Author's Note: I've been a Twilight fan for a few years now, although this is my first time writing actual fanfiction for the series. And you can blame 11PM and role playing games for this. Anyways, sorry to anyone who feels, I dunno, holiday-dejected because I'm not throwing Hanukkah or Kwanza or any other December holiday in here. I don't even celebrate Christmas, to be honest. But my family does, and I have many recollections of being dragged against my will to visit Santa at the mall, where I would cry and sob and beg to go back to my mommy. Oh yes. Those are memories right there. Anyways, the following story started out as a joking suggestion for a role play plot, because the girls who play Jacob and Nessie were bored. And then our Jacob player started getting a little flustered when she realized me and Nessie were actually going into detail about how it would work. Snk. I'm horrible, I know. It makes me smile. I don't know how great the characterization is, because frankly... I haven't written as these characters enough to know if I'm failing miserably. So if you don't like it...tough. Hee. Anyways, happy holidays I guess. Enjoy!!
I know it's not my best work. Something this long on a time crunch is not easy. So I know the ending is really rushed. I had to go, and didn't know if I'd get a chance to finish it. Considering how hectic my vacation is, I figured if it's really bad... I'll just edit. You're the judge. Want a different ending, or is it fine the way it is? Majority wins.
And yes. There is suggesting something not so nice happening to Santa. It's nothing THAT horrible, but if you wanna know what I was referencing, I'll tell you in a review reply. Because it's kinda disturbing-funny, but not the kind that deserves open attention on FF. Just saying. I found it hard to omit. Just because the memory makes me laugh hysterically till I swear my insides are coming out. I'm strange, sorry.
"Excuse me? Take her where?" I stuck my finger in my ear, trying to clean it out. I must have heard something wrong. I must have. Because it kind of sounded like Bella had just suggested that I should take little Nessie to–
"The mall," Bella repeated, frowning a little. Honestly. You would've thought I was the crazy one here. Me! Crazy! Compared to the leeches who, somehow, were almost sort of friends. Really smelly friends. But yea. And I was the one who was being stared at like I had three heads and a tail, when she had fangs? Oh yea. Life was really fair. Just like those damn carnival games. "It's Christmas time, and I thought it'd be kind of cute."
"Cute?" Like, teddy bears and kittens? Uhh... "Bella, I think you're gonna have to break it down for me."
Alright, Bella's been my best friend for... well, a while. My crush-slash-love for about the same amount of time, before Nessie popped (or rather, clawed and bit) her way into the world. And she was not particularly intimidating. Or, at least, she hadn't been. Back when she was exactly as strong as she appeared, and not a hundred times stronger. And back when she could blush. I kinda miss that blush, to tell you the truth. But when she was sincerely annoyed, it was kind of hard to sit here smirking like an idiot instead of heading for high ground (or hiding behind Edward, which I'd rather eat my own head than do). Good thing I wasn't smirking this time. I was completely ,one hundred and twenty percent serious. Because honestly, I was just not seeing the sanity in this plan of hers.
"How much simpler does it get, Jake," she demanded, and I swear she put her hand on her hips. It was so teenage-soccer-moms meets Dracula's wife. And that was hard not to laugh at. Seriously. I bit down on my lip to keep myself from so much as smiling, sure that it would send Bella into a rage. She did that a lot as a vamp, despite her like, super-dooper self control. I guess that doesn't get extended to werewolf best friends. Shame. But it is pretty funny, as long as she doesn't try rip my head off in front of Nessie. Not that, you know, it'd be the first time. You know, if we're being honest and all that. "It's Christmas Eve. I don't have any real holiday pictures of Nessie, and Charlie's been asking for them." I opened my mouth, and then closed it again. I guess Alice's little run way in the snow of like, twenty green and red dresses splashed with gold ribbons didn't count. Alright then. "And she showed me she wanted to go." Did she count showing her that scene of kids lining up to see 'Santa' as wanting to go? Well, maybe. Nessie wanted weirder things after all. Like blood over ice cream. I mean, seriously. Who does that?
