The Game

He stared. Rain, soft as a breathe dropped onto the faded red collection of buildings in front of him, and he saw it splatter on the dark visor of his helmet in a swirling, deep pattern, a prism appearing if he squinted his eyes slightly within the million of drops. He could hear it, better than most, and that along with the regular gloom that settled in the town of Forks Washington was enough to set him further on edge, his usually steely nerves unsettled and hyper active.

His hands twitched, his breathe felt harsh, and his right leg was vibrating in a nervous twitch, tapping at an almost blurring speed. He hated being nervous, and though it was an event that was rare, it still irked him. Especially since his rational mind told him that it was idiotic to be nervous at all, he was simply going to meet the girl, tell her his side, grab the Locket, wizz away to the Volturi and hand it in like a good little solider, claim the heir had given it him anonymously, and skip all the way home. Over and done with, the Volturi would stop looking for the heir of Renee, and the girl would be safe. He could drop out after a few years, and go back to the quiet life back in the Phoenix sun and dusty mountains.

He ignored the twist in his stomach as he thought of the fates of the Maiden, Mother and Crone. It was a sad thing, he suppose, helping the Volturi capture the three most powerful souls in the physical plane, as well as giving them the Key to literally find them again and again after they had been used(and killed whispered a small part of his mind), and most likely take over the world. He let out a slight snort at that, thinking that most people of evil inclination had no originality. But the thought of the people that claimed him their solider on the reins of world, with the fate of the very planet in their dark, twisted hands gave him an unpleasant feeling that made him nearly sick.

But he would fulfill his promise.

Part of him hated himself for simply being content with that. But most of him? Didn't care at all. If Isabella was safe, than she was safe, and that was what Phil had asked for. He couldn't carry the world on his shoulders, he was no Atlas, he was a simple guy from Phoenix, a baby sitter to fourth most wanted female in all of the world... But he digressed, and as the shrill bell marked the end of the hour, and what he guessed to be lunch time, since everyone was heading for the cafeteria, he waited for the girl to come out. He didn't have to wait long, the girl was fairly easy to spot with her companions, all taller than her(even if by an inch), with their pale skin, faintly sparkling to his strong eyes, and golden eyes... His breathe hitch. Surely not. But as the smallest of them let out a laugh, twirling in a elegant, effortless turn, her laughter a bell like sound, he felt as if a freight train had rammed him in the side.

Shit. Shit. Shit. And double shit. SHIT.

He could never catch a break he thought. Even removing his helmet could not prove his better vision to wrong, nor change the fact that she was with those...! The fact that they all surrounded her, closing around her as a unit made him very very nervous... And beyond furious. He resolved there and then that he wanted to strangle Isabella. Thoroughly and utterly for tarnishing both his brother's memory, and her mother's. He felt his anger pool into his limbs, making the magic in him react and flow steadily to his fists and feet. He took two deep breathes to dispel this, not wanting to make a spectacle of himself and alert humans.

Thankfully, the girl was quick to notice his lone figure across the lot, and she followed the whispering populace's gaze, landing first on his bike, before it ran the length of his figure. The second the girl's gaze landed on his face, she paled to the point that her pallor resembled that of her... Companions. Her tiny mouth made a small 'o', and for a heartbeat of a second she seemed as if she was going to bolt. Instead she looked over to her companions and spoke quickly and curtly, waving them off as they tired to follow her when she started to walk to him. It was a long walk for her, he could tell she was dragging her feet. He didn't really blame her, but was grateful that he had parked at the furthest end of the parking lot, because no one, not even the creatures, could hear them at this distance.

She hesitated as she approached, wary, he noted... Good. She wasn't going to blow their secret to high heaven by assuming he knew either. Her tiny, heart-shape face was set in a blank face, only ruined by the fact that she was biting her lower lip, and her hands were set casually on her sides.

"Jack Dwyer."she said softly, strange eyes unique to her Coven trained on him, sizing him up no doubt.

"Isabella Swan."he said back, feeling a little bit of satisfaction when she flinched.

