Just as he had said, Jacob arrives just where he had left Jasper the day before. Jasper is still there, sitting by himself, looking sick and miserable. He looks up, however, when Jacob approaches, eyeing the boy's tall, strong form in comparison to his own small, weak one.
"Come." Jacob holds his hand out as he approaches Jasper. "You cannot stay here."
"I can," Jasper whispers. "I'm fine here, alright?" Jasper backs away from the offered hand. He wants nothing to do with Jacob, he cannot accept his help, not after all that he's done. It is forbidden, at least by the family that Jasper has come to call his own, to bite another human, and yet Jasper did so.
"You're not." Jacob shakes his head. "We still don't k now what or who it was that took us, but whatever they were, Jasper, they were able to overpower us. That means that this creature is strong, stronger than we are. You are not safe out here. You're an easy target, a sitting duck."
"Let them come." Jasper shrugs. "Let them take me, let them kill me, it's for the best."
"Don't say that." Jacob gulps. The imprint that he has made on Jasper, the one that he has kept a secret from everyone so far, makes him unable to tolerate this sort of action from Jasper. He can't just let the person he cares most about – the creature he cares most about, die, but he doesn't know how to make Jasper understand that, because he can't explain to the vampire what happened in the fraction of a second before Jasper's fangs sunk into his skin.
"Leave me alone." Jasper backs further away, stopping as he makes contact with a tree. The last thing that Jasper wants is to accept any sort of charity from this boy, this shifter. They are not meant to be friends, they are meant to hate each other, and Jasper, after what he has done, cannot bear to take the charity of one of the Quileute.
"I cannot do that." Jacob shakes his head. "Should you meet your end on this land, on my people's reservation, we will be blamed for it, even if it is not your fault. The divide between your family and mine, it is big enough already, don't you think?" Jacob frowns as he looks at Jasper. "If you desire death, find it elsewhere. Either let me take you to safety, or get off this land." The final statement comes directed at Jasper with a snarl, Jacob standing tall in an attempt to push Jasper to a safe decision.
"Fine." Jasper gets to his feet, pushing past Jacob. "I'll leave."
"No." Jacob reaches out before he can stop himself, his hand grabbing Jasper's arm, pulling him backwards. "Please, Jasper, don't do this." He shakes his head. "I can't explain why, but I can't let this happen. Let me take you somewhere safe, let me protect you. Please."
"What?" Jasper's eyes turn a soft honey-color as he makes eye contact with Jacob. The young shifter is being genuine, and Jasper can tell. He wants to protect Jasper, he wants to make sure that the vampire is safe, but he doesn't understand why Jacob could ever want that. "Protect me?" Jasper's voice is barely above a whisper as he speaks, looking downwards again, the toe of his shoe kicking at the soft snow on the ground.
"Yes." Jacob nods. "I can't afford to let what happened start a war between your family and mine. I can't afford to let you die when I could have stopped you." Jacob's grip is still tight on Jasper's hand, and he has no wish to remove his hand, not until he is sure that Jasper won't leave.
"I bit you," Jasper declares, his eyes falling on the mark still visible on Jacob's neck. "I drank your blood. We have never been kind to each other, our families have hated each other for years. Why are you pushing this when I am willing to leave the reservation and face my own death?"
"Do you remember," Jacob begins. "Just before you bit me, what you said to me?"
"N-no." Jasper shakes his head, trying as hard as he can to recall the words he had spoken to Jacob. "I don't." He looks down, ashamed that he cannot remember his own words.
"You said that you were sorry." Jacob puts his hand on Jasper's chin, pulling the vampire's gaze up to meet his. "You apologized for what you were about to do, even though you were being forced to do it. You're asking why I'm not furious with you, it's because it was not your fault. You had no control over what you were being told to do, you could have made the bite without saying a word and it still wouldn't have been your fault, but you didn't, you should remorse, compassion." Jacob sighs, his hold on Jasper's arm loosening. "Your apology left an impression."
"Oh." Jasper gulps. He still doesn't remember saying that he was sorry, but Jacob seems serious, which means it must have happened, it must be true.
"Your family will not be please with what you have done, you're alone right now, let me make that go away, at least for a short time. Let me take you somewhere safe where you can eat regularly and think about what's happened, think about where you're going to go from here."
"I…" Jasper thinks for a moment, trying to keep his thoughts in check as he mulls over Jacob's words. The boy is right. He is alone right now, he can't go home, he can't go anywhere because he has nowhere to go. Jacob, at least for a short time, is offering him something that he needs. Safety. "Alright."
"Come on." Jacob begins to walk, checking behind to make sure that Jasper is following. The vampire moves, hesitantly taking his first steps to catch up with Jacob. They fall into step together, trudging through the snow side by side, a vampire and a shifter, and as Jasper looks behind him for only a moment, he notices that despite all of the differences in their lives, their families, their footprints are the same.