Happy 15th December everyone. Today's offering is something a bit cheerier than yesterday's so I hope you all like it.

Massive thanks go to idealskeptic who betad this for me. As per usual, I don't own Twilight.


They lay comfortably on opposite ends of the bed from one another.

Embry was lying back against the far wall, a pillow tucked behind his shoulders, propping his head up. He had a book in one hand while the other ran up and down his Leah's bare legs, where they rested against his. A sole desk lamp lit the room, allowing enough light for him to read by, but was dim enough that it didn't hurt his eyes. Every now and then he would raise his hand to turn a page, but his palm would quickly return to her body, as if he couldn't bear not to touch her.

Leah lay flat on her back, the top of her head resting against the headboard. She was still in the exact same position she had been when she had orgasmed, having collapsed back onto the bed, unable to move anymore. Now she stayed where she was simply because she was so comfortable.

It was strange for her to be so relaxed, especially after sex.

When she had been with Sam, they had both been teenagers, and sex was something snatched at the end of dates or during lunch at school behind the gym. It wasn't something to be lingered over or savoured; she always figured it would be more earth-shattering, like in the books she borrowed from her mom, when they were older and lived together.

The two occasions when she had attempted sex following Sam's betrayal with Emily, and before she became a wolf, she had been left feeling cheap and dirty, like she was just some whore picked up off the streets. The first time, she had left straight away after, not liking the sick feeling in the pit of her stomach. The second time, she had left before the guy had even got her skirt off, unable to stomach his touch on her skin.

So afterglow was something she had never indulged in, not before Embry anyway.

There was something rather decadent about lying in a bed where you'd just made love, your body naked and exposed to the air, your legs entwined with his, the sheets rumpled all around you.

She sighed and wriggled, stretching her legs to their full length and then releasing the tense muscles. Her feet brushed against Embry's stomach and he grabbed one of them without looking. He ran his thumb over the sole of her foot and she squirmed away, trying to stop her leg from kicking out.

"Embry," she whined.

He didn't take his eyes off his book, but a smile quirked his lips. He pinched her baby toe and then released her foot, his grin getting wider when she quickly scooted her feet backwards out of his reach.

Satisfied that her feet were safe for now, Leah went back to thinking.

Sex with Embry.

She sighed happily at the memory of it.

They had only been together for two months, and yet it had been a happy two months.

She had been so lost when the Volturi had left, taking most of the vampire activity in the state with them. She felt like she had lost some of her purpose in being a wolf. There was nothing to fight against, no endless patrols to schedule and run, and Leah had suddenly be left with too much time on her hands.

It was only during this quiet period that she had realised just how little she had in her life.

Sure, she still had her mom and Seth, but Sue was spending a lot of her time now with Charlie Swan and Seth was on lock down, forced by the elders to temporarily suspend his pack duties so he wouldn't flunk out of school.

A lot of the younger wolves were in the same position; even Jake, Quil and Embry were informed that they would be attending summer school this year to make sure that they would graduate. Jake was the luckiest wolf in that instance as he had his all-knowing future in-laws to help him pass. Leah suspected that it was largely thanks to the Cullens that his GPA had suddenly shot through the roof.

Still, it was shocking to Leah to find just how little she had left once all the dust had settled.

She hadn't got a job, she had let her scholarship to college go in the aftermath of Sam going missing, and the few friends she had on the reservation had either moved away or avoided the new, bitter Leah.

The worst part was that she really couldn't blame them for it. She hadn't been a particularly nice person for so long.

She had thrown herself into her wolf duties to the extent where even Jacob had told her to ease off patrols, but that then left her with a stupid amount of time with nothing to do but lay around the house.

Eventually her mom had got so irritated with her moping and taking up space on the sofa that she had arranged for her to tutor the younger wolves, to help them catch up on their missed work. That had worked for all of a week, until Brady had made a smart remark about seeing her naked in Sam's pack's mind.

She had given him a beating that he, and the other young wolves, would never forget, and then she had flatly refused to have anything to do with them. The only ones she was happy to be around anymore were the boys in her own pack, Quil, Embry and Seth.

Her little brother had always been fairly conscientious about his work and being caught up in the middle of a vampire war somehow hadn't changed that so he was fine working by himself. And Quil didn't care enough about school to put more than the minimum effort in. He had no plans to leave the reservation, his family or Claire to go to college, so as long as he graduated, he was happy.

