Thea was mine.
It didn't seem real. After almost losing her so many times, I almost couldn't believe that I had her now. She had been dying, and then she had been gone. Then she had been tortured, and then she had been dying again. Then she had been poisoned, and then she had lost her memories. Wall after wall stopping me from getting to her, having her, making her mine. And now, suddenly, finally, she was.
She was mine. And she was going to stay with me.
"Of course," She had said when I'd asked her. As if I was an idiot for asking. As if I should have already known the answer. Perhaps I had. Perhaps I had known. I'd known what I'd wanted her to say, that was for sure. But then, whether or not I'd predicted her answer wasn't really important. What was important was her answer, her agreement, to stay with me.
And her happiness as she had said it.
I'd never felt her this happy before. Before, there had always been fear in her, uncontrollable and unbeatable fear. Now though… now, that was gone. She wasn't sad or scared or worried; she was only happy. She was happy and smiling and kissing me; which was all that ever mattered.
'You know, the pack reckon they've figured out why I imprinted on you.' Jake said softly. I lifted my head up from his shoulder, shifting against the warm chest I was leant against.
'Oh?' I asked, raising my eyebrows. 'I wasn't aware there was a reason.' Jake chuckled quietly.
'Me neither. But they're pretty sure they know why it was you and not anyone else.'
'Well?' I questioned, my curiosity spiking.
'According to them, only someone as bull-headed as I am would be stubborn enough to refuse to be saved.' I couldn't decide whether that was an insult or compliment, and my quiet laugh came out sort of strangled.
'I'm not bull-headed!' I retorted, throwing Jake an accusing look. He gave me an equally accusing one in return.
'You attacked a werewolf when you couldn't even stand up by yourself, let alone walk.' He said flatly. I scowled.
'That's not bull-headed. I was just being obstinate.' Jake threw me an amused look.
'Isn't that the same thing?'
'Obstinate sounds nicer.' I said, and I felt Jake's rumble as he laughed with me.
'You know your stubbornness over this just proves my point, don't you?' I couldn't help but smile at that.
'Maybe. But the pack called you stubborn too.' I felt Jake chuckled again at my words.
'That's because I am.' He said. I sighed in resignation.
'Alright. We're both headstrong. Happy?' Jake turned his head, his lips brushing my cheek in a feather soft kiss as he grinned.
'Yes. You're perfect for me.' He murmured in my ear, and I grinned.
'You're perfect for me too.'
The next few days were wonderful; Jake was wonderful. But as much as I loved spending all day everyday just being with him, it would be so much better if we could do it back in La Push. After 36 years of not being allowed to go home, I was more than bit excited to finally go back. There was just one problem; my chest.
I still couldn't walk more than few steps without falling over in pain. Which was annoying, because I really didn't like being so disabled, but there was nothing to do about it except wait. Which I would be happy to do; back home. Jake disagreed. He wanted Carlisle near to look after me, even though here was nothing for him to do. Yet, Jake still worried. It made my heart melt to see him concerned all the time, so protective. But as much as liked him for it, I didn't stop trying to persuade him to take me back.
And two days later, he finally gave in.
'Why do you want to go so badly?' Jake asked me, his thumb rubbing circles into the back of my hand. I threw Jake a confused and surprised look.
'Haven't you figured it out?' I replied softly, raising my eyebrows.
'Well, I thought I had. You haven't been home properly for years, so I understand that you're eager not to wait any longer. But it seems like there's something else, something I'm missing.' I nodded slowly at his words.
'You're right that it's not just about going home. Part of me… part of me thinks that if we don't head back soon, I'm going to lose my chance. That maybe I'll wake up one day and realise I've just imagined all of this, or something.' I said softly, unable to stop from myself from averting my eyes. I couldn't stand to see the sadness in his eyes. I was sad enough already, having spent the night dreaming vividly about how I'd been forced out of La Push the first time–
With a screech, Jake was shoving back his chair as he stood up too fast with too much force, the sound making me flinch. In less than second he was in front of me, carefully pulling me to my feet. I stared at him wide-eyed with surprise, about to open my mouth to ask what the hell he was doing, when he beat me to it.
'Oh Thea, I'm sorry. I would have taken you back sooner if I'd know you were so worried. Why didn't you tell me?'
'I… I wasn't worried before. But last night I had all sorts of dreams about Leon, and being trapped, and they put the thought in my head. And now, I can't get rid of it.' I said with a sigh, leaning into him and wrapping my arms around his waist. Jake strengthened his hold on me, hugging me fiercely, before suddenly speaking.
'Well, I can.' He said firmly, pulling back. I glanced up at his face to see his expression was a mix of sadness and happiness. 'Come on.' He said softly, gently tugging me forward, his iron strong arm around my waist keeping me from hurting myself.
'Where are we going?' I asked, confused as he helped me down the stairs. He paused on the step below me, still half a foot taller than me as he gaze at me.
Home. I was almost home. After nearly four hours on the road, with Jake's motorbike roaring beneath us and his warm body solid behind me, we were almost there. The trip had been both tortuously slow and unbelievably fast, excitement and worry competing fiercely in my mind. I had them in control, though; with Jake's arm around me, next to me, I had control.
Though that didn't stop me from stiffening just before we flew over the borderline. For that moment, the fear was very nearly overwhelming. But then, in the blink of an eye, it was gone. It was gone and I was sighing, melting against Jake as I grinned widely.
