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Nessie, Meet Life! Life, Meet Nessie!

Epilogue

The high school reunion had been daunting. Nessie hadn't seen many of her ex-student peers since the graduation five years previously. She had come alone this time, telling Jacob she wanted to see her old high school friends. He never took her requests for solitude to heart any more. He knew her well enough by now. Most of the time, she wanted nothing more than to be with him. But there were some times she needed to do things alone.

A few people she had cared about enough to keep contact over various social media forms and the phone. She never posted pictures of herself so, that way, even in ten years when she still hadn't changed, they wouldn't suspect a thing. She had put a lot of thought into it. There had been a time when she automatically cared, passionately and completely, about everyone, but that was gone now. Now, she cared, but there were few people who she grew to like and love enough to want to stay in touch with after she left wherever they were. These were few, and they generally drifted away from her anyway, but it had been so good to see them again, to see how they had changed, how they had stayed the same from when she'd last seen them graduate.

The very first thing she had done when she had come back was go straight home to the family house. The first ones to see her were, of course, Bella and Edward. They intercepted her on the way there. There was a moment where they saw each other and froze, Nessie and Jacob staring at Bella and Edward. Then Nessie gave up on composure and threw herself at her parents.

"I missed you." She said it over and over and over again. "I missed you, why did I think I wouldn't, I'm sorry about everything, I just needed time-"

Somehow they understood her stream of babble. And somehow, for some reason, they were saying back, "it's okay. We missed you, too. Are you alright? Don't apologise, it's okay."

They welcomed back Jacob, too. Even Edward was happy to see him. "Jacob. Have you been taking care of her?"

There was some pride in Jacob's face when he said, "she didn't need me to."

Edward smiled. "I know." He hesitated. "Have you been taking care of yourself?"

There was a moment of surprise. Then Jacob grinned. "I'm me. Of course I have."

"Jacob!" exclaimed Bella. Jacob looked at her, was surprised when she pulled him in for a hug. "You'd better have been taking care of both her and you."

He laughed. "I know. You could probably beat me up if I wasn't."

"No, no that's my job!" protested Nessie. She felt a light, bubbly feeling that she hadn't felt for a long time. Happiness. She was so happy to be with them again.

They walked together back home, to the house Nessie had partially grown up in. That big white house with all the open spaces, with all the history and all the laughter of three generations; her father, her mother and father, and finally her. They went there sometimes when they judged it safe, and now was a safe time. A good time. They were waiting for her, and Nessie could do nothing but hug them all close, feel the warmth that came from Esme and Carlisle, Emmett's strength, Rosalie's endless willingness to spoil, Jasper's quiet love and Alice's exuberant kindness. She'd forgotten how much she missed them all.

They all sat down and talked, talking for days straight about everything that had happened. Eventually, Nessie felt that she could talk no more. They had learned all about David and Jackson, about Allison, about the suicide and her need to destroy things. She'd told them about Aro. And about the little girl who had been the final straw in her decision to come back, because she was so much like Nessie herself, but at a different point in her life. When she was finished talking, there were a few blissful weeks where she stayed with them. She stayed until her birthday, celebrated that with the people she loved, before making the decision to go back to school.

She expected concern, caution, warnings, and she got some of that, but mostly what she received from her decision was support and well-wishes.

When Nessie went back, things had changed. She had missed too much, so she decided that, despite everything, she would be going down a year. All the friends she had made graduated before she did, but Nessie didn't have a problem with that. They had been concerned. Mel, especially, had been angry at her for weeks, ignoring Nessie's humble apologies until finally the half-vampire had almost been at tears trying to get Mel's forgiveness, at which point the other girl broke down too, saying, "you just left… I thought you might have done the same as David. Do you have any idea how that felt?"

At the reunion, Mel had been in and out of jobs. She was, at that time, a full-time hairdresser and a casual make-up artist, a lifestyle, which Mel cheerfully said, was "killing her." But she was so clearly happy Nessie couldn't help but not believe her.

Jackson had simply been relieved she was alright and, after a week or so, began treating her almost the same again. Almost, because, somewhere along the line, he seemed to have realised that Nessie had no intention of going out with him, and had adjusted himself to that. Nessie had also realised that he'd had feelings for her that had gone beyond friendship, but those were gone now. She was happy about it. It meant she didn't have to let him down.

At the reunion, he had been one of the more successful people in the room. He was a lawyer for both financially advantaged and for the financially disadvantaged people. Somehow, it didn't surprise Nessie that Jackson would be able to bridge such a big gap like that. He was just that kind of guy.

