A/N: Yes, I know. I wrote it. An Edward POV. I had my reasons but I still feel dirty. Just know, I did it for a friend - Happy Christmas, Katie! Consider me posting this a little belated Christmas present to you all too. Let me know how I did with characterization - I tried my best, but I was glad to get back out of Edward's head. :) As you could see, I crammed Jacob in whenever possible.
All you girls who straddle the fence, enjoy. :)
Disclaimer: I own nothing, not even the plot, which was devised by my friend Katie. I wrote this for her as a Christmas gift - I am literally only responsible for the title, which - let's be honest - is not that good, and the order the words are strung together in.
Dedication: For Katie. It's a testament how much I love you, that you could make me write this of all things. But shh, don't tell - I kind of enjoyed it.
Bridging the Gaps
. O .
Edward set his book down at the sound of a knock at the study door. He could tell from the steady, thrumming heartbeat that it was his daughter. He called out for her to come in, and she did, peeping her pretty auburn head around the door.
He smiled at the name - he'd been Dad lately. He hadn't been Daddy for a while.
"Come in, darling," he encouraged, wondering what his daughter could possibly want to visit him him for.
They hadn't exactly had the best relationship as of late. The fact that her mother, downstairs in the kitchen cooking her dinner, was firmly shielding their daughter's thoughts from him was proof of that. He understood, as a rapidly growing teenage girl, the privacy issue - he just missed seeing inside her mind.
"Hi . . . " He watched her stand awkwardly before the door, her small arm reaching back to close it behind her. "What're you doing?"
"Reading a medical journal," he told her, gesturing for her to sit. Renesmee did, taking timid steps to the armchair across from his own and sitting, tucking one bare foot under her. "One of the new ones Carlisle brought back from South America - I was trying to pace myself, but - "
He watched his daughter giggle. It was a sweet sound - one that hadn't been directed at him in awhile. "But super-fast-vampy-speed makes it hard, huh?"
She took so much from Jacob, it was kind of unbelievable.
"Yes, it does," he agreed, watching Renesmee twiddle one of her curls, almost nervously. "One can only concentrate for so long on each sentence before it becomes tedious."
"So . . . " Renesmee's eye cast along the room, like she was searching for a subject to cling to - or perhaps even worse, an escape. He really hoped this hadn't been a plan of his wife's, trying to force Renesmee to bond with him. "How is it?"
"Not much I don't already know," he admitted, cringing internally at how vain it sounded. "But there are a few interesting points."
"Cool." Renesmee - Nessie - bobbed her head, and shifted in her seat.
Then there was silence. Edward cast around his mind for a safe, non-awkward subject.
There had been no huge fight between them, no catastrophe that broke their relationship beyond repair. It came in small, gradual steps - things so small that even his vampiric mind hadn't really caught it.
Nessie . . . grew up. Quickly.
She needed her space - he had to knock before opening the door, even if he could read her mind easily and know if she was decent. Then kisses became inappropriate - she was too big, Daddy, she said.
Then the Daddy went. Just Dad.
Then finally, Nessie conferenced with her mother and came to an agreement that Bella would shield her mind whenever possible. It wasn't fair, they said, to be a teenage girl and have your father stuck in your head. Cruel, they said, to have to worry about every innermost thought subject to scrutiny.
But Edward had never judged his daughter - or scrutinized her. He would throw himself onto a fire before being cruel to her, so he couldn't claim to completely understand their logic, but he agreed.
He hadn't heard his daughter's . . . inner-voice for a while. Sometimes he wondered if it had changed.
"Jacob is coming for dinner, isn't he?" He decided on asking, even though it was an obvious, and honestly, bit stupid question. Jacob always came over for dinner on human-supper nights. And he hunted with her whenever possible as well. "When will he be here?"
"Jacob," Nessie said, like she was tasting the name, avoiding his eyes. Her brow furrowed and she bit her lip. Something her mother used to do when she was human - adorable. "He . . . Jacob isn't coming tonight."
Edward ran a quick mental check that lasted less than a hundredth of a second. Jacob didn't have patrol or any other obligations that should keep him from dinner, not ones that Edward knew about, at any rate.
So he knew what it was.
"Why not?" Edward asked carefully anyway - he wanted his daughter's perspective. Oh, how he missed just knowing.
"I don't know." He could tell from Renesmee's tone that she was being completely honest. "Dad . . . dy, I just don't know. "
"He didn't give you any reason?"
He wasn't unsure if it was very like or unlike Jacob not to give one. Edward knew every fiber of his being ached to please Renesmee, and but also that he loathed to lie to her.
