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The Drummer Boy

Summary:
"For Emmett, it's black or white, good or bad, right or left, and fight. Always fight." One-shot, Emmett centric, takes place during Breaking Dawn. (Rated PG-13 for very mild profanity.)


Notes:
I disclaim. Characters featured in this story are the property of Stephanie Meyer, whose imagination I worship.


1. The Drummer Boy

Rating 4.5/5   Word Count 1228   Review this Chapter

The Drummer Boy

When she’s spun into one of her rages, Rose curses his simple mindedness. The rest of the family tries for a touch more civility, referring instead to his recklessness – Esme being the exception, of course. An indulgent mother through and through, she reprimands the others with a ‘shush’ and offers praise for his determination. He merely shrugs the labels away with a lopsided grin, never offended or wounded. What they call simple, reckless and determined, he calls decisive.

For Emmett, it’s black or white, good or bad, right or left, and fight. Always fight.

~

The latest twist in Edward and Bella’s spiraling saga pokes at a foolish part of him, giving rise to the need to snicker uncomfortably at the idea of the stork visiting a vampire family. However, what began as a snicker deep in his chest emerges as a sharp exhalation, and he’s floored to realize that he has no first instinct.

The gravity of the situation cuts a merciless path through his family, claiming them one by one, until their warring reactions force each of them to a side. Standing in the middle of the room, Edward and Rosalie lock eyes and draw battle lines, despair dripping off of him, while she bristles with vicious resolve. Between them, Bella just tries over and over again not to cry.

He walks away from the inevitable yelling and planning and worrying, stopping when he steps beyond the front door to take a seat on the porch. From then on, he spends little time in the house, racked with indecision that feels too foreign and leaves him too torn.

~

Alice comes out to sit with him often, needing time away from the source of her constant headaches. Her requests for bear hugs grow more and more frequent, which means that he’s adding to her long list of worries. Jasper joins them as well, but always stays stoic and quiet, rubbing soothing circles into Alice’s tiny hand for his own sake.

He’s tempted to ask Jasper what to make of the whole situation, but never does.

~

“Your girlfriend’s a bitch.”

Leaning back slowly, he rests his elbows against the smooth boards of the porch and rolls his eyes towards a thoroughly antagonized Jacob.

If it had been another place or another time, Emmett knows that they’d have been instant friends. Dog or not, the young man was prone to offering wide smiles with the same ease that he delivered legitimate threats. They have that in common.

Jacob releases a second frustrated breath and Emmett’s lips curl into a grin he hasn’t been able to use much of late.

“If Rosalie’s strong opinions are too much for your delicate sensibilities, perhaps you ought to consider leaving.”

The taunt easily garners the desired effect, and his grin widens into a victorious smile as Jacob’s upper lip begins to tic. He knows it won’t happen, but he finds himself hoping for a fight. He’s both right and disappointed when the Quileute’s anger gets beaten into submission as easily as it materialized.

Without a word, Jacob pivots on his heels and marches back into the house.

“By the way dog,” Emmett calls after him, causing Jacob to pause and swing back around.

“Call my wife a bitch again and I’ll skin your mangy hind.”

Wide smile, legitimate threat.

~

Esme says nothing when she finally leaves the house. She simply leans down and kisses his brow and as always, he knows how much she loves him. Carlisle, on the other hand, never steps out for a visit. Instead, he keeps his voice clear whenever he reports on Bella’s condition, making sure that the news always carries to Emmett’s ears.

The considerate act is as effective as Esme’s embrace.

~

He knows she’s coming long before she reaches him, but he pretends not to notice so he can enjoy the surprise of her long, slender arms sliding around his shoulders and her full lips bestowing a kiss upon his neck.

“Hey stranger,” he whispers as his hand snakes up, through her soft hair to the back of her head, to hold her against him for a moment longer than she’d planned.

“Drama Queen,” she chides, but she presses a second, lingering kiss to his temple and instead of taking a seat beside him, holds him tighter.

“Is everything all right?” He enquires tentatively, even though that’s not really the question he wants to ask. He already knows all of her answers so there’s no point in hearing them out loud, especially because some of them might hurt them both.

“The baby’s fine,” she replies automatically, but her tone is more an exertion of her will than a definitive assessment of the situation.

“And Bella?”

For a second, he expects her embrace to slink away, but her arms stay wound about him as she buries her face into his shoulder.

“At the moment, Bella’s fine too,” she states calmly, her words a little muffled. “She’s sleeping right now.”

He nods. It’s all a formality at this point, a dance around words and feelings that might be better left alone.

“I miss you,” she offers suddenly, her voice still muffled and uncharacteristically small.

For her, it’s very near to an apology, and while he’s glad to hear it, he doesn’t really need it. He knows full well why she’s committed herself to the path she’s chosen.

“I miss you too,” he offers back, the words akin to forgiveness even though there’s nothing to forgive.

He’s always known her flaws. The others focus on them so readily, but they’ve never amounted to a thing in his eyes. A lifetime ago, immersed in a death, he decided to love her. Nothing matters beyond that.

~

Her name is Renesmee and Emmett wishes Bella had just settled on one or the other.

The miracle that was both her arrival - and her mother’s survival - moves his vigil from the porch to the living room entrance. There, he watches as the thoughtful infant gets traded back forth between his family, accepting kisses and hugs and cuddles with a patience that’s both tender and disarming.

Taking yet another turn to lavish attention upon the child, Rose’s eyes meet his from across the room and she’s instantly standing before him.

“Would you like to hold your niece?”

It’s small and fleeting, but he doesn’t miss the pain in his wife’s eyes as she asks the question. He’s always known, but it’s hard to actually see how much she wishes she could say daughter instead.

He has nothing to give but his smile, so he offers it as he reaches out in acceptance.

Cradled in his hulking arms, the tiny girl is rendered smaller still, but his size does nothing to intimidate her. Warm brown eyes stare up at him with calm, comforting recognition, and he marvels at how right it is that this part of Bella gets to live on.

“Welcome to the family,” he whispers softly.

A delicate giggle bursts from her suddenly and the sweetest smile blooms upon the perfect bow of her lips. The sound and sight is utterly delightful and all at once, he feels the indecision he had grappled with wash away clean.

Answering her giggle with a chuckle of his own, he rocks the littlest Cullen and promises to fight for her. Always fight.