Firstly, the only story I've read that comes close to how I picture this time is Blondie AKA Robin's fic, A Changing Heart. It fits so perfectly that moment when Edward realizes he now has two people in his life that he must live for to protect. His dearly beloved wife, and his newborn daughter. I admit I bawled like a baby while reading it. So, in essence, this chapter is dedicated to you, Blondie. Thank you for being one of the first few people who introduced me to wondrous and terrible addiction that is Twilight fanfiction.
I'd like to thank Books and ThexInvisiblexGirl especially on this one. They gave me much more insight than I could need and I heart them both. Such good authors themselves, too. Please go check them out..
Chapter 10 – Father
It had been nearly an hour since I last did compressions on Bella. She was so still. So frail. I had grabbed a blanket from the cupboard downstairs and lain it across her, covering her nude body. To see the places where I had ripped with my teeth. I had mutilated her body beyond any comprehension at that moment. I had destroyed her.
Or so I thought.
Her chest did not move and I couldn't detect anything. Then, as I placed my hands over her heart to compress the venom through once more, I heard it. Faintly, but hear it I did. The venom coursing through her veins, the blood congealing under my fingertips. I also heard soft cooing downstairs and something else—a growl building then receding? I couldn't tell. All that mattered was saving Bella. I could not, would not lose her. Not now. Not ever.
But what if she was dead? What if you're just moving your venom in a corpse now?
My mind worked in overdrive, all the precious moments of my life together with Bella. I remembered clearly that first time I saw her in the cafeteria. That deciding moment in biology. The near-accident, the meadow, meeting my family. A baseball game, the ensuing rush to keep her away from James and his coven.
Then there was the moment in the ballet studio when her eyes looked up at me and I knew there was nothing in this world that could ever keep me from loving her. No force on heaven or earth would keep me away.
But, it was as if Fate herself had a cruel sense of humor. Now, at the lowest of lows, that bitter harpy that had kept her keen eye on Bella for years let out a laugh and lunged to take her away from me one final time. I kept my hold on my precious wife with all my might. I just prayed, for once, that it would be enough. Enough to hold her.
"...there's nothing that could hold me to you."
How little my love knew then! How could she doubt my love for a second? I promised her I would spend the rest of my existence proving to her how much I loved her. I made this the happiest summer any engaged couple could ever want. I made sure that every preparation necessary was made to ensure that she would be the most joyful human in existence, until I changed her.
Now, listening to the soft coo, Rosalie playing with the baby downstairs, I could only imagine how much more I could take. I gained a daughter. How strange it was to say that, much less understand how, the beautiful bronze-haired baby was mine. But, my wife, as I knew her, was gone. She would be replaced by something cool, unnatural and just like me.
Would she forgive me for doing this to her? For condemning her soul to endless night?
Bella once told me she thought of me as her knight in shining armor. I laughed inwardly at the very thought that I could be someone that noble for her. But, lately, with everything that had happened during our wedding, the honeymoon... it seemed like a fairy-tale came true after all.
I guess Bella's fanciful ideas had rubbed off on me.
This past summer, before the wedding, Bella had confided in me about some those very ideas. She was never a fairy-tale kind of girl, but she had been thinking about it lately.
Soft sunlight hit my arms and chest, bouncing and reflecting. A breeze blew, with Bella's scent, that delicious ambrosia, hit me again that afternoon. It had heightened–I would swear i–this week. Like Fate decided that I wasn't in pain enough with not wanting to make her my wife in the most sacred of ways, but to also commit a reprehensible act upon her. Even still after... Italy... I had trouble every once in a while. I named them my 'flare-ups', liken a human with allergies.
She took in a breath and I waited for her to speak.
"Edward, do you remember anything about fairy-tales?"
I quirked an eyebrow and a smirk at her, leaning over and staring into her eyes, looking for a clue. Why in the name of God's green earth did she puzzle me so?
"Yes, I do. What about them?"
"Well," she fidgeted on the grass, nesting in the crook of my arm. "I remember a favorite of mine... Sleeping Beauty... and I used to apply it... to us"
Now she definitely had my attention. It was so absurd some of the things she came up with. I was a fairy-tale for her? What did that mean?
"What exactly do you mean, Ms. Swan? Are you accusing me of being Prince Charming?"
"Well, kinda... sorta... maybe," she spoke, softening with each word. She blushed pink, starting from her forehead, ending below her ears.
I pried gently. "What is it about the Grimm's fairy tale of Sleeping Beauty that enraptured you so?"
