Author's Note: Thanks for all the reviews! Heh, I'm glad you guys still like Jacob, despite his confused and angsty love. x3 *cough* Also, as much as I hate to give away the ending, enough people are tilting towards one opinion that I sort of need to. x3 I'd just like to point out that, earlier, I said this story was canon with the whole series. This means it's not only canon with Twilight and New Moon, but… Breaking Dawn as well. So just… keep that in mind.

Now, a few questions about this chapter of Eclipse (Meyer's version): Why did, according to Stephanie Meyer, Edward had "agony in his eyes" over hurting Jacob? Why did it take him so long to find the wolf and come back? Why did Jacob ever agree to come back when he had a battle to fight, anyway?

Those are only half the questions I have when it comes to the last bit of Eclipse. For the next chapter, I have… well, actually, more than that.

I loved writing this scene too, though. For once, it's Edward in control, and Jacob floundering for stability. And I liked working out how both of them would deal with the switch. So, without further ado, from Edward's point of view, The Confrontation:

Chapter Thirteen: Not Tonight

The realization that he failed to soften the blow even a tiny bit slowly sank into Edward. He tried pushing the werewolf away, he tried making him angry, riling him up… He thought maybe the anger would make the pain easier to deal with. Maybe the anger would make it so Jacob wouldn't be hurting for a while-at least not while the pack needed him, at least.

But he was wrong. Jacob was capable of being angry and hurt simultaneously, and the double-blow tipped him over the edge.

Just when Edward was trying to think of an excuse to go outside, Bella sat up and turned to him with a horrified whisper. "Jacob was listening."


"You knew."

Edward couldn't have lied at that moment for the world. "Yes."

The vampire could feel his chest tightening again, and shudders broke out over his skin. "I never promised to fight fair. And he deserved to know."

He needed to know that I was marrying Bella, not settling down into a cabin in the woods with him. He needed to know that. There was no way to say it any better.

But all the justifications in the world couldn't stop the bile and self-loathing from rising in Edward's throat.

"Are you angry with me?" he asked faintly.

"Not you. I'm horrified at me."

Just then, Edward reminded himself that Bella was under the impression that Jacob was madly in love with her and that she had been the one to tear his world apart. And at that, Edward's guilt skyrocketed.

"Don't torment yourself," he almost begged, half-surprised at how broken his voice already sounded but too busy wondering where Jacob was going and in what condition he was in to really care.

"Yes, I should save my energy to torment Jacob some more. I wouldn't want to leave any part of him unharmed," Bella said bitterly, tears welling in her eyes, her expression reflecting the same amount of self-loathing that was driving into Edward.

"He knew what he was doing," the vampire reminded both himself and her. But inside, he knew there had to have been a better way. Maybe he should've just been cold that night. Maybe they shouldn't have had that heart to heart, no matter how happy it had made Edward for a few short hours…

"Do you think that matters?" Bella suddenly demanded, her voice raising in volume and pitch. Edward immediately reached out and pulled her into his arms. "Do you think I care whether it's fair or whether he was adequately warned? I'm hurting him. Every time I turn around, I'm hurting him again!" she all but cried, and Edward could hear the hysteria creeping in. "I'm a hideous person."

"No, you're not." The person holding you is, Edward silently corrected.

"I am! What's wrong with me?" Her voice was almost a scream, and she pushed him away and got to her feet. "I have to go find him."

"Bella, he's already miles away, and it's cold."

I could find him… The idea buzzed softly in the back of Edward's mind.

"I don't care. I can't just sit here," the girl spat, tugging off the coat that was keeping her warm and pulling on her boots. "I have to… I have to…"

She couldn't finish the sentence, but didn't seem to care as she unzipped the tent and stormed out like Jacob had, minutes before. Edward silently followed her out as she paused and looked around. There was probably more snow than she had been planning on hiking through.

Off to the side, out of earshot, Seth was curled up by a few trees, one of which looked like it had been knocked heavily aside. Maybe the werewolf had tried to stop Jacob… Tried, and failed.

Seth-Edward remembered the wolf's name-didn't lift his head, but he opened his eyes and stared past Bella and directly at Edward.

