Penname: Shadows de la Nuit
Summary: Justice sometimes needs a helping hand. Or a forceful push. A one-shot for the Die, Daddy C, Die contest inspired by Savage7289's Offside, post-chapter 84. AU.
Disclaimer: Stephenie Meyer owns Twilight. The plot and characterizations of the Twilight characters contained within Offside belong to Savage7289.
Contest: Die, Daddy C, Die
Charlie Swan sighed as he saw his daughter packing up her backpack.
"Back to the Blacks again?"
Her hair muffled her already quiet affirmation. She had taken to hiding behind it while home, giving Charlie only tiny glances of her face. What he could see, though, broke his heart. He wasn't sure what was worse – the grief etched into the circles beneath her eyes or the small flicker of hope he sometimes saw light up her face. Not so long ago, he had expected Renee to be on the other line every time the phone rang or on the other side of the door whenever someone knocked. His heart hurt to watch Bella react the same way.
"Will you be back for dinner, Bells?" Charlie asked softly.
"No, probably not. I'm sorry, Dad."
"It's alright. Just be careful on the way to the Rez, ok?"
The door slammed behind her, a stark contrast to the previous silence. Charlie rubbed his face roughly, wishing that there were something he could do.
The drive to the local convenience store was one that Charlie could do with his eyes closed. He figured he'd pick up a carton of eggs and some cheese to make an omelet or something. Ever since Bella had caught him smoking with Edward, he'd been trying to make an effort to be healthier. He owed her that at least.
He parked his car and waved a quick hello to Mrs. Cope as he saw her packing her trunk. He shook his head at the bags of cat litter.
The convenience store was relatively empty. He saw Shawn manning the cash register and old Mr. Johnson sifting through the packaged deli meats. Lastly, he noticed a familiar head of bronze hair in aisle 3.
Charlie wanted to be angry with Edward as he noticed him standing in front of a shelf of colored sports drinks. He wanted to make him pay for the pain his daughter was going through right now because there was no doubt in his mind that this young man was responsible. He wanted to lock him up in a jail cell and let him rot.
Then he saw the bruise.
The bruise wasn't a big one, barely a shadow along Edward's jaw, but Charlie saw it. Now he was angry, but no longer at the boy standing before him.
Edward jumped, clearly startled by the voice behind him. He turned slowly.
"Sir." Edward eyes fell quickly to the floor. He dragged a tremulous hand through his hair while forcefully gripping a sports drink in the other. Charlie noticed that he looked exhausted.
"How are you?"
Edward blew a gust of air through his nose. "Alright, I guess. How are you, sir?"
"It's Charlie, remember?"
Edward's head snapped up. Charlie noticed a bit of the tension leave Edward's face.
He clapped a hand on Edward's shoulder. "You need to take care of yourself, son. Sleep more. Eat. Stop looking so rumpled."
Charlie turned away before noticing the utter despair on Edward's face.
A long time ago, Charlie Swan had respected Carlisle Cullen. He had done wonderful things for the community, but Charlie had never really realized how much of Carlisle's greatness was thanks to his beautiful wife. Her death had unraveled Carlisle and left a mark on the entire town.
Charlie looked around at the people gathered for the fundraiser for the Forks library. It was one of the few events that Esme had organized that remained a part of the town's calendar. Carlisle stood near the back of the room, uncharacteristically quiet as he sipped his drink. Charlie eventually made his way to him, exchanging pleasantries with a few people as he wove through the tables. Carlisle nodded a greeting but remained silent. Charlie coughed uncomfortably.
"I hear your boy is having a good season this year."
"Of course he is," Carlisle scoffed. He looked over at Charlie, glaring slightly. Charlie was undeterred.
"He'll be playing in college then?"
"No. He'll be playing pro overseas before the year ends. Some of us have kids we can be proud of." A cruel smirk graced Carlisle's face. "You know what I heard the other day, Charlie?"
Charlie sighed. "You hear a lot of things in a small town like this."
