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The Sunshine Train

Summary:
Create your own banner at mybannermaker.com!John F. Kennedy said once that the courage of life is often a less dramatic spectacle than the courage of a final moment; but it is no less a magnificent mixture of triumph and tragedy. A man does what he must, in spite of personal consequences, in spite of obstacles and dangers and pressures, and that is the basis of all morality.
I couldn't agree more.
Courage was the reason I was here. Courage and love. We know Edward and Bellas story during Twilight, but what if it was different? What if Alice was the new girl, and Bella was already a vampire? Would Jaspers self-control hold out when he meets a girl whos blood smells so intoxicating to him? Mostly AxJ, all canon pairings. Thank you so much to MoonSpinner for the amazing banner!!


Notes:
Read on and enjoy. Disclaimer: I don't own Twilight, and i never ever ever will :(


23. The Angel

Rating 3.5/5   Word Count 4576   Review this Chapter

"Death, that hath suck'd the honey of thy breath
Hath had no power yet upon thy beauty."

APOV

It was a blur. A blur of black and white, and blinding colour. A blur of echoing silence, and painfully loud sounds. A blur of shapes and darkness.

A terrible growling was filling my ears, the sounds of rocks scraping together, rippling snarls and screams of pain. The sounds of war, and passion, and anger.

There was another sound, a heart-breaking howl, filled with emotions. A screech of something, filling my ears, filling every space in me that wasn't already filled with pain. A noise filled with pain, and loss, and grief.

“Who, or what was making that noise?” I thought desperately, the words squeezing themselves out of the last coherent part of my mind, “Why wasn't anyone helping them?! Why wouldn't the noise stop?!”

I couldn't tell if my eyes were closed, if I was unconscious and dreaming, or if my eyes were open, and I was watching the scene in front of me with my own eyes.

I could see an angel. A monstrous angel, moving in a blur of white limbs and blonde hair. Dreadful sounds were ripping from his throat, as he struggled desperately, trying to free himself from a prison of arms and bodies.

Why were the holding the angel back, I wondered. He wouldn't hurt me, I trusted him.

His mouth was moving, and I could hear the words, a voice breaking through the haze of pain that had settled over me. A voice filled with as many emotions as the scream. A beautiful voice which would sound soothing and melodic, if it wasn't panic stricken to the point of near hysteria.

I couldn't understand what my angel was saying, the words making no sense in my head. I simply stared at him.

My head was turned to face upwards, and I let out a moan as my angel slid out of view, my gaze fixing instead, on an ornate and beautiful ceiling, high above me. Another face was in my vision, a face of yet another angel, not as beautiful as my angel but beautiful none the less.

“Alice” the second angel was speaking. Alice. Was that a name? Was that my name?

“Alice, this is going to hurt.” The voice was calm and soothing, not fitting in with the scene around me, with the violence and bloodshed I could feel radiating onto me from every angle.

What did he mean? What was going to hurt? Why was he going to do it, if he knew it would hurt? I dragged my mouth open, trying to make some noise from my aching throat, trying to ask him the questions that were filling my mind. But I couldn't. I only let forth a gasping rattle of breath, the kind that a zombie would make, in a low budget horror movie.

The angel was bending towards me, his lips nearing my throat, brushing gently on my neck, just above my collar bone.

A warm slash of pain, stronger than anything I was already feeling, broke through my thoughts, and just for a moment, everything froze.

There was the slightest pause, lasting less than a split second. Like the deep breath before the plunge. Like the empty sound just before a crash of thunder. Like the white noise in-between radio stations.

And then the pain hit me. It hit me hard, like a roller-coaster, falling down a metaphorical 60 foot vertical drop. Something was gnawing its way slowing but surely from my heart. Or maybe it was working inwards, towards my heart.

I couldn't entirely be sure. All I could feel was the pain. The mind-numbing, brain-freezing pain that was overcoming me.

It was all I could feel, it was all that existed, it was in my brain, it was all I could think, it was turning me inside out and upside down, and I didn't know which way was right, which way was left.

There were voices, more voices. A constant swirl of noise, of the voices of angels, melding together. People were shouting, arguing, screaming at each other.

And then the pain was growing worse, spreading throughout my whole body, becoming a blazing fire. Like I'd grabbed hold of the wrong end of a curling iron, my reflexes were telling me to let go, to drop whatever was burning me. But there was nothing. The burning was inside my body, spreading through my veins.

I don't know how long passed. It could have been hours, days, or months. It could have been seconds. The fire burned on, the torture making me writhe in agony, thrashing on the floor. I knew the floor should have felt cold, but everything that touched me, burned along with me.

