A/N: Hello, all! A few months ago, I posted this story under the title "Waiting to Exhale" and only managed to publish the prologue before quickly losing interest and taking it down. So, hardy har har, I thought I'd give it another try. Let's hope I have enough inspiration to finish this through. *fingers crossed* This story is somewhat non-canon and Seth is Beta of the Pack. Why? Because I like him being the Beta - he needs more love. ;) As of today, this fic is named "Knotted" but I may change it later on.

Disclaimer: I own nothing but my iPod filled with sleep-inducing songs and my crappy laptop. Chapter titles are taken from "Viva La Vida" by Coldplay.

Rating: M - for language and for future scenes

Pairing: Seth Clearwater / OC


Knotted

...

Prologue

[Upon pillars of salt and pillars of sand]


So this was what imprinting felt like.

It was as if he had been submerged underwater his whole life and he was finally breaking the surface for air for the very first time, completely oblivious to the world that had passed beyond him. He rocked his hips unsteadily, palm automatically snapping out to grip the edge of the headboard while his inner wolf snarled terribly, grappling for the normalcy he had once been accustomed with since exiting his mother's womb.

In absolute contradiction to what he had heard from his older brothers, this didn't at all feel like that warm, fuzzy feeling both Sam and Jared had the sheer luck of receiving after having seen their imprints for the very first time. For some unexplainable reason, Seth inexorably felt as though his previous life without his newfound imprint had robbed him of his sensations, like he had been taking the air for granted at the very expense of his life. How could he not have noticed what was missing until now?

Rendered hopelessly unstable and shaky beyond anything imaginable, Seth briefly squeezed his eyes shut. Blocking the hindrances of the outside world, ignoring the sudden anxiety radiating everything, but ultimately focusing on that fact that his imprint was here. At last, he finally found her after so many prayers, wishes, and the hopes that he wouldn't be hurt like his older sister. He didn't realize it until everything stilled beneath him, all the tremors and pulsated pauses, and however happy he was, this was such a bad time because he was already-

- balls deep inside another girl.

This was not, never, how he ever imagined meeting his imprint – only for her to see him fucking another girl he wasn't quite sure he knew the name to. Of course, his head snapped up at the interruption, because no one ever knocked anymore, and honestly, his imprint was so utterly heartbreakingly beautiful that he couldn't help but inwardly curse at the fact. Not to mention the tiny, inconsolable fact that he has had a crush on this very same girl since forever, and now she finally came back to her home soil after having moved away these past few years ago.

God, the girl had surprisingly been Leah's closest friend before she had to move away. Lucy Weisz. He remembered the tragic sound of his heart shattering to pieces at the age of ten when pretty Lucy announced that she was going all the way to Ohio to live. But a couple weeks ago, word had gone out that she was moving back to La Push after all these years, and once he had solidified the truth from a reliable source – ahem, his mother – it had been the fucking happiest day of his life.

"Oh, Jesus." Her voice was pure music, even if it the statement was proclaimed in a dry way, and Seth had long ago stopped thrusting into the girl beneath him entirely. "Sorry, I just wanted to get my things before I left. I did knock though."

She muttered something else under her breath, something along the lines of: This is all your damn sister's fault, Clearwater. Wait...was she actually talking to him? Oh, god, she was actually acknowledging him.

Awkward did not even begin to describe what had transpired, but betrayal cut like a searing wound to his heart because the girl he had been waiting for his entire life had just caught him rutting like an animal against Cleo or Chloe or Cathy or whatever the hell her name is. Lucy had just caught him fucking a girl that wasn't her.

His imprint wasn't that much embarrassed – of course she wasn't – as she waltzed into the unfamiliar bedroom to make a grab at her small bag on the floor. Though rueful and perpetually disturbed at disrupting something considerably intimate, perhaps even a little sheepish, the corners of her lips twitched upward in amusement. She blinked back at them as if to say 'Er, carry on' before she pranced out the door, her face mildly strained in the effort of refraining to chuckle out loud.

Cathy let out a small sigh before placing a hand on his cheek. "Seth, she's gon—"

"No, no, no!" Seth let out a desperate howl, jerking away from Cathy's hand like her palm was made of hot iron. His cock was dreadfully and undeniably limp now and not even the naked female still beneath him would ever get it aroused again. "Please, wait, don't leave!" he called out fruitlessly, but the door had already closed.

"Seth..."

"Don't fucking talk to me!"

He was honestly a nice and kind person, even to people he didn't particularly like. But the fact that Cathy wanted to resume their sex session after being walked in on by the center of Seth's new universe just pissed him off a little.

And it was because of his lupine strength that he was able to manipulate her emotions hard enough to not only get the stupid brown-haired girl to stop attempting to get him back to bed, but also to avert her gaze so she didn't dare look at him directly. She was whimpering with the sheets straddled around her, but he didn't give a damn. It wasn't like him to use this kind of force against other people, against other humans, but it was out of fear that he believed that Lucy, his lovely imprint, was under the wrong impression about him.

