"Go, then," Edward snarled.
Jacob stumbled back as Edward's hands replaced his; Edward's pulses on Bella's chest much, much faster and more desperate than Jacob's. The attempts at CPR didn't seem to be taking. Bella had promised that she would keep her heart beating, yet there was nothing. She'd broken her promise.
Another step back, another step towards the door. Bella was dying – maybe even dead already – Jacob didn't know when they decided to declare people as dead.
"She's not dead." Edward's words weren't convincing and Jacob wasn't sure to whom they were directed. "She's going to be fine."
Jacob took one last look at Bella's mangled body – mangled corpse – before he spun slowly around, eyes taking in the site of the Carlisle's office for the last time. Each step was labored, as the weight of all that happened settled on his shoulders. Bella was gone; the fight was over. Everything Jacob had wanted, every last wish he'd had was blown apart when that monster tore through her. She'd broken her promise.
As the panic and the desperation left Jacob's body with each footstep towards the door, it was replaced by an anger unrivaled by anything he had felt before. No fight with Paul, no exchange with Edward, not even the realization that Bella was pregnant and going to keep the damn thing, nothing – absolutely nothing - had ever come even close to the furor Jacob felt currently. He saw red, and his mind settled on the only thing he could think of: kill what had killed Bella. He would avenge Bella and murder the spawn.
As he descended the stairs, he formulated his plan. Edward was still with Bella, too distracted to hear his thoughts. Not that he thought Edward would mind. He would want Bella avenged too, Jacob was sure of that. Jasper and Alice were hiding somewhere, probably trying to avoid the scent of blood that permeated through the entire house. With Carlisle, Esme and Emmett gone, the only thing standing in Jacob's way was Blondie. He was confident he could take Blondie. She would be too distracted by the thing to put up a real fight.
Jacob looked down, from his spot halfway down the stairs, and sure enough, Rosalie was sitting on the couch, feeding a bottle full of bright red liquid to the spawn. Blood. Not even five minutes old and already a murderer, drinking blood like the unnatural creature it was.
"Jake," Seth's voice was an urgent whisper, "Jake!"
So distracted by his plan, Jacob hadn't noticed that Seth was standing at the edge of the room, not too far from the stairs. He must have come in to see what the commotion was. It wasn't a problem though; Jacob was stronger and faster than Seth. He could take him if Seth was so idiotic as to try to intervene. But Jake didn't think he would be. Even Seth must see the truth: Bella must be avenged.
"Jake," Seth started again, with a sense of urgency in his voice so great that Jacob worried that Seth might know his plan, "Jake, I –"
Jacob finished descending the stairs, a growl escaping him at Seth's continued interruptions. Jacob didn't want to lose his nerve; he couldn't afford to be distracted.
"Jacob!" Jacob had never heard Seth sound so desperate.
He looked at Seth, really looked at him this time. Seth's eyes were gazing at the monster in a desperate, but familiar way. Jacob took one glance back at the monster, but all he saw was a demon. A perfectly formed, deceivingly beautiful demon, but a demon all the same. He looked back at Seth, but Seth hadn't taken his eyes off the spawn. The same desperate look still graced his face.
It took Jacob a second to place why Seth's expression was so familiar, but when it hit Jacob, he couldn't believe it had taken him so long to place it. Sam, Jared, Paul and Quil all stared similarly, but only at the center of their worlds. Only at their imprints.
"Oh shit!" The words fell from Jacob's lips before he could stop them. Blondie glanced back, glaring at him as she continued to rock the demon. A snarl warned him away.
"Why are you still here, mutt?" Venom dropped from Rosalie's voice.
Something about Seth's gaze stopped Jacob's thoughts dead in their tracks, the unfortunate interruption just enough to stall Jacob's plan.
And then, from upstairs, he heard the frantic pounding of a racing heart. Bella's heart, he knew, as it was the familiar pounding that he'd learned to love. The pounding that meant that he still had a chance, that maybe he could still save her. And yet, the fast and furious beating heart meant something different now. Bella was now worse than dead.
"Jake," Seth whispered again, "Look at her."
