Disclaimer: I don't own Twilight or any characters, places, things, or ideas therein. They belong to the lovely Stephenie Meyer, not to mention Little, Brown, and Company and Summit Entertainment. This fic is for entertainment purposes only, not monetary gain.

Summary: Jasper's always hated being the weakest link in the Cullen family. But his strengths lie in other areas… JxA

Rating: T

Warnings: A few vampiric thoughts and a kiss

Pairings: Jasper/Alice, briefly mentions Edward/Bella

Spoilers: Slight ones for Eclipse and Breaking Dawn

Part: 1/1

Dedication: To jewel of athos, who inspires me and my writing, makes me laugh, cheers me up when I'm down, and is the best twin sister in the world. Enjoy!

Author's Note: I love Jasper and Alice's relationship, and I imagine he's pretty tired of being the weakest link in the coven. But I also think he doesn't see his strengths clearly enough, so this fic explores that a bit. Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoy!


Strength

fyd818


I stood in the middle of a firestorm, the unstable emotions of high school students hitting me from all sides. I'd survived a near-century of war, danger, abuse, and constant near-death in Maria's army, but that was nothing compared to this.

Briefly wondering if it was possible for a vampire's vision to go blurry (for it seemed mine was), I rested my head against my locker door and tried hard not to tremble. For so many years, in so many towns, for so many reasons, I'd exposed myself to the temptations and tortures of high school, constantly repeating four years after four years of endless bloodlust and emotional overload.

Drawing in several deep breaths, I tried to reach past the turmoil to find the slightest shred of calm, if it existed. My hands curled into fists at my sides, so tightly the pen I hadn't realized I'd still been holding shattered. I had just enough presence of mind left to hope no one had seen that.

My breathing got shallower and shakier as I tried to regain control over myself. I'd been doing this for decades, so why all of a sudden did it feel like I was new to it all over again?

Suddenly a new emotion, stronger than any other, slammed into me. I doubled over, seeing people giving me strange looks, but none of them stopped. I was too strange to them, and as humans, their natural instincts were warning them away from me, a vampire, even if they didn't know what I really was.

I fell to my knees, vaguely hearing the tile floor crack upon impact, as I fisted my hands in my hair. I wanted so badly to run, to get away, as far away as I could from this madness, but I couldn't move. I could barely think past the almost physical pain that I was feeling.

"Jasper!" Two small, intensely familiar hands grasped my shoulders as Alice knelt before me, her gold eyes wide with concern. "Jasper!"

"I can't do this!" I managed to gasp out. "Please, Alice, make it stop…" I moaned. She was flipping through emotions -- worry, fear, anxiety, anger, love, and back around -- so quickly it was making everything worse, but I would never tell her that.

Taking my face in her hands, Alice drew me to her and wrapped her arms around my shoulders. "Just a few more moments, just hang on a few more moments," she whispered. "The bell will ring for next period, and then we'll go."

I could feel Alice trying hard to regulate her emotion, but she was having a hard time. I realized it was because I was projecting, but I couldn't help it. There was just too much.

An eternity later the bell finally rang as promised. Everyone lost interest in Alice and me as they hurried to their next classes. I briefly glimpsed Edward and Bella among them, but Alice sharply shook her head at them, and they hurried on, although they both looked intensely worried.

The hall cleared quickly, although the emotional barrage I was under barely lessened. Alice slid under my arm and lifted me up, steadying me as we headed for the front doors. I hoped we wouldn't run into any teachers -- or, heaven forbid, the principal -- still in the halls. There was no way we could explain this, especially since Alice and I were moving at a faster-than-human speed.

Things cleared a little when we got outside. I finally let out the breath I hadn't realized I'd been holding, unclenching my fists as Alice guided me towards the cover of the woods that surrounded the school on three sides. We broke into a run when we got to the trees and didn't stop until the only emotions I was feeling were Alice's and my own rapidly calming ones.

