Disclaimer: I don't own anything.
Crossover: Harry Potter/Twilight Saga: Eclipse
Main Pairings: Jacob/Harry, Edward/Bella, Carlisle/Esme, Emmett/Rosalie, Jasper/Alice and Neville/Luna
Summary: Carlisle entrusts the help of a few old acquaintances after Alice informs him of the vision she had in the cafeteria. Will these new comers be able to protect Bella from Victoria? And what will this mean for Jacob and the rest of our resident shape-shifters.
8:13 am – Cullen Household
Harry palmed his face at his defeat. For the up tenth time.
This is embarrassing.
"You weren't kidding," said Edward and Harry had half a mind to swipe the smug look off his face, "You suck."
"Your honesty is refreshing." Harry replied dryly as he leaned back in his chair.
Harry snorted. "Another time, Edward. I've had enough of losing for one morning."
Chuckling at his response, the other immortal started to put the board and pieces away. He was waiting on Alice, Bella and Jasper so they could make the trip to school- Bella having spent the weekend under the pretence of a sleepover. As if on cue, footsteps sounded down the stairs before Alice danced into the living room. Bella a few steps behind her.
The human was grumbling slightly at her outfit: skinny jeans and a white button-up cap-sleeved blouse; her feet were encased in ballet flats. Harry thought she looked good- and apparently so did Edward since his eyes brightened as he took her in.
"We'll wait for you in the car, Edward," Alice said before turning around. She stiffened when she caught sight of Bella tugging at her blouse. "Stop that!"
With a growl the seer grabbed her arm and pulled her out of the room.
"I take it she's still upset?" Harry asked.
It was Edward's turn to snort. Standing, he replaced the packed chess set on one of the display shelves lining the glass before grabbing his jacket off the side of his chair and swinging it onto his shoulders.
"Alice adores you too much to be upset with you in any way." He explained. "She's sulking because we managed to get one up on her."
The loud blaring of Volvo's horn came up from the garage.
"Oops." Edward ducked his head and Harry grinned at his imitation of Bella. He could also hear his brother chuckling from the third floor. "She didn't want me to tell you that."
There was another blare followed by sharp honks.
"I'll make it up to you, Alice." Harry said as Edward left the room. "I promise."
Knowing that she would want proof, he made a mental promise to talk to Rosalie about a possible upgrade for the Porsche 911 Turbo that Edward had just given her. When Edward's and Jasper's laughter echoed up from the garage, he knew she'd seen it. He watched as the Volvo peeled out of the garage and down the drive. Spraying gravel and dirt as it went.
His apology had in fact been for the state in which he had left Alice in when he had hung up. Despite Luna's reassurances that there was no danger, the seer couldn't help but worry.
She had called Edward who had immediately rushed home, leaving the rest of group to continue hunting. He'd spent the majority of the time brooding at his piano, with Alice on the verge of pulling at what little hair she had left in anxiety; Luna had simply turned on the television and watched whatever had been on.
Carlisle and Esme had arrived home soon after and when met with the news, the patriarch of the family had immediately consulted with Luna. Her repetitive but simple 'They'll be fine' had been more than enough reassurance for him. Though Alice's reaction to their arrival back had suddenly made Harry wish he had taken the time to clarify things. With her mind so focused on Bella, she hadn't thought to see what Edward's reaction would have been.
She had been expecting snarls. Punches. A swipe... maybe two. Or at least something that would be leaning towards bodily harm. What she had not anticipated was Edward's casual waltz up to his mate's side. After which point he pulled her into a gentle hug, and then proceeded to ask if she had enjoyed her time down at the reservation.
Bella too had been surprised (she'd taken to practically burying herself into the upholstery during the ride back), though had taken Edward's acceptance with far more gusto than his sister had. There had been a kiss along with some groping before Bella had remembered their audience.
It was a full two minutes later that Alice had come to her senses and demanded an explanation as to why Edward hadn't attempted to rip a part of Harry's anatomy off.
"I can't believe I risked getting a bald patch cause of you!" Alice growled as she pointed at her head. "You two owe me! Big time! Look at my hair!... LOOK!"
And so Edward had bought her the Porsche. His act of repentance (sly bastard) for not bothering to mention the conversation they'd had two days prior.
It had been during Harry's run out with the younger vampire that he had posed the question if Bella was allowed to visit the reservation. As predicted, Edward's reply had been 'The werewolves aren't safe!', to which Harry had replied with a calm 'The Quileutes aren't werewolves' followed by some personal history. He had also thrown the 'Shape-shifters have far more control than werewolves' card in there for good measure.
It wasn't so much that he was trying to act as a bridge, but rather the fact that after just a few hours of being in their presence, Harry had honestly seen no harm in letting her visit. Bella already had a good history with the pack and if Emily's and Billy's questions had been anything to go by, they truly cared about her.
"I mean look at me, Edward. Doesn't the fact that I haven't been torn to pieces and used for firewood tell you anything? I'll accompany her if that would make you feel better."
His inclusion of himself hadn't been something he had planned beforehand, but in the end Harry had been glad that he had made the suggestion. He didn't mind. It gave him something to do, besides work. And it was also what had finally assuaged Edward.
Coming back to the present, Harry rose from his seat. Making his way upstairs to the room which Esme had set up for his family. Upon entering, he found Neville lying across the sofa with his legs across Luna's lap, reading a magazine.
His brother was dressed in track pants, hiking boots, and a t-shirt. Luna however, donned a pair of very stylish black shorts along with a simple blue button-up blouse with a low necked sweater thrown over. Her feet were clad in running shoes.
She was on the phone when he entered, fingers sliding across the screen of the touch tablet she was holding.
"I'll leave those changes to you, Henry... Have a nice weekend and give my regards to Margaret." Ending the call she faced him. Taking the Bluetooth earpiece out of her ear. "Sorry about that."
Harry waved it off as Neville put away his magazine. "Trouble with the exhibition?"
"Just several last minute changes, but nothing major." Luna stood once Neville had shifted. "Shall we?"
Replacing the tablet on top of the small coffee table, they walked over to the large window which Neville had already slid open.
"After you, love."
Smiling up at him, Luna took her mate's offered hand and Harry gave a small smile at their mannerisms. He watched as she allowed him to guide her to the edge of the frame before stepping off.
Neville preceded in a similar fashion; he fell all three levels down the side of the house to land softly next to her. Feet already on the frame, Harry made to follow.
Standing straight on the ledge, he allowed himself to tip forward. When the feeling of falling set in, he bent his knees and pushed off lightly. The force propelling his body out towards the forest.
Airborne, he threw his hands out in front of him- fingers spread- as the ground rose up to meet him. His vision readjusting itself slightly as he phased.
Cream coloured paws hit the dirt; small clouds rolled up into the air at the collective impact. He shook his head as Luna slide up onto his back with Neville settling himself behind her.
Facing eastward, he padded towards the forest. Tails swaying before disappearing after him into the trees.
6:26 am – Highway
Deputy police officer Mark Stevenson quietly took a sip of his coffee as he sat behind the wheel of his police cruiser. The early Monday morning brought an end to the weekend and he was on his way to work after having visited family down south; Elizabeth and the kids would be coming up later in the afternoon.
Placing the cup in it's holder, he turned on the radio, quickly tuning into the frequency that would give him one of Seattle's local stations.
'-rents to continue keeping their children indoors following the disappearance of fifteen year old Bree Tanner just over two months ago. Tanner's body has yet to be found by local authorities, making her the tenth person to be reported missing. The number of murders however, continue to escalate and…'
The bulletin continued on for about another minute or so. Mark shaking his head all the while, a grim expression on his face.
