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A Broken Wing

Summary:
Jacob meets someone in the forest after he runs away. Can this person help him get over his infatuation with Bella, without breaking his heart herself? How does the rest of the pack respond to this newcomer?


Notes:
Second story! :] I'm really excited about this one. It's going to be relatively short, I'm planning on five chapters, give or take a couple. Everything belongs to Stephenie Meyer :] Thanks for giving us such amazing stories to write about!


7. Mitigation

Rating 5/5   Word Count 2640   Review this Chapter

The setting sun sent light filtering through the dense leaves of the forest, protecting abstract patterns all over the ground that Ellen was carefully navigating. It was, of course, no use; she tripped over hidden roots, ladybugs, and air more than she actually walked… or at least it seemed that bad.

“Shoot, now I’ll never be able to find that stupid – oh!” Ellen tripped again, only this time, she tripped right out of the deep green forest. The infamous diving cliff stood placidly before her, inviting her to sketch the sunset with the view it presented. “Yes!”

She excitedly whipped her sketchpad and a new package of colored pencils from her backpack and sunk down to the ground with a sigh of content, her feet dangling over the edge of the cliff. Her hand flew across the paper, a faint image of the setting sun appearing soon after. Reds, grays, yellows and oranges took the form of the place Ellen loved so dearly, the place she would call home until the end.

Ellen was just adding the green-gray tones to the waves when she heard the quiet padding of paws on dirt. She carefully placed the pad and pencils on the ground beside her and sighed. “You know, Embry, those dirt bikes are collecting dust in the garage. We should definitely try those tomorrow,” she turned, her smile morphing almost instantly into a small ‘o’. “You aren’t Embry…” She said to the huge russet wolf that stood only a few feet from where she sat. It shook its head in return, sinking to the ground on its stomach and whimpering.

“You aren’t going to attack me again, are you, Jake?” She asked hesitantly. He shook his enormous head again, inching closer to her. Ellen put out her hand and patted him on the head. “I’ll take your word for it. You know, you didn’t have to run away.” Jake pressed his wet nose against the sling that kept her left arm as still as possible. “Trust me, this is nothing. You should’ve seen what happened when I tried going mountain climbing a few years ago!” She laughed, but Jacob was not convinced. He looked up at her with big… well, puppy dog eyes.

“What? Are you looking for forgiveness? Listen, Jake. I am not the one you need to be, err… talking to. Go find Embry.” She grabbed her finished sketch, put it and the pencils in her bag again, and stood up, still facing the sunset. “You know, Leah was really hurt when you ran away. You were doing so well, Jake. I thought you were happier.” Ellen turned back to Jacob, but gasped and dropped her bag on the ground, hands out in front of her defensively. His teeth we bared, ears laid back, and vicious snarls tore through his chest. “Jake, stay back!” He took a step forward, she took a step back…

Right off the edge.

Ellen screamed, but only lasted a moment. She turned around when her balance shifted and kicked off the cliff, putting some distance between her body and the treacherous rocks. Her arms stretched out in a diving position, and she winced as her left arm came out of the sling. She flew gracefully through the air, wind tearing at her body from every angle, her long hair trailing behind her. As the water came closer, Ellen straightened out her body to try to prevent more injury. Taking a deep breath, she plunged into the chill darkness.

She swam to the surface, gasping for air. Beach, find the beach!Her mind was screaming. Ellen turned, desperately trying to locate her destination. There!It was only about a hundred yards away. A wave washed over her, pushing her head under the water, while the undertow sent her towards the open sea a few feet. She resurfaced and took a breath before fighting her way back. Just like in high school on the swim team… She thought, amused.

“Ellen!” Damnit.

A splash of water made her turn just in time to see Jake’s bare feet disappear under the water. She shook her head and resumed her trek back to the beach.

“Ellen! NO!”

“Jake, I’m right here. I can swim.” She turned back again to call back to him.

“Wha-? Oh. Duh.” He finally saw her and swam up to where she was impatiently treading water.

“No, stay there. Don’t come any closer!” Ellen put her hand up to stop him a few feet from her. “Stay that far away.” His eyebrows knit together in confusion, but he nodded solemnly. Satisfied, Ellen resumed, yet again, swimming back to shore. It only took a minute, but she kept checking back to make sure Jacob was staying a safe distance away - which he fortunately was.

