Twilight Canon Fodder Challenge

Title: Every Dog has his day

Contest Category (Rookie/Vet): Vet

Characters/Pairing: Seth

Canon Type (Book/Movie): Book - Eclipse

Disclaimer: Taken right from Eclipse which is Stephenie Meyers. I just put some words in Seth's mouth.

To see other entries in the Canon Fodder Challenge, please visit the C2 page:


This is the full-length, original version I wrote. I had to shorten it extensively (like 50%) to meet the Challenge conditions. I think it lost a lot in the cuts. Thanks to Sharebear, my totally awesome Beta!

I woke to the sound of Jacob's summoning howl. After my mind fully comprehended something was going on, I heard branches beating on the window. There was a hell of a storm outside. I cracked an eye and looked at the clock; it was a little after two in the morning. The newborns were due tomorrow morning. No, this morning. I groaned. Still, not this early. What in the hell did he want? I stripped off my flannel pants and slipped out the back door.

Damn, Jake. It's two in the morning, what-

I got the details quickly as Jacob let me hear Bella Swan's teeth chattering in the tent she was sharing with Edward Cullen.

So? What's that got to do with me and sleeping?

I'm going to warm her up.

Yeah, Edward's gonna love that idea.

Just then I heard through Jacob's head, "And that's the worst idea I've ever heard."

Told ya.

I was already on my way to the peak where I was going to be Edward's link to the pack. Jacob was phasing back as soon as he knew I was on the way.

I yawned and grumbled as I ran through the forest. Jacob Black, waking me in the dead of night. Stupid Sam, making me sit out. At least I wasn't stuck babysitting La Push like Collin and Brady. No, I was stuck babysitting Bella and Edward. No, wait, Edward was babysitting Bella; I was just sitting and spinning. Nice.

Frickin' Leah, she all but jumped on the idea when it was suggested. She was the one I was counting on to stick up for me. After all, in terms of time as a wolf, we were the same age, but I was still her little brother. Can't let Seth fight. I growled as I jumped a stream. Damn that wind was cold. No wonder Bella was freezing.

I was looking forward to the fight. How many hours now? I sighed, too many. And I wasn't going to be anywhere near any of it. Instead I'd be listening like some pervert, with another pervert listening in through me. God, my life sucked.

Dad. Dad. Dad. My feet pounded out. Why did he have to die? Why didn't he take better care of himself? Why did Leah and I have to phase? Why did that goddamn bloodsucker have to come to La Push? I grunted as I ran harder up the incline. I pushed all of my anger, my hatred, and my depression into my footfalls.

I continued to climb, the wind getting harder and colder the higher I went. The cold burned my lungs but woke me up and made me let go of the gloom I'd been holding. Near the peak I found the tent. I didn't know how Edward had gotten anything into the rock up here, but I was impressed. Watching that tent blow made it all the more awesome. The nylon would tear before that thing rolled. Now that I was closer, I could hear them inside over the howling of the wind.

"Perfect," Jacob was saying. Apparently he had managed to connive his way into the tent. "Now you can keep an eye on everything else, while I take care of your girlfriend for you." What an idiot. Let's piss off the bloodsucker that's in the tent with us. That's a fantastic idea.

I didn't understand why Jacob was still trying to get with Bella. It seemed obvious she's chosen Edward; especially after she broke her hand punching Jake. I chuckled at that memory. It was a toss up whether I was impressed by Jacob's determination to win the girl or embarrassed that he was too stupid to see what was right in front of his face. Well, at least he'd have a night to remember, if only for escaping with his life.

I found the lee of the tent and laid down. Being here so early in the morning, I figured I'd catch up on the rest of my sleep, but I wasn't tired at all anymore, which meant I was stuck listening to Bella half-snore and Jacob drool on her. Ugh.

"Please! Do you mind?" Edward hissed. Apparently he'd gotten tired of listen to Jake's heavy breathing too.

"What?" Jacob whispered back. He sounded half asleep. Maybe it was more dreaming than day-dreaming. I doubted it.

"Do you think you could attempt to control your thoughts?" Fat chance. I thought. Not like he'd ever controlled them much with the pack. How many times had we had to see him plan to kiss Bella?

"No one said you had to listen. Get out of my head." He sounded embarrassed. That meant he was thinking of worse things than kissing. I wasn't surprised. Getting out of your head is easier said than done, I thought.

"I wish I could. You have no idea how loud your little fantasies are. It's like you're shouting them at me." Edward complained.

"I'll try to keep it down." Yeah, right. I snorted. Wait, fantasies? What was he fantasizing about? Was he in the bag with her? Holy crap. And he was still breathing? Was Edward deficient or something? Jacob would heat the tent just by sitting in it. It wasn't that large. Maybe Bella really was that cold. Did that mean she was naked? Shit, now I was fantasizing too. I tried to think about something else... My sister. She hated being a wolf. She hated being naked around us guys. At least it didn't bother her so much when it was just me. I mean, we'd bathed together until I was five, not like I'm going to care.

"Yes." What? I hadn't heard Jacob say anything, but I was sure I hadn't fallen asleep. I was still trying to scrub naked Bella from my brain. "I'm jealous of that, too." Okay, I was lost. It was obviously something Jacob was thinking. Ewww, he wasn't thinking that was he?

"I figured it was something like that. Sort of evens things up a little, doesn't it?"

Edward chuckled. It was oddly musical and kinda creeped me out. "In your dreams."

"You know, she could still change her mind. Considering all the things I could do with her that you can't." Oh. My. God. He did not. I'd seen Jacob's balls, I didn't remember them being the size of basketballs. He didn't seriously just say that to Edward. He had a death wish.

"Go to sleep, Jacob. You're starting to get on my nerves." I'll bet. I could hear extra strain in Edward's words. He was still in control, but he was mad.

"I think I will. I'm really very comfortable." If his balls were huge, Jacob must have the brain the size of a pea. He just didn't know when to quit, did he? Well obviously he didn't. But Jacob was a dog with a bone,\; he wasn't going to let it go. I sighed. My respect for Edward went up a few notches as Jacob continued to breathe evenly. It also led weight to the theory that there was something wrong with the vampire... Apparently he hadn't taken a swing at him. I would have if Bella were my girl and Jacob was in a sleeping bag with her. Worse, if my girl were in the bag with Edward... I growled and prowled a circle around the tent.

"Maybe I would," Edward said now. Now what were they going on about? I sat in the lee again. It was easier to hear here.

"But would you be honest?"

"You can always ask and see." I barked a laugh. I wondered what question Jacob was thinking right now. I knew it wasn't mine. Mine was, How in the hell have you not killed him yet?

"Well, you can see inside my head – let me see inside yours tonight, it's only fair." Damn. I was curious how that leech ticked too.

"Your head is full of questions. Which one do you want me to answer?"

"The jealousy... it has to be eating at you. You can't be as sure of yourself as you seem. Unless you have no emotions at all."

Hell, I was jealous and she wasn't my girl. Was Bella a witch? Stupid, Seth, there are no witches... "Of course it is. Right now it's so bad that I can barely control my voice. Of course, it's even worse when she's away from me, with you, and I can't see her." I could imagine that. Still, it wasn't like she was running to Jacob to get away from Edward. I chuckled again, not like the time she ran away from Jacob to get to Edward.

