A/N: Apparently, I'm a masochist. I can barely find the time to sleep, let alone write, and yet here I am, starting another story. This idea has been bouncing around in my head for ages now, and I knew if I didn't get a little bit of it down on paper soon, there was a chance I would never write it. I can't tell you how fast updates will come, and if there's no response to it whatsoever, I'll take it as a sign that it was never meant to be in the first place. But I had to try.

I'm sure some of you will be confused by what you're about to read, but please understand that the prologue is just a tiny glimpse of what will come to pass further down the road. If you've read any of my other stories, you know I'm all about the happily ever after, even if it means a little heartache has to happen first. If you choose to stick with me, I promise to make it worth your while.

A few things of note...first, this is not an Edward and Bella story. I've jumped outside of my comfort zone and, more than likely, many of yours as well. This is a story about Jasper and Bella, and as of right now, it will all be told from Jasper's point of view. It's All-Human, and while there may be some canon pairings and situations, I'll make no promises that it will tow the Twilight line completely.

So read, and then please tell me what you think. I'll take your silence as your way of telling me not to pursue this any further.

SM owns all things Twilight.

Prologue

There's an old saying about letting go of someone you love. You know the one. It says that if they return to you, they were always yours, and if they don't, they were never yours to begin with. But life is often more complicated than that. People make decisions every day that can change the course of the future, and we are sometimes powerless to stop certain events once they are put into motion. As humans we are often in no more control of our destinies than we are of the weather.

We can organize our lives in to nice little compartments and make plans for the directions we want them to go in. We can plant the seeds of a life and watch while it grows. We can shelter, nourish and tend to it in an effort to ensure the best possible outcome. We can even hope and pray. But it's not only our choices that shape our lives. Our paths, in the end, are never truly our own.

Those thoughts consumed me as I stood there in that godforsaken hospital, watching as my entire world came crashing down around me. I felt helpless as she was whisked away from me, bloodied and broken, and I began chanting "Please God, not again," over and over. I'd had more than my fair share of people ripped away from me in my lifetime, and if she left, I knew for certain would never recover from it.

I sunk to my knees, wailing as the thoughts of all the things I would miss out on came crashing down on me. I'd never see her smile at me again. I'd never touch her again. I'd never hear her laughter again. I'd never make love to her again. I'd never marry her, and I'd never be a father to our children. I knew that if she died, I would die, too, because she was the only woman in the world I would ever want to share any of that with.

And then, as if fate hadn't been cruel enough to me, another horrible thought struck. She was his long before she became mine. If the old saying was true, was it then possible that she would be returning to the one she truly belonged to? My mind instantly squashed that ridiculous notion, but my heart...my heart ached at the thought. Maybe it was her destiny to be with him all along.

"No!" I shouted into the empty corridor. "She's mine!"

I buried my face in my hands and whispered to my friend...the man who held her heart before me. I had always turned to him for help and guidance, and even though he was no longer at my side, I spoke aloud to him as if he were. "Edward, I need your help. I know I promised you I'd take care of her, and I know you have got to be pretty pissed at me right now for letting you down, but I'm going to ask you for this favor anyways. If you see her, turn her around and send her back to me. Make her stay here with me, man, because I can't live without her. You know better than anyone that we've all lost too much already."

And then, looking up at the yellowed tiles of the ceiling, I pleaded with him loudly, screaming so that my voice would reach the heavens. "I know you're watching over us from up there, and I know that if you can do anything to help us, you will. Please, make her come home, Edward. I love her."

My body shook violently as my sobs rocked through me and my knees ached from resting against the cold tile of the hospital floor. Unable to hold itself up any longer under the weight of my grief, my body fell further on to the floor. Instinctively, my knees curled in to my chest and I clutched my arms tightly around my waist. I couldn't tell you how long it was that I laid there before someone finally came for me.

"Get up, son," a soft, familiar voice said from above me. I felt his reassuring hand touch my shoulder, and I lifted one of mine to take it. He helped heave my limp body off of the floor and then rested his hands against my arms.

"General, Sir. I'm so, so sorry," I said weakly. I didn't want to look him in the eye for fear of what I would see there. I had no composure left, and I wouldn't have wanted to fake it, even if I could.

"Son, I'm not talking to you as an officer right now. I'm talking to you as her father. I know you did everything you could to get her out of there. None of this is your fault." He paused, took a deep breath and continued. "Jasper, I...I need you to be strong right now. I can't do this alone."

I saw the tears pooling in his eyes, and for the first time in my life, I witnessed a Marine break down. "Charlie," I whispered as I fell into his arms. "She can't die, Charlie. She just...she...she can't."

We held each other for a long moment before finally stepping apart. "C'mon, Jasper," he said, his voice thick with emotion. He clapped a hand on top of my shoulder and turned me around. "Let's go sit down. She'll be in surgery for hours, and all we can do now is wait and have faith that they're doing everything they can for her."

I trudged beside him through the doors that led to the waiting room and took a seat in a hard, plastic chair. Resting my head back against the wall, I shut my eyes and allowed my mind to wander to thoughts of a beautiful heart-shaped face, deep brown eyes, full, pink lips and long mahogany hair.

"I love you, Bella. Come back to me," I said aloud in the open room. I could only pray that somehow, some way, she would me.