Disclaimer: I don't own the characters or the song.

AN: Jacob knows it takes 22 steps from the walkway to Leah's door. Maybe one day he'll knock.

22 Steps

A thirteen year old Jacob Black stood on the footpath facing the Clearwater house, staring intently at the harmless front door.

Come on Jacob
, he told himself, its 22 steps from here to her door, you can do this.

Jacob awkwardly shifted the present they he was carrying under his arm and made sure he had a good grip on the bouquet of flowers. Today was Leah Clearwater's birthday, and today was the day that Jacob Black would finally tell her that he was in love with her. He knew that there was a bit of an age difference, she was sixteen and he was thirteen, but his dad had told him time and time again that age was nothing in the grand scheme of things and that love had no age limit. Although Jacob knew his dad's saying was incredibly cheesy, it helped convince him that he and Leah were meant to be together. Jacob didn't know exactly when he had fallen for Leah, but he knew he had fallen all the same. He took care to know everything about her, her favourite colour, her favourite food, her favourite book. Today was the day; Jacob had saved up his allowance for months to be able to buy these gifts for her.

Jacob took a deep breath to steady himself and then took two steps towards the door.

"Jacob Black," a voice marginally deeper than his boomed from behind him and Jacob spun almost guiltily to find Sam Uley standing behind him.

Sam Uley was seventeen, played football, and was a lot taller than Jacob. Jacob was surprised to see him though; he didn't know that Sam and Leah were friends.

"Hey Sam," Jacob replied, wishing that he had finished going through puberty because his voice sounded high pitched and almost girly compared to Sam's.

"What you got there?" Sam asked raising an eyebrow and Jacob felt himself blush a little.

"It's Leah birthday," Jacob muttered, shifting from one foot to another shyly.

"It is? Shit, I didn't get her anything," Sam cursed startling Jacob with his profanity, and Sam grinned at Jacob a little sheepishly, "Boyfriends are supposed to get their girlfriends something right?"

Sam Uley was Leah's boyfriend? Jacob thought about how upset Leah would be if her boyfriend turned up without any presents on her birthday, Jacob couldn't let Leah be unhappy on her birthday.

"Here, you can give her this," Jacob held out the gifts reluctantly and Sam looked surprised at this gesture of generosity. It would certainly stop Leah tearing him a new one when she found out he forgot her birthday.

"Thanks Jacob, I owe you," Sam said ruffling Jacob's hair as he took the flowers and present that Jacob had spent ages carefully choosing especially for Leah.

It was a book that he knew Leah would love, and on the very last page Jacob had inscribed a note telling her how he felt about her. He had signed it so, if Leah ever made it to the end of the book, eventually she would know it was from him. Jacob stepped back off the path and onto the road so that Sam could pass him by.

Jacob watched as Sam confidently sauntered up the path and to the front door. Sam knocked three times and the door swung open to reveal Leah, who squealed with delight and hugged him accepting the flowers and the present. Leah's eyes were shining with happiness as she gazed up at Sam before allowing him to kiss her on the lips. Jacob stood there on the road watching as Leah thanked Sam for the gift that Jacob had bought her. Jacob turned away and started walking home.

One day I'll knock
, he promised himself, just not yet.

If I were him,
I'd know your birthday
Just what to get
The colours you wear
We'd borrow bikes
We'd ride on Sundays
You'd review
The books I sell

One surprisingly sunny afternoon, Jacob was lying in his room staring at the ceiling. His chance with Leah had passed; she was with Sam Uley now and had been for a couple of months. He saw them together at school and at her house sometimes eating cookies that Sue Clearwater baked for them. Jacob had taken to avoiding her so that he didn't have to feel his chest constrict every time he saw Sam's arms around her waist, or Sam's lips on her. Life was so unfair, Leah was all he wanted and he couldn't have her. It was Jacob's birthday tomorrow, but he didn't feel much like celebrating turning fourteen.

