This is my first ever fanfic. Please be kind and review! It's a little Bella/Jasper moment that has been floating in my mind for awhile.

Disclaimer: Sadly I do not own any of these characters. They are all owned by Stephanie Meyer. Sigh

Inadequacy

If there is one thing I understand it is inadequacy. After all I am the epitome of failure. I'm a failure to my family as after decades of practise I am still unable to maintain even a semblance of self control. It's ironic that I'm just as much a failure to my own nature as I fight it in a useless attempt to retain the dregs of my battered humanity.

I can accept this.

Or at least I've come to accept it as for some unimaginable reason it has come to me along with her. Alice. My life, or rather my eternity. The yin to my yang. As I fail she glows beside me as a radiant omnipotent goddess of triumph. And for some reason, she has chosen me. Despite how often I fail, regardless of all the pain I have caused her as my animalistic red eyes have met her steady golden ones, she has stayed with me.

As has our adopted family. Or rather, her adopted family. I am at best a charity case. A thing to be tolerated. Their compassionate hearts which completely characterise the humanity with which I struggle to maintain, allow me to stay with them. A weakness, a blemish, a tarnish on their perfection. I know this. For all their attempts to pacify and sympathise, I know that I am still the weakest, still the most dangerous and so, an inadequacy.

So when I felt the familiar pang of inadequacy coming from Bella I was shocked. Bella, the sun who had entered my brothers' existence and drawn him from the darkness that had warped him for as long as I knew him. Always with Edward had come a blackness that seemed to leech and decay, a parasite on his emotions. I pitied him, though I envied how even through this blackness he could still live up to Carlisle's shining expectations.

And suddenly it was gone. The blackness that had plagued Edward evaporated in a glittering champagne of bubbles. Happiness and contentment basically oozed from him, despite his attempts to hide it behind feelings of fear and selfishness. And whilst only I could truly sense the effects of this change, the entire family felt it. Even Rosalie became more content as we watched Edward come out of his room, play his piano with painful dedication, and occasionally smile wistfully as he saw the sun rise that damned him into hiding but which he knew would heat her face with unconscious elation.

We all loved Bella, we would have purely for the effect she had on Edward, but in her own person we found a true member of our collective family. Edward found his light, Carlisle found a reverent reassurance in his hope of soulful divinity, Esme found another daughter, Alice found a sister, Rosalie found reassurance in her perfection, Emmet found his position as a protective brother, and I basked in the contentment that seeped into even the darkest corners of our home and lazed in a glowing mist around all of us. Even if Alice hadn't seen it, we knew Bella would one day be one of us. She was already a vessel of the humanity we tried to imitate. We knew she would become a vampire who was the best of us all.

In my inadequacy I nearly destroyed this. A simple paper cut and I reminded everyone once more of my failure, of my useless pursuit of a non-existent humanity. For months my family entered a depression. The parasitic plague that had seemingly left Edward returned, and this time it enveloped the rest of us in its chilled fingers. And it had nearly taken Alice from me. First in her pain at the loss of a sister, then in her flight to Volterra. She never blamed me, none of them did. But my inadequacy nearly ripped apart my family. Bella's return was like a breath of spring. The darkness dissolved, the glowing bubbles of light returned. Edward was finally persuaded and the inevitability of Bella's transformation was finalised. After her graduation she will be changed into a vampire. Despite myself I find a sick sense of gratification that for a while, at least a few years, she will be the point of our family's weakness, though her aura of humanity will undoubtedly remain and eventually I again claim back my position of weakness.

So the inadequacy I felt coming from Bella left me speechless. I pondered it, trying to ignore the lines of strain that appeared between Edwards's eyes as he absently curled his finger through her hair whilst they sat on the couch. With only three weeks remaining until her graduation, and the deadline she had set us for her transformation, Edward had become almost obsessive in satisfying her final hours as a human. Through me he judged her emotions, checking her resolve and searching for any glimpses of doubt that might enable him to encourage her into the life he thought she should live. I sighed. She was destined to be one of us so why draw out the inevitable? At this thought Edwards head sprung up as he scowled at me. 'You know I'm right Edward, why can't you just accept she wants to be with you and stop fighting your own desires?' He glared at me as he absorbed my thoughts, before lowering his gaze back to Bella who was unaware of our interaction as she watched the TV. I sighed as I suddenly felt the desire to attack, to drink her deliciously tempting blood. I swallowed it down. No, not again. I wouldn't fail again. I sighed internally. It was especially unbearable today.

