Penance Stare.

EPOV.

Everything that I'd done until this point had been a mistake. I messed up too many times, and now the cost was so much more than I could bare. To spend an eternity without Bella, was unimaginable. It was true that I'd been breaking down day by day, it was only a matter of time until I completely unraveled and went back, begging her to take me in. But it was too late to go back now. She was gone, dead or not I did not know. But I would never stop hoping that she was somewhere out there.

Living the life I wished so badly she would. I ran back into the woods, realizing that it was time to go home.

BPOV.

We'd had finally arrived in Mt. Hood. Snow covered most of everything as we were staying at the base of the mountain. I was shocked to find that I felt quite differently about the snow. The chill of it no longer bothered me, the look of the white covering the trees and bushes while the sun reflected off it's crystals, was really quite beautiful. Jacob and Mase continued to set up camp while I agreed to try my hand at hunting again. I followed his previous instructions. Clear your mind, give into your primal needs, smell the air then hunt. The rich smell of blood soon entered my nostrils, however it still managed to retain the tangy smell of rust and salt. Which in turn caused my stomach to lurch.

"It's either blood, or souls V." I repeated to myself.

Slowly crouching down I gave in and ran into the direction of the smell. It didn't take long for me to find the huge mammal. Caribou. It sensed my approach, and sniffed the air with a grunt. I then pounded without thinking, biting into it thick neck and drinking in his thick nectar, tears still wanted to leak from my eyes. I doubted very much that I would ever get used to this. But I needed blood to survive. After all this was somewhat a piece of the life that I would have shared with Edward.

I wiped the ruby red liquid from the coroners of my lips. I stood promptly at the smell of wolf , That I recognized immediately as Jacob. I followed the Large russet wolf into a nearby clearing and laid with my back against his massive body, tangling my hands in his Mane. He turned to lick my hand, desperately trying to comfort me. I couldn't appreciate his friendship more. Here we were immortal enemies with a loving friendship. Sharing as close a proximity as two different species could. I truly did love Jake. But I could never be in love with him, no matter how much I tried. Edward would always have that part of me, the heart that used to beat.

We laid in the clearing until nightfall, watching the starry sky in silence. With so much to fulfill, I felt the need to sleep, but knew that I would never have the luxury again. Ever.

"Jake, are you asleep?" He lazily picked up his head and stared into my eyes. Giving me that dog smile, I smiled in turn.

"We should probably get back to Mase…Ah, now don't grimace! We have the rest of our lives to lay in the woods together!" We truly did have the rest of our lives. Me, Jake and Mase. No matter how short that may be with the impending doom on the horizon, I had them for now, and that's what counted. Even if we weren't always happy, we could fake it.

We raced back through the woods to the camp site, smiling felt good. It warmed my ever icy skin. I wondered if this was one of the reasons why the Cullen's enjoyed the human Bella Swan. The warmth seemed to bring ounces of joy. The smile disappeared, as I realized how much I already missed being human.

I eased myself down next to Mase who laid on a large black and green plaid blanket.

"Do you miss it? Being human I mean?" I turned to look straight into his eyes.

"I suppose you could say that I miss certain aspects of it. The taste of Wine, good food. The opportunity to reproduce, sleep." He smiled largely at me.

"You wanted children?" I laughed.

"Yes, I did. Several of them. I guess it's my nurturing side that came through to coddle you." A thunderous laugh bounded around the camp site. " Did you ever dream of having children Isabella?"

"Once upon a time I did, I gave that thought up once I found out about Edward. I knew that he would be enough for a lifetime, then again I figured there was always adoption."

"Ah, yes." He shook his head in agreement.

"What about you Jake? Do you want to have children?" He wouldn't meet my eyes.

"Yes, I did once. Think about it, that is." I wondered what would change his mind.

"You've changed your mind?" I mused.

"Uh, not exactly Bells. I mean, for the-" He stumbled over his words, blushed then got quiet. I simply smiled warmly at him. Poor Jacob.

"Mase, if you don't mind me asking, what exactly is the plan?" Jake and I both stared expectantly in his direction.

"For now, we hide."

