A/N: This story is a one-shot won by valelf at auction. She requested that it be set in my Mating Imperative AU, so keep that in mind as you read. :) Yes, there is a lemon involved...
See below for word on the other auction piece that was won - the first chapter's pairing for the From the Wings sequel.
This is a work of derivative fiction. All things TWILIGHT are the intellectual property of Stephenie Meyer and/or her assignees. I write merely to entertain myself and others and receive no compensation.
This is for you, Val. You are the salsa in my scrambled eggs. ;-)
In Sickness and In Health
"Emily? Honey? You still feeling bad?" I brushed my wife's hair from her face as she returned to bed, her skin faded under its usual rich color. "I honestly didn't set out to make you sick, you know." If my pork chops and garlic mashed potatoes had done this to her, I'd hate myself for a week. Bella's recipe had been good, I was sure – Embry sure never got sick eating her cooking – but if it could be screwed up in the kitchen, I'd do it.
Light filtered in through the patterned curtain on our bedroom window as Emily offered me a tired smile. "I know, Sam. And really, that was a great birthday dinner. And you know cappuccino ice cream is my favorite. I don't think it's that; I think I'm just tired. I must be coming down with something, is all." I slid out from the sheets and tugged our blanket up to her shoulders as she re-setttled herself to a comfortable resting spot. The blanket was woven by Old Joanna, one of the older women on the Rez. She made "Indian Blankets" to sell at flea markets. Those were often just "quick and dirty," Joanna had said. But the one she made for us was not.
"No, no, Sam. You're our leader, now. And this is for you and Emily. I've been working on it for a year." The blanket was a woven picture of our land, really. Rich sunset colors on the top over the greens and browns of the forest in the middle and the blues and grays of the oceans below. "And one day," Old Joanna went on, a twinkle in her wrinkle-sheltered eyes, "when your sons are born, I'll have blankets for them, too."
I had thanked her, of course, but hadn't shared the bit about Joanna making blankets for our sons. Children were a sore point with Emily just now.
I kissed her forehead and tried to smile. "So I'm guessing you're not up for muffins this morning?"
Her beautiful eyes opened wide. "Oh, Sam. I'm so sorry. The guys are coming over, right?"
"They always do." Emily's muffins were a mainstay of the Pack. Of course, Bella's
pancakes were popular too, and the girls took turns baking during the week. "But Emily, I'll just phase and tell 'em to scrounge on their own. None of 'em will die, I promise." My wonderful wife was very protective of the guys.
Emily's lips pursed into half a frown; she wanted to argue with me, I could tell. I shook my head at her and she sighed. This kind of wordless communication was normal between us by now; we'd been married for three years and we were good at reading one another.
"I'll be right back, honey. Just rest. I'll tell whoever is on patrol and then come make you some – some tea or something, all right? Just decide what you think you want."
"All right. Thanks, honey." She sank even deeper into the pillow, her hair spiking out around her head like a dark flower against the soft, yellow pillowcase. "Chamomile, I think. That'd help settle my stomach."
"Whatever your heart desires," I assured her, retrieving a small blue bungee cord from the top of the chest of drawers. With a grin, I tugged off the boxers I'd been sleeping in. "So, you're not that sick..." I teased when she propped herself up on her elbows to get an eyeful. It only took the subtle tilt of her lips, the slightly pronounced appearance of her cheekbones to arouse me.
"Obviously," she murmured. "So, hurry up and check in already."
"They'll see all this you know, and figure I'm just playing hooky."
Her smile didn't look sick at all when she suggested, "Let 'em learn a few things, eh?"
When her voice curled just like that, it always made me hot. Hot and, yeah, horny. "I'll be right back," I promised. "And, uh, make your tea."
"Now there's a euphemism." The color returned to her cheeks as she sat upright. "I'll, ah, make my own if you take too long."
Images of my wife pleasuring herself shot through my mind with my next breath. She really knew how to coil my spring. "No you don't!" I called over my shoulder as I jogged, naked with a pair of shorts strapped to my right shin, to the back door. "You just keep that for me, woman!"
Her laughter followed me out to the yard, where I phased just outside the door. I had figured out the sight angles years ago and knew no one could see me at the space I chose, due to the heavy treeline that had been allowed to grow around the edges of the property. I knelt, calling on that familiar energy that surrounded me, was born in me, was part of me. Part of me and my pack brothers, including my half-brother, Embry.
Who was on patrol. Embry?
Yes, Mighty Alpha? Everything looks good up this way. I'm past the northern border and it's all quiet. Oh, man. Put Emily away, okay? I so don't need to see my sister-in-law like that.
