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Green Eyed Monster

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Harry was all settled in nicely at his cozy little house on this lovely Saturday afternoon, and he was all for snuggling up on his couch with a cup of tea and binge-watching X-files. He certainly did not expect to get a call from Billy Black. Especially not regarding his son Jacob. In the two months that he's been here, he's only ever been to the Black residence once, and it was to introduce himself.

His house was only about half a mile out from the Black residence, and he wanted to familiarize himself with some of the locals. Harry knew things. He knew things he probably shouldn't. Harry knew all about the Olympic Coven in Forks and knew about the Quileute shifters who protected the land he now called his home. He did his research before deciding to reside here permanently, and he also had friends in very high places.

When Harry first met Billy, he let him know that he knew of the Cullen's and the shifters and offered aid if he ever needed it. He thought it was best to let Billy know that he meant no harm since he was an outsider. Nasty things tended to happen when Harry kept the knowledge of certain things concealed, and after all, he was only here in Washington because of a particularly terrible situation he chose to not think about.

"Who are you?" Billy had asked, hackles raised high, there was the unmistakable question of what are you? - but Harry had been expecting that anyway. It was okay to be wary of an outsider who knew too much. He respected Billy for not asking how and where exactly he got his information. But if Harry could tell, he'd be saying that very powerful people know nearly every prominent clan.

Some people knew where and when they were started. They knew packs as well, werewolves or shapeshifters. Both equally dangerous, one more hunted than the other.

Washington was a special case. It wasn't normal for a coven of vampires and a pack of wolves to be living so close and in supposed peace.

That's what drew Harry in from the start. The pure hilarity of it all. Having the best of both worlds only separated by a treaty.

"I'm an ally." Harry had replied, and that was that. Harry gave him his number and told Billy if he ever needed anything, just to call him. "Seriously, don't hesitate to call."

"You're just a boy." Billy had groused gruffly. "I should be telling that to you." He still took the number, and Harry's smile was a bitter one. He was just a boy to everyone, after all. Sometimes he forgot about that. But in all actuality, he was simply a man who won a war and now was facing the consequences.

"I'll see you around," Harry said when he turned to leave. Billy was no doubt going to tell the other council members, and that was completely fine. He was here on retirement. He was here running from old demons and old relationships, looking for a place of solitude.

That's conveniently the time Billy's youngest son barreled through the door. Tall, brown, and very intimidating. "Dad, whose car is that outs-," those words died on his lips as he caught sight of Harry, and that's when shit promptly got all weird.

"Son, this is Harry, our new neighbor," Billy informed.

"Hello," Harry greeted because he had manners. Even though the Dursleys didn't raise him right, he still bloody well had manners. However, Jacob just stared, his mouth slightly agape.

They were frozen like statues, just watching each other, and it's awkward how very not awkward it was. "Um, I gotta go," Jacob muttered before turning and fleeing out through the front door.

"Was it something I said?" Harry turned to look at Billy for some sort of explanation, but the older man looked just as perplexed as he did.

"I don't really know."

"Um, alright." Harry had just shrugged whatever the hell that was right off and went home.

So, the fact that Jacob was on his way here right now to speak to Harry about a dire situation had him very curious but also a tad bit anxious. Billy was very reluctant to share anything over the phone, said it wasn't his place. He kept speaking in code, or at least it seemed that way.

So, you understand that there wasn't a lot that Harry could go off on.

He's spoken all of one word to this kid, which he literally thought was a grown man by the looks of him. When Billy introduced him as his youngest son, he nearly swallowed his tongue. Harry had never seen one of the shifters in person before, and he guessed that if everyone else in his pack looked as big as him, the lands were rather well protected.

It's the knock on the door that made Harry finally get up from his very comfortable position on the couch. This little meeting or whatever this was could either go really good or really bad. That's the standards Harry had to hold everything up to; that's just how he grew accustomed to doing things, living the life that he lived there was no in-between.

"Here goes nothing," Harry mumbled as he wrenched open the door, and Jacob stood, looking as awkward as he ever thought a boy of his stature could look. Harry was going to openly ignore that Jacob was so tall his head nearly passed the archway of his door. He also was totally going to ignore that he had to nearly break his neck to look him in the eyes, which Jacob refused to meet for some odd reason.

"Jacob, hello." Harry greeted, standing aside to let him through the door. Jacob quickly shuffled inside, and Harry closed the door behind him. "Your father called and told me you had a rather urgent matter to discuss with me."

"Yeah," Jacob rasped and then cleared his throat. "I'm sorry to bother you."

"Oh nonsense," Harry said with a small smile. "My schedule is free."

Like it was every day. The pros of early retirement and the pros of leaving a double life behind.

There's not much you can do when everyone thinks you're dead.

It was indeed a sight to behold when Harry told Jacob to make himself comfortable on the couch as he retrieved some tea from the kitchen. Harry's couch that he was very proud of (it matched the carpet, you see) could undoubtedly fit about three Harry's, but it seems that it could only fit one Jacob and one Harry. Harry hasn't seen anybody over the height of six foot four in a while, so excuse him for feeling so small.

Immediately after Harry sat down and placed the teacups on the coffee table, he could tell something was off.

"Jesus Jacob, are you alright?" Harry asked because Jacob looked… he looked tense. It seemed like he had locked every single muscle in his entire body; he wasn't even leaning back, just sitting very straight, hands clenched into a fist.

"I'm sorry," Jacob said, voice still rough. He unclenched his fists, but now his hands were tense on his thighs, gripping tightly as if to keep himself from reaching for Harry and his breathing was a very cool calm. "I'm fine. I just shouldn't beat around the bush, I guess."

Okay, what the bloody fuck was going on?

Harry nodded, eyeing the wolf warily, obviously not believing anything was fine. He certainly did not want him phasing in his brand-new furnished home. Yes, if anything got ruined, he could just fix it with a wave of a wand, but that was not the point. He worked hard on this. "That would be for the best."

"I um," Jacob started, then stopped. Startled, Harry realized that he was nervous - what the hell for? - and clearly reluctant to continue speaking, but after a moment, he did. "I uh- I imprinted on you."

Oh.

Oh.

Oh. God.

This was so much better than watching reruns of the X-files.

'Only me,' Harry thought to himself. 'This could only happen to me.'

Harry knew about imprinting, and he had a rough definition of it. To his understanding, it meant soulmate. Typically love at first sight. Which meant that the day when Jacob met him was the day this all happened. That was nearly a week ago. This also meant Jacob had all week to freak out and build up the courage to come and tell Harry this information.

Honestly. This situation wasn't terrible. All things considering, after hearing Billy on the phone, Harry prepared himself for the worse, and this was far from it.

Apparently, to Jacob, Harry went silent for far too long, and he coughed to fill the silence. After another quick moment, he asked, "Oh, uh do you know what imprinting is? Dad said you knew about the wolves and the legends."

Harry looked up abruptly just to get caught in Jacob's intense stare. Jesus, was it getting hot in here because Harry was feeling a tad bit hot. Or maybe it was just the heat positively radiating off of the wolf sitting inches away from him. "Yes, I'm fairly educated," Harry said calmly, holding Jacob's gaze. "Just tell me what imprinting means for you."

"I'll do anything you need me to do," Jacob vowed, and the tension in the room doubled tenfold with the severity of this notion. "I'll be anything you need me to be."

"Anything?" Harry asked, only slightly in awe. Was this truly what imprinting was? You set eyes on that one person and then suddenly become so self-sacrificial. Harry didn't know this boy, and this boy didn't know Harry, but somehow there was a part of him already telling him that this was okay. That soon they'll know everything about each other.

Jacob nodded, then said very firmly, "I'm yours." Harry's eyes went wide at the declaration, but he was already continuing. "A friend, a brother, a protector, or even a lover." The last word held in the air, and Harry took it in and replayed it over and over again in his mind.

Lover.

That should sound so wrong, wanting to jump right into something so intimate so soon. But it didn't, and as Harry took in every inch of Jacob's build, his thick expanse of endless muscle and smooth russet-brown skin. All of that concealed with only a thin cotton t-shirt and denim cutoff shorts, it was starting to sound like the best idea ever. God help him. Help him, please.

"Lover?" Harry repeated, and unfortunately, at the moment, all Harry could think about was touching. Jacob was staring at him intensely, and that's how he knew Jacob was thinking about the same thing. Getting his hands on his skin and touching every place imaginable.

Jacob swallowed. "Whatever you want."

Jacob had his mind made up, and quite frankly, there was nothing he could do about this situation but accept it. He imprinted, this was for life. Harry should be freaking out, but of course, he wasn't. A soulmate? For life? That didn't sound bad at all, and considering he had all eternity, it was nice to know he had someone to spend it with.

Then again, Harry has had his fair share of lovers. Human and then some. He's been around the block a few times. There was always something.

But this was practically primed and gift wrapped. How could he refuse a soulmate? Jacob Black was apparently the one for his bitter albeit immortal ass. Satan was finally kissing his arse after those failed relationships.

Harry was officially and irrevocably one hundred percent okay with this.

And it was that obvious Jacob didn't want to push. This was all very new. It was almost like Jacob was expecting Harry to run for the hills and never look back. Like he was going to disappear right before his eyes. Harry was happy that Jacob was handling the situation so maturely and respectfully. It only fitted that he makes sure Harry didn't feel pressured and that he felt comfortable. It was cute. It really was.

But Harry was so on board with this.

He didn't need to be told twice; he wasn't here for the casualties or the hesitation. Call him easy. Call him anything you please, but he was accepting this situation the best way he saw fit. Harry cleared his throat, and he shifted right into Jacob's personal space and said, "If it's all the same to you. I'd like you to kiss me."

First, Jacob went unnaturally still, blinking rapidly like he was sure this wasn't real. Then next Jacob was reaching out with his hand, and Harry exhaled shakily as he traced his unnaturally warm fingers over his chin, up along his jaw.

Jacob was breathing unsteadily and moving so painfully slowly like Harry would bolt if he made any sudden movements. God, Jacob must've been able to hear his heart; it was thudding so goddamn loud.

Harry shut his eyes, and his breath caught in his chest as Jacob's sweltering mouth brushed his. Jacob was trembling, Harry could feel him shaking, but Jacob pressed his fingers against Harry's jaw, and he kissed him again, catching Harry's lower lip between his own.

Harry reached up, slid his hand onto the back of Jacob's neck. Jacob jolted back slightly and then pressed his forehead against Harry's, screwing his eyes tightly shut and breathing hot against his mouth, so close that Harry could taste him. He shuddered through a breath, and then he was kissing Harry again, quick, fleeting kisses like he didn't know how to stop.

Harry doesn't want him to stop. He held on tightly to the back of Jacob's neck, breathing shallowly as he returned every kiss. God, he felt - he actually felt something, and that's more than he ever thought he'd manage again.

Jacob made a harsh noise in the back of his throat when Harry pulled away. "Wait," Harry breathed against his lips, "You have to call your father and tell him you're spending the night with me."

Harry could tell it took everything in Jacob's power to remove himself, especially after that statement. He was breathing deep like he was hell-bent on taking all the air in the room with his lungs and expelling it. He had to collect himself, just a bit. Jacob used the living room phone to call his father since it was closest, and the thought of being away from Harry for even a second sounded torturous.

The call didn't even last a minute. It was thirty seconds at most, and Harry didn't even bother trying to listen in. His brain was all fuzzy, and the only thing he could register was that Jacob was settling down beside him again, enclosing him in such an unleashed heat.

Jacob's eyes were burning when Harry met them. Want, need, desire and happiness; swirling beneath his dark irises. Harry's face must've mirrored his because next Jacob cupped Harry's face with both hands and kissed him like a man starving.

A startled moan escaped Harry, muffled between their lips, and oh god. Jacob practically devoured him, messy, kiss greedy, not a bit of his earlier hesitation left. One of Harry's hands flailed a bit before settling on Jacob's stomach, fingers twisting in the fabric of his shirt, and the other he slung around Jacob's broad shoulders.

Jacob was steady as a rock, kissing Harry like he was the air he needed to breathe, and Harry moaned again. And suddenly Harry found himself on his back, Jacob above him, on top of him. Somehow both his arms have wrapped themselves around Jacob, one around his waist, one around his shoulders, hand on the back of Jacob's head.

Just at that moment, one of Jacob's thighs slides between his legs, and oh god. He was hard, erection pressing against Harry's thigh. At the same time, Harry sucked Jacob's tongue into his mouth, something utterly filthy about the way he does it. Greedy. Then it was Jacob's turn to moan.

Holy shit.

This is it, Harry thought inanely, this is how I'll die. Unable to deal with how hot this is, he'll perish.

Nope, this was not going to happen like this. Not on his couch and certainly not just mere minutes after their second meeting. It felt like the hardest thing he's ever done, but he managed to tear his mouth away from Jacob's for long enough to gasp, "Stop."

Jacob froze, eyes shooting wide as the room fell silent; the only thing heard was their intermingling breaths. He looked shaken like he had done something wrong, but Harry was quick to reassure him he hadn't. "No, Jacob, this is great; what we're doing is spectacular." Harry licked his lips and watched as Jacob's eyes tracked the motion. "I just wanna talk."

Well, that sounded really fucking lame, however completely necessary in this situation.

"Tell you a bit about myself y, know? Before we do things." The word things had such a broad definition, so many endless options.

Jacob smiled all big and bright, and Harry flushed for the hell of it. Who knew to have something so pure and white directed towards him could make him feel like that? It was like bottled sunshine. Jacob sat upright, pulling Harry up with him. "Can we uh - can we cuddle?"