She thought for a minute. Then another minute. I hated when she did this. She was editing her answer.
Finally, she spoke again.
"Well, in the story," she began. "The princess was locked up in a high tower, a castle guarded by dragons and thorns."
"Not to mention a magic spell," I interrupted.
She smirked. "Yes, that, too. Well, she also waited on her True Love's first kiss to awaken her. I'd have bet she'd never kissed anyone, much less anything else. She was, unknowingly, waiting for the prince, even if she didn't know who he was yet.
And then she goes and touches the spindle, falling asleep, as predicted. She waits and waits until the prince comes and kisses her awake."
As I put two and two together, I realized where she was going with this.
"And you think I was the prince that awoke the princess, do you? Am I your Prince Charming, Bella?"
Again, a scarlet color flooded her face.
"Well... may... be..."
It was the craziest, most inapt description of myself I had ever heard. She thought we lived in a world of fairy-tales? That I was some handsome prince, coming to sweep her off her feet? That I was this great thing, this True Love, that came for her? Rescuing her?
I tried to stifle a laugh. Closing my eyes, I rolled back and really began shaking. I felt a slight tap on my arm, realizing Bella had tried to punch my arm.
I glanced at her sideways, through the quivering blades of grass. She looked slightly perturbed at me. Like I had just told her I ate her pet or something.
Quickly, I sat up, gathered her in my arms. I brushed her hair away from her neck and settled my chin against her collarbone. I felt heat coming off her skin, from both being angry and embarrassed over telling me about her ideal, I assumed.
"Bella, I'm sorry I laughed at you. It's just absurd to think of me as someone like that, someone attached to a fairy-tale."
"But it's not," she said softly, playing idly with my fingers splayed in her lap. "You mean more to me than some silly fairy-tale, but I can't help see the allusions.
And even if it sounds cheesy, I love you. You are my prince charming."
As crazy as it sounded, it was so lovely that she thought of me like that. Like someone who rescues damsels and destroys fiery dragons. Make-believe had its benefits.
I would have never told Bella about some of the more sinister tales of Sleeping Beauty. The raping of the young woman while she slept, her terrible mother, the wicked witch that haunted her. Walt Disney created a much tamer tale and gave young women, women like my Bella, a chance to dream. Innocent, pure dreams. And that was something I never wanted to take from her. So now, I would wait for my Sleeping Beauty, my Aurora, to return to me.
A coo downstairs, soft as a mockingbird, reached my ears. I knew whose voice it was. But I didn't know if I could deal with it just right now. Not with my wife, her mother, laying here in near-death.
But footsteps rang in my ears. I pulled the blanket over Bella higher. Even in her unconscious state, I was sure she would be mortified to know that half of my family saw her in a state of undress. Of all things while giving birth...
Edward? Might I come in? called a calm, controlled voice in my head. Carlisle.
I watched the golden-haired man, my father for all intents and purposes, step in the room.
How is she? He asked, reaching out and lightly grasping Bella's wrist, checking her pulse. "Still no change?"
I shook my head. "None." Not since she slipped into her comatose state. Not since I killed her.
Evidently, Carlisle could see the distress in my face. Plain as day. He leaned into Bella, sniffing her wrist lightly.
"There's no scent of the morphine left."
I nodded. "I know." Better than you could realize, Carlisle. It was excruciating, watching her lie there, so still. I had no idea if she was dying, if she was in terrible pain. I didn't know. That was the hardest part: not knowing. Not being in control. It was terrifying.
I reached out for Bella's hand, grasping it in my cold one. She felt slightly cooler than her normal temperature. Bodies cool when death sets in.
"Bella, love, can you hear me?" I waited a beat.
"Bella, sweetheart, do you hear me? Squeeze my hand if you can hear me."
"Maybe... Maybe, Carlisle, I was too late," my voice broke on the word late. Was I too late? Was she dead, gone from me forever? Left to care for our daughter? My mind began spinning, plans running amok in my head. I could leave Renesmee with Rose. She would care for her. I would run back to Italy, go make another coven mad, anything. If she was gone, the meaning of my existence, I would no longer stay here. There was no reason to. My daughter wouldn't remember my existence in time. Rosalie always wanted to be a mother...
"Listen to her heart, Edward," came Carlisle's gentle and loving admonishment. "It's stronger than even Emmett's was. I've never heard anything so vital."
