Ephiphanies

Disclaimer: I do not own any of the Twilight characters. Also I do not condone the use of drugs or cutting. *points fingers at the impressionable readers* I'm not saying do it.


She returns to the world of the living and for a second really wishes she hadn't. There's a hot pain in her neck, back and shoulders that makes her stop and wonder why someone would intentionally self-mutilate themselves. It's a thought that stops cold because she wasn't one to judge and when she was at her lowest the idea of cutting herself had seemed like an interesting alternative to escape the pain that came with the territory of being Leah Clearwater: the bitter ex-girlfriend of Sam Uley and the only female in a pack of raucous teenage boys. It was the wolf gene that squashed the idea as she sat in Rita Howard's cool, dark room one night completely tired of male company but not tired enough that she'd settle for hanging out with Emily.

Rita had always been a dark and moody child growing up and she had only grown into a darker and even moodier teenager. The two sat in Rita's room, a thick towel stuffed under the door and smoke detector batteries removed in a thick cloud of smoke that left both girls' eyes bloodshot red. Together the two shared a joint and complained about every woe known to man from that worthless two-timing bastard Sam Uley to the fuckin' pig-headed Americans wanting to stick their nose in everywhere to 'help out' the less fortunate while not wanting to 'help out' the less fortunate in their own yard. The small plant's medicinal qualities soon had its effects on Leah, being locked away in that tiny room that had her body sweating like it was a sauna and the only thing to had kept her in there for more than ten minutes was the fact that Rita kept snacks stock piled in an huge trunk that had been a 'college gift' from her grandmother. The optimistic old windbag. Rita had said affectionately when Leah lazily questioned the object. Somehow it lured Leah with its simplicity and the bright, glowing bronze lock that screamed security and privacy – something she was lacking in her newly discovered life and role.

Leah only vaguely remembers everything that transpired in that tiny room on that dark, stormy night. Maybe there had been some exploratory and careful kissing that led to Rita remarking on the softness of Leah's lips or maybe it was when Leah shed her shirt to sit in just jean shorts and a bra, fanning herself with a Bazaar magazine that neither seemed to know how it miraculously appeared amongst a pair whose best outfit consisted of matching summer dresses, an impulse buy of both girls on an oddly bright and sunny day that had melted the melancholy mood that inhabited each of them, that made Rita casually ask in a daze what she had to do to get a six-pack of abs that would make Janet Jackson weep.

However, what has always stood out in Leah's mind about that day was when Rita talking in a dull, monotone voice that in her hazy mind suddenly had her giggling expecting Rita to say at any moment Bueller. Has anyone seen Bueller? Instead, Rita had deftly pulled out a switchblade and started talking about how much life sucked – which they were both in accordance with. Leah had looked on with heavy lidded eyes as Rita deftly scarred her skin with ease and comfort of a practiced knife fighter. Her body and mind was caught up in a duel of control over her reactions that she just didn't have the heart to care. That was until Rita looked at her – really looked at her, their brown eyes locked in a gaze of soul searching. Leah's wolf reacted far too late as the knife was swung down with such a speed that Leah could merely only flinch as its warm, steel blade sliced through a third of her thumb and the webbing.

The weed had slowed both of their reactions and for a moment the two sat there, just staring between each other and the knife until finally reality began to settle in for Leah. Anger had begun to build up as she reached down and pulled the knife out of her hand with a simple Rita, what the fuck? Are you crazy?

Rita had then seemed to shatter like a porcelain doll, her vizard of indifference towards the world and all those in it crumbling along with her face as hot tears began to gush from her eyes. Leah remembers how it seemed as if a dam had broken and all the pain, tears and sense of vulnerability had chosen this one moment to make their presence known. It was probably the type of moment that a psychiatrist lives for, when their patient finally overcomes their inhibitions and stubbornness finally letting out everything that they've held within. Leah could only look on, her eyes oscillating between Rita and her hand. She looked on for a moment with a mild and morbid interest as her skin slowly stitched itself back together in what was only a matter of seconds leaving only a light pink marker that promised to fade away once she looked away.

