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Trickle Of Betrayal

Summary:
BREAKING DAWN SPOILERS!! Jacob left the Pack, leading to the formation of two powerful factions. The decision was a difficult one for him... but what of Sam? How did he fare during this betrayal? Seth and Leah, too, followed in Jacob's footsteps. How did these losses affect their old Pack? And even if the two Packs were reconciled, Embry and Quil still left Sam, too. It must have cut. How did it feel, to be betrayed by those you trusted, more than anyone?


Notes:


1. Chapter 1

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I gave the orders, backing them with the weight of the Alpha behind me. I was so sure of my own power, of the Pack’s loyalty… even of myself to see that I was making a terrible, terrible mistake. I was driving Jacob to the edge – I realized that. But I thought he could handle it. I thought that he would be content to remain where he was – under me, under my command, doing what I deemed important. The proverbial wool over they eyes had blinded me to all shortcomings in myself, and the limits of my brothers. Now, I was going to have to pay the price.

We need the whole Pack for this. Jacob, you are our strongest fighter. You will fight with us tonight. My voice rang with command. He fought the command, giving me an adrenaline rush as the voice of the Alpha reduced his will to nothing. In a werewolf pack, the lesser members had no voice when the Alpha chose to take it from them.

I had always tried to avoid using this power over them – it was nearly impossible to inspire loyalty and friendship when someone was always taking free will away from the people he was depending on to have his back.

But tonight was a different story. Tonight, I needed them all to obey without question. The only way to ensure that Jacob and Seth would both listen was to take away their decisions. They were too close to the subject of this mission, but I needed them to fight – we would be way too outnumbered to even have a prayer if we didn’t bring every fighter we had.

Actually, the relationship between Seth and the bronze-haired bloodsucker was still a mystery to me. Sure, I could read Seth’s mind anytime I wanted – and sometimes when I didn’t want to – but I still didn’t get it. Seth felt as if he owed something to Edward, mostly because of the fight when they had been on the same side. But he had known it was only temporary! The alliance between their species had existed only long enough to see everyone safe – it had long since ended! Yet, be that as it may, Seth still saw himself as Edward’s ally. An out and out mystery.

Jacob’s reasons were nowhere near as much of a mystery. We were going to have to kill the one girl he had ever loved – and he didn’t want to do it. End of story.

I wouldn’t lie, killing the human – I refused to personify her, even in my thoughts. She was going to be dead before the sun rose tomorrow, and it was going to be hard enough without premeditating on it – was a horrible thing. But it had to be done. The – thing – she was carrying could not be allowed to live.

I began to plan, pulling my brothers’ – and sister’s – minds with me as I explained. Jacob and his wings – our strongest fighters – would take the deadly blonde, Jasper, and the big one, Emmett, the coven’s strongest fighters. That way, Jacob would be far out of the way of the real fight – the fight for Bella’s child.

The weakest links of the coven, Alice, the tiny psychic, blinded by our presence, and Esme, the motherly figure who had never been trained for combat, would be the responsibility of Leah and the younger boys, Collin and Brady, and Seth, if he didn’t object to being put under his sister’s command.

I continued assigning attack patterns for several minutes, until Jacob’s sickness had me on edge. I felt no empathy for his situation – it was his own damn fault, after all. If he had listened to me this morning and hadn’t gone tearing after Edward like a maniac, we wouldn’t have known about this abomination, and none of this would be happening.

Or, if he would just accept the orders like the rest of the Pack had done and focus on his part of it instead of mine and Jared’s, he wouldn’t be thinking like this.

I controlled my anger for another few moments, until I heard his thoughts yet again, louder and more morbid than before. Killing Bella was like killing himself – he had no reason to exist were she to be killed.

I howled in outrage, snapping around to face him, the Alpha very much in evidence in my tone. Pull it together, Jacob. The Tribe comes first. Surely he wouldn’t doubt that now, after all we had been through since attaining our destined gifts! He and I had always been of the same mind when it came to bloodsuckers and protecting our people – the vampires died to protect the people. It was the law. What had changed in his head?

It’s possible that the Alpha spirit had been touching him then, and that’s what was setting my temper so near to boiling, but naturally, I didn’t recognize it. All I saw was a subordinate that had forgotten his place, and let it pull away all of the control I had worked for years to attain.

