A/N: Anon requested this:

"Yes, yes I want a comedy featuring Reneesme having intrusive thoughts about Aro, oh please please please! And bonus points if Carlilse has to explain why it's wrong to Renesmee"

What can I say, I felt inspired.


It began with a trip to Ireland.

Carlisle had been meaning to visit Siobhan and her coven for years, but between the chaotic circumstances that lead to one Renesmée Carlie Cullen entering this brave world and the general business that came with blending in with humans so he could play doctor, he had been a little tied up.

Still, where there's a will there's a way.

To back up a bit, Renesmée found herself being given two options for how she would spend the Christmas holidays of 2012. She could come with her parents to Isle Esme, which they had been borrowed for the occasion, and have a jolly time there playing with Jake while they both pretended they couldn't hear her parents having sex for hours or end, or she could stay with the rest of the family for a quiet Christmas of Esme's cooking and playing dress-up with her aunts.

(Understand that this was a choice in name only: Alice had packed all of her beach clothes and invested in state of the art scuba diving equipment so Renesmée and Jake could keep up with her parents, Bella and Jake had made a schedule of all the great things the four of them would be doing, and Esme had filled an unholy amount of tupperware with Christmas cookies.

Renesmée was very much set to go to Isle Esme.)

Renesmée chose door three.

She wanted to try scuba diving, she really did, and she was definitely curious to see how Jake planned to combine his wolf form with a breathing apparatus.

There were definitely things she'd love to do on Isle Esme, but…

There was just something about spending the better part of two weeks trapped on the island she'd been conceived on, with her parents being more lovesick than usual, cooing over how prettily the other sparkled, and sneaking off to have sex just out of visual but not hearing range, and the only other company on the island being Jake, that filled Renesmée with a bone-deep sense of utter exhaustion.

Edward enticing her with the offer that she would get the master bedroom had settled matters. That was the room she'd been conceived in. Possibly even the same bed, unless it had been destroyed by her parents having sex, which would be just as bad.

And when she tried to escape there would be Jake and his jokes about this being a double date.

She couldn't do it.

And while spending quality time at home with the family was nice and all, quality time together was how they spent all their time.

The family had all, Carlisle excepted, paused the human charade while Renesmée was growing up. No one wanted to waste time taking college classes when the family's little miracle was growing fast as a spruce, and as Renesmée grew too fast to blend in with humans she had no one else to be with either.

Quality time with the family was, if Renesmée was to be quite blunt, nothing special.

It would be… well, it wouldn't be better than Isle Esme, because on its own Isle Esme sounded great. But it would mean Renesmée didn't have to spend the holidays doing 16-hour-diving sessions so she wouldn't hear anything and then staring at the ceiling of her master bedroom with a thousand yard stare wondering if her mother had also stared at that ceiling when-

Quality time with the family was definitely the lesser evil here.

Renesmée was still figuring out how to break the news to the family (bless her funky hybrid genes for blocking her decisions from Alice's all-seeing inner eye) when Carlisle announced he'd be going to Ireland over the holidays.

Just him, the Irish coven, beautiful Irish landscapes, and spending Christmas in some ancient ruins Siobhan had commandeered for the occasion of his visit. They would catch up, reminisce about the good ol' times, poke fun at each others' diets while plugging their own, and play a few sports. The only potential point of contention would be Carlisle's intended gift to Siobhan, as he wanted her to accept a telephone so he'd be better able to communicate with her, but strongly doubted she'd take it.

Most importantly, Renesmée's parents wouldn't be there having sex.

The whole room was surprised when Renesmée crossed the room in less than a second to glue herself to Carlisle's arm, and squealed, «Can I come?»

He'd been caught off his guard, but recovered quickly. He gently tried to explain just how boring it would be for her to listen to four people who don't get tired or restless chat about times and places long gone, and that «Christmas celebration» here meant «Carlisle runs off to church for an hour, then it's back to business gossiping about who joined which coven in the 1880's». There certainly wouldn't be any Christmas tree.

There was a reason Esme wasn't coming.

Renesmée was undeterred.

She widened her eyes, touched Carlisle's cheek so he could see just how urgently she wanted to come, and quietly asked, «Don't you want me to come?»

