Seth -

But he caught the approaching scent on the breeze, and I read it in his mind.

Vampire. Bet it's Carlisle.

Seth, fall back. It might be someone else.

No, it's them. I recognize the scent Hold up, I'm going to phase to explain it to them.

Seth, I don't think -

But he was gone.

Anxiously, I raced along the western border. Wouldn't it be just peachy if I couldn't take care of Seth for one freaking night? What if something happened to him on my watch? Leah would shred me into kibble.

At least the kid kept it short. It wasn't two minutes later when I felt him in my head again.

Yep, Carlisle and Esme. Boy, were they surprised to see me! They're probably inside by now. Carlisle said thanks.

He's a good guy.

Yeah. That's one of the reasons why we're right about this.

Hope so.

Why're you so down, Jake? I'll bet Sam won't bring the pack tonight. He's not going to launch a suicide mission.

I sighed. It didn't seem to matter, either way.

Oh. This isn't about Sam so much, is it?

I made the turn at the end of my patrol. I caught Seth's scent where he'd turned last. We weren't leaving any gaps.

You think Bella's going to die anyway,Seth whispered.

Yeah, she is.

Poor Edward. He must be crazy.


Edward's name brought other memories boiling to the surface. Seth read them in astonishment.

And then he was howling. Oh, man! No way! You did notThat just plain oT sucks rocks, Jacob! And you know it, too! I can't believe you said you'd kill him. What is that? You have to tell him no.

Shut up, shut up, you idiot! They're going to think the pack is coming!

Oops!He cut off mid-howl.

I wheeled and started loping in toward the house. Just keep out of this, Seth. Take the whole circle for now.

Seth seethed and I ignored him.

False alarm, false alarm,I thoughtas I ran closer in. Sorry. Seth is young. He forgets things. No one's attacking. False alarm.

When I got to the meadow, I could see Edward staring out of a dark window. I ran in, wanting to be sure he got the message.

There's nothing out there - you got that?

He nodded once.

This would be a lot easier if the communication wasn't one way. Then again, I was kinda glad I wasn't in his head.

He looked over his shoulder, back into the house, and I saw a shudder run through his whole frame. He waved me away without looking in my direction again and then moved out of my view.

What's going on?

Like I was going to get an answer.

I sat very still in the meadow and listened. With these ears, I could almost hear SetlYs soft footfalls, miles out into the forest. It was easy to hear every sound inside the dark house.

"It was a false alarm," Edward was explaining in that dead voice, just repeating what I'd told him. "Seth was upset about something else, and he forgot we were listening for a signal. He's very young."

"Nice to have toddlers guarding the fort," a deeper voice grumbled. Emmett, I thought.

"They've done us a great service tonight, Emmett," Carlisle said. "At great personal sacrifice."

"Yeah, I know. I'm just jealous. Wish I was out there."

"Seth doesn't think Sam will attack now," Edward said mechanically. "Not with us forewarned, and lacking two members of the pack."

"What does Jacob think?" Carlisle asked.

"He'snot as optimistic."

No one spoke. There was a quiet dripping sound that I couldn't place. I heard their low breathing - and I could separateBella's from the rest. It was harsher, labored. It hitched and broke in strange rhythms. I could hear her heart. It seemed... too fast. I paced it against my own heartbeat, but I wasn't sure if that was any measure. It wasn't like I was normal.

"Don't touch her! You'll wake her up," Rosalie whispered.

Someone sighed.

"Rosalie," Carlisle murmured.

"Don't start with me, Carlisle. We let you have your way earlier, but that's all we're allowing."

It seemed like Rosalie and Bella were both talking in plurals now. Like they'd formed a pack of their own.

I paced quietly in front of the house. Each pass brought me a little closer. The dark windows were like a TV set running in some dull waiting room - it was impossible to keep my eyes off them for long.

A few more minutes, a few more passes, and my fur was brushing the side of the porch as I paced.

I couldsee up through the windows - see the top of the walls and the ceiling, the unlit chandelier that hung there. I was tall enough thatall I would have to do was stretch my neck a little... and maybe one paw up on the edge of the porch....

I peeked into the big, open front room, expecting to see something very similar to the scene this afternoon. But it had changed so much that I was confused at first. For a second I thought I'd gotten the wrong room.

The glass wall was gone - it looked like metal now. And the furniture was all dragged out of the way, withBella curled up awkwardly on a narrow bed in the center of the open space. Not a normal bed - one with rails like in a hospital. Also like a hospital were the monitors strapped to her body, the tubes stuck into her skin. The lights on the monitors flashed, but there was no sound. The dripping noise was from the IV plugged into her arm - some fluid that was thick and white, not clear.

She choked a little in her uneasy sleep, and both Edward and Rosalie moved in to hover over her. Her body

jerked, and she whimpered. Rosalie smoothed her hand across Bella's forehead. Edward's body stiffened - his back was to me, but his expression must have been something to see, because Emmett wrenched himself between them before there was time to blink. He held his hands up to Edward.

"Not tonight, Edward. We've got other things to worry about."