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um. I think this is the longest one-shot I've ever written. it's a little tragic that it's for Twilight, but oh well.

title: clear sunny skies (on the morning of the apocalypse)
fandom: twilight
pairing: jacob/leah, jacob/seth
rating: pg-13? for suggested sexual situations?
summary: so it turns out imprinting doesn't work exactly the way everyone thinks it does. (I am attempting to make the Twilight canon marginally less creepy. I think it says something about the Twilight canon that quasi-incest is less creepy than it.)
word-count: 8700

If Jake had to pick a moment when it all started, looking back, it might have been when Kim dumped Jared, filed a restraining order, and moved to Florida to get away from him. This was not to say that things hadn't been building up for a while; Jared and Kim had been fighting for months. To be more specific, Kim had been fighting, while Jared agreed to anything and everything she said in a desperate attempt to stave off the inevitable.

The thing about the inevitable was that it came even when you tried to stop it. So Kim broke up with Jared, because she thought she was too young for that kind of commitment and she was sick of the way he went berserk when she so much as talked to another guy and she didn't need to waste her life hanging around the Quileute reservation when she could be doing something with herself, were you even listening, Jared? and went off to University of Florida to get an education and a less devoted, less demanding boyfriend.

This sucked, for a variety of obvious reasons, chief among which was that Jared turned into a depressed, useless pussy and moped around the reservation for months. Jacob stayed out of it as much as possible, because it wasn't his pack and technically wasn't his problem, and Jared wasn't such a good friend that he wanted to hang around and give him manly comforting hugs when he got drunk and maudlin and started sobbing things like, "Why doesn't she love me anymore?" and "I'd do anything, anything, why won't she come back?"

When a man was drunk enough for that, he was usually one shot shy of vomiting all over the place, and the smell of puke made Jake want to hurl. That was his excuse and he was sticking to it.

He couldn't escape entirely, though, because Seth kept running over to give his sister (and by extension, Jake) blow-by-blow updates. Jared hadn't sobered up in a week straight. Jared kept moaning about jumping off cliffs, which wouldn't even kill him except he was so drunk he might forget how to swim. If Jared didn't fucking shut up about how miserable he was the rest of the pack might gang up on him in the night and show him some real fucking misery.

Seth thought he was being subtle about shifting his alliances back to Jake and Leah. Jacob let him get away with it, because honestly he couldn't blame him. Even Sam, when they crossed paths on the reservation, looked a little white around the eyes, and Jake was pretty sure that some of the other wolves would have followed Seth if they could. Leah was happy, anyway, because at least one of the other wolves knew what it had been like to be her a few years ago when they were all being unsympathetic, and she got to have Seth back. She'd have denied it with her dying breath, but she adored her brother fiercely and she'd missed him when they were in separate packs. Jake, who had his own sister issues to deal with, was just grateful that her frequently abrasive affection didn't seem to bother Seth.

The problem was, it didn't end there. You'd still need a crowbar to pry Sam away from Emily, and Rachel had yet to reconsider her thing with Paul (worse luck), but Quil and Claire were getting... strange. She was just old enough to start understanding that it wasn't exactly the usual thing to have a grown man hovering over her, waiting for her to grow up and fall in love with him, and she hadn't taken it well. Of course, there were only so many ways to react when you were a seven year old girl and discovered that the whole reservation thought you'd been betrothed as a toddler to someone you thought of as your uncle, but she'd dug in her heels out of sheer obstinacy and refused to even see Quil. She was a pistol of a kid; Jake liked her a lot. Quil was being pretty philosophical about the whole thing, at least compared to Jared and his months-long booze-fest, but he seemed sure that she'd come around eventually, and Jake had his doubts. After Kim decamped, they had to admit that sometimes imprinting didn't work out, and Claire had more force of will, even as a preteen, than Kim ever had ever hoped to possess.

And to top it all off, whatever weird imprinting brain chemistry it was that made Jake want to spend time with Nessie was acting up. He hadn't noticed at first, because for years, the thing that made him happiest was being with Nessie and doing whatever made her happy: playing pony, playing fetch, playing vampire princess and faithful werewolf knight. But whenever he thought about going over to the Cullens' to see her, the gentle tugging in his mind that usually pulled him to her turned into a push to stay away.

Jake didn't really understand. He loved Nessie; of course he loved Nessie. So being with Nessie, even if only as her goofy uncle, should have been what he wanted. But he found himself spending time with Leah instead, which was surprisingly easy: Leah didn't want anything from him, and she seemed to like being around him well enough. And then there was Seth, and they both liked being around him - who wouldn't? Seth was bright and cheerful and he loved both his packmates with an uncomplicated fervor. So it was a few months before Jake realized that he wasn't just being given a rest from needing to see Nessie all the time: he was being actively kept away.

He talked it over with Seth and Leah, because they were his pack and he didn't keep secrets from them. He had hoped that Leah, who didn't like the vampires or Nessie and thus had a different view on the situation, might be able to give him some idea what was going on, but it was Seth who offered him the solution.

"You're supposed to be whatever she needs, right?" Seth tucked his head against his sister's shoulder, peering at Jake with curious eyes. "I mean, that's what everybody says about Claire and Quillen. Maybe Nessie needs you to not be around right now."

Jake thought about that for a while, but it made his head hurt. He literally couldn't think badly of Nessie. Leah didn't have any problem with that, though. "She treats you like a dog," she said flatly. "Like the family dog who won't bite even if you yank its tail and ride it around the yard screaming 'giddyup!' And she's growing up to be someone I wouldn't ever want to meet, because she thinks everyone should let her treat them like that. Nobody in that house has ever told her no, so she doesn't think anyone ever will."

