Summary – AU. Bella/Jasper. Bella finds a new way to the Cullens and to Jasper. The rest of the Cullens will join the story in later chapters.
The first 4-5 chapters are mostly dialogue and I'll admit that I'm not completely happy with them. I plan on rewriting some of it once I finish the story. That being said, if you give the story and chance and get through the first 5 chapters the story takes off from there. Either way, thanks for stopping by!
Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property
of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of
the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or
producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.
Delivered Chapter 1
I was almost to Peter and Charlotte's and I was looking forward to the visit ahead. I hadn't seen the pair for more than two years, and was always surprised by how much I truly missed them. I suppose our closeness was a result of the way we'd bonded, and that bond was created during a stressful time in both our lives. In fact, I owed them both my life. Peter especially. If he hadn't come back for me while I was still with Maria, I don't know how much longer I could have held on.
One thing I knew was important during my visit was to make sure I hunted often. I couldn't blame Peter or Charlotte for their choice to continue feeding off humans. After all, that was our nature.
Of the three of us, I was the strange one. However, I had come to depend on my family and knew the bonds we had created had a great deal to do with only hunting animals. It allowed us to look past the constant fight, and learn to love.
Peter and Charlotte's relationship was unique among nomads. They were able to bond while trying to escape Maria's clutches and it had created quite a strong love. And although they were human drinkers, they were compassionate.
Despite this, I knew that I would need to hunt regularly to ensure I wasn't tempted into joining them. In the back of my mind I was fairly sure that they would never allow me to compromise myself and what I had built by 'slipping', but I wasn't going to take a chance.
I was just coming over the ridge and could see the lights from their house reflecting off the snow. I loved this part of the country, and it had been a long time since I'd been in Montana.
Peter seemed to genuinely enjoy the life of a nomad, but as they had several homes across the country, they would often stay extended periods of time in one location. I think if Charlotte had her way, they would pick one or two homes to split their time between and give up the nomad life for good. But, when it came down to it she was happy as long as she was with Peter.
What a lucky bastard!
I really don't know if I will ever find someone like that to spend my life with. I have tried telling myself that I am fine with the way things are. But if I am totally honest I'd have to admit that I longed for the types of relationships several people in my family had found.
I've been with female vampires, but nothing ever seems to work out. The closest I got had been with Alice. Once she found me, and we had made our way to the Cullen's, we had tried having a go at being 'together'. Although we were very happy together, it didn't take long for us to realize that we were happier as best friends than as lovers.
From time to time Alice would hint that she had seen me with someone special in one of her visions. She wouldn't elaborate though, and I had given up trying to get information from her.
"It will be much better for us to allow the future to become the present the way it's intended to", Alice would say. "If I tell you too much, Jasper, you might do something that messes it up."
I know Alice is right, but damn is it hard to wait.
I don't know if I will ever find a love like Esme and Carlisle, or a passion like Emmett and Rosalie, my adoptive parents and siblings. Edward and Alice were still 'looking' as well, and at least I know that I have my family either way.
Walking down the ridge I was harshly pulled from my thoughts and stopped in my tracks. What I was surprised by was a scent I was not expecting to encounter this far from any town.
Lifting my nose and slowly scanning from one side of the horizon to the other I tried to pinpoint where this obviously lost person could be. I cringed at the thought that I might be interrupting 'dinner'.
While I understood the lifestyle, could I really just sit back and let some poor unsuspecting soul lose their life to Peter and Charlotte? No. I don't think I could. There was also the problem of knowing that if human blood was spilled this close to me, I didn't think I'd be able to resist.
I picked up my pace considerably and headed toward the strong human scent. My feet were moving so quickly I wasn't even leaving tracks in the snow. It was leading me directly to Peter and Charlotte's house.
As I grew closer I slowed down in order to plan my next move. What would I do? Snatch this person and make a run for it? Maybe plead my case and beg for them to be spared? And what would I say?