"That's it, that's the master plan? We hide while they search the world for us and in the mean time kill thousands of innocent people and attempt to lure the lycanthropes back into slavery?"

Silence.

"Not to mention that they have a vendetta against Edward. Am I supposed to just mull that over in my head for centuries and pray that he stays out of harms way? Hmm?"

"For now….Yes."

"Wow. I feel like I'm playing some demented game of where's Waldo."

"Well, if that's true where is your striped sweater and hat?" He scoffed.

"Funny, Mase. I'm glad that you are capable of making a joke." I shoved his shoulder hard.

"I suppose then it's up to me to formulate a plan then huh?" They both turned with wide eyes to look at me."

"Listen V, you aren't exactly ready for the situation at hand. You can't even hunt without weeping. And you think your ready for the task that comes next, do you?"

"Yeah, Yeah I do." I stated sheepishly.

"Eating a soul Bella?" So, that would be the next step, eating a soul…choosing whether or not to deliver it, spare it or let it torch in hell.

"Alright then fearless one, We'll pack up and move on into the city so that you can begin your duty as dealer of death." A smile played on the edges of his lips. He was challenging me to back out.

"I'll bet she'll chicken out" Jacob joined in.

"Will not!" Who was I trying to kid, they knew that I was passed terrified. But they were daring me to move forward. In a way I was thankful, in another I hated them for it.

"You do realize that this is a task that you'll have to complete yourself, we can't be there to hold your hand."

"I understand, and accept your challenge." I could do this. I had to do this. For them. For him. For us.

I quickly stood up and began approaching the forest's edge.

"Your going now?! That's insane Bella, you haven't learned to control your thirst around humans! You could kill someone!" Jacob Bellowed.

"I do believe that is the point friend" Mase smiled and I bowed my head, turning in silence and once again retreating into the darken wood.

I ran as fast as my feet would carry me, to the outskirts of the city. Street lights illuminated a small park with large grassy knolls. I walked steadily along the winding paved path, searching for my prey. My first soul. I was sure to never forget this.

I made it into the slums, beat up cars, dingy houses, dank seedy bars. Scummy people. I walked through the dark allies, without an ounce of fear. I was the worst thing on these streets. After roughly two hours of walking I came across a man, with a knife to a young girls neck. I watched silently from the darkness as the scene began to play out in front of me.

"Please….let me go" She begged, chocking on her tears. She was a pretty thing, fifteen at the most. Simply in the wrong place, at the wrong time. She attempted to knee him in the groin, however it was a futile effort, he blocked it easily and slightly sliced her neck. Ruby spilled in a single droplet, only to pool in the cave of her collar bone.

My lips longed to drink from her, that was until I set my sights deeper upon the soul I yearned to eat.

"Ah, Don't be like that sugar" Yes, his fate was instantly sealed.

I felt myself began to burn, flames rolled off of me in spectrum's of colors. Frightening yet beautiful. I stepped out from around the corner, with wind blowing through my hair. The poor schmuck didn't even hear me coming. He only recognized my presence as he looked into the young girls tear laden eyes, and saw my fiery reflection.

"What the hell?!" he wheeled around and tried stabbing at me in fear. I laughed, and gestured with a simple head nod that it was time for her to run away. She nodded back and bolted. I was now face to face with dinner. I laughed musically at his attempt to thwart me.

Picking him up by the throat I pinned him against the same spot in which he'd just had the girl.

"Your soul is stained with the blood of the innocent. Look into my eyes!"

"NOOOO!" He screamed and squirmed until he realized he had no choice but to look at me. Images of his violations played out like a movie, we watched until the very last cut was made. He wheezed once, then was silent. He then fell to the ground.

Where his eyes used to be were slowly dying embers, that glowed a bright orange in spots. The rest was coal black. I had ingested his soul. I felt fed, empowered, alive. I was filled with purpose. There millions of the same type of person and worse in the world. I knew then, that I would never have to feed off another woodland creature again. Eating souls felt too good.

A/N- Wow...I'm so sorry that I haven't updated in so long! I hope that you'll find the wait worth it!! Please REVIEW and enjoy!!