A/N: This is my very first Twilight fanfic – and quite possibly also the last one since I usually write in different fandoms (mainly HP) and owe new chapters of my stories to my readers there. But since I "stole" (-: my sister's Twilight books when I was home with cold this spring and I liked Jasper's and Alice's story very much, this is my tribute to this series. Enjoy!
"Uncle Jasper, will you tell me a good-night story?" the innocent young voice belonging to Nessie asked all of sudden and rather startled the man in question. Jasper was sitting on the front porch of the Cullens' house in Forks and was just pondering how peaceful it felt there and how different his life would have been if he never met Alice – and her chosen family. Bella and Edward had left for Isle Esme for the anniversary of their wedding and Alice, Rosalie and Esme were alternating in taking care of Renesmee. But it seemed that she managed to escape them – and stood now barefoot, in a long white nightshirt with her teddy-bear called Charlie after her human grandfather firmly clutched to her tiny chest, in front of her selected company.
"Will you tell me a good-night story, please?" the little girl repeated pleadingly, her eyes big and trusting – and Jasper was lost. Wordlessly he nodded and let Renesmee to take his much larger hand covered with countless scars and lead him up the stairs to her bedroom. There the little girl climbed on her large bed and once comfortably settled beneath the sheets, patted the space next to her for Jasper to sit.
"Which story would you like to hear?" Jasper asked and was quickly trying to remember the details of the fairy-tales Nessie liked.
But his niece had a different idea on mind. "Tell me how you and Aunt Alice met grandfather Carlisle and grandmother Esme," she asked and startled Jasper for the second time that evening. "Mum says you are the best to tell that story," Renesmee added when he seemed to hesitate – and again, Jasper felt the need to oblige to her. But how to tell that story to an innocent child?
Nessie's big waiting eyes on him, he finally opted for the long favored beginning of all storytellers. "Once upon a time, there lived a lonely vampire who was second in command in the vampire wars in the South…" Nessie happily nodded at the beginning, she knew that her uncle used to be a soldier. Jasper smiled at her enthusiasm and suddenly, the idea of telling his and Alice's story to her didn't seem so awkward as before.
Wishing that his niece would enjoy the story, Jasper suggested mischievously: "How shall we call the lonely vampire, Nessie?"
And Nessie grinned: "Jasper, please!" and clapped her hands when he nodded in affirmation.
Jasper smiled at her eagerness and marveled how her reaction influenced his view of his and Alice's story. It really was a fairy-tale after all, from the very beginning.
He went on with much less hesitation: "Many vampires desired Jasper's position and wanted the power of his coven and Jasper had to enter many fights – and was very lucky to win them all. But each fight had left a mark on his body -," Jasper unthinkingly touched one of his scars and felt a wave of compassion from his niece, not unlike the feeling Carlisle and Esme had greeted him with by their first meeting all those years ago, "- and his soul. After many years of that life, Jasper had enough and decided to leave his coven. Accompanied by two faithful friends, he wandered through the world and was searching for the new purpose of his life. When it became obvious that he would not be able to find it with his friends, he left them and wandered on his own for some time, feeling lonelier than ever.
And then Jasper met her, your aunt Alice. She was waiting for him in a diner in Philadelphia and told him that there was a vampire family they could join and live peacefully for many and many years. Jasper agreed with aunt Alice that they would try to find them and they started to search for them. But Alice did only know that they were called Cullens and hunted animals in a mountain region – she didn't know how the place they lived in was called and didn't even know in which state it could be found…"
Jasper made a pause and looked at Nessie to see if she was not falling asleep – and found her wide awake, hanging on each of his words. He smiled gently and thought he was very fortunate to have a niece – and that this was one of the many benefits of living with Carlisle's family.
He continued: "Finally, after many months of searching for the Cullens, Alice had a vision of the future. She saw a postman arriving to the house where the Cullens lived, delivering a package for her – some clothes, I believe (Renesmee grinned) – and she was able to read the address of the house there," Jasper explained, leaving out why Alice had seen just this scene. It still pained him that he had not listened to her and remained in the house that day – despite the man survived, they had to move soon afterwards.
"And then you arrived and grandmother Esme and grandfather Carlisle were very happy to see you, weren't they?" Nessie inquired curiously.
