Authors Note: I wanted to say a few things before anyone begins to read my story. But first, I promise that I will never have this long of an A/N again. Ever.

As you probably already know, this a Jasper fic. The timeline for this story is pre-twilight through Eclipse, and will interweave SM's plot-lines while differentiating in various places. I express my artistic license to change little details that occurred at will, so please don't yell at me for that later. I have written Jasper as I perceived him from the books, and embellished a little on the qualities I love so much about him. But neither he nor the rest of the Cullens will be completely in-character. I will try to retain their old-fashioned ways to the best of my ability, but I will have them act in the times as well, as I feel they would 'realistically' do if we had been able to read more on them. So heads-up on that.

Also, I have never written for fanfic before now. I am a writer of poetry and philosophical short stories. This is not the norm for me, so I apologize beforehand for my writing style. There will be many times that I structure my sentences and usage of words in a more poetic style instead of grammatically correct and straight-forward. I tried to do it as little as possible, but I write how I think and this is what came out. I'd like to know your opinion though, and where I could change to make this story better. But please, if you can't come up with something more articulate and substantial than, "This shit sucks!" then please don't bother flaming. Tell me why you don't like something if you're going to tell me at all. All the same, I would appreciate comments that swing both ways. It helps me tremendously.

Now here's my warning. If you are an avid fan and defender of all things Edward and Bella, then maybe my story isn't for you. There were many times when reading (especially Eclipse and Breaking Dawn) that I just wanted to scream at their behavior. And to be honest, Bella's actions leaned more towards moronic to me, not self-sacrificing like SM wanted to portray. Edward's inclination was far too self-loathing and controlling for my tastes, even if it does make for some interesting character development. I will not be afraid to subtly convey my opinion throughout my story, but they will still be in character and fairly treated because I still love them both. It's why we've all read the book at least a dozen times and write fanfic on them.

I'll wrap this up and just let you now that there will be lemons later, the first few chapters are compacted to fit an extended, lengthy time frame, and the action and adventure really begins in chapter 4, so stay tuned. I hope you enjoy, and please let me know what you think.

P.S. I hope most of you catch the subtle irony in this chapter.

Disclaimer: I own nothing except Keira. SM does and always will.

Chapter 1

My name's Keira O'Callaghan, and this is my story.

It won't always be nice or pretty or wrapped in a perfect bow. No, my tale has loss and heartache and tears and blood, but it's real, and that's something so much more gratifying than any fairytale's false illusion. There's no truth to them outside our own hopes and dreams, no real place for them beyond literature and our own imaginations. And people who continue to believe in such fantasies, those who measure their world by them miss out on what makes life worth living. They forget it's the imperfections we're surrounded by that make those little moments — those little things — so perfect. Sometimes we get a really big perfect too, but it's swathed in so much conflict and confusion that it changes us and everything we believed beyond the point of return. There is no going back after that, and if you're lucky, you don't want to.

I was, but I didn't always see it that way.

It took going through hell and back and experiencing the darkness of the world before I got my answers. They weren't simple, but they embodied all that was light and unadulterated, giving me the gift of interminable love and clarity. In all of those, clarity was the most rewarding because I got to see life and humanity and people without for what they really are. That we're all evil and pure, as hopeless as we are redeemable, and as ignorant in some ways as we are knowledgeable in others. We're as forgiving as we are relentless, and as equally dangerous as we can be trustworthy. We're all each other in one form or another, and as capable of being the monsters in children's bedtime stories as anyone else.

But we're also each other's saving grace, no matter what age, race, gender, or species. We only need to watch, to listen, to reach out. The sooner we do — the sooner we start to see ourselves, the world, and its' inhabitants for what they really are — the easier it will be to start living the life we're placed into instead of believing in fantasies that won't come true. The sooner we'll be able to enjoy the reality of it all.

oOoOo

During the fall of my sixteenth year, my simple world began it's gradual collapsed when the Cullens moved to town, changing everything as I knew it before I was even aware. Their arrival in Forks came fast and the news hit hard, everyone wondering about the mysterious family that no one heard was coming. They had no ties here, no family or friends to incite their presence. Certainly there wasn't any grand paycheck available to promote their stay, and that made us all the more curious. Even me — maybe especially me — because I was young and excited and had no idea what to expect from them. I was sadly disappointed in ways, extremely unnerved in others.