It would figure that the attack would begin during the one class Alice and I didn't have together. We'd tried to arrange our schedules to match, but we'd had to separate for one class, when she had gym and I had American History, which I loved until today. "Did you have a vision?" I asked her somewhat shakily.

Alice nodded. "And today, of all days, Coach Cobb decided to keep us late." She brushed my hair out of my eyes and shook her head. "Those were the longest three minutes, twenty-seven seconds of my life."

Of course Alice counted. "Mine too," I agreed. "It wasn't so bad, really, until I got to the hall, and everyone was there." I shook my head, recalling the overwhelming surge of emotion that had hit me so violently all of a sudden. I'd been affected by emotions before, but never that strongly, even between classes at other schools.

Tugging on my shoulders, Alice made me lie down so my head was on her lap as she ran her fingers through my hair soothingly. Nothing but calm and carefully controlled love radiated off her. "The visions just kept coming to me, and I couldn't help you…" Her free hand briefly tightened on my shoulder, her emotion flickering toward regret for a moment before she regained control. She'd learned long ago how to control herself around me, and sometimes I felt ashamed that she needed to, for I felt I needed to have more control over myself.

"You did," I said. "You got there, and got me here." I sighed, finally allowing myself to fully relax.

Alice leaned down and kissed my forehead. "I love you, Jasper. You were so strong."

I winced. "No I wasn't," I said glumly. "I'm the weakest in the whole coven, including Bella, who's still practically a newborn. She's never taken a human life. I've killed thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands. I can't seem to control my own power, let alone my own bloodlust…" I trailed off sharply, feeling guilty for having snapped at Alice.

She stared down at me with an unfathomably sad expression in her eyes. "You don't see it, do you, Jasper?" she asked.

"See what?"

Her hand returned to stroking across my hair. "One of the visions I had was of you completely losing your control and attacking. It -- would not have been pretty, and probably would have brought the Volturi down on us."

I cringed, unsurprised at that. It had been harder to control my constant thirst for blood when I'd felt like I was being attacked with everyone's emotions. Now that I thought back on it, it had been nearly impossible. "That's not strong," I said bitterly. "If I had better control of myself, like the rest of you…"

Alice shook her head and placed her free hand over my mouth. "Listen to me," she said firmly. "My point in saying that is to prove that you didn't go out-of-control. You maintained your control and didn't attack or give in to your bloodlust even though you felt like you were being attacked and were at a very vulnerable point right then."

I shook my head. I wasn't strong, I never really had been, even when I'd been Maria's second-in-command. I'd thought I was, several times. But then I'd been faced with the life of a vegetarian, and had slipped up many horrible times. I'd put our family in danger -- put Alice in danger. No, I wasn't strong.

"Do you know how long it's been since you last slipped up?" she asked me randomly.

I shook my head. I could remember the instance, but not how long ago it had been.

"Seventeen years. Seventeen years, Jasper. You have not tasted human blood for all these years, though you have been tempted. Then again -- haven't we all?" She tipped her head to the side, staring at me with intense, completely truthful eyes.

Closing my eyes, I let out a sigh. Alice trusted in me implicitly, sometimes too implicitly, but I was the better for it. And as long as I had Alice, I would always try to be a better person, for her.

Far above us, the sun broke from behind the cloud cover briefly, seeping through the trees for a moment to sparkle on the parts of Alice and my skin that were exposed. For a long time, I had seen my skin as that of a killer, but now I was slowly starting to see myself differently.

Perhaps I was stronger than I gave myself credit for. But Alice was my inner strength, and always would be. I could be strong by myself -- today had proved that -- but strength wasn't just about oneself, it was about trusting in others, too.

Alice reclined next to me, then lay her head on my chest. I wrapped my arms around her, reveling in the atmosphere of where I loved being most -- alone with Alice -- and watched the sunlight above as it made us sparkle together.

We are strong.

I am strong.

-The End-


Happy Thanksgiving, everyone, and thanks for reading!