"But Bella,"I pleaded, trying to, you know, not sound like an ass. Apparently I did that a lot too. Go figure? "Think about it. I'm all for giving Nessie what she wants." Go figure. Imprinting kinda did that to a fella, not that I was complaining. I loved the little rug rat with all my heart, no matter how much trouble she caused (Kidding, kidding... No, not really. I hate to admit it, but the kid does tend to stir up a lot of tempers...not that we don't all love her for it. Not like the kid does it intentionally, right?). "But I mean...think about it. Christmas Eve...the mall... Large swarms of humans. I mean, Bells..." I held out my hands desperately, but Bella didn't appear to be swayed. She just frowned a little, dammit.
"She's fine around Charlie." As if that represented everyone. I wanted to shake her, but Nessie was in the room. Edward frowned at me, but he shook his head a fraction of an inch to each side. He wasn't entirely thrilled with Bella's plan either, but he'd go along with it. I knew that without even asking. Useless leech. The corners of his lips twitched upwards. Ugh!
"That's one person. One person she knows is very important to you," I clarified, and Bella's frown deepened some. But I saw in her eyes she still wasn't convinced. She thought it'd be a nice memory for Ness. She thought it'd be close to normal, and who didn't want that? But she didn't even trust herself in a mall of people, as good as she was around three or four people at a clip. Who was to say Nessie didn't have the same limits of self control? As amazing as the kid was... I'll admit, I was just a little bit freaked out about something messing up.
"I think she'll be okay," Bella repeated stubbornly. I looked at Edward (a desperate attempt, to be sure), and sighed, thoroughly exasperated, when he just put a supportive hand on Bella's shoulder. Useless idiot. I glared at him, but he just smiled lightly. I wished he had air pipes so I could strangle him. Not that that was a first.
"Would you please talk some sense into her," I demanded, although I knew the answer before he even spoke. Nessie was frowning at the lot of us from the couch, where sat nestled in the blond leech's arms. Now that was a nauseating sight. Edward chuckled.
"Why don't we give Nessie a chance," he suggested, and I at least got the pleasure of watching Bella grimace when the less-than-favored nickname passed through Edward's lips. She thought nothing of it when I did it. She was used to me annoying her, intentional or otherwise. Edward? Yea. That was a rare treat, one that I enjoyed thoroughly given the current situation.
"A chance," I echoed. It wasn't a question. Just a begrudging grumble.
"If it makes you too uncomfortable, or she shows you she's thirsty...leave." Edward shrugged. It was that simple, to him. And I could see he didn't think it was more complicated than that. He thought I only objected because he supported it. Or at least, was willing to try to. And maybe he wasn't entirely wrong.
I sighed, running my hand through my hair. Frustrated? Just a little. I turned to Nessie and grinned. She looked worried, her rich brown eyes flickering between her parents, and me. Well hell. Now I felt like crap. "Wanna head out, kid?"
Mind you, I probably really should stop calling her that. She was still barely to my waist, maybe, but she was a hell of a lot smarter than me. Well, mostly. She just learned faster. That's what I told myself, anyways. I had to stroke my own ego somehow, considering Blondie and Bella had way too much fun shooting it down again.
"Um... Okay." She wriggled her way out of Rose's arms (ha!) And slid onto the floor. She was barely there a second before I lifted her up in my arms. The kid was spoiled like that. Honestly, it's surprising Nessie even bothered walking after she learned. Half the time, she's still carried by somebody. The upside to having a large family of super-strength immortal freaks, I guess. She pressed her hands to my face, her images colored with anxiety as she replayed the short scene Bella and I had made. I winced. We really should've done that, I dunno, in the back yard or something. Anywhere Nessie couldn't see. Or hear, for that matter.
"Don't worry about it Squirt," I said cheerfully, ignoring her frown at the nickname. She knew it was all in the name of love. Well, she'd better know it anyway. Or I'd have to tickle it back into her.
Which, in case you didn't pick up on it yet, is how I ended up loading a...technically-one-year-old into Edward's Volvo (Hey, he offered. I just grabbed the keys.), and began heading on down to freaking Seattle to go to a mall I usually spent the majority of my time avoiding to go visit Santa Clause. I know. Every, like, seventeen year old's dream, right?
"You really wanna do this, Ness," I asked when it was just us, in the car. I was cruising eighty, but she didn't care. She got her disinterest in speedometer from her father. And me, I liked to think. Or pretend. Whatever.
