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?
Note: TEAM EDWARD: REJOICE! The bronzed-hair vampire WILL return in the next chapter!
Somehow James and Victoria had gotten this long without meeting Charlie Swan, but when Bella’s father had learnt that his charges’ friends were spending the Christmas season alone he’d put down his foot and ordered the two teenagers to invite James and Victoria over for the holidays.
This was going to be something.
Jacob smiled as he helped Charlie finish up in the kitchen. He’d paid his friends at the diner to cook up something big and fancy for them to take home for Christmas Eve dinner, and the wolf couldn’t help but grin at the thought of James and Victoria having to vomit all they were going to have to ingest later.
“People shouldn’t have to be without their families at time like this.” Charlie announced, grabbing the turkey and taking it to the table, which Bella was finishing setting.
Jacob’s smile fell slightly as he turned and looked out of the window, thinking of his own family. Rachel had gone off to college and his father…well, Billy Black hadn’t tried to contact his only son, not even for the holidays.
Well, I haven’t tried contacting him either, have I?
Pushing away the feeling of sadness, Jacob turned at the knock at the door. He chuckled. Apparently the show was about to start.
Going towards the door, Jacob got in time to see Victoria and James in the doorway, each holding a bag with clothes they’d brought with them from the Cullen’s since they’d be spending the whole of the holidays with Bella and Jacob, on Charlie’s insistence.
“You two must be James and Victoria.” Charlie announced, smiling, having opened the door for them. “I’m Police Chief Charlie Swan, Bella’s father, but you can just cal me Charlie. Welcome to our home.”
Victoria’s eyes widened in shock as she gazed up at Charlie.
James looked surprised for a moment before he smiled and nodded. “Thank you, Charlie, for inviting us over for the holidays.” His voice still had the deeper gravelly texture to it, but it didn’t sound painful anymore even though you could hear that it was damaged.
Charlie smiled back. “Any friend of my Bella and Jacob are welcomed in this house.” He stepped aside. “Come in, come in.”
James nudged his sister and she stumbled in after him as they entered the house and the door was closed.
“You know, Bells never gave me your last name.” Charlie announced as he took their coats from them and hanged it on the coat rack.
“Hunter!” Victoria then cleared her throat and almost nudged Charlie in the stomach with how nervous she seemed to be all of a sudden as he helped her out of her coat. “James and Victoria Hunter. I’m Victoria.” She then obviously realized how ridiculous she’d sounded and winced. “Well, obviously I’d be Victoria.”
Charlie laughed, shaking his head and smiling when his daughter came towards the newcomers and hugged them.
Jacob was intrigued by this development as he watched Victoria gaze at the oblivious Chief Swan. What exactly was this about? He’d seen Victoria around handsome men, she was in her element around men, and yet with Charlie she seemed as klutzy as Bella.
Bella seemed to notice it too, looking questioningly at the female vampire.
“Hey.” James smiled as he walked towards Jacob.
“Hey.” Jacob smiled back before motioning with his chin towards Victoria who was now calm and collected once more, seeming more like herself as she offered to help Charlie take the rest of the food from the kitchen to the table. “You know what that’s all about?”
“Yeah, actually, I do.” James nodded, leaning against the wall next to Jacob, relaxing. “Bella’s dad just happens to have a strong resemblance to Frank Pepperidge.”
“Frank Pepperidge?” Jacob asked, confused. He hadn’t heard that name before.
“He was the sheriff of the town we used to live in while we were alive.” James announced, folding his arms over his chest. “Married man. Good man. Never realized that Victoria was in love with him.” He paused. “He wasn’t much of a sheriff though, was frightened of the outlaws. They ran the town more than he did.”
“Maybe Charlie’s a descendant?” Jacob asked, intrigued at the story.
“That would be ironic.” James shook his head as he heard Charlie laughing in the kitchen. “She was best-friends withhis daughter as well.”
They stayed where they were in silence as Jacob joined James by leaning against the wall. He’d miscalculated the distance and ended up leaning so close to the vampire that their shoulders touched, but for some reason he didn’t pull away, just took comfort in the cold of that shoulder.
“So, Cullen call you yet to say Good Christmas or something?” There was something odd in James’ voice.
“It’s Merry Christmas.” Jacob slanted a look in his direction before looking away. “And no, he hasn’t called yet. I tried calling him earlier but his phone was set to voicemail.” There was a moment’s silence as he shrugged and looked down at his shoes. “He’ll probably call later.”
“Yeah, whatever.” James looked away, seeming sullen.
