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I'm nothing but a monster burning in a hell that only exists in my head. There's no hope left until one harmless glance chances logic and binds two eternal enemies together in a twist of fate. Can the escape from this hell be found in an infuriating dimpled grin? Or is this another dark, dirty trick of my own mind? A forbidden passion, heat, and intense anger—this is no fairytale.

[Disclaimer: Monster is an originally plotted fic. The ideas within this fic are not to be copied in any way, shape, or form—I have not given my consent to any manner of copying. All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the intellectual property of their respective owners. All canon concepts and characters are the property of the Twilight Saga's author, Stephenie Meyer. No copyright infringement is intended. Similarities are for the sole use of fan fiction, and no profit has been or will be benefited from the posting of this fic.] Emerging Swan Award 2012, nominated into Fandom Choice Awards.

30. Compromise

Rating 0/5   Word Count 4461   Review this Chapter

"And the days will come and go
And the band will march along
Till the day you cast a shadow
that looks nothing like your own." - The Dead Weather.

Chapter Thirty


"Get off her, bro!" Emmett booms. He shoves himself toward the attacking Cullen, his expression no longer containing a sliver of humor. His pale fingers latch onto the Cullen's shoulder, prying him off of my heated, shaking form before tossing him back into the opposite wall. I brace my body back, my jaw set as I struggle to hold myself in place.

The Cullen gives a feral snarl as he crashes into the wall. Cracks spread on impact, and large chunks crumble off, scattering across the floor. The Cullen hops to his feet and charges through the furniture toward Emmett, plowing through any obstacle in his path. His eyes are tainted a deep onyx hue, having not a trace of color to them. Emmett drops back to crouch before me—either to block my way or protect me—and grabs the crazed Cullen by the shoulders. I catch a glimpse of the wild expression on his own face as he slams the Cullen to the ground with raw, unwavering strength.

This is not the ugly I assumed it to be. This is actually sort of pretty, as far as watching Emmett in action goes. I stare openly at the two of them; I can't find myself wanting to make him stop.

The other Cullens seem to disagree. In a flash, the two are pried apart. A serious-faced blonde male stands between them, his hands calmly braced at his sides. He turns his head from side to side, looking between them silently, measuring their expressions. I recognize the serenity of his expression from the pack mind and instantly match it—this is the Cullen leader. I brace my hands against the wall, knowing enough to make sure I don't do anything questionable while the leader is present. I force myself to remain still and fade into the background.

There's a sudden movement as another Cullen leech makes his presence known. He has been in the room the whole time, but he hangs back, only observing. The Cullen slips in between the quarreling two, hovering behind the leader. His expression is a storm of emotions, all clouding his smooth features and darkening his expression. The bronze hair and moody appearance instantly triggers another recognition. Jacob's thoughts frequently star him as the human-obsessed Cullen, the Cullen who is chasing after his Bella. His name is . . . Edmund? No, Edward. His name is Edward. Edward plants himself in place, staring at Emmett with unmasked intensity. He goes completely still, almost appearing to be nothing more than a carefully sculpted statue.

A long, heavy silence hangs over the room, all until one of them can no longer take it. The honey-haired Cullen spits through his teeth, his gaze shooting straight through the Cullen leader, set on Emmett. "What has gotten into you, Em?"

Emmett doesn't seem to take notice of the hostility in his tone. The aggression in him has disappeared, almost as if his humor never left. He laughs quietly while shaking his head. "There's not a single thing wrong with me, Jazz. Never has been."

The Cullen hisses sharply, leaning forward. "You know what I'm talking about."

"Jasper, please," the leader asks slowly, raising his hands before him. "Allow Emmett to explain himself. There is no need for any dispute."

"No need for dispute?" The Cullen's dark gaze seems to grow impossibly darker. "Then why don't we allow him to explain why he has let a mutt into our home?" He doesn't give the leader a chance to respond. He jerks into a straighter stance, radiating waves of negativity. His eyes dart straight over me, only resting on me for the smallest fraction of a second before settling on the door. "Esme, Alice! We might as well get their opinions too, seeing as they will be involved in whatever this is."

I move my gaze to the other side of the room as yet another Cullen leech enters. She seems to have been listening; her eyes are wide and worried. She smiles gently at her family as she enters, stopping by the leader's side. Her gaze continues to travel around the room before finally landing on my tense form.

