Generally inspired by Through the Window Came the Wind by lifelesslyndsey (deadnow), The Movement of the Earth by audreyii-fic, and the overall writing style of Adlyb.

Warning: This story features instances of some self harm, minor drug abuse, and implied sexual assault.

"It's a hard thing to leave any deeply routine life, even if you hate it." ― John Steinbeck

When I think back to that time, the anger might be the worst part. Before those weeks spent panicking in the forest, I shook. My whole body spasmed every time something so goddamn inconsequential ticked me off.

I watched myself in the mirror once, before I knew the truth. It looked like I was becoming detached from reality itself. Now, that thought only elicits a dry laugh from me. If only I could disappear from this realm. I don't think I'd come back.

And Leah. God, poor Leah. I proposed to her only two months before. It was supposed to be a happy time. Instead, we fought more and more. This time the rough sex didn't make up for it. I wanted to slash her throat when I yelled at her. Afterwards, nothing scared me more in my life.

Even my mom wasn't protected from this new rage. I didn't want her coming over to my house. Dusting the curtains, trying to cook something for me. That song she'd always hum. My nerves were on fire. I'd run outside to escape her presence. Chop some fucking wood.

College wasn't the comfort I usually found it to be. I was taking an online summer class, trying to catch up on the grueling engineering major I chose for myself. The anger at myself only increased. For being an idiot, a bad fiancé and son, and ultimately for being a person who wanted to burn down the world for no good reason.

I thought there was some kind of monster inside of me. Something that was only going to get worse.

I was right.

The triggering moment was overhearing my mom's conversation with him. Joshua Uley. Only one of many deadbeats on the rez. He just happened to be ours. I told her to never talk to him again, never give him any more money. But she doesn't listen! A soft spot for a man that abandoned you and your child!

My wrath felt righteous, but my body felt like I was going to explode. In a way, I guess I did. I backed up from her window and ran into the forest. It took me a few miles to realize my legs were paws.

I spent a month trapped out there. Not knowing how to phase back into a human. It took me too long to admit what I was. An animal. A wolf.

Giant and covered in black fur. It felt fitting: where the rage once lied was now a black void. Only self hatred remained.

I ate deer and rabbits raw. I gnawed on the bones. I drank from the rushing streams. I wanted to kill myself.

Instinct told me to map the forest. Learn every configuration of possible tree patterns here. It helped that I realized pretty quickly just how fast I was. The running was the only part I actually enjoyed.

Otherwise, I howled incessantly at the moon. I think I was crying to go home.

When I couldn't sleep most nights, I'd pace around and think about the legends. If I was human, I'd throw up knowing they were actually true. A better warning would have been appreciated.

Yeah, it took me too long to realize my emotions were tied to my current state. Rage got me into this predicament. Depression kept me here. Maybe only acceptance would get me out.

I didn't hate the wolf anymore. And I knew it wasn't a separate being from me. It was just another me. A version I could grow to care for. But I needed to be human sometimes to do that. I promised myself that I wouldn't spend my life stuck in either form. I would return to the animal state again. Maybe that would be enough.

I found myself looking at the Black house from the trees. I breathed in calmly as I could, then let it all exit from my snout. I tried to find peace.

I was a man again.

Huddled on the ground and gasping for air from the shock of everything. Maybe I cried out. Maybe I struggled obviously towards Billy's house. But he wheeled himself out on the front porch and shined a light in my face.

"Here, son. Got a quilt for you to cover up with."

I made it to my feet once again and hobbled over. I tried to square my shoulders and retain as much dignity as possible. I doubt I was successful.

He looked at me with sad, knowing eyes when I took the blanket.

"I better call Harry and Old Quil. Suppose we have a lot of explaining to do."

They told me how they expected me to transform soon. They just didn't think it would take me so long to change back.

The signs are thought to be obvious, they say. The anger, the sudden growth and increase in appetite, feverish body temperature. I think back to that time and didn't realize why I hadn't noticed my changing body more. I was just too consumed by the rage. But the comments by Leah and my mom suddenly hit me.

My mom eyeing me up and down: "I thought boys stopped growing after twenty."

