She stretched her body lazily, sleep-crusted eyes opening into a squint. The sun was shining, bright in her eyes, and it was a rare occurance. When the sun stopped burning she turned her face towards it, a smile - an even rarer thing that the sun, her mother always said - slipping onto her face.
She was wearing her people skin, fur held tightly inside of her, a deep, dark secret that only a few could know. She could feel the wolf in the back of her mind, quiet but watching, reassuring. Leah sighed through her nose and laid back down in the rain damp grass.
Instead of the ground, her head landed on a sturdy, muscular arm. She turned her face to a familiar shoulder, took in a familiar smell. Her companion rolled, a second arm sliding hot and heavy across her waist. Leah felt as if he'd been holding her forever.
The wolf, in the back of her mind, quietly murmured that he had. Leah mumbled a bored, "Yeah, yeah", and Sam perked up beside her.
"Who you talking to Lee-Lee?" His own voice was rough, scratchy from so much howling and a good night of sleep. It was rare that either of them slept the night through, but there, together. Well, anything was possible.
"No one. Myself. Does it matter?"
"No." His lips brushed her neck before he pulled away and stood. He was naked from the night before, having never bothered to put pants on after becoming himself again.
Watching him so confident in himself in that moment, sent something crawling inside of Leah. A sneer curled her lip upwards and a quiet, mocking, "Does Emily know you're here?" Slipped from her lips.
Sam was quiet for a long moment, and Leah relaxed, taking the time to watch him. He was standing a few feet away, arms crossed loosely over his chest. He didn't look defensive - he looked contemplative. Thoughtful. He didn't look worried.
She watched a forgotten feather from a passing bird, fluttering lightly on the breeze. It brushed against his arm, and his fingers - strong fingers, fingers that could crush, could kill, yet somehow always remained gentle - plucked lightly at the base. He shifted his weight, looked down at the feather in his finger tips. Twirled it as the sun slipped through the trees, carressed his body in ways that only Leah and mother nature could.
His lips parted and he released a small sigh, before smiling. "No. She doesn't know I'm here." He was walking back towards Leah, crouching at her head, stroking her hair out of her face.
"So what did you tell her?" His free hand laced with one of hers, settled on her collarbone. Between her heart and her neck, because she wasn't his wolf, wasn't his mate. He didn't have a right to either of those places.
"Nothing. Just that I was going out. She doesn't need to know everything." He was still speaking quietly, voice barely a whisper. She could hear him perfectly, and they had nothing to be quiet about, but it was just...better that way.
"She wants to know everything." Leah wasn't mocking any longer, she wasn't complaining. She was just talking, and it was nice, it was new.
"She'll never know everything." Sam spoke with conviction, eyes hard.
"She wants you." Leah's voice dropped, a quiet rumble. Carefully blank, emotionless, not giving anything away.
Her body language told Sam everything. He raised their hands so he could kiss hers. "I'm trying, Leah. I really am."
He didn't elaborate, and she knew better to ask. Instead they both dressed and went two seperate ways, to two seperate homes.
Leah went home to a brother that was oblivious and a mother that knew more than she said. She went home to love, but to loneliness, and to freshly baked cookies.
Sam went home to a woman that clung, that pressed her lips to his no matter how unmoving he remained. He went home to bills, to a broken fridge, to a creaking door. He went home to loneliness, and he couldn't help but think this doesn't feel right. Why doesn't this feel right?
"You said imprinting was rare and that we didn't know everything about it." He sounded conversational as he walked behind Billy, gently pushing the elder down the road. Jake was no where to be found, and Billy was a proud man. He needed to get to the store, but he'd never have asked. Sam offered. His own motives aside, Billy was a mostly good man.
Billy said nothing, choosing to instead turn his head, to peer over his shoulder. The questions were in his eyes, but he never voiced them.
"We never expected a girl to phase." The streets were mostly empty to Sam was blunt. No sneaking around topics. "But Leah phased. We don't know everything about us. Does the wolf always have to bend to the will of the imprint?"
"That's how it's always been done." Billy's voice was like ice, cold and dismissive. Unwelcoming. He didn't like where the conversation was heading.
"But that doesn't mean that's how it always has to be. Jake," He felt bad for not feeling bad when Billy flinched at his sons name, "Jake split the packs into two. That's not how it was always done. Leah phased. That's apparently never happened before."
