, that precious name that has kept my love and need for love alive. He did what no one else could do to me, he loved me unconditionally. He became my husband, my lover, my friend, anything I needed he would supply. He found a way to make everything fall into place, and replace my pain with something new, something comforting. At the time I didn't know what love was, the foreign feeling pleasurable, but uncharted. He taught me everything I know about love. Without him, there's nothing left of me. This shell of decaying flesh is too heavy to carry any longer with my love, my body and my mind no longer has the need to go on.
I can die now; leave this physical world to be with him. Who knows where, but anywhere with him would be impeccable. Hell itself would freeze over if he were to visit. Surely God has already welcomed him with open arms, surely he's happy. But I bet he misses me, at least to some degree. Heaven can only be so aspiring.
The silence of the empty field has a calming and serene feel, but also eeriness. Its warning me, I can tell. Theses snowy mountains and grassy fields know as well as I do that this is it. That my time has finally expired. I'm expecting death all too soon.
I carefully pick up the small bag containing my love's remains, feeling the small ashes form to the shape of my hand through the fabric. It's hardly all I have left of him, but for some reason it truly feels that way. Materialistic possessions never mattered to me, or to Carlisle. They were always disposable, easy to get and easy to destroy. These ashes, my husband, mean more than anything I have ever owned. They even mean more than my dead son, whose memory fades more and more each day because I stopped trying to remember years ago. It was a waste of time; he was gone and now so is Carlisle.
His name appeared in my mind, causing my body to collapse, my knees hitting the snowy ground with a thick and solemn thud. His name released something inside of me, a new wave of pain. It washed over me, drowning me in sorrow, pulling me into the darkness. I gasped for breath, for anything, but there was nothing there. All that can live in my mind is darkness.
The feeling left me breathless and unusually tired, though I had come to expect the exhaustion. It was just a side effect, nothing more. A soft sob escaped from my throat, but I quickly suppressed the second one. I didn't come all the way out here to cry over my dead husband. I came out here to fulfill his final wish.
Please, my love, if I die tonight bury my ashes not on our island but in that field we used to frequent during the summer months. I want you to remember not the extravagance of our love, but the simplistic and easy side of our relationship. I want you to remember our love forever, please, for me.
He never wrote a will, never bothered assigning his massive collection of books and belongings. Out of respect Edward gave me everything, most of which I gave back to him. I didn't want any reminders of him. I ridded the house of his scent, I ridded my closet of his clothes, but somehow the smallest pieces of him seemed to break through my defenses. I would find something of his, an old notebook or tie, and suddenly I couldn't move, couldn't talk, couldn't do anything but cry for hours upon hours. Carlisle found his way into my life even when he was gone.
It's been a week since he passed, only seven full days, but it feels much longer. Every second feels like a year with him gone, every minute a century, every day a millennium. I've become a ghost with a physical form, a walking testimony to love lost. My family, my poor family, has been comforting, but distant. They seem to mistake my cold and impersonal exterior as anger and resentment. I am not mad that my husband died. I do not seek revenge, for those responsible are dead as well, their remains nothing more than a puddle of sodden snow. No, I find no rage within me, I only find grief. Sorrow for what has become of my life and what has become of me.
Where once I stood strong I am now broken, a widow for the second time.
I place the bag into the snow, pushing through the layers of plush whiteness until the hard ground appeared. I clawed at the dirt until I reached a sufficient sized hole in which the bag fit easily. Dirt clouded my fingernails and moisture seeped into the cuffs of my jacket and jeans, frustrating me but not halting my assault on the earth beneath me. Nothing could stop me now. With shaky hands I covered the bag back over, spreading the dirt and finally the snow over the remnants as evenly as possible.
I stood quickly, dusting my clothes off as I admired my work.
Like he never existed.
That's what he wanted, simple. He didn't want something over the top and flamboyant, he wanted this. He wanted me to remember and that's it. He deserves more, but he doesn't need it.
I noticed a medium sized pebbled rock a few meters away and randomly decided to use it as a marker for my love's grave. It would most likely be moved by the elements, but for the time being it would mean something.