Leah had then only admonished Rita for her carelessness stating how she could've almost cut off her thumb. Rita did not even begin to calm down until Leah showed her hand, the remnants of blood having already blended in with the wine colored shag rug that they sat upon. The pain had been a slight rush for a moment and even witnessing her body miraculously heal itself had intrigued Leah as the idea of continuing with the act was entertained for a moment. With a deep huff Leah stopped it knowing that, among many things in her life, cutting wasn't healthy and heaven forbid word got out that Leah Clearwater was cutting herself. She didn't want to feed into Sam's ego letting him think, that yet again, he had such a strong impact on her life that she just couldn't function. That's some Bella Swan bullshit had been her thought with a deep frown, letting out a huff of air through her nostrils and licking her parched lips.

She had left Rita's that night with a newfound sense of self which seemed to always be the case after spending the entire afternoon and part of the evening smoking weed, eating Doritos and the, inevitable, spilling of blood. Rita escorted her to the front door, the waterworks having stopped like a sluice and the only sign of her tears was the streaked mascara that now covered her russet cheeks. Pausing at the door the two girls stood outside, watching the torrential downpour of rain, both unsure how to part ways and each knowing that this would be the last time that they'd hang out together.

Rita had offered Leah a raincoat, that Leah gratefully accepted as it was an offering that would require Leah's presence at her threshold again, if to simply return the borrowed item. The sleeves were five inches too short and felt tight and restricting around her biceps and armpits. You've grown. Rita had commented, nodding her head at Leah and the too small slicker that Leah couldn't even button across her chest. The two exchanged glances, again, but this time it was a deeper look that intuitively looked into the other's soul. Leah isn't sure how to explain but in that second Rita saw her for what she was – for what she had become – and she in turn saw the same in Rita.

If we live long enough we'll be best friends some day but in the meantime…trust one of them. They can't all be that bad.

Rita's statement was enervate and the tone affected Leah who simply nodded and walked off, hands stuffed in the pockets fumbling with Rita's lighter and some earrings that were left behind.

It wasn't until Leah got home and suffered a stern lecture that Harry would've been proud of from Seth, of all people, when she came home soaked, bloodshot eyes (the wolf gene couldn't burn through a good bag of weed quickly enough), smelling of pot, blood and whatever else she thought he was too young to know about and picked up thanks to his newfound 'gifts'. In her frustration, she snapped at him and let it slip out that Rita had already cut her with a knife and the last thing she needed was him cutting her with his tongue. That comment alone brought a hush upon the room and Leah still not been reeling from the high and then the contact high from wearing Rita's coat that seemed to had been made of rubber and weed she probably would've cared.

It was hard to care about anything at that point with the way her life was falling apart – correction, had fallen apart with Seth pacing the linoleum kitchen floor trying to remain calm, telling Leah about how she must utilize better judgment when choosing her friends and not hanging out with the 'wrong crowd'. Unfortunately, Leah's system had pushed out the last of the hash on that comment, the fresh air from the walk home, the aroma of fry bread and fish permeating her senses and clearing her head. Leah Clearwater was back and in control and unleashed on Seth a fury of anger about how ironic it was that he would tell her to pick a 'better' crowd when they were the ones now hanging out with the 'Steroid Crew', how people thought that they were the ones selling drugs and had 'foolishly' allowed themselves to be seduced by whatever Sam Uley was pushing. But it's not true had been Seth's meek answer, his five foot eleven and three-quarter inch frame cowering under Leah's five foot ten rage, his brown eyes wide and lips turned down into a small pout.

It was true what both Seth, in his it's-always-sunny-in-La-Push-with-rainbows-smiles-puppies and glittery unicorn, and Rita, in her somber and profound manner, had said to her that night. Leah did have to open up to someone and she wasn't a whoring drug dealer either. Sometimes the truth sucks but you gotta just accept it and deal with it. Those were some of Harry's axioms for life along with: it's not where you life, it's how you live.

