Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended. Stephenie Meyers created this world in which I like to play. Full credit to Mrs. Meyers for the lines from Eclipse that I've utilized in this chapter.
My thanks to Nikki who preread and betaed this chapter for me. Some of you have asked for a few outtakes of future moments in Monsterward's life. Hope you enjoy this. This is just a little thank you to which ever reader nominated Downward Spiral over at the twifanfictionrecs site for one of the best completed fics for December.
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The inky blackness of the night surrounded us. The oppressive nature of the moisture laden air and the heat felt like a wet blanket against my skin. Above us, the sky was uncommonly clear; the stars twinkled brightly in between the scant wispy clouds. It was uncharacteristically warm in Forks for early spring, and the forest prospered. The lush, deep greens of the leaves and vibrant colors of the flowers joyfully spoke of a time of abundance and rebirth. The miracles of nature were without parallel. In the distance, we could hear the presence of humanity as the cars passed on the highway, and closer, the sound of the river running as ancient as time. However, it wasn't these miracles or noises we focused upon, but the ones coming from inside the white house in front of us.
Esme trembled in my arms and almost broke from my hold when Nessie's scream ripped around us. She wasn't the only one having a hard time. Emmett struggled to contain Rosalie, while Jasper attempted to calm us all. Only Alice remained still, focused on the vision that was unfolding in her mind.
The time of abundance…the time of birth.
Alice and I both sighed in relief as we saw Ness push the squalling baby into the world, just seconds before the auspicious event actually occurred.
"A boy…Colin," I informed the rest as Alice continued watching over Nessie, Jacob, Carlisle, Bella…and my grandson. As the group around us celebrated, Alice and I remained fixated on what was occurring within the house.
As calm as ever, Carlisle quickly did the necessary things to sever Colin from his mother. He then efficiently cleaned the child up before handing him into Jacob's outstretched arms. Bella was focused on Nessie, soothing our daughter.
Nessie's pregnancy had been the antithesis of Bella's. Instead of deteriorating to near death as Bella had, our child had glowed from the pregnancy, her hybrid body quickly adapting to the changes necessary. The belief that the baby would have to be torn from her, her body ravaged by Carlisle's teeth had tortured the family. But as with all the things related to this child, this second miracle we'd been granted, we'd been surprised. Nessie's water had broken and we'd been given a priceless gift: the possibility of a normal delivery.
As Carlisle continued his care of Nessie, the new parents cried great rivers of tears, and I reminisced over the past month.
Jacob had stood before Nessie as he'd told me that she was pregnant, willing to withstand my wrath. But his humbleness—so in contradiction to the cocky boy who'd tortured me with Bella—had shone through. That they'd made it a decade without "slipping" regarding birth control had been one of the main reasons I'd been able to calm the fear and rage inside me. Realizing how quickly she'd progressed, we'd known that we were dealing with the same hybrid timeline as we had with Bella.
After Rose's shrieks of joy had echoed through the house, stirring us out of the stillness that had settled at Jacob's and Nessie's announcement, my family had exploded in various reactions. While Carlisle had swooped in on her, checking her vitals and generally driving her crazy with his hypersensitivity to her every little twitch, Alice, Rosalie, and Esme had planned the nursery, stopping only to kiss and love on Nessie before they'd flew up the stairs to demolish Esme's study in preparation. Jasper had had to sit down from the happiness permeating the house, as Emmett had begun his typical harassment of Jacob and his "eagerness." Underneath though, Emmett had been about to burst with happiness. He'd wanted a boy to play football with and arm wrestle, but then, he'd imagined another Nessie and decided a girl wouldn't be so bad after all.
Bella and I had waited until the initial flush of excitement washed through the room, and then we'd had our moment. Jacob's worried eyes had followed me, at least until I'd clapped him on the shoulder in excitement and friendship, knowing that we'd get through it, as we had before. Relieved, Nessie had collapsed in Bella's arms, tears of joy rolling down her face.
