A/N: Thanks for the reviews, everyone! We're excited to continue our fic!
Disclaimer: We forgot the first time around but this applies to the entire fic. All characters and situations belong to Stephenie Meyer. No money is being made from this dabble nor is it being distributed.
"And so, the southern edge of this forest is completely off-limits to all students."
A blue-haired kid in front of Emmett raised his hand. "Why?"
"Because the fairies will devour you, regurgitate you, and feed you to their young!" Professor BlaggerVanstlisk bared his fangs.
The blue-haired kid giggled. Emmett yawned and Jasper rolled his eyes. Emmett figured BlahVan, as Jasper called him, would've loved to look like a Doberman. Instead, he looked like a pug with allergies.
"Fairies are not a laughing matter, young man!" BlahVan snapped.
In blue-hair's defense, he made an effort to stop giggling. Alice didn't. Emmett grinned at her over Rosalie's head.
First-year orientation was shaping up nicely.
"Rosie, check out the hairy guy three rows back," Alice murmured, her voice pitched low enough not to be heard by anyone beyond their row. Emmett turned to look, too. Alice nodded toward a well-muscled hulk of a kid near the back. He sprawled across his long bench as though he owned it. He had, Emmett noticed, twice the normal amount of hair. And not just on his head.
"Looks like one of the cubs from La Push," Edward muttered to Rosalie, who nodded, lip curling.
"Can't be a werewolf," Alice countered. "I mean, not like the Quileutes."
"Caius had the true Children of the Moon hunted to near-extinction," Edward reminded her. "If I were one of them and I were hiding from Volturi, I'd go somewhere I'd blend in with other magical creatures."
"This place is a letdown," Jasper murmured, nodding around. "They could at least have a few gargoyles or something. Dress the place up a bit."
Emmett agreed. They were in Wales, for god's sake! Bratwurst Heights looked a lot like a much better-funded version of Forks High School. Forks High with a paint job, Emmett thought, grinning.
"They've had to rebuild about once a decade," Alice said. "Didn't you check out their website? They've had variations on slayers and demon hunters burning the place down every ten or twelve years since the school opened. Notice all the fire safety features."
Emmett had been wondering about the 1-1-9 signs and the fire extinguishers.
"The other kids look cool," he said. "I can't wait to wrestle someone." He glanced out the window. Jasper followed his gaze and they both watched a moss-covered boulder wander across the lawn. A girl with golden hair down to her waist stepped in front of the boulder and shrieked as he knocked her aside with a massive moss-covered hand.
"You're insane," Jasper muttered, grinning a little. "He'll break every bone in your body. What will we tell Esme?"
"That her favorite son died in glorious battle?" Emmett suggested, grinning back.
"Yeah, that's likely." Jasper turned his attention back to BlahVan, who was holding forth about the dangers of rival gangs, which had apparently been problematic during social functions last year.
"I thought this place would be somewhere without twits eating Ed alive with their eyes," Rosalie complained, glowering at two girls who sat on the bench behind them. "It's so tacky."
Emmett squeezed her hand. "Hazard of having a beautiful brother," he said, shrugging. "Anyway, they might be staring at you, Rosie. You're five times prettier."
She couldn't stop a grin. "Shut up."
The girls caught Rosalie's eye and gave her a pair of nasty little smiles. One of them had pointed teeth, no eyebrows, and a cascade of red-gold dreadlocks. The other's eyes glowed grey, like the sun behind clouds, and she had webbed fingers.
Dreadlocks smirked at Rosalie. Grey-eyes winked, licking her lips.
"Oh, please," Rosalie hissed, bearing her pointy teeth.
"Oh, please, yourself," Dreadlocks said, rolling her eyes. "You're about as scary as dead fish."
"Much more attractive, though," Grey-eyes said, leering at Rosalie. Emmett laid a soothing hand on her leg as Rosalie's jaw locked and her gold eyes burned.
"Is there a problem?" BlaggerVanstlisk appeared beside their bench, so suddenly and quietly they hadn't noticed. Alice and Edward jumped, which Emmett found terribly unnerving. He couldn't remember the last time someone has snuck up on either of his magically enhanced siblings.
"No, not at all. We're all fine here." Emmett grinned. Dreadlocks sent a rude gesture his way and grey-eyes flicked her long, forked tongue at Rosalie, who hissed again and looked like she might pounce and destroy.