Jasper laughed softly at the memory. "Well, I wouldn't call them exactly happy, Nessie. You have to understand that there were just three of them in the house back then – grandfather Carlisle, grandmother Esme and aunt Rosalie. Your dad and uncle Emmett were away hunting – and grandfather Carlisle was the only one in the house who had ever fought other vampires. And in such a moment, your petite aunt appeared all of sudden, knowing not only the names of the Cullens but also many other things she wasn't supposed to be aware of, dragging me behind her covered with all my scars from the many fights I had taken part in. You know I can tell what people feel – and I remember that your grandparents and aunt were all quite scarred and very sure we were about to attack them."
"But you didn't attack them, did you?" Nessie grinned.
Jasper shook his head. "No, I didn't," he confirmed. But it was a close thing back then, when the three Cullens were so determined to fight him to protect their home and family, he recalled. "No, it all turned alright in just a moment. Your aunt Alice smiled and greeted them all by their names – and offered her hand to them. And grandfather Carlisle shook not only her hand, but took also mine." Jasper still remembered well how Carlisle's worry made place to curiosity and then compassion as Carlisle took his hand and saw the many scars on it.
"Your grandfather saw the scars I carry and asked if I came from the South…"
…'You are from the South, Jasper?' the man called Carlisle asked, his eyes drawn to Jasper's forearm adorned by the many scars from the past fights.
'Yes, I am,' Jasper confirmed firmly, knowing that if the Cullens would not want him and Alice to join their coven, or family as Alice preferred to call it, it would be better if they would say so sooner than later. For Alice's sake anyway – he wouldn't mind if they continued to live on their own. 'I left several years ago.'
Carlisle observed him curiously. 'Then you are one of the few who survived the wars and managed so. I would like to hear your story if you plan to stay in this area for a few days…'
Jasper felt Alice's excitement even before she exclaimed: 'Yes, we are indeed planning to stay for a couple of days...'
She was about to say more, to invite herself into the house, Jasper was sure – and felt that the Cullens wouldn't appreciate such manners this soon. He stepped in: '... if we would find a place to hunt around here, that's it.' Due to Alice's impatience to finally meet her chosen family they had not hunted in the last days – and particularly his eyes were now completely black.
'You cannot hunt in this area,' the blond beauty called according to Alice Rosalie cried upset from behind Carlisle's back.
Carlisle and Esme nodded. The doctor started to explain: 'We have a permanent residence in this area, you see. It would endanger our life here if you would hunt around here in the traditional way – we usually prefer to hunt animals out of this reason.' Jasper noted the careful formulation explaining the Cullens' diet and the apprehension hidden behind the words – and understood that they were still considered a threat.
Alice was about to say that they also hunted animals – but Jasper stopped her and answered himself: 'We have already tried to hunt this way. If there are not many humans in the area, we have no problem to hunt like this.' For him it was still a struggle to not turn to human prey if it was available – and again, he wished that the Cullens knew this before Alice blurred out that they (or mainly she) would like to stay permanently and possibly agree with it.
His words were apparently well chosen. The woman called Esme looked at Carlisle for approval and once he gave a nod, she invited: 'In that case you are cordially invited to stay those couple of days in our house. We don't have visitors often – and would enjoy hearing your stories.'
'And also who told you our names and where we lived,' Rosalie said from her place behind her parents, trying to remind the pair that there was something strange about the visitors.
'I apologize for my daughter's manners,' Carlisle said, clearly not sharing Rosalie's suspicion, and looked disapprovingly at the blond vampire. 'I assume that you have met some of our friends during your travels?' he offered the most plausible explanation of his visitors' knowledge.
Jasper felt Carlisle's and Esme's desire that their guests would be able to explain their knowledge. They both wished the other vampires had come as friends. Rosalie didn't mind either way – she would gladly send them away or even fight them if they proved to be a danger to her family and would help Esme to host them in the opposite case.
Jasper understood that they needed to be truthful now, despite he disliked the idea of giving up one of their secrets. 'Not exactly,' he said and nodded at Alice to explain.
Alice smiled, happy to finally have his approval, and said, to Jasper's amazement indeed careful not to reveal too much as he had asked her earlier: 'I am one of the gifted ones. I see the future – and I saw us meeting you.'
The Cullens were looking taken aback. For a moment, nobody spoke; then Esme turned to Carlisle with a whispered question: 'Is that even possible?' Jasper could feel that their suspicion increased anew. At last, Carlisle apparently decided that Alice's words could be true and nodded to Esme. 'Yes, I think it is indeed possible. Despite I have never met a vampire with such a gift.'
