Author: Elisabeth_l and NiceIceEdward
Character's/Pairing: Edward/Bella, Jasper
Spoilers: Twilight, NM & Eclipse, BD never happened so no spoilers
Summary: Jasper has made a private promise to himself to keep Bella safe for Edward. His will is tested when Bella becomes very ill. Will he be forced to heal Bella in the one way which is most certain to infuriate Edward? If he has to, can he do it without killing her?
Disclaimer: We own nothing, Everthing is the genius of Stephenie Meyer.
Chapter I / Chapter II / Chapter III / Chapter IV / Chapter V
**A/N: Apologies for this one taking so long to post. We're working on the next chapter now. Should be posted soon. And thank you to all who have been so kind with their comments.**
Darkness and Light
My sleep was fractured by bad dreams, as was common when Edward wasn't with me. In my dream I was back at home, the Cullen's home. Aro and Jane were talking to Edward, he wore an expression of dread. A hole opened behind me, and I was falling into it and felt and saw nothing but darkness all around me. I couldn't grab hold of anything and could feel myself falling. Suddenly I felt things coiling around me in the darkness. I awoke screaming.
I was thrashing, and calling Edward's name before I realized the only thing coiled around me was Jasper, trying to calm me down. Once I recognized Jasper, a sob overtook me. "I'm sorry Jasper." I stammered through my tears. He was over me, the only place he could be in the small cave. He used his right hand to gently roll me onto my side, lowering himself to lie behind me. He pulled me against him, put his arm under my head and wrapped his other arm over me.
He held me tightly until my sobbing subsided, only then loosening his hold. He kept himself next to me. I knew it wasn't Edward, but it was comfortingly reassuring. I'd grown hopelessly dependent on Edward's presence. The change worked, I eventually fell back to sleep and didn't have any more nightmares that night.
I did dream, it was an impossibly long dream, rolling from one shadowed and distorted image to the next. There was never any precise image, no more than the hints of things on the edges of a dream, where I traveled among changing surroundings. At times I became aware that I was dreaming, and I'd search for Jasper, I'd briefly hear him.
"Bella, you're burning up, you have to drink this. I can't lose you; Edward would never forgive me. I promised myself, I promised. I've forced myself to be strong, you can't just die, Bella." His voice would break, and the anguish in his voice would cut into me. I'd try to speak to him, to reassure him that I wasn't going to die, but the sound of his voice calling my name would follow me into another dream.
I slipped through another series of fluttering images, lights brightening and darkening around me, sometimes the dark would just come up and pull me down. I would come out of those times and find myself floating through another set of confusing images. I could feel cold, my dream was filled with blue ice and water. I heard Jasper's voice again, it sounded very far away this time though.
"Bella, I don't know what else to do? I've tried everything. I can't help you." I heard him warring with himself, thinking I was completely unconscious. "Should I do it? But....there is no way I'd have the strength without someone to stop me, I wouldn't be able to stop. Bella. I am so sorry..."
I fought the shadows around me, and opened my mouth to speak, but the most I could manage was a weak whisper, he heard me of course. "Ja-" I cleared my dry aching throat and tried again, swallowing once first, "Jasper, don't." I couldn't say any more, and took to shaking my head weakly back and forth to try to make my point. I could hear the desperation in Jasper's voice, "What? Bella, please, don't what?" What is it? Bella...Bella?" his voice followed me again, down into the blackness.
The light and dark images grew color. I began to see gold's, and greens. It felt as though color had been away for years, I desperately clung to the colors, trying to bring them closer, so I could see them. I felt something cold; it filled me, and ran over me. I sputtered and began coughing. I realized it was water. Was it my angel? I looked for him, waiting to see Edward. He spoke, it was Jasper.
Jasper pulled me up to a sitting position, helpfully patting my back. I choked a moment more and then was able to swallow. My throat was dry, but marginally better thanks to the water. It was briney tasting and very unappetizing, but better than nothing.
I looked at Jasper and he smiled at me. I turned back and saw that we were sitting on a rocky cliff just below the entrance to the cave. I looked around for a moment before Jasper quietly said, "I'm going to let you lie down again." It was overcast, but not cold in the slightest. There was a breeze blowing across the island, it felt wonderful.
I looked back at Jasper again, he still smiled, but he looked terrible. Careworn, and very strained. I imagined I looked a hundred times worse. Something about his appearance made me suspicious. "I've been out longer than a night, haven't I?"
