A/N: I do not own Twilight. No copyright infringement intended.
I wrote this a few months ago as part of a planned multi-chapter story. After months of sitting in my files, I've decided to just go ahead and post this as a one-shot. It stands pretty well on it's own and I hope you enjoy it! :)
I'm sorry for blaming you for everything I just couldn't do.
And I've hurt myself by hurting you.
- Christina Aguilera
I opened my front door to see Dad, Mom and Jake standing before me; each of them displaying grim looks that could make your blood run cold. I looked from one person to the next, but each of them refused to meet my eyes.
"What's going on," I asked.
"May we come in," Dad asked gently.
I took a few steps back to allow them access. They each walked in slowly and moved to the living room. As I closed the door, Jake half smiled at me. I could tell it wasn't a smile of joy, but one of placation.
Mom sat down on the couch and asked me to sit next to her. The way everyone was acting caused my nerves to fray.
Why won't they just say what's going on?
"Edward, please sit next to your mother."
My breathing picked up because Dad was using his 'physician's voice'. I had heard it so many times throughout my life; while he spoke to his patients, when he spoke to the doctors at the rehab center and when he first met Jake, my sponsor. It was that soothing, unemotional voice that meant something serious was usually right around the corner.
"Just tell me why you're all here!"
"Edward, please," Mom pleaded.
I nodded my head and sat next to her. She took my hand in hers and gently squeezed. Dad came and sat next to me while Jake sat off to the side in one of the chairs.
If these people don't tell me what's going in the next 15 seconds, I'm going to kick them all out!
Dad inched closer to me and put his hand on my shoulder.
"Have you watched the news at all today?"
I shook my head. "No, I've just been reading and…thinking."
Jake spoke up. "What have you been thinking about? Are you feeling stressed?"
I sighed knowing what Jake was getting at.
"No, Jake, I didn't feel the need to use. I was just thinking about…him and what happened the last time we saw each other."
My mother's breath hitched and when I looked at her she had tears pooling in her eyes, making them shimmer with immense sadness. My heart always broke when I saw my mother cry, and seeing it made me feel the sting of tears in my own eyes.
"Mom," I asked with a shaky voice.
"Son," Dad began, "something happened and we all wanted to be here when you received the news."
"Okay," I said very slowly.
"There's been a shooting at a coffee shop in Austin. A random person walked into the place, said something about America going to hell and started shooting the innocent people inside."
My heart thundered in my chest. Jasper was in Austin and he loved coffee, but there were hundreds of coffee shops in that city.
"That's too bad," I said. "I hope the people are alright. Are you going down there to help out or something?"
He shook his head and took a deep breath. When he looked up at me, he had tears in his eyes. I lost it.
"NO," I screamed and tried to stand.
Jake immediately stood up and grabbed a hold of my shoulders.
"Edward, calm down! Just listen to your parents."
My mind was frantic. I looked from him to Dad to Mom and back again to Jake. A thousand and one thoughts raced through my mind: Jasper can't be dead! He's the love of my life, but I pushed him away. I hurt him.
I hurt him.
He tried to support and love me when I was fucked up and I hurt him terribly.
I told him I wished he was…dead.
My hands started shaking uncontrollably as I slowly sat back down on the couch. Mom reached up and wiped away the tears I hadn't even realized had fallen. I looked into her eyes and silently pleaded for her to tell me everything was okay, that Jasper was okay.
Her silence was deafening.
A strangled sob escaped from my lips as I tightly squeezed my eyes shut and my mother pulled me into her arms.
If I could just make myself wake up from this nightmare, everything would be okay.
Dad lightly placed his hand on my shoulder and continued.
"Jasper's parents called after they were contacted about his condition. According to them, when the shooter started opening fire, Jasper tried to protect two children a couple of tables down from him. In an effort to get them to safety, Jasper was shot twice in the chest. They're calling him a hero because the children walked away completely uninjured. Unfortunately, nine others weren't so fortunate."
Sobs emanated from my chest as I screamed out in pain. My mother held me tighter and rubbed my back just as she had when I was younger and scraped my knee. Only this time the pain was a infinitely worse. My heart, which was already broken, shattered into thousands of sharp, jagged pieces.
"He can't be gone. He can't be gone," I chanted over and over again.
My father continued giving me the horrific details, but suddenly his calm demeanor cracked.
His voice shook as he said, "He's been transported to a hospital and the doctors have managed to stabilize him, but it's still too early to tell if he'll make it or not."
"He's still alive, right," I asked in a voice that sounded so odd and foreign.
