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Doubt

Summary:
"I would put up with this twisted, corrupt lifestyle for Alice. Only for Alice." In 1950, Jasper and Alice finally find the Cullens. Alice fits right in, but Jasper has a hard time adapting. This the story of how Jasper came to think of the Cullens as family. Canon. Mostly in Jasper's POV. DIsclaimer: All the original characters and plots belong to Stephenie Meyer. However, the new content in my stories belong to me.


Notes:


6. Chapter 6: Friendship

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Chapter 6: Friendship

There are some things in this world that cannot be described by mere words; the burning of vampire venom was one of them. White-hot flames ripped through my torso, igniting my dead veins. My shoulder throbbed intolerably. I gritted my teeth as all the pain that I had been holding back in Carlisle's office flowed through me, unbearably intense at the sites of my wounds. My thoughts seemed distant and foggy, but I was able to bear enough presence of mind to keep a firm hold on my emotions, so that my pain would not spread to the rest of the house.

Alice found me there, lying prostrate on the luxurious bed, unblinking eyes staring at the ceiling. With an effort, I sat up and plastered a smile on my face, one that seemed fake and pained even to myself.

"Al-" Before I could even get her name out, Alice flitted over and started pushing me down with all her might.

"Get…down!" she grunted, her delicate, pixie-like features screwed up with exertion. I exhaled and complied, sinking back down on the bed with a small gasp of pain. I could never hide anything from Alice, no matter how hard I might try.

"You don't have to hide anything from me, Jazz," Alice said softly. She lay down beside me and snuggled into my side.

We stayed in that position for the better part of a day as the burning in my shoulder gradually subsided to a dull throb. The fog in my mind lifted, and I was able to think clearly, making sure to block my thoughts from Edward first.

It was clear that Sebastian, Darius, and the newborns had come from Maria. They had attacked with barely a second thought. The thing that I had feared most had happened- my past had put Alice in danger.

The best thing for me to do would be to just leave right now, so that my past would never be able to hurt her again. But Alice was here- she would see my decision to leave as soon as I made it, and I knew that my leaving would hurt her more than my past ever could. Besides, there was no way I was leaving her with the Cullens- there would be no way to ensure her safety with them protecting her. There had to be some way that I could protect her and stay with her at the same time.

Twelve hours later, I felt well enough to get up. Alice felt me stir and sat up with me. I grimaced as the movement jostled my shoulder. She wrapped her arms around me, nestling her head of spiky hair into my chest. I felt her relief and concern for me, soothing my rampant emotions like salve on a wound.

Five pairs of golden eyes locked on me as I slowly descended the stairs, Alice next to me. Carlisle rose in one fluid motion. "Jasper, are you okay?"

I nodded once.

"May I take a look?"

I froze, my eyes immediately flicking over to the rest of the assembled Cullens. Carlisle had managed to keep his emotions in check when he had seen my scars, and I greatly respected him for that- but how would the rest of the coven react? Carlisle was exuding the utmost concern; Edward, an extreme curiosity; Emmett, his usual mix of playfulness and optimism- he was grinning lazily now; Rosalie, disgust and, though she probably wouldn't admit it, a tad of sympathy; Esme, a stifling amount of worry.

How quickly would the positive emotions in the room turn to revulsion and fear? Would they attack me? Probably not- Rosalie, Emmett, and Esme had seen me in action; they knew that my fighting skills surpassed them all. Edward might be a little more of a challenge, and I doubted that Esme would do so. Carlisle had already seen my scars- there was nothing to fear from him. And, as the leader of the coven, he would never allow them to attack me…

Reluctantly, I agreed. Carlisle moved over and started rolling up my sleeve. I was tense, watching the coven's every movement, testing their every emotion.

With one flick of Carlisle's fingers, my scars were exposed. Gasps resounded through the room as they took in my ravaged skin. Rosalie crouched, a growl bubbling through her lips, and I locked my sights on her. Edward and Emmett were staring at my arm in shock, their mouths hanging open; Esme was watching me sympathetically, her aura filled with anxiety and sadness.

After sending a warning look at Rosalie, Carlisle examined the fresh bite mark on my arm. The wound had nearly closed- I had always been a quick healer. He eyed it with approval and rolled my sleeve back down.

"Well, it looks like it's healing quite well," he commented. "You'll be fine by tomorrow." Of course I would.

Edward and Rosalie were staring at me with distrust. They would be even more opposed to me joining them now. I felt an unexpected flash of regret.

Why was I regretting this? The answer came almost instantaneously. I had begun to bond with them- I was beginning to trust Carlisle and Esme. I gritted my teeth. I couldn't afford for this to happen. The last time I had been in a coven, it had led to horrors that I couldn't bear to think about even now, twenty years after I had left. Who knew what the Cullens were hiding under their façade?

But somehow, I knew that they weren't hiding anything from me. They were simply a bunch of weak, human-loving vampires who had never had a taste of the violence that I had been forced to live through from my first days as a newborn.

Edward's head snapped up at this last thought, and remorse flashed through his eyes. He shook his head a tiny bit.