Jacob glanced one more time at the spawn and this time, he almost doubled over. The little demon had the same chocolaty brown eyes that Jacob had loved so much. The pain was almost unbearable.
Between the sudden pounding of Bella's heart, and Seth's desperate gaze, Jacob knew he couldn't kill the spawn. He couldn't hurt Bella, the woman he loved so much, even in her own death, and he couldn't hurt Seth, his only friend in the world at the moment.
It took him a second, but Jacob realized he was shaking. As his plan slipped away, so did his outlet for his anger. The razor sharp focus that had stopped Jacob's wolf from taking over was fast fading. He could no longer stop the shaking and he knew he was mere seconds away from phasing.
"Jake, get out of here." Seth still hadn't taken his eyes of the monster yet he could feel his Alpha losing control. His voice was firm and confident, more assured than Jacob had ever heard it.
And Jake obeyed. He burst through the door, letting it slam behind him, as he began to run to the forest. He could see Leah's grey form outside the in the yard, peering in with a certain curiosity.
He ran until he hit the edge of the yard, right at the beginning of the forest. Then, without thought or intention, he let the anger and the animal take over. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw a shred of his jeans fly across the Cullen's yard.
Jacob, what happened?! Leah demanded.
At first he, couldn't answer. The pain was too great, all he could think of was Bella's mangled corpse. Jacob couldn't even decide what was worse, the mangled corpse or the beating of the heart that he had heard while downstairs. Both meant the same: Bella was gone. Jacob continued running aimlessly, too upset to slow down. Leah chased him, right on his heels the whole time.
Jacob, tell me what happened! Leah's thoughts had more intention, more command to them. Breathe and tell me what happened!
At Leah's command, he took several deep breaths, trying to peel his focus away from the anger pulsing through his veins.
He let his mind run over the events of the day, everything seeming so surreal. He could feel Leah focus in on everything, taking it in herself. His mind stumbled on his plan, as he went over it again. Break the spawn's neck, then take Blondie. Two simple steps. He had half a mind to go back in there and just kill the thing. In his anger, he couldn't quite remember why he had stopped.
But what's Seth still doing in there? Why didn't you just kill it?
At Seth's name, it came back to him.
Your brother…. He couldn't finish it his thought, he couldn't say the words. But Jacob also couldn't shake the image of the look on Seth's face when he saw the spawn out of his head.
Through the bond, Jacob felt Leah's betrayal, the shock of the loving gaze that Seth had as she digested what had transpired.
She howled loudly, instinctively. No coherent thoughts graced her mind; the howling covered what she couldn't put into words.
Leah! You have to stop! You'll alert the other pack! Even in his anger, he had enough sense to know that he couldn't let the other pack know what had transpired. They might try to kill the demon spawn, and that was Jacob's right, not theirs. He wouldn't let them take it from him.
Despite her rapidly rising anger flowing through the bond, she had enough sense to shut up. For several minutes, it was just the two of them seething together, the anger each of them felt feeding off of the other's, Jacob at the death of his Bella and Leah at the unwelcome intrusion of yet another imprint.
No coherent thoughts passed through either of them. Rage filled the air, but beneath, it something much worst lurked: agony. The caustic mix of emotions flooded through both of them, Leah's anger at Seth's imprint, her despair at the reminder of what imprinting could do, Jacob's agony at seeing Bella's mangled body and his inability to fix it. All ran together until Jacob couldn't fully tell what were his emotions and what were hers.
He found himself gulping for air, almost as if he was drowning.
And then, Jacob began to run.
Hours passed before Jacob calmed down enough to even think about phasing. Leah had followed him nearly the whole way, not always directly behind him, but never far away. They had run all the way to Canada and back, staying mostly within eyesight of one another. Night had just started to creep into the sky. At some point, they had managed to make their way not far from the bloodsucker's land.
Neither had truly coherent thoughts, but of them were seeing things more rationally now.
But with the calmness, Jacob could see that his plan to kill the spawn wouldn't help anything. It would turn him against the Cullens, and that included Bella now. Even in what was effectively her death, Jake couldn't upset Bella. He couldn't hurt her daughter anymore than he could hurt Bella herself.
