Fade Away

Jacob wiped his greasy hands on his dark denim jeans. His eyes instantly going to the door as he smelt her.

He couldn't describe her scent. It was wholly unique to her, she smelled like the morning, like grass and lilacs and... Renesmee. She had probably only just crossed the border, but he was that attuned to her...

He pulled on his black t-shirt that was sitting on the table. Covered in grease, but covering his naked torso.

He wondered if Bella and Edward had realized her absence yet. It was ten o'clock, but the darkness mattered very little to the Cullens. They would have all been in the big house, having left Renesmee to her room in the cottage. Alice wouldn't have predicted her departure, it caused Jacob a small jolt of joy as he thought that Renesmee was a blind-spot, like him, when it came to Alice's predictions.

But they would realize she was gone. Bella still had the odd tendency to check up on her daughter while she slept. He supposed it was because, while Renesmee looked to be about sixteen, she was still only eight years old in Edward and Bella's minds. Judging from Nahuel's experience, she should have matured two years earlier, but Carlisle said that it might have been six and a half years for Nahuel but eight for Renesmee. Something about males growing more rapidly than females?

They would realize her escape soon enough, and they would guess soon enough where she had escaped to.

He also had a fair idea of who they would blame for her sneaking out at night.

Never mind that it would give Edward and Bella a mild theoretical heart-attack. It would have all of the Cullen family jumping down Jacob's throat...

"She is still too young" Bella warned months earlier.

"I'm not disagreeing with you" Jacob bit out.

Edward had snarled at him and it took Jacob a moment to compose himself.

"She isn't a child... she is technically sixteen..." Carlisle had interjected.

Edward and Bella both threw him a warning glance and he sat down silently.

"She's not ready" Edward warned.

"I know that!" Jacob spat, "what do you think I am?"

The second he'd said it, Jacob winced. Who was he kidding? Edward could read his mind. He knew that Jacob had been noticing Renesmee's new maturity. The swell of her hips, her lithe frame, the way she came up to his chin now, her tufts of copper curls, those blue cashmere sweaters that showed off her...

Edward let out another low hiss. Bella, not knowing for certain what Edward was hearing but getting the gist, let rip with a matching growl.

"We know it's difficult for you..." Edward forced the words out through his clenched teeth, "... but try to see things from our perspective"

This was difficult. Not even Quil understood, and they were effectively in the same boat with Renesmee and Claire. But the problem was that after eight years Claire looked like an eight year old and Quil was still secure in his role of big brother. For Jacob it was different... so different. He had loved Renesmee and protected her as a child. But whereas Quil had set himself a rough goal of Claire's high school graduation, Renesmee's acceleration had totally decimated any sort of time-frame Jacob had calculated with regards to the shift from protector and big brother to... more.

Edward had been right when he'd said once that Jacob was in no hurry to have Renesmee grow up and be... more. He was just happy to have her at all. But at the time, when she was only a year old, he hadn't realized how her growth spurt would trigger certain feelings sooner than was comfortable for her parents. One of whom was a mind-reader. Great.

Quil was no help when it came to Renesmee.

"If it was me?" he'd mused.

"If it was you" Jacob had encouraged the hypothetical.

Quil understood imprinting all too well, having been one of the first. He understood his role as Claire's big brother perfectly and took pride and certain amount of glee in it. But he also understood Jacob's dilemma. He could feel it. They all could. His pack. They all sympathized, but occasionally he recognized a twinge of... distaste?

Quil gave a small shiver. "I don't know" he said finally.

Jacob huffed.

"Maybe you should do as Bella and Edward ask?" Quil offered instead. It was better than 'I don't know', at least.

"Keep your distance from her" Edward had said, not aggressively, but Jasper and Emmett had stood behind him and that spoke volumes. "For now" he amended when Jacob's face fell.

Jacob thought back to that conversation of two months ago.

"She still comes to see you" Quil couldn't read his mind right now, being in human form, but Jacob guessed it was all over his face.

"And I still patrol their house" Jacob amended.

They knew he did. That didn't mean they liked it... but Edward at least had some idea of the pull Renesmee had for him, and allowed it... begrudgingly.

But Renesmee sneaking out to come and see Jacob in the middle of the night? That, he was sure, Edward wouldn't be able to reason with Jake about...

