A/N: ok, so this is my first time to put anything i've written out there, outside of a classroom. i'm slightly, ok, extremely, nervous about that. so, review if you like, but please be kind if you don't, i'm a fanfic virgin! :)
just a few things about this....i was never a jacob/renesmee fan. i thought the whole thing was kinda weird. but i was re-reading new moon for like the 5th time and i started to feel sorry for him again when he puts his feelings out there only to get rebuffed again and again and again. so i figured he deserves to get his happily ever after,too. and i'm a sucker for the happy endings!
HUGE thanks to my new BFF, ghartling, for bringing me into this wonderful world of fanfiction, for being my proofreader and my cheerleader. you rock! and i promise you'll get your emmett goodness in the next one! :)
it goes without saying, though it must be said...the lovely, super-cool, uber-talented Stephenie Meyer owns all things Twilight. i'm just playing with their future!
"Jaaaaake!" I could hear Nessie's voice as clear as though she were standing beside me. My daughter was, in fact, about a mile away, in the garden behind our cottage in the woods. Of course, Jacob would be able to hear her, also, no matter how far away he was, so the yelling was for effect, to get Jacob to come to her quickly. She wanted Jacob, and she wanted him now.
I shook my head and laughed a little at the thought of how fast Jacob would be running now, desperate to know what had caused Nessie to yell so loudly for him. He might have even phased for the trip across the forest. He would be thinking that there was something wrong, that she was hurt or in trouble. In truth, I learned as I allowed my daughter to show me what she was up to, Renesmee needed Jacob simply because she missed him.
Jacob and Renesmee had been linked by fate. On the day she was born, on the day I had been reborn, my best friend, the werewolf, had imprinted on my newborn daughter. It was all still overwhelming sometimes, despite the fact that ten years had passed since that day. Of course, over the first few months of my life as a vampire, so much had happened. Jacob and Nessie, Irina, the gathering at the Mansion, the confrontation with The Volturi. Edward and I had learned in those short months, as everything around us was intensified by the fear of what was coming, that as strange as it may have seemed to us at the time, Jacob was going to be wherever Renesmee was, forever. And as long as he contiuned to live as a werewolf, he wouldn't age. He, like me, would be forever young until he chose to give up his birthright. Of course, he had surpassed me in the physical sense of aging even before my own transformation, leaving him looking about twenty-five. It had been decided that Jacob would remain the Alpha until Renesmee reached her full potential and then they could decide what would be next for them.
I had watched over the years, as their relationship changed. In those first years, Nessie grew so fast, reaching the physical age of ten in just one year. After that, her growth slowed, but she was still maturing faster than a human child. Intellectually, she far surpassed anyone I'd ever known, human or vampire. And her vampire powers were more well developed than we ever expected. When she was small, she would share her thoughts with you by touch. But she had, in the intervening years, grown able to share them with anyone, anywhere, simply by concentrating on their subconscious mind. By the time she was chronologically only eight, Nessie was physically the same as a seventeen-year-old human. The whole family liked to joke that she was now the same age as her father, and only two years younger than I was. Now when we moved to a new place, she would pretend to be our sister instead of our daughter.
I knew the time was coming for her to stop aging. She already appeared older than the only other of her kind we had ever met. I had my reservations about what would happen between her and Jacob when she reached adulthood. The entirety of her life, everything had been accelerated, and Jacob had been there every step of the way, being for Renesmee whatever she needed. He was an excellent babysitter during that first year. He helped Edward and I so much, as I tried to figure out my place in the family and tried to develop some control over my own power of shielding. When Renesmee started to become a teenager, Jacob had been the one to go with her to register for school, acting as her guardian saying she was his niece. He had been her protector since birth, her jungle gym, her hunting partner, her best friend, her confidant, her companion. The nature of being imprinted on another allowed for Jacob to be whatever she needed, he didn't see her in a romantic way, at least not yet. Edward and I often wondered if that would ever happen. Would Renesmee grow to an age where she fell in love with Jacob? And if she did, would they marry? Could they have a family? At some point in the future, would Jacob want to relinquish his werewolf side? What would they do then? Of course, Edward and I knew that these decisions were not ours to make. The answers could only be found by Jacob and Renesmee, in their own time in their own way. We knew Alice wouldn't be able to help any of us either, since Jacob's future was out of her line of sight, so to speak.
