A/N: I don't own Tuck Everlasting or any of it's characters, butI do own Lynn, Beau and Matt.
My father, Beau Jackson, had called me home from school when it happened. I was thirteen at the time, and didn't understand the concept of death. It eluded me as we humans do our fears. We didn't live in Tree Gap, but we did after my dear great-grandmother died. Pop was moved into a nursing home across town; we couldn't take care of him, not in his condition. My younger brother, Matt, was just that--too young to remember Grams and her spirit. He didn't have enough memories of her to hold on to when she passed.
I'm seventeen now, and I suppose he hates me for my memories. Grams and I did everything together, or as much as we could at her age. We played cards, the old piano and she even sang me a little tune when I was scared or stressed. I sing that tune to Matt now, but it doesn't do him a bit of good. I swear, he's the angriest eleven-year-old you'll ever meet!
Every year I return to her grave, which saved the old woods. She made it clear in her will that she was to be buried there, so she was. In light of that, the contractors that wanted to build there couldn't and left town as quickly as they came. So I visit on the day of her birth, death and the day the contractors left.
So, there I was, little Lynn Jackson, graduated high school teen with an unknown future. I didn't want to go to college, I wanted to travel! I wanted to go to the Eiffel Tower, kick off my shoes and climb all sixteen thousand fifty-two steps! Grams never got the chance, so she told me to do it for her and I intended to...right after I said good-bye. What I didn't know, as I visited her grave that fateful day all those years ago, was that I wouldn't be alone...
Lynn knelt in front of Winnie's grave, setting a small bouquet of wildflowers to rest in front of it. Sighing heavily, she let her cerulean ocean eye trace over the shining stone. She looked as though she was trying to memorize it as it was, afraid it would change as soon as she blinked. Lynn ran a hand through her short chestnut hair, as she tended to do when nervous, and blew her right sideways cut bangs out of her eyes.
"Hey, Grams. It's another beautiful summer day here in Tree Gap. I could say I wish you were here, but that would be selfish since I know you're free. I know you'd want to go running through the fields if you were here though." She laughed a bit at the memory of how Winnie told her she did that. "Dad's still bugging me about school and such, and...well, I made my choice. I'm leaving. I wanted you to know since I'm going to be gone for a while. But, I'll try to come back on your birthday like always." Lowering her eyes to the leaf littered ground, she began to fidget with her fingers.
Closing her eyes, pushing the threatening tears away, she began towhistle their tune. Winnie had called it the "Music Box" song, which was silly but neither cared. The song was no longer than thirty seconds long, but they were the saddest of her life in that moment. She was so caught up in the tune, her only comfort, that she didn't hear someone come into the clearing. Finishing the song, she took a deep, shaky breath, kissed her fingertips and placed them on the grave.
"I love you, Grams...good-bye." She whispered somberly, then wiped her eyes and stood up. Brushing herself off, she turned around and straightened her white tank top and jean jacket. As she moved though, she looked up and saw him.
He was fairly tall with reddish-brown hair that hung above his shoulders. His eyes were as green as the trees tops around them, and so deep that she felt she could get lost within them. The stranger stared back at her cautiously, straightening his shoulders a bit. He ran a hand through his hair nervously, and tugged at the sleeves of his black leather jacket for a moment.
"Are you gonna stand there all day, or tell me your name?" He asked, looking her up and down then around the woods surrounding them.
"Why should I?" She countered, brow knitted with confusion. "I live here; my father owns this land. You should be telling me your name."
"Your father, huh? Is he, uh...her son?" He asked while pointing to Winnie's grave. "If so then, you must be Winnie's grandaughter. Am I right?"
"Yeah. So? What of it?" She asked, still eying him carefully until a look of realization dawned on her. "Wait. I-I know you! You were here three years ago. I saw you! But...you haven't changed a bit. No...you couldn't be, could you? Tuck, Miles or Jesse Tuck?"
"So Winnie did tell someone." He stated easily, calming down and leaving his defensive bravado behind him.
"No, she didn't. I read about it in the journals she left me." She explained, resting her hands in the back pockets of her jeans, tapping her feet inside her black boots. "I didn't believe it for the longest time." He asked her when she started believing, climbing into the tree that had grown around Winnie. "Just now. You never answered my question. Which one are you, Miles or Jesse?"
"Jesse." He replied and noted on the small smile coming to her lips.
