Everyday Moments of Perfection
Chapter Fifty-Seven: AU: Unpolished
A/N: Just realised, I haven't actually written from Alice's point of view (well, all these drabbles are third person privileged, 'cause I hate writing in first person - don't know why - but I like to keep the feeling of personal musings, so third person privileged it is) in ages, and therefore there hasn't really been much Jasper fanservice. And since this is fanfiction, I do believe I shall deliver some now.
In the form of an AU special. Wherein Jasper is the aloof kind of hot. Because that's the best kind, really.
So this is pretty much an alternate version of Jasper and Alice meeting, where Alice was captured by Maria for her power and that's how she finds Jasper. Also, I've made it so that Alice doesn't really have much control over her powers - I like to think that part could be canon though, since I like to think vampires have to work to train up their powers. Also, that thought of mine is sort of backed up in BD when Bella had to practise in order to get her shield to be of any actual use.
Warning: Much inspiration from characters such as Draco Malfoy, Itachi Uchiha, Seto Kaiba, Wolverine and other dark, elusive yet ultimately incredibly sexy and redeemable anti-heroes. But this is aaaaaall Jasper, chicas. ;) Enjoy.
She'd been captured.
Well, that was just great.
As if wandering the world aimlessly, searching for a man she'd never met whilst trying to find out who she was, where she came from and what she had been turned into whilst simultaneously attempting to fight off the urge to kill every living thing she came in contact with wasn't enough already.
Oh, and add to that the increasing pressure of bits and pieces of the future forcing their way into her mind unwarranted every two minutes.
Thanks for that, Alice thought sarcastically. Thanks a whole lot.
She sighed, the sound tearing from her throat like rusty sandpaper. She felt like crying, but as always, no tears would ever fall.
What use were those damn visions anyway? Not like they were much help - where had they been to warn her about this? Scuttled off into a dusty corner of her brain, that's where they'd gone. Fickle as the wind. The only useful thing they'd ever done was show her him.
But even that had been useless in the end. She couldn't find him - she couldn't even find a trace of the fair-haired man. If he was a man at all - she wasn't sure anymore. Some days he appeared in a warm, soft glow, all honey and velvet, and in others a sharpened, tortured etching of shadows and harsh lines. But always beautiful.
God, she was searching the world for someone whose name she didn't even know.
"How pathetic can I get?" Alice spat into the darkened, empty room. Her voice reverberated back to her, and she grimaced. She knew what it would look like to anyone else. She'd seem... crazy.
Alice flinched. Her mind hesitated over the word, for some reason she seemed to feel an immense sense of sorrow that she could never place whenever she used it - another mystery she'd probably never unravel.
Blank, featureless faces flashed across her mind briefly before fading back into darkness. A man, a woman, a girl. Like always. A girl with bouncy blonde curls. Curls like she'd never have. Alice reached up absently to finger the ragged flash of matted black hair she possessed, scowling darkly.
Her unfortunate hairstyle was the last thing she should be thinking of in her current predicament.
Alice sat back against the cold, damp wall and thought back, piecing together her strangled memories, trying to assemble the story of her capture. She had no idea where she'd been taken, a blindfold had seen to that well enough. Alice cursed softly. She hated it when dumb vampires got clever. And big, dumb brutes they had been too. Alice was almost ashamed. She'd spent most of her vampiric life evading idiots like those. Idiots who were stupid enough to underestimate her - Alice had never realised before just how much that worked in her favour. These vampires had not done so, and look what had happened.
They knew about her power.
That was the one thing Alice just couldn't get her head around. How could they know? Not that it had made much of a difference to be honest, her 'power' had been pretty useless anyway - what with it disappearing on her and all. But just the fact that they knew anyway grated on her.
Not to mention it made her incredibly nervous. If they knew about this - what else did they know? And what did they want from her? Or rather, expect of her?