Not liking seeing him like that, Jacob bumped his shoulder and smiled when the vampire turned to look at him questioningly. “If you let Charlie see you with a frown he’ll be, as Mike says it, ‘all up in your business’.” He chuckled at the chance of using that phrase. “He’s very much into the whole Christmas Cheer concept.”
“Duly noted.” James grinned, his moment of brooding passed.
They were silent for a moment, just smiling at each other.
James suddenly opened his mouth.
“I’m supposed to be calling you guys to the table.” Bella’s voice interrupted whatever the vampire would have said, coming towards them, looking disturbed. She turned to James. “I think you’re sister has a crush on my dad. It’s disturbing.” She suddenly giggled softly and shook her head. “Utterly, freakishly amusing to watch, but still disturbing nonetheless.”
There was a pause.
Bella turned a concerned frown on Jacob. “I didn’t look and act like that when I used to be around Alice, right?” Seeing that Jacob was trying to find a safe answer to that, she blanched. “How embarrassing.”
With a hand on her forehead, the human girl turned around and walked back to the dining room as if in a horrified trance.
Jacob kinda felt bad for not being a better liar as he watched her go.
Feeling James bumping his shoulder, he turned to look at him.
“Let’s go.” James said, motioning with his head towards the direction Bella had taken off in.
Jacob nodded and followed silently.
The dinner had gone by fairly well, with Charlie only asking the sibling vampires a few questions. Mostly everything went smoothly since everyone had come up with a story and memorized it as a team so that they wouldn’t say anything to contradict anyone.
James and Victoria were orphaned friends of the Cullens, who were staying at their house and house-sitting for them until the Cullens returned from Carlisle’s sick dad’s side.
“What do you plan on doing when the Cullens return home?” Charlie asked over a can of beer.
Bella began to choke on her bite of turkey, and Jacob had had to slap her on the back repeatedly to keep her from choking to death.
“You okay Bells?” Charlie asked his daughter, concerned.
She smiled weakly at him, taking a long sip of water. “You know me dad.”
He smiled tenderly at her. “Yeah. I do.”
Victoria gave a little romantic-sounding sigh.
Bella sent the vampiress a look that was a mixture of amusement and disbelief.
Charlie, oblivious to this, turned to James, expectant.
The vampire sent a look in Jacob’s direction before finally returning his attention to Charlie. “My sister and I have been wondering that, it’s only a matter of time before the Cullens return.” He paused for a second. “Our plan had been to leave when they did so, but now we’re not too sure.”
Jacob was silent, tense, and he didn’t know why. He exchanged a glance with Bella before lowering his gaze so that it was on his half-eaten food, pushing some peas around the plate listlessly, listening attentively to the words James was speaking.
Bella and the wolf had wondered sometimes what would happen when the Cullens returned. The two would talk about it when it was only them, and while the deal had been that James and Victoria would leave because James would be healed by then---neither Bella nor Jacob wanted to see the vampires go.
He tightened his grip on his fork, bending the material slightly, waiting for James to finish what he was saying.
“We think, we think we might want to stick around for a bit.” James announced.
Jacob’s gaze rose at that and he turned to look at the vampire.
James was studiously looking at Charlie. “There’s a large abandoned home for sale on the outskirts of town that Victoria and I saw the first time we came here. We liked it.” He paused, lowering his gaze, playing with his hardly eaten food. “Do you know if it’s still for sale?”
“Arched doorway? Overgrown garden with a willow tree near the back?” Charlie asked, and when Victoria nodded her head he nodded as well. “That’s the old McCormick place. I know it, yeah, it’s still for sale. When old Mike McCormick died his kids put the place up for sale since they live in the city but no one’s offered for it.” He paused. “Not many people choose to move to Forks.”
Victoria turned to look at Bella and smiled.
Bella smiled back genuinely, reaching for the vampiress’ hand and squeezing it in excitement. “You’re really planning on staying? Both of you?” her grin grew. “Please tell me you’re staying!”
“That’s the plan.” Victoria responded, giving a little smile. “But we’d like a place, and things, of our own.”
“I could talk to Micky and get him to lower the price a bit for you.” Charlie offered gallantly to the blonde vampire who still had yet to look up from his food. “They’ll be desperate to get rid of the place, and you’re the first buyer they’d have had interested in it ever since it went up on the market.”
“Thank you.” James nodded. “We will be able to buy it at asking price though, whatever it may be.” He faltered. “We have money, uh, left to us after our parents death, but have been unable to access it until recently.”
