The silence in the room was unbearable.
He couldn't tell how long he had leaned over her, murmuring encouragements as he tried desperately to get her heart to beat. It could have been minutes; it could have been years. All he knew was that he had to keep going, had to make the blood and venom in her veins spread through her body. He worked tirelessly, never breathing, never stopping, his eyes fixed on her face as it rested peacefully beneath him. Just a little more, he was certain of it. Just a little more and the venom would take over, reviving her heart, and she would gasp air into her lungs so that her life could begin again.
Finally, fingers brushed against his shoulder and a voice whispered his name.
He hissed at the sound, wrenching his arm away. His rhythm was interrupted, and he gave a miniscule pause before falling back into rhythm. One, two, three, four, five… He stopped the count before it got too high, afraid to find out how high it would go. A hand grabbed his arm, tugging, and still he continued to pump the silent chest beneath him. He didn't dare stop. He didn't dare look away from her beautiful face, the whole reason for his existence, for fear she would fade away like some long-forgotten dream.
Hands covered his own, and his mother spoke to him gently. "Son, I'm so sorry." Esme's voice cracked, and with it, so did his heart. She was right, of course. It had been too long. He didn't need to hear her thoughts to know Carlisle had already come to the same conclusion. If the venom was going to save her, it would have taken over by now, but her body was just too weak.
She had always been so fragile.
When Esme's hands tugged at his arm this time, he let himself go, turning into her waiting arms. She was shorter than he, but he huddled into her embrace and allowed himself to be her child this once, seeking comfort no one could truly give. A keening sound broke through the reverent silence, and after a moment he realized it came from himself. He cried dry tears into his mother's hair, plans already forming in his mind.
He would be with her, his Bella. That, or he would burn for eternity, paying for his sins as he surely deserved to. What greater sin was it than to take such an innocent, beautiful life from the world? His already-damned soul had committed its final crime, and he was ready to atone.
Pulling away, he turned back to the empty shell that had once been his Bella. His attempts to change her had closed her wounds, and he saw past the caked blood on her skin, seeing her as she once was, as she might have been if he had not been so foolish. Brushing her hair out of her face, his fingers ghosted over her lips, turned up in a peaceful smile. He leaned down to kiss her one last time before turning to flee out the door.
He was stopped short by a small figure blocking the doorway.
"Edward, don't," Alice told him, her voice firm. Her eyes were full of pain, but there was some other spark there as well. He opened his mouth to respond, to explain to her that there was no other way, when a new sound fell upon his ears. His eyes flitted downward, and he found Alice cradled a baby in her arms, legs kicking and face screwed up in massive yawn.
His baby. Her baby. Their Renesmee.
Guilt blossomed in his chest as he took in her perfect face, lips smacking together as her eyes opened to squint at the world around her, perhaps for the first time. Edward watched her, listening to the gentle thrumming of her heart, and realized what he had been about to do would have left her without both her mother and her father. His heart broke again, shattering this time as he thought of this tiny child alone, without him to tell her every little detail about her mother. It would be far worse a sin to leave her now.
He would have to find some way to carry on. She would be his reason for living.
With a nod, Edward stepped forward, accepting his daughter into his arms and clutching her to his chest.