"You shouldn't be here" he murmured. "You're parents..." he started, sensing her presence leaning against the door frame of his garage.

"Since when did you listen to my parents?"

She smirked and an image flitted into Jacob's mind. Her lips on his, pulling him toward her, down into the softness of her...

"Ness..." he murmured, shaking his head.

She just kept on smiling. "Impure thoughts?" she murmured, without looking up.

"Not exactly my thoughts" he grumbled back, feeling his temperature rise as the Renesmee in his mind slowly tugged...

"A technicailty" she whispered.

"Ness!" he growled, and his mind emptied. He was left with his own thoughts, and the bitter after-taste of longing.

She turned so that her back pressed against the wall, her feet out in front of her, she stared down at them, not wanting to meet his gaze. She knew that Jacob's patience with her was not infinite.

"Sorry" she mumbled.

He didn't say anything. It wasn't her this time, but the images lingered as his own sense of clarity washed over his thoughts. He knew the intricacies of Renesmee's gift as well as any of the Cullen's. She had grown up sharing it with them, her own way of communicating, expressing thoughts when words were insufficient. Memories made up the bulk of her images; acting as points of reference. You could see her dreams if you lay your head close enough to hers while she slept, they were vivid as she lived them in the moment, like watching a movie. Her memories and dreams appeared in your mind, clear and focused, high definition. It was very rare that she would share a constructed thought, a piece of her imagination. That seemed more private somehow, and she didn't share such thoughts so easily, if ever. Edward had been partly right, once. Where her mother could shield her mind from intrusion, Renesmee would happily surrender hers... but it was always under her control. The flip-side of her father's gift, Renesmee could plant her own images into a person's mind, when she did so she was baring her soul to them... but she was her mother's daughter in many ways. She could be gate-keeper to her powers.

But on the rare occasion she did; when she was anxious for someones safety and the worst case scenario's she'd dreamed up ran through your mind... well, you could separate those from the memories and dreams because they were hazy. Not based in any reality but her own imagination, there was a sort of buttery glow around them...like they appeared in sepia tones. Instead of a 'then' and 'now', it was more of a distinction between the 'real' and her 'imagined'.

Jacob knew that Renesmee rarely shared such thoughts with her family. He realized this when she was two years old, but looked closer to six. The night before her first day of primary school, as Jacob watched her drawing on the kitchen counter, some abstract crayon masterpiece that looked more like a work of Picasso than a child's refrigerator decoration, an image had flashed in his mind of Nessie at school, sitting all alone, watching as the other children gave her a wide berth on the playground... the image had cut him right down the middle. Her first day of school was tomorrow, and this image had been blurry (as though he was seeing it through tear-clouded eyes), the whole scene tinged with anxiety and fear.

His first instinct then had been to gather her up into his arms and tell her not to worry, soothe her by promising his presence... but then he'd stopped himself from saying the words. Some things he could not promise. Instead he had offered her reassurances, spoken in his strong voice, full of conviction that every child would be lining up to play with her, and if anyone gave her a hard time, they'd have him to answer to. That made her smile... and he felt his body ease with her relief.

As he'd left the white house that day, Edward walked him to the door and stopped short when Renesmee's anxious thought flitted through Jacob's mind again.

"I didn't realize" Edward whispered.

"First day jitters, no big deal" Jacob had reassured, though he wasn't entirely convinced himself, and thinking of the image again gave him the strong impulse to dart back into the house and gather her up in his arms once again.

"Of course she'll fit in fine" Edward mused. He looked up into Jacob's eyes, "she didn't tell any of us she was so nervous" he murmured. "Or show us" he added after a beat.

Jacob nodded, understanding suddenly. She had confided in him... only him.

"So it would seem" Edward muttered. He never had completely 'warmed' to his future son-in-law.

"I didn't realize she had..." Edward broke off for a moment, hesitating, and then shaking his head slightly before continuing "... lingered on such anxieties".

Jacob nodded for a moment, pretending to understand while his mind raced to make sense of Edward's heavy words.

As usual, Edward dumbed it down for him. "She dreams, as we've had the pleasure of seeing..." he smiled momentarily, but was then dragged back to the present situation, "... I didn't realize her waking imagination could construct such nightmares" he whispered.