She didn't think her captors would be particularly ecstatic upon being informed that her visions weren't exactly at her beck and call. Or that they were incredibly liable to change at a second's notice.
Either way, she was probably screwed. They'd kill her if she didn't prove useful, she could feel it in her gut, and a cold shiver ran down her spine.
Come on, powers... don't fail me now.
Alice screwed up her eyes in an attempt to focus on the not so distant future - she tried to envision it, a small pinprick of light in the distance, and then blow it up slowly, piece by piece. Sort of what she felt when a vision was thrust upon her unsuspecting mind - only that was more of a tearing feeling rather than the soothing swelling she was attempting to produce.
Just one little vision... please.
Even her thoughts sounded meek - the hope was that little.
But suddenly, like an oasis in the desert, she felt a tingling at the edge of her peripheral vision, and the darkness began to swirl with the meagre tendrils of light filtering in through the crack under her prison door.
A man - tall, lean, and swathed in shadows. He shifted within them with the gentle grace of a dancer, and yet Alice could feel an almost tangible wave of danger surrounded him. He was silent, and suddenly still. Crimson eyes turned to peruse her, the calculated indifference making her bones freeze. He shifted again... the moonlight cutting into shadow, and dark hair was suddenly fair... blond as spun gold.
Alice gasped as the vision ended sharply, pulling her back to the present with all the subtlety of a bucket of cold water to the face.
She'd discovered fairly soon that there was no way out. The door was reinforced with some kind of heavy-duty metal - she could taste the sour tang in the air. The small window through which starlight filtered in was too small for her to crawl out of, even if she could get past the bars that seemed to be made with the same kind of foreign material blocking the door. All in all, Alice wasn't hopeful.
So she waited.
Night turned to day.
She lifted her arm into the air, catching rainbows on it to pass the time. She studied their colours, her eyes lingering a little longer on the bold red.
Day sank back into night.
The cycle continued thusly, until Alice was sure sunlight and moonlight were conspiring to drive her to insanity. Another flinch.
"How long are you going to keep me here?" Alice sighed, not bothering to yell. She doubted it would do any good. Even if anyone could hear her, it wasn't likely to be anyone willing to help her get out of there. After all - she didn't know anyone who'd risk their life to save her. She didn't really know anyone.
Alice had given up trying to make a life for herself, in favour of trying to find a man who may or may not even exist.
The monotony was broken on the tenth day.
Heavy wood and steel creaked discordantly as the door slowly swung open, and a tall figure stepped inside. Alice could only just make out the outline, which she determined as male. Tall... and lean. Alice inhaled sharply. The beginnings of her vision, a vampire cloaked in shadow...
Crimson eyes seemed to glow in the darkness.
It was the faceless vampire from her vision, ten days prior. Took him long enough to show up.
She made a show of boredom, clicking her tongue crisply against the roof of her mouth and tapping her fingers against the grimy stone floor in a repetitive four beat pattern.
The man appeared unmoved. The stillness prevailed for a minute, before Alice gave up.
"You've kept me waiting," she snapped irritably, because she needed to vent her frustration somehow, no matter how unwise it may be for a prisoner to antagonise their captors.
The man just eyed her with an expression that was unreadable, still standing in the shadow of the doorway. She thought briefly about making a break for it, but one look at the way this vampire held himself - his stance, his eyes, the sheer coldness that seemed to emanate from him - told her that would be even more unwise than throwing a few biting comments his way.
The silence stretched out for a few more minutes, before Alice spoke again, since it appeared this vampire wasn't going to.
"Man of few words, aren't you?" she said, hoping he could hear the venomous sarcasm she was attempting to convey. An eyebrow shifted in the darkness, she could just make it out. A reaction, finally.
"Ready your power," was all he said, before he turned, and the door locked shut behind him.
Alice glared after it, trying not to be shocked by the voice. She had expected an ugly voice to suit the fact that this bastard had captured her - but annoyingly, it was smooth, almost silky. A little rough around the edges, as if he hadn't much occasion to use it, but otherwise... pretty nice.
