Story Name: Tears in the Snow
Pen name: Sweetp-1
Summary: Edward and Jacob thought they had forever, but sometimes happily-ever-afters don't turn out as expected.
Angsty wolf/vamp slash for Slash Backslash V2. AU. OOC. M for adult content and mature themes.
Disclaimer: Stephenie owns everything Twilight.
To see other entries in the "SLASH BACKSLASH" contest, please visit the C2: .net/c2/68069/3/0/1/
It is the sound of claws scrabbling on the hardwood floor that Edward hears first. A split-second later, he can discern the change in Jacob's heartbeat and the slowing of his breathing as he begins to huff through his muzzle.
Edward sighs but quickly runs up the stairs of the house, knowing that if he delays, the wolf will panic and start to throw itself against the walls in an attempt to flee.
He doesn't want him to hurt himself.
The musky lupine scent floods his nostrils as soon he enters what used to be a bedroom. Now, it is little more than a prison; a bare cell devoid of anything that could cause injury. There's a low pallet bed, but nothing else. Wolves are amazingly adept at destroying furniture.
In the time it takes for the wolf to lazily blink his chocolate-colored eyes, Edward crosses the room and throws open the French doors.
The wolf doesn't pause, running past him and into the night.
Going for a run is the last thing that Edward feels like doing right now, but he knows he has to, and with another heavy sigh he takes off in pursuit of his wolf.
"Get your hand off me, you fucking leech," Jacob hisses at him.
It's the first time the young shape-shifter has spoken to him directly, and Edward isn't surprised that his words are full of hate. All the same, there's something surprisingly pleasurable about the sound of Jacob's voice. He imagines this is what the smell of honey would sound like.
Edward releases Jacob's arm, instantly missing the heat of his skin against his palm. He doesn't dwell on this thought for long, however. Around him, his family and the wolves from La Push face the Volturi. He's fairly certain they are going to leave now that Victoria and her army of newborn vampires have been destroyed, but Jane is a sadistic bitch and is still eager to inflict some pain on someone.
Jacob, unsurprisingly, had taken offense at her comment about the Cullens keeping "dogs", and started to think about killing the petite, scarlet-eyed vampire. Edward knows the Volturi won't hesitate to kill Jacob if he attacks, and that's why he grabbed his arm. Edward is relieved that his intervention is enough for Jacob to start thinking about something else; it wouldn't end well for any of them if the handsome wolf was added to the purple fires that burn in the clearing behind them.
Eventually, the Volturi leave, and Carlisle takes a moment to graciously thank the wolves for their support. It's an odd and slightly awkward situation that the two groups find themselves in - mortal enemies working together to defeat a common enemy. Edward suddenly realizes that he will miss the daily training sessions with the wolfpack now that it is all over. They're not exactly what he would call friends, but when you've lived as long as he has, there are few things that bring excitement to the mundane repetition of eternity, and he found himself rather enjoying meeting with the wolves each day. They're fascinating in their strange mix of brute strength and powerful grace.
He'll miss watching them sprinting across the forest floor, leaping through the air as they rough and tumble with each other in alarmingly authentic-looking play fights.
He'll miss watching them growl and snarl at each other in a language only they understand.
He'll miss watching Jacob.
Edward stays a few hundred yards behind the wolf, keeping his distance so he doesn't startle it.
He tries not to think about all the thousands of times that they have run through this forest together. Once, they would have run side by side, the vampire and his wolf, but now he has to stay back, giving the illusion that the wolf is out there on it's own. He misses the intimacy of being inside the wolf's head, misses the companionship he used to enjoy so much.
Running brings him little pleasure now.
He's empty and alone, and he just misses him.
Jacob's lips are soft and warm, and Edward decides that he has never felt anything as amazing as this kiss in all his one hundred and seven years. He presses himself closer, and to his delight Jacob doesn't retreat - he pushes back against him.
It is simply wonderful.
