Disclaimer: Twilight belongs to Stephanie Meyers. Stargate belongs a whole lot of people who aren't me.
Spoilers: Twilight: All the books. Stargate: Season 7 Episode Fragile Balance.
Timeline: This fic is set seven years after Breaking Dawn and ten years after Fragile Balance. Both characters are twenty-six.
Pairings/Characters: Leah Clearwater, Clone-Jack O'Neill.
Author's Note: I have tried to make this as understandable for those who don't read Twilight. The pairing may seem a little out-there, but I ask that you give it a chance.
Summary: It wasn't imprinting. There was no gravity shifting, no steel cables tying them together for all eternity, no weird ass wolf-magic, no zombie love.
"It's not like love at first sight, really. It's more like… gravity moves. When you see her, suddenly it's not the earth holding you here anymore. She does. And nothing matters more than her. And you would do anything for her, be anything for her… You become whatever she needs you to be, whether that's a protector, or a lover, or a friend, or a brother."
Jacob Black, Eclipse, Chapter 8, p.176
Leah chose Minnesota because her dad used to go fishing there with Billy Black and Charlie Swan when she was younger. They'd go away two or three weeks, usually in the summer, just the three of them and then they'd spend the rest of the summer talking about it. Her dad always said they had the best fishing there. And while she's not really into the fishing Minnesota has to offer, she's certainly into the fact that, as far as the Cullen's know, there are no vampires and no werewolves. The vampires and werewolves she does know are far enough away from her that she doesn't have to think about them if she doesn't want to. They're far enough away that she can pretend, for a while at least, that she's a normal.
No one in Minnesota knows her or who or what she is. They don't know that she's still angry and bitter inside even though it's been eight years since the man she loved imprinted on her cousin, that it's been seven years since she first shape-shifted into a werewolf. The people of Minnesota don't know that and they don't care that she once hunted vampires or that, in wolf form, she can rip their heads off with her teeth. Although, she doubts they wouldn't care if they did find out the truth. Still, here she's no one. Here she can be the girl she once was.
If only Leah could remember who that was.
The University of Minnesota is big and intimidating, not that she'll admit that out loud. The second she steps foot on campus she feels out of place. Most of the students running around her are seven years younger than her, all fresh out of high school. She's fairly certain they're smarter than she is too. After all, each and every one of them got into this University on their own merit. Leah got into this school because she's a part of the Jacob's 'Leech Loving Pack', because she's Jacob's beta and step-sister to Bella 'I'm such a perfect leech and everybody loves me' Cullen (Leah's not sure she'll ever forgive her mother for marrying Charlie Swan thereby making her related to vampires – nauseating ones at that).
Five years ago she would have ripped off Edward Cullen's head for even suggesting that they not only pay for her education, but alter her school records to enable to her get into college in the first place. Her last year of school didn't end all that well, thanks to Sam, but it's amazing what seven years of watching all of the Quileute werewolves find their soul-mate will do to your pride. The wolves never rubbed the fact they imprinted in her face, if anything, they tried not to mention it, but Leah got tired of watching everyone finding happiness except her. So when the mind-reading leech offered her an out, the day after her brother Seth imprinted, Leah picked the University of Minnesota as her escape.
She's a day's drive away from the wolves and a little less than that away from the vamps. Close enough that they can get to her if she gets in trouble, but far enough that she at least has the illusion that she's finally living her life... moving on.
It was during her very first class that she first notices a scent unlike anything she's smelled before. It's not offensive like the leech's scent. It's just slightly... off.
It doesn't take long for Leah to locate the source. It's one of the students in her class. He sits just a few rows in front of her, juggling three balls of screwed up paper while they wait for their Professor to arrive. He doesn't seem to be nervous like all the other freshmen. The other kids in the lecture hall are all ready for their class to begin, their notebooks and textbooks are sitting on the tables along with anything and everything they think they might need. But the juggler isn't ready. His bag is on the floor, laptop still inside, and she suspects that the notebook on his desk is only there so he could make something to juggle with. He's singing something about Homer Simpson hitting a chestnut tree quietly while he juggles and waits, not at all concerned about being caught unprepared when the Professor walks in.
Leah suspects his cavalier attitude is because he's not the same age as the rest of the students. From what she can see from her seat he looks older than the other students, definitely not a school leaver – twenty-five or thirty at the most. Leah suddenly wishes she had paid more attention at the beginning of the class so she could have seen him walk in, because there is something definitely different about his scent.
She's not sure how to explain it. His scent is still human... but it seems subtly less. Lacking, artificial even. Leah wonders if maybe there's something wrong with him, if there's something tainting his blood. She's heard enough stories from the bloodsuc... the Cullen's to know that a human's blood can be tainted. Tainted by alcohol, by drugs or disease. She had even experienced it firsthand. When her dad... The times she had visited a hospital, she had been overwhelmed with different scents around humans. Not quite like this one. The scent of sick people isn't appealing but, while the juggler's scent is different, it's not exactly unappealing. Leah makes a note to call Dr Fang tonight when the Professor walks in.