There was a murmuring storm of worry from him and all the werewolves he was linked to, but the most vivid thing to the vampire was the pure, rumbling dislike pouring out of Seth's mind and directly at the source of Jacob's pain.

Edward forced himself to turn away and saw Bella stumbling towards the trees. He darted forward and grabbed her wrist. "You can't go after him. Not today. It's almost time. And getting yourself lost wouldn't help anyone, regardless."

She tried to twist out of his grasp, hair falling in her eyes and tears pouring down her cheeks, writhing like a worm on a hook. She was the very embodiment of what Jacob was probably feeling, and Edward could only stare in horror at the poor, broken creature.

"I'm sorry, Bella," he whispered, but it was to both of the people he'd hurt. "I'm sorry I did that."

"You didn't do anything. It's my fault. I did this. I did everything wrong. I could have… When he… I shouldn't have… I… I…" she stammered to a halt and suddenly burst into violent sobs. Edward tugged her into his chest, wrapping his arms around her and pressing her face into his shirt so he didn't have to watch.

"Bella, Bella," he said softly, stroking her hair and looking off into the woods. He couldn't hear Jacob through Seth, which meant he was in human form. Out in the woods, in the snow somewhere.

Broken because of Edward.

Broken, because Edward had written off anger as a lack of thinking or feeling, rather than a way to channel the pain as something with more pride.

Meanwhile, Bella was anything but quiet. "I should have-told him-I should-have said-" she gasped between sobs. "He shouldn't have-found out like this."

And then Edward couldn't stand there a minute longer. "Do you want me to see if I can bring him back, so that you can talk to him? There's still a little time."

There. That was a good excuse. Edward hoped.

Bella nodded, and he gave her one final squeeze. "Stay by the tent. I'll be back soon."

And he was gone. Racing through the trees, following the werewolf scent that he knew so well, following the trail of destruction through the forest as branches and plants were ripped away by a huge animal running too fast to care. He could even see where large paws had caught low branches or sinking places in the mud and snow, had tripped slightly, but kept barreling forward. After several miles-miles Edward covered in mere minutes-the large paw prints turned into staggering, barefooted steps.

It was just another half-mile before the vampire stopped and stared.

He'd found Jacob.

The other man was leaning on a tree with one hand and panting hard. His shorts were slung low on his hips, like they had been pulled on in a hurry, and his hair was unkempt and full of twigs and leaves-probably from pushing through the underbrush. He looked wild and dangerous, like a wolf. Like out here, in the dark and muddy woods, was where he belonged. Inhuman.

Edward hadn't felt that distant from Jacob since they'd kissed.

Edward approached him from behind as quietly as he could, and Jacob didn't hear him. The sharp lines of his shoulders were tense, but trembling violently. Stupid, stupid, stupid, his mind chanted, and even his internal voice was ragged with pain. Edward flinched slightly at the sound, but stayed where he was, unsure of what to do or say. Jacob, too wrapped up in trying to pull himself together, didn't smell Edward behind him.

"You changed back," Edward said at last, careful to keep any emotion from his voice.

Jacob whipped around, dark eyes flashing, and the I hate you and I love you flew from his mind so fast that they blended into one pained exclamation. Then his mental voice and expression collapsed back into anguish. "I didn't want the others to hear me," he whispered. What would they think if they found I loved both of them? I can't let them know… They'd never understand… God I hate this, I HATE this…

Edward stood and listened to him, trying to imagine was it would be like if he couldn't read minds. Jacob looked angry and upset, but not like he was shattering. Not like his mind's voice implied. If Edward had just been looking at him, he would have just thought him jealous and bitter, but as it were… Edward knew it was more than that. Not just the pain of rejection, but also the anger at him and at Bella and at the unknown source of Fate. He was hurt beyond measure that every time he did something good, it turned on him. He felt helpless and betrayed, knowing all his effort to not only find love outside of Bella but to save another lost soul had given him nothing. He had given his whole heart to Bella for reasons he didn't even understand, and she shattered it to pieces and handed it back to him. And then, staggering under the weight of that shock plus his phasing process into a full-grown werewolf, he had fallen to his knees in front of Edward and had shakily offered him the broken pieces he had left. And what had Edward done? Crushed them to dust and handed them back to Jacob as well. Now all the man had left was a pile of ashes for a heart and he didn't know what to do with them.

