The Mythical Creature's Guide to Manners and Decorum (7/22)

"Passion. It lies in all of us. Sleeping...waiting...and though will stir...
open it's jaws, and howl. It speaks to us...guides us. Passion rules us all.
And we obey. What other choice do we have?"
Angel in Buffy the Vampire Slayer's "Passion"

Chapter Seven, Zayin

"Oh, poor baby."

"Don't you 'poor baby' me, Ekaternia Dobryninva."

"I've seen Esau: he's ugly and a jerk and smells disgusting. I'll 'poor baby' you all I want... Galahad, run downstairs and get like another case of soap... she's going to need it, she's been in there so long."

"I need more mouthwash. And mints. And maybe a new tongue. Fuck, if he just bothered to bathe every now and then I wouldn't be having this monkey-fucking problem." I was halfway to the point of phasing at biting off my own tongue, his stupid wrong scent was bothering me so much.

"Scratch that, dear," Kate said, turning away from the locked door, "go tell Alice to buy up Ferrero SpA and have them send over a case of their finest."

"Alcohol isn't going to solve this, Kate. Nothing can solve this." Short of killing Sam Uley, but that was the kind of thing I was trying to keep from thinking, no matter how pleasant an idea it might be. Stupid Sam. Stupid boys who want to kiss you want you don't want them to. Stupid werewolves that won't give into reason and have to have I'm-the-best-Alpha pissing contests. I hate pissing contests, mostly because I end up either, a) the one pissed upon or, b) the one who has to clean them up. Point in case: the La Push Pack coming to tear Nessie limb from limb, resulting in Sam trying to kill me. And, in case anyone's forgotten, the time he, on his lonesome, tried to tear Nessie limb from limb... resulting in, what do you know, Sam trying to kill me again. Now that I think about it, though, I'd rather be in a fight for my life then have my tongue assaulted again. I need steel wool...

"Firstly, melodramatic much? Second, Ferrero SpA isn't a distillery, they're a confectionery. They make that candy that sounds like that game... Connect Four? No... Tic Tac Toe. Yes, that's it, they make Tic Tac Toes."

"TicTacs," I heard Nessie correct the older vampire. "And you must come out soon, Aunt Leah. Daddy says that the water heater is large, but will not have much hot water left after you've been in the shower for two hours already."

"Vampires can have the best of everything," I shouted from within said shower to the leech (and half-leech) on the other side of the door, taking a short break from the frantic scrubbing that was leaving my skin raw and instead injecting most the contents of a tube of toothpaste into my mouth, so that my next words sounded rather muffled, "'o aye doughn't oo aff a bedder oughter eadder?"

"Well," came a new voice, and a rather dry one at that, "we've never put it to the test you are."

"I thought Daddy said something about Uncle Emmett and Uncle Jasper trying to recreate the Battle of Trafalgar in the bathtub once."

Rose snorted, "Didn't need hot water for that, though, Renesmee darling. Edward conveniently left out the part where he was playing Frederico Gravina y Nápoli in all of this, didn't he?"

"Of course. But Daddy is Daddy, so I let him believe I think him perfect."

I heard Kate snort, but restrain herself from saying anything else. "Your cub out here is beginning to think you've drowned."

"I haven't," I snorted, reaching a hand into the case of shampoo I'd pulled from the bathroom closet (I'd been around Alice long enough not to be surprised by the amount of, usually unneeded, personal hygiene projects the vampires had) before starting this frantic bathing, I grabbed another bottle and, without preliminary, upended it on my hair. It was only going to be a thousand times worse when I phased, and the more I washed, the more pissed I was getting that the smell wasn't going away, the more it got harder not to phase and murder someone... Anyone will do. "God, its not coming off."

"Did the bitch walk under a paint truck?"

"Esau kissed her, Aunt Rose."

"Esau? Did another of them phase on us?"

"Esau is Cousin Kate's name for Sam."

"And you couldn't have just said that because?"

"'Cause, Rosie dearest," Kate said, "Esau gives us all the fun biblical references we can make... Esau and Jacob were twins, in Genesis. According to the French Talmud commentator Rashi, the people said, 'Laban has two daughters and his sister, Rebecca, has two sons. The older daughter'id est, Leah - ' will marry the older son' – Esau, – 'and the younger daughter' – Rachel – 'will marry the younger son' – Jacob. And then he goes on to say something about how Leah – the biblical one – cried and prayed to God to change her destined mate – which explains why the Torah introduces her as having 'tender' eyes and her name is Leah, from le'a, which is 'weary' in Hebrew – which God does and allows that Leah to marry that Jacob before her sister Rachel does..."

