My friend www. fanfiction u/1019039/notashamedtobe challenged me with the following:
"If you're up for challenges and we know you can more than handle slash, do a Bella/Leah fic. Let them heal one another's broken hearts."
I fear that I got a little carried away with the healing and forgot the slash. Lol
She writes a great Jake. You should read her stuff if you haven't already; but she is very M. Don't say I didn't warn you…
88888888888888Swan's mate for life.
Disclaimer: the characters and all recognisable situations belong to Stephenie Meyer - this is a work of fan fiction, except for the legends and histories of the Quileute that, of course, belong to them. I pay my respects to their gods.
[AN: No, I meant that apostrophe. Swans do mate for life, but I meant the mate of Swan… too clever? Set in my usual New Moon world of my dreams where Edward leaves and doesn't come back.]
Bella Swan spent a lot of time at the rez these days. Time with Jake and his friends, Embry and Quil. She had finally snapped out of her zombie state to find most of her school friends frustrated with her. She had alienated almost everyone, except Angela Weber. But Angela was busy with Ben a lot and Bella felt like the third wheel if she went out with them.
So the rez it was. She was too fragile to even attempt to make new friends. That shit was hard. You had to be confident and chatty and animated. And you couldn't let a rebuff knock you off your metaphorical feet. And she was none of that anymore, if she ever had been.
She ate fish fry with the Blacks and her dad. She convinced Jake that she didn't feel about him like that. He understood her in his usual Jake way, even if she couldn't seem to get the actual words out. He backed off a little and let Quil and Embry invite themselves over.
She rebuffed Quil, too. Embry never tried. She watched the boys surf in the almost freezing water, huddled under a blanket on the beach. She watched them rebuild unidentified machines in Jake's garage. Jake was the engine whisperer, but Quil and Embry could hold their own with bikes. Jake could build anything. She watched the three friends together and envied them their easy friendship.
She knew about the werewolves. She had guessed. Her dream mind had filled in her conscious mind's gaps, with dreams of a large black wolf and her friend Jake, morphing into a large reddish one.
That growth spurt they all underwent was not normal. But the big giveaway was Seth Clearwater. He was a crazy size for a fifteen year old boy. Crazy. And his super angry sister frightened her.
"Leah?" Jacob laughed. "She's fine."
"Fine for you, when you tower over everybody, but I'm not that big and she's way bigger than me," Bella blustered.
"Shit, don't let her hear you say that," Quil added.
"What? Why?" Bella squeaked nervously.
Embry piped up, "She's a little…" he frowned as if he was looking for a word. "…sensitive," he finally said, "…about her size."
"And her muscles," added Quil.
"Muscles?" Bella repeated.
"Jeez, yeah… haven't you seen 'em?" Quil looked amazed. Given he was a pile of muscle himself of late; Bella was a little unsure exactly how muscular Leah looked these days. She always remembered her as strikingly beautiful.
And not muscular at all.
School was a nightmare. Bella just tried to keep her head down and survive. It crossed her mind to wonder why, out of all the life experiences the Cullens could choose to repeat, why on earth they would choose High School. Who would want to keep repeating that? Really, that should have been her first clue that the Cullens were not normal; even for vampires. Especially for vampires?
"Hey, Arizona!" Mike Newton called, breaking into her reverie.
She looked at him. It took her a second to get her brain back to wherever she physically was. No wonder she fell over all the time.
He was beaming at her with his usual indefatigable smile. Oh please god, he wasn't going to ask her on another date. Did he have a disorder or something? Persistent date myopia? With any woman that Mike thought was a potential date; he seemed to have a sort of blindness and deafness. He didn't hear them say 'no thanks' and he didn't see the looks that crossed their face when he spoke to them. Just as well really; maybe it was a kind of self-defence?
"Bella?" Mike repeated.
"Sorry Mike," she blustered.
"I just wanted to check that you are still working Saturday morning shift?"
