So, it has been a really long time since I've contributed to this story, but it has been on my mind nearly everyday. I've had quite an eventful past year, full of excuses that none of you really care about, hahah! I'm not back entirely, and am experiencing mental highs and lows, which are definitely sapping my energy and motivation. I'm giving you this, whilst I try and get myself back on track. Thank you for waiting patiently, and impatiently, and thank you for your support.
"Little Sam is adorable," Emily cooed, dozens of old photos scattered around her as she sat on the floor of their living room. "How old were you here?"
Sam smiled gently, the sanest and calmest he'd been since the entire ordeal began, and took the photo from her. "I would've had to be around…" He paused, his brow furrowing as he looked at the photo.
"That's not me," he mumbled, reaching into the box that the photo had come from and grabbing some more. "All of these aren't me." He gaped at the little toddler who grinned at the camera, his mind a blur as he tried to figure out why he had a box of baby photos and who the baby was in the photos.
"Well it looks like you."
"It isn't me though, I had a cowlick when I was little." Sam grabbed a photo which he knew was himself and showed it to her, holding the other photo next to it for comparison. They had similarities but they were definitely different children. "Why in the world would we have kept these?"
"There has to be a reasonable explanation," Emily offered quietly. It did seem strange that Sam's mum would've kept pictures of a random child and would lead other people down a less than nice road of thinking. Emily poked her head in the box and found a letter. "Here, surely this has something to do with the pictures."
Sam took it from her and opened the old paper with a crinkle.
I never knew, that he was in a relationship. And I know that seeing my face and my child must be devastating for you, I know it would be for me, but I can't leave. My son, my perfect little boy, needs to be brought up close to his father, even if that scumbag isn't here.
Embry won't know. I won't tell him. He'll have questions but he won't get the answers. Sam needn't ever know either. Our boys can grow up ignorant to the bond that they have, just like you want them to.
You have my word that I won't tell. Just like you asked me not to.
Sam exhaled shakily. Embry was his brother? His mother didn't want either of them to know?
"Where's Jacob going?" Seth asked as the car peeled out of the Cullen's territory. "Why is he leaving us? Now of all times?"
"Don't worry Seth," Leah reassured. "He's gone to clear his head. It's hard for him to be near the girl he loves when she's knocked up and so sickeningly in love with someone else. It's devastating and soul-crushing to watch."
Seth looked at his sister with a sympathetic expression, and, when she glanced in his direction, she punched his arm.
"Would you stop?" she grumbled. "I'm over it," she confessed. "I'm just bitter that Sam doesn't understand that I am. He calls me the special nickname he gave me, he gives me special treatment over the lads, making sure I don't do any patrols with him or any patrols that are messing with my schedule. It shows he cares about me still and it's unfair on Emily."
Seth rolled his eyes at his older sister but didn't dispute what she was saying. He could pick up on when she was lying, had always managed to do that, and now wasn't a time that she was.
"How mature of you," Paul snarked as he flopped onto the ground with them, Jared, Embry and Quil in quick succession. "Now can discuss something a little less heart warming? It doesn't sound right coming from you."
"Fuck you, Lahote," she countered.
Paul smiled happily. "There you are."
"She looks so calm," Fred said, amazed that the girl he considered his little sister was able to sleep so peacefully. He still struggled nearly everyday, his sleep disturbed with flashing lights of red and green, the screams and shouts of both friends and foes, and the bloody mess his brother's head had been when he'd lost his ear. Of course, George was alive and well, experiencing his own demons from the war, but there is still a nightmare in seeing your closest human being be bloody like that. "How can she be so calm?"
"She's knackered herself," George answered. "She's loaded with stress, determination and worry. She's pushing herself and even she has limits."
"I know that," Fred grumbled, nudging his twin's shoulder. "I just mean, I didn't think I'd ever see her like that. Able to sleep without a problem."
"Neither did I, Gred. Neither did I."
They both stared at the peaceful little wolf that was their younger sister, and smiled as her left ear twitched.
The spine-chilling cackle of the horrendous witch echoed around the room.
Her body burned with pain.
Her mind barely clung on to sanity.
"Are we doing this?" Collin asked, his body huddled closer to Brady's. Though they weren't in wolf form, the close contact was still comforting to the young boys who had been thrown into a situation they were not prepared for. None of the La Push wolves, no matter what Pack they were in, were ready for this heavy dispute.
"I don't see what choice we have," Brady responded, running a hand through Collin's hair. "They're our family, even if we haven't been part of this pack that long."
"Sam is our family too," Collin whispered.
"He isn't the same Sam that we know anymore." Brady's bottom lip trembled as the thirteen year old tried to be strong for his friend.
"Wolves don't last well on their own, Brady," Collin said, staring at his best friend with teary eyes. "Can we really leave him?"
"You have to," a deep voice interrupted, startling the young boys from their conversation and deep thoughts.
"Sam?" Brady asked. "What are you on about?"
"You have to leave for the other Pack. But I'm going with you."
"Something isn't right." Jared was sat rigidly in his chair, a plate piled with food was sat untouched on the table in front of him, a true sign to his discomfort.
"Thank fuck I'm not the only one feeling it," Leah muttered, running a hand through her hair. "At first I thought it was because Jacob had done a runner, and our wolves were pining for our Alpha, but-"
"But he's going to come back, and we know that in our guts," Paul interrupted, his back tense with how weird he was feeling. "So if we know it in our guts then instinctually our wolves are going to be calm and it will have little effect on us."
