A/N: Well . . . hello! *dodges fruit* I'm popping back in bearing small gifts. This is a fic I started with plans to have it posted before Christmas last year, and you see how well that worked out. I promised myself I would definitely have it up by this Christmas. I never did finish it, but believe me, I'm trying. I'm having a difficult time getting it to write out how I want it to. It was originally intended to be a one-shot, based off an idea I had, but I decided I would break it into three parts. So, a three-shot, I guess - but that, if I ended up never being able to finish it, this could stand on it's own as an open-ended sort of thing. That's the only reason I'm posting it now, unfinished. It's really dark, but I love it. :)
I'm sorry for being so absent, and I'm trying to catch up with all my writing and reviewing, but it's really hard. And I'm struggling with being busy - on a high note, I got accepted to college! I start in January. I am so thankful, and kind of nervous - being a homeschooled student, I've never really been to school before. I'm also running around as it's Christmas time and half of my family celebrates, so I've been shopping, and the day after Christmas I'm leaving for a road trip to Denver! So, busy.
I'm always on twitter, so maybe that's why I don't feel like I've been so absent - please look me up, the address is on my profile, and drop in. I run my mouth there all the time. Also, my original blog - link also in profile - gets updated with random poetry crap more often, if you're into that sort of thing.
But I haven't forgotten you, I swear. I think of you daily. I miss you.
So now, I'm done pouring my guts, I swear. Here's your story.
Disclaimer: I never owned any of it.
Rachel dies, things fall apart, and Christmas is never the same.
The funeral is the day before Christmas eve.
Fitting, Rebecca thinks, as she stares at the freckle on her right knee and wishes it was on her left. Always mirror images, she and Rachel.
It's fitting because when they were younger and had just found out the meaning of eve, holiday celebrations began occurring weeks ahead of time, at least in their own minds.
New year's eve, new year's eve-eve, new year's eve-eve-eve. This game was the first thing that got Jacob to laugh after their mother died.
Hey, she and Rachel were born on Thanksgiving eve-eve-eve-eve after all, so maybe it was like coming full circle. A funeral on Christmas eve-eve.
Rebecca wears a red dress to the funeral. Her closet is full of black - Rachel was the one who always loved color - but she wears red. People, people she hasn't seen in years stare at her from under their lashes like they have the right to judge her.
On the plane ride from Hawaii, she thought about the casket. If it would be open or closed. She wondered which would be worse. Their mother's casket had been nailed shut and she and Rachel had to pull Jacob away the first time he saw it to calm him down when he started crying and screaming that Momma wouldn't be able to breathe. Or would she have to look down at her other half - herself - lying in the coffin? Which would it be?
Not that it mattered anyway. Mom and Rachel were dead and that was all there was to that.
She sat alone in her row - alone because Dag had semi-finals coming up and still needed to train. She hadn't even bothered getting angry when she told him and he started stuttering - she already knew, and honestly she didn't really care. Things hadn't been good for awhile now anyway, and he'd been staying at the motel down the road on-and-off for six months.
She hadn't told Rachel - Rachel, with her Paul, her other half. To be honest, it was because she was jealous. She had been planning to come down about two years back with Dag, when everything still seemed salvageable. Rachel was graduating early, so she'd be there and everything might just seem a little less empty.
But then Rachel called the day before she was supposed to book the tickets, while she was surfing for deals, carrying on about this Paul. How she'd met him and just knew, how she's never felt like this before, like she'd found her other half. Rebecca, who thought she'd been Rachel's other half, cut the computer off at the switch and told Rachel they just wouldn't be able to make it this year.
Now it had been five years since she had returned home. Five years since she'd seen her father or her brother or anyone she used to know. And she was going back for her other half's funeral.
The thing about someone dying - the hardest part - and she, Jacob and Rachel if she hadn't been dead could all attest to this - was the space. The space that person left. That was the reason she and Rachel had been driven straight out of Forks, driven apart. The space their mother left was too big to fill up or ignore, even years later.
She still woke up every morning expecting to hear her singing in the kitchen, and every time she woke up to silence or Jacob snoring on the couch, she died a little bit. It didn't get better, the wound never healed. She wasn't sure why it was like that for her and Rachel - her father and Jacob had done fine, they had been strong. It still hurt them, they still grieved - she had held a sobbing Jacob more times than she could remember that first year - but then they moved on.
For them, it hadn't been like that. They had to escape.
And now she was back.
But the thing with Rachel, Rebecca thought, as she meandered slowly through the empty Port Angeles Airport on Christmas eve-eve-eve, is that there never was a place for her in Hawaii. She had never been there - Rebecca had never seen her on bright sandy beaches with clear water in the background, but the hole was still there.
Inside of her this time, and there was no way for her to get away from that. She was sure of it.
She realized, ashamed, as she scanned the sparse groupings of people spread throughout the sitting area, waiting to pick up loved ones for the holidays (and funerals), that she hadn't seen her brother for five years. Not even a picture.
He was nineteen now and - big, she knew, from Rachel's exclamations when she first returned home.
"He's so big, Becks," she'd said through the phone when Rebecca had called her on her first night to check that she'd landed safely. "And tall too. He has to duck his head to get into the house - it's insane. I'm worried he's on steroids or something."
Soon after that though, Rachel's worries had evaporated. Any inquiring Rebecca had done about Jacob then was brushed off as nothing. Jacob himself never got on the phone much, but Rebecca never really called.
"Hey, big sis," a deep voice said, stopping her in her tracks. She looked up, in dull shock, at the man her brother had become.
The last time she had seen Jacob, she ruffled his hair and mentioned how soon he'd be all caught up to her and Rachel. But this . . . now he towered over her. Tall and wide; she saw where Rachel could have gotten her steroid theory.
