This is an AU story, in which Bella will not appear. She saw no reason to move to rainy Forks to live with a father she barely knows and has thus left Edward to fend for himself. This is an Edward and Leah story. Please give it a shot, if you think you might be interested in that pairing. Believe me, I never thought I would write a story like this, so you might surprise yourself.

I do not own Twilight.

The first time Edward Cullen saw Leah Clearwater she had a Forks High School freshman shoved against the side of a car and was telling the cowering blonde to "stay the fuck away from my boyfriend and stay the fuck off the rez." She had then proceeded to flip her long hair over her shoulder, accidentally-on-purpose hitting the wide-eyed girl in the face with the ends, and strode back across the parking lot to Sam Uley's waiting car. Sam had stepped out of the car, slamming the door in obvious frustration, and looked beseechingly at Leah. "Come on, Leah" was his exasperated plea but she cut him off by forcing her tongue into his mouth. His muffled sigh of annoyance just made Leah grip his long hair harder.

Edward had watched the scene play out in a state of bemusement, happy to have a new, interesting mind to peek into, at least for a little while. Edward always found it amusing to see how a couple's fantasies played out in their minds. He had learned that sexual fantasies varied as widely from person to person as any other preference and that he should never be surprised by how divergently some partners saw their future couplings.

Case in point, as Leah ground her pelvis onto Sam's quickly hardening erection, she imagined staking her claim further by stripping off their clothes and riding Sam hard and fast until he came undone by her and her alone. Sam, on the other hand, wanted Leah on her knees with her mouth around him and his hands in her hair, holding her still while he, in his own charming turn of phrase, fucked her mouth. It wouldn't be gentle, and it wouldn't be loving, and despite all the things he had seen, Edward was still slightly disturbed by the anger etched on Sam's face and his desire to shut Leah the hell up.

Edward was slightly puzzled at this. Leah, after all, had wanted to dominate Sam, too, so what was wrong with Sam wanting to do something similar to Leah?

The answer provided itself a moment later when Leah leaned back. He could see the adoration etched on Leah's face through Sam's mind. "I love you, baby," she crooned, running a hand down his cheek.

He huffed slightly, leaning back in to kiss her again, crushing her mouth with his, but his thoughts revealed how angry he was that she had apparently made a fool out of him. Again. Getting tired of this cavewoman routine, he grumbled in his mind. He continued to kiss her though, determined to get something out of this debacle.

The bell rang, overly loud in Edward's ears after he'd been so immersed in Sam and Leah's thoughts. Sam and Leah pulled apart, their respective fantasies stopping in their tracks. It also indicated to Edward that it was time to step out of the soap opera in the parking lot and into the monotony of high school. As he turned to start the walk inside, he paused behind a beat-up blue van to adjust his erection to a less noticeable position in his jeans. He wasn't surprised that he was hard, by any means. It had happened before, many times, and he had indulged himself, many times, often inserting himself into people's fantasies in place of the male. For the first decade or so, he had felt guilty about this self-insertion into other's fantasies, but multiple decades of doing it had deadened the impact a bit.

What caught him slightly off guard was that it was not Sam's fantasy he continued in his mind throughout most of the day, but Leah's. He suspected that a part of it was the desire to have a beautiful girl be that lovingly possessive of him, but the image of the dark-eyed, copper-skinned girl riding him into oblivion wasn't a bad one either. Although that image made it onto the short list of "go to" fantasies, he didn't think too much about Leah Clearwater and Sam Uley until several months later.

==/==/==

The first encounter with a wolf who thought in complete sentences and had memories of itself as a human had been a jarring one for Edward, and even after seventy years without a wolf-man encounter, he was still shocked by how loud the pack mind was. Especially when they were angry. It was deafening. Dealing with Ephraim, Levi and Quil had been tough, but they had seemed reasonable. This new group was unruly and it offended Edward's ordered sensibilities. He felt like such an old man at times, fondly remembering the past and reminiscing about the three wolves who had almost killed his newly-formed family without question.

He was pleased when they shifted back to human form. He could deal with individual minds much more easily than the reverberating feedback of the pack mind. They talked over each other and around each other and would pick up other wolves' thoughts and finish them or contradict them in mid-sentence. It was like being the new person in an internet chatroom. Everyone knew each other and he was the one left on the outside scratching his head. Not to mention they stank to high heaven in wolf form. The scent clung to their human forms, too, but it was not nearly as bad. Edward felt slightly vindicated knowing from their thoughts that a group of vampires didn't exactly smell appetizing to them either.

He was also confused by the power dynamic in this pack. There was a Jacob Black here, but he wasn't the one who was talking. It was Sam Uley, Levi Uley's progeny. Edward kept looking to Jacob, waiting for him to speak up as the Alpha, but then he remembered he didn't particularly care about wolf office politics. He sunk back into his role as hall monitor of the Cullen family, waiting for something more interesting than angry yelling to happen.

"How dare you let those vampires onto your land!"

Carlisle had his hands raised, trying to maintain his calm façade, but having trouble with it. "We just played baseball with them. We can't control every vampire that wanders through our land."

