Title: Once we were Kings
Your pen name: Sweetp-1
Summary: Seth is the new kid at Forks High. The last thing he expects to find there is Edward...and his very own love story. Entry for the Black Balloon contest. AU/OOC. M for language and slash love.
Disclaimer: I don't own. Obviously.
To see other entries in the Black Balloon Contest, please visit the C2 page: .net/c2/78669/3/0/1/
It was pretty simple, really. I didn't want to be here.
Today was turning out to be exactly the nightmare I had been expecting. I shot another fuck-off-and-die glare at the bunch of pale-faces that were standing against the lockers giving me the new-kid once over. The purposefully too-loud whispers, the unashamed stares as the boys sized me up and the girls checked me out, the curiosity and attention all trained on me; it was making my palms sweat and my stomach heave. I stalked down the corridor and tried to remind myself that today would be the worst of it. After today, the novelty would start to wear off. After today, things would get better. Or so I hoped.
I took another glance at the piece of paper the old lady in the office had given me, checking I had the room number right. Room 505. AP Biology with Mr. Banner. I could barely read the tiny typeface because I'd crumpled up the paper so tight. My fists must have clenched around it on their own accord while I endured my walk of agony down the corridor. I tried to smooth it out as best I could, knowing all I was doing was delaying the inevitable.
There was nothing to do but to get it over and done with. I took a deep breath and pushed open the classroom door, preparing myself for the first class of my first day at my new school.
As I stepped through the door, I immediately felt my whole body tense, every nerve standing to attention, every muscle straining as adrenaline surged through my veins, my heart pounding like a bass drum in my ear. I clenched my eyes shut in concentration, willing my body to calm the fuck down, before something really, really bad happened.
I was in the same fucking class as a leech! Which ever one it was reeked of death and decay, and I could feel my hackles rising as the sickly sweet stench burned my nostrils. It reminded me of the smell of fermenting fruit as it rots, and it made my stomach heave.
Inwardly, I cursed every fucked-up turn of events that had conspired to put me here, in this classroom of torture. If it wasn't for the promise I made my dying father, I would have been out of there, running as fast as my wolf paws could have carried me.
I groaned and made my feet move, one in front of the other, towards the teacher's desk. I barely heard a word he said as I handed over my slip by way of introduction. The urge to phase was building inside me, the pressure spreading along my limbs, quicksilver bubbling in my veins. I could almost feel the edges of my body begin to blur as the fine line between my two forms began to waver.
The wolf snarled and flashed his teeth.
Mr. Banner motioned to the desks by the window, and I heard him mumble something about only one seat left.
Of course, my allocated seat was right next to the bloodsucker.
For the briefest of moments, I considered breaking my mother's heart, crushing my father's dreams and getting the fuck out of there. It took every last drop of strength and determination to keep the wolf at bay as I made my way slowly to the other side of the class.
"You seriously need to get a grip!" The leech seethed at me as I reluctantly took my seat beside him.
"That would be a whole fucking lot easier if you weren't here!" I retorted under my breath, rolling my eyes at the pompous prick...Ethan?...Edmund??...I couldn't remember. The whole lot of them had weird names.
"Well, why don't you take a deep breath and calm down. You're attracting all the wrong kinds of attention." Edward, yeah his name was Edward - the mind-reader one, said sanctimoniously.
Jesus, he's an arrogant ass.
He shot me an unimpressed glare and I chuckled as I imagined myself flipping him the bird. He scowled again before returning his gaze to his textbook.
If I'm going to be trapped in this hellhole with a leech, I might as well have some fun, right?
Edward narrowed his creepy yellow eyes at me. "So, what did you get kicked out of the Reservation school for?" he asked, his tone thick with his holier-than-thou attitude.
"Setting fire to the school building," I answered quickly, trying to imagine myself crouched in front of the school gate with a lighter in hand.
Edward looked at me skeptically.
Fuck. Maybe this mind-reading thing isn't going to be that much fun after all.
I sighed. They don't have AP classes there, I thought, not wanting to say the words out loud.
Edward didn't look up from his book, but I saw the look of surprise that flashed over his chiseled features. He nodded slightly in acknowledgment.
I didn't have time to rustle up a fuck-you response to that because Mr. Banner chose that moment to launch into his lecture about cell division phases.
Edward and I didn't talk for the rest of the class, our mutual distrust and animosity falling between us like an invisible barrier. Mr. Banner was far from inspiring, but most of the material was new to me and the lesson passed quickly as I filled page after page of my book with notes and diagrams.
At the end of class, Edward stood quickly and gathered his books together.
"You don't smell so great yourself, you know," he said as he passed behind me on his way to the door.
Like I said, Edward was one stuck-up, arrogant asshole.
"Where are the rest of the...err... your family?" I asked, resisting the urge to call Edward a bloodsucker to his face.
"They're on a hunting trip," he said as he opened the door to their mansion house.
Edward had already explained about the Cullen's "lifestyle" but I still had a hard time getting my head around the idea of vampires who fed on animals, not humans. I huffed, deciding it was best not to dwell on it.
Hidden far off the roadside, the house was nestled in amongst the forest like it was a natural part of the scenery. I wasn't really into architecture and shit like that, but I had to admit that whoever had designed this place had done an excellent job of it. It looked like it was meant to be there.
Edward's "family" might not be home, but their vampire stench lingered in the air, much stronger than the small dose I was used to from sharing a desk with Edward. It was hard to believe that only a few short weeks ago, I probably would have gagged coming here. I guess I must have been getting used to the smell, because although it was still all kinds of unpleasant, it no longer made my stomach turn.
I watched as Edward finished setting up the table for us. His movements were so fast, he was almost a blur as he unpacked his school bag, piling the textbooks and folders on the dining room table. At school he was always so controlled, so carefully slow and human-like. I had never seen him move at his own natural speed before.
"Holy Shit!" I said, the words slipping out on their accord. I watched, captivated by his sleek speed and natural agility. I found myself wondering how fast he could run.
"Faster than you," Edward said smugly as he sat down at the table.
"Oh, is that right?" I challenged, raising my eyebrow at him.
"It is, indeed."
"Prove it!" I countered. There was no way I was letting a comment like that pass. There was nothing I wanted more than to beat him, and wipe that smug look off his lily-ass face.