He still refused to look in Jacob’s direction.
It irritated the wolf slightly. “When were you going to tell me this?” He asked.
James finally looked at him. “It was my decision---mine and my sister’s.”
“Why didn’t you at least tell us you were thinking about it?” The wolf asked, not understanding the secrecy. It wasn’t that he wasn’t happy they were staying—he was, he just didn’t understand why they hadn’t told them anything.
Bella and him had been trying to prepare themselves to be able to let go of their vampire friends when they eventually told them they were leaving.
Jacob was kinda irrationally pissed that all of that prepping had been for nothing.
“Maybe we don’t have to run everything by you!” James snapped and then sighed, running his hand over his face. “I didn’t mean to say it like that.”
Charlie looked from Jacob to James and back again, obviously curious and intrigued with this subplot.
“We won’t---we’re not---.” James growled, standing up. “Excuse me.” And with that he stalked from the table.
Annoyed, confused, and a little worried, Jacob got up to go after him when the vampire stormed out of the house and slammed the door shut behind him, but that was when his cellular rung. Looking down at it he saw Edward’s number flashing on the LCD screen.
Torn, Jacob looked at the ringing phone and then at the door before shoving his phone in Bella’s direction. “Answer it, tell him I’ll call him later.” And with that he stormed out of the house after the confusing blonde vampire.
He followed James’ trail easily, which meant either the vampire hadn’t thought he’d come after him or he’d wanted to be found. Either way Jacob found him in the back yard, looking up at an old oak tree, apparently considering kicking it.
“What’s your problem?” Jacob wanted to know, not meanly, shucking his hands in his pockets. “You just blew up in there.”
“It’s nothing.” James turned his back on him. “Nothing.”
“It better not be ‘nothing’.” Jacob narrowed his eyes. “I just blew off Edward’s phone call for this.”
James froze for a second before turning, surprise mixing with disbelief in his golden eyes. “You blew of loverboy’s most anticipated phone call just to come talk to me?”
The wolf nodded, hugging himself, wondering what the big deal was.
The vampire was silent before his gaze lowered. “Why does it bother you so much that we’re staying?”
“Bother me…?” Jacob frowned, becoming more and more confused. “Where are you getting this from?”
“Oh come on!” James suddenly snapped, gaze raising to meet his furiously, and a little hurt. “You obviously weren’t jumping for joy back in there when you heard the news! What? The moment Edward returned you wanted to kick me out? You won’t have anymore use for me? Is that what this is all about?”
“Huh?” Jacob asked, confused, not exactly sure what one thing had to do with another. “I don’t know what you’re talking about! And for your information I was relieved when I heard you were saying! But I was also ticked because we know you’re stronger than you’re letting on, and Bella and I have been prepping ourselves to be able to let go of you and Victoria because we thought you were leaving!” Jacob snapped back, eyes dark. “Bella made me read a damned book about parents who had ‘separation issues’ for crissake! It was torture!” He threw his hands in the air. “And I could have avoided that if you’d just told me you weren’t planning on leaving!”
There was silence in the Swan’s back yard as James just looked at Jacob in silence before a grin suddenly split his face. “Bell made you read a self-help book?”
“Don’t rub it in. It’s not funny.” And yet Jacob was grinning as well.
The two males exchanged looks and then began to laugh.
And all was well between them once more.
“Since when do you have money?” Jacob wanted to know once the laughter had died down.
“We’re vampires. We’ve had a long time for our trust funds to grow. Plus,” James shrugged. “I once ate a guy who told me to invest in cellular phones, that they were the wave of the future.” There was a pause. “He was right.”
The wolf didn’t know whether to chuckle or scowl, so he just sighed and shook his head. “About eating…”
“One Rule.” James sighed. “Jake. We know.”
“I know.” The wolf agreed. “I just wanted to remind you.”
“Of course.” The vampire ran his hands over his hair. “You wouldn’t be you if you weren’t stressing that one godforsaken rule until it gets annoying.”
Jacob just sent him a grin. “We good then?”
“Yeah.” James chuckled softly. “We’re good.”
“You mind if we go back inside then?” Jacob asked. “Unlike you I actually eat the food on that table, and I’m hungry.” He continued as they turned and made their way towards the front yard. “And anyway, I have to call Edward back.”
James was silent as they walked towards the front of the house and entered through the front door.
Jacob noticed, but decided not to comment.
‘Sam has replaced us on guard duty with Embry n Quill.’
The text message began later that night.
‘U probly already no that tho.’