Resigned to the inevitable, I did my best to put my memories behind a wall so he couldn't see them and then I focused on what he was seeing while on his run. I could smell the trees that loomed darkly over Embry's head, but with bright colors and the peculiar sharpness of focus we had as werewolves. He inhaled deeply to report on the scent trails in the area before he came almost crashing to a halt, anger reddening his vision.
I smelled what he smelled. I'll call everyone in their skin, you keep a nose to the ground and keep tracking them, Embry. Fight smart.
Right, Sam. Tell Bella -
My heart clenched inside my chest. I'll call her first. Go!
I phased, not even bothering with my shorts, back into my skin and slammed the door open so that it hit the wall with a sound that told me I'd put a dent in the drywall. "Emily!"
"That was fast, Sam," she called, her voice languorous. "I –"
I crossed to our bedroom door in just a few bounding strides, drawing her personal fragances to myself as a memory to take with me. "Gotta go, hon. Embry smelled some bloodsuckers."
"No!" Eyes wide and worried, she rolled out of bed. "I'll call the girls, you call the guys?"
Even in my rush, I had to smile. "I love you. Yeah. Bella first; I promised Embry."
Emily slapped my naked ass as she left our room to dig her cellphone out of her purse. I called the guys from our house phone and within two minutes, I was back outside and in my fur again.
Jared phased and we caught him as he was still shaking out his fur. I'm here too!
Crap, where's Jake when you need him? Paul groused, his mind filled with the scent of Rachel and their only child, a baby son, who were still in bed.
Probably in bed with Sam's sister, Quil said, his mental voice a sing-song as he pounded hard on his way to Embry.
Shut it! I demanded. Focus!
We all poured everything we had into catching up with Embry, who was waiting for us along the treeline of the northern coast.
Ahead, we saw a flash of someone that moved too fast to be human, diving into the water while another seemed to glimmer in the trees.
Let's go. Take it slow. We don't know who these guys are and the treaty is still in effect.
Quil snorted and pawed restlessly on the pine needles. The Cullens are way south of here, Sam!
Still. We aren't going to be stupid. They've been gone for years, but there's nothing that says they can't come back and visit, right? That little one, the psychic's been here...
As a pack, we spread out and closed in on the remaining leech.
Well, it wasn't the tea I had in mind, I reflected to myself as I leaned over the kitchen counter and waited for the timer to go off on the oven. I had made some macaroni and cheese when it seemed that the guys were going to be gone for a while. If this had been an actual meeting of Wolf Girls 101, which is what we still called our get-togethers, all the imprints would have been here, excepting Charlie.
I had to smile when I thought of Leah and Charlie. That my childhood best friend was so overwhelmingly happy seemed only just.
I had called the girls – Bella first as Sam had promised. She was here, with the kids. Hemi and Hennah, at three years of age, were finally looking different from one another. For the first year of their lives, they'd been so similar it had been hard to tell them apart. Bella was pregnant again, and seeing her rounded belly hit me hard. Like it always did.
I had contacted Kim next, through Twitter of all things. "WG!" I sent to her. Kim almost never answered her phone but practically lived on Twitter. She and Jared had been married for a year and a half, now, and they were expecting their first child – a daughter – in three months. Another wince, but I hid it when I saw her.
Rachel was working and unable to come, but I knew she had her phone out so I could text her with any updates as I had them. Claire, of course, was in school and I had to smile. Six years old. Quil hung out with her and her family a couple of days a week. The mating imperative hadn't kicked in yet so even when she had gone on vacation, he had been all right in his head. Cassi wasn't here, either. She and Jake were in California, where Cassi had a house. Jake kept phasing, Sam said. They had a way of traveling to communicate, the two of them. My husband liked to keep an eye on everyone...
So here I was, with two pregnant women. And two toddlers. And a casserole in the oven. Only thing in my oven. Ouch.
"All right, Emily," Kim said near the cold hearth. "What's up with you? You're moping. It's not like you to mope." She smiled at me and tossed a length of her hair over her shoulder before her expression changed to a frown. "You're not hiding something are you, Den Mother?"
I shook my head. "Nope. I just woke up feeling gross, you know? Like, really tired and sick. I think I picked something up at the flea market last weekend. Sam was going to stay home and make me some tea before all this happened." Where were they? I had never seen them hunting a vamp, of course, but I knew they did it. I knew they probably chased down more than we, their imprints, ever heard about. "I had to make it myself," I added after a moment.
Bella disentangled herself from her children, leaving them with paper and crayons – a parental normal, I gathered. "Emily? Got a fever or something?"
I watched her over the rim of my teacup as she exchanged a look with Kim. I thought at first that she'd be worrying about the twins but she didn't seem to be. Instead, she cocked her head at Kim, who crossed the living room and came to stand on the other side of the counter from me. "What?" I asked the pair of them.
Kim leaned on her elbows, resting her chin in her hand. "You don't look feverish..."
