Something to Add to the Legends
It's Renesmee's first birthday. This is a look at the pack and the Cullens from Seth's point of view. Novel Novice second place winner.
1. Chapter 1
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I shook out my fur and began to run, making the familiar circuit from La Push, around Forks, to the Cullen’s house, and back around again. Dawn had not yet broken, and I was only a little hungry. Although we hadn’t seen anything out of place for many months, we continued to run the well-worn path just in case. Some of the wolves thought Jacob was a little too overprotective, but I really didn’t blame him.
Jacob had a lot of responsibility on his shoulders now. He was the Alpha of one of the biggest wolf packs in Quileute history. Things had changed a lot since it was just the two of us. Jacob had broken away from Sam’s pack, and I had followed him. I didn’t miss the chaos of those days – the fear that Sam’s pack would attack us, the fear that Nessie was growing too fast and wouldn’t live very long, the fear that those Italian creeps would kill Nessie and the rest of our families. No, I didn’t miss that, but I did sometimes miss the peace and quiet of a small pack. That’s why I was here running at dawn. No one else was awake, and my mind was my own.
Although we didn’t have as many wolves as we did the day we stood behind the Cullens to fight for Nessie, the day every vampire in the world, it seemed, was on the Olympic peninsula, our pack was still huge.
Sam, Paul, Jared, and Collin were trying to quit. Sam hadn’t been a wolf in nearly a month, and apparently he couldn’t be an Alpha with a pack anymore, because when the others still phased, they showed up in our heads again as members of Jacob’s pack. We did our best to ignore them, but it was still annoying. Jared and Collin lost their tempers and phased about once a week, but Paul exploded into his fur coat nearly once a day, often two or three times a day. Jacob thought the reason they were having such a hard time was that they were still so young. Still, Sam, Jared, and Paul each had a girl their own age that they had imprinted on, and they wanted to get on with their lives, despite the difficulty. Collin was just tired of sneaking around his parents, and none of us blamed him for trying to quit.
Of course, Leah also wanted to quit, but her temper was no better than Paul’s and she didn’t want to leave Jake and me, not to mention her responsibility as Jacob’s Beta. Leah's had it rough the last couple of years. She hates being the odd one out, the freak among freaks. Jacob and I really try to understand her feelings, but the others usually just ignore her whenever she thinks about female stuff. I guess if I were the only guy in a pack full of girls, I would have a rather volatile temper, too.
Andrew, Toby, and Jim had also left the pack – well, I guess that’s what you’d call it. They shocked us last winter when they phased the first time. They were only nine years old when they got in a big fight at the wrong time, when there were twenty-some-odd vampires in the next town prodding their wolf genes. After the extra vampires left, they found that they couldn’t phase again. Disappointed doesn’t begin to cover how they felt. All three of them are hoping they can become wolves again when they’re a little older.
So the pack was down to only ten. Jacob, Leah, Quil, Embry, and myself made up Jake’s original pack. Brady joined us when Sam decided to quit, along with the other four new wolves. John and Nate were the thirteen-year-old twins, Quincy was Quil’s twelve-year-old brother, and Mark, also twelve, was their cousin. ‘Only,’ ha! Ten was far too many voices for my head to hold.
My mind had been wandering for a while. That was the beauty of running in the morning. If the other wolves had been here, they would have told me to shut up a long time ago.
My stomach grumbled, reminding me of the other reason I was stopping at the Cullen’s house today. The first reason was for Nessie’s birthday party. My mom had dropped off our gift yesterday, a play make-up kit. I was really hoping Nessie would try it out on Jake at the party. I really wanted blackmail pictures of him as bad as the ones we snapped of Quil a couple of years ago.
Nessie’s aunts had been going overboard on this party. This was technically the little girl’s first birthday, but she looked nearly five, and it seemed that her aunts were trying to fit five birthday parties into one. Normally, Bella was the one to keep parties in check, but when it came to her daughter, nothing was too much. Besides, this was Alice’s compromise for not throwing Edward and Bella a huge anniversary party a few months ago.
I chuckled as I remembered the fit Bella threw when she heard Alice’s plans for that party. It was one of the few times Bella actually looked like a young vampire. I had caught Edward hiding behind a cluster of trees silently doubled over with laughter as he watched them. Of course, the scene became downright hilarious when the girls caught him there.
Yeah, that was a riot.
The thoughts that were not my own pulled me back to the present.
Morning Brady. You got next shift?
