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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…

26. Chapter 26

Rating 0/5   Word Count 4049   Review this Chapter

Chapter Twenty-Six––

Once more the pack crowded into the hospital waiting room. The resilient old wolf seemed to refuse to die. Each passing day, his body lingered on, but his soul stayed strong, and his mind sharp. No one knew how or why the old wolf refused to die, he just wouldn’t.

“Come in, come in,” Abigail ushered them inside, sneaking them past the nurse’s station. “We’ve been waiting for you. He’s been most adamant,”

“Why?” Sue asked, pushing her reluctant son into the room.

Abigail shrugged. “We’re not sure,” she whispered now that they were all crowded in the room. And boy what a sight it was. The entire pack was there––the largest pack to ever exist. And Emily was there, as was Rachel, Claire, and Kim. Germain too; it seemed every imprint had come. Brady was pressed in between Cheyne and Embry. Paul sat cross legged on the floor while Emily and Sam’s baby climbed all over them. Quil looked lost, despite Claire’s best attempts to comfort him. They poor thing, still a child, could barely conceive the depth of emotion that coursed through the room.

“Sue, and Billy are here,” Abigail announced. She deferred to Sam from them on out. She trusted him above all others.

“Seth?” the old man groaned. “Is he here?”

“Yes,” Seth answered in a wavering voice as Charlie rushed into the room, pushing Billy. Abigail jumped the gun on announcing his entrance.

Old Quil tried to sit up, and look for him, but Sam pushed him back down. “You don’t need to be moving around so much,” he said. “Seth, come here,” he motioned for him to come to the bedside. It took a lot of shuffling and grunting, but he eventually got around enough bodies to see the dying man.

“Yes?” he asked.

“Where is she?” the old man gasped. “Where is she?”

“Who?” Seth asked.

“Iris!” Sam supplied. He looked wildly around for her. “Where is she?” he looked at Seth expectantly.

He shrugged. “I dunno.” He looked back at Old Quil. “Why do you need her?”

“The knowledge must be passed on,” the man wheezed. His entire body shook as he struggled to breathe. To all with keen eyes, the age flecked off his face with dust and skin, dispersing into the air around them. His gaunt eyes rolled back and he stared enchanted into the heavenly light. “She must be told,” he gasped.

“Where is she?” Sam fervently demanded again.

“I don’t know!” Seth cried. “She’s always with Brady nowadays,”

All heads immediately turned to Brady pressed up against the wall, shoulder to shoulder between Germain and Cheyne. His eyes widened when the silent room suddenly stared at him expectantly. “She’s not with me,”

“What?” Sam exclaimed.

“She’s always with you!” protested Seth.

“Only cause you’re with Germain all the time,” retorted Brady. “She’s pissed off as hell dude,”

“Wonder why,” Cheyne muttered under his breath.

“Shut up!” snarled Seth.

“Does anyone know where she is?” Sam breathed heavily, angrily.

Sue grabbed Charlie’s wrist, holding it tightly. She tried to comfort the chief of police was very ashen faced and shaky. “It’s okay,” she whispered beneath her breath. “She’s fine,”

“I thought she was with Brady,” Seth glowered.

“She hasn’t talked to me since she found out that I imprinted on Germain earlier today,” Brady replied.

Sue nodded in confirmation. “She called me early afternoon, demanding to know if I knew about it. She was distraught,”

Germain was positively purring at this point, and Charlie glared hatefully at her.

“She was with me when she did,” Brady added on. “But ran out of Panera. She was headed back to your house,”

“Did she make it there?” Sam demanded.

Brady shrugged and Germain slipped an arm around his waist. She was glowing, and even Sue was starting to get annoyed at her frivolous attitude. Brady looked distinctly uncomfortable, and tried to escape the girl’s tight grip.

“No, sir,” piped up Collin, still respectful after all of these years. “She didn’t,”

Seth whirled around to look him in the eye. “How do you know?”

