Over the Rainbow
A/N: A little one-shot that means a lot to me. For effect, please try to follow these instructions: Open up a new window and go to YouTube. Find a video of Connie Talbot singing "Over the Rainbow" and press play. Bring this window to the front and read it while you listen. Just try to imagine it's Renesmee doing the singing. Thank you.
It's been twenty-four years since Renesmee was born and I was changed. Jacob still hasn't aged much. As long as he keeps phasing, he holds off the aging process. Even though we haven't really seen any fighting, since our near-battle with the Volturi, he keeps phasing regularly, so he can stay roughly the same physical age as Nessie. She stopped aging when she took on the appearance of a sixteen-year-old. Jacob still looks about nineteen, though he's approaching forty-two. I don't think losing Jacob is going to be an issue for a long time. Charlie, however, is… A different story.
Charlie just recently turned sixty-two. He's still aging. He's still mortal… But he knows Nessie and I aren't. My dad knows the Cullen family secret, now. He knows everything, but it's okay… We don't need to worry about the Volturi coming for him, because he's sick… Very sick.
Ironically enough, Carlisle was the one to find the cancer. Charlie has tumors in his lungs, liver, brain… A lot of places. It was too widely spread, by the time Carlisle found it. It's inoperable, by any human means, and Charlie doesn't want immortality. He doesn't want forever, so we have to let him go…
"Mom, I have to go for a quick hunt." Renesmee called to me as she came downstairs. She didn't really look thirsty… Just sad. She wanted to hunt as a release… I completely understood.
"Is Jacob going with you?" I didn't really need to ask. The answer was always the same. I just spoke the question out of habit.
"Yes. He's going to meet me out in the meadow. Do you want to come?"
"Not this time. Say hi to Jake for me. He hasn't been by here in a few days."
"He's coming, tonight." Renesmee assured me. "We'll both come back here after we hunt. The rest of the pack will drop by at about seven, tonight. Grandpa will still be… Here, then, won't he?"
"Yes," Alice answered for me as she came downstairs, too. "He'll go in his sleep, tonight, but he'll be awake until nine. You have a few hours, Nessie. Hurry back."
"We will," Renesmee promised. "Thanks, Aunt Ali." Renesmee ran out the door without another word and Alice turned to me:
"We all thought we'd leave for an hour or so, too," she said. "That way, you and your dad can have some real privacy. He wants to see you." In spite of the heavy weight I felt on my still heart, I almost laughed at the idea of 'real privacy'. Even though I was able to block Edward from reading everyone's thoughts all the time, our collective sense of hearing, alone, was an issue, where privacy was concerned. Even now, I could easily hear Emmett talking to Charlie, upstairs:
"Yeah, so the Seahawks lost, again. The Bears are still keeping up their winning streak, though."
"Would you stop with the Bears, Emmett," Charlie groaned weakly. "Honestly, you know I'd rather hear stories about the bears you hunt than that team."
"I know, but talking about them keeps a little color in your cheeks, Charlie," Emmett chuckled. "You get really fired up, talking about them. I guess that's a bad thing, now, though. I shouldn't wear you out… Right, Bella?"
"How did you know I was listening?" I grumbled softly. There was no way Charlie could hear me, up in Edward's old room.
"My fault, Bella," Jasper called from the hall just outside the room. "I felt you getting a little angry, down there, and I accidentally projected to Emmett… He knew I wasn't feeling that way."
"Out the window, both of you," I ordered as I got up off the couch. "I'm coming up."
"Meet us by the garage, Alice," Jasper called.
"Coming," Alice replied and she bounced forward to hug me before she turned and ran out the back door. I heard more sounds of movement, upstairs, and I knew Carlisle, Esme, and Rosalie had followed her.
Upstairs, the room that was once Edward's bedroom had been turned into a miniature hospital in which Charlie was the only patient. He'd been living in that room for two months, now. Carlisle and Edward cared for him as his condition continually worsened. Esme and I cooked all his meals. Emmett entertained him. Jasper relaxed and energized him as was necessary and desired. Alice and Rosalie bought new robes, pajamas, and bedding for him. Renesmee always watched movies with him, and Jacob kept him amused with all the latest pack scandals. It reminded me of my pregnancy with Renesmee, sometimes… An entire family of vampires caring for one human. This time, I was one of the vampires, though… And Charlie didn't want to be changed.