My hand fluttered over my long dead heart, the heavy feeling slowly returning. The hole in my chest seemed to grow, eating away at my bones like a fiery acid. Surely I can feel this crater, this void within me, but I can't. It's just a trick of the mind. It's not real. The pain though is frighteningly real. So real it makes itself a reality.
I haven't hunted since my husband's death. I haven't touched any of the kills my children have brought me, haven't had the urge to drink their life from them. I have no urge for anything anymore. I used to busy myself with cleaning, and drawing, or even caring for Nessie, but now I can't even keep my hands steady enough to hold a broom, let alone a pencil or a child. I can do nothing anymore, not without him by my side.
I felt a sudden presence behind me. I instantly recognized the unique scent as my oldest son, my loving Edward. I would miss him the most.
"This spot is perfect, Mom."
Edward walked to meet my side, his expression stunningly emotionless. How I envy that stoic trait of his. How I wish I could hide all this pain from my family. That don't deserve to have a mother as broken and torn as me.
"You aren't broken," he assured me quietly. "We are all suffering right now, but none of us are broken. We can always heal." His hand found mine, his fingers curling comfortably into my palm. The feeling was nice, and instantly reminded me of Carlisle, and how perfectly we fit together. Two pieces of the same puzzle my love would always say, a smile adorning his face. My Esme, my love.
I thought Edward would pull away once he realized what thoughts his mundane gesture provoked, but he didn't. He cast me a sad smile, gripping my hand tighter as he stared out over the snowy field. The sun was beginning to set, the red colored orb sinking under the thick line of pines on the horizon line. The spot, a small field a few miles outside of Forks, had always held a special place in my heart as well as Carlisle's. We used to come out here and just talk and relax. It didn't have to be special, or terribly romantic, because we had forever. We had the rest of eternity to explore our love, and we would do it together.
Of course life had a funny way of making eternity a whole lot shorter. A few hours to be exact.
"He would be proud of you, Esme. You've been strong, much stronger then Alice," Edward said softly. I looked over at him and noticed he was wearing a pained expression now, hurt registering across his features.
I suppose his assumption was correct. Alice had taken Jasper's death worse than anyone. She had yet to come out from her room, the seclusion only worsening her despondency, or at least that's what Edward tells us. I hadn't talked to her at all since before she left for Brazil, back when life was relatively normal. I thought about talking to her, but decided against it at the last moment. I couldn't intrude on her grieving. She deserves her time alone.
A feeling of unease settled in my stomach as I stared at Edward. His eyes were glassy as he stared at Carlisle's burial site, his stance unnervingly still. I could tell his mind was deep in thought, and although I didn't really want to interrupt his pondering I needed to know what was running through his brain. I could tell it had something to do with my late-husband by the way he was ignoring my gaze.
"What's wrong, Edward?" I asked, my voice coming out surprisingly soft and weak. My vocal chords seemed to have decayed a bit due to a lack of use. Such a shame.
"I was just thinking about who has to take up the position of leader in the family now that Carlisle's gone. Since you were his wife, the role is yours respectively I suppose."
My mouth fell open at his words, my mind repelling even the thought of taking control of a whole coven of vampires. Grieving vampires at that. No, I could never do that. It was never supposed to be my job; I'm just the heart of the family. Carlisle's the leader, not Esme. That's how it's always been.
"I know it's a difficult thing to think about Esme, but please just consider it. I bet Carlisle would have wanted you to take his position, he always thought you would make a talented leader. Think of your family. You owe it to him, and you owe it to us," Edward said, his voice tender, but his words surprisingly harsh and critical.
It took me less than a second to consider his option and spit out my own answer.
"I'm sorry Edward, but I-I can't. It's not who I am. But you on the other hand would make a fine leader. Carlisle would want you to take the role, we both know this. Please, take care of the family. They need you right now, especially Alice. You know I won't be here much longer."
Edward took note of the cracking tone in my voice, and the goodbye forming on my lips, his eyes widening, his head shaking fervently. He unclasped my hand, jumping in front of me as if he could keep me from leaving. He dodged the stone marking Carlisle's remains and grabbed my shoulders harshly. His fingers dug into my tissue uncomfortably.
