Don't own Twilight. Team Sandwater is the closest I'll ever get.
CHAPTER 15-LEAH'S P.O.V.
Julian and I eat quickly and after a quick shower we hop on his bike and head to La Push. He's been strangely quiet since I told him where we were going. I get the impression he needs the time with his thoughts and I give it to him. The entire ride I keep my arms around his waist and my head against his back. This way Julian has his time to think but knows I'm there for him.
Emily is sitting on the porch waiting when Julian pulls out in front of the house. She's not alone. Kim and Rachel…the other adult imprints…are with her. "I thought it was going to be just us," Julian comments softly. "Me too," I admit, "but they're the other two adult imprints." Julian shrugs. "All right," he relents, "let's see where this takes us." He dismounts and holds out his hand to help me.
All three women suck in an audible breath as Julian takes off his helmet. I remove mine and watch them. Emily has an easy smile on her face. Rachel and Kim aren't as comfortable. In fact they're all but hiding behind the very pregnant Emily. If I wasn't so pissed off about it…it might be comical. They obviously recognize Julian isn't completely human. Julian doesn't seem put off by it. Emily comes right up and hugs me. I wrap my arms tightly around her…careful with her stomach. We hold that pose for a long time. No one speaks as I reconnect with my cousin.
We finally break apart and I turn so I can see all three women. "This is Julian," I announce. Emily immediately holds out her hand. "Emily Uley," she says. Julian gently takes her hand. "Julian Sanders," he replies, "y'all can call me Jude." Emily smiles. "The shy ones behind me are Rachel and Kim," she replies. Julian gives them a small smile and a polite nod. Kim smiles back but Rachel remains stoic. "Leah," Rachel says, "can we talk to you inside…alone?"
Emily gives her a hard look. "You all go ahead," Kim pipes up, "I'm going to smoke one before we get started." Julian pulls his cigarettes out of his pocket. "Mind if I join you?" he ask politely. Kim shoots me a nervous look. "He doesn't bite Kim," I snap. Well…he bites me but Kim doesn't need to know that. Julian nods in agreement. "Um…ok," she concedes. Rachel holds the door open and I follow Emily inside. I catch Julian lighting Kim's cigarette as Rachel files in behind me.
"He's not human," Rachel whispers fiercely as soon as the door's closed. "He's a hybrid…like Nessie," I explain. Emily's smile widens but Rachel scowls. "Julian's completely safe guys," I assure them. "You could've given us a heads up," Rachel points out. "I didn't know you were going to be here," I explain, "and I warned Emily that he would be…different." Emily laughs. "You said he was going to get enough shit about being your imprint," she adds, "and that you wanted to introduce him slowly. I see what you mean now."
"Are you sure he's safe?" Rachel goes on. We then hear laughter from outside. Emily leans slightly back to look out the kitchen window. "He's won Kim over," Emily comments. I look with her. Kim is laughing and looks completely at ease with Julian. "Told ya," I grumble. Rachel takes a deep breath. "Leah's imprint is welcome here," Emily tells her. "I agree," Rachel admits, "I'm sorry Leah. I was just…really surprised."
The Leah before Julian would've bitten Rachel's head off. However now all I bite is my tongue. Julian wanted to talk to the imprints…the imprints are all here…mission accomplished. Me showing my ass won't help Julian. "Now that that's settled," Emily says, waddling towards the kitchen, "I'm anxious to meet the guy." "I'll get em," I reply. "I'll make coffee," Rachel volunteers, "I know Kim will want some…and I drink it. Does he?" I nod. Rachel looks surprised for a moment, but finally shrugs and follows Emily.
I walk outside to see Kim laughing her head off. Instead of standing on the other side of the porch like I expected, Kim is standing within arms reach of Julian. If she's scared of him, she's doing a damn good job of hiding it. "Everything ok?" I interrupt softly. "We're good," Julian replies, snuffing out his cigarette on the heel of his boot. Kim puts her out on the porch rail. I take his hand and lead him into the house. Kim follows right behind us.
We walk into the kitchen where Kim and Emily are waiting. "When are you due Mrs. Uley?" Julian asks. "Any day now," she replies, "and please…call me Emily." Julian nods and walks over to the chair across from her. All three women inhale sharply as he removes his hoodie and drapes it over the back of the chair. I can't help but grin. He's wearing one of his gray U.S.M.C. shirts that shows off the muscles…and he's all mine.