This day, though, I stood in the back yard of our family home in Forks, Washington; and listened as any mother would, to her daughter and her very best friend, planting flowers in the garden. This cottage, the one that my sweet mother-in-law, Esme, had built for Edward and I as a wedding present ten years ago, was still, in my heart, our home. We had moved on from this place for the most part, but Carlisle and Esme had agreed to keep the land here and the two homes on it so we could return from time to time. Of course, when we came to town we had to keep a low profile and avoid being seen. We only came here to check on our families- my father, Charlie, and his wife, Sue, and Jacob's dad, Billy. We would send word that we were coming to town, and the three of them would meet us at the mansion for a visit. My father had grown accustomed to the fact that none of were aging years ago, though we still didn't talk openly about who, or rather what, we were. I was happy, though, just to be able to see him every once in a while and know that he was still okay.
Renesmee was planting flowers in the garden at the cottage while Edward and I tended to the main house. Having enjoyed several lovely visits over our week-long stay, we were preparing the house to be empty again for a while. Alice had foreseen a bad end-of-summer storm, so Edward set about letting down the storm windows. I had finished beating the dust out of a large oriental rug before looking through the attic for some luggage that Rosalie said she had left here. She and Emmett were headed on yet another honeymoon to Europe, and she insisted she needed the extra luggage.
"Bella." I heard Edward calling to me.
I recoiled my shield just enough so he could hear my thoughts. Yes, love.
"Have you found Rosalie's suitcase, yet?"
I know it's in here, I just have to move all this other stuff. Shouldn't be but another minute.
"No, hurry, love," he said. "Renesmee and Jacob are on their way back to the house. She wants to ask us something, but she's not letting me see what it is about."
Hmmm. That's interesting. I'll be right down.
I allowed my shield to snap back into place, tossed the rest of the obstacles in my way into a heap on the floor and grabbed Rose's suitcase. I made it down the four flights of stairs in a moment's time to find Renesmee sitting on the kitchen counter with Jacob dutifully by her side and her father sitting at the table, his elbows on the table, hands under his chin staring at the two of them suspiciously. I would never have told him as much, but he reminded me so much of my own father sitting like that. The thought made me smile.
"So," I said, sitting down the luggage and walking toward Edward, "What's up?"
Renesmee shifted herself so she was sitting up perfectly straight with her hands folded in her lap and her legs crossed at the ankle. Jacob straightened up next to her and put his huge hand on the small of her back. His gesture was obviously a sign of his support of her in whatever she had to say.
"Well, I've been thinking, Momma," Renesmee began only to be interrupted by Edward.
"Not so much," he said with a laugh. Apparently she had been blocking him for a while, and he knew she was up to something.
"Dad!" She whined just a little, "Let me finish." He turned his chair to face her and then reached for my hand and pulled me into his lap. He nodded toward our daughter, waiting for her to continue. "So, as I was saying, I've been thinking, and I think I want to try something...well...new...different. And before you guys say anything at all, I want you to hear me out, okay? Promise me you'll at least let me finish before you freak out, okay?"
I turned my head to look down at my husband who was staring at Jacob with a raised eyebrow and an intensity I hadn't seen in a decade. I knew that Jacob had let something slip through the mental block that he and Renesmee had been putting up against Edward, and whatever it was, Edward didn't like it one bit.
I looked back at our daughter, who was so special in so many ways and yet in that moment, she was just a teenager asking her parents to hear her out. God, how I remembered being just like her. I knew she must have thought long and hard about whatever was on her mind, and she obviously wanted whatever it was very much. I knew we had to give her the chance to speak. I turned back to face Edward and recoiled my shield again to include him and spoke silently.
We have to hear her out, no matter what it is, she deserves the right to speak.
He raised his eyebrow again, this time at me, as if to ask me was I sure.
Edward, love, you know that this must be important to her, look at her face.
I saw him glance at her for the briefest of moments and his resolve faltered.
Thank you, dear.
I kissed him on the forehead and then turned to Renesmee and Jacob, "So, tell us what's going on."
Jacob reached over and took Nessie's hand in his own and rested their hands together on her lap. She looked into his eyes for some kind of reassurance before taking a deep breath and beginning to speak.
