Note: I do not own any of these characters, just the storyline. Also, Jacob is not imprinted to Nessie in this fic. Enjoy!

Blackwater One-shot: Stay

I'm finishing packing for my move to Olympia when I hear Seth lean against my doorframe. "Don't look at me like that," I tell him without looking at him. I know what his face will look like. It is full of disappointment, sadness and worry. Seth doesn't want me to leave, without me in the house it will be just Mom, and Seth's never been with just Mom. He's worried about how I'll be in Olympia.

But I've wanted to leave La Push since Sam Uley broke my heart all those years ago. Back then leaving town was not an option; and for years because of my duty to the pack it was not an option until now. I requested a pack meeting, it included all pack members and the elders like Billy and my mom. I plead my case and then I left, leaving my fate in the hands of the other members, it would come to a vote. Surprisingly, in the end the vote was in my favor. I could leave as long as I returned every few weeks to stay a part of the pack. It was dangerous for a wolf to be on its own, no one would stand it if I separated from the pack completely.

"You know I have to do this Seth." I tell him and I close my suitcase.

"I know you want to do this, not that you have to do this." Seth says and I turn to look at him. His face is exactly how I knew it would be, his forehead is creased with worry, his eyes full of sadness and disappointment. I can only imagine what's going through his head. He probably things I'm abandoning him, disappearing like Mom did after Dad died. Back then, when Mom was physically home, she was never mentally home; when she wasn't physically home she was working. But now she's better, I wouldn't be leaving Seth if she wasn't.

Seth moves and sits down on the edge of the bed. "You don't understand." I tell him.

"You're running." Seth says and there is something I don't recognize in his voice, something I've never heard come from him and I have no idea what it is.

"What am I running from Seth? I'm trying to be happy. I don't care that Sam and Emily are going to have a baby in the Spring. I don't care anymore; I just want to be happy. Olympia can do that for me." I take a deep breath and turn to double check that I've gotten everything out of the bathroom.

"You could be happy in La Push!" Seth shouts even though he knows if he spoke at a normal volume Leah would be able to hear him perfectly from the bathroom across the hall from her room. He's just a kid, he doesn't know what he's talking about. She couldn't be happy in La Push; she didn't remember true happiness anymore. Getting away was the best option, Seth would understand when he was older; he'd get why she needed to leave.

I walk back into the room after I'm sure nothing else is in the bathroom I'll need. "No, I couldn't." I tell him seriously, and I send him a look that tells him to stop talking about it.

"You're being a coward." Seth declares to me.

"You have no idea what you are talking about. I'm going to Olympia because I need a break from this town, from these people, from the close proximity to the leeches. It's the only thing I can think of that would make me happy. If you have another idea of something else that could make me happy, please share." Leah says to her brother.

Seth takes a deep breath and looks to me. I look into his eyes and I can tell he is struggling with himself about whether to say something or not.

"Jake." Seth whispers to me after another breath. My eyes widen at the name and the insinuation. What was Seth getting at? Did he see them or is he just trying everything to make sure Leah didn't leave?

I recover quickly, hoping Seth didn't see me falter at the mention of Jake's name. "What are you talking about?" I laugh it off but it is a sound that doesn't resemble real laughter.

"I know," Seth says. "I saw you two kissing on New Year's and in April. I'm sure there has been more than that. I know you two have been trying to hide it and I know that the only reason you two aren't an item is because you are scared Jake is going to hurt you. I'm not some stupid kid. I see the way you look at each other and care about each other. You'd jump in front of a raging newborn army to protect him, so I'd say he's something that could make you happy."

Jake and I had kissed four times. Each time, it seemed to get more intense and more powerful. But I refused to think about that anymore, the moment the decision was made, I needed to stop thinking about possibilities with Jake. I couldn't have both. I couldn't try out whatever it was with Jake and go to Olympia. I had to choose. Whatever Jake and I had, it wouldn't last. I might go as far as say it was our wolf instincts messing with us. And whatever it was would probably end terribly because we are so completely different and he is so frustrating. So Olympia was the obvious choice, I chose the more permanent situation, the one I've dreamed of for years.

"You don't even know what you are talking about. Those kisses were mistakes. They should have never happened. Jake is my Alpha-"

"And you are his Beta. His second in command, the person he trusts the most." Seth interrupts me and I shake my head. "I understand; you don't see another way, you think you're finally getting what you've wanted all of these years but what if it's not what you want or need anymore."

