A/N: So, I normally wait until my copy of this story on Twilighted to update first, but I just got impatient (for those of you who don't know, short attention span = short patience) and BOOM! I have decided to post the second and final chapter of Strength. This is for my anonymous reviewer, #1 twilight fan, who gave me this idea. I had so much fun writing this. Anyhow, read on!
Disclaimer: I'm sure all of you who are reading have read a bunch of fanfiction and don't need to know that this story isn't mine, but I have to put this here. Who even reads these anyway? Well, I don't own it. I just borrowed Jasper to get inside of his head. NOT MINE!
Chapter Two: Disappointment
I waited patiently for Edward and Bella to arrive from their hunt. They were standing outside now and Jacob was there, checking to see Bella's reaction to his scent. It made me restless. Jacob smelled more like animal than human so that wouldn't be very good. Also, he had that terrible werewolf scent and that repelled more than lured one in. Renesmee was a different case. Everyone knew that except the dog, who wanted to test Bella's restrain. He had no clue how more appealing Renesmee was than him.
"Renesmee," I heard Bella whisper and I was up on my feet, ready to guard my niece and family.
"Come and see," Edward said. "I know you can handle this." I shook my head. He really did have too much trust in Bella.
"You'll help me?" Bella whispered. At least she had some logic.
"Of course I will."
"And Emmett and Jasper—just in case?"
"We'll take care of you, Bella. Don't worry, we'll be ready. None of us would risk Renesmee. I think you'll be surprised at how entirely she's already wrapped us all around her little fingers. She'll be perfectly safe, no matter what." Jacob suddenly appeared in front of Bella.
"Are you sure, bloodsucker?" he demanded. "I don't like this. Maybe she should wait—"
"You had your test, Jacob."
"But—" Seriously, this dog thought Renesmee was his already and had totally forgotten that she had parents.
"But nothing," Edward said. "Bella needs to see our daughter. Get out of the way." He growled before talking to Bella. "Shall we?"
Nervousness enveloped me as Bella and Edward walked into the house. Rosalie was gently rocking Renesmee while Emmett and I stood together; ready for anything that came our way.
"I was out just two days?" Bella gasped. I kept my eyes on Bella the whole time, hearing Renesmee move in Rose's arms.
"Yes, that's her," Rosalie murmured affectionately. Bella was mesmerized by the child and I knew that it was not just Renesmee's characteristics that caught her attention. She took a step forward and we all instantly figured she was going to attack. Emmett and I stood shoulder to shoulder, Carlisle and Esme taking our flanks. All of our hands out and ready to catch Bella if she tried anything tricky. Edward held Bella's arms behind her back and Rosalie and Jacob walked away with Renesmee to the back door.
"Oh, give her some credit," Alice trilled from behind me. "She wasn't going to do anything. You'd want a closer look, too."
Oh, my wife didn't truly understand the actions of a newborn. She hadn't seen what I had seen, hadn't raised a newborn at all. Bella wasn't really thirsty, though I don't believe she was breathing. Even though I could feel she was calm…well, you know the saying 'calm before the storm', correct?
"Jazz, Em, let us through. Bella's got this," Edward hissed.
"Edward, the risk—" I started before my brother cut me off.
"Minimal. Listen, Jasper—on the hunt she caught the scent of some hikers who were in the wrong place at the wrong time…"
My eyes widened. Bella had killed people already. She knew the wonderful taste of human blood which would make switching to the vegetarian diet very difficult. She could easily snap if she got too close to Renesmee. How could Edward call the risk minimal, then?! Part of me cheered. She wasn't perfect. She had already eaten a few humans on her first hunt. I nodded.
"Edward!" Carlisle exclaimed. "How could you be so irresponsible?"
"I know, Carlisle, I know," Edward said. "I was just plain stupid. I should have taken the time to make sure we were in a safe zone before I set her loose."
"Edward," Bella mumbled, feeling embarrassed. I studied her eyes. If anything, they had gotten darker by just a small shade. Eating humans was supposed to brighten the eyes' color. What?