Yep, go eat. I can feel your stomach growling from here.
I smiled as I saw the big white house looming through the trees ahead of me. I walked right into the kitchen. It had been over a year since the Cullens told me to make myself at home, and I took them at their word. Besides, with their super hearing, they knew I was coming anyway. The clock on the stove read 8:00 as I dug in the fridge for last night’s leftovers. The house was oddly quiet except for the snores coming from the third floor. Since Edward, Bella, and Nessie were living in the cottage, Jacob had pretty much taken over Edward’s old room in the big house. He slept here at least as often as he slept at his own house.
“Where is everyone?” I asked Esme, who had just entered the kitchen.
“Let me warm that up for you,” she replied, taking the lasagna that I had been eating straight from the pan from me and scooping it onto a plate. “Carlisle is at the hospital, Emmett and Jasper are hunting, Edward, Bella, and Nessie are still at the cottage, and Alice and Rosalie have been arranging the last minute details for Nessie’s party. I think they just went to the florist.” She smiled. “And Jacob is still sleeping, if you didn’t notice.”
Right. I swear that a normal human could have heard him from several miles away.
I was distracted from my thoughts by Esme’s phone ringing.
“Hello Carlisle,” she answered.
I could hear an edge of panic in his voice on the other side. “Is Jacob there?” he asked.
“He’s still asleep, but Seth is right here,” she replied, concerned.
I quickly swallowed a scalding mouthful of lasagna as she handed me the phone.
“What’s up, Carlisle?”
“Seth, I need you at the hospital. How quickly can you get here?”
“Is it one of the pack?” I asked with dread as I ran outside, my hands already trembling.
“No, no,” he assured me. “Well, he’s not one yet, anyway. There’s a young man here from the Makah reservation. He was visiting his cousins in La Push when his aunt noticed that he was running a high fever and his hands were shaking. Seth, I know that smell, and I’m afraid of what could happen if I walk in that room.”
“Be there in two minutes!” I yelled as I dropped the phone to phase. I’d find it later. The thought of a brand new werewolf phasing in the hospital was enough to push me faster than ever. A minute and a half later I dashed past two surprised nurses in the hall before they could ask where I was going, following the sweet scent to Carlisle.
“Seth,” he sighed in relief, “room five, his name is Danny.”
I took a deep breath. I didn’t know what to expect when I walked in that room. As I pushed the door open, I saw Danny sitting with his arms folded across his chest. His hands were trembling slightly in a familiar way. He looked to be about twenty-five, but that didn’t tell me much. Most of the pack could pass for twenty-five.
“Where’s the doctor?” he asked harshly. “I don’t have all day.”
I ignored his accusing tone. The last thing I wanted to do was upset him.
“I’m Seth,” I said, reaching out to shake his hand. “I can explain everything.”
He still looked skeptical as he stretched out his hand, but then his brow furrowed when he realized that my hand was as hot as his.
“What’s going on here?”
“Lets walk outside while I explain.”
He still looked confused, but he followed willingly. Carlisle was nowhere to be seen in the hall. We slipped out a back door and headed toward the woods.
“So, you’re in La Push visiting relatives?” I asked.
“Yeah, the Lonetrees, what does that have to do with this?”
“Hmm, so are you related to Brady Wood, too?”
“Yeah, he’s my… second cousin? third? Our grandmothers were sisters, whatever that makes us.”
“That would do it.” I muttered.
“Do what? When are you going to explain?” His whole arms were trembling now. I needed him to calm down.
“I’m explaining,” I assured him. “Did you ever hear the Quileute legends when you were a kid? Especially the ones about the wolves?”
“Sure, spirit-warriors and all that nonsense. I still don’t see where you’re going with this.”
“Well… those stories? They’re all true. I’m a werewolf, and you are too, I think.” I hoped we were far enough away to be unseen, because I expected him to explode any second. I was surprised when he cracked up laughing instead.
“That’s the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard! OK, where are the hidden cameras? Good joke guys. You can come out now; I don’t believe any of it,” he yelled at the trees.
A soft chuckle greeted us as Carlisle stepped through the trees, his curiosity overwhelming his common sense.
“Maybe you won’t have to-” He stopped short as Danny’s nose wrinkled up and a tremor shot down his spine. Shreds of clothing flew through the air as a large copper colored wolf appeared.
“Look out!” I shouted, ripping through my clothes as I phased.
