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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.


7. Chapter 7 Watching The Sky

Rating 3.7/5   Word Count 2380   Review this Chapter

Renesmee

It was a perfect night for stargazing. The sky was clear and cloudless and the Milky Way glittered above our heads like a diamond spiral. Mars was insanely bright; we could even see a sliver of the polar cap through the telescope. The night was inky around us. The trees surrounding the crest were a gently rustling wall of darkness.

Kate, Rosalie, Jacob and I were on the hill above the house, having climbed the trail in the dark an hour ago. We’d set up the telescope and were having turns using it. When not on the scope, the Perseid meteor shower was keeping us busy oohing and ahhing. It seemed every other minute, a streak of light flared across the sky as another chunk of space rock hit the atmosphere.

“So, when are you guys moving east?” Kate asked Rosalie, as they lounged in the grass beside us.

“Another week. That will give us a week or so to settle in before school starts,” Rosalie said. She rested her arms on her bent knees and let her fingers clasp. “I’ll miss not being close to you all, but I’m ready to say good-bye to Forks.”

“I thought you liked Forks.” Kate glanced over at Jacob, who had his eye pressed to the scope and was squeezing the eyepiece. I wasn’t the only one who sensed his sudden tension as the talk had turned to moving.

“Well, it’s where Nessie was raised so it will always hold a special place in my heart.” Rosalie smiled at me. She looked away and frowned a bit. “But Forks has been a bit too interesting, if you know what I mean. What with the army of newborns showing up, the neighbors and the visits from the Volturi, I’m ready for a stretch of normalcy”

“Normalcy,” Jacob scoffed as he raised his head. “Like there can be any normalcy in that house of freaks.”

I stared at Jacob. That was a bit harsh. His bitterness was rather pointed.

Rosalie sprang off the ground where she had been sitting and with her hands on her hips spat out, “Who you calling a freak, you mutant mutt?”

Jacob stepped up to her so that he towered over her. “That horror show you call a family,” he said, his face glowering. “When will you guys recognize that Nessie’s got a human side? It’s not right! Taking her away again, like she’s some kind of doll? She could live with Charlie, for chrissakes! Live like a human!”

Rosalie’s scowl deepened. “Live like a human? By sticking around in some hick town, that’s the epitome of the human experience?”

“And living with a bunch of leeches is?” Jacob’s voice kept getting louder. “She can’t even have any friends the way you jerk her around.”

Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Kate rise. I thought she’d come to step between Jacob and Rosalie, whose faces were now only inches apart. As it was, Rosalie had to crane her neck back to look the much taller Jacob in the eye. Instead, Kate was looking down the hill towards the house.

Rosalie wasn’t giving an inch. “So you’d separate her from her whole family! Great plan! To what, rot in Forks? With a grandfather who doesn’t even know what she is?” Rosalie was so angry she was nearly spitting her words.

I was cringing inside with the violence in which Jacob and Rosalie threw their words at each other. How could they start this now? Rosalie was tense in every line of her stance, her fists clenched. Jacob was starting to shiver with anger as he leaned over her. If he phased while she was so close, someone would get hurt. Her cold marble stare battled against his hot, passionate one.

Jacob was shouting at her. “You parasites think of nothing but yourselves! What about Nessie? Is she going to spend her whole life with nothing but stone monsters?”

“STOP!” I yelled as loud as I could. “STOP IT, STOP IT!” I took a step towards them, my own fists balled at my sides. They both turned and looked at me, their faces running through anger, fury and concern.

There was a moment of abrupt silence as I glared at both of them. I took a breath to snap off a rude remark, but a voice came from an unexpected direction.

Kate spoke one word. “Trouble.”

We all turned to her in surprise. She was looking down the hill, watching three sets of headlights approach the house. Their lights flickered through the trees as the cars raced down the winding road in tight formation. The night was suddenly hushed and hesitant.

She turned to us. “Rosalie, with me,” she barked authoritatively. “Jacob, stay with Nessie.” She took off down the trail in a flash.

Rosalie glared one more time at Jacob. “This isn’t finished,” she snarled at him.

“Not by a long shot,” he growled as she brushed past him to give my arm a quick squeeze before heading down the trail, her blond hair glinting in the starlight.

We watched her disappear into the trees. “Nice, Jacob, nice,” I said disparagingly to him as I turned back to the scope. “So my family are freaks now?”

“Nessie,” he said. “I love your family. But they’re not human. They pretend, but they’re not.” He threw his long arms in the air, gesturing. “There is a whole world out there, and you aren’t even being given a chance to see it.”

I bent down to the eyepiece. “I’ve seen plenty of the world,” I said, peeved. “I’ve been a hell of a lot more places than you’ve ever been.”

He roughly grabbed me by his shoulders and spun me around. He bent his knees so our faces were nearly level. “Nessie,” he said intensely, staring me in the eyes. “You don’t know what you’re saying. You haven’t seen what it means to be part of a group, a human group, a community. You know what it is to be a vampire but you don’t know what it is to be human, and that is as much a part of you as the other.”

His words pierced past my anger. I was struck dumb by the urgency in his voice. In the darkness, his skin looked like mahogany velvet. His eyes were deep and black. He brought his face closer to mine.

“Nessie,” he whispered, “give that part of you a chance.”

We stared at each other, the only sound our quick and shallow breathing. His hands shifted slightly down my arms. I became acutely aware of his hands on me, of how close our faces were, of how alone we were. His eyes flared with a passion that undeniably and irrevocably drew me to him.

