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Part two: Reversed
Bella and I were in the meadow together, having a very nice afternoon, when I was pulled out of my daydream by Jasper's thoughts.
You know Edward, no matter how much we tease, Emmett and I really are happy for you and Bella.
I looked over at him, he was looking into the distance a bit as he continued.
After having Alice for so long, I cannot even imagine living without her. She's vital to my existence, and sometimes we still don't take into account that you obviously feel at least that strongly about Bella.
I raised one eyebrow and questioned, "At least?"
Well, I personally don't believe that I could feel anything stronger than what I do. However, based purely on the facts that Bella's still human, and alive... well, that says something for the depth of your feelings. Even having the gift that I do, I don't think that I ever feel the entirety of what you two have together.
I nodded, "As much as I'd like you to, I don't think anyone will ever understand exactly how Bella's and my relationship even works."
What do you mean?
I tried to project my need to keep this between us, as brothers, and the fact that me sharing this with him was a first.
Jasper nodded, I get it Edward, no telling. Not even Alice, as much as she might pry. And I appreciate that you're sharing what you think. That's a rare occurrence. He gave me a small, conspirational grin.
I offered a half-smile in return. "Well, there's always the vampire-human element. But after losing her, the thought of drinking from her is incomprehensible. Do you understand that bit?"
I think so, because not only would losing her destroy your existence, but knowing that you were the one who did it would be an even worse agony?
I grimaced, "Yeah, that's about it. But beyond that, she would understand if I broke down and drank. And not only that, but she wouldn't care. She would just sympathize with me because she knows that I don't want to let Carlisle down."
Wait, she wouldn't care?
I sighed, "Nope."
Why the hell not?
"That first Saturday, when I went into the woods with her, we had this discussion. She didn't care, she just understood. Amazing as she is - and foolish as she was back then - she just wanted to be with me."
Wow, just like that?
I snorted, "Pretty much. Maybe I'll tell you more of the story sometime."
Who knew. I mean, after she told me that she didn't blame me at all for doing what I did on her birthday-
Sorry. But really, I knew that us being vampires really didn't bother her and that she understood that our natures are different. Still, she felt like that even in the beginning? Wow.
"I know. She truly is amazing."
Amazing indeed. But Edward, if you know how Bella feels, how you feel, and considering the fact that Alice's visions of you two are almost exclusively as a vampire couple, how can you not change her?
I was sure that Jasper could feel the conflict and frustration radiating from me as I struggled to come up with an honest, understandable answer.
"I don't always know the answer to that, Jasper."
Surely you know that Bella wants this, more than almost anything else. I can feel that from her Edward. Why not just do it, not worry about the after so much? I am sure that she'll be fine. Perhaps even more so than any of us before.
"Honestly? I know that she'll end up being a vampire. I see everything that Alice does, everyday. It's almost completely set in stone now. I truly do want her to have human experiences, but I suppose that I'm being a tad selfish as well."
There were so many small things I loved about Bella, but to Jasper I said, "Her blush is a constant reminder of her heart that still beats, her warmth is unlike anything else." Those were some of the selfish reasons. "But one thing that has kept me from changing her today or yesterday is that she still doesn't see herself as deserving of me while she's 'only human.'"
Jasper's mental tone was a tad incredulous. What? Surely she feels for you as strongly as a human can; and doesn't she know by now that you undoubtedly love her in return?
Jasper's mind briefly glanced over memories of Alice recounting what had happened in Italy.
I sighed, "Not necessarily. Consciously, I think that she believes it. But her unconscious still doubts every night." Jasper's thoughts had a questioning flavor, so I explained further. "She still has nightmares about when I... left."
What exactly do you mean, "still?"
"You know about the horrific nightmares that she used to have. I thought she could be relieved of some of that when I'm there. And she is. But now anytime that I'm gone, whether it be for hunting or anything else, her mind and body automatically panic. It frightens me, Jasper." Bella's and my need for each other had no comparison. We were both only shells when the other was lacking.
I don't know what to tell you Edward, but I'm sure that the both of you will figure it out and do what's best. Jasper's tone had an optimistic edge to it, and he sent me a small dose of comfort along with his thought.
We'll see. I thought grimly to myself. I knew that I lost all rationality when it came to Bella, so how could I be assured that whatever decision we make would be what's best?
What's wrong now? Jasper asked, mentally speculating on what stray internal dialogue might have turned my mood so sour.
I thought for a split second about trying to explain further, but shrugged my shoulders as I brushed it off. "Nothing too different than the usual."
Jasper could obviously tell that I wasn't being completely truthful, but tossed a grin my way, "The usual huh?"
"Yep. And speaking of usual..." I heard Emmett's mental clock stop as he finished off a bear that he had caught only a minutes before. "Emmett's on his way back, I suppose it's my turn next."
Jasper's enthusiasm returned a bit, "I don't need to remind you of the rules, do I Edward?"
I chuckled, "No, I don't think so."
Jasper tried to send waves of competitiveness my way, but I threw him a meaningful glance. "Cut it out Jasper. I know I'm not as excited as you'd like me to be, but I'm not feeling much like a competition anymore. Hunting is a necessity now, nothing more."
Jasper looked at me with a mockingly sour look, "Party pooper."
I rolled my eyes good-naturedly, "Whatever Jasper. I think you've been hanging around Emmett too much."
The humor was apparent in his mind as he sniffed. "Certainly not. If I had, I would've readily agreed that you were the youngest in the family."
"Oh please, not that again." I huffed.
Jasper's stiff façade broke and he grinned at me, "Why else do you think that I had our hunting competition order be youngest to oldest?"
My grin broke through as well, and I laughed.
"I heard that!" Emmett hollered at the top of his lungs. He was still a couple of miles away, but we heard him, loud and clear.
Jasper and I chuckled as we waited for Emmett to make his way back to us.
Jasper's words from earlier made their way back through my mind, that even though they teased brutally, they were still my brothers. My gratitude for their understanding, and willing distraction today grew in me. Jasper looked my way, cocking his head in acknowledgment.
I grinned as I thought about what new playful jibe Emmett would have for me when he got back to the clearing. I knew he would try to goad me into doing something he could tease me for further.
But two could play that game, so we'll see.
- Author's Note:
Hello again. I must say, this chapter took much longer to write than I wanted it to. My apologies. Hopefully the concluding chapter will be a shorter wait. Writing a brotherly heart-to-heart is much harder than I imagined, especially getting the details right. Please leave me a review, I had upward of 250 readers last chapter, subscriptions/favorites and only 5 reviews. I'm asking for 10 new reviews(16 total) before I post the last chapter. If that's too much to ask, I'll still post it of course. Still, reviews are a writers' lifeblood. =)
Anyways, thanks to my God, and everyone who has (or will have) reviewed or favorited this story!
***Subscribers: Sorry for the false update, I accidentally deleted this chapter when I was editing a few things.