The Road To Redemption
Alice and Jasper join their new family, and even though Alice jumps right into it, Jasper slowly fits in as well. But not everything is well with him, there is still pain and suffering in his eyes, and Carlisle wonders why.
Sometimes the only obstacle between you and your future is yourself.
1. The Road To Redemption
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THE ROAD TO REDEMPTION
The worst is over now and we can breathe again
I wanna hold you high, you steal my pain away
There's so much left to learn, and no one left to fight
I wanna hold you high and steal your pain
'Cause I'm broken when I'm open
And I don't feel like I am strong enough
Broken by Seether (feat. Amy Lee)
I had always wanted a family of my own. When my mother died giving birth to me, that only left my father and I. And he was not a good father. Sure, he kept me fed and clothed, but he was very intolerant, a preacher, who always did everything to teach and lead, to right the wrongs and hunt down the guilty. But he was never there for his own son, not in the fatherly manner at least. Oh, he spent time with me; taught me how to hunt them down and what needed to be done, taught me who was good and who evil, how I should live my life and how I should die. But it didn’t go that way.
When I first became a vampire, I hated myself. I wanted to die, to reallydie. But I couldn’t. In time, I found some friends and lived a meaningless existence. It was only later, when I turned Edward, that I found new joy. It was the hardest thing I ever had to do – turning Edward, but it had to be done in order to save his life. In a way it was very selfish, but I tried to persuade myself that he was way too young to die. And so I wasn’t alone anymore.
Esme came soon after. Never in my wildest dreams could I have hoped that I would ever get married. But she loved me, tenderly and dearly, and wanted for us to become a real family. She was damaged too, we all were, but we were slowly putting ourselves back together. And on the day I married my sweet Esme, I finally forgave my father. I had been hunting down creatures, because I wanted to prove myself to him and when I was turned, I blamed and hated him for it. I would have never chosen that life for myself, but in a way, it led me to my Esme and I was finally happy and could finally live with what I had become.
And now another vampire was standing in front of me; one, who was going through the same pain and suffering. His hell was different than mine; I blamed my father, whereas he blamed himself.
He was family now and as a little boy, I had promised myself I’d be a different father than mine was to me. And I had every intention to always keep that promise.
I remembered the day they arrived. We were caught by surprise; I guess Alice surprised everyone. They knocked on our door and waited patiently on our doorsteps. That was probably Jasper’s doing, because as Esme and I opened the door, Alice was bouncing with excitement. Normally, we would have been more careful and defending, but again - Jasper’s doing. We let them in and Alice quickly explained about themselves, her visions and our future. All the time she was holding on to Jasper, who never said a word, except for the “Hello Ma’am” to Esme and “Hello Sir” to me. He only nodded to Rosalie.
I was holding back, wanting to discuss things with Esme first. I noticed Rosalie was silent and cautious, a doubting look in her eyes. But when I looked at Esme to ask her to have a word with her, I saw excitement and acceptance in her eyes. And so they stayed. Alice fitted right in, but it was harder for Jasper. He was polite, always ready to help, but he was also cautious, protective of Alice and silent - the complete opposite of Alice. She pranced and danced, talked and shopped, bonded and connected with us. But at the same time, she always kept an eye on Jasper, in a supportive and helpful, loving and protective way.
They were a quiet pair, a complete opposite of Rosalie and Emmett. Whereas Rosalie and Emmett always showed their affection openly, Jasper and Alice held back and kept private things private. But somehow, everyone could tell they were together and in love. It was in their every look, in every word and every touch. And even though you could see it with Rosalie and Emmett, you could feel it with Jasper and Alice.
A few months passed and everything had slowly fallen into place. We became a new family; a family of 7 now and everything went smoothly. Even Jasper slowly fitted in. He hung out with Emmett and Edward as they became buddies and brothers. He accepted Esme as a new mother and often spent time in her company. He even got on well with Rose, especially after they became the Hale twins. And he always showed me much respect and was polite. But he was still troubled and on edge, as if he was waiting for this to end. There was pain in his eyes that he tried to hide, and unfortunately for him, it was without success.
I hadn’t ever really talked to him. He avoided me as much as he could and I never pushed. But maybe now it was time to talk about things, to make him more at ease and help him through this passage.
I asked him to come to the library and when he entered, his eyes lit up, exactly like they did every time he saw all the books. He was so careful with them, cherished them and read them whenever he had the opportunity to do so. We were about to move soon, since Edward, Emmett and Rose were in their final year in high school and Esme and I had been toying with the idea of setting up a separate study for Jasper in the new house. Since their bedroom was mostly Alice’s, Esme thought Jasper should have something too and since his love for books was so apparent, that was the plan now. We hadn’t told him yet, but Alice already smiled at me tenderly, unshed tears of happiness in her eyes and we knew then, it was the right decision.
“You wanted to talk to me, sir,” Jasper said in a slightly defensive tone.
“I did and please, Jasper, stop with the sir, we’re all family here,” I asked him to sit down.
He only nodded, and sat down.
“I wanted to tell you something,” I started, but he cut me off.
“If I did something wrong, we can go,” Jasper said sternly.
