Hello folks! The idea for this fic came to me out of sheer fury at how these characters were treated in canon, and a desire to do something better for them here! Something to note is that the events of Breaking Dawn have not taken place yet in this fic. Here you can assume that the events of Breaking Dawn take place a decade later than they did in the series, making everyone involved in their twenties now rather than teenagers! :)
A big thank you to stephaneeee for not only writing an amazing Jacob/OC fic herself, but for being my kindred spirit in all things fanon and canon alike, and allowing me to discuss my ideas with her, as well as sharing her own wondrous ones with me!
There was something therapeutic about finally coming back home. More than therapeutic, it was… cathartic. That was something Alana Clarke could agree with. There were so many open wounds, left to fester, all of which could be traced back to La Push. It was funny how years could pass and yet she would find herself exactly where she'd started. Lost, alone, and desperately trying to compensate for something. For what, she wasn't entirely sure.
She knew she should be happy. She was going to see her father, to the place she'd been born, spent a good chunk of her life. She would be revisiting her heritage. Still, the nagging feeling inside her persisted. Something was going to happen, something big. Now whether she'd put stock in the feeling or groan and take a Xanax was what remained to be decided. Currently, she was leaning towards the Xanax. Anything to take away from the uneven thudding of her heart, the weight that had settled in her chest, making it difficult to breathe. Her lungs ached to fill to their utmost capacity, yearning for her to take in a deep breath.
She wasn't sure why she was going back. Canada had been good to her. Her work with the RCMP had been progressing nicely, she was establishing a name for herself in the fast-growing forensic psychology field. And yet here she was, on a plane to Seattle. What was she doing? She had left La Push behind for a reason, left him behind for a reason. What was going back going to prove besides the fact that she was still stuck up on him? What invisible force was it that was dragging her back to that place, back to him, after years of forcing herself to stay away? Why did she feel like it was time for her to go back? It was too much. It was all too much, she was in way over her head.
'Thought stopping, Alana.' Her therapist's voice sounded in her head, a soft timbre speaking gentle words. 'Visualize a stop sign if you have to, but pull your thoughts in the opposite direction.'
Right. The opposite direction. She could do that. She could easily steer her thoughts away from him – it wasn't as if he was so important that she couldn't banish him from her mind. Thinking to calm herself down, Alana rested her head against the back of her seat, struggling to draw in a deep breath as her anxiety wreaked havoc on her senses. Only when she allowed herself to think about him, remember what he looked like, sounded like, did she feel her heart slowing to its regular rhythm. It was with a large amount of shame that she had to admit he did seem to be that important to her.
Even all these years later, Jacob Black would be the death of her.
Upon landing, she was immensely thankful that she hadn't informed anyone of her arrival, choosing instead to have a rental vehicle waiting for her. She'd at least be able to use the drive from Seattle to La Push to calm her nerves. Unfortunately, it also meant she could use the drive to envision the many different ways in which her arrival could go. What would she say? Spread her arms wide and say, "I'm home?" Shuffle quietly into the house and pray no one saw her for the whole 6 weeks she planned to stay? What about driving in with 'cool kid,' music playing and the windows rolled down? The sunglasses Sergeant Lake had given her could make an appearance? She could have kicked herself when she realized she was actually fretting over what they'd think of her. La Push's little 'in-group.' She was a doctor for fuck's sake, and she'd done it earlier than most too, what did she care what ANY of them thought of her? She was Dr. Alana Clarke, clinical assessment expert with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. She didn't need any wannabe gang of shirtless weirdos to think she was cool or socially acceptable. Besides, if at 17 Jacob Black had looked the way he did, he must have already started a downwards spiral. Oh, he was probably already balding. The thought was alarmingly comforting.
So that would be it. Jacob Black would be ugly and she would take one look at him and thank god she'd left and that her… crush on him had faded. Had it really though? Just hours before she'd used his memory to soothe her anxiety, how could she really pretend she didn't have any kind of feelings for him anymore? Years of schooling kicked in immediately and she found herself rationalizing, reassuring herself.
'What you're doing is clinging to a memory of him that you have. A fantasy you've constructed where he's love and safety and security.' She told herself. 'You want to revisit that feeling, what it felt like before she came into the picture. When you finally face him again, see that he isn't what your fantasy has made him out to be, you'll be able to move on with your life.'