"You were callously endangering every man, woman and child in Forks and on the reservation."

Edward audibly heard Carlisle sigh and was amused by his thought of hyperbole is the sport of youth that was accompanied with a mental head shake. Just as Carlisle opened his mouth to again try to reassure Sam that no real harm had actually come of James, Victoria and Laurent encroaching on their respective lands, Sam's thoughts flashed to an image of two ferocious werewolves, snarling and snapping at a larger group of wolves. The larger group wasn't aggressive, rather, Edward could see that there was concern and, above all, empathy in the minds of the wolves. He understood the anger of the wolves now. The presence of foreign vampires had triggered the gene in two more werewolves that had initially escaped the change precipitated by the Cullens.

Edward groaned softly, causing Carlisle to look at him questioningly, his hands still in the air. Leaning over, putting his mouth as close as possible to Carlisle's ear, he whispered, "The nomads caused the change in two more wolves. They are obviously unhappy with this development."

A-ha. I see. This is going to be tricky. Thank you, Edward.

"Yup." He could hear the flippancy in his voice and he could sense Carlisle's annoyance with it, but he couldn't be bothered to muster up the enthusiasm.

"Yes, we have two new wolves, thanks to your baseball buddies," Sam snarled, glaring at Edward. Seemed their hearing was just as good as a vampire's. Interesting. Edward gave Sam a cold look, shrugging his shoulders, which served to annoy Sam even further. He smiled inwardly, pleased that he had been able to get a rise out of the already stressed Sam.

I don't think you're helping, Edward. He looked back at Jasper, leaning casually against a tree behind them, and they shared a smirk. Jasper cared just as much as Edward did about the wolves' annoyance level. Which was to say, not at all.

"We are truly sorry about the inconvenience that dealing with new wolves must cause your pack and your tribe…"

"Inconvenience! We're not concerned with our convenience level. These are young lives we're talking about. Changed forever." Ruined forever. Sam mentally scolded himself for thinking that way, but it was true. It was different for him. He was the Alpha and he loved being tied to the land, but he knew it was a curse for some of the others. Edward felt the tiniest flicker of sympathy for the wolves as a pack and for the new members.

"If you had let me finish, I would have also said that I was sorry that the lives of these young men have changed in such an irrevocable way," Carlisle finished wearily. Edward could tell that Sam recognized that Carlisle was a good man and that he was sincerely apologetic, but Edward was more interested by the mental flinch in Sam's mind at the mention of the word 'men.' Edward found that he suddenly got a lot more interested in the proceedings.

An image of the smaller, gray wolf from Sam's memory became clear in his mind, but it slowly dissolved into an image of Leah, looking haggard, with dark circles under her eyes and her long hair matted against her head. It was nothing like the image of Leah that Edward had held onto for so long. She had been a fierce beauty, so alive and happy in bullying that blond. He could see it now, why Sam had been so angry about this particular transformation brought on by the nomads. Despite their problems in the parking lot, Edward could tell there was mutual love between them, and he hoped that having a supportive partner would help Leah's transformation process. Edward had witnessed firsthand how having a mate present in the change to being a vampire had helped both Esme and Emmett in their transformations, resulting in much calmer, less violent newborns. Edward sincerely hoped that the same could be said of Leah with Sam by her side. His feelings of...panic and apprehension at the thought of Leah being a wolf was lessened somewhat.

Edward. The unique whine of his favorite sister's mental voice broke through his train of thought about Leah.

"What's wrong, Alice?"

My head hurts. Alice slipped underneath his arm, putting her head on his chest and he squeezed her against him, smiling down softly at her.

"Your head hurts? Is that possible?"

I wouldn't think so, but I think it's something with the wolves. All I see is static…or something. Just nothingness, but I know there are visions there that I'm missing. It's so strange.He could see it now, the strange emptiness in her mind where the visions should be. It was like the television was still on, but no pictures or sounds were coming out. He was getting a contact headache just listening in to it.

He petted her head softly, but forced his mind to wander to more hospitable places. Carlisle was trying to figure out the exact point of this meeting between the wolves and the Cullens and coming to the conclusion that they really just wanted an opportunity to yell at some vampires. He supposed that he couldn't fault them for that, but he had cancelled a patient's surgery this afternoon to come here, which he hated to do. His thoughts went back to the last generation of wolves that he had run across with his family and Edward felt himself smiling at their similar thoughts about this younger generation. They were exasperating, this bunch.

"Is there anything else we can do for you?" Carlisle's impatience was slightly showing in his tone, but Edward didn't think the wolves recognized it.

"No, I guess not." Sam shrugged and looked back at the two wolves behind him, Jacob and…whoever else. Edward hadn't bothered to catch his name. They shrugged their shoulders too and Sam turned back toward Carlisle. "Thank you for meeting us on such short notice."

"Not a problem at all. It was our pleasure." Carlisle smiled beneficently, but both Edward and Alice gave a derisive snort at Carlisle's less than truthful, but kindly put sentiments. They exchanged a conspiratorial look and rolled their eyes a bit at each other.