In that instant Jacob realized that in two years Renesmee's accelerated emotional intellect had very carefully kept images of her own creation; colored by anxiety, fear, desperation; from her family, so as not to hurt them. But she had confided in Jacob. She had shown him in that moment the thing she feared more than anything in the world. She had trusted him to give her reassurance, not out-right. worry.

At the time, five years ago, standing in the doorway of the Cullen household with her father, Jacob let himself smile a small triumphant grin as he realized there were certain things Nessie would all too willingly trust him with, above all others...

But as she grew, matured, he had on many more occasions cursed her willingness to show him her imagination.

This time being one of them.

The image of Renesmee in his mind, her back arched willingly under his hands...

He had to shake his head again.

Gone were the days when her imagination was distinctly childlike... showing him sepia-blurred images of herself standing before a classroom of her peers, afraid of their mocking laughs as she read a story aloud. Or the anticipatory images of her running alongside Zafrina in a green jungle she desperately wanted to visit.

As she matured, physically in the span of seven years to more closely resemble an eighteen year old, her mind matured also... and with it, those innocent imaginings became distinctly more adult.

"Isn't it time you were getting back home, kiddo?" he placed emphasis on the last word, as much to warn her that she had crossed a line he didn't appreciate, as to remind himself that she was technically still a child (if not physically so).

She let out a low breath and lightly ground her teeth together.

He thought she was getting ready to say something venomous. Or to spite him by amping up the adult content of her shared thoughts... instead she unlocked her jaw and let out a calm breath.

"Yes, I suppose so" she said evenly. Accepting.

He turned away from the car he was pretending to fix to look at her. She was standing straight now, still at the entrance to the garage, looking at him intently. Her chocolate eyes locked onto his...

"Will you be coming over tomorrow?" she asked, still with an odd calm to her lilting voice.

He received a flash image of her and him together, alone. So Edward and Bella still hadn't been more articulate in their reason for her not being allowed to be alone with Jacob. He guessed that going into great detail about imprinting and the difficulties her accelerated age posed for him was to point out the elephant in the room... then again, maybe Edward and Bells were worried that once Renesmee understood their worries, she would clarify them by revealing her own altered feelings about her once big-brother best-friend, Jacob.

"Hunting?" he asked.

"No" she replied quickly.

"I don't think..." he would circle the cottage as he did every night. He couldn't physically stand to be separated from her for more than twenty-four hours, the Cullens knew this. So did she. Every night for the last three months he would transform and make his rounds of the Cullen property, needing to breathe in her scent... not necessarily to see her, but to be near her, just near... it was never enough, but it was what he needed.

Lately she had taken to waiting for him while he circled. Asking him to shift back to human form. In the dark, Renesmee clad in some flimsy white night-dress, clearly enjoying breathing in his distinctly 'Jacob' scent of wood and smoke... that was when her imaginings sometimes involuntarily entered his mind. Her guard was down when she was tired, and sometimes she would happily let her shield slip to show him her happy constructs...

Lately, he had had to draw a few lines in the sand. He, and Edward, who had uncomfortably realized the complications between Jacob and Renesmee. Jacob had had to make it clear that he was not yet courting her... they could hunt together, hang out with her family present and watchful... he wouldn't feel comfortable spending tomorrow with the Cullen's though. Not when Renesmee's thoughts were so... vivid and single-minded of late.


Her cold voice cut through his thoughts and he blinked.

She was angry. She had a small crease between her eyes, her full lips were plumped and pouted. Her cheeks flaming with anger.


"Forget about it, Jacob"

"Don't go away angry" he pleaded.

"I'm not angry..." she whispered

"Oh, c'mon Ness..." he began

"...I'm just frustrated" she finished.

Now it was his turn to blush.

"Err..." he started

She rolled her eyes "not that kind of frustrated", she crossed her arms over her chest, "why don't you talk to me anymore?" she asked clearly, a little loudly even.

"Wh-what?" he stammered, allowing the odd feuding feelings of relief and disappointment to cloud his mind at hearing her clarification. So she wasn't frustrated in that way? Lucky her, he thought bitterly to himself – why should both of us suffer? was his second thought.

"I thought..." she started, and suddenly her sing-song voice faltered. Her blush increased as she tried to correct herself. "...About you and I..." she began again, cautiously, "...I always thought we were going..."

"Ness" his powerful Alpha voice came back to him, and she looked almost relieved to not have to finish the thought.