"Sam." Billy was interupting, hands closing around the wheels on his chair. Sam backed away, took it as a dismissal. Billy didn't want his help. "Son, you and Jacob have broken too many traditions already. What is this about?"
Sam was still backing away, but his eyes never left Billy's. "I don't think I should be unhappy for the rest of my life. It's bad enough I turned into a monster, Billy. Why should I have to suffer with someone I don't love?"
Before Billy could respond, Sam was gone. He wheeled himself to Sue Clearwater's store, watched Leah work with dark eyes. It was her fault. She wasn't normal, wasn't right. A female wolf, an abomination. She was tearing them apart. She had killed her father. Leah wasn't right.
In the distance, a wolf howled it's sorrow.
She had just come in from patrol, and it was sort of amazingly sweet how her mother was sitting up. It was three in the morning, yet there Sue was at the kitchen table. A cup of tea in one hand, a small pot in the middle. There were cookies, no longer fresh from the oven, but delicious all the same.
She sat across from her mother, neither of them speaking. She wasn't a tea drinker, not usually, but she poured herself a cup anyway. They sat, listened to the rain, until exhaustion won and Leah pressed a kiss to her mothers forehead.
"Goodnight." She murmured, slinking towards her room.
"I love you." Sue added.
Leah closed her door quietly, before flicking on her lights. She didn't know how she never smelt him before, and she blamed on the cookies, on the vampire that had broken borders that night. She stared at Sam, asleep in her bed, nose burrowed lightly into her pillow. The moonlight slipping through the clouds stroked across his bare torso, like the sun had done so many nights ago.
Her bed was small, too small for the two of them, so instead she crawled on top of him, settled her body over his. Without waking, his arms curled around her, steadied her. It was the second time in months that either of them had slept a full night, and it was together, it was perfect.
In the afternoon, once Sam was gone, Leah spent her time watching her mother, wondering just how much she knew.
She was under the kitchen sink, replacing a pipe. It had cracked and leaked, and Sue had nearly been beside herself with worry. They didn't have the money to hire a plumber. Leah felt her mother often forgot that her kids were both talented, and had friends who did good work. She had bought the pipe out of her own money, replaced it with her own hands.
She was nearly done when she heard the door crack open. Her nose filled with the scent of rain, mud, wolf, family, home. Her heart thumped a bit harder in her chest, and she blushed darkly in shame. He wasn't supposed to affect her like that.
Sam paused in the doorway to watch. It wasn't raining, but it was cloudy, and when the sun snuck through the clouds, he smiled. His eyes were better than a normal humans, and he took a moment to eye the dust particles floating in the air. It was surreal.
He could hear her heart beat pick up, could smell the blood rushing to her face. A smirk slipped onto his usually stoic face, and he began to slink forward. He squatted down at her feet, curled a hand around her ankle. His thumb lightly brushed the arch of her foot, and a chuckle was startled out of his throat when he toes spread, her foot wiggled. Leah always had been ticklish.
"I'm trying to work here." She was trying to sound angry, but she seemed more amused. Her free foot kicked him in the chest. His merely slid his hand up her leg, tickled at the inside of her thigh.
"Nothing stoping you from working Lee-Lee."
She hummed in quiet agreement, tossing the wrench back into her dads old tool box. Sam assumed she was done, grabbed her second ankle, and gave a big tug. Leah slid out from under the sink, legs splayed, stretched around his hips.
They both stopped breathing, if only for a moment.
"Sam, I -"
His hands left her ankles, grabbed her shoulders, pulled her up. Leah was sitting in his lap, and his mouth was on hers, and their bodies burned. Leah remembered a nameless boy that couldn't bare her heat, and Sam thought of Emily, who was always complaining about being too hot.
Leah thought of Sam, whose body worked the same as hers, and as kissing turned to something else...Sam thought of Leah, how perfect and beautiful she was, and of how much he loved her.
He went home that night, leaving Leah to her mother and Seth. He went to an empty house, and for the first time since he had imprinted, Sam didn't run to the Makah rez, didn't go and check on Emily. He listened to the message she left on the phone, and he was ashamed that he didn't feel any guilt.
He went to bed in their bed, tried to think of making love to Emily in that bed. Images of Leah took over his soul mates face, and Sam finished with his first loves name on his lips.
He was ashamed he didn't feel guilty, but more ashamed that he'd never had sex with Emily; that he didn't want to. An imprint was supposed to be what the imprintee wanted. For whatever reason, Sam couldn't be a man for Emily.