As expected, almost one day to the month of conception, Colin Masen Black joined the world.
But as I heard the healthy wails of the baby, my mind turned to watching Nessie through Carlisle's eyes, and I sighed in relief. Already, her body was transforming and healing, her stomach toning and slimming down to her pre-birth size and firmness. Carlisle struggled to keep up and finally just set about the business of cleaning up the blood. I saw him take out the alcohol, swabbing the area down just before our daughter sat up in the bed where she'd given birth.
At Carlisle's intake of breath, she rolled her eyes. "Pappa, I'm fine." And by the miracles of vampirism she looked it.
But ever the leader, Carlisle shook his head at the surreal experience, and ordered, "You are not getting out of bed, young lady, vampire or not. Let your body have the time it needs to heal."
He wasn't going to allow himself or her to be rushed, even if he knew that there was a horde of vampires waiting in the forest to greet Colin. He quickly went about the business of obliterating any further traces of blood with Bella's help. The room would reek of alcohol, but the smell would certainly not be the impetus in turning those of us that didn't have Carlisle's and Bella's supernatural control animalistic.
As Carlisle and my wife took care of the messiness of birth, Jacob's and Nessie's thoughts overtook me. Joy so pure and perfect filled them at holding their child.
For Jacob, the moment was surreal, even though he wouldn't have used that word to describe it. He'd dreamed of having children with Bella when he'd been infatuated with her, but our supernatural existence had, at least to him, seemed to eliminate that possibility. He'd tried to be careful, just in case, but it seemed that providence had something else in store…and provided him a son. These terms and thoughts were my interpretation of his thoughts, of course. Jacob's words were much simpler - ecstatic happiness and all-encompassing protectiveness overwhelmed him as he held the squirming warm body of his child in his hands.
Nessie's mothering instincts were already in full force. Her fears about the dangers of wild animals, sickness, and rogue vampires weren't far from my over reactiveness about Bella when she'd been human. I remembered clearly my conversation with Emmett when we'd gone hunting. As I had then, Nessie began to panic over the hazards of the world and what those could mean for her son. Her fear and franticness escalated, but just as I was about to call on Jasper to help, Nessie took a deep breath, determinedly pushing the worries away for the joy in her arms.
She rubbed her cheek across the downy soft hair on her son's head and swore that nothing would ever harm him.
Then glancing to Bella, tears crowding her eyes, Nessie realized just how much she'd been loved; for in that moment, Nessie understood the power of motherhood and a love that would do anything to protect the gift she'd been given. As if she understood the turmoil flowing through Nessie, Bella moved to her side quickly, placing her cool hand on Nessie's shoulder in support. The flush of hormones and love after giving birth was something a man would never understand.
Colin grumbled, but before Carlisle could even suggest a feeding, Jacob—the boy that had grimaced at Bella drinking blood—produced a full bottle without hesitation. Considering the diet of choice, breastfeeding was out for hybrids and Nessie was willing to concede defeat in that area, simply happy with the ease of the birth and the apparent health of her son.
We'd been waiting for either Carlisle or Alice to give us the sign, so when she said, "Go!" that it was all it took.
I scooped Esme into my arms and ran before the others to meet my grandson. She'd been my rock before Bella, and, once long ago, after the chaos of being a newborn had worn off, I'd held her as she'd grieved the loss of her son. Carlisle was her mate, but I'd been her friend for a very long time, so it was appropriate that we'd celebrate this together, since our other halves had labored with Nessie to make it happen.
Dashing up the stairs of our house, I stopped only long enough to set Esme outside the bedroom door. Having heard me, Bella opened it and pulled me quickly in. Carlisle's face was brilliant with pleasure, and he clasped my shoulder in excitement as we passed by him. It was a subtle acknowledgement, but an acknowledgement nonetheless.
"Daddy, he has your eyes!" Nessie squealed in delight upon seeing me and hugged the small bundle closer to her.