She almost exhaled in relief. "Yes, yes, I am." She smiled at him.
He brightened considerably. "Cool! I'll see you then!"
She made her way to her battered truck and headed for her home.
She drove into her driveway and there was a figure stalking up and down on her porch. She blinked.
She wondered what she was doing at her house. Wolf business, she assumed. Leah looked tense and angry. She got out of her truck and slammed the door. "Leah! Hello!" she greeted her.
"Swan," she barked.
Bella guessed that was 'hello' in Leah language.
"What are you-"
"Jacob," she interrupted, barking out the word.
Bella just waited for a fuller explanation. She stepped up onto the porch and unlocked the front door. Leah followed her inside; looking around as she did so and sniffing deeply.
Bella sighed. Definitely wolf business.
"Your house reeks of leech."
"I did go out with him; he was here a bit."
"Uh, huh." Leah looked at her like she was partially insane.
Bella waved a hand and thought about trying to explain why Edward was attractive and then she gave up. She wasn't sure she could remember herself anymore. And no matter what she said, she didn't think Leah, of all people, would understand. She was so pretty, she must be able to have any man she wanted. Bella wondered what that would be like.
She gave up waiting for Leah to explain and thought she would just ask. "What's happening? Why are you here?"
"Again?" Her heart raced at the thought of another James.
Leah frowned at her.
She waved a hand nervously in front of her face. "Ah… I… had…" she stopped.
"Before," Bella explained, badly.
"I-I had a run in with nomads… before… you phased, I suppose." She looked at her. "Maybe you didn't know…"
"You have never told Jacob that."
"What? I have. I'm sure I have."
Leah just shook her head. She looked so certain.
"How would you know?" Bella pressed.
Leah rolled her eyes. "Christ! He replays every damn word you ever say to him. If those words had been 'nomad', 'vampire' or…" she waited.
Bella added, " 'Hunt', 'kidnap', 'bite'…"
"Bite?" Leah repeated.
"Oh… yeah. You're right. I haven't told Jake all the details."
"I'm sorry; I'm still stuck on the bite part. Shouldn't you be a vamp then?" Leah tilted her head and waited for Bella's response.
Bella held her arm out to her and pulled up her sleeve to expose the shiny, crescent marks on her wrist. "Bite," she repeated.
Leah actually shivered. Her whole body tensed. "Again… why are you not a leech?"
"Edward." She gave a whole body movement of her own. But hers was more of a shudder. "H-He sucked the venom out."
Leah gave a grunt noise. It sounded a tiny bit positive. "Why didn't he let you change?"
"He liked me human."
"Huh," she grunted. "Or he wanted to do it himself?"
"Yeah… that, too."
And Bella laughed. Leah looked at her differently after that.
The nomads proved pesky. Jake kept assigning wolves to watch her. The boys were very wary of her; didn't want to get too close. They knew how Jake felt about her. But Leah? She just invited herself right inside the house and threw herself down on the sofa. The boys patrolled outside.
"Tell me again why I can't go out to La Push?" Bella whined.
"Fucked if I know. Strategy." She shrugged. "Jake and Sam crap."
Bella frowned. "How?"
"Hey," Leah argued. "I said it doesn't make sense to me."
"No, you didn't. You said you didn't know," Bella argued.
Leah grunted something at her.
"Fine," Bella said. She stomped into the kitchen. Leah followed her. She watched as she went straight to the phone and punched in a number.
"Billy. Is Jake there?... Would you tell him I need to speak to him?... I'll wait."
She tapped her foot on the kitchen floor, while she did so.
Leah hoisted herself up and sat on the kitchen counter.
"I need to go out to La Push today."
"I'm going to Leah's house."
Leah gave a startled movement.
'Leah's?' Jake sounded as surprised as Leah looked.
"Yeah… you know. Girl stuff." Bella winked at her.
Leah's eyes narrowed.