"I'm not, so don't worry about the kids," I insisted, pushing away a little to finish my tea and rinse out my cup.
"Tired a lot?" Bella asked, sounding as if she already knew the answer.
I shook my head automatically, but then had to think about it. "Actually, yeah, I guess I have been. I think it's just stress, you know. Doing that new medical transcribing class and everything." I started the class when it seemed that the pack was not growing any bigger and all of our guys were paired up. And I had no little ones on the way...
"Feeling better now?" Kim piped up next. I shot a glance at her only to see her smirking. "You know, after this morning?"
I was feeling better, yes. I really was thinking, though, that my sudden improvement had been due to the prospect of "tea" with Sam...before he'd had to run off. "Yeah... I am..." I said slowly. My brains felt scrambled. Like there was something right in front of me I wasn't seeing.
"Did you put any ham in that mac and cheese?" Kim wondered, coming around the counter to crouch in front of my stove.
"No, it smelled bad, so I tossed it," I told her.
Then, I saw Kim straighten and shoot a smile to Bella, who grinned right back.
"You're pregnant," they said on the same breath.
I blinked and shook my head, feeling for all the world as if I had water in my ears and had heard them wrong. "What?"
Kim chuckled. "Could it be that the All-Knowing Den Mother is clueless?"
"Could be," Bella murmured through a broad smile. "Let's find out."
One hour, a trip to the pharmacy and a box of pregnancy tests later and I was all but bouncing off the walls. "Where are they? I've got to tell Sam. Where are they?" Baby. I was having a baby. I took two tests. I was having a baby. Sam and I were going to have a baby. I'd get all round and happy and –
"He'll step down," I whispered out loud, leaning against the counter again, but with my heart much lighter than it had been.
Bella laughed and served the kids some warmed-over mac and cheese. "I know that'll be a relief to you, Emily, but Jake and Cassi are going to freak out."
"Don't say anything to the guys, okay?"
"Not a word," they both promised as we heard laughter through the screen door. Laughter. Inner tensions in all three of us melted at the sound. I could see it in the subtly relaxed postures of my imprint-sisters and could feel it in my own spine and the muscles around my stomach that always, always tightened when I knew Sam was off sniffing after a Cold One.
Jared and Embry all but blew into our house, Sam right behind them. Embry went to his children first, picking them up one in each arm before crossing to Bella and holding her close. Jared did likewise with his wife, his hand moving to caress the curve that exemplified the new life growing inside her.
Another tangible piece of evidence for that mating imperative.
Paul slipped in and moved beyond Sam and me to the phone, to put in a call to Rachel while Quil just waved from the door before running back to his place. I knew from years of experience that he would clean up, check in at the store, and then run over to Claire's house so he would see her when she got out of school. All the guys in the pack had a real need to see their imprints right after they'd been out chasing vampires, whether there was a fight or not. We grounded them, I knew.
Sam whispered it to me then, as Embry quietly took his family home and Jared and Kim left, too.
"Remember," I called after Kim.
Her laugh was soft. "I will."
"Will what?" Jared asked, his voice floating back to me as the door closed with a thin, metallic sound.
I didn't hear what Kim answered, because Sam turned me fully in his arms to make heated tracings of the marks he had given me years ago. Claw marks made in anger and healed over in the tenderest love and caring. Wounds that sliced at him daily, hurting him more deeply than he had gouged me.
While he did so, I ran my fingertips over his bare skin, seeking scars or injuries he might have suffered that very day. Oh, they healed fast, our wolves, but still...
"Nothing, honey. I'm good," he murmured against the skin at my throat. "So what was it Kim has to remember?"
"Girl talk," I managed to breathe as his hand moved. His fingers skimmed my body over the Ramones t-shirt I was wearing.
"Mmm... I love this shirt. I love it better...somewhere else," Sam said, dismissing the girl talk stuff. Which was good, because I hadn't thought of how to tell him that he was going to be a father. He knelt in front of me and started dragging the shirt up with his fingertips, nuzzling me with his whole face, slowly working his way up as the shirt came off my body.
I had to tell him, though. Had to. I couldn't wait another minute. My heart started pounding hard and fast as he tossed the shirt across the room so that it draped my computer. I smiled as I quickly wrapped my arms around his heated muscles, plastering myself against him and tonguing his collarbone. Mmmm... So good... I could feel the length of his arousal pressed against me, just below my belly button. I smiled against his skin, thinking that soon, soon enough anyway, that space would be round and filled with a little person.
A little person his father didn't even know about yet.
"Hm?" His hands hadn't been idle; my bra was unhooked and hanging loosely from my shoulders and his fingers were dipping into the back of my jeans, brushing the skin at the top of my bottom. I shivered and felt him smile into the back of my neck. We were entwined around each other. I loved it when we were this close.
