5. Title: The Babysitter
6. Summary: Who knew Jasper would be the perfect babysitter?
7. Pairing: Jasper/Alice
8. Rating: T
9. Word Count: 3014
10. DISCLAIMER: Twilight and its inclusive material is copyright to Stephenie Meyer. Original creation, including but not limited to plot and characters, is copyright to the respective authors of each story. No copyright infringement is intended.
I kissed Alice goodbye and watched her flit to her pretty yellow Porsche. Even though I knew I had nothing to worry about in the terms of her getting hurt, I felt the familiar flash of concern. We'd been through so much in the past few years; newborns, Volturi, I always hated being separated from her. But she had her hobbies and I understood that. Life as a vampire can become quite tedious without interests. I knew that better than most. Plus, I had my own evening planned, doing something I had come to enjoy very much, so I pushed all my anxious feelings aside.
Alice blew me another kiss as she sped off to her design class in Port Angeles and I returned to the living room. Renesmee was sitting on the couch waiting. She had grown considerably but not so much that her legs still didn't dangle off the couch a bit. It made me chuckle to watch her swing her little feet. She smiled up at me and I grinned back.
It wasn't very often that I was the babysitter. Ness had a large family, it was an interesting mix of protectors and I wasn't exactly at the top of that list. It didn't bother me. I knew I was a bit of an outsider in the Cullen family and would probably always be. I still struggled with the diet. As long as I had Alice all would be right in my world, no matter what everyone else thought. But my time with Ness was quickly becoming another highlight of my troubled existence. Becoming so close to Ness had been an interesting turn of events and had come out of nowhere.
The first time I had been left in charge of Ness, it was by accident. She had been spending the day with Jacob, but his father Billy had an accident and he had to rush to the hospital. I happened to be the only one home. Edward and Bella were off hunting with Emmett, Alice was out shopping with Rose. Carlisle and Esme were in Seattle at the theater.
We sat at the large table staring at each other for a long time. We hadn't spent any one on one time together since she'd been born. We'd never even been alone in the same room before. I wasn't exactly sure what to do with her. I had no experience with children.
"So. Nessie. Is there anything you want to do?" I asked after several long minutes of awkward staring.
"Can I watch your show with you?" I had been watching a documentary on the Civil War and complaining to myself about the inaccuracies when Jacob had rushed in with Ness on his back.
"Are you sure? Wouldn't you rather watch something more, um, for kids?" Not that she was your average child, she was far more advanced than children I'd seen in public, but I thought the subject matter would bore her.
"It's about the time when you were human?"
"Will you tell me about it?" She twisted her fingers in her lap and I felt some nervousness coming from her. It seemed I wasn't the only one unsure of this arrangement.
"Of course," I said, shocked that she wanted to spend time with me and learn from me. We camped out on the couch and continued the documentary. She asked lots of questions and I happily answered. My family members were all quite knowledgeable about history already and it was nice to have someone to teach. I went into detail about my experiences, only editing things that might be questionable for someone so young to hear.
"What would you like to do now?" I asked when the show was over.
"Can I watch one of those shows that Aunt Alice likes?" I laughed. Alice and Rose had such a strange addiction to those so-called reality tv shows. They thought humans were the silliest things.
"I guess that would be alright." Wondering if trashy TV shows were inappropriate for a child that was a half supernatural creature. "Don't tell your mom." I winked at her and she smiled. I felt my heart melt a little. We watched several episodes of Real World and fell into a comfortable silence, occasionally laughing at the same things. I didn't know what to do when she curled up in my lap and fell asleep, but I felt at ease with her there, so I left her. It was shortly after that that Bella returned with Edward and Emmett. It was difficult to surprise a vampire, but the sight of Ness and I did the trick.
"Where's Jake?" Bella was instantly panicked when she couldn't sense her friend.
"Billy was reaching for something and fell out of his wheelchair. Jake had to get to the hospital, I was left with Ness." I shrugged.
"Oh no! Has Jake called?" Bella asked alarmed that Billy was hurt. She had a soft spot for the old man. I could feel the worry coming off her.
"He said he would call you later. I'm sure Billy is fine. Surely we'd know by now if he wasn't." I assured her.
"Oh. Yes, right. Did everything go okay with Ness? She wasn't any trouble, was she?" Bella walked over where we were snuggled up on the couch. "I'm sorry you had to watch her."
"I didn't mind at all." I honestly didn't, once we got over the awkwardness it had been fun. "She's a great child, isn't she?" I said as I gazed down at her.
