Hello everyone! I'm so, so sorry I haven't updated in almost two weeks, but I've been sick, flu :-(. And also, this chapter is very long, so it took me a while to write it. Anyway, I'm back and this is the last chapter for this story... It's the epilogue of New Moon, aka the conversation with Jacob in the woods.

Disclaimer: I don't own Twilight, nor one of the quotes. (Shakespeare: Romeo and Juliet; Act V, Sc. III and Ludwig Von Beethoven)

Mine

I was sitting in my car, waiting for Bella to come out of Newton's Outfitters to drive her home. Everything had returned back to normal, I was back with my angel who had forgiven me against all my expectations. Well, not everything had returned back to normal. I shuddered as I thought about last night.
Once again, I'd been holding Bella, gently rocking her back and forth and whispering soothing words as she sobbed against my chest. Once again, I'd had to endure seeing her whimper and cry in her sleep before she woke up screaming – she still dreamt every night about me leaving. And once again, I'd been reminded that I was unworthy of her, that a cad, a monster like me shouldn't be with an innocent, sweet, beautiful, smart, angelic-

The door opened and Bella came out of the store, turning around one more time to wave at Mike before her eyes searched the street for my car. I quickly got out and walked towards her.

'Good afternoon, love. How was work?' I asked as I took her by the hand and led her to the car.

'Fine, thank you.' She smiled sweetly as I opened her door and helped her in.

I turned the key and the engine started purring softly. I looked at her face and she seemed thoughtful and a bit sad. I knew she'd tried to call Jacob again during her shift with the same result as always. I hated seeing her sad, especially because that dog was the one who caused the little wrinkle between her eyebrows.

'Did you try to call Jacob again?' I asked softly, though I already knew the answer.

'Yes,' she sighed. 'I know I shouldn't even bother to do so, but…' she trailed off, still looking sad, but just when I wanted to ask her what I could do to make her feel better, her expression changed from sadness to rage. 'You know what? It's just plain rude! Downright insulting!'

She was right, it was very rude – she deserved so much better than her so-called friend. The only reason I hadn't ripped his throat out yet was because I knew it would upset Bella.

'Billy said he didn't want to talk to me,' she continued. 'That he was there, and wouldn't walk three steps to get to the phone! Usually Billy just says he's out or busy or sleeping or something. I mean, it's not like I didn't know he was lying to me, but at least it was a polite way to handle it. I guess Billy hates me now, too. It's not fair!'

Why didn't she see that this entire situation had nothing to do with her? It was all my fault.

'It's not you, Bella,' I said. 'No-one hates you.'

'Feels that way,' she grumbled.

I sighed. Seriously, when was that girl going to see herself clearly? How could anyone ever hate her?

'Jacob knows we're back, and I'm sure that he's ascertained that I'm with you. He won't come anywhere near me. The enmity is rooted too deeply.' And he's probably head-over-heels in love with you, I added silently.

'That's stupid. He knows you're not... like other vampires.' Always that blind, undeserved trust.

'There's still a good reason to keep distance.' A reason that you never understood, or never wanted to understand. The reason why I left to protect you.

'Bella, we are what we are. I can control myself, but I doubt he can. He's very young. It would most likely turn into a fight, and I don't know if I could stop it before I k-' I broke off just in time and looked at Bella anxiously. 'Before I hurt him,' I corrected myself. 'You would be unhappy. I don't want that to happen.' And I certainly didn't want her around when the dog lost control.

She still hadn't moved since my slip up and her heart was beating very fast. I was hoping – in vain – that she hadn't noticed what I was going to say, until she spoke again.

'Edward Cullen,' she whispered, 'were you about to say 'killed him'? Were you?'

'I would try... very hard... not to do that.' That was the most honest answer I could give her.

Her heartbeat was slowly returning to normal again and I could see that she was trying to keep it casual.

'Well, nothing like that is ever going to happen,' she said, letting out a shaky breath. 'So there's no reason to worry about it. And you know Charlie's staring at the clock right now. You'd better get me home right now before I get in more trouble for being late.'

Then I heard Charlie's thoughts. I could've heard them before, but I was too wrapped up in Bella's fascinating reactions to pay much attention to anything else but her and the road.

