Wolf (Cry to the Blue Corn Moon)
Being a Quileute shifter came with certain quirks besides the obvious turning into a wolf the size of a horse. Their internal body temperatures ran so hot, they were like walking furnaces. Any physical wound short of fatal for a human was to be laughed at thanks to their healing factor. And with the way they metabolized, it took more booze than double the amount it took to give a normal person a lethal dose of alcohol poisoning to get pleasantly buzzed, let alone drunk.
However, they'd yet to contend with the likes of Firewhiskey.
Now Seth understood the general aspects of alcohol fairly well. It came from living on the Rez, where many of the adults drank heavily. No one looked sideways if they saw a teenager sipping a beer in front of the drugstore. His mother, however, was an exception to the rule. From the minute he and Leah understood words, she made it clear no child of hers drank while living under her roof. Leah was crazy enough to challenge their mother when she had still been a teenager and still with Sam. And had faced their mother's wrath. As far as Seth knew, she hadn't touched any since. It was a surprise and a relief, considering what she'd gone through in the last couple of years, that Leah hadn't decided to drown her sorrows in a bottle. He could only imagine how much worse she could've gotten.
Unlike Leah, he'd been comfortable not testing boundaries the way Leah had. There were plenty of opportunities to drink at parties on the Rez in the past and the adults never kept a close eye on who took what. He'd had an experimental glass once before he became a wolf and hated the taste and disliked the out of control feeling he'd had. And the throwing up. That sucked. No matter what his friends at school or the guys in the pack tried to say or do, he was done with alcohol and screw "acquiring the taste." Nothing short of an alpha order could make him and Sam wouldn't dare if he didn't want the Clearwater women to kill him dead.
All in all, he didn't like alcohol and honestly didn't like to be in the company of drunk people. Which was why being at this bachelor party for Jake was turning out to be annoying.
Ron, George, and another of their brothers, Ron had told him his name was Bill, had joined the bachelor party. George had suggested a creature bar he knew was owned by a veela just off of Hogsmeade, an idea they'd all agreed to (since it was their only one so far). Seth knew what veela were. Harry had let him talk to Gabrielle once and she'd talked his ear off about various things he'd immediately tried to forget. Usually information about the wizarding world was relevant to Seth, but he was almost positive that he didn't need to know about the newest dress robe trends or the many uses of crushed dragon scales for cosmetic potions.
Seth glanced at Jake. Jake was like the big older brother he wished he had. He practically was family with the way he took care of Seth and Leah. Even when a lot of the pack had considered him the snot-nosed baby and Leah the frigid harpy bitch. (With Leah, he was under the impression that the reason she and Jake got along so well was because they'd both been drop kicked in the heart by the people they loved who loved other people more.) All in all, Jake was a really good guy and there wasn't much (unless it involved Harry in any way) that he wouldn't do for the guy.
So having to watch his inebriated pack brother cry into his pint of firewhiskey while a veela stripper wiggled her bottom in front of him was an excruciatingly pathetic experience to be witness to.
Somewhere in the back of his mind though, he was filing Jacob Black, weepy drunk, away for future black mail use.
The others had passed out many a round ago. If firewhiskey had reduced Jake to this, they'd stood no chance against being demolished by it. Bill did get an admirable mention however, seeing as he held out twice as long as brothers had. That and he'd been easier to look after than Ron and George had. Seth had been hard pressed to save the two from being crushed under the veela pyramid that had fallen on them. And to keep George from flirting with everything he breathed at, male, female and inanimate. (Well, now that he thought about it, maybe mirror counted as female since it was sentient and sassy, and flirted back.) So now he had three unconscious Weasleys and a drunk Jake which wasn't much help either.
Was it even legal for him to be in this kind of place anyway? He kept wondering about that one, because, yeah sure, he looked older thanks to the wolf thing as well, but, Hello, sixteen here! In a strip joint!There were plenty of other reasons why the situation was wrong, but he was done with dealing with reasons and right and wrong and why being the age he was made everything difficult. His life was a testament of trying to live within trying to live within other people's perceptions of right and acceptable. And of course not really succeeding.
But he was learning pretty quickly why exploiting life's loopholes was the true path to happiness.
Despite his mood, his lips quirked upwards a hair or two.
"Hey mate," the bartender, a female... some type of creature by what Seth was smelling, said, waving her hand at him over the bar to get his attention, "He's cut off for the night." She pointed at Jake. "You thinking about rounding up your lot and shipping out any time soon? Because I think you might need to fire call someone to help you get them all sorted."
He blinked at her, not really understanding what fire call meant.
Where was a handy magical world dictionary when you needed one?
