Pairing (Characters): Jacob/Edward, Edward/Bella, Jacob/Renesmee
Word count: 14,248 in total
Warnings: Bella bashing, NC-17, violence, character death, drama, and major plot twist.
Disclaimer: Stephenie Meyer owns Twilight, not me.This is not for profit, but for fun.
Summary: AU of Breaking Dawn part 2. Tradition holds that the imprint cannot be broken, right?
The Three Laws of Robotics
1. A robot may not injure a human being, or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
2. A robot must obey the orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
3. A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.
From 'Bicentennial Man' by Isaac Asimov.
"How dare you imprint on my baby?" Bella screeched as she dragged me out of the house by the scruff of my neck. "How dare you call her Nessie?"
"Lemme explain, please!" I managed to say before she threw me onto the lawn. My chest heaving violently with the effort to remain calm, I stumbled to a stop and turned around.
Lifted my hands to try and reason with her. My senses were in overdrive as I glanced up at the house. The Cullens were lined on the balcony, watching with smiles in their faces as Bella shoved me around. Edward's lips were curled up in a tight smirk as he glanced at the pixie, who arched her eyebrow at him. The leech must have been reading her mind.
My anger grew at the sight of their placid faces. How could they simply stand there and watch Bella beat me up with her newborn strength?
When I heard Renesmee's soft breathing coming from inside the house, a sense of peace pervaded my soul. Bella needed to calm the hell down so she would stop shrieking like a banshee; didn't want her disturbing my Nessie.
Yes, Nessie. The nickname fit the adorable creature I couldn't wait to get back to. Couldn't Bella understand that Nessie was just a nickname and my way to cherish her?
Ever since I had imprinted on Bella's baby, I saw the world through different eyes. Gone was the anger that had dogged my steps when I courted Bella in vain. Found my rightful place in the world as a protector of her daughter, for Nessie held a place in my heart just like she had a special position in my small pack.
Nessie's security was uppermost in my mind, in the same way I labored to protect Seth and Leah, their welfare a consideration to guide my actions.
I wanted and needed to care for my pack and give them my utmost.
I would often sneak a glance at the Cullens to try and gauge their weaknesses as a kind of war game, while my wolf sought any advantage to insure the survival of my pack. Of course, I could do nothing against the vamps because they were Nessie's family. Nevertheless, this sense of wariness on behalf of my pack never abandoned me.
The responsibilities I had long sought to evade turned out to be not so bad. My wolf rejoiced at having under his command pack members to cherish and a mate to nurture; such was the nature of the Alpha's job which fell upon the heir of Ephraim Black.
Nessie was part of my pack, a precious child to protect until the time she grew into adulthood and decided to occupy her rightful place as my mate - or left me in the same cold way Bella abandoned me.
The decision would be entirely in Nessie's hands, not mine. The imprint bound me to her with ties that cut through my innermost drives in ways Bella didn't care to understand.
"How could you do this to ME, you SICK DOG?" Bella spat out at me, cutting off my brief reverie. In this heightened state, time seemed to move as slow as molasses. Had the opportunity to glance up at Edward and notice his cruel smile while the other Cullens smirked at my predicament.
Felt utterly betrayed, but those leeches didn't count in my book. It was my best friend's features twisting in a grimace of disgust directed at me that tore my heart to shreds.
Nevertheless, I had to compose myself for it was my job to pacify Bella for Nessie's sake, not my own.
"Bella, I'm willing to share her!" I said in exasperation, lifting my arms to try to make her understand that it was out of my control. Everything had been out of my hands since the moment I was born, fated to become a werewolf who would imprint on a child and follow Nessie around like the sick dog Bella called me!
Bella snarled as she launched herself at me. She landed with utter grace just a step away and heaved me up, throwing me against the trees.
Rolled up and managed to take the fall gracefully. Was dazed for a while and couldn't understand what was going on, noticing a sandy-colored blur out of the corner of my eyes as Seth launched himself at Bella to try and help me.
With her newborn strength, Bella dealt very easily with my pack brother. She whirled Seth around like the rangy wolf was a puppet and with a mighty heave she threw him against the big oak on the edge of the lawn, right where the woods began.
Shuddered when I heard the dull thud of Seth's bone breaking; the sound drove a spike through my heart, and my wolf howled in despair at the hurt endured by a member of the pack under my command.
