His sheets still have Tonka trucks on them.

At 4 or 5, whenever it was that he got this bed, when they moved to this different house and he stopped having to sleep on a mattress on the floor in his sisters’ room, he’d begged for these sheets. Even then, he had the vaguest understanding of what it meant to be poor, and that they fit that criteria, and even at four or five or whenever it was, he felt a little guilty when his mother gave in.

They were some of the last things he remembers her buying for him.

That’s not why they’re still on the bed though—they’re on the bed because they still fit, and they don’t have holes in them, and on the rez, you make do. Especially if something isn’t broken, you don’t replace it. So he hasn’t, and instead, here he is lying down, staring at yellow dump trucks and bulldozers and thinking that this time, he’s probably really fucked this up.

She prefers him. After last night, that much is clear. And this is probably why he was stupid and got hurt-

“Go away, Dad,” Jake growls through chattering teeth at the shadow in the doorway. He got hurt, and that was stupid. He doesn’t need a reminder that his dad is worried about him for fuckssake.

But then he smells it—that unholy marriage of an overgrown lilac bush and and open sewer. Not quite the same scent as Edward, but it’s close.

The growl is rising in his throat before the doctor really has a chance to step into the room.

“Hello, Jacob,” he says, and his voice is gentle. He strides across the room and perches himself on the edge of the twin bed—it’s way too small for them both. “You were spectacular out there.”

The bloodsuckers are cold, dead, and they stay at the same temperature as the air around them, which must be what, around seventy degrees? Jake’s skin is at almost a hundred and nine now, and the difference makes the hand that is now on his shoulder feel so cold it burns.

He hisses.

“I’m sorry.” The hand is withdrawn. “I will try to keep touching to the minimum we can.” He gestures to Jacob’s right side. “May I?”

Annoyingly, Dr. Cullen’s bedside manner is impeccable. Jake nods anyway.

There’s a sharp intake of breath when the doctor looks at him, and the cold hands only touch in a handful of places before they are withdrawn again. Then he pauses, leaning back away somewhat as he sits.

“What,” Jake growls.

“You heal…very quickly,” the doctor says carefully.

“And that means what?”

A pause.

“What do you know about orthopedics?”

He narrows his eyes. “I think the better question is what do you know about orthopedics.”

Dr. Cullen laughs. “I know plenty.” He reaches down and its only then that Jake sees he’s brought a bag with him. He pulls a pair of bright blue gloves from the bag and puts them on, and the familiarity of it, the way it seems like this could potentially be any other doctor visit, strikes Jake as being out of place. The next thing he pulls out of the bag is a vial and a syringe.

Jake raises his eyebrows.

“Morphine,” the doctor explains. “Though, I’m worried it won’t work as well on you with your body temperature what it is.”

Another eyebrow raise.

“Edward mentioned your evening.”

“He told you about that?”

“He generally tells me everything.” He taps the side of the syringe with a flick of his finger, leaving Jake to contemplate the full ramifications of this. Does Edward tell the doctor that he’s jealous? About him being worried for Bella coming to the Rez? That he thinks of Jake as a threat?

The stab is so quick, Jake almost doesn’t notice it until the doctor is pulling his hands away.

“I’m sorry,” he says. “Let that take a moment to set in. I’m going to go talk to your father a moment.”

He disappears, leaving Jake staring at the Tonka trucks. His whole body starts to feel kind of…fuzzy would be the right word to describe it if he didn’t spend a good portion of his days being actually fuzzy these days…

It isn’t long before the doctor comes back, and now it’s not just Billy in the doorway, it’s Sam.


He’s glad Sam can’t hear him.

The doctor takes a deep breath as he walks over. “Jacob, I have bad news and good news.”

“Bad news.”

He nods. “The bad news is that your body healed too quickly for many of these breaks. In orthopedics, we need to set bones for a reason—otherwise, they heal in positions we don’t want them.”

He glares at the doc with half closed eyes. “So you’re going to…”

Dr. Cullen actually winces. “I need to break the fractures again. I’m sorry. The good news is that you heal quickly. And once I re-set these, you’ll heal again just as quickly as you did the first time.”

Jake looks up at his father, whose brow is deeply furrowed.