"Totally." Harry would like that a lot actually, like literally so fucking much. It would make the whole process of telling his whole life story easier. "But this is Quid pro quo; I tell my story you tell me yours," he said, and Jacob caught his hands, nodding his head solemnly. Like it was a mission he promised to complete.

"Anything," Jacob whispered, and the word filled Harry up to the brim.

"Let's take this to my room, yeah?" Harry stood up, and Jacob followed immediately without letting go of his hand. He only clutched it tighter. Together they walked to the bedroom, which was kind of a mess. Jacob didn't seem to mind it, respectful of Harry's mess, making sure to step over the clothes and papers as he goes gingerly.

Harry stood in front of him at the side of the bed, hands trailing under Jacob's shirt, pulling the hem up as they went until Jacob lifted his arms and bent down a little so Harry could get it off, dropping it to the floor with everything else. Jacob's shorts followed swiftly, already unzipped a bit, hanging loosely off his hips.

Jacob stepped out of his clothes, toeing off his socks and shoes as he went, then reached for the button on Harry's trousers. They got Harry's clothes off together, Jacob spending more time trailing his hands over Harry's exposed skin than actually helping, lovingly, catching a few scars along the way.

"You have tattoos," Jacob said in a low husky voice, full of wonder and awe. His eyes were bright as he trailed over the tiger lilies covering Harry's right forearm and animal artwork on Harry's thighs.

"I'll tell you all about them later," Harry promised, and next, he was crawling onto the California king with all the grace of a feline. His sheets were Egyptian cotton because he sometimes deserved a bit of luxury; he felt he earned it. Jacob was trailing after him, heating the whole bed like a dim fire.

Jacob wasted no time to snuggle into him, pulling him so impossibly close that Harry was almost sweating in seconds. He let it happen and let the gears in his head turn for just a bit. "I should be freaking out," Harry mused, shifting his head to lay it on Jacob's chest. "I really should be freaking out."

Jacob's laugh rumbled through him. "Yeah, you should be." Then there was a hand tangled in his black curls. "I mean, I did at first, pretty badly."

"Yeah, I bet." Harry completely understood why Jacob ran away that day; it was all completely understandable. This was bloody insane.

"I'm not gay," Jacob said simply. "I'm into chicks."

Well, there was that.

"I was in love with my best friend," Jacob confessed, his tone sounding a bit bitter. "Like so in love with her, but she doesn't want me she wants her vampire boyfriend."

This boyfriend fellow was no doubt one of the Cullens.

Ah, love triangles, weren't they the absolute best? "I see your dilemma."

Harry figured out that he was pleasantly bisexual a few years back, and he also fucked Blaise Zabini six ways till Sunday once upon a time and lots of other men, but that's another story for another time.

"None of that ever mattered because now I want you in every way possible." Wow. Jacob really shouldn't be going around saying shit like that so casually. Like Jesus Christ, as if on cue Harry's erection pulsed as if to say, 'I'm still fucking here.'

"Wow," Harry mumbled, and it came out muffled from where he buried his face into Jacob's hot skin. Now he was hyper-aware that it was Jacob's cock poking him in his leg. "This is really mad. Like absolutely mad."

"Yeah." Jacob agreed, shifting Harry up so that they're eye level. Jacob was now the one forcing eye contact, and it had Harry blushing involuntarily. "But it's the best thing ever, though." He grinned and leaned into slot their lips together.

This time, it was just sweet, and Harry felt as if his brain released an extra amount of dopamine. There wasn't any tongue, and it was just warm, soft, and sure. They separated with a quiet, wet noise that almost had a whimper fighting out of Harry's throat, and he swallowed to bite it back. Jacob's eyes fluttered open, slow, dazed, and he smiled again.

"Wait, how old are you?" Harry asked, praying to God he wasn't some cradle snatcher. Jacob was still in high school, but he didn't know which grade because he looked like a whole man already, so he wasn't even going to try to guess.

"I'm seventeen," Jacob said with an even bigger smile, and Harry breathed out a sigh of relief. Thank Jesus for the small blessings. "How old are you?"

Harry made a face. "Technically seventeen too."

"Technically?"

"Um yeah, it's a long story." They had all night, so Harry started his tragic life from the very beginning. That was certainly one way to kill a hard-on for sure.

...

"So, I found out I was a wizard," Harry said ever so casually, and Jacob's eyes went wide. "I found out magic was real."

"Like pull a rabbit out of a hat kind?"

"No that's rubbish."

"Oh."

"More like turn that hat into a rabbit."

"Bullshit!"

"I swear on my life and everything holy."

Jacob grinned. "Awesome."

They were surprisingly still cuddling by the end of it. They did change positions, though, and Harry was settled in between Jacob's legs as he leaned back on the lavish headboard. Jacob was the most gracious listener, not interrupting unless he absolutely felt that he needed to. Wizard terminology was a tad bit confusing; it seemed.

Harry left a lot of stuff out, granted that there was some stuff he wasn't ready to talk about and probably would never be. His past was dark and brooding, and as cliché as that sounded, it was true. He knew good relationships should start with strong and trusting foundations, but he'll get to that later- way later, he swears. So, he summarized each year at Hogwarts as briefly and as best as he could.

"So, a piece of what's his names' soul was like in you?" Jacob asked, sounding disturbed. "The whole time?"

"Yup."

"Through a whore clutch?"

"Horcrux."

"Yeah, that." Jacob waved it off, not caring that the pronunciation was that important. "Then you had to die to kill him?"

"Yup."

"I won't ever complain about my life again," Jacob vowed, hugging him tightly from behind. "Jesus, Harry, you're amazing." Harry didn't have to be facing him to see the awe in his eyes. "You've been through so much."

"So, you believe me?" Harry asked disbelievingly. "Just like that?"

"Of course. I transform into a giant wolf and kill vampires for a living. I'm in no place to judge." When Jacob put it like that, it sounded so simple. But in all actuality, it wasn't at all, like not even a little bit.

Jacob dropped his hand high on Harry's un-tattooed thigh and squeezed it, leaning in and saying softly in Harry's ear, "I believe you one hundred and ten percent."

"Even the part about the dragons?" Harry asked, staring at Jacob's hand and how his fingers were stroking. Guess the PG-13 version of his tragic life story wasn't capable of squashing libido. Well, at least in a seventeen-year-old boy.

"Yes," Jacob told him in a strong even tone. Even softer, Jacob whispered, "I promise."

Harry pulled Jacob's arm away, shifted onto his knees, turned around, and crowded up against Jacob's chest. Jacob's pupils were blown, and he had a big bright smile on his face as Harry leaned in to kiss him.

Jacob's hands immediately went low on Harry's hips, pulling their bodies closer as their mouths worked together, slightly chaste open-mouthed sort of kisses at first until Harry cupped Jacob's jaw and pulled down with his thumb, opening his mouth enough for him to slip his tongue in, because yeah Harry had game.

"Seriously though?" Harry asked, barely moving his mouth back to speak. This was kind of too good to be true. "Even the part about me not aging?"

Jacob had his palms wide and hot on Harry's skin, slid them along Harry's spine, and began mouthing at the cord of muscle on his neck. "Yeah, that means I get to have you forever."

"Yeah." Harry's whole body trembled when Jacob bit down lightly, sucking over the skin. "Wow."

"I've never done this before," Jacob answered, and Harry was calling major bullshit because Jacob didn't even break his stride with neither his mouth nor his hand, his hand now falling to Harry's side, holding him in place as he continued his out-fucking-standing assault on Harry's neck. "I can't imagine doing this with anyone else."

"You seem- ah …. You seem like you know what you're doing."

"It's only because I'm with you. My wolf is so in content," Jacob replied, leaning forward and pushing on Harry until he was mostly on his back. "Is this okay?"

"So okay," Harry answered, slipping his hands around Jacob's waist and pulling him down, moaning softly at the warm heat, the solid weight of Jacob's huge body pressing him down into the bed.

'Harry get ahold of yourself.'

"God, I've dreamt of you. Dreamt of your hands on me, dreamt of me kissing you. From the moment I saw you, I knew you were perfect. Before you, nothing made sense."

"Yeah?" Harry said ever so eloquently, Christ, Jacob was just over here pouring his heart out. Jacob pushed up and off slightly just to see if this was real, to see Harry's face, and to have proof that this was actually happening. He took Harry all in, his flushed tawny brown skin and swollen red lips.

Jacob grinned, dropping down to run the tip of his nose along Harry's jawline. He took one of Harry's hands and boldly pushed it onto his dick, hot, hard, and huge, Jesus Christ. Well, hello there, nice to finally meet you.

"Yeah." He let out a breathy sort of noise as Harry cupped him through his underwear, squeezing a little just to feel it. "Please."

Oh my god.

Oh. My. God

This was so good, literally so good, but Harry had to stop.

As much as he hated to do it, they were going to finish talking. He really didn't want to move too fast, even if Jacob seemed okay with that. This could totally wait.

"Quid pro quo," Harry said, pushing Jacob on his chest with his hand and refusing to think that the whine Jacob let out was the cutest thing. "I want to hear about you."

"But," Jacob groaned, reaching for Harry's obvious erection. "My life isn't that interesting." Boy, oh, boy, did Jacob have pretty convincing puppy dog eyes.

"I still wanna hear." Harry insisted earnestly. "It matters to me."

Jacob heaved a sigh, but he had a smile threatening to explode. "All right."

...

Jacob's favorite color was blue, his favorite ice cream flavor was chocolate, and his secret obsession was comic books.

"I mean it's not a secret anymore."

"How come?"

"We can hear each other's thoughts while in wolf form."

"Ew. That's gross."

"Yeah." Jacob gave him a goofy-grinned. "But there are ways to keep a secret if you try hard enough."

"Oh yeah?"

"Someone ate Paul's leftovers, and no one could find out who until Quil finally broke that it was him."

"Did you try to keep imprinting on me a secret?"

"Yes and no. All Quil had to do was think about something else for a week or put it in the back of his mind. It was just food he wasn't supposed to eat. You, on the other hand, are my mate. I just couldn't stop thinking about you."

"Oh."

"Yeah," Jacob agreed. "Oh."

Harry found out that Jacob lost his mother in a car crash, the same car crash that paralyzed his father. Jacob talked about his two older sisters, Rebecca, who got away from the La Push reservation, got married, and then Rachael, Paul's imprint. Jacob talked about the first time he ever shifted, his first crush, and his first love Bella Swan. They talked a lot about Bella Swan, actually.

Jacob didn't sound too hurt over it because he insisted that it was in the past. However, Harry knew that it didn't just take a week to fall out of love with someone; then again, he's never imprinted, so he didn't have Jacob's full perspective.

"I mean, he's a leech," Jacob sneered moodily. "I just don't get it?"

Harry completely got it. Vampires had some nice qualities, at least the ones he encountered, but they were also horribly possessive bastards. But that was better left unsaid. So, Harry just hummed in agreement.

"She wants to become one of them willingly."

Harry raised an eyebrow in disbelief. "No shit?"

"I'm serious," Jacob grumbled. "They've only been dating for like seven months or some shit."

That right there raised a red flag. "So, how'd she find out about the Cullens, though?" Muggles that knew too much ended up dead; Harry found that out the hard way.

Jacob ducked his head sheepishly. "I kinda outed them by telling her some of our legends." Harry chuckled. "But it was before I knew any of it was real. It was when I was still human."

"Ah."

"But Bella kind of pushed me to tell her because she already did some digging on her own."

"Ah?"

"Yeah, she was smart enough to figure it all out."

"Now I'm really curious to see how she looks." Harry wondered not unkindly. "You did love her," he stated as a matter of factly.

"Eh," Jacob shrugged, screwing up his face as if he never thought of her as more than a friend. "Pretty but in a plain way."

What made Bella Swan so special then? Humans were replaceable and forgettable. But honestly, it was none of his business, and Harry wanted it to stay that way.

"I mean, she still is one of my best friends," Jacob mumbled. "I'll always care for her."

"When was the last time you talked to her?"

"Like two weeks ago. I told her that I'd rather see her dead than become one of them." Harry couldn't help the wince that escaped him, and Jacob sighed and ran a hand through his shaggy hair.

"Yeah, I know," he conceded, "but I was angry."

"You have every right to be angry," Harry amended, "but it is her choice. No matter how idiotic."

"Yeah, I know," Jacob grumbled.

"Are you gonna tell her about us next time you talk to her?"

"I don't know, she hasn't been answering my calls. So, I guess we'll cross that bridge when we get there."

Then that was the end of their discussion about Bella Swan. They talked about his pack, every one of them in detail. Harry learned about the love/hate triangle between Leah, Sam, and Emily. It turned out that imprinting sometimes didn't work out for the best, and sometimes imprinting hurt other people.

"I can't wait for you to meet the pack." Jacob gushed, his eyes alight with happiness. "At first, I thought phasing was the shittiest thing ever. I hated being in a pack, and I was not too fond of the thought of imprinting. But now that I have you," he cradled Harry's face in his hands to look him in the eye. "It's like the heavens opened up. Now I understand what the others were feeling."

Jacob brushed Harry's bangs back to slide his thumb over his scar gently. "It's so intense."

"Why'd you hate the thought of imprinting?" Harry asked, catching Jacob's wrists.

"I thought I wouldn't be myself, but now I see that it isn't like that at all. I'm still me, but now I'm better."

"You see, I'm the first shifter to ever imprint on a guy, which changes a lot of things now," Jacob told him proudly. "Leah thought that imprinting was purely based on who is best fit to pass on the werewolf gene through procreation."

"Oh?" Harry said, reviewing the fact that he certainly did not have ovaries.

"Yeah," Jacob catching on to Harry's drift. "But since I imprinted on you, that's not the case. My dad always believed that imprinting simply makes that wolf better as an individual."