My glance slid around towards the pixie, who was staring intently at Edward. The Cullens stood as still as marble statues behind the balustrade, mute witnesses of the injustice they deigned not prevent.
Seth yelped and whimpered as he tried to stand up on his forepaws, but then his chest crumbled to the ground as his shoulder gave way, obviously broken as a result of Bella's fit of rage.
I kneeled on the ground, scooting on my knees to get to Seth. His muzzle contorting in agony made me shiver at the pain he was enduring; hoped it wasn't as intense as what I felt when the newborn crushed my ribs in the battle where I defended Bella.
Seth's writhing form, his whimpering and helplessness in the face of a daunting adversary – for that was what Bella had become in the mind of my wolf – called up instincts I hardly used.
In the timeless interval I stood poised to protect a member of my pack, my back straight as a rod to shield him from the sight of ancient enemies, images crawled up in my mind: Seth as the young kid who was always eager to please, hounding my every step like the little brother I never had; the kid after his first transformation when he became a part of Sam's pack; finally, the exasperation and surge of pride I felt when Seth chose me to be his Alpha when he entered my pack, his inner voice becoming sharper in my brain.
The Alpha's responsibilities weighed heavy on my mind at the sight of my frail brother, twisting his rump as he favored his right foreleg to try to soothe the pain of his broken shoulder.
Gravity caught up with me again and hurled me back to earth with a mighty crash, ready to face the harsh reality as Alpha of my pack. I staggered and fell down to the ground, raising my hands to clutch my head to clear the thoughts which were piercing my skull.
A whirlwind of memories left me floundering: my father recounting the duties of the Alpha, traditions handed down to him through his grandfather, Ephraim Black; Sam lecturing me about the ways the pack should be strengthened to counter the dangers of the Cold Ones; Bella dying, her frail body exhausted after giving birth, the moment when I turned to Edward and begged him to change her; and most importantly, the way my world shifted when I saw Renesmee for the first time.
How sweet and frail she looked the moment I imprinted on her.
Seth howled again and as my gaze fell on him, his ears drooped as he walked towards me, stumbling as he sought to protect me. Me, the one that should have been protecting him in the first place!
I had failed my pack by letting myself become weak and not strong like the Alpha should be – allowing my affection for Bella and Nessie to cloud my judgment. I knew Ephraim Black would be ashamed of being my ancestor if he saw how I kneeled to the Cullens in my haste to protect Nessie.
Shaking my head, I realized that Nessie didn't need my protection at all because she was a hybrid of great strength; besides, she had Edward and Bella to look for her - while Seth had no one but me to guide him.
So many things became clear in that instant. I had been a fool to believe the Cullens would ever take me into their fold. I was forever an outsider, a dog to be petted and tolerated because Nessie needed me.
I had given up my birthright in my foolish claim to become the mate of the daughter of a Cold One. Ephraim Black had warned that they couldn't be countenanced near the Rez because they were brutal and coldblooded.
They were not to be trusted.
What had Seth ever done to Bella? Why did she not rein in her fury, the way she prattled about her restraint when she didn't drink the blood of the climber on the mountain?
She said she spared the deer and went on to kill the mountain lion; why, then, did she have to hurt Seth?
The answer was simple: because we were worthless in her eyes.
The fog I had been living under suddenly lifted. I tilted up my chin to shout my anger to the sky as I leaped in the air, my bones and tendons twisting in midair in the brief moment of agony that comprised the shifting, fragments of my torn clothes swirling down around me as I landed with a mighty crash near Seth.
The ground felt good under my paws, the shock of landing a welcoming sensation travelling up my legs to my spine. Seth's scent soothed me; in contrast, my fur bristled at the sickly-sweet stench of the Cold Ones, Bella's foremost among them.
I turned to snarl at them all, delighting in the astonishment stamped in their faces.
My hackles rose at the sight of Bella's red eyes. She was the enemy that had dared to hurt a member of my pack!
"Jacob, calm down!" Edward's soothing voice reached me as he rushed towards us in a blur.
If the fucking leech was so concerned, why hadn't he intervened before? I growled at him and his damned family of monsters that threatened my pack.
I shivered as a thought unfurled in my mind, a crisp realization that crashed through my wolf and human parts like a freight train. In losing the sense of wonder and weightlessness that allowed me to ignore their constant insults, I had lost something else.
The imprint was broken. I felt nothing for Nessie – or Bella.
