Disclaimer: If I owned Twilight, I wouldn't need to write fanfiction about it.

A/N: Takes place right after Breaking Dawn. The second half is sort of necessary for this to make sense, so I'll get that up soon.

...to the victor belong the spoils of the enemy...

Sam sat upon the dining room chair their ancestors had hand-carved over fifty years ago.

Jacob dropped into the ratty blue armchair that Old Quil had gotten for twenty dollars at IKEA.

He had given no thought to where he would sit or how it would look—or maybe Sam was underestimating his younger counterpart. The armchair could not be moved without incurring the wrath of Old Quil and so Sam had to carry his chair around the coffee table so they could look each other in the eye.

Sam dismissed the thought as paranoia because Jacob was far too young to be giving any thought to strategy or appearance. The way he devoured Emily's biscuits just went to prove that. There were crumbs all over his shirt and Sam might be a werewolf, but five year old children would be embarrassed at just how carelessly Jacob was wolfing down Emily's admittedly delicious cooking. The sight was even more jarring since Jacob no longer resembled a child at all.

He had grown even more in the past month, though Sam had thought it would be impossible. Jacob was the tallest now (much to the displeasure of Jared and Embry) and the most obviously muscular (which Paul and Quil were never going to forgive him for) and far bigger than Sam, now. He was bigger than all of them. And he was still the most adaptable by far (though Seth was still the most enthusiastic). Sam knew that if Jacob wanted to seize something through brute force there would be no stopping him one-on-one. But it wasn't too bitter a truth—Sam might not have had the sheer strength, but he did have the numbers. Jacob might be strong, and his followers might fight well, but at the end of the day Sam was the one who could force his will. Twelve versus five wouldn't be a fight but a massacre.

It wouldn't come to that; Sam was sure. Despite how the scene in Quil Ateara's living room looked—two men gazing at each other across a low table—it was only a mirage. Closer inspection revealed the lie. The faintest trace of innocence still clung to Jacob; immaturity decorated the costume of a man he nervously wore. Sam was still dealing with an emotional, irrational seventeen-year-old kid. He would yield to the voice of authority.

The door opened and the rest of the werewolves swarmed in, shattering the tense silence.

Sam stood up to greet his pack. Across the room, Jacob greeted Quil and Embry with casual hello, refusing to budge from his position on the chair. With a careless wave Jacob motioned them towards the couch, telling them to take a seat.

It was hard watching Embry and Quil with Jacob; Sam had to admit it though he didn't want it to. Losing the two valuable members of his pack had been inconvenient, but the influx of new recruits made finding replacements easy enough. It wasn't losing Quil and Embry that bothered Sam. As the three best friends joked across the room, Sam could admit what he was most jealous of was the feelings between them.

Jared and the others would die for their Alpha. The same could be said about the other pack, Sam was sure—Embry, Quil and Seth (and maybe even Leah and that hurt the worst) would die for their Alpha. But they would also die for Jacob and Sam couldn't help but be jealous.

The boys around him—his brothers—had not been his friends first. They would never know Sam, just follow SamtheirAlpha. Most days Sam thought this was perfectly acceptable. And then Embry and Quil and Seth would light up when they saw Jacob and...

It was stupid. That sort of friendship only worked when it went both ways and if it went both ways...then Leah's life continued only because of the duty one teenage boy felt towards another (Seth's hero worship might have been embarrassing but Sam was grateful even if he probably, maybe, possibly might not have risked it and the self-loathing didn't make that any less true). But that didn't make Jacob risking himself for anyone less stupid. What would the packs do without their leader?

Paul demanded they start soon, fidgeting beside his Alpha.

"The Clearwaters will be here soon," Jacob promised. "And you have to wait for Max."

Sam glanced around and sighed with annoyance. The youngest member of the pack had failed to show up on time—as he usually did. It wouldn't be necessary to wait. The boy could find out what he had missed later. But Sam was still loathe to upset Leah, as starting without her was sure to do, so he agreed with Jacob to delay beginning even if it wasn't necessary.

The whole meeting was just a formality. If an entire pack had to be present it was Jacob's that was necessary. The decision about whether they would come back was theirs.

They needed to come back. As necessary as it had been for Jacob to separate in order to protect his imprint, it wasn't natural for there to be division among the tribe. Unity was the way of the past and Sam knew it was the way of the future. They were too dangerous to be divided.

