Billy: Jake, where have you been? Didn't we talk about you needing to focus on one woman only? Have you been visiting the reviewers again?

Jake: No! Although I wanted to, badly. *with longing* I've missed them so much. I sent Paul and Embry and the rest of the pack to visit the reviewers, and give them a special thanks from me. Paul told me he had a great time. Embry didn't say much, he just blushed when I asked what he had been up to...

Billy: Then where have you been?

Jake: *exclaims, with the biggest smile ever seen* I've been visiting my Beta!

Billy: *furrows his brows* I thought Leah was your Beta?

Jake: *laughs and shakes his head* No! Leah is my Alpha female, but my Beta female is Amanda Wilder. She helps me make my stories better so I can win Leah over with my storytelling skills!

Billy *eyes Jake suspiciously, asks dryly* Really? And this *nods at Jake's half-naked appearance * is how you're dressed when Amanda helps you with your story?

Jake: *smiles happily* Yeah, or sometimes I take it all off! She says she doesn't mind, and clothes feel so restricting. Anyway, she's really awesome, she's helpful and kind and encouraging. She's a storyteller too, just like you dad! You should read her stories. *Hands over 1001 Jacobian nights.* Gotta go see Leah now! *runs off*

Billy: *shakes his head, staring after his son, starts reading...* *mumbles to himself after the first chapters* Is the air conditioner broken again? It's getting awfully hot in here. *takes off his shirt, revealing where Jake has inherited his toned body from* I wonder if Amanda likes an older, wiser, more experienced and skilled version of my son? I still work out, I'm good company and I know what a woman wants and needs. Maybe I should call her? *starts dialing*


He can tell she's tired. They all are to some degree, being up all night for the initiation ceremony, being the novitiates and the suspense that brings, it's natural she and her brother are much more tired than any of the others. Besides he has too much adrenaline running in his system to be able to sleep would he try. Not that he would when she is tired, when she needs to rest, because that means he'll guard her and keep her safe when she gets the sleep she needs.

He's been closely monitoring every single movement she has made, however minuscule, and closely paid attention to her thoughts, noticing how they have become slow and sleepy. Gently he nudges her neck with his snout, tenderly encouraging her to lie down.


She sighs, briefly considers protesting, but lets her body drop when he bumps his head against her body a second time. She's resting her head on her paws, lazily observing the others, and he wants nothing more than lie next to her, but instead opts for moving to stand protectively over her.

"What are you protecting me from Jake? The sun?" She laughs and looks up at him with an amused expression.

The russet wolf doesn't know exactly what he protects her from, but they're a team, and he needs to protect her, she's his other half.

"You're tired." he states. "And you can rest while I keep watch."

She stretches her limbs out more, rolling to her side, still laughing, peering up at him with a mischievous look in her eyes.

"You don't have to stand over me. I'm sure you can "protect me" just as well if you're sitting beside me. I like the feel of the sun on my pelt, and you're shadowing it."

Her thoughts have a soft quality that the russet wolf picks out and marvels over, wanting to hear more, anything, with that tone directed at him. Hearing that she likes the sun warming her pelt, he immediately steps off her, to stand beside her, then sitting down, but making sure one of his paws is lightly on top of her body. If she likes the sun, he's going to make sure it shines on her as much as possible. The russet wolf doesn't know exactly how he will make the sun always shine on his female, but he will try. He'll talk to mysterious spirits and ask them to warm her pelt.

She grins again wolfishly, "I thought you already were the sun, all on your own. You seem to shine bright enough to earn that title. I've heard Bella call you her sun all the time." She pauses but continues before he has time to protest that he wants to be her sun and not Bella's. He doesn't care what Bella thinks of his ability to shine or warm her. "Maybe you should go and protect Quil, he seems to be under attack."

The russet wolf casts a quick glance at the chocolate-colored wolf who's rolling around on the ground, fervently rubbing his back against the dirt, whining loudly about how badly it itches, and about being attacked by bugs.

Has he got fleas again? The russet wolf has never had fleas and none of the others either, but Quil seems to get them all the time, constantly scratching himself. It must because he's always humping every boulder or tree he sees.

