Warning: Contains disciplinary spanking of a consenting adult. Since this isn't for everyone, if it upsets you, please feel free to search the site for more appropriate reading material. There's tons of it on here.

Disclaimer: Even though Jasper has stuck with me through run away muse and other hardships, I don't own him, Alice, or the Twilight universe. I really so appreciate Stephenie Meyer's for allowing me to entertain myself with her wonderful characters.

AN: I don't even know what to say. My muse... died. I've been doing a little personal writing to try to kick it in the behind and this is one of those stories. I'm currently working on Nanowrimo, so there's a great chance that I'll drop another story or two here as I struggle to reach my 50K goal and once again lay a trap for my slippery muse.

Have no beta, so I apologize in advance for the eye bleeding mistakes, but hope y'all enjoy it just the same. Have fun!


Illuminated by the street light's pale glow, a young fair haired man stood with his back against the post, his arms folded across his chest. His ruby eyes were trained on the raven haired vixen who brazenly flirted with the burly truckers in the bar. A low growl rumbled deep in his chest and his eyes darkened with anger.

"Shameful," he hissed to no one.

She was drunk. Whether that was on alcohol or the power she wielded over these men, he couldn't be sure, but either way he didn't like it and she would be held accountable.

Alice knew better than to flirt with humans unless she was planning to feed on them, which hadn't been the case in months. When they first met, she told him that she had a vision of the two of them living with a coven that survived entirely off of the blood of animals. Jasper had never heard of such a ridiculous thing and found the idea distasteful, but with her prompting, he tried his best to follow his wife's diet plan. Months later and that still wasn't working out very well.

As he watched his mate act like a harlot, his mind shifted to thoughts of the prostitute whose life he had claimed earlier this very evening. He hadn't allowed the nameless street walker's death to bother him much, figuring it for a mercy killing. What sort of life did she have anyway? Living in some run down shack, feeding whatever habit she happened to subscribe to by lying on her back or dropping to her knees. She should have thanked him for releasing her from that life and prayed to make better choices during her next go round. But now, seeing his wife play the same part, he felt fear creep into his system and further chill his dead heart.

What if someone else thought of his mate with the same callousness that he had shown the human? Realistically, he knew no human could harm Alice, but that knowledge did little to soothe his feverish mind. What if one of those brutish truckers kidnapped her? What if she was raped? What if they discovered what she was? The consequences of any one of those scenarios were too horrible to consider.

The vampire's eyes flashed in anger as he let loose with a vicious snarl. He needed to protect her from these immoral humans. He needed to protect her from herself. She was his responsibility, but much more than that, she was his reason for living. This had to stop. He was tired of her games, and would putting an end to them this instant.

Storming into the bar, Jasper held his breath as he pushed his way through the sea of humans to firmly grasp his mate by the wrist.

"Mary Alice,come with me. We're leaving."

"Hey there, sonny. I don't think the little lady here wants to leave just yet, do you cupcake?" The grizzled hulk of a man said as he snaked an arm around the tiny woman's waist. "Why don't you run along and find yourself a filly who's looking for a girlfriend to go shopping with. Seems more your speed. Let this little foxy thing see what real men are like for a change."

The good ol' boy truckers laugh, as one reached out and caught a lock of Jasper's hair, drawing it slowly through his fingers.

"Maybe this one is just jealous that the little one is getting all the action. Is that the trouble, sweet cheeks? Don't want your friend here to be the only one getting porked tonight? Well if you're a good little bitch, I might have something for that tight ass. I mean, I've never gone there before, but if I close my eyes..."

Jasper grabbed the trucker's wrist and snapped it like a twig. The man fell to his knees howling in pain, as the red-eyed demon rounded on the rest of them. A left hook caught another of the large men under the jaw and dropped him like a bad habit, before shards of wood rained down around the blond as a chair was shattered over his back. Turning to the shocked man holding the wooden remains, Jasper snarled like an animal then pulverized the trucker's kneecap with a vicious kick.

"Damn! Did you see that?"

"He's gotta be on drugs."

"Nobody can do that shit."

"Call the cops!"

The humans backed away from the angry youth who stood glowering at them from the center of the room, but when a shotgun was pulled out from behind the bar, Jasper reclaimed his firm hold of Alice's wrist and fled the scene with her in tow.

Running hard through the woods helped cool the vampire's temper, and with the sound of sirens fading in the distance the empath slowed his pace until he and his mate were walking at human speed through the towering pines.