Danny’s instincts took over. He didn’t think, just lunged at Carlisle. I leaped between them, trying to prevent a fight. Stop! I thought, an unfamiliar echo to my voice, and Danny jerked to a halt. Whoa, where did that come from? I must have more authority in the pack than I realized.
Danny, meet Dr. Carlisle Cullen, also known as one of the Cold Ones.
Danny’s thoughts were still blank with shock.
What the hell was that?!
Hi, Brady, I panted, why don’t you come meet us at the hospital? Actually, why don’t you stop and get some fresh clothes for your cousin. Umm, and me, too.
I slowly walked the last few miles back to the Cullen’s. I wasn’t sure how to explain this morning’s adventures to Jacob. Brady had helped me calm down Danny enough to allow him to phase back. Then Brady had offered to stay with our newest pack member while he and Carlisle assured Danny’s aunt that he was fine. I trusted Carlisle to assuage their fears while protecting our secret. Now I wished he were here to keep Jacob calm during this conversation. Maybe I should ask Jasper… I sniffed. Nope, no sign of him or Emmett. They must still be out hunting. I was on my own.
As I approached the house, I could still hear the snoring. Great, I was going to have to wake him, too.
In Jacob’s room, I sat on the bed. The clock read 10:00. “Jacob,” I called as I shook his shoulder. No reaction. Method two: I sat on his chest. “Jacob!” I yelled in his face. His breathing grew shallower, but he didn’t wake. Method three it is. I walked to the foot of the bed, lifted it about a foot, and shook vigorously.
He lifted his head. “Wha happen?” he mumbled.
Good, it worked after the first try. Method four was much more difficult. And less fun… once he caught me.
“Morning, sunshine,” I joked. He blinked at me. “We need to talk,” I said with a sigh.
The chat with Jacob was easier than I thought it would be. Having Nessie around has really mellowed the guy. Having yet another wolf in the pack didn’t even faze him. What happened to the reluctant Alpha? He was only afraid that Leah and I would fight over the Beta position. I had no intention of starting that fight; I only hoped I could avoid it. Jacob’s theory was that a pack as large as ours needed two Betas. I just didn’t understand why it had to be me. Why not Quil or Embry? Jacob thought it was all in the bloodlines. Seemed like a cop-out to me.
Jacob walked down the stairs behind me. We dug the lasagna back out of the fridge. Esme must have put it back up after I left, but she was outside now, so Jake and I didn’t have to bother with plates.
A few minutes later, Alice walked into the kitchen.
“Hey Jake, we need someone tall to hang streamers.”
“Can’t a guy eat in peace?” he grumbled, mussing her hair as he followed her out. He was obviously teasing; Jake would gladly do anything to make Nessie’s party perfect.
I hadn’t taken two more bites when I heard the growls outside. Can’t a guy eat in peace?
“That’s Leah,” I called to Jacob. “I’ll go see what’s up.”
“Howl if you need me,” he answered, already covered in streamers.
Running down the porch steps, I saw the small gray wolf and the new copper wolf standing in the meadow with their hackles raised. The other pack members formed a loose circle around them, unsure what to do.
I dashed to the woods to phase. The angry thoughts nearly knocked me off my feet before I returned to the clearing. Leah and Danny looked like they were going to rip each other’s throat out. My other pack brothers fidgeted nervously. She had told them to stay out of this. Everyone had to obey, except Jake and… why did it have to be me? As I entered the circle of wolves, Leah turned on me.
Seth! What the hell do you think you’re doing? Do you honestly think I’m going to let my baby brother take my position? Get over here and fight if that’s what you want!
Leah, I –
Shut up, Seth!
– but I –
We do not need any more wolves around here! If you, she sneered at Danny, had just stayed out of this mess, none of this would have happened!
Leah, just –
Shut up, Seth! You want to be the Beta of this pack? Fine! I’m quitting!
No, Leah, that’s not what I want, I forced out over her snarls.
Hey, Danny interjected, it wasn’t his fault.
Leah stalked back toward him. No, I suppose that would be your fault, right?
Oh sure, I just love being a monster! He advanced near her. This was going to get ugly. You want out of the pack? I’ll take you out, girlie-wolf!
She lunged forward.
I threw myself between them. I felt the crack as Leah’s shoulder struck my side. That was a rib.
She snapped at me. Get out of my way, Seth, or I will put you on the ground.
No, Leah, get control of yourself.
Ha! Danny interrupted, take your baby brother’s excuse. You can’t win this fight.
