A/N I am so sorry I just realized I missed posting part of this chapter. You might want to remind yourself of what happened in the last chapter. Again I am deeply sorry.
Some time later, I hear Seth. Leah? Leah, where are you?
I think about running.
Leah! Don't! he pleads with me. He finally comes into my view. Glad I found you. I wasn't looking forward to going back in the house.
You can't handle the idea of them changing someone either! See? It's not just me.
Actually, it's Jasper. He's really broadcasting the pain he's in seeing Ginny in pain. Look, I understand your feelings, even if I think you're wrong.
No, hear me out. Leah, I think that, deep down, you're more upset that in the end you will accept this than you are that it is happening.
I stare at him. He may be right, but I don't want to admit it.
You really threw Jake for a loop.
I look sideways at Seth. I thought I pushed him too far and he kicked me out of the pack. I stopped hearing his thoughts.
No, I think in some way you hit too close for comfort. He hates vampires as much as you, but the Cullens-
Are different. Yeah, I've heard that before.
Leah, they don't kill humans.
I know, but...
They messed up your life, and now they're doing it again. Leah, everyone knows how you feel about being a wolf, but you are a pretty good one. Maybe you're the only girl wolf because you're the only one that would be good at this.
Wow. Uh, thanks Seth.
Edward said you should return. Severus was going to go after the guy that caused this to happen to Ginny. Edward talked him out of it and I guess that friend of Jasper's, Peter, will deal with the guy.
I started to get mad; not at the idea of the person who made this happen to Ginny being killed, but at the fact that I was okay with it.
See, Leah? Anyway, Edward said Severus could take off once they move Ginny away from here. He thinks you need to be here so he can be told.
When Seth and I got close to the house, he led me over to where he had left me some clothing. Once we each phased back to human form, we got dressed.
"Hopefully Jasper has calmed down a bit," Seth said to me.
"You weren't there when Carlisle started to close her up," I replied.
"Jake said this is worse."
As we enter, there is a rush happening in the house. Everyone is moving around, but Jake comes over to us. "They're flying her out to Alaska in a few minutes."
I can't make eye contact with him. I feel bad for what I said to him. We hear a helicopter extremely close.
Edward comes over as well. "You just made it back in time." Then I see Jasper come down the hall with a bundle of blankets cradled lovingly in his arms. I realize that Ginny is in them.
"The blankets are more for Severus than for Ginny," Edward explains.
Severus is following Jasper. He looks a bit better than he did before I left. He follows Jasper all the way out and we all, in turn, follow too. Rosalie is at the helicopter. She opens the door and Jasper gets in, still holding Ginny. Rose shuts the door, then backs away from the helicopter and it starts to rise into the air. We all remain there until they can no longer be seen.
Severus is the first to head in. I'm not sure what I'm going to say.
"I'll come with you to help explain," Jacob offers.
"I would like to come too," Edward says.
I glare at him and Jacob states, "Leah, if there is any misunderstanding, Edward would be helpful."
Damn it, I hate when Jake is right about them! Edward does normally let me be. I think he still holds it against me that I took Bella to task over what she was doing to Jake when she was expecting. I don't care if he didn't like it; deep down I'm sure he wasn't too happy with Jake being there. And Bella had been jerking both Jake and Edward around for long enough. It really wasn't fair to either of them.
I finally nod, agreeing to Edward joining us. We head back into the house.
"The makeshift lab," Edward informs us.
I lead the way, stopping at the doorway to watch all the little bottles fly around, wrap themselves, and then place themselves into a case.
He glances up at me. "Miss Clearwater."
"I know this is not the best time, but could I- we, have a few minutes of your time?"
I look at the young woman in front of me. I have no reason to be rude to her; she has aided myself and Doctor Cullen without question these last few days. I can tell she has a sharp mind and is quick to learn.
I nodded my reply.
The three step into the room. Besides Miss Clearwater, there's Jacob, the young man who brought a passed out Ginny home after a night of Muggle drinking, and one of the vampires; Edward is his name, I believe. I have not seen much of him.
"Forgive me for not knowing, but how much knowledge of the magic world do you have?" Leah asks cautiously.
I feel my tolerance slipping. "More than most," I reply. These two native people hang around with vampires, so I'm guessing they are not Muggles.
She gives a rare smile. "Then you know what a Shapeshifter is."
"Yes," I nod as I remember hearing about an indigenous tribe in Africa that were what Animagi were attempting to recreate magically.
Her eyebrows raise; she is surprised. "Um, kay. That's good. Now forgive me, we," she looks over at Jacob, "we are Shapeshifters, and truthfully only have our tribe's own legends to go by. How much do you know?"
"That Shapeshifters are creatures that can transform without the need of a spell."
"Do you have any other knowledge of this African tribe?" Edward asks.
"You're the mind reader Ginny told me about," I state, gazing in his direction.
He gives a smug smile and nod.
"Not a lot myself. I am sure it could be found."