I sighed, “You haven’t done anything wrong, Jasper and we don’t want you to go. You are both part of this family now, and I want you to start considering it – more permanently.”
He gave me a quizzed look.
“What I mean is, you’re getting along well with everyone and are fitting right in, but I also know you are only here because of Alice, because she wanted this.” I said slowly.
“I’d do anything for her,” Jasper said slowly and his eyes changed their tone, and he suddenly seemed a completely different person.
“I know,” I smiled. “But have you been thinking about what you want?”
“I want what’s best for her and that is this family,” Jasper said without thinking about it.
“Well, I wanted to tell you that you are just an equal part of this family as she is.” He looked at me weirdly and with a doubtful look in his eyes, so I continued. “It’s true, you are as important to us as she is. And I am telling you this, because I want you to realize that this is now your home, too.”
He nodded, but didn’t say anything.
“I see that you are troubled and in pain and I want to help you, but I don’t know how. I barely know anything about you …” Again, he cut me off.
“My past isn’t important,” he said in a sad, yet firm tone.
“I won’t press you, but I want you to know that I am here and you can talk to me about it if you want.” There wasn’t much more I could do, I didn’t want to make him talk, that wasn’t my prerogative, but I wanted to show him that he could if he wanted to.
He stood up and walked to the door, but when he reached it, he turned and said, “I’m a monster and I don’t deserve any of this, not a family and not Alice.”
And with that, he was gone.
School soon finished and Alice and Jasper decided to go hunting for a couple of days. Rose and Emmett went on one of their vacations and Edward decided to go to Alaska for a few weeks. Esme and I stayed at home, and just enjoyed each other and having the house all to ourselves for a while. It was nice and relaxing.
When Alice and Jasper returned, Alice has professionally lured Esme away to talk about planned shopping for the new week, while Jasper stood still in the hall. I looked at him with a raised brow, and he exhaled, “I would like to talk to you.”
I nodded and motioned him to follow me into my office, curious about what was going to happen.
I sat down behind my table and pointed to the seat in front of it.
“No, thank you,” he said and started walking up and down the room.
“I have thought about our conversation a lot,” Jasper started. “I wasn’t sure what to do and Alice helped me realize I should just be honest and talk to you.”
“All right, if that is what you want,” I supported his decision without trying to pressure him.
“It is, I think,” he said and finally sat down.
He sighed, “I’m not used to this.”
“It’s all right, Jasper, just take your time.” I leaned forward.
He stood up again, “I was born and raised in Texas and joined the Confederate States Army in 1861 to serve in the Civil war.”
He was silent for a few moments after he shared the first details with me. I knew he was from the South, you could hear the accent clearly, when he was emotional, although sometimes it wasn’t there at all. And I also knew he was older than Alice, but not how much. Edward knew, he knew a lot, but he wasn’t one to share without permission unless absolutely necessary, which in Jasper’s case, it wasn’t.
I waited patiently for him to continue.
“People always said I was very charismatic, therefore I probably now have the ability to feel and influence emotions. Anyway, therefore I ascended through the ranks rather quickly. I was turned in 1863 when I was 20.”
He stared into the air, lost in his past. It was painful to watch, but I needed to give him time and do this his way.
“Maria. That was her name. She quickly saw I could be of use and value to her, so she made me help her claim her territory in Monterrey. I was to train young vampires and then kill them, when they were no longer useful.”
“Which was about a year after their transformation, right?” I asked him, knowing the stories well.
“Yes. And I hated it, I hated it so much, Carlisle. I hated killing them and I hated feeding on people. I could always feel everything – how desperate they were, how scared and terrified they were and most of all, how much they wanted to live. And I was the one, who had to take their life away. I wanted to die, but I couldn’t, I wanted to destroy myself, but couldn’t do that either.”
He gave out a soft, yet desperate cry, no doubt Esme and Alice could hear.
“And I was a soldier, Carlisle, I was taught to obey my superior and so I did. And when I started to rebel, I was punished. Maria would bite me and then starve me. And when I was desperately hungry, she would let me go and I massacred dozens and dozens of people on these wild rampages. And I felt everyone’s pain and everyone’s suffering. Every single one.”
I could suddenly feel his pain and it hit me with such a force, I almost fell of my chair. It was an unbearable pain, a deep sorrow. I gasped.
“Sorry,” Jasper apologized right away and the pain disappeared again, “I didn’t mean that, I let some of it slip.”
Some of it? I only nodded, still shocked.
“When a friend of mine left, I wouldn’t go with him, cause I didn’t dare. But I also couldn’t stay, cause it was unbearable, so after a while, I joined him and his mate Charlotte. But I couldn’t stay with them either. They were happy and I was depressed and torn and they didn’t deserve that. So, I left.”
