2. I hurt myself today

Disclaimer: the characters and all recognisable situations belong to Stephenie Meyer - this is a work of fan fiction, except for the legends and histories of the Quileute that, of course, belong to them. I pay my respects to their gods.

Sam Uley was hurting. It was becoming a normal state of affairs for him.

It was all he seemed able to do well right now; hurt people. Hurt himself. A world of hurt.

He thought the only thing he had done recently that was not damaging to anyone, was find Bella Swan when she was lost in the forest.

But in a weird way, doing that had hurt him even more.

He had saved her and damned himself.

He had become interested in her; the lost girl. Well not him, technically; his wolf had.

He was the Alpha, he was an imprinted man. He had broken the heart of his girlfriend Leah, when he had imprinted on Emily.

His life was a complete mess and it wasn't getting any better.

He had actually said it. "Jeez I don't think my life could get any worse."

And then it had. He should have known better than to say shit like that out loud.

He had been called out one night by Billy Black and Harry Clearwater to put his newly acquired wolf pack and its skills into positive action. Charlie's daughter was missing in the forest. The three of them had been eager to help; him, Paul and Jared.

He had found Bella, not the others. Curled up with her face in a puddle. Shivering and in the early stages of hypothermia. His wolf had snuffled over her; nose twitching at the still clinging scent of vampire. Sickly sweet as always.

But the girl. The lost, sad, broken little girl. His wolf had pushed at her with his black nose; wanting a reaction. She had looked at him, bleary eyed and half frozen.

The wolf wanted her to see him and Sam didn't know why. He wondered sometimes if she remembered the black wolf. He was probably a feature in her nightmares. He was a creature of nightmares after all; a gigantic supernatural creature of awesome strength.

The wolf couldn't carry her, so he had phased back and put his shorts on.

And he had carried her.

He had held her in his arms and she had fitted in there as if she was made for them. He had found himself kissing her forehead. And he had tried to carry her to his home, not to hers, where her father and the others were waiting for her.

He had not wanted to hand her almost unconscious body over to her own father.

What the fuck was all that about? How could he have taken her to his house? With his imprint there?

He thought about it for weeks afterwards. Alone and human, he thought about it. Couldn't risk doing it phased, in case the others picked up something. Finding her curled up like that haunted his dreams and the other wolves knew it. He tried not to, but he kept letting it slip when he was phased.

And he didn't know why, but he thought somehow the wolf was influencing the man.

He had enough other shit to deal with. He had Emily.

He had never taken much notice of Emily Young when he was dating Leah. Heck, he had Leah Clearwater, why the fuck would he waste his time looking at Emily? But then he had embraced his heritage. Ha! That's what old Quil had told him it was, at any rate.

He was happy dating Leah. He had actually allowed himself to be happy and then… whammo! He's a wolf. He wasn't allowed to tell Leah or even his own mother anything about it and that caused some problems. Secrets and lies poison so much.

And then … double whammo! Imprinting. Nice of them to warn him. If he had known the possibility existed, he would have dumped Leah earlier. For her own good. The last thing he had ever wanted to do was hurt her any more. She was leery enough after he had disappeared.

And it all went to shit. Imprint.

He had argued.

Imprinting was wrong. It was weird. Nobody falls in love at first sight like that. And it wasn't even really 'love'.

He knew what real love felt like and it wasn't like this. This felt peculiar and artificial somehow. It was like he had been hypnotised to quack like a duck when someone clapped or something. He didn't know why he was doing it. And neither did his wolf. It was like some third level of him and fuck knows he had enough shit going on in his body as it was, without having to obey some outside command from the gods.

But he couldn't stop himself.

It was like the other pack members, when he gave them an alpha order. They might disagree. They might think it was stupid but they still had to do it. That was what imprinted love felt like.

An automatic reaction.

And he had to obey his imprint. She was the hypnotist who made him quack.

It didn't make sense to him.

He didn't know what would happen if his alpha status came into conflict with his imprint. If the tribe was under attack and his imprint told him to stay and hold her hand… what would he do? He honestly didn't know. He just prayed that would never happen.

He hated it.

He worked hard at stretching out the imprint thread. That was how he saw it. Like a gigantic piece of elastic. Maybe if he kept pulling at it; picking at it; maybe one day it would go saggy and lose its strength like the elastic in your underwear that had got too old; one day it would extend and not recoil. It would crack and go limp and fall apart. Or unravel like some old knitted item and leave a tangled pile of crinkled thread. He hoped that eventually it wouldn't do what it was supposed to do.

Because it bound him to someone.

And he hated it.

It was a hopeless plan, as plans went but it was the only one he had.

He couldn't ask the Elders how you broke an imprint; they all thought it was the best thing that had ever happened to him. It was all, 'he was so lucky'… yeah like they knew how he felt? He didn't think so. Unless he had some really good argument against it.

None of them had ever imprinted. None of them had ever even phased.

And how did that make sense? If imprinting was supposed to make stronger wolves, then surely imprinting should still exist even if there wasn't a pack. If it was supposed to make sure that the right people had children together and made stronger wolves. Then it should happen all the time, so that the best wolves existed when the time came and they were needed.

But it didn't happen. Imprinting wasn't a Quileute thing; it was just a wolf thing. And that didn't make sense either.