The Cullen gasps lightly, gripping the leader Cullen's arm. He leans down to whisper something to her, but she still doesn't relax, her stare frozen on me. She places a hand over where her heart should be and blinks at me. "Oh dear! This must be so hard on the poor girl. We shouldn't have been so hard on her, jumping to conclusions." Her gaze darts over to the honey-haired Cullen with a disapproving frown.

"No need to fret, sweetheart," the leader soothes.

"Nonsense! Rose will come back, of course, but we should not have been so rude to a guest, no matter who they may be." The Cullen stretches her hand in my direction, wearing a sickeningly warm smile. "Hello, dear. I'm Esme."

I find myself scowling at the extended hand. All of the Cullens are flooding in so quickly, bringing their contrasting emotions with them. It's enough to make my head spin. I stare at the hand, swallowing back a sharp comment. I glance at Emmett, who is giving me space, standing back with his arms folded to his chest. He smirks and raises his eyebrows at my gaze, gesturing for me to continue.

Swallowing back my own disgust, I tear my gaze away from Emmett. I force my eyes up to the female Cullen and nod once in a curt gesture of acknowledgement. Her smile still doesn't falter as she drops her hand and places it on the leader's arm. The two duck their heads together and continue murmuring to each other as if nothing has happened.

I shift my stance, naturally uncomfortable with the silence, each muscle in my body tensing. I am about to move up and say something, but the moment I open my mouth, I catch a whiff of another leech scent. Wonderful.

Moments later, another streak of white shoots through the room, stopping by the honey-haired Cullen. The Cullen is a runt—scrawny enough that I swear I can wrap one of my hands around her and pitch her right back out of the house like a baseball. She pays me no mind, almost as if she has been eavesdropping and is well aware of my presence. The scrawny Cullen whispers fiercely to the honey haired Cullen, exchanging brief glances between the others. While they take the time to reunite with each other, I "familiarize" myself with the Cullens by assigning them each a nickname. The leader, for the leader, and Hen, for the leader's partner, due to her instincts that remind me of a mother hen. Mind Reader, for Edward. Moody, for the honey-haired Cullen. Of course, the runt deserves the name Tiny, and finally, Emmett, because his name already sounds just right.

Such a lovely family. I nearly smirk at the thought, but the glower I receive from Mind Reader spoils it.

The leader finishes his soft conversation and raises his head, holding Hen close to him. He waits to speak until Moody and Tiny break away, each of them still clasping onto each other's hands. The leader offers a welcoming smile to the reunited couple before turning his attention toward me.

"Hello," he greets me gently, still wearing the same smile. "I'm very sorry, this must be extremely hard for you, but I am doing my best to calm this situation. To start with, may I ask your name?"

I only stare back at the leader, my gaze steady. My voice is lost to the burning of the wolf inside me; it still stirs, even though the tense atmosphere has lightened. As I stare, I can feel Emmett's gaze resting on me. Something about the sensation of his stare influences me against my own instincts.

"Uley," I answer smoothly.

The leader smiles even more at me, happy that I have given him an answer. He nods once, seeming to respect my need for privacy. "And may I ask why you have come here?"

The gently, careful tone of his voice triggers an instant need for defense. My gaze locks on his as I stare him down, my intimidation level rising steadily. Heat boils inside of me, threatening to explode and blast me out of my human skin. My teeth grind together as the seconds drag into minutes of silence, until finally, it is broken.

"Father," Mind Reader murmurs. "If you don't mind, I can explain all of this for her."

The leader steps back away from me carefully, and nods. "Certainly, Edward."

Each burning gaze locks on Mind Reader. He stands tall in the back of the room, seeming to be unaware of the tension in the room. His brow furrows as he starts to explain, his black gaze unfocused. I stare intently at him, the wolf inside me seeming to stretch as he speaks.

"Her name is Jordan Uley. She's been . . . connected to Emmett, because four months ago, she imprinted upon him. Imprinting seems to be a very complicated occurrence, but I suppose it is the uncontrollable act of finding one's soul mate, for the wolves. Jordan has found her soul mate. In Emmett. The second she looked into his eyes, it was finalized, and there is no changing it. She couldn't control it, nor could she control the pain of the separation. So, she's come to try to solve all of this."

