A/N: This is the last chapter. Thank you for all the support via reviews and private messages! I had a lot of fun writing this story, and I'm kind of sad it's over. All good things come to an end, though. If you have any final comments or complaints, feel free to make them now. It's too late for me to do anything about them, so this will work out perfectly.
The white winter sky was bright, blinding, without the sun. Harry hadn't been able to sleep, so he got out of bed and went for a long walk around the property. He ended up in a little valley, filled with snow drifts and patches of treacherous ice. Deer tracks dotted the little waves and dips of snow, black against the purity of the landscape. Snow hung from the trees like heavy summer fruit.
Through the trees at the top of the slope he could see the sky was white, strengthening to pink on the horizon. Flat clouds floated like ships across the sea of sky. Black outlines of weeping willows swayed in the cold wind to his left.
He thought about things that he didn't normally think about anymore. It was easy to think about the here and now when he was so busy, but now seemed like a good time to think about the future, where all of this was headed. He was going to be with Jacob for as long as Jacob would have him; that was as good as saying forever, really.
They wouldn't have a marriage ceremony, he knew. It wouldn't feel right to either of them. They didn't need the validation of a minister or the government, nor to host some sort of ceremony to make their love for each other more 'real'. Kids…those were an extremely distant possibility. Not impossible, but certainly not likely. Neither of them were truly the father type. Harry wouldn't know how to give a child a normal upbringing, and Jacob was too young now and had so much to figure out still.
Jacob still wanted to get an education when he could, and Harry was willing to support him through that. He knew it was important to Jacob that he could always have something that would help him feel like an independent man who could take care of himself, a man who achieved things. He never wanted to compromise Jacob's sense of confidence. That would destroy so much of the young man he'd come to love.
It was funny, really. He'd never been with someone like Jacob. He'd never dated someone younger, someone who hadn't been through the war like the rest of his normal circle. It was really different, but Jacob made him feel good. Jacob made him feel like he didn't have to be defined by his past all the time, no matter how historically groundbreaking it was. He was free to be himself.
And…well, he liked to think that he made Jacob feel like he was free to be himself as well. Jacob's crowd here was loud and bold, but Jacob had a quiet spirit and didn't like a lot of the things his peers and Pack did. Jacob was older than his years, and that was why they suited each other so well. Their ages met in the middle. Harry still felt strange when he realized he was 30. He was no longer young, but in his prime.
He slowly walked back to the house as the sun glittered off the icicles dangling from the highest gables almost to the floor and as thick as tree trunks.
Slipping back into bed, he tried not to wake Jacob. Jacob grumbled when Harry's icy toes brushed his calf, and rolled over, his broad brown back to Harry. Harry smiled fondly and rubbed his hands together to warm them before he ran his fingertip down the beautiful crease in Jacob's spine. He splayed his hand, fingers fitting neatly between his ribs.
Sometimes he felt like Jacob was out of his league. Harry would only ever be average in the looks department, but Jacob was gorgeous. He was tall and strong and healthy, with a personality as beautiful as his broad friendly face. Harry pressed his cold nose to Jacob's shoulder blade and silently chuckled when Jacob rolled back over and flung a heavy arm over his chest and shoved his face into the crook of Harry's shoulder. He was a big cuddly bear in bed when half-asleep, and Harry liked it when he would roll around like this, all warm and lovely.
He drifted off to sleep at last, chest rising gently beneath Jacob's thick arm.
They celebrated Christmas without giving gifts to each other. It felt strange and uncomfortable to think of buying each other anything, so they didn't.
They ate a late brunch at Billy's house, and Harry gave him a new set of fishing rods that he'd picked up in a specialty store in La Push. They'd been very expensive, but some research had showed that that was because they were top-of-the-line in quality and customer satisfaction. From the wide-eyed look of glee on Billy's face, he could tell that his gift was appreciated. Jacob pretended that he hadn't bought him anything, that his 'slave labor' was enough of a present; but then he pulled out a wrapped DVD collection of Billy's favorite baseball team's greatest hits.
