The Mythical Creature's Guide to Living in the Modern World (15/23)

"Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it."

Confucius's Analects

Chapter Fifteen, Pi

When I say I'm titchy as a wolf, I mean it. I did my reading once upon a time, and at four feet tall and almost twice that long, I would be considered a giant if I was a "normal" wolf. But not among werewolves. Nearly all the guys are bigger then me, with the minor exception with the freshmen who phased around the time of The Great Vampire-Lycan Battle of last year. Sam is the largest wolf I've ever seen, with the exception of Jake (I will not drool here), who I swear is still growing; he is easily five feet at the shoulders and nine feet from nose to his fuzzy little feather duster tail. And, also thanks to a little thing called "sexual dimorphism," which I prefer to call "the universe royally screwing me over yet again," I know that I am less well-muscled and my legs are comparatively shorter.

But I also know that I am faster, more agile, and almost a thousand times smarter then he is.

Sam lunged.

I ducked, trying to protect the soft squishy parts of my underside, raising my claws to rake across his. I missed, but so did he. And I managed to rake one of his back legs. And first blood to Clearwater.

As if from a great distance, I heard Jake and my brother shouting. God damn it! - that was certainly Jake – while Seth was going, Hey, jerk, leave my sister alone!

And then I saw the problem with my manoeuvre: I was pressed against the ground, and he had landed on all four paws. The only way I could wiggle away would be to roll over, but exposing my belly to my manic depressive ex was something that distinctly sounded like a bad idea, even in my head. Shit, shit, shit. Sam was too close now, and one sharp paw was lifting in my direction as I tried, unsuccessfully, to wiggle away. Shit, shit, holy fucking shit.

Where might you ask was Ed-weird, for whom I was now in this mess? Wasn't, you might also ask, he a sissy Victorian vampire man-child trained never to let a woman lift a paw for herself, think for herself, or even know the world was going to hell on the Red Eye around him? What about Mr. I-worship-at-the-altar-that-is-Dr.-Phil-McGraw? Hadn't he been there as well? Wasn't he some sort of Civil War solider? Didn't he spend most of his vampirical life, all hundred-and-sixty-something years, fighting mythical creatures, including and not limited to werewolves and other vampires? And weren't the Antebellum jerks supposed to be worse then the Victorians? Or were they the same...? I wasn't sure... And Seth, my sadly taller then me little brother, who seemed to have this idea in his head that it was him looking out for me and not the other way around? Should he, at the very least, been fighting at my side our tyrannical ex-Alpha?

Well, unfortunately for me and my soon-to-be-torn grey hide, Sam's lunge at the mind-reader seemed to have been taken by the majority of the other pack as a signal to attack. They were busy with the others, our old packmates, and I found myself worrying less about myself then about the young ones who were, after all, more cubs then battle-hardened wolves. And this really ticked me off. More then even Sam deciding to make fillet of Leah right here on this very unsanitary forest floor.

Instead of slicing me with his front claws, he used them to step closer to me and, in a vaguely disturbing when you thought about it move, bit down on my neck – like you'd do with pray, you know, to shake them dead.

I tried to curl up, ignoring the holy-mother-fucking-God pain that this caused, and kick out against his with my back legs, but, no matter how hard I kicked, I don't think he felt it – when he got angry, he'd never been able to think clearly, as Emily had come to discover – and it only managed to help him get a better grip on me.

Let's see, let's see... what do you do when you're being attacked by wolf significantly larger and heavier then you are? I think we covered this in the self-defence unit in sophomore PE... No, I'm serious, right before ballroom dancing and right after tennis. Oh, yes, SING: Stomach Instep Nose Groin. Well, stomach wasn't working very well was it... couldn't reach his nose... where is a god-damn werewolf's instep? Groin it is then... I'd rather hoped to avoid that part of Sam for the rest of my life. I shifted my back feet again – God-damn-ow! - and kicked again. And again. And again. May you never have puppies, you damn cock-sucking ass-wipe. Kick through the pain. Ignore the pain and curse and he might let go. Yes. No one's coming to save you. You have to fight for yourself. As always. So fight through the pain. That's for breaking up with me, I kicked. That's for shacking up with my cousin. That's for being the worst damn Alpha in existence, I think I felt his grip loosening, and I tried pulling away. I didn't get far, but I got somewhere, and continued to claw at him. That's for bringing the younger ones into this. And this,(yes, I was letting my "justifiable" anger problems spill over), is for the worst sex of my life.

And then I was free.

And then I saw why: while I'd not been paying attention, Jake had entered the fight. And he'd grabbed Sam by the leg I'd injured earlier and pulled backwards. I did mention how Jake is like the Mr. Universe of werewolves, right? Well, his abnormal growth was certainly paying off against Sam, for which I was very, very thankful, 'cause having my ex kill me is not something I want to explain to my father...

But, most interestingly, were the things that Jake was shouting at Sam, who most assuredly couldn't hear him, but I could. All the wolves (minus Paul and Jared, who were doing their own little fighting dances with Edward and Major Moody) had stopped what they were doing to watch the two Alphas fighting, and me on the sidelines, occasionally snapping at Sam to keep him in the "ring."

