A/N: Thanks everyone who got me through to the end. Special thanks to those of you who kept reminding me I hadn't actually finished this one yet. My bad. And more special thanks to those who said a T-rating was inappropriate. You were right ;)
Epilogue: The End
"Did you see his face?" Leah asked.
Her voice was light and loving and Jacob didn't bother replying, too busy smiling at her obvious delight.
"He was so damn happy. I swear, he was about to cry." Leah collected herself. "What a girl."
Jacob laughed at her predictable response. Even today, Leah couldn't give Embry a break. Putting an arm around his shoulder, he brought her to him, kissing her on the temple.
"Be nice, Leah. Just once."
"You saying I'm not nice?"
There was a challenge in her voice, one he couldn't help respond to it, even if they had been at the hospital for the entirety of the twelve hour labor. Jacob wasn't sure how Marian survived all that, he knew he wouldn't have been able to, but she had and so he let himself push Leah against the Rabbit, let his lips find hers.
Nice girls wouldn't have responded so eagerly, he thought. They wouldn't have fought so violently, wouldn't have tugged at his hair so hard just to bring him closer, wouldn't have ground their hips against his so temptingly.
Jacob didn't exactly care that Leah wasn't always nice.
"We have to go tell the others," she said as he began marking her neck.
"That's what Seth's for," he reminded her between kisses. "Beta wolves go inform the pack that the family has a new addition. Alpha wolves, after spending a long hard day creating a beautiful legacy for Embry's son, get to relax. And fuck like crazy."
"Jake," she growled and he felt his blood run south. Her breath was shaky as she drew it in: "We can't both fit in your shit car. I'll see you at home."
Because of his surprise, she was able to push past him, running out of the parking lot and down the street. In her eagerness to reach the trees, she had already stripped off her sweater. She wanted a race? One glance down at the car he had restored when he was sixteen told him it wasn't in any danger of being stolen. They could pick it up later. Hell, maybe Quil would see it in the parking lot and just take it home.
Jacob left the keys inside and took off down the street.
It felt strange, running in shoes, but he couldn't kick them off until he reached the trees. He was faster than Leah in their human forms (the benefit of being over a half a foot taller), but she was dropping her clothes as she ran, forcing him to slow down and pick them up. It didn't matter that she got to the forest a good hundred twenty meters ahead of him, even if he couldn't outrun her once she transformed. She would be doubling back today, waiting to ambush him. He would be ready.
And when she did...he was going to make her pay.
The woods provided enough cover for him to kick off his shoes quickly and strip down. He left their clothes in a pile, phasing without even thinking about it, the old habit long engrained. His shape dissolved and then his paws were hitting the fresh earth and Jacob was suddenly aware of being where he belonged once again.
Going to the hospital to be with Embry was something he gladly did. But the artificial building only served to remind him how much more he preferred the cool earth underneath his feet.
How would he have survived living as a human?
You might be faster as a human, a voice taunted him. You're going so slowly you won't even be able to catch a rabbit, let alone me.
You'd think you would have learned not to underestimate me by now. I fight dirty, Leah, remember?
I remember, she promised. Vividly.
Anyone else out here?
Not that he was overly possessive, or anything, but he was not about to share her with the rest of the pack. Ever.
Max was. I gave him the news and ordered him to phase back. I think he's going to have to hike a couple miles back to La Push.
It was too easy to read her now. He had far too much practice. She may have sent Max back to La Push, but she hadn't done it with an Alpha command. She had simply told the younger boy that she was on a run and expected Jacob to join her. Experience had done the rest.
Be nice to me, Jake. Or I'll go even faster and you won't have a hope in hell of catching me.
Go as fast as you want. It doesn't make a difference to me.
It was simply a matter of reaching out, and then he could see the world as she did, flying past her so quickly he couldn't even make sense of anything, even with his superpowers. Damn she was fast.
The explosion of leaves came at him a second before she did and he didn't get out of the way fast enough. Teeth sank into his shoulder, tugging him backward, trying to knock him off balance. If no one could touch Leah when it came to speed, then he was the one they couldn't touch for strength. If she was playing his game, she was going to lose.