"Alright," Edward said after a moment of consideration.
I had to admit, I was kind of surprised he agreed. Edward was as uptight as they came and I had a hard time imagining him out of his dress pants and Italian shoes, squaring off against me in a testosterone showdown. Visions of us crouching at the starting line of the school running track flashed through my mind, and I smiled as the images fast-forwarded to me whipping Edward's ass. The modest school field had now warped to an Olympic stadium and I grinned as, around us, the crowd erupted into cheers, cameras flashing as I was draped in flags and ribbons for my victory lap.
"Tomorrow after school. Meet me here. There's a place not far from here where we go to play baseball sometimes. Obviously, we need to do it somewhere we won't be seen," he said patronizingly.
I rolled my eyes at him. Let a guy entertain his fantasies in peace and quiet for fuck's sake. Get out of my head.
"Believe me, your fantasies are the last thing I want to be privy to."
"Well, stay out of my head then," I shot back at him. I mean, who the hell uses the word "privy" in this day and age? Edward seriously needed to loosen up and stop acting like he was a hundred years old.
"If you're quite finished now, maybe we should make a start on this assignment?"
"Right, yeah, whatever," I mumbled. As much as I hated having to work alongside him for this assignment, I had to admit, Edward was one smart vampire and I had a seriously good chance of getting an A in this class with his help. I had to keep reminding myself I was here for a reason, as torturous as every minute of my new schooling arrangement was, it was all for a higher purpose. I had a goal, and fuck it if I wasn't going to get there.
"U Dub? " Edward asked quietly. "Sorry, I know you said not to, but it's quite difficult for me to tune out every single thought, especially when you're so close." He almost sounded apologetic.
"Yeah. I'll be the first in my family to go to college," I said, trying to sound like it wasn't a huge deal, even though it was…to me. I was sure college was a given for Mr. Rich and Intelligent.
"Well, it's a good school. You'll like it there." Edward had dropped the sanctimonious tone and, for a moment, I almost forgot he was my sworn enemy.
"You've been?" I asked, trying not to let my excitement show.
"Yeah, a couple of times." He shrugged. "Not much else to do when you're trapped in a body this age," he said ruefully.
I hadn't thought about that before. I mean, I'd always assumed living forever would be awesome, that it must be great to have enough time to see and do everything you wanted. I guess I had never really considered what it would be like to have to do the same shit over and over again.
"What's it like?" I asked softly, my curiosity about what Edward could tell me about college getting the better of me. My mind filled with images of me wandering around campus with a backpack thrown over my shoulder, making my way to lecture halls and libraries.
"A bit like that," Edward smiled. "Except more parties and less like high school."
I liked the sound of that. I grinned.
"Well, I need to seriously improve my GPA if I even want to be considered, so that's why I got transferred. My Mom spoke to the Rez school, and they agreed I would have a better chance if I came over to Forks instead."
"But, you don't want to be there," Edward surmised.
It was true, I didn't want to be there. If there was any other option, I would have jumped at it. I hated being the only kid from the Rez – the only one with hand-me-down clothes and shoes that didn't fit, the only one with brown skin due to lineage not a tanning salon. The new kid stigma had worn off, but the collective cold-shoulder that had replaced it was almost worse. I was from the Rez and therefore, I wasn't worthy.
I hated being different.
"You're not the only one," Edward said with a sympathetic smile.
The 'baseball field' turned out to be a huge-ass clearing about two miles from the Cullen mansion. It was about twice as long as a football field, give or take a few yards. I eyed Edward's hulk of a brother standing at the far end. Edward had insisted we have an independent witness to make the final call on who crossed the line first. I was skeptical that another vampire was the right man...freak...whatever...for the job, but Emmett had pulled me aside and told me it was about time that Edward got his butt kicked and to go hard. I decided I quite liked Emmett. I don't know what he saw in Rosalie though. She was a class-A bitch and hadn't stopped moaning about how childish we were since we'd arrived there.
"I need to go and…um...change," I said awkwardly.
I could phase whenever I wanted now, the control having gotten better and easier the longer I had been in the pack. I could phase right then and there if I wanted to; the wolf was always just a breath away when I was close to a vampire. The only issue was, I only had the clothes I was wearing, and if I phased without getting naked first, I wouldn't have anything to wear once I was finished kicking Cullen's butt.
"Right. Go do what you need to do," Edward muttered, looking uncomfortable.
I jogged down the field, enjoying the chance to stretch my muscles and warm up before I ran for real. The field was even longer than I had thought, and I could feel my anticipation grow as I sped up, looking forward to the race to come and the chance to push my wolf form to its limit.
When I got to Emmett, I explained I needed to ditch my clothes in the woods and ambled off into the thick trees. Quickly, I peeled off my teeshirt and shorts and stashed them at the bottom of the biggest tree I could see, hoping it would be good enough of a landmark for me to find later.
I took a deep breath and searched inside myself for the animal that paced relentlessly under my skin. For the wildness and the power. For the taste of fresh air and freedom. For the wolf that lived within me.
The heat blazed through my body as I felt the wolf raise his muzzle to the sky, howling as the pressure built in intensity until I felt like my bones were going to crack. Then, there was a blinding flash of fire and blood and everything exploded.
I blinked, my wolf eyes seeing everything around me in perfect crystal clarity. I shook my sandy-colored coat, settling into my new skin.
Trotting at a leisurely pace, I emerged from the trees and let out a soft whine in greeting to Emmett.
"Whoa. Dude, you're like freakin' enormous!" Emmett exclaimed, eyeing my wolf form appreciatively. Wolves and vampires didn't usually socialize, mortal enemies and all that, and Emmett had told me he'd never seen one of our kind in our wolf form before. From what I could tell, he seemed to be impressed.
"I sure am going to enjoy seeing you whoop Edward's ass!" He laughed as I turned and trotted down the field towards my opponent.
Edward eyed my approach with a stony face, but with my enhanced vision I didn't miss the little flex of his jaw as my full size dawned on him. In my human form, Edward was about the same height as me - a bit over 6-foot - and in my wolf form my head was almost level with his shoulder.
I pulled my snout up in a snarl. Bring it on leech!
"May the best vampire win," Edward sneered at me.