Anyway, through my random thoughts about how much I hated Sam right now (as opposed to the rest of the time) and my carefully suppressed thoughts of how hot Jake looked even as a wolf (danger, danger Will Robinson), I could hear his angry shouts to the unable to hear Sam: You retard, he shouted, as both he and Sam balanced on their hind legs, hackles raised and teeth bared, but it was Sam's ears that were pressed close against his head, haven't you hurt her enough already? Do you really think anything you could do here today could hurt her more then you already have? Or did you just want to see if you could do to Emily what you did to her?They were batting back and forth like wrestlers for while, getting and taking swipes that quickly healed on their forearms, and then, somehow, some way, Jake managed to get both paws behind Sam's ugly black head and, snarling right in his ear, press him to the ground. Why can't you get it through your head? Is it that full of shit? Why won't you just understand that I am the Alpha now and you were and always will be a cheap stand-in? He then went into the admittedly anti-American rant about how Ephraim Black's great-grandson was never meant to bow down to Levi Uley's, et cetera et cetera et cetera, followed by some very interesting ranting about using Billy as a distraction against his knowledge, and generally forcing him to probably ruin his engine because I was, apparently, going "mother-fucking-hen" about Seth's well being – all this while pinning Sam to the ground. And he kept pinning him down. Leah, he asked, are you alright?

Other then my neck killing me...


I think one of these stupid squirrels through a pine cones at me... And, indeed, my brother was glaring upwards, towards the nearest branch, as if he might find the perp and fine him now. How hard had Mom dropped him on his head when he was a baby? Or was it just the LSD she'd been tripping on?

Jake turned back to yelling at Sam, You're lucky they're both okay. Dad doesn't have the money to bail me out of jail for killing you... Then he pulled his paws off of Sam and trotted over to my side, presumably to make sure I wasn't lying about my injuries. Edward, would you like to do the honours of kicking Sam off your land, or should I?

In the end, though, it wasn't necessary, because Jake's just casual walking away seemed to do the trick, and the other pack – every last one of them, starting with Quil, Embry, and the younger boys, just drifted away. And Sam, like every bully, saw that his gang was gone, he left too, giving a small whine as he ran away.

So, said Seth casually, in the immediate silence as the vampires ran away to tell their ice-cold spouses what heroes they'd been, how was Billy's?

Jake and I both rolled our eyes at him. He wants us to work on giving him grand-kids.

Cool, Seth the Retard answered for some reason known only to his almond-sized brain; what are you going to call them?

As one, Jake and I both turned and shouted at my brother as we made our way, slowly, bumping into each other in exhaustion, SETH!

But did my idiot brother learn? Noooooo... Cool. I always wanted a nephew named after me – hey! He shouted as I snapped at him, half-climbing over Jake to do it, What was that for?

You were being an idiot again.

Er, Leah, our Alpha interrupted nervously, you mind getting off of me? It amused me that, while he'd just beaten up Sam, I made him nervous. Cool.

I looked down and saw that, yes, I'd two paws on either side of Jake's back. I imagined, from a different angle, he'd look like one of those over-loaded pack animals you see in old movies. I'm the one Sam attacked. I think that means I deserve a piggy-back ride back to the rock.


Oh, fine then, I clambered off as best I could, and gave a toothy yawn. I'm starving, but I think I'm more tired then hungry, and, rather then take the fork to the manor, headed straight toward the rock.

I understand... all the adrenaline from drifting the Rabbit and seeing you jump out of it have drained all the energy out of me.

I still can't believe we're alive.

Jake made it to the rock first, and sprawled on the first sleeping bag he came across. I couldn't rally the energy to clamber around him to mine, so I just flopped where I stood, landing with my head stretched across his back. I even let myself think for a moment how nice and piney he smelt, rather then the strange sea-salt of the other pack, as I closed my eyes. Oh, good, Jake said, noticing my head and rolling over so that we were facing each other (which forced my head from its comfortable position to by his own on the squishy sleeping bag), you remembered you owe me Oh-my-God,-we're-still-alive sex.

Jake... I said softly, fighting the part of me that was going "Oh, God, yes!" and the part that was telling me to punch him in the nuts for being so teenage boy.

I'm glad you're not hurt...

My neck twinged still, but that just proved what I'd always known: I was a pain in the neck, even my own. Me too...

I don't know what I'd've done if I let Sam hurt you again.

He was much too close now, and I could feel his breath on my muzzle, and I bet you he could feel mine. But he didn't move back. Neither did I. I don't know about him, but I didn't want to. He was warm and smelled soooo good and had just saved my life, possibly, and I knew that relationships based on intense experiences never worked out, but he didn't have to save me. Not while yelling at Sam for hurting me. I should have... where was my list of reasons why I should back away? I'd had it not that much earlier... imprinting... and him being younger... and wanting me to clean... I'm the one that knocked Edward out of the way. It was my fault he attacked me.

But still... I don't like to see you hurting...

More softly still, Jake... but he was moving closer now, if that was even possible, and even though my eyes were closed tight to convince myself this was all just a hormonally driven dream, I could feel him lick my muzzle. Slightly creepy, like the petting had been earlier, but, again, nice too. I couldn't deny a sound of lupine pleasure.

You mean a lot to me, Leah...

Please don't do this, I begged, not backing away, not moving at all except towards the sweet furball. You don't want to do this. You're just pumped full of adrenaline and-

I've liked you for a long time, Leah...

Don't do this, Jake... and then the thought that I tried to hide, the real thought that had kept me from pursuing any sort of relationship with anybody since Sam broke up with me... I'll ruin you... I ruined everything I touched. Maybe my relationship with Sam would have worked out if I'd been a better girlfriend. Maybe my dad would still be alive if I wasn't such a furry freak of nature. Maybe I'd have a chance, at anything, at being a better wolf, or a better daughter, or sister, or just being a better me and going to college or just fucking doing anything with my life, if I didn't seem hell-bent on burning all my bridges. All I was ever going to be was Leah freaking Clearwater, and I'd bring everyone around me down with me on my journey to hell...

No you won't. You're the most beautiful and honest person I've ever met. I want to be with you... I wasn't hearing this, I wasn't hearing this, this was all just a dream... now will you please phase so I can kiss you properly?

Chapter Sixteen.