Disclaimer: They're not mine, damn it.
..::AN::.. Ugh... Okay, so in case you missed it, the first chapter has been rewritten, check it out if you haven't already. This took entirely too long to write. I love me some clueless GWolff for giving me an outsider's view on the whole thing and itmustbebritt for giving me the Twilight knowledge I severely lacked.
"I'm so sorry, Jasper... There's no use pretending anymore..."
Alice had looked so fragile last time Jasper had seen her. And as always, so goddamned beautiful. She hadn't even allowed him to see her retreating form as she sprinted away. Only a soft warning, dripping with defeat, "Don't follow me." She'd gotten irritatingly proficient at masking her less desirable emotions in the more than fifty years she and Jasper had known each other, but he had still noticed the subtle change. She just wasn't as warm as he remembered her when Jasper and Edward had returned from an emergency hunting trip. The vegetarian diet had been wearing on Jasper a little more than usual. The weekly hunting trips weren't holding him over, and with school about to start up again, the emergency trips became ever more frequent. Always, Edward would go with him, just in case.
When the two had left earlier that night, the love had been rolling off Alice in blazing waves; warming his bitter body to the core. Even the chilling disappointment seeping from Carlisle's room couldn't penetrate the heat Alice gave him. She'd stood on the tips of her toes to kiss him goodbye and wished him "Happy hunting!" Jasper could still remember the fire he felt in his finger tips as they glided down her pale cheek and traced the smooth line of her lips. He hadn't felt the same heat since. Not until the wolf...
Thinking back on it, Jasper wished he'd paid more attention to the slight numbing in his fingers as he and Edward approached their luxurious dwelling. For only a second his heart had plummeted to the pit of his stomach before Alice's heat had lifted it right back where it belonged. She'd moved instantly to Jasper's side, clinging to his torso and burying her head in his chest. Jasper had come to rely on that heat so heavily that he'd pushed everything else away, only noticing a minute drop in the degree of her love. He ruffled her short, unkempt hair and chuckled, "Did you miss me?"
She hadn't moved her head to meet his satiated, amber eyes. She merely held him tighter, increasing the heat as best she could and whispered, "I'll always miss you... I'll always love you..."
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The sickening crack of the large cat's spine didn't bring him nearly as much joy as he hoped it would. Jasper ripped the animal's head off and drank greedily of the freely running blood. He let his mind drift as the metallic liquid filled his mouth and stomach. The primal satisfaction acquired from the blood, momentary though it was, was a welcome release from memories of Alice. He didn't want to remember the heat. He didn't want to remember the suspicion that grew like a tumor in the back of his mind, whispering doubts he ignored like the vague ramblings of psychosis. He didn't want to remember the hushed fight that had broken out between them when she finally decided to leave...
"I'm so sorry, Jasper..."
"Please... Don't leave me."
He tossed the drained cougar's body to the side and searched for more. There was no reason to wipe the wasted blood from his lips as it slid down his chin. It reminded him of the monster he was. The monster Alice no doubt saw in her vision. "You're no fucking fair, Alice." He said to the empty Canadian forest around him. She'd seen something, something she refused to talk about. But whatever it was, it made the heat she gave him wane like the moon leaving the night sky. And God, was she ever his moon. She was his entire sky. His entire world. And she drifted away. Leaving him alone in a purgatory of emotions that didn't belong to him.
"I've seen my future," she'd told the family. She smiled and feigned excitement as she spoke, but the shame clutching at Jasper's heart dubbed her a liar. "I need to see the Denali clan. Really, I need to leave as soon as possible, or I might miss my chance." The back of Jasper's throat had clenched tight; she was about to cry. A low rumble of disdain had emanated from Edward when she said she'd need to go alone. Her future had no room for her current family; none of them. Not as far as she could see. Edward must have seen the truth in her mind. Her eyes flitted toward him as she'd obviously pleaded for his silence on the topic. "I love you all, really, but I have to go..."
"Please... Don't leave me."
"I'm so sorry, Jasper... There's no use..."
In the seclusion of the forest behind their house, Jasper had held her tiny wrist and refused to let her go. "Please, just tell me what you saw, I can stop it."
She'd pulled at his grip, "It wasn't your decision, Jasper. There's nothing either of us can do. I'm just getting in the way. You'll make mistakes; we all do, but trust me... In the end, it really is for the best," She turned her darkening eyes into his very core, "For the both of us." With a jerk of her wrist she was gone, her words, "Don't follow me," hung in the air around him. The depression had crushed him then. He'd collapsed to the ground, tears flowing freely. She was really gone. The heat had faded slowly over the course of a few weeks, but now there wasn't the slightest bit of warmth.
