I wrote this short story for the Fandom4Texas charity compilation. I have never been a Jacob fan, but I was asked to try my hand at his story, so here it is.
Summary: One night around the Quileute campfire, the tribal elders tell the tale of Chief Jacob Black. This is Jacob's story told in phases.
- Thank you to the wonderful BellaFlan for beta'ing this story! Her guidance and critical pen has been invaluable!
- Thank you to TKegl who made an amazing banner for this story. Please check out my profile for a link to the banner!
Disclaimer: Phases is a Twilight inspired work of fan fiction. It is provided for entertainment purposes only. Twilight is the property of Stephenie Meyer. No copyright infringement is intended. The story that follows is the property of PiedPiperOSIB.
~ Phases ~
I approached the beach through the thick woods I once called home. Just as I could pick-up the sounds of people talking, I dropped the satchel of clothes I carried and phased back to my human form. Once dressed, I crept to the forest's edge and settled at the base of a large tree. I was close enough to hear the elders talking, but the tall grass around me hid my body from view.
It felt good to be back.
It had been seventy-five years since I called La Push my home, and nearly twelve years since I last eavesdropped on a council meeting. From my hidden vantage point, I watched a group of teenagers tossing a football. I could've easily slipped out of the shadows and joined them. None of kids would've guessed I was to celebrate my ninety-second birthday this year. I still looked no older than twenty, but inside I'd become more mature and hopefully a bit wiser.
From my old wolf pack, only Sam – now called Old Sam – and Seth were still around. At ninety-seven, Sam was now the tribe's oldest elder, even if he didn't look a day over sixty. His grandson, Harry, was the current chief, but Old Sam still held chair over the council bonfires.
Sam sat at his place by the roaring bonfire talking with two of the other tribe elders. The alpha trait still coursed through his system despite that he hadn't phased in nearly fifty years. Upon my arrival, he sensed my presence and looked over to where I had squatted. The only welcome I would receive at this time was a slight nod of his head, before he turned back to the fire and called the assembled tribal members to order. The autumnal equinox was upon the Quileute reservation, and the tribe gathered to celebrate and to honor the spirits of their ancestors. When I was younger, I never truly appreciated the traditions and importance of passing along our stories. They were fables and tales the old people told us to make us proud we were born Quileute.
When I was younger I had been misguided on many things.
Old Sam rose and recounted the stories I heard in my youth. Many of the younger Quileute rolled their eyes and snickered at the talk of wolves and The Cold Ones. The same early tragedies were told and the infamous treaty with the golden-eyed Cold Ones was narrated. It was at this point that the stories became odd for me to hear, as I was one cast members. Sam's voice echoed through the night telling the legend of my life and the life of my family. Seth and I had become the talk of lore. I was Jacob Black, the lone alpha, pledged to protect our tribe for eternity. Seth was my faithful, if not way too young sidekick. In Sam's version, I was a hero for having the wisdom to set aside our long-standing hatred of The Cold Ones, to unite with the Cullens to defend the tribe and the town of Forks against newborn vampire armies and maniacal vampire regimes. Seth was the brave young wolf that defied the prejudices of the tribe to stand by me.
As Sam's words washed over me I cringed or nearly laughed at how glorified and inspirational my story had become. I was now legend. Part of me was deeply honored that the Quileute youth would see me as a hero and a great man. However, I knew the truth was a bit more tainted than Sam's rousing stories. In the ensuing years, I worked hard to become a better man than I was back then. Maybe one day I would see myself as half the man my legend chronicles, but even seventy-five years after the fact, that young and foolish phase of my life still fills me with remorse.
~The Bella Phase ~
I could still remember the day Charlie Swan came down to the rez to tell Dad and I his only daughter, Bella, was coming to live with him. I could barely control my own excitement upon hearing the news. Even as a young kid, I had been infatuated with Bella Swan. She and I would make mud pies and play house together during her summer stays with Charlie. As we got older, her trips to Forks stopped, but I still found ways to get my Bella fix. Every time I visited Chief Swan's house I would sneak off to look at the collection of pictures that Charlie proudly displayed of his little girl.
As I approached my teenage years, I found I compared the girls I met on the reservation to the girl pictured on Charlie's mantel. When I allowed myself, I would daydream about Bella. Many times my thoughts of her were platonic and innocent in nature. However, after I pilfered an extra sophomore school picture Charlie had lying around the house, my fantasies became much more mature. Quil and Embry had their hidden playboy magazines…I had my three-by-five picture of Bella.
Once I learned she was moving to Forks, I cautiously asked my Dad and Charlie questions about her. When I found out Dad was thinking of selling Charlie our old truck for Bella to use, I worked tirelessly on rebuilding that old clunker for her. I had no experience with girls, but I knew engines, so I'd hoped my automotive handiwork would impress her.
Once she arrived, I knew I was out of my league; her school picture didn't do her justice. In the year since the well-worn picture was taken, she had matured and blossomed. She was two years older than me, but I knew that wouldn't matter in a few years. I was desperately drawn to her and I wasn't about to let a couple dozen of months stand in my way.
The biggest problem was that I didn't get to see her often. She had been enrolled in Forks High, and I was attending school in La Push. Plus, I had been too young to drive, even though Dad had let me do it anyway around the rez. Driving out to Forks alone would have been impossible. Charlie might have been a close friend of my Dad's, but he would have still cited me for underage driving. At the time, it drove me mad thinking that someone from Forks could steal her away from me. That someone would surely have been old enough to drive.
