Twilight Fan Fiction / Twilight Fan Fiction ❯ I Know My Duty ❯ Drawn ( Chapter 60 )

[ T - Teen: Not suitable for readers under 13 ]

Twilight and its three and two half sequels are the creation of Stephenie Meyer. This story is fanfiction based on characters, settings and concepts from Twilight, its four sequels and the first half of Midnight Sun, 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.




"It happened so quickly that if I'd blinked, I'd have missed the entire transformation." —Bella, Midnight Sun




"Hello, Seth."

The light brown wolf didn't react visibly, continuing to pace back and forth in front of us, hemming us in against the rock face. Bella had been on enough field missions to know we'd been herded. I had to admit: they had nice form. For a split-second, I looked forward to telling Demetri and Caroly about it.

Nice to be remembered. Seth's thoughts were dry as the cracks in the stonework back in Volterra. He remembered Bella too, and with some warmth. For me, there was less warmth.

I put a hand on Bella's shoulder and nodded toward the woods. Her breathing was just a little too deep. She was trying to project calm, but I knew she didn't feel it.

Two more walked into the clearing, one gray, one a reddish brown. Neither of them was Sam Uley. I ghosted across their thoughts like a man searching through an old newsprint paper for one article. If they had reinforcements coming, they weren't thinking of it right then. If it came to a fight, it could be two on three.

Next to me, Bella had stopped breathing entirely. I followed her line of sight to the brown one.

So that was him. I wonder if he'd actually gotten Bella's letter all those years ago. I wonder if he knew what Aro had put me through in exchange. His packmates' lives had practically been Bella's engagement present. I wondered what my master would think of them now that I had a close-up memory to offer him.

The russet wolf turned its head to the side, just slightly. I saw a flash of a strong human hand hefting an engine part, sizing it up to see if it was for use, recycling or the scrap heap. I held firm, ready to get in the first blow if he made a threatening move. I was almost disappointed when he reared back and blurred into a human shape.

I looked at Bella, then at Black. His face had changed in subtle ways, a few fine lines that vampire eyes could detect, a slight shifting of the fat and muscle underneath the skin. He must have looked much the same to her. He could probably still pass for a man in his twenties. There were a few scars that probably hadn't been there before—considering how much of his skin was exposed, I could guess—and far more years looking out from behind those eyes.

Bella's skin shone in the gray light. If Black had been waiting for visual confirmation that she was no longer human, he had it. There was no telling how he'd react. Although Seth seemed to know that this was Bella Swan from the old days, I had the impression that he'd figured that out before actually seeing us. Bella's new face had even tripped me up for a few weeks, and I was her—

"Hi Jake," Bella said. "I know I look different, but it really is me. I'm—"

"Bella Swan," he answered. "You don't look that different."


So she did it then, he thought soberly. Somewhere, deep down, Jacob had thought she really was dead. Otherwise, she'd have come back. He had no idea how many times we'd come close to it.

When the Cullens had lived in Forks, I'd never had cause to spend much time thinking about the Quileutes. They already knew our big secret, so my scouting duties were best focused elsewhere. After I'd learned of Black's little crush on Bella, I'd found him especially irritating, so I'd never looked at him that closely.

His thoughts turned in strange ways, like water currents around sharp rocks. He was probably an intuitive man, following the gut that added facts up into conclusions before his conscious mind did. If he was still alive, then he was probably good at it. If Bella had been trapped in Volterra with someone like this, he never would have mistaken her for a stranger. He'd have ignored what his eyes told him and seen what was really there. Then he'd have irritated Master Aro and they'd both have died, but still.

Bella hadn't moved, but I could tell she was a wreck. She'd been hypervigilant ever since we'd crossed the town limits, always on the lookout for something. I couldn't blame her. If Bella had left me when I was an impressionable youth, I'd have mixed feelings about seeing her again too.

Even so, she recovered before I did: "That man in the woods wasn't us, Jake," she said, holding out one hand. "I killed a big deer but that was it." She pointed to her eyes. "We don't kill people for food. Neither of us do." That was the truth. In the present tense.

