Little Paw, Big Paw

Author: Hannahbee

AN: A few days after I saw Eclipse (damn, that movie was a dissapointment, but I'll spare you the rant), I had a dream (not telling cause I don't want to spoil) and it spawned 2 new fic ideas. One of them has consumed me so much these past days, it has a fair chance of me actually writing it. I still need to do some research and probably read Breaking Down again (I shudder at the task) because I can't barely remember the book (I only read it once, that was enough, thank you), but I need it since the fic is about the LochNessie mess.

IMPORTANT NOTE: I stumbled into a plot hole. It's the scene when Jake realizes that Sam hurt Emily, even tho he loves her so much. BUT - I finally realized - Jake can't really know how much Sam loves Emily because he hadn't been around the guy before his change, except maybe official tribe-stuff (e.g. bonfires). So... Emily won't be Sam's imprint anymore. From now on it's Leah. I figured it's more likely that Jake's seen Sam and Leah together on more than one occasion. And I like it much better this way anyway. Poor Leah gets to be the only female wolf in the books (which has to suck majorly), but she doesn't even get to be her love's (Sam's) imprint?! I know there's supposed to be tragedy and fuck-ups in books, but it was too damn much. You can't help but feel for the girl, even tho she's so cranky. And since this is fanfic... I can do whatever I want. ;o) The previous part and this have been changed accordingly.


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Part 2


Once they had all settled around Sam's table, inhaling the meals Leah put on the table - but the tribe had prepared - Sam made good on his promise. He told the newest member of the pack everything he needed to know about his new way of life. Jacob seemed to take it all in stride, never complained until pack leader explained imprinting, his version and Jared's, who unfortunately hadn't had any say in it at all.

“Not that I’m not happy for you, but soulmates? What’s this? A chick flick? Do we get any choice in this wolf stuff at all?” the youngest Black asked, anger evident in his voice.

Luckily, he wasn’t shaking with it. Not yet anyway. It was still tightly under control. But Sam knew it was burning beneath the surface, waiting for an excuse to tear its way out of the boy turned wolfman.

“You can choose not to be a dick and help us out. We’re in the same boat as you.” the leader of the pack grumbled in dissaproval. And as soon as he had said it, he realized his mistake and held his breath, waiting for the explosion.

But nothing happened. Jacob quickly looked down, appearing to count the crumbs on his plate when he clearly felt scolded. Luckily, Leah came to the rescue and put another helping before him, dissolving the tension. He offered her a thankful smile in return and then dug in heartily.

All forgiven, all forgotten.

But Sam had a vague idea what might set their newest wolf off. The manchild had lost his mother early, had to grow up too soon and taken care of his father while his sisters had escaped the plain life the reservation destined for most who stayed behind.

He had not complained of course. The thought had probably never entered his mind. He was too generous with his heart, his need to fix people and things too engrained in his genetic and emotional make-up. But his childhood had been cut too short. It was a comforter with one too many holes.

Sam expected repercussions from that, knowing that the animal now living inside of them was primal, simple in its way of looking at things. It would expose Jacob’s need to decide something for himself, to choose what he wanted, not what he thought others needed. And that would ultimately clash with the responsibilities he’d have once he became Alpha. It was a volatile combination and Sam had no idea how to prevent the disaster that was already in the making and would destroy them all.

It was only seconds later that the current Alpha amended his thoughts. The disaster was not in the making, it was happening. All because he had reaveled that the Cullens were the Cold Ones who had drawn others of their kind near a few months ago, which in turn had caused the young Quileute males to phase.

Probably around the time Bella aprubtly left for a few days and came back with a broken leg and bite scars on her wrist, Jacob had deduced. But what had come out of his mouth was far more uncontrolled.

“Fucking Cullens! So it’s their fault we started phasing.” Not a question, but a statement of fact.

They had fucked up his life and turned it into a freak show. They had cut his childhood short and forced his maturity. They had taken away his freedom, his choices. He was beyond anger now, but he couldn’t let his pack brothers know. They needed his support, his strength as much as he needed theirs.