Edward was sensing more feelings than actual words from the werewolf, and so he stood and felt for a long while. The werewolf had turned away again and was looking at his hand-pressed against a tree and half-holding him up. His shoulders still shook and Edward watched and listened as the man desperately tried to pull his emotions into words. What do I do now? What can I say? God, I love him… I love them… But now I just hate them both.

Edward stepped forward, the need to justify himself finally overpowering the urge to just stand and listen. "Jacob, I-" but the gentle tone just set the man off.

"Get out of my head, leech!" he lashed out, voice cracking on the last word. It was no longer a slightly-playful epithet, but a slur meant to dehumanize and hurt. Edward winced slightly, unused to the word being spat like that, but he still continued to reach for his former lover.

"Jacob, you had to hear that. You had to know."

I loved you! I didn't have to hear anything of the sort! Bastard! Leech! Fucking soulless bloodsucker! Jacob's mind screamed back, the look in his eyes unmistakable for anything but total agony. But the only sign of his violent fervor was a slight shake in his voice. "You could have just told me you proposed. You could have just told me, I didn't-" he exhaled, "I lost." Oh, God, I really did lose… I really am nothing…

"No, you weren't!" Edward interrupted, stepping closer again. "You… You weren't nothing, you helped me. You…"

Jacob made a noise that sounded like he had tried to laugh, but it ended it a squeak and a half-formed sob. Edward watched the hand that wasn't holding the tree fly to Jacob's mouth to cover it. To hold it shut. But nothing could stop his mind from replying.

I didn't do shit.

"I said everything I could have possibly said that night," Jacob whispered. "But you didn't hear a thing. You ran home… Not to think about us or the things I said, but to propose to Bella. Whatever I said was so terrible, you decided to get engaged immediately to get away from it."

The vampire froze in his forward inching. Jacob would probably punch him if he got any closer. "I… I told you why I couldn't," Edward said weakly. He didn't know how else to explain it. He had to be with Bella. He wouldn't let himself have any choice in it.

But if he told Jacob that he was forcing himself into it, the werewolf would never give him. And Edward needed him to give up.

"You love her. I get it. You're guilty, you're stupid, and you love her," Jacob replied flatly.

"She's everything I need."

Jacob's face crumpled and he pridefully covered his mouth again. Why? his mind wailed before Jacob could push the thought back down.

Edward decided to use as much honesty as he could, and he remembered his reasons for saying 'no' that night. "I… I need my family. You need your pack. We both need Bella. And we would lose all of those things, Jacob. We would lose everything, just so you could be happy."

"We would both be happy!" Jacob exclaimed, and it was his turn to lurch forward. He didn't get close to Edward, not yet, but he looked like it was taking a lot of effort not to do so.

Edward shook his head. "Not in the long run."

Jacob opened and closed his mouth several times before he straightened up, fist clenched, and glared furiously at Edward. "So you're just saying 'no'? You can't even give me a decent reason… and you still have the gall to say 'no'? I won't give up. I won't do it!"

The vampire grit his teeth and looked away, unable to meet Jacob's gaze anymore. "I'm getting married, Jacob."

"No," Jacob retorted, sounding disgusted and angry. "You're trapping yourself in a loveless marriage because of… of… guilt, or because you think everyone will hate us, or maybe because you're still so damned stuck on that gay-people-are-evil shit you keep thinking!"

Edward didn't know how to answer that. "I'd still like it if you were there," he murmured, trying to soften his expression. He would try to be comforting. He really would try. But he would keep it at that-comforting a friend.

Jacob met Edward's gaze expressionlessly. "At the wedding?"

Edward nodded.

"I won't go," his voice was flat. No silent thoughts followed the statement

Edward stepped closer, wondering if Jacob was whispering his thoughts. But no, his mind was silent, probably shocked into speechlessness. Well, if he didn't have a good argument…

"I want you to be there," Edward repeated.

