requiems: (twilight ♭ have i found you)
rems ([personal profile] requiems) wrote in [community profile] thisisyourstory2010-05-01 10:13 pm

[fic] Twilight - Stars That Never Go Out

Title: Stars That Never Go Out
Author: [personal profile] requiems
Series: Twilight. Very post-Breaking Dawn.
Pairing: Implied Edward/Bella, Renesmee/Jacob, Emily/Sam, and Charlie/Sue.
Characters: Bella, Seth, Renesmee, Charlie. Mentions Jacob, Edward, and Alice directly; other Cullens and various wolves briefly mentioned.
POV: Bella
Rating: Teen (13+)
Type: One shot
Summary: In Bella's world as a vampire, everything is perfect; she is going to live forever with the people she loves - forever. But there's one important person in her life who will someday die.
Notes: Quite... morbid. It's morbid enough that I constantly leave it and come back to it, trying to decide if the idea will work or not. It's finished as finished can be, as I've tired of trying to argue with it to make it less morbid, and I... kinda like it as is.


The day was never going to end, as I had come to realize as the years started to turn into flickers as they passed - months felt like days, years like months. Soon there was a decade, then another - Nessie reached her maturity then - and then another five, eight, ten years. It all flew by so fast. But nothing changed, in my small but perfect world, so I didn't really care to notice.

Each important person in my life was like a star on my horizon, as Edward had once used as an example oh so long ago. They glowed, brighter and brighter, always luminescent and never going out. Their light and my bond with each of them was eternal. It would never end. They would always be there, never leaving, never fading. Jake was always there - he didn't go back to being a man. He quite flatly refused to, even when we joked about it with him. He wanted to stay with Renesmee. And that, over time, was fine. The light in Nessie's eyes... I couldn't ever dream of taking that away from her. Jake always belonged with us.

Seth hadn't given up the wolf ways, either, but some of the original pack had. Sam had found a way to stop shifting, and now it was his children that were running round as wolves. Quill had started aging again - most of the ones who had imprinted did, with the girls they had all fallen for. Leah, like her brother, hadn't - she still appeared every now and then, still part of Jake's pack. I saw her more as a wolf than as a human, but there were occasions. There was an underlying sense of duty there, and she wasn't giving it up on it.

But either way, my family and me stayed close together. The people I loved were always there. We didn't split - no one aged - nothing happened. We were fine.

Or, so I had thought.

***

I wasn't blind. I could see it happening.

Every day, every week, every month, every year, I saw Charlie grow older.

I saw his face turn papery white and his wisp of hair become thinner and thinner. Every movement he made, I could hear the crick of bone on bone, see the strain on his face when he stood up too fast. I saw his eyes grow stretched and torn and worn, and the wrinkles spread out across his face like ripples on a lake's surface; and heralded every cough he made as a possible disease, a one way course to death, that must never be spoke of, but kept on gnawing away at my subconscious besides.

I saw it all, and I wasn't blind to it.

But I was blind to it. I ignored the finest lines that only I could see and pretended that everything was fine. Edward tried to bring it up with me once, about my father - in a roundabout way - but I'd almost broken the nearest window in my sudden outburst of screeching.

That frightened me. I wasn't able to deal with it; I'd proved that to myself when I flew into that frenzy. I wanted to cry. But I couldn't cry in this body. The only release was to scream... or to ignore it. So I chose to ignore it instead.

It was give or take thirty or so years after becoming a vampire. Nessie looked eternally frozen at seventeen, much to everyone's relief - we could pass as sisters, not mother and daughter. Well, she and Edward could pass as siblings. All that really related Nessie to me was her chocolate brown eyes, and those, I would never have again. Every time I looked at them, it reminded me of those foggy, clouded memories that were almost superglued into my memory, but would never stick. Human memories clouded and faded. But I clung on to each and every important one, making a scrapbook with crumpling, disintegrating paper in my mind, looking back at them whenever I could. It was important that I remembered.

I was first alerted to the fact something was wrong when Renesmee and Seth burst through the door of the main house, still running, almost dashing straight into the china (in Seth's case). Nessie had insisted to go to grandpa's - she wanted to spend the afternoon with him, and as a grown woman I couldn't refuse her - and besides, Seth would be there anyway with his mother. Jacob was away in La Push with his pack - not far, but far enough for the phone call every half hour asking 'how Renesmee was' when Seth or Leah weren't around to relay it back to him, down to the last minute detail.