'Get that woman out of my sight!' I roared at Edward, crouching with my belly low to the ground, forelegs extended, ready to battle.
"Bella, get out!" Edward said urgently. Having read the angry set of my thoughts, he curled his fingers around her arm and pushed her towards the house.
"And leave you alone with the dog so you can discuss my baby? No way!" She snarled at him, wrenching her arm free and shoving Edward towards the house.
Something in my gut twisted at that. I had to grudgingly concede that the leech had always treated Bella with love, and now she manhandled her husband too?
Didn't have time for reflection because she jumped at me, her feet pointing directly at my rump.
Knew that if she landed just right, she would break my hips. Lurched sideways, twisting my head to catch her flailing arm between my jaws. Clenched down hard around the cold and lifeless skin.
'Seth, get out! Go to Leah, tell her to call Sam!'
Didn't have time for much else as my jaws inexorably tore through dead muscle, my tongue hurting because of her ichor.
Felt Edward's hand around my neck, trying savagely to pull me apart from Bella, but then he faltered because Seth was biting his leg.
'Jake, lemme stay, man.'
'GO NOW!' I hurled the thought at Seth, using every ounce of the Alpha command at my disposal. No way would I have the kid die on my watch!
I tilted down my chin as Bella's leg hit my chest hard, breaking several ribs, and with a savage twist, my teeth tore through the gristle that connected her arm to the torso. It came off her body.
Heard Leah in the distance. 'Jake, for chrissakes, what's going on?'
A flash of blond hair to my right was the only warning I got before Rosalie gripped my ankle and hurled me towards the woods. I hit a tree with a crunching sound, a sharp pain spiking through my arm.
'Leah, get Sam to help us 'cuz the Cullens are going to kill Jake!' Seth howled into the sky and walked towards me, his jaws closing softly around my uninjured leg as he tried to pull me away. The Cullens were busy tending to Bella and didn't pay much attention to us, until Blondie lifted her head and glowered at me.
"You dog!" Rosalie dashed toward us, murder in her eyes.
Snarled at her and raised myself on my forelegs; I wouldn't go down without a fight.
Before she could reach us, though, a hulking body stopped her. Emmett wrapped his big arms around her. "Let him go, babe."
"Let me at the dog," snarled Rosalie. "He hurt Bella!"
"She attacked them first," the big guy said with a shrug. "Tell me, do you truly expect them to do nothing while your Bella wreaks havoc on them?"
"Let me go!" Blondie snarled at him, kicking his legs.
"Get out, Jacob!" Emmett looked at me sharply, cocking his head at the woods. "Edward's putting Bella back together, and she's in a mean mood!"
Nodded wearily at him and stood up shakily on my legs; they were healing already, dull ache throbbing up my legs and torso. I walked away with Seth by my side, huffing at the exquisite pain that accompanied my every move. Had to reach the refuge of the woods and get to my pack.
'Hold on, Jake!' Leah's voice came from far away, though I could tell she was running towards us. 'Sam and the others are coming.'
Behind me, I heard Bella cussing up a storm, which made me walk faster. Given her newborn strength, she would be on our tails any second now. Wasn't able to count on the other Cullens restraining her, given the easy way she got rid of Edward.
Each step taxed my strength as I shook my head and doggedly made my way farther into the safety of the woods. Flashes of white crossed my vision as the pain sharpened, the bones having healed the wrong way.
Seth was babbling by my side, though I wasn't able to piece together the meaning of his words. I just knew I had to get away from the territory of the enemy and get home. My broken ribs must have poked something in my chest, because my breathing grew more labored, and I wheezed and panted every step I took.
Finally, the world grew dark around me and I stumbled to the ground, falling into nothingness.
"Jacob, wake up, son. You've been unconscious for two days," my father said with a hoarse voice.
Opened my eyes, blearily taking my room at a glance. Didn't know where I was, just the dull pain echoing in my chest. For a moment I thought the pain came from the newborn that crushed me when we fought the newborn army, so I propped myself up on my elbows and looked at my father.
"Is everyone safe? Where's the Doc?"
"Son… Carlisle is…"
Plopped down on the pillow at his defeated tone and glanced at the ceiling. Doc Cullen's absence hit me then, and the recollections of what had happened at the Cullens rushed through my memories, leaving a bitter taste on my tongue.
