Warnings: Slash, angst, character death (not Jake or Edward)
Disclaimer: Stephenie Meyer owns Twilight, not me. This is for fun, not profit.
Summary: AU of Breaking Dawn. Jacob runs after he receives the wedding invitation and doesn't return. That makes all the difference.
After I got the invitation to her wedding, I just dashed out of the house. Didn't listen to Dad calling me back, I wanted to phase so much! I took off the t-shirt, not caring about the rain splattering down upon my body. It felt refreshing, liberating even. Felt so heavy inside, as if my heart would burst out of my chest. I couldn't believe Bella would go through with it.
I ran, and the only sound that registered in my hazy mind was the soft thudding of my paws against the grass. Hadn't realized I had shifted. Didn't care, really.
The wolf's mind helped me concentrate on the essential things like the smell of food and prey around me and the liberty of the woods. Distracted me from the pain in my chest. Should've listened to the wolf long ago. He wanted to be the Alpha, he wanted to dominate. I didn't let him though, trying to become the perfectly behaved gentleman so the damned girl would pay attention to me! Fat lot of good it did!
Running north, the woods passing by me in a blur, I made my decision. If she didn't want me, I wouldn't ever go back to Forks. I would run until all my problems had been left behind. I'd follow the moon wherever she led me and if time passed and I forgot about them, so much the better.
Couldn't escape my imagination though. It tortured me as the trees blended into one another, as my legs tired and my lungs wheezed; it was a shadow I couldn't leave behind. I pictured Bella in her fucking wedding dress, holding hands with him as the priest or whoever blessed them. My lips curled up in a smirk as I wondered if the priest would be aware that the girl who was marrying wasn't long for this world. Bella would be another Cold One, she who once held my heart.
The miles merged with each other, day became night and day again. I was hungry. Smelled a deer upwind of me. The poor unwary beast was thirsty and had gone to drink in a creek.
I pounced on it and my jaws closed around its neck. Strangely, I felt invigorated. Leastways I could do this. Narrow the world to simple thirsts I could slake.
The wolf helped me by forcing me to think in simple terms; to see the land with the simplicity of an animal and face the cold, cruel facts. Bella's lips sweet upon my tongue, her warm body cuddling against mine in the kiss that gave me hope again, promising more if only I'd make it out of the newborn battle alive. Taunting me, bribing me so she wouldn't have my death on her conscience. What kind of fucked-up relationship was that? How could she kiss me when Edward's sickly sweet taste lingered all around her? At least the leech was honest, painfully so.
I'd been outside in the snow when Edward mentioned their engagement. I was angry of course. But now, with only the sun as my witness and the dead animal at my feet, I realized he'd displayed the kindness of a predator, just like I did when I efficiently dispatched the deer so it wouldn't suffer. Cullen didn't want me to have false hopes. It was much more than Bella ever did. My hackles rose and I tore a huge chunk of meat off the dead animal, remembering his words, 'He deserves to know.'
He and I, we had this in common. We didn't toy with each other. We knew what it was like to kill or be killed. Somehow, my anger at him abated. I had fought for Bella and lost. Could I have won though, when she was desperate to become one of them? When she accepted the marriage just so Cullen would turn her?
Running had made me tired. Didn't care that night had fallen. I wouldn't get cold anyway. I sat on my haunches on the soft loam. Looking at the night sky I remembered her expressionless face when she visited me after the newborn had crushed my body.
The pain had helped me concentrate on the light bulb above me, the sweat dripping from my face and body and the bandages soft on my chest as I poured out my heart to her. Bella just ignored my heartfelt words and left me alone, to be cared by my brothers. This was the moment I started saying goodbye to the girl I'd loved, the awkward Bella that clung to me after the leech left her.
But why was I so angry? Bella's decision didn't surprise me. Was it the thought that she would marry him?
What the hell did she expect me to do once I found out? I shook my muzzle and howled at the moon, going on until I was too tired.
Before I fell asleep, I realized that if Cullen cared enough about me to let me know about their engagement, it wouldn't surprise me if it was him who sent the invitation.
