Title: Defying Orders

Summary: By the time Alice and I celebrated our fifth decade with the Cullens, we were a well oiled machine. The sex between us, our communication, and even our abilities worked together in such a way that we could understand each other without words. When I began to feel Alice yearning for someone who was yet in our lives, I assumed our family would be growing. Given my proximity to Alice physically and my trust in her, it was inevitable that Alice's feelings influenced mine. Thus, the more she became attached I did also. The implications unnerved me. But without doubt whatever the future held, we would survive it. I was a soldier who knew how to follow orders, and Alice saw the upcoming battlefields. She had never steered us into danger before.

Rating: M (Mature audience only - note warning below)

Warning: This story is about sex. It is about how sex can be beautiful, thus citruses can be expected, as well as how it can be a weapon of war, like sexual abuse, rape, and other such messed up things can also be expected. Furthermore, the portrayals in this story will have males and females both in positions of perpetrator and victim, including same sex engagements. Much of what I wrote comes from my work regarding people's stories from the DR Congo's civil unrest and militias using rape as a weapon of war in that conflict. Much of their reasons don't apply to the vampire world, but some do, and it is those that do which are included. This can, for obvious reasons, be difficult to read and a trigger for people. So, at the start of any chapter where such things might be written, a disclaimer for that chapter will be at the start. There are none in this chapter.

Additional information: Even though the Twilight characters are present and how I have imagined them from cannon, the story being told from Jasper's pov means that the Twilight world in this story will be different to cannon. As a writer, I've imagined how much of cannon is solely from a teenaged girl pov (Bella) and then removed those parts and inserted Jasper's opinions and views. Thus, this is an AU story from the very beginning in that way and also how the events in this story will not be the same as cannon. Also, this is not a pairing-centric story. This is a story about a very complicated character who spent years in a war zone trying to survive and then left it to become a not just any kind of civilian, but one that lives with the only pacifist vampire alive, and his journey to leaving the war mentality behind.

Disclaimer: Obviously I am not Stephanie Meyer (SM). The story is mine apart from the characters she created. When other writers' stories are referenced, credit is given to them at the top of each chapter.

Chapter 1: Soldiers Follow Orders

I am a good soldier; always have been. I was good at following orders and getting my men to follow mine while human, and then for Maria. In over a century there had only been two exceptions: when I let Peter and Charlotte go and when I left Maria. My human experience and then time with Maria meant that I was good at battlefield tactics. No one had ever beaten me as a vampire in part because Maria had forged me into the perfect weapon and in part because I was a survivor. Unlike the Cullens, who could afford morals and ethics, I lived by a simple code: live to tell the tale. My skin bore that truth. That also meant any attachments and, especially, caring about his or her survival was a liability. Yet, others being attached to me counted as an asset, particularly if they were willing to sacrifice themselves for me.

By the time Alice and I celebrated our fifth decade with the Cullens, as annoying as they could be, I counted them as assets, as I was 83% sure Esme would be willing to sacrifice herself for me, not because of me, per say, but because of her personality. She was very self-sacrificing, which meant Carlisle would also, and where Carlisle went, Edward was likely to follow. Over the decades I had worked at getting Rosalie and Emmett to become attached to my presence, as there was safety in numbers, but even after fifty years, I wasn't sure they would sacrifice themselves for me. I figured it was almost a 50/50 chance. Then there was Alice, who had asked Carlisle to be her coven Master, and had both Esme and Carlisle's ear. She was the wild card who could turn them against me. My ace against Alice was that the Cullens proclaimed me to be her mate, so if she ever spoke against me, they would likely rebuke her, in order to ensure their lived reality matched their mythology.

Since I'm not a sadist, enjoyed their company, saw value in their continued existence, and thus didn't want them in the line of fire, not to mention that I owed them after Calgary, I took up the job of ensuring that our secrets remained hidden. There were no lines I wouldn't cross to ensure that remained the case, and they had the good sense to never ask my methods. Them purposefully blinding themselves to how I went about ensuring their secrecy allowed me to get my hands dirty, while they got to keep their morals. It was an agreement that served me well, as it made sure I too wasn't in the Volturi's sights and it gave me an avenue to learn a ton about lying through human documentation.

That was until we moved to Forks, Washington.

Alice had encouraged us to move to the rainy town, even if the family had lived in the nearby town of Hoquiam almost seventy years prior. With the present human lifespan, it really wasn't enough time to ensure no one would remember Carlisle, Esme, Edward, Rosalie, and Emmett, as Alice and I had not been with them at that time. Remaining silent during the discussion, I sent Alice my concern via my ability and she had replied with assurance and excitement. Even if it was for her own self-preservation, she would not lead us into danger, so I voiced no opinion. It wasn't like I particularly cared one way or another for our location. One was just as good as another. Hanging around pumping alive bleeding cattle wasn't my idea of fun, but it allowed Carlisle to play human doctor. After all, the cover story they were considering meant only being afflicted for six hours in a day. There were far worse things; I had lived through many of them.

