For the past few weeks, Jasper could feel the emotions building up around the house. He had felt how their latest member of the family was slowly falling into depression as their brother pulled away from him while he tried to figure things out. Yes, he knew what had been troubling Edward; he felt his arousal and his confusion, not to mention the animal lust that was finally waking up. He knew that the predator in Edward wanted to claim his mate before anyone else could but the man knew that, would only drive the wizard away. But Edward's thoughtfulness was slowly driving the wizard into depression and he didn't seem to notice how much this was hurting Harry. Or maybe he did but didn't know what to do about it.
But Jasper had noticed how much it was hurting Harry. As did the youngest empath in the family: C.J. Because the infant was so in tune with his parent's feelings, he – Jasper – was feeling it double and it was slowly driving him mad. He could feel how being close to the vampire without touching was hurting the human. Harry was one of those people that needed constant human, or in their case vampire, contact. Now that Edward had stopped with his small touches as to not drive him away, he was hurting the wizard instead and would eventually lose him.
He couldn't let that happen. It is the first time in a long time that Edward was truly happy. Of course he had been happy with that Bella girl but that had been nothing compared to this. Whenever Harry walked into the room, his whole demeanour would lighten up and a bright smile would grace the face of his brother.
In all his long years in the Cullen coven he had never seen Edward so open with his emotions as he was with Harry. Not even Bella had received such a reaction from the vampire. Sure he had shown her smiles and such but they had never reached his eyes like they did with Harry. The wizard was definitely one of a kind and his brother would be a fool to drive him away. He would help his brother realise just what he was doing and how much he would lose if he kept this up.
Never before had Jasper seen his oldest brother so happy. Before all this had happened he had felt his brother's loneliness and how it pained him. Jasper could feel this driving need to find a way to make it work with Bella, for he no longer wanted to be alone.
Jasper had always thought that Bella wasn't the one for Edward but he hadn't said anything; especially not when Alice had told him about a vision she had that had showed her how happy Edward and Bella could be. He knew both of them weren't in love with the other but had figured that they'd come to love each other with time.
When Edward and Bella had broken up, Jasper could feel his brother's heart breaking and pulling into himself. The loneliness was once again creeping back into his heart, almost making it almost unbearable for the empath, let alone for the vampire that was actually experiencing it. He had even been afraid Edward would do something stupid to relieve himself of his pain…
But with Harry, Edward had finally found his one true mate and everyone knew it for he always put his mate's needs before his own. They all knew that Edward loved Harry and was loved in return and never before had they seen the mind-reader so happy and content.
His whole family had wanted Edward to find his true mate and now that he had, they were all going to make sure he wasn't going to lose him. They were all a coven, a family, even if Harry and his son weren't vampires, they belonged with them and had from the moment Esme met the wizards. They would all look after each other for they had only each other. No one else could protect their family as they could and Jasper was going to take initiative. His brother needed help, even though he didn't know it yet, and he was going to give it to him!
Later that night, when the young wizard had retired to his and Edward's room with his son, Jasper suggested that he and Edward go hunting together, which in itself was a rare event, for he normally went hunting alone. There are times when Alice would join him but that didn't happen often either because he didn't like it when she saw how feral he became when he was hunting and was afraid he would turn on her and hurt or even kill her.
After sending the thought that he wanted to talk to the mind-reader and that it revolved around the wizard, Edward had given him a nod that he had heard him and accepted. Together they rushed out of the house and went deep into the woods.
As Edward was the faster of the two of them, he stopped at a clearing deep within the woods and waited for the empath to catch up with him; figuring this was a good spot for whatever it was Jasper wanted to talk to him about. Silently he waited for the empath to begin; no knowing what this was about just that it involved his mate.
Finally, Jasper caught up with him; though it had only taken him a few seconds it had felt like an eternity to Edward.
"You must have realised something's going on with your mate," Jasper began and cringed at his own words for he could have chosen them more carefully; especially when he saw the slightly feral look in his brother's eyes, telling him it was not his concern.
"My apologies, I could have formulated it better. I only meant to say that I am concerned. You are both hurting and I only wish to enlighten you on the situation so you can work things out," the empath explained more gently, sending a few calming waves to the mind-reader, not wanting to upset him more than he already had.
Edward calmed down as he felt the waves enter his body. As he carefully considered the words he read the thought in the empath's mind: I'm just looking out for my family.
Although he wasn't certain that Jasper was doing this for him, he had to admit to himself that he could use a little help. Knowing the empath was able to feel what Harry was feeling could make this easier. Together they could figure out how to best help Harry and their relationship, for Edward knew it was treading on a thin thread.