"So that means my dad was right." Jacob ducked his head, a shy, bashful smile on his lips. "Unless I could get you pregnant."

"I'm pretty sure that can't happen." Harry said surely, "but there is no harm in trying," he added with a wink.

Harry felt so satisfied when he saw that blush creep up on Jacob's cheeks.

"Uh," Jacob blurted, his brain short-circuiting for a moment, "s-sounds good.

"So, how'd the pack react to the news that you imprinted on me?"

"Well, I was freaking out, and like I said, we can't hide anything when in wolf form. You were all I could think about. It was about two days into the news when Embry found out because I was on a border patrol with him." Jacob relaxed into the bed and pulled Harry's legs onto his lap. "It was sort of a domino effect after that. They were shocked at first, didn't think it was possible, but they got over it pretty quickly because it was out of their control. What was done was done. They really wanna meet you now."

There was a steady hand tracing the lines of his owl tattoo. "There's some teasing and some gay jokes here and there, but I wouldn't expect anything less," he paused his movements. "They're my brothers, but they're kind of sworn by law to protect you. Imprints are pretty sacred."

Sworn to protect him. How wonderful.

"Now, what about your father?" It was going to be quite something seeing Billy again after just nearly defiling his son and, of course, planning to deflower him soon.

Jacob let out a bout of loud unexpected laughter. "Um," he started. "Well, he gave me the I'll love you no matter what speech."

"Aw," Harry said teasingly. "That's nice."

"He just wants me to be happy," Jacob looked at him sadly before giving him a soft smile. "I haven't had the best time these past couple of months."

"So, if I don't make you happy, Billy would come after me?"

There's was more laughter, but this time Harry was expecting it. "Nah, I was riding the teenage angst bus pretty hard, and he doesn't want to see me like that again."

"But I'll be okay now that I have you." Jacob grinned, eyes crinkling. "You existing makes me happy."

Whoa.

Confessions of a teenage werewolf take five.

Harry cleared the lump that somehow appeared in his throat. "So, how'd the other imprintee's react? Besides' Sam and Emily."

"Quil is like a big brother to Claire, and Kim had a crush on Jared for years. So, she was all for it." Jacob shuddered as a fake chill ran through him, "And I honestly don't even wanna think about my sister and Paul."

"So, if we take it slow, you won't mind?"

"Of course not!" Jacob said heatedly, and Harry chuckled warmly and ruffled his hair.

"We can go as slow or as fast as you want." Jacob's blush was back in full force. "Harry, I'm just grateful you accepted me."

"So, what would have happened if I rejected you?"

"I would have respected that," Jacob said sadly. "It would've hurt, but I'd have no choice if that's what you wanted." He ran his thumbs over Harry's cheeks. "But imprinting is a two-way street."

"So, I'd feel hurt too?"

"Yeah, eventually," Jacob said. "Don't you feel something you can't explain?" Jacob smiled bright and giddy. "A pull towards me?"

Harry felt it in his chest, something warm and fuzzy. It filled him up. He hasn't felt it in so long. It was like conjuring his Patronus, bright and definite. "Yeah, I feel it." Harry smiled back, hoping it was equally as brilliant.

"Now think about feeling that feeling all day and multiply it by one hundred." Jacob preened, smiling even bigger than Harry thought possible. "That's how I'm feeling. That's how you make me feel."

Harry was used to having a lot of responsibility placed on him for nearly his whole life, and it was never the good kind. It was never like this, of course. Harry has only ever been in love twice. He has traveled the world, seen many things, and done a lot of things he was not proud of. He met a lot of people and made a lot of friends. Harry really didn't believe in fate. But the moment he decided to settle down and push his past away, he was sort of gifted with a person that was willing to love him unconditionally. If Harry knew that this would happen, he would have come to Washington a lot sooner. It would have saved him a whole lot of pain and suffering.

He just hoped nothing came back to bite him in the arse. Literally.

Harry smiled and reached up to press a kiss to Jacob's cheek. "Come on. I'll make us some dinner."

...

"So why is the pack so eager to meet me?"

"Well, not to put any pressure on you, but you're the first outsider, like ever. With Emily, we knew her. We knew Kim for years too. Then through Emily, we knew Claire. Then there's you. You're like an unexplored island; you are uncharted territory, no one knows anything about you. I guess they find it refreshing, having a whole new brain to pick. To them, you are a stranger, and it's kind of exciting."

Well, Jacob had a point there. Harry nodded slowly, thinking about it. "Well… when do you want me to meet them?"

"Tomorrow," Jacob replied pretty quickly – clearly, he'd thought about it already. "If that's okay." He grimaced a bit. "Honestly, if that's too much, just let me know. I wouldn't be surprised if you told me off and decided to take a week to process."

"I don't mind," Harry admitted. It was nice being wanted for something.

Jacob nodded relieved. "Cool."

Harry walked into the kitchen, and Jacob followed in his tracks, content to stick really close and just watch. And now that he thought about it, he was hungry – and thirsty too, which Harry clearly anticipated as he without a word got Jacob a glass of water.

"Thanks," Jacob murmured, then leaned against the counter, hopefully out of the way, to watch. It was weird how Harry felt more secure now, safe in this territory. Though, of course, he never really felt in danger in the first place, but still. Now, he could relax. Jacob and the pack would protect him.

Nothing was going to happen. Speaking it into existence helped.

The meal Harry prepared wasn't overly complicated. He chopped some seasoned chicken and then made some sauce with onion, tomato, and spices. In the end, he threw all of it together. He's made some rice in another pot that looked a little too long, but Jacob couldn't tell rice grains apart anyway.

It was nice to watch Harry cook. He seemed to know what he was doing, so he must've cooked somewhat regularly, and something about that was just attractive. But there was more to it than that, too. It was domestic, watching Harry cook, and surprisingly intimate.

Jacob had seen Emily cook loads of times, and it's never felt like this, so he knows it's just not all in this head.

Harry, Jacob's imprint.

That's not a thought Jacob was going to get used to anytime soon.

This changed a lot of things, things he'd have to deal with later. Right now, Jacob kind of just wanted to bask in the fact that he's not alone anymore. That sounded a little dramatic, but his heart did not hurt anymore. Everything felt right.

So preoccupied with his thoughts, Jacob missed Harry plating up the rice and vegetables until the forks clinked against the porcelain as Harry grabbed the plates and cutlery. "Can you get the glasses?"

"Sure." Startled into action, Jacob filled both of their glasses with water and then followed Harry over to the sofa, where they were eating. Jacob accepted his plate with a huge smile. "Thanks." Then he looked at the food, which had a lot more vegetables than he was ever used to. "So… what is it?"

"Don't know," Harry informed him with a smile. "I like to make my own recipes and hope it's good."

Jacob's first bite was taken a bit cautiously, but really, he wasn't much of a picky eater, especially if it smelled good, which this did. The meat was tender. There was a spicy undertone that mixed well with the rice, and actually, it was great.

Like really great.

And Jacob was starving. He doesn't notice until the second bite, when he wasn't so focused on analyzing the flavor anymore, but seriously. Starving.

"Good?" Harry asked, tone slightly amused. He's much more amused on the inside, but also feeling very pleased, satisfied about a job well done, feeding his imprint.

Jacob, halfway through his meal, paused, considered how he's been kind of scarfing everything down, then decides he's not going to feel embarrassed about it. He was a growing boy. Harry was clearly taking it as a compliment anyway. "Very good," he thus confirmed, then continued eating. Stuffing his face. Whatever.

Once he consumed his third and fourth plate of mystery deliciousness, Jacob patted his belly content. Now he was sitting comfortably in Harry's place with the nervousness mostly gone out of both of them; the day's events were starting to catch up to him a little.

"Jacob?"

"Yes," Jacob sighed, blinking at him slowly. Harry was sitting very relaxed; one leg curled on the sofa pressed against him, one arm over the backrest with his body turned towards Jacob. Some moonlight was peeking out from on the curtained windows casting him in an eerie glow. 'Wow,' Jacob thought. 'This is happening.'

"Wanna shower and call it a night?"

Harry's wet body covered in soap suds? Jacob was entirely on board with that. "Yes, please," he agreed quickly.

Jacob could really get used to this.

Chapter Text

When he woke, Jacob was facing the window. Streaks of sunlight beamed through the slats of the shades, and he squinted to stop the stinging in his eyes. Exhaling, he nuzzled his face into the mattress to block some of the brightness impeding his vision. This wasn't his bed. His bed at home was lumpy and small.

He wasn't in his room.

Then Jacob was suddenly also aware of the hot skin against his back, the leg around his waist, arm around his chest, and light breath ghosting through his hair and onto his neck.

Holy shit.

'So, it wasn't a dream.' Jacob thought happily.

After several minutes, Jacob felt Harry inhale against him, his leg shifting around his waist. Only a few seconds passed before the man's body froze.

He was awake.

Jacob's mind kicked into overdrive, and his heart began pumping in his chest. While his gut told him Harry wouldn't have a big freak-out, he knew all of this must be a lot for him to process. Imprinting on someone was overwhelming as it was, throw in Harry's crazy life and experiences and —well… yeah.

A sudden nervousness bubbled in his stomach. What if Harry was freaking out right now? What if this was too much? What if…what if he regretted last night? What if Harry accepting his imprint was just a mistake, and he realized he didn't want to be with Jacob in that way?

No, sounded a voice in Jacob's head. Things got a little hot and heavy, but Harry shared his whole life story, and Jacob shared his. They connected.

That had to count for something.

Pushing past his doubts, Jacob took another breath and rolled over to change his position. The Harry tensed again, arm going stiff and heart rushing into a fast pace. When Jacob faced Harry, the shorter boy was staring at him, bright green eyes locked on his own. His hair was messy, messier than usual, black strands poking out in all directions, and his cheeks were rosy with either heat or embarrassment (probably both, Jacob thought). Slowly, Jacob raised his hand and brushed through Harry's hair with his fingers as he did last night, pushing it back away from his forehead softly.

Gently touching that unique scar. Harry blinked and inhaled. Jacob brushed through his hair once more before drifting his hand down Harry's cheek to rest behind his neck.

"Hi," Jacob whispered.

The older boy stared at him, eyes wide. Jacob noticed Harry's jaw shift as he began chewing on the inside of his bottom lip.

Jacob sifted his fingers into the hair at the nape of Harry's neck. The older raven-haired boy closed his eyes at the contact, chest rising as he took a deep breath.

Leaning upward, Jacob pressed a chaste kiss to his lips.

Harry responded immediately, the hand that was idly draped over Jacob's waist running up his back. When he pulled back, Harry pressed back in shyly, warm lips plush against his own.

Sighing in his throat, Jacob parted his mouth and deepened the kiss. Their lips slowly moved in tandem, tiny, soft clicks echoing in the otherwise silent bedroom. Harry's hand slid further back up Jacob's hot back until it tangled into his hair.

Another surge of giddy warmth spread from Jacob's heart. He still wants this. This was still happening.

Before things escalated, Jacob pulled back for air and slowly pulled back his hand from Harry's neck. Harry's eyes slowly blinked open.

They stared at each other for several moments, neither saying a word. Harry broke the gaze first, nervously dropping his eyes. Jacob raised his hand again, this time placing it on Harry's chest to brush softly over the stag tattoo there as he'd imagined earlier that morning.

"Hi," Jacob repeated.

Harry's eyes flicked up to meet his. "Hi," he croaked before he cleared his throat, voice raspy from sleep.

Jacob's lips quirked into a smile. He tried to contain it—to reveal how giddy he felt right now was embarrassing, goddamnit—but failed, lips parting into a grin as he felt his cheeks heat. This time it was his turn to drop his eyes.

He felt Harry's hand glide from his hair to his cheek, and he looked back up, meeting Harry's soft gaze. The man pushed a few stray strands behind his ear, sending more warmth to Jacob's chest.

Harry pushed himself up, and Jacob followed, moving into a sitting position. Several moments of silence passed between them. Jacob knew they needed to talk about what had happened last night. –– well, nothing happened–– but Jacob knew that just one night of conversation wasn't gonna just set them both straight. They wouldn't ride off into the sunset together without any more questions. Relationships were deeper than that. If Harry was in this, they'd have more time to talk. But a howl pierced the air reminding Jacob of his duty to his pack and land.

"That's Sam, calling me." Jacob reached out to Harry's face, turning him gently toward him. He leaned in and kissed him softly. When he pulled back, he rested his forehead against Harry's temple for several moments.

"I really don't want to leave right now," he whispered.

A shaky breath left Harry's chest. "You don't have to."

Jacob pulled back, meeting Harry's eyes. They were wide, serious. His heart leaped in his chest.

Jared couldn't do his patrol, so if he couldn't either, Sam would probably have a fit. He was not Sam's biggest fan, but the guy did keep his word on covering his patrol yesterday. And yesterday was arguably the best day of his life, so maybe he owed him one.

"I wish I didn't," Jacob said, reaching up to brush a few strands of hair away from Harry's face. The man's eyes returned to him, unsure. "I'll be back around 1. I'll cut my patrol short. I'll take you to Emily's place."

Harry nodded again, another deep breath leaving his chest. "Okay."

Jacob smiled softly before leaning in for another kiss.


Harry's morning passed with a blur. Part of him couldn't believe that last night happened, and the other part was completely in shock. After Jacob took off, he spent the rest of the morning baking. That may sound like a surprise, but he liked to do it when he was stressed. It calmed him down.

The unexpected knock on his door at around noon caught him off guard. He wasn't expecting any visitors, and Jacob had told him that he wasn't coming back until around one. Harry dusted his hands on his apron and hoped that he didn't have any flour on his cheeks and hair. Stress baking at its finest.

He opened the door only to face shirtless muscle, brown skin, and extra-wide white grins. Harry didn't remember ordering a stripper gram. "Um, hi?"

