Summary: Jacob needs to get as far away from Washington as he possibly can. He doesn't know where he's going, but he finds a very special someone when he gets there. Eventual Jacob/Kurt.


1: Running

There was something about running that calmed him from the inside out; his muscles taut with control, his brain focussed on putting one paw in front of the other, his soul free in the wilderness surrounding him. The others kept trying to reach out to me and touch his mind, but he blocked them insistently. He just couldn't deal with them right now. Seth was increasingly annoying, prodding at his brain and trying to weasel his way inside.

But Jacob didn't want Seth to know his thoughts. He didn't want anyone to know his thoughts right now. Ever since he imprinted on Nessie, things had been so screwed up. Though things had seemed to work out for everyone in the end, the perfect little happy ending to their tale, something for Jacob seemed off. He couldn't wrap his brain around what it was, what felt so wrong— hence the unstoppable running.

He knew he was running from his problems, both literally and figuratively, but at the moment, he just didn't care. He needed this. One paw in front of the other, dodging trees, taut muscles, empty brain; he need this more than he needed to breathe.

He had been running for about two days when the voices started fading. Jacob couldn't remember if anyone had mentioned the bond disintegrating due to distance, but perhaps no one had strayed so far from their pack before. Eventually, on the third day of his run, Jacob stopped, panting. One of his ears twitched in the direction of a near-by road, the whiz of cars passing distantly and the sounds of the forest the only things he could hear. No voices, no prodding, no internal feeling of presence— nothing. He was, for the first time in ages, completely alone.

Jacob let his body shift into his human form, then pulled a pair of worn cut-offs from the band at his ankle and pulled them on, sitting against a tree and leaning against it once he was decent. There was something comforting in being completely alone; he could think what he wanted, do what he wanted... want what he wanted.

Nessie was a wonderful little girl. Beautiful, smart, increasingly interesting and wonderful and surprising... but the more she grew, the more Jacob wondered. Would she want him when she was older? Bella had expressed happiness at the fact that he would be around to protect her from the outside world, and that he would always be there for her. But what if Nessie didn't want that? She was a person too, with thoughts and feelings and desires. She would want a husband someday, and as much as he loved taking care of her, he wasn't sure he would ever love her that way.

Jacob stood and began to walk toward the road he had heard earlier, figuring he could hitchhike to the nearest town (Where the hell was he, anyway?) and buy a hot meal. His stomach rumbled at the thought— while he possessed some superhuman qualities, going without food for days on end was not one of them.

He managed to wave down a kind trucker, who let him into the cab without much prodding. He was a jolly looking fifty-something with greying brown hair and kind brown eyes.

"Where're ya goin'?" he asked in a distinctly Northern sounding accent (Canadian, perhaps?), looking over at the tired-looking teenager in his passenger seat. Jacob shrugged.

"Civilization. Anywhere is fine, really. Wherever you're going." He leaned his head back and closed his eyes, feeling the strain of the last few days catch up to him.

"Well, I'll be passing through Missoula in an hour or so... I guess I'll drop you off there." The trucker looked Jacob up and down, noting his bare feet and chest, and his growling stomach as it made a loud protest at the lack of food inside it.

"How long's it been since you ate something, kid?" he asked, surprisingly concerned sounding. Jacob opened an eye and shrugged, trying to think of a convincing answer that wasn't the truth. Saying 'three and a half days, I reckon' would have drawn some unwanted attention his way— a normal human would be half-starved in that time, and nowhere as healthy-looking as he still did.

"A while, I guess," was his response, and the trucker raised an eyebrow.

"That long, huh?" he chuckled, turning back to the desolate road as the trees began to thin. "Run away from home, did ya?"

Jacob smiled, leaning his hot forehead against the cool glass of the window. "I guess you could say that," he agreed, trying to spot a road sign somewhere amongst the foliage and gavel. "Where are we, do you think?"

"Just on the edge of Lolo National Forest, nearing Superior now, I reckon." He paused glancing sideways at the startled looking teen. "Not the lake, mind you, the town." Jacob heaved a sigh of relief— if he had run all the way to the great lakes, he would've need to have run for much longer than a couple days, and that would've meant he had lost track of time a lot more than he thought he had.

"Oh, good," he said, making eye contact with the driver cautiously, though he still had no idea where they were in relation to Forks. He didn't even know what state they were in. "I'm Jacob, by the way."

"Louis," the trucker said back, peering at a road sign up ahead. "Can you read that?" he asked, and Jacob nodded.

"Superior, twelve miles," he said, leaning back and closing his eyes again. "Mind if I sleep for a while? I didn't sleep last night—" Or the night before that, he added to himself. "—and I'm really tired. Could you just wake me when we get to...?" He paused, recalling the place the trucker said he was heading. "...Missoula?"

Louis nodded, and switched the radio on low. "Sure, kid. I'll wake ya when we stop."

Jacob murmured a quiet, "Thanks," before snuggling into the crook of his arm and letting his mind go blank. He didn't know how long he'd be gone for, or how he'd get home when he decide to, but for right now, he just wanted to get as far away from Forks, Nessie, the Cullen's and his pack, as he could.