“She saw driving down the highway in a big black truck a few hours ago,” supplied Collin. “But I don’t know with who,”

“Oh, fuck,” Seth gasped. He looked at Sam with shining eyes as wide as saucers, “Nahuel,”


I like to dream yes, yes, right between my sound machine

On a cloud of sound I drift in the night

Any place it goes is right

Goes far, flies near, to the stars away from here

Iris laughed wildly as Nahuel sang along with Steppenwolf. It was the perfect theme music to their escape and it gave her a joyous mood. They had been driving all night, and were in the southern part of California now, almost to the border. Nahuel assured her that the Mexican authorities did not ask for a passport to enter Mexico, only to leave it.

“Where are we going?” Iris asked him.

Well, you don't know what we can find

Why don't you come with me little girl

On a magic carpet ride

You don't know what we can see

Why don't you tell your dreams to me

Fantasy will set you free

Close your eyes girl

Look inside girl

Let the sound take you away

“Down to South America,” Nahuel confessed. “To my home,”

“Won’t they look for us there?” protested Iris.

Last night I held Aladdin's lamp

And so I wished that I could stay

Before the thing could answer me

Well, someone came and took the lamp away

I looked around, a lousy candle's all I found

“No one save Alice and Jasper Cullen knows the area surrounding my village, and not even they know its exact location. We will be safe there,”

Well, you don't know what we can find

Why don't you come with me little girl

On a magic carpet ride

Well, you don't know what we can see

Why don't you tell your dreams to me

Fantasy will set you free

Close your eyes girl

Look inside girl

Let the sound take you away

“Do they know what you are?” she asked. They drove with the windows rolled down. The wind tore at her hair, grabbing fistfuls of it and jerking at it, tying it in knots. She didn’t care as she giggled exuberantly and looked at the man in her life intently. She wanted to trust him.

Well, you don't know what we can find

Why don't you come with me little girl

On a magic carpet ride

Well, you don't know what we can see

Why don't you tell your dreams to me

Fantasy will set you free

Close your eyes girl

Look inside girl

Let the sound take you away

“They think me a god,” Nahuel answered softly. “Hulien and I never disputed the belief. It was always easier to exist that way,”

“Oh,” she replied. “Is that right?”

He shrugged. “It was easiest to let them live in ignorance. If they were to believe in a superstition anyway, why not me?”

She had no reply for that. Nahuel noticed her glare and sighed. Reaching over to stroke her face and brush a lock of hair out of her eyes, he said. “It’s been a long night. Try to get some sleep. I’ll wake you up in a few hours,”

“Don’t you need to sleep?” she protested.

“After you rest, you can drive,” he promised her.

Iris nodded “Fair enough,”

And she drifted off into slumberland.

It seemed like she had just been sleeping for a few minutes when Nahuel shook her awake, frantic. “Iris!” he called. “Iris, wake up!”

“What izzut?” she snapped groggily, beyond not in the mood to be woken after just a few hours of sleep. She glanced at the dashboard clock. Correction, after forty-five minutes of sleep. If possible, she was going to kill him.

“It’s the police,” he told her. “They put out an Amber Alert on you,”

“Shit!” Iris swore, suddenly very alert. “They know!”

“I know,” Nahuel said. His hands gripped the steer wheeling tightly, deepening the finger grooves. “I know. It’s all over the radio,”

“Well, what do you want to do about it?” she asked.

“Dye your hair,” Nahuel said. “They’re looking for a girl with dark hair. You should change it,”

“I like my hair this way thank you very much,” Iris cried out.

“They’re stopping cars randomly to check, Iris. You have to,” Nahuel told her. “It’ll just be temporary,” he quickly assured her. “And you can change it back once we’re out of the country,”

Iris crossed her arms angrily over her chest. “I don’t like it,” she muttered.

“Would you rather go back to La Push and their pity?” Nahuel sneered.

“No!” Iris cried. She looked at him in angry and alarm. “Never! I’m done with that place! Dammit, Nahuel! You know that!”

“Then dye your hair!” yelled Nahuel.

“Fine!” Iris screamed. “Pull the fuck over!”