Jacob was startled from his musing by a tap at his window. Jacob turned onto his belly and saw Leah Clearwater standing there, waving madly for him to open the window. Jacob hurried over and lifted the window so that Leah could climb in. This was common practice for them when they were kids but Leah hadn't snuck in through his window for close to a year, since she started dating Sam Uley.

"What are you doing here?" Jacob demanded a little rudely and Leah rolled her eyes at him.

"It's your birthday tomorrow grumpy bum, and its tradition," Leah reminded him pertly, waving a finger in his face and Jacob noticed that Leah's younger brother Seth was hanging at the window, along with Jacob's best friends Quil Aterea and Embry Call. The three of them were grinning. Seth was only twelve, but Quil and Embry were both fourteen, just like Jacob would be tomorrow. The day before everyone's birthday the five of them would get on their bikes and ride around La Push, it was their tradition.

"I'll even let you push me around on your handlebars," Leah promised grinning. Leah's bicycle had an unfortunate accident on Quil's pre-birthday ride, and now she didn't have one.

Jacob felt a smile lighting up his face.

"Happy birthday Jacob Black!" Leah cheered leaning over to hug him tightly and Jacob hugged her back then Leah grabbed his hand and tugged on it, "Come on Jake, let's go."

Later that afternoon Jacob walked Leah the twenty two steps from the walk to her door. Leah turned and placed a chaste kiss on Jacob's cheek before retreating into the house. Jacob stood there and raised his hand, thinking that if he just knocked, she would answer and he could tell her all the things he had been dying to tell her. Jacob slowly lowered his hand. He knew it just wasn't the right time. Not yet.

And I know it takes 22 steps
From the walk to your door
Takes 22 steps
'Cause I've tried it before
And one day I'll knock
But just not yet

Leah's seventeenth birthday came around and Jacob, Quil and Embry stood on the street, staring at the Clearwater's front door. Jacob held a present in his arms, no flowers this year. He hoped that this time he would actually be able to give Leah the gifts. Sue and Harry Clearwater had organised a birthday party for Leah, and Jacob couldn't wait to see her. Suddenly the front door slammed wide open.

"Get out of here Sam Uley! I hate you!" Leah screamed at the top of her lungs and Sam Uley came striding past the three young boys giving them the nastiest look he could manage. Leah ran from her front door into the nearby woods and after sharing a look with Quil and Embry, Jacob quickly ran after her. When he found her, Leah was sitting on a log staring down at the ground as her toes digging into the soft soil.

"He didn't buy me anything, he forgot it was my birthday," Leah admitted softly and Jacob knew then that he hated Sam Uley. Forgetting Leah's birthday twice in two years, there was no excuse.

"I got you this," Jacob offered her the gift; hoping to make her smile and Leah took the gift, smiling at him, brushing the tears from her face. She hurriedly ripped off the packaging and held up the gift he had brought her.

"An orange polka dot raincoat," Leah smiled fondly, staring at the rain coat as though it was the best gift she had ever been given, "I asked him for this, but he said it looked immature."

"Oh," Jacob muttered, embarrassed that maybe Leah thought he was immature for getting it for her.

"No Jacob, I love it, I don't care if he thinks its immature, I love it," Leah assured him, hugging him and then the raincoat to her chest absolutely delighted.

"It's starting to rain," Jacob commented looking up at the sky as a raindrop fell on his cheek. Leah got a mad grin on her face then took his hand, pulling him to his feet.

"Come on."

Leah dashed away taking Jacob with her. The rain started to fall harder.

"Leah, we are getting soaked," Jacob called to her and Leah turned back to smirk.

"I don't care," she laughed raising her face to the sky before releasing his hand.

Leah put on the raincoat that Jacob bought her as she ran and it took Jacob a few moments to realise that she was leading him to Sam Uley's house. Leah stopped on the street in front of his house.

"You suck Uley!" she screamed and Sam appeared on the porch, his face murderous.

