The Mythical Creature's Guide to Living in the Modern World (9/23)

"I grok people. I am people… so now I can say it in people talk.
I've found out why people laugh. They laugh because it hurts so much…
because it's the only thing that'll make it stop hurting."

Valentine Michael Smith in Robert A Heinlein's Stranger in a Strange Land

Chapter Nine, Kappa

I didn't know what I was going to do. I mean, it was just spectacularly great.

Today was the first day of classes at the Rez school, so I'd shifted to the night patrol so Seth could get some shut-eye and be well-rested and all that shit, and was now taking up the morning patrol 'cause Jake, obviously, was in school, and I was going to be exhausted after this first week, while my body got used to the lack of sleep I was going to be forcing upon it. I didn't honestly think Sam would keep the younger kids out of school on the first day just to attack the Coffin Creeps. He was real big on doing the proper thing by society... I wonder if that meant he'd get around to marrying Emily one of these days or wait for her to be knocked up first? I'm only asking out of curiosity.

But it did mean that I was alone on Cullen land. With the Cullens. It was kinda creepy, not to mention potentially hazardous and annoying.

So I caved. The first three hours of nervous running of the borders was more then enough, so when I ran across Emmett returning from hunting (shudder), not only did I about jump him (in a completely asexual, murderous way), but I agreed when he asked me if I wanted to watch a movie or something.

It wouldn't have been so bad, I really think, if that something didn't turn out to be Rock Band and nearly his whole coven seemed to have forgotten they had jobs and other human-like things to do. After being savagely toasted for a seventh song in a row, I tossed down the controller. "This totally sucks." I can't understand why, when he's playing to loose and I'm just trying to hit the notes, he still ends up finishing the songs without failing out. And failing out. And failing out. "Why did I agree to this?" My nose hurt, my eyes were now seeing spots thanks to some of the psychedelic backgrounds to the songs, and I was pretty sure that the mind-raper and his Lock Ness daughter were laughing at me. Stupid sparkly vampires.

"Because," said the midget, putting her call to her stockbroker (yes, throughout all this she'd been on the phone to her stockbroker, it turns out, rather then ordering from some bizarre European clothing designer, which I only realized when her walking care bear of a husband asked her something about it) on hold for a moment, "we have every werewolf movie ever made."

"We can still do that. We've not seen The White Wolf in ages, or The Beast of the Yellow Night, or Legend of the Werewolf, or Werewolf in a Woman's Prison..."

His platinum blonde wife broke in, "...or Lady and the Tramp."

"Children," the brunette – Esme, who even now was baking in the kitchen, several rooms away – admonished them, "that's not how you treat a guest." It smelled like she was going to bribe us this time with seven layer cake. And brownies.

However you treat a werewolf guest, it somehow involved me being bored enough to watch through the two males – Jasper and Emmett – fight over the TV remote at super-speed and end up rooting for opposite teams in a Spanish-language soccer game while their wives watched on, the former's eventually giving up on her stockbroker and trading online herself, while the latter's was (of all things) knitting. For some reason, this fascinated me more then the soccer (of which all I could understand, despite having taken Spanish in high school, was, "Something something shoes... something very well something something. Gooooooooaaaaaaaallll!), because, primarily, it was just bizarre to me and, also, because she was doing it at human speed. Ignoring and ignored (hopefully) by the thought robber, his airhead wife, and their little liability, I wound up watching her for half-hour before she snapped at me, "Is there a reason you're staring at me, cur?"

I held my hands flat, near my chest, "Oh, yes. Please play fetch with me," before snorting and lowering them. More seriously, "What're you making?"

Either she was stupider then I thought and forgot for a moment how to talk, or she was taken aback by my politeness, "A quilt."


"Because Renes-"

"No, I mean, why are you making one? I figured you guys were so loaded that you had stacks of stuff just waiting to be used."

"Not blanket wise," she informed me. They might have been freezing cold, I supposed, but the upside of that and their chronic insomnia meant that probably didn't need them. They didn't need jackets either, but I'd seen Tiny Tina's closet and knew they'd plenty of those. "And it means more if you make it yourself."

