A/N: I haven't abandoned this story; I just write when I can. I will finish it, but updates are sporadic.
Jasper runs through the woods with wild abandon. Being this close to him, perched on his back with my arms and legs around him I can feel his joy, and maybe, is that freedom? It's hard for me to identify his emotions that swirl around us but they are exuberant.
We felt no need to talk as we made the journey back. We stopped a couple of times for my human needs, and several for his need to hunt. When I got tired Jasper changed to carrying me in his arms so I could nap. We simply enjoyed one another's companionship.
After almost the full distance had been run, I could feel Jasper slowing as we approached the familiar outer fields; these were fields I knew I'd ridden the horses through. I was on his back at this point. I sent him my curiosity, and he looked up at me pulling me from his back to instead stand at his side as we came to a stop.
"We're almost there. I've been following Peter's trail back but I think we're only about a mile out. I can hear Charlotte and Peter on the edges of the property. Care to walk with me Darlin'?" he asked me.
I nodded my head and gave him a smile. We walked hand and hand towards the house. As we crested the final hill that brought the house into view Jasper stopped short. I simply stood at his side as he took in his childhood home that he hadn't seen for well over a century.
"It's so beautiful" he whispered.
"It's been well-cared for, and now it's returned to the two rightful owners" I replied, squeezing his hand.
He gave me a gentle smile, and I tugged on his hand so we could walk the final distance to the house. I could see Peter and Charlotte closing up the barn and doing the same. The moment the breeze blew they both froze and looked our way. While I was sure they could hear us before this point this was the final acknowledgement that we were present.
Char whooped and came running towards us, Peter chuckling and following at a more sedate pace. They both stopped in front of us as we had come down the slope to close the distance.
Char moved first and reached to hug Jasper. I released his hand so he could return the sentiment and he did, albeit slowly. You could see his surprise at such a greeting. Peter pulled me into a gentle hug of our own. And then we all swapped so Char could hug me and Peter and Jasper could do the mainly hug/back-slap that guys do.
When we all stepped back Jasper claimed my hand again and I led us all towards the house. Watching Jasper step inside was an experience. He was trying to take everything in at once.
"Crazy isn't it?" Peter whispered. Jasper glanced at him and simply nodded.
"I want to show you something" I told him, guiding him towards the stairs and then up to "my" bedroom. I walked across the room and handed him the photo off the mantle that I had never moved.
He held it and then looked up at me. "Is this how you found out that this was my family's home?" he asked me.
I nodded. "I knew Hale was Rosalie's surname but I'd never learned yours. I told you the story of how I ended up here but without this photo the story may have been different. I'll show you some things over the next few days but we still have your uniform from the war, diaries from family members, and I kept a journal of every story Marybelle passed down to me. I know you don't remember your human life but I've tried to recapture as much as I could" I told him earnestly.
He looked at me for a moment before crushing me to him in a hug. "Thank you Darlin', this is the single greatest gift anyone has ever given me" he told me. He held me for a moment before stepping back and replacing the picture on the mantle.
"Shall we go back downstairs so you can rustle up some dinner for yourself?" he asked me, glancing around the room.
"Yes" I told him as I grabbed his hand and we descended the staircase together this time. Holding his hand was quickly becoming one of my favorite things. I liked the simplicity of the contact.
When we entered the kitchen Char and Peter were standing in the middle arguing.
"What's going on?" I asked as I crossed the room to grab a bowl to make biscuits in.
Charlotte sighed. "Peter wants to know if you've discussed with the…Jasper, about what your second condition was?" she asked.
I set the bowl on the counter and faced Charlotte. "No, I haven't, we didn't really talk about it. But I will" I told him with determination. I crossed the kitchen to pull out the flour, thankful there was still some left after Peter's kitchen adventure.
"Isa, I need you to do it soon. I know you're his mate and that does give you some leeway, but we need to set a date and make arrangements" Peter broke in solemnly.
"Told me what?" Jasper asked, crossing his arms and glaring at Peter.
Peter looked back and forth between Jasper and I. He sighed. "Are you going to talk to him about this or are you gonna make me do it?" Peter asked me.
"I'll do it, but you need to give us some space for the rest of the night" I told him as I started for the fridge to grab the rest of the ingredients.
Peter nodded. "Very well. The animals are all taken care of for the night. We'll be back in the morning to take care of them again. See you for breakfast" he said as he kissed my forehead, Char squeezed my shoulder and they slipped from the room.
Jasper moved behind me and pulled out a pan, deducing what I was making but he didn't speak.
I worked in silence for a few minutes before I could feel Jasper's frustration with my stalling start to push against me.
"Let me just get these in the oven and then we can talk" I told him. He simply nodded as I finished shaping the dough and placing them on the pan.
Jasper slide the tray into the oven and then we walked over to the table.
I looked at Jasper and then reached for his hand. He gave it to me, albeit slightly reluctantly.
"When Peter arrived for Marybelle's funeral I agreed to tell him my story with the condition that he would help me find you. He agreed, but when I was done, he talked about how the knowledge I hold of vampires is dangerous and a death sentence" I trailed off, as Jasper was furiously shaking his head and got up to pace.
"No Bella, I won't let you" Jasper lashed out.
I crossed my arms across my chest. "Won't let me what Jasper? You don't even know the full story and you promised me you'd let me make my own choices" I vehemently replied.
"You're right. I don't know the whole story but I won't let you die. Don't you know that it would kill me too?" he told me earnestly, looking at me pleadingly.
"I know. Please sit. I will explain and everything will make sense" I told him as I gestured to the chair he'd vacated.
I knew he was testing my emotions, but I was calm. He nodded once, resumed his seat and took hold of my hand again.
"As I was saying it's a death sentence, either to change or to the grave, you don't get to know about vampires and remain human. I'm 21 Jasper, just shy of 22. I should never have lived past 17 or 18 with what I know. So Peter told me he'd give me the choice, while he was really hoping I would choose change he was also willing to give me death instead if that was what I wanted" I paused again as Jasper let out a whimper and grasped my other hand now too.
"That is where my second condition came in. I told Peter that he could 'doom me to immortality' only if you refused to change me yourself" I finished as Jasper's eyes went wide.
"You want me to change you?" Jasper whispered in shocked awe.
I nodded. "I do Jasper, but if you can't or won't I'll have Peter do it. I'm not ready to let you go yet now that I've found you. And I'm not ready to die yet, now that I've found myself and my inner strength" I told him.
There was a pause and then Jasper was out of his chair and pulling me into his chest. "Save those first couple words for later Darlin', but thank you. Yes, yes, yes! I'll do it. I'll be sure Peter is nearby as I don't want to kill ya, but I think I'm strong enough" he tells me, gently tracing my cheek as he finishes.
I blush when I make sense of his words. "I know you're strong enough" I tell him, and he pulls me in for a kiss.