"He said he has patrol," Nessie said, shaking her head. Then in a completely shocking movement, Nessie slid fluidly from her chair, until she was kneeling at the edge of his. She acted like it hadn't been nearly a year since she'd done this. "But . . . I know he doesn't. Why would he lie to me, Dad?"
Jacob was having a very hard time . . . with Renesmee growing up. Or, to be quite honest, he wasn't having much problem with it at all and that was troubling him. Edward had watched the progression in Jacob's mind from the very day Nessie was born, the fluid changes that occurred, melding so seamlessly into the other until you couldn't remember them changing at all.
From protector to playmate to confidante and closest friend and now . . .
Now to the love a man had for a woman.
Edward knew, traditionally, he should have a much larger problem with this than he did. But it was hard to when he saw the torture Jacob put himself through on a daily basis now, trying to tamp down his lust and only leave his love, not realizing that this new love - the love of a man, couldn't really be had without it. That they came together.
The worst part for him, Edward knew, was that he couldn't even wish it was another way. He'd heard Jacob's thoughts, heard him marvel at how completely he could not bring himself to wish things were back to the way they were before.
The man would take torture over hurting his daughter. And would accept that torture gladly, rather than live without the love he had for her. A love that made him incapable of doing anything to hurt her, even if it meant going against his every instinct.
No father could begrudge his daughter that.
Jacob flatly refused to tell Renesmee about the imprint - he said that he knew her. Proudly, he stated that he knew her better than anyone, and he was probably right. He knew her, he'd said, and she was so . . . so compassionate and kind and amazing that she would take pity on him if she knew.
Jacob feared she would sacrifice her own happiness for his. But Jacob, as close to Renesmee he may be, had not been inside her head for nearly six years. She was as tied to Jacob as he was to her, and although he'd been blockaded from her mind for awhile and had no way of knowing if Renesmee returned Jacob's romantic feelings yet, it was clear that her happiness was tied to his.
It was beautiful, he was forced to admit. Bella once told him something Renee had said about them the time they had gone to visit her in Florida. That they way Bella oriented herself around him reminded her of . . . magnets, or gravity.
It was like that with Jacob and Renesmee - something really amazing to watch. But it was both of them - like gravity connected them, constantly in sync.
Jacob had become like a son to him, and he hated to see either one of them hurt. He was also a grown man though, and so Edward resolved to stay out of it while Jacob was only hurting himself. But when this started to affect Renesmee . . .
As of late, more than late actually, Renesmee hadn't really taken well to Edward prodding into her business. Even with fatherly concern - but watching the slightly desperate tilt to her eyes was enough to push him into a decision.
"Are . . . " Edward lifted his finger, just a few millimeters, just enough to run over Renesmee's hot ones resting on his knee. Warm to normal humans, but hot to him. "Are things with you and Jacob all right?"
"Daddy," Renesmee choked, and despite the distinctly unhappy tone, Edward couldn't help but rejoice she wasn't closing off and walking away. "Things are . . . so weird now. I don't know what I did . . . "
No. No. He would not betray Jacob's secret before he had his chance to tell it, but he would not allow his daughter to think like this.
He reached down and soothed his fingers over her hair, her beautiful hair, and his other down her shoulder.
"No, Renesmee." He knew she preferred Nessie, Jacob's name for her, but she didn't flinch away from it. Or his icy fingers. "You've done nothing wrong, love . . . Jacob is just going through some things. He needs a little - "
"What?" Renesmee interrupted, a sharp lilt to her voice. "Time? Space? Any of those other stupid things you hear people on television say? We're . . . we're best friends, Daddy, why would he need time from me? Why would he need space . . . from me?"
Her voice cracked, and a tear fell. Edward couldn't stand it. He hadn't seen his daughter cry in . . . years.
He respected strongly the love that Jacob harbored for his daughter, as strong and pure as it was, but he loathed that it ever made her cry.
"Renesmee . . . " He soothed, running fingers over her curls again and searching for words. He was used to being eloquent, but a teenage girl had stumbled him. "Sweetheart . . . "
Then, before he could hardly register it - but not quite, since he was a vampire - Renesmee had scrambled up into his lap. His lap.
If he were human, he would probably say he couldn't even remember the last time she had sat there. Edward was not human though, and he remembered well. It had been five months and eleven days before her fifth birthday and she had been physically thirteen. He'd reached out to hug her and pull her into his lap and she had resisted.
Her hair was in a long braid down her back. She looked down at the bracelet that never left her wrist, the newest in the line of bracelets that Jacob fashioned for her when the previous became too small.
