A/N: Lana Del Rey has had an affect on me. She's amazing. I could go on about why I love her so much, but this is a fanfic. So, uh, I can't. First Blackwater fic. I hope it's good. Rated T one-shot. To those that want this to have a sequel, I am so sorry for not being clear enough. This is a one-shot. It might be a two-shot, but I could only imagine one ending to that, and it would be morbid. So... yeah. Language and angst included. Enjoy. x
Jacob Black's sisters always called him a lost soul. Jacob didn't understand why. Weren't Rachel and Rebecca the lost ones?
He wasn't the one that moved away after his mother died. He wasn't the one who checked in only every other Christmas. He wasn't the one running away from his fears.
So, who were they to call Jacob a lost soul? He was very much found in La Push.
Jake had had friends for some time. He'd had plenty of friends. Jake, Quil, Embry, Jared, Paul, Sam, Emily, Leah, and Seth had been tight since the dawn of time… or sixth grade, really. They had each other's' backs, like friends were supposed to. Life was easy, at least for a little while.
Jake and his friends all went by the same motto: live fast, die young, be wild, and have fun.
If only life was that simple.
Once Jacob was about sixteen and a half, his friends' lives scattered. The tiny bad habits they'd had started growing into bigger, worse issues.
Quil Ateara and Embry Call had gotten into drugs. They were the first people to be detached from the group. Jacob hadn't been sure exactly as to what they were doing—and he almost didn't want to know—but everyone else was. Embry had gotten clean (but even quieter) sometime. Quil had moved away. Nobody heard of him since.
Jared Cameron used to be a star athlete. He could play just about any team sport with a ball and defense. He even got a football scholarship to just the college that he wanted to go to. But something happened. He got drunk with his friends one night, really fucked up. Didn't even know why he woke up in a jail cell. He lost everything. His scholarship, his reputation, his parents' respect… The only thing he currently had left was his girlfriend, Kim, but coincidentally, she was being disowned by her parents.
Paul Lahote's life had always been bad. He was a divorce kid, going back and forth between La Push and Tacoma. His parents couldn't even stand to be on the same side of Puget Sound with each other. From the sixth grade until the tenth grade, Jacob had only spent two summers with Paul. In ninth grade, Paul had moved to Tacoma, and when he came back at the beginning of the tenth grade, he'd totally changed. He'd come back as a fighter, too. He'd really didn't know how to channel all of that anger into something that wasn't doors, or walls… or other people.
Leah and Seth Clearwater had been okay for a while. To every adult on the rez's surprise, Leah and Seth used to be just fine. Well, until their father died. Harry Clearwater'd had a heart attack for reasons unknown, and that was when Leah lost it. She'd managed to get bits and pieces of everyone else. Leah had had a smoldering anger burning deep inside of her, which was more dangerous than anything Paul could have even produced. Leah used to be a fantastic swimmer, and she used to be the fastest girl on the track team, too. Those had all dashed and divided, because of one thing. All her brother Seth could do was try to make his older sister feel better, and when that was impossible, he'd drowned it out. That was the one time he went with what everyone else said. His spirit had starting fading.
Just when Jacob had thought that his friends couldn't get any more messed up, things with Sam Uley and Emily Young had managed to get even more complicated.
Sam and Emily had always been some sort of item. They'd broken up a lot, but they always ran back to each other crying, begging to take each other back. And now, they were expecting a child before they were even old enough to buy beer. Sam was freaked. Emily was worried. Everything was messed up.
Jacob was the only person who hadn't changed. Lucky, wasn't he?
Or was he just next?
After Sam and Emily's fiasco, Jacob had spent months and months wandering alone. He hadn't talk to Embry (no, Embry doesn't talk to anybody), he hadn't tried to get a hold of Quil (no, Quil's fucked up and he doesn't need me), and he hadn't even confided in Leah (no, Leah would punch me).
Now, maybe people were expecting Jacob to mess up, like all of his friends had. It would save them the trouble. Nobody really liked surprises. Jake didn't have a lot going for him, anyway. Nobody should have been depending on him, though. He has to be the last good kid in La Push, they were probably thinking. He has to be.
