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best friends forever broken before you know it


Quil/Embry. Flaming will get you banned.

1. best friends forever broken before you know it

Rating 5/5   Word Count 2046   Review this Chapter

He can't help but feel rejected.

Embry has been his best friend since they were born, since before either of them can remember. There's one picture of the two of the them together as babies, squabbling over their pudding. It's still hanging over Embry's desk -- at least, it was still there the last time he visited, Quil thinks sourly -- and the two of them are absolutely smothered in the chocolate stuff, toothless gums gaping wide.

Sorry, Quil.

They started school together. On their first day of kindergarten they made a pact to stay best friends forever -- which included beating up anyone who made fun of their names. They created their own elaborate secret handshake and found their special hangout spot. During field trips on school buses, Embry has always been his seat buddy. They've passed notes about everything from annoying teachers to the insecurities of teenage adolescence. They're accustomed to bouncing all kinds of ideas off each other. As they got older, they joked about things like sex and drugs (neither of which they've tried but both of which sound interesting). Sometimes on their more serious days they would talk about maybe going to college, even though neither of them have really decided on what they want to do.

I can't hang out with you anymore.

Quil flops backward on his bed, staring at the ceiling. Their ancestors were best friends. Their families are as close as the two boys themselves. Everyone on the reservation has always thought of Quil and Embry as a single entity. If you know where one is, you can always find the other.

But not anymore. And with the realization comes a deep, building sadness. It feels as though a part of his childhood is gone.

It's not your fault.

He knows now, studying the ceiling, that it meant more to him than anything. If he can have Embry back, Quil will do whatever is necessary. He wishes things could go back to the way they were, before Embry's openhearted smile became a permanent scowl, before he started avoiding Quil and hanging out with Sam's gang instead.

They're like religious zealots, he seethes. And Sam is their leader. Going around half-naked like they own the place, like a pack of dogs prowling their territory. As far as Quil can tell, Sam has been brainwashing them with something powerful -- like a cult. Maybe they dance naked in the moonlight, he thinks, grimacing.

This would be a pretty good explanation, except Quil knows Embry better than that. He can't have been taken in so easily, couldn't he? Sure, Embry is a bit lighthearted -- was, Quil corrects himself -- but a cult?

Maybe they're doing drugs.

Just try and make new friends, okay?

None of it makes any sense.

What makes it worse is that nobody else cares. All the adults of the tribe think he's just being petty and jealous of Sam's position, but that really isn't the case. He's just worried for his friend. Isn't that enough to warrant a reaction? But no, Quil, just wait, you'll understand when you're older. He's always hated hearing that, ever since he was little. That stupid patronizing tone of voice that all adults use, when they don't really care enough to explain anything and they just want him out of their hair.

Quil tries to stay angry. But it's hard when you're just trying to hide how hurt and lost you feel.

x x x

He's afraid.

He doesn't like the way Sam keeps staring at him whenever their paths cross. He can almost feel the other's gaze boring holes in him. Quil can't help feeling like a bug in a box, being observed for qualities he can't even imagine.

It's not just Sam. It's his grandfather and the rest of the elders as well. They're waiting for something...waiting...

Does this mean that he's next? That he'll be the next one to join the cult?

x x x

One day, he just can't take it any more.

He can't just stand idly by and watch his best friend be taken in by some stupid gang. Even though it's better to see him from a distance than not see him at all, Quil's had enough. And he's going to try and talk. Their last conversation was more angry-Sam-Embry than the Embry he's always known and loved.

If it's the last thing he does, he's going to catch up to Embry and make him explain.

So he follows them one day. He gets a glance of Embry, hanging out with Sam and Jacob and the rest. They're mostly just talking, not really doing anything interesting. But when Quil gets closer, the group turns around and disappears into the nearby forest.

He can't just run away, Quil thinks angrily, tromping off after them. Soon the darkness of the trees envelops him, and there's no sign of Embry or anyone else, for that matter. He doesn't hear a single sound but the crashing of his own, overly-large feet, and that worries him. The gang had only been a few paces ahead of him, yet they are gone without a trace. Where can they have run? What are they hiding?

Quil doesn't stop searching. He's breaking down, and as he cries out Embry's name his eyes are getting hot. Soon his voice is scratchy and hoarse from screaming and from suppressed tears. This is the worst thing that could have happened, he thinks, and none of them care. Nobody cares.

His feet, of their own accord, keep moving. His vision is blurry and he knows he won't ever find them, but somehow it doesn't matter. If he just keeps walking, his entire world can't crash down on him with the force of a thousand bricks. If he keeps moving, the doubts and fears won't catch up with him. His grandfather would tell him to stay strong, so he angrily swipes at his eyes, stomping harder.