“Maybe.” Sam replied.

“Maybe? What’s that supposed to mean?” the youngest wolf questioned him, barely containing what he really felt inside about the fuck-up that had become his fate.

“They all left three days ago. Except for one. He went today.”

“A few hours before you phased actually.” Embry told him.

All the Cullens had left? But the real question was… with or without…

“Bella.” Jacob murmured to himself, but they all heard it anway.

“You can’t see her!” the Alpha in name only suddenly commanded.

“What the hell, Sam!” Jacob exploded.

There was the anger all of them had been waiting for. Sam motioned for his mate to retreat back to the kitchen, back to safety.

“You can’t tell me who I can see and who I can’t. “ the wolfboy continued ranting. “Just because she hangs out with those bloodsuckers.” He was shaking with fury, close to phasing.

“This is why you can’t see her.” was the pack leader’s response. “Now calm down. Right now you’re too dangerous, too easy to set off. You could phase anywhere, hurt someone without meaning to.” he further explained and threw a furtive glance at Leah.

Pain and sadness were mirrored in his eyes and Jacob remembered that the beautiful young Leah hadn't been attacked by a bear, it had been Sam who'd scarred her. He had hurt her, had had no control even though he loved her.

The youngest Black swallowed hard and finally submitted to the Alpha’s command with a quiet ‘okay’. He didn’t want to hurt anyone, not even accidentally. And especially not Bella.

And why was she consuming his thoughts now?

Sure, he’d developed a crush on her when they’d met again for the first time since her return to Forks, but he’d known her before. They’d often played together until she had moved away with her mother. Though he could barely remember that time. He had been too young to keep all the memories. But somehow they must have survived in his subconsciousness and triggered his first real crush on a girl.

Unfortunately, Bella had become too caught up in the Cullen. She barely noticed her childhood friend anymore, not even when he was visiting with his dad and she cooked them dinner. So he’d given up on her ever noticing him and he had turned his attention to the girls on the reservation. There had been handholding and a few shared kisses, but nothing serious.

And now even that was out of the question. At least for a while. Until he had himself under control. But even then he’d probably never share his secret. How was he supposed to do that anyway?

Maybe Bella could give him some pointers. After all she had been with a vampire. Then again, was asking her about it really wise? They’d all left. Why? Had she broken up with him? Or he with her? Would they have a long distance relationship? And why the hell did he care?

Because this was his chance to win her? Did he even still want her anymore? Would she even want him? She’d loved a vampire. Could she love a werewolf, too?

With that his thoughts came to a grinding halt.

“The Cullens are gone. Why did I even phase?” Jacob addressed Sam.

And can I undo it?

“Maybe because the last one hadn’t made a decision before then and you were already too deep in to stop it from happening.”

“Yeah, man. You almost cracked at school today.” Embry remembered.

“But we don’t need five wolves for one bloodsucker. It doesn’t make sense.” the young Black argued. “And I think Quil is close to phasing, too. He’s been running quite hot lately.”

“Fuck! Maybe something worse is coming?”

“It’s a possibility.” Sam admitted. “It’s not the first time Cold Ones were drawn here.”

“I can’t wait.” Paul’s eyes shimmered with excitement when he said it.

“If more are coming, we should widen the parameters, make new patrol routes.”

“And what about the treaty line?” Jared added.

“Fuck the treaty line. We’re protectors…” Jacob saw Sam opening his mouth to say something, so he held up his hand to stop him. “I know we’re meant to protect our land, our people, but let’s face it, if only Forkies start dying or dissapearring and we’re spared, it’s not gonna be pretty. And we owe it to Charlie.”

Sam nodded in agreement, but threw the youngest wolf a stern look to remind him who the leader was before he turned to all of them. “With the Cullens gone, we can ignore the treaty. For now.”

“We should bury that thing permanently.” Jacob voiced his opinion once again, not letting the Alpha have his say first. “It keeps us from doing our job.”

“Hey, I don’t like it either, but I didn’t make it.” The truth was Sam couldn’t change it, even if he wanted to.