She watches with interest as the juggler continues juggling for a full minute before catching the paper in his hand. The Professor looks towards him and Leah wishes she had a better seat so she could see the juggler's face. She has a feeling the juggler isn't at all perturbed by the glare. She finds herself smiling, because that's something one of her pack brothers would have done.
She only half listens as the Professor introduces himself and goes on to explain what he expects this semester. Instead of giving the Professor her full attention, she finds herself watching the juggler. His laptop is still in his bag and he's not taking any notes but, then, neither is she. She knows she should be paying more attention, but she can't seem to stop watching the –
She freezes when she hears her name and blinks, confused.
"Leah Clearwater?" the Professor repeats.
"Yeah?" She's not sure if she was asked a question because she had stopped listening to the Professor all together. To her relief, the Professor nods and makes a mark on the paper in front of him. Roll call. Attendance is mandatory in this class, something she hopes won't come to bite her in the ass if something goes wrong at home or with Jake, who is now living it up in New Hampshire with the Cullen's.
Leah waits until the Professor calls out the next name on the list before turning back to the juggler. She freezes when she finds herself meeting his eyes. She's not sure why, but she feels almost like a deer caught in headlights. He's looking at her with a strange, thoughtful expression. Too thoughtful. He stares at her for a few more seconds before nodding slightly and turning back to the front of the room.
Leah remains frozen long after he's no longer looking at her. She can't seem to bring herself out of the stupor she's fallen into, because when she looked into his eyes she felt something...
It wasn't imprinting. There was no gravity shifting, no steel cables tying them together for all eternity, no weird ass wolf-magic, no zombie love. No. It wasn't anything like that...
Just a simple gasp, a pounding heart and a stomach full of butterflies.
She looks up at the sound of an unfamiliar voice calling her name and she freezes for the second time in an hour. It's him, the juggler – Jonathan O'Neill (she managed to pay attention to the Professor long enough to hear his name) and he's standing next to her chair.
There's a small, friendly smile on his face and his expression is the same as before... strangely thoughtful. His eyebrows raise slightly when she continues to stare dumbly at him. The butterflies she felt in her stomach when she first saw him are back and having a party now that he's near her. Her heart is pounding so loud she'd be surprised if any leech in a five mile radius couldn't hear it.
The way she reacts to him makes her feel, well, it makes her feel stupid.
"Hey," she greets him when her brain starts working again. "Jonathan O'Neill, right?"
Something flashes in his eyes at her words before he quickly recovers and his smile grows. He holds out his hand. "I prefer Jack."
She takes his hand. His eyebrows shoot up a little higher when their hands connect, but he doesn't make a comment about how hot she is. He lets go of her hand and shifts uncomfortably, causing his scent to wash over her. Up close his scent smells even less normal, more lacking, although she's surprised to find that she... well, she likes it. That thought is enough to cause to take a step back from him.
She feels insanely stupid.
And insanely freakish.
Jonathan – Jack – doesn't even blink at the reaction, instead he smiles. "Look, this might seem a little out of left field or maybe even like a really bad pick up line, but... Are you related to Harry Clearwater?"
Of all the questions in the world that was one she never expected. Not from him. Not from anyone here. She chose this state because no one knew her. "Why do you want to know?" she asks, defensive and in a tone she hasn't used since she left La Push.
He blinks surprise at the animosity in her voice and frowns. "I'm sorry, I used..." His stops and shakes his head, his frown deepening. "Sorry, I shouldn't have bothered you."
He starts to move away but she stops him with her hand. There's no way in hell she's letting him walk out of this lecture hall without telling her how he knew her dad's name. "How do you know Harry Clearwater?"
"I don't. My, er, my dad does... did. He mentioned him a few times. Harry and his friends, Billy and Charlie, used to come up here to fish. My dad used to join them whenever he wasn't working." By the time Jack finishes his little speech, he looks like he's about ready to bolt. "My dad showed me pictures of Harry and his friends. You look like him."
Those last four words brings back her loss in a way that she hasn't felt in years. "He is... He was my father." It still hurts to talk about her dad, but it's not as bad as it once was. It just makes her feel like shit and she's overwhelmed with the urge to run. Not because she's in pain, but because she came here to get away this, her past.
Jack stiffens for a moment and she just knows it's in response to her words, that word. Was. "I'm sorry." His words are sincere and urge to run fades. He seems genuinely sad that her dad died.
"It was a long time ago."
For the twenty-billionth time, Leah wishes she didn't have the werewolf gene, that she hadn't shifted.
Before she phased, before Sam phased, Leah had had her life planned out. College, marriage and kids. Sam. Her life had been Sam. If the Cullens had never come to Forks she and Sam would have been married by now, probably with a kid or two or at the very least one on the way. She wasn't supposed to be starting college for the first time ever at twenty-five. Her dad wasn't supposed to be dead because he had seen her phase. She wasn't supposed to be single, sterile and celibate.