"Do you think about it all the time?" Jacob asked. "Does it make it hard to concentrate when she's not with you?" Because it's impossible for him, if you didn't know. He doesn't stop thinking about her, and the rest of us want to deck him for it. I thought loudly for Edward's sake. I snorted.

"Yes and no. My mind doesn't work quite the same as yours. I can think of many more things at one time. Of course, that means that I'm always able to think of you, always able to wonder if that's where her mind is, when she's quiet and thoughtful." I remembered that Edward couldn't hear Bella's mind. It was the only way he was on level footing with the rest of us poor guys, trying to figure out a girl. I did not pity him that.

What did I know of Bella? Just what I'd learned from Jake, really. I'd only met her a couple of times myself, when she came over for dinner with Charlie. She was fun, really nice, quiet. Did I know what Edward or Jacob saw in her? No, not really. Was she worth all this trouble? Well, the trouble of the fight tomorrow? Damn straight she was. I'd fight for any person against filthy bloodsuckers. But the conflict going on in that tent? I couldn't answer that. Not in my opinion, for certain.

"Yes, I would guess that she thinks about you often." I shook my head. Jacob could really be an ass. Why did he have to poke the leech? "More often than I like. She worries that you're unhappy. Not that you don't know that. Not that you don't use that." I snorted at that one.

"I have to use whatever I can get. I'm not working with your advantages – advantages like her knowing she's in love with you."

"That helps."

"She's in love with me, too, you know." Jacob just didn't give up. A dog with a bone. Once again, I admired Edward's patience. Course, he was probably older than dirt, you had to get some patience with that, right?

"But she just doesn't know it, yet." Jacob finally continued. He really believed it. I whined a little, knowing he was going to get hurt in the end.

"I can't tell you if you're right." Because he couldn't read her mind. He still had to have a better idea than either me or Jacob.

"Does that bother you? Do you wish you could see what she's thinking, too?"

Damn straight he does, I thought. Who wouldn't want to be able to know what a girl was thinking. Edward was kinda cracked to take up with Bella when he could have a girl whose mind he could read.

"Yes... and no, again. She likes it better this way," I snorted again. Of course she did. If you knew someone could hear you, you shut up. "And, though it sometimes drives me insane, I'd rather she was happy."

"Thank you," Edward whispered after a pause. "Odd as this might sound, I suppose I'm glad you're here, Jacob." Yeah, dude, that sounds odd. Especially if he still has his hands on your girl, which I can only assume he does.

"You mean, 'as much as I'd love to kill you, I'm glad she's warm,' right?"

Ni-ice. I barked a chuckle.

"It's an uncomfortable truce, isn't it?"

"I knew you were just as crazy jealous as I am." I rolled my eyes. How long until Jacob finally shut up and went to sleep? If Edward didn't kick him out, I might snap.

"I'm not such a fool as to wear it on my sleeve like you do. It doesn't help your case, you know."

I barked again. Preaching to the choir, here, Edward.

"You have more patience than I do."

"I should. I've had a hundred years to gain it. A hundred years of waiting for her."

A hundred years. So not older than dirt. As old as dirt?

"So... at what point did you decide to play the very patient good guy?"

"When I saw how much it was hurting her to make her choose. It's not usually this difficult to control. I can smother the ... less civilized feelings I may have for you fairly easily most of the time." You mean when he's not being an ass? I thought. "Sometimes I think she sees through me, but I can't be sure."

I bet she did. He was a good actor, I couldn't deny that, but she had to be able to figure that much out.

"I think you were just worried that if you really forced her to choose, she might not choose you." I sighed again. Jacob just knew all the buttons and missed all the 'do not press' signs. He might be right, but why would he say it? Bella had certainly gone to some lengths to circumvent Edward. She had to want to be able to come to La Push. But really, stick your head in the lion's mouth, why don't you?

"That was part of it. But only a small part. We all have our moments of doubt. Mostly I was worried that she'd hurt herself trying to sneak away to see you." I snorted. That was easy to believe. Bella could hurt herself not trying to sneak, walking right down the road. Especially then. "After I'd accepted that she was more or less safe with you, as safe as Bella ever is," I barked another laugh, "it seemed best to stop driving her to extremes."

"I'd tell her all of this, but she'd never believe me."

"I know."

"You think you know everything," Jacob muttered.

"I don't know the future." He was worried. I wondered what she'd done that would make him question her. I mean she took him back after he left her that shell I'd seen in Sam's head. She had to love him. Love him more than was smart for a girl to love any guy, but definitely more than was smart to love a leech. And yet, he wasn't sure. Did that mean she did love Jacob? Maybe. Certainly enough to sneak out to see him. Course, she might do that just to thumb her nose at someone who told her no. I'd totally do that. I had done that. I'd jumped off a cliff just because my sister told me not to. I didn't know girls, and I didn't know Bella, but I could see that.

I huffed. What did I know? And why was I thinking about this so much? Jeez, I needed a girlfriend.

"What would you do if she changed her mind?" For the love of God, Jacob. Shut up.

"I don't know that either."

"Would you try to kill me?" Really, Jacob. Shut. Up.


Can I? I thought to Edward, grinning. He was really getting on my nerves. I wanted him to sleep so I could think about something other than the stupid love triangle in the too-small tent next to me.

"Why not?"

"Do you really think I would hurt her that way?" Yep, definitely in love. Damn these two were saps.

"Yeah, you're right. I know that's right. But sometimes..."

"Sometimes it's an intriguing idea."


I rolled my eyes again. Without the pack he'd rip Jacob apart. That was why we fought in a group.

"What was it like? Losing her? When you thought that you'd lost her forever? How did you... cope?" I grunted. Sucker punch. Nice one, Jake.

"That's very difficult for me to talk about." I thought that meant it would be the end of the conversation, but Edward started up again. I started to think he was out to get me too. After all, he knew how much I wanted them to shut up.

"There were two different times that I thought that. The first time, when I thought I could leave her... that was ... almost bearable. Because I thought she would forget me and it would be like I hadn't touched her life. For over six months I was able to stay away, to keep my promise that I wouldn't interfere again. It was getting close – I was fighting but I knew I wasn't going to win; I would have to come back... just to check on her. That's what I would have told myself, anyway. And if I'd found her reasonably happy... I like to think that I could have gone away again."

She almost was. I remembered the difference between the Bella that Sam found in the forest and the one that came to dinner with Charlie, Billy and Jacob. She was getting better. I figured the leaving was what broke her, not the fact that he was gone. He must have said something to snap her like that. I wondered what it was.

"But she wasn't happy. And I would have stayed. That's how she convinced me to stay with her tomorrow, of course. You were wondering about that before, what could possibly motivate me... what she was feeling so needlessly guilty about. She reminded me of what it did to her when I left – what it still does to her when I leave. She feels horrible about bringing that up, but she's right. I'll never be able to make up for that, but I'll never stop trying anyway."

He made it sound like it was the fact that he was gone. I still wondered.

