If I forget you, Jerusalem, let my right hand forget its skill.
-- Psalm 137:5
None of the legends ever specified how long a werewolf might live if he continued to phase. Taha Aki lived for three lifetimes, but Leah pointed out to him that might have been only a little over one hundred years. Jacob just shrugged and said, "Well, I guess we'll find out." If she never dies, neither will I.
He never imprinted, never married, never loved again. Bella Swan (Cullen now, don’t forget) had been his perfect mate, he said, and now she was gone, turned into a marble statue that smelled like death. Leah just smirked at him and took a drag of her cigarette. "You're such a martyr, Jake." But she didn't leave, and her smirk held more than a little understanding.
Could you be a martyr if you never die?
Sam and Emily's great-grandson was the first to phase. Two generations had gone by without any need for werewolves, but when hikers started disappearing in the woods around Forks, the magic took hold again. Jacob and Leah heard his confused cries the first time he phased, and rushed back to the rez. They took the young man to Quil--their Quil, now Old Quil himself and the only other surviving member of their Pack--who explained their tribe's history to him. Claire served him frybread and coffee, telling him he better get used to the drink if he wanted to survive nightly patrols.
Andrew grimaced and Leah smiled for the first time in years.
Four more boys phased soon after, rounding out the pack to five. Jacob and Leah trained them for eight months, then told the pack they were leaving. "You can do more here than we can," he explained.
When Andrew protested, his words for Jacob, but his eyes on Leah. She grabbed his hand, her expression unusually soft. "Andrew, we're ghosts. We should be dead or Quil's age by now. Just by coming here, we’ve risked exposing everyone, all the secrets we’ve worked our whole lives to keep. You…" She trailed off, tenderly brushing a lock of hair out of his eye.
When it was clear Leah couldn't continue, Jake finished for her. "These are your people, your responsibility. We can't stay."
Jacob led the rest of the pack outside, leaving Leah and Andrew alone. When one of the boys gave him a questioning look, he smiled sadly. "Leah and I both had our reasons when we decided to keep phasing after the rest of our pack stopped." He looked down at the boy, who looked so much like Embry it was uncanny. "Mine... died. The mirror of Leah’s is in that room with her.”
When Andrew imprinted on a girl that reminded them both of Emily, Leah got piss-drunk in a bar in Austin and nearly got thrown in jail for fighting. Jacob convinced the bartender not to press charges, telling him a version of the truth, and took her away.
When they got back to the motel, he held her as she cried.
Years, decades, and centuries passed them by, touching their hearts and souls but not their bodies.
With no magic to support it, the Earth was not as durable; it started to crumble under the weight of so many billions of people. Jacob and Leah watched it happen, felt it in their hearts. Space became a refuge as humanity loaded themselves into huge metal ships and took off for the black. The Quileutes were some of the last to go; like most native peoples, they refused to believe that the world they'd lived on since before time was disintegrating before their very eyes. Humanity had become like an infestation of vampires, sucking the world dry while the werewolves could do nothing but watch.
Jake and Leah couldn't agree if the decision to stay or go was harder or easier on them, having lived nearly three centuries on Earth. Their families were long gone, loved ones buried under gravestones weathered and nearly unrecognizable with time. They wandered the world with only each other for company, and they were tired, willing to lay down arms and live their last moments on the Earth they were born to.
In the end, for all their initial hesitation, the decision was an easy one. They weren’t quite ready to give up. After so many years, it seemed like a failure. "We can't just let the leeches take over," Jacob whispered against Leah's stomach as they lay on long-dead grass and barren soil. We will do what we were made to do, what we have sacrificed everything for.
She ran her fingers through his hair as she watched space ships take off through skeletal tree-branches. "Of course not."
Yes, we will.