Jake nodded, although he knew that the sender couldn’t see him. He’d noticed how lately the Clearwater’s scents had been replaced with that of his two former friends.
‘Sam not happy with situation, keeping a closer I on U n ur leeches. The pack not happy with him, read our thoughts, no what happened. But they’re still w/ him.’
A scowl darkened Jacob’s face as he remembered what he’d been told when he’d realized that a lone wolf was waiting for him in the Cullen’s property. The wolf had transformed and told him everything, about what Sam was planning and what had happened on Halloween Night.
And how the Clearwater siblings were able to keep some thoughts hidden from the pack, so it was safe for the person to tell him what was going on.
To warn him.
Jacob couldn’t help but find it odd how he and now the Clearwaters had been able to keep their thoughts from Sam. What did this mean? Was this an evolution of the pack or was it something else?
Or was it because Sam had never been meant to be the Alpha and their inner wolves were beginning to rebel?
Conflicted over that question and its maybe answer, Jacob returned his attention to the text message.
‘Keep alert, nvr no wen he’s gonna try another lil test n I can’t warn u on time.’
“What’s making you so ugly?” James asked, looking up from where he’d been watching the late Flintstones reruns on Jacob’s small television.
Sending the vampire a glare, the wolf passed him the phone and let him read the message.
James was silent before frowning. “Our little informant is risking a lot by doing this.” He paused. “Not bad…for a dog.”
The ‘dog’ raised an eyebrow at that.
James just smirked at him, passing him back his phone. “I’m entertained by these Flintstones.” He smirked as he watched Bamm-Bamm------bamm-bamming. “You look nothing like him. Why Bell would choose his costume for you is beyond me.”
“You and I both.” The wolf agreed.
There was a moment’s silence as Jacob texted his voluntary informant a reply and then placed his phone on the bedside table.
“So…” James turned so that he was looking at the television once more. “How did your conversation with Cullen go?”
In the middle of getting under his covers, Jacob paused for a moment. “I couldn’t get through to him.”
And for some reason he doubted the sincerity of that coolly spoken word. “I’m going to sleep now.”
“I’m going to watch some more.” He kept his back to Jacob. “Good night.”
“Night.” Closing his eyes, Jacob briefly wondered how Victoria and Bell were doing with their sleepover, before falling asleep.
Jacob’s eyes flew open.
He’d been having the worst nightmare. Well, to be truthful, first he’d had his complimentary and obligatory wet dream starring his favorite vampire. He was a teenaged wolf, both the human and the animal side of him craved sex, and his imagination seemed to take control in the sleeping hours to give him some relief, no matter how unsatisfying it was compared to the real deal.
And then the dream and shifted and turned into a nightmare. And in it Edward had been torn in half right before his eyes and Jacob hadn’t been able to do anything to save him.
The wolf closed his eyes again, now awake, telling his heart to beat slower, that Edward was fine.
He had to be fine.
Jacob would kill him if the vampire got hurt or worse before coming back to Forks.
“You okay there, wolfie?” James voice spoke, and Jacob’s pillow vibrated beneath him.
Jacob’s eyes flew open again as he realized how he was sleeping and pulled away, horrified and embarrassed. He’d been sleeping with his head on James’ chest! He’d been using the vampire as a pillow!
“Why didn’t you wake me up?” He squeaked, jolting into a sitting position. “I was all over you!”
“You were sleeping on me, there’s a difference between that and being all over someone.” James grinned teasingly, looking up from the book of legends he’d been reading. “I might show you the difference some time.”
Jacob growled, embarrassed, knowing his was blushing at the teasing.
James grinned, amused, before his face went pensive. “And to answer your question: you’re warm. When I touch you it’s the only time I feel that. And I like warmth.”
The wolf didn’t know what to say.
And then the vampire was laughing evilly. “Anyway, that was not embarrassing.” His grin promised Jacob horror to come. “Did you know that you hump in your sleep when you’re horny?”
Jacob’s eyes widened in horror.
James had to be lying!
“I don’t know what you were dreaming of, or who, but you proved me right with the dog reference!” James chuckled evilly. “You were humping against me like---.”
“Shut up!” Jacob cried out, throwing himself back down on the bed and turning so that his back was facing the laughing vampire. “Enough! Good night!”
“Sweet dreams.” James snickered.
Jacob just groaned, closing his eyes as tightly as he could. This was the most embarrassing thing to have ever happened to him. He’d humped his best male friend!
He was never going to live this down.
Jacob groaned once more.
It was going to be a long…long night.