|All the Difference
Author: Struck Upon a Star PM
Pre-Twilight, in canon. Chapters alternate between APOV and JPOV. Fic handles lots of back story from before they met, but also includes their first meeting, their first three years together, and the beginning of their time with the Cullens.Rated: Fiction T - English - Drama/Angst - Alice & Jasper - Chapters: 22 - Words: 54,198 - Reviews: 258 - Favs: 215 - Follows: 30 - Updated: 01-24-09 - Published: 01-05-09 - Status: Complete - id: 4773484
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
A/N: So, here's the deal. This is my first fic, and I'm very insecure about my writing, so it was a struggle for me to even convince myself to post it. But I did. If it gets reviews, I'll write more, but if no one cares about it, my foray into the world of fanficion will end, nearly as quickly as it began. So if you like it, tell me. If not... meh.
Oh, and I'm sure you'll figure this out by reading, but the story starts when Alice and Jasper are both human and follows them through their transformations, through their wanderings, and up until they find each other and the Cullens. That's the idea anyway, but like I said before, if no one reads the story, I guess it'll just end with them as humans!
Father came home to see us a month ago. When he walked through the door Mother ran to him and cried into his chest while he held her and stroked her hair. When she finally lifted her head, I saw that her tears had stained his ugly tan uniform with patches of deep brown, and I wondered, briefly, why the army chose such an ugly color as tan to represent the United States in war. Surely our soldiers should have something more colorful, more fashionable to wear overseas, if for no other reason than to lift their spirits while they were away from home. But the way Father was standing, so straight and tall and proud in his ugly tan, I knew that, for once, maybe fashion didn't matter, and that it was how you wore the thing that counted. And my father wore his uniform like a hero. And so I ran to him and nuzzled into his waist and stained that tan with tears of my own.
He only stayed with us for a week before he had to go back to the Front, but that week was the happiest week of my life. Father took us all into town and bought us pretty dresses and jewelry and things. He bought Cynthia all the ice cream she could eat, so that she almost made herself sick from eating so much. One night he even took us to a real live play. But none of the happiness I felt at these things compared to the true joy I felt when people would salute my father reverently, or thank him for his service. I was so proud to be his daughter then, and I never wanted him to leave.
But he did leave. We all clung to him that morning at the train station, and stained his uniform with our tears again. Cynthia even begged Father to take her with him. She had some vague notion that war was like a job that one went to in the morning and came home from at night; that if she could just go with him she could wait for him in a flat in Paris during the day and he would come home to her and read her a story before bed in the evening. This made us all smile a little, but the emotion didn't run deep, and when the train finally pulled away, the three of us girls stood huddled on the platform, sobbing into each other's dresses.
That was the first night I woke up screaming. Mother came running into my room, afraid that someone had broken into our house. I could tell that she was less than amused when I eventually calmed down enough to tell her it was just a dream, but she held me anyway and rocked me until the tears stopped like I was a child.
She said nothing about the occurrence in the morning, but the nightmare was in my mind the whole day. "Nightmare" was what I called it at first, because I had no other word for it. In reality, it had been a terrifying imitation of a dream—something much more like a horrifying memory than the fictitious stuff dreams are made of. I told myself I was too old to be scared by things like dreams, and that such fears were better left to the imaginative minds of younger children, like my Cynthia. By the afternoon, the intensity of the dream had lessened, and by the evening, I was mentally laughing at myself for having had such a reaction. And so I fell asleep that night, secure in my conviction that I was a silly girl with an overactive imagination, and that nothing but sweet dreams waited for me in my sleep.
That second night the dream was impossibly worse. It was clearer, more vivid, and more realistic. That night I could smell the gunpowder, the dust, the sweat of the trenches. I could hear the sound of every bullet that shot through the dust-blackened air. I could hear the groans of the wounded, and see the rotting corpses of the dead. And I saw the blood running from the wound in my father's side, staining over the faint pattern of brown spots made by my tears. Again, I woke up screaming.
For two weeks it was the same dream. When I finally told Mother about it, she told me that she had nightmares too, but that we mustn't let them get to us because Father was being so brave, and we needed to be brave for him at home. I wanted to explain to her that it wasn't just a normal dream I'd been having, but I didn't know the words to tell her what it was. After the second night she stopped coming into my room when the screaming started, and so I screamed alone, into the darkness and heat of the Mississippi summer for two straight weeks.
At the start of this week, the third since Father was home, the dream changed. Suddenly, I wasn't seeing Father anymore—I was seeing myself sitting in the dining room, watching as my mother opened the front door. Outside, the wind howled and rain fell like angry tears against the doorstep. A man in an ugly tan uniform, which was now brown from the rain, handed my mother a telegram, and when she read it she sunk to her knees. When Cynthia ran down the stairs to see what was wrong, Mother gathered her to her chest and they both sobbed together. After what seemed like an eternity, Mother slowly turned to look at me with an expression that was both terrified and accusatory. That was where the dream ended.
Because of the change to my dream, there was no screaming that night. In the morning, I could tell from Mother's face that she was relieved—that she thought the worst of my nightmares were over. But I knew that the absence of screaming meant little—that the dreams were still just as intense, if not more so with the addition of horrified look on my mother's face. But I kept my mouth shut, just grateful that Mother no longer looked at me like I was ill.
But this morning, when I woke up, I knew that everything was going to change. I heard the rain pounding against our windows and thewind blowing through the cracks in our floorboards, and I just knew. I dressed quietly that morning, and went down to the dining room to wait. When someone knocked on our door, I didn't answer it, even though I was physically the closest person to it. When Mother got the telegram, she sank to her knees, and started sobbing. Cynthia joined her, and they embraced in the doorway while the wind and rain blew in from outside. I closed my eyes, because I didn't want to see it when it happened. I knew how Mother would look at me, and I couldn't bear to see it again—not when I'd been seeing it every night for a week.
And so here I sit, with my eyes closed, living my own nightmare. I am a monster. I am utterly alone.