Over the years I had become endeared to Alice. Her signature black short hair that she usually wore in a purposeful spiky mess, along with her barely reaching five feet tall gave her a fairy type appearance. In contrast, her personality was lively and demanded the attention of a room. The juxtaposition was just off-putting enough to keep me on my toes, while hooked to her.

In the end, the family had agreed with Alice to move forward and explore the option, even though she gave them no more certainty than "I have a good feeling about this."

Later sitting in the snow under the shade of evergreens just the two of us, I pressed her.

As had become our custom for these types of conversations we were mirrors of each other, both of our legs crossed with our knees and our fingers touching. She would look into my eyes and push towards me all that she was feeling. It was her way of initiating these type of conversations and putting her inner world on display, allowing me to read her with ease. Over the years we had perfected a manner for her to keep her feelings to a low heat when she was in the common areas with the family. This allowed her emotions to not be louder than the others when we were among them, making it easier on me. Without her purposefully muting the emotions she sent out, they would always come through stronger than everyone else's, same as Peter's and Charlotte's when they visited. I suspected that my ability was more tuned into a person the more I had physically connected with them.

Maria clearly had a type, as Peter and I were very similar in appearance being over six feet in height and having blond hair, although mine was longer than his. We even had similar facial features and body types, although he was slightly wider than me. In many ways, it gave the visual sense that we were brothers, much more than I could ever claim with Emmett or Edward.

"You know the vision of you I had," she reminded me.

The feeling signature that matched that vision came through, letting me know that she had brought it to her mind and was concentrating on it. It was a pleasant comfortable feeling to know that she did this without me asking, knowing this would be what I needed.

The first time Alice had told me about this snapshot had been shortly after our encounter in Philadelphia. I had analyzed the shit out of it, in order to determine what kind of vampire that I was dealing with. Typically after, each time it was present in her, which wasn't often, I would simply note the signature and smile internally at her reflections. This time, however, I redid my analysis trying to determine exactly what she was trying to convey, because my dear Alice had many talents, but describing the complexity of her visions was not one of them.

"Detail it to me," I requested.

"It is a still coloured photograph. I am not living it, like the upcoming warnings cause me to do. Instead, it is like I am at an art exhibit simply basking in the observation of it," she started. We had talked about this numerous times: how these still coloured photos had a tone of fate to her, and how there were no indications of when in time they would occur, so she had taken to learning fashion in order to gain more of a definitive timeframe. "It is the moment in the diner when you had turned to leave and I followed. The point of view is from the front door, as if we are walking towards the photographer."

At one point in time we had tried her drawing images. Although helpful for me to see the details of a scene, overall they were lacking, as they were a two dimensional piece without the emotional elements. It was like halving everything. I had quickly determined that her describing what she saw while I read her with my gift gained me more clarity, even if it took longer.

Reviewing my memory, I found that moment. Dissecting every bit of information about it, I found nothing new.

Before entering the diner I had been focused on restraining myself, in order to not create a mess that would need cleaning up, as doing so always contained risk of another exposure, especially in an environment that was dense with humans. I had gone too long being alone in the forests, so the burn was fierce. Fortunately, the forest had ensured that the excess from my ability wasn't in a risky spot, so I was just looking for a quick grab and go meal.

While walking down the streets, I had been projecting my usual cocktail of 'stay the fuck away from me' just enough to give me a good six inch berth from everyone else. It had worked, even in the crowded diner entryway. Yet, this vampire who, for all intents and purposes, was dressed like a human lady, matching clothes, hat, gloves, jewellery, shoes, etcetera had come up to me as if my ability had stopped working and stated at a human volume and speed with sincerely oozing from her, "You kept me waiting long enough".

Her ability to blend into the human ways of dressing and her clean appearance suggested a life that was neither like Maria's nor a nomad. Peter had spoken once in a rare moment of wistfulness about his wish to purchase a home and have a ranch, of all things. The possibility that I had found a vampire that lived a stationary life, had money, and could blend in so well intrigued me, and offered me hope that giving Peter his wish was within the realm of reality. Whatever means necessary I would need to employ to get that information out of her, I was willing to do.

Yet, the possibility that I was meeting for the first time an individual upon whom my ability didn't work was unnerving, not to mention her strange amber coloured eyes, if not off putting, but together they placed me on extra alert. Her feelings of excitement, relief, and hope were nearly opposite to how other vampires felt around me. Even Maria had a thread of apprehension interwoven between her possessiveness and lust.

Yet, this filly at the diner had no fear of me. My immediate assessment was that she was a messenger from Maria, and her lack of fear was due to the lies Maria had told. Even still, usually my scars caused some reserved apprehension, so my theory didn't quite fit. My shirt, I knew, was thin and a vampire could see the scars under it.

