A Brother's Love
Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. No money is being made from this work. No copyright infringement is intended.
A/N: A huge thank you to my betas – sillybella, the beauty of grace, and dracoangelica. Thanks for all your help, support and encouragement. You guys rock!
This started as a short one shot, but then I realized I would need to switch POV, so there will be one more part. This is my first time writing fan fiction. Constructive criticism is welcome.
Chapter 1: Someone to Watch Over Me
"Night, Dad," I called out from the foot of the stairs.
"Going to bed so early?" he asked.
"I'm going on up to my room, but I'll probably read for a while," I clarified.
He eyed me suspiciously. "Okay, goodnight," he said hesitantly, with a note of incredulity in his voice. He would be checking on me later, the same as every night since he imposed my house arrest.
I trudged up the steps, not looking forward to my night alone. Edward was hunting. I just hoped I could find something with which to occupy myself until I got sleepy.
As I entered my room and turned on the light, I jumped. My hand flew to my mouth, barely containing a startled cry. My reaction was met with a hearty, but quiet chuckle. I quickly shut the door.
Great. I blushed bright pink, a little embarrassed by my response to his presence. My cheeks burned with the rush of blood.
He doubled over, barely able to contain his laughter. He always thought my human reactions were hilarious.
"Emmett!" I hissed. "Charlie's going to hear you!"
"Sorry, Bella," he said, straightening up. "It just never gets old." He chuckled again before regaining his composure.
I threw a shoe at him. It was pointless, of course, as he caught it with barely any effort. Stupid vampire reflexes.
"What was that for?" he asked, feigning shock.
"For scaring the life out of me. What are you doing here?"
"To keep an eye on you in case Victoria shows up." He looked a little confused. "Edward said he told you."
"He did. But I meant, what are you doing here, in my room?" I explained. I knew he was coming tonight, but I had expected him to watch the house from outside. And it wasn't that I didn't want him here – it was just a little strange having someone other than Edward in my room.
"Well," he said with a mischievous grin, "I thought it would be more interesting than sitting outside. And I was right."
"Fine," I said with a sigh, giving in easily. "But Charlie checks on me every night before he goes to bed. He can't find out you're here. He'd kill us both."
He scoffed, "Right."
"Well, he would certainly try. He does own a gun you know. And I don't think you would be able to explain why a bullet ricocheted off your skin." Of course I was exaggerating. I knew Charlie would never shoot anyone without just cause. But Emmett understood my point.
"He'll never know I'm here. The only question is whether I can fit in there," he eyed my tiny closet dubiously, "or if I'll have to jump out the window."
"Well, while you figure that out, I'll be across the hall having a human moment." I grabbed my pajamas and toiletries bag. "Stay here and be quiet."
"Yes, ma'am," he said with a mock salute.
I took my time getting ready for bed. Maybe tonight wouldn't be so bad after all. I enjoyed spending time with Emmett, but we had certainly not had much opportunity lately. I still found it amusing that the guy I once found so utterly terrifying was the same person I now thought of as a giant teddy bear – someone to make you feel safe when you were afraid, someone to comfort you when you were sad, and someone to listen to you when you needed to talk…someone like a big brother. I knew the part of Emmett that frightened people was more than just show, but deep down there was a softer side. A side that he allowed the people he cared about to see.
As I entered my room I was surprised once again, only this time it was because the room was empty. I shut the door and looked around. "Emmett?" I whispered.
The door to my closet quietly opened. This time I was the one trying hard to stifle my laughter. Emmett was wedged uncomfortably inside my thimble-sized closet. I was surprised he had even managed to get the door closed. The look on his face was hard to read – an odd mixture of annoyance and triumph. "What are you doing?" I snickered.
"I needed to know if it was an option," he explained as he unfolded himself from the closet. "So, I guess it's the window next time."
"Um, Emmett?" I tried unsuccessfully to keep a straight face. "I don't think that color suits you." I nearly choked on my laughter as I pointed to his chest.
He looked down to find a lilac top with a scoop neck clinging to the front of his shirt. "Hmph," he grunted as he tossed it to me.
I returned the top to the closet and then went to sit on my bed. Emmett stood looking around the room. My bedroom had never appeared so tiny. Emmett seemed to fill the small space.
"So," he finally asked, "what do we do now?" It occurred to me that Emmett wasn't exactly sure what his role was here in my room. He understood protection, but my normal bedtime routine was out of his realm of expertise.
"Why don't you sit," I said, patting the bed beside me, "and we can talk for a while. At least until I get sleepy."
He stood, considering for a moment before coming over to sit with his back against the wall and his feet dangling over the edge of the bed.
"So how about I regale you with more stories of my adventures?"
"Sounds great," I said smiling. His stories were always entertaining.
We talked about everything from funny stories about various members of the Cullen family to our childhood memories. When he talked about his human family, I was intrigued. It was rare for any of the Cullens to talk about their human lives. I sat engrossed as he talked about his brothers and sisters, his parents, and his nieces and nephews. One thing was very evident – his family was important to him.