"You know," she said, gesticulating a little more in a motion he assumed she thought made sense, "Fire, powder, pick who you're calling, stick your head in?" After another clueless blink, she scoffed disgustedly at him. "Oh come on. It's not like you're a mundane, you should know these things."
"Mundane? Don't you mean muggle?"
"Oh, that's right. Not many use the term mundane. It's this spiffy new politically correct word the ministry is trying to introduce for talking about non-magical folk. Though they're having a helluva time trying to break people of the habit of using muggle."
"So you. You with the whatever you are. How is it you don't know about fire calls?"
He fought the urge to flush as the woman eyed him suspiciously.
"I'm fairly new to wizarding world."
"It ought not be called wizarding world either," she mumbled to herself, "Not like it belongs to just wizards or nothing. Never mind that, getting carried away with my thoughts. You're new eh? Were you a mundane who got bit by a were or something? You kind of smell that way, and your heartbeat counts out vamp."
"Something like that," Seth answered ambiguously.
He was uncomfortable having her call him out like that, even if she wasn't completely right. It had been almost a year since he'd shifted, and yet she almost nailed what he was head on. How was it she could still smell that on him? He was tempted to ask what she was, since he didn't know how to discern any other species besides veela or vampire and she was neither.
"Whatever." She snorted. "If you tell me who you'd like called and their residence, I can make the call for you, luv."
"Um..." He ran through a mental list of people in Britain that could help him out. Harry would've been the first, then Hermione. Unfortunately, probability of either of them being free was low what with the bachelorette party. Working his way further down that short list, he was slowly realizing that none of the people he would've called could be called. They were all there with him drunk out of their minds or out at the bachelorette party doing who knows what. He was beginning to panic when the woman spoke up again.
"You know what, I'm going to assume, based on the fact that the hair of those three is a particularly eye scarring shade or red, that they're Weasleys and that I should just drop their folks a line." Taking in the confused and surprised look on his face, she snorted. "Now I really know you're new if you don't know just who you're partying with. Their family was famous for sidin' with Potter during the last war. Everyone and their mum know who the Weasleys are."
Hearing Harry's name, well, his last name, caused him to sit up the slightest straighter in interest, but he quickly quashed it. Let the lady get on with calling Molly or Arthur to come get them. She'd been, nice wasn't the right word, but she was snarky in a way that reminded him of Leah (and oh, there came the stab of unexpected homesickness) and he kind of thought that her multicolored hair was cool. The point, though, was that she was being fairly helpful to him when he was a complete stranger in her bar. It may have been because she just wanted the four rowdy drunks carted off or even that she was one of those types who got a bit over helpful around celebrities. Help was still help and he was pretty sure he couldn't get them home to the Burrow on his own, even if he tried to get them tied to his shifted form like saddle bags or something. So now wasn't the time to be distracting her with questions about Harry.
"Oi," she said, poking her head out from where she'd disappeared to, "Arthur Weasley answered. Says he'll come through in a bit to help you out."
"Hey, so does the werewolf who runs with Weasleys have a name?"
"Yeah. It's Seth." Remembering some last minute manners, he stuck out his hand. "What's yours?"
"Queenie," she replied, with a warning glare.
His facial muscles twitched a bit, but he knew better than to react in a way that might suggest he was even thinking of mocking her name.
"Nice to meet you."
There was a loud sound of the fireplace flaring in the back and then a man came out from the back. It was Arthur, dusting himself off. He blinked owlishly at Queenie, then Seth, and then let his eyes trail over his sons, passed out at the counter on their stools. Jacob stopped crying for a moment to acknowledge the new arrival before returning to mournfully conversing with his libations.
"Hello, um..." Arthur started.
"Hey, I'm Seth," the shifter said, standing to properly introduce himself to Arthur, "I came with Jake and your sons for the bachelor's party. And I gave toast at the rehearsal too. Sorry you called out so late for this, but I'm no good with magical transportation and stuff."
Arthur gave him a warm understanding look and took the offered hand with his own.
"I'm Arthur, and it's no trouble," the Weasley patriarch said waving him off, "This isn't the first time I've been called to collect my inebriates from some tavern or another." He was quiet as he took stock of the situation again. "Apparating all of you will be a little tedious, so I think a portkey trip is in order."
There was a sudden rush of movement off to Seth's left that had him immediately shifting his attention from Arthur to Jake. Jake who was now growling lowly at whoever had just come up to the stretch of bar between them and made an order. A sickeningly sweet smell filtered into his nostrils and he groaned. He turned back to Arthur and Queenie quickly.
"I need to get him outside right now or things will get really bad in here. Can you get Ron and the others home on your own Arthur?"
