You Can't Run From Fate
(Banner made by JokesOnJane) What if there were no vampires? What would the shapeshifters exist to protect, and from whom? Their people, of course, from the enemy clan. Together, Jacob and Araea (OC) unravel secrets about their heritage that had previously been overlooked by the elders. The war is on between the Quileutes and the Makahs for the most powerful breed of shapeshifting-wolves. WARNING: I am reserving the right to break canon a bit, and to tweak around with ages and such - what you have read in the books about a character and their age, may not be the same in my fic, just for the sake of continuity, but I try to keep it all realistic. I use twilightsaga.wikia.com to help me with this. UPDATE (May 5th 2010): I pretty much went AWOL on this story, and if ANYONE out there really liked it enough to be saddened by this, I sincerely apologize. Being a senior in high school truly sucks, and I was constantly far too stressed out to think much about this story. However, I'm nearing the end of my high school education, summer is rolling around, and I've been plagued with the urge to WRITE. Unfortunately, about 3 months ago, my computer crashed, taking with it ALLLL the planning documents I had typed out, my plots, my twists, my details, EVERYTHING...so I will have to work on re-formulating those things before I can bang out chapters. ;/ It will happen though...I love this story too much to just let it die off and never see completion.
This story came from a wild idea I had, that just escalated and escalated until I couldn't contain it any longer, and I had to write it. I try to stay as close to the book as possible, but some things have changed. It does feature an original character, but to reveal anything else about her would be a spoiler.
4. Chapter 4: Catching Up
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"So, you didn't tell Jake the reason why I was coming home, did you?" I asked timidly once I had spotted his house in the distance.
"Um...no?" Aylen said, looking and sounding apprehensive. I sighed in exasperation and shook my head. "I didn't get a chance to!" she blurted in her defense. "All I said was 'Guess what? Araea's coming back' and he went crazy! I didn't want to burst his happiness, so, I left out the reason why..."
I stayed quiet until she stopped the car outside of his house. "It's fine, I'd rather it be me who tells him what happened. Thank you, Aylen," I reached over and hugged her before getting out. "I'll call you later when I want to be picked up."
Shutting the door, I walked around the car and up the front lawn. Aylen drove away, and the sound of the car's engine brought the flashback to me...
Wait! Arae-AHHHHANDREW! ANDREWAraea, don't! Don't go after him! It's...it's too lateI'm sorry, Araea, he-I don't want to leaveI don't care what you WANT, we are LEAVING, and that's that, now COME ON!JACOB! JACOB, HELP!
The recollected voices fused together at the ends and the beginnings, forming one continuous flow from one to the other. They played back so fast, it made my head spin, and I literally began to feel dizzy. I hadn't even realized that I had stopped in the middle of the lawn and was simply staring at the ground - all I saw before me were the visuals behind the blurred voices.
He didn't even say it that loud, but I heard him as if he was standing right next to me. I broke out of my trancelike state to see Jacob standing in the open doorway of his house.
Before I could even command myself to do so, I dropped my backpack on the ground. My instinctual need for the best friend I'd been away from for far too long, propelled me forward, and I ran into Jacob's open arms, tightening my arms around his neck and began sobbing into his chest. "Araea..." he said in a more melancholic tone, his arms wrapped around me and held me together, kept me whole, very much the same way he had 4 years ago when we left the forest...
I wasn't aware of anything else in that moment, other than him and the wave of relief that washed over me upon letting myself go in his embrace. The pressure we placed upon one another never faltered, never eased. It was an embrace that most plainly told the other, that they were missed dearly, and felt complete now that they were together again.
Once my tears eased and I was able to speak, I managed to whisper, "I've missed you so much." Only then did we pull away from each other, brown eyes meeting hazel ones and staring into a tear stained face. "I've missed you so much too," he breathed. His eyebrows were pulled down and his forehead creased with what I perceived as sadness, but relief at the same time. Relief, because I was home. Sadness, because he was receiving damaged goods.
He knew I was far more broken than the state I had left him in.
"Let's...let's come inside," he said, and placed his hand on the small of my back, guiding me into the house and gesturing to the couch. He jogged outside to grab my backpack and came right back to sit beside me.
I could tell that he was wary of asking me anything, but wanted to so desperately. I managed a weak smile and mumbled, "It's okay. I'm not going to break down anytime soon. I think I let it all out onto your shirt," I chuckled meekly, poking the tear stains on the shoulder of his white shirt. He looked down at it, and let out a shaky laugh. He was still upset...
