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FIC: "Law of the Jungle" (Jacob the Wolf)

TITLE: "Law of the Jungle"
AUTHOR: mistressmarilyn
DATE: October 25, 2010
FANDOM: Twilight Saga (books and films)
CHARACTERS: Jacob the Wolf (Taylor Lautner and good CGI)
DISCLAIMER: I don't own 'em. They're characters belonging to Stephanie Meyer; Little, Brown & Company; and Summit Entertainment--not to mention the respective actors of the movies, and to the ages. This is a work of a fan, done for no remuneration save the satisfaction of the work.
WARNINGS: None, really
WORD COUNT: 955 words
AUTHOR NOTES: Jacob's a guest star at this community, I guess. Or a member of the extended Cullen family, hehe. Since visiting La Push, I've gotten interested in the *real* traditions of the Quileutes . . . and then there's that thing about being Chinook Indian myself (our trickster is Coyote, fyi . . . the Quileutes are the southern-most tribe to feature the Raven). This story was written originally for the twilight_las community for the prompt Blood is Thicker than Water (this one got three votes).


If the silence in my head lasted, I would never go back. I wouldn't be the first one to choose this form over the other. Maybe, if I ran far enough away, I would never have to hear again . . .

I pushed my legs faster, letting Jacob Black disappear behind me.

--Eclipse


He had decided to remain a wolf.

There was nothing of the man worth remembering, nothing worth mourning. The farther away he went--the faster he ran, the wind rippling his russet coat--the greater the distance from his pain, the pain of the breaking of his bones and the breaking of his heart. It was done. Both had healed, but the scars were permanent.

And now there was this, the dense forest and the vast night sky overhead, dotted with fuzzy stars. He raised his head, ears twitching, nostrils flaring. He listened to the call of the owl, to the far-off roar of the sea, and he could still smell the faint fishiness in the fog and taste the salt in the air. He was not all that far from home, but he was already eons away.

He slowed to a walk, his urgency to escape gradually lessening. There were no voices in his head now, and his memories were being crowded into a dark, quiet corner of his mind.

He sat on his haunches on the soft forest floor, the pads of his front paws resting on a patch of spongy moss. He raised his shaggy head upward and contemplated the darkness. Deep in his massive chest a desire was growing--a need born of instinct, the age-old instinct to raise his mournful cry to the moon. But his own night music was rudely interrupted by the sudden sound of a strident caw. His sharp eyes climbed the expansive trunk of a giant spruce nearby and found a large black bird perched on a branch more than 60 feet up. Its wings fluttered a little, the shiny black feathers reflecting starlight.

The bird stared back at him, knowingly nodding its sharp beak.

He was now in Quinault territory, not even a hundred miles south of La Push. He evidently had been followed on his trek through the trees, because this was no Bluejay, the traditional trickster of the Quinault. This was Bayak, the wily old raven, a symbol of his own people.

Silently the wolf contemplated the raven, the hackles rising along the length of his back. He snapped shut his jaw, afraid to make a sound, wondering if Bayak would say something.

But the bird didn't stir, didn't speak.

Human thoughts intruded in the wolf's brain, unwelcome thoughts, unwieldy memories forcing themselves forward. He remembered being a little kid, still safe from longing and loss, listening to the stories of the raven and trying to make sense of their not-too-subtle lessons. It hadn't mattered to him that Bayak was said to have placed the sun in the sky; he got tired of the hackneyed tales early on, and by the time his dad, stone-faced and rheumy-eyed, told him the terrible news about his mom's accident, he was done with Indian legends.

Even the wolf thing.

Until later, of course, when he was forced to see the truth. Like he had years before when he stood and stared with a child's eyes at the twisted metal of his mother's car, believing he could smell her blood while he tried not to imagine her shattered face. No wonder they had nailed her coffin shut.

For most people, there will never be horrors more lasting than those experienced or imagined in childhood. But he was not most people.

And now the bird flapped its wings and let out a piercing shriek. The wolf bared his teeth in a snarl, longing to leap up at the heckling creature, but constrained by the human's reluctant reverence.

His mother had sometimes danced the part of Mrs. Bayak in tribal ceremonies, her dark eyes shining behind the bright, feathered mask. She had loved the old stories and often repeated them at bedtime. And she had weaved baskets with the older women and taken language classes in the evening at the Tribal School, encouraging him to learn some of the strange words.

She had read a poem to him over and over, something by the man who had written one of his favorite stories, 'The Jungle Book.'

"Now this is the Law of the Jungle -- as old and as true as the sky;
And the Wolf that shall keep it may prosper, but the Wolf that shall break it must die.
As the creeper that girdles the tree-trunk, the Law runneth forward and back --
For the strength of the Pack is the Wolf, and the strength of the Wolf is the Pack."


A thought broke through his brain as clear as the summer sun over James Island. His mother had known.

A flood of memories followed this revelation.

He remembered the smell of smoking steelhead and the warmth of the campfires where the elders huddled, sharing the only treasure they would ever own, their wealth of knowledge. He could taste his dad's spaghetti and feel the weight of a well-balanced wrench in his callused hand. He could hear the laughter of his friends, as they traded harmless taunts, and see their worried faces as he lay suffering on the battlefield. At some point in his life he had been completely satisfied in his mile-wide world by the sea.

And even happy.

He stared down at his paws and watched them transform, the claws retracting with an electric thrill. Overhead the raven squawked his approval.

It was going to be a long walk home.

{fini}



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