And did they have secret journals? Or an idiots guide to being a shape shifter? No. Nothing. No help there from the Elders either. Or their ancestors. You would think at least one would have written this shit down.

All they had were a few songs and stories that ninety percent of the tribe thought were just that; stories. The Legends; and you had better say that with a capital L. It was like that children's game Chinese whispers where the first person said something and repeated it to another and by the time it made it all the way around the circle, or down through the generations, it wasn't anything like the original message.

The Elder's own arguments were shit. They didn't know a damn thing. They weren't wolves and they didn't understand. They had no concept of what it was like to share your mind and your body with an animal. An animal that sometimes you didn't understand.

He thought that sometimes the wolf felt the same way. What was it doing, sharing its body with a man? A man that sometimes it didn't understand.

And what about what the wolf wanted?

Anything they discovered about being a wolf came the hard way. It was all him. Sam Uley; trail blazer. Christ, no one had even taught him how to phase back to human. Or known what the hell had happened to him. Two weeks he spent hidden in the forest, thinking he was losing his mind and going insane. Two weeks before he somehow phased back to human asleep. Woke up naked and lost and miles from home. It was a fucking, honest to god nightmare.

No wonder he felt so sympathetic to Bella Swan; he had been lost in the woods as well.

And as far as he was concerned, imprinting was just another nightmare. They told him the imprinter can be whatever the imprint wants. That was how old Quil had explained it to him, when he went to him to ask what the fuck had just happened. He didn't use those words. Old Quil was not above smacking you in the head with his walking stick if you swore or were disrespectful.

Old Quil used a lot of comforting words and phrases like 'she's your other half' and muttered on about 'soul mates' and breeding better wolves.

So he had tried that. He had told Emily that he had imprinted on her. And he had explained to Emily how he could be whatever she wanted. He was a big proponent of honesty. You know, I could be your friend, your brother etcetera. It hadn't taken her long to work out that he had to do what she wanted. There was no 'could' about it.

Yeah right.

He had never known how much Emily resented her cousin and her alleged best friend. Truthfully poor Leah had no idea what kind of viper her 'best' friend was. And he couldn't tell her, Emily wouldn't allow it.

So when Leah's man came to her and explained that he had imprinted on her, she grabbed him, literally, with both hands.

He was horrified.

He had run away. But the fucking imprint had worked its 'magic' on him. She had gone back to the Makah rez at Neah Bay and he had lasted two whole days before he showed up on her doorstep. He knew exactly where she was. He could track her like a homing beacon. He felt like Wyle E. Coyote with a giant rubber band. He pinged back to her. Generally via a massive boulder or something else that would inflict maximum damage on his furry carcass.

And she had welcomed him back with open arms and open legs.

But it had not gone well. His wolf had decided that he didn't like her. He liked Leah and he knew that Leah made Sam happy. The wolf didn't understand what they were doing. Sam was usually strong enough to keep the wolf under control. The two weeks he had spent continuously phased before he remembered how to be human, had given him a rare insight into the mind of the wolf. He was pretty damn simple really: food, water, shelter, hunting and a mate. That was the 'to do' list for the wolf.

Sam; human Sam, broke up with Leah. And his wolf did not approve. He didn't understand his human reasoning of hurting her now to save really hurting her later. He had left Neah Bay, gone back to La Push and Emily wasn't around. But Sam just knew she'd be back; there was no way she was letting him slip out of it that easily.

And she was. The next time Emily came to him. She arrived on his doorstop and announced that she was moving into his house. She actually had her fucking bags packed. She knew if it was what she wanted, that he could not say 'no'. The wolf snarled at her, but Sam beat him down. They had to be smarter than that.

The first week, she made some snarky comment about Leah and he lost his temper. Told her off for being nasty to her cousin and her supposed friend. And the wolf pressed what he saw as an advantage. While human Sam was distracted, the wolf tried to tear Emily's head off.

It was very simple to the wolf; he didn't like her and she made Sam sad. She had to go.

And human Sam was so horrified by what he, or they, or what the fuck ever, had done, that he couldn't phase back and he couldn't help her. All he could see was his own clawed hand reaching out to her face. Thank fuck, Jared was phased at the time and he picked up something of what had happened from Sam's panicked broadcast. Jared called Sue Clearwater and she came and got Emily to the hospital.

Charlie Swan, as sheriff came to investigate. And Sue told him that Emily had been attacked by a bear. It fucking looked like it.

He calmed himself and his wolf down and could finally phase back. He got himself home, cleaned up the blood with bleach and then he sat in the bottom of the shower and he cried.

He tried to stay away from her. Sue sympathised. Even though he had broken the heart of her only daughter, she could see how upset Sam was. She thought that he had harmed his imprint and that was what he was upset about. Truth was, he would be happy to stay away from her forever. But then she had, of course, told Sue that she wanted to see him and he HAD to go. His imprint had insisted.

He nearly died when they told him she would be scarred for life. Her face, her arm and she had lost the tip of her little finger too. A permanent reminder of his fuckup. He damn near beat the wolf into submission. It was stupid. Stupid. Stupid.

Because the damn wolf had jumped the gun, now they were stuck with her.

FF_2154210_ - 22/09/2011 03:24:00 PM