I wanted to cry, but the tears wouldn't come. I wanted to scream, but my throat didn't seem to be working. I wanted to curl into a ball, to sleep, to die.

I was dying, wasn't I? I hoped I was dying. I didn't want to live through the fire any longer, living wasn't worth feeling another heartbeat of this pain, was it? Was this the life, that I had to live from now on, burning in soundless agony for eternity?

One millions deaths later, marked only by the intensity of the pain, something changed. I felt strange. I was flying, floating high in the sky. My body was buoyant, like I was floating on the surface of a neverending pool, or drifting through outer space, with no gravity to hold me down. But at the same time, I was tied down, my body was heavy, and I couldn't move. I couldn't even think about moving. The pain was still there, it hadn't lessened, not a fraction of a degree, but it had become almost bearable.

I could think through the pain, I could remember.

Things were coming back to me. Memories, things that I'd noticed subconsciously, that had never registered before.

I could remember the song on the radio in the cab, as I was driven to the church, the driver humming along, his fingers drumming on the steering wheel, out of time to the beat. I could remember the license plate of the car in front of the cab, the car type, the colour.

I could remember the eye colour of the receptionist behind the desk at the hotel, the make up smudge on the collar of her otherwise pristine white jacket.

I could remember, but I still didn't know. Who was I? What had I done, to deserve the endless, silent suffering?

“Alice”

It was the voice of my angel. He was here, he was near me.

Alice. I was Alice, and Jasper was my angel.

With this revelation came more memories, more details of my life. Things I didn't know I remembered, couldn't recall until the last minute.

I could remember the bowl I'd eaten breakfast in, on my first day of Forks High. I could remember the exact amount of steps on the Fire Escape I'd used, escaping from the hotel. I could remember the page of Romeo and Juliet we'd been reading in English, the day that Jasper first spoke to me. I could remember the hair ribbon my cousin wore in her hair, the day of my mother's funeral.

“Alice, can you hear me?”

I wanted to scream at him, to shout that I could hear him. I wanted to tell him to kill me, to do whatever he could to put me out of this torment. He was my angel, didn't he symbolise peace, and eternal joy? Why was he letting me burn?

As I got used to the pain, my thoughts growing more coherent, I became aware of sounds in the room, three of them, growing on each other, until I became all to aware of them, counting each one, marking the passing time.

I counted the quick, jagged breaths that passed shortly through my mouth, gasping for oxygen.

I counted the slow, even breaths of the angel sitting next to me. These moved the slowest, signalling that more and more time was passing.

thump thump

thump thump

thump thump

The heartbeats were even and steady, setting a gentle rhythm, that I grew gradually used to. Every beat echoed louder in my ears, as though with every contraction, my heart was growing weaker.

I counted Jasper's breaths, more reliable than the pendulum of a grandfather clock, counting down until I was free of the burning shackles that held me prisoner.

“Alice, please answer me”

It was hard not to, more than hard to stop myself from answering his pleading, angels voice. But I knew that if I unlocked my teeth for even a moment, I would scream. And I didn't want him to feel the pain I was feeling. Not even for a moment.

So I stayed silent.

There was the faintest pressure on the inside of my wrist, for only a moment. Cool fingers were wrapped around my hands, calming the raging fire inside me. My fingers brushed along smooth, cold skin – his cheek? – as he raised my hand to his face, his lips touching my wrist for a seconds, before pulling away.

Thump thump

I retreated to the quiet, empty corners of my mind, the parts that weren't buckling in agony, or longing to scream for help. I pulled myself back into memories, dragging up my childhood, things I'd nearly forgotten.

Jasper had breathed six million, nine hundred and fourteen thousand times, before something changed again.

The pain in the very tips of my fingers cooled very slightly, by a minute degree, the fire fading up to the first knuckles of my fingers. And the pain in my heart intensified. Scorching. As though it was slowly drawing in all the pain from the rest of my body, like some sort of twisted magnetic attraction.

Excruciating.

Thump thump.

Anguish.

Thump thump

Torture.

Thump thump

Agonizing

Thump thump

My heartbeats continued steady, never faltering, never failing, as though challenging the fire to an evenly matched duel. A fight to the death.

And then...

The heat seemed to snap back from my veins, zapping into my heart like an elastic band, leaving my body blissfully pain free. But I didn't notice.

My heart burned hotter than the sun, still forcing out its monotonous beats, the pain blazing hotter than it had done so far. If that had been painful, what was this?

