Author's Note: Oh my it has been a long time since I've sat down to work on a fanfic. Three years, I do believe. I've been concentrating on school, and on several original works. That having been said, after having watched New Moon, I found myself wishing that Bella ended up with Jacob, and since I've been voraciously reading every J/B fanfic out there, I decided it might be time to write my own, and write their ending the way I think it should have happened. I anticipate this being long, and I will try to update regularly, though I am in law school, so that has to come first.
Summary: Picks up at the last scene in New Moon, where Bella is standing between Jacob and Edward. She leaves with Edward, and they leave Forks. Ten years later, she's back, still human, and needs Jacob's help.
Rating: M. If you're familiar with my work, it's no different than anything else I've written.
Disclaimer: I own none of the characters in this work of fiction. They belong to Stephanie Meyer. I'm merely playing with them for a little while.
Bella Swan turned down the driveway so familiar to her that she could have navigated it with her eyes closed. At the end of the driveway, she could see the small house where she had spent so much time during her youth. Sighing, she eased her truck into park, and slid out, her boots crunching on the loose gravel, her jacket drawn up around her to keep out the brisk November wind.
She stood for a moment, surveying the land she had not stepped foot on in over a decade, smiling softly when she realized nothing had changed. It was exactly as she remembered it. It was nice to realize that something had remained the same, when everything else in her life had changed.
Squaring her shoulders resolutely, she strode purposefully up the walk, and knocked briskly on the front door. Several moments later, Billy Black opened the door, expertly navigating his wheelchair around the door and side table. He stared up at her, the look on his face one of disbelief and shock. If the situation hadn't been so grim, Bella would have laughed. But as it was, she didn't think she should risk insulting him.
"Bella. You're-" he trailed off, not knowing how to say exactly what it was that he wanted to ask.
"Human? Yeah. I'm human. I need to talk to Jacob. Is he here?"
"He's at Sam's. Pack meeting. Bella, what are you doing here? Does Charlie know you're back?"
"Not yet. This was my first stop. I should have known he'd be off with the pack. I need his help."
Bella considered telling him, then shook her head regretfully. "This is something the pack needs to hear first." She fished her keys back out of her pocket. "I'm going to head over there." She paused at the door to the truck, smiled at Billy. "It's good to see you, Billy. I missed you."
Billy offered a tight smile. "Welcome back, Bella. I'm glad to see you're still breathing."
The drive to Sam Uley's was short and uneventful, giving her just enough time for butterflies to begin swirling in her stomach again. Fortunately, she got distracted from her nerves when she noticed that Sam's place had not stayed the same.
The house had been added onto, and was painted a bright white. There was a large deck overlooking the back yard, and a barn like structure had been erected near the forest edge. Following her gut, she headed for the new building, figuring Emily had finally gotten tired of a pack of werewolves tracking all over her house and made them find someplace new.
She heard voices as she got closer to the structure, all of them familiar. Sam, Embry, Quil, Jared, Seth, Leah, Collin, Brady, and Jacob. She took a deep breath, wiped her sweaty palms on her jean clad thighs, and pushed the door open.
Instantly, the talking ceased as everyone turned to see who had entered. When they realized who it was, there was an audible gasp and Jacob surged to his feet, shock all over his face. Bella shrugged nervously, offered a sheepish smile.
Jacob strode to her, gripped her chin in his hand and examined her neck for bites, then glanced at her eyes to check their color. "You're human."
"Have been all my life." She couldn't help the sarcasm that slipped into her voice. She was getting tired of her mortality being the only thing people noticed about her.
He abruptly released her, went back to his seat. "What are you doing here?"
"I need your help."
"Get the leeches to help you. You chose them, Bella. We can't help you anymore."
"They're gone. I have no idea where they are. And the Volturi are after me."
"Volturi. It's like the vampiric high counsel."
Sam held up a hand when Jacob would have dismissed her once again. "Jake. Our job is to protect people from vampires. Like it or not, Bella is still human, and that means that we have to help her. Why don't you tell us what's going on, Bella?"
Grateful for Sam's interference, Bella nodded, cleared her throat nervously. "Before I left, when I went to Italy to save Edward, the Volturi met me. They ordered that I be changed. I don't know why, but vampires can't see into my mind. They thought that I would develop some powers as a vampire that they wanted in the bloodline. Alice promised them that she would change me herself.