Jake had to think that through, which took a while and gave him another headache. Leah was unusually nice about all this introspection, which was to say she called him an idiot on an hourly basis but also gave him ibuprofen and a neck massage. Seth just curled up on the rug and watched them in silence, willing to go along with whatever they decided; Jake was still Alpha, and Leah was still his second (in addition to being Seth's bossy older sister), so they were in charge.

It circled back to Kim, in the end. Jake puzzled it all out, and then he looked at his pack, and said, "What do you think about going to school?"

*

They probably could have just packed up and left; they were all old enough to do what they wanted, and there was no higher pack authority to please. Jake wasn't the kind of jerk who ran off and left his family wondering what had happened to him if he had a choice about it, though, so he and Leah and Seth all drove home to say goodbye to Sue and Billy (and Sam's pack and Rachel and everybody else, but Sue and Billy were the important ones) and then Jake went for a run. Seth and Leah knew where he was going, but Leah wouldn't have wanted to come anyway, and Seth had enough tact not to offer.

Edward met him on the edge of the Cullens' property. He kept his eyes averted after Jake shifted back to human, which showed more concern for modesty than Jake had. He hadn't even bothered to bring clothes: it was going to be a short conversation, and it wasn't like he had anything to be embarrassed about.

"Cullen," he said carefully. Things would always be a little awkward between them, with two women they both loved hanging unacknowledged in the empty space.

"Black," Edward replied.

Jake sighed. "Look, you know that I have to have Nessie's best interests in mind, right? I can't want anything that's bad for her."

"Renesmee," Edward said stiffly.

"Oh, would you just shut the fuck up and listen to me for once? It's a fucking ridiculous name and you know it. Just - listen." Edward crossed his arms over his chest and stared pointedly past Jake's shoulder, but it was close enough to attention for Jake's purposes. "You and Bells have to stop spoiling her," he said. "You just have to. She's already entitled and kind of a bitch, and if you don't do something to fix it she's going to end up evil. I know you love her and Christ knows I love her too, but I know what Nessie needs and right now she needs people to stop giving her whatever she wants. Otherwise you might as well be raising the next Aro or Caius."

Jake finished and waited for a fist in the face, but Edward just stood there. "So, that's all," he said uncomfortably. "I'm leaving Forks for a while. Um, tell Bella I said goodbye and I'll call." He shifted back to wolf form and started for the reservation. When he glanced back, Edward was still frozen, staring into the empty air.

*

Jake realized, as he ran back to meet his pack, that he had perhaps not thought his escape plan out as thoroughly as he should have. This understanding was short-circuited when he got back to Billy's and found Seth and Leah tossing his duffle into the back of a freaking minivan. "What the hell?" he demanded, as soon as he had shifted.

"Christ on a crutch, Jake, put some damn clothes on," Leah said, and threw an almost-clean T-shirt in his face. It would have been a nice gesture, except for the part where she followed it up with a balled-up pair of briefs to the crotch.

"I am not a soccer mom," Jake grumbled as he put on his underwear.

"If we are going to be driving across the country, we will do it in comfort," Leah said implacably. "And our stuff wouldn't all fit in your truck if it rained."

Seth looked at Jake hopefully. "Billy's letting us have the van for free if we leave the truck. Please, Jake? I can sleep in the backseat, it's totally awesome."

Jake faced off with the movable monument to his loss of manhood and cool, and thought about legroom, three wet wolves in a very small, enclosed space, and Seth's pleading eyes. "Fine," he sighed. "My God, I can't believe I'll actually be driving that thing."

"If you don't want to, I could drive," Seth offered.

"NO," Leah and Jake said in unison. Jake wasn't sure Seth knew you could drive at under seventy miles per hour.

"It's a long drive," Seth said smugly. He climbed in the backseat and added, just before he slammed the door shut, "Sooner or later you'll have to let me behind the wheel."

"Over my cold, dead body," Leah muttered. She pulled open the passenger-side door and then hesitated. "You should go say good-bye to your dad."

Jake looked back up at the porch, where Billy sat in his wheelchair, watching them pile into the car. He waved a little, tentatively, and was reassured when Billy smiled and waved back. "Nah," Jake said, going around the front of the van to the driver's side. "We already said what we had to."

"And hugging would go against your manly, laconic ways," Leah said tartly, but she buckled herself in without further complaint.

"Let's hit the road!" Seth said eagerly. Leah and Jake both aimed withering looks at him, and Jake backed the car out of the driveway. They were really leaving home at last.

*

Jake had been so hell-bent on getting out of Forks as soon as possible, once he'd worked out that he actually wanted to leave, that he hadn't really thought about where exactly he wanted to go, and Leah and Seth had just gone along without questioning him. But after two days of driving, when they stopped in some mid-size town to get lunch at a diner, Leah looked around at the neat little streets, the friendly-seeming shops and the "Help Wanted" sign in the diner window and declared, "I like this place. Let's stay for a while."

Jake was a little bemused, but Seth shrugged and grinned. "Okay. I want to sleep in a real bed anyway." They got a room at a kind of crappy motel, and Leah got the job waitressing in the diner. She also got one of the busboys following her around like a lovesick puppy, and after their second day in town she let him take her home.

On the third day, when Jake realized that "a while" meant more than a few days, he went to the town mechanic and got himself and Seth some temporary work. Leah brought them lunch and all the other guys whistled at her. She just rolled her eyes and sauntered back to the diner and her busboy.

"Does that - Did that happen a lot of the time at home?" Jake asked Seth, carefully, because Leah was his sister and you shouldn't imply things about a man's sister.