As the beginnings of an unfamiliar song sounded from the speakers, he glanced down at the morning paper lying on the passenger's seat; His sister, Jenna, had said she'd borrow her neighbour's.
The bold black print of the headlines seemed to glare back at him off the front page. Sighing, he lifted the coffee cup from the holder and brought it too his lips.
Keeping his eyes on the road as he drove around the bend, he took a long sip of the hot liquid, only for him to spit it out a second later when something loud, fast, and blue roared past his window.
"Wha- Arrrghhhhh-" Mark jerked in his seat as the cup slipped from his hand and landed on his lap, spraying hot coffee all over his crotch.
The cruiser screeched to a shaky halt on the side of the highway, Mike jumping out to try and wipe the coffee off the front of his pants with his coat. He winced as he felt the liquid scalding his skin under the fabric.
That's gonna leave a burn.
"Of all the-" cutting off, he glared back down the highway as he heard the sound of the engine fading in the distance. "FUCKING CRAZY ASS DRIVERS!"
He knew it was useless but he couldn't help himself. Things like that just pissed him off. Frustrated, he kicked at the dirt and threw his coat with as much force as he could into the driver's seat.
It took him about thirty seconds to calm down, after which he set about cleaning whatever coffee was left off his seat. When the leather was dry again he settled back into the car. Starting it up he looked down at his lap and grumbled.
At least the stain won't show.
The forest blurred past him as Harry ran, his paws seemingly gliding across the surface of the ground beneath him.
It was already past midday; the hunt had taken longer since Neville had been a little restless. So they had travelled in an arch- east and then slowly down south- until they had come across a couple of bears.
Having finished with their meal, Luna had suggested a trip to Olympia since they were already close by and also because Rosalie and Emmett had gone there to do some shopping. Naturally, Neville had gone with her but when asked if he wanted to join them Harry declined, saying that he'd head back to Forks.
Continuing his run, Harry allowed his thoughts to wonder.
The past couple of weeks had been pretty uneventful. The schedule sticking to it's usual cycle: Patrol. Drive Bella. Patrol. Drive Bella... … Nothing out of the ordinary had happened. Even for the wolves... … also...
After the 'hugging' incident Harry had convinced himself that while in La Push, he'd try to keep contact with the other male to a minimum. Sad to say he had only lasted one day.
The youth was everywhere! Emily's. Ateara's. The Clearwater's. The beach. The cliffs... his own home.
He'd even considered just setting him alight and be done with it but that thought had diminished as soon as it had formed. A part of his mind told him that if he did, he'd be causing more problems... obviously.
But another part- the much larger of his subconscious- thought differently. It acted as a constant reminder to the fact that just the mere thought of Jacob being harmed in anyway wouldn't sit right with Harry. And he still couldn't figure out why.
Hell! It seemed that even Luna had a better chance of figuring out what was going on. And she hadn't even met Jacob.
He had noticed the looks she'd been giving him. As if he were some interesting puzzle to be solved, despite how long they had known each other. They were also getting more freque-
His eyes widened at the same time as his paws dug into the ground, forcing him to come to a skidding halt. A snarl ripping through his teeth. Maintaining his crouch, he quickly spun on the spot in a full circle. Eyes searching each and every direction for something out of the norm.
Finding none, Harry raised his snout and gave a long sniff. His hackles rose in agitation as the mildly sweet scent invaded his nostrils once again. A scent too specific that it could only belong to one thing. A vampire. And one he did not recognize.
Still snarling, Harry quickly made several circuits of the area; he wanted to determine the exact path the newcomer had taken. One end led north-west whilst the other headed south.
Making a quick decision he sprinted west, disregarding the southern path. He'd deal with it later. Right now Forks was at greater risk.
As he got closer to town, other scents- ones he did recognize- blended along the path, and he quickened his pace.
Finally reaching his destination he shifted, and came to a running stop. Phone already at his ear as he scanned the building in front of him.
From the chatter in the background Harry thought Edward to be in the cafeteria.
"I'm at Bella's."
His gazed up at the windows on the second floor.
"We have a serious problem."
Afternoon – Cullen Household
"Didn't see!? What do you mean you didn't see!?"
"Precisely what I said, Edward. I didn't see anything! She wasn't in any danger."
"They were in her house, Alice! Her room!"
"I know that but I wasn't watching her room, I was watching her. She wasn't in any danger. He wasn't after her."
Excluding the two involved in the argument, everyone around the room was frozen in anxiousness.
Luna was seated next to Alice on the couch with Neville standing behind her; Jasper stood next to him, behind his wife. Rubbing her thin shoulders.
Rosalie sat in one of the armchairs off to the side; Emmett was behind her with his arms crossed over his chest. Harry had adopted the same gesture, however he was leaning sideways against the wall closest to the stairs.
Carlisle himself was standing behind the lounge chair which seated both Bella and Esme; the matriarch of the coven was trying to give comfort to the teen.
After calling Edward, Harry had contacted everyone else that wasn't at the school- which also happened to include Alice and Jasper.
The added stress produced by Victoria presence combined with both Jasper's recent assimilation into the 'vegetarian' lifestyle, and the human student population of Forks High had caused Alice to take him on an unscheduled hunting trip just an hour before the school lunch break. They had gone up north- which was why Harry hadn't run into them on his way back. So only Edward and Bella had been at the school when he had called.
The two seniors had been the last to walk through the door, with Edward wasting no time in rounding on his sister. Which led up to where they were now.
"Edward, if I may?" Luna gave the mind reader a placating look. "I would have to agree with Alice."
Edward stiffened, but when he didn't argue, she continued.
"My focus had been entirely on Bella and there was no indication at all that she was in any immediate danger at the time."
"Then what were they after?" Neville spoke softly as he rubbed her back. "Her clothing was taken."
"Perverted fetish?" Emmett suggested with a mocking leer in Bella's direction.
Edward growled as Rosalie punched him in the gut.
"I very much doubt that's the case, Emmett," Carlisle said before turning his attention back to Luna. "Has anything else changed?"
"Well there's been so much negativity with Victoria that it's been hard to differentiate," Luna said, "So I tried generalizing."
"Generalizing?" Esme asked.
"Widening the scope. Focus on the whole rather than the individual." Luna answered. "Try and... feel the bigger picture."
"What's changed?" Harry straightened and Neville brought his hands up to her shoulders.
"It's not really the issue of whether some thing's changed that bothers me," Luna shook her head, "But rather the fact that there has been no change at all."
Everyone looked at her in confusion and it was Esme that asked the obvious question.
"What do you mean?"
"We already know that Victoria is after Bella. And if Bella were alone, Victoria would have the advantage in that scenario."
"But she's not alone." Alice added.
Luna nodded. "Exactly. So logic would dictate that the advantage would be to us."
"Well, of course. We outnumber her ten to one." Carlisle said. "The only real threat that she poses here is to Bella."
"But that's just it. I don't feel that we do have the advantage here. Even with the ten of us thing's are still just as dangerous for us as they are for Bella," Luna looked at said girl, "Meaning we're under threat as well. And regarding that, there's only one thing large enough right now to cause it."
Leaning forward she flipped one of the newspapers over on the coffee counter to show it's cover before pointing at the headline.
"Seattle." Both Edward and Jasper growled.
"Seattle." Luna nodded. "The newborns. They're after us."
There were several hisses around the room.
"But I've been keeping track. If they were coming after us then I would have seen it." Alice was shaking her head in frustration.
"Not if they don't know who they're after," Jasper reasoned. "The same could be said about whoever was in her room. Since you didn't see him, he obviously wasn't doing anything at the time that involved Bella."
