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Monster

Summary:
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.


Notes:
[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.


53. The Final Four

Rating 0/5   Word Count 2824   Review this Chapter

"Stop losing, losing
Keep rising to the top." - Keni Burke.

Chapter Fifty Three

The Final Four

Sam's thought lingers, popping and sizzling in my ears before fading into a hushed simmer. His posture droops and his head lowers as if a great weight has been lifted off his back. Then, with deliberate ease, he shakes his coat clean and carries himself down the slope and out into the clearing, resigning his claim to the throne.

The two wolves below the hill have yet to move. Their eyes are set on the large black wolf, wide with shocked disbelief. The moment Sam's paws are firmly planted against the muddy ground, the russet and silver wolf come slowly and turn their heads just enough to lock gazes. They stare for a long moment, frozen, before meeting in a joyful embrace, suddenly animated once again. The russet male rumbles, laying his broad head against the silver neck of his companion, openly displaying the affection swarming through him with a throaty bark of laughter.

I snort at the sight. Damn, doesn't that just warm the cockles of my heart.

Each head snaps up, as if they've all forgotten my presence. I bristle under the fixture of their gazes. Beneath the skin, I'm blistering, and the weight of the stares only lashes further at my control. Fury clouds my vision as I scowl back at them, nearly unable to contain myself.

To hell with it. The thought leaves my mind and sends the rest into a spiral, as if it's been acting as a base to hold the brewing storm inside my skull. A low whimper runs through the gathered wolves as a burst of white-hot anger explodes in my head and scatters into their own.

Wait.

I perk my ears at the sound of Sam's thought, though my body remains set and ready to move. Jacob shakes his head slowly, catching onto something unsaid. Sam ignores it and he leans back, lowering himself down slightly before speaking.

There is uneven power.

Nicole paws at the ground, suddenly anxious. Sam shoots her a warning look, but it has no immediate effect on her anymore, and her thoughts flow freely. There will always be uneven power. It can't be distributed evenly. She pulls up the crushing feeling of the alpha's command, putting it on display for the rest of us to see.

Very true. But. Jared lifts his head, his dark eyes meeting Nicole's. Jacob has a female by his side—there is an alpha male, and an alpha female. And I don't have anyone to share this position with.

Exactly. Sam nods, though his thoughts come warily, as if he is suppressing himself. There is only one suitable wolf left to fill the spot.

I huff under my breath in agreement. Some part of me feels satisfied—the spilled blood isn't wasted. Another boils, demanding to take power and refusing to let anything block my path. Jacob and Nicole exchange a look, uncertain.

Finally, Jacob dips his head, though his gaze doesn't move. We might need the help.

Nicole breathes a wolfish sigh. Straightening her shoulders, she nods in confirmation while avoiding my eyes. Sam looks between the three of us before taking a few paces backward and bowing his head—a gesture of invitation.

Go on.

Jacob steps aside, allowing Nicole to brush past him. He swiftly falls in step next to her, winding around the side of the hill and disappearing into the trees. Jared follows, right on their heels. I allow a comfortable space to form before jogging forward to take my place. Sam's muzzle wrinkles in a sort of smile as I pass, his eyes lit with the proud light of a father.

Nicole and Jacob climb to the peak of the hill, claiming their positions with their heads held high. Jared positions himself off to the left, raising himself to stand tall while keeping a respectful distance. I step in place on the right side of the hill and am instantly greeted by on a soft breeze. The fingers of the wind run through my thick fur before wrapping around my nostrils, carrying the scent of wolves. I glance down at the torn, trampled clearing. Finding it empty, I instantly turn my attention on the swaying trees.

One by one, glimmers of various-colored figures fill the spaces between the shadows as the rest of the pack comes forward. The paws padding on the undergrowth squish through the mud as they cautiously come closer. The pack creeps into the clearing with the graceful silence, moving together, as a whole. Bright eyes raise toward the hill, taking in the sight of the new leaders stationed above. The fur of many coats still stands on end; strides stumble and uneasy growls slip through muzzles. Some minds buzz with excitement—like Seth's, who can barely contain the excitement triggered by the site of Jacob in his pride and glory—while others, like Paul's, grumble resentfully with the knowledge of what could have been.

Despite the differing opinions, as each wolf steps in place below the hill, every knee folds and each head lowers. The line of bodies drop into a bow, one by one. Above me, I hear Jacob's unsure rumble, followed by Nicole's huff of approval. Jared remains indifferent, though even I can sense the slightest silver of respect in the gesture—earned respect.