"It looked fun." She shrugged, but that frown was still tugging at her lips like there were weights attached. I poked her cheek.
"You look like you're having the time of your life," I teased. She still didn't smile, so I stopped.
"You think it's a bad idea." It wasn't a question. Or a begrudging statement, even. Just a fact. The sky was blue, and I thought this was stupid. Well, I couldn't argue with her there. But I could sugarcoat the harsh details a little bit, right? Okay, I know. I suck at sugarcoating. I can try though, can't I?
"I'm just a little worried. But what else is new?" I smiled at her, and I hoped it was reassuring. But that was kinda like convincing Bella that she indeed was not solely responsible for the well being of every monster and their brother. In other words: it was pretty much an epic fail, thanks.
"You don't mind?" She sounded so worried, that I actually looked away from the road to give her a quick kiss on top of her hair. Bella would so, so kill me for doing that. But it wasn't like Nessie was made outta your normal stuff. Definitely, definitely not normal. You know, in a good way. "We could always go somewhere else instead...." She drifted off, lost in thought of where else we could go for the day. But I just chuckled and twiddled the steering wheel.
"Your mom's gonna want some visual proof," I told her, tapping my own temple. She frowned, and I laughed. "You might get through her defenses, but Super Dad there will be double checking with me. And you know, it's kinda hard to lie to your dad." I made a face and she giggled, although she still looked a little worried. She obviously had figured that one out for herself.
"Um..." she began, but I just shook my head.
"It's fine, Nessie," I insisted. I didn't like her getting herself worked up over something as silly as Santa. Besides, this time next year, she probably wouldn't be able to get away with sitting on his lap, with the rate the girl grew. "We'll have fun. You'll see." I winked at her, and she sighed. But the worry had left her face, and she just tugged her dark crimson jacket closer around her and snuggled into the leather seat.
Well, that took care of one of us... I, on the other hand, was still not that thrilled with the idea of my future-love-via-Imprinting being surrounded by a bunch of unaware, human children. But maybe I was just being obnoxious. This was Nessie. Surely things wouldn't turn out too bad... That...oddly was not a reassuring thought. Strange things happened around that girl, no matter how adorably sweet she was. Poor kid.
I took the turn off the exit, right into what would become my own personal hell on earth for a few hours.
"Here we are, beautiful," I announced as I pulled the car into the parking garage. She pulled off her seatbelt, and waited for me to do the same. Her brown eyes were large and expecting, completely innocent. Ack! It was flustering how alike they were to Bella's...when she'd been human. I guess it was pretty fitting that Nessie had those eyes now. Maybe meeting Bella before she'd changed had just been fate's way of helping me adjust to those eyes. Obviously, I hadn't gotten the memo.
"Mhm." She just nodded, and I got the impression she was just a little bit nervous. I probably hadn't helped that, with all my fretting. So I popped the door open and hurried around to the other side to get her out.
"I guess." She looked a little pale– well, coming from a very tan guy– when I opened the door, and I pulled her up into my arms. Usually she protests a little bit in public, so I was a bit surprised when she wrapped her arms around my neck and clung. That was...very strange.
"You're not scared, are you," I asked her, knocking my hip against the door to shut it and kissing her forehead simultaneously. Yes. Talent, that. I wriggled my nose, trying to pretend like I was all shocked and disgusted. It worked, sometimes. "I mean, you faced the leaders of the Volturi with a smile and open arms, and you're afraid of Santa!" I chuckled at her shocked expression. Shock or anger, either were better than being afraid. She had nothing to be afraid of. Fear today was my job.
"I'm not," she insisted stubbornly, so like Bella that a chuckle threatened to escape. But that would sort of be counterproductive at that particular moment, so I bit my lip like I had back at the house.
"I don't think I believe you." I smirked a little, and she pouted and squirmed to get out of my arms. I put her down, though I made a point to grab her hand before she could fold her arms across her chest and get all grumpy like Bella. She still tried her damnedest though, let me tell you. She narrowed her eyes and her lower lip shook, but she wouldn't cry. I knew Nessie enough to know she'd never cry, especially when she thought she was being teased. She was much too proud to do that.
