Hello! Thanks so much to everyone who reviewed my last Carlisle and Renesmee fic, I really really appreciated it! I've found a couple typos going back through, though, so I should be re-uploading it later to fix that. Hopefully.
Alright, as promised, Renesmee and Jasper! This idea came to me one morning when I was struggling to wake up, and once I did it was infinitely more interesting, and it was pretty much all I could think about that morning, so I hope it turns out as well going back to write it down as it did in my head. Here goes!
This takes place right after Breaking Dawn…I'd say in the week just after the book ends, pretty early on.
Still don't own them. Darn it. I want the Cullen/Hale men. All of them. Well. Someone else can have Emmett. Not that I don't love him, I do, I adore him. Just not…in that way. Anyway, on with the show!
EDIT: Went back through, fixed some typos and such. Should be looking a little better now. :)
There really was nothing on TV at 3 in the morning. I mean honestly, I didn't know why I bothered. Except for the fact that Alice was at the computer upstairs ordering more clothes than the kid could ever possibly need, not to mention Emmett and Rose and their…current activities. I could feel the lust from here. And as Alice was busy, it wasn't something I wanted to be feeling. Because I had already tried and failed. "Jasper, not now! This sale will only last until morning, I have to make sure she's set for the next few months!" Of course. As if there was an impending clothing shortage. Further, as if money was an object. Wonderful, to find out that you're less appealing to your wife than clothes. But then, I had known that for a very long time. It wasn't personal, it was just Alice.
I changed the channels when whatever it happened to be got too ridiculous for me to bear. Like right now. Who really needs to buy one mixer and get two free? Even in a house that cooks human food all the time, what use could that really be? Next. Oh goodie. Civil War movie. There were a couple I liked, but this wasn't one of them. The soldiers wore clean uniforms, strong new boots. They weren't bloody and haggard, you couldn't hear the screams. It was all clean, all straight and neat. About like those idiots had thought it would be when they came out to watch the battle of Manassas with picnic lunches. War wasn't clean, and it wasn't pretty. People were wrong who went further than that, who said there was no glory, no honor and heroics. It could be that way, for some. It had been that way for me. I hadn't lost that part. But it wasn't pretty, and these watered down representations were little more than children's stories to me. Made me sick. Next.
A family of rabbits. Followed by… Oh. Lynx. Damn, that made me thirsty. No, not watching this. Next. Was this a South American soap opera? Yes. Yes it was. I set the remote down, settling into the cushions. These could be trusted to at least be pretty damn funny for awhile. Maybe, maybe, by then Alice would be done. And maybe a panther would walk into the room and lay down at my feet. Yeah, no chance. At least, though, Carlise and Esme might get back. They had left at dusk on a hunting trip, but it was plain there was more than that to it. Even though we stayed out of each others personal business as best we could, even in the privacy of our own rooms sex with a fortune teller, a mind reader, and an emotional magnet was never very private. We all needed to get out sometimes. 99 percent chance they wouldn't be back until dawn, at least. But I could hope.
I felt the emotional change before I even registered the approaching scent. The whole house was layered with all of us, we heard an approach of one of our own before we smelled it. Or in my case…someone was anxious. Frightened. Two. One more than the other. I was alert instantly, bolting upright. Carlisle and Esme could have seen something, a nomad perhaps. Or a coven. One that hadn't stood with us. If we left now, we could get Renesmee a good distance away before they ever caught her scent. Alice could take her in the Porsche, our fastest. Times like this I wished we hadn't had to give the Guardian back. The extra protection would have come in handy. I was already structuring the retreat in my mind when I caught the sound of her heartbeat, her unique smell. Renesmee. And Edward. I was on my feet, ready to rush to his side. Was she sick? Human children got sick all the time, maybe she had enough human in her to be susceptible, maybe I should go for Carlisle now-
"No, Jasper, she's not sick." I relaxed a little, relieved. Still, something was wrong, I could feel it.
"Uncle Jasper?" Her voice was so soft, so gentle to be so commanding. She sounded hesitant. As if I might not answer. As if I would ever consider not answering. I was at their side in an instant.
"Relax, Jazz,. She asked for you, but she didn't want to bother you."