After a moment of silence, I throw back my head, releasing a powerful howl that rips through the quiet night. The voices of the pack raise below it, climbing higher and higher into the dark sky. I empty my lungs before dropping my head and snapping my teeth. My eyes scan the wolves in the clearing as they finish their own songs. Most of the wolves' bodies sag as they finish, suddenly overwhelmed with exhaustion.

As silence settles, the pack begins to melt back into their human skin. There isn't much conversation other than the awkward shuffle of the runts and the occasional mumbled comment. Only Leah doesn't bother to phase back—she waits on the edge of the clearing, her dark eyes trained on her little brother as he checks the button on his cut-offs before trotting over to his sister with a huge grin. They disappear into the trees together, side by side.

I don't bother to wait for the rest of the pack to go their separate ways. I lunge off the hill, landing in a crouch, my bare feet pressed firmly into the mud. Shaking out my hair, I pull my clothes free from the tie on my ankle and yank them over my body in a matter of seconds.

I blow out a short breath before taking in my surroundings. None of the pack seem to have taken notice—most of them are dragging their feet toward the edge of the clearing, their backs turned and unattentive. I shift my shoulders, neutralizing my stance. Just as I do, my ears pick up on a hushed conversation just above my head. I grit my teeth as my gaze wanders back up toward the hill. Though I can't see beyond the peak of the hill, I can clearly pick out the source of the voices.

"I know, I know," Jacob whispers. "But we can let it slide. Just this once."

"We can't, Jacob," Nicole insists. "This is could only lead to something more. Especially with the power she has, she—"

The rest of Nicole's sentence remains unspoken. There's only the sound of heavy heartbeats for a moment, then a shuffle of feet sloppily stomping through the brush and up the slope. Nicole mutters her irritation to herself as the footsteps grow louder.

"Hey, Jake!" Quil crows. "Congrats, man!"

"Yeah, man," Embry echoes. There's a slap, sharp like the sudden contact of skin—Embry claps him on the shoulder. "Congrats."

"Thanks, guys."

"Anytime, bro. You need any help and I got your back."

I can hear the forced smile straining Jacob's tone as he speaks again. "Yeah, thanks. Means a lot."

There's a moments pause—a sudden stillness—before Embry breaks it with a loud yawn. "Jeez, it's getting really late. See ya around, Jake."

With that, the stomping begins, hurriedly fading off into the distance.

Jacob blows out a heavy sigh of relief. "Where were we?"

"Jacob," Nicole murmurs. I tip my head to the side, having to stretch my hearing to catch her words. "She's right there."

Seconds later, Jacob and Nicole's heads peek over the side of the slope. I force a cheesy smile up at them. "I have two working ears, you know."

Nicole swallows, her light eyes set on Jacob as she speaks. "Hey, Jordan. . ."

Jacob half-turns, holding Nicole's gaze as he does so. The bare muscles on his back are tight and trembling. Nicole casts a frantic look in his direction as he takes a step away from her. With a sight, Jacob pauses, placing a hand on the side of her cheek.

"I'll be back," he promises. And just like that, he lunges into the darkness, disappearing in a shot of russet.

Nicole stares after him for a long moment, her lips turned into a frown, before she returns her attention on me. Her eyes run up and down my body, flickering to the glittering ring on my finger one time too many. I curl my fingers into my palm and fix her with an expectant expression. She shakes her head, sighs, and slowly slides down the side of the hill, climbing toward the ground feet-first.

"So, why'd you do it?" Nicole begins. She bites her lip, hesitating before carefully placing her feet on the ground and looking up. Her icy eyes sharpen, focusing as she speaks. "Was it for money?"

I raise a brow in question, holding her stare evenly. My mind scatters for a moment before pulling together slowly, forcing me to think before speaking. "You think I give a damn if my pockets are empty? I don't fight for pay, Nicole. I have no need for any benefit."

Nicole's expression twists, shaping to show her confusion. "Then what was it for? No, tell me this—what are you trying to prove?"

Her persistence pierces my core, filling me with sudden fever. I grind my teeth, feeling my skin heat and my eyes narrow. "Just what do you think I'm after? An award?"

"Clearly," Nicole scoffs, "You want something. Why else would you even try to—"

My nostrils flare, releasing a flame of breath. I raise my voice above Nicole's as I speak. "What the hell do you want me to say? 'Oh, sorry, didn't mean to kick ass. I'll surely play nice next time we're all ripping each other's throats out.'"

"Oh, don't even start to play stupid!" Nicole throws her hands up for emphasis, though she promptly drops them as her eyes flicker into my own. Sighing, she pinches the bridge of her nose and inhales deeply.

"Jordan, we all know about you and . . . him vandalizing pack property. You don't have to hide it, especially as a leader. But you have to know that if you're going to be a leader, you need to be more responsible, and wrecking sheds for fun is not very responsible."