Black looked at one of the other wolves, What do you think, Quil?

Would the decision of whether or not to kill us even be up to them? Where the hell was Sam Uley? Or had he died, leaving Black as alpha wolf? Or perhaps Black was merely the leader of this one squad? Were there any other wolves? They lived a dangerous life. I blinked back my frustration. I kept reaching out for where Caroly would be, craving her mental image of their group dynamics. God but I missed my girl. Demetri too. If we'd had the two of them here with us, we could hold our own against a dozen wolves.

Bella's nerves were showing, and she started to babble. "I just found him; he was already cut and bleeding. We were going to come back to town and call the deputies..."

I felt my eyes go wide when the images in the wolves' minds finally separated. At first I thought they were just picturing our poor dead human from different angles, but—

"Bella," I interrupted softly, putting a hand on her arm. She stopped talking. I looked Jacob Black in the eye.

Black raised an eyebrow. Still sucking thoughts with your morning blood?

Oh give me a break. "This is serious," I snapped.

"More than you know," bloodsucker he added mentally.

Bella looked from him to me and back. "Anyone want to clue me in?" she asked.

I exhaled. "The man today wasn't the first—the body we found. There have been others."

Bella's arms dropped to her sides.

"We've been finding them like that for weeks," Black answered, "all cut. None drained. All reeking of vampire."

Black was staring right into Bella's face with each bald word. It wasn't until he drew his conclusion that I realized why: She's actually surprised. It wasn't her. I wasn't Jasper, but I thought I saw a multicolored scrap of relief, veined with other emotions. Black might be a grown man, but he wasn't unaffected by the sight of his highschool crush. He looked at me, boldly wondering if perhaps I'd gone out on a killing spree without telling her. After all, she couldn't hear thoughts.

I raised an eyebrow. Bella had been able to read me like a book since before we were married. I hadn't been able to get away with anything since she'd figured out my tells.

"We only got here yesterday morning," Bella told him.

"He believes us," I said.

"I can speak for myself," said Black. "Why are you here?"

"It's a long story," said Bella. "We... I guess it's halfway between escaped from Volterra and got let go. They'll still try to drag us back if they can do it without making a scand—"

"No, not what happened in Europe. Why are you here?" he interrupted, walking close enough that he was looking down at Bella instead of across, hovering as if I weren't there at all. "Why'd you come back to Forks?"

"We're looking for the Cullens," I answered simply. "It's possible they left some message behind, telling me where they've gone. That's all. We're passing through." I galled at having to give an accounting of my actions, but the wolves were permanent residents and we weren't. If they were a vampire coven, it would have been polite to do the same.

I thought I saw Bella make a gesture out of the corner of my eye. The skin under Black's eyes tightened for a moment, but it didn't last.

"Did anyone else come with you?" he asked. "Is it just the two of you?"

"Yes," I answered.

"So the other vampire isn't with you."

"What other vampire?" asked Bella before I could react.

I'd been watching Jacob's mind, but the clearest images were coming from the other wolf, Seth. I watched the memory though his eyes. A vampire, moving away, viewed from the back. Either a man or a tall woman. No cloak. That last part should have sent relief down my spine. Instead, I felt cold.

"When?" I breathed.

Black turned his head. "Pardon me?"

"When did you see this other—"

"Right before we caught up with you," piped a voice. At some point, the sandy wolf had changed to human form. Seth Clearwater's face was clearly the same as the one in the photographs in Charlie Swan's house. "I got tired of not talking," he explained. The third wolf, the only one still wearing his fur, actually rolled his eyes.

Bella turned back to me, "There wasn't anyone there, was there?"

I looked at the wolves and then back at her. She was trusting them too quickly. "I was checking for human minds," I answered. I looked up at Black, "Before our hunting trip. I wanted to make sure there were no ...witnesses before we found something to eat." No sense telling him that killing during hunting was an actual problem.

If the vampire was a shield like Bella, or if their thoughts had been very very quiet, then I might not have heard them. But the most likely thing was...

