Separate Directions

Wanda: I. Don't. Even. Know. This is what happens when you have insomnia, stare at the ceiling for too long, and possibly have had too much sugar. Your brain goes to weird places and you suddenly find yourself writing a short story about a series you didn't particularly care for, except maybe in some concepts.

Disclaimer: I do not own Twilight.

**~At La Push, two years after the Marriage of Jacob Black and Reneesme Cullen~**

The doorbell rang, once, twice, three times. Leah Clearwater abandoned the dishes in the sink and eyed the hall to the entrance with a grimace. Taking a breath, she strode over to the door and opened it.

Reneesmee Cullen's eyes always looked younger than the rest of her body, which had grown up extraordinary quickly – all the better for her imprinted bond mate (god, Leah despised this genetic urge), who would only have to wait half the time he spent in love with the child's mother to marry her instead. Because who could ever equate creepiness to the One True Love of Imprinting?

((Aside from Claire and her mother, who had hightailed it out of the reserve on the girl's seventh birthday when Leah spilled what Quill was really hanging around for. The response from the pack had been trully hellish – she still had scars on her back – but it was worth it.)

However, Reneesme looked different this time. Her eyes were clear...somehow more mature, now matching her young lady face. She was also dressed pretty casually by the heavy spending Cullen family standard, with simple no name brand jean pants, a red sleeveless shirt and a single, while still large, opal pendant hanging from around her neck.

Held in her arms was the sleeping form of a three year old boy.

"Hello, Aunt Leah." Reneesmee said, with her usual slightly over bright friendliness. It was her default way of trying to talk to people. She must have gotten it from Alice Cullen, Leah was certain.

"You don't have to call me Aunt," Leah said briskly. "Your mother must have made it clear she doesn't really consider me a part of her shiny new family."

Reneesme sighed and shook her head. "And yet I've always called you that, the times we ended up meeting. I understand if you have trouble believing me, but I appreciate your presence, minimum as it was in my life, more than you can imagine."

"Uh, huh." Leah said slowly, popping gum. She usually only chewed that stuff when she was stressed out by something. And oh boy, if this didn't count than what would. She had gotten a non-linked and travelled email from the youngest member of the Cullen family about a week ago, requesting a meeting. Nothing major, it would just be her and her baby. Just that there might be a weighty request on her mind, and she wasn't sure who to turn to it for.

Perhaps against her better judgment, Leah had reluctantly agreed. Now that she had a house of her own, far enough away from thee rest of the pack that she'd be able to leave for different towns, straining the mental bond so far that eventually they could only bother her in tiny whispers, many intelligible. That was Leah's true saving grace in this whole nightmare.

She would have refused if there was any sign any of the OTHER Cullens would be tagging along, especially Bella, Edward or Jacob. She had dealt with those three enough to last her several lifetimes, let alone one. She didn't care much for Esme or her husband either.

"This is Alexander David Black-Cullen." Reneesme introduced, gently placing the three year old on the table. "Say hello to your aunt, Alex."

The baby tilted his head and examined Leah for a long moment, before he grinned. "Arf! Wooooo," He tried to mimic a wolf's roar, and failed rather adorably.

Leah offered him a small, slightly strained smile, before asking, "I'm guessing that's Emmett's idea of a joke?"

Renesme winced. "I'm sorry. I couldn't keep them apart all the time, and father thought it was hilarious."

"Why bring him here, Rene?" Leah asked, using an abbreviated version of the girl's insipid name. Renesme, my god. What had Bella been on? "And for christ sakes, if you were hoping he would imprint on me...!"

Renesme's expression cracked, and she threw her hands up defensively. "NO! For god's sake, Leah. I didn't think the stars would align that conveniently for another individual until the Rapture happens. No, I had another question...one I'm already guessing you don't like the sound of."

"I don't." Leah agreed. "Why bring him here?"

"...Aunt Leah. You know, you were the only person in my life who was ever honest with me?" Renesme asked. "When I played an instrument, everyone else clapped like drones. But you, you told me when I was playing too sharp or too flat, what I might do differently. You told me how to stand even when Dad told you to piss off. I didn't appreciate it nearly as much as I should have...as I've come to now."

"Yes, those days were pretty damn funny." If 'funny' was a word that could be used in the same sentence as Edward Cullen. "But what is the point, Renesmee?"