"No it's not! It's because I'm sweet like chocolate! Granny says that's why I always get bitten by mosquitoes, and the fleas love me because I taste so good," Quil defends himself.

"Or because you rarely bathe," the dark gray wolf throws out, at which Quil indignantly protests, claiming that he showers all the time and that he has a special flea shampoo and all, and if they keep up with the teasing he won't let them borrow it, except for the female wolf. He'd let her borrow it and he'd comb her pelt with the special flea comb his Granny uses on his fur when it itches.

The female laughs, struggling to hide her mental images of the huge wolf-Quil being given a flea bath by his tiny Granny, dressed in the kind of protective gear someone would wear to a nuclear plant and spraying Quil with the garden hose. The russet chuckles too, but then once again busies himself with admiring the softness of her shiny pelt. He'll keep Quil away from her until he's flea-free; in fact, he decides to send Quil home to get the flea-bath at once, so none of them will get his itch.

Quil's taking off immediately, rejoicing at coming home just in time to catch his favorite Sunday-morning cartoon.

If she were ever to get fleas, not that it seems likely to happen to someone as wonderful as her, it would be him, not the chocolate-colored wolf, that would comb and wash her pelt. With his tongue, cleansing and laving the itching away on every inch of her. In human form, his hands gently massaging her scalp, running his fingers through her raven strands, before caressing her entire body with a soft sponge, the way he washes his car, lovingly, and her sighing with pleasure...

"You want to become a hairdresser now Jake?" the female asks, interrupting his fantasy, that he really didn't mean to show her – her tone with a sharp edge to it. The playfulness gone from her tone, even though she tries to preserve a lightness, tries to act like she's indifferent to what she caught in his mind. But he notices how she's shifting her body, her heart beating faster, focusing hard on blocking him, them all, from her mind. He doesn't like when she gets distressed. Has he caused it? He didn't mean to. He's pushing his muzzle against her neck, pressing his paw more firmly against her, his own heart hammering anxiously. He's about to start with the apologetic whining sounds, to get her to forgive him, but is interrupted by the puppy bouncing up to them.

"You're gonna be a barber, Jake?" The puppy exclaims eagerly. "We could open a salon together, you and me and Leah. She's really good at cutting hair, she always cuts mine! And I could sweep the floors, you could wash as much hair as you like."

The female's mood seems to lighten at the pup's interruption, and the russet wolf is relieved by that. It's a great thought working together with the two siblings, in fact he likes it very, very much, sees it as the truth of his future, although not exactly in a barbershop, more like a garage or anything the she-wolf would like when not running the pack together. Because that is their main work, that's the truest knowledge for the wolf. The pack's theirs to lead, it's what they are made for, what they have accepted, the night before cementing that order.

The puppy is surprisingly energetic and shows no signs of being tired. Does he ever tire?

"No... he'll keep going, on and on." The female laughs affectionately, her feelings becoming tender at thinking of her little brother and his antics. The puppy's tail is wagging – like it has being doing the entire time since the black wolf disappeared – even more so at the thought of finally getting to play with the russet wolf, pushing his snout towards the russet male's, trying to lick his muzzle. When the russet wolf shakes his head and pushes the puppy away, the puppy tries to get between him and the she-wolf, climbing on top of the she-wolf, to get her or the russet wolf to wrestle with him or chase him. The russet wolf won't play with the pup right now, and the female really wants to sleep.

"Later" he thinks, but the puppy doesn't give up. Only when the pup starts gnawing on the female's tail, disturbing her, does he nip the puppy over the nose in a rebuking manner, to get him to stop and let her rest.

Immediately the puppy throws himself on the ground belly-up in a submissive manner, whining pitifully, and the russet wolf almost feels bad, giving the puppy a friendly nudge with his snout. This seems enough to make the puppy bouncingly happy again, now trying to get the other males to play with him, by pretending to steal the few scraps of meat Embry and Paul are busy polishing off. Paul's pushing the puppy away lazily, growling, while Embry leaves his eating to oblige the puppy's tries to get them to play with him. The puppy's excited laughter fills their minds,when Embry chases after him and then wrestles with him, clearly holding back his strength to let the puppy feel like he has a chance to win – which he doesn't have. Embry's quite strong, and the puppy's wrestling is all over the place. Clearly he has no strategy, or general idea of what he should be doing, but bites at whatever he can get a hold of, and his excitement isn't helping the pup any.