Leah gripping my muscles as I thrusted into her.

"You're huge," she said.

I thought she was talking about something else.

And they told me why this change happens. The Cold Ones. They trigger the gene every time they get too close to our people.

That only meant one thing to me. They've returned.

The instinct in me to tear these creatures limb from limb burned. But I couldn't. Harry and Billy told me of the treaty a hundred years ago with the 'vegetarian' bloodsuckers.

"Watch the Cullens," Harry said. "But not too closely. Just enough to let them get the hint. That is your purpose for now."

Old Quil nodded, "So it is."

I didn't want to watch, I wanted to kill. I thought I almost got the chance when the bodies showed up. Their leader, Carlisle, persuaded us of the responsibility falling on a group of passing nomads. The treaty still stood.

Before that though, I watched them casually for two years. I took note of which animals they each preferred to slaughter. Bears for the one that favored himself the strongest. Mountain lions for the only one without a partner. They mastered the art of sucking them dry without spilling a single drop on the forest floor.

I hated them. I hated their desire to blend into regular human society. A goddamn doctor. And high school students, really?

I hated that they could fit in, more or less, when I was forced to give up everything about my life. No more college. No more Leah. Not even the tribal elder's daughter could know.

I did my best to ignore her when I couldn't find the words to face her with. I stopped answering her calls. Crossed the street when I saw her from afar. My new heightened vision made it so I could see her coming before she noticed. It tore a hole inside me every time I did it.

Harry and Billy warned me there would be others. My second duty was to watch the youth of the rez exhibit the same symptoms as me. It would take four months before anyone did. And then another twelve months after that.

I remember Billy looking over at his son playing video games with two other kids down the hall of his house. Young Quil and Embry. They were all fourteen.

"If the Cullens stick around, Jacob will turn. We are descended from the last alpha. It is his rightful place."

I found myself wishing I could give him the role now. But his age and soft features filled me with cloying pity. How could I wish this on someone else?

After two months of ignoring her, Leah's calls increased. Her voicemails were more frantic. Looking back, I shouldn't have deleted every one. She knew I was at least listening then.

Leah Clearwater was never one to get the message right away. Or at the very least, she'd spit in its face before acknowledging the truth. I suppose I should have seen it coming that she'd wind up outside of my house eventually. Green and blue plaid shirt, dirty jeans. She was angry.

Old Quil had been giving me lessons to keep my temper in check. I tried to remember them then. Yet, I found myself not in need of any anger management help. I was too depressed for this shit.

"What the fuck is your deal, Uley!" Leah spat out. Her arms crossed and eyes bulging.

I ignored her. I tried to keep walking to the house, focusing on the sound of dirt beneath my bare feet. She grabbed my arm, but I pushed her off as easily as one would with a flea.

She gasped at my movement.

"I don't know if I want this kind of a man for a husband," she snarled. "Or a father."

"Well, we're in agreement there," I bit back.

Leah paled, "What?"

I stared at her, willing her to get the hint. Her long hair swished in the wind while her body remained still.

"What are you saying." Her voice lacked the usual bite it had. There she was, standing with that face of fearing rejection. I had to turn away.

"We're over, Leah."

She didn't say anything. I'm not even sure she looked at me. She seemed to stare right through my corporeal being.

I breathed in deeply, steeling myself: "It isn't right for us to be together anymore. I can't let you into my life. I've got to go it alone now."

"I hate you, Sam."

Yeah, well, I hate myself too, baby.

She was turning to leave, finally. But Leah Clearwater always has to have the last word.

"I'll be waiting whenever you decide to get your shit together."

I straightened my spine, towering over her. "Don't. Give up hope." Her black eyes widened further, but I wasn't going to see anymore of her response.

I left her outside just as the rain began to pour.

The weeks and even months after felt as bleak as the weather. I was trailing a kid. Paul Lahote, sixteen and still in high school. He was next. Old Quil said he felt it in his bones.

His anger was even worse then mine, I couldn't believe it. Ultimately, I chalked it up to being an inherent trait of his personality rather than just wolf transitioning. It made me wonder what kind of beast he'd be out in nature. Enough of one to kill the bloodsuckers, I hoped.

