The Mythical Creature's Guide to Modern Warfare (9/26)

"Causing people to suffer because you hate them is terrible, but causing people to suffer
because you have forgotten how to care... that's really hard to understand"

Julian Bashir in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: "Past Tense, Part One"

Chapter Nine, India

"I was hit on by a sophomore in a mouse costume today," I told Jake as he and the others entered the Cullens – well, all but Embry, who sniffed the house once and went to run the borders. He really, really disliked vampires. "How was your day?"

"The home ec class made cookies and Seth's spice rack fell apart the moment Mr. Reed touched it." They got cookies? I had to deal with a mouse and he got cookies? That is just great. I mean, positively, absolutely, fucking great. I'm like three steps from re-enrolling in high school, just to get some time off from these mind-raping, future-seeing, emotion-feeling, random-factoid-sharing vampires. I think I could honestly handle the blood drinking if it wasn't for all that. And the constant playing of video games. And the fact they have enough cash to wallpaper the manor. And the fact they made me babysit The Thing, who apparently thought it amusing to ask if I was trying to get pregnant when she should still have been like four months from being born herself if her daddy hadn't had mutant sperm.

Ew, gross. Vampire sperm. That's gotta be like the nasty version of the free-dried ice cream NASA tells you the astronauts eat. I mean, how could she even have had him in her without getting frostbite-

Okay, now I'm freaking myself out. Vampires are disgusting. Werewolves are cool. Or hot, I guess I should say. End of story.

Protesting, "The glue wasn't dry!" my brother insisted, taking the space I'd vacated and picking up the iPhone. "Cool, scrabble." He was like a puppy, I swear. He couldn't stay mad at anything. A ball of string would have distracted him.

As we all looked at him like he was insane (which he was), Quil asked "Sue was really on something when she was pregnant with him, wasn't she?" shaking his head.

"I dunno. I'm beginning to fear it might be genetic." If it was, that was another excuse I had to give Billy why I didn't want kids.

"What?" he continued, finding the now-cold pizza and taking a box for himself. "Toxic Idiot Syndrome?"

I hit him over the head. It just happened. "That's my brother your talking about. I'm the only one allowed to call him an idiot." Wow. I wasn't expecting myself to say that. I've spent too much time around The Spawn and her mad-scientist parents. I couldn't start being nice to my brother – it was like Emmett being right: world implosion worthy. Cue Death Star sound effects, the ones from Return of the Jedi, not A New Hope.

I seriously need to get out more.

Rubbing his head as he sat down beside Seth, "God, you're a bitch today."

It was only Jake, arms around my waist, that kept me from going at him. I did not need any more stress today, not after the stupid vampires, not after the stupid goose-honking mouse, and especially not about this wonderful, National-Geographic-special-worthy werewolf-in-heat thing I was now being forced to deal with in addition to every other werewolf-created insanity in my life. "It's only Quil, Lee. He's not worth it."

"I feel so loved, man."

"You feel loved?" Seth insisted, not realizing he was sitting next to a genuinely amused vampire as he reached for a slice of pizza. "All I've heard for the past few months from Leah is Jake-this, Jake-that, fuck-you, whatever. After all the things I've done for her too."

I chose to ignore them and turn around. In truth, he was probably right – the kid usually was. He was like a fucking boy scout, and would so be an Eagle Scout by now if wolf business a) didn't get in the way of such things and b) counted towards a merit badge. Mr. Perfect I'd called him all of his 8th grade year. If I didn't like repeating myself, I'd have started calling him that again. So, forgetting all about Seth, I gave Jake a deep kiss, then continued nonchalantly, "So I gave the mouse your phone number."

"Was the pound out of cats or something, or-?"

"Well, technically, it's Billy's phone number, but I told the idiot I wasn't interested. Chuck E. Cheese has so gone down hill with the people they hire since we were kids."

"Snowing that bad in Port Angeles then?"

This is why I loved him: he caught on fast. No, "There was a mouse at the park?" or "What's Chuck E Cheese have to do with anything?" Just an, "Oh, it was snowing here, I guess it was worse in Port Angeles, where the leeches wanted her to take Nessie." Le sigh. "Unfortunately. And you know what the worst part was?" I told him anyway, "He asked me about my kid. I have mom hair or something. This werewolf thing just keeps on getting worse and worse you know."

"The Denali coven that bad?"

"Yeah." I looked over my shoulder at Kate, who was now telling Seth he could spell tailor, "Kate was telling me how her aunt was some king's whore-"

"Concubine," she corrected absent-mindedly, much the same way Cinder-Bella corrected her daughter's name every time we said Nessie. Wait? Didn't the Cullens say something about the Denali women being something like man-eaters? I must get her away from Seth...

