in a state of peaceful happiness.

"he seemed more content, less bitter"

Paul sprawled out on his bed beside Swan, and watched her sleep like the enormous creeper he was slowly becoming. She was belly down on the sheets, arms wrapped around the pillow beneath her face. He watched her back rise and fall with every breath, toyed with the ends of a few wayward curls where they spilled over her shoulder.

The thing was...Bella Swan was very beautiful. Paul looked back, reached back to distant memories, times before (in between) when Swan mattered overly much to him. Just passing glances made on First Beach, catching sight of her as she disappeared into the Black house, trailing behind her father.

So the notion that Swan was pretty...the physical attraction...that wasn't the imprint.

He considered the worry he's first felt after Jake and Leah had imprinted. That had been genuine, though Paul couldn't tell you who the worry was for -for the girl, for the pack, he didn't know. But the memory of Swan in her yellow jacket, Sams' second-hand feeling of holding her in his arms, the slight weight of her, the terrible haunting little cries...

Paul hadn't known her then, but he'd still worried. About her. Only a heartless bastard wouldn't. He might have been a lot of things, but he wasn't heartless. The bastard part was negotiable (majority voting yes.)

So the worry he felt when he looked at her, that was genuine too. It was possible, he conceded, that the imprint had exacerbated it, but the original seed of worry...that belonged to Paul.

He growled at himself. What was the point of picking what they had apart? What did it matter what was imprint and what was Paul?

"Hey," Swan murmured, lifting her head and blinking at him sleepily. "What time is it?"

"Noon. Didn't want to wake you." Sliding an arm over the slope of her back, he pulled her close and tangled their legs. "How you feeling."

Her mouth curled into a grin. "Kind of sore. Hungry. Happy." Leaning up, she kissed his chin.

Paul nuzzled his face down into her hair, breathing in her everything. His mind was racing. Every theory he had behind her addiction, behind the concept of scent and methadone...what if he was wrong?

What if it was just the imprint?

"The nomads are gone, the newborns are gone." Paul ignored her little twitch at their mention. It was just a little twitch now, no curling in on herself, no panic, no loss-of-breath. Just one little twitch. "The Cullen's are gone. Things can go back to normal now. Normalish. Normal for us."

"Normal for us is pretty weird," she murmured, tilting her head to look at him. "I feel like...I should feel different?"

Paul traced his palms down her ribs, and settled on her hips. "Because the Vampires are gone?"

"No, because I had sex." She laughed, and tugged him closer until they were pressed together and she was pinned beneath him. "Which...God. It feels good you know, for once Vampires aren't my main concern. Maybe things can be normal."

"We should go on a date." The words were out before his brain could censor them. Paul didn't date, never had. Well, that wasn't sure. He'd grabbed drinks with booty calls, and maybe taken a girl to the movies, only to get head in the back row. But that...that wasn't really what he wanted here. Was that the imprint? Or was that just Swan? "Do something nice."

"We don't have too," Swan said, smiling up at him. She buried her fingers in his hair, and tugged gently. "Don't feel like you have to...have to do anything for me Paul. Anything you wouldn't normally want. I just want to be with you. I like just...just being with you." She made a face, flushed and embarrassed.

"I want to," Paul insisted, tugging at one of her loose curls. "I think it would do you some good to get all dolled up and get out of the house. Means I get to show you off." That part Paul liked the best, in a strange visceral way. He wanted his hands all over her in public, and her hands on him. He wanted to fucking offend someone with how much Swan was his (and he was hers). He wanted to piss people off.

That part was all Paul.

Swan flushed, ducking her face down to hide her smile against his chest. Gods be damned, but he really did love her.

There was a tension in the pack, barely ignorable. Everyone knew of course, Paul's predicament, his imprint. Sam and Jacob danced around each other awkwardly, but there was training there too. Sam was training Jacob, teaching him, strengthening him, making him ready. It was done so reluctantly, from both sides, Paul couldn't stand to watch it.

Even though it wasn't his fault - and it wasn't, not really - Paul felt guilty that it might come to this. Jacob didn't want this, never had. Regardless of the fact that it would be his one day, he shouldn't have had to take it up so soon. He was young, younger even than Paul. And Sam...deserved what little power he gained from Alpha, for all that he had suffered the most at the hands of the Gods.