"Seth, I'm going to Olympia, end of discussion. It would be really nice if you could just be happy for me." I declare as I glare at my brother. He looks like our father in this moment, stubborn and unyielding. Whenever my father wanted something he went for it, he always spoke his mind and the truth. I usually spoke my mind like our father, and I was always too stubborn for my own good. Seth usually took after our mother: kind, caring, quietly observing the situation and thinking through to the best solution. His emotions never got the best of him like mine got to me. I often never listened to my head. Today it seems, Seth is starting to take after our father and his powerful caring nature still shines through his stubborn words.

Seth stands from the bed and looks to the clock on my wall. It is eleven o' clock; I would go to bed soon and leave early in the morning. He knows I plan to not say goodbyes to anyone but Seth and Mom. "At least go and say goodbye to Jake. He deserves a goodbye. He's the one who campaigned for you to be able to go. He pushed for it. You could at least say goodbye to him." Seth says and walks out of the room.

I falter again, but this time Seth is not around to witness it. What did he mean Jake is the one who campaigned for me? I had heard gossip about the vote but no one was allowed to tell me the details I was only allowed to know the need-to-know and that was that I could go to Olympia. Once I got the news, I immediately called my cousin and told her to confirm with her boss that I could in fact take the job, she'd done me a favor and asked him to hire me at the bakery she worked at downtown. Now I know why they voted yes, they had a very convincing person pushing them to say yes. And now that Seth told me, I couldn't leave La Push without saying goodbye to Jake. Seth is right I owe Jake that much at least.

It is late when I get to Jake's and the whole house is dark except for Jake's room so I know Billy is asleep. I don't want to disturb Billy so I walk up to Jake's window and tap on it. Jake groans but he gets up to walk over to the window. "Is everything alright Lee?" Jake says, he must have been about to fall asleep.

I nod my head, "Can we go talk somewhere?" I whisper. Jake nods and goes back and grabs a t-shirt and pair of jean shorts. How did I not notice he was only in his underwear? I smile and look down after watching him walk in his black boxer briefs. After he is dressed he jumps out of the window and we start walking.

I don't realize where I've lead us until we are already there. We're in a familiar clearing; Jake and me were here two weeks ago and had our last kiss here.

"Billy won't worry will he?" I ask Jake as I look around the clearing, uncomfortable with the location I chose now.

Jake smiles a little and shakes his head. "Billy wouldn't wake up if a train drove straight through the house." I smile a little and nod.

We sit down on the grass, close but not touching. We talk small talk for a while; I'm not sure how to go about bringing up the topic I want to talk about with him.

Jake's the one to break through the careful barrier I put up in the situation. He's the first one to mention me leaving tomorrow. "Are you packed and ready to leave tomorrow?" He asks me.

I smile and nod, "The bus leaves at six in the morning."

I try to read his expression but he says, "That's what Seth told me," and he focuses on the sky, on the thousands of stars, instead of on me.

"Why did you do it?" I blurt before I can chicken out. I need to know before I leave tomorrow, most people don't bother to stand up for me on the reservation. Why did Jake decide to stand up for me?

"Why did I do what?" Jake asks and his face turns to mine so he can look me in the eyes.

For some reason, my heart starts beating faster and I hope Jake can't hear the increase in my pulse in the quiet forest. I start having flashbacks of the four kisses I had shared with Jake. One in December, one in January (shortly after the first), one in April and one two weeks ago. All four of the kisses were different. The first was soft and innocent; the second was more demanding and urgent than the first but still tender, and the third ended too quickly for my liking. The fourth however was the one that made me blush, passionate and intense in these very woods, at this very clearing.

"Why is this so important to you?" Jake asks Leah after discussing her leaving La Push. The meeting would be called tomorrow and would decide Leah's fate.

"I want to live somewhere other than this town for once in my life. If I was a normal girl I would have been able to leave whenever I felt like it. But I'm this monster, Jake. Why should I be forced to suffer here? Haven't I suffered enough?" I beg him to understand, for anyone to understand, as we stand inches from each other. "I just want to be happy." Leah whispers to him.

Jake's eyes light up with something unfamiliar, and I can see the wheels turning in his head. He's planning and deep in thought. Jake's arms wrap around my waist, pulling my body against his. I release a squeak at the sudden movement. Jake's eyes resembled something she had seen before, long ago. His eyes held the expression Sam's used to hold when he looked at her. That look makes her feel like the only person in the world. Why did Jake's eyes had that look for Leah? Didn't he know, didn't he understand they were terrible for each other? Once upon a time, that look captivated Leah, it made her heart soar and her head fuzzy with visions of a beautiful future. But now, it terrified her. She couldn't get hurt again. And she couldn't hurt Jake.