"Hey Peter; Hey Charlotte. I know I'm dropping in for a visit in YOUR home, and that you are only doing what a Vampire is SUPPOSED to do, but would you mind stepping away from the 'meal'? How about a nice Mountain Goat instead?"
Yeah right. This should be fun.
Coming out from a patch of trees I entered the meadow where the house was located. And if I was startled before I was downright shocked to my very core at the sight before me now.
'What could she be thinking? WHAT is she DOING?' My thoughts were racing.
There, walking up the front path to Peter and Charlotte's front door was a girl.
A human girl.
Of all the places to stop for directions, she had to stop here. She must have an unlucky streak straight from the depths of hell! The girl was getting closer to the door; I'm sure having no clue what awaited her on the other side.
She hadn't noticed me, so I quickly made my way over to her, hoping I could stop her.
I was tempted to just grab her and run, but I knew she would react badly. Crossing my fingers that I could redirect her and not frighten her to death, I tapped her on the shoulder.
"Excuse me, Miss".
She jumped a good foot in the air, letting out a terrified squeak and completely lost her balance.
I steadied her so she wouldn't fall (all we need is for blood to be spilt at this point!) and she looked up at me with wide eyes. I stared back at her, feeling some sort of pull toward this stranger that I couldn't identify.
"Who are you?" she managed to asked.
"I think the more pertinent question is, what are you doing here? Are you lost?" I was trying to keep my voice even as not to scare her even more, but I failed miserably.
"No, I'm not lost. I'm right where I'm supposed to be. Again, WHO ARE YOU?" she asked as her voice grew louder with each word.
I kept my hand on her shoulder and sent a wave of calm to help her relax. I could only hope that I could do the same for myself.
"My name is Jasper. I'm here to visit some friends of mine, but Miss, you don't realize what you are doing! This is not the place for you. Please, let me take you wherever you are trying to go."
I was pleading with her to leave, and trying not to scare her with my urgency. I was drawn to her and now that I'd spoken to her I wasn't able to abandon her. Where I would have been more familiar with wanting to take her as a meal, for some reason I wanted to protect her.
I was warring with myself on what to do and I knew she would never agree to go with me if she thought I would hurt her. And to be honest, I didn't fully understand why I cared so much. She was only a human. But there was something about her, though I didn't even know her name, that made me to keep her safe.
I was taking too much time to decide on a course of action, and now I quickly realized that I was too late.
I bristled as I heard the door open behind me.
My hand was still on the girl's shoulder so I took my chance and quickly moved her behind me. This would not stop Peter or Charlotte from knowing she was there, but maybe I could shield her long enough to beg them to let her be. They weren't unreasonable; I only prayed they weren't thirsty.
"Jasper! It's good to see you Brother, but what on earth are you doing?"
"Peter, please. I don't know who she is or why she's here, but please let me take her back to the town. She must have been lost, and although I completely understand your way of life I just can't bear for this to happen."
Peter raised an eyebrow as he studied the scene before him. Taking a step forward he started to reach around me. I stiffened and moved with him to keep the girl behind me.
I was paying so much attention to every move Peter made that I didn't realize the girl had sidestepped away from her location behind my back. I reached out to move her back to safety, but Peter anticipated this and was too quick for me.
And then it all happened so fast.
It felt like my dead heart jumped in my chest as Peter snatched the girl and brought her to him.
I lunged at him, thinking I could knock him back, grab the girl and get the 'hell outta Dodge'.
I was just about to make contact when something crashed into me and I found myself being thrown into the snow.
"What the fuck, Charlotte! Don't let him do this! Please!" I was begging like my own life depended on it. I hardly recognized myself. Truly, where was this coming from? Wouldn't Carlisle be proud.
Charlotte had knocked me straight onto my ass and had taken a defensive stance in front of Peter and the girl. And…she was smiling?! That's just evil!
"What the hell is going on?" I looked around Charlotte and found two more mischievous grins smiling back at me.
"So Jasper, I see you've met Bella."
Charlotte said this with complete calm while I warily stood up. I haven't been this confused for a very long time.
