Title: Southern Dynasty
Summary: Major Jasper Whitlock's new pet was full of more than surprises. How could he have known that together they would found a dynasty?
Word Count: 9064
DISCLAIMER: Twilight and its inclusive material is copyright to Stephenie Meyer. Original creation, including but not limited to plot and characters, is copyright to the respective authors of each story. No copyright infringement is intended.
The Major looked over the soldiers. After the last victorious battle, his troops were down 75%. He reconnaissance teams out searching for more recruits. One group had returned; he was waiting on the second.
His right-hand man stopped before him.
"Major," he greeted, his head tilted to the side in submission.
"Captain. How was the hunt?"
"Fifteen, Major. Seven women, eight men. The men and one woman were bitten. The other women are in the barn."
The Major gave him a quick nod, pleased with the amount. "Sebastian returned with sixteen; twelve men, four women. All of his men are undergoing the change." He gestured for Peter to follow him. "We'll send another group out in a few days." When they were away from prying eyes and ears, the Major turned on his man. "What was with the deception, Peter?" he asked softly.
"I found something on the way back." He motioned to the Major's quarters. "I lagged behind the others. I had a feeling this would be important."
Focusing on his quarters, he heard the heartbeats inside. "You brought me pets? You know what she will do."
Peter acknowledged the comment with a slight grimace. "I know. But they're important."
The Major stopped to stare at him. "The South."
They continued on and soft, off-key singing reached them.
"Hush, little baby. Don't say a word. Momma's-" The singing ended in a hiss. "Baby, please. No more biting. That hurts."
The two men could smell blood right before they reached the door. A baby's wail soon followed.
The widening of his eyes was all that gave away his surprise. "You brought an infant into a war camp?"
"Major. . ."
"An infant. In a camp full of newborn vampires? With a mother that smells like that?" His voice was deadly.
"Major. . ."
He ignored him, throwing open his door. The woman spun with a gasp. The child within her arms abruptly ceased its cries. Both gaped at him with wide, fearful brown eyes. He took in their appearance in an instance. The woman was wearing a sleeveless night shift that ended at her ankles. There were bitemarks along her collarbone and upper arms. The child was wrapped in a blanket. Both were covered in blood.
"I am Major Whitlock." He crossed the room to his desk. "And you are?"
"Isabella Swan Andrews, sir. Bella."
"And that?" He nodded to the baby as he lifted a decanter. When he uncorked it, the child whimpered and leaned forward. He was rattled when he noticed its eyes take on a reddish hue. "What the fuck?"
She covered the baby's ears, pressing its head to her chest. "Language, sir, please. This is my niece. I haven't named her yet."
He frowned. "And why's that? I've seen quite a few infants and she's several months old. Surely you don't expect to call her Baby for the rest of her life?"
Bella nervously shifted her weight as she readjusted the baby on her hip. She bit her lip as it looked like she was deciding on something. With a small nod, she stated, "She's only a day old, sir … Major Whitlock."
His eyebrows shot up in confusion. He glanced at Peter, who nodded in confirmation. "I believe you need to tell me your story." He lifted the bottle to his lips. The infant's bright eyes followed his every movement.
"I am from a small town in Washington state. I live … lived with my parents, along with my younger sister." She cuddled the baby closer. "And my daughter. A month ago, I was visiting friends at the Indian reservation nearby- one of the women just had a baby. I took my daughter with me. When I returned home, dusk was falling. What caught me as unusual was the house was dark. Momma was always in the kitchen by that time, and Daddy had the radio on to listen to the news."
"Dead silence," Peter interjected.
She nodded. "I left Molly in the car. When I reached the front door, I noticed it wasn't closed all the way and pushed it open. The smell." She sat on the sofa behind her. "I didn't want to turn on the lights. Just the overpowering scent of blood made me not want to, but I had to know what happened." She gulped and stared vacantly at the wall. "A slaughterhouse comes to mind. I didn't see my parents' bodies. At least, not right away." She squeezed her eyes shut at the memory. "When I picked up the telephone in the kitchen, I saw them." She shook her head. "I heard something upstairs. My sister was supposed to be home, though I prayed she wasn't. It seemed like a lifetime passed before I got to the landing. She was lying on my bed, her clothes torn and-"
"We understand," Peter told her kindly.
"I helped her to the bathtub while I called the police and retrieved Molly from the car. Next, I had to call my brother. He was stationed at an army base in California. Just married his high school sweetheart." She took a deep breath as if to try and gain strength. "Anna-my sister- never said what happened, though I could guess. She barely left her room. When she began getting sick, I realized that whoever attacked her left more than just nightmares." She glanced down at the baby, brushing her hand over its head. "A week ago, a cousin from the reservation and two of his friends stopped by. They found out about my sister's condition."
"I'm not understanding," the Major said.
"In only three weeks, my sister looked to be more than half way through her pregnancy. There are legends on the Olympic Peninsula, sir, about men as hard as stone and cold to the touch. About men who turn into wolves."
Both men froze at the declaration. "You know what we are."
She nodded. "Cold Ones. Blood drinkers." Her eyes met the Major's. "Vampires."
"What are you doing in Texas?" the Major queried. He brought a cup of blood to his lips. The child watched every movement.
"Though we were family, they threatened to kill my sister and what grew inside her. My brother Geoffrey and I couldn't let that happen. I signed my maternal rights over to him and left town."
"What of your child's father? Won't he come back for her?"
Bella's eyes slowly closed and single tear slipped down her cheek. "The day before we left, the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. The U.S. Navy is nearly decimated. Charles was on the Arizona. Last I heard, they cannot get the men out. He's gone."
