A/N: Real quick, cause some people have expressed some concern over it, this will NOT be a threesome story, I promise. It will be a AlicexBella story only. These chapters are the setup to the real story, the stuff that happens before all the relationship stuff. So bear with that, and I promise there will be some Bellice interaction in the next chapter.
I still don't own Twilight
Warm sunlight streamed in from the window in my bedroom, waking me up in a rather pleasant way. I let loose a yawn and slowly opened my eyes. It had been three months since the pride had taken me out to the woods to shift for the first time, and I had definitely grown since then, in far more ways than one.
For starters, my frame had filled in with muscle; a trait I found was present in all shifters. I had also grown a few inches, but I was still the shortest in the group after little Danni. My strength had grown exponentially, and I found myself wondering just how strong I was in comparison to other types of supernaturals, vampires especially.
Speaking of those wonderful creatures, the pride had definitely helped me with my "abandonment issues" as they called them. The thought of the Cullens no longer punched a hole in my chest, sure there was still a lingering ache, but it was bearable. I was able to move on and focus on other things in my life.
Speaking of other things in my life, the wonderful girl in my arms chose that moment to snuggle closer to my chest, then let out a huge yawn.
"Morning Kitty Kat." I chuckled at her as she blearily opened her eyes.
"You know I hate it when you call me that." She scoffed, pushing herself up and placing a quick kiss to my lips.
"That's why I love doing it." I retorted, pulling her face down to mine to silence the comeback she had planned.
"Well when you put it that way…" Kat mumbled against my mouth.
See, my relationship with Kat came as a huge surprise to everyone, especially her and me. When I finally realized what that stupid fluttering in my stomach was, and told my Alpha she seemed just as confused as me, she didn't think I was into girls any more than I thought I was. But eventually we worked through that, and became rather happy together. In fact, I was happy enough to take the relationship public, pleasantly surprised at the overall acceptance we had received from the residents of Forks. All in all, I think people were just happy to see me in a state other than deep depression.
The girl in question snuggled up against me once more and a noise began to rumble in her chest, akin to a cat's purr. I had been surprised when I found she could make that sound in her human form, and it was a personal mission of mine to get her to do it in public places because it made her get all flustered and embarrassed, which was adorable. My favorite time was when I got her to do it in the grocery store by scratching the base of her skull, and at least eight people gave her a weird look, prompting her to blush furiously and me to bust up laughing.
"Bella! Kat! Time to wake up!" Rikki's voice called out from behind our door.
"No." Kat mumbled into my shoulder, but I knew Rikki could hear her.
"Yes. You two are having lunch with Charlie in an hour, and then we're going out for a run, remember?"
"Damn, she's right." I muttered, pulling the covers off of us.
"Do we have to? It's so warm and comfy here." Kat looked up at me pleadingly.
"Kitty, you know that we leave Forks in two days. My dad wants to see me before we go." I pushed her off and began to gather clothes to get changed.
"I know, I know. Sorry, it's just, I don't really remember what it's like to worry about family…" I turned to see Kat staring into space, no doubt remembering her rather painfully colorful past.
"Hey," I walked up and turned her face so that she was looking at me, "we're your family now. Don't forget that." She smiled in response and I placed a quick peck on her lips before thrusting clothes into her arms.
After 45 minutes we were finally ready to head out and pick up my father for lunch. He was sitting on the porch of my old house, and broke out into a huge grin when he saw us pull up.
"Hey Bells. Katherine. How are you today?" He asked as he got into the car.
"We're good. How are you dad?" I responded, looking back at him as Kat drove to the diner in town.
"A little sad that you're leaving so soon, but still happy for you." He answered truthfully, a small sad smile on his face. We soon got to the diner and were seated by a waitress that knew us, and our order, by heart. She told us that she'd be back soon with our drinks, throwing a wink at Charlie before walking away. He blushed fiercely before clearing his throat and striking up conversation. "Are you all packed? Do you need any help moving anything?"
