*DISCLAIMER: I do not own the rights to the Twilight Saga and it's characters. This is purely artistic fiction drawn in inspiration from Stephanie Meyers words.

*This story features dark Edward.

* Jacob maintains his pre-wolf personality, but a little animosity with his transformations.

*Includes a stronger Bella arc.

*The timeline begins after the infamous cliff jump incident in New Moon and divulges from the original.

*Quileute wolves do not imprint on anyone unless both parties are at least 18. There are NO huge age gaps (ex. 4 and 16), and it happens between anyone regardless of gender or sexual orientation.

*Quileute wolves also do not cut their hair out of respect for their personal and spiritual beliefs. It does not affect their transformations.

*There will be warnings for certain chapters that contain disturbing imagery that some may find triggering.

This chapter contains mentions of depression, suicidal ideation and hints on eating disorder.

Between swaths of heavy waves ringing in my ears and the caws of seagulls above, I could barely make out his voice. The continuous lull of the ocean was overwhelming—I couldn't focus my senses. Who was speaking?

The sound that filtered through my waterlogged consciousness was delayed. The voice was low, fraught with sheer panic. The scenic view from the top of the cliffs of La Push, failing to tread water in the strong currents, the frigid abyss that swallowed me mercilessly, and ultimately succumbing to the murky ocean depths. It was a distant, vague memory in the shallows of my mind. I closed my hands into fists. Gritty, wet sand bunched together under my fingertips. How was I on the beach? Had I swam ashore? I couldn't recall much of anything after going under. An unknown pressure crushed my ribs under its weight—I wanted to scream from the ensuing pain but it wouldn't come. Air. I needed air. My body fought against shutting down, it was searching desperately for oxygen.

The hard pressure occurred again, and I forced a wet cough, retching up swills of seawater as hard as I could muster. I spent what little, diminishing energy I had on gasping for air. I arduously cleared what felt like glass shards from my throat and managed a prolonged, shaky breath. My chest burned, stinging with every passing moment. My ribs felt like they had flooded with fiery, molten lava. With each labored inhale and exhale, my lungs ached. I blinked rapidly at the bleak, darkened, cloud laden sky. I worked to slowly regain my full consciousness. I heard the distraught sound again but with a bit more clarity this time.

"Bella! Oh my god, are you ok?! Breathe, just breathe," his deep voice trailed off, blending into the monotonous drone of the shoreline. Then I knew instantly.


I shivered in the warm solace of his embrace and painfully cracked my eyes open. He was hovering over me; my mind barely connected the dots. I tried my best to cope with the slow conclusion. The pressure I had felt came from his hands, pumping the water from my lungs so I could live. I hesitantly observed his worried expression.

The jump... I honestly couldn't remember much after the initial leap off the cliff. I replayed the dive in my mind. A flash of bright red resurfaced in my memories this time—the reason why I had nearly drowned. I think I saw someone. Something. Victoria! My blood froze in my veins from shock and the unforgiving grip of spring-time weather.

"I—I'm fine, I think...I was just cliff diving," I shrugged, attempting to placate him and pretend I was fine.

"Why would you do that alone though? From so high up? Why didn't you wait for me? You could've drowned if I didn't get to you in time," Jake coldly reprimanded me.

Jacob's touch seared my icy, wet skin and his words stung even worse. He paused intermittently, attempting to better articulate his syllables and control his emotions. The urgency of his voice drew a chill up my spine. He was lost in thought; his eyes crinkled with moisture. I didn't know if it was from the possibility of tears or residual water still clinging to his long lashes. Something told me it was the first one.

I averted my gaze, deflecting Jacob's pointed apprehension. From an outside view, it might have seemed like I was permanently giving up on life. While I could understand his concern, he certainly didn't need to know why I had jumped. I refused to tell him. I couldn't. My decision was reckless, but I didn't care. It was my choice.

I scrambled to justify my selfish reasoning—it would be considered an emotional death knell in Jacob's eyes. As I lay there motionless, the long list of negatives outweighed the positives, and my near concrete resolution disintegrated into fine dust inside me. I jumped for a delusion. I risked my life for hallucinations—nothing more than a lost memory. An ethereal and too perfect ghost from my past. I had craved this strange, augmented reality where if I did dangerous things—I could see him again, a minute sliver of heaven.

I lied to myself, that I needed Edward still. I endangered myself to hear his angelic voice. Maybe for the very last time. Then maybe, I could be at peace, and finally let go. To relinquish the fragmented parts of my soul wishing for him to sweep me off my feet in a dashing return to Forks. He did not rescue me. He was never coming back. I secretly and blatantly knew that—and Jacob reviving my lifeless body was another solemn reminder of that terrible understanding. Any remnants of my life with Edward and his family had washed away with the crashing of the waves on the shore. I hid my growing emotions and swallowed any lingering regret.