I was surprised - I wasn't used to the sudden dashing, even though we all moved fast, it was with much more grace than this, more poise - but it wasn't that that alerted me. It was the looks of frozen horror etched perfectly onto their faces.

Nessie's bronze curls were limp around her shoulders - she'd insisted having them cut one day, and Alice had magically produced a pair of scissors before anyone could protest - and her face was still, shockingly so. She looked like marble. Like a statue. It was probably only the fact that Seth was slightly panting - I never saw him pant, which was shocking, like he hadn't had time to change into a wolf, like he'd bolted all the way back here without a second thought – that made me even recollect that she was a living figure, not made out of stone.

I was at their side in seconds, holding Renesmee's head to my chest, softly humming whatever came to mind, to try and reanimate her.

She didn't move.

"What is it?" I begged after nearly two seconds of silence. Seconds were so slow. Minutes used to drag in my human days – now I could barely last seconds.

Silence. And then, the one thing I didn't want to hear.

"Charlie," they said in unison - beautiful bells and a slightly shocked, almost gagged voice, barely a whisper. They didn't say anything else - they didn't need to.

If I could have had the blood drain from my face, I was sure it would have.

***

I didn't like being at the hospital.

It wasn't the fact I could smell the blood, though at times, I was particularly sensitive. It wasn't for the fact death clung to it like a persistant wound, or that I could hear the noise of people crying when they were told there was no hope, no chance they would recover from this disease or that one.

No, I didn't like being at the hospital because of any of that. I didn't like being there, right now, because it made it all that more real. Seth and Nessie's words could just be that – words. Not lies, but not whole truths, either. But it wasn't just words now that we were here, being led to a ward by a young girl in her early twenties. The grave look on her face sold it all to me. My dad wasn't well.

Renesmee was latched onto my arm, like an external shadow, never once loosening her grip. Maybe it was for her, but, I think it was partly for me, as it was just me and her. Even though Edward and Alice had volunteered to come with me, I had told them no, told them to hunt, told them just 'me and her'. Seth had understood straight away, and had left to console his mother. I had to do this with Nessie; alone with her. With the small part of me that was still human, that still had human things to latch onto. Like my father.

I had to let it go.

"Mr. Swan, your grandchildren are here to see you." That's how it worked, now. I could pass as a granddaughter. Maybe, soon, a great-granddaughter--

The door opened, and my mind stopped toying with its distractions, its other thoughts – all one hundred percent of it focused on the creaking, and what my eyes would see. As soon as the door opened fully to reveal the occupant, I badly wanted to run in shock or denial.

Charlie looked... so withered. He hadn't had that wrinkle before, had he? He hadn't had such little colour in his eyes. He hadn't had only slight strands of hair around his ears. He wasn't so shockingly thin that I would have immediately protested and tried to flounder around my human memories of how to cook.

He looked like he was an old man. Like Charlie, my father, was dying.

Dying. The single world rattled around my head like a madman in a cage.

It truly terrified me - but he was expecting me. His eyes seemed partially alert - and they seemed to shine slightly more when he spotted Nessie alongside me, his two girls. She flew to his bed - slowly enough so that the nurse standing next to me couldn't be fazed.

I saw his lips move to say 'Nessie', but I didn't hear his voice.

Nothing. Just silence.

Whilst I stood, shell shocked, Nessie was fussing over him, touching his face, sending him silent messages the way she could, but still looking worried. Partially for the nurse's benefit, so it didn't look odd, but also for Charlie's. She seemed pained. Shocked. Surprised. Scared.

I could hardly say I was any different as I forced myself to stop being a blockade and move in the direction of his bed, the sound of the nurse slipping out behind me and the door banging sounding far too loud for a room where I couldn't even hear a man speak aloud.

"Bells," he managed. A fresh wave of surprise and panic swept under my feet - he hadn't sounded so weak before, had he?

I hesitated, trying to put on my reserved smile for this kind of thing. My fake voice that wouldn't let him see through the cracks. I only just succeeded. "Hi, Dad."

