Disclaimer: I am not Stephenie Meyer. I do not own the Twilight series.
This oneshot was inspired by: Breaking Dawn (pgs. 492-498)
I'm just using my imagination to fill in the gaps.
Chief Swan smiled happily. "Oh, hello Jake. Where've you been? I haven't seen you since you left. Billy told me you were at the wedding, but I didn't get a chance to see you. "
"Yea, sorry." Jacob rubbed the palm of his hand against the back of his neck. "I've been meaning to visit, but I was caught up."
Charlie gave Jacob a once-over and, to his pleasure, he noticed Jacob looked better than he had ever seen him before. Jacob's hair had been cropped short, a hairstyle a lot of Quileute boys on the reservation had taken to wearing. He also had a content glow, a look that Charlie hadn't seen on him since the Cullens had moved, when Jacob still believed he had a chance with Bella.
A girl must have done this to him, Charlie concluded.
"It's alright; you must've been busy – lots of catching up to do. But you've been gone for a while," Charlie reprimanded. "Billy was a mess."
Charlie was a mess. The weeks away from Bella weren't doing him too well. Charlie hadn't heard word lately from his newlywed daughter Bella Cullen, and despite the frequent visits from a certain widowed Sue Clearwater, Charlie's smiles grew more strained every day. In the time away from his daughter, Charlie had aged. Sprinkles of gray spread throughout his chestnut brown hair, and worry lines had been added to the already prominent wrinkles on his forehead.
"Yea, I heard . . . I just had to leave . . . to think things through for a while."
"Well, did you get your thinking done? Reach great understanding and all that?" Jacob didn't answer. He didn't even crack a smile. "Are you alright, Jake? Do you want to come in? The game's on."
"No. I'm fine here. And I'm great, I swear." Jacob shifted his weight from left foot to right with impatience. His hands were wrung in front of him, and his eyes were bright with anticipation. Altogether, his words were a complete contradiction to his body language.
Charlie eyed him warily. "Are you sure?" he asked slowly.
Jacob ignored the question. "Can I talk to you for a minute? Maybe we can take a walk?"
Charlie looked at him curiously, then just nodded and followed Jacob out the front door.
"You want to talk . . . in the woods?" Charlie asked incredulously when he saw that Jacob was heading towards the forest.
Jacob simply nodded.
Charlie stopped walking and glared at Jacob through suspicious eyes. "What is this about?"
"It's about Bella," Jacob said. He knew what words would reel the anxious parent in. "She's back."
Suspicion was quickly replaced by relief and concern. "How is she? Listen, I haven't been able to reach Bella at all. And Jacob, I feel so useless. I want to know what's going on – if there's something going on. Because – and tell me if I'm crazy – I don't think there's anything wrong with Bella. I think the Cullens are just trying to keep her from me." Charlie blurted out his suspicions in a pained, hurried rush that only a troubled parent could duplicate.
"We can't talk here," Jacob said vaguely, much to Charlie's agitation. "You have to follow me if you want to know what's up with her."
Charlie followed obediently into the forest. Nine to ten yards in, Jacob stopped and turned to meet the man's eyes. But before he could speak, Charlie bombarded him.
"Tell me what is going on now or so help me Jacob –"
"Bella is fine," Jacob assured him. "She was sick, very sick. But she's not anymore."
Charlie let out a relieved breath, and his face relaxed.
"But," Jacob continued, "There's something . . . different. Things are . . . different."
"That's great, Jake," Charlie said absentmindedly as he headed back to the house. "I'm going to go see her now, I think."
"No!" Jacob ran ahead and blocked his path.
Charlie blinked and simply stared blankly at Jacob for a few seconds. "How did you get here so fast?"
Jacob ignored the question. "Before you go I have something to show you."
Charlie frowned. "Alright, but make it quick."
Jacob nodded and promptly took off his shoes.
Then his shirt.
Then his pants.
Then his –
"Jake, STOP! What are you doing?!" Charlie's entire face had turned from red to blue to purple in two seconds flat. "I thought . . . I thought you loved Bella! I know you're upset about her getting married but giving up on Bella doesn't mean you have to give up on women!"