Mind Reader pauses for a moment before shaking his head and continuing once more. "She doesn't want to be here, and if it wasn't for the treaty, she is certain all of us would be dead for pressuring her so much. In fact, she is considering trying to silence me right now, but she can't. She can't touch me, only because she doesn't know how Emmett will react. She can't even comprehend the idea of hurting him in any way. Jordan is merely acquainted with Emmett, yet she understands him completely and is absolutely awed by every part of him. And what she feels . . . it's too strong for me to explain. I . . . I've never heard anything like it. It's almost fascinating." As Mind Reader finishes speaking, the stormy gloom hangs over his expression once more, covering up everything else.

Each Cullen is trapped in silence as they mull over Mind Reader's words, except for Emmett, who chuckles at Edward's last sentence as if it is an inside joke. Mind Reader shoots him a look, but he only shrugs his broad shoulders and grins at the leader. "What do you say, Pop?"

The leader's gaze flickers over to his partner. He nods to her as she meets his gaze. Hen turns her yellow gaze on me, a too-friendly-for-comfort smile lighting up her face. "We can't argue with Edward. We are happy for you, no matter where you come from. Of course, we will take care of Rose when the time comes."

A bristling sense of defensiveness surges through me. She speaks to me like a helpless pup and not a full-on killer. I almost open my mouth to comment, but Moody beats me to it.

"You both are going to tolerate this?" he demands, his stare icy. "She chased Rosalie off. What if she does the same to us? Or worse? You can't possibly believe that this beast—"

"Jasper, shh. Calm down." The tiny Cullen releases Moody's hand, only to place both of her hands gently on either side of his face. She stares into his eyes. He quiets instantly. Tiny continues to whisper to him, her tone urgent yet soothing. "It's okay, Jazz. Carlisle and Esme will take care of this, I promise. There is no threat."

"She's right, you know," Emmett adds on with a grin. "I'm pretty sure Jordan won't bite you . . . too hard."

Moody shakes his head, glowering at the floor. He stares at Tiny for a long moment before raising his head and nodding once to the leader. "What do you want us to do?"

The leader looks over each expression warily before sighing. "I think it would be best if we discuss this with the pack, due to their involvement." He turns his head to look directly at me, smiling hesitantly. "But only if you are willing, of course."

All eyes are on me once again. A feather of heat brushes down my spine and a tremble shakes my fingertips. I meet Emmett's bright gaze, the excited encouragement in them giving me no other choice. I face the door again and head toward it without answering, glad to be out of the house.

"Let's get this over with," I mutter to myself.

I slip through the door, the Cullen vampires darting out after me. Moody and Tiny ignore me completely, rushing by with Hen close behind them, but Emmett glances over his shoulder and grins, gesturing for me to follow. I shake my head and smile slightly as I jog out to the forest, my speed building. I don't stop until I hit the trees and notice that not all of the Cullens have followed. Naturally, suspicion sets in. I glance back over my shoulder, my gaze instantly pinpointing the two who have stayed behind. I force myself to continue forward, but my hearing strains out to them and I am sure to keep them in the corner of my view.

As I watch, the leader reaches a slow, calm hand out, placing it gently on the Mind Reader's shoulder. He freezes in place, looking up to meet the concerned, golden gaze of the doctor.

"Son, it would be of great benefit to have you with us," the doctor murmurs.

Mind Reader and the leader stare at each other for a moment. Mind Reader appears to be panicked, his eyes flared wide and black; his expression is stiff with fear. He is only frozen for a moment, though, as he then averts his gaze and nods once before darting out the door.

Suddenly, I understand why Jacob doesn't like the mind reading Cullen.


I never imagined myself leading leeches, my darkest enemy, out through the forest and toward my own precious tribal land. But hey, there's a first for everything.

Tiny, Moody, and Hen are already lined up near the river by the time I get there. Hen senses me coming and glances back, slowly retreating away from the river as if she is afraid to spook me away. I shake my head at her and stand firmly on the ground, cupping my hands around my mouth before letting out three sharp, loud wolf-calls. I pause, tilting my head to the side as the sound echoes into the distance. Moments later, a chorus of howls rises over the trees in response.

They have been waiting.

The rest of the Cullens arrive at different points, all of them stopping far behind me and ignoring my presence completely. Emmett is the only one who pays attention to me. His scent hits me the moment he arrives, alerting my senses all over again. I can feel his gaze as it slowly slithers down my back, taking in the sight of my stance. A strange tingle shoots through my veins, as if I have been hit with a bolt of lightning. The feeling leaves me breathless, but it all evaporates the instant Mind Reader snaps at Emmett, insisting that he focus.