"So if it isn't Alpha abandonment, then, what is it?" Embry asked.
None of the wolves had an answer for that.
Flashes. Screams. Pain.
Her world was a never ending cycle of the same three things.
Cackling. Darkness. Hell.
Her world shifted slightly, and with none of the reprieve that she'd been hoping for.
Would this never end?
"Where are you going?" Paul asked, watching as Seth stalked off away from the group. "We're just about to go get food."
"I'm gonna have a nap," Seth responded. He motioned towards the sleeping Hermione that was further away from everyone and everything. "Puppy pile, ya'know?"
Jared and Quil looked at their older friend, scared for his reaction to some other man declaring that he was going to sleep close to his imprint.
"Keep your paws to yourself," Paul warned good naturedly. Jared and Quil looked at each other with slight shock. Maybe having a male imprint eased Paul's mind when it came to the intentions of the younger wolf. Or maybe it was the double imprint at work.
"I can control mine, but can she keep hers to herself?" Seth countered with a wink, before turning his back to the Pack and transforming into his wolf and trotting over to the sleeping Pup.
"What do you mean, you're coming to?" Brady asked, his arms tightening around Collin. "We're in this mess because you refused to listen to people and pushed the ones who listened to you away!" he snarled, his eyes glowing furiously and his body starting to shake. Collin placed what he hoped to be a soothing hand on Brady's back.
"I understand I made mistakes," Sam replied after a long breath. "I regret it more than you could ever know."
"I don't believe you!" Brady said, shoving Collin behind him. "You're just going to try and make us attack them once we're there!"
Sam's lower lip wobbled slightly before he inhaled deeply and rubbed a hand across his face. "I'm sorry that I made you feel like this, I'm sorry that I failed you as an Alpha and as someone who swore to protect you." He took a step towards the young ones, only for them both to take a cowering step backwards. "I'm truly sorry, and I will prove it to you."
"We don't believe you!" Brady howled.
"I do," Collin interjected quietly. Brady swung his head round to look at the younger boy. His eyes were wide with disbelief and anger. "He's truly sorry, you can smell it."
Brady took a long sniff of the man in front of him, before losing his frown and maintaining a neutral expression.
"I don't trust you," Brady commented, "not anymore."
"That's fine," Sam said, his heart breaking. "I respect that and if I was in your shoes, I wouldn't either."
Hermione's wolf twitched as Seth settled down next to her and he smiled down at the witch, before he rested his own head on his paws and closed his eyes to rest.
Green lights. Red lights. Purple lights.
Screams. Cries. Grunts.
Pain and horror, crumbling of buildings and spilt blood of the dead. The sky was thick with smoke from burning debris. The night making everything more terrifying, more horrendous, more of a nightmare.
"Fred, may I ask you for a favour?" Carlisle turned his amber eyes to the wizard he hoped was Fred. He nodded, dragging his attention off of his sleeping sister, to the vampire. "We need to feed." He looked almost sheepish to mention it. "Hermione took us yesterday, or the day before, but with everything being so stressful, some of us are feeling rundown."
"A fair enough point," Fred concluded. "And you want me to donate blood?"
"We're animal drinkers," Carlisle answered, looking almost disgusted at the idea. "I was hoping you and your brother would be able to apparate us to a feeding spot and come and collect us again once we've fed."
"Of course, but I've never been to any places around here. It'll be hard for me to apparate."
Carlisle was silent, having momentarily forgotten that they couldn't just vanish to places on demand.
"If we read their mind, of the location they want to go to, that would help us out a little. It wouldn't be the same, but it would be better than nothing." Carlisle and Fred both turned to look at the other twin. "How many we taking?"
"For now it would be myself, Esme and Emmett," Carlisle answered. "With the birth impending, and none of us really sure what we're dealing with, we don't want to be left short handed here but still need me to be ready come the birth."
"That's gonna be a two person trip," Fred said to George. George's face disagreed. "We're going to a place we've never been to before, going there from an image in a head which isn't a safe way to travel, and we will be taking three magical creatures. It's going to be a two person trip."
"Fine," George shrugged, conceding this argument. "We'd better sit down and get this sorted. The sooner we go, the sooner we can come back, the sooner we'll all be ready for the baby."
Death was everywhere. It was hard to see anything but death. She could see it, taste it, smell it. She could feel it.
The break in the war, the truce that Voldemort had called, was devastating for a whole different reason. People weren't fighting or killing, but they were still suffering. The losses were even more apparent when not in the middle of a battle. Bodies were strewn across the rubble, friends and foes alike.
People's wounds were being treated, but some were beyond repair and it was obvious they weren't going to survive.
Harry Potter was gone. Missing. Presumably dead by now.
"Should we head over as wolves?" Brady asked, turning to Sam. They might not have considered him as their Alpha anymore, but he was still older and wiser. He'd been a wolf a lot longer than they had and he knew what would be perceived as a threat.
"No," he responded. Brady and Collin nodded. It was gonna be a long walk, but three wolves that had been considered enemies, just waltzing into another Pack's territory wouldn't be the greatest way to have a white flag conversation.
"Do you think we should get a white flag?" Collin asked. "It's the universal sign of surrender."
"I think me heading over there with my tail between my legs is sign enough," Sam answered. "Let's start the walk over."