Seth only waited long enough to see Arthur's head dip a bit in what he was going to assume was a nod before darting around the vampire and throwing himself at Jake. His friend had gone from growling to snarling and snapping at the vampire and at Seth. It wouldn't be long before he was biting and shifting right then and there. With all the strength, whatever the wolf allowed while in human form, he hauled Jake away from the bar and the vampire and threw him as far as he could in the direction he hoped was the backdoor exit. And it was. He just overcompensated how hard he needed to throw versus how drunk Jake was.
The sound of wood and glass breaking and a heavy whump coming from that direction had Seth wincing.
Property damage and public brawling.
Harry would be so proud.
He'd dashed out the gaping hole that was the doorway, following the glass shards that lined the trajectory of the throw. Jake wasn't too hard to find, lodged in a bush, swearing as he tried to pull himself out of it and throw himself at Seth. It wasn't really working. So far, Jake had gotten out of the bush but was falling all over himself. This was both a good and bad thing. He was too disoriented to pose too much of a threat to Seth if he did attack. But a drunk Jake with no control was bad for anyone who wasn't Seth right now. He needed to get Jake farther away and sober quick.
Making up a plan he hoped wouldn't get anyone maimed or killed (or cause more property damage) he went straight into executing his next move: shifting. It had been almost a year now, and the sensation of rippling skin being replaced with fur felt as alien as it did familiar. Four legs, paws, twitching ears and his tail swaying behind him.
Jake stood in front of him, hunched and heaving slow deliberate breathes. His eyes were straight on Seth. There was a minute more of a stare off making Seth wonder if he was doing his posturing wrong when Jake's form finally rippled and a russet wolf had taken his place. Seth had to fight his omega instinct to tuck tail and belly crawl away. The only way this was going to work was if he followed through with the challenge.
Oh God, oh God, he's still huge as fuck ever and he's giving off those scary almost alpha vibes.
Despite those thoughts, he kept his tail up and his teeth bared.
And then it occurred to him that his thoughts were the only ones bouncing around in his mind. Why couldn't he hear Jake? Was... was it because of how long he hadn't shifted? Or maybe how long Jake had been out of range of the pack?
Either way, it was freaking him out. Never had he thought he'd feel anything other than relief that there was no one else in head the first time he shifted after being banned from it. But he did. He would've been more comfortable knowing Jake's next thoughts. For practical reasons, like predicting when the other wolf was going to make that inevitable lunge for the jugular so he could avoid it. And because how the hell was he supposed to figure out what was eating Jake and reason with him if he couldn't even get into his head?
Desperately, he locked eyes with Jake. It was a last ditch attempt, without the telepathic connection, to communicate something to Jake.
I don't want to hurt you the day before your wedding but you're being an ass and if I have to, I'll take you down so no one gets hurt.
Not that Seth actually believed he could take Jake, but if Jake went back into that bar to try and kill that vampire, Queenie's bar would be trashed even worse and people would get hurt. There was no way he was going to let Ron, or Arthur, or the rest of the Weasleys or Queenie get caught up in this.
Jake chose to jump at him right then. Seth moved just off to the left, crouching low. The minute Jake was close, he surged upwards, throwing his body right into Jake's midsection. It sent the both of them flying long and far until they were just on the edge of woods that were surrounding the magical town. Jake hit a tree hard, which had Seth grimacing, but ignoring it and rolling off of the other wolf into another crouch, waiting for Jake to recover and face him again. It wasn't long before Jake was up again. The sight of a large wolf wobbling on its forelegs wasn't as funny as it was concerning because this was Jake and he still remembered how Jake had been hurt by that newborn when taking a hit meant for Leah. This was still Jake who was a friend, a very stupid friend and almost family.
He tried to catch his eyes again.
Please back off. Please.
But he didn't listen. Didn't hear. And then Jake was coming at him again. With less grace than his first move, he scrabbled and darted around Jake as he swiped teeth and claws at him. This continued for a long time, Jake keeping him on the defensive, leading him farther into the woods and away from the town. That was until he started slowing down and there were longer pauses between Jake's strikes. Waiting for a beat, Seth dropped to the floor just at Jake made a high dive, making him miss and sail overhead into another tree.
This time, Jake didn't get back up. He stayed where he landed on the ground. Hesitantly, Seth padded over, concerned. He butted his snout against Jake's as if to ask if he was okay. And then without warning, Jake was up and snapping, toppling Seth onto his back. All the air was pushed out of his lungs when the other wolf pounced, putting both forepaws on his chest and pressing down with all his weight. He yelped and tried to break free, but Jake had him pinned. All he could do now was bare his neck and hope Jake wouldn't hurt him too bad. He waited for Jake's teeth to sink into his neck but after the seconds and then minutes trickled by, he opened his eyes from when they'd closed in his expectant cringe. Jake had eased up the slightest so that Seth could still breathe, but was still hovering just over him. No teeth bared, his ears down, staring down at him.
