Author's Notes: In the end, I always tend to come back to writing unconnected Jacob/Bella drabbles. So when I do, they'll get posted here. A lot are in response to challenges on LiveJournal, where my username is peskywhistpaw, and where these drabbles are originally posted. There will not be a specific update schedule; drabbles will simply be added as they are written. I try to do a drabble challenge once a month, though, so there's that. The first several are from over the years. This first one is from August.

Come Back Home

One of the things Jacob knows and loves about Bella is that she always comes back. She's left every winter (except for every other Christmas), but turned up every summer that he can remember, smile shy as she stands just a little behind Charlie; her eyes are always unsure when they see everybody, but when they find Jacob, they start to dance. (Which makes Jacob start to dance, and his sisters groan.)

So when Bella goes to the kitchen to make some hot chocolate this Christmas break (Jacob isn't allowed to use the microwave), he's confident she'll come back in a few minutes, holding their two favorite mugs with oven mitts (just in case).

After ten minutes pass, though, Jacob starts to frown. Bella isn't back yet.

"Bells?" he calls. No answer. He sounds her name off every wall in the house, and when that does no good, he shoves on his shoes and races outside into the snow.

He almost runs into her, standing by the woodpile with her shoulders shaking. When she turns around, her face is coated in tears. (Bella crying used to make him cry, too, except she cries a lot, and he's gotten used to it now. That doesn't stop him from wrapping his tiny arms around her.)

"What's wrong?" he asks.

Bella sniffles. "The poor bird," she whimpers.

"What bird?"

Bella points. On top of the woodpile, a little grey and brown bird sits with its feathers ruffled up for warmth. It's alive (Jacob sighs, relieved), but it looks so cold.

Jacob thinks for a moment, then announces, "We'll have to make it a house. To get it warm."

Bella wipes her eyes. "Okay," she agrees, and they set to work.

Fifteen minutes later, Jacob's house has been looted of its best shoeboxes and fluffiest towels, plus Rebecca's secret stash of those hand warmers you put in your mittens. The bird is so cold that it detects the heat of the hand warmers right away, and cuddles up in the box without protest.

"Poor bird." Bella sniffs again. "It didn't want to leave Forks."

She's silent for the first few minutes they go back into the house, pursing her lips while she makes hot chocolate, getting quieter still while Jacob rearranges their blanket fort so they won't spill their drinks, entirely wordless while they sip them carefully.

When she's finished all of her hot chocolate, though, wiping the foamy mustache from above her mouth, she sets down her mug and turns to Jacob.

"I'll be like the bird," Bella promises, twining their hands together. "I'll stay till spring. I'll stay all year. You can keep me warm. I don't want to leave Forks."

Jacob knows she probably won't stay this year, even though she means what she says; Charlie or her mom or somebody will make her go back to Phoenix, like they always do. But he also knows that someday – when she's older – she will stay, and keep her promise.

And then, together, they'll watch the flowers pop up out of the snow and the world come to life and the birds fly back home.