I sighed and reminded myself that she was in no danger. Esme stood before Jasper, not quite confident, but not worried either. I reminded myself that there was no need to feel worried. Jasper would not hurt her.
Nonetheless, it went against my every instinct to simply stand there and let Jasper lunge at Esme. To let him attack her, even though I knew full well he was only teaching her to fight, teaching her things that would be necessary to ensure her survival in the battle to come.
I wondered how he was dealing with this. Did it bother him to be attacking the woman he considered his mother? Did it bother him when he was demonstrating Alice's ability to take care of herself for Bella?
I stifled a growl as they both froze, Jasper's teeth not far from Esme's throat. I reminded myself that my son was not going to hurt her. I hoped he was too busy to notice how much this bothered me. It would only make him feel guilty.
He slowed down, a bit, enough for her to follow his movements clearly, and began asking if she understood what he was doing. He encouraged her as she caught on, and I could see her confidence increasing a bit. He sped back up, little by little, until he was again at her throat. He slowed back down minutely and they continued.
Alice put a hand on my arm. "It's okay." She reminded me softly.
"I know." I replied, my voice barely audible, though the others were so focused on Jasper and Esme. I doubted they heard us. "It doesn't make it any easier."
"I know what you mean." She said with a small smile. Did it bother her to watch Jasper with the others, I wondered. "He's hating this." She clarified after a moment.
Jasper hadn't seemed to mind the idea of instructing us all in fighting. I frowned, though I didn't take my eyes off of Esme to look at Alice.
Alice explained. "He's glad to be able to help, but the idea of attacking Esme, or even you, or Rosalie bothers him, even though he knows he isn't going to hurt any of you." She said softly. "Emmett and Edward aren't so bad, though, he's wrestled with them before."
"What about you?" I asked. "How do you stand and watch?"
I saw her smile out of the corner of her eye. "I know he can take care of himself. Maybe Edward could take him, but the rest of you couldn't, if it ever actually came to it. And," She continued, perhaps sensing my next question, "neither of us could hurt the other. So we don't have a problem practicing, even though we both know I could take him."
I sighed. It was a slight distraction, but it wasn't really changing anything. I didn't like Jasper, who I knew could be deadly, attacking my wife. One little slip-
"He's being careful, Carlisle." Alice said. "He couldn't live with himself if something were to happen to her."
I nodded in reply and forced myself to relax. I had been perfectly safe while we practiced, as had Rosalie. Jasper would make sure none of us were hurt. Nothing had happened to us, and he wouldn't allow anything to happen to Esme.
It was silly of me to worry. And unworthy. Jasper deserved better than that. I trusted him to know what he was doing, and to be careful. And Alice would have seen if something were going to happen, wouldn't she?
Still, I was relieved when Jasper finally let her go and went back to Emmett. I finally began to relax as she came to stand by me, completely safe, unmarked and unharmed.
"You weren't worried?" She asked me quietly as Emmett and Jasper began to get into it. I shrugged, and she laughed softly. "You didn't need to worry, Carlisle. I was perfectly safe." I don't think Esme ever had any fear of what Jasper was capable of. I hadn't thought I was worried about him, before today.
"Edward isn't the only overprotective one in the family, you know." Esme confided, watching Emmett and Jasper. I wrapped an arm around her, and shifted my gaze to check on everyone else, both our family, and the werewolves. "As silly as I knew it was," she confided, "I worried about you too."
Jasper was giving Emmett advice now, the two of them arguing good naturedly as Emmett tried to go for his throat and Jasper was suddenly behind him again.
As we finished, and most of the werewolves began to slip off among the trees, Jasper came to stand beside me. He didn't say a word, but I could feel his apology. He was sorry for worrying me.
"I know you wouldn't have hurt her, Jasper." I said. "I don't know why I-"
"You love her." He said. "Of course you were worried about her, whether you needed to or not." He shrugged. "Don't worry about it." He told me. "It's natural."
"Still," I said, "I don't want you to think I don't trust you."
He smiled. "I know you do, or you would never have let her practice. We all get overprotective sometimes, Carlisle. We can't help it."
"Jasper?" Edward called then, and Jasper excused himself.
Disclaimer: As ever, Twilight and all it encompasses belongeth not unto me.