"Carlisle, can vampires even get sick?" Bella asked, in a strained voice. All this anger and despair was rubbing off on her, even though she was trying her hardest to stay afloat. Jasper's head was firmly in her lap, his golden eyes closed tight – her hands gently stroking the sides of his stone cheeks.

"I doubt it, Bella." Carlisle shook his head slowly.

"Well why is he like this?" She snapped back, immediately feeling guilty but knowing that she both did and didn't mean to.

Carlisle smiled slightly at the effect that had obviously gotten to her. Everyone else had left the house already; Rosalie was the first to crack after the initial bombardment of shame – it was her fault Alice had left without saying goodbye to Jasper, as Rosalie had told her not to hurt him – she had done the right thing in everyone else's eyes but not in her own. Emmett left shortly after, as the shame turned rapidly to embarrassment.

"He's trying to heal himself…" Carlisle muttered, as Jasper's eyes flickered open for a millisecond and then closed almost immediately. "He's broken inside; you should know this more than all of us."

"It isn't the same." Bella dismissed.

"But he's lost his mate, Bella." Carlisle said, touching Jasper's forehead in a display of uncontrolled affection. "Losing a mate is the worst thing that could happen – to both humans and vampires"

"Edward died. Alice still exists, she is still alive." Bella laughed, trying to shake it off as opposite ends of the spectrum. "It isn't the same."

"Bella, at least you know that Edward loves you." He said calmly. It was the sympathetic note in his voice that cracked her.

The old wound opened. All the depression that was bottled up inside Bella's frozen heart began to leak out. It was crippling. Her lithe hands moved from Jasper's face and onto her own arms, gripping tightly – trying to hold herself together. Dry-sobs racked her body but no tears escaped her eyes, not since he died, not since she was doomed to a lonely existence.

Jasper's eyes snapped back open, those typically golden eyes (although they hadn't always been) were black as coal. Waves of uncontrolled sadness, fury and desperation swept off of him, sucking Bella and himself further into their personal tornado of emotions.

"Bella. Jasper – stop now!" Carlisle commanded his hands balled tightly into fists, straining to keep a grip on his own emotions.

Jasper's eyes flickered to Carlisle, his adopted father. His mouth opened apologetically, but it was obvious that he couldn't stop all the output while Bella was fuelling his fire.

"Just… leave…" Jasper moaned to Carlisle, protecting him from the bigger wave about to engulf them.

He left within the length of a human's heartbeat. Jasper wrapped his arms around himself, holding tighter than he'd ever held anything in his existence. His knees pulled to his chin as his head still lay in Bella's lap.

"Bella… He loved you…" Jasper struggled out. "Remember… he loved you…"