Nahuel jerked the truck into a parking spot. Iris threw the door open of the cab and slid down the side. She slammed in shut, glaring. Of course, they were in front of a Wal-Mart. “Oh yeah, coincidence!”

Iris stormed into the store, glowering. She had a ten dollar bill on her and that was it. It wasn’t too hard to find the dumb aisle; women flocked to it. And of course, every box cost like $7.29, way too freaking much. She only had enough for one box. Grabbing a box off the shelf, she shuffled through the line, keeping her head bent.

“Blonde, huh?” the pudgy cashier looked at the L’Oreal box. “You’ll be cute,”

“It’s for my mom,” she lied easily. “Keep the change,”

Grabbing the box, she rushed out of the store, and climbed into the truck. “Ready,” she snapped.

“Do you need a sink to use that?” he nodded to the box of platinum blonde clutched in her shaking hands.

Iris licked her lips. “Yeah,” she said. “Yeah, I do,”

“Okay,” he paused. “Would a gas station sink work or do you need a shower in a motel?”

She blinked the tears away. “I don’t care,” she shook her head. “Either one would work,”

Nahuel licked his lips. “The gas station will take less time,” he decided. “You go in, I’ll guard the door.” They were suddenly in front of a BP. “Go on,” he nodded his head. “And hurry,”

Iris slid out the car. “God, you’re an ass,” she declared.

The water was icy cold on her head as she dunked it into the dirty sink. It was fitly, disgusting; she wanted to throw up a little bit every time she took a big whiff, but she did not. She just bore through it, scrubbing her hair. Iris manage to nick some shampoo and conditioner from the BP––bastards deserved it––so she could wash her hair. The box said the dye worked best with clean hair.

Nahuel kept whispering at her to hurry up; she was taking to damn long. But the dye took fifteen minutes to work right, and she was going to make it work. She wasn’t ruining her hair for a shit-assed dye job. Furiously, she slammed doors and twisted the knobs on the sink, kicked everything in reach. How dare he suggest she change her hair, destroy the only thing she was proud of. Next thing she knew, he would suggest that she chop it all off too. He did not know it, but he was destroying her only pride and joy.

“Iris!” Nahuel banged on the door. “Hurry up already! There’s a line!”

“I’m coming, I’m coming,” she muttered. “Shut the fuck up,”

“Well, dammit, hurry your ass up,” he snarled.

She flung the door open. Nahuel jumped a foot in the air when she yanked the door open. A short girl with eyes blazing as hot as coal stared up at him. In those eyes, he saw an anger hot enough to burn him alive without a second though. She was that angry. Long, pale blonde hair hung around her face, stringy and wet, dripping with disdain and water.

“Move,” she hissed through paper thin lips. “Now,”

And he effortlessly stepped aside. “Kay,”

She stomped back to the car, past the short line of people who stared and whispered. What the fuck did she care? So what if they thought she was dirt poor or homeless, or she was fucking a black guy. She soon would be all three, and she would be proud––well, proud of Nahuel anyway. Poor and homeless, not so much. At least, she’d be proud when she stopped being pissed off. That might be a while.

Sliding into the driver’s seat, Nahuel buckled his seatbelt. He waited a moment for Iris to do the same, but she refused. “You know,” he easily broke the tension that rested thickly between them. “You look good as a blonde,”

Iris slugged his shoulder. “You’re an ass!” she cried.

“Yeah,” he chuckled, “But I’m honest.”

She fought to keep the giggle quiet as they peeled out of the Wal-Mart parking lot. Unfortunately, Nahuel turned out to be right. They made it through the Mexican-American border with no trouble, and twice, when they were stopped randomly to have the car checked, no one cared because she was a blonde, and because she smiled and kissed Nahuel’s cheek. God, the American police force was stupid.


“Nahuel,” Iris finally interrupted the steady, silent driving. “Pull over, I’m hungry,” she ordered. “There has got to be a McDonalds around here somewhere,”

“We’re in the middle of nowhere,” he snapped. His dark eyes darted around, surveying the land, looking for anything out of ordinary––other than them, that is. The sun was slowly setting in the horizon. God was painting a beautiful masterpiece, better than anything Iris had ever created. It was as if He painted a rainbow of reds and golds, every shade in a straight line in watercolors. And then left it in the rain to run. It was amazing.