It was their cue to leave half-way through the afternoon, when Billy said he was going over to the Swan's to keep Charlie company. Harry winced in sympathy at the thought of Charlie spending Christmas alone without wife or daughter. Maybe Sylvie could help him set Charlie up with someone. He didn't know the man, but he'd had enough lonely Christmases to know that no one should have to be alone for the holidays.
Back at home, they were greeted by Sylvie, who demanded to know where her presents were. She hadn't bothered to put on anything over her underwear, and Harry could see Jacob modestly covering his eyes behind him.
Harry groaned, "Ah, shit, I forgot to get you anything!"
He burst out laughing, and she saw that he'd been kidding. With a roar of rage, she chased him as he made a break for the front door. Jacob watched from the porch as Harry sprinted along the edge of the property, wading through snow up to shins. Sylvie was light enough and fast enough to skim the top of the drifts, and seemed to float as she caught up to him. Harry squawked when she collided with his back and knocked him face-first into the prickly bushes, screaming obscenities and threats of eviction if her present was not dug out of hiding immediately.
Harry's yells for assistance were muffled by the snow, but Jacob heard them and came out. He pried Sylvie off of Harry with ease, something that seemed to briefly flabbergast her, and dug his boyfriend out of the snowdrift he was stuck in. Harry shivered and threw his arms around Jacob's waist, burying his snowy head in his chest for warmth.
Jacob began wading through the snow and called over his shoulder, "You coming, landlady?"
She danced lightly on top of the snow past him and through the door, not bothering to answer. When he stepped inside, she was daintily picking individual clumps of snow out of her white hair. Jacob wondered how she could see them when they were the same color.
Instead of asking, he said, "Aren't you going to put some clothes on?"
"No; it's been my tradition since I built this house with my two hands to walk around naked on holidays. But since you boys are here now, I put on some of the skimpy scraps that women of this era consider 'under garments'. You should be grateful. I could be wandering around with, as Hermione calls it, my muff out."
Jacob gagged a little at the thought, and she grinned wolfishly.
Harry wriggled in his arms impatiently and Jacob put him down with reluctance. He took any chance to hold Harry he could. Without speaking a word to either of them, Harry disappeared upstairs. There was a loud crash several minutes later, followed by a shout of,
Jacob sighed. Harry came back down in a bit, hands behind his back. Sylvie practically salivated, vibrating in place. It was obvious that she was ready to pounce on him and snatch what she considered hers. Grinning all the while, he revealed a jewelry box. She took it and ran her hand over the blue velvet of the box before opening it. Inside was a heavy white gold necklace set with hundreds of small but flawlessly cut rubies. She let out a gasp and threw her arms around Harry's neck.
"Oh, how did you know I loved rubies?"
Harry smirked, "Lucky guess."
She gave him a long look, "You've been reading my diary when I'm asleep, haven't you?"
"Damn you, brat!"
He sprinted for the back doors, shouting over his shoulder, "That's what you get for spying on me in the shower!"
Jacob gave up any hope of a peaceful Christmas evening. There was still hope for crazy late-night sex, but Harry was going to be tired out for several hours, he could tell. He made himself comfortable on the couch and pulled out the paper, flipping to the comics section first. After that he worked quietly on the crossword in between reading articles that caught his eye, glancing up occasionally to catch a glimpse of Harry and Sylvie's rough snow fight outside.
Two days passed.
The white winter sky was bright, blinding, without the sun. And Harry was bored. He'd finished his preserving of the magical milk pods (which were just like normal ones, except that they sparkled and made your skin feel like butter when distilled in the correct potion), finished stringing up garlic for later medicinal brewing, and actually cleaned his 'study'. Hell, he'd even mopped all the floors and beaten out the attic carpets.
And now he'd run out of projects. He couldn't even go creeping through Sylvie's lair to wake her up in the middle of the day and bother her. She'd had much, much too much to drink last night and warned him that she was sleeping off a massive hangover and that she could not be held accountable for her actions should he startle her.
