I don't own Twilight.
The following chapters are an outtake from Breaking Ties. To add them in at this point would somewhat squelch the momentum I had going and they just didn't fit in at the point I was. However, I spent a lot of energy on these, so here you go...
Oh, and these are dedicated to Hollins over at Twilighted. She actually inspired me to take it to Jake's perspective...even though she really has no idea she's the reason these came about. But thanks Hollins!
I was pacing back and forth, wearing a path in the thick undergrowth. I couldn't help but feel a twinge of nervousness with each heavy thud of my bare foot. I couldn't understand what was taking them so long. Usually, they were punctual and looked relieved that time had passed again.
"There is something going on up there," I insisted, but more to myself than anyone else. The rest of them simply hated based on generations of superstition and fanciful legend.
"There always has been," Sam reminded me in the flat tone he always used.
Among my brothers, Sam had been the most open to communicating with the new bloodsuckers, but I still wasn't sure just what he thought. He remained guarded with his opinions while the others flung them at me left and right. The rest of my pack were anything but thrilled to have the Cullens near our land and hadn't hesitated in letting me know.
And my brothers were getting nervous. Nervous and antsy, which was not a good combination in relatively young wolves. In spite the traitorous legacy of my family name, I had to manage my compulsory brethren. It was my place in our tribe.
Being more mature in both years and phasing, Sam's place was at my side, a constant advisor and mentor. For the time being, he and Seth were the only ones not ostracizing me, so he was as good as I had though what I desired was Leah's straight forward perspective, but she was the one provoking the anger in the others, so her help wouldn't be forthcoming. Thinking of her nonstop tirade made the hair on my arms bristle. I'd have to deal with her when I got back.
"What do you think it means?" I wondered, aloud again for the benefit of Sam. We were only privy to each other's minds when in wolf form.
He cleared his baritone voice. In semblance to his canine heritage, it sounded more like a growl, but there was no malice behind it. "If you consider all the factors at play here, I think we need to tread lightly with regard to all vampires."
He was right, of course, and I knew this.
Fact one: the pack had been silent for a hundred years. Two years ago, it burst back from fireside legend and into reality.
Fact two: there had been several vampires around the castle over the last six months, which was an unheard of number of bloodsucking visitors.
Fact three: this tribe had never seen a pack the size as my band of brothers. The most wolves that had ever populated this area were a measly five. That had been just before the Draculs' fall from power. Those had been dark and desperate times, and that didn't bode well for what was coming. My pack had reached enormous of proportions. Sam was the first to change, and nine others had followed, myself included. The elders were at a loss as to why it was happening now, after so many years of quiet.
Then, the Draculs emerged after five hundred years of hiding. They were but two bloodsuckers amidst a race of thousands, but I believe their materialization after so many centuries was the trigger of our genetics.
"I still don't think we have anything to fear from the Cullens," I finally said, recalling the strange glow of their golden eyes. The blonde, Carlisle, was so interested in everything, but I never felt he meant more than genuine curiosity. I guess I'd call him a scholar. I liked him the instant I laid eyes on him, despite my instincts screaming for attack.
The other male and female, Alice and Edward, were something of a sight themselves. Edward was as cordial as Carlisle, though he shifted through our thoughts relentlessly. That had the tendency to make everyone nervous. Little Alice was an emotional wreck most of the time I'd seen her. Only on their last visit had she finally confessed with that mysterious headaches that had been ailing her disappeared when she was with us. She's smiled for the first time, and it was brilliant. It made me feel lighter just for having seen it.
"They are what they are." He had this way of raining on my parade…
I stopped pacing and eyed my beta. "Don't try to get philosophical on me," I snapped back. Sam didn't flinch. "You and I both can see the ways they are different. Not just their eyes, but their minds. They are more comfortable with us than at the castle. That accounts for something."
At least, I thought it did. Sam liked to play mediator so the entire pack felt like they had a say in the decisions. But it didn't really matter and they knew it. I was Alpha.
"Just because they don't want to be there doesn't make them our allies, Jakob." He still sat patiently on his perch, watching me stoically.
"It sure as hell doesn't make them our enemies either," I huffed and started pacing again.