"I have bottles and formula for the little one," Peter said, breaking the heavy silence. "If you allow, Major, to feed her some of the blood." At the Major's silent consent, Peter quickly made up the bottle as directed, pouring in a shot or two of blood. He handed it to Isabella. "That should work."
With a quiet "Thank you", she took the offered bottle and the baby smiled, revealing a full set of teeth. It quickly grabbed its feed and brought the nipple to its mouth.
"There is a bed through that door." The Major pointed it out. "Do not leave this building. If you do, you'll make the child an orphan." He received a nod. Grabbing Peter's collar, he hauled him outside. He seized his neck and pushed him against the building. "Have you lost your God damn mind?!" he hissed.
"Six weeks," Peter gasped. He knew better than to claw at the hand at his throat. He could feel his trachea begin to collapse.
"What's in six weeks?"
"Deliverance." The hand was gone. Closing his eyes, he took deep breaths as his throat healed.
"Deliverance from what?"
"Hell. A group of seven fight a horde wreathed in flames."
"And that's it?" A rapid blink was his answer. His own eyes narrowed. "Peter," he growled in warning.
"That's all I know now."
"Who are the seven?"
"I don't know, just that two are women." He answered with a frown.
"Nothing. It's just . . . when it first came to me, I could have sworn wolves of fire were coming out of the inferno around them."
Bella studied her niece's face. Heavy lids drooped over chocolate brown eyes; the same eyes she shared with her aunt. "We are in a pickle now, baby." She chewed at her lower lip. "Major Whitlock is right. I can't call you Baby for the rest of your life. Names are sacred, especially in our culture." She couldn't call her by her mother or sister's name; her heart would break every time she said it.
She thought of the life she left behind; her friends and family. Her daughter. Molly Louisa Andrews. Now, it would be Swan. Geoffrey and his wife, Helen, would take good care of her. A sob broke through, startling the baby awake. She reached up to her cheeks, her tiny hands becoming wet from the tears. She made a trilling noise. A sad smile graced Bella's lips.
"I was thinking of your cousin Molly, my baby. I had to leave her with your Uncle Geoff and Aunt Helen while I took care of you and your mom." A frown scrunched up the tiny face. "Your father was not a nice person. He hurt people. Your cousin, Levi, said he was like a family that used to live in town."
Her thoughts drifted back to her junior year of high school. A new family had moved in; a doctor and his wife, her brother, and the doctor's sister, plus a foster son. They were all exceptionally beautiful, like the Major and his friend. The only difference she could recall were their eyes. The Major's shown like rubies, while the family had topaz-colored eyes. Her attention returned to the baby.
"What about Ruby?" She received a nose scrunch at that. "No? Hmm. My friend in that family gave me a book once. He said I might enjoy it; I did. The lead character's name was Mina. She was a reincarnation of Elisabeta. What about that, baby? Mina Elisabeta?" A coo was her answer. "Mina Elisabeta Swan." Another nose scrunch. She sighed. "I don't know who your father is, and after what he did … so you can't have his name. It will have to be Swan." The baby grizzled. A thought seemed to come to her. "Whitlock?" This time, the little girl chirped. "Oh, baby. I don't know. It does sound nice; Mina Elisabeta Whitlock. But," her voice lowered, "I don't think he's ready to be a daddy. Maybe not ever."
Bella was staring at the map on the wall when she heard the door to outside open and shut. She didn't turn around; she knew who it was. She could feel him wherever he was.
"Where's the baby?"
"Mina is sleeping," she answered, stressing the name. She pointed to a large area that encompassed southern Texas and northern Mexico. "Is this where we are?"
"Of a sort. That is Maria's territory. We're nearly right in the middle of it."
She hummed. "And this?" She pointed to a spot that was closer to the Pacific Ocean.
"And this?" A section farther into Mexico.
"Gabriella. Why all the questions?"
"I hear them. Every time Charlotte or Kit opens the door. I can hear them through the walls. They're not normal Cold Ones. Not like you or Peter."
The Major studied her back. "No, they're not. We call them newborns. They're within the first year of this life. Their emotions are erratic, they're constantly thirsty, and they will rip you apart the moment you set foot from this buildin'."
She finally turned to face him. His hat sat so low on his head she could barely make out his eyes. "You don't have to warn or threaten me, Major Whitlock. I witnessed what a Cold One did to my family."
A smirk crossed his lips as he took off his hat. "Oh, darlin'. That was no newborn. I believe that Cold One, as you call us, was as seasoned as I am." He walked over to the washbasin and removed his shirt. He could feel her eyes on him. The shot of lust he felt from her made him grin. A knock at the door struck the smile from his face. "Enter."
The door flew wide, slamming against the wall. Nathan stood in the doorway, a cocky sneer on his face. "The Mistress wants you."
"I'll be there in a moment."
"She said now."
The Major slowly turned to face the smarmy bastard. Nathan was currently leering at Isabella, licking his lips, and the Major growled a warning. "I will be there in a moment." An eyebrow cocked up when the dumbass didn't move. "And you're still standin' there because?"
The vampire's gaze moved from the tender morsel over to Maria's second. "Just admiring the view."
His back straightened. "I suggest you get to admirin' the view of the pit. It's much more entertainin'."
He smirked. "If you say so, Major." He sauntered off, leaving the door open.
"Mother fuck!" the Major cursed. He crossed the room in two strides. Bending over, he gave his instructions in her ear. "Do not, under any circumstances, leave this buildin'. I know you've heeded me already, but I will be indisposed to help you. Peter, Charlotte, and Kit will be around." He pulled back to stare down at her. Gently, he pushed a piece of hair behind her ear. "Thus from my lips, by thine, my sin is purged." He pressed a soft kiss on her lips.
