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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.

67. Delirium

Rating 0/5   Word Count 1697   Review this Chapter

"I heard the world up, late night.
Holding my breath tight, trying to keep my head on right." - OAR.

Chapter Sixty Seven



Paul paces.

Back and forth, back and forth.


Hard feet crunch over once-lush land that had been stripped to a bare, dead brown. Hot flecks of scattered ash float down from an endless block of smoke hanging in the air, touching rounded shoulders with a light hiss. Paul's fists clench, his nostrils flaring around the simmering fumes of lingering smoke thickening the air around him. Dead silence drums deep in his ringing ears. Paul releases a sour breath through spat curses and hacked coughs, his lungs polluted with smokey poison. Before he can inhale, his teeth grind and his throat constricts. Another spasm rips through him, rocking him through his bones.

Paul squeezes his eyes shut, pausing. He curls his hands at his sides. It takes him a few tries, but eventually, he drags a shuddering breath through his clenched teeth, filling his lungs with the heavy weight of the ruins around him.

Damn smoke.

Down the dip of the slope where Paul paces, embers sizzle. A black coat of ash lies in place of the central tribal village, limp and lifeless. The pack ran straight into a blaze of reds and oranges, pulling out charred bodies and hacking, hunched shapes of burn-covered bodies from the middle of the flames. It was just in time for some, and horribly late for others. The pack pulled together long enough to pick up the pieces of the village and restore an uneasy sense of calm to the distraught survivors at least for the night. Somber, soot-marked faces and slumped, heavy shoulders file past Paul among their dismissal, offering a silent nod or clap on the shoulder as they pass. Some cough dust. Others wipe grime off trembling hands. The rest trudge straight toward the promise of sweet sleep without a glance, too tired to pay notice to anything around them.

Paul doesn't tire.

After tearing through the forest at a dead sprint and knocking the screen door clean off its squeaky hinges, he'd rushed to find his Rachel in a panic at the Black home. He'd buried himself in the smokey smell of her presence, worrying away at her while Billy sat back and stared through the foggy glass of the window, watching the last streams of smoke waft toward the white wash of moonlight over the pointed tree tops. The fires never broke through the forests, but the damage spread to every corner of the reservation, its devastation cutting scars into the safe blanket of security surrounding the tribe for decades.

Paul doesn't feel it.

Blackened eyes flash. Paul stops in the looming shadows of nightfall, holding in a stammering breath. Heat crawls down his spine like a million tiny pricks and needles. Calloused, flaming hands clench tight with frustration, popping knuckles.

The sweep of cloaks and snowy skin race behind Paul's heavy lids. Echoes of metallic, bone-jarring laughter knot in Paul's gut and bend his torso. Paul's nostrils scream against the sting of the fire's fumes, his head spinning. He grits his teeth, his shoulders rising and falling rapidly with his stuttering breathing. His hands reach out and clutch the hot, charred bark of a dead tree for support, and he steadies himself.

He knows damn well that the bloody bastards lit the fire.

Whether or not the Cullens aided the red-eyes in their scheme doesn't matter.

Not a damn soul in hell will stop him from sending each and every demon to their cells in the deepest bits of hell's fires. He'll take them all out, ripping open throats and snapping spines clean through the middle.

He could do it now.

Blowing out steam through dry lips, Paul clenches his hands in the crunchy black surface of the tree. His eyes flash open to the brown, dead ground beneath his dirty feet. Inhaling, he shakes away temptation.

"Wait for Jordan," he mutters lowly to himself.

Paul's lips curve on the edges. He pushes himself off the tree, brushing his hands on the torn fabric of his cutoffs. Jordan will be back soon. She'll step onto the peak of the hill at Paul's side and pull him away for just a while; just long enough for her to track them down and allow him his fair share of 'sucker scraps. The damned parasites will pay the price and then some.

Jordan knows real justice.

Rolling his shoulders, Paul turns. He tenses, his shoulders drawing high and his back muscles tightening. Instinct whispers, warning him, but the words are useless. Paul lifts his gaze without any sense of hesitation, meeting the pair of dark eyes set straight on him.

Jacob and Nicole stand before Paul. The dim light of night shadows their faces, turning their eyes into burning lights of worry. They stand close enough that their fingers wind together without any reach, and their chests rise and fall in sync with the matched pace of their breathing. Paul quirks a brow, smelling the stink of worry radiating off the pair of them. Together, the majestic power of the alphas evaporates. The leaders look alone, lost and separated from the rest of the world.