"He's absolutely right to rebuke me, Bella," Edward grinned. My eyebrows creased together. Why was he smiling like that and clearly enjoying our curiosity? Bella had just killed a human. "I made a huge mistake. The fact that you are stronger than anyone I've ever known doesn't change that."
"Tasteful joke, Edward," Alice said sarcastically. What the heck was going on?
"I wasn't making a joke," Edward explained. "I was explaining to Jasper why I know Bella can handle this. It's not my fault everyone jumped to conclusions."
Had I jumped to a conclusion? What was going on? Bella's eyes weren't a brighter shade of red, she didn't smell like human blood whatsoever, and Edward had said that everyone had jumped to conclusions. I put the pieces together. Holy cow.
"Wait," I gasped. "She didn't hunt the humans?"
"She started to," Edward said, clearly enjoying himself. "She was entirely focused on the hunt."
"What happened?" Carlisle interrupted, his pride and amazement bouncing off every surface of the house. Even his happiness wasn't enough to stop my heart from sinking to the bottom of my stomach.
"She heard me behind her and reacted defensively," Edward leaned in, speaking animatedly about his pride and joy. "As soon as my pursuit broke into her concentration, she snapped right out of it. I've never seen anything equal to her. She realized at once what was happening and then…she held her breath and ran away."
"Whoa," Emmett whispered next to me. "Seriously?"
"He's not telling it right," Bella intervened, feeling even more embarrassed. "He left out the part where I growled at him."
"Did ya get in a couple of good swipes," Emmett eagerly asked while I felt the worst I had ever felt in my life. My one shot at being strong, yanked right away from me. I was so close…
"No! Of course not," Bella exclaimed, appalled.
"No, not really? You didn't attack him?" I didn't even feel like jabbing my elbow into his ribs and telling him to knock it off before she gets angry.
"Aw, what a waste. And here you're probably the one person who could take him—since he can't get in your head to cheat—and you had a perfect excuse, too." Emmett sighed. "I've been dying to see how he'd do without an advantage."
"I would never," Bella glared at Emmett. Edward mock punched my shoulder.
"You see what I mean?" Right then I felt like crying like the little boy I was. I tried to keep my face calm and not let anyone see that.
"It's not natural," I said gruffly.
"She could have turned on you—she's only hours old!" Esme scolded. "Oh, we should have gone with you." Bella wasn't really paying attention anymore. Instead, she was leaning around me to look at her child.
"Edward," Bella pleaded. "Please?"
I stayed where I was, feeling stubborn. When I got upset, I shut down and only let anger show and I was really frustrated right now. How could Bella be that strong? I wasn't even that strong today! I am a one hundred and sixty-seven year old vampire who was weaker than a two hour old vampire. My eyes stung as tears tried but failed to well up inside them. Why was everything so hard for me? Couldn't I have at least a break for once in my life? Alice's pain filled the air as she realized I was hurt. She shouldn't care for me—I was not a man.
"Jazz, this isn't anything you've seen before," Alice said quietly. "Trust me."
I looked into Alice's eyes and knew that I was going to have to give up. She could be just as stubborn as I and knew me far too well to know I was only blocking Bella because my life was completely unfair right now. I nodded and moved out of Bella's way. I put one hand on her shoulder, though, and followed her. This wasn't right. It had to be a dream. Maybe Bella would snap soon and things would be put back in order. Renesmee was getting fussy and then let out a wail. We all left Bella to see what was wrong. There was surely something terrible—Renesmee hadn't made a soon at all ever since she was born. Everyone was asking questions at once, fussing to see what was wrong with the little one. Rosalie was assuring Jacob and Renesmee placed her hand on his cheek, showing him what she wanted.
"See?" Rosalie said. "She just wants Bella."
"She wants me?" Bella whispered, shocked. Edward flew over to Bella.
"She's been waiting for you for almost three days," he explained. Jacob was getting more paranoid by the second, as was I, while Bella approached her daughter.