She adjusted it on her wrist, avoided his eyes, and mumbled, "Daddy . . . I just don't think . . . "
That had been the start of it.
He hadn't forgotten how to hold his child there though, and his arms moved to encircle her. She curled up sideways and rested her head on what he knew was his very hard shoulder. He could feel her breath against his skin.
"I know . . . I know we haven't, but . . . is it okay if I talk to you about this, Daddy?" He felt another tear slip, like hot water, onto his skin. It literally pained him, and not physically. "There's just . . . "
No one else.
There were an array of vampire women, who really didn't understand a young werewolf male. Bella might, but to be quite honest, after eight years inside the man's head, she might have to concede that Edward knew him better. Emmett was out because, despite his best intentions, that would just be awkward - and Jasper . . . just wasn't that type.
Carlisle was her grandfather, and the point had already been made that Edward would know what was going on inside Jacob's mind the most.
He wasn't stung by being her last resort. He was Daddy again - that had to be a result of more than desperation. That had to mean something.
"You can always talk to me, Renesmee," Edward swore, with every bit of honesty he possessed. "About anything, you must know that."
"I just . . . I hurt when he's gone, Daddy," she mumbled, and then inhaled sharply. Her arms moved to wrap around his back and he shifted appropriately to let her do it. "I know that sounds so dramatic, but . . . it's not just inside. Not just the missing him. It's like something's gonna go wrong if he's not there . . . and I know that he has a life and things to do, but lately it seems like he has so much to do. Almost - almost like he doesn't want to be . . . "
"Renesmee, you need to take my word for this," Edward said seriously, sliding his hand in what he hoped was a soothing manner up and then down her back. "Jacob never wants to be away from you. He loves you, darling, you know that."
He was startled by the deep groan his daughter let loose into his chest. She wriggled, almost like a small child trying to get comfortable in bed, but Edward knew this was a movement of pure frustration.
"Things are just so weird now, Dad," she almost whined, desperation cleared in her tone. "You don't even know. He . . . Jacob won't let me into his room and when I'm at his house, we just sit on the couch with Billy and watch TV. I mean, I love Billy, but . . . and - and like, he says I'm too old to lay down next to him anymore."
The paternal part of him, of course, was upset that his daughter was crying, but another part was very pleased with how responsible Jacob was being.
"He literally makes me turn around and put my head against the trunk of a tree when he's getting ready to phase . . . " Edward tried not to shift uncomfortably in his seat. That he kind of agreed with. "I'm not gonna look! I never do!"
That he kind of doubted as well. He believed when Renesmee said she never did, but Jacob knew her better than anyone else, and if he sensed . . . but no. More important things at hand.
"He doesn't let me ride him anymore either," she mumbled, sounding the most miserable about this. Her small hand came up and grasped onto the front of his sweater, something she'd done a lot when she was young. "He knows how much I like that."
Edward wasn't sure it was his place to have this conversation with his daughter, but she had come to him and he wouldn't turn her away.
"Renesmee," he started evenly, cradling her a little tighter, trying to make her feel safe. Wishing harder than ever he could see inside her mind. "I know . . . that this isn't going to make you feeling any better - and I'm not saying that how Jacob's behaving is right - but . . . have you ever considered that it's because you're growing up?"
He hoped that she would grasp enough from that.
"He mumbled something about that," she admitted, which didn't surprise Edward. What surprised him was that his brilliant daughter hadn't made the connection. "But I thought he was just making things up . . . to get back at me."
"Get back at you?"
This was new. Bella was going to have to get over her "respecting our daughter's privacy" bit and start telling him things. Unless she didn't know herself.
He listened, splitting his concentration for a millisecond, to hear her humming to herself as she moved around the kitchen, cooking Nessie's supper. It calmed him.
"Yeah . . . for . . . 'blocking him out', he called it," she explained, letting go of his sweater to wipe at her eyes. She was so small, smaller than her mother - smaller than everyone in the family, besides Alice - and it was easy to pretend she was still his baby. "You know how . . . like, how I always show Jake everything? With my . . . ? "
He held up a small palm, but Edward already understood.
"Well, I stopped . . . doing that." The hand wound itself back into his sweater, and she rubbed her cheek back and forth against his shoulder. "I just . . . had some things I wanted to - to keep to myself, you know? And . . . Jacob was angry with me, I think. I know . . . I know he was sad."
She sounded the most ashamed of this.
Everything had gained much more clarity for Edward. There was only one thing his daughter would ever want to keep from Jacob.