“Somehow I ended up in Philadelphia. It was raining, and I went into a diner, cause it was the human thing to do, and Alice was waiting for me inside. She had foreseen me coming, you see, she had been looking for me for nearly 30 years. On one hand, I couldn’t believe my luck, but at the same time, I didn’t want anything to do with her, cause she didn’t deserve to be punished with the company of someone like me. She is pure and beautiful and good, a total opposite of me, and she deserves better, so much better. But somehow, she wouldn’t budge and she persisted and wouldn’t let me go. She can be quite stubborn. And so I stayed with her, she gave me hope, as ridiculous as it sounds. I haven’t felt hope in so long, I have even forgotten how it was to feel it. So for the most selfish reasons, I stayed with her. I love her with everything that I am and I would do anything for her. It is my mission in this life to try and make her happy and to protect her from any kind of harm.”
I could suddenly feel the love, and it was so powerful, strong, unyielding and deep. But as quickly as it appeared, it disappeared again.
“She taught me to feed on animals; she showed me your way of living. And that was the greatest gift anyone could have given me. I don’t feel their pain and suffering. But it is hard; it’s still pure hell for me, because I have fed on humans for so long. I crave their blood, but I want to make it, I want to succeed.”
“And you are succeeding, Jasper. Don’t you see it, you are doing so well. And for what you just told me about your past, you are doing extremely well.” I tried to make it clear to him. I was so proud of him.
“But I don’t deserve it, you see, I need to pay for what I’ve done,” Jasper said in a broken voice.
“You’ve paid enough, Jasper. You’ve paid for every kill, when you’ve killed them and felt their emotions. You are still paying for it, when you are trying to lead a better life, a different life. And you are paying for it by feeling regret and sorrow.”
He looked up at me, “It’s always with me. I can’t put it out of my mind, I can’t forget it.”
He started unbuttoning his grey shirt and at first I didn’t know what he was up to. But then I saw – I saw his torso covered with crescent-shaped scars, probably caused by that Maria and the newborn vampires during the many years of fighting and training. There were so many scars; his body was basically covered in them.
“Don’t pity me,” Jasper spat.
“I’m not,” I said clearly, “but I do strongly regret what you had to go through. No one should have to go suffer like this.”
He looked away, clearly ashamed.
“What happened to you, Jasper, was unfair and cruel. And I actually admire you for it.”
His head snapped up and look at me with clear surprise in his eyes.
“How can …” he started.
“Let me finish. What I mean is; you haven’t known anything else but pain and killing for more than a century. You were taught this was the right way, yet you struggled with it immensely. And not only because you could feel their pain, but because you knew that it couldn’t possibly be right. And despite your surroundings and other vampires, you somehow managed to break free and start fresh. You found you mate, your soul-mate and gave up everything you knew for her. And now you are here, with a family and a wife, trying to lead a peaceful life. And only someone with a really strong character and will could have managed something like this.”
I looked at him with newfound admiration.
He was puzzled, “I’ve never considered this before.” He came back to the table to where I was now standing. “But I can’t forget, Carlisle. Sometimes at night, I hear their screams and I still feel their suffering. They haunt me.”
“I know, but it’s going get better,” I promised him.
“How, when?” he desperately asked.
“When you forgive yourself,” I said quietly.
He just sighed, “I can never forgive myself, I will never forgive myself.”
“Jasper, it wasn’t your fault. This was not done by you, it was done to you.”
He just kept shaking his head. “I can’t understand how you can still stand here. I’m a monster; you should have thrown me out of the house by now.”
“You have to stop hating yourself, Jasper, and you’ll come to see yourself for what you truly are then. You are not a monster, if you are a monster, we’re all monsters. I haven’t killed, but I’ve done terrible things as well, even when I was human, I’ve hunted us down. And everyone else in this house has blood on their hands, it’s part of who we are now. And we try our best not to let it happen again, but if it does, we accept it and move on. We are only human after all.”
Jasper then chuckled for the first time. “Human, eh?”
“Well, you know what I mean,” I joined him. “What I want to make clear to you is that you didn’t know better. Only a few on us survive on animal blood and no one told you about it, so you couldn’t have acted any other way. It’s not well known, nor is it accepted. You weren’t ever given a choice, you were simply pushed into that lifestyle and they made it even worse for you. They wanted to make you a war machine, a monster, but don’t you see, Jasper, you didn’t let them, you made it and you found a way out and with it, a new life.”
He thought about it for a few moments and finally relented, “I guess I did.”
“It’s not going be easy and it’s going to take a while, but you’ll make it, I promise you that.” And I meant it, too.
Hope shone in his eyes and we finally got to the point, where he accepted the possibility of a brighter future.
“You are not alone in this, Jasper. I will be here to help you with all of this, we all will.” I clapped him on the shoulder.
“Thank you,” he said.
“You’re very welcome,” I answered him.
This was far from over and I knew it was going to be a long battle. He wasn’t anywhere near to forgive himself yet, but he was on the right path. He was lost for so long and that had strong consequences, but when Alice found him, she also saved him. And now we were going to help him heal.
We exited my office and with another nod, Jasper went out to join Alice on the lawn. She was already waiting for him, knowing well what would happen. She smiled at him and offered him her hand, which he took without thinking about it.
He smiled at her, giving her the look he had reserved only for her and she suggested going to the waterfall for the afternoon. They ran off, hand in hand.
With one last look at the couple, I turned and went upstairs to show my wife how much she was loved.