Disclaimer: I do not own Twilight, Stephanie Meyer does, and this is for entertainment purposes only, not profit.
A/N: Welcome and thanks for reading. Everything canon and not will be explained in story so you may skip ahead, but if you'd like to know first:
In this story, Twilight is the same and the start of New Moon- the Cullens left, Bella and Jacob bonded - but Victoria returned sooner, basically instead of Laurent. Bella is attacked but saved by the wolves, yet turns from her bite. This is where the story starts. Some later book events will happen but might be different; no Renesme. Eventual Carlisle/Bella.
"The moving Moon went up the sky,
And nowhere did abide.
Softly she was going up,
And a star or two beside—"
~Samuel Taylor Coleridge, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner
Chapter One: Graduation Day
I knew when it was time to leave Forks. I knew it as clearly as if it were marked on the calendar.
I had never been a particularly indecisive person. After all, I had made up my own mind to move to Forks in the first place, to fall in love with Edward, to change like him… and then, later, to try to "participate" in human life as much as possible.
Turns out, the weird stuff just wasn't done with me yet.
But Forks was done with me about a year and a half after the Cullens left. Jacob wasn't ready. Heck, I wasn't ready, not really. But there were certain things, certain problems my being there had brought on the people I cared about the most, and I couldn't do it anymore. First, I couldn't watch more wolves forced into transforming- young ones like Seth. Second, I couldn't watch Charlie search desperately for a missing daughter he was never going to find. My mom had even come all the way up and stayed for months in a place I knew she couldn't stand. I heard it from the boys, but I couldn't bring myself to face her.
I did say goodbye to Charlie. In a way.
I waited until he was asleep in the dead of night, a week I knew he'd be particularly exhausted and had a few beers before bed. I slipped in his window the way Edward had in mine so many times before. The moment I was in, the hunger hit me, the pain of it. I thought vampires didn't feel pain. How wrong I was.
I had eaten beforehand too. I reminded myself like some sort of addict: I didn't actually need it, my body was just trying to make me think I did, make me think I would dry up and turn to dust without it. I swallowed and stopped breathing so I wouldn't smell it anymore, that sweet salty smell. I held my breath a few moments, trying to remember Charlie as well as I could. I was surprised I could remember so much. The others seemed to barely recall their past lives. I remembered visiting him in Forks, him buying me my truck, him hating Edward. It made it easier.
I unplugged his lamp, the only light for the room, by his bed and touched his arm. He jolted awake at the cold contact just as I expected. His eyes were wild, seeing me in the dark. He reached for the light, of course, but it didn't work. Even if he could see me, I knew I wouldn't look right. I wouldn't look quite human. I'd look angelic; that's what I was going for.
"Hey Charlie." I said quietly.
The pain in his voice made me forget my thirst. "Bells?"
"Where have you been?" Oh god. He thought I was back. He rubbed his face and hair, still half asleep, half relieved.
"I'm dead, Charlie." I said in that frank manner he and I shared. "I'm really, really sorry, but I'm dead." Technically, this was true. "It's not your fault, and I want you to move on and have a life."
"How?" He stopped. "What? I can't… without you." It wasn't really a coherent sentence but he looked at me as if he was done.
"What about Sue? You like her. The Blacks are family too, dad. Hold onto that." I told him, knowing he was really coming to and I couldn't afford to stay. His pulse was increasing too. I could feel it. It was strange I didn't make the connection it was Charlie's blood, that he needed to survive. There was Charlie and there was also blood. I was so thirsty. The kind of thirsty where your mouth is filled with cotton and your throat with sand, where you keep swallowing and closing your mouth to wet it but it's still so dry.
"Wait, Bells- what happened?" I paused at the window. "Who-who did it?"
"There was an animal attack." It wasn't really a lie either, technically. "You're not going to find anything."
"I'm sorry I didn't protect you, Bells." He murmured not looking at me.