She stared at him for a moment. "Then have my lips the sin that they have took."
His eyes widened. "Sin from thy lips?" He hauled her into his arms. Cold marble pressed against her. "O trespass sweetly urged! Give me my sin again."
He captured her lips, thrusting his tongue between them. Her fingers thread through his hair. His hands roamed, one to her ass, the other to her head. Little mewls escaped her throat. With a growl, he broke the kiss, setting her away from him.
"You kiss by th' book, Major," she whispered.
A bark of laughter left his mouth. "Jasper." He pecked the corner of her mouth. "My name is Jasper." He turned and headed for the door, grabbing his shirt on the way. Without another pause, he left her standing there
As he crossed the courtyard, he sent a dose of awareness to Peter. He felt his Captain's understanding gaze as he entered Maria's domain. When the door closed behind him, soft hands caressed his chest. A hiss came before a rough slap to the face.
"I can smell your puta all over you. Wash before you enter my bed.
Peter found Bella standing near the territory map, her hand on her lips. "So, he finally kissed ya."
Pink tinged her cheeks. "Right before he left." She bit her lip. "What is she going to do to him?"
He shrugged. "It depends how much she wants to stake a claim."
"It's happened before."
Peter nodded then sighed. "He's been in this life a long time. When I came along just over twenty years ago, he was becomin' disenchanted with her. That's when he began takin' lovers, both human and vampire. She'd let him have his fun for a week or two before callin' him into her chambers. Within a day or so, the piece would be gone. She'd have her removed, permanently, before lettin' him out."
"How long will she keep him?"
He shrugged. "It depends on how pi- unhappy she is with him." His head shot to the outside door just as Mina let out a cry. "Bella, stay in the bedroom."
Bella quickly hid in the bedroom. Mina was on the bed, her arms raised. She scooped up the baby, now the size of a six-month old, and held her close. They could hear the snarls and growls in the other room. Mina whimpered and hid her head in Bella's neck. The door crashed open, startling a cry from them both. The same vampire from before, Nathan, stood there. He grinned evilly at them.
"Now," he said. "While the Major and the Captain are occupied, let's have a little fun." He pulled up short at the sight of the child. "Well, I'll just have to have her for dessert." He lunged at them.
Bella's scream and Mina's cry rang through the camp. All activity halted, except one. The Major was so deep into his Mistress' thrall, he barely noticed. Maria smiled. That problem was now taken care of.
Peter rushed into the room and skidded to a stop. Nathan hung suspended mid-lunge, in the air. His eyes were open wide in shock. Following the man's gaze, he found Bella and the baby staring at their would-be executioner. "Bella?"
"I don't know, Peter."
"Did somethin' leave your mind? What were you thinkin'?"
"That we were going to die. I wanted Jasper."
His eyebrows rose at the use of his Major's given name. "Uh. Little Bit," he turned his attention to the baby, "did you want the bad man to stop?" Mina nodded and stuck her thumb in her mouth. "Okay. I'm gonna take him away now. Kit will be by soon with some food."
"Peter? What about …?"
He shook his head. "He's too deep right now, sweetheart. If he heard ya, he'd think it was someone else."
Her heart ached at his words.
Jasper trudged back to his dwelling. If the bitch followed protocol, Isabella and Mina were dead. He remembered the scream. God, did he remember the scream. It felt as if a hole was in the center of his chest. Once inside, he leaned against the door. Inhaling deeply, he nearly collapsed. He could still smell them. And their supper.
Wait. Their supper? His gaze found the table. Remains of . . . something was there. It wasn't there when he left. He rushed to the bedroom. Pale moonlight shined across the bed. In the middle were two sleeping fairies. Their heads were close together, hair nearly the same rich shade. Mina looked as if she could now be nearly a year old. He reached out to smooth a lock of hair from her face when the sight of his hand stopped him.
Deep burgundy covered the appendage. Hell, it covered his whole body; from his hair to his toes. Disgusted, he strode over to the tub, twisting the spigot for hot water. It gushed forth, splashing in the bottom. He quickly plugged it up.
Bella's eyes fluttered open. Hearing the water, she glanced over to see a figure by the tub. Though moonlight flooded the room, the corner where the bath stood was shrouded in darkness. Only one person would dare be in this domicile.
"Jasper?" she called out.
The figure stiffened. "Go back to sleep, Isabella." He stepped into the bath and sat. The water began to discolor. Leaning back, he closed his eyes. He sighed when he heard the bedclothes rustle. Quiet footsteps padded to his location.
"Six days," Bella said softly. She knelt beside the tub, facing him. Even after her eyes adjusted to the light in the corner, she could barely make him out. "You were gone for six days. That man tried to attack us not long after you left." She grabbed a rag and the sliver of soap, dunking them in the water. Tapping one foot, she began to wash it when he lifted it out.
"She's a Siren. She can put a man under her spell until he can't even remember his name. And the things she makes you do." He gave a shudder. "As far as I knew when I left her, I was wearin' the two of you. Your scents." He paused for a second, his eyes flashing open. "What do you mean, tried to attack you? Y'all should be dead."
She tapped his foot again, letting him know to submerge it. He presented his other foot without prompting. "He leapt at us, but stopped in mid-air. Mina did it," she whispered. "She wanted the bad man to stop. Peter took care of him."
He stared at her as she washed his second leg. The recesses of his mind had tracked her gentle ministrations, but were at the forefront. The lathered rag glided up the top of his thigh, around to the back, and down to his knee. It began its journey again, only this time it went to his inner thigh. The back of her fingers brushed his scrotum. "Bella," he placed a hand over hers, "you don't have to do this."