Paul senses the wave of grief rising high above his head, but he chokes back the questions and lets numb words roll from his tongue.

"I'm waiting for Jordan." Paul shifts his bare feet to lean his weight back, glancing between the empty expressions worn on the alpha's faces. "My next patrol isn't until daybreak."

The alphas answer with grim silence, their eyes hollow and mouths set in tight lines.

Alarm stabs through Paul's ribs and pokes at his racing heart. He knows the truth—he's known it for hours, sensing in the quiet of the pack as they work and the air of absence without the sensation of the unblinking gaze on the back of each of their necks. The pack knew when she fell flat on the forest floor behind them, losing herself then and there in the heat of panic. They knew it when her neck rolled sideways and she stilled. They knew it when she didn't break through the trees to join the group of half-naked shifters picking away at the empty blackness of the heart of their world.

Without words to voice what they all know, the stubborn voice in Paul's head rejects truth as it has throughout the hours, over and over and over.

But this time, it can't.

A weak growl builds in the back of Paul's throat, spilling through his lips. He fists his hands to hold back the spasms, struck sick with the heat of his temper leaking into his veins. Paul's burning gaze flickers between Jacob and Nicole, still like silent statues in the night. His expression hardens into a glower. The sound of his labored breathing fills the ticking seconds of silence spread between them.

Finally, Nicole's pale blue eyes blink and tighten. She slips her hand into Jacob's and turns to study his expression, waiting. Jacob's eyes make a lazy trail from Paul's heated fury to the quiver in his hands. With a deep-chested cough and a rumble to clear his throat, Jacob takes Nicole's hand in his and trails his deep-set gaze into Paul's. His eyes shimmer as he speaks, the words hoarsely muttered from his thick throat.

"Jordan is. . ." Jacob squeezes his eyes shut, grimacing through something felt somewhere deep inside him. He takes a minute to gather himself, pulling out a steady voice of confidence from empty air. His russet lips part over pristine teeth. A minute passes before the rest of his sentence comes through, inching Paul closer and closer to the edge.

"She's not coming back here, Paul."

Paul's breathing quickens. He floats, suspended in numb, burning nothingness. Paul casts a disgusted look Nicole's way, but she hides her face in the curve of Jacob's shoulder, avoiding his glare. Spitting huffs and puffs of poisonous air through his teeth, Paul steps forward, jabbing an accusing finger into the chest of his alpha. He breathes fury through his lips, feeling his insides churn and split as he turns inside out.

"You're lying," Paul snarls. His breathing stutters, his forehead inches from that of his alpha, blank and responseless before him. Jacob's face blurs, buzzy through a wall of wetness clouding Paul's vision. "You're lying, damn it!"

Jacob curls an arm around Nicole's shivering figure, gently bringing her a step behind him. He shakes his head slowly, his chocolate eyes pinched. "No," he murmurs. "I'm not lying to you, Paul. She's gone."

The quiet words of the alpha slice open the pent-up rage boiling beneath Paul's skin, flipping the switch and charging every nerve in his body. He plants his shaking hands against Jacob's chest and shoves, once, twice, and again, forcing him back step by step. Each push barely moves the stone of the alpha. Disbelief and a sick shock of nausea sap Paul's strength. He roars, shouting through the lump in his throat.

"That's joke is fucking sick! Where the fuck is she? Huh?" Paul rams his shoulder against the mountain of the man before him, but he doesn't budge. Stricken with grief, he stumbles backwards, losing his breath in a whoosh. Paul's teeth slam together, chattering as his muscles draw together and begin to tear. The world swims, and he rakes his hand through his close-cropped hair, searching for a grip. His body pulls apart, shattering to pieces as he throws out his voice to the sky in a howl of rage.

Paul tears into his wolf, slaughtering the broken, blackened forest around him with the eruption of the change. Spit flies, and the whites of his eyes roll in his head. Two pairs of russet hands reach for his neck, but he knocks them away with a furious gnashing of his teeth. With heat popping in his ears and a drumming, urgent need for murder flashing through his veins, Paul charges into the dead of night, leaving a cloud of kicked ash to settle in his departure.