"Look Jake, look! I'm really good!" he shouts to them in his mind, when Embry lets him nibble his ear.

It feels good to have the puppy's excitement bubbling in their minds. The puppy's presence making them all feel happy, his playfulness and giddiness quite catching.

The russet wolf would like to lie down next to the she-wolf but he needs to keep watch, so instead he opts for sitting, on alert, but with his body firmly pressed against hers, paw still resting on her – protective, claiming, a physical manifestation of their spiritual bond.

He can feel that everything is calm on the rez, that there is no threat in his territory right now. The small noises from the forest tell him that the lands are safe, but somewhere in the back of his mind words that Sam has said have left a trace, nagging in his mind. He wants to, needs to show that he is a good leader. Show it to her, to himself. He isn't irresponsible like his rival claims, not when it matters. He's not. He will look after them all, protect them all. He would never let anything happen to anyone he loves. Patrolling is the way Sam does it, claims it should be done because patrols are the way they assume their ancestors did it. Telling that he can sense when all is safe on the rez and that he can sense danger has always left Sam laughing in a condescending manner, claiming that no real leader would trust such a reason as instinct and feelings, saying that it's not real knowledge at all. What does Sam know about anything? But still his words nag in the russet wolf's mind. What if something did happen because he has not made sure, taken every precaution? He likes trusting his feelings, but maybe he should order patrols to make sure? Maybe it's more rational, safer? It troubles him, because for the first time he really wants to make a conscious decision as a leader of a wolf-pack, to make a good decision. To prove himself as a wolf, as an Alpha. He doesn't want to leave her, and wouldn't she be tired if he took her with him and showed her their territory, but he doesn't like ordering the others around either, to tell them what to do, to make them patrol.

Unexpectedly Paul's the one to bark out: "I'll run a circuit if you want."

"I can go too", Embry offers.

"Me too, me too!" The puppy yips. "I think I will be very good at patrolling, I'm gonna make you proud of me Jake! I won't miss anything that's going on. I'm very observant."

The russet wolf is very pleased, and not only because he will be alone with the she-wolf, but also because of how good it feels to have his friends, his pack, his brothers volunteer to patrol on their own accord. They're working together. It's much better like this than how his rival constantly barks orders at them, never asks for their opinion or never waits for them to do anything of their own will.

The tired she-wolf, who was already half-asleep, protests at first, not wanting the puppy to go anywhere without her. Only the puppy's relentless begging and pleading to her not to ruin his fun, makes her finally cave, but only after the russet wolf's reassurance that Embry and Paul never would let anything happen to the puppy. Still she makes Embry and Paul swear on their lives that Seth wouldn't get hurt in any way, telling him to not go off anywhere on his own and keep close to Embry and Paul and finally threatening them all with all kinds of evil if her little brother is harmed, even if it would be his own clumsy doing.

The russet wolf's heart swells from feeling the deep care the she-wolf feels for her puppy-brother, her concern for his well-being becoming all of their priority. He pledges to himself to always make sure the puppy's safe, never to risk his safety, because that will make his female happy. He would of course keep the puppy safe anyway, but feeling how important he is to the she-wolf, the puppy becomes one of his main priorities, below her, but on the same level as his father and sisters.

The clearing is quiet and serene as only two giant wolves remain, but at the same time it's still buzzing with life, only the sounds more meditative now. The wind over the soft grass, the birds chirping, the rustling of leaves as small animals move about, all of this forming a lulling sound. She starts to drift off, is already between sleep and wakefulness. He can't resist anymore. He nudges her gently with his snout, nuzzling a while against her neck, before starting to clean her fur meticulously.

"Mmm, that feels nice..." Her thought is groggy, but the satisfied sigh she gives, the way her body relaxes completely, makes the russet wolf beam. The feeling that he makes her feel this good, and then feeling how she feels so content and good because of him and his tongue, makes his heart feel like exploding. It's the best feeling ever.