The treaty is void now anyways, isn't it? Leah asked, referring to the venom currently flowing through Bella's veins. So we can expect the other pack soon.
I gave them permission to change Bella. Jacob mulled over the conversation he had with Edward.
Leah grimaced internally, Well, I guess that takes care of that.
What are we going to do? Jacob tired not to let his dejectedness, his tiredness, slip through, but he knew Leah could sense it anyways. When it wolf form, it could take such effort to hide things that sometimes it wasn't worth it at all.
We need to talk to the Elders. As soon as Leah thought the words, Jacob scowled. That was one of things he had wanted to avoid.
You knew that this was a temporary thing, Jake. The hiding out and living in the woods. You knew that Bella wouldn't be pregnant forever. And the Elders and the other pack know that, too. You don't want them to come seek out information.
Loath as he was to admit it, Leah's words had reason. The last thing he needed was for Sam to drop by and discover that the demon spawn had been born.
If we speak with Elders first, then we can get them on our side before we tell Sam, Leah continued. We can go to the border and ask for passage and insist on speaking with the Elders.
And if they deny us?
I don't think they will. They don't want to fight anymore than we do. Leah's mind was full of the images of their tense meeting from a few days ago.
Jake considered this.
And if they try to mount an attack while we're gone?
They're too nosy. They'll want to know what we're speaking to the Elders about. Leah's confidence was surprising.
But even Jacob had to admit that Leah had a point. If they had gone this long without attacking, it wouldn't be difficult for them to hold off a bit longer. And he knew that Sam would hate to have Jacob in a meeting with the Elders without him.
We'll do it then, Jacob agreed.
We need to go check on Seth. Leah's loyalty to her brother was endless, and apparently unconditional.
Jacob didn't respond, but started running the short distance back to the bloodsucker's place. Shortly behind him, Leah trotted along, for once okay with letting Jake take the lead. Both thoughts were heavy with the weight of the future. It had been one thing when Jacob was convinced he could somehow save Bella, but she was gone. And with Seth's imprint, the chances of Jake leading an attack against the coven had slimmed considerably. And for Leah, the thought that the vampires now had a permanent role in her life was almost unbearable.
I'm going to have to tell my mom, aren't I? She asked.
Someone's going to have to.
The sickly sweet scent of the vampires filled their nostrils as they approached the Cullen's house. Neither dared to approach the house any more than the edge of the forest as they considered their next move.
Should we go in?
No. Jake answered too quickly, and Leah admitted knew that he was hiding something.
Those clothes I exploded in were my last pair, he admitted sheepishly
Leah let out an incredulous sigh, So should I go in?
You don't have to go in, but maybe you should talk to Seth? Make sure he's okay?
Jake could feel Leah's inter turmoil as she weighed her disgust towards the leeches with her love of her brother. As she glanced in, Jake could feel her inner thoughts going over her choices.
She let out a huff. I'll go phase.
By the time Leah made it to the edge of the forest, Seth had seen Jake through the windows. He waved eagerly and bounded towards the door, almost skipping. Seth's eager bounce continued all the way to the edge of the patio, where he waited expectantly.
"Hi Jake!" Seth said, "Do you wanna come in and meet Nessie?"
Jake shook his wolf head, and Seth looked slightly crestfallen. He nodded his head towards the forest, and right on cue, Leah emerged, fully dressed.
"Hey, Seth," Leah's voice was soft but loud enough to carry through the yard.
"Hi, Leah!" Seth exclaimed, "I'm so glad you're here!"
"Seth, Jake said that you… imprinted," Leah hesitated as she spoke, as if saying the word aloud might make a difference in Seth's answer.
Seth nodded enthusiastically, "I did! And Leah, she's perfect. I know you don't like the Cullens, but you have to come meet her! Nessie. That's what I'm calling her. She's wonderful Leah, she's so perfect and talented and - "
"I don't think that's a good idea right now, Seth. I will later, though, I promise." Leah's voice left no room for argument. She stood at edge of the patio, looking up at her younger brother, arms crossed.
"Well do you want any food? Esme made mac-n-cheese and it's great! She's such a good cook," Seth continued just as happily as before, his sister's refusal to see his new raison d'etre not affecting his mood at all.