"Dad, we've got everything covered." I laughed.
"I know, I just guess I don't really want to see you go…"
"We've talked about this dad, it's a wonderful opportunity, and I'll be helping a lot of people." I gently told him.
"Bella's story is an inspirational one. Overcoming such a crippling depression and moving forward with her life was a huge accomplishment. So many troubled teens will benefit from her talks." Kat supplied, even though we had already been over this.
There was a clear reason why we had to leave, but we couldn't exactly tell Charlie. In reality, the wolf shifters had apparently decided that the new strange scent in their territory was a threat, and had been getting closer and closer to finding our pride. Luckily they hadn't figured out who we were as humans yet, but it was only a matter of time. So Kat helped me come up with a story about how my "group home" wanted me to travel and talk to other troubled kids to help them move through their problems.
"And I'm so proud of her for doing that. That doesn't mean I won't miss my little girl." Charlie explained.
Our food came out then, and we turned our attention to the meal, making small talk occasionally. We soon finished the meal and headed out to the car, Kat driving us back to Charlie's house. When we got there I got out of the car to give my dad a hug, surprised when he hugged me rather tightly.
"I'm gonna miss you Bells. Take care of yourself while on the road, and don't do anything crazy." He muttered into my hair.
"I'll miss you too dad." I smiled at him when he finally let me go. He then told me to stay there for a second and went over to Kat's window. I guess he thought it would be a private conversation, but with my senses, I could hear the whole thing.
"Katherine, I want you to promise me that you'll take care of Bella while you all are gone."
"Sir, I promise you that I'll never let anything happen to her. I love your daughter and would do anything to protect her." Kat guaranteed him, the sincerity in her voice making my heart do little flutters.
"I'm so glad that she had you to help her through her problems, and that she has you now." He told her.
"Trust me, I'm just as glad to have her." I could practically hear the dreamy smile in the blonde's voice.
"Alright Bella, I'm all done talking to Katherine." Charlie walked over and patted my shoulder.
"I love you dad." I hugged him quickly before taking off to the car.
"Love you too Bella." I heard him say to my retreating figure as I got into the car.
"Ready for a run?" Kat asked as we drove off.
"Yeah. I think I'm gonna miss this place when we go. It'll be nice to have one last run through the woods." I said as I watched the town speed by.
"We may be able to come back one day." Kat tried.
"It won't be for a couple decades though. Can't have anyone recognizing us, right?" I laughed humorlessly. Sometimes I got a little bitter over the things I had to give up as a shifter.
"Don't worry about me." I looked over and put my hand on her shoulder. "It's just going to take some getting used to is all."
"If you're sure." She muttered as we pulled up to the house in the middle of the woods.
"I'm sure. Now let's go, it's time to say goodbye to this place." Kat followed me out of the car, but before we even got to the door Danni and Rikki were rushing outside to meet us.
"About time." Rikki scoffed as she began to walk into the woods.
"How was lunch?" Danni asked, walking backwards to follow her mate and to talk to us simultaneously.
"Fine. Charlie's a bit sad I'm leaving, but he's not putting up any resistance." I answered.
"That's good." Danni said before turning around and speeding up her pace to catch up to the tall girl who hadn't slowed her pace to let us catch up. Rolling my eyes, I also sped up to catch up, Kat following my lead.
We soon made it to a small clearing where we wasted no time in stripping down and shifting into our feline forms. Luckily I had gotten used to the whole nudity thing over the past couple months, and now it seemed like nothing.
"There's a scent of leech near." I heard Rikki growl mentally and heard the leopard next to me emit a low growling as well.
"Again? That's the fourth one this month! What is going on with them?" Kat growled back.
Maybe it's because the Cullens left. Maybe they want to take the territory. I suggested.
"Whatever the reason, we need to take care of the parasite. Lead the way Rikki." Kat told her. Rikki nodded and took off into the woods.
