Thea and torture just didn't go together in my mind. I could not, would not, accept it. Even as she oh so softly reflected on it, I was shaking my head, because every instinct within me was screaming NO.
No. No no no.
Oh god, I couldn't handle this. I could not handle this. The rage was incontrollable, burning through my veins and making my blood boil. I didn't even know what exactly had happened; neither of us wanted to go there. But my imagination was more than enough. Imagining how the scars on her stomach had come about, imagining the knife plunging into her; it made me shake with white hot anger. I wanted to break things, I needed to break things, but most of all I wanted to break that knife. The knife we were holding, the knife that had hurt her. I wanted to crush it, crush it in my hands; I didn't even know if I could crush a metal dagger, even with my strength, but I was more than willing to find out.
Except there was something more important. She was more important. She didn't want me to break it, to break everything I could get my hands on, or to kill him; even though my wolf instincts were crying out for me to do all three. She just wanted me here, needed me here, and so I would be. I would be here. I would always be here.
And she would always be safe. She was as safe as possible right now, moulding against my body and encased in my arms. And she would stay that way; she would stay with me, or I would stay with her. Either, both, whatever; I would protect her.
He would not touch her. He would not go near her. He would not even enter the rez, if I had anything to say about it. If he tried, we would catch him. We would catch him, and because Thea wanted to, I would let her kill him, instead of me. And she would never have to worry again.
Because she was not going to die. She was not going to be hurt. And since I knew her secret now, she might actually be mine.
It wasn't until hours later that I began to wake. And I was waking so, so slowly, because I'd slept deeply last night, and the only reason I wasn't still sleeping was the blinding light that was searing through my eyelids. But even though the brightness was almost painful, I resisted the urge to groan and roll over; because I wasn't sleeping alone.
Thea was lying so wonderfully against me, her soft hair tickling my chest, her hands pressing into my skin. I breathed in deeply, revelling in her sugary scent of wood and flowers; how was it possible for someone to smell so good? She was like a drug, the glorious smell making my wolf instincts rumble in satisfaction. But what was even better to realise, as my nose grazed the top of her head, was that she smelled like me. Not strongly, but that didn't matter; it still made me grin to know that I'd spent enough time with her for it to show.
With my senses now full to the brim with her, I was more awake. Blinking my eyes open, the room slowly came into focus, the light not as bright as it had seemed when I'd first been yanked from sleep. Not that it mattered, because I wasn't focusing on the light; I was focusing on her. I could see her eyelids fluttering slightly as she slept, her steady breaths proof that she was sound asleep. Of course I didn't even need proof; the imprint had told me she was sleeping the moment I had–
My eyes widened.
The imprint was back.
I sighed in relief, smiling softly as I gently pulled her closer. Thank the heavens, I could feel her again. She was close, so close; the distance from yesterday was gone, as was all the confusion. I could feel exactly where she was, I could feel her emotions, and I could feel her; really feel her.
And it was even better than I remembered.
Though it practically killed me to do it, I slipped quietly from Thea's room half an hour later. I really didn't want to, and I would have loved to stay right where I was, but there were several very important things I had to tell the pack; like the fact that someone wanted to kill my imprint. And it was that enraging knowledge that motivated me as I ever so gently slipped from the bed.
Somehow I managed not to wake Thea in the process, which was a tad surprising, considering how lightly she usually slept. I almost wished I had woken her, because then maybe she would have asked me to stay; and I knew wouldn't have been able to resist the temptation. But when I walked toward the door she was just as asleep as ever, which was probably good thing; it made it easier to leave, shutting the door softly behind me.
Yet though I could no longer see her, I couldn't help but hesitate, not turning away as I knew I should; after yesterday, it didn't sit well to leave her alone. I could feel her again, and I could tell that she completely fine, but still I didn't move; until I heard a voice behind me.
'I didn't know you were here.' Sera's voice was quiet but surprised, and I spun to see her standing at the end of the hallway, giving me a curious look. 'I didn't think you'd come back if Thea wasn't here.' Now I was the one who was surprised.
'She is here.' I said slowly, giving her a careful look as I nodded my head towards her bedroom door. 'She's sleeping.' Sera was gaping at me now, her disbelief clear as she struggled to form words.
'But– But she was supposed to leave yesterday.' She stammered, confusion making her voice light.
'I know.' I said softly, and a tad sadly. 'And she was going to.'
'But she didn't? Why? She can't stay, it's too dangerous.' She said, her voice fast with worry.
'She tried to leave.' I replied, voice hard at the memory and making Sera pause.
'Tried? What do you mean she "tried"?' She asked slowly, her concern plain.
'She can't leave.'
Sera stared at me blankly for a moment, stunned into silence.
'What do you mean she can't leave!' She eventually choked out, eyes wide with fear. She looked horrified; as if I'd just announced that Thea was dead. Maybe, to her, I had; she obviously knew that Thea was in danger. But what she didn't know was that I was going to keep Thea safe.
'The imprint kind of… wouldn't let her.' I replied, walking down the hallway towards her as she gave me a confused look. 'It's complicated.' I sighed. If anything, Sera looked even more worried now.
'But she has to–'
'Don't worry.' I said, cutting her off as I stopped beside her. 'I'm not going to let anything happen to her. She's perfectly fine. And if anything changes, I'll know.' I continued, looking back towards Thea's bedroom door.
'I don't know…' Sera said unsurely, still looking uneasy.
'She'll be okay.' I replied. 'I'll be back to check on her soon.' I said, and unable to resist glancing once again in Thea's direction, I slipped from the house.
