A/N: So. It's been a while, guys! Yes, I am still around. No, I haven't forgotten about this story or any of you. But I have gotten CRAZY busy, and this story has sadly taken the backseat to many other things. I still work on it - daily, in fact. But not much gets done. And then I go back and read what has gotten done, and haven't yet been particularly satisfied with any of it. Until this. I'm calling this an outtake, rather than a chapter, because of its length (less than 1000 words) and because it's from Jacob's POV. It's not much, I know. Especially considering how long I've gone without posting anything. But I hope you all enjoy it. And I promise I haven't given up on this story. But until things calm down in my RL, chapters may be few and far between. I do so hope you will stick around though. Such a lot left to this story :)
Stand By Me
The word echoed through Jacob Black's mind as he pinched the bridge of his nose between his thumb and forefinger.
Rolling his eyes, he brought his fists behind his head to punch either side of his worn pillow. It'd been days since his father's revelation. Days since those words – four simple words, fired at him like bullets from a gun – had been spoken.
Embry is my son.
It hadn't been mentioned again, father and son avoiding one another at all costs. Quite a feat, considering the size of their house. But it ate away at Jacob, the heavy tension in their home. Unbearable for the boy who had always considered his father his hero, his best friend.
And for the third time in Jacob Black's life, he felt as if his world was crumbling around him.
The first time had been just after his mother's death. As family and friends surrounded the Blacks, he'd been told countless times he'd have to step up, be a big, strong boy, help his sisters and his dad.
He'd just wanted his mommy. And hadn't understood any of it.
Still, little Jacob Black had done his best.
On the morning of his mother's funeral, he'd gotten up before anyone else. He'd dressed himself in the suit Sue Clearwater had laid on the foot of his bed for him, careful to do his shoelaces, as well as his necktie, in double knots. He'd brushed his hair and his teeth, making sure to wipe away the toothpaste that had dribbled onto his jacket. And when his father and sisters had rushed into the kitchen, having been awakened by the sound of crashing pots and pans, he'd greeted them with the very best smile he could muster and plates heaped with half-cooked runny eggs and piles of Cookie Crisp.
That morning was the first time Jacob had really understood that things would never be the same.
Standing in the middle of the kitchen, egg and toothpaste on his suit, his eyes filled with tears as his father, having been startled awake from the only sleep he'd had in days, scolded him for the mess he'd made. Little Jacob Black had held back his tears, still trying to be stronger than he really was, and ran far away from the little red house as soon as his father had left the kitchen.
Embry is your brother.
Embry had been the one to find him that day, sitting behind a fallen tree in the woods and trying to scrub dried egg from his pants with a leaf. The other boy hadn't asked any questions, or tried to coax Jake home. After studying his friend for a moment, Embry had sat beside him, back resting against the log as he picked up a leaf of his own and began swiping it across the spot of toothpaste on Jacob's discarded jacket. And when it had come time for the funeral, Embry refused to leave Jacob's side, standing beside him throughout the ceremony, arm slung over Jake's shoulder.
The second time Jacob had felt his world topple in around him was the moment he'd phased for the first time. He had been saving his money for months for a part for his car. But his father's wheelchair was in dire need of replacing too, and his sisters had been taking turns badgering him to chip in for it. He'd been in the midst of arguing with Rachel on the telephone, knuckles going white around the receiver, when Billy had rolled into the room. Pausing mid-yell, his eyes had fixed to the cracked plastic handles and the various duct-taped spots of his father's wheelchair.
Jacob Black had never been so angry. Looking at his father, the great Quileute chief, in a chair held together by tape, he'd felt ashamed of himself for being so selfish. The anger that had been growing as he spoke to his sister quickly shifted inward, his hand clenching at the receiver of the phone until it shattered in his grip.
That had been the last straw – one more thing he'd broken, one more way he'd failed his family.
His body had changed then, pain splintering through every muscle and every bone. Giant clawed feet scarcely missed his father as they thudded to the floor. Billy's face had gone pale, his mouth agape. When Jacob, confused and scared, tried to speak, to question his father, only growls and barks came out.
The voice of his estranged friend, calm and reassuring in Jacob's mind, had been the first thing he'd heard after phasing, advising him to be still, to hold on. Realizing that his son was no longer about to maul him, Billy had opened the back door and Jacob had fled the small house. Through their connected minds, though Jacob didn't understand it at the time, he knew Embry was waiting for him in the woods. He'd made his way, on four feet instead of two, to the same fallen tree he'd hidden behind on the day of Sarah Black's funeral. There, lying on the damp forest floor with its massive head on its paws was a gray wolf, bigger than any he'd ever seen. And in his mind, through Embry's eyes, he saw an enormous russet wolf.
Embry didn't leave his side. For six days, the two hunted, slept, and ran together.
The word brought a small smile to Jacob's lips.
Of course they were brothers.
They had never been anything less than brothers.
It was a conflict of emotions – the happiness of gaining a brother and the very foreign sense of disappointment in his father - Jacob knew would not be resolved until he'd spoken to Billy.
Giving his pillow one last punch, Jacob turned in his small bed and fell asleep vowing to break the silence between his father and himself in the morning.
Maybe over eggs and Cookie Crisp.