But still, there was something tantalizing about that look. It pulled Leah in, and almost made her forget her worst fears.

"You deserve to be happy," Jake whispers as his lips touch Leah's and the fire burns from her lips to every part of her that is touching his warm skin. The fire pushes the kiss to quickly turn more passionate than any of the kisses they had shared before. The kiss continues as Jake guides me backwards until my back is pressed against a tree. A moan releases from my lips before I can stop it. Jake pulls away from me for a moment to look into my eyes and the fire is scorching brighter than ever. "I shouldn't have-"

At this moment, all I can think about is Jacob Black. Touching Jake. Kissing Jake. Being happy because of Jake. Enjoying Jake.

Nothing else matters.

My legs wrap around Jake's waist, and Jake moves his hands instinctively to help hold me. "Don't stop," I beg him softly and my lips meet Jake's and the fire starts again, consuming me.

I pull myself out of the flashback, and Jake is looking at me as if he knows what I was thinking about and replaying in my head. I look down and then back to him, "Why did you campaign for me to be able to leave?"

Jake shrugs as if advocating for me in front of everyone, probably against mostly everyone, was not a big deal. Jake's warm eyes meet my darker ones. "You deserve to be happy." Jake says with a small smile.

Goosebumps cover my skin at his words; those words bring me back to the kiss which Jake and I shared and almost went too far before we stopped ourselves. I want to say something but words are failing to form, my thoughts have all muddled together and I can't make sense of any of it. At the loss of words I nod and smile to Jake. And then I wonder how this boy went from meaning very little to me a few years ago to meaning so much now. It's funny how life does that, you never really know who is going to mean so much to you, you never know who is going to be the one to stick by you.

Jake yawns but it's more exaggerated than anything; he is ready to leave. "I'm tired." Jake says bluntly and stands up. He's more tense and uncomfortable now than I've ever seen him.

"Of course, let's go home." I try to hide my disappointment. What else did I want from him? He has done enough already.

Jake nods. "Well, this was… good." Jake struggles for the last word.

"I'm sorry I dragged you out here. I just needed to know why." I say and my voice is weaker than I want it to be. I stand up and we start to walk back towards town.

"No, I'm glad you did. I had fun." Jake smiles. "I just woke up early this morning to take Billy to the doctor and I've been nonstop since. And you have an early bus to catch."

We walk back to my house in silence. We stop before we reach the front porch. "Well, thanks Jake. For everything." I say softly and kiss Jake on the cheek. "I wouldn't be leaving tomorrow without you."

"Goodnight Jake." I tell him and my hand reaches and takes Jake's hand. I am desperate to touch him. Our fingers entwine as if they've already memorized each other. I squeeze his hand before letting go. I turn and start up the stairs to her front door.

Why was it so hard to say goodbye to Jacob Black? It's not goodbye forever anyways, I'm forced to come back every few weeks. Why couldn't I say it? He deserved a goodbye, a proper goodbye, one I couldn't give to him for some unknown reason.

"Don't you mean goodbye?" Jake blurts out before he can stop himself. I stop in my tracks and turn to Jake. "Say it, Lee. Say the word."

"I have to come back in a few weeks. It's not like I'm never going to come back." I say softly trying to convince myself that was the truth. I'd have Jake as a part of my life forever, he'd be my Alpha, and hopefully I'd always be his Beta. Going to Olympia didn't kick me out of the pack I still have obligations here. I'd still see Jake, throughout both of our lives.

Jake shakes his head. He walks up to me and grabs my upper arm but doesn't use enough force to hurt me. It's just enough to get my attention. "Say it Clearwater. Say goodbye."

My eyes go wide, the fire is back in Jake's eyes but I don't understand why. Why does getting me to say goodbye bring that fire back? "Fine." I whisper. "Goodbye Jake."

As soon as his name leaves my lips, Jake's lips crash onto mine. The kiss consumes me, painfully, beautifully, and completely. After the shock of the kiss wears off in seconds, my lips react to his instinctively. My lips move against his deepening the kiss. I lean my body against his. I'm desperate to touch him and feel his warmth.

The feeling of Jake is amazing. Being in his arms, kissing him, it makes me think I would be completely happy if I never did anything else in my life except be with Jacob Black.