I woke up cold.
It took me a second to realise I was trembling, the unexpected chill yanking me from sleep as I shuddered against the bedding. Brushing my hair out of my face, I gasped as my hand skimmed my forehead; my skin was like ice, and my eyes flew open at the shock of it.
I was cold. I was more than cold; I was freezing.
And I didn't know why. I had never been cold before; my supernatural warmth made it impossible. Yet, I was cold now; and it scared me. All I could think was that I needed to be warm, needed to be warm now, and so in a rush, I slipped from the bed, my head spinning and making me stumble from the suddenness of it. If I hadn't been so distracted, I would have noticed then just how wrong everything was; I didn't stumble.
But I was cold, so cold, and that was all I could focus on as I rummaged through my dresser, pulling on fresh clothes as fast as I could. I didn't register that I was swaying slightly as I stood, and I paid no attention to the fact that my skin was far too pale against the red top I pulled on; I just wanted to be warm.
But warmth was completely and utterly wiped from my mind as without warning, I suddenly found myself falling to the floor.
I tried and failed to catch myself on the dresser, hitting the ground hard as all my air was pushed from my lungs with a whoosh. I narrowly avoided slamming my head into the floorboards, but regardless, it was throbbing with pain; pain so fierce that I began to wonder if maybe I had hit my head. I felt as if someone was driving a white hot poker iron through my brain, the agony making me cry out as I pushed myself into a sitting position.
Was it just me, or was the world spinning slightly? I blinked, shaking my head to clear it; but when I opened my eyes, the world was still tilting, my head swimming as I stared.
What was happening? God, it hurt just to try and think it through, my lips unable to hold in a whimper as I pressed my hands to my temples. My head hurt; it hurt so much, too much; and I didn't know why.
I didn't know why I hurt, or why the world was spinning, or why I was shaking from cold; I just wanted it to stop. It needed to stop. But how? How to make it stop? I didn't even know what was wrong.
All I knew was that when I had woken, I had been cold, so very cold, and I couldn't think, couldn't remember–
I gasped, my eyes flying open despite the dizziness. My vision was worse now, blurry as well as spinning, but it didn't matter, none of it mattered, because I knew what this was.
I knew what I hadn't been able to remember.
Last night I had known, I had known I'd forgotten to tell Jake something. I had tried to tell him everything, I had needed to tell him everything, but I had forgotten one crucial detail. I didn't know how it was even possible to forget it, but I had; I had forgotten.
I had forgotten to tell Jake that Quileute soil was now poison to me.
That's was this was. That was why I was kneeling on the ground, feeling as if my head was going to split open. That was why I felt sick with dizziness, and for the first time in my life I was shivering with cold.
I was poisoned. And I was dying.
I let out another cry as my head suddenly burst with pain, feeling as if my head was going to split open. I grit my teeth, feeling my eyes begin to fill with tears; I was dying, and it hurt. It hurt so much, so so much, and all I wanted was for it to stop. I couldn't even process that stopping it probably meant death, because I couldn't handle this. I could not handle this. I needed something, someone, anyone to make it stop.
And just as the thought popped into my head, the answer followed.
Jake. Jake would help me. And Jake would make it stop.
The words were like a mantra in my head as I scrabbled at the bed for something to hold onto, hauling myself up off the ground. I couldn't help but whimper as I swayed on my feet, my face scrunched with pain; I had thought things were bad before. But this; this was worse, so much worse. All I wanted to do was to crumple from the agony of it all, because I couldn't see a thing through my flickering vision, and my head ache was so piercing and stabbing I felt as if I would die from the pain of it. But I couldn't; I had to find Jake.
With no idea where I was going, I staggered forwards, hopefully towards the bedroom door. I moaned as I unexpectedly bumped into a wall, leaning against it to steady myself because my legs felt so weak I was surprised I was still upright at all. My hand frantically fumbled across the smooth plaster, desperately searching for the door knob as I scrunched my eyes shut, a pained sob escaping me because it hurt it hurt it hurt–
Somehow I found the door handle, yanking it open and stumbling into the hallway. My breaths were heaving and fast as I blindly walked, my pulse roaring in my ears in time with my thundering head ache. I cried out softly as my left shoulder slammed into something hard, my body falling into the wall and sliding down a few inches before I caught myself. Part of me wanted to just let myself fall; to give up and give in because it hurt too much. But I forced myself forward, staying against the wall for balance as I slowly staggered; I needed Jake. Jake would help me. Jake would make it stop.
Seconds later my legs gave out, and I lurched sidewards, barely processing what was happening as I fell. With a sickening crack my head slammed into plaster, blackness overwhelming me in a wave as my breaths stopped and a heavy silence met my ears. My body colliding with the hard ground jerked me back, my pulse thudding in my ears as I cried out at the impact.
Too much. It was all too much. It needed to stop.
I didn't know how, but I was on my hands and knees now, crawling along the wall. It was brushing my right side, until suddenly I was keeling over, sliding down the wall until I was again crumpled on the floor.
It hurt. Everything hurt.
I was reaching out my arm now, trying to find something to help pull me forward; I needed Jake. But there was nothing to grab, even if I had the strength, and now I was limp, completely limp. All I could see was blurred darkness, dangerously slow thumps of my heart echoing in my ears.
I couldn't do it. I needed to move, but I couldn't.
God, my head hurt. It hurt too much, too much.
I needed to, but I couldn't.
Stop. I needed it to stop.
I needed Jake.
I needed… Jake.