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Free Fall

Summary:
Jared. Kim. Two completely different people, yet one in spirit. They are destined to be together, but is destiny always enough?


Notes:
Set during Post New Moon, Eclipse, whenever Jared and Kim imprint.


1. Free Fall

Rating 4/5   Word Count 2927   Review this Chapter

Fire. Ice. It felt like every element was pelting its worst at me. My whole body was shaking uncontrollably, like the last leaf on a tree during a hailstorm.

A red haze had fallen over my eyes when my mother had brought that man home, telling me it was none of my business who she fucked in her own house, and everything had popped. I didn’t really care what was happening, because instinctively I knew that it would change my life forever. Somehow, it would take me away from the life that I had come to hate so much. A flash of heat shivered down my spine at the thought, and everything went out of focus.

A loud pop echoed through the woods, and I fell to the ground, groaning at the impact. I tried to stand, but tripped over my own feet.

I tried to pull my feet together, but scratched myself. Blood oozed from a deep cut on my forearm. I moved it again, but a giant claw moved instead. I tried to run, at least take a step backwards, but those huge claws followed. I cocked my head to the side, but it felt too heavy. What was going on?

Another, just like me, appeared at my side. Sam Uley.

Brother. His voice whispered into my mind, and a flood of information invaded my head.

Werewolf. Protectors. The sickly sweet stench of vampire. Imprinting. Emily, his girlfriend. Paul, the other like us. The certainty that there would be others. The legends, and many other impossible things.

We ran together for a while, him showing me the ropes, so to speak, and I obeying his every command. That was part of that Alpha thing, another piece of information that the mind-to-mind communication had shown me. I had to follow orders for the first time in my life. And yet … I didn’t mind. I belonged.

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Damn alarm. I hated that thing. It always rang just when I fell asleep, signaling another day of school. Another monotonous, dreary day.

I rolled out of bed eventually, about half an hour late, of course. But who really cared? It wasn’t like school actually mattered anymore. Yet another perk of being a werewolf.

I hadn’t gone to school since before the transformation. Sam had said it wasn’t safe, that I might lose my temper. I didn’t argue; it wasn’t like school was high on my favorites list. In fact, I don’t think it was anywhere on there.

But I had to go back, or I would draw unwanted attention to the Pack. Now that Embry had joined us, it was even more important that we remained unnoticed.

“You up, Jared?” Like she really cared. Ha. My mother and I had been butting heads ever since I started walking, and now we ignored each other. Unless I was dying, I didn’t bother her, and vice versa.

I ignored her. I wasn’t falling for her act anymore. I was too old to be fooled.

She didn’t say anything else, so I rolled out of bed and headed down the hallway. A man’s clothes — mixed with my lovely mother’s — littered the floor.

That would explain her unexplained ‘caring.’ She didn’t want me to catch her with her newest fling. Whatever.

I dug through the stack of dirty clothing in my room — I hadn’t been able to do laundry recently, and it was pretty damn obvious that my mother wasn’t doing it, so my first day back would be in slightly rumpled and dirty clothes. Once again, who cared?

“Jared?” Mom’s voice came again, sounding alarmed.

“I’m leaving!” I shouted. “And I’d appreciate it if you kept your men out of the house when I’m here!”

I could almost hear her wince … she knew that was part of the deal. She kept her personal life out of the house, and I stayed and did her laundry and made sure she didn’t kill herself.

I slammed the door behind me, still pulling a shirt on. I’d had to buy all new clothing after becoming a wolf … for one, most of mine had been ripped during painful, angry transformations, and they had all become too small. My body had matured, becoming much more muscled and toned. I was nearly six-foot-seven, too, so my jeans had all become too short.

Mom had grumbled, of course, about the money, but I it wasn’t like I could go without clothes. I wasn’t about to tell her the truth — not that she would ever believe me — she would have tried to use it to her own advantage somehow, just like she did everything else.

“Hey, Jared! Wait up!” Paul’s breathless voice echoed behind me. I turned, and saw him and Embry running down the road.

They caught up easily, and we continued down the road towards the school.

“So, what did your mom say when you showed back up last night?” Paul asked in his usual blunt manner.

“Nothing. She didn’t give a damn.”

After the transformation, I had found it nearly impossible to change back. To turn back to a human, you have to let go of all emotion, and want to return to your usual form. I couldn’t let go of the animosity towards my mother, or the bully at school, or even the itch on my leg. Then, even when I did, I didn’t want to change back. Wolves didn’t feel emotions the way humans did … they didn’t feel sadness or pain. Why would I want to change back?

