Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the authors. No money is being made from this work. No copyright infringement is intended.

Thanks to Be My Escape, who was both beta and inspiration. If you haven't read her story, Transformation, you should. Originally, we talked about posting that story and this one together. Her story, along with our endless discussions about Jacob, influenced this one. While we have discussed many of the ideas, the allusion to Jacob, Embry and Quil laughing together at Billy's superstitions and the specific comfort of Embry's voice are both direct references to Be My Escape's story Transformation.


by silly bella

I lay on the bed, exhausted, every part of my body tired. But my mind raced, so sleep was not an option. No, it was more like I couldn't wake up from this nightmare. Or this madness. Before last night, my future – any future I wanted – lay ahead of me. I could choose to become a mechanic, a teacher, a lawyer. Anything. But last night defined my destiny, my duty: I had become a protector. A monstrous protector. Or maybe just a monster.

My father's superstitions had proven less myth and more reality. The cold ones. The wolves that turn into men. The treaty. All of it was real. And I was one of them. One of the monsters. A werewolf.

Every part of me hurt. Would it feel like this every time I transformed? The taut, exhausted muscles and emotional pain, almost too much to bear. This gaping pit of raw emotion and dread? Would I somehow grow used to it, my body prickling with energy, shaking like an earthquake, the fury burning through my bones before I erupted into a huge dog? Would I learn to command the beast or continue spinning out of control, lost in a body that was not my own. Or was it me? Just thinking about the massive wolf I'd become made me claustrophobic. And what did it mean that I had changed back into my human form so easily? Did that make me more of a monster than the others because I was better at it? I had seen my father's fear as he looked at me last night. Who was I kidding? I terrified myself.

I sighed and stared at the ceiling. I'd argued with my father when he told me about the Cullens. Vampires. Werewolves. The stuff of myths. I'd been embarrassed at his superstitious nonsense. Embry, Quil and I had even laughed about it. The last laugh was on me because all along, it had been true. Now we would all pay the price. Embry and I were already monsters, and Quil was alone, his two best friends ignoring him with no explanation.

The bloodsuckers, the ones I'd defended when I thought people were just prejudiced against them for some crazy reason, had set the course of my fate. We become wolves because the vampires exist. Because their presence threatens the tribe. But the Cullens were gone. Why had I changed? Were there more leeches in Forks? Dad had never mentioned others, and he seemed to know everything there was to know about the old traditions.

I can't believe Dad didn't warn me. Prepare me for this somehow. He had to know that it was inevitable, with both of my great-grandfathers, Ephraim Black and Quil Ateara, members from the last pack. It felt like betrayal, although I knew it wasn't. He'd followed the rules.

Just like Embry had followed the rules when he'd avoided me. No wonder he seemed scared. It was terrifying to watch him isolate himself, but more terrifying still to understand why. I felt sorry for Quil, alone now, but ready to join us soon enough. I couldn't warn him. It wasn't allowed. How many other boys on the reservation stood on the verge of experiencing what I did last night? No one would warn them, either, because of the damn rules.

Rules like the treaty. The one I had broken when I told the stories to Bella. Sam was furious when he realized what I'd done. I hadn't meant to do anything but impress a girl. Now Sam was talking about how it might mean a war if the Cullens came back. If they knew about it. Had Bella told them? Had they left to avoid a war? I'd broken the rules and my friends, my pack, my tribe might suffer for it. And what about Bella? That was a question I wasn't quite ready to answer.

The rules. I still had so many of them to learn. Don't tell anyone. Don't go around people because you might change if you got angry. Sam's words: a strict order that I could not break. The literal force of an alpha command. And the voices. They added to the confusion at the same time they made sense of it. I had been so thankful for Embry's voice last night. Even as the confusion and terror ruled, his familiar voice had made me feel safer, less isolated from everything I had ever known. The others had both frightened and helped me. Especially Sam. I was so wrong about him.

How had Sam done this alone? If I had phased without anyone to help me, I might have killed my father before I even understood what I had become. At least now I knew what had happened to Emily. Had seen it, right there in Sam's thoughts. It horrified me to watch it, his hand – no, his paw – ripping down her face and arm. His claws tearing into her skin and ripping it away in shreds. The pain. The fear. The guilt. He couldn't hold it back, hide this horrifying memory. His life was an open book, and mine would be, just like the rest of them. I would never have a secret again. Not for long, anyway.

It was one thing having Embry know what I thought. We'd always been friends and talked about everything. But Sam? Jared? Paul? I wasn't so sure I wanted them in my head. I didn't really know them at all, and now, suddenly, we were pack brothers? I'd never had a brother before, but then, I'd never considered being part of a family like this one. A pack. Was there a reason for each of us, as individuals to change? Or was it just genetic bad luck?

And Bella? What would Bella think? Did she really know about them? The Cullens. The leeches. Could she really know the truth and still feel the way she did about them? About him? Had I told her, that night on the beach? Or had she thought they were just stories, like I had until last night?

What did this mean for us? If she knew about them and still loved him, could she love me, too? Would she still like me best even though I was a werewolf? My mind raced back to thoughts of Emily. I should probably forget about Bella. Even if she could accept the monster thing, it was too dangerous, like Sam had said. Perhaps one day. If she didn't hate me for letting her down. And that was a big if.

She had been so broken, a shell. Somehow, I was able to help. I'd made a connection that brought back her smile, that filled the emptiness. But what would happen to her now? I'd made her a promise before I left her house last night. One that I obviously couldn't keep as a werewolf. I'd let her down. I couldn't be there for her like I said I would. I'd hurt her, too, even though I had no choice. But I could protect her. Keep her safe from the leeches. I could do that at least.

Author's Note: This story is dedicated to Be My Escape, Wolf Girl extraordinaire. If you like this story, read hers.

Transformation by Be My Escape