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In his darkest hour, he stumbles unsuspected upon his salvation. Can he help her overcome her own demons?

Story title/summary apt to change. I'm still undecided on them

1. Chapter 1

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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…
[Jacob, Eclipse epilogue]

Jacob ran until he couldn’t run anymore, slowing to a walk as he continued forward with no set destination in mind. Wandering aimlessly through a forest dense with trees, snow still blanketed the ground from the storm a few days prior but he could not feel the cold trying to attack his paws.

It occurred to him that he’d run blindly to the sight of the fight against the leech and her army of other blood suckers trying to kill his Bella. He choked at his thoughts. His Bella? Hardly. He snorted, angry with himself for even thinking of the reason for his exile.

It was his turn to leave. But his would be more permanent than that… that annoying vampire boyfriend’s, scratch that, fiancé of hers. It was better this way. He was through torturing himself believing he still had a chance with her. She’d chosen her destiny and made it crystal clear. She wanted to be one of… one of… Those.

The scent of which still lingered in the air, his lip curled up in disgust at the smell.

He should be losing his old self now, having chosen the wolf form over being human. But he supposed it would take some time as well as putting more distance between him and her to completely forget.

With that thought, Jacob set north pushing himself to run faster and farther away from the putrid air. He didn’t get far when he noticed a different smell, the smell of a nearby human mixed with the stagnant coppery smell of dried blood. One he didn’t recognize.

He slowed to a walk again, annoyed at the presence. It could be a hunter for all he knew, but he was curious. He tracked it to a small clearing half a mile to the east, staying hidden in the shadows as he caught up with it.

A girl, no older than he, was limping slowly towards a tree opposite him in the fringe of the clearing where she gingerly sat down, carefully avoiding any weight on her right ankle. She pulled her knees to her chest in a vain attempt for warmth wrapping her arms around them securely as she shook violently from the cold.

Jacob forgot himself a moment and edged closer to the clearing in sight of her, his concern overshadowing the knowledge that he was not in the right form to be approaching her.

Deep pools of blue met onyx and he could see the panic setting in her eyes as they widened at the sight of him. He cursed himself for scaring her, backing off a step and lying down with his head resting on his paws to watch her inquisitively hoping he wasn’t so intimidating now.

What was she doing this far out in the woods alone? Why was she hurt? She needed medical attention, warmth… she surely wouldn’t survive too much longer here out on her own. He wanted to help her, but how would he do that without causing her to injure herself more when she no doubt would try running from him if he got any closer.

Whining impatiently, he tried to appear as harmless as possible with his head hung low as he stood to approach, walking towards her slowly. She didn’t move an inch, staring at him as he got closer. Suddenly a resigned look crossed her face and her eyes turned a dull gray.

“Y’know, if you’re hungry… go ahead. I’m probably gonna die out here anyway.”

Her words surprised him and he paused momentarily to regard her warily before continuing ahead. Why was she so ready to die?

“Better you than them.”

When he got close enough for her to touch him she lifted her arm out to him tentatively, and he nudged her palm with his nose to encourage her. Then a smell he hadn’t noticed on her earlier hit him like a punch.

It took a lot of restraint not to growl his displeasure. The stink was faint but his sensitive nose could still pick up evidence that she’d been near a blood sucker. It confused him because she was still human. How could she have encountered one and survived?

Not noticing his tension, she grew bolder and let her fingers move to his neck where she ran them through his heavy coat. The cold of her fingers reminding him that she was in danger of becoming an icicle if he didn’t do something.

Letting a low whimper of worry escape his throat, he moved closer to her and sat his chin on her knee to share some of his body heat. Surprised at the action, she tensed momentarily before seeing he wasn’t going to snap at her and hesitantly scratched his ear with her other hand.

“You’re so… warm…” Without warning she fainted, the arm that had been at his ear fell to her side as her head lolled forward, her caramel-colored hair curtained around him and for a second he was worried until he could hear slow, even breaths coming from her, puffs of air hitting the top of his head.

For the moment, he was glad he hadn’t lost his humanity yet. He was going to help this girl. But first, he had to figure out a way to get her to the safety of La Push.