Am not, she said, sprinting away, trying to leave him on the ground. But he had already scrambled back up, throwing himself into her, knocking her over with the force of his superior weight.
Stop being a pushover, Leah, he teased, just so she would growl like that, fangs bared, eyes flashing.
They circled each other warily, teeth glinting in the dimming sunlight, watching for an opening. She couldn't turn tail and run, they were too close, but she couldn't beat him in a fight.
As usual, Leah let her temper get the best of her. The taunting made her jump too quickly, and he sidestepped her easily enough, sinking his teeth into scruff of her neck. He shook her a little, for daring to take off, then dropped her to the ground, pinning her with the force of his body.
I think I won that round, Jacob couldn't help thinking smugly.
Give the man a prize, she snapped. He couldn't help smirking.
That would be the idea.
He got off her then, knowing they had both agreed it was over, even if she hadn't conceded defeat. She never did. That's what made the game fun, after all.
In a second, Jacob was naked in the middle of the forest, surveying the land from his human eyes. It was just a small sparse area between the trees. They had cleared some room with their earlier fighting, but it still wasn't much bigger than the Rabbit. Then again, the Rabbit didn't have Leah on the floor, naked and panting from the exertion of her run.
She caught him looking, arching an eyebrow. Come and get me, her body said, so he did. She was already scrambling up, intent on escaping one more time. It didn't work. One of his arms wrapped around her waist, pulling her to the ground, pinning underneath him. And this time she didn't have any fur to protect her.
"Give?" he asked, knee in her back, holding her in place.
Muffled cursing was all he could hear, as her face stayed facing the ground. He had no choice but to flip her over, hurrying to trap her arms above her head, and to hold her legs down with his own, their limbs so intertwined it was hard to know where one ended and the other began as they panted together.
Leah was still twisting and struggling underneath, never content to let him win. But her eyes were black and her voice thick with desire, even as her mouth curled upwards.
"I thought only vampires were supposed to be that hard."
Jacob laughed, then brought their mouths together, a clashing of teeth and tongue, the battle for dominance continuing. It was tempting, the thought of letting her go, so she could pull at him the way he was pulling at her, all desperate need and mindless desire, but the Alpha part of him was too strong. She had to be his, completely. He growled as her teeth tugged on his lower lip, pushing her further into the earth, before he pulled away.
Her own sound of frustration was worth it, as her back arched off the ground as she tried to draw out the kiss. Her hands, stuck above her head as he held her securely by the wrists, tried to reach him, fingers curling until they looked like claws. The smell of her filled the clearing, sweet and seductive, blocking out everything but the thought of sinking into her.
"You shouldn't have run away," he reminded her.
"I'll run wherever I—" his thigh pressed further between her legs, until he could feel her wet against him, and her last word became a muffled moan "—want."
"Is there something you want, Leah?"
His own breathing wasn't doing so well. He couldn't pin her everywhere and she had finally realized that while she was stuck under him, she could move her hips—and he wasn't about to stop her from grinding against him.
Her back arched up again, pushing her chest upward, practically begging him to take the hard nipples into his mouth. Since she wouldn't actually beg, he just lowered his mouth without invitation, turning his attention to one breast and then the other as his mate writhed underneath him, hips moving frantically against him until she was gasping for each breath.
Her black hair was clinging to her forehead, plastered down as the sweat covered her face, white teeth gleaming against her dark skin. "Time to pay up," he whispered against her ear, and then bit down, just hard enough to push her over the edge, whimpering underneath him.
That he could resist the scent of her when she was like this was only because had been lucky to experience it before. It had been a long, long while before he could keep control whenever it flooded his senses—washing over him until he was drowning in it, survival contingent on being buried within her, the two of them perfectly together.
"Nothing," he said, even as he let her push him off her. There was a gleam in her eyes that he didn't like, and he wasn't about to look away unless he had to.
"I didn't think I scratched you there," she said, still slightly breathless but collecting herself. "I'm sorry."