"Dad, you did great. I don't regret moving here or our time together at all. It was a freak thing."
"Did it hurt?"
"It doesn't matter. The only thing that matters now is you don't break my heart being all sad about it forever. Just participate." I echoed the words back to him. "Life has got some really nice parts to it, and there's nothing like it."
"What about death?"
"It has some nice parts to it too I guess."
"Bells, will I see you again?"
"I'll definitely see you." I said. And I would. I'd come back to catch a glimpse of Charlie when it was safer for me to be so close to town; that I would promise. I did not know if I would ever have the strength to check on my mother, in a sunny crowded place, to see what she was really like and not just how I remembered her. "And I better see you doing better." I warned him. "Anyway, love ya. Gotta go."
I tried to act as if I were just leaving to see my mom for the weekend or something as I hopped back outside. I knew he'd follow me to the window, and I knew he wouldn't see a thing. I'd already be gone, running as fast as I could away from town, from houses and the smell, the tempting savory smell on the wind, like when you're starving and the neighbor has something on the grill.
Thankfully, the scent on the reservation was much less enticing. It was like walking into a kennel, unmistakable dog. Wet dog. But just like wet dog, you could get used to it after a while. I had been hiding there for months after all, ever since my transformation.
Jacob wanted to go with me, begged and whined like a wounded animal. But he was the alpha then, a leader of his people and their land was sacred to them. There was no way I could let him turn his back on them just for me. Besides, I knew to keep to the points of highest elevation where'd I'd meet the fewest humans, and to stay fed so that if I did stumble upon an ambitious group of hikers I wouldn't become a killer.
I had mapped it out, the path all the way up to Denali. While trying to figure out what to do, where I could go, I remembered the Cullens had mentioned there were vampires like them up there, cousins they called them. I knew I'd never find the Cullens if they didn't want to be found, but I needed to find someone who could help me train myself. I had not messed up yet because the wolves had kept me on the land, guarded me as I learned to feed on animals, stood between me and potential prey on several occasions as I learned to master my instincts and strength. I had broken Jacob's ribs. All of them. It killed me to hurt him, and I was hurting him again by leaving. I knew what it was like to be left behind, like Jake, like Charlie.
But I had almost killed Charlie. I could picture myself drinking him dry when I caught a whiff of his blood that close to me. No one knew I went there; they would have never agreed to the risk. Thank God it didn't go ary.
Disgusted with myself, I was only more determined to set out on my solo journey.
Well, they had all wanted me to travel, see the world. I would be traveling over 2,000 miles on foot, through Canada into Alaska, taking a secluded route. I didn't think it would be hard to search the area for vampires, their scent or maybe even ask a local where the strange, beautiful people lived.
I pretty much sucked at hunting, so I had a bow, some tools for trapping. I was not sure about drinking water and if fish worked; there were so many questions. I had a tent, coat, and sleeping bag with change on clothes only because I needed to look normal in case I ran into anyone. Soap, toothbrush. The boys had been teaching me wood skills and trying to teach me map reading and directions. Contrary to what I expected, being reborn a vampire did not immediately gift me hundreds of years of knowledge. That knowledge, it seemed, had to accumulate on its own at your regular IQ. I took a camera too, a field guide, map, and a journal.
I said goodbye to them all on the beach at La Push. It was weird to know the date which I only did because I heard someone mention it. It was graduation day.
Jessica was giving a speech I figured. Eric and Angela were ready to get pictures and videos, immortalizing the day. Maybe they had something for me there, a picture or something. Maybe.
And maybe somewhere else in the world, the Cullens were adding another graduation cap to their collection. But not in Forks.
Forks had had more than its fair share of vampires, and it was time to leave.
I looked back once, when I was miles out of town. From a tall cedar, I could see the lines cut through the trees where the roads were, little boxes that were the diner, the hospital, the police station, the shop, the school. It was getting dark, it's little light beginning to turn on, and foggy, but I could still see it. And I could still smell it too.