So, I know I said that my first Twilight fic would probably be the last one I'd write, but I've come to see that the beauty of fan fiction is that you can change the things you don't like about a series. For me, that mostly means Bella's constant whining about shit. So here I am once again with another Bella-less tale to entertain all you lovely people.
This one takes place wayyyyy before Twilight, a little over a decade after Alice and Jasper join the family. It's just a one-shot that came to me while pondering ideas for the next chapter of my current stories, and it'll probably stay a one-shot unless I get a sudden inspiration, or a million of you beg me to expand. Anyway, enjoy!
For what seems like the millionth time today, a stab of hurt passes through me. Most of my children are prone to brooding, but Jasper's brooding is far worse than even Edward's, though rarer. Jasper's gift is powerful, and when he's distraught like this it's harder for him to control his emotional output, meaning that the rest of the family can feel his negative emotions.
Not even Alice has been able to pull him out of his funk, and, to make matters worse, he refuses to talk about it. In fact, he refuses to talk about anything remotely emotional with me or anyone else. No matter how patient I am, no matter how much I strive to make him understand how much I care about him, he never trusts me enough to open up to me. He continues to call me 'Sir' though I've treated him as my son for over a decade. He even avoids being touched by anyone but Alice most of the time. And as much as I tell myself that he just needs time, his refusal to accept that he has a place in the family can be frustrating. What else can I do to convince him that he belongs here with us?
I'm thinking this over when there's a feather-light knock on the door of my study. "Come in, Alice," I murmur. My newest daughter bounds into the room, but her normally cheerful attitude is dampened. "Is something wrong?" I ask, concerned.
"Yes, Daddy, but not with me," she says quietly. I wait for her to go on, knowing that something important has happened to make her so upset. She sighs, trying to figure out what to say. This, also, is unusual. Alice is almost never rendered speechless. "It's Jasper," she begins. "I'm sure you can feel it; everyone can. And I know that this has happened before, but this time is different." The poor girl looks particularly distressed by this.
"In what way is it different?" I ask. As distant as my newest son remains from me, I am still concerned for his well being. He is still my son, whether he chooses to recognize it or not.
"He won't talk to me about it like he usually does. I didn't understand at first, but then I had a vision, and I realized it had to be you."
I stare at her, confused. "What had to be me?"
"Jasper…he needs to talk to you," she explains. "He's not going to want to, but he'll need to. And I know you usually give him his space to make him more comfortable, but I'm telling you, he needs you to get him talking. I know he…hasn't exactly embraced the whole family thing yet, but I'm asking you, Daddy, to please be there for him."
I open my arms to her, and she slowly walks into my embrace. "Of course I'll be there for him, Alice. He's my son, whether he thinks that way or not. But can't you tell me what he needs to talk about so badly?"
She shakes her head a little sadly. "It's not mine to tell," she says softly. "But it's horrible, Daddy. When I saw it I just wanted to cry. You have to make him talk, and when he does you need to show him how much you care about him. He…he still doesn't believe that he's worth it, and you're the only one who can make him understand."
She sniffles before composing herself. "I'm sending Edward and Emmett on a hunting trip for a few days, and Esme, Rose and I are having a girls' getaway, so the house will be empty from tonight until Monday morning. It's going to happen tonight, but I think you two could use the weekend together."
"Thank you, Alice. I'll try to help Jasper with whatever he's going through."
She nods hesitantly. "Take care of him, Daddy. I love him."
I hug her tightly. "I know you do, baby girl. I'll do my best; I promise."
This seems to placate her, and she kisses me on the cheek before going to the door. "Oh, and Daddy?" she says slowly. "He's sleeping right now. He'll stay that way for around half an hour after we leave, and then it will be time." She pauses. "Good luck. I know you can do it."
"Thank you, honey. Try to have some fun, okay?"
She nods, finally cracking a smile. I think over what she told me and pray that I'll be able to help my son through whatever has him upset without pushing him further away from me.