Nothing. I had felt nothing. No barrier, no protection, no poison. I was really, truly, home. And god, it felt good. Amazing. I was back. The forest that was flying past us was the forest of home, my forest, our forest. And I had all the time in the world. I could do anything I wanted. I could see Sera, I could meet the pack, I could run with Jake–
In an instant, I realised what I wanted to do. What I wanted, needed to do, before anything else.
It was easy, so easy, to reach out for him. So easy to reach for his mind, to speak his name in our heads.
I couldn't help but smile at the nickname. I wasn't sure when he had started calling me that, but it still made me shiver with happiness whenever he said it. I couldn't think about that now though; now, there was something we had to do.
Can we stop? I want to show you something.
I felt Jake's surprise and curiosity through the imprint, but he didn't ask me what I meant. That made me smile again; it was nice to know he trusted me. Trusted me enough to pull over on the side of the road without explanation. Trusted me enough to help me off the bike before shooting me a questioning a look.
'Where are we going?' He asked softly. I laughed quietly that; without a word, he somehow knew that what I wanted to show him wasn't here. I wondered when exactly he'd gotten to know me so well. Taking his hands in mine, I jerked my head in the direction I wanted to head.
I would have liked to have walked there; or rather my approximation of walking, with Jake's arm pulling me close as he took most of my weight. But, since where we were going wasn't close, Jake carried me. It was probably best; with his large strides, we got there far quicker than we would have with my slow and careful walk. But, just before we reached the cemetery, I asked Jake to put me down.
I wanted to be on my feet for this.
Even though he looked like he wanted to protest, Jake said nothing. He hadn't said anything when he'd figured out where we were going either, which I was glad for; right now, I didn't feel like talking. Right now, I was battling the grief that always swarmed me when I did this. Years had passed, and yet it hadn't stopped crippling me. I had been too alone, too hurt, that getting past it had been impossible. But now, for the first time, I wasn't consumed by it. Now, as I slowly headed towards the gravestone I had visited so many times before, I wasn't falling apart. I wasn't falling apart, because I had Jake to hold me up.
Jake. All of this was because of him. I was back home because of him. I was alive because of him. I was free because of him. I wasn't alone, because of him. He had given me so much, given me everything. He had saved me, in more ways than one. Even now, as we both paused in front of the engraved marker, he was saving me; saving me from a sadness that until now, I had never been able to shake.
The overwhelming loss of my father.
I missed him. It had been 37 years, and yet I still missed him just as much. And across those 37 years, I had needed him so often; needed someone, anyone, to take away the loneliness. And now, I finally did have someone. Jake. And with him, suddenly not having my father with me didn't seem so unbearable. Happy memories weren't being dwarfed by grief, as they so often were. In fact, it was the other way around now, and I couldn't help but smile, albeit sadly, as I remembered.
'He's the reason I came here, you know.' I murmured quietly. Behind me, Jake pulled me closer against his body, his arm warm and immovable around my stomach. 'I wanted to visit him. It had been years since the last time – too long really – but…'
'It wasn't safe for you to come.' Jake answered for me, his voice quiet in my ear. I nodded.
'It still wasn't safe a few weeks ago, but by then… I just couldn't resist.' I sighed. A soothing rumble emerged from Jakes' throat.
'Well, I'm glad you came, even if it was dangerous. I wouldn't have met you otherwise.' He said wistfully; he didn't like the idea of me being hurt, or the idea of losing me. Now it was my turn to reassure him, my fingers lacing through his.
'I did though.' I murmured, my attention once again moving to the gravestone before me.
'You would have liked him.' I told Jake with another sad smile. 'You're quite similar, really. Both wolves. Both alphas. Both warm. Kind. Caring. Selfless. Strong.'
'I wish I could have met him.' He said quietly behind me.
'Me too.' I replied just as softly. 'He would have liked you.' Jake laughed softly at that.
'I don't know if that's true.' I frowned, turning my head to see him wearing a lazy smile.
'Why not?' I asked, confused. I could so easily see Jake and my father together in mind; I couldn't think of a single reason they wouldn't like each other. But why did Jake think otherwise? And why was he grinning?
'Fathers never really like the guys their daughters end up with.' He said, lifting our interlinked hands so he could brush my hair out of my face. I couldn't help but smile at his words, glancing back at the engraved marker.
'Maybe. He was my adoptive father, remember? It might have been different.' Jake laughed again.
'Maybe. But I doubt it.' He paused then, thinking. 'Though I have to say, I am glad he wasn't your biological father.' Again, I turned to throw Jake a bewildered look.
'You are? Why?'
'If he was, we'd be related.' He said, his gaze fierce. 'And I wouldn't be able to do this.'
And then his lips were suddenly crashing against mine. His mouth was soft but urgent, moving against my own with a ferocity that contrasted wonderfully and made my spine tingle. That was what I loved about Jake; that he could be both gentle and strong at the same time. Gentle as he turned me round to face him properly, but strong as he pulled my body flush against his. A body that made my own melt, need and want burning through me as I knotted my hands in his hair, kissing him deeper.
There could be nothing better than this. Nothing better than having him holding me, touching me, kissing me. Kissing me with such passion I felt as if I would explode from the emotion in it, my body alive with electricity. Wonderful, all-consuming electricity, that made me forget everything except for Jake. He was everything I needed, everything I wanted.
And he was mine. He was mine, and I was his.