They walked among us for two years, but it was undeniable to say they were never really part of us. They kept their distance and we repaid in kind, neither side bothering to make any more of an effort than necessary. The good doctor and his wife were always treated fondly, their adoptive children always looked upon with awe and want and jealousy that no one would ever act upon. That didn't stop the rumors and small town talk, though. No, if anything it added to it, because they were untouchable in their perfection.

Their first day at Forks High School highlighted the beginning of this trend as well as my social downfall. Three of the siblings were in my sophomore class, and as the backhanded whispers immediately dubbed them as — they were the scary Hale twins and the burly Cullen. To those who didn't feel emasculated or over-postured by them, they were known as Rosalie, Emmett, and Jasper. The school was small, so at least one of them was in every period of mine, which meant I heard the gossip wherever I went that day.

My interest in them was just as peaked as everyone else and I would cast the same surreptitious glances in their direction whenever I could, but it seemed I didn't hold the same acrimonious regard for the siblings as the rest of my friends did. Their reactions were simply curiosity unfulfilled, I knew that, and a natural inclination to resent those who make us feel lesser than we want to believe. But the cruelty in their assumptions astounded me, the level of spitefulness my friends went to having me cringe in my seat every time they'd pull me into the rumor-mill. It broke my heart and tainted my view of them, because these were the people I held dearest to me and I was a part of them, yet I hadn't wanted anything less in that moment. I was a pawn in this pettiness, yet I wouldn't have wished it anymore than I'd wish their caustic tongues turned on me.

Maybe my outlook was different because my parents were different, cultural diversity making them separate from those around us. Even though I was born and raised in Forks, my parents were not, having moved here from Ireland four years before I was born. It's beyond me why they choose this town over the many places in America, and anytime I'd ask, they'd just glance into each other's eyes with small smiles and light chuckles gracing their lips. They never would say, like it was the most beautiful secret in the world, an inside joke only they would understand. But I was okay with not knowing, because that's how my parents were. They were unique in their ways and unique in their beauty.

What made my mom and dad stand out from the crowd wasn't their physical appearance, rather their profound connection. They were magnets drawn to their opposite, two very different people who balanced each other perfectly. Their love would shine through every glance and touch and smile and laugh, even through their fights and tears. It was an unbreakable bond because no matter what, they never stopped caring for the other. No amount of harsh words or unimaginable mistakes would drive them away or loosen their faith in each other. Their devotion was always there, and it's the closest thing I've ever seen to a real fairytale. It's no exaggeration to say that my parents could be standing in a room full of gorgeous people and outshine them all just by looking into each other's eyes, because their beauty thrived from within their soul's love for the other.

That's not to say they weren't an attractive bunch. My mother with her tall, slim frame, and deep, red curly hair. Her large, almond-shaped eyes were pale green that seemed almost yellow in their translucence. She had fair skin and freckles that sprinkled her nose and cheeks, making her look younger than her years.

My father was tall, broad, and thick with meat and muscle. His black, tousled hair and midnight blue eyes that would — more often than not — appear black were the perfect compliment to his round face, button nose, and gruff voice. Made him seem boyish in his intimidations.

And when I came out of my mother's womb and into this world, I was and continued to be the exact combination of my parents. Inheriting my mother's pale green eyes, fair skin, and lightly freckled nose could be called a genetic blessing, as well as my father's round face and strong cheekbones. Sadly though, I also received her untamable curls with shades between both their colors. Red hair that got blended in somewhere with black, one more profound in the sunlight and the other in the shade. It's a shame really, because the wildness of my mop forbids me from doing anything except putting it in a sloppy bun that half will eventually escape from. Leaving it down usually becomes a hassle, but I typically do anyway considering everything else makes me look like a parody of the Wild, Wild West.

No one really knows where I got my height from, though we're certain I didn't receive a 5'3'' stature from my pedigree considering everyone in my family's at least six foot. But I did inherit my mom's slim form and dad's meat and curves. I use to be a scrawny kid, then I hit puberty and gained hips, thighs, and boobs. Yes, boobs. And that's why I grew my hair out. To cover my boobs.

So yes, I'm small and trim, although not skinny by any means. Curvaceously petite, I guess you could say. Eventually I became more comfortable in my new body, learning to dress in complimentary colors and styles, but it was really my parents that taught me to love myself. To feel beautiful even though I may not look like a famous supermodel or resemble any of the cliché "popular" girls you see on TV. They taught me to embrace myself, to always be true to what I believed. They taught me the warmth of unequivocal love and devoured me in hugs and kisses, but they also raised me on the importance of freedom. Freedom to act and speak, freedom to be and not be, freedom to live however, whenever, wherever. They raised me to embrace a free soul, to be liberated of all frivolities.

