A/N – This story is a sequel to They're All Gone. You'll want to read that first for a full background of what's happening.
They're finally coming back. I've done just as charged and Esme's house remains in order, an untarnished monument to her eternal beauty.
I phased this morning, just as I do every morning, to hear him and avoid her. Jacob's voice is as light and carefree as it ever was...my Alpha. I spit out the word in my mind. Alpha? Alpha of what? Of a people who don't believe in ancient stories? Alpha of wolves long dead? Alpha of me...and...her?
My love for my Alpha has become something dark and twisted. I care for him because I must, it's a pull as unwanted and as hated as imprinting. The blind devotion that led me then was long ago replaced simply by a need to follow a command.
"Protect La Push"
The command is as powerful now as it was decades and decades ago. How many years has it been – a century? Two? What the fuck is time when you're frozen in it?
I take my food and go upstairs to her room. I started eating in here years ago because...well...I hated eating alone. Pressing my nose into a pillow, I sniff for a scent that I know is long since gone. I struggle against myself, fighting the urge to go to the closet. It's better there – her scent, but I don't want to waste it. I know that the more I open them, the more I lose her scent.
They are her clothes. After she left, I kept her dirty laundry in the hamper because the scent was the strongest there. When it got weaker, I stuffed the clothes into a series of plastic bags hoping they'd retain her smell. I keep smaller pieces under my pillow in plastic and sniff just before going to bed.
Today, I lose the fight again and open the plastic. I have to. I hate to eat alone.
My first thought in the morning is of her. Did Our Leah eat last night? Is she cold, alone, scared, hurt...alive? The despair is broken by the command: Protect La Push and so I go and patrol an empty forest.
As I'm heading back, I catch a familiar scent accompanied by laughter that sounds like bells and wind chimes caught in spring breezes. I feel the press of a nearby phase.
I hear his happy call and I feel nothing but disdain. My feelings shock him and I feel his hurt. Should I have censored my feelings? I don't even know if I can anymore. I haven't had anyone to shield my thoughts from in so long...
"Oh my sweet Em!"
Ah Esme. Yes, she'd be happy to see me. I try to remember how much I loved her then and for seconds I do...but a memory of love and a feeling of love are two different things.
The wolf rolls his eyes. His only feelings attached to this one stem from two other wolves and they all led to hate. Jacob's love for her was the cause of this and Leah's hatred of her name brings back memories filled with laughter. God, I hate this one.
I hear a series of growls from a wolf and an undead man.
I don't care.
"Please release the command."
"Of course, but Em-"
Finally free, I run. I hear their shouts and I can sense that Jacob knows this is the last time he will ever see me. Whatever I find, this will only end one way: me finding Leah...either in this world or the next.