They’d taken out the money necessary for the large McCormick house and bought it. The whole of the month was, incredibly enough, spent in decoration and rebuilding. Mostly every piece of furniture in the house was dry-rotted, as were a lot of the walls, so they’d had to dump everything, and paid some humans to redo some of the walls and run fresh electric wiring.
Once the major reparations were done, the boys took over, working after Jacob and Bella got out of school. They let out their inner repairmen (who weren’t overly professional), and did the finishing touches.
Victoria and Bella were on shopping sprees.
The siblings had bought a car for themselves and the two girls spent the majority of their time in Port Angeles, looking for decorations for the house, furniture, the works. Every day they’d return late into the night only after the shops had closed with the back of the car filled with shopping bags.
This had been James and Victoria’s first house, first home, and now that they’d caught the house-fever they were enjoying this quasi-human existence---though they’d never admit it to the human and wolf.
Bella and Jacob were given their own rooms in the ‘Hunter Home’, as the people in town were now calling it, using the fake surname Victoria had thought up for them, thinking herself quite clever. Each was spacious and lovely, with a lot of sunshine and potential, and the vampires hadn’t made their desire for their friends to move in after graduation a secret.
And the human and wolf were considering it.
By the beginning of February the house was finished and a sight to behold. James and Victoria were still the new curiosity of Forks and people wondered why they seemed to like to keep to themselves instead of socializing with others, then their fabricated story about their being friends of the Cullens somehow developed into them being familyof the Cullens (stories always seemed to change while going through the grapevine) and then the townsfolk had just shrugged it off an announced that being antisocial must just run in the family.
Another thing had happened during February.
Their Clearwater informer saved their lives.
Apparently a group of those after James and Victoria had arrived in Forks stealthily…a large group. The wolves had known, but figuring out their purpose, and since they hadn’t killed anyone as yet, Sam had ordered the wolves to stay back and see what happened.
Clearwater had been able to send a text warning Jacob in time for them to send a kicking and protesting Bella (“I can fight too!”) home with a warning to protect her father then (it was the only way to get her to safety), before readying themselves, knowing that their pursuers already knew that they were living on the outside of town in the newly repaired home and were on their way.
“They better not damage my home.” Was all Victoria grumbled as James sensed the approach of the numerous vampires come to kill him long before even Jacob.
James’ senses had returned, and as he’d later admitted to the wolf, they’d gotten sharper with Jacob’s training.
The twenty odd vampires had descended on the Hunter Home with ferocity, but had been surprised that their prey were waiting for them. The battle had been long and fierce (with Victoria insisting they lead their attackers out into the forest to save her home), and the males had done as she desired.
In the forest the shadows played tricks and the sounds of carnage echoed throughout like an echo of a terrifyingly realistic horror movie. They were strong, the three, but they were vastly outnumbered.
And then Jacob sensed it.
He’d looked up in time to see Clearwater and sibling rushing towards them in their wolf forms, fangs bared, snarls vicious, as they descended upon the invading vampires.
James, Jacob and Victoria exchanged a surprised glance before returning their attentions to their own fight now that the battle a little more even.
When the last of the invading vampires was torn to pieces the five survivors stood and eyed each other, a new understanding falling upon the small group. They knew what the wolves risked by disobeying Sam’s commands (and Jacob was shocked that Sam and Leah had been able to disobey their Alpha, that was something that was supposed to be impossible for a wolf to do), and James and Victoria nodded their thanks to the wolves.
“Thank you.” Jacob told his once comrades, shifted back to human-form and wearing the tights he’d put on to shift in because he found that they didn’t tear with the shift. “We are grateful for your help.”
Leah snorted, looking away. We’re wolves. We fight vampires. We protect others from vampires… her gaze went to James and Victoria, who couldn’t hear this conversation. Only wolves could. Even if it’s leeches we have to protect.
Seth seemed to be smiling largely, the wolf panting. That was incredible! I didn’t know vampires could do that to their own kind! Did you see the way the chick tore off the dude’s head like it was nothing? Way cool!
Leah looked impressed as well, but determined not to admit it.
“Go, before he realizes what you did.” Victoria told the wolves, causing them to look at her.
They turned to leave.
“You two!” Victoria called back, looking reluctant but determined.
The wolf siblings turned and looked at her warily.
