Just a little idea I had that turned into a cool story. I just thought I'd share. As usual, I don't own anything except the plot.
Walking through the door as I come home from work, I see my two daughters sitting on the couch, flipping through fashion magazines. I can here Esme busting around in the dining room, probably designing something new, and Edward and Emmett sit on the floor of the living room playing a video game. I take in the happy scene for a moment before searching for the missing child. I can't sense him anywhere in the house.
"Alice?" I call.
She looks up from her magazine and smiles. "Yes, Daddy?"
"Where's Jasper?" I ask curiously. It's not like him to go somewhere without his wife.
She waves dismissively. "Oh, he just went for a walk. He'll be ba…OH!"
She gets that familiar look on her face. Edward looks up sharply, his eyes wide at whatever she's seeing. "Alice?" I question, shaking her gently. "What is it?" the girl cries out, a look of horror written on her face, but doesn't answer. I instead turn to my son. "Edward," I beg, "Please, tell me what's happening!"
He winces at something he sees. "It's Jasper," he chokes out. "And a woman…I think it might be Maria. He was so surprised to see her that he didn't notice the other two with her. They snuck up on him." he shudders violently. "They're hurting him, Dad," he whispers, his voice cracking. "Torturing him." I can tell from the pain in Edward's voice that it's bad. The entire family is now silent, riveted on his report. A low snarl escapes from Esme at the thought of our son being hurt. Edward looks up at me. "We have to go. He needs us."
I nod, already forming a plan in my head. "Where is he?"
Edward looks back into Alice's head for a moment, looking a little sick. "In the meadow, by the river."
"Okay," I say authoritatively, "Edward, Emmett, come with me."
We're about to head out the door when Esme steps in front of me, her arms crossed. "How do you expect me to just stay here knowing that my son is out there?" She asks angrily.
I take a deep breathe. "Esme, darling, I know how much you want to come along, but I need you to take care of Alice. She needs you. Take her and Rose; get them out of the house, as far away as you can. If it's as bad as I think it is, I don't want her to have to see that. We'll send an update when we can." She nods, but I can still see that she's upset by this. "Don't worry," I murmur, "We'll take care of Jasper. It'll be okay." She kisses me quickly before moving to pull Alice out the front door. The girl follows her blindly, too distraught to do anything else.
I start for the back door, Edward and Emmett falling into step behind me. We run through the woods faster than I ever have before toward my injured son. "Edward, when we get close enough, I need you to hone in on her thoughts. I need to know why she's doing this."
He nods tensely, running is silence for a few more minutes. "She's angry," he says finally. "She never got over his leaving, and she's mad that she lost such a useful…tool, as she puts it. She's been waiting all these years to get back at him for leaving her, and now her army is controlled enough that she could leave them and hunt him down herself." He gasps sharply. "Dad," he whispers, his voice broken, "She's planning on killing him when she's done…playing with him." Edward growls angrily at her choice of words.
We come to a stop a mile away from Jasper, and we can hear his cries from here. Every cell in my being wants to rush in there and protect my son, but by doing so I would be putting my other two sons in danger. Instead I stop and plan quickly. "Okay. Edward, Emmett, you take out the two others. Maria is mine." They both nod anxiously, wincing as Jasper cries out again.
"You're going to kill her," Edward says quietly. It's not a question.
"No one gets away with hurting my children," I reply tensely. "I will do whatever it takes to keep us safe."
They both nod in agreement, my rage mirrored in both of their faces. I know for a fact that they hate her; the woman who hurt their brother and made it so hard for him to accept himself as something other than a killer. They may not be related, but, although they don't always admit it, the boys genuinely care for each other. We creep closer until we can get a better view of the scene. Maria and her companions are too focused on their mission to pay attention to us. I briefly register Jasper, lying on the ground, before I have to look away. Take the others out first, I remind myself. I can worry about Jasper after. If I think too much about him now, I know I won't be able to go through with this.
Suddenly, Edward smiles a little. "He knows we're here," he breaths to me. "He can feel us. He's sure the others haven't noticed us yet." He pauses for a minute, listening. "He says thank you."
I almost cry right there, but I need to keep it together, at least until after this is over. The boys get into position on either side of me, ready to spring. I wait another moment, praying for strength, before nodding. Together, the three of us fly into the clearing. We've taken them by surprise, and it's only a second before I have Maria by the throat, pushing her up against a tree. Looking to each side, I see Edward and Emmett pinning their own targets to the ground and effectively dismembering them. There's something to be said for brotherly love.