But, even with the tension, and the ever-present threat of leeches hanging overhead, the world went on. The sun rose and fell, mundane and oblivious to Paul's issues. Swan went back to her father's house - something Paul didn't particularly love but accepted nonetheless. The Chief had thanked Paul gruffly with an air that said he wasn't sure what he was thanking Paul for, but was grateful none the less. Paul accepted it with an awkward handshake.

And with fathers in mind, Paul went to see his own.

They sat at a corner booth in an IHOP, devouring all-you-can-eat pancakes. It's easily the best five dollars a werewolf can spend, but Paul will probably still tip the waitress a good fifteen dollars, considering they've only been seated twenty minutes and he's on his third serving (he ate his dads bacon too).

"So," his dad began, and the word werewolves lingers somewhere after, silent but heart.

Paul paused, fork hovering in his hand, between the table and his mouth. "Yep."

"Right." His dad nodded, sipping at his coffee. "Hows Bella?"

Paul snorted because that...that was so like his father. His Addicts Anonymous groups had hammered into his head something about accepting the shit you couldn't change, and it had left him on the zen side of calm, cool and collected. He wouldn't ask questions, didn't want the answers. Paul was a werewolf, simple as that.

"Good. Better. She's handling it good. Her dad's been talking about her seeing a therapist, and I think she might give it a try." Paul didn't get it, the therapy thing, but if Swan wanted it, he'd drive her to the damn appointments and wait in the stuffy little rooms with the old magazines and PBS on mute, playing in the corner. "The whole...thing...I mean, what I told you wasn't exactly a lie. She had a problem. It just wasn't..."

"Drugs..." His dad finished for him, raising his brow. "And yet she reacted exactly like an addict would."

"Yeah." He knew the warning beneath his fathers words, drugs or not, Bella Swan was an addict. Those things never really left you. Once an addict, always an addict.

Setting his mug down, Paul Sr. picked at his own plate. "And you're okay with that?"

His mother hadn't been, but then, Paul didn't blame her. His father was a bastard and a bully when he used, where Bella simply let herself rot and waste away. But still, he understood what his father meant. Paul wasn't known for his predilection for commitment at all, let alone for someone with so much baggage.

Paul set his fork down, and settled back against the booth. "There are worse things in the world. And...I suppose we both have our own fair share of baggage. I'll never not be what I am, and she'll never not be as she is. And that's okay, you know, because... Because..."

Smiling behind his cup, Paul Sr found the right words. "Because you have each other?"

"Yeah," Paul agreed. "Something like that." His dad wasn't wrong, but he also didn't have to sound so goddamn mushy.

When Paul arrived home from visiting his father up north, he found Swan in the kitchen. She should have been in Forks, with her dad, but she was here, wearing one of his shirts, like she didn't own her own damn clothes. He knew where he'd find them, in a pile in front of his dresser.

He watched her through the screen of the door. She was barefoot, washing his dishes as she hummed along with the beat-up radio on the counter, some too-forty tuneless popstar bullshit.

Her hair was down, a mess of broken curls and listless waves. It had grown a little, when she started eating like a mildly healthy person, reaching down to just past her elbows. Paul sometimes fought the insane urge to bury his face in it and breath because that certainly wasn't normal, no matter how badly he wanted it.

"Take your shoes off, I just washed the floor," she told him, without ever turning around, arms still buried to the elbows in the sudsy waters.

He did as she asked, kicking his boots on the mat by the door. "How'd you know it was me?" He hadn't made a noise, hadn't even pushed the screen door open yet. "How'd you even know I was here?"

She looked back at him, big brown eyes blinking. "I...I must have heard you or something?" She didn't sound sure, and Paul knew she hadn't. He'd snuck up on her on purpose, intent to watch her. He liked watching her, especially when she didn't know, and conceded that might have been the imprint impulse because Paul wasn't a creepy fuck, except...

Except, he'd spent a lot of time watching her, without her knowing.

