Bursting into the clearing where my house was located I was glad that there didn't seem to be any sort of fighting going on, yet at least. However, there was a rather large russet-colored wolf baring its fangs at my pride, who were all human, standing shoulder to shoulder vibrating slightly. I knew that in a moment they would all shift and attack Jacob, and even though the ass had basically abandoned me, I was pretty sure that I didn't want him dead.
"Jacob, stop it!" I yelled, running to stand in front of my pride. His ears suddenly perked up in confusion, but he refused to take his eyes off the three shaking girls behind me. "Yes Jake, I know that's you. Now can you please shift back and talk to me like a civil wolf-beast?" I teased slightly, probably pushing my luck a bit. He eyed me with the best 'are you serious' look a wolf could manage. "I swear, I will slap that look off your face if you don't. I've had quite the day and you don't want to push me."
Thankfully, instead of attacking, Jacob let out a large huff and made his way into the woods, most likely to put on some pants. As quickly as the giant wolf disappeared, Jacob was stomping out of the woods, looking rather aggravated.
"Alright, I'm shifted back, now talk." Jacob all but growled at me.
"Nice to see you too. How have you been these past months? I've been wonderful, thanks for asking." I seethed back at him. At my response Jake blanched, all his anger dissipating. Then, suddenly, his face broke into a huge grin.
"You're much more sarcastic than I remember." He laughed slightly. However, just as quickly as the smile came, it was wiped off his face when his gaze fell upon Alice. "Leech."
"Mutt." She shot back with a sickly sweet smile.
"So where's Edward." Jacob spit out the other Cullen's name.
"Not sure." I answered, getting his attention. "Somewhere in the woods trying to reattach his arm I'd guess." I finished with a slightly feral grin.
"No shit." Jacob said as he turned his gaze to me and let out another laugh, causing my grin to widen. "Well it's about time someone handed him his ass. Never quite knew what you saw in him."
"Join the club." Kat muttered from behind Jacob.
"Anyway, I was serious when I said we would talk. But we should do it inside." I said, motioning to the house.
"Just talk?" Jake glanced at the house skeptically.
"Look," Kat took a step forward to address the other shifter, "we've been trying to talk to your pack for a while now, but you all keep growling at us when we get close. I guess you've already established that we're threats to you, but we don't want to be. We just want to live here in peace, and not have to worry about ten giant wolves barreling down on us."
"I'm assuming that you're the leader of this little group." Jacob stated.
"Yes, but I'll explain everything in more detail if you'll let me." Kat replied.
After a moment's hesitation Jake nodded and I allowed a small smile to break out on my face. That was one less thing I had to worry about, as long as the talk went alright that is.
"Are any of your pack-mates coming because of that little phased incident?" Rikki asked, still getting her shaking under control.
"No, they're trying to respect the treaty line." Jacob told her, glancing at Alice as he did.
"Bella," Alice spoke quietly to me before I could make a move to enter the house, "I don't think he'd do well with me so close to him, the whole 'werewolf-vampire' thing and all. Even if they aren't actually werewolves."
"But?" I asked once I noticed her hesitation.
"I don't really want to leave you alone with a rival shapeshifter that wanted to kill anything with your scent not ten minutes ago." She elaborated.
"Alice, I'll be fine. There are four of us, and only one of him. If he gets any ideas that is. But I think he'll listen, we were, are, fairly close after all." I assured her with a smile.
"If you're sure…" She said but still seemed hesitant to leave.
"I am. Now go home and let your family know what's going on. Also…" I paused, unsure of how to word what I wanted to tell her.
"I'm sure Edward is going to be back soon, and I just want you to be careful. I don't know how pissed he is, or how much he's going to lose his mind over everything that's happened. So just be careful, alright?" I rushed out, which caused a huge grin to break out on her face.
