"For the Love of Jasper" One-Shot Contest
TITLE: Old Acquaintances
PEN NAME: Quirky_Girl
EXISTING WORK: N/A
PRIMARY PLAYERS: Jasper/Abigail
DISCLAIMER: I do not own Twilight. Abigail belongs to me, but she's the only one
It was peaceful, here in New Hampshire. Different then Forks, but peaceful. The woods outside of the little house Alice and I shared weren't wet and mossy, like in Forks, but they were just as beautiful. And in the autumn, the leaves turned beautiful shades of red and gold before carpeting the ground.
The woods around me teemed with life, life that held it's breath as I passed by. I sensed a small herd of deer to the north. I thought about hunting, but decided against it. I still wasn't as strong as the rest of my family. I would never stop trying, never stop testing my limits. I needed to be stronger, for my family and for Alice. For Alice, more than anything.
Suddenly, I felt shocked. Shocked and angry. The anger overwhelmed me, and I had time to brace myself before the other vampire struck. I rolled with the blow, and then dropped into a defensive crouch to face her.
She looked much like the last time I'd faced her. A pair of jeans, the hems dirty and frayed over scuffed boots. A man's button down shirt that was two sizes too large for her hung on her small frame. She'd pulled her long, light brown hair into a ponytail. Her berry-pink lips were pulled back over her teeth in a feral snarl and her dark red eyes blazed at me as she mirrored my stance.
"Abigail." I hissed.
"Jasper." she returned.
"You're a long way from Texas." I rolled my shoulders.
"I could say the same for you." She flexed her hands, curling the fingers into claws. Glaring at me, she transferred her weight onto the balls of her feet and shifted her body to lower her center of gravity. Not here was all I could think. Not here, not so close to my family, to Alice. I couldn't let my past destroy my present, and my future. Inching backwards, I attempted to draw her deeper into the woods. I would do this quickly and quietly and I would finish this. I wondered briefly if I should call for Edward and have him search her mind for information, but quickly dismissed the idea. This was my problem, I would deal with it. The same way I would deal with anyone else who came along threatening me and mine.
I'd only got her to move a few feet back when Abigail stopped and growled at me. We had faced each other often on the battlefield. We knew how the other fought. She was younger than me, but I only made the mistake of underestimating her once. My shoulder still carried the scar from her venom. It was understandable why her creator had allowed her to live once she'd begun to outgrow her newborn strength. She was smart, and I knew she'd figured out what I was trying to do. She started moving backwards. It seemed I would have no choice but to fight here. Growling, I bared my teeth.
She was copying me when I felt a wave of confusion. "What the hell is with your eyes?" she asked.
"They're this strange, dark yellow."
"It's nothing. I just haven't hunted in a while."
She straightened minutely. "That still doesn't explain it."
"Look, does it matter?" The muscles in my legs bunched as I prepared to strike.
But Abigail had switched from a fighting stance to a defensive one and was tensed like she was about to run. "Seriously, what the hell?" she asked.
"It's the animal blood," I sighed, relaxing slightly.
The confusion doubled, tinged slightly by revulsion. "Animal blood?"
She'd stopped moving, but hadn't returned to an aggressive stance. "Why are you drinking animal blood?"
If I were Edward, I'd be pinching the bridge of my nose to hell and back. Instead, I relaxed even more, straitening until I stood at my full height. Abigail wasn't going to attack. Hell, she wasn't even going to run anymore. She too had straightened, and was regarding me with a mix of curiosity and disbelief.
"My family and I don't hunt humans," I told her. "We only drink the blood of animals."
"Well, that's…" she trailed off. "That's disgusting, actually."
I laughed. I honestly laughed. Abigail tried to look angry, but the effect was ruined by the smile tugging at her lips. "I suppose it doesn't sound too appetizing. To be honest, it doesn't taste that great, either. Or completely satiate the hunger." How had Edward put it? "It's like living on tofu and soy milk."
"Then why do you do it?"
"Because it allows us to build stronger, truer bonds. This life of sacrifice allows us to function as a true family, something the large southern clans will never manage." Abigail continued to watch me calmly. "Think of it, Abigail. Can you honestly say there was anything family-like about the way we lived?"