"Jake—I'm fine," Bella insisted and touched her child. I stiffened, waiting for Bella to attack. Bella gasped as Renesmee touched her cheek and showed her an image. "What…was…that?" she choked out.
"What did you see?" Rosalie asked. "What did she show you?"
"She showed me that?" Bella whispered.
"I told you it was hard to explain." Edward whispered into Bella's ear. "But effective as means of communications go."
"What was it?" Jacob pushed.
"Um. Me. I think. But I looked terrible," Bella blinked.
"It was the only memory she had of you," Edward said. "She's letting you know that she's made the connection, that she knows who you are."
"But how did she do that?"
"How do I hear thoughts? How does Alice see the future?" Edward asked and shrugged. "She'd gifted."
"It's an interesting twist," Carlisle said. "Like she's doing the exact opposite of what you can."
"Interesting," Edward said. "I wonder…"
"I remember you, too," Bella said. She hesitantly pressed her lips to her forehead. I had never even gotten that close to a human. My hands clenched into fists and I was ready to take Renesmee away from Bella before Alice interrupted me.
"She's fine," Alice murmured, giving my arm a gentle stroke. I let out a small breath and relaxed a little before Jacob's concern drove me insane.
"Haven't we experimented enough for one day," he blurted out. "Okay, Bella's doing great, but let's not push it."
Bella glared at him and her irritation level rose quickly. I prepared myself and shuffled over to Bella.
"What is your problem, Jacob?" Bella demanded. She tugged at her child, trying to pull her away from Jacob but he wasn't going to let that happen.
"Just because I understand, it doesn't mean I won't throw you out, Jacob," Edward hissed. "Bella's doing extraordinarily well. Don't ruin the moment for her."
Part of me was going for Jacob's side. Bella had to snap at one point, she just had to. You don't know what it's like to never have been told that you have done 'extraordinarily well' once in your life. I wanted it to happen desperately.
"I'll help him toss you, dog," Rosalie said. "I owe you a good kick in the gut." Realization dawned over Bella.
"No!" she gasped. I clenched my teeth together. Edward held her back. Her tantrum was coming. She was going to snap. "Rose, take Renesmee."
Rosalie took Renesmee from Jacob.
"Edward, I don't want to hurt you, so please let go of me," Bella hissed. Edward hesitated. "Go stand in front of Renesmee." Edward let her go. Bella leaned into her hunting crouch and stalked towards Jacob. "You didn't."
"You know it's not something I can control," Jacob said defensively.
"You stupid mutt! How could you? My baby!"
"It wasn't my idea, Bella," Jacob said as they walked down the front porch steps.
"I've held her all of one time, and already you think you have some moronic wolfy claim to her? She's mine."
"I can share."
"Pay up," Emmett muttered to me. Drat, Bella was nearly about to hit him. I had figured she would've held it back a little and given him a big tongue-lashing first. I grabbed the cash out of my pocket and handed it to him.
"How dare you imprint on my baby? Have you lost your mind?" Bella asked.
"It was involuntary!" Jacob insisted. Two wolves appeared suddenly at his side. "Bella, would you try to listen for just a second? Please? Leah, back off." The wolves didn't move.
"Why should I listen?" Bella hissed
"Because you're the one who told me this. Do you remember? You said we belonged in each other's lives, right? That we were family. You said that was how you and I were supposed to be. So…now we are. It's what you wanted."
"You think you'll be part of my family as my son-in-law!"
"Stop her, Edward," Esme said. "She'll be unhappy if she hurts him." No one made a move. A smug part of me crept up that I was ashamed of. Finally, it cried out, she's finally snapped.
"No!" Jacob called out. "How can you even look at it that way? She's just a baby, for crying out loud!"
"That's my point!" Bella shrieked.
"You know I don't think of her that way! Do you think Edward would have let me live this long if I did? All I want is for her to be safe and happy—is that so bad? So different from what you want?" Jacob shouted back and Bella just growled.
"Amazing, isn't she?" Edward murmured. Oh, she was something all right.