Carlisle's lips turned decidedly downwards as he looked at the room around him. Specifically, as he took in Edward and Bella's sad, sad faces. «Er…» he began, for once not eloquent.

«Nessie, you don't want to go Isle Esme?» Bella asked, her wind chime-like voice breathless with shock.

Renesmée shook her head quickly. «No, no, momma, it's not that! I'd love to go,» she'd lied.

Edward's eyes narrowed.

Renesmée gulped.

«It's just that I really wanna see Ireland,» she said slowly, her voice slightly higher than usual. «And Carlisle's friends. It'll be a bonding trip, just me, grandfather, and…»

«And his friends who kill people,» Edward said, and she heard the thinly veiled impatience in his voice. He was in talking her to her senses-mode.

Renesmée wound both arms around Carlisle's bicep. She had to pull at it slightly, pry it loose from his side, as he was sitting somewhat stiffly. «I'll be safe. Momma,» she directed to Bella, «I really want to go.»

Her eyes were as wide and pleading as she could make them.

«Please,» she said, and watched Bella's resolve waver. «Please please please please…»

«Nessie,» Bella replied, her voice agonized, and threw a look up at Edward for support. He nodded, and she continued, «we can go to Ireland next year.» Edward nodded in approval, and they both smiled encouragingly at Renesmée.

«But we've got everything planned for this Christmas,» Bella continued, her voice that type of reasonable that parents assume when they're trying to convince their child of something the child should do even though it clearly doesn't want to. Nevermind that they were the same age physically. «And you wanted to go just a few minutes ago. You've been looking forward to this for months-»

No, she most certainly had not.

«-Jake is excited, Alice has prepared everything, we've booked the tickets-»

«Jake can still go!» Renesmée said, and lit up as this bonus dawned on her.

Jake couldn't come to Ireland. He just couldn't. He wouldn't be able to relax around the Irish coven, they wouldn't be able to relax around him, it would be tense and awkward and ruin the whole trip.

Which meant Renesmée would get a whooping two weeks without him constantly being there. Always wanting to see her, always wanting her attention, always saying «yes» to everything, always being… well, always being whatever she needed him to be.

Correction, whatever Jacob thought she needed him to be.

It was…

Well, Ireland was becoming more appealing by the second.

The fact that she'd be going with Carlisle was only a bonus. Her deceptively young-looking grandfather was easily one of the most precious people in the world to her, he really only ranked second to Bella, but she rarely had alone time with him. Not for any stretches of time, anyhow. Two weeks with just him would be the longest they'd spent together uninterrupted, and his friends were probably exciting people.

Not to mention, he was a very asexual person. He conducted his marital business with Esme with perfect discretion, so much so that Renesmée couldn't think of a single time she'd been aware of them having sex. Which in turn meant she'd be safe from catching him dirty talking with Esme over the phone (in New York with Bella and Rosalie two years previous, she most certainly had not been safe from this).

Yes, Renesmée had decided. She would go with Carlisle to Ireland.

«To Ireland? Nessie, you know that wouldn't work,» Bella said, again in that gentle tone.

Renesmée shook her head again. «I meant he can go to Isle Esme. He'll have fun!»

Bella opened her mouth to protest again, but Renesmée cut her off. «Mom, I really want to see Ireland, and Siobhan's coven was there for me when the Volturi came for me. Visiting them is the least I can do,» she said. Carlisle's free hand came up to cover both of hers at the mention of that horrible time in their lives, and he gave a light squeeze.

Bella's face softened, but she wasn't relenting. «We can visit them together, all of us. After Christmas.»

«But I want to go with Carlisle now. Momma, please. It's only two weeks!»

«Nessie,» Edward said, sensing that Renesmée's resolve wasn't wavering. Bella shot him a grateful, «this isn't going to be Christmas as you know it. It's not going to be life as you know it. There won't be any material comforts, not even a bed or roof over your head, if it rains you'll be soaked to the bone, and the company will be boring adults talking about boring things.»

Renesmée thought pointedly about how she was physically and mentally the same age as her father by now, if not older, and poked her tongue at him.