Meh, he knew Bella better than I did. I got up and circled out a little, stretching my legs. The wind was still hellish. I shivered, setting my fur shaking. Snow stuck to my paws as I ranged out under some trees. Damn, how was I the only one awake? Oh, right, everyone was resting for the morning. Since when did we trust a fortune-teller vampire enough to not put out patrols? I grumbled, but supposed I counted. I made it all the way to the clearing and sniffed around it. No one, just lots of traces of Bella. It was stupid cold and I missed the lee of the tent already. After circling the clearing I ran back up the mountain. The blood pumping warmed me some and getting away from all the ridiculous love talk was making me feel better.

Jacob was still at it when I got back. "And if she were to decide that she wanted me? Okay, it's a long shot, I'll give you that."

"I'd let her go."

"Just like that."

I found my spot in the lee of the tent and laid down in the snow that had accumulated. I hunched and wished again that my hair had grown out more since Sam had shaved it when I phased the first time. I could do with some of Jacob's shag right now.

"In the sense that I'd never show her how hard it was for me, yes. But I would keep watch. You see, Jacob, you might leave her someday. Like Sam and Emily, you wouldn't have a choice. I would always be waiting in the wings, hoping for that to happen."

Sam and Emily. There was something to chew on that wasn't these three. The imprinting really tore my sister apart, and I would never, ever, ever think this if she were a wolf right now, but I thought it was for the best. She wasn't really good with Sam. I mean, she was a hell of a lot nicer than she was now, but he was like some sort of lapdog for her. I never really understood why he didn't stand up to her. I mean, yeah, she has a wicked temper, that's exactly why you have to stand up to her. Just make sure it's only when it counts because damn, it hurts.

Then there was Emily with Sam. They fit. They matched each other. I liked to think that even if there hadn't been an imprint they would have found each other, probably after Leah came to her senses and found someone who was good for her. Someone who wouldn't take her crap. There had to be a guy like that out there, right? I sure hoped so. My sister deserved to be happy, regardless of what the rest of the pack might think.

And me? Well, shit, I might still imprint myself. Enough of us had. And if not? I was a pretty easy-going guy. I wasn't too complicated. There had to be a few girls out there that matched me was well as Emily matched Sam, right? Sure.

"Thanks for letting me in your head." Jacob was saying to Edward now.

"As I said, I'm feeling oddly grateful for your presence in her life tonight. It was the least I could do... You know, Jacob, if it weren't for the fact that we're natural enemies and that you're also trying to steal away the reason for my existence, I might actually like you." I perked at that. Really? Not really. Really? I mean, Jacob was cool when he wasn't gnawing on his Bella bone – boner, whatever - but for a leech to say that? Whoa.

"Maybe... if you weren't a disgusting vampire who was planning to suck out the life of the girl I love... well, no, not even then."

I barked a laugh and Edward chuckled. That was what I was thinking. I mean, you just can't get over some differences. Jacob's and Edward's differences went way beyond species. What would they have in common outside Bella and the need to kill one another?


Oh well, as long as they didn't kill each other, I'd stay here in my now warm divot. It wasn't really warm, but at least the snow under me had melted.

"Can I ask you something?" Edward asked.

"Why would you have to ask?" Jacob answered, so I knew he wasn't talking to me. I wondered if he would after Jacob fell asleep.

"I can only hear if you think of it. It's just a story that Bella seemed reluctant to tell me about the other day. Something about a third wife...?"

I remembered the story. I remembered the night she heard it, I'd been there. I'd seen her face. I knew exactly why Edward wanted to know. She heard about the human in the story and put herself right into it. Leah could count herself among the 'sons' of Taha Aki, but any other girl in that circle was probably thinking the same thing. What could they do to help their husbands or sons? And the answer was pitifully little. I hoped Bella didn't think about it too much. I mean she had two circles of friends standing to protect her. She didn't have to do anything to help us. Just stay out of the way.

"Of course. Of course!" Uh-oh, Edward was losing it. He'd been on the edge of control before. I hoped Jacob knew enough to get out of the bag and out of the way. "I rather wish your elders had kept that story to themselves, Jacob."

Aw, you couldn't fault them that. It was part of the same story when we found out about the cold ones. Just followed the killing of the first one... They hadn't meant for Bella, or any of the other girls, to take anything else from it.

"You don't like how the leeches are painted as the bad guys? You know, they are. Then and now." Jacob was being dense. I rolled my eyes as Edward spelled it out for him.

"I really couldn't care less about that part. Can't you imagine which character Bella would identify with?"

I gave Jacob a little more credit. He had been sitting right next to Bella. He probably hadn't seen her face as she heard it. I had. I was across the fire from her. I saw Kim's too. Same thing. They said it was a burden to be a protector of the tribe, but it was more of a burden to know and not be able to do anything, like them. At least I got to be strong and able to fight. If my frickin' sister would let me.

"Oh. Ugh. The third wife. Okay, I see your point." Give the boy a cookie.

"She wants to be in the clearing. To do what little she can, as she puts it."

I whined. Yep, definitely more of a burden.

"That was the secondary reason for my staying with her tomorrow. She's quite...inventive when she wants something." I wondered what that meant.

"You know, your military brother gave her the idea just as much as the story did." Jacob was trying to defend us. I thought I did a better job.

"Neither side meant any harm." I wondered if he meant that for me, too. It was true. I knew Jasper didn't want Bella down there. Neither did the elders. No one did. Well, except Bella, apparently.

"And when does this little truce end?" Jacob asked. "First light? Or do we wait until after the fight?"

I snorted. It would last until Edward realized Bella was warm enough and dumped Jacob's ass outside. Why hadn't he done it already?

"First light," they said together. I shook my head. Why would Edward wait that long? Oh well. Jake would have sweet dreams at any rate.

"Sleep well, Jacob. Enjoy the moment." I barked another laugh. There was little doubt that Jacob wouldn't. Indeed it wasn't long before Edward added, "I didn't mean that quite so literally."

I barked another laugh and then opted to keep it down. The wind wasn't as loud and I didn't want to wake Bella who must be asleep if they were having this conversation at all.

"Sorry. You could leave, you know – give us a little privacy." I barked another laugh and upgraded Jacob's balls to beach balls.

"Would you like me to help you sleep, Jacob?" My barking grew louder and I wandered off. Now that the wind had died down it wasn't quite as bitter. I didn't want to wake Bella, but I was going to crack up.

"You could try. It would be interesting to see who walked away, wouldn't it?" My barking continued. I could still hear them if I stuffed it.

"Don't tempt me too far, wolf. My patience isn't that perfect."

"I'd rather not move just now, if you don't mind."

I barked a final laugh as I did another circuit of the area. I could focus more now that the wind wasn't trying to rip all the heat out of my body. I made it all the way to La Push where Collin and Brady were waking up.

Morning boys. Ready for an exciting day of chasing our tails?

They agreed with me that being told to sit out was the ultimate burn.

Well, you'll be a defence if anyone makes it out of the little death trap we're laying for them. I'm just spinning with the lone vampire and bait. I blew a mental raspberry.

No, that doesn't suck more, just as much, Collin argued.

I finished my circle and returned to the tent after assuring myself, once again, that nothing interesting was happening before Alice Cullen said it was. Dawn still hadn't even broken over the horizon.

"Welcome back, Seth." Edward whispered in the tent.

