do not own, not getting paid, all in the name of fun

Graduation was a good concept.

In theory.

In practice it meant that Bella seemed to have no time to spend with her beloved, Edward, and his family anymore. She had just got them back and things were finally settling down in the sleepy little town of Forks in which they resided, but now that the end of senior year was only a week away, their teachers were all plotting the demise of the students of Forks High through sleep deprivation and ridiculous final workloads.

Of course, this didn't bother Edward nor Alice, who both lacked the need to sleep and had vampire speed and decades of experience on their side, but for the resident human... Especially since she had stubbornly refused any help from her friend or love.

She was making the most of the opportunity presented to her to complete her workload. Most of the Cullen's had gone hunting - an extended overnight trip - leaving only three members of the family behind. And while Bella missed Edward on nights such as these she had managed to finish all but one of her final projects.

Her fiancé was somewhat of a distraction - what with all the dazzling that he tended to do.

Fiancé – that word still gave her the chills.

Her final project was proving to be more challenging however, a history thesis on the Civil War

Books and papers completely covered the vast surface of the Cullen's large and relatively unused dining table, but still the answer to the topic question eluded her. Dropping her pen with a dramatic sigh, an idea finally came to her.

"Jasper" she called. Who better to ask than a friendly neighbourhood vampire that just so happened to have lived through history. "Did you ever meet Lee or Grant? Were they really the great leaders that they seem? Was the War really an inevitability?"

A honey blonde head appeared suddenly, poking around the door. "Nobody is ever who they really seem - you more than most should understand that Bella, and the same can be said about situations; about wars. The cause of wars especially. Very rarely are they fought for the reasons in the history books - especially the history books that our - any in fact, any - high school uses. "

"What are you saying Jasper? That the Civil War wasn't really about slavery?"

"Now you've done it Bella!" a loud voice boomed from the direction of the family room. "We'll never get him to shut up now - and just when I was beating him too."

Bella let out a less than graceful snort of laughter at the look of pain that crossed the face of the tall vampire who was now lowering himself into the chair opposite her.

"Ignoring the comments from Emmett in the peanut gallery, that's exactly what I'm saying. Well in the beginning anyway. It was always in the background, but it was never the be all and end all matter. After Antietam that all changed of course. But you have to remember that history, for the most part, is written by the victor. The winner of a war is hardly going to paint themselves, nor their actions, in an unfavourable light. I wasn't fighting to keep slavery anymore than the Yankee soldiers were fighting to abolish it. At the start."

The brunette girl was confused. Jasper had no reason to lie to her about this, but why would they be taught something if it wasn't true. Or maybe that assessment was a little harsh - Jasper did say that, that was only in the beginning.

"Well...then... What were you fighting for?"

Jasper paused slightly, in thought as he angled his chair slightly to minimise the effect of Bella's warmth. While he had gained some control since the disaster that was her 18th birthday, there was no reason to push himself too far. "We were fighting for our home." he said finally. "For the loyalty of our States."

Bella closed her eyes, trying to concentrate on what the man in front of her was telling her. "I don't understand Jasper. Doesn't that amount to the same thing? Imean, the South wanted slavery and the North didn't, so by fighting for you State weren't you fighting for or against slavery?"

The vampire sighed. She had seen him do this many times while he was reading one of the many history books from his library - most of which were now spread in front of them. It was generally associated with him disagreeing with the author. "On the surface maybe, but until Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation... Well that was the turning point really; it changed the meaning of the War. Antietam changed everything."

A large figure loomed in the doorway of the room. "Dude, your only saying that coz you're still bitter about losing."

"Emmett, for the last time I. Am. Not. Bitter." Jasper ground out from between his clenched jaw.

Bella cleared her throat before the disagreement could escalate. "As much fun as it would be to watch you two argue to the point of it deteriorating into wrestling for the third time today, I have an essay to write in order to graduate, which I have to do so that you guys' brother will change me so I can become an official part of this family. And how am I supposed to write the essay if everything I was taught is wrong." By the end of her tirade she was bordering on hyperventilation, much to Emmett's amusement.

"Breathe Bella," Jasper crooned, his amber eyes softening in amusement. "It will no good to anyone if Edward finds out that we let you pass out. Everything you were taught is not wrong, it just comes from a skewed perspective. You need to look at it through different eyes. Look at the people at the time, the North and the South. Their differences and their similarities. Look at them and you will see that it was more a minority against a majority; tyranny against liberty - the same lessons from the revolution nearly a century earlier. After Antietam and the Proclamation it was very defiantly about slavery, but until then, the North was just as racist - if not more so, that the South."

Emmett, who had now made himself comfortable at the table next to Bella snorted at his brother. "You lost, get over it Brother mine."

This time, he was ignored by both vampire and human alike.

"Look at the people?" Bella asked. Jasper nodded. "Well, you're a person of the time, tell me how it was?" she pleaded

Unsurprisingly, Emmett once again had something to say on the matter. "Bella, I'm only saying this coz you're my baby sis," he started with a laugh "but getting soldier boy over there to help you with you essay probably isn't the best idea. His own warped view is hardly popular opinion."

She raised an eyebrow, now perfectly plucked from Alice's latest 'Bella Barbie' session that morning, at the large bear like figure next to her. "You're just worried that I'm taking away your X-Box buddy. Besides, their history teachers Emmett - it's not their job to teach us to conform to popular opinion. It's their job to teach us to think for ourselves. So that's what I'm doing. I'm thinking outside the box by asking my future vampire brother in law, who has lived through the events himself, for help. I bet you no-one else in my class thought to do the same." To add a level of maturity to her argument, she stuck her tongue out at Emmett for good measure.

Jasper was now laughing at the scene in front of him. Long gone were the days when he could sense slight levels of fear and intimidation coming off of Bella when in the presence of his big burley brother. Long gone indeed. And he was glad for it. "Alright Bella," he start, moving on his chair, more out of habit than of the need for comfort. "I'll tell you my story if you think it will help you. But Emmett," he shifted his gaze to the other man "Emmett, if you are staying in here then you have to let her listen. We don't want her failing her finals after all."

A huff of air was the only reply, but Emmett, for all his complaining did not make a move to relocate himself. He merely pushed some of Bella's working papers to one side so that he could lean his elbows on the dark wood surface of the table.

Ignoring this, Jasper turned his attention back to small girl, now radiating excitement and curiosity. "Are you comfortable Bella? Do you need anything before I begin?" She shook her head, smiling softly in encouragement. "Alright. I was only 17 when I joined the Confederate army in 1861..."

Hi All

So this is just a little idea that I had in a lecture today. I hope that its readable to y'all. I have to be honest – I don't really know where it is heading, or if I'll continue – but, that said, I am open to persuasion. In other words – if you like it, let me know and I'll delve deeper into the mysterious world of Jasper Hale, and if you hate it, again, let me know and I'll stop before someone gets hurt lol!

Happy reading