My dreams were restless and painful, but the wolf brought a sharpness to my mind that allowed me to say good-bye to Bella. My feelings reduced to the raw essentials, I pictured Cullen's smoldering look whenever he looked at me. There was an intensity in his eyes I hadn't seen anywhere else. I sighed sadly, realizing I craved the conflict and passion the leech displayed when he fought with me. Who would ever fight with me like this?
It didn't hurt as much as I thought, taking my final leave of Bella. My chances with her had always been just a damned pipe dream. It was the intensity of the rivalry I liked, getting to her and seeing how angry the leech looked when I kissed her. That would never be mine now.
I lost all sense of time and my days passed like the wind. I hunted when I got hungry and found streams to drink from. At night my wolf eyes would dimly follow the Ghost Road, the river of stars that bisected the sky in what the Iroquois called the Great Sky Road.
I constantly howled at the moon, my only companion, my compass. And I became strong again, free of the dreams of my youth.
There'd been a sliver of moon when I started this journey that had become a kind of quest. Something in my wolf chest burst with joy as the moon grew. Some nights it hung low over the mountains.
When I met the other wolf, the Silver, the moon was peering over the tall pines in the woods.
The wolf attacked me. The foolish silver-grey male didn't care I was so much bigger than him. So he wanted to prove he was the Alpha, huh? It was easy for me to close my jaws around his furry neck and thrash his body back and forth. I couldn't kill the silly wolf though, not only because of the taboo. I recognized the desperate challenge in the wolf's eyes, a defiant look that reminded me of someone I used to know. Edward Cullen.
With a mighty heave, I hurled the grey wolf against the brush and ran towards the river.
Another week or two passed. The river led me to the sea and I stayed on a beach. One morning, I was watching the full moon sink into the ocean and now I cursed it because it had grown. That meant time had gone by in the place where Bella and her husband lived. I pawed the sand and sighed. Surely they had been married for weeks. I howled despairingly at the moon.
Sinking my muzzle to the gritty sand, I wondered if Bella would get everything. With the luck the girl had, wouldn't surprise me if she miraculously ended up with a kid. She'd find one in whatever place the leech took her on their honeymoon and they would adopt. Bella would have her perfect little family.
Not that I cared anymore.
The wolf confronted me though, he forced me to realize I still cared, very much so. I missed them, both Bella and Edward. But I wouldn't go back, ever.
I sank my muzzle into my paws. Why did I miss the damned leech? Could it be I somehow imprinted on Cullen? I couldn't explain the intensity of my feelings for the Cold One that snatched Bella from me. I didn't have the revealing moment Quil talked about, when the world was wrenched from under my feet and arranged itself in a new way. I was confused and this time my wolf didn't help. He just watched me.
I felt sick to my stomach at the thought that the next time I saw him, he would be Bella's.
Under the cool gaze of the sinking moon, I felt like a stranger peering in on the love that would be forever kept from me. They were as good as gone from my life.
I was alone.
I whimpered, and when I took a deep breath to howl again at the disappearing moon I smelled the horrid stench of the vampires.
My hackles rose as I sat up and turned my head, growling at the intruder. The pixie stood next to an outcropping, incongruously well-dressed. Her black slacks and jacket looked like they had come from a fashion magazine, as always.
I shifted, unmindful of my naked body. Had nothing to hide after all and I was used to my brothers seeing me like this. Besides, I doubted the pixie would care.
"How did you find me?" My voice sounded hoarse with disuse. She took a pair of cutoff jeans from her purse and threw them at me.
I snarled at her, "Bella told me you can't see me in your visions."
The pixie waited until I was dressed before answering. "It's true, your kind inhibit my powers."
"So?" I glared at her, crossing my arms.
"I had to work hard to find you, mutt."
"Tough luck, pixie," I said, not unkindly. After the newborn attack, I came to a new appreciation of the Cullens. Still disliked them, but I couldn't erase from my mind the care the Doc showed when he treated me.
"My visions? They are like riding a wave." Alice pointed to the left where the surf crashed against the rocks. "They can lift you up and you can see way beyond, and if you're not careful they'll crush you."
"Damn it, get to the point!" I was nervous. Alice's presence could mean so many bad things; new vampires prowling Forks or an attack on Bella.
I snorted, remembering the way Edward protected her. Bella was safe. Edward had the help of his family anyway.
