The Subtle Art Of Perception
Summary: Behind every beautiful thing in the world, there is some kind of pain. Jasper/Leah friendship. Post BD. Rated M for language/mature themes.
Disclaimer; And this is for all the chapters. I hate repeating myself. I own nothing except the plot. And this bag of Quavers I'm currently eating.
A/N: Yeah, well, you all sucked me in, didn't you? With your shiny, Jasper/Leah friendship stories. Anyway, here is the first chapter of my one. Yay, my first M rated story. So proud. Lol. Seriously, though. You know, darker themes, cursing, all that jazz. Some pretty creative cursing too, if I do say so myself. No lemons though. And no Jasper/Leah romance or anything of the sort. Because ... just no. I mean, sure, if Alice never existed, then possibly. But she does, so tough.
Note; edited 28/04/2013 for mistakes, general improvements.
1. Didn't You Notice? I'm Cracked. Utterly Cracked Beyond All Repair.
She seemed to be doing a lot of that these days.
Emily and Sam were getting married next week. That thought had been bouncing around in Leah's skull for months, and every time it happened to crop up - either in conversation or as an errant thought - it seemed to pain her just as much as the first time she had been told. Of course, she had been half-expecting it for years. They were… imprints, after all. Leah thought it like a dirty word. Imprinting. Fucking excuses.
For a while, she had refused to believe in the concept of imprinting, instead just blaming Sam, saying he had created the whole elaborate set-up because he wasn't man enough to tell her he didn't want her anymore. At least that way she could just hate him and get on with her life. But this… imprinting. The rest of the Pack made her feel like she should feel guilty for hating Sam. After all… "It wasn't his fault he imprinted. It's just the way it worked out, Leah."
That was the spiel they had all fed her. Fucking lies. Every last fucking word.
Only Seth had stuck by her. Seth and Jacob. She had depended on them like she had never depended on anyone before in her life — and she hated that she had to.
But now Jacob had gone and fucking imprinted – there's that damn word again – on the Demon Spawn From Hell, and Seth was the freakin' President of the Cullen Fan Club.
Now she was truly alone.
Totally, utterly, completely fucking alone.
Most days she felt like screaming. But she couldn't. She was trapped in this stupid life – the only female werewolf in the Pack… not just the Pack, in existence, as far as everyone knew. She wasn't the only one who knew what she was going through either, which only served to make it worse. Every time she phased, every single fucking time, they all knew. They all heard her thoughts, her feelings, her innermost sentiments. They felt her bitter jealousy, and her overpowering sadness. Every dark thought that flitted through her mind, however briefly, however much she may or may not have meant it... they knew.
That made Leah ashamed. She had to be strong. She had always been strong. But when they heard everything going through her head – then she wasn't strong anymore. She wasn't in control of her life anymore. That was what Leah wanted more than anything. Control of her own life.
Leah looked at herself, reflected in the dirty bathroom mirror. She hated the reflection that stared back at her accusingly, disappointment and disgust written on her face.
"Don't fucking look at me like that!" Leah screamed, curling her hands into fists and smashing them against the mirror. It cracked sickeningly, spider-webbing from the centre outwards, giving Leah's reflection a million eyes, all coated in glazed drops of despair that threatened to spill out. Leah let out a heady, pained half-sigh, half-moan. Torn. Just like she was. She looked down, seeing the drops of crimson blemishing the sparkling white sink, and glanced at her fists.
Scarlet blood trickled down her arm, dripping ever so slowly onto the sink, drop by painfully slow drop.
With a sharp grimace, Leah pulled out a piece of quicksilver glass from the side of her palm, hissing as she did so. "Fuck," she growled, once she had done so. But as soon as the glass was removed, the ruby-red lines of blood knitted themselves back together, becoming a puckered angry scab and then fading altogether, the blood on the sink and the cracked mirror the only signs that something out of the ordinary had occurred.
If only everything else could heal so quickly.