I felt the snap when I was laying down bricks for a tool shack outside my house. His first phasing was easier than mine. Thank the gods for it. But only because I'd been there. I spent two days in the forest following him around while he learned to track the scent of blood. It was then that we discovered the mind link.

"Get the hell out of my head!"

His dark silver form trotted away from mine. I realized he was absentmindedly mapping the forest the same way I once was.

"You need to calm down," I answered.

"I will when you leave me alone, you freak."

I let the insult roll off. "I can't do that."

Paul only huffed through his snout in response.

"You will need to follow your duty now, Paul. You have been given a great gift and a curse, but the responsibility is unavoidable." I tried my best to sound sure.

When the smaller wolf didn't answer my talk, I decided to push my luck. "You need to learn to control your anger if you want to phase back."

"Go to hell."

I felt the familiar rage build up inside me. As a result I stopped Paul from killing his chosen hunt while he continued to ignore me. He gnawed his teeth at me and growled louder than I heard myself ever do. His barks and snarling indicated he wanted to fight.

My paws dug into the forest floor.

"You will stand down now."

The command shook us both. I didn't realize I had such a voice inside of me. And neither of us realized Paul would have to follow it.

After that incident, he warmed up to me. We tested out the link and the commands a few more times. When Paul was ready, I took him back to Old Quil.

At the very least, Paul would need to cut off all his hair as I had and take the same Quileute protector mark on his shoulder. He abhorred the changes, but I made him shut his mouth during the whole ordeal.

When he focused on me, the elder confirmed the pit of suspicion within my stomach. I had the Alpha's voice. I was the dominant wolf. At least until Jacob Black was ready.

"Some fucking leader you are," Paul would hiss at me when we patrolled outside. I made him miss late night sports games. But his words lacked his previous animosity so I knew he respected my position finally.

The progress with the small pack didn't match my personal life, however.

My mom was furious with me. I was always the mature and responsible son. Now, I dropped out of college without giving her a good reason why. I didn't come over very often. I think ending things with Leah was the last straw. She'd march into my house, look around, and cast disapproving eyes everywhere. It was a mess, yeah. But I wasn't asking for company anymore.

"You're living like an animal," Alison Uley cursed at me.

Thanks for that, mom.

I might have laughed if the stress wasn't getting to me. Instead I found myself shaking like I did right before I turned. It was a dangerous spot to be in.

Breathing through my nose wasn't working, so I began to pace around the living room.

"Won't you answer me at all?" her voice was splintering.

"Need to know," I answered through clenched teeth. My fists were balls.

"I am your mother!"

Before I could answer at all, there was an incessant knocking at my door. My anger soared. I flung it open without a second thought. Not like anything behind it could threaten me.

"Who the hell are you?" I ground out.

She was a beautiful woman. Similar in age to Leah. Too similar in physical features and stance.

"I want to know why the hell you've dumped my cousin."

I bite down on my bottom lip hard enough for it to bleed and heal repeatedly.

"Now is not a good time."

My mom pushed her way forward to look at the unwelcome visitor.

"No, let her in. I want to know too."

I drew a shaky hand through my chopped hair as I couldn't stop the second woman from ganging up on me.

"I want you both to leave."

The woman, Emily Young, crossed her arms. "No."

My mom hissed out in the most vicious tone I'd ever heard. "You are becoming just like your father, Samuel!"

That did it for me. My nerves snapped. I phase right in front of two people not allowed to know this most precious of tribal secrets.

I stayed in the wolf form for a long moment before the screams fully reached my ears.

I had slashed my mom.

The panic and dread set in immediately. Emily rushed to my mom's side and tore off her own shirt to stop the bleeding. It soaked through in mere seconds.

I didn't know what to do, so I howled right there in my kitchen.

"Sam!" Emily yelled out. Her eyes were wet and my mom was unresponsive. "Do something!"

Before shock and pain consumed my every being, I felt the tendrils of the mind link enter my head.

"I'm getting help right now," Paul said.

It was enough to calm me down to phase back.

I rushed to her side. "Oh god, mom. Oh god. I'm so sorry."

