Companion one-shot to "A Matter of Time" - A TLYDF Recommendation. Volturi revolt, wolf pack renegades, Edward and Bella trying to parent Renesmee, who is seeing Jacob in a whole new way. A story of action, intrigue, and sexual awakening.
The first thing I remember is the taste.
I'd never tasted it before. The flavor exploded in my mouth. It brought me out of the dark place in which my mind had been hiding and threatened to overwhelm my senses. I rolled the sweet, thick liquid in my mouth over my tongue before I swallowed, keeping my eyes closed. The taste of it sent waves of ecstasy rolling through my body. The closest thing I could compare it to was an intense, satisfying orgasm. That kind of intensity, that kind of explosion. Every cell in my body was crying out in satiation. I felt tingles ripple outward from my spine, reaching to my fingers and toes.
The venom pooled in my mouth, washing the flavor away. More, more! my body demanded. Where had it come from? My eyes flew open. Where was I? My body startled on its own, it had been decades since I had a break in consciousness. I saw Emmett and Carlisle bend over me.
"Rose, you're awake!" Emmett whispered, his dark features etched with concern.
Carlisle's face hung over me from the other side of the bed, strangely blurry. I moved my eyes back and forth between Carlisle and Emmett before I realized my eyes were to blame. It was then, as the last of the incredible taste left my mouth, that the pain settled on me like a 20 ton boulder. The whole left side of my body felt like it was burning and searing my nerve endings with red hot irons.
I moved my eyes to Carlisle. I tried to say "It hurts," but all that came out was a twisted groan. My mouth. Why wasn't my mouth responding? What had happened to me? My eyes started to flick back and forth with panic.
Carlisle put his hands on my shoulders. "You were hurt, Rose. You've been burned quite severely. We are in Alaska; we came as soon as we heard. The whole family is here. We're taking care of you."
The memories came rushing back. The fire, the fight. Oh god, seeing Kate and Tanya go up in flames. Jane. My belly spasmed with the intensity of the hate I felt for her. The pain, oh god, the memory of that pain. Renesmee in Jane's hands. Renesmee!
I grabbed Emmett's arm with the hand that didn't feel like it was in flames. "Renesmee, where is Renesmee?" I tried to ask him. Again, all that came out was a series of inarticulate groans.
Emmett shook his head; my speech was too slurred for him to understand. "You're going to be ok," he said, running his knuckles lightly down my face. "It's going to be all right."
No! Renesmee, where is she? I wanted to yell. I groaned in frustration.
Carlisle disappeared and Edward took his place next to the bed. "Renesmee is fine," he said. "She was able to get away from Jane. She's here with us now. "
I dropped my head back on the pillow in relief. What happened?
He smiled proudly. "The soldiers had her, but she gave them a severe case of 'hot hands' and was able to get away. We found her the next morning and learned you'd been taken to the morgue. We got you from there. They said the firefighters found you in flames on the lawn."
In the morgue? What the hell?
My mind began reeling at the thought of being in that place. How many times was I going to have to die, only to keep on living?
"Do you remember jumping out of the burning house? Renesmee says she saw Jane throw you into it."
I remembered that, I had no memory of coming out. I looked into Edward's eyes. Jane wasn't the only one there. Alec and Demetri were there too. There was also an Asian witch, throwing fireballs around.
Edward dropped his voice. "We've assumed Kate and Tanya didn't make it."
Kate wrestled with Alec and they were both destroyed. Tanya, too. Demetri was injured by Jacob. I remembered the fight, knowing Edward would see what I had seen. Is Jacob here? I think I still smell him. My nose must have wrinkled. It sent slivers of pain across my face, matching the rest of my anguished body.
I saw Carlisle put his hand on Edward's shoulder. Edward nodded and said," He's in the bed next to you," as he moved away from the bed. "She's in a lot of pain, Carlisle."
Carlisle leaned over me. "We've been giving you blood, Rosalie. It will help with the healing."
Blood? Was that what I'd been tasting? Human blood?
"Can you help her with the pain, Carlisle? " Emmett spoke from my side, from which he hadn't moved. The look on his face revealed that he was in as much agony as I was, if not more.
"Absolutely. I have a morphine derivative I've been using with some results. It's right in the blood. Now that she's awake we can give it to her."
