The Circle Game
New Moon AU - When Alice has some troubling visions of Bella, Jasper offers to return to Forks to check on her. When he finds her in a worse state then any of them could have imagined, he and Alice, with the help of Emmett, decide to take matters into their own hands - and bring Edward home. (Takes place just after Ch. 14 of NM)
A huge thanks, as usual, to Katie, for not telling me I was crazy for starting Yet Another NM AU. Written for the prompt "It's an endless circle" for twilightathon over at LJ.
1. Part 1/4
Rating 4.5/5 Word Count 2145 Review this Chapter
Around inside your head
All things are coming, again and again
And again inside your mind
--Wolfcry, "Endless Circle"
Alice closed her eyes and tried to See, and all she Saw was black.
Shivering, she opened her eyes and stared at a spot on the wall in front of her.
"What did you see this time?" Jasper asked quietly, even though he already knew the answer. He tightened his arms around her in response to the waves of desperation he could feel coming from her small body.
"Nothing," Alice said, fighting against yet another shudder that coursed through her. "Nothing but the same blankness." She shook her head. "I'm worried, Jasper."
Jasper easily turned her around in his arms so that he could kiss her. "I know."
For the past few months since they'd left Forks, Alice had been having sporadic visions of Bella. Not one of them had been good.
The first had come the night the family had parted ways and Edward had gone off on his own. Alice had been in the middle of a rant about how stupid Edward was to think that leaving Bella unprotected would be a good idea, and that tracking Victoria wouldn't do any good because he was an absolutely terrible tracker, when suddenly, she'd cut herself off mid-sentence, grasped the edge of the table-top, and stopped breathing. Her eyes had gone blank, and Jasper knew that she was having one of her visions, but if the look on her face was any indication, it was not a pleasant one.
When Alice finally had taken a breath, her eyes coming back to focus, her entire body trembled. Jasper could feel her pure, unbridled despair. "Oh... Bella," she'd said and thrown herself into Jasper's arms.
Jasper sent wave after wave of comforting energy at Alice, while inside, he'd been reeling. "What did you see?" he'd asked quietly.
Alice buried her face in his chest. "She's completely lost without him, Jasper. She's lost inside herself."
Similar visions came to Alice periodically after that - Bella waking up screaming from a nightmare, curled up on her bed, gasping and clutching at her stomach in pain as she fought against tears, walking around school with an emotionless mask on her face. These came between visions of Edward chasing after Victoria, first in Texas, then somewhere in Mexico, and one particularly jarring vision where he was sitting in the dark, his head buried in his hands, sobbing tearlessly. Each time, Alice would come back to herself shaking, and each time, Jasper would comfort her, all the while fighting against the guilt that this, all of this was his fault.
When the visions stopped for a time, Alice had tried to look ahead to Bella's future for herself. What she'd seen had frightened her more than all of her other visions of Bella in agony, frightened her even more than seeing Bella dead on that dancing studio's floor in Phoenix.
Because she'd seen nothing. When she'd looked ahead, all she'd seen was darkness. Bella's future had disappeared, and Alice couldn't understand why. Nothing Jasper had done had been able to comfort her, not until three days later, when she'd finally Seen Bella again having a conversation with Angela Weber, in which Angela did most of the talking, and Bella just nodded a lot.
Alice should have learned not to try to look for Bella. Each time she did, all she saw was the same blackness, and that frustrated her to no end. But that didn't make the dark any less unnerving each time the black bloomed across her vision.
And Jasper knew that wouldn't stop her from trying, perpetuating a cycle that wouldn't end until she found out why this was happening.
Alice picked up her head and looked straight into Jasper's eyes. He felt a burst of anticipation, and was suddenly wary. Her mood had changed entirely too quickly.
"What if I went to check on her?" she said, fingers playing at the sleeve of his shirt. "She wouldn't have to know I was there. I could just check in on her and leave."
"Edward said he didn't want us to interfere with her life anymore," Jasper said, and while part of him agreed with his brother - he could still remember the night of Bella's birthday and what he'd done with a sickening clarity - another part of him agreed with Alice, and knew that leaving Forks wasn't going to make anything any better for anyone.
Alice shot him a withering glance. "Yes, I know," she said bitingly. "'It will be as if we'd never existed.' I remember what he said just as well as you do." Softer, she said, "And so does Bella. I have to make sure she's okay, Jasper. Not knowing, having to wait for a vision to tell me what's happening to her... it's tearing me apart. I may not love her the same way Edward does, but... she's still my friend."
Jasper stared at Alice, taking a few moments to consider her words and to sort out his own conflicting emotions. Guilt won out over reason, and he found himself telling her, "I'll go."
Alice blinked at him. She was absolutely stunned. "What?"
"I'll go to Forks to check on Bella," he elaborated unnecessarily. He looked down at her fondly. "I know you, Alice. If you see Bella and she's in a bad state, you'll rush in and comfort her without considering the consequences of your actions." Jasper could tell she was going to protest, and he pressed a finger to her lips. He felt a burst of indignation, and he smirked. "You know it’s the truth."
Alice huffed and crossed her arms sulkily.
Jasper chuckled, and then leaned down to kiss her. Alice pressed her lips against his and wrapped her arms around his neck. Then, she rolled so that she was straddling him, her arms on either side of him on the bed.
"You'll really do this, Jazz? Really?"