But now… His thoughts were slightly harder to hear than other people's minds, a little like Bella's silent mind, but I could still hear the most important things.

'How dare she? Irresponsible… Dangerous… Told her so many times… Death trap… ride bikes… Jacob, irresponsible, bad influence…'

He knew about the motorbikes. And Jacob had told him. Why, why would he do this to her? How did he dare hurting her?

'You're already in more trouble, Bella.' As soon as I spoke she clutched my arm, frantically looking at the road, searching for the danger.

I could hear the dog's mind too. He was still there. Good.

'Maybe I shouldn't have… No. I did the right thing. I have to protect her from the bloodsucker. He doesn't even let her see me! Like I'd ever hurt her, unlike him, he's hurt her.' I winced at the images in his mind. A broken Bella… 'Oh, good, the leech is here. Bring it on, bloodsucker!'

I was going over the possibilities in my mind. I could fight him, of course. A fight I would both win and lose. I'd win from the dog, but I'd lose Bella… No. No fight. He wanted to talk to me, but I wasn't sure if it was going to be safe, for Bella… There was too little time to decide what to do, I'd just have to wait and do what I had to when the moment came.

'What? What is it?' Bella asked, still searching for danger.

'Charlie-' I began, but she cut me off.

'My dad?!' She was panicking now, probably thinking about Victoria.

'Charlie is... probably not going to kill you, but he's thinking about it,' I finished.

I didn't park in front of Bella's house but I parked it in the woods because I knew that that's where Jacob was waiting to 'have a talk with me'. Talk, right. Like the pup was going to be able to control himself.

We were surrounded by the familiar trees and the various shades of green and brown were at the same time comforting and terrifying. I had some memories in this forest, near these trees, that had been haunting me for months.

'We're leaving, Bella.'

'Bella, I don't want you to come with me.'

'You're not good for me, Bella.'

I shuddered and shook my head to try not to think of the indelible, tormenting memories.

'What did I do?' Bella asked, for the hundredth time saving me in so many ways.

I didn't answer but just gave a meaningful nod toward the motorbike in front of the house. Even for human eyes, the shiny red paint must be visible, even through the leaves. She gasped.

'No! Why? Why would Jacob do this to me?' she cried out, pain and astonishment obvious in her voice. Ah, my sweet, innocent Bella. She still had so much to learn. For instance, she should learn not to trust people – or mythical creatures, in her case – as blindly as she did. I looked over at her and saw two tears falling down her cheek and for an endless moment, her eyes were full of sadness and grief that I couldn't help her with, that I couldn't understand. Then the moment was over, and the very Bella-like kittenish fury washed every other emotion away.

'Is he still here?' she hissed.

'Yes,' I answered, gesturing toward small path through the trees in front of us, 'he's waiting for us there.'

She nodded, her lips pursed into a hard line and then jumped out of the car, storming straight to him. She was angry and was probably not going to fall into his arms, but still, I didn't like it. And what if he lost control? What if he changed-

I didn't even finish my thought, I just leaped out of the car and was by her side in an instant, wrapping my arms around her waist.

'Let me go!' She tried to wriggle out of my grip. 'I'm going to murder him! Traitor!' she screamed toward the trees, her hands still clenched into fists.

Jacob's smug thoughts were beginning to fade away, guilt and doubt were taking over. Now my thoughts were smug, I really liked the idea of Bella having murderous thoughts about the mongrel.

'Charlie will hear you,' I warned her. 'And... once he gets you inside, he may brick over the doorway.'

She looked back at the house and seemed to calm down for a moment before turning her kittenish fury back to Jacob, who was still waiting in the forest.

'Just give me one round with Jacob and then I'll deal with Charlie,' Bella half growled.

'Jacob Black wants to see me,' I told her. 'That's why he's still here.'

The struggling in my arms stopped, her body went rigid and her eyes stared blankly ahead.

Before I could panic and ask what was wrong or if I'd hurt her, she whispered, 'Talk?'.

'More or less,' I answered hesitantly. I didn't want to say too much, I would leave the explaining part to Jacob.

'How much more?' Bella demanded, though her voice was still weak and shaky.

'He's not here to fight me. He's acting as... spokesperson for the pack.'

'Oh.'

