just a little oneshot to keep me going strong on Tearing me Apart. i'd love some reviews for this, it took me all day to write!

It is so good. It's quick and rough and he never bothers to make sure she comes, but it's good, it's the best thing in her life. It's emotionally painful and usually physically too, but it's Sam. How is she supposed to turn him away?

Twenty minutes he's hers, twenty minutes every day or two when he knocks twice on her front door, Sue and Seth know when it's twice it's Sam, and they give him a hard tight smile and point up the stairs and he bows his head and goes. He doesn't know why but it's like the thing that keeps dragging him to Emily and he can't resist the pull of it.

He hates himself a little more with every second they're like this, tangled in her sheets, sweating and panting and her family sneaking out the back door so they don't have to hear and Seth wrinkling his nose because he can smell it.

The pack keeps it from Emily, because it's not their secret to tell. Most of them hate Leah a little more for it and she can't bring herself to care, if she gave a damn about their opinions she'd have shot herself by now anyway. Not that it would do her any good.

She feels sorry, vaguely, to do this to Seth. Her little brother should not have to watch her torrid sexual affairs, but she can't bring herself to send Sam away. Not when he makes it so easy to lie to herself. Not when he lies to her… and it feels so good.

"I love you, Leah," he whispers against her skin, and then turns away, every time. He never notices the tears as he pulls his pants back on, walks down the stairs, phases, leaves her behind again.

Jacob comes one day to talk to her about it. He knocks three times on the front door and Sue is relieved to see a different werewolf at her daughter's door. For once, the business at hand can be taken care of in the living room, and she leaves them to their talk.

"You can't keep doing this to Emily," he begins quietly. "She's like a mother to all of us."

"Not to me. She was a sister to me. Before she…"

"Stole your man? Don't be so petty."

Leah hisses at him. "If it was…"

"You can't keep doing this to yourself, Leah. He can't break the imprint. He can't come back to you. Not while she wants him. You know that, don't you?"


"Then what the hell are you doing? You're just going to break yourself up more."

"That's a risk I'm going to have to take, Jacob Black."

"It's ridiculous! He's using you!"

She stands, looking down at him, an unfamiliar sensation for the seven foot boy. "If it was your damn leechlover coming to you while her vampire man is off hunting, wouldn't you do it? Even if you knew it would kill you every time she walked away back to him? Don't bother lying to me. We're the same person, you know. You'll see it someday. You're just like me, and you'd do exactly the same thing. You'd let her use you until the end of time because you love her and you'd do anything just for a little bit of hope. Anything for her."

He shakes his head and walks away. He can't argue with the truth.

The night after Jacob comes to see her is when it happens. Sam moans, "Leah," and then, "Emily," and she's used to it by now so she doesn't wince, doesn't flinch, but she can't stop the tears. This is the only time she lets herself cry. The rest of the time she hides the pain under so many layers of bitchy that no one can see it, but when she's vulnerable like this she doesn't lie to him, he's too wrapped up in guilt and pleasure and the thrill of going back on his decision that he hardly notices she exists.


He stands, and though it's dark, he looks back at her face. His sensitive eyes catch something. He wouldn't see her, really. Usually. He never sees anything but Emily. Usually.

"Lee-Lee," he whispers, kneeling beside the bed where she's sprawled out, a red mark from his nails healing on her shoulder, "Are you crying?"

She doesn't wipe the tears away, doesn't deny it. She just lets her eyes fall slowly closed.

"What am I doing?" he mutters, angrily. "What have I done? Haven't I hurt you enough? Why can't I stay away?"

She still doesn't answer, and it frustrates him. Finally, he says the words he knows will make her respond. "Because I love you. It's killing me, but I do."

"You love her more."

He shakes his head, not remembering her eyes are closed and she can't see. What she perceives as silence infuriates her. Leah turns from him, pulling the thin white sheet over her head. Hiding.

Sam leaves.

Quil is furious. Of course he is. If Emily finds out… there will be hell to pay. For him, at least. Because Sam's relationship with her will collapse, even Emily Young's forgiveness can only take so much, and an affair with her almost-sister isn't in the cards.

And Emily's real sister can't find out about this. Because she wouldn't be too happy either and if she takes Claire away from him he will never forgive Sam.

Leah snarls at him. "Just because you've imprinted doesn't mean the world revolves around you."

"No. It revolves around her."