I've decided to kill Kate as soon as I phase. That'll make for a nice change of pace around the Cullen estate. No more random movie marathons (this weekend it was, in no particular order, Black Hawk Down, all three of each Lord of the Rings and Pirates of the Caribbean, Troy, and Kingdom of Heaven, because, I believe the reasoning was – believe, because I'd fallen asleep on a couch the night before and woke up halfway through Fellowship of the Ring, and missed her reasoning – she had a thing for Orlando Bloom. Or maybe Maggie did and Kate was humouring her... I wasn't quite sure), no more hours spent arguing with her about how I'd no inclination to name my daughter (if one of the twins was a girl) Caitlin, Katharine, or Katrina; and, most happily, no more mornings waking up with blue and pink toenails. Oh, the peace and quiet I will finally have...

"Uncle Jake's sisters are named Rebecca and Rachel."

Audibly pouting, "Okay, so the reference doesn't hold up to well beyond that, but as for the whole Sam-Leah-Jake triangle thing, it works well."

"So why the mutt kiss her?" Rosalie asked. God, did I have the entire female community of vampires waiting for me outside the bathroom? Thank God Ness at least made sure Kate respected the sanctity of the locked door, otherwise I knew she'd be in here, sitting crossed-legged on the floor and telling me how awful this all is and how there's a biblical equivalent and watching Dirty Dancing or Beauty and the Beast will help me get over it. I can't believe Disney has gotten to her too...

"Judy thinks that Aunt Leah thinks that the packs are going feral on us."

"Well," said Rose, voice fading slightly as she walked away, "as long as they stay house-trained..."

"You know," Kate said a moment later, completely out of the blue, "I really hated the 1920s. The flapper look did nothing for me. Irina loved it – 'cause of Juana la Loca, as I've said – but I miss the Elizabethan era. The clothing did wonders for my figure..." I heard her sigh. "If you don't come out soon, I'm going to make you come to the Renaissance Fair in Portland with me."

"You'll make me go anyway." Stupid shower, the water was starting to get colder. Okay, so maybe only the steam felt hot – I remembered that much from Chem, anyway – compared to my boiling blood, but still. Vampires. Rich. Can't they afford a water heater that'll take some use? Hell, can't they afford better entertainment then me? Terrible gossips, all of them. And Jasper with his Dr. Phil issues...

"True. But I'll make you dress up."

"You'll do that too."

"I'll make you dress as a peasant."

"Their clothes look more comfortable anyway."

"Fine then, I'll dress you up as a fine lady. Hell, I'll even run home and bring down one of my old outfits... I have this wonderful costume from 1615, 1616 or so that I've kept with this most wonderful, rich, Egyptian Blue velvet gown and Belgian lace frontispiece with matching escoffion..."

"I'm the size of a house; you wouldn't dare ruin a piece of antiquity like that."

"Maybe not, but if there's one thing I've learned how to do in a thousand years, it's sew, and give me some fabric and I'll have you in an authent-" She suddenly stopped, and then then were a pounding on the door.

Before he even spoke, I knew who it was. Was it time for them to be back from school already? Hmm... I looked on the floor of the shower, seeing a dozen or so empty plastic bottles there. Yeah, it probably was, but I'd not figured out what I was going to say yet. Who'd told him I was up here, anyway? I was going to- "Leah?"

"Go away, Jake."

"Er, why?"

"Because." Because I didn't want WWIII, that's why.

I heard him ask Kate if I was going OCD on him. "No," she said in her most annoying of ways, "Esau kissed her."

"Kate!" I swore loudly, jumping out of the shower and making for the door, while I heard Jake release some of the more traditional curses on the other side of it. Not having time to look for a towel, I flung open the door, grabbed Jake as he spun towards the stairs, most defiantly to go and kill my ex, and pulled him inside, slamming the door back shut behind me. Stupid vampire. Couldn't leave well enough alone. Or my toenails.

I turned on Jake, who seemed to be oscillating between anger (at Sam, I hoped, 'cause I knew from experience that look on me was a sign of oncoming badness, and I was just to tired from arguing with vampires for two hours about my rights to use their hot water and I really didn't want to argue with my own husband about whether or not it was a good idea for him to murder Sam Uley in front of his fiancée) and surprise (probably because people generally don't pull other people, while naked, into bathrooms, giving a floor show to their thousand-year-old friend and a five-month-old who looked as if she was a power of ten older than that), and said as clearly as I could, "Now, it's not what you think," while climbing back under the not-so-hot water.