"I didn't know how much time they were going to give us, and I pushed Edward to change me. More than anything, I wanted to be one of them. But after we left, they promised me that they would turn me on my twenty first birthday. Alice could see the Volturi, and she didn't see them getting impatient until then. After that day in the woods, Jake, we left Forks. They took me to the Denali, where there are other vegetarians, and we stayed there for a few months. After that, we moved around a lot. Then, I turned twenty one. I woke up the morning of my birthday, and they were gone. All of them. Just gone. Their phones were turned off, their email accounts shut down. I have no idea where they went, and I haven't seen them since.
"For a long time, I was heartbroken. I could barely survive. I stayed in the house we'd been living in for over six months. But slowly, I put myself back together, and eventually, I realized that they were never coming back. I left Alaska, went to Phoenix, got a job, an apartment, started building a life. And then, six months ago, I got a letter. From Alice.
"She told me that two days before I was to be turned, she had a vision, about my future. She saw the Volturi killing me if I was a vampire, because I would be more powerful than them. So before I could develop all my strengths, they saw to it that I was killed. Rosalie and Esme would have died trying to protect me. So to save my life, they abandoned me. The problem is, the Volturi cannot see the future as Alice can. They only know what they saw in Italy ten years ago. They want me changed, and they're coming after me. Alice's letter told me that the Cullens can't help me, that their presence will only help the Volturi find me. But she wanted me to know they were coming, that I needed to run, and that Carlisle was going to Italy to try and reason with them, but she didn't see it succeeding.
"I ignored it. It had been almost ten years! Why would they come after me now? But three weeks ago, I went to work, and found everyone dead. I'd been scheduled for the night shift, but at the last minute, I'd traded with another girl there so that she could have the weekend off. I know what a vampire bite looks like. By the time I got to my apartment, it had been trashed. So I threw as much stuff in my truck as I could, and I headed for here. I knew the only ones who could stand a chance against the Volturi were you."
Jacob finally lifted his head to meet her gaze, and his eyes held more hurt and anger than she'd known could live inside one man. "Seven years, and you never once thought to let us know you weren't a vampire?"
"I thought you'd have known. I stayed in touch with Charlie, even visited a few times. He came to see me. I didn't imagine he wouldn't have told your Dad."
"In case you didn't notice, we weren't on the best terms when you left."
Bella closed her eyes for a moment to compose herself. "And I'm sorry for it. But I'm here now."
Sam held up a hand before Jacob could say anything else. "Jacob, be logical for a moment. The Volturi is obviously well acquainted with the Cullens. If I were them, I would be retracing every place the Cullens have lived looking for Bella. Eventually, that will bring them to Forks. Like it or not, odds are we would have to deal with them anyway. And we all know that vampire activity around here has started up again. It's why we're all phasing again."
Curiosity got the best of her, and Bella couldn't stop the question that slipped past her lips. "You stopped phasing?"
"That's what happens when there are no bloodsuckers around. We only phase when we're needed. Once the activity was gone, there was no need for the wolves, and we stopped being able to phase. A few months ago, we started again."
The conversation was interrupted as Emily pushed through the door, the hand of a small girl clutched in one hand, her stomach bulging with pregnancy. "Guys, dinner!" she stopped in her tracks when she saw Bella, and then her face broke out into a wide smile as she rushed forward to offer a warm hug. "Bella! You're home!"
Grateful that anyone was glad to see her, Bella hugged Emily tightly, jumped when she felt the baby kick through Emily's belly. "It's good to see you, Emily."
"Of course you'll stay for dinner, and then the bonfire down at the beach tonight. I won't take no for an answer. Does your Dad know you're back yet?"
"Not yet. I came here first."
"Well he'll be at the bonfire. What a nice surprise this will be for Charlie." She slipped an arm around Bella's shoulders, gently but firmly leading her to the house. "Come on inside everyone. Maggie and I have made plenty of food for everyone." She squeezed Bella again. "I'm so glad you're home. Vampires, I assume?"
"I don't mean to be rude, but aren't you supposed to be one?"
Bella shook her head. "Just a childish dream. A lot has changed in ten years."
"You'll tell me everything. But not now. Now, we eat."
