This story has won two Torch Awards! It came in first for Best Completed Story and Best Grasp of Character (Jacob)
It was also featured on Under the Radar at TwiFic Central!
Multiple character deaths (from both sides) will occur during the course of this story! I cannot guarantee anyone's life except Jacob and Bella's. Just so you know, in case it's going to really bother you.
In this first chapter there are events that some people may find disturbing
Before we begin our story I must thank the following:
JointGifts and darcysmom from Project Team Beta. As my first-run and second-run betas for this chapter, you have done an excellent job of combing through and finding those little (and some not so little) details that make a story more readable and genuine.
ShadowPast620 who pre-read this chapter for me and provided much valued insight into the flow and characterizations presented. Thank you also for the excellent attention to wording to make it all sound more natural and in character!
The following is based on the characters, settings, and events that appear in the Twilight series of books by Stephenie Meyer. All recognizable and/or trademarked elements, including, but not limited to, characters, settings, events, plot points, dialogue, etcetera, are the property of their respective owners. No copyright infringement is intended. The author of this specific story (known by the pen name, light4dawn) is in no way associated with Stephenie Meyer, or any other affiliates involved with the Twilight series of books and the stories within. This work is intended for entertainment purposes only, and no profit is knowingly generated as a result of it. Only aspects entirely unique and original to this story are owned by this story's author.
When is the eleventh hour for Jacob and Bella? Was it in New Moon or Eclipse? Do we have to go back to the dive off the cliff? Maybe it's after the newborn fight? Perhaps even later.
It's one minute before midnight. Bella and Edward are married, and she is pregnant. What can Jacob possibly do to change the course of events? What will become of Bella, and how will she survive - physically and mentally?
This is a Jacob / Bella story that begins part way through Breaking Dawn. That's right, this story picks up at the end of Book I of Breaking Dawn.
The story opens just a few days after Bella and Edward return from their honeymoon. In canon, it would be after Book I of Breaking Dawn, but before the start of Book II.
Chapter 1 - Death
How much longer did she need to spend on her honeymoon? It had been practically three weeks since the wedding. Bella and her leech couldn't possibly think the news of her "death" could be delayed much longer. Weren't they pretending to go away to college? Wasn't school starting soon? I mean really, it was already Labor Day for Christ's sake! They'd have to make it look like they were at least trying to get back and move out east. Maybe he'd ended up killing her that first night in his pursuit to end a century of celibacy. The waiting was getting to me.
I just wanted to kill someone and run again.
For a long time.
Jacob, we have not decided what we will do once she returns.
Fuck! Was I destined never to get any peace?
You should know that I think our best strategy is to wait. If they are going to leave, there is no need to attack.
No need? Are you fucking kidding me? The treaty will be broken!
She is not being forced into anything, Jacob.
The treaty never mentioned anything about victim preference.
The treaty was established a long time ago, and it did not take into consideration this particular ― unique ― set of circumstances. This is not a fight that can be fought without casualties on both sides.
I'd had enough. I phased back and ran on foot. Sam was turning out to be a huge pansy. I hadn't realized I had been running so close to the treaty line. Before I knew it, I had ventured into town, and I was still naked. I stopped, unstrapped my shorts from my ankle and pulled them on. After stepping out of the woods, I looked around to get my bearings. It wasn't like me to lose track of my surroundings. My mind was just not the same when she entered it.
I must have been running pretty damn fast in human form, because I realized I was on the road that led right to the Cullen house. Was this fate, or had I just lost my mind? Oh well, I had already gotten this far ― no point in wasting a trip. I jogged the rest of the way up the road, turned into their driveway and started circling around trying to peer through the windows.
"This is our land." Damn. It was the blond soldier dude.
"Treaty says we just can't be phased outside our territory." I waved a hand over my body. "As you can see, I'm the most human one here."
"What are you doing here?"
"Just checking to see if the newlyweds have returned." No answer. Huh. "Also, Seth wanted to give Carlisle a message. Is he in?"
"He's lying." It was the big guy. Where the hell did he come from?
"And you know this because?" I queried. Dumb jock. What the hell did he know?
"I know." He looked over at Southern Comfort and nodded. What the . . .
"I'm not lying. I'm here alone, and I want to talk to Carlisle."
"No you don't."
"What? Are you suddenly able to read my mind?" Ah-ha! Why hadn't I figured this out sooner? I was smarter than the big buffoon. They were home. That's why he knew what I was thinking.
I marched up the porch steps and pushed the door open. That's when I felt the two of them grab my arms and pull me away.