Except for our visit when she first arrived, I hadn't seen Bella again until she and her friends came down to the beach several weeks later. It rained that day, but I had never enjoyed being down at the beach more. I'd been crushed to learn that Bella had invited one of the Cullen boys to join her. The Cullen's reputation on the reservation was really bad. In fact, rumor had it that they were not allowed anywhere near La Push, which lead to stories that they were the fabled "Cold Ones" Billy often spoke of. After I'd heard that Bella had become friendly with one of them, I counted myself as another Quileute who hated the Cullens.
That day had improved greatly as I got to walk along the beach alone with Bella. It hadn't seemed to matter to her that I was two years younger. She could've spent time with her friends, but instead she walked with me. I loved every accidental touch and shy look Bella gave me. I was so wound up in her. I openly and willingly spilled our tribe's most sacred secrets to her. However, in my defense, I thought they were just silly stories back then.
Unfortunately, I saw Bella sporadically for the next ten months. She had started dating Edward Cullen and Dad forbade me to go anywhere near him or his family. Since Bella always had one of the Cullens with her, our contact had been minimal. During that time, I had gone through a huge growth spurt that I would later recognize as the first part of my shifter gene activating itself. I remember being very anxious for Bella to see my new body. Beyond my obvious bulk and height, I no longer looked younger than her.
By the start of the next school year, my luck had changed for the better. Edward and his family had moved away suddenly, paving the way for Bella to finally become mine. She had been devastated, but I waited not so patiently for Bella to come around. During that time, Dad and I kept telling Charlie to have Bella come visit the reservation, but she refused. That was until, she showed up on my doorstep one day with two broken motorcycles in tow.
Bella had asked me to help her restore the two bikes back to working order. Of course, I'd agreed. Although, she could've asked me to take the bikes apart and eat the pieces one by one and I would have done it.
For the next couple of months we worked on the bikes together. When she first showed up, she looked like death warmed over. I hated how effected she was by the Cullens leaving. I hated the Cullens for putting Bella through hell, but I didn't wish their return. I enjoyed each and every day we spent together. She often told me I was like her own personal sun, but the reverse was true during those months we toiled over the bikes. Something deep inside me needed Bella. When I was around her I could believe that my future held more than just a dingy life on the reservation. She allowed me to hope for better things. I may have been crazy about her before, but I had become convinced that I was madly in love with her.
My one worry had been that Bella was too eager to get the bikes running. She looked and seemed happier, however her singular focus had made me wonder if she was going to disappear on me after they were complete. I wasn't certain my heart could take that. After I got the bikes done, I found the balls to talk to her about what had been worrying me. I felt relieved and a bit smug that even without the bikes, she would have still spent time with me.
The motorcycle riding was a disaster. I had been an idiot for not making Bella wear a helmet, but I wanted her to think I was cool and not controlling. Bella crashed and hit her head pretty hard. I admit that I willfully flaunted my body when I took off my shirt so it could be used to clear up the blood from her head wound. For a moment it appeared to have worked. For the first time, Bella looked at me as if I was more than a friend and she told me she thought I was beautiful. My mind, heart, and libido all raced to different conclusions over Bella's admission. My heart swelled with pride and love that Bella finally lowered her emotional walls and admitted she found me attractive. My libido shot electrical impulses straight to my groin over the slightest hope that Bella might want me like I had wanted her. However my mind, which had been a slower to register its reaction, dowsed my joy and arousal with the comprehension that Bella's ogling and compliments were probably due to her head trauma and not her actual feelings. The worst part about it was I swore I heard her call out something about Edward Cullen right before she had crashed.
After the motorcycle incident, Bella got it into her head to try hiking. She had wanted to look for someplace specific in the forest. My guess at the time had been that Edward Cullen had shown it to her once and she wanted to find it again. I had been tempted to tell her I wasn't interested, but eventually I saw it as a great opportunity to spend more time with her, regardless if she had been motivated to find a placed she had shared with Edward. I had been determined, that should we find it, I would do whatever was necessary to erase any memory she may have had of him in that forest.
The hiking had been going well when two unthinkable things happened in the same night. I went out to the movies with Bella and some nub named Mike. I finally got the balls to tell Bella that I cared for her beyond just friendship. She shot me down, but I had been expecting that. I'd just wanted to plant the seed of an "us" with her. Then, as only my luck would have had it, I found out I was a werewolf that night when I phased after I got home from my date with Bella.
I had heard the stories of my tribe dozens of times prior to that night, but I never once considered them to be real. What an eye opening night that was. I barely made it home before I felt immense pressure and power growing inside me. It felt as if my body was going to expand and explode. I had been sure I was near death as my body convulsed and excruciating pain ripped through me. My screams and pleas for death to take me were countered by my Dad's quiet whispers that it would all be over soon. After a final blinding surge of pain and energy, my consciousness fundamentally shifted and I found myself looking at the world through a wolf's set of eyes.
My first act as a wolf had been to howl mournfully as my new reality took root. The elder's stories were all true. I had become a werewolf and the Cullens were The Cold Ones.
Sam spent many days helping me through the transition from teenager to shape shifter warrior. During that time, I'd become furious and angry towards everyone. I detested my Dad and the elders. Despite their efforts to help, I shunned Sam and the other pack members. I really loathed the Cullens. But most of all, I despised myself.