I move centimeters away from his lips for only a moment. "I wish I could kiss you forever. I wish you'd never stop kissing me." I whisper. I'm still hazy from the kiss and although I had no control over the words that spewed from my mouth, they are true. Scarily true.

Jake cups my face and his lips touch mine again, his tongue traces my bottom lip and he nips it playfully. I release a small sigh at the feel. Could this feeling last forever? "Stay," Jake whispers. He kisses me gently and then he tenses, as if he just now realized what he said.

Jake pulls away from me and I force myself to not reach out for him. "I didn't mean that. I shouldn't have said that." Jake is uneasy and uncomfortable. I've never seen him like this; usually Jake is so held together in every situation. "You should be leaving tomorrow. It's the right thing to do."

I don't know what to say. He is right. Whatever Jake and I have, it would not end well. I've always known that. It might not be necessarily because it was Jake and I but because it was me and anyone. I don't trust love anymore. When I was younger and more naïve, I thought if you loved someone enough it would all work out and nothing bad could happen. But that's not the case. Love doesn't make everything better. No matter how good it feels to kiss Jake that was no insurance that I wouldn't end up hurt in the end.

"Have fun in Olympia. See you in a few weeks. Goodbye Leah Clearwater." Jake forces a smile and then he turns and walks away. When he gets a good distance, he changes into his wolf form and runs into the woods.

If this was what I've wanted all these years why did I not feel excited and happy about it anymore?

I crawl in my window and immediately get in my bed. Right before I finally fall asleep, I hear a wolf howling in the distance.

The bus is already thirty minutes late and it will take more time. On the way, the bus had some trouble and another bus had to pick up the route and continue it.

I'm sitting with Seth and my mother on the bench. "I'm going to go in the station and see if there is something to eat." Mom says as she stands and leaves me with my brother.

"Did you go see Jake last night?" Seth asks.

"Not that it is any of your business but yes, I said goodbye to him."

Seth nods. "Good." He studies me for a while then he speaks again, "Why aren't you happier? I thought you'd be bouncing off this bench by now, anxious to leave."

"It's six in the morning Seth, no one is that chipper this early." I tell him, even though it's not the whole truth. I've been thinking about Jake a lot today. I dreamed about him last night, I envisioned his wedding to a beautiful girl, and then his kids. I'd still be a part of his life, watching from the sidelines. And I should be okay with that; I should want him to be happy even if it is with someone else. But I'm not okay with that for some reason.

"It's almost seven now, you've had plenty of time to wake up." Seth argues. "Is something wrong?" I shake my head. "Okay… Just remember what Dad used to say 'Life with regrets is not the way life is supposed to be lived. Only this life is guaranteed and it's better to make mistakes than to quietly walk through life down the same dull road.'" Seth smiles. I smile to Seth, and I wonder when he aged so much. It's as if he's aged five years in the past few months. He's not the kid I used to take care of anymore.

"Do you think love can last forever?" I ask Seth.

Seth shrugs, "Mom and Dad's lasted forever. But there's never a guarantee. But I think if you have a shot at it, you should take it. Everyone wants love and a happy ending. A lot of people would do anything for them. If you have a chance at that, I think it's worth it to go after it." Seth smiles knowingly to me. "That's just my thoughts on the matter."

"Are you just saying that to get me to stay?" I ask him.

Seth shakes his head, "If I believed you could be truly happy in Olympia, I wouldn't fight you on it. I'd miss you but if you could be happy there it would be worth it."

"And you think I'd be happier in La Push?" I ask him. "Why?"

Seth shrugs, "From what I've observed, you're happy here. And you'd be happy with Jake, if you ever gave that a shot. He can't wait for you forever."

"He told me I should go to Olympia, that it was the right thing to do. He doesn't want to be with me, he wants me to leave." I tell him.

Seth shakes his head, "He doesn't want to push you to stay. He wants you to be happy and to live without regrets. He knows that if he gets you to stay because he convinced you it was the right thing you'd grow to hate him if you regretted not going. He just wants the best for you even if it's not best for him. If that's not love, I'm not sure what is."

"The worker told me your bus will be here any minute, Leah." My mom says as she exits the station. "Are you ready to go?"

I look to Seth, then to the road and then to my mother. I see the bus far down the road and my mother and Seth's expressions are unreadable. I look back to Seth and he gives me a small smile. "I… I don't think I'm going to go." I tell my mom.

"What?" My mom says. "Are you sure?"