Soon sleep takes her and now that there is an actual patrol running, he feels he could lie down next to her and rest too, which he does. His head lightly resting on hers. He's never felt this content as a wolf before. She's here with him, they can lie like this, side by side, together. They will lie like this every night from now on, and for the rest of their lives. It's pure bliss, it's all he needs, will ever need.

The three other wolves are maybe half way through patrol when she finally stirs and awakens. By now his body is half-way on top of her. He enjoys being really close to her, it feels so good. He likes sleeping close to his wolf-brothers too when shifted or to lie next to them, but never has he felt this amount of comfort lying next to, or rather on top of, another warm body.

"I'm pretty comfortable as a pillow I guess," the female smirks, trying to roll around to get him off.

He nips her gently in the neck, trying to stop her wriggling out of his hold completely, putting more of his weight on her, but damn, she's fast and agile. She lets out a playful bark at succeeding to tumble out of his hold, rejoicing at her own skill. His tail is already wagging frantically, the same as hers, and god does he want to play!

"Is Seth alright?" she asks, remembering her little brother, halting her bouncing steps.

"He's fine! Still patrolling," the russet wolf answers as he starts trying to entice her to play, moving around in front of her, his head lowered, backing up, jumping back, then forward towards her, bumping his body against hers. Very much like the puppy was doing earlier.

She twitches her ears, and after listening to Seth's dialogue, well it's more of a monologue, filled with constant chattering directed towards a very patient Embry trying to answer the pup's relentless questions about every single thing he sees or thinks of, and Paul, whose mind by now is only grunts as he tries to block the puppy's voice out of his head, she relaxes. The pup is safely patrolling - or in truth following Embry and Paul around, while talking about everything he observes.

"I wouldn't let anything happen to him," the russet wolf assures.

"I know. But I need to make sure too."

He loves the way she feels the need to check for herself, she's the perfect Alpha female, but most of all his heart warms at hearing that she believes in his ability not to let anything happen to her brother, that she trusts him to keep the puppy safe.

"Of course I trust you Jake, why wouldn't I? I know you, Jake, I've known you since you were born. You always keep your promises and you always look out for others. You're gonna be a great chief one day."

And then she lets out a playful bark and jumps at him, getting a hold of his neck and almost, almost managing to flip him over.

"Or then I'm gonna be the chief, after winning over you in this battle!" She laughs, surprised by almost succeeding in pinning him.

He growls in excitement, as she makes another fast charge towards him, her jaws closing over his muzzle in a playful manner. He's fast at throwing his paws around her neck, gently nipping back. She laughs in her mind – he loves the sound – and he lets her escape his hold, only to charge after her, having her roll around the forest floor, with him after her, over her, under her. He's jumping back and forth before her, she mimicking his movements, his paws and mouth all over her, just like hers on him. Pretty soon she gets the gist of it, or rather forms an effective technique, consisting of dodging and avoiding his gently snapping jaws or the paws he tries to trap her with. Instead she's going in for quick nips, at the areas he's most vulnerable and then backing off. Would she bite for real she actually could damage him. Underneath all his giddiness he's impressed; she could hold her own, he's sure of that, in a real battle. Maybe not completely against him or someone like him, but she could definitely take Quil and Jared, and have a chance against Paul and Embry, maybe Sam too with a little fine-tuning of her technique. She's got passion and heart enough, that's for sure. He's dazed by her scent and the thrill of playing with her.

If animals could laugh and flirt, this is what his behavior would be seen as. They're rolling all over the clearing, his heart singing with joy. Soon he's forgetting all of this being a game, as he boldly storms closer, trying to catch a whiff of her female parts, barely avoiding the snapping of her jaws. He doesn't retreat, instead he bumps against her with a little more force and intent this time, and then throws his front paws over her neck, his body trying to hold her in place, trying to still her tries to escape by biting the coat at her neck, only to earn a painful cut at his side from her sharp teeth. A real bite, a hard one. The russet wolf isn't deterred by her aggression. Not at all. It only spurs him on. The human in him always having loved challenges, but that love is nothing compared to the wild excitement the wolf feels at the thought of this challenge, making him bark enthusiastically. The wolf really, really wants to smell her. Everywhere, but most of all he wants to smell her female parts. His growls turning deeper and more feral when that desire fills him. Could she just be still for a moment? Her feet are dancing like a boxer's, but he's ready for her every movement. He won't let her flee very far from him. Maybe run a little for fun, because he loves the thrill of chasing after her. It leads to one of the best moments in the wolf's existence, that of catching her again. The russet wolf loves nothing more than catching her, bodily feeling how she's his, his mate, his girlfriend, and the promises the feat of catching and holding her might bring him, how she might show her appreciation when he has again proved to her how masculine, strong and fast he is, maybe by licking his muzzle or letting him smell her female parts. The russet wolf, and the human boy know females always want their men to prove themselves to them and he's very willing to do exactly that. The russet wolfis certainthat catching her is the best way to do it. The she-wolf will be very impressed by that. He can't wait to show how good he is at catching her, and when he has caught her, she will reward him by being still and then he can smell her all over, his nose buried to her body, like he wishes.

