I was halfway back to the house when Jake found me. I had felt him moving closer, closer; and then the next moment, he was appearing from the trees. At first he was just a shadow in the darkness of the night, until he stepped into a rare patch of moonlight, and his handsome face and gorgeous smile became visible. He paused, waiting for me as I grinned in return, covering the few steps that separated us.
'Are you going to tell me what we're doing now?' I asked, and he laughed, his eyes bright.
'Not yet.' He replied.
'Soon I won't have to tell you.' He said with a smile, taking my hand and leading me forward. We trekked through woods towards the border line for a few minutes, chatting lightly as I tried and failed to get information out of him about where we were going. It wasn't until I caught sight of a strange, flickering white light through the trees that I gave up, stopping mid sentence.
'What is that?' I asked in surprise and confusion, and Jake laughed.
'Where we're headed.' He said, pulling me after him once more. Now that I'd noticed it, I couldn't take my eyes off it, and I titled my head to the side slightly as I stared; for some bizarre reason it looked familiar, though I couldn't for the life of me remember why. It wasn't until Jake led me through the remaining few trees, and the fire became visible, that I figured it out.
'Oh!' I gasped, pausing as I took it in. The small flames licking up the driftwood and twigs were a wonderfully bright blue and purple, the only colour in the dark. A ring of stones and rocks had been made around the small blaze, keeping it from burning down the rest of the woods. It was beautiful, the light of the flames making ever changing patterns on the nearby trees.
'I figured as it's been so long since you've been back here, this was probably one of things you missed.' Jake said softly. I looked at him then, tearing my eyes away from the fire; he was watching me, the hint of a smile tugging at his lips. I squeezed his hand tightly.
'Thank you.' I replied quietly, and now he really was smiling, his grin echoing my own.
The sudden flaring of the fire snapped my attention back to it, my eyes once again locking on the blue and purple light as the flames died down as quickly as they'd risen. Now that I was watching it again, I couldn't take my eyes off it. I was only half paying attention as Jake pulled me to the ground next to him, our backs against a large tree trunk just metres from the blaze.
'I can't remember the last time I saw one of these.' I said softly, not quite so enraptured by the fire as I began to take note of what was going on around me. I realised Jake hadn't let go of my hand, his warm fingers laced through mine between us. We were sitting so close that our shoulders were touching, and almost without meaning to, I leaned into the touch; the feeling of his bare arm against mine was too good to resist. Now that I'd noticed it, I couldn't seem to take my mind off it; not when my whole body was tingling slightly from the sensation.
'We used to light them so often when I was younger, but now…' I trailed off, staring at the flames as I shook my head. 'You can't really do bonfires in the city, especially not driftwood ones.'
'So why don't you come back here more often then?' Jake asked, and I tensed.
'Lots of reasons.' I replied quietly, unable to keep a hint of sadness from voice.
'Reasons you're going to keep secret?' He asked carefully, and I nodded.
'I suppose you have already told me more than three secrets today.' He said far more cheerfully, and not for the most time, I thanked the world for the imprint. Jake knew exactly what to ask and what not to, knew when a little more convincing would get me talk, and knew when he had found a question that no matter what he did, I wouldn't say anything. But even better than that, he understood that when I didn't say something, it was always for a reason. He could feel it, feel my reaction; whether it be fear or sadness or something else entirely. And he so easily turned it around, able to make me smile again with just one sentence; even now I was laughing softly despite myself.
'A bit more than three, I think.' I replied, and now he was the one chuckling softly.
'Well, can I ask one more?' He questioned, and I nodded as I gave him a curious look.
'Where did you learn to throw knives so well?' I smiled softly.
'Here and there. Not with the police; they don't really specialise in that kind of thing.'
'So how come you learnt it then?'
'After I left La Push, I learnt a lot of different fighting types and styles; knife throwing was one them.'
'Because of who did this to you?' He asked slowly, his free hand ghosting over my stomach as he traced the scars hidden beneath my top.
'Yes.' I replied quietly.
'So what did you learn?'
'A bit of everything, I guess. Mostly hand to hand combat; karate, jujitsu, a few others. Bit of fencing, bit of staff work. Plus all the training I got with the police academy; baton work, shooting, that kind of thing.'
'Wow.' Jake said softly. He paused for a moment, seemingly thinking, before he spoke again. 'Could you beat one of us wolves in a fight?' He asked.
'A lot of things. Fighting for practice and fighting to save your life are pretty different; how much you want to win can play a big part in it. Like the other day when your wolves were chasing me; they weren't really trying, and neither was I.'
'How do you know they weren't?'