They said nothing for a moment, and golden-brown met violet. Bella herself felt a deep, stomach clenching sense of anxiety enter her as she stared at the man that had lost his brother just as she had lost her mother. He was tall, towering and he was scowling. His youthful face was just as Phil's had been, handsome, and humanly striking. However, just as when Bella had met him back when they had been rehearsing for the wedding, she found that his face lacked the genuine warmth and relaxed nature that his older brother seemed to have in excess.

"Why are you here?"she asked softly, not wanting to make small talk.

He simply quirked his brow in a way that made her flush with annoyance, knowing that he had done that very often when he had met her before. And she knew it was to belittle her.

"Why, I'm feeling fine Isabella. Holding up perfectly well after your mother got my brother killed. So good of you to ask."he said sharply, and Bella felt the blood drain for her face again.

"Shut up."she snapped, feeling a hot flash of anger seep into her stomach.

His answering sneer only made her feel even more heat.

"I won't. You smut up their memory by hanging around with such creatures as those, and yet you expect me to be courteous towards the memory of your mother. My brother died for you Isabella Swan. And so did your mother. Don't waste the chance they gave you." he said furiously, reaching out and grasping her slender shoulders in his large hands.

She looked away from him then, the guilt gnawing at her and making some of the heat of her anger fade with it. She felt as fragile as glass with those simple three sentences he had dared utter to her, and it took all her strength to stand on her feet, for her knees were buckling.

"You weren't there Jack... You don't understand... You pretend you do, but you don't."she heard her voice say, and she felt his large fingers dig into her shoulders.

"I understand that the Volturi found the Coven of Twilight and killed their leader trying to find the locket, and I know my brother got caught in the cross fire."he said back.

It was then that she looked back at him, her head whipping around so quickly she might have given herself whiplash. She felt tears gather in her eyes, either of anger or sadness she couldn't tell, but she still refused to let them fall. Jack Dwyer was taken aback of the flame and terror he saw mixed into the irises of Isabella, and was even more taken aback when she pushed away his hands off her shoulders. He hadn't been using his full strength, but the fact that this slight girl had used enough strength to knock of his hands sent a blow to his ego. It also made him nervous, because he could feel her magic in the air, sparking in her system and aiding her heart into pumping more blood into her muscles.

"You shut the fuck up Jack Dwyer."she whispered with toxicity in every syllable, breathe fast.

He took a step back in his mind at her tone. Her eyes were narrowed and her neck muscles were taunt with tension. Right then and there Jack knew he had crossed an invisible line. He had never known the girl to swear, or at least, she had had the manners to avoid it with Phil, and the fact that she had... He felt a chill run down his spin.

"You didn't hear the screams... You didn't feel your mother's blood on your skin... I... I... I have nothing to talk to you about."she breathed, turning on her heel and heading back towards her 'friends'.

As she started to walk away he caught her arm on reflex, not liking it when anyone dared to walk away from him.

"You and I have everything to talk about Isabella Swan, Coven leader of Twilight."he said deliberately.

She didn't turn around but he felt the tension in the small muscles in her arm.

"What do you want Coven leader of Dwyer?"she said just as deliberately, and he felt her thin arm tremble.

"I want you to give up that damned thing from around your neck."

It was then that she did turn around, a sneer on her pretty face that looked very out of place.

"Oh? And what the hell gives you the right to take away my birthright?" She said dangerously.

Her violet eyes all but glowed in her pale face and it seemed to him right there that she was about to unleash magic, and he felt it the air, coming from her slight form. He felt his hair stand on end and he felt his own magic ignite and flow forth to his limbs in preparation to protect himself. It seemed that the witch secret that had been held by their kind for longer than the world had had cities was about to end right then and there. He reached out again, gently as he could, like he would frighten animal, catching her thin wrists between a single hand. Her bones felt like they would snap if he squeezed.

Why did she have to be so fragile?Why did she have to be the one he had to protect?

"Because otherwise the Volturi will hunt you down and kill you just like they did your mother and my brother."he said softly, knowing that his voice cracked.

