|My Dad is a Legend
Author: alchemilla mollis PM
Dadward AU. One shot. Edward Cullen: avenger, composer, recluse. Optimist? His human son visits.Rated: Fiction M - English - Edward & Bella - Words: 3,291 - Reviews: 46 - Favs: 43 - Follows: 19 - Published: 02-19-10 - Status: Complete - id: 5759971
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Yes, I know you might be waiting for that other story. It's with the beta-babes. This is just a quickie exercise in another plot. An unbeta'ed, spontaneous effort - -just ignore any accidental British spellings. Dadward AU.
One shot: My Dad is a Legend
My Dad is a legend. Almost a myth. His name inspires awe and fear among those of his kind.
Or so Grandad told me, when I last saw him and Nanna in their Tuscan villa.
You wouldn't know it, though, if you happened to see my dad at the town's little post office, waiting in line with his head down and his hands jammed in his pockets, trying to keep the local women's thoughts at bay. If you heard him picking out his melancholy tunes on his guitar. If you drove down the rough track that leads to his modest, strange, three-room house, buried deep in the Pacific Northwest forest. Like I was doing now.
A legend lives here, I thought, carefully rolling in, then out, of a pothole. Get a real driveway, Dad. I shifted the Audi into petrol-based four-wheel drive.
It was a vampire's house, with no kitchen, no real bedroom and until recently, no bathroom. Dad used to plunge into a spring-fed pool to bathe after a particularly muddy hunt. He would bring his clothes to the laundrette in town only when Aunt Alice persuaded him to.
Last visit I told him I was tired of shitting in the woods like a bear and if he didn't build me a bathroom (which he could well afford to do) that I wouldn't come and see him again.
When I drove up I was unsurprised to see him sitting cross-legged on the end of the dock with his guitar in his lap and his music scribbles beside him, weighted down by a rock. He stood up and waved, gesturing -- perhaps I'd like to come to the end of the dock?
"Hey Dad," I said, happy to see him. We embraced, with the accompanying back pats that grown men do. Not that my dad looks like a grown man. But I am used to that; it is all I have ever known.
"Hello son," he smiled, a closed-mouth smile. I don't think I've seen him really smile – you know, with teeth showing—since I fifteen.
We sat down; we didn't talk for a while. My news could wait. Dad returned to his song and I stretched out beside him, the music relaxing me after the long drive.
The sun was setting and Dad's face and hands glittered outrageously, so that I had to squint my eyes. It was something I took for granted when I was a kid, that grownup men sparkled in the sunlight. During a second-grade field trip to the beach, I remember the sun coming out – so rare in the Northwest – and feeling extremely disturbed that Mr. Tonner's skin was so plain. I had even asked him 'why he had lost his sparkle' and he had been irritable with me the rest of the field trip, perhaps assuming that I was criticizing his enthusiasm for teaching seven-year olds.
Dad and I eventually went inside and he showed me Uncle Emmett's handiwork. Good God, the bathroom was like a Swiss spa, the bathtub boasting an infinity edge that melded with the views of the lake out the floor to ceiling windows.
"Swish," I said, already planning to try it out later tonight. (We police detectives can't afford such bathrooms. Or, at least, can't appear to afford them. I bank out of Switzerland and the Cayman Islands, otherwise my Cullen money would look highly suspect.)
Dad nodded in agreement. "Swish," he said, as if he was trying out the word.
"It was nice of Uncle Em to come all the way from Nova Scotia, just to build me a bathroom," I said, ribbing my dad a little. He was useless with tools, unless they could be applied to old cars.
"Your mom would have liked a big tub like this," he murmured, almost to himself.
"Mm," I agreed, but said no more. The subject of Mom was one that depressed both of us.
