(A/N-I have a few words to say about this, because it's kind of close to my heart. Jacob Black will never get his happy ending. I know that. He'll never imprint on some lucky, Quileute girl and forget about Bella. In my opinion, I think he lied when he told Bella he hadn't already imprinted. And I think that's why he knew it was hopeless. That's why he went feral in the end of Eclipse, like Taha Aki, because she was his "spirit wife". But this is my best attempt to give him some sort of closure. This is my best attempt to do right by someone who can never be happy. This is for Jake.)

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The stars of La Push had always been brighter to me than anywhere else in the world. They meant something here. I noticed them. Because I knew their stories. Just like familiar people, it felt like they greeted me when they came into view overhead.

It was a surprisingly cool night, for early June, but as to be expected on the Olympic Peninsula, it was always colder than your brain told you it should be. It was strange, coming back to this place now. After all this time away. Nothing seemed to have changed as I ran my rough, calloused hands over the rickety wall of the old tool shed. The gnarled, grayish-brown wood reminded me so much of my father that my stomach clenched tight.

I allowed a quiet whimper to escape, but nothing more. No time for tears, now, Jacob. I'd already visited his grave with Seth, one of the few of us old Quileute bedtime stories still alive. It made me sad, to know that so many of my brothers had died, just like old, human Billy.

I'd known when they did. It was Sam that went first. Right after his Emily died. Then Paul, though, just as all of us knew it would be, it certainly wasn't of old age. Jared and he'd gotten into a scuffle. Jared never quite forgave himself for forgetting how mortal they all really were. He went next, then Embry. Collin had been one of those lucky enough to imprint on someone… available. He died a few years back, within a few months of Brady, one of the younger of our pack.

It was only Seth, Quil, and I now. The last of the werewolves. Well, not counting little Quil Ateara the Third, who wasn't quite so little anymore, and Quil and Claire's other child, their daughter, Alice. I'd laughed at that one. They were both so old now, even after the hindrances in their normal life span caused by Quil's transformations. And I hoped that their grandchildren would never feel that torture.

Leah had imprinted on a boy from Forks, some kid named Tyler Crowley. I laughed at that, too. He was such a human little thing. Probably didn't appreciate the fact that his wife could lift him over her head and chuck him clear of the Olympic Range very much. But he got over it. She'd died only last year, one of the reasons I'd gotten the courage to finally come back here, actually.

That and the fact that she had finally contacted me. My palm contracted as my long fingers drew into a fist, pulling away from the house. I only had a few minutes to get to the Treaty Line. But I was there within seconds. The road seemed to have an electrified fence straight across it, the way my instincts screamed at me to stop not 3 inches from the imaginary border. The Cullens had left years ago, but, regardless, my ancient gut feelings knew well that while there was one of those bloodsuckers around, the line was not to be crossed.

And then she was there, as if on cue. I had to tell myself to breathe when she suddenly appeared. Like a ghost before me. She was exactly the same. A testament to exactly how short these last 90 years had been. A blink of an eye to an immortal. Her brown hair hung over one shoulder, now just a 

bit shorter, but I could almost smell the dull scent of strawberries wafting through the careful distance between us, though I knew it was just wishful thinking.

"Jacob…" she breathed, an uncertain emotion heavy in the word. A mixture of relief, happiness, and overwhelming sadness. I could smell the sickly sweetness of her kind now, and it caused the bitterness to rear up in my heart again.

"Hey, Bella," I finally said. It was half happy, half sad, and just a pinch angry. She noticed the angry, of course. She may be the walking dead, but she was still Bella.

"Edward's not here," she finally murmured, erasing most of the anger in me with the words she knew I wanted to hear. I would've laughed, but I didn't remember how.

"Did you have to sneak out again?" I asked, a half-hearted smile crossed her face as she remembered that time. That time when we could still stand to be around each other as long as we wanted, without anyone thirsting for blood or being sorely tempted to rip each other apart, limb by limb, and set fire to the remains. I grimaced.

"No," she answered, dropping to a sitting position on the asphalt before me. The treaty line divided us like a force field, and everything about her seemed muffled, blurred out. "He doesn't feel the need to constantly protect my fragile human form from the big, bad wolf anymore," she said with a wink. I lowered my crouch to be on eye-level with her again, still on the defensive.

"I always thought you were a pretty bad-ass Red Riding Hood," I grumbled. She smiled, obviously feeling the same nostalgia I did.

"I've missed you, Jake. More than you can ever know," she sighed, dropping her face into her unnaturally pale hands in defeat. I fought my sudden urge to put a comforting hand on her shoulder. I settled for leaning forward just the slightest bit.

"I know," I muttered. She looked up, trying to read my expression, and obviously not liking what she saw there. I didn't blame her. Sam had once told me that when a werewolf goes feral for as long as I did, his human self is heavily affected. Could she see the way I bared my eyeteeth when I smiled? The way my tongue rolled when I yawned? The predatory way I moved? The way I sat on my haunches now, like I was stalking a herd of deer, waiting to strike?

"You really haven't changed a bit," she finally whispered as, both to her and my own surprise, she reached a hand out to brush my cheek. I flinched, for a fraction of a second, but it was enough, and she began pulling away apologetically. "I'm sorry… I just…" she stared at her feet, "I'm sorry," she repeated.

"It's fine," I mumbled. But it wasn't. My blood was pulsing double the human dose of adrenaline through my veins, my muscles clenched and unclenched on their own as I fought the urge to attack its natural enemy. But she wasn't my enemy. My heart knew that. And yet… a shudder ran up my spine, and I fought it down. It was a strange sensation, having your instincts fight your heart. The two warring sides made way too much sense for either to be ignored.

She's a BLOODSUCKER, millions of years of evolution screamed. She's BELLA, my heart asserted. And she was Bella. I could see that in the way she stared at me, waiting patiently as I deliberated destroying her. She was Bella in the intense thoughts that obviously coursed through her head. So clearly THERE, but just out of reach. She was Bella in the way she bit her lip to keep back tears she knew I didn't want to see. She couldn't even CRY anymore. But still, Bella, the creature of habit. The creature that both haunted and graced my dreams every single night.



She was Bella. Charlie's Bella. Edward's Bella. Bella Cullen. A dry sob escaped my defenses. A pathetic, weak sounding thing. I wondered idly if she thought me feeble for crying. I glanced up in time to see her jump to her feet in exasperation.

"Oh, screw it, Jacob Black! Rip me to shreds, I don't give a hoot," she yelled, throwing her hands into her air and before I knew it, she was across the Treaty Line. Across the carefully contrived safety barrier. Across millenias of adaption, of war. And around me. Her arms felt harder than before. Colder than before. But they were Bella's.

I knew then, after the angry shudders and initial disgust finally died down. After the growling beast locked inside me was calmed by her whispered assurances that everything was going to be okay, even if we both knew it was a lie. After my fingers unclenched from the half fists they'd curled themselves into, and entwined themselves in her mahogany hair. After the tears I'd locked back for so long finally came. After my rigid body relaxed against the vampire's still, granite frame. And after all that was left was her, comforting me, under the familiar stars. After I was sure, here and now, that she was still same, old, familiar Bella. Constant as the stars. As the skies themselves. Always Bella. My Bella.

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(A/N-I'll never do him justice. Please review. Even if it's to tell me that I suck at writing and should just give up now. Haha. Thanks, guys.)