A/N: This story was a plot bunny inspired by Renesmee's glimpse of memory that she showed Bella, it's on pg 468 of Breaking Dawn.
"Or the song Edward had crooned for her that was so perfect Renesmee played it for me twice; I was surprised that I was in the background of that memory, perfectly motionless, but looking fairly battered still."
I helped Edward invent the song in my story Edwards Epiphany, thought it isn't necessary to read that first, I recommend it:)
I could hear Bella's heart transition from its forced labor into a steady rhythm as I continually compressed her chest under my hands. I stepped back, amazed and awed that her heart was now beating on its own. My hands were still covered in her blood from Renesmee's delivery, but I couldn't stop myself from reaching one hand down and caressing her pale cheek while I gripped her hand with my other. Her heart was sounding more and more steady, taunting me with its sound as my beautiful Bella lay frozen on the table.
"Why are you so still?" I whispered, hoping for an answer that would not come. Where were the screams? Where was the thrashing about in agony? Was this unnatural stillness a result of the morphine? Or was I simply too late? No. I cannot think those thoughts now; three days of those agonizing thoughts would stretch time unbearably, slow it to a pace unimaginable.
'Pretty baby…' Rosalie was cooing in her mind and out loud downstairs. She was enraptured by the beauty that is Renesmee…my daughter…our daughter, mine and Bella's. Bella who gave herself so completely, that she may have given too much. 'NO! I mustn't think such things!'
'She's so beautiful…and she's mine! I never imagined imprinting would feel this way…it's so much stronger than when another member of the pack feels it…'
No…NO! I couldn't believe it! That dog had just found himself attached to my baby girl! Our baby…Renesmee. I couldn't leave Bella's side…ah…Rosalie…I should have known.
"Get your filthy dog paws away from the baby!" Rosalie screamed downstairs. I smiled a mirthless smile…Rosalie could handle Jacob. I would have to work out what Jacob's imprinting meant for our family when Bella could be there too.
Bella's heart gave a steady tempo to focus my mind on. I had to start cleaning the room. Now that my head had cleared somewhat, the monster within me that I had so forcefully stamped down growled in agony at the scent that so thickly surrounded me. I turned to the boxes of supplies that we had gathered for Renesmee's delivery, and rummaged through them until I found a pair of scrubs…I could stay here with her if I changed into them.
Quickly, I discarded my bloody clothes and pulled the scrubs on. Alice would surely say something about the staggering lack of fashion in scrubs, but style was not on my mind right now. I pulled out a blanket to cover her with, some wash cloths, some bleach, and a large plastic bag; I wiped down everything I could and threw everything into the bag.
Next, I grabbed a wash cloth and filled a basin in the bathroom sink across the hall. Pained by even that distance between us, I ran back in to Bella's side and started to wipe her body clean. The incision in her skin had already healed and her stomach was smooth, though still bruised. Her hair was still messed from our rushed emergency delivery, and her face bore no expression of pain or relief to save me from my tormented waiting. Her temperature was already cooling as I again took her hand in mine; the hand that bore the reminder of James' attack was noticeably cooler than the rest of her. Interesting…
"Oh…" Rosalie's shocked utterance echoed through my mind and my ears…was there something wrong with Renesmee? Did Jacob do something? Already, I had tuned out the events taking place downstairs; I was so focused on my Bella. Renesmee and Jacob and Rosalie were far back in my mind.
Already I'm forgetting I'm a father and it's only been…wait…how long has it been? The passage of time was completely pushed from my conscious thoughts as I worked lovingly on cleaning up my wife. The mother of my child…I have a child…I'm a father…a daddy.
Never in my 105 years had I ever imagined applying that label to me. I had long since accepted the fact that I would be alone for eternity, an island among my happily married parents and siblings. Complete unto myself. Focus Edward… I told myself. I was getting lost in my own thoughts again.