Once again, I see why Jacob doesn't approve of the over-controlling, brooding Cullen.

I stand away from the Cullens, positioning myself at the river's edge. Naturally, I find myself needing to be ahead of them, making a clear line between my land and theirs. Despite my distance, there still is a pull in me to slip back and take my place next to Emmett. He laughs loudly out of nowhere at some points, capturing my attention until I manage to pull it in again. The sound of it rings in my ears, echoing around like catchy music. I continue to force myself into focus as I wait, but one laugh causes me to glance over at him. He manages to catch my gaze the second I look, as if he has been expecting it. His left eye snaps shut and opens in a second, and then he turns his attention back to the forest, grinning as his pixie-sized sister glares daggers into the back of his head.

The wink is harmless, but something about it makes me smile. I turn my head away, gathering my thoughts as quickly as I can. Distractions can be fatal.

As my thoughts gather, I breathe in the scent of the forest. The familiarity of it is reassuring as well as exciting. The spark of the moment is pulling me apart as I debate. Is this a good thing, or have I made a mistake? Is this going to pull the pack apart? Is this worth it?

Focus. The command is instant as it takes over my mind. I drag in another breath, clearing my head. I find myself counting away each breath, my locked muscles not relaxing as I wait. It seems like I have counted a million breaths until finally—finally—I sense them coming.

The branches tremble across the river. The musky scent of wolves fills the air in a sudden blast as they near. I stare at the brush, counting the seconds. I smooth out my expression and focus on pulling light, deep breaths through my lips. My gaze remains locked on the brush until suddenly, it parts as the first of the pack steps through. Sam ducks his head, his nostrils flexing as he takes in the scent of the Cullens. He straightens out his stance, his gaze sweeping over the gathered Cullens before resting on me. Sam's dark eyes shine with disapproval as he folds his arms over his bare chest. He doesn't say anything to greet me; I don't even get a nod.

Nicole follows after Sam, her light eyes filled with an angry fire. She doesn't even seem to mind that her hair is a tangled mess; she steps right next to Sam, pointedly staring straight ahead, not saying a thing. Paul is with her, and I find myself watching him closely. He is drenched with rain, and his cheeks puff out with every heavy breath. He, too, is in his human skin, although it looks like he is having trouble staying in it. His muscles flex with every stiff movement and his body shakes, even as he settles next to Sam. He focuses on all of the Cullens, his gaze shifting through each of them before settling on Emmett. He wears an expression of pure hatred as he openly stares. As I look closer, I can also see slightest hint of burning, angry tears brimming his eyes.

While I study Paul, the rest of the pack files in. The sandy and light grey wolves both hang off to the side, both of their wolfish having no expression. Jared's large brown form has moved to loom behind Sam and Paul, standing even with them. Just as I turn my attention to the wolves, the russet wolf jogs through the brush, flanked by the chocolate and spotted wolves. He leads his small group to the side opposite of the sandy and light wolf. The wolf's eyes—Jacob's deep-set eyes in a wolf's face—scan through the Cullens. He sees straight through each of them as if he is searching for someone else. Seeming to not find what he wants to see, the russet wolf swings his head around to gaze at Sam expectantly. Each wolf mimics him, all except Nicole. Nicole's gaze shoots to the side as Jacob's head turns, almost as if she is avoiding his gaze.

Sam clears his throat suddenly, pulling in everyone's undivided attention. He doesn't look at me, but instead, his eyes graze through each yellow-eyed stare before meeting that of the leader. Sam nods once, saying nothing.

The Cullen leader returns the nod respectfully and moves forward slowly, as if not to disturb any of the pack. His expression is completely at ease; he radiates a simple calm. He stops to stand at the edge of the river and looks over the assembled pack.

"We all know why we're here, don't we?" he starts slowly. "There seems to have been a rather surprising occurrence—"

"I knew what you did, Jordan," Nicole interrupts suddenly. "I watched you go. I've been seeing it in your thoughts, but nobody would believe me until now. And oh." She pauses as she sneers at me. "Oh, you sure have really done it this time. Imprinting on a Cullen!"

I meet her sharp gaze blankly, not moving. My fingers flex as I am washed with a surge of defensiveness, feeling every heavy, pressing gaze of each wolf on me. The growl builds in my throat, but Sam catches the expression on my face.

"Quiet, Nicole," he orders sharply. He waits for her to shrink back into place before he nods to the Cullen leader once more, his brow furrowing.

