Characters: Jasper and Carlisle, some Edward
Word Count: 2,050
Summary: Carlisle worries that Jasper isn't bonding with the family.
work is based on characters and situations created and owned by
Stephenie Meyer, various publishers and film makers including but
limited to Little, Brown Books and Summit Entertainment. No money is
being made, and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended.
Author's Notes: Written for Edwardsvamplove. She requested some Carlisle interaction in one of my Jasper fics. Special thanks to my beta, Pinkowitch.
It should have been an ideal Saturday evening. Esme had taken the girls dress shopping in town for some female bonding. I knew they had to be having a great time. Esme loved doting on our daughters. Rosalie had never turned down an offer for a new dress, and Alice seemed positively ecstatic at the prospect of checking out the new fashions. As for the men left behind, the World Series was on, and the Yankees were up. What could be better than that? Emmett was having a great time, cheering with me and taunting the Phillies' pitcher. Edward was enjoying himself, even if he was a bit distracted by something. It would have been perfect, except that not all of my sons were watching the game with me. Something was wrong
Jasper, my newest son, had not joined us on the couch. As I thought on it, I realized that he hadn't said a single word since the ladies had left. I glanced over my shoulder. He was still sitting in the dining room staring blankly out a window. He'd been in that exact same position for hours. It didn't look like he'd moved at all. I felt suddenly guilty. I was sure I'd invited him to join us, but perhaps we hadn't been very welcoming. It was probably hard for him, joining an already established and close-knit family. He most likely felt like he was intruding. I knew there was some tension between him and Edward, as well. It was understandable considering the circumstances. I could only imagine how difficult it was for Edward to get used to another constant voice in his head, particularly a voice as tormented as Jasper's. And, of course, Edward couldn't hide the way he felt from Jasper. It had to hurt a lot to feel constant annoyance from your new brother. And what had I done to try to ease his transition into the family? I'd mostly ignored him.
I shook my head, disappointed in myself for not addressing this problem sooner. Emmett gave me a confused look as I rose to leave the room in the middle of the third inning. Edward muttered something like "I wouldn't waste my time," but I disregarded his comment. Jasper was still frozen in the exact same stiff position. His eyes didn't even turn to me as I entered the dining room. I stood behind him and stared out the window myself. It was quite a peaceful setting. I wanted to do something to comfort him, to make sure he knew that I did care about him. He was not an intruder in this family; he was part of it. Without thinking, I placed my hand reassuringly on his shoulder. He jerked and an actual growl escaped his lips. I hadn't meant to startle him. I would have thought he would have heard me come into the room, but apparently he'd been too lost in thought. It was obvious the exact moment he realized where he was and who was touching him. He hung his head and whispered, "Sorry, sir." He was ashamed of his reaction.
I smiled at him. The last thing I wanted to do was make him feel guilty or self-conscious. "I thought you might like to join us, Jasper. The Yankees can seal it up tonight if they win. It's been a really good game so far," I offered.
He shook his head without even looking up at me. "No. Thank you, though."
He was always so formal, so polite. I was not fooled by the barrier he tried to keep between himself and others. He was hurting, and he was very lonely right then without Alice. I'd noticed how he was nearly always at her side. He seemed more relaxed anytime she was near. Being separated from her caused him anxiety. I didn't need to be an empath to feel that. I was sure that he hadn't wanted her to go, but he had let her without protest. It was obvious to everyone how much he loved her. She'd been very excited about the shopping trip, so he'd chosen to suffer himself rather than spoil her fun. He looked absolutely miserable without her.
There was no way I was going to leave him alone and hurting like that. I tried putting my hand back on his shoulder, but I removed it the moment I saw how tense it made him. Giving him his space, I pulled up another chair next to his. Sitting down, I suddenly realized why he'd chosen this window. It had a perfect view of the driveway. He'd be able to see her the instant the car pulled up. "Are you worried about her?" I asked gently.
"Alice can take care of herself," he replied. He knew it was true, but I could tell that he worried anyway. He seemed very on edge.
"He's too busy stressing about what he might do without her around to stop him," Edward interrupted from the living room. "He's thirsty for a hunter that's about a mile west of here, and he won't stop shouting about it," he growled with frustration.
I wanted to chastise Edward, but I knew better than to let Jasper hear it. "I know it exhausts you to deal with his thoughts, but that's no excuse for lashing out at him. It was very hurtful to broadcast his thoughts like that," I mentally scolded Edward. No words were said out loud, but I knew that he had heard me. There was a difference between warning me about a potential problem in private and announcing someone's private thoughts. Edward knew that.