'I should have guessed, with Edward's gift, that his child would have some kind of gift too.'Rosalie was lost in her thoughts; I couldn't pick one thread to focus on in her scattered and racing thoughts. Wait…I wasn't just seeing Rosalie's thoughts, even though the thoughts had the normal tone of Rosalie, I suddenly saw an image of my awed and amazed face as I held Renesmee for the first time after delivering her. Then, I saw a dark bottle filled with blood…Renesmee had just finished drinking, but Rosalie was thinking about it?
'…his child would have some kind of gift…' Rosalie had thought those words not five minutes before, but I had not put the clues together. Renesmee was projecting her thoughts into Rosalie's mind! I could see her now, from Rosalie's perspective, the baby snuggled in her arms, Renesmee's tiny hand pressed to Rosalie's cheek. She had to touch to project… how interesting. Suddenly, I was again seeing my own face, and with it, the feeling of love and…want?
'She wants you, Edward…' Rosalie's thoughts were directed at me now. I could hear the awed wonder behind her words, as well as her sadness. Rosalie had enjoyed her vicarious motherhood, but she understood and accepted that Renesmee knew who her parents were.
"Bring her up here," I said in a normal voice, knowing that she heard me. I allowed my eyes to refocus on Bella again; I realized that I was now lying next to her on the table, unconsciously placing myself as close to her as possible, my head next to hers, and my hand which still clasped hers resting over her steadily beating heart.
The steady tempo soothed my frayed nerves as I worried again that she was being too still. I pulled the blanket covering her higher, knowing that she would be embarrassed to be seen unclothed. I could hear Rosalie climbing the stairs now.
She had taken the time to clean and dress Renesmee in a tiny pink outfit, with a matching cap and blanket. Rosalie was humming Rock a Bye Baby; relishing every last moment of her borrowed motherhood. She paused at the door, letting me know with her thoughts that she was entering the room, rather than disturb the silence with knocking.
As she entered, I saw us through her eyes. Bella, lying on her back, still as death though her heart beat on; and me, curled around her on my side, and holding our hands to her heart. My face showed every anguished feeling that I had felt and tortured myself with since Bella's body had stilled and her heart started beating anew.
"Don't worry so much Edward. Her heart sounds strong. Each of us was pulled from near death; Bella will be no different. Now, get up, there's someone here who's been asking for her Daddy."
"I know," I whispered, touching my temple in explanation. If Rosalie could cry, her eyes would have been filled with happy tears. I stood from my position next to Bella, and pressed a kiss to her hand before gently placing it at her side. I turned to Rosalie, and the little pink bundle she cradled in her arms. All the air in my lungs left in a rush. I stepped closer to Rosalie, and gently took Renesmee from her.
"Amazing…" I whispered as I met my daughter's eyes, Bella's beautiful brown eyes, and she smiled a gentle smile, showing off her white teeth.
"It took a bit, but I finally convinced the dog that you would hold her again before he did. I don't know what his problem is, but he's suddenly obsessed. I had to throw him out; tell him to make sure the perimeter was safe. He just bolted out the door muttering 'make her safe' like a lunatic," Rosalie sounded disgusted.
Jacob didn't tell her; he must have sensed that he would not have survived the admission of imprinting on my daughter if he had told Rosalie himself at that moment. I pulled my eyes away from my examination of Renesmee's perfect hands and feet; I couldn't resist counting the tiny fingers and toes.
"Yes, they're all there, no extras," Rosalie teased me. I smiled at her, without looking up. I took off the tiny pink cap, and brushed my hand gently over the fuzzy bronze curls that Rosalie had washed clean since her birth.
"She has my hair," I whispered, amazed that some part of me was evident in her make-up.
"She has your face and hair, and Bella's eyes. I think she'll be petite like her mother too," Rosalie murmured. I could hear her new respect for Bella in her thoughts. She was at peace.
"Rose, thank you," I whispered, meeting her eyes for the first time.
"You're welcome. Thank you…for giving me vicarious motherhood. I think I'm ready," she said.
"Ready?" I questioned her. She was singing in her head again, blocking me from her thoughts until she phrased her words correctly.