'I'm going to… soon as… walks through the door… never again! … grounded…' Charlie's muffled thoughts were getting angrier every minute.

'We should hurry,' I said, 'Charlie's getting impatient.'

Bella nodded and I led her toward Jacob, tightening my grip around her waist, an answer to the frantic, worried thoughts as we approached the dog. When I saw him, I was surprised. I'd expected the skinny, shy teenage boy I remembered. The last time I'd seen him had been at the prom, when he was still a boy. Now he was a full-grown man who towered above Bella and me, looking self-assured and arrogant.
His child-like features had disappeared, his face now held a furious and wary expression. He looked too old to be only sixteen.
But the biggest surprise was the fact that I didn't hate him. I wanted to hate him, but I simply couldn't. I heard his thoughts as he saw Bella, and even though the perfect mask his face was didn't give anything away, he couldn't hide his thoughts for me. He loved her. And I was incapable of hating a person who loved Bella, not even a stinking dog.

I didn't hate him, but that didn't change anything to the fact that Bella was not allowed to be close to him, so I kept a what I considered safe distance and I placed my body in front of Bella.

'I'm not going to attack her, bloodsucker. You can chill.' Jacob found my protective actions extremely entertaining.

I rolled my eyes and felt Bella shift behind me, looking over my shoulder to eye Jacob angrily.

'Bella,' Jacob broke the silence, giving her a short nod. He didn't look at me.

'Why?' Bella asked and she seemed on the verge of tears again. 'How could you do this to me, Jacob?'

The boy's arrogant grin faded away, but his mask didn't. 'It's for the best.'

'If you won't let me see her, you won't get to see her either. Take that, leech.' His aggressive, provoking thoughts were, of course, directed at me again. But he still didn't look me in the eyes once.

'What is that supposed to mean?' Bella hissed. 'Do you want Charlie to strangle me? Or did you want him to have a heart attack, like Harry? No matter how mad you are at me, how could you do this to him?'

The Harry-thing seemed to struck a chord, Jacob flinched almost unnoticeably.

'No… No, I… I'd never hurt Charlie intentionally. It was for the best. For Bella.'

'He didn't want to hurt anyone – he just wanted to get you grounded, so that you wouldn't be allowed to spend time with me,' I explained, because I knew Jacob would never admit his childish behavior and jealousy to Bella.

Now Jacob did look at me, and it was a murderous look. I just stared back, showing no emotion whatsoever.

'Aw, Jake! I'm already grounded!' Bella moaned. 'Why do you think I haven't been down to La Push to kick your butt for avoiding my phone calls?'

'Huh? What? But… She…' He glanced at Bella in confusion.

'That's why?' he asked insecurely. Ah, this was the Jacob I remembered.

I was quick enough to explain his thoughts once again, I kind of enjoyed his annoyance that I could read his mind. 'He thought I wouldn't let you, not Charlie.'

'Stop that,' Jacob ordered, his temper flaring up. Dangerous, get her out of here! My instincts were screaming at me.

'Bella wasn't exaggerating about your... abilities. So you must already know why I'm here,' Jacob said.

'Yes,' I replied. 'But, before you begin, I need to say something.' I had to do this. I'd been thinking about ways to contact him for a while now, I had to thank him for saving Bella, and for protecting her when I wasn't there.

'Thank you,' I told him. 'I will never be able to tell you how grateful I am. I will owe you for the rest of my...' I paused for a second. If I said life now, I didn't want to know what his response would be, 'existence.'

Jacob froze, staring at me in astonishment. Apparently, he hadn't thought it possible for vampires to have feelings, let alone to express feelings. That's why he wanted to take Bella away from me, because he thought I didn't – couldn't – love her. The boy still had so much to learn.

'For keeping Bella alive,' I continued. 'When I... didn't.'

Bella sighed behind me. 'Edward,' she started, but I motioned her to stop. I already knew what she was going to say, and I didn't agree at all. It was my fault.

'I didn't do it for your benefit,' he spat out, his anger coming to the surface again.

He'd done it for himself, mostly, but also for Bella. And again, I hated that I couldn't hate him, because he had helped Bella through the darkest period of her life, which I had been the cause of.

