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.
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
8. Numbing Time
Rating 5/5 Word Count 2841 Review this Chapter
It was nice to be in the forest again, with all the green and fresh air around us. It almost took my mind off our grim task. Almost.
The dark nighttime sky was also soothing, compared to the bright blare of the day sun. It reflected my mood better: melancholic, grave, but calm, and, most of all, very peaceful.
My mind had started rearranging itself again. I no longer felt panicked and weighed down by grief. Not that I wasn't unhappy—my every second thought was on Renesmee and full of fear. But now I had clear goals. I knew I had to go into the woods, look for a trail, follow it, and then find another trail. The plan was there, laid out and understandable. Oddly, it did a lot to placate me.
Another comfort was that I was not alone. As I rummaged around the bushes and undergrowth I could hear others doing the same somewhere else and felt that I wasn't fighting this battle by myself. A strange calm enveloped me and stifled all the panic. Did time numb fear?
As I squinted at the forest floor, looking for any trace that could indicate that someone had passed through there, someone appeared close to my side.
"If Jacob had run through here, we would smell it," Edward said, taking a long sniff of the air. He breathed out and furrowed his eyebrows. "No stench here." I wondered whether he was trying to be funny.
I ignored him and continued searching. We were already far away from the clearing and still hadn't found anything. It was frustrating and deeply unsettling. How could it be that they hadn't left a single trace?
Some branches rattled behind us. Emmett appeared with a somber expression on his face.
"Hey, Edward, are you sure they headed east?" he asked. "We've raked through the whole place. You'd think a wolf that big would have left some kind of evidence of himself."
Edward turned on his heels but continued to walk backward beside me. "I'm pretty sure. There was no other possible escape route. If they left at all, they left through here."
If they left at all. I felt my throat tighten.
"And don't forget," Edward went on rashly, "wolves are accustomed to the woods. Unlike us, they are practically part of it. Their relationship to nature is very different from our own. Wolves work with nature, and in result, the nature works with them. It could be that he hasn't left any tracks."
"Well, I'll just check the west too, you know, just in case," Emmett carefully replied. Seeing Edward nod, he disappeared into the trees again with footsteps lighter than his size would have suggested. Before he was out of hearing range, he muttered, "Can't hide the stink."
I giggled half-heartedly. Edward gave me an equally disheartened smile.
"I'll find them, Bella. I swear," he then said to me gravely. The small smile was already gone.
"We," I told him.
"Excuse me?" Edward looked down at me, confused.
"You said I'll find him. But we will."
He looked back up and over the trees. "Oh," was the only reply he gave me.
For a second my dead heart jumped when I saw what I thought was a broken twig on the ground. Feeling my spirits return, I quickened my pace and hastened over to it. But as I drew nearer I noticed that it wasn't a broken twig at all, but two different sticks that had fallen next to each other.
When I turned back to Edward I found him staring at me expectedly. I shook my head. The little bit of what was left of his hope faded away from his face.
We continued to walk close to each other, keeping our eyes glued to the floor, but constantly feeling the other's presence like a magnetic field. At first we were silent, but then the questions in my head became too loud and I had to speak.
"Edward, can I ask you something?" I asked timidly, expecting a rebuff.
Edward looked confused again. "Of course."
"What were you doing in the woods all those days?"
As I'd expected, he didn't answer straight away. Something in him shrank away from the question, and his thoughts seemed to suddenly take a whole new turn. After a few minutes of what I assumed was careful formulating, he said, "I was clearing my mind."
"Of what?" I urged on. I wanted to know what was going on in my husband's head. I hated how he'd turned into a stranger.
Edward pursed his lips, but finally answered. "Of all the thoughts of murder and revenge. I… had to get a grip of myself. The battle, the disappearance of Renesmee, Carlisle's betrayal—all that I could handle. But the fight with you pushed me over the edge."
"I'm sorry," I said, trying to suppress the flood of horrible memories.
"Don't be." Edward swooped closer and grabbed my hand tightly. "It wasn't your fault."
I was about to argue when Edward looked at me with a more pleading expression than Esme had. "Please, let's not talk about it."
"Okay," I said, glad that I was relieved from having to relive the memories. But I wasn't nearly done yet. "So how did you… clear your mind? Hunting?"
"No, I didn't feel like feeding." Edward ripped off a small branch that came in his way and started beating bushes with it absent-mindedly. "I just ran. As fast as possible, as far as possible. And I felled some trees."