"To love Emmett more than myself; I cannot be human, I know that. Renesmee has given me closure." Rosalie was genuine in her words. Though she was still tenacious Rosalie, I could sense in her thoughts that I was not the only one changed by Renesmee.
"I'm sure he'll be happy to hear that. He may even propose again," I teased her, and she poked my shoulder. We fell into the brother-sister roles that we had not acted since Bella had entered my world, and truthfully, had never truly acted so genuinely. This baby, this tiny girl that Bella and I had created together, had changed everything. She would have us all wrapped around each of her perfect fingers. I smiled at the thought. I turned back to the table on which Bella lay, and grabbed her hand again. I tilted my daughter in my arms, and said, "Renesmee, this is your mother. She loves you so very much, and I do too. I'm so very sorry for ever thinking you were not worth this. Bella…Mommy… will be just fine." I said it to reassure myself just as much as Renesmee. I barely noticed Rosalie slipping from the room. Renesmee reached a tiny hand to my face, stretching to touch me.
"Don't worry, sweetie, Daddy can hear you without your touch…Daddy is special just like you," I said, for once not thinking of myself as a freak among freaks. Renesmee couldn't be a freak; she was special, my baby girl. I was already wrapped around her fingers.
Suddenly, I saw an image in her mind, of a warm, dark and comfortable place. The womb…I could hear Bella's heartbeat rushing around in the memory, and something else… a melody… she was remembering the song I had played for her on the piano, just before our peace was shattered by the trauma of her birth. Renesmee's Song; I would have to tell Bella that I had given my newest composition a name. The memory started again, and I realized that she was asking to hear her song.
"Daddy won't leave Mommy just yet; how about I sing it to you? Pleasure and acceptance radiated from her, as she let me know that she was agreeing to my proposal. I started humming the sweet melody that had flowed from my fingers…how long ago now? It felt like another time altogether. I placed Renesmee against my chest, her head snuggled up under my chin as I walked with her, her eyes drifting over to Bella's still form a few times before the song and movement lulled her into a peaceful sleep. I sat down and took hold of Bella's hand once more.
A soft knock interrupted me, startling me from my solitude with my little family.
"Edward?" Esme peeked her head into the room, and I could hear the thoughts of my entire family bursting behind her.
"Come in, though keep quiet," I murmured. Esme and Carlisle came first, followed by Alice and Jasper. Rosalie held Emmett back in the hall, and I smiled at her thoughts. Emmett would be pleased.
"How are things going?" Esme asked, the joy at seeing me being so…fatherly…radiated off her face.
"Fine, I hope," I admitted.
'She sounds strong,' Carlisle thought towards me.
"Yes, though she is so still…" I couldn't help the tones of grief and agony that slipped into my voice. A wave of tranquility washed over me, and I looked over at Jasper. "Thank you," I said.
"She's starting to get much clearer to me. I've got the perfect dress for her, so I'll bring it in later," Alice said, barely holding in her enthusiasm. 'Don't worry so much,' she thought, for my benefit.
"I'm trying not to," I said. Again, I was calmed by Jasper.
"Can I hold her?" Esme's voice was level, but her thoughts were bursting with joy and motherly affection for me. I knew that I had often been regarded by the others as the favorite of Esme's adopted children; I was her first son, I was the healing balm on the heartache she had felt for her baby that she had lost. Carlisle looked over at me with the same joy that Esme felt plainly visible on his face.
"Good job, Edward; I couldn't have done better myself," he said, his pride evident in his every word.
"Here," I said, gesturing to Esme that she should take Renesmee from me. She rushed forward, her arms ready to cradle my sleeping daughter.
"Meet Renesmee, your granddaughter," I said to her and Carlisle. They were both awestruck as Esme took her gently into her arms, and Carlisle wrapped his arms around the both of them.
"Edward, thank you…" Carlisle was near impossible tears himself. Not once in our nearly 90 years together, had he ever thought this was possible. Emmett and Rosalie came in then; Emmett's thoughts were overwhelming. He rushed over to me, grabbing me in a huge hug, lifting me off the floor, and forcing me to release my near constant hold on Bella's hand.