The other man's lips curled into an ugly snarl. "I won't go!" I've been scarred enough, asshole. You think I need to go there and see you two… you two exchanging vows and… her in that perfect white wedding dress and you in some… slick tuxedo saying you'll love each other forever, and… and… I'll just be there on the side… An ex-lover you two can laugh about later in your undead eternity…

"Jacob-" Edward interrupted again, wishing he could wash away that imagine of him and Bella at their wedding-happy, just like Edward had imagined-except with a kicked dog in one of the wedding seats, watching the two loves of his life forget him in one beautiful instant. And everyone stood and clapped while the dog withered away. It was true, but Edward wished he had a better justification for it. "I just…"

"Why the hell are you even here, anyway?" Jacob snapped, cutting him off. "Shouldn't you be back there protecting the love of your life?" He was bitter with anguish and, like usual, had turned it into anger and lashed out with it. Edward felt like he was losing control of the wheel and his car was careening across the ice. That memory had never faded from his mind, and he thought of it every time he felt himself slipping. He had survived the accident, but… the person in the passenger seat had not. I never got around to telling Jacob about that. Or Bella, for that matter.

"Yes, I should," Edward agreed, attempting to clear his mind and focus on the man in front of him, "but I wanted to… see if you were okay first. If you were going to be okay." It was the truth, as much as Edward sort of wished it wasn't. Jacob shouldn't have meant this much to him when he was a dangerous wolf and the very image of all things dark and feral in this world, but he did. He was supposed to only be thinking of Bella, but Jacob kept elbowing his way in, whether he meant to or not.

Jacob sneered, but his eyes were shining with unshed tears. "Well I'm fine, so you can go." Please, God, stay with me.

Edward hesitated, catching the stray thought that followed the words. He frowned uncertainly. "I'm not so sure about that…"

"I am, so just leave! I don't want you here anymore!" I'm a liar! I love you, don't leave me, don't marry her! Please! I would give you everything you ever needed!

He felt as if his heart was breaking at each spoken and unspoken word, and the extreme contrast between them was dizzying. Furious and biting voice mixed with a mental cry that told Edward that Jacob would crumble as soon as he turned his back.

"Dammit, why are you still here?" Have you changed your mind? Shut up, Jacob that'll never happen. Stupid dog. Humans hate you, vampires hate you, you're nothing. NOTHING. "Go! Get out of here," Jacob's voice was starting to break, "I don't want to look at you anymore!"

He turned away and Edward would have been convinced if his shoulders weren't shaking and his mind wasn't still screaming. Be stubborn! Fight me! Tell me I'm wrong, make me come back with you! Come up with a solution, like you always do, with your damnable perfection. I don't care if it's fake, I don't care if you love her more, fight me! Put your damn condescending foot down!

He was right, Edward would have to do just that-but not in the way the wolf wanted.

"Jacob, I… I know you love me, but…" but I can't love you, Edward continued silently. Jacob couldn't have read his mind, but he clearly heard the sentiment in his tone. He turned around to look at the vampire, lips still curled in a snarl of helpless and furious agony. He looked feral. He looked nearly insane.

"You don't know anything!" And finally, his voice matched the tone of his thoughts. "You're such a bastard, letting me believe our… our connection… was mutual! You are a liar and I HATE YOU!" I love you. "Just get the hell out of here!" I thought it was inevitable for us both. I thought we would always eventually be together. But somehow, you're able to just… walk away. HOW?

Edward moved closer again and Jacob hissed through his teeth and stepped back, like a bristling cat.

"I won't leave yet. Bella is worried and she wanted me to bring you back," he said firmly. He had to regain control of the situation. He had to silence his emotions and rein Jacob back in. It was what Bella wanted.

Jacob's face contorted with the emotions Edward had smothered. "Oh, so that's why you're really here. Well Bella can fucking-"

The vampire suddenly sprang forward, grabbing Jacob's wrists hard and making him wince. "Stop it, mutt," the words were nasty, but his voice was smoothly cold and impersonal. Jacob choked back a sob and ended up squeaking again instead. He threw a fist forward, dragging Edward's hand with it, and struck the vampire's chest. It didn't hurt that much, but Edward got the sentiment clear enough.