It made sense. Alana hoped to god it would hold true. These last 8 years had been long and, when it came to her love life, torturous. How often had she wished she could forget about him and forge a relationship with someone else. Accept someone's offer of a date, envision a future with them. Temporary, but at least be able to envision it. For the last 8 years, every road had seemed to lead back to Jacob Black. But not anymore. She wouldn't let it.
'For some reason I feel bound to him,' she thought. 'I feel like being with someone else would be ...disloyal, unfaithful. I've built up this relationship in my head that doesn't exist. Once I face him again, I'll be able to come away from that and move on in my life.'
It was a nice thought. That she'd be able to stroll up to Jacob Black, look him in the eyes, and feel absolutely nothing. Unlikely, considering she'd taken on a 4 hour drive from SeaTac to La Push to prolong the wait to have to see him again, but it was a nice thought. Avoidance, she'd learned over the past years, helped nothing. It was high time to face her past so she could finally move forward.
She turned up the radio with a determined exhale, grimacing when the familiar tune of The Turtles filtered through the speakers to her.
"I fucking hate this song," she groaned, even as her fingers began to drum to the beat of it.
'I can't see me lovin' nobody but you for all my life. When you're with me, baby the skies will be be blue for all my life.'
"Ridiculous," she muttered, tightening her grip on the wheel instinctively, "as if it's realistic to expect to experience limerence only once in your life. Soulmates aren't a thing. Where's the empirical research? What's depressing is how he doesn't expect to love someone else but lo and behold one day he'll wake up and say 'actually I can't see myself loving anyone but the neighbour now,' and that'll be the fucking end of that, won't it?"
In actuality, what was depressing was that she was talking to herself.
Her heart lurched when she spotted the signs telling her she had arrived. She was officially home. It was almost… sad how little had changed in the 8 years she'd been away. Society was not resistant to change, it was supposed to be difficult to continuously identify with your place of origin in that it was progressing constantly, rather than remaining static, fixed in time. Her tiny Indigenous reserve did not seem to follow this pattern. She supposed to some it might have been comforting, to come home to things exactly as she'd left them. To her, it was a testament to the plight of her people, to the work that still needed to be done to ensure that they could progress with everyone else. In nearby Forks, she'd seen changes as she'd driven through, a new store here and there, renovations to the local diner - there had been progress. She wasn't seeing it here.
Alana found herself blinking back tears when the tiny bungalow, light blue paint peeling at the edges, came into view. The same shoddy white railing her father had tried to build himself, ignoring that he wasn't good with his hands. Her mother had hated it. But then she'd hated a lot of things.
"Folks like us have to make do with what we can do on our own, Gil," she remembered her father saying. "Nobody is coming out here to help us." Even then, at 7 years old, Alana had known what 'folks like us,' meant.
She could have sobbed when her feet touched the gravel leading up to the steps. This was her land. This was where she came from. Kneeling, she skimmed her fingers over the stones before flattening her palm against the ground. Home. Why had she ever spent so many years away?
The sound of a door slamming behind her brought her back to attention and she turned to see a small, red car parked at the end of her driveway, a man standing beside the car watching her quizzically, and a male figure leaning half into the car, like he was shuffling around in the backseat, looking for something. A very tall, muscular male figure. Tall and familiar. Terrifyingly familiar.
Her heart rate spiked and she felt her palms begin to get incredibly clammy. Her lungs ached for fresh oxygen but she couldn't seem to make herself breathe. She almost whimpered when she saw recognition flash across the face of the man who was watching her, saw him open his mouth to speak.
"Hey," he said, lifting a hand in a half approximation of a wave, "aren't you Ala-"
Embry Call hadn't even finished speaking when he froze, whipping around. Jacob's eyes were desperate, searching before they honed in on her with an almost predatory intensity. She was well and truly caught. She couldn't tear her gaze from his, an almost magnetic connection keeping her eyes locked on his. And suddenly she was 17 all over again. 17 and yearning for his attention in a way she couldn't even fully understand herself.
Now she had it.
His voice sent shivers down her spine and she swore she could feel her knees wobbling. Deep and authoritative, it was somehow both soothing and managed to make every hair on her body stand up. Jacob Black had definitely grown up while she'd been away.
He must have seen her distress on her face. His own softened in response and he repeated her name, in a whisper this time, and took a single step towards her.
And it was then that Alana did something that came only too easily to her. She ran.