Epilogue: Our Happily Ever After
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Wolves at the end of the bed and a postcard hidden in her winter clothes
She'll weep in the back of a truck to the traitors only trying to find her bullet hole
and then run down a canopy road to some mother and a baby with a cross to bear
Wolves (Song of the shepherd's Dog) by Iron and Wine
. . . Two Years Later . . .
Living with a hoard of vampires had proven to be interesting, especially when the women were all instinctually maternal. Callie and Cody, now sixteen months old, were moving quickly from walking to running and were keeping everyone on their toes. Even Nessie who was looking more like an adult seemed to gravitate toward them.
Carlisle still wasn't sure if living among them would have the kids phasing at a young age. I'd been worried about it in the beginning, but even the legends had never really had kids phasing before the age of seven. I figured we could handle things like that when we came to it.
We were back to living on the huge property in Portland, it wasn't that far from La Push and it was a straight run up the one-oh-one if we felt the inclination to visit. The forest seemed a lot less sinister these days, most vampires stayed away from the area, if they needed to pass through we normally got a message from them beforehand.
Travis and I had married before the twins arrived, and I couldn't have been happier. He was everything I'd wanted and forgotten to ask for, and I was in love with our two kids. Callie was a lot like me, with blonde hair, brown eyes and olive colored skin, Cody was almost identical but with with my dark hair, and Travis' blue eyes. I hadn't thought that was possible, but it seemed nothing was impossible when it came to our genetics.
I hadn't forgotten my promise to Embry, who beside Rosalie and Emmett, had become a God Parent for the twins. He loved them to death and spent as much time as he could with them. I had set him up in my apartment and had the council exchange their scholarship to him. I'd loved school, I'd loved learning, but I was no longer interested in running away, so it only seemed fair that Embry should have his chance to live a life.
He'd been there a year when he finally met his imprint. I hadn't been sure it was going to happen, he'd found a friend to scratch his itch while he was there, but he never made my mistake and fell in love. He was happy with his arrangement, but I knew he was still wondering. He ended up taking my job with the rangers and it fit him, he was good at it.
He'd met Melissa when he'd taken a side job as a hiking guide. No one knew the forests like we did, which gave him an advantage. She was with her sister's family, they were visiting from New Mexico, and from the moment he laid eyes on her he was hers. There was no way she could ever resist him, he was charming and handsome to begin with, but with an imprint, his charm was tenfold, and no woman could ever go up against that.
Then there was Zach. He had married Alison the previous Summer, he held it in the Cullen's yard simply to upstage his parents. When they saw the size of the place you could almost see the cogs in their brain churning, being one of the most influential families in Seattle it seemed they refused to be upstaged. Even by a family in Portland. They started renovations on their home no less than a week later. Zach had moved on from trying to gain their approval to making them feel small and insignificant, but I don't think they actually took the time to notice.
Poor Alison was now in the predicament I'd been in and was about to pop with the twins she was carrying. She really was tiny, and with the baby bump protruding in front of her, she looked as though she was about to topple over.
Life had fallen into an calm peacefulness. All of the pieces that had been assorted and not the right size, now seemed to fit together easily. Even La Push seemed to thriving with the new houses in place. Alice and Esme had spent almost a full month bossing around every supernatural being within their grasp. The houses they'd made up came out looking like small cottages, sans the thatched roofs. They looked more suited to an English garden than off the coast of the Pacific ocean, but it worked. Alice had said it was aesthetically pleasing to the eye which was why people were so enticed by it.
With the threat of vampires was minimal as it was, my life was taken up by my family and extended family. I'd always thought I'd be bored with it, but I actually found myself enjoying the calm. It made it easier to take in everything I'd gained. Including my vampire family.
"How did you do it, Leah?" Alison asked as I helped her into the porch swing.
"Do what?" I asked thoughtfully, handing her her drink before falling onto the swing next to her.
"Carry twins, blend in with vampires, and make it look so easy?"
"It wasn't without it's ups and downs, Ally. You'll get there eventually, and when those two girls of your finally decide to arrive you will be glad of the help."
"I feel like I'm about to explode," she laughed, looking out over the huge open field where Zach and Travis were chasing the vampires that were holding the kids. Greg and Steve were bouncing around them all trying to keep order.
"That's the worst. I felt like a walking beach ball the last couple of weeks with those two," I laughed, nodding at the squealing babies who were wearing wide smiles as they were cradled by Emmett and Rosalie. "But I missed it once it was gone."
"How the hell can you miss this?" she asked pointing at her belly that was being used as a coffee table for her glass.
"I'll take your word for it," she sighed, her face lighting up as Zach approached.