When I did finally change back, I had stayed with Sam for about a week, making sure I wouldn’t inadvertently kill my mother the next time she pissed me off.

I had told Paul the truth. When I went home last night, mom had jumped a little, said “Hey,” and walked out the door. I had gone straight to bed, and she had apparently brought a man home. Great, wasn’t it?

Paul and Embry exchanged a look with each other, and then gave me a pitying look. I felt myself start to shake, and had to stop so I could get a hold on myself. I didn’t need their pity. They were my family, not that whore who called herself my mother. It didn’t matter what she did. As soon as I turned 18, I was out of there, moving in with Paul, probably.

“What do you have first?” Embry asked me. We had all gotten out schedules changed so that we would be there to hold each other back. Sam had arranged it … he was a Tribe Elder, now, so the administration had to listen to him.

“I have,” I checked my schedule, “geometry. Goody, I have it with Majeski.” Mr. Majeski was notorious for his monotonous voice and various write-ups. Perfect for a temperamental werewolf on his first day back to school. It would be a miracle if I didn’t kill him.

“I’ve got that, too,” Paul said with a nod.

“I’m alone!” Embry exclaimed worriedly. It was just as hard for him to control himself … actually, harder. He had only been one of us for about a week. I’d been running around as a wolf for nearly a month. It wasn’t fair that when I was enjoying life, time passed that quickly. Now that I was back with mom, things were going to slow down again, but I’d rather they didn’t.

“You’ll be fine, Embry. You took to this faster than I did.” I felt obligated to tell him. Sam never praised anyone, only gave orders.

But Embry looked far from relieved. In fact, he was unusually pale. “What if I—“

“You won’t.” Paul cut him off. “That would be my job.” Paul was unusually volatile, and phased out of anger easily.

“But that’s why we’re in the same class. Embry, relax. It’ll be fine, as long as we aren’t late. Come on.”

Unfortunately, the bell rang just as we were approaching the classroom.

I shrugged, and went in, Paul right behind me.

“Ah, I believe that’s a tardy, boys. Take a seat.” Majeski’s dull voice was already grating on my nerves, so I gave a terse nod and sat down in a back row seat, Paul right beside me.

“Open your books to page two-hundred and eight, please. Yes, what is it, Paul?” Paul’s hand was in the air.

“Jared and I don’t have books,” he said, and Majeski’s eyebrows rose.

“Well, if you had come to school once in a while, maybe that wouldn’t be a problem. As it is, you may borrow one from me for today. They’re on my desk.”

Paul snagged them for us and sat down, fuming. I caught his eye and shook my head, almost imperceptibly.

The rest of the class was relatively uneventful as the teacher droned on and on about proofs and other unimportant things. I mean, seriously, when would we ever have to draw rectangular coordinate systems in real life? It was a waste of time.

We gave our books back and ran out of the classroom as soon as we could, and headed out.

Paul and I met up with Embry outside the door. “Ok, who’s alone this period?” Paul asked.

“I’ve got English,” Embry said.

I nodded. “Me too.

Paul’s shoulders sagged. “Guess I’m alone, then. I’ve got history.”

We parted ways at the main hall.

I wasn’t worried about English; we had Miss Frank, who was funny and actually interesting.

Paul and I were the first ones in the room, besides the teacher. “Good morning, Jared, Paul. It’s good to have you back. I hope you’re feeling better,” Miss Frank said in her soft voice.

We thanked her and took a seat, in the back again. Then, to our worry, Jacob Black walked in.

Jake was probably the hardest person for us to be around now, especially Embry. Embry and Jake had been tight, prior to the change. Now, though, he wasn’t allowed to be around Jake, and that hurt him a lot.

Then, there was the other thing. Jake was going to be one of us; the Alpha, eventually. His grandfather was Ephraim Black, the leader of the last Pack, and the last Chief our tribe had. That meant that poor Jake didn’t stand a chance in Hell of being normal, and that he was going to be thrust into leadership soon after making the change.

We blew him off, doing our best to ignore the hurt look on his face. A crowd of kids came in just as the bell rang, and the seats filled up quickly.

A shy girl named Kim filled the seat next to me, or at least that’s who I thought it was. I hadn’t looked over yet … in fact, I was trying not to. I had known all last school year that she had a crush on me … and I didn’t want to hurt her feelings. She was a nice girl; I just didn’t want to date her — or anyone, for that matter.

“Hi, Jared.” Her voice was low and sweet, the perfect girl-next door voice.