We had been talking for a while when Emmett froze. I sat as still as possible, listening. I heard the TV go silent and then footsteps. Charlie must be coming upstairs. Suddenly, Emmett was gone. The only indication I had as to where he went was the brief blast of damp night air. I reached over and picked up one of the books on my nightstand – I didn't know which one – while sliding under the covers. I had just gotten settled, making sure the book was turned correctly, when Charlie opened my door.
I looked up from my book and smiled innocently. "Hi Dad." I was getting better at these little charades.
He returned my smile before scanning the room to be sure everything was as it should be. Satisfied, he nodded. "Night, Bells."
"Night." I waited until he had returned to his room and shut the door before slipping over to the window. Emmett was back inside just seconds after I opened it.
"Well?" he asked anxiously.
"He didn't suspect a thing," I replied.
"Good," he nodded. "While I was out there I did a check of the immediate area around the house and everything appears to be fine."
I shuddered as I remembered the reason he was here. He noticed and his face softened with concern. "Don't worry, Bella. You're safe. I would never let anything hurt you." He put his arm around my shoulders, pulling me into a reassuring hug.
"I know." My voice sounded weak, but I did feel safe with him here.
"Sit back down," he said, pulling me towards the bed. "Are you sleepy yet?"
"Not really," I replied honestly as we sat on the bed. I wasn't tired enough to try to sleep without the comfort of Edward beside me.
Emmett looked at me, considering what he was about to say. "Bella, can I ask you something?"
"Sure," I said, and then wondered if I had spoken too quickly.
"After we left…" He stopped, unsure of how to proceed. "What happened to you? How did you handle it?"
I looked at him wondering if I would be able to talk about this. I saw only concern in his deep golden eyes and I felt at ease. "I didn't handle it. I spiraled into the worst depression imaginable. I may have still been alive, but I was no longer living. Everything hurt, so I refused to feel. I honestly don't remember much of anything that happened between the day Edward told me goodbye and some time in January."
My voice broke slightly as I talked. I couldn't hide the sadness. This was difficult to talk about. I hadn't really discussed it with anyone except Edward and Alice. My words seemed to stir something in Emmett. The sorrow I saw in his face was almost painful.
"I'm so sorry Bella." I could see the sincerity in his eyes. "We didn't want to leave. Alice and I argued with Edward about it. We told him he was making the worst mistake of his life. But I couldn't talk him out of it." I heard the regret in his voice and wondered how the situation had impacted their relationship.
"I tried to remind him how much you meant, not just to him, but to all of us. We were thrilled that he had finally found someone that completed him. He had been so happy. You were the best thing for him and we could all see that. I even explained to him how much you meant to me. I enjoyed having you around. You're funny." He gave me a playful nudge. "The clumsiness, the blushing…it's all highly amusing."
"I'm so glad to be a source of entertainment for you," I quipped sarcastically.
He chuckled. "I had already begun to think of you as my sister. And I loved you as much as any other member of my family." I was mildly surprised by this admission, even though I felt the same way.
"In the end, Edward begged me to understand. He said if we really loved you we had to do everything possible to keep you safe. I couldn't argue with that." He searched my face. I could see he needed me to understand what he was saying. Did he think I blamed him? Or did he blame himself for not stopping Edward from leaving? I nodded, encouraging him to continue.
"I still didn't want to leave. I felt like I was abandoning a family member. But I went along with his decision because he needed my support. I could see how hard it was for him – how much it hurt him. Misguided as it might have been, I could understand his reasons. He only wanted you to be safe. I couldn't fault him for that." He paused and intense sadness flooded his beautiful features. "Then when he ran off on his own, I felt like I had lost my brother, too. I think everyone felt like we had lost two family members."
"Everyone?" I asked, not able to hide my skepticism.
I regretted saying anything as soon as I saw him grimace. "I know," he said sadly. "Not so much on Rosalie's part. Not then. But she does see your importance to our family now."
"I'm not so sure. She did vote no." I wanted to understand Rosalie, but I needed to be careful. I was talking to the man who loved her and I didn't want to hurt him with careless words.
"That wasn't because she didn't want you in the family. She has a hard time dealing with the issues of being a vampire. She wishes she was still human. She didn't want you to regret the decision. Believe it or not, she voted no because she cares."
I raised an eyebrow. I wasn't sure I believed him.
"Really. She loves Edward and she knows now just how important you are to him. Give her a chance Bella. She's coming around."
I nodded. I was willing to try. I knew it would make him happy if Rosalie and I could get along.
I yawned and looked at the clock on my nightstand—2:20. I was surprised it was so late.
Emmett noticed the hour as well. "You better get some sleep Bella. Edward is going to kill me for keeping you up all night. He won't be happy if you can't stay awake when he gets home."
He moved from the bed to the rocking chair while I slid beneath the covers. "Thanks Emmett…for everything," I whispered.
He shrugged, "I take care of my family."
I smiled as I closed my eyes. I was delighted he considered me part of his family. The feeling was mutual.