Jacob snorted and pointedly ignored Charlie's horror stricken face as Charlie tried to shield his eyes and retain his innocence.
"I'm not gay, Charlie," he said.
And then he phased.
The change from man to beast was swift. One second Charlie had been wishing he had brought a gun for his 'talk' with Jacob (maybe Jake would listen to "Chief Swan"). Then he blinked, and in the place of Jacob stood a giant . . . bear . . . thing.
Charlie was in the company of a monster.
The monster – which was at least the size of a large horse – took a careful step toward him. Charlie, of course, took an instinctive and terrified step back. That step was the only thing he could manage. Charlie's feet were frozen in place.
He should've run. Charlie knew he should've run. He couldn't see the monster's teeth – Its muzzle was shut – but he could just imagine the large fangs skilled in the art of decapitation wedged between its enormous jaws.
He should've moved. Charlie knew he should've moved. The monster's legs were long and strong, so he bargained that they were also fast. Would he manage to even cry for help before it pounced, before it killed him?
Why wouldn't his legs budge? Why couldn't his body react to the threat as fast as his mind analyzed it?
And where was Jacob? Had he run off? Charlie could see the young Quileute's clothes at the monster's enormous feet. Jacob wouldn't go running through the forest naked, Charlie assured himself. The boy had more sense than that. Anyway, the boy was large. Charlie was more than sure he would've heard Jacob walk away. So, Jacob hadn't left. Or at least, he hadn't gone far.
"Jake?" Charlie called out feebly. "Jacob?" As Charlie called, his eyes never strayed from beast. The monster hadn't made a move yet, but Charlie was much too frightened of what might happen if he looked away for just one moment.
And it was a good thing, too, because if Charlie's gaze had wandered he might not have noticed the way the monster's face changed when he had called for Jacob.
When Charlie had said Jacob's name the monster's face had grown almost expectant and his ears had perked up as if . . . as if Charlie had not called Jacob's name but its name. And its eyes . . . Charlie couldn't look past the fact that they were wary, but intelligent. Not at all like an animal's. They were also somehow familiar. . .
When Charlie had added two and two together he had gotten four. Four: the predictable answer, the expected answer. Four, which had meant Jacob had run when this monster had come.
But now as Charlie went back and thought and went over and checked, he realized another answer was possible. Maybe two plus two wasn't four anymore. Maybe in this one rare case it was five. And maybe, Jacob Black, his best friend's son could turn into a monster at will.
Charlie blinked. Suddenly the monster was gone and the boy was back.
The boy was back, so everything could go back to the way it was.
Except . . . except he had seen. So everything was not normal. Nothing could ever be normal again.
Someone cleared their throat and Charlie met eyes with the half-man, half-beast he liked to call Jake. Jacob scuffed the toe of his left shoe nervously in the dirt, looking down. When Jacob had put his clothes back on, Charlie could not remember.
Jacob took a deep breath and met Charlie's nervous gaze head on.
"Charlie, there are creatures out there that you wouldn't believe," he said in a rush.
Charlie's world was spinning and his head was pounding. He wanted Jacob to stop talking, but he wouldn't.
"You don't live in the world you thought you lived in."
As if he didn't realize that already.
"The good news is, nothing has changed, – except that now you know. Life'll go on the same way it always has. You can go back to pretending you don't believe any of this. You can forget."
No, he couldn't. Nothing would ever be the same. Monsters existed. Or at least now he knew they existed. And if monsters existed, who knew what else was real? What other creatures were out there living in secret only because the world thought of them as fables, fairy tales? If only they knew the dangerous truth . . .
Charlie took a careful step away from Jacob.
And was Bella one of them? Was Bella a monster now too? Was that why the Cullens didn't want him to see her? Because he would be afraid, disgusted even, at what he might find?
Charlie imagined a thick coat of brown fur erupting from his Bella's skin. He imagined her growing larger, taller. Charlie imagined her growling, baring her new sharp teeth as the monster side took over her body and then her mind. Charlie imagined the worst.
"Is Bella really sick then?" He was afraid to ask. "Or is she a monster too?"
Jacob frowned at the word 'monster'. "Bella was sick, but she's alright now," he said slowly, carefully. "She's changed though."