I felt cold. I concentrated on the image as hard as I could. Too short. To slender. The vampire in Seth's mind wasn't Rolfe; I could tell that much. Besides, Rolfe was dead by now, or as good as. Either Aro had sent someone to find and burn his head or he was still where I'd left him, facedown in a hollow tree unable to move. Either way, he wasn't running around outside Forks, Washington, spooking the local wolf pack.

I'd felt like I was being watched since we'd arrived. I was sure I was paranoid... But that was more than accounted for by the very likely matter of the vampire shadow government seeking to apprehend me and the very actual fact that the second-most dangerous beings in the world were right in front of me.

The vampire had been headed in the opposite direction. By now, they were as far away as they might wish. ...but they could be tracked.

I looked at Black and the others, trying to forget that we could be considered enemies. Then I looked at Bella. She had a slight smile and both eyebrows raised, head tilted forward like she was offering me a movie ticket.

I gave a slow shrug. It wasn't that bad of an idea, actually.

She smiled did a slight nod. "Settled then," she said.

"What's settled?" asked Black.

Bella breathed in. "Jacob, could I talk to you for a minute?" she asked.

Black's thoughts were discreet; clearly he'd prepared an answer to this question. "Bella—"

"Sure he can," interrupted Seth.

The third wolf clearly nodded. Good God, just let him give her a piece of his mind and get it out of his system.

"Edward," she said to me, "can I trust you not to snoop?"

I looked at Jacob Black, who had the good grace to look uncomfortable. "While considering that there is a murderer on the loose, albeit possibly a dozen miles away by now. I won't not be listening for any voice I can hear," I said. "If you want me to concentrate on not eavesdropping you'll have to wait until after we've ...solved the problem."

Bella nodded, and she and Black walked off into the woods, but the last werewolf was thinking, What's this "we" stuff? Quil tossed his head. This could be a divide and conquer thing. What if she rips his head off and then it's only two on two?

I raised an eyebrow at him. Three words: In my dreams, but I didn't say it out loud. I waited a few minutes until Bella and Black were out of easy earshot and then answered, "We're going to be helping you on this one."

You're who on the what now? asked Quil.

"Bella and I will be assisting you with your vampire problem," I said. It made the most sense. Bella and I could get near the nomad like we had with Bree and Fred back on the Burren.

"Jake's not going to go for that," Seth answered immediately.

"Bella will convince him," I replied. Matured or not, the poor fellow had no idea what he was in for. She'd made up her mind, and that was that.

"You... wouldn't happen to want to bet on that, would you?" leered Seth. Quil perked up as well.

I stared at him for a moment. "I don't have any money."

"Never mind."

Eh, he's useless.

"This vampire is behaving strangely," I continued. "Fixing things might be simple as Bella or I approaching him—or her—" I nodded to Seth, who was still picturing his quarry from the back. "—and if it is possible, convince them to go away."

Seth and Quil looked at each other. "That might've flown back in Ephraim Black's day," said Seth, "but now that Jake's in charge, we're a little less..."

Territorial? Quil suggested.

"It doesn't matter where they kill," Seth continued. "The old guys sometimes willing to say not-our-land-not-our-problem, but Sam and Jake both say there's no point driving them off if they're just going to eat people somewhere else." He looked me in the eye, "You going to have a problem with that? Helping us means putting down one of your own kind."

I smiled. Bella hadn't put much detail into that letter, had she?

"Putting down my own kind," I told him, "is my profession."

I wonder how that works, Quil thought. Is he like Vampire Deadpool where someone puts out a hit? He suddenly pictured a creature in a red-and-black onesie. Some kind of gun for hire.

"I wish," I answered. "Like I said, no money."

Quil looked at Seth, who touched one hand to his chin. "Wait, you're the one who hears things, right?" asked Seth.

"I prefer Mr. The One Who Hears Things but close enough." What had made me so irritable today? Oh yes, nearly being torn apart for a crime I didn't commit and having to explain myself to my wife's old boyfriend—with whom she was now having an intimate tête-a-tête.