"Well," she sighed. I could tell she was nervous, and not just because the sound of her thrumming heartbeat was getting faster by the second. "I've been thinking about how we move around all the time. And I know we have to, I understand, really I do. And I love that I've been able to live all over the world in ten short years, and I enjoy traveling with the family. God knows, I've seen things in my life that others only dream about. I love going places with Alice and Jasper and with Rose and Emmett. I've loved seeing all of Grandma Esme and Grandpa Carlisle's favorite places, too, but, well....I...I just think that I'd like to...maybe...settle...down...for a little while."
Was that all? She wants to settle down? Well, we could settle down. That's easy. Of course, Edward could still hear me and he squeezed me tight against him. I knew then that whatever it was Jacob had let slip meant it wasn't going to be that easy. Edward was the next to speak.
"Renesmee, darling, if you want to settle down somewhere, that can certainly be arranged. But I don't understand why all the secrecy? We've settled down before, dear."
I could see the conflict in my Nessie's eyes. I stood and crossed the kitchen to stand beside her. I placed my hand on her shoulder and rubbed down her warm arm to her free hand. Taking her small hand and asking permission with my eyes, I slowly raised her hand up to almost rest on my own, cold cheek. I knew from my own human teenage years that sometimes it was just too hard to say what you wanted to say to your parents. I wanted to protect my Nessie, my baby, from any and all discomfort in her life and if she could show me instead of tell me, maybe this moment would be easier for her. With a hesitant glance at Jacob, she lifted her now trembling hand and placed it on my face as he nodded in his support. I leaned into her palm as she began to show me what she was afraid to say out loud. And with my shield still loose around me, her father would be able to see it, too.
Flashes of Nessie in a classroom, a familiar classroom, taking notes and making friends. Pictures of her with other teenagers, in a cafeteria, on the school lawn, at football games. Pictures of her at Charlie's house- having dinner with him and Sue, sitting in my old room on my old bed. Bonfires at La Push. Walking along First Beach with Jacob, hiking through the forest with Jacob, hunting with Jacob.
It did not escape me that nowhere in Nessie's visions of her immediate future were pictures of the rest of the family, not even of her father or me. Edward noticed, too, and a low growl rumbled through his chest. Renesmee continued to show me pictures of the life she wanted to have, her life with Jacob, and I closed my eyes and let her show me everything. When she was finished, she slowly pulled her hand away from my face and reached out to take my hand. I opened my eyes and could see Jacob rubbing his hand up and down her back, comforting her like he always did. He was looking at me, expectantly, waiting to see what our reaction would be. There was a long silence as Edward and I processed all our daughter had just revealed.
"Edward?" Jacob said tentatively. "Bella?" He reached out and nudged my shoulder. "Guys? You have to say something," he pleaded.
"I...I don't know..." I started. "I'm just a little shell shocked I suppose. I mean, Nessie, if you want to settle down we can all..." I was interrupted by the very teenage sound of my very teenage daughter sighing and rolling her eyes. Just before the "Mooomm" whine came from her lips, I held up my finger to silence her and continued. "But if you think that you're really ready to do this...on...your own...well, then..." I turned to face Edward again and begged him in my thoughts to keep his cool, "...then I think that your father and I will have to consider it. Edward, don't you think we can at least consider it?" His face was blank, void of any and all emotion, as he stared at Jacob.
Jacob held up his hands, as if in surrender and said, "Edward, man, you know how this works, I don't..."
"Have a choice," Edward finished Jacob's sentence for him. "Right? Is that what you were going to say to me? That if my daughter wants to leave this family that you have no choice but to go along with it?!" Edward had risen from his chair and was standing centimeters away from Jacob's face now. Jacob was a good eight inches taller than Edward, but the force with which Edward's eyes were boring into Jacob was more than making up the difference. "I have stood by over the last ten years and watched as you have spoiled her in every possible way. Given her whatever she wanted, however she wanted, whenever she wanted. If her mother or I ever said no, which was rare, all she had to do was run to her Jake and you would give in to her every desire. I'll admit that it was cute when she was little, watching the great and powerful Alpha succumb to the whims of a child. But this is different, Jacob. Aren't you bound to do what is best for her, not just what she wants?!" The two of them were growling at one another now, and I could see the pain in both of their faces as they fought for dominance in my daughter's eyes.
Renesmee looked at me, pleading for help in her big brown eyes, and I had to act. So, once again in my life, I stood between Edward and Jacob. At least this time, I was as strong as they were and could actually force them both to move. I pushed my arms between them and held them at arm's length.