"What, the guys after Leah?" Seth looked unconcerned. "Yeah, there was always one or two hanging around. She's not pretty, I mean, she was never pretty like Emily was, but I think most people like the way she is. She isn't nice and sweet all the time. People always said she was sexy."

Jake had to go examine a Volvo's engine to get away from the that conversation, because a world in which Leah Clearwater was considered "sexy" was not the same as the one he'd always thought he lived in. He could see it if he squinted, maybe - Leah wasn't pretty, Seth was right about that, but there was something in the way she held herself, something completely female and completely aware. There was no false modesty in Leah, just confidence in herself, which somehow made up for the fact that her nose was unattractive and her tits were tiny to the point of near nonexistence.

This paradigm-changing realization, Jake thought, might have come a little too late anyway, since Leah seemed happy enough with the diner and the busboy. Maybe their great quest for independence was doomed to end here, one state over in a sleepy town diner. Except before they'd even been there two weeks, Seth looked up at Leah while she was bringing him his cheeseburger and complained, "Leah, I'm bored, can we move on now?" and she just looked startled.

"Of course we can - why wouldn't we? I'll quit after this shift and you can pick me up on the way out of town."

Jake felt incredibly relieved; Seth just looked amused. "Oh, I know, but Jake here was afraid you'd gotten attached to what's-his-name."

"Who, the busboy?" Leah asked. "God, no, it's just sex. Pretty mediocre sex, actually," she added thoughtfully. "Thank God we're leaving before he can get any ideas."

"Ugh, too much information!" Seth yelled, clapping his hands over his ears. "Gross!"

Leah rolled her eyes. "Whatever. Go quit your temporary mechanic job and get our stuff from the motel. You can just toss my duffle in the backseat."

She hadn't even unpacked her bag. Jake didn't know why he'd been so worried.

*

The first town set a pattern for their drive east. Leah picked the towns they stayed in, mostly, and Seth picked when they left. It was a little strange, because they'd assumed that Jake would be the one calling all the shots, but he felt too awkward about the whole trip - it was his own slow nervous breakdown, and Seth and Leah hadn't had to come along - and they felt too awkward about intruding to disabuse him of the notion. Jake hadn't had to let them come.

Seth and Leah had no such compunctions or awkwardness between them, and the more Jake watched them, the more he realized that their gruff methods of communication worked far better than most relationships he'd seen. Leah made the decisions, and she did it to please herself, mostly, but Seth always got what he really wanted. It was almost sweet.

It was less sweet when Seth was the one who picked up a piece of ass in a sleepy little town they'd only planned on passing through, and Leah turned into a raging bitch. She hated the town, she hated the girl, she hated the job she'd gotten to pay for gas and the motel room, but she wouldn't make Seth leave before he wanted, so she took it out on Jake. It really sucked; she hadn't been so cranky since right after Sam dumped her, and at least then Jake hadn't had to be around her all the time.

Jake didn't really get what was going on. Some kind of power struggle between the two of them, maybe, except why bother? All three of them knew that if Seth fought Leah he'd win, because she'd let him. If it were anyone but Seth, maybe Jake would have thought it was to get Leah back for all the uncomfortable situations with her boytoys, but Seth really hadn't been lying when he said he didn't mind. The girl wasn't all that pretty or interesting. She was just there.

In the end, Jake cracked before Leah did. Seth reacted in pretty much the same way that Leah did when Seth asked to move on - good-natured acquiescence, and surprise that he'd waited to ask. Except right at the very end of their conversation, Seth grinned and added, "I wanted to see how long you'd hold out," and then, as he pulled out his phone to call the girl and break up with her, "You should tell Leah sorry for taking so long."

So that was a little weird.

*

The towns all started blurring together after a while - the ones where the hotel was so skeezy that they shifted into wolves and slept in the car, the ones where they hung around for a few days just because Seth liked the pie in the diner, a couple where some asshole kept going after Leah so persistently that Seth actually got into a fight over her honor, which usually made Leah laugh like a lunatic - like she couldn't take care of any loser who tried something! But then a guy in a diner pinched her ass while she was pouring his coffee, and she broke his arm and dumped scalding-hot coffee on his crotch, and they had to leave town before anyone called the cops. After that, Jake designated Seth the official Defender of Leah's Putative Honor, and Leah wasn't allowed to work as a waitress anymore.

This turned out to be a really good idea, because Leah actually hated being a waitress, and she was kind of shitty at it - she'd bring people what they ordered, but she had the people skills of a rock, and she wasn't pretty enough to get good tips without flirting a little for them. They tried to get construction work after that, which usually went fine, so long as the foreman was willing to hire a girl. She was stronger and fouler-mouthed than any man on the work crews, anyway.

In one of the interminable string of nearly-identical small towns, Jake woke up in a mediocre hotel room with a hard-on and two epiphanies: firstly, that it was Nessie's birthday, and secondly, that he hadn't thought about her in almost two months. Leah was asleep next to him. They tried to trade off who shared the second bed with whom; sometimes Jake shared with Seth, because they were both boys, sometimes Seth shared with Leah, because they were siblings, and sometimes, like now, Leah shared with Jake, because Seth was bigger than both of them and it didn't make sense for him to have to share all the time. Seth's bed was empty. He was probably out exploring the town.

Before Jake could get up and head to the bathroom to take care of his little problem, Leah rolled over so that she was practically on top of him. She yawned, sat up, and after she took in Seth's empty bed and the obvious tent in Jake's sheet, said, "Oh, hey, you wanna have sex?"

"Um," Jake said, wondering if this was some kind of trick question, "yes?"

