Twilight Canon Fodder Challenge- Judge's Pick!
Title: Madonna and Child
Contest Category (Rookie/Vet): Vet
Canon Type (Book/Movie): Book - Breaking Dawn
Disclaimer: Breaking Dawn, and all characters are property of Stephenie Meyer, I just turned her idea around.
To see other entries in the Canon Fodder Challenge, please visit the C2 page:
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The red liquid spread and soaked into the white upholstery. The burn in my throat responded to the scent of human blood. It had been a low searing, but now it was an open flame. I ripped my eyes from the crimson splotch, turning to the limp woman in my arms.
She started screaming and I felt her moving. Only it wasn't her, it was inside her. Her muscles were still limp, but there was twitching and tearing inside her. I didn't know what the baby was doing to her, but she had to be in agony.
Her mouth opened as she arched and red sprayed from her lips splattering me, my face, my shirt and all of Bella.
She was being twitched. She was unconscious. All the movements were a direct result of the baby kicking and pushing inside her. We weren't going to be able to wait for Carlisle. That tear, just before the blood spilled, had done something to the baby. It was no longer moving cautiously, as Edward had told me, careful not to hurt Bella. Now it was fighting, trying to get out. I listened to her bones breaking with each jerk. I wanted that baby out.
I pulled her into my arms, my eyes on Edward's.
"Morphine," he shouted to me as we raced up the stairs.
I laid Bella on the hospital bed in Carlisle's study before running to get the drug Edward had requested. The blood on me, on Bella, set my throat on fire, but I fought it, having other concerns.
"Alice! Get Carlisle on the phone." The study had been converted to an operating room, knowing this day was coming. The morphine was right at hand. I filled a syringe while Edward checked her eyes and pulse.
She continued to flail in response to the movements within her. I held the syringe in a fist, keeping it from her skin as I put my arm across her chest, trying to keep her on the table. I put my empty hand to her clothing and tore it out of the way.
I smelled the dog follow us. What was he doing here? Why did he stay? His opinion of this infant and us was abundantly clear. I ignored him in the doorway, giving the syringe to Edward who jabbed it into her pale, thin thigh. She had lost so much weight. My first thoughts were still for the baby, but I did want Bella to survive.
"What's happening, Edward?" It was obvious something was wrong, something had changed. Where was Alice?
The tear, the sudden thrashing, the supply of air cut off. "The placenta must have detached," I surmised.
I saw Bella's eyes open as I turned my attention from Edward and the morphine to her and the mutt. He was slowly coming to her head. He wore a look of fear, shock, disgust and despair. There was no need for despair, yet. They were both alive, for now.
"Get him out! He can't breathe! Do it now!" Bella screamed at us. I took my arms from her after the first syllables, getting a scalpel from the implements arranged behind me. I didn't hesitate until I met Edward 's eyes. He was staring at Bella's face. I risked a half second to twist and see the blood that had caused the burn in my throat to surge again. Her face was covered in tiny spots of it. I looked away quickly, back to Edward, intent on opening her to free the baby.
I didn't care about Bella's physical pain. It seemed obvious that a razor's edge would be nothing next to what she was already facing. Certainly nothing next to the emotional pain if we failed to save the baby.
She shouted her agreement, "No! Now!" Edward raced to her head as she vomited again. He propped her up, clearing her airway.
The dog continued to stand in shock, utterly useless. And Alice was almost as bad! Where was that phone? She came at the thought, securing the earphone to my lobe.
"Carlisle, she's on the table, full of morphine. She's vomited blood twice. I'm going to cut. Is there anything I need to know?"
"You won't pierce the sac with a scalpel."
"We need to hurry. The baby is suffocating." For the first time I really looked at Bella, naked on the table. Her entire midsection was one massive bruise. No not one. As I looked I could count fifty-two separate hand and footprints. Fifty-three, fifty-four. The baby needed out. I could see the red wash where the blood spread under the skin. This was going to be difficult. As deep as possible, as quickly as possible. The blade would stop at the sac.
"Cut width-wise," Carlisle reminded me.
I barely registered his voice as I brought the blade down.
"Let the morphine spread," Edward pleaded.