"That'll be enough of that, Miss Morris," BlahVan said to Dreadlocks, who sat back and pouted. "Miss Brennan, kindly save your co-ed seduction for after orientation. Miss Hale …" BlahVan glanced at Rosalie and sighed. "Try not to lose your temper every time someone provokes you. You'll spend all your time in detention and, frankly, I don't want you there."
The rest of the class, Emmett noticed, was watching this exchange with rapt interest. High schools were the same the world over, Emmett thought. Didn't matter if they had fancy titles like "College for the Gifted" – it was all about hormones and socializing.
"Ed isn't the only one getting attention," Alice sing-songed as BlahVan hobbled back to the front of the class, his jowls jiggling.
"Here we go." Edward sighed, staring out the window. Rosalie slouched against Emmett and had a little sulk. The girls behind them started whispering. They kept on as BlahVan put away his map of the school grounds and started explaining classes and course schedules. Emmett spared half an ear for the lecture and tried to hear what the girls were whispering about.
"Excuse me!" Rosalie hissed at last, her voice a thin whisper. She turned halfway around in her seat, keeping an eye on the front. "If you two," she said to the two girls, "don't shut up about my brother and what you plan to do with me once you've dragged me into the sea, I swear to god – "
"You'll what? Fry me with your icy stare?" Dreadlocks whispered back, smirking. "Please, little girl, spare yourself the embarrassment."
Emmett saw every one of Rosalie's muscles bunch. He caught her around the middle and held on. Edward glanced at them, scowled, and caught Rosalie on her other side.
"Emm, do something," Alice suggested. "Otherwise, it's going to be another Rhode Island incident." She grinned a charming little grin at Dreadlocks and Grey-eyes. "No one ever did find the missing arms."
"Vampires," Dreadlocks said, her blue lip curling. "Think they're the top of the gene pool."
"Hot, though," Grey-eyes said, still eyeing Rosalie.
"Stop hitting on my girl," Emmett whispered cheerfully. "You're making me all jealous."
Grey-eyes turned a smile on him. "Ooh, competition. I can live with that."
"Let me go, Emm!" Rosalie hissed. She'd stopped struggling and turned back to face BlahVan, who was now attempting to break up several small fights that had broken out in other parts of the room. Emmett wondered if mediating was mostly what he did for a living. "I told you coming here was a bad idea," Rosalie went on, ferocity making her voice tremble. "But did you listen? No! You never do." With a surprising burst of strength, she broke free of Emmett and Edward.
Dreadlocks and Grey-eyes smirked at her and then let loose an ear-splitting din. BlahVan looked up, his jowls quivering. "Girls!" he said wearily. "Stop that at once."
"You would think they would be able to get teachers here who could handle, uh, tricky students," Alice commented.
"Seems like all they do here." Edward sighed again.
"I'm so out of here," Rosalie said suddenly, shoving off the bench and leaping across the room in a single bound. At the door, she said in a voice all her siblings could hear, "This whole idea was ridiculous. Pip-squeaks and twits and lesbians. I'm through!"
She ignored the door, took a running leap, and dove through the back window.
"Miss Hale's first detention will be fixing that window," BlahVan said, arriving at their bench far too late to do anything.
"She's had practice," Alice said, squinting at BlahVan and looking worried. Emmett suspected her worry wasn't window-related and reminded himself to ask her about it later. Edward, he also noticed, had his head on one side and was frowning at Alice.
"Huh," Jasper grunted as BlahVan dismissed everyone with weary reminders to collect their course schedules from his desk. "Welcome to Bratwurst."
"Welcome to Bratwurst indeed," BlahVan echoed bleakly as he walked away.
"Well … interesting morning," Emmett said. He, Edward, Alice, and Jasper made their way toward the cafeteria for a half-hour free period they had before the campus tour. Emmett wondered what Bratwurst had in its cafeteria. Probably not pizza and ice cream sundaes. Mystery entrails, perhaps? Blood dispensers? Breaded brains?
"You think Rosie's coming back?" Jasper asked him, while Emmett tried not to giggle about monster cuisine.
"Oh, she will." Alice's eyes sparkled. "She's not actively homophobic and she'll miss Emm if she stays away too long. She just needs to blow off steam."
A tall woman with porcelain skin and snakes instead of hair walked by, giving Alice a nod and smile.
"Nice jacket!" Alice said. "It's so cute. Where'd you buy it?"