"She's worried about the blood, Carlisle." That was Edward. His face was emotionless, as if he was pushing everything aside, focusing all of his energy on communicating with me.
"Don't be, Rosalie." Carlisle smiled as he handed a clear plastic transfusion bag filled with blood to Emmett. "You need it and no one died for it."
My eyes followed the bag as he handed it to Emmett. That's the bliss I had tasted.
Emmett smiled nervously and said, "Open up, babe."
I let my jaw drop open and he dripped a small amount in my mouth. There it was again, that incredible, thrilling taste. This had a metallic aftertaste to it, though. Still, my eyes closed with the pleasure of it. It satisfied me like nothing else I had ever imagined. It was like I had been a junkie my whole life, but just now discovered heroin. Would I be able to stop when I no longer needed it? I couldn't say. I'd deal with that when the time came. In the meantime, I let the lovely evanescent liquid slide down my throat.
It was several hours later that Emmett came to sit beside me. I hadn't even been aware that he left. The drugs that Carlisle had put in the blood didn't exactly ease the pain. They just made me groggy and made me care less about the pain that was still there, seeming just at arm's length. He took my undamaged hand in his own and bowed his head. I was struggling to speak, when I heard the tearless sobs begin to emanate from him. "Oh god, Rosalie…" he whimpered as he raised his head to face me. "I can't even begin to tell you…When I thought I'd lost you…"
I couldn't get any words to come out, so I squeezed his hand. It wasn't much, but it was all of the comfort I could give him in my present state.
He managed a slight smile, letting me know it was enough. "I love you too, babe, more than anything."
We remained frozen for what seemed like hours, our eyes locked on each other. There was no need for words; we had a connection that went far beyond the language.
Finally, Emmett broke the silence. "It's been decided we're going to take you to Isle Esme. Do you feel up to getting dressed?"
I nodded. Jacob was up and gone from the bed I had seen him in earlier. Instead, there were clothes laid out for me.
With Emmett's help, I swung my legs over the side of the bed and sat on the edge. My arm and my leg were so damaged, I felt something like a wave of nausea roll over me. I turned away from them. My face. What had happened to my face? I reached up with my right hand and felt the deformity on the left side of my face. Unbelieving, I ran my hand over my scalp. My hair was gone. There was nothing but stubble.
Oh God, what had happened to me? The world started trembling violently. There was an inhuman scream or groan filling the room. It was me, I realized as I saw panic cross Emmett's face. I was shaking and yelling incoherently. He took a step back and yelled for Carlisle and Jasper. Immediately, I felt a wave of calm settle on top of my despair like a cool cloth to a feverish forehead. Carlisle and Jasper came in the room, concern written across their faces.
The calm took the edge off, but I still had to know. Edward came to stand in the doorway and I beseeched him with my eyes.
"She wants a mirror," he told Emmett.
"Do you think that's a good idea?" Emmett muttered to Carlisle, turning his back to me.
"Better now while Jasper is here," Carlisle murmured back.
Emmett left the room while Carlisle came to kneel in front of me. "Rosalie, keep in mind this is only temporary. You will heal. You will be whole again."
I nodded and looked at Edward.
"How long?" he asked Carlisle as I mentally prepared myself for the answer that would follow.
Carlisle ran his hand down my face. "Well, already I am seeing some improvement, here. Realistically, though several weeks for your face. Two months for your arm and leg. The hair will be the last to be restored."
Emmett came in, holding a hand mirror. I reached for it and set it facedown in my lap. I looked at Edward and he put his hand on Carlisle's shoulder. "She'd like some privacy."
"Of course," Carlisle said and rose from his knees to head toward the door.
Jasper murmured to Emmett, "I'll be right outside if you need me." He led Carlisle and Edward out of the door and Edward closed the door softly behind him.
"Do you want me here, Rose?" Emmett asked hesitantly.
I grabbed his hand and tugged on his arm so that he came and sat by me on the bed. He put his arm around my shoulders and kissed my hair.
"It's gonna be alright, Rose," he whispered softly, sensing my fear.
I leaned sideways to touch my forehead on his. Then I picked up the mirror and looked.
It was a shock to see the damage done to my face and head. I let out a gasp as I saw how the side of my face had become deformed. It was horrifying, it would scare children. I was a monster. I could feel the revulsion rising in me as I gazed at my reflection, only to feel it siphoned away by Jasper.