However, given the greatest likelihood being that she had been sent from Maria, I had spoken below the humans hearing level and dictated to her, "Follow me," and then matching her speech in my attempt to sound human stated, "My apologies, ma'am." I left the diner with her behind. Her lack of concern in me ordering her, in my tone of voice, in my expectation that she would obey or else, and the clear indication that we were moving to a space where I could fight caught me off guard. Her eyes alone suggested that she was no regular vampire, let alone her bizarre reactions. Thus, her presence placed me on my highest alert, causing me to use everything my ability and other senses could tell me. How many assassins had come for me only to fail?

Completing my scrutiny of the memory, I was pleased that my first analysis hadn't been altered. Then, I compared that moment with the vision's signature.

"Find the memory," I solicited.

She stilled and a minute later her emotions indicated that she had brought that moment to the forefront of her mind from her memory, rather than what her ability had told her. Certain she would hold it in her mind, I did my analysis. My conclusions were the same.

She had become infatuated with me from her vision. She had been excited, relieved, and pleased.

"Continue," I allowed her.

One of the greatest things about Alice was her patience about allowing me to gather information my own way, not to mention her lack of getting upset at my tone. Rosalie would have thrown a fit.

"And the family portrait that included us," she stated.

Waving my hand, indicating that she could carry on with her point, she smiled indulgently at me before resuming, "And that in '87 the portrait included a new person, but one without detail."

"Remind me," I requested, beginning to put things together for myself.

That signature was very similar to the previous family portrait with the added element of excited anticipation. Alice had assumed in her wanting everyone to be happy way that the image indicated that Edward would find a partner, but in my opinion that didn't match the pattern of these snapshots. She and I had agreed that the image having no detail was because the individual was human, since Alice didn't see humans that well, unless it was in interaction with a family member or she had familiarity with the human, but even then the visions weren't nearly as clear as when it was about vampires, even nomads.

Alice's hopeful wish for Edward contained a ribbon of sweet tender care, a yearning for him to be more content, and a sad wistfulness. In my assessment it would be nice for Edward to be less broody and his emotional tone to be lighter, for my sake as much as his. However, since Edward's beliefs regarding himself and his state as a vampire made that improbable, I doubted Alice would get her wish.

Either way, when Alice had first told me about the new snapshot I had believed that it meant that this human was soon to become a vampire, and would mean something to Alice, but nearly fifteen years later no new snapshot had arrived nor had any new vampire. We were at a loss, but Alice was perpetually hopeful, probably because she had waited decades for the snapshot at the diner to come into fruition. Her feelings about this unknown entity seemed to only intensify with odd fuzzy snippets of visions. There was one of a human couple yelling at each other while a baby cried, an older human with a toddler, a playground, a tutu, a cactus, etc. Alice had even gone to Edward and asked for his help, but he admitted that they were too unclear and random to mean anything substantial, but the emotions when she talked about them said differently. Whatever they were trying to tell Alice, they were changing her.

Alice's reactions to these snippets and my unvoiced conclusions had increased the glaring reality of Alice's lack of knowing my beliefs and opinions. Albeit perhaps Edward, no one knew Alice better than I, yet she did not know me the same. She was interested in the future, whereas I held the past and present to have more weight. We balanced each other and learned a lot from each other, but our relationship was not built on intellectual exchanges. We were excellent companions and that was sufficient for me and, presumably, Alice, since her emotions never indicated otherwise.

"And Forks?" I questioned letting her know to keep going.

She stilled and seemed to focus on a memory again. There was a sensation like contentment and peace and rightness, like everything was settled and beautiful.

"From what?" I wondered.

She shrugged. "I was going mentally through the houses we own and none stood out except Forks. The rest contained an unsettled feeling, not bad, but not quite right. I honestly can't explain better than that."

"Edward seemed confused," I pointed out.

"Because he doesn't understand why I might have that reaction," she explained not needing to detail that part of his confusion was because she had kept the most recent family portrait from him. After three seconds she added, "I don't understand it much myself."

"You're guessing that Forks will bring us to the new addition?" I suggested.

She shrugged. "If that was the case, once we decided wouldn't there be more clarity? Probably decisions need to be made, but it would seem that not all of them are on our end."

After running through the possibilities I agreed. "If the family is willing to take the risk, then so am I. Whatever this new addition means, it is clearly important to you."

She smiled looking uncertain and slightly nervous, then moved her body so that she was in my lap. It was unusual for her to feel tentative, but when she did, it created this craving in her to be comforted. Holding her, I wrapped her in assurance, confidence, and peace, my head resting on hers to gain the skin to skin contact, while probing her inner world. Holding her in my arms and humming a tune from my Confederate years, the first time I had done so came to mind.

Walking at a brisk human pace to hide my nature from all possible witnesses, I moved towards the closest forested area with the strange diner vampire following behind. The further away from the city centre we travelled the happier she became. Her dominant feelings were excitement, relief, and delight with only the slightest drops of the kind of nervousness that indicates a lack of confidence. The whole thing was crazy and for the first time since we had parted I wished Peter was by my side.

When this filly and I were in a space where I could move freely and end her easily, I stopped and turned towards her.

She looked down suddenly disappointed and disheartened with a strong dose of acceptance and sympathy.

