Text Size Large SizeMedium SizeSmall Size    Color Scheme Black SchemeWhite SchemeGrey SchemePaper Scheme        

Moon and Moon

Summary:
Fifteen years after Eclipse, Bella sacrifices herself to save Edward's life when they accidently enter forbidden territory. Determined to save her, Edward is forced to seek the help of an old rival: the werewolf, Jacob Black. EdwardxBellaxJacob.


Notes:


1. Chapter One: Jacob

Rating 5/5   Word Count 2806   Review this Chapter

The journey was becoming unbearable. Crammed between a big beefy guy eating Cheetos and a woman who couldn’t stop muttering under her breath about the goddamned AC and the goddamned men, Jacob did the sensible thing and pretended to be asleep. He even snored every now and then to make it authentic. He’d been travelling too many days to give in and lose his cool now – or whatever was left of his cool, anyway. The goddamned AC was broken and on top of that, the bus seemed intent on going over every single pothole it could find. Sweaty, irritated bodies packed close together were not a good combination.

The man gave a long warbling cough and shifted about, elbowing Jacob as he did so. Jacob slunk lower in his seat and wondered yet again why the hell he was doing this. It wasn’t as if this was a good idea. Or a very logical one. It wasn’t as if he could just trust the vampiric husband of his vampiric ex-best friend, drop everything and travel halfway across the country just because the vampiric jerk of a husband asked.

But here he was anyway, being an A-grade idiot.

Nothing new, then, said a nasty voice in his head. He decided to ignore it – his own thoughts weren’t being helpful these days. It was too late to change his mind now anyway, and no regrets could turn back time and dump him his own house and his own bed and not on this stupid bus trundling along at breakneck speed in the middle of the night. In a few hours he’d be where he needed to be, and this would all be done with.

The woman stopped muttering after another hour or so, and dragged out a crossword puzzle to occupy her time. The scratching of her little ballpoint pen replaced her sharp, grating voice, and the quiet was like a blessing to his aggravated mind. Jacob felt his skin growing slowly numb with exhaustion. He gave into it with relief, thankful for it. Maybe when he woke up there beefy guy and the woman would be gone, and he’d finally be alone.

He fell asleep to the sound of the man peeling open a packet of crackers, and dreamt of vague and unsettling pathways, shadowed figures drifting in mist, and voices in the distance, too far away to hear.

-

In the morning the bus reached its stop. Tired, dusty and just plain relieved to be free, Jacob wasted no time travelling to his final destination. He got lost a few times – he really should have brought a map along – but eventually he found the right place. The apartment building was in a stylish area, the kind photographed for magazines, all squeaky clean sidewalks and trees dripping blossoms onto grass. And the sun was out too, filtering through a weak cover of clouds. It made everything look so - so perfect.

He wasn’t used to perfect. He didn’t trust it either. It made his head start to ache right in the place between his eyes, the same way it used to when the bloodsuckers got too close. Tugging the strap of his rucksack higher up his shoulder, Jacob leaned against the wall of the apartment block and took a deep breath in through his nose. His heightened senses caught the smell of wet paint, of damp earth and budding flowers, but there was no sharp whiff of sweetness. Which meant the bloodsucker wasn’t here yet. Typical.

The thought of a long wait ahead made the muscles in his neck bunch with tension and his mouth grow thin. He wanted this over with as soon as possible. The sooner they talked the quicker he could get home. Leah’s wedding was in a few days and, well, he had to be there for that. “I’ll rip you into pieces if you don’t turn up,” she’d said. “But no pressure.”

Yeah, no pressure. If he didn’t get there in time there’d be no point going back at all, unless he suddenly developed a death wish.

His phone started to buzz, vibrating angrily against his back. Cursing under his breath he shrugged the rucksack of his shoulder and unzipped it. He rifled through spare clothes and finally pulled out the mobile phone, catching the call just in time.

“Hey,” he said tersely. “Where are you?”

“You’ll have to come inside,” said Edward. Then he added, by way of explanation: “The sun.”

“Yeah, yeah.” He should have realised that. Stupid. “I’ll be there.”

“The doorman will let you in. Eighth floor, room 233.”

The line went dead, just like that. The bloodsucker hadn’t even bothered with a goodbye, which was fair enough since he had no reason to like Jacob much at all. Anyway, Jacob didn’t have to pretend to like him either. He wondered idly whether Edward Cullen was still as annoying as he'd been when they'd first known each other. So far, it sure seemed like it.

