The Mythical Creature's Guide to Modern Warfare (13/26)

"Now and again we try to just stay alive. Maybe we'll turn it around
'cause it's not too late' it's never too late. The world we knew won't
come back. The time we've lost can't get back. The life we had won't
be ours again. This world will never be what I expected. And if
I don't belong..."

Three Day's Grace "Never Too Late"

Chapter Thirteen, Mike

Standing in front of me was a big silvery wolf who just seemed to be saying, "What the fuck are you doing here, Clearwater?" Well, at least it wasn't Sam.

To which, though he couldn't hear me, I responded, Hi Paul. Nice to run into you. Buh-bye now, as I tried to go around him. That idea didn't work so much, as a spotted black one – Brady, I think – was in the way. Goodness he'd gotten big. And once again I was the smallest wolf around. I turned back towards Paul and bared my teeth at him. Get the fuck out of the way Paul. You are ugly and annoying and I'm in a pissy mood.

Try to distract them? Jake suggested. See if you can get them to take you to Sam or something so we can keep on the trail.

With a sigh, I cocked my head toward the houses as if to say, "My house is like a block from here. Can we phase and talk?" while, to Jake I said, You know, I really don't want him for an in-law. Can I just kill him and save us all the trouble?

To which Seth said with barely – and I do mean barely – contained fury, What do you mean, 'in-law'? It's probably a good idea he was already phased, or else he'd have done so at that moment. Seth liked me and liked Jake even more, but was even more paranoid then I was about Jake doing something to hurt me.

Luckily Paul and Brady seemed to take the bait, and we were trotting off towards home so we could fight like, well, not wolves. Well, you see, Jake filled the cistern with a whole bunch of goldfish earlier and while I was going 'what the fuck?' I noticed the rubber duck floating on top with the message 'Out of all the fishes in the world-'

Love you to tiny pieces of kibble, Lee, but can we NOT have this conversation right now?

I mentally rolled my eyes at all of them, trying to figure out how I was supposed to open the damn door without any thumbs (and why one earth he wanted to have the stupid conversation at all). Stupid paws. Stupid me for phasing without bringing a set of clothes... though, honestly, it wasn't the top thing on my mind at the time. Stupid Mom for not installing a doggy door. Well, just change the wording a bit and put the goldfish in the bathtub, Seth, and you can try asking out Ruth tha- O my mother-fucking, ass-biting God! What is he doing to my mother! My brain could not take this right now. It literally shut down, and only years of being a werewolf kept me from going feral and ripping the man apart. 'Cause, kindly, Paul and Brady had phased, dressed, and opened the door for me. However, on the other side that door lay the horror of horrors: Mom and Charlie making out on the living room couch.

And, of course, what I saw, the pack saw, leading to them cringing and Seth shouting, Mind bleach! Mind bleach! No, better yet, silver bullet! Garlic! Anything! Make the pain go away!

Drama Queen, said Quil, though he too clearly thought it was the most disgusting thing he'd seen in ages. With the one exception of Jake's mental replay of The Thing's birth. Shudder.

At least I'm the queen of something. You only ever get to be the pretty-pretty princess.

Whatever was said in reply to this, I don't know, 'cause the moment the scene passed my eyes, I'd closed them and run blind through the room, working only from memory as I ducked behind said couch and, tugging the throw blanket down with me, phased. "You," I said, wrapping the blanket around me and standing up, "have now traumatized the whole pack for life, I hope you know."

I was going to go on with something about how Jake and I had wanted to do that, and how Seth was even now trying to claw out his eyes, but Paul, looking angry, wanted an explanation. "The deal was you and the other leech-lovers had to stay on their land until-"

"Not my fucking idea to come here. Believe you me." I tied the blanketed even tighter around me and went to stand in front of him, poking with the more important words at his less-than-amazing chest. Some of my nails were still rather long and jagged. Hopefully they hurt, "But we were tracking one and," poke, "when she went onto the Rez," poke, "we thought it'd be better to follow," two pokes, "then leave it to you guys to try and find her!" And a yet another. My tirade done, I spun back to the couch, where Mom and Charlie were now sitting on opposite ends, as if trying to prove they'd not been doing anything. I sat down between them and pulled on Charlie's discarded jacket. There. It looked like that was as dressed as I was going to be in this situation. Le sigh.