Rage seemed to be winning, though, from the way his voice went deep and Alpha-y. I'm sad to say it, rather than making me worry more about the whole oh-my-mother-fucking-God-in-pink-a-Speedo,-the-Quileute-werewolves-are-going-feral-(i.e.-loosing-our-hamster-humping-humanity-and-will-probably-revert-fully-back-into-wolves-of-we-keep-this-up,-though-I've-not-the-slightest-piece-of-a-flying-fuck-of-an-idea-how-to-fucking-stop-it) thing, I found it rather hot. I took it as another sign none of us were going to come out of this alive, or, at least, human. "He didn't sexually assault you?"

That gave me pause for a moment, and I looked up from where I was trying to gather the empty bottles from the shower floor, so could at least stand without risking killing myself on slippery bottles. His dark eyes were fierce, pools of pure emotion that overwhelmed and actually did make me slip and land awkwardly, embarrassed but unharmed. I don't know how to explain it... not properly, anyway. But you know what I was talking about earlier, about there being a line between the human in us and the wolf? I'd never seen a human's eyes so deeply expressive as I saw his then.

It could've been my imagination. It probably was, what with all the insanity from the last couple of weeks and the hormones writhing like madmen within me, but... but you weren't there. You didn't see those eyes, which weren't human eyes, that weren't just asking if I was okay, if Sam had hurt me, and if I wanted to participate in the murder of our ex-Alpha, but were something else as well, something that knew how wrong I smelt to myself, how wrong a taste lingered in my mouth; something that went beyond the fact that Jake knew I could take care of myself, or others, or was mother-figure to two impressionable young pups, or going to be a mother one day soon myself, however odd that was to even think about. "Well..." I said slowly, licking my suddenly dry lips.

And that was all it took. Shower still running, half-a-dozen plastic bottles on the tile floor, and his school clothes still on, Jake crossed the space between us in a single step, his lips hard and persistent as they met mine. Hands, rough with desperation, pulled my body up to his as he somehow managed to be suddenly at my eye level, his already sodden clothing a strange and teasing feel against my skin. Insistent and incessant, it felt like he was touching every part of me at once – mouth, breasts, legs – as we struggled together to rid himself of his clothing, barely breaking contact as we worked.

Though we weren't wolves, not then, I swear by every god ever created, we could hear each other's thoughts, and as he was saying, I won't ever let him hurt you again, I saying back how much I needed to feel him and needed him to touch me in words that weren't words so much unquantifiable needs, and he responded not just with a hand here and his mouth so warm and hot there and while it wasn't sex it was something more – mutually marking each other with the, proper, scent? I don't know. Don't care, either, it was too perfect – and I don't know how long we were like that, Jake far from disgusted with my ballooning body (as some others would have been, I imagined, cough, cough) and the water going cold on us and the plastic bottles still on the shower floor getting in the way and Jake's every move seeming to impress upon me the strange sort of part-possessive, part-undeniable, all-encompassing love he somehow managed to have for me. I didn't know why he loved me, I was such a bitch and was always rude and truculent, – and, gods, I was spending entirely too much time around the leeches – only that he did.

And, sadly enough, sometime during this, I managed to fall asleep, so tired was I and melted from his touch. When I woke, I discovered I'd somehow phased in my sleep, and was curled near the middle of a furniture-less room with beige shag carpets and three tall windows open to the cool night and the lightly falling snow. There was moonlight pouring into the room, and but I didn't need it to see Judy, as a human, curled up in the far corner, crying.

...asked her out at last, man, the others were saying to each other, just dim enough for me to ignore if I didn't pay it too much attention.

Where you going to take her?

Emmett already said I could take the Audi, so I was thinking I could take Ruth to the movies in Port Angeles. They should have something good out...

It hurt to see her so sad, not just because she was my friend, but because she was one of my pups, and if it wasn't for me her brother wouldn't be dead and, presumably, she wouldn't be so sad.

With creaking joints, I pulled myself to my paws, the poof of my stomach making me look like a particularly plump, or, perhaps, water-retaining wolf, and padded over to her. Nudging her slightly with my muzzle, she uncurled and threw her arms around my neck, sobbing into my shoulders. She didn't say anything, and didn't need to, and eventually she fell asleep.

I was awake now, though, and with super-wolf-hearing, the sounds of Kate begging her sister, Irina, who'd not left the attic since the battle with the Volturi, to come down, if only for a minute, if only to feed, drifting from upstairs, while below, the house strangely silent otherwise, I heard Jake's voice, and with it Jasper's and Edward's. They were preparing. It made me cold to hear it, because it wasn't more annoying wedding plans or names for babies they were thinking of. No. It was another war they were preparing for.

Chapter Eight