That was when a buzz started going off in the back of his mind. He knew what it was like well enough to brace himself for it. Seth remembered the first time he shifted, same time as Leah, and all of a sudden every unfiltered thing she thought joined his own thoughts and someone else's voice came in and it had been scary, and confusing and then his dad...
God his dad.
But there was the buzz. Then suddenly all these thoughts and feelings and pictures and impressions pouring into his mind. He'd learned a long time ago to order his mind so he could differentiate between mine and theirs. And right now, it was a whole lot of theirs or more specifically Jake's.
Packhomelost. Ignoredbetrayedfoughtlostran. Daddaddad. Belladead. No. Misshatewantwhy? Harry. Traitortraitor. No. Oceancoldmagiclost. FoundmoonLunaLuna. BellaBellatook. Hetook. Dead. Yourfaultyourfault. Sorry. Misshatewant. Luna. Bella. Dad. Love. Packhome. Pack. Youmepack. Yes. Others? Not here. Just me. Challengefoughtlost. Yes, I lost. Iamalphanow. Whyattack? Danger. Leechkill.
No. The vampire wasn't the danger. You were.
Confused. Leechnotdanger. Medangerhow?
Not as coherent a thought process as he had hoped to reason with but beggars couldn't be choosers.
If you had shifted in there, you would have hurt the people.
It wasn't attacking anyone.
Leechesattack. Leecheskill. Bellaisdead.
Bella isn't dead Jake.
Haven't you seen in this world long enough to realize that how much your heart beats doesn't control who you are? Becoming a vampire changed Bella, made her heart stop, but she's still Bella.
He pushed memories of talking to Bella over the mirror through. Her telling him about how different life was. What it was like learning strength and impulse control. How much she missed Charlie.
How much she missed Jake.
In this place, there are people who don't see vampires as any different than what we are. We're all just monsters to them.
But they think it anyway. You should know this. Luna should've told you these kinds of things.
Shame and regret.
You're marrying her. A husband should care about what his wife cares about. Luna cares about these things.
There was a long silence, so Seth pushed on.
The point is, we're not monsters. And you refuse to believe that not all vampires are monsters either. And unlike other vampires, Bella chose what she became. No one could've chosen it for her. Not Edward, not Harry, not you. She chose it, and she's happy. And she'd be happier if she had her best friend too. When are you going to admit that this entire time, you've just been afraid? Afraid of losing her? When are you going to realize that whether or not you're a wolf and she's a vampire, whether or not she has a husband, if you don't give up on her and she doesn't give up on you, you'll never really lose each other?
His final thoughts hung heaviest between them. There was an undercurrent of other things in their running sub-consciouses, but none of it mattered in comparison. He could hear Jake thinking. There was so much Bella in his thoughts, so much longing and anger and the fear he'd mentioned before interwoven in those thoughts. So much that Seth would've missed what Jake was trying to think directly at him if he hadn't also felt him finally getting up and off him.
He understood. Not everyone had the answers and acceptance right away. If Jake needed time, it was the least Seth could try to offer him.
Over the connection, the younger wolf could feel how his pack brother had missed running the woods. In wolf form, out in the trees, Seth could feel it too.
Can I come too?
That was as much of a yes as he needed. Seth rolled back onto all fours just as Jake took off, bounding after him as quickly as his legs could carry him. He yipped joyfully as he felt the wind against his face. God, he really had missed this. Missed Jake, and shifting. He let those feelings go to Jake, who felt it and let the impression of affection through. Before he turned off all rational thought, he made sure to call Jake an ass again for causing the death of his clothing.
He got a barking laugh in response.
AN: So I'd been on a safari in the land of RL, and got lost along the river Job and attacked by the crazed indigenous term papers. The writing block monsoons didn't help much either. I fell into a dark place, where my only lifeline was netflix and marathoning old TV shows. So I turned to religion, like Merlin and Godstiel and the PTB and any higher power who would listen. I'm doing better now, I just need to keep at it. Keep calm and continue writing. Wish me luck.
(I apologize for not updating for so long. But I'm really going to try to hold onto this writing burst and ride it for as long as possible. And hopefully finish RRHTW. Not much longer now and it'll be done. As incentive to stay with me for just a while longer, I promise cameo appearances of both Bella and Edward -cackles-. And maybe one other Twilight character. Until then, a bientot!)