So that left Leah with Embry, who unlike his two best friends, actually did care about his future. He was smart and ambitious. Sometimes she didn't know why they kept up the pretence of tutoring when really he didn't need it. Still, she helped out somewhat, and some of her battered self-confidence gradually began to creep back. He was so easy to spend time with as well. He didn't hold any grudges against her bad behaviour when she had first become a wolf and he was unfailingly polite to her at all times. Unlike his best friends, he knew when to keep his mouth shut and was very unlike the other teenage boys as he didn't sink to crude innuendoes or cursing when he got pissed off.

One day, she had asked him why he was trying so hard to get a perfect GPA.

He had given her a look that told her she had just asked a stupid question. "So that I can graduate, get a scholarship and get admitted to a decent college. Why does anyone work hard at school apart from that?"

She had been confused.

"But we can't go to college, remember? We have to stay here and protect the tribe. We don't get to leave."

Embry had set his pen down and leaned back in his chair. He surveyed her assessingly and Leah fought not to fidget under his gaze.

"Who told you that?" he finally asked. "Sam? Of course he would say that. He had to stay here, as the Alpha of the pack, he didn't have any other choice, but we're not part of his pack anymore. We don't have to live by his rules."

She had shaken her head silently.

"Leah, do you really think that Jake's going to keep us here when we could go to college? He's not Sam; he knows that we can do better than just staying in La Push forever. And now, there's lots of wolves running about. Let Sam's pack and the younger ones take over the protection of the tribe for a change. Our land won't remain unprotected. At the very least, the Cullens and Jake will still be living in the area for the foreseeable future."

Leah had listened to Embry intently, mulling over everything he had said in her mind.

He was right about Jacob. Their Alpha was nothing but fair; if they asked to leave to go to college, chances were that he would let them, as long as they promised to return during breaks and afterwards.

The possibilities this opened up for them all were overwhelming.

She could re-apply to college.

Leah had gotten good grades at school and had even won an academic scholarship, so hopefully her being admitted wouldn't be a problem. It was only money that would be an issue, but she figured she could always work hard to support herself; it wasn't like she needed a lot of sleep.

The next study session that she had with Embry, she took along a bunch of application forms to fill in while he got on with his own work. He had smirked at the sight of them before turning back to his math homework, not saying a word.

Leah had been resolved not to say anything to anyone about her hopes until she heard anything positive, but she was overjoyed when a couple of months after she had sent off her applications and finance forms, she found that not only had her previous scholarship had been re-awarded to her, but she had also been accepted onto the original nursing course that she had applied for all those years ago.

She had done it. She had managed to regain a small part of her future.

Leah had burst into her next tutoring session with Embry, waving her acceptance packet in the air, needing to share her joy with someone else – the person who had encouraged her.

"I got in! Oh my God. I can't believe it."

He had grinned and stood up. "That's awesome, Leah. I knew you could do it. Did you talk to Jake yet?"

She shook her head. "No. Not yet. I wanted to see if there was any chance of it actually happening before I considered leaving La Push."

"But you got in."

"I did." She hadn't thought her smile could get any wider but it did. She was just so excited and so happy. "And it's all thanks to you, Embry. I wouldn't have applied if you hadn't said something about it. Thank you!"

Without thinking about it, Leah had thrown her arms around Embry's neck, the weight of her body throwing him a little off balance, but he quickly recovered and hugged her back.

"Thank you," she whispered into his neck.

"No problem," he replied.

She couldn't make herself draw back from the embrace. He had just felt so warm and comforting. The feel of a man holding her, of being enveloped in another's touch, and the scent of pack, sent a shudder down her spine.

"Leah?" Embry had pulled back slightly so he could see her face. He was confused by her reaction.

Throwing caution to the wind, she leaned forward and pressed her lips to his.

He froze at the sudden gesture and Leah pulled back embarrassed. She didn't know why she had thrown herself at him like that, but she couldn't deny how it had made her feel.

"I'm sorry. I guess I was just so happy I forgot myself for a second. Sorry."

Turning away from him, she had retreated back to the table, only for Embry to stop her, his hand clasped around her arm. She gasped as he pulled her back towards him and kissed her properly.

That had been the start of their odd relationship.

At first, Leah had thought that he was just craving the contact and closeness of another person like she was. But as their study sessions turned into time spent hanging out and then dating, she had finally realised that maybe she wasn't just convenient to him, and that Embry actually liked her.

This was further proved when he had shyly produced his own acceptance letter to the University of Washington and suggested that maybe they could go to college together. Leah wasn't stupid; she knew that he had been accepted elsewhere as well, but that he would apply to go to the same place as her warmed her heart.

