Episode VIII - Defeat
"Dave, stop!" Edward shouted sternly, his golden eyes gazing into my blackened orbs. The blazing skin of my prey felt hot against my frigid palm, and I could feel the thundering pulse against my throat. Anger, happiness, fear, and sorrow danced cacophonously in a torrent of enervating rage.
"Dave, you need to focus!" I could hear his voice, but he didn't dare step foot into the enigma of inexorable demise. Bella stood close by him, protecting him from what he feared. I knew who these people were, I recognized their voices, and I recognized the face of the young wolf who was dying in my hands. I was not losing my senses, I could not blame this on some external force compelling me to do the unthinkable. It was my own rage fuming inside me and the desire for real blood.
"Dave, please!" his voice rang, but not once did he leave the protective sphere of Bella. How I thought of him as a brother, let him invade my heart and almost replace Brad was incorrigible. My brother would not be hiding; he would mindlessly enter the deathly hollows in which I was eternally trapped and remain suffering with me until I could find a way out. No, Edward was not my brother and replacing Brad was just another mechanism Jasper tried to use to manipulate me. I would not fall for it.
"You don't care!" I shouted out, tightening my hold on one of the few people that probably did. His hot blood kept me glued to him as I struggled through my rage and thirst. "If he were dead, it wouldn't change a thing," I muttered as I sank my teeth into the neck I had already bruised time and time again. Emmett and Jasper tried to pry me away from the lifeless body, but they wouldn't be able to stop me. I succumbed to my powers completely, and total chaos compelled anyone who would try to stop it.
"No Dave, you have to trust us!" Edward screamed, grabbing my arms as Jasper and Emmett started a duel that would ultimately lead to one or both of their deaths. Edward shouted out in pain as Bella's shield collapsed and he slipped into the darkness of my powers.
"I can feel it all, I can feel distrust in each and every one of you," this voice was not mine, the thoughts were not mine, but the image of Jasper's plan was all that drove my actions. I saw the master plan; I saw what Jasper had asked of the others. The Cullens knew that they could not attack me directly, but if they could feign defeat, manipulate the situation to make it seem as though I was in trouble, Brad would try to save me and the Volturi would immediately thwart him. Jane, Alec, Demetrix, and Felix will all attack him directly and having been given strict orders from Jasper, Bella's shield would not be helping the one person who needed it most. Upon his death Siobhan's powers would skew the battle into their favor, and they would easily be able to rip through the Volturi, Brad's powers and his safety no longer a debilitating concern.
"Dave, you're going to kill him!" Bella howled as I felt the musky blood fill my mouth. I never imagined I would ever enjoy such a thing, but the demon inside of me had awakened. Angry that nobody here could be trusted, nobody valued the life of the person I cared for most. No one could understand the pain I was going through, how I turned into a monster to try and protect the one I needed in my life, only to become weaker, incapable of defending him and putting many more at risk with my inability to control my thoughts, my emotions, and myself.
"I understand," the voice was magical.
"What?" I called out to the voice I hadn't heard since the day that destroyed Brad.
"I understand you are frustrated and feel that no one is on your side, but I am," she smiled. Her bright face, the browned skin and hardened features from raising a family on her own. "You have to be the strong one. Trust, forgive, and everything you could ever want will fall into place."
"Bradley can take care of himself. And when he needs you, you will be there. But you have to take care of yourself or you won't be around when he reaches out a hand."
"There's nothing to apologize for," Esme said as she pulled me into a tight embrace. I stared horrified as Carlisle desperately worked on Jacob's motionless body. All the vampires in the room had their eyes on me, but not a single one was angry. I sensed no hatred, only love, compassion, and understanding. I was embarrassed, embarrassed that I had allowed my unnecessary anger and resentment control me. The desire to protect my brother combined with the acceptance that I had already failed led me to a destructive path where I almost crushed the only hope of his survival. I destroyed a family, a loving family who with all their heart wanted to help.
"I'm sorry..." was all I could say, and I finally understood the pain Leah endured upon becoming a wolf. Surely the Cullens felt the same about me the way the wolves felt about her.
"None of us feel that way," Edward stood, his body shaking and his face a dreaded mess of fatigue. Bella now held onto him tightly, clearly projecting her shield onto him. "We don't blame you for any of this. Your powers are something none of us could imagine coping with. But we are your family and you have to trust us."
"I'm sorry..." I couldn't think of any words to say and I knew my meager apologies could not reverse what damage was done.
"I need him in the operating room," Carlisle spoke quickly and quietly, protecting my ears from the truth of what I had done. Jacob could possibly die from my hands. I was a murderer.
"It wasn't your fault," Esme assured me. "And he's strong, he'll pull through."
I wanted to believe her, but I could hear his screams, feel his aching muscles begging for oxygen, but lacking the blood to supply it. Could a wolf really get a transfusion? Were there any drugs that could possibly help him? Carlisle was a miracle worker, but never had he rescued a werewolf seconds away from the face of death. A death that only I would be responsible for no matter how much the Cullens and the others would try to convince me that it was out of my control.
"I...I'm sorry!" I shouted before ripping myself away from Esme and running off into the snowy trails of New Hampshire. I could hear their pity, their concern, the fear of losing one of the strongest fighters we had. Even if he pulled through, he wouldn't have the strength to fight in a battle that was days away. Without the alpha male, who would lead the pack of wolves into battle? Now Jasper had to reformulate an entire strategy, which unfortunately involved assigning vampires to fend me off if I became violent again. He didn't have enough fighters to sacrifice any to babysit me, but I could not be trusted. Bella was falling apart at the prospect of losing Jacob, the one who completed her and filled in everywhere Edward was lacking. The perfect man who protected her daughter with every bit of his life. I ruined the family, I diminished the infinitesimal chance of actually beating the Volturi and saving my brother. It was hopeless.
"Is your brother as weak as you?" the voice pierced me in the way it did the first time we spoke.
"I need to be alone," I muttered.
"You don't deserve to be alone," she spat at me angrily. "You deserve to bask in the hatred of all the others, suffer in the pity as you watch Jacob die before you."
"I need to stay away from everyone before I kill someone else."
"You think running away is going to solve anything? You swore to protect him, so you better figure out a way how. What a sad excuse for a brother you are."
"Don't you dare-" I started.
"Shut up!" her voice roared like the piercing howl of an arctic wolf. "Not only are you pathetic enough to give up on your actual brother, but you run as the closest thing you have left suffers from wounds you inflicted. If you had any humanity left in that monstrous body of yours, you would be beside him every second he has left praying for him to survive the way he stood, coaxing you out of your own misery even as you were slowly killing him. Jacob is a real hero. You're a pathetic waste who doesn't even deserve this affected life you're living now." She transformed and ran off, leaving me soaking in anguish.
Was she right? I thought back to the many times I let my friends down. How many times I let Brad down. And in the final moment I had to make things right, I let my anger overcome me. Rather than fully support his decision to move and start his life over, I unconscionably reprimanded him, telling him that running away would solve nothing. Now I hypocritically run away from everything, unable to face my own demons. I was a coward.