Another pang of inadequacy met me, and before Edward could react to my thoughts, I found myself saying 'Bella, would you mind talking to me privately for a minute?'. Silence descended throughout the house as the members of my family paused in response to my words. Shock hit me from all angles, followed by an unmasked worry from Edward who turned immediately and shot me a look that screamed 'NO!', with absolute ferocity. I lowered my head. What was I thinking! Of course she would say no. I had nearly killed her, and had since avoided being alone with her, keeping my distance so as not to cause her fear. It was a miracle I was even in the same room as her tonight, but I had promised Alice to a movie night with Bella and Edward, and so I had perched awkwardly on the farthest chair and remained still so as to avoid reminding Bella of my presence. Until now.

Next to me Alice looked up surprised by my spontaneous decision, her eyes going blank as she immediately explored the new future I had created. But before she could conclusively reach the most likely chain of future events, or Edward could do more than begin to shake his head, Bella's low, melodious voice surprised us all as she casually nodded, 'all right Jasper' , before clambering to her feet and looking at me expectantly. If I could have blushed I would have as I too moved gracefully to my own feet and ignoring both Edwards worry and Alice's strange burst of excitement, I left the room and slowly lead the way to mine and Alice's room. As Bella entered the room I shut the door to give a semblance of privacy which was of course impossible with the entire family listening in from around the house. I turned to face Bella who had settled on the bed with a look of innocent curiosity. I scanned her for any points of fear, but all I received was curiosity, hope, affection and again, a sharp pang of inadequacy.

I decided just to come out and ask. 'Bella, I've been noticing that lately your emotions have been exposing a feeling of inadequacy and I was wondering if you wanted to talk about it. I mean, obviously I know you wouldn't perhaps feel comfortable talking to me but I could always ask Alice? Or Esme? I'm... I mean I know that... well I was just curious as to why you would feel that way but I'm sorry I put you in this situation. Of course you would be uncomfortable with me...'

I trailed off as I felt her discomfort. 'It's alright, I'm not going to hurt you, this was extremely presumptuous of me, and I should never have put you in this position... I will just...' I stopped talking as her confusion reached me, mixing with my own. 'Jasper, what are you talking about, of course it's alright for you to ask me, I mean, I know it's your power to pick up emotions and you are just curious.'

Her face blossomed red as she continued. 'It's nothing for you to worry about, but its ok that you asked, I don't mind.' I tasted her emotions tasting her embarrassment and affection, but finding no traces of fear.

'But are you not afraid of me? Or rather why are you not?' Bella laughed. 'Jasper, I practically live with your family! How could I be frightened of Vampires, or at least of any of you?' I felt a wave of discomforting disapproval wash through Edwards's concern as he listened intently from downstairs. Alice giggled, her elation still spinning around me. 'Still haven't influenced her self-preservation have you Edward.' Her trilling laughter was joined by Emmetts booming laughter from upstairs.

I ignored this interruption as I made another attempt to understand Bella's lack of concern. 'But I tried to kill you! I very nearly succeeded. I understand you not feeling alarmed by the rest of the family, but surely you are uncomfortable with me...' Bella rolled her eyes. 'Please tell me you aren't still worrying about that! Accidents happen Jasper and overall your ability to deny your own nature is remarkable! I was the one who cut my finger and just made it that much harder for you, so if anyone should be sorry it's me.' She nodded leaving me speechless against her alarmingly disturbed conclusion. I allowed my own disapproval to mix with Edwards. 'Bella, you could have died! I nearly...' She interrupted, 'But you didn't! You didn't, so don't feel sorry. And even if you did it was...'

I turned away 'Don't you dare say it was in my nature! I ask you why you feel inadequate and that is only because I measure it against my own inadequacy! I am a failure in this family. No one else struggles as much with our life style, no one else has made so many mistakes! I am a disappointment and nearly killed you! Nearly destroyed the happiness you brought into our family. I am weak! I am inadequate! I stopped speaking and glared at the wall, waiting for her footsteps to retreat as she fled away. Waited for her to slink away as she recognised the monster that I was. To my absolute shock warm arms suddenly wrapped around me. Her scent wrapped around me as she leant close, her moist heart beating strongly. I could almost feel the blood pumping through the veins in her arteries, her skin against my own marble arms. 'Careful Jasper!' I heard Edwards caution and was shocked he hadn't barged in and pulled her off me. His worry was almost painful but he remained downstairs, his fear mixing oddly against Alice's careful elation. 'Jazz relax, you'll be fine! You will never guess...' Alice trailed off, no doubt exploring the future to contain Edward who I felt relax slightly, his fear dissolving into surprise.

Besides me, still close, far more close than any human should be, Bella continued to hug me. She tipped up her head to look at me and smiled, her emotions still tasting of affection and confusion.

'Jasper, you are NOT inadequate. It is your nature and your ability to control it just shows how amazing you are! Of course it's harder for you than the others! Your powers are a bit of a blessing as well as a curse, but I'm sure without them your entire family would have struggled to stay inconspicuous since you can keep an eye on what humans a feeling and pacify and so...'