If that had been dying, then what was happening to me now?

Thump thump

My angel's breaths had increased, his hold on my fingers tightening.

Thump thump

Thump...

And then there was nothing. I didn't breath, and he didn't breath. My heart didn't beat, and the pain was gone. And there was silence.

JPOV

I never left her side.

No one even dared mention it to me, not after the barrage of snarls and growls I delivered at Carlisle's first suggestion, as soon as we got her to the safety of our house. So they ceased mentioning it all together.

It wasn't something me and her ever discussed – her becoming a vampire. I didn't know if it was something she would have wanted, something she'd thought about. Had it even crossed her mind? Had she ever thought, in her wildest dreams, that I would consider making her like me?

But, as much as I hated myself for even thinking it, I had considered making her like me. Not now, but at some point in the future, it had definitely been a possibility. When we'd talked about it, when she'd had time to think. When I'd let her live her life.

But the guilt wouldn't stop gnawing away at my heart, as I listened to the steady thrum of her heartbeats.

Whether the guilt was at my actions, letting her become a soulless, undead mythical creature, and spend eternity with me, or guilt because I felt the slightest hints of happiness.

I loved her, more than life. More than I'd ever loved anybody before. More than I thought was possible. And I knew she loved me too – I felt it radiating off her every time we were in the same room. I became attuned to it, her steady fluctuation of emotions, reading them as easily as my own. And there was no doubting the love there.

So would she hold it against me? Or was it something she'd wanted too?

Did it matter, if it happened now, or five, ten, twenty years from now? As long as we were together, would she mind?

I never blinked as I watched her, lying on my unused bed. Her dark hair, growing out of its recent cut, was spread in an inky halo around her pale face. Her skin was whiter than normal, though from blood-loss, pain, or the transformation, I couldn't tell which.

She looked like she hadn't eaten in days, her chin jutting out, her wrists so thin, they feel more breakable to me, as I hold them in my hands, than they normally do.

I can almost see the venom flowing through her system, leaving a trail of burning fire in its wake, flooding her veins; her appearance beginning to change, the slightest changes that human eyes wouldn't be able to detect.

Her hair is no longer tangled and knotted around her face, but shiny and lustrous, the jet black contrasting vividly with her white skin.

I ran my fingers gently over the underside of her wrist, bringing it briefly to my lips, kissing the spot where her pulse beats. I could feel the subtle hardening of her skin already, the muscles of her arm firming under my fingers, rippling as I bring her arm away from my face.

I needed to hunt, I could feel the thirst burning in my throat, intensifying with every breath. Her scent still burns me, and shame washed over me. Guilt.

How could I sit here, longing for her blood, when she was dying? What kind of monster was I?

Her heartbeat was growing stronger now, I could hear it, pounding in my ears with every beat. I knew that my family could hear it, grouped around the house, waiting anxiously. The emotions they were feeling were almost overwhelming me.

Bella and Edward were seated in the kitchen, at the table. I could hear them murmuring to each other, both feeling excessive amounts of guilt They knew that if she hadn't gotten away from them, then she wouldn't be in this situation, but I didn't hold it against them. I couldn't.

The other feeling of guilt was closer, next door, and stronger than that of Edward and Bella put together.

Esme.

I knew it wasn't her fault. She knew it wasn't her fault. No one thought it was her fault, but she was still ashamed. Still overwhelmed with grief and sadness. Carlisle was doing his best to comfort her, but I knew it wasn't working, however hard she tried to cover it up. I knew there was only one person who she would believe, when they told her it wasn't her fault.

Rosalie and Emmett were sitting in the living room. The television was on, but I knew that neither of them were concentrating on it. They were concerned. Very concerned.

I tried not to pay attention to their worries.

My gaze fell upon Alice again, still as motionless as ever. Her breathing was coming out in jagged bursts, her chest rising and falling dramatically, as she fought for air.

She had been in this state for nearly four days. Four days, her body had fought against the venom in her system, trying desperately to stop the transformation, to heal her.

Carlisle had assured me that her injuries were not that much worse than Esme's, when she was bitten. He'd gone into methodical, medical detail that I didn't want to know about. I didn't want to hear the extent of the damage that James had reeked upon Alice.

She had suffered four broken ribs, two puncturing her lungs, and one breaking through the skin, along with a shattered cheekbone and jawbone, multiple fractures up her spine, rendering her nearly paralysed, and two broken arms.

