Credit for the idea of how to get Nessie to find out about this goes to my awesome friend…she knows who she is. :)
Sister or not, sometimes I wanted to kill Rosalie. Most of the time it was easy to bear, her self-centeredness. I expected it, how could I not? I had heard her mind for years; I knew better than anyone else the monumental amount of selfishness she carried. Still, sometimes it was simply too much, enough to drive me insane. "She's not going yet, Rosalie. That's the last thing I'm going to say about it."
She stalked closer to me, her eyes narrowing. "This is not just your decision, Edward. She's a part of this family, and she should be able to-"
"Absolutely out of the question!" My voice was rising now; I couldn't help it. This was absolutely ludicrous. "You will not mention a word of this to her, Rose, or so help me I'll-"
"Oh come on, Edward! It's not a big deal! I know she'd want to come." I could see the images in her mind, flipping like the pages of a photo album. Rose, Nessie and Alice getting ready for prom. Nessie on the cheerleading squad, attending football games. Nessie and Rose gossiping in the cafeteria, drawing the eyes of half the men in the room. While I could concede that Nessie would certainly enjoy high school, particularly now, while she was still young, I could see clearly that, as always, at the center of this request were Rose's own selfish desires. Through Nessie, she could in a sense 'do' things that we were incapable of.
I growled, exasperated. "What she wants isn't the point here, Rose. Nor is what you want, or what I want. This is about Renesmee's safety, and her safety only. Nothing else. She does appear to be perfect high school age; I grant you that. However, all our information indicates that she is not done growing yet, and if she were to age too rapidly publicly, it could draw unwanted attention to all of us, but particularly to her. Contrary to what you seem to think, I want her to come, too." It would be fun, certainly, having the majority of the family in school together. But it would have to wait until our next move, wait a few years more to be certain about her appearance.
She hissed, her face twisting into a sneer in her annoyance. "Yes, and that means a lot, Edward, considering you didn't even want her to begin with."
For a moment I was shocked into silence, a sharp pain shooting through my chest as if in the aftermath of a blow. I would never have expected even her to go that low. I recovered, slower than I would have liked but I was snarling then, hands almost shaking. "She's my daughter." There was nothing else I could say. No other response would come. It said it all, really. She was my daughter, my little girl. I had wanted her from the moment I understood that fact, from the moment I heard her mind and realized that Bella and I had created life, not a monster. A child. Our child. The joy, the love that had overwhelmed me in that moment had been beyond my understanding, all encompassing. Carlisle had tried, before, to explain the love a father has for their children, but even feeling it in his mind I had never understood it. Not until that moment. For her to say now that I didn't want her…. Absolutely unfathomable. I would die for her.
"Whether she's your daughter or not, I wanted her first. And I want her there with me. I can look out for her, Edward."
"This isn't a question of looking out for her, you fool! We're all capable of that! This is a question of perception, of basic safety. It's as simple as not stepping out into the sun. She cannot go until she is old enough to no longer change." I snarled, beyond sick of her ridiculously petty thoughts, still furious about the uncalled for comment she had made. "That's final."
She made an exasperated noise close to a hiss, swung her hair around and over her shoulder as she wheeled around, storming from the room. I shook my head, still growling softly. The nerve of her, telling me how my daughter should be raised…
Edward. Jasper's mental voice cut through my own thoughts, the frantic edge to it overwhelming everything else. My head whipped up, eyes catching him as he darted through the door. "Edward…" His thoughts were jumbled, indecipherable.
I darted closer to him, curious. "Is everything alright? Are you-"
"I'm fine, it's…" His thoughts slipped, then, and I felt it, the thing that he had been hiding. The pain was intense, sharp, brutal. And it was from Nessie. He swallowed hard, shook his head frantically. "I didn't know she was just outside, not until…. Edward, I think she heard you and Rose. She had to have."
And if she had, then she had heard it all. Everything Rose had said, and that explained the pain, the excruciating… Oh, God… I felt weaker than I had in years, let my legs give out, my body sinking to the ground. She had heard her. My daughter, my baby, and she had heard that I hadn't wanted her.