The images of the knocked-down trees flashed through my mind. Somehow, I felt relieved after all the worries I'd had that he'd been doing something horribly wrong.
"Why are you asking?" Edward suddenly demanded, looking at me with shadows in his eyes. I stared back and gulped.
"Well, you were in such a state when you left—"
"You thought I was on another killing spree," Edward finished for me and nodded in grim understanding. "It's all right—I deserve your mistrust."
I shook my head but was too tired to argue. I was getting exhausted of trying to convince Edward all the time that he was not a bad person.
We were silent for a while until Edward said, "What about you? What were you up to?"
I shrugged. "Nothing. I sulked and hoped that the sun would never come up again. What you said about me handling grief better than you… it's not true. I was incapable of doing anything but drown in my own sorrow."
Edward smiled. "You would have gotten over it eventually. You came to find me, didn't you?" Then his face turned grieved again as he turned to look me in the eye. "How are you, by the way? I'm being so selfish, thinking of myself all the time."
There it was again, that insulting of himself. But there was no energy left in me to protest. "I'm doing better than I thought I would," I confessed, not bearing to return his stare. When he didn't make any comment, I continued, this time in no more than a whisper. "Does that make me a bad mother?"
"No, of course not!" Edward seemed genuinely shocked, almost insulted. It was as if I'd spoken the most ghastly lie in the world out loud. "Once we find Nessie I will never let her forget what a beautiful mother she has. A mother beautiful enough to compensate for all of me. She's the luckiest girl in the world."
"Stop it!" I couldn't listen to it anymore. I didn't want to hear him beat himself up and praise me in the same sentence. I couldn't bear it.
"You're not a bad mother, Bella," he said again, this time with more emphasis. "Never think that way."
I finally gave in and averted my gaze to him—his eyes were swirling with wonder, but more so with self-disgust. His mistaken view of both me and himself pained me. "I can't help it, Edward," I told him sadly. "Not anymore than you can help hating yourself. Maybe that's why we're meant to be together—so we can love each other the way we're supposed to be loving ourselves." I stopped for a second and balanced on my tip-toes to give him a peck on the cheek. "Let's stop rubbing salt into the wounds."
Edward closed his eyes and wrapped his arms around my waist, refusing to let me down again. He craned his neck to kiss me tenderly under the ear. I closed my eyes too, letting his touch melt the pain away and push my worries to the back of my mind for even just a second.
Somewhere not far behind us, a twig cracked. Edward froze with his mouth against my neck.
Struggling in Edward's tight grip, I watched a shadow emerge from the shadows. The canopy was thick enough to not let much light in, and even I had to let my eyes focus before I could make out his face.
It was Carlisle. His clothes were unnaturally untidy and his face crestfallen, his dark eyes deep as wells that seemed to lead straight to his soul. There were dark rings around them, like a human who hasn't slept in a long time. Whatever comfort Edward's kiss had given me was obliterated by the sight of him in that state.
"Edward. Bella," he said quietly, like an apology. "I hope I'm not interrupting anything."
From the way we were standing so close to each other it was obvious that he was interrupting something, but I mumbled an "It's okay" before drawing away from Edward's vice-like grip.
When Edward straightened himself, I felt a stone fall into my stomach. There was nothing left of the loving tenderness from a minute ago—antagonism was written all over his face instead. He got up stiffly without saying a word or even looking in his father's direction.
"I was hoping to have a word with you, Edward," Carlisle continued in his soft tone. He stepped closer and waited for Edward's answer.
It never came.
Carlisle sighed and looked at me, his eyes full of apologies. "Bella, I'm sorry. Could you maybe…?"
I got the hint. I nodded my head and was about to clear out when Edward suddenly seized my arm and shouted, "Don't!"
I tried to shake him off—unsuccessfully. Either my newborn strength was fading or Edward was stronger than anyone gave him credit for, but there was no escaping his unbreakable hold. Carlisle looked at us wearily and finally closed his eyes.
"It's fine, Bella. Thank you." He leaned against a thick tree trunk and crossed his hands in front of him. "Edward, I'm just asking you to hear me out."
"I know what you came here to say, and the answer is no," Edward countered in a harsh tone. I stole a glimpse of his eyes—they were stone hard again.
"Leave me alone," Edward hissed and moved away from his father, pulling me with him. I tried to tug back uselessly.