Her mother was out of the house. Probably 'round at Charlie's. She seemed to be staying over there a lot of the time lately. To be honest, Leah couldn't blame her. She wouldn't want to be around herself, either. Not after Dad. They all said it wasn't her fault. That Dad had a bad heart; that was why he died.
But she knew the truth.
She had phased in front of him. She hadn't meant to – it had just kind of happened. She was a hormonal teenager, after all. It just so happened that her mood swings were a little more furry than most teenage girls.
Leah could still see her father's eyes widen in horror and faint disgust, wondering what the hell had happened to his once quiet, charming daughter. Leah was wondering that very same thing herself.
She looked up, seeing her cracked reflection. There – that was the answer.
Leah watched as an eerie grin spread over her face. Sorry, Dad. I cracked.
Leah laughed hysterically, until the tears that had been building in her eyes eventually overflowed, spilling down onto the sink, diluting the spots of blood, draining them to a light vermillion.
Fuck this. Leah took off her shoes, and her jacket… and phased. It was too much to deal with right now. Leah turned, seeing the window. Her brain didn't engage in time to notice that the window was closed. She just needed to escape. Fast.
Leah leapt through the open window with a loud crash. The glass exploded into fragments, raining down upon the driveway like an assault of lethal hailstones. Leah whimpered a little, noticing a shard of glass embedded in one of her legs, but kept running, the pain becoming just a little pinpoint of irritation on her tibia. She barely registered it as she hurtled down the driveway, crossing the border into Forks, and running through the woods.
Where the fuck am I going?
She honestly had no idea.
Leah? Seth's tentative voice sounded in her head.
What is it, squirt? Leah didn't mean to sound aggressive, but that was how it came out, so she ran with it.
What are you doing? Seth asked, tentatively.
What do you think I'm doing? Running, dumbass.
Well, you don't have to be all mean about it. I was just asking. Seth never swore. Leah felt an involuntary spurt of affection for her little brother. If it were Jacob or any of the others, really, they would have just told her to stop being such a fucking whiny bitch. Sometimes Leah hated the fact that Seth never swore. It only made her feel worse afterwards any time she shouted at him. In every argument they had ever had, Leah had always dished out five times as much as Seth had given.
But right now, she was thankful for her brother's peaceful nature.
Sorry, Leah mentally grunted. Where are you, anyway?
The Cullens' house.
Of course. Where else would the leeches' biggest fanboy be?
Hey! Seth said indignantly, but Leah didn't bother replying. She couldn't help what she thought – if Seth didn't like it, he could get the fuck out of her head.
Are you coming to the house? Jacob's here as well. Seth said it in a voice that was clearly trying to tempt her. Well, he'd have to try a hell of a lot harder than that to get her to come into the House of Bloodsuckers. Instead she said; Jacob's there? Oh, that's a major shocker, that one! Really floored me there, Seth, with as much sarcasm and vitriol as she could stuff into a mental voice.
She felt Seth's slight tendril of hurt filter over their connection and she rolled her eyes, Don't take it personally, Seth. Jeez.
So… are you coming? Seth asked, hopefully. Leah loved her brother. Really, she did. But at times, he was one major dumbass. No, Seth. Just because you've suddenly gotten all BFF's with the Cullens, doesn't mean that I'm joining you in your insanity. And I cannot stand the reek in that house. It makes me want to hurl.
Leah could practically see Seth's scowl in her mind.
Leah. Jacob's voice in her head startled her for a second, but she quickly recovered. Are you doing anything at the moment?
Just losing my mind, Leah thought bitterly to herself, but of course, Jacob and Seth both heard. So, nothing important then? Jacob said, but Leah felt the undertone of playfulness.
Shut the fuck up, Jacob.
Jacob, get the hell out of my head before I break your face.
Jacob chuckled across their connection, before saying, Seriously, Leah, I need you over at the Cullens.
Why? Leah spat.
Because … I need you to watch Renesmee, Jacob said, with a fair amount of sheepishness in his tone.
Jacob, Leah said, dangerously, I don't care what the hell's going on, I am not going anywhere near that demon child.