"Yes, and I plan on flying down to meet with his parents and see if there's anything I can do to help. He's like a son to me and…well, I should be there for him."
I slowly sat back up and looked at my father, noticing the anguish etched across his face. His eyes were red and his face was drawn. He cleared his throat and blinked his eyes a few times to keep his own tears from falling.
"I'm going with you," I whispered.
He nodded his head knowing there was no question that I needed to be by Jasper's side.
"I'll book our flights and call you with the details. Hopefully I'll be able to get the first flight out of Sea-Tac for the three of us."
I sat in between my parents and stared blankly into space. I couldn't speak or think or even nod my head. All I knew was that I needed to get to Jasper and hoped like hell that he wouldn't be taken away from me again. I'd lost him once, by my own doing, but not again. I had to make things right with him.
After giving me another hug, my parents left to make our travel arrangements while Jake stayed behind. I still hadn't moved from my spot on the couch, so he walked over and sat next to me.
"Edward," he said apprehensively, "tell me what you're thinking."
Another tear slid down my cheek as I tried to come up with the right words to describe my despair. Unable to do so, I just shook my head and looked down at my still shaking hands.
"I know this is fucking hard for you, but you can't keep your feelings bottled up. You and Alistair have spoken about this at length during your sessions."
I slowly moved my eyes from where they were transfixed on my hands and back to nothingness. The words just wouldn't come out. The only thing my body could manage at this point was crying and trembling.
"Please," he pleaded.
I don't know what made me do it, but my eyes suddenly moved to my mantle and rested on my picture of Jasper. He was smiling broadly and looked like he was having the time of his life. His golden hair was blowing in the wind and his nose was slightly scrunched from laughter. It was one of my favorite pictures of him that I took when we were together and I couldn't bear to put it away after we parted. He was so beautiful and happy, but now he was lying in a hospital bed fighting for his life.
They're calling him a hero because the children walked away completely uninjured.
"That's just like Jasper," I finally said. "He risked his own life to save others."
"From what you've told me, he seems like a great man. His sacrifice only cements that."
My head shot up and I glared at Jake.
"Sacrifice? Do NOT talk about him as if he's dead, Jake."
Jake's eyes widened.
"Shit! I didn't mean it like that, Edward. I'm sorry."
Fresh tears fell as reality started to set in.
Jasper could die.
He may never wake up.
He will never fully understand how sorry I am for the way I treated him close to a year ago.
He'll never know that in my effort to hurt him, I ended up hurting myself tenfold.
He'll never again hear me tell him I love him.
I took a deep breath and found my voice once again.
"What if I lose him forever? What will I do?"
Jake pulled me into a hug and I held on to him tightly as if he was my lifeline. He didn't answer my questions. How could he? He did the only thing he could at that time. He sat with me.
Dad managed to book our flights for the following day at 7:00 a.m. I'm sure I was a sight to behold when they came to pick me up because I hadn't slept at all the night before. I didn't even bother going to bed. I just sat in my room and looked at old pictures of me and Jasper when we were happy. I had to keep myself occupied with something or else I'd go mad. If I allowed myself to think about the possibility that he might die, I'd surely lose it.
The night before, Jake convinced me to call Alistair, my therapist, to let him know what was going on. Alistair encouraged me to not hold things in and remain strong for Jasper and asked me to check in with him each evening so he knew where I was emotionally. He also encouraged me to contact Jake if I felt the urge to use. Such stressful times can often tempt former addicts to relapse and he wanted to ensure I had the support I needed. I agreed easily.
By some miracle I managed to fall asleep on the plane; my body exhausted both physically and emotionally. I dreamed that I saw Jasper happy and healthy. He glowed as he stood before me. I was so overtaken by his presence that I ran and threw my arms around him. Our bodies collided and caused him to make an "oomph" sound as he laughed in my ear and held me close.
I turned my nose into his neck and breathed him in.
"Jasper, I'm so sorry. Please forgive me. Please!"
"Hey," he said while pulling back slightly, "it's okay."
"No it isn't, Jasper! I blamed you for all of my problems and said some terrible things when all you were trying to do was help me. You loved me and threw it all away."
His face fell and his mouth formed a hard line.
"I have to go," he said as he suddenly turned his back to me.
I became frantic trying to grab on to any part of him to ensure he didn't leave.
"No, Jasper! No!"
"Edward, I have to."
"No you don't! I need you here with me!"
He continued to walk away from me as I screamed and cried.
"Jasper, I love you! Please don't leave me! PLEASE!"
He turned around and looked deep into my eyes.
"I'll always love you, Edward. I'm so proud of you."