His smile stayed, but his eyes tightened and the crease appeared again between his brows. "Your nightmare happened nearly a week and a half ago. You've had others, but that was the last time you were coherent. You've been muttering, and screaming, and dangerously feverish for days." His eyes showed a certain hollowness, and I knew without him saying it, that I'd come close to dying.
"You didn't think I was going to make it, did you?" he was sitting before me, his ankles crossed, his elbows hooked over his knees and his hands clasped. He raised his eyebrows, and I saw a flicker of deep pain flash into his eyes before he looked down.
"No, I didn't. Two nights ago, you felt like one of the werewolves your skin was so hot. I thought it would be your last night. It was your arm." He pointed with one of his hands, and then reclasped them, indicating my injured arm.
"It became infected, and you were terribly ill. You were already weakened from the crash, fighting the stormy water, and the swim to the island." He was looking down again, he wouldn't look me in the eyes. What I could see of his face squeezed my heart. It hadn't been easy for him.
"You developed that fever during the early morning after your nightmare. You were frequently delirious. At first I didn't want to leave you, I was afraid you'd have another nightmare, and wake up screaming, frightened and alone. The fear you have during them is painful to feel. I never realized how much you downplay them to Edward. I had to leave occasionally, covering as much of the island as I possibly could to try and find something to help heal the cut on your arm."
He picked up a rock and played with it in his hands, "I think I've tried everything available on this little strip of land. Every night you fought through the fever, shivering and shuddering all through the night, and I couldn't do anything for you. That was very frustrating for me, I'm accustomed to having options."
He dropped the rock he'd been worrying at, and it was polished and smooth from his touch, finally he looked up and the haunted look in his eyes stopped my breathing for a moment. "Every time I had to leave, I half expected to return here and find you dead. I'd walk along imagining how angry Edward, Alice and the rest of the family would be if I lost you. I can't tell you how relieved I was every time I returned and you were still breathing. I made a promise to myself as soon as I heard the pilots say they were going to have to ditch the plane, that I had my chance to free us, and I would protect you at all costs. I had no sooner decided this, then you saved me from Jane. She wouldn't kill me, but being attacked by Jane is one of the least pleasant experiences you can have as a vampire. This further strengthened my resolve to protect you."
"These last few days, when I was sure I was losing you, I became desperate to try different things. I tried different types of fish, thinking the oil might be medicinal, and then two nights ago, your fever grew. You were the hottest I"ve felt yet, and your skin..." His voice broke a little, "It was practically transparent it looked so think. Finally I just cleaned the wound as thoroughly as I was able to with water, and when I was done, I licked the wound clean in the hope my venom might seal it. It worked, yesterday afternoon your fever finally broke and your skin color began to improve. You still wouldn't eat anything, but you began to take water again."
I looked at Jasper and I could feel tears building in my eyes. "You should have just left Jasper, I..."
He interrupted me, "Stop it, I've told you before Bella, you're wrong. You are still very much worth it. You don't realize how unusual and special you are. I didn't appreciate it until you returned from saving Edward from the Volturi. Then, I began to see it. You are unique."
The tears fell then and Jasper leaned forward and flicked them off my cheeks gently with his hand. "Jasper, I was bleeding, right? How did you refrain?" He grinned a little sheepishly.
"Part of it was my decision, I was absolutely going to protect you, even if it was against me. Also, well, your infection wasn't appealing." He scrunched his face as he said this, and I couldn't help but laugh at him.
He leaned forward again, wiping the new tears from my cheeks. "It was not difficult Bella, please don't concern yourself. I've had much less pleasant charges than you." He placed a hand on my cheek as he said this smiling. I took his hand from my cheek, and held it between both of mine, barely noticing the coldness of it.
I looked at our hands as I spoke, "Jasper, I've always liked you, and I've always suspected I had a higher opinion of you than you did of yourself. Apparently you've felt the same way about me. Let's make an agreement then, to give each other permission to be as fond of the other as we can be, and never question it again." I Iifted his hand and kissed it, and as I squeezed it I looked into his eyes. "Thank you Jasper. I've always felt lucky to have Edward as my guardian angel, I don't know what I've done to deserve two."
Jasper's eyes softened in a way I'd never seen directed at me. He squeezed my hand back and placed a gentle kiss on my cheek. We smiled at each other, and my stomach chose this absolutely beautiful moment to growl like an animal.
I dropped Jasper's hand as I reached to cover my stomach with both of my hands, in a vain effort to cover the loud noises it made.As we both laughed, I said, "Apparently I need to eat something."