Even if I had been busy, I would have left pretty much anything for this. Scratch that, absolutely anything. That look of fear in her soft brown eyes wasn't something I could bear, especially not when I could prevent it. Nothing could have held me away, not even…ah, maybe Alice had foreseen that. Interesting. "What's wrong? What happened? She's so frightened..." And she still was. Smooth, Jasper. Way to lose your head. I reached out, intending only to touch her in order to calm her more quickly. She had other ideas, filling my mind as soon as my fingertips brushed her skin with an image of me taking her from her father. It felt like a question. "Of course, honey. Here." She got bigger every day, not that I minded. She was still light as a feather. Holding her, though, I always felt like the outsider I knew I was. I had never held a child, before her. No one knew better than me that at any moment I could do something wrong. It was easier for everyone involved just to watch her from a distance. Usually. The way she buried her face into my neck wrecked havoc on that assumption. Her fear faded away, some of it on its own. She felt safe in my arms, and that knowledge was enough to make me question whether I shouldn't have been trying harder to shorten the physical distance all along. My hand came up to cradle her head and it felt natural, as instinctive as the hunt, but in a far different way. "Shhh…it's alright, Nessie. It's alright." She shivered, another shot of fear making a brief appearance before I soothed it, my arms tightening around her. I could feel the growl building in my chest but I forced it down. I wouldn't have her frightened of me, and she might not understand the reason soon enough not to be afraid. But it was simple, whatever had frightened her was going to die. Violently. As soon as she was asleep.
Edward's hands tightened into fists, muscles taunt. "I couldn't agree more, but that's exactly the problem. Sleep." He shook his head. "She had a nightmare. If I had been paying attention, I could have woke her before it got too bad, brought her to you. As it was, she was terrified. She called for us, then asked for you. She was crying. I got her here as quickly as I could."
Our Nessie, crying…protectiveness welled up in me more quickly than I expected, and I had a harder time controlling the feral snarl that threatened to break free. I had a fairly good idea what her dream had been about.
"Yes, so did I. She wouldn't tell me, initially, but I could see it in her mind anyway." He ground his teeth, eyes black. "Aro."
I would kill him. I swear to God, I would kill him. In that instant it didn't matter who he was, what he belonged to, what he had or hadn't done. All that mattered was the girl in my arms, the way she clung to my neck like a lifeline, the fear I had seen in her eyes. No matter how direct or indirect, he was to blame. And at that moment, I think I might have been capable of ripping him apart on the power of rage alone.
"Oh no, I'd help you with that honor. We could do it together. Not that it would help anything. This is…" He gestured in a general sort of way, but once the red cleared from my vision I knew what he meant. It was the specter of Aro frightening her now, the thought. The possibilities of what could have been. Not even his death could free her from that. She would have to free herself, and I knew from my experience with fears, both my own and those of others, that that could take a long, long time. Especially when the fear was founded, and I could think of nothing more worthy of fearing. Especially for a child, especially after all she had seen. I still wanted to kill him. An image shook me then. Her room. She was afraid to go back. I shoved back my murderous thoughts. She was the priority here. "I understand. It's alright, sweetie, you don't have to go back. We can stay here, with all the bright lights. I promise, you'll be right here with all of us around you." It would be easy enough; we never slept. After her birth the family had held her almost every minute. It would be easy to return to the same pattern.
"Yes, that's what I thought." I met Edward's eyes, nodded. The black had faded, but the fury remained. Come on, buddy, don't do anything stupid. I don't want to have to go bring your ass back home from Italy. Again.
That almost got me a smile. "No. Don't worry, I won't." Good. I didn't say it as often as I probably should, I suppose because it seemed implied. He was my brother. It was only natural that I loved him. Fiercely. More than my own life. Our eyes met again, and the softening there told me that he heard, and understand. And that the feelings were returned. My mind filled with another image then. Curled up on the couch, Nessie still in my arms. Ah. "Yes, I'll stay with you." If that's what she wanted. Surely her father was better comfort than me. The comfort that I could provide could just as easily be given from across the room. To be perfectly honest with myself, I couldn't have been more thrilled that she wanted me. But to admit that, even only to myself, would admit just how attached I was, how much it mattered. Things that could only hurt later when she found Emmett more…fun. Entertaining. A better uncle in every way than I ever could be.