"Even when I ride atop the vision, I can't see you or the place where you are but I can use that fact to guide me." Alice crossed her arms and she also looked at the moon, a woebegone expression on her pale, delicate face. Her hands nervously tried to smooth her rumpled blouse.
"I decided to look for you in Washington," she said. "And I saw myself searching there. Same with Oregon, my visions still kept coming; but when I decided to look for you in Canada, where you are—"
"Your visions blacked out? Couldn't see where you were?" I puzzled my brows in thought.
"Exactly. That method led me to British Columbia, to the road I travelled to get here." She spread her arms to indicate the sea and the sand. "To this beach."
"Fine, but what do you want?" I growled impatiently. Would the pixie ever get to the point?
"I have bad news, Jacob." Alice's lower lip trembled and I noticed how she kept her hands knit together. It was obvious something awful had happened.
"What? Bella's a vampire I guess. The leech turned her." I turned my back to her and crossed my arms, glaring at the ocean as I muttered, "Don't care. I saw it coming."
"No, my brother couldn't turn her." Alice choked back a sob. "Bella died because she got pregnant."
I turned around. Was she joking or something? "Can't be true! What do you mean?"
I couldn't believe it, didn't want to. Bella had to be all right! She had Edward to protect her, the Cullens and the pack. They wouldn't have let her die!
When I looked at the pixie's sad face, I was half-way convinced. I looked intently at her, noting her wrinkled, brand new clothes. She was unkempt and harried, gone was the extreme care she took in her appearance.
My legs failed me and I sat heavily on the sand. Despite everything that had happened, I didn't want Bella to come to harm.
There was something in the pixie's story that didn't ring true, though, and I seized on that desperately.
"How could Bella get pregnant? I thought vampires were-"
"Unable to have children? We thought so too. God, it was a mess!" Alice's voice wavered and lost its hypnotic timbre. She walked slowly towards me, still looking at the ocean.
"Bella and Edward returned from their honeymoon in Brazil, they were astounded by the pregnancy." She crossed her arms and a stray sunbeam fell on her, making her skin shimmer like a ghostly apparition.
"Bet they would," I said.
"The baby grew at an alarming rate. Edward was beside himself with worry and so was Carlisle. We advised her to terminate the pregnancy." She looked down at the waves lapping at the beach with a forlorn expression on her face.
"And Bella, what did she do?"
"She refused to do it. I even begged her! Rosalie protected her. The baby in her womb? It just grew and-"
Alice hid her face between her hands. I looked up at the woman, sympathizing with her misery which mirrored mine.
Finally she continued. "The baby grew so fast. Bella couldn't hold down her meals and became very weak. It was as if the baby rejected normal food. She grew thinner and finally-"
"Bella is stubborn," I said with a catch on my voice. I still couldn't believe she was dead. I frowned, remembering Sam's harsh attitude towards the vampires.
I smacked my forehead. The Treaty! Did the pack attack the Cullens? Was this why Alice came here, so I'd go back and knock some sense into my stubborn pack mates?
"What did Sam do?" I stood up and walked towards the waterline. I started making plans about the best way to convince the council and the pack to leave them alone. It was obvious the Cullens had loved Bella; they were not to blame for her death. The pack was not to attack Edward!
I growled, "The pack came after you?"
"No. They were stunned but since we didn't turn her, and she died of natural causes..." Alice paused and gathered her thoughts. "They were enraged of course, but I guess your leaders -"
"-prevailed. That's not why I came here."
"Then why did you?" I turned to look at her and wiped my wet cheeks with the back of my hand. "Appreciate your telling me this, but why exactly did you come?"
Alice took a deep, unneeded breath and said in a rush, "I've come because Edward asked me. You see, he wants you to kill him and put him out of his misery."
I stumbled backwards. What the hell? I fisted my hands and tried to calm down. "Is he nuts? I'll never—"
"He's read your mind, mutt," said Alice wearily. "He's seen your fantasies when you close your jaws on his head."
"Untrue?" said Alice in her lilting voice. She appeared chirpy again. Obviously she hadn't told me the complete reasons to come here.
"Fine, fine!" I shouted, exasperated. "Dreamed of it, once of twice. Doesn't mean I'd do it!"