"I'm not hungry," Leah said a little too quickly, "I just wanted to make sure you're okay."
"I'm great, Leah! You don't have to worry about me."
"I'm your older sister. It's just what I do," Leah smiled, though it didn't quite reach her eyes.
From inside, they heard a baby's cry. Seth's smile faltered, and he looked back.
"I'm gonna go," he said, "Unless you need me for something?"
"No, Seth, go head and go see your vampire spawn imprint," Leah's tone was surprisingly kind, at least for her.
Jake let out a low whine, reminding Leah of his predicament.
"Actually, Seth, could you get some clothes for this idiot?" Leah asked, jesting her finger back at Jacob.
"Yeah, yeah, I'll grab some of Emmett's!" Seth dashed inside without looking back. He was back before a full minute had passed, a mess of clothes in his arms.
The spawn was still crying as Seth quickly handed them off, "Here you go, Jake! I gotta go though."
Leah shuddered at the smell, but took them from Seth's hands before leaning down and loosely tying them to Jacob's front leg. Seth was back inside, and by the time Leah and Jake made it to the forest, Nessie had stopped crying.
"Wait here," Leah commanded before disappearing behind a tree.
Jake felt the air shift, and within seconds he could feel Leah's presence in his thoughts.
You didn't want to meet your future sister-in-law?
I need to work up to it. If Jacob hadn't been so tired, Leah's truthful response would have been concerning. It was concerning, but Jake didn't have it in him to do anything about it.
Right. Of course. Jake let Leah's thoughts settle down for a moment as she considered everything Seth had said, And, uh, thanks for the clothes.
I guess I'll speak with the Elders now. It still wasn't Jacob's first choice, but he was recognizing that it was his only choice that didn't involve leaving Seth and Leah unprotected.
You can't go alone. Leah insisted. It's not safe.
Wow, Leah, if I didn't know any better I'd think you were getting fond of me, worried about my safety.
If Sam kills you, then I have to go back to his pack. It has nothing to do with your safety. But although Leah tried to hide it, Jacob could tell that somewhere, deep inside of her, it did.
If he was being honest, Jacob didn't love the idea of going with Leah, but the day had been tiring, and he could tell she had more energy to argue than he did. A certain numbness had set in after everything that had happened, and having her there to help explain his actions might help his case. And he really didn't want to be the one to inform Sue Clearwater about her son's imprint. Sue Clearwater could be scary like that.
Okay, he relented, We'll both go. But we'll have to leave Seth here.
Leah looked back at the big house, where Seth was sitting on the couch, the spawn now safely in his arms. She had calmed down, and there were no cries to be heard. Blondie was nearby, seemingly suspicious, but clearly, she thought there was no attack imminent. Carlisle, Esme and Emmett had returned while Jacob and Leah had been on their anger run, and Jacob knew that Carlisle's preference for peace would protect Seth. And as for Seth himself, with the goofy gaze on his face that had while he cradled the baby, Jake guessed that Seth wouldn't even notice their absence.
He'll be safe here, Leah.
Leah didn't respond but instead took off running towards La Push.
If we go human then we won't seem as threatening. Jacob mused as they approached the border. I don't think they'll attack if we're human.
Right. Leah agreed. By now, they could see the edge of the reservation, the lights in the houses closest to the border visible through the windows.
Are we ready? Jacob asked.
In response, Leah howled.
Both quickly phased and threw on their clothes behind two separate trees to give the illusion of privacy. Once done, they stepped away from the trees, so they were right on the far side of the reservation's line. Neither of them had shoes, and Jacob could feel the soft dirt of the forest against his toes.
"Do you think they're coming?" Leah asked after several minutes had passed.
Jacob nodded, "I'm sure of it."
To prove his point, Colin appeared from the trees merely seconds later. He froze at the sight of them, as if he was unsure what to do next. His unwillingness to approach Leah and Jacob left Jacob wondering if Sam had forbidden them from doing so.
"Is Sam coming?" Jacob asked.
The wolf head nodded. Leah and Jacob glanced at each other.
"Good. We need to speak with him."
