Title: Of Imprinting And Such
Sequel to: Claiming the Wolf
Pairing: Jacob/Edward, Jacob/James
Warnings: SLASH and other unconventional pairings, AU
Summary: Six months later. When Sam tells Edward something in secret the vampire leaves Forks to find out for himself if it is true, and Jacob is left behind confused and with only Bella as company. Why did Edward really leave? What's going on with the pack? And one of the best questions yet...why is James back? What does this all have to do with Jacob's imprinting Edward?
Lying down on the bed of the small little house they’d rented for their part of the quest, Alice made up her face slightly as she looked over the notes she’d made on her notebook. They hadn’t been able to find the witchdoctor they’d been sent to find, but Jasper had been talking to the locals and had a better idea where the human lived.
Flipping the pages of the notebook, Alice looked at the few notes she’d made from Carlisle and Esme’s quest in Rome, Emmet and Rosalie’s in Africa, and Edward’s in Romania. When he’d gotten them all together (Rosalie and Emmet on phone call) they’d agreed to help him, and had put their own lives on hold to help him in his.
Not that they had a lot of information to show for it so far, but they had just started on it. The vampiress had to admit that she was just missing Forks, and Bella. She’d tried calling the brunette the moment they’d cleared Immigration, but the call had just rung out.
Bella was definitely still pissed at her.
The pout turned into a frown as the pages flipped with the wind and landed on the few drawings she’d done of visions since she’d boarded the plane. They were five, one with Bella, Jacob and four young people Alice had never seen in her life (two had been very hard to see but she’d forced her vision until they’d come out clear enough for her to sketch). One was of Bella collapsed to her knees on the ground, covered in blood that wasn’t her own, and two unfamiliar females standing behind her, seeming proud of her. One was of Jacob and a male with a ponytail laughing at something together. One was of Bella and Jacob sitting together and looking slightly troubled. And the last one, or better said, the first one she’d drawn, was of Jacob half transformed, naked, covered in blood but with a vicious, satisfied grin on his face.
All of the drawings made her feel uneasy.
Picking up the picture of Bella, Jacob, and the four strangers sitting together and laughing, looking completely at ease with each other, Alice frowned slightly, tilting her head to the right.
“What set of events did we trigger when we left?”
The rumormill in Forks High was on the overload Monday morning with the abrupt departure of the Cullens, and the confirmation when Jacob was without his usually attached to the hip boyfriend. Some people said that Edward had broken Jacob’s heart, some that Jacob had broken Edward’s, and yet some said that the family were against the union and had taken Edward away so they couldn’t be together anymore.
The wolf ignored the gossip and gone throughout most of the day with Bella by his side. Lunchtime had been hell though, because Mike, Jessica and everyone else had wanted to know what’d happened, Jessica looking hopeful for some gossip and Mike looking nervously between an always close Bella and Jacob.
In the end Jacob and Bella had given them their rehearsed story. Mr. Cullens’ father was extremely ill and they’d returned home to be by his side just in case the worst had happened. Most people accepted this, disappointed that the news was so mild, Jessica decided to spread the more accurate version around school, starting with her newest boyfriend, Tyler.
Looking up, Jacob smiled when he saw Phoenix Jordan. The redhead was smiling down shyly at him as the wolf swallowed his bite of chicken before answering. “Hey, what’s up?”
Phoenix looked nervous. “Is it true what everyone’s saying?” He asked, scratching behind his neck.
“I don’t know,” Jacob’s smile fell. “I’ve heard some really ridiculous rumors going around.”
Phoenix cleared his throat. “That Edward left and you don’t know when he’s coming back.”
The wolf nodded. “Yeah.” He turned his attention to his plate and began to play with his peas. “Sick family member.”
“That sucks.” Phoenix sounded genuinely sorry. “When you talk to him next, tell him I said hi and that I hope his relative gets better.”
“Will do. Thanks.” Jacob nodded.
Nodding back, Phoenix stumbled away.
Feeling an incredulous stare on him, Jacob turned to see Bella shaking her head at him. “What?”
“Men.” The girl giggled slightly. “They’re all so oblivious!”
Not exactly sure what she was insulting the male species about this time, the young Native American just shrugged and sneaked a look at his phone, which was on the table next to him. It didn’t register any missed calls or any texts messages.