She wasn't supposed to be miserable and a bitch.
"When's your next class?"
The question pulls her out of her self-pity spiral, something she hasn't had for quite a while now, and she looks at Jack in confusion. "What?"
He smiles, almost patiently, and it reminds her for a second (and she's so glad it's just a second, because otherwise she would have puked) of the way Edward sometimes smiled at Bella. All patient and understanding. "Your next class? When is it?"
"An hour and a half." She already has her schedule memorised.
He nods. "Same here. Come on, I'll buy you a coffee."
Leah knows immediately why he's doing this. He feels bad because he mentioned her dad. She starts to tell him no. Actually, she nearly tells him to go to hell, because any man who reminds her of that mind-reading leech is totally someone she doesn't want to hang with, but stops when she sees him limping away from her. Not walking, limping. Badly. It's only then she notices the walking stick and the scars on the arm holding it. The scars on his arm lead to her discovering more scars, this time on his other arm.
She quickly packs up her bag and follows him out of the lecture hall. She's not sure why the sight of him limping and covered in scars makes her want to follow him, but it does.
Maybe because she is limping and has scars too, they're just on the inside.
"I got you a mocha," Jack says, pushing the drink towards her. "Carter... A friend of my dad swears by them."
Leah smiles her thanks and, for the hundredth time since she sat down, regrets coming here. She doesn't know what she's doing, or why she's here. It's not like she imprinted on Jack and has to do whatever he wants to make him happy. She should have said no to him when he asked her for coffee.
"I really am sorry about your father," Jack says after a couple of minutes of silence. "My dad really liked fishing with him. He was a good man."
Leah takes a drink of her coffee and then studies it, trying to remember if her dad ever mentioned Jack's dad. "What's your dad's name?"
An odd look flashes across his face before answering. "The same as mine, actually. My mom named me after him."
Jack O'Neill... "Dad never mentioned him."
Jack shakes his head. "He wouldn't. I'm not sure if they were friends. Not really. They just met up every couple of years if they were in Minnesota at the same time."
Oh. "If you give me his number, I could pass it along to Billy and Charlie. I'm sure they would love to..." Her words trail off because the look on his face was pained.
"My dad died a few years ago."
"Shit," she whispers, then, louder, "I'm sorry."
Jack shakes his head and waves his hand. "We weren't close. At all," he confesses. "He actually didn't even know I existed until I was fifteen and by that time I was already an emancipated minor. It would have been too weird for us to have any sort of relationship, so it's not like he was a father to me or anything. The most we had in common was fishing, which is how I found out about your father."
Oh. "You were an emancipated minor?"
He nods, but doesn't elaborate and she decided not to ask, about that anyway.
"So, how did you hurt your leg?" she asks after taking a drink. She wants to stop talking about fathers now. She knows it's probably not polite to ask, but it's not something she can pretend not to notice.
Jack makes another face at the question. Again, it's a pained expression. She watches him with interest as he actually contemplates his answer. Whatever it was that happened to him was not pleasant. Eventually, he makes a decision and he shrugs before he tells her, "I was held as a prisoner on an alien planet and I hurt my leg when the search and rescue team finally got me out."
She stares at him for a full minute before laughter bubbles out of her. Loud, deep laughter that she hasn't heard in years. After a second, Jack's laughing too. She had a sneaky suspicion he was going for that response. "So you fight aliens?"
"Did," he corrects her with a smirk that makes her heart skip a beat. "I was honourably discharged after the rescue. Once I had healed, I told them to go fu... screw themselves and then I came here."
She laughs again. He actually looks proud of his story.
"What about you? Any scars? How did you get that scar on your neck?" he asks, which seems fair considering her last question.
Unthinkingly, she reaches up and touches the bite mark on her neck. It's the only scar she had. Thanks to the wolf gene, they don't scar. Not unless venom gets into the wound. Then, well, it's a world of pain, your step-brother-in-law sucking out venom and a week in a coma. Leah shudders at the memory and the fact that she shares a story similar to one of step-sister, the only difference being is that venom is poisonous to them. "Vampire." For a second she freezes, horrified that the truth slipped out, but then Jack's laughing again.
"Vampire." He nods appreciatively, still laughing. "Are there many vampires in... wherever you're from?"
"La Push, and, well, not on the reservation, they're not allowed on our land, but Forks had more than a few for a while." She's not sure what the hell's gotten into her. Why she's suddenly blurting out the truth, even if it's under the guise of a joke. "Been to many alien planets?"
"Hundreds," he replies.
They look at each other for a moment before laughter over takes them. Once the laughter dies down, they start debating on which of their two foes is the most dangerous. By the time they leave the coffee shop they're still arguing.
By the time they part ways they're friends.