The one on the left spoke first. "Holy shit, it's him!"

"Obviously, who else would it be? This is his house."

"Oh, and he's baking. Smells like chocolate chip cookies."

"Emily's gonna be happy she's not the only cook anymore."

"Jake is so lucky his imprint can cook. The only food Claire can make is plastic."

"Well yeah, dude, she's two."

"As if I'd ever forget."

These were obviously some of Jacob's pack members, but Harry just didn't know which ones.

"I'm not even gonna lie, your pretty hot, man." Harry startled, and blinked finally realizing that he was being spoken to directly.

"Um, thanks," Harry ran a hand through his hair subconsciously. "So, which one are you?"

"Oh, I'm Embry," the one on the left said, extending his hand, "it's nice to meet you."

"Likewise," Harry said, letting the enormous warm hand engulf him in a handshake. He looked at the one to the right expectantly who was too busy staring at his face to notice.

"Dude," Embry whispered, and the other wolf shapeshifter startled into action.

"I'm Quil," he introduced but offered no hand for Harry to shake. Instead, he put a hand under his chin to contemplate. "You know what I think it is, dude? I think it's the eyes. He's got some beautiful eyes."

"His hair is a bit of a mess. Let's just be honest."

Well fuck. Harry knew that.

Then they started talking to each other like Harry wasn't even there. Harry had questions, okay? Like where the hell was Jacob, and why were these two, precisely only these two, standing on his doorstep?

"Yeah, it's wild, but it works for him."

"Yeah," Embry mumbled. "But it's the whole package that makes it worth wild. The eyes, the hair, I mean he's got great skin."

Well, Harry did exfoliate. Thank you very much.

"Nice lips too."

"Totally." Quil nodded in agreement, leering at him. "He's a total hottie."

Embry barked out a laugh. "Please tell me you didn't just refer to him as a hottie."

Quil shrugged, "I call it how I see it, man. He's a British hottie. Grade A, dude."

"Well, he's even hotter in person, that's for sure. Jacob's blurry thoughts didn't do him justice." Embry squinted at him and grinned.

"He's quite short, though." Quil pointed out.

"Yeah." Embry snorted. "A little tiny short stack."

Harry was five-eight, which was perfectly average height. Okay. Not everyone could be giants.

"Seth's gonna have a field day with him."

"Seth isn't even into guys."

"Jacob wasn't either, but that didn't stop him from imprinting on a dude."

"If we think he's hot, Seth's gonna think so too."

"Um, hello," Harry's voice broke through their chatter a bit louder, and they froze. "Not to be rude or anything, but did Jake send you guys or something?" There had to be a very logical explanation for two of his packmates showing up at his door. There had to be.

Embry and Quil shared a look; a brief silence followed. They look down at Harry and burst into laughter.

"What's so funny?" Harry asked flatly.

"No," Embry said, choking back his little giggles. "We're not laughing at you."

"It's just that we're supposed to be on patrol, but we came to see you instead," Embry explained. "Jacob must've told you about how excited everyone is to meet you, right?"

When Harry nodded, he continued. "We wanted to see you in person first. We called first dibs. We're supposed to be north of the border, but we're not."

"Jake doesn't even know that we're here."

"Not that he would mind. We're his best bros."

Harry took a second to digest that information and crossed his arms over his chest. "How'd you even find me?"

"We met up with Jake when patrols had just started. Your scent was all over him." Embry waggled his eyebrows, his mind in the gutter. "It wasn't hard to track."

Even though nothing happened last night, Harry felt his cheeks go hot. He cleared his throat. "So, you went against orders just to meet me earlier than everyone else?"

"Yup."

"Totally worth it too."

"Well, we technically just deviated from our patrols for like a second."

"Yeah, we'll finish them in no time." Quil insisted.

"Sam might have our asses," Embry said, laughing and shaking his head. "But it was worth it. I can already tell."

A wolf howl pierced the air, and the smile on their faces dropped.

"Fuck," Quil moaned. "I guess that's our cue."

They started to back away in unison, and Embry aimed a wink and a sly smile his way. "Yeah, we'll see you later, short stack."

"Bye!" Harry called out, waving, ready to shut the door.

"Oh, and Harry?" Harry paused and glanced over at Embry, who was now the closest. Quil was long gone, disappearing into the foliage surrounding them. "Your cookies are like a minute away from starting to burn."

"Shit," Harry cursed, and he slammed the door close, sprinting to his kitchen. Yet he felt himself smile. Harry would be lying if he said he wasn't a bit intrigued by the events later in the day. If that was just a snippet of the pack, he honestly wanted more.

"You're nervous," Jacob pointed out as Harry shifted around in the passenger seat. 1 p.m. came around way sooner than Harry would have liked.

Harry watched the trees whizz by and resisted the urge to roll his eyes. "Of course, I'm nervous. This is your family. I'm meeting your family."

"There's nothing you need to worry about. Emily's alone at her place right now. Everyone else will be trickling in after their patrols are finished."

"If you're comfortable with Emily, then you'll be comfortable with everyone else." Harry was seriously worried if he overdressed for something like this. Jacob was in his typical cut-off shorts with a shirt. Harry, however, had a nice jumper on and some jeans.

"Well, I already met Quil and Embry, so I can cross them off the list."

"Ha," Jacob snorted. "I'm not surprised they did that. I bet it was all Quil's idea."

"They said everyone was really excited."

"Yeah," Jacob said, laughing mostly to himself. "They are. Quil is bringing Claire over too. My sister is coming too. Shit, even Kim. It's gonna be a reunion."

The blood drained from Harry's face. So many new people. So many people will make an impression of him. So much can go wrong.

Jacob caught on fairly quickly, taking Harry's silence as obvious worry. "Hey, it'll be fine. They'll love you."

Harry scoffed. "They don't even know me."

"But they will." Jacob looked so sure. So trusting in his pack, so Harry had no other choice but to believe him.

Emily's scars were even worse than what Harry imagined. Harry has seen his fair share of facial scars, but these were horrific. Remus' scars, although he received them on the terrible circumstances, added character. The same thing with Bill and even Mad-Eye and Harry couldn't imagine himself without his scars, but he most certainly could imagine Emily without hers.

Harry wasn't staring, he swears he wasn't, but he just couldn't help but notice what a beautiful smile she had, even though the jagged scars went through half her lips. It would seem that over here at the reservation, hugs were a thing. Lots and lots of hugs.

"It's so nice to meet you, Harry finally." She said as she squeezed him. "You've caused quite a buzz around here." When she pulled away, her expression was soft, and Harry knew her words were true.

"I made cookies," Harry told her and gestured to the dozens of foil pans he made Jacob carry in for him. They were set on the table, piled high.

"You made the pack cookies?" Emily asked, looking at him surprised.

Harry brushed a hand through his unruly curls and shrugged. "Well, yeah."

For a second there, Harry was worried that bringing food was the wrong move. Emily laughed, and it was a charming melody on its own, and she said, "Welcome to the family."

It sounded like a welcome home.


There was a reason why the honeymoon phase was called a phase. It typically only lasted for six months. He and Jacob were only treading on nearly a month now. It almost seemed too impossible for this feeling to end.

Harry wasn't a shapeshifter, so he didn't fully know how imprinting worked. However, Jacob insisted that what they were feeling wouldn't just dwindle and dissipate. It would last forever.

That sounded too good to be true, but Harry was going to put his trust in Jacob because he had nowhere else to put it. He had nothing else to lose. Especially with his love life.

Meeting the pack went great. They loved him, and he even made Leah crack a smile which apparently, according to Jacob, was a very daring feat.

Harry was sure that he won them over because of the cookies. A genius idea on his part. Even though Jacob insisted that there was no room for them not to like him, if the pack was just one big puzzle and Harry was Jacob's imprint, Harry was bound to be one of those pieces that completed the puzzle.

They were meant to be his family now. Prepped and primed. Again, Harry knew what you were thinking. This all seemed just too good to be true. Right? But he hoped to God that it wasn't.

One thing about the honeymoon phase that Harry enjoyed was that Jacob was attached to his hip. More like, his lips were attached to Harry every second of every day. That was a slight exaggeration, of course, but sometimes it felt like that.

Jacob just looked at him with so much love. Harry thought he didn't deserve it.

He was waiting for himself to feel sick of Jacob like he's felt with everyone else, but every time Jacob embraced him, it gave him butterflies. Every single time. And the best thing of all was that just Harry's presence alone was enough. Jacob was completely content with Harry just being in the same room with him. They didn't need to talk. Sometimes they didn't even need to touch, but they both liked the contact.

He liked it when Harry's scent was everywhere, so he loved it when Harry was at his house. Billy had welcomed Harry with open arms, no shovel talk included. Harry made it clear that he fully accepted Jacob's imprint, and they were in it for the long haul. So now they were just focusing on getting to know each other, knowing each other's limits and boundaries.

Yet it was hard learning boundaries when they both enjoyed being with each other most of the time. But Harry got his alone time when Jacob was in school.

When Jake pulled up in the rabbit, he slammed the door closed and went straight to the garage. Harry knew this because he was watching from the window. He had eaten a late lunch with Billy, and they got a little caught up in conversation.

He looked over at Billy and set the dishrag on the counter, "Looks like he's upset."

Billy nodded in agreement. "That's a rare occurrence these days."

"You should get out there. I'll finish up here, son," Billy wheeled over to the sink and took the rag in his hands. Harry left through the front door and made his way to the garage doors.

He cracked them open and peeked inside. Jacob was standing by his workbench in front, back facing him.

"Hey," he called out, and Jacob turned around and forced a smile on his face.

"Hey, babe."

"Bad day?" Harry asked, approaching him slowly. Jacob shook his head and opened his arms wide, beckoning him to move a little faster, and Harry obliged.

Jacob's lips traced his jaw, breath soft and warm. "No," he murmured. "Now that you're here."

He pulled Harry into a kiss, slipping his tongue in with a bit of warning. His right arm rose, resting against Harry's shoulder and pulling him tight, fingers digging into the sleeve of his shirt almost desperately. The opposite looped around Harry's back up and off the ground, drawing him in against hard muscle and throbbing heartbeat.

It was confining but comfortable, and Harry was a feeble man when it came to Jacob, it seemed.

He shifted, sucking lightly at Jacob's tongue, lips curling at the growl it earned. Harry released a muffled snort before sliding his fingers into Jacob's newly cropped hair, scratching lightly at the boy's scalp. "What's wrong?"

That's another thing that came with this imprinting thing. Harry could sometimes tell when Jacob was upset.

"It's nothing." Jacob dismissed, and Harry leveled him with a stern look. Jacob was very weak when it came to Harry as well. "It's just that Bella's graduation is in a couple of weeks."

"I'm guessing you two still haven't talked?" Harry hasn't given Bella Swan so much of a thought since that fateful night, and Jacob hasn't spoken about her. Until now, of course.

Jacob looked anxious, and Harry grabbed his hands so they wouldn't be twitching all about. "I haven't spoken to her in a whole month now. This is the longest it's been."

Jacob sighed and waffled their fingers together. "I'll probably never see her again after graduation. I at least want to make things right. I just want to apologize for what I said, but I stopped calling her weeks ago."

Harry understood how it felt to lose friends, not under similar circumstances, but he knew that sometimes mending a friendship meant that you'd have to be the one to step up and admit you're wrong, at least if he was at fault. "Well, you do know where she lives; you can always just go there."

"I can't just show up unannounced. There's a ninety-eight percent chance her leech would be there with her. He's already given her shit about coming to see me before we argued. He thinks that we're dangerous; he thinks that we have no control, but I would never hurt her."

"If you're not going to call her, then you don't have any other choice. Forks is fifteen minutes away. It's better to hash things out now before things are left unsaid. Remember when you told me we'd cross that bridge when we get there? Well, love, the bridge is here."

"It's not that easy."

"Yes, it is." Harry insisted. "You just have to apologize and truly mean it, and if she really is your best friend, then she'll forgive you."

"I mean, I could always go with you," Harry offered, and Jacob went rigid in his arms, like the very idea of that happening would cause the apocalypse.

"No. Absolutely not," Jacob snapped, and before Harry could ask why Jacob was already lowering his voice and explaining himself. "I would take you with me in a heartbeat. I have no problem with my boyfriend meeting my best friend. In fact, that would make me really happy. If Cullen is there, and I know he will be since he lives up her ass. Things might get ugly. I don't want you anywhere near the Cullens. I don't want you near any bloodsuckers."

"Jacob, you know that I might run into at least one of them during my stay here in Washington. It's inevitable."

"Not if I can help it," Jacob grunted.

"I'm not helpless. I've fought dragons. I'm not scared of vampires." Harry, of all people, would know their weaknesses and if he were to face a vampire right now. He'd win. He never thought he would think this, but Harry was actually pleased that he had certain exes. He would have never learned so much.

"I know you're not afraid of them." Jacob smiled proudly. "My imprint is tough. He's one of the toughest people I've ever met." His smile grew rough around the edges. "But that's beside the point. They think we're dangerous. I think they're dangerous. They are our natural enemies. So, I don't want you near them. So, if there is even the slightest chance of you encountering one of them, I'm not going to risk it."

"So, what if I need to go into town?"

"Then I'll come with you."

"What if you're on patrol?"

"Then Embry will come with you."

"What if you guys are on patrol together?"

"Then I'll send Quil or even Seth. Even so, the rez should have everything you need."

"Need I remind you that you're still in school along with more than half the pack."

"Then I'll ask Leah for a couple of favors."

Harry barked out a laugh. "She'd punch you in the face just for asking."

"It'll be worth it. Harry, you're worth it."