I sighed. He knew what to say to bring me out of my dark imaginings. He loved her, I could tell, just like a daughter. And add becoming a grandfather to that list? It's the happiest I had seen Carlisle in a long time. Since I had decided that I would propose back in the summer between her junior and senior year. All summer I had plans to marry her. To ask her at her high school graduation to become my wife.
Amazing how plans can change so quickly. And yet, sometimes be even more perfect, or insane, than you had ever imagined.
But her back, her spine... I said so as much to Carlisle. He reassured me that Esme's spine healed just fine, as would Bella's. She would be up and walking in a mere few days time.
"But she's so still! I must have done something wrong."
Carlisle placed his hands on my shoulders, looking me square in the eye.
"Or something right, Edward. Son, you did everything I could have and more. I'm not sure I would have had the persistence, the faith it took to save her. Stop berating yourself. Bella is going to be fine."
I still wasn't so sure. She could be in agony, in such pain. I hated her doing this. Doing any of this for me. I wasn't worth it at all. Not in the slightest.
Despite Carlisle's continuing praise of the good deed I'd done for my wife, I would never forgive myself if she was less-than-perfect if she came back to me. If she was damaged in the slightest... if she didn't come back. Sorrow threatened to overtake me, leave me wallowing in its wake.
I touched the spot where I last bit her. There was a faint scar there, cool compared to the rest of her body. It was the physical reminder of my both my offense and my possible salvation. "Bella, I'm so sorry. Bella, I love you." Whispered words from a nearly-broken man. One who had seen too many things that could not be erased, bleached from his memory.
Moments passed. I never heard Carlisle's feet leave the room, so he must have stayed.
What about the situation downstairs? You can't ignore it, as strange as it is.
Yes, of course. Of all things for that damn mutt to do, he imprints—imprints!—on my daughter. Rose was feeding the baby downstairs. But what to do with the dog? Could I throw him out? Forbid him to cross the threshold of my home, as Charlie had done on occasion?
What would that do to Renesmee? I'd seen how the imprinting process worked. With Quil, another of Sam's pack, and Claire, it was nothing but a big brother and little sister. But the child would grow older, and her feelings would change. Whether she loved him or not, he would always be there for her.
Like a dog and its master, Jacob can't seem to tear away from Renesmee. Not even if he tried, a voice said. I smiled slightly Carlisle knew exactly what to say. Almost as if he was reading my mind.
"Yes, just like that. I can't imagine him hurting her, but that doesn't mean I don't have to like it." It was hard to imagine the beautiful baby girl I had held in my arms, so hot to my touch, would be thrilled to be with the same mongrel that nearly ravished her mother a few months prior. That would be a interesting conversation to have. One I wouldn't enjoy in the slightest.
"I'll deal with it later. We'll deal with it later," I said, in reply to what to do, kissing Bella's palm as I said it. Bella and I would cross that bridge when we came to it. Just as we had everything else in our lives. But this time, we would be equal. Have equal say and footing in the situation. Not just me alone.
A few more parting words over the tremulous relationship started by the dog downstairs, Carlisle left me, to keep silent vigil over my wife.
Alice came in next. Just the little imp I wanted to see.
She danced into the room, holding a icy-blue silk party dress with stilettos that matched. Of all things, she worries what Bella would wear? And the most ridiculous attire, too. I said as much to my sister.
"Wouldn't a pair of slacks and a sweater be fine for this? Bella will need to hunt as soon as she wakes."
Alice flashed her golden eyes at me, as if I were committing some unpardonable sin.
"Of course not! My new sister needs to look her best," she began, her tirade only beginning. "And I will not have her looking shabby when she wakes up! You nearly gave me hell for not showing Bella herself at the wedding beforehand."
"Gave you hell? Alice, really, would I trouble you over something as trivial as that?" Possibly, I might have. Just a little.
Of course you would. And you did, if you remember exactly. Does 'Bella never sees herself clearly. You should have showed her in her dress before we married!" ring a bell, dear brother?
OK, well I might have gave Alice a little trouble over that. Not much. It was a minor thing, really. I gave her a half-smile and she sighed dramatically, shrugging her shoulders. Then that devious smirk appeared on her face. She reached up and placed a kiss on my cheek.
"You know, she's going to be absolutely stunning when she wakes up."
What? I did a double-take. Alice stood there, smug and grinning like a Cheshire cat. "Yes, Edward, she'll be fine. I can see her so clearly now."
If I could have wept, I would have. I hugged my sister and she just chuckled.