"Get your fucking hands off me!" I hollered.
Then I heard her. It was faint, but I heard.
Everyone froze, including me.
"Love, please. Don't strain yourself. I'll tell him it's a bad time."
"No, Edward! I want to see him. Are we keeping secrets from Jacob, too?"
Secrets? What secrets? Had it happened already?
Behind the voices, I heard something else. It was weak and slow, but it was a beating heart. It wasn't my heart; it was hers.
"Jasper, Emmett, let him in. He won't hurt anyone, today." The only way he could know that was if I was right and my mind wasn't playing tricks on me.
I ran in, nearly knocking the door off its hinges. Edward stopped my advance, his palms against my chest, but I could see her. She was lying on the couch with a blanket across her. She was pale, with dark circles under her eyes. Her lips looked gray and her body was withered. Her face was drawn and gaunt, but she smelled the same, and her heart was beating. Her eyes were brown.
"Let him in, Edward," she commanded in a sick, hoarse voice.
Edward's hands dropped to his sides, and I ran to her. I sat in front of the couch, taking one of her hands in both of mine. The blond female was there hovering over Bella, and she let out a low growl, baring her teeth at me.
"It's okay, Rose. Jacob won't hurt me, will you, Jake?" I just shook my head, unable to speak. She was home, and she was still herself.
I dropped my head onto her, relieved, worried, and enraged. That's when I realized my head wasn't resting on her. At least not any part of her I was familiar with. I pulled my head away and noticed a small lump coming up from the blanket. I looked at her again. Her cheekbones jutted out of her face, and I could see ribs right through her thin t-shirt. I looked from her face to the swelling under the blanket.
"Bells . . . what . . . "
Her hands went to the lump and . . . caressed it. Shit, it couldn't be. It wasn't possible, was it? Crap, what was I talking about? Exactly what about my life would be considered possible by any normal human being? She smiled up at me, beaming.
"It's our baby." That's when I noticed the faint flutter, like the sound of a bird's heart beating. It was coming from inside Bella.
My head jerked around as I glared at Edward. He met my gaze, but not with the usual arrogance and disdain. He was a broken man. He looked lost, beaten and regretful. "I didn't know, Jacob. No one ever considered this could be possible."
"What's happening to her?"
"Why don't we step outside?"
"Just tell me what's happening!"
"It's killing her."
"Edward! I can do this!" She was trying to yell, but it came out like a fading croak. Fuck, was that what she really thought?
"Get it out of her!" I wailed hysterically. The blond chick hissed and sprang at me the moment those words left my lips. Edward stopped her.
"Bella won't let us. They won't let us." He jerked his head in the direction of the couch. That's when I noticed the blonde hovering over Bella with her brute next to her. Mrs. Dr. Fang stood just behind them as well. I hadn't noticed her earlier. What was in it for them?
"They want the baby, too." Mrs. Fang turned her gaze away from mine. She looked . . . ashamed when Edward said that. The blonde and her boyfriend just remained still, like statues. So that was it. The leech family had divided and picked sides, with Bella in the middle, of course. Business as usual for her, I suppose.
I looked around and wondered where the fortune teller was. She and Bella used to be glued at the hip.
"The . . . fetus gives her . . . headaches, of sorts, and prevents her from having visions. Staying away seems to help." I had forgotten what an irritating, know-it-all ass he was.
"What the hell is it?" I asked, in disgust.
Finally, the doctor made an appearance. "We don't know, Jacob. The amniotic sac is not the same as in a regular human pregnancy. It's hard, like our skin, and I can't get a read from a sonogram. We know very little about it, just that it needs something it's not getting, so it's taking what it can from Bella."
I looked at Bella again, and I saw. I really saw this time. That thing was sucking the life out of her, just like a leech. The only difference was it was doing it slower. I saw Edward cringe.
"It hasn't even been a month!" Hadn't she looked better than she'd ever looked just a few weeks ago? At her wedding, she was soft, warm and blushing. It was so recent that I could still feel her skin and smell her hair.
"If you're not going to do anything about it, and she wants to have . . . it, how is that thing going to get out?" I pointed to Bella, waving my finger around.
"From our research ― which is not very reliable ― it appears the . . . fetus will use its teeth to get out of her body." The doctor was gentle, but clinical. It was enough to send me off the deep end, though. I leaped for the couch. I didn't know what I had intended to do. I was torn between grabbing Bella to take her away and ripping that thing out of her myself. I got knocked down by the blonde. A god-damn girl! I pulled myself up, popping my dislocated shoulder back into place.