"Cool." Somewhat to Jake's shock, instead of teasing him, she pulled off her shirt, and he was confronted with the sight of real, actual breasts. Leah's weren't spectacular, but he'd never seen any outside of porn, so he wasn't going to complain. Leah put her tiny, nimble hand on his erection and grinned wickedly at his stunned expression. "This is going to be awesome," she promised.

It was.

Jake wasn't exactly sure what the etiquette was for the aftermath of sexual encounters. He thought there might have been some kind of cuddling involved, or a talk about their relationship, but he really just wanted to go back to sleep, and Leah bounced out of bed, looking energized rather than enervated. "I'm going to go get breakfast," she announced as she put on clean underwear. Jake mumbled something incoherent, and she laughed. "Go on back to sleep," she said, and she was done shimmying into her jeans and out the door before Jake could muster up a reply.

Jake woke up for the second time that morning to the sound of the door slamming shut behind Seth as he bounded in. "Oh, wow," Seth said, his nose wrinkling at the reek of sweat and come that permeated the room, "you and Leah had sex."

Jake suddenly realized that having sex with Seth's sister probably violated a few unwritten rules of male friendship, and was trying to work out how to apologize and promise it wouldn't happen again, when Seth sat down on the edge of Jake's bed, and asked, eyes wide and guileless, "How was it?"

"What?" Jake choked.

"The sex," Seth said impatiently, "how was it?"

"Seth, I know for a fact that you've done it before!"

"Well, yeah," Seth said, waving his hand in the air, "but those girls weren't wolves, you know? I had to worry all the time about losing control and breaking them in half or something. It wasn't all that great. But Leah's one of us, so... was it fantastic?"

On an ordinary day, Jake probably would have blushed and deflected Seth's questions by saying something about how it was inappropriate and rude to talk about Leah like that. This, however, was not an ordinary day; it was a day on which Leah Clearwater had voluntarily relieved Jake of his virginity. Anything was possible. So instead, Jake said, "You know, I could show you what sex with a werewolf is like."

Seth grinned and said, "Awesome."

*

Sex (or at least awesome werewolf sex) apparently had some sort of brain-numbing properties, because Jake didn't even think to panic until Leah had already barged back into the motel room. Then the adrenaline sent his mind tripping into triple-time, reminding him that Leah had made a hell out of Sam Uley's life for years because he'd left her for her friend, and Jake had just consecutively fucked her and her baby brother, and he was about to die.

Leah plunked a styrofoam container on the bedside table and leaned down to kiss Seth's forehead. "I brought you waffles," she said.

"Did you get strawberry syrup?" Seth asked, bouncing up in bed with no concern for his current state of nudity.

"Have I been your sister for eighteen years or not? Strawberry syrup and whipped cream. Shove over, Jake."

Jake obeyed in a daze, and Leah kicked off her shoes and jeans and crawled into the bed beside him. He opened his mouth to ask something that would make sense of the situation, but all that came out was, "You didn't get me any waffles?"

Leah snorted. "You just had twice as much sex as anyone else in the room. You don't get to bitch about breakfast."

"So I worked twice as hard! You should've gotten me two waffles."

"You can have a bite of mine," Seth offered.

Leah gave Jake a hard look. "Those waffles are for Seth, Jacob Black. If you want some you can go get your own."

"I can share my waffles if I want," Seth protested. Jacob got the sudden, uncomfortable feeling that they weren't actually talking about waffles anymore.

"Whatever," Leah said. "Shut up and let me go to sleep."

*

Very little changed now that Jake was having sex with Seth and Leah (although not at the same time, because that would be creepy). Seth stopped picking up girls, though, and the first time Leah started flirting with a guy in a truck-stop diner Seth gave her a look, and she sighed a little, but she came back and sat with Jake and Seth and ignored the guy when he tried to get her attention as they left. Aside from not having sex with other men, though, Leah was pretty much the same. She wasn't any nicer to Jake because she was having sex with him.

On the other hand, she didn't treat him like a plague carrier because he was having sex with Seth, either, and she had been heinous to every single one of Seth's girlfriends. With Leah, Jacob thought, the sex wasn't important. He had been her friend, maybe her best friend, and her pack, and her Alpha. He was still all those things, and now they happened to roll around in bed together sometimes. She loved him, sure, but she'd loved him already.

She was weird and fucked up about Seth, though, because he was her baby and beta to her in the pack and she didn't want to share him with anyone, ever. Jake had worried she wouldn't have wanted to share him with Seth - what a joke. He'd been lucky she hadn't ripped him to shreds for daring to touch Seth without her permission. Being pack gave him some privileges, maybe, or maybe Leah was a little soft because she was fond of him. Usually she only didn't kill people Seth liked because it would upset him.

Either way, it was lucky that she was okay with him and Seth, because Jake was pretty sure she would have wished a hideous fiery death on any girlfriend he acquired only slightly less than Seth's past assorted lady-friends. Leah didn't much care who she slept with, but she hated sharing pack. With Seth, though... well, she would never be upset if Jake put Seth over her sometimes. She made it clear right from the start that she was always going to love Seth first, last and best, come hell or high water.

Jacob thought he maybe kind of liked it. After everything with Bella and Cullen and Nessie, it was nice to not have an epic dramatic eternal love story. He loved Leah - she really was his best friend, even though she was mean and bitchy and horrible to people she didn't like and only slightly less so to people she did - but he was okay with coming second with her, and it wasn't like she was going to leave him over Seth. They might stop having sex, maybe, if things ended up being awkward after all, but they'd still be best friends.

