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Jasper is repulsed by himself and by his actions at that fateful birthday party in New Moon. What has he become?

Disclaimer: Stephenie Meyer owns Twilight and all that it encompasses. I do not. No copyright infringement is intended.

1. One-Shot

Rating 5/5   Word Count 1746   Review this Chapter

Just one drop, the smallest drop of blood imaginable. Tiny—and so round, so lusciously appealing, the angry red papercut throbbing . . .

And the scent. It was too appealing to be real.

One drop was enough.

It felt was though my throat was being torn, slowly ripped in half; the burning was intolerable. My stomach tensed, my muscles locked down—all in the space of a fraction of an instant. Her THROAT, pulsing—

She’d fallen backwards into the glass now, and blood, sweet blood, gushed freely from her arm. I had to have it. The scent blurred my vision, propelled my legs forward, intoxicated me; a small part of my brain shouted NO, but the rest of it was lost to the bloodlust. My lungs burned, and I was only kept from screaming with the pain by the thought of just how her blood, warm and soothing, would so wonderfully quench my thirst—

I was vaguely, just barely aware of Edward, or someone, blocking my way to her; I wanted, no, NEEDED her, to feel her fragile skin breaking below my teeth, taste the rich current of her life—

Now I was outside, and I wasn’t quite sure how it had happened. The cold night dulled my thirst, but only a little, only enough for me to realize what I had just done, what I had just become.

I could feel the disgust and disapproval rolling off Emmett, see his unusually unhappy face; sense the smug “I-told-you-so” in Rosalie’s bearing.

For once, though, others’ emotions were not the most vivid part of my consciousness. Even here, in the refreshing neutrality of the forest air, my throat and mouth were dry, caked as if with sand, my abdominal muscles rigid with the pain of my thirst.

Once we were far away enough from the house, Emmett and Rosalie let go of my arms, releasing me from their straitjacket-like holds.

I couldn’t bear to see their faces, and so I turned and sprinted away from them, knowing they would not follow. I could sense enough of their feelings to tell that would be the case.

The wind stroked my face as I ran, stroked me with an appalling lightness, a warmth that I did not deserve. Why did Nature itself not recoil from me, disgusting, weak being that I was? Why did the gently smiling moon not vanish at the sight of my abhorrent face? Why did the very roots of the oaks surrounding me not reach up from the ground and ensnare me in their snaking tendrils? Perhaps because vampires were supposed to be indestructible.

I knew better, though. I did not want to think about the tremendous damage I had just inflicted on my entire family, and yet I could not escape it: Esme would be shattered, Carlisle disappointed, Emmett disgusted, Rosalie viciously joyful, dear, dear Alice pained, Edward—I could not let myself even imagine the horror I had just subjected him to in one moment of my weakness. His own brother, attacking, trying to kill the girl he loved! Damn it, damn it all, what was WRONG with me? Everyone else had been able to stand the call of her blood . . . her sweet, sweet blood . . . I slowed my pace and allowed an anguished roar to escape my lungs. The leaves on the trees surrounding me quivered, all wildlife within at least two miles silenced at the terrible sound. I dropped to my knees, resting my head on the soft carpet of leaves and assorted undergrowth. Perhaps I could just stay here . . . become one with the forest . . . never have to look at my face, the face of a would-be MURDERER, in the mirror again . . .

I felt the tenor of his emotion before I heard his light footsteps approaching me. It was so powerful that had I not been already prostrate on the ground, I might have almost been bowled over by its sheer intensity. Wave after engulfing wave of not anger, not the blame I so justly deserved . . . but self-hatred? It was so strong that I almost felt nauseous; the weight of his self-blame combined with my own was almost too much to bear. I supposed I should have expected it—Edward had always been low on self-esteem, almost ridiculously masochistic, but this was insane. I was the one who had tried to kill Bella, not HE.

He heard my thoughts and chuckled without humor, his face shadowed in the nighttime gloom. “But I might as well have.” I got to my feet so that I could look him in the eye properly, disbelieving. My bearing was stiff, harking back to my days in the military. Appropriate, wasn’t it? I felt as though I was facing a firing squad.