A scowl darkened his face as he realized he seemed like a girl waiting for a guy to call for a second date.
This was ridiculous.
He didn’t have to wait for Edward to call him; he could call him himself!
With that resolution the wolf picked up his phone and dialed Edward’s number. The dialtone rang annoyingly until Edward’s answering machine picked up. Jacob tried it again and got the same results.
Finally he sighed and hung up.
“You okay?” Bella asked, placing a hand on his arm.
“Okay.” Pulling her hand away, Bella made sure everyone was talking about other things before whispering. “I’m a little worried about James and Victoria.”
“You are?” He raised an eyebrow at that. “You just met them. Why are you worrying about them?”
“They’re all alone up there. Defenseless.” Bella pouted. “What would happen if they were attacked while we were at school? Or during the night when we’re not there?”
“They’re vampires, Bella, not toddlers.” He scolded. “They’d be able to take care of themselves.”
“Still…” She honestly did seem worried as she gnawed her bottom lip slightly. “I was thinking, maybe we could spend some nights sleeping over there.”
For a second he wasn’t sure what she was talking about. And then he understood. “You’ve got to be insane! They’re vam----.” He closed his mouth when he remembered where they were. The wolf closed his eyes, sighed deeply, and tried again. “I don’t think its safe for you to sleep in a house with them.”
“They won’t hurt me.”
“You don’t know that.” Jacob narrowed his eyes. “I’m not going to back down on this one, Bella. You’re not sleeping there. End of discussion.”
“Okay then, you stay with them for a while.” Bella replied, realizing that she wasn’t going to win completely in this situation. “Tell dad that you’re staying with some friends from the Rez, he’ll believe you.”
“Are you telling me to lie to your father?”
Jacob’s mouth fell open before he closed it and looked at her oddly. “Why are you so insistent about this?”
“Well,” Bella looked away. “You don’t have that sad look on your face when you’re with them. You’re too busy to think about Edward and miss him like now.”
The wolf looked away, horrified that he’d been so obvious.
“I think right now, you might need those two as much as they need you.” Bella whispered. “I think, I think, that it isn’t a coincidence this all happened after he left. I think this is what’s going to keep you from going insane until he comes back.”
The worry in her voice caused his eyes to darken. “I’m not going to go insane.” But he got what she was saying. When he was with the vampires he was too busy keeping an eye on them and making sure that they weren’t causing any trouble that he didn’t have time to think about Edward and their depressing situation.
His gaze went to his phone.
And it was obvious that whatever it was Edward was doing had his complete attention.
Jacob needed something like that too.
He sighed and looked at his silent phone once more, deciding that if this all blew up in his face, he’d just blame Edward.
Chuckling softly to himself at that thought, Jacob turned to Bella. “Ok, you win. I’ll do it.”
“He’s taken in two vampires?” Sam Uley asked, eyes wide.
Leah Clearwater nodded, hands folded over her chest. “Apparently he’s taken your words about wolves needing a pack seriously.”
The leader of their pack, and her ex boyfriend, shook his head, unable to believe what he was hearing. Leah had to admit that she felt slightly spitefully vindictive about the whole situation. She knew that it wasn’t Sam’s fault for imprinting on her cousin and leaving her brokenhearted and looking like a fool, but she did feel bitter about it and enjoyed things not going his way.
“I don’t get it” Sam announced, voice dark. “First he bonds with a leech and now he’s forming a leech pack?” His voice had risen with every word. “What sort of wolf is he?”
“I don’t think Jacob’s coming back to us, Sam.” Paul announced, eyes narrowed. “I think he’s happy with those bloodsuckers. I think we should forget all about him and treat him just like those creatures he calls friends.”
“And I think we’d all be better if you didn’t think.” Leah snapped, completely annoyed with the males in the pack.
Sam raised an eyebrow at her apparent defense of Jacob.
“Look, Jacob would never associate with bloodsuckers who killed people.” Embry announced, defending his friend. “All of his bloodsucking friends have been ‘vegetarians’.”
“And Seth said that these two new ones had golden eyes as well.” Quill seconded. “Jacob killed the three crimson-eyed ones---on his own.” His gaze met Sam’s. “I think that goes to say what sort of wolf he is.”
Sam obviously couldn’t say anything to that.