“Hey, Billy, why don’t you step out,” Sam says. “Not a thing a dad should see.” It’s the kind of thing Sam can get away with saying that Jake can’ puts a hand on Billy’s shoulder and guides him out of the room. But not before he calls back, “Now, don’t be a pussy, Jacob…”

“Thanks,” he mutters.

The doctor turns to him, looking a little apprehensive.

“You aren’t afraid of this, are you?” Jake says. “‘Cause if you are, this shit’s off…”

He chuckles. “No, not at all. It’s just that…well, this is going to hurt.”

Jake feels the bone snap before he actually sees the doctor move. He doesn’t actually see the doctor move. Dr. Cullen still sitting there, calmly as ever, just that now Jake’s leg is bent again like it was an hour ago.

And it hurts like a motherfucker.

He gasps.

“I’m really very sorry, Jake. The morphine will burn off faster than I can keep up with it, but I will do my best.”

He doesn’t move again, but somehow there’s a sharp pain in Jake’s side. That was what, three ribs? Four? A noise rumbles out of his chest that is decidedly girly.

“For fuck’s…please.”

“I can’t stop until I’m finished, Jake, I’m sorry,” Dr. Cullen answers him.

“Fine. Then…do something. Talk to me or something.”

“About what?”

“What happened? After?”

“Oh that.” Dr. Cullen looks at him very calmly. “Your brothers and sister are all safe.”

His elbow is next. This time what escapes Jake’s lips is something like a cross between a goose honk and a rattlesnake.

He doesn’t fail to notice that Dr. Cullen calls them his brothers and sister, though.

“Why brothers and sister?”

Dr. Cullen frowns. “That’s what they are, are they not? It’s a brotherhood, this pack. A family.” This one is a light stinging and Jake realizes he’s been hit with another shot of morphine.

“Good, good,” the doctor mutters. “They are a family, yes?”

He hasn’t thought of it that way, but he guesses the vampire is right. Quil and Embry have always been like his brothers, and Leah—well, she’s just as annoying as his real sisters. And when Sam isn’t being completely overbearing—

“Well, my family appreciates your family’s help.” There’s a disgusting sucking noise as his shoulder pulls out of its socket and is jammed back in. “I’m sorry that this happened, Jacob, but I’m very grateful to you.” He leans back. “That’s the last one. I need to immobilize them, but that shouldn’t hurt nearly as badly.” Other things appear like magic from the bag: brown stretchy athletic bandages and some sort of material that requires Dr. Cullen to get up and go to the bathroom before it can be shaped to Jake’s legs and arm. And then the doctor is working at a human pace, slowly winding the bandages around the splints. Jacob watches him with half-closed eyes.

“We were protecting the tribe,” Jake manages, but it comes out as a slur.

The doctor nods but says only, “That’s the morphine starting to kick in.”

Slowly, things begin to disappear back into the bag, and the doctor is checking him over. His eyelids feel very heavy. There’s another little sting, and then the sharp snapping that is rubber gloves being removed and the soft ping as they land in the trash can on the other side of the room. He feels, rather than hears Billy come in.

“He’ll be just fine,” the doctor says quietly. “Thank you for letting me treat him—I was concerned.” The old mattress springs up ever so slightly when the doctor stands.

“Hey, Jake,” he says. “Thank you again. All of you. We could have lost our family today.”

“We were protecting the tribe,” Sam’s voice says gruffly.

“So you were. But in so doing, you protected my family. And I will never cease being grateful to you for that.” There’s a rustling as the doctor shoulders his bag, and then footsteps in the hall, and finally Jake hears the front door open and close, and the purr of that sweet black Mercedes.

Jake hears these last words echoing in his head. “You protected my family.”

Family. The pack, sure. His brothers, older and younger, and the one sister who in her fierceness held her own. He remembers the Cullens, the way they danced around each other, killing as many as they could. The way the doctor and his wife fought back-to-back, the way the blond soldier seemed to be everywhere at once, spinning around the tiny one that was his mate. The way the big brutish one took out five newborns at once.

The way that they were all fighting for Bella in the first place.

Maybe they were a family after all. An alpha, his mate, and brothers and sisters. Just trying to keep them all safe from danger. Willing to jump in and help another family, even if tonight it literally means breaking bones.

And as Jake succumbs to the fuzzy, morphine sleep, he thinks that the unfortunate result of all this is that he might have to stop hating the Cullens quite so hard.


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