'I've been chased by a shapeshifter before, Jake; I knew what you guys can do.' He gave me a strong look at that, reacting to my words. I squeezed his hand in reassurance. 'As for why I wasn't fighting back; it went against instinct to attack Pack.' He looked a tad surprised at that.
'Even then? Before I'd imprinted?' I nodded.
'Anyway, you'd be surprised how different is to fight an animal than human; it's hard to block a punch when you guys don't have fists. I'm a good fighter, but when you guys are wolves, you have an advantage. Add in the fact that your supernatural; I don't think I'd win then.'
'If you were human, though, I'm not sure. You're still fast, but I know how to fight; I might win.'
'Okay. That's kind of confusing. Anything else?' He asked.
'Well, which of you I was fighting would make a difference. Some of you are stronger and faster than others. I wouldn't win against you; even if I could fight you.' He looked confused at my last statement.
'If you could fight me? You mean you won't?'
'It's more that I can't. Like I said before, it went against instinct to attack Pack; it would probably be even harder now because I'm more Pack than I was before. I don't know if I could attack any of you. Maybe.'
'But you; I could never attack you. The idea just makes me feel… wrong. My stomach feels sick just thinking about it. I couldn't do it. I wouldn't want to do it.' I said, shaking my head. My gaze flickered to his as I did, his gaze a conflicting mixture of pleasure and dislike. It was easier to look at him now; we had both shifted through the conversation – almost without meaning to – our bodies angled towards one another.
'I couldn't attack you either.' He looked haggard at the thought, and I shuddered slightly; I knew the feeling. 'It goes against every instinct I have.' He said softly. The thumb of the hand that was holding mine was rubbing soft circles on the back of my palm now; it was both relaxing and thrilling, the strange combination blissful.
'What do your instincts want you to do?' He smiled at that.
'To be close to you. To keep you safe. To make you smile.' I did smile at that; even more so because his other hand had snapped forward to grab a strand of my hair, curling it around his fingers.
'To touch you.' He said softly, gently tugging the strand in example. 'And to do this.' Jake said, even quieter now, his hand lightly cupping my neck as he moved forwards, his lips brushing mine in the softest of kisses.
I sighed quietly at the contact, my nerves tingling from the pleasure as my free hand slid up his arm and shoulder to knot softly in his dark hair. I met his slow movements with my own, pulling him closer because while his gentle lips were so, so wonderful, I needed more. He didn't protest, kissing me more firmly as the hand that had been holding mine found my waist, my now free hand holding his forearm as he moved.
God, he just felt so good. His hot lips were searching as he kissed me, the heat a burning fire in my blood as I all but melted against him. He was just everywhere, the only thing I could think about, the only thing I wanted to think about. The elation was overwhelming, my body alive with the feeling, with the irrepressible delight that was searing through me as he kissed me, and I kissed him.
But all too soon his soft lips were gone, his face just inches from mine as he stared at me. His eyes seemed to be endlessly deep, the brown even darker in the night but still beautiful to look at; especially since they just seemed so happy as they looked at me. They appeared to light up even more as they moved slightly to the left, his lips forming a small smile. I blinked at him in confusion, turning my head to try and figure out what he was looking at; only to find the motion impeded by his hand brushing through my hair, sweeping it out of my face and following it down my shoulders.
'I've wanted to do this ever since I first saw you.' He said softly, his fingers deft and gentle as they slipped through the wavy strands; strands that didn't look golden brown, but instead seemed far darker. I couldn't help but smile at his words; his contentment and fascination was mixing with my own, the effect heady.
I was so wonderfully, overwhelmingly happy, because of him.
Jake made me happy like no one else could.
Hours later, we hadn't moved from our spot by the fire. Even though in the last 30 minutes it had been all but dead, desperately clinging for life as just the smallest embers burned, we still hadn't left. It was only when the sparse flames finally burned out, extinguishing and plunging us into darkness, that we were given no choice.
We had just been so comfortable, so absorbed in one another, that we hadn't even noticed the passing of time. His voice, his laugh, his smile; I was captivated. I didn't want to leave; didn't want to move from his side, because his arm around my waist as I leant into him felt amazing. But it was the middle of the night, and we probably should have left a long time ago, so it was with reluctance that I let him pull me to my feet.
Jake didn't release my hand while we walking through the trees, which I was glad for. I was already missing how close we had been before; I didn't know if I could handle being separated from his touch altogether. But it wasn't just his touch I craved; it was his heat. No one else felt warm to me, and I had decided that I loved the warmth. It was soothing, comforting; it made me want to melt against him as I soaked it up.
If only that was possible.