Something was wrong.
The feeling had been creeping up on me slowly, so slowly, but it was strong now; something was definitely wrong.
And it was something to do with her. Thea.
I had thought things were normal again. The imprint was back, and she had felt completely fine; to me, anyway. She had been sleeping, which made it harder to read her; and so I had worried slightly that maybe I wasn't picking up something I should be. But she had woken not long ago, seemingly happy and content, and so I had dismissed my nagging concern that she hadn't recovered from yesterday.
Now, though; now, I wasn't so sure about it all. She felt… different. Not like yesterday, with the imprint all confused and stretched; this was something else. She was still there, she was still close, and she wasn't sleeping, but there was something that had changed that I couldn't put my finger on.
And it wasn't until I overheard Quil telling Claire to stop that, she was going to get cold, that I realised what it was.
Thea felt cold.
Without consciously deciding to move, I was out the door and heading through the trees towards her. Because I could be wrong, but I was 90% sure that half-vampires didn't get cold. She was warm, like me; and through the imprint, she had always felt warm. It was a warmth that I liked, because nothing felt that way to me; she was an exception, her heat comforting and alluring.
But now the warmth was gone, and I didn't know why. It made my worry spike, because after yesterday, I was more than bit protective of her; and not just me, but the wolf also. The wolf wanted to find her, and to find her now, because it knew this wasn't to do with yesterday; this was something else, something bad. And even though logic said that being cold wasn't life threatening, the wolf said otherwise; and if I knew anything, it was that the wolf was almost always right.
I walked fast, too fast towards the house as it came into view, leaping up the stairs two at a time. I let the smells of the house fill me as I breathed them in, but even knowing that no one but Thea's family had been here didn't calm me. I was probably just imagining it, but the house seemed quiet; too quiet, even though I could Thea's soft breaths from inside. Worry made my voice hesitant as I called out for her.
'Thea?' The silence that followed was pressing, and I felt my fear jump up a notch at the lack of response as the seconds ticked by; I knew she could hear me, and it scared me to think of why she wasn't answering. In a rush, I pushed through the front door, the unlocked wood swinging open easily. However, I found myself pausing just as I crossed the threshold; because the quietest sound had just reached my ears.
'Jake.' It was barely even a whisper, and for a second I was stunned by how weak the word sounded from her lips. But then I was surging forward, my large strides fast as I hurried down the hallway, concern consuming me as my eyes frantically searched for her. What had happened, what was wrong, to make her sound so feeble? I wasn't sure I wanted to know the answer.
But even though I knew something was wrong, and even though I was searching for her, I wasn't expecting the sight that met me as I turned the corner.
My eyes flew first to her bedroom, the door open wide, but a quick glance was all I needed to realise it was empty. Thea wasn't here; but she was close. My gaze roamed the corridor then, which was strangely dark; a shadow on the ground at the end caught my immediate attention. It wasn't until I took a slow step forward that I realised my mistake; that wasn't a shadow.
That was her.
That was her, her body crumpled on the ground, her hair a dark wave spread across the floor.
'Thea.' The word was quiet and strangled, escaping me without thought. I was moving towards her before I even had the chance to think, my breath catching in my throat as I fell down beside her. For the first time I noticed that not only was she sickly pale, her usually tan skin almost white, but she was trembling, her closed eyelids quivering as she breathed fast. But even though I could feel her through the imprint, it didn't sink in as to why she was shaking until I slipped my arms around her, and felt with shock her icy skin.
Cold. She was so, unbelievably cold. The imprint hadn't done it justice, because as I pulled her against me I could see her shivering, her body radiating a fierce chill. But even worse than all of that, even worse than finding her almost passed out on the floor, was the fact that I had no idea what was wrong.
And I had no idea how to help her. I didn't know why she was like this. An hour ago she had been fine, I was sure of it. And yet somehow, even though no one had been here, and even though she hadn't left the house, she was now limp in my arms.
Almost the same thing had happened yesterday, but this was ten times worse; because yesterday, I had known what had happened, but right now, I knew less than nothing. And that scared me, scared me badly, because what could possibly have happened for her to be like this? I didn't want her to be like this; the imprint hated seeing her like this.
But I didn't know how to fix it. I needed her to be awake, I needed her to be well, but I didn't know what to do. I had to help her, save her, but I didn't know how; and it was killing me. Fear from the imprint had taken hold of my brain so that all I could think was that she needed to wake up.
She needed to wake up
She needed to wake up.