“Elle, let me explain, I-“ Jake began, when they reached the beach. Ellen held up her hand for him to stop, her glare shooting daggers at him.

“What the hell were you thinking?!” She demanded, shaking her head and sending water droplets everywhere. “If I hadn’t known how to dive properly, or even swim do you realize what Embry – not to mention everyone else – might have done? You would have been La Push’s first-ever castrated werewolf! And after that, no one would be able to tell the difference between you and a bowl of apple sauce! Are you incapable of thinking how your actions affect other people, or do you just not care? Jacob Black, after everything I’ve done to try and help you get over your little crush on Bella, I think I deserve a little better treatment than being attacked!” She folded her arms across her chest, staring coldly at Jake and waiting for an explanation. The phase ‘If looks could kill’ rang in her ears. Jake merely gazed at his bare feet, wishing that he could dig a hole in the sand and bury himself there, never to be found. “Well?”

“I… don’t have a good explanation.” He said finally, looking up. “Except this: You remind me so much of Bella. You look like her, you act like her, you even smell like her! I thought you could be mine, and mine alone. And when I saw you at the fire with Embry, I got insanely jealous. I wanted to rip him to pieces, and claim you as my prize. I should be alpha, which, in olden terms, means I should get first dibs on girls. And then you started spending some time with me, and I knew that maybe I still had a chance. Every fiber in me yearned to hold you, to make you mine. And then you tried to hook me up with Leah. I felt like a deflated balloon, but I did what you told me to. Because I knew it would make you happy. The worst part is, I actually started likingLeah, like a girlfriend. But I fought my heart, telling myself that I was only dating her for you.” He sighed. “I tried to prove that to myself by stopping Embry from… well, you know. I wanted you all for myself, And I couldn’t let you go. I did a lot of thinking this past week. I ran up to Alaska, you know. Right around Juneau. There, I realized that I can’t sacrifice my friendship with Embry. I… I’m going to think about my friends, and get on with my life.”

“You know, that’s all very nice and everything. But what does that have to do with attacking me today?” Ellen’s glare hadn’t softened much at all.

“I originally followed you to apologize. But then Paul phased and knew that I was nearby. Before I could stop him, he alerted Embry and Seth, and they just flipped out at me. You couldn’t hear my thoughts, but they weren’t exactly child friendly. My facial expressions must have reflected our conversation, judging by your reaction. Embry saw you scared, and told me not to go any closer. Which I obviously resented and did exactly the opposite. And here we are now.”

Ellen sighed, frustrated. Her gaze softened, but only slightly. “And he saw me fall, and he’s freaking out and on his way here.” Jake nodded sheepishly.

“I told him to give me five minutes. Which means he should be here –“

“Now.” A venomous voice finished the sentence.

“Embry!” Ellen breathed, dashing over to him. Embry wrapped his arms tightly around her and kissed the top of her head.

“Are you alright? He didn’t hurt you, did he?”

“No, no, I’m fine. A little cold, but I’m fine.” He nodded, and then turned his attention to Jacob.

“I can’t believe you, Jake.” His voice was a quiet, forced calm. “We were happy.”

“Embry, wait.” Ellen stopped his rant before it started. “It was a mistake.”

“What do you mean?”

“He… he came to apologize. And then you were yelling at him and... he didn’t mean to scare me.” She tugged his collar down so she could whisper into his ear. “I honestly think we can trust him again.”

Embry just stared at her. “Are you sure?”

“I don’t know. Can I just talk to him for a minute?”

“No! I… What if he looses control? What if he… if he…”

Jake raised his hand. “Um, can I comment?”

“No, you can’t.” Embry spat.

“Em, please. You can be nearby if you want,”

He took a long, tense moment to think. “Fine. But I’m going to be right over there,” he motioned to the trees in the distance. “if you need me. I need to talk to the rest of the pack.” With a final kiss for Ellen and a cold glance toward Jacob, he left.

“Thank you.” Jake said softly.

“You still aren’t off the hook.” Ellen replied icily. “Whatever you said to them got Embry really upset.”