Softly she uttered, "I wish you no ill will. I have the gift of foresight, and when I awoke to this life saw us meeting. My only agenda was for us to meet."

Either she was incredibly clever and deceptive or being honest. Her emotions indicated the latter, much to my surprise.

Assuming her statement true, as it was difficult to fool my ability, I needed more information to assess the situation, so asked, "What has your ability told you?"

She smiled wistfully, and her emotions changed back to the excitement, relief, and delight. My only conclusion to this quick turnabout was that somehow my decision to hear her out had altered the future. Even with all my years of experience calculating risks and taking unexpected moments into consideration, it still took me a few seconds to really appreciate and digest the information. If she really did have the ability of foresight, it was a powerful ability and would make her an incredibly dangerous creature. Finding out her agenda and how she worked, so that I could end her if necessary became my top priority.

Speaking too similarly to Peter giving a briefing for my comfort, she stated, "You are called Major. Your commander is named Maria. Your Captain is named Peter. He ran off with a newborn named Charlotte for which you were beaten, starved, and quartered for months before Maria gave the order for your body parts to be rejoined. Years later Peter came back and convinced you to leave Maria. You, Peter, and Charlotte were travelling together for a while, and now you're travelling alone. Your job for Maria was to manage the newborns and train them to take territory." She shifted like she was uncomfortable and then spoke once more this time sounding more like a young woman. "Much of your life with Maria was difficult for me to watch, but I needed to know when you'd be in the diner."

Making sure to keep my features neutral and my body ready to act, I considered what her information meant for my security. Certainly my desire to hide my history and my role in the southern conflicts from her was impossible at this point. The question was whether or not killing her would keep me safer, especially if my first conclusion that Maria had given her the information she stated, rather than it coming from the ability she claimed to have, was accurate. Certainly a stranger knowing my past left me too open to others wanting to challenge me for sport, something I strongly wanted to avoid. At the same time, assuming she was being truthful, we could make powerful allies.

Before reaching a decision, she begged me, "Please give me a chance. I truly have no intent to hurt you. I cannot help my visions and what I saw. I was curious and excited to meet you, as I've seen you for about thirty years."

Recognising that a few more minutes or even hours to investigate my options wouldn't make a huge difference, unless she led me into a trap, I questioned, "What's wrong with your eyes?"

She smiled like she had won a victory, which perhaps she had, and told me, "There's nothing wrong with them. There is this person, his name is Carlisle Cullen, and he drinks animal blood. I like not hurting humans, as they are funny to watch and make nice things. According to Carlisle, animal blood makes amber eyes and human blood red eyes."

Considering her words, it seemed possible. Certainly when the newborns were allowed to take a village all creatures in that village were drained of blood. To live off animal blood alone, though, seemed like a strange concept. Newborns didn't know any different and their thirst drove them to take blood of any kind, but to purposefully hunt animals? It was a very bizzare concept for sure, but given the cost killing humans had for me due to my ability there was defiantly an appeal. If nothing else, there was the likelihood that avoiding humans and staying to the forests might extend the amount of time between me needing an outlet for my ability.

"When did you meet him?" I asked.

She looked down again. "I haven't."

Her emotions indicated that she was telling me the truth, which was unsettling and matched the oddities thus far.

Before the words for my next inquiry left my mouth she answered, "From my visions. I also saw an image of us with them and you had amber eyes."

Certainly joining with a coven that weren't associated with the south might be handy. There was strength in numbers. Then, there was a truth that no vampire who might live to seek out The Major would search for him with a bunch of animal drinkers. There were some definite strategic advantages to her idea, assuming she spoke the truth.

After running mentally through multiple scenarios and what would be needed to protect myself along with Peter and Charlotte the most effectively, I decided that quenching my thirst was a priority. It would also give me a chance to test her.

"Let's try Carlisle's hunting," I told her, and then commanded, "Do not leave my sight."

She nodded her agreement, closed her eyes briefly, and then started running further into the forest. While she did so, she told me, "Carlisle says that the carnivores are more fulfilling, as they consume meat like humans, so I thought we should try that first."

Grunting my agreement, but keeping my ability spread as far as it could go in case it was a trap, we came across some deer, but this girl moved up further into the mountain. Eventually she stopped downwind from a wolf.

"Do not move from that spot," I ordered, and then assuming she would obey, given her presented intention to win me over, I tackled the animal.

Its pack was near and after fighting and killing three my thirst was improved, even if my clothes were a disaster. The taste was barely better than the domesticated animals I had tasted as a newborn myself, but the emotions were far easier to manage than humans. There was no regret, no despair, no shame, simply fear and resignation in much muted forms. Then, it was nice to have a fight before biting into flesh. Most humans were too far removed from their instincts to even try fighting us. There was something about earning the meal that was rewarding. Even still, I was uncertain if the exchange made it worth it.

Going back to the girl, pleased that she obeyed and that tracking her down was unnecessary, I asked my tone harsh and cold, "Name."

She smiled at me like everything was going to be okay and answered, "Alice," and then after a brief pause tacked on, "I think."