Of all the wolves, Seth wanted an imprint the most. After all, he had so much love to give and he needed a special outlet to shower all that love on. He didn't think he would already betray his imprint after a few seconds of finally finding her. He swore he could be absolutely loyal to her if she would give him the chance-

His jeans were slung around his hips in a blink of an eye, zipped all the way up with the buttons left open in haste. He didn't bother pulling on the shirt and stormed out of the room like an absolute lunatic. Dark eyes feral, panic and anger embedded in the contours of his face, and his formidably tall body vibrating on every inch...yeah, he looked like a convict out of prison. The Pack must have known by now; he was fractured to a vulnerable state, and his inability to reign in on his emotions was probably filling each and every one of theirs.

Seth ignored the calls of his brothers, disregarded the lustful glances he received as he traipsed through the house half-naked, awe at the mercurial grace exploited from his fluid steps and astonished shock at the uncharacteristic devastation written all over his normally happy-go-lucky handsome face. The cold breeze hit him once he threw the front door open, ambling out onto the driveway in search for that pale, tawny-eyed girl with the raven hair that just had the rare happenstance of walking in on him. Shaky fingers twisted his shirt until they were torn to immeasurable pieces because damn it, he couldn't smell her scent anymore.

Where the hell did she go? How did she leave here so fast?

The one night he finally decided to get actually get some – because all the Pack thought that it had been a long time – and it had to end like this.

One, he didn't even know Lucy was going to make an appearance at Madeline Kemp's party. Two, he never thought he would actually imprint on her. If he had known that she would come, if he had the slightest inkling, he would have never sweet-talked Cathy into bed. Now his soul mate probably thought he was some dirty man whore or something-

A large, warm hand landed on his shoulder. "Seth." He recognized his Alpha by a mere half-hearted inclination of his head, but his eyes never wavered from out of the driveway or from the foreboding woods ahead. "Seth, look at me."

Despite him managing to find numerous ways around his leader's orders, and he was able to pull it off a couple of times, the younger man stared into Jacob's eyes. One gaze was all it took, for Jacob to understand the knowing acknowledgment of a soul already beginning to splinter around the edges. He willed the events of the past ten minutes to run rampage through Jacob's mind through their particularly strange Alpha-Beta connection, - gay bromance was what Leah liked to call it - freely letting out a shuddery sigh in remorse as he recalled the terrible events that would surely wreck the rest of his life.

"Shit," Jacob blew out the expletive like no tomorrow. "I didn't know Lucy was back already. I would've..." Would have what? There was no possible way he could have seen this coming, no way he could have ripped Seth away from that brunette bombshell in time for him to meet his future imprint.

The only reason why the Pack, all huddled around the doorway to keep the nosy onlookers from staring out at the commotion, hadn't surrounded the two yet was because of both Jacob and Seth's combined mental efforts at keeping them bay. But fuck, they wanted to comfort their Beta so badly.

You betrayed her. What? No, no, no, no, I didn't! I haven't – You turned, strayed from her, from our mate. Stupid boy, see what you have done? We need her to survive, to breathe, to live, and you threw her away for another piece of ass! I didn't know she belonged to me yet. If I'd had known she would be here, I wouldn't have—I swear, I would have never – Rot in hell, rot in hell, ROT IN HELL, TRAITOR!

Leah made a low, keening noise by the door frame, itching to go to her baby brother, but Jacob shook his head. Her rebellious snarl met his stony deference, yet he only held up one hand and forced her to remain where she was.

traitortraitortraitorTRAITOR-

Seth opened his mouth to speak, but he was brutally cut off by a strangled cry. Shoulders were the first to crack ominously in the silence, jutting out of their place hold awkwardly as he crumpled to the floor in a flurry, his bones slanting viciously into odd angles out of a phenomenon the Pack had never encountered or witnessed before. Veins popping through his skin, the natural sun-kissed essence of his body was quickly diluting into a sick pallor as his gasps became shakier and more unstable by the minute.

Jacob wouldn't ever let his brother fall. Catching him was imperative, but not even the Alpha's touch was sufficing enough to guide him through the dark, bleak path his Beta had been thrown in. A jerk of his chin and the whole Pack surrounded them immediately, solace waving off each other as something splintered inside of Seth - something that seemed to be the beginning of his darkest hour.

Every inch and crevice of Seth's six-foot-six body was shaking, quivering with something goddamn awful, and god, it hurt. There were alarmed voices all around him, but he couldn't hear a thing because fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck, make it all stop. Seth's wolf was incredibly strong, yet he was also loyal to the laws that concerned imprinting. It was all just an accident really, but even the strongest of wolves can't get away with betraying their imprints without going into the first stages of self-destruction.

However, his wolf had already decided: the human must be punished. Seth needed to be punished.


A/N: I swear, the real chapters will be much longer than this. I promise I'll provide more information on why Lucy left and came back, how she's connected to the Clearwaters, and what's really happening to Seth. More importantly, should I continue this story?