Maria hisses, furious that I've ruined her plans. "Who the hell are you?" she asks angrily, trying to shake me off.
"My name is Carlisle Cullen," I tell her hotly, "And that's my son you're hurting."
Her face goes blank for a moment before she smirks. "Oh, so you're the coven leader I've heard so much about. Has he not disappointed you yet? Don't worry," she spits, "He will."
A pang of hurt leaks out of Jasper, and the feeling only increases my rage. I press her harder against the tree, holding her off the ground. Out of the corner of my eye, I can see the column of purple smoke rising from the fire the boys have set. "Listen to me," I growl dangerously, "And listen well. I am not Jasper's coven leader. I am his father. I love him, regardless of whether or not he makes mistakes. I will always love him, and nothing could ever change that. And if you think I'm going to let you, or anyone else, walk in here and hurt my son, you're wrong."
The grin quickly leaves her face, replaced by fear as she realizes what I could do. "Oh, y-you're not going to hurt a woman, are you?" she stammers nervously.
"You're not a woman," I spit back. "Just some bitch who hurt my son. And if you think I'm going to give you the opportunity to hurt him again, you'd better think twice."
Her eyes widen as I finally allow the full force of my rage to bubble to the surface. I snap her neck quickly, tossing her towards the fire and watching the smoke billow.
I lean my forehead against the tree, trying to get a grip on myself. I'm too angry to look at my son, crumpled on the ground. I feel Edward walk up beside me. "He needs you, Dad," he whispers. I nod as my anger clears, and I am instead filled with concern for my son.
"Is it bad?" I ask quietly. Edward nods once.
I take a deep breath before turning around to see my son, and I understand why Alice reacted the way she did. My son, the soldier, lies, trembling, on the ground in a tight ball. Edward prods me gently until I walk towards him. I crouch down next to him, looking him over. His leg bends at an unnatural angle, and his shoulder is dislocated. I can see some of his injuries from here, but I'm sure there's much more that I can't see yet. "Jasper?" I murmur.
He cautiously opens his eyes, and when he looks up at me I can see the pain in them. "Daddy," he whimpers, "It hurts."
This is the first time he's ever referred to me as anything but 'Carlisle' or 'Sir'. I would be happier about that if he wasn't in so much pain right now. "I know, son, I know," I murmur soothingly, stroking his hair. "It's going to be okay. I'm here now; I'm going to make it better. Just hang in there for me, okay?" This seems to calm him a bit, and he nods slowly as I motion Edward over. "Jasper, honey?" He looks up at me, looking more childlike and innocent than I've ever seen him. "We're going to have to roll you over so I can look at your injuries. I'm going to try to do it as quickly as possible, and I'm sorry if it hurts, but it's really important that I know what we're dealing with here, alright?"
Jasper locks eyes with Edward, who nods once at the end of the exchange. "He says it's okay; he understands. He…trusts you," Edward explains. Looking into Jasper's eyes, I can see that it's true.
I smile down at him. "Thank you, Jasper." Suddenly, Edward chuckles. "What did I miss?" I ask, bewildered at what could possibly be funny at a time like this.
"He says he never thought he'd be so happy to have me in his head," he clarifies.
I watch as Jasper smiles weakly up at him. "I never thought you'd be more useful than you are annoying," he whispers hoarsely.
Edward laughs again, joined by Emmett, who has finished putting out the fire and has joined our party. "Careful, Jazz," Emmett teases, "That was almost a compliment. Can't have Edward getting a bigger head than he's already got." The boys behind me laugh, and I watch as the corners of Jasper's mouth twitch up.
I shake my head, amazed at this exchange, and stunned that it could be happening now, of all times. "I suppose I should be happy that you're up to joking," I say, "But I'd much rather joke after we've fixed you up."
Jasper nods slowly. "Agreed," he croaks. I instruct Edward to get on his brother's other side. I try to be as careful as possible as we roll him onto his back while trying to keep the injuries I can see immobile. He whimpers quietly, biting his lip as his weight shifts.
"All done," I soothe as we finish, running my hand lightly through his blonde curls.
"No more rolling?" he asks hesitantly.
"No more rolling, I promise." I can feel his deep gratitude. "Just relax while I take a look."