She bit her lip, looking away, all the fight and the tension of magic in the air leaving in a heartbeat as this girl processed everything. He kept the grips on her wrists firm, and gave a soft sigh. Isabella looked back at him, a small, fake smile that was eating at his conscious. Her violet eyes, her best feature he thought, looked so afraid and above all tired. This girl must be exhausted he thought, learning so much in so little time of her heritage, and loosing her mother all in the same moment. Uprooted and isolated from all that she had known, and finally thrown into a life that could very well kill her. This girl had no place in his world, his world of cruelty and danger and death. Maybe it had been a good thing she had been sealed until this point.

"Please... Please just let me give it in, if I do we'll leave you alone and go chase the next powerful coven to steal their magic somehow. We won't harm you if you have nothing to offer."he said with a quiet fervor.

She looked still for a moment, eyes processing everything, and then they widen in a sense of terror and disbelief.

"We."she said the word like a breathe.

Jack froze at the word, and he felt as if his heart had all but stopped. With a careful movement, Isabella removed his hand from her hands, eyes still as wide and frighten. She took a step back, her mouth a thin, hard line and her magic flowing back with a snap to her body in full force, causing him to take a staggering step back himself to get away from the hot, dry backlash that came from her petite body. It seemed to be a heart-send that she did not produce any visible signs of magic.

"We. As in us. As in your are part of the Volturi."she said it like the curse it was, and seemed as if the girl would jump him right then and there.

"Yes. Recently in fact."he said simply, wondering if his half-assed attempt to protect her was going to back fire on him.

But as if a switched had been flipped, the raging fury of her magic disappeared once again. She looked at him with eyes that bore right through him, and Jack felt himself take another step back in shock. It wasn't because she was intimidating. No, the girl's sheer power was what was intimidating, but the girl herself with her delicate body was not a threat. At least, it wouldn't look at that, and it was something he would get around to teaching her to use to her advantage. But the look in her eyes right now, as she looked at me with a deep, calculating and measuring look that made him feel naked, and while the girl wasn't scary, the look she gave him terrified him.

"You did it to save me."she said this with no dip in her voice as she said each word.

Jack could only look away, feeling a hot shame reach his face. He couldn't look at the girl he had done the most dangerous things in his life for.

"You did it to protect me, so I could give you this and the Volturi can find whatever the Maiden is and leave me alone."she said this again, as if she was she was speaking about the weather, touching at the babble around her neck delicately.

It glowed underneath her thick sweater, in a blue, deep light that only those seriously connected to magic could see.

"Yes."he said honestly.

It was then that Isabella Swan launched herself at him.

Stupidly, Jack had braced himself for an attack of some-sort, and he kept feet wide and ready to receive any type of blow. Because of that, he was completely unprepared for the embrace that the girl gave him, her thin arms were latched at his neck, and he automatically, if awkwardly got his own arms around her to pat her back. He stumbled with her slight weight despite his stance, into his motorcycle.

"Your the stupidest man I have ever met."she whispered, face in his neck.

Jack felt himself both swallow and blush with a vengeance at her words.

"Lately, it seems that I'm the stupidest man on earth."he replied dryly.

She laughed as she disentangled herself from his clumsy embrace, and her eyes were shinning with tears. He cringed, and wished for the earth to swallow him up right then and there. He hopped to God she wouldn't start crying. If she did he would run for the hills, rapidly on his bike.

"My only question now is why... Why are you being so stupid for me? We've met, what, five, six times to learn how to dance for the wedding without me stepping on your toes, Mr. Best Man. I doubt you liked me enough to risk yourself."she said with slight dry, but serious tone. He flinched slightly when she used the nickname she had given him at the rehearsals.

Jack looked away at her words, and wondered why in the hell he couldn't look this girl in the eye half the time...

"Well Miss Maid of Honor, I promised my brother I would protect you."he said it so softly he thought perhaps he had thought it rather than said out-loud, but the girl looked to the ground.

"Thank you."

"Don't thank me until the leave you the hell alone, kid."he said sharply.