She didn't want him to have a nice voice. Nice voices wouldn't matter when he was killing her because she couldn't produce a vision on demand.
Alice ground her teeth together in frustration, and waited some more.
Alice soon decided waiting was the most tedious and cruellest form of torture.
The mysterious vampire had not returned, and day was just about to break, fresh orange light spilling over into her cell and illuminating her in a dusky auburn.
Suddenly she heard footsteps on the other side of the door. A pair of them. One was soft, light. Female, she guessed. The other she recognised. It was heavier, but quieter - trained. It was Captain Mysterious from yesterday, she'd bet on it.
And betting against her was probably a dumb thing to do.
A prickle of fear shot through her as the door opened - an instinctual fear of the unknown. A woman, she'd been right, a vampire. Her features were Hispanic in origin, though dulled by the paleness that all vampires possessed. Her hair curled down her back in typical Spanish fashion, however, deep and voluminous chocolate curls that Alice eyed and tried not to think of her hair envy - not at a time like this. The vampiress eyed her shrewdly.
"So," she said, her voice grating on Alice's ears for a reason she could not explain. "They finally caught me something useful, did they?"
The vampiress moved quickly, in an instant crouched down in front of Alice's face, narrowed scarlet eyes glaring into her own with curiosity.
"What can you do then, my pretty?" she asked quietly, though her cold tone belied her words. She reached up a hand to grasp Alice's chin. At the touch, Alice reacted instantly, jutting her head sharply out of the other woman's reach and glaring defiantly.
A flash of something steel-like flickered through the Spanish vampire's eyes before vanishing.
"I am Maria," she said, her voice keeping its cool equilibrium. Alice couldn't help but notice the vampire who was still skulking in the shadow of the doorway. He seemed uncomfortable, as if he knew something she didn't. He looked in visible discomfort, like he was being prodded by an invisible sharp stick.
Maria followed her gaze to the door and smirked, before turning back to Alice. "You are mine now. What is your name?"
Alice raised an eyebrow, unable to fight down the urge to rebel. No way in hell was this bouncy-haired bitch getting her name. It was the only thing she had left that was her own.
"I see we've caught a difficult one," Maria said, wrinkling her nose as if someone had shoved something distasteful under it. She sent a meaningful glance towards the doorway.
"You aren't the only one who is special, my pretty."
Suddenly, Alice felt cold. She didn't know how to describe what was happening to her, it was as if a light mist had settled over her body - an invisible mist that made her unable to move, to think, because all she could feel was this unshakeable urge to comply, to defer, to do anything this woman wished... the emotion was too strong for her... just defer...
"I asked you what your name was."
Do it... just tell her... "Alice." The word was out before she could hold it in. Suddenly, the invisible mist was gone. Her mind felt as sharp as it had a second ago. What the hell was that?
"Well done, love," Maria purred. Alice looked up. While she had been distracted by her own confusion, Maria had moved to the doorway. She reached into the shadows, dragging a finger softly over the other vampire's chest. His head turned to follow her finger, and his face was suddenly alight from the gentle daylight that flitted over it.
Hair as blond as spun gold. The planes of his face were familiar, for she knew them as well as her own. Better, even. She knew every crease, every dimple, every line, every scar.
Alice gasped, unable to keep her emotions in check. Turmoil raged through her, coupled with betrayal, fear, and overwhelming joy.
Because it was him.
It was the man who currently made up her past, her present and her future.
And he was walking out of the door, trailing after the demoness who held her captive.
"I found you," she breathed, unaware that she had spoken aloud.
He paused, and looked over his shoulder. A slight frown marred his brow as he looked at her curiously.
Alice could do nothing but gape like a goldfish as a harsh female voice cut through the silence, beckoning him. He flinched at it, and immediately locked the door.
