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.
Thanks to BanSidhe [ruadh sidhe] and Feebes86 for betaing and pre-reading.
Bella and Leah were holding hands. Their arms twined around at the wrist so that the back of their hand faced the other's face. They lay on their sides and stared into each other's eyes. Their faces were inches apart. Paul's thighs were their pillows. Their bodies curled over and embracing his leg underneath them. He was sound asleep leaning back against the headboard.
Nobody wanted to move.
"Love you," Leah mouthed to her lover.
"You're unstoppable," Leah whispered to Bella.
"You were worth fighting for."
Leah thought about it. She had made some mistakes. She had fucked up. Let people down. Hated people who didn't deserve it. Let people go that she probably should have clung to. What she hadn't bet on was that that small human girl had fought back. She had formed an alliance with Paul and had taken on wolves and tribal gods to get Leah back.
Leah had been a mess. Her anger at Sam and Emily had poisoned her. Her despair at killing her father, her betrayal by her mother. Her fear for her brother. Anger was good; it was part of the mourning process, but you weren't supposed to hang onto it forever. If you did that, it became a poison.
She had stopped listening to her wolf. She had tried to deny that part of her. She had even locked her up in a cage and refused to let her out. She had made it a thousand times worse.
Bella and Paul had fixed her. Dragged her, kicking and screaming out of her dark places and made her move. Pushed her out into the sunlight so that she could heal.
And now she was a pack alpha; she and her wolf were on the same page. The pack respected her. She had a stable home with two people who adored her.
They had awesome sex. The three of them had a great time together, but she still had Bella to herself occasionally. She had accepted that at other times she and Paul needed to hit it really hard. She was safe and confident enough not to fight him. She loved it. And it made him feel strong and secure.
Now she accepted all her parts: wolf, woman, lover of men, and lover of women.
She was looking forward to their future together.
She had caught some of what Bella had been saying to Paul about the Cullens when they thought she had been asleep. How they were paused on their life path. She thought that she had been paused, as well. And Bella had given her a big kick in the ass and pushed her forward.
She released Bella's hand and reached across and tucked a strand of Bella's hair behind her ear. "Thank you."
It seemed inadequate, but also perfect.
Bella understood; she always did. "Want to have a bath?"
"We'll wake him up when we move."
"I'm awake," he mumbled.
Leah shifted off the bed and went to fill the bath.
Paul didn't glance up when she came back into the room. His hand was stroking through Bella's hair and his eyes were closed. "Bath, huh?" he asked. "Your thing."
"Yes. We'll be back." Leah leaned down and kissed his forehead.
"I know you will." He sounded utterly sure of himself.
She and Bella fussed over him.
"Lie down," Bella encouraged. "You'll hurt your back sleeping at that weird angle."
Leah pulled up the sheet and tucked it around his waist. "Keep you warm until we get back."
"I do feel cool when I'm alone," he said. He yawned and closed his eyes.
The girls tiptoed away and let him sleep.
They lay together in the bath. Their hands keeping up a constant dialog with the other's skin. Always touching, always stroking. Constant small touches and kisses.
Leah had braided Bella's hair before they got in the tub. She lifted the sodden plait and laid it down Bella's chest. "I love it when your hair dries in the braid; its so wavy."
Bella let out a sigh.
"What?" Leah asked.
"This is where we started. Almost."
"Yes. Paul said that. The bath was our thing."
"Always," Leah repeated.
Bella knew she wasn't talking about baths now. "Yes," she whispered. "Always."
They kissed and lay there lost in their own thoughts but together.
Years have passed.
The pack was having a bonfire slash family day. They were supposed to also be celebrating a construction milestone; the new extension had reached its highest point. It seemed worth celebrating. Bella grumbled that they made any excuse for a party. She was sitting in the yard looking back at their tiny house. It now sported the framework of a new double storey wing. They already had a smaller extension for the library off the other end of the little house.
She joked they could call it the west wing and it was only for the beast. Her beast growled at her and told her to watch it and anyway it was the north wing.
She remembered how excited she had been when her library emerged from the previous construction. They had rarely used it as the timeout room; but it was always there.
Whenever Paul was off buying supplies for the construction business, he would drop into a charity store or a second hand book store. Leah's gifts were different, but Bella got books. He also checked out garage sales, too. He had a great memory for what he had already given Bella and slowly, over time her book shelves filled up. He knew she loved the classics and they were often easier to find. If it was a female serving him, they would engage him in conversation. He still had that attraction for the opposite sex that he had always had. He would explain the books were for his Bella.
In one store, the lady behind the counter said, "I have some boxes out the back that I haven't been through yet, but they are a set. I didn't want to break them up. And not many people want to buy the whole set."
Paul came home with three cardboard boxes of classic literature, bound in hardback with gold lettering and marbled inner linings. Bella squeed so loudly he grumbled that she had hurt his ears. But he grinned. She thanked him thoroughly later that night.