"Ness" he repeated, deliberately softening her name in his mouth. "You are eight years old"

Her blush, if it was at all possible, increased. It was hard crimson now, and covered her entire face.

"I. Am. Not. A. Child" she spat the words out.

"Yes, you are" he replied calmly. This was a topic he had thought about long and hard. He knew how his side of the debate would go, and he could guess her's.

"I am not eight years old"

"Well, technically..." Jacob began, cautiously.

In one fluid movement she twirled around, reaching across his work bench and picking up a crow-bar. One-handed she curled the object into a tight ball and piffed it at his head. He ducked, easily, but the ball embedded into the wooden wall.

"Very mature" he murmured, and then instantly cursed himself. Not the best remark to make at this moment...

Before he could apologize she was already a blur walking off into the night.

He thought for a moment that it would be best to let her go, cool off. Or be mad at him. Anything to avoid this conversation. But a much stronger forced pulled him out the door after her. She was acting angry, but he knew that really she was hurt...

He had strode after her and was a good fifty meters outside the door and into the cold dark night when he heard her low huff come from behind him.

She hadn't bounded into the night, she had side-stepped and waited outside the door, waiting to watch if he would chase after her?

"You are full of contradictions" she whispered, her face lifted to search his own.

He sighed, and stood awkwardly before her, letting the distance between them remain.

"Just tell me" she whispered low, and he thought he heard a catch in her voice. Was she about to cry?

"What?" he asked quickly.

"Tell me I'm not the one anymore"

"What!?" he had been slowly moving toward her when he'd realized her impending tears. Now, in two quick steps her head was tucked safely under his chin, her arms had come around his waist and her face was flat against his massive chest.

After a moment or two like this, though it felt longer to Jacob, since time in her presence seemed to bend differently... she pulled away to look up into his face.

Her arms were still securely, strongly, around his waist. He reluctantly but forcefully untangled them and took the smallest of steps back. This movement seemed to trigger a fresh bout of tears, but Renesmee composed herself so she could speak.

"Tell me"

"What are you talking about?" he didn't want to give anything away that would get him into trouble with the Cullens. Edward and Bella especially.

"I'm not your imprint anymore" the words were barely a whisper, but for their potency to Jacob, they were all but screamed at the top of her lungs.

He opened his mouth to talk, if he could remember how to form coherant sentences, but Renesmee beat him to it. Words tumbled from her mouth so quickly he couldn't even catch the general gist of her thought pattern.

She sighed and looked into his confused face. She didn't need to anymore, as she matured so did her powers, but she reached out and up, cupping Jacob's face in her hands. She hadn't needed to touch anyone since she was two years old to let them see her thoughts. But now she did, so that the power of them was not lost amidst the inadequacy of her failed words...

Images flashed in his mind. Many of them were memories, only from seven years ago, but Renesmee had been a baby then, physically at least... how could she remember these scenes with such clarity and focus?

Many images were of him reluctantly passing a young Renesmee back into her parents or Roslaie's arms, the face he pulled as she was lifted from his hands was that of physical pain.

Facing the Volturi, he had growled when all eyes were on her. Calculating, determined, blood-thirsty eyes...

All of the disdainful looks he had ever flashed at Nahuel, even Embry when they looked at Renesmee. Appraising her for entirely different reasons.

It seemed that a hundred indefinable little moments flashed in his mind. Her own personal treasure trove of proof that he loved her, would love her more... glances he hadn't realized she'd noticed, smiles, touches that had sent a physical jolt through his body... just the sense she got when they were together. Not necessarily something either of them was wholly aware of, but when either noticed Jasper's reaction...

With a great deal of strength he reached up and pulled her hands away from his face. The images ceased. The last glimpses he'd had was her collected memories of overheard conversations regarding imprinting. Bits and pieces gathered from a number of sources. Leah, Seth, Sam, Embry, Quil, Emily, Kim, Jared...

"Then you know that it doesn't just stop" he whispered

She gave a small nod. "Not for them" she replied

Images flashed in his mind, from hers. A memory she had of Kim and Jared, sitting side by side at a camp-fire he'd bought her to a coupe of years ago, Jared had kept sneaking side-ways glances at Kim, a smile tugging at the corners of his mouth with each glimpse. Another image, this time of Sam coming to wrap his arms around Emily as he returned home from a hunt with Jacob and Renesmee. Each memory was distinctly tainted with the whiff of female human smell, permeating from Kim and Emily. It was like the memories came with smell-o-vision.

