A/N: Jasper has always regretted having to leave his comrades in the Civil War. He feels it is his fault for his leaving. Jasper writes a song to his old troops from the Civil War and attempts to come to grips with his "desertion".
Song composed by Mark Knopfler and sung by Ryan Kelly of Celtic Thunder. Link to a YouTube video of Ryan's performance on my profile. I highly recommend you check it out!
I don't own Jasper or any of the other Twilight characters and I don't own the rights to "Brothers in Arms".
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Brothers in Arms
Jasper, perching in one of the tall pines, looked out towards the Pacific Ocean. The tree swayed in the wind, but Jasper felt no fear of falling. His seat, though it was higher than any human would climb, was steady enough for him.
Under his right warm, he held a worn acoustic guitar. It'd seen much use since Alice had given it to him, ten years ago. None of the strings were originals and the finish on parts of the neck was worn away from hard fingers sliding over the wood again and again. Attached at the nut and wrapping around Jasper's back to the base of the body was a simple, black strap. It was loose as Jasper held the guitar carefully on his knee.
He absentmindedly strummed a few chords, watching a boat on the coast. Sometimes, Jasper needed a break. He needed a break from the flurry of emotions that bombarded him whenever another person was near. He needed a break from the constant temptation of human blood and constantly checking his own thirst for it. He needed time alone, time to relax and not be Jasper the vampire, husband, empath, and protector, but just Jasper. Alice understood. She let him go, sometimes for days, without a single complaint. She knew without having to look into the future that Jasper would always return. For her.
Jasper strummed another chord and paused, listening to the finely tuned pitches only a vampire could fully appreciate. A tone had caught his attention. It wasn't because it was out of tune. It was something deeper than that. Something pulled up from Jasper's early years, his human years.
Jasper had joined the Confederate Army in 1861 as an eighteen-year old human. Jasper had lied to the recruiters and told them he was really twenty. He'd risen to the rank of Major at "twenty-two". He was the youngest Major in the Confederacy, not taking into account his real age.
Jasper's natural charisma had meant earning the respect and friendship of his fellow soldiers had been easy for him. Before becoming a Major, Jasper had spent plenty of time with his comrades, relaxing between battles. They told stories of home and jokes and sang songs around the campfires at night. And if no campfires were possible, they gathered by the moonlight. It was one of these times that came to memory as Jasper strummed the chord again.
He was back, sitting around the campfire with his fellow Confederates. Matthew, a Second Lieutenant, strummed a lively tune to which a few of the men performed a comedic jig. Jasper, perched on a rock with the others, laughed and clapped along, entertained by their antics like the others around the fire.
Matthew brought the song around to an energetic end and the men clapped and whistled as the dancers dipped short bows, grinning.
"Alright," Matthew called, holding up the guitar. "Who else has talents?" He scanned the group, a smirk on his face. "How about Captain Whitlock?" Jasper had just been awarded the rank and it was a joking spot amongst the troops, particularly the older, more experienced ones. Matthew offered Jasper the guitar. "John says you know how to play."
Jasper shot a glare across the fire at his childhood friend from Houston, who waved sheepishly.
"C'mon Cap'in!" cheered the others.
Matthew held the guitar out farther. "You have to now," he told him, looking around at the chanting men.
"Jasper, Jasper, Jasper."
Jasper stood, looking around the circle, which had gone silent. Every eye was trained on him, even a few around other fires. Jasper grinned and giving a quick shrug, took the proffered instrument to rowdy cheers…
Jasper was brought back to the present as a particularly strong wind whipped at his clothing and tried to wrench the guitar from his hands. He looked down at it and sighed. He missed it. He missed his parents and brothers. He missed his friends and the ranch. But most of all, he missed his brothers in arms. He missed the men he'd marched into battle, side-by-side with. He missed the men who he'd fought alongside, suffered alongside. Circumstances had forced him to abandon them, and he still regretted it over a hundred years later. He'd expressed his regret to Alice, who'd vehemently assured him that it wasn't his fault and that it was technically kidnapping, rather than desertion.
But Jasper still felt he'd let his men down. He should've gone back. Or at least have written to them, explaining. It was the least he could've done for the men who were willing to die for him, a twenty-year old boy.
Jasper tried the chord again, this time adding a bit of picking. A melody began to form in his head. And then words joined it. Words that he wished he could've said to those brothers he'd left behind. The song formed in Jasper's vampire memory as it flowed through the strings.
Alice saw Jasper walking home, his guitar slung in its case over his back. He'd be home by nightfall.