Her eyes flew up to meet his. "I want to, Jasper. Let me wash her away." She moved on to his hand and arm. "Every touch she gave you will be replaced with mine."
He closed his eyes. Every caress of the rag, followed by her fingers, took away the feel of Maria's. Nearly a hundred years' worth of touches were gone in an instant. All he could feel and remember now were Isabella's. She began singing.
"Upon one summer's morning, I carefully did stray, Down by the Walls of Wapping, Where I met a sailor gay. Conversing with a young lass, Who seem'd to be in pain, Saying, William, when you go, I fear you'll ne'er return again. My heart is pierced by Cupid, I disdain all glittering gold, There is nothing can console me, But my jolly sailor bold."
She paused long enough to say, "lean forward" to wash his back. Soon she was pulling the plug. While she waited for the bath to empty then fill again, she cleaned his face, torso, and ass.
A smirk crossed his lips, eyes cracked open. "You're missin' a few spots, darlin'."
She giggled. "I know. I want to wash your hair first." Standing, she removed her nightshift.
He gaped at her beauty. Her skin was a creamy ivory all over. Full breasts sat high on her chest with nipples the color of cherries. A flat stomach flared into womanly hips. A dark triangle of curls hid her womanly treasure. Her legs seemed to stretch forever.
She shut the water off and patted his head, breaking the spell. A lone eyebrow rose. "Did you just pat my head like a dog?" he asked.
"No. I was telling you to go under the water. It'll be easier for me to wash your hair that way."
"Uh-huh." He lay flat in the bottom of the tub. As she resumed singing, a smile formed on his lips.
"His hair it hangs in ringlets, His eyes as black as coal. My happiness attend him, Wherever he may go. From Tower Hill to Blackwall, I'll wander, weep and moan, All for my jolly sailor, Until he sails home. My heart is pierced by Cupid, I disdain all glittering gold. There is nothing can console me, But my jolly sailor bold."
A pull on his hair informed him that she was finished. When he resumed his former position, a towel draped over his head and brisk rubbing accompanied it. It was soon whisked away. Gentle tugs began. He growled softly when he felt the teeth of a comb.
"No one's done that since my mama." A brief pause said that she heard him. "And I was a soldier, not a sailor." When she was finished, his curly locks were smoothed back. Her face appeared upside down over his. He smiled. "Hey, darlin'."
"Hey, Major." Her gaze traveled down his body, stopping at his groin. "It seems you have an issue."
"Yeah, I do. That whole area needs cleanin'."
She hummed. "Then I guess you better get to it."
He shook his head. "You're the one that caused it." He held up the soap and rag.
She sighed, as if put out by the chore. He could see the twinkle in her eye. "If I must."
"I insist, angel." He hooked a leg over the edge of the tub. His eyes reluctantly closed as she wrapped the soapy cloth around his dick. Up to the head, over it, back down the shaft. He bit his lip to keep his moan in. Around his pubic hair, to his balls, his moan rattled her chest when she reached the perineum. He jumped as a finger pressed against his rosette. "Careful, darlin'."
The rag was soon discarded. A constant growl rumbled in his chest as her hot hand replaced it. She yelped when she was suddenly in the bath with him, straddling his lap. He watched her face as he lowered her onto his shaft. Her head was thrown back, her breasts rising and falling with each shortened breath. Slowly, he worked his way inside. It was as if an inferno smothered his cock. "Ride me, angel."
She shook her head. "I don't know how."
He eagerly helped, showing her how to rise and descend. Her hands clenched on the tub's rim to keep her balance. Leaning forward, his lips nipped at those little cherries. She gasped and shifted in his lap. A moan fell from her lips at the change of angle. His thumb searched out that special button. It circled and pressed on it, causing her to fall apart against him. He crooned to her, "That's it."
"Jasper!" she sobbed.
"Shh." He pulled her against his chest. "Oh, sweet Jesus. Keep doin' that." Her muscles had clenched down at the shift in position. She repeated the action again and again. He roared into her neck, only his willpower kept him from biting down.
Movement on the bed caught his attention. He had grabbed her nightgown and slipped it over her head, when a little voice called out, "Mama?"
Bella lifted her head. "Hey, baby. Why are you awake?"
"Ah." She looked down at Jasper. "Daddy was noisy, wasn't he?" His body jolted at the name, causing bits and pieces to rub together. Her head felt to his shoulder to quiet her moan.
"I'll be right there, Mina. Help me up," she whispered. He lifted her up and out of the tub.
Jasper sat in the remains of the cool water, listening to the goings on behind him. Bella's soft footfalls went to the washstand, poured water into something, then a foul odor hit his nose. Ah, formula for the babe. The shaking confirmed it. A rustle of the bedclothes, squeak of the ropes.
Her velvety voice filled the room as she began to sing. "Come little children, I'll take thee away, Into a land, Of enchantment. Come little children, The time's come to play, Here in my garden, Of shadows."
Exiting the bath, he quickly wrapped a towel around his hips. He kept his footsteps silent as he grabbed a pair of trousers.
"Follow sweet children, I'll show thee the way, Through all the pain and the sorrows. Weep not poor children, For life is this way, Murdering beauty and passions." Jasper's shot up at that phrase. "Hush now dear children, It must be this way, To weary of life and deceptions. Rest now my children, For soon we'll away, Into the calm and the quiet. Come little children, I'll take thee away, Into a land, Of enchantment. Come little children, The time's come to play, Here in my garden, Of shadows."
He joined them on the bed. "That was little morbid, darlin'."
She shrugged. "We live in a morbid world, Jasper. Those thought to be in the shadows are real." She glanced at him over her shoulder. "She can hear better than I can. The screams, the screeching."