We were seated on the couch before Edward decided to respond to that, as I'd known he would. "That isn't true, you know. You're both different, but no less valuable. You both fill different roles."
So he said. So he would always say, because that was the kind of man Edward was. She shifted, questioning eyes matching the questioning replay of her father's words. What was he talking about? "Nothing, nothing important. It's alright." A wave of calm, and she couldn't even be annoyed that I hadn't answered her. She had her father's temper though, and I knew it would come up sooner rather than later if I didn't distract her. "So, any good movies I haven't seen lately? Alice tells me there were a few you enjoyed the other day." Chick movies, mostly. But I'd watch anything if it made her happy. My eyes flicked back to the TV screen. I'd muted it when I felt someone coming but now…oh. Yeah, I would really be a bad role model if I let her watch that. And of course, no such luck that I could turn it off before Edward saw. Luckily, his reflexes were fast enough that at least she hadn't seen. But the sideways glare told me I'd be receiving a speech later about appropriate material for young girls. Yeah, that was me. The bad influence.
"No." He pretended to be talking about the TV, switching off of Iron Chef as he said it, but I knew it was aimed at me.
Well. I wasn't convinced. But there were more important things. Like the fact that she had never answered my movie question. I shifted, sitting sideways on the couch to better cradle her against my chest. She felt so warm, fire hot. And comfortable, as if she had always belonged there. Her hand pressed to my neck, and I could feel her thanks. I had chased the terror of the dream away. I smiled, ran my fingers though her silky curls. "Hey, that's nothing. The least I can do." She smiled, shyly. Good. A smile was progress. Another thought. The dream had really scared her, she wanted me to know that she felt safe with me. Even better. "You want to talk about it? Sometimes it helps to talk about things." I would have laughed at myself saying that, oh a hundred years or so ago. But it couldn't be more true. It had taken me a long time to find that I could talk to my family about anything, particularly Carlisle, Alice and Edward…and there was nothing like that kind of trust. Not in all the world. Sometimes, it did help. She hesitated. "Don't worry, I've got you. Nothing can reach you here. Me and your daddy, we've got you."
I saw first the field. It was the same, but empty. Except for her. Alone in the dark, she was the only one that waited. She called for us, all of us, but no one came. Except him. Dressed all in black, he came to her from across the field. Slowly. Measured. But she couldn't escape. It was as if her legs were bolted to the ground. Aro came in the front, behind him carts pulled by emaciated horses. Carts full of our bodies. Everyone she loved. Aro took her in his arms then, and there was no one to stop him. He ignored her pleas, her desperate cries, pulled a black robe over her head. She was not strong enough to resist. He called her his daughter. She cried for Edward, but there was no way he could ever answer. That was where she had woken up.
The intensity of the memory was strong, and at first I was shaken. The horror felt so real. Then there was the return of the rage I had quelled before. It rose hot in my throat, almost as powerful as thirst. It was all I could do to stop my hands from shaking. Was this how Jacob felt before he phased? Maybe. Maybe it was never this strong. I wanted to watch Aro burn, sick bastard. I wanted, more than that, to burn his memory from her mind, to erase every disgusting trace of him. Beside me, I dimly registered the sound of something shredding. Must have been a pillow. That brought me back down to earth a little. Any intense emotion, and Edward was sure to destroy something. I found it quite amusing. A quick glance told me I was right. Ripped clean in half, stuffing on the floor. Well, Esme wasn't going to like that.
Edward grimaced. "Don't tell her if she doesn't ask. I'll buy her a new one. Tomorrow."
One of the good things about online shopping…rush order. But once again, I had let my own thoughts take center stage. Another reminder of why I wasn't good at this, why pretty much anyone would have been better. I looked down at her, brushed my hand across her cheek, bringing a new wave of serenity with it. "That was a bad dream, you're right. Terrible. I'm so sorry, baby. But I don't want you to worry about Aro anymore. He won't be back." The last moments on the field replayed in my head, his wish to remain friends with Carlisle. Reading between the lines, she had a question. Did that mean he would try again, someday? When he was stronger? She was nothing if not perceptive. She got that from both sides. "You let us deal with that, alright Nessie? It's nothing to worry about, he's just had the shock of his life. He never expected to be outnumbered, or bested, and he was. Both. As long as we stand together, he won't dare touch us. And we won't let him hurt you." I won't. Not ever. I would die first. And I would take that bastard down to hell with me.