"It doesn't matter."
If she was just going to kiss the scratches on his chest better, she could claw whatever she wanted. Jacob wasn't going to complain, not with the sight she made, leaning over him on all fours, mouth pressed to him, moving further down his body.
Then her eyes looked up, caught his.
She got a bit farther this time, maybe a whole three feet, since he had to stand up before he could chase her. The extra time meant she was prepared. No sooner had he grabbed her arm, than she spun around into his embrace, mouth attacking his, arms tight around his neck, knocking him backwards into the nearest tree.
Fortunately, they didn't break this one.
She was almost too close now; her scent was everywhere and it finally succeeded in shutting down all higher brain function. Gone was the previous playful need to prove his worth. There was only the desire to claim her, to pound away at her until she would never accept another because she was his, forever and always and ever more.
When he slammed her back against the tree, switching their positions, all she did was hiss, "Took you long enough," but he wasn't really listening to the words. It was the tiny hitches in her breath that had him captivated, tiny aberrations that no one else could hear, sounds that were only for him. He was one making her whimper. He was the one she wanted.
That was why she was wrapping one long leg around his waist, silently ordering him to hurry up. Squeezing that gorgeous ass, he lifted her, just enough, and then he was inside her, the heat of her welcoming him home. She could never belong to anyone else; no one else could survive the way she burned. Jacob wasn't sure he was going to survive as he lost himself in the feel of her, so tight around him, instinct taking over completely. He didn't really care.
After, he wasn't sure he could bring himself to let go, not until he heard her complain, "I think I have a splinter in my back."
Jacob laughed, kissing her nose and lips and everything else he could reach. "I'm sorry."
"No you're not," she pouted, as he finally set her completely on the ground. But when he made to look at her back, she just rolled her eyes. "I'm fine. Werewolf, remember?"
"Really? I didn't know that. You should have told me."
Her hair tickled his chin, when she wrapped her arms around him, but he said nothing, just ran his fingers over her arm, touching her soft skin, still surprised after all these years that she was here and she was his.
As if she could hear his thoughts—maybe she could—Leah looked up at him and smiled. "I love you."
"I love you, too," he replied. "Can we stay here forever?"
"I wish. You owe me for making me stay at the hospital so damn long. But not today. Today we have life to catch up on." Whatever list she was making in her head, all she said was: "You have to call Nessie when we get home. She's starting some new project and she wants to talk to you about it."
"Do you remember what it was?"
"No. Ask Seth. He's the one who talked to her last."
"Do you know how hard it is to talk to her on the phone, Jake? It's like playing charades blindfolded. It drives me crazy—the guys have fun with it. I talk to her once they remind her she needs to open her mouth to communicate over a phone."
"It is a bit hard," he admitted. Nessie didn't seem to always understand why communicating by touch didn't work over long distances. "Thank you for trying."
"I really do like her."
"What's not to like?" he teased, kissing Leah before she could argue. Not that it stopped her from saying: "Clearly she has bad taste in soul mates."
He laughed again. "Maybe."
Leah sighed. "We should go. I'll run back and pick up the clothes if you put the kids to bed tonight. I'm too tired to be the bad guy."
"Deal," he agreed. "Maybe they're already asleep."
"Please. Charlie's a pushover." Sue was still at the hospital—Leah was right. The kids would still be up. "See you at home?"
"Sure." Her face had slipped into that soft expression he only got to see once in a very long while. It made her look even more beautiful, if such a thing were possible. He couldn't help asking, "What's that look about?"
"That smile," he said, leaning down to kiss along the upturned corner.
"I...I was thinking about Embry's face again. He was just...it was really sweet."
Not that she wouldn't kill him for thinking it, but Leah was one of the most sentimental people Jacob had ever met. He wasn't sure how that happened, either.
"Did I ever tell you that Embry is actually my favorite person on the planet? Even before you?"
"No." She laughed and leaned against him. "And why is that?"
"Because, Leah, Embry Call is secretly genius. He just hides it very, very, very well."