"I'll be careful. Besides, I have Emmett and Jasper on my side if I couldn't take care of myself. But thank you for worrying about me." She said with a small giggle. Turning to go, she paused before quickly spinning back to face me and placed a quick kiss on my cheek before speeding away in the direction of her house.
"Bella!" Danni called out when it was clear I wasn't moving.
"I'm coming." I called back, unconsciously touching my fingers to my cheek that was still tingling from the soft, cool lips that had just been there.
"Someone's got it bad." Danni sing-songed as we walked into the house.
"Watch it pipsqueak." I growled as I walked into the living room where Jacob was sitting across from Kat. I sat next to my Alpha, who was curiously regarding Jake, as he stared intently at me.
"So, Bella…" Jacob prompted.
"I'm just going to make this as quick as possible, considering I've already had to go through this once today. The scent that your pack is tracking is shifter." I told him plainly.
"Impossible! That would mean…" Jacob choked as his stare darted between all four of the girls in front of him.
"We all are shifters in this room Jacob." Kat told him.
"But you're not Quileute! The gene would have never been passed to you. And you don't even smell like wolves." Jacob rattled off.
"Did you really think that there was only one type of shapeshifter out there Jacob Black?" Kat asked with a smirk, which caused Jacob to open his mouth in protest, but Kat quickly cut him off. "You don't know half of the things that are out there. Hell, did you even know you were shapeshifters, or did you think you were werewolves?"
"What else would we be? We're men who shift into wolves, isn't that the definition of a werewolf?" He asked, seemingly absolutely curious and not even a bit angry.
"You've never met a werewolf, pup, and you should thank your ancestors and any deity you worship for that." Kat growled out, shaking slightly.
"And why is that?"
"Those monsters are mindless killing machines, not capable of a single human thought or emotion. They will kill anything that moves by ripping it limb from limb. I may hate vampires, but they had the right idea in killing those things off." She explained.
"How can you tell me that you're a shifter, and then tell me that you agree with vampires killing off something that would be like a cousin species to you?" Jacob asked, getting angry.
"Werewolves are sentenced to the worst fate possible. Once infected they will never take human form again. They are beasts for the rest of their existence, infecting any human unlucky enough to stumble across them, if they don't kill the poor mortal first." She spoke in a detached voice, completely emotionless.
"Seriously." He asked, as the color seemed to drain from his face. Her conviction and detail seemed to be enough to convince him of her knowledge.
"Yes, but we're getting off topic." Kat said with a small shake. "Also, we never introduced ourselves. I'm Kat, that's Danni," the tiny girl gave a smile and a wave, "and that's Rikki." Said girl continued to glare at the wolf on the couch. "And you already know Bella."
"Right. So if we're all shifters, what's the difference between us?"
"As far as I know, we're all the same species, but different strains of the virus reside in our bodies. This makes us shift differently. For example, your tribe has a genetic strain that infects predominately males, and is only activated when a danger is presented to the people, and turns you into wolves, correct?" Kat asked and Jake nodded dumbly, probably surprised that she knew so much. "The strain that infects us has the ability to be passed on through bite, or through heritage. It also turns us into felines instead of wolves, can infect any gender, any race, and any age."
"So I'm assuming that one of you infected Bella?" Jake asked, and I was very happy that he didn't seem upset.
"I did, but it was to save her life. I wouldn't go around biting any human I saw, that's sick." Kat emphasized.
"Saved her life?" Jake asked staring at me.
"A nomadic vampire found me and was going to get revenge for a companion because Edward killed her mate. He hurt me pretty badly before Kat and the others found me, and I wasn't going to make it, so she changed me." I explained, watching him flinch at the words.
"We should have been there to protect you. That's what the pack does!" Jacob growled, angry at himself, and thankfully not the pride.
"Jake, it's not your fault. You couldn't have known the exact time and location of a rouge vampire, and it all worked out in the end anyway." I told him, getting him to nod after a moment.
"So how similar are our two types of shifters?" Jake asked.