The doorman was tactful enough not to let his gaze linger on Jacob’s ripped up jeans or faded jacket, ushering him into the entrance hall without batting an eye. The interior of the building was just as annoyingly perfect as the outside, all monochrome and white marble. He tried not to feel awkward in it, which was more damn difficult than it sounded. He was glad Emily had forced him to wear the sweater she’d given him for his birthday. Unlike the rest of his clothes and his hair and even his boots (which were at that very moment trailing dust over the floor) the sweater was kind of classy.

He took the elevator. Eighth floor, room 233. The numbers lit up above the door as the lift rose. With uncharacteristic nervousness Jacob kept his eyes on the changing digits, his fingers scratching artlessly against the hem of his jacket.

He still had the bloodsucker’s letter in his jacket pocket - he could feel its weight there, small but significant. It was the letter that had brought him this far, hundreds of miles away from the familiar warmth of the Pack and La Push itself. He tried not to think about how often he’d handled it, folding and unfolding it. Wondering. But his hand reached for it unconsciously once again, touching one crumpled edge as he stepped out of the elevator and onto the eighth floor, walking past numbered doors until he reached the one he wanted.

Room 233.

He pressed his palm flat against the door, and realised with a faint sense of surprise that it was unlocked. A light shove of his hand sent it swinging open, revealing an empty living room. There was a varnished wooden floor, and incongruously cheery yellow curtains at the opposite window. The curtains were closed, but fluttering faintly. Maybe the window was open. Over the mantelpiece there was a large photograph of two people holding each other and smiling. He was careful not to look too hard at that.

Jacob couldn’t see the bloodsucker anywhere, but he could smell him. The flat reeked of sweetness, like dying flowers, like fire. He resisted the urge to take a step back, the hairs at the back of his neck rising as a growl tried to claw its way from his throat. He’d forgotten how hard it was to resist the urge to transform around vampires. To attack. To kill.

“You’d better come out,” he said. His clenched his hands into fists, so tight that his nails threatened to break his skin. “I don’t have time to fuck around, you know.”

There was a moment of stillness; then Edward stepped into the room, through a door from the side. Even in the muffled light his skin seemed to glow, a beautiful and clever snare for catching prey. His clothes were in disarray. His shirt was creased, a few buttons haphazardly undone, his white throat bared. Even his hair was a mess.

Edward’s face was grim, all taut and strained angles, but when he spoke his voice was carefully mild. “You didn’t used to swear so much,” Edward noted. “Not even in your thoughts.”

“Yeah, well. I was sixteen.”

“You haven’t changed much since then,” Edward replied, not specifying whether he was referring to Jacob’s physical appearance - still stuck at around age twenty-five, static since he’d first transformed all those years - or his personality. Jacob figured it was both.

“I’ve changed a bit.” Jacob though about taking off his rucksack, then changed his mind. He wasn’t exactly planning to wait around. The smell and presence of the vampire set his teeth on edge, blurring out his exhaustion with a keen awareness of the danger standing right in front of him.

“Please sit down,” said Edward. It was obvious that he was forcing himself to be polite now, and Jacob didn’t need that. When Jacob didn’t move, Edward sighed. It was a very hollow sound. “I know you don’t believe me.”

“Of course I didn’t believe - still don’t believe you,” said Jacob, correcting himself. He shifted on his feet, awkward and tense. Then he said, in a much lower voice: “You send me a letter, telling me Bella’s in danger, that she needs my help, and - ”

“It’s the truth.”

My help? Don’t give me that. She hasn’t needed me for fifteen years. She has your undead family to take care of her, she doesn’t need,” - a stupid kid who couldn’t save her, no matter how hard he tried, no matter what he did for her - “someone like me.”

It was disconcerting, the way Edward’s eyes seemed to look straight through him, as if he were peering right into Jacob’s thoughts. He probably was. If Edward felt disgusted by what he saw he gave no sign of it. In fact he looked too tired to care much about anything. There was a slight slump to his shoulders, and Jacob couldn’t remember the dark circles around his eyes ever looking quite so pronounced. Could vampires get tired? He never would have believed it before. They’d always looked so groomed, so immaculate. Like perfect stone statues.

“Then why did you come?” asked Edward. He sounded weary.

Jacob’s jaw tightened. He didn’t want to admit the truth.

“Don’t worry.” Edward said, and took a small step closer, his palms upraised in what was probably meant to be an unthreatening gesture. “You don’t have to tell me. I know now.”

“No, you don’t know. You - ” His jaw snapped shut and he breathed deep through his nose, trying to calm himself. The smell hit just him harder. “I’m here because I still care about her, even if I don’t trust you. You can understand that, right?”

Edward inclined his head. His eyes stayed fixed on Jacob's face, unblinking and gleaming gold. "It may mean little to you," he said. "But when it comes to Bella, I do trust you."

There was a beat of silence. Then, in a voice he could hardly recognise as his own, Jacob said: "She really is in danger, isn't she."