“No, not Embry. Seth. He… he used to be like, my number one fan. You told me your story, so now I’m going to tell you mine.” He gave her a small smile and sat down on the ground. He waited for Ellen to sit down, but she remained standing. With a sigh, he continued. “When Leah and I were, well, not really getting along, Seth started to get really distant. That was right around the time when Bella married that lee- Edward, and became one of them. Almost everyone was deserting me, then. Quil and Embry were the only ones that actually tried to cheer me up. I really did appreciate that, deep down, but didn’t realize it at the time. I thought it was annoying.” He laughed bitterly. “Boy, was I wrong. When you showed up, I thought you could have been Bella’s twin. Or even Bella herself. I didn’t realize… I thought you could be her. And you weren’t afraid of me, either. I thought I loved you from the start, but I know now that I was just reminiscing. I wished I could love you, as I had loved Bella. You… you and Embry really are happy together. I’m sorry about what I’ve done. I betrayed my best friend’s trust, and I’ve betrayed your trust. I don’t expect you to forgive me for anything I’ve done, but I just had to apologize.”

During Jake’s little speech, Ellen had sat down next to him. “It will take a while, but we he will forgive you, eventually. You still are his best friend. And when I’m ready, I’m sure I will too. But I still don’t understand what Seth has to do with this.”

He blushed slightly under his dark skin. “I was explaining to them why I came back. One of the reasons was Leah. I really do like her a lot, you know. You were right, we are alike, and after we worked out our differences, we actually started to get along. Seth was convinced that I was using her as an excuse to get back to you. I lost all of his trust, too. No one believes me.”

A soft hand brushed away a hot tear from his eye. He hadn’t realized he had been crying. When he looked up at Ellen, he saw tears in her eyes too.

“I’m sorry,” she said softly. Ellen turned her gaze out toward the significantly darkened sky. “I had a brother. He was five years older than me, and he was my best friend and protector. There was an old train bridge by our house that wasn’t in use anymore, and sometimes we’d walk across it. I fell off, once, but he caught me and saved me. I was only 13 at the time. He was going off to college that year, and he made me promise to never go on that bridge again. I never had a great relationship with my parents, and after he left I ran away a lot. Just a few years ago, when I was 17, I was gone for an entire week. No one knew where I was, and they called my brother to come and help. It was really rainy that day, and he thought that maybe I was on that bridge.” She stopped, choking up. “I was staying in a friend’s apartment. I should have called him to tell him I was alright. I should have… I should have done something!”

“He fell off the bridge, didn’t he,” Jacob finished quietly. With a small sob, Ellen nodded.

“No one listened to me then. They thought of me as a murderer. His fiancée wanted my parents to send me away. She was convinced that there was some way she could press charges. No one could have missed as much as I did, though. I hated myself. I wanted to jump off that bridge, just to be with him. I couldn’t live with myself. I overdosed on aspirin, my first suicide attempt, no one believed a word I said. Leah kept me sane. She knew the truth. She told me to come here as soon as I could, but my parents wouldn’t let me. They sent me to a depression help place for crazy people. That just made me even more depressed. Finally, when I got out of there, I bought a plane ticket to Seattle and came out here. I’m happy, now. My parents decided that no one can help me, know, so they gave up trying to make me go home. But that place isn’t home anymore. Here is.”

They were silent for a few moments. “You would never think of me as someone with a past like that.” Ellen said, smiling humorlessly. “But the gentlest lives have the most violent beginnings. Jake, I’m sorry if I led you on. I was just trying to help, but I realize I may have helped to evoke emotions I didn’t mean to. You aren’t the only one that should be apologizing.”

“You know what? Let’s stop feeling sorry for ourselves. Let’s start over new… As friends,” Jake held out his hand, and Ellen took it with a teary smile.

“Hello, my name is Ellen. My history isn’t exactly the greatest, but I’ve learned to move on with my life. I am currently living with my boyfriend, Embry, on the La Push reservation – a place I like to refer as Heaven on Earth.”

“Nice to meet you, Ellen, I’m Jacob Black. I’m a werewolf, and I used to be obsessed with a girl in love with a vampire. However, with some help, I’ve gotten over her and I’m also moving on with my life. And I think I’ve finally learned how to enjoy life again.”

“It’s nice to meet you too, Jake.” Embry walked over to them wearing nothing but a pair of cutoff jeans. He put his arm around Ellen’s shoulders, facing his friend with a pleased smile. “I know we’ll be great friends. Why don’t you come meet everyone else? We’re having dinner at the Uley’s house.”

“Yeah, I think food sounds pretty good right about now,” Jacob replied. All together, they set off into the darkness.