Something Wild

Chapter 2 - Bacon

The following Saturday, Naomi woke up in the middle of the night. Her heart was racing, and she sat up in bed, running a hand through her hair as she took stock of her surroundings. The clock on the dresser told her it was sometime after four in the morning, but she wasn't sure she could go back to sleep. Any nightmare she may have had fled from her consciousness, and she was left only with the remaining adrenaline.

Naomi got out of bed and pulled her blanket around her shoulders. She went to grab the door but a sound stopped her in her tracks.

It sounded like footsteps. But Allison couldn't have been up this early, could she? Maybe she'd been having trouble sleeping. The footsteps continued down the hallway in the direction of Sam's room.

What if Allison couldn't sleep and was hoping to find him there, like waking up from some bad dream? It had been two weeks now since he'd gone missing. Naomi stood behind her door, waiting for Allison to walk away so she didn't have to catch her.

Five minutes passed by. Ten minutes. Fifteen minutes. Perhaps Naomi had imagined it? She twisted the doorknob and carefully peeked out into the hall. No one.

She tiptoed down the hallway to the bathroom. Once she was done there, she headed to the living room and sat on the sofa in silence for a long while, lost in her thoughts, until she drifted off.

The sound of Allison's voice awoke her. "Naomi? Couldn't sleep?"

"Hmm?" She stretched out and yawned. "Oh, I just woke up in the middle of the night and couldn't get back to sleep."

"Want to help me make breakfast?"

She perked up. "I'll handle the bacon!"

There wasn't a lot that Naomi knew how to cook, but she'd never been more relieved than when she learned how to stop charring the bacon. Allison may have been working on pancakes, but the air in the house just began to smell so distinctly of bacon grease.

They heard movement from the living room and the sound of a deep breath and contented sigh. Naomi and Allison looked at each other quickly, suddenly going tense.

Like nothing had happened for the past two weeks, Sam walked into the kitchen with his nose in the air, looking for all the world like a dog lured by the smell of treats.

There was silence for a moment before Naomi blurted out, "I would have made bacon weeks ago if I had known it was this easy."

Allison seemed to have frozen in place, her jaw dropped. Sam didn't quite want to make eye contact with either of them, but he went over and gave his mom a hug. She wasted no time in wrapping her arms around him in a vice grip.

"Sam! Oh, Sam. My son." Tears were streaming down her face. Sam patted her back awkwardly.

The smell of burning food hit Naomi's nose and she immediately rushed to take everything off the stove. She prepared three plates and as they sat down (once Allison had finally released Sam), she couldn't stop staring at him. There was something different about him. He looked somehow...bigger. Taller? Muscles? He'd had muscles before, but she could've sworn he was lankier the last time she saw him. It had been some time. Maybe she just forgot.

"Well, where were you?" Naomi asked. "Not that we're not glad you're home, but we've been worried sick for two weeks."

Sam almost froze when she asked, but just as quickly continued eating like she hadn't spoken. In fact, he finished his plate in the same time it took her to finish a strip of bacon.

"Whoa. I guess you were hungry, huh?" Naomi hesitated, but then shoved her plate towards him. "Take it. I'll make myself some more."


Naomi tried not to let his reticence bother her. He was never especially chatty, after all, and who knows what he could've gone through? What if it was something horrible?

But then, why was he acting so...normal? All things considered, anyway. He didn't seem to want to talk at all, which wasn't like him. It occurred to Naomi that perhaps it was Sam sneaking in that woke her up last night, and that it was his footsteps she heard, not Allison's. Her mind was swimming with questions.

And worse, she burned her new bacon.

Allison was making calls to everyone to let them know that Sam had been found. She used that word — found — as opposed to returned. But they hadn't found him. He returned from somewhere, and he wasn't talking.

Naomi dragged Sam out of the house. She could tell he was reluctant to walk with her, as if he'd rather be shut away in his room. She tried nudging him playfully, but he didn't respond. Eventually, she got tired of it.

"All right, kid," she said firmly, "what's going on with you? Why are you being so cold with your favorite sister?"

"You're my only sister."

"That you know of," she muttered under her breath. Sam clenched his fists and his lips pressed together firmly. She cursed inwardly, realizing now was perhaps not the time to be joking about their father. "Sorry. I could've been a little quieter."

He shook his head. "You're ridiculous."

"Only with you." Naomi smiled softly, sadly. "Are you okay?"

"I'm fine, Naomi." He stared straight ahead, his eyes guarded once more.

"You know you can tell me anything? And I'll always be on your side?"

His eyes met hers, but he said nothing. She sighed.