'I know. But that doesn't erase the gratitude I feel. I thought you should know. If there's ever anything in my power to do for you –'

'You could leave again, you know, doing what you're good at,' he offered. 'I don't mind helping you get six feet under the ground, where you belong.'

'That's not in my power.'

He growled. 'Who's then?'

'Hers,' I answered, nodding toward Bella. 'I'm a quick learner, Jacob Black, and I don't make the same mistakes twice. I'm here until she orders me away.' And even then, I'd always keep waiting for her. Forever.

Bella looked up at me again, and the flame of love flared up again in all its strength and beauty as our gazes locked. In that little moment, everything was right.

'Never,' she whispered softly, completing the moment.

'Ugh.' And of course, leave it to the dog to ruin it. I sighed, his thoughts weren't exactly proper to mention.

'Was there something else you needed, Jacob?' Bella asked him, and I was pleased to hear the sharp edge in her voice. 'You wanted me in trouble – mission accomplished. Charlie might just send me to military school. But that won't keep me away from Edward. There's nothing that can do that. What more do you want?'

Not even now, not even after her declaration that nothing could part me and her again, his mask fell. I had to admire his strength, I didn't think I could've done it any better. Then again, he didn't love her nearly as much as I did.

'I just needed to remind your bloodsucking friends of a few of the key points in the treaty they agreed to. The treaty that is the only thing stopping me from ripping his throat out right this minute.'

'I certainly hope you leeches didn't forget about the treaty. Or maybe I don't, then at least Sam would allow me to rip you to pieces.' Jacob's thoughts were getting more and more hostile.

'We haven't forgotten.' My response came quickly, automatic. I didn't want Bella to know about this, so I wanted this conversation to be over as soon as possible. Because if Bella told Jacob something about her plans… let's just say I might not be able to hold my 'no fighting'-promise to Bella.

But of course, Bella was just as quick to answer Jacob as I was. 'What key points?'

Jacob answered, his eyes never leaving me. 'The treaty is quite specific. If any of them bite a human, the truce is over. Bite, not kill.'

'That's none of your business,' Bella gasped, too quickly for me to stop her.

'The hell it-' And then the words pierced through the mask. Astonishment, hurt and rage were his main feelings, but in the background there was so much more. Betrayal, agony… love. And the worst thing was that he pictured it. Everything. Bella, lying on a bed, writhing while I held her with my teeth buried in the flesh of her neck. Her cold, lifeless body afterwards, because he thought that she might not survive it. He didn't think I would have the strength. And the second possibility, something he loathed even more, was the image of Bella by my side, frozen forever at eighteen.

'No. He's lying. She's lying. No! NO! I'll kill him! I will, I'll kill you, you filthy parasite!'

He was shaking heavily now, barely holding on to his self-control.

'Jake?' Bella asked as she stepped forward hesitantly. 'You okay?'

I snatched her away from him and pushed her body behind me again, preparing myself for a possible fight. 'Careful! He's not under control,' I warned her.

'Ugh. I would never hurt her,' he said aloud. And then, just for me, he thought, 'I'd never hurt her like you did. You say you love her, but how can you possibly love her when you did this to her?'

I hissed, but he didn't stop.

He showed me images of Bella, lying on the floor of the forest, wet, cold and shaking, though she barely even seemed to notice.
Bella, when she came to visit him for the first time. It wasn't the Bella I knew, only a shadow of the girl she used to be. Her features were even paler than usual, she was very thin and her eyes were… lifeless. She didn't seem to think as she moved, her eyes just stared ahead, as if she was trying to escape the world around her.
Bella, clutching her arms around her chest as she fell apart on the floor of Jacob's garage.

'Stop. Please,' I whispered very low, knowing that Bella wouldn't hear it. She shouldn't suffer with me.

'BELLA! YOU GET IN THIS HOUSE THIS INSTANT!' Charlie yelled, effectively ending the flood of thoughts that Jacob kept throwing at me.

'Crap,' Bella murmured. I stroked her hand to try to soothe her, but I knew how mad Charlie was going to be. I glared at the dog and I was pleased to see that he seemed at least a bit ashamed of what he had done to Bella.

'I am sorry about that,' Jacob said. 'I had to do what I could – I had to try...'

