Disclaimer; all characters and copyright belong to Stephanie Meyer.
A/N-This story is based in New Moon just after Jacob and Bella's night out at the cinema...
Bella climbed out of the Rabbit and turned to say goodnight to Jake; he surprised her by reaching across the passenger seat and taking her hand. His skin was hot on hers and she looked at him in alarm. She could see the beads of sweat across his brow.
"Jake, you're burning up. I know that you said you'd be fine driving home, but I'm worried. Please let me take you back. Leave your car here and I'll drive you back in the truck. You can always collect the Rabbit another day." Bella suggested in concern.
Jacob considered her offer for a moment before nodding his agreement. "Okay, maybe you're right. I do feel a bit strange. Anyway it will give me the perfect excuse to come back tomorrow and see you again." He gave her a weak grin.
"You're unbelievable," Bella replied ruefully. She watched as Jacob climbed out of his car and locked the doors. He was so tall now that the Rabbit seemed way too small for his large frame.
She dug in her coat pocket for the keys to the truck and shoved them in the lock, opening the doors. Jacob opened the passenger door and slid across the bench seat, she followed suit; slamming the heavy door of the Chevy after her. "Are you okay, Jake?" Bella checked again. He was leaning back on the seat, his eyes closed.
"Yeah, I'm fine," Jacob opened one eye as he felt her touch his forehead briefly. His smooth skin felt like it was on fire.
"The quicker I get you home and safely tucked up in bed the better," Bella started the truck's engine and the loud rumbling sound startled her.
"I need to tune that," Jacob mumbled as she backed out onto the road and headed toward La Push.
Neither of them spoke much on the journey to La Push. Jacob slid further down in his seat and wrapped his arms around his mid-section. Bella kept shooting worried glances at him as she put her foot on the gas and willed the slow truck to go faster. The night sky was awash with stars and for once there was no cloud cover. The road seemed endless to Bella as she continued forward; desperate to get to Jacob's house.
"Bells, I feel kinda strange," he moaned as they reached the outskirts of the reservation. He was still clutching his stomach and his black silky hair was caked to his scalp with sweat.
"Oh god, Jake. Perhaps I should turn round and take you to the hospital. You look so feverish," Bella bit her bottom lip with trepidation as she pushed the gas pedal right to the floor. The ancient Chevy whined in protest.
"No, Bells, just get me home," Jacob gasped out.
"Okay," Bella reached across with her free hand and took hold of his. He gripped onto her fingers and shifted closer to her as if seeking comfort. This was usually his role and Bella felt odd being the one in charge.
Five minutes later the headlights of the truck illuminated the red painted house that belonged to Jacob and his father Billy. Bella parked clumsily, switching off the engine and scooting out of the truck and round to the passenger side. Jacob climbed out slowly, one hand outstretched toward Bella. She took his hand and made him put his free arm across her shoulders so she could guide him to the front door.
"Keys, Jake?" She asked him. He moaned and clutched at his stomach again. She stared at him anxiously. "Is your dad at home?"
"No," he blurted out. "He's at a tribal meeting. Keys are in my coat pocket."
Bella helped him lean against the wooden frame of the house while she searched his pockets for the keys. She sighed with relief when her shaking fingers felt the cool metal. "I've got them, Jake." She told him unnecessarily. Fumbling badly she placed them in the lock and shoved open the front door.
Jacob slowly followed her inside and immediately made his way to the couch, flopping onto it and leaning his head back, eyes closed. Bella snapped on all the lights so she could see what she was doing. She quickly went into the kitchen and got a wash cloth; squeezing it out so that it was damp. Not knowing what else to do she lay it across his forehead to try and bring down the fever.
"Jake do you have any meds here?"
"No. I hardly ever get sick like this. The only meds we have belong to dad," he mumbled.
Bella sat beside him and laid her hand on his arm. To her surprise he shifted closer and lay his head on her shoulder. "Shit my head is pounding." He admitted.
"Oh Jake," Bella stroked his damp hair away from his hot forehead. "I'm so worried about you."
Jacob opened his eyes and she gasped in surprise. There was a black ring around his pupils. He saw her staring at him and he frowned. "What is it?" He demanded testily.
"Your eyes, Jake. They look different," she told him. "I think we should get you to the hospital."
Jacob felt irritation boiling up in him. He pulled away from her and staggered to his feet. She tried to catch hold of him but he batted her hands away. "I want to see."
He strode slowly toward the mirror in the hall and had a good look at his reflection and what he saw frightened him. Bells was right, his pupils were dilated and there was an odd black ring encircling them. He touched his skin with his hand and flinched as he realised just how hot his skin was. His long hair fell in damp tendrils around his face.