He sent out lethargy to send them both to sleep.
Peter watched Bella with concern. She was currently resting on the couch. The little one was on the floor, playing with a doll he brought her back from his last excursion. "Major," he said softly. "Miss Bella doesn't look well."
Two sets of eyes, brown and crimson, glanced at him before turning to the person in question. "She's tired, Captain," Jasper said. "Leave it."
"I don't think I can. The whole camp heard her get sick the past coupla days."
"Peter," he growled.
"Jasper, stop," Bella called from her position. "Just tell him. He'll see in a few days anyway."
Peter's eyes widened in shock. "She's in the family way?!" he hissed. He tugged on his CO's shirt sleeve with a nod to the door. Whispering, he said, "Major, that's gonna be a big fuckin' problem when it comes. The sister's stomach was torn open. She died within minutes of the little one's birth."
"Then I'll fuckin' turn her as soon as the baby's out," Jasper hissed in return. He pointed to the couch. "That is my life. Those three beings there. Nothin's ever gonna happen to them."
His second-in-command rubbed the back of his head. "You can't say that, Major. You never know what's gonna happen."
"Then you and the others better hope and pray that nothin' does. Otherwise, you're gonna see the world burn."
Charlotte and Kit observed with horrified fascination as Bella's belly expanded, and she seemed to get weaker. It was Kit who figured out that the baby needed blood to keep its mother alive. Food barely stayed down. She looked to be a skeleton wearing a skin suit. Mina had left a cup of blood near the couch, and Bella actually purred when the scent reached her. Charlotte helped her drink it down, along with several more glasses. The expectant mother seemed to perk up and have color in her cheeks again.
Jasper and Peter were discussing where to snatch new recruits from, when there was a knock at the door. Instead of calling for entry, Jasper flung it open to reveal Raoul, Maria's new pet. He cocked an eyebrow at the caller.
"The Mistress wants you. She says ahora."
The other eyebrow rose. "Now? Let me leave instructions for the Captain." He shut the door, and raced to the bedroom. "Bella," he whispered in her ear. "The bitch is callin' for me."
Fear shot through her, causing her stomach to tighten. A wheezing gasp left her lips. "Jasper. The baby." Her back bowed in pain.
"Fuck, fuck, fuck! Peter will get you into the room and stay long enough to bite you. Char will be with you until I come." He placed a kiss on her brow, then her lips. On his way out the door, he told Peter, "Get her into the safe room. Change her when the baby's out, and guard this house."
"Aye, aye, Major." Not long after the Major left, Charlotte slipped into the room. She went straight for his arms. "Keep Little Bit entertained," he nuzzled her cheek. "She knows somethin's goin' on."
Inside the bedroom, Peter flung open the trap door before scooping Bella into his arms. "Go see Char, Little Bit. Your baby brother or sister will be here soon." He didn't wait to see if she listened, dropping down into the secret room. Placing his charge on the cot, he quickly shut the door. "I remember your sister, so I'm gonna do things a little different. I don't have any pain killers."
"Just get the baby out, Peter," she cried through gritted teeth.
He nodded and pushed up her dress. Using his fingernail, he cut into her stomach, from belly button down. When her stomach was opened, he did the same to her uterus. A hard ball-shaped thing was pulled out. He set his teeth to it just when she gasped. A loud crack echoed in the tiny space. Lifting his head, he reached inside the opening and felt another hard shell. When the desperate woman's heartbeat began to slow, he spit venom inside her wound, then licked her stomach closed. He bit at her femoral arteries, as well as her ankles and wrists. He shied away from her neck and heart. The Major would have his head if he marked in those areas. Hearing her heartbeat slow further, he moved onto her knees and elbows, then reinjected venom into the previous spots. Her heartrate soon took off.
Peter turned his attention to the two moving spheres. He pressed down on one. It had a give to it, but it felt as hard as vampire skin. Bringing it to his mouth, he sunk his teeth into it and ripped it open, only to meet stormy blue eyes. He lifted the baby from its hard shroud and set it next to its mother. He repeated the process with the second orb. That infant had its mother's brown eyes. Putting it next to its twin, he watched as they silently interacted, gazing at each other, each lifting one hand.
Hearing voices in the house, he left the babies with their transforming mother to investigate. Char had Little Bit behind her, crouching in a defensive position. Raoul stood, filling the doorway. Their wary regard turned to him when he entered the room.
"The Mistress wants the pet," Raoul stated.
Peter shook his head. "She's changin'. She ain't gettin' her hands on this one."
"Fuck, Captain. Do you know what she'll do to me if I come back without her?"
"Nothin' what the Major will do to you when he's aware of what happened to her. Take Kit and Michael to San Antonio, Houston, and Dallas. Look for recruits. I expect you back in five days."
The vampire caught the hidden meaning. "How many a piece?"
"Five each. Rent a vehicle if you need to. Don't change any before you get back."
"On it, Captain." The couple waited until the footsteps disappeared.
"Peter," Char whispered.
"Go clean them up, Char. C'mere, Little Bit." Mina ran into his arms. "Guess what? Mama has a surprise for you. She's sleepin' right now. Char's gonna let us know when we can go see her."
"Baby here?" the little girl asked. He nodded, smoothing her hair back. In the five weeks since he found them, the baby was now the size of a one-year old.
Char's quiet "Peter" alerted him that everything was cleaned up. There wasn't anything they could do about the smell of the blood, but it wasn't in view. Peter carried Mina down to see her mother and siblings.
Mina gasped at the sight of the baby in Char's arms. She squirmed to be let down. "Baby," she softly whispered. The vampire caught her hand and showed her how to gently stroke the blond fuzz on its head. "What?"