She snarls in earnest now, seeming very irritated. The russet wolf emotions go frantic. What's wrong? He doesn't understand. Is she hungry again? He becomes cranky when he's hungry too. Does she want him to hunt for her again? Or is she sweaty, does she want them to go to the river for a dip?

He lets go of his desirous wishes to press his nose all over he body, for the moment at least, to approach her with his tongue lapping in the air, ready to lick her muzzle again, to soothe her and have her tell him what's wrong, so he can fix it. He's very good at fixing things, and he wants the female to know that, so he can fix what's bothering her.

"Geez Jake, you're just too much sometimes. What's up with all men thinking they have to prove themselves by stupid stunts or impressing girls? What the hell is up with that? Why can't someone just realize that all that matters is someone to talk to and to be a really good friend. Why does it always have to be some kind of game, why can't a guy just view me as a friend. Am I not good enough to have as a friend? Is my body all there is to me?"

His tail stops wagging abruptly, hurt washing over him by the exasperated tone of her inner-voice, the sharpness of her thoughts, making them almost taste bitter in his mouth. Hurt by her thinking the skills he wants to impress her with are stupid, that his wanting to impress her is stupid, of her not recognizing how he does see her as his friend, that he does want to talk with her. All the time. About everything and nothing, to never stop, even going as far as having her constantly chatter like Seth. He wants that, and other things too. Why is it wrong that he wants more too? His girlfriend...Isn't she that already? Wasn't that, the night... wasn't that what it all meant?

He can't stop the noises, the whimpering whining, his wolfish voicing of his hurt emotions. His pain magnifying when she turns her head away from his tries to gently tongue her, by his way of trying to make her understand that he doesn't want to hurt her, that he wants everything for her that she wishes for. That he won't push, if she doesn't like that. Doesn't she like when he licks her muzzle? Why doesn't she like it?

His heart ache seems to plant itself in her body too.

"It's not that...It's just.." she mumbles in her mind, turning her head back, butting her nose against his, a forgiveness and an apology at the same time, which immediately makes his tongue start working again, a bit slower, little less desperate, more cautious this round.

"I, Jake, I... Look, we're friends, Jake."

His tail starts wagging again, hopeful. Of course they're friends. She's going to be his best friend, the only thing that makes him whole. His girlfriend. His heart, his soul, his everything.

"Jake..." Her mind is chiding, stern almost, but also sad, which stabs at his heart painfully, until he manages to pick out something in her emotions, something that has his head swimming from how he feels like his heart is too big for his chest, pumping too much blood around all of a sudden, never ever feeling this alive before. He's sure he can feel every emotion in the world by how wide his heart gets. She can't hide all of her emotions, no matter how she tries to block this one feeling, he can distinguish it out of the soft tune of her heart, responding to his affections, no matter how she tries to suppress it, deny it.

You love me, he wants to tell her, because that's what he hears in her heart. But before he gets it out, she turns her mind to the faint presence of the three wolves still on patrol.

"Look, I need to get home. I want to visit dad, and I need time alone. To think about things. I just... we're friends, Jake. Friends."

He nods, understands – partly - and holds his knowledge to himself, locking the amazement of his discovery in his heart. To safe-guard it, to examine it later when he's alone, to be in awe over the wonder of it. She loves him. Just like he loves her. To give those words to her later, when she asks for it, when she's ready.