"Bella," he cried out. "Help me."
Bella was by his side in an instant. "Come on Jake. Let me drive you to the hospital."
Jacob gazed at her, his face full of panic. Bella flung her arms around him unthinkingly, all she wanted to do was soothe his fears. "It's gonna be okay. I promise."
He wrapped his arms around her and pulled her close to his hot body. Having her next to him made his panic lessen. "I don't understand what's happening to me." He whispered brokenly.
"Let's get you back in the truck," Bella pulled out of his embrace and went toward the front door. As soon as he felt her move away, the heat returned full force and Jacob dropped to his knees, his hands flying to his head.
"Bella," he screamed out as he rolled onto his back; his body convulsing madly. Heat was licking up and down his spine.
"No no no, Jake hold on, please," Bella begged him. "I'm going to ring for an ambulance."
Jacob's voice had been stolen from him, he reached out for her as she ran down the hallway toward the living room. Heat stole his vision too and the last image he had was of Bella turning to look back at him; her eyes wide and mouth open in a silent scream. With an agonising crack he felt every bone contort in his body before the pain made him pass out.
The next thing that Jacob was aware of was voices in his head.
"Sam, I can hear Jake..."
Was that Embry?
"Where the hell is he?"
That was definitely Sam's voice.
"I can't pinpoint his location..."
That was Embry again.
Jacob suddenly felt a cool hand touch his body. He stared down at Bella; she was stroking his fur...FUR? And talking in a soothing tone as if he was a frightened animal. He had no idea what was happening to him, he shut his eyes and pictured himself holding Bella in his arms. He wanted out of this nightmare. The voices in his head suddenly vanished and to his immense relief he felt Bella shivering against his body. He was holding onto her for dear life. Whatever delusion he had been suffering with must have passed. Jacob opened his eyes in relief and smiled at Bella; she was blushing like crazy and he had no idea why, until he saw her eyes flick down. He followed where she was looking and he suddenly realised why her face was beet red. He was totally and utterly naked.
They lay facing each other on Jacob's small bed not talking. After a tense moment of embarrassment Bella had dashed into his room and shoved some jeans at him. "Put them on," she had said hastily, being careful to avert her eyes.
After that they had retreated to his room, worried in case Billy suddenly came back and demanded why great chunks of the walls were gouged out and the mirror smashed. Neither of them felt able to voice what had just happened. It seemed so surreal and downright bizarre. In the end they laid down on Jacob's bed and stared at each other in silence. Time passed slowly and the red blush covering Bella's face began to fade to her normal shade of pale. The fever that had consumed Jacob seemed to have disappeared as quick as it had arrived. He was still hot but comfortably so.
It was Bella who finally found the will to speak. "Jake?"
"Yeah," he looked at her anxiously.
"Your hair..." her voice tailed off as she reached out a trembling hand and stroked it back from his face.
"My hair? What's wrong with it?" His own hand wandered up and touched it gingerly.
"Some if got torn out when you..." Bella fumbled around trying to find the right words to explain what had happened. "When you changed. I think I need to cut it to tidy it up, you know before your dad comes back. We don't want him to worry."
Jacob nodded dumbly. He followed Bella as she climbed off of the bed and out into the hallway. They stopped and stared around at the damage. "I'm gonna have to tidy that up," Jacob mumbled; not sure how to hide the gouges in the wall.
Bella took his hand and tugged on it. "Don't worry, I'll help. Let's sort your hair first."
Jacob turned and gazed at her sadly. "Why are you even still here? Aren't you freaked out by what happened? I turned into a...into a..." he couldn't say it out loud.
Bella shook her head and gave him a reassuring smile. "You weren't scary Jake. You looked kinda cute standing there. I mean it was a shock and everything but I wasn't frightened at all. I knew it was you; there's no mistaking those big brown eyes of yours."
Jacob returned her smile; she seemed so different from earlier, more self assured and in control. Maybe having to take charge had pierced her melancholy. "Thank you," he said simply. "I don't know what I would have done without you."
Bella's eyes dropped from his, he could see the tell tale blush creeping along her cheeks. She was so adorable. "Come on," was all she said.
He followed her willingly into the bathroom and sat on the edge of the bath while Bella went to retrieve some scissors. One quick glance into the bathroom mirror told him all he needed to know about his hair. She would need to hack it all off to make it look decent. He hadn't cut his hair since his mom had died, it was a job she used to do, cutting his hair and when she was gone he wouldn't allow anyone else to touch it. If it had to be cut he was glad it was Bella who was doing it.
She came back a moment later and stood by his side, putting a gentle hand on his shoulder. "Ready?" She checked.