Jake's smoldering breath washed over my cheek, and I apologetically recoiled. The muscles in his arms were wound too tightly, causing him to tremble lightly as he cradled my body. Was he really that worried? I found it ridiculous that he had little to no faith in me. However, there was some truth to that sentiment. I was known for being an abysmal, black hole of bad luck. Somehow, I openly attracted monsters from my darkest nightmares. That eery fact, coupled with impossible, harrowing scenarios, created a life normal humans could scarcely imagine. Not to mention, I couldn't even walk a straight line without hurting myself. I flippantly interrupted his lecture with a useless, hollow apology.

"I'm sorry to worry you. I didn't know the waves would be so high today. I thought I could handle it, Jake."

I wasn't sorry.

I focused on a spot of gravel just out of view from his dark, sable hued eyes. If I looked into them now, I might have broken down and cried. Damn my overdeveloped sense of empathy. It was especially unhelpful right now and oddly ironic. I was apathetic towards the actuality of the matter—that I had almost died. Again. Death...That was a commonplace word to me since I'd discovered vampires were real.

The start of tears clung to my waterline, and I shut my eyes tightly in retaliation. No—I wouldn't allow it. I was overwhelmed with too many emotions right now. The fleeting, numbing effects of sheer adrenaline had begun to wear off. It was difficult to organize all of my scattered thoughts.

Jake and I had already gone through enough with his more recent werewolf affliction. He had found out I didn't just know about the local vampire coven—but frankly adored them and brazenly kept their dark secret locked away like some crazed fangirl. Before we figured out a way to communicate around pack orders, it was hard on both of us. I didn't understand at the time. Why couldn't he just tell me what was wrong? I was shocked at his changed, indiscriminate treatment. It was unbearable then, but now, at least he was back in my life. At a price. He couldn't look at me without obsessing over the truth that I harbored feelings for a vampire. I had wanted to give up my human life to be one of them, content with the idea of an eternity with his immortal adversaries. That I'd thrown caution to the wind willingly and acted as if nothing was different. He wouldn't easily let that go.

"It's okay, you're alright now—that's all I care about," his voice was calmer, the initial edge had lessened.

A relieved smile crept onto his face, and I continued my pursuit for more oxygen. He sighed deeply into my neck, pulling me closer against him. He tucked me between his broad shoulders and housed me in the muscular cage of his arms. His hulking six-foot, seven-inch frame dwarfed mine and I refocused on his doleful eyes.

Our exchange was interrupted, Jacob immediately jerked his head towards the tree line. Someone approached from the forest, I wasn't sure who. The person shifted into my hazy line of vision a few seconds later. My reaction time was expectantly delayed. Sam Uley stopped a few feet from where we were haphazardly laying on the sand, his motion abruptly ended from confusion. His robust, agitated voice boomed from behind us. The sound was absorbed from the softness of the marine alcove.

"Get her home—I'm going over to Harry's place to help out!"

His smooth voice lingered in my mind long after he had gone. His figure exploded into a large blur of black fur, vanishing along the thick expanse of branches and evergreen foliage of the cedar grove. His swiftness only left upturned grass tufts behind. I hadn't and might never get used to the existence of werewolves. My mind still couldn't comprehend that all the childhood legends were true. Vampires were one thing, but werewolves, too? Would the invisible man be making his debut in my life next?

"What happened with Harry?" I wondered aloud, casual.

How long had it been since I jumped? The timeline was all wrong. Charlie and Harry had went fishing just before I left the house. Had something happened to Charlie as well? I searched Jacob's face for a meaning to Sam's statement. Did their boat capsize?

"Harry had a heart attack, Bells," he whispered, stone faced.

"What about my dad? Is he ok? Will Harry be alright?" I said, my words tumbling out of my mouth unevenly.

I remained silent as I processed, my eyes shutting tightly. As the cogs began turning, the potential news wasn't quite earth shattering but I could feel my heart sink a bit further into my stomach like a lead weight. My mind churned and sifted. I couldn't help but think something worse had happened and Jacob's extensive silence confirmed my precognition.

My anxiety forced my thoughts into overdrive, and I shuddered. Victoria. What if she had tried to hurt them in an attempt to get to me somehow? I bolted up in disbelief. I could picture her fiery mop of hair; her soulless, calculating eyes were a vibrant shade of crimson. Even in my memories of the barren field the Cullen's used for baseball, her sharp features displayed a wry, inhuman smirk. It was almost as terrifying and twisted as James's face in the reflection of the mirrors in the ballet studio. My imagination swallowed my rationality with vivid, detailed intrusive images, and my heart began a disjunct waltz the more I fixated. My body stiffened with fear.