"I'm am so glad one of us can see the possibilities in the family," I said, releasing her. She danced around the room and looked at Bella's face, her hand going to her cheek.
"I can't wait to see my best friend again," she muttered, and caressed her cheek. Dancing back around the table, she looked me sternly in the eye. "And I am dressing her, too. No 'ifs', 'ands' or 'buts', Mister."
"Alice, please, give me a time frame, if you don't mind."
She sighed, but closed her eyes. A moment later, she smiled, eyelids opening to reveal the time. Just this afternoon. Around 3 o'clock, I believe. I can't really make out the exact time.
"Thank you, Alice." I knew my gratitude was etched on my face, but I grabbed her hand and squeezed it firmly.
You're welcome, Brother. And with that, she skipped out of the room and into what appeared to be another bedroom, with a crib, a dresser and an assortment of toys. A nursery.
I would have grumbled over the extravagance already, but I was too excited to hear that Bella would live. The first bright day since I heard the baby speak through the womb. It was amazing, to me, really.
I turned back to Bella, grasping her hand in mine. I felt it become even cooler now. Just a slighter difference in temperature. She was changing. So quite and so still, but transforming. My Bella.
A soft knock echoed in the room. Mind if I come in? There is someone who wants to see you. Esme smiled, her grin stretching from ear to ear. And in her arms was a soft pink bundle, squirming and twisting. A light coo, the same one I heard downstairs. The bundle had a reddish-brown top, soft miniature pin curls crowning the sweet smell of jasmine and soft plush velvet. It was my daughter.
She missed you Edward.
"Really?" I said, surprised. She had Rose and Jacob downstairs with her to play with. Obviously less morose choices for a child.
"Yes. She asked Rose where the man with the red hair was. She was looking for her father," Esme grinned deeper, unwrapping the bundle to show Renesmee's face. I gasped.
I had failed to notice when I snatched Renesmee away that her eyes must have changed. A newborn's eyes are blue, and change gradually over time. Now, they were colored to match a pair of eyes I never thought I would see again. Deep, melting pools of chocolate brown. Her mother's eyes. I chuckled and leaned in. Esme held her arms out.
She wants you to hold her, Edward. She wants you, Daddy.
Daddy? I never thought those words would ever be a part of my existence. But here, cruel Fate decided enough was enough. She had been kind enough to give me part of Bella back. In making amends for all the hardship over the past two years, I now could hold a little part of Bella, human Bella, in my arms.
"Take her. She's been asking for you for a few hours now," she said, carefully handing her to me, such as a mother would a newborn. Cradle the head, give support to their necks and posteriors. They were fragile creatures. The most fragile of humans.
But my Renesmee, that beautiful angel of a baby she was, was much more sturdy. Her weight was imperceptibly heavier than a normal newborn. Her breathing was faster, but seemed normal. For her anyway. Her eyes widened and she smiled, showing pearly white teeth.
"She also has a gift, Edward."
I had forgotten Esme was still there. I was too wrapped up in Renesmee.
"She does?" I inquired, lightly taking the baby's hand, tiny fingers curling around my index finger. All three of hers fit around my finger. I could hold her head in my palm and it would look huge compared to how small she was.
"Yes. She can show us things."
I stared at my mother. "Show us things? I asked, a bit nonplussed.
She just smiled lightly. Again. I doubted if that smile had left her face since Renesmee was born. She and Carlisle had come in just after I had found Jacob holding my daughter. I broke into a crouch, growling at him when Rose jumped in front of me, blocking Renesmee and Jacob.
Surprised didn't cover it.
Rosalie explained what had happened. Esme and Carlisle, perplexed, stood in the doorway. A moment later, Esme was cooing over the baby, with Rosalie and Jacob. I headed upstairs with my father, fuming all the way. I'd flog my sister and the dog later for that.
"I'll let her show you what I mean," Esme said. She stepped away. Folding her hands in front of her. "I'll just leave you two alone. For father and daughter time." Get to know you daughter. She reminds me a lot of you and Bella both. Your best traits.
With that, my mother, a grandmother, left the room.
I stood there, staring into those brown eyes I knew all to well. For a moment, I hesitated. I never was around babies, much less young children before. I never had worked in the pediatric wing of the hospital during the internship I took at Johns Hopkins in 1961. Never was around children for fear of scaring them or otherwise, disposing of them in a fit of hunger. I was afraid, frankly, I would hurt them. And it would hurt worse to know that I had hurt a child than to have one of my arms torn off.