"Yea, she is." Bella smoothed back some of Ness's hair. "Here, I'll take her to bed. Thanks again, Jasper."
"Mama, can Uncle Jazz babysit me again?" She mumbled half asleep as Bella lifted her from my lap.
"I think we can arrange that." Bella met my eyes and I felt us reach a new level in our relationship. I had successfully cared for the thing she loved most in the world, she could now trust me completely. I realized that it was nice, her and I accepting each other this way.
This night, however, I was a scheduled babysitter. Edward and Bella went hunting with Esme and Carlisle. Jacob was attending his sister's wedding to one of those wolves. Rose and Emmett were in Hawaii enjoying their thousandth honeymoon. I offered to stay home with Ness because I liked our time together. I had been looking forward to it for the past week.
"What will it be tonight Ness? World War 2 or E network?" We had our rituals, Ness and me. She couldn't attend a school like the rest of us. At least not yet. So we took care of her education. After the first night I watched her and discovered her interest in history, I became her tutor on the subject. I was delighted to discover she had a knack for it. She seemed to love history, vampire, and human, as much as I did. We watched documentaries a lot, it was nice to have someone in the family share my interests.
Ness also had quite the addiction to reality TV, the more ridiculous the better. I suspected it was because she had little contact with humans and was fascinated by them. Not that reality tv stars were an accurate representation of the human race but still. Bella hated for her to watch them, but it was our little secret. Well mostly our secret, Edward kept his mouth shut, he was completely at Ness's mercy on all things. I indulged her because well, I wanted her to like me. I was amazed at how much I wanted this child to like me. She didn't think of me as just Alice's mate, as I was considered for so long by the Cullens and their friends. To Ness, I was simply Uncle Jazz.
"Laguna Beach!" She said excitedly.
"The beach it is!" I cued up the DVR which was loaded full of the trashiest tv shows available. She cuddled up next to me and I put my arm around her slender frame. She gave off such a happy, peaceful vibe. It was easy to be around her, relaxing almost. And she was just vamp enough that I didn't have to worry about hurting her.
I hadn't given much thought to children when I was a human. I was too young and too focused on being a good soldier. I hadn't been opposed to them, I figured I'd grow up and have a family eventually. It was expected in my time. But serious thought to children? No, never. Even living with Rosalie for the past fifty years, hadn't made me really think of children. Not that I could have them with Alice, but I had never felt like I had missed out on anything.
Having Ness around had stirred up many different emotions for everyone in the house. Esme and Rose were the ones most affected by Ness's birth. They were overjoyed, but also wistful. It also brought up some things I had never considered before. What I would be like as a father, what Alice would be like as a mom.
"Uncle Jazz, can I have some popcorn?" Ness asked, interrupting my thoughts. She looked at me, her eyes hopeful. She had only just started enjoying certain human foods, thanks to Jacob. I was happy to oblige.
"Of course. Be right back." I ruffled her hair as I got up. Seeing as us Cullens did nothing halfway, we had a theater style popcorn maker. Purchased once Ness had discovered her love of the stuff. It kind of made me wish I could enjoy it too. I heard her high twinkling bell giggle from the living room and it made me grin.
I was arguably the most vicious of the Cullen clan. I had murdered humans. I could make the hard decisions that others couldn't or wouldn't make. I could tear a vampire to pieces and not think twice about it. But that child with her rosy cheeks and doe eyes made me mush. I supposed to made sense, being the biggest hardass turning into the biggest softy.
My mind drifted back to Alice as a mom. I thought she'd be perfect but then again, I was biased when it came to her. A tiny girl with Alice's infectious laugh. A boy with my blonde hair. I sighed, those things could never be for us and it made me the tiniest bit regretful. Though Alice didn't talk about it, and she absolutely adored Ness, I knew she had started to feel the same after Ness's birth. As vampires go, Alice was satisfied with her life. I guessed it was because she didn't remember her human life and what she discovered about it wasn't good. But now there was something she couldn't have, even though she had never wanted it before. It hurt to think about it, it was something all of us in the family will have to come to terms with.
Once the popcorn was finished, I slathered it in butter and threw most of it in a giant bowl. She wouldn't eat half of it, but I'd save it for Jacob or Seth to munch on when they returned after the wedding. The wolf pups had grown on me. They were respectable fighters and had stood next to my family when Alice and I had to leave. I didn't even mind Leah that much, she had her reasons for being the way she was. t was important to Ness that all of us got along and that made it important to me.
"Did I miss anything?" I asked as I handed her the bowl.