The journey from enemy to lover was surprisingly quick, and even now Edward feels a sense of wonder that the tenderness he felt for the shape-shifter has evolved into this deep and undeniable burning ache for him. Even more astonishing is that Jacob feels the same way about him. He can see it in his thoughts, feel it in his embrace, taste it on the moan of pleasure that escapes his mouth.
"You taste like…" Jacob murmurs. Edward steals a glimpse of his mind – there's an image of a white-capped mountain, fresh frost on the grass, icicles hanging from a tree branch. "Snow. You taste like snow."
It's only another ten minutes before Jacob phases. Edward finds him curled up in the fetal position, mud smeared on his beautiful, tanned skin.
He walks towards him cautiously, careful to disturb the layer of leaves beneath his feet so Jacob can hear him approaching.
He doesn't want to scare him.
"Edward?" Jacob's voice has a far away quality to it that Edward has come to despise.
"I'm right here," Edward says quietly as he kneels down in front of him.
Jacob's eyes are wide and frightened, his pupils dilated; black and bottomless.
He's shaking, either from fear or from the feel of the cold night air on his naked skin, and Edward pulls off his own shirt to wrap around him.
"Let's get you home."
Edward's presence is immediately calming and Jacob relaxes into his arms when Edward picks him up.
Edward doesn't say anything else as he cradles Jacob safe to his chest, and carries him home.
Jacob gasps in shock and Edward instinctively rushes to his side, prepared to comfort, defend; whatever it is that his lover needs.
The shifter drops to his knees and Edward sinks into his mind, suddenly distraught and worried that something awful is happening to him.
But it's not awful; its wondrous, and amazing.
Jacob is imprinting on Edward.
Edward watches, enthralled, as Jacob's world is reduced to one thing. Him.
It's more than lust and want, more than love even. It's simply…everything.
Jacob is tied to him in ways he didn't even know were possible, and Edward can't even begin to articulate how joyous he feels in that moment. It's as if his chest is going to burst with happiness.
As he gazes into Jacob's chocolate-colored eyes, an overwhelming sense of completeness washes over him.
Jacob is asleep in his arms before they get back home, and Edward carefully transfers him to the pallet bed. He brushes the hair off his forehead. It's thick and glossy between his fingers, and he thinks that he probably should have cut it awhile back. It's long enough that it hangs in Jacob's eyes, and the wolf was looking shaggy and unkept.
Before he retires to his own room, he pulls the blanket up around Jacob's shoulders and leaves a soft, chaste kiss on his cheek.
He can't remember the last time he kissed Jacob on the lips.
Edward is worried about what his family will say. He's been hiding the fact that he and Jacob are lovers - avoiding them as much as possible and being careful not to think about it when Jasper is around. The last thing he needs is to be outed by his empath brother. Alice can't work out why her visions of his future are hazy and blurry, and he hasn't built up the courage to tell her yet.
Jacob's family is his pack, and they already know. The pack are bonded telepathically, so he didn't even need to go through the trauma of telling them. Surprisingly, they are accepting of the situation. It's because of the imprint, Jacob says. They can't fight it because they know its irreversible and irrevocable.
Edwards loves the sense of finality he can hear in Jacob's voice.
In the morning, Edward watches silently as Jacob picks disinterestedly at the breakfast he brought him. Jacob's continual lack of appetite is alarming, and Edward has spent hours researching human food in search of the elusive dish that Jacob will eat without the need for coercion. Nothing has done the trick yet, and Jacob is wasting away before his eyes. The outline of his ribs and spine are visible now, his hips bony and sharp. Edward thinks that his cheeks look even more hollow than they did the day before.
Jacob gives him a weak smile, and Edward finds himself smiling back in response. For a moment, he pretends that everything is normal; that they are happy and in love, and that this is just a tender moment in an ordinary day.
They run through the forest together and Edward smiles as he listens to the pure joy in Jacob's thoughts. He's glorious as a wolf – huge, almost as tall as Edward's shoulder, with a thick russet-colored coat. The sun is setting and it casts an orange glow on Jacob's fur. It makes Edward think of a burning comet, and it's an image that fits Jacob perfectly – strong and proud, exploding into Edward's life without warning. Changing him forever.
