Title: Beat the Air
Author: Madame Naberrie
Rating: M (language and mature themes)
Summary: Jacob has a horrific dream about Bella's gruesome fate. But he is going to beat the air back into her chest; he will hold her heart in his hands. With him, she is alive.
I jerked awake, my body lurching forward.
I had to fucking see her right now or I was going to lose it.
The horrific images branded in my brain were literally tearing my insides apart, and I needed Bells here with me, right the fuck now.
I threw myself out of my open window and phased immediately, not giving two shits about the clothes I had just ruined or the fact that I would be similarly naked when I reached Bella's house.
I flew through the forest, the ground giving easily beneath my powerful strides. The bitterly cold wind whipped at my face, chasing away any remnants of sleep, but the appalling, grotesque, utterly, indescribably horrible fragments of my dream left me feeling disoriented and barely conscious.
I reached her house (finally, fucking finally) and phased into human form, easily scaling the side of the house to Bella's - closed, goddammit - window.
"Bella!" I hissed, drinking in the sight of her sleeping form. She was too still, it was too fucking like the dream - "Bella, you open this window right now or I will break into your fucking house."
Bella was waking from a groggy sleep and muttering a string of incomprehensible words. "Jake?" she whispered, barely awake.
"Bella, please," I pleaded now. Please.
Slowly, so unbearably slowly, she padded to the window and pulled it open. She was wearing an oversized t-shirt and she was blinking back sleep. "Jake? Are you-"
I wormed myself inside the window and pulled her into my arms immediately, trying to clamp them as tightly (and as fucking gently) around her as possible. Warm, alive. Her body felt like fucking heaven in my arms and thought I might lose it right then and there.
"Bella," I breathed her name into her hair, my hands memorizing the curves and dips of her soft (living) body.
Her arms wrapped around me hesitantly, and her warm breath brushing against my neck was so unbearably sweet as she whispered, "Jake, what's wrong? Are you ok? What's going on? Why aren't you...wearing clothes...?"
I knew I was beyond forming comprehensible sentences, so instead I swept her up in my embrace and made my way to the bed. In a moment of clear-headed consideration, I covered myself up with her blanket before leaning against the headboard and cradling Bella in my arms like a child. Warm. Alive. Here.
"You're scaring me, Jacob." There was a slight tremor to her voice, but her body was utterly relaxed in my arms. "Are you hurt?"
"No," I managed to choke out, barely holding back tears. The image of Bella's body from my dream - broken, blooded, gray, lifeless, appalling, disgustingly thin - flooded right back into my mind, and I couldn't help the broken sob that escaped my lips at the memory.
"Jacob, what is it? Please!"
I brought a shaking hand to cradle her soft cheek and finally allowed myself a good look at her face. Bella's eyes were soft and warm, homed in on my expression. Her cheeks were flustered, a beautiful shade of red. Her lips were parted, slightly chapped but perfectly pink, and her breath was warm on my face.
I drank in the sight of her, committing it to memory, allowing it to wash over my wounds like a healing balm. She's okay, Jacob. Get yourself together.
"I needed to see you," I explained slowly, unable to help myself from stroking her face and neck frantically. The feel of her collarbone beneath my fingers scared the shit out of me and I vowed that I would make sure she got more to eat. "I needed to see that you were okay."
Bella's eyebrows drew together in confusion. "I'm fine, Jake. Why wouldn't I be?"
I drew in a shaky, hissing breath between my teeth before touching my forehead to hers, drowning myself in her scent. The hand that had been lingering on her face and neck traced gently down to her chest, where I pressed my palm between her breasts and against her steadily beating heart. "I needed to feel this," I confessed, and the feel of it drumming faithfully beneath my hand took the edge off of my frantic panic.
Her hand came to rest atop mine, but instead of pulling my hand away from its intimate position like I had expected, she merely curled her fingers into mine and pressed it there. "I'm okay, Jacob," she whispered, though there was a lingering hesitancy in her tone from her complete confusion about my abrupt mental breakdown.
"Bella," I whispered, and it sounded broken to even my own ears. "I...I had a nightmare. It was...it was the worst fucking thing possible, it was..." I paused, not wanting to scare her. How could I describe what I had dreamt? How could I explain that it had felt so real? That Cullen son-of-a-bitch coming back, snatching her away from me, marrying her, forcing her into some goddamned ridiculous parody of a honeymoon; Edward impregnating her...me watching helplessly as she died a gruesome, horrific death.
The haunting image of her shell of a body, utterly still, in the iron clasp of cold death, was something I knew would never, ever leave me.
Bella's tiny hand was at the nape of my neck, her fingers knotting themselves in my hair. "It was only a dream, Jake. It's okay, whatever happened in the dream, it's not real. It's okay."
I nodded weakly and rearranged her limbs slightly to bring her closer to my chest; she was so goddamn delicate, how had I never noticed before?
Several long minutes passed in the silence, and eventually my breaths and my heartbeats slowed to an even pace. Bella was clutching at me just as tightly, but she was dozing lightly in my arms. The sounds of her tiny snores were like a goddamned lullaby to my ears.
"Bella," I whispered to her softly, cradling her shoulders tenderly in my arm. "I know you wanted to go cliff diving tomorrow, but let's just stay home, okay? I just want to be with you."
I wasn't sure if she really understood what I was saying, but she nodded against my chest and mumbled something in the affirmative. It was enough for me.
When I was sure that she was asleep, I leaned down and pressed a kiss to her forehead, lingering a moment longer than I would have if she were awake (Jake, don't...We're just friends, okay?).
Fuck that shit. I wasn't letting her out of my sight ever again.
"I love you," I whispered to her, brushing back hair from her face, and settled myself more comfortably in her bed, keeping her body as close to me as possible. I once again settled my hand against her heart and let its rhythmic beating chase the nightmares away.
I held her together with my arms, just like I had been since that day she had came to me in my garage, broken. I'll hold you together, Bells. I'll keep the pieces whole. With him, she was a shell- vacant and dead. But not with me. I would beat the air back into her chest, I would hold her heart in my hands; with me, she was alive.
When I finally succumbed to sleep, it was the image of Bella warm and in my arms that latched itself into my mind, and I vowed to keep it that way until the day I died.
Author's note: for some reason, reading the birth scene and watching it in the movie were two very different experiences for me. I found the whole thing to be ridiculously gruesome and horrifying (not bad, I suppose, just really, really freaky) and immediately after watching it, this little ficlet came out. Love it, hate it? How do you feel about the birth scene? Did you like Breaking Dawn?