The conviction in Jacob's voice made Harry's heart melt, but he still couldn't fathom having a bodyguard 24/7. "That's ridiculous. Jacob, you don't have to worry about anything. I could protect myself. In case you've forgotten, I know all about the Cullens. I know about their diet. I know they wouldn't hurt a human."

"They can't be trusted. I know what they are. I know what they always will be. Fuckin' bloodsuckers."

Harry was unphased and said ever so softly. "Trust me, love. I know."

"But still!"

"Jacob," Harry sighed. "What's the real reason?"

Jacob's expression melted away into something gentle.

"They hurt her," Jacob whispered lowly. "Especially him."

Harry knew Jacob was referring to Edward Cullen.

"I wish I could show you how Bella looked when Sam found her in the woods that day. She had her arms wrapped around herself as if she was holding herself together so she wouldn't fall apart. It was all downhill from there. She was depressed. It terrified Charlie and worried me too."

"I helped her through that. When he left and obliterated her entire world, I was there to remind her that everything wasn't completely over. I mean, even Sam felt betrayed, even though he had no right to be. They left her for six months and didn't give two shits."

"Oh, love, " He could tell Jacob was really beaten up about this. Harry combed a hand through Jacob's hair.

"I told you she jumped off a cliff for the leech, remember?"

"Oh yes, I remember," Harry said. That's when he decided she was absolutely beyond bonkers and past the point of saving.

"If they would have stayed away for another six months, especially him, I could be hanging out with my baby and my best friend. Which would be fucking awesome."

"If she's so important to you, then you should make things right when you still can"

"I've given it some thought, you know. Just not talking to her again, letting that leech sink his teeth into her and steal the soul of my best friend forever. It would hurt. It would hurt bad. But I have you so that it wouldn't be all bad."

"Please don't pull me into this." Harry pleaded. "This is between you and Bella. You said it, I'm your boyfriend, and she is one of your best friends. I really hope that you're not putting off your apology because of me."

Jacob scowled, ready to protest.

"It has nothing to do with me. You and Bella argued two weeks before I even showed up. I don't know this girl. What if having her in your life for whatever months or weeks that she has left as a human makes you happy? Then I encourage you to make things right."

Jacob listened on but with a frown on his face.

"This was your first love; this is not something you could just put in the back of your mind and hope to forget about. You loved her, and that doesn't mean you don't still love her platonically now that you've imprinted."

"Words hurt. You're the one who said you'd rather see her dead than become a vampire. You have to fix that. From what I can tell, she'll forgive you for this."

Jacob started to say something, something angry from his expression, but he stopped himself, took a breath, and began again. "You made a lot of valid points, babe."

"I did, didn't I?" Harry agreed, giving Jacob a small smile. "Look, I won't force you to do anything you don't want to, but if it were you: wouldn't you want to end your last moments as a human on good terms with your best friend?"

"Yeah."

"Well, then shoot by her house this weekend and clear the air, right?"

"Yeah alright." Jacob sighed, resigned.

"Good." Harry pecked Jake's lips. "Enough with the angst. Tell me about your day."

Jacob grinned, happy for the change in topic. Before he could respond, someone hammered on the door to the garage.

"Put your pants on, ladies!" Embry's shout sounded far too eager.

Jacob groaned, letting his forehead hit Harry's. "What the hell does he want?"

Harry nudged him, drawing his attention. He kissed him again, a soft, sweet brush of lips.

Embry popped his head in and grinned like a Cheshire cat when he saw that the duo was fully clothed. "I knew you'd be here," he said, cackling madly. "Jared owes me five bucks now."

Harry rolled his eyes. "Hello to you too, Embry."

"Hey there, short stack," Embry replied, strolling over in his cut-off shorts.

Jacob looked ruffled due to being interrupted. "What are you doing here, dude?"

Embry put his hands on his hips. "You forgot, didn't you?"

"Forgot what?" Jacob asked, genuinely confused.

"We got double patrols because of the red-headed leech, man. We got south of the border."

Jacob groaned. "Since fuckin' when?"

"Last week." Embry shook his head and tutted a finger at Jacob disapprovingly. "Sam's been going easy on you since you imprinted. But now it's back to business."

"Right now?" Jacob was full-on whining now.

Embry was clearly enjoying it too. "Yeah, man."

Jacob scrubbed a hand down his face, making grabby hands at Harry, who had just stepped away from him. "Come back."

"No, you guys should get going." Harry bounced over to press a quick kiss to Jacob's lips and then one to Embry's cheek. "I have to head over to the Clearwater's place anyway."

Jacob looked confused. "What for?"

"I'm helping Seth with his homework."

"The boy's in love." Embry sighed, placing a hand over his heart.

Harry gave him the finger as he left the garage. Little did they know Seth was shaping up to be his second favorite.

….


Charlie didn't talk to Billy every day. He did, however, try to make it a habit to spend every other weekend with him if he could and see him quite frequently during the week. Or at least try to give that excuse when he's really trying to see Sue.

He knew Bella and Jacob were going through some things right now, but honestly, he thought that would be all set and done. They have argued before, and they have made up even quicker. But this one was different. When they were first fighting about god-knows-what, having Charlie pass notes between them like some grade school kids, it didn't last long. Jacob called every single day, and Bella being weak, finally returned his call after maybe a couple of days.

It's been weeks, though. Damn, near a month.

Charlie knew this was different, Bella was sulking in her own unique way even if she didn't want to admit it, and Jacob, well, he hasn't called at all. There was not one word about this situation from Billy and, of course, none from Jacob. Maybe Billy was in the dark just as much as him.

It was weird. Normally Jacob didn't mind being joined at the hip with Bella. He understood that Jacob had a crush on his daughter, and he encouraged it. He wanted someone to give Edward a run for his money. They were teenagers. This stuff was supposed to happen.

Charlie knew not to overthink it because he knew it would all blow over soon. Or at least he hoped. If they didn't want to involve him, that was fine. He wasn't even gonna mention it, so he mulled over his thoughts as he took a generous gulp of his beer. He took a seat at Billy's small kitchen table.

"I was promised some grub." Charlie grouched playfully, looking at the empty table and then back at Billy, who was looking forlornly at the clock. Charlie was surprised Sue wasn't cooking, and he'd be lying if he knew where the food was supposed to be coming from.

"Yeah, I was too," Billy said. He looked towards Sue, who was busying herself with a few lone dishes in the sink, and asked, "When you spoke to Harry, did he say he'll be running late?"

Sue shrugged with a knowing smile. "Jake was over there with him when we spoke."

Billy scowled, but his lips were twitching into something of a smile too. Charlie couldn't quite tell. "Over there causing a distraction, I bet."

"Harry?" Charlie asked, albeit carefully. He was pretty sure that the only Harry they knew was, unfortunately, six feet under. He snuck a glance at Sue, who seemed perfectly fine.

Billy had the gall to look sheepish.

"Jake's boyfriend." Sue supplied cheerfully.

Boy? What? The sip of beer that Charlie chose to take at that moment went down the wrong tube and had him hacking up the remnants. Surely, he had heard that wrong.

Huh?

After nearly coughing out a lung, Charlie composed himself, grateful for the warm hand Sue had patted on his back. "His what?"

Sue happily repeated. "His boyfriend, Charlie."

Charlie looked at Billy, who didn't seem surprised at all.

"He's such a sweetheart," Sue gushed with a smile settling in on her face. "He came over Thursday to help Seth with his homework."

Yup. He heard that right. Boyfriend. As in not a girlfriend. Charlie blinked, completely caught off guard, and Billy blinked right back.

Sue's face fell as she looked between them. "You didn't know?"

Know? How could he have possibly known? He hadn't heard a peep about Jacob in nearly a month. He figured Bella and Jake were still working out their teenager issues.

"Bella hasn't spoken to Jacob in weeks," Charlie said slowly.

"Well," Billy said, shrugging. "Jake's got a boyfriend now, and his name is Harry."

Charlie couldn't believe what he was hearing. Never in a million years did he think he would ever hear those words come from Billy's mouth so casually.

This was unreal.

"No." Charlie denied heavily," You're telling me the kid that I watched grow up, the kid that I know that has no interest in boys," he paused. "The one that has a crush on my daughter, your son, is gay?" Charlie shook his head, eyes wide. "That's impossible."

"He's not gay, Charlie," Billy said softly. "And even if he were, that wouldn't be a problem."

Charlie was far from a homophobe. He believed in equality and shit, but this right here was beyond a shocker. "Then what is he?"

"He's in love," Sue said breezily.

"Love?" Charlie choked out. "How long has this been going on?"

"Not long at all," Billy said, shrugging. He looked at Sue, who had her eyebrows pinched in thought. "Maybe about a couple of weeks."

"Weeks?" Charlie muttered, shaking his head, feeling strangely hurt that he didn't know sooner. He's seen Billy quite a lot in the past month, and there was nothing about this. "Why didn't you tell me?"

"There was nothing to tell, and that's his business." Billy insisted, and as much as Charlie didn't like that saying, it was true. Jacob's sexuality, whatever it may be, was none of his business, and who he dated wasn't either. "Jake's just got a boyfriend. The world keeps on spinning."

This wasn't really a big deal, and Charlie knew that too. He watched Jacob grow up, loved the kid like he's flesh and blood, so he chose his next words carefully. He asked the only important thing, and that mattered. "Is he happy?"

He watched as Sue and Billy shared a look. "He's the happiest I've ever seen him," replied Billy with a small smile. "Harry's the best thing to ever happen to him."

Charlie looked skeptical at such high praise. "Those are some bold words."

"Once you see them together, you'll agree," Sue suggested.

From outside, Charlie heard the unmistakable rumble of the rabbit's engine, the car that Jake's been rebuilding and working on for quite some time now.

Sue clapped her hands together, delighted. "Guess we won't be dying of starvation after all," she chanted jokingly, walking towards the door.

She wrenched it open to holler at Jacob and his guest. Now Charlie didn't know what to expect, he hadn't had time to prepare, and even if he did, he didn't even know what he should be prepared for. This was so off-kilter that he had a feeling that whoever walked through that door with Jacob would be no one he expected.

He heard Harry before he saw him, voice fairly deep and unmistakably British, followed by laughter. So, it was obvious that Harry was not from around here. "I tried to get over here as soon as possible, but Jake…."

"I'm sorry," Jacob was saying from outside, but very obviously not sounding very sorry.

"Oh, I know you're not," Sue snipped back playfully. "I'm glad Harry got here in one piece."

Jacob strolled in carrying two foil pans, a black T-shirt stretched tight over his chest and broad shoulders, smiling big and bright. Charlie was sure he's never seen Jacob smile like that. Closely behind him, a figure followed, and from the table first, all Charlie could see was hair. Lots of it. Black, curly and messy.

"Hey Charlie," Jacob greeted him, all jovial and loud. He hadn't seen Jake in a couple of weeks, and when he did last see him, he definitely wasn't in any type of mood to smile. Charlie guessed that he got out of whatever funk he was in. Which was great since Billy was really starting to worry.

Jacob stepped aside to place everything on the counter, and Charlie finally got a good look at the guest of honor.

And wow.

He looked young, but there was a striking maturity about him that made him seem a lot older. He was wearing an old Washington state university sweater that was undoubtedly Jacob's, ripped blue jeans, and a pair of old converses.

He seemed short, but everyone did when Jacob was nearby; the kid towered over everything. Very intense green eyes met his own, and Harry broke out into a sweet smile. The most adorable smile Charlie had seen in a while. He could see why Jacob might be smitten; he was a real handsome kid.

"Charlie, this is Harry," Jacob said, beaming proudly, wasting no time to introduce him. With the foil pans on the counter, Jacob's hands were free, free to settle on Harry's waist from behind like they belonged there. He watched as Harry rolled his eyes fondly and patted them lovingly. "Babe, this is Chief Charlie Swan."

"It's nice to meet you, sir," Harry said, all well-mannered and respectful. Where did Jacob find this one? Charlie almost felt bad for not getting up and shaking his hand.

Almost.

"Likewise, son," Charlie replied, and there was a beat of silence, but it didn't last long. There was no time for things to get awkward, which he was grateful for.

"Did Rachel leave for Emily's place already?" Jacob asked Billy.

"Yeah," Billy answered. "Her and Paul left about an hour ago."

"A whole hour ago, babe." Harry sniped.

Jacob shrugged. "They'll survive."

"The food smells great, Harry," Sue complimented while she opened the foil pans letting the smell of good old home-cooked food filled the room. Oh, boy, did it smell great? Charlie's stomach rumbled on its own accord, reminding him just how hungry he really was.

"I helped," Jacob announced cheekily, chest puffed up.

"You grated cheese for the macaroni." Harry corrected, raising a hand to fondle Jake's hair.

"But it was a lot of cheese." Jacob ducked down to smother Harry's neck that was already riddled in hickeys in kisses before capturing his lips in a brief little kiss, and Charlie's eyes went wide. It was one thing to know about it but seeing it firsthand with his own eyes put things in perspective.

When their lips broke apart, Jacob didn't straighten back up. He stayed there by Harry's neck with a satisfied smile, and Charlie swore there was a goddamn sparkle in his eye.

There was this look in Jacob's eyes that Charlie remembered seeing in his own when he first fell in love, but it was more profound. It's a look. It was always a look. It was intense, but a person could hardly tell they were doing it anyway. It was involuntary. Part of the subconscious.

Wow. This was a thing. The kid was in love.

"Yeah, it was," Harry agreed, poking his cheeks. "So thank you, love."

"Thanks for bringing it over," Billy said, wheeling over to the table as Sue plated up the food for them. "I know the boys and Leah would inhale all of it without a second thought. So, thank you for thinking of us."

"No problem," Harry assured. "Anytime I cook, I'll think of you guys."