Nobody would depend on him. Nobody.
Jacob had this war in his mind. He knew how to keep himself out of trouble, but now he felt the pressure. And there was a lot of it. It wasn't like he had a lot of dreams in the first place, like Jared did, but now they seemed to be crashing down without him having to do anything.
Over time, Jacob's soul really did become lost. Maybe his sisters were right.
It had been a while since he last talked to his friends that were still in La Push. Sometime in the beginning of her senior year, Kim moved away. Jared followed her. More people lost, of course.
The last time (for a really long time) Jake saw his friends was at the senior prom. Jacob didn't have one dance with Leah, but two. Paul had three, but Leah and Paul were sort of meant for each other, anyway. Two angry people were a match made in heaven for them, a match made in hell for everyone else.
When Jacob danced with Leah, he realized why they used to be best friends—why he even loved her, somewhat—in the first place. Leah was decisive. She knew what she wanted, and she knew what was right for her. She, unlike Jacob, wasn't lost. Not anymore. She was better. Incredible, actually.
As Jacob held Leah tightly and slowly twirled with her in the neon lights, he asked how she did it.
"How did I do what?" Leah asked.
Jacob shrugged. "You know… moved on?" he clarified. He felt a little nerdy for asking her this. They'd obviously spent too much time apart. Three years ago, he would have asked Leah absolutely anything, and she would have answered totally honestly.
And she did this time, too.
"That was a really dark time for me, Jake," she said.
"For everyone, really," he added.
"The world doesn't revolve around us, though. I don't think you get that."
"I know, Lee-Lee… Just how?"
She smiled. "You called me Lee-Lee."
"When I'm at war with myself…" She sighed. "I just ride. It's that easy."
"What do you mean?"
Leah nestled her head into Jacob's shoulder. "Jake," she murmured, "I have nothing to gain or lose anymore. Nothing. All I'm really trying to do is live life and have it be worth it. Make it into a work of art, you know?"
"Sam knocking up Emily is not a work of art," Jake claimed. "And nobody's documenting your life."
"It's not," Leah agreed. "And you're right. But don't worry."
"All this bad stuff happened because we didn't worry."
"Then just ride. Like I said, it's that easy. You're not in touch with yourself yet."
Jacob scoffed. "Are you a poet or something?"
Leah laughed softly. "No, those dreams were crushed in the ninth grade when I got a B-minus in English on a poem."
"Same." As the song ended, Leah stood up straight again and faced Jacob. She shook your head in disapproval. "Jacob, you're not free yet. Be free. I know it takes time, but you really should."
"You're such a hippie, Leah."
"My father was, too. I guess it runs in the family."
And with that, Leah walked away from Jacob. It was the last time he saw her for a while.
Jacob pondered on this for a while. Just ride. How? When everyone had these expectations on him—sometimes good, sometimes bad—weighing him down, how could he relax? How could he be free from all these unspoken promises? Some wanted to see him fall and not get everyone's hopes up. Others wanted him to rise above everything and prove that not all hope was lost.
Maybe Leah was just crazy. Maybe she was just crazy enough to accept life, as shitty as it was. A work of art, though? A work of art? Was she writing a book? Leah had to have been smoking something crazy when she'd told Jacob that, because nobody's life was a work of art. Nobody's. Everyone's told in kindergarten that everybody in the entire world is special, but that was utter crap. Nobody's life was that important.
Jacob wasn't in touch with himself, though. He wasn't okay with the person that he wanted to become, because that person didn't exist yet. Jacob didn't know who he wanted to be.
But how did Leah know who she wanted to be?
Jacob and Leah had some things in common. Widowed parents, siblings that didn't understand, and tendencies to not be romantic. If things weren't the way they were, they would totally be best friends. They were so alike. But Jacob didn't know it. Jacob didn't know where to find people like him yet and there was one right down the road from him.
Jacob didn't go to college. He hadn't applied for one in the first place. He was okay with sitting around all summer, deep in his own thoughts. His thoughts were—like they'd always been since everything had gone to crap—thoughts of regret. He kept wishing on invisible stars that had long dashed away from him, over and over again. Maybe Quil would pull up on his bicycle from wherever he was and hang out with Jake in the garage. Maybe Embry would leave his deep hole of a home and play video games with Jake. Maybe even Paul would stop by, eat all of Jake's food, recline on Jake's couch, and control Jake's television.