Edward's outburst was affecting Jasper exactly like I feared it would. His eyes were clenched shut, and his head was lowered nearly to his knees. He was humiliated. I'd noticed over the years that all of my children were embarrassed to talk to me about their hunger. They thought that since I'd never killed a human, I didn't know what it was like to fight the thirst. Edward and I were close enough that he'd finally learned that he could talk to me about those feelings, but poor Jasper didn't have that kind of bond with us. He'd just had his mind violated, and he was going to have to talk to me about something I knew he considered shameful. Lingering in silence wasn't going to help anything. I decided it best to confront the problem. "Do you need to go hunting? I'd be happy to go with you, if you'd like," I offered in what I hoped was a gentle and understanding voice.
He shook his head. His voice was a hoarse whisper when he spoke. "It won't help. I just fed yesterday. There's . . . there's a point where it's not really thirst anymore, not really. It's . . . craving. I don't want to kill; I won't kill again, but . . . my body wants human blood. The desire for it is so intense . . ."
"You're stronger than it is, though. I know you are," I said with confidence. I wanted to ease his embarrassment and let him know that I did trust him. "We all have thoughts about the craving, even me. It's part of what we are, but you can fight it. I know you're tough enough to win."
"Thank you," he murmured. He still looked so sad and alone. He had curled his knees up to his chest and was resting his head on them while his eyes continued to stare longingly out the window, waiting for Alice to come back to him. We'd only managed to make this worse for him. He was completely distressed.
I wanted to convince him that I didn't look down on him for his thoughts or for his struggle. Words couldn't accomplish that, though. Jasper evaluated the world based off the emotions he felt in it. Edward's irritation and Emmett's indifference must have made him feel even more isolated than he already did. I tried my hardest to focus on my concern and love for him. At least he would be able to tell that I truly did care about him. He needed to know that I believed in him, too, though. I turned my thoughts to the confidence I had in his ability to maintain his will power. I was certain that his commitment was enough to allow him to remain in control.
An odd sigh of what sounded like relief escaped Jasper's lips. "Thank you," he repeated, but this one seemed much more heartfelt. Looking at him, his body was more relaxed than it had been moments ago.
"Did that actually help?" I asked in shock. I knew he was a powerful empath, but I hadn't realized it affected him that strongly.
Jasper shrugged a little. He seemed a little self-conscious, but still much more comfortable than he had been.
"Yes, that helped." Edward sounded almost as relieved as Jasper looked. "He'll never admit it to you, because it would display weakness. But, yes, that helped him a great deal, much more than you realize."
I worried that Jasper would become embarrassed again, but he simply snorted. "I think it's going to take me a long while to get used to that." Out of nowhere, a low chuckle erupted from his throat. "I don't mind not having the most annoying power in the coven, though."
Edward was laughing now, too. "Don't worry, Jasper. You're still the most annoying vampire in the house."
This was okay, this light-hearted banter. They seemed very much like brothers. Teasing was all right, as long as they weren't hurting each other. Maybe we were making some progress at making him feel like part of the family after all. "Come on, Jasper. Let's go find you something to read," I suggested.
"No, Carlisle. Thank you, but . . . I . . . I can't concentrate right now," he tried to explain.
"It's not for your benefit. It's for Edward's. He won't be able to hear your thoughts as clearly if you can focus even part of your mind on something else. I'm sure I have something in my study that you haven't read before that will keep your interest," I explained. I knew a bit of a distraction would help keep his mind off of other things as well, but he'd be more likely to comply if he had an excuse.
"All right," he reluctantly agreed. I noticed him glance regretfully at the window before he started to follow me.
"Don't worry. Edward will let us know the minute her mind's within a several mile radius," I promised. "He'll hear her well before you'd be able to see her."
I intended to stay with him in my study. If my positive thinking and compassion could help him, then I would put my full effort into supporting him with my emotions. I gave myself only a brief moment to feel sorry for myself. Who wanted to see the Yankees win another World Series anyway?
Author's Note: Alice did, of course, foresee that Jasper would be miserable without her. She wasn't being selfish when she decided to go shopping. She would never let him suffer for her own pleasure. The key is that she also saw Carlisle interacting with Jasper. She wanted to allow them the chance to bond.
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