It was this epiphany that Leah awoke to the next day, apologizing to Seth for going off on him, returning Rita her raincoat to find out that she was going away to community college but would be back in the spring where they'd catch up and then off to Jacob's place to talk to him about the monkey on her back: imprinting. Instead of talking to Jacob, however, Leah wound up confiding in Embry, definitely, the dark horse in her small stack of friends, acquaintances and associates.

Thinking of Jacob, Embry and imprinting does a bit of color comes to her world as the pain slowly ebbs away. There's a warm peachy color to her closed eyelids as a melodious voice assaults her ear eliciting a deep frown of annoyance, the sweet smell of roses, bleach and clumps of wet sugar on a hot summery day forces her eyes to open.

"I'm glad to see you're finally awake." Carlisle says flashing a bright into Leah's eyes, her pupils dilating properly as he quickly pockets the light pen and to Leah's annoyance begins to apply pressure to her 'trouble' areas. She's no longer in pain but she can't help but feel her skin crawl at his frigid touch, his cold fingertips pressing into areas that has her wolf snarling and leaves her feeling uncomfortable and somewhat violated. "If you've got the strength I strongly suggest that you sit up and go downstairs to calm everyone down."

Leah slowly sits up, rolling out her shoulders and neck feeling bones crack and cartilage pop as everything begins to settle back into its appropriate position. She tries her best to ignore the expectant and slightly inpatient look upon Carlisle's face, her face scrunching up as she tries to replay over the last minutes of her memory.

She recalls telling everyone about her theory on imprinting.

Quil getting pissed and storming off.

Embry getting pissed and Jacob sending him away.

Kissing Jacob.

Kissing Embry.

Fighting…Sam.

Hopping down from the bed Leah quickly sprints out the room, her senses now more aware of her surroundings, her thoughts a swirl of memories, emotions and thoughts that had she not taken her time getting out of the Cullen sickbed probably would've left her feeling weak in the knees. There were a cacophony of loud voices that reverberated off of the white walls in the mansion coming from downstairs, the loud booming voices echoing inside of Leah's head and she can't help but shiver having already experienced firsthand what the pack's rage can do if it reaches the boiling point. They will turn this house out.

Walking down the stairs Leah looks at the scene playing out, Jacob and Seth both yelling at Sam, demanding him to answer them, wanting to know what the fuck were you thinking, Seth's words. Something likened to pity settled in Leah's chest seeing the hurt, shock and defeated look upon Sam's face as he sat, quietly, taking the vehemence without putting up a defense or offering up an explanation.

The whole room was chaos, wolves snarling amongst themselves or at someone else, the rest of the Cullens in a far corner of the room giving the massive room plenty of berth while yet making it known that their presence was there in case things got too out of hand. The humans were on the other side of the room, making the whole faction even more obvious of humans: wolves: vampires.

"Lee-Lee," Sam was the first one to notice her presence and quickly stood up only to be forced back down, physically, by a growling Jacob Black.

Leah's eyes scanned the room ticking off everyone in her head that was in the know and finding everyone except for Embry.

"Are you alright, Lee?" Jacob asks softly, his voice sounding husky, reminding her of the moment before they kissed. Leah's lips press together tightly, her chest rising as she inhales deeply trying to fight back the memory knowing well that Edward Cullen was watching their interaction closely. "You sure?" Jacob pushes his eyes taking in her exposed neck and shoulders, searching for signs of permanent damage with his hand gently cup her cheek, a part of his forearm resting on her chest.

"Where's Embry?" Leah asks trying to fight the confused guilt that washes over her. It doesn't help any that Jacob's eyes narrow for a fraction of a second at her inquiry. He already knows. Leah wants to apologize to Jacob but on the other hand she knows that she shouldn't because Embry was hurt – he was being attacked.

"Right behind you," Turning around Leah's eyes brighten as her shoulders visibly relax finding Embry standing behind her, his limbs seemingly perfectly intact and his chest covered in similar pink marks that looked to be slowly healing before her eyes.

"Alright, now that everyone is okay," Billy says wheeling himself towards the steps with a deep, paternal frown upon his face. "Does anyone mind telling me what this is all about?" There's a thick, heavy cloud of silence that falls upon the room, each person present wondering the same thing and looking between the most involved persons.

