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Morning Dew

Summary:
Did the battle scene at the end of Breaking Dawn leave you feeling cheated?
Were you expecting an epic fight and some well-deserved suffering?
Did Bella's perfect happiness get on your nerves? This is my alternate ending to Breaking Dawn.


Notes:
I don't know about you, but Breaking Dawn severely diminished my excitement about Twilight. I just didn't like the book much. The characters were all totally off, the plot was not well thought-through, and the writing made my eyes water. When the book finally advanced to the battle scene, I was exultant -- I thought that the story would finally take the right turn and amend for all the confusion from the beginning. But then nothing happened. SM later called it "strategy"... but I seriously see no connection between what happened in BD and The Merchant of Venice by Shakespeare. So I decided to test the waters myself, and see if I could do any better. That being said, I would like to remind you of two things: a) I am not an author. I know I'm not better than SM. I'm just a sixteen-year-old venting her frustration.
b) I don't mean to offend anyone who liked BD. Everyone's entitled to an own opinion. You can still enjoy this story if you did :) The story kicks off right where the Volturi are deciding whether or not to attack. Until then everything stays as it is -- if you need to refresh your memory, feel free to check Breaking Dawn (I had to do that quite a lot, especially in the beginning. I hope there are no contradictions. If you find any, however, please let me know). The italics in the beginning are straight from the book. Beta'ed by TRDancer from fanfiction.net


6. Trails

Rating 5/5   Word Count 2922   Review this Chapter

The first thing I did was run into the shelter of the trees, securely away from the living room's large windows. It only took me an instant, but I could still feel someone watching me through the glass—and that someone probably knew where I was going. I wondered whether Edward wanted anyone to know where he was keeping cover. I decided to be careful just in case.

The second thing I did was close my eyes. The sunlight was so clear that it choked me up, as if the light somehow made the air thicker, making it hard for me to inhale it. But I could sense the sparkling brilliance even through my eyelids and gave up the exercise, telling myself that I would just have to get used to it.

Once I was somewhat in control of myself again, I looked around. The forest looked just like it always had—impenetrable and dreamlike. A stone seemed to form inside my stomach when I realized that I had hardly any chance of finding Edward in there, especially if he was trying to not be found. Already I was at loss of what to do. Which way had he gone? Was he in the vicinity of the house or further away? Where should I look first?

And then I noticed it.

Human eyes would probably not have detected the minor changes in the pattern of the leaves, but Edward had taught me to hunt using not only my hearing and sense of smell, but my eyes too. The treaded ground indicated that a light animal like a deer had passed through there—except that no animals ever dallied near our house. Their instincts told them to stay far away.

Of course it could have been left by one of us while hunting, but the trail looked fresh and as far as I knew none of us had left the house for days. It had to be left by Edward.

Without thinking, I started following it. My legs carried me like the wind, and I was surprised by how light it was to run despite how heavy I felt. It was relieving to do something physical after lying down for so many days—I could now see why Edward might have wanted to come here into the open instead of suffocating in our tiny room. He loved running more than I did.

The trail zigzagged through the trees and bushes, and I could feel the ground being trampled again beneath my feet as I passed. My oversensitive hearing picked out the tiniest of noises: soil being pushed deeper into the ground, the wind hitting the trunks of trees, little insects scurrying underneath dead leaves. I wouldn't have been surprised if I could have heard the grass grow.

Even though I was sure the trail would end soon and leave me lost again, it went on for miles and miles without interruption. Sometimes I had to stop when the track became too faint to see clearly or when the ground was too hard to leave footsteps, but after some searching I always found it again a few feet off. From time to time there seemed to be a long gap in the path—I assumed Edward must have jumped there, for whatever reason. Maybe he was trying to cover his tracks the best he could in his hurry. Maybe he wanted to feel no ground under his feet. Maybe he wasn't jumping at all and I was just imagining things.

I kept waiting for a sign of him somewhere, a sign like a dead animal or torn piece of cloth. But, of course, Edward would never be that sloppy. Apart from the trail there was nothing to suggest that someone had been there. I started getting doubts—maybe I was following a deer after all, or one of my own trails that I'd left long ago. It was cocky of me to think that I, a newborn, could outwit Edward, my teacher and practically a veteran. For every trick I knew he knew a counter-trick, and for every hour I'd spent learning he'd had two years. Why was I even bothering?

But once I reached a small clearing in the woods, I saw something that made me sure of who I was following: a tree trunk with a long gash in it. When I drew nearer I noted that the cut was uneven and torn, which suggested it had been made with someone's nails. I took a sniff of it: the gash smelled of sunshine and moonlight.

I picked up my pace a notch until I was running as fast as I could without losing the trail. Edward's scent was getting more noticeable each minute, and with it my excitement. For a moment I forgot that it was a mad Edward I was chasing after instead of the one I loved over everything else in the world. For a moment I forgot even Renesmee. All I could see were two topaz eyes in front of me.