"What's wrong, Jake?" I asked, drilling my eyes into his. They widened, still maintaining the somber look he had when we were outside. "What's wrong with me? Araea, I think I'm the one that should be asking that of you. The way you broke down just now, tells me that you weren't sobbing because you felt relieved to be back at home...but that something absolutely terrible happened to you while you were gone..." he answered, a look of incredulity creeping into his features. I smiled, but it quickly faded.
"Everything is wrong, Jake. No, I take that back - everything except the fact that I am home now, is wrong. I..." I inhaled and exhaled deeply, pinching the bridge of my nose between thumb and forefinger. "I don't even know where to begin..."
He waited patiently for me to gather the story in my head, and listened keenly as I told him everything - I went to Nahma, Michigan to live with an uncle I had never met before, I was trapped on the outskirts of a town half the size of ours with virtually no means of contact, I spent 4 years living like a ghost, an empty shell, and that gradually through those years, most tragically, my mother's health declined.
"And...that's why I'm here, Jake. She's dead. Or dying, I'm not sure if she's completely gone yet. She didn't want me to stay to watch her die..." I gave a great, shuddering breath that I had not expected, and Jacob instantly pulled me toward him. "Araea...I'm...I'm so sorry...I can't even begin to...comprehend how you must feel right now." He held me tighter, as if wanting to make up for his inability to empathize.
But I knew that to some extent, Jacob could empathize with my situation. Jacob's mother had passed away as well, in a car crash, but he had been but 2 years old at the time - still too young to truly comprehend the pain of such a loss. But as he grew up and realized that he should have had a mother, I could see the pain the thought caused him - knowing that he was meant to grow up with two parents, a mother and a father, but that one was taken away from him at such a young age. He and I always saw eye to eye on this, as I myself had grown up with only one parent, and I figured that this was the reason why the Black and Summers family got along so well...or, Analli and Billy, at least. They had both lost their spouses.
Still, Jacob had never had to witness his mother withering away before his eyes, and in this aspect, our situations differentiated.
When Jacob released me, I could tell he was still burning with questions. I cracked a small smile. "Go ahead, ask me whatever you want."
He pursed his lips before blurting out the question. "I don't understand, your mother must have been...36, if my memory serves me correctly. She's way too young to die, it doesn't make sense."
Suddenly, I remembered something I'd vowed to find out, something that I felt with a sinking certainty, that Billy Black could not answer for me...
My hands knotted into my hair in frustration, and I groaned. "What, what is it?" Jacob asked, sounding alarmed. He put a reassuring hand on my knee, and I relaxed. "I can't believe I forgot...I forgot to ask him, Jake! My mother's brother, my uncle, Asis...see, he left when I was just a baby, with my grandparents...they went to live there, in Nahma. He was 18, they were in their mid forties, I think. But 5 years later, they died...not as young as my mother, but still, too early. I don't understand, I don't see a connection between the deaths at all, but for some reason, it affected them and my mother, and not Asis, because he looks perfectly healthy...ugh," I groaned again, and grabbed a throw pillow that I could sink my nails into out of anger.
I saw Jacob look at me out of the corner of my eye, and I smiled. "Sorry, I had another moment," I chuckled and shook my head lightly. "Any more questions? Go ahead."
He didn't hesitate this time. "So why did you come back? Don't get me wrong, I'm glad that you are, but...I'd just figure that you'd want to stay...with your mother, you know...and stay to fill in all the holes to the story?" He looked at me tentatively yet again, as if fearing another outburst of uncontrolled emotion.
This time, I simply pouted, and looked at my hands as they held the pillow to my chest. "I wanted to, Jake, but that's not what she wanted. My mother...she told me constantly, that there was more to the story, more to the reason why we left, than she was letting on to me. But she always told me, that I would know 'in due time.' As a matter of fact..." I faltered, thinking about a few of her last words to me, "One of her last requests for me was to come home, and talk to Billy...your dad. She said that he would be able to tell me everything..." I looked up at him, my forehead creased with worry lines. "I can already tell that Billy isn't home. Why?"
Jacob sighed before he responded. "He actually just left to Hawaii, last night...he went to visit Rebecca. She mailed him the ticket and everything, along with a letter apologizing for leaving so far from home, and for not keeping in touch. She said she wanted to make up for lost time, and to introduce him to his grandkids," he said, smiling now. "I'm an uncle, can you believe it? I wish I could have gone to see them too. She had a ticket for me as well, but not even a minute after I started packing my bags, Aylen came and told me you were coming back home. I practically jumped through the roof, I was so happy. I hope Billy was able to get a refund for my ticket since I didn't go with him. He was a bit upset with me at first, for choosing you over my family, but..." he stopped all of a sudden, looking down at his hands in his lap. "Well, he... understood why I was staying, I think. He saw how much of a wreck I was without you," he said softly, still not meeting my eyes.