"Any information you could give us access to would be good," Edward says.
I nodded. "I could have a few people contact you," I offer. The first that comes to mind is Minerva McGonagall.
"There's more," Miss Clearwater continues, "The Shapeshifters of our tribe, we do something. Once we have shifted for our first time, for no known reason, some of us imprint on a person."
I knew what the word meant in the animal kingdom, but as for a Shapeshifter, the meaning wasn't quite as clear for me. I think I had heard of it, but it was one of those long forgotten things.
"Imprinting is an unconditional bond to one person for the rest of their life. When it happens, the experience is described as being gravitationally pulled towards that person while a glowing heat fills them; the connections of everything else become severed, or simply secondary, and only the imprintee is left to matter. This leaves the shapeshifter with a deep need to do anything to please and protect the person," Edward explains.
I am not sure why they are explaining this to me.
"You see Severus, I am a Shapeshifter and I have imprinted on you," Miss Clearwater admits. I could tell she's fearful of my reaction.
"Leah," she gently corrects.
"Leah, this is not the best time. I need some time to deal with everything else that has taken place," I say, trying to dismiss the group.
Leah and Edward catch on and leave the room. Jacob, however, remains.
"You can't just refuse her like that!" he says hotly.
He reminds me of Harry Potter. Oh, the pushiness of the young man!
"Do you understand the pain you will put her through?"
I'm tired, I'm stressed, I have been to hell and back, and I just watched my daughter react to the venom of a vampire as her transformation started. I do not have the energy or strength to deal with this! "No, I don't. I need sleep, and then once I have done some research on this, I will speak to Miss Clearwater."
He seems to know better than to push me, making me wonder what Ginny has told them about me. He then leaves.
Just as I am finishing packing up my stuff, there is a clearing of a throat. I turn and see Esme. She is holding a container.
"How are you holding up?" she asks.
I do like this woman; she is very kind. I understand why Ginny chose her to raise Elizabeth. "I feel like my world has been flipped on its side."
She smiles warmly at me. "I packed up some food for you. I thought you might not feel like cooking once you got home." She extends her hand with the container.
"Thank you," I say as I take it from her. Other than Ginny and Lily, no one has ever shown concern like this for me.
"You know, Ginny told us very little about you. I think I knew the most, other than maybe Jasper. Anyway, I can only guess what you are thinking about Leah and the imprinting. I just wanted to tell you, from what I have seen of it. it is one of the most beautiful, honest, and pure things."
"What would you know of this?" I ask her.
She smiles at me. "I have seen it firsthand. There is a member of the family here you haven't met. Come with me and meet Renesmee."
I am tired and stressed, but follow her. We make our way upstairs and down a hall. Esme stops with her hand on the doorknob.
She looks very worried at this point. "I must tell you, your first thought will most likely be wrong. Please have an open mind."
I am a reasonable man, for the most part. "An open mind," I vow.
She opens the door and in the room there is Jacob with a young girl who looks to be seven or eight. She doesn't look quite human and it takes a second or two before I realize I am expected to think she is an immortal child.
"If she is not an immortal child, what is she?" I ask.
Esme smiles at me. "You are more willing to understand than most. Renesmee, come meet Ginny's father."
She comes over to me and, once close enough to touch me, she raises her hand up to my face.
Esme explains, "This is her way of introducing herself to new people. Let her touch your cheek."
I squat down to the girl and she touches my cheek. Her hand is very warm to the touch. I then see many images from this child's life and her growth. The most concerning is when I see the Volturi coming. There is a large grouping on both sides, including wolves which I am guessing are Leah's pack. Then I see the Volturi leaving.
She even shows me some images of Ginny. She then breaks contact with me.
I smile at her. "Thank you, Nessie." I get the feeling from what she showed me she liked that name more. I look at Esme. "A hybrid? Was she planned?"
"No, she was an unexpected blessing."
"Why did you show her to me?"
"Jacob was very close to Bella, but he is a mortal enemy of vampires. Their tribe's Shapeshift only happens when vampires are near. Jacob imprinted on Renesmee, and we are all family now. You see, he is whatever she needs him to be."
I nodded. "I saw the Volturi," I inform her.
"Yes, they had been misinformed and thought Renesmee was an immortal child. You know of them?"
"Yes. Voldemort wanted them to join him in our war. Aro refused, for an unknown reason."
"Ginny told me you were a spy during your war. Did you meet Aro?"
"No, I personally couldn't risk Aro seeing my mind. The Dark Lord was unaware of Aro's gift when he personally met with him."
"I need to be leaving," I explained.
"I understand, but I meant what I said to Ginny. You are welcome to spend time with Elizabeth any time you want... I do expect you back here soon!" she ordered.
I find that I'm comfortable around the woman, and I see how Ginny felt she would be a good choice to raise Elizabeth. In fact, I think in some ways she is the type of mother I imagined Lily would have been. Maybe that's why I like her.