"Not really sure. I've met other shifters, but never really taken the time to get to know the details of there kind. Do you shift due to heightened emotions?" Kat asked.
"Yes. Do you share a pack mind when you're shifted?" The tall boy asked back.
"Pride mind, but same general thing I'm guessing." Kat responded.
"Do you guys Imprint?" Danni asked suddenly, cutting off Kat's next question.
"Uh, yeah. Do you?" He asked the tiny shifter.
"Yep!" Danni beamed, pulling Rikki close.
"I'm guessing you two…" Jacob motioned between the two girls, getting two nods in response, one significantly more enthusiastic than the other. "What about you two?" Jacob asked Kat and I, but suddenly blushed and stumbled to fix the innuendo he accidentally added in. "I mean, not to each other, but in general?"
Kat actually cracked a smile at that, and shook her head. "I haven't found an Imprint yet, but Bella has."
"Do I know him?" Jake asked me, causing me to cringe and Danni to giggle.
"You know her…" I muttered.
"Her? You have a her?" He asked, sputtering at my response.
"Yes her. It's actually Alice." I told him, holding my head high and trying not to panic when he took a large chunk of time to respond.
"The tiny Cullen?" He managed to get out.
"Yeah. It was kind of a surprise to everyone." I admitted.
"A vampire? A shifter Imprinting on a vampire? The smell alone should be enough to drive you far, far away."
"Actually," I said, recalling our conversation in the woods, "she doesn't smell like the others. She smells like she did when I was still human. Like vanilla and jasmine." I recalled the memory with a small dreamy smile.
"That's a relief for your nose I guess." Jacob chuckled awkwardly.
"Speaking of bonds," Kat spoke up, breaking me out of my haze and Jake out of his awkward glancing around the room, "I was wondering of your tribe had any stories of a bond that isn't an Imprint bond."
"Like what?" Jacob asked, seemingly happy to change the subject quickly.
"Well, when I first saw Bella I felt drawn to her, but Danni and Rikki told me that the pull paled in comparison to the Imprint bond. That's all I can really tell you about it, considering that's all I know about it." The Alpha explained.
"I've never heard of anything like that." Jake told her, causing my Alpha to deflate slightly. "But my dad's an elder, and knows a whole bunch of stories about our tribe's heritage. Maybe he's heard of something."
"If you could ask him, I'd be very grateful. It's been driving me crazy every since it formed." Kat asked of him.
"It would probably be better if you could ask him yourself. In fact, I have a feeling that the elders are going to want to speak with your… did you call it a pride?" Kat nodded, and he continued. "Your pride then, once I tell them about you, and the fact that you're not a threat."
"That's all we've ever really wanted." Rikki grumbled.
"And I'm sorry that we've only met your scent with hostility. But it was foreign and we felt the need to protect the people of Forks and the Reservation."
"It was probably also a territorial thing. I know I've met other species that hate it when you invade their territory, so I'm sure your pack follows that trend. Another shifter group moving in could be seen as a threat." Kat mused.
"Maybe." Jacob agreed. "But we'll fix that. Or at least I'll try to get Sam to see that we need to."
"That's your Alpha?" I asked him, recalling stories of the older boy who Jake used to see as some crazy cult leader on the Rez. I guess we know why he had such a following now.
"Yeah. He normally is pretty reasonable when it comes to anything but vampires, so I hope he'll see reason on this." Jake told us and stood to leave. Right before he walked out the door he spun around and addressed me. "I'm glad you're safe Bella. I'm sorry I left you too, but I'm glad that you know why at least." And with that he left the building.
"So are we gonna have anger issues with the dog too?" Rikki asked, flopping down next to me and throwing her legs in both Kat's lap and mine.
"I don't think so. I mean, at least he had a legitimate reason for avoiding me. I remember what it was like to shift at fist, and I'm sure he just didn't want to hurt me." I admitted grudgingly.
