A/N: So, it happened. Here is the AxJ story I've been going on about over in Everyday Moments Of Perfection. I decided to go with the Maria plot, though I might revisit the 'Alice or Jasper turn human' plot at a later date. This makes quite a few WIP stories... all thanks to my damn muse who must be in heat or something, since he's hatching little plot bunnies all over the place.
Right, so here's the summary; As Alice's visions get ever more alarming, Jasper discovers that Maria has returned—for him. He refuses to join her, but soon discovers that the past doesn't easily let go. JxA.
Note: I use UK English in all of my stories, so things like 'grey' instead of 'gray' will be common - they aren't accidental misspellings, it's just the British way of spelling things. :)
Emotion; it is a powerful and irrational master. It is impossible to deny, catching you in its unshakeable grasp and haunting you ceaselessly, until you have no choice but to obey its commands. Everyone is a slave to emotion, unable to do anything to stop it when it swells up within you. Wars are won, lost and started over emotion. Think of the Trojan War—begot of one man's obsession, and two lovers unwilling to surrender their hearts to stop the slaughter of thousands.
Jasper knew it all. He knew every tendril, every flow and ebb, every nuance of emotion. He knew its tempestuous moods, how it seemed to make no sense at all but at the same time just felt right. He knew the emotions of humans; so simple yet so very complex. How one emotion could overpower all sense of logic and reason, blindingly leading them forward to do its bidding. He knew how passionately humans could love, how fiercely they could hate and how envy, greed and jealousy could spell the end of them—reaching into their souls and tearing them apart as easily as ripping a sheet of paper.
Jasper also knew vampiric emotions; how they burned even stronger than humans could comprehend, how infinitely complicated they were. How so much more intense they were than a human's emotions, simply because they had a greater capacity to manoeuvre. Vampires' hearts and minds could simply hold more information, more feeling, more emotions. Especially when it came to love. When a vampire loves, they are bonded to the object of that love forever. Being away from them is physically painful. Vampires loved more strongly than humans, simply because they could.
Compare a flickering candle flame to a burning sun at the climax of daytime. It would be the same.
Jasper knew this feeling. He knew the feeling of loving someone so much, if he could touch the fire of their adoration, it would scorch his marbled skin and leave a burn hotter than the centre of the sun. He knew the feeling of belonging to someone, utterly and completely, adjusting himself to their needs without even thinking about it. Loving someone so much you would kill for them, die a thousand deaths just to see them happy and safe. Jasper knew this kind of love.
He felt it even more potently because he was a vampire. Because, by very definition, he was more attuned to these feelings. Jasper knew that most humans perceived him merely as cold and calculated. It was not his fault he had to be that way. He was forced to keep his distance from them, even though every cell in his body screamed at him to just step forward, to just look them in the eye and smile as he drained their life away.
The humans did not realise that he stayed away because he cared.
They saw him as emotionless; when he was really the one who felt the most. He stayed away because he didn't want to hurt them. He knew, especially in the early days, that Bella was hesitant, even slightly afraid, around him. He made her uneasy. Jasper could understand this. She was a human; even on a purely instinctual level, she was supposed to fear him. But Alice saw him for who he really was. Jasper always knew exactly what to do, what to say to her, what she needed, because he was a caring person. Yes, the military and Maria had taught him to be ruthless and chillingly logical. But that did not define him.
He felt more than anyone else did.
Even if he didn't always show it.
Jasper looked up from his book. He had read it before; it was a soldier's account of the Civil War. He remembered reading it, and shaking his head at frequent intervals. Whoever had written this had clearly taken some major artistic liberties. It sounded far more romantic on paper than it actually was in reality. That was one of the few vivid human memories Jasper had left. It seemed that the sheer violence of it had left some kind of imprint on his brain, and he remembered the fighting and the killing far more clearly than he would have liked.
Alice was standing in the doorway, looking fatigued, her eyes weary. Jasper picked up the slight wavering of her emotions and simply opened his arms to her. She walked across the room, a little faster than a human pace, but still slow to a vampire, and almost fell into his lap, snuggling up to him, with her head resting just below his chin.
Jasper just waited. If she wanted to speak to him, she would. Instead, he just curled one arm around her waist in a comforting gesture, and picked up another book; one that was never far from his chair.
"Alice was beginning to get very tired of sitting by her sister on the bank, and of having nothing to do; once or twice she had peeped into the book her sister was reading..."
Alice was instantly soothed by the soft rumbles of Jasper's voice, and smiled to herself as she recognised the opening passage of Alice's Adventures In Wonderland.