With disappointment quickly replacing anger, Jasper let loose a long held breath in the form of a deep sigh and released his grip on his wife to move away from her. Pressing his back against a tree, he bowed his head and rubbed his hand over his eyes. When he opened his eyes again, he saw his spikey-haired pixie still in the clearing's circle of moonlight with her head hanging low. His brow knitted in concern, before realization hit. Taking a breath, he consciously tempered his emotions so she would no longer feel his reaction. When her stance remained frozen, Jasper sunk to the ground and called her to him.

"Alice, darlin'. Come here, if ya please. I'm thinkin' that we have some talkin' ta do."

Dragging her feet, the seer shuffled over to her husband until she stood looking absolutely miserable at his feet.

"I'm sorry, Jasper," she whispered.

"I know ya are, honey." He could feel the sour regret mixing with the tang of fear as it rolled off her her in waves. Patting the ground, he invited her to join him. Without meeting his eyes, she dropped beside him and snuggled close while he wrapped a loving arm around her.

"You're mad at me," she announced in a small voice.

"A little," he admitted with a brief nod. "But I'm more ashamed and disappointed. What in the world wer ya thinkin'?"

"I just wanted to have some fun. Since you wouldn't go into the bar with me, I thought I would find someone else to dance with. That's all I was going to do. I swear."

"Well those men had other things on their minds, sugar."

"I know," she whimpered while her head dipped lower.

"Ya also know why I couldn't go in there with you. Why I shouldn't have had ta go in there ta protect ya." He shook his head. "I don't have the same type of control you do. Being around all those humans... It's like puttin' a fox in charge of a hen house. I needed ta hunt, but imagine how I felt when I got back and seen ya puttin' the moves on those jackasses. I know that ya wanna test yourself, but that ain't the way ta go about it."

"I really am sorry, Jasper. It will never happen again."

"You're right about that, because I'm gonna make sure that it don't."

Alice's head shot up, her eyes wide with fear as a vision struck.

"You can't," she gasped.

"Yes, ma'am, I very well can, and don't try tellin' me that ya ain't deservin'."

"You want to hit me?" she asked while barely withholding a sob.

"No, sugar. First of all, I would never hit you, but I think you've been spoiling fer a good spankin' fer some time. What ya did was about as reckless as they come. Not only did ya put yerself in danger, but ya endangered all those folks back there. Here you are goin' on about blendin' with humans instead of drain' 'em, then ya cause a situation where the lot of 'em could have been, and frankly should have been, killed."

As Alice's head fell, Jasper placed two fingers below her jaw and gently tipped it back up so he could look into her oddly colored gold eyes.

"I would do anythin' in this world ta protect ya, hummingbird. Anythin'. And sometimes that means I'm gonna have ta protect ya from your own foolishness. Now, ya might not see what ya jest did as foolish, but believe you me, it was."

Venom tears glistened in the woman's eyes as she nodded.

"I know," she whispered.

"It's a miracle I didn't kill 'em. Hell, when that big bastard with the broken nose started bleedin'..."

"Your control is improving."

Jasper smirked sadly. "I really doubt that. The only reason he's still breathing is because I fed this evenin', but even then, it was hard as hell not to drain the worthless life from him."

"I'm ..." The tears broke free and trickled down the seer's pale cheeks.

Wrapping both arms around his mate, the soldier pulled her onto his lap and rocked her gently as she buried her face against his neck.

"Shh. It was a mistake, hummingbird. Ya know better now."

Alice nodded and hiccuped softly through her tears as she tried to regain control of her emotions.

"You're alright. I promise ya, everything is gonna be alright."

To this, the pixie in his arms shook her head.

Jasper pushed her back and forced her to look at him as he calmly said, "Yes it is, baby bird. I'll never let anything bad happen ta ya. That's a Whitlock promise, and my word is my bond."

She sniffled and shook her head again. "The vision... It hasn't changed."

"I don't expect it has considerin' my mind ain't changed."

She trembled from head to toe causing Jasper's eyes to darken with concern.

"Well, hummingbird, I know it ain't pleasant, but there's no reason ta git this upset over something as minor as a tannin'."

"No one has ever hit me like that before," she choked out.

At her admission, Jasper mentally slapped himself. How could he have forgotten that Alice's memory of her human existence was completely blank. No wonder she was so scared. No vampire he had ever met retained much of a memory, but his lovable wife's had been totally wiped clean so every experience was new to her. The good, and the bad.