Turning slowly red, "Sam and the others-"

"Don't the hell kill her!" Wow. Now my maternal instincts were passing along to full vampires. I'm so seriously fucked up. Stupid hormones. Stupid vampires-who-have-friends-rather-then-kill-each-other-like-good-leeches. Stupid rules.

"Why the fucking not?"

"Her name's Irina." Irina Korsorskaia of Serbia, if you wanted to be technical, turned in the year of the Battle of Hastings. She'd been twenty-one. The things I learned from Kate, I swear. That, and an amusing story about the creation of the banana daiquiri. But anyway, "She's one of the Alaskan veggie-leeches."

"Then she should-"

"Look! She saw Nessie!" I restrained the urge to throw something at him, mostly because all I had to throw were the jacket I'd stolen and the blanket that fell to about an inch below where it needed to. "She thought the Cullens had turned a baby! That's a crime even in their world."

"So?" That's what the idiot says, looking like he's going for the bouncer-of-the-year award in my mother's living room? God, what does Rachel see in this guy? At least Rip had all of three braincells to rub together. In fact, maybe more, 'cause he got his degree in some pre-law thing and then decided it'd be better use of his time surfing on Hawaiian beaches. I know she has this whole imprinting thing to deal with, and she can't actually tell him to fuck off, but, if imprinting's supposed to complete you, then Rachel must be Paul's brains... which means Paul is Rachel's brawn, which is kinda creepy.

I settle for shouting, "You stupid-ass, mother-fucking idiot! She's going to go to the Volturi... and is going to bring them here!" Think about it, melon-grabbing, nose-wipe. Volturi. The Italian vampire kings... ah, the lights are going on at last, even if they are puny twenty-five watt things, "If we don't catch her first!"

Turning to Brady, he says, "Make sure she doesn't go anywhere," then strips and phases right there, running out the still open door and, presumably, to join Sam wherever he was. Did it make sense? No, because, a) Brady couldn't stop me if I wanted to go anywhere, even if he now had an inch on me and, b) I can outrun anybody except, maybe, vampires with a five mile head start. Oh well, I'll wait five minutes and follow. It's not like he can do anything to stop me.

Rather then look at Mom or Charlie, I ask, "So, Brady, how're things?"

He looks surprised but, taking a seat on the floor by the door, answers, "Okay. It's been weird not having you and the others around. You?"

"The leeches have guests for Christmas. One of them keeps telling me about all the people she's slept with. But what can you do?"

Brady had no idea, and told me so.

Of course, Charlie, being Charlie, seemed to be more concerned then Mom about why two half-dressed boys and a grey werewolf had run into her home at approximately six forty-three on Christmas night, proceeded to yell at each other, and were now, calmly and half dressed, discussing their social calendars. "What's going on here?" he said. I imagine it was his best policeman voice too. Pity it wasn't that great. So much for Cops: Forks Edition. His dreams must be crushed. Oh well.

"Irina is going to tell the Volturi that the Cullens have turned a child. Which means, if they believe her, we're all probably going to die."

"I see," he said, clearly not. Mom saw this as time to get coffee and cookies. Can't stand coffee (I did once, especially the Irish kind, but it was a wolf thing where none of us could stand even so much as coffee-flavoured ice cream. Don't know why, but that's what it is.), but the cookies were M&M. "Who's Irina?"

"One of the Cullens' Alaskan cousins. Tanya and Kate and Carmen and Eleazaar's sister. She didn't come to the wedding, I think..."

I turn to Mom. She gives me a nod that says, "I know Charlie went to see you and Bella yesterday and he's been digging through my jewellery box. I know he's going to ask me to marry him," shudder, "so he deserves to know. I'll settle it with the other Elders."

Charlie, aloud, says, "And the Volt-yuri are...?"

I turn again, this time facing Charlie. He may be Bella's father, but he's less of an idiot then she is. I've already noticed him noticing when we call leeches "leeches," amongst other things. He probably has some of it guessed already. I lean my head against Mom's shoulder and ask, "You sure you really want to know?"

He nods.

