My Entry for the JBNP Jake and Bells 2012 Happy Anniversary One-Shot Contest
Title: Annual rites
Genre: angst, BD AU (no demon spawn imprint),
Rating: M for themes
Disclaimer: Disclaimer: the characters and all recognisable situations belong to Stephenie Meyer - this is a work of fan fiction
Warnings: talk of suicide
Word count: 1103
AN: I didn't win anything with this entry, but I have to say I never expected to. It's too dark and too painful for a happy anniversary one shot, but that's how I think Jake might have gone after everything Bella did to him in the books and expected him to do for her. It was too much. And that's the real crime that she turned the sunny, happy, unsinkable Jacob into a guy who said 'life sucks and then you die. Yeah, I should be so lucky.'
Anniversary. Everyone has annual rituals or dates that are important to them. For Jacob Black it was March 16th. It hadn't started out that way; hadn't seemed important at the time. That was the thing about hindsight, it was 20/20. Clear as crystal. Looking back allowed you to say what days were important.
That was the date for him. Even though he never needed to actually mark it on the calendar. He marked it in his own way.
Prior to that date he got increasingly cranky. Some days he'd forget and just wake up in a foul mood. He'd spend the day combing the forest for March flowers. The towering trees protected the forest floor where some early flowering plants nestled. There weren't a lot but he found them. He could smell the flowering bulbs so easily. The white clusters of the Indian plum, the three-petal white flowers of the Western Trillium, and the four inch long hanging rose-coloured flower clusters of the red flowering currant. He picked lots of the wood violets from the spreads of their cheery yellow flowers across large swaths of the forest floor. He liked the sunny yellow of them as balance to the red and white.
He'd tie the precious stalks into a little bunch. A bouquet. A posy.
He'd use a leather thong or a scrap from the garage or an old tie from when his hair was long and straight. Something of him to bind it together.
Then he would walk to the cliffs. He'd stand on the cliffs above La Push where the kids still sometimes jumped from and he would look down into the roiling surf below. It was often rough at this time of the year.
He would throw the small bunch of wildflowers into the roaring surf.
He would watch with his enhanced vision as they floated on the surface; buffeted by the waves. They would sink and float again and then get smashed onto the rocks.
Just like she did.
He took a deep breath and he scented… her.
She watched him.
She knew she shouldn't have been there. She was inside the treaty line. She knew it. But Jasper said Jake was always so sad on this day. She wanted to know why. So she had followed him.
She was surprised that he had come to the cliffs. She had seen the flowers. She had completely forgotten what date it was when she had tried to kill herself. Now she could be honest with herself. Cliff dive to hear his voice? Sure she was. It was a suicide attempt. And now she thought about it, it was the 16th March. Years ago, now.
She saw his back tense and knew that he had sensed her.
"You're inside the treaty line," he growled, without turning around.
"What are you doing?" she asked, tentatively.
"Marking our anniversary."
"Our…? Jacob?" She didn't understand.
He didn't turn around. He was still staring down into the surf. She took a tiny step towards him.
He spoke, still without looking at her. "You were the key for me. I could cope with being a wolf because I was helping you. You were so alone. Kept so many secrets. We knew all of each other's secrets and it really helped. I worried about you when I was on patrol. Personally, I couldn't see the difference between the redhead and the Cullens. But you were frantic. Terrified of her. She made that feint for the line and it seemed odd at the time. We chased her into the water. I thought of you alone and probably on the beach, like always."
Another breath. "I was constantly thinking of you. I searched frantically for you. I heard you scream. I'd already followed the tire tracks to the cliff edge. I jumped in wolf form. Swimming through the current. Looking for you. I saw your little white hands flailing. I phased underwater, you know?" A pause as he took another breath. "Sam said not even he could have done that. Forced myself back into my human form underwater so that I could drag you out with my hands."
She remembered now. She had almost drowned. He had saved her, driven her home, but then Alice had been there.
He followed her thoughts. "Took you home and then you were so ecstatic to see that car. You thought they had come back for you. Your face was lit up brighter than I had seen it since you showed up with the bikes."
And then after the funeral, he had nearly kissed her in the kitchen and then the phone had rung.
He turned now and looked at her as if he didn't recognise her. "And then you went off on that suicide mission."
Suicide. The word she had just been thinking of. Edward had been trying to commit suicide, too. They were always so synchronous. Her efforts had been a little slower prior to that week. Being a zombie for four months was its own attempt to kill herself.
"I'm sorry," she said for the thousandth time.
He made a jerky head movement she didn't know how to interpret.
"I said I'd love you until your heart stopped beating. It stopped on this day too. I heard it. I made your heart beat again. And it wasn't enough."
"He made your heart stop and you chose him."
And Jacob had been with her for that, too. His big warm hands massaging her chest; fighting to keep her heart beating. Still fighting. Every single time he had helped her, done whatever she needed, betrayed his pack, his family and his tribe. For her. And she still hadn't chosen him.
She felt like biting her lip.
"I lost you on this day. On this day, it all went to shit. If you had never jumped, he would not have come back. I could have healed you, I know I could have. We were already getting there." His eyes glittered with unshed tears. He blinked them away.
He took a deep breath, shifted his shoulders and he stared at her. His eyes hardened. The chief and wolf pack leader was back. "You are on tribal land in breach of the treaty. You need to go now."
She wanted to say something, but she had no idea what it was. The longer she was a vampire, the less human she became. Emotions confused her now. She just nodded silently and left him to his grief.
"I should have let you drown," she heard as she darted away.