Colin nodded again, looking towards the west. He paced nervously, as if the pair of humans would be able to do anything against his wolf form.
It was only a few minutes later that Sam appeared in human form, with Jared and Paul flanking him on either side. Colin relaxed noticeably at the site of his Alpha.
"Leah, Jacob," Sam said by way of greeting.
"Sam," Jacob returned, "Paul, Jared."
Leah said nothing, but did nod her head as an acknowledgement.
"Where's Seth?" Sam asked.
Jacob ignored him, "We need to talk to Sue and Billy and Old Quil."
"Why?" Sam demanded, "What happened? Where's Seth?"
"Seth is at the Cullen's place. He's perfectly fine." Fine didn't even begin to cover it, Jacob thought bitterly. "We need to confer with the Elders, that's all. We have some things we'd like to discuss with them."
Sam considered this. His dark eyes studied the pair.
"We're not here to fight, Sam," Leah added. She sounded as tired and worn as Jake felt.
"Did Bella give birth to her child?" Sam demanded.
"We'd like to speak with the Elders," Jacob repeated. He stared back at Sam, daring him to challenge him.
Sam paused to think for a minute. His eyes darted from Jake and Leah, studying them both. They settled on Leah for an uncomfortable second before he spoke again.
"Colin, go get Billy, Sue and Old Quil and have them wait at Old Quil's place. Jared, go fetch yours and Paul's clothes," Sam commanded.
If there was anything strange about their tasks, neither made it known. Both Colin and Jared trotted off, leaving Sam with just Paul as his guard.
"We'll allow it. But on our terms," Sam spoke to Jacob and Leah now, "You can meet with the three of them at Quil's place. And Jared, Paul and I will be waiting outside, and we will escort you on and off the reservation."
Jacob hadn't been expecting anything less.
"You two are to wait here," Billy said, "While we discuss the everything you've told us."
He led Leah and Jacob out to Old Quil's porch, where Sam, Jared and Paul were waiting on the steps. All three jumped up at Billy's appearance.
"You three wait, as well," Billy spoke to them, "Jacob and Leah have given us some information we'd like to discuss. We'll speak with both of you once we've had time to discuss and make decisions."
With that, he rolled back and headed inside. Jacob and Leah sat on the swing bench, Leah rocking them gently. Although he strained his ears, Jacob could make out no words coming from inside the house. The Elders knew the powers and limits of supernatural hearing too well.
"I think it went well." Leah spoke at a slightly lower voice, glancing over at the three others. Paul was staring at them, though both Jared and Sam had their heads bowed. They all knew any conversations would be heard by all of them.
"As well as we could have hoped," Jacob agreed, "She took it well, especially."
Leah nodded. If Sue had been horrified by the news that her son had imprinted on a newly born half-vampire, she hid it well. Her face had remained solemn and betrayed nothing throughout their entire spiel. Sue Clearwater was tough. Jacob had always known that.
Although he had lots more he wanted to say, he kept his mouth shut, not wanting to give Jared, Paul and Sam any more information than they already had. For their part, the threesome was equally silent and left the whole group alone with their thoughts.
Jacob looked out at the reservation he'd called his home his entire life. Had it really only been a few months ago that all the wolf stuff was nothing more than legends? That Edward was just some bad memory of Bella's? He wondered what Jacob of eight months ago would think of the scene. It felt as though years, decades even, had passed, not mere months.
"Jacob, Sam?" It was Sue who opened the door and peered her head out, "Can you both come here, please?"
Jacob and Leah shared a glance. He was hesitant to leave her alone, though he knew she could fight for herself. Or at least run of faster than the other two if necessary. And Leah was still Sue's daughter, and if Sue thought there was any danger to her, she'd have brought her in, too. He stood up, and followed Sam into the house.
Sue led Sam and Jacob into the living room, where Old Quil had sat on the couch, Billy's chair parked nearby. Sue took her place in the empty spot on the couch between Billy and Old Quill.
"Sam, Jacob came here today to inform that Bella Cullen gave birth to a baby girl earlier today," Billy spoke, his voice quietly powerful, "It was my understanding that it was a difficult birth, and she nearly died. She would have died, except Edward Cullen injected her with his venom."