"Did the nurse tell you, then?" Charlie asked, motioning for the only chair in the room for me to sit on, as Nessie was sat next to him on his bed. I obliged only out of courtesy than necessity. What he didn't know was I could stand here for years without feeling the need to move.

"Heart attack," I said eventually. My voice seemed to totter at the end, but a human wouldn't notice.

Charlie didn't. "Knew it would happen someday, Bells," he reassured me. "I can't stay around forever."

I wanted to be childish, then. To respond and say he could be - that he should be. He was my dad. I didn't want to see Charlie like this, to see him dying. I wanted to see him well, like he had been all those decades ago.

But I couldn't be childish. I was a mother. I had been a mother for so long. I had to set an example, to keep face, to be brave, and crush those feelings with the superhuman strength I possessed.

But it turned out I didn't need to be childish.

"Why, Grandpa?" Renesmee spoke, sitting upright to look down at him with utter and complete horror at his words. "Why?"

He stroked her curls with his weathered hand, toying with each perfect strand. She didn't flinch an inch, only looked at him all the more intensely. "Because I'm not like you, Ness. Or your mother. Or your father. I'm just plain old Charlie."

Nessie frowned - she wasn't satisfied with that answer. Still remembering to walk slowly enough for him to see, she darted round the bed to touch me on the cheek.

A slight flash. I saw an image of me, from years ago, when I lay dying. That Jacob and Daddy had saved Mama. That vampire venom had 'worked miracles'...

I shook my head. "No, Nessie. I wanted that. Cha- Grandpa- doesn't want that."

She opened her mouth to object - before she clamped it shut again as I uttered quietly enough for her to hear, 'need to know'. Charlie had often expressed his desire to remain out of the loop unless he needed to be. Me becoming a vampire, and how, was beyond the need to know basis.

Renesmee's face grew worried again, and her hand was on my cheek once more. Another flash, another memory - this one was probably almost twelve years old, though to me, it felt like weeks. Nessie's eighteenth birthday party, where she'd danced round and round with Jacob, and then like I had at my wedding, stomped on his foot. I felt a slight bit of pride at that, but it was soon stowed away as her question appeared in my mind over the happy images.

Will this happen to my Jacob? Will he die?

I shook my head. "No. Jake can... decide to stop being... what he is, if he wants to. But he doesn't, for you, Ness."

Her next image was a repetition of me saying the words, and I felt the gratitude and relief that was behind it. But I could also feel the fear that was still for the human man lying next to us, staring up at the ceiling, in a world of his own, blocking out the supernatural conversations as he did, even though we censored it all anyway.

It almost made me smile. Almost. He was still the same Charlie.

"Ness," Charlie said slowly, and she was back at his side, a fluttering hummingbird, never still. "Did you see the gardens on the way in, and the flower shop?"

She nodded, a slight crinkle on her forehead telling me, at least, she didn't know quite where this was going. "Yes, Grandpa."

"I thought you would," he said, before he stopped a moment to cough – I thought nothing could stop me from sitting bone upright anymore, but that almost made me fall off my chair, my whole being crumpling, but fortunately, he continued. "Could you do Grandpa a favour? The room's a little empty."

She pressed a hand gently to his cheek. He smiled, and nodded. "Quite right, Nessie. Would you get me some flowers?"

"I'd love to," she said brightly, standing upright and fluttering round the room to quickly touch my shoulder, before she shimmied out the doorway, where it fell back into place with a soft click.

It only took her a couple of seconds, and now I was alone. Alone with Charlie. Alone with my dad. The silence itself wasn't unbearable. We'd always been fine to sit in the silence of each other's company, but, now, it just didn't feel right. Like I was wasting time. Like I should say something, but I didn't quite know what.

Charlie moved in my vision, and my eyes instantly flicked back to him as his head lolled in my direction, his attention set on me, instead of calmly at the wall opposite. He sighed, and he seemed all the more tired from doing so. Just as he opened his mouth to speak, it clicked, why he'd sent Renesmee away.

"You did that on purpose."

He chuckled, though only slightly. "Bells."

"I know," I held up my hands in defeat, a particularly human gesture. All of a sudden I was more animated than usual. "You want to talk with me. As your daughter, you as a father."