My future was never going to be that bright. My chances of making a lot of money were slim, but I knew if I had Bella, I wouldn't care. A simple, quiet life with kids and my wife would be nice. After I phased, I hated myself because my own DNA had taken my choices away from me. Sure, the vampires had triggered my change, but my own blood - the blood of my people, forefathers, and family – doomed me to my pseudo-canine existence.
If I could've been honest with myself at that time, I would have acknowledged that I had liked the power and strength. Hunting wild game was a bit fun, but the idea of actually tearing apart a vampire had given me a very soul-satisfying thrill. Each of us in the pack had the same perverse need rip apart a bloodsucker. The first time Sam led me to a vampire track, the disgustingly sweet smell left by the leech triggered an almost uncontrollable need to rip into something. Vampires had their bloodlust and the pack had our venom-lust.
What I'd struggled with the most was the idea of imprinting. I saw through Sam's communal thoughts what had happened between him and Leah the moment he saw Emily. I'd hated him for what he did to Leah, but after seeing Sam's memories and thoughts, I knew he had no choice. It was if a million invisible tendrils joined him to Emily. He was bound to her just as much as he was bound to our duty to protect our people.
I had stayed away from Bella because of the ominous power of the imprint. I'd been scared of what that would mean for us. It didn't mater how much I cared for her, if she wasn't my imprint, then our fate would have been the same as Sam and Leah's. If I'd seen my destined partner, any feelings I had for Bella would be eclipsed and pushed aside. However, if I was fated to imprint on Bella, I was scared that she wouldn't accept me because of the monster I'd become. In a brief moment of anger, Sam scarred Emily. The thought of physically hurting Bella because of the wolf hidden within me had been crippling.
Soon though, Bella had enough of my excuses and sought me out. The moment our eyes met, I could feel the tendrils of the imprint reaching out to Bella. My heart soared as they neared her, but my joy had been short lived. Upon nearing her, the tendrils were repulsed and they faded away. My heart sank. I had never wanted to kill something as much as I had wanted to at that moment. I knew I needed to push Bella away. I could not, would not, do to her what Sam did to Leah. However, I couldn't give her up. Every time I looked into her eyes I felt the imprint search for her only to be snuffed out. My heart died another death each time it happened. I had seen the imprint process in the thoughts of my pack mates. For them it had been simple, obvious, and all encompassing. Unfortunately, no one had any ideas why I was broken.
The months that ensued were maddening. I couldn't stay away from Bella. I knew I still loved her, but this was more. Despite her accepting Edward, my blood enemy, back into her life…despite her being madly and insanely in love with him, I kept pursuing her.
Had I understood at the time what the future held, I would have handled things much differently, but my actions were rarely prudent or wise around Bella.
I had convinced myself that what had held back my ability to imprint with Bella was some kind of spiritual poison Edward Cullen had infected her with. His presence in her heart had blocked my imprint. I naively concluded that if I could get Bella to truly accept and love me, then Edward's hold on her would be broken. Even in his absence, the poison still held because she refused to allow her heart to see us together.
What transpired after my misguided epiphany, still shames me greatly. I would like to be able to say it had been my need to imprint that caused my disgraceful actions, but it wasn't. I was neither skilled in the matters of the heart, nor mature enough to gauge the emotional pain I could inflict by my actions. Despite how close I always considered myself to Bella, Edward always had the upper hand. Where he was patient, I was brash. Where he was wise, I was foolish. Where he was forgiving, I was cruel.
We were playing a man's game, and I was still boy, if not in body, but in mind. During that time leading up to our fight with Victoria's newborn army, it had never crossed my mind that Edward had been Bella's true mate. Instead of coming to this realization, I employed emotional blackmail and desperation in my final bid to win her. In the end, Bella finally admitted to loving me, but like Sam's feelings for Leah, it just wasn't enough. Vampire mating is just as powerful as our imprinting. Edward and Bella were mates. I could never break that bond.
After my physical battle injuries had healed, I left my family and the pack. I ran away. At first I had left to heal my emotional wounds, which ran deep. But that had only been part of it. I truly loathed myself – not the wolf – but rather the person I had become. I had forced myself upon and emotionally extorted the woman I had professed to love. The wolf was never the monster inside me, the boy trying to be a man was. So I had decided to embrace the wolf and bury my humanity.
Even at Bella and Edward's wedding, my human instincts failed me. The wolf in me told me to stay away, but my heart wanted to see her again. Just like before, the imprint wisps flexed themselves, but nothing more. I 'd always despised the idea of Bella becoming a vampire. Despite how the Cullen's chose to exist, my blood had dictated my hatred towards them all. In my mind, Bella becoming an evil, soulless parasite was unthinkable and was only eclipsed by the thought of Edward killing her during the honeymoon she had so desperately wanted.
At Bella's wedding I had discovered that my feelings for her had shifted. Or rather, my own understanding of the feelings I felt for her had shifted. My time away gave me a bit of perspective. I stilled cared deeply for her as I always had, but it was not a romantic attachment I was looking for. I needed something from her, but just like my faulty imprint instincts, I couldn't quite grasp what it was. I had allowed my frustration over this new realization to cloud my judgment. Ultimately, my ignorance and misguided youth-enflamed indignations caused me to lose my cool again and hurt Bella on the one day that was truly supposed to be about her. As I was dragged off into the woods that night, I'd wished beyond anything else I could just let her go, but I couldn't.