"Sugar, I never meant to scare ya. Let's take this one step at a time. Wha'cha say?"

"I don't want to be tan," she whined like a spoiled child.

Jasper chuckled in spite of himself.

"Hummingbird, you're not gonna be tan, but since you fed recently your pretty little bottom might get a bit pink," he explained with a reassuring smile before sighing softly as he sat her up straighter on his lap and made her focus completely on him.

"Alice, ya know I'm kinda old fashioned. I don't recall much from back then, but I do know that if my ma did something foolish, she stood to be taken in hand by my pa jest as much as we kids did."

The pixie gasped.

"Your daddy beat your mother and you?"

"Not beat. Never beat, but he had a hard, calloused hand that met my backside a few too many times for comfort." He smiled shyly as he rubbed the back of his neck. "And as for my ma, I have a few bits of memory where she got herself in hot water that landed her over pa's lap, but most of that was handled in private."

"That sounds barbaric, Jasper."

He nodded. "It could have been if he was acting out of anger instead of love. He never struck us when we pissed him off. That sometimes delayed the inevitable, which in a way was worse fer us kids because it gave us a load of time to worry. This sorta thing ain't ever as bad as your mind makes ya believe, but when those gray cells have too much time to ponder..." The southerner gave a long, low whistle as he shook his head. "Man, ya wanna talk about scarin' yerself? There'd be times that I just knew my pa was gonna skin me alive, but it never happen."

"Are you going to skin me?" she asked with total sincerity.

"Now why would I do something like that? Of course not." He pulled her close to him and kissed her cheek before resting her head against his shoulder. "Here's what I'm gonna do, though I'm sure you've already gotten a good gander at the process. I need ya ta tell me what ya did wrong, and why it was wrong. This has to come from you so I know ya understand and know what to avoid in the future. Then, I'm gonna put you over my knee, bare yer bottom, and warm it up a bit fer ya. That's ta give ya something to think about the next time yer tempted to do something foolish. It's gonna hurt. I'm not gonna lie ta ya about that, but the hurt don't last, especially for us. And once the deed is done, it's done. Yer forgiven, and the slate is wiped clean. Understand?"

"I'm scarred."

"I know, hummingbird, but I promise I'm only doin' this because I love ya and can't stand the thought of losing ya." He inhaled deeply, then released the tension in his body along with the useless air. "I'm no longer angry, but I'm still disappointed in your behavior. You were throwing yerself all over those jackasses and acting like a two bit harlot. That's not like you at all, Alice, so care ta tell me why ya decided to go on like that?"

"I.. I don't know."

"I think ya do. Give it a little thought and see wha'cha come up with."

Alice burrowed against her mate, taking comfort in his scent and the strong arms that held her safe.

"You refused to go with me," she finally said in the faintest of whispers. "I wanted to go, but you wouldn't."

"Fer good reason, don't you think?"

"I didn't at the time. I thought ..."

"What?"

"I don't know."

"Alice," he called in a slightly firmer tone.

"I thought that maybe you were tired of me, and didn't want to spend time with me. So, when you went off to hunt on your own, I decided to try to make you as jealous as I was feeling."

Jasper sighed quietly before reiterating, "You were jealous...of my meal, so you acted like a hussy to infuriate me for the sole purpose of being reassured that I love you, and only you?"

"I wouldn't put it in those exact terms, but that was the general idea."

"Honey, you need this spanking worse than ya know. I have half a mind to take my belt to your naughty behind for even questioning my love fer you. Consider yerself lucky that this is your first time across my lap, because if I have ta do it again, yer in for a serious lickin'," he scolded as he shook a finger at his petite mate. "The very idea."

"I wasn't thinking clearly. I saw that you were going to ... I saw that the woman you... She was prettier than me."

"What the..."

Jasper pulled Alice against him, lifting her up from his lap just enough to give her a resounding swat on the behind. Easing her back down, he pushed her away to hold her at arms length and stare directly into her soul with crimson eyes that flashed in anger.

"Don't you EVER say that again. You're the most beautiful woman in the world, and no floozy, debutant, or anyone else could EVER compare to you. You git me, girl?"

Alice rubbed the mild sting from her cheek while nodding.

"I asked ya a question, Alice. I'll be expectin' a proper answer."