We settled in the living room. Dad had actually purchased and prepared food in expectation of my visit, which I considered a good sign. It was wild mushroom lasagne, an old favorite, a recipe that triggered certain memories of Mom and me, giggling at the dinner table whenever Dad would present his elaborately prepared meals with a few words of Italian or French, depending on the offering. Mi Bella bellissima he would say to her, tu sosantemento (your sustenance) and then bend to kiss her on the lips. You are my sustenance, she would answer back.
Now, two decades later, he handed me a lap tray and utensils, with no Italian and no flourish. After my dinner we discussed my car (he disapproved), my job promotion (he approved), the state of the courts and criminal legislation (he didn't give a damn).
"I've met a girl," I blurted out eventually.
"You've met lots of girls," he said wryly, stoking the fire. It's true, I have had a lot of girls. But I inherited my father's good looks, what can I do?
I ignored his jibe. "A woman," I corrected myself. "I've met the woman I'd like to marry. I've known her for a while now, actually. Margaret."
He straightened, startled. "OH. David. That's...that's wonderful." He stared at me for a moment, as if he were seeing me anew, as an adult. "Fantastic news. Alice didn't warn me."
(Alice didn't tell him because she was afraid of what he'd do, if he knew I was 'taken care of'. Alice was always nervous that Dad was going to find a way to commit suicide.)
Dad shook his head, like he was trying to settle this new information, then stuck out his palm to shake my hand heartily.
"We should celebrate!" He smiled. "Or would that be premature?"
"I have not officially asked her yet. But I am sure she'll say yes."
"Good. Champagne then." He disappeared, faster than I could see, probably out to the massive shed where he kept his vintage, pre-Hydrogen Aston Martin, stored these last umpteen years under a cover, undriven.
"A good old-fashioned name, Margaret," he said, standing in front of me again and untwisting the wired cork, and I jumped, because I'd forgotten how fast vampires could be. "Tell me all about her."
We toasted my gorgeous Margaret with very old, very expensive Champagne (from my parents' wedding I wondered? I didn't want to ask) in tall crystal flutes. He let a little onto his tongue, rolled it around with a look of concentration on his face, then stepped into Emmett's bathroom to spit it out.
"Is it good?" he asked, sitting down again. "It certainly smells good."
"Superb," I said, sighing. He looked pleased.
I proceeded to consume half the bottle and wax on about her, while Dad listened and showed his interest. She had a Masters in Criminal Psychology (he approved), but worked in some rather rough prisons (of which he disapproved).
He fidgeted a bit in his seat, a sure sign he was suppressing an unpleasant question. He could be a righteous prick occasionally, about certain topics, and he probably didn't want to kill the pleasant father-dad bond we had going on just now.
"You want to ask me something," I prompted. Suddenly I guessed what it was. "I haven't told Margaret. About vampirism."
"Good," he breathed out, relaxing again.
"She'd question my sanity if I did," I mused, looking into the fire.
"What have you said about your upbringing?" he asked.
"The usual bending of the truth. I am the child of aid-workers. My mother passed away in Algeria when I was fifteen. Missed high school -- since I was dragged all over China and Russia with my aunt and uncle," I said with a little bitterness in my voice.
"You got into Cambridge," he said quickly. "Alice taught you well." I thought he might say and then you threw it all away to become a policeman, but he didn't.
"Yeah, but I could have played high school baseball," I muttered, glaring at him. "I told her my father is a hermit and she can never meet him," I said harshly.
"I'm not a hermit," he frowned. "And I will meet her."
"You barely leave this house."
"I am in daily contact with people in New York and Los Angeles," he countered.
"Yeah, online. You send all your music that way. They don't even know what you look like."
My dad is a legend in the human world too. He writes film scores, under the name – you won't believe it – Edward Bella. As if 'Bella' were his last name. Dear Mr. Bella, begins all the digital correspondence he receives. Dear Mr. Bella, please send the Academy your address so we can ship you your fucking Oscar. The internet is abuzz with speculation about who he really is, since no one has ever seen him.
I thought it was weird, morbid even, until Aunt Alice told me it was like a signal. So she could find him one day, if she ever remembered.