Leah giggled and grabbed Jacob's hand and then tugged him along behind her as they ran off, leaving Sam to fume on his porch. Jacob laughed at her childishness but he was also relishing their time together. He knew that by tomorrow Leah would have forgiven Sam and she would be his once again.

If I were him
I'd buy the rain coat
The orange one
That he forbade
We'd wait for rain
We'd walk by his house
In the front
Not by the lane

Jacob spent his sixteenth birthday worrying about a girl called Isabella Swan. Armed with the knowledge that Sam and Leah were going to be together forever he tried to find something else to fill his thoughts. Bella Swan was sweet. Her boyfriend Edward Cullen had dumped her and left town a couple of months ago, and Jacob wanted to be the one to save her from wallowing in self pity. For some reason, Jacob liked the idea of being her hero. Besides, focusing on Bella helped Jacob keep his mind off Leah.

A couple of weeks after his birthday, Jacob finally got to go on a sort of 'date' to the movies with Bella and a boy from her school. He was nervous and excited. He hadn't forgotten about Leah, but he was sure she had forgotten him, since they barely spoke anymore. Only when he came home the night of the 'date' with Bella, sweating profusely and coming down with a fever, did he see the present on his table. He opened the lid to see a batch of his favourite cookies; chocolate chip.

"Dad, what's this?" Jacob asked coming out of his room and holding up the box of freshly made cookies. He knew there was no way that his dad baked them.

"Leah came over today, said this was a late birthday present and you owed her a ride on your handlebars," Billy Black told his son, grinning and Jacob felt a smile grace his face. Without a word to his father Jacob raced out of his house and over to the Clearwater's place. Jacob had every intention of walking up to her front door and telling her that he missed her, but when Jacob reached the door he heard the soft laughter from inside the house. He peeked into a window and saw Leah curled up on the couch with Sam Uley, a plate of cookies in front of them. The cookies she had baked for Jacob, she had saved some for Sam.

"I love you," Leah whispered and Sam kissed her lips lingeringly.

"I love you too."

Jacob pulled away from the window a feeling of fury coming over him and he felt his body start to shake. He didn't know what was wrong with him. Suddenly, it was like he exploded and he was on all fours and furry. It only took him three bounds as a wolf to get from her door to the woods and Jacob let back his head and howled in pain.

Calm down Jacob, we're the protector's of La Push, you, me, Paul, Jared and Sam
, Embry's voice filled his head. Embry, the guy who had been Jacob's best friend since they were kids but had been avoiding him for a month. Embry had missed his birthday, just like Leah.

Don't think about her man, block your mind, we can hear each other's thoughts and Sam won't want to hear how you feel about Leah,
Embry's voice bade him urgently and Jacob quickly repressed everything he felt for Leah as he felt something shimmer inside his head.

Welcome Jacob Black, you've finally taken your rightful place alongside your pack brothers as we protect La Push from all threats
, Sam's voice intoned and Jacob focused on every word he was saying. That night Jacob learnt about vampires, and werewolves and treaties and his duty to his tribe.

Jacob never got to knock on Leah's door, and after becoming a wolf, he was forbidden to see Bella or Leah for their safety.

And I know it takes 22 steps
From the walk to your door
Takes 22 steps
'Cause I've tried it before
And one day I'll knock
But just not yet

When Leah turned eighteen, her second cousin Emily came to visit a few days before her birthday. Sam Uley, the hero of La Push, took one look at Emily and promptly broke up with Leah. Jacob and the others watched on from the sidelines, forbidden to tell her why Sam had left her and forbidden to comfort her in case they accidentally hurt her. Not too long after Emily and Sam were engaged. Jacob secretly hated Emily and Sam for hurting Leah like they did.

Leah didn't celebrate her birthday that year; there was no traditional bike ride, there was nothing. The day after her birthday, Leah and Seth phased for the first time, and their father passed away. When Leah found out that Quil, Embry and Jacob were wolves as well and hadn't told her, she shunned them. In her eyes they had betrayed her as bad as Sam Uley did, and Jacob hated himself for being like Sam. So many times he tried to apologise but Leah wouldn't hear it. Jacob forced himself to think of Bella so that Leah would never know how much he loved her.