In an hour, all of the children and Esme have gone, leaving me alone with the boy down the hall. I try to figure out what the horrible things Alice mentioned are, but there are too many possibilities to even guess.
I am still mulling over the things that Alice said when a scream sounds down the hall, and I know it is time to face whatever this is. I run there as quickly as vapirically possible and find the door to Jasper's bedroom open. The sight inside breaks my heart. Jasper sits on the bed, his knees pulled up to his chin, his long blonde curls hiding his face. I notice that the usually emotionless boy is trembling, and I know I'll have to deal with whatever it is that's got him into this state.
"Jasper? Son?" I say softly. His head snaps up for a moment, and I see a tear glistening on his cheek before he bows his head once more. I slowly go over to sit next to him on the bed. "Jasper, please, talk to me. Tell me what's wrong. I want to help." He doesn't answer, continuing to shake silently for a few minutes. The emotional climate in the room is intense; thick with hurt and anger and fear.
When I gently place a hand on his shoulder, he growls loudly and jumps up into a defensive posture, the fear spiking around us. I put my hands up, showing him that I meant no harm. When he realizes what he's done, his face falls. "Oh God, I'm so sorry Sir…I didn't mean to, I just…"
Shame and guilt mix in with the other emotions swirling around the room as he struggles to find words and I shush him gently. "It's okay, Jasper, it was my fault," I tell him gently. "I'm sorry for startling you."
He nods, gingerly sitting beside me again. "Did you, uh…did you want something, Sir?" he asks. I feel his anxiety and fear increase as he addresses me.
"Yes, actually," I reply, trying to sound supportive. "I wanted to talk to you about what's going on, Jasper."
He looks nervous. "W-what's going on, Sir?" he asks, searching for clarification.
"Yes, Jasper," I say gently. "It's clear that you're very upset about something. Whether or not you believe it, I consider you no different from any of my other children, and it hurts me to see any of you in so much pain. I know you're used to dealing with things on your own, but I'm begging you, son, to let me help you. I can't do that if you won't talk to me, Jasper. I need you to tell me what's going on."
He sits silently beside me, tensed as if ready for a fight, for a long time. It's so long that I'm considering just giving up and leaving the poor boy alone. But just then, he speaks.
"What do you want to know?" he asks softly.
I am relieved for a moment, to know that some of this is getting through to him. "Everything, eventually," I tell him honestly. "I've known you for a long time, Jasper, and I've realized that there's so much I don't know about you. But, in the immediate future, I'd like to know what has you so distraught."
The boy is quiet for a few minutes, suddenly very interested in the bedspread, but I wait it out patiently. It takes a while, but finally, he speaks. "Flashbacks." He pauses, and, upon seeing that I'm not going anywhere, continues. "I've always had them, but recently they've been more persistent, and they're happening more often. I just can't seem to get away from them lately."
I nod thoughtfully. "Are they flashbacks of your human life?" I ask.
He shrugs. "Sometimes. Occasionally they're of the early years of my life as a vampire, with Maria. Either way, the things I remember are the most painful memories, and they just won't stop. When I sleep. When I eat. No matter what I do, they're always there." An edge of desperation creeps into his voice, and I want, more than anything, to fix this.
"That is distressing. Is there anything I can do to help?"
He looks at me like I'm crazy for a moment before shaking his head sadly. "I have no clue, to be honest," he admits. "You're the doctor, what do you think will help?"
It seems like a genuine question, so I try to come up with an answer for him. "Well, I took some Psychology classes in med school. There are a lot of people who believe that, when the things we've tried to repress come back to us, they need to be released. They believe that talking about what it is that you're thinking about with someone else will free you from the burden of it, and then it won't push so hard to get out."
He considers this for a moment. "So, you want me to tell you about all of the memories plaguing me?"
"You don't have to," I assure him. "I just think it might help."