Rosalie eyed me with disgust. "Are you ready, Edward?" At his nod she turned to me. "And you...dog?" she asked, without attempting to hide her disdain.
I growled at her. Bitch.
She huffed haughtily, but raised her hand as we crouched on our agreed starting line.
My breath was coming quick and heavy as the adrenaline began to course through my veins in anticipation. Every part of me tense and poised as I watched for her signal.
"GO!" she shouted, dropping her pale hand dramatically.
I pushed off the ground, leaping into the air, stretching myself out as I began to run like I had never run before.
The ground disappeared under my paws as I thundered down the field. I could hear the blood pulsing in my head and feel the air rushing past me as my four legs galloped over the grass.
I had no idea where Edward was, only the earth beneath my paws and the finish line in my sight.
The wolf reveled in the chance to make the muscles burn, to really run and push everything to the limit.
I vaguely heard a shout of glee as I hurtled past Emmett. Panting and exhausted, I took a moment to catch my breath before padding back to the finish line.
"Man! That was awesome!" Emmett whacked me on my rump enthusiastically. "I can't believe Edward finally got his ass whipped. By a wolf, no less!" he chuckled.
I won? YES! Take that sissy boy!
Edward was standing with his hands on his hips, a furious black scowl on his face.
"He did not win!" he hissed at Emmett.
"Edward, don't be a poor loser. Seth won! Fair and square," Emmett sighed.
"No! He didn't!" Edward argued. "I looked across as I passed you and he was definitely behind me."
I could hear the anger in his tone, and his hands were clenched in fists at his side.
"Edward..." Emmett said warningly.
"You two cooked this whole thing up to get back at me. I just know it. I bet you planned it earlier when Seth phased. I bet that's the whole reason he went up to see you in the first place." Edward's voice trembled with restrained anger. "And I bet you loved every minute of taking my victory from me." He looked menacing as he stood right up in Emmett's face shouting his baseless accusations at him.
I seriously could not believe what I was hearing. Fucking Edward, he's so self-absorbed and arrogant. Who the hell does he think he is? God's gift?
My own anger began to build inside me as I listened to his ranting. I snarled, baring my teeth, and stalked towards him, intent on making him shut the hell up.
One swipe of my paw was all it would take.
A low growl emanated from somewhere deep within me, and Emmett looked at me with wide, shocked eyes.
"Dude? You should, maybe, chill or something," he said cautiously, hands in the air in surrender.
His words cut through the red haze of my anger and I realized how close I had been to doing something I would certainly come to regret later. As good as it would have felt to wipe the scowl off of Edward's pretty face, I knew I was better than that.
I closed my eyes and reached deep within, willing myself to find the humanity; the emotions and order of my human mind. Deep within, where the memories were hidden safely away: the smell of my father's cigarettes, the feel of my mother's hugs, the sound of childhood laughter. I clung to the boy within and felt the rush of air as everything around me flickered. As I changed back to my human form, the power that surged through my body was enough to knock me to the ground.
When my breath eased and I felt sure it was just me - just plain Seth again - I stood and turned on Edward.
"Edward Cullen, you are one seriously self-absorbed asshole. It was you who insisted we have a judge, and it was you who asked Emmett to help, and now you can't accept what he has to say? Jesus, you are a piece of work. Have you always been this arrogant,or did you just get this way when you shoved that stick up your ass?" I yelled at him.
It felt good to be angry as a human. I knew there was no way I could accidentally hurt Edward now, and I could let loose with everything I wanted to say. I felt it boil in my veins, and I couldn't stop myself as more anger spilled from me.
"You're nothing more than a spoiled brat who can't handle it when he gets beaten."
"And," I added, figuring I may as well put it all out there. "Emmett is right. You are a poor loser. In fact, I've never met a more childish, pansy-ass, pathetic loser as you."
It took me a moment to realize Edward hadn't responded to anything I'd said. He was still standing there, a weird sort of shocked expression on his face as he watched me shout and abuse him.
And that was when I realized that I was completely and utterly, stark naked.
I had been so caught up in the argument I hadn't even given a thought to what would happen when I phased. Mortified, I covered myself with my hands, knowing a deep blush was painting my face red with embarrassment.
I glanced up at Edward, who averted his gaze quickly.
"I'm going to go change," I said angrily, before running into the trees to retrieve my clothes.
I drove home, still fuming about Edward's little tantrum. He was even a worse loser than Quil, and that was saying something. I scowled, gripping the steering wheel even tighter, my knuckles hurting as they strained across the plastic wheel, remembering how he had accused me of cheating.
My beat-up old truck creaked and groaned as I pushed my foot flat, wanting to put as much distance as possible between me and that arrogant sonofabitch. The rusty metal that was holding my truck together protested loudly as I motored down the highway, pissed off that Edward had soured my well-deserved win with his whining.
I sighed with relief when I finally made it home, pulling into our driveway too fast and sending a spray of gravel shooting into the air behind me. It wasn't dinner time yet but I was starving, and I hoped Mom had done some baking today. I jumped down from the cab and slammed the door shut.
I was surprised to see Sam sitting at the kitchen table when I walked in the house.
"Sam," I said, not entirely sure what he was doing at my house.
"Seth." There was something about the tone of Sam's voice that made me think this was anything but a social visit.
"Now that you're home, Seth, I'll just pop down to the grocery store," Mom said as she rustled in her handbag, looking for her keys. "Your father's sleeping, but just keep an ear out in case he wakes and needs you, okay?" I nodded. She said that every time she went out. I had been helping her care for Dad for six months. I knew the drill by now.
"You boys help yourself to whatever. There are some muffins in the pantry," she called out as she pushed open the screen door.
When I heard her car reversing out the driveway, I turned and looked at Sam, expectantly.
"What-the-fuck, Seth?" Sam was never one to waste time on pleasantries.
"What?" I said, shocked by his outburst and wondering what the hell he was on about. He was looking at me like I just murdered someone.
"Did you forget that half the pack would have a front row view of your little playdate this afternoon?"
I had completely forgotten the pack was patrolling this afternoon. Not only had I missed that, but it hadn't even occurred to me that they'd be able to see everything I was doing while I was in wolf form. I had been so wrapped up in our race, concentrating so hard on beating Edward, that I doubted I would even have heard them if any of them had called to me.