"What the hell is going on?" I said again, practically screaming at them. Keeping the anger out of my voice was no longer a concern. I wanted answers and I wanted them yesterday.
"Jasper, why don't you come inside and we will explain. I promise you that no harm will come to Bella." Peter said this to me with a smug smile and for a split second I thought I might like to smack it off his face.
Charlotte must have noticed that I was still feeling defensive and a bit uncomfortable.
"Please, Jasper. Let's go inside so we can explain and we can start our visit with you over. You can't know how happy we are to see you. We've missed you so much."
Seeing and hearing the sincerity with which Charlotte spoke, I followed the three of them into the house. However, I was still keeping my distance. I still didn't know what the hell was going on. What was this, 'Vampire's Funniest Home Videos' or something? Whatever it is, it's damn messed up.
Charlotte sat down on the long couch in the living room, and Peter sat next to her with Bella still in his arms. I didn't realize until now that she was quite pretty. Not in a 'made up' sort of way, but there was something about her.
At the same moment I noticed her looks, I also noticed something else. The burn in the back of my throat was now jumping to the forefront of my brain.
'Don't even go there, Jasper', I told myself. What, you're going to go from trying to save her life to taking it for yourself? Now THAT'S messed up, man!
I took a deep breath, and although I could smell more of her intoxicating scent by doing this, it also helped clear my head.
Of course I wasn't going to hurt her.
"Jasper, stop looking so pissed. If Charlotte and I would have known when you were coming, we would have warned you about Bella."
"Besides…" Charlotte added, "It was way too cute how you went all Hero Protector with her."
Both Charlotte and Bella giggled and Peter just looked smug again. "I had a feeling you two would get along, Jasper. You know we are just giving you shit, brother. Chill out and let us explain. Hell, I thought you'd be proud of Charlotte and me with our little Human friend here."
Another round of giggles started, but I ignored them. What the hell had he just said?
"Peter, you say 'Human' friend like she knows that you aren't. Are you seriously going to tell me that she knows what you are, and is sitting there in your arms like you're no more dangerous than Mother fucking Goose?"
Peter laughed loudly. "Now you're getting it, my friend! How about you use some of that calm juice on yourself and let us tell you about Bella here."
I scowled at them, but stayed quiet hoping that I would finally get information to explain this joke of a situation.
"So, like we already told you, this is Bella. And yes, Bella knows that we are Vampires."
I was shocked, and the look on my face showed it. My eyes shot down to Bella's and what I saw there was even more shocking, as were the feelings coming off of her. She was totally comfortable and feeling unconditional love and acceptance.
I also couldn't help but notice the shy smile playing across her lips. Bella unconsciously ran her tongue across them, and she opened her mouth to speak for the first time since Peter had opened the door.
"It's nice to meet you, Jasper"
I was watching her lips move as she talked and realized after several seconds that everyone was waiting for me to respond.
"Uh, you too Bella. Sorry about earlier. I thought you were in danger, and I still don't really understand why you are here or what is going on."
"Jasper" Charlotte started again, "We met Bella while we were making our way through Phoenix. That was about 2 years ago now. Peter and I had been looking for a good place to hunt and heard screaming coming from an alleyway."
We all noticed as Bella became tense and locked her eyes with the ground. I sent her another wave of calm, and added a burst of security.
Bella looked up at me. "Is that you Jasper? Peter and Charlotte told me about your gift."
"Thank you. I still have a hard time hearing this story", Bella sniffed a little but was looking more comfortable. "Please continue, Charlotte. I want him to hear how all this happened."
Charlotte reached over and gave Bella's shoulder a gentle squeeze and I saw Peter's arms tighten around her just a bit. I was really amazed with how close they seemed.
"Are you sure, Bella? We can always finish the story after you go to bed if you'd prefer. I don't want to hurt you by telling this story, but Jasper does need to hear it now that he's here."
"Thanks Peter. Yes, it's fine. Jasper will help me through it, right?"
