sheisourheart: (The Children: Edward)
[personal profile] sheisourheart
"Are you going to say it, or not?"

Her voice, the sudden statement of thoughts, actually surprises Edward. He sat up straighter. "Excuse me?"

"You've been watching me for the last thirty minutes. I know you aren't obsessed with the laundry, so I assume--" Esme looked over to catch the tight grimace on the boy's face, just as he looked away. "Now you're really going to have to tell me."

Or not, so says the silence that has him not looking back at him, and holding himself more still. Esme turned back to folding the clothes, humming softly. And he can see it. She can wait. She doesn't even mind it. She's dealt with longer and deeper silences than his few minutes can compel her to concern. Though she is curious.

When did she become so certain of herself, of time and her place?

It's so much more her house than it is either of theirs.

"I was wondering when you were going to talk to me."

Esme made a face at the green sweater she was folding, tossing him a look. "Aren't I talking to you already?"

"Yes." Pause.

"I meant about--" He didn't go on. It just hung there on the air.

The folded green was placed on the stack and she turned toward him again. "You want to know when I'm going yell at you, you mean?"

Edward said nothing, studying her with red eyes, so very still. Reminding her too easily of someone both ready to take a house being dropped on them and still was ready to run at the drop of hat, at even the smallest whispered thought of being unwelcome in this place. She sat on the arm of the chair that held the clothing she was folding.

"You want me to take out my last five years on you? You want me to tell you that you took my friend and my husband and my life away when the door closed?" Esme laced her fingers together, setting them on her knee. "Do you think you are the only person in the world, or even this house, who found themselves in a situation that was less than perfect and decided running away made it better?"

Even with the ability to see her making the allusion to all three of them, Edward sat staring at her, still, and Esme shook her head.

"This is your home, Edward, and from the sound of it--" From the sound of his discussions with Carlisle, and his music, the twice it had started in the afternoon hours a day or two ago. "--you're already doing a good enough job of beating yourself up on a nearly unending basis. You know what you did. For all of whatever happened where you were, and -- and you already see more of it than either of us ever wanted you to, correct? You don't need that from me, too."

"I don't deserve that. You're--" He couldn't even make the words form.

She watched it shudder across his youthful features, and those red eyes, that seemed so much older. Haunted. Eyes that carried the dead, struggling looked Carlisle's had lost when they'd brought him in again. Eyes that strained as though to find something else in her, something to damn himself on, that caught all her flawed reactions and her decision to stick with this still.

"Family isn't about deserving."

"I just want."

"What do you want, Edward?"

"To do something, to," but the words are too small, the past so big.

Esme smiled, faintly, moving to pull another piece out of the clean basket again, "You could help me with folding all of this."

"I don't know that I'm that apropos," Edward said with a crease that was both grimace and smirk. The amusement flitting across in how his cheeks lifted even when his lips didn't raise and eyes didn't change.

You do know that my aim with a pillow has gotten much better, right?

There was a chuckle. "You would have to."

Beat. "Esme."

"Hmm?"

"I don't know how to do this."

She walked over to his chair and held a hand out. He looked at it, and then her, uncertainly. Hesitant in just looking at it, and even more in slipping his hand into hers. He moved slowly for how fast everything came and went for him, still in the full swing of having had human blood, but he was the same height as Carlisle and still enough.

She pulled him down and put her arms around his shoulders. Waiting until he finally stopped being stock still, until his head ducked just enough against her own shoulder, "You belong here."

He doesn't move for the longest time. Minutes. Before he finally set his arms around her frame, wondering how, how he'd missed so much, how any of this was even possible, how he could manage another five minutes, how they could be this way. Let it ramble in his head, let it ramble until all that was left was her words. Her words and Carlisle's.

And the smallest whisper, that she doesn't miss it, that whole house can't. "Thank you."
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sheisourheart

February 2011

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