Weeks later, when Bella returned from her honeymoon pregnant, I felt as if I was being torn apart. My soul was hollowed out by the guilt I harbored of my previous actions towards her. My anger at Edward for sentencing Bella to death, either by his spawn or by my tribe, incinerated me. The shame I felt on turning my back on my blood and dividing the pack by irrationally defending Bella, and the monster growing inside of her, was crippling.
However, everyday that Bella's pregnancy progressed I felt that something was coming. I knew Bella and my attachment to her was about to end. The words of my elders haunted me. Just like a leaf that is cast on the wind is helpless to it's fate, so was I. Each day I was drawn more tightly into my fate. It suffocated me. I had become willing to sacrifice all that I was for this impending fate. When Edward had asked for permission to save Bella, I had nothing left to give as the true chief of the people I had betrayed but my consent.
The day Bella gave birth was a turning point in my life. The chains of guilt, anger, betrayal, and confusion that bound and weighed upon me, gave way to my life's savior. I found out that day just how powerful the urge to imprint was. Its influence on a person's life and fate was a phenomenal force to be reckoned with. Each of my blind actions and misguided feelings had delivered me to that perfect moment when I looked upon my destined partner. My ability to imprint had never been defective, but rather it sensed beyond what my clouded mind could never comprehend at the time…It had always been the promise of what Bella could bring into my world that I sought out.
The clarity I had gained in that moment rocked the pillars of my life. Looking back at my relationship with Bella, I could then realize that my love for her was never what a husband should have for his wife. Youthful naiveté, hormones, and a complete misunderstanding of the power of imprinting, marred my feelings. For years, Bella had been a necessary evil in my life. For the later part of those same years, Edward Cullen had been necessary as well. I needed them both. I needed them to love each other and endure a seemingly unending path of obstacles so they could bring into this world what my heart and soul truly needed…Renesmee Carlie Cullen.
~The Renesmee Phase ~
It was never lost upon me how inappropriate it must have appeared to others that I imprinted on an infant. Not just any infant, but a half-human, half-vampire infant. The members of the pack understood completely and unconditionally, but for outsiders, it gave the impression of being perverted and depraved. I couldn't have cared less. In that one instant, my only desire was to protect and nurture Nessie. Over time, I knew my feelings would transition and change, but my love for her on that day was no different than that of a guardian and caretaker.
The lethal tensions between the pack, the Cullens, and myself quickly transformed into an unbreakable supernatural partnership. My people's history told us that the compulsion to imprint existed to help ensure the survival of the tribe. Each imprinted union was destined and served a greater good beyond that of finding one's fated partner. Years after Nessie's birth, she confided in me that I was her mate. Vampire mating is as powerful as imprinting. The ancient magic that powered my shape shifting and Nessie's immortality meant for us to be together.
Carlisle and Edward later hypothesized that my imprint on Nessie, and her subsequent mating on me was necessary. When the Cullens first met our people, times were simpler for both groups. Subsequent changes in the human and vampire worlds put our tribe and their coven at increasing risk. Our union helped secure the future for all of us, as once mortal enemies became family.
Despite the close relationship I had with Edward and Bella, it was a bit of a shock to them that I imprinted on their child. Edward was initially irate, but I was never so grateful he could read my mind. Once he understood the depth of my feelings, he cooled…a bit.
Bella was not as understanding, and I couldn't blame her. She awoke as a vampire to the news that I had claimed the future of her daughter even before she had a chance to see her. It was a good thing that I healed quickly. After few much needed hunting trips on Bella's behalf and Nessie's gift of showing her mother how much she already cared for "her Jacob", things got better between us…slowly.
I remember one day when Carlisle and Esme were watching Nessie. Bella and I cleared the air about so many things. I had been an ass for so much of my previous time with Bella. I wanted her to know what I learned about myself since our battle with the newborns. Imprinting had added clarity to what my gut had been trying to tell me for some time: my need for Bella was always strong, but nature never meant for us to be lovers. We both lamented not knowing what fate had in store for us. It would have saved us a lot of anguish, conflict, and misery.
I also confided something that would have been impossible for me to do prior to Nessie. I let Bella know how happy I was that Edward asked for permission to change her, and that he wouldn't relent on not letting her go. Both Nessie and I needed Bella in our lives, and Edward made sure she was brought back to all of us.
Years later, I had another memorable conversation, but this one was with Edward. It was the day I asked him for permission to marry his daughter. I thanked him for fighting for Bella. I let him know that I had never seen such devout love and adoration as I have seen him have for Bella and Nessie. I apologized for once considering him to be soulless. I let him know I could only hope to be as good of husband and father as he was. Over the years, we had become good friends, but earning approval as his daughter's husband meant everything.
The first months after Nessie's birth marked many transitions for me and my pack. My imprint secured an unbreakable peace with the Cullens. Our old prejudices were replaced with the understanding that the Cullens and the Quileutes were not that different. Their need to protect their family was as strong as ours. The pack's mission hadn't changed, but the Cullens were no longer seen as a threat to our people. Listening to Sam tell our stories, he still preached the dangers of The Cold Ones; but his warnings were for the red-eyed monsters, and not our golden-eyed friends and family.
Our stories now included tales of the vampire rulers and the threat they once held for the Cullens and the Quileutes. The Volturi had been a black spot on our collective happiness for decades. My blood boiled knowing that Nessie was the aim of their ire for much of that time.