Rachel pours coffee for everyone but Emily and we all sit down. For the next hour I fill the women in on my life up until this moment. I tell them about not being able to stop phasing, figuring out why I couldn't, trying to kill myself, and Julian saving me. I then tell them about coming down the stairs at the Cullen's house and making eye contact. All three women smile at that…remembering when their wolves did the same thing.
Julian then tells them about his life. He starts from birth, of course. He tells them of Delilah dying in childbirth…like all hybrids before Nessie…and of being raised by his dad. He then tells them of his falling out with Solomon…going into the Navy…and Vietnam. The imprints listen spellbound as he tells them about faking his death in Saigon and coming back to the U.S. I jump in to tell them Jasper had confirmed Julian's story and give them the rundown of his service record. Like Mom, they're obviously impressed. Julian…wanting to get off the subject…tells them of Solomon becoming a 'vegetarian' while Julian was gone. He tells them of doing like the Cullen's and going to high school and college.
Lastly Julian tells them of running into Maria and Solomon dying. He tells them the truth about why he's here: he was on his way to Denali to see if he could find the Cullen's because of Nessie. Rachel frowns slightly at this but I'm fine. I don't care if he came here to kidnap the mayor of Forks as long as he's here. He tells them about feeling a tug in his chest while hunting that led him to my car and me.
"Wow," Emily gushes, "that's amazing." Rachel and Kim nod in agreement. "So what now?" Kim asks. "That's why I'm here," Julian admits, "Leah's awesome…I can't deny that. However, the whole 'we're destined to be together' is kind of hard to wrap my head around. I want to talk to some of you that have been in my shoes…see if you can give me some insight."
"What do you want to know?" Kim volunteers. Julian sips his coffee and takes a deep breath. "What did you three think?" Julian asks. "I mean, when you were told about the imprinting…how did you come to terms with it?" All three women look at each other. "You…aren't convinced?" Kim asks. Julian shrugs. "Of how I feel," he replies, "yes…I am. How it relates to Leah and me…not quite." The three women look at each other again. "Well," Rachel asks, "who wants to go first?"
"I will," Kim replies quickly. Julian nods for her to go ahead. "All three of our situations…four if you include Leah's now…were under different circumstances," Kim explains. "I'm pretty sure all cases of imprinting are unique in some way. For me, I'd had a crush on Jared since third grade…but he never noticed me. Then he's sick for a couple of weeks…comes back with a hell of a lot more muscles…and all it took was one look." Kim takes a deep breath. "I didn't understand what had changed," she goes on, "why he was all of a sudden was interested. It took me a while to come around."
"So what's your opinion of being an imprint?" Julian asks. "I love it," Kim admits, "Jared is perfect for me. You'll never find anyone that will love you like Leah will, Jude. It's that simple." Julian nods. "How do you feel about it being forced?" Julian asks. "I don't," Kim replies, "but then again, I was already in love with Jared." "What about Jared?" Julian asks. "How do you feel about him being forced to love you?"
"He isn't forced," Kim replies firmly, "he's only forced to protect and take care of me. Love comes later." Julian snorts. "I don't agree with that either," Rachel chimes in, "Paul was telling me he loved me the first week." "I've already admitted it to Julian," I add. "Sam didn't," Emily pipes up, "but then again our situation was…strained…for a lot of different reasons." Emily and I share a look.
"On paper Paul was the worst choice for me," Rachel interrupts. I get the impression she wants to save Emily for last simply because it's a difficult conversation. "Paul was arrogant and had a nasty temper. When it was found out he had imprinted on me I was horrified." Julian is paying rapt attention. "It took us a long time to come to terms with it," Rachel admits, "but that time was what showed me how perfect Paul was. He let me grow into the idea of being an imprint. Now I'm happier than I ever imagined."
"But no feeling of being forced?" Julian asks. "Nope," Rachel replies quickly, "just like any other person, all I've ever wanted is to love someone and have them love me. Paul is that and more." "What about Paul?" Julian asks. "Do you get the feeling he's stuck with you?" Rachel shakes her head. "Paul treats me like a queen…not like a burden," she replies. "Honestly I think the imprints make the wolves better. It's like having us to come home to makes their burden of being protectors easier."
