Author's Note: (Rated T for language and mature themes.) So I saw this list on Tumblr. It was a list of thirteen rules to live by, to feel better, and to overall be happy. I thought it was inspiring and I also thought of Leah Clearwater. Here's a little story of how a post-Breaking Dawn Leah cleanses her mind and finally lives.


Cleansing


I

Leah Clearwater takes in a deep breath, closes her eyes, and continues to sit in the tall tree. Her knuckles are nearly white as she grips the rope in her hands. Maybe if she weren't such a freak of nature—such a nagging, troublesome side-effect of a normal life—she could do this in a place where she felt more comfortable. That would make things a little better, though nothing is better. That one quote, "It gets better," is bullshit to Leah. Nothing gets better when you're Leah.

1. Do not kill yourself. Killing yourself is very messy and your mother will cry over you. It is not beautiful or brave, and even if it was, you will not be around to see that.

In a perfect edition of this world, Leah would be at home. Leah would be at home again—completely alone, since there was no other way—and in her little closet, standing up on a box to tying a knot around her clothing rod. She can see it now perfectly. Clearly. Like nothing else in the universe.

In a perfect edition of this world, Leah would be dressed up again—oh, she would be dressed up so nicely—in possibly a skirt. Maybe even a dress. She has a lovely, totally feminine, purple sundress one just in her preferred suicide spot, though it's too small. That's only of many problems with phasing: none of your clothes fit afterward.

At this moment, in her perfect edition of this world, Leah would be not twenty-five like she is now, but nineteen again. She can't believe it let it go on this long. And Leah would be positioning the belt around her neck again. She would take her last thoughts as she stands on the box, and they would be of meaning. They would be to her mother and father, and to her younger brother, Seth. To Sam. Maybe even to Jacob. She wouldn't mess up again.

And then Leah would step off the box again. She would do it confidently and float… up, up, and away….

It's honestly too bad that she's made of muscle. It's awfully wretched that the clothing rod, made entirely of cheap plastic, couldn't—and still can't—hold her weight. It's downright embarrassing that her air supply couldn't even be cut off right.

It's terribly unfortunate that on her first suicide attempt, she crashed to her bedroom floor and took the rods and shelves of her closet down with her in a loud crash of a fallen angel (as if that's what she is, anyway).

Quickly untying the belt from her neck as she muttered enough words under her breath to make her dear grandmother cry in her grave, her mother, Sue, rushed to her room. Well, at least Leah thought she was alone.

"Oh my God!" Sue cried. "Leah, baby, what are you doing?"

You don't care, Leah thought glumly. Don't fucking lie to yourself and especially don't lie to me.

Leah didn't reply, and her mother's eyes grew even wider. They both knew what Leah was doing. The nineteen-year-old simply looked up at her mother from her bedroom floor to give it away. The mess of too-small clothing, board games, and the wooden shelves that used to hold them made it as clear as the sky (and not the La Push sky, obviously, but the sky somewhere).

Tears filled Sue's eyes, and this is what Leah expected. Almost exactly, minus the fact that she is still here to see it.

"I was organizing my closet," Leah said lamely. It was a bad excuse—why couldn't Leah do anything right?—and her mother wasn't buying it.

"Leah, don't do this to me."

Leah stood up easily and brushed off her dress. It truly was a pretty color on her. She vaguely wondered if it would look nice against a paler version of her skin tone, and she immediately felt like absolute shit for it. If anything, she deserved to be dead.

"I'm okay, Mom," she assured the middle-aged woman who was almost in tears. "I'm okay."

Her mother reached out to hug her, and she instinctively stepped away. Don't, she mouthed. She wasn't going to phase on her mother—not again, though if she did, it would be fine since there was nobody else home to give a heart attack aside from Sue. But Leah was not a person meant to be touched. She was not meant to be seen, heard, bothered, or touched, for that matter. Only this wasn't different. More different than anything else.

The one time anybody wanted to touch Leah in months, she backed away. Even from her own mother. Leah knew—oh, she was positive—she would make the poor older woman cry either way. Anything for less emotion on her behalf, though. Anything.

But that was then; this is now.

Leah is not in the comfort—yet absolute alien atmosphere—of her own home; she is in the woods, which, she guesses, is her new home.

She is no longer nineteen, and she far past cut the crap of wearing dresses. She is in a tank top and cutoff shorts. Pack couture. She snorts.

The obvious differences between this attempt and the last one are crucial. The obvious attempts are… well, obvious. Anyone can see that. Only there's one strikingly terrifying similarity.

Leah is scared.

A shit excuse for a closet rod can't kill Leah, but a tree can. Isn't this what she wants, though? To be done with?

She is not like Quil—she does not love phasing in the least bit. She unconditionally detests it. Leah has hated phasing since the second she started, and she's been trying to stop for years. She's twenty-five now. Twenty-five! She's young, but she is old. Everyone in the pack—both Jacob's and Sam's—has found their imprint. She's met and shaken hands with all her "soon-to-be sisters-in-law" now. She's been invited to Sam and Emily's wedding, as if she's going to go, anyway. Everybody has somebody. Everybody but her.

A part of her wants to not do this; that little part is screaming at her, chanting at her that she can do it, she can do it, she can do it. She can leave and find love… maybe. She can leave, period.

Another part of her laughs at Leah, telling her that her time is up. She's not going to find love; she's not even going to find herself. She can't do it, she can't do it, she can't do it.

But can she do this?

She opens her eyes and looks down to the forest floor. God, it is an awfully long fall from up here. She takes another deep breath, says a prayer, and eventually lets the rope go. It falls a long, slow fall to the floor, making minimal noise.

I'm gonna die someday, she decides. But today is not that day.


A/N: This is a very short story, by the way. Only thirteen chapters. Feedback is always appreciated.