"-and how 17th century Spanish kings were blubbering inbred idiots who wouldn't know their asses from a box of nails if you drew them a map, neon-lit the trail, and gave them a piece of string to hold. Personally, I think they sent some of their bastards to Forks, 'cause-"

"Carlos II couldn't have children. Which is a great boon to the gene pool of all mankind."

I rolled my eyes as if to say, "See what I have to put up with?" What I said out loud was, "Stay away from my brother, you toe-sucking, anal-raping excuse for an Eskimo whore, or I'll make you glad you've been out of the gene pool since Methuselah."

"Isaac, actually." The vampire stood up and offered a frozen hand to Jake. "The name's Kate. Tanya's the red-head and the other two are Carmen and Eleazaar. Don't be surprised if they don't talk to you. It's nothing personal. They don't like people who can rip them to pieces with their teeth." Wearily, Jake, a.k.a the hottest vampire on earth, shook it, quickly letting go.

"Well, what do you know Jake? Something the leeches and I can agree on after all." Seth and Quil looked up from the pizza, hearing this odd sentence when most their energies were upon food and scrabble, "I don't like people who can kill me either." It was true. I didn't like Sam, for instance. All the others were dead, so I guess I was ambivalent to them, but Sam I defiantly hated. He could spontaneously combust in front of me and I won't stop long enough to snap a picture for the National Inquirer.

Kate, while grinning widely, continued to stare at Jake without laughing. "Jake. Short for Jacob?" Jake nodded. "You are both aware, no, of the Genesis stories? Jacob was the son of Isaac, and Leah was his first wife." We both blinked at her. I think I saw Jake starting to blush from the corner of my eye. Well, now my day was complete – not the Jake blushing part, that was cute. It was adorable even. It made me want to do unspeakable things to him. No, I mean the vampires I hardly know making comments about Jake and me and marriage all in one sentence – and I could curl up and die in a heap somewhere like the conga-line in my fun places wanted me to. "Now, you must excuse me. As much as I would like to stay, I really must put in my bet with Jasper before the polls close." Polls for what, I didn't know, but I was sure I wasn't going to like it.

There were several moments before any of us spoke, the silence filled with annoyingly fast vampire chatter which, when they spoke high and fast enough like this, sounded rather like a dog whistle. I thought they were doing it on purpose. I really do. If I could find a way to get a fly buzzing in their ears all the time without them eating the bug, I would.

"Have I mentioned," I said at last, "how much I really, really hate vampires?"

"Not recently."


"We should start a club."

Of course, that meant we needed a name. "The Anti-Vampire Society?"

"The League of Legionnaires against Leeches?"

"I know, 'Beasts Against Bloodsuckers'."

"BAB?" Jake shook his head, "How about 'Beasts against Dracula'? Then we can be BAD and can wear cool buttons with our name on them without anyone thinking our names are Barbara or anything."

"You act like such a girl," I told him, "we should just start calling you Jacqueline and get it over with. Barbara is such a terrible name for an Alpha anyway – there's no ring to to it at all. I mean, who'd ever be scared of 'Barbara the Bad-ass?' when you could be 'Jacqueline the Jockey' or something like that?"

"Isn't your middle name Jacqueline, Leah?"

I brushed it off. "Mere coincidence."

"You know, if I tell Dad we're talking about names like this, he'll really start sending out wedding invitations."

"You just had to fight dirty, didn't you?" I glared at him. "See if you get any tonight."

"Good God! Little brother right here!" Seth grumbled at us. "I do not want to hear anything about any part of my sister or her doings that may permanently scar me for life."

"Too late kid. Just grab a box of band-aids and get over it, 'cause they're dead set on being as chick-flick girly as they can be."

"It's okay anyway. I was just planning on staying up late and watching the sunset with you and talking about our feelings anyway."

Pushing him away from me, "God! You are a girl." He has the best six-pack I've ever seen on a girl, but he is one. "You sure you don't need me to pick you up some training bras?"

"Nah, I just borrow yours."

"Won't you two shut up and make out already so we can have some peace and quiet?" Quil asked, exasperated, not seeing Seth glaring at him.

"Dude! What did I just say?"

"I dunno! I was too busy trying to ignore all you pussies and eat."

"Oh, go play with your child-bride."


"You know it's not like that with me and Claire."

"Thank God it's not. I'd hate to be the one to give reporters that story – they'd probably break down my door looking for interviews." Not that we have a door... "And since we can't lock them out of the rock, we'll never be able to get any rest and then where will we be when we need to do our next West Side Story jazz number with the leeches?"

"We'd miss all our cues, that's what," Jake said, looking like one who suffers fools gladly. "Come on, let's sit outside so we don't permanently damage your brother."

"Damage him? Nessie asked me if I was going to 'be a mommy' today. I think I'm the one with issues here."

"Sure, sure, dear."

Chapter Ten