"There's no time!" I hadn't stopped the blade's descent, but slowed it. I had to do this. I had no love for Bella, but I didn't hurry to cause her pain. A simple cut had to hurt less than the internal beating she was taking. I put the tip of the knife to her stomach, left of her navel, and pressed hard. Not hard enough to snap the metal tip, but hard enough to push through thick muscle.
"You aren't waiting for the morphine?" Carlisle asked.
I couldn't answer him; an inferno had filled my throat. Rather than a simple stream of blood from Bella's belly, there came a river, washing my hand and arm. I had rarely lost control, even in that first year, but it happened now. I barely opened my mouth before Edward screamed at me and a flaming hand struck my jaw, forcing it shut.
Jacob had leaped over the table. My connection to Carlisle shattered. The dog planted a foot to my mid-section and I held for the sixteenth of a second it took for him to connect.
I didn't have the strength to turn from Bella, but he had the strength to make me. Who knew what damage I might do to her and the baby?
"Alice, get her out of here!" Edward yelled as I flew into the door frame. The dog would pay for that kick, but not in the way he expected. I had a debt to him, a debt as weighty as the life of that baby suffocating in Bella's womb.
Alice grabbed me by the neck and thrust a phone in my hand as she pulled us both into the hall. Edward had told her to take me to Jasper, but she knew I didn't need that. Once outside the room, my control returned. I didn't move from the landing.
"Carlisle?" my voice broke.
"Rosalie, what happened? We were disconnected." He was still talking at top speed.
I took a slow breath. "I nearly killed them." That was when we heard the scream and crack in the room behind us.
"Her spine!" Edward yelled.
Alice made choking noises beside me.
"Rosalie? What about her spine?"
"The baby broke it. Carlisle – the blood – too much." I shook my head trying to rid the frenzy that threatened to return. "So much. She can't possibly – the baby..." Not even a full second had passed. Alice was nearly as hysterical as I.
"It's okay, Rosalie. Edward will do all he can. We're on our way. Help him as much as you can."
That was when I heard the sound of vampire rending. Edward must be extracting the baby. I took a deep breath and peeked around the corner over Alice's head. She was already in the doorway.
"I will, Carlisle." I hung up, holding the rest of my breath.
How was Bella still alive? She was more than alive; she was awake. Jacob wasn't breathing for her anymore. Edward held an infant in his arms. "Renesmee."
Bella was asking for her now. I watched Edward move to her head and put the baby on her breast. She croaked the baby's name before inhaling deeply as the baby bit her.
Edward took the baby from her and cradled her gently. "No, Renesmee," he told her.
Jacob began beating on Bella's chest. Her heart had stopped again. I stepped into the doorway, hesitant. I watched Jacob breathe for Bella a second time before calling Edward's attention back to her. He had been transfixed on the baby. "What are you waiting for?"
"Take the baby." He wasn't listening to me or my thoughts, apparently, handing the baby to Jacob.
"Throw it out the window," the dog growled. I wanted to snap back but needed to conserve my air.
"Give her to me," I said quickly. They both snarled at me and I frowned. "I've got it under control. Give me the baby, Edward." I checked my lungs as he continued to hesitate. I was out of air.
You have other things to do. Give her to me!
When he still didn't come, I took a new breath. I was assaulted by the smell of blood tearing into my throat, but I was in control of it. "I'll take care of her until Bella -"
I didn't finish as Edward rounded the table, picking up a titanium syringe. Where had they gotten that? I didn't have time for more than the thought as Edward was in front of me and putting the perfect baby into my arms.
I hadn't seen more than a pink and red infant before, but now she was in front of me. She was hot, even hotter than the dog's hand when it met my chin.
"Move your hands, Jacob." Edward's voice was empty in my ears. He was back to his primary concern now. I had mine. I turned into Alice who frowned at the baby.
"I can't see her," she complained.
I moved past her toward the bathroom. I hadn't held a baby since Vera's Henry, but my arm easily formed the perfect crook. I held her to my chest while sliding out of my sleeves. I pulled off my shirt, using it to wrap Renesmee while I turned on the hot water. "So come and see her the old-fashioned way," I teased.
Renesmee reached up and touched my face. I could hear my voice, but muffled. "I won't let you harm the baby!" I looked down at her. She had bright brown eyes. The same shade Bella's were. She had a tuft of bronze hair on top of her head, the same shade as Edward's. She smiled at me, showing me the teeth that had so easily bitten into Bella.