"Is Nessie safe?" I said, my voice cracking at her name.
I didn't feel anything out of the ordinary for the child, just a feeling of protectiveness towards her. Renesmee didn't ask to be born, and she certainly wasn't guilty of Bella's greediness and Edward's thoughtlessness when they brought her into this world.
"The baby's fine. That blonde vampire took her and ran out of Forks."
Heard the squeaking sound of my father's wheelchair as he approached the bed, his hand warm on my forearm as he patted me awkwardly.
"Bella? I'm sorry, son, but she is dead."
"What?" I made to stand up, but the sharp ache in my chest made me wheeze and I fell back on the bed. "What happened?"
"Sam and the others rushed to the Cullen house. They found you unconscious on the ground and Seth told them what happened." My father nodded glumly. "Since your imprint was broken, Sam felt honor-bound to punish the Cullens for breaking the Treaty."
"God, what a mess!" I said, lifting my hand to rub my forehead.
"Carlisle and Edward tried to reason with the Pack, but Bella went berserk at the sight of them." Billy said. "She attacked them, and with her newborn strength…"
"Tell me what happened!" I sat up, wincing as I scooted back to lean on the headboard. "She didn't kill Seth or Leah, right?"
"No, they are all right." Billy said. "Matter of fact, they've been pestering me to see you; but I'm afraid that in her rage, Bella managed to kill Paul."
Craned my neck to gaze at the ceiling, my vision blurry with unshed tears for Paul. Never again would I dive with him as we tried to outdo each other; there would be no one else on the pack to challenge me the way he did and poke fun at me, no one to wrestle me to the ground as we fought in wolf form. This ache I felt deep in my chest wouldn't subside, for I would never see Paul again.
And my tears wet my cheeks at the remembrance of my lost pack brother.
Billy looked away to grant me some measure of privacy while I grieved for Paul.
I shook my head, trying to compartmentalize my pain. My thoughts shied away from the painful memories of the pack and instead, I recalled the time I had spent with the Cullens, shuddering at the thought that others might be dead.
My head felt clearer after spending two days out of commission. Guessed I could see things with more perspective, now that I was free from the shackles of the imprint; able to make up my own mind and grounded by the gravity that hugged me tight to the earth.
What about Edward? He just couldn't be dead; damned leech was near indestructible, he just couldn't die and leave me alone like this.
Choked back a sob as exquisite pain clutched my heart; this hollow feeling at Paul's loss, would it get bigger until it rendered me insane?
"What about the other leeches, and Edward?"
"They're fine. After the Pack took their revenge on Bella for killing the Beta, Carlisle managed to convince them to leave." Billy pointed at the door. "Matter of fact, he and Edward are here in the Reservation to talk with the Elders."
"No, they'd rather negotiate a truce and safe conduct until they leave."
"Surely you don't expect them to stay, Jacob? There's too much bad blood between us," Billy said. "The Elders found it hard enough to prevail on Sam to grant them free passage here."
Needed to talk with Edward, to explain myself – and if I was being honest with myself, I wanted to see him one more time before he left. I made to sit up and reach for my shorts on the nightstand, but a sharp jolt of pain on my chest made me groan.
"Careful, Jacob." Billy gently pushed me down. "The doctor had to break the ribs again so they would heal correctly. He gave you a strong dose of morphine, which is why you've been out so long."
"But dad, I want to talk with them!"
"I know, son. You lived with them for a long while," Billy said slowly, looking sharply at me. The crow's feet around his eyes deepened perceptibly, lending his face the appearance of the wisdom he had earned through his long years. "I'll go and wait for them outside the council to find out when they will leave, ok?"
Reclined on the headboard and tucked my chin into my chest, too tired and sad to reflect more on what had happened.
The sun warmed my muzzle as I stepped towards the outcropping that marked the boundary of the Treaty lands. Tilted down my neck as my nostrils flared, inhaling the scent of the Cold One on the other side of the copse of oaks, my ears drooping at the thought it might well be the last time I scented Edward.
Shuffled my paws on the soft loam, lacking the confidence to walk up to him. How could I express the sorrow that gripped me?
Noticing a blur that rushed towards me out of the trees, I unconsciously raised my hackles and stepped back, favoring my right foreleg.
Edward stopped just in front of me; his handsome features sagged down by grief. "I appreciate the sentiment, Jacob, but there's no need for it."