Our first confrontation with the Volturi, thanks to that Alice's visions and Bella's amazing power, was largely uneventful. Even though the Volturi could declare a symbolic victory that day, a much longer war was brewing. Stories of the Cullens, the Quileutes, and of Nessie spread throughout the vampire and Native worlds. Over the next two decades a tenuous peace existed with the Volturi. Dealing with vampires on a daily basis, I learned that time moved differently in their world. Two decades for the tribe was a long time, but for the Cullens, it was as if only two "human" years had passed.
During those twenty years of peace, many changes had taken place. Nessie grew up happy and healthy. Sometime between her seventh and eighth birthday, Nessie's ageing slowed to a stop. Despite her physical age, she blossomed into a beautiful woman who could have passed for twenty easily. One of Emmett's running jokes with Bella was that her daughter looked older than she did. All humor aside, we were glad when Nessie's aging slowed and halted, even though Carlisle and Edward felt confident that Nessie's vampire genes would kick in once an optimal maturity had been reached.
During that same period, Carlisle, Edward, Sam and myself worked on understanding the genetics behind our shape shifting. Some of the tribal elders were against this, but the Cullen's motives were sound. My imprinting on Nessie crated some interesting puzzles that Carlisle insisted on investigating. It appeared as long as we phased, our bodies ceased to age. If I wanted to spend eternity with Nessie, I would need confirmation of this. Also, Sam wanted to know if there was a way to reverse the agelessness. Immortality had become an issue for most of the pack, as their partners were aging normally.
After a lot of tests, gene sequencing, and discussions in which I understood few of the words, we had some answers. Our shape shifting was brought on initially by pheromones the vampires gave off. In others words, their stink caused a genetic trigger to fire in our bodies. In the days leading up to, and the couple weeks following, our first phasing into wolves, our cellular makeup fundamentally mutated. The change was permanent. However, our advanced healing and agelessness was a byproduct of our phasing, and not the close contact with vampires. As long as we keep phasing, our bodies will repair any cellular and tissue damage. This constant and accelerated state of repair is what kept us frozen at a certain age, as well as fuelled our immense appetite.
The solution to the pack's and my separate dilemmas ended up being relatively simple: any pack member that wanted to age normally just had to refrain from phasing. It varied a bit by the pack member, but it took about a year for a normal metabolism to return. Leah was the first pack member to voluntarily stop phasing. About ten months after her last phase, she reported back that her body's metabolism had settled and returned to her previous human state. About three years later, Leah imprinted on a fellow classmate of hers. We were all surprised that the compulsion to imprint still remained, but very happy Leah met her fated partner. They married a year later and went on to have three beautiful kids.
The others in the pack each decided what they thought would be best for them. Some stopped immediately, others waited. Sam felt it was best for two or three members to remain wolves as an insurance against nomad vampires or the Volturi. As alpha, Sam felt obligated to phase and patrol regularly. Seth also kept phasing; along with myself, that gave the tribe three protectors.
The solution to my worry about staying as immortal as Nessie was simple – I kept phasing… a lot. As Nessie got older, she became more vampire in nature. The sparkle of her skin had become more noticeable, which I loved. And her need for sleep diminished until she only required an hour or two every few days. Her diet also slanted more towards blood and raw meat than cooked food. So we hunted together…a lot. Nothing was as sexually thrilling as watching her attack her prey. Needless to say, we didn't hunt much with Edward and Bella after I came to this realization.
Another change in Nessie was with her power. By the time she reached her ninth birthday, she was able show other vampires her memories and thoughts without touching them. From what Bella had told me, they were clearer and more vivid when with physical contact, but nonetheless, Nessie's gift had matured to allow her to detect and focus on a vampire over an ever-increasing distance. This made for some interesting one-sided conversations on Nessie's behalf with Bella and Edward when she wanted to get her way on something.
Once Nessie matured and her vampire traits became more prevalent, she found, much to her dismay that she inherited a bit of her father's mind reading ability. It was limited to her parents, and it required Bella to wrap her shield around them; the three of them could have a strange, round robin conversation that frustrated Nessie to no end. When Edward or Bella wanted to scold Nessie for something, they often used this tactic because it worked over some distance, and Nessie couldn't avoid being reprimanded.
Over time, Bella's power also grew. She learned to focus her shield on multiple targets and with different intensities. She found that she could maintain separate distinct fields, which came in handy when she wanted to block Nessie and my more amorous activities from Edward – still allowing Edward to read her selective thoughts.
In the twenty years or so of peace after our initial run in with the Volturi, we moved away, but stayed within the western region of the North America. Sam remained in La Push, while I traveled with the Cullens. Seth floated between until he finally imprinted. As rumor and lore spread about our run-in with the Volturi, vampires from around the world came to visit. Some ventured out of pure curiosity while others had wanted to learn more about the Cullen's way of life.
On one such visit, Seth imprinted on a Swedish vampire named Inga. Inga was eighteen at the time her change, which happened in 1931. When she heard stories of the golden-eyed Cullens and their family life, she wanted to come and learn more about their alternative lifestyle. Inga had never mated until she saw Seth. Watching them meet was strange. Not one word passed between them as they chased one another into the woods with lust radiating from them both. Two weeks later they emerged sated and partnered for eternity. Inga took to the Cullen's way of life with relative ease. She was motivated by decades of hating her previous diet and her love for Seth.
