Twilight Fan Fiction / Twilight Fan Fiction ❯ I Know My Duty ❯ Perspective ( Chapter 59 )
[ T - Teen: Not suitable for readers under 13 ]
<i>Twilight</i> and its three and two half sequels are the creation of Stephenie Meyer. This story is fanfiction based on characters, settings and concepts from <i>Twilight</i>, its four sequels and the first half of <i>Midnight Sun</i>, all of which are the creation of Stephenie Meyer. No party other than the submitting author may alter this work in any way other than font size and other reasonable accommodations to formatting.
"When blood drinkers cross our land, we destroy them, no matter where they plan to hunt. We protect everyone we can." —Sam, <i>Breaking Dawn</i>
He was washing the dishes when we told him. Just kept scrubbing like nothing was going on. I'd been in his pack and his head long enough to know that was just his way. Something crazy happened and Jake would act like it either wasn't happening or wasn't crazy. He kept moving. That kept the whole pack moving. He'd been like that since before he'd taken over from Sam.
"You're sure it was them?" he asked.
"I got a better look at him than at her," I said. But I'd already told him about the house.
"What do you want us to do?" asked Quil. I didn't say anything. We'd known Jacob since we were boys. We'd been in each other's heads. Asking was just being polite.
He didn't even reach for a drying towel.
We didn't drive. You could leave the same car by the side of the road once in the while, but the cops all knew everyone's ride around here; too often would get us noticed by someone we couldn't explain away. Cutting across country was sometimes faster, depending on where we were going. The three of us headed out into the woods. At a nod of Jacob's head, I broke left, heading north. We'd separate; first one to make contact notified the others.
Maybe it was because I'd been the youngest. I'd never had to be the first one to try something unless I wanted to. I could get why Jake and Sam and the others sometimes hated the wolf. Sam had hurt someone he didn't want to hurt. Jake had had to both give and take orders, crawl on his belly and make others crawl. Whether you were giving an Alpha command or taking one, the wolf was in charge, not you. They both liked to be human, because, for them, being human meant you were free.
I ran uphill at top speed, barely feeling the cold, weaving through trees like they weren't even there. When we got to the narrow part of the gorge, I sprang on all four feet and jumped it.
I hit the slushy ground on the far side and barely skidded an inch before I was off again. Strong like an animal and smart like a man, able to cooperate like both. There was nothing better in the whole world.
<i>Aw go write a haiku.</i>
<i>Fuck yourself, Quil.</i>
<i>Tracking killer vamps,</i> he counted in his head between strides. <i>Didn't have time to call home. My wife will be real mad.</i>
<i>With a big fat pine cone, Quil.</i>
<i>No, seriously. I forgot to call Claire. She's gonna be pissed.</i>
<i>Focus, you two.</i>
Jacob was being discreet in his thoughts, but down below the surface, I could tell he was wondering if this really was Bella. I guess it was possible that one of the Cullen vamps or something might've decided to play Top Chef, but yeah I was pretty sure it was her. I didn't remember much about that cryptic little love letter that Sam had made Jacob show everyone, but I remembered the part where she and her boy-toy had been captured by a bunch of vampire hall monitors who dressed like Robin Hood on laundry day.
It hadn't gotten here a minute too soon. That had been right after all those disappearances in Seattle. It was the kind of crime wave that make a wolf guy want to take a city cop by the collar and yell, "IT'S VAMPIRES, YOU IDIOTS!" but Sam had said it wasn't our territory.
Then they showed up. A lot.
The stories all said that vampires came in ones and twos, <i>maybe</i> groups as big as three. The stuff Bella had repeated to Jake had confirmed it. Small covens: common. Big covens: rare. Then why the fuck were there like fifteen vamps coming into the greater Forks non-metropolitan area all in the same day? A couple of days after Bella's letter, weirdoes in cloaks. Well, weirdoes with bright red glowing eyes that were five times as tough as normal vamps and <i>then</i> weirdoes in cloaks.
I could still remember the burn in my nose. One of them, a big German-looking fucker with dark hair, had been close enough for me to grab, but Sam had ordered us not to show ourselves unless we were in danger and not attack the cloaky ones unless we were going to die. I don't think big fella even knew I was there. Couldn't say that for everyone.
I'd been a few months into my vamp-chomping career by then and I'd already thought I'd seen it all. The Volturi were pretty impressive by vampire standards, but they didn't seem to break any of the rules. The other ones, though... It wasn't just that they were strong and fast or the way they moved. They were crazy hard to predict. I saw one of the others charge straight for the skinny cloak-guy, who just sidestepped like a bullfighter. I saw two of them start to fight each other, even though they looked like they were on the same side. I saw lots of them look around as if they were confused about how they got there.