She groaned when I touched her face. I reached for the kitchen towels, but they weren't enough. My mind fell blank on what to do next.

Emily ran to the bathroom and pulled out the bath towels. She pressed them against my mom, but now Allison Uley only fought the increased pressure. She waved her hands trying to get us away from her.

"Mom, please, stay still!" I begged. "Help's coming, okay?"

Emily looked at me like she couldn't understand how I knew that when neither of us had called 911. I didn't have time to explain anything to her.

Sue Clearwater entered my house with Paul at her side.

She was a nurse and my stomach lurched when I saw she'd brought an at-home first aid kit. That wasn't going to be nearly enough.

"We'll stop the bleeding and then we'll get her to the hospital."

I nodded and paced around while she and Emily continued to work. Whenever Emily's wide confused eyes tried to reach mine, I'd turn away every time.

I think we waited there for half an hour, maybe more until Sue pulled back with bloody hands and a stained shirt.

"She's stable. We've got to take her now."

Paul scoffed, "And what are we going to tell the doctors?"

Sue looked me dead in the eye, "That a bear attacked her."

I waited by her side for days. I forced Paul to patrol without me. I couldn't face the wolf form anytime soon.

The drip of the IV and the hospital monitor seemed to be the only indicators of passing time. Sleep eluded me. My head finally fell into my hands when a soft touch was felt on my shoulder.

Emily Young gave me the most heartbreaking smile of my life.

"You don't have to tell me anything, Sam," she said. "I just want you to know that I understand now."

I swallowed, "Leah can't know. Even if her parents do."

Emily nodded. She sat beside me while I clutched my mom's hand. It was easy to talk to her then. Tell the secrets of the tribe to a person who wasn't an elder or my responsibility. She seemed to understand everything. Her reactions weren't harsh, not like I'd expect of Leah. She barely said anything while I talked at all.

My throat was dry at the end, but when I went up to get us something to drink from the vending machine, my mom's hand squeezed mine.

"That's a hell of a secret, Sammy."

Her voice, though strained, was light and almost amused.

I might have cried then.

My mom was going to be scarred for life. Facial scars. Everyone would always stare.

Emily let me sob on her shoulder in the hall.

Rehabilitating my mom wasn't easy for me. She swatted my hand away when I tried to help her with anything. I don't know if she felt any animosity towards me. She was normally so easy to read. Maybe she was upset I couldn't meet her eyes. She would huff at me when I ducked my head and left her curled up on her couch.

I still had my patrols to run and Paul's temper to tend to. He complained constantly about his new look and lack of time to talk to his friends.

"I'm going to turn out like you," he cried, "a goddamn sob story."

For that I made us stay out two hours later practicing to fight. It grated me that while I was bigger and stronger, he was a brilliant tactical fighter. For now, I could still beat him easily enough. Paul was annoying, but he was earning his place as second in command.

He was also right. I was a sob story.

My mom finally grabbed my hand and forced me to look at her face. It was rough. The jagged red lines would turn into silvery scars later on, I knew. Yet for the moment she really did look like she'd had a run in with a monster. Me.

"I've ruined your life," I said to her.

She rolled her eyes, "Your father said something similar to me when I told him I was pregnant with you."

I gulped, "Maybe he was right. It only came to fruition decades later."

"Oh, please!" she scoffed. "You men and your arrogance in thinking us women are fragile creatures that need coddling. I am fine. You're going to be fine too, son. Let Emily visit you. I know she wants to see you when she comes to take care of me."

My teeth ground together, "Alright, fine, tell her she can come over to my house. I keep the doors unlocked anyway."

My mom smiled like a scheming matchmaker. "She's much nicer than Leah."

At first, Emily didn't show up when I was there. I'm not sure how she managed it. My schedule wasn't entirely regular with patrols at odd hours. But I would get home and find a hot meal prepared for me.

The first one came with a note: "Hope you're doing well-Emily."

She was a decent cook, I had to admit. I liked her more fragrant flavors, but I preferred her simple meat and potato stew. It was maybe two weeks of this before I decided I was being horribly ungrateful and needed to do something to remedy it.

I left a note on my dining table for her, "Thank you, I appreciate it."