Her scent had changed within days.
She looked at the extension again. They would need the extra room. She patted her stomach. "You're my book baby, aren't you?" she asked the almost invisible bump.
Sam and Paul were leaning against the wall watching the crowd. Niki and his new girlfriend were talking to Charlie and Sue. All the pack and their imprints were attending. Seth had filled out and had his arm around his recent imprint. They were talking to Leah. Her face lit up at something Seth said and she put her head back and laughed.
"She's looking good," Sam commented. "Really happy. But I noticed she hasn't phased lately, though."
Paul gave a silent shrug. The alpha mind gave them the ability to keep some stuff secret.
"Come on… tell," Sam prompted.
Paul looked at him. "Twins."
Sam spat his beer. "Shit! And Bella is already pregnant. You three don't do anything by halves."
"No twins in Leah's family before."
"We think they are … what's the word?"
"Not identical? Fraternal?"
"Yeah - that's it."
"A litter for the she-wolf."
"Twins often come early."
"We'd better get our ass into gear on this extension then, eh?"
"Worst case scenario they all arrive at the same time."
"With our luck… I'd bet money on it," Paul said.
Niki Lahote's phone chirped; a text message. It was from Bella. He frowned at it and then got in his truck. He drove around for a little and then pulled up at the tribal medical center. He couldn't see Paul, but he knew he wouldn't be far. "Paul?" he called out.
He was around the back; he jogged around the side. "Hey, Dad."
Niki looked at him. He was an agitated mess. "Leah's in labor."
"It's too soon. Six weeks too soon."
"And you're here?" Niki asked him.
"Bella is with her."
"That's not enough for her; she has always needed you both." He paused. "And Bella's pregnant." He knew better than to say that Bella had asked for his help.
Paul knew he should be inside with her. But he wasn't.
"What's the issue?" Niki asked him.
"I'm not sure I understand."
"I-" He stopped.
"Paul… talk to me."
Paul stared at the ground. "She's weak."
Niki thought he got it. Leah had never been weak; not to Paul. "She's usually so strong and so sure of herself … and this—"
"She's in pain," Paul interrupted.
Niki wondered if he could feel it because of the alpha pair bond. "And because she's a wolf, they can't give her any drugs."
"They just will not work on her."
"No." Niki studied his son. "I remember when you were born. I was terrified."
Paul glanced at him.
"Leah is not weak," Niki continued. "She's just under an amazing amount of stress right now. She is probably terrified, too. It is twins and things can go wrong with twins and they are early. I know they are big, but they are early. She can't even hold Bella's hand. She'd be worried that she would crush it and hurt her. And when is Bella's baby due?"
"Shit, Paul. This is what dads do."
"But I don't think I can watch—"
"And don't you give me any of that shit about how you are worried you won't be able to fuck her again if you see a baby come out of there, or I will hit you."
Paul looked oddly caught out. "Did that worry you?"
"Truthfully, yes. But your mother was fine. Other women do this every day. Leah will heal faster than they will, too. She won't have an issue with it, don't you make it one."
Paul kicked at the ground.
"Do not miss the greatest moment of your life because you are having a panic attack in the parking lot," Niki said.
"You were there at my birth?"
"Absolutely. I even cried."
"I did. Cried like a baby. It was unforgettable. Do not miss it."
Paul took a deep breath.
Niki patted the top of his son's arm. "Come on. I'll go in with you."
"Thanks, Dad." Paul hugged him impulsively.
They went inside together.
Niki caught sight of them in a glass window and wondered how much these babies would look like their father and grandfather.
Bella was being fussed over by a nurse. She was sitting in a chair and had a blood pressure cuff on her arm. "Oh, thank goodness," she said when she saw Paul. "You're here."
"What's wrong?" Paul asked the nurse.
"She needs to rest or lie down," the nurse said. "Her blood pressure is too high." She sounded annoyed with Paul.
Niki gave him a pointed look.
Paul crouched down to talk to her. "Munchkin, you need to look after yourself."
"I want to stay near Leah," Bella protested.
Paul stood and spoke to the nurse, "If she is in the delivery room, I'll make sure she rests."
The nurse was new to the tribal medical center. "Are you the father?"
"Yes. And of Leah's twins, too."
"All of them?" she asked with a raised eyebrow.
"We all live together."
She glanced at Niki.
"I'm the grandfather," he supplied, before she asked.
"Humph… never heard of such a thing," she grumbled, as she walked away.
They all heard Leah cry out.
Paul twitched. Bella went white.
Niki slapped his shoulder. "Get your ass in there. I'll stay with Bella." Niki pushed him in the back when he didn't move.
Paul finally stepped towards the room where he knew Leah was. They all watched him go.