"Yes, I git you," she replied with just a sprinkling of sass that caused her mate to raise a brow.

"Mary Alice, I think yer in enough trouble. Don't ya be diggin' that hole any deeper."

"Sorry," she whispered as she lowered her gaze, but to her own astonishment she didn't really feel sorry. She felt...relieved.

Her mate had just struck her, and he had seemed angry, but she didn't feel any fear like she had in the moments before it happened. Keeping her head down, she glanced up at Jasper as he closed his eyes and carefully regulated his breathing to bring himself back under control. But he had still been in control, hadn't he?

He must have been. He was much larger and stronger than her. He could have really hurt her, but he didn't. He couldn't. He loved her too much to ever harm her, and she had doubted him.

Curling herself against his chest, she sighed inwardly at the feel of his fingers caressing her hair.

"Jazzy, I'm sorry. I should have never acted like that. I knew better than to doubt you. I don't know what came over me. Go ahead and spank me if you need to. I think I'm ready. I think..." She took a deep breath to steel her courage, then whispered, "I know I deserve it."

"You do?" he asked with mild surprise.

"Uh huh. I also know that it's going to hurt, but I'm safe with you, so that's okay. I have a question, though."

"Anything, hummingbird. Jest ask."

"If you're ever naughty, does that mean I get to spank you?"

Jasper smiled and nodded slowly. "I suppose so. Doubt my ma ever whooped up on my pa, but I guess someone still needs to keep me in line and since it's just you and me..."

"For now."

Jasper still wasn't sold on the idea of joining another coven. He enjoyed the freedom the nomadic life afforded him, and didn't care much for the idea of answering to another male, but he had to agree that there was safety in numbers. Alice's safety meant everything, and if these Cullens would keep her from harm he would suck up his pride and bend his will to this new coven leader and his odd way of life.

With any luck, the man would simply ignore him, and let him live on the outside of his coven like a pariah. Maybe even allow him to feed as he wished since he was such a failure at this animal blood diet. In the long run that would be better than being under his direct rule. Maria had taught him what that was like. For himself, he didn't think he could stomach the abuse again, but for Alice he would endure anything. He carded his fingers through her cropped hair, and realized the truth behind that thought. He would endure anything, even her anger and the possibly of rejection that could be his reward for punishing her. He couldn't live without her, but he had to make sure that she didn't wantonly place herself in danger again.

Clenching his teeth, he swallowed hard and cleared his throat. He didn't want to do this. He never wanted to be an instrument of pain for his beloved. He wasn't sure of what she had been through, but he knew that her life had ended in great suffering and wanted nothing but happiness for her now. This would be anything but happy.

As his resolve began to waver, a tiny slender hand reached up to softly caressed his face.

Alice gazed at him through large, innocent eyes.

"It really is okay," she said. "In some weird way, I think I might feel a little better after it's over.

"You're gonna hate me."

"Now who's being silly?" she answered with a genuine smile. "I love you. I waited in that diner for you because I knew you were my soulmate. That's what makes this right. I know you love me, and it was wrong for me to doubt you. Even worse for me to test you. I think.. I don't know why, but I think this might be the final answer to that test. I don't want you to do this, but I believe that I need you to do it. It sort of solidifies what I already know is true. Does that make any sense?"

"Yes, darlin'. It makes all the sense in the world."

Pulling her to him, he claimed her lips in a passionate kiss. When his tongue touched hers, Alice moaned. The lusty sound raced through his being and set his venom coursing to places he rather it not be affecting at this inappropriate time. Oh God, he didn't want to punish her when pleasuring her would be so much more enjoyable, but he had a job to do.

Breaking the kiss, looked down into her smoldering eyes and shook his head.

"I think we're gettin' our signals crossed, young lady. There are times where... Hm, how can I put this? In the bedroom a spanking can be down right enjoyable, but we're not in a bedroom. I need you to understand that there is a difference because I'm feelin' that little swat might have sent the wrong message. That was a warning, love, and closer to a little rough play. When I put you over my knee next, play is the furthest thing from my mind. I need ta know that you'll be changin' yer behavior for the better. So even though it pains me something awful to do it, and trust me, it does, I'll be punishing you and you'll know the difference."

"Yes, sir," she meekly replied.

Jasper pulled back and cocked his head to the side.

"Sir?"

"Seemed like the right thing to say given the circumstances," she said with a shrug.