Emily must have found it because I caught her just leaving my house the next night. I don't think she'd normally let herself get caught.

She blushed and fidgeted with her pink shirt, "I left you dessert this time too. I'm a much better baker."

"Hey," I said without thinking, "Why don't you eat with me?"

She liked that offer. I was lonely and beyond stressed, so I ended up liking it too. We talked for hours, about anything other than the heaviness on top of me. I learned of her aspirations: maybe one day open a bakery in Forks and most definitely have tons of children. My stomach lurched at that. Leah had often told me of her own desire to be a mother. It was only getting slightly easier to push down the unconscious similarities I noticed between them. Emily noticed my mind wander and steered the conversation back to something else light and humorous. She was good at that. She was good at many things.

I started catching her outside of my house weekly. We'd chat and laugh. It was beginning to make the loud on my shoulders lighter. I couldn't help telling her of the many mundane and frustrating parts of being Alpha. How many damn kids were on my list to watch. She found it funny so I did too.

I reached over and brushed a piece of her hair out her eyes.

"I like the bangs," I admitted.

We both stilled instantly realizing my actions. She went home after and I cursed myself for flirting with my ex fiance's cousin.

It soon became very apparent to me that other people were taking notice of it as well. I caught even more scowls from the local populace than I already did. They called Emily a "homewrecker." The anger from that was almost enough to get me to phase in the middle of the street.

Only my mom seemed happy with it. And since I scarred her permanently, I felt it better to give into her whims than fight it.

But Harry and Billy disagreed. So they told me another secret to change the course of my life.

They said it could happen to any of the pack members, but it was rare. True love. Soul mates. An imprint.

And they told me that it would be obvious when it happened so it obviously hadn't happened yet. It wouldn't happen to anyone I'd already seen. I didn't have it with Emily. Or Leah. Or any of the common women in my life.

Harry knocked me on the shoulder as much as he could, "Better you didn't imprint on my daughter, eh?"

For the first time in months, I glared at someone with all my might. Harry just shook his head.

"I'm sorry it's not your Emily either."

I don't think I stuck around for more conversation after that. Phasing in the woods and running as fast as I could was the only path in front of me. Paul, of course, caught on quickly to my frantic movements. He trailed me until I relayed all the information through the mind link.

"God, that's horrifying. One woman for the rest of your life!"

It was fine to have one woman. It just had to be a woman of my choice.

I ran home and phased to find Emily sitting outside waiting for me. She must have seen it on my face instantly.

"What's wrong?" her brows furrowed.

So I told her. Her reactions were surprisingly unemotional. She gave me that look of pity once again. I didn't need to see this anymore.

"It doesn't matter," she said. "I've decided I'll be whatever you need now." Her eyes shone with a light I'd never seen before. It rendered me dumbstruck.

"I wish I imprinted on you, Emily," I told her. I cupped her face and kissed her lips. Our mouths pressed together but I made no move to do anything else. Wanting to pepper her face and neck with soft kisses felt wrong, so I didn't.

When I reached back for air, I pressed our foreheads together. I listened to her steady breathing and heartbeat. It was stronger than mine. I was a mess, wishing for a certain life with another woman I couldn't have.

"Is this what you want, Sam?" Emily asked with those wide doe eyes that made me shatter inside.


My body wanted it. I didn't dare listen to the whining in my heart.

I let her take me upstairs, guide me onto the bed. She rolled her hips on top of me until I was sputtering beneath her. It was embarrassingly quick.

I found myself laying her down beside me, wishing my bedsheets were as soft as her skin, touching her nipples and clit while I pumped myself hard again. Her reactions were quiet. When I entered her again from on top, her round warm eyes sentenced my soul to death. Her mouth slightly parted, moans softer than any human man might be able to hear. She didn't lose eye contact. I cried while buried inside of her. I don't think I even finished the second time.

"Wow, you're a miserable lay, Sam," Paul's voice echoed into my mind when we patrolled after. He felt smug, flickering between the memories of his many successful conquests.

I cursed him out.

Emily was maybe the only person I'd get to talk about my new life with outside of the pack and the elders. I couldn't put anymore of it onto my mom even though she'd ask. I wasn't going to turn Emily away, even if they whole world expected me to eventually.