"We're gonna head over to Emily's," Jacob said, spinning Harry around and heading for the door. "Don't wait up for me. I'm sleeping over at Harry's for the weekend."

Whoa. Surely Billy wasn't going to let that fly? Right?

"All right," Billy said, waving a dismissive hand. Charlie's jaw nearly dropped. He'd let hell freeze over before he let Bella sleep at the Cullens place with Edward there. "Just make sure you get your homework done."

"I'll make sure that he does," Harry called out from Jacob's arms, and the taller boy snorted, giving them a backward glance. "Bye." They called out in unison, and then they were gone. Leaving just as quick as they came.

Charlie slumped back in his chair, raising the beer to his lips, he knocked it back. "Well, he seems nice."

Billy dug into his bountiful plate with a small smile on his face. "Yeah, he is."

If this was why Bella and Jacob were not talking, he was very disappointed in Bella because that is not how he raised her at all. Renee was very liberal, open, and accepting. Charlie, although reserved, believed gay and lesbian relationships were fine because it wasn't any of his business. Someone else's sexuality was none of his business. Love was love.

He just thought it was bizarre that Bella and Jacob haven't spoken in weeks, and that coincided with Jake's new-found relationship. Charlie didn't want to get involved, but he was getting to the bottom of this tonight. He and Bella were going to talk.

Chapter Text

Charlie liked to think that he was relatively easygoing. He only grounded Bella when he deemed it necessary. Like when she ran away to France for whatever reason and nearly gave him a heart attack at the very tender age of forty-two. He let her off the hook to stop spending so much time with Edward, who she forgave in two seconds flat and more time with her other friends.

He honestly thought she had more backbone than that.

Charlie didn't like that he had to remind Bella that other people existed besides Edward. Angela was a lovely girl and her boyfriend Ben was a nice kid as well. Very respectful. Newton's son's been crushing on Bella for a while now. And well, Jake. Jake was a whole different story. He had been her rock.

Bella's rock when Edward took the rug from under her.

Charlie's been civil. Letting them spend time together. Even letting that boy in his house even after he broke her heart. Edward hadn't been there for the nightmares and screaming. Not eating or socializing. Bella would go to school, come home and go straight to bed. She wasn't laughing or smiling, cracking sly jabs at his terrible cooking. She was a damn ghost of a person. He didn't recognize his own daughter.

Charlie was in over his head. Renee was little help. Bella didn't want to leave Forks anyway, so that idea was shot. He didn't know what to do.

Until Jacob.

When she started hanging out with Jake, it's like it gave her a new purpose. She became less of a ghost and more of a person. Somehow Bella thought Edward took everything from her, and Jacob was there to remind her that there was more to life than a goddamn boyfriend. He made her smile and laugh. She'd spend hours over at the reservation, and Charlie wouldn't have a problem with it in the slightest. Jacob wasn't subtle with his feelings, and Charlie did not doubt in his mind that if Edward Cullen stayed gone. They would've been dating.

However,

It's absolutely okay that they aren't. Jacob has Harry now. Jacob was in love. Like actually in love and happy. Smiling, grinning, and just positively glowing. His happiness was infectious. He deserved it.

After Harry and Jacob left for Emily's place, Charlie couldn't help but attempt to pick Sue's and Billy's brains for a little information. He just wanted to be included in the loop. It was just the basic stuff. Like, where was he from? When did he move to Forks? How old is he? Typical police sheriff things.

Apparently, Harry moved here a couple of weeks ago, and they instantly hit it off. That's all they were willing to share and were both pretty tight-lipped.

Charlie mentally noted that this was exactly when Bella started ignoring Jacob's calls, and then eventually, Jacob stopped calling. Charlie would bring up Jacob, and Bella would instantly shut down at the very mention of his name, and this whole time, Charlie had no idea why. He was just hoping that they would just figure out their problems like they always did.

Now Charlie understood that it wasn't as simple as that.

It could be. It should be. Bella was making it complicated. He knew his daughter, apparently not that much if she was homophobic, but Charlie knew his daughter. She could take a pebble, toss it into the ocean and create a damn tsunami. Or she could take that pebble and keep it. There was no in-between with her.

Charlie wasn't angry that Bella couldn't put aside her ignorant views for her best friend. He was disappointed. Harry was a curveball for him too, but he never cared about who a person loved. Renee either. Which led Charlie to question if Bella was jealous. Did she feel a certain way because Jacob was no longer pursuing her?

He just didn’t know.

Charlie sat in his car for about ten minutes before finally deciding to go into the house. This was going to be a very serious conversation, so he had to think everything through. He tossed his coat on the lazy boy and toed off his boots before trudging up the stairs.

He waited a couple of seconds before knocking on his daughter's door. The very softly spoken "yeah, dad?" allowed him to enter. Charlie didn't like just bursting through doors, even if this was his house.

Bella looked a bit frazzled, and her window was wide open. She really should close that; she'd get sick in a heartbeat. "Hey, Bella."

She sat up as Billy approached her bed. "Hey, dad. How were Billy and Sue?"

Charlie sat at the edge, unsure what to do with his hands. He placed them in his lap and linked them together. "They were good, Bella."

"You okay, Dad?" He's not surprised that Bella already picked up that something was wrong. It wasn't in his nightly routine to come to her and talk in her bedroom. She's always been unusually perceptive. She was like him in that way.

Charlie replied, his voice going all gruff. "I'm fine."

She nodded and gave him a look, a look that said 'I don't believe you.

Because Charlie just spent ten whole minutes mentally recreating how this conversation was going to go. He shouldn't beat around the bush. So, he wiped a hand over his face and looked into her eyes, and said, "I saw Jacob."

Bella's expression went all sad. "Dad, I don't want to talk about him."

"Well, I'm not giving you a choice, Isabella." She recoiled at the sudden use of her full first name. Charlie only pulled that out when he meant business.

Her stump only lasted a second; she frowned and said, "What goes on with me and Jake isn't any of your business, Charlie."

That’s true. That's so very true. Bella was a legal adult. It was a nice move, throwing his first name back at him. Bella only really did that when she was upset with him or warning him.

"That's right." Charlie agreed. "But as your father sometimes, I think it's necessary and right now. This is very necessary."

"Whatever you think this is about, it's not––."

"I'm disappointed in you," Charlie said flat out.

Bella blinked back at him, confused.

"I am shocked at the fact that you would throw away your friendship with Jacob just because he's dating someone else."

Bella's mouth dropped open in shock. "Dad, what are you ––,"

"Even after all Jacob has done for you, you would subject him to this. I understand Jacob dating a boy is a shock to everyone, but there is nothing you could do about it, Bella. He's happy, and that's all that should matter to you."

“Dad—.”

"Have you met his boyfriend before throwing up all these judgments? Have you met Harry? Because today I did, and Bella, let me tell you. I have never seen Jacob smile like that at anyone before."

“Dad I don’t––.”

Bella sputtered to cut him off yet again, but Charlie was on a roll, and he wasn't gonna stop until he got it all out. Laid everything out on the table. "I don't get it. You told me that there was no competition for Edward. That's fine. Now all of a sudden, now that Jake's got a boyfriend, and he's happy. You've got a problem with it?"

Charlie shook his head, not able to look her in the eye anymore. He didn't care if she felt offended and blathered to Renee. She loved using that threat to dangle over his head. "Or do you have a problem with him dating a boy? Being homophobic is a nasty trait to have."

Charlie looked at her then, for dramatic effect, and his eyes went wide at the sight. He swore all of the blood in his daughter's body flooded to her face. Tears. Actual - tears of rage-filled her eyes. Her teeth mashed together with an audible grinding sound.

Suddenly, Charlie didn't feel very bold. "Bella?"

The she promptly exploded.

“What the hell Charlie!”

"What! What'd I say?"

Bella snapped. "What didn't you say?"

"Now wait just a minute," Charlie said, crossing his arms over his chest. "I'm the only one that should be angry right now."

"No, Dad," Bella growled. "The only reason Jake and I weren't talking was because I thought he didn't wanna be friends with me anymore. I told him that Edward and I were pretty serious, and he said some nasty stuff. It's not because he's dating someone. I didn't even know."

Charlie sat there horrified for about ten seconds before muttering, "Oh."

Well shit.

"Oh," Bella repeated her tone in disbelief. "What the hell?" She threw the sheet off of herself and got to her feet.

Charlie tugged her arm gently, trying to make her sit. "Whoa! Where are you going?"

"I'm going over to Billy's place." Bella spat as if that part was obvious, tugging her arm free. "Now."

Oh boy. "You don't need to do that."

"You come into my room and start defending Jacob's honor as if I offended it. Meanwhile, I had no idea what was going on for the past month." Bella shrieked, throwing her hands in the air. Some little part of Charlie recognized that she was throwing a fit just like him; the irrational part greatly overshadowed the rational part. It was odd. "I had forgiven him weeks ago, but I wasn't gonna go over there if he didn't want me there! So, I need to talk to him."

Charlie was quick to try and placate her. "Take it easy, Bella."

"No, I will not take it easy!"

“Bella—,”

“No.”

“Isabella.”

“Charlie.”

Charlie grabbed her arm gently and pulled her back down to the bed to sit next to him. "I've made a mistake by assuming you knew about Jacob's relationship," he admitted sheepishly.

"Clearly," Bella growled, tethering in hysterics. She was up on her feet again, her hands balled up into fists, her whole frame shaking. "Oh, and no, I'm not a homophobe, Charlie. Jesus."

Charlie winced. This is what he gets for not knowing all the facts about the situation. "Bella," he sighed, pinching the bridge of his nose. "Just sit down, please."

Calm. He had to try being calm. Yelling didn't work on her.

Bella was already tugging on her shoes and shrugging on her jacket. "Where is he?"

“Huh?” Charlie grunted, playing dumb.

"Where's Jacob? At Billy's? At Emily's? At Embry's?" Charlie stubbornly didn't answer for a good reason. It'd probably ruin everyone's night to have Bella storming over there guns blazing over this.

He just outed his best friend's son. Jesus Christ. "I don't know."

"You're a terrible liar, Charlie." Bella grounded out through clenched teeth. "You wanted me to go visit Jacob so badly last week. Now you've got your chance. This is what you wanted."

“Not like this.”

"Well, beggars can't be choosers."

"Bella, you can't go over there right now." Charlie took a deep breath and shrugged to level his voice into something reasonable. "I'm not allowing it."

Bella turned defensive immediately, an instinctive reaction to his authoritative card pull. "I'm not a child, Dad, and I'm not grounded, remember? Or do I need to remind you that I'm a legal adult, Charlie?"

Ah. The adult card. Typical. That's what she used to go to Florida to visit Renee, Edward in tow.

Charlie shot her a glare. "Yes, you may be an adult, but you're acting really childish right now."

Bella's face went bright red, and she paused her sudden movements.

Yeah, that's it. Reel it in. Charlie thought.

"I made a mistake while gauging this situation. Do you think going over there to yell at him is gonna solve anything? You think yelling at him for not telling you about his relationship is going to make anything better?"

Bella flinched at the threat implicit in his question

"It's clear that you two need to talk," Charlie said, stating the obvious. "But not when you're like this."

Bella stood there silently, slowly mulling over Charlie's words. Thirty seconds passed before she chucked off her jacket and kicked off her shoes violently. "Fine," she said flatly. "I'm going to bed."

Relief flooded through Charlie's veins because it gave him the chance to warn Jacob about what he just had done. He hoped Jake was in such a good mood that he'd forgive him for what he's done. His phone was in his jacket pocket. He was already trying to formulate a plan. First, he'd call Billy and hope that his best friend would take pity on him and tell Jacob what happened.

Charlie wasn't a coward, but it's not every day that you put your best friend's son to your daughter. He was just trying to help.

“Good night Bella.”

Although this wasn't a very good night, not anymore.

Charlie quickly exited Bella's room and closed the door behind him. He went downstairs and fished through his jacket pocket for his phone, and sighed heavily.

He needed a goddamn drink.


"Uno!" Embry shouted, throwing one of his two cards down roughly into the messily stacked pile.

Paul's chest puffed up, and the veins from his neck popped out to say hello. He sneered down at the small blue card with white lettering. "You can't put a draw four on top of a draw two!"

“Yes, you can.”

“No, you can't!”

"Yes, you can!"

"Actually, you can't," Seth said from his spot next to Harry on the couch. Because honestly, where else would he be. "It's against the original rules."

“Thank you, Seth.”

“No problem.”

"We're playing our way, not the boring way. Now pick up six cards!"

Harry watched in amusement, not sure what was going on. He hasn't played yet. The game seemed simple enough. However, he didn't plan on joining in anytime soon; things were getting quite heated. But not in a good way.

"How about we just start up a new game," Racheal suggested, hanging over Paul's shoulder.

“No. Fuck that," Embry yelled, waving his one card around for everyone to see. It was a wild card. It had to be special, Harry guessed. "I wanna finish this game. We'd be done with it if Paul would just stop bitching and pick up his six cards."

Paul wasn't budging, though. He wasn't going to give Embry the satisfaction. "Why can't we just follow the rules?" he shouted, throwing his arms in the air. "Games have rules."

"We always play like this," Embry shouted back. "I'm not gonna follow the rules now because it suits you."

"Fuck you!" the angry boy yelled. His arms began to quiver, and Racheal, who was cozied up next to him, was next to Jared.

The whole room seemed to take a whole full step back.

Harry sank back into the couch, and Seth angled his long and lanky body to shield him from the right. Jacob was on his left, leaning halfway on top of him, but he's been like that since they sat down together.

Harry felt smothered in the best way possible.

They both seemed ready for anything that might happen. Harry wasn't worried though, Paul was known to be hot-headed, but he could bring it in when he needed to. Or at least Harry hoped.