Jake thought he probably loved Seth, too. Seth was cute and bouncy and happy and basically nothing like Leah, which weirdly enough meant that he wasn't quite as easy to be alone with as his sister. Jake liked being with him but not all of the time, and as they got further and further east he liked sometimes holding his hand in public or taking him to the movies or doing any of the things that people did when they were trying to figure out if they were in love. Leah was there to be Seth's sister and Jake's friend and run interference, and also to have sex with Jake when they were both in the mood, so it was basically like having a real relationship plus a best friend with benefits, and therefore awesome.

*

Jacob still had no real idea where they were going, less in a metaphysical sense than a geographical one. They just kept driving east, and Leah and Seth never seemed to want to stay longer than a few weeks before moving on. They did stay in Chicago for almost a month before Jake vetoed it, exercising his authority for the first time since Seth had pushed him over the girlfriend. It was cold and wet and too much like all the bad things about Forks, without the benefits of natural beauty to balance out the climate.

He'd thought that maybe they were going to New York, but they kept going on I-90 when they should have turned south, and they ended up in Boston. Leah and Seth had some sort of silent conversation in the front seat while Jacob was sleeping in the back and apparently reached the conclusion that they were staying, which was good, because they had pretty much run out of east, unless they wanted to start swimming.

Boston was dirty and congested and beautiful, full of rude drivers, ruder pedestrians, and incredible old buildings. The rent for a one-room studio apartment in a frankly awful neighborhood was ridiculous, even after Seth told the landlady that Leah and Jake were engaged and had come all the way across the country to support him while he went to college, because Seth liked making up ridiculous stories to make Leah laugh.

It became slightly less ridiculous when Leah actually made Seth apply to college, like, six of them, and called the reservation high school to ask for his transcripts and teacher recommendations and SAT scores. Jake hadn't really thought out his "let's drive across the country and maybe go to school when we're done" idea, but Seth went along with Leah's crazy plans like he'd been expecting them. When he even let her force him into a tie for an interview, Jake pulled him aside to ask if he wanted an intervention, but Seth just looked at him like he was the crazy one.

"It's important to Leah," Seth said, slowly and carefully. "That one of us goes to college. She didn't, because of Sam and then the whole werewolf thing, but she wanted to, and now she thinks she's too old." He frowned, and added, "I think when she's a little older and realizes she's going to look twenty-one for, like, a hundred years, she'll realize it's really stupid and she'll go herself. But she wants this and I don't mind."

Leah would do absolutely anything for Seth, ranging from killing anyone who hurt him to buying him embarrassing girl coffee with flavor shots and six packets of sugar in it. It was a little weird to realize that Seth would do anything for her, too; she just didn't ask very much.

*

Living in an actual apartment was mostly great and kind of scary. Leah refused to clean, because she was resisting the traditional oppression of her gender, and bullied Seth into doing it instead. Seth turned out to be pretty handy with a vacuum cleaner, so that was okay. None of them knew how to cook, though, which was a problem. They each sort of worked out two or three different meals - stir-fry, because Leah worried about Seth and vegetables for some reason, hot dogs and hamburgers, because Seth liked them, pasta, because it was easy and Jake was lazy, and so forth - and made them in rotation, occasionally supplemented with microwave dinners and mac'n'cheese.

Jake had expected sleeping arrangements to be strange, now that they weren't in gross motel rooms or the car all the time, but they just got a giant mattress and left it on the floor in a mess of blankets so they could all fit, and when one of them didn't feel like dealing with the other two or two of them felt like having sex, they had a dog bed that took up half the space in the kitchen. It turned out that in wolf form they generally didn't give a flying fuck what the other two were up to in the other room, just curled up and went to sleep. Leah exiled herself to the kitchen more than Jake or Seth, but sometimes Jake came home from work and found her and Seth already tucked into bed, and he slept in wolf form because he didn't want to bother climbing over one of them.

Mostly, Jake liked the big mattress, and being in the middle sort of grew on him. Seth kicked and twitched and muttered, but Jake had learned to sleep through anything during their trip, and Leah just sort of curled up into a ball and burrowed up to the nearest heat source. The heat in their apartment was crappy, so in the winter it was actually really nice. When she wasn't around he usually shifted into a wolf and slept in the bed with Seth. It was so worth the yelling when Leah got home and found wolf hair on the blankets.

Leah yelled a lot. Jake had worked out that it was the way she tried to tell him she cared, because he wasn't Seth and she couldn't pull off the weird, half-bullying, half-smothering sisterly affection with him. Jake only yelled once, when someone tried to mug Leah on her way home from the train (the neighborhood was really bad) and she beat the snot out of him and took his knife away, and then she kept the knife instead of going to the police. Leah won that argument, though, because she was right, there was no way the police were going to believe a petite twenty-something girl beat up a six-foot mugger, and Jake stopped worrying about her walking home by herself after dark. After all, they were scarier than anything else that ran around at night.

Their landlady caught him making out with Seth in the stairwell later that month, though, which was fucking terrifying. Leah laughed and laughed and laughed, but when she finished she went downstairs and made up some insane story for the landlady about their families being really conservative and how the only reason they let Seth come out east with Jacob was that they thought she and Jake were getting married. So their landlady decided that Leah was a really sweet girl underneath the prickly exterior and gave her cookies to take home, and Leah came back to the apartment and laughed herself sick again.

The cookies were really good. Leah wouldn't let Jake have any, but Seth gave him a few of his share, which was the way things usually went in the Clearwater-Black-Clearwater household. It was a good thing Seth was sweet-natured and easy-going, because otherwise he would have been a spoiled brat.

*

Seth went to class, and Jake and Leah went to work, and they came home and cooked something that was hopefully edible and read (Leah) or listened to music (Jake) or watched TV (Seth) and eventually piled into bed to sleep or whatever. It took Jake a few months to realize that he was happy, because it was a sort of unfamiliar idea, but he was. He was really happy.