Edward smiled implacably back.

«You will have no fun at all.»

«You could be on Isle Esme!» Bella said, uncomprehending.

«Or stay with us,» Esme offered kindly. «I'll make you all your favorite foods, and we'll watch all your favorite movies.»

«Yes, well, I wanna go.»

It did take a little more arguing, and Renesmée resorting to using her gift to make Bella understand, and there was a whole new row when Jake found out, but in the end she had her way.

She was going to Ireland with Carlisle.


Siobhan's eyes nearly bugged out of her head at the sight of Renesmée piggybacking on Carlisle.

«Hi!» Renesmée squealed, knowing Siobhan could hear her even though they four hundred yards apart, and risked taking one hand off of Carlisle's neck to wave at her.

Within a second, Carlisle had closed the distance between them, and knelt to let Renesmée step down. «Hi!» she told Siobhan again, grinning widely.

Ireland was beautiful, Siobhan even more so, and Renesmée had successfully dodged Isle Esme.

This was going to be a great Christmas.

«Hi,» Siobhan replied quietly, and gave Carlisle a wide-eyed look.

«Hello, Siobhan,» Carlisle said, and shot her one of his patented brilliant, easy smiles. «It's good to see you. I come bearing gifts,» he said.

Siobhan shot Renesmée a look, and her brow furrowed.

Renesmée curtseyed lightly, and with a flamboyant gesture presented Carlisle with the prettily wrapped box she'd been put in charge of holding on to while he ran. He stepped forwards and handed it to Siobhan, who accepted it with a befuddled look on her face.

«It's a phone,» he smirked. «So that next time I can warn you before I bring any unexpected plus-ones.»

«Hi!» Renesmée said for the third time.

«She really wanted to come,» Carlisle explained, somewhat apologetically.

Siobhan's features eased into a smile, and she nodded at them both. «It's fine, I was merely surprised. It's lovely to see you both.»

Grinning, Carlisle went in for a hug, and broke into a surprised laugh when Siobhan swung him around. She laughed as well.

«I'm so glad you could make it, Carlisle, I hardly see you these days!» she exclaimed.

Carlisle made apologizing noises.

«And I'll use this phone for as long as the battery lasts. No longer,» she stressed, and held up a finger when he tried to protest. «I can't be going around humans for hours at a time charging up some electronic device I'll barely even use. Carlisle, you're the only person I know who owns a phone.»

«The Denali have phones.»

«If I need to call you I'll use a human's phone,» she shrugged.

«Siobhan!» Carlisle chastised, gesturing to Renesmée, who was still beaming to herself with delight at how wonderful it was to be in Ireland.

She wondered for a half-second why Carlisle found the notion of Siobhan talking about pick-pocketing humans in front of Renesmée to be so distasteful, before she realized that Siobhan had meant humans she killed. Her eyes widened.

She had the oddest feeling, not unlike when a child is finally allowed to sit at the adult table.

Her family had always taken great care to make Renesmée's childhood as wholesome and pleasant as possible. They wanted her to have happy memories only, and avoided upsetting or troubling matters. Edward carefully curated the movies Renesmée had access to, drawing the line at action movies.

The family certainly never spoke of drinking human blood and killing people, not around Renesmée.

As the trio started walking leisurely towards the ruins where Maggie and Liam were waiting and Carlisle continued bickering with Siobhan about phones, Renesmée felt her excitement about this vacation grow exponentially.

It was a few days later, on the night where Christmas Eve turned to Christmas Day, that things went horribly awry.

Siobhan, Liam, Maggie, and Carlisle had been laughing about who had the worst haircut in the late 18th century, with Siobhan etching sketches into slabs of wood to show Maggie and Renesmée.

«I'm so glad I wasn't born yet,» Maggie had shuddered upon seeing Siobhan's rendition of herself with a pouf.

«I'm glad photography wasn't born yet,» Carlisle wheezed as he laughed helplessly.

Siobhan bent her head to etch something new, and after a minute of scratching she turned the slab to show Carlisle and Renesmée an etching of him with one big curl above each ear and an oversized ribbon in the back. Renesmée, who had only just calmed down again from her last fit of laughter, was set off again, while Carlisle made a show of pouting at Siobhan, lips twitching, before he too descended into giggles.