The pain sears through her heart but she doesn't fall to her knees in agony. She falls on him, teeth exposed, and it takes a command from the Alpha to stop them.

Once they've been pulled apart, he says, "Don't tell Emily."

Sam bows his head. "I couldn't hurt her like that."

Leah wants to laugh and cry and scream. Like it's better to be lied to. She's been on the far side of that, too, when Sam was first phasing, and it sucked. Then again… like this is so much better.

She keeps her mouth shut.

Sam comes back, though. He always comes back, knocks twice on her door, takes his clothes off, climbs in her bed, doesn't say a word until he lies that he loves her, stands up, leaves again.

Again and again and again…

She's going to get used to this someday. Eventually, it's bound to stop being agonizingly painful every time he looks at her, every time he looks away.

Yeah. Right.

He's everything. She's still in love with him, madly, insanely. She can't help hoping, not when he's around, because he just embodies the emotion for her. Her heart flutters in her chest and her mind clouds up every time he's in the same room, she feels like she's flying every time he touches her, she can't give up on him and she wishes, she dreams of being able to but it just isn't possible.

If she could imprint, maybe it wouldn't be so bad. She doubts it's going to happen, really. Imprinting is designed for men, after all. Leah isn't supposed to exist, and existence sees no reason to give her the benefits of those meant for this strange life. Like the ability to conveniently find their soulmate and get the hell over this man who can't give them anything, can't do anything for her, can only take more and more away.

"I'm sorry, I love you," he says again and again and then he leaves.

She's going to stop being surprised someday.

Jared can't understand it. How can Sam do something like this, when it could hurt his imprint? Even if he was in love with someone else (and he doesn't understand how that's possible either) he couldn't cheat on Kim, no matter how much he wanted to, and he couldn't want to either.

Sam doesn't bother trying to explain, even to the pack. Not even when Jared thinks I should tell Emily. She deserves to know.

Not even then. Because Sam knows he won't do it, because it would be terrible, because the pack would cast him out if he betrayed the Alpha like that and Sam knows better than anyone else how much it hurts to run alone.

Jared sighs and runs faster and that night he looks at Kim and realizes once again just how lucky he is. "I love you," he tells her and knows it's a blessing that it can be so completely the truth.

Two knocks on the door and he comes upstairs. She's already naked but he only sits on the bed beside her, not even reaching for her hand.

"Emily knows."

Two words and they break her heart but put her back together after so long. He'll hate her now but it's better to loose the man you love if he isn't fucking your best friend too.

"Good. I hated lying to her. Is she going to forgive you?"

"No," he says.

"I'm sorry, Sam."

"Don't be." Now he puts a hand on her delicate shoulder, softly and repeats, "Don't be. She's not going to be with me anymore. She doesn't want me after this. Do you know what that means?"

Honestly, she doesn't. Because it's unprecedented, losing an imprint, cheating on an imprint, not letting go of someone you loved before the imprint. Imprint imprint imprint why does it always come back to that… Maybe this is unthinkable because before this pack everyone knew and believed the legends. No one was dumb like Leah Clearwater, stupid enough to date a werewolf and get her heart broken into smithereens. No wolf's ever been as stubborn as Sam, refusing to give up himself even after everything. "No…"

She's sure it's bad, though. He must be so hurt. He must be shattered. And she can see the pain on his face. It's very clear. It hurts her too.

He's never going to forgive her for this…

"It means I'm free, Lee-Lee."

All she can think, dazedly, is was he trying to make that rhyme?

"She doesn't want me. I can do whatever I want."

"Get out," she snarls.


"Don't fucking lie to me anymore. I'm not going to live through you breaking my heart again, not when you're just gonna go back to her the minute she'll have you again."

Sam stands. "It's not a lie. I can tell you the truth now. I love you. I've always loved you. I always will. I'm not giving up on you, Lee-Lee, not yet. When you decide to believe me, I'll be waiting."

Emily bakes muffins and goes to Leah's house with them. She knocks twice on the door and then lets herself in, smiling. Seth is surprised (relieved) to see her, and gestures upstairs.

Leah takes a muffin, even though she's never liked them, and eats it whole. It sticks in her throat.