I nod my head, "Pretty sure."

"Thank goodness!" My mother smiles and she wraps her arms around me. "I was going to miss you so much sweetheart."

I smile and hug my mother back. Seth joins the hug and we have a moment, and I remember how it used to be before Dad died. We were stronger as a family then, I can't remember the last time my mother has been so openly affectionate towards me since he died. She distanced herself from Seth and me because we were reminders of what she had lost. She's slowly gotten better with time. But this is the longest her affection has lasted.

"Mom, I need to get back and go talk to someone." I tell her.

"Jake." My mother says and it's not a question. How did she know? "I'm more observant than you have given me credit for Leah," Mom smiles to me. "Let's get back then, I start a work shift soon."

I take a deep breath outside of his garage which has music blasting out of it. I know he's in there, Billy sent me here after I showed up at his porch.

No regrets I remind myself over and over again.

I step in the garage and I spot him working on his Rabbit. He's behind the hood of the car; because of the music, he didn't hear me enter the garage. I walk over to the radio and turn off the volume.

"Asshole, did I tell you that you could turn that off? Seriously Embry you know the rules: my garage, my rules." Jake says without looking up from his task.

"I can't even hear myself think." I say.

"That's the point." He says before he freezes and spins around to face me. "Lee?"

"Hi Jake." I smile to him. Jake's eyes dart to the clock in his garage and then back to me.

"Is everything alright?" Jake asks. "Are you okay?"

"Not really." I tell him. "See, I was waiting for my bus, which was almost an hour late by the way, and I couldn't stop thinking about something. And my annoying but loveable brother made it pretty impossible to think about anything else as well. So I need to ask you a question Jacob Black." I say and I walk towards him.

Jake reaches for a rag and wipes off his hand. "You missed your bus so you could ask me a question? Couldn't it wait? Or you could have written to me."

"Yes I did, no it couldn't and no I couldn't." I answer him. "But I'd appreciate it if you let me get through this." Jake nods. "You told me last night that it was the right thing for me to go to Olympia. But you also asked me to stay. Explain."

"Where's the question in there?" Jake asks.

"Please?" I say to him with a small smile.

"I got caught up in the kiss, I let something slip that I didn't mean to. You could have called, I would have told you. You shouldn't have missed your bus for that answer." Jake says.

"You're right, that was a terrible answer." I tell him. "And I just can't get it all out of my head. I was completely committed to leaving until I had to say goodbye to you. Saying goodbye to you was so damn hard, and that kiss. Well, a kiss like that makes someone wonder about things they wouldn't normally wonder about."

"Like what?" Jake asks, stepping closer.

"Like about what life would be like to never have a kiss like that again. Or what it would be like to live life and never feel that way again. I'm rambling, but who would blame me? I'm nervous. I'm standing in front of you and the last time I saw you, you told me to leave. But I couldn't leave Jake. I tried, I tried to forget about the way I feel about you but it's not going away. It's not fair. I never wanted to feel this way again or to be this vulnerable, but then you come out of the blue and I can't help it." I move so I'm only inches from him. "So I'm going to kiss you again, and then you can tell me if you really want me to leave. Then I'll leave, I promise." I say; I wrap my arms around his neck and pull his head down so his lips crash onto mine.

I pull away after a second, "I'm falling in love with you Jacob Black. I can't stop myself," I whisper and I press my lips to his again. Jake's arms wrap around my waist and pull me against him. The kiss is passionate and tender. It's perfect.

Jake pulls away. Jake's lips press to my throat, "Stay," he whispers each time he kisses me, he moves from my neck, to my jaw, to my cheek, and finally to my lips again. I want to deepen the kiss but he pulls away from my lips before I can. "I'm falling in love with you Leah Clearwater," he declares. "Please don't leave me."

"I'm not going anywhere." I promise him before I kiss him again.

For now, this is all I need. I'm sure I'll have moments where I'm terrified of being hurt or getting too caught up. But we'll deal with those insecurities when the time comes. And right now, with Jake's lips against mine and his arms around my waist the risk of possibly getting hurt doesn't seem to compare to the feel of him and of the love we feel for each other.

We might not live happily ever after, but for now we're happy and we love each other. That's what matters today.

A/N: Hey! I've finally posted something else! Maybe it's a little cheesy and it's not the best thing in the world but I got a plot bunny and I've been working on it for a week or so. Thanks so much for reading! I hope you enjoyed this one-shot! Favorites and reviews always make me very happy! –Courtney