They slow down, stopping by a stream so Jacob can have a quick drink. He asks in his mind what Edward is thinking. He can see something on Edward's face, but he's not sure what it is.
"I love you so much," Edward whispers. The words seem inadequate to convey how much Jacob means to him, and he wishes that Jacob was a mind-reader too, so he would know exactly what he was feeling. It hurts to even think about him sometimes, that's how much this love for him affects him. Edward simply can't imagine his life without Jacob in it, and he wonders how on earth he ever existed without him.
Despite his lack of mind-reading ability, Jacob knows. He pushes his muzzle into Edward's hand, letting his thoughts spill out into the ether. Edward is overjoyed to see his own emotions reflected back at him.
Jacob mostly sleeps during the day now, and Edward spends his time reading, trying to lose himself in alternate realities that always have a happy ending.
Once upon a time, he thought he was living his very own happily-ever-after. Sometimes, it's hard to figure out how everything got so…fucked. Edward snorts. Vulgar language is something he has never been able to get accustomed to, but he has to admit it's a pretty apt descriptor for how things are now.
He's restless and frustrated, and the overwhelming urge to scream is building in the pit of his stomach. He wishes he could just…leave, or something. He's not even sure what it is he wants. He thinks about going out into the forest and taking his frustrations out on an unsuspecting tree trunk.
But he can't. He has to stay close by in case Jacob wakes and needs him, or in case he phases.
It's amazing to think that they have been together for more than six decades, and yet there are still things to discover about each other. Edward can't believe that it can still feel this sublime to make love to Jacob, even after all these years.
They fit together like they were made for each other, their coupling as passionate as it was when they first fell in love.
They are perfect; opposites in so many ways, but together they create balance and harmony.
As Jacob pushes him towards all-consuming bliss, Edward feels an overwhelming sense of gratitude to the Universe that he'll get to have his soul-mate by his side for all of eternity.
They haven't had sex in decades.
Edward pleasures himself in the shower whenever the need becomes too much to bear. It barely passes as pleasurable, actually, but the orgasms help to keep him calm, and the feel of his own cool hand is better than nothing at all.
What he really wants is Jacob.
He wants the feel of his big, strong fingers wrapped round him, the scorching heat of his skin, the feel of the callouses on his palm rubbing along his length. The unbelievably amazing sensation of Jacob's full, soft lips kissing and sucking him in the most sensitive of places.
It's painful to think he will never have that again.
The first time it happens, Edward doesn't really understand the significance. He thinks Jacob is distracted and simply shows him where he put his keys just five minutes before.
It's after midday when Edward goes up to Jacob's room to wake him. He knows he probably won't eat the meal he's made for him, but he feels like he still needs to at least make an effort.
He puts the tray down on the floor and gently shakes Jacob till he wakes up.
The blank, expressionless look on his face fills Edward with a nauseating sense of dread.
"Who are you?" Jacob asks.
Edward has known that this day was inevitable, but it doesn't make it any easier to bear. He runs from the room devastated, his frozen heart shattering into a million tiny pieces.
Carlisle frowns as he describes his concerns. Edward has taken Jacob "on vacation" to the wilderness of Alaska where the Cullens now live, but really Edward just wants some answers, and Carlisle is the only person he can turn to.
He knows that whatever is happening to Jacob is bad, but he holds on to the hope that Carlisle can fix it.
Briefly, he regrets the fact that they moved away from the Peninsula. With no vampires in the area, there hasn't been a wolf-pack for many years. There's no Alpha to ask, no elders with first-hand knowledge of phasing to talk to, either.
He has so many questions, and worries, and no one can help him.
Edward can feel himself on the verge of tears that are impossible for him to shed as he sees the diagnosis Carlisle is forming in his head.
Edward's worst fears are now his reality.
