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Finished. Six years after Breaking Dawn, a brutal murder is committed near Forks. When called in the middle of the night, Charlie Swan rushes off to do his civic duty and protect the public. Three hours later, he returns home with a new ward: the only survivor of the double homicide. From the beginning, it is clear that the poor thing needs a new start, a new life- and someone to save her from her old one, especially when ghosts from the past resurface. And, with Nessie determined to overcome her own demons, the two realize that friendship can come from the strangest places.

All of this belongs to Stephenie Meyer. Duh…

15. Chapter 15

Rating 5/5   Word Count 3440   Review this Chapter

Chapter Fifteen––

It was incredibly awkward for several minutes after Quil’s announcement. No one was quite sure how to respond. Chief Swan’s eyes bugged out of his head. Jared’s mouth hung open, collecting dust, while Seth’s grip on her tightened. Iris kept her head bent as her face flushed a bright, sanguine red.

“Iris,” Sam put a steady hand on her quivering shoulder His hand was strong and firm, anchoring her to reality. Already, the edges of her vision were turning black. LIke spindly fingers, it crept over her eyes, pulling the light back A clammy sweat broke out all over her body, and Sam felt her start to shake.

“Can you see?” he asked her. There was no reason for him to ask her that. It took every one else by surprise. Some members of the pack got it, but for the most part everyone was confused.

Iris blinked. Her green-gray eyes swiveled around to meet Sam’s cooly scrutinizing eyes. She tried not to squint at the blinding white light halo around the room. “More clearly than you ever will,” she told him in a deadpanned tone.

Sam nodded with a grim line on his mouth. “Very well,” he said stoically. “Come on,” he pulled her out of Seth’s grasp. “Don’t keep the old man waiting,”

With that, he pushed her into the ICU. The doors swung shut ominously, and she found herself completely alone. It was late at night. There was only one nurse, and she looked out of place. Her scrubs were bright pink, if only to keep her awake through the long hours of the night. She was pretty enough, but her thick blonde hair was pulled back away from her face in a ponytail. When the doors swung shut surprisingly loudly behind Iris, she looked up.

“May I help you?” she asked in a soft, but pleasant voice.

“Uhm, yeah,” Iris said as she shuffled her feet. “An old man was brought in a few hours ago, named Quil Ateara, and requested to see me. It’s…” Iris did not know how to explain it. She knew for a fact that the old man was not dying that night, so it was technically not a last request. It was just a request. But it did not sound as dire when she put it that way.

A sympathetic smile graced her face. “Of course, dear,” she said slowly as she stood up. “He’s in 212.”

Iris nodded her thanks and turned on her heel. Naturally, room 212 was directly across from the nurse’s station. The door was open, and the girl could see nothing past the frame. Fear clawed at her stomach as her small strides grew shorter and shorter. Alone in that dark room was the last place she wanted to be in the whole world. There was no reason for her to be frightened. Old Quil posed no threat to her. She was younger, and stronger. Plus, one call from her and Seth would burst in, guns blazing. Yes, she was definitely safe.

But she did not feel it as she walked in the door. Her green-gray eyes surveyed the old man laying limp on the bed. He looked so old and so broken that the softest breeze would turn his body into dust. He could not move, because there was no muscle or fat on his frail body. Just fragile looking bone and excess skin that hung limply from him. It shifted in the air like his body’s private curtains, shielding and protecting him from the cruel world. His face was old, hollow and crinkled. There so many creases and lines that Iris could not tell where his saggy cheeks ended and his hollow chin began.

The worst part of it all were his eyes. They were large and sunken deep into his head. Two holes lingered at the top of his face, framing the terrifyingly alert eyes in inky black. Those eyes were a bright, sickly yellow and his pupils were so dilated that Iris was sure he had jaundice. Those scary eyes made it very clear that the old man was mentally alert, and oh so intelligent. He had seen much, experienced more, and had utter control of the situation. Iris had every right to fear. All the powers of the universe were in the palm on his feeble hand.

“Hello, child,” he rasped out. His voice was deep but old. It sounded stretched, and thin, like it might break at any second.