The doorbell rang out and Emily went to get it, coming back with Leah by her side, Seth and Max joking cheerfully behind the two women. Sam was not aware of the two boys separating, Max sitting on the floor by Colin while Seth went to sit by Quil. He was too busy gazing in horror at Leah's outfit.

Did she know she was wearing the same dress that she had worn the night she had become a woman? Sam wouldn't have put it past her. What had once been a loose summer shift now stretched across womanly curves, the hem dangerously high now that she was part of the legends as well. The shoes were different, at least. They were soft leather boots, highlighting well-developed thighs, thighs that had once—

Sam couldn't help but smile at his wife as she caught his eye from across the room. For a moment, the fear fled as she blew him a kiss before retreating to the kitchen to keep Quil Sr. company. Sam would unite the packs again. He would.

Meanwhile, Leah had greeted her pack with her now customary scowl. Embry looked reluctant about shifting to accommodate her, but the female wolf shook her head.

Was its Leah's presence that made the difference? Or was she some sort of signal? Or had she just opened Sam's eyes the way she so often did?

For right in front of him the old lumpy armchair had been transformed. As Jacob sat up and placed his arms on the armrests, feet securely on the floor, it ceased to be a chair.

It was a throne.

Leah perched lightly on the armrest, her legs crossed, her arm around the back of the chair as her head bent low to whisper into her Alpha's ear. Jacob responded quietly, expression alternating between annoyed, amused and attentive. Like some kind of supernatural spirit she spoke with him, her body serpentine around her leader.

It couldn't have been more obvious to Sam is she had walked into the room and declared it was time for Jacob's coronation. The land had decreed Jacob the Alpha and Sam might selfishly want to prevent this but the land had spoken. He was about to be shed like an old skin in the spring.

He wanted to call Emily to his side as if having another woman beside him could balance out the vision of power before him but instinctively he knew it would be futile. Emily had no right to be in the room. Leah had the right to sit by Jacob's side (because of the blood in her veins and the blood she had been willing to shed in his name). Not just a right, Sam finally understood, but a duty, like they all did, to stand by Jacob, who nature had decreed Alpha.

Worse than the horrible realization that Jacob had been chosen and Sam had not was that Jacob knew it. He knew what it meant to Sam to see Leah with the opposition, even she didn't. His Lee-lee had a tumultuous relationship with honesty, but she could never bear to be parted from it for long. Subtly was never her style—she always came right out and said what she meant. That's why he loved her, why he hated her now. Leah was too honest, too often.

But Jacob...Jacob was not. Jacob said and did what had to be done. And if parading Leah around would remind Sam exactly how much he had lost and how little power he really had, Jacob would do it no questions asked.

Leah was more than just Sam's ex-girlfriend—she was the first and only female werewolf, the daughter of two Elders and someone with blood that was second only to Jacob's (Sam had a rather frequent nightmare where Jacob never phased and Leah was his beta instead). She was a hell of a symbol for Jacob to have on his side.

So Jacob let her perch beside him, let her brush the crumbs from his shirt like a dutiful servant. Sam watched as her fingers danced across the material, even as Jacob turned his head to address his pack. Why had Sam been so blind before?

Ateara, Black, Clearwater—the names of three of the most respected elders in La Push danced through his mind. Across from them sat their most direct descendants. Chances were that even Embry was closer to the council than Sam Uley, whose father had been kicked off in disgrace. That made them stronger, more powerful. Suddenly twelve to five didn't seem like great odds.

Jacob whispered something in Leah's ear and Sam watched as she smiled, the almost forgotten smile that had once been only for him. Her hands went to Jacob's hair, pushing a tiny piece just out of his eyes, the gesture so intimate that Sam had to look away.

Jacob cleared his throat and Sam knew the meeting was about to begin. Without complaint this time Embry shifted over to make room for Leah, who uncurled herself from the chair, locking eyes with Sam. He shivered involuntarily and she grinned. She knew him too well—she knew he knew he had lost already. Sam looked to the man in the chair who only smirked.

The time for speaking up was speeding past but Sam could not force the words out through his closed throat. It was his only chance but he could not make even himself obey.

Jacob leaned forward, his eyes far from the innocent orbs of a teenage boy:

"Let's get this show on the road. Is there anything you want to say first, Sam?"

There's no point, Sam wanted to say but couldn't. His sudden realization was much too overwhelming. He was a fool to think that Jacob's pack might join his at the end of the meeting. He would be lucky if he didn't call Jacob 'Alpha' as he slunk out.

To Be Continued...