"I think he's trying to . . . block me out back," she whispered tearfully, taking in a choked breath. If Edward's heart hadn't been dead and stagnant, it would have ached. "I never meant to . . . I didn't want . . . I was only trying to keep everything how it was supposed to be. I - I . . . "
"Shh." Edward soothed, realized there really wasn't much left to say. Now she just needed comfort. "It's alright - I'm sure that's not what Jacob is doing. He's not vicious, you know that. Maybe . . . maybe you did hurt his feelings, but I'm positive he has his reasons for how he's been behaving."
Renesmee buried her face deeper into his sweater and said nothing.
"I think . . . maybe tomorrow, when Jacob comes over, you two should have a talk," he suggested, adding internally that it would be after he had a talk with Jacob himself. "I'm sure everything can be smoothed out that way if you're honest - and I know Jacob will be if you are."
His daughter lifted her head and peered up at him with her tear-stained cheeks, her eyes the same remarkable color her mother's had been. She had her mother in her, definitely, as did she some of Edward himself, but their Renesmee . . . their Nessie, she was a completely different creature.
She was her own. Utterly.
She liked country music and refused to eat anything yellow and loved being outdoors . . . and she was in love with a werewolf. She was the thing that bridged the gap between them all. Between the humans and the vampires and the werewolves.
She was beautiful and amazing and brilliant and the kindest being he'd ever encountered, and she didn't even know it.
She was his daughter.
"Really?" Her voice asked, small. "Do you . . . do you really think so, Daddy?"
"I wouldn't have said it if I didn't," he promised, offering a wry smile.
He wanted to laugh with joy when it was returned. Renesmee sighed and dropped her head back to his shoulder and grasped his sweater again, but not tightly. No desperation, just seeking comfort.
"Okay," she conceded.
Then several things happened at once.
Alice, all the way in she and Jasper's room but still clearly intelligible to the vampiric ear, groaned and thought, And there goes my night.
This happened at the exact same time Rose cursed loudly and a smell that, to be honest, was still quite pungent to him hit his nose. It was then that he registered another heartbeat, thrumming frantically and growing closer.
His eyes went down to his daughter but her hearing wasn't sensitive enough to pick anything up yet. He just held her tighter, and two seconds later, her wolf in tattered sweatpants burst through the door.
His daughter had always been too original for a knight in shining armor.
Renesmee froze at the sound of the door being flung open. Edward could tell exactly when she caught the scent, because her heart thudded into overdrive. Her hands came up frantically to wipe at her eyes.
Edward focused in on Jacob's thoughts, loud as they always were, but they were almost unintelligible. Jacob wasn't blocking him, his mind was just all over the place.
His thoughts were a complicated jumble of hope and fear and trepidation and pain at an intolerable separation and a hundred thousand memories. All swirled together with intense love, coating and covering everything else until it was the main focus.
He was breathing a little heavily, and his eyes were frozen on Edward's daughter. He wasn't sure if he loved or hated the way he looked at her, relief and joy and that overpowering love.
I'm going to tell her, he thought clearly in Edward's direction. Everything. I'm going to tell her. I - I don't know what the hell is going to happen, and I'm scared out of my mind, but I can't shut her out anymore. She has to know.
Edward just nodded. He'd made his feelings on the subject clear.
"Nessie," Jacob said, soft for his voice, and his tone didn't waver. There was no urgency anywhere but in his eyes when he addressed her. "Can we go take a walk? I - I really want to talk to you."
Edward was shocked when his daughter's eyes flitted up to him. He did his best to smile, and told himself this was a good thing. The hope and relief in her eyes could only make a father happy.
So he watched her sit up, her back still facing the doorway and Jacob, her rapidly fluttering heart the only thing giving her nerves away. He watched her wipe her eyes and smooth back her hair, and then - again, surprisingly - she turned back to him.
"Thank you, Daddy," he whispered, and then leaned in and kissed his cheek. It was a sensation he hadn't felt for so long, he was unsure how to handle it. He'd missed it. "I love you."
"I love you too, darling," he promised back, knowing that if he were human, his eyes might just be wet. He watched her slide off of his lap, stand up. "I'll see you tonight."
He knew this conversation would undoubtedly take a while. And when she came back, she'd have questions. A lot of them. For Bella and himself - he'd have to talk to his wife and make sure they were prepared.
He watched his daughter turn and walk towards Jacob carefully. His eyes were glued on her. There were no words passed between them, and Jacob leaned back against the doorframe to make room for Renesmee to walk past. It wasn't awkward - it was completely and utterly comfortable in a way that let Edward know everything would be all right.
Either way the conversation went, they'd come back holding hands.
And hopefully, he'd still be Daddy.