Jacob was no threat to me, I assured myself. I even proved it by bringing him to his knees when he tried to defy my next order. As he fell to his belly under me, I wanted to howl to the sky in triumph. No one could defy the Alpha. No one, not even Jacob Black.

***********

I was afraid, I will admit it. Not afraid for myself, I would do what was necessary to protect our people, our way of life.

No. I was scared for my brothers, and my lone sister. There was no hope that we would all make it back… it was a matter of who would not be returning. Who would I lose? Who would I fail?

Jacob, whose free will and dignity I had already stolen? Whose beloved I had already condemned to death? These were all failures – what if it was him who perished in his ordeal? How could I live with myself?

Or what if it was Leah who didn’t make it back? Leah, whose heart I had broken. Leah, who had to watch the man she was in love with marry another woman. Leah, who had to see the pity and loathing on my face every day because of the dirty trick destiny had played on us. What if she were lost tonight? Could I accept that? Could I survive with that on my conscience?

Or what if it were one of the young ones? Seth – whose will I had stolen right along with Jacob’s. Or Collin, or Brady, whose parents were trusting me with the well-being of their children?

And what about all of the others? Jared, Paul, Quil, and Embry – they all had loved ones waiting for them at home. How could I come back and say to their parents, “Oh, we had to attack a coven of vampires, your son died, sorry, well, gotta go.”?

I was pulled out of my morbid thoughts by the best of Jacob’s friends – and possible half-brother – begging him to just accept my will and move on. It would be so horrible if he just focused on his part of it. Apparently, Quil, Embry, and he ‘owned’ Jasper and Emmett. That couldn’t be so bad, right?

Had I been human, a horrible, sadistic smile probably would have transformed my face into something evil. Jacob had no choice but to follow orders – their begging was unnecessary. I had already won.

Now, when I think back on it, it’s possible that they saw what I couldn’t. They saw that Jake had the power to break away, to disobey and go his own way. They remembered his heritage – unlike me. If only I had taken the time to listen to their thoughts, maybe things would have gone differently. But I guess I’ll never really know.

I was so blinded by my own power that I didn’t even notice when things began to change. I strode casually over towards Paul and Jared, still mentally patting myself on the back for putting down Seth and Jacob’s rebellion.

I didn’t even notice when Jacob removed himself from the Pack consciousness. I just went on planning and scheming. We should use a wheel attack pattern coming in, as long as they were separated, it would work best. If that didn’t work, we would – Paul and Jared tensed, alerting me to the presence behind me.

I turned to see Jacob standing beside me, now a good half a foot taller in the shoulders than I. My lips drew back over my fangs in a feral snarl – something I didn’t understand. My every instinct was screaming to attack, to fell this threat before he had a chance to fell me.

I controlled the screaming with some difficulty, then cocked my head to the side, waiting.

Something had definitely changed. Not only did he now stand taller than I, but his russet fur gleamed with authority; his back straight, and stance proud. He did not walk with respect for me, like all the rest did, as he had done before that moment. He walked bearing the heavy load of leadership. He walked as one who bore the clout of an Alpha.

No. His voice rang clearly in my mind, matching the power and double timbre of my own.

I felt myself lunge back in surprise, a visceral reaction that I nearly kicked myself for. Now he would sense weakness. I must not show weakness – but why? He was stronger – big deal. He would still bow to me, as he always had. Even if he did not like it.

Jacob? I searched for his true thoughts, more than just the words that he let me hear, but there was nothing. Only silence -- and that one simple, resounding, ‘no’. What have you done? I demanded, horrified. Something was more different than I had ever imagined. Something horrible, I was certain.

Truly, it had to be horrible. It had to be – because I knew, instinctually, that we were speaking only because he allowed it. Instinctually, I knew that out of the two of us, I was not the stronger. That rankled, and got fed the flames of my anger, teasing the usually iron bars of my self control.

I won’t follow you, Sam. He spoke again in that same calm tone, ringing with righteousness. Not for something so wrong. I heard the regret in his voice – he didn’t like the choice he had made. He may even believe it was wrong… but it didn’t change anything.

I wanted to scream, rage, phase back to human and shake him until his teeth rattled around in his head. Until good sense presided once again in his mind. Obviously, I didn’t do any of these things. I settled for a reply I knew would hurt him, much more than my physical abuse ever would.

You would… you would choose your enemies over your family? I watched as the pain I felt was mirrored in every other Pack member’s eyes. They would stand behind me when Jake made his bid, I knew it. It didn’t stop this from hurting them, though. My mind voice was full of shock and fear… I knew what he heard. He heard the voice of one defeated.