"Heidi and Spencer got into a fight. He flirted with a girl?" She stumbled a bit over the word flirted. Ness was incredibly intelligent, but many human things were still a mystery to her. Her grandfather Charlie and his girlfriend Sue were the only humans she had ever interacted with. "Humans are silly. Was my mom that silly when she was human?" She asked.
"Your mom was a very serious human. She had a lot to deal with. But I admit that I didn't spend much time with her then. I've explained that to you, remember?" I gave her chin a gentle pinch. I've told her much of the Cullen history and that included how things were between Bella and Edward. Bella's human memories were a bit foggy and she didn't speak of her human life openly.
"You wanted to eat mama," Ness said matter of factly.
"That's right. I tried to hurt your mama and felt very bad about it for a long time. But she forgave me."
"I'm glad you didn't hurt mama." She said as she returned her attention back to the show.
"I'm glad too." I realized how heartfelt my words were as I said them. I was happy to have Bella as a sister and even happier to have Ness as my niece. Despite the longing for things that couldn't be, she brought joy to everyone in our family, Rose especially. I wouldn't speak of it to anyone but her torment over being stuck as she was often left me drained. I tried to help as much as I could but sometimes it was overwhelming just how much pain Rose felt. She had become much easier to live with. Overall, the addition of Ness improved our lives for the better.
When the latest episode that we were watching ended, I glanced at the clock. It was getting late.
"It's almost bedtime, darlin'," I said.
"Please, can I stay up?" She begged. Her bottom lip stuck out in the littlest of pouts.
"Mama will be really mad at me if I let you stay up." Bella was kind of strict with the bedtime. I think she wanted some normalcy in Ness's life, though nothing in her life could be considered normal.
"Please, Uncle Jazz? Just two more episodes." I looked down at her and sighed. How could I say no to that adorable face? She did me in with the sad puppy look.
"Fine, but no arguments when it's over." I was so weak, but I hardly ever said no to Ness. She had me wrapped around her little finger, like she did everyone else. I never thought my life would be ruled by a child but here we were. I didn't hate it.
Ness only lasted one episode. Her head started dropping during the credits and it fell against my shoulder. I waited until I knew she was truly out before I picked her up. I gently cradled her in my arms and took off for the cottage. I could have let her stay on the couch until Bella and Edward came home but I knew she really loved her bed. Alice and Esme had spared no expense.
"Night Ness," I said as I tucked her in. I gave her a quick kiss on the temple. My, how things can change. Who knew back when I was fighting newborns with Maria that eventually I'd be eating animals and taking care of a child. Not just taking care of her, loving her like she was my own child.
I closed the door behind me and wait for Bella and Edward to get home. I settled myself on the couch in the cottage, not wanting to leave Ness alone. I couldn't sense anything dangerous close by, but it was always better to be cautious. God knows, I'd never forgive myself if anything ever happened to Ness.
I didn't have to wait long before Bella breezed in the door with Edward close behind as always.
"Hey Jasper, how was Ness?" I felt Bella's tension. She trusted me with her daughter, though she never felt comfortable leaving her behind. I supposed it was a motherly thing, I took no offense. Ness's life had been threatened before and I didn't think Bella would ever get over it completely.
"Fine. She's sleeping. We ate popcorn and watched TV." Bella nodded as she peaked in the bedroom door. Ness was snuggled up in her blankets, sound asleep.
"Thank you for watching her," Bella whispered to me as she leaned her head against the door frame. She didn't take her eyes off her child.
"It's not a problem," I assured her.
"You really love her, don't you?" She looked over at me.
"We all do."
"I have to admit, when she was first born I didn't think you cared one way or another about her. I can tell how much you love her now. It means a lot to me that she's accepted by everyone. That she has so many people that love her."
"It means a lot that she accepts me. I know I'm not like the rest of the family." Bella started to interject but I stopped her. "Don't argue, I know it's true. I can't pull off human as well as the others, the diet gives me trouble. My scars make me seem dangerous to other immortals. Ness doesn't care about any of that. It's nice." I felt a wave of sadness and a bit of pity come off Bella. I calmed her, there was no need for that. "I'm going to go back to the house." I gave one last look at Ness and gave a nod towards Edward. Bella waved goodbye as I walked out the door.
I made my way back to the main house and sensed that Alice was home. I had missed her, as I always did when we were apart. A smile spread across my face as I rushed to join my love.
"How was babysitting duty?" She asked as I lifted her and swung her around.
"Perfect as always. But I'm glad you're home. I missed you." I nestled my nose against her neck as I brought her back down to her feet.
"Mmm. Why don't you show me just how much you missed me." She whispered in my ear.