"They can't know what I look like." He shrugged. "Then I'd have to stop within a decade."
"Okay, whatever," I gave up, looking over at the little gold man on the mantle. Alice had picked it up eventually. Now Dad was up for a Tony this year. Sheesh.
"David," he said, leaning forward in the rocker to clasp his palms together. "You will be tempted, at some point – could be years from now – to tell Margaret. And you can't. NOT EVER. Not when you're tipsy, or when you're sad, or when she questions your vague family history. Don't even hint. She might figure it out."
"I know this Dad." Oh, didn't we know it. "But things ARE different now, with Grandad in the Volturi. Not quite so risky."
"NO," he said brusquely. "That is temporary. Carlisle won't last. Monsters cannot be governed by magnanimity. He will be overthrown at some point – hopefully he and Esme will survive it."
"Yes, but if you would only join the Volturi yourself... your reputation alone would keep the vampire world in line. Or so Uncle Jaz says."
"Yes, well , that's not going to happen," Dad said, parrot-fashion. (They had tried to persuade him before.) "I am not willing to compromise for political peace. It condones the behaviour of killers."
I didn't remind him that he was a killer. That he had coldly tracked down and brutally murdered every member of the Volturi – even the lesser ones – who had anything to do with my mother's demise.
"Carlisle only does it for the good of humans," I argued. "He has influence. More vampires are turning vegetarian every day."
"It's just a fad," Dad muttered, shrugging – indicating the end of that topic. He turned his head to look out the darkened windows, which to me only held our reflections, but to Dad probably held so much more. Nocturnal birds, animals, insects, the ripples on the lake. Cellular division, for all I knew. I felt briefly envious. His stare was intense.
"What do you see?" I said after a moment.
He didn't answer at first and I thought for a moment he would say your mother. Then I would know he was crazy, like Aunt Rose was always saying. Edward's lost it, she would say whenever I complained about him. I think she missed arguing with him.
We moved on to talk about wedding logistics; we planned our lies to deceive my Margaret. By now I was used to constructing these sorts of deceptions to my friends, and had long ago justified their necessity to my conscience.
Dad would act as my younger brother. My aunts, uncles and grandparents would play the part of cousins. I would tell Margaret that my father wouldn't attend the wedding, and by the way, here is a younger brother whose existence I heretofore forgot to mention? We'd fake it, concoct the story and email it to all the Cullens so they'd answer consistently if asked.
Once ten years had passed, Margaret would no longer be able to accompany me on any visits to see my 'brother'. But we'd have children eventually...and I would want them to get to know their grandfather. Was their window of opportunity longer, because children aren't lucid enough to notice aging or the lack of it? Could I tell them about his vampirism and they would accept it with the sponge-like trust of a child, the way I had?
It was hard to imagine Dad still being around then. Each time I visited, he seemed slightly more faded than the previous visit, although in appearance he was as youthful and handsome as ever. Could a vampire die of a broken heart? I knew the answer was no.
"Dad," I said suddenly. The champagne afforded me impudence. "When was the last time you took a slice?"
He turned back to me, frowning. "I don't follow 2030's slang," he said. "What is a 'slice'?
I rolled my eyes. What rock does he live under? "A slice, Dad. Okay, when is the last time you... uh, got laid? Isn't that a turn of the millennium phrase?"
He made an indignant noise, and then lowered his chin as if to say I'm not discussing sex with you.
"I'm twenty-eight, Dad," I reminded him.
He looked back to the blackened windows and said very quietly, "April 16, 2021."
God, poor Dad. That was – I calculated – when I was fifteen. "The night before Mom disappeared," I exclaimed, and then immediately regretted it.
"Yes," he whispered, getting that gut-wrenching look on his face that he got whenever he started thinking about her abduction.
Shit. "Da-aad," I said in a teasing voice. I did not want this conversation to go to the dark side. "Two words for you, Dad."