'Thanks,' Bella said, her voice even and emotionless. I could tell she was tired from this conversation and scared about what Charlie was going to do.

'Just one more thing,' I promised her, before looking at Jacob again. 'We've found no trace of Victoria on our side of the line – have you?' This, Bella's safety, was the only reason why I was still being polite to the mutt. We needed to work together to keep the girl we both loved safe.

'The last time was while Bella was... away,' Jacob muttered. 'We let her think she was slipping through – we were tightening the circle, getting ready to ambush her, but then she took off like a bat out of hell. Near as we can tell, she caught your little female's scent and bailed. She hasn't come near our lands since.'

I nodded. 'When she comes back, she's not your problem anymore. We'll-'

Jacob cut me off. 'She killed on our turf. She's ours!' he snarled.

No. Victoria had tried to hurt my Bella, so she was mine to kill. Hadn't these children ever heard about what happened when someone tried to kill our mates? Or didn't they understand the word love?

'No,' Bella began, but Charlie's voice boomed through the forest again.

'BELLA! I SEE HIS CAR AND I KNOW YOU'RE OUT THERE! IF YOU AREN'T INSIDE THIS HOUSE IN ONE MINUTE...!'

'Let's go,' I said, tugging Bella with me. I was concerned that Charlie might get a stroke if I didn't get Bella inside the house this instant. At first Bella just followed me, but then she stopped and looked behind.

Jacob's mask had finally fallen down, and now all I could see on his face was his child-like remorse and sadness. 'Sorry. Bye, Bells.'

'You promised,' Bella said with the pleading eyes I'd never been able to resist, 'Still friends, right?'

'You know how hard I've tried to keep that promise, but... I can't see how to keep trying. Not now...' I sympathized for the boy, I knew how hard it was to let Bella go.

Bella didn't speak. It was silent once more, until Jacob whispered, 'Miss you.'

He stretched his hand out towards her as if to grab her away from me. I tightened my grip around her again, keeping her close to me. Mine.
Then my heart shattered. Bella stretched her hand out too, to him. Away from me, to a dog. Not even a human, that choice I could've understood, if she wanted a normal human life, she could get it. She should get it. But not another mythical creature, possibly even more dangerous than me. Not a werewolf.

'Me too,' she whispered, her voice trembling with the tears that were welling in her eyes.

No. She… she wanted… No. Mine.

I pulled her away, not even thinking about things like taking away her free will or not respecting her choices. I only knew that she wasn't his, that she and I belonged together.

'It's okay.' She looked up at me, her brown eyes wide with trust and love. Love for me, or for him?

'No, it's not.' She looked at me in disbelief. I'm sorry, love. I can't let you go. Not again.

'Let her go! She wants to!' Jacob roared, his thoughts smug. He thought he'd won already. As if I were going to give up so easily. He should know that no matter how hard he fought, I'd fight twice as hard.

'Come on, bloodsucker. Do it! Fight with me, may the best man win.' The stupid kid was provoking me. "Tempt not a desperate man." I pushed Bella out of the way, crouching down to end this ridiculous battle for once and for all.

'No! Edward –'

'ISABELLA SWAN!' Charlie yelled.

I didn't listen to the other voices around me, I just followed my instincts. Muscles tensed, teeth bared and snarling under my breath I slowly approached the pup who thought he was a man already.

'Come on, Charlie's mad!' Bella said urgently. 'Hurry!' She grabbed my arm, entwining our fingers. Mine. I looked at Jacob and he had noticed it too. She'd taken my hand, not his. In a moment of crisis, she still came to me. And she always would. I'd won.

'Go. Please, just go,' Jacob pleaded with me. And I wouldn't rub it in. I wanted to say something, but words weren't necessary. He knew that I'd won.

I took a deep breath and turned around as I felt Bella's fingers grasp my hand a little tighter. We'd always be together, we'd proved that. No matter how much time passed, no matter how many miles were between us, we'd always have our love, connecting us beyond time and space.

Ever thine, every mine, ever ours.

I know, the quotes weren't very original, but I just think they fit in the story very well.
I'm sorry to see this story go, I had a lot of fun writing it. A huge thanks to all the people who reviewed and supported me, it means a lot to me. Please let me know what you thought of this last chapter.

Love,

Sugargirl