Disclaimer: I don't own Twilight or any of the characters therein.
Jasper was in a crummy mood that morning, and it was starting to rub off. He’d been grumpy ever since Peter and Charlotte had visited the week before. Poor Jazz. He’d gotten so much better at controlling his thirst lately, since we had left Forks; seeing Bella – a human – changed, having gotten to know her before she was a vampire – it had helped him start appreciating human life for what it was. Before, theoretically he had understood it, but he had gone so long looking at them as food that it was hard to put theory into practice. Edward’s falling in love had been beneficial to the family in more ways than one.
Peter and Charlotte, though, were still a reminder of what he had once been, and he wished more than anything that he could show them what they could be; why it was worth it to be like us. They were polite about listening, and seemed to be interested, but they had left unswayed. Jasper had been cranky since. He’d even snapped at me the last time I had tried to bring it up. More than that, he kept putting out ‘waves’ of irritation that had everyone short. Most of them had started avoiding him when possible, trying to give him some space to cool off. Carlisle had started spending most of his time at the hospital, saying he had extra work to do.
The rest of us had been irritated even before Jasper started exuding it; we had just relocated, and we’d had to leave our cars in storage in Juneau, investing in four-wheel drives instead. The roads in and around Tok weren’t exactly built for aston martins.
Even Bella missed her car.
“Koots is assigning us the Krebs Cycle for homework,” she hissed as she walked up to our lunch table. “Again. Like it’s that difficult.” She slammed her bag down on the table so hard it shook.
Edward, walking up with her, snorted quietly and pulled out a chair for his wife. Always the gentleman, our Edward. “For you, maybe – but most of the students here don’t have doctoral degrees in genetics.”
Bella gave him a disgusted look and tapped her fingers on the table, no doubt dreading the educational video she was going to have to watch in biology. Edward let out a chuckle and looked at Jasper to share the joke – but Jasper snarled under his breath and looked away. Edward scrunched up his forehead, the way he did sometimes when he played scrabble with Bella.
“Jazz?” I asked, putting my hand up to his cheek. He was sending off waves of restlessness and irritation, even more than he had when Peter and Charlotte had left. He sighed and slumped in his chair, but looked at me. I heard him saying his next words before he opened his mouth.
“Sorry, Alice,” said the Jasper in my head and the Jasper at the table, one right after the other. He smiled wryly. “I know I’m being obnoxious. But there’s something – around. A feeling of-”
“Malice,” Edward finished. He leaned across the table and looked into Jasper’s eyes. “It’s been flitting around the edges of your thoughts for a week. At first I thought it was just Peter and Charlotte, but this feels… different, doesn’t it?”
Jasper nodded and wrapped his arm around my shoulders, pulling me against his chest. He wasn’t usually this open at the high school; he must really have been feeling bad about this.
“Peter and Charlotte got annoyed, but there was never any intent behind it, and they’re always straightforward about it. This… I’ve been feeling it on and off for days. It’s like someone’s wishing us evil.”
“Evil?” Bella lifted an eyebrow. I knew she took Jasper’s senses seriously, but it did sound a bit melodramatic. Not like Jasper.
Jasper grimaced. “It sounds stupid, but I can feel it. Someone at the edge of my senses. Nothing definite, but-”
“Yes, I think so,” Edward interrupted. “Sorry, Bella – Jasper’s going to tell Carlisle. It’s time he’s told. You don’t think it’s the Volturi, do you?” he asked, turning to me.
I shook my head. I hadn’t seen anything concerning the Volturi lately, but… “Let me check.”
I took a deep breath and closed my eyes. I felt Jazz take one of my hands in his, but that was distant to me; I locked it off in my mind and shoved it away, quickly doing so with all the other distractions in the cafeteria: Edward’s breathing, Bella’s smell, the sound of a group of children scuffling past my table. When all those distractions were gone and I was left in the dark, I thought of the Volturi and opened my mind.