After a little while of running through the woods I started to pick up the scent of the vampire. Like all vampires the scent was sickly sweet, yet slightly rotten, as though someone let a giant pile of candy and sweets out in the sun for too long and it just melted into one nasty mess and went bad. It wasn't much longer until I heard the vampire moving around in a clearing up ahead.
Slowly and silently, the four of us crept to the edge of the clearing, staying hidden, but getting a good look at our prey. Just like any vampire she was strikingly beautiful, though I found now their beauty didn't shock me, instead it reminded me of what they were, making my body vibrate with a rage built into the very essence of our species. The vampire wasn't tall, probably five and a half feet, with auburn hair and gentle features. I also noticed that her eyes were a strange color, predominantly red with a slight undertone of gold.
"She's all alone… Poor her." Rikki mocked as she flexed her claws in anticipation.
"Are we just going to stand here?" Danni asked impatiently. The first vampire we faced I was surprised at how eager the tiny girl was to kill, but soon found that the instincts of all shapeshifters drive them to kill vampires, and since she was a changed shifter like me she didn't have perfect control over those instincts.
"On my count. Three… two… one… NOW!" The four of us burst from the trees, terrifying the lone vampire in the clearing and causing her to turn and run.
"I'll give her this, she's smarter than some others we've taken down." Rikki thought with a savage laugh. The hunt tended to pull out the most primal sides of all of our pride.
"Why do I feel like she's leading us somewhere?" Kat sounded weary all of the sudden.
We could run ahead. I suggested, feeling a little bad for doing so, but the rest of us were faster than Kat, whose snow leopard had shorter legs than our feline forms.
"No. If she is really leading us then I don't want us separated. Especially you Bella, considering you've never fought a leech one on one."
"Besides, we're catching up." Danni thought with a mental grin.
Sadly, we found Kat was right as we burst through the tree line right on the vampire's heels. Standing there were three other vampires, three other vampires that I recognized sickingly well.
"Shit!" The curse seemed to come from both Rikki and Kat at the same time, but I hardly noticed.
Instead my eyes were locked on a particular vampire in the group. Bronze hair, chiseled features, and a stupid crooked smirk stared back at me as my entire body began to literally vibrate in rage.
"We have a shot, but we have to be smart about this. Rikki will take the biggest one, and I'll take the blonde that's all scarred up. Danni can take the brown haired male, and Bella can take the female. But be careful Bella, I would just keep her busy until one of us can help you." Kat was rattling off instructions in my head, but I couldn't focus.
It was as if a red haze had covered my vision, but strangely the panther wasn't in control, I was. My anger was fueling me, not the shapeshifter's instinctual rage.
"Bella, are you even listening?" Kat asked, but I ignored it, instead crouching down and letting out an earsplitting roar. "What's going- Bella, are those your leeches?" I tensed; ready to pounce on the fucker who abandoned me all that time ago. Turns out I hadn't moved on from the pain, I had just shifted it to anger. "BELLA, YOU WILL NOT ATTACK THAT MALE UNLESS HE ATTACKS FIRST!" The command shot through my system, leaving me unable to move, to leap like I so wanted to.
"What's her deal?" Rikki asked, keeping an eye on the vampires in from of us.
"That's the one that left her." Danni explained.
"Well then, this fight'll be fun." Rikki thought, feral glee flowing through the bond.
Just as the thought sounded through our minds four more vampire entered the clearing. I figured it was the rest of the Cullens, but I was simply going on sound and scent considering I was still glaring at Edward with hate clouding my vision.
"No, this fight would be suicide…" Kat muttered. I simply let out another snarl, beyond frustrated that I couldn't move. "Bella, I want you to look anywhere but him, alright. I won't order you, because you know how much I hate that, but I really, really want you to try. I don't know, look at the little one. You always said she was your friend."
Grudgingly I complied, knowing that displays of aggression would drive the Cullens to attack us all, and I didn't want to be the cause of any of my pride-mates being seriously injured or even killed. So I turned my gaze and swept it over the line standing in front of me, noticing them all tensed and ready to attack at a moment's notice. I saw Rosalie, still as beautiful as ever, Emmett, still a giant beast of a man, and then I saw little Alice.