"You're being summoned by your husband and children, Leah, and I promised my wife a foot rub."
"Good God, you're smooth, Zach," I laughed, standing up.
I loved seeing him this happy. Being able to have a friendship with him made everything so much easier. Our past was exactly that and it's where it stayed, no one brought it up and the small period of time we were together became buried with everything that had happened since. Alison was his perfect match, just as Travis was mine.
"He's a god among men," Alison giggled, wiggling her swollen feet at him.
"I think she's ready for that foot rub."
Zach fell into my seat as I jogged across the grass to the kids. Emmett and Rosalie were doing their eerie, standing completely still like statues act and it didn't seem to phase the toddlers.
"Mama," Callie cooed, her arms outstretched toward me.
I took her from Emmett and twirled her around in the air. Showering her face with kisses as I pulled her close. It still amazed me how tiny their features were. Their toes and fingers were chubby and miniature versions of our own. Callie was beautiful, her blonde hair hung as straight as mine, and shone as the sun glanced off of it.
"Baby, don't freak out okay" Travis said, sidling up beside me. He picked Callie up from my arms and set her on the grass in front of me, dropping a kiss on her forehead as he smiled down proudly at her.
"Why? What's going on?"
"Do it again for mommy, munchkin," he whispered, tickling her belly before taking his place at my side and picking up my hand.
Before I could ask again, my daughter turned into a beautiful caramel colored wolf cub the size of a Border Collie, she bayed quietly and stomped her huge paws playfully. My heart was pounding in my chest as I watched her lope around with her huge paws and gangly legs. As I crouched down she stretched out her front legs keeping her butt in the air as she wagged her tail and placed her muzzle between her front legs.
"This can't be good."
All I could think about was the psychological damage it would do. How could they grow up not knowing what it was like to be fully human? When all they knew was to be a wolf, it was going to be hard to discipline that. There was no way we could hide that from people.
I wanted to scoop her into my arms and hold her to me. I wanted to hide her from the world so she would never know how different she was. In my eyes she was extraordinary, but I wasn't sure how that would translate when it was time for her to play with the other kids on the reservation.
"Why can't it be good?" Emmett asked, smiling down at her as she rolled onto her back with her long legs waving in the air above her. "She looks like she's having fun."
I couldn't deny that, I could see the smile in her brown eyes as she watched my reaction to her playing. Everything about her was like a puppy, the big round belly, the awkward but terribly cute lope. She was a miniature version of us.
"Wait, Em," Travis sighed as he crouched down beside me. "Leah, think about what you're looking at."
"What's to think about? Our daughter just . . ."
Travis smiled smugly and put a hand on my shoulder. I wasn't the lone female anymore. My daughter had phased. I couldn't understand what it meant. It hadn't even occurred to me that she was female when it had happened. I just knew that my baby had phased into a wolf in front of my eyes. There were so many unanswered questions before, but now they'd quadrupled. I wasn't sure why all of a sudden my lineage was starting to produce female shifters.
"We should get, Carlisle," I said quietly, trying to hide my panic.
"Not yet, baby. Phase."
"Travis . . ."
"Just please, trust me."
I nodded and backed away from them, well aware that I still had some clothes in the little changing room Emmett had made for each of us. When I was at a safe distance, I phased, only to be assaulted with a barrage of thoughts and childlike images.
'Momma wolf grrrr.' The voice was followed by her giggle as she launched herself at me.
I bowed to the floor and rolled over as she hit me all legs, squeaks and giggles. She tugged at my ears and danced around on her too big paws. She stumbled and rolled onto the grass before righting herself, her little pink tongue lolling to the side as she giggled in my head.
We spent the afternoon in our wolf form, the Cullen's watched with amusement as the clumsy puppy version of Callie ran at them and stumbled over her lanky legs. It only took three hours for Cody to follow suit, he was the same color as her, only his eyes were the same blue as his fathers. I couldn't believe it, it was easier to communicate with them, and they seemed happy.
I wasn't sure how to deal with all of this. There had been no record of shifters earlier than the age of seven, it was yet another unusual occurrence in my life. The other wolves had been living normal lives, their children showing no signs of phasing. They were just happy families doing what the average family did.
I continued to let them play with Travis and I, but the moment Carlisle wandered outside to see the spectacle for himself, I shifted back and stood next to him, watching the other three members of my family run around on all four legs as though it were nothing.
"Carlisle . . ."
"I know, but I can't see it harming them in any way," he smiled, resting his hand on my arm.
"Leah, you're a shifter, Travis is a shifter, most of the others have mated with humans, but the two of you are the same. Add in the fact that you're living amongst vampires, and it seems like a natural course. They're both exceptionally healthy and happy children, don't over think this."
