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Burn Beautiful

Summary:
Spoiler warning. Continuation of New Moon. Being a vampire comes with it's own problems: newfound bloodlust, untried strength, neverending fights between natural vampire will and human conscience. Edward and Bella's relationship takes a completely new turn as challenges fly their way. Namely, a pack of furious werewolves and a certain vampire named Victoria, who's still set on vengeance and, this time, gains some powerful followers determined to end Bella, vampire or not, and do as much damage to Forks as possible.


Notes:
I just finished New Moon and I know I SHOULD wait until Eclipse comes out, but I had to do something to pass the time! Especially since I had about a million ideas running through my head, mainly around how much could happen once Bella IS a vampire. What happens with Victoria, werewolves, Volturi? What's her special ability, if she has one at all? How does she go about realizing her ability? How does she deal with vampire instincts? What about her parents? AHH, idea overflow! I've outlined this entire story and it's turning up to be pretty much novel long, which is exciting. I'm not new to writing, I've just never done this particular "fandom" before and I hope I do it justice.


12. Chapter 12

Rating 3.8/5   Word Count 2923   Review this Chapter

Ch. 12: Werewolves

We stood frozen, facing each other and blatantly staring. I barely noticed the low, steady snarling and when I did, I realized that the sound was coming from both of us.

Jacob was half-crouched and balanced on the balls of his feet, arms extended and hands curled into hard claws. His teeth were bared and the shocked expression in his eyes was slowly melting into disbelief.

"Bella?" he choked out, breaking the spell.

I was caught between two extremes again, a place I was getting pretty sick of. There was a small part inside that screamed out "Enemy!" as it took in the sight of my best friend and I hated it. I couldn't think of him as anything other than Jacob. Jake. My best friend, my favorite werewolf, my protector -

"Bella, what have you done?"

His tone was drenched in remorse and quickly turning into a sharp anger I was beginning to know too well. One look at him and whatever fight had been in me completely drained.

He looked utterly heartbroken.

"Jake," I murmured, unconsciously reaching out toward him. At first, he flinched and I paused. He was so close yet so unreachable. I couldn't shake the feeling that a permanent barrier had been erected between us.

In a way, I understood. I understood in a way that made me wish I didn't. This barrier - this wall - was because of what we were, what we'd become. Not because of who we were. Are.

I wanted to tell him this. I wanted to scream it. Instead, I just dropped my hand back to my side and stared into his handsome, stricken face.

"I had to," I whispered.

"But why."

He sounded so betrayed. When I didn't answer, he tilted his head back and roared. It was an loud, frustrated roar, one that would've sent me running weeks ago, but now, I lowered my gaze to the ground and let him vent out his anger.

I almost smiled. It was so like Jacob to react like this. He was always hot-tempered, always -

"Is this why you didn't call?" he was asking.

"Huh?"

"The past two weeks," he clarified, dark eyes locking onto mine. Something about me must have startled him because he suddenly stumbled back.

"Jesus Christ," he muttered, averting his eyes. "Your eyes. They're red."

I blinked.

"Does that mean you've been drinking human blood?" he asked, sounding positively sickened.

"No!" I denied vehemently. "Who do you think I am?"

He visibly relaxed but I was seething. Did he really think so little of me? I would've been insulted, but something deep inside ached. I wanted my Jake back and the horrified look on his face hurt me.

"How long?" he asked.

"About a week."

"And you never - " he started, then paused, taking a moment to compose himself. "You never told me."

I straightened, slightly. Instinct immediately screamed at me for getting out of my defensive position, but this was Jacob. Instinct could go to hell.

"What if I did?" I asked him, clenching my fists to my side. "What would that have helped? What would you have done?"

"Stopped you, damn it!"

"Exactly."

"Bella - "

His sentence cut off as he jerked his head to the side. My ears strained and I heard it too - the sounds of a pack of oversized wolves swiftly running through the forest.

It was Sam and his clan, coming to find Jacob, possibly coming to take me down. My feet were immediately tensed, ready to take off, but I waited, keeping my eyes on Jacob.

His eyes met mine and I saw the conflict flicker through them. It was a conflict I was familiar with - whether or not the right thing to do was worth it versus a primal instinct that ran through every bone of our body. For a moment, his striking face seemed pained and I thought he'd made his mind. He would hand me over to his pack.

The sounds grew louder; the pack was approaching. Jacob opened his mouth then closed it again, turning his head in the direction of the yips and short howls.

"Jacob," I whispered.

"Run," he suddenly snapped, turning his gaze back to me. There was a deep panic in his eyes this time and I realized he chose me. Me. My heart expanded, elated.

"Jake - " I wanted to tell him that I loved him, that he'd be my best friend forever no matter what happened.

"Run, Bella! Now."

I spun on my heel and took off in the opposite direction. I knew I shouldn't have, but I wanted to see him one last time. Against my better judgment, I turned my head back and saw him staring after me.