Never freedom to judge, though. Those were always reserved for the small minded, big mouthed, and black hearted they said, which might be why my friend's quick judgments of the Cullens irked me. It went against the grain of everything my parents tried to instill in me since the day I was born, yet everywhere I turned, there was that constant low buzz of bad gossip filled with vicious unknowns. Abrasive opinions and unkind acknowledgments.

"Did you hear that they're all adopted!" As if being adopted was the equivalent of being Satan's spawn.

"I heard the blond has a bad coke habit." The jealous tone was picked-up on easily.

"They're all together, you know. As in couples. And they live together!" It's not like they're related, people! And yes, they live together because they were adopted by the same couple.

"I heard the girls swap partners in bed, but won't let anyone else near the guys except them." Obviously she tried and was turned down.

"I can't believe the Doc's wife can't get pregnant. All those kids gotta be her way of makin' up for it." Uhh, yeah. People sometimes can't get pregnant, and those who want to usually adopt at some point. So?

The list goes on and on. They conjured up horror upon horror of the innocent Cullens, and I considered this society my friends. People I thought of as extended family, kids I let into my heart and mind and laughed with, kindred spirits that I confided in. I belonged in their circle, was associated with this madness, and my parents would be so ashamed to know I was involved no matter how insignificant my part may seem. Though I've heard them talk about other's before, it's never been with so much hate and criticism. Never had it been quite so cruel and narrow-minded. It made their once vibrant personalities turn dull and shallow in my eyes, and the longer the day went on, the more my feelings of self-disgust and repulsion grew. My stomach coiled with the anxiety of it all and my throat constricted with the urge to throw-up. When I realized I'd never be able to look at my friends the same way again, I wanted to cry for my loss. It almost didn't make sense how much this was affecting me, how the welfare of a few strangers could impact me so fiercely.

Funny how the smallest things can tear us apart on the inside, make us feel portions of ourselves we never knew was there before.

This churning of emotions I couldn't rightly explain only progressed, each period making my gut twist more painfully. These siblings had lost their families, had probably gone through tragedies I couldn't even fathom, and my friends were too busy ridiculing their circumstances to be compassionate. It made me angry, at them and at myself because surely, if I can hear their words then the Hale twins sitting three seats over could as well. Imagining the hurt they were feeling at the hands of such vindictiveness only made the guilt worse, and I was guilty by association. Remorse had welled-up inside me and I was desperate for it all to stop. It was then, during fifth period, that I reached the end of my tolerance.

Abruptly jumping from my seat, I stared my friends down, bewildering them with my sudden movement and pissed-off glare. I gave them all a good, hard look before grinding out with a bit more volume than intended, "I wish you'd all just shut the hell up. I am so goddamn sick an' tired of hearing you run your mouths about shit you have no idea about! They're people, just like you and me. And they're sitting right there, hearing every fuckin' thing you're saying! Grow the fuck up, and while you're at it, grow some hearts for Christ's sake."

I'm sure my eyes were wide and my face was stern and my hair was wild because everyone did shut the hell up. Even the teacher paused. I think I scared them a little.

Nothing ever went back to normal afterwards, though normal is relative to the perceiver. My simple, black-and-white life bloomed without the rose-colored glasses on, effectively seeing those around me with new eyes. I observed their behavior with new understanding, saw what I had closed myself off to before, and couldn't dismiss what I only just perceived. My friends were never really my friends again, but in retrospect, I doubt they ever truly were. Not really. There weren't any catfights or name-calling or social shunnings of one another, but there was a gradual shift of distance that eventually led to our separations. After awhile, we didn't bother with the niceties just for the sake of appearances, because we knew there wasn't anything left to salvage. Not when I was unrepentant and they didn't bother to understand. I also didn't truly care, though. I wasn't who they thought I was, and they weren't who I thought they were. My fighting Irish bloodline had finally made an appearance, and it refused to be reigned back in.

Those spiteful rumors still surfaced from time to time, usually when someone had been politely snubbed by the quintet and their only weapon of retaliation was to recirculate old gossip, but I never said anything on the matter again. There wasn't a point when not even the Cullens seemed to care what others had to say. Then again, that was one observation about the family that always intrigued me.