He was not a tribe elder and certainly not the true Alpha of the pack. He just happened to be the first one to phase and the oldest among them. It had fallen to him to take the reigns until the true Alpha was ready for his role.

And there was no doubt in his mind that Jacob would soon take his rightful place. He was already taller, phased faster and more seamlessly than anyone else. He was also more controlled and didn’t anger so easily, if you didn’t mention the Cullens that is.

And if the subtle tries to undermine and question Sam’s decisions and authority were any indication, he wouldn’t stand it for long to take orders from someone else and not claim his rightful position.

But, the pack leader believed, the boy had to mature first, find out what it meant to take responsibility, not only for himself, but the pack, the tribe and the people of Forks, too, and to balance it with his own needs and desires. He needed guidance and careful tutelage. Sam would give it to him without question. But first he needed to have a word with him about his impending duty. And soon at that before he lost control of him.

Then speaking to all, the current Alpha said: “We patrol Forks, too. We need to get the lay of the land. Depending on how many are coming, we might have to patrol in twos. For now we stick to the old plan.”

They all mumbled their agreement.

Sam then turned to Jacob, who was lost in his own world, thinking that if the Cullens ever came back, the treaty would have to change. It would be even better to burn it. Maybe at a bonfire. That would be the perfect ending. After all they had encroached on wolf territory. No way would they receive such leniency again. Not if he had anything to say about it.

But I don’t, he reminded himself. I’m not Alpha. Sam is.

And said Alpha interrupted his thoughts. “Jacob, Are you all right?” He only got the ‘what kind of insane question is that’ look and smiled. “Besides being pissed off at the Cullens. Tired? Or do you feel up to joining me on patrol tonight?”

“Tired and restless. Let me talk to my dad first, then I’ll go with you. I can tell him, can I?”

“He already knows.”

“He knew the whole time?”

Sam only nodded, then realizing where the boy’s thoughts were heading, he said: “He wanted you to fully enjoy the time you had left.”

***

The next time Bella woke she was lying on a warm, comfortable bed. It was dark, but there was a soft glow of light coming from a garland of small lamps, illuminating her surroundings enough to let her recognize the room as her own.

Relieved, but slightly disorientated, she sat up and caught a light shimmer in her mirror from the corner of her eyes. Immediately, she snapped to attention and turned her head to investigate. She found a wolf with light fur lounging on her bed.

What the…

She jumped off her matress, but so did the animal. She turned on her own axis and still there was no one but her. She looked back into the mirror and only saw the wolf.

Because she was the wolf.

The bedtime stories her father had told her when she was still little were true. He was the Lone Wolf and she was his offspring. No wonder she was a carnivore while her mother was not.

She walked closer to the mirror to get a good look at her new self. She was pretty, beautiful even, more so than she could say of her human shell, even though she couldn’t make out the exact color of her fur. It was too dark right now. She could either wait for daybreak or try to change back and put a big light on.

And she would have to tell her dad.

Or maybe even show him?

She giggled internally at that, then patted to her bedroom door and faced the first obstacle. She couldn’t turn the knob with her paws, she’d have to do this in her human form. But how was she supposed to get it back? Simply will it? Say some magic words?

She laughed at that, but it only came out as a short bark.

Had her dad heard it?

She listened for a sign, but couldn’t make out anything but the natural sounds of the house. How well was she supposed to hear anyway? Her childhood stories hadn’t covered that. And she’d never bothered to learn more about wolves or werewolves, so it wouldn’t take out the magic of her bedtime rituals.

The only option left was turning back. But how?

Remember, she ordered herself, remember how the lone wolf did it! Concentrate!

Then it happened. Suddenly she seemed to grow, but it was only her body turning back into human form and adjusting to two legs. Transforming her dad had called it.

I still have my clothes on, she marveled, slipping her jacket off first.

They chan… transform with me.

But then her thoughts were drowned out by unbearable pain.

Crumbling to the floor, she cried out for… “Edward!”

And her body cried out for him, too, needing his soothing presence, his cool touch, his calming stillness, the exhilarating rush it felt when she went for a piggy back ride, the cold, hard contours of his body that never submitted to hers, the rare intoxicating kisses that always left her yearning for more.