The soldier smiled and shook his head as he stood up with his mate in his arms.

"Let's find us a spot off this wet ground."

"You're the boss."

"And you won't be forgetting that, I'm sure," he said with a grin before kissing her cheek.

Much to Alice's dismay, only a short walk later Jasper found a broad stump and sat down, before placing her gently on her feet between his legs.

Taking both of her hands in his, the southerner dipped his head and gazed into her face as he made a quick check of her emotional bearing.

"You will be okay," he reminded her.

"I know. I can't help feeling anxious. I've seen it happen, but I still don't really know what to expect."

"That makes two of us. It's been a long time since I've given a spanking, and I don't know how you're going to take it, but I'm sure about one thing."

"What's that?"

"We're going to get through it together," he said with conviction as he brushed the dark hair out of her eyes. "Ready?"

"Kinda of a loaded question, but I guess so."

"Alright, Mary Alice. Why are you about to be turned over my knee to have yer fanny warmed?"

"Because I'm dumb."

Jasper smoothly switched both of her hands into his right and leaned over to give her a sharp swat that brought her to her toes.

"Try again, hummingbird. No one will ever call you dumb in my presence."

With her hands held, Alice was helpless when it came to dousing the mild flare up on her rump, so she shifted from one foot from the other as she formulated her answer more carefully.

"I did something foolish," she finally said, settling for the most simple and direct reason.

"And what was that?" he asked as he tried to steer her towards the proper response.

"I teased and flirted with some men to make you jealous because I was afraid of losing you," she whispered. "I was jealous and thought if I could make you jealous you would want me more, but it didn't work, and now I'm lucky you don't hate me."

"You silly little thing. I couldn't love you more than I already do. You're the reason I go on. I'm following you like a puppy across this country looking for a coven of weirdos with some really strange habits, and I have never been happier."

Alice inhaled deeply and smiled at his words and the loving warmth he sent to surround her.

"Now, hummingbird, tell me why that was naughty," he gently pressed.

"Because you haven't fully gained control over your temper or blood lust, and someone could have been seriously injured or killed."

"And?"

"And they could have figured out that we were something different from them. ... Which that sorta did anyway."

"Which that sorta did anyway," he quietly repeated as he nodded his head. "If you want to live among them one day, you have to be way more careful about exposure. The law for our kind would see us destroyed to protect our secret. You know that."

"Yes, sir. I do. I'm sorry that I wasn't more careful. I simply didn't think about that before I messed up."

"Well, let's see if I can provide a little encouragement to git you thinking before you act up the next time."

Alice stiffened and a shiver ran down her spine, but she allowed herself to be easily drawn to Jasper's left side.

"Darlin', remember I'm only doing this because I love ya and can't stand the idea of you gittin' hurt when I could have done something before hand to prevent it."

The pixie nodded seconds before she felt her feet leave the forest floor. Jasper carefully draped her over his lap and wrapped his right arm securely around her waist, tucking her tightly against his hip.

"I prefer if ya don't wiggle around too much, but if ya have to, I'll improvise. You're also allowed ta be as vocal as ya see fit, but my mate is always a lady, so swearin' will get you some extra attention that you'll not be wantin'. Understand?"

"Yes, sir. I understand," she dutifully replied and she tried to hide her face against his leg.

"Good girl," he quietly praised, before quickly adding, "And keep your hands out of my target zone. I don't want to accidentally strike anything besides your perky little butt."

"It's not going to be perky much longer."

Jasper placed his left hand on her bottom and rubbed it gently.

"It will still be perky, just a little hot and maybe a touch swollen."

Alice's head popped up like a gopher. "Swollen? Wait."

"Too late, sugar. Time ta git down ta business."

The empath started out with slow, steady strokes that served as a gentle introduction and general warm up. He knew how harsh a spanking could be when delivered to an unprepared rear end, and hoped to never have a reason to introduce Alice to that sort of correction. With a careful watch on her emotions, he kicked up his strength and tempo, until the forest rang with his rhythmic administrations. After only a few minutes, Alice was wiggling like a worm on a hot rock while emitting soft gasps to accompany each solid smack.

"Jasper, that hurts," she finally wailed as she kicked her feet in a fruitless bid for freedom.

"I know it does. If it didn't, it wouldn't be much of a punishment and you'd go right back to doing the same thing once you got it in yer head again that I didn't love you. Well, buttercup, let me let you in on a little secret," he said without missing a stroke. "I love ya so damn much that I'll keep this fanny on fire if that's what it takes for you to believe me."