"Leah, I'm…"

"Look, Emily, I'm sorry I slept with your boyfriend, but he was mine first and I can't really feel that guilty that…"

"I didn't come here to blame you, Leah. It wasn't fair to you. I promised you I wouldn't forgive him, after he broke your heart, and I did. I went back on my promise, and you had no obligation to be decent to me after that. I'm here to make you a promise, and maybe you won't believe me, because I broke it once already. I swear I'll never forgive Sam for this," she gestures to the bed, "or this," she gestures to her friend, "or this," she touches the scars on her face. "None of it. I'm not going to take him back. Just so you know."

Leah is silent. She's trusted no one for so long that she isn't sure she remembers how to believe someone.

Emily sighs and gets up to leave. As she turns out the door, Leah whispers, "Thanks, Em."

"What else are friends for?"

It's raining buckets the day Leah forgives Sam. They've all taken refuge in Emily's house, still the center of the pack even though the Alpha doesn't live there anymore. She remains part of their affairs, cooking their food and keeping the little house where so many take refuge neat, laughing with the boys, worrying for them, keeping Embry's mother from shackling him to the wall; all those things that keep a pack together.

Sam and Emily are very friendly, which surprises Leah. She would have expected it to be much too painful for either of them, but, honestly, they're pretty compatible in a platonic way. Emily's bright and sparkling and she lightens Sam's dark guilt, guilt, always the guilt. He likes to know she's happy, even if she's stubbornly not forgiving him. He's asked, once or twice, because she's his imprint and he has to know this is the way she wants things even if it's that way for him.

Emily's dating a white boy from Forks. His name is Mike – his parents own the big sporting goods store. He smiles too easily and too brightly and does little chivalrous things that make Leah want to slap him but put the spring in Emily's step.

That's good enough for her.

Anyway, it's pouring, not so unusual, and the whole pack is cramped inside her kitchen. Sam withdraws to the second bedroom, not the one he once shared with Emily. It hurts to remember, just a little. Maybe more than that. But he knows it isn't him that misses her, it's the imprint. That's good enough to make it through.

And Leah follows him.

She knocks once on the door and Sam jumps to open it.

Her eyes are closed and he whispers her name so they spring open. He's sitting on the bed with his hands palms-up on his knees, his head tilted back, the mask of calm on his face.

"Did you mean it?" she asks. It's the first time she's spoken to him since Emily broke it off.

"Yes. I meant every word. I never meant to hurt you. I'm sorry I did. I intended to love you for the rest of our lives and I'm very happy that I have another chance to do that."

"You're a sentimental idiot," she mutters. Then, "Kiss me."

He does, gently. His lips brush against hers and with a jolt she realizes it's the first time since the day he imprinted on Emily. Softly, he holds her in his arms, and she presses against him, reaching for the bottom of her shirt. He grabs her wrists and steps back.

"Lee-Lee, we're not doing this now."


"I'm never going to hurt you again. And you can't deny that if I agreed to… I'm sick and tired of using people, Lee-Lee. Using you. I love you and I don't want to do this until you're ready, until you trust me again."

She couldn't find the words. Instead of speaking, she kisses him again.

Leah and Sam stop phasing on the same day, the day of Emily's wedding. Leah doesn't like to think how close this could be to her heartbreak. Sam tries his hardest not to wish it was him up there, Emily's husband, tied to his imprint for the rest of their lives.

In exactly one year, Leah's son is born. A miracle, she calls him. Something she'd given up hope for.

And for once, Sam has no regrets. He looks down at the little boy's face and smiles.

Monsters, magic, or none, this is where he's always belonged.

When they're old, and all this is fading into a gray of childhood, the pack gone and descended to their children's children, Mike buried and Emily getting ready to join him, Leah goes to see her sister one last time. Sam is by her side, stooped now with all the years weighing on his shoulders, and he still can't stop the choking awe when Emily meets his eyes.

"Thank you, Em," he says quietly. He doesn't need to explain more than that.

Her voice rattles. "It needed to be done. And you couldn't get free on your own. I had to let you go."

Leah bows her head. "We're in your debt, still."

"Don't be ridiculous. You're my sister."

When Sam dies, the whole pack cries at the funeral. Quil holds Claire against his shoulder and lets her sob (his fears were groundless, in the end). Jacob and his wife Lizzie (not an imprint, just true love) cry together. There are tears in Jared's eyes and Embry's and Seth's and even Paul's.

Leah doesn't cry. She mourned for Sam once already. Her grief was done when she thought she'd lost him, and hadn't. Now she has, for real, but she got so much more than she'd hoped for and it's far more than enough.