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towerofwisdom in pathofexcess

Drabbles

Penance

She sleeps for three days, pleading under her breath and clawing at the covers until the bed is soaked in blood and the sheets are salty with the metal of her tears. As the change begins to steal over her body the tears dry up, but the whisper do not. Let me die, let me die, let me die, let me –

But then she wakes up.

There is no peace once Rosalie Hale realises she has been denied her rightful death. She is a snarling, venomous little hell-creature, angelically beautiful with a mind as merciless as a steel trap. Edward can’t even stand to look at her. One day she turns to him and says, It’s too much like looking at yourself in a mirror, isn’t it? He hates her from that day on.

But it’s Carlisle she hates, not Edward. He knitted her back together from the sack of broken bones and deeper wounds that she’d been in the last moments of her mortal life, dragging her back from the blessed silence. Her vengeance on him is subtle: a play of gentle fingers at his wrist, a toss of her white-gold hair; the strength of her newborn body slamming his against a wall and the sinuous press of her hips as she hisses, Your wife wouldn’t love you if she knew about this.

Rosalie knows how to cut close to the bone. She has a surgeon’s touch. Carlisle recognises something of himself in her hands and in the shadows in her crimson eyes, but he will never tell her that. Instead he nods, and tells her he is willing to pay the price for what he did to her. He bares his throat, uncurls his fingers. Meets her eyes.

They both know what he really means is: Cut closer.

Like Peter Pan

She tells her mother about Edward only once. “He’s older’n me,” she explains, with all the earnestness a five-year-old can possibly muster. “An’ he’s got gold eyes, an’ brown hair an’ he’s really tall.” She holds one hand in the air, hopping up onto her toes to demonstrate just how tall he really is.

Her mother starts laughing then, but not in a mean way. She ruffles Renée’s dark hair and tells her to go play with her friend Edward. When Renée tells her that Edward isn’t here her mother just laughs harder. Later she tells Renée’s father about it and he laughs too. “She’s got a good imagination,” he says. “Nothing wrong with that.”

She doesn’t talk to them about Edward again.

It isn’t Renée’s imagination. Edward is real, she knows he is because she’s felt him and he’s cold and smooth like her mother’s best china plates, the ones Renée isn’t allowed to touch. He hops in through the window at night and touches a finger to his mouth as if to say quiet. Renée always mirrors his motion, grinning with delight.

He likes to tell her stories and they play games. Her favourite game is the one where he has to guess what she’s thinking. Renée is already getting good at concealing her thoughts. All you have to do is imagine a maze, and then you can keep him out for ages.

Sometimes she wonders why he wants to be friends with her. One day he tells her the truth. “You remind me of a girl I used to know,” he whispers, so her parents can’t hear.

“What happened to her?” she asks.

“She died,” he says.

As Renée grows up Edward visits less and less, and she starts to believe that maybe he isn’t real after all. His existence is a secret she keeps close to herself, her little piece of madness. No one has to know. (Years later when Bella comes to Phoenix with a boy in tow she plays the same trick of denial: They're not the same person. No, no, no.)

Then in high school she meets Charlie. He becomes her sweetheart, the guy she kisses behind the school gym with too much tongue and no expertise. They fumble a lot - all they ever seem to do is fumble - but it’s okay because that at least is normal.

Then Edward tells her he’s never coming back again.

“Take me with you,” she begs, but he refuses.

“It’s not right,” he tells her, gently. “You have your whole life ahead of you. A partner, a future. I won’t take you from that.”

Nearly twenty years later, he takes her daughter instead.

Echoes

Bella, dead. His baby girl dead. First she married, then she died. The two events - an accident of love and an accident of automobiles - came so close together that they melted into one another in his mind. It was like her marriage had been a death sentence.

He should have done more to save her, but he’d never been good with women - wasn’t his failed marriage proof of that? And Bella: there’d been no way for him to understand Bella, his sad-eyed and sharp-edged little girl. Now she was gone. For months after the end he left the wedding invitation tacked onto the refrigerator door. Her old sweater lay across the arm of the sofa, gathering dust.

He spoke in a new language, the language of Bella, a dead language for a dead daughter. It separated him from the rest of the world, made English meaningless and incomprehensible. English said: She’s gone, buried, dead. But part of him always expected to see her around the corner, laughing, alive and vibrant and happy. He understood for the first time, in the slow creeping years that followed, that they’d always been speaking different tongues, he and Bella. Her death bridged the gap, taught him her language of obsession and tragedy. Love love love.

The years passed. He packed away the sweater and locked up her room. The wedding invitation went into the album full of her baby pictures. He grew old, and cancer crept up on him. Inoperable, they said. He found he cared very little. The end would be a welcome relief from a grief that never settled, and remorse that never quite faded away. He asked Billy’s son Jacob to clear Bella’s room. It was time to move on.

She came to him anyway, right near the end. Her ghost, pale and disturbingly lovely with sharp gold eyes, sat herself by his hospital bed. Her hands twisted together over and over, and he took one in his own. His fingers were wrinkled, trembling.

“I knew you’d come,” he rasped. “Knew you couldn’t be dead.”

She didn’t resist when he tugged her forward. Her hair fell over his face as he pressed his lips her forehead, the slant of her nose, her cheek. She shuddered with something like surprise when his mouth touched her mouth, and slowly drew back, blinking wide.

“Charlie…” she whispered.

“It’s alright,” he said, smiling wanly. “I always did love you more than you loved me.”

The last thing he saw as he drifted into unconsciousness was Bella’s stricken face, pale with the horror of dawning understanding. When he woke up (if he woke up) he knew he’d still find her there beside him, because this - obsession, tragedy, sickness of the mind and heart - was something she could understand. She always had.

He’d finally learnt to speak her language.

Comments

OMG BELLA/CHARLIE! O_O! That was pretty cool love <3 I loved it, and the language thing was amazing <3!!
<333 I love you so much for reviewing this. And phew, I am glad the incest didn't totally creep you out. XD
Jesus. H. Christ.

*dies and is dead*

Rosalie knows how to cut close to the bone. She has a surgeon’s touch. Carlisle recognises something of himself in her hands and in the shadows in her crimson eyes, but he will never tell her that.

I love all the little twists and turns in the Edward/Renee, the small details that knock you unsteady. Her favourite game is the one where he has to guess what she’s thinking. Renée is already getting good at concealing her thoughts. All you have to do is imagine a maze, and then you can keep him out for ages.

And Bella: there’d been no way for him to understand Bella, his sad-eyed and sharp-edged little girl.

“I always did love you more than you loved me.”

Charlie/Bella. I... my head was going, "Nononononono." And then this. And. Ah. My heart. Now has a million little holes punched into it. Ow.

I love that no matter how strange or "unconventional" the pairings seem, they all fit seamlessly with the original text - it's like all of these scenes are happening backstage, while our eyes are locked on the onstage show. And they were all unsettling and beautiful.

Friending. :D
I am so, so glad the Charlie/Bella worked - I wanted to hurt because it just seemed like such a heartbreaking situation all around, you know? And I'm so flattered that you think it worked with the original text because I admire your writing hugely. Seriously.

(and thank you for the friending!)
I thought, "How? How is ze author going to pull this off?" And you Did with a capital d. They more than just work...you wrote them in a way that makes sense.

Gar! So lovely.