We settled into a rhythm easily enough. But neither of us felt right calling it an official relationship. I spent a year trying to work up the nerve to cement a true life with her. Then I'd think of Leah and I couldn't do it. Maybe Emily did too because she never pressed me for anything more than what I could offer. We laughed with each other, maybe that was enough.

But I knew she was bearing the brunt of the rez gossip. And her relationship with Leah was ruined because of me.

Billy and Harry wondered when no one else had phased yet. They suspected that the boys who carried the gene were too young now. I thought differently. The vampire threat wasn't increasing so whatever mystic forces followed us saw no need to make more protectors. It grated on my nerves that the universe might deem the Cullens to be safe. The one without a partner had found a human girl in Forks to romance. That was anything but safe.

Or at least the threat didn't increase until the group of violent nomads passed through.

A kid named Jared Cameron started growing rapidly. Old Quill shook his hand one day. Hot to the touch.

It made my stomach sour.

And evidently, we were too late to deal with the nomads. The Cullens had taken care of them first before I even got a decent look at who they were. Convenient.

The summer passed without much incident. I made Paul trail Jared regularly. And we kept a short list of who would come after if the threat did increase again. Black's son was always at the top.

I don't know if I thought about the existential pain of my everyday life anymore. I was too consumed by duty and returning to Emily for solace at night. She had the idea of letting me start a construction business to earn money on the side. Tribal funds could only get us so far. I had to admit it was a smart idea. Maybe the unfinished engineering degree could be of some use to the reservation I was destined to never leave. The effect of this on my reputation of being an underdressed "hunk of meat" was considerable.

I didn't care. I didn't care about anything other than maintaining my responsibilities and the status quo.

Which I did until tonight, when Billy calls me to his house.

"Charlie Swan's daughter has gone missing," he tells me.

I groan. The Cullen's human girl.

"If they've bitten her that's a treaty violation," I say.

Billy nods, his eyes out of focus. His hands grip the wheels of his chair that keeps him mobile. I know he cares deeply about his friendship with the police chief's daughter. If she's dead, it would also be very difficult to give him a normal explanation as to why. A clusterfuck all around.

"Find her," he orders. The conviction in his eyes is impossible to fight against.

I nod and run off.

I don't love exploring the woods around their property. The stench of bloodsucker made that hard. I didn't like the general feeling of uneasiness anyway.

She wasn't there. Evidently, neither were the Cullens. They vacated their house? The realization that they might have taken her with them slammed into me. I had to go deeper. Catch a whiff of something that could lead to a trail.

Hours were ticking by. Paul let me know that Swan got a search team out for her while we looked. I made Paul wait by the bloodsucker house in case they did return.

The idea to smell the girl's belongings came to me. I'd need to return to her house to do that. But as it turns out, I didn't need to.

I hear the sound of a frantic human hearting beat in the middle of the forest.

She's curled up in a ball with only an orange raincoat to protect her from the elements.

"Bella Swan?" I say out loud once I phase back and put my shorts on.

The girl doesn't answer me. The sound of soft, muted cries reach my ears. There's a pain in my chest at that. I put it together quite quickly of why she looks so entirely devastated.

I kneel down beside her and push her shoulder gently. She shakes, but otherwise doesn't move.

"Hey," I say. "Bella."

I try to shake her out of her coma. She's relentless.

"Bella," I growl, "C'mon."

The girl whimpers at my harsh tone and I immediately regret it. Fuck. She's been abandoned. Not like I don't know how that feels in a way.

"Softie," Paul chides.

I ignore him.

The last flickers of the setting sun reflect off her coat.

"Bella," I try again, pleading. At this rate I was going to have to carry her back in this state.

She whines but finally turns and opens her puffy brown eyes to look into mine. Her expression is a mix of confusion and anger. I don't care.

My mind clicked. The very gravity of this world tilted sideways. I was undone.

A/N: I decided to publish this story on here as well. It will likely have to be sanitized in some places to fit the guidelines. If you would prefer to read the explicit version, you can find me on the Archive at Kittyberg. Thanks for reading!