"Well, of course," Bella sounded as if it was the most obvious thing in the world. "You have no objections?"
'Well, I suppose… as long as you are with Leah.'
"Yes. She's pack and she'll keep me safe." She smiled at Leah.
She packed a pile of leftovers and half a chocolate cake she had made earlier in the day. Leah cracked the lid on the container and sniffed. She made a grudging noise of approval. "Smells good, Swan."
The drove out to the rez in Bella's old faithful truck. Seth was there. They made coffee and ate cake and laughed at the Clearwater kitchen table. They were listening to the radio and Seth kept telling stories about Leah and the Black twins and their attempt to be famous singers. He did squealing imitations of his sister singing. Bella laughed more than she had in weeks.
When the phone rang, both Clearwaters tensed. Seth got to it first.
Bella could hear Sam's deep voice, but not discern the words. Seth nodded. Leah looked tense around the mouth. "You have to stay here," she pre-empted before Seth had hung up.
"Oh. Okay. Trouble?"
"I have to go," Seth added. He looked pained.
"I know," Leah huffed. She met Bella's eyes. "Sam likes to keep me out of trouble." She rose to her feet and punched Seth in the top of the shoulder. "He thinks I can't look after myself, when I can take this runt down."
"Sure, sure," Seth agreed.
Bella impulsively hugged Seth before he beat a hasty retreat.
The two women were left alone.
"So what do we do now?" Bella asked. "Braid our hair?" She stopped suddenly, aware that Leah's beautiful hair had been cut short once she phased.
"I vote for getting drunk," Leah suggested. She shrugged. "I can still braid your hair if you like."
"Great, I don't know how. I've never done it, actually," she confessed.
Leah just nodded as if Bella's lifetime of no real girlfriends was that obvious. "The twins," she said by way of explanation.
They moved to the living room. Leah got a full bottle of tequila from her bedroom closet. She also came armed with hairbrushes. She dropped them next to Bella on the sofa. "I barely use these anymore."
"Such a pity. You had nice hair."
Leah snorted and passed her the bottle.
She took a swig and nearly gagged. She managed to swallow, rather than spit it all over the floor. Her face must have expressed her horror at the taste.
Leah just laughed at her. She made Bella sit on the floor with her back against the edge of the couch. She combed her hair and brushed it until it shone. Bella closed her eyes and felt at peace. She kept taking tiny sips from the bottle. Leah took larger mouthfuls. She decided that getting her hair brushed was lovely. She felt little tingles along her skin, like goose bumps.
Leah passed her the bottle to hold. She started to carefully divide her hair up. "Jake's good at this," she commented. "You should ask him to do it for you one day."
"No, thanks. He'd get the wrong idea."
"Uh-huh." A pause. "You don't like him?"
"I love Jake. Just not like that."
"Right. Does he know that?"
"I think so. I've told him."
"Doesn't mean he understands."
Bella giggled. "No." She felt brave; alcohol induced, probably. "What about Sam?"
"What about him?" Her hands stilled in Bella's hair.
"He doesn't understand either, huh?"
"No. He doesn't," Leah agreed. "Give me that bottle."
Bella couldn't turn her head, but she passed it back to her, Leah was holding her hair tightly. "It wasn't his fault," she ventured.
"I know that. Doesn't help. Wasn't Emily's fault either." She heard her take a swig. "It's still a clusterfuck."
"Not your fault, either."
"Isn't it? I dated a Cullen."
"Yeah but you didn't make them come here. They'd been here for years before you showed up. Came back for some reason. Happy memories of signing the treaty?" She laughed; her usual bitter chuckle. She patted Bella's head. "Thanks anyway."
For just a second Bella felt like Leah's friend. It was a nice feeling. She hugged her leg where it pressed at her side.
Then Paul crashed into their peace. "Jeez, are you two supposed to be sucking down the tequila?"
"Shut up, Paul," they chorused. Then giggled.