She must have felt him, he conceded, stalking softly across the clean kitchen floor. Knowing that the imprint had sunk so deep beneath their skin she could feel it, it was frightening but...but relieving too. Paul would never admit (would never need too), but he feared his broken imprint, that it might just be him. That she might not feel it like he did, like a burning in his belly, a desperate clawing tearing up his insides, frantic, pulsing wantneedwant. He had been so afraid, it was just him, and it made him feel stupid, it made him feel useless and small and alone and-

"Paul," Bella said, turning to face him properly. She pressed a soapy hand against his chest, the warmth of the water, the warmth of her, seeping through his shirt. "Hey, hey. Come on, you're scaring me. What's wrong?"

He could feel it, he realized and it hit him like a fist to the gut. He could feel the imprint, not just remember the feeling. He felt full, full to bursting, and everything was suddenly Bella-colored.

It wasn't different. He loved her in exactly the same way he did ten minutes ago when the imprint was nothing more than a seared-in memory but it wasn't the same, not at all. It wasn't more, it wasn't less, it was...

Paul could feel her. In the air, on his skin, in his heart, his mind, beneath his hands. Everywhere, and it was...He couldn't...

"Bella," he choked out her name, and pulled her against him. He did exactly what he wanted to before, before he could feel it, and buried his face into her hair. He felt like he loved her (just like he had), but with no inhibitions. The thin, slimy veneer of shame (embarrassment) at the strange show of affection was gone, eaten away by the fucking burning, burning, burning.

It's...It was everything the pack made it seem to be, imprinting. Like it never had before, there is no fear, there is no blood, there is no anger, nothing but what he already felt for her. Nothing but what he felt for her, untainted by himself, untainted by fear.

Jesus Christ, he really, really loved her. And that's okay.

Paul had no idea how his pack brothers could function like this, filled to bursting with this kind of light. But then, they weren't as bitter as he. But still, he can barely breath with it, how good it feels to feel this good. It didn't make sense, and he didn't care.

She was wearing his boxers, and they caught on the knob of the cutlery drawer as he lifted her up onto the counter. They slipped down her legs and to the floor perfectly, as if he'd planned it. Pushing between her legs, Paul kissed her. He kissed her everywhere, hands clutching at her sides, feeling it all, feeling too much. Paul just, he just...he couldn't, and she was right there and every time he breathed he could smell her, and he wanted that, wanted her-

"Paul," Bella laughed, grabbing his face and holding him still. She didn't smell scared anymore. "Hey. Hey, shhh. What's gotten into you? Should I be worried?"

"No, no. No." Paul felt stupid-distracted, hands pushing at the shirt she wore, hiking it higher and higher up her thighs. "God. Fuck. Can I fuck you? Right here?" He pushed up against her, the hard-line of his dick riding against her bare thigh. If just being here with her felt this good, Paul thought a little wildly, fucking her would feel amazing.

Imprint sex. Paul got it now. He really did.

"Oh-kay," Bella drawled, a little hesitantly but her hands dropped to the front of his jeans, tugging the button and zipper. She had him in her hand in half a minute and it was all Paul could no not to rub against her, come all over her, and then fuck into the mess. Jesus.

"Fuck, fuck. Spread your legs," he tried not to growl, he really did, but he couldn't. Cupping his hands up under her ass, he tilted her hips as she spread her thighs and the first push inside her was almost too much.

It was all too much, really. To feel her like this, when he could feel her like that.

He could feel everything. It was like tripping on acid, except better because Bella.

"Aww Jesus fuck, yeah." He felt like a cliche, as his eyes rolled back and his hand shook but Paul didn't give a shit. He didn't give a single fuck because nothing felt as good as feeling this good. "Christ. I can't. Fuck." He couldn't even move.

Tentatively, Bella hooked her legs up over his hips and pulled him forward and fucking fuck, Paul saw stars. Sex with her yesterday had been amazing, but this- holy fucking. He could feel her heart beat. On his dick.

They were in tune.

Feeling overwhelmed, Paul buried a hand into her hair and bent down to kiss her. He needed as much of himself inside her as possible, he needed to fucking invade her, he wanted her to feel it like he did, too full-

She moaned, thighs spasming against his hips as she clenched down on his dick. He couldn't get deep enough, not at this angle, not at the counter-

"Fuck. Fuck. Not here. We need-"

"Table," Bella breathed, her mouth a bitten shade of red and her eyes glossy. Paul liked it. Needed more. "Lay me on the table?"

