Disclaimer: I don't own Twilight; this story was inspired by someone pointing out I write Seth and Nessie as an innocent couple, even though I always pictured them as secretly rather kinky. So expect the language to get progressively more adult.


He thought she looked like Edward.

When Seth thought about his Alpha's imprint at all, usually when Jake made them go to her birthday once every few months because having vampires and werewolves party together managed to annoy both Leah and the Cullens and Sam all at the same time, the only thought he had was that Nessie looked like her father.

Not that he thought about Nessie a lot, which might be why his thoughts about her were so simple. Why should Seth think about Nessie? Jacob thought about her enough for all the werewolves and, really, she was just a kid. Edward's little girl. She was the kid he smiled at and amused as best he could while he waited for Edward to get ready for wherever they were going. It was a little harder to make her smile than most people but not impossible so he didn't dwell on her long.

It was mostly the hair, red-brown, a distinctive bronze that was hard to miss. Jake said Nessie had Bella's eyes, but Seth didn't know what color eyes Nessie had and wouldn't have been able to remember what color Bella's eyes had been years before under torture.

But it wasn't just the hair. It was something in her face, a strange sort of Edward shadow. Seth's brothers took great delight in calling Edward's refinement girly and while Seth knew his brothers were idiots there was something sort of...delicate about Edward. It made Nessie a cute kid, if slightly on the scrawny side.

That was the full extent that he thought about her until he came back from school.

The Cullens paid for it—bribing his mother in the only way that would have worked. She never spoke a word against the Cold Ones after the fact and he got to spend four great years in Seattle. He wasn't smart, not like the Cullens or even some of his brothers, but Seth knew how to work hard and he was lucky enough to have really smart friends who were generous enough to help him out so he made it through all right.

He came home when the pack needed him, but he was so busy he rarely saw much of the Cullens who weren't Edward. After four years it was good to be back in La Push for good, good to actually spend time with his friends and family instead of rushing off to kill things. When Leah organized a party on the beach to celebrate his return he was happy for the excuse to spend time with everyone again.

Everyone came up to greet him with joyous shouts that didn't hide the fact that werewolf punches still hurt. Grinning, Seth hit back, glad to be home once more. He stupidly thought being home meant life would be simple.

When Jacob came to say hello Seth opened his mouth to wonder how Jake managed to kidnap a Sports Illustrated model when the hair tipped him off.

Oh.

She didn't look like Edward anymore.

Or maybe she still did and he was just too distracted by the un-Edward parts of her to notice. Despite what most of the pack liked to say, Seth couldn't remember thinking that way about Edward.

Nessie came over and hugged him; Seth instinctively looked at Jacob. Oh yeah. Despite being all of six Nessie looked well over eighteen and judging by the tired way Jacob was scowling at every guy on the beach she had looked that way for a while—and Seth wasn't the first to have noticed.

Not that it was a huge deal, having eyes. So what if she was insanely hot? All the vampires were good-looking and he was friends with them without any difficulty.

There were just two small problems.

The first was that Fate was out to get him. His sister might claim otherwise, but Fate didn't just hate Leah Clearwater. Anyone with the name Clearwater was fair game. Not only was Seth a werewolf with a dead father, but he regularly got to see his sister naked and hear thoughts by and about her that he would have gladly cut off most body parts to avoid hearing. Fate hated Seth.

It was Fate's fault he found himself alone with Edward's daughter at a wide variety of events all summer, left alone with her for hours at a time because the rest of the werewolves still called her half-dead when they thought she couldn't hear. All except for Jacob, who was always busy with something around La Push and would be as long for as the Elders could manage. They wouldn't have succeeded half so well if Jacob could have avoided pissing off Leah in an increasingly convoluted number of ways, but their Alpha couldn't seem to stop so Leah was on the Elders' side and Jake couldn't fight against both of them.

But it wouldn't have been a huge deal being around Jacob's imprint all summer except for problem two.

Nessie? She was sort of all kinds of awesome.

Even when she wasn't wearing that beautiful black string bikini she was gorgeous. But worse than that she was smart, like a mini-Einstein without the bad hair. She was funny in a sweet and vaguely sarcastic way. She was a little over-eager to try everything and even more over-eager to fix everything; it was so rare to find someone who was willing to look ridiculous as long as something got better that it was no wonder he was enchanted. Besides, she had a way of speaking that captured his attention completely and a smile that prevented him from thinking properly.

He figured out she had brown eyes, then couldn't stop trying to catch them. When he started seeing them every time he closed his eyes Seth knew he was in trouble.