"God Esme, you can't do this! We just lost Carlisle and Jasper; we can't lose you too, not after all that's happened! Think of Bella, and Nessie, and Emmett, everyone loves you, what makes you think we could move on if you killed yourself? What if we just all fell apart? We need the heart of the Cullen family to stay, please don't do this to us, Esme. We need you. We really need you."
A sigh tore from my lips, my body weakening under the stress of the situation. I had already made up my mind, and Edward couldn't change it but his pitiful cries were exhausting. He reminded me of a child, begging his mother not to leave him alone at some faraway school.
"Please, Edward, I've made my decision. Please just respect it."
Edward stiffened in front of me, his grasp on my shoulders steadily weakening until he removed them completely. They fell to his sides, limp and defeated.
"You can't leave us," he argued feebly. "Your family still needs you."
I don't want to leave them all, but they would survive without me. I act as a mother to them, but I know they are mature enough to handle life without me. My love is waiting for me on the other side; I just have to jump like I did before.
This pain is so tiring, so immobilizing that life with it might as well be death. I cannot function in this state. I need my Carlisle back.
"Esme, I won't let you do this. You'll regret it later, I know you will. Please, just listen to me; you don't have to do this."
Oh how wrong he was.
My skin seemed to burn, my body igniting with sudden fury. I allowed it to roll over me, my mind succumbing to its devilish devices. A deep red covered my sight as I stared at my son. Suddenly he didn't seem to mean as much to me as before. Nothing holds beauty anymore, nothing can retain any measure of greatness when compared to him. Nothing is familiar or normal anymore. Even this field, a place where my husband and I used to regularly retreat to, felt so different, as if it were spinning the wrong way on its axis.
And now my own son has changed. No longer does he understand the pain of a lost mate, the immense and overwhelming misery. He once felt it, a touch of it, but nothing like this. His pain was a lie, this is reality. I live in reality.
"I will do as I wish, Edward. If I wish to die, than die I will. Now please leave, I have things to process," I commanded harshly, somewhat regretting my tone once the words left my lips. I let the guilt slip away from me as Edward nodded submissively, his feet cracking the cold white blanket of snow as he retreated, his head hung low.
I thought I heard him murmur something quietly before he left. Something hazy to my numb ears, but piercing to my long dead heart.
"I'm sorry this had to happen to you and not me."
Be strong for me, Esme. I love you.
His last words, though somewhat dull, sent volts through my body whenever they happened to cross my mind. The way he had said them, so shaky and soft, had almost brought tears to my eyes. At the time his declaration had been so beautiful, so full of devotion that I forgot what was destined to happen. For that moment, those last seconds together, it was just him and me. Carlisle and Esme. Together and in love, if only for a little bit.
Maybe that's all we needed.
No. We were supposed to have forever, an eternity to love each other. This twist in the plot was not part of the plan. But I could make it. I have control over my own destiny now. I can make every wrong a right with a few simple steps.
The night was brisk but clear. Stars, bright and full, shone down through the treetops, lighting a trail through the woods, as if to guide me to my final destination. I pulled down branches and leaves from various trees, gathering wood for my own funeral pyre. I assisted in my own demise, helping death as he urged me along, easing me down the sullen path.
I thought back to why I was doing this, why I was going to end my own life, and although I could only think of one answer it was enough to keep me going. Carlisle was enough to keep me from going back, from turning around and running to my family in tears. No, I wouldn't live out my life in misery. There's nothing left for me here. Once he died, I might as well have died as well. Aro didn't just kill Carlisle, he killed me as well.
Flames seem to burn that much hotter in the dead of winter. The orange and red waves nipped at my shoes as I watched them grow and transform into a roaring beast, ready to consume anything in its path. I momentarily wondered how long it would take for them to find me. Edward already knows, and I'm sure Alice does as well, but yet I'm still here. Alone. I don't think they will come at all, they understand what I want, what I need. I have a feeling Alice will be right behind me anyway. She knows the pain better than anyone.
