Everything reminded him of her. He knew he had to get over this and home was not the place to do it. So, he ran away and it seems like a stranger and her family will be the ones who can heal him. JacobOC ECLIPSE SPOILERS Book One of the Imprints of Life series. FINAL CHAPTER HAS BEEN POSTED! AU
1. Chapter 1
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I don't know how long I ran after I got permission to leave.
"Come back soon," was all Sam had said.
We didn't age, so did time matter? I didn't know. All I knew was that I couldn't be in the Olympic Peninsula or even Washington now that I knew it was official. I wanted to collapse and...give in, but I was done being pathetic, I was done being the Jacob Black that I knew; that she knew. I would change and come back, maybe. She would be gone, of course, and her family would be ignorant of what she was doing with the Cullens, but I didn't want to care. I wouldn't!
Like I said, I don't know how long I ran or how far. I think I might have crossed the Canadian line and back into the States more then once. Finally, from lack of sleep or grief, I didn't know, I collapsed in some woods and fell asleep.
Jacob wished he had been smart enough to take his jeans when he left. He would give anything to feel the cool forest floor on his skin. Besides, the burs were tangling in his fur and making him itch. Twitching a little, Jacob adjusted his position, laying his snout on his paws. His eyes closed and he sighed. He didn't like being a wolf twenty four seven, especially when he felt Sam touch in to check. It annoyed him that Sam didn't trust him to take care of himself.
That's not fair! the more tolerant, human, side of him protested. That was true; of course, Sam was just worried about him. The connection was weak, anyway, probably because he was half way across the country. Massachusetts, he remembered a sign saying.
Jacob couldn't continue to lie there. The inactivity was giving his mind to much to do. He hated thinking. Every time he stopped focusing on running or what he would do in a future, thoughts of her would creep into his mind. He wondered if she was transformed, he wondered if even now she was in pain. He didn't know the exact date, but it was August already. She would be married some time soon.
A whimper of pain forced its way out of his throat and he curled into an even tighter ball. I wonder if this was what she felt? he wondered as his eyes took in the calm forest around him.
Somewhere up in a tree he heard squirrels chattering and birds singing. They were calm sound, nature sounds. Sounds that he grew up with. They were familiar and comforting, causing him to feel weary. He always felt weary when he thought of Bella, so he closed his eyes and listened.
He opened his eyes in annoyance when another bur bit into his flesh. What was the point of having such thick fur when nuisances like a plant could still get to you? Growling he began to pick at it with his teeth, succeeding only to bite into his own skin. It healed almost right away and he was back to picking. In and out his white teeth combed, pulling out tufts of russet fur. Finally, he succeeded in picking it out, grumbling about his lack of clothing.
Who will see you? he argued with himself. He would hear a human before they would see him and Jacob could hide or transform again.
I'm not completely loosing my humanity!
That won. Somehow, running around the woods naked felt like he would be crossing the line between being a human and being an animal. It wasn't a line he was willing to cross completely. Not yet. He'd deal with the uncomfortable thorns and the itchy moister that seeped its way into his fur. Or he could steal clothing.
Jacob's ears lay back on his head and he hackles rose at the thought. Stealing was not something he could do. It went against all his teaching. Billy would be disappointed. Of course there was a chance Billy went against all those teachings, but he doubted it. Not his father. That was getting off the subject now. His problem was clothing and not just about the brambles and uncomfortable forest. He couldn't live as a wolf forever. He was, after all, human. He needed a job and a place to stay. Perhaps one of the many farms would give him one. He could pass for twenty five if he had too.
Clothes first, he reminded himself. He was swiftly losing his argument about how stealing was wrong and against every moral religion out there. Sighing, he got to his feet and padded over to the small stream he had decided to camp by. Looking down he saw his reflection. His once proud head was bowed in defeat, it seemed, and he looked skinnier. His fur was thin and worn away in patches where he had scratched. His eyes, normally bright with interest and power, were dull. He didn't look good. Like a mongrel dog, really. He needed a good meal, human companionship and a chance to make a new life. For now.
Clothes, he murmured in defeat.
Deftly he turned away from the stream and headed to a farm he knew had gigantic field hands working. Some of their clothes would do. The woods flew by in a blur and he was at the farm long before sun down. He settled down to wait.
Resting his head in his paws he waited in the shadow of the trees, watching the workers with wary eyes. Four men where at the edge of the land, mending a fence. They were talking and laughing at something one of them had said.
"I tell you," said a blonde man. "It was gigantic. As big as a bear."
His friend, a black haired burly man, snorted. "They don't get that big."
"This one did. He was brown and looked like he would eat me."
"Wolves don't get that big, Jack," the black haired guy said again.
"Of course you don't believe me," Jack muttered, going back to work.
"'S not that. I believe you saw a giant wolf. I just want to know how many bottles you were carrying to throw at it."
"I wasn't drunk, Phil!"
So, Jack had seen him. He would have to be more careful. Wait, he remembered. Jacob had stalked him just for fun, the man was drunk after all. The look at Jack's face had been very funny. Jacob's tongue lolled out in a grin as he watched the men continue there work.
"So," piped up a red head, "did the wolf talk to you?"
Phil and the rest of the men laughed, causing Jack to shoot them a glare.
"Of course not, Pat," Jack protested. "He didn't look good. Kind of heartbroken I think."
"Awwww," chorused Phil. "Did the doggy woose his wittle girlfwend?"
"Ah," Jack waved his hand in a violent dismissal and ignored the other men's questions and taunts.