Iris closed the door behind her. Her body tensed as the lock clicked shut. She was now truly alone with this strange man. “Hello,” she timidly whispered. Her eyes had now adjusted to the light. She could see the wolf that once lived in his body: the faded strength of his hands, the tenacity of his feet, and the durability of his mind. In the blink of an eye, Iris saw Seth lying there in Old Quil’s place. His young, strong body would fade, and his wolf would leave him. Loneliness would set in as his friends either died or abandoned him.

She took a step forward to comfort Seth, and smooth his wrinkled brow.

Old Quil cracked a jagged grin. It was soft, and weak. Feeble. “You’ve seen, haven’t you?”

“What do you mean, old man?” Iris snapped. She was not going to let some stranger know the intimacies of her live. How’d he know anyway? No one was supposed to tell…

Old’ Quil’s black eyes pierced through her. She froze and her icy soul melted into a silverly liquid. He could not move, but Iris was still unnerved. What had he done to her? She was afraid. “You are not the only one who can see things, child,” he told her gravely. “I have been waiting for you for a long time.”

“You are a stranger to me,” said Iris.

A smile flickered in his eyes. “I have watched you grow from a small child,” he croaked. “Your trials, and tribulations were mine to bear witness to. Your sufferings and joys have been my dreams for many years.”

Iris winced. “It’s rude to spy,” she darkly accused.

“I wanted no more of it than you,” Old Quil told her placatingly. “I did not want to see you suffer such agony, but I had no choice. I was content to live my own life,”

“You should have, then,” the ebony haired girl hissed. She was angry that this intruder would know the full truth of the abuse. He could tell anyone, and then her life would crumble. He would not be delicate or careful with his words. He was old, what did he care? He would be dead soon. Ruining her life and the fallout of the blatant truth would be nothing to him.

“I have only lived so long for you,” the old man confessed. “I would have died with my brothers long ago had you not waited so long to come to us. Had you been on time. Had it not been my duty,”

“Duty?” Iris barked. She sounded like a snarling wolf and that thought made her grin. She might fit in here after all. “What duty?”

Old Quil wheezed. “Come here, child. This is a matter that I have not spoken of for many years. Whether you do or not is your choice,”

Iris slowly walked toward the bedridden man. Her will was not her own, and her body was beyond her control. It obeyed the old man’s words regardless of her feelings. She was wary for no reason of this stranger. Logically, there was no reason for her to be, but that did little to quell her fears. She flinched as her fingers brushed against the cold metal of the bedrail, jerking her back to reality and out of the refuge of her mind.

“Closer still, child,” he croaked out. His teeth were yellow and stained with blood. It stained his breath as well. She grimaced as she leaned down closer to his face. Internal bleeding was a sign of eminent death, and it greatly confused her. Old Quil’s death was not for at least another week.

A grim like no she’d ever felt before grabbed her cheeks. Calloused fingers dug into her fleshy cheeks, bruising her and yanking her down to his face. She let out a strangled, high-pitched cry of fear. The old man’s grip tightened as he pulled her down even quicker. Hopefully, Seth heard and would rescue her. She’d take Edward even at this point, the douche. Her green-gray eyes met his cold, unflinching ones for a moment, and she knew struggling would be useless. His old wolf had yet to forsake him.

Old Quil shoved his mouth onto hers. She tasted his blood and began to beat his frail body with her fists. She did not want this. She did not want this. She did not know what the fuck he was doing, but she was so scared and disgusted that she didn’t care. His tongue was in her mouth, grabbing ahold of hers. He jerked it into his mouth, and bit down. Hard.

Iris screamed in pain. Old Quil didn’t care. He did let her tongue retract into her mouth. Pulling away, his agonizing grip on her face tightened. “Swallow,” he snarled. “Now!”

It was wrong. It was disgusting. It was a blatant health violation, but Iris was so terrified she dared not disobey. Lips tightly closed, she gulped down her own blood mixed with Old Quil’s. She tasted the two distinct flavors and nearly gagged. She felt the red wine run over her injured tongue, and seep into her bloodstream. She was broken, defeated and contaminated as he let her slump to the floor.