Jasper nodded. "Really. I'll leave whenever you want me to."
"Tonight, then. Or as soon as possible. I’ll call the airline and book a ticket for the earliest flight available out to Port Angeles in the morning.” She closed her eyes for a moment, and then nodded her head, satisfied. “Yes. You won’t get a flight until the afternoon, and it’ll be cloudy tomorrow, but there won’t be any delays. You’ll get to Forks by a little after eleven.”
Jasper's eyebrows arched. He could feel the raw impatience burning through her.
Alice shrugged. "Edward isn't the only one who doesn't like not knowing things."
Alice had been right, of course. The flight had gone over without a hitch, and the sky was a dull, threatening gray when Jasper stepped off of the plane in Port Angeles.
Alice had the keen foresight to have a rental car waiting for him at the terminal. He had told her not to get anything too flashy – he didn’t want to make his presence known, and if Alice had her way, she would have gone with the yellow Porcshe.
Jasper rolled his eyes when he saw the car waiting for him in the parking lot, smirking as he slid into the BMW’s leather seats and turned the keys in the ignition – at least the car was black.
As he weaved his way down the familiar roads leading to Forks, Jasper found himself pondering over the last conversation he and Alice had before he’d left. After some debate, they’d decided that they wouldn’t tell Carlisle what they were up to until they were sure they had some reason to make their plans known. If Carlisle asked, Alice would tell him that Jasper had needed to be away from humans for a few days, and had gone hunting.
Jasper had felt the disappointment emanating from her as she recited the lie. He knew how much she hated lying to Carlisle and Esme. At least this particular lie was believable, even if Alice hadn’t thought so.
“Jasper, Carlisle knows that you struggle more than the rest of us,” she’d said matter-of factly and he had winced, “but I know he won’t buy this. He’ll see right through me.”
“You’re the one that said we shouldn’t worry him or Esme until we had something more concrete to tell them,” he’d said, trying to banish the guilt her words had brought to his mind.
“I know,” she’d grumbled. “That doesn’t mean I have to like it.”
Then, she’d taken a good, long look at his face, and Jasper had felt the sudden shock, then anger at what she saw in his eyes. “Jasper Whitlock Hale,” she said, and he’d cringed. He knew he was in trouble when Alice tacked his human name onto her reprimand.
She continued with her rant, her irritation growing with each passing second. He hadn’t bothered trying to dispel her anger – that would only make her even more irate. “You’re not going to Forks because you feel guilty about what happened with Bella on her birthday, are you?”
Jasper rubbed at his eyes. Sometimes, he wondered if he wasn’t the only one with the ability to feel other people’s emotions, or read minds. Alice was uncannily good at reading people.
No. Scratch that. Alice was good at reading him.
“That’s not the only reason why, Alice,” he’d said wearily, and she groaned, frustrated now. “I care about her too. I want to make sure she’s all right.”
She’d stared at him, probably contemplating whether or not she should continue with her rant. Then, she sighed, and her anger dissipated, replaced only with concern and love.
She’d wrapped her arms around his waist and said, “This isn’t your fault, you know. None of this is.”
They’d had this conversation a hundred times in the past few months. He still wasn’t convinced, and as she leaned up on her toes to kiss him, he was sure she wasn’t fooled.
Jasper sighed and pulled the car to a stop. He took a fleeting glance behind him at the old, white house before taking off at a run into the woods. He concentrated on letting his mind go blank and feeling nothing but the wind in his hair, the cool air on his face, as he let his feet carry him down the familiar paths to Bella’s house.
Alice had warned him that it would be after eleven by the time he got to Forks, so he was quiet as he climbed up to Bella’s window. Though he’d never been in Bella’s house before, figuring out which room was hers wasn’t hard. The window was cracked open, and her scent washed over him even as he stood on the ground, sweet and familiar. He took a moment to compose himself before scaling the wall of the house.
When he stood just under her window, he took a deep breath, preparing himself for what he might find, what he might feel when he finally looked through the glass and saw Bella inside. Then, he climbed the remaining few inches and slid silently into Bella’s room.
What he found shocked him.
Jasper had been expecting many things when he appeared at Bella Swan’s window. A wave of deep sadness, agony and anguish, longing, desperation, possibly anger, even denial.
Instead, Bella was lying on her bed, knees pulled up to her stomach, arms curled tightly around her chest. Her eyes were closed and one hand was covering her face. Her breathing was ragged, like she had, quite possibly, just woken from a nightmare. This, however, was not what shocked Jasper, what sent his mind whirling into a worried frenzy.
There was no emotion coming from Bella. He could feel nothing. If he hadn’t been listening to the frenzied cadences of her heartbeat, watching her chest rise and fall with her breathing, he would assume she was dead.
Suddenly, he knew exactly what Alice had been feeling for the past five months.
This was worse than any of them could have imagined. From the looks of things, they’d left Bella broken, completely and utterly.
Hopefully, she was not yet beyond repair.
Jasper slid back out of the window and gracefully jumped down to the ground. As soon as his feet met the grass, he pulled out his cell phone and dialed Alice’s number.
He didn’t need to say a word.
“I’m already on my way to the airport,” she said, and her tone implied that she had already Seen everything. He wasn’t surprised. “I told Carlisle everything and he agreed that this has gone on long enough. Meet me at the house. I’ll be there by tomorrow morning.”