'I'm sorry, man, so sorry.' I huffed softly and made my way behind a log to lean down my torso, wrapping my jaws around the bag that held my clothes.
Shifted and stood up, nudging up the shorts to cover my groin.
"So am I, Jacob." Edward glanced at me, unconsciously licking his lips as he raised his hands to brush his tousled hair. "I should have broken up your fight with her; I should have tried to explain the imprint better, so she could understand."
"Told her about it a while ago." I shrugged and then tilted down my neck, avoiding his sad gaze while I curled my toes around the soft earth. "Nessie's fine?"
"She is fine; Rosalie took her to the Denalis while we settle the situation here. Rose phoned me last night, telling me the Denalis were sympathetic after she explained the whole situation to them." Edward breathed a sigh of relief.
"That's good. I wish her the best, even after…"
"You broke the imprint." Edward nodded and then crossed his arms. "Do you have any idea why it happened?"
"Lost my cool when I saw Seth writhing on the ground with a broken shoulder, man." I glanced up at him, trying not to stare too intently at his honey-colored eyes and the pain they held inside. "Guess it was the Alpha side kicking in that did it; the survival of the pack will always come first."
"I wish I had known about it, Jacob. I would have done something instead of smiling at Bella's antics." He sighed and lowered his arms to stick his hands in his pockets.
"You should have." I shook my head, recalling the anger I felt at the Cullens doing nothing. I couldn't shake the feeling that had been nagging me in the first moments after the imprint broke.
Reading my thoughts, Edward stepped towards me and gently laid his hand on my shoulder, the brief contact making me shiver. "You were never a pet, Jacob. It's just that we are no longer part of the living and we find empathy hard to grasp."
"Guess I understand." I nodded and let out a sigh when Edward took a step back. Glanced up at him and arched my eyebrow. "Dad told me the Elders understand the situation and spoke with Sam."
Bit my bottom lip and narrowed my eyes at him. 'Do you really have to leave? Why don't you stay here?'
"I can't stay because of the memories, Jacob. Do you understand?" Edward said with a grimace. "Pain corrodes me when I'm in the house, when I walk through the woods, when I look at you – it brings into focus all I've lost. I'd rather start anew in a faraway place with Renesmee."
I nodded, too overcome with the thought that this was it. This was the last time I would ever see Edward Cullen. Closed my eyes and turned around so he wouldn't see my tears, and then took a deep breath as I started on my way home.
In that moment I realized the truth hidden when the imprint bound my will, which was simply that Edward would always have a piece of my soul.
Gulped down my tears, mumbling through gritted teeth, "Goodbye, quinayalla!"
Didn't want to notice the soft rustling of the leaves as Edward went away; didn't want to look back and see the empty forest.
Nevertheless, I twisted my neck, hoping to get a glimpse of his retreating back.
It was in vain. Edward was gone forever, and the lonely trees mocked me as I knelt down on the ground to sob out my pain.
Glanced up at the Seattle hotel room, the air conditioning a constant hum in the background as my nostrils flared, breathing in the heady scent of sex.
Thrust up my hips into the welcoming heat of the man straddling my lap. I ran my hands over soft, pale skin that broadened into strong shoulders, my fingers straying to tweak his nipple.
"You want this, don't you? Want my cock wedging you open." I thrust up my hips, slamming into him while my thumb brushed against his neglected cock.
He moaned brokenly and bounced up and down on my dick. Sneaked his hand to bring himself off but I batted it away, the glimmering thread of precome coating his cock head telling me he was ready to come on my dick.
"Harder," he groaned, his legs shaking as my fingers grabbed his hips to lift him up.
"Fine, fine." Shoved into him so deep, the mattress creaked and swayed beneath us.
Closed my eyes, enjoying the sensation of his walls fluttering around me, and a name unconsciously escaped my lips, "Edward, you're tight!"
"What did you say?" he said hoarsely.
My chest heaving up and down, I craned my neck to gaze at the window. Didn't want to see eyes which weren't honey, or skin that wasn't pale enough.
My fingers closed around his shaft, his precome providing lubrication as I slid my fist up and down his dick while I fucked into him, rolling my hips to jab his prostate just so.
He was close, and in the next thrust he came with a soft moan, his come spilling all over my fingers and dripping down onto my abs as he squeezed me hard, the tight heat coaxing my orgasm. I came silently and turned him over so we faced each other as I slipped out of him with a lewd popping sound.
