A/N: I don't know how exactly this idea got started. Months ago, I re-started my obsession with The Host when the trailers and tv spots came out for the movie. I reread the book and saw the movie and now it's on dvd and I can't stop watching it. Jelanie and O'wanda are big OTP's for me and even though I love O'Wanda insanely, Jelanie holds this giant piece of my heart and I wanted to try to write a full lenght fanfic for them, not just a one-shot like I did before.
I hope you like it 3
Just close your eyes
The sun is going down
You'll be alright
No one can hurt you now
Come morning light
You and I'll be safe and sound
-Taylor Swift, "Safe & Sound"
The caves were so much bigger than Melanie remembered. She knew of Jeb's special hiding place for years now and after spending months here, it still amazed her. She stared as she walked through the passageway from the streams after she took a bath. The day was especially hot and all she wanted was to cool down.
While walking through the caves, she bumped into something. More like, it was someone. "Oh!" She said instantly and looked up to see who her victim was.
"A little distracted, Melanie?" Ian's voice was teasing but she could hear how much he missed Wanda in it.
"A little," she answered in a whisper. It was still weird for her to talk to Ian. Melanie wasn't sure why but everytime they were around each other, she got this weird feeling of what happened with Wanda and how her best friend and her used to live in the same body. It was definitely not a situation she'd ever dreamed of. "The caves take some getting used to."
He nodded. "But you've been here for a while now. You probably know most of it."
"Yeah," she agreed. "But it wasn't me walking around."
As soon as she had said it, she regretted it. Ian was in love in Wanda and still is. He hadn't left her side at Doc's since he found out about her in the tank. Melanie was a little surprised to see him walking around, actually.
"Wanda did get lost sometimes," Ian chuckled. His mouth turned up in a grin, like he was remembering her. Melanie didn't want to think of it like that, it seemed more final than it really was.
Melanie wanted to change the subject but her and Ian weren't that close yet and they both missed Wanda too much to keep the conversation all about her. They both looked at each other awkwardly and understood perfectly what the other was thinking. They had to get her back. They just needed to figure out how.
"I'm gonna head back to Jamie," Melanie finally said, erasing some of the tension between them. Ian sighed in relief, it was weird for him to look at that same girl who just a few weeks ago was the woman he loved. It was going to take time.
They nodded to each other and kept on walking their separate ways.
Melanie traveled back through more winding tunnels, forgetting which exactly was the right way to Jamie. She thought about going back to ask Ian but she figured it might be better to let him be and deal with his own grief even if they both shared the same grief.
This turn will lead me..., Melanie thought. No. Not that way. She wished for the past year back, Wanda in her head, leading the way and talking to her. It was scary to have someone else in there at first but now it was scary to be alone.
A few more turns later and Melanie had landed herself into a circle. She was at a spot she had just been minutes before. She sighed, this was going to take some getting used to. She tried another path when he bumped into one of the cave walls. Her head throbbed and it felt like it was beginning to bleed. Great, she sighed. This will make for a conversation starter if I ever get back.
"Hey, there, Melanie," a friendly voice came from the shadows. Jeb. "You finding your way all right, sweetheart?"
"Um...not really," she answered. "I keep getting mixed up."
She turned to face him and he noticed the purpling blue appear on her forehead. "You might want Doc check that out. You need help getting there?"
Melanie sighed in relief. "Yes!" She laughed to herself, knowing how silly she must seem but she didn't care. She just wanted to get back to Jamie and Jared's.
Jeb smiled at her. He thought it was nice having his niece back and safe but he, too, missed Wanda. They had been friends and she had made life easier on the humans in the caves. He didn't want to admit it though since he wanted his family member back, too. Melanie could sense something though about it, she just wasn't sure what it was exactly.
Jeb walked Melanie back through a direction she could not remember trying and walked her straight to Doc's place. Sharon was in there but she was sitting alone while Kyle sat next to Jodi's body, holding Sunny's tank. And there was a slow inhale of breathe from the other side of the room. She knew who that was.
"What the hell happened?" Jared demanded. He walked right up to Melanie and held her face in his hands, inspecting her and making sure she was all right.
"I bumped into a wall," Melanie answered. Her voice was almost mumbled from Jared's hands holding it.
His mood lightened and a small smile formed on his face. "Did you get lost again, Mel?"
She reconized the teasing tone and stuck out her tongue. "Maybe."
"Okay, now, you two," Jeb interruppted. "Sharon, where's Doc?"
At the mention of her name, she looked up. Her eyes were distant but awake. "He's out in the kitchen."
"All right," Jeb said to himself. "Melanie, you wait here and we'll get you fixed up."
"Uncle Jeb," she followed after him as he turned to leave the room. "It's nothing. I'm fine."
"Mel," Jared spoke in a low voice. "You know we can get rid of it. Just let him fix it."