"No. Please. I do believe you. I swear I do. I won't question your feelings again."

"You shouldn't have questioned them in the first place. It's not like I hide them from you. They pour off of me every time you walk by. I love you more than life, pumpkin, and I mean to see to it that ya never forget it."

Pausing for a moment, he flipped the hem of Alice's dress up her back and swiftly lowered her lacy panties to just above her knees.

"Now we're ready to begin your punishment."

"Nooo. I've had enough. Please stop," Alice begged forcing Jasper to harden his heart to her cries before his hand descended with renewed vigor.

"It's for yer own good, Alice. Ya know that. You think the Volturi would just give you a couple of smacks on the ass, wag their fingers and tell you not to expose us again? Darlin', I know it hurts. It hurts me, as well, but losing you would hurt a whole hell of a lot more. That's a risk I ain't willin' ta take."

"I won't do it again! I won't!"

"I wanna believe that, and once we're done here, I'll have the confidence ta do so."

Good to his word, Jasper turned his wife's rump a rosy blush before he raised his left knee and tipped her forward to expose the tender undercurve of her cheeks. The first firm smack re-energized his wife's fighting spirit as she kicked and wailed, but to her benefit nothing vulgar slipped past her lips. Jasper was impressed and wished he could say the same of himself when put in that very position, but that had been too many years ago to worry with now.

As his hand fell firmly on his mate's tender tail and upper thighs, Alice suddenly gave into the punishment and went limp across his lap. Burying her face, she sobbed pitifully against his thigh, soaking his jeans through.

Jasper slowed his assault, causing her to jump slightly with each connecting smack, but he could clearly see that all the fight had left her and soon called her punishment complete.

Alice continued to cry long after her husband's hand had taken to rubbing soothing circles on her heated flesh, taking away the worse of the wicked sting.

"It's alright, baby bird. You've done really well. I'm so proud of you," he repeated several times softly as he tried to calm her with his voice and touch before relying on his gift.

As soon as Alice felt the quieting calm encase her, she slipped from Jasper's lap and shook her head as she quickly backed away.

"What's wrong, love?" he asked with great concern.

"I don't want it. I don't deserve it after what I did."

"Alice..."

"No, Jasper. Let me... You have to let me feel my true feelings. I'm ashamed of myself and I deserve to deal with that instead of having that masked by you."

"Hummingbird, you have nothing to be ashamed about."

"Yes, I do. I tried to manipulate you just like I did the men in the bar, but that was worse because you're my husband. I had no right to do that!"

"Alice, come here," he said in a deep, hushed voice.

"No," she replied while holding her hands up with palms out as if to fend him away.

"Baby, I promise I won't tinker with your feelings. Just come here, and let's talk about them. I'm afraid I must have done something wrong."

"You didn't do anything wrong," she cried as more venom tears stained her cheeks. "You loved me in spite of the things I've done. I don't deserve you."

In a flash Jasper was in front of her with her chin cupped in one hand forcing her to face him while his other arm wrapped around her waist to tether her in place.

"Mary Alice Whitlock, you are just begging to be introduced to my belt this evening. Is that really what you want?"

She attempted to shake her head, but his hold on her chin was relentless. When she tried to avert her gaze, a quick shake of his hand returned her eyes to his.

"I am the head of this..." He glanced quickly around the forest. "Well, it's a household to us, and I decide what you do and don't deserve. I've already had ta tell ya this once, and I hate havin' ta repeat myself within such a short time frame, but I will NOT have you speaking poorly about yerself. If I have to spank you again, it will break my heart, but by God I'll do it to thrash some sense into you."

Alice quivered as his anger surrounded her while leaving her with no means of escape. She could feel it, and she could see it in his face and eyes. He was furious, but made no move to hurt her. She had been terrified of his idea to punish her. Afraid of being hurt, she had tested him again and again, test that he passed with flying colors, and now that knowledge filled her with bitter regret.

Jasper bit his cheek as he internalize his frustration and the swirling mix of emotions coming from his wife. With a silent sigh, he bend down and untangled her panties from ankles, gently lifting her feet out of them and pocketing the offending garment.

Without a word, he turned her around and straightened her clothing, then with a hand between her shoulders, he guided her to a nearby tree before turning her back to face him.