"Good. Homicidal rage towards one person is enough drama for one household." Rikki said with a nod.
"Rikki, we're feline shifters living next to canine shifters and a huge ass coven of vampires. Do you really think that the drama is done growing?" Kat asked skeptically, rolling her eyes at the other girl.
Understandably, the sarcastic girl had no answer for that one.
Sitting in the living room of the pride's house, I was trying to read a book to provide a temporary distraction, simultaneously trying to ignore both Kat and Danni as they acted to distract me, albeit unintentionally. Danni was sitting on the couch next to me watching some YouTube video of a drunk girl attempting to cook, and failing miserably. Of course this was making Danni giggle periodically, and full out laugh at other times. Kat, on the other hand, was attempting to keep her activity as quiet as possible. She was sitting playing some video game with the low volume easily ignored. Something with a redhead shooting aliens in space, but every so often she'd hiss at the T.V. to yell at a character when they did something I guess she didn't like.
"What are you all doing?" I looked up from the same page that I'd trying to read for the past ten minutes to see Rikki descending the stairs, looking between all of us as she dried her hair from the shower she had just took.
"Trying to ignore these two and read." I huffed, finally admitting defeat and closing the book.
"A losing battle." The tall girl laughed and dropped herself onto the couch next to me.
"So I've realized." I responded.
"Hey, I was being quiet!" Kat huffed in mock offence.
"Hissing every time you're shot is not being quiet." I pointed out.
"Well I was definitely not being quiet!" Danni beamed, hopping onto Rikki's lap, making her wrap her arms around her mate so she wouldn't fall off, effectively making our couch a cat pile.
"Thanks." I grumbled under the added weight of Rikki's legs once Danni's weight was added to her.
"Alright, now that you're all not so absorbed in whatever you were doing, we have to figure out what we're gonna do about Charlie." Rikki spoke up.
"What do you mean?"
"He thinks that we're all leaving in two days. I hardly think that you want to leave your mate now that you've found her." Rikki elaborated.
"Shit…" I cursed quietly.
"So, in other words, we need a reason to stay." Kat said as she scooted over towards the couch. When she made it over she leaned up against my legs and seemingly began to think.
"Relapse?" Danni suggested.
"It would be reasonable considering the Cullens came back." Rikki mused.
"If my dad thought that the Cullens sent me down into depression again I have no doubt that he'd try to kill at least one of them, specifically Edward." I shot the idea down.
"Pregnancy?" Danni tried again, but the smirk on her face made it clear she was kidding.
"Yeah, 'cause Bella just loved my dick so much." Kat snorted from her position on the floor.
"Any actual suggestions?" I asked once Kat was done shaking against my legs.
"We could always say that there was an accident at the group home you were supposed to be speaking at, and that they aren't allowing any visitors until it all blows over." Kat suggested.
"What kind of accident?" I asked, knowing that the story had to be airtight.
"Suicide? That way the house would have been hit by something tragic, and people would understand why we wouldn't want to show up and mess with the recovery period." Kat proposed.
"Should work." I shrugged.
"Then you can tell Charlie. Soon." Kat told me.
"Let's just hope he runs with it." I muttered.
"Look at it this way, if the wolves decide that they need to rip us apart, it won't matter if he does or not." Rikki threw out, causing Danni to gasp and smack her arm. "Watch it Little Leo, if you keep hitting me I'll drop you."
"You wouldn't dare." Danni mock growled at her.
"Try me." Rikki challenged with a raised eyebrow.
"If you drop me, then I won't kiss you for a whole week."
"Like you'd be able to hold out like that." I laughed, poking her feet.
"Hey!" She yelped.
"Not like I mind." Rikki brushed off and squeezed the tiny girl tighter.
"You all suck!" Danni pouted, prompting Rikki to kiss the expression off her face.
"And you love us for it." Rikki murmured against her girlfriend's lips.
"Yes. Yes I absolutely do."