For a second there was nothing. I tried targeting Aro in particular to see if I could find anything concerning our family, but I could only find vague, murky futures where we were all alive. Wondering if it were someone unrelated to the Volturi, I broadened my thoughts and got a vision of Carlisle and all of us sitting around the dining room table later that day, talking about-
Well, that certainly was something. Not what I had been looking for, but… this could change everything. And it would certainly be good reason for some of the vampires out there – Volturi included – to wish us harm if they found out about it.
Somewhere in the distance, I heard Edward gasp. So, he’d seen my thoughts. I quickly broke out of my trance and looked at him. He stared back, his brow furrowed.
“We should go home,” he said.
“Alice?” Jazz asked patiently. That’s what I loved about him – well, one of the things I loved about him. He never got annoyed when I would do things because of my visions, or when Edward and I had private conversations. He knew I would always tell him anything important; sometimes he just had to wait a while to find out.
Case in point.
“Right,” I told Edward. “He knew I’d see this – he’ll be expecting us. If you find Emmet and Rose – oh, they’ll be in the locker rooms - I’ll go get us excused from class. Jazz, Carlisle has something to tell us. I think I should let him explain. I’m not sure I understand, myself.”
Edward and Bella were off before I finished speaking, Bella hissing questions at Edward too quietly for any of the children to hear. I put my books back in my bag as I talked. I’d taken some out to pretend I was studying earlier. Wasn’t too smart to have a 4.0 GPA and never be seen working for it; mad some of the humans angry and some of the humans curious, and neither was particularly good for our situation.
Jasper, dear man, helped me into my coat and slung my bag over his shoulder without a word. He knew I wanted to see what else I could find out. He never needed his empathy to know what I was thinking.
I was so lost in my thoughts as I walked out of the cafeteria that I actually bumped into one of the students, clipping her on the arm with my hand. She blinked at me owlishly and grabbed her arm where I had touched her; my hand must have felt cold. Jazz chuckled at me under his breath and took hold of my elbow, steering me to avoid anyone else.
It might have been just me, keyed up from my vision, but as Jazz and I walked out of the cafeteria, I could have sworn I felt someone watching me.
Emmett and Rosalie – both looking rather disheveled – grumbled as we filed into the house, but they quieted when they saw Carlisle and Esme sitting at the head of the table, looking – not grim, but far more serious than usual. They hadn’t looked this serious since the Volturi had gone to Forks to take out the werewolves.
Rosalie hung behind to redo her lipstick and smooth down her hair, but I went and sat down by Esme and put a hand on her arm. She looked nervous. Across from me, Edward sat at Carlisle’s side and looked him in the eyes. I could tell they were having a conversation; Edward shook his head once and murmured ‘Alice saw’ below his breath. Carlisle nodded as if he’d expected this and gave me a quick, reassuring smile.
“All settled?” he asked when Emmett and Rosalie sat down next to Bella and Edward. They nodded. “Good. I’m sure you’re wondering what’s going on. I wasn’t sure whether I should have told you all earlier about this, but my research was only in its preliminary stages. I apologize for keeping secrets from you, but I did not want to give you hope, only to disappoint you later.”
“Disappointed?” Rosalie cut in. She leaned across the table towards Carlisle.
Carlisle took a deep breath. “I was always interested in how vampire venom is made and what it consists of; as you know, I have done some tests in the past to fiddle with it, but the science was never there.”
He paused; Esme squeezed his hand and nodded at him, and Carlisle continued.
“I recently came across some research being done concerning genetic manipulation of chromosomal pairs, and it gave me an idea. It’s a farfetched hypothesis, especially with the technology advancing so slowly, but, given that we all have medical degrees and unlimited time on our hands, I think it might be possible.” Carlisle paused again and looked all of us, one at a time, in the eye. Jasper’s arm tightened nervously around me, and I heard some of the others breathe harder.
“I think I’ve found a way to make us human again.”