"I need ta step away for a spell," he stated in his softest voice.

"Jasper, please don't go. I promise I'll be good."

Cupping her face between his hands, he lightly ran his thumbs over her cheeks to wipe the tears away as he smiled sadly.

"This isn't about you being naughty, hummingbird. It's about me doin' you wrong. I won't be long. I need... " He shrugged. "For lack of a better term, I need some air. I need time to reflect and try ta figure out how I messed up with you. I need to know what went wrong."

"Nothing went wrong."

"Somethin' sure as hell did. I know a lickin' never left me feelin' like you're feelin', so I obviously fucked the dog somewhere along the way. You should feel emotionally worn out, but better. Relaxed. A sore behind is good at washin' away guilt, and lightenin' your spirit, but whatever happened here has done just the opposite."

"No. No it hasn't."

"Hummingbird, ya can't lie ta me so don't even try. I feel your fear and regret. I should never have caused ya to fear me, and regrets.. Those should be gone with the guilt of havin' done wrong. Your mistakes have been paid for and you're forgiven. While I know you're sore, you should be feelin'..." He stopped and sighed as he searched for the right word. "Content."

"But I am."

"No, Alice, you're not. Now, I want ya ta stay here. It's the best thing I have ta a corner. Think everything over while I'm gone, and when I git back we'll discuss why this didn't work and decide on something that will. I'm gonna try ta come up with reasons as well, and may hunt a little ta calm myself down. I wish I could let ya do the same, but I rather you not heal quite as quickly or this will have all be for nothin' and that jest don't sit well with me."

"I get it. I'll wait here for you to return, but Jazzy, please make sure that you do come back. I need you. I would be lost without you."

"I promise." He kissed her forehead and raced off into the night, leaving the pixie to ponder how she was going to explain that she was the reason for the regret that Jasper had noted.

"What a tangled web we weave," she murmured as she turned around and leaned her head against the tree.

At least she knew for certain that he would never hurt her, but she wasn't sure she was ready to handle another round over his knee. Her behind throbbed to remind her of what she had endured and may have to endure again. However, if it brought that feeling of peace that Jasper had spoke of, maybe it was worth it.

Closing her eyes, she allowed her mind to go blank and within seconds she was seeing her mate running hard through the woods, his hair blowing back as he lengthened his stride. He had fed. ... He had fed on a fox. It wasn't much of a meal, but it wasn't human, and that made her smile, before darker thoughts began to trouble her.

He tried so hard to do anything she asked of him. He would change everything about himself just to please her, and she had set him up. She had angered him after he had worked hard to learn to calm himself. It was clear that he was too good for her, but he couldn't see it, and she wouldn't be allowed to say that again. Still, he couldn't stop her from thinking it.

Alice let out a long held breath as she came to a decision. She would have to tell him. Tell him about the test to anger him so she could judge his reaction and self control to prove to them both that she was safe in his care. From now on, she would also use him as her own moral compass.

Morality wasn't her strongest suit. She had no experience with the human concept of mores. When she awoke to her vampire life, she had no one to teach her acceptable behavior. She mimicked the world around her, but had never bothered to internalize values, norms, or customs. Vampires lived outside of the socially accepted rights and wrongs, after all who worried about what their meal viewed as ethical?

Her visions helped her steer clear of trouble, and that was all she really needed, until now.

Jasper's concept of justice was interesting, and while Alice didn't generally care about what other people thought, the idea of him being disappointed in her was crushing. Maybe that was a side effect of love. Once in love you wanted to please your mate above and beyond anything else.

She was using that very effect to teach him not to kill, so it was only natural for him to teach her his rules and enforce them by his methods. He had already stopped her habit of stealing. While she still took what she wanted on occasion, he had saved up some money and seemed to enjoy buying her things so she never really wanted for anything.

Due to his code of honor, he didn't approve of lies, so except for the necessary ones about what they were, he was honest and so would she be. He would know if she lied anyway, so what was the point in that?

With a soft groan, Alice thunked her head against the tree. She would tell him and face his anger and disappointment. That would hurt much more than the spanking had, but Jasper had once said that a relationship had to be built on honesty and trust. Alice was finally beginning to understand what he meant. He had always been honest with her, so she needed to give him the same courtesy, and she swore to herself that she would.

With her mind set, the pixie found that she no longer felt even the smallest amount of fear. She found peace in knowing that even if he felt she deserved to be punished again, she would be okay. Sure it would hurt, but his love would never waver, and he would always be there to help her through it.

