Title: After the Storm
Chapter One - Shadows that Lie
Pairings: Jasper/Edward, Jasper/OCs
Disclaimer: This story mine. Characters of Twilight and associated - not mine. Don't sue. Unless you really want the kids.
Author's note: Dark Edward, possibly dark Jasper, M-rated for violence and other graphic content and use of crude language.
I want to thank each and everyone of the wonderful people who have helped me take this story from a 500 word piece that I wrote one WC, to this fully fleshed out piece that tells Jasper and Edward's story. My muses are incredibly happy as am I. This will be a multi-chapter fic. Many thanks to my wonderful betas and helpers, especially my heartfelt thanks to my main woman rhenea5018 for her beta skills, her many hours labouring over plot flow and continuity with me and for constantly reassuring me, and cracking the whip when it was needed. Love you honey!
VanpireNZ - whom without the pushing and prodding to extend this out from my WC, it would have never been written, let alone published here.
And thanks to KuroiBlackNightingale for her grammar, punctuation skills and patience at rereading, and rechecking, and to gypsy_sue, VanpireNZ and vampisthenewblack for their support, editing and reading skills!
"It's the night that makes the dawning.
It's the depths that make the heights.
It's the roots that make the branches.
It's the darkness that gives birth to Light.
A large lake with still dark waters harbours small boats laying low in the eerie calm. Moonlight flows over a majestic house with silent wings, resplendent in the white light. Its many windows are dark and foreboding and there is an air of emptiness about it. A house that hints of once being white, now grey with time; large empty rooms stand quiet except for the faint echo of the family that left it long ago. The recent storm has passed over leaving a chilling mist, hanging like a miasma outside the clouded windows.
Through the mist, the solitary figure of a man stands outside on the grass, hands pushed down into his pockets. He stares intently into a room on the lower floor of the house where a dim light shines pathetically against the dark shadow of night.
Silence. The room is absent of sound, save for the deep breathing of the blond-haired figure reclining in his armchair. Solitary light peers out from beneath ashes in the hearth. The embers have burned low and the dark and the cold sidles in, eager to chase out both light and warmth from the room. The man slips in with it. Faint traces of grey wispy smoke float languorously, idly, up the draw of the chimney, carried by draughts that have crept in beneath the door. His blond hair mussed, Jasper stirs fitfully as he sleeps in his chair; the corpse of a woman lying on the couch nearby.
A quietly enraged voice breaks the stillness in the room, pulling Jasper from his fitful dozing.
"Why did you do it? Why would you force me when I specifically asked you to wait? To wait until I was ready, when I was certain that I would be able to stop?"
Previously drowsy and dazed with exhaustion, Jasper becomes startlingly alert, adrenaline coursing through his veins at the sudden appearance of this stranger. He forces himself to stay motionless in his seat, listening intently. The man's voice is tinged with an edge of sadness, but holds an undercurrent of seething anger as he scathingly delivers his words. "I could not live without you! Why would you not see that?!"
The words are not directed at Jasper.
At once curious, Jasper slowly turns his head to search for the deliverer of this blistering articulation. His breath hitches as he sees a familiar figure, their back turned to him. He quickly slams his eyes shut, feigning sleep, attempting to keep his breathing slow and regular. The reason for his panic: - it is the creature of the night - only a foot away.
Jasper attempts to see from beneath his lashes. All at once, he is excited, nervous and fearful. Standing over the nearby corpse is the dark angel, the vampire, within his reach. Jasper's heart is racing rapidly and he hears the creature speaking, the man's low voice breaking, pain apparent as he talks to the dead woman.
"Isabella... Bella... I wanted you to live a long and healthy life with me." The man starts to pace. "I know that I did not want to doom you to this life, but eventually I would have turned you. Why would you not wait? Why was it so important to you to not be older? Is a lifetime of eternal indeterminate age not enough? Did you fear your coming of age so much that you had to force it?" He paces faster and his movements become agitated.
The word explodes from him, causing Jasper to flinch in surprise and shock at both the volume and venom. The man's pacing draws him closer and closer to Jasper and Jasper finds himself wishing that he was smaller than his six foot frame so he could hide in the scant cover his armchair offered. "No, no, no! You... you could not, could you? You could not wait. You could not, no, would not abide by the idea that you would be physically older than me. ME! Despite my having a century on you already!"
Quickly, Jasper mentally calculates the age difference. In pure astonishment and reverence he openly gazes at the man. He is over a hundred years old. Jasper stares at the luminous pale skin in avid wonder. He has never been this close to one... although he has always yearned to. Jasper wants to touch him, to talk to him, to confirm his existence. The man's voice drops to a more normal tone, but Jasper can hear the aggravation and anger in his intonation.
"I am forever frozen at my age, but you cannot grasp that your measly one year difference in age is in actual fact ninety years my junior!" The words rush forth from the young pale man. A torrent of hurtful words expressing the infuriation of his hurt and vexation at her manipulation, his anger and frustration at her lies; the deep timbre of his voice echoing in the darkened room as he stands before her, his fists clenched at his side.
