Title: A Night's Worth of Regrets
Summary: Waiting in the forest, Edward thinks back on all the things that went wrong, and has an unpleasant encounter with Jacob.
Spoilers: Twilight, New Moon
Disclaimer: It all belongs to Stephenie Meyer and whoever she chooses to share it with, because she is ten times more genius than I will ever be.
For adair7 on livejournal - this sort of evolved into Edward's Emo Hour, but hopefully it's still somewhat what you were after.
I stood hidden in the trees, waiting for the moment I could go back to her. After Charlie had forbidden me from the house, sneaking in and risking getting caught seemed a bad idea – all it would take was one moment when I wasn't paying enough attention. And once I had my eyes on Bella again, I would not be focusing my attention on anything else.
I could be patient, though. I had held her in my arms again, felt her pulse racing hot and strong. She was alive, and near…that would sustain me until Charlie finally went to sleep and I could slip into her room to watch her. She would not wake for some time, I was sure.
I tried not to relive the past few days while I waited, but it was impossible to forget the agony, the way the world had collapsed around me when I found out – or so I thought I had – that the news was certain, that my Bella was gone…
Only the disbelief had kept me going after Rosalie told me what Alice had seen. Surely, I'd thought, I could not still be standing on this earth if Bella wasn't. Something must be wrong about Alice's vision…she must have been stopped, or changed her mind…she would be fine, she had to be, and I would go back to her as soon as possible to stop any such thing from ever happening again.
But then I'd called her house, to ask Charlie if it were true, and had been told by the voice of Jacob Black that Charlie was at the funeral…her funeral, I assumed, and whatever hope had remained in me withered and died. She was gone, and there was only despair to be had here, on this earth.
I'd almost given up right there, collapsed in that damned street in Rio and waited for death. But it would never be that easy for me, and the pain would only go on and on, centuries of it…I was just driven enough to carry out the plans I had made so long ago, once I'd realized my life had narrowed down to her and her alone.
I'd thought I would find Victoria and finish her off, and then return to Forks, to watch over her – I would never, ever let her know of my presence, but I couldn't spend the next half century or more away from her. She was my only purpose.
But it had ended sooner than it ever should have…she was supposed to have a long happy life, find someone who could love her without hurting her, and move on to the next life with her soul intact. Instead…instead she'd chosen to end it before it really began, and I couldn't escape the guilt of knowing that it was my fault – I could see with agonizing clarity the dead look in her eyes in that moment my hideous lie had sunken in – I had killed her, had managed to do the very thing I'd been trying so hard to prevent…
I hadn't dared to dream of redemption then; when I went to Italy, all I'd hoped for was an end to the pain. I could not consider the chance at an afterlife, at a place where I might be with her once more…that was more than I deserved.
And then she'd appeared, an angel to carry me to heaven – only she'd been frantic with worry, desperate to push me back from the light…and then reality had cascaded over me like a wave crashing to shore.
Bella was alive, there, in my arms, and once again, I was putting her in danger.
My instincts had returned then – protect her, they'd screamed, and so I'd done my best...I would always protect her from now on.
It had been such a relief, getting out of that room where so many hostile vampires lingered, realizing the danger had passed and that Bella really and truly was alive, shivering in my arms. I knew, in that moment, that nothing could ever convince me to leave her again. She was too precious, too much a part of me…I would cherish each and every moment I had with her.
Now I waited in the shadows, living for the moment I could see her face again.
The tingling sense of danger broke my peace. I froze, listening – there was definitely something in the woods, large, tearing through the underbrush. Not a bear – too fast to be a bear.
And then I caught the smell. I wrinkled my nose in disgust – a werewolf. Yet another danger to Bella.
His thoughts came in loud and clear as he approached, in a voice I would recognize anywhere – the voice that had told me Bella was dead. I knew it wasn't his fault, but I couldn't help the hostility that welled up within me. He never should have been there, never should have been left alone with her…she should have been the voice that answered the phone, the one voice in the world I'd wanted to hear more than any other.
I can't believe that bloodsucker is back, after all he's done to her. I winced as the guilt bubbled upward.
Finally, he stepped through the trees – in the form of a boy instead of a wolf, and that's all he really was – a boy. Just like all werewolves, he was young, immature, rash…completely controlled by emotion, just the sort of creature that could tear a fragile human to pieces – just the sort of creature that I would have nowhere near my Bella.
"Cullen," he sneered, his voice and head full of loathing – and jealousy, even more jealousy than there'd been the last time I saw him.
I remained silent, waiting for him to declare himself, growing increasingly annoyed with his feelings for Bella – thinking he had some sort of claim on her.
"What are you doing here?" he finally asked. Why did you have to come back and ruin everything? We were so close…
My stomach twisted strangely with jealousy as I listened to his thoughts. I replied to the question he really wanted the answer to. "I still love her," I said. "I'll be here as long as she'll have me. What are you doing here?"
"I'm always here," he said. I would never leave her like you did She deserves better. "Somebody's got to protect her from that bloodsucker you left behind."
"We'll take care of it," I said, leaving no room for argument in my tone. "These aren't your lands," I reminded him.
Jacob glared. "I'll leave. But if you hurt her again, I'll kill you myself, treaty or no treaty."
"That won't be a problem."
He didn't look convinced, but with a final narrowing of his eyes, he did turn and disappear into the forest again. I heard him change and go crashing back toward the reservation.
I turned my gaze back to the house, wishing more fervently than ever that I had never let Bella out of my sight.