One plus one is two.
Seth doesn't mean to have a crush on Edward Cullen, he really doesn't. All his life, he's only liked very normal boys (but boys nonetheless, which his mother had assured him there is absolutely nothing wrong with), but something about the way Edward moves and speaks manages to captivate the young werewolf in ways he never imagined were possible.
There's this boy named Cody in Seth's gym class who he tries to have a crush on instead. Cody is very handsome, with dangerously curly black hair that falls right below his ears, and two startling blue eyes. He always blushes when he catches Seth looking at him. Seth's packmates call the boy a fairy and other relatively nasty things when they catch Seth thinking about him, but it doesn't stop Seth from thinking those misleading thoughts.
One day, while they're supposed to be playing soccer with the rest of the boys on the far field, Seth grabs Cody behind the bleachers and kisses him fiercely. The other boy hesitates for only a moment before he pushes Seth up against the cold metal and kisses him back.
Predictably, the two are caught just as Seth pulls the belt from Cody's belt loops. Seth puts up with taunting from his schoolmates for months and whispers from his packmates for almost a year before it all dies down.
For a whole two months, Cody tries catching Seth's eye from across the hallways. Seth just stares at his locker, and wonders if kissing Edward would have been any better.
Two times two is four.
Edward is calm when Seth shows up on his front porch at one in the morning. He is already outside, sitting on the rocking chair Charlie gave Bella and Edward for their anniversary the year before.
"I hate how you do that," Seth mutters as Edward stands up to greet him.
"Old habit," the vampire replies with a half-smile. "It's hard to kill."
"I like you," Seth says with no pretense, pulling his boots off and sitting on the wooden stoop. "More than I'm supposed to, I think."
"I'm married, Seth."
Seth shrugs. "I know. I don't care. I just thought you should know." He is quiet for a moment before he laughs. "But you already knew that, didn't you?"
The vampire sighs, and sits on the porch next to Seth.
"It's just a crush, Seth. They go away, in time."
"What if I don't want it to go away?"
Edward tilts his head back. "Don't make this difficult, Seth."
"It's not difficult. I like you, you don't like me, and I get to wallow in self-pity for a couple weeks while I try to unsuccessfully get over you."
"Wallowing accomplishes nothing."
"It's better than pursuing something that's never going to happen," Seth replies, lying against the front door. "Something that probably shouldn't happen, either."
"Seth…" Edward won't even look at the werewolf now, keeping his eyes glued to the starless sky.
"You know what I'd really like to do, Edward? Just leave. Just…leave. I know I used to be gung-ho about the whole werewolf thing, but it gets harder and harder having my life chosen for me. Sometimes I dream about stealing my mom's truck and just driving until the tires pop."
"Where would you go?"
Seth chuckles. "Who knows? Who cares?"
They stay awake together until four in the morning, when Seth's eyes begin to droop and the telltale signs of rain creep into the air. Edward pulls off his heavy coat and lays it over Seth's shoulders even though he knows the werewolf isn't cold. Gently, almost too gently, the vampire presses a shaking kiss to Seth's temple.
In that moment, Seth can't help but think that maybe this whole crush thing isn't as hopeless as it seems.
Four times four is sixteen.
"Sixteen years old!" his mother exclaims as he blows out the red wax candles atop his cake. Leah rolls her eyes as she begins cutting the cake into equal portions, and hands them to Embry, Quil, and Jacob. They all begin eating the white concoction, laughing as Jacob smashes the remnants of his cake onto Seth's face with a wild yelp.
The party persists for hours into the rainy night. Seth's mother kindly excuses herself when Embry brings out a six-pack of beer. According to Sue, "the less she knows, the better." Seth smiles as he grabs a can from the table and takes his first sip of alcohol; his mother learns more and more from Charlie Swan everyday.
Leah scowls when the vampires arrive and Nessie jumps into Jacob's arms. Seth grimaces for her; he'll never stop feeling bad for his sister's situation with Jacob. But as he quietly notes that Edward is missing from the line of vampires against the wall, he feels even worse for himself.
The Cullens are always generous in their gifts to the pack, and Seth's birthday presents are no exception. From Alice, he receives a beautiful acoustic guitar and a promise that she'll teach him how to play. Rosalie gives him an expensive leather coat which he really has no use for, but he thanks her nonetheless.
Just as Seth begins wishing he hadn't guzzled the third can of the brown liquid, Bella hands him a small blue box with a white ribbon on it.
"Don't open it until I'm gone, okay?" she says as he begins pulling open the lid.
Seth stops. "Why?"