One would presume without looking closer that those five beautiful siblings made themselves outcasts, but you only had to watch and observe to see right through that charade. You only needed open eyes and a sliver of intelligence to see they hadn't made themselves outcasts... we made them outcasts. The way we'd tense up when they came too close, or shiver when they smiled too wide. The way our nerves would jolt into action whenever they'd focus on us, no matter how insignificant it may be. The way our thoughts and feelings betrayed us around them, as if they could somehow read how much we wished to run the other way. They knew we didn't really like them, that we weren't comfortable anywhere in close proximity to them. They knew that for some reason…we feared them.

So they avoided us to make us feel better, because we did feel better when they weren't around. They probably felt better too, because our reactions were obvious to any who took the time to notice.

I never could bring myself to fear one member of the Cullen clan though, which is ironic because he screamed danger. He effortlessly exuded power and authority, it seeped from his very being into the air around him. Hell, this man was power personified, as well as a walking contradiction. The way he held himself — so laid back and casual — was a magnificent contrast to the subtle warning you could detect in his stance that told you in no uncertain terms that, 'Yeah, I'm relaxed, but before anyone could blink you'd be dead.'

He was the tallest of the Cullens, lean and muscular, but not the thickest of the siblings nor the thinnest by far. No, those features were reserved for Emmett, who was massive with his bulk, and for Edward, who was much more lanky and boyish. Jasper Hale — with his broad shoulders, long legs, and honey blond curls that fell into his dark eyes and hung loosely around his strong neck and jaw was by far the most intriguing and seductive to me. He was leonine, and watching him was like watching the deceptively calm and lazy male lion oversee his pride, just waiting for one wrong move from an outsider.

But it wasn't his physical appearance that made me so curious about him….or so enamored with him. It was the few and far between times when pale green eyes met molten-gold.

We only made eye contact a few times in the two years we knew each other but didn't speak. The first occurrence came the day I yelled at everybody for their callousness. I hadn't bothered glancing over at Rosalie or Jasper after my little tirade, just sat back down and fumed as I glared a hole through my desk. I didn't even bother getting up when the bell rang because I was still stewing in the aftershock of my anger and confusion. But as the crowd thinned and dispersed from the room, I did look over for some reason, as if compelled by an inexplicable feeling to do so. Jasper's vaguely concerned eyes met mine as he walked out the door, and a little respect seemed to glitter in those dark orbs of his, as if he hadn't expected anyone in this town to defend his family at all. I got the sense he was silently expressing his gratitude with that single glance, and I appreciated that. It made the day a little more bearable.

Other times were just passing moments when our gazes accidently collided as we looked around. Nothing meaningful or extraordinary, except the sensations that invaded me the second it took to make-and-break the visual connection. A simultaneous pull and tug would wrap itself around my heart so tightly that I often wondered if it was heart failure, but then something would shift in my head — like an intangible thread quivering to life and readjusting itself inside my brain — and my palms would start to tingle. Almost like a vibration.

I hadn't known what it was, and I sometimes thought I just imagined the whole thing. The third time it happened, there was a passing thought it might actually be some sort of chronic brain disease, but I eventually came to understand that it only happened when looking into Jasper's eyes. Which made me extremely unnerved, not to mention confused as hell, because it seemed like something straight out of the Twilight Zone or sci-fi novel and everyone knows those kind of things don't really happen. I was more inclined to believe that Jasper was some sort of voodoo caster or other equally wicked shit. Anything other than, 'Yes doctor, his eyes make me have an aneurism and I haven't the slightest clue why other than he must be an alien.'

Yeah, that'd work out well.

Alas, as the months and occurrences passed by that hadn't led to me inexplicably keeling-over, I gradually lost my nervousness over the situation and simply remained curiously confused. I couldn't figure out what it was or what it meant, didn't know who to turn to or confide in no matter how much I wanted to. Even my parents were off-limits for this, not wanting to tell them that their only child was experiencing some sort of physical anomaly. They'd freak-out and immediately assume the worst, then the whole town would eventually known how a certain Hale affects me. That'd just be beyond mortifying.

I never confronted Jasper about this "thing" either, probably because he'd label me ten kinds of crazy right then and there, and Alice would just believe I wanted her man. I'm not stupid, I know how it would sound. I'm the one it was happening to and it sounded crazy even to me.

When I found out later what it all meant, I realized I couldn't have been more wrong about what kind of possibilities there were in this world. Nothing could have prepared me for the strange discoveries I made about myself, for the life I was about to be thrust into without consent. Everything was taken out of my power when I became irrevocably altered, and nothing was ever the same. Especially not me.


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