"You stop it!" Jacob howled. "Don't you dare play flawless in front of me! With me, you aren't smooth or suave or oozing perfection! You're rough and mean and honest and that's the part I love, you shit, the fact that you're real!" His hand clenched on a fistful of Edward's shirt and he leaned his forehead on the on the other man's chest. Edward's hands hung at his sides and he felt a lump of lead in his stomach. He couldn't be nauseous, he hadn't eaten in nearly a hundred years, but he felt as if he could have been.

You're better off with her, but I want you for myself. Jacob's thoughts were soft now, but firm. A gentle statement of absolute truth. Edward listened to the man's heart pound steadily, a sign of being absolutely clear of pheromones and of werewolf compulsion. A sign that the man was in love with a man, and not a werewolf in love with a vampire. And for a moment, he would have given anything to have been allowed to feel the same.

We'll both be safer, more content, with you two together. But I don't want that. Jacob's shoulder shook with dry sobs, but he had to make Edward understand. I want you to be angry and unstable and violent. You don't need to be a gentle deer-you need to be the dangerous predator you are. Why subdue yourself? I don't want to have to stand and watch you be beautiful and perfect, like a fucking statue. You're human-sort of. You get annoyed, you get exasperated, you lash out when you're angry and scream when you're furious, and you wouldn't have to wear a mask in front of me. It was everything the werewolf couldn't say out loud and Edward was transfixed. He was still frozen, even as Jacob raised his head and spoke aloud.

"I'll show you… I'll talk to you like the human you could be. Don't poke around in my head," he whispered, dark eyes shining, "Ask me a question. Ask me anything and I'll answer out loud."

Edward opened his mouth, but the words were caught in his throat. Jacob looked expectantly at him and he knew he wouldn't come back with him until he asked. Finally, Edward thought of something. Something that had bothered him since their second kiss.

"What makes you think this could possibly be a good idea?"

Jacob slowly smiled, expression still tinged with the agony he was feeling, but Edward could see that this was where he felt he belonged. Where he always wanted to be. Edward forced himself to focus on the verbal words and the verbal words alone.

"Because I can save you. I can keep you from losing yourself," he murmured, and then leaned forward.

Edward leaned back. "I don't need saving. I'm happy with Bella."

Jacob's expression flickered and hardened. "Happy or healthy?"

"Both. They're the same thing."

He shook his head. "No, you aren't being yourself."

"This is me."

"No, it's not!"

"Jacob, stop it," Edward released the wrists he had forgotten he was holding and stepped back, "I intend to stay with Bella for as long as she'll have me, with no interference from you." Edward's expression darkened and he intended to drive this point home. He put up an icy wall and spoke.

"I don't care what you think or what you feel. You can love me all you want, but I have a fiancée and you were always just an affair. You were a distraction, an experiment, and nothing I would want around for the long-term. Do you understand?"

So that's it, then. Jacob's mental tone was flat. I'm supposed to stop fighting now. I'm supposed to turn and walk away and let them marry. I'm supposed to watch them both die… with each other.

Jacob was silent for a long time, and he rubbed his wrists. They're still cold… When he looked up, he didn't bother faking a brave smile, like many others in his position in the past had.

"Yeah, I do," he said at last, "I guess… I fooled myself into thinking you had a soul."

Edward sighed. The fireworks were over. He turned away, back towards the tent. "Does that mean you'll come back? Bella just wants to make sure you're okay. She cares about you."

The werewolf couldn't hold back a derisive snort at that. "Right. She's just so very selfless…"

Edward twitched slightly, but decided to hold back. He would continue to be impersonal. Jacob was nothing but competition for Bella's affections-competition that was about to be struck down. After that, he would be absolutely nothing.

Edward would make him mean nothing to him.

Jacob kept up an angry monologue all the way back, and Edward absorbed it in silence, knowing he used fury as a defense and considered it much easier to watch than the agony from before.

