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What if Bella had never jumped off that cliff? What if Alice had never seen her die? What if the Cullens had never had a reason to return to Forks? AU

There are a few passages in this story taken directly from New Moon by Stephenie Meyer. That's because, in order to write this Alternate Universe successfully, I have to be able to take scenes already in the canon and alter them to fit the consequences of the different choices in my own universe. The characters are still the same, so they would still say and think very similar things to what they said and thought in the original story. That being said, obviously the entire Twilight Universe belongs to Stephenie Meyer. I am not that brilliant.

14. Chapter 14

Rating 5/5   Word Count 2227   Review this Chapter


Chapter Fourteen

How many of them were there?

Jake broke out into a howl, distracting my count. I spun to look at him, my eyes wild and terror-filled. His eyes did not close, burning into Victoria’s, but his howl was a call, a call to his brothers. It went on and one and even I could hear its notes turn more and more desperate. Help was not close enough. No one was going to reach us in time.

What did it matter how many vampires were in front of us when one of them was just going to kill me anyways?

Everything just grew sharper in my vision. The clouds shifted slightly above, and a sliver of sunlight trickled down the leaves and onto the ground at my feet. The heavy, damp air was musty in my nostrils. The exact gleam of Victoria’s red hair captured my focus, and then the glint of her teeth. The way she and those flanking her did not shift or move at all but instead stayed frozen, still as stone. I licked my lips. Was there any way I would be able to die bravely, without crying or pleading? I was not certain. What would this coven do once they’d destroyed me? Would they move on to feed all throughout Forks? I felt suddenly so sick I was in immediate danger of vomiting all over the forest floor.

No, I told myself. The pack would surely get here in time to stop that. The Cullens would surely be here in time to prevent this. Not my death, not Jacob’s murder, but the purposeless killings of a hundred unknowing innocents. That did not have to happen.

Was there any way to stall? I knew Victoria wanted to kill me slowly, torturously—I shivered and almost got sick again—but I saw the red gleam in the eyes of her companions and wondered if they had the control to allow her to do this as she wished to. Or if even she had that control.

Victoria took a step towards me and I stumbled backwards. Jake growled, but I could hear the panic behind the threatening gesture. Victoria heard it too; for the first time her mouth formed something near to a grimace. There was no way he could save me, even in giving up his own life. We all knew it.

“Jake,” I muttered, “get out of here.”

He growled again. Victoria listened quietly. I heard a slight snickering from the crowd of her companions.

Run Jake. Help the others.” My voice was desperate now. Would he really die for me?

Yes, yes he would. I had to stop him but how could I get him to listen? He didn’t even respond to my plea this time; he ignored me, his teeth bared at our coming death.

“Jacob,” I begged, trying to keep my vision clear and free of tears. “Jacob, think of Billy. He just lost Harry. Don’t do this; don’t die for me!”

Another smattering of laughter among Victoria’s cohorts. I had felt this terror before, but that time it was because I was dying for someone. For my mother. What was I dying for this time? What was Jacob dying for? Who were we saving?

Victoria took another step forward. I felt rooted to the spot; Jake’s hair was brushing against my face he was so close to me now.

“I’m going to kill you so slowly,” Victoria hissed, and around Jacob I could see the murder there in her eyes.

“I didn’t do anything to you!” I protested, my voice high pitched and I was embarrassed at myself. Did I actually think I could reason with her here, that I could dissuade her from this course of action?

Victoria laughed, high and cold, but did not smile. Her eyes remained fiery, deadly.

“Mate for mate,” she hissed. Jake hissed too. I wasn’t sure if it was at her threat or her inference that Edward was my mate. I kind of hoped it was the former, but I knew that Jacob would die cursing Edward. I almost wished that I could but it was impossible. How could I ever blame Edward for saving my life?

“He’s not with me anymore,” I tried to explain to Victoria, and my voice broke. I realized that I had never really admitted this out loud and it shocked me how much it hurt. “He left me!” I forced out and I could feel Jacob shudder at the pain in my voice. I felt even worse. How was it that I could always feel even worse? Now Jacob would die knowing that I still, in the deepest parts of me, still mourned Edward.

Neither of us, however, expected Victoria’s reaction to my words.

She let out a wordless howl, anger and pain and frustration and bloodlust all in one long, meaningless string of sound born at the base of her throat. I closed my eyes against it; goose bumps rose on my arms and I started shivering uncontrollably.

“He left you!” Victoria screeched. “He killed James for you and then he left you! You meant nothing and he killed James for nothing and didn’t look back!”

That was when she lunged for my throat, teeth bared.

I was moving before I realized what had happened. First flying through the air and then landing roughly on Jake’s back, my hands caught up in his long hair and we were running, so fast that I closed my eyes against the speed and tried to scream but could not open my mouth. In what direction were we running? Why were we running? Why had Jake wasted those seconds it took to grab me; why had he not just went and saved himself?

I knew the answer to the first and the last questions, but the second one was a mystery. I clung so desperately to Jake and prayed it was not towards civilization. I couldn’t even feel the motion we were moving so fast and all my emotion nearly burst in my throat, an explosion of tears wanting to get out an unable to. It wasn’t like this was over. Not at all.

I heard a snarling and we stopped moving so abruptly I almost flew off of Jake’s back, only catching myself by my almost-painful grip on his coat. Opening my eyes I saw Sam lunging at Victoria, catching her off guard in her blind chase of Jacob and using this advantage to strike her to the ground. She was up and at him with no hesitation, so ready for a fight her normally pleasant vampire smell was marred with that of bloodlust. Her confused companions were momentarily distracted, and that was when I noticed the rest of the wolves who had come with Sam.