"I've got some extra clothes by the old tree-house, you can borrow some and then I'll walk you home," he thinks, already feeling much better again. He'll take her home, drive her to the hospital if she wants him to, let her have alone time to think and then he'll call or visit her in the evening and talk with her. He'll talk with her the next day, and the next, and every day, until she gets hoarse from talking and still he'll listen. When she won't have a thing more to say, he'll sit with her in silence, and when she tires of that, then he'll finally kiss her and give her something new to talk about, like his name on her lips. His tail yet again wagging excitedly by his secret and well-hidden plans.

When he "accidentally" presses his body against hers when they trot towards the tree-house, she lets him, fully aware it's no accident at all, or at least she becomes aware when it keeps happening every other step. Now that he has found the tune to the wave-length of that emotion, he listens closely, noticing how, whenever he brushes against her, her heart spirals into a faster, unruly pace. It makes him breathless, and makes his heart pound too, electricity coursing through him every time their bodies touch. It's torture, and wonderfully exhilarating at the same time. He's more careful this time with his thoughts, trying to not show how excited he gets by these stolen touches, and by her minimal, almost invisible reactions. She claims to not like games, and he won't play any, but this is one he can't give up. And isn't she playing it too, by not telling him off? Even if she's denying it all. Denying any knowledge of what they're doing right now.

Soon they reach their old tree-house, one built by her father, with the help of most of the kids their age on the rez, a tree-house he once imagined moving into as a kid, with her.

She laughs, sounding genuinely happy again. "I love this house. I remember how you and Embry and Quil always used to sneak out here, trying to spy on me and your sisters when we were camping here in the summer. We could always scare Embry and Quil off, but you were always so stubborn and refused to leave, no matter what Rach and Becca threatened you with, always sneaking your way into our sleep-overs. You've must've been the most stubborn kid in the world."

He laughs too, remembering all those happy childhood memories, like sharing a sleeping-bag with Leah.

"You were just as stubborn as me, if not even more. Still are." He grins, and steps ahead of her, shifting to human form on the fly, so she won't catch how he thinks she right now is stubbornly in denial, claiming they're only friends, when they're already so much more, how he's hers and she is his – he's never been as sure as when he's thinking back on the ceremony, thinking of the emotion he caught in her heart and how she stubbornly tries to hide it, deny it. It's there and it's true.

He's climbing up the tree, not embarrassed about being naked in front of her. Not anymore. Actually he's getting quite thrilled by it. He's fast up the tree, and sure she can only see his backside, if she's looking, which he hopes she is, even if she will pretend that she's not. And yes, he did hear that she gets annoyed by games, did listen to it, and doesn't think any of this really is a game, because his heart, his spirit is at stake. But still he can't help but want her to look at his body. He knows from his sisters fawning over movie stars and male models that girls do look at men's bodies and fantasize about them, maybe just as much as he fantasizes about women – Leah to be exact – and the thought of her eying him covertly makes his body react, face flush, breath become shallow and his cock start to harden.

By now he's already inside the tree-house, his pulse soaring, excited. This non-game much more thrilling than for instance watching porn ever was, the thought of her looking at him such a turn-on, and even more so imagining that she likes what she saw, that she might think about it later, fantasize about him, his body. These thoughts swirling in his mind as he finds his cut-offs and then throws down his t-shirt and sweatpants to her.

The shimmer in the air tells him that she has shifted, and it's not his fault that there are big gaps between the boards of the tree-house, and that the bushes behind which Leah is dressing aren't enough to hide her beautiful figure. God, she's everything he desires, has ever dreamed of. Even when he can only see her from the side, it's the most beautiful and the sexiest thing he has ever witnessed. He can't get enough of admiring her. The perfect roundness of her ass making him bite his lip from not groaning out loud at seeing her bend over to pull the sweatpants on, his eyes following the womanly smoothness of her thighs as her hands pull the pants up, until they reach the fascinating curve of her hip, his eyes tracing it up to the slimness of her waist, lingering on the swell of her breast, just in time to touch the slenderness of her shoulder, before the t-shirt covers that, her breasts, stomach, but still he can admire. The delicacy of her neck, her chin that would fit perfectly between his thumb and his index finger, her slightly parted full lips he's dying to taste, her lashes like feathers over her eyes, that he wants nothing more than to stare into, for all eternity, to discover all the secrets she hides in her soul. Everything he ever wants to touch, to feel against his hands, her softness against his much harder body, to marvel at the contrast between them. Between male and female, between him and her.