He swung his legs over the arm of his favorite blue sofa and let out a long sigh. He was out of books too. Hell, he couldn't even doodle. All his paper was designated for different projects, all of which he had done as much as he could with for the time being. After several minutes of listless leg swinging, he went into the kitchen and dug the phone out of its cabinet. He almost never used it, and it took him several tries to get it to work properly.
Jacob sounded elated to hear Harry's voice when he practically sang out, "Hello my darling!"
Harry stifled a giggle.
"Hey Jake…are you at work?"
"Yeah, I'm literally watching paint dry right now. God, why does everyone want their stuff painted? Furniture, houses, rooms, sheds…it's driving me crazy."
Harry made a sympathetic noise, "Aw, my poor baby. You're a wizard with a paint brush, though; very professional."
Harry could practically see him blushing. He affected a casual tone, leaning one hip against the counter and looking over his nails. They were getting scruffy and needed a manicure bad, "Well, I'm sorry you're busy. I was going to entice you into finishing up super-man fast so you can get off early and come home in time to have sex on the sofa in the middle of the afternoon."
Jacob inhaled sharply, "I'll be there in two hours at the earliest. Don't start the party without me, please?"
Harry laughed, "Honey, it isn't a party without you." He kissed the receiver loud enough for Jacob to hear the 'smack' sound and hung up. Grinning and a little red-faced, he went upstairs to groom the hell out of himself. He was going to wash his hair with the peppermint shampoo Jacob liked so much, clean all of his nails and buff them to perfection, and scrape off the dead skin his body accumulated from so much outdoor labor.
Jacob was true to his word and arrived two hours later on the dot. He walked through the house until he found Harry lounged lazily on the back parlor sofa, peeling an orange. Harry grinned when he saw him and offered him a segment of orange. He knelt on the thick carpet by the sofa and accepted it, chewing slowly and taking in Harry. He smelled freshly-bathed and all-around delicious. His skin fairly glowed, and he had a suspicion that he was naked under the quilt gathered around his hips and legs. Bending at the shoulder, he lowered his head and nuzzled the fabric aside until he could kiss one of Harry's perfect little hipbones. Harry let out a breathy laugh and laid his cool palm against the back of his neck.
Jacob's eyelashes fluttered at the feel of Harry's cool skin between his lips and against his neck. Harry's body temperature often sank below normal, lending his skin a delicious chill that complimented Jacob's feverish flush nicely.
"I wish neither of us had to work," he murmured, "I wish that we could do nothing but this all day."
Harry sighed, leaning back on the sofa so that Jacob could lay his head comfortably against his belly.
"Me too, but then we'd get bored of each other eventually. I don't want to get bored of you, Jake. If work helps us miss each other more at the end of the day, I can accept that." Harry reached down and began to stroke his hair in flicking teasing strokes, walking his fingers near Jacob's ears and tugging them playfully.
Jacob lifted his head from Harry's belly. He knelt before him, clasping Harry's legs. He rolled his head, trying to catch Harry's stroking fingers in his mouth. Giving up on that, he wormed his hands between Harry and the couch and squeezed his nates and thighs, impatience showing when Harry just laughed and tried to squirm away from his ticklish maneuvers.
"You're a savage," Harry snorted between giggles. Jacob scowled.
"I am not!"
Harry wriggled out of his reach, scooting to the left and making room for Jacob. He crawled onto the sofa, not caring if his animal side was showing, and grabbed Harry by the hips. Harry laughed against when his fingers tickled him. Jacob pulled him by his hips down the length of the couch and into his waiting arms. Harry snuggled close, helping him out of his trousers and pointing out his mismatched socks with disapproval.
Jacob distracted him with a fond kiss to his eyebrow, flinging the last of his clothing clear across the room. Harry rearranged himself in his arms and dug his hand between the couch cushions, looking for something. Jacob watched in confusion until Harry shoved a condom into his hands and produced a small bottle of lubricant from its hiding place.