It probably wasn't the best idea to keep hanging around her, but for the life of him Seth couldn't figure out a reason for stopping that wouldn't have gotten him immediately killed. So he just kept hanging out with Nessie and her quiet enthusiasm for everything and her crazy, idealistic schemes to make the world a better place and no one said anything at all—except for Embry, who just kept making the same old tired Edward jokes he had been making since the fight with Victoria.

Seth sometimes wished it was Edward he couldn't stop thinking about. Somehow, it would have been a lot easier—or at least a lot safer.

When the snow started to fall he went over to say hello to Edward (at least, that's what he told Quil when he asked) and found her home alone. She had come home for the weekend, but while her family had gone skiing over in Whistler she hadn't wanted to miss the election results. Her hair was hanging in long waves, but she tucked it behind her ear and invited him inside. Seth felt like he was supposed to say no, but looking at her standing in the doorway in sweatpants and a t-shirt that still made his mouth go dry he couldn't for the life of him recall why.

Crossing the threshold made his heart hammer just a little or maybe it was the way she kept glancing up at him through thick lashes or the way her hips swayed ever so gently as she lead the way to the couch.

Politics weren't really his thing, but she lit up when he asked her to explain it so it was worth it. Plus, it was kind of neat hearing about all these people and the way they could change his life. She got him so into it he started cheering each time the different results came in.

They got popcorn and he insisted on digging out the flags that Emmett had from some game or another and they sat in front of the television and somehow it was even more exciting than every sports game he had ever seen. Maybe because she seemed to be creeping closer to him and when the final count came in—the result she expected, naturally—she threw her arms around his neck.

Though she was half on his lap she didn't move away so he let himself brush the side of her hip and finger her thick hair. He could almost hear Leah lecturing him, but he couldn't have said why because he wasn't doing anything wrong even if she was Jacob's girl and had been since the day she was born the daughter of one of Seth's favorite people.

Hey, maybe Jake and Edward would get along when they both decided to come after him. That would be pretty awesome.

He tried not to be too disappointed that she crawled away from him. It helped that she gave him a shy sort of smile that made it hard to breathe. Then she spoke and it really helped.

"Do you—could you stay and watch a movie or something? I don't really want to be all by myself."

"Sure. You guys have Bad Moon?"

Of course they did. The Cullens were always prepared like that.

The movie turned out to be the worst and best idea ever. Nessie grew up surrounded by vampires. That she wouldn't like horror movies had never crossed Seth's mind. She spent most of the movie trembling under a blanket, curled right against him. As much as he liked having her close he would have turned the movie right off—except every time he tried to get up her fingers gripped his arm so tightly he couldn't move.

"We can't stop now," she protested.

"You don't even like it."

"So?"

"I've seen this a hundred times; I don't care if we finish it. Besides, you're cutting off the circulation in my arm so I'd rather we stop while I can still feel it."

"Wait," she cried, keeping him on the couch. "I already won't be able to sleep. I need to know how it ends now. And since you've seen it, you can tell me when not to look."

"Nessie..."

"Please, Seth? I need to know."

He sighed but gave in. Not because she smiled in gratitude and rested her cheek against his shoulder, but because he was pretty sure she would watch the rest of it without him and then never sleep again if she didn't get her way. While his brothers had a tendency to exaggerate he couldn't help believing them that Nessie had been a tiny bit spoiled her whole life.

At least she exhaled properly when the movie was over.

"Please don't leave," she all but begged. "I—I can't stay here all alone tonight after that."

"Of course." Her brown eyes were huge in her white face and her voice shook. Her request was innocent even if Seth was pretty sure his intentions weren't. Now if only he could think of something that would calm her down. "You wanna play board games or something?"

Leah was never going to let him live that one down. But being a dork seemed to work for him because she nodded slowly even if she was looking at him like he was a little slow.

"Okay. There's a bunch in closet. You pick one. I'm just going to go put on pajamas, okay?"

If Seth had believed in Edward's hell he would have started worrying about his immortal soul. As it was he started worrying about his mortal life because when he nodded he knew Edward was going to kill him when he got back.

Still would have been worth it.

Her pyjama shorts were ridiculously sexy (thank you, Alice) and the tank she was wearing was so low cut it was no wonder she destroyed him at Monopoly. Well, she would have beaten him anyway, because Nessie was a real estate mogul in the making, but while he was never very good at concentrating he was doing poorly even by his own standards.

"So that's how many thousand you owe me?" she asked, still calculating the interest. Maybe he would have cared she was trouncing him—probably not—but the grin on her face made losing the best thing he had done all night. And he was kind of distracted by the way she kept putting the pencil in her mouth.

"I can't count that high."