So he decided to bite the bullet and call Bella like he'd promised. It made sense in his head, although when he tried to explain to Leah it sounded sort of like crazy talk. "I promised," he said finally, and she scowled, but she quit arguing.

They were all flopped out on the bed, Seth in wolf form (Leah never yelled at him for getting hair on the blankets) keeping Leah's feet warm and Leah snuggled up to Jacob with a book. "Well, go on," she said, handing Jake the phone. "Don't mind us."

Jake sometimes wondered why it was that he was supposed to be the Alpha, but nobody ever obeyed him. It was one of life's little mysteries.

"Uh, hey, Doctor Cullen. Is Bella around?" At least Rosalie hadn't picked up, he thought with an inward sigh. Leah's eyes flicked up from her book and down again, so quickly that he almost missed the motion. He patted her hair, clumsy but making the effort anyway, and she turned her attention back to her reading, reassured.

"Bella Cullen speaking," Bella said, and Jake remembered that once upon a time he'd been in love with her.

"Hi, Bells, it's Jake."

*

Not being in love with Bella anymore didn't really make it any easier to talk to her. Jake tried - he had tried so fucking hard. But she wasn't really the same girl who had been his best friend, before vampires and werewolves, back when they were both just human high school kids. She'd gotten married and had a kid and turned into some kind of super-powered vampire, and all Jacob could ever think when he talked with her was that he missed his friend.

Also, the whole being destined mates with her baby had made things slightly awkward.

Even so, Jake hadn't expected her to take his decision to leave Forks quite so badly. She didn't want him around her or her daughter - wasn't that the point? Women were so confusing.

And then, when she was done yelling, she started crying. Jacob made despairing comforting noises, and hoped it would stop. Eventually Bella managed to explain that Nessie was in love with the South American half-vampire boy, and she was sorry, but she couldn't stop her, and -

"Bells, it's fine. No, seriously, Bella, I'm not upset, Nessie's happy, she's healthy, and I'm fine!"

"Oh, Jake, you're so good and I'm so sorry, I just - she wouldn't listen to me!"

"She's a teenager," Jake said wryly. "Now you know how your Dad felt about Cullen. But really, I'm doing great, I've got Leah and Seth and we're staying here in Boston for a while."

"You're not coming back?" Bella demanded, her voice rising. Leah twitched awake from her restless doze on top of her open paperback.

"Well, uh, it's kind of... no?" Jake frowned. "It's not really comfortable to have two packs around Forks, and I like it here. I'm working in an autoshop, and Leah's got a job at a bookstore."

"But, Jake - it's Leah, she's always been so awful and nasty and - "

"And right here," Leah said, loudly enough that Bella could hear her. "Jesus."

Now even Seth was stirring, looking up at his sister with big golden wolf eyes. He made a funny whuffling noise, nosing at her knee, and she smiled at him, temporarily appeased.

"Bells, please, that was really rude."

"I just - Jake, I don't understand."

Jake looked down. Leah was ignoring him, pointedly, in favor of playing some weird form of pattycake with Seth's tail. "Look, I have to go - I just wanted to let you know where I ended up, and I said I'd call. I'm happy, okay? So don't worry about me."

Leah was still refusing to acknowledge him after he hung up the phone, so he grabbed her around the waist and hauled up to sit with him. "Seth, can you give us some privacy?"

Seth's tongue lolled out in a wolfish grin as he trotted off to the kitchen. "Oh, whatever, if you think you're getting sex tonight you are sadly mistaken," Leah began. Jake kissed her forehead.

"I don't want to leave you and Seth," he said, very seriously. "I can't promise, because I might not have a choice. But I won't want to, okay?"

"Okay, fine," she sighed. "I've got Seth, anyway."

"I know," Jacob said. "And he's got you. And I really hope Nessie's half-vampire boyfriend works out, because I want you to have me, too."

Leah laughed a little, weakly, and swatted at him. "Like you could get rid of us, you jackass. We're your pack."

"Yeah," he agreed. It sounded nice, put that way. "Yeah, you are."

*

The next day, Leah and Jake were hauling Seth to class - they lived pretty close to campus, but even so, without Leah to wake him up and Jake to half-carry him the first few blocks Seth would have missed every single morning class in his college career - when Leah suddenly stopped, her nose wrinkling up. "Vampire," she hissed.

"What? I don't smell anything," Jake said, startled. Seth had stopped, too, sniffing at the air.

"That's because you burned out your nostrils hanging out at the Cullens'," Leah snapped.

Seth looked at him a little apologetically. "She's right, you know. I think it is one of the Cullens, though, so it's not so bad."

"Three big bad wolves, and not a piggie in sight," drawled a faintly Southern voice behind them, and Jake thanked God for small favors, because at least it was only Jasper. Leah hated Bella and Edward, and Emmett and Rosalie hated them, and Esme and Alice regarded all three of them (but especially Leah) with a condescending pity that was infinitely worse than straight-up hatred. If there had to be a vampire invasion, Jasper and Carlisle were definitely the best possible interlopers.

All three wolves turned around, and Leah stepped in front of Seth, instinctively putting herself between him and potential danger. "Hey, Jasper," Jake said, aiming for casual. "What brings you to the lovely northeast?"

"Oh, this and that," Jasper said with an unfriendly smile. He inhaled a little ostentatiously, and added, "You know, Black, I can see you getting together with the werewolf bitch, but don't you think both of them is a little greedy?"

"Stop talking. Now."

Seth spent most of his time bouncing around like an overgrown puppy on his sister's indulgent leash. It was easy to forget that he was was about six foot eight and two hundred twenty pounds of bone and solid muscle. Now, though, everything about him screamed physical menace, drawing Jasper's attention as he shifted forward and put his arm around his sister, for once protective rather than protected. Jake and Leah exchanged alarmed glances - Seth liked Jasper.