I wished the Cullens would get here. I'd convinced Sam to meet with them finally, and he'd even agreed to stay human. It was a bode of confidence to the rest of them. We all looked to Sam for guidance.
Sam left me to my thoughts, deciding to watch my progress across the small span of earth I was wearing down. I was starting to get an uncomfortable feeling in the pit of my stomach. We'd said two. Here it was almost three o'clock, and not one of them had arrived. They would have told me if they'd be leaving the country early.
"Maybe there was an emergency," Sam offered.
We both knew how weak that was. He was simply trying to pacify me. I wanted to let him, but I couldn't shake that queasy ache, so I kept walking. They would come.
Sometime later, a snapping limb sounded from the East. Sam and I tilted our heads at the same angle to zero in on the noise. We waited, breath trapped in our lungs, to hear it again. Seconds rolled on, but there was nothing. In tandem we relaxed from our positions.
Then, a howl echoed through the trees, and I split myself from my body half and instant before Sam. With an ease and motion only allowed in this form, I sped through the thick forests, heading to the call of my brother. The thoughts of the rest of the pack flooded into me as I sped east.
The younger boys, Collin and Brady were patrolling the village perimeter, already alerted of the situation I was heading toward. The rest of my pack was three miles from my location. They were grouped in circle around a cowering and sobbing Alice.
Stop! I roared at them. Don't you touch her!
The five wolves barely paid attention to my command. They continued taunting Alice with snarling jaws and splashing spit all over her delicate body. She looked scared, resolved, wrecked. I could see through my brothers' eyes she was a ruin of her former self. And they viciously mocked her evident pain. It was too much for me. These were friends.
She was too close to the village, snarled Paul. He dug his front claw into the ground, as if intending to pounce. I noticed the tiny vampire was trembling slightly.
Look at her! I commanded them. Is this a threat?
She told us herself she has a gift!
She could be here to destroy our families!
All bloodsuckers should die!
The chanting mind of the pack echoed in my thoughts. I let my frustration manifest in a piercing howl, much stronger than I'd ever used before. None could deny the command, and I nodded as each took half a step away from the quaking vampire. A few dropped their heads.
I was on them after three more bounding strides, and the other sets of canine eyes dropped to the ground. None of them was ashamed. They'd have ripped her throat if I hadn't used all my authority to bind them from doing so. Their thoughts were laced with venom but they stepped back with the others. Sam hesitated with my brothers so I alone walked toward the girl vampire.
She was on her side arms clenching her knees. Dirt streaked her face and the tiny array of black spiked hair was matted with stray leaves trapped between. She was mumbling incoherently. I didn't know her well, but I knew enough about women to understand that what I saw cowering before me was not a threat.
I snarled at the mob mentality I'd seen through their eyes. How dare they?
With a forced tremor, I let my body shudder through my bones, constrict my muscles, and form back into my human self. I turned to Paul and ripped the shorts tethered to his paw and threw them on while casting him a glare that caused him to turn away. He hadn't heard the end of this.
Pants properly in place I turned back to Alice. She hadn't stopped her mindless rambling and hardly seemed to notice I was towering above her at all. Compassion flooded through me and I bent down low.
Her eyes, a darkened shade of gold, peered mistily at me. Her bottom lip quivered but she stayed still and silent. Nothing but a small gleam of recognition flashed in those wide eyes.
It wasn't easy to keep myself calm. Her lack of reaction was making me more uneasy than I had been back at the meadow. The tiny vampire began shaking her head. Her eyes seemed to lose their luster as she did. Then, the life poured back into them and she met my stare again.
I found myself reaching forward and placing my hand on her bare shoulder. The shock of dark skin and pale, hot meets cold, burned the tips of my feverish fingers, but I resisted the urge to pull away. Some of my brothers couldn't contain their disgust at the action but I was glad to see them turn away and slink into the trees. There would be hell to pay for what had almost happened earlier, but it would have to wait.
I was rolling over my revelation that I'd been right in thinking something was wrong at the castle. Alice looked like she barely survived the trip down the mountain. I was grappling with the inner desire to rush up there and finish the nightmare once and for all. But I knew haste wouldn't get me the end I desired. I still had no idea what was happening, and I needed the support of every wolf.