Yes, she cares so very much… Of course Edward is perfect. He doesn't have any of those nasty "personality traits". No, he's just a pretty statue to rub against. No depth, no flaws, just a statue. She'll probably delude herself for the rest of her life. Which is, what… a week left? Yes, kill her, why don't you… Make her a pretty statue to match all the other pretty statues and you'll all live happily ever after and never mind the wolf rotting in a ditch, because he was just a distraction. Not meant to be. Just one monster finding solace in another, but who gives a damn? Fucking bastards…

As they neared the clearing, Edward stepped up to walk slightly in front of Jacob, knowing Bella would interpret it as Edward being the one in control and thus-as Jacob mentioned-eternally perfect.

"I'm going to give you two some privacy, alright? Seth and I will just wander off for a bit," he said quietly.

"Fine," was all Jacob said, but spoke up again when he heard a low, rumbling growl coming from the clearing. "It's just us, Seth!" he called and stepped into the light.

As Jacob stood off to the side, Edward approached Bella and Seth, and the large wolf walked up to him. We need to talk, Cullen. Edward. Firstly, Alice-that's the psychic one, right?-says the newborn vampires are coming a little sooner than expected, but not too soon. Secondly, a little dog to vamp, man to man discussion about Jacob is in order.

The vampire nodded. "Yes, that's all we need," he muttered. Another werewolf to give me advice. "I suppose we shouldn't be surprised. But the timing is going to be very close. Please have Sam ask Alice to try to nail the schedule down better." He continued, and heard Seth relay the thought and get answering echoes from the werewolves in the distance.

Edward turned slowly and saw Jacob still had his back to them. For once, he was murmuring his thoughts. His raging agony had cooled into simmering resentment and self-disgust, and hatred at the whole situation. Edward knew without a doubt the werewolf's feelings would spring back to life and explode in every direction at the wrong words, and if Bella was good at one thing, it was saying the wrong words. But he trusted him. He knew he wouldn't hurt Bella. He just hoped that Jacob would be oka-

No. No. I don't, I can't care about that werewolf at all.

Bella was still standing shakily by the tent, the regret coming off of her in waves. Edward stepped to her side. "Bella," he murmured. This was the moment. I have to trust Jacob. I have to give them the privacy I promised. "There's a bit of a complication-" If that's what you could call Seth's sudden protective-older-brother complex. "I'm going to take Seth a little ways away and try to straighten it out. I won't go far, but I won't listen, either. I know you don't want an audience, no matter which way you decide to go."

It was just a formality, he knew, and Jacob knew it too from the sudden pulse of pain that Edward picked up from across the clearing. They both knew Bella would choose her vampire over her toy dog, and Edward realized this could be the last time he ever saw the werewolf. He looked over his shoulder at Jacob, obscured in the shadows, his bulky shape standing out against the spindly trees, displaying power and self-control. He was strong. He would survive. Edward was sure of it.

"Hurry back," Bella whispered at last, and he bent to kiss her lightly before following Seth into the thicker underbrush. As always when Edward was with a werewolf, he heard the low buzz of the whole pack's thoughts, along with the collective mindset. Seth's mind was still the loudest, but since the other minds were turning to focus on him, they started coming in just as clear.

Seth began speaking after a few brittle moments. I can't say I know for sure what your relationship with Jacob is, he began, a forced calm in his mental tone. But there's something I'd like to ask if my guess is correct.

Seth, I don't think this is wise. Sam. It sounded disapproving, but Edward noticed it was not a command to stop. Whatever it was Seth was going to ask, Sam secretly agreed it should be said.

Personally, I think it's quite 'wise'. Leah. Snappish, but amused. A cynic's sort of comedy show.

Shut up, Leah. Embry. Defensive. Bristling. He didn't know what to think, and so everyone was on the wrong side to him.

Paul simply leaked aggressiveness and his mind started and stopped-a sign that Sam had silenced him on the subject before he had a chance to speak.

What I'm trying to ask, Seth continued, speaking over the low murmur of background thoughts. Is what did you say to Jacob? We'd like to know what sort of wolf is going to join us for the fight… That is, if he's planning to.

"He is," Edward murmured, side-stepping the question. "There's no keeping him away now."