"I won't let anything harm you, Renesmee. Never." I put her legs under the running water and my throat eased as the blood washed away. I used my shirt to wipe away any traces. Alice put her hands under Renesmee's head while I worked.
We counted her toes aloud and she wiggled them. We counted her fingers and she clutched one of our fingers. She tried to bite mine, but I pulled it away gently. "She's thirsty." I wrapped her in a clean towel and carried her down the stairs.
Jasper peered at us from around a corner.
Renesmee touched my neck and I saw Jasper again, even though he was behind us now.
I chuckled. Trust Edward to have a daughter that could force her way into your mind. "That's your Uncle Jasper, Renesmee. Jasper? Do you want to come meet her?" I turned holding my arms out. Alice appeared at his side, urging him forward.
"She's happy," he said. He smiled then and accepted the small weight. I turned back to fill a bottle with donated blood.
When I came to Jasper's side again, he slowly passed Renesmee over. "So happy," he murmured.
"Why wouldn't she be? She is alive. She has a family who loves her. And now she has something to drink." I popped the rubber nipple in her mouth and she pulled on it eagerly. Her perfect rosy lips tightening and loosening. I walked to the sitting room with her.
I could hear Edward and Jacob still working on Bella upstairs. Well Edward was. He was telling Jacob off right now. Her heart was dead. They were forcing it to keep pumping. "Alice?" I asked.
"Fine." She smiled at me, then came to sit behind the couch.
I adjusted the towel with one hand while the other held the bottle for Renesmee. She clutched it with both hands and I doubted it would fall if I let go. Her grip was so strong already. Already, too, I could see she was growing. She must have gained two ounces since Edward had handed her to me. I watched the nipple collapse as she drained the last of the blood from it. She released suction and the air rushed back in with a slurping sound. I set the bottle on the floor, noticing the bite marks she had left in it. We would need to find another feeding method. I put my back to the arm rest and lifted Renesmee over my head.
I heard the dog's dragging steps, thumping on the stairs, but I couldn't care. I had a beautiful baby in my arms, a baby who knew I loved her, that I would do anything for her. She would never be mine, but she was the closest I would ever get, and I would relish every moment I had with her.
I heard Bella's heart change. No longer the forced rhythm of Edward thumping her chest, the crescendo of the venom. Alice was right. She was going to be fine. I smiled up at the baby and she looked back down at me, amusement in her brown eyes. Then Renesmee looked up.
Something different from amusement shone there now. Something intense, something not infantile. I brought her back to my lips, her cheek felt like a hot coal. "What, Renesmee?" I asked.
She put a hand to my cheek and I saw the face of the dog. It seemed to be ringed in light, haloed. Eww. Then his smell intensified. He was next to the couch. Renesmee reached for him. Oh no, I thought. No, no, no. Don't tell me she wants this dog.
The mutt wanted her, too. He reached his hands to her. "May I?" he asked.
My hands tightened around her. He had wanted her dead so often, so badly - even more than Edward. Renesmee reached up to me though and filled my head with this dog's face again. I still couldn't trust him. Not with this little girl, the most precious thing in the world. "I don't trust you with her, Dog." I wanted to be clear about this. "Why should I think you won't kill her if I let her go?"
He knew exactly how to stroke my ego. "You're faster than me. Stop me if I make a move you don't like," he said in a husky voice with a cocky grin.
I looked at the baby again. I really did not want to do this. She tipped the balance again though, making me see his face once more. I wished she'd stop doing that. I knew what he looked like; I just didn't trust him.
Coiling, ready to snatch her back in a fraction of a second, I put my arms out, scowling and practically seething. It had been easy to hand her to Jasper. Handing her to Jacob felt like throwing her down the stairs.
Jacob's arms formed a cradle more easily than Jasper's. He had held babies before. I pulled my hands back just far enough that I wasn't touching her, but they were still nearly touching him. I was ready to yank her back.
Renesmee relaxed in his hold and smiled at him. I wanted to cry. She wanted him, not me. He bent his head over her and I snapped my hand to his chin, stopping his mouth from reaching her. I would not let him bite her. The baby reached around my hand and touched his jaw. Her hand was as pale as mine against his rusty skin. Four perfect fingers curled over the line of his jaw. I looked up to his eyes and saw them glaze slightly. She was showing him something.
