Disclaimer: I own nothing. It all belongs to Stephenie Meyer.
Written for Yuletide 2007.

Jacob Black sauntered into the house, whistling a tune. A night out with Bella Swan was one of the best things in the world to him. He loved spending time with her, even if that weasel Mike Newton had to tag along. Oh, well, it didn't matter. He still got to spend time with Bella.

He closed the door behind him and smiled at his dad. Billy didn't return the smile. He simply sat in his chair, watching Jacob.

The temperature in the room seemed to climb several degrees. Jacob's skin started the prickle as if pins danced up and down his arms and legs. Why the hell did his dad keep staring at him?

Maybe Bella was right. Maybe he was running a fever. That was strange; he didn't feel sick. But the heat was climbing.

A strange look fell across Billy's face. "Jacob, are you okay?" he asked.

"Yeah. Why?"

"Nothing. You look strange."

Heat. Pain. It sliced through him, his muscles convulsing in response. Jacob dropped to the floor, his entire body shaking. Something was wrong. Something was terribly wrong. He cried out, unable to hold it in.

It felt like his body exploded into a thousand pieces. The size and shape of the room change. Everything was smaller, including Billy. He heard a ripping sound and looked down to see pieces of fabric scattered all around him.

Jacob screamed again, only it didn't come out as a scream. It came out as a growl. Fury ran all over his body.

What the hell was going on?

Jacob opened his mouth to demand an answer. Instead of answer, though, a growl echoed off the walls.

"Jacob, it's okay. You're okay." Billy soothed.

Okay? How the hell was he okay? Jacob reached out to his father and froze. Instead of seeing his hand move, he saw a huge rusty-colored paw. He pulled back and watched the paw return to where it had come from.

A nightmare. He was in the middle of a nightmare. It had to be. He would wake up in his bed, laughing at himself for being so scared.

But he wasn't waking up. He wasn't waking up at all.

He then heard Billy's voice. Looking up, Jacob saw his father on the phone with someone.

"Sam, you need to get here now," Billy said, his eyes never leaving Jacob's face.

The anger welled up again. SAM? Sam had something to do with this? What had Billy and Sam done to him? Fury and panic boiled in the pit of Jacob's stomach. It rose and bubbled out of him. His limbs shook. He lunged at Billy, the urge to bite nearly overpowering him.

Before he could move, voices started to fill his head. Not only voices, but images and feelings, too. None of them belonged to him.

'Jake, calm down. It's going to be okay.' Embry's voice. It didn't really have any sound; it was more like a feeling, but Jacob understood the intent and knew it was his best friend. He felt himself relax a little. Knowing Embry was there meant the world to him.

Then an image of a large dog entered his mind. Jacob's heart stopped. No one had to explain the meaning to him. He looked like this. He was this large, overpowering...thing. This monster.

"Jake, you've got to come out of the house. You'll hurt your dad if you don't. Come on," Embry said.

Jacob watched his father ease to the door and open it. When Billy was clear, Jacob squeezed through the small frame. It took all of his strength to get through and not damage the frame.

Four huge, hairy dogs greeted him in the woods. Each one had a different color fur coat, but all four had sharp teeth and intelligent eyes. Jacob took an involuntary step back.

'I'm the same kind of monster,' he thought.

The biggest one stepped forward and met Jacob's eyes.

'You're not a monster, Jacob.' Sam. Jacob didn't know how he knew, but something inside told him this one was Sam Uley. 'You were given this gift to help protect your family from the real monsters. A gift you share with both of your grandfathers.'

'Both of my grandfathers?' Jacob asked.

The wolf in front of him seemed to nod his head.

Jacob felt his heart sink. All the legends his father believed and he hadn't were true. His father not only believed in the werewolf ancestry, but he also believed the Cullens were vampires.

'They are,' Sam answered, reading Jacob's thoughts. 'It's their fault this happened to you.'

'Bella! Bella is in love with Edward Cullen!' The realization hit Jacob like a ton of bricks. His fear was no longer for himself, but for her. He had to tell her, to warn her.

Sam shook his head. 'She knows, Jake.'



Jacob shook his own head. It couldn't be true. How could beautiful, perfect Bella love a monster? He didn't want to believe it. None of this could touch her. None of it. He wouldn't let it. He had a promise to keep.

'You can't keep it,' Sam said. 'You have to stay away to protect her.'

'I can't. I made a promise.'

An image swam into his mind of a Sam and his fiance Emily. They argued. Sam reached out as his body exploding into that of the wolf standing in front of Jacob. His claws cut deep into Emily's flesh. Blood covered her face as she went down.

Jacob could feel Sam's guilt and hurt. He even felt Sam's fear when he couldn't calm down long enough to change back.

Sam was right. Jacob knew he was right. What if he did the same thing to Bella? He couldn't bring himself to hurt her, not like her vampire destroyed her. He knew he would never be able to see Bella again.

Sam turned and headed deeper into the forest. The other three wolves followed. Jacob followed them. They had more to tell him, and it was going to be a long night.

Sadness washed over Jacob, replacing his earlier fury. In one instant his entire world had changed. No more normalcy, no more fun, no more Bella.


© 2007 Crimson Idealist