Renesmee steeled her shoulders and grimaced. "Well, I guess there's nothing for it. ...I want you to adopt my son."

"WHAT!?"

The house rang with the force of Leah's cry, both of shock and absolute indignation. Renesmee merely winced slightly and kept her head up – she had been trained to act extremely dignified by her 'second mother' Rosalie Hale. Alexander looked extremely distressed at the sudden shriek and the implication that his aunt didn't want him around, so he began to weep.

Leah watched as Renesmee picked him up, before unsurely whispering calming words to him, a whispered lullaby. Eventually Alexander calmed down and fell asleep on her shoulder. Gently Renesmee set him down on the couch.

"You scared him," Renesmee muttered. "He already thinks his father wants nothing to do with him, did you have to add to that?"

Leah grimaced for a second before tirading, "Would I – hey! That's some big talk, coming from the person trying to hand him off to me! Do you not want him?"

Renesmee looked up sharply, straight into Leah's eyes. The female werewolf took a small step backwards. There was something in those eyes she hadn't seen before – not just in Renesmee herself, but in almost all the vampires she had ever met.

Grief.

"Leah, you have always been the only one honest with me." Renesmee whispered, her voice barely audible even to the enhanced hearings of the two individuals in the room. "...Do you think I would make a good mother?"

"..."

Leah stood silently for a minute. She remembered Bella Swan, so desperate not to become older than nineteen that she threw away her mortal family without a thought to become a vampire. She got pregnant, not thinking of the consequences a birth might bring around. She thought about Edward Cullen, who always thought his moral judgments and decisions were absolute and completely infallible. She thought of that whole family, who preferred to experience the shallow bursts of adrenaline that life gave, but not hold up to any of the responsibilities.

"...I'm not sure you know enough about the world and about motherhood to be in the role yet." Leah eventually managed, which she hoped met somewhere between honestly and her budding sense of pity for the woman – girl? - in front of her.

Renesmee's lip twitched. "That is quite charitable, Leah. Do you know what I know about the world? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. I have no trade to my name, because my father thought it was 'absurd that I'd need one. You were born with everything you need'." she used a very mocking fake British accent for his voice, causing Leah to snicker. "I was handed silver and gold as slinky toys, to twist and turn between my fingers."

"Sometimes I wonder if I was a mistake that somehow resulted in a child." Renesmee went on. "No one in my family really wants me."

"How did you figure that-?" Leah demanded.

"Because, whenever we go out somewhere, I never get handed pieces to speak or get sent to mingle with people." Renesmee answered. "I'm shackled to my parents side like a particularly expensive purse, to be trotted out among the vampire elite. Gawk in astonishment over what the Cullens have achieved... a d'hamper child who lived past five." She stared down at her hands. "Lived for what? Lived to be window dressing. A motherhood fantasy."

"My own mother...she never taught me not to do things. Don't do this or you'll get hurt. Don't do this, that's stupid and irresponsible. All those human children who get talked to like this hate it, but I've craved it for so long and never even understood it."

"I'm half a woman, Leah...I'm a twelve year old girl with less life experiences than grade school. I never went to any school, I was too special for it. I don't know how to deal with people...except the way my family does.'

Renesmee turned towards Leah again, looking away from her sleeping child. "It took me far longer than it should have to realize my family is a bit on the...what shall we call it? The superficial scale?"

"The selfish, morally twisted, holier than thou scale?" Leah suggested scathingly.

Renesmee smiled darkly. "That covers about everything. Thank you. Now, when I lie down in bed, I do not dream, 'how could my perfect life get any better than this?' I dream, 'how the fuck am I ever going to get out of here?' Leave it to Carlisle to create such a beautiful prison. He was once the son of a preacher, or whatever. He's told that story so many times I get the details confused now."

"And Jacob. Christ, Jacob." Renesmee shuddered violently. "You know, Jacob told me the story about you, Emily and Sam and the imprint as he was building up to tell me about ours. He looked at me like I was crazy when I asked how Emily could love the man who broke her sister's heart and then tore her face off. She doesn't stay with him because she loves him, she stays because she's terrified of what might happen if he 'looses control of his emotions' again. That's exactly where I'd be in that situation."