Sizing her up, I decided to inform her, "I wish to go by Jasper."

She smiled widely and stretched out her hand, "Nice to meet you Jasper."

Even though I was reluctant to touch another, something deep within me disliked the idea of being rude to a lady. "Pleasure to meet you Miss Alice," I told her allowing my original Texas drawl to come through as I took her hand, turned it slightly, and leaned down to kiss the back of her hand.

As soon as we touched her nearly entire emotional state cascaded into me, like she was an open book desperate to be read. I tucked it all aside, in order to evaluate it all later, but the most transparent aspect was that she had a deep abiding need to be cared for, wanted, and protected.

This quality in me regarding expectations towards the fairer sex was what had ended my human life, and it was causing me to act against my best interests once more. It was quite obvious that this reaction within me was a weakness and something I would have to be on alert for, as this Alice could easily use it to her advantage in much a similar way that Maria had. I certainly was unwilling to trade one commanding officer for another. After finally being free to be my own man, I wasn't willing to put myself in that position again.

The whole time I watched her visually and with my ability. She appeared extremely pleased and happy with her emotions matching, at least the top layer ones. Yet, there was something off about their mixture. It took me a few seconds to realise there was no surprise. It was like she knew the possibility of the action before it occurred.

Tucking that bit of knowledge away for the time being, I determined that she seemed honest enough to give it a few days. I could always track her down and end her if she ran. It wouldn't be the first time, and against a seer would be a real challenge, which could be thrilling.

Stating evenly to ensure my distrust of her was present on my face, I informed her, "My clothes are no longer suitable."

She smiled shyly, but her emotions were a gleeful satisfaction mixed with smugness, like she was pleased with herself and confident that she had won this first skirmish.

Her tone was even and factual like how I preferred Peter to convey information. "I rented a room and purchased some male clothes. I cannot be certain that they will fit you precisely, but they should do."

With a brief nod from me, she turned and walked away. Her smugness grew into pride, which then overshadowed the other emotions. Pride comes before a fall came to mind, so I kept my ability out as much as it would go once more until we were near humans. I could admit that she probably had gotten from me nearly exactly what she had wanted, but it was a common battle tactic of mine when Maria didn't have enough intel. It was a great way to lure the enemy into a weaker position by having their over confidence become their undoing.

The house where her room was located skirted the forest. She pointed out, which one was hers, and entered the building like she was a human, while I scaled the wall and came through the window like the wraith I had been trained to be. We might both be vampires, but it was as if we lived in different worlds.

After a shower and change of clothes, I sat on the chair closest to the window and told her, "So, tell me about yourself."

She proceeded to convey events since her waking until our meeting. Her emotions and expressions during her stories were mostly congruent. She gave away too much information, including admitting that the animal blood didn't last as long. The time with her had also allowed me to read her deeper, going very slowly, as Peter and then Charlotte had allowed me to experiment with the speed and reported back their ability to sense what I was doing. Under her primary emotions, those that indicated her present state, were the threads that told me of her character.

She was truthful, but not honest. She constantly shifted, moving her inner world and her actions towards the outcome she wanted. She was like Maria in some ways. Except, Maria was bent on control and domination. Maria was someone who got pleasure from other's pain and misery. Although Alice was also a manipulative underhanded filly, she was bent on finding happiness and peace. It seemed that her visions had made it so that she saw me as someone that would make her more content, and so worth keeping on the inside of her weavings. She reminded me of the stories of magicians. She was gifted at presenting to people what they wanted to see. Yet, at her core she had a good heart, and didn't want others to suffer. Everything about that nearly two day period more and more made it clear that Maria hadn't sent her, and that she wasn't an assassin. It was a relief in a way, but also left me with a quandary.

When she got to the diner part of her story, as we had come full circle, I asked, "What are your plans?"

At my question her emotional tone changed completely like a light switch and she answered, "I don't know. I have been waiting so long to meet you, I didn't dare look beyond it."

The fear and sadness and despair and confusion that had been at the deeper levels had come to the surface, and she felt them as equally strong as had been her excitement and exuberance. It seemed like the girl didn't do anything in halves.

Travelling with her seemed like an enjoyable way to pass the time, especially with the probability that we could become lovers. It would certainly ease my burden, and along the way maybe she would teach me a thing or two about acting human. Settling down with Peter and Charlotte on a ranch in a century or two painted a beautiful picture in my mind, and this filly seemed like a path of least resistance to get there.

Since her death by my hands wasn't imminent and loathing the feelings in the room, I figured that earning her trust was the best way to figure out her long-con.

Moving to appear compassionate at her statement, I opened my arms. "Come here and we'll figure it out."

Once she was in my arms, I remembered the feeling of contentment after Peter had taken care of me, touched her skin, sent her the feeling in the slightest of amounts, while I monitored every layer of her emotions and their patterns. It was the surest way to get to know the measure of a person, because feelings, especially the deeper ones, could not be manufactured. And, from my time in Maria's bed, after Peter had shown up, assuming this Alice would draw the same conclusions as Maria, I was relatively certain that my ability would remain obscured from her.