I have to steel myself before I can really examine him, and when I do I know the meaning of true horror. The arm that's not dislocated has been completely ripped off, as has the leg on that side. The bone in the leg that's still connected, as well as his left shoulder and collarbone, have been snapped in several places.
I quickly swallow the lump that's formed in my throat, trying to suppress my horror at his injuries, if only because I know he can feel it. "Jasper," I murmur, "I'm going to remove your clothes to get a better look, alright?"
He nods, a frail smile painted on his face. "Sure," he replies softly. "And, Dad? You don't have to try to hide it. I already know it's bad."
I nod quickly before moving on to his clothes. They're tattered and shredded as it is, but what remains blocks my view of the damage underneath. I carefully rip apart the remnants of his shirt, gasping quietly as I see several long gashes in his abdomen, made by the teeth of the three vampires we disposed of.
I feel a sudden burst of embarrassment from him, and I'm confused for a moment. I look to Edward for clarification. "The scars," he mouths.
It strikes me that this is the first time I've ever seen my son's chest, and thus the first time I've seen the scars he so desperately tries to hide. I gently stroke his cheek until he looks up at me. I can see the hesitation in his eyes. "Jasper, you know I've never cared about the scars," I remind him.
He looks down. "Yeah, well you've never seen them before either," he mumbles.
I sigh, lifting his chin slightly to make him meet my gaze. "That's a valid point," I concede, "But regardless, I still don't care. I gasped because of your wounds, and what must have been done to you to make them so deep. It wasn't because I think of you any differently."
He smiles a little at that, sending me a wave of gratitude. I pull away his shredded jeans to find another deep gash in his hip and yet another in his thigh. When he turns his head the other way, I see several others around the base of his neck. These are worse than the others, and, knowing how much my son hates letting anyone near his throat, they'll be the hardest to convince him to let me fix.
Edward clears his throat, pulling me from my thoughts. "Jasper wants to know how bad you think it is."
I take a moment to consider my answer. "Well, you're going to need more than a Band-Aid," I say, "But it's actually not the worst I've ever dealt with."
"You know how to fix all this?" Edward asks, though I'm not sure he's speaking for Jasper anymore.
"Yes," I reply softly. "It'll take some time, but yes, I can fix this."
Jasper watches me carefully for a moment. "It's going to hurt, isn't it?" he says quietly. "I can feel that you're dreading this."
"It won't be pleasant," I admit. "I'm not enjoying the idea of causing you pain, but I know that it's the only way to help you."
The boy nods, thoughtful for a minute. "Okay," he murmurs after a while. "I understand. I trust you, dad."
My heart melts at the words of my quiet, sensitive boy. "Thank you, son. I promise I'll be as gentle as possible. Let's take you back to the house and get you fixed up." I turn to Emmett, who has kept a little distance. He always was squeamish. "Emmett, go find the girls. Tell them that Jasper will be okay; I'm sure Alice is worried sick. And tell them that we'll send Edward when they can come back to the house. You can stay with them if you'd like." Emmett nods, grateful at having been released, and runs off to find the others.
Jasper looks at me curiously. "Why aren't they at the house?" he whispers hoarsely. "Did something happen?"
I feel his anxiety spike. "No, no," I reassure him quickly. "Everything is okay. It's just that…Alice had a vision of you being attacked, and she was very upset. I had a feeling you'd be injured badly, and I didn't want to upset her further by making her see and hear you in so much pain, so I asked Esme and Rosalie to take her out of the house for a while until we could fix you up."
His brow furrows while he thinks it over, his brain not working at full capacity right now. "Hear me?" he murmurs, confused. "Why would she…oh." He looks up at me, suddenly nervous. "It's going to be that bad?" he asks meekly.
I sent him a calm wave, hoping to soothe his fears. "I'm not sure," I confess. "Like I said, I'll do my best to be gentle, but I'd rather be safe and keep her away for a little while than put her through that. I figured you would think so too."
He nods. "Yeah, you were right to send her away. I don't want to hurt her any more than I have already."
"Hey, it's not your fault," I assure him. "In fact, you're lucky your wife is so talented, or we wouldn't have ever known you needed help. It hurt her to see you hurt, yes, but it would have been so much worse if she hadn't warned us in time."
He nods begrudgingly. "I guess you're right. It's just…it's scary knowing that I have to do this without her."
