A/N ECLIPSE SPOILER This story is companion scene to the section of Eclipse where Edward goes to get Bella after she breaks her hand on Jacob's face. I've always been a little disappointed by Edward's extreme restraint in this scene, although when I thought it out I realized that of course he couldn't lose his temper because either he or Jacob would end up dead. So I decided to go where the real action is—inside Edward's head.
Disclaimer Characters, dialogue, and plot structure taken from Eclipse. (Meyer, Stephenie. Eclipse. New York: Little, Brown, 2007. 336-341.)
This story is for entertainment purposes only. No profits of any sort have been incurred thereby.
Invocation to the Muse Drat you, Robert Pattinson! I have four papers to write, a stack of homework to grade, and I haven't had a clear view of the floor of my room in weeks (if not months). Yet here I sit, writing fanfiction. I hope you're pleased with yourself.
Die, Black. Die Slowly.
I turned the Volvo into a sharp right that sprayed gravel toward the trees and then forced myself to let up on the accelerator. There were only so many times I could snake back and forth along the reservation border without going out of my mind. Driving slowly was also aggravating, however, and I knew that I should stop being so stubborn and go home, or at least make a larger loop so that I could release tension with increased speed. But the things Jacob Black had been thinking, and not just thinking but thinking at me …
I'm telling her I love her, Bloodsucker, and she's going to know she has options. Options for happiness that don't include you. How do you feel about that?
It made me feel like rending him limb from limb. I wanted to dismember him, encase the pieces in concrete, and drop them into the middle of the Pacific. Or better yet, the Arctic. I indulged in a brief daydream where I lured Black to Antarctica and then buried him at temperatures even his body heat couldn't withstand.
But I wouldn't ever threaten him with my little fantasy. I would not give him the satisfaction of knowing how deeply his rivalry disturbed me. I was determined to appear absolutely confident that Bella was mine and would remain mine. Even though I wasn't at all sure of that.
Despite myself, I couldn't help seeing how good Jacob might have been for Bella—he made her laugh, knew how to comfort her when she cried. He could have given her children. Part of me, the part that knew that loving Bella made me the most selfish being on the planet, actually agreed with the mongrel when he told me that he was Bella's best option. But on the other hand, there was the problem of the Volturi. Of course, that was also my fault. Sometimes I couldn't decide who I hated more: the dog or myself.
My cell rang, a welcome distraction from my miserable reverie. Snatching it up, I glanced at the caller ID and saw the Swan number. Surprised, my eyes flickered to the dashboard clock as I flipped open the phone—it was at least two hours before I expected Bella's call, since she usually prolonged her visits to the reservation as much as possible. And if she was home, it meant she was already off Quileute land.
"Bella?" I asked, my delight evident in the warmth of my tone. The less time she spent with Jacob Black, of course, the happier I was, but more than that, these visits tortured me because they made her inaccessible. I could not keep watch over her. If she needed me, I could not go to her. And she was so breakable. That, at least, was one thing I would not regret about her change.
I was already turning onto the road to Forks, inching up the speedometer. "You left the phone … I'm sorry, did Jacob drive you home?" Another reason I had been stalking the reservation border like a madman.
"Yes," she muttered, sounding disgruntled. "Will you come and get me, please?"
"I'm on my way," I promised, pushing the needle up another five miles, frowning over her obvious lack of cheer. "What's wrong?"
She sighed heavily. "I want Carlisle to look at my hand. I think it's broken."
Bella was hurt. Again. Despite the vow I had sworn to never, ever, let her be damaged. My speedometer gained ten miles, and I mentally cursed Black, who was supposed to be taking care of her. Some guard dog. "What happened?" I asked, trying to keep the anger, and also the anxiety, out of my tone. Whenever I was separated from Bella, I lived in fear of a call that would tell me she had broken not her hand but her neck. I knew she was an adult, that I had to allow her autonomy, but she was so damn breakable. As she had once more proved.
"I punched Jacob," Bella said bleakly.
She had punched Black? Hard enough to break her hand? That meant they had had a fight. That was … "Good," I answered, unable to keep the grim satisfaction out of my tone, but even that wasn't worth her pain. "Though I'm sorry you're hurt."
She laughed, and it sounded uncharacteristically bitter. "I wish I'd hurt him," she muttered, and then emitted a sigh that was more like a growl. "I didn't do any damage at all."
I smiled, remembering the fantasies I had just entertained. "I can fix that," I reminded her, expecting her to flatly reject the offer the way she always did when I suggested putting the mutt in his place.
"I was hoping you would say that."
For a moment, I didn't respond. The response was so utterly unlike my forgiving, tolerant, 'the wolf is my brother' Bella that I knew Black must have seriously transgressed. "That doesn't sound like you," I said carefully, trying to stay calm. But I couldn't keep the steel out of my tone as I demanded, "What did he do?"