"But it's a good life, a better life."
"Isn't it hard?" She wrapped her arms around herself and looked off into the distance. "There are so many people here. Doesn't the smell of their blood tempt you?"
I turned my back to her. "Yes, yes it does. And it is difficult. " I turned back to face her. "I would have failed so many times, if not for my family."
"You keep mentioning them," she said, sliding down the tree to sit on the ground. "Who are they? Other refugees from the war-torn South?"
"No," I sat across from her on a flat rock. "They're the Cullens."
"Cullen… Didn't I hear something about them recently?" her brow furrowed in thought. "Wasn't that the name of the coven that clashed with the Volturi?"
"Yes, that was us."
Her face was blank, but I could feel the assortment of emotion. "They said your coven created an immortal child," she said, her voice even.
"They said wrong," I retorted, my voice cold. "Renesmee is no more an immortal child than you or I am."
Abigail raised her brows at my tone, but didn't say anything. Instead, she asked, "What is she, then?"
"She's a half-breed. Conceived and born to my brother's mate while she was still human."
"A human couldn't survive bearing the offspring of a vampire," Abigail scoffed.
"And she didn't," I agreed. "If not for Edward's quick thinking, he would have lost his mate forever."
"Huh," she shrugged. "And how does Maria feel about all of this?"
"I don't know and I don't care. Maria is no longer apart of my world."
"I see." Hopping up, she took a few steps before turning back to me. "This is your world now. Living in a college town with a family of vampires, living off the blood of animals. I have to admit, it's not where I pictured you ending up."
"Oh?" I jumped off the rock. "And, just where did you imagine me ending up?"
"I don't know. I guess I just always thought I'd kill you."
"Or you'd kill me. Either way, I didn't see either of us walking away from the wars." Abigail turned her back towards me again. "But here we both are," she finished softly.
A soft rustle caught my attention, reminding me. "Hey," I asked, "do you want to try it?"
She turned back. "Try what?"
"There's a small herd of deer to the north a little ways."
She curled her lip. "You want me to hunt…deer?"
"Sure." I headed in the direction the herd was in. "Unless, you know, you don't think you have the skills."
"Yeah. Animals are harder then humans. Humans will ignore the warning signs for a pretty face, but animals are ruled by instinct. They'll run as soon as they sense danger."
"Oh really? Well then, I always did like a challenge." She walked pass me, tossing out casually over her shoulder, "and just so you know, I knew what you were trying to do the whole time."
As the two of us drew closer, the deer stilled. Raising their heads, they sniffed the air, searching for the sent of danger. There were two males, an older one with an impressive rack and a younger one that showed potential to age into something equally magnificent. About five does stood uneasily by them. "I get the big one," I whispered to Abigail before leaping out of the bushes. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw her streaking off in the direction of the smaller male.
I took down the older buck and quickly drained him before turning to check on Abigail. I found her a few feet away, crouched over her own kill. When she finished and looked up at me, I couldn't help but laugh over the sheer look of disgust on her face as she swallowed the last mouthful of blood. "I wish I could throw up," she muttered.
"It's not that bad," I said, still chuckling.
"Ugh! It's horrible!" She spun to face me with her hands on her hips. "How did you manage to stay so clean?" The front of her shirt was soaked with blood while mine had escaped even the smallest speck.
"Practice," I told her.
She walked to the small stream the deer had been drinking from. "So," she asked, "other than the local furry populace, what are you doing here?"
"My family maintains permanent residences nearby, and my brother and his mate attend Dartmouth along with my mate."
She looked surprised. "Members of your coven attend college?"
"High school as well. I can't tell you the number of times we've attended high school."
"I suppose that's part of the whole "Blending in with the humans" thing?" she guessed.
"Right. Humans see a group of teenagers running around; they wonder why they're not in high school like all the other little human teenagers are." Abigail shook her head in disbelief. "Speaking of why I'm here," I continued, "what are you doing here? The last time I saw you, we were on the battlefield. Did you leave William's coven?"
She was so quiet as she stared into the water that I thought she wouldn't answer at first. I was picking up feelings of guilt and resentment from her, enabling me to predict what had happened even before she answered. "William's dead."