After a while, Bella became all that Jacob could think of as the Leah Jacob knew became a distant memory. So much time passed by, and when Leah joined Jacob's pack he started to see glimpses of the girl he once loved and when he experienced her fierce loyalty and determination he fell in love with her all over again. Jacob would soon realise that nothing ever happened the way he wanted.

And I'm not so sure
That you would not say
"Get out, don't step in"
I would never try again
I'm not so sure
That you would not say
"Get out, don't step in"
I would never try again

Jacob Black spent his seventeenth birthday watching his imprint and her parents playing in a meadow. His Beta, Leah Clearwater lay begrudgingly beside him in wolf form, while he was in human form. It had been quite a year for him, falling in love with Bella Swan, watching Bella Swan become Bella Cullen, then watching her become a vampire, then imprinting on her daughter. Jacob wondered, if imprints were supposed to be final, why did his thoughts forever dwell on the female wolf who lay beside him? Even through his obsession with Bella, and his imprinting on her daughter, Leah was always in his thoughts.

He reached over and scratched her ears absently and Leah growled and snapped at his hands not liking that he was treating her like the family dog. Jacob laughed, then walked over to a nearby bush to strip down before he phased into wolf form forgetting that he was supposed to be watching his imprint. Leah's mind wasn't really thinking about anything in particular, so Jacob sent her some images that he remembered; in particular, his fourteenth birthday when he drove around La Push with Leah on his handlebars. Leah gave a snort in his head.

We were so stupid and naive then
, Leah sniffed haughtily and Jacob frowned.

That's one of the happiest times of my life
, Jacob told her honestly and Leah stood up shaking out her fur.

Then that makes you pathetic Black, I'm out of here, I have better things to do than watch your future bride prance around a meadow with her disco ball parents
, Leah sneered then turned and bounded away into the woods. Jacob sighed settling down onto his belly, resting his head on his paws. He felt Leah shimmer out.

Why did she always have to be so difficult? It was like she was purposely trying to push him away. All Jacob wanted was Leah, but what he got was a half vampire imprint. Jacob turned to catch Edward Cullen staring at him, pity written on his face. Jacob stood and turned tail retreating into the woods. He didn't need a leech pitying him.

Jacob didn't bother going after Leah, instead he went to his home, said a quick hello to his dad, then threw himself onto his bed. He felt like he was fourteen again, only now he barely fit on his bed, his feet were hanging off the edge. Not for the first time he cursed the inconvenience of becoming a shape shifter. There was a knock on his window. Jacob turned and almost couldn't believe his eyes. Leah stood there, with Seth, Quil and Embry who were grinning at him like idiots. Jacob slid his window up.

"Hey Black, you owe me a ride on your handlebars," Leah reminded him, giving a wry smile and Jacob slipped out of his window and to the garage where his old bicycle lay unused for the past two years.

When they were riding around together it felt like old times. Quil and Embry had added some extra fun to their bike ride by bringing eggs. They egged each and every member of the other pack, from Sam to Collin and the other younger ones. They returned to the Black house laughing so hard they thought they would never stop. Seth, Quil and Embry said their goodbyes and Leah and Jacob went into the house to sit on the couch and watch TV, as they had taken to doing in the afternoons. Leah turned to him during their favourite cartoon and raised a haughty eyebrow.

"Happy now that we have relived your fondest childhood memory?" Leah asked him sarcastically and Jacob figured now was as good a time as any, so he leant across and kissed her. He wasn't expecting her lips to respond to his, but he was expecting the punch he received a couple of seconds later. Leah didn't speak to him for a week after that, and when she did, no mention was made of the kiss. It was as if it never happened.

I would never try again

For Leah's nineteenth birthday, Jacob's pack threw her a party. She sat on a chair the whole time scowling with her arms folded across her chest. Luckily the rest of the pack didn't let her sour mood ruin their evening. Sometime during the party Leah snuck out the back door and Jacob followed after her. She wasn't too hard to find.