"It wasn't a playdate," I spat back at him. Inside I was squirming, knowing that I had fucked up and been caught on it.
"Yeah? What do you think your father would think about you hanging out with the tribe's sworn enemy? Did you think about that while you were out there showing off?"
Sam was fuming. I could almost feel the waves of fury that were rolling off him.
"I think he'd be pretty chuffed I kicked some vampire-butt, actually," I said quietly.
"They're our enemies, Seth. Don't you get it? They are the one and only reason you can phase into a wolf. The one and only reason there is a whole pack of wolves out there protecting our people every night. Do you want one of them fucking up and coming down here for dinner? Fuck, Seth! They are bloodsuckers; dangerous freaks. Doesn't that mean anything to you?"
I could hear Sam's words, but to be honest I had a hard time equating the monsters that he described with the sophisticated and polite Cullens that I had met.
"I don't want you socializing with them anymore," Sam said bluntly as he folded his arms over his chest, all territorial and macho. He'd always been a god-awful bully and the sight of him standing there, trying to intimidate me in my own home, set my teeth on edge.
"You're not my father, Sam. You can't tell me what to do." I glared at him. There was no way I was going to let him push me around. I could feel myself tensing, adrenaline rushing through my veins.
The wolf raised it's head in anticipation.
"I'm your Alpha. You best remember that." Sam's tone was low and menacing, and I was pretty certain that if I pushed him just a little bit more, he would hit me.
"But it's not that simple. They're at my school. Edward's my bio partner, for fuck's sake."
Fuck Sam Uley. Where does he get off telling me who I can and can't be friends with?
I blanched as I realized I no longer thought of the Cullens as enemies, but as friends. Edward especially - he pissed me off more than any other person I knew, but he was the only person who really got me. Despite our differences, he understood what it was like to have to constantly hide who you really were. He understood what it was like to be a freak. The two of us lived in a crazy, warped reality, where legends and fairytale creatures actually existed. With him, I didn't need to hide my secrets. With him, I didn't need to hide anything.
The thought that I was arguing with Sam because I wanted to spend more time with Edward was not as unsettling as it should have been.
"Out of respect for your father, I'm not going to say anything about what I saw today, but I swear to you, on all that is Holy, if I find out you're hanging out with those leeches outside of school, I will do something about it. You're a smart cookie, Seth Clearwater. Why don't you use that over-sized brain of yours and figure out which side of the Treaty Line you belong on."
Sam stormed out of the house, slamming the screen door behind him.
I lay in bed that night thinking over everything that Sam had said. The Cullens and the Quileutes – sworn enemies who begrudgingly accepted each others' presence because of a century old agreement - and me, Seth Clearwater, right in the fucking middle. My head ached as I tried to make sense of the storm of thoughts and emotions that swirled in my mind.
The last thing I saw before sleep finally claimed me was Edward, standing in the baseball field, his eyes wide and hungry as he gazed at my naked body.
"Can I ask you something, Edward?"
"Sure," he said vaguely as he continued to fill in his Bio workbook with his elegant handwriting. The Cullen's house was deserted again, and we had come here again after school to work on an extra credit assignment.
"It's kind of a personal question," I added as an afterthought. Edward and I had a somewhat fledgling friendship, I guess you'd call it, and I still wasn't exactly sure where the lines were. I spent most of my time with the guy, but sometimes he could be a moody prick and I wasn't sure how he would react to the question I wanted to ask him.
Edward looked up at me. His eyes were amber today. Sometimes they were darker, like liquid gold. I used to think they were vile, but actually, they kind of suited him. He was already too handsome to be a mere mortal; too chiseled, too perfect. The eye color was just another thing that set him apart.
A soft smile passed over his face as he caught my thoughts.
"Why don't you have a partner?" I blurted out, horrified at what he had heard me think. "I mean, Emmett and Rosalie, Alice and Jasper…they've all hooked up and you haven't. So, I was just wondering, doesn't it get a bit weird being the only single one in a house full of couples?"
"If you mean, do I ever feel awkward and lonely? Then the answer is yes." Edward's stark honesty sent a little pang of pain through my chest.
"So, how does it work? Do you go looking for a human chick that you like, and then ask her parents if you can bite her and make her immortal? Or are there ways of meeting vampire girls? For all I know, there could be an online dating service for your kind. "Pale cold one seeks equally undead mate," or some shit like that." I laughed at my own joke, even though it really wasn't that funny, or at least, Edward didn't seem to think so .
A flash of something painful passed over his face, but it was gone before I could figure out what it was.
"Vampires mate for life. I guess I just haven't found the right someone yet," he said quietly.
"We're like that too, you know," I said, wishing I had realized what a stupid question it was to ask in the first place. The last thing I wanted to do was make Edward upset.
"We mate for life. Sometimes this thing, imprinting, happens. It's basically love at first sight, but I've heard it's harder and bigger. Like, you can't function if you're too far away from your imprintee. Or you literally die of a broken heart if they die. Like, you're bonded to this person; bewitched. And you don't have any control over it, it just happens to you. It's almost creepy when you think about it. It's supposed to be rare, but it happened to Sam. He imprinted on Emily, even though he was shacked up with my sister at the time." I cringed as the words vomited out of me.
"I probably shouldn't be telling you that," I said, embarrassed that I was spilling all the pack secrets and scandals to Edward.
"It's okay. I won't tell anyone," he laughed. "I've got one for you. The only reason Carlisle changed Rosalie was because he knew I was lonely and he thought she would make a good mate for me. But when she awoke after being changed and I heard how vain and shallow her thoughts were, there was no way I could go through with it. That's why she hates me: I rejected her. "
I laughed. "Kind of explains a lot."
"It took her awhile, but I think she got over it in the end. Especially after finding Emmett. She rarely thinks of it now," he said thankfully.
"Do you want to find that someone?" I asked suddenly, feeling selfish for asking something so personal, while at the same time morbidly fascinated by what his answer would be.
"Of course," he whispered. It didn't escape me that he didn't raise his eyes to me.
Mid-year exams were just two weeks away, and I was studying my ass off every chance I got. Every day after school, Edward and I would go up to the Cullen house and spend the afternoon going over notes and reading text books. We never went to my house, partly because Edward couldn't cross the Treaty Line, but mostly because there were always people coming and going there, and it wasn't exactly a quiet environment conducive to study.