Jacob had been the first to figure it out.
<i>Their leader is missing.</i>
Simon couldn't hold it back, got too close to the glowy ones. They ripped him apart in half a second. It took a blanket order from Sam to keep the rest of us in position. But it could have been worse. If we hadn't know what Bella'd told us, it would have been a lot worse. We'd have run in, tried to take out as many as we could, and at least one of the Vulture Vamps would have figured there was <i>something</i> important on our land, and if they were organized, that was a problem.
<i>Don't overthink this, Seth,</i> said Jacob, words jumbled in with the scent of the earth he was taking.
<i>I'm just putting things in perspective,</i> I said.
<i>Vamps that kill on our land get burned. Don't hesitate.</i>
I skidded to a stop and set my rump in the dirt. <i>Time out.</i>
<i>There's no time out in vampire hunting!</i> Quil sounded like he was about to bust a gut.
<i>I'm pulling rank and I say time out!</i> I answered.
<i>What rank? You're the youngest of the three of us!</i> he snapped
<i>My rank as the only guy here who's ever had a normal relationship with a woman.</i>
Jake had broken formation and was loping toward me, teeth ever so slightly bared. <i>Seth, quit goofing off.</i>
I did the only mature and responsible thing to do when your annoyed Alpha boss tells you to knuckle down and get back to hunting murderous vampires: I ignored him. <i>Jake, speaking as someone who got dumped enough times to get good at it, sometimes you THINK you want to kill your ex but when you actually pull up to her new fiancés house with six cans of bear mace in a styrofoam beer cooler, you start to wonder if you might be overdoing it.</i>
Jake wasn't growling exactly, but his posture was up, hackles to make him look big. <i>I don't want to kill my ex. I want to take out the bloodsuckers before anyone else dies on our watch. Now get back to work.</i>
Then he turned his tail toward me and ran off. It was a trick we used to use on the new guys, pretend to leave them behind like babies, like their help wasn't wanted. It was a bullshit threat because Jake never fought two on two when he could fight three on two, but it was still a little hurtful. I slapped my tail against the slush, got up and followed.
Quil got there first, as usual.
<i>One of them left the car here,</i> he said into my head, and I had an image of his nose gently sniffing the earth at the side of the road. Sure, this was the highway between the hospital and the old Cullen house, but how'd he pick out that one stretch when—whatever. <i>Follow the car or the vamp?</i>
<i>The vampire</i>, thought Jacob, <i>but wait for us to catch up. Don't engage alone.</i>
Thoughts were murky things. Another person's head was like a pond. There was the top, surface stuff that you could see really clearly. There was the stuff just partway down, where things were blurry and brown but you could clearly tell a stick from a leaf from a tin can. Then there was the very bottom, where you might see a ripple to tell you there was a fish, but you pretty much had to guess. Jacob's top-thoughts were clear, but the rest of him was churning like someone had offloaded a case of basketballs into his brain.
<i>I am not.</i>
<i>Come on. You don't want to at least let Quil and me take point on this one?</i>
<i>Quil's right. Go hit the haiku, pond boy.</i>
<i>Jake's in denial. Old girlfriends make him surly—</i>
<i>SETH!</i> Jake's thoughts went quiet as we both circled round to meet up with Quil.
They never showed this in the movies, but you couldn't just run and run and follow a trail, not a <i>scent</i> trail. You could smell something upwind if it was still there, but most of the time, working by scent meant my nose was on the ground. It was undignified, but it worked. Walk a little. Stop and sniff. Run a little. Stop and sniff. It made you slow until it didn't. But if you'd spent years practicing, it clicked, and you could trot at a good clip and be fairly confident of where your prey was headed. Vampires tended to meander until they caught scent of something—and the fact that <i>they</i> didn't have to snort dirt to hunt was totally unfair. Quil was the best at it, and because Jacob hadn't made it an Alpha order, he got there ahead of both of us.
I caught up with him snuffling a fresh kill, a bull elk. My stomach grumbled. Being a wolf took a toll. You'd think it'd be great, eat all the doughnuts I wanted and still keep my abs, but when I was wolfed out all I ever wanted was protein with thick veins of fat.
Jake trotted to a stop beside it. <i>We'll come back later,</i> he thought. No sense eating the tribe out of house and home, and no sense leaving a perfectly good carcass.
Well <i>almost</i> perfectly good.