"Don't give up, Seth."

"I won't. Don't worry; you'll have the satisfaction of completely ruining me soon enough."

"You could still win."

"No...I'm pretty sure I can't. Not unless you let me pay off my mountain of debt some other way."

"I'm open to suggestions," she said. Her voice was so low he almost couldn't hear her—that's why he had to lean closer, just to hear her. And if he was getting lost in her eyes that was because... they were the most beautiful eyes he had ever seen.

"What do you want?" he asked.

Her cheeks were pink, suddenly, as she dropped her gaze. What exactly what he doing? She was still his friend and he shouldn't be making her uncomfortable even if she had invaded his brain.

"Hey, you want me to make you the best three o'clock in the morning omelet you've ever had in your life?"

"What?" But she was giggling, comfortable again.

"Seriously. I make kickass early morning omelets. You can ask any of the guys. There's nothing better after a late patrol."

"Um...okay. As long as I don't have to do anything."

"Oh, three AM omelets are communal efforts. You have to help."

He pulled her to her feet (and he was not looking at her ridiculously thin shirt, he wasn't) and then headed to the kitchen where he finally realized he probably should let go of her hand.

"Okay. You turn on some music and I will raid your fridge."

"Sounds like a plan."

The Cullen kitchen was huge, but he knew his way around well enough. Esme always made sure to make the werewolves something when they came over and his mother never would have forgiven him if he hadn't offered to help Mrs Cullen sometimes. Considering she couldn't eat she was a pretty awesome cook. And great at keeping the fridge stocked with a wide assortment of food.

After putting on something classical that he never would have been able to identify, Nessie dutifully accepted the knife he handed to her and began chopping. "Are you really going to put all this stuff in?"

"Yeah." Her mouth opened, but nothing really came out. "What?"

"Are you going to make me eat all this?"

"Half. You'll love it."

"I don't think I can name all these vegetables, let alone eat them at the same time."

"Are you mocking the omelet?"

"No." The pink returned to her cheeks, but her smile was mischievous. "Maybe a little."

"Ouch. Just for that, I might not share."

"Oh no. Anything but that."

"Now you're getting sarcastic on me? You're just asking for trouble."

"I know." And he was pretty sure he was having trouble breathing because she was standing beside him, her beautiful hair brushing against his arm. "So what are you doing while I chop up every vegetable and lunchmeat known to mankind?"

"I beat the eggs together with just the right touch of milk."

"Don't use the whole dozen," she instructed. "We can make breakfast, too. Or, you could. And I'll watch."

"Slave labor, huh?"

"Indentured servitude," she corrected. "You're working off your debt, remember?"

And he was going to burn his omelet (and maybe the whole house down) if she didn't stop touching his arm like that and smiling up at him like she knew...everything.

"Sure."

With her help, he managed a decent enough omelet. Nessie even agreed to consider letting him out of his life of servitude after she had a bite—she expected it to be disgusting, but she willingly ate as much as she could and even changed her mind about liking it. She was so open to everything. She was even the one who suggested they try to make pancakes.

"I need a recipe," he cautioned her. "Leah usually does them."

"Esme has one around here somewhere. If you think you can handle it."

Somewhere after four he had started thinking she was flirting with him; he really should have gone to bed, but he wasn't going to leave, not when she kept smiling like that. All he did was stand up to prepare for battle.

"Bring on the pancakes."

She got out the recipe and helped him get out the ingredients, but pulled herself up on the counter when it came to mixing them together.

"Don't you want to help?" he asked, already knowing the answer was no. She hated doing anything less that perfectly.

"Chopping was the extent of my culinary skills. Mixing is all on you. I can read off the recipe for you?"

"Fine," he shrugged. He was pretty sure she was reading it backwards—Leah always started with the flour and ended with the wet ingredients—but he followed her instructions. As best he could with her leg on the counter beside him, anyways.

It was because he was trying not to touch her smooth skin that he wasn't really watching the flour as it came out of the bag. The cloud of flour dust that enveloped him reminded him why you weren't supposed to cook while distracted.

"Was that supposed to happen?" she asked, giggling like she didn't mind getting half covered in flour.

"All part of my master plan," he assured her. Then, just because he could, he put his hands in the bowl and tossed some of the mixture on her. Her shriek was totally worth it.

"Not funny," she assured him, grabbing his wrist, pulling him to her. "Not funny at all."

"You look good all dusty," he told her. He wasn't lying. Even with the flour all over her she looked incredible. Especially the way she was laughing and trying to pretend she wasn't, her eyes sparkling.

"Let's see how you look covered in egg."

