Disclaimer: I do not own Twilight all characters belong to Stephanie Meyer.

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Chapter 3

Twenty four agonising hours later things began to make sense again.

I registered I was now lying on something softer than the forest floor, my arms tightened and I was rewarded with a giggle.


Another giggle "Welcome back." She whispered placing a soft kiss on my cheek.

I blinked slowly, bringing our room into focus, spasms of pain still shot through me but I was over the worst of it.

"Alice." I said again stupidly.

"I'm here, everything's fine, everyone is fine." She paused "Well Maria isn't."

There was an undercurrent of guilt when she said that which I couldn't understand.

I rolled onto my side so we were facing each other but forgot what I wanted to ask when I saw her face. My hand came up to cares her cheek.

"Alice." I murmured again softly.

She tilted her head kissing the palm of my hand, closing her eyes she leant her forehead against my chest.

"What's wrong?" I asked as I felt her guilt again.

She bit her lip "I killed her." She mumbled softly.

Running my fingers through her hair I sighed "Yes I know, but why do you feel so guilty about that?"

Her eyes met mine for a second before she looked away.

"Your not upset about that?" She asked quietly causing me to frown.

"Why would you think I'd be upset about it?" I asked, for once having no idea what was going on inside her head.

"She was your companion for so long you didn't want to kill her." She mumbled trying to pull away from me but I locked my arms around her keeping her close.

"Maybe I should have." I sighed "That way non of this would have happened. I'm sorry." I finally got the words out I'd wanted to say for so long "I am so sorry you had to go through that Alice." I rested my head next to hers breathing in her scent. She still felt guilty.

"Alice if you hadn't killed Maria I would have." I told her. "When I left the south I still had no idea about any other way of life, I still didn't realise just how evil Maria was. I just wish you hadn't put yourself at risk like that, it nearly killed me seeing you fight her. You should have left it to Emmett." I growled at the end, angry she had put herself at risk.

Alice sighed her fingers brushed along my forehead trying to smooth the lines that had formed.

"Jasper I needed to do that, for you."

I shook my head pulling her closer "If she'd hurt you…" I trailed off unable to think about it.

Alice sighed again softly "I was defending my man." she said placing a kiss on my neck "She caused you so much pain, I had to make sure she never would again."

Her eyes looked up into mine and she smiled "It was my turn to protect you."

"If she'd hurt you…" I began again but Alice cut me off.

"She didn't." She nuzzled into me " Jaz you always look out for me, you always protect me, well yesterday it was my turn. I'm sorry I worried you."

That was all it took for her to be forgiven, I'm not sure if I had been angry, upset or just unable to deal with what she had risked in fighting Maria but just one look at her beautiful golden eyes so full of love was enough for it not to matter.

She was safe, she was here and I didn't intend on wasting anymore time with 'what if's'.

We lay quietly for a while I tried not to flinch too much and jostle her when the pain hit.

Annoyance suddenly flashed in Alice.

"You nearly gave me a heart attack, I hope you realise that!" She told me.

"I'm sorry." I mumbled into her hair.

She sat up suddenly frowning, her annoyance increased "How the hell did you get around my visions? I was keeping such a close watch, nothing was wrong then suddenly your in the middle of the forest. Do you have any idea how worried I was?"

Sitting up I wrapped my arms around her "A fairly good idea." I mumbled letting a wave of calm wash over her.

She smiled, unable to stay mad for long.

"I'm sorry." That seemed to be all I could say.

"You ever put me through that again…" She trailed off her face scrunched up adorably as she tried to glare at me.

I was still too relieved she was safe to worry that she was angry with me.

Kissing her nose I smiled "I'm always gonna do whatever I can to protect you."

Shaking her head she sighed heavily but a small smile played on her lips.

"Well so am I." she said sticking her tongue out at me "So I guess we're both just going to have to get used to that."

I knew the rest of the family would be worried about me but I couldn't bring myself to break the peaceful bubble I had created with Alice.

Finally, when the pain had decreased to a dull ache at the point of the bites, I decided it was time to face them.

I slowly changed into the clean clothes Alice had picked out, deciding to burn the clothes I had been wearing at the first opportunity.

Alice sighed sadly and I gave her an apologetic smile.

Burning clothes was some heinous crime in Alice's eyes, but I needed to be rid of any reminders.

As soon as our door was open I wrinkled my nose at the stench of werewolf, I'll never get used to it.

"Better than human." Alice whispered, stretching up to kiss my cheek.

I couldn't deny that, but it did make me nervous. It was going to be hard enough facing the family after what I'd just put them through, let alone Jacob and his pack.

"No one blames you." Alice murmured taking my hand as we began to descend the stairs.

The whole family had gathered in the lounge, Leah and Seth were also present. It seemed Leah was just finishing a report to Jacob.

"We tracked them down easy enough and finished the job, there are no survivors."

Carlisle sighed sadly and I noticed Leah roll her eyes, though she had the courtesy to make sure he wouldn't see.

"They were newborns Carlisle." Jacob spoke up in defence "We didn't have much choice."

Carlisle smiled at Jake "I know, sometimes there is no other way."

I was just considering the possibility of postponing having to face them all when Edward heard my thoughts.

Stupid mind reader!

"Good to see you on your feet again." He smiled leaping up only to be pushed aside by Emmett who proceeded to pound me on my back, grinning like an idiot.

"Jaz, how you feeling man?"