'Edward, you have given me the best gift possible,' he thought. At my questioning look, he added, 'You've given me my wife, fully and completely, by letting her experience this.'
"You're welcome. Could you please put me down?" I said, though I used all the oxygen I had to get the words out, and he only squeezed me tighter as my chest deflated.
"Emmett, put Daddy Edward down. His eyes might pop out of his head if you squeeze any harder," Alice joked. Emmett put me down and ruffled my hair with one huge hand before I could push him off and take Bella's hand once more. I pressed my lips to her palm, smelling the changes to her scent that had already taken place. Alice danced over to Esme, looked down at my daughter still cradled in Esme's arms, and then met my mother's eyes in a pleading look. Esme sighed and bent down to press a gentle kiss to Renesmee's cheek before giving her up.
"Oh!" She pulled back, amazed. "I think I just saw her thoughts!" Esme looked directly at me and said, "She loves you so much, Edward; Bella too."
I nodded, unable to trust my voice to speak. I had seen the thoughts that Esme had seen, and they were centered on Bella and me.
"She can project her thoughts?" Carlisle asked, amazed.
"She has to touch you though, well, not Edward. But she used her gift to tell me she wanted Edward while I was holding her downstairs," Rosalie said.
"Remarkable!" Carlisle was awestruck. Another Cullen wrapped around her little fingers. Alice took her gently from Esme, and looked at each of her features in turn.
"She's perfect," Alice cooed, while swaying gently from side to side.
"She's a pretty even mix of Bella and I; she's got my hair and facial structure, and Bella's brown eyes, and all ten fingers and toes." I caught myself before I blurted out anything else embarrassingly boastful. I realized that I was swimming in my fatherly pride, and Jasper was grinning like a fool as he felt the waves coming off of me, and returned them, amplified.
"I counted them," I admitted sheepishly, before grinning like a fool myself, thanks to Jasper's influence. Carlisle, Emmett and Jasper all came forward and punched my shoulder, slapped my back and congratulated me on a job well done.
"Please. Don't congratulate me, save it for Bella. She deserves it, she's the one who did all the work and sacrifice. I very nearly killed her." My self-loathing hit me full force right then. I should not be congratulated for nearly killing my wife, and taking away her soul in order to selfishly keep her with me. I would not be truly free from my anxiety until my Bella woke from her stony slumber.
"Whoa, Edward, relax, she'll be fine. Stop torturing yourself," Jasper said. Everyone agreed.
'Edward, I want to see her… I need to see her…' Jacob's thoughts were brought to my attention when he thought my name from downstairs. His pack mind did give him great insight as to how my gift worked. I didn't need to ask who he wanted…needed…to see. His mind was consumed with thoughts of my daughter, my Renesmee.
"Jacob is back; he wants to see Renesmee…" I said to my family, though my eyes were still unfocused as I listened to Jacob's thoughts.
"He hasn't been drawn to Bella at all… It was Renesmee the whole time," I said, mostly to myself.
"What?" Everyone asked me at once.
"Jacob…he's imprinted…" my eyes focused on the room once again, "on Renesmee…" I said.
Everyone stood there before me, too stunned at my revelation to speak.
"That's why he wouldn't leave me alone downstairs…he only left when I gave him something to do that ensured her safety." Rosalie was shocked.
"Well, as much as I hate to admit it…he himself has guaranteed that the pack will not move against us. Their pack code forbids the killing of another wolf's imprint." I said it grudgingly with a pained voice. As much as I disliked the fact that he already felt he had a claim to my baby girl, I was now in his debt for insuring her safety, albeit unintentionally.
I understood the dynamic of imprinting and how it affected these Quileute boys…men…it was completely unintentional, beyond their control and my newborn baby girl, was Jacob's imprint. How ironic, that I should win my Bella away from him, only to have our daughter be his soul-mate. My only hope was that when Bella found out, she would be as aggravated as I found myself to be at the situation. Then again, my wife frequently surprised me.