"I'm not," she repeated, stomping her foot a little. I don't think she even realized she did it, but I was trying my hardest not to bust a gut laughing. Yea. Uh.... That, definitely, you know, would not help. At all. Ever. But geez, that had to be the most amusing, yet oddly adorable thing I'd seen her do to date.
"You sound so sure. How can I argue with that?" I grinned and ruffled her hair. She blinked. That obviously hadn't been what she'd expected. I grinned a little wider. At least I could still trick her, even if her pain in my ass father and mother could read me like a freakin' book. Damn them. Damn them to a perch in New York City where pigeons will mistake them for statues. Well, Edward. Bella? Nah, though... the image of her covered in bird poop does kinda make me laugh. Sorry Bells.
"Um. Well. You can't," she said, blinking twice. I snickered and tightened my grip on her hand as we entered the food court. There were more people here than I had conjured in my head. How, just how, could people be so fascinated by a mall? But apparently Nessie wasn't sharing my sentiments. She didn't go out very much, which I guess was kinda sad for a little kid. She saw Charlie's, and she saw La Push. That was about it. I guess now, I could kinda see why Bella wanted her to go so badly, not that Bella liked malls. But she could appreciate that she had the experience, and had enjoyed the decorations and the hustle as a little girl. Nessie should have one or two memories like that.
And just like that, it seemed the terror that had gripped her was gone, and she was pulling me along by the hand to show me this window and that window. Places I'd passed a million times, but acted fascinated by because she'd never seen them before. She didn't seem to think twice about the humans pressing against us on either side. That was a good thing, I guess. Gotta love shiny things and their ability to totally destroy a young girl's attention span.
But after about twenty minutes of feigning "ooh"s and "ah"s for the sake of Nessie's entertainment, it was time to get her back on track. I still wasn't convinced that this was a totally fool proof idea. I wasn't convinced that nothing, absolutely nothing, would go wrong. I just held on to the confidence that Nessie knew I was worried, and that just like her parents, she didn't want to do something to upset me. God Bless the kid. Seriously. It was a wonder she was a vampire's spawn. Though I didn't think of her like that. She was just Bella's munch kin. It was, you know, slightly less spiteful and mean and all that jazz. And you can't think "Nessie" and "hateful" or "mean" in the same sentence. They just don't go together. It's like saying "Hey oil, come mix with the water!" Just... you know, no. End of discussion. Exclamation point slash period, depending on how enthusiastic you are about driving that point home. I'm more of an exclamation point kinda guy myself.
"C'mon, Ness," I prompted her, tugging lightly on her hand. I was trying to get her to head towards the escalator, but she was resisting: she'd just seen what she was pretty sure was the cutest toy ever. To me, it just looked like a really lame pig impersonation, but hey...
"But it's cute!" She pouted her lower lip and I groaned. I did not have time to be– okay, scratch that. I had plenty of time. But that was really, entirely besides the point! "Can't we just—"
"No, Nessie," I sighed. I went to pick her up, but she resisted while not letting go of my hand. "Christmas is tomorrow. You know everyone's gonna spoil you rotten." I gave her a teasing wink, but she just frowned.
"But they don't know about the pig." I snorted. Most kids would worry about being called spoiled rotten. She worried about the pig. Wow. I shook my head, trying (and failing) to hide my amusement.
"Well you know, something's gotta be a surprise, kiddo." I chuckled and tugged at her hand again. This time she didn't resist, though I swear her face was gonna freeze in a pout one of these days. She better hope she's not pouting the moment her body stops growing. I'll be laughing my ass off the rest of eternity. In a loving, 'I'll still be there no matter what' kinda way. Haha.
"I guess..." But she didn't try to go back, and I held her close to my side on the escalator. Better than the elevator, maybe (I bet you thought I chose the escalator for the hell of it, didn't cha?), but I was still a little uneasy. And maybe Nessie clued in to that, because she didn't try run ahead of me until we were on the lower level and her big brown eyes lit up at the sight of "Santa's workshop".