To Jasper and Alice Carlisle said: 'One more reason for you to stay for a couple of days – I would like to hear more about your gift and how your visions work, Alice – if you wouldn't mind to share more with us.'
Alice smiled: 'No, not at all. I will tell you everything you would like to know… By the way, now you will invite us to your lovely house and since you don't have a guest room, you will offer us the room of your oldest son, Edward, who shouldn't return from his hunting trip with his brother – Emmett, right? – for a couple of days still… And Esme, you are about to ask if we don't mind a room for both of us since you are not sure if we live together.
The answer for Carlisle is: Yes, we would like to stay in Edward's room for the time we will remain here. Thank you for the offer. And the reply for you, Esme – please, don't feel ashamed! – no, we don't mind to share the room. But we are not yet as far as you think. Jasper is a gentleman who would prefer us to be married first – should it be possible for us one day…' Alice trailed off and grinned at the startled expressions at the faces of the Cullens. But as soon as her gaze fell on Jasper's upset face, she apologized swiftly: 'Sorry. I didn't mean to overwhelm you. This is how my visions work – I see what the people plan once they have made a decision.'
Rosalie was the first one to overcome the shock. 'Well, they are not lying in this spite,' she remarked sarcastically. 'She is indeed gifted – pity only the vampire gifts are usually so annoying.' The last part was rather whispered than said aloud but everyone heard her. Before Carlisle or Esme could reprimand her, Rosalie however made the first step to win over the newcomers. She offered: 'I will start putting Edward's rubbish in boxes, so that you can use the room for the next days.' And with that the blond beauty disappeared in the house.
Carlisle and Esme smiled, well understanding the peace offering behind their daughter's words. 'She will come around,' Carlisle promised and invited the visitors into the house…
"And then they invited you to live with them, didn't they?' Renesmee interrupted Jasper's recollections, impatient for the happy-ending of her fairy-tale.
Jasper shook his head. "No, it was not this easy, Nessie. It never is…" He looked at her, considering if he should go on. "But maybe I could tell you about that tomorrow? Aren't you sleepy yet?"
"No, uncle Jasper, don't stop yet! Pretty, pretty please?" Renesmee pleaded.
Jasper felt how upset she became and after a quick glance at the clock finally nodded. "Alright then, I will tell you a bit more… Under the condition that you will tell me as soon as you want me to stop and go to sleep, alright?"
Nessie nodded eagerly. "Yes, uncle Jasper..."
…the Cullens were clearly used to swift relocation, Jasper thought. It took Rosalie less than half an hour to clear Edward's room so that the visitors could use it for a couple of days. The fragile LPs and some personal notes were now safely stored in several boxes on the shelves in the garage and Jasper and Alice were invited into the room.
Alice had seen the room in her visions already but what she had not yet seen and what amazed her now was the view from the only window in the room. 'Gorgeous,' she whispered, staring at the endless ocean of trees below her. 'Your brother must love this view.'
Rosalie shrugged her shoulders. 'Edward is spending most of his time downstairs, in the living room at his piano. I have no idea if he ever even looked out of this window…But if he has, I doubt he felt that the view is extraordinary in any way.'
Preferring not to offer any comment, Jasper and Alice followed her back downstairs. Carlisle was waiting for them there, offering to show them a good place for a hunt not far away from the house. 'It's certainly not the best hunting territory – that would rather be the mountains our sons are hunting in now – but it should fully suffice to squash your thirst…'
Alice and Jasper agreed to join him and together they left the house. It took them slightly over an hour to reach a stream of a river where the many foot-prints revealed the variety of the animals coming to this place to drink.
Carlisle explained: 'We do not hunt here often, so the animals are not afraid to come here. Please, feel free to kill as many as you need to satisfy your momentary needs but we would very appreciate if you could limit the kills to the necessary number – there are times when we are limited to this hunting territory and we would appreciate the animals to not leave it.'
Jasper and Alice nodded in agreement. Carlisle smiled, took a book out of his pocket and pointed on a nearby hill. 'I will be waiting for you over there. Please, join me once your thirst is satisfied. I have hunted only recently so I will not join you.'