"Yes."

"You'd never admit something like that if you didn't need my help."

A faint smile quirked Edward's mouth. "True."

For one strange moment Jacob felt like the past fifteen years had never happened and that they were back in Forks again, sharing a rare moment of understanding. Bella, our Bella. Such a magnet for trouble. Then the reality sank back in, and the realisation of just what kind of trouble Bella had to be in for Edward Cullen to even think of approaching him settled like a dead weight at the pit of his stomach. The rest of the Pack would call him an idiot for still caring - and they'd done just that when he'd left La Push in the first place - but he couldn't help it. Bella was his heart. A lifetime couldn't change that.

"Tell me exactly what's going on," he demanded.

"I'll tell you everything," said Edward, and something like hope or desperation and something Jacob couldn't quite pinpoint crept into his tone. "If you promise to help her."

Jacob thought of the letter in his pocket. He thought of Leah back in La Push, and Sam and Quil and Paul and all the others waiting for him to come back. Then he thought of Bella as he'd once known her, thin and pale with a smile like the winter sun, standing at his doorstep just looking for someone to give her hope.

"I promised that a long time ago. That hasn't changed." I love her too. You never even had to ask, and you know it.

Edward nodded, in recognition of words both said and unsaid. Then he closed his eyes, and in controlled and measured tones, began to tell Jacob everything he knew.

-

Later, when the sun had faded from the sky and the world had finally started making sense again, Jacob left the apartment and went for a walk. Maybe walk wasn’t quite the word for it, but he couldn’t think of any adequate word to describe the feel of the shifting tension under his skin, the burn in the soles of his feet as he struggled to stay in control. His boots felt heavy. His whole body felt heavy, dragged down, but this wasn’t Forks and he couldn’t just transform here without considering the consequences. Still, he craved the total freedom and mindlessness that becoming the wolf could offer him.

He grabbed hold of his phone again. His mind was so muzzy and fogged-up that he could hardly remember reaching for it or dialling in the number, but his body seemed to know on instinct what he needed. His fingers were shaking, and it wasn’t because of the cold. Definitely not because of the cold.

In the end he sat beneath one of the rough-barked trees, blossoms drifting down onto his hair and the curve of his back. And then he pressed the phone to his ear and waited for the ringing to stop and the familiar voice to greet him from the other side. There was a hiss of static; then an answer.

“Jake,” greeted Sam. Jacob didn’t have to ask how Sam knew it was him. The majority of the Pack may have chosen to stop transforming and live normal lives, but a connection would always exist between them. “How’s it going?”

Behind the sound of Sam’s voice Jacob could hear quiet laughter and the sound of children’s voices. A distant pain welled up inside him, lodging in his throat. “It’s going okay,” he said, and knew he didn’t sound at all convincing. “How’re the kids?”

“Good. And you’re still a bad liar,” Sam said, amused.

“Okay, okay!” Jacob laughed. The tension inside him abated, just a little. Something about Sam’s voice could always manage that, soothing out the hurts in the Pack and healing their ills. “I just…”

“Just want me to Leah you won’t be here for her wedding?”

Better you than me, he thought, but he said, “Yeah. Yeah, just that.”

“I hope you know how much you owe me for this.”

A weak laugh. “Trust me, I do.”

For a second neither one of them spoke. Then Jacob blurted out, shakily: “She really needs me, Sam. I really didn’t think the bloodsucker was telling the truth, but it looks like she does. Need me.”

“You never really doubted it,” Sam said, quieter now. “If you had, you never would have left.”

Sam didn’t tell him that this was a mistake. He didn’t beg Jacob to come home. Of all the Pack, he was the only one who understood what it felt like to need redemption – in this, Jacob could rely on him. The silence stretched out again, broken by the sound of Emily’s voice (“Sam? Is that Jake? Where is he now?”). The pain in throat was growing, and not for the first time Jacob was glad he wasn’t prone to tears. He had to be strong. He was good at that.

“I’ve got to go,” Jacob murmured. “Work, and all that.”

Sam gave a low exhalation. There was a brush of static along the line.

“Good luck,” he said.

“Thanks,” said Jacob. He ended the call. For a while he stared down at his boots, at the dirt and the blossoms all over them, and concentrated on holding down the rage and fear. Containing it. Then, fumbling, he stood and stuffed the phone into his pocket, blinking hard until his vision cleared and his heartbeat began to slow. His ex-best friend’s husband was sitting upstairs, waiting for him. It was a strange situation, wrong without her presence to act as a buffer between vampire and werewolf. Somehow he’d always known the three of them would cross paths again. But not like this.

He closed his eyes again. Breathed.

“Bella,” he whispered. “Bells, you idiot.”