She smiled to him then, a small, rueful up turn of her lips.

"I meant for fulfilling your promise to Phil, he was always such a worry wart when it came to me... This would have meant a lot for him."she said simply.

He was struck by her words then. He had thought that his brother hadn't interacted with her much, and that the promise he made was for the sake of his lady love, Renee, but maybe he had been wrong he thought, looking down at her with narrowed eyes. Phil had left a good chunk of the Coven's money, along with a few gifts, to the girl in his will, and along with her own Coven's money, the girl hardly had to work ever in her life. Maybe he had cared for the girl more than he had thought.

"If it hadn't I wouldn't be here."he responded, struck by his own words now.

She smiled again, that small little upwards of her small lips, and he wondered when she had been able to smile again. It had taken him weeks just to be able to do any expression except grimace in pain.

"But you're not just here to make me proud. You hardly know me. You want to get this over with and move on with your life." she said quietly, stepping back.

Jack looked at her for a long time, not knowing what to say. It took him a moment, but he found his voice.

"The world I come from is a dangerous one Isabella, and within it is a game that you never know all of its rules, and will always have be twenty steps ahead or dead. Its not a game you can play, nor do I think you can even stomach. Hand over the locket, and you won't set foot on the game-board, that's all I ask."he said just as softly as she had, stepping forward.

She took another step back.

"So... What's it going to be?"he asked carefully.

She frowned, before she took a deliberate step forward.

"I don't know anything of your world Jack, and because of my mother I don't think I ever fully understand it. I'm scared, and I feel as if I'm about to fall apart. But I do know that the thing around my neck is one of the only things keeping me together. Besides, I've been on the game-board since I was born, just benched."she said softly.

Jack stared.

"What? Gypsy told me everything. I know what my mother did to me, even if I don't know why and I'm going to try my damnedest to correct her mistake. Being a witch isn't by choice, no more than being a wizard."

She took another step forward, and then another, until she was only a foot away from him.

"So tell me Jack Dwyer, what the hell are you going to do to keep me alive now?"

"Teach you." the words slipped out of his mouth before he could think, and at her smile he suddenly wondered what the hell he had done.

"You'll have to make a time-table with my other teacher."she said dryly.

"I dib Saturdays and Sundays."

She laughed. A soft hum sounded from her locket, and both she and he jumped at it. She tilted her head to the right, and her violet eyes sparkled with humor.

"You get part of my Sundays, and the week day mornings. Gypsy gets the rest of the time. I'll make a schedule."her tone was deadpan, but their was seriousness in her irises.

"Your rather prepared for this."he told her.

She snorted.

"My mother was a school teacher, if anything, I got this."she said simply.

Jack didn't say another word as her little friends came rapidly towards them, their skin still glowing and his teeth clenched at the sight of them. One, a lanky redhead was squinting at him, and periodically moving his eyes back and forth from himself and the girl. He noticed that both he and a tall blonde with hungry eyes kept their distance the most. The redhead(which was really more of a bronze head) seemed to be keeping the most distance. He sincerely hoped it was because the boy was new to the vegetarian thing.

As if she was part of their coven, the girl was brought to the center, a tall and Venus like one glaring at him with steady golden eyes walked up to stand closest to her. The small one with the bell like laugh was smiling pleasantly at him, and had features that struck him to be very similar to Isabella's. The biggest one, who looked to be the oldest appearance wise gave him a smile of his own, but it appeared to be more of him bearing his teeth if anything.

"It was nice seeing you again Jack."said Isabella, suddenly, dismissing him.

Jack frowned at that, but nodded sternly at the girl. It was almost time for his English class anyway.

"Likewise kiddo. Keep in touch."he said, faking a large sappy smile that made her roll her eyes. He handed her his safe contacts numbers, just in case.

She nodded. When he slipped on his helmet, and turned on his bike, he did not expect her to speak up;

"Jack?" she said, just as he got ready to peel out.

He turned to her and nodded to show that he was listening. She smiled, something closer to a smirk really.

"I can learn to play."