Damn. Mr. Know-it-all had his hands on me, again. "Jacob, please can we speak outside?"
"I'm tired of you and all your secrets." I pulled my arm away from his touch, wincing from the pain the movement caused. "You've got something to say, say it here! None of us get to keep secrets from you; why should you be able to keep anything from us?" Wow, did I just lump myself together with all of . . . them?
He ran his fingers through his hair, thinking. He let out a sigh. What a faker.
I know you don't need to breathe, bloodsucker. Don't waste your efforts on me.
"We have a plan . . . to get the fetus out, when it's time," he finally said.
"Yeah? Are you going to share?"
"The only thing strong enough to penetrate the sac ― if it is indeed like our skin ― is our teeth." It was a good thing I had a strong stomach, because I probably would have wretched at the pictures swimming through my mind right then. Actually, I wasn't a hundred percent sure that I wouldn't lose my lunch. That's when the thought came to me.
Vampire teeth can cut vampire skin. So can mine.
Edward looked at me with an eyebrow raised.
Stop snooping already. There's nothing left in there you don't already know, asshole!
"Jake, don't worry about this. I can do it," Bella squeaked from behind us. It was one thing when she tried to be a martyr to save him, but she was doing it to save that . . . thing now.
"Why, Bella? You can't come out of this alive. You're just going to let yourself die? What was the point in everything you've gone through, everything we've done to keep you safe? Why did you bother getting married? Why did you bother with any of this if you were going to sit back and let that . . . abomination kill you?" I saw her flinch.
"I'm not going to die." What the hell was she talking about? If the only way to get that thing out was to . . . oh. Shit. Shitty, shit, shit, fucking shit! Why did I keep coming back for this?
"You're not planning to come out of this human." It wasn't a question, and she didn't answer.
"I think it's time for you to leave, Jacob." Yeah, like I hadn't heard that from her before. . . .
I didn't budge. We were staring at each other.
"It shouldn't be a surprise to you, Jacob. You knew what I was planning even before all this," she said in a hushed voice. I was overwhelmed with rage. It shouldn't be this way. I didn't want her to die. I had never wanted her to die, but somehow risking her life for that . . . whatever it was, made it worse.
"It was one thing when you chose him over me, when you decided being a part of the living dead was better than being human, but now you're not choosing what you want! You're sacrificing everything so that thing can live! You probably won't even survive this ― human or otherwise. You're giving up everything, me, Edward, your life, your existence for . . . that!" I pointed to her abdomen in disgust. "How can you say you love me, or that you love Edward, if you're willing to give it all up for a monster you don't even know!"
"I don't know why I wanted you here in the first place!" She struggled to get up into a more upright position, screaming out her words through her hoarse voice. "You are such a jerk!" She turned her gaze away from mine, but before her face left my line of sight, I saw the tears forming.
I moved to get closer, but I was enraged. I moved quicker than I should have, and before I knew it, they were all on me. Everyone had a hand on me as I growled and yelled.
"You wanted me here because you want to be saved!" I screamed at her, struggling to be free from the cold hands that held me back. "You always need to be saved. You always want me with you. Always! Why don't you ever know your own mind? Why, Bella?"
The Cullens restrained me, but tried not to harm me. I guess she still cared enough that she didn't want me dead. Yeah ― how comforting.
All of them had their eyes locked on me. I was the only one looking at Bella. She had that look on her face now. It was the same one she had that day, just before she punched me.
"I know what I want, and I don't need you, for anything!" Without taking her blanket off, she sprang up off the couch. She stood between the glass coffee table and the white sofa.
"Love, sit down. You shouldn't be standing." Edward left me and went to Bella. He reached over to her from the other side of the coffee table and nudged her towards the couch.
"I am not an invalid!" She jerked her arm away from him.
Yeah, you keep saying that, baby, and maybe it might come true. Not.
Edward looked over and scowled, letting go of her arm as he did so.
"What, Edward? What is he thinking? Tell me!"
"Don't bother asking him; I'll tell you. I was thinking you are an invalid, and at the rate you're going, you're going to be a complete vegetable in . . . what? A week? How fucking far along are you? You can't be more than . . . " I did some quick counting in my head, "three weeks." Three weeks? I turned to Dr. Fang. "Seriously, three weeks? When is she supposed to deliver? What the fuck? Is that the bride of Chucky in there?"
"What's in here is my perfect, beautiful and talented son, you stupid doofus!"