Do you mean that you're hiding something from us, or that you have experienced the kind of violence that I have lived through? I wondered. Edward didn't reply or give any sign that he had heard. I sighed internally. I would never be able to fully trust the younger vampire. His emotions were always dark, brooding, full of loneliness and self-loathing. He was the only one without a mate in the Cullen household- it had to be hard, especially with all the public displays of affection from Emmett and Rosalie.

Edward's jaw tightened almost imperceptibly. I smirked inwardly.

Emmett recovered himself quickly. "Nice scars," he remarked. "You've gotta give me some pointers on how to fight sometime."

I stared at him in disbelief. Nice scars? That was his reaction to them, when he clearly knew what they meant? This coven never ceased to surprise me.

"Well?" Emmett pressed. He couldn't be serious. I shook my head. His face clouded with disappointment. "Well, then, do you want to play chess?" This guy just wouldn't give up.

I opened my mouth to decline, but Alice shot me a pleading look, her delicate eyebrows scrunching up in the cutest way. Before I knew it, I had agreed.

"Whoo!" Emmett cheered. "C'mon, bro, let's get the set out. I call white!"

I followed him in a daze. Emmett all but skipped back to me, holding the chess set. His grin was so wide that I thought his mouth might fall off his face. I found myself being caught up in his enthusiasm, an answering smile lifting the corner of my mouth.

We sat down in the living room and started to play, surrounded by the rest of the curious Cullens. I felt a jolt of uneasiness at this arrangement, but quickly shook it off. They weren't going to hurt me, I reminded myself.

I was quickly absorbed in the game. I soon found Emmett a worthy opponent, though he was not one for strategy. He preferred a show of brute force to the subtler methods that I used. Five minutes into the game, I moved my knight forward. He moved his rook forward to take it, providing the opening I needed. I flicked my queen into position.

"Checkmate," I stated calmly.

Emmett scowled, knocking over his king with a pout. "Rematch!" he demanded. I nearly laughed out loud. Emmett may have seemed dangerous at first, but he was like a child at heart. I complied good-naturedly, reassembling my pieces in seconds.

Five hours later, Emmett was still asking for rematches. At that point, Alice danced forward. "Emmett, give him a break. You boys can do something else for now- I'm going shopping with Rosalie." She scrutinized my ragged shirt with obvious distaste. "Jazz, you seriously need some new clothes. You've been wearing that same shirt for days!" With that, she pranced out the front door.

Emmett grinned at me. "So, what do you want to do now?"

I shrugged.

"Poker? Blackjack? Roulette?" Emmett got a sneaky look on his face. "Rematch?"

That vampire liked to gamble. "Poker, I guess."

I had the advantage in this game, because I didn't have any money to lose. By the end of an hour, I had won a few hundred dollars. Emmett got a little grouchy, but was quickly appeased when I suggested a game of roulette. I lost miserably, relinquishing all my hard-won money back to Emmett.

By the time Alice returned, we were laughing. Emmett slapped my back. I flinched instinctively, but otherwise didn't react. Alice watched us from her huge armload of clothes with an amused look on her face.

"Jasper, Emmett," she called. "Do you mind helping me out? There are more bags in the car." We flitted outside. The Mercedes 300-SL was surrounded by bags of all shapes and sizes. The inside was nearly bursting with the sheer amount of clothes packed in the backseat.

I grinned at the stunned look on Emmett's face. "That's Alice," I said by way of explanation.

He shook his head slowly. "Even when Rose goes on one of her crazier shopping sprees, she has never brought this much home." I snickered and bounded forward, scooping as many bags as I could into my arms.

It took about six trips back and forth to get all the bags inside the house. Emmett went to help Rosalie arrange the clothes inside their room, so I followed Alice upstairs. She was standing in the middle of our room, surrounded by a flood of men's clothing. I froze in the doorway, my mouth agape.

"Well, don't just stand there," Alice said testily. "Help me get your stuff in the closet."

"That's all mine?" I managed to get out.

"Yes!" Alice began throwing the clothes in the closet in neat piles. "You can't wear your turtlenecks all the time, you know. I saw that you were just going to waste the short sleeve t-shirts I was going to get you, so I bought you all these long-sleeves…" Alice chattered on. I moved over and started helping her organize the enormous quantities of clothing, though I secretly doubted that they would all fit in the closet.

Yet, somehow, Alice managed to squeeze every single item into the wardrobe. She stepped back and admired her handiwork. "Now, you are going to change." She said firmly, throwing a change of clothing at me. The shirt was another turtleneck- apparently Alice was humoring me for the moment. I stepped into the bathroom to change. I couldn't care less how I looked, but if Alice insisted…

When I went back downstairs, I noticed that every single member of the family had donned their new clothing. With a slight smile, I noticed Alice shoving a suit at Edward, who had a rather terrified look on his face. My smirk turned into a full-blown grin.

When Edward finally agreed to put on the suit, Alice rubbed her hands together and stalked back toward me. "Good Lord! These people know absolutely nothing about fashion," she grumbled.

Emmett strode forward with his customary grin. "Jasper! You survived!"

I grimaced. "Barely." Nodding to his new outfit, I asked, "How about you?"

Emmett pretended to suffocate, clutching his throat and rolling his eyes back in his head. "I just managed to get out alive."

"Jazz!" Alice complained.

"Emmett!" Rosalie grumbled at the same time.

Laughing, Emmett and I dashed outside, our furious mates hot on our heels.