Jasper's hand was on my shoulder in an instant, soothing me. I shoved him away before he got too far, startled by the soft hiss that escaped my chest. I couldn't help it; I didn't want to be soothed. I didn't deserve it. I had failed horribly as a father, it seemed. She should have never had reason to doubt my love for her, my absolute adoration. Not once. If only I had been able to listen to Bella sooner, if only I had known…if I hadn't been so terrified….
At the time, though, I had known nothing, and what was done was done. I had loved her from the moment I knew her, and anything else was blasphemy, so far removed from my feelings it was foreign. I had put that time out of my mind, out of all thought. It had been one of the two lowest points in my life, and though I could never forget it I had given it as little attention as possible. I could see, now, that I had been wrong. If she was ever to hear this, she should have heard it from me, when I could explain. Not like this. Never like this.
I groaned, rubbed the heels of my hands hard into my eyes. What did I do now? I had to talk to her, that much I knew, but what did I say? What could I say, to counter this? What would she listen to? Could she believe me, now? I found myself wishing desperately for Carlisle, for the advice and guidance only he could give. Of course, he wasn't home, was on a hunt with Emmett.
Bella. If only she were here, perhaps she would know what to do. Something, anything…but no, she was out with Alice and Esme. I had missed her desperately already but to have her absent for this latest colossal mistake of mine was devestaing. I needed her, needed her stabilizing presence.
"Edward…this isn't your fault."
I flinched at the sound Jasper's voice made breaking the quiet, cringed away from the comfort in his words. "Yes. it is."
"But I did it, Jasper. Rose only told the truth." My voice was a whisper, heavy, almost robotic. Beyond my control. "I did it. I really didn't want her, not…not at first."
"Edward. Stop it." His words were stern, but I could feel no emotional pressure behind them. He clapped a hand on my shoulder, rough and still comforting. "You didn't know. You love her, that's all that matters."
But was it? Was it really all? I had heard the thoughts, before, of children that had been 'accidents', children that at least occasionally still thought about that fact…and most of them were less than happy at the thought, even if everything was alright at home. What Renesmee had heard was even worse. How would she handle it? How would she see me, from now on? I barely contained a sob that threatened to be pushed from my chest, my very heart tightening in pain. Would I be the same to her? Would we be the same? We had always been close, our relationship as good as mine was with Carlisle. I squeezed my eyes shut tight, tried to force the thoughts from my head that I could not escape.
She might not want that, now. Perhaps never again. What did I do? Dear God, if I had known…
My hands shook and I ran them through my hair, forced them into an occupation. Whatever happened, this was my fault. My horrible, horrible mistake. I would have to face the consequences. But first, I had to find her.
I heard his thoughts first, probably because I wasn't wanting to listen for hers, afraid of just how much I had hurt her.
…teach that stupid bitch to keep her Goddamned thoughts to herself. Of course, this is…oh HELL no. Even from the distance I could hear him snarl, picture the way his body would curl around hers, protective. I had seen him do it before, when one of the new pack members had stared too long. As annoyed as it had made me the first time I had understood, even then…he was her mate. It was nothing I would not have done, had Bella been the one in her place. All I could have ever wanted for Nessie was for someone to love her that way, the way I had always loved her mother. Jacob…for all his faults, he came closer than anyone else ever could have.
A fact that saddened me now more than it ever had. She had him. She didn't need me. It was only her wanting me that kept me in her life, at this point. If…If she no longer wanted…. Well, she would not be without protection. The knowledge hurt surprisingly more than I had expected, and I had anticipated a great deal. I slowed, tried to give Jacob a moment to realize how desperately I needed to talk to her. I didn't have to ask him, of course, but I was feeling less worthy than him, at the moment. Silly, really, because he had felt the same way, in the beginning. Not that I would ever tell her that, no. Not ever. I would rather her hate me than to tell her that. It would have, perhaps, put us on equal footing, Jacob and I, but I would never hurt her that way. Not for anything.
Get the hell out of here, Edward. She doesn't want to see you. I've got her. I can take care of her, so why don't you just head on home, let me repair your damage, hm?