"You saw it too?" I asked him, pulling his chin so his eyes were meeting mine.
"That was her?" he asked, turning his head down to look at the baby.
"What else could it have been?" She had shown me a number of things now. Always while touching my face. I removed my hand as he stared down in awe.
"I'm so sorry," he whispered. "I'm sorry I didn't see how amazing you would be." He continued to bend his neck and his lips met Renesmee's forehead. I kept my eyes trained, but it was just kiss. Still I growled.
"Relax, blondie," he said in a heavy tone. "I'll never hurt this little girl. I won't let anything hurt her. She's my world now." He pulled the baby a little further from me, a little tighter into his chest. Renesmee curled into him and my jealousy peaked. He couldn't. He couldn't have won her heart from me that quickly, that easily.
Alice's voice came from behind the couch. She'd been sitting silently through our exchange, simply breathing. I didn't know where Jasper had gone. He might still be standing in the kitchen. "Edward told me about this!" She jumped up and flew up the stairs.
Well, if Edward knew, I was going to know too. I followed her, a half-second behind. Jacob was much slower but also much louder as he trampled up the staircase.
"It's an imprint." Edward was pinching the bridge of his nose. "His life is completely tied to Renesmee's now. Every other relationship is second to that."
What? Had I heard that right? I was dumbfounded, but Alice's tongue made up mine's slack.
"You mean he loves her? More than anything? He really would die for her? Not Bella? He's going to continue to fight for this baby? Against his friends? His pack?" She was rattling on a top speed as Jacob came in behind us.
I just shook my head. I had lost her. Her relationship with him would always be stronger than mine. There he was, holding my world and apparently his. To think I would have anything in common with this mongrel. Well I did owe him for helping me save her life.
"I guess I can trust you after all, mutt. Just remember, we all love that little girl." I stepped out, not trusting myself not to snatch Renesmee back from him. Also, I was pretty sure Edward was going to want a moment with one or the other of them.
Alice followed me. That surprised me a little. She continued down the stairs while I hesitated on the landing. I was still fighting with my jealousy and rage. I paced as I listened to their exchange. I looked at my chest and thought to grab a shirt, knowing I'd hear them as well upstairs.
"Listen, Edward, you know this isn't something I chose, right?"
I would have chosen it. I had chosen it. That girl meant more to me than Emmett. I pulled the shirt over my head. Well, maybe not more, as much. I couldn't live without either of them.
"Yes," Edward answered. "She called for you. I couldn't understand, tried not to understand." I could empathize. It drove me crazy knowing she wanted that beast. I was back on the landing as Alice came up with a mop and bucket.
"Yes, Renesmee, he is afraid," Edward said now and Alice and I both stifled giggles. "But he needn't be. Hurting him would hurt you, and I won't do that." My mirth evaporated. Hurting the dog hurt her? I couldn't beat the living crap out of him? How was I going to deal with this jealousy? My hands balled into fists and Alice put a hand on my arm. "Jacob, I would appreciate some time alone with my daughter." He meant that for me too, and I bared my teeth before flouncing down the stairs, half-growling to myself.
I smelled the dog pass, but didn't care. I washed the bottle and threw out the bitten nipple. I paced the kitchen, listening to Alice clean and Edward talk upstairs. I wanted to hold her again. I wanted her to be mine again. Hearing Emmett climbing the steps outside, I ran to meet him at the door.
"Rosie, it's okay, Rosie. You didn't hurt them. Everything is going to be fine." He wrapped his thick arms around me in a bear-hug. It was exactly what I needed. Not romantic, not intimate, just warm and comforting.
He really had no idea. Had it been so long ago that I'd talked to Carlisle? I looked to my father now. He looked haggard. They must have hunted as they left, not the way back. "They're fine. Edward is upstairs with the baby. She's fine, and Bella seems to be, too," I said quickly. Alice was just coming down the stairs with her dirty bucket an mop.
Emmett's lip curled from the smell. "Bella's fine?" he asked.
"Perfectly," Alice answered. "She'll be waking up in a few days." She turned from us and we flew up the stairs into the study.