Carlisle and Edward weren't going to show. Realizing that, I made a quick decision and swept her into my arms. She was astonishingly heavy for someone so small, but with no further thought, I turned and headed for home. Now, not only would Paul be paying for his insubordination, I would be paying for mine. There was no way the Elders, my brothers, or Leah would be happy about this.
She heard me coming as I trudged up the drive. It would have been hard not to, with the entourage and all. I heard the sound of the drapes swish as she cast an angry stare toward us. It was followed by the angry thud of her feet against the floorboards. Unlike the dainty girl in my arms (who incidentally weighed as much as I did in wolf form) my wife was the very opposite of delicate.
The door flung open and her black eyes blazed into mine. Hands angled firmly on her soft hips were enough of a sign for my brothers to slide into the background. Leah was my battle to fight.
"Jakob! How can you bring that here?" She demanded with a vicious swipe of her hand.
"Something's happened," I explained. "The others didn't show up for our meeting."
"Why did you do this?" The shrill tenor of her voice rose slightly. I knew from past experience she was only getting started.
I plastered a wide smile on my face and laid Alice gently on the spot of grass we had out front. She stayed completely silent and watched Leah closely.
"Look at her," I gestured, my own eyes steady on my wife's. She turned her gaze to Alice. "What are you afraid of?"
"She's a vampire, Jake. What else do you expect me to see?"
I ignored the condescending tone. It was her nature to be combative. She worked hard to prove herself capable at everything. Being the first woman to inherit the werewolf gene in history, she'd worked even harder not to be shunted to the side based on gender. Which was really just ridiculous. A woman like Leah could never be put on the sidelines. She was just too passionate, while not being completely unreasonable. That was the part of the silken haired vixen I had to appeal to.
I took a step forward, but Leah only glared harder. Her foot began tapping quickly.
"She isn't the reason we're like this," I cooed. "Alice means no harm to anyone here."
Leah inhaled sharply. "You think I can just overlook that she is exactly the reason my hair stands on end? How can we bring her into our home?"
"It's only temporary." My impatience was growing, but I held it in as best I could. I may be her alpha, but she was my wife. "Now, I just need to get her inside before the neighbors start nosing around."
"You really think you can hide her after parading her through town?" There was still an edge to her voice, but she rolled her eyes, which was always a good sign.
I winked, then picked up Alice again. "Just looking out for the family name, sweetheart."
She remained quiet, catching my jibe at my own ancestry, and followed in behind me, almond shaped eyes narrowed into thin slits.
"It's going to smell for weeks," she muttered.
I hid the smirk, but I knew she was right. We might never get the smell out.
I lay Alice on the bed in the guest room at the back of the house. Sometimes one of the guys crashed there, so I wasn't worried about any lingering essences. They could deal with that in payment of using our bed for the night.
She looked over at Leah, her face still drawn and tense. She was listening now. I could tell she'd snapped out of the delirium of earlier. The boys had probably caused it in the first place, so I was actually lucky she didn't start freaking out inside the house. Instead she pulled herself up the elbows, glaring at me and never even looking toward Leah where she hesitated in the doorway.
When the awkwardness became too much I made to open my mouth, but Alice finally spoke.
"You never told me you were married," she accused.
I was a bit caught off guard by her statement but before I had a chance to say anything, she grabbed my left hand with a swift movement. Her fingers pressed coolly against my skin while she studied it.
"You don't wear a ring," she noted, letting my hand fall away.
My smile slid into place. "Occupational hazard."
She almost cracked a smile. Leah moved forward with light steps unlike the angry ones of earlier. She was curious.
Not wanting a repeat of the earlier scene, I sat down on the edge of the bed and looked at Leah.
"Leah, this is Alice Cullen," I told her. "And, Alice, this is my wife, Leah."
The two women looked at each other. Neither spoke, but there wasn't any outright hostility either. It could be a lot worse. They sensed that, too.
The awkward pause lingered for a moment. But, there was no escaping the undeniable. I glanced an apologetic look to Alice before starting. The sooner I found out what was going on, the sooner I could plan.