Eventually, Edward makes himself go back to Jacob's room. He's sitting with his back to the door, looking out the window, watching intently as a flock of birds flit about on the grass outside.
Jacob looks exactly the same as he did when they met. When his hair is cropped short, he could pass for twenty-five, but as Edward gazes at him now, he looks exactly like the seventeen year old boy he fell in love with.
Except Jacob is one hundred and fifty seven years old.
And humans aren't designed to live that long.
For the longest time, Edward regarded Jacob as a shape-shifter, a separate species altogether, but the reality is, is that Jacob's physiology is essentially that of a homo-sapien. He isn't like a vampire - undead and unchanging. He's alive, and time has taken it's toll. His body may have been fooled into staying young and timeless by his phasing, but to Edward's horror the same hasn't been true for Jacob's mind.
It started with forgetfulness - insignificant moments where he misplaced items or struggled to remember words.
The downward spiral was slow, but relentless.
Forgetfulness soon became neglect, and Edward was suddenly thrust into a role that resembled something akin to a home-care nurse. He fed him, cleaned him, provided company and entertainment, gave him everything he needed and wanted.
And all the while he clung to the hope that somehow he'd get better.
It wasn't until Jacob lost the ability to control when he phased into a wolf that Edward finally accepted that he was powerless to stop this hideous erosion of his lover, his best friend and soul-mate.
He's been saying good-bye ever since.
Jacob finally notices that someone is watching him and he turns his head.
Edward finds himself looking into the face of a ghost.
Edward's cry of despair echoes across the forest.
Jacob's mind has deteriorated to the point where Edward avoids looking into the desolate wasteland where Jacob's personality once resided. There are only shadows now.
His mind is like that of a child - nonsensical. Innocent. He still has moments of lucidity, but they are few and far between, and Edward has learned not to hope for more.
The wolf was the last remaining thread to Edward's Jacob, and he treasured the moments when they would run together, reveling in the knowledge that, for a few moments every day, Jacob was still with him.
But that is gone now, too. When he slipped into the wolf's mind tonight, there was no trace of Jacob. All that is left are the basic, instinctual urges of an animal.
The wolf is simply a wolf now.
And Edward is all alone.
It's been a long time since Edward has held Jacob in his arms while he sleeps. The rhythmic sound of his breathing is somehow so normal and familiar that he lets it comfort him while he remembers happier times that they shared.
He recalls telling Jacob once that he was too good to be true – that he was the luckiest vampire that ever existed to have not only found his soul-mate, but for that person to also be someone who would live for eternity, never aging. Just like him.
Except that wasn't really the case.
The legend, it seems, had it all wrong.
Edward holds Jacob tight to his chest, wishing that things could have been different, that their eternity could have been longer. That he didn't have to say good-bye.
It breaks his already wounded heart to think about what Jacob has become.
In the morning, Edward slips out of bed and goes down to the kitchen. He's spent most of the night talking himself into this, but he's come to accept that there simply isn't any other way.
He's tired. Tired of watching the slow decay of his mate, tired of grieving, tired of giving, giving, giving and it not making any difference.
The real Jacob died a long time ago.
The white powder dissolves easily in the glass of orange juice, and Edward swallows down any last regrets as he carries it to Jacob's room.
He always regarded poison as a cowardly way to end someone's life, but he couldn't bear for Jacob to suffer, and the tranquilizer will simply put him into a sleep that he'll never wake up from.
It will be a peaceful, dignified death.
It is the last gift that Edward can give him.
Grateful thanks to Betham for doing a wonderful beta job at very short notice, and to my fellow wolf/vamp girl Vampireisthenewblack for popping my WC cherry and holding my hand.
This story is dedicated to YellowGlue who once said she wanted someone to write her a story where Edward finally gets tired of Jacob and kills him. I'm pretty sure this isn't what she had in mind, but I love her for saying that she (stinkin freakin) loved it anyway.
Thanks to AG and PP for hosting Slash Backslash all over again.
Thank you for reading!