"Is that it Jude?" Emily asks. All heads turn to the head of the table. "Do you feel you're not good enough for Leah? Is your biggest concern that Leah's stuck with you?" Julian's eyes drop and I gasp softly. I can feel his pain in reaction to the question. "You three are human," Julian replies, "I've killed twelve vampires and at least a hundred humans in my lifetime. I need blood to survive. Let's just say I'm a little…tougher…for a wolf to have to deal with." Emily laughs at that.
"Sam was the first wolf this generation," Emily replies, "which means I was the first imprint." Emily looks at me. "Jude know our story?" she asks. "The highlights," I admit. Emily nods and turns back to Julian. "Sam was engaged to Leah when he first shifted," Emily explains, "but when he imprinted…it was on me. I was as heartbroken as Leah was. To think…the woman I considered my sister's fiancée was suddenly in love with me."
Julian nods and Emily continues. "If anyone knows about feeling like a wolf is stuck with them, it's me," she continues. "It took months of Sam coming to visit me before we could even talk about it." Emily touches the scarred side of her face. "Sam did this," she says flatly, "when he was still young. I yelled at him and cursed him…blaming him for destroying my relationship with Leah. Sam didn't have the control he has now and I was too close when he phased."
Emily's eyes lock with Julian's. "Sam was so distraught he wanted to die," she goes on, "and he spends every day showing me that he only sees me…not my scars. You don't feel that kind of love for someone if that person is forced on you." Emily smiles. "If you're worried that Leah is under the imprinting spell, forget it," she finishes, "because all imprinting does is point you to the right person. Maybe if the magic was wrong the wolf or the imprint would feel forced…but it's not."
I rest my hand on Julian's knee. "I don't feel forced," I say softly, "I feel complete." "What about the theory about passing the shifter gene?" Julian asks. "Been shot down," Emily replies, "if that was true Leah would've already been imprinted on by someone here…her pedigree combined with one of the other wolves would guarantee the gene would be passed. Before you, yeah that was the theory. Now that someone has imprinted on Leah, it means those theories are out the window." "And I'm still infertile," I add, "no change there."
"Jude," Kim chimes in, "no relationship is easy…not even if you find your perfect match. Just go with it. I promise it'll work." Julian nods but his eyes are far away. I squeeze his leg to comfort him. "You ready for a smoke break?" Kim asks. Julian nods. They stand up and walk outside.
"Ok Leah," Rachel leans in to whisper, "you've won the award for 'Best Imprint'." I bite the inside of my cheek to keep from laughing. "Seriously," she goes on, "you need more than human for you girl. It's about time the magic cut you a break." Emily nods in agreement. "You have such a strong personality Leah," Rachel goes on, "you need someone equally strong to complete you." "I have no complaints about him," I assure them.
"What did he mean he's killed humans?" Emily asks. "Was he talking about being a soldier…or is there something else?" "Shortage of animals in a war zone," I explain, "so he's had to resort to feeding on the enemy." "His control ok?" Emily asks. "As good as Carlisle's or Edward's," I assure her, "I've been in public with him several times and he hasn't even growled at a human." Emily beams at me. "He's tough too," I add, "he's destroyed more vampires than Sam or Jake." "Wow," Rachel comments. Emily and I nod in agreement."
Kim and Julian come back inside and Emily excuses herself. I notice her wince as she stands up. "Tomorrow or the next day," she says proudly as she waddles towards the back of the house. I can't help but smile…though I would love to be in her place. Not with Sam…with child. "Where are the kids?" I ask. "Sam's got them," Kim replies, "he works a half day at least once a week to give Emily a break." Julian smiles at that. "You should come around more Leah," Rachel remarks, "everyone would like to see you."
I snort at that. "What's that for?" Julian asks, questioning my reaction. "You wouldn't believe us," Kim answers. "Try me," Julian replies. "The Leah you know isn't the same Leah we've known," Rachel explains. I don't answer. "It's true," Kim adds, "seeing Leah now is all the proof I need that you're good for her." "What do you mean?" Julian asks. Both girls look at me.
"Tell him," I relent. "Leah was…bitter," Kim explains, "for a long time. She was bitter for lots of reason…Sam, being the first girl wolf, and not being able to have kids…just to name a few. She has a reputation for being…" She stops. "A harpy?" Rachel offers. Julian looks at me. "It's true," I admit, "but I've told you this." "I think it just reaffirms what you've told him," Kim comments, "hearing it from another perspective."