My heart breaks a little for my poor boy. He honestly feels alone without her. This could be my only chance to show him that she's not the only one who cares about him. "I know it's hard," I murmur quietly, "But you're not doing it alone. We're right here, and we'll do everything we can to help you through it."
He smiles a little bit. "Thanks." He takes a deep breath, steeling himself for what's to come. "Alright," he says finally. "Let's get this over with."
I nod, carefully putting my arms around him. "Ready?" I ask. He nods slowly. I pick him up, trying not to aggravate his numerous injuries. He whimpers at the movement. "Shhh," I soothe gently, "It's alright. I'm here." He presses closer to me, the fingers on his connected arm grasping my shirt. "Um, Edward?" I say softly.
"Would you mind…um…?" I motion to the detached limbs with my chin, and he takes the hint. He gingerly picks them up, following me out of the clearing towards home. I try to run at vampire speed, but Jasper cries out in pain, and it takes me a while to calm him down again, so we stick to human speed.
As we walk slowly across the backyard, Edward barely contains a laugh. "That's not very funny, Jazz," he admonishes.
Jasper snorts. "If I can laugh about it, then it is funny," he mumbles.
"What?" I ask, feeling left out.
"Jasper was wondering how he's going to repay us for this. He wonders if it'll cost him…an arm and a leg," he mutters, trying not to laugh.
I struggle to suppress my own laughter, because it really shouldn't be funny. But Jasper's always had a darker sense of humor than the rest of us, and he chuckles, even though it's clear that it pains him to do so. "Oh come on," he teases softly. "It was funny! I'm just trying to lighten the mood since you two are acting like you're carrying me to my execution."
A giggle escapes me, and Edward looks at me like I've grown another head. "It was kind of funny, Ed." He rolls his eyes, but grins anyway as we make our way into the house. Jasper cringes after each step up to his room, even though I'm doing my best not to jostle him.
He sighs in relief when I finally set him down on the bed. "Okay," he murmurs, "How do you want to do this?"
"How about we talk a little bit first?" I say. Jasper nods curiously. "How much do you know about healing vampire wounds?"
He thinks for a moment. "Not very much," he admits. "I know the smaller ones tend to heal themselves."
I nod. "That's true. The bigger ones can heal themselves too, but they can take days, or even weeks before they heal." He grows tense, and I chuckle. "Don't worry; you won't have to go through that. The fastest way to heal bigger wounds like the ones you have is with the venom of another vampire."
He nods thoughtfully. "How does that work?"
I hesitate for a moment. "Well…that's actually kind of what I wanted to talk to you about. The damage to the outside can be fixed with a simple application. But fixing the bones and any other internal damage is a little trickier."
He raises an eyebrow at this. "How so?" he asks tentatively.
"Well," I begin, considering my words carefully, "Internal injuries need venom to heal too, but they need it from…the inside."
His eyes go wide as he considers what I'm saying. "So…you have to bite me?" he asks anxiously.
"To fix it quickly, yes. But I'd understand if you'd rather not. If you don't want me to, you can wait for them to heal by themselves, but, considering the extent of the damage, it'd probably be a few weeks before you could get up."
He bites his lip nervously. "Would it…hurt like…" he stammers.
"Like the first time you were bitten?" I guess. He nods. "No, honey. It will hurt a bit, but it won't be nearly as bad or for as long a time as the change. And once it's over you'll be good as new. If you decide to wait, I'll support your decision, but you'll be in pain for a lot of that time."
He thinks uneasily for a moment. "You don't want to do this," he observes softly.
"You're right," I confess. "I never want to hurt you, even if it's with the intention to help you. But I'll do it if that's what you think is best."
He cracks a small smile, and I can feel his gratitude. "Okay. I want you to do it."
"You're sure?" I ask hesitantly. The last thing I want to do is scare him away.
But Jasper nods. "I can feel how much you care about me, and how much you don't want to hurt me. I trust you."
I smile, letting him feel my happiness at his statement. "Alright. Why don't we start with some of the easier ones?"
I look over my injured son once more before deciding to start with the gash in his leg. As gently as I can, I lick over the area, letting my venom flood the wound. Jasper hisses as the liquid makes contact with the injury, but I am happy to find that he is not afraid. I watch the gash slowly close itself up. Jasper sighs in relief. "You alright?" I ask.