<i>Stinks of vampire,</i> said Quil, though the bottle rockets being shot up my nose could have told me that. He nudged it with his head. <i>A lot of the blood's gone. This actually looks more like a normal vampire kill than ...well, you know.</i>
<i>So the vamp left the car and then killed this thing,</i> I thought optimistically.
<i>Doesn't matter,</i> thought Jake. He started to walk away but ducked his nose to the ground. Bona-fide hesitation was rare in him these days. <i>Did you get a look at her eyes?</i> he asked.
<i>No,</i> I answered. <i>She was facing away, and it was too far.</i>
He paused and seemed to nod.
We both knew they weren't going to have yellow eyes. Even if the Cullen kid hadn't made up the yellow-eyes-mean-we-don't-eat-people story to get into Bella's size-fours, we'd found the evidence.
<i>Why kill an elk NOW, though?</i> wondered Quil.
<i>Check for tracks leading away,</i> motioned Jake.
That part was easier. In the mud and the slush, a vampire's footprint didn't look much different from anyone else's, so this we could do by sight. Quil was the best at it, picking out a scuff mark in the mud as part of a heel, a dent in the snow as a left food. Jake motioned for the two of us to spread out as we followed. The scent of vampire was faint but not that faint.
The three of us circled, looking for a trail leading away. Quil cut ahead of the rest of us again. I was starting to feel a little better about this. Maybe Bella and her boytoy were just passing through. Breaking the treaty meant no mercy, no exceptions, but killing elk wasn't breaking the treaty.
<i>Oh crap</i>. Quil didn't sound happy.
I trotted out of the woods behind him. <i>Double crap,</i> I thought, looking at the body. <i>Another one.</i> I felt a phantom twitch where my hands would be, reaching for the mobilecom that I wore on my wrist when I had wrists. My instinct was to call it in to Charlie. Why did everything have to suck at the same time?
Jacob circled it.
<i>The wounds look funny again,</i> I thought. <i>Something's off. They don't usually leave this much blood out to dry, not for years.</i>
<i>What they do or don't do with the blood isn't the point. Killing a human is the point.</i>
<i>I'm not arguing that. I just—</i>
Jake's whole body stretched into a line from his nose to his eyes to the tip of his tail. It shouted "that way" as clear as a traffic arrow. He'd found a trail. <i>We'll debate it later. We're not waiting for another dead guy.</i>
We took off. Hunting vamps reminded me of catching fireflies. At first, you needed to look for the last place they'd been lit—that was me huffing slush—but once you got close enough and you could see their dark little bodies without the light, then it was only a matter of reaching out your hands. Or of running them down and clamping your jaws on the limb of your choice in this case.
As much as I thought Jake was jumping the gun, I couldn't deny the inertia of the feeling, like letting gravity pull you down a flight of stairs so that all you had to do was pick up your feet. I could tell two distinct scents now, the same ones from the hospital and my mom's house. I ignored the burn in my muscles and urged my feet to move faster. I imagined I could feel the vibrations in my legs from where they were pounding the earth.
<i>They're heading for town,</i> thought Quil. Shit.
<i>See that they don't make it,</i> added Jake. If they made it to someplace public, we wouldn't be able to get all wolfout on their sparkly butts. We were faster and almost always stronger, but none of us had ever figured out how to bite a vamp's head off in the middle of a crowd without getting arrested.
Now that we knew where they were going, we could run, <i>really</i> run. I geared up to lose myself in the feeling and then—
Then I goddamned <i>tripped</i>. Full-on first-time-out, fur-flying tripped down the fifty-foot ridge into a slush puddle and my two wolf bros headed down the hill without me in the other direction.
<i>You all right, Seth?</i> thought Quil.
<i>Yeah, just my dignity.</i> I looked up the hill. Nothing but a swatch of disrupted undergrowth about as wide as one mid-sized werewolf klutz. I tested all four limbs. If I was injured it wasn't so much that it would take more than minutes for me to heal. All good. I eyed the rise, figuring the best way to catch up with Jake and Quil, when my eyes caught on a glint.
I shuffled closer, turning my head. My eyes weren't... well they were <i>different</i> when I was a wolf. I wasn't color-blind or anything like they say, but certain things definitely didn't work the same. For some reason, it was harder to read anything longer than a street sign. Leah'd said it might be the little muscles that we used to track words across a page, but then Leah used to say a lot of things.
I wasn't about to change back in three inches of mud, so I just nudged the metal with my foot. It came loose. Nothing special, just a straightedge knife that you'd find in any home supply store.
<i>Seth, catch up. We'll need all three of us,</i> said Jake.