"But how would they know to do that?" Harry asked. "How many people know of Alice's clairvoyance?"
"Apart from Tanya's family and yourselves," The ex-soldier shrugged. "The Volturi, definitely. Could be them."
"I don't think so. Whoever this person is I've never met them before." Alice said before he could say anything else. "I would at least be able see them if I had."
"Which brings us back to Victoria." Neville concluded. "She's the one that's causing all the problems now. Who's to say that she hasn't been to Seattle. It's not that much of a reach to assume that she'd be involved. And this stranger? For all we know they could be working with her."
"It's plausible." Rosalie considered. "Victoria. Seattle. The stranger. And then there's the timing of it all. The first incidents in Seattle started not that long after James was killed. That's too much of a coincidence."
Everything kept on pointing back to Victoria.
"Whatever the case, we'll have to re-look at things. We can't allow anyone to get past us again." Carlisle gave Bella a reassuring look. "We'll take turns watching Bella at her house."
Rosalie looked at him in blank disbelief. "Another protection detail?"
"She's right, Carlisle." Jasper spoke before his father could reprimand her. He also shot Bella an apologetic look. "We need to stay focused. We're already stretched too thin with everything else that's happening."
"What about the pack?" Bella asked. "I can stay down at the reservation whenever you need to feed. Or they can come home and watch over Charlie."
There was silence as they weighed the option.
"It's a good idea." Harry said and it was still a surprise to Carlisle that Edward didn't grimace at all at the comment. "It gives us room to breathe. Sam already has them running daily patrols anyway."
"Could you organize it?"
"I'll make the call."
Carlisle nodded gratefully. He watched as Harry disappeared around the corner into the kitchen. The sounds of the door sliding indicated that he had moved to the balcony on the other side of the house.
Luna looked at the place he had had been standing in, eyes narrowed, before turning back to the conversation.
"Must we really bring the wolves into this?" Rosalie was saying in distaste.
"Yeah." Emmett asked; he had his arms crossed across his chest and his lips were blown out into a full on pout.
The beginnings of a smile formed on Rosalie's face while everyone else looked at the large male in surprise. Emmett was not known for showing animosity.
"With them around I don't get to get a crack at as many newborns."
The smile dropped off Rosalie's face like an anvil. Now she looking like she wanted nothing better to bludgeon her husband over the head. Alice and Luna rolled their eyes while Esme sent her son a disapproving look.
"Tanya is another option." Carlisle said and Jasper's expression brightened somewhat, causing the moods to elevate.
"Your cousins in Denali?" Neville asked with interest.
As Carlisle began to explain their history, Neville and Luna listened. However Luna still had her lips pursed into a frown.
"Luna?" Her mood had been strong enough that Jasper noticed. "Something wrong?"
Before she could answer they heard the door of the balcony slide open and Harry reappeared around the corner.
"What did they say?" Neville asked.
"They agreed to help. I'm off to meet Jacob at Bella's house."
"Do you want us to come with you?" Luna made to stand.
"No no. It's fine." Harry waved her back down. "I'll go alone."
His reply was fast. Too fast in her opinion and Luna was immediately suspicious. Harry didn't meet his sister's eyes but instead turned towards the balcony. With a parting wave he was gone.
"That was... odd," Carlisle murmured and Neville frowned.
"Carlisle." Jasper interrupted. He held out a phone to his father. "Tanya."
"Right." Carlisle turned and took the wireless handset. His fingers were a blur as he dialled the number.
From her seat, Luna paid them little attention. She knew- for whatever reason- that the call would only end in disappointment. Instead, she chose to stare out the window.
She had been sceptic in the beginning, but now she was sure. He was hiding something.
And she wasn't going to rest until she found out exactly what it was.
Afternoon – La Push
"Call me if there are any more problems Mrs. Gregory."
"I will dear. Thank you so much."
"You're welcome. See ya."
Smiling up at the woman Jacob pulled away from the curve and onto the road. It was only when he was around the corner that the smile fell away, to be replaced by a scowl. It wasn't that Jacob had any problems with the Samantha Gregory. The woman was nice. Not to mention she had paid him a decent amount of money to fix her car. Her daughter on the other hand was a whole other matter.
The girl had done nothing but flirt with him for the entire half hour that he had been there. His reply that he wasn't available didn't deter her at all. In fact it seemed to make her all the more determined. Annoying to say the least.
It made him wonder if he had ever been this irritating to Bella.
… … … … Maybe...
The past several weeks had been an eye-opener for Jacob. Giving him time to go over his feelings.
It hadn't been easy since thinking about them always seemed to bring on a headache. But they'd gotten clearer when Harry had brought Bella down to the reservation. And clearer still when he'd compared his situation to what Leah had gone through with Sam; Sam being with Emily instead of her; Bella choosing Edward over him.
He'd felt what it had been like for Leah. What it was still like for her. That gut wrenching, heart piercing feeling. Jacob understood… to an extent.
While it was true that, yes, he had felt hurt and betrayed by Bella's decision, his feelings however, had been nowhere near the level of bitterness that Leah held.
… So why?
Why hadn't he turned into the same bitter and cynical person that Leah was now?
Her feelings had changed. So why hadn't his?
The answer had been so obvious that Jacob wondered how he hadn't seen it sooner.
Despite his imprinting on Harry, his feelings for Bella hadn't changed. He still loved her the same way he always had; with a sense of familiarity and companionship that had always been present in their relationship. But it hadn't been the same as what Leah had felt towards Sam. Or even- with the way things were now- how Sam felt about Emily.
And it sure as hell was NOTHING compared to what he felt for Harry.
The differences between the two were so infinite that it made Jacob realize exactly what 'true love' was supposed to feel like.
Isabella Swan meant a great deal to him.
But put her next to Harry and it was like trying to compare Forks to the rest of the universe.
… My universe...
His mouth tugged slightly at the corny thought and he chuckled softly in the privacy of the car.
I'm as bad as Jared and Sam...
Upon reaching home, he found his father sitting at the breakfast table. A low whine came from the mini rotary tool that Billy was using to polish the sculpture he had in his hand. His hair was tied back and he had a mouth mask hanging around his neck.
"You finished already?" Jacob asked as he pulled out a chair and sat down.
"Almost. Should be done before dinner." Billy replied as he focused on the piece he had in his fingers. "He gave me a lot of material to work with. Didn't really need this big of a chunk."
Billy gestured to the block of jade sitting in the middle of the table; it was about the size of a small toaster, and most definitely cost a fortune. Just like the rotary tool kit that Harry had also bought specifically for Billy.
"I heard the car. Where'd you drive off to?"
"Samantha Gregory called." Jacob leaned back in his chair, bringing his hands behind his head. "Had some problems with her car. Hey, you mind me borrowing some of this?"
Jacob nudged his chin at the block as it sparkled under the light of the table lamp his father was using.
"What? The jade?" Billy paused and peeked over his glasses at him, "Sure. What're you planning on making?"
"Something for Bella." Jacob shrugged. "Present for graduation."
"Bella, huh?" Billy smirked at his son. "That's it? Nothing else?"
He grinned at the glint in his father's eyes. "Maybe."
Billy barked a laugh, shaking his head, and Jacob's grin widened.
The ringing of his mobile interrupted them and still grinning, Jacob fished it out of his jeans. 'Harry' flashed across the screen in big and he felt his heartbeat pick up. He pressed the call button.
He ignored Billy's amused expression.
His smile faded. "What's wrong?"
There was a long pause, making Jacob wonder if he was even listening. "Harry? You still there?"