"And you can't shut it off?"

"Nope," I answered.

"That sucks," muttered Seth. "Having twenty voices in my head is annoying enough but at least I know it's only for when I'm on duty," he nodded toward Quil.

"You can hear each other's thoughts in wolf form?" I asked. I'd have thought I'd have noticed something like that, but then I hadn't had much direct contact with Ephraim Black years ago.

Yes, but only in wolf form, continued Quil. Check this out. Hey Seth? That mole on your butt is getting bigger. You wanna get that thing burned off already?

Seth was looking over his shoulder to where Black and Bella had gone.

See? Nothing.

"Is there a point to this conversation?" I asked.

"Yes. What're they saying?" asked Seth, leaning toward me. Quil lifted his muzzle in solidarity.

I'd been telling the truth. I couldn't not hear at least part of it. Bella's mind was closed to me, but Black's...

"So what was that a minute ago?"

"I couldn't say in front of him, Jake. The whole reason—"

No, I was going to trust her, like I'd promised years ago. Later, I would ask her what they'd talked about, and she would tell me the truth. After all, I could read her face too.

As for Seth, I answered, "Shouldn't they have some privacy?" I couldn't be certain about Black but for Bella making things right with Jake was a major life goal.

"Come onnnn..." he drawled out. "How's it going? Is he telling her off for running away to Italy even after what you did?"

"It's a little more complicated than that," I said. Not that it was their business but, "Bella came to Italy because I'd done something very foolish and very selfish," I said. "I'd have gotten myself killed if she and—" Yes, Bella had come to find me in Italy, but how had she known where to go? And ...she'd driven that car awfully fast, that yellow Porsche. But Bella didn't like flashy, fashionable things.

That afternoon, after I turned her. Something important had happened right after that.

Okay, what was that?

"What was what?" I asked. Seth and Quil were looking at each other, and then at me as if I'd done something strange.

What I could hear of Black's thoughts... Odd. The conversation had moved on. It was as if they were already ten minutes in.

"So, um, no offense, but I'm glad they're hashing it out," said Seth. "Jacob was a wreck for the first couple weeks after Bella dumped him."

"She didn't dump him," I said. "How could she break up with him if they were never together in the first place?"

Quil and Seth looked at each other. Seth's chest shook. Quil made a snuffling sound. "What?" I asked. Soon Seth was clutching in a full-on belly laugh, with Quil pawing at the ground like there was no tomorrow.

"Whatever gets you through the day, pal," Seth managed between gasps.

Look, not saying Bella was that into it, but we used to tease Jake for picking out China patterns, though the wolf, who was clearly enjoying being understood while he still had his fur on.

"I wouldn't worry about it," Seth said, wiping one eye. "It's not like she's going to leave you for Jacob or anything. No offense, but the smell."

Okay who the hell did this kid think he— I stopped. "No offense, but she wouldn't be leaving me for Jacob anyway."

You sure about that? thought the wolf.

Well damn fucking straight I was sure. I thumbed my wedding ring—or tried to—it was a hunting day, so it wasn't on my finger. Good, because I was having a strong urge to shove it right up his track-sniffing nose.

"So is Bella like, your vampire bride now or something?" he asked. Damn but he was cheeky.

"We've been married over eighteen years," I said.

"Wait, like married married?"

"No, actually married married."

"Huh," said Seth.

I guess Embry lost, thought the third wolf—Quil I now detected. If you tell Paul, I will chew out your hamstrings and put them on one of those salads Claire makes me eat.

Seth didn't seem to react. I suppose they really couldn't hear each other in wolf form. "Paul had a bet running as to whether Bella would kick you to the curb and come back," Seth volunteered. "Embry thought she'd 'save your sparkly butt and then slap your face in'—his words."

"She did do both those things, actually. It's only that then I got her to marry me," I responded, still watching the branches where Bella and Bad Influence Number One had gone.

"Hey, uh," suggested Seth, "would you maybe rather talk about something else?"

"Yes, let's," I deadpanned.

"Great. What're they talking about?"