Inga was not the only convert. Nomads from Dubai, Miami, Rome, and nowhere in between, sought us out. We were never sure how many stayed with the diet, but enough tried the Cullen's approach to catch the attention of the tyrants in Volterra. Jasper was the first to see the fight coming our way. He said that the only thing worse than breaking the Volturi laws, was trying to create a vampire culture that no longer needed them to govern. As he saw it, large numbers of animal drinkers posed the greatest threat to the Volturi. Jasper pleaded with Carlisle for the family to disappear for a few decades, but nothing had been settled on. Alice's visions were clouded because of our tribe's presence; Jasper had been in enough wars to know that two decades of peace was about to end. It did end, but the fight we had was nothing we could have ever expected.
Caius had captured several members of the Yekooche tribe. Their ancestry also spoke of shape shifting, although the bear were their preferred animal. The Volturi kept them sequestered in Volterra. The close proximity to the vampires caused the young captives to phase, and the Yekooche's transformation clouded Alice's vision of the happenings in Italy. The Volturi tested this on several occasions unbeknownst to the Cullens, the Denalis, and my tribe.
Without Alice's ability to predict their arrival, members of the Guard descended upon our home while Bella and Inga were out hunting. Without Bella's shield, we were all disabled quickly by Alec's power. By the time the mental fog Alec produced subsided, we found ourselves captives in some decrepit, Mexican castle owned by a vampire Jasper once knew named Maria. This time no public trial was to be held. Once Aro, Caius, and Marcus arrived, we were to all be executed except for Edward, Nessie, and Seth who would be used as bait to capture Bella and Inga, should they try a rescue.
The day of our execution came. Caius angered Seth and myself until we phased into our wolf forms. He wanted to personally dismember me as a wolf as vengeance for an ancient grievance with a real werewolf. Caius held my Nessie captive in his stony grip as he taunted her with being forced to watch him tear me limb from limb.
Alec and Jane used their powers to subdue us all, and I could not do anything except mentally communicate back and forth with Seth. If we could break free from Alec's fog, we could take out a few of the vampires, maybe even one of the Volturi rulers, but they had vastly superior numbers. Maria had eight vampires under her command and the Volturi had another eleven. It would be almost two-dozen combat-experienced and talent-laden vampires against two wolves. We would not get far, but for Nessie I would do it in a heartbeat.
Aro signaled his Guard to commence with the slaughter of our families. Immediately, Edward doubled over in pain as Jane unleashed her power on him. Nessie screamed out seeing her father writhing, which brought a sinister smile to Caius and most of the guard.
It was ordered that Jasper was the first to be destroyed as special payment to Maria for her assistance. Maria held Alice and forced her to watch Felix slowly rip the limbs from Jasper. With both arms and legs detached, Felix was instructed to remove his head. It was at this point that everything started to change.
In our heads, Seth and I heard Sam's thoughts. At the same time I could see Edward and Nessie's eye's glaze over a bit. A burst of mental voices flowed through me. An army of our own was in route and only moments away. Sam with Embry and Quil, the Yekooche alpha Thurman with three bears, the Denali coven, Inga, and Bella were racing towards us. Sam let me know that Bella was using their strange three-way link to let Edward and Nessie know what was about to happen. Through my eyes, the wolves and bears saw what awaited them. They were seconds away and Thurman directed his men to approach from behind. Sam sent out his own orders. Seth was to direct the Yekooche's attack against Maria's vampires. Sam, Embry, and Quil would focus on the Guard. I was to go after Caius and secure Nessie. During this, I could hear Bella telling Sam that Nessie and Edward were ready, and that Nessie had pushed out to the Cullens what their targets were to be.
An instant before all hell broke loose, I felt Bella's shield envelope us and Alec's fog dissipate. The eyes of our enemies glazed as I surmised Nessie was flooding them with some potently distracting mental images. At the same time Alice started maniacally laughing. As Sam and the others burst through the castle doors, we all attacked.
Edward's target was Aro and Marcus. His speed and anger was no match for them. Edward's struck like a viper as his teeth removed Aro's head cleanly before anyone else had even engaged their target. Marcus fell to his knees in capitulation before Edward grabbed his head and wrenched it from his body.
I lunged at Caius. I targeted the force of my blow to simultaneously knock Nessie to safety and to pin him against a stone pillar. Before he could wrap his arms around my torso, I twisted my head around and bit through his neck, cleaving the head from Caius' body. I then positioned myself between Nessie and any other threat.
Bella and Inga descended upon Alec and Jane in a blur of fury. Only Alec and Jane's screams and the metallic screeching of their bodies being torn to shreds could be distinguished until Bella and Inga came to a stop on top of their target's tattered remains.
The agonizing pain of having been forced to watch the dismemberment of her mate had unhinged Alice. She kept up her creepy laughter as she attacked Maria. Alice's movements were slow, deliberate, and powerful. She continuously struck out by raking her teeth and nails across Maria's body. Each pass dissected a small piece of her foe. Between each assault, Alice suspended her cackling just long enough to taunt or curse at Maria. The crazed look in Alice's eyes alternated between intense pain for her mate and perverse pleasure for extracting her vengeance. Alice's attack was cruel and violent. Maria suffered greatly before Alice finally ended her.
Around the periphery, my Quileute brothers, along with the Denali and Cullen covens, engaged the Guard. Without their leaders or primary weapons, the Guard fell quickly to the speed and ferocity of the onslaught.
Seth and Thurman's bears attacked Maria's army, who seemed shocked at their strength and ability to breach their granite skin. After Bella came to look after Nessie, I joined the fray. Using our mental link with one another, we surgically divided and destroyed the entire group.