"What makes you think there's anything wrong?" Harry asked curiously.
"I know there's something wrong." His whole body knew. "I can hear it in your voice."
"Can you?" Surprise fleeted down the connection. The vampire hadn't been expecting that.
"Yeah." He looked at his father who was now eyeing him with concern. His work forgotten at the moment. "What's going on?"
Another pause before Harry spoke again.
"There's been a new development at Bella's." He shot straight up out of his seat, causing Billy to jump slightly. "Have any of our kind come onto your lands?"
"No. Unless you're including Victoria?" Jacob asked. "She showed up a couple of days ago but Embry, Jared and Paul chased her down south. What happened at Bella's?"
"Are you at home?" Harry asked. "Your father should probably hear this too."
"Yeah. Dad's sitting right here. I'll put you on speaker." Pressing a button, Jacob placed the mobile atop the jade before leaning forward on his hands on the table. "Shoot."
"Harry." Billy greeted back. "What's this I hear about there being a problem at Bella's?"
They both listened as Harry explained the situation over the phone. Their frowns deepening at every word. Only Billy interrupted when Charlie was mentioned.
"Is he okay?"
He had already lost two of his closest friends; Quil IV to the shipping accident and Harry to Victoria. Charlie was the only other one that was left. Billy didn't want to lose him too.
"Charlie's fine." Harry replied. "Alice didn't catch anything concerning his death so whoever it was didn't intend to harm either him or Bella."
"That's good." Billy nodded slowly. "And tell Carlisle that we'll help."
"Thank you, Billy."
"I'll come up to Bella's now, Harry," Jacob said, "We'll need a scent to see if they come by again. Can you be there?"
"Yes, I'll be there. See you, Billy."
With the call ended, Jacob grabbed the phone turned to go to his room.
"Want me to call Sam?" Billy called after him.
"Nah! I'll talk to one of the guys on patrol! They'll let him know what's going on." He replied as he stalked down the corridor, pulling his shirt over his head. Entering his bedroom he chucked the clothing and his phone onto the bed and stripped down to his birth suit. Randomly grabbing a pair of training shorts from the baskets, he grabbed the cord hanging on the wall before slipping out of the room.
Exiting through the back door he took a look around the compound. Considering the time of day he knew that there wasn't any chance that their the neighbours would see him; the Rains both worked up in Port Angelus and they didn't have any kids.
Placing one hand on the porch fence, Jacob swung himself over and landed on the ground before running the cord through the shorts. Securing it loosely around his ankle, he rose and concentrated on his breathing. Pulling the wolf to the forefront of his mind.
Brady was the first to notice his presence.
Collin's voice followed after his friend's. Leah, Seth and Jared also greeted him through the link.
Despite having undergone their first change only fives days ago, Brady and Collin had fallen into their new roles with as much enthusiasm as Seth and Quil had had when they had first started out as shape-shifters. So in other words, they were thrilled. Collin especially, since he'd had a serious weight issue before the change; something which was still evident in his wolf form. Emily had cooed over him for nearly an hour, saying how he resembled more of an oversized puppy than an adult wolf. Which was true.
What's up, Jake? Jared was the one to voice the question. Sam want something?
That's actually what I wanted to talk to you guys about. He said as he entered the forest. Leah gave a distinct huff- which he ignored- at the mention of their alpha. I need one of you to go over to Emily's and give him a message. Tell the rest of the pack too.
He went on to explain the situation at Bella's house.
You're going there now? Seth didn't bother to hide his eagerness. Sweet. I'll go with you.
Jacob let out a growl, both through the link and in the forest. Before he could scold the younger male Leah beat him to it.
What is it with you and that leech?
He supposed he should have been thankful for the discouragement. But it was the way she had said 'leech' that made him growl.
Watch. Your. Tone. Leah.
Oh come on, Jake! They all practically felt her roll her eyes at him. You I can understand. You imprinted. Youdon't have a choice. But I just can't figure out why my own brother would rather hang out with some dead corpse than with his own pack.
… … … …
Leah... … Jared hissed down the connection, feeling uneasy at her statement. You don't kno-
What the FUCK did you call him?
He had stopped now. Almost having reached the boundary line.
You heard me.
He could feel her raising her snout at him in defiance and his vision flashed red.
You better choose your words carefully, Leah. Jacob snarled. His thought taking on an almost deadly tone. Don't say I didn't warn you. Call him that again and you'll regret it.
Oh, please. Leah snorted. We all know you won't hurt me. You don't hit women.
Yeah? His thoughts came out as an enraged hiss. Then I guess I'm in luck since fate didn't seem to think a bitch like you were women enough to fit into that category.
He knew it was a low blow, bringing up the fact that she was the only female among them, but he'd had enough.
There was a sharp jolt in the link before the heavy feeling of pain and anger washed down over all of them.
… Ouch... …
SHUT THE FUCK UP, BRADY!
As the male spluttered his apology Leah focused her attention back on him. Righteous fury radiating from each and every tendril of her mind.
FUCK! YOU! JACOB!
And just like that, she was gone. Her presence no longer felt through the connection. No one thought anything for a while. It was Jacob that broke the silence.
Hngh. Whatever. He huffed, resuming the run towards Forks. Jared.
Get the message to Sam, will ya.
I'll let him know. Jared answered, sighing across the link. Sure you don't want backup?
Before he could say anything, Seth spoke up.
It's all good, Jared. The younger Clearwater's voice was cheerful, despite the fact that Jacob had just chewed out his sister less than a minute ago. I got his back.
Don't you wanna check up on your sister? Collin asked, thoughts disapproving. They all knew about his little crush on Leah.
Nah... she kinda had it coming anyway. Seth answered, though this time there was a sense gloominess to his thoughts. Besides, I'm already at Bella's.
His ears immediately perked up at that. What?
I said I'm at Bella's... Oh! Joy and enthusiasm washed down the connection. It was so sudden that it took all of them by surprise. Harry's already here! Look! Hey, Harry!
Through Seth's eyes, Jacob saw that he was peering over some shrubs. He could practically feel Seth's tail wagging eagerly. A little distance away stood Bella's house. And there- walking slowly towards Seth- was Harry.
I'll tell him that you're on your way, Jake!
Jacob blinked before letting out a growl just as the vision turned fuzzy around the edges. Seth, wait-
Too late. He could only watch as the image faded completely from his mind, giving way to the scenery of the forest around him. FUCK! That little SHIT!
He pushed himself harder. His heavy paws beating the earth mercilessly. He refused to allow Seth to spend more time with Harry than himself.
As he approached the town the others continued to think to each other.
You know, if I didn't know any better, I'd say Seth imprinted on him as well.
SHUT UP, BRADY!
Afternoon – Swan Residence
Harry stood next to the steps that led up to the back door of the Swan residence. Charlie still had just over two hours before he knocked off work, leaving more than enough time for Jacob to make a run through of the house.
Hearing the soft beating of paws in the distance, Harry walked towards the tree line. Expecting to see rich copper red through the leaves. He was surprised however when, seconds later, a tanned head peeked out over one of the large thickets.
Given the wolf's expression, it was obviously excited to see him; the canine was shuffling on it's feet in enthusiasm.
Harry slowed his pace as it disappeared behind the vegetation. He heard the loud, heavy thumping of the shifter's heartbeat before it lowered to that of a normal human being. There was more shuffling and a zipper going up before the person stepped out into the yard.
"Seth!" He'd recognise that smile anywhere. "This is a nice surprise."
The native walked up to him and took his offered hand; he bumped their shoulder's together.