"I apologize," Jasper said, after a long pause while Seth glared daggers at him. "That was a very rude implication to make about a lady."

Leah rolled her eyes - lady! - but Seth relaxed a little. "So, did Bella send you to check up on us?" Jake asked, hoping their brush with homicidal urges was over.

"Just on you," Jasper said. His smile warmed up a little. "Luckily the forecast was cloudy for today and tomorrow, so I thought I'd swing by."

"Well, we're all fine, you can tell her. She wouldn't believe me."

"Mmm, I can see that," Jasper said, golden eyes lingering on Leah's hand as she touched Jake's arm.

"Seth's going to be late for class," she said to Jake. "I'll take him, and you two can have your pissing match in private. Yell if you need me."

"Have a good day," Jake said, and kissed her. It was a stupid gesture, but being around vampires made him want to stake his claim. Seth grinned and bent down a little for his own good-bye kiss, deliberately blocking Jasper's view of Jake for a moment, so it wasn't just him.

Leah tucked her hand around Seth's elbow and dragged him away, lecturing him on public displays of affection. Jake watched them go with a smile.

"So. Both of them?"

"Yes, both of them," Jake said. "Like you have room to talk. I'm surprised your girlfriend let you go without a leash."

Jasper looked caught between the urge to snarl and laugh. Laughter won. "It was an uphill battle, but I triumphed in the end."

"You really going to tell Bella about this?" Jake asked, once the silence had stopped being companionable and started being oppressive.

"Nah, she wouldn't believe me." Jasper shrugged. "I'll say you're suffering in manly silence, but you're not jumping off any buildings and you're getting over it."

"Whatever works, I guess. I've got to get to work, so..."

"Yeah. See you around, Black."

"Say hi to Rosalie for me," Jake said, grinning.

"Rosalie hates you," Jasper pointed out.

"Yeah. It'll piss her off for days."

"Fair enough." Jasper grinned back, briefly, and then turned to walk back the way he'd come, pulling up the collar of his peacoat and adjusting his scarf. The sun weakly broke through the clouds for a moment to shine down on the gray, cold street, but the vampire just ducked beneath an overhanging awning and went his way without a betraying sparkle. The sun was quickly obscured by the clouds again. Jake shrugged and headed to work.

*

That night, when he came home from work, Seth had cooked burgers and left four for Jake, and Leah had bought his favorite brand of beer and put it in the fridge to chill, and from the looks of it at least one of them was going to put out. It was a pretty awesome evening. While they were in the bedroom deciding who got to sleep in the dogbed (Jake was pretty sure they just rock-paper-scissored for it) Jake got out his cell and called his sister.

"Hey, Rach, how's it going?" he asked, enjoying the surprise in her voice. He never called home; her number was only in his phone for emergencies.

"Pretty good - you?"

"We're settled in," Jake offered. "Boston. Leah made Seth apply to college, and all, so I think we're staying a while."

"Oh." Jake could almost see Rachel's puzzled frown. She'd never really got him - well, she was his big sister, she wasn't exactly supposed to. Jake tried not to resent the way Seth and Leah were with each other, because he knew it had taken a lot of awful things to make them close like they were. Their dad had died, and there had been Sam and the werewolf thing, and they'd had to fight vampires and there were pack politics. But still, it made Jake kind of sad to know that Seth and Leah would always have each other, would never leave each other, and he loved Rachel, but he was fine living on the other side of the country. He didn't even think about her enough to miss her.

"I'm sorry about Nessie," Rachel said awkwardly.

"It's okay. I'm, you know, Leah and everything." Jake couldn't tell Rachel about Seth, but he could give her this much.

"Leah? Really? I mean, whatever, your decision, but she's kind of the rez psycho."

"Don't talk about her like that," Jake said, remembering the way Seth had gone menacing over what Jasper had said about his sister, understanding a little. "It's - even if we weren't, you know, whatever. She's my best friend."

"Okay," Rachel said. "Is that - is that why you called?" She didn't say, It's a little weird, but Jake knew it was. He'd never told her about his relationships, or his friends, or much of anything.

"Well, not. Not really. I just - you don't have to be with Paul," he blurted out, not knowing how else to say it. "He doesn't deserve you just because he has to love you. You can say no."

Rachel laughed. "Jeez, Jake, I'm not an eighteenth-century woman, I know I have the right to say no. I like Paul."

"I know, okay, just - promise. If you decide he's not what you want anymore, you'll leave."

"Is this about Nessie?" Rachel asked, suspiciously. "Because you're being really weird."

"No, it's not about Nessie. I just - you're my sister. I want to make sure you're okay. So just promise."

"All right, all right, I promise."

"Okay, then."

"Okay." There was a long pause. "So did you want anything else?"

"Not really. Say hi to Dad for me, okay?"

"Yeah, I will. Hey, Jake?"

"Yeah?"

"You can call more often. I mean. If you want."

"Yeah, okay."

"Okay, bye."

"Bye."

Jake looked at his phone for a minute, until Seth knocked loudly on the doorframe. "Are you coming to bed or not? I won the coin toss, and Leah can't go to sleep until you're out of the kitchen."

Jake went to Seth, who was ready for bed in low-slung pajama pants and nothing else, and kissed him. He tasted like mint toothpaste. "I love you. You know that, right?"

Seth smiled a little. "Yeah, I love you, too. What's going on?"

