The Mythical Creature's Guide to Living in the Modern World (5/23)

"I like them."
"Yeah, but you like everyone, even people who try to kill you... especially people who try to kill you.'"

Dillon Hunt and Tyr Anasasi in Andromeda's "Banks of the Lethe"

Chapter Five, Zeta

People are idiots. Werewolves and vampires are no exception.

You see, I was just patrolling as usual when the screams started, and wouldn't you know it, I had to go all the way to leech manor before someone – Emmett, annoyed by my marching in and interrupting Rock Band, finally told me.

"Hey, mongrel, I was winning!"

I looked from the body-builder wannabe to the screen (showing that, the moment I'd unplugged his controller, he'd failed out of the song) back to the vampire. While I did so, a scream of pain echoed from upstairs. I cocked my eyebrow at him.

"We were trying to see who could get the lowest passing score. I was 80% done had only one and a half stars!"

"And you're not concerned at all, Tweedledum, about the screams coming from upstairs? Or are you just waiting for your turn at the bi-monthly torture session?"

Without looking, he plugged in the guitar again and restarted the song. Rather then the rock-level noise you might expect coming from the monstrous sound system, it was only a whisper, which was unfortunate, because it meant we got to hear the cries in full surround sound. "Torture is a delicate art... and gets boring after the first fifty years. Nah, that's just Bells."

It rather amused me that he was down here, playing a video game, while his brother's wife went through what had to be the most creepy labour in the world. It was something I would do. "Are they filming The Miracle of Birth: Supernatural Edition up there, or..." The or being the unsaid, "Is the goth-wanna-be dying?"

"Yeah. They're trying to get The Thing out of her without killing her. I couldn't watch – what little I saw was fairly gross."

Great. Something that grossed out vampires. Either that, or he was really worried about her and just wanted to pretend that she wasn't dying. "Great," I said aloud. "Jake up there?"

"Want me to tell him you stopped by?"

I blinked. Manners. From Tall, Blonde, and Jock? What is the world coming to? "Err... yeah. Sure."

I turned to go, but he stopped me, "Hey," indicating his plastic guitar controller. "Wanna stay and play a round?"

I blinked again. "Is Doc Lestat slipping tranquillisers into your morning blood, or were you just seriously brain-damaged as a child?"

"No. It's uppers. And fine then. I didn't wanna play with you anyway – you'd've contaminated the guitar, and then I'd have had to burn it, and this one strums the slowest too." Just for that I smiled at him menacingly and flopped, rather dishevelled, upon the nearest of the overly white couches. A remote was nearby, and so I grabbed it and turned off the Xbox and on the satellite. "I was playing that, you know."

"And I've been living at a rock without cable. So, unless you want to run a line out, I wanna catch up on America's Next Top Model." I didn't – not really, but it was the first thing I came across that wasn't stupid sports, stupid cooking shows, or stupid home design shows.

Two, apparently, could play that game, because he sat down next to me, propping his feet up on my lap, and yawning really loudly. At the end of the first set of commercials, "If you're going to be such a bitch, you mind getting me a beer?"

"Nuts-for-brains, I know you're on an all-liquid diet, but-"

"Fine then. Don't. Be that way. I'll just suffer her, beer-less, and-"

"As noble a pursuit as watching you get drunk may or may not be, I'm not your fucking maid-"

"No, if you were you'd have one of those-"

"You so much as think that thought and I will put your ass where your brains should be."


"All right," I said, launching myself at him, which frankly did nothing but bruise my knuckles on his I'm-so-chiselled chin, though it did cause him to fall off the couch in laughter, "You asked for it." A moment later, there was the sound of glass breaking as he rolled into the coffee table. He cut the glass as he rolled.

There was a sound on the stairs, and suddenly I realized that the shouts – the sound of Bella's labour – had stopped. I shuddered. As much as I didn't care for the little idiot, I didn't want her to die. Didn't want her to turn into a vampire either, but that was her choice. I knew what other people making choices for me was like, and hated it – that's why I was with Jake now. His pack, I mean.

"Will you stop," said Blondie, who was standing by the monstrously expensive piano with a bundle writing in her arms, "playing with the puppy and come meet your niece, Emmett?"

So the bitch had a daughter. Jake had said she was convinced it was a son. Idiot. How, with a mind-reader husband, did you not realize that?

There was a moment of coochie-coochie-coo-ing, and then came the question. "And Bells?"

"Edward's working on it. It might be too late... But at least Renesmee's okay."

Okay. I couldn't help it. I let out a monstrous bark of laughter. "Ren-es-me?" (I dissolved further into laughter with each syllable, and by the end my voice was as squeaky as a chew toy.) "She named the demon child that?"

Shrugging as if it didn't matter, "It's a combination of her mother's name and ours."

"And that makes it better?"

Her husband, who looked as if he wanted to agree with me, just continued playing with the baby. It was a wise decision, cause she had a temper. Which was exposed as she continued, "At least she has a husband."

"What is this?" (Though, admittedly, this bringing up of Sam and his imprinting idiocy was a low blow, even for her.) "Gone with the Wind"

"No, only that Edward didn't leave her for her cousin."

"No, he left her to be," I held up my hands for air quotes, "'noble' and let her sulk around the Rez for months like somebody killed her and forgot to tell her about it. So don't even bring Sam into it. Not when your best card is The Brooding One was guilted into coming back to her."


"Rose," interrupted Emmett gently, "maybe you should try to find something for Renesmee to eat?" Now what would a half-monster child rather eat? Human brains or the blood of innocents? Hmmmm...

Blondie offered me her best evil glare then spun, haughtily, towards the kitchen. Her husband shrugged at me and followed, leaving me alone in the still mostly standing living room. Bad idea. What to break first?

I had no gum, but for some reason there had been a bowl of hard candies on the table, which now were spilled across the floor. I stepped on a couple of these (which hurt in bare feet) and ground them into the snow white carpet and took another one and, removing the game CD, jammed it inside the Xbox's disk drive. Childish of me, yes, but necessary. Besides, it wasn't like they didn't have a thousand free hours they could spend cleaning the floor or the bucks to replace it.

I was stuffing stupid little decorative pillows under the piano lid when Jake came stumbling down the stairs. He was covered in blood and sweat and looked like an extra from a bad horror movie. And sad. So sad.

"Oh, Jake, I-" I felt for him. I really did. Which was kinda creepy, but I did.

But, hollowly, he interrupted, "Edward thinks the venom is taking."

Then she was going to be vampire. Another stupid, glittery, blood-drinking vampire. "Crap."

"Yeah," he shrugged, and looked lost in the big living room.

I swear having to take care of my nutjob brother and our Alpha is bringing out the maternal in me. Or, at least, the don't-be-a-fucking-idiot-ness in me that told them not to get the sleeping bags wet or, I dunno, eat dirt. "I'm taking you back h-" God, I almost called my rock home, "to the den," I recovered.

"No, I-"

"You look like a ball of yarn after the cat's done with it."

"I should-"

"-rest," I finished, leading him out of the haunted manor and mentally trying to prepare for the worst couple of days of my life once Sam and the others found out about Ren-fucked-up-name-me. "You can thank me with chocolate and expensive beer."

"I always knew you were an expensive whore," he tried to joke.

I punched his shoulder, then put my arm around it and dragged him down the slowly-becoming-worn path.

Chapter Six.