Emily comes in with a photo album. "Jude," she asks as she huffs and sits down, "did you know a Malcolm Young?" "Chief?" Julian asks, "yeah…Marine with First Recon. I was saddled with him in…" Julian thinks for a moment. "1967 I think." "He was wounded during Tet in '68," Emily explains. Julian nods and Emily produces a picture. "See anyone you know ladies?" she asks.
The picture shows twelve men…six kneeling and six standing behind them. Top row…second from the left…is Julian. "Holy shit," Kim breathes. Rachel nods in agreement. All twelve men are wearing combat fatigues with the jungle in the background. "Dad was shot in the hip," Emily explains, "and told me this guy right here…" She points at Julian, "patched him up and carried him over half a mile to the evac chopper." "Chief was your granddad?" Julian asks. "Ain't that some shit."
"Why did you call him 'Chief'?" Rachel asks. "Any Native American in a unit usually got tagged with the nickname 'Chief'," Julian explains. "Racist, isn't it?" I ask. Julian shakes his head. "Racism is pointless in a combat zone," he explains, "and it happened to everyone. We had three guys of Italian descent. Their nicknames were Wop #1, Wop #2, and Wop #3. A black guy would get saddled with 'Eight Ball' or 'Snowball'. Irish it was 'Mick' or 'Red' if they had the hair. Everyone usually got a nickname." Julian grins. "This guy," he says pointing to the guy kneeling in front of him, "was 'Tex'. The guy on the end beside him was 'Smooth'." He shrugs. "What was yours?" Kim asks. "Dad called him 'Doc'," Emily pipes up, "'Sandy' when he'd been drinking. He always felt he owed Jude."
"Sandy?" I ask. "No one called me that to my face," Julian replies. "It was either 'Jude' or 'Doc'…mostly 'Doc'." We're quiet for a minute. "How'd he die?" Julian asks. "Had a heart attack when I was seventeen," Emily replies, "walked with a limp my entire life." "He's lucky he made it back," Julian comments. Emily nods in agreement. "I'm serious Jude," Emily comments, "about twice a year he would buy a bottle of bourbon and sit at the kitchen table looking at all his old scrapbook stuff. I was ten I think when I first heard him tell me about his war experience. He never got angry or teary when he drank...but I knew it bothered him. He always said if I ever ran into you after he was gone to thank you for making sure he made it out alive." She smiled. "Always bourbon when he was remembering," she comments, "his 'Doc' being a southern boy was his reason."
I squeeze Julian's arm and see him give a shy smile. "That's awesome," Kim comments. Julian nods in agreement. "There's another old Marine on the reservation," I comment, "Quil's granddad." Julian cocks his eyebrow at me. "Wasn't he wounded too?" Rachel asks. Emily nods. "1970 I think," she replies. "We'll have to make sure you meet him," I remark. Julian pinches the bridge of his nose and closes his eyes. "I seem to remember putting a Native American back together around that time," he comments, "somewhere near the Cambodian border I think."
Emily winces again. "Contractions are getting regular," she comments. "This your third child?" Julian asks. She nods. "You know they come progressively faster," Julian comments, "each labor is usually shorter than the one prior." "I've heard," she replies, "but I've got time."
Julian's phone rings and he answers it quickly. "Ok Alice," he replies, "we'll be home soon." He closes the phone. "It's going to rain soon," he comments, "we need to get back since we're on the bike." "We'll walk you out," Emily answers, "provided you two promise to come back." Julian smiles. "I think it can be arranged," he replies. He then takes my hand and all four of us walk towards the door.
Hugs are exchanged as we step off the porch. Kim and Rachel even hug Julian. He promises we'll visit…which is fine with me. Anything to keep him happy and with me. I freeze as a low growl comes from the tree line. "Oh shit," I hiss, but it's too late.
A blur comes flying from the wood line straight at Julian whose between it and Emily. Julian spins around at the sound and crouches…going strictly by instinct. It's a wolf I almost don't recognize. "Brady no!" Kim yells. Her scream is ignored as the wolf leaps at Julian. Julian has two choices: stand still and get hit or move and Emily gets hit.
Julian snarls and sidesteps Brady, catching him around the neck with his right arm. He then proceeds to drop left hands right between the wolf's eyes. Julian gets off four shots…with the same force as a sledgehammer…before I can step in between them. Julian snarls as my face comes into view. His eyes are pitch black and his lips are curled back around his teeth. He looks like a textbook vampire. "Emily!" comes a concerned voice from behind us. I turn around and come face-to-face with Sam.