I cleared my throat just as Seth knocked at the front door, his scent swirling through the open windows. Leah excused herself to head him off. In spite of her mistrust of vampires, she trusted me, and was giving me the opportunity to find out what I needed to know.
"What happened?" I asked the spikey-haired vampire who was sitting in my guest bedroom.
"They left me alone," she whispered like saying it quietly would make it not have happened.
"What do you think happened to them?" I felt like I was repeating myself, but she seemed unwilling to grip what was going on and the severity of the situation.
"I think something bad," she admitted as a shiver trembled through her tiny frame.
She attempted to smile again, but it was weak and forced. It looked like it took all her strength just to turn the corners of her lips. When she spoke again, her voice quivered with emotions to close to human to be mistaken.
"Can I use your phone?"
Of course, she would have someone she needed to call. I got the feeling Alice was operating solo when it wasn't her style, so to speak. She definitely struck me as missing a vital element.
Just then, Leah raced back into the room, her face glowing slightly with distress. Seth hovered behind her, not wanting to upset Alice any further than what the rest of the pack had done earlier. I was grateful, but my only interest was in the look of near panic that flashed through the eyes of my wife.
"They've called a tribal council, Jakob. They want an explanation." She was trying hard to hide the worry, but it was plain in her face.
I jumped to my feet. This just got more serious than I intended. I wasn't sure what I was thinking when I brought Alice into the village, but I couldn't just leave her there. The Cullens had their own ideals, their own morals that basically equaled that of our humanity. And did we not hunt animals? The only difference between us and the Cullens on a logical level was their hearts no longer filled with blood. Instead, they carried the poison of their disease with the reverence of a curse. It was strength to overcome that affliction that I had been drawn to right away. It helped to solidify my own ideals that there is good in this world.
But on a physical level, they were still what bred us into our own brand of monsters. They are the reason we burst into ferocious and feral wolves, despite what I had said to convince Leah otherwise. They were vampires. There was nothing I would be able to say to deny that. I just hoped I could sway the Elders to understanding.
So steeped in legends of our past, I knew my chances were slight. But, at that point, I had no choice. If I refused to stand witness at the council, I'd be shunted from by my pack and my "brothers" would likely rip me apart for my complete insubordination against tribal law.
Both Leah and Seth understood the gravity of the next hour of my life, but they allowed me those few minutes to roll it over in my head. I looked over at my wife, her eyes soft and worried.
I walked to her and touched her arm lightly. "Stay here. I'll be back in an hour," I whispered, and placed a gentle kiss on the forgiving flesh of her cheek.
With apprehensive eyes, Leah watched as I walked past her and out of the house, barely noticing Seth following behind. I didn't bother phasing. Town Hall was close and the worst I could do had already been done. It wouldn't hurt them to wait a bit longer.
Seth fell into stride beside me, his youthful gait both springy and excited. Next to Sam, I could count on Seth and that wasn't just because he was Leah's brother and mine inherited by marriage. It was because the kid just couldn't help but be as passionate and as full of life as his sister. The difference between them was where Leah was forever casting out cynicism, Seth was the epitome of optimism, seeing the good in everything. He was quite comforting to have around on an off day.
And this was turning out to be as off as they come.
We made our way up the steps to the front of the building that housed our most important meetings. The wood was old, but had been whitewashed last summer so looked cheerful amidst the rest of the buildings here. But the falseness it offered was enough to raise the hair on my arms as I stepped inside.
With three large steps, I crossed the entry way and to the door of the council hall. I could hear the murmuring of the pack and Elders inside. The animosity was evident in the gravelly sounds. I didn't pause to see if Seth would follow me in. I pushed open the door, letting it snap wide with force and slam into the wall behind it. The sound carried throughout the room and drew all eyes to me. I took a second to look into each pair. Fourteen pairs peered back at me, most with outright disdain seething through cold glares. I swallowed hard and stepped into the middle of the room, still eyeing each of my brothers. Paul looked smug from his place in the back, and I secretly hoped he enjoyed the position. He was going to spend much more time at the end of things after the shit he pulled today.
I squared my shoulders and let them look, because the man they saw in front of them was the Alpha, and I wasn't going to stand aside and let someone else take my place. This was my birthright, my destiny, and I'll be damned if I let their ghost stories take it away.