My head suddenly stopped moving; my gaze never met the next vampire's in the row due to the strangest sensation assaulting me. It was as if someone had literally lit a fire in my chest, and it spread to ever fiber of my body, only I felt no pain. All the rage suddenly flushed from my mind, my vision going back to normal and focusing on the tiny pixie crouching and growling with the rest of her family. She was a threat to my family, and I should have returned the growl, but I couldn't, I couldn't do anything to relax my body and fight the urge to walk up to her and nuzzle her.
A loud whimper broke all my thoughts, mainly due to the fact that it was the most pain-filled noise I had ever heard from any creature in my entire life. My head whipped over to see Kat staring at me, ears flat against her head and mouth hung open, tail between her legs. If tears could be coming out of her eyes I knew they would be.
What's going on?! I thought in a panic, hating the expression on her face.
"You just Imprinted. On the leech." Rikki told me when it was apparent Kat couldn't speak.
That can't be right!
"One of you mongrels just Imprinted on Alice?!" We all turned to see Edward yelling at the pride.
"How does he know that?" Danni asked, all fight seemingly drained from her.
"Edward, calm down. I'm not sure if that's what it was. It just seemed similar to what the Wolves described it as." Carlisle tried to calm his adoptive son down.
"What is Imprinting?" A high voice, like ringing bells to my ears, asked. I looked over to see Alice looking between her family and us quickly. I'm sure that if I was still human I wouldn't even be able to track the movement it was so quick.
"I think that our two groups need to have a discussion." Carlisle addressed us, ignoring his daughter's question. Kat stepped forward, seemingly over the whole thing, but I could feel the pain rolling off of her. She simply nodded at the coven leader, sitting down to make herself seem less threatening. "How about your group comes back here in a half hour, in human form, and we can discuss this calmly."
"Why can't we have the discussion now?" Emmett asked.
"Because they would all be nude." Carlisle explained to his son, and by his expression I'm sure he'd be blushing if he could.
"Why are we even letting them come here at all? Why aren't we focusing on getting rid of them to protect our family?" Of course that was Edward. I was surprised when I heard a snarl come from Alice, but not as surprised as she seemed to be as soon as the noise left her lips.
"That's why." Carlisle simply stated. He looked back at Kat for some sort of answer, and she bowed her head to show that we'd be back. "Then we will await your arrival."
"Danni, Rikki, you're going to have to herd Bella out of here. In this form she won't want to leave her Imprint." Kat instructed the others. And it was true, I found that I couldn't turn around to leave; all I could do was stare at Alice's small frame as she stared at me questioningly.
Before I knew what was going on a lioness and a leopard were pushing me out of the clearing, a crestfallen snow leopard following them. Once we were headed home and I had a right mind again I tried to talk to Kat, but she had somehow completely blocked herself off from the rest of us. It wasn't until we were in the house, shifted back, getting dressed that I was able to talk to her.
"Kat." I walked into the room and closed the door behind me. "Kat, we need to talk about this."
"There's nothing to talk about. She's your Imprint." Kat told me, back turned so that I couldn't see her face.
"I'm sorry." The apology was the first thing that came to mind.
"Bella, don't apologize for finding your mate." Kat turned and gave me a sad smile. She then walked up to me and wrapped me into a hug, resting her chin on top of my head. That gesture used to be able to calm me down and make me feel protected, but now I was just met with the feeling that I should be the one holding someone, and that someone should be much shorter. "We always knew this was going to happen eventually." I felt moisture hitting my hair, indicating that the taller girl was crying.
"It doesn't make it any more fair to you." I muttered into her shoulder.
"I've accepted it. I just didn't think it'd be so soon. Or with a leech of all things." I couldn't help the low growl that sounded in my chest at the name she called Alice. "Right, sorry."
"I would have never thought it would be one of them either. Goddess, this would be so much easier if you were just my Imprint!" I huffed out.
