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The Unforeseen Fall of Lahote

Chapter Text

Paul's POV

"Seth, your new ear is sooo cute!" Evie squealed, her tiny hands clapping together in sadistic delight.

"It'll get back to its normal size soon. At least I hope so." Seth sighed and fiddled with the food on his plate solemnly. Evie threw her arms around him and nuzzled the oddly hilarious subject of their conversation.

Bella laughed softly and I drew her closer to my body. "It's weird, having both sides of my lives together." She confessed softly.

I looked out over the entirety of the cliff pensively. Bella's family had decided to stay with Charlie for a few weeks since they no longer were a secret. And Billy had quickly organized a bonfire as a celebration for the eliminated threat and also to say goodbye to the fae.

It was dusk and it seemed as though quite a few friendships had been made while Drayer, Bella, and I were held captive. Nate and Anna were talking to Sam and Emily near the foldout table overflowing with food while Evie had quickly befriended every single member of the pack. Charlie Swan was speaking animatedly with Billy and a healing Harry Clearwater.

A shy Renee was at his side. She seemed to earnestly desire a new cordiality with her ex-husband. No evidence existed of the terrible injuries that she had sustained.

Bella moodily sighed when she noticed where I was looking. "Of course, she's healed already." Both of Bella's legs were in boots and were advised to stay that way for at least another week.

"You're silly. A human would be in a cast for at least a year from that trauma. After a hell a lot of surgery." I reminded her in exasperation. "Or if they were true crush injuries, a wheelchair for the rest of their lives."

"You're right." Bella had the grace to look sheepish.

The fire crackled and peals of laughter split through the air. Drayer had a grinning Éponine in his arms. He was sprinting and slipped off of the edge of the cliff. They hit the water.

I saw Bella's eyebrow twitch in exasperation at her completely healed brother. I ruffled her hair.

My good mood was quickly ruined. A growl ripped through my throat.

Bella tensed. "What is it?"

"Nothing." She was right to be twitchy after everything we just went through. It really was nothing. I just saw Jacob staring at my girl with stars in his eyes again.

But this time, he was approaching us. Bella stepped out of my arms and flew into his. "Jake!"

I stifled my temper with tremendous effort and made my body relax. That near-death experience had me on edge. I don't think that I will ever be quite the same after it. Bell had literally been smashed and choked in front me. In front of all of us. That mad woman had held all of us down like it was nothing.

Who was to say she was the only monster out there?

"Paul." My imprint blinked up at me from next to Jake. "It's all over now. We're safe."

She was the only one who could say that and make me believe her. Jake stretched with a smirk pointed in my direction. Jackass.

"Bella." Renee moved towards her daughter languidly, but I could see Bella stiffening.

"Mom?"

Renee looked uncertain. "We all miss you, sweetie. Do you think you could stand to visit more?"

Bella bit her lip. It wasn't an unfair question. And she ducked her head a little. "Yeah Mom... I'm sorry for being away for so long." It was easy to tell Ben's death would never be easy for her to talk or think about. But somehow, I could see that the pain had lessened a marginal amount.

"What do you want to do after high school? College could be taken any time. I didn't actually get to go until I was around three-hundred." A wry laugh. "I didn't have much of a choice until then."

Bella will stop aging soon. The realization hit me with Renee's words. Suddenly, this moment became so much more special as I realized the crossroads between human life and Bella's life had come to. My imprint's mother had probably brought the topic up deliberately with me around.

My rabbit didn't seem scared, as if she had pondered the terrible truth a million times before I had. Which I guess she had. "I'm going to stay in Forks as long as possible. Keep Dad company. I already applied to a school in Port Angeles so I'll commute."

Something locked into place with our bond that moment as I resolved to walk the same lonely road beside her. Shifting into a wolf for all of eternity didn't sound so bad as long as she was with me.

Some time later, a boisterous dog whistle snapped me out of my solemn resolutions. Jared had bolstered a giggling Kim and poker-faced Leah onto his shoulders. The she-wolf's legs looked ridiculously long in comparison to Jared's imprint. Leah looked the happiest that I'd seen her in... ever.

"Game of chicken!" Kim crowed.

Evie and Seth jumped up from their seats. Evie's fingers sparked.

"No fair, no magic allowed!" Éponine interrupted shrilly. Her dark hair was still dripping from her and Drayer's dive.

Jack laughed by the fire with his mate Claire. "Darling, good luck with getting Evie to do that." He told Éponine.

As all of that squabbling escalated to a fever-pitch, Bella looked up at me with gleaming eyes. "You game?" She looked both excited and cuttingly competitive.

"Oh hell yeah." I gently held her tiny body to mine and lightly kissed her lips. We then held hands all the way down to the water.

••••••••••••••••••••••••

Bella's POV

"Are you sure about this, pipsqueak?" The dry Arizona sun was making Paul's skin glisten with sweat. "We could've passed as normal for a couple of more years."

I snorted as we strolled calmly to the humongous walls of the compound that we had climbed every summer to see my family for a few weeks. Normally, we had Seth and Evie with us. But they couldn't go with us this time due to the fact that their children had to attend elementary school at LaPush at this time of year. Trixie, Danielle, and Adam all had springy black curls, sweet smiles like their father, and an aptitude for magic like their mother.

The entire town had been astonished that Evie could give birth to triplets at the age of forty-one. After all, she certainly looked that age with the glamour she had created for herself and Seth.

Unfortunately, this feat of sorcery challenged Evie enough that Paul and I had no such cover. It was only when I'd overheard Jessica Stanley making plans to sell my pictures to a tabloid as an ad for good skin care that I'd then known that it was time to leave Forks and LaPush for awhile.

"Yes, I'm sure. It's time to move full-time to the Compound. Billy, Dad, and everybody else are planning on visiting every Christmas now. Besides, Dad probably wants some more alone time with Shannon. They did just get married." I explained for what seems to be the billionth time to my husband of twenty-six years.

Paul laughed and then flicked my nose in retribution for my aggravated tone. "I know and I agree with you, rabbit. I'm looking forward to fixing that jank security network that your brother had complete imbeciles design."

I had known that he was smart when we first met, but it had surprised me that he had turned into a total whiz with an undergrad computer engineering under his belt and a highly specialized Master's degree. He was planning on his p.H.D some time later.

"Are we visiting him today?" Paul asked in a soft voice.

He was referring to Ben's grave. We left flowers and chocolate there every time we were in the area.

I smiled up at him and hugged his arm. "Not today. I have guard duty in half an hour." My being able to serve the community in such a way had been a negotiating term between myself and Renee. Due to her elimination of a threat like Medora, the other powerful fae had listened this time. "I love you, Paul."

"I love you too." We then climbed up that wall, where I saw the most beautiful future yet.

The End