Leah nodded slowly. Half a year ago, Emily had attempted to drown herself in her bathtub. If Leah hadn't been delivering some things from Seth to her, she absolutely would have died. When brought out, Emily broke down weeping in Leah's arms. Please, Leah. I can't live with him any more. Not with my baby here too. What if he tears her face off one day, when I make him mad? Emily had stayed with him not out of love, but out of fear, since that first night when he slashed her face open.

Why didn't you ever tell me this? Leah had demanded, shaken. The bridesmaid invitation, the constant begging to stay close...I thought you were doing it to spite me!

Emily coughed and sobbed. It was so selfish of me...I'm sorry...but I wanted someone I loved to be close to me when I married that man...I didn't want to be all alone with him. And they can see inside your head when you shapeshift...I didn't want to make things worse for you than they already are...

Worse for ME?! Leah had seethed, clutching her battered cousin closer. I'll show them WORSE!

"And yet Jacob calls it true love." Renesmee laughed bitterly. "'like the true love you shared with mom?' I asked him that once. He said, 'i must have been in love with you when you were inside her.'"

Leah made a face, and after a few seconds both girls burst out laughing. "GodDAMN, do these people ever listen to themselves?" Leah gasped out eventually.

"No. Of course not." Renesmee said, her expression becoming serious again.

"That sort of love...my parent's sort of love...my family, who had shown me off as a trophy, now has a half vampire, half shapeshifter in its' grasp. ...and I won't let it happen this way again."

"That's why I'm asking you what I've asked." Renesmee turned towards Leah again. Her eyes, those cullen like soft gold eyes, became incredibly – and genuinely – sad. "Take my son, Leah. Raise him to be a boy, a happy, well adjusted, non insane boy who isn't a mindless proof of existence, chained to a 'true love' who causes them more discomfort and unhappiness than any affection, wrapped in that perfect lie of the perfection that is the Cullen family."

"...But what about you?" Leah asked firmly.

Renesmee's eyes grew distant. "I'm not strong enough to leave my family." She said softly. "I don't know enough about the world. I don't know how to get buy without stealing and cheating, or just sitting on the luck that Alice brings in."

"But you hate it there. It's soul crushing." Leah said, worry seeping into her usually tough and stoic voice. "You stay here, too. I can show you some jobs that are looking to hire. You can figure things out with some help, and you won't have to leave him..."

Renesmee's expression changed again, leaving her with a soft, sad smile. "That's so kind of you, Leah. ...But when Jacob comes looking for me, this is the first place he'd search. I don't want to drag you back into this drama. You've gotten further in the world than any of us, and I don't want to ruin that."

She turned back to the couch where Alex was sleeping, and gently tousled his hair. Then, she let out a strangled sob and put her hands in her face.

Carefully Leah walked over to her and placed a hand on her shoulder. "He'll always know your name." She promised. "He'll know that his mother loved him, but she had gotten pregnant too soon, and she didn't have the power to raise him. So she left him in the temporary care of the stern-but-kindhearted aunt while she bled, struggled, and paved her own path in the world, so that when she came back, she could give him what he truly needed."

Renesmee, still sobbing, stood up and pulled the other woman into a bonecrushing hug. Leah woofed, wincing at the pressure – Renesmee was a d'hamper, after all. Not as strong as her father, but still quite strong.

"You plan to manage it?" Leah asked softly.

"I plan to," Renesmee eventually said rigidly. "But...but I might need to leave soon to keep my resolve."

"What will you tell the Cullens and Black? Won't they ask questions?" Leah asked as they strode towards the door.

Renesmee set her face back into a pseudo queenly mask of cold. "Our family has some enemies, despite what father might think. There are several people who might have murdered my baby to make a point to them."

"You'll have to be injured." Leah noted.

Renesmee nodded. "I think I'll go mess with Sam Uley next time he goes into town."

Leah couldn't help but smirk. "Be careful. ...and I expect you to send cards on his birthday. They don't have to be big things. Just enough for him to know you're fighting to be with him."

"Of course."

Leah smiled. Here was something she never dreamed she'd say... "Good luck, Black-Cullen."

"...Maybe the next time we meet, that won't be my last name."

End Chapter

So...yeah. I always felt sorry for Leah while admiring her at the same time. She's probably the most interesting character in the series. And I hope you liked my version of Renesmee.

Read and Review please!