He seemed to hesitate at my words, and I was able to hope, for that one instant, that he had recognized his actions for insanity and would change them.

The small flicker of hope was extinguished as he began to speak again, unsure and sad. They aren’t our enemies. They never have been. Until I really thought about destroying them, thought it through, I didn’t see that.

I read his frustration through his body language, knowing that he was having as much trouble accepting his actions as I was. Almost, anyway.

Could he truly believe that the Cullens were his allies? The answer was obvious as I thought about it – of course not. He had been brought up the same way the rest of us had – to hate and fear them. This wasn’t, and had never been, about the leeches.

It was about Bella. The girl who had ripped his heart out and left him bleeding. The girl who had caused him to run away from home and try to forget who he was. The girl, who even now, chose a leech over him. The girl who was willing to die to bear vampire spawn into the world.

I told him as much, my heart tightening as I saw the pain in his eyes at my harsh words. These were words I would never have dared to even think before – so I didn’t hurt Jacob. Now, here I was, breaking more promises.

I had promised him, that very morning that I would never take his will away from him. What had I done, just ten minutes ago? Left him with nothing, no options, no dignity.

I had promised him – the whole Pack, really, that we would protect human life, and what was I ordering now? That we cold–bloodedly murder an innocent girl.

And now? Well – I had promised myself that I wouldn’t hurt anyone else unnecessarily ever again – not after Leah. And here I stood; using the words I knew could bring the most pain to his eyes.

What had I become? Who was this horrible stranger in my skin?

To my surprise, Jacob didn’t deny my accusations. Maybe you’re right. But you’re going to destroy the Pack over her, Sam. No matter how many of them survive tonight, they will always have murder on their hands. The same mind voice I had known since Jacob phased for the first time answered me, bringing me back to that time when things had seemed so black and white. When all there had been was emotion and right and wrong.

How dare he call me a murderer? Didn’t he understand how hard this was – that it had to be done, no matter what the price? This… this thing Bella was carrying would have no control over itself, and would kill anything that smelled appetizing. The one for the many, the saying went, and was entirely true in this situation. If we didn’t kill Bella and her unborn monster now, while we had the chance, it would kill hundreds later. We did what we had to for the good of humans every where. How dare he judge me!

A low growl built in the back of my throat, but I squashed it down in my throat before I could force its way out of my jaw. We have to protect our families. I said coldly, trying to make him see.

How could he deny that this… this… demon child was a huge threat? A disaster, constantly looming on the horizon, waiting to unleash itself upon our families. How could he turn his back on Billy like that?

Or on Rachael? This thought came from Paul, unbidden into my mind. He understood less that I did… Rachael was his world, and, of course, he expected her brother to feel as strongly for her as he did. He shook, even though he was already a wolf, from anger.

I calmed him with a touch of my mind, basically ordering him to hold it together. I could only handle so much at one time. Even as a werewolf, I was only human. I tried to convince Jacob one more time, desperate. Maybe I could convince him. Maybe this time, something would get through to him. Jacob, you can’t turn your back on the tribe.

He didn’t even blink. My jaw clenched in frustration, and I bent my will around him, trying to force him to obey. I was the Alpha, damn it. He had to obey. It was his place to fall to his belly beneath me, not resist orders. There could only be one Alpha, and the Pack had chosen me. How could he think he could win?

Then, he spoke the words that changed everything irreparably. The words I knew that would never be forgiven. Ephraim Black’s son was not born to follow Levi Uley’s.

So there it was; his declaration of intent. Did he really think that I would allow him to endanger our Tribe? Did he really believe that the Pack would let him, even if he were to defeat me? Never.

He had missed his chance. Once, after his first transformation, I had made the offer. Offered him his birthright and he had refused. The only reason he had embraced it now was for selfish reasons, and I would be damned if he would get away with it. Over my cold, dead body.

Is this it, then, Jacob Black? I sneered his last name, showing him that his heritage meant nothing to me. He meant nothing to me. Even if you can defeat me, the Pack will never follow you. Low rumbles came from deep within several throats, backing up my claims.

All but four sets of eyes narrowed in my defense – the Clearwater’s, and Jacob’s wingmen simply stared at us.