"No—no, Bella. Charlie's alright...physically. Sadly, Harry didn't make it. But don't worry, Sam's going to take care of things with him and my dad. Let's focus on taking you home so you can dry off and get warm," he soothed me even though his voice was brittle, like he might break from too much strain.

I swallowed dryly, hesitantly nodding my head in agreement. He hooked his right arm under my knees and then its' twin under the middle of my back, lifting me effortlessly into the air. I hadn't realized he wasn't wearing a shirt. I rested my head to the hollow of his bare collarbone. I would never get used to being manhandled so easily, like a weightless ragdoll. Although Jake was very delicate with me, he didn't worry about hurting me despite his condition. A growing opposition to Edward's near constant concern with breaking me just by one brush of a finger.

The wind stabbed into my body without discretion. My wet skin was painfully frozen from exposure to the elements. Jacob's fiery, encompassing warmth helped shield me against the inevitable blanket of rain. It was never nice in Forks. Particularly now, during spring, when nature was awakening from its slumber. Jacob briskly traversed the gravel and sand mixture until he reached the edge of the beach. Once on solid ground, he sprinted towards my truck at a frightening pace. My old Chevy was much lower down the miniature mountain. I openly gawked at his otherworldly strength.

Some of the changes between my Jacob and his wolf-tinged counterpart were immeasurable. By that, I meant the Jacob before his permanent and jarring change into a wolf. That was my Jacob. To my displeasure, he had morphed so quickly. It had barely given me time to comprehend his forced absence and then breakneck reappearance in my life. He didn't really look like my Jacob at all anymore. I had just now come to terms with his transformation—and hated his short leash. He was always leaving me to go back to Sam's pack, but I couldn't be too upset at that. They were all working around the clock to keep Victoria away. I just wished I could spend more time with him. I needed him more than ever now.

Mere minutes elapsed; the red-orange paint of my monster of a truck came into view. The hike from the beach would have personally taken me at least an hour on my own, probably longer due to my unadulterated clumsiness. In fact, it had taken me close to two hours to hike the heavily wooded path up to the cliff. I clung to Jacob with impatience as he roared the Chevy to life. The heat blasted out of the creaky vents followed by a few delayed, mechanical chugs of the engine. Clearly, even though it was mostly a rebuild, a product of its age. As we drove the winding road, time progressed unnaturally, and rain spattered the windshield quietly.

The amount of salt water I unintentionally drank doubled my nausea. The feeling strengthened with each bump and crater in the road, the liquid in my stomach sloshed unevenly with each movement. What little I had inhaled earlier still caused my lungs to rattle every time I took a breath. My obsessive, anxiety-ridden thoughts didn't help. I wanted to be sick. The jump, Victoria, and Harry's untimely death. I worried for Charlie and how he was dealing with this new loss as well. I knew he didn't have many friends left, it was too close to Waylon's death. The repetitive tapping of individual water droplets of rain against the windshield helped distract me.

As we pulled up the windy, dirt driveway, I was disappointed to see Jake hadn't taken me home, but rather to his house. Billy obviously wasn't home due to what happened to Harry, so the house was an empty void. The somber feeling that lurked in the air was ostensible. A heavy layer of dread bled into the back of my mind, causing my stomach to delve into further intricate knots.

Jacob opened my car door, and subsequently towed me back to reality. Despite my best protest, he 'helped' me into the house and set me down inside his room. I really didn't like being picked up. It reminded me of how fragile my humanity was. The telltale sound of a glass table shattering rung in my ears, reminding me all too well of just how easy it was to 'move' me.

"We could have gone back to my house for clothes, you know. It's not that far. Also, for your information, I am fully capable of walking," I huffed irritatedly.

"Yeah, I know, I just didn't want to risk you getting hypothermia or pneumonia. It was closer. Your face is damn near purple, Bells," he shrugged, his voice softened.

"Oh. Yeah...I guess that wouldn't have helped anyone," I agreed plainly, "Can you give me a minute? I'll get changed," my brow furrowed and I crossed my arms.

Jake was right; the very last thing my dad needed was another trip to the hospital to see his danger-prone freak of a daughter. Not right after one of his best friend's death's. Jacob nodded curtly and rummaged through his closet. He hastily grabbed a fist worth of clothes and handed them to me before turning on his heel in one swift motion. The door clicked shut behind him and the old house groaned with the weight of his heavy footsteps. I tried to recalibrate myself mentally, emotionally, and last but not least, physically.