I'd seen them through Alice's vision. But being able to witness them first hand is so much better, I thought when Bella finally gave him to me so she could go and fuss over our daughter. Fed and obviously secure in his world, Colin looked up at me with the brightest green eyes I'd ever seen. I'd forgotten that my eyes had been this specific color and grinned as the sight evoked faint memories of my parents. That my grandson responded with a similar half smirk was a boon. Yes, the black silky hair and mocha colored skin was all Jacob's legacy, but it would seem that there would be enough of me in him to make Jake's life miserable. The thought pleased me immensely.
"Hello, little man," I cooed, brushing my finger down his blazing hot cheek, marveling at how his arms waved in the air as if he was attempting to grab hold of me.
My words had his eyes widening, and then a barrage of images filled my mind. Colin recognized me as the one who'd responded to his thoughts while he'd still been in Nessie's stomach. Moving him to the crook of my arm, I stole to the corner of the room to commune in privacy with the creature I cradled. That my action was so similar to my early feral days after my rescue, as if I was seeking an area that I could protect easier, was something I refused to admit. I just wanted time alone with my grandson. As Emmett would say, "That was my story, and I was sticking with it."
"I have secrets to tell you," I informed him in confidence and saw his green eyes twinkle in expectation and camaraderie. In that moment, I knew that Colin and I were going to be as thick as thieves.
"Edward! Enough! I want to hold him," Esme scolded, coming over to take Colin from me some time later. She ignored my small growl as she pulled him from my arms. "Go sit with Nessie," she prompted and then quickly moved away to go downstairs where the rest of the family patiently waited.
Well, maybe not everyone had been patient. Rosalie had started up the stairs numerous times in her desire to get to Colin, but she'd found the strength each time to stop and turn back to Emmett. Colin watched me for as long as he could from Esme's arms before she turned the corner into the hall.
Seeing the utter look of desolation on my face, Ness patted the place on the bed beside her, shooing Jacob downstairs with a wave of her hand. They'd already been appropriately "lovey-dovey" while I'd cradled Colin, so he quickly followed Esme. Bella smoothed her hand across my cheek before giving me a quick kiss and following them.
"He's perfect," I chuckled, sliding onto the bed beside my daughter before putting my arm around her shoulders and gently pulling her against me. "You okay?" Her thoughts might be settled, but I wanted to know that she was truly physically and emotionally okay.
"Yeah," she wrinkled her nose at me and then chuckled as we heard the squeals from below. "But, I'm afraid that he'll be so spoiled," she declared, her eyes twinkling with pride.
Knowing that she'd been the epitome of a pampered—not spoiled—child, I couldn't help but smile before saying, "As if that was ever in doubt." I hugged her as the chaos of happy voices rang out below.
She looked at the mementos scattered about the room that Carlisle had converted for her and Jacob and smiled at the happiness they represented. She'd refused for Carlisle to set up the hospital room, and seeing how she'd thrived - so in contrast to Bella - he'd backed down to her wishes. As the cheerful ambiance of the moment soaked in, her body healing with unimaginable speed, she was, of all things, worried about me.
"What did Marcus say?" she asked of the call I'd made to the castle earlier just before she'd bent over in the first contraction.
It was a topic I hadn't previously wanted to discuss, but after the said call, I had a much better resolution than I'd expected. Smiling as broadly as I could, I declared, "My presence in Volterra has been deferred for now."
She laughed at the pleased look on my face. "So you wouldn't be opposed to a second grandchild in about a year?"
Now that I knew how she could handle birth as easily as she had, I would definitely not be opposed. It would be a good enough excuse to forestall what our leader and his bride wanted and provide me many babies to spoil. But Nessie needed to enjoy Colin first, because he would grow up all too fast.
As if I was the one she had to ask…but it was nice that she asked my thoughts on the subject.