Jared, Paul, and Colin are with him. Colin is still in wolf form but the rest are in cut-off shorts. Jared hurries to get between Julian and his imprint. Kim reaches forward and grabs his hand. She's obviously frightened. "Who the hell is this?" Paul snarls, pulling Rachel behind him. Julian is still in a crouch and his eyes are still that scary ink black. He drops an unconscious Brady without an ounce of compassion. "It's ok Sam," Kim calls from behind Jared, "this is Jude…Leah's imprint."
"He's a…vampire," Sam stammers. "Hybrid," I correct, "like Nessie." "Sam," Emily cries out as she falls towards her left. Jared catches her before she falls. "My water just broke," she whimpers. Sam glares at Julian before kneeling to Emily. "Ok baby," he soothes, "I've gotcha. We're going now." Emily's eyes are wide and frightened. "No Sam," she says through gritted teeth, "the baby is coming now."
I hear yelling and turn to see Paul is nose-to-nose with Julian. "You're not welcome leech," Paul hisses. Paul's at least four inches taller than Julian is but they're built similar. Julian has Paul beat by decades in experience. "Get out of my face before I crack your skull like I did that other puppy," Julian hisses back. Rachel moves over to grab Paul and I get in between them and put a hand on Julian's chest. "Get him out of here Leah," Sam orders. I growl. He's not my alpha…Jake is. "Sam," Emily hisses. Her jaw is locked and her face is white with pain. "Sam…I need a doctor." "We have to get you to the hospital," Sam says, moving to pick her up. "What about the leech?" Paul asks.
Julian growls again and I put a hand on his cheek to shush him. I'm not afraid of Julian and I want him calm. "Deal with him Jared," Sam barks, "I've got to get Emily to a doctor." Jared nods. Kim eases up her grip on his hand. Colin…still in wolf form…moves closer to Jared, his eyes locked on Julian. "Need…doctor," Emily gasps. "Sam," Julian calls out confidently. Sam's head snaps to my imprint. "I'm a doctor," Julian tells him.
"No fucking way," Paul calls out, "Sam…you can't let a leech treat Emily." "She's not going to make it Sam," Julian says, ignoring Paul. "Sam," Emily cries out, "let…him." Sam turns to Emily. "Baby," he says softly, "I…can't." "I won't hurt her Sam," Julian promises, "I've delivered babies before." "Let him Sam," I chime in. "Fuck that," Paul chimes in, "let's get the girls out of here and kick us some vampire ass."
I cross my arms over my chest. Did that dumbass not hear when I said Julian was a hybrid…and my imprint? Emily screams as another contraction hits. "Too…close," she pants, "contractions…too…close." Sam's face looks like it's about to crumple. "Let's go Sam!" Paul yells. Julian…to my surprise…drops back into a crouch.
Instantly every other wolf…including Sam…crouches in response. Julian's eyes lock on Sam's. "Sam," Julian says softly, "you need to listen to your imprint." Paul growls in response. Julian's eyes begin swirling…this time from black to blue instead of vice versa. "Listen. To. Your. Imprint." Julian repeats in a soft, rhythmic voice. I look at Sam. His jaw is dropped and his eyes are glazed. Sam turns and looks at Emily. "Let him Sam," she whispers, her eyes shut tightly against the pain.
Sam's jaw closes with an audible snap. Julian…knowing he couldn't just make Sam let him treat Emily…hypnotized Sam instead into listening to Emily. He did that because he knew that was something Sam would do. Sam gathers Emily up in his arms. "In the house," Sam orders. Julian nods in agreement. "Anyone with a weak stomach might want to stay out here," Julian orders. "Leah…I'm going to need your help."
"Do I need to call Carlisle?" I offer. My suggestion is met with a chorus of snarls. "Ok…ok," I grumble, "just a thought." "No time," Julian replies, ignoring the crowd. He takes my hand and begins following Sam. Everyone but Colin tries to file in behind us. "We don't need an audience," Julian snaps. "You do," Paul snarls. I look at Rachel. "We're staying outside Paul," she says firmly. Paul opens his mouth to argue. "Take care of Brady," I suggest. Colin comes out of the woods pulling up his shorts. "What did he do to Brady?" Jared comments.