All is still as the vampire's seething sounds heavily in the room. Passing of time is marked only by shadows that rise and fall as clouds continue to move across the sky, covering and uncovering the moon casting its ghostly light through the windows.
Speech breaks the silence like glass shattering on a marble floor.
"Human! I know you are awake. Do not denigrate yourself or me by continuing your pretence."
Jasper sits frozen, his breath caught in his throat. He knows not what to do. His heart pumps in his chest furiously and the thrumming of his blood pounds in his ears as the malevolent glare shifts to him, and Jasper, transfixed, remains in his chair. His thoughts run rampant, wondering if this is the end for him, but the deep crimson eyes clear and the baleful glare changes as he focuses on Jasper. The man snorts in derision, "Ridiculous! You should really continue to breathe. If you pass out, who knows what I might do to you while you are unconscious."
Warily, Jasper shifts in his seat, eyeing the man cautiously. Jasper carefully draws in breath, assessing at the same time the distance between he and the door. "Do not make me hunt you, human! Two steps and I would catch you." The man's emphasis on the word 'hunt' sends a shiver down Jasper's back.
"Who are you?" Jasper breathes. "What are you?" He needs to have it confirmed.
The man eyes him carefully. "You know what I am. You saw what I am." Nodding weakly, Jasper could only stare at him, hope briefly flaring at the man's words. The man turns away, walking to the window and when he speaks, his voice is low, the inflection reserved.
"As for who I am... my name is Edward Cullen and I have come for the body of the woman." The man turns back to the corpse of the once beautiful woman. "She is, was Isabella Swan - my fiancée... and it is my fault she is dead."
Moonlight shines through tall, thin windows onto the hurried figure of Jasper as he walks through the foyer. A platter of food in his arms, his distracted demeanour suggests he is lost in thought. He stops abruptly as a seemingly disembodied voice softly queries from the shadows, "By what name do you wish to be addressed?"
In a hidden alcove, Edward leans against the wall, his stance suggesting that he has been gazing out into the misty night. He is relaxed; one hand in his pocket and his countenance is calm and natural, a far cry from his earlier disquieting behaviour. His eyes gaze perceptively at Jasper, admiring and observing the tall, lanky figure hell-bent on providing his guests with all the comforts the South has to offer. Initially it had seemed to Edward that Jasper would be the type to scurry about, like a humpbacked henchman pandering to his whims, but to Edward's grudging surprise, Jasper is far from obsequious. Edward senses the strength in the young man and he admires Jasper's fearless façade in regards to his presence. Pushing off the wall, Edward walks towards the intriguing young man.
As Jasper turns toward the voice, Edward notices the look of startled fascination upon the young man's face and a hint of mirth pulls at his lips. It's not the first time a man has found him alluring. At first Edward found it to be a bit disturbing, but quickly realized it was quite convenient; a means of coercion during the hunt. Seeing Jasper's reaction, so similar to those he had...hunted, Edward finds himself in an unfamiliar quandary. Instead of subjugating this blond man, Edward wants to placate his fears and earn his acceptance.
"Did I startle you?" Edward asks quietly, stopping in front of the blond man. "I forget that humans do not hear the same way we do."
Edward's eyes search the other man's face. What he is looking for is unclear. The shake of the pale blond man's head creates movement in the air, stirring it and sending a waft of a distinctively mellow, almost palatable scent to Edward's nose. He breathes in the tempting aroma, briefly closing his eyes. As he slowly reopens them, he is faced with the man's startlingly blue eyes fixated upon his face. Edward feels the want to immerse himself in the deep blue pools of the man's eyes and the desire to bathe in the essential goodness he has to offer. He is almost startled when the man's soft Southern voice cuts through the quiet.
"Well, how would you prefer to address me?" the blond man responds, the brashness in his tone causing Edward to raise his brow. Nervously, the man's bluff called, he continues with a more pronounced Southern twang. "Most people call me Major Whitlock, but I reckon you may just call me Jasper."
Edward finally releases his smile, his countenance brightening as he nods. "Well I like Jasper. It's by far a better name than 'Human', I have to say." He adds with a sly grin, "And I think we already know each other quite well wouldn't you agree, Jasper? If you disagree, perhaps we could work on that? Get to know each other a little better?" Edward is surprised at his candour.
As Jasper shyly grins back, his hair falling into his eyes, Edward has a sudden desire to feel the man's silky locks floating over his fingertips. Instead, he jams his hands into his pockets to resist giving into the temptation. It wouldn't do, at all, to scare him.
He feels they need to move, and quickly, before he says and does something that he might regret. Edward inclines his head toward the study. "Perhaps we should keep Isabella company and move into the warmth."
Jasper's warm smile as he brushes by Edward causes a disconcertingly familiar feeling to rise in Edward and as he follows the lithe figure of Jasper into the study, his stomach tenses with fear.
AN: This is my first ever slash I have attempted. Please be very gentle. New chapters will be posted as they become available. I'm hoping for one new chapter a week at this stage. Please read and review. Thanks TJ.