I ran upstairs, only slowing down when I neared the bedroom door. Charlie insisted he was used to our speed, but I remembered being in his position and I knew how disorienting it could be. I stepped through the door to find Charlie fiddling with his IV tube. He looked up at me and smiled wearily.
"You'd better stop messing with that, Dad," I warned him. "If you make yourself bleed, I can change you and call it an accident."
"No, you can't," Charlie countered, still smiling. "You didn't bite me when you first saw me, again, and you were a newborn, then! Any biting you do is no 'accident'. Besides, you know that's not what I want."
"Why, Dad?" I almost begged as I moved to sit on the bed beside him. "Why? Yes, it hurts for a few days, and the thirst is a pain… Literally… But you'd be able to stay with me forever. You'd be able to stay with Nessie… Why, Dad? Why don't you want to stay with us?"
"How many times have I already answered this question, Bells?" Charlie breathed, reaching up and touching my cold cheek with his warm hand.
"Answer it again," I said softly. "Please."
"You know I do want to stay with you." Charlie's weak voice would be inaudible to human ears, but I still heard it clearly: "In a way, I always will be with you… Just not that way. I want to see where everyone else went, Bells. Whatever comes after this life, I want to see it. Harry's been gone for twenty-five years. He's probably got an entire welcoming party arranged for me up there, by now."
"Renee and Phil are at the top of that guest list," I laughed half-heartedly. Both my mother and her young husband had died in a car crash, four years ago.
"I can finally tell them what really happened to you, after your wedding," Charlie chuckled. "I'm still sorry neither of us got a chance to say goodbye to them."
"I had to say goodbye to them at the wedding," I whispered. If it were possible for vampires to cry, I would surely be in tears. "They never knew…"
"They will," Charlie promised. "If they don't already know all the details, from watching over us these past few years, I'll fill them in."
"You can update Billy on how the pack is doing, too," I suggested. "They'll all be over later."
"Good idea," Charlie agreed, then he laughed. "That old fireball is probably running daily laps, up there, just because he can."
"No wheelchair," I sighed. "He must be thrilled."
"He'll be happy to hear Jake and Nessie are gonna tie the knot," Charlie chuckled.
"Happier than you were," I couldn't help but laugh. "Billy is a little more accepting of the whole imprinting process."
"Hey, I'm over that, now," Charlie laughed, again. This time, though, the sound was cut off by a dry cough.
"Shh… Stop talking, Dad," I nearly whimpered. I took a few unnecessary deep breaths to calm myself, before I continued: "I shouldn't be pushing you to talk so much. The others still want to see you before you get too tired… I'll go get you some water." I started to stand up, but Charlie grabbed my hand in an unbearably weak grip. He was even more fragile than most humans, now… I hated thinking of my dad that way, but it was true. He was fading away, and I could do nothing about it. Not without going against his wishes, anyway, and he was right: I wouldn't do that to him.
"Do you remember your mom's favorite song, Bells?" Charlie breathed. My still heart broke for him, then, and I nodded.
"Over the Rainbow," I whispered just loud enough for his ears to hear.
"Somewhere over the rainbow, way up high," Charlie sang softly, "there's a land that I heard of, once, in a lullaby." Charlie coughed, again, and ceased in his singing. Still, he looked at me with imploring eyes, pleading with me to understand. "I know a lot of people over that rainbow, Bells," he breathed. "It's time for me to go see what all the fuss is about."
I forced a laugh at Charlie's little joke and smiled at him as well as I could. This was one of those rare times I was glad vampires couldn't cry. Charlie didn't need to see that. He wanted to be happy. He wanted me to be happy, and… As much as a part of me still wished he would cave and let me change him… I did understand his reasoning. He wanted to go to the one place immortality might never let me see.
I would give him that.
Somewhere over the rainbow, way up high,
There's a land that I heard of,
Once, in a lullaby.
Somewhere over the rainbow, skies are blue
And the dreams that you dare to dream
Really do come true.
Someday I'll wish upon a star and
wake up where the clouds are far
Where troubles melt like lemon drops,
Away above the chimney tops.
That's where you'll find me.
Somewhere over the rainbow, bluebirds fly.
Birds fly over the rainbow.
Why, oh, why can't I?
If happy little bluebirds fly beyond the rainbow,
Why, oh, why can't I?