My heart gave a great tug of pain at his words and his tone, and I reached out to hug him yet again. Jacob was probably the only person in the world at that moment, besides my remaining family, that I could and would put aside my own pain to comfort him, even if my pain were an unrelenting avalanche burying me alive like it had been for the past few weeks. Jacob was my sun, the one who could brighten my day by the simplest of means; he could melt the snow that held me prisoner, and if my sun were covered by gray clouds threatening to obscure his light, I'd do anything to make them disappear.
He hugged me back with the same pressure as I hugged him, and I felt him inhale and exhale in the curve of my neck where he rested his head. "I know it was harder for you to be away from me, what with the circumstances, but it wasn't any easier for me, Araea. I could only hang out with Quil and Embry for so long before they started to annoy me," he said, and we both began laughing as we sat back against the couch.
"So Embry and Quil are still agitating little twits, huh?" I smirked. Jacob returned the expression. "They're still agitating, yeah, but not quite so little. Well, you see me," he said, looking down and gesturing at his torso, which had expanded and grown taut with his muscles, "so you can pretty much imagine what they're like now. We're all pretty huge," he chuckled. "But I'm still the biggest and the toughest," he added with a purely smug look on his face. I couldn't help but laugh - clearly, Jacob hadn't lost his competitive nature. My mind flashed back to the times when we would be at the beach - our home away from home, you could say - and we would see who could swim, run, or even build a sand castle the fastest. The memories were like a rush of adrenaline, and I quickly got up and off of the couch. Jacob mimicked the gesture, confusion on his face. "Something wrong?" he asked.
"I want to go to the beach," I said, smiling at him. "Come on, Jake, I miss it. I spent the last 4 years stuck inside a house, I need to see the beach again," I pouted. I looked out the window; true to La Push tradition, the sky was gray and cloudy, and it looked like it might rain, but I didn't care one bit. "And while we're there, you can fill me in on everything that's been going on while I've been gone," I added. His face turned a bit somber then, but he nodded and smiled, saying "Alright, let's go."
He held out his hand for me to take, and I grabbed it - his hand was warm, and it felt comfortable. On our way out, he grabbed a light jacket that was hanging on the coat rack, and closed and locked the door behind us. The walk to the beach was silent, but the silence was satisfying - all that could be heard was the wind rustling the branches and leaves in the trees, and the waves swooshing onto the shore.
Before we stepped into the sand, I took my shoes and socks off, rolled my pants up, and reveled in the feeling of the sand beneath the soles of my feet and in between my toes. I saw Jacob doing the same out of the corner of my eye, and he slipped on his jacket as well. With a sigh of contention, I reached back for his hand, and we walked slowly up the beach.
"So..." he said, finally breaking the silence. "What's been happening here at home..." I turned to look at him as he gathered the thoughts in his mind, and then turned back to the wide stretch of sand before us when he continued.
"When you left, I tried to talk to Billy about everything. I wanted to know what really happened to Andrew, because I overheard our parents' last conversation. They made it seem like...almost as if those wolves knew what they were doing, when they took Andrew...I don’t know, but their conversation was definitely fishy, and I knew there was loads more to it all than they were telling us. Just like before we went searching for the giant wolf, we knew that it wasn't just because the wolf was 'huge' that we were being kept away from it, but that there was something behind it..."
Despite the small stabs I felt upon remembering the incident that seemed decades ago, I nodded my head in agreement, and waited for Jacob to keep on with his story.
"So, I asked him, 'dad, why did they leave? What happened to Andrew?' but he just told me that it was none of my business. I got angry with him, and told him of course it was my business, Araea is involved, and she's my best friend, therefore it's my business. He simply told me that your mother was running away from something she couldn't run away from forever, and that he knew eventually, you would come back home, but he didn't say when. All he said was 'there will come a time when Analli realizes she's made a mistake, and she'll return home, and so will Araea.' I still had no idea what to make of it all, though. And then when I tried to ask about the wolves, that's when he downright refused to tell me anything. He more or less told me what your mother told you...that I would know everything when the time was right. I was so frustrated. I didn't give up though, and every week after, I was your typical nosy little kid, and I kept asking him 'is it the right time yet, dad?' until he finally lost his temper with me. He shouted at me to stop asking him, because he wasn't going to tell me, and that it was something I had to find out for myself. I have to admit, he kinda scared me. I'd never seen my dad like that before. Needless to say, I stopped, but I still thought about it every single day..."