I was suddenly struck by several things that I never intended to know or care to know about a vampire: however much she hated us, however many insults we might trade, she'd have traded anything to be in my place, because I was more human then her, and she'd have given anything to be human again. That's why she'd helped Bella through her pregnancy. It was why, in part, she and the others went to high school and college over and over again. Why she was knitting at human speed.

God. Sympathy! I was feeling Sympathy for vampires! Oh, agony! Oh, pain! Somebody, please, save me before I forget they're our mortal enemies, the reason for all my pain and suffering!

So, yea, that's why when, a couple hours later when Doctor Tick returned from where ever he'd been, he was initially greeted by me shouting, "Stupid piece of dirty, cross-dressing, cum-drinking, Ricky-Martin-loving, fascist sheep's ass! Why won't you purl!"

To which, for a moment, the yarn seemed to respond, "Hello, Leah. Having difficulties are we?"

I swear I would have gone off if I hadn't realized (only by one of the leeches greeting him by name) that it was Carlisle, not the yarn, talking to me. "Err, yeah," was all I could respond though, because I had to yell at his mind-reading son instead to stop laughing at me.

"Carlisle," he said through his laughter, making me even angrier, "Leah wanted you to run some tests on her."

I did?

Apparently the Doc was curious about this too, because Edward seemingly randomly said, "I'm curious too, and it won't effect Jasper and Alice's bet either way."

Oh, yes, he was more concerned about his freak sibling's bet then whyever he thought I needed tests done on me. Feel the love, people.

"That'll be great."

What would be great you imbecile? Fill us non-monstrously freakish freaks of nature in why don't you?

"Edward is merely interested in seeing your recent... change in smell might be caused by a genetic component, or if it is merely physiological."

"And he couldn't have just said this why?"

Apparently Doc didn't have a clue either, though he did have a room full of medical equipment in which he drew a sample of my blood, hopefully not for a midnight snack, and pulled a couple of my hairs from their root. He tried to explain to me the tests he intended to run, but I wasn't listening when he was (too worried that, though I apparently smelled like dog, the whole coven would come running in the room to kill me the moment he nicked my skin, and after that he started going on about how fascinating it was to be able to study werewolves, how boring the last 400 years had really been, etc etc etc, which bored me immensely.

I found myself anxiously awaiting Seth and Jake's return, even trying to make the damn knitting needles work for me after Carlisle was done instead of running headlong out of the place like they expected me to. Or I think they expected me to. But I missed the guys. Was worried about them, but actually kinda missed them too. I explained it away to myself that wolves were social creatures, and so you'd expect werewolves to be, and spending a day with mortal enemies learning how to knit is the kinda thing which brings out longing for pack. I also told myself that it meant nothing I missed the both of them, because, I mean, Seth was my brother and missing him was almost understandable, and I guess I was starting to like hanging out with Jake...

I refused to let myself believe it had anything to do with what he'd said the other night, whether it was true or not. I absolutely refused that. I wouldn't go through that pain again, not if Jake imprinted – or anyone imprinted, Jake was just an example, as he was the only non-related werewolf I came into much contact with any more – or I did, or anything. I'm happy right where I am. I can make it as I am. I don't need any one or anything to validate my existence.

It's not like every book and movie and play and song in the world is written about love and how great it is and how you need it to survive and how much it hurts not to have it.

It's not like they're right, and you actually need it, because it gives meaning to life and whatnot. Because what could be more meaningful then protecting my tribe from danger and making sure my brother and Jake stay in school and sleep and junk?

And I certainly don't, as far as anything but purest, Snow White and her freaking seven dwarves, friendship for Jake. And respect for his Alpha-ing. I don't like him, and never could. And never would, even if I wanted to. Which I don't. Emphatically.

Even if I can't help but notice every time he transforms now that he is pretty well-built, even for a werewolf.

Chapter Ten.