"Where's Jacob?" He released the younger male's hand and looked at the woods.
"He's on his way." Seth shrugged. "I was already close by so I thought I'd give him some company. Everyone else is either on patrol or at home."
"... It's just the two of you?" Harry eyed him sceptically. "Where's Leah?"
Because there was no way in hell that Leah would have let her brother come into Cullen territory with only Jacob as company. It had been that way ever since his trips to La Push had become a regular occurrence.
"She's probably on her way home." Seth dropped his gaze and his shoulders sagged slightly.
"Probably? You're not sure."
Seth gave another shrug. "She and Jake got into a big ass argument on the way here."
"What about?" It must have been something serious to get Seth this upset. "Not me I hope."
He'd meant it as a joke but the laughter died in his throat when Seth stiffened and continued staring at the ground.
Truly worried now, he stepped forward and placed a hand on his shoulder. "Seth?"
Instead of answering, he tilted his head slightly towards the woods. "Jake's here."
Frowning, Harry mimicked the action, and was surprised that after several seconds he could also here Jacob's approach. He was coming in fast.
"You've got good ears… But that still doesn't answer my question." Harry put his fist under Seth's chin and tilted his head up so that he was staring straight into his warm hazel brown eyes. "What were they arguing about?"
Again Seth didn't answer, but choose instead to stare at the trees. Harry followed his gaze and his frown deepened when he saw the familiar form of the large russet coloured wolf emerge out of the tree line. Golden amber looked back at them with deep intensity.
There was menacing growl as Jacob neared them and Harry felt Seth tense up again under his touch, before moving away from him.
"I-I'll just... go and check out the house."
With that he spun around on his bare feet and fled towards the building. Harry watched him go, but wasn't unaware of the presence behind him. He stayed still as the other shifted, and felt the hairs on his nape stand up when Jacob came to stand behind him. Tearing his eyes away from Seth, he slowly turned around. Onyx eyes were staring after Seth with deep irritation.
"Jacob." He donned a quizzical look. "Seth just told me that you and Leah were in an argument. Anything I should know about?"
For a moment Jacob just looked at him before he cursed under his breath. "Damn you, Brady."
Harry pictured the small (or rather large) fourteen year old in his head. He'd spoken to the boy a few times. Nice kid.
"It's nothing." Jacob shook his head. "It had nothing to do with him anyway."
"Then? Seth is obviously upset about something."
"Why do you care so much about him anyway?" Jacob asked.
He raised a brow in challenge. "Why wouldn't I care?"
It was obviously not the answer he had wanted to hear. Jacob clenched his fists before letting out a rush of breathe.
"Never mind." Jacob said, stepping past him towards the house. "Let's just get this over with."
Harry rolled his eyes in exasperation but held his tongue. There were more important things to worry about now.
The back door was already open; Seth had let himself in using the spare key that was located in a small slit in the door frame. As they approached, Harry saw the way the muscles in Jacob's back bunched up as the scents of eleven different vampires intensified around him; only Alice, Edward, and Harry himself had actually stepped foot into the house. The rest had taken to standing guard outside the house.
A dry chuckle left his lips when Jacob shook his head at the apparent stench. "Too much?"
"You got that right." Jacob stepped through the door and made his way to the living room. They could hear Seth moving around upstairs. "Is this what it's like for you down at the Rez?"
"Not really." Harry confessed as he circled the couch where Charlie's scent was prominent; he must have slept there. "You wolves have a more heavier scent compared to us. Not as sweet. But it isn't that bothersome once you're used to it."
Jacob hummed deeply. "Good to know."
Turning around at the whispered response, he caught Jacob's back disappearing around the corner just as Seth's footsteps sounded down the stairs. Following after him he found the two of them standing near the back door.
"Whoever it was, they were here for a while. His scents all over the room." Seth was telling Jacob. "He was also in Charlie's room."
"He touch that?" Jacob jerked his head down at Seth's hand and Harry recognised it a dream catcher.
"Yep." He popped the 'p' as he answered.
"Good job, kid." Jacob's hand came up and he ruffled the younger males hair. Irritation from earlier apparently gone. "Take that back to Sam and the others."
"Sure thing." Seth gave Jacob a questioning look. "You staying?"
Jacob just gave a firm nod.
Seth mimicked the action before looking to him; the sides of his mouth were pulled up into that all too familiar grin. "See ya, Harry."
"Later, Seth." Harry smiled back as he ducked out the back door, closing it behind him.
He watched via the small window in the door until Seth disappeared into the trees. Turning, he walked after Jacob, who had already taken the stairs to the second floor.
He was in Charlie's room, but Harry walked past and entered Bella's, knowing that Jacob would finish here. He heard the Quileute move onto the laundry room and then into the bathroom.
"Well that's it for the rest of the house." Jacob concluded as he walked through Bella's door three minutes later. "Nothing seems to be out of place. I didn't get to ask over the phone, but you got idea what they were after?"
"We have a theory." Harry said, not moving from his spot near the window.
"That's better than nothing." Jacob replied as he moved around the room. "Care to share?"
"We're not a hundred percent certain," Harry repeated. "But it's possible that whoever was in here could be working with Victoria."
"Victoria?" Jacob spoke her name as if it were a expletive. "What? She bringing in reinforcement's now?"
"It looks that way." Harry nodded, still staring out the window. "Luna says that she's responsible for what's happening in Seattle- that's she's creating an army-"
"If that's the case," Harry hissed before he could get any further, "Then it's obvious who they're after. Whoever was in here took her blouse."
Turning around to face Jacob- intent on explaining more- he froze. His jaw slackening at the sight before him.
Initially, his attention to Jacob's attire when he had arrived had been minimum, with him having seen the pack- minus Leah- walking around half naked most of the time. But now, with Jacob sitting on the edge of the bed facing him, there was no way that he could not miss how little the male had on. It was the least Harry had ever seen him wear... ever.
… Did he run out of shorts?...
It wasn't until he took a closer look that he realised that those were in fact shorts. Rugby shorts. But on his large frame, they might as well have been underwear; the fabric was stretched greatly over heavily muscled thighs, leaving little space between skin and cloth. It made him look like a cover model for some high end underwear label. Which in turn meant that he looked seriously out of place inside Bella's simple blue and incredibly innocent looking bedroom.
As if feeling his gaze, the muscles flexed; they tightened together causing the hem to slide back over his thighs. He could clearly make out the outline of his p-
Good GOD! What the bloody hell are you thinking!?
Swallowing, Harry forced his gaze upwards, only to find himself staring straight into Jacob's eyes. He took another swallow. And another... and another; his throat didn't seem to be working.
"Harry?" Jacob called. "You okay?"
He wanted to say yes, but the words came out as a croak. He cleared his throat. "S-sorry. I was just distracted."
"Nothing." Harry shook his head now but Jacob looked like he was going to argue. "I'm fine, Jacob. It was just a silly thought, that's all."
When he continued to look suspicious, Harry glared. It worked since Jacob grunted before looking off to the side. Following his example, Harry too looked away, though in the opposite direction.
"So what's gonna happen now?" Jacob asked after the long silence. "We'll help with keeping Charlie and Bella safe, but that's not all we can do. What're your plans about Victoria?"
Harry sighed mentally in relief at the change in subject.
"Well, we can't sit back any longer and wait for the Volturi to act." He tucked his hands into his pockets and leaned back against the wall. "At the moment we're all considering heading east, but Jasper's hesitant. And with good reason."
"I wasn't joking when I said that it took a lot of our kind to cause this level of damage," Harry said. Referring to the dinner several weeks back. "You've read the papers. The death toll itself is staggering, but what we're more concerned about right now are the number of missing persons reports. We're talking about double digits here, Jacob. We'll be severely outnumbered."