Did I miss Jacob snoring? I asked him.

He chuckled. "I guess that's all you missed." I could hear the disgruntlement in his voice. Jacob had been thinking all the wrong things, as usual.

"Edward." I heard Bella moan in her sleep. My ears flipped back. I really didn't want to be listening in on this.

"Don't worry, Seth. She's still asleep, with Jacob. You're not privy to anything you shouldn't be."

Yeah, I didn't think Bella would agree with him if she knew.

He chuckled. "No, I suppose she wouldn't. Thank you for your insights from the campfire."

Yeah, sure, whatever.

Dude, are you talking to the leech?

Yeah, just like Jacob did all night, Brady. Now shut up. He got the short version from my memory.

Dude, he didn't! Neither of them could quite believe how far Jacob was willing to push his luck.

Sorry, Edward. I'm sure we're terribly noisy for you.

"No, it's a nice distraction actually."

I barked a laugh. I'd bet it was. God only knew what Jacob was dreaming about. Well God and apparently Edward. I heard him chuckle at that thought.

And you're really okay with Jacob being in there? I mean, you don't want to kick him out?

"Of course I want to," he growled. "I don't think I can without waking her."

That made sense, I supposed. When were the others going to wake up? When were they going to get this party started? I'd already been up for four hours and I was ready for something to happen. Listening to these two go on all night had made me irritable.

Still better than Leah, man.

Don't knock my sister! I told Brady. She wasn't the easiest to get along with, but she wasn't that bad.

She is, dude, she is.

I growled.

I heard Bella sigh in the tent. "Jacob, my Jacob." Oh boy. You gonna kill him now or later?

"Neither, they're both still asleep. Jacob's dreams just got more fuel though. Fantastic," Edward muttered.

I heard more minds join us, saw Sam's yard and then blurring as Sam, Paul, Jared and Quil all joined the pack.

You're already in place. That's good, Seth. I smiled a little. I wished it was easier to be in my place. I heard laughing barks as the others got a glimpse into my early morning.

And a good idea to check the perimeter. Sam praised me again. At least the night wasn't a complete waste. Will Jacob be joining us soon? I could smell the Cullen family through Sam. They must already be in the clearing. I looked to the east. How late was it? The sun was coming up.

Leah joined us next. She gave me a mental nudge. Then Embry phased into wolf. They both joined the pack in the clearing. Damn I wished I could be there. Instead, I listened to the Cullens discussing where to wait, where the pack should be. Jasper's plan for us to be outside the clearing sounded off to me, but when he explained that part of the army would likely split off to flank, it made perfect sense. Sam quickly agreed to move the pack into the trees.

I started hearing movement in the tent. Sam hadn't wanted to summon Jacob, especially when Alice said it would be another hour. Still, it was just as well if Jake got his butt in gear on his own.

"Is it any warmer out there?" Bella asked. So she was awake, not Jacob. Well, that meant he'd be waking up soon.

"Yes." Edward answered. Without the wind it was just cold, not bone-chilling. "I don't think the space heater will be necessary today."

"Some help?" I heard Bella ask after several grunts.

"Yes," Alice was telling Jasper within earshot of Sam. "They will definitely split off to the south. You are in the perfect spot, Sam. They will disappear shortly after they split uptg ." She sounded very pleased with herself. I still couldn't believe how much we were relying on her visions of the future. I mean, use them, sure, but count on them?

That decision is not for you to make, Seth.

I folded back my ears. I hadn't meant it to be. I wasn't really questioning his decision, just surprised by it. Yeah, I know.

I tried to focus on my surroundings instead of theirs. I hoped it made me quieter in the packs' collective head. It got very noisy when we were all up.

I heard Edward's snide question about taking off Jacob's arms and my hackles rose. I had asked if he was going to kill Jacob, but I wasn't about to let him do it. I knew Jacob couldn't take him alone, but he didn't have to.

Down, Seth. Leah warned me. Don't go breaking any treaties today.

I grumbled.

"No, thank you. Just get me free. I'm going to get heat stroke."

I heard Jacob's cry when he rolled in the tent. I watched something crash and jumped up, a growl escaping me. Jacob needed to let me know if he needed help. He hadn't phased, so I guessed not. But I hated not knowing!

"Stop it! Stop it!" Bella yelled. "Stop it, now."

They might have or might not have. I had no way of knowing so I continued to growl and heard the pack agreeing with me that I should just rip my way into the tent. But still no phasing from Jacob. If he were in trouble he would phase, right? The pack agreed that he would.

"Jacob? Are you hurt?" Bella asked.

"Of course not!" he answered and I calmed.

"That wasn't nice," Bella said now. "You should say sorry." The pack snickered hearing that.

She just told the leech to say he was sorry?

If he does he is totally whipped.

"You must be joking," was Edward's reply. "He was crushing you!"

"Because you dumped him onto the floor!" More coughing laughs from the pack at Jacob's butt getting dumped out of the sleeping bag he didn't really have any business being in. "He didn't do it on purpose, and he didn't hurt me."

There was a groan, followed by, "My apologies, dog."

Pussy! It was Leah and I coughed a laugh.

"No harm done."

The rest of the pack added their taunts now. I almost felt sorry for Edward having to hear all it. Almost, but not really. He was totally whipped.

"Here," Edward said now.

"That's Jacob's," Bella protested.

Ooooh, what's Jacob's? Paul asked.

I don't know. I can't see anything.

"Jacob has a fur coat."

"I'll just use the sleeping bag again, if you don't mind." The rest of the pack was as confused as I was. Many had stopped paying attention as the Cullens began 'practising' again. We all took so much from those sessions. "I wasn't quite ready to wake up. That wasn't the best night's sleep I've ever had." Well I understood that much anyway. It was probably the worst night I'd ever had. I was glad I'd gone to bed early. Bastard Black, waking me at two and making me sit around listening to this love crap.

"It was your idea." Edward reminded him.

"I didn't say it wasn't the best night I've ever spent. Just that I didn't get a lot of sleep. I thought Bella was never going to shut up."

It was true. I'd only heard a few moans, but I knew there had been many I couldn't make out from this side of the tent and with her mumbling. The girl talked in her sleep, a lot.

"I'm glad you enjoyed yourself." That was Edward. He was still pissed. I was too. They were both to blame for me being out here in the wee morning hours.

"Didn't you have a nice night, then?" Jacob asked now. He was being an ass again. I yawned.

"It wasn't the worst night of my life." I stopped paying attention, watching the little leech spar with the really big one. Damn that little one was fast, and the way she knew exactly where he was going to come from... I was glad we didn't have to fight her. I really didn't care about these three and their 'best nights' nonsense.

"You know what? I think it's too crowded in here," Jacob complained.

"I couldn't agree more."

"Guess I'll catch up on my sleep later, then." Sure, like when I do - tonight. Ass. I yawned again. "I need to talk to Sam anyway."

Damn straight you do, Sam thought.

"Jake, wait." It was Bella. What did she want? "Please, Jake won't you stay?"

Won't you be my little puppy? Leah thought. I frowned at my sister.

"No." Jacob took a breath. "Don't worry about me, Bells. I'll be fine, just like I always am. 'Sides, you think I'm going to let Seth go in my place – have all the fun and steal all the glory?" No way he would - ass. I would be there in a heartbeat.