Not to mention, I was trying to avoid hanging out anywhere Sam Uley could keep tabs on me.
The Cullen house was big enough that Edward and I could study in peace and quiet, and the truth was, I liked hanging out there. Rosalie was still a bitch with her remarks about my 'wet dog smell', but I gave as good as I got, and we came to a truce of sorts. Esme, Edward's pretend Mom, always welcomed me into her home with a genuine smile, bringing me food to eat - which I appreciated, knowing she only stocked the cupboards in case I came over. Alice and Jasper mostly stayed out of our way, which was fine by me, because that Jasper dude was odd.
The only one, apart from Edward of course, that I spent much time with was Emmett, who was cool and easy-going and couldn't care less about treaties, enemies, or whether or not we should be friends. The only thing he cared about was challenging my wolf form to more and more outrageous challenges...who could swim the furthest, who could break the biggest tree. I made sure we only hung out together when I knew the pack wasn't patrolling.
Even with the silly stuff Emmett and I got up to, Edward and I still got in a ton of studying, and I was beginning to think I might even have a good chance of cracking the GPA I needed. I was pretty sure Edward could get it without studying at all. Half the time, I think he just studied with me to keep me company.
That afternoon, Edward had talked about what we wanted to do when we graduated. He was the only soul I had ever told about my secret; that I wanted to go to Law School. My parents knew I wanted to go to college, preferably the University of Washington, which was close enough that I could come home and see Dad as much as I wanted, but I hadn't even told them about wanting to go to graduate school.
I was so nervous when I told him, I thought I might vomit. But Edward didn't laugh at me or tell me I was dreaming. He just smiled and offered to help me look at schools on the Internet.
"Why are you helping me, Edward?" I asked him, still a bit overwhelmed at his easy acceptance of what I considered to be a crazy pipe-dream.
"Because I believe in you, Seth," he said quietly as he laid his hand over mine. I gasped at the contact; he was so cold. Ice-cold.
He looked embarrassed and moved his hand from mine, but I grabbed it.
It's not weird.
"You're really cold." I stated the obvious.
He laughed. "And you're really hot."
"I know," I said smugly, raising my eyebrow at him, the smart remark out of my mouth before I could engage my brain filter.
He looked shocked and pulled his hand from mine. "Do you want to look online now?" he asked suddenly, crossing the room to sit at his desk. His back was to me. but I could see the tense line of his shoulders - he looked uncomfortable.
It was only then that I realized that I, Seth Clearwater: Quileute and wolf, had practically been flirting with Edward Cullen: vampire, in his bedroom. There were so many things wrong with that realization that it took me another second to comprehend that I had been flirting with another guy.
Another guy who I was fast considering to be my best friend.
I shook my head. The craziest thing of all? I didn't care. I didn't care that Edward was a vampire. I didn't care that we shouldn't even be friends. I didn't even care that Edward was a guy.
I just found myself wondering why he didn't flirt back.
Ever since our conversation about why he didn't have a partner, a small part of my brain refused to let go of the idea that Edward might be into guys. It nagged at me, and I couldn't explain why I needed to know the answer so badly; I just did.
Edward coughed, interrupting my musings.
The blush that I had been expecting didn't come. I wasn't embarrassed by what Edward had heard me thinking; maybe there was even a part of me that wanted him to hear it.
There was work to do though, and information packs to download. I made myself concentrate on the task at hand for the rest of the afternoon.
It wasn't until later that night, that I could be alone with my thoughts again.
"C'mon man! Just try a little bit."
Edward looked at me warily, but took a sip of the moonshine I'd stolen from Dad's stash in the shed. He grimaced and handed the bottle back to me.
"That's awful, Seth. I can't believe you're drinking it."
I laughed at him. I was fearless, invincible, and decidedly intoxicated .
"You only live once, Edward. Got to make the most of it. Exams are overrrrrrrrrrrrr! Time to paaaaaaaaarty!"
Apparently when drunk, I was louder and more obnoxious than usual.
I felt the music thumping in my chest as we pushed our way out of the crowd that had gathered around the bonfire. We moved back from the heat and into the pitch black of the beach, watching the flickering glow from the flames danced on the sand at our feet.
Edward laughed as I swung the bottle above my head, drops of alcohol falling over us like amber rain. He was handsome when he smiled. His whole face lit up, and he looked so young and carefree. He needed to smile more often.
Suddenly, the world began to sway and jerk under my feet, and I felt myself falling. Strong arms caught me before I faceplanted on the sand.
My eyelids refused to stay open, and I heard his voice far, far away muttering something about home.
He felt like home.
His arms were still wrapped around me. It felt nice. He was strong and cold, while my body was limp and on fire as the alcohol spread through my veins. Maybe the moonshine hadn't been such a good idea after all.
Blackness enveloped me.
Vaguely, I was aware that I was being moved, but I didn't want to open my eyes, didn't want to lose those arms of steel that were wrapped around me.
When the movement stopped, I was lying in a bed. A really, really comfortable bed with really, really thick sheets and a really, really soft pillow. I sunk into it as the heaviness began to creep up my limbs again.
I panicked, my brain silently screaming that something wasn't right. The arms that had been keeping me safe were gone. Without them, I was alone. Without them, I would float away.
"Edward?" I gasped, my voice a slurred and frightened whisper.
Then he was there, all cold comfort and quiet shushing. He was there, and all was right with the world again.
"I love you, too," was the last thing I heard before the blackness swallowed me.
I groaned as I sat up. My head felt like it was going to split in two.
"I put some aspirin and a glass of water beside your bed."
I hadn't realized Edward was in the room. I clenched my eyes shut, hoping it would help with the dull thudding in my head, and flailed my hand out searching for the water. My mouth felt like the bottom of a bird cage.
Ugh. I never wanted to drink again. Well, not for awhile, anyway.
I chugged down the water and flopped back on the pillow. God, this really was the best bed I'd ever lain in. I groaned appreciatively as I sunk further into the downy pillows, drawing the warm blanket up under my chin.
"I take it you're glad Esme is the type of vampire who likes to keep up appearances, and always has the guest room ready for visitors?" Edward chuckled.