She would admire it once she got some food in her tummy. “It’s been thirty-six hours since I’ve eaten,” she reminded him.

“I am aware,” he snapped. When she was going to retort, he cut her off. “Look,” he snorted, “There is a village about ten minutes off. We’re almost out of gas, so when we stop, we can see about getting you some food.”

“Aren’t you hungry?” she pestered him.

“Yes,” he answered shortly. “I don’t whine about it, though,”

Iris slumped in the seat, very angry.

When the truck started to sputter, Nahuel pulled over to the side of the road. “Get out,” he told her.

Glaring, she slid out of the truck. Looking at it as she forcefully shut the door, the cab seemed not quite so tall. In fact, the entire truck seemed smaller. Turning, she watched in awe as a goatherd ushered a flock of sheep down the dirt road. The animals meandered slowly, bells clanging, minding their own business. Oh, to be free like a sheep, only caring about where the green grass was and if there was a wolf nearby. Did the sheep ever want to be a teenager, she wondered.

“Iris,” Nahuel called to her. “Come on,”

Head hung, she rushed to follow him. They walked briskly down the road. There were no sidewalks, and she had absolutely no idea where there was. It probably was not going to be on a map if sheep walked down the middle of the road. She only spotted a handful of cars. Would such a tiny village even have a gas station? And how would they get the gas to the truck? Nahuel couldn’t push it to the station; people would notice that shit.

Nahuel stopped at a dented, rusty blue car. Slinking to the other side, he opened the door. “Get in,” he muttered his breath.

“What?” Iris gasped.

“Just do it,” he said as he slipped into the car. “Please,”

Terrified, Iris opened the door and hopped in. She closed it as quietly as possible, and hoped that they were not too conspicuous. “What the hell are we doing?” she hissed at him.

Nahuel’s eyes glinted. The foolish bastard had left the keys in the ignition. “We have to keep going,”

The engine revved to life.

“We can’t steal this!” she protested as he backed out.

“Why not?” he asked, arm slung over her seat so he could look behind them. The owner had not done the world’s best parking job, but it was commendable considering the circumstances and the flock of sheep.

“It’s wrong! This person needs it!”

“We need it more,” Nahuel replied. “It’s faster than running, and it is imperative that we get to my village,”

“Why?” she asked. “Look! There’s a gas station!” she pointed to the other side of the road.

Nahuel’s eyes flicked to it but he kept on driving. “We don’t have any money,” he told her.

“Then how are you going to get me McDonalds?” she snapped. Oh!, she caught him in a lie.

“Look around, Iris,” Nahuel tiredly snapped as they drove out of the village. “There isn’t a McDonalds here. This village is too small for it. That’s a luxury food, something far away in the big city.”

“We passed one an hour ago,” she protested. Who cared about some dumbass who left his keys in the ignition? Food was at stake now!

Nahuel shrugged. “That’s the last one,”

She started looking around wildly. “What about a Wal-Mart? They always develop in small towns first,” she weakly tried.

“Small towns are big cities out here,” he told her. “Civilization, Mexico, and America are far away.”

“So what do you do when you get hungry?” she demanded. There had to be something edible somewhere. He was just being obstinate. There was food. Iris was sure of it. People had survived out here for thousands of years, right? Yes, she decided, that food was somewhere to be found because people congregated near food. So what if the life expectancy was low. That didn’t mean the food was bad, did it? Oh fuck.

“Whenever I get hungry down here, I hunt,” he answered with a shrug. “It’s my preferred method of food, anyway,” he confessed.

Iris gulped. Licking her lips and stealing her resolve, she timidly replied. “Oh. And…what do you do when you fancy normal food?”

Nahuel took pity on her and answered bluntly, “Out here, all you are going to find to eat is bean paste and corn meal.”

“Oh, dear God,” Iris fell into her seat.

“Exactly. Don’t worry. We’re almost to the point where we have to run,” he reassured.