"How?" I asked, just as quietly. I couldn't see the older vampire going down easy.
Squaring her shoulders, she turned to face me. "He got careless around the newborns and one of them got their arms around him."
She snorted. "I'm not. I could have stayed behind, took control of the coven, but I just…" she trailed off, gesturing slightly with her hands.
"Got tired of fighting?" I finished for her.
"Yes," she said, nodding slightly. "Yes, I suppose that's it. I'm not a violent person, you know. I never was. But William never really gave me a choice. One day I was sitting on the veranda drinking mint juleps, and the next thing I remember was the burning. And then the horrible thirst. When I finally became old enough to think past the thirst, I realized that it was not only kill or be killed, but that you had better have more to offer than just brute strength once it began to wan. Otherwise…" she stopped talking and sighed. There was no need to have her finish the sentence. We both knew what happened to newborns that had outlived their usefulness.
"When William was killed, I saw my chance. The coven was in chaos, and I thought no one would miss me. So I slipped away and came north. I thought I was leaving my past behind, but here you are."
"You're not the only one who wanted to leave their past behind."
"So I'm beginning to see."
I leaned my shoulder against a tree. After all she had shared; it seemed only fair to reciprocate. Plus, I wanted to share a bit of my own story, to let her know that she wasn't alone in wanting more than the fighting.
"I have certain abilities," I confided to her, "that allow me to share in the emotions of those around me. The constant killing had begun to wear on me, sending me into a depression. One that I did not understand. Killing was the only life I knew, why should it bother me at all? One day, a friend that had left the coven previously with his mate came back. He told me that in the five years since they had left, they'd never had a fight, though they'd met many others in the north.
"He convinced me to leave the coven and live a nomadic life with him and his mate. However, I was still plagued by the depression I couldn't understand. Peter, my friend, noticed it was always worse after I hunted.
"See, after so many years of fighting, I'd almost wiped out all of my humanity. It was only when I killed, and I shared in my victims dying emotions, that I remembered what it was like to be human again. Living with their horror and fear, it became too much.
"When the depression became too hard to bear, I left my companions. I wandered on my own, killing to live and sinking further and further into despair, when I came upon a little diner in Philadelphia." I smiled at the memory. "I met my mate there, and together we traveled to the Cullens."
Abigail's burgundy eyes watched me intently as a finished. She seemed to be looking into me, reading more from my story then I'd meant to tell her.
"Jasper!" Alice's voice reached me on the breeze. It was faint, which meant she was still some distance off. Abigail turned her head towards the voice.
"So," she observed. "That's the real reason you turned to this new life, then."
"Yeah," I said to myself, even though I knew full well Abigail could hear me, "that's the reason."
We stayed like that for a minute, both of us perfectly still as we gazed in the direction my tiny wife was coming from. Turning back to regard me, Abigail smiled fully. "It's time for me to go. I'm glad I met up with you, Jasper. I can't say I agree with the way you're living your life, but it's obviously working for you." At my raised brow she continued. "I don't think I've ever seen you so…" she searched for a word, "happy. That's it. I've never seen you so happy before."
"Abigail, when you saw me, we were trying to kill each other."
She scowled. "You know what I mean, Jasper. I could tell you were miserable. I just didn't care because, hey, I was trying to kill you anyway. But seeing you like this, away from the battlefield, you have this, I don't know, lightness to you. Like you've been given a new chance at life."
She turned her head to look into the woods again, a small smile on her lips. "And I can guess where you got it from." She backed away from me, her body in a quarter turn. "That's what I want for myself. I know that now. Good luck, Jasper. I truly wish you the best." And with that, she was gone.
I was still staring after her when Alice joined me. "Who was that?" she asked.
I looked down into her golden eyes, smiling up at me. I didn't know if I'd ever see Abigail again, but I knew everything I had shared with her that day was the absolute truth. Abstaining from humans and drinking only animal blood was difficult, more so for me then the others, due to my bloody history, but I had the best incentive in existence. And even though animal blood would never taste as good as the poorest of human blood, the rewards were so much more gratifying.
I draped my arm over Alice's shoulders and turned us both towards home. "Oh," I said, as we began to wander back, "just an old acquaintance."