But I wanted closer. "Come to bed, sweetie... Please?"
His grin lit his face as he scooped me up in his arms. I felt so safe there. I had since the night he had first slept with me. With a swift motion, he grabbed my bra with his teeth and pulled it the rest of the way off, so that it landed somewhere outside our bedroom door.
Which he closed out of habit. In the early days, being the Alpha had meant he was sought after for everything by everyone and folks tended to forget he had a mate... Yes, the pack and half the Council had seen more of our relationship than they ever wanted to see.
I was used to that much. It was the price I paid for being married to the amazing man that was my Sam. He slid me softly into my usual spot on our bed, on top of the blanket Old Joanna had given us. "We're even," he murmured, eyeing my bare breasts and still-flat middle while I breathed in the incredible virility he seemed to exude without even trying. "Let me just brush my teeth..."
"Definitely." I cupped my breast for him as I stayed on my back, smiling when I saw the front of his shorts tent out even more than they had done.
He moved so fast I hardly saw him go, but I did hear the water in the sink in our bathroom and then I heard him knock the toothbrush holder into the wastebasket. "Crap!" Then, "Sorry, Emily!" Then, "What the hell is this?" He filled the doorframe between our bedroom and bathroom. In one hand, he held the toothbrush holder, a blue lucite thing that was functional if little else.
In the other hand he held a pair of sticks. A pair of white sticks with lines and the word Yes on them.
Busted! I wanted to laugh. I wanted to cry. Instead, I jumped off the bed, and almost into his hard, solid body. "I'm sorry. I didn't know how to tell you. I was trying to think of something sexy and sweet and was going to wait until you were all naked with me and we were together, Samuel."
He dropped what he was holding before I had finished speaking, so that his name was a gasp from my lungs. Then, I heard him swallow, his throat constricting against my forehead, his heart pounding hard into my own. "Em... Emily... Em..." Over and over and over.
I wanted to smile and I did, but the smile was wet against his shoulder. He didn't say a thing as he took me back to bed and slid out of his shorts before rolling under me and supporting me on top of his body. "Are you happy?" I murmured as we held each other's gazes.
He bucked into me, showing me that he was not only happy, he was hot too. "You have no idea, honey," he rasped, tears in his eyes. "So happy."
Belatedly, I remembered to ask, "How'd it go, today?"
He growled at me for changing the subject and made quick work of unfastening my jeans. "Fine. No one died. Lord, Emily, how can you even think of that at a time like this?" He punctuated the last three words with quick, hard motions: His hot and powerful thigh dividing my legs and pressing against the increasingly hot center of my own body, one hard, large hand on my ass, and his mouth latching on my throat, right where my life pulsed in ecstatic welcome.
"I think about it," I breathed, grinding into him with steady motions of my own hips, "because if you hadn't gone, the girls wouldn't have been here and we'd still be thinking I was sick." His free hand slid between us, long fingers pressing into me, sweeping between my most sensitive skin. I moaned and he growled again. I loved it when he did and he knew it. I was almost ready to explode, just from the sensations of his fingers and thigh.
He moved again, pushing me up just high enough within the tender brace of his hands so that he could duck his head and suckle on my newly-sensitive breasts, drawing their peaks into the hot well of his mouth, pulling, causing electricity to fire from there to my toes. "Ohhhh..." I sighed, my feet twitching in my own weird response to sexual stimulation. "I love you..."
"I love you," he said, lowering me slowly as his left leg joined his right in parting my thighs. His heat pulsed insistently and I rubbed against him. Suddenly, he stopped. "Can we...?"
"Oh you better, Sam Uley, or you're in big trouble!" Laughing, I pushed up to straddle him, not quite touching him but close enough that he could feel the way my body wanted to surround him. "I'm totally healthy and so, obviously, are you and so you damned well bettter!"
He grinned and held my hips as I lowered myself onto him, loving the way he filled me.
"Emily... You're the best thing that's ever happened to me."
"And you're the best thing that's ever happened to me," I assured him, rocking forward to kiss his chest before going vertical again.
He winced a little, as he often did, and softly stroked the scars along my right side. I shook my head and took that hand to press it over my womb. "The very best," I whispered, holding his hand there as I rocked on his body. Between his needs and my own, and the pressure of our laced hands under my belly button, our pleasure overtook us with a thunderous surprise. My scream and his howl filled the house.
After a few moments, I caught my breath. "Told you – perfectly healthy."
"Perfect," he agreed with a broken breath as he pulled me up to cradle me fully on his chest. "Absolutely perfect."
_ The End _
A/N 2: From the Wings sequel news: The story, Places, Everyone!, will begin next month. The first chapter's pairings were won at auction and I have a deadline of May 17th to produce that chapter. So...keep an eye open!