A/N: This has been in my ideas folder for a while now, so I decided to let it live. Sorry if the fighting seems rushed/poorly written. That's one thing I'm not good at. Same deal for the ending, sorry if that seems rushed as well. Review and enjoy!
I never imagined that there was a humane side to vampirism. Since my second life began, I lived in constant war, constant pain, constant fear. I, along with my creator and the newborns I controlled, was perpetually thirsty. She forced me into a deep, hollow depression, and I was lucky to get out of her army. I was lucky that she liked me, or I would have met the same gruesome end as the rest of her puppets. I thought that living that life was inevitable. Until I found Alice.
Alice was and still is my true salvation. She broke through my inner turmoil and suffering, brought me back to life. Every day I thought I couldn't go on. My pain was multiplied when I hunted. My pain was multiplied when I didn't hunt. It was like a never ending cycle; lather, rinse, repeat.
Alice showed me another way. For the first time in nearly a century, I felt my humanity return the tiniest bit. The prospect of hunting animals was repulsive at the least, but it far outweighed the crushing depression brought on by hunting humans.
The Cullens were a strange clan. No one was on their guard ever, but I simply could not relax in their presence. I stood rigid, ready to sink into a crouch at any moment. And their emotions! At first I felt fear from several, then it slipped into shock, then a more natural curiosity, with the leader and his mate feeling genuine concern, and maybe even a little blasé…?
It took several months before I felt comfortable with my new surroundings and family. The depression faded, but the mentality of war did not. I still had to fight the urge to slip into a crouch or growl when someone besides Alice touched me. I was pleased when even that became easier as the weeks passed.
My new life was becoming simpler, almost natural. Alice and I were truly in love; Edward, Emmett and I were like real brothers, as Rosalie was like my real sister; and Carlisle and Esme were lovely people, but I was not as comfortable referring to them as Mom and Dad as my siblings were. I had fewer and fewer slip-ups as time passed, and I was genuinely happy.
One sunny afternoon, Alice and I were out hunting. I let her go off on her own after a herd of deer as I knew she preferred not to have an audience.
That was when I heard her voice. Her voice. Maria.
I knew she must have planned this carefully, making sure I would be alone. I initially felt extreme anger, then fear for my wife's safety, then fear for my own life.
"Look at me, Jasper," she said in her high Mexican accent. Just the sound of her voice brought on a wave of horror.
Fear. Fighting. Pain. Thirst. Bites. Red eyes. Battles. War. Blood.
I carefully caught her eye, sinking into a crouch and snarling. She mirrored my action.
"I think you know better than to challenge me, Jasper Whitlock," she spat my name in disgust.
In truth, I knew I would lose against her. I hadn't fought in nearly a decade, and even at my best, I could barely take her on. She was a lethal fighter.
"What do you want, Maria?" I spat her name with equal revulsion.
Before I could blink, she had me pinned to a tree, her lips at my throat.
"Come back to me, and maybe I'll spare your life," she goaded.
I laughed a dry, humorless laugh and spiraled lithely out of her stone grip, placing a well-aimed kick to the small of her back. She shoved off the tree and flipped over me, forcing me to my knees and holding me in a headlock.
"Sangre, mucho sangre," she whispered convincingly in my ear. I snarled at the memories those words brought back. The three words she said before I was rewarded.
"You want it, don't you major?" her teeth brushed over my ear. I threw my head back with as much force as I could muster and sprung up, gracefully landing on my feet. She cackled, grabbing my wrist and throwing me. From the corner of my eye, I saw Alice appear out of the trees. I tried to yell for her to run, but Maria covered my mouth. "Oh, dear, is that your mate? What's wrong with her?" she provoked me. I let out a roar and smacked her forcefully, surprising her.
It all seemed to happen very quickly from there. I watched as Alice dropped from a tree, landing on Maria's back. With an angry snarl, she tried to restrain her, but Maria was too fast. She flipped Alice over her head and pinned her to the ground, biting her arm and tearing out a good sized piece of flesh. Alice screamed.
My head cleared suddenly, and I wheeled angrily, crashing into Maria and ripping her away from my writhing wife. I got a good grip on her arm and yanked it from her body. The high keening sound it made was all too familiar and I flinched internally.
Maria slowly looked down at her non-existent arm, then over to me, holding it stupidly. She screamed a line of curses in Spanish, before snatching her arm from my hands and running off.
As soon as I was sure she was gone, I turned my attention to Alice, still lying on the ground panting.
"Alice, love, I'm sorry. The burning will pass, just try to relax," I spoke in soothing tones, sending her waves of calm. I lifted her and held her in my arms while she cried tearlessly. When she had calmed down some, I tried again to speak to her.