Mason never really got used to her. He was friendly, but when he looked at her, Nessie could see David's funeral in his eyes. She was sorry that it had to end like that, but that was okay. People reacted how they would react, and there wasn't much she could do about that. He turned out to be a tour guide for people hiking in the woods.

Allison was a surprise. She never really spoke to her after Nessie came back from her trip. Nessie had, in trepidation, expected some extremely slender, pointy woman with thick makeup and long nails at the reunion. She had seen it too much as she moved into her own job, the women who couldn't let things go, who couldn't let themselves go at the price of their mental wellbeing and happiness. But, instead, she had seen a chubby and much happier version of Allison. She spent the entire time bragging about her husband, who was a big-shot in the world of horse betting, about her child and complaining about all the pregnancy weight that just wouldn't come off. She didn't talk to Nessie and Nessie didn't talk to her. She was just happy to stay out of her way, and happy to see the other woman's life had worked out.

Nessie herself had, since returning from her trip, made up her mind about what she wanted to do. She wanted to reach out to people like David. Because, if she was perfectly honest with herself, she had been drifting closer and closer to the sea he'd been pulled under, that inner swamp of depression that was always ready to pull you down and never let you go. She made up her mind that, if she could help it, she would never let anyone drift that far down again. She went to Jacob's university and began studying. They never had any classes together, but they found other ways to catch up.

They found many ways.

Nessie had, very pointedly, had a conversation with her father one night over the phone.

"Dad?"

"Yes, Nessie?"

"Before you go, I just want to tell you something," she continued quite factually. This was one of the things she was no longer shy about, nor was she going to be afraid of talking about. "About me and Jacob."

"…Yes?" he said cautiously. Nessie knew Bella was in the background because she could hear her sudden intake of air. Alice was there too, because she gave a minute giggle in the background.

"At some point, we're going to have a sex life. Get over it. Try to keep out of me and Jacob's minds. You won't like it."

Edward made a choking noise. Bella cleared her throat. Nessie, although not sounding like it, was blushing madly. Jacob, who sat in the other room, fell off his chair. Alice roared with laughter in the background.

"Take care now," Nessie said brightly when they said nothing. She hung up. "That could have gone better…" She blinked. "Jacob, is anything wrong?"

He was looking, shocked, up at her from the ground. "Uh… Well… I…"

She grinned. "You're blushing."

"What? Well…You just gave your parents the talk…"

"Jacob… Are you blushing… Because of my muscles?" she blurted, reminding them both of a time before. At this, Jacob laughed.

"Yes. Yes, I am. They're just… So big. And there are so many of them!"

In the same way that it hadn't been all bad before, it wasn't all good now. She met people that disturbed her deeply, and she still felt things a lot more than she should have. She was still, despite everything, more trusting than others, an got hurt a lot. But she also had a lot of good times, and those far outweighed the bad.

Sometimes, she needed a few weeks by herself, without even Jacob for company. In those times, she ran across America, across the world if she needed to. She caused destruction, but the most live thing she would ever hurt was trees, and that was very rarely. A very sheltered life had made her an oddball, but she was alright with that.

Occasionally, she ran into the Volturi. She had yet to run into Aro again. They always sent his regards, and she always returned them.

In the end that wasn't actually an end, Nessie discovered the strength to want to live her life, and the strength to actually live it. She found out that she was good at a lot of things, but terrible at a lot of others. She felt pain. She felt love. She was awkward. She was confident. She was Renesmee. Nessie. Her mother's daughter, her father's daughter, Jacob's partner, a Cullen family member, a helper of those who needed it. A liver of life. A lover of life. Because, despite everything that had happened, was happening, and would happen, every day she got up, looked at the world around her and started the day with one thought.

Hello, life. I'm Nessie. It's really great to see you.

Author's Note:

And so ends Nessie, Meet Life! Life, Meet Nessie! Thankyou to everyone who stuck with me through the sporadic updates when I first started out, then through the move from one fanfic account to this one, and finally to the last chapter! Thanks to all the new readers, too. This fanfic was a tribute to my own brief period of Twilightomania, a stage which I think should officially be a developmental period for teenagers, and then became something else that hit much closer to home. I'm so glad that so many people have been able to enjoy (or perhaps not enjoy) what I've written, and I hope that I can continue to live up to (or up from, depending on what you thought of this fanfic) your expectations.

If you want to check out any of my other fanfictions, or my actual projects, have a look at my profile page. For updates on my writing/acting/everything, follow me on Twitter by searching for AngelaDonlan.

Thanks again!

- Angela