Carlisle snorted to himself. "I hear your daughter takes it in the ass!"
Charlie's mustache twitched and his eyes narrowed, but he said nothing. He looked at Carlisle for a long time. Then he shook his head sadly.
"I wouldn't know if that's true or not, Carlisle, but I do know one thing – I would never deny my child happiness. And I certainly would never do anything to hurt her." Unwilling to hear any more malicious nonsense, Charlie walked away.
Carlisle noticed that his scotch was empty. He quickly ordered another one.
For a police chief, Charlie Swan had surprisingly few thoughts of violence. He encountered his share of the worst of the worst, but he usually felt content knowing that justice would be served. Tonight, though, Charlie realized that justice sometimes needed a helping hand. Or a forceful push.
As Charlie drove his cruiser through the town, a vague plan began to form in his mind. Though he initially resisted the idea, he began to come to terms with the knowledge that Carlisle Cullen needed to be taught a lesson. If anyone had any right to teach someone a lesson, surely it was the chief of police?
Charlie was well aware of Carlisle's days spent on the pitch, but he wasn't too concerned. If nothing else, Charlie carried a gun.
Even though it would be awhile before Carlisle returned from the fundraiser, Charlie made his way toward the Cullen homestead. Hesitating only a moment, he got out of his car, walked up the sidewalk, and knocked on the door. A minute or two went by before a very disheveled Edward opened the door.
"Charlie? Is everything ok?" Sheer terror overtook his eyes. "Is it Bella? Is she ok?"
Charlie was quick to calm him. "She's fine – she's spending the night at the Rez to help Rachel out. I'm actually here to see you real quick." Charlie took a deep breath. "I was driving by and got a call in about a bunch of boys causing trouble down near the highway. Hopefully we'll catch them, but in case we don't, well, I know your father's out, and I thought it would be a good idea for you to get to a friend's house so you're accounted for." The ruse was rough, but Charlie was relieved by the gratitude he saw on Edward's face.
"Thanks, Chief. My father would be, um, mad if he thought I were doing anything to cause any problems around here."
"No problem, son. I'll be leaving now. Drive safely, ok?"
"Of course, sir – I mean, Charlie."
About twenty minutes after Edward left, Carlisle returned. He stumbled up the porch steps and slammed the door shut. After a few moments, Charlie got out of his cruiser, leaving it parked down the street. He made his way to the house, careful not to trip over anything in the dark. He found the front door unlocked and let himself in.
Charlie almost growled at the sight of a very drunk and very unconscious Dr. Cullen. He had collapsed on the couch in the living room, mere feet away from the front door. Carlisle probably had no idea that his own son wasn't even home. He was lucky that Edward didn't have to see him like this, but Charlie worried that Edward had seen him much worse.
Charlie noticed that Carlisle had attempted to pour himself another drink before passing out but had largely missed the glass. Some of strong liquor stained the sofa while some of it was splattered on the side table. Next to the nearly empty bottle, a pack of expensive cigarettes lay unopened. Charlie quickly welcomed himself to one – he needed it.
An hour and two cigarettes later, Charlie was fed up. Carlisle remained oblivious to the world, and Charlie hardly thought that any lesson Carlisle learned tonight would stay with him. He grabbed a third cigarette, but in his anger, dropped his lighter just as he flicked the wheel. With horror, Charlie watched a small spark catch the edge of the couch on fire.
Charlie watched the flame grow, strangely transfixed. Carlisle failed to stir as the fire spread, and Charlie made a decision.
For once, Bella might approve of the use of a cigarette lighter.
Charlie grabbed his lighter, and using the scotch as an accelerant, carefully helped the fire along.
He dropped the now empty bottle near Carlisle's still figure and slowly backed out of the room. Charlie felt a twinge of regret as the flames engulfed the living room, but the thought that Carlisle might be reunited with Esme quickly suppressed the guilt.
He hoped Esme kicked his ass.