No, you wouldn't, Leah thought to me.

Bite me.

"Be careful." I watched the door to the tent open and Jacob make his way out. "Give it a rest, Bella." He came over to me and pulled off his shorts. Yep, balls were the same size as usual. He tied the shorts on and phased beside me.

You are such an ass. I replayed most of the night from my perspective and felt his amusement at his own quips again.

I want you over here, Jacob. Sam called. He didn't use the Alpha command and Jacob lingered, listening to the conversation in the tent. They were still going on about 'best nights', and I still wasn't caring. I watched the blonde bloodsucker taking on the third female, the mother. She was the one that needed the most help; she wasn't a fighter.

I felt Jacob's thoughts twist, become dark. What had they said? What had I missed? "You already had me forever," Bella was saying.

"A hundred years from now, when you've gained enough perspective..." I didn't focus on Edward's answer, I focused on Jacob. They were talking about her becoming a vampire. That wasn't what had him freaked; he already knew about that. I heard it in his thoughts then, finally agreed to marry me.

Oh, shit. I'm sorry, man. The sympathies came from the whole pack as we all realized just what Jacob had, and how hard it was hitting him.

Jacob let out the mother of all wails and took off toward the clearing. I yawned again and laid my head down. Not because I didn't care, just because I was tired.

"Because your space heater had reached his limit," Edward said. He was cold, but we already knew that. "Truce over."

"Jacob was listening," Bella just realized. She'd been played and she didn't even know it. I hoped she would get mad at him.

"Yes," Edward replied

"You knew."


Here it comes. Go on, give it to him Bella. I could feel Leah cheering for the same outcome.

"Are you angry with me?" Edward asked. Damn, that meant she wasn't angry enough, or he would know it.

"Not you. I'm horrified with me." I rolled my eyes. God, this girl was a sap. She got used and blamed herself. My jaw thumped on my forepaws.

"Don't torment yourself."

"Yes," she said. "I should save my energy so I can torment Jacob some more. I wouldn't want to leave any part of him unharmed." I rolled my eyes again.

"He knew what he was doing."

"Do you think that matters? Do you think I care whether it's fair or whether he was adequately warned? I'm hurting him. Every time I turn around, I'm hurting him again."

I heard Jacob in my head. Yeah, and you will as long as you're with that leech. Why can't you see he's bad for you, Bella? The rest of the pack tried to ignore him. After all, he would be happier if he would just accept that she wasn't getting over the leech.

"I'm a hideous person," she continued.

"No, you're not."

I rolled my eyes. Honestly, how much of this crap was I going to have to put with today?

"I am!" Bella insisted. "What's wrong with me? I have to go find him."

No she doesn't. She can just stay the hell away from me, Jacob whined.

Jacob, we have a job here. Focus! This time Sam did break out the Alpha-speak.

"Bella, he's already miles away, and it's cold." Edward was trying to reason with her.

Maybe I should just get out of here. He'll be better if he can't hear her, I reasoned.

No, Seth. You have a job there, too. I've already phased to talk to the Alice Cullen a few times. They flashed through our heads. So far she hasn't needed to pass information to Edward, or get information from him. I expect that will change though.

"I don't care. I can't just sit here. I have to..."

That was when I saw Bella for the first time in this far too long morning. She was crawling out of the tent and she squinted when she entered the sunlight. Her boots crunched in the skiff of snow that hadn't blown away. I decided to taunt Jacob. Doesn't look like she slept much last night. Were you too rough or something?

There were more jeers from the rest of the pack as well.

He snores too loud.

Probably couldn't get comfortable with something poking her.

ENOUGH! Sam wasn't happy. We all cut the crap and got back to whatever we were doing. In my case, sitting and spinning. I watched as Bella noticed me. Then Edward came out of the tent behind her. My hackles rose as his scent hit me. It had been nice and faint with the nylon in the way. He came into the light and practically blinded me with the light bouncing off him.

Freaking Leech! Are you all having as much trouble down there?

Yeah, it's worse than a Lucky Charms commercial.

Where's some cloud when you really need it?

Only a couple of us were watching the vamps in the clearing, though. Edward followed Bella into the trees to my relief.

"You can't go after him. Not today. It's almost time. And getting yourself lost wouldn't help anyone, regardless." Was it really that close? The pack was on alert. They hadn't sniffed the bloodsuckers, but Alice had told them it was under an hour now.

Fifteen minutes, Leah updated me.

"I'm sorry, Bella. I'm sorry I did that."

"You didn't do anything. It's my fault. I did this. I did everything wrong. I could have... When he..." Her blubbering made it impossible to make out the words, but they weren't far enough that I couldn't hear them all together. I wished they were. This whole love triangle was really ticking me off. I knew Jacob's attention was on my surroundings and tried to growl to cover her words. "He shouldn't have... found out like this."

It wasn't enough. No! You should have told me Bella. Not let him mention it and just agree like it was obvious! Like it was inevitable! It's not inevitable!

Jacob! Sam bore down on him again. If you must, phase back, but please, we're trying to prepare here.

"Do you want me to see if I can bring him back, so that you can talk to him? There's still a little time."

Enough? I asked Sam. If there wasn't any point, I could head Edward off before he left.

If they're quick about it. Jacob. We need you here. Can you do this? Will this get you back in the game? If it's just going to make you more distracted...

Jacob assured him it would help and phased back.

"Stay by the tent. I'll be back soon."

I got the fun job of watching Bella cry. Well, listening to Bella cry. I considered getting up and walking over to her, but I thought that might just make it worse. At least Jacob wasn't hearing this.

God, what is her problem? Several of the pack wondered. I mean, it's not like it would have been much different if she'd told him.

Make your bed and then lie in it. Then freeze to death because there's a leech in it. Idiot. That was Leah.

Sam phased to talk to Alice again and I watched Bella watch me. What did she think, I hated her or something? I thought she was crazy, but what did I care who she married? Not like she was my sister or anything.

DISGUSTING! Leah threw at me.

I know, that's what I was saying...

She messed with her hair, had a drink. She was antsy. It was obvious.

Sam phased back I need to talk to Edward.

He just went to get Jake, they're not back yet. I'll tell him when he gets back.

In the meantime, anyone finding anything to the west?

West? What would be coming from the ocean?

Alice says there's a second group of vampires coming from the west. Not the newborns, older more advanced. The conversation flashed for us. Those guys sounded scary.

I'll make sure Edward knows. We weren't going anywhere near those creeps. Unless they took a swipe at someone, then it was on.

I moved to the west and sniffed, listening carefully. Bella had followed me. "What is it?" she asked me. The only ones further west than me were Collin and Brady, and if those vampires were in La Push, there were bigger issues at hand. I whimpered a little at the thought.

Nothing here, came from the younger pair.

Nothing here either, I reported.

"Is it the others Seth? In the clearing?"

How was I supposed to answer that? I yipped a no. I looked back to the west, maybe she'd take the hint, but I doubted it. I inhaled deeply, trying to sense them. I had to have first whiff of them. Nothing. I felt so useless.