"Go ahead and take her down; he won't be able to resist the pull for very much longer. She'll need to eat soon I'm sure; she's starting to dream about her last meal. I'm going to stay here with Bella, but feel free to bring Renesmee if she asks for me."
"Of course; everyone? Let's give them some peace," Carlisle directed everyone out of the room then, and thought to me, 'Congratulations…you do deserve it.' Then he closed the door behind him. I climbed back up next to Bella and started counting her heartbeat.
Its' steady thrum kept me from losing all composure and breaking down into sobs while I waited for my Bella to return to me.
"You can hold her while I get her bottle ready," Rosalie told Jacob downstairs; apparently he had told them about his imprinting after some encouragement.
"Wow…she's so tiny…she looks like Edward…with a little bit of Bella...wow, I didn't think she'd be so pretty," Jacob said, chagrined.
"What did you expect? Red skin and horns?" Jasper asked.
"No!" Jacob denied, while his thoughts said 'kinda.'
"Don't think I don't know what you're thinking Jacob Black!" I called, slightly louder than my normal speaking voice, though he heard me just the same.
'Crap' was his next thought, followed out loud by, "If Nessie and I get married in the future, once she's old enough, that would make Edward and Bella…my in-laws." I cringed at the realization even as I heard Emmett and Jasper start to snort while trying to reign in their laughter. I growled a low warning.
"Uh oh Jacob, don't upset Daddy Edward. If you think vampires are protective of their mates, think what he'll unleash on you if you hurt his little girl; who, he tells us, has all ten fingers and all ten toes." Emmett's last comment was directed more at me than Jacob, teasing me for my fatherly pride. No matter, nothing would pull me away from Bella at this moment. I would be here till she woke up.
"Nessie?" Carlisle asked Jacob.
"Yeah, well, her real name is a bit of a mouthful," Jacob explained defensively. "She looks like a Nessie to me," he continued. Rosalie grumbled in the kitchen, careful to keep her words low enough that the others couldn't hear her clearly. Between her mental verses of nursery songs, however, I heard Jacob can just get lost in a Scottish Loch fairly clearly in my mind.
"Hey, I think she's hungry… ow! She bit me! She's not venomous is she?" Jacob was near panic.
"Does it sting?" Jasper drawled cooly, as he was already aware of Jacob's answer.
"No," Jacob confirmed.
"I don't think you have anything to worry about then," Carlisle said reassuringly.
"Well, it's already healed. I guess that answers that question," agreed Jacob. "Ow! Rosalie! Get this girl some food!" Jacob yelled as Renesmee sampled his flavor once more. Rosalie growled a low warning, and I could hear her rumaging in the kitchen once more.
'Get him a mirror...then he'll know who looks like a monster...' Rose was still upset about Jacob's nickname for Renesmee.
"OW!" Jacob was completely conflicted; in pain from Renesmee's repeated bites, but happy that it made her happy. I allowed myself a small grin. 'That's my girl,' I whispered.
Rosalie was now arguing with Jacob over who would feed Renesmee. I could see that this would be an ongoing argument between the two of them whenever Nessie needed to be fed.
Did I just call her Nessie? That would not go over well when Bella woke up. I would have to watch myself. It was just too easy to slip, since the whole family had latched onto Jacob's nickname for her, and it was in all of their thoughts. Did Bella just twitch? I didn't feel anything else.
"Please, Bella. Please, be strong for me now," I begged her; she had once told me she couldn't refuse me when I said please. Perhaps it would work now.
Please, Bella, please.
A/N: You may ask, why is Rosalie so nice? I've read Breaking Dawn twice now, and I think that she really matured by helping Bella, even though her original motivations were selfish. I think she must have gotten some closure from Nessie. Plus, she comes across as much more personable in book three of Breaking Dawn, and she and Jacob seem to have a love-to-hate-you kind of relationship. That's my 2 cents anyways. Or knuts, or sickles, or pounds, or euros, or whatever currency your thoughts currently use:) Please review!