"The Volturi are sort of... royalty. They make the rules for people like the Cullens and their Denali cousins. They're not people anyone wants to piss off. They're dangerous in a way the Cullens and Denalis aren't. And they have no qualms about killing anyone who gets in the way of their perfect little world." I swallowed and thought best how to explain it. After all, his daughter was one of the leeches I was talking about here. "You know how Jake and I and the others are werewolves? The Cullens – and their cousins, and maybe one or two hundred others – are, er, special too, but not like us. They're..." I just spit it out. I'd done that with everything else in my life. "The Cullens are vampires. But they and the Denalis don't drink human blood, only animal – not like the rest of their kind. The Volturi rule the vampires, and one of the rules is that you can't turn children into lil' vamps..." I looked up to see if he was following me.

He seemed to be. In fact, his lips even formed the word, "Renesmee," though he couldn't vocalize it.

"I'm going about this wrong... Bella fell in love with Edward knowing he was a vampire, married him knowing it. Then, amazingly, she managed to get knocked up," not so amazing really if you don't use protection. That is why condoms, when we can remember them, are Jake's new best friend, "and survive. Nessie's her and Edward's kid. Half-human, half-vampire. You've seen her – she was only born in September though. Bella's been a vampire since then," I shuddered. "The process wasn't pretty." If I wasn't completely certain that I couldn't, despite the periods I'd suddenly started getting, get pregnant, I'd never have let Jake touch me again. That childbirth was rough, even in memory. "But, yeah. Tanya, Kate, Carmen, and Eleazaar came down for Christmas, but Irina wouldn't come, 'cause she's still kinda angry at the pack for killing her mate – he was trying to kill Bella though, so it wasn't like we weren't justified, - but I guess she changed her mind. She saw Nessie before we could explain and... yeah. Hopefully they'll catch her. If not, we're all going to die."

"Please stop saying that, Leah."

"It's true Mom. I mean, I guess we could try running, but they've people who can find us. It leads to general death either way. So, what did Charlie get you for Christmas?"

Before Mom could answer or Charlie could stop processing with his mouth open, I heard the sound of footsteps coming closer. Brady did too, and we both jumped to our feet and went to the door. Both packs were standing there, some phasing out and heading into the house, others – mainly Jake, Seth, Sam, and Jared – were growling and snapping at each other on the porch, clearly fighting over something. "Boys," I said sharply enough that all four turned, "in the house before the neighbour's see you and call the police. I don't want to have to hear Charlie explain why he had to be called on a dog fighting ring in front of our house."

Being the only girl in the packs has its advantages. One, it means they all know who's talking when I say something and, two, they all know I'm a literal bitch and will see to it that they will live to regret anything I might wish them to; and, three, I'm like Alpha female or something, 'cause they generally listen to me. Odd, I know.

The four quickly joined the others inside. The living room was crowded with ten werewolves plus two humans and the couch, but we'd created a natural divide, Sam's pack lingering by the door, the rest of us hanging back by the door to the kitchen. Even Quil and Embry were staring aggressively towards our former brothers on the other side of the room.

Jake quickly had an around around me before his shorts were even zippered all the way. "We lost her at Blind Man's Leap. She must be swimming, but God knows where." Blind Man's Leap was the tallest cliff outside La Push's boundaries, though barely. He must have caught up to the vampires there. "The leeches have headed back to the manor to start battening down the hatches. Though," he said more loudly now, turning to glare at Sam and snarling more then a little, "if somebody hadn't insisted on trying to attack us-"

"We had an agreement, Black. You were to stay on the Cullens' land-"

"Cum-sucking hell, Uley," he said back, vibrating a little with the anger and clutching me closer. I began to realize that he didn't realize he was doing it, and that, on some subconscious he was letting Sam know who the Alpha was and who I belonged to, i.e., said Alpha. I'd've laughed if I wasn't so busy picturing my head the two of them fighting, not just because Sam had kept Jake from getting to Irina in time, but over me.

Wow. I don't know whether to feel special or kick both of them in the 'nads.

Jake continued, "I just came to make sure you hadn't had Paul kill Leah to keep her from helping. It's the kinda thing you'd have him do."

"I don't-"

"I don't care a flying fuck what you want, Uley. My pack's going back to the manor to get this mess you helped cause under control, and I'll have someone tell you what's going on once the grown-ups figure it out." He looked back at the boys. "We're falling out."

I pulled away from Jake enough to wiggle out of Charlie's coat. Turning around as we walked away, I wiggled my fingers at Sam's pack with the widest smile they'd ever seen on my face. Sure we were going to die, but Sam was going to be put in his place before we do.

Chapter Fourten