When Carlisle told me, I had leaped from my chair in anger, and had to be restrained by Emmett and Edward, as I lunged for the nearest object I could see – the 60 inch plasma television screen – in a futile effort to create some form of destruction. Like that would be enough to satisfy me, after I'd seen Alice's broken body curled at James' feet. An image which would be emblazoned on the inside of my eyelids for all eternity.

Even thinking about it now, even as I watched her slowly heal, become virtually indestructible, the memories brought on a fresh wave of anger, and I clenched my fists into the chair, feeling it splinter beneath my fingers.

Her heartbeat was even louder now, speeding up the slightest amount, as though determined to reach the end of the race. I tightened my fingers around her involuntarily, calling silently to Edward with my mind.

Seconds now, if that. Seconds until she awoke, and I could look in her eyes, and know if I'd made the right decision. Seconds until I was very possibly reunited with the most violent and evil parts of my past, the parts of my memories that I had made several futile attempts to block out over the last few decades. The past that I hated.

APOV

I could feel everything. That was what I noticed first. I could feel the gentle scratching of lace on my legs, the fibre running from my chest to my calves, encasing me in what I suspected was a dress.

I could feel every thread in the garment, the weave telling me it was cotton. White cotton. I could feel the brush of the quilt beneath my back, through the dress.

I could feel dust hitting my skin all over, every brush of air, every ripple of motion in the air, I caught on my skin.

My muscles were coiled, tensed. Ready to spring. They ached slightly, aching to be used.

I could hear everything, that was what I noticed second. I could hear the rustling of trees in the garden, the brush of wind against each individual leaf. I could hear the water rippling past the scales of fish in the lake. I could hear dust motes hitting the surfaces, curving around the objects in the room, painting a picture of my surroundings, without me even needing to open my eyes.

Every single sound fit together, each noise echoing perfectly with another, as though nature was an orchestra, playing along to some hidden music, a tune so subtle that it was barely noticeable.

And then I realised something. It had been less than three seconds since the pain had faded, but I still hadn't breathed. My lungs weren't protesting as they usually should, even now as the seconds passed, slowly ticking by. I should be needing to breath, but I didn't have to.

I opened my lips very slowly, parting them, taking a deep breath in through my nose and mouth at the same time.

I felt the air rush into my mouth, a thousand different flavours bursting to life on my tongue, my nostrils flaring at the sudden invasion of scent. I could smell the paint on the walls, the old wood of the bed. Another breath confirmed my previous thoughts about the cotton I was wearing, the weave of the bedspread.

There were most scents as well, ones that didn't belong to furniture or clothing, clustered together, but easily discernible.

The faintest hints of orange blossoms, roses and vanilla. That was floating nearest to me, surrounding me entirely. It didn't take me long to realise that the scent was me.

Expensive French perfume, and the scent magazine pages, mixed with silicon scented make up products. That was definitely Rosalie, standing the furthest back from me. And next to her...Freesia, hyacinth and wild flowers, with a hint of something sugary and sweet, that I couldn't name. Bella, her arms tensed by her sides.

Very slightly in front of them was cookies baking in the oven, rising bread and the smell of roses and honey. Esme, standing safe and sound in front of her daughters. I relaxed very slightly at this revelation, but took another deep breath in.

Dyed cotton scrubs, and surgical cleanliness, mixed with the smell of books, and antique wood; Carlisle, in front of Esme, with two more figures in front of him, their scents mingling slightly together.

Car motor oil, earth and mountains, moss and something spicy and sweet. Like cinnamon, or paprika, and chocolate. Emmett and Edward, were tensed in front of Carlisle, only a few feet from me. The closest to me except for...

Green apples, and the smell of ocean air. And the rich scent of freshly mown grass, and the smell of rain

Possibly the most beautiful thing I had ever smelled. It could only come from one person.

Jasper

I didn't need to open my eyes, to know his exact location. Less than two fee from me, in front of a chair which had been pushed back exactly two centimetres as he stood, one arm raised very slightly.

My mind was at ease, as I recognised their scents, familiarising myself with them, reassuring myself that it was them, my family. The ones that I loved. But my body was still tensed, my instincts telling me to crouch and spring. To fight.

I did the only thing I could.

I leaped from the bed, away from the group of vampires, flinging myself with surprising grace, into the furthest corner from them, pressing my back against the wall, and opening my eyes for the first time.

The whole action took less than a second.

The light flooded my eyes, and normally I would have flinched at the sudden assault on my eyes. But I didn't. The light seemed natural to my reflexes, no matter how unnatural it was to my mind.