"Leah is braiding my hair," Bella said seriously.
He nodded. "Uh-huh. Looks nice." He grinned mischievously.
"What do you want?" Leah asked him.
"Can I have a drink?" he asked Bella.
"NO. Boy germs," said Bella. She took a large mouthful and passed it to Leah, who drained the bottle.
Paul snorted. "Stay," he commanded.
"Fuck you," Leah said.
"You wanna?" he asked, with a leer.
"Shut up, Paul," the girls chorused again.
"No really," Paul expanded. "Sam-"
"Says 'stay'," Leah finished. "We get it."
"Charlie. I forgot Charlie," Bella blurted out. "Do I have to stay all night?"
"Yep," Paul confirmed.
"Hang on," Leah ordered, when Bella tried to get to her feet. She finished her hair and tied it off. Paul gave her a hand up. He watched her wobble towards the phone.
"She's funny when she's drunk," he noted.
"What's really happening?" Leah asked him. She shifted to sit on the floor and stretched her legs out straight.
He crouched down to talk to her quietly. "Sam and Jake have a plan." He nodded at Bella. "It's good that she's here, because they seem to be after her."
"Does she know that?"
"I don't think so. Something weird about her scent. One down, one to go." He looked at Leah's face. "You look after her and I'll look after baby brother. Okay?"
Leah nodded. "Thanks, Paul."
"I can't get onto Charlie," Bella called out.
"Send him a text," Paul advised. "Then you won't sound drunk."
Bella laughed. "Yeah… hahaha… drunk." She sounded very drunk.
Paul grinned. "Gotta go. Have fun ladies."
"He's notsho bad," Bella said, after he had left.
Leah was texting Charlie for her. She just looked at her. "You think?"
"He's kind of…" She frowned as she tried to think of the word. "Dangeroush."
Leah snorted. "To women? Yep. If Paul doesn't try it on, you know you're not feminine."
"I think you're femineminee… hee hee. Thatsh hard to say." She sat down in a whoosh when her legs folded up under her. She fell over onto her hands and crawled towards Leah. She studied Leah's face. She was too close. "And you have beoootiful eyelashes."
"You're drunk, Swan."
"And you're pretty, Clearwater." She kissed Leah quickly. A dry press of lips.
Leah blinked at her with those beautiful eyelashes.
"I'm going to sleep now," Bella announced and then fell over unconscious.
Leah looked at her in disbelief. "Yep. Definitely funny when she's drunk."
She sat quietly and watched Bella slumber. She twitched and muttered about cold. Leah covered her with a blanket. She threw a cushion down and slipped it under Bella's head. The next hour she let out a tiny wail. "Lost," she said in her sleep.
Leah reached out and brushed Bella's forehead with her hand. Her agitation lessened. Her breathing shifted to a deeper pattern. Whenever Leah lifted her hand, it didn't take her long to start twitching again.
Leah's high metabolism had already burnt through her alcohol and she just felt tired. She ended up lying next to Bella on the floor. She rationalised that it was just to get some sleep.
Seth came home just before dawn. He didn't make it to his bed. He sat down to look at them, asleep together on the floor. Leah was spooning Bella.
Leah opened an eye and looked at him. "Hey," she muttered. "Done?"
"Yep." He stood and did a turn so that she could see he was unharmed. She made a grunt noise of acceptance. He lay down on the floor behind Bella. "You're safe now," he told them both.
He closed his eyes, just for a minute and fell asleep.
When Bella woke up on the floor with both Clearwaters, she didn't think anything of it. She also had the worst hangover. She had a vague memory of being warm and safe for the first time in months. She had actually slept pretty well.
Sam came over when she was chewing down some dry toast. He looked serious, as always. She noticed how his eyes strayed to Leah and how Leah kept staring solidly at the floor. "Danger's past," he told her. "For the moment. You tell us if you see anything weird."