Tears fell down her cheeks as she clung to herself. Iris had never felt so violated in her life. She had no idea what had happened, or why, but she was positive that Seth would never want her now.

“Be thankful that that is all,” Old Quil told her emotionlessly. “Back when the skies were clear and the land was untamed, physical possession was required to pass on the knowledge of the shaman. You have escaped that fate only because my body is too old to claim you,”

“Bastard,” Iris hissed through her tears. “You’ll rot in Hell for this,”

“It was necessary,” her attacker told her. “You are the one destined to bear the knowledge of the shaman. It will be your child who will be the next tribe shaman, and the next clan chief. Be glad that you have some choice in your mate. As I have stated previously, under normal circumstances, it would have been me,”

“Fuck you,” she whispered.

“You are the Case of the Shaman. Your body is a vessel that will hold the power until you give it to your child. Only you remember the entire history of the tribe, only you have full access to the spiritual powers that accompany the wolves. You are now responsible for their wellbeing and safe-guarding. When the powers pass to your child, it will be his burden to bear,”

“Why me?” She was disgusted with herself. For the briefest of moments, she lowered her guard and the old man capitalized on it. He took her by surprise and raped her. Now she was damaged goods, somehow impure and violated, and thoroughly disgusted with herself.

“It has always been the youngest member of the pack,” he told her. “The last vestiges of purity. Though you are not an imprint, or a member of the pack by birth, you are a mate. You are a virgin. Only you can hour the power. I knew before you were born, child, that you were destined to house the shaman flame. Consider it an honor that the spirits chose you for such an important task,”

“I don’t believe in your spirits,” snapped Iris. “Bullshit,”

“It doesn’t matter,” Old Quil whispered. “They chose you, and you are now the bearer of the flame.”

“I will cut it out of me,” threatened the distraught girl.

“It is tied to your blood,” informed the ancient man. “You can destroy it no more than you can destroy yourself,”

“We’ll see about that,” declared Iris.

“It will prevent you from dying,” he told her. “As long as you bear the flame, you are impervious to the world,”

“Don’t tell me what to do!” screamed Iris. She knew that the friendly nurse would now know something was wrong, but she was beyond caring. Way fucking beyond it.

“You will bear a child of the pack,” he told her. “You have no choice in the matter. The flame will draw you to us, even if you try to leave. It will set a fire in you that cannot be quenched until you give us the next shaman child. Only then, will the fire and the flame leave. By that time, you will be so bound to us by the magic of the spirits, the flame, and to your mate that you cannot fathom leaving. Whether you like it or not, you are now an integral and irrevocable part of this pack.”

“Excuse me?” the nurse called through the door. She tried several times opening the door, but it was locked. Each time the door knob turned, Iris flinched. If she had her keys, the nosy woman would be inside in seconds. She would definitely frown upon Iris killing the old meddling man. “Miss, you need to open this door.”

“I am not sure how this will effect your body,” Old Quil continued as if the nurse’s interruption had never happened. “As I previously stated, in all previous cases, the shaman passed his powers on to his child by physical possession of the Carrier of the Flame. Conception always happened during their first union, and the child was born soon thereafter. I do not know how long you will carry the flame until you pass it on. It could possibly effect you adversely,”

“Miss, open the door, now!” the nurse yelled through the door. She banged on the door with her hand, and tried to get it open. She idiotically had forgotten about her keys.

“What the hell did you do to me?” Iris screamed. “You bastard! I’ll kill you!”

The nurse ran to get the rest of the pack. Iris did not have long to enact her fiendish plan.

The old man was not nervous at all. “It needed to be done. This is your destiny,”

“To be some wolf’s fuck buddy?” screeched Iris. “I don’t think so!”

“Iris!” Sam yelled through the door. “Open the door!”

Could no one be original at three in the morning? Was a please too much to ask? She’d already been going through hell in here, yelling wasn’t going to make her hop to it. If anything, it was going to make the asinine alpha her next victim.

…Alpha……………how had she know that?

“Your mate will love and cherish you,” comforted Old Quil. “But yes, your sole duty will be to care for him and provide him children.”