"Not if we're there with you." In one fluid movement Jacob had risen off bed and came to stand before him. "If you're all going to Seattle then so are we."
"Things are not that simple." Harry shook his head. "Not that we're against accepting your help. I would not have called if we were. You know that."
"Then?" Jacob asked stubbornly.
The temperature in the room spiked.
"There's the issue of keeping a low profile." He folded his arms across his chest. "We'll have enough trouble ourselves trying not to cause a scene. It'll be more difficult with the pack there. Can you imagine what the impact will be on the public if Seattle suddenly had gigantic wolves running around the streets trying to rip people to shreds."
"So I'm just supposed to sit back while you go off to Seattle?" Jacob was literally towering over him. Tremors raked through his frame. "Cause that ain't happening."
"Calm down," Harry said, trying to pacify him, "I said it was-"
"A possibility?" Jacob growled, "I may be young, but I'm not stupid. It's not a matter of 'if' you're going but 'when'. This is my responsibility as much as it is yours."
Things were getting out of hand. The golden specks that were sprouting up within Jacob's eyes were proof enough. The temperature in the room had sky rocketed dramatically and Jacob's movements were becoming more sudden- his outline was almost a blur.
If he didn't get himself under control, Bella would be coming back to a demolished room. Not to mention how Charlie would react. The poor man was already suspicious of the Cullens as it were.
So, in a gesture somewhat similar to what he had done with Seth, Harry gripped the Quileute's shoulder, and with his other hand he cupped the side of Jacob's neck.
"Jacob, listen to me."
Said male's eyes immediately focused- his irises now a patchwork of black and gold.
"You need to calm down. We're not going to be making any rash decisions."
A menacing growl vibrated through the room as another another patch of gold burst into life within each eye.
"What I'm saying-" Harry squeezed his shoulder, "-is that we're going to take every precaution before we go to Seattle. If they are with Victoria, we might not have to make the trip at all. If that's the case, I give you my word that I'll let the pack know as soon as possible."
They stared at each other. Jacob brooding. Harry pleading.
"Okay." Jacob finally gave a slow nod. "Okay... "
Almost immediately, the secondary colour in his eyes started to ebb away. Giving him a small smile Harry lowered his hands; his senses immediately registered the direct lose of heat.
"Sorry." Jacob ran his head through his cropped hair. "I'm sorry. It's just… God. This is a lot harder than I thought it would be."
"What do you mean?"
Jacob waved a hand between them. "This."
He realised what the other was referring to. Their so called 'complication'.
"Oh... Care to share?" Harry said, repeating Jacob's words right back to him.
Jacob gave a pained laugh which faltered at the end. Without another word, he turned and left the room.
He'd thought that two weeks would have been enough time for Jacob to come to terms with whatever it was that was bothering him- which was all rather strange. Because he couldn't see what the shape-shifter could possibly be fazed about; he was always extremely happy whenever Harry saw him. And either those emotions were truly genuine, or Jacob Black was just an extremely good actor. He'd even asked Emily about it once when they had been alone. And her answer had made him wish that he hadn't asked in the first place.
Complicated. Bah! He was beginning to hate that word.
Taking one last look around the room to see that nothing was out of place, Harry made his way down. He found Jacob outside, standing next to the steps that led up to the back door.
Locking up, he slid the spare key back into the gap.
"Is there anything else you need to do?" Harry asked quietly.
"No." Jacob shook his head. "We've got enough of his scent to recognise him if he comes around again."
Harry nodded as he inhaled through his nose. "Then I should get back. See if they managed to get in contact with anyone else."
"Calling in more backup?" Jacob asked. "I thought we were enough."
"So did I," Harry said, "But Jasper estimates that there has to be almost thirty vampires in that army."
"You trust him," Jacob stated.
He shrugged. "He has far more experience with newborn armies than anyone else I know. If he says we need help, we need help."
He turned to go, planning to see if there was any new development within the last twenty minutes since he had been away from the house. Though it was unlikely.
Pausing, Harry half turned to face him again. "Pardon?"
"Tomorrow." Jacob repeated. "We're having a council meeting. At Quil's place. You're invited... Bella can come to."
"Meeting?" The fact that Jacob had invited him specifically didn't go unnoticed. "About?"
"Some stories; our origins. How we've changed over the years. That kind of stuff." Jacob said. "It's also the first meeting for Leah, Seth, Quil, Collin and Brady. Plus... you were right. I do owe you an explanation."
His eyes widened slightly before he grinned in triumph. "You're going to tell me what's going on."
"Yeah." Jacob chuckled softly. He rubbed the back of his neck. "To be honest, I'm kinda bummed that you haven't figured it out already."
His grin slipped slightly at that.
"Sorry." He answered unthinkingly.
"Don't be." Jacob shook his head before standing to his full height. "So... tomorrow?"
If Jacob caught his discomposure he didn't comment on it. He just gave one last smile before striding into the woods to change.
Harry listened as paws carried him swiftly away from the residence. When he could no longer hear anything except the forest, he turned to stare down at the spot that Jacob had been standing in.
"... I'm kinda bummed that you haven't figured it out already... "
The shrill tones of his iPhone cut through the silence and Harry cursed as he extracted it from his pocket.
"Jacob's just left." With his other hand, he rubbed his forehead with his thumb and index finger. "I'm on my way back now."
Evening – Swan Residence
It was quiet out tonight. Charlie having gone to sleep much earlier that usual; the activities of the day had been too much for him. Trying to follow up on whatever leads- if they were even any to begin with- concerning Riley Biers.
The youth's parents came to the station every week, hoping to hear any news about their son's possible whereabouts. But- like all the times before- all they ever went away with were restless minds and heavy hearts.
That was probably what got to Charlie the most. Not being able to give Katherine and Michael Biers any kind of definitive answer.
… … … Would he be like that when I go?
Even as the question came to mind, Bella knew the answer.
Though she had never spent that many years with him, she knew that Charlie would do everything humanly possible to find her if she disappeared. He would never give up. She knew this because she would have done the exact same thing if in his position. Because- as pointed out by Edward on more than one occasion- Charlie and her were so much alike; to the point where even Renee had made the comparison several times during her childhood.
"Bella. You need to lighten up, sweety. I swear, you're just like your father- so serious all the time."
Initially, she'd taken those comments as insults- before she had even began to really know the person that was her father.
Now, thinking back on those comments, Bella realised that- had it not been for all her seriousness- she probably would have babbled to the whole student population about how Edward had appeared out of nowhere to save her from Tyler's van last year. But instead, she'd kept her mouth shut. Cause she'd already known from the dent in Tyler's van that Edward was anything but human. So she'd researched, and when presented with the truth of Edward's immortality, had taken it in stride. She'd been able to look past all the so called 'monster' that Edward thought himself to be and see the person underneath that she knew he was.
Renee would have never been able to do that. Her mother would have run for the hills, waving and screaming like a lunatic as soon as the words 'vampire' and 'blood' had registered in her brain.
"... you're choosing wrong... "
The three day old conversation with Rosalie came flying back at her from the corners of her mind. It hadn't bothered her then. She could see things from the blonde's point of view...
"Knut for your thoughts."
Startled at the voice, she looked up towards the window. Harry stood there, bending slightly down to look at her through the open frame. It took a while to figure out what the vampire had said and her faced scrunched up in confusion.
"What's a Knut?" She asked. Rising from the bed, she walked over to the window.
"Doesn't matter." He shook his head at her. "You just looked so far away, that's all."