I sighed contently and closed my eyes as I felt his hand brush against my cheek.
"Please don't forget me," he whispered.
My eyes shot open and I watched him slowly evaporate. I reached out and where there had been flesh and bone was now just air and the memory of him. A cold shiver ran down my spine as I fell to my knees and let out an anguished cry.
I jolted awake and looked around in a frenzy. Dad, who was sitting next to me, grabbed my forearm and asked if I was okay. I couldn't breathe. The walls were closing in on me and there was nowhere to go. My body shook violently and I faintly heard my mother in the background, sounding like she was speaking under water.
"Carlisle, he's having a panic attack!"
My vision blurred and I felt as though I was spinning round and round. I continued to struggle for a single breath, but my lungs just would not cooperate. In the distance I could hear Dad telling me that I was safe and that I just had a bad dream, but there was something eerily prophetic about that so-called dream. Jasper seemed so real and I could feel him in my arms; I could feel his warm hand on my cheek. Worst of all, I could feel the finality in his words.
Please don't forget me.
I gripped my armrests tightly as fear ripped through me.
"He's gone," I said.
"What," Dad asked.
I tried to take a deep breath, but my body revolted against me.
"I-I saw him in my dream. He told me he loves me and that he's proud of me. And…"
"And what, dear," my mother broke in.
"H-he asked me not to forget him."
"Edward, it was just a dream. We're almost in Austin now and you'll be able to see Jasper. It was just a dream, son."
I shook my head in disbelief.
Jasper is gone.
I suddenly felt very relaxed as the world around me went black.
After I came to and the plane landed, the flight attendants were nice enough to let me and my parents get off of the plane first. Dad reassured them that he was a physician and that we were headed straight to the hospital, so there was no need to call for an ambulance. My entire body ached and my heart was heavy, but I knew my dream meant something no matter how much my parents tried to tell me otherwise.
As we pulled into the hospital parking lot, I was practically buzzing with the urge to run into the building and find Jasper. Dad had to remind me to be patient and that we may not even be able to see him given the extent of his injuries.
"Are you sure you want to do this," he asked me quietly.
I nodded my head.
"I have to see him, Dad. I have to make sure he's okay."
"How are you feeling? Should I take to you the emergency room first to have you checked out?"
"I'll be fine once I see Jasper."
He nodded his head and looked at me for a moment before leading us into the building.
We walked up to the front desk and my father literally changed from Carlisle, husband and father, into Dr. Cullen, Chief of Surgery. It was amazing to see the subtle changes, which I likened to Clark Kent changing into Superman. In many ways, my father was Superman to me.
The nurse quickly directed us to Jasper's floor. I couldn't help but notice the TV news trucks that were parked outside; a reminder of the tragedy that occurred, the lives already lost and of the hero who was fighting for his life on the fourth floor.
Stepping off of the elevator, I felt a sense of dread. I wanted to stay positive, but I just couldn't bring myself to do it. I shook my head and chastised myself. I needed to be strong for Jasper. He was always the strong one in our relationship while I was overly emotional and sensitive. It was my turn to man up and be the man Jasper needed me to be, the one he deserved.
We walked into the waiting room and were immediately greeted by Jasper's parents, Peter and Charlotte. As Dad shook Peter's hand, Charlotte approached and wrapped her arms tightly around me. I squeezed her tighter than I intended, but she was the closest thing to Jasper at the moment and I was too overcome with emotion.
"I'm so sorry," I whispered into her shoulder as I began to cry.
"Shhh. He'll appreciate you being here."
I pulled back in shock. "He's…he's…"
Peter walked up to us and put his hand on my shoulder.
"We had a close call this morning, but he's stable as of right now."
"A close call," Dad questioned.
Charlotte released me from her arms, but kept my hand firmly in hers as Peter explained. I could see the pain etched in his face. It was the same pain I saw in my own father's face only it was much more intense and shattered the few remaining pieces of my broken heart. Every time I had seen Peter in the past, he was the epitome of strength, an attribute Jasper inherited.
"Uh…he went into cardiac arrest this morning. The doctor said we lost him for a few moments, but they were able to revive him, thank God."
My knees gave out and I slumped to the floor. Charlotte screamed and Dad ran to my side.
"Edward! Are you alright?"
I stared blankly at the wall in front of me, thinking about my dream.
"My dream," I mumbled.
Both of my parents frowned sadly as Peter and Charlotte came closer and kneeled on the floor beside me.
"What dream, hun," Charlotte asked.