“I don’t do this often so feel honored.” Victoria frowned. “But you helped my brother and I tonight. If there’s a time you’ll need help, we’ll be there to repay this debt.” She winced. “You have my word.”
Is a leech’s word worth anything? And yet Leah seemed more amused than anything else as she nodded and her brother and her ran away.
“You just indebted us to dogs.” James announced in a curious voice. “Dogs who would normally want us dead.”
“They risked their lives for us, James.” Victoria answered, turning to him. “They don’t want us dead.”
The blonde sighed and looked around him. “Vampires who drink animal blood, risk themselves for humans, and happily fight alongside wolves.” He shifted his half mused glance to Jacob and smirked. “What is it about this town?”
The wolf shrugged, returning the smirk. “The water?”
James grinned, realizing that Jacob remembered their first conversation all that time ago.
“You should go home, Jake.” Victoria sighed, running a hand through her hair and looking at the mess of bodies around them. “You have school tomorrow.” She shook her head. “James and I will finish this and get rid of the bodies.”
Jacob hesitated and then nodded, realizing that this was the smartest move. “Okay, I’ll just get my clothes from your place. Night.”
“Night.” Victoria called, already heading towards the closest body.
“Jake!” James called, jogging up towards the retreating wolf, stopping when the wolf turned to face him. “Be careful, okay?” The vampire looked away, his gaze landed on a gruesomely gnawed body. “There might be others out there and----yeah----so be careful.”
Jacob smiled and then surprised them both by hugging James close. “You too.” And with that he let go and turned, walking away and leaving one happily smiling vampire behind.
With March came something wonderful and magical called ‘Spring Break’.
In it the group of four either spent all their time at James and Victoria’s, or at Bella’s. Mostly they only went over Bella’s to watch Victoria stumble and make a fool of herself whenever a oblivious Charlie was around. Even Bella had seemed to have gotten used to the crush her friend had on her father, and had even mentioned to Jacob one night that it was comical to think that her father might be a little ‘too young’ for her best friend.
Which was technically true, considering that while Victoria looked around nineteen she was much, much older than that.
“We should go to the reopening of the Sword’s Stone.” Victoria was saying as they sat in the Diner, the two vampires keeping their human and wolf company. The good people of Forks were used to seeing the four everywhere together, and had begun to murmur about the Cullens having been replaced.
Jacob ignored those murmurs.
“Isn’t that tempting luck?” Bella wanted to know with a little grin, looking up from her piece of pie. She was obviously referring to their first and last disastrous venture to said nightclub.
“Oh come on.” Victoria made a face. “Other than the death and bloodshed it was a helluva night! You even danced!”
Bella smiled slightly. “It was fun.”
“Oh god.” Jacob groaned, turning to James who was sitting next to him and was resting his arm on the back of their seat, the cool of his arm calming to Jacob’s back. “They’re agreeing again.”
“You have to admit it, wolfie, it was a fun night.” James didn’t seem to be on Jacob’s side on this. “I think the fighting made it even nicer.”
“You would.” Bella scoffed on the other side of the table.
James grinned and snapped his teeth at her jokingly.
“I’d say ‘bite me’, but knowing you you’d take it like an invitation.” Bella laughed.
Jacob opened his mouth to add his own two cents to the discussion when he felt it, it was something naggingly familiar, a feeling he knew he should recognize but yet couldn’t. Brown eyes narrowed as he turned in the plush diner seat and looked around, trying to distinguish what the feeling was.
Nothing seemed out place.
No one was even looking in their direction.
Shrugging, he sighed and turned his attention back to the table.
“You picking up on something?” James asked, looking a little perturbed at the thought of the wolf sensing something that he hadn’t.
The girls stopped giggling, looking around them warily.
“I thought I had.” Jacob admitted, looking at his plate with a frown. “But I don’t see anything. It—it must be my imagination.”
But it wasn’t.
And it was bugging him.
“Maybe we should go back?” Victoria asked, rubbing her arms in unease. “Maybe your wolf is warning you about something.”
“Tor’s right.” Bella nodded, standing, pulling out enough money to pay for her tab. “We should probably spend the night over at my house, just in case---my dad.”
“Yeah.” Victoria quickly agreed. “If something happened we wouldn’t want Charlie unprotected.”
“Of course not.” James sneered brotherly at the redhead. “And we all know you have his best interest in mind.”