"Did I do anything really embarrassing?" I asked, cringing as I waited for Edward's response.
"No bodily fluids escaped, if that's what you mean," Edward said dryly. "Did you know you sleep talk?"
"I do?" I asked, suddenly worried about what my intoxicated lack-of-filter self might have said.
"Yeah. You're quite cute when you're sleeping. Not so smart-ass."
"Fuck you," I retorted, pretending to be pissed.
In my hung-over state, my brain was finding it difficult to process what Edward had said. I knew I should have been weirded out by the fact that he had stayed with me all night, but I couldn't help but feel kind of comforted that he had been there to watch over me.
My recollections of the previous night were hazy at best, just wisps of memories that slipped through my fingers like sand as I tried to grasp a hold of them.
But of one thing I was absolutely certain: I wanted to feel Edward's arms around me again.
Once exams were finished and we no longer had to worry about memorizing enzyme reactions and protein formations, Edward and I spent our free time hiking in the forest that bordered Forks. As much as I had felt relieved to be free from the academic pressure, there had also been a little piece of me that couldn't bear the thought of not seeing Edward every day after school. When he had suggested we explore the National Park together, I had jumped at it.
Edward was pretty much treated like an adult in his home, and could do whatever he wanted. I, however, was not so lucky. I found that, so long as I was home before dark, did my chores and helped out with Dad's care when needed, no-one questioned my new-found interest in hiking. Sam was still suspicious, but I tried my hardest to be a model pack member, turning up for patrol and pack meetings on time, and refraining from throwing around my usual smart comments. Eventually, he began to loosen up and stopped with the twenty questions every time he saw me.
One afternoon, Edward and I stood on the top of a ridge overlooking the Elwha River when the sun began to cut through the cloud cover.
I realized I had never seen Edward in the sun before. He'd told me about his skin and why his family needed to stay out of the sunlight, but I'd never actually seen it.
"Show me?" I asked as I pointed to the ray of sunlight that shone on the ground beside us.
He looked hesitant, glancing between me and the shaft of golden light.
"Please?" I asked. I didn't know why, but I was suddenly really curious to see what he looked like. What could possibly have been so abominable about his skin that he needed to hide away whenever it was a clear day?
He slowly stepped into the beam, a look of dread on his face as he watched for my reaction.
I gasped. Whatever I had been expecting, it was not this.
Edward was…beautiful. There was simply no other word for it. His skin was sparkling as if a thousand tiny diamonds were embedded in it.
I found myself walking towards him, marveling at the glint and shine of his skin, and the way the light reflected off his jaw. I needed a closer look.
I'd never seen anything like it. I was spell-bound.
"Wow!" It seemed so inadequate, but it was all my mind could come up with.
He winced, all full of shame and self-loathing.
My hand reached out on its own accord and I slid my palm along the side of his face. He looked at me, his eyes fearful and conflicted. My heart clenched - did he really think I would see him as a monster?
"You're beautiful!" I whispered. My voice was deep and husky, and I barely recognized it.
He closed his eyes as I pushed my hand along the tight line of his face. My skin, fiery hot and blazing, moved against his, ice-cold and stone; the potent mix of temperatures like a spark that spread across the skin where we touched.
He groaned as I pushed my hand into his hair. Bronzed and tousled and soft as silk, at such odds with the hardness of his face. I'd wondered what it would be like to touch his hair, run my fingers through it the way he did when he was nervous or angry. It was softer than my imagination could ever have come up with.
I felt my breath hitch as I found my thoughts turning to his face: his chiseled features, the line of his jaw, his eyes - liquid honey, the curve of his lips. I wondered if they were as hard as the rest of him; granite and steel.
I found myself thinking about what it would be like to put my lips on his, wondering if he would taste like ice.
"Please," he whispered, needy and vulnerable.
I bent my head and lowered my face to his, breathing in the scent of him. It was no longer sickening, but sweet and inviting.
I stopped; just a breath separated us. Whatever small part of my brain that wasn't dazzled by Edward's magnificence, shouted at me that there was no going back.
But I didn't fucking care and I kissed him.
I clutched the envelope in my hand and knocked on the Cullen's door.
"Seth! How lovely to see you," Esme beamed at me. "Edward's in his room. Go on up," she said as she closed the door behind me.
I raced up the stairs, two at a time, and burst into Edward's room, forgetting to do the polite thing and knock first.
"It's here!" I blurted, unable to contain myself to even greet him first.
"And?" Edward asked excitedly.
"I haven't opened it yet!" I was so petrified I hadn't been able to bring myself to open it. I needed moral support. I needed Edward.
I thrust the envelope at him. "You do it."
"Really?" Edward asked me. "Are you sure?"
As soon as I nodded, he ripped into the envelope, shredded paper falling to the floor as he pulled out the letter we had been waiting for.
"Dear Mr. Clearwater…" Edward began.
"Fuck that part." I yanked the letter away from him and scanned it in a frenzy.
…delighted to inform you….acceptance…welcome to the University of Washington...
I read it again slowly, just to make sure my eyes hadn't been playing tricks on me.
I was in. I was really in!
I yelped and threw myself at Edward.
He chuckled as he caught me, his strong arms wrapping around my waist and holding me close.
"See? I told you. You had nothing to worry about," he whispered into my neck. His cool breath washed over me like a wave of calm.
My mind was blown. I was so fucking overwhelmed I could barely form a coherent thought.
I am going to the University of Washington!
"Thank you," I murmured. I was quite sure that without Edward's patience and help, I never would have gotten in.
"It was all you, Seth," he said, quiet and low. His eyes gleamed with pride, happiness radiating off him, but there was something else there, too. Something dark and hungry and wanting.
He smirked at me and then leaned down to kiss me.
As soon as his lips touched mine, I felt a sudden surge of lust rush through my body. The letter dropped to the floor, all but forgotten, as I wrapped my arms around his neck. His lips were hard and cold, making me think of icicles and diamonds.
He moaned against my mouth as I tugged on his hair, the sound making me crazy. I couldn't get close enough. I rubbed myself against him, feeling myself hard and aching, needy with want, and overwhelmed by the turmoil of emotions that were crashing over me.
It was hard to believe I was actually going to college. With Edward.
I frowned and pulled away from him abruptly.
