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Break Down

Summary:
"And they lived happily ever after." ...Not. Fairytale endings never last. Especially when you're an immortal. Oneshot.


Notes:
The consequences of immortality. Enjoy.


1. Break Down

Rating 5/5   Word Count 3779   Review this Chapter

Breakdown

Warui-Usagi

‘Love is not a victory march. It's a cold and it's a broken hallelujah.'

--From the lyrics of "Hallelujah" by Rufus Wainwright

x x x

Something was wrong. Very wrong indeed.

She was damp inside her cloak; the thick material had grown heavy with the weight of water it had absorbed, her hair and clothes both soaked right through. The wind was strong from where she stood on the road, sending tendrils of her dark, chocolate brown hair dancing violently around her pale, heart-shaped face even with the protection of the hood. Sharp, topaz eyes cut through the gloom, searching frantically for some trace of why she was here. But like always it was elusive, leaving just enough of a trace in the air to irritate her inhuman senses. It left a bitter tingling sensation at the back of her tongue that stayed there no matter how much blood she drank, and her chest tightened whenever she caught the scent; painful yet alluring.

She had been called here.

A peel of thunder crashed overhead and she watched it illuminate the dark street. Nothing had changed, not to her astonishment. Houses in Forks were still incredibly small with simple, equally tiny front yards that required little or no maintenance. The newest car sitting under a porch was still at least ten years old, and even the paint used on the outside of the house hadn't changed in the past sixty-five years; almost as if the town itself had been drained of all creativity.

A vicious breeze picked up suddenly, stirring the air once again with the fragrance that she'd been chasing all the way from her home in Alaska. Her body stiffened for an instant as her nose twitched, singling out her target. The rain was running in small, cold rivers down her exposed forearms, but she didn't feel it against her equally icy skin. Her eyes fluttered closed and for one moment her body was completely motionless; a beautiful marble statue in the middle of a vicious storm. Her legs gradually flexed...and then...

She was flying.

Her golden eyes snapped open, shining now with a new mixture of excitement and apprehension at what she might find. Trees flew by in a shadowed blur and she began to feel the usual thrill of running at impossible speeds course through her like some wonderful, hallucinatory drug. She smiled; the rain proving to be only a slight hindrance; the drops smacking her eyes like bugs against a car windshield. The gravitational wind created by her rapid movement sent her hood coursing behind her - hair now flapping freely in tangles behind her in the breeze.

But then abruptly, she came screaming to a halt.

She'd reached a point where she could go no further, bound by a treaty forged between her kind and the werewolves almost two hundred years ago. But the very thing she had been chasing was somewhere nearby - somewhere in there. The frustration of it all was enough to make her want to scream. If she went in there and was spotted...there was a good chance she wouldn't be coming back out again. But the sharp, musty fragrance was stirring on the tip of her tongue like a sirens call-irresistible. Vampires, she realized, didn't like not knowing what was going on. In fact, she found to her immense surprise, she hated it fiercely. That was what they're incredibly high-tuned senses were for; seeing, hearing and feeling everything humans couldn't. But not even she knew what was going on. Not even she could pin-point the exact location of the smell. She could be risking her life...the life of her family...and the treaty all for nothing.

Useless.

In fact, her family was probably on their way here right now. One vampire in particular, she realized, was probably very distressed and very...pissed off with herat the moment. She had, after all, snuck out without him knowing where she was going. He would have never allowed her to come anywhere near here without him. The wind stirred around her angrily in a furious updraft that sent leaves whooshing up into the air, driving her senses wild with the pungent perfume again...and this time it carried with it a strong sense of a promise to keep. All the more reason to follow it, she rationalized. It didn't smell dangerous...just unpleasant and gut-wrenchingly familiar. Her stomach twisted uneasily; the unfamiliar feeling of nausea making her stumble.

Why did she suddenly feel so sad?

Her family would be here in a matter of hours...and she was standing here deliberating like an idiot. Pathetic. So close and yet so far, she mused.

Biting down on her perfect lip, she began to panic as she eyed the border nervously. Someone...something was calling to her. Desperately. And she wasn't leaving until she found out what. She knew that she was incredibly stubborn. Might as well not bother fighting fact.

She took the first step, her boot sounding very noisy as it crunched against the forest debris.

She stopped.

Listened.

Listened again.

Nothing.

She sighed.

...And then she was flying once more.

