Wow, you guys are resilliant! I wasn't going to post anything after the final epilogue, but I got sooo many requests to see what happened to Jasper that I had to share. It's pretty short, but after the fight there wasn't much to tell. So here you go, with much love to all of you.
I had a fan epilogue sent to me today, and I'll be posting that as well. I was thrilled to see it-I love to get your ideas.
I saw Bella lunge for Edward in the same instant that I lunged for Maria. She wasn't expecting such a direct attack; I caught her off guard. I heard Bella snarl words to Edward, and I felt sorry that she was the one that had to do that. She would hurt for it later, if I knew her at all. I gave Maria my full attention, pinning her underneath me with my knees and hands, much like Bella had Edward pinned. "This ends now. I'm sorry your life has to end like this." She keened a little, showing me the woman that she was, not the killer, and I felt a brief flicker of pity. Whatever had driven her to this life was to blame for her death. I didn't hesitate to bring my teeth to her neck and slice it through.
I wasn't sure how I should feel. I was glad she was gone. Her presence was like a weight on my soul; always wondering if she was going to show up, try and take what was mine. On the other, I had killed my maker. I felt the twinge of grief that accompanied an act like that, but I didn't regret it. But I wasn't worried about me.
I was worried about Bella.
She hadn't made a move, or a sound. I stood up and moved towards her; she was still sitting on Edward. I lifted her up and pulled her into my arms, stroking her hair. She looked at me, and I saw a new look in her eyes. Age. She looked as if she'd aged 50 years in the last 10 minutes. "I am…so sorry Bella. I wish that you didn't have to do that. It should have been me. I should have…" I choked on my words, unsure of what to say to make this act better.
"It had to happen. He wanted you dead. I couldn't let that happen. He never would have stopped. He sent Maria after you, Jasper." She was speaking in monotone; I could tell she was still in shock.
"I know. But it should have been me. I should have protected you better. You shouldn't have had to kill for me." She motioned over to what was left of Maria.
"You shouldn't have to kill for me either. But what's done is done. Jasper…I need a minute. Please. I'm going to take a shower. Will you…" she trailed off, but I knew what she meant. I nodded, setting her down. She moved sluggishly up the stairs and into the bathroom as I set myself to the task at hand. Before I lit the match, I heard the others arrive. Alice was first at my side, taking in what I was about to do. Her hands flew to her mouth.
"Oh Jasper. Oh God. I'm so sorry. Both of them? You had to kill both of them?" she was appalled. Carlisle was looking sick as Esme sobbed on his shoulder. But he didn't move to stop me. He knew.
"Not me, Alice. I only took care of Maria." The weight of my words set in and she started sobbing.
"Bella?" she asked, already knowing the answer as I nodded. "Oh no…where is she? How is she?"
"She's upstairs in the house, taking a shower. She needed to be alone. I understand that. I'm not sure how she's going to cope with this." I fretted. I realized I was still holding the match. I turned back to the others. "I'm doing this now, so if you want to go, now would be the time." Everyone turned except Alice. She stayed with me the whole time, holding my hand as we watched them burn. We didn't speak. A part of me would never believe I did this. "Alice…was it wrong?" I asked. She sighed.
"No. For Maria, it was your right. She has hurt so many. For Edward…you're right. He would never have stopped. He would have escalated. There could never be peace; Bella would never be safe. You would never be safe. I hate that it came to this. So much. But Jasper, don't beat yourself up about it. And don't let Bella either."
One Year Later
The haunted look was still in Bella's eyes; I suspected that it would stay there. But she had coped, and once she understood that nobody blamed her, she moved on. It took us a while to relax as a family again; missing one of our members was hard on everyone. It was difficult to find that groove, knowing what we knew. But we did. She wouldn't talk about him, and I wouldn't make her. She would when she was ready, and I would be there for her.
For now, we were together, and we were happy, and we were a family.
There were no threats, no hint of violence hanging over our heads, nobody trying to take away one of us.
We were living.