I sighed.

"Come on, please! You don't know what it's been like for us," he motioned to Quil, who nodded. "We had to put up with mopey Jacob after she left, and then martyr Jacob after he got back."

He's turned being a werewolf vampire hunter into a real downer, added Quil.

"That's hardly Bella's fault," I said.

"Yeah, not her fault maybe but it sure has to do with her effect," said Seth. "Look, what Jake did after she left was his decision—we get that—but don't you say that Bella acting like she'd rather go get herself killed than hang out with him wasn't a big part of it."

"Okay fine," I said. I exhaled, and the two wolves settled in.

"It's mostly what you'd expect," I said. "Bella's doing most of the talking. 'Thank you.' 'I'm sorry.' 'What have you been doing with your life; I was an indentured servant to an undead overlord, but I hear community college is nice too.' The usual. Your boss isn't impressed." I felt a bit of a pang. Bella had been looking forward to this for years. Jacob had a right to his own feelings, but if he harmed her when she was trying to do right by him, then I was going to make a wolfskin rug.

"No yelling?" asked Seth.


No talking about how she pureed his heart into rebound chili?


"No calling her a—you know—the B-word?"

"I'm afraid not. It's almost as if he's acting like an adult."

Seth had the gall to laugh.

"It's all right, Bella. I understand why you did what you did. For a long time I was angry, but I haven't been for even longer."

"You're one of the best men I know, Jake."

The next thought he didn't speak out loud: You don't know me.

From what I'd learned of humans? It was probably true.

I felt my breath go in and out.

What Bella really wanted was to renew their friendship, and Jacob wasn't having it. Seth and Quil were partially right: Bella still made up a pretty serious chapter in his life, but the book was a lot longer now.

He'd had an eventful twenty years. From the images flashing though his head, I'd guess that he'd fallen in love at few more times, and he'd—

I sobered up quickly.

The memories were only there in flashes; he wasn't reliving them in detail, but... He'd always been afraid that he'd imprint on someone else and then leave her like Sam had left Leah. Jacob didn't want to imprint, and the whole Alpha control thing disturbed him, way too much power for a person to have over others or for one's animal nature to have over oneself.

I'd never been this good at working with fragmented memory before. Perhaps I'd learned from Aro without realizing it.

"So," said the young werewolf. I should probably have stopped thinking of him as that. He'd had an eventful twenty years too. He was at least in his mid-thirties, for all that he looked a good ten years younger. But still, he was interrupting my train of thought because he'd gotten bored. Perhaps having people react to him like a fresh-faced youth all the time had made him act like one. His nature wasn't fixed, but that didn't mean he had to change the way a normal man would. "What about our vampire?" he asked. "We're going to have to call the cops—the human cops—and then we're going to have to sneak-patrol around them so that they don't get themselves eaten."

"What kind of activity have you had recently?" I asked. "I heard you say that it was less than when the Cullens lived here."

Back in the day, we'd had visitors from time to time. One or two of the cousins from Denali might visit. They were relatively safe with their gold eyes. Then Jasper would have his old friend Peter and his mate Charlotte to come see us. They had to be careful. Sometimes Jasper escorted them in. Mostly, they were just warned to keep from hunting in the area. They both thought that they were just humoring an old friend. We hadn't told them about the wolves. Carlisle had thought it wouldn't be fair, hadn't wanted the NIH to come and put them in labs. I had to hand it to him that the Quileutes had enough disadvantages with racism (not that I was entirely immune, as Bella had repeatedly put me on the spot for what she called my pre-twenty-first-century attitudes; it wasn't racist to hate the guy who'd tried to make your girlfriend leave you, I'd said; it was if you hated him more than a white guy and called him "dog" and "animal," she'd say).

And sometimes. I squeezed my eyes shut. Sometimes Jasper's guests would be warned not to come. Sometimes we knew that coming would be bad, that they wouldn't leave again, even though we didn't know quite what the wolves would do. It felt like—

"You okay?" Seth asked. I felt mud and rock against my hands. When had I gotten on the ground?

