Fire Becomes Ice

1. Change

The following night

"Edward, wait!"

The bell-like quality of Alice's high-pitched voice sounded more like a screech to Edward's ears. She was going to tell him not to go, though he could read the uncertainty in her thoughts. And the fact that Alice's head was aching was making her argument less credible. Jamming the key into the ignition of his car, he was trying to escape before she caught up to him, but to his dismay, her pixie-like features appeared at his window.

Her golden eyes pleaded with him. "Don't go. Please!"

Edward's face remained expressionless. "See you later, Alice," he told her, shifting into reverse.

A heavy sigh overcame Alice as she watched him pull out of the garage. Having heard the alarm in the clairvoyant's voice, Carlisle entered from the interior and joined her.

"What was that all about?"

She shook her head in frustration. "He doesn't listen."

Carlisle was confused. "Edward always goes to spend the night at Bella's house."

"Something's wrong, Carlisle. I had a vision that he arrived there…."

She had paused, and Carlisle encouraged her to continue, "And then?"

"That's just it. Nothing happened. I couldn't see Edward after that."

As soon as Edward exited his vehicle two blocks from Bella's house, he could smell the difference in the air. The normal woodsy, wet smell had been disrupted by something more pungent, a disturbing redolence that was distinctly canine. The moon was like a bright lustrous circle above, large and white, lighting up the cloudless sky.

The boy wolf was there, lingering by the tree, contemplating whether to climb up to Bella's window. It made sense all of a sudden – Alice's concerns. Of course she would not be able to see him with the pup around. He was troublesome and predictable, and Edward tried not to let Jacob's assertion spark his anger once again. The monster from within begged to tear the boy apart limb from limb. Though she had not made a big deal about it, Bella was clearly upset the night before as she relayed how Jacob told her that he'd rather see her dead than become a vampire. While Edward would not have minded Jacob disappearing from Bella's life, he would have preferred that the circumstances not leave her in pain.

Jacob had been mulling it over. He had been very sorry that he said it. Bella wouldn't return his phone calls, and Jacob was becoming desperate. Perhaps this necklace would appeal to her sense of forgiveness as Emily had suggested. A scent suddenly seized his senses, and Jacob turned in alarm at the smell that was burning his nostrils like some sort of noxious fume. Bloodsucker.

Edward said nothing as he approached, his pale features a mask of calm. There was no need for questions as his mind could already process the boy's intentions.

Jacob held up his hands. "I just want to talk to her."

Standing six feet from each other, their eyes remained connected. It was like a stand off, and neither was willing to back down.

"I don't think that's such a good idea," Edward told him. "You should leave. Now."

"Bella is my friend. You can't stop her from seeing me," Jacob shot back. His dark eyes narrowed threateningly.

"I think that you've successfully accomplished that all by yourself."

Jacob told himself to calm down, feeling the spike of anger within him already rising. He had not come here for a fight.

"I came to apologize," Jacob insisted.

"She doesn't want that right now…or your gifts." Edward was peeved by the thought of it. Bella had never been gracious about receiving any token from Edward, no matter how small.

Damned mindreader, Jacob thought, dipping his hand into his pocket as though the pendant alone would calm the flood of anger that was simmering in his veins.

"Get out of my head!"

"Go now, Jacob. Bella will forgive you in her own time, if that's what she decides. She's a lot kinder than you deserve."

Ready for a fight, Jacob challenged him to come closer. "Make me."

"I would gladly do so if it meant that Bella wouldn't be left to suffer for it," Edward told him reasonably.

He hated when the bloodsucker made sense. As much as Jacob longed to tear into that icy exterior with the deadly force of his jaws, he knew he had to control his temper. If he hurt Edward, Bella would never forgive him. Smart though she was, Bella had not even had the sense to know what was good for her. Defeated, his fingers curled around the pendant, which seemed to feel unusually warm.

"I know how much you care for her, and I know that you didn't mean what you said. For now, it might be better if you let me talk to her for you."

"Yeah, like you're going to do that," he spat.

"I am a man of my word."

"Why should I trust anything you say?"

"Because I care about Bella, and her happiness is all that matters to me."

There was something disturbingly honorable about Bella's bloodsucker, and it made it all that much harder to despise him, although not by much. Jacob couldn't believe that he was going to ask him to do this, and his pride would not permit him to say the words aloud.

Give her this necklace for me?

Edward wanted to say no. He wanted to tell him exactly where he could put that necklace. If he hadn't had to atone for his blatant over protectiveness over the past week, then he never would have agreed. Bella was not likely going to accept it anyway, he reasoned, and in helping Jacob's cause, Edward would appear to be the bigger man. Edward wasn't proud of his petty thoughts, but some human qualities still lingered within him.

