DISCLAIMER: I own nothing. I live in the rafters of your local movie theater. You know that feathery rustle you hear over your head? That's me trimming my wings. Flap flap, bitch.
Before I begin, it would be remiss of me to post this without giving credit where it is due to NeedMoreZzz's, who wrote the original outline for this with me on google docs while we both got progressively more drunk. I still have the original saved somewhere on this PC, think. Anyway, thanks for putting up with my indecisiveness and excessive use of semicolons; if not for you, this probably wouldn't exist (so if you hate it blame her).
Prologue—How to Kill Your Father
Oh, what strange goings-on there were in the Clearwater house.
In all appearances, it was a perfectly normal Saturday morning. Harry Clearwater was polishing his rifle in his office. Sue, his wife, was in the kitchen making coffee. Leah and Seth were still asleep, Seth on the bottom bunk with his legs hanging off and Leah curled up in a ball on the top bed. The house was small, but sturdy, and the wind gathering outside went unnoticed, as did the knife hanging over their heads.
Harry was the only one with any sense of foreboding upon him. His arm was hurting—like a razor cutting down from his shoulder to his fingertips as he slung the rifle over his head. He tried to shrug it off, thinking it was only reluctance for what he was doing.
As he ducked through the archway into the kitchen, Sue frowned at him.
"I told you—no guns at the table," she reminded her husband.
"I'm not staying for breakfast," Harry replied, moving purposefully to the door. He hesitated as he passed the counter, then reached for one of his wife's fresh muffins.
"Is this one of those bran things?"
"Yes, it is one of those bran things," Sue scoffed, rolling her eyes. "You've gotta start eating healthier, dear. It would be terrible to lose you right now, with Leah being...well, being Leah, I guess." Sue frowned, shaking her head. "I guess this is what I get for treating my own mother so badly during my teenage years."
Harry nodded, taking a bite of the bran muffin with a look of distaste. "What happened to blueberries?" He asked around a sandy mouthful.
"I told you—no guns at the table!" Sue exclaimed, shooing her husband away from the counter. "Why do you even have that thing out this early? It's Tuesday!"
"Another bear attack," Harry lied.
"I thought Charlie's daughter said it was a group of giant wolves."
"Charlie's daughter was also catatonic a few months ago, Sue."
"Still," Sue looked at her husband with frantic curiosity in her eyes. As his wife, she knew when he was hiding something from her. "What do you think is killing all these people?"
"I don't know," Harry lied.
Sue examined her husband. He was propping himself up by his elbows against the counter, leaning over it, staring down at his hands. The muffin—one bite missing—sat between them.
"What do you want me to say, baby?" Harry pleaded. "No one knows anything. This hasn't happened for generations—" he cut himself off with an abrupt cough that went rattling through his chest.
"Are you feeling okay?" Sue asked, her eyebrows coming together. "You don't sound too good."
Harry waved her away and stood up straight. "I'm fine," he assured her.
A groan echoed through the hallway.
Sue rolled her eyes.
"Here comes the Princess of Doom," Harry whispered into his wife's ear. Sue slapped his arm playfully, giggling under her breath.
"I thought there weren't any guns allowed at the table," Leah remarked as she stomped into the kitchen, her eyes still half-closed with sleep.
She wore striped pajama shorts—which her mother had nearly thrown out the other day after seeing how long her daughter's legs had gotten and how low men's eyes were beginning to go—with a cut off tank top. Sue wondered how she wasn't freezing.
Sue bustled over to her daughter and laid a hand on her forehead. "Ow!" She shrieked, pulling her hand away as if she'd been burned. "Leah, you're boiling hot!"
"You can say that again," Leah snorted, opening the fridge, and pulling out a can of beer.
"Leah, it's five-thirty in the morning," Sue pointed out.
"And you're only nineteen, young lady. And it's five thirty in the morning," Sue repeated. "Harry, back me up here."
Harry had grasped the back of the kitchen chair, looking down at the linoleum. He shook his head. "Listen to your mother, Leah."