"What did you call me?" he said while I took off the condom and rolled it up, throwing it to the other side of the room.
"Nothing. It was a slip of the tongue, Joe."
"If you say so." Joe grimaced as he stood up and glanced at the bathroom. "Gotta clean myself before I go home, dude. It's been a while since I took someone as big as you."
"Go on," I said, motioning with my hand. Watching his nice ass jiggle as he walked up to the bathroom didn't dispel the dark mood I felt around me.
It didn't matter if I topped or bottomed, the hollow feeling remained.
Sex with strangers always left me cold inside. I yearned for someone to hold onto, a man who really knew who I was, inside and out. A body I could rut into with all my strength without the worry that he would break in half.
I had to wonder if sex with Nessie would have felt this way, or if the imprint would have hoodwinked me enough to let me enjoy it; after all, it had been strong enough to mold me a certain way.
I missed the heady days after the imprint broke, when the feelings it had bottled for so long surfaced and I was free to enjoy sex. Discovered my penchant for men and I indulged for a while.
Now I was more careful, enjoying a fling every once in a while in the scant free time between guarding our tribe and finishing college.
"See you later, Jake!" Joe waved at me.
"See you around, man." I nodded at him.
After he went out the door, I closed my eyes, my head cradled on my arms as I forced myself to face the truth. Sex wasn't that compelling because I wanted the man I could never have, Edward Cullen.
He had tried to disappear from the world. They sold the house and vanished into the north.
In my desperation, I researched those Denalis he mentioned and made my way to them, asking for their help.
That kind lady, Irina, must have sensed my desperation, for she smiled briefly at me while she told me she would keep me informed. It was from her that I learned how Nessie had shot up and become a beautiful woman in the space of a few years, while Edward and his family looked after her.
Last I heard, Edward had graduated from high school yet again in a small town in Saskatchewan.
But Edward never contacted me and I was too much of a coward to do so. Many times I wrote him letters which I threw on the back seat of my Rabbit before driving to the Denalis, only to tear them to pieces along the way.
Something odd was in the air, though. Last time I visited Irina, she confided she had heard about the Volturi moving towards our turf.
Additionally, Seth had found strange hints during a web search which involved unsolved crimes in the Seattle area. Seemed like another newborn army had been created, and I decided to fish around and try to find out what it meant, hence my frequent trips to the city.
Turned sideways and tried to fall asleep, but it was in vain. Tossed and turned, but Edward's chiseled face would not leave my thoughts. In the middle of the night, I stood up and went to the sink to pour myself a glass of water. Glanced at my reflection and noted the haunted look in my eyes. It wasn't unusual, since I had spent fruitless days asking around and trying to find a trace of the bloodsuckers.
Seemed I derived all satisfaction in my life from my Alpha duties, but the hollowness in my chest told me it would not be enough in the long run. Needed more, a person to come home to, someone who could grasp my thoughts and feelings. In short, I needed Edward.
Clenching my jaw, I walked back to the bed. First thing after we got rid of the newborns, I would go to Edward and convince him that we belonged together. Irina had showed me a few photos of the Cullens through the years, and Edward always seemed sad in the midst of his family, so out of place.
Of course he was an outsider because he belonged with me. Had to convince Edward face to face and make him see the truth so he would leave the past behind.
Sat on the bed and rubbed my jaw, too excited to sleep and too tired to go out into the city to find more about the newborns.
It was then that my cell phone rang. Leaned down to pick it up from the nightstand, tilting it up so I could see who was calling. It was Seth.
"Jake, hate to be the one to tell you, but you gotta know!" Seth's voice broke at the end, which made me sit up straight in the bed.
"What is it, Seth?"
"Well, look who's here."
Glanced up at the vampire, his ruby eyes lingering on me as he studied my face.
"Aro, kill the beast!" A blond snarled as he glided eerily towards me, just like the prow on the sailing boats of my ancestors.
"Let's wait, caro mio, until we find out more about this delightful young man." Aro smiled in such a sinister fashion, I felt dread creeping up my spine.
Didn't matter though; already knew my life was forfeit, but I intended to strike a worthy deal for it.
An Alpha's bargain.
It was all that was left for me after that dreadful night.
The two Volturi that held my arms jostled me forward until I reached the marble steps. They pushed on my back, forcing me onto my knees.