I should have known Seth would not back me up. He was too set on defending the bloodsuckers to see reason. Leah was another matter entirely. I knew she hated me. Despised the sight of me, just as I did her. But the reason she did was clear in her mind… she still loved me. So why did she stand there, eyes wide with indecision? If there was even one ounce of love in her heart from the time we had shared… how could she falter?

And Quil and Embry’s vacillation was enough to hurt. I knew they were Jacob’s best friends… possibly even close enough to have called themselves brothers even before they were Pack. But didn’t they know their duty? Did they not understand that Jacob was proposing mutiny?

Defeat you? Jacob reiterated in confusion. He reared back; apparently shocked by the turn my thoughts had taken. I’m not going to fight you, Sam. He sounded appalled – could he really not want to hurt me?

For a minute, the kinder part of me took over, wondering what I had done to deserve a friend like Jacob. Then, suddenly, that part was gone, and I was the embodiment of the Alpha spirit.

Ha! As if that puny kid could hurt me! How dare he have the gall to even think such things! Then what’s your plan? I’m not stepping aside so that you can protect the vampire spawn at the Tribe’s expense! I scoffed at the though.

In a deeper part of my mind, I realized this was all madness. I wasn’t fighting for the Tribe, I was fighting for myself. To keep my power, that I couldn’t give up – especially not to this leech-lover.

I braced myself, ready to spring the moment his rebuttal hit my mind.

Instead, he said, I’m not telling you to step aside.

What? Then what exactly did he think to gain by this? We would still be attacking, and he would still be unable to save … her. So, what was the point of tearing apart our family when he wasn’t even going to do anything about it?

If you order them to follow you – I began, now unsure of the ground I stood on. What was Jacob playing at?

I will never take anyone’s will away from him! Alpha Jacob interjected venomously, judgment coloring his tone. I recoiled from his disapproval, recognizing that his anger was warranted. What I had done to him was inexcusable – but it was too late to sit around reminiscing about it now.

The anger in my chest flared back to life at the thought… and probably the fact that my instincts were whispering something else in my ears. I could hear the Alpha in his tone, and part of me, part of the wolf – the part now hidden by my tyrannical attitude and hurtful pride – knew that Jacob was the True Alpha of the Quileute Pack, and I was just an interloper. Something in me wanted to bow to the command in his voice.

There can not be more than one Alpha. The Pack has chosen me. Will you rip us apart tonight? Will you turn on your brothers? Or will you end this insanity and join us again? My words were unfair. I knew there was no way to just turn off the Alpha instinct. Jacob was forever changed now, and I was going to have to face that fact, and so was he.

Silently, I begged him. My man self fell to his knees, begging. Do not make the cause of more suffering, please. Please, don’t do this. Unbidden, unwanted, Leah’s face – human face – sprang to the front of my mind. Her eyes glimmering, too angry to really cry. Hatred, jealousy, pain. This was the face she had worn when I had explained about imprinting, and about… Emily.

Ah… Emily. My other half. The one whose flesh had rent beneath my claws in a fit of temper. Whose looks and life I had ruined, who suffered still, now living with me, forced to see her one time best friend with condemnation in her eyes for being the assistant heart breaker.

Would Quil and Embry look at me with the same condemnation now? Would they view me as the reason their brother had run mad and left them forever? Would they blame me for the loss of their best friend – make me the source of their suffering?

And what of Seth, who was suffering for a friend already? Who mourned the loss of his bloodsucker that I hadn’t even killed yet? Would he follow Jacob? Would any of them follow his lead, because, well, maybe, he could be right.

Angry snarls echoed around in the chambers of my mind, drawing my attention from the dawning competition right in front of me.

Paul and Jared would have attacked Jacob then, hamstringed him and tore his throat out for making my doubt my authority, myself. They were true friends… brothers. I didn’t deserve them.

Quil and Embry were pointedly ignoring my thoughts – all they did was beg for me to end the insanity and bring Jacob back to them. Bring him back, and forgive him. It wasn’t fair to judge him now – we all knew how he felt about Bella, and we had crossed the line first, by asking him to kill her.

Jacob broke into my census, saying, There is only one Alpha for this Pack. I’m not contesting that. I’m just choosing to go my own way.

I couldn’t avoid Leah’s thoughts as she heard this. Her wishes that she could follow, or at least tear away like Jacob had somehow managed to do. Her pleading prayers that she would never have to set eyes on me or Emily again.

The pain of her revelations renewed my anger, the anger that had been shocked out of me by Jacob’s words. If I had managed to retain control, I would have heard Seth’s thoughts.