"This is your baby sister," Char informed.
"Mama and Daddy haven't named her yet."
"Mina," Peter called out. The toddler turned to him. "'Member how I said Mama had a surprise? Look."
She squealed and raced to him. "Baby! What?"
"Brudr. No name?"
"No name yet, like your sister. Go give Mama a kiss, then we'll go upstairs."
Peter searched the horizon. The three he sent out would be arriving before long. Bella still burned beneath his feet, while the Major was still in the harpy's clutches. He gazed out at the camp. Soon the Goddess will arise and call forth her companion. Nothing would be left standing. All items of value were already hidden away. Char guarded them, along with the babies.
A movement on the next hill caught his eye. A figure dressed in solid black watched the camp. The Captain smirked. It would all be over within the hour. He saw the speck of dust heralding his missing men and their prizes. The heartbeat ceased behind him. He let her have her time to become acclimated to this new life as Raoul, Kit, and Michael joined him.
"Get Ginny," he softly told them. "You'll know the signal when you see it."
"What's gonna happen, Captain?" Kit queried.
"The gates of Hell are about to be opened." The trio sped off.
"Jasper?" he heard behind him. "Jasper!" Not a moment later, a roar of rage shook the foundations of the buildings. A pale blur flashed by him. With a grin plastered on his face, he followed.
The whole camp stared at the sight that materialized in front of them. A naked, blood-drenched Major held a petite woman in his arms. She licked at the ambrosia on his chest before sinking her teeth deep over his heart. He snarled out a warning. She snarled right back. Dipping his head, he moved her hair aside and bit gums-deep into her neck.
"What the fuck is going on here?" came a shrill voice. From the building the Major had exited, stood a short woman. She too was covered in blood and held a sheet to her naked body. "Major. Let the puta go, and come back."
Isabella released her hold, just as Jasper did. Turning to face the woman, she scowled. "I don't think so, bitch."
Maria smirked at the young upstart. "Really? We'll see about that." With a flick of her wrist, five soldiers attacked. Venom flew everywhere as the Major systematically dismembered them. The newly awakened brunette assisting her Major.
Maria scowled and shouted, "Attack!" to the rest of her troops.
Peter grinned and clapped his hands together. "Showtime." He led the four into the battle, tossing body parts as he went along. "Ginny! Light it up!"
The female vampire grabbed a few limbs, lit them from the ever-burning fire pit, and threw them at the buildings. She made her way over to help the Major's woman.
The figure on the hill had been joined by several black-clad others. They watched in utter horror and disbelief as seven individuals decimated a camp of fifty. Every structure was on fire, including the barn. They could hear the screams of the humans inside.
"What do we do?" the largest vampire asked his companions. "Do we help them? Subdue them? What?"
The small girl carefully scrutinized the unreserved carnage before them. "Nothing. The Masters merely wanted Maria neutralized. Now she is."
"But what of the Major?" queried the boy beside her.
"If he gets out of hand, they'll send us back."
Jasper watched as Bella hugged the children close. He worriedly ran his fingers through his hair. They now had three babies to care for. He felt Peter's presence beside him.
"The camp is nothin' but cinders. The only survivors are the eight of us and the babies. The Volturi know. Not about the little ones, but that Maria's gone."
Jasper gave out a pleased grunt. "We hold Texas. Let the others squabble over Mexico."
"Will do, Major."
"Two vampires coming in hot, Major," Peter informed his commanding officer.
Jasper's lips pressed into a straight line. They'd had nearly seventy years of peace. Sure, they've had to put more than a few vampires in their places, meaning in the fire, but everything's been good. "Capture and hold, Captain."
Jasper and Isabella joined Kit, Ginny, and Peter to question the unknown vampires. The smaller of the two seemed to be a boy in a dress. His short hair stuck up, like he jammed his finger in a light socket. The other was also a male, same size and stature as Kit. "State your business."
"We're passing through to South America," the boy said in a high pitch voice. He raised his head to look Jasper squarely in the eye.
"He's a female, Major," Peter said in surprise.
"Of course, I'm a female," she spat out, insulted.
Bella rolled her eyes at the small creature's attitude. "What is your business in South America?" The little one's attention focused on her and both let out a gasp.
"Do you know her?" Jasper asked his mate.
"No, but I know people with her eye color."
"Ana? I'm so confused. You look just like my sister-in-law."
The taller male spoke up. "We're looking for witnesses to help our coven against the Volturi. We're asking all who will help us to head to Forks, Washington."
"Forks?" Bella turned to her husband, placing her hand on his arm. "We have to go."
He sighed in resignation. Her could deny her nothing. "Go tell Char to get things ready. Ginny, Kit, let them go."
Once released, the male held out his hand. "Jonathan Bowers. My mate, Alice. We're part of the Cullen family. Once you get to Forks, follow the scent to the house. Please hunt in Seattle, or down in Portland. That is sort of a permanent home for us."
"Jasper and Isabella Whitlock. We understand." The men watched as Bella skipped off to the homestead with Ginny, singing "I'm goin' home!" A smile crossed Jasper's lips. "My mate's from there. Hasn't been home in over eighty years."
"Truck coming up the drive," Seth said. He cocked his head to the side. "Sounds like a Hemi."
Rosalie rolled her eyes. "We can hear it, pup."
"Can you hear the three heartbeats inside?" he smirked at her.
Esme's eyes widened in concern. "Humans? Or pack?"
The teenager shrugged. "Pack would just run through the woods. Imprints don't come here, and the Elders would just meet you at the treaty line. Charlie would drive the cruiser."
"Why would humans come here?" She flapped her hands in agitation, a human gesture that had carried over with the change.