Stop calling her a demon child, Jacob said angrily. Leah rolled her eyes, Whatever. Seth can watch it.
Her, Jacob corrected, and Leah just gritted her teeth.
Goddamn it! Seth suddenly cried across their connection. Leah was instantly on alert. Seth never cursed, not even soft curses like that.
What is it, Seth?! Both Leah and Jacob called out to him.
Nothing… just… Renesmee bit me. Don't worry, Leah, he said quickly, as Leah growled both in her head and out loud, She's not poisonous, I'm fine… it just took me by surprise, that's all.
I'm coming over there, Leah growled. She couldn't stand the stench, but she needed to make sure Seth was alright. Call her insanely protective, but she didn't want to lose another member of her family. Leah felt a wave of sadness wash over her. Wisely, Jacob chose not to comment on her rapid change of heart.
As she felt Jacob and Seth fade to mental pinpricks at the back of her mind, Leah suddenly changed course and made for the Cullens' house.
Stupid goddamn mind, emotion and future-raping bloodsuckers, Leah groused.
She thought she heard a faint echo of a deep, Jacob-like chuckle in the back of her mind.
Leah arrived ten minutes later. The smell started to piss her off about half a mile away from the house. She wrinkled her nose in acute disgust, then suddenly realised that she couldn't phase back. Not without turning up totally naked in front of a house full of leeches, of course. Never mind, thought Leah. It's probably better this way. Quicker to attack and/or run if any of those bloodsuckers tries something.
Seth, Leah called out. Where are you?
Just come around to the front of the house, Lee. Leah would have pan-fried any other crazy bastard who dared to call her 'Lee' but Seth had been doing it for years, and she had gotten used to it. Seth was the only person she could trust not to throw anything back in her face; like a nickname, et cetera, et cetera.
Right. Meet me there, Seth.
Seth didn't comment on the fact that Leah didn't want to be alone in a house full of leeches. He could appreciate that, even though Leah could feel him thinking that the Cullens were not at all bad.
Just like a jellyfish trying not to sting anyone. It's nature, Seth. It's in our nature to be enemies with them.
Seth just mentally rolled his eyes.
Leah approached the front door. The whole house was unusually clean. Everything Leah could see was sparkling white – it was just unnatural. Leah shivered. The whole house reeked of bloodsuckers and cleaning chemicals. Can't spend too long here, or else my nose is going to shrivel up and die.
Leah thought she heard an amused chuckle coming from inside the house. Oh, great, the mind-rapist is at home. Joy.
Seth came out from the house, having phased back into his human form. He approached Leah, and looked – for a split-second – as if he were going to reach out and pet her. Leah glared at him with a look that said; Try it and you'll lose an arm, brother or no brother.
Seth seemed to catch her drift, and turned, saying, "It's okay, Leah, you can phase back, you know. They won't do anything."
Leah just fixed him with an exasperated stare. "Oh," said Seth. "Ohhh…"
Leah nodded. She didn't exactly want to end up buck-naked, which she would be if she phased back.
"Well, I'm sure Esme would be happy to lend you some clo-"
Before he could finish his sentence, Leah had tackled him to the ground, and growled lowly. Her growls turned playful when Seth started to laugh, tapping her on the head. Leah rolled her eyes and licked his cheek, before pouncing to the side, letting him up.
"Okay, that's a no then," Seth said, laughing.
Leah fixed him with a no, duh look.
Seth led her through the front door and into the lounge. The smell only increased, and Leah felt like gagging. The scent seemed to dive down her throat, choking her, and she gave a small whimper. Edward gave a smirk from the couch. Jeez… it's the mind-raping one. Could this day get any worse?
"Well, hello to you too, Leah."
Leah just growled in reply. Leave me alone.
"As you wish," laughed Edward, holding up his hands in a mock gesture of surrender.
Seth looked apologetic, but instantly schooled his features when Leah glared at him. "It's fine, don't worry. I understand," Edward said, addressing Seth.