Tilted up my chin to glare up at the damned leeches. "What do you want with us?"
"Your werewolves are of no import to the Volturi, young man," Aro said with a creepy snicker. "We seek more important prey."
"He killed several of our guards, Aro," the blond said, and then snarled at me. "I say turn him over to the torture chambers!"
"The way he did it intrigues me, dear Caius." Aro glanced at one of the guards, who wrapped his cold hands around my neck.
Knew he could snap my neck in an instant; in fact, I was counting on it.
"You won't learn it from me, Aro," I whispered, swallowing the insult that was on the tip of my tongue. This wasn't the time for sarcasm but for the whole truth. "I offer my life in exchange for the safety of my pack."
"What makes you think we will accept such a bargain?"
"I'm aware of the reason you ventured into Forks, and I can tell you about Edward Cullen." If my voice broke at the end, Aro didn't mention it.
"How noble of you." He sneered down at me. "If my findings satisfy me, why, I might take you up on your offer, cucciolo."
"My name's Jacob Black!" I snarled at him.
"The cub is angry!" Aro tittered as he leaned down, his arm reaching down to touch my arm. Shrank back from him, recalling Irina's words. She had mentioned the head vampire had the power to read the entire life of a person when he touched them. Didn't really matter tough, because the wolf's mind would hide my plans well.
"Let us find out why." Aro said. Felt his cold fingers wrap around my bare forearm, and then a slew of memories rushed through my brain.
"What is it, Seth?" I glanced down at the screen of the phone.
"Jake, I'm sorry."
"What, the bloodsuckers got Leah or another of the pack?"
"The newborns attacked the Cullens. Seems they found out about their hybrid."
"Nessie? They got Nessie?"
"No, man. The Cullens managed to save her, but two of them died."
"Who?" I breathed fast, my heart pounding in my chest as I offered a silent prayer to Q'wati, 'Please, please, don't take Edward from me.'
"Rosalie died, and… Edward died too."
My body sagged down, and only the icy arms around me kept me from falling to the marble floor of the Italian catacomb.
Aro gasped and stumbled back, his gaze lost in the archways above us. Now he knew the reason I ordered the all-out frontal attack on the newborns, the Quileute packs having joined under my command after I taught them more aggressive ways to battle.
"Edward Cullen is dead!"
The Volturi present broke into whispers which were quieted by Caius' angry snarl.
Aro was aware now of the reason I exposed myself and took the risk of being captured. Life on this earth held scant attraction for me, for it was only my duty to the pack that kept me going on.
"It's impossible!" said a vampire with a lined face. Somehow, this black-haired man seemed more sympathetic. Leastways he didn't fit the part of a cold-blooded killer like the blond did.
"It is true, Marcus," Aro said with a tired sigh. "The newborns killed him."
I took a deep breath, my gaze fixed on the marble steps. So the journey that began long ago in the Quileute Rez would end here. I tried to collect my thoughts in these final moments; at least I was at peace, knowing I had insured the safety of my pack. Even if Aro reneged on his word and attacked them, he had missed the gist of my plans when I offered up the memory that broke my soul.
"What shall we do with the dog?" Caius snarled. "He ought to die!"
The Quileute pack would strike the Volturi when they least expected, in the middle of their battle with the newborns. Being decimated, the Volturi guard would endure the attack of the joint packs of the Northwest, converging in on them from the mountains.
The new Alpha would take care of that; Leah would avenge my death and ensure the survival of the tribe.
"This young man is in such pain, Aro, his mate is gone from this world," Marcus said. "He reminds me of myself, so I beg you the boon you saw fit to refuse me centuries ago, please ease his suffering."
I closed my eyes, fixing in my mind the image of Edward in the tent: the way he smiled warmly at me, his bronze hair dimly visible in the scant light, his eyes lighting up as we bantered for the only time in our lives.
"Then it shall be done, my dears. Felix, if you please."
I bowed my head, offering a prayer to the god of my ancestors. 'Q'wati, please grant me safe passage beyond this realm so that I may dwell upon the stars of the Great Sky River, find a warm place to build a fire and gaze down upon this earth in the company of my beloved. Grant me what you deemed wise to deny me in this life, that I see Edward once more and hear his voice.'
Someone shouted in the distance as the cruel arms around my neck tightened so fast I barely had time to grimace. Then a sharp pain shot up from my neck, and I knew no more.