Edward started talking to Carlisle, answering his unspoken medical questions. He passed the baby to Esme and I watched her face with glee. I knew she was going to become as attached to this little girl as I already had. Indeed, her face lit up as she smiled down. The baby's eyes were wide and bright.
"That's Esme, Renesmee. My mother, your grandmother." Edward introduced her before returning to Carlisle.
Esme searched the little girl's face, counted her fingers, just as I had. "So you're Renesmee," she murmured to the baby. "I'm very happy to meet you."
I giggled a little and Emmett tightened his hand around my waist. We were all happy to meet her.
Renesmee touched Esme's throat and I bounced a little on my toes knowing what she was doing. Esme gave a little gasp and I giggled again. Emmett chuckled, too - probably just in response to me.
"It's all right, Esme. That's her form of expression," Edward explained. He continued circling Bella's unmoving form with Carlisle, filling him in on everything he had missed.
Bella was motionless. No screaming, no writhing, it looked much more peaceful than my transformation. I would envy her this in addition to everything else. Oh well, I thought with a smile, I got three days with her daughter.
Esme was still enthralled with Renesmee, gazing down at her adoringly. A picture of madonna and child. I wondered if I looked like that when I held her. I hoped so. Esme spoke to her now. "That's Emmett," she cooed. "He's Rose's husband and your uncle."
Esme turned to Emmett now who stuck his arms out just as she moved to put the baby in them. His giant pipes with the tiny girl in the crook of them made it seem like she might drown or get lost. He didn't pull her in like Jacob had. She reached up to his throat and he relaxed. He'd had siblings when he was human, surely he'd held babies before. It showed now as he pulled her in and rocked her slightly.
"That's just weird," he muttered. I laughed.
Edward laughed too. "Around here, it doesn't mean much." It not that. Renesmee wanted to know what weird was.
He returned with Carlisle to where we stood and introduced him. "Renesmee, this is Carlisle. She understands us. She is curious and learning very quickly."
I took Emmett's hand after he had passed Renesmee to Carlisle. "Isn't she precious?" I asked in a whisper.
"Best. Kid. Ever."
I kissed him and enjoyed the tingle it sent down my spine and through my belly. Even after decades that sensation hadn't dwindled - a sensation I hadn't thought I'd be able to feel after the night Carlisle found me. I wanted more Emmett, but first, I needed to do something about the scorching in my throat. It was less fun when thirst distracted me.
"Well, I'm going to hunt now that you're all back. Edward, will you join me?"
"We hunt for blood, Renesmee. No, Rose, I won't be joining you. I will stay with Bella."
He was easily as thirsty as I was, probably more so, but he waited. Why? Did he really think he could do something for Bella? She was already in the middle of the change. There was nothing to do now but wait. I turned up my nose at him and left the room. Emmett didn't join me right away. I tried not to be put out by that. I could hunt alone, it wasn't like I hadn't before. Still I stalked a bit slowly, hoping he might change his mind.
"She's just grumpy," Edward said. I growled. "And as for Jacob-" I growled more loudly. Maybe I'd find one of his pack and have a nice wrestle. That would help beat the frustration. The bitch. The kid was actually rather nice, but I could totally go a round with that wench that had come in and driven Bella and the baby to distraction.
"Edward isn't going to hurt Jacob," Esme was saying, probably to Renesmee. "I think he wishes you didn't feel so strongly for him." I wanted to cry again. I didn't want her to feel so strongly for him either. I wanted her to feel that way for me. I wanted to be the one she turned to when she couldn't go to her mother. If I was honest with myself, I wanted to be her mother. But I couldn't be that. Not short of killing Bella. And if I killed Bella, Edward wouldn't let me near that little girl again. So, I'd be the best aunt in the world, best friend if possible. And before I even get set up, Jacob swoops in and takes that place too. I leaned against the wall with a thump.
"We won't need to worry about Sam, once Jacob explains that he has imprinted on Renesmee," Edward told the others.
I supposed that was good. I couldn't find the heart to care. They could come storming us for the baby if I could have that place in her heart. I'd rip every one of their throats out. I smiled at the image. Starting with Jacob. That smug puppy grin of his. Rip it right off his face.