He froze, suddenly aware of the egg she held above his head, silently threatening to crack it on top of him. The pause made him aware of a few other things, all of a sudden, like how he was standing in between her legs and how she was holding his wrist so that his hand was resting on her bare leg. She was as soft as she looked. He was also suddenly aware of how quiet it had gotten and the way he was just staring at her. And the way she was just staring at him.

The smile was gone from her face, replaced by a look he didn't really understand. All he knew was that he probably couldn't have moved even if he wanted to. Which he didn't. At all. Ever.

"Seth?"

"Yeah?"

Somehow he drifted closer to her. Her hand released his wrist, her fingers gently running over his arm. Once free, his hand settled around her waist of its own accord. And he was still staring at her, his heart hammering, their faces so close he could feel her breath on his face.

"Kiss me?"

"Yeah."

Maybe he could have pretended he was just being a good friend, doing what she asked, but it would have been a waste of breath to lie like that. He wasn't kissing her like she was a friend, or Edward's daughter, or Jacob's girl, just like she was Nessie and amazing and incredible and the sexiest woman he had ever met.

Everything in the world seemed to have gone quiet (which was quite a feat when you had werewolf hearing) except for the sound of her heart and their uneven breathing. Her lips were soft against his, her body trembling in his arms, but all he could think about was how warm she was. He had never felt anyone so warm before and it was kind of addictive.

But then, that shouldn't have been a surprise because everything about Nessie was addictive, from the quiet way she giggled to the way she had to explain everything (sometimes with flashcards!) to the way she insisted on living up to everyone's impossible expectations. Seth mentally added the way she kissed to his list of things that Nessie was amazing at before he moved on to more important matters.

She gasped a little, when he deepened the kiss, but she recovered quickly, responding with her customary enthusiasm. The heat of her was spreading through him, like a warm bath he could have stayed in forever. Even the tight grip she had on his arm loosened; the longer he kissed her the more she relaxed. But no sooner had he thought things couldn't get better than they were at that moment then she pushed her body closer and then all he could think about was how badly he needed her legs around him. Now.

Then he felt something sticky and wet against the back of his head.

"Oh my god," Nessie whispered as he pulled away to figure out what the hell had happened. "I am so sorry. I didn't—oh my god."

"I have egg running down my back?" he guessed.

"I forgot I was holding it." He wasn't sure if she was about to cry or about to burst out laughing—probably both. There was really only one thing to do in this sort of situation. Well, besides throwing eggs back at her, because she was too adorable to throw things at.

He started laughing.

"Stop it," she chided, cheeks flaming red. "I'm sorry, okay?"

"Nessie, you can dump as many eggs on me as you want as long as I get to kiss you after."

She considered that for a moment. "Well, we do have four more left."

Then they were both laughing together though she couldn't stop looking embarrassed. When he could finally look at her without cracking up (after he dried up the tears that had started to come) she came up with a plan.

"Stay," she ordered, crawling along the counter to the sink. He did as she said—he wasn't going to complain about the view. Those shorts were wonderfully short. Washing her hands quickly, she wet a cloth then turned her head to glance back at him; there was such a look of knowing in her eyes that for the first time all night Seth wondered exactly how much she had planned ahead of time.

Everything, probably, knowing her. Not that he was complaining.

"Take off your shirt and turn around," she instructed so he did. The shirt would have to be washed, no question, so he dumped it on one of the chairs. Then he went and leaned his back against the counter. Her knees were on either side of his waist—and how could she have hot knees? It shouldn't have been possible—as she wiped the yolk off his back. "You should probably take a shower or something. It's sort of stuck in your hair."

"It's fine." He was not taking a shower in the Cullen house when she was the only one around. He might have been a werewolf, but he was still only human. Not that she cared about how she was torturing him. She couldn't help the way she smelt—like apple lollipops and her—but she was running gentle hands over his back like she didn't think he would notice even though it was all he could think about. Then she kissed him ever-so-lightly on the shoulder blade.

"I did the best I could. I'm sorry."

"Stop apologizing," he said as he turned around. There were still traces of flour in her hair, but she was still painfully beautiful. "I don't care, okay?"

Not that he gave her time to answer because it was just too tempting having her sitting so close, her pink mouth looking so kissable even as she tried to apologize one more time.

This time she had both hands free and seemed quite eager to make use of them. Somehow she was getting them closer than he had thought possible, her soft body pressed against him. One of his hands was trapped in her hair—he never wanted to stop touching her hair—but the other followed her lead, not staying around her neck or waist where it probably should have, but traveling to those perfect shorts. He stopped having to bend down as much, because she rose off the counter when he grabbed her, mouth crashing upwards, making the most beautiful sound he had ever heard.

