This little piece of fluff was written for the lovely Leanne Golightly for FGB Summer 2010. For some reason she felt compelled to donate her hard-earned money and prompted me to write this o/s for her. She says she loves it - I hope you do too!
As always, thanks and spanks go out to my beta Zonagirlie. The things I write are always made better by her help.
Leanne Golightly owns this plot bunny. I own massive gratitude for her buying me in FGB and trusting me to put this together for her. SM own Twilight.
"Dude, I can NOT believe she talked us into this!"
Jasper draped his arm across the back of the park bench he was occupying as he rolled his eyes and tried to reign in his annoyance at his brother's inability to keep his mouth shut. "I can. No one can say no to her when she wants something. She absolutely rules our roost. Alice could have at least warned us or something."
"For someone so unassuming while human, she sure is a surprisingly demanding and manipulative vampire."
"Emmett, keep your voice down! The last thing we need is for our teammate to overhear you ranting about this!"
Emmett let go of the tall tree branch he had been using as a chin-up bar and dropped silently to the grass. "Chill. I can see exactly where he is. He's moving slower than slow. We're in no danger of him surprising us. How did we end up getting saddled with this douchebag on our team? And more importantly, who in their right mind plans a scavenger hunt as a reunion event?"
Jasper's seemingly infinite patience was wearing thin and he was aware of the edge in his own voice. "Jessica and Lauren planned the events. And might I remind you that you didn't even have to come to this considering you weren't even in our class, you cretin."
"Rose said we had to come." Emmett scooped up a handful of pebbles from the path and started tossing them at the Port Angeles City Park entry sign a dozen yards away, each one embedding itself in the wood from the force of his throws. "She said she wouldn't miss this for the world. I think she just wants to gloat over all the girls who let themselves go. You know how she is. Saying 'no' once she's laid down the law isn't worth the hassle, man."
"Fine, then stop your whining and let's just try to make the best of this. At least this is something new that we have never done before."
Emmett fired the last rock at the sign with enough force to cause it to split with a loud crack. "Jasper, you need to shut up. I'm pretty sure there was a very good reason we never before attended any of our high school reunions. And I mean, seriously, who throws a five-year reunion anyways? This shit is ridiculous."
Tired of the complaining, Jasper sighed and forced a wave of peace and calm over Emmett and smiled slightly when it had its intended effect. He sat up straight and rolled his shoulders and cracked his neck, an unnecessary human gesture that made him feel somewhat better nonetheless. He'd been so on edge ever since they had arrived back in Forks. He and Alice had been traveling abroad for quite some time and he had become accustomed to the emotional silence their solo travels had afforded him. Returning to Washington for this reunion and being back around people and their volatile human emotions had been surprisingly taxing. Throw in a coven of highly anxious, highly amorous and highly horny vampires and Jasper was feeling weary and irritable. The last bit of his control was being used keeping his own misery in check so he didn't pass it on to anyone else.
"We need to get this over with," he muttered. "I'm feeling all twitchy. I need to hunt. Or something."
Emmett watched his brother closely, his eyes tightening with concern. "Dude. Seriously. What is up with you? You look like you're in pain or something. Are you alright?"
Jasper sighed and replied, "I just feel off, man. I'm out of practice being around so many people and their emotions, I guess. I'll be fine. I just need some quiet. The sooner we are done with this part of the game and get back to Forks, the sooner I can call it a night and take off."
Emmett nodded his understanding and turned towards the cluster of businesses situated a block away from their spot. "Newton! Hurry up!" Emmett had cupped his hands around his mouth and was yelling down the street. His shouting caused the tourists out for an evening stroll to check out the souvenir shops to turn their attentions down to the park and stare at him. He smiled widely and gave the curious onlookers a wave and a thumbs up. They all dropped their gazes to the pavement and hurried away from the strange large man lurking in the evening shadows of the park.
The thin, angular frame that Jasper recognized as Mike Newton exited one of the shops and awkwardly hurried down the street towards them. He was trying to hide that he was breathing heavily from the exertion, but his vampire teammates heard every stifled wheeze.
"Sorry," he said. "I knew what we needed as soon as I got in the store, but then Alice and Bella were already in the shop and I think Alice was purposely trying to tie up the owner so I couldn't pay to slow me down. You Cullens sure are competitive, eh? I mean, Edward's team was in there too and he had a face on him that would… well… um… whatever. He looked mad."
Jasper could feel Mike's emotions swing from elation and excitement to confusion, then to lust when he mentioned Bella and then finally to fear when he spoke about Edward. It was pretty clear that Mike had been thinking some less than pure thoughts about Bella in the store and Edward, overhearing Mike's intentions about his wife couldn't quite contain his anger. In fact, now that he was alerted to their proximity, he could feel Edward's fury washing over him like waves, the distance between their bodies doing little to dilute the rage he was exuding.
