Entry #10 - AU

Truly Anonymous Twilight O/S PP Contest

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Title: Cleanse my Soul

Picture Prompt: 5

Pairing: Bella/Sam Uley

Rating: MA

Word Count (minus A/N and Header):1374

Summary (250 characters or less, including spaces and punctuation): Bella and Sam have carefully circled each other, since that night when he found her lost in the woods. Now, when he is lost he goes to her.

Warnings and Disclaimer: Discussion of character death. The characters and all recognisable situations belong to Stephenie Meyer - this is a work of fan fiction.

Cleanse my Soul

"It's okay," she repeated, over and over. She wrapped herself around him and she hung on.

He was mute. He hadn't said a word since he had shown up at her door and said the one word that really explained everything.

She knew he had lost someone from the utterly devastated look on his face.

"Who?" she had asked.

"J-Jared."

Jared was dead. His best friend.

"Oh Sam," she breathed. She took him by the hand and tugged him into her house. He followed; his feet stumbling with tiredness. It was instinct that made her fill the bath and use bubble bath. Anything to cover the scent of his best friend's spilled blood. She knew he and the pack would have carried his broken body back to his imprint. Kim would be shattered. And then he had run miles to come to her still covered in his blood and bearing scratches and gouges of his own.

He was her priority now.

She would rebuild him; support him; give him the strength to go on.

He was the alpha, the pack leader. He took the final responsibility. As he always did. He was so stoic and dependable and right now he was so close to shattering into tiny pieces. She held him in her arms. She clung to him and she held him together. He needed her hold as much as he needed the cleansing bath. To wash away the blood. His blood.

The fact that he had come to her and not to his imprint, was something that they would both deal with later. She understood. They had been circling each other for months. So aware of the other. From the time that he had found her lost in the woods, he had fascinated her. She had dreamed of him. In both forms; wolf and man.

If there was one thing that death did, it was make you rethink your life choices. He was here with her because he had decided to be. He had made some kind of choice, even if he wasn't completely conscious of it right now.

And she embraced him.

She made a choice too.

They sat in the bath together.

Together.

His body healed as she watched. His minor cuts erased slowly; disappeared from his perfect skin and left no mark. Not like the marks on his heart.

And then he took in one gasping breath and he cried. He cried as if it hurt him to do so. The sobs sounded painful and labored. He was not a man who ever cried. He was rarely even openly emotional.

She held him and she rocked him. She stroked his hair and she made promises she couldn't keep. It was all going to be okay. Everything was going to be all right. Those kinds of promises.

And the more she rocked him, the more they both became aware that they were both naked.

And the other thing that death did, was make you aware of the fact that you were still alive. That your blood was flowing. Your heart beating. When others' weren't.

His arms tightened around her. His head moved and he kissed her chest; right between her breasts.

She touched his face. She put her hands on each cheek and she tilted his face up towards her. She reached for the facecloth and she cleaned his face. Erasing the tears and the signs of his distress.

He watched her; his eyes were deep, drowning pools of the darkest brown. She hesitated for a beat and then she lowered her lips towards his.

Achingly slowly their lips brushed. He made a noise that sounded mostly like a groan. And then he grabbed her. He rose to his feet, lifting her easily with him. The water cascaded back into the tub. He stepped out of the bath, snagged a towel with one hand, wrapped it around her back, held her to him and carried her to her bed.

Was sex the opposite of death? She supposed it might be. And that was what he needed now. He fell on top of her on the mattress. He finally spoke. "I'm sorry," he apologized.

"It's okay," she assured him. "I understand." This wasn't how either had obviously imagined their first time together. Largely because they had never imagined they would ever be together, to have a first time. She held his cheeks again. "It's okay," she stated vehemently. And she kissed him again.

He made another noise, it sounded desperate and painful. Maybe it hurt him to cheat on his imprint?

She couldn't think like that now. He needed this. He needed her.

She had been many things in her short life; she had mothered Renee, been a virtual wife for Charlie, been a friend to Jake and an object of worship for Edward. But she had never had anyone who had needed her quite so desperately before. Just her. For what made her human. No, maybe it was simpler than that. Maybe because she was a woman and he was a man.

It was that simple.

His fingers coaxed her into readiness. He held his body above hers and his eyes never left hers. They stared at each other. He readied himself and she felt the blunt head pushing at her opening. She bit her bottom lip. She was a virgin, but she was not going to tell him that now.

He worked his way into her and she welcomed him. He seemed to know when he broke her barrier.

"I didn't know," he apologized again. She held him to her when he tried to pull away.

"It's okay," she repeated. "For you," she stated. Her gift. On today of all days she wanted to give him something.

"For me?" he repeated. He made a sliding movement inside her and she moaned.

"Thank you," he told her.

She slid her arms around to press her hands onto his back. She could feel his muscles shift as he moved above her. She had a moment to be thankful that he knew what he was doing. She lifted her face and kissed his chest and neck. He tasted of soap and sweat and him. He was too tall to kiss in this position.

He moved in her and she moved under him. And they were finally together. When she orgasmed her mouth fell open and she looked genuinely surprised. He watched her with his dark eyes. "For you," he whispered.

"Thank you," she responded. They kept their voices quiet and low; it seemed appropriate.

He looked at her and he smiled; it was a genuine heartfelt smile. But then she could almost see the heavy weight of his burdens settle around his wide shoulders again.

He sighed. And he pulled out of her; pulled away from her. She resisted clutching at him. He didn't need that now; a whiny and clutchy woman.

"You have to go," she pre-empted.

He nodded. He kissed her. Eventually he dragged himself away.

She stopped him from putting his blood stained cut-offs back on. A reminder of his lost friend that she wanted him to avoid. She gave him an old pair of Charlie's athletics shorts. There would be questions asked. The pack would know in any case.

"Will you come out later?" he asked her.

"If Jake calls."

He nodded.

He looked at her and now he had an emotion on his face that she couldn't decipher. Guilt? Regret? She hoped it wasn't regret.

"It will be okay," she assured him again. Not that she knew how. How could they be in the same space now? It was bad enough before.

She put on some panties and a t-shirt and walked him to the door. She kissed him again. It was as if neither could help it now. She dragged her fingers across his chest.

"Bella..." he started but she put her fingers across his lips. He kissed them.

She shook her head. "No," she simply said. "Later... maybe."

He nodded again. He took a deep breath and she saw him literally pull himself together; back into the stoic alpha pack leader.

He turned and he jogged off her porch.

He didn't look back.