A few hours later, Jasper closed the book, whispering softly into Alice's ear the final passage, "...how she would feel with all those simple sorrows, and find a pleasure in all their simple joys, remembering her own child-life, and the happy summer days."
He kissed Alice just below her ear and she hummed contentedly.
"Thank you," she whispered.
"Anything for you, doll," Jasper whispered in an equally low voice, holding her closer.
After a few minutes of comfortable silence, with Jasper just holding Alice in the quiet atmosphere and comforting scent of books, Alice spoke, her voice quiet and low with worry.
"Jasper... I'm scared."
Jasper looked down at Alice, seeing the flicker of genuine fear in her tawny eyes, making his heart spike with a protective instinct. Without even thinking about it, he sent out waves of peace towards her, touching her heart with the warming rays of his love. She rewarded his efforts with a small smile, and whispered, "Something's going to happen, Jasper."
"What?" Jasper asked, frowning.
"I don't know," Alice admitted quietly. "That's what scares me."
Jasper stroked her cheek. "I won't let anything happen to you, darlin'."
Alice frowned, holding Jasper's face between her small hands. "It's not me I'm worried about."
Jasper searched her eyes, before she leant forward, taking his hands in hers. She spoke in a voice that was bare and raw with unbridled emotion, almost husky. Jasper could hear the utter vulnerability and helplessness in her tone. "Hold me?"
Instantly, Jasper drew her into his embrace, the calming atmosphere around him immediately affecting her.
"Always," he whispered.
A few days passed after that encounter, and even though Alice still acted the same as she always had—her exuberant, bubbly self—Jasper alone could sense the increasing agitation in her emotions. The way Edward sometimes looked at her with worry, Jasper could tell that Alice wasn't being as careful with her thoughts as she usually was. He must sense something was wrong with her, and assumed it had something to do with Bella.
Jasper walked in on them arguing in Carlisle's study.
"Look, Edward, just leave it alone, would you? It's got nothing to do with Bella, and it's got nothing to do with you! So just back off, okay?!" Alice sighed, placing a hand to her forehead, and Jasper could sense her intense frustration.
"Alice," Edward touched her shoulder. "Tell me what's going on."
Jasper winced as he felt Alice snap. "Edward! When are you going to pull your head out of your ass and realise that some things are none of your goddamn business!" she shrieked, before turning and seeing Jasper in the doorway. She walked towards the doorway, brushing past him at vampiric speed, so fast that he barely noticed her, but he felt the imprint of a kiss on his cheek after she was gone.
Jasper turned to glare at Edward, but he said nothing. His murderous thoughts were enough, but he sighed, letting Edward off the hook.
Edward looked at the empty doorway that Alice had just swept through with confusion. "Something's seriously wrong with her, Jasper. I've never heard her speak to me like that before."
Jasper pondered it for a moment as they stood in silence. He searched with his powers, finding the source of extreme annoyance and anxiety that emanated from Alice. Wordlessly, he ran after her, leaving Edward to his thoughts.
He found her in the woods. She was leaning against a sycamore tree, gazing out towards the cliffs of La Push, just listening to the water as it crashed against the rock face. Her head turned towards him as she heard his footsteps. He just stood, giving her a little space, and he didn't know how long they stood there, taking in the sounds. Alice seemed to calm down, and when her annoyance had diminished, he stepped forward, going to lean against the tree, his shoulder touching hers.
After a few moments, she spoke. "I'm sorry, Jasper. I know this is hard for you."
Jasper shook his head, "No, Alice. I know your powers are frustrating. I'm sorry for the pain they're causing you."
Alice turned her head sideways to view Jasper, a small smile on her lips. "You're wonderful, you know that?"
Jasper leaned forward, until their noses touched. "I love you."
By the way Alice kissed him, Jasper knew she was returning the sentiment.
"I saw a little more today," she said. Jasper's curiosity piqued and he waited patiently for her to continue.
"I saw myself..." Alice said, and her emotions wavered a little. "I was screaming."
Jasper touched her shoulder in comfort, and she continued, "I remember... metal... and fire... and blood. That's all."
Suddenly, Alice turned and plunged her small fist deep into the sycamore tree, splintering the bark and nearly shaking the forest. Birds in the tree squawked their indignation, cawing as they flew like bullets out of the tree and into the sky, leaves falling like feathers to the ground. Alice cried out, before sighing loudly, "It's just so...so... ah! This could be really important, and my stupid powers aren't working properly! Now, of all times!"
Jasper held her as she dropped to the ground, sobbing slightly. "What if it's about you? What if you get hurt because I didn't see properly?"