"He kissed me."
Red mist floated before my eyes, and it was a moment before I realized that I had floored the accelerator. I hadn't felt this much pure rage since the days of my rebellion. I'll kill him. I suddenly realized I was in Forks, only a block from Bella's house, and still on the phone. "Is the dog still there?" I managed through gritted teeth.
"I'm around the corner," I promised, and then we lost the connection as my fingers crunched through the frail plastic of the phone. Trying to regain some measure of control even as I slammed to a stop in front of the house, I desperately reminded myself that harming Black would also hurt Bella. Even though she was angry right now, she still cared for him, so lovely as the idea sounded, I could not rip his head from his body and punt it into Canada. Reminding myself to breathe, I released the steering wheel, noting the new dents my fingers had left in its underside. Bella, I reminded myself. Just protect Bella. Nothing else matters.
I was waiting on the porch by the time Bella opened the door, listening to the thoughts inside. Charlie's were actually quite amusing, had I been in the mood to be diverted. Cullen's here already? I swear the kid stakes out the house, I'm tripping over him every time I turn around. I hope this doesn't get messy. Not I wouldn't mind seeing Jake pound that pretty face into the ground, but it would upset Bella, and probably ruin Jake's chances. Gutsy kid, and would I ever like him to have a chance…Better try to keep him from going out.
Black's thoughts were consciously pointed. Can you hear me, Leech? She knows she has options. Really good options. And then I was remembering with him, remembering a very passionate kiss with Bella, my Bella, the kind of kiss I was unable to give her. I felt her body straining against him, the pressure of her lips, and then the soft, intoxicating interior of her mouth. Had Bella not opened the door in that instant, I would have torn it from its hinges.
And seeing her, things slammed back into perspective. Protecting Bella. Nothing else mattered. I was still furious, still jealous, but those feelings were eclipsed by her presence. Bella came first, now and always. "Let me see," I murmured, gently lifting her swelling hand, and examining it cautiously, not wanting to increase her discomfort. I could feel the displacement of the tiny bone beneath her skin and tried to cheer her up. "I think you're right about the break. I'm proud of you. You must have put some force behind this."
Her lower lip protruded in a faint pout that, even under the current circumstances, I found adorable. "As much as I have." She sighed disgustedly. "Not enough, apparently."
I had to repress a smile. No matter how well I thought I knew her, unexpected facets of Bella continued to emerge. I pressed her injured hand to my lips, feeling the extra warmth that radiated from the swelling, and inhaled her fragrance. Even accompanied by eau de werewolf, Bella was still infinitely more appealing than any other scent in the universe. "I'll take care of it," I promised, meaning her broken hand, the mongrel who had imposed on her, and really, anything else she would ever need. Around Bella, I couldn't help thinking extravagantly. But now was the moment to deal with the dog. "Jacob," I said softly, knowing that my voice would carry through the thin walls of the house.
"Now, now," Charlie cautioned, but Jacob was already moving out into the hall, my prospective father-in-law close behind him.
Anytime, Bloodsucker. Name the place, he promised silently, meeting my gaze fearlessly. For a moment, I wished I had Jasper's ability to manipulate emotion, so I could compel fear onto that cocky countenance.
"I don't want any fighting, do you understand?" Charlie said firmly, also looking at me. And if you start anything, Cullen, so help me, I will ban you from this house. "I can go put my badge on if that makes my request more official."
But I still held Bella's hand in mine, a more effective restraint than any officer of the law. "That won't be necessary."
Charlie's thoughts tumbled on. It's weird … I'm relieved … I'd like to see Jake take him down, he's twice as big, but something about Cullen … the way he handles himself … I'd be scared for Jake …
Beside me, Bella stood stiff and angry. "Why don't you arrest me, Dad? I'm the one throwing punches," she snapped.
Charlie quirked an eyebrow and glanced at Black. "Do you want to press charges, Jake?" It's not Bella I'd like to lock up down at the station. Why can't she have boyfriend I don't want to arrest?
"No." The dog leered, pointedly replaying his memory of the kiss. "I'll take the trade any day."
I couldn't help grimacing slightly, but this time I was prepared and followed the memory through. Remember this is Black's point of view, I reminded myself desperately, and then I had my reward as the memory played itself out, and I felt Bella's utter unresponsiveness, and saw the blank look on her face as the kiss ended, before she clouted him. I suddenly felt immeasurably better, and for a moment wished Black could read my thoughts. You may think you've scored, cur, but when I stop kissing her, she's usually pleading for more.
"Dad, don't you have a baseball bat somewhere in your room? I want to borrow it for minute," Bella snarled, glaring at Black in a way that warmed my cold, dead heart.
"Enough, Bella," Charlie responded, finally transferring his gaze from me to her. Bella, are you blind? Jake is worth a hundred of this guy. Why can't she see? And then, as she continued to glare at Jacob, She looks like a poodle trying to threaten a mastiff. He repressed a chuckle.