"Sure," she agreed. Jake came over to escort her home. She hugged Leah goodbye. Leah's hand brushed down her braided hair. Bella hugged her a tiny bit harder. "I'm sorry about Sam," she whispered.
Then there started a very delicate seduction. Not that either actually thought about it like that. Leah and Bella spent a little more time together. Bella came out to the rez to see Jake and would just wander off to be with Leah. Jake thought she was bored with watching them fix motorbikes.
Sue found her more often at her dinner table. That actually worked for Charlie too. He started coming out to pick her up. It was a good excuse to talk to Sue. Both were pleased that their daughters who had both been so alone recently, had found a friend.
Leah or Seth would drop her truck back the next day. Leah would leave her something on the dash; a polished stone from the beach, a sprig of cedar or a wildflower. Bella would pick them up and smile.
Seth watched carefully and said nothing to anyone.
Bella asked Leah to her house. She started trying to teach her to cook. Leah laughed and said if Bella was around, she didn't need to learn. They had slumber parties in the living room.
One night, Charlie got called out and didn't come back. Bella started to talk about herself. She said she was always too cold at night. She found herself, for the first time, talking about the negative things about Edward. It was as if she needed the time away from him to recognise them as issues. Bella tried to explain it, almost as if she was talking it out of her system.
Leah listened and didn't judge. She just listened. Even when Bella admitted he was in her room every night; without Charlie's knowledge. That made Leah shudder. Bella held her hand.
"I needed two quilts just to have a cuddle session," Bella whined. "It was like hugging a statue, he was so cold." They were supposed to be watching a movie, but they had both lost track of the story ages ago. They were sitting with their heads together and their bodies pressed together along their sides. "You're always so warm," Bella said. She rubbed her fingers on the back of Leah's hand.
Leah opened her hand out flat and looked at their two hands held over each other; one dark and one light. One with nervous bitten-down nails and the other with nails damaged from her lifestyle in the wilderness.
"We need a manicure," Bella suggested with a laugh.
"We do not," defended Leah. "We are fine, the way we are."
There was an awkward silence.
"You said I was pretty," Leah ventured.
"I remember," Bella whispered.
Leah shifted to give her a look. "You do?"
Bella bit her lip and nodded jerkily.
"Huh." Leah reached out and touched Bella's face. Her fingers touched her cheek and her thumb gently pushed her bottom lip down and released it from the grip of her teeth. "Don't do that," she said. "You have such pretty lips."
Bella looked at her with big, dark eyes. "Yeah?"
And then Leah kissed her.
Leah was everything Edward wasn't; warm and soft and female. And Bella told her she was beautiful; her skin felt fabulous and she thought she was not pretty but absolutely gorgeous. She trailed her fingers over the muscles on her body and told her she loved the fact that Leah was so strong.
Leah told Bella she was stronger than she thought she was; she had survived vampires and she could do anything she wanted to. She kissed the bite mark on her wrist. They both needed the affirmation and they discovered that they needed each other. They were friends and now they became lovers.
Poor Charlie blushed like a tomato when they stood, holding hands and announced to him that they were dating. Sue was surprised, but handled it a little better than Charlie had.
Sam had a crisis. He had turned Leah Clearwater into a lesbian. Quil and Embry overheard his worries on patrol. Quil laughed so hard, he almost ruptured something. Embry just shook his head and told Sam in his quiet way that it was actually nothing to do with him and entirely about Bella. Emily got truly annoyed with Sam when he wouldn't get over it and he finally let it go after Jared told him to get his shit together and worry about his imprint, not his ex.
Jake looked confused as to when all this had happened.
Paul got a dreamy smile on his face, adjusted himself in his trousers and made it his new aim to either watch them together or be invited into their bed. Bella slapped him the first time he actually suggested it. She hurt her hand. Leah kissed it better for her. Paul made a wounded noise because she did it in front of him.
Seth just smiled.
FF_2154210_1514497633 - 24/01/2012 9:50:00 AM