"Jacob's in love with the baby!" Emmett roared. I frowned. It wasn't funny, it was a tragedy. I stormed out of the house, intent on taking down the first thing I found. If that happened to be one of his pack, too bad for them.
I was in luck. The little grey wolf was waiting for me. Little was relative of course. She was taller than me, and longer than me, but smaller than the others. She folded back her lips baring her teeth. I did the same. This should be epic. Emmett was going to be sad he missed this.
"Fair play?" I asked. "No treaties violated, just a good throw down?"
She barked and nodded her head.
I lunged for her, and she twisted. Rather than her neck I grabbed her by the pelvis. I pulled back on her, her claws scrabbling in the litter of the forest floor. She managed to buck me, and I flew up. She slipped out of my grab and I turned to come down on my feet. She had run while I was in the air, of course. Not far enough.
I burst through the foliage and did catch her neck this time. She was fast, but so was I. I rolled, pulling her down with me. We tossed one over the other until we hit a tree with less than enough force to knock it over. She was abruptly human and no longer between me and the tree.
"Uncle!" she shouted. "Damn, blondie. I think you broke something."
I laughed. "Well it would hardly be worth it if I didn't."
She twisted a few times. Apparently nothing was beyond quick repair. She became a wolf again and took off. I let her. My frustration was minor now. I was just thirsty again and wanted to get back to that baby.
I didn't have to go far to run down an elk. I was too thirsty for that to really sate me, but I'd be good to return to the house until tomorrow. I shook needles out of my hair and pulled twigs as I ran. The clothes were a lost cause, but the slacks had blood splatter anyway.
Emmett was watching a game with Jasper when I came in. I could hear Alice humming in her room and the sound of a sewing machine intermittently. I would bet she was making something for the baby to wear. Esme and Carlisle were at the computer.
The only heartbeats both came from the study. One was Bella's slowing one, the other was the high frequency hum of Renesmee. I poked my head in the door. Edward was standing at Bella's head with the baby in his arms. "Can I come in?" I asked.
"If you wish."
Alice had dressed Bella while I was out. The icy blue dress would look good with Bella's paler complexion when she woke. She had also dressed Renesmee. She wore a pink gown that Edward had tucked under her toes. She was already longer again. How fast was she growing?
"Too fast," Edward whispered. "Bella won't even recognize her when she wakes, at this rate." His face was drawn down and his voice bleak.
"Stupid man," I muttered. Of course Bella would recognize her. Bella would recognize her if she were a full grown woman when she saw her next. She was her daughter. "May I hold her again?" I asked aloud.
His expression lightened a bit. "Yes. Thank you, Rosalie." He put the sleeping bundle in my arms. She was heavier, too. Her tuft of hair had started to curl and fall under its own weight. I could see the tiny vessels carrying blood move as her eyes fluttered in sleep.
"Thank you, Edward. For making me an aunt. For giving me a beautiful niece that I can hold and dote on and love as if she were my own."
"Thank you for not letting us-"
"You don't need to thank me for that," I interrupted him. He would have made the worst mistake possible if he and Carlisle had acted on their first whims, if they'd managed to convince Bella to go along with their plan. This beautiful girl wouldn't be here. She wouldn't be at all.
Edward doubled over holding his head. I'd seen him like this before. He'd tried so hard not to let it show when Bella was awake, and I refused to give him any comfort then. He'd fought so hard with himself because he thought he was hurting Bella. His spawn was killing her, but she and I both knew better. With the baby in my arms I was more compassionate.
I put my hand to his shoulder and didn't speak. Now he hurt because he loved this baby. It hurt as much to think of her not a part of his life as Bella.
He nodded at my thoughts.
I focused on Renesmee. This baby with his face, his hair. This baby that he'd brought into the world and I had nearly killed myself. Her brown eyes, hidden now behind those pale pink lids and brown lashes. He straightened slowly.
"She is here, Edward."
"You will take her? Until Bella wakes?" He looked to me now, his black eyes troubled. Why did he think he was asking me to do anything other than what I wanted most in the world?
"Of course I will. We'll be back to visit you and Bella, won't we, Renesmee?" I said to the sleeping infant, kissing her head. "Let's go see Grandma Esme," I murmured, smiling at Edward and turning to leave.