His intentions. Been able to head off his plans. But, hindsight is 20/20.

Do belong to a coven now, Jacob? I mocked scornfully, laughing at his pain. He squirmed beneath my gaze, while I wondered why, back in the good part of my mind – why I was treating my brother this way. He was still my friend, a trusted advisor… my second in command, that I cared for as such. And Hell, I even understood where he was coming from! Why was I so ready to kill him.

I don’t know, Sam. His voice was heavy with grief, but still carried the weight of the Alpha behind it, making me recoil. He had been born to lead me. I was defying the law. My Alpha blood soared to meet his, and suddenly I knew. The Alpha was the murderous one in my head. I was sharing a mind with a killer – the wolf.

But I do know this – I will stand between you and the Cullens. I won’t just watch while the Pack kills innocent people. The Pack is better than that. Lead them in the right direction, Sam. His tone of command sent me shrinking back in shame.

While I hid in my cowardice, he turned his back on me, his brothers, his home, and his destiny, to protect bloodsuckers.

To do what he believed was right.

To be twice the man I would ever be.

The Pack began to howl in fury and despair, their cries raising my hackles. I added my anger and frustration to theirs, crying to the moon that had allowed this to happen.

Jacob was gone.

*********************

Jacob was gone. Gone. Gone. The word echoed in the entire Pack’s minds. We were all unable to process this. Jacob had been a rock, a valued member, a valued friend. A brother. What would we do without our brother?

Embry and Quil were still accusing the sky, wondering why their cries had gone unheeded. Jacob was gone from them, too. What if I made them fight him? How would they live with themselves if they had to hurt him? And how could they kill the thing Jacob was willing to give up his life to protect? How?

I forced my way out of their tumult of emotions, unable to stand it any longer. They mourned, truly and deeply. I couldn’t take it.

Paul and Jared were still angry, but they felt the loss as acutely as the rest of us. Paul felt it twice as much… for himself, and for his soul mate, who had lost a brother this day. She would be inconsolable, something that was unacceptable to Paul. Jared wanted to know how Jacob could just give everything up like that – his dad, his family, friends, everything, for nothing. He, too, wanted answers that I did not have.

Collin and Brady didn’t really understand any of this. They knew Jake was gone, which saddened them, but they were so young they didn’t grasp the enormity of the situation. Someone was going to have to explain, but it wasn’t going to be me. I couldn’t do it.

Seth and Leah were the two whose minds I was wholly unprepared for. Jealousy and longing exuded from both of them. Hope was also clear in them, hope that they could follow. Hope, from Seth, that he could do the right thing. Hope – from Leah – that this act could be replicated and she could escape my all seeing gaze.

Of course, Leah caught me rummaging in her head and sent a wry smile into my mind. Relax. I wouldn’t do it if I could… It’s just –

An intriguing idea? I suggested, completely reassured. Leah couldn’t lie to me in this form. Ah… the idiocy of the desperate. I could have spared myself a lot of shock and hurt later if I had stayed with her. But I didn’t, and I must live with the consequences.

Seth just wanted to do what he believed was right, which was protecting the vampires, our former allies. Edward and Bella were his friends, and he didn’t feel he could betray them in the way I wanted him to.

You’re wrong, Sam. So wrong. They aren’t our enemies. Were the last words he spoke as part of our Pack. Then, suddenly, he vanished from the Pack mind, though he clearly hadn’t phased. The scrawny, sandy brown wolf still stood in front of me, now taller than before. Apparently, he had been promoted.

Leah searched for her brother’s mind frantically, seeming strangely maternal. Seth! She howled. Come back, you stupid twit! But I could feel the jealousy radiating from her mind. She longed to follow his example, but couldn’t.

I was reassured again, and knew, without a doubt, that she would not leave us. So, with a heavy heart, I watched Seth sprint through the underbrush to join Jacob. He would be happier now, though I was ruined. Nothing would ever be right again.

Horrified silence now seemed louder than the earlier cacophony. The Pack could only watch in stunned silence as he disappeared, and I wanted to keep the silence.

I phased back to human, not minding the nudity. The Pack did not deserve to hear my thoughts now. I wouldn’t do that to them.

After all, this was my fault, not theirs, this trickle of betrayal.

And I could do nothing about it… aside from wonder who would be next to follow in the footsteps of a true Quileute warrior. And mourn.