A sudden burst of heat yanked me from blackness.
I whimpered softly, the heat burning against my cold skin as it seared through me. I shuddered at the feeling, for a second overwhelmed by it all. But even though the shock of it was painful, I couldn't help but be relieved; for two reasons. One, because it meant I was awake again; and not dead. And two, because I knew what was the cause.
Jake was here. He was everywhere, his warmth seeping into me, and I couldn't help but sigh softly; Jake was here. But as reassuring and comforting as he was, I couldn't deny that part of me wanted to have stayed unconscious; at least then my head wouldn't be consumed with such a fierce pounding I could barely think because of it. But even though it hurt, and hurt badly, I forced myself to think; because something had caught my attention.
I could hear something.
At first it didn't register, the heavy silence that had settled over me repressing the sound. It was an easy task, considering the pain that was still ripping through me; the agony in my head made it impossible to focus, the world nothing but burning blackness. But the muffled noises were growing louder now, deep thumps in my ears, and I couldn't help but feel that they were important.
I needed to know what the sound was.
And so despite the pain, I strained my ears, trying to concentrate on what I was hearing.
At first the noises remained meaningless; unidentifiable and subdued. But as the seconds ticked by, it slowly came to me that I knew this sound; I recognised it from somewhere. If only I could think when I had heard it before…
It suddenly struck me that the thumps had a pattern. A familiar pattern, one that almost made sense. But what was it…
In a rush, realisation struck.
Jake. The familiar sound was Jake, his wonderfully deep and rumbling voice the pattern I could almost make out. And the pattern was words, words he was speaking; words I needed to understand, but couldn't quite yet...
My name. He was saying my name. And he was saying it with such concern, such need; it made it even nicer to hear.
'Thea, wake up.'
The concern was still there, sharper now; I could hear the hint of panic in his voice. If I could have, I would have frowned; I didn't want him to be worried.
And then there was the words themselves; wake up. As if I could just choose to wake up. Didn't he realise that I couldn't? Didn't he realise it was all I could do to just make sense of his voice, and to not crumple under the pain that was splitting my head open.
'Wake up, please.'
Dammit, why did he have to say that? Whenever he asked me anything, every instinct in my body screamed at me to do it. It wasn't that I didn't want to wake up; I did. But already I hurt, hurt too much, and being awake was so much worse; I couldn't do it. I couldn't, but Jake wanted me too.
Jake wanted me to.
'Jake.' I breathed his name; or at least, I hoped I did. I hoped he heard me, because I needed him to; I needed him to help me.
'Thea?' The relief in his voice was almost overwhelming. 'Thea, what happened?' He asked softly, his words packed full of worry once again. I wanted to answer, but I couldn't seem to make a sound; if I could have, I would have moaned in frustration. I didn't have a clue how to explain everything, but I wanted to at least try; I wanted to at least try and save myself.
'I need you to tell me what's wrong.' Jake said, his voice somewhat urgent as he spoke. The urgency spurred me into speaking, though I had no control over what I was saying; my brain didn't connect to my mouth anymore.
'Cold.' I croaked. 'It hurts.' I whimpered, and I thought I might have heard an angry growl in response. I wanted to tell him more; I needed to tell him more. But again my voice had disappeared, and my words were nothing but silence as I tried to speak.
Poison, I wanted to tell him, but my body wouldn't let me.
I'm dying, I tried to say, but the words were nothing but a soft sigh.
'I need to know how to help you.' He said, desperation adding a fierce hardness to his tone.
Help me. Jake wanted to help me. But he needed me to tell him what to do. I knew what he had to do, I just had to tell him. I had to tell him.
'Border.' I whispered, so quietly I wasn't sure he could hear it. He needed to take me to the border. That was the only thing that could save me.
'Border? Thea, I don't know what that means.' Jake said with confusion, and I could hear his panic making him frustrated. I knew the feeling; once again my voice had gone, and not being to tell him what I needed to was driving me crazy. I couldn't tell him. I didn't have the strength to tell him. But he needed to know.
He needed to know.
'Sera.' I said softly, hoping he would understand. Sera knew, Sera could help; Sera could tell him what to do.
And she would have to, because with a terrible lurch, I was suddenly overcome with a disorienting sense of wooziness. I heard Jake say something else, but I couldn't make sense of it; once again, the words were muffled and meaningless in my ears. I could only hope he had understood what little I'd been able to say.
And with that final thought, I found myself once again forced into empty blackness.