Jacob's mouth fell open, "Since when do we keep sex supplies here?"
Harry gave him a funny look, reaching a hand down between his legs, "What do you mean? This stuff has been here since we rearranged all the furniture. Didn't I tell you? There's stuff like this all over the house. You know, just in case."
Jacob just smirked and shook his head. Sheathed in rubber, he reached down to assist Harry. Harry let out a breathy moan and began to move his hips to compliment every twitch and stroke of his fingers. Jacob propped himself over him with a hand braced on the back of the couch, watching Harry work himself into a frenzy of desire.
He tipped his head to kiss him, and Harry arched up into his mouth, a hand twisting into his hair and holding him close. Jacob slowly dragged his fingers against Harry's prostrate one final time before slipping them out as carefully as he could Harry clenched around him, reluctant to have him go.
Jacob tried to figure out the best way to do this, and ended up rolling Harry onto his side, slipping behind him. Harry pulled one knee up to his chest in anticipation, and Jacob curved his hand on his flank. He pushed inside, head flopping onto Harry's shoulder. Even after all these months, the thrill of penetration hadn't dulled.
He bit the inside of his mouth, hard, to stave off the wave of uncontrolled passion and held still for a few seconds. Harry huffed out a breath and rolled his hips in a figure eight that made stars appear behind his tightly-closed eyes.
Harry was smiling, he knew, and repeated the same move several times in succession. Jacob strengthened his grip on his thigh and moved counter to Harry's rolls, scraping his blunt head against Harry's prostate.
Harry whispered several curses, biting his wrist.
He leaned down and spoke directly into his ear as he told Harry exactly what he did to his self-control and concentration. He told him what he'd thought about doing to him while getting hit on by housewives of all ages, and Harry snorted, curving his back away from Jacob's chest in order to shove his arse closer.
And then something went wrong and they fell off the couch. Harry's head hit the floor with a 'crack!' and Jacob yelled, "Fuck!"
Harry whimpered a little, clutching his head. Half an hour with a bag of frozen peas against his head later, Harry's hand crept into his lap and he asked if he wanted to continue what they'd been doing before.
Jacob thought about it, and then grabbed the quilt from its crumpled heap and spread it out on the carpet. He then picked up Harry and laid him down in the middle of the quilt. Harry watched him, one hand holding his ice pack in place and the other reaching for him. Jacob complied and crawled forward, a finger nudging between his legs to see if the lubrication was still sufficient. It wasn't, and he had to repeat the previous process. Harry didn't make a single sound of complaint, instead choosing to shimmy his entire torso in time with his probing fingers.
Content that he wouldn't split Harry in half like a melon anymore, he flipped one of Harry's legs over his shoulder and pushed inside an inch at a time. Harry watched him with half-lidded eyes and parted lips, smiling.
Bending Harry nearly in half, he kissed his ear and tried to figure out a rhythm that wouldn't send Harry's head banging like a bobble-head. Harry hissed and strained up against him, head tilting back and dislodging the ice pack. Jacob gave up hope then and braced a hand on one side of Harry's head and one on his hip, pounding as hard as he dared. Harry shouted then, and Jacob was sure Sylvie would hear them.
He didn't care anymore when Harry grabbed hold of his backside and used his grip to push Jacob faster and deeper, moans and gasps getting tangled together on his tongue.
When Harry's eyelids began to flutter and his muscles to tense, Jacob changed position. He sat back on his calves and pulled Harry's back onto his thighs, pressing ever deeper inside. With his feet settled firmly on the floor behind Jacob's back, Harry had a lot more leverage to thrash around at any pace he wanted.
He set it at intense, and Jacob quickly lost his meager control, light losing its consistency and all sense of sound disappearing. He was dimly aware of collapsing forward on top of Harry. His lower back felt like someone had punched it, and he let out a long groan. Despite the pain, he felt incredible. Fortunately for him, Harry was just as frustrated and came several rough palmings from Jacob later.
