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Paris

Summary:
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


Notes:
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.


9. Chapter 9

Rating 5/5   Word Count 2237   Review this Chapter

Paris

Chapter Nine

It took three days for the Cullens to come back to Forks, and four more for them to reintroduce themselves back into society. An entire week for Forks to become monster central once more, though no one else knew it. I knew it was coming because suddenly Jake insisted that we spend even more time at La Push than before, time where I sat awkwardly with Billy at home or walked the beach alone while Jake and his brothers supervised and negotiated the rewriting of the treaty. I tried to follow the proceedings but my questions were ignored or the subject was changed whenever I said something about it. It was frustrating, maddening, but there was nothing I could do about it. No matter how many times I pointed out that the entire reason behind the negotiations was that Victoria was endangering me, Jake or Sam or even Paul and Jared physically brushed my arguments aside. I was not one of the pack, I was not one of the coven. I was a mere human who was unnecessarily involved in supernatural affairs. It was a fact that I was normally able to forget, but as my time at La Push increased so did my sense of uselessness. I spent my time catching up on my school work and trying to ignore the stiffness of the atmosphere around me. My grades were going up, but I had an uncomfortable sense that I was still not completely trusted by the pack due to my past connections with the Cullens.

The third day, the day before the Cullens came out into public again as being back from Los Angeles, the entire pack trooped into Billy’s house with the most ugly and dangerous looks on their faces I had yet seen. They were all so big that they filled the kitchen completely and their dark room with them. Without meaning to, I cowered in my corner of the room.

Jake himself was snarling, looking more out of control than I had ever seen him. I wondered briefly about the wisdom of having so many angry werewolves in one room. What would it take to set them off? I shuddered at the thought, Emily’s scarred face swimming in front of my eyes.

Suddenly there was such a crash that I stood suddenly, my arms instinctively shielding my head from any blows. When I dared to peek out from behind them I saw Jacob breathing heavily, his hands in tight fists and the kitchen table in pieces after he had slammed into it. Billy was trapped at the doorframe, unable to maneuver his wheelchair into the room.

What is going on here!” he demanded from where he sat, his eyes moving swiftly from his shaking son and his broken table.

Jake shook himself, trying to calm down. I saw Sam shoot him a warning look, though his own fists were clenched in anger. I could see Paul concentrating intently, his eyes closed and his mouth forming numbers as he appeared to count to ten, and I remembered the last time he had been this angry. Without meaning to I slid further backward in my chair, further away from the werewolves surrounding me. Sam stretched his hands out, as though he could physically push the tension in the room down to a more reasonable level. It took many long, struggling moments until I felt safe enough to breathe somewhat more properly. My hands clenched the seat of the chair beneath me, hoping to find some strength in the worn wood there. I stared intently about me. My only chance was to catch the danger just before it hit me at its worst.

“It’s okay, Billy,” Sam said, his voice calmer than his tensed muscles might suggest. “Negotiations were just a bit more difficult than usual, is all.”

I forgot my observations and the heightened danger in the room and stared at Sam. Images of battles, of scars and growls and clawing hands flirted with my vision. Beyond their obvious anger the pack looked all right, but I sensed something below the surface.

Billy wasn’t buying Sam’s words either. He pushed past Jared and Quill in order to wheel himself closer to the center of the group. His eyes never left Sam’s. There was something big going on: the leader of the pack up against the leader of the tribe. The citizens of La Push relied on full communication in order to keep their community going; that Sam was withholding something from Billy was causing conflict that I could not comprehend.

“Tell me about the negotiations,” Billy said quietly. There was no room for negotiation in his voice. I realized that he had forgotten my presence entirely; the rest of the group had not noticed me upon their entrance at all.

“It was nothing,” Sam insisted. “Just one demand made that we refuse to meet.” His eyes went past Billy and by complete accident rested on me. He looked very silly for a moment, his face first confused, then hardened, then resolved. He did nothing to alert the others to me, just turned back to Billy and gritted his teeth, readying himself to spit whatever it was out.

“The Cullens—“ Sam stopped, took a breath. He licked his lips deliberately and I realized that I had never seen Sam in anything but complete control before. His teetering on the edge of full-blown rage was completely foreign to me; it wrestled with my image of him as the immovable rock that held Jacob and his brothers together.

“The Cullens,” he began again, slightly breathless, “have demanded that Bella be placed under their own personal protection.”
“Filthy bloodsuckers!” somebody roared—no way to catch who—and a fist crashed through a wall. Plaster dust flew, and I coughed. No one noticed in the ruckus of Paul finally losing control and Sam changing form to hold him before he hurt anybody else.

“Out of here!” Billy roared. “All of you! Now! Don’t come back until you’ve cooled off!”

They were gone swiftly; out the door and into wolf form in one smooth motion. I stared after them, and because of my distracted attention I did not realize that Jacob had stayed behind, that he was staring directly at me.

I stared back at him, but I could not begin to understand the deep hatred his face was screwed up into. He all but snarled not at me, but at the space in between us.

“Jacob!”

Jake turned slowly to face his father. I looked away from the expression which passed between them; little though I understood it, I knew it was private and not meant for my eyes. I waited until I thought their moment might have passed before I dared to speak up.