"Like I don't have enough to try to deal with already…" Jasper murmured so quietly that not even Emmett could overhear.
"Yeah, well, Edward's always been a bit of a loose cannon. It's only gotten worse since he and Bella got married. I mean, he was always overprotective of her, but now it's like crazy, psycho-stalker-level insanity with him." Emmett's tone was serious but Jasper could detect the hint of a smile twitching at his brother's lips.
Mike's eyes widened and he swallowed deeply. "R-really?"
"No, you idiot!" Emmett bellowed. He bent over at the waist and burst out laughing. Mike looked stunned and then embarrassed that he had fallen for the joke. His shoulders slumped with a defeated air, and the murky stink of rejection rolling off of him caused Jasper to take pity on him. He knew Mike wasn't a bad guy, he just had a remarkable talent for being a pest.
"Shut up, Emmett. Mike, show me what you got from the store."
"The clue said 'What goes up a chimney down but won't go down a chimney up?' so I knew I was looking for an umbrella. I immediately spotted this one because the red tag stood out to me. We carry this brand of umbrella at my store and the tags are normally yellow. So I figured the red tag was the next clue."
"Enough with the blathering, Sherlock Holmes. You solved the mystery of the umbrella riddle. We get it. What's the next clue, man?" Jasper bristled at Emmett's impatience.
"The tag says the next clue can be found written on one of the stalls in the men's room here in the park."
"Oh, for the love of George Michael. I can not believe this —"
Jasper cut off Emmett's tirade, absorbing the exasperation he was throwing off with a visible wince. "Emmett! That's enough. Let's just go see if we can find the clue and move on, shall we, gentlemen?"
With deliberate slowness, Jasper made his way to the small concrete building, his two teammates falling into line to follow him silently. They entered the dingy, rancid-smelling space, the yellow lights buzzing and flickering overhead putting Jasper's already tenuous hold on his control completely on edge. He stole a glance at his reflection in one of the scratched-up mirrors and noticed how dark his eyes were - he desperately needed to hunt.
"Dudes. This place is rank. I did NOT sign up for this. I'll be waiting outside." Before Jasper or Mike could protest, Emmett barged out of the restroom, the hollow metal door banging loudly closed behind him.
"Excellent," Jasper muttered.
Mike shuffled his feet and cleared his throat. Jasper felt his instinctive anxiety and fear ratchet up now that they were in the small enclosed space together. Flexing his fingers, his knuckles curled into fists, Jasper fought for calm. He just needed to hold on a little longer, then he could take off and hunt and have some quiet to compose himself.
"Um, I'll take the last stall if you want to take this first one? We can work our way to the middle?"
Jasper bit back the aggravated retort threatening to fly from his lips. He simply nodded as he ducked into the filthy stall and began scanning the graffiti scrawled over the concrete and metal walls. He groaned as he realized how much of it there was. Apparently the good citizens and visitors of Port Angeles were prolific when armed with Sharpies. He worked his way methodically around the space, being careful not to miss any potential clues amongst the various declarations of "I love Joe", "Leanne was here" and "Leah is a bitch." At the other end of the building he could hear Mike whispering as he read some of the entries out loud to himself and provided commentary.
"'I wanna bang Bea Arthur.' The old chick from Golden Girls? That's gross. 'Some people come here to take a shit. I came here to leave one.' Ooh, funny AND clever."
Jasper kicked the door open to move on to the next stall, determined to find the clue before Mike could get any more annoying. He was vaguely aware of the sound of Emmett's cell phone ringing outside.
"Hey, Jasper, nothing in this one. Did you get any —" Mike paused as he exited the stall, his arm catching against the broken lock, the sharp metal tearing the sleeve of his shirt. "Oh man, my favorite —"
But his words were cut off, the air forced out of his lungs as he was thrown to the floor, Jasper's body crushing him against the disgusting tile. The vampire was only vaguely aware of the confusion emanating from the human below him as he sank his teeth into flesh and connective tissue. Below him, Mike's body seized with pain and he screamed. The rush of blood and raw emotion filled him and felt like fire in his veins, making Jasper's tired body come alive. He was vaguely aware of a loud crash and then two strong bodies wrenching him away from his victim.
"Oh my god, we're too late!" Alice's cries were desperate and echoed in the room. The heartbreak in his mate's voice somehow tore Jasper out of his bloodlust haze. He was pinned against the wall, Edward and Emmett bracing him against broken mirrors, shattered porcelain sinks and gushing pipes. Below him Mike was on the floor, blood seeping from the wound at his neck, his body writhing in agony as the venom from the bite worked its way through his veins. Bella was next to him, trying to whisper words of comfort as she removed her jacket and pressed it to his skin to try to cover up some of the bleeding.
