A/N: Here is the promised second chapter. The story kept growing and I still have a couple of ideas so there might be a third chapter one day if you are interested – but I would appreciate some feedback first.
When Carlisle finally returned, his first words surprised the pair. 'The girl will be alright. We could stop the bleeding and they are on their way home now.' Then the doctor sat down on a trunk of a fallen tree close to Jasper and Alice and eyed his two visitors with a mixture of curiosity, apprehension, disappointment, regret and – if Jasper indentified the emotion correctly – joy.
'I trust some explanation is in order,' he said quietly and looked at them expectantly.
'I would like to apologize once more,' Jasper started but the doctor waved his hand dismissively. 'As I have told you before, I do not blame you, Jasper. Hunting humans is in our very nature and it takes years of practice to not react to spilled human blood. I would say you two have handled the situation nicely and would stop at that for the time-being.' Carlisle gave a nod of acknowledgment to Alice and turned back to Jasper. 'I am far more interested in the emotions you seemed to project. Are you an empath, Jasper?'
And here it was, the moment Jasper dreaded. They had already given up Alice's secret and now his stupidity had cost them their other advantage. He had hoped it wouldn't come to this. But he couldn't deny his gift now. 'Yes, I am,' he confirmed. 'I can sense people's emotions and I can also influence what the others feel.'
'I see,' Carlisle nodded, deep in thoughts. 'I take it you can sense also what your prey is feeling?' He asked carefully after a while.
'Yes, he can,' Alice replied instead of her startled, speechless mate. 'That's why I suggested he tried to feed in our way.'
Carlisle noted the word 'our' but decided not to comment. 'What do you feel from me now, Jasper?' He asked instead with unhidden interest.
The younger vampire looked at him, clearly surprised. Jasper was rather expecting that Carlisle would ask if he was influencing his and his family's emotions – something he was not yet ready to admit. But if Carlisle only wanted to know his own feelings, so be it.
'You are wondering about me and Alice and what we are doing here,' he said cautiously. 'You are also not exactly sure if we are no danger to your family, so there is also some fear. The other emotion I can feel is disappointment…May I guess that you are unhappy with us for not telling you more earlier rather than my actions this afternoon?'
Carlisle gave an affirmative nod. 'Yes, that is my main reason… Can you feel anything else, Jasper?' He prompted when the younger vampire was not going on.
Jasper nodded. 'Yes, there is more. You regret something – but, although it would be more than logical, I do not believe it is about meeting me and Alice…Perhaps, it is about you not being able to assess us more accurately earlier?'
'Again, an excellent guess,' Carlisle acknowledged. 'And no, I do not regret meeting the two of you. It has been a very interesting and enlightening meeting so far… Anything else?'
'Yes, I can identify one more emotion,' Jasper said slowly. 'I would describe it as… joy. But I am not sure how you can feel happy about our visit after what happened earlier…'
Carlisle actually laughed at these words. 'Jasper, I think you do not understand how unique and how very welcome your visit is to me and my family. There are very few vampires sharing our way of life – and to meet two vampires living – or attempting to live – in the same way as we during one day, that is like a small miracle to me. So yes, I am indeed delighted that we have been able to get to know you.'
He left Jasper to ponder his answer for a moment and smiled at Alice. 'How have you come to feed in 'our' way, Alice? Was it your idea or did you have a teacher yourself?' Carlisle was obviously hoping that there were more vampires sharing his belief.
Alice didn't answer straight away but rather looked at her mate for approval to share another of their secrets. Telling Carlisle this one would likely decide their future – and she wanted to make it right.
Jasper joined his eyes with hers and after a moment nodded. 'Yes, tell him,' he said surprisingly aloud and stood up to stretch his legs a bit – one of the few human customs he had kept. 'I take it that Doctor Cullen is going to be pleased rather than disappointed...' He walked to the edge of the clearing and stared at the river below them. Alice was right, they would be welcomed here, he knew now – and he wondered why the thought suddenly didn't disturb him as much as before.