I clutched my chest, inhaling the smoke deeply. Embers shot into the sky like rockets as the flames twisted and coughed, hot as white metal. They were as inviting as they were frightening.
This was my last chance, I could turn around now, go back to the house, try to live through the pain and the misery. Maybe I could, but it would never be enjoyable again. A picture of Marcus flashed across my mind. The poor man had welcomed death with open arms. He too had no reason to live, for his mate was killed by Aro as well. I didn't want to become like him, living out my days as a walking zombie, nothing more than a bag of bones.
Beauty and power mean nothing if you can't share them with the one you love.
How true that is.
I reached out toward my fiery grave, testing the heat with my fingers. It was painful, as I imagined it would be, but surprisingly bearable. It was a comforting pain when compared to the hole in my chest. It didn't leave me exhausted and tired, it made my dead heart come to life, my veins rush with excitement. It was as invigorating as physical contact and as gratifying as mental. Something thumped in my ears, a loud but steady beat. My vision blurred as the venom coating them caught fire, causing a sharp and strangled scream to echo from my throat. The flames licked down my throat, sinking into my lungs where it burned the marble-like tissue and dry arteries. Were they dry? If I didn't know better I would have said they were filled with blood, but that would have been preposterous. I know what I am. The thumping began to slow down as the fire spread throughout my body, burning me alive. My teeth clenched together, my hands raked the ground in a futile attempt to escape my own death. But I didn't want to leave. I wanted to die.
I suddenly became anxious to rid this world of my soul, to find my love once again, far away from here. The fear I had been feeling rushed away from me, flowing down my skeleton in the form of melting skin and burning fabric. I wasn't scared of death. I accepted it, just as Carlisle did. I'm not scared.
The smell of burning human flesh filled the air, mixed with the scent of evaporating blood. I laughed at the puzzling situation, my mind already too far gone to even begin to understand what was happening to me. It was already too late.
Finally I lost consciousness and fell into a black abyss, the feeling similar to what I remember sleep being, except it was dreamless. Who knows how long I was there, my soul unblinking but utterly alive. I was alive, I could feel it, but in a way I wasn't. I knew I died, I had felt the flames, seen my burning bones, I knew I shouldn't be alive. But I was.
I knew then that my life was not over, but just beginning. I had been given another chance.
"She'll wake up any second now. Her mind's all over the place and she's quite scared so you might want to take a few steps back. You know how newborns can be."
"Yes, I do. You gave me quite the scare on your first day as a vampire. Hopefully she won't be so…heated."
"What do you expect from a seven-teen year old boy turned vampire? You expect too much of me, my friend."
"Shhh, she's waking!"
My heavy eyelids opened to reveal two faces looking down at me, both filled with worry, but also with excitement. I centered in on the blonde one, my breath immediately catching in my throat.
It couldn't be. Not here, not in this house where I've already lived. How long ago was that? A hundred years maybe? No, that's impossible.
It came out as a breathy moan, which would have been embarrassing in any other situation, but with him it was perfect. Everything was perfect.
He rewarded me with a warm smile. "You must remember me from your past."
His voice was warm, but not exactly romantic as I had suspected it would be. It was friendly, but not husbandly.
"I-I…" My voice stuttered and fell off. I couldn't think of the right words to say, and even if I could my lips didn't want to say them. I swallowed thickly, the venom sliding down my throat uneasily.
"You don't have to say anything. I know this is incredibly confusing for you, as it should be, but I'm going to try and explain it to you. Ok?" he asked tentatively, his eyes seeking mine for some sort of confirmation.
I nodded shyly, my mind too weak to do much of anything else.
"I found you in the morgue after you jumped off a cliff. You were nearly dead, so I saved you. In order to save you I had to change you…into one of us." Carlisle spoke softly and slowly, as if I didn't already know what he was saying.
"A v-vampire," I stuttered.
Edward flashed me a curious look, his eyebrows raised in surprise. "How did you know?"
"Don't pressure her, Edward. She must have been observant when I worked on her years ago. It doesn't matter now anyway," Carlisle said hastily, his eyes narrowed in an expression seen little by me or anyone else.