Inhaling, she relaxed and watched a scene unfold where he returned to her and they talked everything out. There would be some tears, but the vision blurred after that. She wasn't sure of the outcome, but she could feel his arms around her and that made everything better.


"I know you're angry with me," Alice said as she gingerly sat on a fallen tree while her mate leaned his back against the trunk of one still standing.

His arms were crossed, and his expression was unreadable. She couldn't detect the anger that had troubled her before, and she didn't feel anything from his usually exuded emotions. He was quiet and still as the grave, almost as if he hadn't hear a word she had been saying, but she knew that was far from true.

A muscle in his jaw twitched as he stood there staring at her, which only served to make her more nervous.

"Jasper, please say something," she pleaded. "Do something. Anything. I know I've hurt you, but please at least talk to me."

Finally, he slowly shook his head.

"I ain't mad," he softly replied. "Trouble is, I'm not sure what to feel."

"Betrayed?" she quietly offered as she hung her head.

"No, Alice. You haven't betrayed me. In truth I git why you feel the need to test me. I mean, look at me. I didn't exactly come by these scars through some unfortunate accident. There's good reason others avoid us when we travel. I'm dangerous. Pure and simple."

"No, you're not," she insisted while looking back up at her tortured mate.

"I damn well am. Maybe not to you, but I am to others, and instinctively you feel it, too. You don't trust me, and I can't blame you," he said with a sigh as he glanced away from her angelic face to train his focus on his booted feet.

She may not be quite right, but that wasn't her fault. He, on the other hand, was a monster by design, in form and function. His train of thought went back to this weird diet she had so successful adopted for no other reason that seeing a picture in her head of some others of their kind doing it. She didn't struggle at all around the humans. She was bouncy and bubbly feeding on a bunny, where he...

Jasper inhaled sharply.

What she was doing was preserving life, while all he did was destroy it.

The empath was so caught up in this thoughts that he hadn't notice his mate's approach until she gently placed her hand against his cheek as she stared up into his eyes.

"I do trust you."

He gently took her hand away and kissed it before releasing her.

"Not really, hummingbird, and I can live with that for now. It means that you're smart and cautious. That's how you should be. Being leery of danger will keep you alive."

"So will you."

The pixie's simple statement was spoken with honesty and complete conviction. She had total faith in him as a protector, and he would never give her cause to regret that.

Jasper nodded sharply.

"Yes, missy. I most certainly will, so you're gonna have ta learn ta mind me."

Alice grinned as a devilish glint lit up her golden eyes.

"Or what?" she challenged as she bounced just out of his reach.

"Alice, I ain't playing," he warned. "This is serious."

"Always so serious. Yes, sir! Right away, sir! Dig that latrine or there's KP in your future, soldier! Hut two, three, four!"

"Mary Alice." His voice was much lower and took on a tone of authority that would not be ignored.

"Sir! Yes, sir!" She smartly saluted him while taking a step back.

"Yer lookin' fer another lickin' so soon?" he asked as he watched her through narrowed eyes, but his voice dripped with amusement.

"Maybe," Alice answered sweetly as her mate came to the conclusion that the glimmer in her eyes had nothing to do with the moonlight from above.

"Private Whitlock, I can promise you that the last thing you want is a return trip over my knee tonight."

"It wouldn't be bad as long as you kissed it and made it better."

Jasper suddenly raised his head and looked at her in shock.

"Excuse me, little miss?" He raised a questioning brow, as he closely studied his playfully, mischievous wife. "But, did you just tell me to kiss your ass?"

"Hmm." Alice tapped her chin thoughtfully before flashing her husband a devious smile.

"Come here, girl," he commanded while pointing to a spot on the ground directly in front of him.

"I don't think so."

"Are you disobeying a direct order?"

"Um... Yep."

"That right there is insubordination, and I won't have it! Looks like I'm gonna have to learn ya good and proper. Time to really break in this old belt," he growled as he pushed off the tree and took of after his wife's darting silhouette, following the trail of pure joy that came with her laughter.

She was a handful, to be sure, but the Major freely acknowledged that he wouldn't have her any other way. He didn't quite have her trust, but that was something earned, and Jasper was determined to earn it soon. For now he would just have to enjoy what he did have; a naughty little imp with an indomitable spirit that he was lucky enough to call his own.