I suspected he was talking to his dad over the phone, and then maybe one of the pack. His baritone voice wormed through the empty space between the bottom of the door and carpet. I wasted no more time eavesdropping and peeled the semi-vacuum-sealed layer of sopping wet clothes off. I balled them up and impartially threw them on the ground, happy to be rid of them.

Thankfully, my underwear and bra had dried somewhat. It wouldn't impede the process of changing into new clothes. I would have considered taking them off but the prospect of wearing Jacob's clothes without a barrier made me unbelievably nervous. I would obviously wash them before giving them back but...still. I didn't feel right about it, the idea was weirdly taboo. I couldn't handle the weird thought.

I caught a glimpse of my alabaster skin in the reflection of the full-length mirror hanging from Jacob's closet door. I shuddered, wanting to shrink away from it. I was much paler than usual. My color was a palette of muted lavender and patchy pink from the freezing water and rain combo. I had felt cold for so long that I hadn't noticed the prominent goose bumps that had cropped up all over my body. In the reflection of the mirror, my small form was all legs and messy, slicked back, long, wefts of dark hair. The bones of my ribs protruded a little more than I had previously remembered. Everything was sharper, more defined than before. My elbows, knees, and shoulders were so angular. Two plum half circles boldly stood out from under my eyes on the curve of my pale cheeks. I felt empty inside and out. Had I really lost that much weight? Who was that girl in the mirror? It didn't look like me at all.

It had been a really, really, long time since I had even looked in the same direction as a mirror. Months, actually. Most mornings I barely brushed my teeth, smoothed my hair, and pulled on clothes. Any clothes available. Admittedly, some days I only swished with a bit of mouthwash. Vigorously ignoring any changes. Refusing to see how depressed I really was. I hardly ate, barely slept and existed as an empty shell. A shadow of who I once was. Every single day was another number on the calendar and in the grand scheme of my life.

The heat of the house helped thaw my achy bones, I refocused to dressing quickly. I shuffled the soft, worn-down material of Jacob's gifted shirt over my torso. I managed an awkward shrug and slowly shoved the rest down with a degree of difficulty. My atrophied muscles resisted any movement. I had forgotten about my landing against the water after the jump. It wasn't exactly the most graceful thing in the world, and I could feel the soreness growing under my skin. I would have a bruise over most of my stomach and thighs.

His shirt was excessively baggy on me. The material was so long that it fit me the same way a dress would. The fabric tickled my legs, as it was moderately frayed on the bottom. I smiled, noting the coloring was a shade of dark grey instead of black. The result of being extremely sun faded. Truth be told, I appreciated the length and size difference. I didn't like to wear tight fitting clothing. The bottoms he gave me were typical blue and green, plaid pajama pants, super soft to the touch and even cozier than first anticipated. Dry clothes were very appreciated.

A comforting musky scent wafted into my nose after I adjusted the borrowed shirt collar to be less revealing. I detected hints of dark cedar, a smoky wood stove in winter, the ocean, and petrichor. It was a combination of Billy's house on the reservation and Jacob's personal scent. The more I breathed his smell in, it enveloped my mind in its inviting, earthy essence. A part of me wanted to experience learning how much stronger the smell was the closer I got to him. I had taken earlier on the beach for granted.

Jake gave a gentle knock on the door's wood frame. The echo cut through the quiet emptiness of the room and startled me from my internal monologue. I had gotten caught up in my thoughts again and lost track of everything else. I did that a lot.

"Hey...are you decent?" he asked, voice muffled from behind the closed door.

"Y-Yeah. I'm good," I replied frankly, and the door creaked open. My arms folded over my chest. I didn't know what to do with my hands.

"Okay, good. Let's get you home then. Charlie, my dad, and Sam have everything taken care of at the Clearwater's and the rest of the pack is hunting what's-her-face until dawn. I'll watch over you tonight."

"Home. That sounds nice. I could use a cup of warm coffee."

I curiously observed my absurd nostalgia for a drink I wasn't fond of. It originated from Renee and her late-night caffeine binges to complete another random project. That or struggling with the task of driving across state lines. We moved so much when I was a child. Why did I want coffee? I often preferred tea.

"Coffee does sound pretty good right now, but don't you usually drink tea?" Jacob flashed a toothy smirk, laughing as he backed into the door frame on accident. His expression formed into a puzzled one, and he was reminiscent for a moment. "I need to change. I knew I forgot something. Can't be running around in just shorts right now, even though it's so much more convenient."