The wolves and the vampires turned their backs on each other, both groups feeling a little wary of this course of action, but realizing that it was an important step in showing trust in each other and in the treaty.

Edward turned his mind to more pleasant things, contemplating whether he should go for a run or play the piano for a while this evening. He felt Alice slip out from under his arm and scamper off to walk with Jasper.

"I couldn't see anything, Jasper."

"You couldn't?" Jasper murmured sympathetically.

"No, it's like they blocked me or something."

Alice's lower lip pouted out slightly and her forehead was creased, but her face cleared instantly at Jasper's next words. "Let's go do something more fun, then."

"Like what?" Alice asked excitedly.

"You mean you don't know what I have in mind?" Alice shook her head fiercely, looking slightly panicked at her lack of visions. They were apparently still within the wolves' range. "Well, this could be interesting. Come on."

They began to run off toward the house, Alice concentrating hard on getting her visions back and Jasper concentrating equally as hard on exactly what he was going to do to get rid of Alice's headache.

Edward shook off that image and waved a goodbye to Carlisle, who had sped off to where he had left his car on a side road. He was thinking about how he might be able to squeeze that surgery in tonight if he could make it back in time, and Edward inwardly wished him luck.

He ambled slowly back to the Cullen house, feeling no need to rush, lost in his thoughts about what had just happened. He found that his mind had quickly circled back around to Leah, but he stopped when an errant foreign image from Sam's mind floated back to him. The image of a young, but scarred Indian girl was occupying Sam's mind completely and it was clearly tinged with the love and admiration that a man typically reserved for his beloved, but the face was not Leah's. It was rounded cheeks and big doe eyes and a soft smile, nothing like the high, harsh cheekbones and flashing, dangerous eyes that Leah Clearwater possessed. Emily floated through Sam's head on a silly, lovesick sigh and images of this girl waiting at home with a hot meal for him and his boys and a soft, tender kiss for him alone filled his mind.

The scene, so domestic and warm, held almost no appeal for Edward. The only warm meal he wanted was at the neck of a mountain lion and he couldn't imagine sharing a tender kiss with the little woman on the way into the kitchen. A memory, faint and nebulous, tugged at his mind and he tried to hold onto the image of his mother's green eyes dancing at the sight of his father coming home from work. He could see the similarities between the scenes, but something about the quaint hominess of the scene left him feeling hollow. He recognized it as the life he should have wanted for himself. It was the life that Carlisle and Esme had made for themselves, but when he tried to imagine himself in that same situation he felt awkward and out of place. The door on that kind of relationship, it seemed, had been shut to him at some point and he was only now realizing that this version of an idyllic life was not so ideal for him.

Jacob's thoughts, too, carried back to Edward and he could feel his rage growing inside of him. Jacob, it seemed, had new werewolf duty and he was not relishing the task of babysitting "the bitter harpy," as he had, quite ironically, bitterly dubbed her. It seemed that Leah had been making their lives living hell since she had transformed, filling their heads with the story of how Sam had left her, broken and alone, for her cousin of all people. It was clear that, on some level, Jacob felt for Leah's plight, but she was not endearing herself to anyone with her scorned woman routine. Besides, Emily was really nice and always made Jacob pancakes with chocolate chips in them like she knew he liked. Edward rolled his eyes at the childish thoughts in Jacob's head.

The whole pack wanted Leah to shut up already, not blaming Sam one bit for breaking up with Leah for her cousin. The…imprinting, yes, that was the word they used, of Sam onto Emily was seen as an occasion for celebration, not a cause for derision. Breaking the heart of a young girl was of no consequence to these cretins and Edward felt the rage break in him, overpowering his usual cool manner and overwhelming his impeccable logical thinking skills. He stopped mid-stride and had a serious debate with himself about whether he should go back and teach the wolves some manners. A growl built in his chest and he heard Jasper break away from Alice and circle back around him, clearly unsure of what was causing Edward's rage, but ready to intervene if necessary.

A last image of Leah, a memory of herself in the time after Sam left her, curled in a tight ball in her room, crying her eyes out, was playing in Jacob's mind and Edward whipped around when the image was met not with sympathy or understanding, but rather disdain and irritation on Jacob's part. Jasper clamped his hand down on Edward's shoulder just as he turned to charge back after the wolves and turned him toward home.

"Whatever it is, let it go. It's not worth it to scrap with the wolves. At least not without Carlisle's permission."

Edward let himself be turned, knowing that Jasper was exactly right and grateful that he was letting him feel the rage that the wolves had produced with their opinions on Leah. He stewed in it, unhindered by any false emotion, and he let himself feel the full effect of his anger, imagining various delightful ways he could rip apart the wolves. By the time they arrived back at the house, he had worked himself up enough that he decided a good round of pounding out angry songs on the piano was appropriate.

First things first, I need to thank giselle_lx for beta'ing this piece. It would be nowhere near as polished and well-formed without her.

Next chapter will be coming soon, probably sometime later this week. This story has four chapters, all already written, so not too much waiting.

If you have a moment, please leave me a review. I would really love to hear what you have to think about this so far.

Thanks so much for reading.