'We will be there,' Alice promised and reached for Jasper's hand. She wanted to do this properly, to prove to the Cullens that they were committed to their way of life – so that the family would rather offer to her and Jasper to stay than the other way around. She looked forward to the moment Carlisle would see her amber eyes and Jasper's already almost golden gaze with just a slight red edge. She briefly wondered why she couldn't see this moment in her visions but then dismissed the thought. Carlisle couldn't yet know more than what they told him earlier…
Alice was mistaken. She berated herself for that, Jasper knew, but they both were aware this might happen, no matter how hard they tried to prevent it. The hunting territory of the Cullens was simply not far enough from the human settlements – and while Alice had deemed it quite safe for her and Jasper to hunt there, she simply couldn't foresee that a pair of two young humans would decide for an unplanned stop on their bike trip by the same river as Carlisle took them to.
Jasper would most likely still have no problem with their smell per se as he and Alice had already finished their hunt. But, unfortunately, the unplanned stop of the bikers had a reason – the human girl had a strong nose-bleeding – and Jasper caught the smell of the blood and stopped thinking rationally.
Alice attempted to stop her mate. She knew that if he attacked the young pair of humans on just their first day at the Cullens, neither of them would be welcome to stay. And she really wished for the opposite. For both of them. That's why she jumped on Jasper's back and, firmly embracing his many times scarred neck, tried to force him to stay with her; cleverly avoiding his attempts to shake her down for several long moments as she was able to foresee his plans of attack.
Then, thankfully, just as she started to despair, a small miracle happened – Carlisle, ever the doctor, smelled the blood too and on his way to the humans reached the place where Jasper and Alice were fighting. The doctor clearly originally meant to only ask the two of them to wait a moment for him and continue to the pair of humans – but as soon as his eyes fell on Alice struggling to keep her hold on Jasper, he understood that they were in trouble.
Obviously not a novice to such a situation, Carlisle swiftly approached his fighting visitors – and, as Jasper tried to shake off Alice once again, he snatched for his hands and held first them and then Jasper's forearms in an unexpectedly firm grip.
'Jasper!' he commanded quietly but resolutely, 'Stop it. You cannot hunt humans here. Do you hear me?' He squeezed Jasper's arms painfully, trying for distraction, and looked in Jasper's eyes to see if the younger vampire was returning to awareness or not.
It took the doctor a moment or two – but then he realized what he was seeing. The pitch black of Jasper's eyes was diluted by the animal blood he had consumed earlier – and his eyes were now looking such as the gaze of Carlisle's children or wife in the time when they had still been learning to hunt in his particular way.
Carlisle gasped in surprise, for a moment distracted, and turned his gaze to Alice. The girl was grinning at him from her place on Jasper's back, her eyes as golden as his own, and she insisted: 'This is why he cannot do it. You have to help me…'
Carlisle nodded and redoubled his grip on Jasper's forearms. 'Remember what you promised to us, Jasper. Humans are not hunted here!'
Jasper would never know what finally stopped him – if Carlisle's words or the shock he could feel from the older vampire just a moment earlier, or Alice's fear he was able to sense even through his madness, or perhaps her bite to his shoulder once she no longer knew if they would be able to halt him. But whatever it was, he suddenly stopped trying to deliberate himself. His face dropped at the realization what had just almost happened and he was overwhelmed by such a strong wave of shame and self-loathing that the feeling seeped out and affected both Alice and their host. Carlisle was again startled by the strong emotion – for a moment unable to speak.
Then the doctor shook his head, trying to clear his mind, and once more used the firm voice to request: 'Stop it, Jasper. You are not at fault; it's our nature.' Carlisle turned to Alice: 'Take him to the hill I was waiting for you earlier. I will look at the girl and shall be straight back.'
Alice dragged her irresponsive mate up the hill as requested and once there pulled him down so that they were both resting against a trunk of an ancient oak tree. Preferring not to say anything yet, she stroke Jasper's arm a couple of times and then stared into the distance and tried to estimate what would happen next. But as Carlisle was occupied by tending the human girl down by the river, he hadn't decided for anything yet – making Alice extremely nervous.
'I am sorry, Alice,' Jasper said after a moment, his voice sad. 'I know how much you wanted this – and I really wished it for you.'
Alice nodded. Yes, he wanted it for her only – but they both needed to be here, Jasper perhaps more than her. He needed someone like Carlisle to help him through this – Alice herself was at the end of the rope.
'You can stay, Alice,' Jasper offered suddenly. 'I will leave and they will take you in then, I am sure.'
She shook her head. 'I will not leave you, Jasper. It's either both of us staying – or both of us leaving. I won't live here – or anywhere else – without you.'
They didn't say anything else then, just sat next to each other, awaiting and dreading Carlisle's return.
A/N: One more chapter to come. Hope you have liked it so far. (-: