I was kind of fascinated by the idea of 26-year-old Esme playing mom to all these really messed up teenage vampires (several of whom are "technically" older than she is). I decided to look a little closer at her relationship with Jasper, because who needs motherly love more than a tortured veteran assassin? And besides, I haven't written much Jazz-centric stuff. And he's a sweetheart. :3
The title comes from the Sixpence None the Richer song "Sister, Mother." It's the PERFECT song about Jasper joining the family. Lyrics are at the bottom. :)
Shekiah doesn't own Twilight. Enjoy, Jasper fans and Esme fans! And all other fans, for that matter. ;)
Jasper looked around the room at the rest of the family, ashamed of the red glow in his eyes. For a moment, he found himself wishing that somebody would look at least a little bit surprised. But no. His actions had only confirmed everyone's worst fears. There had been plenty of tension regarding the matter of accepting a former vampire soldier into the family, and Rosalie still called him the "psycho one" when she thought he wasn't listening.
It's not like it wasn't true. He was nothing more than a psychopathic killer, and now, two human casualties later, nobody could argue otherwise.
"I'm so sorry, Carlisle," Jasper whispered, hanging his head. He heard a cold laugh.
"A lot of good that does," said Rosalie. "It doesn't bring that human back, and it doesn't give us any reason to trust you again – as though any of us did to begin with! Carlisle, the only thing to do is to exile him and move on with our lives."
"If you kick him out, I'm going too!" Alice said defensively. "This coven means a lot to me, and you know that, but he's my soul mate!"
"Next time, it might not be some homeless person on the edge of town or a hiker in the woods alone," Rosalie retorted, her golden eyes flashing. "He might actually manage to create a big enough scene to lead the authorities back here."
"I don't care!" Alice cried. "He's trying, damn it! Have some respect!"
"Calm down, girls," Carlisle said, calmly but sternly. "This isn't a coven – it's a family. People don't get 'kicked out' of families."
"He's right," Esme said softly. "When we took Jasper in, we knew about his past and the implications of what he had experienced. It's a growing process for everyone."
"You're not just going to let it go?" Rosalie demanded, aghast. Emmett gave her an imploring look.
"Rosy, these things happen. You remember what happened with me. And Carlisle didn't kick me out. Fair is fair."
"That was completely different," Rosalie replied. "What you had was a lapse in self-control. It's common. But Jasper has only been with us for five months and this is already his second kill. We knew it was going to be this way, and he's only proving us right."
"He deserves another chance," Carlisle insisted. Rosalie rolled her eyes at him.
"How many more chances does he get, Carlisle? What about next month?"
It was the first time Edward had made any suggestions, and the family looked to him in surprise. He was often silent during debates, because he already knew and understood each person's perspective.
As a result, when he finally did speak, people tended to listen.
"You're being selfish, Rosalie. You have no idea what Jasper has experienced. The fact that he has enough faith in humanity to even attempt a vegetarian lifestyle is quite incredible. Cut the self-righteousness and support him."
Edward also had a tendency to be more blunt and honest with Rosalie than the others dared.
"Oh, I'm being selfish," Rosalie mocked, obviously untouched by Edward's entreaty. "I'm not the one putting an entire family in danger because of my childishness and clumsy lack of self-restraint. If I ever – "
"That's quite enough," Esme interrupted. "For now, Jasper will be welcome to remain a member of our family. We will handle the future when it comes."
Carlisle nodded, acknowledging her words to be the verdict.
"Fine then," Rosalie snapped. "Be that way. But remember what I said when you start regretting this. C'mon Emmett – we're going to go hunt some animals."
Giving the rest of the family a helpless shrug, Emmett rose and followed her out the door. There were a few minutes of silence.
"Thanks, Edward," Jasper whispered, still sounding afraid to speak up. Alice ran a hand through his hair in an attempt to comfort him.
"I wouldn't have said it if I didn't believe it was true," Edward replied with certainty.
"And if Edward believes it, that's good enough for me," Carlisle emphasized. "He and Alice are the only ones who can begin to understand what Jasper is feeling."
"As if I could possibly," Alice said darkly. "The things they put him through…"
"Everyone…" Jasper began quietly, his voice still pained. All activity in the room stopped. He looked around at them briefly, his apologetic look settling on Alice.
"I'd like to be alone for a little while."
"Of course, darling," Alice replied, giving his hand a final squeeze before she walked out of the room, followed by Carlisle and Edward. Esme was finally the only one who remained, and she cast Jasper a look of deep sympathy. He would ordinarily have been angered by anything resembling pity, but her expression really didn't come across that way. It reminded him of one other person. Someone he missed very deeply.
"You're sure you don't want to talk about it?" she asked softly. "Sitting here in the dark and torturing yourself with guilt won't help you feel any better."
Jasper gazed back at Esme, and noticed that she didn't flinch at the redness of his eyes. Her own gold ones remained soft and kind, with a maternal wisdom that surpassed anything someone could expect from a woman in her mid-twenties.
"You can stay," Jasper said finally. "I can't promise that I'll talk, but it might help to have somebody else here."
"That's fine," Esme replied, taking Alice's seat on the sofa beside him. "I won't make you."
The familiar silence overtook the room, and Jasper continued to study Esme carefully. She seemed so warm and kind – an aberration in the emotional aura that currently surrounded him. He wanted to reach out and embrace her, all of a sudden. He felt as though he had been missing her for years, even though he hadn't even known her for years.
"You remind me of my mother," Jasper suddenly blurted out, surprised at his own forwardness.
Esme smiled widely, bowing her head.
"That's quite a compliment," she replied. "Everybody needs a mother, and I know that you guys aren't really in a position to be able to spend time with your human ones."
"I haven't seen mine in over fifty years," Jasper said softly. "I miss her."
"Of course you do," Esme said, placing an arm around his shoulders. His height dwarfed her and he was over half a century older than she was, but that hardly changed anything. She needed to be a mother and he needed a mother to be there. That was enough.
"Tell me about your mother, Jasper," she urged. Jasper closed his eyes.
"She was tall – five foot eight, or thereabouts. Her hair was brown, not blonde, like me and my dad's. She always wore it up, unless there was a party or dance. She was a Southern belle if there ever was one, but you didn't want to make her angry."
"Sounds like Scarlett O'Hara," Esme mused. Jasper gave her an inquisitive look.
"A character in a book that I bet you would like," Esme replied. "I'll let you borrow it. But keep telling me about her. I'm interested now."
Jasper smiled for the first time that day.
"She loved to dance, and was always singing something. Especially around her room, when she made the bed in the mornings. Her room always smelled like lavender, because of the way she wrapped lavender sprigs in her handkerchiefs. She embroidered all of her handkerchiefs herself, with a little 'M' in the corner. Her name was Madeleine."
"That's a pretty name. French, isn't it?"
"Yes ma'am. Her father moved to the States from Burgundy in the early 1800s."
"That's interesting," Esme said. Her eyes sparkled. "You don't have to call me 'ma'am,' though."
"Old habits die hard," Jasper replied. "I mean, I guess you are about my age, though. Physically, at least."
"I'm twenty-six, so I imagine that's true," Esme agreed. "I feel so old sometimes, though… I've seen so much. It feels strange to me to look in the mirror sometimes and see this young lady looking back at me."
"You still act kind of young, though," Jasper said. "Like she did. Madeleine, I mean. It's been so long since I even talked about her. That was one thing we would talk about around the campfire sometimes, back in the human war days. Everybody had so many stories – our mamas were the only ones we missed more than our girls."
"That's so sweet," Esme said softly. "I'd like to be thought of that way sometime. But I lost my only biological son."
"Really?" Jasper asked, sensing her happiness stall perceptibly. "How old was he?"
"Not yet a week."
"I'm awfully sorry."
A moment of silence passed, and a breeze blew though the open window. It ruffled Esme's hair, and Jasper almost thought he could smell a hint of lavender.
"I guess there's a certain value that comes from leaving the past where it belongs," Esme said finally, gazing off through the window – but possibly further away than that. "There's no point in bringing up old pains. That's all they'll ever be."
"There's some value in learning to live with them, though," Jasper countered gently. "It's hard trying to push skeletons back into the closet over and over again – exhausting, actually. It's painful to accept the old problems when you first try, but it gets easier. And it's only hurtful for a little while. Not like a whole lifetime of looking back and imagining what could have been."
"You're so wise," Esme sighed, placing a hand on his shoulder. "I don't think you need a mother's guidance at all, Jasper."
"Nonsense," Jasper insisted, allowing himself to fall into her embrace. "Everyone needs a mother."
My life is plagued by mistakes
Broken Love, slaps in the face
But I'm trying to care
to dare to embrace your face
Hug him like a brother
Kiss her like a sister
Let her be my mother for now
I want to find out where the maid
in the street is pouring her wine.
I heard she takes you in and gives you
the words you need said.
If you'll be her brother,
She'll kiss you like a sister
She'll even be your mother for now
Hug him like a brother.
Kiss her like a sister
Let her be my mother.
Let him be my father.
I will be her brother.
Kiss her like a sister.
Come and be my mother, forever...
("Sister, Mother" by Sixpence None the Richer)