"What do you mean 'she's changed'? And earlier, you said something was different. Is she different?"
"Well . . ." Jacob wasn't sure how to phrase this. "You know how Bella is Renée's daughter and all?" Charlie nodded. "Well, now she looks more like Esme than she does her mother."
'Now she looks more like Esme than she does her mother'? Why was Jacob being so cryptic? How was Charlie supposed to make sense out of that? There was something being kept hidden from Charlie, he knew. But did he want to know what?
Charlie searched his mind for some type of answer. This had something to do with the Cullens, he was sure, the perfect family Bella was in love with. With their strange eyes, pale skin, and nice cars. Not to mention anorexic tendencies. . .
Charlie remembered the countless times when Edward had joined Bella and him for dinner only to sit and watch Bella while she ate – which wasn't the least bit creepy at all – and insist he had a large breakfast, or lunch, or that Esme had put his family on a special diet.
A strange thought struck Charlie: maybe the Cullens didn't eat food. But Charlie deemed his ridiculous revelation impossible and immediately pushed it away.
Finally: "Does Bella turn into a . . . an animal, too?"
Jacob grinned, and it was so familiar that Charlie almost forgot what Jacob was. He was transported back to happier times where Jacob was just a kid – not one bit a giant monster – and his daughter was single and Edward-less.
"She wishes she was that cool!"
Then he remembered, and Charlie reminded himself never to forget again.
"So what are you exactly, Jake?" Charlie eventually asked. He feigned indifference as he pointedly looked past the half-man, half-monster and concentrated on a tree just over Jacob's left shoulder.
"I'm a werewolf."
Charlie choked on the air he was breathing in. He quickly held up his hands, showing he had the situation under control as Jacob came forward, wanting to help.
Charlie just could not understand. How was Jacob able to utter those words so calmly, so easily? As if turning into an animal was a trivial, ordinary thing that all teens had to deal with.
"Are there more . . ." Charlie couldn't get the word out, ". . . of . . . you?"
"A whole pack." Jacob frowned. "Or I guess two packs now. You see, there was a problem between me and Sam – he's the alpha of his –"
"Stop!" Charlie let out a strangled cry.
Jacob looked at him curiously.
Sam Uley was involved? The nice – normal – man that had found Bella in the woods the time Edward had broken her heart? "I'd rather not . . . I'd rather not know the specifics. I can only take so much."
Jacob nodded understandably. "It's a lot to take in."
"It sure is." Charlie stared into space for a moment.
"Did she know what she was getting into?" Charlie asked suddenly.
"When she married him, did she know what she was getting into?"
"Bella? Oh yea, she was really cool about it. She's known all about this for years, before me even. Since she first came to Forks."
"What?!" Charlie's eyes blazed. "She knew all about this – this situation and she didn't tell me? She didn't tell anyone?" His cheeks puffed out angrily as he searched for someone to blame. "This is all because of Renée, always acting the part of a child and forcing Bella to think she had to be the adult in every situation! As if she couldn't have told me! If she would've just given me a simple clue about the truth I would have taken in the news calmly and rationally and demand she end the relationship with him before things got serious!"
Jacob quickly intercepted. "But things got serious," he said in what he hoped was a calming voice. "Didn't they?"
"Yes." Charlie was – miraculously – thrown off, and his breathing slowed a bit.
"They've gotten married," continued Jacob.
Charlie gave another resigned "yes."
"It's too late, Charlie."
Charlie grimaced. "But I want –"
"You want things to be normal, don't you? The way they used to be." Jacob paused. "That will be the last thing that'll happen, I'm telling you now."
Charlie frowned at Jacob before looking away and taking his words into consideration for a few moments. "I want something else then – two things actually." He had gotten his composure and reached a conclusion. "Conditions."
Jacob raised a brow.
"First, let's keep everything on a need to know basis here, Jake. I'm not as young as I used to be. I'm not an adventurous, curious teenager; I'm an old man. And I want to know as little of everything as possible. I'm not exactly sure what's going on, and I do not want to know," said Charlie in a no-nonsense tone. "Everything's not the same . . . but I want to at least pretend that nothing's changed. I like the way I saw the world before. So that means no talking about the" – Charlie made a face – "pack and no more turning into . . . that in front of me."