Behind him he could hear Alice finishing her story: '... and then I saw your family in my visions and the way you feed. I preferred it to hunting the human prey – so I learnt from you. I am no longer tempted now, unless I am thirsty and there is a bleeding human close by…It's more difficult for Jasper, but he is trying. We kept to mountain regions with few humans living in there in the last months, so that he could learn – before…' – Alice looked at Jasper's back one last time and received a barely visible nod from her mate – '…finding you.'
Carlisle was quiet for a long time. He knew now what his visitors wanted from him and he was pondering if it could be arranged. Jasper, no matter how hard he tried, would be endangering them for months and maybe years to come – Carlisle was no fool, he knew well how different the vampire life was in the South and he had just seen how much Jasper still struggled. But then they boy was trying only for a short time – and he would very much like to help him.
'Jasper,' Carlisle said finally and the younger vampire turned to him. 'Come over here, please.' The boy complied. 'I understand what Alice is trying to tell me. Before I give her an answer I need to know if it is just her wish or if you share it.'
Jasper didn't reply immediately. He didn't want to disappoint Alice but the doctor was more that kind to them so far and he didn't wish to lie to him either. 'It has been Alice's wish as long as I have known her,' he admitted. 'For me it used to be a not very welcome idea and I even dreaded meeting you for some time. But things have changed since then – and I have changed too. I enjoy the climate here – you have been very nice to us despite I have not earned it. So yes, I would like to stay here too. But you must take into account that I am by no means used to hunt in your way only. I promise to do my best – should you decide to take us in – but I cannot guarantee that I won't make any mistakes.'
Carlisle nodded. 'I do not expect you to never make a mistake, Jasper. Esme, Edward and Emmett have slipped several times too. But I would expect you to let me help you to improve – and you would have to promise me to not hunt humans intentionally if you wish to stay with us.'
'I promise,' Jasper said without hesitation, his voice as earnest as if he would be saying a vow. 'I would also appreciate if you could help me to improve.'
'So be it,' Carlisle nodded. 'If the rest of the family agrees, you may stay with us.'
'They will agree.' Alice, who approached them in the meantime, said prophetically. Her face was lit up and Jasper could say she was overjoyed. 'Thank you, Carlisle. You will not regret it…'
"… and I have indeed never regretted it," a third voice confirmed all of sudden from the threshold of Renesmee's bedroom, interrupting Jasper's words. Carlisle had returned from his evening shift in the hospital. "Your aunt Alice was a good prophet."
Jasper looked at Carlisle curiously. He would have liked to know if what Carlisle said was indeed true – for he had struggled a lot in the very beginning. And particularly Edward was not at all enthusiastic with him joining the family.
Carlisle apparently understood his gaze, for he said: "It was a pleasure to see your uncle growing. I do not think it would have been so rewarding to me if Aunt Alice came on her own or was the only one to stay." These words were clearly meant for Jasper rather than Renesmee and the younger vampire could tell they were indeed true as Carlisle's feelings mirrored his words.
He smiled in gratitude and felt Carlisle's pleasure at seeing him so happy and relaxed. "Thank you, Carlisle," Jasper said and the doctor understood that he was not thanking solely for his previous words.
"You are welcome," Carlisle replied, he too meaning much more than the short conversation they two were just having. "Do not stay up long. Good night, Jasper. Good night, Nessie."
The small girl waved at him and sleepily answered: "Good night, grandpa." When Carlisle closed the door behind him, she turned back to Jasper and said: "Charlie says he is starting to be tired. Will you tell us more tomorrow?"
Jasper nodded. "I will tell you more then," he promised.
"Okay. Then please help me to tuck Charlie in."
Jasper complied and Nessie nodded gratefully. "Thank you, uncle Jasper. Could you tuck me in now, too?"
Once more, Jasper responded to her wishes. Then he bent over the sleepy girl and kissed her forehead. "Sleep well, Nessie," he said quietly and turned to leave.
From behind his back, he felt her love for him and her satisfaction with his story. It warmed his frozen heart – and he silently thanked, for an umpteenth time that evening, that the fate had gifted him with a family.
The End (?)