Alice had been waiting for this ever since he'd left the day before. She'd let him go when she saw that he needed to, and had looked forward to the vision of him returning.
Jasper had something he wanted to show her. She knew it had something to do with the guitar, and that they were supposed to meet outside the house. Alice stood from the computer she'd been surfing and headed for the back door, a quick word to Esme on the way. "I'll be back soon," she promised.
Esme smiled and nodded as Alice left.
Alice flitted through the trees towards the river. That was where Jasper would be waiting for her. When she came upon the river, Alice threw herself out, flying over the water in a high arch before landing in the trees on the opposite bank. Looking around, she spotted Jasper, his guitar propped on his knee, waiting for her two trees over. Alice swung through the branches with greater ease than a monkey, until she came to a halt just before him. Jasper smiled and Alice returned it, looking into his liquid, gold eyes. He seemed lighter somehow. He seemed as if a weight had been lifted from his shoulders.
"I wrote a song," he said simply. "It's like a letter; to the soldiers I had to leave behind."
Alice nodded. She knew Jasper regretted leaving his troops when Maria had changed him. She knew he felt responsible for leaving them in Galveston without a leader. Alice had told him there had been nothing he could've done, but Jasper still believed he'd deserted them.
Jasper strummed a chord, and then plucked a few notes with his pick, letting the sounds blend with each other. He played a few measures before opening his mouth and singing in his less refined, baritone.
"These mist covered mountains
Are a home now for me.
But my home is the lowlands,
And always will be.
Someday you return to,
Your valleys and your farms.
And you no longer burn to be Brothers in Arms."
Jasper looked up as his fingers strummed the guitar strings. Alice smiled and sent him a gentle wave of encouragement.
"Through these fields of destruction,
Baptisms of fire,
I've witnessed your suffering,
As the battles raged higher.
And though did it hurt me so bad,
In the fear and alarm,
You did not desert me my Brothers in Arms."
Alice heard the remorse mixed in with frustration as he played on.
"There's so many different worlds,
So many different suns.
But we have just one world,
Though we live in different ones.
"Now the sun's gone to hell,
And the moon's riding high.
Let me bid you farewell.
Every man has to die.
But it's written in the starlight,
And every line on your palm.
We're fools to make war on our Brothers in Arms."
Jasper strummed an increasingly softer and lower series of chords before finally letting the music trail off. Alice was quiet. She drank in the song, reflecting on its message, its melody, its emotions.
"Thank you, Jazz," she whispered. Alice crawled across the branch to nestle into his side. Jasper wrapped his arm around her, pulling her closer and laying a kiss on her head.
"I love you," he whispered back. "Thank you, Alice, for listening."
Jasper pulled the compact body to his side. He breathed in her familiar scent with the tenor of her emotions.
There were the typical Alice emotions, relief that he was back, a bit of lust kept in careful check, anticipation for the future that she was privileged to see, love—for him and for the rest of the family--, and of course her trademark joy that was as infectious as Jasper's own talent.
But Jasper passed them, looking for deeper, underlying emotions. These were the ones Jasper was looking for, the ones that were most likely brought on by his song.
Melancholy for the sense of loss Jasper experienced, a desperate wish that she could somehow take the blame from him, and an unfamiliar longing for the past. Jasper was surprised by the latter. He'd never known Alice to yearn for what was passed. She wasn't like Rosalie or Edward. With her ability, she was always looking to the future. Jasper placed a kiss on her spiky, black head, comforting.
"I love you," he reminded her. "Thank you, Alice, for listening." He sighed and shifted his guitar around on the strap so that it rested against his back. "If there was one thing I could've changed, I would've gone back and explained."
"You couldn't," Alice said.
"I know." It was as close as he came to an admission. An admission that it wasn't really his fault; that circumstances had been out of his hands. Jasper looked out over the river towards the house. The sky was darkening, the last lights of day diminishing in the east, west across the sky.
"Let's go home," he said finally.
Alice nodded and, taking each other's hand, they ran back to the house. A final line echoed in Jasper's mind. "And you no longer burn to be Brothers in Arms…"
A/N2: I've posted a link on my profile of "Brothers in Arms", sung by Ryan Kelly of Celtic Thunder. It's a youtube video. I listened to this version almost continuously as i was writing this and it was the first inspiration to write this one-shot. So I highly recommend you check it out. He really is an excellent vocalist. And he's cute! So check out the link on my profile!
P.S. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE REVIEW! I've gotten some readers but no comments yet and i'm starting to worry that nobody likes this story. If that's not the case then PLEASE TELL ME!!!