“And how is that better?” Iris demanded irately.

“Because,” he irritatedly sighed, and Iris was irked that he had the nerve to be irritated, “It means we’re halfway there.”

“Oh yea,” she rolled her eyes.

“Once we get where we are going, I promise I will hunt you up something to eat,” he told her.

“Will you cook it?” she squeaked. Cooking was beyond her expertise. Seriously, she had set fire to water, and exploded a roll in her microwave. There was no way she would gut a pig or pluck a chicken. She’d starve to death first––or convert to cannibalism.

“Hulien or one of the village women can help you,” his laughter shook the stolen car. “Don’t worry, City Girl. I won’t turn you loose just yet,”

“Sure,” she settled back to enjoy the rest of the car ride. Suddenly, a thought struck her and she sat straight up, startled.

“What’s wrong?” Nahuel demanded, suddenly alert.

“Did you steal that truck we were in?” she cried.

The hybrid blinked. “Emmett’s?”

“No!” she shook her head vehemently. “The one we were just in wasn’t Emmett’s, was it?”

“Oh,” Nahuel slowly nodded. “Nope,” he quickly said, popping the P. “Emmett’s ran out of gas, too. Switched into a blue Mercedes while you were sleeping. After that died, we went back to a slightly smaller black truck. That’s where I heard the radio broadcast about you,”

“You’re such a jerk!” Iris cried indignantly, swatting at his arm.


“You’re a thief! People pay good money for those cars!” she yelled.

“We needed them more,” Nahuel declared vehemently. “End of story,”


“I don’t want to talk about it any more, Iris,” he said. And that ended it.


“This is the end of the road,” Nahuel declared, parking the car.

Iris looked up at a looming forest filled with thick trees and dark shadows. The way it suddenly appeared was rather fantastical and movie-like. How quaint. She closed her door, and craned her neck up, trying to see the tops of the trees. Nope. She could not do it.


She whipped around, blonde hair blowing in the window to see Nahuel offering her his hand. He grinned at her. “We run from here on out,”

“Okay,” she gingerly accepted his hand. Though she had ridden on his back on many occasions, it suddenly seemed much more daunting now, so much more important. It felt like every word she said held some second meaning, and that thousands of people would read them. It felt like the whole world and history itself was watching this scene.

“You won’t want to be on my back this time,” he told her when he swung her into his arms, baby style. “It might get unpleasant there,”

“Oh, and this is so much better?” she arched an eyebrow. Looking up his nose this way was rather awkward. Good Lord, they were huge. If she leaned closer, she might be able to hear the ocean.

Nahuel chuckled. “It is much more pleasant, is it not?”

“Ugh…” Iris flushed bright red. “Sure,”

Nahuel laughed loudly, jarring Iris. “Come then, little girl.”

“How long is it going to take?” Iris asked the hybrid midflight.

Nahuel shrugged, lifting her up and down. “Several hours.”

“Whoa,” she whispered.

“I would suggest that you sleep,” he advised. “It will make the time go by much faster,”

“But won’t you get lonely?” she protested.

“No. I often make the journey alone. I was not lying when I said I preferred the silence,” he told her. “Now, sleep,”

“All I do is sleep, and not eat,” she complained.

“Sleeping conserves energy. You need to do that because you aren’t eating,” he dryly remarked.

She had a snappy comeback, but her eyes had fluttered shut and she was fast asleep. Her nightmare was so vivid she could almost touch it. They arrive on the outskirts of Nahuel’s village, and were met by an honor guard. They all had black cloaks and red eyes. Felix, Gia, Alec, Chelsea, and three others. They were there for her. And Nahuel was giving her to them.

“I’m sorry,” Nahuel told her when he sat her on the ground. She was shaking, Iris realized. These dreams were scaring her. Ridiculous. “I do love you though,”

“What do you want with me?” she asked in a quivering voice. She looked at Nahuel though, confused. It was surreal, an out of body experience. Freaky fun.

“We’re here for the only soothesayer in the world,” answered Alec calmly, eerily. “Master Aro wants you to be a vampire,”