He wondered if perhaps he was broken.
The wolf stayed silent, his questions stayed unanswered.
Leah's body was a broken, tangled mass, and she was human again, bleeding into the soil. In his head the wolf raged, the wolf screamed. This was Jake's mistake, once more taking the wolves into a battle they shouldn't have to fight. These vampires weren't even at the reservation, they were up in Canada, but the wolves had gone because Nessie was in trouble.
If Sam were to be honest with himself, he'd say that his wolves had only gone because Leah had gone, and Sam would follow her to the end of the world and back, consequences be damned.
It wasn't supposed to be like this.
Jared and Paul were holding him back, keeping him away as Carlisle did everything he could to set Leah right. She was shattered.
No. Paul was reassuring him that no, Leah was strong and their bodies healed fast, if they could get her settled down, it would just take time. Time. For beings that could live forever, Sam didn't think that they had enough time.
Jared was quietly wondering how Sam left Emily behind so easily, because it was hell for him to leave Kim.
They set up camp in the middle of the woods, and it took three days, but eventually Leah could move again. Her ribs had been the hardest part to straighten out, and Sam hadn't slept since she had been hurt.
In the dead of night, under the watchful eyes of Edward Cullen, Sam and Leah slipped away, into the woods. They went back to La Push, back to home.
When Jacob woke up in the morning, four new voices filled his mind, filled him with confusion. He stared at Jared at Paul, at Collin and at Brady. He didn't feel Sam.
He didn't feel Leah.
Jacob had called, told Sue what was going on. That Sam and Leah were gone, headed somewhere. Sue had quietly informed him that they had come back home, to protect the rez, where Jake had left his people vulnerable. Where he had left his people alone, all to try and make a dead girl happy.
Sue was a loving, caring woman. She hung up on Jacob Black as he sputtered into the phone, trying to make excuses. She was a loving, caring woman, but there was only so much she could take.
Leah didn't get her temper from her father, that was for certain.
It was an accident - Emily coming, looking for Sam. She found him, naked and tangled in the sheets of the girl who had already had her heart broken once. Sam's hand was curled over Leah's heart, her own curved around the back of his neck. He had almost lost her, and in the moment where she flickered, nearly died, he had known. Known that Leah was right, because someone who made him feel so damn much couldn't be wrong.
Imprint magic be damned.
Emily knew she couldn't take Sam away from Leah, not for a second time. She grasped Sue's wrist as the woman watched her, face blank. "I had my chance." Her voice was soft, "I only want him to be happy. I had my chance, Sue."
Sue was silent, although the apology was written on her face. She pitied her niece, felt sorry for a girl who couldn't find happiness, not even with her soul mate.
"I saw you - with Leah. Together, in her bed." Emily was sitting on the porch when Sam came home that night.
He froze, a few feet away from her. He didn't deny it, didn't make excuses. And he didn't apologize. He said one word, one thing, and the weight behind the word told her. Told her that this was done, it was enough, that nothing was perfect, but he had found his perfection...and that it wasn't with her. "Emily."
"It's okay, Sam. Go."
She watched the love of her life, return to the love of his life. She remembered a time when she hated Sam, for what he had done to her face, but mostly, for what he had done to Leah. She remembered trying so hard to forgive him, to love him to - oh.
An imprinted wolf was supposed to be whoever the imprintee wanted. Sam wasn't what Emily wanted.
Sam was dressed in ripped jeans, mud covering him from his feet to his calves. His hands and forearms were caked with dried mud, and Leah was certain there was a pinecone stuck to his butt.
She also was certain she didn't look any better. A sweat stained white tank top, jean shorts. Her left thigh had a deep gash.
Sue shook her head and tossed out any idea of traditional, of white and black. Nothing was ever white or black.
Seth quietly whispered to his mother that Leah was a grey wolf. She had never been black or white, or white or black. She had always been a mix between the two.
Emily stood, her belly swollen with her first child, beside a man they had come to know well. He was skinny, not built, and only an inch or two taller than her. She was in love. She was Leah's maid of honor.
Seth gave his sister away, stood beside his mother as ancient words were murmured in prayer. Sam and Leah were married, and they were happy.
At the end of the night, Sam gave Emily one last kiss. His lips pressed to her ears, and with a thick voice - no he wasn't crying, he was a wolf, and they did not cry about stuff like this... - he whispered "thank you"