Don't fucking apologise to bloodsuckers, Seth! For fuck's sake… crazy twerp… unnatural…
Edward couldn't help the little laugh that bubbled up from inside him. "Your sister is using some rather… er, colourful language against your person, Seth."
Seth rolled his eyes and smirked, "I guessed. See you later, Leah. I'm going with Bella down to Charlie's. Mom'll probably be there as well."
Ah. Everything had been fine — Leah was about to tell the leech to tell Seth she was going with him… right up until he mentioned Charlie's house. And their mother. Leah really didn't want to see her at the moment. She didn't want to feel what she had been feeling ever since her Dad died. The guilt she felt – every time she looked her mother in the eye. To his credit, the mind-reading vampire didn't show any sign that he had heard Leah's tumultuous thoughts. Wait, did I just give 'credit' to a bloodsucker… I need to seriously think before I… well, think.
Edward's lips twitched slightly, but he managed to stop it turning into a smile.
"See ya later, Lee," Seth said, and Leah inclined her head in goodbye. What she really wanted to do was glomp Seth and pin him to the ground to stop him from leaving. Instead, she just watched glumly as he walked out of the door. Leah was about to head out, back to La Push — she wasn't needed if Seth wasn't here — when she heard Jacob in her head.
Leah, are you still over at the Cullens?
Unfortunately, Leah said lazily. Should I be afraid to ask why?
No reason, I just need you to wait for me there.
Leah mentally sighed, Can't I wait for you in the forest?
Leah, just this once, can we pretend like I'm your Alpha and you actually follow my orders? He sounded half-amused, half-exasperated.
Fine, Leah spat. But I'm not staying here for more than an hour.
As Jacob's voice faded away, Leah padded over to a corner of the lounge, and lay down in it, laying her head on her paws, keeping at least one eye permanently fixed on the Cullen lounge. She didn't want any of that creepy vampire fidgy-widginess. She'd been snuck up on enough over the past six months.
Edward laughed, and she fixed him with a glare. Stop. Reading. My. Mind.
Edward resumed his place on the couch. "Alright," he said, looking down at the book he held in his hands. He flipped a page. Then after a short pause, and without looking up; "No vampire 'fidgy-widginess', I promise."
Leah's glare grew in intensity.
A few minutes passed in silence, and Leah began to feel a little drowsy. She hadn't been sleeping well, not since everything had started with the preparations for Sam and Emily's wedding… not even really since her Dad's funeral. She shook her head slightly, falling asleep right in the enemy's lair was not the best idea she'd ever had.
However, after a few more minutes she found her eyes unwilling closed again.
Leah heard low voices in the living room and opened one eye, searching the room instinctively for the source of the noise. She saw Edward conversing with… Oh, fucking hell. Why don't you get all the leeches together again and we'll have a freakin' party?
Edward stopped speaking and glanced over at Leah, "Something tells me you would heavily regret it if that came to pass."
Leah rolled her eyes. Why do you all talk like you've just jumped out of a fucking Charles Dickens novel?
Edward sniggered, and resumed his conversation with… Oh, what was his name? The one who fucked around with people's emotions, anyway, I know that much.
"Jasper," Edward supplied. Oh yeah… that was it. I think for now I'll just call him Captain Peroxide. His hair is an ungodly shade of yellow, after all.
Apparently, Edward shared that little sound bite of thought with Jasper, because he responded by lifting a single eyebrow and murmuring in his low Southern drawl, "If you must persevere with using nicknames, I must insist I be called Major Peroxide."
Edward chuckled at that, but Leah just glanced at Jasper. Captain Peroxide has a better ring to it.
Edward relayed Leah's thoughts to Jasper, who sighed. "Ah, well, such is life."
Alice's voice called from upstairs, "Edward? Can you come up here? I need you to pick one of these for when Bella gets back!"
"Excuse me," Edward muttered, to which Leah responded with an eyebrow raise, which looked incredibly strange on the face of a wolf.