But when she pushed against his chest, ever so gently, he backed off, opening his mouth to apologize. He hadn't meant to get that caught up in her, though she didn't let him explain, the smirk on her face stopping all his thoughts. Possibly permanently.

Looking up at him through her lashes, she slipped off the counter, pressing herself against him, her hands running down his chest. What was he choking on? His mouth was a desert and he was pretty sure he had stopped breathing, so how could he possibly be choking? It was one of life's great unsolvable mysteries.

"Coming?" she beckoned, tugging on his arm.

"You don't want your pancakes?"

And the award for stupidest comment ever...

Nessie didn't seem to mind since she just kept smiling up at him. "Not really."

"Okay then."

Staring at her as she walked ahead almost caused him to walk into the wall at some point, but he survived, even if he just fell on the couch instead of sitting elegantly. None of that mattered since Nessie was quick to straddle him and her ridiculously thin tank top was not hiding anything at all.

She crashed their mouths together again while he slid his hands just under her shirt, to the small of her back, to the curve of her waist, to her smooth stomach. If the rest of her was this soft...well, he was already pretty screwed, actually, but this cinched it.

As distracted as getting to touch her was, he also managed to enjoy how the sounds she was making—she was trying to say his name, but she couldn't manage the whole thing—were the most perfect thing ever. Then he had to take it back because her hands went to the hem of her shirt and suddenly it was on the floor and she was bare from the waist up and his brain just kind of gave up.

Possibly he died. He was a little hazy on the details.

If it had been completely up to him he would have just stared at her for a long while, because she was absolutely perfect, but her mouth was on his, kissing him deeply, whimpering into him when his hands took the opportunity to further their exploration of her.

But when he nuzzled her collar bone on his way down, he felt her freeze in his arms for half a second. It was so quick a human wouldn't have been able to see, but he was so in tune with her body just then she might as well have slapped him. Damn.

"You need to tell me when to stop," he whispered against her skin. Because curiosity wasn't enough, anymore.

She pulled away, just a bit, so their noses were still touching, so that maybe they could have coherent thoughts. There was the tiniest hint of frown on her forehead even if he was more interested in watching the way her chest rose and fell as she struggled for air.

"Do you want to stop?"

He tried not to laugh, he really did, then hurried to fix the hurt in her eyes by telling the truth. The truth usually worked for him.

"I just don't want us to do anything you're not going happy with later. Even if you do smell...I don't even know. Just...amazing."

She went bright red. "Oh."

"Yeah."

"I don't want you to stop," she admitted, her eyes pleading. She really was the most adorable thing. "But I...I don't...what are we doing?"

"We should talk about this." Duh—he probably should have said that about thirty minutes ago.

Nessie seemed to have come to the same conclusion because the blood was draining from her face. "Okay. Could—please start?"

"Sure. Just get off my lap first?"

"Why?" she asked. While the look on her face was passably innocent, the way she tightened her thighs around him was anything but—she knew what he was talking about, clearly.

"I thought you wanted to talk."

"I do."

"If you want me to say anything that isn't about how incredibly hot you are, you're going to have to not be on my lap."

"Fine," she pouted, crawling off him, not bothering to care about how dangerously high her shorts had ridden up. She grabbed her shirt while she went, but didn't put it back on he was selfishly glad to see. Instead, she wrapped it around her before facing him on the couch, arms crossed over her makeshift covering, lower lip out. "This okay?"

"You're such a brat."

She was too cute not to laugh at.

"Shut up." Slowly the smile faded from her face.

He took this as his cue to start talking.

"I didn't expect anything like this to happen. I'm not sorry it did—probably one of the cooler things that has ever happened to me, actually. But I didn't come here for this. Though it's not...I like you, Nessie. And I want us to be...well, us, I guess. Did that make any sense?"

"You like me?"

"I really like you."

"Thank you." Her cheeks were a little pink. "I was hoping you did. Well, I knew you didn't mind spending time with me, but I was hoping it wasn't just because of my dad."

Shit. "I forgot about Edward."

"Lucky you. Daddy won't like this."

But Seth's brain was working again. Despite the pack's opinion, he had always known Edward was awesome. There was one thing, however, his brothers were right about when it came to Edward Cullen—whipped didn't begin to cover how he would do absolutely anything for the women in his life. Edward was the sort of guy who wouldn't kill you for thinking his daughter was wonderful even if he would sigh melodramatically and close his eyes. Edward might rant and rave, but one smile on his daughter's face and he would quickly change his mind.

"You happy about it?"

"Of course."