He smiles. "Yeah, I'm fine. Go on." I nod, tending next to his hip until that one closes up too. I close the ones scattered around his abdomen, carefully monitoring his reaction. Though it is clear that he is in pain, I find myself increasingly proud of the way my boy handles himself. The only other gashes left are the ones around his neck, and I decide to hold off on those. Though they will not be as painful to close as his other injuries, I know how hard it's going to be for him to let me that close. Instead I move on to pop his dislocated shoulder back in before surveying the damage again.
Jasper watches me almost as carefully as I'm watching him. "What's next, Doc?" he teases lightly.
"I was thinking you might want your other limbs back." I reply.
He chuckles softly. "That would be nice." He watches me for another minute. "It's going to hurt, isn't it?" he asks. "I can tell by your face; it's going to be bad."
I sigh. "Once again, you're right. I'm sorry in advance."
"It's alright," he whispers. "I understand."
He turns his gaze nervously somewhere else, and I notice for the first time that Edward has remained in the room. I know that Jasper is worried about appearing weak in front of his brother. "Edward, could you do me a favor?" I ask.
"Sure, Dad. What is it?" he asks, understanding my thoughts.
"Why don't you go hunting for a little while? I'm sure your brother would appreciate it if you brought something back for him." Your brother needs some space, I add in my head.
Edward smiles. "Sure. Just think if you need me."
With that he is out the door, and when I turn back to Jasper I see him smiling a little. "Thanks."
I smile back. "Ready to get this over with?" He nods. "Okay then. Jasper, I want you to know that it's okay to show that it hurts. I won't make fun of you or anything. I already know how brave you are; there's no need to prove it."
He nods again, and I gently pull him up so that I can sit behind him. I lean him back against my chest, hooking one arm around his chest to keep him in place. "Hang in there," I murmur. I carefully line up the displaced arm and latch my mouth around his shoulder, letting my venom seep into the seam. Jasper cries out sharply, thrashing in an attempt to get away from the pain. I keep my arm locked around him and move the other to hold his arm in place, whispering soothingly to him as the injury heals. "Shh, it's okay," I murmur gently. "I know it hurts honey, but it's almost over. Breathe, son. I've got you; it's alright."
Slowly, the two pieces join together as Jasper's cries quiet. He turns slightly to bury his face into my chest. "Daddy," he whimpers.
I rub his back gently, trying to calm him with my emotions. "It's okay, I'm here. Just relax, my brave boy. I've got you." Slowly, he relaxes in my arms, his whimpers becoming sniffles and then small gasps. I kiss the crown of his head gently. "Jasper?" I murmur. He looks up hesitantly. "Are you alright?"
He nods quickly. "Yeah. I'm sorry…"
"Don't be sorry," I tell him gently. "It's happened to me before, and I know how much it hurts. I wasn't nearly as strong as you." This gets him to smile a little bit. "Why don't you try it out?" I suggest, motioning to the reattached arm.
Gingerly, Jasper lifts the arm, moving carefully. When it doesn't hurt, I feel the relief that shoots through him. "Good as new," he smiles. "Thanks."
I realize that today probably constitutes the most physical contact I've ever had with my son. I mean, I've touched him before, even hugged him on occasion, but he never seemed comfortable with it. Now, he is completely relaxed against me, not fighting the arm that's remained around him. I make a vow right here to try to touch him at least once a day.
I come out of my thoughts to find him watching my expression carefully. "What are you thinking about?" he asks curiously.
I smile. "I was just thinking that…usually you don't seem so comfortable with me touching you." He nods slowly, looking down at his lap. I gently raise his chin up until his eyes meet mine. "It's okay, Jasper. I understand that it's hard for you. It's just…nice to know I'm not making you uncomfortable right now. Well…you know what I mean."
He laughs softly. "Yeah, I understand. And I'm sorry if I've seemed…cold. It's just that I got so used to people hurting me that I still react that way, even though I knew you wouldn't hurt me. It's hard to unlearn something like that."
I nod, thinking this over. "So, why is it different now? I'd just like to know for future reference."
"Because of…what you did," he replies carefully.
"What I did?"
He sighs. "You told Maria that you loved me no matter how many mistakes I make, and that I was more than just a member of your coven. I'm sorry to say that I didn't quite believe it before."
My heart breaks to think that, all this time, Jasper still hasn't understood how I feel about him, and that it's taken something like this to show him the truth. I wonder idly if there was anything I could have done differently to show him earlier.