Jake had run us back to La Push.

I could feel him itching to join the battle under me as we watched, twitching at every blow and growling anxiously, but then he turned and growled directly at Sam and Victoria. At first I thought Victoria might be doing something but the battle was going as before: give and take, snarl and swipe. I couldn’t watch it; I was about to look away when Sam turned for a split second to growl back at Jake. It was then that I understood what was going on. Sam had given Jake an order, and Jacob did not want to obey.

Do it, Jake,” I hissed. He growled at me too, but then turned and we began running again, this time in the direction of Forks, away from the reservation. I could still hear the violence of the battle behind us as we ran and I suddenly thought that Jake was probably leaving because of me. That he was leaving the wolves outnumbered—were they outnumbered, I really hadn’t been able to count—just for my safety. Under my breath I began cursing and my grip on Jake’s coat tightened painfully. Why was it that I was the one always putting people in more danger than was necessary? Why couldn’t it be Paul, or Jared, or Sam who was the target? I felt so sick with fear and guilt. I hoped I didn’t vomit on Jake.

Then we stopped. Jake shook his back a little and I jumped off. My eyes were swimming from not closing my eyes as we ran. It took a minute to focus on where we had stopped.

We were still in the woods. But we were not alone.

“We need permission to come onto your territory to help,” Carlisle said to Jacob. I blinked many times to make sure I was seeing things clearly. The entire Cullen family, all of them together, were standing in front of us, facing Jake all on the edge of their toes as if against an invisible wall.

Jake growled. So did Edward, Edward who was farthest away from us, next to Jasper. His body was curved as though he was about to burst into a sprint in the direction Jake and I had come from. He did not take his eyes off me; I felt myself blush in response. His eyes looked so tortured I could feel his grief mix with my own, even if I didn’t know what the source of his even was. It frightened me but did not surprise me that I was still connected to him in that way.

“He says that they aren’t sure they need our help,” Edward spat, not looking away from me. Hearing his voice forced me to realize that since first seeing his family I had not been breathing; I took in a long, shaky breath.

“Jacob,” Carlisle begged. “Be reasonable. Your brothers cannot handle this. But we have experience. We know that the ones you are fighting are newborns; Jasper here has unique experience fighting such creatures. You need us. Don’t let your brothers die for pride.”

Jake hissed in Edward’s direction. I didn’t know if it was because of the way Edward was looking at me or in response to Carlisle’s words.

“Jacob needs to know who is prepared to watch over Bella,” he snarled. “And he demands that it be someone other than me.” A flash of pain lit up his eyes; I looked away, not realizing I’d been staring back at him.

“That’s reasonable,” Carlisle said. “We will need Edward fighting with us anyways. Esme can watch after Bella.”

Esme nodded, and she shot a strained smile at me. In the background we heard a tortured-sounding yelp.

“We’re wasting time!” Jasper snapped, his eyes blazing. “Make your decision dog: do you want your brothers to die or not?!”

Jacob snarled, and then things moved too quickly for me to follow properly. Edward was the first one to start running, without saying a word to the others. Jake was after him, catching up to him quickly to ensure that Edward did not reach the battle site first. The rest followed, understanding within a fraction of a second Jacob’s answer and moving so quickly that I was surrounding by a sweet-smelling wind that tossed my hair around my face so that not just their speed made it difficult for my human eyes to watch them go. Then all was still for about ten seconds.

Then the howls and the screeches and the growls grew so loud that I closed my eyes against them, fell to my knees, and was violently sick at the base of a tree.

Esme held my hair back, her stone hand rubbing circles against my back. I began to sob against her, not spitting out the bitter taste in my mouth because I knew I deserved it. I cried through all the sounds of battle, as they went on and on and on. What else was there to do?

“They’re all going to die,” I gasped against Esme’s shoulder. “They’re all going to die because of me.”

Suddenly I was not leaning against her anymore; she had pushed me backwards, holding me a little too tightly by my shoulders.

No,” she hissed at me, her eyes wide so that I could see that she, too, was frightened for her family’s lives. “None of this is your fault.”

I hung my head but did not believe her. She let me cry for a few more seconds, and then stood up, pulling me with her.

“Where’s Charlie, Bella?” Esme asked me.

I blinked. Charlie? I stretched my mind. What day was it? Where would Charlie be?

“I’m…not sure,” I whispered. “Either he’s at work, or he’s at home, or he’s…” I gasped in horror at the thought.

“Or he’s where? Where, Bella?” Esme demanded.

“Or he’s at Billy’s. In La Push,” I whispered in terror.

There was a moment where I wasn’t breathing and Esme was not breathing and all we could hear were the crashes and snarls from the battle site…maybe only a mile away from where Charlie was right now.

“Get on my back, Bella,” Esme said.

“What?” I said stupidly, my mind caught in a horrified daze. How much more could I take?

“Get on my back,” Esme ordered. “We’re going to check on Charlie.”

“What if he’s there?” I asked softly, not enough breath to use any normal volume as Esme hoisted me gently piggyback-style onto her back.

“Then,” Esme said, shifting me slightly so that I was in a more comfortable position, “we might have a bit of explaining to do, should anyone actually live through this. Close your eyes.”

I obeyed, and we flew back towards the place where my friends and my family and everyone I loved were risking their lives whether they knew it or not.