"Okay, boys," I said, attempting to maintain as light-hearted a tone as possible, "Let's not do this right now, okay?" I looked from Jacob to Edward and back again, making them both look at me, not one another. "This is not the way to deal with this, and you both know it. Jake, take Nessie to La Push, will you? You guys didn't get to see Sam and Emily before. I think Edward and I need some time to talk about this." I looked at Renesmee with the eyes of a mother that told her to keep her mouth closed and walk out the door. She smiled meekly at me as she climbed off the counter and headed for the back door. She mouthed a "thank you" to me as she passed. I released my grasp on Jacob and Renesmee grabbed his hand, pulling him toward her. He immediately turned his focus to her and once he looked into her eyes, his anger melted away and he followed her willingly. Once they were a safe distance away, I let go of Edward's shirt and smoothed it out, slowly running my hands down his chest and back up his arms, attempting to calm him down. A few minutes passed before he took a breath and started to relax.
I took his hand and walked us into the living room. Throwing off the white sheet I had just put over the sofa onto the floor, I sat down and pulled him down with me. He looked like he was stunned. It reminded me of how I felt the first time I'd ever laid eyes on him and the rest of the Cullens. I was seventeen, the same age as Renesmee. Of course, my human memories were a bit hazy, but still- I remembered the feeling I got when he finally talked to me, when he saved me in Port Angeles, when he took me to our meadow for the first time, when we kissed.... I was seventeen and in love and thought I knew all there was to know. If I could have left to live alone with Edward I would have done it in a heartbeat. I would have relished that freedom and independence. I knew how she felt. Of course, now I also knew how Charlie had felt each and every time I left the house with Edward. I understood with a great intensity the nervousness and the possessiveness he must have felt. I knew now what it felt like to want to protect your child from any imaginable danger. I also knew that Jacob was no danger to Renesmee, just as Edward had been no danger to me, but that didn't stop the She Lion in me from rising up and wanting to lock Nessie up in her room.
Edward laughed. He laughed? I turned to look at him and saw the smile play across his lips as he looked at me and chuckled. I remembered that I still had my shield recoiled and that my internal diatribe wasn't so internal. I shrugged my shoulders and sat back against the sofa.
"Well," I asked him, "what do you suggest?"
"I really think this is a bad idea, Bella," he said matter-of-factly. "Especially since she obviously wants to settle here. Here, Bella, in Forks. Do you not see all the reasons why that is just a bad idea?! I mean, I know that Charlie is here, but, Bella, it's only been ten years. People around here still remember us. People we knew, people we went to high school with, still live here. Don't you think it would be just a little strange if Jacob Black shows up, still looking the same and with a teenager who is the spitting image of you?"
"Maybe no one will notice, Edward," I tried to sound convincing. "After all, Jake should only be twenty seven now. If they do what we've done before, use his last name and say he's her guardian, no one will question it. And, really, she couldn't be safer here." He looked at me like I had lost my mind. "Honestly, Edward, darling, think about it." I ran my fingers through his hair, trying to calm him more. "She would be safe anywhere with Jacob. You know that he would never let anything happen to her. And being so close to the pack at La Push. They have a duty to her as well, remember." Edward winced a little at that fact. He still had a hard time accepting that our daughter, our one of a kind little girl who should belong only to us in his mind, was also supernaturally linked with the Quileute pack. His instinct to revile the werewolves was difficult to ignore. He had done so well over the years, but we always knew that in the end, we had the final authority. Until now. Now, our little girl wasn't so little anymore. And she was pushing the limits of what her father could stand. Edward snaked his arm around my waist and pulled me to him. I rested my head on his shoulder and took his hand in mine. We sat there for several hours, until it was dark out. Finally, I stood and walked toward the back door. Edward was motionless on the sofa.
"Edward," I spoke softly, willing him to come with me back to our cottage.
"Yes, love," he said, looking up at me. "I'll be there soon. I promise. I just....I need to think..." He laced his fingers together, put his hands behind his head and dropped his head on the back of the sofa. He sighed a defeated sigh and was lost in thought again.
I took one last look at him before turning and setting off through the woods, heading into the forest instead of to our home. I couldn't handle going into the cottage alone- the memories would have been too much to bear now, knowing that the time we'd feared was coming. It was time to let go.
End Notes: so, there it is...i have a few more chapters finished, but they need reviewing before i put them up. i'm bracing myself for what you have to say...so let me have it...like it? hate it? need something clarified? hit me!