Carlisle grabbed his wife's hands. "Let's find out." He glanced at the family that were present. "Wait here."
The parental figureheads waited on the veranda as a full-cab truck pulled into the driveway and parked. The driver and two passenger doors swung open. Two males and a female stood in front of the truck. They all dressed very similar; cowboy hats, t-shirts, jeans, and boots. Quiet murmurs drifted out of the open doors, along with heartbeats.
"Welcome. I'm Carlisle Cullen, and this is my mate, Esme. Did Alice and Jonathan send you?"
"Sure did," the shorter of the two males said. "Peter Whitlock. My mate, Char, and my brother, Jasper."
"And those in the truck?"
"Well, you see. . ."
The thump of boots hitting asphalt brought their attention to the person descending from the truck. When she came in view, the golden-eyed vampires' breaths caught in their throats. She smiled at them. "Carlisle, Esme. It's been a long time."
"Bella Swan?" Carlisle asked, flabbergasted.
"Bella?" came a voice from inside. Rosalie paused for only a moment before rushing down the steps. "Bella!"
A thundering rumble could be heard from inside the house. A large blur streaked past, capturing both girls in a hug. "Bellsy!" he called out. A low growl halted their reunion.
Jasper gnashed his teeth at the large vampire. "I'm suggestin' you put my mate down nice and slow."
"At ease, Major," Bella called out with a joyful laugh. She kept her arms around her friends. "Emmett's a big ol' teddy bear."
"A teddy bear I don't know that's huggin' my wife." He shot her a dose of annoyance and possession. With a huff, she joined him. His arms wrapped around her, trying to smother the other male's scent.
Rosalie peered into the truck. "Bella? Please tell me you didn't bring your dinner."
"Hey!" A chestnut head popped out. "Who you callin' dinner, lady?" Stormy blue eyes glared at her.
"Nat, Mama said to wait in the truck," whined a soft voice.
Esme recovered from the shock first. "Maybe we should all go inside. Get caught up." She gestured toward the open front door and led them inside.
Seth watched wide-eyed as the three hybrids passed him. "There's more of them?"
Another Native descended the stairs from the upper floor at that moment, and Bella gaped at him. "Ephraim?"
Puzzled, he cocked his head to the side, studying the newcomer. "That was my great-grandfather. I'm Jacob. And this," he shifted a little girl in his arms, "is Renesmee. Or Nessie for short."
"I need to sit down," Bella mumbled, dropping onto a white couch, her children flanking her. Jasper, Peter, and Char stood as sentries behind them.
"What've you been up to for the past eighty years, Bells?" Emmett asked.
"Maybe we should wait for Ana and Edward," Carlisle declared.
The bear of a vampire just waved him off. "Bells?"
Before she could begin speaking, a couple entered through the back door. "Momma!" Renesmee squealed, jumping down from Jake's arms. She ran towards them. The bronze-haired man was shocked to see the woman on the couch. "Bella?"
"Sit down, Edward," Emmett encouraged. "Bella's gonna tells us what she's been up to all these years."
"Introduce yourself, darlin'," Jasper said, one hand gently resting on her shoulder. "Not everyone knows who you are."
"My name is Isabella Swan Whitlock. I was born here in Forks in 1921, to George and Miriam Swan. I had an older brother, Geoffrey, and a younger sister, Anna." She pulled closer the girl with chocolate hair. "When I was in high school, the Cullens moved to town. Emmett, Rosalie and I became friends. I never told them that I knew what they were." She looked at the two teenagers by the kitchen. "You see, my mother was Quileute. My siblings and I were raised on the stories of the Protectors and the Cold Ones. When my cousin, Levi, and two of his friends showed an instant disliking to the new family, I knew something was up. Even my gentle mother refused to have anything to do with the new doctor."
"Wait a minute," Seth piped up. "You were related to Levi?"
Bella nodded. "My mother was a Uley. After we graduated, I married Charles Andrews, a friend of my brother's. We had a daughter named Molly." She hugged the girl tighter. "In November of 1941, I returned home to find my parents slaughtered, and my younger sister violated. When Levi came over later, he told me that it was an unknown Cold One that did it. Later, when it became apparent that Anna was expecting-"
"Let me guess," Edward interrupted. "They wanted to kill her." He received a nod. "They wanted to do the same to my Ana."
"I left my daughter with my brother and his new wife, took my sister, and ran. I drove south as far and as fast as I could. Mina was born a week later." Bella placed a kiss on the brown locks.
"What happened to Charles?" Rosalie asked.
"He was on board the Arizona. I knew when I heard of the bombing that he was gone." Taking a deep breath, she continued with her story. "Peter found me an hour or so after Mina was born, and brought us to the Major." She smiled up at her husband.
"You took a human and a newborn baby into a war camp?" Edward spoke up. "Are you insane?"
Peter scratched his neck. "I've been accused of it a time or two."
"Anyway. Five weeks later, I had Nat and Bea."
Char snorted. "Tell them where their names came from."
Bella frowned at her friend. "Mina Elisabeta, Nathaniel Hawk, and Beatrice Hero." She smiled at Emmett. "I named Mina after the characters in Dracula, Nat is named for James Fenimore Cooper's character in The Last of the Mohicans, and Bea is for the characters in Much Ado About Nothing."
"Bookworm," Char teased.
"Your daughter's name was Molly?" Jake asked. At the nod, he continued, "A Molly Swan from Forks married Quil Ateara III."
"We were the only Swans here."
"Still are," Ana said. "My dad, Charlie, is Chief of Police."
"What does he know?" queried Jasper. "You're obviously a newborn."