"She hasn't gone for his throat even once," Carlisle agreed with Edward, stunned. I turned to Emmet and raised my hand, motioning for him to give me my money back and give me the fifty dollars of his own.
"Fine, you win this one," Emmett said grudgingly and grabbed one hundred dollars from his pocket and gave them to me. I quickly stored them.
"You're going to stay away from her," Bella hissed.
"I can't do that!" Jacob argued.
"Try. Starting. Now."
"It's not possible. Do you remember how much you wanted me around three days ago? How hard it was to be apart from each other? That's gone for you now, isn't it? That was her from the very beginning. We had to be together, even then."
"Run away while you still can."
"C'mon, Bella! Nessie likes me, too," Jacob pleaded. Bella stopped breathing as we all did. Jacob had gone too far. He had called Renesmee by her nickname.
"What…did you call her?" Bella asked slowly and dangerously.
"Well," Jacob mumbled, taking a step back, "that name you came up with is kind of a mouthful and—"
"You nicknamed my daughter after the Loch Ness Monster?" Bella screeched before lunging for Jacob's throat.
I stood in the back, watching everyone in front of my unobtrusively. Bella was really guilty about hurting Seth. It technically was his fault because he moved in front of Jacob. She wouldn't accept that for an answer, though, and kept on beating herself up. Suddenly, there was a big tension rolling off of Bella and I decided to step in before it got to be too much. It was the least I could do for being selfish and letting Bella go through her whole tantrum.
"What's the matter, Bella?" I asked quietly, measuring her emotional climate. "No one is angry with you-" a snarl sounded from the riverside, contradicting me. I ignored it. "-or even surprised, really. Well, I supposed we are surprised. Surprised that you were able to snap out of it so quickly. You did well. Better than anyone expects of you." I tried to keep my voice light, but I was sure there was some regret that fell out at the end of my sentence. Everyone was so proud of Bella. I was actually jealous. How odd. I didn't want to be in the spotlight at all, but I guess I didn't want people to worry about me. I wanted them to think of me like Edward or Alice—strong and no need to worry about the thirst.
"I was thinking about Charlie, actually," Bella admitted.
"Ah," I said.
"We really have to leave, don't we?" Bella asked. "For a while, at the very least. Pretend we're in Atlanta or something."
"Yes," I said gravely. "It's the only way to protect your father."
"I'm going to miss him so much. I'll miss everyone here." We sat in silence after that, Bella's eyes were far away as she mused over things. I just thought about my family. Esme, Emmett, and Alice were off hunting while Carlisle prepared things for Renesmee's check up. Rosalie and Jacob were on the front porch bickering about whose turn it was to feed Renesmee. Suddenly, Rosalie, Jacob, and Renesmee were inside and Carlisle came downstairs. Bella looked around, curious, as I darted to her side. Renesmee was in the house as well as Jacob. Bella could work herself up again to a tantrum again.
"Must be six," Edward noted.
"So?" Bella inquired.
"Time to measure Ness—er, Renesmee," Carlisle explained.
"Oh, you do this every day?"
"Four times a day."
"Four times? Every day? Why?"
"She's still growing quickly," Edward muttered. We all watched as Carlisle measured Renesmee. Bella was suddenly full of fear and I quickly focused my attention on her.
"What do we do?" Bella whispered.
"I don't know," Edward answered. I figured they were worried about Renesmee's aging. She was growing so fast that she could look like a ninety year old woman in a few months. Her aging was everything we were thinking about these days. Would she actually die? Or would she stop at some point and fully become a vampire? We had no idea and all the old myths that we had been studying didn't give us any clues as to what will happen.
"It's slowing," Jacob muttered.
"We'll need several more days of measurements to track the trend, Jacob," Edward reminded him. "I can't make any promises."
"Yesterday she grew two inches. Today it's less."
"By a thirty-second of an inch, if my measurements are correct," Carlisle murmured.
"Be perfect, Doc," Jacob threatened and Rosalie stiffened.
"You know I'll do my best."
"Guess that's all I can ask," Jacob sighed. Bella's irritation level rose and I kept an eye on her again. Renesmee was irritated as well and she put her hand toward Rosalie and touched her cheek. Rose sighed.