The quicker she found whatever...whoever was calling her, the quicker she could leave the reservation. Vampires hadn't been in this area for sometime, so she could only hope that the new generation of werewolves still hadn't formed yet. The chances were slim, she knew, but she still hoped. The thought of werewolves immediately brought a tall, boyish face to mind and she felt a small smile creep its way onto her lips...but then she frowned. She'd been wrong. It pained her so much to think about it, but she had been unable to keep her promise to herself. She never saw her best friend again after that night. She was naïve when she was first turned; vampires and werewolves could never co-exist. That's just the way things were. The way things would always be. It was a good thing she had been rather skilled in blocking unpleasant experiences from her mind during her human years. She didn't think she could bare the pain, otherwise.

Another crack of lightening sprawled its way across the black sky again, illuminating the ground long enough for her to spot the oncoming clearing about two hundred yards away. The scent sharpened suddenly, signaling how close she was to her goal. Whatever it was must be up in the field ahead. Thank god. Maybe I'll have enough time after this to get out of Forks...or at least, far enough out of the way to make it look like I was only passing through. I'd still have to come up with an explanation though for why I disappeared. And he'd know I was lying. He's going to kill me, anyway. Why even bother?

She sighed, exasperated for what seemed the millionth time today as she slowly came to a complete stop just outside the wall of thick, silvery trunks that encased the little bubble of free space just in front of her. The scent was screaming in her nostrils now, raising the hairs on the back of her neck. She didn't like the feeling - loathed it, in fact. But she still didn't recognize any kind of danger, she just felt extremely uncomfortable. But then again, her self-preservation skills were never able to detect the danger very well in any given situation. She remembered that much from when she was a human.

You are standing in the middle of werewolf territory, though, she reminded herself dryly. They find you and you're dead...even more then you are now. Think that has anything to do with why you're shaking? Yep, her sarcasm was as heavy as ever, she noticed with a grimace.

The rain had finally slowed to an annoyingly persistent and sticky drizzle. Not that it mattered. She was completely drenched from head to toe, anyway and now that she had stopped, mud had caked in particularly think layers on the bottom of her boots, leaving them difficult to walk in. Her jeans were covered in grime and the thick, grey - well, the used to be grey-cloak felt oppressive as it dragged through the dirt, also completely covered mud. Despite that, she cowered into a tree and scanned the field, butterscotch eyes darting wildly in every direction. The instant she stepped out into that clearing, she'd be exposed for every, single werewolf to see...as well as anything else unpleasant that was out there. Whatever it was that was in that field couldn't be seen from here. She gulped.

Just go. Don't think. Just go. Don't think. Just go!

She threw herself out into the open without a second thought; rolling through the grass and springing up into a defensive stance, crouching low in the tall grass. A flash of brown caught her eye, followed by the almost inaudible pat pat pat of a creature walking...no, stumbling was more like it. Soon after, she heard it fall with a soft thud against the ground; the small vibrations shivering their way up her legs.

No! She ran - it was awkward, and for the moment that she actually forgot she was a vampire, her human equilibrium was back. She stumbled over rocks and loose roots in her desperate attempt to reach the animal-or at least, that's what she thought it was - propelled by a concern she couldn't comprehend. She could definitely tell now that she was so close what was wrong with it. The creature was ill. Terribly so. She could smell the sickness in its blood; the scent becoming even more potent with every irratic beat of its heart.

No, no, no, no! She came to a small hill littered with long stalks of lavender, and she tore her way through it as the thunder echoed overhead amongst the dark clouds. When she finally reached the top, her eyes settled on the animal and she felt her knees buckle underneath her diamond hard body, and sink into the damp ground.

She had to do everything she could to prevent herself from screaming.

She stayed there in a limp pile of limbs for a few minutes, the lavender swaying gently around her in the after-storm breeze. She didn't blink. Didn't move. The creature's tale twitched, and she made herself respond; dragging herself the few remaining meters, she raised a shaky arm to run her fingers through its drenched, rusty-colored fur.

‘Bella...'

She nearly broke down at that. He sounded just like she remembered. His husky voice rung loudly in her head.

She couldn't stop the sob rising in her throat. She choked on his name. "Jacob?"

She instantly went about easing his head off the wet grass and very carefully placing it comfortably in her lap, stroking him softly as she did so. He whimpered quietly under her touch.

‘Bella...I wondered how long it would take for you to get here.' She heard his soft chuckle carry on the gentle wind.

She smiled. It was a hopeless smile. "You knew I would, though. I always enjoyed being with you too much to stay away." Her voice broke on the last word. She gave up then on trying to hold everything back. She'd never been ashamed about breaking down in front of Jacob, after all. She had forgotten how big werewolves were. Not even half of Jacob's head fit in her lap, so she readjusted him so that he rested comfortably on her shoulder while the upper-half of his body lay limp and unmoving against her chest.