I turned, barring my teeth. Shut up, Danny.
What was with this guy? Maybe he had a death wish.
Wish granted. MOVE, Seth, Leah growled, her voice echoing. It had no effect on me.
No, Leah, I will not let you do something you’ll regret later.
Do you have a death wish, too?
No, but I will stop you if I have to.
Leah could hear the determination in my voice, and chose to go around me rather than through me.
You give up yet, mutt?
Mutt, is it? Danny barked a laugh. At least I’m not the bitch!
Stop it! Both of you! Jacob bellowed, his voice ringing with the double timbre of the Alpha. I was glad he hadn’t waited for my signal. Leah’s front legs collapsed as she cowered before him. Danny fell completely to the ground, rolling onto his back.
You will not ruin my Nessie’s big day. You will not fight. You will get up and go to her party and behave like humans.
All was silent for a moment. Jacob’s face was pained. He hated to use his authority like that.
Tires crunched as a car turned onto the long driveway. Charlie and Mom did not need to see this.
Leah growled at Jacob, but then she heard the car too. She straightened up and looked at him. I’m sorry Jake. Nessie deserves better than this. She looked toward Danny and snarled, We’ll finish this later. She walked into the woods to phase with her head held high.
I looked up and noticed Jasper standing on the porch. I nodded my thanks to him and hoped he understood.
Danny was still flat on his back, too stunned to move.
I knew Leah meant it. As soon as Jake and I were out of the way, the fight would get bloody. This was not over, but she loved Jacob too much to hurt him like this. She loved him almost as much as she loved me; he was like another brother to her. He understood her pain better than any of the rest of us. Leah was glad to see him happy now, but she still didn’t believe she would ever have her chance.
Shut up, Seth.
Sorry, Leah. I didn’t realize she had been listening. She hated people feeling pity for her.
I turned back to Danny. He was still on the ground. Jacob had turned his back and was sitting with his head down. He felt guilty about using the Voice. He still remembered what it was like when Sam did that to him – to us. I shook my head. I didn’t like to remember it either.
Come on, Danny, I said, nudging him with my nose, time to go.
He rose to his feet slowly and trudged towards the woods. Is this what pack life is always like? Cowering on the ground? Always being told what to do? He wondered, with resentment in his tone. I saw Jacob’s head hang a little lower. I felt just as guilty.
No, I assured him. You just need more experience. Move up the hierarchy a bit. We all had it rough when we first joined the pack. You’ll be fine… just don’t cross Leah again.
He huffed and rolled his eyes. Sure, no problem, he replied, sarcasm dripping from his thoughts.
I waited with him as he tried to calm down enough to phase back to human. Jacob and the rest of the pack had already gone inside by the time we were ready.
I walked slowly up to the house with Danny a few steps behind me. How could one day screw up my life so completely? I supposed I should be happy about the Beta thing, but I would rather see my sister happy, and that hardly seemed possible anymore. She had given up on happiness years ago, but I had held out hope for her. That hope faded everyday.
With a reluctant sigh, I pushed open the door and walked into the party with Danny on my heels, not knowing I was about to witness the strangest sight I had ever seen, and I’ve seen some strange things in my short life. Nessie, who was one year old but looked five, was sitting in the middle of at least a hundred gifts beside her two best friends, Claire, who was four, and Jacob, the teenage werewolf. Surrounding them were eight vampires, including Nessie’s parents, eight more werewolves, and two humans. They all seemed comfortable around each other despite being natural enemies. But that wasn’t the strangest thing I’d ever seen.
My first clue that life was becoming yet more bizarre was Edward dropping the present he had been holding and turning to look in my direction with shock clearly written on his face. Bella quickly caught the gift and turned to him, confused. He didn’t speak, just continued to gaze over my shoulder. Hesitatingly, I turned to see what had startled him. That’s when I saw it.
What was stranger even than the extraordinary gathering in the room was the look on two werewolves’ faces. They looked as if they had been blind and were seeing the sun for the first time. They looked as if they had just seen the symmetry of the universe, and suddenly everything was in balance. They looked happy. Yet, I had seen that look before, it was not the strangest thing I had ever seen.
What was stranger still was seeing that look on my sister’s face. Seeing my sister happy, truly happy – no, beyond happy – was the strangest thing I had ever seen.
“Huh,” I muttered, to no one in particular, “I guess that’s one more thing to add to the legends. Apparently we don’t imprint in wolf form.”