"It's not from me, Seth," she answers quietly, refusing to meet his eyes before she excuses herself and the rest of the Cullens from the remainder of the evening.
When he opens the box the next morning and sees the keys to the brand-new pickup truck that Edward has parked in the driveway, he nearly sheds a tear.
Sixteen divided by sixteen is one.
Jacob is the one who catches them.
There's some irony in the whole situation, because, really, Jacob Black is the last person in the pack who should judge somebody for their eccentric romantic trysts. After all, Seth reasons as the older boy continues arguing with Edward, Jacob is the one who is going to fuck a seven year old in due time. So finding Seth and Edward messing around on Seth's bed really shouldn't be as big of a deal as it the older boy makes of it.
"How could you do this to Bella?" Seth's Alpha hisses at Edward. "She does everything and anything for you and you repay her by fucking around with some kid?"
"Lay off, Jake," Seth says from his position on the couch as he pulls his shirt back on. "This is none of your business."
"It's the whole pack's business! Do you know what kind of pressure you're going to put on us, Seth? You aren't the only one who your decisions affect."
"Jacob, this is my doing," the shorter man insists. "You shouldn't blame Seth. I take full responsibility for my actions. Seth should not bear the burden of this mistake."
Jacob practically snarls as he grabs Edward's collar. "Don't think I'm not blaming you too, leech."
"It's not going to happen again," Seth insists. "It was just some stupid thing."
"Right. Absolutely. It's never going to happen again. Because you're out, Seth. Out of the pack. Out of La Push. You're banished."
"Are you going to banish me too, Jacob?" Edward cuts in, suddenly angry as he catches Seth's eye. "Kick me out of my own home?"
"Don't make this any worse than it is. If Seth goes, then things can stay the same. We can move past this. Everything will be the same. "
"For you!" Seth spits out, suddenly jumping to his feet. "This is all about you, isn't it? You don't want us to fuck up your perfect life! Right now you have everything you need all wrapped up for you in a nice box. I don't have that luxury."
"This was never about me. This is about you having some stupid affair my imprint's father! About screwing with the treaty."
"The treaty was screwed up a long time ago, Jacob," Edward says softly.
Jacob doesn't even answer, just steps up to Seth and growls into his ear. "You have three days, kid. After that, we're going to come after you. And don't think I won't make an alpha order if I have to."
Jacob slams the door after himself, and Seth and Edward are left alone in a dark room.
One minus one is zero.
"Where the hell are you going to go? It's not like you have any money or skills."
Seth turns around, closing his suitcase loudly. Leah stands in his doorway, a bottle of beer in her hand and a frown on her face.
"I'm banished, remember?" he counters, picking up the suitcase and his eyes from his desk. "Three days to get my little wolfy self out of Washington."
"You have to give Jacob time to calm down. We're all trying to talk him out of it."
"We both know he's not going to change his mind. Not when his relationship with Nessie and Bella is on the line."
Leah shrugs, and sits on his bed. "He's not the Jake we used to know."
"I don't think I'm the Seth you used to know."
The dark-haired girl laughs. "Thank god. You were getting pretty annoying for awhile there."
Seth smirks, and continues out the door.
The younger Clearwater turns back to his sister. He's startled to see a single blue tear creeping down the length of her face.
"Just…just be happy, okay?"
For the first time in what feels like months, Seth smiles.
"I'm working on it."
Zero divided by zero is undefined.
Seth knows that Edward is in the truck long before he turns the silver key to the driver's side door.
"Unless you want to settle down in San Antonio, you should probably get out of the car," the werewolf starts as he puts the keys in the ignition. "I wouldn't suggest it though; I hear it's sunny every day and I know how fussy you can be about that sort of thing."
"You're going to Texas?" Edward replies, amused.
"I like the warmth."
"I thought you liked the cold."
Seth laughs stoically. "I do. I think it likes me too. But I don't think it's going to work out. Too many obstacles and not enough reason to try and fight them all at once."
The light-skinned man sighs. "It might have been worth it."
"It was just a crush."
"Do you really believe that?"
Seth lifts his eyes from the wheel. "Maybe."
Edward leans over slightly, his lips pressed against Seth's ear. "I never did."
"Too bad," the younger man murmurs, turning his head.
Out of nowhere, the shorter man tenses. "I'm so sorry," Edward whispers, opening the door to the car before Seth presses his warm lips against Edward's cold ones. "I just…can't."
Seth watches as Edward retreats to the pavement and shuts the door. Wordlessly, he pushes his foot against the gas pedal and drives off into the night.
Disclaimer: Not mine. Seriously.