He couldn't fight the anger that suddenly rose in me. I threw the mirror at the window and it exploded through the glass with a shower of shards. Jane. Demetri. That Asian witch. Somebody was going to pay.
Doing my best to talk slowly and clearly, I turned to Emmett. "Volturi?"
"No, we believe it's Caius and Jane. They seem to have taken it upon themselves to lead a revolt. They're going after covens around the world."
A growl rumbled through my chest. Again, I felt a wave of calm wash over me. "Jasper, stop," I yelled to him, as the fingers of my right hand bit into the mattress, mangling it. I didn't want to be calm, I didn't want to be sedated. Goddamn it, I was pissed, I had good reason and I needed to feel it. Anger was the only thing that was going to keep the despair at bay.
I could use anger. Anger and I were friends. A black hole of sorrow and depression was yawning at my feet. It was rage and fury that would keep me out of it.
There was a timid knock on the door. "Aunt Rose," Renesmee called through the door, "it's me."
Emmett checked with me and I nodded. "Come in," he told her.
Renesmee came in and threw her arms around me. "I'm so glad you're alive. I thought I'd lost you."
I hugged her tight with one arm and smoothed her hair. I noticed the bandage on her arm and as she stepped away after our hug and I pointed with my eyes to it. "Are you okay?" I lisped. I fought down the embarrassment of being unable to speak correctly. The humiliation of letting my family see me like this was almost as bad as the pain.
Her eyes sparked, and she put her hands on her hips, an indignant sparrow. "They shot me, can you believe it?"
They'd shot her? The anger that was burning as a ball in the pit of my stomach racheted up a notch.
"We're going to Isle Esme so you can recover. We'll take good care of you, I promise," she said.
Isle Esme was a good choice. We'd keep her out of harm's way there and Emmett and I could keep her safe.
Emmett asked her, "Are you ready to go?"
She nodded and paused by the door on her way out. "Jacob was hurt. He'll come, too. Carlisle says we'll leave as soon as you are ready."
Jacob was coming, too? Now that I doubted was a good idea. I could tell things were happening between him and Renesmee, even if Bella was too blind to see it. I could see the change in the way Renesmee had been looking at him. Her adult hormones were starting to kick in. This was a hazardous time in a young girl's life and she needed a strong hand at this stage. Sometimes Bella's youth was her worst liability. It was good the rest of us Cullens were around to help her parent Renesmee. Bella was still a child herself.
It was a long trip down to Brazil, and Carlisle had me doped up most of the way. There was a small bedroom in the back of the charter jet and I took advantage of it. Esme and Alice had assured me that with the scarf and sunglasses, people wouldn't see my injuries. But I knew they were just trying to assuage me. I was monstrous, I knew it and I suffered in humiliation.
However, I was going to have to speak with Emmett about cutting back on the amount of painkiller he was using. I was already a vampire; I didn't need to be a zombie too. At least, I could see some improvement in my speech. If I made an effort to talk slowly and clearly, I could make myself understood.
The next morning dawned clear and bright on Isle Esme, a slap in the face to the way I felt. Wrapped in a scarf, sunglasses and jacket I had Emmett bring me out to the patio where I could watch the water. Emmett made Jacob and Renesmee breakfast and then joined me on the patio. I listened to the conversation in the kitchen between Jacob and Renesmee.
Jacob was impressed with the island. Well, he should be. This was one of many spectacular residences the Cullens maintained around the world. I know it sounds materialistic, but having an adequate roof over one's head is an important consideration.
Could Jacob take care of Nessie the way she deserved? I had to doubt it. Nessie was so unique, so special that she deserved the best. I doubted whether Jacob could deliver. Maybe someone closer to her own species. I turned to Emmett.
"We should call Zafrina and Senna and see if they want to come visit us. Maybe they could bring Nahuel."
"Sure, Rose, if that's what you want," Emmett agreed. "I just thought you'd be more comfortable if we didn't have any visitors."
I listened to Nessie and Jacob. It sounded like they were in the bathroom on the far side of the house. My heart broke as I heard Nessie crying about her fears for her family. I was sure Jacob was in there, comforting her, holding her. We needed to re-direct Nessie's attention as soon as possible. "No, I think we should get them here as soon as they can make it."