Alice sighed. "It's wearying for me to deal with you, mutt. Your future remains hidden to me."
"Good!" I didn't want the pixie spying on me.
"Yet, this is a major reason why I came to see you." She bent and picked some pebbles. "Every decision I took regarding Edward? I had visions which showed him dying in a number of ways."
She threw a pebble far out into the sea. "Either going to the Volturi to have them kill him, or going to the Reservation and letting the wolves do with him what they would. Every path I foresee leads to my brother's death."
I nodded dazedly. I felt cold all of a sudden. I wrapped my arms around myself. First Bella dies and then Edward too? Would everyone I cared for have to die?
"When Edward said he wanted you to put him out of his misery…" She trailed off and threw the last pebble. "There's something in your eyes, Jacob, in the way you look at him that's different from hate. Some passion that… Edward shares with you."
"We're joined by some macabre destiny, I guess." Even though I tried to make light of the situation, I had to agree with the pixie. Those were the same conclusions I had come to when I meditated during those nights under the stars, far away from everything I'd known and left alone with my wolf.
"After I decided to look for you, Edward vanished from my visions. I was frantic at first." She frowned fiercely, an expression I often saw on her face when she looked at me.
"You think Cullen will die at my hands?"
She shook her head. "I had a premonition an hour later. I saw Emmett playing a videogame. Esme was looking at him from the kitchen door and they looked calm. Could be that things will turn out right." She smiled shakily. "Of course, it could also mean you'll kill him painlessly and give Edward the peace he desperately seeks."
"Didn't you hear me, pixie?" I shouted angrily, "Won't return to kill Cullen!"
Alice was crazy if she thought I would destroy the only person that linked me to Bella, to the time when our competition was sharp and exciting.
"If you don't go, he'll die anyway," Alice said. Noting my stubborn expression, she went on, "I hope you'll help him."
"Why should I?" I mumbled. Frankly I was scared of meeting Cullen and the pain it would bring to both of us.
"Your reaction at the thought of doing away with the person that took Bella from you tells me everything I need to know." She muttered sadly, "I'd rather Edward remain hidden to me than dead. That's why I looked for you."
The trip back to Forks passed in a blur. I was too numb to care about Alice's cool Ferrari, which sped through the highway as if demons were chasing us. She managed to find a small road that was unguarded. When I made my way north I didn't carry a passport. Wolves don't need them after all.
The sense of unreality that had been hovering over me ever since the pixie found me became very strong when we got there. Forks looked the same, and yet I felt sadness seeping through the town.
She floored the pedal and the car sped through Forks until we reached the Cullen house.
"Go on," she said, opening the door. "Edward is in his room. It's upstairs."
I went in and nodded at the other vampires. They were silently watching the TV like mute statues. They were in mourning. Even the big one, Emmett, who was always joking.
I trotted upstairs and found his room with some difficulty. I entered and when I looked at him, it felt as if someone had punched me.
My throat was dry and tight, for Edward Cullen lay on a coach in a fetal position. He looked gaunt, his eyes staring at the wall with a lifeless expression. I always taunted him, told him he wasn't alive and wanted to suck Bella's blood. But seeing his vacant expression broke my heart. Despite being a Cold One, Edward had always struck me as someone very much alive, put in this world to tease me and drive me crazy, but very much alive to do so.
He turned slowly to look at me and his voice sounded broken and hoarse. "You're here at last. I killed her, Jacob. It's my fault and I know how much you loved her. I deserve to die and you, you deserve to have your revenge."
He opened his arms and waited for the moment I would become a wolf and do the thing I'd never do.
I leaned forward and framed his head, noting that his hair still was the color of molten copper and tousled, despite his hopeless expression. I looked into his eyes which were empty, bereft of challenge. He who was always smug and proud reminded me now of the wolf I'd fought. And my heart shattered even more.
"Do you think it's so easy, leech?" My hands shook his head, I was vaguely aware of the tears that ran down my cheeks.
My wolf howled in anguish. It was too much, seeing him like this. Now that Bella was gone, only he and I were left. His broken spirit wouldn't heal easily and I let the wolf's instincts guide me.
I leaned down and bared my neck, putting it next to his mouth as I whispered, "You want me to kill you? I'll do it only if you bite me first and tear off my neck!"