Is he fit to? Sam asked, not letting the question slip by.

That, the vampire didn't know. From the waves of incoherent emotion crashing against his back from the clearing, he would guess No. However, Jacob did what Jacob wanted to and he was sure Jacob would come to that fight.

"I don't know," he replied honestly. "But… I think he should. He'll fight fine. Just…"

They all clearly heard the sentiment. Jacob wasn't okay. He wasn't going to be okay for a while.

Seth began again, hesitations making him uncertain. Do you… Did Jacob ever tell you…

Seth! Stop. Sam again. This time, it was a direct order. Seth's mind snapped shut, and was immediately replaced by Paul's angry and disgusted continuation.

No, the leech needs to hear it! Did he ever tell you how messed up he got? He didn't just shut down his wolf side, he stopped his wolven sleeping schedule. Even worse, he stopped eating. Humans may get away with scraps of food here and there, 'normal meal sizes' they call it, but a werewolf… He can't do it. He was pretending to be a human and it was killing him!

But then he suddenly got better, Seth cut in. Suddenly, for once since you came back to Forks, he was happy. Actually… happy. We had been resigned to you throwing him to the curb before that, but then we thought, maybe…

We thought you'd grown a heart, Paul jumped back in again. Why? Why do you pushing him into these wild mood swings, screwing him on the side and enjoying your little vanilla relationship with Bella? Why would you treat-

Paul, just stop. I don't think Edward really gives a damn. Embry's hurt but resigned interruption stung more than Paul's fury had. Edward had hurt his sort-of brother, and so Embry had written him off as just another vampire. Edward sighed. It wasn't a lie, though. He had earned that label true enough.

I agree with the hothead, actually. Quil that time. He had been silent up until that point, but he finally spoke. But Edward doesn't need another leg-up on Jacob. He's got enough.

Actually, I think Edward's had a 'leg up on Jacob' for some time now, Leah gave a small mental snicker.

Shut up, Leah! All the wolf voices that time, and since Sam was among them, she fell silent.

Edward stood silently beside Seth for a long time and listened to the various murmured and wordless opinions of the La Push pack. Sam was calm, determined to be reasonable. Paul was bristling and seething, angry on behalf of the person who had not just hurt his wolf-brother, but who had hurt the little brother of his imprint. Jared was a bit disgusted, but was trying to laugh it off. Leah, bitterly amused. Colin and Brady, just nervous and confused. Quil and Embry, the boys Edward knew to be Jacob's best friends, just seemed generally unhappy about the whole thing. Quil seemed like he was trying hard to understand, though. Like he really wanted to know if a vampire could or would make Jacob happy.

After several minutes of the quiet thoughts, Edward finally spoke.

"You all seem very calm about this."

Leah let out a bitter laugh, but she was banned from speaking. So was Seth. Paul and Embry were too resentful to say a word to him, so it was Sam and Quil who answered.

We've guessed for a while.

We had some time to get used to the idea.

"And you're okay with it?"

He's part of the pack. Paul whispered and it was the same low murmur of absolute truth that Jacob had used in the forest. No matter what he did or does, he's family.

Brothers, the whole pack whispered, even Leah. Family.

They were all silent for a long time until Jacob's mind suddenly leapt into the fray, startling everyone from their quiet thoughts. The russet wolf was already sprinting towards the predicted fight area, a reckless howl in his throat and murder-suicide in his mind.

Edward's breath caught in his throat, but he turned back to the tent clearing. "Come on, Seth. We need to go protect Bella."

And Seth let out a mournful whimper.

"Do you remember all the things you said to me?
You made them sound so simple,
But they're just not that easy.
You swear that you could be someone to hold me for all time
Baby, not tonight."

~"Not Tonight" by Adelayda

A/N: Again, I was pretty happy about how this one turned out. ^_^ I don't like that it's only about 6,000 words, which is ridiculously short, but I wanted to keep this scene all to itself. The next chapter will probably be the same length, but fifteen will be… a while. x3

Also, I would suggest listening to this chapter's song, too. It really, really explains/shows where Edward's coming from.