A/N: I like filling in missing scenes, especially scenes between Alice and Jasper. Sue me!
On second thought, please don't. I freely admit that I have nothing to do with the Twilight series, which belongs one hundred percent to Stephenie Meyer, whom for clarification, I am not. ;)
Bella had departed only moments previously, too anxious about her werewolf friend—Jacob, I reminded myself—to linger here any longer without seeing him in person. What with Carlisle and Edward down at La Push, Rosalie and Emmett off doing I-didn't-want-to-know-what and Esme and Alice saying yet another goodbye to Bella, the house felt emptier than usual.
Today had been stressful, to say the least. I had not overestimated our advantage over the newborns, but I hadn't fully considered exactly how different fighting alongside my family, instead of some cold partners of convenience, would be. Obviously, old habits died hard for me- I'd felt guilty and irresponsible whenever I had to leave Esme, Rose or my little Alice to fend for themselves for more than a few instants at a time. Alice, being Alice, quickly grew fed up and yelled for me to look out for myself. I tried, but when I felt the rage and murderousness of the largest male, determined to destroy the one I loved most, I couldn't restrain myself any more. His battle strategy and skill were laughable, but he possessed the momentous strength of the newborn, and succeeded in biting me before I could destroy him. I had no regrets.
We had brushed off the bite in front of Bella so as not to worry her further, but the truth was, it had hurt quite a bit at first. I knew from experience that the stinging would lessen over the next few days, so I tried not to pay it any mind. After all, I remembered a time when I was bitten so often that I became nearly insusceptible...
Alice was coming up the stairs now. Even with my acute hearing I had to strain to hear her light footsteps, but I could feel her concern, for Bella, no doubt, as strongly as if she were sitting beside me.
She tiptoed gracefully into my study and wordlessly settled herself next me on the black leather couch. I didn't need Edward's special ability to tell what she was thinking.
"She'll choose this," I said. "In the end."
Alice nodded, but the tenseness I sensed from her didn't disappear. "Yes, she will," she said, mostly to herself. "But she has a few other decisions to make."
I couldn't disagree with that. I pulled her into a hug and rested my head on the top of her head. I felt comfort for a moment, from both of us. She relaxed against me for a moment, but, catching a glimpse of the mark from my bite, pulled away and examined it with her sharp eyes.
"How are you feeling?" she questioned, making sure to meet my eyes. A flicker of anxiety appeared in her own.
"I'll live," I joked. The last thing I wanted was for her to worry about me, too, when everyone knew I would be perfectly fine. We had all been doing too much worrying lately.
Alice quirked an eyebrow. "That's cute, Jasper." She traced the already pale marking with a delicate finger, being sure not to put too much pressure on the inflamed skin. Normally I would have flinched away from contact with a bite, but Alice's hands were too gentle, too light, to cause any harm. "It still stings," she stated.
"I'm completely fine," I reassured her. I smiled and said, "Maybe I just need a bit of distraction. You know, to get my mind off it."
She didn't respond. Instead, she lowered her head and pressed her cool lips to my left forearm, over the place where I had been bitten. Instantly, the flushed skin was soothed. I could have achieved the same result by pressing my fingers to my arm, but I preferred Alice's way.
"Feel better now?" she asked.
"Much better," I said gratefully. "Now if only you could relieve the other burning sensation I've noticed."
"And where, pray tell, would that be?" she said.
I pressed my right index finger to my lower lip.
A musical laugh filled the room. "Oh, really?" said Alice. "I must have missed the part where a vicious, bloodthirsty newborn violently attacked your lips."
"It was worth a shot." I sighed melodramatically for her benefit, my theatrics reminding me eerily of Rosalie.
Alice smiled, eyes dancing. "Well you know what they say: it's better to be safe than sorry – don't you think?" Her eyes were wide and innocent.
She leaned toward me, too agonisingly slowly for my patience.
"Absolutely," I murmured fervently. Our lips met at last, and I was surprised yet again, despite nearly sixty years' worth of experience, at the pure sweetness of her mouth.
I used to resent the fact that I was, in my mind, damned to a meaningless, soulless existence for the better part of eternity. When I met Alice, she became my meaning, my soul, the one reason to bother keeping on existing. And through her, I realised that my soul had never truly left me. My lungs had ceased to breathe, my heart had ceased to beat, and yet, I could still think, feel, care. Eventually I came to believe that my soul must have survived the transformation that my vital organs did not, for how else could a creature such as me, as good as heartless, feel the way I did?
I stroked her marble cheek with one hand, kissing her again. Reluctantly, she broke away.
"You distracted me," she accused; however, there was teasing in her voice.
I shook my head, knowing what she was referring to. "Wasn't me, really."
She smiled, but her gaze shifted to my arm once more and the smile faded. She contemplated my bite for a long moment. "I can't believe... after everything you told Bella..."
"I know," I said quietly.
"I seem to recall you assuring her that there was no reason to worry about me."
"I did," I admitted.
"Because you know that I can more than take care of myself," she went on.
"I do. I do know."
Alice looked exasperated. "Then why were you so overprotective today? You wouldn't let me out of your sight for a minute."
I tried to look properly ashamed, but, again, I had no regrets. Maybe just one, if it had truly upset her.
"I'm sorry, Alice," I said. "I know what I said, and I know what you're capable of. I just didn't expect my reaction."
She looked at me quizzically, waiting for me to elaborate.
"When I fought with Maria," I began, somewhat haltingly, "it was... very different. I cared whether or not she, my one ally, was destroyed, only because I didn't want to become vulnerable. On a personal level, however, I was distant. I never felt the need to try to protect her for her own well-being. I knew I would feel that urge for you, but I told myself that I was strong enough to suppress it, and obviously, I was wrong." I paused and waited for her response.
"Oh, Jazz," she sighed. She gripped my hand and interwove our fingers, seemingly unable to sit still.
I pressed on. "Alice, I love you. More than even you could ever know, more than I could possibly ever express. You are my existence."
The last traces of disapproval vanishing from her eyes, she smiled purely, brightly, altogether dazzingly, and molded herself snugly against my chest. On the exterior, I felt no warmth, but on the inside...
Once upon a time, my mistaken impression was that my soul had abandoned me the day I left my human life. Alice knew better. She re-taught me kindness, compassion and love; feelings I had no idea I was still capable of. And I finally recognised that my soul could never have completely deserted me. In this moment, I felt it more than ever. If anybody saved that errant soul, it was her.
Hope you liked it. Please review? I await your feedback nervously. In a good way. Thanks. :)