Sweet torture.

But now it was excruciating agony.

And her body reacted the only way it knew to protect itself. It changed into the form that wasn’t so deeply affected.

Lying on the exact spot the human had been standing, she fell into a healing sleep, comforted by wolf dreams of running through the woods, hunting game, playing catch with the wind until she became the game, hunted by something so dangerous James’ attempt on her life seemed like child’s play compared to this new threat.

And no matter how fast she tried to run, how much she pushed herself, the danger closed in steadily. But suddenly she wasn’t alone anymore. A huge wolf was running next to her, his soft fur brushing against hers, transmitting his power, offering his protection and promising his… himself. And just as she turned to look at him, she woke up.

***

Jacob soon found out that knowing he was the true Alpha helped him shrug off the current Alpha’s order to not go anywhere near humans during his critical adjustment-phase.

Bullshit.

He could phase faster than anyone, could control himself better than them. He wouldn’t hurt Bella, he knew it as surely as he knew he needed to see her. Now that her bloodsucking boyfriend was gone, she needed a friend. And he wanted, needed to be that friend.

He was tired of Charlie’s sad excuses why she couldn’t come to the phone or receive any visitors. Clearly, the leeches’ runaway act had deeply hurt her. She was probably eating too much ice cream, not enough real food and feeling sorry for herself. No more of that. He’d make sure of it.

He just didn’t count on Chief Swan being so adament about letting nobody in to see her. She was in hospital, then contagious, then…

Sure. Sure.

Fed up with the lame excuses and the lies, Jacob tried to mow Charlie over to gain access to the house, but he wouldn’t budge. The chief was disturbingly, surprisingly strong, even though he was at least a head shorter than the young Black and hadn’t as much muscle mass.

With a grumble, Jacob pretended to give up and trudge home defeated. In reality he hid behind the trees and immediately took off his annoying t-shirt he’d only put on for Charlie’s benefit. Then he waited, watched from the woods until it was dark and the chief was alseep.

And when it finally seemed safe to venture forward, Jacob climbed to Bella’s window and peeked inside.

He didn’t find her, but the she-wolf from the woods was lying on her bed. Puzzled, but still curious he opened the window and climbed into Bella’s room, closing it behind him. A mistake and pleasure all rolled up into one. His senses almost drowned in her scent. Rain, forest, earth and warmth. And that’s when it hit him. The light wolf had smelled familiar because she was…

“Bella”, he sighed her name, but she didn’t stirr.

He sat down on the floor in front of her bed, tentatively reached out and touched her fur. She felt as soft as he had imagined, so he started stroking her pale coat and got lost in the soothing rhythm, almost succumbing to the lull and falling asleep.

“I told you she isn’t here.” Charlie suddenly announced his presence.

Jacob faltered in his movements. He’d been so consumed by her, he hadn’t even heard her father enter. Then again, how could he? Charlie was clearly the brown wolf and was probably as stealthy as the young Black could be.

“Really.” Jacob drawled. “And this is what? Her new pet wolf?”

It was a challenge, but the chief didn’t rise to the bait. “Yeah.”

"Sure, sure. I'm not stupid. I saw her…" He indicated wolf-Bella with a brief look. "… in the woods. A wolf almost attacks me because of her and suddenly she ends up in Bella's bed? Charlie, you're not the only wolf in human's clothing around here."

Things fell into place at once and Bella’s father grumbled his reply with displeasure. “I know that. But what do you want with her?”

There was so much agression in his voice that the boy was slightly taken back. He had never encountered Charlie Swan’s hostility before. And he sincerely hoped it would never happen again.

“The same thing you do. Love and protect her”, Jacob said and hoped his true intentions would convince her dad to trust him, with her and her heart.

“The Council didn’t send you?”

“The tribe elders? No, why should they?”

“No, the Wolf Council.”

“There’s a wolf council? Never heard of it. The only council around here is the tribe council. Don’t you remember the legends?”