Melanie shook her head. All she could think of was how Wanda got the medicine for them when Jamie was sick. She didn't want to use any of it because of a stupid mistake when there was more important injuries that could happen. Wanda needed to be back before she would use any of it. "Can I just go to my room? I feel tired."
She had asked Jeb the question but it was Jared who answered. "That might be because you have a head injury. You know I'm not letting that go untreated."
Jeb started walking again, knowing Doc would be needed if Jared got his way. Tears had begun to form in Melanie's eyes, reminding her of the reasons she wanted Wanda here, why she would let herself be trapped forever just to save her best friend. Jared noticed the tears and hugged Melanie to his chest. "What is it, baby? What's wrong?"
"It's Wanda," she sniffled. "She didn't risk her life for that medicine so I can treat some head wound that was my fault."
He instantly understood what she meant and pulled her even closer to him. "We're going to bring her back, Mel. I swear."
"I promise." He pulled her away from his chest but kept his hands on her. Jared cradled Melanie's face and kissed her lightly, not caring there was an audience who may or may not be paying attention to them. "Now...will you please let Doc take care of that cut?"
Doc returned to his hospital only a few minutes later. He was glad that everyone still let him use the Heal to take care of cuts and injuries even though they all could just as easily use it, it was so simple. It made him feel like a doctor able to be the one people asked for help.
Everyone sat up more straight when he walked in, Sharon especially. She stared right at him but he didn't turn to look at her and went right for Melanie. "What happened here?"
"The walls hurt, Doc," she joked, trying to lighten her embarrsement. it had been two weeks since she got her body back and she still wasn't used to walking the caves for herself. It had become a sort of joke with some of the survivors.
Doc smiled at her. He was another one of the humans who still found it strange to not be talking to Wanda when they looked at Melanie. The two of them had become friends and it pained him to see her in the tank and he felt guilty for not knowing Melanie.
Doc took out a bottle of Heal and the No Pain and brought it back to his patient. Jared stared at Melanie as if she might break until both items had been given to her. He sighed in relief when the gash on her forehead disappeared. Melanie squeezed his hand for encouragement, letting him know she was fine.
As soon as she was taken care of, Doc walked over to Kyle and Jodi. "Any change?"
Kyle just shook his head, keeping his eye on the woman he loved. "Nothing."
Jared watched the exchange, remembering how he felt when he saw Melanie's note and how many times he had looked at as time went on. He knew what it was like to lose the love of his life but he also knew how it felt to get her back. He couldn't imagine if Mel had been like Jodi.
"Doc?" Kyle asked as he walked away and headed toward the door, still not looking at Sharon. Disappointment stung on her face. "Do you think we can -"
He hesitated, looked at Jodi then back to Doc. "Can we put Sunny back into Jodi's body? I don't think she's going to wake up and...Sunny deserves better."
Doc smiled. "Of course we can do that, Kyle."
Doc had decided to do the operation right away so that Sunny can have a body again. Melanie and Jared thought it would be best if they left for that part. Jared didn't want to see one of the souls enter the body, he just couldn't bear to watch it after everything that happened.
They walked through the tunnels silently and together, holding onto each other's hands and never letting go. That was the way it was a lot lately. Jared would not Melanie too far away from him and sometimes, on his worst nights, he still had the nightmares of how he imagined she got taken. Melanie had told him what happened that night but the dreams continued.
They finally reached their door. It wasn't much but for the three of them, it was home. Jamie had moved out to stay with Kyle since Melanie'd been back. He claimed it was his idea but the couple knew he wanted to give them space and that they wanted that space too.
The room seemed the same as it ever did, from the first time Melanie had seen it, through Wanda when Jared was out on a raid. Jamie and Jeb had tricked her into staying in this room even though Jared would not have approved of it at the time. She remembered the smell of his clothes in the room when he was gone and relaxed. That scent got her through his raids now.
Jared instantly wrapped his arms around Melanie, bringing her closer to him and wanted to hold her in his arms. The whole thing with Kyle and Jodi brought up too many memories for him and he wanted to live in the now, where he finally held her in his arms again and wasn't planning on letting her go.
"I love you," he whispered into her ear and kissed her hair. "You have no idea how much I missed you, Mel."
She looked up at him, smiling. "I love you, too. And I bet I do know. It was probably the same thing I went through."
He turned serious when she said that, teasing gone. "I don't know what I would do if I ever lost you again."
"I hope neither of us have to find that out," she smiled, trying to make the tone light again. Jared smiled back, against his will but being in this moment, he couldn't help it.
"So..." he started, smiling wider. "Are you still up for that nap?"
What do you think? Is it bad? Terrible? Sweet? Okay? Let me know! I'm probably not all that great at this or The Host but give me a review and let me know what you think :)