"You're thinking about Nessie, aren't you?" Emmett knew me so well it was scary sometimes.
"If we do nothing, Nessie is just going to fall into Jacob's arms. Let's at least make her aware that there's a choice out there."
"Rose," Emmett was shaking his head. "Nessie could do a lot worse than Jacob. He would never intentionally hurt her. He loves her like crazy."
"So she's just going to spend her life in some tiny apartment in La Push for the next fifty years? She was meant for better than that."
"I think you're—"
I cut him off. "Please, just make the call. See if they can come by. This time of year, they're usually around the cities."
Emmett sighed. "Alright, Rose. I'm not feeling real good about this, though." He got up from his seat and went back in the house.
I was right. Of course, I was. This was for Nessie's well-being.
I watched as Jacob and Nessie walked down the beach, their towels in hand. Jacob's casts had finally come off and they were going for a celebratory swim. I was glad Nessie finally had a companion so she could go in the water. They'd never taught her to swim, so I had asked her to stay out of the water until she had a swim partner. Emmett had gone once with her, but now Jacob was able, they could have some fun in the waves.
I'd kept my ear closely tuned to the tenor of their relationship. Zafrina and Senna, with Nahuel couldn't get here fast enough, as far as I was concerned. Emmett had been trying to call them with no luck. Nahuel would be a perfect match for Nessie, I thought. He was mature and good-looking, and most importantly, he was a hybrid like her. It would be interesting to see what traits their children had. At least, they wouldn't be puppies.
Jacob had been the perfect playmate for Nessie as she was growing up. I knew he loved her and would go to any length to protect her, but Nessie was becoming a young lady now. She was a Cullen and that carried with it certain responsibilities. I could just hear Maggie or Siobhan snickering if Nessie got involved with Jacob.
The sight of my worst fears coming true suddenly interrupted my thoughts. Jacob and Renesmee were kissing in the water. I leaned forward in my chair and tried to find the strength to stand. Injured or not, I was about to neuter that damn dog!
Nonetheless, my body refused to cooperate. I was too helpless to do anything other than sit and watch the spectacle. To make matters worse, it was then that Emmett came back from the mainland with Carmen and Eleazar.
Oh great, more witnesses!
Carmen and Eleazar were extremely nice about the situation. If they noticed anything going on with Jacob and Nessie, they didn't acknowledge it. Of course, I knew that there was no possible way they could have not noticed. How often do you see a half-human, half-vampire making out with a werewolf? I could only hope they would respect our privacy and not spread the news around. Our family had suffered enough humiliation from Edward getting involved with a human.
Jacob and Nessie finally came down from the beach and she threw her towel over the railing and headed into the house. I caught Jacob's attention as he was passing and asked, "Could I talk with you a moment?"
He turned to me, his eyes narrowed.
"Come, sit down," I said, patting the seat next to me.
"Say what's on your mind, Rosalie," he said, not moving.
I sighed. Apparently he'd decided he was going to be difficult. "Jacob, I thought we'd had an understanding about Nessie."
He and rolled his eyes in annoyance. "Refresh my memory."
Damn it, now I was getting angry. I'd hoped to keep this pleasant. "What was going on in the water out there? You call that letting Nessie make up her own mind?"
He rolled his eyes. "Rosalie," he said, shaking his head. "I'm not the one being the aggressor here."
"You think that absolves you? Here she is, this impressionable young girl, and you're trotting around half-naked. Of course, she's going to be influenced."
"Half-naked?" He put his hands on his hips. "We're on a tropical island. Maybe I should wear a suit?"
I glared at him balefully. "Oh, I don't know, Jacob. You don't really seem like a 'suit' kind of guy…"
He glared at me, the realization of my implication dawning on him. "Just what is that supposed to mean?"
He was just intentionally being stupid. No matter, I wasn't letting it go just yet. "I just thought sweatpants were more your style," I said flippantly.
"Oh, so you're saying I'm not good enough for Nessie?"
"Your words, not mine, Dog." I knew he wasn't as dumb as he looked. "Then again, maybe you're right. I mean, it would have been just fine for Bella, but Nessie is a Cullen."
"Well, Bella is a Cullen now too, in case you haven't noticed."
"Huh, I guess you're right. I suppose she wised up before it was too late." His face fell, and I smiled triumphantly, knowing I had hit him where it hurt.