I had to agree that the sight of tiny, defiant Bella against the oversized Black was amusing. "Let's go have Carlisle look at your hand before you wind up in a jail cell," I suggested, slipping an arm around her (much to Black's chagrin) and pulling her toward the door.
"Fine," she breathed, leaning against me, and I felt some of her tension immediately evaporate. Happiness that I could comfort her so easily flared inside me, and for a moment, I almost forgot the monster behind me. Of course, that blissful state of affairs was immediately shattered as Black sent me a graphic picture of himself biting my arm off. Only in your dreams, Pup, I thought contemptuously, and led Bella out to the car.
Black followed us, and I have to admit I was glad. I was tired of the shadow battles and wanted this thing laid out between us. Charlie, fortunately, stayed in the house, although I could still feel his thoughts hovering anxiously in the background. He was trying to figure out what to tell Billy Black and/or Carlisle if one of us were seriously injured on the premises.
I stowed Bella safely in the car, before allowing myself the pleasure of telling the dog exactly how matters stood. "I'm not going to kill you now, because it would upset Bella." She made a dissenting noise, and I turned to reach through the window and brush her cheek, laughing silently at the sudden stream of mental profanity. The canine was not particularly imaginative. "It would bother you in the morning," I reminded the most loyal woman in the world, and turned back to the business at hand, all levity gone. It was only honorable to give him one warning. "But if you ever bring her back damaged again—and I don't care whose fault it is; I don't care if she merely trips, or if a meteor falls out of the sky and hits her in the head—if you return her to me in less than the perfect condition that I left her in, you will be running with three legs. Do you understand that, mongrel?"
Black rolled his eyes, equally convinced that I could never do what I threatened and that he would never allow anything to happen to Bella.
"Who's going back?" she muttered behind me, and I momentarily ignored her, although I sincerely hoped she would hold to the threat.
I had one more specific promise to make. "And if you ever kiss her again, I will break your jaw for her." Actually, I would rather horsewhip him, but the fur would make the effectiveness of that particular punishment difficult. Of course, I could always shave him first…
He's afraid this will happen again, Black gloated, momentarily forgetting that I could hear his thoughts as he asked, with insufferable arrogance, "What if she wants me to?"
"If that's what she wants, then I won't object," I answered, and I meant it. If Bella wanted a dog, then she could have a dog. But I was certain, at that moment at least, that she didn't, and I didn't intend to allow this particular canine any chance to manipulate my generosity. "You might want to wait for her to say it, rather than trust your interpretation of body language—but it's your face." The prospect was almost enough to make me hope he'd try something again.
Black grinned, and I was favored with a sudden, involuntary replay of several of his favorite fantasies: Bella whispering his name softly in the dark, Bella cuddling on his lap as they sat on the rocks to watch the tide, Bella kissing him frantically while wearing less and less and …
"You wish," Bella muttered darkly.
"Yes, he does," I answered softly, pinning Black with my gaze.
He suddenly realized what I had just overheard, and mentally cringed. He wanted to taunt me, but this was his private life, reflections of his dearest desire, and it hurt to helplessly parade them before a hostile audience.
And suddenly, I felt a surge of pity for Jacob Black. At bottom was the fact that anyone who truly loved Bella could never be my enemy. I would loathe Black every day of my undead existence, but ultimately, he and I were on the same side—Bella's side. He was arrogant and obnoxious, but he was also very young and very deeply in love with a woman whose lure I understood all too well.
"Well, if you're done rummaging through my head," he snarled, "why don't you go take care of her hand?"
I wanted to, but a sense of honor, almost of comradeship, forced me to linger and say, "One more thing. I'll be fighting for her, too. You should know that. I'm not taking anything for granted, and I'll be fighting twice as hard as you will." Because I had more to lose.
He was certainly not lacking in spirit. Far from quailing at the challenge, he embraced it. "Good. It's no fun beating someone who forfeits."
I listened to his blazing conviction that he could beat me, and for a moment almost believed it. "She is mine." I lost the edge of my control, as I faced fully the enormity of the threat. "I didn't say I would fight fair." And I wouldn't. I would press every advantage, material, emotional, and otherwise, that I had.
"Neither did I." He wouldn't either. The old cliché "all's fair in love and war" suddenly took on new and very personal meaning.
"Best of luck," I returned, suddenly ready to end the conversation.
He nodded. "Yes, may the best man win."
"That sounds about right … pup." I told myself that I was actually as certain as I sounded. I had seventy years of experience on him, not to mention a fortune, the ability to pick his plans out of his mind, and a sister who saw a changed Bella in the future. I was going to win this thing.
I had to.
A/N Thanks so much for reading and I hope you had fun! Please review! This is my first Twilight fic, and I'd really appreciate feedback on how I did!