I turned.

Bright light seemed to surround her for an instant, blinding me. In the split second before that instant, I had seen her as I usually did … plain. But now, as I gazed at her, she changed.

Her hair, which I had once considered dull and thin, glittered in the sun coming through the window. The body that was once stick-like now looked soft and inviting, and watery eyes now seemed full of luster. She was beautiful.

Something clicked inside of me, and she became mine.

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I had to tell her. I knew that. But who would have known that it would be so hard? Kim was so trusting, so kind, so … perfect ... that I wasn’t afraid that she would freak out. But still, how did someone go up to the person they loved, their other half, their predestined mate, and tell them that they were a werewolf? How could I do that?

“Jared? Have you heard a word that I’ve said?” Kim’s voice jarred me back to reality.

I winced. “Uhh … no. Sorry,”

Kim’s answering smile was gentle. “It’s fine. What are you thinking about so hard, anyway?”

I made up my mind right then and there. I was going to tell her. Today. Now.

“If I told you something … something that you’ll never believe, not unless I prove it to you … how would you react?”

She cocked her head to the side and stared at me. “I don’t know. I probably would be a little worried. What kind of thing are we talking about, exactly?”

Emily’s door slammed, and Sam and Paul came stomping in. “Jared, we need to … oh, hi Kim. I didn’t know you were here,”

Kim smiled at Sam, and turned back to me. “We can talk later, if you want—”

“No.” Damn it, I was doing this today. Otherwise, I’d never work up enough courage to do it again. “I’m a werewolf.” Silence followed my announcement.

Sam and Paul nodded approvingly … they’d been trying to get me to tell Kim for weeks, but I’d been too much of a coward.

I sought out Kim’s face. She was just staring at me, looking ready to run out the door.

“Sure.” Her voice was full of scorn.

“You know, I’ve been dumped a bunch of times before, but this is the most creative way I’ve seen. Congratulations.” She snorted, but I could see the tears building in her eyes. She continued, “If you didn’t want to see me anymore, you could have just told me so. I thought you would have- I thought you were different. I guess I was wrong. It’s true, love really does blind you.” She started for the door, but Sam and Paul blocked her way.

I simply stood there, stunned by her tirade. She loved me? I mean, I knew that I loved her … the whole imprinting thing made sure of that. But I never thought that she’d feel the same way. It was an incredible feeling.

But then there was the not-so incredible feeling of knowing that I was hurting her. Kim thought that I was lying to hurt her, when in fact I was telling the truth, for once in my life.

“Kim, that’s not it! I don’t want to break up …. But I really … am … a werewolf.” I stuttered, trying to think of something, anything that would make her believe that I was sincere.

She was still just glaring at me, disbelief and anger in her expressive eyes.

“Just show her, man. No one in their right mind would believe that without seeing it with their own eyes,” Paul said, for once in a compassionate way of speaking.

“Come on. If you don’t believe me in ten minutes, I’ll let you leave. Please? Just ten minutes,” I begged.

Kim’s lips thinned, but she nodded. “Fine.”

I led her out into the yard — Emily would kill me if I phased in her kitchen — and ducked behind a tree, not warning her. She wouldn’t listen anyway, so what was the point?

I thought of Kim’s lack of trust, of my mother screaming at me last night, of everything that got me going, and let the shakes overcome me. A flash of heat shivered down my spine, and soon I was padding towards her on four legs.

With my wolf-like senses, I heard her gasp and take a step back. I knew she wanted to scream, so I pressed myself to the ground, trying to look as non-threatening as a giant wolf could.

To my great surprise, she giggled. I looked up hopefully, and started towards her again. She barely flinched as I butted my head against her hand, and even went as far as to stroke one of the stripes that ran from foreleg to haunch.

“I’m sorry,” she whispered, and I understood immediately what she meant. She was apologizing for her lack of trust, for her hurtful words, and even for the thoughts of disbelief she had.

I simply bumped my head against her again, and she sat down on the ground, pulling my head down with her. We sat that way for a long time … my head in her lap, her hands on my head, stroking the thick fur there and murmuring nothings in my ears.

Sam and Paul came out of the house once, to see how things were going, they said, but I knew the real reason. They were making sure Kim was still alive.

That was always going to be how it was. I would be a danger to Kim as long as we lived. But that didn’t really matter, not to me and not to Kim. We were one, complete in each other. Werewolves weren’t meant to have happy endings, but this one was going to do his damndest to make it work. And usually, that meant everything would be fine.