You have a job Seth. Do it. Sam's thought brought me out of my dark thoughts. I had an important message for Edward. These Volturi leeches were coming, from the west. I would do my job. I grumbled and went back to sit and spin mode, thumping my jaw on my paws.

Don't pout.

Screw you, Leah. You're the reason I'm here.

I listened to the preparations being made in the field. The time was getting nearer. They couldn't quite smell them yet. I could. What the hell?

I jumped up, defensive. Had those Volturi arrived? I growled, hoping it was Edward and Jacob. Bella looked pale, was she that pale before?

"It's just us, Seth." It was Jacob and Edward. I began replaying Alice's message for him. I still didn't smell any vamps besides Edward. I walked toward the trees just as he came out.

Blinded me again. Ow! I still haven't gotten a whiff of these guys, Edward, but Alice is definitely up in arms.

"Yes, that's all we need." Edward muttered, meeting my eyes, which were watering from glare. "I suppose we shouldn't be surprised. But the timing is going to be very close. Please have Sam ask Alice to try to nail the schedule down better."

Like Sam wasn't already planning on doing that. He phased out even as I listened to Edward. I nodded anyway. It also let me look at the less reflective snow. Leeches...

"Bella," he told her now. "There's a bit of a complication. I'm going to take Seth a little ways and try to straighten it out. I won't go far, but I won't listen, either. I know you don't want an audience, no matter which way you decide to go." I rolled my eyes. This again.

"Hurry back," she whispered and I watched him kiss her. Yuck. How could she do that? Oh well. I trotted into the trees with Edward, thankfully to be away.

I listened to Bella and Jacob briefly. "I'm in a hurry, Bella."

"Seth," Edward told me. "I'm not actually going out of earshot. I don't want to go that far. You're going to have to stop listening instead."

I grumbled but agreed. I didn't really want to listen after all. What did he want me to do?

"Has Sam gotten any more information from Alice yet?"

No, he hasn't phased back. I could see through Jared's eyes that he was still talking with her. Jared, can you hear them? I asked.

What? Yeah, sure. He started paying attention to what Alice and Sam were saying.

"They will come from the west. I can see that much. So if you take the pack south, I should be able to see what comes after they get here."

"But we aren't going south, we're fighting."

"I know, I know. Back up a bit, would you?" she complained. Sam took a large pace backward and Alice closed her eyes.

"What if I don't want you to go away?" Jacob was saying. I tried not to listen again. Edward was looking at me, his face turned down. He was still listening to both, I was sure. I wondered how many different conversations he could follow at once.

"Eight easily," he answered me. "After that it gets more difficult."

Damn. Mind you, he'd have to if he could hear what everyone was thinking all the time. Still, damn.

"Yes," Alice was saying now, beckoning Sam closer again. "That will work. We will have to work fast though. The newborns will be here in ten minutes and the Volturi in thirty. You will need to take the pack away by then, whether we have finished them all or not. The Volturi will help us wrap up any that are left, but they can't find you. If they catch a hint of you, they won't stop short of exterminating your tribe."

I growled along with most of the pack at that comment. They could try.

"They would succeed. Even with our help. Even with the help of our friends who didn't come for today, we couldn't stop them. There are more of them than you realize, and they are very powerful." Edward's voice was cold.

"No! No, Jacob! I won't let you!" Bella was yelling now, and I turned my head in their direction.

"How will you stop me?" he asked.

"Jacob, I'm begging you. Stay with me."

"Talk to me, Seth. Well, think to me. Tell me about your sister." Edward was prompting me. He didn't want me listening to them.

What does he want to know about me? You don't tell him anything, Seth! Of course her mind filled with all the worst and most embarrassing details I could have and wouldn't have shared. Most of the pack started laughing at her. Even Edward chuckled.

Sorry. I'm guessing you're probably used to that happening though.

"Yeah. It happens every now and then. The girls at school are renown for it. They'll try to think of something to say to me and then think of all the worst things they've said to guy."

I snorted.

"And I can be your best man at the wedding?" Jacob asked. Ouch. Harsh. I decided to think about my Mom so I wouldn't be listening. I thought about how strong she'd been since the funeral.

Seth, stop that! Leah was whimpering.

It's Okay, Leah. We don't mind, Quil tried to reassure her.

Of course thinking about Mom led to thinking about Dad. Leah wasn't as far down the grieving path as I was. I hadn't totally accepted it, but she was still angry at everyone and thing. Of course that might just be the Sam situation and have nothing to do with the grief. I didn't think so though. I think she was still mad at Dad too. She was whimpering more and I tried not to think about it.

"It's all right, Seth. She'll make her own way through it."

Stuff it, bloodsucker! she thought at him.

Yeah, I know she will. She's as tough as Mom is. That thought made her feel better. The rest of the pack was decidedly ignoring us.

I noticed it was quiet. Do you think they're done? I asked Edward.

"Not quite yet."

"I'll be right back!" Jacob called. I followed Edward back to the tent.

How do you not listen, but still listen?

"It's an art," he said sarcastically. "It was hard not to know they weren't finished with Jacob's screaming happy track."

Just then I got it full volume as he phased to wolf. He'd kissed Bella. Bella had kissed him. He was on cloud nine.

Jacob! Get it together and get your ass down here. Sam barked at him.

Edward entered the tent and started talking to Bella. I worked at not listening. Maybe it was an art I could learn. I walked back and forth, sniffing for the coming of the Volturi. Alice hadn't said exactly where they were coming from, so I paced north to south, south to north, along the west side of the tent. Jacob was still reliving his moment of glory. I coughed. I wasn't alone.

Jacob! Enough. It's almost time. Get in position. The Alpha command worked where nothing else did. I smelled the coming vampires with the rest of the pack. They were getting closer. Then I could hear them.

"Dammit, stop that!" Bella shouted in the tent. What? What had I missed?

"No... you don't understand. I'm not just trying to make you feel better, Bella. I really mean it." Edward was telling her.

"I know you do. What happened to fighting back?" Oh, they were still on that? I picked up my pacing. Edward, you want to get your head in the game, too? I asked. I could see through Jared's eyes, closest to the clearing. The Cullens were crouched and listening.

"And fifthly -"

"This is a very long list," Bella muttered.

They were so close. I wanted to charge with the others. I wanted to be there. I howled in frustration. I continued my pacing, listening and waiting, waiting and listening, sitting and spinning.

Damn it!

Seth, keep it down! Sam chided me and I whimpered.

"What's wrong?" Bella asked.

"He's just angry that he's stuck here with us. He knows the pack kept him out of the action to protect him. He's salivating to join them."

You know it!

I watched the Cullens move forward through Jared's eye before Sam directed everyone around to where the group had split. I heard the exquisite sounds of violence through the trees. Why couldn't I be there? I whined again. I listened to one of the vampires roaring in the clearing; he sounded like a bear.

"We can hear Emmett," Edward said. "He's enjoying himself."

The pack came close enough to hear the group waiting to ambush.

"I can't wait to taste this human. It seems like days since I fed."

"No, you fed before we left. You just think she's extra tasty."

"You don't?"

I couldn't care less about their jibes, but Edward growled.