"I will." At a human pace, Edward approached Jacob and held out his chalky palm, ignoring the doggy smell that made him want to hold his breath.

Trust did not come easy for Jacob, and though he now held the necklace in his hand, something deep inside was holding him back from relinquishing it. The being before him was his natural enemy, and every fiber of his being was on alert, ready to phase, strike, mutilate.

A low growl rose from Edward's throat, already hearing the aggression in Jacob's thoughts. In a flash, he grabbed the boy's wrist, holding it like a handcuff in his icy grip.

"Let go," Jacob warned, his teeth clenched together. It was true that the leech could overpower him now, but once nature took its course that certainly would not be the case.

Deep inside he didn't want this, but Jacob could already feel the heat and hatred coursing through his body. It wouldn't be long now.

"Let's not do this," Edward told him, reading the battle taking place in Jacob's mind. "Just give me the necklace, and I'll take care of this."

"No! Let go of me, or you'll be sorry."

With his other hand, Edward grasped the chain, but Jacob pulled back with his free hand. Too quick for him again, Edward's fingers gripped the round pendant and tugged it away.

Unbeknownst to the rivals, the tiny lightning symbol began to glow a bright yellow, and the fire that encompassed Edward's palm like a flame caused him to fling the necklace violently away from his grip.

It happened so quickly that neither of them could process it.

An electric jolt seized both vampire and wolf boy, sending a charge of paralyzing current, fierce and fleeting.

At first, Jacob had anticipated the predictable change about to take place in his body; he had fought it in the beginning, but had come to accept this as a part of his nature. But what began as a familiar pulse was quickly overwhelmed by a shock that he could only imagine was comparable to a bolt of lightning.

For Edward, not even Jane's agonizing assault in Volterra could compare to the violent rush of magnetic pressure that swam through his body.

It lasted only a moment, and disoriented, the two opened their eyes.

At first, Jacob thought he was looking in the mirror, but as his eyes wandered above and beyond his reflection, the surroundings before him were much clearer, sharper than he had ever seen. The colors, with only the light of the moon were as visible and vibrant as in the daylight. Even though he stood yards from the Swan residence, his vision could capture the small bits of peeling paint on the second story, and incredibly, the lacy texture of Bella's curtains as they swayed in the window. To his amazement, his ears picked up every little sound – the quiet chirping of crickets, the slight breeze as it pushed the leaves through the tree, the heartbeats– two of them, thrumming out of time inside the house. In closer proximity, his ears picked up another heartbeat, loud and clear, before him. It didn't make any sense as he looked to the figure that was his mirror image…

When Edward opened his eyes, he spied the image of himself…only his senses were now dull. His head felt fuzzy, and it was as though he had removed his 3-D glasses, and was now standing in a two-dimensional world. He had to squint to see the opening of Bella's window, and even then, it was no clearer than a painting that hung from a mile away. The sounds of the forest were faint, and absurdly, he could no longer make out the music that Bella was playing in her room – the signal to Edward that Charlie was in bed and that he was welcome to visit. Or the precious beating of Bella's heart. In fact, Edward couldn't hear anything- no tires hitting pavement from a mile away, no incessant thoughts from the surrounding neighbors…

Edward could even feel the furious pounding of a heart…inside his own body. His thoughts raced, uneven, unfocused, and he felt panic threatening to overcome him.

"Stop it!" Edward heard the image of him say, disgusted at his own voice as he spoke, only his mirror image was not reflecting his own emotions. The tall, pale body before him was covering his ears, and his brows were pressed together. "Just stop it, I said!" he said again, his twin's golden eyes darting around in fear.

"I didn't say anything," Edward replied, but shockingly, it wasn't his voice. Maybe he had gone mad.

It was true, Jacob realized. The image of himself had not said anything, but the erratic bits and jumbled ramblings were coming from somewhere. Jacob soon realized that what was coming from his look-alike were not words spoken, but rather thoughts and ideas – mental pictures and frantic reasoning. Disturbingly, he was bombarded by a variety of others, too. From a few houses down, he could hear them; their thoughts were loud and insistent, like the pecking of a woodpecker, and Jacob had to mentally drown them out. He found he could brush them to the side and still listen as well to every distinct sound, while still focusing on each thought. Bizarre.

His look-alike hadn't needed to speak at all.

What is going on?

Simultaneously, the two lifted their own hands before them, gasping in surprise. It was then when each realized that their mirror reflections were not reflections at all.

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