She slid the window all the way up so she could sit on the frame. Her back resting up against the side.
"Anything I can help with?" Harry asked as he manoeuvred his body so that he was leaning back against the side of the house. Hands shoved into the pockets of his jeans.
Despite knowing he was a vampire, Bella was still in awe of how he managed to keep his footing on the slanted rooftop.
"Am I making a mistake?" She asked.
Harry inclined his head off to the side. Eyebrows rose in question. "Having second thoughts?"
"I wouldn't really say that." Bella admitted. "It's just... "
She chewed on her lip as she stared down at the yard.
"Do you ever wish that thing's were different?" Leaning her head back against the frame, she waited for his answer.
"Interesting question." Harry stated. "But to answer simply... yes. There was a time when I had wished that things had been different."
"Was?" She rolled her head up and readjusted herself slightly. "You don't feel that way anymore?"
Harry chuckled deeply and she shivered at how beautiful it sounded.
"I haven't felt that way for nearly five centuries, Bella."
"Huh?" She was confused now. Didn't he just say...
"I've never really been the kind of person to cry over spilt milk as you humans would call it." Harry said. "This may not have been the life I had been considering at the time, but I eventually came to accept it."
"... Just like that?"
"Just like that." Harry affirmed. "Though to be fair, unlike the Cullens I was already very familiar with the supernatural. So it wasn't as big a shock for me as it was for them."
"So you wouldn't want to change anything?"
"No." He shook his head at the question. "I'm happy. More than I ever was as a human. I've had a peaceful life so far. As well as a career that I enjoy. But above all that I got given the one thing I had always craved for as a child."
"Which was?" She was never good with guessing games.
"A family." Harry smiled. "One that I love more than anything else."
"I can understand that." She said. "I'm happy for you."
"Thank you, Bella." Harry said before he became serious. "But I'm not telling you all of this in the hopes of persuading you to choose this life. I just thought you would appreciate getting to know us more."
He gave her a keen look now. "I'm guessing this has something to do with Rosalie. Things seem to have improved between the two of you."
"She talked to me during the sleepover." Bella paused. The thumb of one hand rubbing over the nail of the other.
"Knowing Rosalie's story, I can see her point." Harry said.
"Yeah." She sighed. "I can too."
"But that doesn't mean to say that I don't understand yours, Bella."
You can? "Can you?"
Her question brought a somewhat sad smile to his face.
"Turning Luna and Neville," said Harry, "That hadn't been something that they had discussed between themselves. It was a choice that had ultimately been left to my brother."
"Neville?" Bella asked, picturing the male in question. "He chose this life for the both of them?"
"That surprises you?"
"Well- Yeah." Bella flushed when she realised how that would have sounded. "S-sorry. It's just... I assumed that with the way Luna is, that she'd be the one... "
"Most people would," he said, giving her a long look. "I see a lot of him in you."
Harry made a sound in agreement.
"But he's so… so… confident."
It was one of many traits that Bella saw in the large vampire, or any of the others currently residing in Forks for that matter. The only thing about herself that she felt she in common with Neville was that she liked plants. Or to be more specific cactuses. Other than that, nothing else seemed to jump to mind.
"He wasn't always like that. At least not when I first met him. The Neville I remember from back then was timid. Quiet." A fond smile graced his lips. "... … not to mention a bit on the clumsy side."
Okay. That did sound like her. "So what made him change?"
She winced. "Sorry."
"Don't be. This actually had some relevance to you," He reassured and looked at her questioningly. "Has Edward ever made any mention of how exactly our coven came to be?"
"Not really." She shook her head. "Just basics: you turning Luna and Neville. But I'm sure there's more to it."
"A lot more." Harry agreed. "I had only just seen my first winter as a vampire when I changed Luna."
"One winter? Oh. A year." She knew well enough that that was extremely early for a vampire.
"I was changed just minutes after the final battle- I don't remember the details very well. " Harry shrugged as he explained. "One second I was standing over my enemy's body. The next; I was writhing on the ground in agony. Totally unexpected. Neville and a handful of other's had been close by at the time. Had it not been for that, Bella would have drained me dry."
"B-Bella!?" Bella paled at the mention of her name. "The vampire who bit you was named BELLA!?"
"You might want to keep your voice down unless you want to wake you father." The suggestion was given amongst low laughter. "And to answer your question. Yes. Though the Bella I'm referring to was short for Bellatrix, not Isabella."
"Oh. Well- that's good... right?" She laughed nervously before giving him a wary look. "I-I mean... I don't remind you of her, do I?"
Harry didn't bother to hide his grin and Bella blushed.
"I assure you, Bella." He gave her a once over. "You remind me in no way at allof Bellatrix. For one, your personal hygiene is exceptionally stellar compared to hers. That and the fact that your hair doesn't look as if it's been publicly declared a sanctuary for endangered bats. You also have all your teeth intact."
She unconsciously raised both hands; one to her head to smooth her hair down while the other touched her lips. She blushed again when Harry chuckled at her actions.
"You were saying?" She glared mockingly at him to continue.
"Right. Neville." Harry sobered, though there was still a hint of hilarity in his eyes. "Simply put: he's the reason the three of us even exist in the first place."
"I still don't understand how this had anything to do with me?"
"Because like him, you're choosing this life out of love."
Silence followed the statement as she tried to process this. What he said kinda made sense; but the way he said it confused her. "Yeah... I'm still lost here."
"Luna had been dying."
"A poison of sorts." Harry said. "During the purges."
"After the victory, what was left of our enemies scattered. Those of us that had survived gave chase. I couldn't go with them, you see. Since I was still very young to be let out in public. But I'll never forget the day when he brought her back." Harry said in a sorrowful tone. "She'd been so... grey. No one knew anything of what she had been infected with. Whatever hope there was for an antidote had vanished when we'd lost our potion's master. The healers tried to do everything they could, but it was all for naught. She made little improvement."
"Couldn't you have healed her?" Bella asked.
"Not then," he said. "Apart from my appearance the rest of my gifts didn't manifest as fast. It took almost four years for me to acquire all of them. My ability to shift came second, then two years after that the flames manifested."
"Is it like that for everyone?"
"I think gifts that involve the mind- in one way or another- manifest a lot faster. Look at Alice; she discovered hers the moment she woke up, though she had already experienced them as a human. Edward could hear thoughts during his transformation. Luna already had a firm grasp on her intuition within the first few days after her change. But, like with Neville and Jasper, her gift for manipulation took a while longer."
She nodded absently at the information.
"But back to the main topic," Harry said after a while. "Since I couldn't heal Luna, I did the only other thing that would save her."
It wasn't said in defence. Just a statement of fact. Bella now fully understanding what he meant when he said that the decision being Neville's. "That's why Neville asked you to change her."
"He literally got down onto his knees and begged." He said. "I can't recall another time when I saw him so broken. And I guess that was part of the reason why I agreed in the first place."
"You didn't want to change her."
"I was hesitant. Like Edward I thought that I'd be condemning her rather than saving her." Harry shook his head. "Also, the initial experience of being a newborn was far from pleasant. What with the change and the following hunger... … But the way he looked at her."
There was awe in his voice as he said this.
"The war had already taken so much from Neville, and Luna... she was the one thing left in his life that truly mattered the most. It was in that moment that I saw just how much she meant to him. And in a way, it made me realise how selfish I was." He jerked his shoulder as if in question. "Who was I to deny them the chance to be together. What right did I have to take that away? I could not do that. Not to him... … not to her. So I did as he asked. It wasn't as difficult as I thought it would have been."