Edward tipped his head in my direction. Alright. We'd take him down. Together. But the certain thing was, he would never touch her again. Not so long as I lived. I soothed the last of her fears, relieved when I heard her breathing even out. She wasn't asleep, but she was resting, and she remained quiet for some time. Slowly, her eyes began to drift shut. Good.
"Thank you." He looked at me, gold eyes soft and a little sorrowful. "For doing for her what I could not. Taking the terror away."
I didn't need his thanks, but I accepted them. I hadn't done it for him. All the same, it reminded me of what I already knew. If not for my gift, I wasn't someone to come to for comfort. At least, not for most people. Or even anyone except Alice. She would be more comfortable with her father, I was sure. I could hand her to him, now that she was getting drowsy. But as soon as I thought it, he was shaking his head.
"No. She asked for you. She loves you, you know. She missed you."
I swallowed the lump in my throat, forcing my head to nod. She loved me. Well, that was clearly more than I deserved. Especially after leaving her the way I had. It was for her, but she hadn't known that. She hadn't known that I was ready to throw myself in front of her then, to face down her enemies. Her eyes, fluttering between open and shut, slid open again. A response to her father's words, her warm little hand pressed to my cheek, fingers curling to form to my skin.
It was the past as she saw it. The day after her birth, her first time in my arms. I heard my own voice humming something nondescript, felt the calm I knew must have been induced. Saw my eyes as she saw them, realizing with a shock that from this angle even I could see in myself what she saw. I adored her. I also saw what she probably didn't, the wariness. The fear, the mistrust of my own capabilities. Or maybe she saw it too, I couldn't be sure. Another memory, playing with silverware on the floor. I smiled, watching as I caught the knife she threw at me and flicked it back, felt her wonder as it quivered point-first in the floor beside her. She had clapped delightedly, giggling. I could remember the way her eyes had danced with delight. And another memory. I caught the baseball, threw it back to her, a good 10 feet over her head but she leaped and caught it. I could feel her exhilaration, her pride. The way she threw it back with all her might, pleased when I had trouble catching it. I'd never tell her that that had been an act, not as long as we lived. Another memory. Emmett watching TV, Poltergeist. I had felt her fear, ran in to smack the back of his head and change the channel. I had settled in beside her on the couch, calming her nerves and seriously considering challenging Emmett to a fight just so I'd have an excuse to beat his ass. Sometimes he just didn't think. What she got out of it, though, was that I was safe. From that moment on, that was how she considered me. And I hadn't even known.
The next memory was more hesitant, full of questions. She fell asleep on the couch and I was there, Alice in my lap, her head on my chest. When she woke, we were both gone. I could feel her pain, her sorrow. Her confusion. Another moment, seeing us burst into the clearing. Pure joy. The urge to be held by us, to touch us. Not just Alice. Me. She understand why we had left, that wasn't her question. I felt that just as clearly as I felt the real question. What had hurt was that we hadn't told her we were leaving. It had hurt that I hadn't told her good-bye. She was frightened, not so much afraid that we had left her, but that we were in danger. And she had wanted me to tell her where I was going, when I would be home. She had wanted to understand.
"Renesmee…" My voice was hoarse, choked. I almost didn't recognize it. Edward probably could have explained better than me, and I almost asked him to, but just as suddenly I realized that wasn't what I wanted. This was personal, this was between us. And true to form, he respected that. When I looked up, he was gone. "You know, don't you, that I wouldn't have left you unless it was import? So important I couldn't stay?" She knew that already, I knew. But I had to say it, probably more to myself than her. Yes, she understood. But, she countered, she would have understood then to. If we told her it was that important. "I'm sure you would have. But Alice...she said it was far too important that no one know. Not even you. I'm sorry, Nessie, I'm so sorry. I wouldn't have hurt you. Not for anything."