I resisted a snarl of my own, my instincts rising. Of course he had her. Of course he wanted to comfort her. He didn't need to tell me that. Ignoring his thoughts, I slipped into the clearing where they were, finally skimming over her mind, just before…
Her mind was carefully blank, images of white walls and brick walls and all sorts of inanimate objects. her eyes, however…. I winced, fought the urge to fall to my knees and beg her forgiveness, wipe the tears from her eyes. I had never been able to bear her tears, not for a moment. She could get me to do anything when she cried, a power even more potent because she had so rarely used it. Now…
"Renesmee." My voice broke, and I would have never tried to stop it. Let her hear how much I was hurting, how much I hated myself for hurting her. She should hear it all.
Jacob's arms tightened around her, pulling her head almost too hard against his shoulder. "I said I've got it."
I didn't look at him, didn't answer him. His anger was justified, but that didn't mean I wouldn't say something I would regret if I spoke to him. I spoke, instead, to her. "Please…please Nessie…can I talk to you? Please?"
She hesitated, and for one horrible moment I thought she was going to say no. Then she nodded slightly, pushing away from Jacob and bringing one hand up to wipe across her cheeks. "Sure. That's fine."
"She said we were going to talk." My voice was a growl, my eyes finally focused on him. God help him if he tried to stop me from talking to her now that she had agreed. I think he knew it, too, because I could feel the furious resignation in his thoughts, the vague threats that would apply if I hurt her again. He stalked off, snarling quietly at me for some distance. I took a deep breath, steeled my nerves before settling down on the dirt in front of her. "Nessie, I…" Where to begin? How could I ever start to explain? Certainly not looking at her. My heart was breaking, just seeing her red rimmed eyes, the sorrow in them… The truth. That was all that would do.
"Nessie, I would love to tell you that Rose was utterly wrong. That she was lying, that she was delusional…" I laughed softly, more hysterical than amused. "I would love to tell you anything that took the blame from me, but it would be very wrong."
I heard her breath catch, caught a hundred jumbled thoughts before there was only one, laced with pain, matched in her words. "You…don't want me?"
I could have sworn my heart cracked open. My head was spinning, replaying a slightly more painful moment years before when her mother had said these very same words. She had been equally mistaken. Now, however, I could say to my daughter what I should have said to my Bella. "You have no comprehension of how much I want you. It's…too much, so much that it is beyond all description I could give. The…the thought that I don't is utterly absurd. But in the beginning…" I took another deep breath, gathering my thoughts as quickly as I was able. "You need to understand, Nessie, even what Rose said wasn't exactly referring to you, sweetheart…it had more to do with my own fears, the conceptions I had always held of our kind."
She looked, at least, a little curious. Curious was good, it was better than outright, undiluted pain.
"To go back even farther than the time she was mentioning, before I married your mother, when she was still human…I wished desperately that it would be possible for us to have children of our own, to have a family together." I smiled slightly, remembering. I had wanted a shotgun wedding, if only because it would have meant that we were having a child together, our baby… I had never imagined it could ever be possible. "We had never heard of such a possibility, and I was certain there was no chance. I regretted it, desperately, but I decided it was something I could never have." I hesitated, unsure of how to continue. The next part was decidedly more difficult. We knew that with her perfect vampire recall, she had to remember something of her violent birth but we had never questioned her about it. Now…
"Renesmee, how much do you remember about when you were born?"
She swallowed, looked up at the sky as if the answer was somewhere tops of the cedars. "I remember that mom was very weak. And I remember…" I knew the next part. Me holding her. At the moment, I had still hurt her too much for her to say it though I could feel it in her thoughts, the pain in the memory.
"Humans…they can carry our children, but their bodies weren't made for it. They aren't strong enough, they're far too fragile. Every slight movement is magnified, the energy required tripled, the nourishment that the mother needs no longer compatible with her system because of her child…" I said it as quickly as I could, rushing through to get it all out. "Do you understand?"
"I was killing her." Her voice was hushed, horrified, and a sharp pain shot through my chest again. I was hurting her again, telling her something I wished she would have never had to realize.
