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A Matter Of Time

Summary:
A TLYDF Recommendation, Nominated for Immortal Cookie Award, Won Best Imprint in the Silent Tear Awards Two weeks and the whole world can change. Caius and Jane led an insurrection against Aro and are making a mad power grab. Renegades from the wolf pack, unhappy with the treaty with the Cullens, are attacking vampires at every opportunity. Jacob and Renesmee are struggling with the paradox of imprinting. Edward, Bella and all the Cullens must come together to protect the world they've come to love. A tale of action, deceit, intrigue and sexual awakening.


Notes:
Stephanie Meyers owns all things Twilight. My thanks to all the wonderful people at PTB who helped with this story.


10. Chapter 10 Red Eyes

Rating 4.3/5   Word Count 1955   Review this Chapter

Renesmee

My nightmares had come to life and there was no waking up. I felt like I was sleepwalking in the worst dream possible. The wolves had chased me down the hill, well, herded me was more like it. Every time I went to break off the path, they were there, snarling and growling until I backed up to the path again. It was plain they weren’t ordinary wolves. Their speed, their height and the intelligence shining out of their menacing eyes, all told me they were more than they appeared. Were they part of the Quileute pack? I couldn’t guess.

Then I saw four soldiers coming up the hill, and my hopes had risen. I actually ran to them, thinking that they might be able to help me and the Denalis. Instead, they had grabbed me by the arms and dragged me down the rest of the hill, without listening to my pleas or answering my questions.

We broke through the trees where hell was now in residence. A car balanced on its roof blazed hotly, the house was a burning inferno and chunks of smoldering metal littered the yard.

Jane, the monster that had inhabited my most terrifying dreams, stood before me, her red eyes reflecting the fires around us. I couldn’t even hear what Jane said; my eyes were focused on Rosalie writhing in the dirt, her face contorted with pain. Jane slapped me at some point; I didn’t know why. Nothing was making any sense. I watched in disbelief as she heaved Rosalie into the burning house.

That’s when the soldiers started to manhandle me towards the car. Through the fog of my terror and shock, it struck me that they were going to take me away from this place, from where I’d last seen Jacob. It was up to me then. If Jane took me away, she’d only use me against my parents and family. I couldn’t let myself be a part of her plan.

I needed to get away. As they dragged me to the car, I projected to them. I showed the soldiers on either side of me that their hands that held me were hot and getting hotter. The men on either side of me shifted their hands trying to get comfortable and then I projected their hands bursting into flames. The two of them gasped and flung their hands off me. Quick as lightning, I dashed under their arms. Dodging past the last man who made a grab for me, I ran like I never had before to the safety of the trees. Shouting and footsteps sounded close behind me, and it just spurred me on. Silently I thanked my father that I had inherited at least some of his speed, and I poured it on. Their pursuit fell behind me quickly and that’s when I heard the bullets whiz by my ear.

Three steps away from the trees, I felt a stinging in my arm, but nothing was stopping me. Into the trees I went, finding the path that ran along the top of the gorge. I ran for what seemed like forever, and then finally slowed, when no sounds of pursuit were obvious. I leaned over, my hands on my knees, my heart beating wildly, breathing through my mouth as I tried to pant quietly, so I could listen. The only thing I could hear was the sirens of fire trucks getting louder and louder. Something warm trickled down my arm and in the faint light I saw a streak of black ooze across my hand.

I was hit. I took off my jacket, which was stained with blood on the arm, as was the shirt that I was wearing. The spots looked black in the faint starlight. I ripped off the shirt sleeve so I could take a look. A bullet had just grazed me, on my upper arm. The blood continued seeping out as I watched, dripping down my arm. I was too high on adrenaline for it to really hurt yet, but it would ache tomorrow.

The path down to the river was nearby here, I recalled. I backtracked a bit and then followed the path down to kneel by the side of the river to wash my arm. There was a groove in my arm, but nothing major had been hit. Balling my ripped sleeve, and then tearing a strip from my shirt hem, I tied the improvised bandage on my arm.

I’d been chased by wolves. I’d been dragged around by soldiers, threatened by Jane, seen my family and friends burned and then I’d been shot. The whole experience was so surreal, I’d lost some connection with my emotions. I felt like I was just running on autopilot. There would be time later to break down and cry. If I wasn’t feeling so numb, I’d have been paralyzed with fear, anger and outrage.

I needed to know what was going on. Where was Jacob? Was Rosalie beyond my help or was there something I could do? I started walking along the beach back towards the house, picking my steps carefully.

From below, I could see the reflected lights of the fire trucks brush against the tops of the trees. I walked stealthily as I neared the beach below the house, avoiding the boulders that littered the shore, alert for anyone who may have come down to the river bed.