“I’m just, confused.” Seth, the youngest of the group by far, finally spoke up. “Why are vampires letting him Alpha them? Don’t vampires hate our kind as much as we do theirs?”
There were murmurs from the pack as they too questioned this.
“Jacob is special.” Sam finally spoke. “I’ve known this for a long time. Maybe---maybe the leeches are noticing it as well.”
That left the group in silence.
“Leah, Seth, I want you two to continue patrolling the Cullens land now that they’re gone.” Sam decided, turning to the wolf siblings. “Keep an eye on Jacob and the leeches and report to me about any new development in this situation.” He paused. “And make sure you’re not seen.”
Parking inside of the Cullen’s garage, Jacob shouldered his knapsack and headed inside of the large, window-filled home. He was surprised to find Victoria lounging on one of the sofas reading one of Rosalie’s romance books, and James sprawled out on the other sofa, sunning, eyes closed, hands pillowing the back of his head, lips a contented smile.
The sun reflected off of his shirtless chest like millions of diamonds.
Jacob just paused to admire. He didn’t know why Edward always kept himself covered and hated the way he glistened. Jacob had always liked it, found it oddly appealing.
The wolf wished that Edward hadn’t been so insecure about his own image. He was the handsomest man Jacob had ever seen, and it was sometimes a little irritating that the vampire could never realize this, could never see his own beauty.
A cord in Jacob’s heart hurt badly at the image of Edward in his mind.
He missed him so much.
“Knapsack.” Victoria spoke, looking up from the book with the very suggestive cover. “Clothes. Yours?”
“Very literate of you.” Jacob announced as he went towards them and collapsed on the loveseat, the knapsack by his feet.
Victoria sent him a look that spoke of annoyance and amusement.
“Yes, they’re my clothes.” The wolf leaned back in the seat, ignoring James, who’d sat up at the sound of his voice. “Bella was worried about your safety during the nighttime. I tried to tell her you were capable of taking care of yourselves, but she wasn’t having it.”
Victoria smiled slightly for some reason, before hiding her expression behind the book, obviously dismissing him with that gesture.
Not insulted, Jacob turned his attention to James, giving him a little smile. “How are you feeling? Better?”
James nodded, answering in his own way.
“Feel like talking today?” Jacob asked, failing to notice the way Victoria observed them discreetly over the top of her book.
James grinned broadly and shook his head, his hair falling into his face.
“I knew it. You’re just not talking because you don’t want to.” He knew it wasn’t so, had heard James making odd sounds when he thought no one was paying attention. The vampire couldn’t talk, and it was bothering him but he’d prefer for others to believe that the reason he wasn’t speaking was because he didn’t want to.
James’ grin grew at that and he nodded, laying back down and closing his eyes, sighing in contentment.
Apparently the blonde was breathing again. That was good. He was a tracker and he needed to keep practicing with his abilities if he didn’t want them dulled by disuse. The sooner James healed completely the sooner he and Victoria would be able to defend themselves and leave.
“I need to hunt.” Victoria announced suddenly, causing the males to turn in her direction. “I also need to look for something for James as well.”
Anger and self-disgust flashed through James’ eyes as he looked away at those words. It was obviously hard for the once renowned tracker to have to rely on his sister for his own meals. He was walking now, yes, but he was odd on his feet, unbalanced. He seemed disoriented, not exactly sure how to do things he’d once been able to do without even thinking.
Jacob had noticed this yesterday, had noticed the annoyance in James’ face as he tried doing things only to realize he couldn’t, or couldn’t do it the same way he used to.
He’d felt sympathy for the vampire who’d been oh-so-cocky when he’d met him six months ago.
“I’ll stay with him.” Jacob answered, knowing what Victoria was getting at. She’d be able to hunt better without worrying about James being by himself. “I’m staying the night anyway.”
“But as soon as he’s strong enough, we’re all going to go on a camping trip and do some hunting in Goat Falls.” The wolf announced, surprising the two vampires in the living room. “James is a predator by nature, and he might be weak now but he’ll get stronger. All he needs is to practice his skills once he’s strong enough.”
Victoria sent a glance in her brother’s direction, hopeful. “You think he’ll get as strong as he used to be?”
James turned and glared at her for even doubting that.