Their position became extremely uncomfortable as the after-glow faded enough to return muscle control. They untangled themselves, and Jacob grabbed Harry's bag of peas from the edge of the quilt, gently replacing it over his bruise. It was mostly-melted now, but Harry kissed his hand with appreciation anyway.
He mumbled something, and Harry deciphered it somehow and wrapped the edges of the quilt around them, sealing them in a little cocoon on the floor.
Jacob snorted, too tired to laugh, "It's a bit late."
Harry shrugged, "Still."
They drifted off to sleep, Harry tucked against Jacob's back.
The rest of the week slipped away, and New Year's came around.
Hermione opted to celebrate New Year's with the Weasleys, but sent a very nice bottle of champagne to Harry for the celebration. He bought her a box of the rare Bulgarian chocolates she'd developed a taste for thanks to Viktor in fourth year. Luna couldn't come, though why was still a mystery. She'd looked mistily out the window at a crow when she told Harry she was going to miss it, and then mumbled something about angels and bathtubs. Harry decided not to think too hard about that.
That meant that Neville was coming for sure, though he would spend most of his time wrapped around Sylvie like an octopus. And George had promised to sneak away. He said there was only so much Weasley cheer he could take in one night, and that he would love to meet Jacob's Pack out of sheer curiosity.
True to his predictions, Neville blushingly informed him that he wouldn't be going with them to the Reservation, opting instead to have a 'private' celebration with Sylvie. The lewd gestures Sylvie was making in the background as Neville apologized left little to the imagination of what was going to occur during that private celebration.
George was still on the bandwagon, and Harry dragged out of his that he wasn't seeing anyone at the time. He exchanged a significant look with Jacob, both of them thinking of Leah at once.
New Year was being held at Jacob's house, despite the tight fit. Music thumped loud enough to be heard outside, with loud yells and laughter accompanying it, and every window was lit. Harry smiled at Jacob, missing their quiet secluded refuge already but knowing that it was important for him to show solidarity with Jacob's roots.
George looked excited, and assured both of them that it didn't matter to him that he didn't know anyone else at the party. Harry promised not to abandon him, and George laughed.
"I'm not a girl, you know. If you two need to sneak off for a private snog, I'll handle myself. As long as there's liquor, I can have a good time."
Harry smiled and slapped him on the arm, "It's really good to see you, George. It reminds me of old times."
George's smile grew a tad sad, and he nodded when Harry asked if he was alright, "Yeah, I'm just…thinking of Fred; you know how that goes."
Jacob wondered if he ever would. He'd lost his mother, but that was one person to the many these people had seen murdered and stolen away before their very eyes, when they were still children.
Paul threw the door open and charged down the front path to attempt a tackle-hug on Jacob. Seeing as Jacob was a good foot and a half taller and heavy to match it, this only made Jacob rock back on his heels once before he recovered and tossed Paul into a snow drift like a rag doll.
Paul just laughed and introduced himself to George, who was friendly and animated with him, letting Paul drag him inside with promises to get him a cold drink.
Stepping inside was like stepping inside a house-sized bubble of chaos. There were streamers on everything and confetti kept falling from some unknown location. All the imprints were there, and some assorted people from the Quileute tribe. The alcohol was running, since quite a few of the couples had taken over couches and chairs to make out despite the noise and general hyper energy permeating everything around them.
Harry looked around for Leah and didn't see her at first. He went to the kitchen for a drink, leaving Jacob to ask Seth how his search for his imprint was going. Inside he found Paul telling George about some practical jokes he used to pull back in high school. George was laughing and even pulled out his pocket note book to write some ideas down.
And then Leah emerged from the basement, her arms full of bags of crisps. She took one look at George, standing there in all his glorious colorful clothing and hair, and dropped the bags all at once. Her face was slack, eyes not looking like they were there and yet piercing a line of space directly towards George.
She looked like she'd been struck by lightening, and Harry wondered if that was what Jacob looked like just before he fainted on him. He didn't remember.