"I've never told anyone about these things," he says, still glaring down at the bedspread. "Not even Alice. But if you think it might help…I'll give it a try. But…are you sure you really want to hear these things?"
I sigh, slowly taking his hand in mine so as not to startle him again. "If it's going to help you through this, then I absolutely want to hear it."
Jasper nods and chooses his words carefully as he begins to tell me about his past. "The ones about my father are probably the worst. He wasn't a very forgiving man. You see, my Mama died when I was little, and my father was angry. I was small and weak, so he chose to take his anger out on me. He was drunk, more often then not, and he took to hitting me whenever he was mad. It didn't even matter if I did anything. Not to him." He stops for a moment, and when he continues again his voice is broken. "The memories I remember are of the most painful incidents. The times he beat me so hard I passed out, or the times he branded me, or the times he whipped me with a riding crop."
All through this, my heart breaks for my boy, and I can't believe I never knew this. I want to hug him tightly, but I know I can't yet. Instead, I settle for squeezing his hand. "Did you say he branded you?" I ask, amazed that someone could do that to their own child.
"Yes Sir," Jasper murmurs quietly. He slowly unbuttons his shirt and pulls it off, turning his back to me. From the base of his neck to the small of his back run several long burns. It's clear that Jasper's father heated up a metal rod and ran it down his kid's back more than once. I can't help reaching out and tracing one of them lightly with my finger. Jasper winces, and I can't tell if it's a reflex or if I've hurt him.
"Do they still hurt?" I ask.
He shakes his head, putting his shirt back on. "Not anymore, but let me tell you, when they were fresh they would have given the venom a run for its money. It hurt like hell, but I was too small to stop him. And, in a way, that was almost worse; knowing he had complete control over me. Anyway, that's why I lied about my age to get into the army I couldn't stand being with him any longer."
I nod, understanding. "And that's why you're not a fan of people touching you?"
He goes red a little. "Yeah, I guess. As much as I know none of you would hurt me, there's still a scared little boy somewhere in me."
"That's understandable," I say gently. "That was a lot for a little boy to go through."
He plays with the blanket again. "I know, but I also know it hurts you that I haven't become one with the family, so to speak. I'm trying, really. I'm just…not there yet. But I feel bad that I'm hurting you after all you've done."
I slowly reach out and lift his chin. "Jasper, listen to me. It's okay. We all have things that are hard for us, and this happens to be yours. We understand. Now, is this helping?"
He nods, somewhat begrudgingly, and keeps talking. "Well I was turned pretty shortly after that. Maria was just as cruel as my father in some ways. In some ways she was crueler. She trained into me the idea that I was nothing; that I was worth nothing. That I was easily disposed of, unimportant, and useless. And it was easy for her, because that's why my father taught me for years. And when she started abusing me, I didn't stop her. On some level, I knew she was just using me. But I wanted to be loved, needed, wanted, and so I let her use me. In some ways, I loved her."
Suddenly, his face goes cold. "Until one day."
"What happened, son?" I ask, unnerved by his new expression.
He shudders as he begins to speak. "I had a little sister. Anna. I loved her with all my heart. I usually took the brunt of father's anger to make sure that she wouldn't get hurt. It was so hard to leave her behind when I went into the army. But I promised myself that I would go back for her. Only…" he stops to collect himself. "One day, Maria was in a bad mood, and she was displeased with me. She sent her cronies to find my sister."
The tears start falling quickly down his face. "They killed her," he chokes out. "And they…they m-made me w-watch her d-die…"
A strangled sob rips through him, and I can't help myself any longer, I carefully wrap Jasper in my arms, hugging him to my chest. Surprisingly, he doesn't fight me. Instead, he curls up into me, crying hard. I rub his back soothingly and murmur to him as his pain bounds through the room and am rewarded when it lessens a bit.
"It's okay, Jasper," I murmur softly. "It's alright, my son. I'm here. You're safe. Just let it all out; then it will feel better."