"By our best estimates, she should be at full term by the fourteenth of this month," the doc answered, ignoring Bella's outburst.
"Please, love, sit down." Now Eddie boy was beside her, pulling her towards the seat, but she was struggling with him. I could tell he didn't want to force the issue.
"Edward, I swear I'm going to scream if you tell me to sit down one more time! If you want to be helpful, walk me over there, so I can belt that stupid mutt!" I guess it was true what they said about hormones and pregnancy.
"Let me carry you, love."
"For heaven's sake, get your hands off me! I'm barely even showing yet! Just let go of me! Now!" Man, that was loud. Her whole face, neck, ears and even hands went red when she shouted. I saw veins popping on her forehead. Edward took a step back in shock.
Now the blonde was over there, grabbing Eddie-boy. I guess no one wanted to keep touching me. All the better for me.
"Edward, do as she asks. Don't get her upset. You know it's not good for the baby," the blonde scolded.
Eddie looked over at her and snarled. Out loud. Guess she wasn't his favorite sister . . . She led him away a bit, to the other side of the room, where they started having one of their speed-speaking moments. This time, it was a whisper argument. I guess they didn't know I could hear it all.
You got to be quicker than that to get past these ears, Eddie-boy.
Again, he snarled at me. Really, what did he expect? If he was going to read my mind, did he really think I wasn't going to have my say? For shit's sake, he was the one doing the mind reading! I'd say he wasn't in a position to complain.
So the siblings were squabbling in their Flash Gordon, whispered argument, while Doc Fang was telling me about the rate of growth of Bella's abdomen, estimated this and that and whatever. I was kind of tuning him out but nodding to be polite. The guy had fixed me up. I kind of owed him at least that much. Bella was still standing on the other side of the coffee table with that same look on her face, staring me down. I gave her one of my yeah-I'm-a-jerk-but-I-don't-care-because-I'm-right smiles. She hated those. That's when she moved.
She took one step. That's right, just one step. I wouldn't even call it a full step because she ended up slipping on the blanket before her foot completely came in contact with the floor. Most people, when they trip, fall back. Of course, Bella has to fall forward. She fell and hit her abdomen on the corner of the coffee table. I heard a loud crack, like stone on glass. There were more cracks from inside her body, and the fluttering heartbeat became irregular before it slowed.
Edward and Blondie got to Bella just in time for one of them to grab her head before it hit the floor.
I smelled it before I saw it. I rammed my body into the big guy without phasing. He was too close to Bella to risk it. It hurt like hell, and it only knocked him ― unscathed ― to the other side of the room. The blonde started hissing and baring her teeth at Bella, but Edward was on her. He knocked her out the window. On his way back, he lifted the big guy up and tossed him out too. They didn't look like they were putting up much of a fight. Mrs. Fang was covering her mouth with her hands as she ran out the front door.
By the time I looked back at Bella, there was a pool of blood forming beneath her. Her face was crumpled in agony, and she was screaming loud enough to call the devil himself.
"They're in distress, both of them," Dr. Fang barked, as Edward moved to get Bella off the floor.
"Bella, love, this is my fault. I should have walked you over when you asked." He lowered his head onto Bella and looked like he could be crying. He didn't fool me. I knew leeches couldn't cry. "Forgive me, love." He needed to get his shit together.
I looked over at the doc. He noticed Edward losing it too. "Jacob, we would appreciate your help." I just nodded and followed him and Edward upstairs. Edward was holding Bella as a trail of blood followed them. He kept blathering on about how he had done this to her, that he should have given her what she wanted and blah, blah, blah. Fuck, did she actually like this shit? I could understand getting my heart ripped out and served to me a thousand times by the girl I loved, but did it have to be over this cheesy sap?
She was set down on a table in what looked like an operating room. Man, they had some set up.
Edward had finally gotten himself composed and was moving around frantically, getting Bella hooked up onto all sorts of things and giving her medication.
"Wh . . . what's . . . happening? T . . . too . . . early! The . . . b . . . baby!" Bella was struggling in every way possible, fighting to stay conscious.
"Bella, love, the baby has to come out. You'll die otherwise." She'll die? Now?
"Bella, I am quite sure the placenta has separated from the uterine wall. The baby is in distress and will die if we don't deliver it now," Carlisle explained. Before she could speak, a mask was placed on her, covering her mouth and nose. Her eyes fluttered shut. Edward looked at Carlisle, who nodded, and then he lowered his head to Bella's swollen abdomen.