"Meaning that Luna was this close to being considered a corpse." He brought his thumb and index finger close together without touching. "Whatever she had been infected with had tainted her blood so much that I found it less appealing than even animal blood. And that's saying something."
He laughed and Bella felt some relief as the heavy atmosphere evaporated.
"Another thing you have in common. He couldn't wait either. But he knew the risks. It was another year later that I turned him. Physically, he's the oldest out of the three of us at twenty-two."
"How did that go?"
"It wasn't as easy as it had been with Luna. But the preparation period had helped." Harry replied. "He actually handled his transition a lot better than the two of us."
"I think it had to do with the fact that- unlike Luna and I- Neville was actually expecting it. I guess you could say that he was of a... sound mind when he was turned. He knew what he was and what he wanted of himself the moment he opened his eyes."
"Do you think it might be like that for me?"
"That all depends." The vampire eyed her. "You already know the risks. Maybe. Maybe not."
"I don't want to hurt anyone." Bella shook her head as she looked down at her hands. "But what if I can't- control the thirst I mean. What if-"
"As long as you hold on to that first thought." Harry interrupted her before she could talk herself into a panic. "You'll be fine."
"Was that what you did?"
"It's what we all did. Besides, I had healers." Harry replied. "People that actually knew how to deal with vampires. Which is exactly what you'll have. They'll take care of you. Keep you fed. Just like I myself did with Luna and Neville."
"So you didn't try to kill anyone?"
"I did come close in some instances. But there were always others around. The three of us were all very lucky. As were most of the Cullens."
There was a newness in his voice. He sounded... empathetic.
"Things are different when you're alone. This change... it's not just physical." Harry motioned to himself before nodding off towards the woods. "Those newborns up in Seattle. Or the ones that Jasper dealt with down in the south. Ever wonder why so very few of them felt the need to leave?"
"That's how powerful this hunger can be. Your entire mind set can change in the blink of an eye if you're not careful. It takes such a priority over everything else that you'll do whatever it takes to sate it. And suddenly it's not your morals nor your beliefs that guide you, but your thirst. Which is why I marvel at how Carlisle was able to control himself post-transformation. He had... no one. And yet he handled being a newborn far better than the rest of us ever did. He truly is amazing."
She gazed at Harry wonderingly. "You've really missed him, haven't you?"
"Hmm. We all have. Every single day since he left," he said. "Carlisle was with us for nearly a century, Bella. To us, he still is, and will always be, our brother. A part of our family. And we will never think of him as anything less than that."
"Why didn't you try looking him?" She asked.
"Right," Bella quipped, "Should've guessed that."
Harry chuckled. "Not that it was because of a lack of want on our part. She just felt that Carlisle should have been left to travel on his own. To follow his own path. And of course, in the end, she was right. If Neville and I had gone looking at him, he probably would've ended coming back with us."
"... Meaning he wouldn't have been there to change Edward, or the rest of the family," finished Bella.
He nodded. "Exactly."
She drew in a breath through her teeth. "That's... pretty intense."
"I'm sure that must scare you," he said, "Knowing that Neville and I might have prevented you from ever meeting Edward."
Bella shook her head slightly. "Remind to thank Luna the next time I see her... Whew."
All she got was a hum before they settled into silence once again. It stayed like that for a while before another thought occurred to her; something having to do with what Rosalie had told her about Edward and 'all those girls'.
He looked at her. "Yes?"
"This whole... falling in love thing for vampires," she started, making a rolling motion with he hands, "How does that work? I mean... I know you guys create pretty strong bonds and stuff, but is there more to it than that? Does it just happen with anyone?"
Harry blinked. "Um mm... well I wouldn't really be the best person to talk to about that, Bella."
"But haven't you ever been in love?" Bella asked, tilting her head slightly.
"Not in way that you and Edward are," he replied.
"Really?" She looked at him skeptically. "So you've never... you know."
He raised a brow at her. "Had sex?"
"Ye-yeah...," she stuttered, trying not to blush.
"No," He shrugged, "Like I said before. Being a vampire changes things. While I did have someone when I was human, who I probably would have ended up marrying and having kids with, that's not the case anymore. I'm not human, and Ginerva died during the war. Mentally, my priorities have changed. Not that I would have slept with her before we were even married. Marital traditions in the Wizarding World were just as strict then as they were in Edward's time."
"Did you love her?" She asked.
"Honestly, I don't remember," he shrugged, "Which means that I probably didn't. At least not to the extent that you love Edward. Which brings us back to your question. I want you to think of Carlisle, and then answer me this. Is there any other person apart from Esme that you can think of that would be better suited for him? Can you imagine him with anyone else?"
Even before he had finished asking the question, she already knew the answer. It made her feel stupid for even asking in the first place. It was the same with the rest of the couples in the Cullen family; Rosalie and Emmett; Alice and Jasper. She couldn't imagine one without the other. It was like they were all made for each other.
"So I guess it's... kind of like fate," she said to him.
"Most would call it that," he agreed, "And believe me, when you've lived your whole life with someone like Luna, you tend to believe in that sort of stuff. The Cullens, their a textbook example of that."
"The fact that Carlisle happened to come across Esme as a child, and then later as a woman who, when changed, would become his mate; that he would meet Edward's mother which would result in him turning Edward; how Rosalie just happened to find Emmett in the woods, and that he would later become her mate; then there's Alice and Jasper; and then there's you."
"For Edward to form a connection with someone who not only happens to be his singer, but who can also counter his mind reading ability. Do you know how rare that is?" He shook his head as he made a gesture with his arm. "What are the chances of him finding his mate out of a population of more than six billion people. What are..."
Bella watched as the expression on his face suddenly changed; his eyes widened as he trailed off, as if something he'd said had just occurred to him.
"Harry?" She asked, concerned. "What is it?"
He didn't say anything, just continued to stare at down at ground.
"Harry?" She called more firmly.
"What?" His head whipped up so fast that it made her wince.
"Is... everything okay?" Bella asked.
"Yes." He smiled reassuringly at her. "I heard something. But it was just a bird. Nothing to worry about."
"You should get some sleep," he continued, nodding his head inside, "Don't worry. I'll be here till morning."
"Yeah," sighed Bella as she slipped off the frame, "And Harry? Thanks for listening."
He smiled, "You're welcome, Bella. Anytime."
Leaving the window open, Bella made her way back to her bed.
The smile dropped off his face the moment she disappeared from the window.
Harry waited until she had tucked herself in before he pushed off the incline, and grabbing onto the trunk of the tree that stood right outside her window. He scaled up it's length before jumping off again, this time landing softly on top of the roof right above her bedroom. Finding a suitable spot along the edge, Harry sat himself down, allowing his feet to hang off the side.
Comfortable, he slumped forward, resting arms on his thighs as he turned his thoughts back to the previous conversation.
Why was it, that after two passing centuries, had they finally reunited with Carlisle. And in Forks of all places.
You should explore this?
His hands tightened as Luna's words resurfaced.
Do you know how rare it is?
Harry could only sigh to himself.
That's it for chapter six. I hope you all liked it.
Also I'd like to apologize for keeping this so late (nearly two years). It's not that I've lost interest in this story. Just that life's really hasn't given me enough time to sit down properly and write. And also most of the time I'm just too damn tired.
Important Note: I need a beta. A good one. I've been looking through some profiles but some of the people I wanted are not active. It needs to be someone who can handle reading really long chapters since that seems to be the norm in this story i.e. you need to be competent.
PM me if you are a beta and you're interested and I'll take a look at your profile.
As for the next update, I won't give a time frame, just it'll be up when it's up (hopefully within the next century).