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Left Unguarded

What happened between Jacob and Edward in the forest? What fight went down? Missing Moment from my AU Paris between chapters 5 and 6. Read Paris first, please!

It all belongs to Stephanie Meyer! If you’re reading this without reading Paris first, STOP. GO BACK. READ PARIS, at least up through chapter 7. Then come back here. Enjoy!

1. Chapter 1

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Left Unguarded

A One-Shot from the Paris Universe

The scar did not fade from Jacob's arm, and he refused to tell me who had started the fight, which made me suspect him. It might have been an unfair assumption, but I knew from experience just how much better Edward was at keeping his temper than Jake. It didn’t matter though. It scared me too much that they had been fighting…

Chapter Seven, Paris

Bella was kissing me? Holy shit, Bella was kissing me!

I couldn’t help myself. Her lips just felt so right against mine, I mean I know I probably was a little rough but I just needed her closer to me. Being able to grab her and crush my lips to hers was the most liberated I had felt in so long. It felt just as I always knew it would, too. I could even feel something of my inner wolf inside me, howling in triumph. This was my moment.

And then just as suddenly it wasn’t.

It came to me, that sickly sweet stench. It just drifted into this perfect moment like it had been carefully choreographed to ruin this. I pushed Bella away from me—any bloodsucker would attack me first, as the bigger threat. I needed to change. I couldn’t hurt Bella. I couldn’t let Bella be hurt.

And then, a clearer and closer waft reached me and I knew who was there.

Vampire,” I cursed and I couldn’t think I couldn’t breathe my muscles tensed and I saw red and then I was running, running after him. That bastard! He leaves this husk of a girl behind him and comes back to ruin her happiness—my happiness—well he was going away, far away. I was going to send him back to Alaska or to Hell, whichever came first.

The dirt spilled out from under my feet; in my anger it felt good to crash into a few trees, their cracking trunks echoing like thunder. It didn’t help my speed but it got me more ready for combat. I was going to tear that leech apart, I was going to…

Where the hell was he?

I stopped running. I couldn’t smell him anymore. I hadn’t headed in the wrong direction. Dammit, I hadn’t headed in the wrong direction! There was no way. So where had he gone?

I closed my eyes and inhaled. I listened. I couldn’t hear him, couldn’t hear Bella, I was too far away…and that was when I realized. Bella. I’d left her unguarded. Effing bloodsucker would have doubled back when I was following his initial trail to go see her. And I’d left her alone! He would take her away! How had I missed his trail?!

Now that I knew what to look for I was off again, following his trail but at a wide berth from the path he had actually taken. I could not destroy him in front of Bella; it would hurt her. And I couldn’t stand the thought of her seeing me as a murderer. But if she had already seen him, she would know that I was the one who had gotten rid of him. I let out a snarl and ran faster. My teeth were bared; I would finish him, Bella’s feelings be damned. He’d already done her enough harm. He wouldn’t be doing her any more.

I raced past the place where I had left Bella—what was she thinking? Was she terrified of me now? Had the leech talked to her, I could smell he had paused by where she was—and then swerved to get back onto his exact path. The closer I followed it, the closer I got to actually catching up with him. This was what I was built for. For destroying vermin and filth and bastards who hurt people in every way. Who had hurt Bella in every way.

I clenched my teeth together, growled and I gained even more. I remembered what Bella had said, that this leech could read my thoughts. Well, he’d better be able to listen to mine. I wanted him to know his end was coming. I wanted to know that I was coming. I’m going to kill you, you bastard and I’m going to enjoy it.

And then he stopped.

I almost passed by him so sudden was the change in motion but I slowed down just in time. I stopped for a split second, just to smell and to see where the murderer had stopped in an ordinary and unmarked piece of forest and then I launched myself at him. My teeth were bared and my claws were outstretched but he sidestepped me at the last minute, spinning gracefully out of the way. I didn’t hesitate; I launched myself again and this time my aim was better; he couldn’t get away so instead he grabbed my forelimb and threw me out of the way, his own nails—claws—scraping through the fur and skin and sinew and nearly shredding my leg. It hurt, God it hurt like a bitch but the rage fuelled me, it ruled me. I leaped at him again and again, but my weaker forearm made each attempt seem more pathetic. Angry, I just wanted to take him down: just let me kill you! I screamed at him in my mind. His expression stayed blank throughout the entire process, until I exhausted myself and was reduced to roaring at him in frustration. He could hear my every move before I made it! Filthy cheating leech, it was too late to even try just instinctive battle. By the time I’d realized what was going on I was already injured.

Lightning fast the parasite ran up to me and held me down by my throat in such a way that I could not twist or move to swipe at him or kick or bite him. I wanted to but his grip rendered me useless. The best I could do was hope that my growling was giving him a headache and that wasn’t nearly enough.

“I’m sorry about your arm,” the leech said. I could hear him over my own roaring somehow. I snarled in response.

“It would hurt her if I let you kill me,” he said quietly. I rolled my eyes. As if. He laughed and I snapped at him; how was it fair that he could read my thoughts? They weren’t anybody’s business!

“I’m not saying me dying would hurt her. But you killing me would.”

That stopped me. I resisted thinking about it as best I could but I did anyway. If Bella found out I had killed her…or anyone else, for that matter, she would never look at me the same way again. I remembered that day on the beach after she had first discovered what I was, how she thought me and my brothers were to blame for the killings that were actually being done by murderous filthy bloodsuckers. She had not minded too much when we’d killed that one in the meadow, but I knew this was different. To think of her never looking at me, never kissing me again…

The one holding onto my throat winced. I grinned, or came as close to a grin as I could in this form.

She’s mine, I thought triumphantly.

The leech let go of me, stepped back. His face showed a sort of painful expression. I snickered a little.

Mine, I repeated, and he nodded. I got up so that I towered over him. Already my forelimb was healing.

He was there, weak. Already in submission. I had a secret weapon, and it was effing good.

But it was also the reason I couldn’t do what I most wanted to. I’d never tell him this, but the bloodsucker was right.

He smiled slightly and I scowled a little, growled a little.

I’m not killing you for her. Not for you.

He nodded, accepting this as if he’d expected it from the beginning. Filthy bastard. There was no reason why I couldn’t just rip off one of his arms for sport, that wasn’t murder.

“I can still overpower you, dog. You’re not exactly uninjured,” the leech snapped, suddenly not looking so weakened.

I snapped at him. He didn’t flinch. Idiot.

“I’m not leaving,” he said and I missed the rest of his sentence in my own deafening growl. Not leaving! He sure as hell was leaving.

You’re going back to Alaska or wherever the hell you came from if I have to bring you there myself.

He shook his head and I snarled again.

“She’s in danger. You’re a danger to her—“ I cut him off by lunging at him but he held me off. “And then there’s Victoria. Do you really think I’d let her stay here with only you to protect her when a vampire is after her blood?”

Do you really expect me to think that you’re not after the same thing?

He just looked at me. I wanted to tear him apart, I wanted to grab onto one leg in my feet and throw him twenty miles. Because I saw something in his eyes.

You don’t love her. You can’t. You left her!

He looked away. I refused to believe what he was telling me without saying anything. I felt the anger build up from the base of my stomach up through my teeth and nose. If he still loved Bella, then she would go back to him. She would forgive him. I would kill him first.

She’s mine, I reminded him. I couldn’t stand to hear his answer. Ignoring my painful leg, I let panic and anger fuel me as I ran in the direction of Bella’s house. I had to see her. I had to see her now.