"You haven't blown out your candles to make a wish yet," Jacob reminded her sitting on the same log from her seventeenth birthday. Leah was digging her toes into the soil, just like she had done back then and Jacob rested an arm around her shoulders that she didn't bother to try and remove.

"Wishes don't come true anyway, I didn't want to waste my time," Leah muttered bitterly and Jacob glanced down at her. She was smaller than him even now.

"What would you wish for if they did come true?" Jacob asked her curiously and Leah's eyes flicked up to him. Her gaze was smouldering, Jacob had been waiting years for her to look at him like that. Jacob leant across and kissed her again. This time he was expecting her lips responding and the punch that followed. The kiss was worth the momentary pain. Leah refused to speak to him for weeks after and when she did, nothing about the kiss was ever said, just like before.

Takes 22 steps
From the walk to your door
Takes 22 steps
'Cause I've tried it before
And one day I'll knock
Yeah, and one day I'll knock

When Renesmee Carlie Cullen asked her best friend Jacob Black what he would like for his eighteenth birthday Jacob Black answered without hesitation, to be free of the imprint. Nessie agreed, and told Jacob that she wanted him to live his own life away from her, with the person that would make him happiest. As the legend went, what the imprint wants the imprint gets, and Nessie wanted wholeheartedly for her friend Jacob to be free and happy. Once Jacob had his permission he raced through La Push to the Clearwater house. He stood on the walkway staring at her door, before he began taking steps.

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22.

Jacob raised his hand and knocked. Not a few seconds later Leah opened the door.

"Nessie released me from the imprint. Leah, I love you, I've loved you since I was a kid, and I want to be with you."

Leah narrowed her eyes at him thinking this was some sort of sick joke.

"Get off my porch Black, before I kick you off."

"I'm not joking Leah, I love you," Jacob repeated sincerely and Leah shook her head.

"No you don't."

"Leah, it's always been you for me, through Bella and Nessie, it's always been you," Jacob promised her taking her hand in his and Leah snatched her hand back.

"I don't believe you," Leah spat at him hatefully, her defence mechanism coming into play. She had to push him away, to keep her heart safe, "You couldn't have loved me from the beginning, it's always been Bella for you."

Jacob sighed deeply. This was not going the way he had always dreamed. In his dreams Leah had hugged and kissed him and told him that she felt the same way.

"Where is the book Sam got you for your sweet sixteen?" Jacob demanded and Leah shrugged, frowning in confusion, wondering how on earth he knew what Sam had gotten her.

"In my room."

"Flick to the very back page," Jacob told her and Leah bit her lip, still confused.

"I never finished reading it."

"Maybe you should, before you tell me that I haven't loved you from the start," Jacob growled at her, angry with her stubbornness then Jacob turned and walked away, leaving Leah to stand there in the doorway staring after him.

Takes 22 steps
From the walk to your door
Takes 22 steps
'Cause I've tried it before
And one day I'll knock
But just not yet

Not an hour later, Jacob heard a knock on his front door. He waved Billy to stay in front of the TV and went to answer the door himself. Jacob wasn't really surprised to see Leah standing there in a dress, soaked from the rain. What he wasn't sure of was what he reaction would be.

"Did you know it takes twenty two steps from the walkway to your door?" Leah asked, her eyes shining softly then she placed her hands on the side of his face gently brushing her lips across his, "I love you too, happy birthday Jacob Black."

If I were him
I'd know your birthday wish


AN: Man I hate writing in third person. This is like the first third person story I've written in ages, it's heaps hard!!!! Well I hope you like it. Little bit of fluffiness for a Friday. I am working on Falling into Darkness right now!! This chapter is hard for me to write so please have patience!

AN2: The song is 22 Steps by Damian Leathe or Leithe or something that sounds like leaf, I don't really know and I can't be arsed looking.