Disclaimer: I do not own Twilight.
Shame and guilt chocked me.
I prayed Edward wouldn't follow me, hoping Alice would see I didn't want that.
I needed to be alone.
Hours past before someone came looking for me. I frowned at the familiar scent wondering why they'd sent him.
I glanced up into Jasper's concerned gold eyes, breaking eye contact as the guilt rolled through me again, trying to hide my, now, red eyes.
He stopped a short distance from me and the guilt was replaced by calm.
I tried to glare at him, I wanted to feel the guilt, I deserved it after what I'd done.
"No one should feel that guilty." was his response.
"I killed someone." I was shocked I'd said it aloud.
He waited calmly for me to say something more but I couldn't. Saying it out loud made it seem more real.
I had taken a life, the calm Jasper was creating prevented me breaking down.
There was one less person in the world because of me, I had stolen someone's husband, brother, son.
A sob broke out echoing through the trees.
Jasper placed a hesitant hand on my arm, I pulled away from his sympathy.
I wanted to feel, it was my punishment.
Anger took over, why couldn't they just leave me alone?
"No Jasper. I killed someone." I screamed "That's not okay, that will never be okay."
I stormed around hitting the trees ripping off branches, I couldn't stand feeling like this I whirled around to face Jasper.
All the guilt and pain twisted into rage directed straight at him.
I growled loudly but he simply stood calmly watching me. Unaffected by my aggression.
"Is that why you came to gloat?" I spat at him "Or is it because you know more about killing humans than the others?"
As soon as the words were out of my mouth I wanted to force them back in. I had no idea what made me say that.
Pain flashed across his face before the calm mask fell back into place.
He glanced at the floor "Something like that."
I stared in shock for about two minutes.
Jasper moved to sit against a fallen tree indicating for me to join him.
He took a deep breath and began to talk, staring at his hands.
"Emmett is a bit busy restraining Edward. Alice knew you wouldn't want to talk to him yet. She suggested." he grinned at the word and I couldn't help mirror it, Alice didn't suggest things she demanded them. "That I talk to you. As you so eloquently put it, I do know how it feels."
I winced "Jasper…"
He held up a hand to stop me.
"You're upset." he stated.
Another deep breath and he continued "I know how it feels when you think the guilt will consume you, and you want it to because you deserve it.
Not just because you took a life but because you let your family down."
I nodded slowly.
"There have been many times I've… slipped since joining the Cullen's, many nights I've spent in similar spots drowning in guilt and self loathing.
Many times I've made the decision to leave to stop hurting them."
I was surprised by his open honesty.
Even after two years as a vampire I hadn't really spent any time with just Jasper.
There was still a space between us, although he was my brother it was just a label rather than any emotional bond.
"What stopped you?"
He smiled softly and I knew the answer before he spoke.
"At first it was just Alice. As much as it hurt to know I'd let her down I knew how much it would hurt her if I left." he sighed leaning back " After a few years I began to realise it would hurt Esme as well, and Emmett. I guess that's the first time I actually thought of them as family."
I was taken back by this in depth look into Jasper's life.
"No one was ever angry, well Rosalie was but that's just Rose."
I looked down worried, it had taken so long for me to be accepted by Rosalie, had I just ruined it all?
"The good thing about my gift, I know it's just a front."
I looked up to meet Jasper's eyes.
"She acted angry but deep down she was as concerned as the others."
He smiled shyly at me.
"Don't tell her I said that though."
I felt my own smile tug at my lips.
Sighing he became serious again.
"Everyone of us struggles Bella. Even Carlisle, though it's hard to believe.
When me and Emmett joke about keeping count, or betting on your newborn year, it's are way of coping with what we are.
By joking and being open about it, it helps you realise that slipping up is part of this life.
I don't mean that to sound callous, we all care, we all feel when someone dies because of what we are."
He looked me straight in the eye.
"But dwelling on it will destroy you. Believe me."
He paused for a second as though deciding if he should continue.
"Before we met the Cullen's, when it was just Alice and me. I'd just started feeding off animals and I slipped up." he winced "I killed three people. I was so ashamed I fled, I was heading back South when she finally caught me."
He smiled lost in the memory.
"It was the first time I listened when she said it wasn't my fault.
She told me it was just instinct. Something that happens too fast for us to control, or for her to see."
He looked at me.
"Alice can never see it because we never make a conscious decision to do it."
I looked down "Doesn't change the fact I killed someone."
"No it doesn't." he admitted.
My head shot up in shock, then the relief washed through me.
This was why I hadn't wanted Edward, as much as I loved him.
He would have kept telling me it wasn't my fault, I had done nothing wrong. He probably would have blamed himself in some twisted way.
Jasper was admitting it was wrong, but there was no judgement or pity in his eyes just acceptance and understanding.
"Bella everyone in this family knows what you're going through. You slipped, you may do it again some day. But we will never think less of you for it, we will never stop loving you."
Calm washed over me again, but it wasn't Jasper's gift that caused it, it was his words.
"Thank you." I whispered.
He smiled at me "What are big brothers for?"