The force of the emotions Jasper releases almost knocks me back off the bed. All of the anger and pain and fear that he's held back come rushing out from him like a tidal wave. It's almost too much to endure, but the fact that one of my sons has felt this makes me stay. Whether he wants to admit it or not, Jasper needs me right now, and I'm not going to abandon him when he's asked for my help.
It's almost an hour before Jasper's sobs turn into quiet whimpers and gasps, and the emotions in the room become less intense. He trembles in my arms as I try my best to soothe him. When he's significantly calmer, he looks up hesitantly at me. "Do you feel better now?" I ask gently. He nods, but I can feel his shame at having broken down. "Jasper, look at me please," I ask softly. When he does I notice that the pain in his eyes has diminished a little. "I'm going to tell you something now that I'm sure your human father never told you, but it's something you need to know: it's okay to cry. In fact, it's healthier to cry than it is to keep everything locked away like you did. Sometimes it's just something you have to do before you can start to feel better, and that's okay."
He looks a little shocked by this. "My human father…he always told me that men don't cry. He used to ridicule me when I did."
"That's not true, Jasper," I tell him gently. "Men cry all the time. I do, and so does Edward. Even Emmett has cried a couple of times. It happens to all of us. But they all come to me when they're upset, because they know that being a part of a family means you don't have to suffer through something alone. We're there for each other, because that's what families do. You can be a part of the family if you let yourself be, Jasper. You can depend on us."
"Even Emmett?" he repeats, his eyes wide with surprise. I nod, and he sighs. "I guess it's just that…I've never depended on anyone but myself. I always had to be the strong one. I had to take care of myself."
I rub his back lightly, and he lets me. "You've always been a strong person, Jasper. You've had to be. But you don't have to go it alone anymore. It doesn't make you weak to ask for help, or to cry, or to depend on someone else. And it won't change the way anyone in this family thinks of you, because we've all been there. We know what it's like, and we want to help."
He nods a little, looking down at his lap. "I have a lot of issues, Sir. I don't think it's fair to burden the rest of the family with them."
"Jasper, for the last time, you are not a burden on this family. We love you, and we want to help you. No matter how bad you think something is, we don't care. We'll be there for you no matter what it is."
He looks up at me again, and I see a little hope there. "Let me tell you what I told Edward, and Emmett, and even Rose and Alice, okay?" He nods curiously. "I may not be the biological father to any of you, but I still love you all like my children. So that means that, if you ever need me, I'll be there for you. Whether you need a shoulder to cry on, or someone to talk to, or anything at all, I'll be here. Even if it's four in the morning and you're upset. Because I love you all so much, and I want to help. So I don't ever want you to be afraid or embarrassed to come to me, okay? I want to help you, and, no matter what it is, we can fix it together. Do you understand, Jasper?"
A small smile plays at his lips. "Yes, I understand. Thank you, dad."
I freeze upon hearing his words. "Did…did you just call me 'dad'?"
Suddenly, the fear in the room returns with full force. "Sorry, Sir, I-I didn't mean to," he stutters. I can tell that he's afraid of my reaction.
"No, no, Jasper, it's fine," I reassure him. "I'm not mad, I'm happy. I've been waiting years for you to call me that."
The fear ebbs away and is replaced with relief. "Oh," he mumbles sheepishly. "Well I'm sorry it took so long. It's just, considering my track record with parents…" he trails off.
I run my hand lightly through his blonde curls. "It's okay, son. I understand." The rest of the negative emotions in the room vanish as he sends me a wave of gratitude.
"There are some things we need to clear up," I tell him, and he nods seriously. "Firstly, though for all intents and purposes I am your father, I will not be like your human father. My human father did the same kinds of things to me, and I vowed to never do them to my kids. So I promise that, no matter how angry I get, I will never hurt you. I will never hit you, burn you, tear you down, or do anything else to hurt you. I will never threaten Alice's safety or the safety of anyone you care about, and I will never ridicule you. Though I reserve the right to punish you should you break a serious rule, these punishments will never be physical in nature and will be fair according to the crime. Do you understand me so far?"