"Then Edward will get over it."

"I don't want to ruin anything between—"

"You won't. Your Dad's really cool, Nessie. He'll be okay."

Seth was pretty sure he was telling the truth. Edward wouldn't kill him.

"What about Jake?"

She sighed, hitting the pillow beside her. "What about Jacob?"

"You're kind of his whole world. And...if he asks me stay away from you, I'm going to listen." He wasn't going to lie to her because wonderful as she was Jacob was his friend. He couldn't hurt his friend. "If he thinks this is some kind of betrayal then I have to stop."

"I know. He won't ask though. Not when I ask him not to. He always does what I say." She sighed. "Not matter what he does what I tell him. I can't imagine this would be any different. He might even be grateful. This way he won't have to pretend he isn't staring at my mother when he thinks no one's looking."

"It's not like that," Seth had to say. Loyalty to his Alpha was far too ingrained. "He cares about you."

"I know. But you do, too, don't you?"

She looked so scared, so hopeful and vulnerable that he had to lean towards her.

"Yeah, I do."

"Good." She bit her lip and pressed closer, wrapping her arms around his neck. "I do, too. I mean, I like you, too. Not that I like me. Though I like me, too."

"I got it," he assured her.

"Really? Because I'm not sure it would be possible for me to be less coherent."

He kissed her again, laughing at her expression.

"What?"

"I like you. And I really like it when you whip out those three syllable words."

"Really? Because I know an infinite number." Seth pressed kisses along her jaw as she murmured, "Prodigious. Ecstatic. Perfection. Phenomen—oops."

The syllables ended up trapped when their lips met yet again. And somehow he ended up on top of her and she was so soft and warm underneath him. Edward, he tried to remind himself, as they pulled her shirt out of the way again so the only thing covering her were those ridiculously small shorts. Jacob, he tried to recall as her legs wrapped around his waist and the smell of her was absolutely everywhere. Nessie, he thought as she kissed him deeply. Nessie.

"They'll be able to tell, won't they?" she whispered, her hands stilling. "They'll be able to smell...us. If we—or we—and especially if you—?"

And the part of Seth that needed her to keep touching him ever so gently really hated the words coming out of her mouth. Unfortunately, he had to agree: "Yeah. They'll be able to tell."

"Then we can't before we tell them," she announced. Her face shifted, worry creeping in. "I don't want you to get hurt."

Since that was inevitable (all pack interactions required some level of violence) he just sighed. And kissed her. At least he got to keep kissing her. That was nice. And the worry on her face was nice, too, even if he told her she didn't have to be concerned.

Then she looked up at him through her long lashes, whispering, "Even though you can't...otherwise they'll all know, you could...help me. That way they'll only really smell me."

"I am not getting you off before I have to face your father. Who can read minds."

"Don't you want him to think you can take good care of me?" she asked as she wrapped her arms around him and nuzzled his neck.

He burst out laughing, shifting so he was leaning on his side on the couch and not on her. It helped him think, a little.

"I would be fine if Edward never had that conversation with me. We're just going to have to suffer together."

"So you're just going to leave me like this?" She even managed some crocodile tears. Not that he was watching her face so much as her hips grinding away at the air. It was tempting—all he had to do was reach over and—

Edward and Jacob would actually decapitate him. They would give their permission reluctantly, on the best of days (why did he need their permission? Too bad she wouldn't like it if they didn't have it). If he asked them after having already gotten to touch her they would kill him. Happily.

"Yes," he groaned. "Now stop squirming."

"But I don't want to."

"Fine. I hope you like dating a corpse."

She stuck out her tongue; he stuck out his back. Then she curled against him and he noticed for the first time how much smaller she really was. She was so perfect. He couldn't help stroking her face and he definitely couldn't help the way he felt about her.

"I don't like you very much right now," she muttered against his chest, clinging to him tightly. Then she smiled and he understood why the whole world was basically willing to die for her. He told her so and she laughed and blushed and asked what they were supposed to do now. There weren't that many options, but there were still some good ones left.

When he got her talking, the conversation was totally amazing because they were talking about everything and everyone that popped into her head and she really did have a big head because she was pretty much talking about everything, ever. He couldn't believe it, especially when she still acted interested in what he had to say even though she knew everything.

"Don't be silly," she chided him, kissing him gently. "No one can know everything."

"But you're going to try, aren't you?"

He was half-asleep (and finally a bit more relaxed), but it was nice having her tucked against him. The most comfortable place he'd ever been in.

"Yes. It doesn't hurt to try."