She jolted forward so suddenly that I froze, but it was only to press her warm lips against my cheek. I was forgiven. "Thank you," I murmured, my skin tingling from her touch. My head fell back, eyes on the ceiling, lost in thought. This came easier than I had expected, being with her. Maybe I could stop hanging back in the corner, just being the emotional stabilizer. Maybe I could be a real uncle, actively. Maybe I could love her and not be afraid of the consequences. For either of us. I relaxed completely, and I could feel her do the same, though I hadn't consciously caused it. Then, curious fingers trailed over my neck, in the shape of a crescent moon. Ah. It was too much to hope that she wouldn't eventually ask me about those. I had hoped, futilely, that it would be when she was older. She followed the pattern, trailing smoothly from one scar to the next. They were so close together, it was easy enough. Layer on layer. I could remember each one. It was a moment before I felt the question I knew was coming, though it was phrased differently than I expected. Had it hurt, when they had happened?
Edward would have probably wanted me to say no. To tell her that it was all in the past, that I was fine. And some people would say that that was best. Spare the child the truth. In some cases, she did need to be sheltered. But not on this. If we never taught our children the realities of life, of pain, of hardships, they'd be all the more shocked when they happened. And she had already seen enough to know that the world wasn't all sunshine. "Yes." My whisper seemed harsh, menacing in the silence. "Yes, they hurt. But not anymore, the pain fades quickly. An hour or so." She lay her head against my neck, cuddling close. Now, she wanted to know why. She was angry at whoever had hurt me. I was hers, her uncle Jasper. I think my heart shattered. "There were…many. It was a long time ago, Ness." I wondered what Bella would say if-when, because I'd keep doing it-she heard that I'd shortened her name even further. That would be interesting. "A long time ago, and it doesn't matter anymore." She wasn't satisfied. I hadn't told her why. I decided to give her the simplest answer. "I was a soldier." The 'was' was a bit of stretch. It was every inch of me, my soul, if Carlisle was right. I would always be a soldier. She heard the slight bitterness in my tone, wondered if I regretted it. "The first time around, no. The second, yes. Knowing what I know now, I'd have chosen differently, left that second army sooner. But those are very long stories, Ness, and it's late. I don't regret that it's part of who I am, that's the important part. I don't regret what I've learned, because it's helped me keep my family safe. There's nothing more important to me than that."
I felt her tense, thinking over what I had said. Not the last part, that comforted her. She had known the others looked to me for protection, and she had learned to do the same, but she hadn't known why. Knowing that, she felt even safer. It was the mention of the time that had her worried. She told me quickly that she wasn't sleepy. I could feel how heavy her arms felt, see how her eyelids drooped. Still, it wasn't the right time to tease her. "I won't leave you. I promise. You can sleep right here." I wrapped her closer to me, relished the steady thrum of her heart. "No one can reach you here. I wouldn't allow it. I can keep the bad dreams away, I'll keep watch all night. Don't be afraid." I wouldn't even let her be afraid, not for a moment. And I could keep Aro away, this version at least. I could watch her dreams, calm her at the first threat. Wake her if that didn't stop it. This, at least, I could do for her.
She tried again to tell me she wasn't tired, but it was even less effective. I tucked her in to my side, her face still buried in my neck. We sat in silence, and it wasn't long before I could feel her breath shallow and even. Her soft eyelids fluttered, fighting sleep and finally losing. The dream began again. Alone, in the meadow. He was closer this time, and he came alone. I was ready for this, ready to calm her, but before I could…
My breath caught in my throat. I was there already. In her dream, standing between her and Aro. I could feel what she felt, the relief. The fear for me as I stood before her enemy. She was still young; she hadn't seen any fighting. Her mind couldn't really wrap around it, and it skipped that part entirely. Then, I was picking her up and the relief, the love…it was humbling. Of any victory I had ever made, this…this virtual victory was greater than them all.