I looked into her eyes, which were so much like Jasper's, and let out a strangled sob. "I dreamed that Jasper came to me and told me loved me. He asked me not to forget him and then evaporated right before my eyes. I tried to reach out for him, but I couldn't hold on to him! He was right there and I couldn't do anything to make him stay. He slipped right through my fingers!"
My mother pulled me close and gently rocked me back and forth as my tears flowed freely now. Charlotte took my hand in hers once again and tried to soothe me.
Why was everyone standing around trying to soothe me? I should be soothing Peter and Charlotte. They almost lost their son not once, but TWICE and I'm here breaking down while they put their own grief aside to help me!
It was because of my selfishness that everything turned to shit in the first place!
I was through with being the victim. Jasper told me he was proud of me in my dream and I was not going to let him down by being weak and fragile. Peter told us that the doctors were able to revive and stabilize him, so that means that he's alive.
I sat straight up, surprising everyone around me.
"Can I see him?"
"Now that he's stable, the doctor said we can see him, but only one at a time. Me and Charlotte just visited with him, so please go 'head," Peter said.
I nodded my head as Charlotte gave me a small smile and told me where I could find his room. Before I walked out, Dad lightly grabbed my arm.
"We'll be right here, son, if you need us."
I hugged him tightly before taking a deep breath and walking to Jasper's room.
Slowly pushing open the door that led to Jasper's hospital room, my eyes immediately fell upon his sleeping form. There were wires and tubes everywhere and it was all that I could do not to break down again. As I stepped closer, I noticed the pale, grayish tone of his skin, his dry lips, and the dullness of his hair. Even in this state he was still the most beautiful man in the world. I watched his chest rise and fall in synch with the whooshing sound of the respirator. As quietly as I could, I pulled up a chair next to his bed and sat down. For the longest time I just stared at him, memorizing his features. I laid my hand on top of his and felt an instant calm and warmth radiate through my body.
"Hey, Jasper," I whispered. "It's me, Edward. I know I may not be the person you want sitting next to you and holding your hand, but I just want to let you know that I'm here and that I'm so damned proud of you for what you did. Part of me wants to yell at you for putting yourself in danger like that, but I know you. You would never stand by and deny help to those who needed it, even if it meant giving your own life."
Warm tears fell onto my cheeks, but I quickly wiped them away and continued.
"Jasper, when my parents told me what happened to you, I have to admit I lost it. The thought of losing you forever hit me so hard I became frantic, mostly because there are so many things that I needed to say to you. First I want to tell you how sorry I am. I know I've said this to you before, but I can't say it enough. When I think back to that day and the hateful things I said, I just want to…I don't even know, but I feel horrible. Even though I was completely out of it, one image seared itself in my memory: the look in your eyes when I told you I hated you. Jasper, you don't know how much I've beaten myself up over that. I didn't hate you. I don't think I could. I was angry and felt set up, but now looking back at the situation with a clear head, I understand that you and my family were just trying to get me the help I desperately needed."
The heart monitor at Jasper's side beeped steadily and I felt a small sense of relief.
He's going to be okay.
"I'm now eleven months clean," I said with a weak smile. "It's been a long, tough road, but I needed to do it. I also want to make you proud of me. Even after you moved down here, I still thought about you and I wanted to be a better man; not just for myself, but for you also."
I watched as his eyelids fluttered and his eyes moved back and forth as if he were dreaming.
"I miss you, Jasper. I've missed you so much it physically hurts. I don't know if you'll ever forgive me for what I've done, but I hope you'll at least consider it. I love you so much! Please come back to me. I would give anything just to have one more chance with you - a chance to show you what a wonderful man you are and treat you how you deserve to be treated."
Pulling his hand up to my mouth, I gently kissed it.
"You're everything to me, Jasper, and this world wouldn't be the same without you. Please fight, if not for me, then for your parents. They need you too. Please fight!"
I didn't even realize I was standing until I felt my lips brush against his forehead. As I pulled back, I gently pushed his hair to the side and looked at his angelic face.
"I love you, Jasper."
It was so faint I'm surprised I even noticed it, but at that moment I felt pressure on my hand. I looked down quickly and saw Jasper's hand squeezing my own. Returning my gaze to his face, I saw his eyes slowly opening. He blinked a few times and focused on me, a lone tear falling into this disheveled hair. I smiled brightly through my tears as my heart swelled with love, joy and pride.
He was fighting.
He was going to be okay.
Since many of you have expressed interest in learning more about Edward and Jasper, their relationship and what happens next, I'll most likely continue this in the near future. :) Put this on story alert to ensure you receive the updates!