Sometimes the best things are simple accidents. Blackwater.
1. Sweet Dreams
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I didn’t need to know her thoughts to know that, as she was slept, she was dreaming of them. The ones she’d lost. She was hard on herself over all the deaths, even her enemies’.
We were in Canada these days, a small town on the outskirts of Montreal. It was called Freedom Falls, though there were no falls and, as she’d have it, very little freedom. It was hard to have when you were hiding.
They call Ness a demon child, an abomination, and a lot of others besides that I can’t repeat, even to myself. Nessie’s my imprint. I love her. It hurts me to think someone hates her because she is half-vampire, half-human. It hurts me to think anyone might hate her at all.
We are hiding for her, and, though I can’t begrudge her the necessity, I feel lost without the rest the pack. I’m an Alpha. I need a pack. But we convinced Seth to stay behind to finish school, and so it’s just the two of us. I know it hurts her too, though nowhere near as much as her memories do.
There’s a gym nearby with an indoor pool she goes to every morning. She loves to run, but it’s harder to have people notice a freakishly fast swimmer than a freakishly fast runner, and we can’t afford to have anyone notice us. She was swimming today and told me that, as always, there were old people there. She hates old people, or, at least, is severely annoyed by them. I know she’s been thinking more and more about home and the war and those she’s lost only because of how the level of her complaints against her fellow swimmers have escalated. She won’t tell me she’s homesick any normal way.
It’s funny almost. Before, she always complained about home and ranted how she wanted to get out but couldn’t, but now she won’t admit she misses them. Even those she hated. Especially those we left behind, and those who left us behind.
So many dead.
There’s no furniture in this room by design, but there is a fireplace with a mirror hung above the mantle and, though she’s turned away from me, curled in an almost canine way in front of the fire, I can make out her face. She’s naked too, with only a tattered old blanket wrapped around her. It’s black, the blanket, and grey, and there are pictures of cats on it, which amuses Ness to no end, but she’s had it forever. Her least favourite grandmother sent it to her (three days late) for her sixth birthday, but she likes it none the less. It, along with a small photo album and a hemp bracelet were the only things she brought with her when we left. I guess it was comfortable.
The bracelet’s the traditional kind, the kind Quileute guys give their girlfriends. She never wears it. It was her mother’s, the one her dad gave her before they were even married.
Something I might’ve called a whimper on a lesser girl passes her already frowning lips, and her eyes scrunch more tightly closed still.
She’d kill me if she knew I was here, but it hurts to see her hurting like this, just like it hurts to know people are after Ness to kill her, and so against my better judgment I take a seat next to her and, shaking her gently, try to wake her up. “Leah,” thinking what story I can give her, to let her think I’ve no ulterior motives, that I didn’t know she was dreaming of the people who we cannot save, who she doesn’t want to know she still dreams about though it’s been what? A year? I’ve lost track of the days. So has she. Sometimes I catch her thinking how nice it’d be to go to a bar and get wasted drunk and possibly high on whatever the locals deal, just so she can forget for awhile, but those thoughts are usually followed up by others on how drugs and alcohol will kill you, and probably won’t work on a werewolf either, so she doesn’t bother. Sometimes I wish she would, just so she’d try and live again. I’m one to talk though.
So we don’t. Talk that is. We mostly just are here, with Ness, and move every couple of months to some other like town where no one might think it odd to see wolves if we’re spotted, even if we are large wolves, and there’ll be another gym where she can rant about the old people in the pool, with their aqua aerobics and their paisley bathing suits and lecherous habits. I think the only real conversations we’ve had in months that’ve lasted longer than it takes to microwave dinner has been over old lechers.
She doesn’t wake, though, when I call her. This doesn’t surprise me. What does is her rolling over. She’s so much warmer then Nessie. So much softer and warmer and-
She’s my only pack these days.
I must’ve fallen asleep, ‘cause the fire’s died low and I’ve become a pillow for Leah, who’s still asleep too. Warm and soft and smells like fresh pine needles. She looks happier now, younger, and her lips are curled into a smile now. That’s good. I was getting worried about her.
“Leah,” I say again, trying to extricate myself, but her head is resting on my chest, right over my heart, and her hand is clenching the fabric of my shirt. “Leah.”
At first I don’t think she’s heard me, but, after a moment, she takes in a deep breath, eyes still closed, and buries her nose more deeply into my shirt. I could feel her cheek move through the cloth and against my skin, making my breath hitch involuntarily. “This is nice,” she sighed, and seemed to close her eyes more tightly still. Her hand loosed my shirt, though, and, before I could register anything else, it was travelling down my chest and, finding the hem, slipping under the fabric.
Nerves went wild as her fingers brushed along my abs, dancing their way back up my torso, momentarily stunning me. Leah. My Beta. Hand-
“Leah, what are you doing?”
I guess it came out sounding more curious than anything else (and how could it not? I’d never- no one- It felt too nice to want her to stop), because her voice – Leah’s voice – was almost sing-song when she replied a second later, and I could feel her smile against my chest, “What does it look like I’m doing?” Her hand began to go back down again, then, curiously, “You weren’t complaining last night.”
“Last night?” Was I drunk? I don’t recall drinking. Ditto for other inebriating substances. Had I been knocked on the head? ‘Cause teenaged boys like myself aren’t generally in the habit of forgetting things like this, ‘specially when the one doing the touching is their Beta, who’s not exactly bad looking.
“Uh-huh,” she said, and- Oh my God, was pulling herself up so that, yes, I could defiantly feel certain things in certain places where I certainly didn’t remember feeling them before. Bringing her lips up to meet mine, she kissed me, deeply, pausing only to tell me maybe I needed a little reminder, and she was far more real than any dream I might ever have had, and she just felt so real and warm and soft in all the right places, and her skin was so smooth and smelled so good and, Oh my God, her blanket had slipped down a bit and my hands were defiantly on her back – her bare back – and there’s a large part of me that’s saying, who cares what’s going on, just go with it and it’s really beginning to win out as my hands run up and tangle in her hair, pulling her face close so-
I can feel her suddenly stiffen, like she’s just realized who it is she’s kissing and is about to pull away, screaming, and can feel all the blood leave me. I should’ve known, should’ve never thought, don’t know what I was thinking- Then, really softly, she asks, “This isn’t a dream, is it?” and I don’t trust myself to say anything, so I just shake my head and decide being very, very still will probably my best bet from keeping getting castrated when, even more softly, she surprises me by saying, “Well, that’s okay then,” and picks up right where she left off, sucking on my lower lip with her hand just there and the other trying to untangle the blanket from around her with the least movement possible, and I’m not quite sure what’s happening, though the stupid thought, anything to keep my Beta happy flashes through my head trying to convince those very few but stupidly persistent parts of my mind that were saying this probably wasn’t a good idea-
But, since it was, after all, my duty to keep my pack in good spirits, they weren’t protesting too much, and I was beginning to think I might like Canada after all.