I carefully popped my head into the room. "Jasper?" I asked.
He looked up from the book he was pretending to read. "Emmett?" He replied, almost mockingly. Certainly defensively. "Why are you here?"
I shrugged. "Wanted to make sure you were okay." I said noncommittally.
"You came to make sure I wasn't dangerous." He corrected.
"Well, you did give everyone quite a scare. I've never seen Carlisle move so fast." I replied. No sense in denying it, I was checking to make sure he wasn't still in soldier mode.
He shrugged uncomfortably, his eyes back on his book. "I overreacted." He muttered.
I laughed, and he stared at me. "She was just trying to take your picture, and you went psycho on her." I corrected.
"I know." He mumbled. "I didn't mean to."
I sighed and shook my head. "The camera's dead, man." He slouched forward; he was pretty upset over this. I sighed. "So what's the deal?"
"Nothing." He denied.
"Bull." I challenged him. "Something's wrong, or you wouldn't have reacted that way." When he didn't answer I invited myself in to sit down on the floor beside him. "You know," I said, sounding as serious as possible, "photographs don't really capture your soul."
I got a sigh in response. "Look at me, Emmett." He said. "I'm not exactly easy on the eye, you know." He turned to face me, letting the sun from the window emphasize his point. The scars on his face and neck were plainly visible; the sun highlighted the disfiguring marks.
"That really bothers you, doesn't it?" I said, and he flinched. "Look, Jasper, I know that when you first came here it seemed like that was all we saw. I know Rosalie said stuff about it, and I know we were all wary because of it. I know they're obvious to our kind. But you know Alice didn't see them, or at least, they didn't make any difference to her. And to tell you the truth, now that we've all gotten to know you, we don't notice them so much any more either. They're just kind of there. We see the you that's underneath, and let me tell you something brother, you should be glad for the scars. That way nobody else has to see how ugly you really are underneath." I threw the joke in at the end; I didn't want to sound too serious.
He rolled his eyes at me, but at least he was acknowledging that I was joking. That meant I was getting somewhere.
"Seriously though, Jasper. They don't make any difference to us. We know better." I let him think about that for a second before pressing on. "It isn't just the scars."
"She startled me." Jasper confessed. "I wasn't expecting to have a female vampire pop out of nowhere and then have a light go off in my face. She was too close, and the sudden light startled me, and I reacted defensively. It's still hard to remember I'm not in an army any more sometimes."
I nodded. Jasper didn't like to talk much about his life before, but I knew he had been in some sort of vampire army, and I knew that he had been in a lot of fights. You just had to look at him to know that.
He had calmed down a lot, since he had first joined us. Back then he had been wary, and jumpy, and defensive. He'd begun to relax around us, and trust us, but sometimes he'd still react to something, and it was usually something out of the blue, that you'd never expect would bother him.
Just like today. Esme had been taking pictures of the new house, and of all of us, and had just popped in on him and brightly called for him to smile as she flashed the camera in his face. Just like she does to the rest of us.
She didn't expect him to snarl, and lunge at her and the camera. Carlisle was there in a second, putting himself between Jasper and his wife, but it was too late to save the camera.
Of course, Jasper stopped, and fled the room, and Rosalie got mad, and Edward tried to figure out what he was thinking, and Carlisle made sure Esme was okay, and Alice-
I guess Alice probably saw us talking, and figured it was best or something. Usually she does stuff to Jasper for his own good, like dragging him here to join our family, or letting him figure out for himself how to get along with Rosalie.
"Well, they won't hold it against you." I reassured him. "Well, Rosalie might, but you know how she is. Nobody else will. Esme will probably apologize for upsetting you first chance she gets." I said with a laugh.
"Great. Just what I need." Jasper grumbled.
"Yeah, well…" Esme did tend to walk on eggshells around him. "So just tell them she startled you and all that." I said. "Or I can, if you'd rather, and you can come out, or hide a bit longer, till you feel like coming down, and they can apologize, and you can apologize, and it'll all be good."
Jasper frowned at me. "You're offering to tell them so I don't have to? Why?"
I shrugged. "'Cause that's what I do. I blurt stuff out thoughtlessly so people don't have to explain it themselves. Then I pretend I don't get what the big deal is about it anyway."
"Not a bad strategy." Jasper commented. Coming from him, it was a compliment.
"So?" I asked.
"Sure." He said. "I'll come down and watch you thoughtlessly blurt out what I've confided to you." He stood, and set the book on their bed. "Thanks."
I rolled my eyes. "That's what brothers do, Jasper." He looked confused, so I explained. "We pretend to be thoughtless, clueless idiots, but when there's trouble, we're there for each other." As an afterthought, and to prove my point, I added "Duh."
He chuckled, and rolled his eyes at me, then followed me down the stairs to face the family. "Should I look embarassed while you tell them?"
"Or horrified." I suggested with a grin. "Like I've betrayed some deep, dark secret."
Sure, Esme would scold me for being thoughtless, and Carlisle would give me that look, and Rosalie would roll her eyes at my idiocy. Edward would forget that he had done the same thing for me, and for others, and I had honestly no idea what Alice would think. Maybe she would know. Maybe not. Didn't matter.
What mattered was that it would make this just a little bit easier on Jasper.
Disclaimer: Twilight, as ever, belongeth not to me. Oh well, it's fun to pretend anyway.