"We don't need to talk today. But I promise you, whatever happened to you, or wherever you went, I am always here for you."

"I know, Omi," Sam said. He still didn't smile, but he threw an arm over her shoulder and pulled her into his side. Naomi wrapped her arm around his back, and they continued the rest of the walk in silence.

She had to go back to her internship, back to her apartment, and back to class once Sam had returned. Sam went back to school and pretended as if nothing had ever happened. Leah had freaked out when she saw him, and she was crying and all kinds of worked up over him. She wouldn't take her eyes off him for a second. Naomi's first night back in Seattle, Leah called her to ask if she knew where Sam had disappeared to.

"I have no idea, Leah," she replied tiredly.

"That's insane. He won't talk to anyone, not even his mom, about it." Naomi could practically hear Leah's frustration boiling over. "Honestly…? I think he's delusional. I don't know what happened but clearly something's not right."

He didn't want to talk about it. Allison and Leah (and Naomi, if she were being honest) were convinced he had some sort of insane episode where he ran off. He gave them no explanation and it was the only thing that seemed to make sense. After a while, they stopped asking when they realized he wouldn't budge, but it didn't stop them from worrying.

The next few months were rough for Naomi. She didn't know how Sam was doing because whenever he responded to her, he made it sound like things were vaguely okay. Then, she'd receive a phone call from either Leah or Allison about something or other related to Sam.

First it was that he seemed withdrawn and tense. He spent weeks on edge, like he was expecting something to happen. Allison was worried about her son, but she was mostly just glad to have him back. Sometime later, Old Quil paid Allison a visit and suggested Sam speak with some of the Elders — to either lift his spirits, get advice, or what, Naomi didn't know, but Allison was on board.

It seemed like Sam was back to normal when they went to Seattle for her associate's degree graduation ceremony. Naomi, Allison, Sam, and Leah all went out to dinner and it felt as if nothing much had happened in the last couple months. Sam was finishing high school in another month — Leah still had another year to go. Allison was working at the preschool on the reservation. Naomi was applying to transfer schools for her last two years. Things were normal. Whatever the Elders had said to Sam, it seemed to have worked.

It didn't work for very long, though.

"Congrats!" Naomi cheered, giving her brother the tightest hug she could muster for as long as she could hold it. "You did it!"

"Thanks," he replied. He wrapped his arm around Leah's waist, and she all too happily tucked herself into his side and pressed a sweet kiss to his cheek.

"Where are you going to go next?"

Naomi distinctly noticed how Sam's face had tightened. "I haven't decided."

"It's okay, honey," Allison said, patting his cheek affectionately. "You have time."

In the weeks after Sam's graduation, Naomi started getting worrying calls again.

He snuck out at night. There were large spaces of time where he didn't answer his phone and was nowhere to be found. Naomi didn't know if she believed that these behaviors came out of the blue, or if they were just noticeable now that it was summer and Sam had nowhere to be but home or with Leah. He'd lost contact with most of the friends he had in school. If he wasn't home, Allison would call Leah. If he wasn't with Leah, Leah would call Naomi — and Leah called Naomi a lot.

"What if he's doing drugs?" Leah asked.

"What drugs would he even be doing?"

"I don't know! Drugs! Whatever that means."

"What makes you think he'd be doing drugs anyhow?"

"I don't know, Naomi," Leah deadpanned. "All I know is that I don't know where he is half the time, and the other half he's either stuffing his face with food or knocked out asleep. Oo — what if," she gasped, "what if it's steroids? You know, he's gotten really muscular in a short amount of time."

"Despite the speculation, you seem really nonchalant for someone whose boyfriend could be doing drugs," Naomi said, chuckling.

Leah sighed. "Maybe it's because I don't really think he's the kind of guy to be a druggie. But, still...he's been acting weird, you know? We still don't know what happened those weeks he disappeared."

"Well, maybe he went through something traumatic. He might not be able to handle telling us. As long as we're here for him, I'm sure he'll tell us one day."

"You think so?"

No. "Of course."

"Thanks, Omi," Leah said, and Naomi could hear the emotion in her voice. "I'll make sure Sam knows I'm here for him. After all, we've got our whole lives together to look forward to. I'm not giving up on him."

"I'm glad to hear it." And she was. "How are your folks? And your little brother?"

"Seth is the most annoying ball of sunshine. Kind of the opposite of your little brother, actually…."

Fun fact: Allison is actually the name of Sam's mom in canon. I did some research about Sam when the idea for the story popped into my brain, and it surprised me that there's a whole Uley Family Tree out there.

I'm going to update every few days, for anyone interested. Just thought I'd add a little more to the story now since it's just the beginning.