"Yes," he said, and he seemed particularly authoritative - all of a sudden I was eighteen again, waiting for my father's list of punishments on me running off to Italy for Edward, ready to accept them, whatever they were. His voice reminded me of that, even if those memories were even more cloudy than my other human ones. Why did I superglue my memories of Edward from when I was a human so much into my mind? They were sacred, special, but... I had all of eternity with Edward. Charlie, I had little, a few precious ones. The same with Mom. Why had I never noticed it before?

Charlie was still speaking. "I think Nessie has accepted it. As much as she can. Dying isn't something she can understand as easy due to, ah-- things. But Bells, I can tell you haven't. You have to deal with it. You have to accept that I'm not going to be here forever. It happens to everyone."

"I don't..." I started, but fell into silence. I couldn't think of what to say. What could I say? That I didn't want to deal, or that he was wrong?

"You have to let me go," he said softly, though his voice was still gruff. Emotional, meaningful conversation was still not his forte, but all the same, he lifted a weak, withered hand in my direction, and for once, I threw caution and the secrets and the 'need to know' to the winds, and was at his side in mere fractions of a second, taking hold of it gingerly; and for once, he didn't rebuke me for doing so.

For a minute, I just stared and stared at him. And then I felt my body convulse - which surprised me, since it was unnatural to me now, a feeling I hadn't had in over thirty years - but the mechanical action of crying didn't happen. Nothing came out of my eyes, even as I shuddered, and noiseless sobs seeped out of my partly open mouth. My very essence was crying, even if I couldn't, and there was nothing in me to stop it.

I had never so badly wanted to cry.

"Bella. Bella, please don't cry."

"I'm not," I said, as it was true. In human terms, I wasn't crying. But my voice was strangled, weak, not vampire-like at all, not perfect. It was sad, a little reluctant, and realising I would have to resign to letting him go in the end. That I was allowed a very human moment for the last real human connection I still possessed.

"Of course," was his response, but his grip tightened in mine as I blinked at the floor, feeling my mind crumple and give in, just for a few long, silent moments.

"Did they-" I started, but stopped, before repeating, "Did they say anything else to you?"

He was quiet, subdued. "It's likely to happen again. My heart's weak." That was true. I could hear it thumping in his chest, but it seemed slow and tired, the same as the age that was on his face, the deep set lines. "I won't have very long, Bells."

I nodded, just as Nessie returned to the room, and I let go of my dad's hand.

As she rounded the bed with her handful of tulips, I watched them both, but I stared through them. Their voices seemed so far away. Inside my mind, I saw the metaphorical sky with the lights of all the people I loved; as I gazed up at them, one of the glowing specks of light began to slowly descend, slowly beginning to fall, blinking in and out of existence, collapsing further and further away from me, out of my reach, out of my sight.

That perfect sky was going to change.

And I had to let him go.


AFTERWORD

I've mentioned writing this for a while. I've kept going back to it every now and then, and I recently improved the first half of the fic in terms of throwing in more description, and then finished it off to where it is. And I decided that, if ever, it was done. I was originally thinking about putting on a section with Charlie's funeral at the end, but I think I cross the line of being unbelievably morbid with the idea then. XDD I'd ponder it as a oneshot, but eh, I like it as it is with this one. With Bella 'crying' as much as a vampire can, and finally facing reality, and letting her dad go.

I also didn't write Renee (Bella's mom) very much... I was trying to decide whether to make her more prominent to the image of stars on the horizon. But as a vampire in the book, Bella distances herself from her mom, so I guess it wouldn't be as hard for in that sense; for Charlie it would be, since Renesmee often visited and so on.

Actually, as an aside, I enjoyed writing as Renesmee. She's not my favourite character by far, but I really like her in this. I particularly like the image of her as a teen and cutting her hair, haha. It just felt right.

Er yeah.... I really would like to know thoughts on this one. No bashing on the characters or the fic, just tell me what you think, concrit and the like. Feel free to throw me out of the fanfic world forever, since I really still don't know what to think of myself for writing it. XD

Espo (copyrighted to me! ©! No stealing please.) Twilight, Bella and all related characters, etc. © SMeyer. This is merely a fanfic written by a fan - there is no determination of any of this happening at all. Thank you.