Leah swayed dangerously and Harry bolted across the room to hold her aright, George joining him a second later.
"You feeling a bit faint, ma'am?" he asked, courteously kicking some teenagers out of the kitchen and sitting her down at the table. She stared at him, a soft look on her face that Harry had only seen in heartbeat measures before. George finally seemed to notice the way she was looking at him and turned so red Harry thought his ears would catch fire.
He tugged awkwardly on a tuft of his red hair and her eyes eagerly followed the movement. He sat down across from her, moving slowly and cautiously. Leah leaned forward across the table and laid her hand on his arm.
"Would you like to go out to dinner with me?"
Harry made a speedy exit, dragging Paul by the ear. Out in the hall, Paul whined,
"What was that all about?"
"She imprinted, you tit!" Harry whispered, swatting him. Paul rubbed his arm where Harry hit him, eyes wide and confused.
"Really? I thought she couldn't."
Harry rolled his eyes, "Just like women couldn't be wolves? I don't think Leah likes following rules, Paul."
He left Paul to chew on that thought and found Jacob. He talked to some people, but kept close to Jacob as the countdown came closer. Not wanting to make a public spectacle of themselves, they snuck off to the kitchen as the countdown began. Harry put his hands on Jacob's shoulders and held his breath as Jacob whispered the last ten seconds.
Harry crushed his mouth against Jacob's just as the shout of 'one!' rang out through the house. Jacob made a sound very similar to a moan and pushed him against the nearest counter and kept him there with his body weight. Harry voiced no complaints, swiping his tongue against Jacob's and drawing him closer with an arm around his neck.
Despite the initial frenzy, their kiss turned slow and desperate. Harry poured himself into the hot caresses of mouths that fit together as though designed like puzzle pieces. Jacob's hand came around to grip the back of his shirt, hard, bunching the fabric into a knot inside his fist.
Harry let out a gasp when teeth grazed his lip.
A loud rustling noise drew their attention to the pantry. Fearing vermin, Jacob threw open the accordion-folded door and slapped a hand over his eyes when he saw Leah and George in a highly comprised position. Harry howled with laughter behind him.
Leah did not appear to be impressed.
Tired of the noise and festivities, they slipped out the back door and into the woods. The ice-cold air pinched Harry's cheeks and made his eyes water. They walked without needing to speak until they emerged onto one of the many beaches of Washington. The water lapped the shore to one side, a murky puddle that stretched beyond their line of sight in the dark, and the trees hung heavy on the other. They rustled with every twitch of wildlife and whisper of wind.
All around them was peace and nature at its quietest, and the heavy harmony of it all made Harry light-headed. He leaned his head against Jacob's shoulder for support, and Jacob offered to carry him.
"No, I want to feel the sand between my toes…"
Not that there was much sand to be had. This beach was primarily pebbled, and the stones glinted different shades of purple and indigo in the moonlight. Stars twinkled down on them, seeming to wink in the vast navy of the sky. Harry stared up at it, walking like a man asleep. Jacob stared at Harry, and then joined him in looking at the sky. Both sights took his breath away, and made him deliriously happy that the universe, fate, whatever, had aligned their paths to travel side-by-side.
Harry stepped on a sharp rock and cursed, hopping on one foot while clutching his injured one.
"What a way to start the year…" he grumbled. Jacob smiled and pulled him into a kiss that lasted for several long, slow minutes. Harry looked dazed when Jacob pulled away, and he sagged forward until his forehead hit Jacob's collarbone.
"This is what I want to do all next year, and the year after that and the one after that one as well. Hell, I want to spend all the years I have left doing just this."
"What, kissing?" Jacob couldn't hide his humor.
Harry shook his head, "No, just…this; just the two of us, together."
Jacob kissed him again.
End Chapter 30
End Neophyte and Neurotic
Final chance to review, kids. It would be appreciated, even though I am slightly shamed that this story took me so long to write, what with it being only 30 chapters.