Not like his grandfather cares about him, of course, but it doesn't matter anymore, does it? Things are out of his control. Maybe he can accept every last bit of it -- maybe he can live with Embry's betrayal, the indifference of his elders. But the one thing he can't accept is the fear that he's a target, that he's going to be taken up by the gang and made to do horrible things -- like leave all his friends behind. He doesn't want that. He doesn't want to be forced to do anything against his will. He doesn't want to leave behind his once-happy life.

But does he really have a choice?

His pace has slowed, and he's barely moving anymore. He doesn't know where he is. Of course, it's the Pacific Northwest, so there's no sun to give him a sense of direction, even if he could see the sun through the tall trees. Hopefully he'll find a path soon, because otherwise, he'll be doomed to wander this forest forever.

But he'd rather be trapped in a forest than in one of Sam's prisons.

x x x

He's been depressed for a week now. During school he glances over at Embry's usually-empty seat and an ache grows in his chest. Sometimes Embry actually comes to school, but for all the attention he pays Quil, he might as well not be there.

After school, Quil wanders out to the forest near his house. He's hot, real hot, and he doesn't even know why. All he knows is that he's sick of these mind games, sick of the depression, and if it doesn't end right now --

He's exploding, his clothes are ripped to shreds. There's an animal inside him that's been clawing to get out and now it has, now it's out, and he has no idea what's happening. His body feels different, ten times bigger and a hundred times more powerful, and he doesn't know why. What's going on?

He looks down on himself, half expecting to see The Hulk, the other half of him skeptical that anything had actually happened. What he sees is terrifying -- great expanses of chocolate-brown fur, thick and shiny. He's enormous and he's so overwhelmed by the sight of himself and the smells over everything that suddenly crash into him -- he thinks he might faint.

I'm sorry, Quil.

He hears that voice clearly, telling him they can't be friends. At first he thinks it's just his mind unexpectedly making him remember that fateful day. But this isn't a memory -- it keeps talking.

I know this is difficult for you to understand right now...but you're a werewolf.

Embry? A werewolf? But --

He's having conversations with himself, inside his own head. Well, it's not the strangest thing to happen today.

Yes. And you're not imagining anything. Oh, I wish Sam was here...You can turn into a wolf, Quil.

So that was what happened, he thinks. He turned into a wolf. A sudden glee overtakes him, and he grins, running in circles.

This is awesome! he tells Embry. That is, if this isn't just his other personality talking, or something.

Wait till you see how fast you can run, the voice mutters, and Quil can hear the faint bemused undercurrent to the words.

With that in mind, Quil points his body toward the horizon and runs. The feeling is so natural, easy as anything, and he never wants to stop. This is heaven, he thinks wonderingly. His body rocks in a side-to-side motion, keeping time with his breathing. He's overwhelmed with sensations again -- the feel of pine cones snapping beneath his feet (paws?), the scent of so many different wild animals, the strange grace he now had that gave him the ability to leap over fallen branches with ease. He pushes himself to go faster, faster, and the wind blows in his hair (fur?) as the trees fly by.

It's an entirely new way of life -- something amazing, and he loves it.

Slow down, whispers the voice in his head, and Quil complies, his breakneck pace slowing to a walk.

Do you see me?

At that moment, another huge wolf emerges from the shadows. He doesn't know how, but he realizes instantly that this is Embry. Maybe it's the way the wolf walks, or the way it raises its head slowly, unwillingly. But Quil can see, with one glance into the deep black eyes, that his best friend is back.

I haven't been a very good friend, have I? Embry muses sadly, and Quil lowers his head.

I wish you could have told me.

I know, Embry whispers, and then they are together, heads nuzzling. Reuniting after so long apart. The words flow out in a rush, then.

I missed you, Quil. I hated not telling you. I hated not being around you anymore.

It was so hard when you were gone. I thought you were brainwashed or something. I thought you hated me.

I know, he says again. Can you phase back? Concentrate on calming yourself down. Remember what it feels like to be human...

With Embry talking him through it, Quil manages to transform into a human. He watches with wonder as Embry does the same, the huge mass of fur and flesh collapsing in on itself to form a vulnerable-looking boy. They stand there, awkward for a moment, and then Quil slowly walks over to Embry and kisses him.

They're both naked, and his mind dimly registers that, but right now he's just so relieved to have his Embry back.

"Never do that again," Quil whispers against his lips.

"Never," Embry murmurs, pulling him closer.