Nodding his head in confirmation, he gave Jasper permission to continue.
"The emotions in the house are overwhelming," the empath admitted. "Yours and Harry's run the highest and we are all on edge because we can feel something is wrong." He took a moment to carefully choose his next words before he continued; he was never good at the considerate thing. He thought it best to sort out Edward's problems first before he made the mind-reader see how much he was hurting his mate.
"Over the past few days I've noticed that you've been going through some changes," he saw Edward advert his eyes and felt his embarrassment. It was probably a good thing his brother couldn't blush otherwise his embarrassment would heighten. "Do not be embarrassed, little brother; it is the most natural thing in the world. We've all been through the changes of our bodies. Granted, normally we have gone through them in our mortal years so it wasn't as intense as what you're going through as yours. I take it you have never been through this in your mortal years." A slight shake of his brother's head confirmed his suspicions.
"Your body is reacting to your desire for your mate, which is a good thing. When a mortal's body reacts to another person all they need to do is take care of it either using their hands or even a cold shower. I'm assuming you know how too…" He drifted off letting the question hang in the air.
The mind-reader nodded again, still not looking at his brother. Although this was rather embarrassing for him, actually for the both of them, he knew Jasper was only asking this with good intentions. He needed a little bit more information before he could actually give him advice.
"Good," the empath cleared his throat before he continued. "It's the normal flow of things. Now your body is not only reacting to him because you desire him but also because you want to claim him as your own. The predator inside you wants to claim his mate while you, as a man, want to protect him; knowing these past few months, years actually, have been rather rough on him and you don't want to pressure him."
Edward was slightly taken aback by how much Jasper knew about this. Is he that good at interpreting his emotions or is he just guessing?
"Unfortunately, these feelings…this urge to claim him will only intensify until you do or at least mark him," Jasper continued.
Edward head shot up at his brother's words. "Mark him?" he asked, a little horrified. The only way he knew how to mark him was by drinking his blood and he wouldn't do that. He feared he would lose control if he did and kill his mate in the process.
"Yes, he has your scent on him but not enough to stake your claim. The predator inside you realises this, even if you don't."
"I'm not drinking his blood," Edward almost growled the words at the other vampire.
"You don't have to," Jasper told him. "All you need to do is make sure Harry has your venom on his body at all times; it can be in a piece of clothing that he wears every day. For now, it should be enough until both of you are ready."
"I want to claim him, I do," Edward admitted slightly hesitant. "But he's been through enough already, he doesn't need this. He doesn't need to be forced into this just because I need to stake my claim; he's only just accepted me as his mate, he doesn't need this."
"And he shouldn't," Jasper told him. "As I said before, just make sure Harry's always carrying a piece of clothing with your venom in it with him. This should keep the predator at bay for a while."
Edward gave the empath a nod, letting him know he would take the advice to heart and maybe even use it.
"Now I take it your body reacts to Harry's closeness and that's why you're pulling away from him?" The empath waited for Edward's slight nod before he continued. "Your mark on him will hold the predator back for some time but I'm afraid your body shall keep reacting to your mate. You are after all attracted to him. My only advice in that regard is that you…uhm…" Stopping as he wasn't sure how to put it into words but knowing Edward had understood what he meant when he felt his embarrassment flowing into him.
Jasper was certain that if Edward was human he would be scarlet red. The embarrassment that flowed into him was almost painful but unfortunately if he wanted to help the mind-reader, they needed to get through this.
"It doesn't seem to work," Edward admitted a moment later. "It's not only my body that reacts to him, it's my entire being. If I don't see him all day I have this need to be close to him. I can't go long without seeing him, I can't stand not being close to him. I long for him when he's not with me and I cannot think of anything else besides him when he's not close. Even now I wish you to hurry up so I can return to him…"
"That is perfectly normal," Jasper began but was cut off by Edward.
"No, it's much more than that. I've felt something like this before but it was never this strong, this intensified. I think it's the bond, I believe it wants…it needs to complete itself."
"It wants?" Jasper was confused, how could something that wasn't conscious want something? He thought back on the days he was in London in the magical community. He had seen some amazing yet unbelievable things: flying brooms, talking clocks, and self writing quills. With magic anything was probably possible. "It would explain why his emotions seem forced," Jasper mused as he thought over what Edward told him.
"What do you mean?" Edward asked.