A shudder rippled through him, along his shoulders, and down his spine. Racheal made a move to go back over to him, but Sam gave her a look, and she halted.

"Paul! Relax!" Sam commanded.

“Please! I just bought this coffee table." Emily chimed in softly. "Also, I'd like to keep these couches for just a couple more years. So, no phasing!"

Harry would be able to fix it if anything happened. He'd be sure to let her know that later on tonight.

Quil finally joined them after his brief hiatus upstairs. He was putting Claire to sleep. "Also, can everyone stop yelling? I just got Claire down for the night."

"Oh, don't worry about that, Quil," Emily reassured him. "She'll sleep through anything. She didn't have a nap earlier, so she'll sleep soundly tonight."

Paul shook his head back and forth, not in defiance, but as though he were trying to concentrate.

"Jeez, Paul," Jared muttered. "It's just a game."

Paul twisted his head toward Jared, his lips curling back in irritation. Then he shifted his glare in Embry's direction.

"Fuck this!" Paul stood up abruptly and threw his cards down violently. "I'm not playing anymore."

"Paul," Racheal called out, but he was already out the front door. "Sam, can I?" She jerked her head towards the door, and Sam nodded.

She followed him, and a silence settled over everyone.

Jake and Seth eased up to give him some space. Harry thought the silence was going on for just a tad bit too long until Sam broke it.

"Embry, you're banned from playing Uno for tonight," he said, leaving no room for argument, but that didn't mean Embry wasn't going to try.

"What!" Embry exclaimed in outrage. "That's not fair!"

"I think it is," Quil said, shrugging. "You never know when to quit, dude."

“Shut up!”

"No, you shut up."

"Both of you shut up!" Sam ordered, and it was like a bark. Loud and sharp. They fell quite instantly. Sam went to snatch up the one half of the deck, and Emily gathered the rest. "We're playing a new game, and you can watch it."

"This is bullshit," Embry protested. "At least ban Paul too."

“No.”

“What?!” Embry cried.

Paul and Rachel strolled back into the living room that seemed very small, with the pack taking up most of the space.

As they walked by, Paul cuffed the back of Embry's head playfully. He grinned, and Harry couldn't help but notice that he had a beautiful smile.

Nursing the back of his head. Embry grinned back. Right as rain. Temporary Uno feud, all forgotten.

"Chef Harry, are you playing in this one?" Emily asked him, getting ready to deal out the cards. "I promise that all games aren't that intense."

"Yeah, I guess," Harry said, shrugging. If that was intense, then he wondered what a game of wizard chess would be considered.

Jacob smoothed a hand through his hair and tucked a piece behind his eye. "I'll help you. Teamwork makes the dream work."

Harry was second to get Uno out, so he wasn't subjected to watching friendships starting to crumble and alliances starting to form, which was apparently a part of Uno. He escaped to the kitchen when he could, just needing to be away for a moment.

Being an imprint was intense. Granted, he wasn't doing any heavy lifting, but being social for long periods was potentially problematic.

Harry wasn't used to being in such a tight-knit unit. He tended to try and distance himself in his younger years. He didn't get a sense of family until he met Ron and got introduced to his family.

Over the weeks, he had gotten to know everyone in ways that he could've ever imagined. They bonded over unique things, and it was strange that Harry never felt drained. It was easy just simply being and interacting. His introverted self was actually enjoying it.

He and Emily would trade recipes, talk shit on occasion, gossip like nobody's business. It felt nice to ease her burden of cooking for the pack. Splitting responsibilities worked the best.

Well, Jacob was Jacob. Still clinging to him but yet learning to distance himself when he needed to. He was learning fairly quickly, and considering that this was his first relationship, Harry thought he was doing great. Especially since they were in something so serious so soon. Jacob has been nothing but patient and kind and lovely. A true blessing Harry thought he didn't deserve.

Quil, Jared, and Embry were shaping up to be the three annoying little brothers he always wished he had. Always bickering. Always trying to make him laugh. Cracking jokes every second and placing a bet on anything they could.

Seth was….

How could Harry put this?

Seth was precious.

Seth was the sweetest member thus far. He was also the most interested in Harry's magic. While the other pack members knew about his magic and took it rather well, they didn't care.

Jared kept asking Harry to pull a rabbit out of a hat. Even though Harry insisted that he wasn't that type of wizard. Being not normal was the norm around here, and Harry liked that. He wasn't a freak. He was just Harry.

Seth was genuinely interested in what he could do. So, most of the magic that Harry has done has been in front of Seth or Jacob.

It was cute when just the little things got Seth excited. Like when Harry used accio to retrieve a book or refilled a glass of water with his wand. Or when he apparated. Seth lost his mind when he first saw it, Jacob, too. Perhaps Harry should have warned them instead of just popping away. If he were to do it now, they wouldn't think anything of it.

Then there was Leah. Who was here but not really here. She was always so quiet, mostly keeping to herself, and Harry knew why. Jacob insisted that she was a menace as a wolf, thinking things they'd rather not know, tormenting Sam any chance she got.

Frown lines seemed to be permanently etched into her face. She reminded him of himself in some very odd self-reflective way.

Harry knew what it was like to have the roof come caving in. To feel like the world was just out to get him. He knew what it was like to feel ostracized by his friends and peers. He knew what it was like to be angry. So, Harry wanted to get to know her in any way he could.

She had this air about her. Like a person that was forced to grow up too fast. A maturity that no one else in the pack had, except maybe Sam.

She was different.

"Hey, Leah," Harry called out. She was standing by the fridge, leaning against the counter, just nursing her glass of water and staring out into the distance.

Leah turned and looked at him with her big brown almond eyes and feather duster lashes. "Hey, Harry." She greeted, voice soft, like a whisper.

“You okay?”

"Always am," Leah said shrugging.

Harry strolled up next to her and lent against the same countertop. "Get this," he said. "You. Me. Dinner. At seven tomorrow night?"

Leah blinked and sipped her water slowly. "Dinner?"

“Yup.”

“With you?”

“Yup.”

“Why?”

“Why not?”

Leah went quiet.

Harry didn’t say anything either.

"Is this a pity dinner?" Leah asked sharply after a beat. "Because I don't want that."

"Pity?" Harry repeated incredulously. "Is that what you think this is."

"Isn't it?" Leah shrugged, and the heat seeped into her eyes. "I know Jake told you everything that happened between Sam and me. Or maybe he told you that I'm the reason my dad's dead. Maybe you're just doing this because you feel sorry for me."

"I don't have any reason to feel sorry for you," Harry claimed, and it was true. "I'm the last person on earth who would."

"Oh, please." Leah snorted nastily, and Harry took total offense.

"Look, Leah," Harry said sharply. "I've had a shitty life. My parents were murdered, and my relatives hated me. Every year at school, something or someone was trying to kill me. I had to adapt to situations that I didn't like. Now, this isn't a pissing contest, but I'm going to tell you what my ex-girlfriend once told me."

Harry paused for a dramatic effect. "Pull your head out of your arse."

Leah balked as if Harry had the nerve and the audacity, and let me tell you something. Harry did.

"I don't pity you. I admire your strength in your situation, and I think you're a beautiful woman, and I would love to take you out to dinner. I would like to be your friend. If you don't want company and a free meal on Sunday, all you have to do is say no thanks. But don't try to make assumptions about me and my intentions."

Leah stared down at him, eyes gloriously intense, and Harry stared back boldly.

Her lips twitched. "So, at 7 o'clock?"

Harry held back his hurrah of triumph and instead did it mentally. "Make it five, so we can go to the cinema beforehand."

He smiled at her then, and she tentatively smiled back, and Harry swooned. She was so damn pretty. She should smile more often.

He nodded once. “It’s a date.”

“What’s a date?”

Harry sighed but not out of annoyance. He knew his presence would be missed eventually.

Jake bounced over into Harry's personal space, throwing an arm around him and pulling him close. "Leah and I are going out to dinner tomorrow."

“Without me?”

“Yes, love.”

"I'll miss you." Jacob pouted and smashed his cheek into the top of Harry's head, getting a face full of hair.

Leah rolled her eyes, and Harry laughed and said, "I'll miss you too, but you're not invited."

"While I'm gone, you could get your homework done." Harry proposed, and Jacob pulled back with a groan and made a face. One that Harry could agree with, he never liked homework either.

"Billy only lets you sleep over if you're responsible." Harry made a gesture indicating the two of them as a single entity. "We promised him. Plus, you had a plan to head over to Bella's."

"Haven't heard that name in a while," Leah noted, her tone snide. Jacob seemed unruffled at the supposed jab and paid her no mind.

"That's not gonna take long," Jacob said eagerly. "Twenty minutes tops."

"I'll probably be gone from two, though."

"I thought it was just dinner."

"We might catch a film, but now I might throw in a manicure and pedicure while we're out." Harry winked at Leah and waggled his fingers in her direction. "My cuticles are atrocious."

Leah looked down at her feet which were exposed in worn-out flip flops. "I could go for one."

Jacob heaved a sad sigh. "Seems like you have a long day planned." Harry stood up on his tippy toes to kiss him, and Jacob hunched over to meet him halfway happily. Just like that, he was beaming when he pulled away.

"Yes, but you've got things to do. You'll hardly know I'm gone."

"Yeah, right," Leah scoffed. "He thinks about you every second. It's revolting."

"I do." Jacob grinned, completely unashamed. "I can't help it."

Harry couldn't imagine it, being in someone's head like that. Privacy didn't exist. He could see why Jake hated being in a pack at first.

"Yo, Jake, you got a call!" Seth suddenly called out from the living room.

“Who is it?”

“Billy.”

“Toss it.” The next thing Harry knew, Jacob had a cell phone flying at his face. Jacob's hand flicked up faster than Harry thought he was capable of, and he snagged the phone just before it hit his face.

"Hey Dad," Jacob answered. "What's up."

There was silence. Then a fury of words on the other end.

Harry bit his lip, straining to hear what Billy was saying.

"Why'd he say anything, to begin with?" Jacob questioned in a low voice. "Now that's another thing—,"

Billy interrupted him then, and Harry could hear the buzz of his voice from the receiver. Whatever he was saying, he was more intense than before. Harry tried unsuccessfully to make out the words.

"But Dad— he's changing her. The treaty says—." Jacob began, but Billy cut him off again. Neither of them sounded angry, at least.

"I know it's her choice. There's nothing I can do about it. I planned on going over there tomorrow. What exactly did he say?"

Billy's voice was quieter now. Harry tried to read Jacob's expression. He looked towards Leah, who was listening in with her super hearing. He still didn't look angry, peeved, maybe. But not angry.

Then, all of a sudden, Jacob laughed, and Harry was perplexed. The conversation was not going how he thought it was.

"I'm not mad at him," Jacob replied after his laugher subsided. "He didn't know. So, I can't fault him. I just wanted to tell her differently."

Then Billy said something that caused a surprised expression to flicker across Jacob's face.

"I wasn't planning on bringing him," Jacob said, answering the unexpected question. "He and Leah have plans. Plus, I didn't want him anywhere near one of them."

Oh no, they were talking about him.

Billy's voice rose in pitch, and it sounded like he was trying to be persuasive.

"Uh," Jacob grunted. "I don't know about that, Dad."

The pause was shorter this time.

"Yeah. I'll be fine. It's just Bella." Jacob ended the call and stuffed the phone in his pocket.

"What was that all about?"

Irritation crossed his expression. "Charlie told Bella about our relationship."

"Why would he do that?" Harry asked slowly. He had only just met the man today, and it wasn't any of his business.

"He thought Bella wasn't talking to me because of you. Well–– since you're a guy. He was defending me, but it wasn't about that at all."

Next to them, Leah barked out a laugh, and Harry gaped at her. "You're laughing too?"

"Yes, and you should too." Leah gasped in between chortles. "This is funny."

"It is?" Perhaps Harry missed the joke or the punch line.

Jacob smiled and shrugged. "It's a little funny. I mean, he was only trying to help."

"It's hilarious." Leah laughed harder. She even set down her glass of water to clutch her stomach.

"I'll tell you more at home." Jacob kissed his forehead and took his hand so he could drag him back to the game. "Let's just enjoy the rest of the night."


The next day, they spent the entire morning in their underwear. Perfect Sunday activities. Jacob told Harry everything that his father said and suggested. Jacob was obviously a little worried, and Harry was tempted to break off his plans with Leah just to stay with him. He was tempted, but he wouldn't do that. He was excited to bond with the only female wolf in the pack. Jacob was a big boy and could handle this on his own. Everything was going to be fine; Harry was sure of it.

"I think you should call before you go," Harry suggested, and Jacob shrugged and then hunched over in one of the kitchen stools prompting Harry to slide over to him.

Big warm hands settled over his waist, and Jacob nosed against his neck and up to his chin. "I just wanna get this over with now."

Jacob pulled Harry flush against his opened legs. "I still think you should call unless you don't mind having Edward there."

"I don't mind." Jacob denied, and Harry raised an eyebrow unconvinced.

“Okay, maybe I mind a little.”

"A little?" Harry pressed. He knew about Jacob's particular animosity towards Edward, and his being there wouldn't make anything better.

"Maybe a lot," Jacob grunted. "What's the point, though. She probably won't pick up like the last twenty times I've called."

"But Charlie told Billy who then told you she was ready to talk to you last night," Harry felt a little silly recounting that. "She has to pick up now. She's not ignoring you anymore; we know that."

"Yeah, I guess."

"Didn't Billy say it would be a good idea to take me with you?"

"That wasn't gonna happen even if you didn't have plans with Leah. If you're gonna meet her, it should be on our turf."