And so he did, never letting them pull a part. This was better, the angle was better, the level was better. He pushed into her with a new force, bare feet braced against the floor. He couldn't kiss her like that though, and that was a fucking travesty, but he could see her and it was beautiful.

He said as much out loud. Couldn't stop. There was no filter. No wall. No shame.

It was a beautiful thing, really. Paul felt free.

"Aw Jesus Christ look at you. Fuck. You're gorgeous, Bella. You fuck me up. God, I can't one's ever-" His hips stuttered, as he hooked his arms under her knees and pulled her legs over his shoulders. "No one's ever made me feel like this."

She cried out as the change pushed him deeper inside of her. He could get deeper, god dammit. He could. He needed too. He needed all of her.

Bella must have agreed, Paul thought. She reached up, digging a hand into his hair and pulling. "Oh God," she cried, tears sliding from her eyes as she clenched them shut. "Harder, you can. Don't stop. I want-"

She sounded just as broken as him. Paul liked it.

"The shirts gotta go," he said, between gritted teeth. He ripped it down the front. The only other option was to not fuck her, and that wasn't an option at all. She wriggled arms free and he let the ragged remains fall to the floor. It was better like this, her bare naked and squirming on his cock. Paul could keep her like this forever.

"I said harder," she gasped, clawing at his sides, as if she could pull him into her. "Like you promised. Make me feel it."

Sliding his hands under her ass, Paul swallowed a growl as he yanked her to him. Her back bowed as she fought to balance herself on her elbows. It would leave marks, bitter and bright bruises but Paul couldn't stop. She had her legs tight around his neck; he was practically wearing her like a fucking neck tie but it didn't matter. None of it mattered. All that mattered was she and him.

Her arms gave out, sending her crashing back to the table but the scream she cried wasn't pained. "Oh God," she moaned, as he sank deeper into her, the full weight of her body resting in his hands, as he pulled her to him, like a reverse-thrust. Paul felt dizzy with it, the way her body gave to him, the way her little gasps and moans vibrated through him.

Jesus Christ he was going to come.

He hadn't come first in years. Not since sex was new and confusing. But there was no denying the tension in his belly, or the way his thrusts grew uneven, hips grinding up against her as she fluttered around him. "Fuck, shit. Sorry. Bella-"

"I-I-" Her hands flew to the edges of the table as she arched her back and pushed back against him and Paul knew she was coming, from the clench of her, from the dripping wetness soaking his balls, from the way she clenched her teeth and he wanted to fuck her through it, oh god he really wanted too but he couldn't, his dick was done.

For now.

Pulling away, he barely heard her groan I'm still coming, before he was on his knees, face down in her cunt. Her cries grew louder, as he licked up her clit, and buried three - one to many but she wanted it, he knew she did - fingers inside her and curled them ruthlessly. He lickedh is own spunk from her pussy without a single care, forgetting that it was gross and maybe a little gay because that was stupid, this was Bella.

Imprint sex. Seriously. Fuck.

She came, and came, and came, dripping down his chin, and slicking up the table. Paul didn't stop, not even when she clenched her thighs around his head, not when she pushed at him, begged him she couldn't come again because she could, and she did red-faced, and flushed and smelling undeniably, inexplicably happy.

Looking up from between her legs, he rested his head against her thigh, and listened to her pant as she tried to catch her breath. A thousand things flew through his mind, sappy, mushy, romantic things and Paul could have said any number of them in that moment and not felt an ounce of shame, so he picked the one he liked best and pressed the words into her hip.

"I'm going to fuck you everywhere."

Because imprint or not, he was still Paul.

A/N hehe. So. That was a lot of porn. Also, feel free to tell me what you guys want to see. What 'loose ends' you want tied up, what curious questions you still have. I have most of them answered already in my head probably, but feel free to tell me what you want to see. Obviously, what's going to happen about Paul forgetting, and the Sam and Jake thing, but surely I am forgetting other stuff.

also this was written and posted in haste, so sorry if there are mistakes. no betas. I'll go back and clean it up if need be soon.