"Better?" she asked, laughing to herself while she awkwardly tried to re-arrange his paws in her arms.

‘Not really,' he complained in her ear, and she could hear the mocking frown in his voice, ‘you're so hard! And' - sniff - ‘ewww! You stink, Bella! Yuk. It hurts my nose.' He laughed.

"You stink too!" she said, and made a point of wrinkling her nose. But the humor couldn't hold her for very long and it took only but a few seconds for the horrific nature of the situation to sink in. "Oh, Jake," she cried, burying her face in the fur that stuck out untidily at the base of his chest, while throwing her arms around his neck and grabbing large fistfuls of his mane. She couldn't stand the fact that he seemed so...happy about the whole situation.

He was much more serious when he spoke; his voice slightly bitter. ‘You know I don't have much longer...but you also knew that this would happen eventually, Bella. You made your choice...'

"No," she croaked against his fur, violently shaking her head. "I don't want you to go. I refuse to let you go. I'll look after you. You'll be fine." The conviction in her voice wasn't very strong at all. It sounded odd in her ears.

‘I'd stay with you, Bella...if I could...' His voice was earnest, but hopeless; laced with the same hint of hostility that Bella had now learned to recognize as some kind of frustration-frustration directed at her, she was sure. She probably was being a tad hypocritical. ‘...But we both know that's not possible,' he finished firmly, and Bella didn't miss the implication that it wasn't just the fact that he was dying that would prevent them being together.

"But I don't want you to go..." - she held him tighter still, fighting the overwhelming sadness stuck in her throat - "Please don't go." Her voice sounded feeble, defeated.

‘Bella...I never stopped thinking about you. Not once in all these years. I was really upset at first, after we had said goodbye in the forest. But afterwards, when I promised myself that I would see you again - as a human or vampire - I wasn't as sad anymore. You were...still are Bella. I'm glad I get to see you one last time. I've missed you so much...'

"I love you, Jake," Bella gasped suddenly, agony saturating her voice. "You are the best friend a bloodsucker could ask for." Her voice broke twice.

His voice was-just like hers-suddenly pained, and whisper quiet. Even in these final, precious moments, they were linked. Kindred Spirits. ‘Love you too, Bells.' His words were almost lost when his body jerked suddenly, howling up at the black sky over Bella's shoulder. She held his head tighter, almost crushing it against her chest. She could hear him crying in her head - the sound tearing away at her already breaking heart. She could barely hear him over the strong wind - even with her super-sensitive hearing, and for that she was thankful. When he was in pain, so was she; the sharp throbbing in her chest a constant reminder of what was about to come. Another storm was approaching, she noticed belatedly. The wind continued to increase.

He continued to howl over the wind; his saddened voice contrasting eerily with that of the encroaching storm as it resonated in the base of his chest. "Stop now, Jake," she soothed him, gingerly rubbing the back of his head. She felt him gradually relax against her, and they stayed like that for a few silent moments, the wind becoming more violent with each passing second.

She continued stroking him gently, and then he spoke. ‘Hey Bells, promise me something would you?' Now even his voice was dying. She had to strain to hear it.

"Anything," she mumbled dejectedly.

‘When you're still around six hundred years from now, promise that you won't forget me, eh? ‘Cause that would really suck.' He tried to laugh without much success.

"Of course not, Jake. I could never forget you. You're too important to me. You're my best friend, after all."

Good...' and he was silent after that for awhile. So was Bella as she continued to pet him quietly. The fact that his answer was short alarmed her, but she tried to hide it.

‘Hey,' he asked her eventually. ‘Do you remember when Harry, Leah and the kids came over to my place? Charlie and Billy were there, too. And we were eating spaghetti out in the yard, all talking over each other...laughing...then it rained...'

"Yeah. I remember."

‘I don't think I've ever been happier then I was back then. Having all the people I loved around me...having you with me all the time.'

She lifted her head a little, gazing out unseeingly into the wild forest; the wind howling through the trees. "We really did have a lot of fun back then, didn't we?" she mused.

‘Sure did...I'm glad I get to go like this. Having you with me, it's almost like a fairytale-ish kinda ending. My kind of ending. I'm so happy...thank-you, Bells.'

"Jake!" she choked, pulling his head away from her shoulder to look into his huge brown eyes. "Stay with me now."

‘Miss you...Be happy, Bella,' he muttered.