The pack came down on the flankers then. I watched as Leah took the first, going straight for the throat. I howled with the rest of the pack. Sam came to her side and took off his arm. She made short work of the rest of that vamp, but Sam had joined Jared in taking another. They were all on us now. I focused on Leah. Hopefully, Edward would understand. The pack was holding their own just fine. They had paired up and were knocking them down. Well, they were nearly paired up. Paul was working with Jacob, and Quil with Embry, but that left Leah without a partner. I was so angry that I wasn't there to fight with her. Instead she was trying to take on one herself. Then one pair or another would come help her when they finished their own kill. She was going to get hurt. I whined in anguish.

I watched them dodge, bite, pull, rend, dismember. I felt the cold marble in my mouth, I heard the grinding as the vampires were ripped apart, and I smelled the sickly sweet stench.

I stood up. I smelled it too much. I smelled it with my own nose! Edward! They're here! The Volturi! I sniffed again. No. It wasn't a group. There were two. Who were they? It didn't matter. They weren't Cullens; we had to kill them.

I put my paws to the nylon of the tent and Edward tore from the other side. I was blinded a little as he was exposed to the light, but he was nose to nose with me. That burned a little too.

I'm going to do what they did. Hide in the trees and take them from behind.

"Go, Seth!"

I burst into the trees and circled widely. I didn't want my scent to tip them off before they got here. I could hear them the whole time, though, steadily moving toward the campsite - around the mountain rather than up. Why were they coming that way? It didn't matter. I got behind them and started closing the circle.

"You don't have to die," Edward was saying. I hoped he didn't mean it. Whoever this was, he was dying. "There are other ways to live than the way she's shown you. It's not all lies and blood, Riley. You can walk away right now. You don't have to die for her lies." I growled. I wasn't letting a leech walk away.

"He's the liar, Riley." The voice was high and feminine. I pictured a girl with ringlets. I could see them now. The male was the one in front of me, the orange ringlets to one side. I snarled and lunged. In my head, I could still see the pack taking out the ambush party. It was going well; I was glad for that. Of course my attention was on the cold bloodsucker on the ground under my paws.

Go little brother! Leah cheered me on as I ripped into the bloodsucker's shoulder and then hand.

"No," the female said again.

The leech beneath me managed to get his legs up under me and kicked me off. I felt my shoulder crunch, but the crack wasn't complete. It hurt like a bitch though. So I used it. I limped around like some lame puppy, watching the blonde. He held his hands out. I continued to circle getting advice from the pack.

Go for the knees.

The knees, bah. Go for the neck.

He's not watching his side, Seth.

Sam was right. I took off half his hand this time. It tasted awful, but felt so very, very good. I got cheers from the pack in my head.

Get your butts back in your own fight. Yeesh.

"Don't go, Victoria." Edward was taunting the female. I hadn't been paying any attention to them. "You'll never get another chance like this." I circled closer to Bella though, knowing I needed to keep her safe.

I continued to limp, although the pain in my shoulder was barely there at all now. Edward continued to taunt the other one. "You were never more than a convenience to him. I would know." Ouch. That must have stung.

I got too close to the leech and now I stung. He'd gotten me in the backside. He was coming at me now. I snapped at him, going for the throat but really just pushing him back. I wasn't going down the cliff. I continued to circle the area and passed by Edward and his partner.

"No, he won't turn on me. You provided us with a common enemy," Edward explained to her. "You allied us."

He said something about a monster in Alaska, but I was too busy closing in on my leech to pay much attention. I saw the group in the clearing was thinning, which meant more backseat drivers.


Get him, Seth!

Would you all shut up? I growled. Edward made his move so I made mine as well. This idiot was busy watching them and I was able to take off another piece of the bloodsucker. His flail caught me, though, and sent me into the cliff Bella was backed against. I hoped I didn't knock too much rock onto her. I narrowly missed landing on her. I would have if she hadn't dodged.


Easy, Leah. I'm fine. Just winded. I made a good show of it though, trying to bring that leech's defences down. He took a pace closer. If I could keep this up, I should be able to take his head. What was Bella thinking? Why hadn't she edged away?

...A little closer, Riley, come on...

What was Bella doing now? I couldn't see her behind me. I kept waiting for Riley to come that last foot. Bella took a deep breath behind me and Edward broke with the female, kicking her into a tree. He grabbed my leech's arm and kicked him toward me. I lunged for him and connected. Edward flung the appendage at the female.

Damn. Did I just see that? He took her out with the other one's arm?

The rest of the pack had nothing better to do, apparently. I continued to snap at Riley while they had little leech-crushes over his manoeuvre. I gladly hopped up and circled, taking a hold of the arm still attached. I got it too, right in the shoulder.

Take that, you stinking bloodsucker. I tossed the disgusting object from my mouth.

"Victoria!" he screamed.

Crying for mommy? Don't think she's going to be helping you! I taunted him mentally. I lunged again and knocked him down this time. With no arms to dislodge me, I could take the time to work my teeth through his neck. I didn't stop though. I ripped off pieces of his torso and his legs; two pieces of each.

"No. Stay just a little longer." Edward was practically singing to the female.


I saw out of the corner of my eye as he caught her. He had such an easier time of separating her head from her shoulders. I was envious. I was still making my way through the remains of Riley. After he finished her, he moved the pieces to make a pyre. I picked up the biggest piece and carried it over. Edward was at my side and scooped up the rest of what I had. He flipped open his lighter and fired her up.

That is the prettiest thing I've seen in a long time. Then I sniffed. They stink when they burn too? That's a total let down. This should be like perfume or turkey dinner or something.

Yeah, I hear ya. We have a much bigger pile here. And I could see it now. It was huge! They must have had fifteen bodies in it.

"Get every piece," Edward told me, like I didn't know. I found the pieces of hand and shoulder that I'd taken first and brought them back as Edward found the arm that he'd thrown to clock Victoria.

Seriously, dude, that was the coolest thing any of us saw. I chuckled with a cough and Edward smiled. He stuck out a fist in the air. I would have loved to fist pump him, but Bella was right there... I tapped him with my nose instead.

"Nice teamwork."

I continued laughing as Edward turned to Bella. He seemed hesitant. I didn't get it.

"Bella, love," he said. "Bella, can you drop the rock, please? Carefully. Don't hurt yourself."

Jeez, I hadn't even seen she was holding that. That was a stupid thing for her to do.

So his count is one. What have you got Embry?

Quil and I took five, you Jacob?

Yeah, that's what Paul and I got.

Screw you. I was alone up here!

Nah, Edward definitely picked up the assist.

Assholes! That was mine! All he did was give him a kick just before I went in myself.

I saw now that Edward was trying to quiet Bella. "I won't hurt you." he was saying.

Nope definitely an assist. One on assist.

Oh, shut up. Leah, what was your count?

Seven, but I was in all sort of combinations, so I don't imagine it counts quite the same.

Still, that's great. They were all busy rounding up pieces.

"It's going to be all right, Bella. I know you're frightened now, but it's over. No one is going to hurt you. I won't touch you. I won't hurt you." Wow, was she that creeped out? I turned from the pyre to look at her. She didn't look that freaked out.

"Why do you keep saying that?" she asked. I rolled my eyes.

"Aren't you afraid of me?" he asked and I snorted. Seriously, Edward? You just took out the greatest threat on her life. You think she's scared of you?