But what else could I say? If I denied it, she would know I was lying. "…yes. Yes, you were. But you know what? She didn't care." I felt a jumble of confusion in her thoughts and I smiled, wished desperately once again that Bella had been here to help me tell this story. "She loved you so much, Nessie, that she was ready to die for you, so willing for it. But her hope was that it wouldn't be that way, that I would be able to change her, after you were born. And she was right. But I, on the other hand…" And here was the hardest part, admitting how I had felt. Feelings that had been to my eternal regret from the moment I had felt her, my daughter… "I was scared, Nessie. I was still young, in so many ways. I don't think I was ever truly far beyond my 17 years until you were born. True, I am in certain ways young still but I did age then…but in the beginning, I was terrified. I had never agreed with Carlisle, about our souls, had only ever believed that we were monsters…and I did not know if our kind was capable of creating true life….of giving birth to a child." I shook my head, my eyes falling closed. "I only feared you when I didn't know you were you. I saw only myself losing my mate, and gaining nothing, risking everything for nothing…until the moment I heard you for the first time. Do you remember?"
I couldn't open my eyes, could only hope she would answer. She used her thoughts only, letting me sift through her earliest memories. Bella's voice, and mine, but the words were jumbled, impossible to understand. I could feel the warmth in the memories, the absolute overwhelming love I had felt from the moment I had heard her mind. I sighed, a sound closer to a soft sob. "Yes. Just like that. I heard you, thinking, and at first I thought it couldn't be, it would be too great of a gift, after everything I had received in my life….could I really be anything less than a monster? Could our kind truly be excepted, enough that God would give us a child…" I was rambling, telling her everything I had thought, in that moment. If I told her all of it, maybe it would be enough. Maybe, just maybe, she could somehow understand. "I was in awe of you from the moment I understood. And from that moment, anything was worth it. I could accept that she was willing to die for you, because I was already willing to do the same, if I ever had the chance." My voice was breaking again, and I forced my eyes to open, my head to rise and meet her eyes. "I love you, Renesmee. From the moment I met you, always. I love you beyond understanding, beyond even reason. I could no sooner not want you than I could sight, or any other sense it would impossible to do without. You are the daughter I always wanted and feared I could never have…and you are more than I ever dreamed. In the beginning I just…I didn't understand." I took a chance, darted over to sit beside her on the fallen tree, taking Jacob's spot. "I beg you, please forgive me…please…"
"Daddy…" She had nothing else to say. She threw her arms around my neck, her face burying in my shoulder, her own shoulders shaking with tears. Swallowing back a fresh round of self hatred I held her tight, listening to her beautiful hummingbird heart.
"I'm sorry, sweetheart. I'm so sorry…"
She shifted, pressed her palm against my neck out of habit. I watched her thoughts, felt her forgiveness, her apology for doubting that I loved her. As if she had anything to apologize for, as if anyone but me was to blame. Rose, slightly…but I was truly to blame.
She laughed a little, suddenly, pulled back from me just enough to rub her hand across her eyes. Alice has told me I worry too much, and that I get that from both of you. Maybe I'm the worst of all.
I smiled, brushed a last stray tear away from her cheek with my thumb. "Trust me, when it comes to insecurity I'm afraid your mother has you beat. But don't ever, ever tell her that if you want me to stay in one piece."
We laughed together and it felt so good, so very right that my chest ached. What had filled this place in my heart before I had a daughter? My love for her was so great, so much that surely there had to have been an emptiness without her. I could not imagine her not being there, now. I ruffled her hair gently, playfully. "So. Ready to head back and watch me and Jacob fight?"
She rolled her eyes, and my heart soared. Sometimes I really could see myself in her, and it never failed to thrill me. "No killing each other. I want you both." She hesitated then, her grip on my arm tightening. "Dad?"
"Yes, my Nessie?"
"I love you."
I could the flash of warmth across my skin, the high that came with her words. I cupped her cheek, brushed my lips against her forehead. "Renesmee, I will always love you. Every moment."
I could almost feel my heart beat again, seeing the look in her eyes, feeling the tone of her thoughts. She truly believed me.
For as long as I've had this idea in my head, it took me waaay longer to write than I thought. Hope it's alright. :)
Should have a chap update up from Loving You Against My Will sometime soon….
But finals are going on right now, so there may not be anything for a few days….then again there might be, because I'm a procrastinator, lol.