Leah flopped her head down onto her paws morosely as she once again resumed mournfully pondering Emily and Sam's upcoming wedding. She still hadn't decided whether she was going to go or not. The invitation lay on her desk, crumpled from where she had thrown it in the trash multiple times, and also covered with several layers of tape from the many more times she had ripped it up in anger and then subsequently taped it back together again. The words could barely be made out, but Leah had them stamped in her brain; they insisted upon flashing up whenever she closed her eyes. You are cordially invited to attend the marriage of Sam Uley and Emily Young.
Well, they were cordially invited to kiss her ass.
Anger flared up in Leah again, sparking the interest of the empathic vampire. Aw, shit. I just had to be thinking about this when the one fucking vampire who can tell I'm doing so is in the room with me. Damn it.
Her emotions suddenly became defensive, and she shot Jasper a glare that even Jacob would cower at. Leah felt extremely unnerved as Jasper just met her stare, his eyes unflinching. He didn't blink. He didn't need to blink. God, vampires are such wrong creatures. Ha, I can't really talk, I suppose. I'm the only female werewolf to exist. I'm the freak among the freaks.
Jasper felt the slight jab of self-loathing and instinctually sent a shot of calm her way.
Leah suddenly felt more peaceful than she had in a long, long time. She felt like she was standing at the edge of the sea, smelling the ocean air, with the breeze dancing in and around her hair, lifting it gently upwards…
Leah shook her head violently. What the hell?!
Instantly, she rose from the floor, hackles up, growling loudly in Jasper's direction. The fuck are you screwing around with my emotions for?! Leave them the hell alone you damnfuckingcrazybloodsucking bastard! How dare you?!
Edward shot down the stairs, eyes wide. "Leah, are you okay? Your thoughts are a little—"
Leah instantly rounded on Edward. And you! Just get the hell out of my head! Is that too much to ask? Do you enjoy playing Operation Mindfuck with my brain or something? Is this how you get your kicks?!
Edward looked amused, but also slightly shocked. "That is the strangest term for my ability I have ever heard. And no, I was merely worried because you were yelling rather loudly."
I WASN'T YELLING! Leah protested, letting loose a roar to match the tenor of her thoughts. I can't even speak! Fuck all you leeches and your stupid powers! I'm outta here.
Leah stormed out of the front door, which luckily was already open, otherwise there would have been a Leah-shaped hole to repair later. How dare those bloodsuckers invade her mind! Leah was absolutely furious. She thought of it as nothing short of a gross invasion of privacy. She already had enough of it from the Pack, she didn't need it from them as well! Leah felt like running to the top of the La Push cliffs and screaming out her soul for all to see and take. Everyone had already got snippets anyway, why not give them the whole thing?! Just take all of her, then she'd have nothing left — then she could just be nothing, be no one and never have to worry about anything ever again.
She didn't know where she was running, but before she knew it, she was back home. Her mother's car was still gone, so the house was empty.
She was still alone.
As soon as she entered the house, she phased back, and slammed the door shut behind her. It shook precariously in the frame, but she paid no heed to it. She grabbed one of Seth's huge sweaters from the banister and covered the bare essentials. She trundled throughout the house until she found underwear, and jeans. She looked a mess, anyway. Leah looked into the mirror in the kitchen. God, why are there so many mirrors in this house?
Half-heartedly, she pulled a twig from her black curls. Jacob was going to kill her. But quite frankly, she didn't give a flying fuck.
She was cracked, remember?
Leah cackled cynically. Wow, doesn't my life just suck balls.
Leah let out a prolonged and heavy groan. Jacob and Embry were rubbing off on her.
As if she needed more things to worry about.
A/N: Oh my gosh, I've totally realised how much I love writing Leah. She's amazing. Yay! 'Operation Mindfuck'... 'vampire fidgy-widginess'... Leah just brings out the crazy in me. :) Credit to Dylan Moran for the word 'fidgy-widginess'. Anyway, please review? I'd love to know what you think about it so far. More Jasper next chapter, I swear. ;D