Bella heaved a sigh of relief. "Thanks, Niki. I knew you could get him in here. I'm sorry I had to text you."
"It was a good idea. He just had an attack of first time dad nerves. He was right outside." He looked at Bella. "Do you think that nurse is coming back?"
"I hope not," Bella whispered.
"I saw a wheelchair back in the corridor. I am going to steal it."
"Paul!" Leah wailed, when he walked in the door.
She did look terrified. Covered in sweat with her hair mussed up and her fists clenched in the bed covers. She was bent over and leaning onto the bed.
He rushed to her. "I'm sorry, I just panicked, freaked out and I didn't know what to do," he babbled.
"You do know—" A contraction clearly gripped her. She moaned in pain.
"We did the course," Paul finished for her.
He rubbed her back. This wasn't about him; he knew that. It was about Leah and their babies. "What do you need?" he asked her. He would do anything she wanted to make amends.
"Stay." She reached a hand out to him.
He helped her stand. She leaned on him. That told him more than anything else, how tired she already was. "We have some babies to get out." He put his palms flat on her enormous stomach. "God, that's tight. I'm sorry, guys. I'm here now," he apologized to the babies.
"Might not be boys," Leah said.
"Bella will be here in a minute. Niki is bringing her."
"I thought I heard his voice."
Leah produced twin boys, just as Paul had hoped. They all cried. Her labor was fast but painful because of the speed. She swore she was never having another kid.
Paul teased Leah that the big bad werewolf couldn't handle a little pain. She growled at him and told him she'd let him know what pain felt like as soon as she could chase him. Bella argued that it was pain with a purpose if you got such a beautiful babies from it.
"Don't you want a daughter?" Paul asked her.
"Give me time," Leah conceded.
By the time the babies arrived, the waiting room was full of eager grandparents and pack members worried about their alphas.
The pack all sniffed at them to mark their scent. Seth was overjoyed. "Uncle Seth," he kept saying.
Three weeks later, Bella had produced a little girl more slowly and she did it relatively easily. Paul was an expert now and was with her the whole time. The second the baby girl opened her eyes, she had her father wound around her finger; she had Bella's eyes.
Paul was utterly ecstatic. He would often hold all the babies and study them; completely amazed that he had made an entire person. Well, three of them. He looked for differences and similarities. He would put the three of them down on the floor on a comforter, then lie on the floor next to them. The boys didn't take long to grow bigger than the girl. She had her mother's pale skin but slightly darker hair.
He tried to talk to Niki about it one night. They were sitting on the porch drinking beers. A phone rang inside the house.
"Yeah… I never got over that," Niki said. "That sense of wonder. And look at you now, with kids of your own. That really freaks me out."
Paul chuckled. "Hell, I can't think that far ahead."
"And kids seem to be born with their own character; they come out as a person. You know?"
Niki looked at his son. "You turned out okay. I'm proud of you."
"Paul?" Leah called out as she walked out to them. "That was Jasper. They want to visit to see the babies. Are we good with that?"
The wolf in him wanted to shudder, but human Paul knew that without the help of Alice and Jasper, the babies wouldn't even be here. "I'm good," he said.
"Just as well," Leah said, "Bella already said yes."
They all laughed.
Author's note: so another story finished.
I had the worst trouble letting these three go. I wrote four different endings. Some of which would have meant a further 100k words sorting it out. And the more info I gave, the more I had to write. It was enormously hard to just draw a line somewhere. I kept wandering off into territory about how many kids they had, what were their names, what jobs they did, what happened as they got older etc. I know one thing everyone wanted to know was could Leah have kids of her own, so the answer to that is, yes. It is over 200k words, so they have had a pretty good run. And they are happy and together.
See! I did put them back together after smashing it all up a couple of times.
I admit that a while ago, I would not have written Paul and Leah together and now I think they go pretty well. They convinced me.
Thanks to all the people who read and reviewed. Please take the time to post a review.
Feel free to follow me on twitter or my blog - the addresses are on my profile page.
I have to work on some original fiction, so I will be quiet for a little while. Check out the stories I have already posted on Smashwords. They are e-books but you don't need an e-reader to read them. You can download them in one of ten different formats; whatever works for you. It's okay to share the free ones with others. Again, the link is on my profile page.
I assume that I will be back. I STILL have to work on the extension of the 'I'll be home for Christmas' one shot. I know I said that last time, but it's still not finished. I have done 30k words on it, so I will finish it. This story pushed ahead of it in the queue. Oh, I could write Niki into that one… hmmm… *thinks*
MAJOR THANKS to my betas and brain-stormers who have come up with ideas, suggested strategies and talked me through sticking points.
Feebes and Ruadhsidhe They both write great stories, too. Ruadh writes a great dark fairy Riddick so she's only on fanfic. Thanks, ladies!
thank you everyone,