"Edward! What can it hurt to just listen to him?" I asked, tired, already knowing that it was no use. Edward's determination was as inflexible as his grip. Edward pulled harder at me and broke into a run.
"He has nothing new to say to me," he said simply.
In the last minute I glanced back at Carlisle, trying to signal in just two seconds that I forgave him and was sorry. Thankfully, he seemed to understand and I saw him nod before the trees completely hid him from view. I even thought I heard him say, "Thank you, Bella." But it was so quiet that it could have been the wind instead.
Once we were far enough from him to satisfy Edward, he loosened his grip of my arm and slowed to a walk. I jerked myself away from him.
"Are you happy now?" I said angrily. "Carlisle's miserable—any fool can see that! Go ahead, torture him even more. It won't bring Renesmee back."
Abruptly, Edward froze and his eyes widened. For a second I thought he'd finally had a change of heart. Maybe it was my mention of his daughter that had lightened the spark inside him. I was about to probe on when he rapidly turned around and started running in the direction we'd come from.
It took me a few seconds to react. Then I took off as fast as my legs could carry me.
But even my fastest wasn't enough to match Edward's speed. He was many feet in front of me, and with each step I took the distance between us grew. It didn't help that the branches he'd pushed aside were slamming into me; I had to keep my hands in front of me all the time to keep them from tearing my clothes.
"Edward! What's wrong now? Wait!"
He didn't slow down, but he did call something over his shoulder.
"It's Emmett! He found the path that Jacob must have taken with Renesmee! They headed west after all!"
All my organs jumped to my throat at the news. Unconsciously, my legs managed to increase their speed after all and I was soon flying beside Edward and past Carlisle, who had started following us when he'd heard the commotion.
There was a hammering in my ears that I couldn't quite pinpoint—it couldn't have been blood, obviously, as I hadn't fed in several weeks and I didn't have a blood stream anyway. Maybe it was just my imagination projecting a physical reaction that should have been there. I didn't care—all I wanted was the ability to run even faster. Fast didn't seem fast enough.
It's wasn't long until we barged into the clearing, and soon we were entering the forest on the other side of it. My breathing quickened—not because I needed more air, but because I was desperate to smell even the faintest trace of my lost daughter. Nothing.
Edward steered roughly to the left. I nearly flew into a tree, but was able to follow him without interrupting my run. Carlisle, who was still a good ten feet back, made the same turn.
In the distance I could see a white shape in the surrounding darkness. It was Emmett, who was gripping at a tree as if it were the only thing still holding him there. His eyes darted to us when he heard us approach. Impatience flickered in them like the wick of a burning candle.
"Where?" Edward demanded as soon as we reached the spot. Emmett motioned wordlessly straight ahead.
Neither of us stopped to ask for further instructions. Edward's mind was set on our goal, but I was enough in my senses to mumble a thank you to Emmett as we whizzed by. I didn't have time to see Emmett's answer, but I could hear him break into a run behind us.
And then I smelled it. The air smelled of something else besides damp soil and blooming leaves. It smelled of daisies and of something that I could have mistaken for human blood. It was the mind-numbing smell of my daughter.
Somehow I managed not to cry out in joy. The wiser part of me—and also the more pessimistic one—reminded me that as long as I couldn't see her, there was nothing to hope for. But I hadn't felt this close to Renesmee for days, and the sudden change almost made my relief burst out of its seams.
So I hastened my pace and followed Edward through the maze of trees, hoping that the hope wouldn't crush me if we came to a dead end.
I refused to believe it. It just couldn't be.
Edward kicked at a bush and roared out a terrible cry of frustration. I just froze and was unable to do anything at all. The only way my mind could continue to work was by denying it.
"We'll find her," Emmett said, but this time his tone was more consoling than it was assuring. "She can't be far. We'll find her."
Edward sunk to the ground against a tree trunk and buried his face in his hands. He shook his head.
Almost bumping into my still frame, Emmett proceeded to make another round. But it was useless. We all knew it.
Carlisle laid a gentle hand on my shoulder, but I was too cold to feel it. "We'll find her," he muttered softly. "No matter what."
I would have shaken my head, but I was glued to the spot. All I could do was deny it, again and again, refuse to believe the scene in front of me, and try not to notice how clear of daisies the air was.
But there was no denying that the trail was a dead one, and we could just as well throw away all our hopes of finding her now. It was no use. She was lost. I was lost.
Still, for the sake of my dear life, I continued to deny it.
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