Charlie snorted. “There are things you tell at a bonfire and some things you don’t.”

He was right. Not all Quileute were privvy to the story of the Lone Wolf who had fled his elders and sought sanctuary on the reservation. Jacob himself had only heard it when he was old enough to keep a secret, but he’d forgotten most facts. Maybe his dad could refresh his memory.

Or he could talk to the source himself.

“You’re the Lone Wolf dad talked about.” he surmised.

Whatever the reason why Charlie had run from his people, he’d always been good to the tribe and the Blacks. Jacob would see to it that the favor would be returned. The Lone Wolf had to be protected at all costs, he’d promised his dad long ago. It was no hardship to grant the same courtesy to the wolf’s daughter.

“I promise to protect your secret. Just like my dad promised you. And I promise to protect Bella. No matter what.” he vowed.

“I don’t care about what happens to me. I want her to be happy.”

Creases lined with anger suddenly appeared on the young man’s forehead. “Then why did you let her stay with the bloodsucker? You know that he’s a bloodsucker, right?”

“Of course. I’d hoped his involvement would keep her off the Wolf Council’s radar.”

Jacob’s eyes almost fell out of his head at this revelation. “And you thought a leech was a good idea? He’d have turned her into one of them!” He was way past exasperated. This was plain stupid. He had tried to keep it quiet, but he was too angry for that.

Still Bella didn’t wake.

And her father was not the least bit intimated. “Better than the alternative.”

“Damn, Charlie! What could be worse than her being a walking, talking, bloodsucking corpse?!”

“Her being mated to someone she didn’t chose and doesn’t love. For the rest of her life.”

The lack of choice, the lack of freedom, Jacob understood too well. Charlie must have run away from that and found refuge in La Push and Forks instead. The Wolf Council seemed to dispise vampires as much as the Quileute wolves did, Jacob concluded. And to keep his daughter from the same fate, the Cold Ones had been Charlie’s only choice.

Until now.

Jacob was bigger, probably even stronger than the Swans’ alternate forms. It stood to reason that he could protect her, no matter who came after her.

If they even came. So far the Wolf Council had stayed away. The question was why. Did they not know where their runway son was? That he had a daughter? Were they aware of the Quileute legends? Or did they not want to get involved with the resident vampires?

The latter seemed to be the most probable reason. If they believed she was a vampire, they wouldn’t be interested in her. But...

“Can you even turn a werewolf into a vampire?”

“I don’t know. I think they were considering it. Well, I had hoped they’d do it soon. Before she transformed. Maybe they tried, but it looks like it didn’t work. She transformed three days ago.”

The day I phased for the first time, the newest Quileute wolf realized. The day he left. Because she was a wolf? Or because he couldn’t turn her?

“But it happened too soon.” Charlie continued and Jacob focused his attention on him again. “She’s been in wolfform since the day he left. It’s like she’s stuck and sleeping all the time. It’s not normal for us.” He never showed much emotion, but it was obvious he was beyond worried.

“Fucking leech!” the youngest Black exclaimed.

Chief Swan only raised his eyebrows at the language.

“What?! It is his fault!”

There was no need to reply. Both were in agreement on that.

So the younger male asked instead: ”You haven’t slept much these past days, right?”

A silent nod was the only affirmation.

“Go to bed. I’ll watch over her.”

An offer? A command? Bella’s father didn’t care.

“Thanks, Jacob. You’re a good…” he almost said kid, but the he didn’t look like one anymore, not with his height and all those muscles. “…man.” he corrected. A young man who had earned his trust and respect long ago and deserved them now, too.

“We should talk to my dad and the elders soon. But our wolves should get together first. We need to familiarize ourselves with each other’s scents.”

“Good thinking. We’ll do that tomorrow. Good night, Jacob.”

“Night, Charlie.”

Relieved that Bella was safe, her father walked back to his room and got into his bed to catch up on all the hours of missed sleep because he’d been too worried to shut his eyes.

tbc...


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AN: Smut coming up next. I'll try to post it before going on vacation. I can't promise anything tho since I'll be busy with preparations.


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