None of that happened.
Leah came along once, though. Jake had pretended to not be home.
If anything, Jake had grown more averted to Leah. She was almost too much for him now. She was a dreamer. She was a hippie, too, as Jake had called her at the prom.
In a way, and Jake hated thinking like this, Leah was free. She was more open now, and it creeped Jake out a little, but she was free. Why couldn't Jacob be free like Leah was?
She'd had everything and lost it all, and she had eventually found her way again. Well, maybe not her own way, but a new one. It was like true freedom. Maybe she actually was trying to make her life into a work of art. Not like anyone was counting on it, anyway. Anyone besides Leah. Jacob somewhat admired her for that.
For one week in July, Jacob decided that maybe he did want to rise above the expectations. He did some good things, made some people happy. It didn't last for long. Who actually goes out of their way to do this stuff?! Jake thought. It just wasn't cutting it.
The next week, however, he actually did try to ride. Literally. He took out his motorcycle that he hadn't touched in years—because who needs a bike if you have nobody to show off to?—and tried starting it up. It was dead and gone.
So much for riding.
Jake put the motorcycle back and just decided to walk down the street. Maybe today he'd give himself a challenge. He could say yes to everything (no, I don't have any friends to laugh at the stupid shit I do). He could go up to the cliffs and jump for recreational purposes (no, I don't have any friends to "accidentally" push me). He could even drive away and never come back (no, I don't have any friends to get me to change my mind and take me back).
Jacob was going to ride, whatever that really meant. Go with the flow. Be a wild child. Insert other hippie saying here.
Jacob didn't make it very far. He wasn't riding. He was bored. Maybe he just wasn't inspired enough. He turned around, taking a shortcut back to his own house, and he passed Leah's house. He was pretty sure nobody was home until he looked at the porch and voilà. There was Leah Clearwater, sitting on her doorstep. Jacob couldn't ignore her. He walked over to her, she made room for him to sit, and he sat down next to her.
"Happy summer vacation," Leah told him.
"It's not like I'm having fun," Jake said bitterly.
"It's not like you try, either," Leah pointed out.
Jake looked at her—really looked at her, deep in her brown eyes—and sighed as he looked ahead again. "You know what…"
"What do I know?" Leah challenged. "Everything, right?"
"Yeah, I think you know everything."
"You've got balls, Black," she admitted. "Nobody ever likes to admit I'm right."
"Don't get full of yourself, Clearwater," Jake said. "There'll be a day when you're wrong."
Leah and Jacob gazed out at the empty, open road. "I've had my days, Jake. Everyone has."
"You can say that again," Jake agreed.
"Do you miss them?" Leah asked softly.
"What makes you think I didn't?"
"You're not free yet."
"Could you please stop ranting about freedom? You're freaking me out."
"Sorry, Jakey, I just—"
Jake smiled smugly. "You called me Jakey."
"Of course I did."
"I think it's time to move on," she said. "I already have. You haven't."
"It's not like I'm depressed," Jacob butt in. "It's not my fault that our friends are fucked up."
"It's not," Leah agreed. "Maybe we're just too different."
"I'm thirsty for experience and obsessed with freedom. You're not."
"I do want to be free," Jake admitted. "I'm just tired of feeling like I'm fucking crazy."
"You're only a little crazy," Leah told him.
"You just like your girls insane," she continued. "That's all."
Jacob thought on this for a little bit. Leah was right. Like always. "I think I do," he said.
Quil and Jared never came back. Paul never stopped fighting. Embry never left his house. Seth was never the same way again. Sam and Emily were never able to take what they did back. Things remained normal—and difficult.
Jacob was, however, determined to learn how to ride. His soul was still lost, but it was never to be found. The war in his mind still went on, and maybe it would always be there, too, but Leah never gave up on him. Leah was the only person who never gave up on him.
Jacob Black was going to be free. Not today, not next week, and not even this year. But someday.
And that was worth fighting for.