But now, with Renesmee staring into my eyes, a flicker of recognition crossed her face. She reached her tiny hand up and placed it on my cheek.
Images flooded from all corners of my mind. I gasped and wrenched away, only to see my baby's face crumble. She was upset.
"Oh, dear little one. It's OK. I am sorry I disturbed you." She seemed placated and reached her hand up again, as if to ask May I? I nodded. This time, I was ready for the pictures. The visuals of seeing her mother, bleeding on the table, her deathbed. Seeing Rosalie, Alice and Jasper. Of the first time seeing Jacob, when she seemed very happy. A scowling, teenage wolf changed into a heart-warming smile, beatific and glorious to her. Troublesome to me. At least I knew of my daughter's feelings for the moment.
Renesmee showed me the past 24 hours of what had happened in her tiny life. She showed me glorious colors, which reminded me of Isle Esme. Perhaps when Bella was having her dreams... that was really our baby? How strong was our child?
A moment later, Renesmee sighed. As only a human-vampire hybrid could. It was soft and gentle, but not like a child. Her awareness was too good for that. It was both startling and amazing to witness her capacity to simply be. The knowledge she had gained thus far. Visual after visual of the stories Carlisle had regaled to her. Of Esme showing off her finest silver serving set that Carlisle had purchased for her in June for the wedding. Emmett making silly faces, causing her to smile and grin. Rosalie feeding her and Jacob holding her, playing with her.
The last visual was of a man I hardly knew. Gaunt, weary and disheveled. Reddish-brown hair sticking up every which way. Ruby-tinged amber eyes. She was seeing me.
She removed her hand from my face and I pulled her close. Smelling her lovely floral, yet fruity scent. Just a touch of something else. Vanilla maybe? Delicious and refreshing at the same time. I hummed, notes and melodies swirling in my head. Louder for her, my daughter, to hear.
I hummed a soft lullaby, much like Bella's. Renesmee's eyes lit up. Those molten pools of cocoa giving me warmth and love. I smiled, feeling my face crinkle for the first time. The first real time, in hours. It seemed like years. I nuzzled my face, as natural as it could be, against her body. Her scent was strong and sweet.
How could I imagine leaving this darling girl? How could anything bad, terrible or cruel happen in a world where this creature, this child, existed? It wasn't possible.
And for the second time in my life, I felt hope. Overwhelming, crashing over me like a tidal wave hope. Bella would awaken. She would be new and forever with me. Renesmee would be here with us. I felt so much love, I had to express it.
"I love you, my baby girl. My Renesmee."
The girl looked into my eyes and her little hand reached and patted my cheek.
I love you, too, Daddy.
My heart swelled, and I continued singing to her. Perhaps a new lullaby would be crafted for her? Maybe one filled with hope, love and the certainty of family. One I never really understood until now. I was more grateful for Carlisle and Esme than before.
Soon, according to Alice's calculations, Bella would wake up. And I would be more than excited to see her. I would tell her again how much I loved her, how much she meant to me, how impossibly grateful I was for her to be with me, again, and how she had given me the most precious gifts of all: herself and our child.
As I drifted the song to a close, watching Renesmee's eyes drift shut, I pondered how amazing things can turn around so quickly. Three days ago, I was condemning myself to her death, in which I would follow after. Now, I was waiting... waiting on my wife to wake up. My personal Sleeping Beauty.
So, that's it. That's the final chapter of Consummation. It's over and done with. I advise you to go check out a few other stories out there. Metamorphosis, Spiral Static and Left Behind are some of the best BD and BD AU stories out there. And, if you want to see Consummation go further, see Metamorphosis. That woman writes Daddyward so good that makes me cry. So sweet!
Thank you for reading this and going on this long journey with me. I appreciate the comments and suggestions and please leave a review. I'd like to know how this last chapter went.
Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and have a very happy New Year!
EDIT: Thank you to all who reminded me, gently, that it was QUIL, not Jared, that imprinted on Claire. That is now fixed.
Also: the scent I gave Renesmee is this 'Princess' perfume by Vera Wang. It's girly and I thought it fit:
http://www (dot) neimanmarcus (dot) com/store/catalog/prod (dot) jhtml?itemId=prod77950303&ecid=NMCIGoogleBaseFeed&ci_src=14110944&ci_sku=C0HHQ
The hospital that Edward claims he interned at is Johns Hopkins, and here is the children's wing:
http://www (dot) hopkinschildrens (dot) org/tpl_rlinks (dot) aspx?id=98