A/N: This is my big first fan fic!
This story has been in my head ever since I first read Eclipse and Breaking Dawn last April – before I knew fan fiction even existed. I read the last two books of the saga, and I kept thinking that everyone seems to have a happy ending except for Jacob (and Leah), so I created this story in my head to give Jacob his own happy ending with someone his own age. Post Eclipse, no Breaking Dawn.
Note: I am not a Native American studies major. I Google and I make up stuff. There is no American Indian Museum at University of Washington. There is a Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture at UW, but I have never been there and did not want to make any obvious blunders.
Big thanks go to my first response beta, Feriel_Miranda, to Stretch and blueandblack who critiqued my Jacob, to hotandcold and TearsofMercury who held my hand (figuratively), and to Project Team Beta who beta'd the heck out of this.
SMeyer owns Twilight. I'm just letting my imagination roam.
CHAPTER 1—THE DISCOVERY
Molly pinched her finger between two large heavy boxes. Normally she was not so clumsy.
She was on her hands and knees, cleaning out the deep recesses of the American Indian Museum at University of Washington where she was a graduate student in the American Indian Studies program. Technically, she was not cleaning-- she was cataloging the archive, but in her current mood, actions, and attire, she was cleaning.
I could be having beers with the gang, but no… I am cleaning the Seattle equivalent of the Raiders of the Lost Ark warehouse on a Friday afternoon.
Molly had a clipboard with sheets of the museum contents as well as the location of each item. Her job was to verify each object and note anything worth mentioning. So far there had been nothing noteworthy. There were spider webs, dead bugs, and dust bunnies, but nothing of note.
She sucked her finger and angrily took a look at the box that had just caused her pain. In was hidden in the far recesses of a bottom corner of the warehouse. It looked like it hadn't been touched in years. The museum had started labeling and bar coding, but this box was still anonymous, like it had been dropped off from a moving party, meant to be forgotten.
Molly looked at the clipboard and back at the box. As she had expected, the box was not listed to this location. She scanned the rest of the papers in the clipboard searching for any hint to what this box was and where it should go. Finding no answers, Molly decided that her only reasonable course of action would be to open the box and then determine what to do with it and its contents.
She sat on the floor and scanned the outside of the box for clues. Nothing. No labels, certainly no barcode. She scanned the packing tape that had held the box together. It was aged and dried; she could open it without scissors.
Do I really want to open this? Molly thought. For some reason, she had this feeling in her gut that her life would change forever the moment she opened the lid. Fuck Nancy Drew, Molly thought. Reading too many girl mysteries as a child led her thoughts to be fanciful. Think CSI.
Molly took one last look at the outside of the box. There, in faded pencil letters, was one word: Quileute.
Quileute, Quileute, Quileute … a Pacific Northwest tribe, if she wasn't mistaken. Molly's brain wasn't any more helpful, so she pulled out her iPhone and did a quick Internet search. In .09 seconds, Google responded with, among other things, a Wikipedia entry stating that the Quileute were a tribe in western Washington, the population center being a town called La Push. The tribe had been known for fishing, whaling especially, and used to live in large typically plank houses more than a century ago. The Quileute language was very unique and special, being the only Chimakuan tongue still alive, and one of only five languages that lacked nasal sounds. Nothing to explain why a Quileute box was in a Seattle museum, thought Molly.
Okay, time to open the box.
With shaking hands, Molly pulled open the lid. She was prepared for some spiders to crawl out, but instead, she found a series of artifacts. An old blanket. Some arrowheads. Multiple baskets. A mask. All interesting, but nothing significant, other than the fact that the museum had not known of their existence.
Molly started making a list of each item and taking quick photos of them with her phone. Just when she thought the box was empty, her hand felt a small, weirdly shaped object wrapped up in some paper. It wasn't much bigger than a large bar of soap.
For some reason, her heart started beating quickly. Stop it, Nancy Drew, Molly thought. She lightly rolled the object in her hands and it seemed to unwrap itself. The content was a small sculpture of a wolf. No, a man. No … a man turning into a wolf.
Jacob Black rode his motorcycle back to his home at the end of a typical day. He had been working at his auto repair shop in Forks, Washington, with his friends Quil and Embry. They had started the shop about eight years ago, after Jacob had returned from his spirit quest.
When he had left – no, escaped – eight years before, he had been a heartbroken, angry young man. The love of his life and best friend was about to marry his mortal enemy, a vampire, and he had not been able to face life, so he had fled to the Canadian wilderness and lived off the land in his spirit wolf form. When he had returned, he had felt older and wiser. He had been ready to put aside his personal issues and focus on the pack and the tribe. He had been ready to be a man and accept his life.
When Jacob had left, Sam Uley had been Alpha of the pack. After a showdown fight that was sanctioned by the Elders of the tribe, Jacob had become the Alpha and Sam the Beta. Jacob had immersed himself in the tribe. He was involved in all the council meetings, met regularly with the Elders, was leader of the wolf pack, and was sought for his advise in matters happening with the younger members of the tribe. Since his first love and her in-laws had moved to Europe, things were much quieter in La Push. Jacob and his best friends Embry and Quil had opened their car repair shop in nearby Forks through a combination of small business loans, a great deal from the shop's former owner (who had been Jacob's former boss), and some shrewd investments by their psychic financial advisor. After a year, they had been able to break even, and since then had a steady clientele. Thanks to the close relationship between Jacob's father and the police chief, they also were the mechanics of the Forks police force. Life was good.
There was one thing missing in his life. Jacob had never loved another woman after his heartbreak at 16. There were hookups, rendezvous, and casual dating, but he never let another girl get close to him. His father Billy Black, who was one of the Elders, hinted for grandkids regularly. His older twin sisters Rebecca and Rachel had already given him rugrats, but Rebecca was in Hawaii, and Billy wanted Jacob to start producing some kids of his own as well. But his father understood Jacob's fear of heartbreak-- not only his own, but also that he could cause someone else's in case he imprinted--so Billy kept his nagging to a limit.
"Hey, Dad, I'm home," Jacob called as he walked in the front door of their house. Although an adult, Jacob kept his room at his father's residence. Billy was independent, but in a wheelchair, so Jacob felt obliged to stay in his childhood home. He never had felt the need to leave; hookups could happen in cars, in the woods, or at her place, so there was no need for him to move out.
Billy was finishing a conversation on the phone. "Alright, Bob, we'll be there on Wednesday. See you then." Billy wheeled himself into the kitchen where Jacob was getting himself a cold beer.
"Jacob, what are you doing next Wednesday?" Billy asked.
Jacob took a swig of beer and frowned. "You know, Dad, working at the shop."
Billy wheeled himself to the kitchen table. "Can you drive me to Seattle? I need to meet with an old friend at the University of Washington. They found a pretty interesting Quileute artifact at the museum today."
Jacob shook his head in astonishment. It was a strange request. He would do anything for his father, but this was a surprise. "Are you kidding me? That's a four-hour drive. Why don't they come here?"
"I have a feeling this will be pretty big. There's nothing else like it, and I want to see this in person."
A/N: Thank you for reading my first big fic! Now, please review, and I'll send you a teaser for the next chapter, when Jacob and Molly meet. (BTW, this fic will not be abandoned; I've already outlined the entire fic and have written the last chapter. I plan to post weekly.)
(Regarding the showdown between Sam and Jacob, it's similar to the fight in the excellent Blackwater fic, "Red Sky at Morning" by Princess Bertha. Yeah, Jacob wins that one, too.)