"We'll see," I said softly. "But for now, my lady…" I rose and reached over to lift her gently into my arms "…allow me to take you to your willing subjects. Your son, just like you did your first day of life, has already determined that he has everyone wrapped around his finger. I do believe he is going to need his mother's guidance, because Jake is a complete putz."
In reaction to my snark, she smacked my shoulder as Jacob growled from below. I'd been right though; Colin had Jacob completely wrapped. As we made our way into the living room, I found it humorous to find the beast that I called my friend and son cradling his child's tiny body against his broad chest.
Seth had joined us, and I grinned at my friend. He'd yet to stop phasing, so he still looked a young man. He'd also yet to imprint and, approaching his late twenties, was the subject of much speculation. He could care less, enjoying his life too much to worry. Moving toward me, he held his hand out quickly and unafraid for my hand shake. I only struggled with my instinctual reactions for a moment, not even long enough for anyone else to notice, before I stretched out to take his hand in mine.
"Good to see you, man. I need a good run later, so let's make plans," he laughed, and I caught his relief.
He'd been afraid that the baby would be a girl and that his life would be forever altered upon meeting her.
One day, I thought with amusement. One day.
"Eddie…" only Colin was able to get by with that name – one that Emmett had shamelessly encouraged "…tell me about how you and BeBe met?" Colin asked of me, having drained the deer I'd captured for him.
Grinning at the lazy look on his face, I gathered both of the animals we'd drank from, and quickly made my way into the woods to bury them. When I returned, I found him reclining on a rock, the sunlight playing with the perfection of his face.
Leaping up to sit beside him, I relaxed as well, knowing that the family wouldn't expect us back any time soon. My and Colin's lengthy retreats into the woods were famous amongst my family and Volturi, who'd come to visit us already. Aunt Tanya was a favorite of my young grandson, much to my amusement.
"You've heard the tale hundreds of times," I admonished, but was secretly pleased that he was so interested in Bella and me. We were just one puzzle piece of a family of extraordinary people and stories.
"I know," he shrugged his shoulders. Like Nessie, at a month old, he had the look of a three to four year old human…just a little more mature, more elongated and adult like. His mind, also like hers, was astonishingly mature and prolific. "But yours is so much better than any book out there. It puts even Shakespeare to shame." He grinned shyly at my arched eyebrow.
"Don't tell your BeBe that," I warned, knowing that Bella loved nothing more than to cuddle up with Colin and read.
His eyes widened before he shook his head solemnly. "I would never! She might decide we have to read something else, and I love to hear her voice as she mimics their accents. Your story, it's everything combined: Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Beauty and the Beast, Dante's Divine Comedy, Don Quixote…" I almost found offense with the last one "…Homer and Machiavelli." He stopped for a moment. "Just all the greats combined."
"I'm not sure we're all that, Colin," I hedged. He'd verbalized only a few of the great masterpieces that'd run through his mind as he made the last statement. It was almost as if he was idolizing Bella and me, which just felt all wrong.
His green eyes twinkled in the sunlight. "Sure…sure." He was quite snarky when he decided to be. When it was directed at his father, I found it amusing, not so much when his wit was focused on me. "I want to know from your perspective though. You stay so quiet about it. I've heard from everyone else, but not you." He widened his eyes imploringly.
How could I refuse such a look and request?
"Hm…" I paused, contemplating where to begin, then knew it had to be from the very first day I'd seen Bella. Reaching over to pull him to me, I relished the feel of his heat blazing against my side. "Funny that you mentioned Dante, because I felt I was in purgatory when I met your Bebe."
He sighed in joy as if I was about to give him the greatest gift and then leaned into me.
"It was that time of day that I wished I were able to sleep…"
My thanks to Nikki, Paul, and Charles who have made this journey with me.
Would love to know your thoughts, and just FYI, I have one more outtake planned. I'm working on a PDF for Downward Spiral and will be willing to offer up after the last outtake, so start thinking now as to whether or not you'd be interested. I'll send along my email on the last posting so that you can contact me if you are!