"My guess is that the bond is making Harry feel like this, or partly. But I don't know anything about these wizard bonds so I can't help you with that. I would suggest you talk to Harry about that or if you don't want to trouble him you could try and talk to the headmaster of that school. They could help you better than I can in this aspect."
Edward considered the words. "I cannot trouble Harrison with this; he has enough troubles on his own. He's still struggling with what happened this past summer, even if he isn't willing to admit it. No, he doesn't need to worry about mine," the mind-reader replied, shaking his head in the negative. "Neither do I want to talk to a stranger about this."
"Maybe you could find some magical books about it," Jasper suggested.
"Yes, that's a good idea. Harrison wanted to go to the magical community next weekend, I shall go to the bookstore then," he agreed already planning what to tell his mate so he could buy them without Harry knowing.
"I'm sure these problems can be solved with time. Now, on with what's troubling Harry," the empath continued. "You've been pulling away from him because of your…physical reaction. I don't know if you've realised it but Harry is one of those people that need human contact; slight touches to reassure him. I've felt how much it hurts when you pull away from him."
Edward looked a bit guilty but didn't say anything; he hadn't realised that this was what had been hurting his mate.
"Usually you'd make sure you are touching whenever you were close; a brush of arms, a hand on his back or even an embrace, but lately you have stopped doing that. Now I understand why you've done so, so you don't need to explain it to me," Jasper stopped Edward from explaining his actions. "But by doing so you've been hurting Harry and he doesn't understand why you're doing this. I believe you know how low Harry's self-esteem is." A slight nod confirmed it. "You pulling away doesn't make sense to him. He's doubts himself, maybe even thinks it's his fault – I cannot be sure for I'm not a mind-reader." The suggested ‘can't you read his mind and see what's bothering him?' didn't go unnoticed by Edward but he decided not to comment.
"You have to admit that he doesn't seem to have a lot of people in his life. I mean, he has reason to believe that people will leave him. Whether by choice or not most of the people in his life have left him behind and I believe he's certain that he's going to lose you too."
"I'd never leave him," Edward growled the words at the empath. How could he even think that?
"I know that Edward, but Harry doesn't," Jasper told him calmly not upset that Edward had growled at him, he could understand completely. He just needed to tell his brother what was troubling Harry in order to help them. "And because he doesn't, he's falling more and more into depression. Edward, you're trying to protect him, I understand that, but the fact of the matter is that you're driving him away."
Sinking down onto a fallen tree, he realised his brother was right. He should have realised just how low his mate's self-esteem really was and that should have made him more considerate of his mate's feelings. He knew something had troubled his mate but he had figured it had been about these past few months. Losing his adoptive parents and the death of Dumbledore was still troubling him. Never would he have thought that he – Edward – had been the one that was hurting Harry. How could he have been so stupid not to have seen this?
Harry was his mate; he should be protecting him not hurting him. He'd promised not to hurt him and that was exactly what he was doing. No wonder his mate was slowly closing himself off. How could he have been so stupid?
He should have never left Harry in the dark. They may not have completed the bond and Edward may not have claimed him yet but they were still a couple. They should work things out together, not try and fix things on their own. Even though he didn't want to burden his mate, he knew that they should work things out together.
But not everything was on him; Harry could have come to him with his doubts. Even though the vampire hadn't given him much reason to trust him. Both of them could have been the bigger person and talked things through. These thoughts of the past weren't helping him. He should concentrate on the future. He would go and fix things with his mate, they would work things out. He would make sure of it.
"I know it can be difficult to control the predator inside you, even when you place your claim on him, but I fear in this case you must. Harry has been through so much in his life, and you know that the boy doesn't trust so easily. These things have made him careful, closed and hardened, but that doesn't change the fact that he trusts you. He's just being careful because he's fallen hard for you. He's afraid you'll hurt him," his brother continued.
"I would never," Edward growled out as he shot up, standing right in front of his brother with a feral expression on his face. How dare he insult him so!
"You already have," the words stung Edward hard, freezing him in place. The air that the vampire didn't need was ripped from his lungs. Yes, he had hurt his mate, unintentionally, but that didn't change the fact that he had indeed, hurt him.
The mind-reader was a little annoyed that his brother had seen it and he had not; Harry was his mate, not Jasper's. Somewhere in the back of his mind he knew that the empath had only felt it and rationalised why the wizard was feeling that way.
"What can I do?" He eventually asked a little defeated, not too proud to ask for help when the empath was clearly offering.