Jacob nodded wordlessly. Bella stroked his shoulder, the smooth skin feeling hot under her hand. She tried to stop her eyes from wandering over Jacob's flawless body, the last thing he needed to see was her ogling him. Forcing her eyes back to his head, she took some soft strands of his silky hair and began to cut them. It took her a while but she finally managed to even up his hair. It was still fairly long at the back, just brushing his shoulders and his fringe fell across his eyes, but she was happy with the results.
"What do you think?" She asked him nervously.
Jacob studied his reflection in the mirror, he swept the fringe out of his eyes and grinned. "I like it, thanks honey." The endearment just slipped from his lips making them both flush with embarrassment.
"We better get started trying to clear up the hallway," Bella mumbled beginning to leave the room.
"What if it happens again?" Jacob suddenly asked, anxiety written all over his face.
Bella gazed at him sympathetically and once again she found herself flinging her arms around him. His arms wrapped around her and they clung to each other, seeking comfort. "If it happens again we'll just deal with it." Bella told him firmly, making his heart beat faster with happiness.
"I love you Bells," the words popped out before Jacob had even realised he had spoken them. He felt Bella become still in his arms. "Bells?" he said hesitantly, pulling away slightly to look down at her.
"I... err...we better clear up," Bella stammered. She pulled out of his arms and fled the room. Jacob stared after her sadly, cursing his slip up in his head.
The atmosphere was tense between them as they stood side by side in the hallway, wondering how to hide the damage. Bella traced her fingers along the wall, feeling the grooves with her fingers. "I'm out of ideas, Jake. Maybe you could lie and say to Billy that you had a little party that got out of hand while he was out." She shrugged her shoulders.
Jacob shook his head. "He won't believe that." He said tiredly. "I'm in deep shit. I don't know what to do. Maybe I should go with the truth."
Bella's eyes widened. "That you turned into a horse sized wolf? Jake you can't tell him that. I know the party idea was lame but it's better than saying that."
Jacob felt his anger and despair rising again. Heat licked up his spine and he hit out at the wall, leaving a big hole behind. Bella glared at him. "Well that was helpful, NOT."
"What does one more hole matter?" Jacob yelled at her, his arms started to vibrate as he spoke.
Bella took a deep breath and grabbed hold of one of his hands. He stopped shaking when she touched him. "Calm down, that's what set you off last time, you got really grouchy and then poof I had a cute wolf standing before me." She gave him a half simile.
Jacob looked at her dumbfounded. "You think my anger sets it off."
"Yes," Bella agreed. "So unless we're somewhere outside away from prying eyes, try not to get too riled up okay."
Jacob gathered her up in his arms again. She was too freaking cool for words. "You are so awesome, do you know that?" He whispered into her hair.
"Air, Jake," Bella gasped out. He quickly released her and gave her one of his sunny grins. She couldn't help but return it. They stood there for a moment just gazing at each other, the smiles slipping from their faces as the tension began to ramp up between them again.
Jacob gently took Bella's hand and pulled her close to him; she could feel the heat radiating from his body and it was doing all sorts of funny things to her insides. She glanced at him from under her long eyelashes as he put his hand under her chin and tilted her head up toward him.
"Bella..." he murmured, his long fingers stroking her cheek.
She swallowed nervously as she looked into his eyes. He began to incline his head closer to hers when a loud rapping on the door made them pull apart.
"Jake, it's Embry. Jake are you in there?"
Jacob cursed his friend under his breath. "Wait right there, honey." He told Bella. She nodded as she tried to get her breathing under control.
Jacob opened the front door and Embry followed by Sam Uley strode purposefully into the house.
"What the fuck are you doing here?" Jacob demanded, glaring at Sam.
Sam Uley crossed his arms, not reacting at all to his rude greeting. "We need to talk."
"No we don't," Jacob said heatedly. His frame began to shake again as he squared up to Sam. "Get out."
"Calm down, bro," Embry interjected.
Jacob whipped around and glared at his friend. "No I won't. Why have you been hanging around with him anyway." He yelled.
Bella quickly came to Jacob's side and took his hand. "Please, Jake. Listen to Embry, remember what we said." She reminded him meaningfully.
He calmed down at her touch and took a few deep breaths. "Okay."
Sam and Embry were looking at Bella in astonishment. She half hid behind Jacob as she felt nervous under their intense scrutiny.
Sam finally pulled his eyes away from her. "We need to talk," he said again; hiding behind his normal stoic expression.
Jacob reluctantly agreed and led the way into the living room.
A/N-I always wanted to change that scene in canon. Thanks for reading!