“Shut up James.” Victoria pouted, and it was obvious that if she could blush, she’d be doing it right about now.
Putting down enough money for his tab, Jacob stood and grabbed his leather jacket, slinging it on and running his fingers through his short hair, not exactly sure why he was noticing its length all of a sudden when he’d finally gotten used to it.
“Why don’t we swing by the house first to get some clothes and stuff?” James asked as he got up and flung a casual arm around Jacob’s shoulders as they exited the diner together and went to stand in front of Victoria and James’ car, and Jacob’s motorcycle.
That feeling grew more intense, and Jacob’s eyes narrowed further as he looked around him in the darkness, seeing nothing but the darkened parking lot and the people inside the diner enjoying themselves.
With his free hand, James ran his thumb over the wolf totem he never took off. It seemed now like such a part of him that it never occurred to Jacob to ask for it back, despite the fact that it was his necklace and his totem.
“Okay, so we go home, get a change of clothes, some books or something, and then we all go back to Charlie’s.” Victoria recapped, opening the driver’s side and sliding into the plush seats, leaving the door open so she could hear the answer.
“Yeah, that’s about it.” James nodded, not making a move to join them. It wasn’t surprising though, considering that he’d ridden with Jacob on the motorcycle on the way here.
Bella slid into the front passenger’s seat and closed her door, rubbing her arms nervously and looking around.
“We should probably go now.” Jacob announced, still uneasy with the intensity of his wolf’s prowling within. Something was happening right now, but he didn’t know what, and somehow knew that he should know.
“After you, wolfie.” James motioned towards the bike.
Pulling on his helmet, Jacob straddled the Ducati James had bought him as a thank you gift for helping him regain his strength and senses (and threatened to beat the crap outta Jacob if he didn’t accept it), starting and revving the engine. “You getting on or what?”
James grinned. “You impatient animal.”
Laughing, Jacob waited until James had straddled the motorcycle behind him and grabbed on before burning the rubber and speeding out of the parking lot, Victoria and Bella behind them.
He could feel the sensation on his back, no less intense than it had been before.
They sped to James and Victoria’s and went inside, Jacob and James standing by the front and back entrances, both keeping an eye around them just in case danger was coming. The girls hurriedly grabbed clothes and something they’d need, before hurrying back down and locking up the house, returning to the vehicles.
Jacob placed a hand to his heart, feeling his wolf go desperate within, whining, snarling. It’s reactions were beginning to frighten him.
“Let’s go.” James announced and they did, speeding to Charlie’s home and parking outside, surprising and pleasing the police chief with their presence. Bella’s father had grown to care deeply for the ‘orphaned’ siblings ever since they’d spent the Christmas holidays with them.
“There’s a game tonight.” Charlie told James, big Styrofoam hand already in his arms, ready to cheer his team.
“I’ll get the beer.” James, who passed for 21, headed towards the kitchen. Charlie was the only other human other than Bella that he’d admitted to not seeing as a food source, instead seeing as a person. And although he teased and taunted his sister about her attraction to Bella’s father, James had admitted to Jacob once that if Charlie were a vampire he would approve of the match.
Charlie and the rag-tag pack somehow managed to cram themselves in the small living room and watched the game. The police chief was fully into it, but the other three were only half paying attention, mostly alert and ready in case something should happen.
Jacob felt his wolf whining, his stomach cramping, as the game progressed.
He finally stood.
James stood as well. “What is it?”
Jake smiled weakly. “I’m going to the kitchen to get something to drink.”
“Oh.” James looked embarrassed as he sat back down.
Charlie slid a look in their direction and grinned, shaking his head before returning his attention to the television set.
Heading towards the kitchen, Jacob went to the sink and poured himself a glass of water, looking out of the window at the darkness rather listlessly before his wolf gaze landed on a figure in the shadows...
…and he promptly went into shock.
It---It couldn’t be…
The glass slid from his lifeless fingers and shattered into a millions pieces on the ground at his feet.
Before anyone could react to the sound he was out of the kitchen door into the night, faltering as he stared at the person leaning against a tree, looking at him silently.
Suddenly it all made sense.
The wolf didn’t even hear the people calling his name and hurrying to the kitchen.
All he could see, all he knew, was the vampire watching him with a slight smile on his face.
When he finally found his voice it was breathless with disbelief.