"I told you she loved you." I hadn't heard him come back in, but I didn't jump. I think I was frozen. I watched, entranced. Her dream continued, but she was safe. I was there, either with her in my arms, or scanning the field. I was the soldier now, in her dream. But not the dangerous one, not the way I saw myself. Bloody and scarred, dark. No. In her eyes I was the good soldier, shining with honor, not at all tainted. If only she knew. Someday she would, and I would lose that hero worship. I should get ready for that now, cut my moment of feeling like her knight short before I let it run away with me. "No, she's more right about you than you are. You're one of the strongest people I know." Way to make it sound good, Edward. You don't know very many people.
He smiled, a little. "Actually I do. But I know what you mean, and you're still wrong. You've overcome a harder background than any of us. I don't know that I could have done it. But you did, and that says more than you give yourself credit for. You're stronger than you think. The things you've done, the kind of soldier you were, none of that matters next to who you are. She sees that. I wish you could, too."
I nodded, vaguely. He might be right, in a way. I was still dazed. "She loves me." Had I said that out loud? Yes, I could hear the awe in my voice. Appropriate. She really loved me.
He laughed, but it wasn't mocking. "You know, I think I sounded the same way when I heard her mind for the first time. When I realized how much she loved Bella, how much she loved the sound of my voice. I don't think it's anything anyone can accept easily, her love. It seems too easily given, too strong. But in your case, it isn't as surprising as you think." He paused, weighing his words. "You are not a monster, Jasper. You're not. "
I didn't have a response, not even mentally. Other than that I wanted him to be right, but it would be a long time before I could make any sort of decision on that for myself. But that was alright. I had forever. But I couldn't think about it right now, not when I had a job to do. I was a soldier, and I had watch. Not on the edge of a camp or around my home, but over my….my niece's dreams. It was an easy thing, but something I would take to with enthusiasm. She trusted me. I would not allow that trust to be misplaced.
He sounded so intrigued. It was times like this I wished I knew what he was thinking.
He laughed. "It's just that when I was first with Bella, you asked me how I could bear it. How I could hold her, kiss her, and resist her blood. I couldn't explain it to you any better than that I was capable because I would not hurt her. Knowing what I wouldn't do, I was capable of what I needed to do. Now you understand. It's a decision. It's as simple and as difficult as that."
Simple and difficult. Yes, he was right. But it had been an easy decision. I would watch over her dreams tonight, every night if necessary. I would be there for her, be her protector, fill the place in her life that apparently I filled. I couldn't say I wouldn't question that, because I didn't like myself any better now than I had an hour before, didn't really believe that I was cut out to be with children. But she wanted me, and I'd do what I could with that. The best I could. Maybe I'd be more of a friend, maybe that's what most uncles were anyway. In any case, it felt right. Natural. In her dream, she was now riding Jacob's back in his wolf form. I was on the edges, my eyes scanning the trees. As if I had always been there. As if I belonged there. I felt Edward's hand on my shoulder, but I didn't look away. "Hm?"
"I'm going back to Bella. I told her I'd just come back to check on you once more, but clearly you have everything under control. We'll see you in the morning, alright?"
"Mmhm." That was only a couple hours from now. Time that should have stretched on, time that I had planned to use either aimlessly flipping through all 354 channels or trying again to seduce Alice. Time that would be infinitely more usefully spent, now. Her dreams were fascinating. She was fascinating, the rise and fall of her chest while she slept, her steady, racing heart. The time would pass before I knew it, and Jacob would be here with the dawn. No doubt badgering me about what had happened while he was gone. No doubt ready to overreact over her dream. He was certain to pull her from my arms, to take my place as her hero. Or maybe not. Maybe I'd hold onto that spot, just a little. I would have never believed how much I wanted that to be true.
I wasn't sure how to end this, and I'm not sure I'm entirely happy with it, or with this in general but I do like and I am happy with it. It changed some from my original vision, but not very much, certainly not in essentials. Anyway, I love Jasper, and this is just my interpretation of him…still a struggling soldier, the outsider, desperate to be loved but afraid of it as well. Afraid of himself.
Reviews really are love. Completely and totally.
My next project will be different, not Renesmee centric. It's Carlisle/Esme, set from the final battle and on past that some. I loved this idea when it came to me, and I love them as a ship, so I'm really, really, really looking forward to this one. Maybe even start it tonight, though once again I'm so tired…argh. Sleep is unnecessary.