CHAPTER FIVE: Alone

I ran.

I ran away from the pack, without permission, without Sam's blessing. In wolf form I could cover ground more quickly. I waited until everyone was asleep but Seth, who was on patrol. I knew he at least would never betray me. He whined, pleaded, but promised not to go to Sam. Sam would wake up in eight hours or so and find me gone.

I wondered how he would feel. Relieved? Angry? Would he even care at all?

I put my head down and ran north, the backpack of clothes, money, and supplies strapped to my back not slowing me at all. I ran all night long. A little past dawn I felt Sam change, and his voice was in my head, worried, demanding to know why my presence was so faint. I immediately phased back to human form. He'd figure it out soon enough from Seth. It took a while but I found a town with a bus stop and bought a ticket. Canada wasn't far enough away. When I got to Hudson Bay I cautiously phased back into wolf form, and felt Sam's voice, faint, but there.

I phased back again and stayed human. I've been human ever since, during the long slow journey up to Greenland, to the abandoned research station. Having a higher than normal body temperature is about the only thing that kept me alive on the journey.

I'm out of supplies now. It's time to hunt.

I throw one last look out the window, strip off my clothes and open the door. The cold blast of air hits my body like a sledgehammer. I gasp and phase, pulling the handle closed with my teeth. I don't want to return to an ice box.

It's good to run again as a wolf. All my senses are heightened, and I revel in the information they give me. I bark with joy and set off to hunt.

The voices are there, but so faint that it's possible to ignore them. I find prey and eat it, trotting back to the research station with a full belly, content. I can go for a week off what I've eaten. Maybe then I'll figure out a way to block out the pack's presence in my head.

It didn't take a week for him to find me.

He must have bought a plane ticket the minute he felt me phase. Sam's good, I'll have to give him that. Perhaps I didn't realize phasing would give him a fix on my position, since I already knew where the pack was located, and I wasn't looking for them. Sam, on the other hand, was actively trying to find me, and our pack link must have given him the information he needed.

I stared out the window and watched the dark form of a wolf loping towards the station. He was coated in snow, obviously from having run through the storm. He disappeared around the corner of the building. I kept gazing out the window, my back towards the door as it opened, letting in the arctic air until it closed behind him with a dull thud.

I gave him a minute to unstrap the pants tied to his leg and put them on. I could hear the fabric being pulled up his body, and the sound of a zipper.

Still I waited.

The silence dragged on, then he spoke, shakily.

"We want you back, Leah."

It was Jacob's voice. Sam had sent Jacob Black to come and get me. How like him. He probably thought he was being sensitive to my needs. I closed my eyes.

"So, you returned to the pack?" I asked without turning from the window. "What about Bella?" I was genuinely curious. He'd loved her for so long. I thought for sure we'd never see him again after she married her Edward and became a vampire.

"Bella made her choice," Jacob said roughly.

"Hmmm," So he'd finally given her up. I supposed that meant she'd transformed, become a bloodsucker. I was sorry for Jacob. I was sorry for all of us. I sighed against the window, watching my breath fog it up before the air cooled the window down enough so the fog disappeared. I saw Jacob's image in the window staring at me, so intently. The window made it look as if…as if…

As if he were looking at me like I was his whole world.

I frowned. That couldn't be right.

"Leah, turn around and look at me." Jacob's voice was still shaken. I should have been angry. What right did he have to order me around? But there was something in his voice that made it a plea, not an order.

Oh hell, no. Please tell me that Jacob Black did not just imprint on me, the weak one, the useless one of the pack, the one who ran away and had to be brought back like a lost child. How cruel could God be, to take Bella away from him, then make him imprint on someone he despised, someone despicable like me? I thought imprinting happened at first sight, not later after relationships were damaged, probably beyond repair.

I couldn't stay staring out the window forever, though I wanted to.

"Please," he said, like a prayer.

I turned around slowly, hoping I wouldn't see what I knew would be in his eyes, that involuntary, horrible adoration. It was there.

At the same second I saw it in his eyes, the world stopped for me, too.

Imprint.

Fascination. Adulation. Tenderness. The coming together of a genetic imperative to keep the pack alive and healthy. It didn't matter that I was four years older than he was. It didn't matter that he'd loved Bella and I'd loved Sam. It was as irresistible as gravity, as strong as a tornado. There was nothing we could do or say, no hurt we could inflict on each other that would change this bond between us. It was like a cosmic compensation for everything we'd been through, not what we wanted at all, but what we needed.

Some love stories don't have a happy ending, but sometimes, unexpectedly, they do.

A/N: That's the end. I'm not entirely happy with it, and I know the purists out there will point to the 'love at first sight' aspect of imprinting, but this is what I wanted for Jacob and Leah, some small bit of happiness to make up for what they went through. Life isn't fair, but through fiction, you can force it to be, at least in your stories.