Okay, I'll take this opportunity to tell it straight: I think that those damn mall visits are the corniest, lamest attempts at scamming there is. I've never liked them, maybe because my dad never pressed them on us or anything. But seriously, you sit on some stranger's lap (um...), and proceed to spill your guts and tell him your heart's desires. I dunno, I think it's a waste of like, the fifteen bucks to have a few dozen pics of your kid on some strange old guy's lap. Not even, because I'm disturbed at how many of those Santas are actually young women under the costume bulge. Yea. Uh... I'm considering making a questionnaire for my friends' girlfriends: "number 3: have you ever worked in Santa's Workshop?". My friends are guaranteed to be single and unhitched to a Santa supporter or his crazy wannabe elves forever. Seriously, I think they ought to be begging me to do that. But alas...
"Renesmee!" I swear, I can't remember the last time before that when I used her full name. She's always been Nessie, but to use her full name was just... reflex, I guess. I yelled as she slipped her hand out of my grasp and sprinted forward. Towards the line of anxious and excited kids, all talking way too loudly. Shit. Shiiiit. I slapped my palm against my forehead. Why had I not anticipated that? Because she was normally ten times more mature than the average kid, that was why. Let's be real now. But still, she was usually so good about staying with me... I mean, you can't blame me for panicking a little bit. After all, Bella was so going to kill me.
"Dammit. Nessie," I roared. That was so...not the way to find a kid in a swarm of kids. Mothers looked at me funny. Dads raised their eyebrows. Kids backed away from me, terrified. I didn't even pay attention to the line itself as I pushed my way through people, looking for her. My soul mate. And best friend's daughter. Couldn't forget that detail.
"Jake?" An innocently confused voice carried up to me over the sea of babbling kids, and I spotted Renesmee standing at the back of the swarm, calm and collected as can be...And looking thoroughly baffled as to why her guardian was losing his head. Yea. You have no idea how much I wished I could just shake her by those tiny, little, frail-looking shoulders and... Gah!!
"Don't 'Jake' me," I muttered, joining her. This time I didn't give her much of a choice in the way of being picked up. No way in hell was I losing her again. She didn't really fight it, though she looked at the ground a little wistfully. Sometimes I think she's just like her mother, and prefers me in wolf form when all I can do is bark and chase my tail. Ah well. At least it makes her giggle. "What the heck were you thinking?"
"The line was long. I didn't want to wait." Her explanation was so simple and rational, I wanted to shake her again. Why, for once, could I not be the immature-looking one? Honestly!! She grimaced after one look at my face, so I guess my expression was really something for sore eyes. "You're angry," she whispered, cringing into my shoulder. Well, I couldn't argue with that.
"Furious," I agreed gruffly, but I tried soften my expression a little. I don't know if it worked though. She still looked terrified.
"I'm sorry." She buried her little face into my neck, and the anger melted away only to replaced by guilt. Aw, hell... I sighed and stroked her hair. If she cried, I was so done.
"Please don't run off like that. You scared me silly." I tried say it lightly, but I don't think she cared so much about the tone anymore. Like I said, she wasn't like most kids. Some kids, you could insult as long as you had a smile on your face when you said it. She actually heard the words, and that made me feel bad too. She was too much like Bella the Martyr for my liking sometimes. Honestly, the two of them...
"Sorry," she repeated, her voice muffled by my shoulder. "Do you wanna take me home now?"
"Huh?" How did that even connect? "Why? Do you wanna leave?"
I don't speak girl, or little kid. So sorry if like, I sound like a complete moron to anyone out there actually reading this. I'm doin' the best I can here, 'kay? "But what?"
Yea, I know. I'm pretty brilliant. Couldn't have said it better if I tried.
She lifted her head, staring at me with a baffled expression. She pressed her hands to each side of my face, tilting her head slightly to one side. She showed me how angry I'd looked, and I grimaced just as she had when she saw it for the first time. She flinched showing it to me too, and then showed my face throughout the car ride. My "private" anxiety attack, worrying about how the day at the mall would end. I sighed. Images of Bella and Edward popped into my head.
Ha... Ha! Sorry. Laughing is probably extremely inappropriate, but when is it appropriate? I seem to miss those moments by a fraction of a hair, because when I make my entrance laughing is just wrong. But still. She...wow. Girls. I never said I understood them, and never will. Edward has the best chance, and even he fails miserably at it 89% of the time.