He raised his eyebrows questioningly but did not look away from the window.
"Two words," I repeated with cheerleader –like enthusiasm. "Tanya. Denali."
"Three words for you," he replied instantly. "No. Thank. You."
"She is still crazy about you, despite the fact that you're all...all messed up. She'd be here in a flash, if you IM'd her. She only seduced me because I look a little bit like you, you know."
"God, I do NOT want to hear about that," he said, putting his hands ineffectually over his ears.
"She is sheer carnal heaven! Really taught me how to please a woman. I'm quite the expert," I boasted. "To Margaret's benefit, of course," I added hastily.
He made a growling noise, but that tactic hasn't worked on me since the fourth grade.
"Have you seen Tanya's breasts, Dad? And that gorgeous ass! How can you not take a slice of that?"
"So why did it only last a year?" he asked, in a tone that said he knew well already.
"Well...uh. It didn't work out. Especially when she called me Edward once during an intimate moment. I wasn't going to put up with that sick. She was too cold anyway -- not that she would be to you, of course," I backpedalled. "Not that you're too cold or anything. You were always an affectionate Dad..." Damnit, I was babbling like a drunken fool now. "Really, Dad you should take a slice. It would do you a world of good."
"I don't want a world of good. I want your mother." He wasn't whispering or looking away this time. He said this with the conviction of nearly a hundred and fifty years, looking me right in the eye.
"She is lost to us, Dad. Lost," I said, and a bubble of heartache welled up powerfully inside me. My eyes suddenly filled with tears. I stood up abruptly. "I am not going to think about this now. I am happy and well-adjusted," I declared. "I've got a human woman who loves me from top to toe. It doesn't matter that my own mother doesn't remember me. Or that she runs around with her creepy Algerian mate, eating people. God, I'm drunk. On good stuff though."
Dad stood up too. "Time for bed, David," he said roughly, as if I were ten. He put a steadying arm around my shoulders, and walked me to the music studio, where he had set up a bed behind the piano.
I lay down and managed to pry off my shoes with my toes. He put the down comforter over me. I watched him through half-closed eyes, as he walked back toward the light of the living room.
"Hey Dad," I called.
He paused at the door, turning. His seventeen-year-old profile was silhouetted against the firelight. He looked so young, so deceptively young.
"Will you play the fiddle?" I asked. "You know, like when I was a kid and couldn't sleep?"
"I...I no longer have the fiddle."
Oh yeah. I had forgotten. He had ripped it apart. He had destroyed everything she loved in a fury, the day he returned from his fruitless quest without her. The day Alice accidentally showed him that Mom would still be with her vampire mate fifty years from now. Dad and Alice fought – I mean physically fought . It was the scariest thing I ever saw in my life. I cried like a girl, watching them helplessly, though I was nearly eighteen. Partially because I had a terrible crush on Alice and I was afraid he would kill her. And partially because Dad was almost unrecognizable, after three years of emotional hell.
He had only let Alice up from the ground when she had showed him every goddamn possibility, and he was able to determine that he still had a 1.2% chance that Mom would come back to him.
"How about the cello?" he suggested.
"Cello's good," I mumbled, feeling bad that I had brought up the fiddle.
He came back into the darkened room, and picked the huge instrument up from its stand with one hand. He closed the door, and soon I heard the sad ache and creak of the beautiful instrument from the other room. I knew that after he finished, he would let the fire die, and then stand at the window and look out. And wait.
And wait and wait, for his 1.2% chance to materialize. He would probably wait forever. And I do really mean forever, long after I'm dead and my great-grandchildren have no idea who he is. He will be waiting for Mom.
So, how did Edward and Bella come to have a human child? Not in the canon way! There is a whole backstory in my head to this, but I can't imagine I'll ever get around to writing it. Hope you enjoyed. Or misted up a little at least.
Are you a sucker for sad Edward and Bella fics? Try L'Heure Bleue by Sobriquett. On my profile Favourites.