It was only then that Bella realized she hadn't eaten since the day before. She laid a hand on her stomach, offering the first genuine smile she'd managed since arriving in La Push. "Food sounds great."
Six hours later, Bella found herself on the beach, another plate of food in her hand. She'd spent the last two hours catching up with Charlie, but he'd headed home early to sleep for his fishing trip with Billy the next morning. Emily had refused to let Bella leave with her father, claiming there was too much girl talk to be had. Then, surreptitiously, Emily had soon after disappeared to put her daughter to bed.
So much had changed since she'd left. Emily and Sam had Maggie, and their second on the way. Jared and Kim had twin boys barely out of diapers. Leah and Embry had, amazingly enough, imprinted on one another and had one daughter, six year old Alicia. Paul and Rachel were working on their third, hoping for a girl in addition to their two boys, and Quil was still devoted to now thirteen year old Claire. It was obvious that his feelings were still brotherly due to her age, but Bella noticed that Claire was starting to look at him with the interest of a girl instead of a sister.
As far as she could tell, Jacob was single. At least, there were no girls hanging on him. Seth still hadn't imprinted, and there were murmurs throughout the pack that he probably wouldn't, having reached twenty five without having done so. The younger wolves, Collin and Brady, both claimed girlfriends back at college, and were obviously not happy about beginning to phase again.
She smiled as she walked down the beach, drawing her jacket tighter around her as the air chilled the further away from the fire she got. Spotting a very familiar form a hundred yards down the shore, she picked up her pace, depositing her plate in a trashcan on the way.
Jacob turned at her voice, and she was shocked again at just how much he had grown up. His hair was black as night, and cut short, showing off his incredible bone structure. And for once, he was actually wearing clothes, a midnight blue button down, neat jeans, and boots. She actually thought he'd shrunk a couple inches since she'd last seen him, as her head came nearly to his chin. As if he could read her mind, he chuckled.
"You're taller, you know."
"Last minute growth spurt. I was just thinking that you were shorter."
"Still six five, Bella. It's one of the few things that's stayed the same since you left."
Jacob sighed, finally turned to look at her. "There are some things sorry just doesn't fix."
"I know I hurt you."
"You destroyed me. But it was a long time ago, and I've gotten over it. I'm not sixteen anymore. I grew up. I moved on."
"But you're still mad at me?"
"I'm not mad at you. But you can't expect to come back here after a decade, after the way things were when you left, and have everyone pick up right where we left off. We thought you were dead."
"Well, I'm not. I'm a walking, talking, breathing, human being, Jacob Black, and it should mean something that when I needed help, I didn't even try to find the Cullens, that I came straight to you!"
Surprised by the anger she hadn't realized she was feeling, Bella clapped a hand over her mouth, instantly recalcitrant. But Jacob didn't yell at her. In fact, he barely seemed to acknowledge that he had heard her. He started walking back toward the bonfire, stopping once and nodding at her to walk with him. Taking that as progress, she hurried to catch up to him.
"And when this is over, then what? Back to Phoenix?"
"I don't know. I hadn't thought that far ahead. At this point, that's assuming I survive this."
Jacob laughed ruefully. "At least that's an honest answer. Where are you staying?"
"With Charlie, I assume."
"I'll talk to the pack, get a patrol schedule set up. That way you won't be left alone, even when you're there. We'll start training for the battle, and we're going to need you to tell us everything you need about the Volturi. The more information we have, the more effective we can be in the fight. Do the Cullens know how to get ahold of you?"
"Alice will know where I am. If there's news, she'll get it to me."
"I don't want them showing up here, Bella."
"They won't. They left me, Jake. Seven years ago. I don't even think I want to see them. They broke my heart."
"Seems like it was going around." He sighed, drew to a stop. "I don't like this. I didn't think I'd ever have to look at you again."
Bella reached out, took his hand in hers. "I'm sorry I hurt you, Jake. I know I made mistakes, bad ones, and I know I could probably apologize for the rest of my life and it wouldn't make up for what I put you through. Just know that I'm here, and I missed you. I really missed you. And I'm sorry. You were my best friend, and I broke your heart. But I've grown up. I'm a different person now."
Jacob pulled his hand free. "I've grown up too, Bella. And you're not the only one who is different." He started to walk away, then turned for a brief moment. "But I did miss you too."
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