"It's not your fault," he says softly. "It's just that…I've been told how useless I am by everyone I was supposed to trust. My father, when I was human. Maria, when I wasn't. I guess I'm just…not used to being loved. I always carried this fear of getting close to people, because I thought they would all hurt me in the end. That's all I knew. But today…" he pauses to collect himself. "Today you found me weak, vulnerable, and completely defenseless, and you didn't take advantage of that like they would have. You protected me. You killed for me."
I shudder to remember what I did to Jasper's old coven leader. "I had to," I explain quietly. "I may not be a violent person, but I'll do whatever is necessary to keep you and the rest of the family safe. I wasn't going to let her hurt you again."
He smiles at me. "I know. And that's why it's different now. Because I understand now that you will always protect me. I feel how much it hurts you when I'm in pain. I can't be afraid of getting close to you anymore. Not after what you showed me today. And I…I would be honored to call you Dad…if that's alright…"
"Jasper, I've been waiting years for you to call me that," I tell him. "I'm so happy that you can consider me a father, and I'm so proud to call you my son."
"Thanks, Dad," he mumbles.
"I really like hearing you say that," I laugh. "Well, why don't we fix the rest of you up?"
He looks at me warily. "Is it going to be that bad again?"
I sigh. "Do you want the honest answer, or the answer you want to hear?"
"The honest one…I think," he said cautiously.
"The honest answer is…I don't really know. But even if it is, I promise it'll be over quickly."
He nods slowly. "Okay. Any tips?"
"Take some deep breathes," I advise. "Ready?" He nods and I carefully line up the injury. Jasper hisses as my venom makes contact with the wound, but stays as still as he can. I soothe him gently as the wound seals, and wrap him tightly in my arms. "Shh," I murmur, "It's alright, my son. It's over. Just breathe."
Slowly, he calms in my embrace. "Please tell me that's the worst of it," he mumbles into my chest.
"For forever, I couldn't say. For now, yes." He sighs in relief as I pull away and help him sit up against the headboard. "Now, Jasper, we need to talk again." He nods, his expression serious. "The last wounds we have to deal with are around your neck. That's also where I'll have to bite you to fix all of your internal injuries. I know that having people close to your throat makes you very uncomfortable, so I thought we could talk about it first."
He nods uneasily. "It's okay," he mutters, staring down at his lap.
I gently raise his chin. "No, it's not okay," I disagree. "I don't want to put you through more stress than I have to."
He smiles a little. "I already know that," he says softly. "What I meant is that…I'll be okay. I won't like it, at first. But it could be good for me. I really do trust you, Dad."
I can't stop myself from hugging him. "Thank you, Jasper. That means a lot to me. And, if it's too much, don't be afraid to stop me, okay?"
Jasper smiles gratefully and nods. I reach out and gently tip his chin up, but as I move closer, the boy starts to tremble. "Jazz, you okay?" I ask, concerned.
"I'm fine," he replies. "I'm sorry, I can't really control that, but it's okay, go ahead."
I take his word for it. "Alright. Deep breaths." I slowly lean in to heal the nearest wound. After the first two, he stops trembling. By the time I finish he is actually somewhat relaxed. "Jasper," I murmur, pulling back. "How is it now?"
He struggles to find words for a moment before reaching out with his good arm to hug me. "Thank you, Dad."
"For what, son?" I ask curiously.
"For…For not…For not betraying my trust or taking advantage of me. For…being you and not her," he says softly.
I smile, kissing his forehead. "Well then, you're very welcome. Now, I'm sure you know what the last thing we have to do is."
He nods slowly. "You have to bite me."
I nod back. "Yes. I just want to make sure you understand that I'm doing this to help you, and that this will be the only circumstance under which I'll ever bite you. Like you said, I'm not her. I won't do anything with the intent to cause you pain."
"It's okay, Dad," he assures me softly. "I know you'd never hurt me on purpose, and I won't hold this against you. I understand."
I feel a little better at his words, and I reach out and gently pick him up, settling him in my lap. He tilts his head, wincing slightly as he exposes his neck to me. I chuckle softly. "Jasper, we're not done talking. I thought you might like to know exactly what's going to happen." He hesitates for a moment, then straightens up and nods. I can feel his relief.
"You know how, when humans are changed, our venom heals any injuries?" He nods. "Well it works in very much the same way for vampires. While your own venom would take time to heal your wounds, much as a human body would heal itself slowly, the introduction of a foreign venom will heal them almost immediately. Once my venom is in your system, the broken pieces of your bones will snap back to their rightful places and join together."
