Don't own. Don't sue.
I couldn't feel more anxious if I tried. I knew, deep in my bones, that we had little time to prepare for what was coming. Every minute that passed felt like a countdown to the event that I knew would change the game. I couldn't sit still, not only because I was a newborn, but because I had work to do. We had work to do.
The run back to camp had been tense. The newborns were unsettled and with Jasper distractedly strategizing in his head about how to deal with the inevitable fallout from his 'disobedience', he had spared little effort on sending some waves of calm to the troops. I tried to pick up the slack, but I realized that my empathic abilities felt different than Jasper's.
I had been sending waves of calm and peace throughout the troops when I felt a push on my mental shield. I glanced around and caught Peter's eye. He had stopped drooling only moments before, I could tell because his eyes were still just this side of unfocused and he was surreptitiously wiping at his mouth. I had blocked both Jasper and Peter after we had started to run, to give them privacy, and because there were some things that I really did not need to see that were coming from Peter.
That's you, right, Iz? Your pushing the calm vibes, aren't you? Peter quirked a brow in my direction. I nodded back at him, wondering what the problem was. He picked up on that thought and explained.
Look at them, Izzy-doll, notice anything…different? He gestured towards the newborns that were running as usual.
But it really wasn't usual. I hadn't noticed initially, but I was slowly being surrounded by newborns. When we ran, we ran as a pack, but it usually meant that we ran in the same direction, keeping in sight, but giving a wide berth to our fellow soldiers. It was why Jasper and I had gotten confused looks earlier, we had gotten too close, we had strayed from the norm.
It was happening again, except this time, it seemed as if I were a magnet, pulling the newborns closer and closer to me as we ran. I was being circled, but oddly enough, I didn't feel trapped. I glanced at the newborns closest to me and realized that while a few looked curious and were sending me odd looks, for the most part the newborns looked almost…serene.
What is going on? I sent to Peter, unsure of what to make of the situation.
You feel different than Jasper does, ya know? Your mojo is softer, like a warm whisper, or a hug or somethin'. Jasper's shit is almost like a compulsion, you gotta feel what he wants you to feel, well, if he's going full force with his magic, that is. Peter drifted off into his own thoughts about the differences, but didn't really aim anything else at me.
After that, I eased up on sending emotions to the newborns, slowly, so that no one picked up on their security blanket being ripped away. Soon enough, I felt Jasper picking up where I had left off and breathed a sigh of relief as the circle of newborns around me dissipated and scattered.
After we reached camp, everyone split off, anxiousness still marring every newborn's already volatile disposition. Fights kept breaking out, some from pure testosterone, and some from lusty males wanting to share the limited female contingent. I stayed away from it all, trying hard to meditate on the potential outcome of going against Alphonso. It wasn't working. I knew Peter's gift was an actual gift, whereas my ability to predict things was based on logic and heuristics. I did not have enough data to come to any solid conclusion. Time passed and my frustration only grew.
True to Maria's word, brand new newborns cropped up every few days. It was actually becoming alarming to see the numbers the ranks swelled to, but I quickly realized why she was overcompensating. For every 3 newborns, either Maria or one of her sisters ordered one to be killed. Sometimes because the change caused psychosis or a very uncontrollable vampire and sometimes just because they pissed off the Twisted Sisters.
Jasper did his best to train the influx; Peter was right by his side, managing to find some really great fighters. We were all hungry beyond recognition, not having fed since before the showdown with Maria. She seemed to be punishing us for our insubordination. Jasper couldn't sneak all of us away to feed, so he tried his best to keep everyone distracted, knowing that Maria would allow everyone to feed very soon.
We did need our strength for battle, of course. While Maria was cruel, greedy and overly proud, she wasn't always stupid. She knew that for 'her' army to have the best chance, we needed to feed to be at full strength. The promise of more blood after a victory would be that much more incentive after feeling the wonderful effects of fresh blood.
I heard her voice cut through the growls and general noise of the army and my ears immediately perked up to listen to what she was telling Jasper half a mile away. I had been sparring with Alexander to kill time and get rid of some of my frustration at not being able to predict the outcome of the impending battle. Alexander noticed my distraction, but kept sparring, instinctually knowing we needed to constantly mask our unusual newborn control. I sometimes wondered how many other newborns were more controlled than they let on. Occasionally I caught emotions that were similar to the older ranks, but they always dissipated and returned to the 'norm' fairly quickly.
I tried not to look at Maria and Jasper, but I could clearly see the hard set of Jasper's jaw and the scowl on Maria's face from the corner of my eye.
"We are ready?" Maria asked Jasper through clenched teeth, obviously uneasy about having to ask about the troops after the showdown before. She was realizing that her grip on her army was tenuous at best at this point.
"As ready as we we'll ever be. " Jasper flicked his eyes over the sparring newborns and then back to Maria, his gaze hard and icy. "Are you planning on being there?"
Maria lifted her head slightly at the challenge.
"Of course. I am the leader of this army." Her eyes sparked with fury. I could tell it was taking great restraint from Jasper not to scoff at that statement. I was proud of him for his control. Maria's time was almost up, but it wasn't up yet.
"When?" Jasper asked, crossing his arms over his chest, straightening a half inch more, his body anticipating the fight ahead.
"Tomorrow at dusk. Feed them before then." Maria walked away without another word, her sisters trailing behind her. Jasper's face was stone. I caught his eye and his eyes softened. I wanted to send him some comforting thoughts, but hunger had weakened me and I didn't trust myself not to project to every newborn in the vicinity.
I settled for sending a tiny wink in his direction.
A/N – I'm seriously going to make a huge effort to get this story back on track – I had a vision and I still do, but real life got crazy and it got easy to be lazy. This is for all the fans that PM'ed me, reviewed, favorited and followed this story. Stay tuned ya'll. Im back.