Our slow pace had taken us but a fourth of the way down the beach. Jacob paused, to think of the rest of the story, I was sure, and then spoke again.
"The next few months after you left were kinda weird. Billy always seemed stressed and on the edge, and several times I was sent to stay with the Clearwater’s, while Billy disappeared somewhere...I never asked where he went though, because I didn't want him to get all angry with me again. But once he stopped going away to who knows where, we stopped getting warnings about the giant wolves. I put two and two together, and I'm certain that, however insane it may sound, Billy has something to do with that."
I turned to look at him again - his brow was slightly furrowed as if he were aggravated at the lack of evidence to prove his point, but he didn't need to prove anything to me; I too, was completely convinced that Billy had not just something, but nearly everything to do with the mysteries of that fateful day and whatever proceeded after it.
"I'd say about 2 years went by before things started getting really weird..." I listened more intently now, because this is what I had been anticipating - any odd goings-on, strange occurrences, the sort... "You remember Sam Uley, right? He's about 4 years older than us, but he's always been really cool with Billy, considering his father abandoned him and his mom when he was a kid..." I nodded to show that I knew whom he was speaking of, but my mind went on to that other bit of information Jacob gave me.
So Sam Uley grew up without his father as well? I had never known, because I had never talked to Sam. He had come along to the bonfires we had every now and then at the beach, his mom by his side, but I never stopped to ponder the absence of his father. I felt a bit of pity for Sam, as he too had grown up one parent short of the package, just like Jacob and I. But Sam's dad had a choice - he could have stuck around, but he chose not to. My father, Jacob's mother, didn't have a choice - they had their lives taken from them. A swell of rage erupted in me, and I startled myself at this uncharacteristic emotion, but then remembered that lately, anger and a short temper had become characteristics of mine.
Jacob seemed to have known that I was thinking, for he hadn't continued talking. "Yeah, I remember Sam," I responded, to let him know I was done, and he resumed.
"Well, he was over at our house for dinner one night. Just me, him, and Billy. He was fine while they were watching the game on TV; he was laughing, joking around, and everything. But suddenly, when dinner time came around, he barely even touched his plate, and said he felt sick all of a sudden, like he had the flu. He left, and said he'd call Billy when he felt better. We assumed he'd call the next day, or even the day after that, at the very least, but Sam didn't call for about two weeks. What's more, is even Leah Clearwater, you know, his girlfriend, said that she hadn't seen him. Well...his ex-girlfriend, I should say," Jacob corrected himself, grimacing a bit. I quickly wondered what could have torn them apart, because last I remembered, they were immensely in love, but I didn't have much time to think on it before Jacob kept talking. "That's an even longer story that I'll get into later. But anyway, we were all really worried, we had no idea what to think of his absence. We didn't know if he'd simply run away or if he'd, well...died," he said apprehensively. "But one day out of the blue, Sam comes strolling up to our house, looking all serious, not to mention at least 5 inches taller and more muscular than he had been just weeks before. He demands that he speak to Billy, and then they left, went for a walk, and to talk, I guess. Once again, I was left out of the loop," he added, sounding annoyed at that fact. I could empathize - knowing half truths or barely any truth at all certainly got old after a while.
"But the weirdness doesn't stop there," Jacob continued. "Sam was the first one to start acting weird like that, but he definitely wasn't the last. Within the next few months, we heard talk about the rez that these two other guys, Jared and Paul, had also mysteriously 'gotten ill,' disappeared, and then come back, all different and such. Weirdest part is, is that after they returned from wherever they had been, they were like, attached to Sam's hip or something. They were always by his side, wherever he went, like they were a new gang and Sam was their leader..." Jacob's expression was confused as I looked at him. He seemed to be struggling with something more than a thought, as if he wanted to say something, but was unsure of how to say it. "Go on, Jake...what else?" I urged him softly.
He let out a short breath before speaking again. "Well, the three of them weren't the only ones to go all weird like that...but I'll get to that later. Between then, when that 'gang' or whatever they are formed, and a month ago, we began to hear news of some weird stuff going down over at the Makah rez, on Neah Bay. More disappearances, except these people..." he stopped, and swallowed, his eyes scrunching up a bit, "these people never came back." I inhaled a small amount of breath, just a bit shocked even though I had already guessed what he was going to say before it even left his mouth. "It wasn't really frequent...we would catch wind of a disappearance say, once every 4 months. But think about it...that's like, 6 people that disappeared within two years. And to make matters even more confusing, we heard it was another giant wolf causing the disappearances..."