Bella was looking up at me through her eyelashes and for the second time that night I felt like I could feel my cold heart stir.
How could I turn down a request like that? "Of course I will help. I'm sorry this is so hard for you to hear again, and I'm touched that you are allowing the story to be shared with me. If it gets too hard, please tell us. We can always continue tomorrow once you've rested."
"I'm fine, really" Bella responded, "The uncomfortable parts of the story aren't very long."
She smiled reassuringly at me, and I couldn't help but return it as Charlotte continued the story of how they met.
"So where were we?" Charlotte asked herself, "Oh right, we heard a commotion coming from an alley and made our way over to check it out. With the way we hunt, this was just the type of thing we listened for, but what we saw broke our hearts."
She choked back a small sob, and I realized that these memories were hard for all of them. I pushed the calm I had been sending Bella out to the whole room and both Peter and Charlotte nodded their heads in thanks.
Peter picked up the story, "We walked into the alley and found a truly horrifying scene. There were four men surrounding one of the smallest girls I'd ever laid eyes on. She had been beaten and was laying broken on the ground, huddled into a corner. It was Bella. She was whimpering and pleading with them to spare her, and they all laughed like it was nothing more than a game to them.
"Charlotte and I would normally have taken down the men and left the victim after making sure someone was around to help. This time it was different. There was something about her. She was so broken but so strong at the same time. I could feel her spirit and I didn't want to chance her life by leaving her in the alley alone."
I continued to listen, absorbing every detail. I have to admit that I was fascinated by the three of them so comfortable with each other.
Charlotte picked the story up from here, "After we disposed of the men, we decided to take Bella with us. It turns out this was a good decision. We thought she was unconscious and didn't bother being discreet with how we dealt with those pigs. However, Bella was awake, alert and watched the whole thing. I was concerned with her mental health after seeing something like that, but Peter insisted she was stronger than I thought.
"After some discussion we decided to take Bella home with us. Even though she was bleeding in some areas, we quickly realized that there was no way we were going to hurt her. It pissed Peter right the hell off when he realized she was hoping we were there to finish her off. She had given up, and thought death had come for her."
"And really," Peter said, "Who could blame her for feeling that way after watching what we did to those assholes? It turns out she had been living on the streets for a few months, and although the attack we witnessed had been the worst, there had been other similar instances. We explained that we weren't going to hurt her, and once she started believing us, the three of us began to bond."
Bella cleared her throat and asked, "Do you mind if I tell it from here, Peter?"
He smiled sweetly at her as she shifted onto the couch beside him. Peter looked at her as if she'd hung the moon. I'd never seen this side of my friends before.
Bella took in a deep breath and seemed to steal herself to finish the story.
"I watched them kill those bastards in the alley, and although I was so thankful for what they had done there was no denying what Peter and Charlotte were. I mean, I watched them break those guys' necks and at first I thought Charlotte was kissing one of them. I practically wretched from that alone and was almost relieved when I realized she was actually drinking their blood.
"I resigned myself to the fact that maybe this would be the easier way to go. It looked much faster and much less painful than what I had been expecting, so in truth I had welcomed my death and I was relieved. I was tired of hurting and I was tired of being alone."
I sucked in a loud breath at this statement and found myself fighting to keep my composure. There were so many emotions swirling around the room, and combined with my strange need to protect this girl it was almost too much to take.
"It's alright, Jasper." Bella smiled reassuringly up at me. "As you can see, that didn't happen. After Peter and Charlotte explained things to me, they gave me a place to stay while I healed. We became quite close, and to make a long story not as long, I've been here ever since."
"Wow," was the only word I could get out. All the air had left my body and I was still a bit overwhelmed by the strong emotions that accompanied this story.
"Bella, can I ask you a few questions? I don't want to offend any one but I am curious about a few things." I had to work to keep my voice even.
"Sure, Jasper! Please, feel free to ask me anything at all. I'm stronger than I look." Bella said while winking at me.
Damn! Did she really just wink at me?