"Life's never easy. But she's normally a bitch, and I've accepted that." Kat let loose a broken chuckle.
"I'm sorry I'm the reason you're going through this again." I pulled back and looked in her eyes.
"It's not your fault, stop apologizing."
"I can't help it, I love you and I hate hurting you. Hell, I don't even want to have an Imprint on one of them. They left me alone in a forest!"
"No, the moronic male did that. The rest of them had to follow to keep their family together. What would you do if Danni or Rikki suddenly decided it was time to go?"
"I'd go with them…" I muttered.
"Right, so as mad as you are at the vampires for leaving you, you're going to have to move past that."
"I just wish I could find you your Imprint. You deserve to have someone." I said, getting a little frustrated.
"Listen," she wiped my tears and placed her hands on my cheeks, "you still love me, right, as a friend?" I nodded, knowing that I still felt a deep affection for the girl in front of me, just not a romantic one anymore. She smiled, a real smile, and continued. "Then that's good enough for me for now. And I'll always love you, but it's going to take some time to shift that love from the romantic kind to a platonic kind. So can you bear with me while I work on that?" I nodded again and she kissed my forehead. "Good. Now we have to get going."
With that she wiped her own tears away and left the room, and me feeling like the worst possible pride-mate that ever existed.
Alice Cullen was pacing around the living room of her house, impatiently awaiting the return of the giant cat-shifters, and ultimately an explanation. No one in her family would tell her what was going on, and her visions were all messed up, making her on edge. She checked the clock again and saw that they only had five more minutes until the other group showed up, but each tick of the clock seemed to take an eternity.
Her head whipped to the door when she heard a car approaching the house, too loud to just be driving by the entrance. Thanking a higher power, she made her way out of the house, quickly followed buy her frustratingly mute family members. As she exited the house she saw a Jeep pulling up with heavily tinted windows, to the point that even she couldn't see into it.
The engine cut off as it parked and Alice found herself holding her breath as one door opened and a woman stepped out. If she was human, Alice would have described this girl as terrifying, and even as a vampire Alice found her unnerving. This girl was over six feet tall, probably close to even Emmett's height, with a set of piercing yellow-green eyes and a smirk that could rival even Rosalie's.
"Is that her?" Alice heard Emmett mutter quietly so that she couldn't hear.
"I hope not." Rosalie murmured. The girl in question shot the vampires a look that told them she could hear every word.
"No, that's definitely not her. I don't even know what an Imprint is and I can tell." Alice said, not even trying to be quiet considering the shifters could hear her.
Another girl slid out of the car, this time a tiny little thing, only a bit taller than Alice herself. This girl immediately attached herself to the taller one, lacing their fingers together and pulling her along.
"I'm going to assume it's not the little one either." Emmett said with a laugh, making Alice only shake her head. This was getting rather frustrating for the petite vampire, but at least there were only two more, right?
The next girl who got out made Alice's heart clench, but not due to any weird connection that she had no idea about. No, it was the absolutely empty and haunted look in the girl's gleaming blue eyes that would flash a to a pale green every so often. This girl looked so broken, as if everything she held dear was just ripped from her life in the blink of an eye. The girl seemed to steel herself, and the expression was soon replaced with an apathetic one.
Before Emmett could even ask about this girl the final car door opened, and the occupant stepped out, causing every vampire to take in a collective gasp. Moving with the rest of the shifters was Bella Swan, a smirk on her face. Alice couldn't help but feel a immense joy at seeing Bella again, never quite getting over the fact that her family had abandoned her. But seeing Bella again, Alice could see some obvious changes. Bella had grown taller and had gained a lean layer of muscle all over. Her eyes also seemed wilder, shifting all around as she walked towards us.
It then hit Alice, whatever an Imprint was, Bella had done it to her. Which meant that Bella was a shapeshifter like the rest of the women walking towards them.
Which led Alice to only one question: what the hell happened while they were gone?