Bye, I whispered in my head, then ran off.

That one second I took for that one last glance was a second too long. The growls of four angry werewolves were less than fifty meters away and closing in fast.

I was brought back to an experience years ago. In fifth grade, I knew a boy named Oz Lewis. He'd always make us play hide and seek during recess and he always had to be It. The one thing about Oz was that he loved to scare, chase, and do everything but maul you to death when he found you, so we learned real fast to find the best hiding places ever. But no matter where we hid, sooner or later, Oz's triumphant, sneering face would be inches away and we'd be pulled into the open and taunted. It became so bad that whenever he was near where I was hidden, I'd feel the urge to jump out by myself and declare myself 'out' to save myself from the trauma.

The growling of the werewolves were spread out now and I realized they were surrounding me and circling, closing the distance between us. As they drew nearer, I thought about Oz Lewis and how I'd throw myself out of the game before the inevitable. The feeling I had then - the moment before he'd find me - was the same feeling I had right now, except right now, it was a million times worse. A million times more terrifying.

Sam's pack was circling me and the faster I ran, the smaller the circles were getting. I wanted to press pause, jump out of this game, maybe call a time-out, but all I did was race through the trees, pushing myself to go faster.

From the corner of my eye, I saw a huge wolf running alongside me, teeth bared into a vicious snarl. When he leapt, I dropped to the ground and braced myself. My eyes closed and the first - and maybe last - thought that crossed my mind was Edward

The impact never came. Instead, there was a sickening thud and the sound of a few branches breaking and crashing to the ground. My nostrils dilated and I caught the familiar sweet scent of…

"Bella, you need to get up," Edward's urgent voice brushed against my ear. A strong hand wrapped around my arm and I felt myself get pulled up from the ground.

"Edward?" I whimpered, not sure if I was dreaming or not.

"Yes," he answered, tightening his grip. "Bella, open your eyes."

My eyes popped open and I saw his worried face inches away from mine. My heart jumped and I forgot all about the werewolves and the Volturi and Felix and Charlie and marriages … anything other than Edward, Edward, Edward.

"You're back!" I exclaimed and launched myself at him. He stumbled back a little but then his hands were gripping my hips, pulling me as close as possible. I heard a groan come from the back of his throat and felt his soft lips press against my neck as I buried my head in his shoulder.

Suddenly, he tensed and started pushing me away. My entire body screamed in protest and I tightened my arms.

"We've got company," his voice was low and I felt his cool breath against my neck. That's when I heard the multiple growls of the werewolves who've made a perfect circle around us.

A shiver jolted down my spine and suddenly, the air felt too hot. I slowly stepped away from Edward and set my eyes on the biggest wolf with jet-black fur and sharp teeth bared. Edward kept a protective arm around my waist, rotating slowly to look at the snarling wolves around us.

From the corner of my eye, I saw a rust-colored wolf looking at me. It was the only one not growling. I swallowed. Jacob. He looked away.

"We don't want to fight," Edward said slowly and evenly. The black one - Sam - snapped his jaw and his tail rose even more, bristling with anger. The wolves each took a menacing step closer.

Edward didn't crouch down into an attack stance. Instead, he stood tall and tilted his chin up, an unreadable expression on his stone, cold face.

"New lines need to be drawn," he continued, not looking the least bit intimidated. I was shaking through my bones. His thumb stroked my side, trying to comfort me as he talked. "There are things you don't know about - should know about - "

Suddenly, Carlisle stepped through the circle of wolves. Immediately, my shoulders relaxed. He handled himself with such grace and authority - even the werewolves seemed to lessen their growling.

"Sam," he began, addressing the black wolf. "I can't talk to you when you're like this."

There was a long moment of deadly silence and suddenly, we heard a tiny crack of bones as the wolf began to morph into the man. I let out an embarrassed "eep" when I realized that Sam stood naked in his man form. One of the werewolves - Jared? - heard me and I could've sworn I saw his black lips curl up in a smirk. I hid my face in Edward's chest.

His chest was rocking slightly, obviously holding back his laughter. I frowned. It's not like I meant to be so naïve and embarrassed. I just didn't have the hundred of years he had to be comfortable in the presence of a … naked man. My lips curved up into a smile against his shirt - I guess my antics were a little ridiculous.

For another second, I forgot about the werewolves all over again. What did they matter? Edward was back! The urge to smack him for making me worry was trumped by the urge to feel next to me and I fisted a handful of his shirt.

Alice, Emmett, and Jasper had arrived with Carlisle and I felt their reassuring presence as they stood by us. Alice's hand was clasped in Jasper's and Emmett was walking tall, acting as threatening as he could. When he saw me, his face broke out into a friendly smile before hardening again as he regarded the werewolves surrounding us. I grinned to myself. It was almost unbelievable how safe I felt with them.

I heard a faint ripping sound and looked down at my hand, surprised.