"Nothing, just - making sure. I don't have to love you, you don't have to love me, I just do. I choose to." Jake held Seth's face still between both his hands. Seth was giving him a very strange look, but he obligingly put his arms around Jake's shoulders. Leah, already in wolf form, interrupted their tender moment by shoving past them to get to the dogbed. Seth laughed.

"Well, there's our cue. Go brush your teeth and we can have fantastic werewolf sex."

Jake smiled, a little staggered by how lucky he was, and obeyed.

*

When he woke up, Seth was playing with his hair with the happy smile of the well-laid. Sunlight was just starting to come in through the window - Jasper's forecast had been wrong, Jake thought. Forecasts were usually useless in New England, though.

"Hey," Jake whispered.

"Hey, yourself." Seth kissed him closed-mouthed, because they both had pretty bad morning breath.

"What's going on behind those pretty eyes of yours?" Jake asked, not expecting much of an answer.

"I'm glad you have Leah," Seth said. Jake blinked at the non sequitur. "I'm not just - being a good sport, or not serious, or whatever. I love you, and I know you love Leah, and I'm glad."

"Um," Jake said, slightly terrified. Seth didn't talk generally about his feelings, thank God.

"I worry, you know? That I'm going to imprint on somebody and I'll just - leave you. And I know everyone says that you want it once it happens, you want it more than anyone or anything, but it sounds awful, and I don't want to leave. But if it does happen I'm glad you'll have Leah. She's not going to imprint on anybody and you already did, so... you know?"

"How do you know Leah's not going to imprint?" Jake asked, morbidly fascinated. Seth just gave him a look.

"She can't have babies, idiot. Don't ever bring it up with her," he added, seriously. "It makes her upset."

"Okay," Jake said. He kissed Seth, and decided not to care about morning breath. "Don't worry, okay? It's all going to be fine. I'll take care of Leah for you."

Seth snorted. "Oh, whatever, I'm not worried about her. But she'll look after you."

Jake thought that maybe they were going to have sex again, but Leah came stumbling in wearing the T-shirt she had for sleeping and a pair of Jake's boxers and flopped down beside him, still half-asleep. "One of you two is making breakfast," she announced before burying her face in a pillow and apparently falling back asleep.

Jake looked over at Seth, shrugged, and lay back, one arm around each of his packmates. Maybe someday things would change, but for now, he was warm and happy and home.

Tags:

Comments

( 16 comments — Leave a comment )
daughterofelros
Nov. 30th, 2008 01:16 am (UTC)
I cackled manically about the fact that this is YOU, writing TWILIGHT fic. Will read soon. :)
meretricula
Nov. 30th, 2008 01:59 am (UTC)
~sighs~ I know, I know. I like to think that my opinions about the Twilight franchise shine through my attempt at amelioration. >_>;;
daughterofelros
Nov. 30th, 2008 02:30 am (UTC)
Rest assured, they do. Hence the urpose behind much of my cackles. Have you seen the thing where someone goes through the books and points out (ascerbically) all the places where Mormon teachings show up in Twilight?

My favorite is the Bit when Jacob starts singing ABBA Songs!
meretricula
Nov. 30th, 2008 03:20 am (UTC)
oh, there are so many epically awesome close readings of Twilight. Twilight in 15 Minutes is quite good, too! Have you seen the movie yet? It SPARKLES LIKE A PRETTY PRETTY PRINCESS. OH WAIT THAT'S EDWARD.
daughterofelros
Nov. 30th, 2008 01:45 am (UTC)
I laughed out of sheer delight so many times, and marvelled and the stupendousness of he story,and just....

I LOVES this. :)
meretricula
Nov. 30th, 2008 02:12 am (UTC)
hee! I'm glad you enjoyed it.
slippery_fish
Dec. 30th, 2008 12:46 am (UTC)
This is really an awesome story. :)
meretricula
Dec. 30th, 2008 02:30 am (UTC)
thank you very much!
thornsilver
Dec. 30th, 2008 05:13 pm (UTC)
Totally and completely awsome.
meretricula
Dec. 30th, 2008 05:31 pm (UTC)
thank you very much!
deltachild
Jan. 2nd, 2009 08:46 pm (UTC)
Finished reading 'Breaking Dawn' this afternoon and this fits on very well indeed. I like that the three of them get to go off and have their own lives with each other, and the fact that imprinting doesn't have to be as final as it's implied to be in the books.

A very nice take on an epilogue indeed. I'm pretty glad that Seth gets to be happy as well!
meretricula
Jan. 2nd, 2009 09:59 pm (UTC)
I'm glad you liked it! I had such a hard time with the wrap-up of Breaking Dawn that I sort of had to write something to make it right in my head. Also, Seth! &hearts
yet2comeundone
Apr. 7th, 2009 06:07 am (UTC)
This was excellent. I loved the dynamics and Jake not really being in charge at all. And I'm not really a creeper, I was just looking for a Jacob/Seth fic. Also, I love Leah/Jake, so you made me doubly happy.

And it makes me simultaneously distressed and excited for the future of writing when I read Twilight fiction that is better (Stylistically, plot wise, character development, etc.) than Ms. Meyer.
meretricula
Apr. 7th, 2009 12:53 pm (UTC)
thank you very much! if you find any more Jake/Seth or Jake/Leah, please do kick it my way - I've never seen any, and I would really like to read some!

ah, well. if it were really well-written we probably wouldn't be inspired to write fic "fixing" it, would we? (I console myself.)
yet2comeundone
Apr. 8th, 2009 03:14 am (UTC)
Here's one of my favorite Jacob/Leah from FF.net: http://www.fanfiction.net/s/4760110/1/Take_my_Imprint_Please
meretricula
Apr. 8th, 2009 11:10 am (UTC)
thank you! =)
( 16 comments — Leave a comment )

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