"That's all you have to say?!" Sue exclaimed, then turned on her daughter. "Have you been drinking all night?"
"Bullshit." Sue walked forward and tore the beer from her daughter's hand. "How much have you had to drink today?"
"Like, in ounces? Or do you just wanna see the receipt from Thriftway?"
"I feel like you're not taking me very seriously."
"No!" Leah screamed, turning on her mother with a ferocious snarl. "I don't feel like you're taking me very seriously, old lady," she growled, seeming to grow taller as she stalked over to her mother.
Sue gaped, having to crane her neck to look at her daughter. "This is the last straw, Leah. You're grounded! From now on, you're stuck here, with no booze." Sue glanced at her husband, then did a double take. Were his cheeks usually that pale? Or was it a trick of the gloomy morning slanting through the window?
"You can't ground me!" Leah screamed, her lips flipping back to reveal her teeth. "I'm nineteen now, mom. You can't tell me what to do anymore." She turned on her heel and sped into the living room, plopping herself down on the couch dramatically.
"Oh, no?" Sue replied, raising an eyebrow before bending down to get her shoe off of her foot and expertly hurl it at the back of her daughter's head.
"Don't be stupid over a boy," Sue warned her daughter.
"Girls, please," Harry wheezed, grasping his chest. "Stop fighting."
"I'm not being stupid over a boy!" Leah barked, her jaw snapping uncomfortably. "You never listen to me!" She gripped the couch cushion beneath her, not noticing when it shred underneath her fingertips. "Everything is different now!"
"How are you two screaming this early in the morning?" Seth groaned, leaning against the doorway to the kids' room.
"How dare you talk to your mother like that!"
Harry braced himself on the counter, watching as his little girl became something else, something wild and untamable, an animal he had only seen in the eyes of his great-grandfather.
Harry Clearwater fell from his chair to the floor. His body hit the ground with a dull thud. His daughter, Leah, didn't see his glassy, empty eyes until later, when she could see her brother's memories through her own eyes.
April 8th, 2006
I've heard people say, "Hell hath no fury like that of a woman scorned," but they never seem to mention that the woman scorned is pretty fucking screwed.
Dad used to tell us when we were younger and liked to beat each other up that one day my brother and I would learn to love each other despite everything. He said one day it would come down to family and nothing else, and we would be glad to have each other.
I didn't think he'd be right. I thought I'd always be taking care of Seth.
Now he takes care of me more than anyone else. On dark days, when I can't even shift, he brings food and leaves it next to the bed, then comes and cleans up the untouched plate at the end of the day.
Seconds tick by like days. Days pass like weeks. Weeks feel like months. Grief has slowed everything in the house down to a silent stand-still. Most days, I can barely get out of bed in time to avoid tearing up the sheets with my humongous, sharp claws.
Mom can't help it; every time she sees me, she tears up, because she still loves me. It's sick. She would be better off without the reminder. She could move on, or something. I don't really care, as long as she's happy.
She was the one who suggested I write a journal. I don't know why I listened to her. Maybe I still love her, too. Maybe I just wanted to give her something to remember me by when I'm gone.
I'm not suicidal, I swear. I don't want to die. But I don't want to stay here. If I could, I would run as far as possible, swim across the ocean, leave everything behind without a trace. It would be nice to let go.
But I can't let go. I'm the only one still holding onto Dad—Seth is young, and won't remember him like I do, and Mom wants to forget the haunting memories. I have to be my father's keeper, since everyone else wants to leave him at the bottom of the river.
Dad, if you can read this, I'm sorry. I should've believed you.
A/N: so, if you haven't noticed, I found another one of smeyer's character arcs to fix. Unfortunately, I'm still working out some timeline stuff with this fic, so this will be the only update for a while, but I'm hoping for some feedback on the premise! What do you think should've happened to Leah? Do you, too, think she deserved better? Then we already agree! Let's work it out together. I accept feedback through messenger pigeon only (although I have been known to make exceptions for comments/reviews.)