It only occurred to Alice later, once the initial shock had dulled, that Maria had called his name, and she had been too preoccupied to hear it.
It soon became apparent, over the days that followed, that Alice's power was even more useless than it usually was. For some reason, it seemed to have completely deserted her. Not even an annoying flash a few seconds prior to some mundane event anymore.
Only during the nights, when Alice sat alone and in despair, did she seem to hear a voice in her head that wasn't really a voice, more a feeling, but not really a feeling. Something she just knew, but at the same time didn't know. Something that told her maybe it wasn't working because... this was where she was meant to be. She was meant to be here, now.
Why, she had no idea.
Her mind once again turned to him. For some reason, it hadn't occurred to her that maybe the hard part would come after she'd found him. She'd been swanning around with the idyllic thought that the second their eyes met across some crowded room or something, she could just fall into his arms and he would be hers. That everything would feel... perfect. That the world would suddenly make sense, with his arms around her.
She should have known it could never be that simple.
Alice drew her knees into her chest, and locked her arms firmly around them, curling into a small ball.
She'd been wishing for a fairytale, but this was reality.
She should have known happy endings were few and far between.
His face plagued her. The coolness in his crimson eyes, the subdued look of one who had been defeated long ago. His gaze was blank, almost unrecognisable as that of the passionate young man she had seen in her visions.
But he still... felt like hers.
She knew she was still his.
She would never stop being his, not since she'd started, the first time she'd seen the fair-haired, tanned soldier galloping majestically on a horse across a field, a lifetime ago.
She loved him, loved him like the first sunrise and the last burst of starlight at the edge of the world.
But kind of a good hurt.
"It appears you are not of as much use as once thought." His voice held no inflection, as if he were merely commenting on the mild state of the weather.
Alice looked up, startled. She had not heard the door open, a feat indeed to evade a vampire's keen senses. She could not think of anything to say in response, but he broke the silence first.
"Maria wants me to kill you," he said, voice cool yet quiet. He seemed to be assessing her for some kind of response, thought what, she had no idea. It occurred to her that fact should make her wary, but it did not. Instead, she merely perused him with gentle eyes.
His brow creased minutely in confusion, so she elaborated. "What do you want?"
The idea seemed to unsettle him, as his hands shifted uncomfortably by his side, and he looked a little taken aback. Alice briefly wondered how long it had been since someone had asked him that question. How long it had been since he had asked himself that question. By the looks of things - a pretty damn long time. And it made her a little sad.
"It doesn't matter what I want," he said eventually, his tone controlled and ruby eyes averted to somewhere beside her head.
Alice's lips twisted into a little frown, before she whispered, "It matters to me."
His eyes instantly snapped to hers. "Why?" It seemed to fall from his lips before he could stop it, his expression utterly baffled.
"Because..." Because I love you. Because I've been searching for you my entire life. Because you're the only thing I care about in this entire world. Because I need you.
And I still don't even know your name. "Because... if you're my executioner, then it stands to reason that yours should be the only opinion I care about at this moment in time, shouldn't it?"
"What about your own?" She seemed to have slipped under his guard for the moment, because his eyes and voice were betraying that same emotion of total surprise.
She paused, breath choking in her throat as she tried to speak. Her eyes were guileless and she knew it. She was the most open she'd been during the entire conversation so far in this one moment.
"Would it matter to you? What I thought?" The question came out a whisper, but they seemed to ring in her ears.
He seemed to struggle inwardly for a moment, and crimson eyes drilled into gold. The intensity of the moment stole her breath away, and she could not move. Suddenly, he seemed to snap, lips contorting and tortured eyes squeezing shut, as though he was suddenly in pain.
"No." The word ripped from his throat, almost coming out a growl instead, and in an instant he was gone.
She blinked, struggling to tear her eyes away from where he had been standing. Her stomach fluttered.
She'd seen the true answer written in his eyes.