Sam remained deceptively calm, "And the… thing she was carrying?"
"Wait, Sam. We'll get to that. Before Edward injected Bella, he had spoken to Jacob about negotiating an exception to the treaty that would allow them to bite Bella. This is his right as Ephraim's descendent. Is that correct, Jacob?"
Jacob nodded, and kept his eyes squarely on the wall behind his father's head. He could feel Sam's tension and anger beginning to mount beside him as the older man took in the news.
"Furthermore," Billy continued, "We understand the Seth Clearwater has imprinted on half-vampire child. Is that correct, Jacob?"
Jacob could sense Sam shift with unease as he listed to Billy's words. Sam's eyebrows arched, as if in disbelief. It had the same impact on Sam as it had on Jacob earlier; it seemed to stop the rage in its place as Sam digested this new information.
"Now the legends state what can happen if an imprint is killed. All of us," Billy gestured to the elders, "would like to avoid that situation. I'm sure you both can agree."
Jacob nodded. Beside him, Sam did the same.
"In that case, Jacob, you can inform the Cullens that the treaty still stands for now. But please, do not make any more negotiations without first informing us Elders. Even if it means 'saving' the lives of innocents."
"Now, we Elders aren't big fans of the two pack situation, but there has never before been so many wolves. And we understand that other circumstances may make this an ideal option for some of the pack members," Billy continued and glanced outside, where Leah's back could be seen from the window, "So perhaps this situation may allow for some different circumstances. So, if you two can agree to speak regularly, and to keep your packs from fighting, then we see no reason that the two pack model can't continue. Can you agree to that?"
"Yes, sir," Sam's voice was clear and betrayed no emotion.
"Yes," Jacob looked over at Sam. The tension in his shoulders was gone; he seemed more relaxed.
"This also means that Jacob and the Clearwaters must be allowed back on the reservation without any type of escort."
"Excellent. We just want what's best for the tribe – as we know both you to do. We're protectors of all people. But it's hard to protect if there's infighting." Billy smiled for the first time since Jake had seen him, "Now, then, since all this is settled. We'd like to set up a weekly meeting between the Elders and both of you, as alphas. But we can figure out all that tomorrow. It's late. For now, the two of you are both free to go and inform your packs of these new developments."
Jake let out a sigh of relief – he had been expecting much more in the way of punishment – as he turned towards the door. Sam was a couple steps ahead of him, and he could still feel the tension between the two. It was palatable in the air, and he was sure that's why the Elders were insisting on weekly meetings between the two.
"Jacob?" Sue's voice rang out, interrupting Jacob as right before he crossed through the door, "Can you please tell my children that I expect them to sleep in their own beds tonight?"
"And Jake?" Sue continued, "I'm sure Billy expects the same for you."
A/N: Hello and welcome to my fic. I never thought I'd be writing Twilight fanfiction in 2020 but I also never thought I'd live through a global pandemic yet here we are. Having recently re-read the books for the first time in 12 or so years, I was amazed (and angered?) at how wrong Leah and Jake were done. So this is my humble attempt to correct it.
I really have no idea how many people are reading Twilight fanfiction in 2020 but I figure there's gotta be some people out there, so I'm posting this for your enjoyment. Obviously I'd love feedback in the form of comments but even likes or follows or whatever works too.
I have the first couple of chapters written and a fairly decent outline for the rest of the story. I'm thinking it will be relatively short, maybe 17-20 chapters but I'm also not known for being succinct so that may change. I'm also on AO3 under the same penname, and I'll be posting there so just FYI if prefer that site.
Also, just as warning, this is an entirely interpersonal conflict story. So if you're looking for a fic with bloody battles or violence or evil vampires or whatever, then this isn't the story for you. And, yes, that includes (spoiler alert!) that really strange half "battle" at the end of Breaking Dawn. That won't be in this fic. This is a Leah and Jake slow burn fic and the conflict is entirely interpersonal. So I guess also if you're looking for a fic where they hook up in chapter two, then this isn't the fic for you. But anyways, that's my disclaimer.
Thanks for reading!