She echoed my thought "Afraid of you? Why?" She tripped and was suddenly crying. That was hardly surprising. She had to be in shock.

Next thing I knew, they were kissing again. Yuck. That was so gross. I looked away, back to the beautiful fire. The pack thanked me.

"Are you okay?" Bella asked Edward. "Did she hurt you at all?"

"I am absolutely fine."

"Seth?" she asked and I felt her looking at me. I ignored them. Fire – pretty.

Edward chuckled. "More than fine." I smiled at them. "Very pleased with himself, in fact."

Damn straight. I took out a leech. That's a good day. The feeling of content with a job well done was all over the whole pack.

"The others? Alice? Esme? The wolves?" I hadn't looked, but now that she mentioned them, I could see the other Cullens on the edge of the pyre. They had one sitting there. What were they doing? Keeping a pet?

They say she surrendered. If she's still there when we're done with clean up, we're taking her out. I'm not trusting the Cullens to train a new one. I wasn't about to argue with Sam.

You mean you didn't ask any if they wanted to surrender? I snickered and several others laughed with me.

"All fine. It's over there, too. It went just as smoothly as I promised. We got the worst of it here."

See, now stop giving me grief.

I settled in to watch the bloodsuckers burn. That was such a satisfying sight. I wasn't really listening to them discuss the fear factor of rending vampires. For me, that wasn't scary, that was awesome. That sound was music to my soul, and this purple smoke... beautiful.

Don't get romantic on us now, Seth.

Screw off, Paul.

"I was only afraid you and Seth were going to get hurt. I wanted to help, but there's only so much I can do." I snorted. We weren't going to get hurt, and what could she have done?

"Yes, your little stunt with the rock." Oh yeah, I'd forgotten all about that. Bella was brave, but stupid.

Yep, stupid brave; that's my Bella.

I shook my head at Jacob. Emphasis on stupid, I thought.

"You know that you nearly gave me heart attack? Not the easiest thing to do, that." So that was why he horned in on my kill. I grumbled low in my throat.

"I wanted to help... Seth was hurt."

I snickered. I wasn't hurt. I was sore and not for very long.

"Seth was only feigning that he was hurt, Bella. It was a trick. And then you...! Seth couldn't see what you were doing, so I had to step in. Seth's a bit disgruntled that he can't claim a single-handed defeat now."

Ha! Assist!

Shut up!

"Seth was faking?"

I snorted. Stupid. I thought again. I felt them look at me more than saw it.

"Well, I didn't know that," she said. "And it's not easy being the only helpless person around." I remembered my thoughts in the early morning, the third wife. It couldn't be easy. "Just you wait till I'm a vampire! I'm not going to be sitting on the sidelines next time." Jacob and I both whined. None of the rest of the pack seemed to be paying attention. It was one thing to know they were going to turn her. It was another to hear her waiting for it.

"Next time? Did you anticipate another war soon?"

Yeah! Bring 'em on!

Let's go; I'm good to go again.

Yes! War, carnage, I'm in.

The pack's opinion on another war was pretty positive.

"With my luck? Who knows?"

I watched the pack pick up the pace. They needed to clear out in the next few minutes. Sam was urging them to hurry.

Bella remembered just about the same time I did that there was a timing concern. "What was going to be close?"

Edward looked at me. I asked the pack. How long?

Two minutes.

"Well?" she asked.

"It's nothing, really, but we do need to be on our way."

"Define nothing," she demanded, resisting his grip.

"We only have a minute, so don't panic, all right? I told you that you had no reason to be afraid. Trust me on that, please?"

"No reason to be afraid. Got it."

I watched the pack continue to clean up and focused on Leah, as I tended to. She picked up the scent the same time I did. There was one still hiding out there. She stalked him. I tried to grab the attention of the others without distracting Leah.

Um, guys?

"What's she doing?" Edward asked.

She's being as stupid as the girl you're holding. She's going after him without waiting. I whined. Come on guys, someone back her up!

Jacob was paying attention to me, probably only because I was sitting next to Bella. He moved in Leah's direction, though. That was when she lunged for the vampire. The newborn was fast. He spun and reached both hands for her.

"No! Don't!" Edward cried behind me. I was thinking the same words. Jacob leaped over her into the leech's grip in her place. I felt the crushing through Jacob as his ribs snapped. The hand grabbed his forepaw, breaking that too.

"Edward! Edward!" Bella was screaming.

Someone else get the hell over there! I thought angrily. Leah lunged for the vampire's side, making him drop Jacob.

"It's okay. We're going to be fine. It's-" He stopped, wincing when the vampire stepped on Jacob's leg, trying to get to Leah. He was down for the count. Leah wasn't going to be able to do this alone though. I howled, trying to summon help for her, for Jacob.

"What's happening?" Bella begged.

"We're fine. We're going to be okay." Sam's vision filled with Jacob's fallen form and then the leech that was still circling with Leah. "Sam – help him."

Where were the others? I could help. I could be there in less than a minute. I got up from my spot by the fire.

"Seth!" Edward shouted at me. "No! You go straight home. Now. As fast as you can!" I watched the rest of the pack clearing out of the field the fire was roaring in.

Right. We all needed to get the hell out of here. I still didn't want to and made my complaint vocal. I wanted to go help. I began shaking my head, fighting my instincts. Then I saw the vampire doctor standing over Jacob. I wasn't sure what was better.

"Seth. Trust me." I looked up at Edward and met his eye. I wasn't trusting him or his father; I was trusting my pack. I broke for the trees. I reached La Push ahead of the others. I phased back outside Jacob's yard and walked up his porch donning my pyjama pants.

Damn, I could hear Charlie in there. Oh well. I supposed there wasn't much wrong with that. I thought I'd warn the others though. I stripped down again.

Charlie's in there. You're going to have to phase back before you go in, Jacob.

Yeah, the doctor wants him to phase back anyway, Sam told me.

Jacob's thoughts were nothing but pain. Leah's were nothing but shame. She was nearby and I convinced her to phase back with me.

"Hey. You found him, no one was around. You would have taken the hit if Jake hadn't jumped in. Don't beat yourself up too badly, all right?"

"It should have been me. It should have been me the other time, too." Dad. My heart twisted, remembering that day. But Leah needed me. I wouldn't fall into the depression now.

"Stop it! There's no point in torturing yourself or the pack. You have to move on, Leah. Dad's death wasn't your fault." I hugged her. Dad's death would have been my fault as much as hers. It wasn't either of ours. "That red-headed leech was what killed Dad, and I watched her burn. You did too, right? You watched with me?" She nodded but weakly. "And did you see that move Cullen made, with the arm?" I snickered.

She snorted. "Yeah, that was pretty sweet."

"I just wish I'd gotten to get my teeth in her. Well, I can't say I did too badly for myself." I puffed out my chest.

Leah poked me in the gut, hard. I deflated quickly. "I suppose not. Neither did I," she declared, standing up. "None of the others can say they bit into eight different leeches today. I did my part." She nodded proudly.

"Yeah, you did great." I hugged her once more before we headed for Emily's. It might not have been as good as being in the clearing with the others, but it wasn't a bad day.