Jasper nods, his smile growing, as I continue. "I also promise to always be there for you, whenever you need me, and to help you fix any problem. Though I respect your right to privacy, I ask that you come to me if you're upset or angry or anything. I don't expect you to agree with everything I do. You are an independent person in this house, and you have the freedom to express your opinions and ideas, even if they do not agree with mine or the opinions of anyone else. I am not your master or your coven leader. I am your father, and as such I promise to listen to your opinions and ideas whenever you choose to share them with me. Still with me?"
Jasper nods again and grins despite himself.
"A few last points: I have a tendency to be a hugger. If you're not in a hugging mood, feel free to thwart my advances, but it wouldn't hurt to let me get away with it every once in a while." This makes him laugh. "And finally, I promise to help you understand how much you matter to me and everyone else, and to show you how much I love you, unconditionally."
With this last sentence, I send out every ounce of love I can muster. I know it starts to take effect when Jasper looks up at me, wide-eyed. "You…you really love me that much?" he asks.
"Of course I do, and I always will." I reply.
Suddenly, the tension leaves Jasper's body, and he hugs me. I realize that this is the first time he's ever been completely relaxed in my presence. It's also the first time he's ever initiated contact with me, and who am I to argue? "Thank you, dad," he murmurs. He pulls back a little bit, but not enough to be out of my embrace.
For what seems like the first time, I look at my son. I don't think I've ever been prouder of him. I hug him tightly once more, letting him feel my emotions, before kissing him on the forehead. "You look exhausted, Jazz," I murmur into his soft curls. He nods against my chest. "Why don't you go to sleep?" He nods again as he pulls away, yawning. "Goodnight, son," I say softly.
I start getting up off the bed, but Jasper grabs my arm in alarm. "Um, dad?" he asks nervously. "Could you, maybe…stay? With me, I mean." He sends me a wave of trust and security as an explanation.
"Sure, son," I agree. I sit down next to him, holding out my arms. To my surprise, he crawls into my lap, resting his head against my chest.
"Hey dad?" he says after a quiet moment.
"Where's everyone else? I can't feel them."
I chuckle. "Well, the boys went out on a hunting trip, and the girls went to Seattle for some sort of girls' weekend, so it's just you and me for a few days."
He grins. "Let me guess. Alice saw this coming and pushed everyone out of the house?"
"Yeah, pretty much," I reply.
"And she told you what was going to happen?"
"No, actually. All she told me was that you needed to talk to me."
Jasper looks surprised. "Wow. I mean, I love her, but she's not usually known for such subtlety."
I chuckle. "I know, I was surprised too. But she was really worried about you."
He giggles. "I should have known she would see it coming, even if I didn't tell her. I didn't want to worry her, but I suppose I kind of did in the end. Remind me to apologize to her when they get back."
Just then my phone beeps. I read the message from Alice and laugh. "I think you may have done it already," I tell him, showing him the text. It reads:
Thank you, Daddy! I told you it had to be you. And tell Jasper that I love him and he's already forgiven.
Jasper laughs. "You can stop spying on us now, Alice!" he says to the room. Another beep from my phone.
Okay, okay, no more spying, I promise. I love you both, have fun!
Jasper shakes his head as he leans back into me. "Yeah, that's about as subtle as she usually gets," he murmurs. "Hey dad, can we go hunting together tomorrow?"
I chuckle. "Sure, Jasper, we can do whatever you want tomorrow. Get some rest now, my brave boy. I'll stay right here."
He nods sleepily. "I love you, Dad," he murmurs, a bit of his southern twang leaking through.
I gently kiss the crown of his head. "I love you too, son."
So…I may have gotten a little excited about this and stayed up until 5am writing it…whoops! But I hope you enjoyed it, and please review and let me know what you think!