"Thanks." The woman's voice was a thin hiss. "Got it in Prague, actually."
Alice tagged along with her and they disappeared into the crowd. Jasper made a long-suffering face and trailed after them.
Emmett and Edward continued down the hall. Emmett threw his arm around his brother. "Come on, Ed, cheer up," he said. "Aren't you excited? We're getting to see new things, take interesting classes. I mean, Alchemy! All my Masters and Doctorate degrees and I've never touched a book on Alchemy or spell-making before!"
"I guess." Edward shrugged, shoving his hands into his pockets. He was frowning again, staring around at the other creatures emerging from classrooms and heading in the same direction as they were.
"Jeez, man," Emmett muttered. "You really need to get yourself a girl."
Edward didn't answer.
"What's up?" Emmett asked, dropping his arm from Edward's shoulders.
"I can't hear anyone but you," Edward told him, squinting. Emmett knew what he meant and felt a shock in the pit of his stomach.
"Just you guys and Rosalie, if I concentrate hard enough."
"Well, you're used to human and vampire minds," Emmett said after moment. "Maybe you just need to adjust to different creatures."
"Yeah," Edward said absentmindedly. "Maybe."
The boys stopped on the threshold of the cafeteria. Emmett stared into the room, a vast, cavernous space that hadn't a table or vending machine anywhere to be seen. "Is that a patch of grass?" he asked, indicating a space to their right.
"Next to the watering hole?" Edward's eyebrows shot up. "Yeah, I think so."
"Wow," Emmett said. "Awesome. Wonder if they have enclosed hunting grounds for us, too." He looked, but didn't see anywhere that looked like it might have delectable jugulars of innocent animals. He did see a guillotine against a far wall.
"Weren't you listening at orientation?" Alice appeared behind the boys with Jasper in tow. "The woods north of here should have enough game for everyone who consumes blood."
"Uh-huh." Edward was still looking around. "Hopefully just animal blood."
"I would assume with this many different eating habits, the school would provide for everyone," Jasper murmured. His shoulders tensed – he didn't have the self-control of his vegetarian siblings yet. Emmett wondered how he'd cope if there were humans to hunt in those woods.
His train of thought was interrupted when a dark-haired guy bumped his shoulder and snarled at him. Emmett turned. The guy was tall, six-inch claws extending from long fingers. "Hey, man, watch yourself," Emmett said, grinning at him.
"Careful, Emm," Alice cautioned, her voice pitched low. Emmett glanced at her in surprise. Her eyes, clouded and blank, met his without seeing him. "Don't mess with him."
"Back the hell off, dude," the guy growled. Something about his voice grated Emmett's ears, prickled his skin. He scowled – the last time he'd reacted to anything that way, he'd been human. The guy grinned at him – his mouth gleamed silver. "I know how to kill your kind," he said, leaning toward Emmett. "Done it before."
Emmett's muscles locked, ready to leap. His fangs slid against his lip. "Bring it."
"Not now, Emmett," Alice pleaded under her breath. "I can't see. I don't know how it goes."
"Let it go," Edward said softly, pressing his shoulder against Emmett's.
"Yeah, freshman." The guy leaned over him, relaxed, as though he frequently menaced vampires and didn't worry too much about the risk of provoking them. He looked less and less human by the minute. "Listen to your little friends. This isn't how it goes. Unless you want it. In which case, I kill you. Your choice."
"Please, Emm." Alice tugged at Emmett's sleeve. He glanced down at her. His sister's eyes were wide, boring into his. She really didn't know what would happen. Jasper's arm slid around her and he nudged Emmett.
"Let's go hunt," Edward suggested. His voice was calm, but his eyes were hard.
Reluctantly, Emmett turned his back on the guy and left the cafeteria with his siblings. He felt the guy's gaze on his back. Emmett's fists bunched at his sides. He never walked away. Edward hissed, reading Alice even if he couldn't read anything else. They emerged onto the lawn outside, heading together toward the woods.
Alice shuddered. "Let's hope we don't see him again."
"I couldn't read him, either," Edward said slowly, his own fists clenched. "But he's serious and he knows what we are."
"I know one thing," Alice said, her voice trembling a little. Just a little, but Emmett had never seen her so shaken.
"What, Al?" Jasper asked as they broke through the trees.
"If we fight him, even all of us together," Alice said softly, "we'll lose."