She couldn't know the thoughts that plagued him. She couldn't know the doubt that raged through his mind, his soul, every fibre of his being. She couldn't know that he replayed her words over and over again every minute he had spare to think. "I found you." Wonder. Joy. Pain.
She couldn't know how confused he was - why did she feel those things? She couldn't know that when he crossed the threshold into that cell it was like the world stopped turning, and it was only her, sitting there alone. Only her that mattered. Only those doe eyes of spun gold, that cheerful little soul that lay within her, crushed mercilessly by the evils of the world. Evils like him.
"Would it matter to you? What I thought?"
She couldn't know.
Because he didn't really know.
He didn't know that the only thing that ever mattered was what she thought.
He came to visit her every day that week. The week Maria had given him to finish her off if he could not squeeze some vestige of useful power out of her. Not that she knew of that deadline.
Just like Maria didn't know that instead of attempting to find some sort of use for her, he merely sat and watched her.
Alice didn't know why. It was strange, yet oddly comforting at that same time. He would open the door, take one step in, lock it behind him. And he would sit.
He would watch - just watch. He didn't speak... he just looked at her with those crimson eyes. Alice didn't know what he could be looking for, and she didn't really care, because he was there. The reason behind it was irrelevant. She could watch him, just as he watched her, and that was precisely what she did. She memorised every facet of his being, mapped every scar that was crystal clear where it had been blurry in unreliable visions.
After five days had passed of this, he seemed to notice that her eyes lingered on his scars.
Alice watched as he drew himself erect in one fluid movement. She couldn't help flinching; this was a break in the routine. Usually he wouldn't leave until Maria sent someone to find him.
He stepped back, into the shadow of the doorway, before resuming his crouch on the ground.
Only his eyes were visible.
She realised with a start that he was... what? Ashamed of the scars? She couldn't understand why. They were perfect - they were him. How could he be ashamed of them?
The time for him to leave again came sooner than Alice liked. As he turned to leave, she opened her mouth to say something.
He stilled, as though sensing her hesitance, and waited.
"What is it?" he asked, and his voice was gentle, that rough velvet from before somewhat smoothed out.
Alice paused only briefly before forging ahead. "What's your name?"
He was silent for what seemed like years, and Alice was sure he wasn't going to answer. She couldn't help the tendril of hurt that wormed through her as she cast her eyes downward.
"Jasper," he whispered suddenly, and turned to face her again. There was a softness in his eyes to match his tone, and Alice felt that icy pain being warmed by a contrasting tendril of warmth.
"My name is Jasper."
He stopped breathing.
"Nice to meet you, Jasper," she whispered, unable to dull the grin that now spread across her face like contagious sunshine.
He looked conflicted, as though wondering whether he should answer. But eventually, he dipped his head minutely, and murmured, "Likewise... Alice."
If Alice's heart could beat, it would have stilled at the sound of her name on his lips.
Jasper - a precious gem. Distinctive markings; array of cuts and other imperfections in the stone. Can be highly polished.
It suited him perfectly. Alice recalled with perfect clarity the scars he was so self-conscious of, and smiled fondly.
All he needed was a little polishing, and Alice was sure he would soon see through her eyes when he looked at himself.
A day later, and night had descended over her cell.
Alice brushed her palm with a finger absently, all her thoughts focused on one thing. Jasper.
Ever since learning his name, she couldn't stop thinking it, or saying it, or thinking about saying it. Rolling it over her tongue again and again like the sweetest prayer. She had waited for so long for that single word, and it had not disappointed. It was a mere collection of consonants and vowels, but to her, it was the world.
"Jasper..." she whispered for the umpteenth time.
A hand closed over her mouth, and she started, a strangled cry muffled in skin.
"Sh." The sound was abrupt, and Alice felt hot breath against her ear. Soft hair brushed against the skin beneath her earlobe, and she froze instantly. "There's no time."
She knew that voice.
