Jacob and Jason discuss what it means to be an alpha.
The Olympic Forest near La Push
Evening is starting to darken the sky over La Push national forest. Which means the forest floor itself is darkened already. The creatures of the night starting to come out in force, the deep woods alive with their sounds. But not ALL of those creatures make much in the way of sounds. Even if they are decidedly creatures of the night. Jason Christopher dropped from a tree limb to the forest floor with barely a whisper of sound. Practicing his ninja skills, as opposed to just relying on his nights stalking gift. The whisper of a breeze stirring the trees easily covering the sound. But he was not actually out here hunting. Rather he was teaching. Teaching his mate Jacob Black the very same lessons he was taught centuries before. The obstacle course was very nearly obsolete for Jacob. It was time for more hands on lessons. Right now, he was teaching him lessons in stealth.
Compared to Jason, Jacob's a bull in a china shop. He's used to relying on power more than stealth, even if he's more agile and sneaky than the average person by far. Landing with a much louder thump than Jason's near-silent whisper, Jake shakes his head a little, flashing a small, rueful grin. "You make that look too damn easy," he half-jokes. "Guess experience really does pay off, huh?" Of course, there's probably not supposed to be any chatter in ninja-school, but Jacob has been in a talkative mood today. There may well be something weighing on his mind.
Jason Christopher watches Jacob, speaking softly. "The key to moving quietly is patience. Listen to the ambient sound. Plan accordingly to have it mask any noise you may make. For example, when dropping from any height. Time your fall so you land at the height of a breeze, or thunder, or anything that can mask your sound. Also absorb the impact, land on the balls of your feet. Drop into a crouch or a forward roll to mitigate the impact sound." He smiles at Jacob and shrugs. They had been at it from late afternoon. It was time to start back. No doubt Tucson would have dinner prepared soon. "Let's head back now. You can tell me all about what it is you've wanted to talk to me about all day. Patience." The lessons about stealth also might make Jacob recall several obstacles on the course. Where patience was critical. Others where your landing techniques mattered a lot.
Jake gives Jason a grin that is at once amused, charmed, and slightly sheepish. He didn't mean to be impatient, but it really had been weighing heavily on his mind. Straightening up, he stretches a little and says, "Well. I talked to Sam." Knowing that will serve as at least the beginning of an introduction into the topic, even if Jason already knows this, Jacob continues, "He didn't like it. I mean, obviously. But he wasn't as harsh about it as I figured he'd be." Frowning some, he kicks slightly at a little pile of the season's early fallen leaves. "Then he went and got annoying. He told me that I needed to understand what being an alpha was, and I realized... I only kind of do. I mean, I know how I think it feels, and I know some of the things about it, but... I don't totally understand what it means, what I'm supposed to do... anything like that. Especially since I don't even have a pack anymore, now."
Jason Christopher considered that a moment as they walked through the forest's gloom. He chuckles and shrugs some. "If Embry, Quil, and Seth have their way, and if it is possible. I imagine you'll have a pack before long." But then he grows more serious. "Having a pack. Being an Alpha. It's like any position of leadership. You serve them, even if it's as they do what you tell them. You trust them to use their abilities to the very best of their ability. They trust you coordinate all of their abilities, as a pack. It is a responsibility, a joy, and as often nerve wracking as exhilarating." He sounds wistful, as if he deeply missed it. Or at least his one time pack. "I'm pleased Sam accepted it so well."
"I didn't exactly give him a choice," Jacob points out, "since it was already done. But... he's not dumb. Stubborn as hell, but not dumb. He accepted it even if he didn't like it." He frowns a little, reflecting on all Jason has said, and nods. "All that makes sense, but... I dunno. I have this feeling of what it means, of what I am now, but... I'm still trying to figure out how to take it from feeling to action. I don't wanna just make this up as I go along and risk screwing things up, especially if I get a pack. Embry, Quil... Seth? If I end up leading them, I've gotta know it's not right into something horrible."