I must have been very far away from home. The landscape was becoming ever more uneven, and I could see some large mountains in the distance, as well as some plants that I was sure didn't grow in Forks. Had I already crossed the border to Canada? But I had only been running for a few minutes!

Suddenly my ears picked out a noise that did not belong in the forest—a sigh. As if on cue, my legs stopped running and I halted in the middle of the track, impulsively pricking my ears and tensing all over.

Unfortunately, my halt wasn't exactly quiet. The voice that had sighed stopped breathing too and fell instantly silent. Nothing was audible anymore except the sounds of nature.

Not wanting him to take off again, I tried to take one step towards the noise, but flinched when my footfall made a terrible cracking noise. The forest floor was covered by dry leaves and twigs. I realized I'd have to be able to fly to get over them silently.

My footstep didn't go unnoticed. I could hear his knees buckle a little and his hand touch the ground—he was crouching. And ah, the smell! I had to use every ounce of my power not to gulp the air in masses.

"Who's there?" a voice grumbled. Despite its hostile tone it sounded heavenly.

I wished he would breathe again. If I knew his scent this well, he had to know mine too…

"It's me," I choked out. "Bella."

At first he didn't answer, but he did draw in a shaky breath and get up from his crouch.

"Bella?" he asked after a moment, his voice oddly unsteady.

"Yes," was my feeble answer.

Suddenly I heard footsteps approaching me. They were slow and careful, but fast enough to make me panic. I abruptly realized who I was about to see—the crazed Edward, the man I didn't know at all. The man who, instead of making me feel better, made me feel ten times worse. Fear gripped me like a vice.

"Bella," he said again, this time not as a question, but as if he were stating an unbelievable fact. The footsteps quickened their pace.

Soon a white figure emerged between two thick oaks, shedding off light like the moon at its fullest. Edward's eyes swept over my body but rested almost instantly on my face, full of emotions that I couldn't even start to decipher. His clothes were a little dirty from the folds, but otherwise he looked unscratched. To my big relief the murderous look was gone from Edward's eyes again and had been replaced by one of a more familiar remorse.

"How did you find me?" he asked. It didn't sound like an accusation, but more like the fact pleased him.

"I followed the trail you left in the bushes," I replied carefully, "just like you taught me to."

Edward smiled pensively. "I'm proud of you. I was sure even Jasper wouldn't be able to follow it."

His mentioning of Jasper was a mistake—we were both immediately reminded of our situation and frowning again. Edward closed his eyes for a second before looking back at me.

"Do you need anything?" he asked, his voice now void of any emotion. I gulped—I didn't feel half as sure of myself as I had when I was running.

Since I couldn't think of any more pleasant topic to start with, I decided to be forthright.

"I think we both know what I need," I told him. "We should talk."

My words triggered a minimal change in his expression—either positive or negative, I couldn't tell. Edward nodded and crossed his arms over his chest. "All right."

I hadn't expected such a short response from him. I'd thought—and hoped—that he would do some more drastic like start shouting at me again or sink onto his knees, but instead he seemed completely nonchalant, as if my want to talk affected him in no way. It took me off guard—I was at loss for words.

"I'm sorry I screamed at you," I finally choked out for lack of finding any better words. If my eyes had been capable of forming tears, my face would have been soaking wet. "I-I was angry and not in control of myself. Forgive me."

To my surprise Edward's expression seemed to lighten up by light-years. He lowered his arms and puckered his eyebrows. "You have no need to apologize. I was angry too, but since you are a newborn your anger must have been tenfold. I'm sorry. I started it."

"You are?" I asked meekly. Edward was looking at me the way he used to—with adoration, and not with anger. He was the man I'd married again, and not the monster he'd become for those few horrible minutes.

Edward frowned. "Of course. You don't believe me?" He suddenly took two long strides forward until he was standing directly in front of me. I was blinded by his light. "I've been repenting everything I said ever since I left that room. It was monstrous and cruel of me. There was nothing I wanted more than to take you back into my arms and take the hurt I'd caused away. But—but I was afraid you wouldn't let me."

He had to force the last sentence out. It surprised me—Edward never projected his pain into his voice, but now his tone was clearly agonized. It made me want to crush myself against his chest. And it wasn't just his tone—he sounded normal again, like my Edward. Like the man who didn't pronounce his father dead.

"Oh, Edward," I whispered, "all you'd had to do is come to me."

And with that I grabbed his hand with both of my own and crushed it tight. Edward closed his eyes as though he was savoring the touch and wrapped his other hand's fingers around mine. "Forgive me," he sighed under his breath.

I freed one of my hands and carefully placed it on his cheek, and then stopped to wait for his reaction. Edward opened his brilliant eyes—dark mahogany, and not the red that I'd for some reason imagined—and looked at me like the hazy memory of our wedding day.