"Fine." I mumbled pushing him off just in time for Esme to fling herself at me, wrapping her arms tightly around me.

Pulling back a little she looked at me in concern "Are you sure your alright?"

I nodded trying to smile reassuringly whilst feeling increasingly uncomfortable with all this attention.

Bella was the next person I saw, though thankfully she refrained from attacking me! She simply smiled, her relief I was alright flowed out of her and I felt a swell of affection for my newest sister.

I received a nod from Rosalie, though she also gave me a warm smile when no one else was looking. We always understood each other.

Esme still had me locked in her embrace, over her head I sought out Carlisle, like Bella he simply smiled.

I let out a silent sigh of relief as the crowd around me thinned and Esme finally let go of me.

The second I tried to take a step forward however, I was assaulted by a small warm body that flung itself into my arms.

"Uncle Jaz." Nessie cried out wrapping her arms around my neck.

I immediately calmed the fear and upset she was feeling "Nes what's wrong?" I asked in confusion.

She looked at me, tears brimming in her brown eyes "You were hurt." She said like it was the most obvious thing.

"I'm fine Nes." I assured, hating that I'd upset her.

Edward rolled his eyes "She was worried about you, it's not your fault."

I quickly deposited Nessie between Bella and Rosalie on one of the sofa's before heading over to the armchair where Alice had settled.

Leah and Seth had settled either side of Jacob on the other sofa and Carlisle and Esme took the small couch.

"Are you sure your alright?" Esme asked me again.

I nodded "I'm fine now, honestly."

"You took quite a beating Jaz." Emmett pointed out, delicate as ever.

"And I spent over twenty four hours recovering from it." I replied curtly.

I didn't want this, I needed to know what had happened, but I wasn't sure the best way to ask. Luckily Edward has his uses sometimes.

"Maria and Mark are both dead, most of the newborns were killed in the clearing as well, a few escaped but the pack have hunted all of them down."

I nodded my thanks to Edward, a small knot of tension leaving me. Now for the hard part.

Opening my mouth I took a deep breath, preparing for the apology I needed to give.

"Jasper there is no need to apologise." Carlisle said calmly, cutting me off "You did everything you could to try and protect us, none of us were hurt. It wasn't your fault."

"She wouldn't have been here if it wasn't for me." I mumbled at the floor.

"Hey don't worry, it was nice to finally get some vamps we could actually sink our teeth into!" Leah grinned over at me, feeling happier than I had ever known her to be.

"Trust you to need violence to make you happy." Jacob shook his head at her causing Leah to shrug.

I shifted a little uncomfortably, this hadn't been what I expected. I had put them through hell, almost literally.

How could they just forgive me this easily?

"We're not." Edward spoke up.

I frowned at him my confusion increasing.

"Jasper, we are not forgiving you, because there is nothing to forgive. After what I've put everyone through these past few years, this doesn't even compare."

"That was different." I immediately jumped in.

Smiling Edward shook his head at me "How? How is bringing the wrath of the Volturi down on our family different? Other than being worse."

I opened my mouth ready to defend him, but I couldn't, no words came out.

Edward sighed "The only reason you think it's worse is because it's to do with your past, and you always feel unnecessary amounts of guilt whenever something you do, or have done affects the family."

Well duh!

I thought. Of course I feel guilty when I hurt the family. They'd taken me in, given me numerous chances when I'd messed up. What else was I supposed to feel?

Alice giggled as Edward let out an exasperated sigh.

"Carlisle you talk to him, I'm getting nowhere." Edward complained pinching the bridge of his nose.

Before Carlisle got a chance to speak Emmett jumped in.

"What Eddie is trying to say very inarticulately." He grinned at a scowling Edward before turning back to me and sighing once dramatically "Jaz man, how long before you realise you are a part of this family? When you first told us about Maria it took a lot to stop me and Esme marching south to take her out. We've all wanted the chance to give her what she deserves for a long time now.

Oh and just to reassure you, the reason we all hate Alice right now"

My head shot down to Alice in alarm but she was grinning at Emmett.

"It's because she's the one who actually got to finish the bitch off!"

Emmett pouted at Alice "I wanted to do it." He complained like a child who hadn't gotten his own way.

I was about to tell Emmett I wished he'd done it as well when Alice stopped me.

"We've been over that." She said in a warning tone.

"Jasper." Esme's soft voice sounded "The only thing that matters is you're safe. Maria's gone, you don't have to worry about her anymore."

She smiled at me in that special motherly way that always made we feel better.

"I am sorry you all had to go through that though." I finally managed to get out.

Everyone either rolled their eyes or scowled at me but I felt a little better now I'd actually apologised.

"Fine have it your way." Bella laughed "You apologised, we forgive you. Happy now?"

I nodded trying to fight back my own smile.

Alice giggled next to me "It's a good thing I love you." she whispered so no one else could hear.

I smiled softly at her "You don't have to tell me that. It's the best thing in my life." I told her. Taking her left hand I placed a quick kiss on her ring finger.

I looked back over to my family a fog of contentment seemed to fill the room and I smiled again.

For the first time in my life I finally felt able to throw myself one hundred percent into my life here and the future I wanted with Alice.

"Thank you for saving me." I whispered to her.

She smiled back, understanding I wasn't just talking about yesterday but our whole life together.

I think I need to work on writing better endings! Anyway that's it, told you it would be short. Hope you enjoyed.