He cringes a little. "That sounds painful," he murmurs.
I sigh. "Jazz, I'm not going to lie to you. You're much too smart for that. Yes, it's going to hurt for a few minutes. But if you'll just hang in there, it will get better. And I promise I'll stay with you the whole time. You don't have to do it alone."
I watch as Jasper takes a deep breath in and lets it out. "I know that now," he says softly. "Thank you."
I nod, taking a deep breath. "Ready to get this over with?" I ask. He nods and tilts his head again. I hear a soft gasp as my teeth break through his granite skin and my venom floods his system. I quickly detach my teeth from him and hold him tightly as he cries out. "Take it easy, Jasper. It's okay," I murmur, rubbing soothing circles on his back.
"Dad," he whimpers, "Make it stop!"
I hold him as close to me as I can. "Jasper, listen to me. Shh, honey. It's almost over, I promise. Breathe, son. I'm here. Shh, it's okay. You're gonna be alright." He whimpers again, clinging to me tightly. After a while, his whimpers die down, leaving him trembling in my arms. I gently kiss the crown of his head as I continue to soothe him. "Jazz, are you okay?"
He nods against me, but when I shift my weight his hold on me tightens. "Don't leave!" he cries softly. "Please…"
I hold him as close as possible, kissing his forehead gently. "Jasper, look at me." Hesitantly, the boy looks up. I see uncertainty in his eyes. "I'm not going to leave you, Jazz. I'm staying right here," I reassure him gently. "Everything will be alright. I'll stay with you for as long as you want me here, okay? But now I need you to take some deep breaths and focus on calming down. You're safe; I've got you. Just take it easy."
The look in his eyes changes, and he suddenly bursts into tears. I rub his back gently. "Jazz? What's wrong, honey?"
"N-nothing," he stammers. "It's j-just…I-I've never felt s-safe with anyone b-but Alice. Maria h-hurt me, and so did my h-human father. I just realized…I r-really do feel s-safe with you, Dad."
I smile at this heart-wrenching explanation. "Jasper, I promise that you'll always be safe with me. I will never hurt you like they did. You know that, right?"
He nods quickly. "Yeah, I know. I'm s-sorry for this…" he mumbles, wiping his face.
"You don't have to apologize for your feelings, Jasper," I remind him gently. "It's alright, my son. Let it out." Jasper continues to cry quietly in my arms for a few more minutes. With one final sniffle, he looks up at me. "Better?" I ask. He nods gratefully. "How do you feel?" I ask.
He thinks for a moment. "Kind of weak, and tired, but I'm okay," he replies softly.
"How's the pain?"
"Not bad," he admits. "It's a little sore, but nothing compared to what it was."
I smile. "Good. Well, after you rest for a couple of days, I think you'll be just fine."
I gently help him into some sleep pants and a t-shirt that covers the worst of his scars. Jasper gingerly puts his arms around me, hugging me tightly. "Thank you, Dad," he murmurs. "For everything."
I nod, hugging him back. "Why don't we bring Edward back here and then send him to get the rest of the family?"
He nods. "Yeah, I'm gonna have to hear it from Alice anyway, might as well get it over with. Um…Dad?"
He looks slightly embarrassed. "Would you mind, um…staying with me for a while?"
I can't help but smile. "Sure, Jazz. No problem." Jasper relaxes against me as I send a quick thought to Edward. It's all clear. Jasper's fine, you can come back.
It isn't a full minute before Edward's footsteps can be heard on the stairs. He knocks lightly on the door. "Come in," I murmur.
Edward enters slowly, as if he's not sure what he'll find. He notices our close proximity, raising an eyebrow at me, but doesn't say anything. "Hey Jazz," he says softly, "How do you feel?"
Jasper smiles at him. "So much better," he replies.
"Well," Edward says, "I thought you might be hungry." He holds up a mountain lion carcass, laying it gently in his brother's lap.
Jasper's face lights up as he eyes the creature. "Thank you," he murmurs. He latches onto the animal hungrily, draining it neatly. When he's finished, he looks a little better.
"Edward, would you mind telling the rest of the family they can come back?"
He nods, taking the drained animal with him to dispose of it along the way. Jasper closes his eyes, tipping his head back against my chest. "Hey Dad?"
"How long will I have to stay in bed?" he asks.