The last of the Volturi to fall was Felix. Emmett finally got his chance to take him on. Surprise and speed largely won out with the others, but this battle was about strength and power. The two giants collided and smashed through walls at a lightening pace. In the melee, a finger became dislodged and Rose quickly collected it after noticing her husbands wedding band attached to it. Emmett refused help from anyone, whereas Felix had no one left to come to his aid. As the goliaths battled, Jasper fought through the pain racking his broken body, to call out battle tactics to help Emmett. The final blow came suddenly as Emmett swept through Felix's knees with a powerful kick that crippled his opponent's legs. While Felix thrashed on the floor, Emmett roared, "burn in hell you fucker," as his fist smashed through and shattered Felix's head clean from his body.
The entire battle took only minutes, but in its wake the balance of power within the vampire world had changed…the Volturi were no more.
The first order of business after the battle was to tend to our wounded and burn our enemies.
A couple of the bears, as well as Sam and Seth, required bones to be reset, which Carlisle tended to.
Alice's insanity subsided as she focused on helping her mate. She and Edward started the slow, agonizing process of reattaching Jasper's limbs. The sickening crunch of bone connecting with socket punctuated his tortured sobs. But vampires mended quickly, and so would Jasper. Across the room, Rose chastised Emmett for making more of fuss about his missing finger being reattached than Jasper did getting his arms and legs grafted back on.
The rest of us gathered pieces of the fallen vampires added them to the fires Bella and Nessie lit. It was unthinkable that our families and allies escaped with only superficial wounds, but we did. The Volturi, having too much confidence in their power and not expecting the tenacity of loved ones fighting for one another, allowed us this unprecedented win.
In the months that followed the battle, word of what happened spread like wildfire through the Native and vampire worlds. In Italy, the Volturi castle was decimated by angry nomads that detested their dictatorship. Many vampires wanted either the Cullens or the Denalis to take on the responsibility of policing their kind. Both families resoundingly turned down the offer.
In the end, the Romanians stepped in and assumed control of the vampire world. The decades that followed since have been largely peaceful. Instead of tyranny and arrogance, the Romanians approach was to seek counsel when needed, but deal with troublemakers harshly. In fact, Carlisle and Eleazar were often consulted upon to help mold the new vampire world order.
Under Romanian rule, most vampires still fed off of humans, but animal drinkers were not considered threats. Likewise, they didn't see the Quileute or the Yekooche tribes as immediate threats. We were far from being allies, but the Romanians did send out warnings to the general vampire population to stay away from our respective lands. During the ensuing decades, occasionally a nomad would come onto our lands, but they were easily chased away. Regardless of the years of peace, we vowed to always remain vigilant and protect our own.
~The Family Phase ~
After we returned from Mexico our lives all changed as time marched on for those around us.
Embry and Quil, who had phased to help out against the Volturi, returned back to their lives and families. Sam had decided to step down as alpha. He was now effectively twenty years younger than Emily. In truth his two teenage sons and ten year old daughter looked more like his siblings than his children. His oldest son, William, had phased two years prior. During the Mexico battle, Sam ordered him to stay behind and protect La Push. When we returned, he handed the alpha reigns over to him.
For a while, Seth and Inga stayed close to La Push to help Sam with William and a couple of the other Quileute youth that had phased. From that time forward, La Push always had three active protectors. As each new group became indoctrinated into our highly supernatural world, Jasper and Seth would return to train them on fighting and tracking techniques.
Our alliance with the Yekooche grew over the years. Cross tribe imprinting on both sides strengthened our bond and created a largely red-eyed vampire free zone up and own the Pacific Northwest and Western Canada. The Yekooche had never trusted the Cullens or the Denalis like we did, but they did set aside their prejudices to take Jasper and Seth up on their offer to help train their young bears.
Even the supernatural world we lived in could not escape the passing of loved ones. Within a three year span of time, Charlie, Renee, and Billy all passed away. As much as we had mentally prepared ourselves for the eventual death of the mortals around us, each passing hit the family hard. Bella, Nessie, and I had never experienced the death of a loved one since we left the ranks of the mortals. At least over time, some of my memories would fade, but for Bella and Nessie, they would always remember the sorrow and grief of each passing with perfect clarity. The aging and death of our friends and family was a constant reminder to cherish the gift of forever I had been granted.
Nessie and I continued to travel with the Cullens. Over the years that Nessie and I had been together, we never really talked about children, as Nessie's half human, half vampire body did not have monthly cycles. Being together was enough for us. That changed after Mexico. Nessie had starting working with Carlisle on exploring the command she had over her body. Just like she could will herself to eat and digest human food if needed, she wanted to know if she could force herself to ovulate. All of this was kept from Edward and myself, as we both would have broken some walls if we knew what Nessie and Carlisle had been up to.
One spring day, Nessie called for a family meeting and informed us all that she and I were going to have a baby. To say I was stunned was an understatement. After the girls squealed and fawned over her, Edward and I cornered her and Carlisle. Sure I was beyond happy that we'd conceived. It was more than I had ever hoped for. However, my immediate concern was for Nessie's health.
Carlisle explained that Nessie begged him to keep all this quiet, because if it wouldn't work, she didn't want me to feel bad. Carlisle had performed some tests, that Edward was not too happy about, that confirmed she did have a supply of viable eggs, but her vampire metabolism did not allow her to have regular cycles. However, they discovered that by giving Nessie a mix of potent fertility drugs, they could trigger her to ovulate on demand. This was hard to achieve because of how fast Nessie's body metabolized the medication, but after a year of trying, Nessie and Carlisle found the right combination and potency.