Renesmée fell asleep on Carlisle's shoulder not long after that.

She wasn't sure what time it was when she woke, but it was still night.

Carlisle hadn't moved since she'd fallen asleep on him, his shirt-clad shoulder had even gotten a little warm from her cheek being pressed against it for so long.

She kept her eyes closed, wanting to extend her lovely slumber.

There were only two vampires nearby, Renesmée noted distantly as she drew their scents into her nose. Carlisle and Siobhan.

She concentrated her hearing briefly, and sure enough, she heard Maggie and Liam's footsteps fading into the distance. They must've gone to fetch something. That must have been what woke her.

She wondered drowsily what they could possibly be fetching, the Irish covens didn't have a garage, before it dawned on her that they had probably gone off to hunt.

She suddenly felt very awake.

Before she could open her eyes, though, Siobhan spoke.

Something about her voice told Renesmée to hold off on revealing she was awake.

«Carlisle,» she said, quietly, so as not to wake Renesmée, «can I ask you a question?»

Renesmée almost frowned at Siobhan's tone.

She sounded careful.

Carlisle must have heard the same thing, because he waited a quarter of a second to reply. To vampires, this constituted a pause. «Of course,» he said. Renesmée felt him tilt his head, and thought there must be a quizzical look on his face.

«I mean no offense,» Siobhan began slowly, and Renesmée was glad her face was covered by her hair, because there was no keeping her eyebrows from rising.

«Intriguing,» was all Carlisle said.

«Since your… confrontation, with the Volturi,» Siobhan began, and Renesmée sensed Carlisle stiffen. He didn't stop her, though, «there's been… a lot of people have opinions. And theories. About you, your family, your motivations, your gifts… most of it fanciful, quite a bit of it slander. But people do talk,» she said.

«You mean gossip,» Carlisle said wryly.

This time it was Siobhan who paused. Renesmée imagined she ducked her head in the brief silence that followed, before she spoke again. «Some of this gossip is about you,» she said quietly. «And Aro.»

«Ah,» Carlisle said.

Something in his face must have told Siobhan something, because she gasped quietly. «So it's true,» she breathed.

Renesmée frowned, wondering if she'd missed some visual cue, or if Carlisle was simply so intimately familiar with the vampire rumor mill that Siobhan didn't have to clarify which rumor she was referring to.

She felt Carlisle nod wordlessly.

Siobhan was silent for several long seconds.

«Wow,» she finally whispered to herself.

Carlisle's voice was wry again when he replied. «I trust this stays between us,» he said.

Renesmée was almost vibrating with frustration that they both had to be so cryptic.

«Of course,» Siobhan promised him. «I just- wow.» Renesmée heard her hair move over her shoulder as she shook her head lightly. «You and Aro. Together. That's, ah…» She laughed nervously.

If Renesmée's life was a television comedy, this would be the part where the picture froze and a record scratch sound played.

«What?» she exclaimed, completely forgetting about feigning asleep.

Carlisle and Siobhan both jumped. Siobhan even fell into an instinctive crouch at Renesmée's unexpected movement.

Renesmée straightened, and watched Carlisle's face. He was completely still, but the look on his face like a doe caught in the headlights.

«I woke up right after Maggie and Liam left,» she said quietly, answering the unasked question.

Carlisle nodded with his eyebrows high and his lips sealed together, looking very much like he wished a hole would appear in the ground and swallow him up.

«I see,» was all he said.

Renesmée's mind was spinning. «About what Siobhan just said…»

This was the part where Carlisle was supposed to laugh his easy, carefree laugh and say something like, «oh, no, nothing like that, what a ridiculous thought,» and offer up an explanation that wasn't…

You and Aro. Together.

But Carlisle only grimaced.

Renesmée felt her eyes grow very, very, wide.

Siobhan rose abruptly. «I'll go hunt,» she erupted, before cringing. «For squirrels, I mean, deer. Cats, animals,» she corrected herself, looking at Renesmée. «Get you guys a Christmas breakfast,» she lied pitifully.