Jasper just made calming sounds, and stroked her hair, "Alice, doll, please don't be sad... you know I can defend myself. Don't worry about me so much."
"I can't help it," Alice said, hugging him, her hands reaching around his waist and his going over her shoulders to encompass her whole body. He made calming circles on her back with his hand, and she shuddered slightly. Jasper recognised the sign of a vision, and just held her as she rode it out.
"What did you see?" he whispered as she opened her eyes again.
"A motorbike," Alice said, with obvious confusion. "A black Harley."
"Is that a hint for your next birthday?" Jasper said playfully, and he felt the amusement creep through her emotions as she smiled. "No... it's... I'm not sure. Then it changed... there's a room. It's dark and it smells like dust."
Jasper felt Alice's arms grow tighter around him as she said, "I didn't see anything else. It went dark."
Jasper felt worry creep through his system as the sky grew darker, and day became night.
Alice sat on the end of her bed, staring into the mirror opposite her. Her eyes were unfocused however, she was not looking at herself. She was searching through the future, trying to make any sense of all the conflicting visions and choppy images that kept assaulting her. She felt that somehow, they were connected to Jasper, and with all the fire she was seeing, Alice didn't like the thought of that one little bit.
She heard a soft knock on her bedroom door and she whispered, "Come in."
The door opened, and Edward stood in the doorway, worry etched onto his face.
"Are you alright, Alice?" he said quietly.
Alice sighed. There was no point lying to Edward—he could read her mind, after all. But she just couldn't bring herself to admit it out loud, so she settled for thinking it. No. I'm really not, Edward. Something's going to happen, but I don't know what. It could be anything, all I know is that it has something to do with Jasper, but he has no idea what it could be either. My visions aren't familiar to him.
Edward was silent for a moment, before he joined her, sitting on the end of her bed. "You'll get through it, Alice. You and Jasper have been through more than anyone else in this family."
Alice cracked a small smile. "With the glaring exception of you and Bella. Jasper and I didn't have to deal with the whole 'singer' thing."
Edward gave a small laugh, and so did Alice. "That is true, I suppose," he conceded, still chuckling slightly.
Alice nudged him. Edward just looked at her, before nudging her back. Alice glared playfully, nudging him harder, which Edward returned with a laugh. Alice nudged him so hard he fell off the bed, then her eyes widened as Edward opened his mouth in mock-horror. Alice giggled, before speeding out of the door.
"Get back here!" Edward shouted. "Little nudger...!"
Edward chased Alice out to the woods, before giving her the nudging of her life.
Jasper sat at Edward's piano, just playing around with the keys. He created little sequences of music, but nothing sounded right to him. Then again, Jasper wasn't really all that musical. He played a few scales, before he found a little melody that he liked. It was tinkling, yet short and staccato. It reminded him a little of Alice. He played it again, interweaving some new notes. He played a few more variations before he heard her footsteps behind him. Jasper didn't even need to look to know it was Alice. Her footfalls were the lightest of the whole house; more like gliding than walking. Jasper still marvelled at how Alice seemed to make even the most banal thing like walking look like a perfectly-rehearsed dance.
He felt her cool hands on his shoulders as he continued to play his newly-constructed melody. After he played it once, Alice started to hum a few notes, continuing the song. Jasper smiled and started to play the new notes, adding them to the song. Alice's hand moved sideways, over his shirt, coming down his arms to cover his hands with hers as he played.
Alice sat down next to him on the bench, taking the higher notes, while Jasper took the lower notes. Soprano and bass. That was how Bella had described them one Christmas—after at least one glass of mulled wine. Perfectly matched.
Suddenly the high notes wavered as Alice felt the beginnings of a vision. Her eyes closed as her hand dropped, creating a discord. Jasper stopped playing, supporting Alice's back and looking on with concern as she shook slightly with the force of whatever she was seeing.
The vision lasted a few minutes, and then suddenly, Alice's eyes flew open, the black flecks becoming more prominent as they widened in panic. She clutched Jasper's hand for all she worth, as if he were the only thing keeping her from completely losing it. Her emotions were setting Jasper on edge, and he began to feel quite jumpy. Alice's eyes locked onto his, and suddenly he was just as panicked as she was.
Alice whispered one word. One word, that sent a shiver of fear coursing through Jasper's venom-filled veins.
So, that's the first chapter. The rating may go up from a T, just to warn you guys, but I'm not too sure about that yet. It wouldn't be for lemons, probably language and violence. Thanks to everyone who indicated their interest in me starting this story; I hope I've matched and/or exceeded your expectations. I would be ever so grateful if you let me know what you think.