“IRIS!” Sam thundered.

“I am more than a baby machine!” hissed Iris.

“Not any more,” Old Quil said calmly.

Iris screamed in rage.

The door burst open. Sam had gotten tired of asking the temperamental girl to open the door, and took matters into his own hands. Sure he might have to replace a door at the hospital, but he would not have to worry about her killing the oldest member of the council. He rushed in with Quil, Seth and the meddlesome nurse on his heels. All four skidded to a halt when they saw the scene occurring.

Old Quil lie peacefully in his bed. A serene smile crossed his aged face. Iris stood glaring at him. Her frail body was shaking terribly, as tears poured from her eyes. Seth’s eyes zeroed in on the blood trickling from her swollen mouth and the bruises already visible on her broken face.

“Iris,” he whispered.

The young girl whipped around. She had not been startled at all Same broke the door down. Her eyes widened when she saw Seth. Her lips trembled and she was suddenly sobbing. Her lanky knees quirked and gave out from under her. She collapsed onto the floor again. Quil rushed forward and caught her.

A bright light flashed before her eyes. She felt a soft fabric in her hands: gentle cotton. It was warm sunny day as a small boy walked through emerald grass on his way to a whitewashed church. He clung to his mother’s good dress so he would not get lost. Then her hands were in warm water, buried deep in some girl’s bright red hair. Her lips were pressed against Iris’s––against Quil’s––and her perky pink tongue was tracing the outline of his lips. She was cool beneath him, and she smelled vibrantly of life. But all the while, a little girl’s laugh rang out and her Barbie’s sang merrily. He needed to be there, making sure she didn’t get hurt or choke on something small. Why was he kissing this girl? And then she was a wolf, running swiftly through the forest. Her large paws padded against the earth, propelling her forward. It was her mission––his mission––their mission––to protect the Rez. He would do it for the rest of his life if the need be. It was his duty to the tribe.

He jumped back as soon as he touched her. “What did you do?” he asked her.

“She’s beginning to learn the past,” Old Quil dryly wheezed. “It is a long process I am afraid,”

“You bastard,” Iris whispered.

Seth pushed his way past his friend. Kneeling down in front of the sobbing girl, he gently scooped her up into his arms. “Iris,” he whispered against her hair. “What happened? You’re burning up,”

“Her inner wolf is surfacing,” Old Quil commented as Seth carried her out of the hospital.

The poor nurse stood rooted in the spot, looking wildly around. She had absolutely no idea what was happening, and she really did not want to know.

“Everything is happening as it should,” concluded the dying man.


“Do you love me?” Iris whispered as he lay her down in her bed. The car ride back tot he house had been quiet. He asked her what had happened, and she told him. She was going to be abused again if she trusted too willingly, but it was Seth. She figured she could trust him. She had to, apparently.

He took the news rather well, nodding when it was appropriate and generally frowning a lot. When she was done, he said, “I’ll kill the bastard if you want,”

She was going to let him.

He grinned down at her. “What kind of silly question is that?”

She flushed and looked down at her purple sheets. “I mean,” she whispered, suddenly feeling very abashed and ridiculous. “After all that happened…”

Seth pressed a soft kiss to her forehead. “Of course I love you, Iris,” he told her. “You’re one of the most amazing people I know,”

Her hooded eyes stared up at him, blazing with pleasure. “You’re pretty cool, too. Seth…” she timidly called as he flipped off the light switch. His tall, brooding form filled her doorway. The bathroom light shrouded him in darkness, only illuminating his muscular silhouette. She licked her lips; they were suddenly very dry. “Will you stay here tonight?”

Seth sighed. “You know I can’t do that, Iris,” he told her.

“Please?” she jutted her out plump lower lip. “Just until I fall asleep,” she tacked on. Just in case it changed his mind.

Seth felt his will crumble. It was wrong, illogical and unethical, he thought, as he slid beneath the sheets. Her young girl in his arms let out a happy squeal as she schooched over to let him in. As soon as he stripped off his shirt, she scrambled into his arms and let out a contented sigh. As she deeply inhaled, Seth realized she was already asleep.