"More than you would think," Peter answered. He clapped and rubbed his hands together. "Time to call in the family."
Charlie watched as Quil, in wolf form, played with his aunts and uncle. Little Renesmee tried to keep up, until Seth scooped her up to join in the fun.
"So, you knew all this time?" Ana asked her father. He nodded. "Why didn't you say anything?"
"Same reason you didn't, Anabeth. Their secrets weren't mine to divulge." He turned to his daughter. "Now you know why I didn't like the little hoity-toity piss-ant." Emmett and Jake cracked up laughing at that comment.
"How did you find out?"
"I was raised on the stories, same as my father was. He recited them to me at night. Aunt Molly did the same whenever I stayed over with Four. I knew Dad had two younger sisters, Isabella and Anna. I was told that they died the same day as my grandparents. Molly was left an orphan after Pearl Harbor, so Mom and Dad adopted her. After Dad died, I found a bunch of letters, and several pictures. Names and dates were on the back. Imagine my surprise when I saw the letters were signed 'Your loving sister, Bella'. I didn't have the heart to write back and tell her that my parents were gone. I did send the clipping of Ana and Edward's wedding announcement."
"Thank you for that," Bella said. "It joined everything else in the scrapbook. And for all the pictures through the years." At everyone's inquiring faces, she explained, "I wrote to Geoffrey not long after we settled near San Antonio. I informed him of Anna's death, the birth of the children, and my change into a Cold One. My intention was to never return to the Pacific Northwest. We avoid it like the plague during our travels. He never wrote back. But every year, on Molly's birthday, he would send pictures taken throughout the year. Also, some that I had left behind. I knew when she graduated high school, and got married, and when I became a grandmother and an aunt. I watched Charlie and Quil grow up from afar, and then their children. And Molly's death." She faced Charlie. "I knew Geoffrey was gone. The handwriting and the scent were different."
"This is borin', Daddy," Nat whined. He was lying on the ground, watching the clouds.
"You can always go back to the house, Nathaniel," Jasper growled.
"Naw. I'm good."
"Then shut it." He sighed. It was boring. Everyone was standing battle-ready for the vultures to get to the clearing. Well, all except his family. Peter was whispering in Char's ear, making her giggle. Mina and Bea were sitting next to their brother, reading. He held Bella against his chest. "Y'all know what to do?" he called back to the kids.
"If it looks like trouble," Mina began.
"Take off with Jake and Nessie," Bea finished.
"We know, Daddy," Nat said. He sat up when he heard the footfalls. He could see them break through the trees. "They do look like vultures."
"Nat, hush," Bella admonished.
The Whitlocks quietly observed the back and forth between the Cullens and the Volturi. Nothing in their demeanor changed, except for the kids gathering around their parents. Nat's softly spoken "Harsh" on Irina's death brought the Italians' focus on them.
"Major Whitlock," Aro called out. "We are astonished that you are present."
Jasper shrugged. "They're family, Aro. Ana is my wife's niece."
"And the young ones around you?"
"Our children, same as Ana's daughter."
"Wait!" All heads turned to Alice and Jonathan crossing the field. "We have further proof." She went right up to Aro and presented her hand. After a few moments, he released the appendage. "You can come out now," she called out.
A pair of vampires exited the forest. They halted several yards behind Alice. Jasper set his chin on his wife's head as the others parlayed.
"Do you concur with his accounts, Major Whitlock?" Caius queried.
"I do. Neither of my girls have venom."
With a few words from Aro, the vultures left. The Romanians tried to rally and give chase, but no one was really looking for a fight.
"Well, that was totally anti-climactic," Peter grumbled. Boulders colliding echoed through the clearing. Everyone looked to see Jasper standing on Peter's back, one foot on his head.
"You're it, motherfucker," Jasper said before taking off. Nat whooped before following his father, Peter close behind. The chocolate wolf whined, shuffling in place. With a yip, he broke and took off after the trio, with Emmett, a sandy wolf, and Garrett trailing them.
Rosalie sighed indulgently as she joined Bella and Charlotte. "We're married to children."
"It was either this, or have all the tension explode back at the house in the form of them ganging up on Edward. Right now, it's harmless." Bella put her arms around her girls and started the trek back to the house.
"Are you staying for a few days?"
"Yeah. I didn't realize how much I missed it here."
Bella ran her hand over her great-grandson's head. "So, you have our address and phone numbers. Call whenever you want. Bring your grandfather down when he gets his head outta his ass." Quil was the last of her family to say farewell to. She climbed into the truck and laid her head on her husband's shoulder.
"Are we gonna get bombarded with smelly wolves?" Jasper asked.
"I don't believe so. I just wanted the invitation to be open."
"I understand, darlin'." He laid on the horn. "Let's go, son!" He yelled at Nat. A hand waved back at him, causing him to growl. "He waves that thing at me again, I'm gonna break it. See how much wavin' he'll do with a cast."
"You'll do no such thing, Jasper Whitlock!" Bella declared. "Leave him be. From what Nahuel told me, he's a teenager."
"Yeah, Major," Peter piped up. "Ain't teenagers supposed to be pains in the ass now days?"
"You start up, and both of you are fuckin' runnin' home. Hear that, boy! It's a long run to Texas!"
"Bella, there's so much daylight we can be out in, and we gotta stop for gas and huntin'."
She leaned over and whispered in his ear, "Keep it up, Major, or your little soldier won't be receiving any attention from me for quite a while."
He grumbled under his breath, "Ain't so little."
"Ew, gross!" and "Daddy!" sounded from the backseat, along with Charlotte's cackles.
*Hush Little Baby from Mother Goose
**Jolly Sailor Bold from Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End
***Come Little Children from Hocus Pocus