"So you're the one?" She asked knowingly, and he nodded in understanding. "She really did love you, you know. She said that...well, here. Just read it." She reached into the backpack she carried, and carefully pulled out an old, worn journal. Handing out to him, he leapt from the tree and crossed the gap between them, takingit gingerly. "The last page." He looked at her a moment before turning to the last page as she had said. As he read, he noted on how beautiful Winnie's handwriting was; be it not a little formal looking.
"...and though I love my Arthur with all my heart, I'll always love Jesse. He will always be my first one true love..."
"Thanks." He said, handing it back to her. "I don't know why, but I guess I needed a little peace of mind."
"It's all right. Believe or not, I understand." She told him while kneeling down, and placing the journal back into her back pack and nodded to him. "Well...I'll see you around, Jesse Tuck." Standing up, she slung her bag over her shoulder and started to walk out of the woods.
"Where are you going?" He asked, suddenly appearing in front of her. She'd forgotten that he knew these woods better than anyone. "More importantly, where are you going without this?" He held up the empty bottle to be eye level with her.
"How did you..." She trailed off as he supplied that he saw it with tht boquet she'd left. Looking around nervously, she avoided his eyes. Winnie had lectured her about the water for the longest time, after giving her the bottle; she didn't want one from a boy over nearly a two hundred years old.
"You drank the water." He stated, lowering the bottle to his side and she nodded. "Why?"
"I needed it." She stated, but he looked at her pointedly and waited for her to continue. "Walk with me." She said, sounding like Angus for a moment, and they began to walk out of the woods. "I...I was sick a few months ago. Doctors said I had no chance of recovery. All the modern medicine in the world, and they couldn't cure...anyway, Grams had given me the bottle, and told me all about it. She warned me about it, but when the doctors said I was going to die I go scared. I drank it, and I've been living in perfect health ever since."
"What were you dying from?" He asked as they stepped over a log, but she stared at him. "Never mind." It was obvious she didn't want to talk about it. "'If there's one thing I've learned about people, many will do anything, anything not to die. And they'll do anything to keep from living their life.' Tuck told me that about ninety years ago."
"Wise man. Grams thought a lot about him--said he was something of a...second father or something."
"He'd be glad to know that." He said quietly, looking at her a bit curiously as he felt a limp in his throat. "So, why are you leaving?"
"I'm tired of school. What's the point, really? I won't remember any of it anyway." Jesse had to laugh at that, he just couldn't help it. "Besides, Grams wrote down all the things she wanted to do before she died. But, since she didn't finish all of them, she made me promise to do them for her. So I am."
"Where to first then?" He asked as they finally stepped out of the woods, standing in front of the gate of her house--Winnie's house.
"The Eiffel Tower." She stated with a smile, and told him that she knew about that, too. "She wrote down everything. Don't worry though, I'm the only one that knows. Your secrets safe."
"Tuck and Miles'll be glad to know that , too." He said moving toward his motorcycle. "Hey!" He called as she began to walk up the road. He started his bike and inched slowly to follow her as she walked backwards. "If you're going to Paris, you're gonna need a guide." She nodded reasonably, understanding what he was getting at but decided to tease him.
"You're right. Wonder how much one will cost?" She asked, still walking backwards up the empty road. "I better save all my money if I'm ever going to afford one." He suddenly stopped, and handed his helmet to her with a lopsided grin.
Lynn stopped walking and stared at him. She knew that no one understand the life she choose like Jesse and the Tucks. He'd been alive one hundred ninety-three years, and seen all there was. Most people would kill to have what he had, but all he wanted was a friend--someone to talk to, someone to love. Lynn hadn't loved anyone--romanically or otherwise--since Winnie died, not a soul. Maybe they could help one another?
Sighing with a smile, she strode over to him and snatched his helmet. Lynn climbed on behind him, and put helmet on the small pic behind her. He smiled back at her as she wrapped her arms around his waist. They soon sped up the road, through town and out of sight. Jesse knew Mae and Tuck would see him with her as he drove past the diner they stopped in, but he didn't care.
My dear Grams once told me that immortality isn't everything the preachers rack it up to be. She said a dear friend told her that once, a very long time ago...when she was young. Who that friend was, I'll never know for certain but his words were some of the wisest she gave me...if not a little odd.
I don't know if she'd be mad, but I don't regret my choice...either of them.
A/N: Hope you liked! If anyone wants to use this for their own fic, just ask me. I did the math and Jesse was 192 in 2002 but, since it's 2005, I made him older.