Jasper felt Mike's fear rip through him, a scorching ache in his own bones. He remembered that feeling well - it was the same feeling he'd had the night Maria had stolen his own life and made him. The thought that Mike could hate him the way he'd come to hate his own maker sickened him. He'd lived his undead life rejecting the notion of ever making another like him; he had never wanted the power or responsibility over another individual like Maria had over him. And now, because of his carelessness, he was in exactly the position in which he had never wanted to find himself. His senses were flooded by more feelings, this time of grief and shame, and they were felt even more profoundly because they were purely his own. He was snapped out of his introspection by the sharp sound of Alice's voice.
"Emmett, get Jasper out of here!"
Jasper shook his head and let his body go slack, containing all the emotions swirling around the room within himself and forcing himself to exude some calm, allowing his brothers to know he was not fighting them. "No! It's alright. I'm okay."
Edward was furious. "OKAY? How is this okay, Jasper? Tell me how we will ever fix this? You. Bit. Him." He slammed Jasper against the wall to emphasize his last words, little clouds of dust raining down on them all as the cinderblock walls cracked under the strain.
"What do we do? What do we do?" Alice was practically chanting her question, clutching her sides and rocking her small body back and forth in misery, her eyes clenched tight as she tried to will some vision of the future to help guide their decision.
Bella looked up from Mike toward her husband, fear hardening her usually delicate features. "Edward? The treaty?"
Edward released Jasper and turned away from him in disgust, running his hands through his hair as he tried to think. "The treaty isn't an issue - Port Angeles is not part of the Quileute territory. The real problem is what do we do with him? Can you just suck out the venom like I did to Bella after James bit her?"
"No. I bit directly into his carotid and I know I pushed a lot of venom. There's no way to get it out at this point." Jasper's voice was rough with emotion as he spoke the words no one wanted to say. "We have to decide if we want to let him make the change or if we want to end his suffering and kill him."
"Oh, God." Bella clasped a hand over her mouth. Edward sank down to the floor to hold his love, to try to soothe her as his mind worked wildly.
"We should let him choose." Emmett's voice was firm.
"He's in too much pain, Em. All he's giving off is fear and terror." Jasper dropped his head into his hands in shame. "I'm sorry. I'm so sorry. I knew I was on edge but had no idea my control was so close to the breaking point."
Alice went to her husband, draping her small frame over his. He was hit by her feelings of disappointment and it crushed him. But the despair he felt at having failed her eased when he sensed her overwhelming love for him - it was a balm that eased some of his pain. "I'm sorry I didn't see it to stop you in time. We were so close. I'm sorry, too, my love." Her words were whispers but they carried to the sharp ears of her family members nonetheless.
Her guilt drove through him like a piece of rebar, impaling him through the core. He knew he would struggle to handle his own guilt over this mistake, but to endure hers as well was too much.
"This isn't your fault, Ali. It's all mine. Please don't feel guilty. I don't think I can bear it. I -" Jasper's words were cut short by another piercing cry from the man writhing on the floor.
Bella pressed a cool hand to Mike's chest, and he clutched at it wildly.
"Bella. What is happening to me? Make it stop! Get me help!" His eyes were wide with desperation and his voice cracked under the strain of trying to force the words out around the need to screech.
"Mike, I'm sorry. I know it hurts. You have to be strong and brave, and you'll make it through." She gave his hand a careful squeeze as she turned to address the others, her tone determined. "We will make him one of us. We won't allow him to die."
Alice's eyes fluttered with a vision. "Alright. It'll be ok. We'll all get over this and be ok. Jasper, you need to push some more venom into him to make sure there's really enough for the change."
"No! No! No!" Emmett slapped a big hand down onto the lone sink remaining standing, obliterating it into dust. "I can't believe this douche is going to become one of us! Jasper, you asshole!"
"You're not helping, Emmett," Alice snapped. "Get out your phone and get Carlisle and tell him what's happened. We need a plan to figure out how to manage this situation. Jasper, do it now. Finish this."
Jasper bent over Mike's convulsing body, his teeth bared and ready to strike. "If there is a Hell, I'll be going there for this."
Emmett's retort filled the silence before Mike screamed again, "If there is a Hell, it just might be having to spend eternity with Mike Newton."
I hope you liked this little story. Did the Cullens make the right decision to turn Mike? Should they just have let him die? Is an eternity with Mike Newton REALLY the equivalent of Hell? Pretty please click that little Review linky and let me know what you think!