“Don’t blame yourself, Jasper.” His voice was dangerously monotone but for the unmistakable hint of self-disgust pervading all. “I'm not angry with you. I should have expected this all along. It’s all my fault. I’ve put her in such danger.” I wondered that he did not cave in at the weight of his pain; I could barely stand, and I was only receiving his emotion secondhand. His face was grim, hard like stone, a mask. My apprehension of my own repulsiveness only grew when faced with this pathetic shell, this person who had once been my brother.

I’m so very sorry.

I couldn’t say it aloud, not without exploding. Edward nodded in recognition of my apology. His eyes were curiously dead.

The self-hatred I felt emanating off him was now replaced, or rather, mixed with something else; resolution, it smelled like, but resolution of what, I could not tell. I did not ask, though—Edward owed me nothing; he should be the one asking the questions. Anger would have been better than this awful, unsettling forgiveness, though; I wanted nothing more than to atone, pay for my sins, my monstrosity, somehow. But Edward clearly was not going to let me, and it frustrated me beyond description. Why did he—why did everyone else—have to be so immeasurably better than me?

My guilt, then, was left to sit inside me like bile, sickening, choking me. Edward turned away abruptly, murmuring something about having to get back. I let him go without a word. What was there to say? What words could bridge this new divide, this new monster, between us?

The weight of his crushing emotion was lifted as he ran away, and I was only left with my own. I do not think that there are words to describe what I felt in those next few Moments, watching the results of my own inhumanity fleeing from the sight of me. I couldn’t blame him—I wanted nothing more than to tear my self apart, rip my soul from this grotesque, bloodthirsty body. Then again, how would that help anything? My soul would surely be just as ugly, as mutilated, would it not? I was the murderer, the one exception, the one mistake, the one failure of my family. In my time I’d taken far too many for their blood, and now I had some so close to moving that ghastly total up by one.

Someone else was approaching now, but this time the emotion coming at me was love, pure, unadulterated love and pity. I knew who it was instinctively, from her scent, from her walk, from the way the area surrounding my silent heart twinged at her approach. How could she still want me, want to comfort me, as though I were the victim in this situation? Her cool hand on my hidden face, her lovely clear eyes gazing into mine, were impossible to resist, the best medicine I could require, and yet she could not make me forget.

Nothing ever would.

I didn’t deserve it, but still I took her hand and let her embrace me.

“Jasper.” Her musical voice cleared my head, swept over my soul—if I had one, which was doubtful; especially after tonight’s events, I was with Edward on that subject—with a sweetness I imagined should be illegal. It was too good. How could I have let myself become such a demon in the presence of such an angel?

“Alice?” My voice was tentative.

“She’s not angry with you.” I cringed, knowing exactly whom she meant. I had tried not to allow myself to think the name of the girl who was as dear to my beloved as if she were a sister, the girl who had almost been annihilated by my monstrosity. My silence must have said enough, because she repeated herself. “Really. Not at all. I can see it.” She tapped her temple and smiled at me. “If anything, she’s mad at herself.”

Not with the damned self blame again! First Edward, now Bella; it was unbearable. I extricated myself from Alice’s arms, trying to keep my voice under control.

Perhaps I could control at least one instinct tonight.

“Why is that, Alice?” I didn’t let her answer. “What did she do? What did she, of all people. do to deserve blame, other than accidentally cut her finger? I think we both know who the guilty party is here!” I couldn’t stop the shouting, try as I might. “Joining Carlisle was a mistake from the beginning. Even he can’t change who—no, WHAT I am.” I was breathing hard, and my face felt unfamiliar to me, twisted, contorted, somehow. Fitting that the exterior reflect the ugliness within.

The silence was deadly still, the space between Alice and I unbearable as the poignant sadness in her face, assaulting me from all directions.

I let out a breath I hadn’t known I’d been holding. “I’m so sorry.” She touched my chest; the acceptance radiating from her lovely face was better than any verbal recognition. “You know I love you.” I pulled her into my arms and let her nearness fill me up.

“Oh, I know.” Her voice was mischievous, muffled in my shirt, and I kissed her spiky black hair. She truly was a miracle, loving this horrible creature, this monster I had become, the weakest link. I didn’t realize I had voiced my thoughts aloud until she moved back so as to look into my eyes.

“I don’t, Jasper. I don’t love that person, because I know that that’s not you. This is my Jasper, right here, My Jasper is amazingly wonderful and good. How could I love you if you weren’t? I do have standards, you know.” She poked her little forefinger into my chest and grinned. I tried to smile back.

Oh, how I wanted to believe her.