My willingness back then, strategic reasons or not, to touch a unknown vampire other than to behead them spoke to how Alice was almost the perfect compilation of Maria and not Maria. Alice had pulled on me and continued to pull on me in all the ways that Maria had initially and then had over the years. I presently had enough psychology degrees to hypothesize that they were in some way similar to my mother or a girl I had planned on returning to. They pulled on the most human part of me, which Carlisle would say was a good thing, and I still believed was too much of a god damn liability. Unfortunately, whatever it was exactly, it was a part of my foundational life that I had brought into this one, making it very difficult to shake.

Through the years and lots of studying combined with my own form of giving myself psychotherapy, I had less of a compulsion to act on the pull Alice had on me. Simultaneously, to have other test subjects, I had offered my scholarly training to Alice and then to the Cullens. Esme had joined me in the quest to improve the emotional world of each person in the family, and thus the emotional claimant overall. There was certainly joy in using my ability to comfort others, especially as it stood in such contrast to how I had used my ability to control and harm others in Maria's camp. Although, eventually, I had given up on ever being any assistance to Edward. Yet, it was most ideal for me when they made the climate naturally.

As the sun began to rise Alice's emotions entered into a more hopeful range.

She sent me gratitude and I responded with my cocktail indicating that she was welcome.

"The answers will come," she stated, but I suspected that she was speaking more to herself than to me.

"They always do," I agreed. "Anything new?"

"It's almost certain the family will agree," Alice told me after a few seconds. "I suspect that it is only when we are there that more clarity will arrive."

"Then we move to the rainy town on watch," I concurred.

Even though the move was good for Alice, as she became her usual optimistic self once more, there was a ribbon of discontent that ran through her until a little over two years later. She must have had a vision while at school, because she was radiant in the ride home. She was hyper and excited, which put me in a good mood.

"What's up?" Rosalie asked evenly, her emotions a mix of hopeful excitement and worry as we pulled into the driveway.

Then again, Rosalie's emotional character was to want for good things and be fearful of the bad in almost equal measure. Her abrupt language and pull no punch approach was mostly due to hating being scared and even more loathing that she had yet to shake her fear. It was ingrained in her. She was terrified when she was turned and there her emotions remained. The emotions during turning becoming petrified in the vampire had been my experience for most newborns, so it didn't surprise me that she still hadn't shaken it.

Peter had been one of the exceptions. He had been initially terrified upon meeting me in his human form, but as he had burned, turned genuinely glad upon his awakening. Even though I disagreed, he had come to believe that he owed me, and for some odd reason never believed the debt paid. It helped our relationship, especially in the early years that he never was truly horrified of me. Perhaps his belief in his debt encouraged him to find ways to please me, which had honestly been welcomed.

"Chief Swan's daughter, Isabella Swan, is moving to Forks. He's very excited," Alice explained her voice happy but detached, while her emotions suggested that this was what she had been waiting for.

Aware that she was saying more than her words, I purposefully focused on what she was saying and in my thoughts pretended that it mattered little to me.

Rosalie rolled her eyes, as she exited Edward's Volvo. "Seriously Alice, from your excitement, I thought you had cured world hunger. It matters little to us."

Alice slowed as we entered the house and seemed to be considering that. "Chief Swan had been good to us, even advocating to the Quiluetes about us. If what I've seen in my vision comes to pass, he'll be excited and it's contagious. It will be the talk of the whole town."

Edward huffed even from his room where he had fled.

With an irritated tone Rosalie retorted, "Still doesn't matter to us." Then, she flopped onto the couch pulling Emmett with her, and grabbed one of the new car-based magazines that had come in today.

Recognising that the moment was over, I looked at Alice stating, "I need to hunt. Come with me?"

From their emotional reactions Edward as well as Rosalie and Emmett assumed that I was asking Alice for sex. At least Esme's emotions were pleased on Alice's behalf. Even if she didn't understand why Alice was so excited, she was happy to see Alice happy. It was the great thing about Esme.

Everyone else's reactions pleased me, as it told me that our code was holding. That wasn't to say that we didn't occasionally have sex after hunting or some other combination, but mostly it was our way of speaking alone. Unless Rosalie and Emmett's or even Esme and Carlisle's lust got to me, Alice and I rarely joined together in the house. At least that much was true. But eternity was too long to be celibate, at least in my opinion, especially surrounded by other coupled vampires. Then there was the part where I kept to my own internal timetable of when I needed the joining.

Initially as Alice and I travelled together, since the only emotions for my ability to register were Alice's, it took longer than when I had been with Peter and Charlotte, but less than I had calculated to need an outlet. Just to be safe, after Alice decided that we should go find the Cullens and we had left Philadelphia, I had reflected on when Peter usually indicated that I was in need, and then had started with that time frame. My miscalculation, I suspected, was due to the animal blood.

Testing out Alice and her ability, I decided to talk to her about sex.

"I don't know anything about that," she stated, despite my lack of voicing my decision, confirming more about how her ability worked.