She wasn't listening.

Under her fingertips, she could almost see his body breaking down. His heart beat one last time, then stopped. His pulse went quiet. His lungs were silent, unmoving. It was like watching an entire city blackout with each and every individual screaming at the top of their lungs before everything went eerily, terrifyingly silent.

It was unbearable.

"No, no, no! I don't want to hear it! I don't want to hear any of it!" she screeched, her voice ringing at deafening volumes in the clearing. Childishly, she jerked her hands away from under Jacob's neck - clutching them desperately over her ears as if that would block it all out. His head fell limply against her chest; his still-open eyes staring up at her with a glazed, distant gaze.

She heard it all happen, anyway. Every. Single. Detail. She could've screamed.

In her chest, Bella could feel the little corner of her heart where Jacob had lived all of these years they were apart shatter into a million, tiny pieces. It hurt. It hurt a lot.

"No! Please, Jake. Don't go!" she begged half-heartedly, voice thick with pain. But it was too late. She already knew it was too late. His eyes had faded; all traces of life long gone. She suddenly wished her eyes weren't so sharp. She couldn't see the natural, warm aura Jacob emitted either. It was gone. Everything about him was gone. Dead. She clutched as much of him as she could to her marble body as she wept pointlessly into his fur. No matter how hard she cried, the tears wouldn't come.

She couldn't bring herself to leave him here. Alone. Not again. She couldn't even will herself to move.

"Jacob...no...I'm sorry. I'm so sorry." She stroked his face as she lay his head down in the grass; a few rogue snowflakes falling against his dark fur. Leaning down, she kissed his still-wet nose gently, before leaning down herself next to him; snuggling up close against his wolf-ish form, despite her nostrils protests to the smell. "It's okay," she whispered. "I'll stay. I promise I won't leave you this time."

He didn't respond. She hadn't expected him to.

The pain in her chest was staggering, and unlike every other time, the close proximity of Jacob didn't stifle it. It's because he's not in there anymore, she realized, looking up at his dead eyes. Staring back were hers, and she could see the dull emptiness in them. They'd gone flat black; a clone of Jacob's own orbs. And the just thought of his name brought on a new wave of sobs. She cried against him pathetically in the wet flowers, clutching at him desperately while snowflakes danced - unnoticed - in the air around them.

She didn't know how long it had been when she finally came around. The only thing she noticed was that she was moving.

Away from Jacob.

That was all the motivation she needed in order to make herself respond. Instinctively, she wrapped her hands in an unbreakable hold around his two front paws, struggling against the force that was pulling her away. "You can't make me move. Nobody can!" she reassured herself. When another pair of pale hands lashed out to try and pry her fingers away, she slapped them off, provoked. "No! I'm not leaving him! Not again."

"Bella! Calm down," a velvety and soft voice reassured her.

She didn't listen.

She continued to struggle violently against the prison of her captive's arms; kicking furiously while holding on stubbornly to Jacob's legs, eyes never leaving his wolf-ish form. "Let go! I promised I'd stay! I promised him!" She could feel the arms around her waist loosening. She was winning.

"Alice! Alice help!" the beatific voice cried, his voice frantic.

Almost that instant, Bella felt a sturdy pair of arms wrap themselves securely around her legs, putting an immediate halt to her fighting. She still tried to break free; fighting against the bindings that rooted her firmly to the spot, Jacob's body just within her reach.

She wasn't very successful.

"Quickly now, Alice! Grab her hands. I'll take her legs." It was someone else's voice now - one full of authority. Sure enough, this time the pale hands whipped out and were triumphant in gently prying her fingers from Jacobs paws...and Bella could do little to object. "Please don't..." she mumbled dejectedly.

"It's for your own good, Bella. We have to get out of here."

So she cried.

She watched helplessly as she was carried further and further away from Jacob. From her best friend. Finally, he disappeared completely behind a wall of emerald branches. The pain at never seeing him again sizzled away in the centre of her chest. As soon as they were clear of the trees, her legs and arms were released. It didn't matter. She wasn't going anywhere. She could still feel another pair of stone arms wrapped around her waist, holding her upright.

"Why did he have to die? Why did I give up on him so easily?" Bella asked herself after a long moment of silence.

Even before the words were out of her mouth, the voice of an archangel was at her ear; whisper quiet and saturated with regret. "This is why I didn't want this life for you. No matter what you seem to gain, you always lose so much more. You lose everything. You've lost everything. And it's all my fault."

And for the life of her, Bella couldn't argue.

Not yet.