"That would be best," Jacob agreed. "What's the other thing?"
"I noticed you were hesitant to let me see Bella before, and I think – I know that I want to see my daughter."
Jacob nodded. "Done. Just let me give her a heads-up. I didn't tell Bella I was coming. She'll be real pissed at me."
Despite himself, Charlie allowed himself a tiny smile. "Bella wouldn't hurt a fly – because she wouldn't be able to. Remember the last time she tried to give you the old one-two?"
Boy, did Jacob remember. "Bella's a lot stronger than she was before."
Charlie snorted but stopped abruptly. "How much stronger?" he quickly asked.
"It's not need to know," said Jacob with a shrug. "But here's something that's important: Edward and Bella have been playing mommy and daddy lately –"
"Bella's pregnant? Now?! Just weeks after the wedding?" One would think he'd wanted her to get pregnant before the wedding. . .
"No, Bella's not pregnant." Anymore. "They've taken in an orphan."
"Edward and Bella? And they're going to keep it?"
"Her," Jacob admonished stiffly. "And yes, they're adopting."
Charlie thought about it. "So she's like a daughter? I'm a grandfather now?" he said slowly, in wonder.
Jacob's face relaxed. "Congrats, Gramps."
"Thank you," Charlie whispered. "What's her name?"
"Little Renesmee – Nessie."
The look of awe abruptly left Charlie's face. "Renesmee? What kind of. . ." Charlie trailed off at Jacob's murderous expression.
Jacob sighed. "There's something else though."
Charlie sighed too. "Is it need to know?"
Jacob nodded. "See . . . Nessie's really special."
"Special like how?" Jacob couldn't answer. "Special like – different?"
"Yea, Nessie is more special than all of us put together. Things are strange. There's a lot of weird stuff that almost made me run away at first. But if you can just ignore all the weird parts, you're going to be amazed because when you see this little girl, you'll know that it's all worth the strangeness. The abnormalities of everything just came with the package deal – her. And once you see her, you'll know she's the most wonderful person in the whole world. You'll do absolutely anything for her."
Charlie took Jacob's little speech in, and noticed that as Jacob spoke, his eyes shone with a bright intensity.
This must be some baby.
"But what if I don't want to accept the abnormalities?"
Jacob looked Charlie dead in the eye. "Then they'll leave. All of them. Edward, the Cullens, Renesmee, even Bella. I'd leave with them too. And you'd never hear another word from any of them again."
"They'd leave Forks?" Charlie looked upset.
"They'd leave your life," Jacob said gravely.
"If you could just accept the . . . the differences Bella, would stay. And you'd get a chance to know your granddaughter. But if what you end up seeing turns out to be too much for you they'll start packing right there and then."
"Alright, Jacob." Charlie ran his hand tiredly down his face.
"Alright?" Jacob said incredulously. "What does that mean?"
"I'll look past the abnormalities–"
"– differences and accept them. Just make sure they don't tell me any unnecessary details."
Jacob smiled widely. "Great!" He clapped his hands together. "Let's head back, then."
Jacob let Charlie lead the way out of the forest.
"That's it? We're done? You don't have any more secrets stored up your sleeve?" Charlie skeptically asked as they reached the end of the woods.
Jacob mumbled a few unintelligible words ("imprint" and "Nessie" were the only ones caught) before smiling guiltily and promising to tell Charlie in sixteen years time.
They walked back to the house. Charlie was on the first step leading him onto his front porch when he realized something.
"Jake, I don't see your car. How did you get here? And how are you planning on reaching the Cullens before I do?"
When Charlie turned around he saw that Jacob had already turned round and was sprinting back towards the woods. Jacob tugged off his shirt despite the rain that was now showering down and yelled without looking back: "It's not need to know!"
Charlie simply stood shuddering for a moment, remembering, before he headed inside to get his keys.
He started his car, and for some odd reason, Charlie thought back to all of the past reports of bears near Forks. He realized there hadn't been any bears at all. Just Jacob.
And possibly who-knows-how-many other werewolves . . .
He wished it had been bears.