Renesmée gave her an unimpressed look.

Siobhan deflated.

«I asked them to be discrete,» Carlisle muttered. «Bella wouldn't have let me take you otherwise.»

Siobhan nodded. «Sorry, Carlisle,» she said sympathetically, and she wasn't apologizing for the failed lie. She made an awkward, aborted gesture towards him, a mix of a wave and a pat on his knee, and then she was gone.

Renesmée was left with Carlisle, who was gazing at the rubble Siobhan had been sitting on, his face indecipherable.

It was funny, his features were the same as ever, features she'd known since she was mere hours old, and yet in that moment he looked like a stranger to her.

«You're with Esme,» she breathed. It was the only thing that came to mind.

Carlisle and Aro.

Together.

No, she had to have misunderstood something.

Carlisle's lips twitched. «Her grandparents hadn't even been born yet.»

«But-» Renesmée began, but cut herself off.

She tried again.

«What?»

Eloquent, Renesmée, she thought to herself, very eloquent.

Carlisle sighed deeply, and tilted his head up to gaze at the constellations high up above. He was silent for so long that Renesmée started to wonder if he was going to make her specify.

But just as she opened her mouth to ask, he spoke. «It's important that you understand I did not know him as you do. To you, he's a terror, like a bad dream…» he trailed off, something regretful clouding his features.

«But he wasn't that to me. No, to me he was… shining, I suppose is the word for it. Luminous.»

He turned to look at her. «He was, at the time, the only person I had in this world. I was very young, I'd lost everything and everyone I knew from my human life. Our family wouldn't exist for another several hundred years, and I had not yet met Siobhan or any of my friends. Well,» he noted with a wry smile, «apart from Alistair.»

His eyes softened as he continued speaking. His voice, too, was soft and warm, though if Renesmée had to pick the perfect word to describe it she'd say reverential.

«He was the most brilliant person I'd ever met, and so very full of life and cheer - joy de vivre,» he said, deciding that French had a better word for it. «And his mind, filled with such knowledge - I could have petrified listening to him talk about anything and everything. And he was kind to me, a friendly face in a time when I knew no other.»

Renesmée sat quietly, taking it all in. She was nearly as still as her grandfather, the only difference being the steady rise and fall of her chest.

In the Cullen household, Aro's name was synonymous with Voldemort, a name to be feared and dreaded, belonging to one that even now might swoop out of the sky to seize Renesmée and all she'd ever known. Inconceivably old and powerful, a ruthless murderer and force of destruction, a liar and a kidnapper. He was barely even a person to Renesmée, more bogey-man than man.

To hear Carlisle speak of him like this was like hearing Bella criticize Edward's physical appearance.

No, it was worse.

It was like if Jake stopped visiting because he had better things to do.

And it wasn't just Carlisle's words, though they were damningly adoring.

It was the way he said them.

She doubted he was aware of it, but as the memories washed over him, his face seemed to glow, and his voice caressed each word as they left his lips.

Carlisle, it seemed, harbored strong emotion where Aro was concerned.

A smile like the sphinx's smile, old and amused by things Renesmée was too young to understand, flitted across Carlisle's face. «Seducing me wasn't very hard. Embarrassingly easy, really.»

A gust of air left Renesmée's lungs at his admission.

Carlisle gave her a look, his eyes shining with something she could not cipher.

She felt she should say something, but she had no idea what. She touched Carlisle's cheek lightly, conveying just that.

He laughed softly. «Yes, well, for what it's worth it was never intended to be this great secret. It's in the past, it wouldn't do any good to bring it up. That's all there is to it.»

The mental image of Carlisle sitting the whole family down around their long table so he could regale them all with his erotic memoirs, starting with his homosexual adventures in Italy, came to Renesmée. Esme in this scenario was sobbing brokenly, dabbing at her eyes with a handkerchief, while Edward glared accusatorially up at Carlisle.

Yes, she could see why Carlisle decided to keep this to himself.

The thought that Carlisle had indeed had homosexual adventures in Italy, and with Aro at that, hit her then, and her face fell.

Aro's face, petrified and malicious, flickered briefly before her inner eye.