“Jake. I'm probably going to meet Edward eventually. He's her boyfriend. You can't fight the inevitable."

Jacob didn't answer him. He was too busy curving a hand over Harry's jaw and angling his face up into a kiss. Harry didn't let it get too heated. As much as he wanted to straddle Jacob and clamber all over him –– he couldn't. Not here, not now. They both had things to do and people to see.

But Harry did kiss him deep for a long moment. Savoring every second. Jacob was a pretty good kisser. He gave as good as he got, opened up for Harry, and took when Harry gave him space too.

Harry was glad he didn't have to pull back, didn't think he could've if he'd tried, despite how much he knew he needed to. Jacob did it for him, a hint of teeth dragging over his lip as he pulled away.

It ripped a groan right out of him. Jacob's dark eyes were fever bright when he sat back up straight, his grin sly.

"I have to take a shower," Harry announced, and his voice was low and gravelly, and he knew what his eyes looked like. Probably dark, all pupils. He licked his lips and swallowed, tasting the pineapple and mangoes from their brunch, tasting Jacob.

"Yeah, I guess I should let you go do that," Jacob said, and Harry imagined it was supposed to be teasing, but instead, it was kind of breathless–– like Jacob was ready to drop all his priorities and step into that shower with him.

Harry kissed him again because he could, and Jacob melted only slightly. The grip on his waist went slack, and Harry used that moment to step out from in between his legs.

"No," Jacob whined, jutting out his bottom lip.

Harry took a few cleansing steps back until he reached the archway that led out into the living room. "No."

Jacob's exaggerated frown only increased as Harry took more and more steps back. He was refusing to fall for those puppy dog eyes and shook his head. "Call Bella," he demanded and made a hasty escape through the living room and up the stairs.

When Jacob heard the shower running, he got his phone from his pocket. Part of him didn't want her to answer. But it was like Harry said. If she were his best friend, she'd forgive him for his slip up easily.

Jacob glanced at the clock. It was 12:45. Not too late for calls and not too early. He scrolled down his small call log and clicked Bella's name. It rang and rang and rang. And rang some more until she picked up on the fifth ring.

"Hello?" Bella's soft voice flooded his ear, and he smiled despite himself.

He really did miss her.

“Hey, Bella.”

“Hey, Jake.”

There was an awkward silence, and Jacob cleared his throat and said, "We have to talk."

"Yeah, we do." She agreed lightly.

"First off, I just wanted to say that I'm sorry about what I said all those weeks ago," Jacob confessed. "You're my best friend, and I didn't think you'd be doing it so soon."

"I know Jake," Bella mumbled. "You're all forgiven for that."

Oh, thank god.

That was easy.

"What I said was really stupid, and I'm sorry."

“It’s okay.”

"Uh––I preferred if we talked about the other stuff in person. Can I come over?"

She paused a second too long. “Um––.”

"Look," Jacob said, trying so very hard to keep the bitterness out of his voice. "I know he's not exactly thrilled with me, but I want to talk to you in person."

"That's not the problem. There's. . . well, there's this other problem that's slightly more worrisome than a teenage werewolf." She said jokingly, but it wasn't fooling him.

"What's wrong?" Jacob demanded.

The only thing that could be heard was her breathing. "Bella?"

She sighed, and it caused a swoosh of static over the connection. "Do you mind speaking to Edward?" Bella asked apprehensively. "He wants to talk to you."

Jacob paused for a while.

"Okay," Jacob finally agreed. "This should be interesting."

"Hello, Jacob," Edward said, perfectly polite, and it set his teeth on edge for some reason. But the leech was being polite. He was going to try his best to do the same. Even though he despised him.

“Uh––hi.”

"Someone was here - not a scent I know," Edward explained. "Has your pack come across anything new?"

Jacob wasn't surprised that this was happening, that this was going down. With Bella, it was always something. If it wasn't one vampire coming after her, it was another. Even with double patrols, they haven't had a run-in with anything. "No. The redheaded leech hasn't even tried coming back either."

"Ah." Edward hummed smoothly. "Here's the crux, Jacob. I won't be letting Bella out of my sight till I get this taken care of. It's nothing personal––."

Jacob rolled his eyes even though Edward couldn't see him. "Look, the safest place when she's not with you is over at the reservation."

"You might be right––," Edward began, but Jacob was cutting him off again.

"If it's for her protection, we could coordinate patrols. Maybe renegotiate the treaty temporarily."

"That's an interesting suggestion. We're quite willing to renegotiate. If Sam is amenable."

"I'll talk to him. If it's for her and Charlie's protection, he'll most likely be willing."

“Thank you.”

"Whatever," Jacob said flippantly. "Are you going alone to track the scent?"

"I'd planned to go alone," Edward said, answering the question. "And leave her with the others."

"You could leave her with us. I promised I would never hurt her. Either way, she will be the safest across treaty lines. Charlie too."

"I'll try to consider that objectively," Edward promised. "As objectively as I'm capable of."

"I should get a whiff for myself. Know what to look for when I'm on patrol."

"That's not a half-bad idea. When?"

“Right now. Ten minutes.”

“Ten minutes?”

“Is that a problem?”

"No, that's fine. I'd like a chance to follow the trail personally, anyway."

"It'll be better for both of us if you stepped outside when I came over, though."

“Certainly.”

Their conversation was over, and then there was yet another long pause. "What was that all about?" Bella asked, her voice annoyed. Knowing Bella, she probably felt excluded.

"A truce, I think. Your leech will fill you in. I'll see you in twenty." Jacob hung up quickly and bounded up the stairs to tell Harry a little about what just went down.

Jacob considered Harry not only his mate but also an unofficial part of the pack, and anything that Sam didn't restrict him from telling anyone was most likely being said to Harry. However, he was second in command. He had authority too.

Jacob stuck his head through the open bathroom door, watching the outline of Harry's lithe body through the milky shower curtain. "Hey babe, I'm heading over in a minute."

"She gave you the green light?"

"Yeah, and so did her leech. Turns out there was an intruder in Bella's house that he didn't recognize." The shower curtain yanked open halfway, and Harry stuck his head out of the shower. There was shampoo threatening to trickle down into his eyes, but he didn't seem to care. Getting his eyes on his mate seemed more important.

“You gonna check it out?”

"Yeah, then talk to Bella for a little."

Harry squinted at him for a long time, and even though his bright green eyes were squinted, Jacob could feel his mate's intensity. "Be safe. Please," he ordered, and Jacob grinned. "I know you're a primed vampire killing machine, but I still worry."

Jacob laughed. “I’ll be fine, babe.”

"I know." Harry ducked back in to massage the shampoo out of his hair. When he did that, it gave Jacob a truly spectacular view of Harry's wet ass, shining in the water running in rivulets down his tattooed back. All Jacob really wanted to do was push Harry against those steamy tiles and get his tongue on his neck. "Make sure you take the house key. I'll be gone soon."

"Yeah–– yeah," Jacob said, distracted.

Harry wiped the water from his eyes and peered at him. "Jake?"

"Yeah," Jacob answered breathlessly.

"You should get going, love."

“Right! Right. Bye." Jacob closed the door once he took a step back. He grabbed his black cord and shorts that he left on Harry's bed and secured them to his ankle. He went downstairs and snagged the spear house key on the coffee table and hooked it to the cord too.

Jacob stepped out of his boxers and left them folded on one of the couches. Then he made his exit out of Harry's back door.

It was weird. Seeing her again after all this time. It kind of felt like a lifetime had passed. He felt like a completely different person and when he looked at her.

He kind of couldn't believe that he ever had a crush on her. That was putting it lightly. He couldn't believe that he was once in love with her. He tried to imagine directing any of his love and affection towards anyone other than Harry. His wolf didn't like it.

Imprinting was strange.

The elders had said that it was rare, but that slowly turned out to be a load of horse shit since more than half the pack imprinted.

So, he didn't waste any time. He asked her where the scent was most likely the strongest, and she told him her bedroom, which freaked him out for an obvious reason. Some random leech was just moseying around her bedroom.

Jacob got the scent which–– fucking reeked. After that, he started helping wash the dishes just to ease the tension. She probably had loads of questions which he would normally be happy to answer. He could talk about Harry for hours. Prattle on about how amazing he was and all the things he could do.

But he could do that with his brothers, but for some reason talking to Bella about Harry seemed like an invasion of privacy. There was a lot he couldn't tell her, so he hoped her questions weren't prying.

Jacob started with. "I didn't sic Charlie on you. He did that on his own."

Bella sighed. "I figured that much."

"I didn't think he'd run and tell you."

"Charlie always wants to defend the people he cares about." Bella shook her head and cringed. "He called me a homophobe."

“Well shit. Are you?”

“No!”

Jacob bumped her with his hip lightly. "Well, then we've got nothing to worry about."

“Cool.”

“Cool.”

"So," Bella said, dragging out the word. She handed him a plate to dry. "Boyfriend?"

Jacob took the plate and dried it thoroughly. "Imprint, actually."

“What?!”

"Yeah," Jacob said, shrugging. "I imprinted like a month ago."

"Why didn't you tell me?"

Jacob snorted. "You weren't answering my phone calls."

“Oh.”

“Yeah.”

"I forgave you a while ago, but Edward wouldn't let me come to the reservation, and to be fair, I didn't want to come if you didn't want me there."

Did Bella not see how crazy possessive that was, or did she not mind it? He tried telling Harry that he needed a bodyguard while over the borderline, and he laughed in his face. "I was a little preoccupied at the moment anyway. I was having a late teenage crisis. Imprinting on a guy freaked me out."

"So, you like guys?"

“No.”

"But you imprinted on a guy," Bella said, pointing out the obvious.

"Yeah," Jacob responded. "But I'm pretty sure his dick is the only one I'll want in my lifetime."

"Jake!" She smacked his arm, splashing him with dishwater. Her cheeks were flaming red. "Don't be crude."

"It's true." Jacob laughed. He couldn't wait for the day where he lost his virginity to his imprint. It would be epic. "Harry and only Harry."

“What’s it like?”

“What do you mean?”

"You were so sure that you weren't going to imprint, and now that you have, what does it feel like? From your own experience now. Not from Sam or Paul. Or whoever."

"It feels like I'm finally existing." Jacob wasn't really prepared to bare his heart and soul, but yet here he was. "It feels like every day that I wake up. It's a blessing to know I have someone to live for and to love with everything that I've got."

“Jake—."

"It feels like my soul extended itself and latched on to another being who was made for me, and I was made for them." Jacob continued avidly. "It feels like paradise every time I'm with him. I wake up with a smile on my face knowing that someone so perfect is for me and only me. It feels like a dream because I don't have to change myself for him. After all, he takes me as I am, and I take him as he is."

The end was a little jibe at her decision to become one of them, but if Bella heard it, she chose to ignore it. Her jaw dropped open in awe. "Wow. That was beautiful."

Jacob smiled, all shy. Thinking all this stuff was one thing, and hearing himself say it out loud was another thing. His brothers and Leah knew what he felt; they were in his head all of the time. Bella wasn't. "Did that answer your question?"

Bella could only nod and she fished around the soapy sink water for the utensils at the bottom. "What's he like? Your Harry?"

The light of life. The fire in his loins. This overall was a pretty loaded question with one simple answer.

"He's perfect. He's everything I didn't know I needed." Jacob responded immediately. "But I suppose I'm biased."

"I think being biased is allowed in your case." Bella smiled and pulled the plug in the sink. They watched the dirty sink water swirl down the drain, and she cleaned her hands with a towel. "I'm happy for you."

Jacob grinned widely, his teeth bright against his russet skin. "Thanks, Bella," he said, and then he grabbed her hand and wrenched her into one of his bone-crushing hugs.

Before she had time to react, he dropped his arms and stepped away. Her hair smelled real bad like her leech went headfirst into her hair.

"Ugh," he groaned, his nose wrinkling. "Your hair stinks worse than your room."

"Sorry," Bella muttered.

"One of the many hazards of socializing with vampires," Jacob said, shrugging. "It makes you smell bad. A minor hazard, comparatively."

Bella glared at him, looking as threatening as a baby deer. "I only smell bad to you, Jake."

The motion outside her house caught Jacob's attention, and he took it as his cue to leave. He started walking toward her back door. "I'll see you around, Bells."

"You’re leaving?"

"He's waiting for me to go. I can hear him outside."

"Oh," Bella muttered sadly. "Wait! Do I get to meet him?" she asked tentatively. "Your boyfriend?"

"Duh," he rolled his eyes because you would think that would be pretty obvious. "We're having a bonfire party Friday night. Harry will be there."

"Yeah, Jake, I don't know about that. See, it's a little tense right now."

The wolves were good at what they were born to do and Jacob found her faith in them a little insulting. "C'mon, you think somebody's gonna get past the entire pack?"

“Jake—.”

Jacob's big dark eyes were full of shameless pleading. He hoped that they'd work on her and not fail him like when he tries to use them on Harry.

Bella caved rather quickly. "I'll ask," she said, sighing. "But there's no guarantee, okay?"

Jacob made a noise in the back of his throat. "Is he your warden, now, too? You know, I saw this story on the news last week about controlling, abusive teenage relationships and -"

"Okay!" Bella cut him off and then shoved his arm. "Time for the werewolf to get out!"

Jacob grinned. "Bye, Bells. Be sure you ask permission." Then he ducked out the back door before Bella could find something to throw at him. He felt sort of stupid for making a bigger deal out of this whole situation than it needed to be. He stilled hated her bloodsucker, but he couldn't hate her. He should have known holding grudges wasn't her strong suit. He was glad he took Harry's advice.

Jacob headed towards the woods to strip down and attach his shorts to his cord. He'd go back to Harry's place, take a shower, attempt to do his homework, and wait for the love of his life to return home.