"The most important thing you can do now is talk to him. He may not act on his feelings but there is a chance he feels the same. There may be a chance that he doesn't want to act on these feelings or isn't ready yet but Harry is someone who needs to know how you feel. Tell him that you want to move forward but are willing to wait for him. I believe there may also be a chance that Harry's not acting on his feelings out of fear you'll reject him."
"I would never reject him!" Edward snarled at him, ready to strike him.
"I know that but does Harry know? He's had so much doubt in his life and you have to make sure that he doesn't have any reasons to doubt you. Make sure that he can trust you unconditionally."
"But how?" Edward turned away from his brother. He was not subtle; he didn't know anything about relationships. In all his ninety-something years he has had only two relationships. One was broken off because he couldn't give her what she needed and the other was a mess as well. Who was he kidding? He was not cut out for relationships; he was a monster after all.
Yet Harry had once told him that he didn't see it that way; he didn't see Edward as a monster. Had he changed his mind?
Jasper took a moment to study his oldest vampire brother. It was plain to see the anguish he was in. Even without actually feeling the emotion, Jasper could see how much this hurt him. Thinking about everything he had felt for the past few weeks, he came to a decision about would be best for trying to get Harry to open up to Edward and hopefully helping their relationship.
"For the past few days he has been suffering more and more, do you have any idea what could be wrong?"
Edward didn't have to think long about the answer. "Yes, he's having troubles with his schoolwork. I think he's taking it hard that he can't seem to grasp it."
Jasper nodded as if that explained everything. "I would suggest you offer your help without actually offering it," seeing his brother's blank look he continued. "Every afternoon when he comes back from school, he does his homework at the dinner table. Join him at the table with your homework, ask him questions but never offer to help him. I believe that once he realises you won't turn away from him because he's not what you expected, he'll open up to you – possibly more so than he has done."
"All I need to do is work with him? Do my homework with him?" Edward wanted to make sure that he understood Jasper's plan.
"Yes, but also talk to him about everything. Just show him that you aren't going to leave. I think that's the most important thing you must do; show him that you won't leave him no matter what."
Edward nodded that he understood. Although this would only be the first step to re-establishing his relationship with Harry, he would do whatever it would take to retain it. Never before had he felt this way about anyone and he wasn't going to let Harry go without a fight. If it was up to him, he was never going to leave Harry, nor was his mate going to leave him.
"Let us hunt now so you can think this through," Jasper suggested and waited for the mind-reader's nod before they ran off to hunt for dinner. Edward couldn't keep his thoughts away from Harry. He really needed to fix things with his mate before it was too late.
When they each had their fill they stared at each other for a moment. Edward licked his lips, tasting the spilled blood on them. He read in his brother's mind that there was something else he had wanted to discuss but didn't know how to bring it up. He silently waited for his brother to gather his thoughts.
"There was something I wanted to talk to you about. I shouldn't take this to you but it may help your case with Harry," the empath began when he saw Edward was waiting for him to continue. "Harry may have told you that C.J. is an empath," he waited for the nod before he continued. "Everything that has been happening to the two of you has been overwhelming to him and someone as young as he can barely contain his own emotions let alone those of two more people. I fear that the emotions are running too high for him and with time it'll drive him mad."
"I think you should be telling Harrison this, he's his father," Edward began but was cut off by Jasper.
"As are you," he said. "Harry clearly stated that you are his father, he would not have done so if he didn't want you to have any say in this. I'm simply telling one parent what's happening as I see it. Now, I know that these emotions are overwhelming to the child. I've been through the same thing. Of course I was a vampire at the time and not a human so I can't totally relate. I've been keeping track of his emotions but I'm not sure what to do when it becomes more than he can bear. He's too young to be taught how to block the emotions and I fear I wouldn't know how to help him otherwise."
Edward took a moment to take in what his brother was saying. "Just keep doing what you are. Tracking his responses to everything around him is probably best. If you fear it'll be too much come to me or Harrison. I don't know for certain but there must be some potion to repress emotions or something, maybe Harrison will know. I shall talk to him about it and hopefully we'll find a solution."
Jasper nodded, that sounded like a good plan. There wasn't much he could do for the young empath except teach him how to control the emotions around him but, as he'd said before; the younger empath was too young to be taught how. Hell, he could barely walk around unaided let alone control emotions. Jasper made a promise to himself – once C.J. was old enough to be taught, he'll be the one to teach him. He was, after all, the only empath in the family and could better relate to that young empath's feelings.
"Let's head back home," Jasper suggested and with a nod of the mind-readers head, they speed off back to the house.