Jacob chuckled at the way the female cringed and sent her brother an apologetic look. “Of course. All he is is injured now. He just needs to heal, and with work he’ll be just as good as before.” He frowned suddenly. “But if you decide to go back to your normal diet when that happens, you better get the hell outta Forks.”
The vampire siblings were silent.
Victoria suddenly stood. “I’m going to go now and hunt.”
They were silent as she left, and Jacob sighed, pulling out his homework. He’d always found schoolwork easy, despite the fact that he’d been advanced a grade when he’d transferred to Forks High. He finished his math (which Edward usually helped him with), and his other subjects before turning the lights on when it started getting too dark.
He wondered how long it would be before the light and water companies cut their connection.
By the time he was finished with his homework and had put it away he turned to see James still lying on the sofa, scribbling furiously on a large pink notebook with a frilly, pink and purple pencil that just screamed ‘Alice’.
Jacob couldn’t help but grin at the sight of the very masculine James using such feminine things.
As if sensing his amusement, James’s gaze rose and his dark eyes were mischievous before he leaned over the distance separating their seats and passed Jacob the notebook.
Raising his eyebrow, Jacob looked down at the messy scribbles that showed that it was obviously hard for James to write as well. Apparently his motor functions had been damaged during the mutiny. That would explain his problem with coordination while walking as well.
You told my sister that the reason you were helping us was because a lot of people had made decisions for you. What decisions?
Jacob snorted, raising his eyebrow. “You wouldn’t be curious.”
James just gave him a grin and shrugged as if to say ‘so what?’.
“Well, when I---had an attraction to Edward, the Alpha of my pack threw me out of it. He made the decision for me in his own way.” Jacob announced, passing the notebook back to a serious-looking vampire. “And when Edward found out that maybe we weren’t made to be together, he left to find out on his own without even telling me, not giving me the chance to make a decision, not giving me a choice despite the fact that I’m just as much a part of this relationship as he was.” The wolf was silent for a moment, wondering why he was telling James this. “I don’t think I’ve forgiven him for that yet.”
There was silence, and then furious scribbling, and then the pink book was shoved under his nose once more.
Jacob smirked, amused.
Thus began their odd yet comfortable ‘conversation’. James would write and Jacob would speak, both amused as they asked questions and answered and spoke about themselves and their likes and dislikes.
Jacob was so surprised to see how sharp James was. He’d seemed to have finally gotten out of the mental shock that’d left him the pitiful creature the wolf had seen that day huddled in the darkest corner of the rotting hunting cabin, and while there was still a lot of him that needed healing, James seemed so much better.
It’s not the bad actually. It’s tasty, in its own way. But it isn’t like the real deal.This was in answer to Jacob’s question as to how he was dealing with drinking only animal blood. But Victoria and I remember the One Rule you’ve given us so far. There was a pause. You don’t have to get so jumpy whenever your pet human is around. We won’t harm her. She is…amusing.
‘Pet human’ was just such a funny name for Bella---though the wolf doubted she’d see things the same way.
“Good to know.” Jacob replied, resting his feet on the coffee table, feeling a little guilty at the thought of Esme’s expression if she could see him now. “James?” he sent a sidelong glance at the vampire. “Why Forks? Why return here? Why ask for my help?” He then paused. “Why does Victoria blame me for what happened to you?”
James was still, looking down at the notepad before breathing out and beginning to write slowly.
I don’t really know all those answers myself. I---I just knew that I had to come here, and that you would help us. It was this inner feeling I’d never had before, a voice that was guiding me and telling me what to do.
Jacob blinked, surprised. That sounded a lot like a wolf’s Instinct. “When did this feeling begin?”
James seemed surprised at the question, and tapped the frilly pink and purple pen against his lips for a second as he thought, before answering.
Around the time I left here, actually.
Jacob’s gaze went to James’ hand as it clasped around his totem. “Where did you get that?”
James paused, looking down at the totem, before sighing.
I stole it.
“From me?” Jacob blinked, surprised and shocked at that. He’d almost been sure that he must have dropped it in the forest and the vampire had come upon it.
I’m not giving it back.
Jacob snorted at the cheek, but decided to let that slide. He also noted the swift change in subject but decided not to push it. James had answered more than the wolf had thought he would.
James suddenly perked up, eyes narrowed, distant, alert.