"Can – can we go home?" Leah asks Billy, her eyes darting to the vampires and then at Jacob. The Quileutes may have had a treaty between them and the Cullens but it didn't mean that Leah wanted to willingly air out the packs' dirty laundry within their presence. Besides, judging by Quil's reaction to what she feels is, no doubt, the catalyst to Sam's Hulk-esque rampage than everyone else's would be even worst.

Leah finds a mild relief when Billy assents to her request and the pack slowly begins to vacate the Cullens' property. The tension builds as no one in her pack seems content with her either walking back alone to La Push or riding back home with Billy and Sue as there is a brief standoff between Seth and Embry over sitting in the backseat with her and Jacob. It isn't until Sue harshly scolds Seth giving up the excuse that Embry was hurt fighting Sam and that he had four perfectly good legs to run home on.

The car is suddenly too small, too cramped and extremely hot as Jacob sits on her right and Embry on her left; both men's body heat seeming to scorch her skin through her t-shirt and shorts, the testosterone trying to use her body as a conduit to send the aggressive and possessiveness to his rival. Leah tries to control her breathing as the silence is heavier inside the tiny car than it was inside the Cullens but her lungs feel as they are far too large for her rib cage.

Hormones – that's where she decides to place the blame. Hormones and sexual frustration – or lack there of seemed to be the perfect culprits in this situation that she finds herself in. Maybe if she wasn't such a whore for some sort of physical contact that didn't involve the familial rules. The only people she really kissed since Sam was her mom, Seth, Billy and Old Quil along with a slew of other uncles and aunts that really didn't even count amongst her romantic or kissing exploits. Yet, she gets one kiss from Jacob Black and it felt as if the floodgates had been opened because then suddenly she was kissing Embry and she found herself confused and angry that she was trying to compare the other's abilities. It was the last thing that she wanted to and the guilt made her suddenly feel as if maybe she should've fished for an excuse to put this off with Carlisle just a bit longer.

The carried is over either far too soon or not soon enough, Leah is unable to decide between the two as Jacob gives Embry a pointed look, a soft puppy-eyed look towards her and is out of the car in an instance to help Billy out of Sue's car. Embry only lets out a heavy sigh, his huge calloused hand squeezing her knee supportively before he climbs out seeming prepared to face the music.

Expectant eyes turn towards Leah once she's inside the Black home and the stares put her on edge, make her feel defensive and she fights back a growl of annoyance. Taking a seat as far away as she can from Sam within the tiny living room Leah silently prepares herself for the avalanche of emotions and words.

"So…again," Billy says letting out a deep sigh before fixing his dark, disapproving glare on Sam. "What happened?"

Leah opens her mouth prepared to start at the beginning of the story but is cut off as Sam, Emily and Quil both erupt into a jeremiad involving her, Embry, imprints, wolves and whatever jumbled up issues that they withheld.

"Whoa, whoa, whoa, one at a time," Billy says holding his hands up and patting the air slowly. The look of disapproval had quickly been replaced with surprise making it seem as if Leah truly wasn't the epicenter of the whole fubar situation.

"Well, I was just talking to Emily," Quil starts off but is cut off by Sam.

"Sex For Science," Sam says and Leah feels her shoulders slump and the wind knocked out of her. She isn't sure if it's a statement, question, accusation but its enough to suck the wind out of Quil's sails and stiffen Sue.

"Leah Michelle Clearwater," Sue's harsh and abrasive tone already carrying with it the lecture that is no doubt to follow. Falling back against the couch, Embry and Jacob sitting on either side of her, again, Leah can't help but groan as the simple and well articulated thought consumes her – fuck my life.


A/N: So I finally got SOMETHING out and it feels as if it's taken me forever. But I typed this up today and figured to just go ahead and post it. I haven't given up on any of my other stories - Wake-up Call is just being a real bear, trying to find the right words and to get the right emotions out and across. So I'm trying something different to see if it'll help get the juices flowing so we'll all just have wait...but I'm getting tired of waiting same as you all.