I blinked. "You think...I wanna rat you out?" She just blinked back, but I took that as a yes. Which, seriously, made it that much harder not to laugh. "Hardly! C'mon, kiddo. That's hardly killing Christmas over!" I wiped the corner of her eye (There were no tears, but I swear her eyes were brighter than usual) and kissed her nose. She smiled despite herself, though she looked nervous as a kitten in a room full of balloons tied to rocking chairs.
Her hands were still on my face, and this time she showed me the other kids sitting on Santa's lap. Tcht. Her tone was questioning, but I made her ask it out loud. The images thing was cool, but I loved hearing her voice. So I just blinked at her until she finally relented.
"Can I still?"
"You can still." I kissed her nose again, and she squirmed to be put down. Geez. Such a hurry to grow up, and she really was growing up too fast. It was kinda sad. But the rest of the wait went pretty smooth. She was pretty paranoid about getting me mad again (which I had to admit, I'd been counting on all along), and so she never let go of my hand. Of course, that also meant being pulled along when she saw something that caught her eye (typically, it was shiny things), or having her strain against my hold when she wanted to walk faster. She's very impatient, my kiddo.
And of course, there was the typical... sit on Santa's lap bit. But that seemed kinda weird, because there was a bench next to Santa for the adults if the kids were crying. I don't remember ever seeing that before, but I overheard some parents saying there was an "incident" with Santa and a mother last year. Um. All I have to say to that is "wow". I mean...old, fat dude. How do you not realize it's not Santa's candy cane you're grabbin'? Really! Nessie looked up at me imploringly, but I just shook my head. No, I'm not so horrible that I would explain that situation to the poor girl and defile her brain. Thank you.
And like that, the mission was completed. No blood shed. No snacks. That was a bad joke, by the way. Sorry Bells. But yea, she sat on Santa's lap and whispered something into his ear (I was glad she didn't try 'show' him what she wanted.), before the camera flashed and we were on our way. This time, she didn't object to me picking her up as we left Santa's work shop behind us.
"I don't think I liked that much," she frowned, pressing her palms to my face. Disappointment colored her vision, and I chuckled.
"I didn't think you'd find it all that great either. What did you whisper to him?"
She smiled conspiratorially, and a picture of a blue, animated toy pig came to mind. I sighed.
"You're so predictable sometimes," I laughed, messing up her hair. She wrinkled her nose up and shook her head to fix her hair. Very dog like of her. I approved.
"Can we get something before we leave," she asked tentatively, and I raised my eyebrows.
"Not the pig," I said, sounding hopeful and doubtful at the same time. Thank the spirits she shook her head. That was my surprise for tomorrow. Shhh. I'd already made a mental note to come back during her dinner, before the mall closed for the evening.
"No. Ice cream." She didn't sound too enthused about the idea, but the suggestion still made me grin like an idiot.
"That's my girl. But you know they don't carry B+ int heir stocks." She scowled and tugged gently at my ponytail, which made me snicker.
"I was thinking something like A-." I laughed even louder at her dry humor, even though I knew that was probably the most sarcastic she'd ever managed to be. She usually just got annoyed. She pressed her palms to my cheeks, showing me Cookies and Cream.
"I think I like that suggestion better," I told her. She giggled. "Well then, next stop?"
"To the ice cream shop!" she giggled, and I grinned and hugged her closer to me. It's a shame, when we got back to the Cullen's overly showy house in Forks, that Bella was convinced that we'd gone somewhere we shouldn't have. It took Nessie showing her every scene earnestly, and Edward shaking his head with a sigh and checking our thoughts (I thought for Bella a few best-friend-love names that made Edward's mouth twitch, though from amusement or annoyance I couldn't tell. Maybe both, because when that thought occurred to me, he just chuckled and told Bella that we had a fine time.). Really, the girl could be such a pessimist. I even had that stupid picture! I waved it infront of her face for like, an hour, despite her joking around about my getting my dog smell everywhere. Pft. And Renesmee was sitting there on the couch with Rose and Alice, just as they had earlier in the afternoon, watching the volley of comments. There was a small frown tugging at her lips while she clutched at her copy of the picture in her hands. She didn't look exactly happy about Bella and I bickering like a divorced couple. But hey, at least the kid got her Christmas, right?