His hair wasn't as long as she remembered it, maybe down to his shoulders, but it was tied back so she couldn't really tell. His face was angled, a man's face, with a strong jaw and the same deep eyes he always had.
She watched his eyes float over her, and then change. She had been ready for it - to see them see Rachel in every glance.
He reached down and wrapped her tight in his arms, and she clung to his strong back. He held her tight and she might have mumbled something about how she missed him, but it all blurred together - like she was trying to view the intervening years through a blurring lens that kept zooming in and out.
When he let go of her, her head finally cleared.
"You got everything?" He asked her, and took her carry-on from her hand. She nodded, numbly, and looked down.
Standing behind Jacob's legs was a little girl of no more than six years old - possibly one of the most beautiful children she'd ever seen. Her skin was pale white, too white to be kin to anyone on the reservation, and her hair was a bright copper. It hung in ringlets down her back .
Rebecca watched the girl survey her with wide brown eyes.
"Um . . . who's this?" She heard herself ask.
"Oh, sorry . . . Becks." She didn't think about how he probably almost said Rach. "This is my best little buddy."
"I - I'm Renesmee," the little girl said, ducking her head a little further around Jacob's leg and smiling like she was shy. "But Jacob calls me Nessie and you can too if you want, because I like that name better."
Rebecca nodded and followed her huge brother and his tiny 'best little buddy' out to the car. She was silent all the way home while she tried not to think about why her nineteen year old brother was hanging out with a little white six-year-old girl.
She hadn't been ready for all of this - any of it. For Rachel to die or to come back to this Godforsaken place.
The house looked exactly the same way she left it and so did Forks and all of La Push. Empty and hollow without Sarah Black's light flitting through to fill it all up. Jacob helped her carry her bag to the door and then left, saying he'd be back after he dropped 'Nessie' off.
And she was left to face her father alone.
He looked much older than she remembered, but she reckoned that's what happened to people - they got older, weaker, sicker, and then they died.
But sometimes they're not old and they're not weak and they're not sick, and they die because some idiot didn't want to risk being late to work to put snow-chains on his tires.
His eyes did the changing thing too, the move-the-part-to-the-left, if-her-smile-only-curved-to-the-right kind of thing, where they were imagining her sister where she stood.
The scene wasn't tearful, surprisingly unpainful - not as painful as being in this house was - and after a hug and a three-minute conversation, her dad suggested she settle herself in.
She knew the way, of course.
Rebecca wasn't ready for any of this, but there it was. And now here she was, at her sister's funeral in a red dress, watching everyone give her mirror-image eyes. Turning her into Rachel where she sat.
But she wasn't Rachel - Rachel was in that box in front of her and she was Rebecca, and if she could have changed any of that, she would have, but she couldn't.
Everything about it blurred all together - Jacob sat at her right, her father's chair parked at her left. Paul, Rachel's precious soul mate and other half wasn't even there. People started dispersing and the box started being lowered down and Jacob stood up. He said something vaguely about Nessie and strode away.
She felt her father's chair start to move beside her and looked up - to see Leah. Another person she hadn't seen in five years.
"Come on, Billy, I'm taking you home since Jacob took off again." It shouldn't keep surprising her that everyone looked older, but it did. Leah looked at her, but her eyes didn't make the change, they just looked. "You're not coming, are you?"
It wasn't in a rude way, just like she already knew. Rebecca shook her head and stood up.
The coffin was finally past where she could see, and then she was alone with the middle-aged man waiting to call forward the tractor. She probably should have said something, a prayer or a goodbye, took some closure, a final look.
But Rebecca just turned around and walked away. She headed towards the beach, and the loud, broken wolf howl sounding from the distance seemed only fitting.
She's sitting there, on a twisted log, counting the eves until new years when it starts to snow. The next thing she feels is movement and then a half-naked man is sitting right next to her.
"Who are you?" And why are you here? And why don't you have clothes on? And why of all the logs on this Godforsaken beach in this Godforsaken town did you have to sit on mine?
But she didn't have the energy or the will to ask the rest of those questions.
She looks at him and and then she realizes he's looking at her, with that mirror look in his eyes, stronger than she'd ever seen it before. He looked wild, his hair straight up around his head and his eyes all deep and broken.
"I'm . . . Paul." She already knew. "You . . . look . . . just like her."
"I - I know I do."
She suddenly has to look at him now, harder than she did before. This is Paul. This is Rachel's other half. This is the man she loved so strong she could hear it in her voice. He was such a big part of Rebecca's missing piece - she had to know him.
"You knew her."
He was beautiful too. Tall, she could tell, even though he was sitting down, and strong and muscled. His face was angled in all the right places - she could see how Rachel loved him from the second she saw him.
"I was her." Nobody seemed to realize how it worked, how they were two halves of one whole stuck in separate bodies. Without Rachel - part of her was gone.
He stared her, up and down, for a long time, his eyes flipping her, mirroring her in search of his wife.
"What's your favorite color?" He finally asked suddenly.
She watched his eyes, the broken mirror-look, half insane with love and grief. This piece of Rachel, this last piece, so completely broken and desperate.
"Grey," she finally pushed out. She loved grey because it was the color of La Push sky, looking up at it the only memory she had of this place without her mother in the background. "But that's . . . not what you want to hear, is it?"
He let out a deep, shaky breath. She could see the steam in the air. She realized she was shivering - how wasn't he?
He finally shook his head. "No . . . it isn't."
Rebecca braced herself for what she was about to do.
"Green," she repeated. Rachel loved the green of Forks and La Push, and Rebecca knew what she was doing. "My favorite color is green."