Disclaimer: See 1st chapter. I own nothing, but cranky kitties!
A/N: Takes place very shortly after Piano [Faith is still recovering from her broken leg]. Child abuse will be discussed; if you are really squeamish about it then you might want to skip this chapter in order to not offend your sensibilities [nothing too graphic though].
Jasper deeply enjoyed watching Faith as she slept; her dark hair thick and wild as it twisted over her pillow. This day though, she had been sleeping fitfully. She had refused to let Carlisle give her any more pain medication after the first night stating ‘I don’t like drugs’.
He had to wonder at the contradictions of this young human female. She was so brash, with a swagger to make the eyes of every human male pop. Jasper could feel their lust and see their leers. He could not deny he felt the same lust; had felt it since he had first laid eyes on her. That had been extremely uncomfortable living with Edward the mind-reader.
The humans thought they knew this girl. They thought she fit their stereotypes ‘slut’ and ‘easy’. Jasper knew behind the crude language and dark makeup there was a brave warrior. He had watched her battle demons and had fought at her side as well. There was also a scared little girl. He had lain next to her as she slept for many nights now.
The warrior he was much more familiar with. She was graceful and deadly and she fought with a joyful abandon that made him smile to remember. The little girl would wake in the night with a gasp and a start. She would stare at him with unseeing eyes. The first time he’d tried to touch her arm to bring her fully from the dream she had cringed away from him. He could not stand to feel and see her pain for much longer.
She was dreaming now. He could feel her terror and pain through his ability and see it written plainly across her features. She woke with a shuddering gasp and again shrank away when he reached out to her. Then she was fully awake.
“Look Jazz, I can go sleep on the couch.” She started to stir from her bed.
“Faith you are injured and this is your bed. Why would you leave it?” Perhaps his nearness was causing the nightmares? “I can go if you like?”
“My nightmares are keeping you up. If I let you sleep on the couch, the Prof might try to stake you in your sleep or something.” She gave him a feeble grin and started to get up again.
“Faith, I do not need to sleep. You do.” He covered her warm hand with his cool hand.
“Look... I’ve never slept with anyone before,” Faith didn’t meet his gaze as she said this.
He could feel the waves of confusion pass over her. Reflexively he projected calm and safety.
“I’m sorry… I can’t believe I’ve been sleeping at all with you in the same room…” She suddenly seemed to realize she’d said too much - given something away. Faith glared at him accusingly.
“I have been experimenting,” he said sheepishly. She raised an eyebrow. He continued, “You know I can feel what you are feeling to some extent normally.”
“But usually I cannot influence your mood like I can with everyone else – even Bella.” Faith waited mutely for him to continue his explanation.
Jasper appeared chagrined, “I have noticed these past nights as you dream it seems I can feel your emotions more strongly… if I am in close proximity. When touching you I seem to have some influence. Not to the degree I normally have, but some.”
Faith jerked away moving awkwardly with her cast.
“Faith, please do not go. I meant no harm. I was trying to help calm and soothe you during your nightmares. I swear it,” Jasper pleaded.
Faith still wouldn’t meet his eyes.
“It is my nature. What you said earlier… I am sorry. I wanted to hear what is making you upset so of course I was encouraging you. I did not do it intentionally.”
Faith turned back to him. He looked so distraught. A bit of stray moonlight illuminated his eyes and she noted they were nearly black.
‘Has he been here that long?’ Faith wondered idly. She flashed back to of all the nights she had lain with someone else in her bed wishing she wasn’t there. She sighed, rested her elbows on the window sill and looked out into the night.
“Faith, please come here,” he held out his arms his boyish face pleading, “Talk to me.”
Faith blamed it on the mind mojo but she went and crawled back into bed. She tucked her head under his chin so she wouldn’t have to look at him if she told. See the shock and horror on his beautiful face when he heard what she’d done.
Jasper could feel the turmoil roiling off of Faith. He tried again to reassure her. She began her story without preamble.
“He came into my room every night. He said he’d hurt my Mom if I told. First he did things to me then he… got bored. He made me do things to him. Sometimes he’d fall asleep… after. But I never did. I just lay there awake praying he would leave soon.” Jasper gave her a little squeeze. He didn’t want her to stop talking and held his questions.