"You did get in, too, didn't you?" I asked anxiously, suddenly aware that in my own self-absorbed moment I had completely forgotten to ask if Edward had received his letter, too. I knew it was a mere formality for him, but the thought that Edward wouldn't be going with me made my stomach drop.
"Yes. I got in. Now, come back here," Edward said playfully as he threaded his fingers through the belt loops of my jeans and pulled me towards him again.
His mouth was greedy as he claimed mine, thrusting his tongue into my mouth and splaying his hands against my back. I could feel him, hard and straining against my thigh as he pushed against me. I moaned as his hands slid under my shirt, his freezing hands, ice-cold but burning like fire as they swept over my skin.
I kissed him hard, pushing out the storm of emotions that tumbled in my head, raw to the bone relief that all our hard work had paid off; sweetest vindication that it had all been worth it. I imagined the look of pride on my parents' faces when I told them, how fucking happy they would be. How it felt to see Edward so pleased for me. I threw every last drop of my heartfelt gratitude at him. He was wrong - I couldn't have done it without his help, and I filled my head with everything I was feeling: thankfulness, appreciation, excitement, anticipation. All of it. I wanted him to feel everything that I was feeling, to know how much this meant.
As he groaned and pulled me closer to him, my mind began to imagine myself in Seattle on campus, Edward by my side.
I imagined us walking to lecture theaters, sitting in cafeterias, just being together. I couldn't wait to get there and be free from all the bullshit we had to put up with here. No more sneaking around. No more Sam on my back.
None of that would matter anymore.
I cupped Edward's ass, feeling the cold pressure of his leg between mine, and reveling in the feel of the friction against my aching erection. As I ground against him, my mind began to imagine other things Edward and I would do together; Edward naked and writhing beneath me, panting and moaning my name.
I could tell the instant Edward caught my thoughts; his kiss tasting of desperation and desire, his icy-sweet lips crushing mine. I clutched at him, rocking him against me, the sound of his moans spurring me on.
My own lust was crashing over me as I gasped for breath against him. I was suddenly overwhelmed with an intense need to push him, to show him exactly how much I wanted him.
I let my fantasies unravel.
Edward on his knees sucking me off, looking up at me, his liquid honey eyes full of lust and hunger.
Edward lying naked on my bed, stroking himself urgently as he watched me do the same. His cries of ecstasy. His vampire cum hitting my stomach.
Edward on his hands and knees in front of me as I...
"Fuck!" Edward groaned against my neck. I felt him shudder against me, and knowing he was losing it pushed me over the edge. I leaned against him, panting; emotionally and physically spent.
I love you, Edward Cullen.
Being at school was even better than my wildest dreams had imagined. For the first time in my life, I was free. Free from living up to the guilt-laden expectations of my parents; free from the constant questioning of my overbearing pack leader; free from fighting against the ancient rules of my tribe.
For the first time in my life, I was free to do whatever I wanted, when I wanted.
And right then, I wanted Edward.
He grinned at me as he felt my lust-filled thoughts reach out to him, and he grasped my hand across the lecture table.
Seattle wasn't small town Forks. Here, we were just two guys amidst a sea of faces; a melting pot of different colors, styles and interests. No one gave us a second glance. The fact that we were both guys barely registered with me anymore, either. It no longer matter that we were vampire and wolf, or that we were both trapped in our own fucked up versions of normal.
The only thing that mattered was us.
He was the moon and I was the sun. He was freezing - cold, hard marble; I burned with the heat of fire. He was eloquent and polite; I was rude and used fuck as a noun, verb and adjective. Even our skin contrasted each other; his pale porcelain against my russet tan. In fact, I was pretty sure we had more differences than similarities, but it didn't matter. Together we were perfect; complete.
I smirked at him and pulled his hand under the table to rub against the growing bulge in my jeans.
Feel what you do to me.
He groaned and pushed his hand into me, making the denim cool as he teased my aching need.
Let's get out of here.
I didn't need to think it twice. Edward had our desks cleared and both our bags over his shoulder in two heartbeats. I chuckled to myself. This was the third lecture this week we'd cut out of early.
It was hard to believe that there had been a time when I had wished I hadn't been transferred to Forks. How stupid I had been.
Will it always be like this?
"Always!" he growled under his breath as we sneaked out of the lecture theater.
I smiled. I couldn't imagine how this intensity, this overwhelming need for each other, could ever fade.
Edward was my life now.
The rain was falling so hard it felt like snow, and we were both drenched to the skin within seconds. Laughing, we splashed through puddles as we ran hand in hand, to the safety of Aro's - my favourite cafe. It was a small and obscure little place that I called "Seattle's hidden treasure" and they made the best coffee I'd ever had.
I watched as Edward removed his dripping jacket. Water streamed down his face and his hair was plastered to his head, but he still looked perfect to me.
I grinned at him, wishing we were alone so I could lick the droplets of water that ran down the side of his face.
He shot me a sly smile, the kind that I had grown to recognize and love. The kind of smile that said, "I know what you're thinking, Seth Clearwater." The kind of smile that promised me he would make good on it, later.
"I need a coffee to warm up, okay?" I asked him. He nodded before going to find us a table.
I smiled as he walked away from me, admiring the way his wet jeans hugged his perfectly sculpted ass. As he passed a table of girls they all turned to watch him, and I could almost hear the collective sigh. I smirked to myself at the thought, at the fact: he was mine. My heart swelled when I realized that piece of perfection was going to be mine for the rest of my life.
I turned back to the counter, and the world slipped on its axis.
Nothing was ever going to be the same again.
I gasped for breath, desperately trying to draw air into my lungs as the room around me slid away until there was nothing but me.
Her. Black hair that shimmered in the light and oceandeep eyes.
The floor beneath me seemed to fall away, and I could feel myself sinking deeper and deeper.
Deeper into her.
Time slowed. I had no idea how long I stood with my eyes locked on her. A split-second. A lifetime. Time was something that no longer mattered because she was all I could see and smell and hear and feel.
Her. Triangle shaped scar on her chin and a tiny smattering of freckles on her nose.
I watched as an unbreakable ribbon of need and want and being, began to form between us. Each stitch, each thread that wove its way through the air; a tie that would bind me to her.
I was imprinting.
On a girl.