"What? No, you must be misunderstood," I began, sitting up slowly. Carlisle leaped up, assisting me with kind hands. A sad smile drifted across my lips as he neared me, my excitement mounting.
I had finally made it to heaven. The transition to death was over. My husband is by my side once again.
I grabbed his face with my hands, pulling him toward me easily. A newfound strength burned through my body, a strength I hadn't felt in many years. I knew where it came from, where it originated from. Blood, human blood. His lips crashed against mine, warming my heart just as it did before. He felt the same, tasted the same, everything was the same. My Carlisle.
"Whoa, easy there love birds," Edward laughed heartily as he pulled Carlisle away from me. A primal growl ripped from my chest as I lunged and grabbed my mate. He had already left me once; he wasn't going to leave me again.
"Esme, please stop," Carlisle begged hoarsely. "The emotions of a new born can vary greatly and sometimes various emotions become dominant. For Edward it was anger, I feel for you it is going to be lust. If you listen to me we can help you regulate it in a more…controlled manner. But you must calm down." He pulled himself out of my grip, rubbing his arm tenderly. I gasped softly, hoping I hadn't injured him.
Regulate my love for him? He must be joking. After being away from him for a week control is the last thing on my list. Surely he understands.
"Carlisle, love, what's wrong?"
He gazed at me hazily, his expression truly baffled. What does he not understand? He must remember me, his wife of a hundred years. Heaven has no reputation of breaking marriages.
Maybe this isn't heaven, maybe its hell.
"Esme, I've known you for all of a few seconds. Let's not use such romantic titles so soon," he corrected steadily. I noticed he was slowly walking away from me, his hands raised in a somewhat defensive move. His eyes held a hint of concern, as did Edward's. What was wrong with them?
"Carlisle, I'm your wife and your mate, surely you remember me from life before your death. I killed myself so I could be with you again, I burned my body to be with you in heaven, and now that we are both finally here you say you only just met me? Please, Carlisle, stop playing with me."
"Playing with you? You must be mistaking me with someone else, or you might just be delusional. That sometimes happens with newborns-"
"I'm not a newborn! I've been married to you for over a hundred years, Carlisle! Believe me, please!" I pleaded earnestly, my voice cracking with unshed tears. Slowly but surely my heaven was turning into a nightmare. The devil was beginning to show.
Suicide is the worst of all sins, you should know.
Edward shook his head. "Esme, you are a newborn and you are not married to Carlisle. Just look in the mirror if you want proof."
Surely enough my reflection showed matching rubies instead of my normal golden or onyx colored orbs. My fingers ghosted over my porcelain features, making sure they were real and not just fake pieces melded together. Everything stayed together, surprisingly enough, which only increased my worry and trepidation. I didn't melt into a puddle or float away as a ghost, I stayed, my form real as it was this morning.
"What year is it?" I asked suddenly, turning around quickly to meet Carlisle's eyes. He looked quickly, not daring to stare a second longer.
Edward cast me an exasperated look. "It's 1921, Esme. The change only took three days."
Dear God. 1921 all over again.
"Is something wrong?" Carlisle asked quietly. I had almost forgotten he was there.
"No, I'm fine, it's just…"
I pursed my lips tersely and took a seat. What do I do now? Live all those years again?
You should be happy Esme, you have Carlisle again. You get to relive all those times again.
"Come on Esme, I'll show you your room and then we'll go hunting," Edward offered kindly, grabbing my hand. Carlisle followed; his eyes cast downward, his lips contorted oddly.
Had I really become that offensive to him? Did I look different to him?
A sigh escaped my lips, causing Edward to laugh lightly. "It's ok Esme, he'll come around. He always does, doesn't he?"
Edward winked at me before beginning his descent up the stairs. I glanced at Carlisle again, his face igniting another flow of memories. I would win him over, just as I did before, and we would wed, just as we did before.
Because everything is just a cycle. Every death is a birth, and every birth a death. We immortals never die, we only start anew.
I just loved Breaking Dawn Pt. 2 so much that I had to do it! I always liked to think that vampires never really die, that they are just reborn over and over. Just a thought, hope you enjoyed it!