He raises his hands, leaning back away from the pack. "I ask that this matter is not resolved with violence. I myself have thought of a single conclusion that will peacefully resolve this issue. I suggest that if we were to allow the pack access to our lands, the pack would watch over one another while leaving this issue alone. It seems that we cannot help the bonding of your kind, and we will not stop it. We will all respect your territory just as we always have."

The pack starts to stir at the suggestion. Teeth bare, ears press flat, and snarls openly fill into the air. I don't have to be a super-genius to know that his suggestion will backfire—the temptation to kill any vampire will be too overwhelming. Sam shakes his head as he senses their denial.

"Calm down," he snaps. Sam's jaw sets as he looks back over his left shoulder, and then his right. "This doesn't mean that they will come on our lands. We will stay to our lands, and make sure that there is no intrusion on the Cullens' part. Each of us will respect the treaty, and each one of us will respect that Jordan has found her soul—"

"Bull! That's complete shit, Sam!"

This is the first time Paul has spoken. In the corner of my eye, I register a flicker of surprise crossing each Cullen's face, all except Emmett, who flashes a bright grin. I turn my gaze over to Paul, remaining silent. It's not like I have any other choice; if I were to say even one word or make one movement, I might lose the sliver of control on my temper.

Sam opens his mouth to reply to Paul, but Paul cuts him off. "What the hell are you saying?! Jordan's 'soul mate' isn't a bloodsucker! She would never do something like that." Suddenly, Paul's gaze is on me. "I'm right, Jordan. I'm right and you know it!"

A long, sharp howl rings out in agreement. The pack is suddenly in motion, each wolf drawing back and ready to charge. Teeth gleam and hostility crackles. The fire of the movement blazes in the heavy breath of each wolf, their eyes alive with fury. Moody can't take it and he breaks too, hissing and spitting out growls as he darts to the river's edge, dropping into crouch.

"Enough!" Sam roars, his deep voice firm. "All of you, gather yourselves! We will not be fighting without reason!"

Sam's order instantly binds each wolf. Six tails droop and twelve sets of paws retreat. Even Paul bows his head, letting out an angry huff. He shoots Emmett a fiery glance before he spins around and bursts into wolf form, snapping his teeth as he charges through the brush. Not a single wolf tries to stop him.

The leader Cullen glances around at the pack before retreating as well. Sam sighs once. His narrowed eyes meets those of the Cullen leader. He holds his stare for a long moment before nodding. "I agree to your terms, and we will all abide by the new rule."

"It is settled, then." Leader places a hand on the back of the female Cullen beside him, guiding her away from the river hurriedly. Moody turns to his tiny mate and takes her with him, disappearing after the leaders. Mind Reader and Emmett remain unmoving.

Emmett flashes a grin in my direction. "Well, you sure are gonna be a hell of a lot of fun, aren't you?"

Something about his tone of voice—or maybe it's just that dimpled grin—causes a smile to curve on my lips. Sam shifts his weight across the line, clearing his throat loudly. I take it that he doesn't want to hang around much longer.

"Emmett," Mind Reader snaps. "This isn't a good time for conversation. What's done is done, and Bella—"

"Oh, chill out, Eddie." Emmett chuckles, slapping his hand on his brother's back. "She'll be just fine."

Mind Reader's jaw sets. His eyes seem to darken further as he starts intently at Emmett. "Emmett, she mustn't be kept out of this. I must go to my Bella immediately."

"Alright, alright. You've got a point—we don't need her ending up in the emergency room again." Emmett casts another grin at me and winks. "See ya around."

Mind Reader visibly relaxes at his words. Emmett charges straight through the brush like a human plow, flattening everything in his way. Mind Reader shakes his head and sighs softly before darting off after him. I stay planted in place for a moment, inhaling Emmett's strangely sweet scent.

Sam is silent for a long moment, his eyes waiting to find mine before he speaks. "Come on, honey," he murmurs gently. "You've had a long day." He waves me over the line, turning his back toward the woods.

I shake my head once and pull my weight back. I race toward the river's edge before hurling myself over, landing softly next to Sam. Sam gives me a weak smile before nodding and setting off into the forest. I stare at his back, my expression darkened. Even he has the same light of disgusted disapproval in his eyes. Each member of the pack is disgusted with me, and I know it.

But for some strange reason, I just can't bring myself to give a damn.