I raised a hand to cut her off. 'Why are you talking about my powers? It is only because of my powers that I have any semblance of humanity as I feel what my victims feel. It's partly what drove me to this way of life.' Well mainly Alice but the depression was uncomfortable.

Bella's confusion became more pronounced. 'Yes. But don't they make it harder too?' I stared at her in surprise. 'What do you mean?'

'Well I always thought that your powers must make it more difficult. I mean you always feel what everyone feels, so when you are with other Vampires you must feel what they feel, which is to attack and eat...?' I stared at her in shock as I felt the surprise of my family embrace my own.

Bella continued, her face going red as she stuttered through one of the most powerful insights of my existence.

'On my birthday, when I cut my finger, everyone was in the room and most of you were, um... hungry. So when you smelt blood you all obviously felt hunger, the urge to attack and other sorts of instinctive responses. Edward obviously felt them the most strongly. But you, you would have felt not only your own instincts kick in, but everyone else's as well. Altogether. All those emotions must be overwhelming. No wonder you snapped! I think it's amazing you can be in the room with a human with even one other vampire which must double your instincts. Feeling all of those emotions together and with a bleeding human would probably influence even Carlisle. I personally think you must have the greatest self control. You have to endure everyone else's internal struggle as well.

I numbly shook my head. No, no that couldn't be right... Bella scowled and continued. 'No, I must be right Jasper. I mean how do you feel at the moment up close to me?' I thought for a second. 'Ok', I said thoughtfully. When I didn't think about it I found it surprisingly easy to ignore her tempting scent. 'And how does this compare to how you felt before when we were with both Edward and Alice.' I thought for a second, shock engulfing me. It was easier now, even up close. While we were with Alice and Edward it was nearly unbearable but now... I sniffed again. Fine. The burning in my throat wasn't pleasant but it was that painful either. Around the house I heard my family members reactions. Alice laughed her beautiful laugh, her excitement mixing with my own. Edward's emotion was marred between pride in Bella and scholarly anticipation as he debated with Carlisle. '...and she's my singer that must make it harder... yes I hadn't thought of that, you think... yes, yes probably.' Esme's excitement was mixed in her worry. 'Jasper' she scolded, 'I can't believe you have felt this way! You are a member of this family and even if Bella was wrong, we do not judge others, especially those we love!' Emmet interrupted again with his booming laugh. 'Guess this means no more bets against how long you last at school anymore! I guess we are all just betting against ourselves!...' Rosalie's emotions were marred with annoyance that Bella had figured out what they hadn't. I ignored her and looked back to Bella who was still hugging me oblivious to the outstanding insight she had made into my nature.

I pulled back and smiled at her. 'Bella, I don't know what to say but thank you. You just gave me more peace than I have had in over 50 years...' I trailed off. All this time, my ability to withstand humans had not been weak. I had not been weak. I was the victim of my power which was like Bella had described, both a blessing and a curse. But I could handle it as a curse now I understood why, now I knew why it was so difficult. I wasn't inadequate. I was worthy of the family. My pain of denying human was their pain. I was worthy of them. I was their equal. Bella blushed and stepped away, not in fear but to give me space.

'Why do you feel inadequate?' I couldn't help but ask. She went red again before sighing and letting out a grunt of frustration. 'Well isn't it obvious. You are all beautiful, and smart, and...graceful. I'm just a plain old human. Of course I feel inadequate! Hopefully when I change I will become even an inch closer to all of your perfection but... She scowled. I stared at her in surprise before bursting into laughter. 'Bella! You are beautiful. Not just in outward appearance but in your soul. In your humanity. That's what drew Edward; what continues to draw all of us to you. And as you just worked out the difficulty of my power, something none of the rest of us figured out over many, many years, well we could hardly claim to be smarter.' I smiled at her affectionately. 'And whilst you aren't graceful, you are clumsily endearing. And if it bothers you, it will most likely change during your... transformation. Believe me when I say, you are more than adequate. Or rather you already fit perfectly into our family.' Bella went red. I felt Edwards love and thanks come wafting up the stairs, mixed in with Alice's affection. I put an arm around her shoulder, enjoying my new found confidence. We walked silently back downstairs and as we entered the living room I felt my control tested as the entire family was gathered. Wordlessly I stepped back and grinned at my control, while Bella smiled at me knowingly and walked to Edward who drew her into a kiss. 'You are amazing, you silly oversensitive human'. He kissed her again.

I turned to hug Alice who looked at me in all her beautiful glory, her eyes shining. 'I love you Jazz.' I kissed her before smiling around at my entire family. I stood with my arm around Alice and let their emotions engulf me, for once feeling adequate and worthy of their love.