He laughed quietly and she just watched him, her brown eyes so warm he couldn't stop smiling. Thank god he hadn't had a reason to leave La Push. Maybe reading minds was inheritable, because she seemed to understand. Her lips were on his again, telling him how glad she was that he was here.

"What was that?"

"What?" she asked, eyes wide, following him as he sat up. "I don't hear—"

"Jacob's coming up the porch."

Seth would know his footsteps anywhere.

Why would Jacob be here this early?

"Your shirt," she whispered.

That was nothing. The real problem was, "He's going to smell you."

"Stall," she mouthed (not daring to say the word out loud) before grabbing her shirt and disappearing from the room. It helped, a bit. Since he was kind of hooked on the scent of her he could still pick it up, but it wouldn't be that noticeable. Until Jacob insisted on seeing her at which point it would be obvious. Not that he didn't smell a bit like her, but hopefully Jacob wouldn't be expecting it and so wouldn't notice. Or he would do what the pack always did and suggest Seth was hanging around Edward too much.

Then he went to open the door to Jacob's persistent knocking.

"Hey."

"Hey," Jacob replied. He looked a little surprised, but shirtless werewolves around the Cullen house weren't that out of the ordinary. "What are you doing here?"

"Did you know she doesn't like horror movies?"

"Yes." Of course. Jacob knew everything about her. "I can't believe they didn't stop you."

"She said she wanted to watch it." Seth finally caught a glimpse of a clock. How did it get to be nine o'clock in the morning?

"She does weird things like that. But the rest of them know better."

"They went skiing."

Jacob's eyebrows shot up, but he didn't say anything. "Where is she?"

"Don't know," Seth admitted. At least that was the complete and honest truth. "I...I'm really tired. The couch looks more comfortable than it is."

"Since when is there a place you can't sleep?"

While Seth was pretty sure he was never going to be able to sleep anyplace that had a half-naked Nessie present, he didn't actually share that information with Jacob. Somehow, he didn't think it would go over well at nine in the morning.

"I was just too keyed up last night, I guess."

"What did you watch?"

"Bad Moon."

Jacob winced. "No wonder you couldn't sleep. Nessie must have been in hysterics. I hope you got her to bed okay."

As fun as that sounded...

"She found other ways to cope."

"She's pretty resourceful," Jacob said proudly as Seth worked desperately not to laugh. Jacob's next comment made it pretty easy to stop.

"Do you smell that?"

Shit. But not for the reason he expected. "That's smoke. Kitchen?"

Jacob was already off running. Seth tore after him, a little slower than he normally would have. He wasn't sure what he would find in the kitchen and he wasn't exactly eager to find out what Nessie had cooked up.

But apparently it was pancakes.

"Jacob?" Her smile lit up the room, even as she continued fanning the smoke away from her. Somehow, she had managed to make her shorts longer and to grab a sweater Jacob had once left for her. He wasn't exactly sure how she did that, but he was impressed by her ability to fix everything. "When did you get here?"

"Just now. Do you have a fire extinguisher?"

"Nothing's on fire," she assured them both. "I just...I thought I had to wait until it was cooked."

"You have to flip it," Seth added helpfully.

"Oh."

He was pretty sure she hadn't even meant to do that.

"Let me," Jacob insisted, taking the pan out of her hand. Even though he was standing right beside her, he didn't notice anything amiss. Even though there was still the smallest traces of flour on her hair. "Since when do you cook?"

"I wanted to thank Seth for staying over last night. He made us an omelet—even wrecked his shirt. I thought pancakes would be a nice trade."

Jacob was gazing at her with a small smile that said she was the most wonderful thing he had ever seen, which made Seth feel horribly guilty. The blush on her face made him think she felt the same way. Or maybe she just enjoyed the attention. She was Jacob's imprint, after all. They belonged together.

Then she glanced over and Seth couldn't really bring himself to care. Fate might hate him, but there was nothing he could do about that. He was so screwed because Jacob's girl or not, he was so into her.

"If you want to take over, I should clean up," she said, returning Jacob's smile.

"I can help," Seth offered and she gave him the tiniest of nods.

So the three of them had breakfast together, hanging out like it was any other day. The pancakes were awful (they were too dry) but Jacob and Nessie pretended they weren't and Seth was glad she hadn't finished all of her omelet last night. Everything was almost like normal, except her foot was slowly creeping up Seth's leg. Would he have to tell Jacob on the way home? Probably. There was no way he was going to be able to control his thoughts. It was shame. He had been hoping to just talk it out when Nessie wasn't around—it was sure to get violent and he didn't want her to see Jacob when he went militant Alpha and beat the everlasting shit out of his subordinate. At least after that they'd be okay.