"What does she want?" Jacob demanded and Bella was more irritated, my eyebrows creased together. Was she going to snap again?
"Bella, of course," Rosalie turned to Bella. "How are you?"
"Worried," Bella admitted sheepishly.
"We all are. But that's not what I meant."
"I'm in control." The whole room was suddenly tense, but I hardly felt it. I was focusing too much on every flicker of Bella's ever changing emotions, ready to warn Edward when she was about to snap. Bella gently took Renesmee in her arms and Renesmee put her hand on Bella's cheek. Bella gasped as she watched the vision her daughter was showing her. Edward was very amused as he read Renesmee's mind of what she was showing her.
"Oh, wonderful," Bella groaned at something in Renesmee's thoughts. "Perfect."
"It looks like she's going to give you a rundown of everything you missed," Edward murmured in Bella's ear. Edward continued to watch her thoughts and I felt his worry and horror and quickly held Bella's arms behind her back, Edward taking Renesmee.
"What did I do?" Bella asked, not fighting against my restraints. Edward looked at me.
You were worried, I thought, I figured something was going on with Renesmee's thoughts. What happened? And why is she so in control now?
"But she was remembering being thirsty," Edward muttered to me. "She was remembering the taste of human blood." I tightened my grasp around Bella, pulling her arms closer together. Remembering the taste was one of the worst things that could happen. I was surprised I hadn't really felt thirst from Bella or that she wasn't going after Renesmee right now.
"Yes," Bella agreed. "And?"
She hadn't been thirsty at all. Bella didn't even want Renesmee. How? What? Why? The frustration and disappointment came crawling back into me as my face fell. Bella was nearly as controlled as Carlisle. How was that possible?
"And nothing at all," Edward laughed once. "The overreaction is mine this time. Jazz, let her go." I let go, not feeling like putting up a fight. I felt eyes on me and I wanted to go away. Be alone or with Alice at the very least.
"I can't understand," I said. "I can't bear this." I strode out the back door, walking away from my curious and worried family, hearing them ask what was up with me. I ran over to the large river and lazily threw myself over it. I didn't care right now. How could I be so weak? Was I really the only newborn who acted in such a savage way? Were other newborns just as okay with control as Bella was? I remembered the newborns I had raised. They were pretty barbaric, but not as awful as I remember my first year was. Was I just a weakling? Some wimp of the vampire world? No vampire struggled as much as I did. I hit one of the trees that passed by me, knocking it to the ground. I grunted in frustration, burying my face in the ground and sitting on the forest floor with my back against a tree. Suddenly, I heard some footsteps approach me and I felt a hand I my shoulder. I looked up and saw Alice kneeling down in front of me with a sympathetic look.
"Hey," she whispered. I nodded. "It's not your fault, Jasper. You were raised to act like that. Newborns may actually have more control than you think. You were just raised a lot differently than Bella."
I sighed and Alice brushed some of my golden hair out of my face.
"I wasn't in control when I was a newborn, either, you know that," Alice cocked her head to one side and made me look her in the eyes. "Listen, you may think you're the weakest of the family, but you're not. You are absolutely the strongest vampire I have ever met."
I grunted in disagreement and looked away from her eyes. Alice put her fingers beneath my chin and pulled my head back up, her eyes frustrated and serious.
"I am not kidding you," she said. "Even though you struggle with the scent of human blood, you feel everyone else's thirsts as well. That's not fair. You also were raised to want human blood. The point is, even though you have at least five extra thirsts beating down on you, you never give in. That's the noblest thing I've ever seen." I smiled a little, I guess she was right. "Now, let's hunt." She gave me a peck on the lips and danced away from me, running towards some deer. I quietly followed, grabbing her hand and feeling like a stronger man.
A/N: I know you're thinking it, so I'll say it: AWWWW! Well, thanks for reading! Please leave me a lovely little review about what you think about it. I love each and every one, just please no flames. So, just take thirty seconds of your precious life and please review!