Not long after that, they had slept together for the first time, and then Leah learnt how things should really be. Embry was so attentive, and she wanted to make him happy so much in return, that it had somehow ended up being ridiculously perfect between them, even if she had freaked out a little afterwards when he had revealed that she had just stripped him of his virginity.

Sometimes, she worried about imprinting taking him from her, and she knew that the same thought nagged at the back his mind too, but they both agreed that it might never happen and in the meantime wasn't it worth it to be happy together, than miserable apart? They both had suffered enough misery and pain in their lives that happiness was something to be snatched at whenever it crossed them.

All of that had led them to where they were right now, in bed together, content. They just fit together.

They didn't have to worry about explaining about their unexplained and half-naked disappearances into the forest to each other and there was a security that came with knowing the hardships that the other had had to face without having to put them into words. Being in the pack together had given them a closeness that normal relationships didn't have, at least not this soon after they started.

Something occurred to Leah then.

"Embry." She jabbed his stomach with her foot again.

"Hmm?" He turned another page.

Exasperated by his lack of a response, Leah jabbed him again. His gaze didn't waver from his book, but the alertness in his body told her that he wasn't as oblivious to her as he was pretending to be.

Determined to see how far she could push it before he reacted, she slid her foot down from his stomach to rest over his dick. Rubbing over it, he began to swell beneath her touch and she grinned.

"Embry?" she tried again.

Once again he ignored her, but she caught the throb of his throat as he swallowed heavily. Massaging his erect dick with her foot, she giggled at his efforts to stay in control.

Seconds later, the laughter was knocked out of her as Embry pinned her to the mattress, his hands clasped tightly around her wrists, next to her head.

"Don't you know, it's rude to tease people like that," he breathed out.

Leah tilted her chin up defiantly. "It's only teasing if you don't plan to follow through. Besides, how else was I supposed to get your attention?"

He grinned and lowered himself to capture her lips. They kissed languidly for what seemed like hours, before finally breaking apart, Embry releasing Leah and shifting his body so he was lying next to her, one hand still trailing indulgently over her body.

"You always have my attention," he commented softly.

Leah raised her head and kissed him again.

"Do you think everyone knows about us? All of the pack, I mean?"

His fingers stilled on her stomach. "Leah, they've known for weeks. I've already had 'talks' from Jake, your brother, Sam and your mom about us. I thought you knew."

She was horrified. "My mom knows about us?"

He shrugged. "Well, yeah. Seth told her about us, and it's not exactly like we've been subtle about it. Were you hoping she wouldn't find out?"

Leah could feel his body tense as he waited for her answer and she hushed him, running her palms up and down his chest until she felt him relax again. Embry allowed her to pull him down towards her so she was cradling his shoulders and his head was resting on her chest. For some reason, the sound of her heartbeat soothed him more than any other action.

"Of course not," she replied. "She just hasn't said anything to me. I mean, I knew she knew I was tutoring you, but she's never given any hint that she knew about the rest of it." She ran her fingers through his hair. "I definitely don't want you to think that you're like my dirty little secret or something, 'cause you're not, Embry. I just hadn't worked out how to tell everyone. It's all so new."

She felt the last of his tension melt away from his body at her explanation.

"Good," he mumbled. "I don't want you to be my dirty little secret either. You're not either of those things."

He raised his head to look intently at her and something in his eyes made Leah catch her breath. Embry must have been satisfied with whatever he saw on her face, because he lowered his head again, pursing his lips against the side of her breast as he lay back down.

Leah went back to stroking his hair.

"I love being here like this with you," she eventually said. "I love that we're not hidden away from everyone."

He tilted his head and kissed her chest again.

"I can't wait for us to go to college together," she continued. "I just feel so happy, you know. I feel like this is just perfect. Just you and me..." She stretched out and her feet caught against something at the end of the mattress. She cast a scornful look downwards. "...and that damn book that's still in bed with us."

Even though she couldn't see his face, she felt Embry smile.

"I've got finals to pass. That book is going to be sleeping with us for the next couple of months."

"Hmmph." She scowled and then grinned.

In a fast move that Embry wasn't expecting, she flipped their bodies so that he was beneath her. Slinging a leg over his hips, she straddled him and then sat up, rocking their centres together and making them both moan.

"Want me to help teach you?" she offered with a wicked grin.

He grabbed her around the back of her neck and dragged her down for a lingering kiss.

"I'm happy for you to teach me anything you think I need to know," he murmured against her mouth.

She giggled as he rolled her over, the two getting lost in their passion.

This was what it was supposed to be like for both of them.

This was bliss.