"Okay, I'm ready," she calls to him, making him draw a sharp breath, because he's not ready to go down right now. He needs a moment to calm down, or a cold shower, ice-cold. Oh great spirits, why does he always get in this situation? And he really wants to walk her home.

"Just a minute!" He tries to make his voice sound normal, to hide the pained squeak in it. Drawing sharp breaths, trying to think of something else, like Quil's Granny in her underwear which he had the misfortune of witnessing last week.

"What's taking you so long?" she exclaims impatiently and he hears how she starts her climb upwards.

Quickly he struggles to button his cut-offs, and god it's uncomfortable, smothering and downright painful. By the time Leah's head emerges in the opening to the tree-house he's sitting with his knees drawn up and pretends to be looking through old comic magazines that are still lying around, trying to level his breathing, to hide the flushness of his face.

She raises an eye-brow and shakes her head. "You're worse than Seth. He's always shouting 'just a minute' when called to dinner and then you go up there to check what the hell is taking so long and then he's busy reading comic books in his room. Blind and deaf to the world."

Well Seth might be blind and deaf to the world, but he's painfully aware of Leah, her voice, the way she looks and now in his clothes, her smell, now even better when mixed with the smell of him through his t-shirt.

There's silence, and he can't, literally can't, move right now.

"Jake..." She hesitates, squirms, eyes lowered, and he wants to reach out and hold her, but gets distracted when she licks her lips, and then how her eyes, once she lifts her gaze to his, pierce him, making his stomach clench, and him having to shift, because his wanting her is driving him crazy.

"About earlier... I really want us to be friends. I... You're important to me, and I think we could be great friends.. Like a team, you know. Like... I don't know, we could work together. I really don't wanna have Sam ordering me around, or ordering Seth around for that matter, and if we team-up and support each other, I think the council might see that it doesn't have to be Sam leading us, that they could see that Sam doesn't know best..."

He's staring at her unblinkingly, drowning in her gaze, and ever word is precious to him. Important in the way his father's words are.

"I... Why don't you think about it, and... We could talk later, when you have a chance to think about it. I know Sam's going to try something at the next council meeting. You and I, we could be strong together, support each other, and shit like that. You don't have to decide right now, but I know you don't like Sam's way of leading either. Two voices are stronger than one, and we could be a really good team, like when we were kids." She finishes off, smiling almost a little insecurely – very unlike Leah - like she thinks he might say no to anything she'll suggest, to a suggestion like this, when it's one of the greatest ideas he's ever heard.

Before he has time to tell her that, she's already moving. Closer to him.

"Alright, talk to you later." She breathes out, goose-bumps breaking out where her breath touches his skin, and then her lips connect with his cheek. He almost cums that moment, her hot breath over his skin, the soft, warm and slightly moist touch of her lips, and her scent so close and inviting. If he were not beyond astonished and struggling hard to keeps his focus to not embarrass himself, he surely would've pulled her across his lap, crushed her under him, never let her go.

He feels his pulse pound in his ears, almost drowning the quiet fall when she jumps down from the tree-house, her soft footfall when she sprints away towards her home. He listens closely, straining his hearing until he can hear her opening her front door, only then letting himself fall back against the hard floor of the tree-house, when he knows she's safely in her own home. Only then his hand finding the spot where she touched him with her lips, his eyes closing at that miraculous feeling.

Slowly his hand moves south. He lies in the tree-house for a long time, even after he's found release for his desire, after he's ground out her name, loud, not caring if anyone might hear, because he can't stop the need to cry it out to the heavens. He wants her so bad. Needs her.

His cheek is still tingling, his heart radiant and he's sure he's glowing, because even if she denies it, she's his. She's his heart's, his soul's, his spirit's, and he'll make her see that he's hers too. However long it takes him.


Jake: *To the reviewers* Don't worry, I won't forget about you, even when I'm focusing on Leah! I promise to visit each and every one of you, because you're all part of my heart too!