"No!" I pushed Edward's head away from her. "She wanted a baby, and this one might not make it. If you bite her she might never have one. I'll do it." Did I really just offer to rip Bella open with my teeth?
"Are you sure?" Edward asked. I nodded, but I wasn't really as confident as I sounded. Edward knew that, but he still stepped out of the way, so I could take his place. Of course. He'd do anything to give her what she wanted.
"Where?" I asked. Carlisle drew a line with a marker that went from her belly button right down to where the soft hairs began. It wasn't the same as it had been in my fantasies, not even close.
"Just bite down and you'll feel the amniotic sac. It will be like our skin. Try your best to get through that, but nothing more." I nodded in reply to Carlisle's directions. "Now, Jacob. There is no time to waste."
I took a deep breath and sank my teeth into her flesh. The minute her skin broke, I thought I was going to lose it. It was all wrong. The skin was soft, warm and tasted of human blood, her blood. My teeth weren't supposed to bite this. Then I felt that hard, cold layer pressing on my teeth. It was the same as those newborns I had killed a few months before, but without the burning scent. I had no trouble cracking that apart. That was when I felt the heat. It was hotter than Bella's blood, almost as hot as me. I jerked back, shocked. Hands pushed me away, while another set grabbed the hot mound of blood and tissue.
I stepped back, wiping my mouth with my arm, and fell to the ground. I stared at Carlisle as he moved at lightening fast speed repairing Bella. Edward had his back to me, working on something at a table. It was probably the baby. It didn't make a sound.
There was blood everywhere, including the inside of my mouth. I could taste it. That was when it all hit me. I turned away from the gruesome scene and heaved as everything in my stomach landed on the floor beside me. I was on my hands and knees, coughing up blood, food and bile.
"No! Do something, Edward! Save her!" I thought it was Bella talking but realized she was unconscious. That was when I noticed the blonde was back and she was frantic, hovering over Edward. I growled in her direction. She ignored me. To be honest, she looked more interested in the monster on the table than me or the blood. I crawled closer to Bella, just in case.
The once-fluttering heartbeat was so weak and slow that it was beginning to fade, even for my ears. It sputtered at irregular intervals, and then it stopped completely. I had wanted the thing to die, but when the flutters stopped, I was overwhelmed with loss. It was like a part of Bella had died. I guess it had. I fell to the floor onto my stomach. It was like my bones were no longer able to hold my body up. Something in my world felt displaced.
"It's too late, Rose. The baby wasn't developed enough, and she wasn't getting the nutrients she needed." Edward gave up trying, and the blonde grabbed the bloody mass away from him.
"No, no, no! She's more than human! She has to be strong enough to survive this!" Now she was bent over the baby, trying to save it. Edward backed away and made his way to Bella's side. I looked up and noticed Carlisle was cleaning up around her. I guess there were advantages to having a leech as your surgeon.
"The bleeding has mostly stopped. We didn't need to do a hysterectomy. If a baby is what she wants, she should still be able to have one. Let's get her out of here," the doc told me. I nodded and tried to get up, but my head was spinning, and I fell back down. I felt that cold hand on my shoulder again.
"Thank you, Jacob, for keeping her alive," Edward said to me before wheeling Bella out.
I fell back, staring up at the ceiling, trying to get my shit together. I heard a loud thump and turned my head toward it. It was the blonde. She had collapsed onto the floor, her head in her hands.
"It's no use. It was my only chance. She's dead; she's dead!" She looked up and stared at me with hate in her eyes. "It's your fault! You got her upset!" She lunged for me, and I phased without even getting up first. I could hear instruments, lights and walls falling, breaking and collapsing around me. My teeth sank down into her thigh. I threw her into the doorway. The big guy appeared, and he grabbed me around the neck. I twisted and leaped, trying to get him off me. His body whipped side to side, and I got a hold of his foot. I noticed the blonde was up and ready to attack. I threw her boyfriend's body right into her, knocking both of them into the wall. I was going to lunge for them when Edward and the fortune teller appeared.
"Jacob, stop! Bella will need you!" That calmed me down ― a little. The two of them moved to the big guy and the chick, restraining them and talking them into leaving. I was alone in the room. In the bloody room. I listened with my wolf ears, and I could hear a heartbeat. It was her heart. I didn't bother phasing back. I didn't give a shit what I destroyed in their house. I hoped I demolished the whole damn place. I ran out the already broken doorway of the bloody room, found a window downstairs, and leaped into the warm summer air as broken glass showered down on me.
My goal is to update this story every five days. I am going to do the best that I can. Be on the lookout for updates!