Jason Christopher nods and smiles faintly. "Seth worships you. Your his hero Jacob. He's been content to watch, so far. But after this? I doubt for much longer." He ducks easily under low hanging branches and continues. "There isn't an easy way to explain. Everyone comes to it in their own way. In their own time. Trust your instincts, trust your wolf."
shoving his hands in his pockets, Jacob nods. "I do. And... I am, more and more. But what about when that's not enough? What if something serious happens, and I have to be their leader? I mean, I know--it probably won't. There's Sam. There's you. I won't have to worry about being a leader on my own for a long time, but... that doesn't mean I don't... think about it, y'know? Seth... Seth's a perfect example of what I mean. He's gonna need me to be an alpha, not just a hero. Heroes, we... we build 'em up in our heads, y'know? But alphas have to be the real deal."
Jason Christopher stops and shakes his head some chuckling. "Oh Jacob. You honestly don't see it. You are an alpha, in so many ways you have been all along. Do you remember when Ethan was falling behind in the obstacle course? You went back for him, got hurt yourself to protect him. Or..Pr the night at the hospital. You knew Who you could help. You weren't paralyzed between two people that were hurt. Embry needed you. You made the hard choice. And as for Seth, well Jacob I hate to tell you but I think you'll end up surprising yourself before him. By being both a hero AND an alpha. You don't need Sam Uley. Fuck you don't need me insofar as being an Alpha. And honestly I'm glad. Because sometimes. It feels really good to be wanted rather than simply needed."
Jacob turns quite bright red at this praise, and he turns to give Jason a grateful look. "Well, if you think I'm doing all right, then... I guess I can trust your judgment, even if I'm not sure of mine." He laughs a little, just softly, and then asks, with only a trace of the real concern he feels, "But you'll be here, right? In case I need advice or... I mess up? You know I can mess up." He honestly assumed he'd never do anything to annoy Jason, due to the imprint, but after spending a night sleeping in the rain and being on the receiving end of Jason's displeasure, he'd realized that it was all too easy to confuse one's assumptions about what was right with what actually was.
Jason Christopher pauses a moment and nods. "Jacob. I never thought I'd have another mate, much less another man...I.." He trails off a moment. "I feel like I'm betraying her. But I have to believe she'd want my happiness. And you do make me happy Jacob Black." He sighs some and looks at Jake. "You are my mate now. I love you as much as I understand how to. And each day you, and the others. You teach me how to more. There are things I must do. But I will always be here for you. Always come back to you when you call to me. I could never be so lost, that I would not find my way home to you."
Jacob just stops walking, right in his tracks, when Jason says that. He stares just a little, no longer blushing but looking at Jason with wide, shining eyes and the goofiest smile you ever saw. "You," he says after a few moments, "You just... called me your mate." Not future-mate, as he'd been thinking of himself. No longer future-tense. No longer maybe-but-probably. And then he's walking right up to Jason to throw his arms around him in an unabashedly crushing hug. There's no one here to see, and probably he wouldn't care even if there were. "Well, good," he says in a soft but fierce tone. "Because anywhere you ever go, I'll always come find you."
Jason Christopher puts his arms around Jacob and just breathes him in. "I know. I know you would. Soon this thrice damned war will end. And we can start a new life free of, ghosts. Ghosts of the past. We can face a future together that isn't haunted by monsters from the past." He holds him a moment more. "You totally cheated though. It's hard to resist the irresistibly perfect. Totally cheated. And I'm glad." Then he is kissing him.
Jacob would have tried to argue something about that whole "perfection" idea, that the imprint is more than just that, that the imprint actually works by making them perfect for each other, because Jason is most definitely perfect for Jacob, now. There's a whole conversation they could have on the subject, and maybe someday they will, but for now... there's kissing. And Jacob just got called Jason's mate for the first time. And that moment, for as long as it lasts, a perfect moment in a sea of life's messy complexities, beats out everything else.
Jason Christopher breaks the kiss after a few moments. Just to look Jacob in the eyes and smile softly. "Mmmm nope. Not done yet." He kisses Jacob again, as the night comes to life around them. As another famous night person was well known for saying. The children of the night. What sweet music they make...