The hand that covered her mouth slowly pulled away, but Alice could still feel the imprint of his touch on her lips. Her head tilted minutely to confirm what she already knew.
"Jasper?" she questioned, and he frowned briefly, pressing his finger to his own lips in a gesture for her to be silent.
He leaned in closer and for a wild second Alice thought he was going to kiss her, but instead he bypassed her lips to press his own to her ear again. He breathed, the words barely audible even this close in.
"We have to go now."
He retreated slowly, and searched her eyes, which were full of surprise and more than a few questions.
"Why?" she mouthed. It seemed he knew the rest of her question without her having to elaborate. Instantly his features softened, and she tried to reign in her shock at how different he looked compared to before. The haunted look of a man defeated had left him - he looked more like the honey sweet, glowing version from her visions.
"Because you do matter," he mouthed back, and she gaped at the true answer to her question from before. His eyes intensified, but this time not with darkness, but with what looked like strength and determination.
"You're the only thing that matters."
Before she could even gather a thought to say anything to that, he had deftly hooked her arm over his head and looped his hands under her, lifting her up. Her head felt like it was spinning as he adjusted his arms ever so slightly so that her head fell into the muscled planes of his chest. He tucked her head under his chin in a gesture so familiar and so comforting, Alice felt like she could cry.
She barely noticed them leave, or the guard that spotted them, or the panic in Jasper's eyes as he ran frantically with his arms tightly clasped around her as if he were carrying the whole world in his arms.
She did notice when he breathed urgent words to her, however, and the realisation that they were being pursued sank into her bliss-addled mind. Reluctantly, it seemed, he set her down on the ground.
"Meet me at the cliffs," he whispered lowly and rapidly. "I'll take care of the followers. Keep running northwest, you'll get there within a couple of hours."
Alice could only nod as he leaned forward quickly, and pressed his lips to her forehead, before turning back and disappearing.
Stunned, it took her a couple of seconds to regain her faculties before she began to run in the direction he had bid her. As she flew alongside the wind, Alice touched her forehead with a finger, and smiled.
She was lost.
Well, that was just great.
Idyllic, fairytale ending, yes? she thought bitterly. Does that include getting lost in a giant forest with no idea where the hell I'm going?
She had been running to no avail for the last six hours. Northwest had turned into north and then northeast and then she was well and truly screwed. Cliffs, huh? Alice had tried to sniff out rock faces and seawater, but nothing.
Alice trudged along, feeling distinctly ruffled. Another hour passed with no discernible change in scenery until suddenly, she could smell it. Sharp, tangy salt... seawater. Alice brightened instantly, and her feet beat down the ground like she had borrowed Hermes' sandals.
She didn't even contemplate that he might not be there.
She didn't have to.
As the green blur of trees faded out into the blue skies of the distant horizon, she saw the outcropping of pure white cliffs, reflecting the sunlight. A tall, lithe figure stood like a human-shaped diamond, shirt billowing in the harsh wind. She slowed down as she approached, and saw the crystals dancing on his skin as his head turned, and crimson jewels brightened immeasurably.
Alice saw the intense relief make his features sag as he drank the sight of her in, and reached out tentatively, as though to embrace her.
At his apparent hesitance, Alice made no qualms about drawing him forward, encircling him as much as she could consider their fairly substantial difference in height.
"You've kept me waiting," he mumbled into her hair, and she could feel the small, wry smile in his voice.
She tilted her head up, and brushed her lips ever so gently against his. A tingle ran down the back of her neck. She smiled, and whispered against the soft flesh.
A/N: Okay, I'm pretty sure this is the longest chapter yet, it's over 5,000 words. :) Also, it hasn't been too long since my last update, so all in all... yay? :) I'm pretty sure this is my first ever AU in this story, the other ones were ones where they were human, so again, I would love some feedback on what you guys think of this one. :)
Love, peace and Jasper-carrying-Alice cookies,