"Mmhm, I do," I liked that he knew that, "I'll go wait by the door. It's a miracle you even have clothes with shredding them when you phase. That and your insane growth spurt, you absolute giant," I openly tossed my head back with a deep laugh.

He chuckled and shook his head. Jacob was still in the same shorts he wore earlier after saving me, they weren't even remotely damp. I stole a glance of his bare chest and fought back a wave of blush. Another piece of weird information I'd learned about werewolves was that they ran several degrees warmer than normal humans. He was hot—literally. I didn't know how much more but it was obvious in any capacity.

I closed the door to his bedroom behind me just as he had done to give him privacy and wandered into the kitchen. I traced my fingers along the corner of a picture on the cork board by the countertop. My index finger hovered over an old polaroid of a young Jake, his sisters', and Billy. A relaxed smile painted my lips, the blood was starting to come back to my face. Memories of my summers spent in Forks growing up played idly in my subconscious.

I heard him rustling around his room, the shuffling of uneasy footsteps and a loud thud followed by a short groan. I let out a chortle, imagining him fighting with his too small clothes. Jake had grown over a foot in less than six months' time and put on maybe fifty pounds of solid muscle in the last year alone. The physical changes had to have been hard for him and I know Billy complained to Charlie nearly every time he came over. Both about food and the cost of clothes that would only fit, if they were lucky, a few weeks at most.

Jacob came bounding out of his room and almost tripped over the couch in his meandering search for where I had gotten to. It was pleasant to see not a lot had changed aside from physical attributes. He might not look like my Jacob, but he was in there under the body-builder physique and mature jawline. When he smiled, I could still see the happy-go-lucky gleam reflect in his eyes. The light of youth, hopeful and relaxed. It returned rarely, almost exclusively when he was close to me. He had literally grown into an adult before my very eyes, but he was still the same goofy, overly clumsy, teenage boy I loved. My best friend. He was and would always be my favorite person.

He was dressed in a typical outfit I'd often seen him in. A pair of worn-down jeans with holes in the knees and a black tee that was a size or two too small—similar to the one he had given to me. Quick, easy, and plain. He didn't have a flare for fashion, unlike the Cullen's. I was grateful for that. We were very alike in that sense. I hated dressing up and had no interest in keeping up with trends, neither did he. I could still see his lean, corded physique under the material of the shirt. The clothing was plastered to his thin, overly muscular frame.

He had drawn his once damp hair up into a low bun, probably trying to keep it out of the way and dry. I was always envious of Jake's long, beautiful raven-hued hair. It was well past the middle of his back now. I wondered if he would consider letting me braid it when we met as children, but I never built up the courage to ask. I know now it might be inconsiderate to his beliefs. So, I wouldn't dare. I respect him and his culture—werewolf and all. I thought the wolves were too dangerous at first, I view them more like spirit guides and protectors now.

He put the palm of his right hand against the hollow of my neck and collarbone. His fingers gently squeezing the softness of my still cold flesh. I craved his touch and wished it lasted longer.

"Earth to Bella. Hey—question—do you want me to grab your shoes or just carry you to the truck? Either or is fine with me," he shrugged, massaging the spot between my neck and shoulder. I had nearly forgotten he asked a question at all.

"I mean, whatever is easiest? I can just walk to the truck, it's not that far. Just a few steps away. I do have legs, even if they don't work normally," I smiled plainly, giving a complacent shrug back.

His ease melted my tension. I leaned into his hand without a second thought. Fluttering grew inside my stomach; I disregarded the traitorous and familiar feeling of butterflies. I had left extra shoes and socks in the truck as a backup for the change from winter to spring. My other ones I wore were sopping wet still.

"Okay, just thought I'd ask. You've got to be exhausted after what you call 'swimming'," he responded carefree.

"Hey, no need to add insult to injury. I taught myself at the YMCA back in Phoenix. I might not be the next gold medalist Jake, but it works for me." I couldn't help my sarcastic response.

His face scrunched up playfully. I knew the real reason why he asked about my shoes. Anything to have an excuse to hold me. He craved being this close. I was beginning to understand this new feeling blossoming inside me. I didn't know yet if I wanted to let it grow or to stamp it out utterly.

We walked towards the truck arm in arm, I gave him a tiny shove and turned to hop inside. He handed a black, worn-down leather jacket to me to help keep me insulated. The truck slowly rumbled down the stretch of bumpy asphalt. The steady pace was happily accepted in comparison to the last few tumultuous hours. My joints locked up in objection to each residual crater in the road. I rubbed my hands against my arms, which unfortunately didn't help in the slightest. I longed to lounge in front of the heat register like a lazy house cat.