"Oh" Jacob breathed when the images stopped flashing and the smell receded.

"Yes...'Oh'" Renesmee repeated glumly.

"Oh!" Jacob repeated. Realization flooded his mind the same way her images had.

He caught her chin with his fingers, lifting it so her eyes met his.

"You think I only wanted that half of you?" he asked softly. The human half. She thought his imprint wasn't as strong as the others in his pack because she was half of what their imprinteds were. Human.

"Maybe it's different for you..." she choked a little, "...for us"

He was about to say more, but she interrupted again.

"Maybe it fades as I get older, as I mature..."

He shook his head lightly, but she wasn't paying attention.

"... I wanted to keep you. So I kept showing you what I wanted..." he felt her blush as it hit his hand that was cupping her chin, "...and what I thought you would want..."

All those enticements. She had no idea how much he wanted... because she thought he was pulling away from her, for all the wrong reasons.


That shut her up. He never used her full name. Not unless he was angry with her. She had never heard him say it with such... affection. Like the word was a caramel in his mouth.

"How can I make you understand?" he whispered.

She opened her mouth, about to let more words spill out... but his mouth stopped hers. He'd let his hand fall from her chin, and wrap around her waist, steadying her. One strong, splayed hand pressed against her lower back. The kiss was gentle at first, his lips were so warm and soft. She felt his lips curve into a smile while still kissing her. What was so funny...? She hadn't realized. But the second his mouth closed onto hers she had started showing him. Random bits and pieces. A kaleidoscope of images and feelings. Fragments of her dreams; butterflies and bursts of light through forest trees, the feeling of falling and feeling your stomach remain somewhere above your head as you fell, sand between fingers and the small glow of relief that came with coming home... the image changed from the small stone cottage to something else... Jacob's face. Coming home. And then she was beyond thinking as his tongue sought hers and his lips left hers momentarily. They needed to breathe, but he couldn't let go... his lips brushed down her neck, kissing the throb of her pulse, sucking in air while sweeping across her skin. And then they were back. Searching, and that flash of Jacob's face and glow of coming home crashed in their minds again as their tongues met and lips moved...

With a strength he didn't know he had, he let his hand fall from her back, and slowly pulled away from her still eager lips.

"It doesn't fade..." he whispered breathlessly, swiping a loose curl from her still closed eyes.

She opened her eyes then, and it took all his will-power as he looked into her chocolate brown eyes to not bend back down and let his lips search for hers again...

A small smile tugged at her mouth. She let out one shaky breath.

"And I am not a child..." she whispered, her voice not in the least bit unsteady.

Before he could speak she was in his arms. Her legs wrapped around his torso, his arms reflexively steadying her by holding onto her hips as her lips crashed into his...

Lifehouse – 'Broken'

The Broken clock is a comfort

It helps me sleep tonight

Maybe it can stop tomorrow

From stealing all my time

And I am here still waiting

Though I still have my doubts

I am damaged at best

Like you've already figured out

I'm falling apart

I'm barely breathing

With a broken heart

That's still beating

In the pain

There is healing

In your name

I find meaning

So I'm holding on (I'm holdin on)(I'm holdin on)

I'm barely holding on to you

The broken locks were a warning

You got inside my head

I tried my best to be guarded

I'm an open book instead

And I still see your reflection

Inside of my eyes

That are looking for purpose

They're still looking for life

I'm falling apart

I'm barely breathing

With a broken heart

That's still beating

In the pain (In the pain)

Is there healing

In your name

I find meaning

So I'm holding on (I'm still holdin on)(I'm holdin on)

(I'm still holdin on) (I'm holdin on)

I'm barely holding on to you

I'm hanging on another day

Just to see what, you will throw my way

And I'm hanging on, to the words you say

You said that I will, will be okay

The broken light on the freeway

Left me here alone

I may have lost my way now

But I haven't forgotten my way home

I'm falling apart

I'm barely breathing

With a broken heart

That's still beating

In the pain (In the pain)

There is healing

In your name (In your name)

I find meaning

So I'm holding on (I'm still holdin')(I'm holdin' on)(I'm still holdin') (I'm holdin' on) (I'm still holdin')

Barely holding on to you (I'm still holdin on)

Barely holdin on to you