“When I was little I tried to tell. He hit my Mom. Oh, he hit her so hard. She fell down. I thought she was dead at first. I was sad that she was dead, but I was more scared I’d be alone with him.”
He struggled to name the feelings as they flooded through him. He had no words to catalog them all. For a long moment he felt that he might drown in them. Jasper tried his best to send back acceptance and encouragement.
“I didn’t try to tell anyone after that. I knew he was serious.” Faith paused for a long while, then continued haltingly.
“For years it went on like that. Then one day when I was fifteen, my Mom caught us. I was doing things to him. He lied and said I’d begged him to let me do it,” Faith shuddered here before resuming her story, “Mom believed him of course. She threw me out of the house. He couldn’t stand to lose his toy though. He convinced her to bring me back. That he’d never let it happen again.”
Jasper could feel her revulsion and hate. Again he projected acceptance and calm.
“Every night he came. When I was little he was… nicer. If I bled or cried a lot he’d apologize for hurting me. He’d tell me I was beautiful, his little princess.” Faith trembled, then drew a deep breath.
“Then when I turned thirteen and boys started noticing me he got... meaner. He’d call me bad names ‘slut’ and ‘whore’. He’d hurt me on purpose then; burn me, cut me, be extra rough when he did things to me. Pull my hair when he made me go down on him,” Faith gave a broken little sob. ‘Now Jazz knows what a slut I really am.’
Jasper thought of the scars he had noted before and wanted to hunt this man down.
“How did you get away?” Jasper finally broke the silence.
“They were fighting one night - both of them drunk like always. I don’t know if she fell or he pushed her but either way she was at the bottom of the stairs and her neck…her head was twisted…I knew it was broken. I ran after he passed out.”
Jasper stroked her hair.
“I got caught shoplifting food and ended up in juvie a week later. He showed up trying to get me – said he was my step father. I tried to tell them it was a lie, but they wouldn’t listen. They never got married. I wanted to stay in jail. Anything was better than going back to that house alone with him…”
“Did he succeed?” Jasper prompted.
“No. D – Professor Dormer came the same day with a bunch of paperwork showing how she was my legal guardian and took me away.”
Jasper could feel her pain and shame.
“Faith,” Jasper pulled away to look into her eyes. He had to tilt her chin up. “Thank you. You are very brave. Now I need a moment.” He rose fluidly and took a step away. He tried to get his rage under control. It had been hard with Faith in his arms, feeling her pain and terror so strongly. He needed to first calm his own tumultuous emotions. He flexed his fingers and sighed. He heard a stifled sob behind him. He turned to look into Faith’s large eyes, they were full of unshed tears. Her sadness made Jasper feel oddly helpless, wishing there was something he could do to make her feel better.
“I guess you’re going then,” she asked her voice deadened.
“Going?” he asked the shock evident in his voice. He put his hand on her arm and analyzed her thoughts more fully. She still somehow thought she was to blame. That her mother, the drunken idiot, bore no responsibility…the woman that brought a depraved child molester into her home and then sided with him against her own child, her own flesh and blood. ‘Some empath you are,’ he thought angrily to himself, ‘How could you be so blind? ‘
“Faith,” he scooped her into his arms. She struggled, but he ignored her protests. “My apologies. I was feeling a bit murderous and did not want you to feel that.”
Jasper watched Faith in amusement as she groped under her pillow for the knife he knew she kept there. He captured her hands in his, “Faith, as you well know I have taken many lives, first as a human soldier then later for food and as a vampire soldier. But I have never wanted to inflict pain and suffering on another being as much as I do now. Is he alive?”
He could sense her confusion.
“No, do not tell me. I have sworn not to take human life… though in this case Carlisle might agree.” He squeezed his eyes shut for a long moment trying to regain his calm.
“Jazz?" Faith asked wrapping her arms around his cold, hard form.
"Yes, Faith?" he kissed the top of her head.
"Don't leave me."
"You are very important to me." It was embarrassing how his whole world seemed to be suddenly empty of everything but Her. His whole existence now centered on this human girl rather than Alice.
Could a dead, frozen heart break? Jasper felt like his had, first when Alice left and now as he looked at the tempting human beside him and knew she was not for him.