Yikes.

«I don't regret it,» Carlisle said quietly, his eyes far away. «Am I disappointed in the person he turned out to be, yes, and I can't forgive him for what he tried to do.» His lips twisted at the memory, and his arm tightened around her. «I can honestly say, without reservation, that he broke my heart.»

Renesmée gazed up at him, and wondered what the past few years had been like for Carlisle.

It was easy to hate, she realized then, easy to fear.

But to feel that way about someone you once loved…

Renesmée tried to imagine being afraid of Bella, and failed.

How alone he'd made himself, in not wanting to talk about it.

She wondered if it was because he didn't want to burden the family or create drama, or if it had been easier for him that way, if he dealt with this on his own.

«But that doesn't erase the good, or rather I won't let it.»

Renesmée tilted her head up at him.

This, she thought, was shaping up to be one very complicated relationship.

The sort she'd only seen in fiction, in those esteemed novels and films about people far too multi-faceted for their own good.

She didn't know what that meant, but it probably did mean something.

«It's the nature of my species, and I fear yours as well, that as we can never forget anything. It's a useful thing, to be sure,» Carlisle said, his eyes far away, «but it comes at a cost. We can never truly leave something in the past, because the past is never further than a thought away. It's always with us. That's why it's so hard for us to change.»

His words, his voice, the very atmosphere surrounding him - Renesmée listened carefully, committing each syllable to memory, because this was sacred wisdom he was imparting on to her.

It was times like these that reminded her of just how much older he was than the rest of their family.

«The way to live with it, I think - and I tell you this because in time, as you live and make experiences of your own, you will need this advice - is to accept that no memory is truly incorruptible. We live too long and remember too well for that.» His eyes wandered back up to the sky above. «Nostalgia doesn't soften the edges for us the way it does humans.»

«Live in the now, Renesmée, and if you have a happy memory, or person you once loved, then don't let the sour present ruin that for you. Cherish the past. In my case,» he met her eyes again, «I don't want decades' worth of fond memories to lose their value to me. I can't, either, my neurochemistry makes that impossible for me. It's better, then, if I make my peace with that, accept that we can't ever truly know a person and they may disappoint us, rather than trying to reform myself into a person who never cared for Aro.»

«Do you understand, Nes?» he asked her, seeming to remember himself.

She nodded silently.

There was something truly wonderful about Carlisle, and that was his ability to make anybody feel special.

He hadn't meant for her to find out about this, if he'd had his way she would never have known, and yet he'd handled her eavesdropping with such grace that she now felt like he'd confided it in her.

No, scratch that- he had confided in her.

He'd told her, and only her, about something so personal, so painful and intimate that no one else in the world knew. Not his friends, not the family, nor even Esme. He didn't have to, and yet he had.

This was something he shared only with her.

In a way, Renesmée felt now like she owned a small piece of him.

This was a piece of her grandfather that was hers and hers alone, one he'd given to her because he thought she would understand and more, that he wanted her to know.

It was a sign of trust and love.

Rather impulsively, she threw her arms around his neck and hugged him, letting their cheeks touch so she could show him how she felt.

She felt him smile, and he hugged her back gently. «Not the reaction I was expecting,» he noted, his words slightly muffled by her hair.

She drew back and smiled up at him. «As opposed to what?»

«Well, as opposed to being repulsed by the thought of Aro and I- er, engaging.»

Briefly, she wondered if he'd struggled to find a diplomatic word for sex for her benefit, or if it was for his own. Maybe a mix of both, maybe he couldn't say it in front of her.

Then his words sank in.

Aro and Carlisle having sex.

Oh no.

Oh, no.

She felt her face scrunch up like tablecloth as some highly unwelcome images started forming in her head.

In the distance, the sun was rising.

«Merry Christmas, sweetheart,» Carlisle said quietly.


A/N: Why finish Nebuchadnezzar's Dream when I can do this?

Also, I realized recently that Meyer spelled it «Renesmee», but I've been using an accent on my tumblr blog for too long now to admit defeat, so I'm sticking to my Renesmée-shaped guns. I'm not being pretentious with fancy accents, just stubborn.