"But she's the only other girl in the group."
"Have you considered that maybe that's why you were created? Times are changing, breeds have to assimilate or die out. Nature has it's own way of making things work, maybe you are the first of a long line of female wolves."
"Like natures sick joke to see if I would survive?" I asked with a humorless laugh.
"You're looking at it the wrong way, Leah," Carlisle chuckled, offering me a father-like smile. "You are one of nature's most beautiful creations. You had the strength to do this, you had the tenacity to make it through the fight and came out the other side more spectacular than you were before. Your children have two parents with the gene, they're probably a stronger version of what you are, that's a good thing."
"Perhaps," I sighed, watching my two babies roll around in the grass. "I just can't help feeling as though I've let them down."
"Do you hate being a wolf that much?" Rosalie asked as she approached.
"No, I love it."
"Then how are you letting them down? They've got the best parts of the two of you. They're beautiful, and bright, humble and affectionate. The way I see it, you've given them everything they need to survive. Including two parents that can be there as long as they need them. What can you see in that as a bad thing?"
"You and your crazy vampire logic," I snorted, bumping shoulders with her.
"I call it like I see it," she laughed with a shrug, before taking off to chase the puppy with the brown eyes.
"Funny how I used to hate her. If you'd told me three years ago that Rose and I would be close friends I would have totally laughed at you," I said to Carlisle.
"She has her defense mechanisms. She doesn't let anyone close easily. Her name suits her well, you have to get past the thorns to appreciate her inner beauty."
"But once you get there you have a friend for eternity," I finished for him.
Carlisle inclined he head and gave me a smile as I offered him a wave, and took off to be with my family once again. Bella and Edward had joined in the games and Cody was chasing them around the field in small bursts of speed before rolling head over tail from tripping over his paws.
Rather than wasting my time worrying, I joined in the fun again, laughing as Callie decided she wanted to play with Greg and took off after him.
They were exhausted by the time I got them into bed after their dinner. Both of them stood in their cribs watching me with matching smiles that reminded me so much of their fathers. Travis sidled up behind me, his arms circling around my waist as he let his chin rest on my shoulder.
"I told you it was nothing to freak out about."
"I know," I smiled, blowing kisses to the kids as I pulled their door closed. "I just worry that it's going to make it harder for them to integrate."
"Then we move to the reservation with the other pack kids. Or we communicate how important it is to not show their friends any of this."
"Reservation school it is," I laughed, turning in the circle of his arms and wrapping mine around his neck. "Do you think this is going to be good for them?"
I knew what I thought after my conversation with Carlisle, but I wanted to know what Travis thought now we were alone.
"I think it's going to be great for them, Leah. When they're old enough they can show any brothers and sisters the ropes."
"You want more kids?" I mused, running my fingers through his hair.
"What do you think?" he laughed, nuzzling into my neck.
"Will you two get a room," Emmett laughed, sliding past us and into the kids room so he could read them their bed time story. The more I saw him and Rose with the kids, the more I knew they would have been amazing parents. They'd talked about adoption, but they still weren't sure how it would work considering they never aged.
"Done," Travis laughed and picked me up, his arms under my knees and back as he took off toward our room down the hall, leaving my laugh trailing behind us.
Life was perfect, and I couldn't think of it getting any better. My joy came from the knowledge that I could be with the man I loved for as many lifetimes as I chose. I would always love him, and I could never get enough of him. He was everything rolled up into a perfect ball. I no longer looked at life as a task I had to endure, it was a dream come true, and I knew anything thrown at us we could handle. Together.
A/N: Okay, I'm not gonna lie, I am a little teary today. I've had so much fun with these characters and I loved being able to give Leah a happy ending. I hope you enjoyed it. I know it's not going to be everyone's cup of tea, but it was the end I could see for them and I went with it. Mostly, Leah was happy and satisfied and we we started this, she was so far away from that.
Thank you to all of you that have read, alerted, added the story or me to your alerts, and of course for the wonderful reviews. You guys have been so amazing to me throughout this and I don't know how to thank you enough for your support and encouragement. I looked forward to seeing what you guys had to say every week. I also want to thank you for accepting Zach and Travis so easily. I heart you guys hard!
Sabi'sSookie and Hev99. You are my girls. You always will be and I wouldn't know what to do without you in my life. Having you two here was amazing and I can't wait for us to get together again and see what trouble we can get into! You are my rocks and I love you both dearly.
PinkIndeed, you're awesome and so supportive. Thank you for pushing your love of canon to the wayside for me and reading a Leah story lol! You're awesome and I adore you!
Much love and HUGE hugs!