“What’s happened? What do you mean, the Cullens want me under their protection?”

My voice sounded faint to my own ears; it was almost frightening, bringing myself to their attention once again. I folded and unfolded my hands in my lap, preferring the distraction of it now to the motionless clinging to the chair.

Jake did not turn to look at me. He continued to watch his father with that peculiar look on his face.

“The Cullens,” he spat, impersonating my tone nastily, “believe that you being around a group of young, unpredictable and highly dangerous werewolves—“ here he was impersonating Carlisle, albeit poorly “—gives more cause for concern than the red-headed leech herself!”

His chest was heaving, his eyes slightly wild. He was still refusing to look at me. Billy remained calm in his chair. I marveled at his peace while I trembled in my corner. It was a strange sight: the frail old man in his wheelchair being hovered over by the huge, muscled young man. It was impossible to see the similarities between them, the father-son resemblance that was sometimes so clear in their quiet moments at the house. Now they were completely alien to each other, as if they truly were from different species of being. It disturbed me in a way I could not fully grasp. I was so wrapped up in staring at them that it took me a moment to comprehend what Jacob had said.

Me, unsafe? Jacob and his brothers had made me feel safer than anything else could have. That there was danger here I was aware—had I not just witnessed what anger could do to a pack of werewolves?—but that that anger was more dangerous to me than Victoria I could not believe. Victoria was deliberately and insidiously attempting to kill me. The pack at La Push was doing their very best to keep me alive, and that they had not failed thus far said to me that they should be commended, not rebuked. The idea of me placed in the Cullen’s care, unable to be driven and taken care of by Jacob made me frightened, and then it made me angry.

What did they say?” I demanded, speaking loudly and distracting Billy and Jacob from their disagreement with each other.

Jake turned to look at me, and his face and stance relaxed slightly. Billy turned to me too, his face strangely vindicated. I realized that I was on my feet, staring at Jake, demanding an explanation without saying a word.

“Bella,” he said, and his eyes took on an insane gleam that he shook himself of as he stepped forward, his hands gently placed on my shoulders. I could feel them shake with his anger, though, and I fought against instinctively stepping out of his reach.

“Bella,” he said softly, and his face was so young and so earnest that I felt my fear easing away despite myself. “Bella, they want to take you away from us.” His eyes gleamed oddly and I realized that he was not only angry, but hurt. It was hurting him deeply, the accusation the Cullens had made in their latest demand. “They think I’m going to hurt you, Bella,” he whispered.

I reached up a hand, touched his arm carefully.

“I know I’m safe with you,” I said. I tried my best to mean it.

He stepped back, his anger returning. It comforted me, rather than frightened me, to find his instinctive reflex to get away from me when he knew his control was lessening; it made me believe my own words more surely.

“We told them that,” He said, his hand running through his short hair and turning to his father. The words we had exchanged turned into a report, from son to father, from werewolf to leader of the tribe. “We explained to them—calmly—that Bella has been around us for months now, that it’s been us keeping her safe all this time while they had run off!” He paused for a moment, trying to regain control of himself. His chest heaved at an unnaturally quickened pace. His eyes were clenched shut in concentration.

“Jacob,” Billy said, a warning in his voice.

Jake’s breathing slowed, his eyes opened.

They said that they had not known of the danger but now that they knew of it they would take over. They said it was their fault, all of this, and that they should have to rid us of Victoria themselves before—“ Jake paused, looking around to glance at me. “—Before leaving again.”

I think I went a little paler but there was no mirror to check. I felt cold all over and there was a pounding in my head. I could not understand my own reaction: what else could I have expected? But I struggled with myself to stay together, to not show Jacob or Billy the pain these words caused me.

“And what did Sam say to this?” Billy asked calmly, diverting my attention to the now.

Jake turned back to him, but reached his large hand out to take mine.

“Sam told them that Bella was one of us now, and that it was therefore our responsibility to take care of her. He told the doctor bloodsucker that we did not need their help with Victoria, that they weren’t needed at all. But then the big leech—“

“Emmet,” I corrected without thinking, but Jacob ignored me.

“—the big leech, he started laughing and talking about how if we haven’t caught Victoria by now then we probably never will, how we’d been outsmarted thus far, how unpredictable and dangerous new dogs can be…” His voice disappeared into his rage. He squeezed my hand so tightly I yelped and tried to pull out of his grasp. His other hand was clenched into a fist.

“And so you left?” Billy said, his voice calm as ever.

Jake let up on his grip a little. He took yet another deep, full breath.

“Paul was about to lose control. We all were so angry, and if he phased in anger it would have proven their point completely…” He drifted off for a moment, remembering. “Sam told them we’d think it over and we got the hell out of there. They knew though…” He didn’t continue, just looked away.

Billy heaved a heavy, thoughtful sigh.

“And so we’re no further than we were,” he said.

We sat in silence for a while. Finally Sam came back, and Jake took me home.

It was another quiet drive. I would have been getting completely sick of these long, silent stretches of time but I had grown used to them enough to use them rather than resent them. I used them instead to think, to try and understand. This evening my thoughts would not settle. I stared out the window into the darkness, trying to find sign of stars in the cloudy sky.