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If the silence in my head lasted, I would never go back. I wouldn't be the first one to choose this form over the other. Maybe, if I ran far enough away, I would never have to hear again… I pushed my legs faster, letting Jacob Black disappear behind me.
Jacob Black, Eclipse, Epilogue
The Canadian winds blew harshly that night in the mountains, ice cold and seeping deep into his bones. It didn't matter. Pain from the elements was nothing compared to the torment that bled his wounded soul.
The red wolf had collapsed after another day of running hard with no real destination in mind. His only goal to push himself. To lose himself fully in the wolf. Numbing the man inside who suffered the painful ache of despair and loss.
Days blurred into weeks, weeks into months. Miles and miles of running, scaling mountains, sliding down dangerous rock and shale. Purposefully diving into razor sharp thorns and falling against hardwood trees. Battling anything that had claws with a carnal rage until certain that his once perfect skin would be covered in enough jagged scars to match those which ran across his heart.
It didn't matter. He didn't know if he could even shift back to human anymore. In truth, he didn't want to.
The wolf sought death.
Body spent and worn down from self inflicted punishment, he nestled into a cramped opening between the mountain rocks. Exhaustion overtook him quickly and the wolf succumbed to sleep. Rest was only another betrayal. It allowed his subconscious to open the divide he'd worked so hard to close. Weary and unable to fight it, he gave in, fully aware of what night and dreams would bring.
Their thoughts invaded his mind. The man inside was so far gone from humanity that it was only in slumber when his mind connected to them anymore. His brothers, his pack family saw in vivid detail the nightmares that plagued his fractured soul.
A slip of a girl with brown curls and red eyes, skin white as the driven snow. It was always the same. He would fall to his knees before her and willingly allow her to spill his blood. He'd lay on the damp forest floor, body bleeding and broken. Whispering her name. Pleading for Bella to come back to him. Instead she'd tilt her head to the side. A sick, twisted smile painted on a beautiful killer's face. She'd lick her lips and wipe the stain of crimson from her mouth, then watch as the light faded from his eyes.
"Come back to us, brother."
" Come home."
" We need you. Billy needs you."
"She needs you."
Each night the same words, a barrage of voices all asking the same thing. It was useless. He was never going back. Isabella Swan had made her choice. He had made his. Both were doomed to walk the earth an echo of who they once were, until someone or something stronger would mercifully send each to their death.
"Come home. please. Look at her."
For the first time during his self imposed exile, they flooded his mind with images of Bella. The girl he knew, the girl he once so lovingly fixed. The one that had so much fight in her... she was gone. Instead he saw regret and fear painted upon her beautiful face. Bella was pacing the long stretch of empty beach, biting her lip in nervous frustration. In LaPush she hid from her fiance, always twisting the ring that didn't belong on her finger. Bella's body was thin, careworn, shoulders bowed under an immense burden of guilt. Dark, bruise-like shadows marred her now dull eyes, making her appear old before her time.
Through their memories he saw her sitting in that rusty old heap of a truck, unmoving, detached. Staring straight ahead for hours upon end. As if crawling deep inside of herself, blanking out the world around her. Numb to all pain and emotion. Bella was nothing but an empty shell now. A mere echo of the girl he once knew.
Images of her breaking down next to the treeline in Charlie's backyard bombarded his consciousness, startling him with the intensity of her anger and bravery. Bella screaming into the empty night. Cursing herself, cursing God, cursing Him. On her wrist she wore a simple bracelet, adorned by the heart of a wolf.
Yet, she still wore the bloodsucker's ring.
One voice. Softer this time. One that understood pain and regret. "She loves you. Come back and fight for her. She needs you to. She wants you to." A flurry of memories. Love, stolen kisses, promises made. Then the loss. The devastation. The heartbreak. "Fight for her the way Sam didn't fight for me."
Then, nothing. The connection broke and the red wolf woke from his dreams. His feet began to move with purpose. A destination.
Jacob Black was going home.