"Edward!" The cry should've been a horrified scream, but it came out barely more than a whisper. Jacob heard it, though, and glanced at me briefly before following my eyes to the scene before us.

Tanya was stalking toward Edward, knees bent and torso forward in a crouch. Edward was frozen, about twenty feet from her, eyes fixed on her solidly. He stood perfectly straight, seeming at complete ease except for the simple fact he was too still. Suddenly his eyes flicked to where Jacob and I stood, hidden behind trees and brush.

"Stay here," Jacob commanded quietly, voice low.

"What?" I asked too late.

Several things then happened at once. Tanya released all of her pent-up tension, springing forward in attack. Edward fell into a crouch, bracing himself for her. Jacob burst out from hiding, sweat pants ripping to shreds as he exploded in a blur of fur.

Tanya and Edward collided, immediately in a fight for their lives. This lasted less than a second before Jacob hurled between them, pushing Edward to the ground and turning to fight Tanya himself. I couldn't believe my eyes.

"Jacob!" I yelled, not wanting to watch yet unable to look away. For the merest moment, Tanya's eyes met mine and flashed a brilliant, gleaming gold. But Jacob distracted her attention as a paw swiped against her face. She snarled, clenched her teeth around his shoulder and ripped, pulling away fur and muscle all along the limb. Jacob howled in pain as Tanya forcibly threw him off her, returning her attention to Edward. But Jacob wasn't giving up. With effort, he whipped his head to her leg and bit down.

Tanya seemed irritated at him. Her pale hands gripped Jacob's horridly wounded limb and yanked, tearing the arm off entirely.

"NO!" The scream was inhumanly, the agony of it twisting at my heart while Jacob let out a single grunt, slumping to the grass.

"Bella, no!"

A pair of granite arms held me back, only then making me realize I was sprinting to Jacob's side.

"Jacob! Jacob, no!" the screams continued. "No! No! Jacob!"

"Alice! Hold Bella back!"

The arms left my shoulders, only to be replaced by a smaller pair, wrapping around my torso.

"Shh." There was a whisper in my ear. "Let Emmett and Edward take care of this," the whisper soothed, the words making absolutely no sense. "You'll only get yourself killed if you go to Jacob now."

"Jacob…" The screams had turned into heart-wrenching sobs. "Jacob, no…"

"Shh…"

I don't remember much of the next few moments, but the smell of fire awoke my senses and I realized Tanya was gone. I realized the slender arms around me were gone as well and that I was on my knees in the long grass. Emmett, Jasper and Rosalie were carrying armfuls of something to the fire and throwing it in. Alice, Edward and Carlisle were huddled in a circle, the shadows of the trees seeming darker over their hunched backs. The next sight that caught my eyes made me sick to my stomach.

"Jacob…" I croaked. Still on my knees, I crawled toward him, barely noticing Esme as she gently placed a blanket on him. Jacob was no longer in his wolf form and clutched the hem of the blanket with his remaining hand, giving Esme a grateful smile through the pain. I softly slipped an arm beneath his head.

"Hey," he greeted hoarsely, a weak smile on his lips. I tried to return the smile.

"You know…" he whispered, grabbing my hand that wasn't under his head. "I couldn't ask for a better… a better way to go."

I frowned, ignoring the splitting headache I was getting from holding back the tears. "What do you mean?" I chocked.

The smile on his lips was almost jesting, a playful glimmer in his eye dancing behind the agony. "Here… in your arms. It's kinda… romantic."

My laugh was short and painful. It cracked my barriers and a couple tears fell down my cheeks. Jacob watched the salty water droplets with concern, letting go of my hand. He raised his hand, shaking with effort, to rest it on my cheek, wiping the tears away.

"Don't… don't cry, Bella," he pleaded, making a sob rock through my body. "Please… don't… don't cry…"

The hand on my face fell and his body went limp in my arms. His head fell back slightly, eyes still open but glazed over, the spark of life in those black orbs gone forever.

A/N: I love reviewers and live for constructive criticism!