Disclaimer—I don't own Twilight. Or True Blood. Or the movies Fly Away Home and X-men. Or, quite possibly, Quil's description of imprinting; I might have inadvertently quoted…something…from somewhere… I do, however, own this story that was once going to be a ridiculously long one-shot, but is now three chapters.
Fly Away Home
Quil Ateara had always loved Claire Young.
When she was two he had loved her like an older brother would; she was the little sister he'd never had.
When she was seven, she declared for the first of many times to come that he was her absolute best friend in the whole world; he could work with that.
When she was fifteen, he realized she wasn't a little girl anymore. And so, although Quil had always loved Claire, it wasn't until then that he actually started to fall in love with her; because, being who she was, how could he not?
When she was eighteen, she graduated from high school and made plans to go to college on the other side of the state from where he lived.
And that was when Quil realized that, although he had always loved Claire, he needed to make sure that she actually knew that. Quil needed to make sure that Claire knew that he would always be there for her. No matter what. And that would require having the conversation with her that he had been putting off for as long as he had known her. But he couldn't put it off any longer, because Claire was leaving and she needed to know the truth.
Once Claire had officially finished school and summer had begun for her, Quil spent every day with her, just like always, slowly working up the courage to broach this particular topic with her. Of course, as he'd been avoiding it for so long, he always ended up talking himself out of it just when he thought he was about to come clean to her. To all intents and purposes, it appeared as if this conversation was never going to happen, no matter how much Quil was dying on the inside to finally profess his love to Claire.
Because what if she didn't feel the same way? What if she reacted badly to finding out about the imprint? What if she hated him? These thoughts ran through Quil's head for two straight weeks, whether or not he was with Claire at the time. But Quil knew he wouldn't be able to keep the truth from Claire forever. He'd break down and tell her…eventually…when he worked up a satisfying amount of courage…
In the end it was Claire who finally took the decision out of his hands. Of course.
"Is everything okay with you, Quil?" Claire asked one day while the pair was taking one of their usual walks down the beach. On this particular day, Claire was in La Push under the guise of visiting her Aunt Emily, although everyone knew it was really to visit Quil, as she always ended up spending most of her time in La Push with him anyway. "You've seemed kind of…off, lately. Something is bothering you, isn't it?"
Quil sighed heavily at this. Of course she had noticed. Claire always noticed. It was about time he came clean to her…
"I've been meaning to talk to you about something," Quil admitted. Finally. It was now or never. He could do this.
"You've contracted rabies, haven't you?" Claire asked, her mouth set in a serious line, though her eyes were sparkling in amusement.
"Not yet," Quil replied with the barest hint of a smile.
"That's bound to be the answer one of these days," Claire insisted with a shake of her head, walking away from him and over to the nearest driftwood log and sitting down on it. She knew he would follow her; he always did. "I mean, it's only been my guess for the past, oh, ten years or so."
"You just keep telling yourself that," Quil advised her as he sat down beside her, his smile broadening now. His Claire really was something else…
"Does it even have anything to do with the wolves?" Claire asked. "Or are all of my incessant questions just keeping you from telling me that you won the lottery and you're going to support me for the rest of my life while I laze around all day doing nothing, like we both know I want to?"
"It's about the wolves," Quil said with a small chuckle. "There's something I've never told you about them. Not that I purposely kept it a secret from you," He hurried to assure her, "I just…could never quite figure out the right way to tell you. And I was never sure if you were old enough to understand. It's…complicated."
"Well, I'm all ears," Claire told him, situating herself so that she was now angled towards him, her expression expectant.
"It's called imprinting," Quil began.
"Imprinting…" Claire repeated slowly, trying to figure out if she knew what the word meant. Suddenly, her eyes lit up. "Oh! Like that one time in that one movie?"
"Huh?" Came Quil's succinct response. He had not been expecting that. Claire knew what imprinting was?
"You know," Claire said impatiently, "The one with the girl!"
"That's really helpful," Quil replied sarcastically, momentarily distracted from the conversation he had been putting off for years. What on Earth was she going on about right now? Did she actually know what she was talking about? Because Quil sure as hell didn't…
"You know…the girl!" Claire repeated emphatically, waving her arms for emphasis. "Ages ago, way before she was ever on that really old show with the vampires—"
Quil visibly stiffened at this, but Claire appeared not to notice as she continued speaking. "A totally inaccurate portrayal, of course," She was saying, "But that's not important right now. Even before that other movie, where her hair was all funky, she was in that one movie…it's really old…about the geese and the farm and her dad built her a plane thing that looked like a goose so she could teach the little goose…ling…baby…things how to fly because they thought she was their mother because she was the first thing they saw after they were born and they imprinted on her!"
Minus Claire's stumbling over how to refer to the geese, it all came out in a rush, with her barely pausing for breath, slightly overwhelming Quil.
"See?" Claire said proudly. "I do know what imprinting is."
"Um…alright…" Quil said slowly, slightly unsure about all of her references.
"So what you're trying to tell me," Claire began, thoughtful now, "Is that werewolves can do this imprinting thing?"
"Yeah, exactly," Quil replied, glad that he and Claire finally seemed to be on the same page in this conversation.
"So basically," Claire continued slowly. "Werewolves are just like geese, or birds in general, I suppose."
And just like that, Quil was completely lost again.
"No," Quil said shortly. "Not at all."
"But you can both imprint?" Claire clarified.
"Okay, fine…not quite," Quil amended.
"And you've imprinted?" Claire guessed now, easily making the connection.
Quil could only nod; he suddenly found that he just didn't trust his voice to come out right, should he attempt to speak; thank you nerves, for finally kicking in full force. Claire was also silent for a moment, the thoughtful expression still upon her face.
"You imprinted on Jacob, didn't you?" Claire finally asked.