Title: Hand in Hand

Author: Girl Who Writes

Characters: Alice, Jasper

Word Count: 1548

Rating: T

Genre: AU, Romance

Summary: If you had told him that one day he'd be sitting on the porch of an old Victorian with an actual Angel on his lap explaining the significance of Dior's New Look to him, he would have thought you were touched in the head.

Especially if you included the fact that he loved her more than anything. And she loved him just the same.

Notes: Written for JaliceWeek20 Day 4, and follows on from Afterglow. I kind of love this universe and I totally need to write the full-length fic at some point.

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoy it! Notes are at the bottom.


If you had told him back in the Wars that one day he'd be sitting on the porch of an old Victorian in Maine with an actual Angel on his lap, eating a cookie the size of her head and explaining the significance of Dior's New Look to him from a magazine that he suspects weighs more than she does, well, he would have thought you were touched in the head and destroyed you on sight.

Especially if you included the fact that he loved her more than anything in creation - past, present, and future. And she loved him just the same.

But that is exactly how he finds himself on that late summer afternoon.

She looks up at him with a guilty smile. "You don't care about this at all," she murmurs, closing her reading material.

He chuckles at her. "Of course I do."

"No, you don't," Alice looks down at the magazine, her fingers stroking the cover. "It's silly."

"It's not silly, and I do care because you do," he says, covering her hand with his. "I'm glad you've found a passion." Esme has begun teaching her to sew, to draw up simple patterns, and Alice has been a quick study. Even now, the pretty green dress she's wearing is one that she sewed herself, complete with daisies embroidered on the hem. He remembers the rank grey rag she was wearing the day he found her. She was beautiful then, too, but this dress, this life, it's all that she deserves.

He is rewarded with a beaming smile. "Tell me about your day," she asks, tucking her hair behind her ear. It's been years since he found her, and whilst her hair has grown somewhat, it has never grown longer than her chin, in delicate, shiny little waves he loves to stroke.

It's been several months since he finally accepted the inevitable and kissed her, admitted he loved her, and let her convince him that the only person who decided the worthiness of the man at her side was her, and she had always thought him plenty worthy of her attentions. The family had reacted as expected when their courtship was revealed - Carlisle had been smug but overjoyed for both of them, and Esme's delight had filled the room. Edward had been mostly disinterested, though Jasper was sympathetic when he felt the boy's cold loneliness in a house full of couples. Emmett had high-fived Alice - apparently, the man had been privy to Alice's very patient and tolerant pining, whilst Rosalie shook her head but quietly said something to Alice that made her smile.

Their courtship has been slow - Alice's memories from before he met her are mostly lost; she still has no idea how she came to be in Philadelphia, who or where her family were, anything that came before. She remembers a few little cultural things from angels - a little of the language that she claims are mostly insults and swears, and a couple of songs - but nothing substantial. Which is to say, any possible love affairs are utterly forgotten, and in her mind, he is her first (and only and true) love, and her very first kiss. And whilst he is, frankly, impatient to get to other 'firsts', he lets her set their pace.

They have all the time in the world.

He tells her about school; contemporary mathematics remained elusive when the school year officially ended, so twice a week he goes to the high school to catch up on those classes - with Emmett in tow, just in case. The whole thing is an exercise in futility - one class, and he was already caught up, but the act is important. And he tries not to be too dismissive, when Alice remains locked up tight in the house, too inhuman to be allowed at school just yet when she is so desperate to be apart of the world, to be hand-in-hand with him at every moment of the day.

Her wrist catches his eye, and he pauses in his story to inspect it closer. The celestial tattoos that adorn both her arms from wrist to elbow have settled into a silvery-grey colour, and are adorned with a tangle of flowers and stars and symbols. But one thing he noticed, and she already knew, is that they change - fading and twisting and reforming, to tell a new story. There were columbines dotted over both arms when they first met, but now they are all but gone. Today's addition is another rose - but whilst the other rose on her arm is a blossom in full bloom, this one is the flower and stem complete with thorns, curved around the blooming rose, the iris, and the carnation.