"You know what, Rosalie? Your injuries couldn't make you any uglier than your personality has!"
I could feel venom start flooding my mouth. How dare he say that to me! I had a good mind to tear him into pieces! He couldn't win Bella over so the little shit was trying to make a move on Nessie. "This is just what you've been waiting for, isn't it Jacob?" I hissed. "You've been circling like a vulture for the last year, waiting for Nessie to notice you. Now that she's developed, you're—"
He cut me off, his eyes flashing. "I don't know what the hell you are thinking, Rosalie, but you are wrong. Dead wrong. I'm outta here." He turned on his heels and started for the house.
"Vulture," I called after his back. "Where are your promises now, dog?"
Oh, this was bad. This was really bad. This situation was going to require a very skilled hand. Nessie needed to see the options that were out there. I couldn't push too hard with her; she was pig-headed like her mother. If she sensed that I was trying to drive her away from Jacob, she'd just be all over him even more.
But she had to know there were other suitors out there and she didn't have to settle for a furry beast. And a smelly one at that.
Carmen had Nahuel's cell phone number, and I lucked out that he was in network range. Once I explained we were just off the coast of Brazil and that Nessie was with us, Nahuel was eager to come. I told him how she liked jewelry, a minor lie, and he asked if it was appropriate to bring her something which I approved wholeheartedly. I arranged that Emmett would pick him up at the dock tomorrow morning.
"Emmett!" I called excitedly.
He trotted out of the house to the patio where I was sitting. "Yes, babe?"
"Nahuel can make it tomorrow, he'll be at the dock in the morning. Would you pick him up?"
"Sure, no problem. Is it just him?"
"Yes, he's coming alone." I was thinking fast. What was the best way to set the mood for a suitor? "He eats food, right? Do you think you could put some lunch together for him and Nessie?"
"Sure. But won't Jacob want to eat, too?"
"Well, I think he may not want to join us."
Emmett came and sat next to me. He took my good hand in his own, and stroked it for a moment, before looking at me. "Rosalie, I see what you are doing. You need to think twice about this."
"Emmett," I complained. "This is for Nessie. Let's at least show her there is a choice."
"All right, Rose. But if Nahuel isn't working out, you need to let it go."
I looked Emmett in the eyes. I could see his love for me and his concern for Nessie.
"Fine, whatever," I told him as nicely as I could. I really didn't feel the need to argue with him; he'd see that I was right soon enough.
I laid in my bed that night, thinking back over the day's events. Lunch hadn't gone quite as well as I had hoped it would. Nahuel had been a perfect gentleman, really quite the charmer, but Nessie refused to show any interest. She seemed very distracted the whole time, probably worrying about the dog.
I made one last effort once they had finished eating, suggesting that she take him for a walk on the beach. I had hoped a little dolphin watching might help to distract her, but it was no use. She was just too damned stubborn.
It was then that I unleashed my fury on Jacob. This time, I didn't hold anything back. Renesmee came in and interrupted us, but that didn't stop me. Instead, I used it to my advantage. I told her about Jacob's first love and revealed that it was Bella. I figured it was time she knew the whole truth about her beloved Jacob, but the look on her face made me second-guess myself. She looked like someone had ripped her heart out.
I felt the guilt wash over me as I realized that I was the one hurting her. Then again, it was Jacob's actions that had brought her to this point, not mine.
I probably would have kept going, but Emmett came in and intervened. "Rosalie!" he barked. "That's enough!"
I found myself absolutely furious, and yet slightly turned on by his words. He'd spoken to me with such authority that I was actually too shocked to reply. Instead, I decided to just let it go. Besides, Jacob had more than enough explaining to do for now.
After that, I thought I was finally making some headway. Jacob had decided to bow out gracefully, and asked Emmett to take him back to the mainland. I was quite pleased with his decision, but Nessie was not. She ended up making a big, dramatic scene and Nahuel ended up being the one to leave the island.
Suddenly, I heard an entirely new problem developing in the house. I listened as Nessie left her bedroom and approached Emmett, who was playing with his cell phone in the living room.
"I'm going to Jacob's room and you're not going to do anything about it," she told Emmett sternly. I waited for him to react, but heard nothing but silence.
A minute later, Emmett came to the doorway of the bedroom we shared and leaned against the doorjamb.