Everything was so clear, everything sharp and defined. I could make out every fleck of dust in the air, every grain of wood in the furniture. The light reflected from every surface, and I could see every colour of the rainbow shining in the light.

I was entranced as I stared around the room, my eyes following the dust motes, dancing in the breeze from the opened window, and I was momentarily distracted from my immediate reaction. Until someone shifted their weight very slightly, and the floorboard creaked.

Air hissed its way up my throat, spitting through my teeth with the violence of a swarm of bees, turning into a snarl which reverberated around the room. My leg muscles tensed automatically, and I crouched, defensively, surveying the room for danger.

Edward and Emmett had mimicked my position, but their was more extreme. Their fingers were curled into claws, but they weren't growling. Their teeth were bared, but clenched. Waiting.

Their position rang a bell, dredging up a faint human memory. A memory of them facing James this way, during the first confrontation in the meadow, protecting me from the keen eyes of the hunter.

But now I wasn't the one being protected, Rosalie, Bella and Esme were. I was the one they were being protected from. I was the danger here.

A quote from a long forgotten English lesson floated unbidden around my head. Macbeth.

By the pricking of my thumbs, something wicked this way comes

Was that how they saw me? As something wicked? Was that how Jasper saw me?

My eyes snapped to Jasper.

Jasper.

I thought of all the times I'd seen his face. Every waking moment I'd spent, pondering over his flawless beauty. And I froze.

My vampire eyes were seeing for the first time, what my human eyes had been to weak to make out.

Scars.

Hundreds of pale, crescent-shaped scars.

One above his left eyebrow, curving over his forehead. Another bending between his right cheekbone, down to his jawline. Another going from the side of his face, down his neck.

His Adams apple. His collar bone. Where his neck met his shoulder. His throat. Disappearing beneath the V-neck of his jumper, and no doubt covering most of his body. Hundreds of them.

I fought desperately against the instinctual urge to tense furthur, feeling my lips pull back unwillingly, further over my teeth as my gaze fixed on him. Any vampire would have had the same reaction, if not worse. Dangerous! his scars screamed. How many vampires had bitten him? How many had no doubt died in the attempt to kill him? Hundreds? Thousands?”

My eyes darted up to meet his an eighth of a second later. They were filled with sadness, his arm extended a few centimetres out from his side, towards me, his lips turned downwards, in a sad but understanding smile.

I felt a sudden stab of shame.

He wouldn't hurt me, so why was I reacting like he was dangerous?

My legs straightened up, the moment I decided to, a movement that took a sixty-fourth of a second. Or less.

The family reacted as I moved, shifting their movements around mine, ready for my next move. I felt like I was stuck in an overly tactical chess game.

Jasper moved one foot forwards, taking a step exactly thirteen centimetres long, his arm raising a fraction of a degree towards me. I hesitated.

“Jasper” Edward warned, for behind him, still tensed and cautious, “Jasper be careful!”

“She's a newborn Jasper, you of all people know what they're like” said Carlisle, injecting just as much worry into his tone as Edward did.

Was it me they were warning him against? Did they think that I would hurt him? A wave of hurt flooded over me, and I felt my face fall. Jasper froze, cautious again, reading off my emotions.

Was he scared of me too?

“Alice?” he whispered. It was like I was hearing his voice for the first time. It echoed in my ears, the softest, most beautiful voice imaginable, the southern accent slightly more pronounced than I'd ever head it, though still barely discernible by human standards.

“Alice, how do you feel?”

His words sparked something in my mind, something I felt I had to say to him, something that I couldn't remember. I took a step closer to him. Tentative.

He moved towards me, each step taking half a second, his movements fluid, like water. He ignored the hushed warnings of his family behind him, until he was less than a foot away from me, “Alice,” he murmured again, “Ali”

I flung myself into his arms, locking my legs around his waist, and my arms around his neck. I half noticed the rest of the Cullens tensing at my actions, Emmett and Edward rocking forward on the balls of their feet, ready to attack if need be. But there was no need. Jasper trusted me. His arms wound around my waist, gripping me tightly in place, and he let out a quiet laugh.

I pulled my hand from his neck, and ran it gently across the scar above his eyebrow, questioning silently.

“Another story, for another day” he whispered into my ear, pressing a kiss to the side of my cheek, and I nodded.

My fingers continued to run down his cheek, marvelling at his smooth skin, only meeting slight ridges over his scars. His skin no longer felt cold to me; it felt...almost warm. Natural. Comforting. I tilted my head slightly to the side, my eyes never leaving his, and heard my new voice for the first time.

“I love you Jasper.”