A girl with little soft hands that I wanted to take in mine.
Shock and disbelief surged through my veins. Horrified, I began to thrash against the waves of inevitability, trying desperately to claw my way to the surface, to take a breath and find the safety.
I grimaced, fighting against the pull and magnetism of the girl in front of me. The girl - I didn't even know her name - who was my future.
Wrenching my eyes from her, I anxiously searched the cafe, trying to see Edward. Edward was the only one who could save me.
His honey eyes, full of warmth and love, found mine, and my heart shattered into a thousand tiny pieces as the look of confusion swept over his face as he took in the look of horror on mine.
My eyes pleaded with him to make this stop. Silently, I begged him to save me, to rescue me from this cruel twist of fate.
To forgive me.
I knew that I was running out of time. That I was trying to fight against something irreversible and final. That it would only be a matter of time; a second, a heartbeat, until my life was wrenched upside down.
Until my life was as good as over.
But my heart needed to beat one more time; just for him. One more rush of blood and love through my veins. The heat of me; burning for him.
And in that too-short moment, my mind poured out every last ounce of love and happiness and fulfillment that I carried around inside me. Desperately, I threw it all at him. Every emotion, every cherished memory of times we had shared together. I pushed it all out of me in a frantic wave of wretchedness and despair. Pure, absolute love.
I hoped he would grab it and hold it tight to his chest and never let it go.
That he would know then that I had loved him with everything that I was.
Because it was all I had to give him.
My body betrayed me, sucked into the whirlpool of glowing heat that swirled around me, and I couldn't stop myself from turning back to her. The fire in my bones blazed with an intensity that moved me to the core of my being. The image of her burned on my soul forever.
Her. The scent of girl, cinnamon and vanilla, so foreign and spicy.
Her. The heat of her fragile body, the beat of her pulse, the warmth of the blood and life that flowed inside her.
Her. Soft and curvy and oh-so-tenderly feminine.
There was nothing else but her. The connection between us began to grow stronger and I could feel the tendrils of need and adoration beginning to wrap around my heart.
She smiled at me, and that was all it took.
I felt myself give up the fight, letting myself free-fall into the bottomless depths of her eyes, drifting unconsciously into the future with her by my side. Snip by bittersweet snip, every connection to everything I had ever known, everything I had ever been, was severed.
They say that drowning is the easiest way to die, that it's almost peaceful as you die and your life flashes before your eyes. I was drowning in her, but instead of seeing the past flash before me, my mind flicked through images of our future together: Walks on the beach and white picket fences; Barbecues and swing-sets in the backyard. Everything I had never wanted or needed, but everything that I was now destined for: with her.
As I took a step towards the girl in front of me, towards the future that I was being pulled into, whether I wanted it or not, a tiny piece of me refused to let go. It clung to memories of Edward. It screamed at me that this was wrong; that I hadn't chosen this. It howled that fate could go to hell, because love wasn't an involuntary behavioral response. Love didn't shackle you to someone you didn't even know. Love was choice. Love was pure. Love was freedom.
Love was Edward.
He was by my side, shaking me, his mouth moving but I couldn't hear the words. I barely even registered that he was there, captured irrevocably by the girl in front of me.
I was falling in love and there was nothing in the world but her.
The little sliver of my heart, the little piece of me that was still Edward's, watched as realization dawned on his face. He glanced frantically between me and the girl; confusion and distress chasing each other over his features until finally settling on pain.
Raw, bleeding pain that made his strong-as-granite body shake and tremble. Soul-destroying pain that crumpled his beautiful, perfect face. Heart-breaking pain that rumbled in his chest, escaping in a desperate, screaming plea of agony and loss. He dropped to the floor, his head in his hands as he watched his future being ripped from him, every one of his hopes and dreams cracked and splintered, and lost forever.
The invincible, impenetrable vampire - broken beyond repair.
Edward's Seth couldn't bear to keep watching the destruction of the only person who had really understood him, the only person who had ever loved him. Edward's Seth curled himself up into a little fetal ball, heart ripped open and bleeding out love and loss. Edward's Seth shook as sobs racked his body, every tear that rolled down his face a precious memory, a wish of longing for what would never be.
And as Edward's Seth crawled into the smallest, darkest corner of my heart, I smiled back at her.
"Can I help you with something?" she asked, her voice like an aria that had been written just for me.
In the dark of the night I can still hear him breathing my name.
When it's too hard to ignore, I run. I run to escape the memories that haunt my dreams, but the quiet of the mountainside only reminds me of him. I run until my feet bleed, but all I can feel is the ache of his loss like a hole in my chest.
Sometimes, I numb myself with a drink and a smoke, and I pretend he doesn't have a hold on my heart.
There are times when I almost ask if he is ever around, but I tell myself no good would come from knowing.
And when it all threatens to come tumbling down, I make love to my wife and hold her close and make myself forget.
*Sob* Yeah, I feel bad for doing that to them. You can blame Lambcullen - I am! I promise, from the bottom of my angst-loving heart that if I ever write Sethward again, there will be fluff and unicorns and a HEA.
Writing in first person, boys, wolves and of course, the forbidden interspecies slash love - it's all new for me. Luckily I had the most amazing help. My bodalicious beautiful babe, my partner in heartbreak and bounciness, Yellowglue, made this hot mess a gazillon times better. I can't thank her enough for her unfailing support and the little questions and comments that pushed me to keep going with it. My dear, I adore you - my little black heart belongs to you.
Go right now to her profile and author alert. Her Black Balloon entry will blow your mind.
Once again, Betham beta'd this for me, and once again, most of the commas are hers. THANK YOU doesn't really begin to cover it. If she hadn't said nice things about the awful hack of a document I sent her right at the beginning, I might never have got the idea of Seth walking into the Bio class out of my system. ILY bb x
Vanpirenz does the best job ever of polishing up my work, every time I think something's not quite right but not sure what, she fixes it. She makes my writing sparkle.
Also huge shout out to Naelany for pre-reading and rec'ing this story on Twislash Unveiled.
Kings of Leon provided me with a soundtrack for the angsty part.
As a side note, I am not from the US so please overlook any inaccuracies I may have made relating to the US education system.
Thanks for reading x If you liked it hit the alert button. I'm considering adding to this once the contest is over.