"Alice? This might burn, but it will help your arm heal," I whispered to her as I bent my head to her arm.
"Jazzy? What are you doing?" she questioned frantically as I licked the wound and held the unattached flesh over it. She groaned as the flame was replenished. I could feel her pain.
"I'm sorry, darlin', I'm sorry she hurt you. So sorry," I gasped out as the memories flooded back of my similar injuries.
One in particular had been particularly painful. While fighting a battle in Austin, Texas, a newborn managed to get a good grip on me and ripped into my shoulder, leaving it barely attached. It took nearly a week to heal completely and all the while I was in excruciating pain. I shook my head to clear the memory.
Alice had stopped whimpering, and sat up slowly, looking into my eyes.
"Are you okay?" she asked seriously.
"'Course, darlin', why wouldn't I be?" I tried to pass over her question.
"Are you… aren't you afraid of her?" she asked, confused.
I sighed. If I didn't admit it, she would just look into my future and see the panic attacks that I knew would be inevitable.
"Yes," I admitted, ashamed, "but I'm more worried about you right now. How's your arm?" I asked, desperate to change the subject.
"It's fine, really," she said, waving her hand dismissively. She paused. "Can we go home?" she asked sadly.
I nodded and smiled, scooping her up from our spot on the ground and carrying her home.
For the next few days, I was plagued with vivid images of war. They kept me from relaxing for even a moment, and all I could think about was blood. Blood and screaming and fear. Constant fear. Constant war. Pain, death, destruction. Hopeless depression. Glowing red eyes following my every move. Fire, thirst, burning. Battles, training, bites, the constant burn of venom.
On top of that, I relived the emotions of all the humans I killed in my memory. Marvel, confusion, sadness, fear, pleading, dying thoughts. Thirst, my constant thirst fueling my brain. Death. Guilt.
I was being tortured from inside my own brain. I was a zombie, reacting to nothing but my nightmares relived. I was projecting my fear so much that everyone in the house got a taste of my history. I felt bad for that, but it didn't register. I didn't register my family's concern, or Alice's anguish. It was as if every cell in my brain had been overtaken by the crippling memories. Minutes turned into hours, hours turned into days, but I showed no change. I was allowed no rest from the raging torment. It was constant despair in my mind.
I became vaguely aware of someone sitting beside me, holding my hand, petting my hair, laying their head on my chest, and I suddenly snapped out of my frenzy.
My head turned with inhuman speed to the being beside me, and to no surprise it was my love. My Alice. I grabbed her around the waist and pulled her onto the bed so she was lying next to me. Her eyes opened wide, a relieved smile spreading across her face.
"Oh, Jasper, I was so worried about you!" she cried into my chest. I stroked her back and whispered soothingly into her hair.
"It's okay, darlin', I'm okay now. Thank you, thank you so much for staying with me," I murmured as I caressed her cheek.
"I never left, not even for a second," she admitted, pecking me on the lips. "But you gave us all a real scare," she laughed into my side. "I think we should tell the others what happened," she said carefully.
"You haven't told them yet?" I asked, shocked.
She simply shook her head and took my hand, guiding me downstairs. Everyone was standing around, simply waiting for me. I stepped in the middle of their semi-circle, holding protectively to Alice.
"I'm very sorry to have put you through all this, but I can't help my godforsaken memories."
They smiled gently and Carlisle stepped forward.
"It's okay, son, you're safe now. If you're comfortable, we'd like to hear what happened," he said soothingly.
"Err, well, Maria came back. And she provoked me, then Alice tried to take her on," I smiled sadly, ruffling her hair, "and Maria bit her," I fought to keep my voice even. "I tore her arm off and then she ran away. I'm not sure where she went. I didn't pursue her," I admitted.
I had tried to keep my story as watered down as possible, but everyone still looked different shades of angry, and I could feel the different reasons why. Edward: because Maria bit Alice; Emmett: because he missed the fight; Rosalie: because Maria had the audacity to come back; Carlisle and Esme: because she bit Alice and instilled in me so much fear. I didn't want their pity.
"Thank you all for tolerating my behavior for the past days, and I'm sorry that Maria put you all in danger."
I looked around the circle at every one of my family members, coming last to Carlisle who stepped forward and spoke.
"Son, do not blame yourself. We do not blame you." Everyone nodded in agreement, and I suddenly realized how much they all loved me. My silent heart felt like it could beat right out of my chest, and I smiled with the most happiness I had ever felt.
A/N: Sorry that the ending was kind of weird, and I also just wanted to mention that the whole licking thing ISN'T RANDOM, it was mentioned in The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner.
Also, I started a blog for my readers! It'll have outtakes, teasers, news and more! The link is on my profile.