I consider it. "I'd like you to stay on bed rest until the end of the week. You may be healed enough to move without pain, but it'll take a few days before you're back at normal strength. I don't think either of us really wants to do this again should something happen, so we're better off playing it safe."
"Agreed," he nods. "Hey Dad?"
I smile at the word. "Yeah, son?"
He grins wickedly. "How much do you wanna bet that Alice will be more upset over my shredded clothes than the fact that I almost got ripped apart?" I wince a little at his description, and he notices. "Sorry," he says quickly. "That wasn't exactly appropriate considering how close it was to the truth."
"That's alright, Jazz. It's just…it scares me, how easily I could have lost you today. I know we weren't this close before, but the thought of losing you was terrifying. I wasn't sure what I was going to find when I came after you, but I knew I had to help."
He smiles softly. "Thanks for that. I was almost ready to give up when I felt you. You have no idea how much that meant to me."
We hear the front door fly open and several pairs of footsteps on the stairs. Jasper immediately goes tense. I rub soothing circles on his back. "Relax," I remind him. "I'm right here."
"You're not leaving, right?" he asks anxiously.
I smile down at him. "Of course not, Jasper. I'll stay until you tell me to leave."
He nods as the entire family comes bursting through the door. Alice is at the front of the pack, looking almost as distressed as when I left her before. She runs over, capturing Jasper in a hug. The poor boy winces slightly. "Um…Alice…Ow…" he murmurs.
She releases him. "Sorry, Jazz. It's just…I was so worried about you! What happened? Are you okay?" She babbles. She doesn't stop long enough to get an answer until Jasper gently puts a finger to her lips.
"I'm fine, Alice, thanks to Carlisle. I'll be good as new in a few days," he assures her.
Alice looks to me for confirmation, and I nod. She gives me a grateful look before moving to the side. Esme comes up next, hugging Jasper gently. "I'm so glad you're okay," she whispers.
"Thank you…Mama," he whispers back. She gasps, pulling back slightly to look at him. He smiles sheepishly, and she grins, kissing his cheek gently before moving back to hug me.
"Whatever you did," she murmurs to me, "Don't stop doing it. I love hearing that come out of his mouth."
I smile, kissing her on the cheek. "I know," I reply. "I love it too." For the second time today, I really look at my family. Now, they seem somehow more united than they did a few hours ago. They're all happy and laughing, but the biggest grin is worn by the boy in my lap.
Eventually, I manage to chase the others out so that Jasper can rest. Well, everyone except Alice, who wouldn't leave. But Alice and Jasper have a special bond, and I respect that. I watch as she lies next to him, her head propped up on one elbow. I never realized that I didn't ever pay much attention to their relationship. It was certainly an odd match, this reserved ex-soldier, and the bubbly pixie. I never quite understood how they could be soul mates when they are so different. It's not until they let me in on this private moment that I understand.
I watch as Alice lays her head on Jasper's shoulder. Neither of them says anything. Occasionally, one will reach out, tenderly caressing the other. A quick touch on the hand; a light stroke of the cheek. It isn't until now that I realize that their relationship works because they respect each others' differences. They accept each other for who they really are, good and bad. And they each make up for what the other one lacks. Watching this, I feel as though I have been given a precious jewel. A look into the hearts of my children.
After a while of this, Jasper's eyelids start to droop. "You should get some sleep," I advise. "Is it okay if I leave you with Alice?" He nods sleepily as I gently kiss his forehead. "Goodnight, Jasper."
He smiles a little. "Goodnight, Dad. I love you."
"I love you too, son."
I quietly slip out of the room, heading down the hallway. A second later, Alice appears behind me. "Daddy?" She asks softly.
I turn to face her. "Yes, Alice? Is everything alright?"
She nods. "Yeah. It's just…I was wondering…He'll really be okay?"
"Yes, Alice. He'll be as good as new in a few days," I assure her.
She smiles. "I just wanted to say…Thanks. For everything. If it wasn't for you, I might not have a husband right now, so…thanks." I smile, opening my arms to her, and she hugs me tightly. "Goodnight, Daddy."
"Goodnight, Alice. And you're welcome."
For those wondering, I'm still working on chapters for my two in-progress stories, but I had a bunch of little plot bunnies that wouldn't leave me alone, so I figured I'd upload them. So here's the first! Hope you enjoyed, and please review and make me smile!