"I take it you heard that?" he asked, a smile playing around his lips.
"Do you think we should stop her? What are Edward and Bella going to say?"
"They're going to have to accept it some time," he said moving towards the bed where I was ensconced, sitting back against the headboard.
I slid over to make room for him, keeping my damaged hand under the covers where he couldn't see it. "But she needs someone like her, someone who can provide for her and give her the right friends and connections."
Emmett withdrew my hand from where I had hidden it and brought it to his mouth to kiss it. Some part of me was full of embarrassment, that he would be so intimate with my injury and some part of me longed for it. Emmett and I had not made love since before I left for Alaska, the longest time in our decades-old marriage. I'd been too ashamed of the way I looked to think that he could want me like this. However, Emmett always had a way of surprising me.
"You know who you sound like, don't you?" he asked, his head down, looking up at me through his lashes.
"No," I whispered, mesmerized as he kissed the back of my deformed hand and then turned it palm up to plant kisses there.
He paused, his face suddenly growing serious. "It's the way you told me your mother talked about Royce King."
I gasped and pulled my hand away in shock. I couldn't remember a time when I had ever heard Emmett say his name before, and definitely not like this. Hearing that name now, on top of everything else, was almost too much.
"This is nothing like that," I replied bitterly as I wrapped my arms protectively around my chest.
"You know I would never bring that up to hurt you, but have you seriously stopped to listen to yourself lately? I know Jake is not your favorite person, but you need to consider your reasons for not wanting him and Nessie together."
I moved forward on the bed until I was directly in front of Emmett. "So, what are you saying? Are you calling me a bitch like everyone else does?" I screamed in his face. "I'm tired of everyone thinking that about me! I'm only doing this because I care what happens to Renesmee!"
Emmett remained calm despite my fury. "So, what you're saying is that you love her so much that you want to take her away from the love of her life and pair her up with a virtual stranger; a stranger who just so happens to be a very wealthy member of a vampire family. Tell me this, Rose, aside from making things 'less embarrassing' for the family, what can be gained here? I think Nahuel is a great dude, but what exactly does Nessie get from this deal? When were you going to take her feelings into consideration?"
"Nessie is just a child, Emmett. She doesn't know what she wants; how could she possibly know what's best for her?"
"You know, I seem to recall the same thing being said about Bella. Should I recap how that one worked out? Or perhaps we should just recap how things worked out with Royce instead?"
For the first time that day, I was at a loss for words. Emmett was hitting hard, and I didn't know how to respond. Was it possible that he might be right? I could hear everything that was going on in Jacob's room. He really did seem sincere in his affections, and at least he was keeping his paws to himself.
"Vera," I whispered as I lowered my gaze from Emmett in shame. Vera had been my best friend when I was still a human. She had married a wonderful man who loved her very much. At first, I was jealous of her, but then felt sorry for her when Royce found me. Her husband was a simple carpenter, and I was rather smug about the whole situation. Of course, in the end, the joke was on me. She got all of the things that really mattered, and I suffered a horrible death.
Suddenly, I felt the nonexistent tears that would have flowed if I were still human. I reached out to take Emmett's hand and looked up at him with apologetic eyes. "After all of these years, how can I still be so blind?"
"Aw, babe, it's okay," he said sincerely as he pulled me to his chest while I sobbed my dry tears. "Besides, don't all girls turn into their mother at some point?"
Emmett and I made love until the sun made its appearance in the sky. It wasn't like our usual trysts that tended to send the entire family out hunting as far away as possible. This time it was sweet, soft, and gentle. I found myself feeling vulnerable and exposed in a way I'd never felt before. My body had always been so beautiful and so perfect that I had never been uncomfortable with my nakedness. However, Emmett was looking at me with every bit of love and desire that he always had, giving me the courage to allow myself to let go and love him back.
Lying there, feeling safe and loved in Emmett's arms, I imagined what the future would bring for Renesmee and Jacob. I imagined them with a little boy, much like Vera's Henry; one big happy family safe and secure in La Push. They would never want for anything, despite Jacob's financial status. I'd see to that myself.
I made up my mind to try to get along better with Jacob, starting today. As I was contemplating how exactly I should go about this, I felt Emmett's hands as he began squeezing my butt. Well, perhaps I could start tomorrow…