<i>Guys, I think I found the murder weapon.</i>
<i>What are we, Columbo?! Get down here!</i>
I was too annoyed to even make fun of Jake for his shitty choice in mid-century detective shows. He was <i>this</i> close to making it an Alpha order. As if to make my humiliation worse, the wind gusted right up and the big fat birch on top of me dumped its last pile of slush on my head. Where the fuck was spring?
I gave it my best shake, just wishing my current unappreciative jerk of an Alpha were close enough to catch the spray just as the scent hit my nose like a punch. I stopped mid-shake.
I dropped low on my belly, turning around as quietly as I could.
<i>Guys, I think you should come over here,</i> I said.
<i>Seth, Quil and I are about to run down two vampires, at least one of whom knows the area almost as well as we do. We need numbers. I'm not asking again.</i>
I breathed out and concentrated as hard as I could on the link between us, on the image in my head.
I felt Quil's paws go still on the earth underneath him. Jacob trotted to a stop.
<i>I got a live one,</i> I thought, flattening out against the ground, eyes fixed on the pale, shining form weaving away from me through the trees. It hadn't seen me and I wanted to keep it that way. <i>We got another one up here near our dead guy and it's NOT Bella or the Cullen kid.</i>
Jake's breath was steaming in the air. I was holding my own. The image through Jake's eyes was fading back into my own, like when you stand up too fast after sitting very still. Didn't matter. I'd made my point.
<i>Does THAT change anything, Jake?</i>
<i>You know that it does,</i> he thought calmly. <i>Seth, are you close enough to kill this vampire by yourself?</i>
<i>Maybe,</i> I said. <i>You want me to go after it?</i>
I could feel Jake shake his head. <i>We need to find out what's going on first.</i>
<i>What now?</i> asked Quil. <i>We kill this new guy?</i>
<i>Catch up, Seth,</i> thought Jake. <i>We keep following the other two.</i>
I turned, moving quietly at first, speeding up as I gained some distance from my mystery vamp.
Jake gave a mental nod as he sped up. I recognized the move. He was the fastest of the three of us. Paul and Brandon had been faster, but they were both retired now. Jake would get ahead of the vamp on one side and drive it toward Quil and me. Usually that was the immediate prelude to the limb-chomping and incineration, but this time I guess he just wanted them to stop.
By now we weren't more than half a mile from the gas station on the edge of town. I wondered if it would be better to let them get there. Neutral ground and all that. They'd have to behave themselves.
<i>No. We handle this our way,</i> thought Jake.
<i>Let me do it,</i> I answered before I realized.
<i>Makes sense,</i> thought Quil. Despite my growth spurt and fondness for fresh-killed ungulate, I was still the smallest of any of our full-grown wolves. As far as any of us could look like we weren't a threat and were just there to talk...
Jacob seemed surprised but let up his pace. I stretched out my bruised limbs, worked my spine like a spring and rocketed past him as fast as I could.
<i>Keep your head,</i> Jake sent after me. <i>Remember, there are two of them and one of you.</i>
The light broke through the trees, kicking up contrast between the mud and snow. I could see something moving up ahead of me. There was a rock face coming up on my right. I'd never get a better chance.
<i>Remember it's been twenty years; she might not remember you. If it's even her.</i>
Fireflies. I ran past a lightning form with uncannily pale skin and dark hair. I jumped sideways and bent my body so that it tripped over me. It hurt like a kick to the gut, but I was prepared. The vampire guy sailed over my head, twisting into a roll and coming back up on his feet, but I'd slowed them down. The other one ran toward him. I moved so they were between me and the rocks. They'd have to move past me to get away.
<i>Remember, we're here because we have a job to do.</i> I could hear Jake's voice in my head even as he and Quil hurried to catch up with me.
The girl looked at me and my eyes almost crossed. I guess it was like Bella's face, but it was Bella if she'd been a from a planet where space aliens genetically engineered their own supermodels. The Cullen kid looked exactly the same as he got to his feet, I mean <i>exactly</i>. He had a cheaper haircut and clothes but that was it. I was used to guys who didn't get older, but this was giving me a headache.
The vampire girl didn't smile, but she didn't sound afraid.
"Hello, Seth," she said.
Couldn't say I wasn't flattered to be remembered. Couldn't say anything, actually, not with my wolf mouth, and wagging my tail was beneath even my dignity, but I kept my posture loose, no growling, no raised hackles, nothing that someone who wasn't a wolf would think meant I was going for the chomp. Jake's instructions were clear:
<i>Remember that we might still have to kill her anyway.</i>
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