Shit, Quil was thinking. They can get aneurysms? Why didn't we know this?

Seth was thinking about the look on my face. I'd been in real pain, not just physical pain, but real pain. His mother had looked like that when they'd called to say his dad had died.

I didn't have anything to tell. "I'm fine" would be a lie, but there was nothing else I could put into the air.

"You were saying?" I asked, hoping we'd get back on topic. No luck. They were still staring at me as if I could grow a spare head at any moment. But I didn't look like a threat. I was making them wonder if they should call me an ambulance. It was the fear of failing an injured creature, of doing the wrong thing.

What did they do to him in that Vulture Guard thing? asked Seth, picturing Bella's handwriting.

I distracted myself from their half-pitying looks by forcing the conversation back to Seth's question. I gave him a rather satisfying glower.

"It's unusual for a vampire to kill a human like this. We kill to feed or to keep our secret and there are those who kill for sport, but even they always feed after."

"It was definitely a vampire," said Seth.

The smell, added Quil, remembering an acrid stink

"I'm not contesting that," I said. Not out loud anyway. "I'm saying that if it is a vampire, why didn't they feed? Why didn't they play with their food? And if the human was killed to keep him quiet, then the thing to do is to break his neck or otherwise kill bloodlessly. It keeps one from losing one's senses."

Seth and Quil looked at each other.

"You asked," I said. "Here, the blood was spilled but not drunk. This means that the vampire is old enough to have self-control in the presence of flowing blood. For most of us, blood is like a magnet. The victim was killed but not tortured. And the killer made a mess, actually spilling as much blood as possible. It's almost as if—"

Seth's brow was creased, and he said, "Hey did you just say that—"

He stopped. We both did. For the same reason.

Quil looked at him and me and back. What?

"Call them back," I said, just as Seth came out with, "Quil, go get Jake."

Quil must have trusted Seth, because he ran off without asking more questions.

"Shit, you really think so?"

Demetri would have known right away. My master would have looked at the thoughts in my head and come to the true conclusion.

"I think so," was all I could say. "But then..."

Quil ran back, loping smoothly to a stop on the half-frozen ground. Bella wasn't far behind. Last, running at a quick human gait, was Black.

"Sorry to cut that short," I said simply.

"But we figured something out," Seth finished.

Back in the woods, Bella and I had supposed that the human—cut with a knife—had been killed by another human. Then we'd been so busy being chased by a pack of vampirecidal werewolves that even Seth's announcement that he'd seen another vampire hadn't clicked.

"It wasn't random," I said. "When Bella and I found that man, we were worried that you would think we'd killed him, but at the time we didn't think it was a vampire kill."

What's the big difference?

"It's bait," Seth jumped in. "Our vamp is hunting other vamps, trying to draw them in. The bodies are always in spots with good airflow."

"I did catch that scent pretty easily," murmured Bella.

Black was looking at Seth. He's usually right, he remembered. But this is pretty out there.

Quil looked at me. I nodded.

"He says," I repeated his thoughts, "if it was setting a trap, why didn't it stay to make the kill?"

Bella looked from Quil to me and back, as if to say, See, they like you now. Damn it. Did they? Now I couldn't dislike them for it.

I looked at Black. This wasn't my home any more, and it was still his. It was only fair to defer to him.

"Because it was expecting us to make the kill for it," said Black.

"It has to be a nomad or someone who's escaped you in the past," I said.

Embry shook his head. "Once we get the trail, they don't escape."

"It has to be," I followed. "Aside from the Cullens, what other vampires know about you?"

Sure, there might be a nomad or two who'd figured out that something was killing vampires in the Olympic range, but for someone to know enough about how they worked to risk coming, killing and hiding nearby?

Bella fielded the answer:

"Just Aro."




NOTE: As per one of the reviews: "Picking out China patterns" is a U.S. expression that refers to the fussy, formal, boring parts of preparing for a wedding.

NOTE2: As of August 2015, the past few chapters of this story have been edited: No, Embry did not woo Claire away from Quil; I just had their names mixed up.

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