I balled my hands into fists, even though one of them was still clasped in Jacob's - I ended up squeezing his hand because of this. I released the pressure I had created and mumbled "sorry," but Jake returned a small squeeze of his own, as if to tell me that he understood why I'd reacted that way.
What the hell was the deal with the giant wolves? I wanted to know, right then and there. I didn't want to wait until Billy returned from Hawaii, I wanted all the answers right that very instant. I felt that somehow, if I found out all there was to know, I could assuage the guilt that I still felt about Andrew's death, and, by extension, my mother's death as well, for in my mind the two were linked, however distantly. If Andrew had never died, we'd have never left, and my mom would never have died either...
After a few moments of silence, I cleared my throat softly to ask some more questions. "So, who else 'went all weird,' as you called it?" I asked, remembering my unanswered question from before. Jacob inhaled and exhaled deeply. "It happened just two weeks ago...Embry started going all funny the same way Sam did, at my house again, too. We were just hanging out, watching TV, eating chips and other junk food. All of a sudden, Embry complained of a headache, a fever, and all this other crap, and said he'd go home and get some rest. That very night, his mom called me, all distraught and weeping, asking me where Embry was. I felt horrible having to tell her that he'd left hours ago, and even more horrible when she said he hadn't made it back home. There was a search party - I was involved as well - and we went around the rez, scouring for him, and didn't find him at all. A little more than a week later, he showed up at home, but apparently it was only to get a change of clothes, and then he left, telling his mother he'd be with Sam at the beach. She called again, and told me Embry had returned, but that he seemed different, that he'd barely even looked at her when he got back, and he left just as soon as he came. She told me he said he was going to hang with Sam at the beach, and I knew instantly, that whatever happened to Sam, Jared, and Paul, had happened to Embry too. I decided to go down to the beach and see if I could find him and talk to him. But the instant I began walking over to them, Sam turned and must've told the other three to leave, because they turned and walked away. I called out to Embry, but he didn't even turn around, he was just ignoring me! I looked back at Sam, and..." he stopped, gritting his teeth, his features entirely incensed with anger. We stopped walking, and I turned so I could face him, and put my free hand on his arm.
His features relaxed as he exhaled. "Sam was looking at me, with this...really odd expression. I can't quite explain it. It wasn't anger, or sadness, or anything. It was more like...he was measuring me, if that makes sense. Sizing me up, and wondering when..." he stopped, struggling again with the words. "Just spit it out, Jake," I said softly, looking up into his eyes. He closed his eyes and practically whispered, "Wondering when I'm going to become one of them."
I was taken aback by this - if Sam was indeed running some sort of weird gang, and it was enough to creep out even Jacob, then I knew it must be pretty bad. "No way, Jake!" I seethed. "You won't become one of them, you don't have to! You don't have to do anything you don't want to!"
"Yeah well, neither did Embry, did he?" he retorted. "Embry, Quil and I used to talk about it all, before he joined Sam. We talked about how creepy it was, the three of them, and how they acted like a gang, calling themselves 'the Protectors' and such. Embry didn't want to be a part of it just like I don't now. But...there he is, attached to Sam as if Sam had some sort of gravitational pull, and Embry was one of his moons. He never leaves him."
"Have you talked to Billy about-"
"No, that didn't work either," he cut me off, taking his hand out of mine and turning to face the ocean. "Billy practically worships Sam, keeps saying he's an 'excellent young man' and all this other crap. He doesn't see what I see, he doesn't see how Sam seems to have the strangest sort of control over those three guys. Besides...Billy's been looking at me the same way too. As if he's expecting me to go all funny the same way they all did, and join in. But I'm not going to, no matter what anyone expects of me" he finished, through gritted teeth again.
Tentatively, I grabbed his hand again, and he squeezed it gently, running his thumb over the back of my hand. We stood there, watching the ebb and flow of the waters as they approached ever closer to our toes, but never quite reached them. I closed my eyes and listened to the sounds - the sounds that were the soundtrack of my life here on the reservation, the sounds I adored. I really was glad to be home, regardless of all the strange things that were happening here as well. Home was where I knew I could piece everything together, and piecing it all together was crucial to not just my sanity, but a part of me felt that it would be crucial to my survival as well.