The strange thing was both Edward and I noticed a change in Nessie just that past month. Her smell was off. Now we both knew what had caused the change.
In the end, Nessie's first pregnancy continued without many issues. Our baby grew faster than a human, but not nearly as fast as Nessie had. Five months into the pregnancy, Nessie's water broke and she delivered a beautiful baby boy. Little Eddie Charles Black entered our world kicking and screaming, and it seemed it took years for him to shut up.
Eddie had human, vampire, and, as we learned shortly after his first birthday, shape shifting traits. Eddie had been playing chase with Uncle Emmy, while the rest of us looked on. He'd been frustrated that he couldn't catch Emmett, so in mid-stride he phased into a small wolf pup and ran Emmett down. Emmett wasn't aware of what happened behind him, so with the puppy now licking his face, he asked Nessie when we had decided to get Eddie a dog. From that point on, little Eddie enjoyed being in animal form so much that Alice started buying him dog clothes.
Eddie grew up at a close to normal pace, unlike his twin sisters, who were born a couple of years later. Emily Rose and Jasmine Alice Black were a mixed-trait set of girls as well. Both could shape shift at will from the age of two. Complications with the girl's delivery prompted Nessie and I to decide not to try for any more kids. Our house had become quite full, and the thought of losing Nessie by chancing fate anymore than we had was unacceptable.
Emily and Jasmine may have phased at a later age, but they had grown faster than Eddie. By the time they were eleven they had reached maturity and looked to be about eighteen or twenty. Much to everyone's relief, the girls stopped ageing, however, I was now stuck with two daughters who decided it was time to start dating. The ensuing decades have been brutal as I watched male suitors from the Quileute and vampire worlds take out my daughters. Needless to say, Edward and Bella hadn't given me much sympathy for my predicament.
A couple years after his sisters, Eddie had become full grown and towered over everyone except Emmett. Despite Eddie's early phasing, at maturity he was the most vampire-like out of all my kids. His preferred choice of nourishment was animal blood, but he liked to hunt as a wolf then phase into human form right before the kill. He and his namesake Grandfather got along well…actually, too well if you asked me, as he was prone to brooding fits and melodramatic behavior just like Edward.
Given the genetic mix in my kids, I had no idea what to expect when it came to them finding partners. It appeared that my girls were serial daters and jumped from boy to boy almost monthly, whereas Eddie kept to himself. I wasn't sure to expect them to imprint or find mates or something in between. In the end it didn't matter. What ever made them happy, made Nessie and I happy.
When my girls started dating, Edward pulled me aside to impart some wisdom. Being a parent to an immortal child has many advantages, but some decided challenges. Edward told me he had to fundamentally change how he saw Nessie after she and I became romantically involved. The parent in him wanted to smother and protect Nessie…and to beat me senseless. But given the unique nature of our combined lifestyles and the likelihood of them living in close proximity for extended periods of time, some emotional detachment had been needed. Nessie would always be Edward's daughter, but he now saw her as an adult confidant and mother in her own right. He let me know that I would need to find that balance with each of my kids if I wanted to keep them close for decades to come.
Part of that growth had to happen within me. The kids kept Nessie and I very active, but once they settled into their endless adulthood, we all needed something to focus on besides them. I had attended college with Nessie prior to the Mexico battle. Since having the kids, Nessie and I hadn't been involved with school or with humans. Our first attempt at attending school as a family was a challenge. Guys hitting on Emily, Jasmine, and Nessie made me insane! After those two years in high school and four years in college, we decided to rethink going to school together as a family, if for no other reason than to protect my sanity.
During our next move, the kids enrolled themselves in high school alone, while Nessie and I enjoyed a bit of a honeymoon before attending graduate school with Emmett and Rose.
We continued moving largely as a family until just recently. Seth and Inga had been living near the Denali coven for a while, but wanted to be closer to Forks. Last year during one of Seth's visits to La Push, Eddie had joined him. It had been Eddie's first trip to La Push. During his visit, Eddie mated or imprinted – I wasn't sure what the correct term would have been – on Sam's eighteen-year-old great granddaughter, Lisa. Upon meeting Eddie, Lisa phased within two weeks. After she adjusted, she imprinted on Eddie in return. Nessie and I were so happy that Eddie found his eternal companion. Our girls were still single, but Nessie and I knew that one day they would find their partners.
~ The Next Phase ~
Old Sam concluded the bonfire by calling upon the spirits of the previous protectors and elders to watch over the tribe. As the group broke up, I heard the sound of my family approach from behind.
Tomorrow was Eddie's wedding to Lisa out at the old Cullen estate in Forks. Even though I looked the same as I did seventy odd years ago when the last wedding occurred at that house, I was a changed man in every other respect. Those now closest to me were wolves, vampires, and a gaggle of hybrids that really couldn't be defined except to say that they were my family. The naïve, selfless boy I once had been, had somehow become a husband and a father, and according to Old Sam's words, a legendary warrior and wise man of peace.
Once Nessie tucked herself into my side, my family and I all walked down to the beach. It was time to greet old friends I hadn't seen in years and meet the new ones that would soon be family. Tonight, Sam and I would close out another phase of our lives. Tomorrow his great granddaughter would marry my son. Afterwards, Eddie and Lisa had decided to live close to La Push for a few years, while my girls were going to visit their cousins up in Denali for a while. Whether I liked it or not, another phase of my life would begin tomorrow, but for now I was going to enjoy the end of this one.