"Will you?" he urged on.

I answered by rising to my tiptoes and pressing my lips against his.

He responded instantly. Dropping my hands and encircling my waist instead, he pulled me impossibly close, so close that I thought I could feel his nerves tingle. I tangled my hands into his messy hair and pulled at it so hard that it should have ripped out. Our noses got into the way as we kissed, but neither of us minded—the feeling was too intoxicating to allow for any other thoughts to enter our heads. Was I really a vampire now? I'd felt no different as a human… Before Renesmee came to speed everything up…

Renesmee. The image of her tore my feelings away from my body and left nothing but an empty hole and a bundle of nerves. I pulled back from Edward and gasped out her name.

Edward let go reluctantly, but his fearful expression soon mirrored mine.

"You're right. We shouldn't be kissing while she's still in danger."

I nodded. Now that the initial shock was over, I felt the importance of being there more than ever. I wasn't here to make amends; I had to convince him to help us find her…

"Edward, we have to do something," I said firmly and took his hand tightly in mine, refusing to let him take a single step away from me. Edward nodded and looked up at the sky.

"I'm working on it."

"Working on what?" I asked uneasily. How much of what he'd said to me in his anger did he intend to put into action?

"I've been piecing a plan together," he replied without looking at me, in a tone that would have sounded normal in any other circumstances. "I've decided that it's best to start at the clearing, where they were last seen. I didn't see where exactly they headed, but there was only one possible escape route—the east. Jacob's wolf form is large, so they've probably left a trail there that we can follow. Once we reach civilization, we might find someone who has seen them—" Edward tapped his forehead. "If someone knows where they are, we'll know too."

I suddenly felt as light as a feather. A huge weight was lifted off my heart—so this was his plan! It was perfect and peaceful and exactly what I'd had in mind. This was my Edward's plan. Now I felt stupid for ever having believed that he would be planning anything else.

"Oh, Edward!" I cried out in relief. "You have no idea how anxious I've been about you. We all thought you were about to do something stupid."

Edward looked at me, confused. "What do you mean?"

I clasped my hands together and took a deep breath. I knew I was about to tread a topic I would rather have left out. "Esme came to me today. She's worried about the family, especially… Carlisle."

Just as I thought he would, Edward reacted badly to the name. His eyes were clouded by anger again and his lips set into a grim line, his stance tensing. It scared me.

"Really?" he said through his teeth. I nodded and tensed up too, waiting for an explosion.

It didn't come.

"Of course she's worried," was all he said. "Maybe I should call at some point to tell her that we're okay. This is a very hard time for us all—"

"Actually, we were hoping you'd return home to us," I cut him off shyly and instantly wished I hadn't been so bold. There was nothing but hostility in him at the mention of Carlisle's name.

Edward's eyes shifted to me, hard as stone. He said nothing for a second but simply stared at me, searching for something in my face, his arms crossed tightly over his chest and his jaw rigid. The look in his eyes was confusing—he seemed to be wavering between two options, perplexed as to what he should do. I stared back timidly, hoping that my expression showed him what I wanted him to do.

"We could use some help," I reminded him.

Finally, Edward closed his eyes and let out a strained sigh. "All right," he said. "I'll come home. For you and Renesmee."

I sighed too—relieved beyond words—and hugged myself against his chest once more. He put his arms around me after a while and kissed my hair, gradually softening again.

"Thank you," I simply said. Edward breathed out but nodded against my hair.

When I was sure he was somewhat normal again, I decided that he was in a good enough mood to talk about the topic that I'd wanted to avoid. Cautiously, I raised my head to look at his face and assessed his expression. It seemed calm enough.

"He's very sorry, you know," I said, choosing my words with care. "Esme said he hasn't gone out in days."

Edward's jaw snapped shut again, but he thankfully didn't pull away.

"I'm not happy with what he did either," I continued, "but he hardly deserves to be racked in guilt over it all. We can't let the Volturi destroy our family—it's what they've wanted from the very beginning. Don't let them break our ranks."

He said nothing, but his irises were swirling again, telling me that he wasn't rejecting the thought right away. I urged on.

"Maybe you should just give him a chance… Talk to him—"

"No." Edward voice was resolute and firm, making all my hopes wash down the drain.

I took a deep breath to steady myself and then tried to see the light side of it. After all, Edward hadn't rebuffed me right away. Maybe he just needed a little time.

"Okay then," I told him, trying to sound light. "Don't talk to him yet. He won't go anywhere—you still have plenty of time to forgive him."

Edward's fierce look contradicted me, but he said nothing and didn't turn away. I smiled at him—and he smiled faintly back. Most of the shadows in his eyes had already cleared.

"Let's go home, then," I said to Edward, savoring the realization that I'd be going home with him. Edward took a deep breath, closed his eyes for a second, and then nodded.

"All right," he said. "Let's go home."