"I could teach you," I offered.

"Sure," she agreed like it was no big deal.

Her reaction had been a relief and certainly far from any other female I had encountered.

I set out to make another purposeful decision, this time regarding my preference for our first time, and she said, "I think that I will like that."

Certainly the emotions she was putting off indicated that she liked the vision. It was entirely odd.

The next time after a hunt I removed my clothes and she did also. She then placed herself face down on the ground, her knees tucked under her body and her arms out in front of her, and her butt up in the air with no words spoken, just like I had decided to request. Her feelings were excitement and anticipation with a touch of nervousness all mixed together. Even though I didn't touch her with my hands, the moment my johnson entered her, I struggled to distinguish her feelings from mine. She didn't respond to what I did in outwardly, instead remaining statuesque. When I came my orgasm triggered hers. I pulled out and noted that the release had helped me, but that it was as if a part of her feelings had lingered within me. It did the job, but it wasn't rejuvenating like I had hoped. At the same time, that wasn't surprising, as no one had ever calmed me like Peter.

"Thank you, I enjoyed that," Alice uttered after she was reclothed. "Perhaps we could do that again," she stated before moving off once more.

I nodded my head dumbly stunned by her non-emotional reaction.

Thus, started our only encounters of touching each other during our journey. Eventually it had been Alice who had brought up a potential committed exclusive sexual relationship between us when she claimed that we were an hour away from the Cullens.

Despite her insistence in Philly that we find this coven, it took us two years. Thus, by the time she brought up the topic I was convinced that she had made events so that I would adjust to the animal diet before meeting Carlisle. It only went to prove to me how manipulative and conniving she was. My experience from Maria told me that confronting her about it would serve no purpose, so I just went along, watchful and curious of her desired outcome.

She had stopped suddenly and had all the indicators, which I had learned, meant that she was having a vision. When she came to and looked at me, she was feeling bashful and a little embarrassed.

Standing still, I waited knowing well that my lips would stay firmly closed. My ability gave me enough, which was why I hadn't told her about it. No reason to give our tactical information.

Eventually she spoke, "I should warn you that Edward, Carlisle's first changeling can read minds. My vision suggests that the two couple's activities would bother you enough to cause you to leave."

Physical desire and lust wasn't far off from bloodlust, so nothing I hadn't experienced regularly at Maria's camp. It fascinated me that Alice was forcing a conversation that I had already spent a good amount of time considering, once she had revealed that the Cullen coven was made up of two couples and a single male. In an attempt to test her ability, I had left it only at musings. It was a good sign that I had already learned the weakness of her visions.

In Maria's camp I had outlets: satisfying my thirst, Maria's bed, or some unsuspecting individual near to me. Maria had made it clear once I became her second in command that her body was the only place my physical lust could be expressed. And although I managed her expectation most of the time, there were a few times over the century when I had needed to kill a newborn because of my lack of self-control. And then there had been Peter.

Honestly, ever since Alice had mentioned the two couples I had doubted my desire to stay with the Cullens for long, the memory of Peter and Charlotte reminded me of the challenge of being near that kind of relationship.

Alice's stories of Carlisle and his coven made it sound like they were more human than vampire. They married, and from her description were committed and faithful to only their partner. Sure, Maria expected fidelity on my part, but never on hers. And I had memories as a human soldier of women who offered to please us men. Even as a human, the higher ranked officers got first pick. It was one of the reasons for taking on the risk that came with advancement. And sure, there were always some religious types pining for their wife who didn't take the travelling women up on their offer, but I hadn't been married and had no qualms about having my needs met when it was available.

It was a challenge for me to reconcile my human memories, time with Maria, and Alice's stories of Carlisle's coven. What Alice's stories made clear was that neither Carlisle nor Emmett would appreciate me boning their wives, nor interested themselves, which I respected. Not that I would ever take someone by force, but there had certainly been times when my ability caused someone who touched me to be filled with the lust I had been trying to contain, and they had not been able help themselves in becoming sexually intimate with me. By the time Peter came around I knew enough to warn him, not that he was the type to listen. He was the only one that lived to tell the tale, though.

"What are you suggesting?" I asked Alice trying to determine her angle, and how she could have even seen that as a possible outcome, given what she had explained regarding her visions.

"Edward runs away when the couples are intimate, so I think he does not desire sex. I can't be sure, but that's my best guess."

The fact that she knew enough of this part of me to make this kind of statement was the part of her that I despised. She had this advantage of knowing things, but she rarely stated what she knew, just these cryptic declarations, giving away probably more than she realised, but it still grated on me. She might not know why her visions showed her my challenges regarding being around sexually active lustful couples, but it still gave her tremendous information that I wasn't prepared to share. Perhaps Edward's extra ability was the reason he ran away. I could do the same, but Alice was right. Even if I did that, it would be less than a year before I would need to leave, as I doubted Edward would be interested in being my Peter substitute.