The family had been bearable with Alice by his side, but without her their emotions threatened to devour Jasper whole. Esme and Carlisle, bless their souls, had done their best to keep him from the depression that had taken residence in his heart. They sent an abundance of heavily weighted love his way. Yes, they did love him, but it was nothing compared to Alice's fire. And they betrayed themselves with the cooling disappointment that crept up Jasper's spine when they couldn't keep it in check.
Edward had been a nightmare. Not only was there the disdain that filled the room like a putrid and tangible fog following each of his steps, but also the burning love he and Bella shared. The two would turn the house into a sauna that would suffocate Jasper and force him to take shelter in the cool forest. "I didn't catch exactly what you did to her," Edward had warned Jasper after Alice and the tears and finally left him, "but I know that it broke her spirit like nothing else ever has. And I know you're going to fuck up big time." Jasper could find no words, but he was positive Edward had caught his confused string of thoughts. He wasn't entirely sure what he did either, and it broke him just as completely. "It's not my house, so I can't make you leave. Just know that I won't put up with any of your shit, okay? And I won't fight for you anymore."
Mistakes. She said he'd make mistakes. Hell, if he was going to fuck up, at least he could do it properly. The cold that had filled his body since she left could only be remedied with destruction. He couldn't feel if he didn't exist. The girl at the school had been a test. Jasper was confident that his family would forgive his first digression. They'd cover up his mistake; lessen the impact on the community. One missing girl wasn't that suspicious. But two? Five... Ten? How far would he have to go before they did something about it? Jasper was determined to find out.
Unfortunately - or was it fortunately - the wolf had caught him before he could hurt her. The opportunity to finish it once and for all had presented itself marvelously. The beast's rage, supplemented of course with any nasty emotion Jasper could throw its way, would easily lead to his destruction. After radiating as much painful fury as Jasper could manage, the wolf had finally lunged. "It's as good a day as any," he'd said, taking the fight farther from the school.
Something was off though. When the wolf had finally caught up to him, a curious void had opened in his belly. He was being watched. The wolf wasn't attacking like Jasper had planned, merely peeking from the forest shadows. Another wave of rage had the beast active again. Jasper played his part well; allowing the wolf to strike and even pin him. Oh, but something had been very wrong.
It had been his heat. The damn wolf's higher body temperature. It caught Jasper off guard and sent memories of Alice trampling through his concentrated mind. It hadn't been easy to hold back the self loathing that threatened to force its way from the depths of Jasper's stomach, and after the warming touch of the wolf, it'd become impossible. The damned beast even coaxed the pain out of him in words. Coherent sentences none the less. The emotional jumble had driven him crazy. His own sickening repulsion had mixed with the seething anger he radiated at the wolf as well as the beast's own confused anticipation.
Jasper had wanted to die. He had wanted the wolf to do it all ready. But he also wanted to feel the memory-laced warmth. When he'd flipped the wolf over, turned the tables, he'd selfishly basked in it. The pain was still there, it always would be, but the soothing heat had lessened the effect. And then it had changed; intensified. The sheer determination that seeped out of every pore in the wolf's body pulled at something deep in Jasper's chest. There'd been a desire burning in the body below him and once mixed with the natural heat it had become achingly familiar.
He'd gazed down at the strong features of the boy he held pinned. Jasper was suddenly aware of his anxious tensing muscles. And then he'd done it. He lifted his head, that damned fucking beast, and kissed him. Jasper's lips tingled now, remembering the scorching fire that had infected his soul as their lips had connected. He'd had to stop it; end the feelings. So he swallowed every sensation he could capture and held it buried deep within himself. He'd allowed nothing but the damp forest air to cling to either of them. And then he'd ran.
The self loathing returned and disturbed the fresh blood in his belly. He let himself expel the fowl contents and taint the white snow on the ground. How very fitting, he thought to himself as he walked away. His now empty stomach ached but the animals in the forest were so very unappealing. A soft but frigid breeze was drifting around him and disturbing the fallen snow. That's when he caught the scent. Subtle like honey, but unimaginably sweet. Every fiber in Jasper's body longed for whatever had created the luscious smell. It lead him through the trees that broke on the edge of a small, scarcely populated town.
As the sun was setting Jasper caught a glimpse of the source. He was a beautiful young boy, barely sixteen, and he was deliciously unaware of Jasper's presence. "You'll make mistakes..." Alice's voice reminded him softly and he approached the boy.