If Jacob hadn't been enjoying his first dose of human interaction then he might have been hurt by Phil's last comment. It was true. What got him most was what Jack said. Did he really look heartbroken? Like she did when he left her. That wasn't possible. Besides, Jack saw him in wolf form. How does one know if a wolf is heartbroken or not?
Soon, Jacob heard the sound of a horn and the men looked up, relieved.
"Quiten' time," Phil said with a cheerful grin. "I'm starved!"
Pat and Jack agreed and Phil slung his arm over the fourth man's shoulder.
"You were quiet today, Al. Jen giving you trouble again..." there voices faded out as they left Jacob's range of hearing. He still had some waiting to do. He had decided to take some clothes from Phil. The man was the biggest and Jacob didn't like the ‘doggy loosing his girlfriend,' crack. The ‘doggy' part bugged him.
The sun went down completely and Jacob waited until there was no activity on the farm before slinking forward. He slipped through the fence, destroying a good portion of the men's work in the process.
The yard was dark and the only sign of light was a dim yellow in one of the upstairs windows of the house. Jacob didn't care about the house, he target was in the bunkhouse. Sniffing around he found quite a few scents. The one that stood out was the simple, sweet, smell of warm sugar. He found it pleasant and female, but he had a mission and it wouldn't be dissuaded by thoughts of the opposite sex. He picked up Phil's scent and followed it around the back and down a small path.
The bunkhouse wasn't very large, but it was neat and well maintained. Jacob snuck up to the door and paused, sniffing. They were in there and Phil's things were towards the right wall. All he could hear was snoring.
Carefully he padded up the stairs and pushed the door open with his snout. Someone had conveniently left it open. Once in the room he headed to the dresser where Phil's smell was the strongest. It wasn't until he was in front of it, that he transformed.
He really hoped none of those men woke up and saw him in all his glory. Not that he was ashamed or anything. He just didn't want to get caught...or make the poor men jealous. Jacob smirked at that thought as he quietly opened the first drawer. Inside were t-shirts and wife beaters. He grabbed two of each, pulling a set on before heading to another drawer. Pants came next and he repeated the process. Shoes were out, as Phil only had one pair which he needed for work and Jacob wasn't cruel. Who knew who the man was supporting.
Jacob bundled up the remaining clothes and looked around for anything else he might need. A comb and razor found their way into the pocket of his jeans and an extra blanket joined the bundle.
Sneaking past the house in human form was a lot harder then in wolf. The dog seemed to have heard or smelt him and was barking. He picked up his pace once he was passed the house and was through the fence and into the woods in less then five minutes.
After shaving using his night vision and the stream (thank goodness he healed so fast) Jacob settled down and rolled up in his blanket. He slept heavily through the night, not once waking up.
The next morning his eyes opened groggily as he was met by the bright morning sun. Sitting up, Jacob ran his hands through his tangled hair.
"Did you honestly think you could get away with it?" a curious voice asked.
Jacob was on his feet and facing the owner of the voice in less then a second.
A man was sitting on a rock, facing Jacob with a shotgun on his knee. He was around Billy's age, strong and lean, with graying brown hair and kind blue eyes. His posture wasn't threatening, but Jacob figured he could get that gun to bear rather quickly if he needed too. Why else would he follow a stranger twice his height and size.
"Well?" he asked cocking an eyebrow. If he was surprised how fast Jacob moved he didn't show it.
Jacob eyed his warily. "Excuse me?" he asked lowly.
"I didn't see your coming, boy, but I saw your going."
Jacob drew his body to his full height and crossed his arms over his chest. He knew that he looked frightening, he had practiced in the mirror after all, and the man looked slightly ill at ease. "So you decided to follow me."
The man smirked a little, fear seemingly gone, and rose from the rock, the top of his head just reaching Jacob's nose. "I was curious as to why a young man would break in and steal only clothes. There were many things in the house a thief could want."
"I didn't need them," Jacob broke in.
"But you needed clothing?"
"My others were ruined." It's true.
The man paused and looked thoughtful. "I'm Benjamin Dawson," he said finally. "But everyone calls me Ben."
"Jacob Black." He mentally winced and kicked himself. Not your real name!
"Nice to meet you." He paused again. "So...you're what? Twenty three, twenty four?"
"Seventeen." Another mental kick.
"I see. School out for the summer?"
"You'll be going back soon, I presume. To wherever you're from."
Jacob didn't answer.
"Trouble at home?"
"How is that a strangers business?" Jacob asked tightly.
"It is if that stranger is planning on giving you a job, which includes housing and meals."
"Yeah. Al's getting married today and I'm going to loose him. I need a strong, reliable young man to do his share of the work."
The young man starred at him suspiciously. Jacob was a stranger to this...Ben and he was hiring him to work around his farm. To work around his family. Jacob would never do that, after all there were so many terrible people in this world. It was dangerous what this man was doing. Jacob knew he would be honorable, but this man didn't.
"Why?" he finally asked.
"You look like you could use some help," Ben said simply.
Jacob was silent as he reflected on the face he had seen in the stream last night. He had looked gaunt and dirty, with nothing of the life that had been there before. He needed to get his mind off of it. Off of her. What better way then with a job. "Alright, Mr. Dawson. I accept."
"Ben," he said with a grin. "And I'm glad. Let's go back to the house, breakfast will be ready and I had Emily make triple then she usually does."
Jacob paused. "Your wife's name is Emily?"
"Yes. Oh and we'll see if we can get you a jacket. You must be freezing at night living out here. I'm surprised one blanket was enough."
Jacob nodded absently, his mind back in La Push where another Emily cooked breakfast and called him her son.
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