"How did you save my pancakes?" she asked Jacob, eventually.

"I'm just that good," he assured her, modest as always.

"All he can do is flip them," Seth told her. "He needs Embry or Leah to make the batter."

"Shut up. You're ruining my mystique."

"Don't worry, Jacob," she said with a grin. "You're still my pancake cooking hero."

Seth really didn't need her to reassure him, especially not with her hand on his thigh. Forcing his voice steady, he asked: "Do you have more syrup?"

"Sure." Her eyes were sparkling—he was so getting her back for this. She practically skipped to the fridge and it was not necessary to wiggle quite so much when she walked. Not that thinking that helped him take his eyes off her ass.

Fortunately, Jacob had the same problem.

When she turned around it was Jacob who struggled to come up with a diversion of sorts. Seth helped him out: "I have patrol today?"

"Yeah, if you don't mind. Quil wanted the day off."

"Cool. And you?"

"You wanna go for a hunt, Nessie?"

"I'm actually kind of tired today, Jacob. And I need—there's something I want to talk to my father about, actually. Sorry."

"Fine," he shrugged, not really hiding the disappointment. "We can go another day."

"Yeah."

Seth opened his mouth to say something else, but for the second time that morning an unwelcome sound reached his ears. "Your family's back."

"Oh."

"Way to sound excited there, Nessie," Jacob teased.

"I'm glad they're back," she hurried to say. She was fidgeting with her hair, knocking the last of the flour from it. "I just thought they'd be home later."

She was thinking something to her father, he was sure. He did his best to think of nothing at all, except maybe about the pancakes and the fun the Cullens must have had (and not about all the different ways the eight of them, plus Jacob, knew how to kill him).

"Mommy," Nessie cried, rushing to greet Bella. "You're home early."

Her family passed her around the way they usually did, eventually depositing her in Rosalie's arms, where her aunt cooed: "We missed you so much."

"And the snow was crap," Emmett complained.

The rest of the family chimed in, talking about the lousy conditions, even if the chalet was gorgeous. Most of the family. Edward was staring at his daughter, a little bit. Then he turned to Seth and slowly raised an eyebrow. The werewolf could only shrug.

Sorry. She's just...too awesome.

Edward's frown deepened, but he didn't kill anyone immediately, so Seth figured he'd at least wait until Nessie explained. That was good.

"I should go," he announced soon after. "Thanks for letting me stay."

"Thanks for staying," Nessie replied, though she kept her eyes on the floor. It wasn't quite enough to fool Jasper, who was now looking at Edward curiously, but Seth was still breathing and he clung to that.

He headed out the door, close enough to smell the cold fresh air, but his name was called, freezing him in the doorway. Carlisle was too quick.

"My wife says we can't let you leave like that."

"What?"

Esme had fled the room as he tried to figure out was going on. Jacob was laughing. "He's just going to phase anyway."

But then Esme was back, holding out one of Emmett's shirts.

"Thanks, Esme. You're the best."

"We wouldn't want you to get sick now."

"Promise I won't."

Only Esme and Nessie were really paying attention to him, anymore. The rest of the Cullens were disappearing to their separate rooms, except for Bella and Edward, who were deep in conversation with Jacob (well, Edward was pretending to be deep in conversation while he stared at his daughter). Seth had forgotten how polite Esme always was, following him to the door, making sure that every second he was in her home he was looked after.

The awesomeness that was Esme Cullen extended all the way to waiting at the door of the house while Nessie followed him out to the steps. Even though he was down a step, he still had to look down to look her in the eye. There was snow on the ground and she had to be freezing with her legs bared to the cold. That's why he wrapped his arms around her, one more time.

"We should wait until I talk to Dad," she whispered in his ear, even as her hand clutched at Emmett's shirt and she leaned closer.

Maybe Esme could hear, maybe she couldn't. Nessie was slight, but maybe her hair would make what he was going to do a little less obvious. Because he had to kiss her goodbye, just in case everyone really over-reacted later on and it was his last chance.

"Promise your family won't kill me?" he whispered.

All she did was smile.

"Live dangerously."

It was just a brief goodbye kiss, a gentle brush of lips, something to prove to himself that this hadn't all been some kind of strange dream. Her lips were warm, despite the cold. When he pulled away her she was smiling again, in that way that made it hard to care about what might happen later.

And yeah, it had been a whole lot easier when she was this kind of abstract doll with Edward's hair, but right that second Seth didn't care that it might just get his head ripped off. As she waved goodbye from her front porch her brown eyes were sparkling, her red-brown hair was kind of a mess and she was like no one he had ever seen.

And she was so totally worth it.