In the moonless night, the river flowed blackly. Against the grey rocks on the beach, a figure crouched. A moment’s study proved it was a woman, kneeling. I thought I was being silent, but she looked right at me and hissed, “Renesmee!”

“Who is that?” I called out warily.

“Leah,” she answered. “Jacob’s been hurt.”

Oh, God, that was Jacob at her feet. As I ran over to her, I made out the crumpled body of Jacob’s wolf form. The smell of singed hair was strong.

“He was on fire. He’s burned badly on his flank,” she pointed out where large patches of hair gave way to skin that was red and raw looking. I saw the remaining fur was wet and the stones around him were dark with moisture as well. Leah must have splashed him to stop the flames. “He broke quite a few bones on his landing. At least his forelegs and I’m guessing a few ribs as well. Thankfully, he is unconscious now; he’s going to be in a lot of pain when he wakes up.”

“Will he be all right?” I asked fearfully. I’d seen Jacob heal before from pretty impressive injuries, but he looked so weak and vulnerable lying crumpled there.

“He needs medical attention to see those bones knit right,” she said. “He’ll heal, if infection doesn’t set in.” She stood up and put her hands on her hips. Gazing down at him, she shook her head and whispered, “Fool.” It struck me that she was naked. “Where’s the rest of your family?” she asked.

“I don’t know,” I said uncertainly. Mom had heard me before I dropped my phone. She’d be here as soon as possible, but that was 2,400 miles away. They would come, they would all come, but when? “I think Rosalie…,” I started to say, before my throat closed. I couldn’t finish. My vision grew blurry with the tears welling in my eyes.

“Well, get him to Carlisle as soon as you can,” she said. She turned, as if to leave.

“Leah, what are you doing here?” I asked in complete bewilderment, sniffling back the tears. I felt like I couldn’t think straight; I had so many questions about how and why she was here.

“I’m beginning to wonder about that myself,” she said pensively. “This was never about you or your family. I am sorry you all were here, we didn’t plan it this way.”

“Plan what? Leah, where have you been? Everyone’s been worried—“

“Listen, Renesmee,” she interrupted me before I got any further, “this battle has been going on for centuries. We’ve been sparing your family, but lines are being drawn. Tell Jacob the day is coming when he’s going to have to make a choice.”

“A choice?” I asked fearfully. “What kind of choice?”

But she had turned away and started running. She phased into wolf form without missing a step. More than ever, I felt confused and bewildered. My safe, secure, privileged world had become mystifying and terrifying.

I could hear the sirens and fire trucks above at the top of the gorge, men shouting and machinery moving. I couldn’t go up there until they left, for fear of them seeing me, questioning me, taking me into some kind of custody. After they left, I would go see if I could get any information. Maybe once dawn came, I could check the top of the hill for my cell phone.

I checked the line of sight from the top of the gorge, and moved Jacob slightly so that he was behind a boulder and wouldn’t be seen if anyone should come check the beach. He whimpered slightly without waking when I moved him and I apologized to him in whispers for any pain I may have caused. I tried to keep his legs straight in case his bones were knitting, but I worried I might be doing more harm than good so I kept my ministrations to a minimum.

I leaned up against the rock face, and put my arms around my knees. The tears came then and came in force. I tried to keep my noises to a minimum and was grateful that the sound of the river would likely cover me. I cried for Rosalie, and how she’d tried to protect me. I cried for Jacob, whose sense of duty caused him to rush into the firefight. I cried for Tanya and Kate, expecting that they had seen the worst. I cried for my parents who were likely crazy with worry. I cried for myself, sitting alone in the night, scared and hurt.

I dozed off and on as the night crept past. I would fall asleep only to be awakened by a pounding heart and red eyes haunting my dreams. Still, I must have finally dropped off to sleep because the sun was edging its way across the far beach and towards the river as I came to. My arm complained loudly when I tried to move it. It was sore and burning at the same time.

Jacob was still unconscious. In the light of day, I could see how extensive his burns were. But his breathing was regular and I took that as a good sign. With the return of light came the flies. I spread my jacket over Jacob’s side, trying to tent it so it would protect him without touching the damaged areas.

There was no sound from above, so I made the decision to go up and check the area. I didn’t know what time it was, but I guessed seven or eight. I cupped my hands to drink from the stream and splashed my face. My eyes felt red and swollen from my crying. I was overtaken by homesickness and a yearning for my parents so intense, I swayed on my feet.

I backtracked along my trail from last night and cautiously approached the yard. Yellow police tape cordoned off the house, which was now nothing but a charred frame. The lawn was a muddy mess, completely torn up with vehicle tracks and the overturned car. The smell of burned wood and metal was overpowering.

I heard a car approaching. Immediately I ducked into the woods, retreating far enough to feel safe, yet still be able to see who it was.

A red Mercedes SUV came roaring into the clearing. I ran full speed at it but I was only half-way across the yard before my father had me in his arms.