I stare straight into Nicole's eyes as she speaks, her voice roaring in my ears like the echoing blast of an explosion. The words ring in the thick air between us before pounding through my skull. Vandalizing pack property.

Suddenly, realization strikes and the fever disappears, melting back into my veins. I lean back, straightening my stance and allowing a half-smile to lighten my expression. "So that's the rumor, is it?"

Nicole frowns, her eyebrows pulling together. "Rumor?" she repeats.

Something that's almost a smirk spreads across my lips. "We weren't screwing the shed."

"Wha—"

It takes her a second, but Nicole quickly catches on to the meaning of my words. Her cheeks flush, tinting her copper skin a darker hue as her eyes flare wide. I swear I hear her heart stutter as shock encases her, punching the breath from her lungs like a hard blow to the gut.

Her mouth opens and closes, her words exiting in a series of bu—how—you—they—I's, each syllable stumbling over the next as she struggles to speak. Finally, she pauses to collect herself, grabbing her hair in tight fists.

"You can't be serious. You're joking, right?"

I nod, waving a hand as if to dismiss the thought. "Yeah, now that I think about it, I'm pretty sure we were just playing an overly friendly round of Uno."

Nicole lunges suddenly, knocking aside the hands that raise in front of me as she catches my shoulders, gripping them tightly; shaking me. "Jordan, listen to me. You can't do something like that. It's too much. Too much of a risk, especially for you. He could bite you or hurt you. Jordan, he. . ."

I hear Nicole's voice as she speaks, but suddenly, she's far away. The buzz returns in my veins, and I can feel the pulse of heat radiating off my neck and burning my ears. My jaw locks as my eyes darken and, in a viciously sudden movement, my fist swings forward and meets her nose with an audible crunch.

Taken by surprise, Nicole stumbles, her eyes popped with shock. I snarl—a twisted, feral threat—before driving my knee up into the space between her ribs. Nicole throws her arms toward the sky, but it's not enough to catch herself. She crashes down into the sodden ground, landing hard on her side.

The only sounds in the clearing are the gasping, desperate rhythm of Nicole's breathing and the slurp of the mud as she rolls onto her back. I hold my ground, my teeth bared and my shoulders hunched, dragged down by the weight of the wolf inside. It's clawing its way out of me, inch by inch. Tears spike the edges of Nicole's eyes as she lifts her head, still wheezing as she tries to find her voice. I only stare, feeling nothing but the heat flaring up my spine.

"J-Just ke-ep him a-away."

Despite the weak stutter of her voice, Nicole's command binds me immediately, smashing my will to bits. I nod once, turning and twisting in one movement, my paws throwing me back into motion the instant they brush the ground.

I run alone.

I'm nothing but a surge of strength, muscle and heat and power blasting through the drizzly winds. Miles and miles disappear behind me, yet I don't pause, not even for the biggest boulders or the thickest trees. The world flattens out beneath me, seeming to burst into ash as I charge by.

Hell. This feels like hell, raging hot enough that I don't doubt that the world is being devoured in flames. The monster is ravenous, having inched its way back into my bloodstream, clinging to the last bits of adrenaline wandering through my system. My mind is a muddled mess of senseless thought and absent reason, fueled with the crave of revenge.

There aren't any other minds connecting to my own—nothing to force me to go any further. The rest of the pack must have crashed at home, having the rest of the night to escape into sleep. The black of night surrounds me, closing in tighter and tighter as I plunge further into the endless stretch of wilderness. Eventually, I slow my pace, tossing my head and huffing hot puffs of breath through my muzzle.

I have to jog in a tight circle, my claws tearing deep into the soil and my muscles spasming until I manage to gather myself enough to lift my head and breathe in the scene around me. I pull in a breath of air, though it barely reaches my nostrils before I stop short. A glimmer distracts my gaze, causing me to exhale sharply and reposition myself to get a better look.

A round spot of yellow warmth glows in the distance. It's a light, shining through the darkness and bringing out the spitting drops of rain sprinkling in the air around it. Straining my vision, I make out the orderly line of stacked logs bordered around it—a wall.

My paws move on their own, bringing me closer to the soft gleam. I'm soundless in motion, creeping through the forest without disturbing the slimmest bit of brush, until I pause just outside the treeline. Rain patters lightly against my coat as my eyes run across the cabin-like house, taking in the sight of it. It's nothing special, but as my eyes trail further, I feel the fur along my neck bristle, my ears flattening and my lip curling in a silent snarl.

The house isn't empty. In the open doorway stands a girl with a rifle raised to her shoulder, her fingers awkwardly wrapped around the trigger while a trembling hand aims the point straight at my face.