"Sorry," I murmured, taking in the large tear in Edward's shirt. I'd been clenching it too tight and it tore in my grip. My eyes flickered up to see Edward staring down at me with an amused expression.

He bent down to whisper in my ear.

"If you wanted me with my clothes off… all you had to do was ask," his velvety voice purred quietly and I bit my lip to stop a giggle. "No need to destroy my shirts."

It was such an inappropriate thing to say, especially in the tight situation we were in, but his light, teasing tone calmed my nerves tremendously. I reached up to press a soft kiss under his jaw.

Something in his eyes shifted and I saw the amusement change to a mixture of relief and longing, then to annoyance and a hint of anger. When he noticed me staring, he averted his gaze.

"What is it?" I asked softly.

"After this, Alice and I are going to have a talk."

Oh. I cringed.

"It's not her fault," I tried to tell him, but he shot me a glare. I poked him lightly on his side. "I begged her to take me hunting. I forced her."

"I specifically told her that you weren't ready. And apparently, I was right."

"But this would've happened anyways!" my voice rose in pitch and volume. "Whether it was now or later, with you or Alice - "

A snarl and a snap of jaw shut me up. One of the werewolves - Paul - had overheard our private conversation and was now giving us an evil eye. Edward narrowed his own eyes and I heard a low snarl rumble through his chest. I splayed my hand across his hard stomach and rested my head on his shoulder, trying to calm him.

We returned our attention to the terse voice of Sam Uley.

"We had a pact. You deliberately broke it."

"Yes, I did," Carlisle nodded gravely. "But under the circumstances, some events couldn't be helped," he added.

"Nothing justifies turning somebody into a vampire," Sam's dark eyes flickered my way before returning to Carlisle's.

"It was for her safety, Sam."

"You could have trusted her with us."

Carlisle didn't agree. "Not when the Volturi are involved," he said.

"The Volturi?" Thick eyebrows rose and the low noises coming from the four other werewolves ceased.

"You've heard of them?"

"Everybody's heard of them," Sam spat. "My question is why the likes of the Volturi have anything to do with what's going on here. We didn't draw a treaty for you to bring more blood-suckers onto our land, Carlisle."

"And we haven't. Everything we've done is to keep the Volturi from coming. Bella's change was inevitable. It was for the best and you know that. You'd also be interested to know that - "

Sam cut him off. "My only interest is the safety of my people and the people in Forks," he looked my way again, letting his eyes linger this time. "And the safety of my people does not include letting a new vampire loose on them. That only promises bloodshed, dead bodies, and a possible massacre."

"Now wait a - " I tried to protest, but Edward jerked his head to the side, signaling me to keep quiet. I bit down on my lip and looked away.

"I had no problem with Bella as a human," Sam continued, "But having her as a vampire is too volatile. Too dangerous."

"She's under my watch," Carlisle's voice rose a notch. "She's under all of our watch and we promise that nothing will happen as long as we're here with her."

For a moment, Sam didn't say anything. Finally, he sighed.

"I trust you, Carlisle," he said carefully, "And most of the time, I trust your judgment. We'll let you go this time."

I let out a breath in relief.

"Thank you," Carlisle gave him a short nod.

The other werewolves were all staring at Sam, seemingly in disbelief. He wasn't finished yet.

"Be warned. If anybody in this town turns up hurt, or worse, dead, you are responsible. Don't expect this to be the last time you hear from us."

With that, he grimaced and swiftly changed back into his wolf form. He swished his tail and turned his back, trotting away. The other werewolves reluctantly followed, but not before glowering at us.

I turned to see Jacob standing where he was, looking my way. Our eyes locked and for a long time, neither of us moved. Finally, he lowered his head and whirled around, bounding away with the rest of his pack.

The moment they were all out of eyesight, Edward picked me up and twirled me around in a circle, making me squeal.

When he put me down, his eyes were shining and his lips were quirked up in a little half-smile.

"Now tell me," he said in a deceptively light tone. "What the hell were you and Alice thinking, hunting this close to La Push territory all by yourselves?"

I cast Alice an apologetic look and she wrinkled her nose, shaking her head and sighing.

"How about you tell me why you didn't come back at sun-up like you promised… five days ago."

Author's Note: Gah, this chapter took me forever to write. It'd entirely my fault this time, too. I had time to work on it, but I got caught up writing original work (part of which is posted on fictionpress, check it out if you're interested!). This isn't the last of Jacob and the werewolves. The next two chapters were my favorite to plan and so far, the writing's coming a lot quicker. It's where things will start making much more sense, questions will be answered, etc. etc. etc. Thanks for the reviews, guys!

To answer a particular question/concern:

- Some people tell me that Bella was acting a little out of character for the past few chapters… I guess that's true. The reason behind that's obvious, though. She just turned into a vampire and she's overwhelmed with these feeling that she never had to deal with before, so of course, some of the things she does might seem odd. I'm trying to keep her as much "in character" as I can, though.