My vision shifted, like I was seeing two Jacobs side by side. One was the Uncle Jacob I’d always known, the friend and confidant of my youth. The other was still Jacob, but someone dark and mysterious. Someone who was bound to me by ties deeper and stronger than family. Someone who could show me an entirely new world, create a whole new person in me.

Jacob’s face, just inches from mine, seemed to fly in and out of focus. Jacob the uncle, Jacob the lover. The two Jacobs superimposed on each other, like a holographic image, flickering back and forth between the Jacob I knew and the Jacob that could be. My heart thudded in my chest and the images dissolved into one clear vision.

I knew I wanted him to kiss me. I didn’t care who he had been before. I didn’t care who I had been. Nothing mattered more than his strong warm presence and the closeness of our bodies. The quick thudding of his heart matched my own.

He felt it, too. His eyes moved back to mine and I could see the battle going on behind them. The two of us seemed locked in position. Echoed in our eyes was the undeniable truth that we were bound together in the most fundamental way. The question had never been if we would be together, the question was when.

Then I saw a light flare on the side of his face. He whipped around and took a step down the hill, still gripping my arm.

Together we stared in horror as a fireball rose like a mushroom cloud above the dell that held the house.

“Jesus Christ!” I gasped. Beneath the glow of the fireball we could see three black Hummers with their headlights on, pulled up on the lawn next to the house. Scattered figures glowed in the firelight.

“What’s happening?” I cried. Jacob strode up to the telescope and swung it around to view the house. He bent down to the eyepiece and a moment later looked up at me, his face grim.

“Vampires. Jane and Alec. Two others.” His voice was flat, his eyes burning.

“The Volturi are here?” I felt the pit of my stomach drop, sickened by the thought.

“They’re not cloaked,” Jacob said, watching the scene below intently.

Suddenly, another ball of fire rolled across the lawn and into the side of the first Hummer. The Hummer exploded upwards and there was a boom that rocked us on the hillside. Flames crept up the side of the house, reaching into the sky.

I turned to Jacob, horrified. “Rosalie’s down there.”

Jacob grabbed me by the shoulders. “Nessie, you must do exactly as I say. Can you do that?”

I nodded mutely, my eyes as big as saucers.

He peered into my eyes as if he could command my obedience. “Stay here. Wait a half hour. If I’m not back, circle back down to the river. About six miles downriver, there is the ranger station. Call your parents from there.”

Over his shoulder I could see the sky lit up with the fire from below. Even though every cell of my being railed against it, I swallowed back my tears and nodded. Jacob pulled me against his chest for a brief embrace. His warm chest and arms felt like the last safe place in the world. “A half hour,” he whispered into my hair and then pulled away. “I’ll be back,” he promised.

He turned and in three steps, his being shivered and in the pace of one stride he burst into wolf form, running full speed down the hill and into the tree line.

Down in the dell the fire continued to spread up the side of the building, swallowing the second floor. I hugged myself as I peered into the thickening smoke on the ground, trying to make out the figures. The Volturi! They haunted my dreams for years. My memories of their stand-off in Forks were misty now, but the fear of them had never left. Their parchment skin and crimson eyes starred in my worst nightmares.

I wished I knew what was going on. The telescope, dummy! I ran over to the scope and adjusted the focus. I caught a brief glimpse of Jane, striding across the lawn, dressed all in black leather, her scowling face rendered warm by the flame’s reflection. Jane! Of them all, she had featured in my foulest dreams.

The scope’s image trembled with my hands as I tried to make some sense of the pictures below. I caught another figure, a face I didn’t recognize. Petite, delicate Asian features surrounded by waist length black hair, all in red. Her face was totally emotionless despite the chaos surrounding her. I watched as her hair started lifting around her head, like it would in a stiff breeze, despite the calm night around her. More fiercely with every second, her hair whipped around her head, forming a writhing black corona against her pale face, until it thrashed as violently as if she stood in a cyclone. The air started shimmering in front of her, roiling like the reflection of heat off a metal surface in hot sunlight. A light appeared in the midst of the turbulent air, and gradually grew over the space of seconds into a fireball an arm-span across. I watched horrified as it sped away from her.

Raising my eye from the scope, I could see the fireball fly across the yard below and splash against the house, causing another earth shaking boom. The shock of what I was seeing literally made my legs weak, and in horror I gasped and fell to my knees. I had no idea how the battle was progressing and my concern for those I loved was nearly suffocating me.

Feeling totally alone and vulnerable, watching the possible destruction of loved ones, I felt the tears well up again. I tried to swallow them back so I could continue to see what was happening below. I struggled to get back to my feet when I felt the lump in my pocket. I pulled it out and stared at it. My cell phone. I’d stuck it in my pocket yesterday afternoon, meaning to call my mom and then never did. The innocence of those moments seemed a lifetime away. But the yearning to hear my mom’s voice was intense and I pressed the speed dial.

The phone rang twice and my mother’s voice, musical and calm, spoke with pleasure. “Nessie,” she crooned. “I was hoping I would hear from you.”

Hearing the normalcy and love in her voice just set me to blubbering. “Mom, Mom,” I gasped through my wracking sobs. “Oh, God, Mom, Jane is here and Rosalie is down there and Jacob left me here and oh, God, everything’s on fire.” I bawled as the words flew out in a single rush.

“Nessie!” my mother’s voice rang in alarm. I am sure she said more, but at that moment the only thing I heard was the fierce snarling coming from just behind me. The hairs on my neck stood up and I froze, the cell phone slipping from my hand.

There was another low rumbling growl from my other side. Like being trapped in a nightmare where being pursued only makes you move in slow motion, I turned slowly around. Facing me were two huge wolves, their teeth bared, snarling savagely.