It wasn't so much that my lack of gender preferences when my ability had gotten out of control bothered me as much as the fact that until meeting Alice I was certain that the only ones who knew my preference of females, but openness to males were Maria, Peter, and, since I told him to detail everything, by extension Charlotte. Alice's words could be taken many ways, and so I couldn't say for sure she was aware of this aspect of me, but even the chance of it unnerved me.

She took a deep breath and looked up at me. "I am offering that we present ourselves as a couple. I have enjoyed learning about sex from you, and being physically intimate with you."

What she seemed to not voice, but her concern and desperation said along with reading between the lines, was that if she became partnered with Edward, then I would unlikely be able to stay with the coven. She had these ropes of connections that she felt towards me and she wanted to reel me in, form something that kept me tied to her. She was offering a partnership of sorts, one that included sex. It was a better offer than I had with Maria and certainly improved over being alone. At the same time, her emotions when she spoke of Edward suggested that she wished to tie him to her also. Perhaps she was planning on doing so through a non-sexual way, as her description of him painted a man who was parochial when it came to sex. I was curious to see what type of connections she would weave with him.

Her answer also seemed to indicate that our proximity to encountering the family had produced outcomes she was then acting upon. My guess was there were two options. If she chose Edward, I wouldn't stay. If we continued having sex, then I would stay. Simultaneously, for that option to work we needed to present ourselves in the same manner the other two couples viewed their relationships, which would then obscure the option of her being sexual with Edward.

"We can see," I agreed, after a great internal debate.

Her emotional reaction told me that this had been her plan all along. She had buttered me up, given me just enough, not pushed me, and it had been perfect, exactly what I needed to be persuaded. But perfection was a lie. It was a clever lie, disguised. It had seemed like I was making the choice, rather than her creating the situation just right. I had underestimated her. She was even more cunning than Maria, likely because she was more patient. Alice was all about the long game, where Maria was short-tempered and impetuous. Maria was truly a Mexican hothead.

Alice, though, underneath it all was insecure and scared. From our two years together, I had determined that she was building for herself an army of champions and wanted me to be the first in line. The thing with Alice was that there was no malice in it. It was purely self-preservation, and her ability kept me safe as well, as long as she saw me as her needed champion. Thus, I was willing to play along.

My only concern was the mind reader, as I didn't want him to know about me. Consequently, I asked Alice questions to ascertain the weakness of his ability. To each question she answered, "I don't know."

Her lack of knowledge was as equally frustrating as it was a relief.

When my questions for her had run out, I turned towards her, and commanded, "I'm going to make decisions on how to handle the mind reader, and you're going to tell me which option keeps him most in the dark."

"Sure," she answered like my request was a given.

"If you fail me, I might be forced to end him," I warned her. "There are parts of my past that no one can know."

"You don't need to threaten him," she huffed, "you can trust me to help you."

"I wasn't threatening, darling," I sneered, "I was speaking facts. I will end the mind reader if he were to find out certain things, whether that's from my mind or yours."

She studied me and oozed concern for a moment before telling me, "Make a decision, and I'll tell you the outcome I see. However, I can't promise you'll get the secrecy you're wanting."

She only warned me of the weakness of her ability that I already knew, so said nothing and decided to mentally hum battle songs all day.

"He appears exasperated and might eventually ask you to stop," she stated in a distant tone.

Second, I decided to imagine my mind protected by a canopy.

"He has moments of appearing appalled, but says nothing," she said with the same tone.

Last, I imagined my barrack at Maria's camp, tucked into the mountainside with only the entrance visible. The entrance was made up of the few human memories I had recovered, joking with Peter as the three of us had travelled, and the last two years alone. Then, in my room were my memories of Alice. Next, I placed all my memories at the camp in metal locked boxes. This mental exercise had a sensation internally like I had scrambled my brain.

"He is neutral with moments of being curious," she reported.

"Let's hope your ability is as reliable as you claim," I told her.

"It is," she refuted her chin held high.

Alice's and my agreement was an exchange I had been willing to make and one that we continued with for over fifty years. Over the decades our tentative trust had grown into an understanding, a relationship, and a partnership that worked well for us, even if it looked nothing like the other Cullen couples. We both were survivors and neither of us begrudged the other of the reality that we would do everything in our power to keep ourselves alive. It was what made us most different from the others we lived with, even if Alice had made herself into a Cullen, and so I was by association.

Her snapshot and the other visions told me that fate had determined that the Cullen coven was going to be altered, especially since Alice followed fate's dictates. They had already begun to alter Alice, and due to our proximity me. She was certain that she could manipulate the outcomes, so that this new person was added while keeping the coven formation as it was within her margin of error. I wasn't convinced, and so began formulating other possibilities and how to mange the changes, even though I had little information to go on.

A/N: My previous story Igniting Sparks has been nominated in the poll to find TwiFanfictionRecs' Top 10 fics completed in November on www . twifanfictionrecs . com ! Thank you to whomever nominated me and everyone who has already voted for it!

I look forward to your thoughts about this story. Please also let me know if the lines to indicate flashbacks are confusing.