"Another new one?" he murmurs, pressing a kiss to it.

"One I am grateful to receive," she says mysteriously. She's never offered an explanation or a translation to the markings, despite blatant hints from Carlisle, but she seems to remember, or at least understand. He knows it's a proper language or some kind of map - he figures he might be able to decipher it all if he ever gets a proper peek at the rest of the tattoos - he knows of the ones that sit on her along her collarbone, and run down the length of her spine. He'd very much like to get the opportunity to memorise those ones.

She flits inside not long after, ostensibly searching for food - she had shocked them all with her odd feeding habits when they first arrived, going for days with nothing before eating the entire contents of the fridge in six hours. Her obsession with sugar once lead to Esme being quite shocked to discover her sitting on the kitchen table, drinking from the honey jar. He thinks it's adorable, the rest of them think its funny - Emmett almost always has a lollipop or candy bar on hand for her.

He watches the sun sink below the horizon, listening to the hum of voices inside the house, and he thinks back through the years. Back to before the Cullens, before Alice, before Philadelphia. To his misery and loneliness and total lack of purpose. That hollow space has long since been filled - with the love that he shares with Alice, the affection and respect that he has for the Cullens, and for the mental peace hunting animals has brought him. But he doesn't forget where he came from, how long and hard that road was.

There are the familiar light footsteps as Alice returns, her magazine and cookie both missing, but her lips stained with some kind of berry juice. Her tongue darts out to lick it off as she delicately leaps back into her place in his lap with feline grace and certainty.

"You're out here all alone," she says, her arms threading around his neck. Night has begun to settle in, and the weather is comfortable - she notices it more than he does, so he's become intensely aware of the temperature to make sure she doesn't get too cold or too wet or too warm. She laughs at him, but he can't help it. Being able to take care of her like that is a gift he will never be worthy of. "Unless you want to be alone?"

The rest of the Cullens are aware of how… mercurial he can be, and are careful not to crowd him without the certainty they will be welcomed. Alice is more attuned to him, his gift carefully looped around her so that they are always aware of the other, of how they are feeling. Jasper will never admit to anyone but himself, when they are curled together and she is sleeping, that it's a wonderful feeling, to know and have her like that. But that link is enough for her to know, and Alice never resists just asking him what he wants.

"Never," he swears, pressing a kiss to her cheek that makes her beam - she smells like the warmth of the kitchen, and fresh fruit, and clean cotton and a million different things. Some are human things that should repulse him, but instead, he just revels in the memory of Esme's joy of baking for someone, and Alice's delight in each cake and cookie and muffin. "There's not a single moment I can think of that cannot be improved by your presence, darlin'."

"Sweet-talker," she grins, but the slight blush on her cheeks tells him the flattery has done its work. It's true, though; he looks forward to the times in the future when they will be together more often when he won't have to leave her behind every day, but instead go hand-in-hand together.

And as she settles back against him, a familiar warm weight tucked against him with her head on his shoulder with faint strands of sleepiness, contentedness and affection drifting to him, he catches a glimpse of the markings on her collarbone, of a Texas bluebonnet woven around a magnolia, and he really cannot fathom how he managed to deserve this fate - to be allowed to be this peaceful, this happy…

This loved.

And so, he sits there and watches the night pass them by, as his angel sleeps on his shoulder.

A good night, a good life indeed.


Notes

I just like to ramble about this 'verse. You can ignore me ;)

- Alice's markings/tattoos are a pretty big player in her story in this universe, as they are essentially 'alive' and reflect things. In this case, the flowers represent each of the Cullens as they accept her as family - I used their state flower as representation. Since Carlisle and Rosalie share the same flower, Carlisle's is the blooming one, and Rose's is the newer one with thorns. The only flower that's still missing is Edward's, as Edward and Alice have a volatile start to their relationship.

- Angels being obsessed with sweet things is just some weird thing I decided on because the idea of Emmett brandishing out a lollipop to draw Alice's attention, or Alice being completely transfixed on the oven timer when the brownies are baking is amusing to me.