The wolf tried to sense something but couldn’t. What was it that the vampire tracker could tell that he couldn’t?
The vampire suddenly relaxed and smirked in dark amusement.
You’re going to be annoyed.
Before Jacob could even ask what the bloodsucker was referring to, he heard the sound. His eyes narrowing. It was the sound of the truck. “I’m going to wring her neck!”
Getting up he left James in the livingroom and tore downstairs and out of the house into the darkness, watching as two headlights shone on him as the beat-up old red truck of Bella Swan’s parked in front of him and the engine died.
“Bella!” He began, dangerous.
“Oh hush.” Bella announced as she grabbed a huge plastic garbage bag filled with hard things and shoved it into his arms. “It was either this or a night alone at home feeling sorry for myself and evading Mike’s calls.” She reached in again and pulled out her own knapsack of clothes and another large plastic bag. “I brought snacks and games. So shut up, give me a smile, and tell me you’re happy to see me.”
Jacob opened his mouth to try knock some sense into the human and then closed it, realizing that there was no use talking with this one. She obviously had a death wish.
Sighing, he hung his head and shook it. “I’m happy to see you.”
Her smile was large. “I knew you’d be.”
Despite his murderous past, Bella found that she liked James---she liked him a lot. Together with Jacob they’d played some of the obscene amount of board games Charlie had shown her he’d collected over the years, and she decided that she’d made the right choice in coming tonight, even if it was a little reckless of her.
Victoria had returned hours later with a struggling deer in her hold. And that was the first time Bella had ever watched a kill. Jacob had wanted to make her stay in the house but she’d asked James if he minded if she watched when he did so and the vampire had shook his head, heading outside to do the deed.
It was brutal, and she’d felt pity for the deer, but still she was enthralled with everything, with how open andcomfortable Victoria and James were with their, er, vampirehood. She loved Alice and Jasper, loved the Cullens, but they weren’t so open like this with her, always tried to act and live like humans. A lot of times Bella forgot theyweren’t human.
But there was something about Victoria and James that screamed predator, and it drew her in.
“I want to go too.” Bella announced when Victoria commented on being excited at the thought of she, James and Jacob going on a hunting trip to Goat Falls when James was strong enough.
“No.” Jacob narrowed his eyes.
James tilted his head, eyeing her curiously.
“Why not?” Bella asked.
“You saw James kill that deer.” Victoria responded slowly. “Would you really like to watch as two vampires and a wolfhunted down prey in their own habitat and killed it? Would you be able to stand it? The fear? The chase? The bloody end?”
She winced slightly at the thought, and then straightened. “Yes.”
Victoria’s face was curiously blank before she suddenly smiled. “I think I like you.”
And Bella finally felt completely accepted by the two newcomers. She smiled.
Jacob was silent, thinking. “Are you sure you want to do this? Bella? A hunt is gruesome to watch.”
“I’ll be alright.” Bella promised, knowing her stomach would probably be queasy and she’d feel sympathy for the prey, but she really wanted to do this, to be a part of the pack. Wanted to prove her worth…didn’t want Jake to leave her behind.
She blinked, surprised at that thought.
Was that one of the reasons why she was doing this? She was worried about losing her friendship with Jake?
“Ok, but only if you keep safe.” Jacob nodded. “You are stronger than you look.” His smile was teasing.
And Bella smiled back, knowing that it was silly to worry about losing Jacob. “Now that that is settled, who’s up for a game of Chinese Checkers?” Of course, like all the previous games, Victoria and James didn’t know how to play, so they spent the next couple of hours enjoying learning the game and playing it poorly.
Despite his obvious desire to stay up and keep an eye on them, Jacob was the first to fall asleep, doing so on the ground on one of the two sleeping bags Bella had brought with her.
The human smiled as she she got into her own sleeping bag, surprised when Victoria and James just laid down on the sofas, Victoria picking up a half-read book, and James…
James had turned so that he was looking at Jacob’s sleeping face. The vampire’s gaze strayed on Bella, and he smiled when he realized that she’d caught him. Bringing his finger to his lips in a ‘shhh’ kinda way, he made himself comfortable and went back to looking at an oblivious and sleeping Jacob.
Shocked at this discovery, Bella closed her eyes and fell asleep, wondering what exactly this was going to mean for the future.